‘Dear Dictator’: A Review

Didja ever see a movie that just blew your freakin’ mind?

What I like best is when you pull a movie out of the bin at the dollar-store, buy it because it was cheap, watch it because you’re mildly curious… and THEN it blows your mind! That’s even better than falling in love with some big-budget blockbuster, because you kinda see those coming.

I, however, am particularly fond of the amazing film that I didn’t see coming!

So, last week I stumbled across a dollar-store DVD entitled Dear Dictator. It stars Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, and a young lady named Odeya Rush who turned out to be fantastic. Talk about a lightning bolt out of a clear blue sky!

That movie got an immediate five stars from me.

The story goes like this: Teen-aged Tatiana is the daughter of a single mother, and she fancies herself a bit of a rebel. In one of her classes, she’s asked to write a letter to a public figure in the hopes of getting a response. Going for the shock value, she decides to write one General Anton Vincent, the tin-pot dictator of a small Caribbean nation.

Oddly enough, the two become pen pals. It seems that Vincent relates to the troubled Tatiana, as his country is in a state of turmoil and and his people are ready to overthrow him… which of course, they do. So General Anton heads for the only American address that might actually prove to be friendly territory: Tatiana’s house.

The story proceeds from there, and of course I won’t drop any spoilers.

What floored me was the complexity of the relationships between the characters, combined with the profound social commentary. And when I say ‘social’, I don’t mean ‘political’. Anton Vincent is a pragmatist; he is less interested in shifting political winds than he is the immutable traits of humanity, traits which a clever revolutionary can use to manipulate entire societies. There’s a wonderful scene in which he illustrates Machiavelli’s ‘rules for revolution’, using a box of Tatiana’s old dolls and action figures from the garage.

What fascinates me about Anton is this: He’s almost certainly a Communist, which many viewers would find offensive. But the film doesn’t dwell on that, because it’s not important. What is important is how well Anton reads people, and uses his observations to serve his own ends.

Anton is not a particularly good man, nor a particularly bad one. He—like most world leaders—is simply a product of his times, his upbringing, and his environment. The writers just told his story without attempting to cast any judgment upon his character. What is so endearing about him is how deeply he obviously cares about Tatiana. He has a daughter about her age, and it’s doubtful that he was the best father. The viewer almost gets the impression that Anton views Tatiana as his ‘second chance’, his opportunity to do right by a young girl in a way that he didn’t the first time around.

He guides her, teaches her, and expresses pride in her as Tatiana learns to apply his revolutionary tactics against the bullies that endlessly torment her at school. I LOVED it when he told her ‘and that is how you pull off your coup d’éTatiana!’

Dear Dictator. An absolute stroke of genius, and all for a mere buck. I dunno know if it’s on DisneyFlicks or NetPlus or whatever the new brain-candy network is, but if you happen to stumble across it…

You’ll wanna watch it! Not only is it a wonderfully heart-warming story, it also gives you a lot to think about. Which is probably why it wasn’t a huge hit; your average person just doesn’t do ‘thought-provoking’ these days. But if you’re one of the blessed few who does

Check it out! – V

(PS—You’ll also get to see Jason Biggs get water-boarded with a jug of milk. From humping cherry pies to getting drowned by Michael Caine, that poor feller has not had an easy career! Seriously…)

Romance and Horror…

There’s a TON of literature out there!!! Seriously, it’s enough to make one’s head spin. Fantasy, science fiction, non-fiction, historical…

But there are two genres that stand head and shoulders above all the others: Romance and Horror.

Why THOSE two?

The ancient Greeks had this idea that they called ‘Eros Thanatos’: Sex and Death. Sex gives life and Death takes it, and thus the two concepts are inextricably intertwined. Literature reflects this.

Romance is the world’s best-selling genre. I suspect that this is because humans instinctively know that the only hope for the future lies in ‘pairing up’, in creating a stable household within which one can usher in the next generation. Even in the absence of children, marriage is the foundational bedrock of any stable society. Without it, anarchy begins to creep in. As God Himself decreed, ‘Male and female created He them… Therefore a man shall leave his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ That, I think, is why the world’s best-selling genre revolves around concepts such as ‘soul mates’ and ‘true love’.

But why is Horror ever nipping at Romance’s stiletto heels?

Death—or the fear thereof—haunts humanity’s every waking thought, whether we want to admit it or not. There are a million ways to die, and horror stories reflect this. Honestly, I suspect that our fear of death eclipses even our need for love. In that sense, I kinda wonder why Horror is the ‘number two’ genre instead of the top dog.

The answer is simple. You can fall in love, get married, have sex, and tell about those experiences later. But you only get to die once, and then… well, it’s kinda too late to write about your ordeal, isn’t it? Death is just as much a reality as Love, but the difference is that there’s no going back after you croak. The stories you’re gonna write then will only ever be read by God.

Romance and Horror, Horror and Romance…

The popularity of those two genres speaks volumes about the human condition.


Well, my dear readers…

It’s finally RELEASE DAY for the epic anthology ‘Cowboy Desire’, by Black Velvet Seductions! Fourteen mesmerizing tales, penned by fourteen diverse authors who hail from every corner of the globe. It doesn’t get any better than this, friends!

I am truly honored to be one of the illustrious fourteen. Being given a place at the table was a blessing, one that would never have been bestowed upon me but by the grace of God and my publisher, Ric Savage.

So here, my dear readers, is my story-by-story review of the entire anthology. (And no, I didn’t review my own story. I mean, seriously… just how conceited do you think I am?! I may have a big head, but it ain’t THAT big!!! My story was reviewed by the acclaimed novelist Callie Carmen, who also appears in the anthology.)

So without any further ado: ‘COWBOY DESIRE’!!!

Wild Thunder by Zia Westfield

Zia’s shorts ‘Bewitching the Wolf’ and ‘Flight to the Stars’ are two of my absolute favorites. ‘Wild Thunder’ is a worthy successor.

I can’t tell you much about this one, honestly. Spoilers, you know? Let’s just say that the lovely Emmaline waking up in a hotel room with a complete stranger leaves you thinking ‘what the…?!’

The rest of the story unravels the mystery behind that cliffhanger beginning, and it’s one heluva ride!

I wish I could say more. All I can do is tell you to read it!

Ava by Callie Carmen

I had high hopes for ‘Ava’, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Ava’s character appears in Callie Carmen’s novel ‘Joshua’, and author Annabel Allan described her as ‘the perfect shade of bitchy’. She was, too, and I can’t think of a better way to put it.

But I always wanted to see more of her. Ava was snarky, rude, and petulant with good reason: She was madly in love with someone who didn’t love her back. Anyone who’s ever experienced that knows how utterly demoralizing it is, how badly it damages one’s sense of self-worth. I turned the last page of ‘Joshua’ hoping that someday I’d get another peek into Ava’s head, during a better period in which she was free of Joshua’s unwitting spell.

It is a challenging thing to flesh out characters and a relationship within a context so confining as a short story. Callie Carmen nails it, as she always does; ‘Ava’ immediately pulls the reader into Ava and Colton’s heads. I’ve always loved Callie’s rotating first-person narration; it creates a story that gets intimate with surprising quickness. Much like her contemporaries Suzanne Smith and Patricia Elliott, Callie Carmen writes men very, very well; one would almost think that she hired a male ghost writer to pen Colton’s sequences. (Those of us who love her stories know better, of course.)

Ava’s love-interest Colton is a handsome, rough and tumble, and surprisingly artistic man. He’s a worthy match for Callie’s wonderfully complicated heroine. This is Ava the way she was always meant to be seen, as a beautiful, confident, and witty woman. She was the dangling thread in ‘Joshua’, and it’s a lovely ride to see her story come full circle.

Orion by Virginia Wallace (review by Callie Carmen)

Whether you have seen the movie Jerry Maguire, you most likely know the line “You had me at hello.” That was how I felt when I read the opening paragraph from Virginia Wallace’s story, Orion, which is part of the wonderful Cowboy Desire anthology.

It goes like this:

Perhaps, thought Daisy, she should have thrown on something to wear besides what she was already wearing, and her riding boots. Her thigh-length nightgown wasn’t exactly the ideal outfit for a night ride…

After reading that opening to Orion, I had to know what was so important that she couldn’t take the time to get dressed. Why was she going out in the dark for a ride on her horse? Where the heck were they going in such a hurry?

From there I got lost in the vivid scenes of Daisy riding her horse, Buster. And wanting to know how things would progress with the mysterious man that seemed to come out of nowhere.

Romance, fantasy, and science fiction readers will love this story.

The Long Paddock by Jan Selbourne

Jan’ story ‘A Convict’s Prayer’ was my absolute favorite in the ‘Desire Me Again’ anthology. ‘The Long Paddock’ continues that tradition of excellence in writing.

Mack and Shelley are two of the most engaging characters I’ve ever read. What I love most about Jan’s writing is how clean it is; you could give this story to a teenager to read. While there is certainly room for racier writing (my own occasionally included), we romance authors should remember that everyone loves a good love story, even youngsters.

This story has my absolute FAVORITE ending! I can’t tell you what it is ‘cuz I’d ruin it, but when you read it you’ll see why I love it so. It’s so sweet that you just wanna go ‘awww….’

Well done, Jan!

Space Cowboy Blues by Alice Renaud

Alice has long been one of my favorite BVS authors; her novella ‘Mermaids Marry in Green’ is one of my absolute favorite fantasy stories.

So she had a lot of expectations to live up to. And she didn’t disappoint, either; she never does.

Alice’s strength as a writer is her ability to transport the reader into another world, to make the utterly bizarre feel strangely normal. To read Alice’s work is to be pulled into another dimension, to leave this reality entirely for a blissful few hours.

Like Eileen Troemel and yours truly, Alice—as I suspected she would—shot for science fiction on this collection, and ‘Space Cowboy Blues’ is a worthy addition to her body of work.

Loving Jack by Estelle Pettersen

I may as well tell you up front, this story was a bit racier than I’m used to reading.

But fans of erotic fiction will almost certainly love it. Estelle’s tale is set in Australia, and I was stricken by how much of a difference there is between an Aussie tale written by an Aussie writer, and one by an American who just did some research. There’s an authenticity there that’s hard to replicate.

What I’ve always loved about Estelle’s writing is how deftly she uses the first-person narrative tense. It feels natural, real, like you’re actually inside the character’s head.

Fans of Estelle’s ‘Lessons on Seduction’ will NOT be disappointed by this story!

Mail Order Mate by Eileen Troemel

This story SERIOUSLY has some elements of the bizarre in it! It’s set on a faraway planet, for starters.

But I’m nevertheless reminded of an old saying: ‘Wherever you go, there you are’. While this story is ostensibly science fiction, I’m recalling tales set in America during the Great Depression and World War II. The poverty, the hard times, the crushing loss of human life…

Sic-fi fans will love this one, but—strangely enough—I’m betting fans of historical fiction will too.

Well done, Eileen. Well done!

The Wyoming Way by Nancy Golinski

I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I’ve read a couple of Nancy’s stories under her pseudonym Gibby Campbell, so I went into this one expecting off-kilter erotica. (Not that I’m knocking that, mind you. While it ain’t exactly my thing, I gotta tell ya that Gibby’s REALLY good at it!)

My expectations couldn’t have been more wrong.

‘The Wyoming Way’ has a very natural, down-to-earth kind of feel to it. It’s about ordinary people with real-life problems, and there’s a certain homespun beauty to it that’s very charming. This story showed me a whole new side to Nancy’s writing, one that I enjoyed very, very much.

‘Course, she did use the word ‘dickwad’ in the story…

That’s Nancy for ya!

The Cowboy’s Heritage by Patricia Elliott

Patricia Elliott NEVER disappoints! Her shorts in ‘Mystic Desire’ and ‘Desire Me Again’ were aces, as was her full-length novel ‘Her Lover’s Face’. Her writing reminds me eerily of my literary heroine Daphne du Maurier, and that’s saying something. (And if you don’t like Daphne, get off my page. Seriously. Go stand in the corner, and think about what you’ve done wrong.)

‘Cowboys Heritage’ is a tale of amnesia, the story of a lovely young woman who’s forgotten who she is and where she came from. Nerina is a sweet, vulnerable character; the reader just wants to hug and protect her… as does Reid, the man who has made it his task to care for her.

The hardest thing about reviewing Patricia’s work is that I always have to keep my reviews very, very short. Her stories have so many layers of mysterious intrigue that I’m at constant risk of dropping a spoiler.

So I can’t tell you anything else. Sorry.

Just read it!

Bird That Sings by Dee S. Knight

Dee’s short ‘Life Saving’ was my favorite in the ‘Mystic Desire’ anthology. Her writing style is absolutely off the rails!

‘Bird That Sings’ is fairly ordinary tale. No aliens, no space cowboys. Her heroine Debra is a fairly normal woman. What makes the story is the lush, evocative prose. Dee’s writing reminds me of Ray Bradbury, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Elizabeth George Speare. There’s just an eerie, compelling side to her word use that transports the reader out of this reality, and keeps them in another until the tale is finished.

Dee could write the phone book, and it’d still be well worth the reading. ‘Bird That Sings’ is no exception.

Craving Her Cowboys by RM Olivia

As always, RM Olivia’s lush prose really shines. One feels the angst, the uncertainty of her leading lady Riva as she tries to escape her old life and begin a new one, far removed from her abusive past.

I loved Olivia’s use of description. The rural setting feels very real; one can almost close one’s eyes and see tumbleweeds rolling by.

I must say that the sexuality of the tale is a bit odd, but fans of erotica will almost certainly love it. Whether you love that side of the story or it makes you squirm, it’s nevertheless very well told.

‘Craving Her Cowboys’ is an emotionally engaging tale, and well worth the read!

E-mail-Ordered Groom by Starla Kaye

This is the first story I’ve read by Starla Kaye…

I’m impressed.

This story was very… normal. There is nothing bizarre about it, and nothing supernatural or insanely kinky. Just two ordinary people named Drake and Gwendolyn, trying to figure one another out.

And that’s okay. What REALLY shines about this tale is Starla’s incredible writing style. I’d always heard that she was good, but this is the first time I’ve gotten the chance to read her. Every word is absolutely perfect, with the right adjective in exactly the right place every single time. Her characters come to life almost immediately, pulling one into their heads and hearts and dragging the reader along for the ride.

‘Email-Ordered-Groom’ is absolutely breath-taking. There are no sci-fi or fantasy bells and whistles, for this story needs none.

It shines all… by… itself.

Ben, Pearl, and REO by Alan Souter

One would think from the title that this is some kind of kinky sex story…

Spoiler alert: It’s not.

It’s a wonderfully sweet tale of an aging couple. What I love about Alan’s writing is this: I swear the man is Mark Twain re-incarnated. Wry sense of humor, down-to-earth descriptive prose… you just can’t beat his narrative style.

Alan’s full-length masterpiece ‘A Thread of Sand’ is one my all-time favorite books. ‘Ben, Pearl, and REO’ proudly carries on that legacy of rock-solid writing.

Bullets and Bustles by Suzanne Smith

This one easily won the award for being my favorite! NOT because Suzanne is any better (or worse) than the rest of BVS’ wonderful cast of literary misfits, but… well, birds of a feather flock together, you know? Suzanne writes a lot like I do, which of course means that I adore her work.

This story is unflinchingly violent, brutally so. Which makes it feel very, very real. The lead characters are, simply put, un-repentant murderers. And yet you empathize with them as you get into their heads, as you slowly come to understand what makes them tick.

This story reminds me of one of my favorite films, Oliver Stone’s disturbing opus ‘Natural Born Killers’. The lead characters are a couple of psychos… but somehow, you find yourself rooting for ‘em anyway!

So there you have it, friends. ‘Cowboy Desire’, like its predecessors ‘Mystic Desire’ and ‘Desire Me Again’ is an epic read.

I will end with this comment…

The insane quality of Black Velvet Seductions’ library is proof positive of one simple fact: If you’re a publisher, it’s best to keep your guidelines as loose as reasonably possible. Writers shine best when they’re not shackled with stifling guidelines. BVS lives by this maxim, and Harlequin would do well to borrow a page from our playbook. We got it goin’ ON!!!

So yeah, ‘Cowboy Desire’. Order it today!

TO ORDER COWBOY DESIRE: https://amzn.to/2LmdUhD


When it comes to romance novels, I tend to lean towards the dark stuff…

I mean, who wants boring old millionaires when you can have warlocks and werewolves? Sex and death are the two most intense experiences that a human being will ever undergo, and thus Romance and Horror are the two top-selling genres of literature. (Romance is the best-seller, though. Probably because once you actually do experience death, it’s kinda too late to write about the affair.)

As an author, I tend to bop around in a number of literary circles. Given my love for dark romance, ‘Possessed by Passion’s’ writing groups are very familiar to me.

For a limited time, Possessed by Passion will be selling a collection of stories and novellas written by their best-selling writers. It appears that this collection will be Mary Shelley and Danielle Steele rolled into one…

So check it OUT!!!

TROY, NH – Crazy Ink Publishing, LLC is pleased to present a USA Today bestseller list-aiming dark romance and paranormal romance collection boxset for release on March 16, 2021. Featuring stories from USA Today and International Bestselling authors, this set includes more than twenty romantic novels and novellas aimed to ignite your passions and make you fall in love with the characters. Pre order your copy today!

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Erin Lee – USA Today Bestseller – Blank Slate

Olivia Marie –USA Today Bestseller– Blood Bound

Lorah Jaiyn – USA Today Bestseller – The Immortal Stone

Murphy Wallace – International Bestseller – Death in the Flames

N Isabelle Blanco – International Bestseller – Malice

Rena Marin – International Bestseller – The Arisen

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Meet Brandi Hanson!!!

It’s been seventeen years since I first published my debut novel. (It’s out of print, and yah… It was pretty bad!)

But I’ve never forgotten what it feels like to see one’s work published for the very first time. It’s right up there with having your first beer, or losing your virginity. It’s a wedding day, a child’s birth, and golden anniversary all rolled into one.

I work for Black Velvet Seductions Publishing now, but I came up on the ‘indie’ scene. And I have never forgotten – and never will – just how much amazing literature can be found just around the corner from the ‘mainstream’ publishers. I came out the gate dark, raw, and firmly entrenched in the world of off-kilter lit.

So, my friends, today it is my honor to host someone who is about to kick off her literary career in much the same manner as I did. She’s dark, she’s intense, and she’ll TOTALLY make ya blush! She is destined to rock the literary world, of this I am absolutely certain.

In addition to being possessed of a certain shining dark talent, this gal has also been a great friend. Birds of a feather tend to flock together, regardless of publisher affiliation. Dark Romance is a niche all its own…

And it was in that niche that I first bumped into Brandi.

So without any further ado, ladies and gentlemen… I give you BRANDI HANSON!!

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

Q: When did you first start writing? 

A: It had to be around 6 or 7. I checked a book out at the library about a girl with a bad attitude, and it inspired me to write my own story about a girl who had a sour attitude. I never finished it as I shifted to my own fantasy world but I’ll never forget how I started!

Q: What is your first published work and what do you think of it now?

A: Technically, my debut novel A ROSE FOR THE FALLEN will be my first published work. It’s an urban fantasy/paranormal romance. As for what I think of it….it’s a beautiful story about a witch and her twin brother navigating through life problems and relationships while trying to survive. There are some sexy scenes in there, but romance is simply a side plot. The main focus is the fantasy plot and how the characters cope with faced with the fact that they have to save the world. It’s not perfect yet, but by the release date, it will be! My characters guide me pretty easily.

Q: Do people you know make appearances in your writing?

A: YES! My main female character in my debut novel – A ROSE FOR THE FALLEN – has a best friend by her side throughout her ordeal with trying to survive. That character is based off of my real life best friend. If someone begs me to put them in my novel, I kill them off in brutal ways. And lastly, two of my villains are based off of people I know. They’re the Shadowbound (evil) witches after our MC.

Q: Do family and friends help with writing and marketing?

A: Definitely. My friends were the ones to coax me into publishing A Rose for the Fallen. They told me if I don’t publish it, I’m wasting a good story. I’m so thankful for that push. My friends also help me run my author support group, Aislin’s coven members – Sins and Stories for Readers and Authors.

Q: Do you have stories you haven’t written yet?

A: HELL. YES. After the A ROSE series is complete, I will be making a stand alone novel from the series, a spin off series, and then two completely unrelated stories. They’re both paranormal romances. 

Q: Do you target a certain demographic?

A: Yup. Anyone who likes paranormal romance and werewolf sex should check out A ROSE FOR THE FALLEN and the rest of the A ROSE series. 

Q: Have you ever written non-fiction?

A: Only high school reports on various topics. I’m much more interested in paranormal romance and fantasy than real life. Reality sucks. 

Q: Do you drink?

A: Nope. I don’t have the acquired taste of alcohol!

Q: Are you married? How does it affect your writing?

A: I have an extremely compassionate husband who only wishes to see me succeed. If I need to go write, he has no problems allowing me to do that. 

Q: Have your life experiences affected your writing?

A: Without shelling out a sob story – yes. I created my universe for A ROSE FOR THE FALLEN as an escape from trauma I was experiencing. Writing and visiting my world is an escape from reality. It changed the way I wrote my villains – as I based the villains off of real people who have harmed me greatly in my life. 

Q: Do you consider yourself a “normal” writer or more of the tormented artist?

A: Nothing about how I write is normal. Most people can sit down and write 5k words in a few hours each night. Not me. I have to be kissed by the Gods and blessed by the angels to sit and write. The inspiration has to be there or else my writing comes across disingenuous and forced. I will never put out half ass work, so you can guarantee everything from me is top quality and polished to the best of my ability. It’s not about money to me, it’s about the love of my series and the love of writing. 

Q: Do you listen to music when you write?

A: ABSOLUTELY. Symphonic power metal really gets me going during fight scenes. Anything powerful and fast makes writing a paranormal/urban fantasy romance world even better. All of the books in the A ROSE series will have a page dedicated to songs for scenes so you, as the reader, can sit back and listen to these songs to be able to visualize the chaos around you. 

Q: Have you ever written a story based off of your life experiences?

A: Actually, there is an overarching theme in A ROSE FOR THE FALLEN of fear of abandonment. My main female character, Mona Kinkade, has trust issues with her werewolf boyfriend. They have to work through this while trying not to get murdered by an evil witch called a Shadowbound. Mona is me. This is something I experienced as a young adult, and how I managed to work through it. 

Q: Is your writing time planned out?

A: Never. I write when the inspiration hits me and I don’t when the light isn’t on. 

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?

A: When people tell me they love so and so character. That makes my heart swell. I love them, too! I love them like they’re real people. 

Q: Who is your favorite author, and why?

A: I have two, because I’m a rebel like that. Sherrilyn Kenyon, author of the Dark Hunter series is the first. She truly inspired me to put all the raunchy sex in my books because I learned there’s a market for it and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. She taught me that enjoying werewolf sex isn’t a problem and there are a lot of us who like it, too. Second is Raven Kennedy. Some of my favorite series came from her and she was my first true introduction to kinky paranormal romance. 

Q: Which character of yours is your favorite? 

A: Easy. Mona’s twin brother in the A ROSE SERIES, Kura Kinkade. He’s the overprotective big brother. He would do anything to protect his family and protect the coven, Aislin, from the Shadowbound threat that looms over them. He is also an imperfect person. He has flaws. He’s a powerful witch, yes, but he cannot deal with stress and uses outside means to cope such as eating too much fast food or chain smoking. His temper can explode sometimes as well but Kura means well. He’s a true sweetheart and I’ve watched him grow and mature over the course of my life and the course of writing. He makes me so proud.

Q: Do you prefer to read fiction similar to what you write?

A: That’s all I ever truly read. It helps inspire me, and I like sexy men being badasses and kicking villain butt with their mate. 

Q: What’s a quirky thing that readers may not know?

A: As dumb as this sounds, I can’t write a story unless I’ve “met” the characters. That means they show up to me in my head and introduce themselves. Then they’ll put down what they look like and who they are as a person. Then, they’ll instruct me how they’d like me to write them. My characters for the A ROSE series have been around since I was six years old, so I’ve essentially grown up with them and I’m very well acquainted with them. For my other stories, I’ve only had a few new characters pop up and tell me about themselves, so this will be interesting. I’m not in any rush to get any of the other stories done so if no one makes their debut to me, it’s not a problem. I’ll wait for them to show. 

Q: What is your favorite movie?

A: Sweeney Todd. The music, the dreariness, the overall feeling of hopelessness and despair you get from the movie is beautiful. I’ve seen that movie so many times I know every line. 

Virginia – Thank you SO much for being here today, Brandi! I can’t wait to see your novel released, and I expect great things from you in the future!

Brandi – Thank you so much for having me! If you’re interested in keeping up to date with everything in the A ROSE series, please visit my Facebook page at Brandi Hanson- Paranormal romance author. 

BRANDI HANSON’S DEBUT NOVEL ‘A ROSE FOR THE FALLEN’ WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON! In the meantime, please take a moment to join her FaceBook page!!!

Meet Eileen Troemel!!!

HELLO, friends!

Today it is my honor to host the acclaimed author Eileen Troemel. I first ‘met’ Eileen when I stumbled across her novel ‘Dragon Lord’s Mate’, and I gotta tell y’all… that book TOTALLY blew my fragile lil’ mind! It was dark. It was intense. It was brutality, tenderness, sex, violence, and hope all rolled into one delightful literary ball!!!

I’ve since come to view Eileen as a wonderful big sister. She’s a loyal teammate and an aggressive promoter, and—since she’s been around the literary block far more times than I—I often look to her for guidance as to what I should be doing as an author. When I get stuck on the ins and outs of promoting my books, I very often remember to do this: Look at what Eileen’s doing!

Eileen is an amazing writer, and a well-loved member of my literary circle. The world of fiction is a better place because she’s in it. I’m grateful she’s here. I am even more grateful that—for the first time ever—she and I will be sharing a cover credit on the upcoming anthology ‘Cowboy Desire’, from Black Velvet Seductions.  

So, ladies and gentlemen… without any further ado, I give you the one and only EILEEN TROEMEL!!!

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

When did you start writing? What made you first decide to try your hand at it?

I learned to love writing at eight when my third grade teacher assigned the task of writing a short story.  While I’m a bit rebellious now, back then I did what I was told.  What I discovered was I could use my imagination to create a story. 

What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?

Secret Past in 2014 for a novel in fiction. I had articles and other items published previously.  I think it’s a solid story in need of a new cover and an edit.  

How do you balance writing with your personal life?

Balance?  We’re supposed to balance things?  Huh?  Hadn’t thought of that.  I work my day job.  I work at writing.  I crochet and publish my patterns.  I spend time with my family.  It all overlaps and intertwines – except the day job – that has set hours.  The rest is muddled and messy and I don’t mind it that way.

Do people you actually know make appearances in your stories?

Yes.  I have a co-worker who is an ex-cop and he asked to be a villain.  He’s an assassin in my Wayfarer novel.  Others have jumped in here and there.  Some purposefully and under request.  Others  – well let’s just say the saying about not pissing off an author or you’ll end up in their novel… very true.

Do family members or friends help with your writing? Your marketing?

My family are amazing.  My middle daughter is my “consultant” and reads everything – usually.  My oldest daughter reads when she’s able – busy life and sometimes cannot read my stuff.  My sister does promo work for me.  She also reads everything I write.  There are others in my family who read (except the love scenes – it freaks them out to think of Aunt Eileen writing stuff like that). 

My children’s book (written under pen name RJ Stone) I consulted with my sister who was a teacher and reading specialist for forty plus years.  I’m working on the next one in that series… have to see what mischief my characters want to get up to.

Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?

I have over 25 works in progress.  There might be twenty or thirty stories I want to tell.

Is there a story you’re afraid to write for some reason? Why?

I won’t write historical.  Not really afraid of it – just lazy I think.  With a historical novel you have to make sure your details are spot on.  If they aren’t, you get readers who call you on it.  I want to tell the story not worry about the language or did they use this word or how did they do X (fill in the blank from going to the toilet to raise children).

Do you ever target differing age groups or demographics with your writing?

At this point, my characters have been up to their thirties.  I have a couple of WIP which have older main characters but I’ve not developed them yet

Have you ever written non-fiction? If so, what?

Yes, Moon Affirmations.  It’s a meditation book which follows the energy of the moon phases and offers a short meditation for each phase.  It’s meant to help people bring balance and peace into their lives. 

Are you a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, or do you consider yourself more of the tormented/driven ‘artist’ type?

This question makes me laugh.  Normal – I can already hear my family and friend laughing until they pee their pants.  Tormented – no.  I’m not some starving artist.  I’m a pragmatist.  I know writing is unlikely to pay the bills.  I like a house with heat and air conditioning.  I like running water – particularly in the bathroom.  I write as much as I can.  I work at it and when I’m annoyed because all I want to do is write, I remind myself that without the day job – there wouldn’t be any writing because no power for the computer to create my stories.

Do you drink? Why or why not?

Every day – water.  Occasionally, I drink Izze (carbonated fruit juice). 

Are you married? How does being a writer affect that? Has your marriage affected the way you write love stories?

Yes I am.  My husband is really good about leaving me alone when I let him know I’m writing.  If he wants attention, he’s pretty good about letting me know that too.  Everything influences my writing.  I think this is seen the most in my Wayfarer series. 

If you could see one of your stories made into a movie, which one would you pick and why?

Oh this is a question… So I want all my books (under Eileen Troemel) to be made into movies or tv series.  The money which comes from a movie deal is usually too good to turn down.  BUT – and it’s a big one – I wouldn’t want them hacking away at my stories.  Who hasn’t gone to the movie made from a book and come out pissed off because they messed up your favorite scene? 

Wayfarer series – I think this one lends itself to a series.  I think each book could be a season.  I also think the further in the series they get the more episodes they would have to make.  Wayfarer Aegis (the prequel) could be the two hour movie to hook people.  Then the first book could start the series.  When I wrote it, I saw it almost like a movie. 

How does your life experience influence your writing?

I’ve been an observer most of my life.  I’m the creepy person in the corner taking notes and listening in on snippets of conversations.  Anything in life – mine or others can influence a story or make it’s way into a story. 

Do you try to keep your stories within their pre-determined genres, or do you just tell the story your way regardless of genre expectations?

Try – sure… I try.  These characters are unruly and demanding.  They run the show.  They keep me up at night – either telling me too much or being too quiet.  It’s all the characters.  What may start out as one type of story end up being something different. 

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kinds? Does music influence your stories?

Yes.  Classical.  Not really.  It’s more background noise.

Have you ever written a story based on a personal experience you had? If so, what was it about?

Yes.  Guess.

Do you let real-life events influence your work, or is there a ‘disconnect’ between your stories and world/national/local events?

Draconian Peace is all about race and bigotry and prejudice – to the extreme level.  This was very much influenced by the racial issues in the US.

Is your writing time planned out or structured? Do you go on writing ‘benders’?

I’m a feast or famine writer.  When the words are flowing, leave me the F*** alone.  I just want to get the words down.  I cannot type fast enough.  When the words aren’t flowing, I still write but it’s putzy.  Oh here, I’ll write a silly scene or a scene to give background information or something similar.  Wild Magic flew into the computer.  I couldn’t get it down fast enough.  When I tried to write the sequel – Hostile Magic – there were part I felt like I was dragging the story out of the characters. 

What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?

When I get a story out and it feels like a good job – that’s fantastic. If it’s out of my head, I can move on because there’s always another story waiting to be told.

Who is your favorite author, and why?

Hahahahahahahahaha  – What genre?  What era?  I can give you an extensive list of who I love to read.  I will inevitably leave someone off. 

If you could pick anyone to narrate one of your books, who would it be?

Jim Dale – he narrated the audio book for J K Rawling.  He’s amazingly talented.

Which character of yours is your favorite? Why? Whom would you pick to play him/her/it in a movie?

Oh this is a tough one.  I am currently rereading Dragon Lord’s Mate – working on the sequel and putting it through an edit – I love Pena.  She stubborn and determined.  But I think if I look at all my characters across all my books and have to pick a favorite one – don’t tell all the other characters – I think it would have to be Adara Stone from my Wayfarer series.  I loved watching her grow and develop. 

Do you write when you take a vacation, or do you prefer to simply relax?

I write everywhere and any time I can.  My sisters and I spent time together one weekend and while they thought I was playing on my phone, I was writing two poems.

Do you prefer to read fiction that’s similar to what you write, or do you pick different types of stories?

I prefer to read fiction which entertains me – I don’t care what genre so long as I’m entertained.

What’s one quirky thing about you that your readers might not know?

I like educational programming.  Give me a good documentary and I’ll watch them.  Nature, science, social, anthropological, I will watch almost anything educational.  I find it all fascinating and it’s almost like research because odd things end up in my stories.

What’s your favorite movie? Why?

Hahahahah I’m going to refer you to my answer for a favorite book.  I love to watch movies.  It takes me away from life.  I watch a variety of movies across a lot of genres so tell me which genre and I might be able to narrow it down to a top ten. 

Do you set up events to meet your readers, or is your interaction with them strictly online?

Pre-covid I was doing in person events.  Unfortunately, we’ve all had to move to virtual relationships.  Once we’re past this, I hope to do in person events again.

Have you ever had to exhaustively research something (say, history) for any of your books?

When I write, I use my computer to write but then I will use my phone to research.  If I need something more in depth, I’ll do it on my computer.  I am more likely to tap into what I’ll call an expert.  When I wanted to know divisions in accounting, I text a friend who knew.  Once when I wanted to know about hanging – I asked my youngest daughter (she’s science woman) and her answer was “do I need to do a wellness check on” my daughter who was living with me.  I laughed and told her no I was writing. 

While I write a lot of fantasy where I create the worlds, I still need to research how things are and the way they are moving. 

You said it, sister! Whenever I work at creating worlds, I begin to suspect that God must have given Himself a terrible headache. S’prolly why He rested on the seventh day. THANK you for taking the time to join us today!

EILEEN TROEMEL’S NOVELS ARE AVAILABLE ON BOTH AMAZON AND BARNES AND NOBLE. (Sorry no link, but Amazon’s ‘author page’ link tends to hijack my page.)

Take a Chance Eileen Troemel and Amelia K Oliver’s ‘Kidnapped’! Among a group of humans, Mae must hide her true self in order to avoid a lifetime of horrors. She must escape from the hyena shifters who plan to sell the humans for hunting. But how can she overpower a cackle of hyena shifters. Good at hunting they are persistent and once they get her scent, they won’t stop until they catch their prey. Chance grabbed with the other humans wants to put a stop to the hyena shifters but can’t take his focus off the beautiful Mae. He knows she’s not human but he cannot tell what she is. As they work together to reach safety, Chance cannot resist a bit of flirting as he’s drawn to her. She’s a puzzle and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding. Will Chance and Mae escape the hyenas? If they do, will they be able to overcome old prejudices in order to be together? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08W5F27M9

TO READ MY REVIEW OF EILEEN’S ‘DRAGON LORD’S MATE’: https://virginiawallace.com/2020/09/25/dragon-lords-mate-by-eileen-troemel-a-review/

Meet Estelle Pettersen!!!

Today it is my honor to host Estelle Pettersen, of Black Velvet Seductions Publishing!

Estelle is the author of ‘Lessons on Seduction’, and the short story ‘Loving Jack’. ‘Loving Jack’ will appear in the upcoming ‘Cowboy Desire’ anthology. This marks the first time that Estelle and I have shared a cover credit, and I am TRULY honored!

I’ve always had a soft spot for Estelle’s writing, because she signed on with BVS shortly before I did. ‘New kids on the block’, you know? She’s a rock-solid writer and promoter, and she inspires me to follow in her capable footsteps.

So, ladies and gentlemen…

Without any further ado, I give you ESTELLE PETTERSEN!!!

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

When did you start writing? What made you first decide to try your hand at it?

I started writing at around five or six years of age because my mother, a tough woman, wanted me to do well with reading and writing. I wrote stories that were printed in the school magazine as I grew older, and English was one of my favorite subjects in my high school years. I’ve been continually writing stories in my spare time and have created my own worlds. All in all, writing has been a big part of my life.

What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?

I was a journalist previously, so my first published work (a newspaper article) came out when I was a nineteen-year-old university student. One of my lecturers recruited a few of us to write for a community newspaper run by the university’s journalism department. I wrote chapter twelve in an academic book “Leadership in the Australian Context” some years later. Two of my MBA lecturers picked 12 students, including myself, to write for the book, which they coordinated and edited. This was the first piece of work published on Amazon.

When I think of it now, the experiences I gained from the previous published work – all nonfiction – have influenced my first fiction novel, “Lessons on Seduction”, published by Black Velvet Seductions. It’s not just a love story but also addresses crime, trauma, how leaders wield power, and real life issues.

Do family members or friends help with your writing? Your marketing?

My stories are highly erotic, so my family and personal friends stay away from them. I’ve made friends with a few writers through a writing community and they have been my rock of support – the SSWS group of talented writers.

The authors at Black Velvet Seductions (BVS) have been incredible and very welcoming. I’ve learned so much from the authors, who are best of the best, and I’m still learning. It’s like a family, and we help each other out.

Do you ever target differing age groups or demographics with your writing?

I try to target different age groups and the new adult age group seems to be the biggest audience for “Lessons on Seduction.” They can relate to my character, Sapphire Blake, a college student who learns about freedom and empowerment through her relationship with a professor. She’s bold, strong-minded, and will not let people walk over her.

Are you a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, or do you consider yourself more of the tormented/driven ‘artist’ type?

I’m not sure what ‘normal’ is anymore. I would like to say I’m a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, but my husband says I’m tormented, emotionally driven, and need my space. He’s standing right next to me, laughing, and has just commented to me, “How could you say you’re normal?” We’ve started the process of building a new home and the floor plan will include my own little creative space.

If you could see one of your stories made into a movie, which one would you pick and why?

I would love “Lessons on Seduction” to be a movie because it’s an emotionally touching story with twists and turns. I know a few readers who would like to see Julian, the male lead, come to life. Sapphire is a strong character and I’d like to see that strength come to life too.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kinds? Does music influence your stories?

Absolutely – music is my muse and helps me form words and thoughts that feed into my story and characters. I enjoy Indie music, but my taste is eclectic. Right now, I’m tuning into music from the 1980s as I write a short story which is set in 1988.

Have you ever written a story based on a personal experience you had? If so, what was it about?

I wrote “Loving Jack”, my short story in the “Cowboy Desire” anthology published by BVS, based on a time of my life when I worked in Roma, an Australian country town. The steamy chapters and the romance definitely didn’t happen, but the setting (Roma) was real and there’s something sweet and romantic about the town and the nature that surrounds it.

I personified my characters from the nature around the town, and Australia in general. Olivia, the main character, represents the outback or Australian countryside with her coppery-red hair and earthy-brown eyes, while Jack (the male lead) personifies the Australian waters with his deep-blue ocean eyes. The friends-to-lovers story explores Olivia’s return to Australia, after five years of living abroad, and finding her home in Jack.

What’s one quirky thing about you that your readers might not know?

Unlike my characters, I come across as highly conservative. I’m reserved, introverted, and quiet in person. In the past, people have excluded me from saucy conversations about erotic books, steamy movies and anything sex-related, believing it was best not to offend me. I guess I shocked a few people when Lessons came out.

I would imagine so! THANK you for taking the time to appear today, Estelle. Here’s hoping for a bright future for your writing. I expect nothing but great things from you!

About the author

Estelle Pettersen is an Australian author and former journalist whose romance stories explore empowerment, freedom, and finding one’s strength. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Journalism and Psychology, from the University of Queensland, Australia. Her second degree is an MBA from Queensland University of Technology, Australia. She is a member of Romance Writers of Australia and is passionate about history, languages, cultures, traveling, food, and wine. She is happily married and living in Norway these days.

Author links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/elusive_6788

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elusive_6788

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/author/estellepettersen

Author website: https://elusiveromance.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20482227.Estelle_Pettersen

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/estellepettersen

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/estellepettersen

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/estelle-pettersen-3716741b1/

Meet Simone Francis!!!

Today marks the debut of author Simone Francis, the newest addition to the Black Velvet Seductions family!

I have yet to read her work (her debut novel ‘The Bookshop’ just opened for pre-sale) but I’m told it’s a well-researched piece of historical fiction. Welcoming a new author to the family is SUPER exciting! The BVS crew is a jolly band of literary pirates, and we’re always excited to expand our crew.

So with any further ado…

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you SIMONE FRANCIS!!!

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

When did you start writing? What made you first decide to try your hand at it?

I seem to have been writing since I was old enough to hold a pen. I’m not revealing my age but let’s just say computers filled a room at that time so a pen and paper or a typewriter was all we had. I used to be a photographer and wrote some articles and extended captions for my pictures but my writing really took off when I completed and Open University degree in creative writing.

What was your first published work?

The Bookshop is my first full length novel. I have had a few short stories and articles published previously.

Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?

Yes, so many.

My next book is a tale of supernatural romance, a naughty fairy story and I‘d like to explore the darker side of the romance genre by mixing it with horror and some dark humour.

Are you a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, or do you consider yourself more of the tormented/driven ‘artist’ type?

Definitely normal. I try and get up early write for a couple of hours or more and then return to normality.

Some of the scenes in your book are quite kinky. Is that you?

Let’s just say I do a lot of research. The internet is a wonderful place, even if it’s downright weird at times. I dread to think what my search history looks like. The Bookshop is set in 1908 so I had to research everything from transport to women’s underwear and sexual mores.

Do you write when you take a vacation, or do you prefer to simply relax?

I try to relax but I’ve always got a camera and a notebook with me. I love it when I meet someone who is interesting or just plain odd or go to a fascinating place. I file them away and they sometimes pop up as a complete character or location or aspects of them get mixed into a character.

Thank you, Simone!

SIMONE’S BOOK WILL BE AVAILABLE ON BOTH AMAZON AND BARNES AND NOBLE. (Sorry there’s no link. Amazon’s links hijack your entire web page.)

CONNECT WITH SIMONE: https://www.facebook.com/simone.francis.73550

Meet Nancy and Gibby!!!

Hello friends!

Today it is my honor to host Nancy Golinski, who also writes under the pseudonym Gibby Campbell. Nancy has published both non-fiction and fiction books, and her fiction spans everything from paranormal to Amish romance and back again!

Nancy/Gibby appeared alongside yours truly in ‘Desire Me Again’, and we will also both be featured in the upcoming ‘Cowboy Desire’. I hope Nancy doesn’t mind me riding on her coattails! It’s always an honor to share a cover credit with her.

So without any further ado, my dear readers…

Meet the one and only NANCY GOLINKSI!!!

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?

I wrote a nonfiction book called Exercise Your Way to a Happy Hysterectomy while recovering from surgery.  It’s still my best selling publication.  I think it’s a bit rah-rah cheerleader now, but there’s some good suggestions in there.

Do family members or friends help with your writing? Your marketing?

I have one friend who is a brutal beta reader.  I’m not kidding.  She’ll write things like, “What the hell were you thinking?” or “If I read ___ one more time, I’m going to bitch slap you.”  

Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?

Sure.  I think every writer does.  I have 2 nonfiction, 2 murder mystery, 2 paranormal, one old world romance, and one space sci fi romance.  They’ll come out eventually.  I also tend to write several manuscripts at the same time.  Right now I have an erotic romance, an Amish romance, and a contemporary romance in progress.  When I get stuck or bored with one, I just move on to another.  It’s my solution to writer’s block.

Is there a story you’re afraid to write for some reason? Why?

Yes.  The space sci fi one.  I have some intimate scenes in my head that are waaaayyy out there.  I think they might even make my publisher, Ric, blush, and that’s saying something.

Are you married? How does being a writer affect that? Has your marriage affected the way you write love stories?

I have been happily married for 19 years.  My husband brags about my writing, and our relationship has greatly influenced how I write love stories.  Let’s just say if he ever actually reads one of my books, I will be in big trouble.  Fortunately, he is not a reader, and he’s super busy at work. 

If you could see one of your stories made into a movie, which one would you pick and why?

Holy Matchmaker.  I see it as a sweet Hallmark movie. 

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kinds? Does music influence your stories?

Always.  Usually I put on something quiet and mellow…Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Dean Martin, James Galway, Jim Brickman…you get the idea.  I don’t think music influences my stories, but art does.  My entire Holy Matchmaker novel was based on a painting called Emma with Chicken by Nancy Noel.

Is your writing time planned out or structured? Do you go on writing ‘benders’?

There’s no plan to my writing.  I just write when in the mood.  I treat it like a hobby.

What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?

Creating something and then reading it and wondering where the heck it came from. 

Which character of yours is your favorite? Why? Whom would you pick to play him/her/it in a movie?

Dr. Victor Turov, because he’s sexy as hell.  I see a younger Gerard Butler in the role with a Russian accent.

Do you write when you take a vacation, or do you prefer to simply relax?

It depends on the vacation.  We go to an island on Lake Erie every summer, and when my husband is out fishing, I write by the water.  It is the most creative location I have ever found for writing.  I always come home with a list of new ideas and several chapters cranked out.

Do you prefer to read fiction that’s similar to what you write, or do you pick different types of stories?

I read everything.  If someone suggests a good book, I check it out.  My faves are mysteries, suspense, and a lot of nonfiction.  What I shy away from is explicit violence.  That stuff haunts me. 

What’s one quirky thing about you that your readers might not know?

I used to race on a sailing team.

What’s your favorite movie? Why?

While You Were Sleeping.  It’s a great rom-com, but it also came out right when my mom passed away.  When I couldn’t sleep, I would put that movie on, and somehow it brought me comfort.

What’s a question I haven’t asked that you’d like to answer?

Question: How can you write erotica and Christian fiction? 

Answer: Kinky girls have faith too, you know.

LOL… GREAT answer! Thank you for appearing today, Nancy!

NANCY/GIBBY’S BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE AT BOTH AMAZON AND BARNES AND NOBLE. (Sorry there’s no link. Amazon’s links are EXTREMELY invasive and hijack your entire website!)

CONNECT WITH NANCY ON FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/gibby.campbell.52

ON TWITTER: @CampbellGibby

A Chat with Suzanne Smith!!!

Suzanne Smith describes herself as a ‘dark romance’ author…

Which, of course, makes her one of my literary heroines! Suzanne Smith is the author of the critically acclaimed novel ‘The Brute and I’. Her short story ‘The Mortal Vampire’ is featured in ‘Mystic Desire’, a paranormal anthology published by Black Velvet Seductions. Her short story ‘Bullets and Bustles’ will appear in the upcoming ‘Cowboy Desire’ anthology, also by Black Velvet Seductions. (I’ll be sharing a cover credit with her, at long last! That’s like getting a part in a movie with your favorite actress!)

So without any further ado, ladies and gentlemen… I give you the one, the only, SUZANNE SMITH!!!

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

When did you start writing? What made you first decide to try your hand at it?

I started writing a few years ago. I was looking for a hobby to occupy my time when I retire from my day job, sometime in the near future. I took several online writing courses with a fabulous teacher/editor named Laurie Sanders. It was fun and challenging so I stuck with it. Writing seemed to be tailor made for me.

What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?

My first book, The Brute and I, was published in 2018 by Ric Savage at BVS. I think that my writing style was good, but, if I were writing it now, I’D edit the beginning chapters a bit more. For example, the hero’s parents were killed by a drunk driver.  He hangs on to a lock of his mother’s hair and her wedding dress to show the reader that he has never really recovered from her death. In hindsight, I only needed to use one of these items to get my point across. Using both only slowed the pacing of the story down.

Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?

So many. I’m pretty good at conveying emotion in my work and my descriptive writing is decent, but what I’ve yet to put into my stories is humor. Not slap stick stuff, but that gut felt, unapologetic, jaw dropping dark humor in the face of brutality. Think along the lines of Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. I hope someday soon to be able to nail that.

Are you a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, or do you consider yourself more of the tormented/driven ‘artist’ type?

I’m normal. I don’t seem to have an addictive personality like the more tormented, driven writers do. But,my characters are tormented so maybe that says something about me. Lol.

Do you drink? Why or why not?

I’ll have a few beers every now and then, but I’m not much of a drinker. I find it hard to concentrate when I drink. That, and I don’t really like the taste of booze. Whiskey, tequila, vodka- yuck. I do enjoy strawberry daiquiris though, so there may be some hope for Puerto Rican rum.

If you could see one of your stories made into a movie, which one would you pick and why?

Maybe my short story, titled The Mortal Vampire, in the Mystic Desire Anthology by BVS. This one has what I consider to be a very original twist to it. Unfortunately, I can’t say what that is without giving too much of the story away.

How does your life experience influence your writing?

Growing up a poor kid in Chicago, I learned that life isn’t always fair and can knock you off your feet without warning.  But, I also learned to get back up quickly. I think that “down but not out” warrior like mentality is reflected in each of my characters.

Do you try to keep your stories within their pre-determined genres, or do you just tell the story your way regardless of genre expectations?

For the most part, I tell my story my way. But the happy ever after ending that is required in romance is sometimes a compromise.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kinds? Does music influence your stories?

No. Music distracts me. But many times, when I’m listening to a song while I’m working out or running errands, I’ll think, wow, that reminds me of the relationship between my hero and heroine. The song You Say (the Anthem Lights version) makes me think of the characters Lilah Evans and Philippe Renault in my current work in progress, tentatively titled Lilah’s Limit. A beautiful melody with lyrics full of love and hope.

Is your writing time planned out or structured? Do you go on writing ‘benders’?

My writing time is not planned out or structured.  I don’t write at a certain hour every day. I don’t even write every day. I may have one day that I don’t write anything at all, but the next day, I may write six hours. So, I guess I’d qualify as a writer who goes on benders. 

What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?

Connecting with people from all over the world. For someone from the UK, Australia, Canada or anywhere else thousands and thousands of miles away to tell me that they read my book astonishes me. It makes me feel somewhat omnipresent.

If you could pick anyone to narrate one of your books, who would it be?

Lawrence Fishburne. I love his voice. Deep, clear, commanding. It’s almost hypnotic.

Which character of yours is your favorite? Why? Whom would you pick to play him/her/it in a movie?

So far, Emma Tombs in the newly released Cowboy Desire Anthology by BVS is my favorite. In spite of all the terrible life experiences she’s been through and all of the awful things she’s done, she still believes in redemption and the power of love. She’s a complex character. I can’t really think of a young actress that could tap into her hidden layers. Maybe Reese Witherspoon could pull it off.

Do you write when you take a vacation, or do you prefer to simply relax?

I simply relax.

Do you prefer to read fiction that’s similar to what you write, or do you pick different types of stories?

I will read any type of fiction but I always seem to gravitate toward the darker, more disturbing stories, which oddly enough is similar to what I write.

What’s your favorite movie? Why?

Gladiator. Because I’ve always been fascinated with ancient Rome, especially the politics.  And, I must say, I think Russell Crowe completely owns the role of Maximus. I can’t imagine anyone else playing that part as well as he did.

What’s a question I haven’t asked that you’d like to answer?

You didn’t ask me if my kitty jumping up on my keyboard when I least expect it sparks my creativity. Just kidding, of course. I think you pretty much covered everything.

THANK you, Suzanne! It was an honor to host you.

SUZANNE’S BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE FROM BOTH AMAZON AND BARNES AND NOBLE. (I’d post links, but Amazon’s link is rather invasive and makes my page go all buggy. Sorry ’bout that!)



On twitter @Suzanneromance