Release Day ~ Once Upon a Spy

Join me in celebrating great friend, Sheridan Jeane’s, latest release ~ Once Upon a Spy! I’m very excited to read this historical romance. Love the cover! We were at retreat the weekend she uploaded the book to Amazon. It seemed nearly everything wanted to get in her way, stop her from meeting her deadline. But then the book faeries arrived along with a few bottles of wine…

Once Upon a Spy buy it now on Amazon.

London, 1854 – Lord Wentworth can’t refuse his brother’s request — not when war with Russia is at stake!

Robert, Earl of Wentworth, isn’t a spy, and he never wants to be one, but when his brother is injured and needs his help stealing an important book from the Russian embassy, he can’t refuse.

Antonia’s future depends on stealing that book…

Antonia has lost everything. She can’t even claim her own name. If she wants her life back, she needs that book. The problem is, Lord Wentworth just stole it from the Russian Ambassador.

…And they both need it.

The reluctant spy and the daring thief find themselves at cross-purposes. Who will win in this dangerous game of nations— especially when their hearts are at stake as well?

Find Sheridan Jeane at SheridanJeane.com

Sheridan Jeane writes exciting and emotion-packed historical romances set in the Victorian Era that confront issues of trust and conformity.

With the advent of the industrial age, life was changing. Many people tried to cling to the old ways of life while others embraced the new opportunities opening up for them.

Join Sheridan as she explores the clash between the old and the new.

Sheridan is the author of Gambling on a Scoundrel, It Takes a Spy… (Secrets and Seduction: Book 1), Lady Catherine’s Secret (Secrets and Seduction: Book 2), and Once Upon a Spy (Secrets and Seduction: Book 3).

If you’d like to come see me and lend your support, I’ll be signing books at the Angels and Sirens Author Signing Event here in Pittsburgh at Latitude 360 on March 12, 2016. The event begins at 11:00. There will be around 75 authors attending. Tickets are on sale now.
Click here for more details.

Interview with J. Richards

***Please leave a comment at the end of excerpts for a chance to win a free Ebook copy of Burning Submission or Yes, Sir.***

Over the last few months we have become great friends with so much in common including writing, migraines, and close connections to the military.  We’ve leaned on each other through our debuts to publication and had a few laughs along the way. I am very pleased you agreed to an interview with me, J. Richards.

I’ve always wondered why authors use initials with a last name for their author name and how they decide to do that. Can you tell us how J. Richards came about?

My pen name is J. Richards. It’s how I sign everything any way and how I address my letters and return addresses on mail to save space. It just seemed natural.

Natural it does.  And I have to say, J. Richards has a very nice ring to it. It’s almost as though you secretly knew you’d become a writer someday. Speaking of which, when did you first consider yourself a writer?

A few days after my debut book released and people, more than friends and family were still purchasing it I thought, “This is it. Whether big or small, you’re a real author!”

What an amazing feeling! I am so glad your stories are reaching a lot of readers. I think you hit a real nerve with married couples too. It seems so often once we have children that our time and energy is eaten up with caring for them that we kind of loose track of one another. I’m sure your story inspired changes in a lot of bedrooms. Can you tell us what inspired you to start writing?

I have always wanted to be a writer but didn’t think it would ever ‘happen’. I knew people liked my stories but I had never sat down and wrote one out, well not since high school at least. A very good friend received a contract for her book at the end of last year and I was so amazed that someone I knew and had wrote with all my life had done it! She encouraged me to write something down and submit it to a few publishers, stating that the worst that could happen was they would all say no, and I would push on to another set.

I for one am glad your girlfriend encouraged you to put a story to paper and send it out into the world.  I have lots of people it seems floating around in my head and it can be difficult to find a story they fit into. How do you develop your plot and characters?

With lots of coffee? Hehe, I don’t really know, to be honest. Each of the stories I’ve written so far have just kind of taken a life of their own once I decided they could have a life. Before I start a story I sit down with a note pad and give a general outline of where I want the story to go, what the characters will looks like and stuff like that. Although, by the end, my outline is never the same as the direction my characters turned the story in.

It still amazes me how the characters come to life while I’m the one writing, but it does happen. It’s probably why some stories feel more organic than others-the author allowed the characters to come alive. In Yes, Sir, Abby Jackson came alive on the first page and was very relatable. I’m looking forward to also reading your newest release, Burning Submission, which came out July 4th. What is the premise of this explosive story?

Burning Submission is a story of finding someone you can lean on, no matter the situation. The main character, Vicki is as strong a woman as you can come by but life throws her punch after punch. Gavin, the hot gym owner/volunteer firefighter seems to be by her side each time life knocks her back down. Instead of pushing her into his arms, he offers patience and consistency.  Gavin is the ultimate gentleman!

Two books in less than two months, I don’t know how you’ve completed so much work in such a short time period. Are you taking a little break now, or are you working on something new you would like to tell us about?

Yes! I have a new stand-alone coming out August 21st called Sinners. It is about a Submissive named Tabby who is in search of a Master who will not only control her mind as well as her plus sized body, but appreciate all of the manners and respect for BDSM protocol. Tabby finds her Master in a sex club, hidden under a white mask. He floods all her senses and asks her to be his. Their relationship builds from Master and Sub to one of friendship and love.

I also started working on a series called ‘The Wet Series’. Book one is titled ‘Drenched in Dominance’ and the second is ‘Soaked in Pleasure’. They are dark erotica’s about an ex boyfriend who is very unhappy about his relationship status.

Love the titles! Okay, something a little more personal. What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

I have PCOS, a hormone syndrome that keeps me out of work because of chronic migraines as well as other symptoms.

I’m so sorry to hear about your migraines. As you know I am also a long time sufferer as well. Migraines are not simple headaches that can be worked through all the time.  They can even be severe enough to send a person to the E.R. Not a migrainers favorite place with the bright lights and noise either. So getting off my sad rant, let’s lift the mood. Can you share with us your most embarrassing moment?

I think I have lost track. I am a klutz and a super ‘blonde’. I say really dumb things a lot even though I am not dumb at all! I think to date the best moment that my friends still go on about is – When I was 16 and learning to drive, I paid attention to EVERYTHING my dad said that was car related. One night while he was driving the person in front of us left their turn indicator on for a long time and Dad mumbled about wasting blinker fluid. I made a mental note and we went back home. A few months later I had my license and was ready to take on the world. My whole family were in the car as I drove to dinner and dad asked why I wasn’t using my blinker as often as I should, I explained I didn’t know how much blinker fluid I had and didn’t want to waste it…. Needless to say he made fun for me for a long time and made sure everyone we knew, knew about my…blinker fluid.

Blinker fluid! Now that is funny! Hope you don’t mind the suggestion, but you should find a way to put that into a book. I see a mechanic or cop in the Sub’s future. LOL Anything else you’d like to share about cars or strange habits?

I drive with my left foot tucked under my right thigh. It seems to make people crazy.

I used to do something similar on long car trips and received a lot of flak about it too, but hey we need to be comfortable when driving. Everyone has their ‘things’ including the platform, if you will, in which we read our books. Which do you prefer, Ebook or print? And why?

I love my print books but being military we move so often that they live in their boxes now and can’t live a beautiful life on a shelf.  So I have converted to Ebooks.

I do love my Ebooks because I can take them with me everywhere I go. Ebooks are also nice when you don’t want the world to know what you are reading, like the naughty little books we write.  😉 To me, I think sex can be a coping mechanism or a cure like in Twisted Candy. I don’t think of the sex as porn. How do you personally distinguish between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance?

Ohh, tough question. For me, erotic romance has a happy ending and erotica can or doesn’t have to. As for pornography, I think everyone has a different level of tolerance for images and things but for me, pornography would be movies, films or photos instead of in written word.

How do you judge what makes a good erotic story when writing your own fiction?

If it doesn’t cause me to feel some emotion while I’m writing than I start over because if I don’t feel it how will readers?

You are a very smart writer knowing you have to be connected to story in order your readers to feel the emotion of the characters you have created. What do you feel are the biggest public misconceptions about erotic romance?

I’m so new to scene I’m not sure I have a good answer. I have been reading erotic romance for many years but agree its always been looked down on as dirty or taboo. I think 50 Shades of Grey has somehow opened doors and made it more acceptable.

I learned more about you in this short interview than I thought possible. I feel like I have an inside track to your thoughts and hope your readers will feel more connected to you as well. I think interviews like this one really bring us closer to our readers because it humanizes us.

Thank you so much for spending some time with me and our readers. I hope everyone enjoys the excerpt. If you leave a comment or have a question for the wonderful J. Richards, she will randomly select someone to send a free book to.

BurningSubmission_ByJRichards-200x300

An Excerpt from Burning Submission

CHAPTER ONE

Sweat runs in tiny, slick rivers between Vicki’s breasts. Trapped in the all-too-tight sports bra, her large mounds do all they can to escape the torture of the treadmill—without success. Vicki watches her reflection in the floor-to-ceiling wall of mirrors of Jones Health and Wellness Fitness Center as her feet pound on the revolving belt, all to the rhythm of the music blasting in her ear.
Jones’s is the only gym close to her house and has a really great set-up. A few steps from the front door, a giant smoothie bar welcomes all who enter. Every kind of protein-packed juice concoction is offered for after-workout pick-me-ups. A supplement section to the left of the bar is stocked with workout gear and graphic tees to bring in extra income for the owners. Everything is always clean and inviting. Much better than the last gym she was a member of.
Vicki watches her legs move, causing her to feel like she’s in a trance. One toned thigh and then the other, the black compression capris keeping the jiggling of her hips and ass to a minimum; thank God for small blessings! Her racerback tee hangs loose, giving glimpses of her sports bra as her body sways slightly side to side, her thick ginger ponytail swishing back and forth. The ends of it tickle across her shoulder blades.
The timer on the treadmill blinks at her, indicating her thirty minutes of torture is up and she can now begin her favorite part of her day: lifting heavy shit and putting it back down. Slowing the treadmill to a stroll, she lets her heart rate come down naturally. She forces air in through her nose and out through her mouth.
She takes another glance at herself in the mirror. Her face is flushed a deep red from her efforts. She rolls her eyes at the image, hating her pale skin tone. Something behind her catches her attention: the tall man serving up smoothies from behind the bar. He has the deepest brown eyes that Vicki has ever seen on a person and his shaved head gives him a powerful, sexy look. His smile is brilliant as he hands some pink-colored drink to the man across from him.
The guy has more muscles than should be legal to carry. His sculpted biceps flex as he leans his elbows on the counter of the bar. Vicki’s stomach flutters at the sight of such a beautiful man, and her feet miss a step. Tripping over her own shoes, she fumbles for the handrails and pulls the safety magnet, bringing the treadmill to an abrupt halt. She jumps her feet to the side bars and leans over the display.
She scans her face in the mirror, heart beating wildly with the near death dash. She glares at herself. Clumsy! With another big exhale, she pushes off the treadmill. Grabbing her water bottle, she heads for the free weight section of the large gym. The long row of dumbbells sits against the large mirror. Benches and a few squat racks are spread out around her. Several larger men huff and puff as they test their personal bests.
One man to her right slams a loaded bar into the ground with an exaggerated grunt. The noise makes her jump. Vicki twists her upper body to look over her shoulder at the beast, and he grins. She wrinkles her nose at him before she turns back to face the reflective glass. She parts her feet, bending her knees slightly, stretching out the muscles she has taken the care to warm up. She presses a few buttons on her iPod to make the music fill her brain and block out the buffoons behind her. She grabs two twenty-five-pound dumbbells. Again she shifts her feet for balance. Her knees begin to bend, and a big hand smacks her left ass cheek.
The sting of the hand isn’t too bad—actually, in a different setting, she would welcome the bite of a good spanking—but the idea of someone putting their hands on her body without permission sets her blood to boil. With a scowl, she looks past herself in the mirror to see the smug man’s face, his nasty eyes still glued to her rear end. Vicki throws the weights in her hand to the padded floor. Pivoting like a professional basketball player, she tightens her abs and lets her fist fly into the man’s face.
“Fucking bitch!” he growls and steps toward her. He towers over her five-foot frame, but she doesn’t care. Squaring her shoulders, Vicki prepares to punch him again.
“Seriously?” she asks him, cocking her head to the side in a taunt. “Sexual harassment and you wanna add verbal abuse to the list?” Fluttering her eyelashes like some sweet five-year-old, she goads the beast before her.
“I’ll turn you upside down, little girl.” One more step and his chest brushes hers.
“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” A deep voice yells from behind the guy she is planning to pummel. “What the hell is going on?” It’s the god who was serving smoothies. He puts his big hand on the asshole’s chest and shoves him backward. He looks at the guy and then turns those dark chocolate eyes on Vicki.
Her already-hot blood turns up another few notches. This is a different kind of heat burning through her though, one that pools in her lower belly and begs for attention. “He smacked me,” Vicki says. Yanking her gaze from those dark brown eyes, she glares over his shoulder at the buffoon who thought it was OK to put his hands on her.
“I was giving her a compliment!” The guy tries to validate his actions. “She’s got a nice ass, and it begged me to give it a squeeze.” His eyes roam down the rest of her body. The look makes her feel sticky. Lunging forward, she tries to punch him again.
An arm as thick as a baby oak tree grabs her middle and stops her mid-jump. He pulls her to his chest with a deep chuckle. “Easy, I’ll handle it!” He speaks softly, as if trying to calm a child pitching a fit. “It’s my pleasure as the owner.”
Owner? Vicki turns her head to look up at him. His arm is crushing her body to his midsection. She watches as he speaks to the moron who touched her.
“Dave, your membership is canceled. Don’t bother asking to come back. I don’t tolerate that shit.” The owner’s face is calm but serious. His arm around her is unmovable when she struggles to step away from him.
“Come on, Gavin! I won’t do it again. This is the only gym within thirty minutes. You can’t kick me out!” The big jerk whines like a teenager missing prom, and a wicked grin splits Vicki’s face. She lifts a hand and makes a small, waving gesture.
“I won’t put my members at risk. Get your stuff and get out. I’ll reimburse this month’s fee.” Gavin’s arm finally releases Vicki, and she takes a few steps from him, turning her back on Dave, not even caring that his membership is being canceled. Serves his dumb ass right. She wiggles her fingers in a wave as Dave storms off, but she hisses through her teeth at a sharp burn in her knuckles.
Gavin grins and his head tips to the side in the same playful manner she used a few moments ago. “What happened, Million Dollar Baby?” he teases. “Let me see.” He holds out his hands and makes the “give them to me” motion.
Vicki rolls her eyes at the gesture. “His face was just harder than I expected it to be. I am fine.” She pulls her hands into her chest and forces a smile up at the taller man. This close up, he’s even better-looking than she originally thought.
“Nope.” He smiles and grips the wrist of her injured hand with his right, pulling slowly but firmly.
“Uhh.” Vicki breathes, tensing her bicep and resisting his pull.
“Stronger than you look.” He grins again. His pull on her tiny wrist still increases but slow enough so he doesn’t hurt her. Both of their eyes are on her straining arm. With a huff, she gives up and lets him have her hand. He turns it and gently peels her fingers open. “Just a few cracks. Let’s get some ice on here before you swell up and can’t use it tomorrow.” His big hand engulfs hers as he leads her to smoothie bar.
Lifting up the counter hatch, Gavin ushers her through the opening, then shuts it softly behind her. A feeling of being trapped in an open place begins to overwhelm her. Vicki tugs against his hold on her wrist and he allows no give. Turning to face her, Gavin gives her a playful smile before finally letting go. Before she can take a sigh of relief, his big hands grip her sides, just above her hips, and he lifts her up with ease. He sets her ass on the top of the bar, and his eyes meet hers.
“I can’t sit up here!” she squeals and tries to slip her bum from the slick surface. Gavin raises an eyebrow, his fingers pressing a fraction tighter into her skin.
“You can, you will.” He moves his hands when Vicki stops squirming. “It’s my bar and you need medical attention.” His smile is so cheeky. “Plus, I do what I want.” He gives her a wink before turning to the ice chest and shoveling a few cubes into a clean sweat towel. Twisting the fabric so no ice can escape, he presses the self-made compress to the back of her hand.
“Thank you,” Vicki mumbles. She uses her other hand to keep the ice in place and shifts again. The gym goers all stop and give her strange looks. “I’ll just get my stuff from my locker and call it a day.” She begins to push off the bar again when that large hand stops her. With a long exaggerated sigh, Vicki looks up.
“Not yet.” Gavin’s face has become serious again. “I’d like to talk about what happened, if you don’t mind, Victoria.”
“Um, it’s just Vicki, and I really am fine. I can handle myself.”
“Just Vicki, huh?” he asks, his long fingers stroking the outside of her kneecap. “Is that what your Mama named you?”
“No.” She shakes her head. “But everyone calls me Vicki.”
“I am not everyone, Victoria.” Gavin’s voice is as rich and dark as his eyes. The kind of voice you either shiver back from or find deep comfort in, depending on who you are. Vicki is drawn to his voice like a moth to a flame.
“Wait? How do you know my name anyway?” she asks, trying to distract him.
“Your membership profile. Everyone has one, and I try to remember names and faces to make people feel more welcome.” He grins and his fingers trace down her shin. Goose bumps rise in their wake. “Is it working?”
Vicki scoots back on the bar. “Is what working?” Flames of a nature that Vicki isn’t used to lick up her thighs and start burning in her center. His body, easy smile, and those damn fingers are beginning to mess with her train of thought.
“The welcoming gym owner thing?” He smirks.
“Oh, ah, Yeah. Sure is!” Why are her emotions turning in circles on her? Maybe her cycle is coming early this month. “Look, Gavin.” His name feels so good her in mouth. “I really appreciate you helping. I didn’t expect you to kick him out, but I am really glad you did.” She looks up into his eyes. “I am not upset and am fine to go.”
He looks her right in the eyes and says, “No.”

tn

An Excerpt from Yes, Sir

CHAPTER ONE
I always look forward to girls’ night. A few hours, every other week, where I am allowed to be me. Just Abby. Not the wife and mother that I struggle to be day in and day out. Tonight we’ve chosen the fun and casual atmosphere of Submerge. The bar is filled with a soft blue hue and laughter is abundant. People mill about in groups for after-work drinks. Football games from TVs in every corner of the room and loud pop music blasts against my ears.
“OK!” Kelly squeals as she presses another beer into my hands. The foam spills over the top, and I can’t stop the girly giggle that escapes my lips as I run my hands over the glass, flicking the excess liquid in her direction. Her nose wrinkles and she pinches my side. More giggles ensue before she begins again. “It’s dare time!” she whispers all too loudly and we huddle together, eyes spanning over the crowd in the bar. “I dare you to get a guy to take a shot from your cleavage.” She wiggles her perfectly threaded eyebrows at me.
“What! Are you crazy?” I half-heartedly gasp. In real life, I would never contemplate doing such a thing, but girls’ night isn’t real life. It’s escape. “Do I get to pick him?” I laugh before swallowing down half of my beer for courage.
“What fun would that be?” She grins wickedly and sits up taller to look for her victim. “You would choose the meekest man in here.” Kelly’s lips part in an O and she points a finger. I have to lean against her to see whom she has picked out.
At the end of the bar, where the light doesn’t seem to reach, stands a large figure. The air around him shivers with his calm confidence. My tummy flutters and I shake my head. “No. I don’t think he likes shots!” I pray she will spare me and pick another. The mischief in her face says I don’t stand a chance. I slide off the counter high bar stool and smooth my hands down my thighs. I tug at the hem of my fitted tee self-consciously.
“Oh, quit.” Her manicured hand swipes through the air. “Go!” she snickers over her beer. Settling in for the show. I roll my eyes at her and try to hold in my whine. Taking a deep breath, I make my way to the bar.
Several stools separate me from the man I have to convince to take a shot from my tits. Leaning my elbows on the sleek bar top, I try to catch the eye of the bartender. While I wait, my eyes skim over the man. Dark hair falls over his forehead in an Eduardo Verastegui kind of way. My fingers suddenly itch to run through that tempting darkness. His long fingers are swiping over a cell phone in a shockingly fast pace. The glow of the phone showing off his thick eyelashes over light eyes. Are they blue or green? I can’t tell from this far away.
“What can I get you?” the bartender asks, his voice startling me from my observations. I smile sweetly and ask for a shot of vodka. I look back at Kelly. She makes shooing motions with her hands in an attempt to hurry me along. I’d better come up with a great dare to compete with this.
“Here you go, beautiful,” the bartender yells, placing the shot in front of me. I smile at his attempt in a higher tip. He seems so young and full of energy as he zips up and down the bar, filling drinks left and right. God, when did I get so old? His toothy smile and the goofy way he is looking at my cleavage makes me giggle. I grab a folded five-dollar bill from my bra and hold it up between two of my fingers.
“Thanks, doll.” I watch him snatch the money from my hand and dart to another customer.
With the small shot glass in hand, I steel my nerves, positive that this strange man will send me on my way, probably before I can even mention the shot. I wish briefly that I dressed up for tonight’s outing but shake the feeling off and try to flood my nerves with confidence. I normally stand two inches over five feet, but tonight my four-inch heels give me added self-assurance. My faded blue jeans hug tightly over my plump ass and my comfortable worn-in tee shows plenty of cleavage. What man wouldn’t want the chance to get closer to my curvaceous body?
Quickly, I pull my strawberry blond hair from the messy bun on top of my head. The waves tumble down against my shoulders and I lift my chin. Now or never, Abby! Placing the shot on the counter in front Mr. Dark and Handsome, I lick my suddenly dry lips and clear my throat.
His strong jaw lifts up from his phone and his gaze heats my skin, starting at the very top of my head and moving achingly slow down to my toes. “Yes?” He smirks at me. I can feel a burning blush crawl up my pale throat and bloom over my freckled cheeks.
“Hi.” I look up at him and feel my heart sliding down into my stomach. “I, um, have a terribly awkward favor to ask you.” My hip leans against the bar and I turn my shoulders toward his direction, offering more of my body for his visual pleasure.
“Really?” he asks, tucking his phone into his jacket pocket. “And how can I help you, little one?” His smile is easy and wicked. This man is made of sin, I am sure of it.
“My friend.” I point my small index finger at Kelly and she waves like the goof she is. I laugh at her and drop my face into my hands. I yank in another deep breath before lifting my head to look into his soft blue eyes. “She dared me.” I pause again, unsure of how to say the dare to a stranger without sounding like a moron. My teeth sink into the left side of my lower lip. He drops his elbow against the bar top and leans in slightly. My eyes jump over his wide shoulders. He is wearing a white cotton T-shirt under a dark suit jacket and jeans a few shades darker than mine.
“Yes?” He seems amused by my struggle and the situation. He looks down at my left hand resting on my hip. My big square-cut wedding ring is catching the soft blue lights and tossing them off my hand. One of his eyebrows jumps up in silent questioning.
“The evil bitch dared me to ask you to take a shot.” I wrinkle my nose. “From my chest?” I turn my head in embarrassment ready to flee as soon as he says he would never do anything so foolish.
“Ah.” He chuckles. Those long fingers of his circle the rim of the shot glass. “And would your husband approve of your actions?” Again my teeth sink harshly into my lip.
“Oh, um. No, he wouldn’t.” My eyes are mesmerized by his finger, like he has hypnotist powers or something, and I shift my feet nervously. “But it’s girls’ night!” I force a smile and push my hip from the bar to stand in front of him in an attempt to look flirty and fun. I guess I’ll just wish him well and go punch Kelly in the thigh for the humiliation she has caused me.
His hand comes up and softly grips my elbow. There is no pain but also no give. “Who am I to ruin girls’ night?” he asks in a deep tone that causes a shiver down my spine. The other big, big strong hand of his comes up to rest against my hip and he tugs me until I am standing between his thighs. My eyes widen and I look up at him. “Here,” he says softly, placing the shot glass into my hand.
I look back at Kelly one last time before tucking the chilly glass between my hot breasts. Small chill bumps rise over my skin and he chuckles again. The sound makes my throat tighten and my back lengthen as I stand up taller.
The hand that was against my elbow slowly moves up to the back of my neck. His thumb strokes down the pulsing vein in my throat. His eyes are running over my flushed face, my throat, the rise and fall of my chest as I struggle to appear calm. “Ready?” he asks.
“Um.” I shift under his hands.
“Say, ‘Yes, sir,’” he coaches me. My brain spins and I almost forget where I am.
“Yes, sir,” I whimper just above a whisper and his head lowers. A soft clink catches my ears as his teeth grip the edge of the glass. Throwing his head back smoothly, I watch the vodka drain from the glass and his throat swallow. His hands slide off my body and he pulls the glass from his lips.
“Now, thank me,” he says with that wicked smile of his. You would think he had just held the door for me and expected a pleasant thank you.
“Th-thank you,” I whisper, unable to take my eyes away from his. He leans back and finally I can breathe. His chin juts out toward Kelly, indicating I should go. As if he has more control over my body than I do, my feet turn and I can hear the clicking of my heels as I hurry back to my friend.
“Oh my God!” Kelly gushes when I sit down. Her hands fly to her heart and she looks me over. “That looked very intense! I can’t believe you really did it!”
Grabbing my beer, I finish it off and slam it a bit too hard against the table. “Me either.” I look over my shoulder and see Mr. Dark and Handsome looking me over. Shaking my head, I turn back to Kelly. “I almost had a heart attack!” Playfully, I reach out and punch her in her thigh.
“Ow! Damn.” She giggles. “OK, OK. Enough fun for one night.” She looks at her watch. “Our few hours of freedom are up anyway.” She jumps off the stool and tucks her purse under her arm. “Go start the car and I’ll settle the tab.”
I can’t refuse her offer after what just happened. “Thank you.” I huff in fake aggravation and walk out of the bar without looking at Mr. Dark and Handsome. Mind you, the effort that it takes is more than great. The air outside the bar is chilly, and I welcome the bite of it. Getting into the car, I start the engine and run my hands up and down my thighs in effort to rub out the feelings running through me. I didn’t even ask his name and yet feel as though he saw through me, to my very soul. Not only saw my soul but took possession of it. I shake my head, wishing to forget about tonight.

Interview with Maggie Preston

Hi, Maggie! It is so great of you to spend some time with me today. I remember when we first met how strong and outgoing you were and how easy it was for you talk about the sex scenes in your current manuscript. I still turn pink just thinking about it.

In all the time we spent together, I never asked what inspired you to start writing. So many writers I’ve spoken with over the years found their love of writing sometime in junior high or high school. When did you find the writing bug?

In 8th grade I had to write a short story for English class. I got an A and was hooked. In high school I wrote very angst-driven stories of teenage love that of course never had a happy ending. I think all of my heroines ended up dying. And then I read Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwiss and I started writing historical romance. It just grew from there.

I have never read Kathleen Woodiwiss before, but after checking out Ashes in the Wind, I’m ready to buy the kindle edition. Thanks, Maggie. We know who inspired you to become a writer, who is your favorite author and why?

I love many authors but I think Susan Elizabeth Phillips is the one I aspire to be most like. She creates such wonderful conflict between her characters. You start the book and look at these two people and think, there’s no way they can find love. But of course, they do.

I’ve read some of your work and I do believe you learned how to create a great deal of conflict between your characters. To be able to create so much angst between the characters must take a lot of planning. How do you develop your plot and characters?

I’m very analytical – charts, plots, graphs – so I’m plotter rather than a pantser. I use a bunch of tools developed by much better writers than myself. There’s GMC by Debra Dixon. The W Plot by Karen Docter. The Writer’s Brainstorming Kit by Pam McCutcheon and Michael Waite. Recently I also came up with something I call Lessons Learned. It’s the things the characters have to learn or compromise on in order to find their happily ever after. By the time I fill out all my charts and graphs, I’ve got a direction. There are always surprises that happen while writing and those are fun. For instance, in Sex and Insensibility, there’s a big secret reveal at the end of the book that was as much a secret to me as it (hopefully) was to the reader! I literally didn’t know this about the character until I was writing the words. But once I wrote it, it was a natural part of the character.

Wow, Maggie! You do put a lot of work into the planning stages of a book. Now I want to know, when you are doing all this planning, what comes first, the plot or characters?

It’s usually simultaneous for me. Sex and Insensibility started because of a story on the news about a woman who ran over her husband in the hotel parking lot where she caught him cheating. The character names were a play on the names of two people I worked with.

Pulled from the headlines, I like it!  Reminds of our Writer’s Retreat a few years back. You were mulling over a story idea about a woman backing over her ex-husband a couple of times in the driveway when he showed up unexpectedly. Tell me, what is your favorite scene in this book and why?

My favorite scene is the funeral. I wasn’t going to put the scene in the book – I really don’t want to seem disrespectful. And it’s a romance after all. But it’s a pivotal scene for the heroine, the romance and the plot. The book wouldn’t be complete without it.

I think there is something to be said about the symbolism found between life and death. The next book I’m purchasing as an award to myself will definitely be Sex and Insensibility. Have to know what happens at the funeral. Besides being pleased with yourself knowing I now have to complete a writing task to earn my award, what story are you working on now?

I’m working on Book 2 of my Lovers of Belle Terre series, a story that revolves around Riley Kenner and Jackson Guidry from the first book. I’m also finishing up the edits on an erotic story that explores a FMF threesome, some bondage and intriguing uses for a feather.

A series called Lovers of Belle Terre really sounds like a heartwarming love story. On the opposite end, your FMF sounds volcanic hot! I imagine the books you read are just as varied. What are you reading now-last book you read?

I’m usually reading a few books. Boundary Crossed by Melissa F. Olsen. Haunted House by JA Konrath. Love Encounters by LaNora Mangano. 

Yes, I was definitely right. You can tell just by the titles what type of book you might be getting into…scary, and not saying which one from above is the scary one! I’ve heard some people come up with a book title first then write the book. How do you come up with your titles?

They usually just come to me, sort of with the plot and characters. The exception is my current WIP, book 2 in my series. I have no clue what to call it! I know what book 3 is called, but not book 2.

Naming books can be difficult especially in a series because they all need to be connected and lead you to the next. You are so witty though, it won’t take you long to figure out a cleaver title. Which reminds me, when we meet you scared me just a little bit. I’m sure you are wondering why. Sounds funny I suppose, but I didn’t know what to think of the snarky woman sitting across from me writing erotica. To me, writing has always been a refined profession and after reading one or two erotic books, my perception hasn’t changed. How do you personally distinguish between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance?

Erotic romance – the key word being romance – is a happily ever after story. Doesn’t matter how many people are involved, the relationship is going to be forever.

Erotica – more the happily for now. The reader isn’t sure if it will last forever, but it’s a good relationship. Both erotic romance and erotic focus on the physical side of the relationship but it’s still secondary to the plot. It’s just a lot of the plot develops while someone is naked.

Pornography – it’s just sex. I’m not against porn but I like that connection people find in a developing relationship.

What a great way to look at the three categories differently and just because a story is erotic, doesn’t mean it isn’t ‘refined’. Sometimes a story just needs to be told in the erotic genre to really experience the full impact. With that said, what do you think are the biggest public misconceptions about erotic romance?

That it’s just porn for women. Again, I’m not against porn. Porn for men. Porn for women. If they’re legal and consenting…go for it. But erotica and erotic romance are more. If romance is about empowering women, erotica is about taking that empowerment to the next level. The women just aren’t in charge of their happiness, but their emotional and sexual satisfaction. At least that’s how I see it.

Thank you for spending time with me. I must say, Maggie, this has been a very enlightening interview. I think your readers will enjoy learning a little bit more about you as I have. I hope you will come back. If you haven’t learned enough about Maggie, check her website, FaceBook, or Twitter pages:

Website: authormaggiepreston.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaggiePrestonAuthor

Twitter: @maggie_preston

Buy Link: www.bookstrand.com/sex-and-insensibility

Bio:

Maggie Preston fell in love with romance before she knew what it was, stealing paper back novels from her grandmother’s closet when her mother wasn’t looking. She finished her first novel in college, written during class when she was supposed to be taking notes. Luckily a very good friend would trade notes for new pages. She currently balances her life between the right brain and left brain, technical writer and quality management consultant by day, romance writer by night.

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  • Teaser Blurb

A few things stand between Lara Haley and Will Kenner finding happily ever after: his ex-wife, her dead husband, three kids, two dogs, one kitten and a flaming bulldozer.

  • Excerpt

“I haven’t had a drink in a really long time.” She took another long sip and again Will watched the muscles in her neck, letting his face follow the arch of her throat to the open vee of her t-shirt. She licked her lips then added, “Brian said it was unladylike.”

Brian. The someone in question, no doubt. Will hated him instantly. Not for marrying Lara. Not for being good enough in the eyes of her parents to marry Lara. But for not treasuring her once he had her. The rest he could forgive but the latter… Of course, Brian was dead. It was hard to hold a grudge against a dead man. Will had tried for years.

Lara interrupted his thoughts. “Does this drink have a name?”

The rapid change in the tone of her voice left him a little dazed, as if something rushed by quick enough to steal the breath from his lungs. Tension prickled along his skin.

“I love drinks with names, not that I drink but today…today I feel like having a drink with a name.”

Will smiled, slowly letting the grin broaden on his face. “It has a name.”

She took another long sip, watching him over the rim of the glass. Waiting.

Finally, she prodded him. “Well?”

Patience never was a virtue with Lara. But then again, in high school she’d never had to wait for anything she truly wanted. Will wondered if anything had changed.

He moved closer to her. “It’s called a Long, Slow Comfortable Screw.”

Lara’s mouth formed that cute little ‘o’ again and a rosy flush brightened beneath the spattering of freckles. He stopped with less than an inch between them, the air suddenly energized and warm as if the two of them this close together created heat and other forces of nature. Will leaned down and took the glass from Lara’s hand – not afraid she would drop it but afraid she would crush it in the white-knuckled press of her fingers.

Will couldn’t resist and went in for the kill. “Are you ready for another?”

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