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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#Interview with @JeanaEMann for Intoxicated

Jeana Mann is the author of sizzling hot contemporary romance. Her debut release Intoxicated was a First Place Winner of the 2013 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest and a finalist for the 2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award. 

Jeana was born and raised in Indiana where she lives today with her two crazy rat terriers Mildred and Mabel. She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Speech and Hearing, something totally unrelated to writing. When she’s not busy dreaming up steamy romance novels, she loves to travel anywhere and everywhere. Over the years she climbed the ruins of Chichen Iza in Mexico, snorkeled along the shores of Hawaii, sailed around Jamaica, ate gelato on the steps of the Pantheon in Rome, and explored the ancient city of Pompeii. More important than the places she’s been are the people she has met along the way.

Be sure to connect with Jeana on Facebook or follow along on Twitter for the latest news regarding her upcoming releases.


What is your story's heat level? How do you approach the sex scenes?
This is a great question. When I wrote Intoxicated, I put a lot of time and consideration into the amount of heat. A good deal of the story centers around sex and the views of the hero Jack and heroine Ally toward sex. After a good deal of soul searching, I decided that I couldn’t write anything that I couldn’t read aloud in mixed company. I also analyzed the sex scenes of the books and authors that I enjoyed most. I decided to challenge myself by writing hot sex without the use of certain explicit terms (which are entirely subjective to the reader, by the way). In my opinion, the sex rates about a 4 out of 5 on heat level. If you asked my mother, she would say it was more like a 10 out of 5. She has a copy of Intoxicated on her coffee table, but she taped it shut so no one could read it and she told my grandmother not to read it either!

I wanted to approach the sex scenes from the viewpoint of both Jack and Ally. I felt it was important for the reader to know both sides of the story. As I said before, the sex is important for the plot and it was important that each encounter amped up the tension between the characters a few more notches.

How do you maintain activity as a writer when sitting at a desk all day?
If there was a way to have a mini-fridge at my side, I would probably never get up from my desk! But after a warning from my doctor and a myriad of aches and pains, I started on a fitness journey. I think physical activity is important for mental acuity. On those days when I sit too long, I can just feel my brain getting sluggish. I’ve recently lost fifty-plus pounds, started running, and paying better attention to my health. I try to walk every day, run every other day, and I take a five mile hike on the weekends with my dogs – weather permitting.

What is it that you loved about the main characters in your story?
The concept of two characters with completely opposite lifestyles and outlooks intrigued me. I have to admit that I’m in love with Jack. He’s naughty, full of mischief, and he’s not afraid to admit it. Despite all of his flaws, he’s not a bad person and his devotion to Ally makes my heart go tha-thump! I think Ally is the perfect foil for him, with her conservative views. She might seem tough on the outside, but she’s extremely vulnerable on the inside. And although Jack recognizes her vulnerability, he has the ability to bring out the playful, adventurous side of her personality. They mesh so well, but their adventures aren’t over yet. I can’t wait to tell the rest of their story throughout the upcoming books of the Felony Romance series.

What do you feel is your strongest type of writing? Humor? Angst? Confrontation scenes? Action? Sex? Sensuality? Sweet Romance? And why?
I think my strongest type of writing is a combination of humor and sex. Humor is such an important part of my life that I can’t help but infuse my stories with a little giggle here and there. I like my characters to reflect a little humor when you least expect it. As for sex…well, the hotter the better. I like to build up the tension between characters, flirt, and tease along the way. It’s the journey to great sex that hooks me into a good book and I hope to share that with my readers as well.

Are you social media savvy? If so what do you suggest for others? If not, why not?
Hi. My name is Jeana E. Mann and I am a social media addict. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right? Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are my favorites. I recently hooked up with Google + and can’t wait to get that going. If you’re on any of these platforms, look me up! I love to post and interact. It’s a great way to stay connected to old friends and to meet new people without ever leaving your house.

What are some things from your life or things you have observed that you've infused into your stories?
There was a time in my life when I hit the bars/club scene every night. I loved the people that I met and the experiences I had and heard about. I’ve met felons, celebrities, prostitutes, strippers (male and female), gangbangers, bikers, journalists, undercover cops, artists, homeless people… Those are the people and places I use to write about in the Felony Romance series. I will never forget the sights, sounds, and smells of those days. I hope to bring a little of that flavor to my readers as well.

If you had an unlimited budget, where would you like to visit for story-related research?
Oh my goodness, I would have to go to Scotland. That place fascinates me. It is steeped in history and beauty. I’d like to base a story on the pubs and clubs in Edinburgh or Glasgow. Maybe I’ll figure out a way to do that.

Any fun facts about the research for your book?
Research is the best part of writing in my opinion. So of course I am always on the lookout for new cocktails and the latest, greatest rock music. Every now and then I have to drop into a new club or bar to check out their vibe.

Finally, tell us a little about your newest release!
Intoxicated is the first book of the Felony Romance series. It’s a series based in and around a heavy metal underground club. Felony Bar is a little bit dirty, a lot sexy, and dangerous at times. It’s the sort of place that people whisper about and secretly want to visit, but would never share that desire in mixed company. When an uptight accountant named Ally ventures into Felony, bar manager Jack is intrigued and challenged by her immunity to his charms. Jack is determined to get her underneath him, but he doesn’t expect to fall in love along the way. Just when he starts to make some headway with Ally, a dirty secret from his past lands on his doorstep. Ally has a few ghosts in her past as well. And when those secrets surface, their world turns upside down.

Look for Unexpected this fall (a novella) and Vindicated (Book 2) from the Felony Romance series. 


Love is intoxicating, but the hangover can be agony...

Conservative, straight-laced Ally Taylor has the perfect life – successful fiancé, beautiful home, great career – until she catches her fiancé and best friend in bed. Desperate to shake off the sting of rejection, Ally heads to Felony, a notorious heavy metal club on the bad side of town. Even more dangerous than the bar is Jack Jameson, the hunky alpha male bartender whose smoldering dark eyes and dimpled smile turns her common sense to mush and her knees to noodles. After eight long years in a failed romance, the last thing Ally wants is to hook up with someone like Jack, but she can’t help wondering if he’s really as good in bed as his reputation suggests.

Jack Jameson has had his eye on Ally for months, drawn to her smart mouth and tightly wound self-control. When Jack finds Ally sitting on a barstool in his club, heartbroken and miserable, he’s more than happy to offer a little heat between the sheets to distract her. Too bad Ally’s not interested in his “hit-it-and-quit-it” philosophy. If only Jack could convince Ally that he’s tired of the endless parade of girls through his bedroom, she might see him in a different light.

When Jack and Ally get together, everything goes wrong and it’s more than either of them bargained for. Ally’s got serious trust issues and a need for control that makes Jack crazy. Jack’s got more baggage than an airline carousel; the constant stream of women from his past stirs up all of Ally’s insecurities. Can Ally overlook Jack’s womanizing past and learn to trust him? Will Jack be able to commit to just one woman or will a secret from his past ruin everything?

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She didn’t want to believe him, but one look into his dark eyes and she had no doubt that he spoke the truth. Eyes like that didn’t lie. The clarity of their brown depths spoke volumes about his sincerity. He stared back at her with one eyebrow cocked as if daring her to challenge his answer. She cleared her throat and tried to look away but couldn’t. No, if there was one thing she knew for certain, Jack didn’t lie. He didn’t need to.

She shook her head to break the spell. A few more minutes of his heated chocolate stare and she’d be flat on her back with her legs in the air. Then the office gossips really would have something to talk about. “Thanks for lunch.”

“We aren’t done yet.” He glanced at the brass and mahogany grandfather clock behind her. “I still have another ten minutes of your time.” She stood and he rose with her, a lithe and graceful motion. “You want to know what I think?”

“Does it matter? I’m sure you’re going to tell me anyway.” She took a step backward and he moved with her, herding her backwards in a seductive dance until the backs of her thighs came up against the desk, so close that her skin prickled with a sudden rush of heat.

“I think that if you were really into Brian, you would’ve made the time for him. I think that you’re secretly relieved to be free of him and feeling guilty about it. I think that deep down inside you’re dying to break out of this cage you’ve built for yourself with someone who knows how to give a girl what she needs.”  

Jeana will be awarding a $40 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour!

Monday, August 25, 2014

#Interview with Autumn Stark for All In

Autumn Stark writes Romance with a sense of humor and a whole lotta steamy fun. Doesn’t mean there aren’t a few whips every now and then, but she’s a sucker for a happy ending. Autumn has been writing in one capacity or another her entire life, but Break Me is her debut novel.

Autumn Stark is the pen name for author and publisher, April Oglesbee.

All In is the second book in the All In series. Book 1 is already available on Amazon, B&N, and iBooks. Book 3 will be released in June 2014.

This is the second book in the All In series. Book 1 is already available on Amazon, B&N, and iBooks. Book 3 will be released in June 2014. Add to Goodreads!

What is your story's heat level? How do you approach the sex scenes?
All In is probably a 9 out of 10! Sex scenes are difficult in that most readers have really read (or done) it all. There’s not much new you can bring to a sex scene...except that particular experience. I try to write sex scenes with the emotions of the characters in mind, but also the complications of their lives as well. It’s not just about putting parts together, but about projecting what’s happening inside, outside. That being said, I spend a lot of time trying to forget I’m writing a sex scene. If I’m super aware of what I’m doing, it often reads that way, too.

How do you maintain activity as a writer when sitting at a desk all day?
I’m lucky in that my day job requires me to be all over the place. I get a lot of relief in-between bouts of writing. I’ve also found that when I hit a mental block, the quickest path to getting writing “flow” back is to go for a walk or throw myself into something really physical. Something about the opposition of the two helps me to work out stuff I’m stuck on. I have problems with my back anyway, so movement is key. I also really love my yoga ball. It makes a great office chair to keep from getting sore.

What is it that you loved about the main characters in your story?
They’re both so stubborn and driven. Jay and Parker are both people with strong personalities and a deep understanding of what they want from life. I like that Jay knows who he is and what he wants while Parker is comfortable in who she is and unapologetic about her desires. Even more than that, I like that neither one of them are idiots. When they’re confronted with situations that challenge them, they may get frustrated or mad, but they ultimately go at it head on and look at it for what it is. 

What do you feel is your strongest type of writing? Humor? Angst? Confrontation scenes? Action? Sex? Sensuality? Sweet Romance? And why?
Hmmm, an interesting question. I guess I would answer this by saying that I’m most comfortable at writing  humorous scenes and/or sex scenes. I think they’re really about the same thing--human connection. Humor is one of the most intimate things you can share with someone else. It’s a lot about vulnerability. Just like sex. Not everyone gets your sense of humor in particular and that requires that you make a leap of faith in those’s a little bit like stripping down for the first time, right? My brain tends to grind best in finding the sense of humor in most situations (often odd moments) and when I let the characters unleash their sexuality. In a sense, I guess I think of both as a feeling moments. I’m the kind of person who’s pretty open about emotions and experiences.

Are you social media savvy? If so what do you suggest for others? If not, why not?
Yes and no. I think I’m pretty savvy in general, but some social media forums are not my cup of tea. I think the best advice for anyone is to find your forum and keep working at it. If you hate Twitter, by all means don’t force yourself to use it. Social media is important, but if you hate it and don’t understand it, it never works very well for you or those following you. You have to find your element.

What are some things from your life or things you have observed that you've infused into your stories?
People are flawed. I like that my characters are flawed and I’ve tried to invest my stories with the sense that that’s okay and even awesome. I’ve also worked really hard to keep the quirky and every day issues up close and personal. I think that when you’re reading a novel, sometimes it’s the little things that get to you. Yeah, yeah, sure. She’s fighting ultimate evil, but where does she pee, man? Where and when does she pee? My heroines hate cooking and fall in love with men who don’t really see them. My heroes say stupid things at the worst moments and get their asses beaten because they’re blowing off steam. Oh, yeah, and they pee. 

If you had an unlimited budget, where would you like to visit for story-related research?
Oh man. There are so many places. I might be cliché, but Ireland. It’s one of the places I’ve never been and it’s just so full of magic and myth that I’m dying to go there. As an author, Ireland is so full of possibility. I’d probably go there for two months. I’d spend one month sort of wandering around and doing research (getting inspiration) and another month writing in the space I’d explored.

Any fun facts about the research for your book?
A lot of the research I did really came from personal experience. I spent a lot of time fact checking my memories, but most of the things, like setting and career choices, were things I’ve run across through the course of my life. I don’t always get so lucky!

Finally, tell us a little about your newest release!
All In is about two people who come face to face with what they never knew they always wanted. When faced with such a situation, it’s about who’s willing to play the game of love. Jay Markham is a Hollywood playboy and Parker Hardisson is a fairly normal small town girl. Their paths cross by accident, but ultimately, it becomes pretty obvious they were always meant to run up against each other. A lot of readers have been excited for Jay’s story--he sort of steals the show in book one. If you love Tony and Abby, like I do, you’ll also get to see them in this book. They’re front and center trying to help Jay and Parker navigate the waters of love. You’ll also get to see the Stevens boys (Gabe makes a pretty spectacular appearance in this one). 

It was possibly nine in the morning the next day before Abby barged into Parker’s house. To be fair, Abby had used her key which Jay must have given back to her, but it was as close to barging as one might get, all things considered. Parker was barely awake.

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“Parker? Are you home?”

“Where else would I be?” Parker tried to sound pleasant, but at best she knew she sounded grouchy as she called out to Abby.

“I don’t know, having wild sex with Jay in Los Angeles?” Abby walked into the kitchen as Parker was focusing on pouring coffee grinds into her espresso machine. Parker graced her with a snort as an answer. “Well, you could be.”

“I don’t know what that overgrown pretty boy told you, but I am not going to Los Angeles.”

“I’ll wait till you’ve had your coffee.” Abby grabbed her own cup and patiently sat on one of the bar stools under her kitchen island. Parker tried not to remember exactly what had been done on that particular counter while also trying to remember if she’d sanitized the thing since the sex marathon had started.

“Coffee won’t change my answer.”

“Might make you more talkative though.”

“Or more able to kill without getting caught.”

“I’ll take the chance.” Abby grinned at her and Parker sighed.

Autumn will be awarding at each stop a signed copy of All In to a randomly drawn commenter (US ONLY), and a Grand Prize of a $25 Amazon/BN GC plus a signed copy of All In will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US ONLY). Remember to comment at each stop to enter to win!