Welcome to Top 2 Bottom, Jaxx, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I am a native New Yorker living a quieter life in Indiana. I am a 3rd grade teacher by trade, but I have always wanted to write. I am in a long term relationship that keeps us happy despite the harassment our cat Judo inflicts on us.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
I started writing undercover back in 2005 because I loved romance books but never saw anyone like me in them. I daydream the heroine was me, but it wasn’t the same so I created them for myself. When the internet blew up in the late 90s I found a whole new world out there and wanted to be a part of it.
How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?
It took me almost a year to find a house to take my first book. Since then I have written 28 book with 23 of them all ready published. The others have houses but no release dates yet.
Do you write full time?
No, I have a full time job that prohibits that. I write as much as I can in my off time.
Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
I think the profession chose me. My mother used to say, you can’t complain about something but don’t do anything to change it. I always wanted to be a writer. I wrote hetero romance while in school, but longed to read romance with two male characters. Writing them was the next logical step.
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
I usually have some kind of while noise going on in the back ground, music playing or a movie I’m not really watching and a bottle of iced tea in the warmer months and hot tea in colder ones. I’m at my desk tapping away at my laptop until my sweetheart yanks me off to eat something or go to bed.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I write straight through. When it’s all out of my head then I edit.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I’m a planner. I know before I make the first key stroke I know the beginning, the middle and the end. What I don’t know is how the characters get there. They tell me that.
What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
Depending on the genre I could be researching for months before I even start on a book. My biggest fear is the have someone read my book and I have write me saying something I said I have said was inaccurate and it’s real. Writing fiction is one thing, but when I am stating facts I want them accurate.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
I have been known to add folk that have passed to my books either by real name or real personality because I want a part of them to live on, but I never put them together. That is the line and for me a little creepy. There is a little piece of me in each of my heroines.
How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read?
Completion of the story depends on the characters. However long it takes for them to talk to me to have their stories told varies.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
Yes, we all do. My characters don’t talk to me for several reasons: when I’m sick, hut, stressed or just overwhelmed when they all talk together. I close my laptop and do something totally un-writing related. It helps me to change my scenery so I go to the movies, color, shop or go out to eat.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?
When they close a Jaxx Steele book I’m looking for the slow smile and the words: “You know what? That was really good!”
Can you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?
Ha! Your characters don’t give a flying fig about deadlines.
I can’t write a love scene to save my life if my love life sucks.
Writers block has no time table. It’s over when its over.
Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
Most of the time I know the title before I start, but some books didn’t get a title until the book was complete.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
I like silly comedy. Movies like Robin Hood Men in Tights and Undercover Brother crack me up.
What is the most frequently asked Jaxx Steele question?
LOL Are you really into all that stuff you write about?
What are you working on now?
I am putting the finishing touches on the sequel to Cam’s Best Friend and a bondage story called Law and Order.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?
After I signed my first contract I was concerned that I would run out of stories to write. Another author told me that if I was meant to be a writer all I needed to do was keep writing. The stories would come to me on their own.
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?
I give out business and leave them with my tips at restaurants in the real world, I am part of several online groups and cyber networks.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
LOL I practice a lot of stuff on my partner. It makes research more fun.
What kind of books do you like to read?
I like historicals that’s why I don’t write them. I don’t want to mess them up. LOL
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
A teacher, but I am already. So I’m happy!
Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?
Ideas come from everywhere, a conversation, a picture, a place…
When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?
I’m generally happy with my covers. The houses I am at let me give input enough and I’m pleased with the results.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Yes! I am hoping to finish my Four Kings series before year’s end so I can submit and have them out for 2013.
New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?
1- Reviews are just one persons opinion. They do not make or break your career so don’t let them
2- If you’re going to write that genre you should first read that genre. Find out what the general rules are and then break them and make them your own.
3- You have to hone your craft. The greatest novel in the world will still end up in the slush pile if the editor wants to rip their eyes out because they can’t get past all of the mistakes.
What future projects do you have in the works?
Yes, I am working on a series I call Four Kings. They will be contemporary romances about the most influential men in their fields. The King of Diamonds: Julius Raines IV, heir to a diamond empire. The King of Clubs: Alexander Cavanaugh, owner of the world’s most exclusive clubs for the rich and famous. The King of Hearts: Dr. Charles Brighton, gifted heart surgeon and The King of Spades: David Ingram, developer of S.P.A.D.E.S (southern people against detrimental environmental studies) a well known environmentalist. At the moment it is taking most of my time.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
I have a website: www.jaxxsteele.com You can find me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/jaxxsteele I have a blog: www.blogspot.com/jaxxsteele I’m on twitter: www.twitter.com/jaxxsteele and I participate often on Guys Like Romance, too! www.guyslikeromancetoo.blogspot.com
Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one of more of your stories with us?
Dixon Web Designs was located in a strip mall about five miles down the road from his establishment. Luke spotted his friend sitting at a table in the back of the small office with another man who had his back to the door. Nick waved him over. Luke smiled, smoothed his shirt, took a deep breath and approached.
The man sitting with Nick turned around and Luke stopped in his tracks. He managed to keep his mouth from dropping open, but couldn’t prevent the gasp from escaping his mouth. The computer guy had the brightest, most sparkling brown eyes Luke had ever seen. They reminded him of a cup of freshly poured cup of cola sitting in the sunlight. The man landed a deliberate gaze on him that felt like a physical touch gliding over his skin.
He and Nick stood to greet him. Luke took in the stranger’s masculine features and everything around him seemed to fade. No hair obstructed the view of the man’s strong looking square jaw. His full lips were sensual and the dimple in his left cheek was prominent when he smiled.
Most men were taller than Luke’s five foot six inches, but this Anthony Dixon was massive. Nick stood six foot two and even he had to look up to the man. His broad shoulders and muscular stature couldn’t be hidden beneath the expensive-looking suit he wore. The jet black material over the beige shirt fitted him too well to be off the rack and complemented his caramel skin tone beautifully. Luke swallowed to wet his suddenly dry mouth while he gathered his wits and continued across the room.
“Luke, I’m glad you made it, man,” Nick greeted, patting him on the shoulder.
“Luke Finley, this is Anthony Dixon, owner of Dixon Web Designs,” he added extending his hand to the stranger.
Luke took the stranger’s outstretched hand. Anthony’s grip was warm and firm. The skin-on-skin contact sent tingles up his arm as Anthony jerked it up and down.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Luke.”
Anthony’s smooth, baritone voice vibrated over Luke’s skin sending an erotic pulse to his groin and lightning strikes of pleasure to his nipples. The realization surprised him. No one’s voice had ever turned him on before.
“I—I apologize for the delay. Thank you for waiting for me, Mr. Dixon.”
“It was no problem, and please call me Anthony. I think that’s okay if we’re going to be working together,” Anthony said, offering him a seat. “Any friend of Nick’s is a friend of mine.”
The three men sat down and Luke put the basket in the center of the table.
“I brought a peace offering. Is it all right if we eat as we talk?”
“Of course. This doesn’t have to be a formal meeting if you’re not comfortable with that kind of scene. I want to make this as easy for you as possible.”
“Thanks. I must admit I’m not very techy at all. That’s why I asked Nick to find me someone to help. He knows all about that kind of stuff.”
Anthony angled his head to look into the basket. “Are these from Morning Glory down on Eighth Street?” he asked, removing a Danish.
“Yes, that’s my shop.”
Anthony’s face lit up. His eyes danced happily and an exuberant grin spread across his face. Luke’s heart fluttered at the sight.
“Really? I love that place. Making a website for you will be easier than I thought,” he said, opening his laptop.
“Nick didn’t tell you I owned Morning Glory?” he asked, turning to his friend.
“When I set up the meeting I just gave Anthony the basics. I had a friend that wanted a website for his business and that you were in the food industry,” Nick supplied with a shrug.
Luke nodded, turning back to Anthony. He held the cheese Danish between his lips as he typed. Taking a bite, he used one hand to complete his task.
“Mmm, these are so good, my favorite actually. I used to stop by your place on the way to work to get one every morning.”
Luke’s eyes widened. “Really? When was that? I never saw you. I wouldn’t have missed someone like you in my store.”
Anthony’s eyes shifted toward him. A rush of heat quickly filled Luke’s cheeks. He made the attempt to fumble out a retraction.
“No!” he said, shaking his hand. “I just mean I wouldn’t have missed a man as big as you.”
An amused smile touched Anthony’s lips as he turned to fully face Luke.
“Wait! That’s not what I wanted to say,” Luke rushed out. “I’m just trying to say that I usually notice when good-looking men come into my store,” he expressed more slowly.
Luke gasped, then pressed his lips together. He groaned and closed his eyes.
Just shoot me.
Nick’s abrupt laughter startled him. Luke’s eyes popped open and he turned to glare at his friend.
It was still early in the evening, and the dinner rush slowly filled the room. Frank continued to scan the place when his eyes landed on a beautiful man sitting alone in one of the booths. The man sat quietly, sipping from a coffee cup. His light brown hair was short and neat, and from what he could tell his arms were solid and strong looking. The man looked appealing enough in his sky blue shirt and white pants to demand further inspection.
“Damn, I hope that sweet looking thing over there is Dana,” Frank murmured.
“May I help you, sir?” the maître’d asked, stepping into his line of sight.
“Yes, I’m meeting Dana Scott.”
The man consulted his desk chart and then nodded. “Of course, sir, Mr. Scott is already here. This way please.”
Frank’s eyes never left the handsome man in the booth, and to his utmost pleasure, his guide led him directly to the cutie pie in question.
“Thanks, man,” Frank said to the maître’d who gave him a bow before leaving.
“Nice to finally put a face to the personality I’ve come to know, Dana.”
Dana took his outstretched hand. “Yes, you, too, Francisco.”
Frank slid into the booth and frowned. “Please, call me Frank, okay? Only my mother calls me Francisco and that’s only when she’s cussing me out in Spanish under her breath.”
Dana laughed. “Okay, Frank it is.”
Dana’s laugh was musical and his voice soft and smooth to his ears. He liked it.
“Have you ordered yet?”
“Just coffee and a dessert.”
Frank waved a hand in the air to flag down a waitress. “I know we said we were coming for dinner, but I’ve been snacking all day going from meeting to meeting. I’m not really hungry, but if you want to order something we could—”
“No, no, this is fine. We don’t have to stay to eat. We’ll have dinner here another time. We can just go for a walk or something when we leave here, if that’s okay.”
Awesome. There’ll be a next time. “Yeah, that’ll work. So, do you always order dessert before dinner?”
Dana’s face suddenly tinged a soft red as he looked around conspiratorially.
Cupping his face, he leaned forward over the table and lowered his voice.
“I try to fit desserts in whenever I eat. It’s a weakness of mine.”
Frank gazed intently followed the china cup as it rose to Dana’s mouth once again and locked on luscious pink lips. They pursed, and then gripped the side of the cup, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed. It was an involuntary and innocent move, but Frank found it surprisingly sexy. Dana placed the cup on the table and licked his lips. The action made Frank smile.
The waitress appeared at the table. She placed a chocolate éclair before Dana and took Frank’s drink order before leaving again. The pastry was pleasing to the eye. Light and flaky crust, swirls of chocolate from tip to tip, a spattering of chocolate shavings and light brown crème oozing from both openings.
Frank thought it looked good, but Dana’s reaction to the food was different. Undeniable excitement flickered in his eyes. Dana wasted no time removing the fork from the delicate white saucer it rested upon and picking up the dessert with his hand. The moan that escaped him after his first bite sounded almost sexual. Frank’s eyes widened.
Damn! If eating makes that noise come from him, I wonder what he sounds like when he’s about to come.
Frank continued to watch him eat. Dana’s eyes closed slowly as he licked the decadent crème from his upper lip. The sweet filling rose from the top of the pastry when Dana applied pressure to its middle. His mouth opened wide, engulfing the entire dessert to his fingertips, and dragged his lips slowly up the length to pinch off the flow of ooze at the end. Another deep moan escaped him when he swallowed, and then flipped the éclair over. Next Dana flicked his tongue out to lick away what came out of the bottom cavity. Before turning it upright again, Dana dug his tongue into the hole and sucked at it, making sure no more would escape.
Frank was enthralled. The sight made his dick throb with need. It was almost pornographic the way Dana nibbled and licked at the dessert.
Geez! I have to make it a point to have dessert and coffee with this man again. Fuck dinner!
To his dismay and relief, Dana finished eating. Frank had to adjust his cock to a better position. The seam from his zipper irritated its hardness, causing both pleasure and torture at the same time, but he was just glad to be able to blink and breathe normally again. Dana let out a satisfied sigh and opened his eyes. His soft blue pools were glazed with obvious lust.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to zone out on you.”
“Hey, no problem,” Frank said, swallowing loudly. “Want another?”