October 25, 2011

An Interview With Suzie Quint

Suzie, welcome to Romance Lives Forever! Tell us about your latest book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
My publisher listed it as Romantic Suspense and as erotica. Maybe it’s me, but I never considered it either of those. The focus is on the couple more than anything else, and while I don’t close the bedroom door, I don’t think it’s any hotter than, say, one of Toni Blake’s main stream romances. It certain doesn’t come close to Emma Holly’s eroticas. In my mind, my stories are romantic comedies. That’s kind of scary to admit, because I feel like I’ve just opened myself up to people saying it’s not funny.
How do you come up with ideas?
One of my favorite writer games is “What if?” For instance, what if a character has a touch of second sight? Then, what if the woman he’s interested in has a mother who calls the psychic network and as a result she’s convinced all psychics are charlatans? And then I explore all the fun conflict they’d have reaching their Happily Ever After. (That story, BTW, is in my queue of stories.)
What is the single most important part of writing for you?
The most important part is that I have fun with what I’m writing. If it’s not fun for me to write, I know it won’t be fun for the reader to read.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Aside from the having fun part mentioned above, I love hearing from readers. Writing is a solitary activity (except, of course, for the people in my head), so when people tell me they enjoyed it and my characters came to life for them, I’m delighted. I could get seriously addicted to that.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
I usually start with characters in a situation. Except for knowing where the characters will end up (together, of course; this is romance after all), I don’t plot much. Writing is a journey of discovery for me. That’s what keeps it fun and interesting. I’m constantly asking myself, “What next?” keeping in mind that it had better be fun.
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
Two? I have to narrow this down to two? Okay. I reread Jennifer Crusie’s early romances about once a year. She’s laugh out loud funny to me, even after the first time. I also love Toni Blake’s books. They’re hot and, if you look closely, she sneaks serious themes into some of her books.
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
So far, there’s only one: A Knight in Cowboy Boots. In November, Knight of Hearts is being release. I still recommend A Knight in Cowboy Boots first though, because while the stories can stand alone, they are interrelated. I’m also have a short(ish) story called All’s Fair that ties into the McKnight series available in ebook format.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
I’d love to give nice, fluffy answers to this. Things like “hope” and “optimism.” There’s some truth in those answers, but they’re too stock to make me happy. I’ve noticed an underlying theme in my writing. I’m fascinated with how family shapes you into the person you become. It would be lovely if all families were happy, supportive, and functional, but they’re not. God knows mine wasn’t. (Not that they were terrible, but I have my share of tics that I can trace right back to the loving family nest.) What I hope people take away from my work as a whole is to be grateful for the good, supportive people in your life whether they’re blood kin or family you’ve chosen to adopt. If you’re in toxic relationships, you can change that. Surround yourself with people who will be there for you, as Maddie does in A Knight in Cowboy Boots. She learns the lesson that you can’t do it all on your own and that having people who will stand with you is priceless. I want that for all of us.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
Fiercely loyal friend.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
Spain. The Costa del Sol, preferably. I think a country isn’t civilized unless they have siestas.
What song would best describe your life?
For a lot of years, it would have been On the Road Again. For now, since I’m just starting to get published, I guess it could be New Kid in Town.
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
I’d be a grammar checker. In fact, people do use me for that in my day job all the time. They’re constantly asking me to proof something they’ve written.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
A music store. Someplace that sold a lot of ballads.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Danger. Warped Humor.
What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you?
I have no idea. Sometimes the simplest seeming questions pull out the most interesting answers.

More info about Suzie Quint

Leather or lace? Lace
Black or red? Black
Satin sheets or Egyptian cotton? Cotton
Ocean or mountains? Mountains
City life or country life? Can I pick “small city?”
Hunky heroes or average Joe? Average Joe
Party life or quiet dinner for two? Quiet dinner for two
Dogs or cats? Cats. Absolutely cats.
I love pizza with bacon. (The real thing, not the Canadian variety.)
I'm always ready for lobster.
When I'm alone, I write
You'd never be able to tell, but I actually have shy moments .
If I could win the lottery I'd write full time and never retire.
I can never skydive because I’m terrified of heights.


A Knight in Cowboy Boots
All’s Fair (short story)

Books Coming Soon

Knight of Hearts (November)


Buy links

October 22, 2011

An Interview With Alexandr Voinov

Alexandr, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Please, tell us about your latest book.

Hey, thanks for having me. I'm here to tell you all about "Counterpunch", which is the story of Brooklyn Marshall, a slave boxer in an alternative England. Here's the blurb, which says it better than I can.
Fight like a man, or die like a slave.Brooklyn Marshall used to be a policeman in London, with a wife and a promising future ahead of him. Then he accidentally killed a rioter whose father was a Member of Parliament, and the man had him convicted of murder. To ease the burden on the overcrowded prison system, Brooklyn was sold into slavery rather than incarcerated. Now, he's the "Mean Machine", a boxer on the slave prizefighting circuit, pummelling other slaves for the entertainment of freemen and being rented out for the sexual service of his wealthier fans.
When Nathaniel Bishop purchases Brooklyn's services for a night, it seems like any other assignation. But the pair form an unexpected bond that grows into something more. Brooklyn hesitates to call it "love"—such things do not exist between freemen and slaves—but when Nathaniel reveals that he wants to help get Brooklyn's conviction overturned, he dares to hope. Then, an accident in the ring sends Brooklyn on the run, jeopardizing everything he has worked so hard to achieve and sending him into the most important fight of all—the fight for freedom.
Q: What is the genre, and does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
Gay romance with a dash of dystopian alternative history. Slavery was never abolished, you can be sold into slavery after crimes or be born a slave. All this in 2011. So it's a modern take on slavery.
Q: What did you enjoy most about writing your first book?
My first one was a German fantasy novel, and the fun in that was to put characters on the page and share them with the world that had only been living in my head before. Also, being able to pay the rent for a few months was very nice.
When we're talking about "Counterpunch", I really enjoyed the research and being able to mess with London and the UK and imagine how things would be different. I like to put in little jokes and allusions, like Easter eggs that readers can find and enjoy.
Q: Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
I tend to start in one of my favourite London book shops (like Foyles, the best independent store we have) and buy a stack of books on whatever topic my book is about. In this case, I bought some books on boxing. The other books I needed for this I already owned. (A book or two on slavery and gladiators, to get a feeling and idea.)
I read those books while I do some basic work, but unless it's a historical story (that needs a lot more work) I usually jump straight in and do the research while I write, fixing mistakes as I write.
Q: What genres and authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?
Most of my reading is non-fiction, but I enjoy classic writers (like Graham Greene) as well as some current writers (A M Tuomala's "Erekos" was the best fantasy novel I've read in years, and I'm waiting for anything Jordan Taylor does). In my genre, I do enjoy writers like Manna Francis, Kirby Crow, Rachel Haimowitz, Peter Hansen, Rhianon Etzweiler, and many more. There's a huge amount of talent out there.
Q: If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
"Counterpunch" is a really good start. You'd get a good idea of my style and how I do things – what kind of people you'll encounter in my stories and how my plots go. Also, it's probably the best novel I've done so far (I do tend to get better from book to book, so the most recent work it is). After that, I'd suggest "Scorpion". 
Q: A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
Wow, that's a hard question, considering that I always laugh at celebrities that are in their twenties or thirties and put out biographies of rather uneventful lives.
"Aleksandr Voinov – Method in the Madness" might do it, even though it sounds trite.
Q: If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
Hah. I live near one of the most expensive cities in the world. I could probably deal with a nice penthouse at One Hyde Park in London – the five-star hotel right next to it provides food and laundry service, and the view, I've been told, is really nice. Main thing is, I wouldn't want to live in the same place as Russian industrialists and oil sheikhs.
Q: What song would best describe your life?
"Out of the Dark" by Falco and "Lose Yourself" by Eminem. The race is too close, so I'm taking those two.
Q: If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
I'm borrowing that one from an ex: "Actually Quite Nice if He Could Stop Bragging." (ouch)
Q: What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you?
How do you fit so many books into your house? Answer: one at a time.
Solo work:
"Deliverance", in "Forbidden Love" (Noble Romance) – http://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=61
"Burn", in "Echoes of the Future" (Noble Romance) – http://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=109
"Scorpion" (Dreamspinner) – http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2301

With co-authors:
"Dark Edge of Honor", with Rhianon Etzweiler (Carina Press) – http://ebooks.carinapress.com/9BD427F7-123A-4238-B777-1AF14EC82062/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=984CBCC2-F241-4129-87A7-E58097CA3B71
"Test of Faith", with Raev Gray (eXcessica) – http://www.excessica.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=326
"Spoils of War", with Raev Gray (FREE at Smashwords) – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/9566
"Clean Slate", with Barbara Sheridan (Dreamspinner) – http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=1786
"Risky Maneuvers", with Barbara Sheridan (Loose Id) – http://www.loose-id.com/Risky-Maneuvers.aspx
"Lion of Kent", with Kate Cotoner (Carina Press) – http://ebooks.carinapress.com/7F81F876-19B5-4835-8570-20E6ADE3A69D/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=C15428EC-8F28-4996-94C2-89F4DAFBC144
"First Blood", with Barbara Sheridan (Dreamspinner) – http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=55_242&products_id=1977
"Transit", with Raev Gray (Dreamspinner) – http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2041

Coming Soon
"Counterpunch" (Storm Moon Press) – http://www.stormmoonpress.com/books/Counterpunch.aspx


Goodreads profile:

October 21, 2011

All About Anthologies-Storm Moon Press

Romance Lives Forever welcomes Storm Moon Press to the blog! Today and the next two days, we'll host authors and anthologies from this publisher. Grab something to drink and make yourself comfortable. Here we go!

Anthologies are a great way for authors to get a taste of working with a new publisher, or for readers to try out several authors who are new to them. They're a grab bag of fiction with a strong binding theme between the stories, and it can also give authors and readers a chance to try themes they usually avoid. Anthologies have so much potential, and I think they tend to be overlooked in favor of longer, broader works.

There are unique challenges to editing and producing anthologies. Usually, the publisher themselves takes a financial hit when producing them. Many readers wait for the individual shorts to be released, and while a publisher could refuse to do this and try to force readers to buy the anthology itself, I think this alienates readers and loses authors potential revenue. Still, selling an anthology to readers is a hard task, but we don't give up. Anthologies are fun, creative endeavors that are great opportunities for publishers, authors, and readers.

But, because there isn't a lot of money to be made in anthologies, a lot of authors shun submitting to them. This makes it hard to drum up the numbers a publisher needs in order to create a solid offering for readers. Authors—both established and new—should see anthologies as chances to connect with publishers and readers without having to commit whole novels. Anthologies are opportunities to connect with new readers, and since readers are the bread and butter of the book industry, reaching even one new reader should make the investment in a short story worth it.

I'll be honest; promoting anthologies is hard as hell. A lot of reviewers don't want to review anthologies, waiting instead until individual stories are released. There aren't many venues to gush about anthologies. The key is to have themes that are either broad enough to appeal to a lot of people, or so niche that the only place readers will find stories of that kind are in the press' anthology. Storm Moon Press tries to work from both angles, appealing to both wide tastes and narrow fetishes.

In the end, anthologies are singular opportunities for authors and readers to reach each other with minimal expense, effort, and time. They're full of quick reads, all sharing a singular theme, and—usually—for a minimal cost. So, go out and pick up an anthology, give a new theme or group of authors a chance, and authors? Check out anthology calls and give a new press a try with a short story. You might just find yourselves with new favorite authors or a new press to submit regularly to.

Where you can find Storm Moon Press:

October 13, 2011

Interview with author Christi Barth

Cruising for Love 
by Christi Barth 
Welcome, Christi Barth! Tell us about your new book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?  Cruising Toward Love is a contemporary romance.  It does contain a slightly suspenseful sub-plot, but is too light to be labeled full-blown romantic suspense.  It is a funny, sexy romp through the Caribbean that answers the question:  Can an unexplained breakup and ten years of heartache be cured by the romance – and endless buffets – of a tropical cruise?  If you want to go on a vicarious cruise, this is the book for you!

How do you come up with ideas?  Ah, the ubiquitous question to which no writer ever has an answer.  They strike me often when I travel.  I wish I had a better description of the process, but the basic idea literally pops into my head.  Of course, I then immediately panic about how to stretch it into 96,000 words.  When I’m stuck on a plot point, I focus on it while I’m on the elliptical – lots of ideas gel for me there.

What is the single most important part of writing for you?  Detailed plotting.  I do an overview of the entire book, and then I have to outline every chapter.  I have beautiful power point charts and everything.  Can’t work without it.  I’ve tried just forging ahead on a chapter, but I go nowhere.   Once I jot down a synopsis of the chapter, my fingers fly over the keyboard.  I don’t always stick to it, but it is integral to my writing.

What do you enjoy most about writing?  The aforementioned plotting, when so many possibilities stretch ahead of me.  No, strike that, I love really witty banter.  You know what?  I love it all – that’s why I write!

Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?  I start with a one sentence idea.  It’s sort of like a piece of gum; then I have to chew it for a while before it expands into a beautiful bubble of a story.  Usually the research happens as I discover the need for it.  However, I just began a paranormal, so I’ve buried myself in a demon encyclopedia and a book called Defense Against the Dark.  Spooky to read just before going to bed!

List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.  Darynda Jones and Christie Ridgway.

If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?  They are completely different.  If you are in the mood for no-holds-barred romantic suspense, start w/Carolina Heat.  If you don’t want the last vestiges of summer to slip away, beach read w/Cruising Toward Love.  If you just want a sexy yet sweet story, Act Like We’re in Love.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?  A lighter heart.  When I was an actress, I knew that for two solid hours, I was helping people escape.  Greeting the audience in the lobby afterwards, you could see the happiness on their faces.  Ideally, I want my books to accomplish the same thing- to be a respite every time you pick one up.  A way to transport you from daily stress and worry, and put a smile on your face.

A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less? Adores Her Husband Beyond All Words.

If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?  I’d live ½ a block from the Atlantic Ocean (so I’m protected from hurricanes, but still have a great view). 

If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?  I’d be a crowbar (but one decorated with ruffles and painted purple).  People open up to me about everything.  I discovered this superpower when my mother-in-law told me about her sex life (and oh, how I wish she hadn’t!).  I think it’s that I’m not afraid to ask questions, and I’m a good listener.  Given the chance, people do like to talk about themselves.

If you came with a warning label, what would it say?  Caution – overly blunt and outspoken.

What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you?  How do you come up with the titles to your books?  Blood, sweat and tears.  My first book I titled Missing, which I found a way to work beautifully into the last sentence – it was a work of literary art, if I do say so myself.  Then my publisher nixed it, and I spent an entire week coming up with titles that sounded like bad soap operas (Palmetto Passion, Sizzling Secrets, Magnolias & Murder).  I couldn’t understand how I was able to churn out 96,000 words of a novel, and not be able to come up with a 2-3 word title.  We settled on Carolina Heat.  For Act Like We’re In Love, the original working title was Love Duet.  But it didn't sound sexy and fun enough, and by about chapter ten I realized I had to go back to the idea well.  Once I started re-thinking it, the title came to me very quickly, and I had to pat myself on the back for coming up with a title that practically wrote the back cover blurb for me!

City life or country life?  100% city life.  I need restaurants, theatre, shopping, restaurants, symphony, oh and did I mention restaurants?  The funny part is that I adore reading books set in small towns, but I practically break out in hives just driving through one.

I love pizza with pepperoni and pineapple.  BBQ chicken pizza.  Ooh, buffalo wing pizza!  Great, now I’ve got a craving for dinner tonight.

About Christi

Act Like We’re In Love – When two people make beautiful music together onstage, can their love survive once the curtain falls?  This is a peek behind the curtain at love in the theatre.

Carolina Heat – An undercover journalist finds steamy passion, mortal danger…and the love of her life.  A missing best friend escalates into a mystery with ties all the way back to the Civil War.


Dive into the pages of Cruising Toward Love below!

"Did you stop kissing me because you weren’t enjoying it? You see, I’ve dealt with the first time you rejected me, when you left all those years ago. There’s no need to rehash the past. But I don’t think I could bear you rejecting me a second time. So I have to know—did you not take me to bed the other night because I didn’t turn you on, or was it because I somehow wasn’t good enough at it?"
The world stood still while she waited for his answer. Zoe focused on the squawk of sea gulls and the muted slap of the surf at the base of the wall. The lyrical lilt of Spanish from the group of teenagers passing by. A low buzz which must be some exotic insect in the shrubbery along the path. Every sound in her immediate vicinity rang with absurd clarity—except the sound she waited on with bated breath—Nate’s reply.
"If you still don’t want me, just say so, damn it!" she burst out.
Was it anger that hardened the lines of his body? Disinterest? Annoyance? Zoe couldn’t get a read on him. Nate advanced slowly. She backed into the turret, the space tight and cramped even for her stature. Built for the far shorter men of an earlier century, Nate had to duck his head as he edged ever closer. His sheer presence commanded as much area as his physical body. Something, some emotion rolled off him in waves, shimmering like heat above asphalt on a summer day. Why couldn’t she tell what was going on in his head?
"The sky is blue," said Nate, his face separated from hers by only a breath.
Huh? "Is that a military thing? Are you talking in code?"
"The sun rises in the east. Play with fire and you’ll get burned. These are all absolute truths. Indisputable facts. Well, there’s one more absolute you need to file away in your mental card catalog."
Nate brought the lower half of his body so close Zoe felt the heat radiating from his legs. Despite the heat, her goose bumps had goose bumps. The anticipation of his touch brought her every sense to high alert. He raised his arms up, planted his hands on either side of her head to cage her in place. Then he tilted so his forehead bumped hers. Her field of vision narrowed to the indigo sea of his eyes, pupils flooding black in the shaded darkness of the narrow turret they shared.
"I want you, Zoe." He forced the words out in a heavy rasp. "I wanted you the day we met. You wore a red ribbon in your hair, dropped a stack of books on my foot, and apologized adorably for ten minutes. All I could think of was wrapping the ribbon around my hand to pull you in for a kiss. I wanted you the first time we kissed, on the bridge in a storm. One by one, I licked off every raindrop that clung to your skin. I wanted you when I saw you covered in mud last Friday. Wanted you badly enough to crawl right into the mud to be with you. I want you now, and I will always want you."
Zoe let her eyes flutter shut in preparation for a kiss. Such a heartfelt, utterly romantic speech could only end one way. Just as whipped cream hungered for a cherry, his words demanded to be topped off by a kiss. She didn’t care about the past. With a handful of sentences he’d put her insecurities to rest. Nate dazzled her, and she was ready for more.
What was taking him so long? From beneath her lashes she snuck a peek. No Nate. Hoping the knees he’d melted to jelly would hold her, Zoe scrambled out onto the dirt path. Twenty strides ahead, Nate bellowed at her over his shoulder. "Hurry up. We don’t want to miss the reading of the clue."  
From confusion to relief with paper hearts dancing overhead...right back to confusion, all in less than five minutes. Zoe trudged after him with one thought uppermost in her mind—now what?

Thank you Christi! You can catch up with Christi Barth on Twitter at http://twitter.com/christi_barth
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...