Friday, August 17, 2012

Author Interview--Rachell Nichole

Hey folks,

Welcome back to another Fiction Friday interview. This Friday, I’m very excited to present my first interview of a published author. We have with us Rachell Nichole—romance author—and she’s going to talk about her soon-to-be-on-shelves contemporary erotic romance. As always, the interviewee will do the talking. Take it away, Rach.

Hi Mary,
Thanks so much for letting me stop by today to talk to you a little bit about me and my new book, An Affair Across Times Square.

-What book and/or experience made you want to be a writer?

I’ve been storytelling since I could type. I’m not sure if it was because I was such an avid reader as a kid, or if it was the insomnia and ease of access to a computer during the summer, or some combination thereof, but I do know that when I was ten or eleven and showing my parents my stories, they sat me down to talk about plagiarism, because I was crafting stories well beyond my age, which of course made me pleased as punch. As for why I write romance, that’s a little easier to place. When I was 16, my mom handed me my first paranormal romance. I’d read adult literature and YA (though it wasn’t nearly as popular then) and all kinds of other genres. But never an adult romance. It was Dark Desire by Christine Feehan, one of her Carpathian novels. And I was hooked. I started writing a paranormal romance novel two years later.

-What genre(s) do you write?

I write flash fiction in a lot of different genres, I’ve written poetry and experimental pieces that use multimedia and pictures, and quite a bit of creative non-fiction in the past three or four years. As for noveling, I write paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and contemporary erotic romance.

-Upcoming publication?

My first book, An Affair Across Times Square is due out from Loose Id on August 21, 2012. This was the third novel I finished and it was written specifically for an editor who was a classmate and friend. She heard me do a reading at Seton Hill of my second novel and asked me if I wrote erom (erotic romance) and if I would send her some. I told her I hadn’t written any, but I was certainly not opposed to doing so. The next week I had an idea, and four months later I wrote 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo and Serena (my editor) gave me a deadline for the book. The rest happened so fast, I think I still have whiplash. She loved it, management did, too. And then it was off to contracts and edits, and more edits, and the book’s coming out next month, just over a year after the idea for the book was born.


An Affair Across Times Square is a contemporary erotic romance set in New York City.

Here’s the blurb and a little teaser:

Layla Morgan is tired of getting into trouble, and getting hurt. And she fears her wild nature is going to strike yet again. But maybe this time, she’s finally met the guy that can stand close enough to touch her inner flames, and not get burned. The man across Times Square seems enthralled by her wildness instead of scared in the face of it. He can’t seem to look away as she shows him just how much fun she can have… with herself.
After one glance of silky skin and talented fingers, Tyler Lachlan doesn’t stand a chance of resisting the delicious distraction of the mystery woman from the Marietta Hotel. He’s sure there’s more to her than her sultry voice and mahogany thighs, but he doesn’t know if he’s willing to risk his career to find out.
Could what began as a voyeuristic affair across Times Square develop into something more?

And from chapter two, here’s a little teaser filled with just a touch of explicit content
Layla sank to her knees on the plush beige carpet, resting her head against the curtained window.
“What are you doing?” She hissed the words through clenched teeth, still shaking from her second orgasm. What, indeed? God, her mother would kill her if she found out. Layla had to call down to the concierge, get her room changed right away. She’d never be able to look out her window again without heat infusing her body. Who came in to the office at six a.m.? She’d never seen anyone there until well past eight.
But her heart pounded, refusing to let her move. She had never felt such a rush as she had holding that intense, dark gaze and bringing herself quivering to the edge. She wanted more of it. Craved his hot, fixated look. She felt his eyes on her every step of the way. And she’d no longer pictured Brian. Her full attention had been on the man across Times Square and his ebony skin. His face was chiseled with a square jaw. A light suit perfectly set off his shaved head and wide shoulders. Within a moment or two, staring at him and touching herself, she’d come.
She knew better than to let herself get out of control. It only got people hurt, and she was always one of them. Not to mention proper ladies didn’t seduce voyeurs across the street. Which was almost enough to make her want to do it anyway, just because she knew it was “wrong.” She reined in her impulses, desperate to control them and think this through before she did anything else.
What if she could let this be her one outlet? It would help her decompress and keep her thoughts off Brian. This idea held possibilities. Terrifying possibilities. Mr. Times Square probably had a wife, and she shouldn’t be fooling around with him, even from a distance. If he was married, he had no business looking into her personal window. She shook her head at her foolishness. Why hadn’t she bothered to check if someone was in one of those rooms in the building across the street?
Her legs felt like they were filled with custard instead of bones, her muscles still quivering inside and out. She raised a shaky hand to the curtain and slid one panel to the left half an inch. Just enough to see out, to look into Mr. TS’s window and see that he was gone. She tried to squash the disappointment blooming in her chest. He’d run away. She had no right being disappointed, no right parading herself in front of him like some Amsterdam prostitute in the window. What if someone else had been in that office and seen her?
Layla looked at the rest of the windows, searching, making sure no one else had witnessed her personal peep show. She couldn’t see anyone, but she hadn’t seen her voyeur until it was too late. She returned her gaze to his small office. Not even a plant in there. Nothing that told her about him. No paintings on the wall. Nothing but the desk, two chairs in front of it and one behind, and the door out of the office, which opened. She froze as he came back into view.
Gorgeous. A trim goatee covered his square jaw, making him look distinguished. She’d never thought Times Square was so big and small at the same time.

-For other aspiring writers, any tips?

This one’s easy – write!!! Never give up and never stop writing (or reading). If I had stopped the first time my parents thought I was taking other people’s stuff and putting my name on it, or the first time I got a rejection, or the first time I got a C on a writing assignment, or every time I was torn to shreds by professors and peers who knew I had better in me, I wouldn’t be here today. I wouldn’t be loving what I do and crafting stories to share with you all.

-What’s your favorite book/genre to read?

I adore romance novels of most subgenres. I will always have a special place for paranormal, since it was my first introduction to romance. But I also love historical, steam punk, erotic romance, and romantic suspense. I will say that my least favorite is straight contemporary romance. There’s usually not enough going on in those to keep me on the edge of my seat. The other subgenres have so much else going on around the romance plot and in the amazing ones, this external action is driving the romance and vice versa. It’s incredible to read.

-What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written? (Book, short story, scene, etc.)

That’s such a good question, and a really hard one to answer. I’ve taken creative writing classes since fifth grade, so I have amassed an incredible amount of writing. This is going to sound strange, but I think my favorite thing wasn’t even a creative piece. I wrote an essay in high school called “Black and Red” about The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder, which was an amazing book. One of my favorites I’ve ever read.

Thanks again for stopping by today, and if you’d like to be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of An Affair Across Times Square, leave a comment. One winner will be chosen on August 22.

There she is—Rachell Nichole. Like what you see? Look for “An Affair Across Times Square” starting this coming Tuesday, August 21! Also, check out the book’s YouTube promo video here!

Want more from Rachell?

Check out her website and her blog, a group blog Rach shares with two other erotic romance authors—Danica St. Como and Nona Raines. Also, like Rach’s Facebook author page.

The book is out! Get it here!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Finding the Right Home for Your Story

“That’s a no brainer.”

I hate that sentence because what is a “no brainer” to some is a legitimate question for others.

They say there are certain things about the manuscript submitting process that are “no brainers.” Among these is included format (12 point font, Times New Roman or Currier, double spaced, and 1 inch margins). So, if you didn’t know those, note them for future manuscripts.

But, don’t note them too fiercely. Every publisher or editor is different. Read what they want before submitting. I came across a place the other day that wanted submissions single spaced. After my eyes popped out of my head and I figuratively shouted at my computer screen for twenty minutes (not really), I bookmarked the site for future use.

So, this Writer’s Wednesday, I’m here to talk about a very important “no brainer” of the submitting process.

--Submitting to the right people--

At first glance, you may say “no kidding.” If you did, you are one of those no brainer people, and I’m glaring at you. Be nice to the kids who are less knowledgeable. Submitting your work to the right place is very important. It’s so important that most publishers and lit mags put it on their submissions page—“If your work isn’t (insert what they are looking for), then please don’t submit it to us.”

So, if you have written a stellar science fiction novel, do not submit it to a publisher who deals in strictly erotic romance. On that note, if you have written a stellar post-apocalyptic science fiction novel, do not submit it to a science fiction publisher who is not interested in post-apocalyptic stories. The genre is right; the subject matter is wrong, and they will not read your manuscript.

Having trouble finding the right home for your story? I recently discovered a pretty neat resource in the form of Check out their list of lit and poetry mags. Each listing includes contact info, a basic overview of what the mag is looking for, and their website.

Regrettably, I don’t have a similar link for novel-length works as of yet. For those, I generally just Google “(insert genre) publishers.” I get good results. Try it, and if you have a super awesome link that lists them, feel free to leave it as a comment!

Another quick tip, go to your bookshelf, or, or your local library/book store. Go to the section that matches the genre of your book. See who published the books in your genre. Make a list, go home, Google them, and pick out the ones that most closely match what you’re looking for. I’ve done this. I accumulated nice lists.

Hope this is at least a bit helpful. Also, remember before submitting to revise and edit and write your synopsis. (The above are links to my posts on those two.)

Good luck in all your publishing endeavors!

P.S. How did I forget? Also check out Ralan and Duotrope, great pro market sites.

Monday, August 13, 2012

On Karen Marie Moning's rerelease of "Into the Dreaming"

Happy Monday,

This week it’s all about a rerelease of a novella from my favorite author—Karen Marie Moning’s “Into the Dreaming.”

For this story to work, I need to here mention that I am legally blind and get my books through bookshare, which is a fantastic resource (tell all your blind friends) but, like most blind book resources, has a bit of a delay between when most books come out and when they are available.

Why do I mention this, I mention this because this story starts not with “Into the Dreaming” but “Fever Moon,” a graphic novel that centers around Mac and Barrons—the main characters of Moning’s “Fever Series.” (SIDE NOTE: If you like what I have to say about “Into the Dreaming,” check out my Yahoo Voices article about the “Fever Series.”)

Back on track, I saw “Fever Moon” in my July new releases e-mail from Goodreads (another awesome website). So, I flew to Bookshare, typed in Moning’s name, and found no “Fever Moon.” But, I found “Into the Dreaming” and read that instead. The novella was rereleased back in April and now, in addition to spoilers from “Darkfever” (the first book in the “Fever Series”), it includes a deleted scene from Moning’s “Kiss of the Highlander,” one of the books in her “Highlanders Series”), content from a romance novel that was never published, an alternate opening to Moning’s “Dark Highlander” novel, and a peek at art from the previously mentioned “Fever Moon.”

Before I continue, a bit of background. “Into the Dreaming” falls between the worlds of “The Highlander Series” and “The Fever Series.” Like the Highlander books, it takes place in Medieval Scotland and features a girl from modern times being thrust back in time. “The Fever Series,” by contrast, takes place in an Ireland beset by the Fae. “Into the Dreaming” features the Seelie Queen and Unseelie King—the rulers of the light and dark fae courts respectively. Both characters are lesser, yet key characters in the Fever world.

The novella itself tells the duel stories of Aedon MacKinnon (a Scottish Highlander in Medieval time) and Jane Sillee (a modern-day aspiring romance novelist). Aedon has been kept prisoner by the Unseelie king for centuries and tortured until no vestige of his former self remained. In a game of the Fae courts, Aedon (who knows himself only as Vengeance) is returned to his home. Meanwhile, Jane has had dreams about Aedon her entire life and when a tapestry baring his picture shows up on her doorstep, her dreams become a reality. She is brought back in time to Medieval Scotland and must win back Aedon’s heart before time runs out so that she may keep him and not have him return to the Unseelie King.

Can she do it?

Answer—I’d suggest you read the book, but because I’m not heartless, I will let you know next Monday. ;)

I would actually recommend that you read all of Moning’s books. I discovered the “Fever Series” at the beginning of my junior year of college. I fell into it so completely that I spent the entire second weekend of the semester shut up in my room reading it. I only emerged for meals and then ran back to my room to read. This is how into these books I was. When a friend called to say she was on campus and asked if I wanted to watch a Disney movie, only my sense of obligation to hang out with her because she’d taken her time to drive to campus (she was a commuter) brought me out of my room. We all know my love for Disney.

It gets worse. I finished the fourth book in the “Fever Series,” stared at my computer screen, and thought “That’s it? That can’t be it? She can’t end it there? There must be a fifth book.” Oh yes, yes there was a fifth book, and it wouldn’t come out for over a year. I was…you can imagine. I read the fifth book in the “Fever Series” the day it came out (bookshare was right on top of that one because the author was a best seller).

So, “Into the Dreaming.” It has a taste of the Fever world, which hooked me right away. It’s fun, sexy (Moning writes urban fantasy with strong romantic elements after all), and takes place in my second favorite country in the world, Scotland—Ireland is my favorite. Someday, I will go to Europe. I will visit Ireland, Scotland, and England—in that order—and I will be very happy. Until then, I will read everything Moning writes.

But, to stay with “Into the Dreaming,” Jane is a strong character, and I identified with her—the struggling writer. The story has just the right amount of paranormal elements to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Aedon (like all of Moning’s main male characters) is strong and gorgeous but also dark and mysterious. Notice, I said nothing about him being wholly good or generally a good person in there. Read her other works to understand what I mean. Moning flaws her characters and leaves me wishing I was a third as good at flawing mine. I don’t know how she does it.

A bit of advertising. “Iced: A Dani O’Malley Novel” and Moning’s newest addition to the Fever world comes out in October. Dani is a strong-willed teenage girl right out of the “Fever Series.” “Iced” promises more intrigue, more fae, and more action that will keep the reader turning pages. I await the release of “Iced” with growing excitement.

See you out of the box,

P.S. Please check back with my post about “Hazard Yet Forward”—the anthology to help a fellow writer battle cancer. I’ve added links to my posts of other writers who have blogged about the book. Check them out! Also, I did an interview on a fellow SHUer’s blog last week. Check it and her blog out here!