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Monday, November 18, 2013

Getting Personal With Author L.J. Longo

This week we’re Getting Personal with Author L.J. Longo. L.J. stopped by to talk about the writing life and share an excerpt from the HOT male/male erotic romance “Evasive Love”

L.J. is giving away an eBook copy of Evasive Love to one lucky person. Enter below for your chance to win!

About L.J. Longo
L.J. Longo spends most of the time eroticizing the intellectual and intellectualizing the erotic, pretends to fit in to many writer’s groups, resides currently in on the Jersey side of Philadelphia, hates bios, but loves to talk to people who enjoy reading, writing, and analyzing daily life. L.J. can also sing, sometimes even well…

Connect with L.J.

And now, let’s get personal with author L.J.!

Where do you write?
Wherever I can, generally speaking. I’m pretentious enough to pull off a coffee house, though I prefer bars and other dark places. I’m in a bit of a between place when it comes to housing at the moment, moving from Ireland to the States. I hope to have a corner or an office in my next home where I can hang art deco posters and write in private. Though I will most likely get sick of it and write in coffee houses and bars just the same.

What is your writing process?
I work like a computer de-fragging.

That is to say, I’m fairly lineal.  I set out at the beginning and work through to the end, but more often that only works with short ones or ones that started short and got out of hand.

My computer is crammed with documents of notes ( 1,450 to be exact) and at any moment, I could put any number of those into some illusion of order and outline a whole novel.

It bothers me how messy that sounds, because the documents and folders are very well organized.  When I type out a note, some of which are entire scenes, many of which are entire novels just missing middles or beginnings or ends, I usually have a plot that goes with it. The chaos makes sense to me.

I will admit I used to cheat on my stories a lot. In the middle of one relationship I would start another and the first story would leave me. Some of them haven’t forgiven me yet, or else they’re sitting in their electronic folders waiting for the day I return to complete them. Now-a-days, I don’t do that. I don’t start a new project until one is finished; instead I take notes on it. My current projects are in Scrivener. My notes are in Word.

My revisions are always re-typing.  I re-enter entire novels to makes sure all the pieces are coherent.  I’ve had stories where the tone or character names have changed and I only catch that because I’m re-typing it.

What’s the best part of being a writer?
My boyfriend is involved in theater, just got his Masters.  His art is very collaborative and I’ve seen his carefully direction, brilliant idea, and hard work fall short of his vision because an actor didn’t understand what he meant, or a budget was cut, or the crew arrived at the space late. That never happens to a writer.

The work I create is a singular vision. I’m the only one responsible when it fails, but I’m also the one who creates it all. The extension of this is my other favorite part, which is sharing my unique story.

I love hearing reader feedback and interpretations.  As a writer, you’ll have complete understanding of a character and his goodness and his motivations, then your reader will say, “Man, that guy is a selfish asshole. I love him.” And that’s news to you. You can’t argue because, yeah, you wrote a selfish asshole and someone else still loves him. You just understood him differently than the reader.

What’s the most challenging part of being a writer?
The same things that make writing enriching are the things that make it really awful.  There’s no one to offer you a suggestion if you get stuck writing alone and there’s no one harsher on your dreams than a disgruntled reader.

This is particularly true, in my experience anyway, of genre and erotic fiction. Too often erotic writers are subjected to the moralists and the censors.  Rather than constructive critique in a workshop, or even a polite abstention, erotic writers hear from all angles “sex is bad.” “What if children read this filth?” “Oh, my God, it’s about two men? Indignation!” Even from otherwise, open-minded writers, I often get “Gay sci-fi erotica? Why would you write that?” It’s just always what I’ve wanted to write about and I think there’s a certain need for it.

Favorite author?
I have a long list here as well.  Neil Gaiman, I think, is my favorite and the most influential. Very few speculative fiction writers, write as beautifully as he.  In that vein, I also adore Margaret Atwood and Steven King.  Gaiman balances perfectly between the two of them in terms of message and raw storytelling.

As far as erotica is concerned, by first love was Nan Ryan who I make fun of constantly.  My mother hated it when she found out I was reading her smut porn, as I still call it, but I think it was Nan Ryan’s books that first got me thinking about how to write about sex.

Michael Thomas Ford changed my attitude about erotic writing. His erotic collection titled Tangled Sheets is an incredibly hot collection, but most of the stories deal with character, life altering changes, and the mental and personal issues that come every time we have sex.  I don’t care how long you’ve been with your partner, sex is still something you think about, a force that guides your decisions and changes how you behave. Just look at all the old men driving fancy sports cars.

Anais Nin, though, is incontestably the best.  Her work is genuinely art.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
“Follow your bliss.” Joseph Cambell, commencement speech (heard at my commencement speech)

“Wear sunscreen.” – Baz Lurman, commencement speech.

“Make art.” –Neil Gaiman, commencement speech.

“Don’t ask me! If you want to know about life, go look up the speeches they give at the fancy schools on the google.” – Mrs. Longo, circa 2004 and she thought I didn’t listen to her.

“Never argue with large vehicles or people who carry machetes.” – Boyfriend’s Mom, this morning.

What are you working on now?
Nanowrimo, of course! This year’s novel is actually a collection of erotic short stories centered on a fictional college campus. You can read it at Smashwords

What is your most current release and what is it about?
The novel is called Evasive Love. It was released by Ellora’s Cave back in October. It’s about a bounty hunter who falls in love with the man he’s supposed to be arresting. This is complicated by the fact that the bounty hunter is straddling the line of legitimacy and the criminal is trying to escape his ex-lover and his old life. Damn, that’s better than the blurb. Wish I’d thought of that a few months ago.

How did you come up with the title?
I didn’t.  My greatest weakness is titles.  I feel they are terribly important and so they intimidate me. I wrote Evasive in about two weeks under the title “Hunted” which was the name of the call for submissions.  I titled it “Protecting an Investment” because I had to think of something and for some reason that made sense at the time. My editor said it sounded like a business textbook so I had to change it.  My sister is actually the one who saved me. We were spouting back and forth in a car one day romantic sounding titles that were puns on running or catching and Evasive Love was the winner.

I was hoping you’d ask where I came up with the idea for it.  When I was a child, someone asked me “where do you get your ideas?” and I blanked and stammered and looked like a twelve year old, which I was. That question is far too broad; it’s why most writers hate it. But since that day, I’ve been meticulous about keeping an answer in my pocket for that question, but you don’t actually have to ask.  I blog about it on my Behind theScenes page.

What would readers be surprised to know about you?
I hate chick flicks and the romantic bits in most stories. I can’t stand the words ‘make love.’ The way people express affection almost always fails to do the job properly.

What’s your ‘guilty pleasure’?
Firing guns is one extreme. Drinking lemon drop martinis is the other.

Do you have any pets?
Do boyfriends count?  If so we’ve been tending to each other for four years now.

Thanks for stopping by L.J.!

And now, Darlings, pour yourself something cool to drink and enjoy a taste of “Evasive Love”

About BOOK
http://www.ellorascave.com/evasive-love.htmlKavan Griffiths is his own man. As a bounty hunter for the Intersectoral Police force, Kavan is not one prone to weakness or sympathy. But when he catches the beautiful Elliot Grayson, a suspected fugitive, his morals and his passions are thrown into violent competition.

As Elliot insists he is innocent, Kavan’s instincts, which tend to be unreliable where beautiful men are concerned, tell him something isn’t right with this bounty. If Elliot is being truthful, Kavan is making a mistake that will cost him everything. If the man is just conning him, Kavan stands to lose something more precious than his bounty—his heart.

“Follow me.”
The kid's offer hung in the air, palpable. Kavan's mind filled with all the things he wanted to do to this man. It was easy to imagine this lapsed Albion tied up on the floor. Easy to slide into the thought of tugging up that tank top and pushing down those shorts. Easy to see him half-naked, a tan line where his tank top normally shielded his chest, his hands behind his back, but still looking up at Kavan with that tempting smile. Kavan knew there was a reason why he shouldn't be happy about the offer to follow this man into his upstairs bedroom, but he couldn't remember why.
The kid turned holding back the beaded curtain. His smile dared Kavan to follow him outside the store and into the light. His curling hair shimmered as if it were gold.
The sunlight stung Kavan's eyes when he followed the kid outside and he realized immediately that he was drugged. The sensations outside whirled around Kavan as he followed the kid out onto a porch. There was bacteria in his system heightening his senses and slowing him down. It would've been an interesting and pleasant sensation if it wasn't interfering with...what was it interfering with? Something dangerous.
The shadows of the bedroom welcomed him with soft grays and blues. White curtains blowing in through long windows and filling the room with ethereal beauty, a bedroom in the clouds. And the angel stood at the edge of the bed, smiling with seductive eyes.
Kavan grinned and tugged at the edge of his black t-shirt to pull it over his head. The air in the room crawled on his hot skin, crisp as an Arctic breeze. He dropped his shirt without caring where it landed and continued toward the other man.
Forgetting caution, Kavan reached for the edge of the other man's cargo shorts and jerked the kid closer to his body. Kavan looked down into his eyes, pools of green watery surprise. Kavan ran his hands along the rough material, groping the kid's eager prick through his shorts. The other man gasped and his hands flew up to Kavan's wrists. Kavan ignored his gesture and opened the kid's belt. He fumbled with his buttons.
The kid chuckled. “You go for exactly what you want, don't you?”
His hands, delicate and pale, fluttered around Kavan's fingers, taking the big hands and guiding them to his thin hips. Kavan shifted his hands further back and filled his open palms with the soft globes of the kid's ass. The kid moaned this time and stepped closer to Kavan.
“None to subtly either,” Kavan answered, massaging, squeezing the taut cheeks.
The other man’s hands stroked over Kavan's chest, rubbing over the defined muscles, drawing circles around his nipples. Each touch jolted Kavan like fire, a ripple of sensation that consumed his entire torso. The kid's hands moved slowly, down to Kavan's belt and gingerly he started to unbuckle it.
Attached to Kavan's belt were his holsters and there was something wrong with this person removing his guns without mentioning them. A stranger without suspicion, a new lover, would have asked about the pistol and the tranquilizer gun. The idea of danger would have teased an innocent man. Only someone afraid of them would not draw attention to them. Kavan remembered suddenly, Elliot Grayson, con man, bacteria manufacturer, Coltrane's mark.
Kavan smirked and held onto the memory this time. He'd make this con regret his game.

Like what you’ve read so far? Find out what happens next. Buy “Evasive Love” today from Ellora’s Cave  and other fine eBook retailers.
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