"Gabrielle Holly spins her stories in a way that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster you'll never forget!"
~Paranormal Romance Junkies

Monday, March 31, 2014

Getting Personal With Author Taige Crenshaw

This week we’re Getting Personal with Author Taige Crenshaw. Taige stopped by to talk about the writing life and share an excerpt from her paranormal romance Immortal Bloodlines, book 4 in the Phoenix Intelligence Agency series.

About Taige Crenshaw 
Taige Crenshaw is a multi-published author with books available at Ellora's Cave Publishing, Liquid Silver Books, Loose Id, and Totally Bound. Taige has been enthralled with the written word from time she picked up her first book. It wasn’t long before she started to make up her own tales of romance. With novels set in today, in alternate dimensions, or in the future she writes with adventure, fun sassy heroine’s, and sexy hero’s. Always hard at work creating new and exciting places Taige can be found curled up with a hot novel with exciting characters when she is not creating her own. Join her in the fun, frolic, interesting people and far reaches of the world in her novels.
Connect with Taige

And now, let’s get personal with author Taige Crenshaw

What is your writing process?
I have a play list of songs that I write too. There are different ones according to the scenes I am writing. 

I like to spin things. In all my books I love to build worlds. Build families and communities that make a reader want to become part of and make them want to live there. In my paranormals I take things that maybe familiar to a reader and give it my take. In my contemporaries I bring you in and make you feel like you are there. That is you falling in love.

When I get a contract I usually do my happy dance which is lots of butt shaking and whooping. So not pretty.

On release day I celebrate with a slice of cheesecake and a wine cooler.

What are you working on now?
Working on the next book for the Blackstone Haven series and Phoenix Intelligence Agency series. There are a few surprises I have in store for the series. It is going to be a sizzling and busy year. LOL.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I have lots of other thing I do creatively and they recharge my writing. I love to draw. I’m an avid seamstress. I can whip up an outfit quick if I have to go someplace special and have nothing to wear. I love to cook. I’m a voracious reader. My library in my house and on my computer is massive. That’s one of the first things you notice when you come to my house.  

Favorite book?
I read all genres and it is matter of what I am in the mood for at the time. Sometimes I want historical romances then another horror, then others mystery or just romance. Comedy. I just want an excellent read that will take me on an adventure.

What advice do you have for someone who wants a career in writing?
Write then let it go and write some more. What I mean by that is don’t just write one book and nitpick over it. Polish it till it shines then let the book go off to beta readers, crit partner or someone else who is a fresh set of eyes. Once you have that feedback and take what works for your book and throw out what doesn’t (not everything you get from feedback will work with your vision of the book) you get to the next step. Then you send it to publishers. While you were waiting for feedback from the second pair of eyes you should have already started working on your next. Don’t wait around for one book to be subbed then wait for reply before you start the next. The more you write the more you get into the mindset of creating. Each book you write makes you a stronger writer.  You are honing your craft and making it better. Also of course make sure you know your craft so you can polish that book to a shine. 

Thanks for stopping by, Taige!

And now, Darlings, grab a slice of cheesecake and a wine cooler and enjoy a sample of Immortal Bloodlines

About Immortal Bloodlines

A stubborn woman is hard to capture, but once you have, what do you do with her?

 Storm Davis does not like being told what to do. Her new partner in the Phoenix Intelligence Agency seems to think he has the right. She can’t seem to shake him like she has her previous partners. He infuriates her with his calm, unaffected boredom. When his control shatters, it is with unexpected results, and Storm isn’t one to shy away from anything.

 Killian Erutan is working through being brought back from the dead and now he’s a firebird. He is still an Amazonian Warrior but being a firebird, he has more to handle. Add to that the aggravating partner he’s saddled with and Killian has his hands full. Storm is flaky, a pain in the ass and used to having her own way. He will not stand for it. The warrior in him cannot trust such a person at his back. Yet she gets under his skin and one sizzling kiss later, he finds he aches for her with no idea why.

 When they stumble upon the dangerous man they are seeking who can bring the collapse of the world, Storm surprises him with her actions. The danger of what they are facing and their rising passion make them come together.

 Sometimes in life, you find the one who makes your immortal bloodline…come alive.

Available Now from Totally Bound

“I’m through running from you. Now the ball’s in your court to decide what to do about that.” Storm stared at his lips. She turned and sauntered back to the doorway, passing the agents from Killian’s unit who had come into his office. They parted and let her by. Storm could feel Killian watching her and she looked over her shoulder. “Decide fast, because I’m a little impatient and don’t like to be kept waiting.”

She headed outside. Bypassing the agents who smiled at her, Storm whistled as she walked back to her unit. The agents of her unit applauded when she entered.

“When we think you can’t top yourself, you do,” someone called out. “We love your zany self, Storm.”

She bowed and winked at them. It was all in good-natured fun. The agents of the assassination unit liked to tease. Storm went into her office and waited as Allure and Harmony came in.

“What was that about?” Allure demanded.

“I finally realized why Killian bugs me so much.” Storm sat in her chair and put her feet on her desk.

“Why?” Harmony asked.

“Don’t be naïve, Harmony.” Allure smirked. “Aunty Storm finally found her libido. And it has the hots for Killian.”

“What?” Harmony frowned then stared at Storm. She opened her mouth then closed it before blurting out, “You don’t date.”

“I’ll be starting soon. That is, if Killian gets his butt in gear.” Storm smiled. “I drive him crazy already. Imagine when it is up close and personal. Preferably naked.”
Copyright © Taige Crenshaw, 2014.
All Rights Reserved.

Like what you’ve read so far? Find out what happens next. Buy Immortal Bloodlines today from Totally Bound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine eBook retailers

Monday, March 24, 2014

Getting Personal With Author Jane Leopold Quinn

This week we’re Getting Personal with Author Jane Leopold Quinn. Jane stopped by to talk about the writing life and share an excerpt from her suspense/romance novel Lost and Found.

About Jane 
Jane Leopold Quinn is a multi-published, erotic romance author of M/F, M/M, F/F and ménage (M/F/M). She's written in contemporary, Western historical, fairy tale, and time travel. Her imagination was always fertile but became public when she began writing hot romance over a decade ago. Her main interest is writing, but creativity in authors isn't usually limited to writing. Other interests include building and decorating doll houses and miniature room boxes, as well as designing silk flower arrangements. She'd love to paint, but even her stick figures are unrecognizable. Alas—can't do everything. Of course, her characters can.

Connect with Jane

And now, let’s get personal with author Jane Leopold Quinn.

What’s the best part of being a writer?
Oh Lord, the best part of being a writer is writing.  It's an honor to belong to the centuries-long family of authors.   In the whole world, writers are such a small percentage of the population even though from our side of the net, it seems like there are a gazillion of us.  How many times have you heard someone say, "I could write a book."?  And how many times did they do it?   Well, we authors did it.  From beginning, middle, and end, we wrote a story.  And the greatest honor is to have the story out there in the world for others to enjoy.

What’s the most challenging part of writing erotic romance?
Getting over using certain words and descriptions of sexual acts again and again in writing stories.   I love it now, but boy, it was kind of hard to get used to.  When I wrote a scene where the villain tied up the heroine just so he could get some sleep, my first thought was "tied up"?  Where the heck did that come from?  What am I doing here?  I've since written actual love scenes with light bondage.  So, that's what I'm doing here!  The erotic words of love scenes have come so easily to me.  At the beginning, I was self-conscious about them but got over that real fast.  My process for those scenes is to have my music on, close my eyes, sway in my chair and type away.   There's no magic wand or way to create the scenes.  You have to take yourself out of your own reality and put yourself in the scene at the same time.  And I'll sheepishly admit that sometimes I've turned myself on in the process.  "Nuff said."  ;-)

What is your writing process?
Eek, writing process.  Over the years I've developed what I think is a process that works for me.  The idea comes to me, I create characters, I brainstorm their names and usually the title of the book comes to me around that time.  Then I generally start writing a couple of chapters in order to introduce me to the characters.  After that, I kind of hit the wall and have to get myself organized.  That's when I really start to plot and have developed a simple plot grid with four columns - Chapter, Scene Description, Sex (where I keep track of when they first kiss and do all that other stuff), and Notes.  That's it.  Just about everything can be covered by those four topics.   My best writing time has become the mornings.  If I'm not writing by about 9 am, after I get up between 5 and 6, it gets harder for me to put my nose to the proverbial grindstone.  And since I'm up so early, I turn off my laptop around 5 pm and that's it.  I keep loose track of words written per day but that's just because I'm slightly OCD and anal retentive and super organized.  I like to spend hours figuring out how long it takes me to write a story of a certain amount of words.  I have dozens of charts and spreadsheets keeping track of these things.  I love spreadsheets.  But thank God Excel does the mathematical formulas for me because my math skills are pitiful. 

What is your most current release and what is it about?
Lost and Found was released this February from Ellora's Cave.  I've been fascinated by small town stories for years, possibly because I grew up in one and yearn to return.  I've written several small town stories and others that take place in Chicago where I'm now living.  Lost and Found is the story of Marc, a Marine home on leave who is searching out the truth of his parents' deaths a decade before.  Their accident destroyed the life he knew and his response to that was to graduate high school and join the Marines.   The only woman for him, the only woman who could break through his mission and give him a reason to come back to town, Birchwood Falls, was a gorgeous, sexy jazz singer.   Phoebe was abandoned as an infant, finally adopted by a loving couple who recognized her talents, and only wants to be a famous singer in New York or Los Angeles.  Birchwood Falls is a nice town but too small for her goals.  Marc and Phoebe lost so much in their lives but found their greatest love in each other.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I always think that I should take time for my main hobby but for a couple of reasons I don't.  First is that I always feel I should be writing.  The second is that my hobby is building and decorating doll houses and miniature room boxes.  At this point, we really have no more room in our 2 bedroom condo for more of either.  I have a doll house and a 2-story room box in the living room.  Four room boxes are hanging on the wall in the hallway to the bedrooms.  A 3-story room box is hanging in the kitchen.  And a room box is in the bedroom.  I have three projects in the wings but have no good place to put them.  I also love to create silk flower arrangements.  When I worked at the law firm, I made a new one every month to display on my desk.  The desk was located near a busy traffic area for people going to different departments and I always had tons of compliments.  When I retired, I brought everything home and they, like the room boxes, are all over our condo.  Every room, any flat surface.  ;-)  I always had dreams of selling these things and have names for my "companies."  For my silk flower arrangements, the company is "The Duchess Designs."  For miniatures, the name is "Havens by Jane."  I made and sold one arrangement to a lawyer.  That's it!  But that's what dreams are for.  Just to make you think you can do it.  Luckily, I'm selling my books so that dream has been fulfilled. 

Where’s the one place in the world you’d like to visit?
Pompeii.  I've always been fascinated by Roman ruins.  My first sight of real Roman ruins was in London and Bath.  That particular trip eventually brought about my debut novel Ancient Ties.  Here's the story about the creation of that book.  Many years ago, as a single woman, at the Roman Museum in Bath I took a photo of the tombstone of a Roman soldier. When the film was developed the edges of the stone were clear but the carving in the center was hazy. I told people that the soldier came out to meet me. A few years later I went back to the same museum with my new husband and took the same photo. Clear. I told people that the Roman soldier showed that he approved of my husband.  Spooky in a really sexy way.

I didn't begin writing at that point.  A few years later the story came to fruition in my mind.  It's the story of an Iowa school teacher who visits Bath, England, steps through the entry way of a 2nd Century Roman villa in ruins, and meets a Roman soldier.   Ancient Ties was born.   The book received 4-1/2 Stars and Top Pick from Romantic Times and many 5 star reviews.  That was a pretty high place to start and to live up to.  Unfortunately, Ancient Ties isn't available for sale at the moment but might be again soon.  Stay Tuned.

When the book was first released, I was in Germany with my husband and mother visiting my niece, her Army husband, and their three kids. Located near Stuttgart is Villa Rustica in Hechingen-Stein, Germany. I'd researched this 2nd C. villa for my hero Marek Benin Verus while writing the novel and was ecstatic to discover it was near to the U.S. military base at Stuttgart. On the hottest day of that year, my family and I drove to the villa and were the only people touring it that day. What a major thrill for me. I'd seen Roman ruins and antiquities in Bath (Aquae Sulis) where my story takes place, but this villa "took the cake." Another really wonderful happenstance was that on a distant mountain, you could see against the sky, an outline of a Medieval castle. Different ways of life separated by centuries and miles, but within sight of each other.  What an amazing sight.

So, this is a long way to say that I love Roman ruins and was in hog heaven when we visited Rome too some years ago.  I have more photos of the Coliseum and its arches upon arches upon arches.  Visiting Pompeii would put me back in hog heaven.  ;-)

Favorite swear word? 
The F-word!

Favorite food? 
Chocolate martinis - my favorite food of the gods.  ;-)
Thank for stopping by Jane!

And now, Darlings, pour yourself a chocolate martini (or just unwrap a truffle), put on some music and enjoy a taste of Lost and Found,

About Lost and Found
Hunky Marine Marc Rahn enlisted after his high school graduation to escape the pain of his parents’ fatal car wreck. Now on leave after eight years and multiple Middle East deployments, he returns to his small hometown to put to rest his suspicions that the “accident” might actually have been anything but.

What he doesn’t expect is an intriguing flash of a pierced nipple from a new neighbor on move-in day. The breast’s owner, Phoebe Barnes, is a beautiful young jazz singer who plans to make it big in the music business. Her early years in foster care made her hungry for attention and fame, and she’s out to achieve both at almost any cost.

Despite their differing paths, Marc and Phoebe quickly give in to the sizzling attraction between them. But will their passion turn deadly when the person who killed Marc’s family decides two murders might not have been enough?

A Romantica® suspense erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Available Now from Ellora’s Cave

Phoebe was running on nervous energy by the time her nine o’clock set started at Marietty’s. Tonight was her Al Green cover night. She’d thought about the man across the street all day, especially after seeing him in the bookstore. On the way home, she’d stopped to talk to a couple of her neighbors. None of them knew anything about him.

Pouring herself into a red knit dress that displayed a generous portion of slim thigh, a feather boa angled diagonally across her breast to cover the nipple ring, she slid her feet into four-inch stilettos and did her slinky stroll onto the stage to the sound of applause. Boy, she loved that sound.

She never had stage fright. It was her second home—maybe really her first, the one place that completely suited her, where she was the center of attention with all eyes focused on her. And she gave her audience a show.

“Ain’t no sunshine…” With deep, earthy tones, she serenaded the microphone, her lips pursed as if kissing it. She wrapped one arm around her waist. Through narrowed eyes she saw him, big as life. Bigger. His shoulders filled the entryway as he paused there. His eyes met hers. She sang directly to him, her heart pounding, voice fraught with sensual resonance. The audience thought it was part of the song. There was no way of knowing what he thought.

Singing on automatic pilot, she watched his gaze roam every inch of her, stopping at the spots he’d surely seen this morning. Her pussy lips softened and prickled and her nipples pinged with anticipatory pleasure.

The song ended and all she could focus on was him. He was suddenly closer to the stage. He’d slipped down the side of the room and enveloped himself in a nearby dark alcove, never releasing her from his compelling gaze.

She felt an overwhelming frisson of something like fear. This had never happened before. She’d never had this primal of a reaction to a man. But then she’d never even seen a man who looked this raw. He was big and dark, his huge muscles bulging from under the sleeves of his T-shirt. Jeans hugged him like a second skin. She could almost feel the wet flat of his tongue circling her…

Then she froze. She was so wrapped up in the man she hadn’t noticed Butch Wilcox standing right beside him. Were they together? Was the hunk a cop too? Her heart did a little flip-flop. Any fantasy about the neighbor guy would have to be abandoned if he turned out to be anything like Butch Wilcox.

Oh God. Silence. Flicking a glance at the audience, it was as if they’d caught the interplay between the stranger and her. Face flaming, she felt sweat pop out on her upper lip. Get it together, girl!

He hadn’t moved. Didn’t give her any help. She was on her own. Summoning her long-practiced stage presence, she towed a tall stool toward the baby grand, her knees too rubbery to stand. Settling herself and leaning her elbow on the piano, she dove into the next number.

She sang the Al Green lyrics. “You’re my one desire…”

Being this “full of fire” for a stranger was a precarious development. It got worse. Singing about raging fires and getting next to him was not helping any. Finishing the last chorus brought her own silence and the audience’s stomping and applause. The stomping would be from her friends. She bowed her head, supposing it to be dramatic, but the truth was if she glanced up it would be at the man. If he was still there.

Get a fucking grip. Show some professionalism.

With her own exhortation, she lifted her chin and aimed a smile at Moira and Davy. Thank God for their support. Smiling more broadly, she included the rest of the audience, her eyes skipping over the dark corner. Except—too late. It was empty.

Disgruntled that she’d so completely lost her composure, she pulled herself together and blew kisses at the audience, murmured a husky thank-you into the mic and exited the stage. She had to get to the little corner in the back that was her dressing room, if you could call it that. The cramped bathroom used by male and female employees alike had the only walls.

She put everything she had in her into the next set. Performing was her life’s dream and she’d be damned if she’d let some man distract her. No one was going to ruin this for her.

She’d gone on a couple of dates with Butch, but wasn’t serious about him. Since he didn’t excite her, she recollected past boyfriends to inspire the lyrics of the rest of the songs. Anything to keep the neighbor hunk out of her mind. She didn’t even know his name, so how could she sing the blues about him?

After singing the final song and changing into jeans and a blouse, she joined her friends at their table. Moira handed her a glass of icy champagne. As Phoebe sipped slowly, the bubbles popped in her mouth and she focused only on that pleasure. Now that she could relax, she wondered if he were still here. For some reason she thought she could feel his presence and it was odd to have that sensation about a man she didn’t know.

“Congratulations Phoebs, you were great as usual.”

“Thanks, Davy.”

“You seemed to be looking at someone. Were you? Or looking for someone?”

She took a sip to avoid answering until she knew what she wanted to admit.

Davy continued. “There was a gorgeous guy standing down near the end of the bar. He’s the one I’d be singing to if I had the pipes. Too bad he was with that asshole Wilcox.”

“I saw them too,” Moira added, narrowing her eyes at Phoebe.

She sucked in a quick breath and could feel her cheeks flushing. Moira didn’t know anything about this morning. It was a hilarious story, so why hadn’t she told her friends? Her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. Okay, this is all overdoing it. She took a deep breath, surreptitiously glancing around the bar, especially toward the end of the bar toward that dark alcove.

Moira and Davy’s eyebrows lifted comically like a silent movie actor’s look of extreme surprise. Both looked past her, their mouths open in absolute astonishment. Prickles raced across her neck and down her spine. Heat. Her sixth sense said man. Not just any man. Suppressing a shiver, she took another deep breath—or tried to at least—and turned to look over her shoulder.

She looked right into a bulge pushing at the straining zipper placket of snug jeans encasing lean hips. Her heart faltered, skipping and racing beats combined.

Like what you’ve read so far? Find out what happens next. Buy Lost and Found today from Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes& Noble, All Romance eBooks and other fine eBook retailers