Monday, March 31, 2014

Author of the Week: Gem Sivad

Welcome back to Buy a Book, Tell a Friend!

This week Gem Sivad visits. I met Gem online after she teased me with her Six Sentence Sunday snippets of one of her western books, River's Edge. Her writing style sucks you in and paints an amazing panorama of the historical western world without taking you out of your chair. Today I asked her one question about historical romance and why attracted her.

BBTF: Western Romance has been known as a field of "bodice rippers". What attracted you to writing in the genre and what makes yours different from the usual corral-stroll?

Gem: Uhh…I don’t know how I measure up next to other western romance authors. :) My “cowboy” titles are American Historical novels, set in the time period between 1860 and 1897. Research for this era is pretty interesting since I spend a lot of time reading about rigid social rules and interesting sexual mores.

For example, during the second half of the nineteenth century, although war, banking scandals, depression, and fraud precipitated social migration from the eastern half of the country to the western, nothing caused more social upheaval than the invention of the rubber condom.

The readily available, mass produced sheath, allowed families the freedom to control the number of children they’d have. Condoms prevented disease, pregnancy, and by extension, fewer women dying in childbirth.What’s not to like about that? Evidently, plenty.

To quell these insidious ideas, the United States government passed The Comstock Act in 1873, labeling contraceptive devices and educational health-related materials to be pornographic.  Of course, condoms didn’t fall out of use. Instead, French Letters, as they were named, were avidly traded and sold illegally. Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the history lesson. ;)

My stories are steamy, often erotic, adventures where my heroines live in the moment, survive by their wits, and do (occasionally) engage in some corral strolling. I can confirm that more than a few bodices (and pantalettes) have been removed, but not ripped because cloth material in the 19th century was too expensive to be destroyed. ;)

I’ve listed my western romance titles with each central conflict identified.
Marriage–Perfect Strangers
Divorce—Pinch of Naughty
Career Dilemma—Trouble in Disguise
Interracial Love—Wolf’s Tender
Surviving Domestic Abuse—Breed True
Second Chances—Five Card Stud
Courtship—River’s Edge
Inheritance Issues—Outrageous Pride
The Independent Woman—Cerise Amour

Comparing the above conflicts with present day social concerns, the truth of French novelist, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s epigram is clear—"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose —the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Thanks for letting me share a little whimsy with you today! My newest title, Cerise Amour will be available April 10th. Until then, I hope you’ll visit my website and check out the rest of my books. Or stop by my blog on Sundays to say hello and sample a snippet from my current work.

Much thanks to the creative geniuses of Buy a Book Tell a Friend for inviting me today. And I’d also like to say to readers who might be stopping by, ‘Nice meeting you and thank you for all your support.

Thanks so much for stopping buy. Be sure to buy a book and tell a friend. Happy reading!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Author of the Week: Kathryn Le Veque

Welcome back to Buy a Book, Tell a Friend!

This week Kathryn Le Veque visits. I met the Kathryn at Hot Mojave Knights Romance Reader event in 2013, and was struck by both her delightful smile and her confident presence. Kathryn writes sexy, powerful, and sultry Medieval romance. Today I asked her one question about what made choose to write in that time period.

BBTF: What about the medieval period attracted you the most to put it into romantic stories?

Kathryn: The Medieval period has always been such a fascinating time to me because it was when Mankind was emerging from the Dark Ages and trying to organize a ‘civilized’ society. It was hit and miss, to be sure, and I think it’s also fascinating because there was such a brutality and edginess to it – case and point – knights and their role in society. They were the rock stars of their era, men who had gone through very rigorous training in order to achieve their posts. They were the cops, the judge, and sometimes the jury in situations of law and order. They were the executioners. Sometimes they were also the bankers – dispensing loans, transporting money, collecting debts, that kind of thing. They were teachers and priests... and, oh yeah, they fought on the field of battle under conditions that were brutal even by today's standards. I don’t think there was ever a point in our history where one man, one station/title, did so much. Chivalry and courtly love were only a very, very small part of what knights represented, so it’s into this chasm of society that I center my novels. Knights, and consequently the Medieval period, were pretty interesting!

You can find out more about Kathryn Le Veque's sultry Medieval romance on her website. Be sure to buy a book and tell a friend. Happy reading!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Author of the Week: Sage Marlowe

Welcome back to Buy a Book, Tell a Friend!

This week Sage Marlowe visits. I met the Sage online at Siren Publishing and Facebook, and had him visit my blog. Turns out Sage and I started publishing about the same time, though he seemed much more confident and accomplished than me, and we were both stay-at-home parents pulling double duty as writers. Sage writes sexy and eloquent paranormal M/M romance. Today I asked him one question about what made him take the next step in being a full time author.

BBTF: Most people get hired for jobs on the premise that they'll produce something. Writing is one of the few careers where you must produce something before you get hired. What gave you the courage to start writing full time?

Sage: What gave me the courage to start writing full time were, in short, the wonderful people who buy my books. After almost two years as a published author, I am now in the very fortunate position to make a living with my writing and translations.

The decision to start writing full time as such was almost accidental. I started writing just for fun four years ago but it wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home parent that I thought I’d give publishing a try. For the past two years, writing has been my only source of income and there have been tough times because my family depends on the money I make. Last month I had to decide whether to go back to my old employer where I would have had to do a different job than the one I used to do—or to stay at home as a self-employed author / translator / editor.

This has been my dream job for as long as I can think and I’m incredibly grateful that this dream has finally come true.

You can find out more about Sage Marlowe's erotic, paranormal, M/M romance on his website. Be sure to buy a book and tell a friend. Happy reading!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Author(s) of the Week: Adriana Kraft

Welcome back to Buy a Book, Tell a Friend!

This week Adriana Kraft visits. I met the writing team of Adriana Kraft in 2013 at the Hot Mojave Knights Romance Reader Event here in Vegas and had such a wonderful time having frank discussions about life, romance, and the balance of writing with a husband and wife team. They write erotic romance set in the real world. Today I asked them one question about how writing has affected their own relationship.

BBTF: As a husband-and-wife writing team, how has writing together strengthened your connection as spouses?

You’ll notice there’s an assumption embedded in the question – Siobhan assumes the impact of our joint writing efforts has improved our relationship rather than stirred up troubled waters…

In the beginning, it was not so! Any partners who want to stay together over the long haul have to learn how they’re going to handle conflict productively: which things to go to battle over, how to broach the subject when differences are tender, when to recognize the deep tendrils of issues buried in past history and let something go, how to reconnect when feelings are raw and wounded.

We’ve been married thirty-four years, and we’ve been writing together (or trying to) for nearly half that time. Getting started wasn’t pretty. I had a long standing pattern of doing pretty much anything to avoid conflict, and hubs – well, he’d learned to shut things down and tough it out in order to survive. I think we both agonized over how to give each other useful feedback and how to receive it. I know in the beginning, I wasn’t very constructive (destructive, more accurately), and it took a while for both of us to dare start over. It would have been easy to derail our entire fiction writing enterprise before it even began, and we came pretty close.

What’s interesting is that at that stage, what helps writers helped us: research, workshops, beta readers, and critique groups. It was easier, in the beginning, for both of us to receive feedback from outsiders. We read some marvelous books (Michael Seidman’s The Complete Guide to Edition your Fiction and William Noble’s Shut Up, He Explained), joined RWA, took excellent workshops (Pat Schneider, Jennifer Crusie), and learned from others what we needed to do to improve our fiction.
I’m a family therapist (in another lifetime), and systems theory tells us any living system will die if it shuts itself down from outside input. Remaining open was our lifeline during that phase. It certainly gave us language and perspective for tackling disagreements (over fiction, or over anything else, actually).

What we finally learned, about the time our work started getting published, was that those “disagreements” often rose out of problems our characters were having. We’re quite convinced our characters have a life on the other side of some veil we can’t see through – they challenge us when we’ve misunderstood them, and the trouble manifests in our relationship. We have to stop and connect with the characters to sort it out. We think that deepens our story lines and helps readers bond with our characters, so it’s all good: what helps the characters and the stories helps us. At this point, sometimes, it’s hard to know the difference!

One more thing… Siobhan knows we primarily write erotic romance. Do you suppose that’s the angle she wanted us to talk about? I’m not going to share any great personal details here, but I’ll just say that the enterprise of creating story arcs with lots of hot sex scenes and crafting the characters who populate them has definitely kept us invested in learning about sex, talking about things sexual, and keeping the libido going. It’s a win-win, and we write an occasional blog column called Stay Sexy to share some of what we learn.

So, um, yeah – writing romantic suspense and erotic romance together is a big positive at our house-on-wheels. I love my life.

You can find out more about Adriana Krafts's hot, erotic contemporary romance on their website. Be sure to buy a book and tell a friend. Happy reading!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Author of the Week: Maureen O. Betita

Welcome back to Buy a Book, Tell a Friend!

This week Maureen O. Betita visits. I met Maureen in 2011 at the Erotic Authors Association conference here in Vegas and I loved the idea of a magical world with pirates without the scurvy. She writes fun and tongue-in-cheek sci-fi/fantasy romance and action/adventure. Today I asked her one question about blending fantasy with reality.

BBTF: Many people have a pirate fantasy, but real pirates aren't the ideal. Where do you think the fantasy comes from and how do you make your pirates the ideal?

Where does this fantasy come from? The same place the idea that everyone in a medieval castle is warm, that a highland hut would be vermin free, that a homestead in the wild, wild west could be kept clean of dust... Hollywood. And, to a certain extent, writers. Legends and folk tales never mentioned stink, dirt, vermin, starving, teeth falling out... And then Hollywood came along and continued the tradition.

In other words, it's not my fault.

How do I make my pirates the ideal? Well, I cheat. I follow what I consider the pirate code and I cheat. I don't write historically accurate pirate stories. In my series, The Kraken's Caribbean, there are modern conveniences in the Caribbean, despite it being the late 1690s, because travelers from the future have brought things that help. machines. A substance tossed into the privy which eats human waste. A thread woven into every banner and sail and line called solar thread...which powers all the toys that fell through time. Like Ipods, blenders and speakers for when the band plays at the bar.

In my BIG series (30 books/1 couple), now known as Forever A Pirate, one of two main characters is a witch with several nice spells. The vermin free spell is a favorite. She also has a bag of healing spells she uses and, to be quite frank, her Caribbean is simply more aware of things like sweat and stink and...they wash more! I also made the Caribbean much more fruitful...more produce available and fresh water wells everywhere.

It's all fantasy, because let's face it, no one wants to imagine living with vermin, starving to death, teeth falling out...etc. Where does it come from? We all want freedom, we want to run away to someplace less complicated, full of color and fresh air and hot men... It's there because it's what they want. The readers want fantasy, not reality. I try to deliver what they want. And what I want, because I am my favorite reader. If I don't love what I write, why would anyone else?

So, for vermin free pirate ships, all the fresh water you want, feasts on the beach, dancing on the deck, hot men and women...visit my worlds.

You can find out more about Maureen's hot, sexy fantasy pirates on her website. Be sure to buy a book and tell a friend. Happy reading!