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? 
I want to thank Kayelle for having me as her guest here at Romance Lives Forever. 


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 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!