The Fantastic Voyage: A Look into the Mind of Author Keri Stevens

During a recent RWA chapter workshop, my wonderfully talented friend and personal moral booster, author Keri Stevens emails me. (Yes, I was caught checking messages when I should have been paying attention to some great info…again.)

Keri: So am I guest blogging for you tomorrow? (Of course she’s written it on her calendar of things to do and is completely organized with her marketing ventures unlike moi!)

Me: Crap, I forgot!… I’m sorry!

Keri:  No problem.  Give me three questions and I’ll do this.

Me (to myself) GAW, I love this woman!

So really, it gives me great pleasure to have her here and quest blogging about her soon to be released novel, Stone Kissed.  

Just read and enjoy what tumbles out of this woman’s mind. I always do!  And don’t you just love her cover?!

In which Gabriella Edwards tries to pry deep, dark secrets from Keri Stevens:

Today, I’m pleased to welcome Keri Stevens on her very first stop ever, on her very first blog tour ever, for her very first novel ever, Stone Kissed. I asked her three questions about her book. Watch how she tries to weasel out of answering them…

GE: Is Delia a manifestation of an alter ego?

KS: Delia is as unlike me as I could have made her. She’s small, birdlike, quiet, dogged, no-nonsense and much younger than I am. While I would find the ability to talk with statues a constant source of delight (and probably attempt to make a career out of it), she finds it a mixed blessing, at best.

But when it comes to core values and desires, we’re probably more similar than I want to explore or admit…next question?

GE: Come on. Throw me a bone, here.

Okay—we both put on the oldies and dance around while we clean. It’s the only way to dust.

GE: What about your succubus? Did you base her on someone you know?

Don’t you love her? I just love her. In many ways, I found her much easier to write than Delia. Hmm…I wonder what that means…

GE: Who is Grant? Share that story with everyone.

Grant’s seed was planted (and that is not a metaphor) when I was a teenager. I met a guy from Scotland who was and is the cover of every Highland romance ever written. Tall, dark, and rocking the plaid shirt with the rolled up sleeves, the acid-washed denim with carefully-shredded holes on his thighs and…pardon me. I need a minute.

GE: Here. Have some estrogen…

Anyway, he was the first guy I ever saw who had me thinking, “You are so far out of my league we’re not even talking the same sport.” As a result, we were good buddies for a few minutes. I was one of the few girls not actively seeking his attention, so he could relax with me.

I’d like to tell you that, in classic teen-romance fashion, Mr. Brawbraes realized his “little buddy” was the girl of his dreams and we had a sweet, chaste teen-lurve. But alas, he got away.

And, fortunately, so did I.  Grant shares many of the finer aspects of his character with my own real-life romance hero, Dr. Stevens. And none of the annoying ones.

GE: None?

KS: Is this going out on the ‘net?

GE: Yeah.

KS: Then no. None.

GE: ROFL!   Thank you, Keri! See?  What I tell ya?  This is all Keri and her story is simply amazing! Do yourself a favor and download it. It will be available December 27, 2010.

If you’d like a taste of Stone Kissed, Keri has brief excerpts up right now! http://keristevens.com

Read on for more about Keri and Stone Kissed.

STONE KISSED ISBN: 978-14268-9101-4

When Delia Forrest talks to statues, they talk back. She is, after all, the last of the Steward witches.

After an arsonist torches her ancestral home with her estranged father still inside, Delia is forced to sell the estate to pay his medical bills. Her childhood crush, Grant Wolverton, makes a handsome offer for Steward House, vowing to return it to its former glory. Delia agrees, as long as he’ll allow her to oversee the restoration.

Working so closely with Grant, Delia finds it difficult to hide her unique talent—especially when their growing passion fuels her abilities.

But someone else lusts after both her man and the raw power contained in the Steward land. Soon, Delia finds herself fighting not just for Grant’s love, but for both their lives…

KERI STEVENS was raised in southern Missouri and has lived in Germany, Arizona, North Carolina and Kentucky. Along the way, she acquired degrees in writing and German, a romance hero of her very own, three sons, and a mutt who licks her when she speaks German.

Her husband gave Keri her first romance novel to read, which unleashed a passion. Several years and a couple thousand novels later, Keri took up her laptop and began writing her own books.

By day, she is a mild-mannered yoga and Oriental dance instructor. By night she creates mayhem and magic in small-town paranormal romance novels like her award-winning debut, Stone Kissed, coming 12/27/10 from Carina Press.

To find Keri online, please follow @KeriStevens on twitter, fan Keri Stevens on facebook or visit her at www.keristevens.com.

Welcome My First Guest Blogger, Becke Martin Davis!

My novella Until Emie releases today and to help me launch my debut into the publishing world, I asked my dear friend and critique partner, Becke Martin Davis to come and post a blog.

*She knows I’m freaking out and can’t manage one myself*  

Not only is she incredibly talented, gorgeous, and giving, but she likes my writing! If it weren’t for this woman, I wouldn’t have had the courage to submit my little story anywhere.  This book is dedicated to her even though it’s not printed on the inside cover (oversight on my part) I wanted everyone to know. Love you, Becke!

“A Cut Above: Until Emie is Released Today!”

By Becke Martin Davis

“I’m picking up my bags now. I should be home in about an hour depending on traffic. Did you send a car?”

She barely registered his reply when a strong hand covered hers over the handle of her luggage. She glanced down and a charge of hot awareness shot through her. The thick scar winding its way from the index finger to streak a path under the palm belonged to only one man.

Shit, no! I’m not ready. Emie looked into the hard steel grey of the eyes she had never seemed to escape. Panic threatened her reason.

“You look disappointed to see me, Emie. I’m hurt.” Without asking, Cut took the phone from her. “I’ve got her, Richard.” He ended the call with four words.

***

It was early in 2008 when I attended my first meeting of the Ohio Valley RWA chapter, and I was a little nervous. A newbie to fiction, I had printed up the completed drafts of my first two stories, eager to compare notes with other writers.

Like a newbie, I sat in a back corner so I could observe without drawing any attention. I wasn’t alone. Sitting next to me was a dark-haired, dark-eyed woman who also had a printout in front of her. We eyed each other eagerly, but a little wary, too. She had a great smile and, like so many of my friends, was a whole lot shorter than me. I felt like the Jolly Green Giant, but her friendly smile instantly won me over. We exchanged introductions – Becke, Rosie – briefly and in whispers, since someone was talking at the front of the room.

“Did you bring a story?” I asked, nodding at her pages.

“Yes,” she whispered back. “Did you?”

We passed our manuscripts over, trying to be subtle about it. I think her eyebrows raised a bit at the number of pages in mine.

I didn’t want to be rude to the speaker, but I was eager to sneak a peek at the story. Although I had been a garden writer for many years, I was brand, spanking new to fiction and had no idea if I was on the right track. I was desperate for a critique partner, and hoped I might have found one.

I slipped on my reading glasses and opened the story to page one. I liked the title: UNTIL EMIE. I started to read. “The arrival gate at Houston Intercontinental was unusually quiet. For once, Emie and the stream of weary travelers made it through without the persistent paparazzi mowing them down.” I was intrigued.

I gave Rosie an encouraging nod and read on. My face began to heat. The hero was named “Cut,” which for some reason I thought was freaking hot. He had a sexy scar, and with about a dozen words I knew he was going to be Alpha with a capital A. I think I may have started to pant at that point. I know damn well I was blushing.

“Holy shit!” I whispered, as my eyes bugged out of my head. “This is really good, but, uh, I can’t read it in public.” Rosie reached to take it back and she had to tug a bit before I would let go. “Wait – I really want to read it!”

“You like it – really?”

“Yes!” I guess my expression convinced her (I may have been drooling a little.)

Her smile was so bright it practically singed me. “I’ll email it to you.”

We’ve been critique partners ever since, but I got the better deal. Her story was almost ready to go, while I was still “learning by writing.” Rosie must have waded through a million words of mine, for which she deserves a medal (or a night with Gerard Butler, and I know which she would prefer).

I was thrilled when Rosie aka Gabriella sold UNTIL EMIE to Red Sage, but I wasn’t surprised. I knew from the first page that she was going to sell this story. It seems as if it’s taken forever, but it’s really only been a matter of months. September 1, 2010, UNTIL EMIE by Gabriella Edwards goes on sale. It’s definitely a cut above!

I’m not a betting person, but I guarantee this is only the first of many stories by this hot new author, and I do mean hot! I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did. But, take my word for it, you’re going to want some privacy – or most of you will. If you’re into an audience? Just wait until you read her next story!

Becke Davis, writing as Becke Martin

http://www.beckemartin.com

Boy Howdy! What Makes an Erotic Scene Tick?

 What makes an erotic scene tick? Hot sweaty animal sex…is that it?  I’m thinking yes, but then again I have a tendency to write my stories around sex scenes, which never fails to leave me in a huge rut.  However, when I come up with a fairly decent story (so my critique partners and editor tells me) I don’t want to admit I think in terms of sex scenes. I’m a romance writer who wants to make the story memorable. I have to add juicy conflicts, and compelling motives, and sweeping character arcs.  

Never mind!  Let’s get back to the sex! 

Okay, so boy meets girl. Boy thinks girl is hawt…girl thinks boy is hawt, and then they have at it. 

IT!  Dun, dun, dah! 

They do the nasty, get it on, make the beast with two backs, or three or four if it’s a… ménage.  *blink, blink*

Where was I? Oh, right!

What makes it…sex…right for the story?  How do sex scenes escape gratuitous status? How do they propel the story forward? These are all the considerations I have to take in when I’m constructing an erotic romance. I can’t just write stories around hot sex. I need to make the scenes necessary/fit the story. 

I’m currently finishing up a second novella and I’m at a pivotal scene. It’s honestly the first time I’ve consciously kept every one of these questions in mind. I feel brilliant, creative, and very proud that I’m crafting the scene so no one sees it as just another opportunity for me to write sex.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to allow the hero and heroine to unleash their characters, grow further into who they are (in my mind) and reach a conclusion that moves them either forward—or backward—on whatever path they’re traveling. It really is that important to the big picture.

What’s your opinion? Have you read stories where the sex just wasn’t *gasp* necessary? Did it make you feel uncomfortable or want to throw the book across the room?

Let’s chat!

Here I am…

Blarney: n. Smooth flattering talk. Deceptive nonsense.  Or to some: The Stone of Eloquence. Kiss it and you’ll never be lost for words. *sigh* But those of us toiling in the written word perhaps need more than a stone to kiss. I wish it were that easy. I recently posted a quote on my real self’s Facebook page about writing by Walter Wellesley Smith: “There’s nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” It feels like it. Yep, even for me, the “smut peddler” or the “chick-porn” writer. I write erotic romance, not smut, not chick-porn. Smut is a relative term and “chick porn” is the DH’s way of getting out of reading my work. I get so many different reactions when I’m asked about my writing, from raised eyebrows, nervous giggles, or my personal favorite—an invitation to dinner.  But I digress. I’m saving that for a later blog. 

Now, here I am, starting this blog to expand my marketing platform.  I’ve sold my first novella to Red Sage Publishing, Inc., and I’m waiting for its release this fall. So as I continue to write (one of the tenets of publishing is to keep writing, keep the career humming and fresh) I’m broadening my promotional opportunities.  *blink, blink* I’d rather open a vein. 

My first reaction to the self-promo was: “WTF do I know about promotion?!! I whined to critique partners and mentor authors who shook their heads in commiseration or patted my head and said, “Use the force young, Jedi.” Hmm, is the “force” blarney?  

   

Well, hell! 

No, I’m hearing all this blogging blarney is a force in itself in a marketing sense. Book reviews, author forums, and interviews sell books. Or at the very least blogging provides a vehicle through which an author, like MOI, can spark some interest, capture readers’ attention, show my voice, display my creativity, and hype my writing skills. 

“But I thought that was the whole point of writing my stories!” Stubborn-me still whined. 

“No, no, no.” the wise ones persisted. “You need to put your profile, your brand, your ass out there so the readers know who you are. Make your name known, Grasshopper, for no one else will do it for you.” 

  

So here it is folks.  Creating a blog for marketing reasons might seem like a load of blarney, but because I’m a writer and a woman, it makes perfect sense. Writers write and women talk. This blog is about writing, about women and what woman talk about. I love men! Men are more than welcome. I look forward to their spicing up and adding their interesting perspectives to conversations. Just be warned, I’ll talk about ya…a lot. 

I’m planning on having fun with this blogging thing, so expect naughty-guilty-pleasure stuff, just short of hedonism.  *I love that word* Oh, and I might throw in some blarney as well. 

Cheers!