July 20, 2012

Interview with Tale Spinner MS Spencer

Artful Dodging...
Welcome to Romance Lives Forever! What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
That’s easy: promote. When my first book came out my promotion consisted of emails to my friends and family. When I discovered that people who know you well may hesitate to read your 3-flame, spicy hot romance, I began to explore other avenues. Through the promotion I’ve built a network of author friends and support that is more valuable than anything else I do. Shameless plug: Marketing for Romance Writers has been invaluable in learning about all the marketing tools available & I’ve taken advantage of all of them. Next on the bucket list is attending a conference.
What websites do you visit daily?
I check Yahoo, Facebook, my blog, then usually news sources like Real Clear Politics and Drudge (I’m a news junkie). Rather than go to different websites, I check my yahoo groups and click through to any post that sounds interesting or important. If I have a guest post somewhere I’ll check that several times a day to answer comments.
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
I had to reread Lost in His Arms recently for the print version, so it’s fresh in my mind. I’d definitely cut back on the amount of italics. My heroines tend to be introspective, but I’ve learned that too much thinking makes Jack a dull boy. Otherwise, it’s still not a bad story!
What do you enjoy most about life?
I love being active enough to get out and do things—parasailing, kayaking, birding, swimming, traveling. Most of all, I love that I’m able to pursue my writing unencumbered by a full-time job.
If you could choose anyone to be your mentor who would it be?
I’d love to sit and listen to Dorothy Parker, but I’m afraid I’d be too frightened to open my mouth. Samuel Johnson, because he was so precise in his words and thinking, would force me to be concise and focused (“Clear your mind of cant.”). Or maybe Lynne Truss (author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves). Hmm, is there a theme building here? I’d like a mentor who kept me short, sharp and pointed.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
How could they not? Everything that happens can become a story. I do try to shuffle the plot, setting, and characters so as to protect the innocent.
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
Whew, a LOT. My first real job after college I worked at a magazine in Boston, Electric Light & Power, where I learned about nuclear energy (I’m still a big proponent). A favorite job was doing research on Islamic architecture for a professor at Harvard. Then there was the fiasco in Paris, when I worked for a travel agent who set up a youth hostel in a hotel, but didn’t bother to find out that the hotel charged guests LESS than the hostel! I’ve run a multi-thousand-dollar charity book sale, converted a public school district library collection to computer, raised perfect children, worked for the Bureau of Reclamation that sent me flying (literally) down the Colorado River & into the bowels of Hoover Dam, huddled in the stacks of the Library of Congress…all right, maybe I should save the rest for later.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn't normally read your genre, and why?
Actually, all of them. I try to incorporate elements of mystery, humor and intrigue in my novels, as well as provide a setting that makes the reader want to “go there.” My books are set in Washington DC, Maine, Florida, Chincoteague, Old Town Alexandria, Paris, Chablis, and Strasbourg.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
I like biographies, history, English mystery writers and humorists.
What do you think is the future of epublishing?
Huge. I chose to submit my first novel to a digital publisher because I felt that, with the ubiquity of screens and the younger people who are comfortable reading on them, ebooks would be the wave of the future. Most statistics bear me out. Ebooks are portable, easy to read, and cheap. The fact that royalties are better and submission a breeze is just gravy.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview. What will you take with you and where will you go?
It would be to Florence, because I’ve never been there and of course once you’ve read the Agony and the Ecstasy Florence is a necessary bucket list item. I happen to have a large bin where I keep all my travel necessities, so packing would be a cinch. Necessary items: a crossword puzzle, my netbook, my Kindle, my pills (sigh), glasses, pens, underwear, 2 travel dresses, slip-on walking shoes, and several airplane-sized whiskies. Oh, and passport.
Where were you at midnight, on December 31st when the new century started?
In my old house in Arlington, with many of my friends and my husband and children around me. Our “playgroup” (which still exists even with the kids grown) always gathered for the New Year’s—I miss that!
What do you like to do when you're bored?
I’m almost never bored—there are too many things to do. If I feel fidgety, I’ll walk or swim or do laundry; otherwise I’m at my laptop writing. Well, to be honest, I spend a little time checking email and Facebook and now, thanks to the friendly folks at Marketing for Romance Writers (you know who you are), on Pinterest.
Lost in His Arms
If your life became a movie, who would you want to play you?
Katharine Hepburn. How regal she was. What a chin!
If you were a color, what color would you be?
I’m not sure. Fire engine red is a color I never get bored with, but on the other hand, it really clashes with my fair skin. So I’d have to go with coral—brings out the pink in my cheeks and sets off my blue eyes and generally makes me feel younger. I like it on other people and roses too.
Please Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with anchovies, jalapenos, and really good Italian sausage or hot capicolla, medium thick crust and extra tomato sauce.
I'm always ready for a new horizon.
When I'm alone, I write.
You'd never be able to tell, but I’m shorter than I used to be.
If I had a halo it would be invisible.
If I could find a friend able and willing I'd take a Viking river cruise to St. Petersburg.
I can never visit the cave paintings at Altamira and Lascaux because I have claustrophobia.
Latest Release
Book title: Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense/Murder Mystery; M/F
Buy links:
Publisher: Released April 24, 2012 by Secret Cravings Publishing
ISBN 978-1-61885-250-2
ASIN: B007X3S552
Print: ISBN/EAN13: 1618853260 / 9781618853264 (7/6/2012)
Cover artist: Dawné Dominique
Length (words): 65,000 words
Heat rating: Heat rating: 2 flames, R
Murders, mistrust, misfits, and miscreants—needlepoint artist Milo Everhart has her hands full. Can love bloom in the midst of chaos?
What are your main characters' names?
Milo Everhart and Tristram Brodie
She’s a needlepoint artist and he is a lawyer.
MS Spencer Tale Spinner
Waiting out the rain, Milo Everhart takes stock of her widowhood and the handsome man standing in the door to the bar. Little does she know she will meet that man again and again under both passionate and terrifying circumstances.
Tristram Brody waits for his date, too conscious of the beautiful woman sitting by the door. Little does he know that she will hate him for trying to destroy her beloved art center, and even suspect him of murder. Nor that she will be drawn inevitably into his arms.
Little does either of them suspect they will be embroiled in not one, but two murders, in which the fate of the Torpedo Factory, an art center housed in an old munitions factory on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, will be decided.
From You Gotta Read Reviews:
“M.S. Spencer has written a good murder-suspense romance, Artful Dodging, driven not just by multiple corpses and bewildering clues, but by sparkling wit and earthy, believable love scenes.”
From Erin O’Quinn at Amazon:
Artful Dodging is a hot read--a mystery with a plausible, tantalizing romance that literally had me at "hello."
Excerpt: Artful Dodging: First Date (PG)
The sleet had tapered off, and the moon began its stroll across the cumulus highway as Milo entered the restaurant. She passed through the dining room to the cozy bar in the back. Tristram sat in one of the overstuffed club chairs. He saw her and waved to the bartender.
“Jack Daniels?”
He ordered drinks and a plate of assorted cheeses.
Three hours, four more rounds, and two more cheese plates later, Milo figured she’d better start asking Tristram some questions. But she didn’t really feel like it. She felt like she knew enough already, so she settled for gazing into his deep green eyes and smiling inanely. Which was okay because apparently that’s what Tristram had settled for too. Milo realized with a jolt that no one had said anything for at least five minutes. Come on, Milo. You’re too old for crushes.
“I really must be going. It’s been very…”
He reached across the table, put a gentle hand on her neck, and brought her into blissful contact with his lips. “Nice.”
She realigned her jaw and her heart and rose a little shakily. “Um.”
He jumped up. “I’ll walk you to your car.”
They walked stiffly out of the bar, stumbling only once on the threshold. Tristram steadied her. A few minutes later they broke apart to take a breath. The sidewalk had cleared during the evening, and they were alone. He took her back into his arms and kissed her, moving his tongue around the inside of her lips and making slurping noises as though she tasted like a chocolate milkshake.
He pulled away but held onto her hand. “Let’s go home.”
She let him lead her down King Street to a black Jaguar, and they drove in silence the few blocks to Lee Street. The moon rode high over a little terraced park. They watched it float a minute, then Tristram took her hand again and they went inside.
Torpedo Factory Art Center; Old Town Alexandria; Mystery; Alexandria, Virginia, Artists
Current Books:
Lost in His Arms, international intrigue and romance in the swirling 1990s (ebook & print) http://is.gd/oB0dF1
Lost and Found, love and lust in the wilds of Maine
Losers Keepers, rekindled romance and murder on Chincoteague (ebook & print)
Triptych, lost artworks, jealousy, sex, larceny and genius (ebook & print) http://is.gd/OgYbSo
MS Spencer
Books Coming Soon:
My WIP Mai Tais & Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine: a Sarasota Romance was just accepted for publication by my fabulous publisher Secret Cravings. Set in Sarasota, Florida, our heroine Tessa Diamond must deal with murder, romance, turtles, pigs, parrots, and a big fish: who says love can’t conquer all? Tentative release date: January 2013.
My second WIP: Lapses of Memory: Love in the Air is a romantic story of two people who meet every few years on an airplane as love (not to mention flight technology) grows. It is in final pre-submission edits.
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/M.S.SpencerAuthor

July 19, 2012

Plausible Futures By Lisabet Sarai

Quarantine by Lisabet Sarai.
Ever since I was a kid, I've loved science fiction. In grade school and high school, I devoured everything I could find by Bradbury, Asimov and Heinlein, immersing myself in the worlds they created. As I grew older, I discovered new authors: A.E van Vogt, Robert Silverberg, Neal Stephenson, Sherri Tupper, Bruce Sterling. My hunger for startling, enlightening future visions was never sated, though as time went on I became frustrated by the difficulty of separating the wheat from chaff.
I fantasized about writing my own scifi, but aside from a few short stories, I never dared. I could visit the worlds of others, but I wasn't confident enough to create my own. Then I became Lisabet Sarai, a published author. Nevertheless, it has taken almost thirteen years for me to undertake a full length science fiction novel.
Quarantine was released last week. It's a dystopic M/M erotic romance, set in a near future America  ravaged by disease and natural disasters and ruled by a shadowy cabal known as the Guardians of American Greatness. Half the population is illiterate. American technology is ridiculed the way Japanese tech was derided in my youth. And homosexuality is a capital crime.
I prefer “soft” scifi to the “hard” rockets-and-robots stuff. I'm most interested in stories that begin with a simple premise about future society and then explore the ramifications. I've tried to do that in Quarantine.
I have to admit, however, that writing this book was the toughest thing I've attempted since I began publishing. About half way through the book, I lost faith in my vision. I didn't write a word for nearly six months. Mostly it was stubbornness that made me pick it up again – along with some instructive conversations with my crit partner. I'd already invested so much time and energy in the darn thing, I couldn't stand the thought of not finishing it.
But I still worry – not about the romance or the sex but about the science fiction backdrop. In writing scifi, there's a constant tension between originality and believability. You want to demonstrate radical changes in technology and their societal impact – but go too far and you'll tip over into fantasy, where everything is magic and there are no constraints. (I view the fantasy genre as quite distinct from science fiction). Actually, though, in the case of this book, I'm concerned that my view of America thirty years from now doesn't show enough change. I really wonder whether my future is plausible. 
Of course, my readers will likely treat Quarantine first and foremost as a romance. I'm on less shaky ground there, I think. But the book is still the most serious thing I've written, and the most political, too. I'm hoping that at least some readers will appreciate more than the tender kisses and the hot sex.


When love is forbidden, the whole world's a prison.
Dylan Moore will do anything for freedom. Seven years ago, a gay plague spread to heterosexuals, killing millions and sparking brutal anti-gay riots. The Guardians rounded up men who tested positive for the homogene and imprisoned them in remote quarantine centres like desolate Camp Malheur. Since then, Dylan has hacked the camp's security systems and hoarded spare bits of electronics, seeking some way to escape. He has concluded the human guards are the only weakness in the facility's defences.
Camp guard Rafe Cowell is H-negative. He figures the lust he feels watching prisoner 3218 masturbate on the surveillance cameras must be due to his loneliness and isolation. When he finally meets the young queer, he discovers that Dylan is brilliant, brave, sexy as hell – and claims to be in love with Rafe. Despite his qualms, Rafe finds he can't resist the other man's charm. By the time Dylan asks for his help in escaping, Rafe cares too much for Dylan to refuse.
Dylan's plan goes awry and Rafe comes to his rescue. Soon they're both fugitives, fleeing from militant survivalists, murderous androids, homophobic ideologues and a powerful man who wants Dylan as his sexual toy. Hiding in the Plague-ravaged city of Sanfran, Dylan and Rafe learn there's far more than their own safety at stake. Can they help prevent the deaths of millions more people? And can Rafe trust the love of a man who deliberately seduced him in order to escape from quarantine? 

Excerpt (Rated R)

“You built something as sophisticated as a robot controller out of trash? But how…?”
“I’m patient. I’ve been here long enough to learn that at least. It doesn’t happen often, but every so often a 3DV set will die, or one of the antennas. Can openers. Cookers. Laser emergency lights. I even found a broken CCD camera once.” Dylan flashed him a grin full of white teeth. Rafe’s cock twitched as he recalled spying on the other man. But there was no way Dylan could know about that, was there?
“Yeah, you watch us 24/7, or so you think,” the prisoner continued as though he could hear Rafe’s thoughts. “Spy eyes in our dorms.” Rafe hardened further. “Cameras in the kitchens, the greenhouses, the workshops, the recreation halls. But you’d be surprised how many places there are in Malheur Camp where the cameras don’t reach. Nobody ever bothered to train a spy eye on the dump.”
“But then why do something as obvious as your…um…variety show?” Rafe didn’t get it. Clearly this guy was brilliant. The ability to control the robots, even one at a time—well, that gave him a lot of power, enough to make Rafe feel queasy with fear. If the Guardians found out…
“I wanted to entertain my mates,” Dylan replied, his grin becoming broader. “Got to do something to fight the boredom.”
“Damn it, don’t fuck with me!” Rafe lurched forward and grabbed a fistful of pink shirt. Dylan’s eyes widened as Rafe dragged him roughly to his feet. The barest hint of fear flickered in those green depths.
The inmate was finally afraid. The sight inflamed Rafe. His erection surged inside his trousers. He wanted this cocky little queer, he realised. And he wanted to teach him a lesson.
Rafe shook the bound man like a rag doll. “The truth!” he shouted, delighting in the way the other man cringed. “Why did you risk everything on your stupid little stunt?”
For the first time, Dylan lowered his eyes. His voice was so soft that Rafe had to strain to hear.
“Because,” he said, “I wanted to meet you. In the flesh.”
Astonished, Rafe let go of the man’s shirt. Instead of returning to his chair, however, Dylan sank to his knees, inches from Rafe’s swollen groin. “What are you talking about?” Rafe croaked. 
“I know you watch me,” Dylan answered, all the brashness gone from his manner. “Well, I watch you, too.”
“How…?” Rafe slid his fingers into Dylan’s reddish thatch and raised the inmate’s eyes to his own.
“Easy. I programmed a guard to change the video routing. To feed the stream from here to the screen of my controller.”
So there were spy eyes in the control room after all. “No…”
“Yes. You know that hard-on of mine that you enjoy watching so much? That’s for you, man. When I jack off at night, I’m thinking of you.”
Rafe’s mind reeled. He snatched his hand from Dylan’s hair as though he’d been scalded.
“Unlock the cuffs, man. Let me touch you. Let me show you how much I want you.”
“Shut up, faggot!” The key burned a hole in his palm. His rigid dick strained against his zipper. He was tottering on the edge of a precipice, tempted to jump. Tempted to give in, to release the rash young man who’d delivered himself into Rafe’s hands.
But that would be suicide. The penalties for breaking quarantine were more severe than for murder.


I want to thank Kayelle for having me as her guest here at Romance Lives Forever. This post today is part of my Quarantine blog tour, which will run  through the 24th of July. I'll be giving away an ebook to one commenter at each stop on the tour. So leave a comment – and don't forget to include your email address so I can contact you!
I'll also be choosing one commenter from the entire tour to win the grand prize – a $50 All Romance Ebooks gift certificate. Meanwhile, all comments at my own blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com) during the tour will also go into the drawing for the gift certificate.
You'll find the schedule for the tour in my July newsletter: http://www.lisabetsarai.com/news.html

Check out my sensational trailer! And if you're interested in getting your own copy of Quarantine, just go to Total-E-Bound http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?P_ID=1725


More than a decade ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published four single author short story collections and seven erotic novels, including the BDSM classic Raw Silk. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She has also edited several acclaimed anthologies and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS.
Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two cosmopolitan felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) or her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com).

July 16, 2012

Camp is Over: Fun's Beginning!

Schedule for Camp.

Seek, teach, share, learn, succeed. 

That's the motto of my Yahoo group, Marketing for Romance Writers. We hosted "Marketing Summer Camp" over the weekend. From July 14th-15th, we enjoyed fourteen presentations and five open sessions for questions. Topics dealt with everything from Pinterest to piracy, and from writing better paranormal characters to finding your audience. It was intense, fun, and thought-provoking.

We gathered around a cyber campfire and toasted s'mores. But not to worry, our Promo Director, Karen Coté had her water pistol. ;) It did get grabbed by a few attendees during the more rowdy, fun bits - I think someone even filled it with cyber vodka. Or was that whiskey? Hmmm. All I can tell you is that even though the water pistol ended up in the cyber campfire at the end (with a nice little "POOF" due to alcohol in it) and the campfire itself is completely out -- the fire of excitement is still lit. Here's a rundown of what happened. And just wait till you hear what we're doing next!
Coffee Time Romance

A few statistics

14 workshops
5 open sessions
3000+ messages in a forty-eight hour period (average:
600-800 a month)
12 (all volunteer) staff members
6 outside volunteers
9 publishers accepting pitches (after camp - more signing up)

If you missed the camp, you can find the downloads right here.


Romance Junkies
I'd be remiss if I didn't thank the members of my group for
being such wonderful hosts. The staff gave above and beyond. Our "Friends of Romance" Award winners gave out incredible prizes, and dozens more helped with giveaways and books.


Karen Coté, Promotions Director
Lynn Crain, Blog Director
Member Liaisons: Jeanne Barrack, Jean Drew, Heaven O'Shey,
Dawne Prochilo, RJ Garside
Newsletter Editor, Rochelle Weber
Proofers, Cat Gardiene, JJ Keller



Delaney Diamond Official Tweet Maven
The Romance Stud


Janet Elizabeth Jones: Role Playing Your Way to
Good Scenes
Julie Eberhart Painter: Multiple Submissions
Karen Coté Pinterest
Kay Dee Royal: Building the Paranormal Character
Kayelle Allen: Preparing for Interviews / Dealing with
Online Piracy
Lynn Crain Blogging
101 and Blog Tours
Marcia James: Niche Marketing
Mary Caelsto: Promos for Conferences
Maryann Reid: Romancing Your Audience
R. Ann Siracusa: Finding Your Audience
Rochelle Weber: Using the MFRW Newsletter for Promotion
Rolyn Anderson: QR Codes
Suzan Butler: Triberr

To join us, or to learn more:

We share knowledge.

July 15, 2012

It's MFRW Summer Camp Day 2

Coffee Time Romance

Romance Junkies
Our sincere thanks to the Friends of Romance - Coffee Time Romance, Romance Junkies, and The Romance Studio for their generous participation in this weekend seminar. Over 1500 signed up for the program, and in one twelve hour period there were well over 1000 messages posted on the site - questions, answers, workshop info, links, reminders, and some hilarity as well. Good thing Karen Cote' brought her water pistol to guard the camp! Although at one point some filled theirs with cyber-vodka it wasn't entirely out of control. ^_^

Join us today for another fun event. Here the links.

10:00 - 10:50
Open Forum - General Topics -- Kayelle Allen
11:00 - 11:50
Overcoming F.E.A.R.S. (Finish, Edit, Analyze Market, Research Pubs, Submit) -- Tina Holland
12:00 - 12:50
Using the Marketing for Romance Writers Newsletter for Promotion -- Rochelle Weber
1:00 - 1:50
Helping Your Publisher Promote Your Books -- Mary Caelsto (Jupiter Gardens Press)
2:00 - 2:50
Niche Marketing -- Marcia James
3:00 - 3:50
Finding Your Audience -- R. Ann Siracusa
4:00 - 4:50
Preparing for Interviews -- Kayelle Allen
5:00 - 5:50
Role Playing Your Way to Good Scenes - Janet Elizabeth Jones
6:00 - 6:50
Blogging 101 - Rochelle Weber / Lynn Crain
 Coffee Beans and Love Scenes (CBLS) Promotions
7:00 - 7:50
Open Forum - Blog Tour Questions
8:00 - 8:50
Romancing your Audience -- Maryann Reid
9:00 - 9:30
Final Cyber Campfire - S'mores for Next Year

The Romance Studio

Come check out our camp today. You'll be glad you did!

July 14, 2012

MFRW Summer Camp Day 1

This is day one of the MFRW Marketing Summer Camp. Check out the schedule below. Please join us when you get the chance. Membership is open - and F R E E

09:45 - 9:59
Building the Campfire - Welcome to MFRW! -- Intro and welcome
10:00 - 10:50
Building the Paranormal Character -- Kay Dee Royal
11:00 - 11:50
QR Codes -- Rolynn Anderson
12:00 - 12:50
Dealing With Online Piracy -- Kayelle Allen
1:00 - 1:50
Where to Find Readers -- Dawne Prochilo
2:00 - 2:50
Multiple Submissions -- Julie Eberhart Painter
3:00 - 3:50
Cyber Campfire, Singalong, and S'mores - Sharing Opportunities
4:00 - 4:50
Open Forum - Pinterest Questions
5:00 - 5:50
Triberr - Suzan Butler
6:00 - 6:50
Open Forum - Twitter Questions
7:00 - 7:50
Open Forum - Facebook Questions
8:00 - 8:50
Open Forum - Triberr Questions: Special Guest Dino Dogan, founder of Triberr

All workshops and Classes are held
on the Yahoo Group.


Sign up here / Attend here

July 13, 2012

Waves Break My Fall: Kendall McKenna

Waves Break My Fall
by Kendall McKenna
Book title: Waves Break My Fall
Genre: M/M Erotic Romance
Cover artist: Reese Dante
Length (words): 20,573
Heat rating: NC-17
Blurb: Kage is a Marine, newly returned from Afghanistan and having difficulty adjusting to being home. He tries to decompress with a quiet trip to Puerto Vallarta. Zach is a new college graduate and facing the realities of adulthood. Will their hot summer fling grow into something more?
What are your main characters' names?
Kage and Zach
Kage is in his early 30’s.
Zach is in his early to mid-20’s. He’s old enough to be graduating college.
Kage is a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corps.
Zach has just graduated college and his new occupation is a spoiler.
Something on the mezzanine captured Kage's attention. The writhing crush of dancing bodies parted as he glimpsed a beautiful young man. Kage frowned and glanced around the bar again, looking closer at the occupants. Kage suddenly felt so fucking old. He was easily ten years older than everyone else here.
What the hell had possessed him to come here?
His eyes were drawn again to the guy on the upper dance floor. He seemed to be dancing with an entire group—the boys as well as the girls—rather than a single partner. He was lithe and graceful but unquestionably masculine. His shoulders and chest were broad, tapering into a trim waist and narrow hips. The thick muscles of his arms bunched and flexed with his every movement. Kage's cock shifted in his jeans, showing interest despite his brain's misgivings.
The guy's face was flushed with the heat and exertion of his dancing. He smiled broadly at his companions, showing off perfectly straight, white teeth. His dark hair caught the dim bar lighting and shone with burnished copper. Kage took a long drink of his beer and shifted his weight, trying to mask the way his dick pressed insistently against his zipper.
Just then, the guy glanced up from the woman who was shouting into his ear and looked right into Kage's eyes. When Kage didn't look away, the guy's grin grew into a wide smile.
Their impasse was broken only when the guy was jostled by the crowd. Kage drank down half of his beer in one go. Against his better judgment, he looked back at the mezzanine. The guy's back was to him now, his hips grinding into the girl pressed up against him. Something hot flared in Kage's chest. His heart slammed against his ribs, and he couldn't catch his breath.
He was just about to step to the bar for another beer when the guy released his dance partner and turned back to Kage. Struggling to keep anything from showing on his face, Kage watched the guy pull his tank top up over his head and tuck it into the back pocket of his jeans.
Kage's mouth was dry with desire. He might have a young face, but the guy's body belonged to a full-grown man. Kage could now see that tan skin covered those broad shoulders and a well-defined, muscular chest. The guy's cut abs were on full display as he gyrated around the dance floor to the pounding, pulsating beat of the music.
Pushing away from the table, Kage set his empty bottle on the bar with a jarring clunk, signaling the bartender for another. If the guy was going to be putting on a show, Kage was going to need more alcohol.


How did you get your start in the industry?
I started writing. I just started and kept writing. I found people to give me critical feedback so I got better at it. About two years ago, I was laid off from my day job, so decided to take advantage of it. I got a short story and a novella ready and began to submit to e-presses with good reputations. At the same time, I started writing articles for an online newsletter for a popular television show. Then, I received an offer from Silver Publishing three days after I received the offer for my current day job. I accepted both!
What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
Today it’s all about social media, marketing and ME, instead of being about improving the writing. While getting better at the writing is always important, now the focus is on putting myself out there as an author. I have to market myself and the books through social media such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
That is a particularly tricky question for me! My first book, Brothers in Arms, has received two consistent pieces of good natured criticism. First, is that it’s too short. Second, there’s not enough sex. Part of me would love to go back and fix both of those things. On the other hand, fixing either one would make it a completely different story and could potentially ruin it. Ultimately, it’s a great story just like it is, so I wouldn’t change a thing, even though I do think about it from time to time!
If you could choose anyone to be your mentor who would it be?
Sherry Lansing. She was a movie studio executive when women were still being told their worth was based on their skills as wives and mothers. Women were told to stop work when they married so they didn’t take jobs from men who had families. She was a trail blazer and is still producing movies today.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
You don’t have to play it safe. Those things you want to do but think you shouldn’t because they aren’t practical and won’t earn you money? Do them. At least try. You’ll be surprised just what you’ll accomplish when you stop playing it safe.
Do you have a muse? Describe this person, please.
I have many muses. They take the form of my MCs. Sometimes I only have one at a time, sometimes both the boys talk to me. They tell me the story, and they tell me about their fears and their dreams. They point me in the direction the story needs to go. My muses are right there in the stories for everyone to get to know.
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
I worked in one of the first Public Health HIV testing clinics in the country. That tells you how old I am! I spent almost a decade as a Police Dispatcher. That was an adventure!
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn't normally read your genre, and why?
Brothers In Arms. Because it’s heavy on plot and light on the sex, I think it would be a great way to give a reader a taste of the genre. Once they realize they enjoy it, they can seek out all the other wonderful stories with the heat level they find suits their tastes.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
The same kind I write! I love M/M erotic romance. However, I also like fantasy and sci-fi, contemporary mysteries with strong female lead characters, and true history.
What do you think is the future of epublishing?
I think the future is here! Print books may never go completely away, but e-books are so versatile and well-priced (by e-presses), they’re here to stay. The technology and the industry are in their infancy, but once it shakes out, the NY publishers with either get with the program, or go under. The indie presses will continue to rise. Much like we saw Napster and iTunes revolutionize the music industry by allowing artists to distribute their work without being beholden to a label, we’ll continue to see the influence of agents and legacy presses shrink.
What was the proudest moment of your life so far?
It’s a very small moment that happened recently. My hubby was leading his father through the house and I was on the couch doing some marketing of a book. As he passed by, hubby told his father, “We have to be quiet, she’s working. She’s a writer.”
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview. What will you take with you and where will you go?
I would pack jeans, t-shirts and comfortable shoes. My Kindle, my iPod and my passport. I’d be on my way to New Zealand to take the Lord of the Rings filming tour! Yes, I’m a geek.
What good book have you read recently?
I just finished Mercy Celeste’s “Beyond Complicated” and I highly recommend it.
Where were you at midnight, on December 31st when the new century started?
At a party, hanging off of a balcony with my then girlfriend, banging pots, pans and lids together while cheering drunkenly.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
Read and write. You could have guessed that answer, I’m sure.
Which statement is more like you:
"I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and relaxed."
"I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because I do things as fast as possible."
I am laid back and relaxed. I love lying on a warm beach with a drink, listening to my iPod and reading my Kindle. 

Fill in the Blanks

My favorite type of car is a Mustang.
A perfect date would be coffee in a Barnes & Noble.
My characters would love it if I just let them have sex without having to examine their feelings.
I think Coldplay is overrated. I prefer Matchbox 20.
If all the hot men in the world were mine, I'd like it.
Paying someone else to do it is the best way to clean my house.
There is more to writing than typing words.
Brothers in Arms

My Current Books

Brothers In Arms

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July 12, 2012

Character Interview: Dante from Dante's Flame

Dante's Flame.
Janine, 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?
DANTE’S FLAME is a medieval set in Naples, Italy, during the political struggle between the French and Spanish kings for control over Naples. Dante Santangelo sides with the French and is watching the Valente family for signs of Spanish loyalties. Alessandra Podesta is sent to Naples by her parents to get her out of the “tempting” Venetian environment, hoping it will stop the illicit tales she writes. She lives with her cousins, the Valentes. Dante thinks she was sent there to aid the Spanish king. She gets caught up in the politically tense situation while looking for adventure to write about. Her curious nature befuddles Dante and nearly gets Alessandra killed. She’s a firecracker, and he’s very intelligent, serious. Needless to say, they don’t see eye-to-eye.
What is the single most important part of writing for you?
Research. Because I write historicals, it’s imperative to know about the location and time of the story. During the research process, I usually discover reasons for conflict between the hero and heroine. Without becoming aware of 15th century Naples, I wouldn’t have known about the political war. Or about the people and their superstitions. All of which factor into the story.
What do you enjoy most about life?
1) Spending time with my husband of 40 years; 2) Being a grandma, or Nonna, as my 6 grandkids call me. I enjoy all of them, even the one who is more stubborn than his mother was, lol. 3) Besides my grandchildren, I enjoy my dogs and wish I could have more than just three. Dogs are refreshing, loyal, loving. 4) During the summer, I love getting outside and tending to my gardens, both floral and vegetable. The string beans, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, fingerling potatoes, and everything else I grow tastes a whole lot better than what I buy in stores. 5) I love watching soccer, particularly the Serie A, which is Italy’s top-flight league. And, of course, I love the Italian national team. My youngest daughter began playing soccer nearly 32 years ago when she was four. She never looked back, and my husband and I were so proud of her accomplishments on and off the field. LOL, I had a difficult time watching her play. She’s a goalkeeper (she still plays), and that always made, and still makes, me nervous!
What did you learn from writing your first book? 
The first book I wrote was in 1980, or there about. I was so new to writing and broke every rule in the book. It was such a learning experience. At the time, I didn’t belong to RWA, which I joined in 1996. That first book, though, made me realize how difficult writing a novel really is. I probably would have ended my career there if I hadn’t received good rejections from editors and agents. Encouraging rejections. And the wonderful support of RWA.
Would you consider self publishing?
Yes, I’d love to self-publish. I might one day, but I’m so inept with the tech. side of the computer. I can’t even figure out Facebook or a blog I started that has only a name to it. It’s mind-boggling to me. I’ve taken classes, yet I still cannot figure them out! Twitter, too. But self-publishing will give me a chance to have control over every aspect of my book. There’s the potential to make a good living selling on my own. Right now, I don’t have a manuscript ready to self-publish.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
It would be the same as I give all writers, whether starting out or advanced: Don’t give up! That was one of the hardest lessons I learned. Had I given up, I would have never published and likely would have always wondered if I might have achieved that goal.
Also, read, read, read! Which I did. The only regret I have is not finding RWA 10 or so years sooner. The organization opened an entire world of insight to the craft, the one thing a writer should never stop learning.
Lily and the Falcon
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
REBEL HEART. There is something about this book and the hero, Beau Hamilton, that has been my favorite ever since I wrote it in the 80s. He’s irascible, gruff, but underneath it all, there is a man with a soft heart for the heroine and others who are important to him. But she drags him kicking and screaming all the way to the end before he finally admits he loves her. You’ll see his transformation in small degrees, and you’ll understand why when you learn his backstory.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
I hope they see that love does conquer all, that it can be quick or slow-building, and with an unlikely person. I think you have to believe in the power of love, and I hope my stories convey that.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
I posed this question to my family, and they agreed on: Proud, Passionate…and Italian
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
Italy, of course! I’m not sure what city, but more than likely Rome or Milan. My favorite soccer team is A.C. Milan. Roma is my second favorite. Plus I’d love to live among the history and the medieval feel of thecities. The one time I visited Italy, I fell in love with the atmosphere and the way of life as well as the ancient and medieval architecture.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Books, music, Italian and soccer related things, anything for and about dogs. I’d also have a café in my store that served Italian drinks and pastries. It would be very eclectic but it would be warm and inviting.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
I looked forward to writing papers. I think writing novels stemmed from that early desire.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
“Open carefully. Contents under pressure.” Admittedly, I have a temper, and it doesn’t take much to set me off, especially if I see an injustice being done.
Please Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with cheese and pepperoni.
I'm always ready for watching Italian soccer.
When I'm alone, I listen to music and dance around the house.
You'd never be able to tell, but I’m Italian. (blonde hair and blue eyes fool everyone).
If I had a halo it would be an angel’s halo with the devil’s horns attached.
Surrender to Honor
If I could become a billionaire I'd help all the homeless animals in the world.
I can never travel far from home because I’m afraid to fly.

Character Interview

Tell us about the main character in your current book. What is he like?
Dante Santangelo is a highly educated, intelligent man with a secret he hides until the very end. He was born in Naples but left at an early age and grew up in Provence. His eyes are a captivating blue/violet. He teaches Latin and French at the University of Naples and speaks four languages. Dante is fairly easy-going but can get intense over injustices to human or animal. On the surface he seems to be quiet, agreeable. But beneath the surface, his seldom lost ire lurks.
If your main character was here today, what would he say is his strongest point?
His patience.
Does he think he has a weakness? (If so, what does he think it is? What does his lover think it is? What does his enemy think it is?)
Alessandra is his weakness. She constantly tries his patience. A man can only take so much!
What drives your hero to do the things he does? What makes him want to be the "good guy?"
Dante lived a privileged life, but his mother and father wouldn’t let him forget that their wealth and lifestyle could be taken away in a heartbeat. He was taught to help others, treat women with respect, and to be open-minded. His parents had a strong influence in his life. They’re responsible for the man he became. But don’t let that fool you. He is by no means a Beta male.
What's your main character's favorite guilty pleasure?
Besides the heroine, lol? Sugared almonds from Rome.

Answered as Dante Santangelo:

If you didn't know how old you were how old would you be?
Judging by my maturity, knowledge and wisdom, I would probably be in my mid- to late 30s.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
The French-Italian Connection.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
Most likely Naples or Northern Italy.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
The pranks I pulled. My teachers did not have a sense of humor.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Do not provoke. Volatile beneath the surface and may cause physical pain.

Please Fill in the Blanks (as the character)

I love sweet cakes with thick cream filling.
I'm always ready for making love to my wife.
When I'm alone, I’m pensive.
You'd never be able to tell, but I do know how to have fun. I’m not always so serious.
If I had a halo it would be fairly straight because of my kind-hearted nature.
If I could have the power I'd end the conflict between countries.
I can never figure out my wife because she lacks fear and has a strong sense of adventure.

About the Author

Jannine Corti Petska was born in New York but raised in Southern California. Her parents' first language was Italian, and Jannine was raised in an Old World environment. She began writing romance novels when her three daughters were young and she was a stay-at-home mom. In-between writing and caring for her family, she tutored Italian, Spanish, German, and English as a Second Language at a local college. Although she loves placing her stories in medieval Italy, she has also written romantic tales of the cowboy in the American West. Jannine lives in Southern California with her husband of 40 years and three high-energy Rat Terriers. To find out more about Jannine, please visit her website. www.jcortipetska.com


Alessandra Podesta writes illicit tales unsuitable for a young lady. Exasperated, her father sends her to visit relatives in Naples to curb her wild imagination. But in her undying need for adventure, she toys with the affections of her tutor and is forced to marry him. When she unknowingly falls into a dangerous game of supremacy between two countries, she trusts the wrong people and endangers her life.
French tutor Dante Santangelo is secretly aiding the French in maintaining their rule over Naples. When he is manipulated into marrying the visiting cousin of the Valente Family, he seizes upon the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the family, who are under suspicion of helping the Spanish. When Alessandra's life is in jeopardy Dante must choose between love and duty. Will he offer up his life to save Alessandra? Or remain duty-bound to the French?

Buy Links:

The Wild Rose Press
REBEL HEART, American western
CARINA AND THE NOBLEMAN, book 1 of my medieval psychic sisters trilogy
CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY, book 2 of my medieval psychic sisters trilogy
LOVE’S SWEET WAGER, love along the California Trail
THE LILY AND THE FALCON, book 1 of my Italian Medieval series
SURRENDER TO HONOR, book 2 of my Italian Medieval series
DANTE’S FLAME, book 3 of my Italian Medieval series
Short stories, both Medievals set in Italy
Books Coming Soon
MINE TO KEEP, release date Aug. 15, 2012
Janine Corti Petska


I will give away an e-copy of DANTE’S FLAME to one lucky commenter.

Find Me Here

Blog: No time for one.
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