Writer Wednesday: Virginia Cavanaugh

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Virginia Cavanaugh is a multi-published author of erotic romance. Her work covers many sub-genres as new characters present themselves to her every day. After working for years as a nurse in pediatrics, her love of the alpha hero sparked her desire to bring her own stories to life. When not playing housewife, mother, maid, laundress, taxi driver or just general all-around slave, she enjoys finding a quiet corner to read or work on her next story.

1. The tagline of your website it Pulse Pounding Romance. What is it about romance novels that gets your pulse pounding?

I would have to say a mixture of the heart pounding romance mixed with just the right amount of action packed plot.

2. Tell us a little about Just For Tonight. What makes it a different and compelling read?

Often romance reads tend to go through the fantasy of romance. Something to get lost in and take a reader away from their daily lives. In this story I took two middle class people and gave them a more true to life chance at romance. In my humble opinion this is another way to give a more realist view of romance to fuel the fantasy of finding love in day to day life.

3. You’ve written so many books. What keeps you inspired?

I’ve found inspiration in everything from a picture to something someone says in day to day life. Often a piece of dialogue will pop into my head, leading me to search out the character that spoke up.

4. How do you juggle writing and family life? Is there a secret? Or is it always madness?

Madness. I have a large family and two very needy dogs. I try to do most of my writing while the kids are school, but that doesn’t always work out as well as I’d like. But if someone finds the secret let me in on it. LOL

5. Out of your back catalogue, do you have a secret favorite? If so which one and why?

I have to say that Winter’s Shadow is a little special. I have never had a story move and flow so easily. It was the fastest I’ve ever written and has received great reviews. 3 five star reviews from review sites. Every other story, no matter how much I love it, has made me pull teeth on different days to move ahead. Each story has a special place in my heart, but I just wish they were all as easy to get out as Winter’s Shadow was.

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Kelly Devers has a crush on her co-worker Thomas Brigs. For a year he’s been the object of her fantasies, but she hasn’t dared to make a move on him. But when Kelly finds out Thomas is leaving town, she throws caution to the wind and gives into the yearning she’s suppressed for far too long. Passion ignites as their bodies come together and Kelly is determined to enjoy the steamy loving. Even if it can’t last forever.
Buy Just for Tonight on Amazon!

Virginia on Facebook
Virginia on Goodreads
Virginia’s website

Writer Wednesday: Lisa Carlisle

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About Writer Wednesday: a couple of Wednesdays per month I will feature another writer and their work. Any writer of any genre is welcome to request participation by sending an email to leta.blake.author@gmail.com with the subject title WRITER WEDNESDAY COUNT ME IN! and I will get back to you about the details of participation.

Now, let’s talk with Lisa Carlisle!

1. The tagline on your website is “Dark Heroes, Feisty Heroines, Scorching Stories”. If your stories ‘do what it says on the tin’, what a delicious sounding recipe. What do you find most inspiring about this set up?

I’ve always thought the dark brooding guys are the sexiest. Who knows what they’re thinking behind their penetrating gazes? And I’m all for women being independent, taking care of themselves. And if that makes them a little feisty, even better. When you get those two together, watch out. 😉

2. Smoldering Nights is Book One in the Underground Encounters series. It appears to have vampires and possibly other supernatural creatures. Can you tell me what makes it different from other novels of its ilk? 

For years, I’ve read stories about vampires, witches, and so on. What interests me most aren’t their specific powers or abilities, but the characters themselves and how they deal with whatever makes them different. So I don’t rehash too many of the old characteristics about vampires or come up with new ones like making them sparkle, I focus on how they choose to live with their differences. Do they embrace their differences or curse them? Do they try to live among other people or hide from them? And even more so, how do their differences affect their relationships? So although there are supernatural creatures in Underground Encounters, the books focus more on relationships, conflicts, attraction between two very different characters, and how they can make it work.

3.  I love that your website has a section devoted to exploring the world of Vamps, the nightclub featured in the series. (http://www.lisacarlislebooks.com/welcome-to-vamps/) It’s such a clever and interactive idea. What inspired you to include pictures of the area in which your books are set? And what led you to come up with the idea of posting a playlist of music the DJs in Vamps might play?

Thank you! Well, I’ve worked as a Web manager and have written content for corporate Web sites for over twelve years, so now it was time to have some fun with this one! The Vamps nightclub is a big part of the setting in this series, almost like a recurring character. Walking to the nightclub is supposed to evoke walking into a dark, mysterious, gothic setting in an otherwise seemingly tranquil world. Those who choose to go there are attracted to an underground lifestyle, being with other people who consider themselves “different.” So I’m working on adding that feel to my Web site. The more I write in the series, the more I hope to add to make the site fun and interactive for readers and welcoming them to the world of Vamps.

4. I noticed that your heroine is a firefighter. That immediately piqued my interest. Is breaking the gendered and stereotyped norms for heroines a theme in your writing?

Since I served in the Marines, I know what it’s like to work as one of the few woman in a male-dominated setting. I wanted that experience for my heroines Nike in Smoldering Nights and and Maya in the sequel Fiery Nights. Although they’re tough women who don’t take crap from the guys they work with, they have a secret side where they wear sexy outfits to an underground club to decompress from their stressful jobs and feel like sexy women once again.

5. You also write non-fiction under another name. Please tell us a little bit about those books. Do you find that the topics you write about in the non-fiction world inform your fiction writing as well? 

Sure. As I mentioned, I served in the Marines, which is a very male-dominated profession where the men outnumbered the women 19-to-1. There are so many books out there from guys in the Marines, but not too many from women. I wanted to show another side of the Marines – through the experience of a woman. If you’re picturing a big, intimidating Marine, let me clarify. I’m petite, only five feet tall, and like to goof around. 😉

Smoldering Nights

Nike loves visiting the goth club Vamps—she can exchange her firefighter uniform for a slinky fantasy outfit. There she runs into the man she’d been admiring from afar at a rock climbing gym. He’s been the star of all her sexual fantasies, so is it any wonder they end up in his private room upstairs? Just when things begin to heat up, Michel’s enemies appear.

Only Michel isn’t an ordinary mortal. And someone from his past is on the hunt for vengeance. Michel and Nike are forced on the run and hide out in a coastal cottage in Maine. They can’t resist their attraction and spend the nights exploring each others’ bodies while trying to sort out how they feel about each other. Can they overcome their differences to be together? And how will they evade the predators who are chasing them?

Read an excerpt at Ellora’s Cave.

About Lisa Carlisle

I’ve loved the vampire myth since I was in third grade and had a crush on Dracula (rivaled only by my eternal love for Darth Vader). When I was younger, I served in the Marine Corps and backpacked around Europe on my own, which has provided me enough settings and characters for a lifetime of writing. Now I live in the Boston area with my fantastic, supportive husband and two kids. I’m very happy to be a multi-published, award-winning author writing in different genres.

Disclaimer: I go bat-shit crazy before Halloween and start decorating my house on October 1st. You can never have enough gargoyles.

Links

Author site: Lisacarlislebooks.com

Buy link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-10271-smoldering-nights.aspx

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lisacarlisleauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LisaCBooks

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lcbooks/

Writer Wednesday: Amelia C. Gormley

About Writer Wednesday: a couple of Wednesdays per month I hope to feature another writer and their work. Any writer of any genre is welcome to request participation by sending an email to leta.blake.author@gmail.com with the subject title WRITER WEDNESDAY COUNT ME IN! and I will get back to you about the details of participation.

Today we’re talking with Amelia Gormley!

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1. Inertia is your first published book. What is your writing background?

I’ve been writing stories since the sixth grade and novels since the eight grade. Sometime not long after I discovered reading, I realized that I could do that, too. I could tell stories, and that I had stories to tell. I got sidetracked for about 25 years diving headfirst into fandom. Original material kinda got drowned out in my head in favor of the omni-present question of “what happened then?” or “what if?” that I would so often ask when I submerged myself in another world and invested myself in someone else’s characters, be it a TV show or video game or whatever. But it came full circle, in a way, and now I’m back to original characters and worlds.

2. What led you to go the self-publishing route? Has it been a satisfying experience so far?

Honestly, I had never considered getting published until last November. I was unaware of the indie publishing market, and I didn’t know about all the small niche presses that have cropped up. I assumed trying to get published meant finding an agent and trying to get in with the Big 6. While I knew I was a good writer and that my writing in fandom circles had been very well received, I also knew I wasn’t of the calibre that would require and I had doubts about my ability to package myself and my writing in such a way that would catch the attention of an agent or editor.

Then a friend of mine, who was a big supporter of my fanfiction, told me I should self-publish e-book erotica over at Amazon. She told me it was becoming a big thing and that she was purchasing a lot of it, and that what I wrote was better than a great deal of what she was finding there. That led me to discover SmashWords as well, and I decided with these two outlets, though I might never see huge commercial success, I could get my name out there, start building a brand for myself, and maybe just prove to myself that I could write something without the lure of fandom connections hooking readers into it, without that ready-made audience writing in fandom provides, and people would read it and respond to it.

And so far that has worked. One huge way in which it turned out to be a boon was in the decision to hire a professional freelance editor to do a developmental edit. It was expensive, and it required my husband and I making some sacrifices to find room in our household budget to do it, but he believed in me and invested in me and it paid off (well, in terms of experience and knowledge acquired; monetarily it’s going to take a few months, I think.) The book is much stronger both in terms of story and characterization, and I learned a great deal from the process that I will carry forward with me into future projects. Danielle Poiesz is top-notch and I’m looking forward to working with her on Book Two.

The other advantage was the control over the cover art, which leads me very neatly to your next question. 😀

3. Kerry Chin is the illustrator of your book cover. What was the process of coming up with the cover like?

I knew Kerry Chin through fandom going in to the process of writing, and consider her to be a good friend. She’s amazing. Because we’re friends, I was able to share the story with her as I was writing it, and so she got to witness the development of the characters and establish a relationship with Derrick and Gavin herself. She’s been with them since the very beginning and knows them intimately, and I think that was a huge boon in her ability to come up with the cover art. We were able to bounce ideas off each other of moments in the story which seemed particularly worthy of translation to art and what the mood of the piece needed to be. I think she did a fantastic job, particularly with the attitude evident in their facial expressions. Derrick’s long-suppressed need and Gavin’s fear and sadness.

4. What was the inspiration for Inertia?

Derrick and Gavin are loosely based on original characters a friend and I created for a roleplay we were doing. It was my friend’s idea to take those characters out of the roleplay setting and put them in a modern context, and when we did that, they evolved into characters who were different even from the ones we originally created. It was there that the story was originally born.

5. How do you juggle motherhood and writing?

It’s tricky sometimes. I eek out my writing time mostly in the evenings and weekends when my husband is home to take over parenting duty. During the daytime, I try to squeeze in moments of concentration between meals and cleaning and reading and playing games and singing songs and outdoor activities. It can be very difficult, and I’m looking forward to him being in kindergarten in the near future so that I can devote more time to writing. I have a year until he’s in the first grade to figure out whether I can do well enough at this to continue to do it as a full-time job.

I’ve been extraordinarily blessed in that I have a husband who is very supportive and who wants to see me succeed in this. He has been helping with parenting obligations and trying to make sure I have time to write, as well as, like I said, investing in having the first novel edited.

6. You’ve mentioned to me that there are some specific issues within the book that you had concerns would not play well to your audience, such as HIV and a history of abusive relationships. Has there been any pushback on that front, or has the audience seemed generally receptive to your portrayal?

My fear was that I would be accused to portraying gay relationships in a negative light, by showing that a gay relationship can be abusive, or that I’d be accused of stereotyping by featuring a gay relationship where HIV concerns are explicitly addressed. I think supporters of the gay rights movement want to get away–and rightfully so–from the persistent assumption that HIV/AIDS is a “gay disease.” It’s not, of course, and anyone who is well-informed understands that, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still an issue.

I know a lot of m/m novels feature condom usage and are diligent about it, but to my knowledge (and I could be wrong about this) very few actually feature the spectre of HIV infection as a central point in the plot. As for the abusive relationship, we as writers and supporters of the gay community want to portray gay relationships in a very positive and healthy light, to normalize them and present them as a good thing. But abuse can happen within gay relationships as well as heterosexual relationships, and to ignore that fact, I think, is to heteronormalize abuse and make it harder for victims of abuse in gay relationships to seek help. Equality means that the same things that happen in heterosexual relationships can happen in gay relationships, good and, unfortunately, bad.

So far I have been very lucky in that readers have felt that my handling of these topics has been respectful and I think they’ve understood my intent with it, so I’m very encouraged by that.

7. Inertia is the first book in a series. How many books are to come? And what else can we expect from you in the future?

Impulse is a trilogy. Inertia was about these two men, each of whom are afraid and wounded for their own individual reasons, finding the courage to reach out to each other, for Gavin to begin accepting that he’s not damaged goods, for Derrick rediscover his passion and let himself begin to connect again with all the urges he’s been denying.

The second book chronicles Derrick and Gavin as they settle into this new relationship they’ve decided upon. It’s about sexual exploration, as Derrick is a character whose sexual development just sort of came to an abrupt standstill right as he entered adulthood. It’s about Gavin learning to trust in areas where he’s developed a sort of hypersensitivity to problems for fear of falling back into unhealthy and abusive patterns. It’s about Derrick learning to open up and lean on someone after so many years of self-sufficiency.

The third book deals with the end of the arc with the HIV question and Gavin’s ex still attempting to control him, and with Derrick learning that there’s a difference between living as an out bisexual man and quietly passing, which he’d been doing in the past because he’d been both celibate and deeply private, so no one had ever realized he was bisexual. He’d never had to deal with intolerance before and that will become an issue for him, complicating that last span of time leading up to the moment of truth for them.

Future projects include a short story set in the Scottish Highlands, which I actually began writing a couple days ago. It might lead to a series, I’m not sure yet. And in the conceptualizing stages, I had what may become a series of contemporary shorts which are less romance and more erotica, particularly very kinky erotica.

And after that? Who knows!

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Amelia C. Gormley has been writing romance novels since junior high, and erotic romance novels since high school (she makes no promises that the early, high-school era ones were actually any good.) But it’s in writing m/m erotic romance that she’s finally found her home. She is thrilled to have recently published her first book.

When she’s not writing, she’s taking care of her husband and five-year-old son.

Inertia at SmashWords
Inertia at Amazon

An Object At Rest

By the age of 21, down-to-earth Detroit handyman Derrick Chance had lost everyone he’d ever loved. Too worn-out and wounded to play the dating game, he wrote off the possibility of relationships, or even just sex. Living alone in the old house his grandparents had left him, with only his dog and a few close friends for companionship, he refused to consider himself lonely, or let himself wonder what he might be missing. He knew who he was and where he was headed. His life was comfortable, organized, predictable, and best of all, risk-free. He was content.

Until the day he installed some shelves for accountant Gavin Hayes. A contradictory combination of confidence and uncertainty, Gavin’s shameless flirtations drew him in with an intensity Derrick had never known he longed for. As undeniable as the force of gravity, he abandoned ten years of self-imposed solitude and found himself falling rapidly for Gavin in defiance of all his usual slow and methodical ways.

But Gavin carried wounds of his own. Fresh from an emotionally abusive relationship that ended with a potentially dangerous betrayal, his future was far from certain. Derrick would have to decide if his rediscovered passion was worth taking the chance of another loss.

You can find Amelia at:
http://ameliacgormley.com
@ACGormley on Twitter
Her author page at GoodReads
Her profile at Facebook. You can also LIKE her fan page at Facebook to receive current announcements and updates on her work.

Writer Wednesday: Amber Skyze and Katalina Leon

About Writer Wednesday: a couple of Wednesdays per month I hope to feature another writer and their work. Any writer of any genre is welcome to request participation by sending an email to leta.blake.author@gmail.com with the subject title WRITER WEDNESDAY COUNT ME IN! and I will get back to you about the details of participation.

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1. Can you tell us a little about The Strix? What should readers know that makes it a compelling and different read?
Katalina: Writing this book was a very special experience for me and resulted in quite a few surprises and firsts. This was my first NANOWRIMO project. This was my first time co-authoring a book series. This was my first book partially channeled by a dead friend and this is my first book with Loose Id Publishing.
The Bag Of Tricks book series was the first time I truly collaborated with another author. The series was Amber’s idea based on her annual trips to Salem Massachusetts and the fun of visiting a Wiccan shop with girlfriends and having fortunes told. The wish bag filled with magical stones was her idea. When I was a young and single I would have found the idea of seeking out a little magical guidance to see if I was going to be lucky in love pretty irresistible. Amber came up with idea of four girlfriends in their early thirties who were close in college, reuniting for a Halloween weekend in Salem. Each heroine chooses a wish stone from the bag and has her fortune told. What the girls don’t know is the moment they make a wish they fall under some heavy enchantment and their lives become rocket ship rides of unexpected adventure. Of course every story is also populated with gorgeous supernatural men.
In The Strix Arcona enters a parallel world. She’s an innocent historical researcher in her current lifetime but she once was a strong spirited and desperate Celtic captive of Rome in 78 AD, who practiced dark witchcraft. She comes face to face with that lifetime and a man she should have loved but instead abused. Tyr was a condemned gladiator who loved Arcona and wanted to buy her freedom but ended up being turned into an immortal flesh and blood weapon with a badly damaged soul. After two thousand years of heartless misery as a Slayer dedicated to the gods of war Tyr has had enough and wants it all to end. Meeting the reincarnation of the original Arcona in Salem is Tyr’s sole opportunity to be free of the Slayer’s curse. He kidnaps Arcona intent on breaking the curse and dragging Arcona into death with him, but they’re hard start quickly turns into something more complex and tender as old memories and motivations rush forward. For the first time in two thousand years Tyr begins to feel love again and his plans change drastically.
2. You co-wrote the book. Is this your first time co-writing? How was that experience different from writing alone?
Amber: Yes, this book was the first time co-authoring. I love Kat as an author and a person, so it was very easy to write these books.
Katalina: I actually wrote The Strix. Amber was so supportive and pro-active about showing my partial to a new-to-me publisher that I was very grateful for her help and patient ear. The next book in the series Claimed By Dragons is a true collaboration that both of us wrote together.
3. How did you go about the world-building in your novel? Did you work it all out before hand with a computer or in a notebook?
Katalina: I emailed Amber about fifty times a day to run ideas past her as we worked together to create the details of this world.
4. You have written many books over the years. Is there any book in particular that is very close to your heart? Do you have a book that you wish others loved as much as you do?
Amber: Splashing Good Time…it’s a quickie from Ellora’s Cave. I love the characters in that book, the setting, especially Nathan the hero.
5. What about Katalina’s books–is there a particular favorite of yours amongst her back catalogue?
Amber: I love all her books, but my all-time favorite, aside from The Strix is Owned By Rome.
6. Where can people find you and Katalina (and your books) online?
You can find The Strix at Loose Id LLCAll Romance eBooks, and Amazon. You can find Katalina’s work at  Ellora’s Cave Publishing,
Sony, Smashwords, Kobo, Fictionwise, Diesel and many more.
Amber around the web: www.amberskyze.com and http://amberskyze.blogspot.com

Writer Wednesday: Natasha Duncan Drake of Wittegen Press

Welcome to Writer WednesdayA few weeks back, we talked to Cat Grant. Last week, we interviewed Francesca Hawley of Romance with Dangerous Curves.

This week I’m excited to talk with Natasha Duncan Drake about her books, her small publishing company, her experience making book covers, and many other interesting things about marketing and affiliates.

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Let’s begin!

1. Cat’s Creation, your most recent book, is the second in the Charlie Waterman series. Tell us a little about the series.

The series is contemporary fantasy with lots of magic and adventure for the YA age range, as well as elements to entertain an older readership. The set of books is Charlie’s journey from totally clueless about magic and everything that goes with it, through becoming part of a team that protects the many worlds in infinite universes from the forces of chaos trying to destroy them.

Charlie is thrown in at the deep end when he is attacked by a cat figurine, thinks he is hallucinating and wakes up the next day with a tail. His only choice is to travel to the magical realm of Between where he can learn how to use his new magical abilities properly. Here he meets his stoic mentor, Akari and the six other young people who are in the same position, except for the fact that most of them consciously chose to be.

There are seven great spirits: Cat, Dragon, Wolf, Horse, Hawk, Spider and Dolphin and each grants their power to a Questor, their agent inside reality, if you will. It is the Questors’ jobs to protect all that is, with all the responsibility and complications that come with that position.

In the first book Charlie has a lot on his plate: what with being two years late to his role, not having the first idea about anything, fancying one of his female contemporaries, having one of his male contemporaries fancy him, sabotage, and to top it all off the Questors’ first task.

In the second book Charlie is a little more in control, but a task that requires all seven Questors puts them into danger and might actually manage to kill him and Alexander, the Dragon Questor. A society based on mafia-style families with some magic thrown in makes a tough setting when none of them are really sure what it is they are supposed to be doing there.

Each book is a separate adventure, but with the continuing thread of Charlie’s progress and the not always so smooth running of Between.

2. It looks like Charlie and the Questors are living the old saying, “There’s no rest for the weary.” Will there be more books in this series? How many books do you anticipate coming from Charlie’s world?

Oh yes, there will definitely be more books; I will be working on number three very shortly. I have lots of ideas for Charlie and his friends and I envisage many more adventures for them all. I honestly can’t say how many because I intend to keep going for as long as I have ideas and I don’t start boring my readers.

3. Obviously, these books took some effort at world building. How did you map out the workings of your magical realm?

Honestly, to start with I didn’t map it out at all. I was working on a different novel with my sister when I started Cat’s Call (the first book in the series) and the other novel had to be planned out in great detail because there were two of us writing it. With Charlie I wanted to just start writing and Between (the magical realm) simply began to evolve. The rules of the Questors’ magic and how they change shape and do other things all came about because of situations into which I wanted to put Charlie.

For example I wanted to put Charlie under extra pressure and give him some initial conflict with what he was being asked to do. This is why I made him two years too old for his new role as Questor. It was simply a matter of giving Charlie more stress so we could see some of the depths of his character.

I did more planning for the second book, because I already had a set of rules from the first one and I had to make sure it fitted. However, parts of it also evolved as I wrote. My second male lead is Alexander and he’s a vampire. In the first book there is some introduction to what exactly that means, but in Cat’s Creation I had a lot of fun exploring more of that by putting him outside his comfort zone with other vampires that didn’t fit his mould.

The great thing about the setup of the books is that, while there is a core magical reality, because the Questor’s tasks take place on different worlds, I can come up with just about anything and have fun with it. The trick is maintaining the feeling of continuity while exploring exciting new things at the same time.

At a practical level I use timelines mapped out in Excel and character references in Word documents to keep track of everything I’ve created for the series.

4. Let’s talk about your small publishing house, Wittegen Press. Currently, you and Sophie are the only authors putting out titles. Are you looking to add authors to your stable? If so, what kind of manuscripts are you specifically looking for and where can authors find submission guidelines?

We’re not looking to add authors at the moment, unfortunately. When looking into the details of doing so we discovered some insurance issues because we are such a young company and so we are only using Wittegen as a platform for our work at the moment.

We are however, interested in cross promotion and having guest authors on our site. We’d love to link up to other publishers, authors and bloggers. Anyone can send us details of their website/blog/books and we’ll add them to our affiliate’s list which appears on the front menu of our main site. We also love it if folks want to take our details and do the same thing.

We have a page here on out site all about affiliating.

5. What has been your most successful marketing technique for your books?

Having a permanently free title available on Amazon as part of a series has been the most successful so far. Free titles give the author exposure and we have discovered that the most effective way to use the free titles is as part of an ongoing set of books.

My most successful book is Forbidden Soul, the second in the Soul Reader Series, which is a set of paranormal, erotic romance short stories and novella length books. Forgotten Soul, the first in the series, is free and is proving itself to be a very good marketing tool for those that follow.

6. I see that you design the covers of your books and those released via Wittegen Press. Has there been a learning curve there? Which book covers are you most proud of? I have to say I like Cat’s Creation the best.

I went on a self-publishing course a couple of years ago, run by Harper Collins and they gave some very good tips on designing covers. The best piece of advice, I think, was know you genre and check what the fashions are at the moment. Readers skim covers and if your book does not look right for its genre they are much more likely to skim over it.

It has also been a learning curve, especially since the self-pub course never mentioned anything about eBooks, which is our chosen medium. I think, because of online book buying, covers are continuing to evolve. It’s hard to design a cover that looks great at 2000px wide as well as 80px wide. Being able to read the title is one of the biggest problems.

I’m also improving my techniques with each cover as well. My Photoshop skills are forever expanding. As I am discovering there is always something new to learn.

I’m very fond of the Cat’s Creation cover as well. The books in the series are of the ‘icon’ fashion that there seems to be in fantasy titles at the moment. If you look at fantasy books in the current marketplace, they mostly come in one of two types: title – iconic image – author; title – author – semi-realistic heroic figure. I went for the iconic image for the series because Cat’s Call was the first cover I ever did and I thought it would be easier.

The one I am most proud of, however, is Forbidden Soul; I really like the emotion I managed to get into the figure of John.

Forbiddn Soul by Tasha D-Drake

7. What are you future plans for publishing? What should we look out for from you and from Wittegen Press?

As far as new books are concerned, the third in the Chronicles of Charlie Waterman is definitely in the pipeline, as are the next in the Soul Reader Series and the next in the Dark Reflections series, both of which are erotic m/m romance. My sister Sophie and I are also working on the sequel to our first joint novel Sacrifice of An Angel, which is ‘Harry Potter meets Midsommer Murders’ according to my husband.

Sophie will also be bringing out new titles including the second in her Heritage is Deadly series.

As for the press, we are looking to up our profile and we have just completed a month long giveaway, where we gave away a free short story every day for the whole of July. It was a lot of hard work, but we wanted to give back to our loyal readers and attract more to the press. All of these stories will be available as anthologies now that the promotion is over which will, hopefully showcase the whole range of the books we offer. We did our best to cover every genre we like to read and write.

Cat's Creation by Natasha Duncan-Drake Cat’s Creation by Natasha Duncan-DrakeLife goes on for the residents of Between as they struggle to recover from the events that nearly destroyed their home and left a gaping hole in the structure of their world. As one of the leaders of the Questors, Charlie feels responsible for helping them to remain strong and together, but he’s not sure how. To make his problems worse, his magic has become unreliable, and yet there is another task to deal with; one that requires all seven Questors to be at their magical peak. The difficult road before them ends in, Mydarec, a world run by mafia-style families, where sorcerers and vampires are a part of every-day living. Forced to play a role that could cost him his life and plagued by a vision of death, Charlie must struggle to overcome his own insecurities and, with his friends, figure out why they have been sent to such a dangerous world.

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About Writer Wednesday: a couple of Wednesdays per month I hope to feature another writer and their work. Any writer of any genre is welcome to request participation by sending an email to leta.blake.author@gmail.com with the subject title WRITER WEDNESDAY COUNT ME IN! and I will get back to you about the details of participation.

Writer Wednesday: Francesca Hawley of Romance with Dangerous Curves

Welcome to Writer Wednesday! As I mentioned last week, a couple of Wednesdays a month, I hope to feature another writer and their work. Any writer of any genre is welcome to request participation by sending an email to leta.blake.author@gmail.com with the subject title WRITER WEDS COUNT ME IN! and I will get back to you about the details of participation.

Last week, we talked to Cat Grant. This week I’m excited to talk with to Francesca Hawley of Romance with Dangerous Curves.

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1. Your web site has the tag line “Romance with Dangerous Curves”. What does this mean?

The meaning is two-fold. I asked Rae Monet to redesign my web site a couple years ago and her first design, while really great, didn’t match my vision. As I looked at it, I thought to myself, “It needs curves. Where are the curves?” And like a lightning bolt, I had an epiphany — Romance with Dangerous Curves. I needed curves because of who I am and the kind of women I write about. My heroines are all plus-sized because I am too. Even if a magic fairy could wave a wand and make me weigh 110 pounds tomorrow, I know that mentally, I’d still feel like a fat chick. I wanted to emphasize that with the tag line and the web site.

2. What inspired you to begin writing romances featuring curvy women?

When I began to write seriously, there were very few plus-size heroines. I’d read about beautiful women. Feisty heroines. And while I could relate to those traits, I couldn’t relate to the descriptions of those heroines as slender, with waists a man could span with his hands. That’s never been me and I wanted to write about women who’d had similar experiences. I wanted to write about heroines who represented women like me so I decided to give it a try.

3. Have you found that there are many women (and men) who are craving romantic stories like these?

Yes, I have. I’ve received a number of emails and comments from readers when I meet them. It’s really gratifying to talk to my readers. Many of them thank me for writing about heroines that represent them. Women that they can relate to and it’s been great to have the positive responses.

4. What has been your most rewarding experience with regards to writing these books? Has it been something you learned, or has it been fan reactions?

I think the most rewarding thing about writing has been finding my voice – as a writer and as a woman. I realized that I didn’t need to be slender to find love or to deserve it, and neither did my heroines. It’s been a journey for me to grow stronger within myself and my heroines have helped me make that journey.

5. Is there a particular book that is closest to your heart or which you learned something important while writing?

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I think that Seeking Truth is the book closest to my heart, and for a number or reasons. I’ve belonged to the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism – go to http://www.sca.org/ to learn more) since 1995. The SCA is a group that educates about the Middle ages and recreates them in a creative way. With Seeking Truth, I was able to tap into my love of history and of the Medieval time period to create as realistic an erotic romance as I could. And the research was a lot of fun – not just on the erotic side. Wink…

As I wrote this story, I absolutely fell for Eaduin Kempe, my hero. He’s flawed and filled with pain, yet strong and loving. Seeing him with his foster mother made both me and the heroine, Vérité, fall more deeply in love with him. Any guy that loves his mom like that is really hot. It shows he has a deep respect for women and that’s highly attractive. I also had to draw on some deep emotions within myself to write a very dark scene in this story and it made my writing more intense and the story more emotional. At least, I hope so.

6. Do you have a new book out now or are you releasing a new one before long?

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My most current release is also my oldest. Alpha vs. Alpha was first released in 2005 by another publisher and when my rights reverted back to me, I had a chance to edit it so it met my vision for it better. The new version of AvA was released by Ellora’s Cave in 2011. The story takes place in the shapeshifter world I created and explored in Protect and Defend. The heroine of this book, Serena, runs a matchmaking service and dating web site for shapeshifters called Predator-Match.com. The hero, Damien, has a bad experience with the service. When he meets Serena, he realizes that she’s his True Mate. Unfortunately, Serena’s not convinced. It was fun to write a fast paced, highly sexy story between these two.

As to future works, at the moment, I’m working on another shapeshifter story where the hero and heroine are introduced to one another by Serena through her matchmaking service. Both are in tight spots and need a Mate because of pressure from outside sources. Per Goldwolf needs to impress a boss and Yohana Whitewolf needs to placate her pack where she’s the pack leader. They are a fun couple and I get to explore the dynamic of two Alphas again, but the fight is even more pronounced because Yohana is a pack leader and bows to no one. Once I finish it, I’ll submit the story to my editor at Ellora’s Cave and I’ll be crossing my fingers that she likes it and offers a contract.

7. Where can people find you and your books online?

My web site is Francesca Hawley Dot Com and people can discover more about me there. I also maintain a blog at Blogspot. I post on the first Monday of the month at Authors by Moonlight and on the 10th of the month at Sweet ‘n’ Sexy Divas . They can also visit my publisher’s web site at: Ellora’s Cave but the books are also for sale at Barnes and Noble and at Amazon.com.

Writer Wednesday: Cat Grant, author of Doubtless

Welcome to the first Writer Wednesday! A couple of Wednesdays a month, I hope to feature another writer and their work. Any writer of any genre is welcome to request participation by sending an email to leta.blake.author@gmail.com with the subject title WRITER WEDS COUNT ME IN! and I will get back to you about the details of participation. I hope this is a fun thing for all of us!

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1. Doubtless, your latest novel, is not your typical gay romance. Can you tell us a little about what makes it different?

DOUBTLESS is definitely a love story, although it doesn’t have a traditional happily ever after ending. It’s a story about self-discovery, coming to terms with lost opportunities and learning to move forward from them. It’s really about learning how to love yourself. (And yes, I can hear everybody humming, “Greatest Love of All” right now. LOL!)

2. What prompted you to break from the usual formula of boy meets boy leading to a foregone happily-ever-after? Was it a rewarding departure?

I wanted to give Steve, Connor’s best friend from PRICELESS, his own story, but then I realized he still had a lot of issues to work through (being in love with Connor chief among them) before he was ready for his own love story. I thought Doubtless could serve as a fitting prologue to both that story and the Connor/Wes Christmas/wedding story I’m writing now.

3. Was there a specific point of inspiration for this book? How did you decide to write this particular story?

By the time I was done writing PRICELESS, I knew Steve needed his own story. He’s one of those characters who steals every scene he’s in. In Priceless, we see him mostly through Connor’s eyes – and to Connor, it looks like Steve’s got it made. I couldn’t wait to tell Steve’s side of it, where things aren’t nearly as rosy.

4. You’ve written many books over the last several years. How do you keep your productivity up? What motivates your productivity?

An empty bank account. LOL! Seriously, I’ve always got a story or two brewing. Sometimes it’s hard to decide which one to write first. I wish I had the ability to work on multiple projects at the same time, but my writing brain only seems to work on one track.

5. Of your prior books, which is the closest to your heart? And which do you think deserves a wider audience?

ONCE A MARINE is my favorite book that’s currently in print. I really adore my heroes Marc and Cole. The book marked the beginning of my association with Riptide, and a major turning point in my development as a writer. In short, it’s been a touchstone for me on any number of levels.

ALLEGRO VIVACE is the book I wish everyone else loved as much as I do. I have a feeling the subject matter – a May/December romance between a brilliant young violinist and his teacher – might have put some readers off. Plus, there’s all the classical music the characters talk about, which I love but a lot of people find boring. Ah, well. It truly is the book of my heart, and I don’t regret writing it or its sequel (SONATA APPASSIONATA).

You can order Doubtless here: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/doubtless

Loving your best friend is hard . . . especially when he’s marrying someone else.

On the surface, Steve Campbell seems to have it all: a beautiful home, a snazzy car, and a dream job as one of the country’s top 3-D optics researchers. But underneath, he’s restless and dissatisfied, tired of empty encounters with leggy lab assistants and endless evenings alone.

A chance meeting with a handsome escort lifts Steve’s spirits and opens his eyes to his long-repressed attraction to men—and his love for his best friend and business partner, Connor Morrison.

Connor might’ve loved Steve like that once, but now it’s too late for their happily ever after; Connor’s about to ask his boyfriend to marry him. Fortunately, it’s never too late to learn about yourself, and maybe Steve can find a happy ending on his own.

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EPIC Award–winning author Cat Grant lives by the sea in beautiful Monterey, California, with one persnickety feline and entirely too many books and DVDs. When she’s not writing, she sings along (badly!) to whatever’s on her iPod shuffle, watches lots of movies, and fantasizes about kinky sex with Michael Fassbender.

Where to find Cat:

Website: http://www.catgrant.com
Blog: http://catgrant.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cat.grant
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/CatGrant2009
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1912055.Cat_Grant