I want to thank each of you Jasmine, Jaci, Joey, and Denise for agreeing to be interviewed today:
Could each of you briefly introduce yourselves to the readers?
Jasmine: Thanks so much for having us! As Jasmine Haynes, I write erotic romance for Berkley and Loose-Id.com. As Jennifer Skully I write humorous romantic suspense and as JB Skully, I’ve penned the Max Starr mystery series available through LiquidSilverBooks.com. I live among the Redwoods in the San Francisco Bay Area with my dog Star and a bunch of wild cats. Oh, and my husband, too! Can’t forget him! Readers can learn about me on my website http://www.jasminehaynes.com/ and my blog http://www.jasminehaynes.blogspot.com/. Readers can also join my e-newsletter on the site for updates on contests and new releases.
Jaci: I’ve written over 40 books in multiple genres and have been published since 2003. I got my start in e-publishing and currently write for Berkley and recently signed a contract with MIRA. Right now I’m concentrating on erotic romance and romantic suspense. I live in Oklahoma with my husband and our 5 dogs. You can find out more about me and my books at http://www.jaciburton.com/.
Joey: It’s lovely to be here. I live on the Carolina coast with way too many animals and a husband currently addicted to World of Warcraft (though we’ve recently been told he needs to convert his addiction to Star Trek online – oy). I write 3-4 books/year; therefore, I have no life beyond meeting deadlines and promoting my work (laughter – it’s probably good that my husband has an addiction!). I write paranormal and contemporary erotic romance for Berkley Heat, Berkley Sensation and Ellora’s Cave. My work tends to be of the BDSM genre and is characterized by its deep emotion and strong characterization. I write about vampires, mermaid/angels, witches, cops, sexy corporate executives, owners of BDSM clubs, etc. I love to explore how people can heal pain and connect with another through raw sexual expression and surrender. I have about 20 titles out, and you can find free excerpts and blurbs on all of them on my website, http://www.storywitch.com/. I also write free vignettes featuring characters from my full length works. I put those on my blog and yahoo fan group (those links are also on my home page), as well as offer a monthly newsletter with contests for books and sometimes exclusive early excerpts to upcoming releases.
Denise: An absolute pleasure to be here, Greta. Thank you for the invitation. Okaay. Well, I’m an Aussie. Beyond that, I’m small, noisy and tend to wave my hands around a lot, which can be unfortunate if the tale I’m telling happens to have explosions in it. When I was very small, I had an aunt who would tell me the most wonderful fairy tales – all original. I grew up, as little girls do, but the magic of story still dazzles and enthralls me. On the good days, I like to think of myself as Scheherazade’s sister. On the bad days – not so much.
I remain an incurable romantic who loves happy endings, heart-pounding adventure and the eventual triumph of good over evil. All hail the guys in the white hats – unless the ones wearing black are more…um…interesting?
A two-time winner of the Passionate Plume Award (I’m very proud of that!), my work has been described as ‘darkly intense, warmly romantic, and blazingly erotic’. One particularly discerning reviewer praised my ‘erotic scenes that exude sensuality without sounding at all cliché’. Lord, I want that woman’s babies. *grin*
I’m published with Berkley Ace, Sensation and Heat, and also Ellora’s Cave.
You can find excerpts, free stories and more about me than you ever wanted to know at my website http://www.deniserossetti.com/ I also send out a monthly newsletter which features exclusive peeks at new works, contests and prizes, general gossip and a monthly serial with no redeeming features except that it’s naughty, silly – and readers get to participate. There’s a sign-up link on my website.
Jasmine: In La Petite Mort, supermodel-turned-cosmetics-executive Sophia faces the potential of a life-threatening illness, and she now regrets all the fantasies she was too career-focused to fulfill. CEO Ford Connelly doesn’t give a damn that he’s Sophia’s boss, he means to fulfill the one fantasy she revealed to him, two men to give her all the pleasure she’s denied herself. Readers can find a La Petite Mort excerpt on my website.
Jaci: Ella Hicks is a widow who took over her husband’s construction company after he died. Clay Mansfield is a friendly rival who meets Ella in Hawaii and offers a no strings fling when Ella decided to have sex again. But these two lovers realize that the bond of love and passion often has strings attached. You can read an excerpt of No Strings Attached here at my website http://www.jaciburton.com/lacedwithdesire.html.
Joey: My story is a standalone, but it is part of a series called the Knights of the Boardroom, which features five heroes who are high level manufacturing executives and strong sexual Masters. In each book, one of the heroes finds his soulmate, and must use all his sensual talents – as well as those of the other four men – to convince her to surrender to his love. In Honor Bound, the Laced with Desire contribution, Peter Winston is a member of the National Guard as well as a successful businessman. The night before he heads out on his second Afghanistan tour, he meets Dana, a sexual submissive who gets into his head and heart the way no woman ever has. But Dana is also an Army sergeant. It will be over a year before they see one another again, and when they do, she’s suffered injuries that have taken her sight and will to live. With the creative use of a corset and the talents of the other “Knights”, Peter sets the stage for another special night for them, knowing that only a submissive’s willingness to trust her Master will bring her back to love and life again.
Denise: I think I got browbeaten into this story – by my own character, no less. The hero is Rhiomard, a battle-scarred veteran of both love and war, a soldier right down to his bootstraps and a Captain in the Queen’s Guard. Rhio started life as a convenience, a secondary character in Rubies and Black Velvet (in Unlaced) and Thief of Light.
But was that enough? Oh no. Rhio refused point-blank to go away. In the end, he folded his brawny arms, fixed the Muse with a steely gaze and demanded a suitably macho Happy Ending. The Muse caved, ‘cos big manly men do that to her every time, the flighty creature.
So Rhio got his story and his woman. He’s never met a woman as fierce, as fascinating – as downright dangerous –as Dancer. Even worse, she’s up to her pretty neck in political intrigue. She just might kill him before they’re through, but what a glorious way to go! And I have to say, the Muse and I enjoyed the process very much, though we’re not so sure about Rhio. He had to do an awful lot of quick thinking. But then, he was always good at that…
You can read a nice fat excerpt here - nice fat excerpt from Rhio’s Dancer here.
Jasmine: The theme of the two anthologies is obviously corsets, but the stories are all stand-alone. However, in La Petite Mort, you will find characters from my Courtesans Tales, both Yours For the Night (Book 1) and Hers for the Evening (Book 2), put out by Berkley Heat.
Jaci: The two anthologies aren’t connected at all, so readers don’t have to read UNLACED in order to read LACED WITH DESIRE. Of course, we hope you’ll want to read both!
Joey: While we’d be delighted for you to read both, no, you don’t need to read them in order. My story in Unlaced is Controlled Response, Book 2 of the Knights of the Boardroom series, and it’s a standalone just like Honor Bound. In that one, the CFO, Lucas, stumbles upon a beautiful woman pleasuring herself on a Harley in a secluded Berkshire glade. The encounter they have burns itself into his mind, because she gets away before he can get her name. Then he ends up facing her across the boardroom table a month later and a battle of wills commences!
Denise: Nope, not at all. Rhio’s Dancer is perfectly fine as a stand-alone story, though it’s set in the same Pentacles universe as my hot fantasy series for Berkley – The Flame and the Shadow, Thief of Light and my novella in the Unlaced anthology, Rubies and Black Velvet.
Is it usual or unusual for the same authors to appear in multiple anthologies like UNLACED and LACED WITH DESIRE?
Jasmine: Although we’re not the first, it’s not that common. Working with my co-authors has been a wonderful experience. They’re all great writers, and I think our styles mesh well while at the same time each giving readers something different. I’m happy to have been given a second chance to be in another anthology with these talented ladies.
Jaci: I think it’s been done before, but not that often. And I know we were all thrilled when Berkley asked us to do another anthology together. I love working with these incredibly talented authors and am honored to be in another book with them.
Joey: Though I’m not much of an anthology reader (I read like I write – looonng – laughter), I haven’t noticed a lot of anthologies that utilize the same group of authors each time, so maybe we are a little unique. The readers liked our first set of “corset” stories, the way our four styles meshed, so the publishers thought it worth doing it again. I’ve really enjoyed sharing the cover with these three talented ladies, so I’d be happy to keep doing that each year (smile).
Denise: Don’t theeenk so. All I do know is that our editor was delighted with reader response to Unlaced. Also that publishers like to make money and authors need to eat. *smile* Besides, we had a total blast with Unlaced. The J’s are seriously wicked fun!
Jasmine: Desire is an intense emotional need that has profound physical effects, the way your skin tingles, your breath sharpens, your pulse races. A simple touch can make you burn. It’s generated in the heart and soul and mind with wonderful physical ramifications. It’s wanting someone so badly you can’t see straight.
Jaci: Desire is the feeling of wanting someone with a deep need that you can feel right down to your toes. It’s a warmth that builds from the inside, that envelops you with a slow heat that draws in all your senses and directs them at that one person you want more than anything.
Joey: A yearning that can’t be ignored, that springs from intuition, the heart and soul, not the mind. As a result it can often override good sense, or at least breaks down the normal rules/boundaries a person imposes upon herself. For instance, when Dana first sees Peter, he’s many things she normally doesn’t go after. However, the BDSM club environment, the fact she’s on military leave, and the fact that she’s always yearned for a certain type of Master (and he’s emanating those vibes bigtime!), make it impossible for her to refuse her own desires.
Denise: Dictionary definitions are so bald – want, wish. There’s a whole range of emotion and physical sensation bound up in the word ‘desire’. It encompasses craving and yearning and yes, lust, but it’s much more than that. Doesn’t matter how wet you get, how you can’t catch your breath, desire is only powerful because it encompasses connection.
There’s no scientific explanation for it, the discernable click! that tells you want this man and not this other. Pheromones? Opposites attracting? Proximity? Who knows? I don’t think anyone understands it, either in real life or in fiction. But it’s beautiful and enthralling and overwhelming, and in my books, I get to live it over and over. Gosh, it’s good.
Jasmine: Once my characters become real to me, it isn’t difficult to show their desire for each other. It comes across in how they think, how they feel when they’re close, how everything they say to each other seems to have a double meaning. As I’m writing, it’s as if I’m feeling what they feel and that helps it come across on the page. The desire isn’t in the physical act, but in the way they feel and think about each other.
Jaci: I think if you have characters who truly desire each other, it’s not difficult at all to showcase it. It shows in the way they look at each other, a subtle touch that ignites a spark, in the context of their dialogue. Every time they’re together their desire for each other is evident, even if the scene is one of anger or frustration or laughter. Desire is hard to mask so when it’s there it’s easy to see…or to read.
Joey: If you connect to the characters, it’s not difficult at all. There’s always this point between the first and second draft where I have to hit that groove. Once I’m there, I can dive into the heroine’s head and feel how the hero arouses her, not only by stimulating her senses, but by how he relates to her and keys into her deepest needs. At that point, I can also step into his mind and feel how much he desires the heroine, what he will do to persuade her that he can love her like no other, and that she can trust him with her heart and body (since a woman’s heart and body are inextricably entwined when it comes to desire).
To convey all that to the reader is a trick of its own, though it’s in the tiny details, both physically and emotionally. When Dana and Peter first meet (this excerpt is on my website), she notes many things about his appearance that attract her interest, emotionally and physically – how he sits, the way he listens to his companions, how his shirt fits his body, the lean length of thigh in his jeans, the intensity of the storm gray eyes… Whereas when he first sees her, he notices the mask she’s wearing, as well as the armed services tattoos on her nearly bare back that declare her sense of duty and patriotism. It tells him she’s a woman of conviction, and he follows that ink from her delicate nape down to the curve of her buttocks in her nearly transparent club wear… In short, a picture is being built in the reader’s mind, and if you create desire there, you’ve successfully conveyed the desire between the characters.
Denise: Not sure how easy it is, but I enjoy the hell out of it. *grin*
An erotic romance without sexual tension isn’t erotic and it isn’t a romance, so I guess I’d better be able to show desire. Not to be too technical but the best way to do that is write from writers call ‘deep point of view’ – that is, from the inside of the character’s head, so the reader is in effect looking out through their eyes, feeling what they feel, every touch, every quiver..
For example, here’s Rhio watching Dancer perform for the fist time. Can you see her through his eyes?
Gods, she was intense, wholly engaged in her artistry, lost in the music. The faintest of lines between her brows revealed her concentration. A drop of sweat trickled from her hairline and down the side of her face. His feet planted solidly apart, his face a careful blank, Rhio could almost taste the salt of that liquid on his tongue, feel the heat radiating from the dark honey of her skin.
The music built to a crescendo, dropped, and built again. No one in the chamber moved, save the dancer. When her dark gaze flicked past him, and returned, Rhio felt the touch of it like a branding iron. Clenching his fists behind his back, he fought for breath.
Later, she subjects him to a public test of his courage and when he passes with flying colours (hey, he’s the hero!), she gives him his reward – an erotic dance for him alone. The air between them is thick with unfulfilled desire and the scene sets the tone for the rest of the story.
Jasmine: I’ve got a busy upcoming year. After Laced with Desire in February, I’ve got Take Your Pleasure, my first e-release from Loose-Id.com, coming in April. In May and December, readers can find the next two books in my Courtesans Tales, Hers for the Evening and Mine Until Morning. And finally, November will see the mass market release of my Holt Medallion winner, The Fortune Hunter. The second book in that series, Show and Tell, will be out in mass market sometime in 2011.
Jaci: Bound Branded & Brazen releases March 2nd and is an erotic contemporary ranch story. In July is Nauti and Wild, an anthology with Lora Leigh that includes one of my Wild Riders stories. And in September is Riding The Night, the final book of my Wild Riders series.
Joey: Aside from Laced with Desire, I have two books coming out in my Vampire Queen series: Vampire Mistress in May 2010, and Vampire Trinity in September 2010. These books are the two-part story of Gideon, a cynical vampire hunter who gets in the unlikely situation of helping a Mistress of a BDSM club, who is brutally turned by a pack of rogue vampires. He also finds himself partnered with a mysterious male vampire in order to help her with that transition. It’s a ménage, and for those who are familiar with the series, Gideon is Jacob’s brother, Jacob being a character from the first two books, though it isn’t necessary to read those to read these (though it might be fun – wink). I also have a contemporary coming out in February called Branded Sanctuary, which is part of my Nature of Desire series. Brendan is an extraordinary sexual submissive, uniquely attuned to satisfying a Mistress’s needs, but he falls in love with Chloe, a troubled woman who is not part of the D/s scene at all. However, in order to heal, she desperately needs the talents Brendan has. The question is, can Chloe be what he needs, in order to give them a chance at forever?
Denise: I’m hard at work on Book #3 in the Four-sided Pentacles series and having a ton of evil fun with a silent deadly warrior and the woman who baffles him by walking right through his barriers as if they didn’t exist. In their spare time, there’s a delightfully creepy bad guy to deal with, not to mention saving the world as we know it. No sweat. That’s scheduled for release early next year.
The moment it’s finished I’m diving back into Book #4 in the Phoenix Rising series for Ellora’s Cave, aiming for a release later this year. Another delicious ménage – one all-too-human master thief, a man without a conscience, and two Aetherii lovers. For those who aren’t aware, Aetherii have magnificent wings and wicked feathery tails. Liseriel the Gray is serious, practical and tough, the sort of woman who needs lightening up in a big way, and Dax is – well, he’s Dax – not quite an innocent, but a truly good soul. He’s so lovely and he’s going to be so thoroughly corrupted. *happy sigh*
Is there anything that you would like to ask the readers?
Jasmine: What are your romantic plans for Valentines?
Jaci: Yes, this is a very important question. What’s your favorite pizza topping?
Joey: What do readers want most from an anthology? The most common drawback you hear about them is that the stories are too short, and don’t give a sense of fulfillment. So in your favorite anthologies, what specific qualities made them your favorites and avoided that pitfall?
Denise: I love me an alpha hero, all dark and deadly and dominating, but there’s something about those guy that makes me yearn to take them down a peg or two. I can’t help myself, my alphas are flawed. Sometimes they even have to be rescued by the heroine. Of course, it’s their own fault for being so brave, but it pisses them off to the max. The poor darlings are always full of angst. To see a strong man trust the heroine enough to make himself vulnerable, even to the extent of cathartic tears is beautiful to me and yes, romantic.
Do these qualities necessarily turn an alpha hero into a beta? Do readers think the less of these heroes, preferring the totally ‘together’ guy who never loses his cool?
And from all of us, thanks for having us!!!!
***Leave a comment answering Jasmine, Jaci, Joey, and Denise’s questions or asking them a question and one lucky person will win a copy of both UNLACED and LACED WITH DESIRE. Good Luck