Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Friday, March 30, 2012

INTERVIEW: DENYSE BRIDGER

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Denysé Bridger, whose latest release, the Warrior Mine series, is a partner project, released under the name Elliot Devereaux. Denysé used to write fan fiction with a partner occasionally, but this is her first work with another author.


"A very talented writer, too, he brings so much amazing energy to the project. Even the way we’re writing the books is different," she explained. "We’ve created several groups on Facebook, where readers are welcome to come and watch the stories played out for them; once a story is done, it’s copied over and we polish and refine the story. It then goes to editing and covers, etc. Kayden McLeod is creating a very distinctive look for the entire series, and we plan a number of other releases soon in this set. Also, there will be a special sub-site created on my website soon, too–where you can learn more about the whole series. "


Denysé told me she's been writing as long as she can remember, but she's been writing professionally for the last eight years.


"I can remember writing my first essays and stories in about Grade Three, and getting gold stars for them – it was quite exciting to know that people would like to read something I’d created, and I think even when I abandoned the idea in my teens, some part of me still longed to be telling stories," she said. "I find them everywhere I look, and in everything I see and hear. It’s wonderful. I used to watch my favourite shows and then in my mind I’d continue on with what I’d watched, or invent new stories to enjoy. It was one of those 'new' stories that started me writing again at twenty-two, when I sat down and decided to put the new episode I’d dreamed onto the page…it began a twenty year 'apprenticeship' as a writer of fan fiction!"


Apart from her new Warrior series, Denysé is writing two more stories for Ellora's Cave—the prequel and sequel to Hide and Secret, her first story for EC which was released last year. She's also writing a genie story that she's having a lot of fun with. Her next major project is a new paranormal series—which might actually be YA, but she's still toying with that idea. Plus, there's another Western in the mix.


Since she started writing her own stuff, instead of the fanfic, she's never suffered from writer's block.


"I used to fear everything I wrote would be the last thing I could create, then a dam burst inside my brain, and I know I’ll never have enough time to tell all the stories that I want to tell," she told me. "I’ve got notebooks everywhere, files of research notes for things. Essentially, there’s a story for any mood, and over time I’ve reached a point where I can write anywhere, regardless of the distractions. I think when your imagination flags a little, you need to step back and relax; your life is telling you something, even if it’s as simple as 'now is the not the right time' so if you just focus on family and friends, and whatever else you love–the stories return when you’re ready to tell them. At least in my experience."


She has several writers, depending on her mood as well. If she wants to read exciting, sexy paranormals, she opens Lara Adrian, J.R. Ward, Nalini Singh, or Gena Showalter.


"They’re all winners on a huge scale," she assured me. "If I want straight-up romantic escape, I adore Lucy Monroe every time!! She never misses. Same with Linda Lael Miller. If I want mystery, it’s Anne Perry and her Victorian detectives, as well as Conan Doyle-- Sherlock Holmes has been my hero forever!! Fantasy leads me to Terry Brooks or George R.R. Martin. So, it’s all dictated by what the mind is craving at the time!"


For Denysé, good writing pays attention to detail and continuity—things that happen as a logical progression of the plot, not a need for sensationalism or shock. To be a successful story, it needs to engage the mind and heart of the reader.


"It doesn’t always have to be a brilliant one to be enjoyable and pleasant," she said. "So pay attention to the details, let your writing draw readers into a place where they escape and enjoy it, and if they’re smiling when they put your book down, it’s a good one! The technical aspects of writing are so flexible, you really need to focus more on story, content, and execution than the actual textbook rules you learn in school. Grammar and spelling and all that good stuff is important, but those things improve with use anyway. Tell a story that you love, and you can bet others will fall in love with it, too."


Characters will introduce themselves to Denysé as they are needed and usually leave an impression even if they are minor characters, but it's the plot that drives a story.


"It’s a balance, though, because even the most intriguing of plots can fall apart if you don’t have the right chemistry for your characters," she warned. "I like to lay out a story in point form, on paper, then have a look at it – often what happens is the action-reaction equation then develops the type of character needed to make the story work and move forward. Small things evolve and make themselves a part of the plot as you go; they emerge from the personalities of the characters themselves. So for me, seeing how the story will work out often tells me who I need to 'create' for the job at hand."


The characters often make their own suggestions and change the plan a little, she finds, but often it takes the form of introducing subplots and touches Denysé had not anticipated when she started writing.


When she's writing a short story, Denysé can often outline it in one paragraph, add the character names and begin writing. However, things are different with novels or world building.


"If you’re going to write a novel, or world-build, you have to be willing to sit down and make your rules," she explained. "So, very detailed outlines and blueprints for novels. I usually end up with a well-used file folder of immediate research notes, names, and character specific details. When my first fantasy novel was submitted, the proposal package was just over 100 pages, and it was done formally: 25-page detailed synopsis, short synopsis of 3 pages, three chapters of the book, query letter, and résumé. The book itself ran about 350 manuscript pages when it was done. You can’t do a book of that size if you don’t outline and plot well. Short stories can tell themselves in minutes, literally."


Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"


"I think the soundest advice any writer can embrace is that you have to let the story go sometimes and move on. None of us writes a perfect book so to think we can is the way to madness and to believe you have is the way to huge disappointment. Do the best job you can, get it out there, and move on to your next project. Each one will teach you something and improve your skill, but if you never leave the first one because you have to keep rewriting it, you’ll never know how far you can go with the talent you have. Listen to the advice editors offer; don’t fight them or justify your work. These are professional people; they know what works and sells, so listen when they take the time to offer you advice."


About the Author:
During the past eight years it’s been my good fortune to work with over a dozen publishers, and many, many wonderful people in this industry. I never really stop writing, and I’m always looking for new challenges to keep it exciting for me, and fresh for readers. I like to write in a wide variety of genres, though I seem to have become a paranormal author to many readers. Historical has always been my first love, and often even the contemporary stories find their roots in an historical setting. When I write paranormal, I get the best of both because the characters often have back-stories that can be told in their historical settings. I’ve won awards, been a best-seller with several publishers, and chat with readers from all over the work on a daily basis–this business is something I love, and I am exceedingly grateful every day for the opportunity to make people smile and entertain them with something I’ve created! Thank you to everyone who shares this amazing journey with me, you make it so much fun!!


Find Denyse online at:


Website: http://www.denysebridger.com

Blog: http://fantasy-pages.blogspot.com

Authors Who Rock: http://authorswhorock.blogspot.com/

Sensual Treats Magazine: http://www.sensualtreats.webs.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/denysebridger

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/denysebridger

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/denyse.bridger

Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/Romance.and.Fantasy

Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RomanceFantasy/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/denysebridger

Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4930595.Denyse_Bridger


Book One of an exciting new series for paranormal fans. Told by two distinctive voices, one familiar, one new, Warrior Mine: The Claimingsets the stage for a very different kind of story. With roots over two centuries in the past, Angelique Devereaux is a dark legend, once a Chosen Warrior of god, she betrayed her oaths to love one who was forbidden. Cast out, cursed and scarred, she continues her battle alone. Until a soul as tortured as her own stumbles across her path.


Asher Elliot is lost in his own darkness when he first sees the tall warrior known to legend simply as The Slayer. Tortured by the deaths of his wife and children, this grieving warrior is nonetheless drawn to the timeless, cold being he witnesses at work. Like him, she deals in death and her justice is swift, sometimes messy, but always final. He follows her, watching, growing ever more captivated by her, until finally he must reach out to claim what his reawakened heart wants most…
Photobucket

Monday, March 26, 2012

INTERVIEW: AMY VALENTI

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amy Valenti, whose latest release Hidden Heat, a dystopian erotica novella, is released today.


I asked Amy how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.


"Hmm, interesting question! Personally, erotic romance would be longer stories with a plot arc and with more going on than just the central romance (even if there’s quite a lot of sex in the mix!). Erotica would be more focused on the sex – in the fan fiction world, they call it PWP, short for ‘Plot? What Plot?’ Though I do prefer my own interpretation – Porn Without Plot," she said with a wink. "Having said that, pornography, for me, would be more image-based – photographs and filmed scenes."


She's not yet read extensively in the erotica world; she came to writing erotic romance without much of a background in the reading side of things. So she isn't that familiar with a lot of erotic authors.


"My fellow Total-E-Bound author Paige Turner is an amazing wordsmith," she said. "My favorite erotic book is her Temporary Trouble-- a M/M/F office-based sex with amazing characters—gotta love it. In the mainstream market, Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series is an epic fantasy world with strong ties to BDSM, and I love her stuff so, so much!"


"What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotica?" I wondered.


"I think a lot of it is still viewed as the heaving bosoms/coy euphemisms bodice-ripper stuff. What people who don’t read erotica don’t realise is, that’s one tiny portion of the erotica market. Another thing is that erotica writers must sit there with one hand down their pants at all times while they write. Personally, that seems really impractical – I mean, typing one-handed isn’t the fastest way to get the words down on the page, is it?" she asked with a grin.


When Amy is researching her books, she goes to her local fetish club, talks to people in the fet community, and watches sexual-tension-heavy scenes from her favorite TV shows and movies.


"I think you can learn a lot from voyeurism. And YouTube can help with the little things – having never tried to walk in 7-inch heels, I wasn’t sure if it could be done with any kind of confidence and grace. Apparently it can, but only for very short periods!" she assured me.


"What is the most embarrassing sex scene you've ever written?"


"Ha! I don’t know about embarrassing, because if you write sex, it’s a pretty good bet your readers are going to expect the whole range of smutty stuff. There’s a scene in my first novel, Dominance and Deception, that involves a lot of cock-sucking, which doesn’t do much for me, personally (I’ve never really been into blow jobs). But once I’d finished the scene I looked back on it and went, ‘Did I write that?’ Apparently, I did!"


Amy is more character-focused in her writing now than when she first started out.


"Without fun and/or intriguing characters, the smut gets kind of stale and familiar, I think," she told me. "I also like to jump from genre to genre these days. Crime, paranormal, fantasy… all under the umbrella of erotica, but just some variation. I don’t think I could write in one sub-genre all the time."


On a more personal note, I asked Amy, "If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?"


"I don’t know about being another person, but I would definitely consider transforming myself into a few inanimate objects for a day," she said with a wink. "Mark Harmon’s shirt, maybe. Or possibly Dina Meyer’s bath towel. That’d be a fun place to be…"


Amy doesn't even have her ears pierced, much less any other part of her anatomy.


"But when I read The Story of O, the scene where O is led around by a leash clipped to her clit piercing just made me melt," she admitted. "So if I absolutely had to, I’d go for a clit piercing. Yeah, pretty extreme!"


I asked her about her favorite food—she admitted that, even though it's odd to say it, she's only eaten her favorite food twice.


"There’s a beach about 120 miles from where I live at the moment, and there’s an ice-cream bar on the waterfront. They serve chocolate knickerbocker glories there, in old-fashioned tall sundae glasses – no fruit, just chocolate and vanilla ice-cream, lots of cream and chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of nuts and chocolate flakes. Damn – having described it, I really want one now!"


She cannot, however, bring herself to eat oysters—even if everyone does rave about them being an aphrodisiac.


"They just look wrong!" she said.


"Have you ever known anyone who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue?" I wondered.


"I haven’t, but I’d love to. For many reasons," she assured me with a wink and a big smile.


Her favorite letter is T; she always seems to pick it after the vowels when she plays hangman.


"Plus, lots of fun words begin with T," she told me. "Tease, tempt, tremble, touch, tongue, tingle, tickle, tangle, toy, trick and treat…"


Finally, I asked Amy what advice she would give a new writer just starting out.


"Read! Seriously – it improves your vocabulary, helps you to absorb and develop your sense of narrative structure, and it’s just plain fun. I’ve read stuff by writers who don’t read other people’s fiction – it’s never good."


About the Author:
Amy Valenti is a tarnished tease, and her mind has lived in the gutter since the day she realised what sex was. She hails from England, which she doesn’t find quite as exotic and sexy as the average US citizen seems to, but if people want to compliment her on her accent, that’s all fine with her! Her muses are many, fickle and very demanding.


Find the author online at http://amyvalenti.wordpress.com.


When your body betrays you and your government might kill you for it, can you really trust a sexy man is all he seems?


In an Orwellian future world, highly skilled professionals must be sexually suppressed, to focus them better on their work. They get one week per year to procreate-a 'heat phase' allocated to them by computer.


Holly had been ready to give up everything for her career as a doctor-including her sexual urges. Her body rejected the treatment, denying her access to higher medical training, but Holly used her aunt's connections to the clinic to cheat the system. Now she's an unsuppressed woman struggling to hide in plain sight, and to control her desires without being discovered.


If the government finds out she's faking it, they'll likely kill her. So when a sexy medical student named Scott turns on the charm while flashing the wrist tattoos that mark them both as suppressed, Holly is terrified of letting down her guard with him. Could there really be a secret resistance faction whose aim is to abolish the suppression laws? And if she gives in to Scott's advances, will there be terrible consequences?


Reader Advisory: This book contains references to F/F intimacy and M/M intimacy, ménage a trois, masturbation and steamy, smutty sexiness! This book also contains a ménage scene MMF and FF flirting.
Photobucket

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

INTERVIEW: REGAN TAYLOR

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Regan Taylor, whose latest release World in Her Hands is available from Extasy Books.


I asked her to tell us a little bit about the book that she didn't put in the blurb.


"My hero, Frank Turner, has a LOT of elements from the investigator I work directly with at my day job. Aside from the real Frank Turner being 6’3” (in the book he’s 6’4” cause I like that height in a man) with blond hair and incredible blue eyes there is a lot of his personality in the character. The real Frank Turner is a caring, nurturing, funny, entertaining person and one of the most intelligent people I know. Despite my own law enforcement background I turned to him for some of the 'street action' because he had a lot of experience, especially in the surveillance and interview aspects."


Regan is currently working on a new novel tentatively titled "Sapphire" and the idea for it came from an unlikely source.


"This story has its genesis from the cover. My artist at Devine Destinies (where the book will be published – Devine is an imprint of eXtasy Book) has a portfolio of covers she designs when the mood strikes. She’s incredibly talented and a keen sense of what her authors are looking for. For instance, for my cover for World in Her Hands, I gave her a list of elements I thought would work and in about an hour she designed the cover. It not only has everything I wanted but she added some dimension to it I hadn’t considered. Given how talented she is, she creates art in the form of covers. I saw the cover for Sapphire, requested it and it was mine. That meant I had to write the story for it and that’s where my fun began. The cover features a young woman in a bustle dress and a clipper ship at full sail," she explained. "I love doing research and for Sapphire I dug into the history of clipper ships and the important roles the captain’s wives played. The clipper ship era ended before the particular bustle in the picture became vogue so I needed to figure out how to bring the two together. I’m a stickler for factual, and therefore historical, accuracy and given the 20-30 year difference between those two elements I had to come up with a plausible way to work with them. About that time I met an Australian gentleman named Brendan and I knew what to do—a time travel."


"What inspired you to start writing?" I wondered.


"Around 2004, I was interviewing Jewel Adams about her writing and she was kicking off what has become known as her kick butt weeks. It’s a commitment to yourself to write at least 1,000 words a day for 7 days. Jewel encouraged me to participate and after thinking about it for a few days I did. At the time I was working graveyards as a police dispatcher and, as most dispatchers will tell you, while you may not receive as many calls at night as you do during the day, the night time calls can be the most intense you ever take. Some of those calls stuck with me and using those as the kernel of a story caught my attention. I’d written, and published, two non-fictions in the 1990’s so writing fiction was very different. In a couple of days I was hooked."


She told me she never suffers from writer's block…story ideas are constantly running through her head and not a day goes by that something doesn't happen to give her another idea for a story.


"World in Her Hands is a prime example of that," she told me. "One of the attorneys at work had a meeting with a senator coming up about a sensitive issue. That's all it was, just a pending meeting. We barely discussed the meeting itself, but more what he needed to know to discuss the issue. Just that little incident led to the story."


What she does have is time block—not enough hours in the day to do everything she needs to do and write. She works a full time job, an hour commute each way, has her three cats plus a foster with a bit of a health issue, writes a column for Examiner.com, wants time with her friends, and tries to walk 30-45 minutes every day. So, the hardest part of writing for her is having the time to do it in.


During her commute she can usually read two-four books a week. She has been reading Edgar Rice Burrough's Barsoom series on her Kindle, because with A Princess in Mars (John Carter) coming to the big screen, she wanted to read the books first.


"I’d read Burroughs years ago and forgot what an incredible writer he was," she told me. "If you read A Princess of Mars, which was published in 1917, you quickly see it is a timeless story with someone for everyone be the reader young, old, male or female. It is a fabulous series I highly recommend."


She loves reading on her Kindle, especially for the commute. Before the days of e-readers, she would always carry two books: the one she was currently on and a spare, just in case she happened to finish the book she was on.


"Heaven forbid I have to sit and look out the window on the bus! With my Kindle, I never have to worry about running out of reading material and even if I did read everything on it I can always download something new," she told me.


"My biggest complaint in life, which given the scheme of things isn’t that bad, is 'too many books, not enough time,'" she confessed. "The past two years I’ve been rereading Alexandre Dumas (the elder’s) backlist, not just The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, but starting with Queen Marguerite and reading forward. Dumas is such a timeless author. Again, he is one of those authors who writes for any age, male or female. He has something for everyone. I also started to reread Rosemary Rogers’ backlist. She is the first romance author I read and a good part of why I read and write romance. In between there are dozens of books I have ready to read. One reason I like Goodreads is I can keep my entire TBR/TBB there in a nice, neat order."


"What is your favorite and least favorite foods?" I asked.


"Ice cream is my favorite and chocolate makes it one of the four essential food groups! Least favorite is sea slugs. Yes, sea slugs. For my birthday several years ago my boyfriend took me to one of our favorite Chinese restaurants in San Francisco and I’m always looking for something new and different. I had a beer on an empty stomach and whatever possessed me I said I wanted the sea slugs. Now I think 'yeech' and yes, they were 'yeech'. "


To continue with the personal side of things, I also asked her to share with us the most embarrassing thing her mother ever did to her.


"My freshman year of college she showed up on campus, unannounced," she told me.


I wondered why that was so embarrassing. Regan explained more fully.


"My mother’s constant lament when I was growing up was all I wanted was a little girl. What she wanted was a doll to dress up and play with but she’d never admit that. When I was five, on an Easter Sunday my dad needed or wanted to fix something on the car. He got down there under it and was doing whatever it was. Well I wanted to help so in my little white dress with my little white stockings and little white shoes, I got under the car with him. The dress, stocking and shoes weren’t quite so white after that…my mother had a fit. That sort of drama continued with her through my life. When I went to college I was a theatre major and she came to the conclusion I was a costume major. I saw no reason to disabuse her of her fantasy so I didn’t tell her I did lighting design and rigging. I climbed sixty-foot ladders with heavy cable with the best of them. Well one night she showed up on campus and after combing through the costume section came looking for me….and found me…sixty feet in the air, hanging off a ladder hanging lights. She let loose with a diatribe the likes of which I can still hear about how she wanted a little girl and what have I done. When she started demanding I come down I was no fool…I knew what was coming so I sat up there until she left."


Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Regan's latest book World in Her Hands.


About the Author:
From earliest childhood Regan was an avid reader and upon discovering Alexander Dumas and Charles Dickens she was hooked on books that carried the reader away to a different time and place. Preferring the quiet of her room and a good book to spending time with people she traveled far beyond those four walls.


It was while working as a police dispatcher, first for the California Highway Patrol and then her local police department, she began to write fiction, primarily time travels and romantic suspense. In the spring of 2009, she returned to the day job she always liked best, working as a legal secretary. Although, curled up in her bunny slippers with her furfaced children, Mel, Missy and Bogie, while writing is one of her most favorite things to do.


Find her online at:


www.ReganTaylor.com


The World can be a mere rainbow away.


Following a successful event, party planner Sarah Dinetti meets Detective Frank Turner and feels an instant connection. A faithful and loyal friend and lover, she tries to ignore her feelings about Frank but when her current boyfriend begins to engage in some highly suspicious activities, Sarah turns to the handsome and oh so hot detective for help. But can he protect her from herself?
Photobucket

Monday, March 19, 2012

INTERVIEW: JULIET CHASTAIN

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Juliet Chastain, whose latest book Cry of the Wolf was released last month.


Certain that the woman he adores could never love a man who was also a wolf, Michael keeps his passion for her a secret. 




As the alpha wolf, Michael is big, powerful, and dangerous. He's spent years giving in to his animal instincts; avoiding the call to become human again. But when he sees a beautiful, shy farmer, his manly urges quickly take over.


Laura is content living the rural life, preferring her chickens and farm to human interaction. When her abusive neighbors attack her and a wolf comes to her rescue, she's shocked to discover the wild creature transforming into a man-a sexy man with hair the color of a wolf's coat. Instantly she's overwhelmed by her desire for him, but she's too timid to reveal her feelings for the rugged man-wolf who saved her life.




Though the heat between Michael and Laura burns hot, unless they summon the courage to open their hearts to one another, they risk losing each other forever.
Juliet told me that when she starts a story, she doesn't start with either characters or plot. Instead, a scene will pop into her mind. In the case of Cry of the Wolf, she imagined the wolf, who was also a man, sitting on the hillside looking down at a little farmhouse. He was thinking about the woman who lived there, yearning for her with all his heart.


"I wrote that down," she explained, "and then the characters and the plot sort of grew from there."


And…that's how she writes her stories. She sits down at the computer and, if she's lucky, she starts writing and everything flows.


"When I'm not so lucky, which is mostly, I sit down and try to come up with brilliant ideas which don't usually come to me, so I fool around with less brilliant ideas and just keep doggedly at them and quite often they turn out to be pretty good after all," she said.


She told me she's trying valiantly to be a plotter but knows she's a pantser at heart.


"I just never really know exactly where my stories are going until I've written them. The most frequent problem with that is that I find myself writing some marvelous stuff that goes absolutely nowhere and ends up not fitting in the story at all."


"What is your work schedule like when you are writing?" I asked.


"I get up early and go for a short walk. Then I take my breakfast to the computer and try to write something fresh and new for a couple of hours. I do that on a desktop computer. Then a snack and a quick nap after which put my feet up somewhere and work on my laptop revising or editing—usually a different story. I just keep going until it's evening and time to go and work out or do some yoga or dance. Often I get in extra hour or two after dinner."


Juliet has completed one full-length mystery and six romance novellas. Two of the novellas, Cry of the Wolf and The Captain and the Courtesan, have already been published, with two more under contract.


"My favorite is the one I just finished for Breathless Press, For Love of a Gypsy Lass, the second in my Gypsy Lovers series," she told me. "I've learned so much from writing the others about how to tell a story well and I seem to be coming up with more in depth plots."


The Gypsy Lovers series are sexy novellas, set in the Regency period about the Gypsies and the English men and women who love them. The first book, A Proper Lady's Gypsy Lover, will be coming out on April 13 from Breathless Press.


"What started your interest in Gypsies?" I wondered.


"I became fascinated by Gypsies-- Roma, as they call themselves--when I was a small child in Africa. One evening my dad was driving somewhere with me and we passed a little Gypsy fair, a few lights in the darkness, music, some horses, a little merry-go-round. Very enticing to a small child who lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere. I wanted desperately to go to the fair, but my dad said we couldn't and that Gypsies were thieves," she said. "Indeed the next morning all out chickens were gone, every single one and the dogs hadn't barked and no one had heard a thing. If you know anything about chickens you know you can't just pick them up and tip toe away because they'd start squawking and pecking you like mad. My parents weren't pleased, but I was relieved to see those chickens gone as it was often my job to feed them and I was rather scared of them. But mostly I was awed. How had the gypsies done that? It seemed magical to me."


"If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?"


"I do prefer flush toilets, but how that could be managed on a desert island I can't begin to imagine. (For some reason it makes me think of a urinal I saw on a wall in a field in Pakistan. My boyfriend, much relieved to see this sign of civilization, used it only to find there was no plumbing, it simply emptied on the other side of the wall,)" she said. "If it were a desert island with coconut trees and pineapples growing here and there and the occasional bottle of rum floated in, all I'd need would be a blender to make pina coladas to help me enjoy my solitude—and not worry about the absence of flush toilets or any other amenities. Of course it would be awfully nice if my favorite modern convenience of all, my boyfriend, could be there sharing those drinks!"


About the Author:
As an ex-fashion photographer, Juliet Chastain says that, in a way, writing fiction is a lot like photography. She takes a few elements—models and clothes in photography, characters and setting in her writing—and makes them come alive in a compelling story.


Ever since she wrote a tragic tale of two kittens back in sixth grade, Juliet has had a yen to write. Now that she's put down her camera, she indulges herself by writing short steamy romances with models, er, heroes, like a passionate sea captain, a sweet-natured hunk of a werewolf, and the devil's own sexy-as-hell grandson—every one of them ready to fulfill his lady's deepest desires.


You can learn more about Juliet and her collection of out-of-the-ordinary heroes at JulietChastain.com, and contact her at juliet@julietchastain.com. Check out her two short books: The Captain and the Courtesan and The Cry of the Wolf.
A Proper Lady's Gypsy Lover, the first in a series called Gypsy Lovers will be released in April.


Forced to become a proper young lady, Lucy-Ann Spencer rebels against the rules of high society to claim her freedom and her Gypsy lover.


Dragged off to London kicking and screaming, Lucy-Ann Spencer refuses to become a proper young lady. Despite her aunts' insistence, she spurns the suitably titled and wealthy men who court her, longing instead for the Gypsy lad and the freedom she once loved.


Liberty Wood never forgot the girl he adored years ago, but now that she has become a proper, silk-clad member of high society while he lives by his wits, he knows that they can never breach the gulf between them. Can Lucy-Ann convince him otherwise?
Photobucket

Monday, March 5, 2012

INTERVIEW: DIANNE HARTSOCK

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Dianne Hartsock, whose latest erotic romance Shelton's Choice was released late last year. Shelton's Choice is the third book in her Shelton series, with the first two books entitled Shelton in Love and Shelton's Promise. She's currently working on the fourth book in the series, Shelton's Homecoming. I asked her to tell us a little about these two books.

"In Shelton's Choice, Shelton and Nevil have been together for a year, both doing very well in their respective fields. Shelton is finally offered the promotion he’s been working toward, and afraid of missing this opportunity, accepts the offer before consulting Nevil. Unfortunately, it requires that he move to another state and Nevil doesn’t want to go. I chose this theme for my story because it seems to be a scenario that plays out quite often between ambitious, successful couples. I wanted to explore the emotions and reactions involved when one of them is faced with a hard career choice. Nevil’s reaction is the best possible, I think, though neither is completely satisfied with the final outcome," she explained. "The title of the fourth book says it all! In this fourth Shelton book, Shelton’s grown tired of living a life separate from Nevil. So when Nevil is hurt in an accident at work, Shelton comes home for good. Feeling closer than ever to his lover, Shelton’s ready to make a lasting commitment to their relationship. But is that what Nevil wants? Nevil is less than enthusiastic when an old flame marries, leaving Shelton wondering if he’ll have to keep his dreams on hold indefinitely."

Dianne has published six short stories, erotic m/m romances and one ghost story. She's also published a paranormal thriller titled ALEX. She's also written two fantasy adventure novels, the first of which is being considered by a publishing house. The sequel has also been written with the third in the series already plotted out.

Her favorite?

"My novel ALEX. My romances are fun, titillating stories, but ALEX delves deeply into a young man’s troubled mind. Tortured by visions of death and murder, Alex is trying to hold on to his sanity in a world that doesn’t understand him. One reviewer summed ‘ALEX’ up for me very nicely. ‘Overall, I am left with a new definition of what love is: an emotion that can endure through life and death. Love isn't over-romanticized as something that will conquer all, but love makes life worth living.’"

Dianne was fourteen years old when she discovered Ray Bradbury.

"His stories changed the way I perceived the world. They’re filled with the wonder and magic and terror of childhood. His science fiction opened my mind to new possibilities. I decided then that I wanted to write like him when I grew up. I began then, penning short stories in all genres, trying to capture his feeling in my own work. It took a while, but I finally discovered my own style and have enjoyed writing ever since."

"Who is your favorite author and why?" I asked.
"Whenever I’m asked that question, I always have to come back with, which genre? I love the creepy scariness of Koontz; the subtle terror of medical thrillers by Robin Cook, Michael Crichton and Michael Palmer. I like the romantic adventures of Elizabeth Peters and the wonderful fantasy and scifi of C.J. Cherryh. But if you’re going to pin me down to one, it would have to be J.R.R. Tolkien. His books transports me out of myself to another time and place, and no other hero can break my heart like my dearest Frodo Baggins."

Dianne tends to develop both plot and characters almost simultaneously—she'll hear a bit of a song or catch something in a movie or in life that captures her interest, and her MC will walk onto the set.

"Hello, handsome. What’s your story? I’ll think about him for awhile, plotting a vague outline in my mind of what I want to have happen. I start to write. Characters introduce themselves as I go. The plot expands to encompass them. Seriously, the final story is as much as a surprise to me as hopefully it is to my readers," she said.

Her titles usually pop into her head about halfway through a story.

"Keep in mind, I have very short, simple titles to my stories, but they seem to work," she explained. "I love names. Shelton. Alex. Nathaniel. Eran. These are my main characters and I find a way to use their names in the title to their stories. Shelton in Love –when Shelton first falls for Nevil. Shelton’s Promise- when Shelton gives Nevil a ring, promising a committed relationship. Shelton’s Choice –when Shelton makes a career choice. Shelton’s Homecoming-when Shelton’s come back to Nevil. ALEX- my paranormal thriller novel. Eran’s Release- when Eran is freed from an abusive relationship. Nathaniel- a fantasy. Then there’s my ghost story Trials of a Lonely Specter- no one’s name, but the title just came to me!"

The hardest part of writing for Dianne is the transitional scenes.

"They have to be done, but they’re my least favorite part of writing. I’ve been known to create whole novels without them then going back and putting in all the little details afterwards. With ALEX, if I could have included a believable transportation device, Alex would have used it at every turn. So many exciting scenes lay ahead of him! But how to get him there without my readers banging their heads in boredom as he trudged across the street or town or whatever to reach that point was a problem. My solution? I threw obstacles in his path along the way until he begged me to just let him get there already. Now, whenever I’m faced with the blank page of a transitional scene, I try to think of a crazy wild thing to trip my characters up with and make the journey an adventure in itself."

Dianne doesn't use books as references when it comes to writing erotic romance.

"For my book Shelton’s Choice, I needed to research men’s toys. It was hilarious! I looked online at stores who sell a variety of vibrators, etc., and I tell you, the comments being made on the various items had me laughing far into the night. Very insightful and educational, and so much fun," she said. "And then there’s the issue of the prostate. Didn’t know a whole lot there, either. Sure, I’ve read m/m books from other authors, but I needed some pointers from real life men. I turned to the Goodreads M/M Romance Group for advice and true accounts of the pleasures to be had from this elusive part of male anatomy."

About the Author: Dianne lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.


She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write her tales. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside and a fire crackles on the hearth inside that kindles her imagination.


Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop which she says is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.


Find the author online at:


Blog: http://diannehartsock.wordpress.com/

FB: http://www.facebook.com/diannehartsock

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/diannehartsock

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4850270.Dianne_Hartsock


After a year of bliss with Nevil, Shelton is offered the promotion he's been working toward at the bank. Unfortunately the new position is in another state, and Nevil doesn't want to move. As tension mounts between them, Shelton is given another challenge in the form of a besotted coworker. Torn between the pressures at work and at home, Shelton has to choose his future. That is, until Nevil takes the decision out of his hands.
Photobucket

Thursday, March 1, 2012

INTERVIEW: L.A. WITT

Long and Short Reviews welcomes L.A. Witt, whose latest book Where There's Smoke was released on February 21 from Loose Id, LLC. Lori has worked in the porn business as well as erotica/erotic romance business. She was a film editor in the porn business and, of course, she's an erotic romance author. She is in a unique position to explain the differences, and I asked her to do so.


"Honestly, they couldn’t be more different. Porn is strictly mechanical. Even in the videos I worked on, which featured people who were couples in real life, it felt fake. It was a performance, done for the cameras and the director, not the partner(s). In an erotic romance, the characters aren’t just going through the motions and fucking for the benefit of the reader. They should be connecting," she said. "Erotica falls somewhere in between the two, though I would generally put it closer to erotic romance than pornography, mostly because I like any erotica I read or write to have at least some emotional involvement. Not love or romance per se, just some sort of emotional investment for the character, even if it’s simply an exploration of something new, crossing a previously uncrossed line, etc. I want the character to come away with something. Porn doesn’t need – and I’ve rarely seen it have – that kind of investment."


Lori doesn't believe in writer's block. She admits that things happen to make it difficult to write, such as depression, fatigue, or distraction. She's always taken "writer's block" to be its own ailment.


"Everything else if fine, you just…can't write. And I don't buy that," she told me. "Especially since a lot of writers seem to 'get' writer's block, and then sit back like they just have to wait for it to pass before they can write again. When I find myself unable to write, there’s always a reason for it, and 99% of the time, it boils down to one of two things: something’s wrong with the book, or I’m burned out. Usually it’s a problem with the book. If I absolutely cannot get a word on the page, or it’s nothing but excruciating word dentistry, then I’ll put it aside and work on another project for a little while. Most of the time, the words will flow, which tells me there’s a problem with the first project. If I can’t get anything written on the second project, then it’s burnout. I’m getting to the point now I can recognize the signs before I actually hit that burnout, but sometimes I stupidly push through and exhaust myself. Seems to be about every 6 months or every half a million words or so. When I do hit that point, I make myself take some time off. Usually two weeks. By the end of that time, I’m absolutely climbing the walls, itching to start writing again."
Lori has recently moved back to the States from Okinawa. She lived with her folks for a couple of months before she moved to their home in Nebraska, but she's very excited to be in a larger place now. Why?

"I finally have a writing space! I had one in Okinawa, which was basically one half of a room that was part storage, part office. Then I lived with my folks for two months before moving here, so I set up shop on their dining room table for a while. But now that we have a larger place in Nebraska, I have…an office!! And a proper desk. And all the books that were in storage for the last three years. I so love my office. I have an L-shaped glass desk, which rocks because it doesn’t have anything—drawers, legs, etc—in the middle for me to clip my kneecap on. Plus it’s the perfect size for my laptop, some need-to-be-within-reach books, my spiral notebook, and my cat. I have a lovely view of a squirrel-inhabited tree in the backyard, plus some farms on the other side of the highway. There’s a whiteboard above my desk where I make notes about deadlines, upcoming events, etc. Off to my right is a poster of 30 Seconds to Mars, because they’re the awesomest band ever (yes, I’m 31, and I have a rock band poster on my wall. Don’t judge me.). Let’s see, on my desk…my iPhone, Kindle, drink, bunch of pens, a mug with the cover of A Chip In His Shoulder on it, usual office stuff. I also tend to take off my wedding ring when I type because it gets annoying sometimes, and when I do, I keep it in a little abalone shell that I picked up while snorkeling off Okinawa. Did I mention I love my writing space? Because I so do."


Book titles, for Lori, tend to happen on their own. She's had help in the past, like brainstorming with friends, and sometimes will still do that, but usually the title will just sort of happen.


"It bugs me to no end to write something without a title, so I typically have one by the time I start the story, though it occasionally changes," she told me. "The Distance Between Us, Reconstructing Meredith, Trust Me, A.J.’s Angel, and The Next Move all started out with different titles. Others, like A Chip In His Shoulder, Damaged Goods, and most especially Static, had titles that were pretty much set in stone and a part of the story’s 'personality' from the start."


The hardest part of writing for her? The sex scenes. Not because she's squicked out or anything ("Hardly!" she retorted), but they just seem to take three or four times as long to get on paper as any other scene.


I asked her what her work schedule was like when she's writing.


"I usually screw off on the internet in the morning, but start writing no later than noon. Then I’m at my desk (or writing by hand on the couch, in a restaurant, at a park, at the library, etc) until dinner time. Take a break for dinner and cartoons with the hubby, then back to work until midnight or I reach my daily quota (5,000 words). Sometimes I’ll keep going beyond my quota, occasionally even hitting 10K or more, but I usually stop around midnight. Then go to bed, try to sleep, wake up, and do it again. I do this 5-6 days a week."


Her most interesting writing quirk is that she is not a linear writer. Instead, she writes out of sequence, usually switching between five or six of them at a time. Her current WIP has twenty-three chapters, and Lori has already started twenty-two of them. Only eight chapters are finished (and those aren't the first eight!) She even writes paragraphs in fragments.


"It’s kind of bizarre, but it works," she said.


She's written around forty books. Her favorite is Static, followed by Reconstructing Meredith which she wrote under her hetero pseudonym Lauren Gallagher.


"They were both very emotionally taxing to write, which made them more rewarding in the end," she explained. "Plus they delved deeper than some of my other books into some issues that are near and dear to my heart."


About the Author: L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who, after three years in Okinawa, Japan, has recently relocated to Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a three-headed clairvoyant parakeet named Fred. There is some speculation that this move was not actually because of her husband's military orders, but to help L. A. close in on her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who has also recently transferred to Omaha. So, don't anyone tell Lauren. She's not getting away this time...


You can find the author online at:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/L-A-Witt-MM-Fiction/187063289526

Twitter: @GallagherWitt

Website: www.LoriAWitt.com
Blog: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com



Anthony Hunter wonders what the hell he’s gotten himself into when he agrees to manage an unproven candidate’s campaign for governor of California. As soon as he meets the gorgeous, charismatic—and married—politician, attraction gives Anthony’s rock-solid professionalism a run for its money, and Anthony knows he’s in way over his head.

Jesse Cameron doesn’t like the idea of putting himself out there as a happily married, wholesome candidate, but his retired senator uncle insists it’ll give him an edge over a challenging rival. The only problem is that Jesse’s marriage is over, existing only to maintain his heterosexual façade. Oh, and there’s that minor detail about his undeniable attraction to his smoking hot campaign manager. Or the fact that the attraction is very, very mutual.

Before long, temptation explodes into a sizzling, secret relationship, but under the microscope of the media and the relentless scrutiny of the voting public, Anthony and Jesse can only keep their secret for so long. And this is one scandal a campaign won’t survive…
Photobucket