Please give a HUGE Top2Bottom welcome to the fabulous, Zathyn Priest!!

Welcome, Zathyn Priest! We’re thrilled you’re here!


Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

Hmm… I think I might opt for tea, please.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m from Adelaide, Australia. I live with a cat, a duck, and two greyhounds. Living with greyhounds means my home looks like a daycare centre, with fluffy toys from one end of the house to the other.
Aside from that, I’ve been around the MM fiction scene for about five or six years, although I took a break away from writing during that time. Amara: The Rebirth is my first novel in about… ooh… three years, I think. So it has been a long time between drinks for me. While I wasn’t writing, I rediscovered my passion for art. I own Scarlet Tie Designs, and design pre-made and (occasionally) custom cover art. Mostly original artworks rather than stock photography based book covers
.

What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?

Fate, I think. I had no idea MM was even a genre unto itself, and certainly no idea it was popular. Cruising the internet one night, looking for publishers and/or agents, I stumbled across Torquere Press’ website and read through their submission guidelines. I decided to give it a shot and wrote The Curtis Reincarnation specifically to submit to them. Thankfully, it was accepted.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

Actually, I’m going to be incredibly boring and decline your kind offer. About eight or nine months ago I was put on a new epilepsy medication, which has some strange side-effects. One of those side-effects is that it ‘rewires’ your brain to not recognize certain foods as appealing. So this once hopeless chocoholic now doesn’t like the stuff. Nor do I really like cookies, cake, candy, etc.
It’s quite bizarre because after a few weeks of taking this drug you eat a cookie and your brain reacts with a message along the lines of, ‘What the hell is this crap? Seriously… what the hell are you eating?’

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

I’m not one of those writers who makes sure they set aside writing time each day. In fact, I may not write for a couple of weeks and then, when I do, write for ten hours a day for several days in a row. If the mood strikes me, I’ll write. If it doesn’t, I won’t force myself. I can always tell when I’ve forced the writing and it only ends up being deleted.

Given that, I’m one of the least prolific writers in the MM genre. That used to really stress me because I’d see other authors pumping out one book after the other. I have to accept that I’ll never be like that.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

Oh God… I’m a shocker for revising as I go. Constantly. I obsess over every little detail and I’ve always been my own worst critic in that respect. I do a million drafts of everything. Well… not a million, but a LOT. I’ve never written anything from start to finish without editing, changing, revising, etc.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I have a general idea and then I basically make it up as I go along. Hence why I have to go back and change things a lot. I’ve never planned or plotted a story from A to Z. I let the characters and story develop, then see where it takes me. That’s half the fun, because it’s a surprise to me where it goes.

Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?

My favourite is usually the character I’m writing at the time. If I had to choose an all-time favourite, then it’s Alec (Tyler Curtis) from The Curtis Reincarnation. And I think he’s my favourite simply because it was my first published book.

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

It’s my constant companion, together with a hefty dose of anxiety. I’ve tried all the so-called writers’ block cures to no avail. If anyone has a sure-fire cure, please let me know.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone?

I have my office, which is in desperate need of redecorating to make it comfy.

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

I live alone. I don’t have to worry about anyone else in the house interrupting me. But people interrupting me on Messenger or similar when I’ve said I’m busy… yes, that hasn’t ended well on a few occasions! It takes a while for me to get into the writing mood and, once I’m there, I hate being snapped out of it. If I am, that can ruin the ‘zone’ for the rest of the day/night.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

My sense of humour? A little twisted, a little dark, a little off the wall and left of centre. My sense of humour is represented a lot in my books. It’s woven into everything I write.

What is the most frequently asked Zathyn Priest question?

Usually it’s, ‘Are you ever going to write again?’ This is because I might only write one novel every 2 years. However, I am trying to boost that up to at least one a year.

What are you working on now?

I have a few works in progress.


Counterbalance is a novel length contemporary story I’m working at the moment. I’m not sure what I’ll do with that one when it’s finished, though.

Dystopia is an almost finished novel, but something isn’t right with it and I can’t figure out what, so it’s shelved until I can figure it out.

The Violin Player is a sequel to The Curtis Reincarnation. It may or may not see the light of day, depending on the end result. I won’t let it leave my hands unless I’m absolutely certain it’s what I want it to be.

Left of the Middle is a sequel to Left of Centre, and I think that one will be graphic (Illustrated with digital art).
And I plan to write more in the Amara series.

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?

To be perfectly honest, writing used to be a huge part of my lifestyle. It isn’t as much now. I suffer extreme anxiety in regards to writing and this is the reason I stepped away from it for so long. I’m in the process of dealing with the anxiety and trying to find coping mechanisms.

After I wrote The Slayer’s Apprentice – about 5 years ago – I was struck down with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s one of those things you never truly recover from, and anxiety related issues goes hand-in-hand with it. It’s taken all this time to get to a point where I’ve started to feel the desire to write again.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?

I gravitate toward non-fiction, and a lot of my ideas for stories comes from things I learn from it.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer?

Horse Trainer.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Art is a huge part of my life. But when I’m not doing that, I love scoping the internet for interesting articles to read, or Youtube for tutorials. I have one of those brains that gets bored quickly and can’t relax. It’s difficult for me to sit and watch TV or a movie, unless I’m watching something educational.

Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?

Not really, no – lol. Amara: The Rebirth may be it for me this year. Unless I get Counterbalance finished and make a decision on what to do with it.


Although, I will be at GRL in Chicago!

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
I’m most active on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/zathyn.priest1
Twitter (Sometimes): https://twitter.com/zathynpriest
My author website: http://www.zathynpriest.com
and my blog: http://zathynpriest.com/brokenpencil/

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

I’ll rinse out my mug. But seeing as I didn’t have cookies or cake, the rest of the cleaning… you’re on your own *wink*

The Fabulous Damian Serbu is here to answer some of our Burning Questions!!

Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

Hmm, last time I had a Jack and Coke when we were together. How about a nice bottle of wine this time? No! Wait! My newest novel is about pirates, so we need to roll out a barrel of rum. It’s late afternoon, and I’m ready to unwind for a while.

Woo Hoo!! Looks like we’re going to PARTY!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, here’s the official blurb: Damian Serbu lives in Chicagoland with his partner and dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys. He is author of The Vampire’s Angel Series (The Vampire’s Angel, The Vampire’s Quest, and The Vampire’s Witch), as well as Dark Sorcerer Threatening, The Pirate Witch, and Secrets in the Attic. Keep up to date with him on Facebook, Twitter, or at http://www.DamianSerbu.com. When I’m not writing, I love hanging with friends and family, reading, and am an avid fan of Cleveland sports. Oh, and Paul and I love to travel.

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

Cool beans! I spent a lot of time studying the actual history of pirates for this one. It’s part gay romance, part my horror stuff with witches and the like, and a chunk of history. So I was glad they accepted it, after all that work!


What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?

Use the Force, Luke. It will draw you to the MM Genre. It must have been watching Darth Vader while I was growing up.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

Oatmeal cookies, no raisins, but let’s throw some butterscotch chips on top to spice it up.

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

I try to spend 4-5 hours a week on it. Since I have to have a day job, so I can eat and survive, I don’t have as much time to write as I would like. But that keeps me busy. Also, I get huge chunks done when we drive somewhere. Paul loves to drive and I hate to drive, so he happily drives while I sit next to him, writing away. We went to see friends in Cleveland last weekend, and I wrote almost the entire five hour trip!

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

I always revise what I wrote the previous time before I begin writing the new stuff. It helps me to tighten it up and then gets me in the mood to push the story forward again.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

Am I allowed to say both? Lol. I know, what the hell kind of answer is that? I start with a plan, an outline. It guides me. But I also allow for new possibilities and sudden and unexpected changes. So the muse guides the process, as much as the outline. Just the other day, I diverted from the outline by adding an entire chapter! But once I got that done, I went back to the basic structure.

Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?

That’s like asking a mom if she has a favorite kid! Or if I have a favorite dog! It’d make me sad. But I’ll say this, I really got into writing The Pirate Witch because I really concentrated on making my characters completely different from previous ones. So Alexander MacBeth, the main character, is unique for my writing. And the pirate captain kicks ass!

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

Nope. Never had it. I can’t even fathom such a thing.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone?
I just plug away in my office. I sit next to the window, with a paining my brother did for me hanging above my computer. Really, once I get into the zone, I almost don’t notice my surroundings. I’m lost in the novel’s setting by then. So I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year on a pirate ship!

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

I write when I’m alone, because people would drive me nuts. So I don’t write much when anyone is around that could bother me. Only the dogs. But they’re allowed because they’re in charge.

We know the feeling! LOL!

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

Sarcastic. Very, very sarcastic.

What is the most frequently asked (author name) question?

Hard to say. Though of late, a lot of people have been asking me about the growing interest from straight women in M/M romance. They want to know what I think about it, and where I think it came from. I can answer the first part – I love it! I have a lot of female readers now, which is so totally cool. And there is some great stuff in the M/M genre being written by women. Hey, the more the merrier! Now, as to the why or where it came from, the women themselves are better equipped to answer that question than me!

What are you working on now?

Publicity for The Pirate Witch! So, let me drop the blurb for it right here: A winter storm in 1692 blows Alexander MacBeth’s life onto a perilous path when his dying mother pleads for him to survive. Alexander must learn his powers of witchcraft while concealing them from those who want him dead, even as the noble and handsome Crispin Nottingham steals his heart. Forced to flee Massachusetts aboard a pirate ship, Alexander struggles to protect himself from an evil witch while falling in love with the pirate captain. When Crispin, on behalf of His Majesty’s Navy, hunts for their ship, Alexander again confronts a chaos of events and emotions that may very well undermine his mother’s last wish.


Wow! It’s looks great!! Thanks for sharing it with us!

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?

Crazy thing, I don’t have to. If anything, it sparks away all the time without my doing a thing. I get stories floating through my brain with no warning. I’m walking along, or dusting, or driving to work and BAM! New story floods my brain.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?

Vampire stories. Or other horror.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer-

I might have said astronaut, until watching Sandra Bulloch float around and spin all over the place. So Horse Trainer. I love animals
.

I know, right? Sandra’s movie changed a lot of minds…lol

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Is reading too close to writing? Cheering for the Browns, Cavaliers, and Indians! Drinking wine with Paul. Jogging.

Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?

The previously mentioned The Pirate Witch is now available!!

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

http://www.DamianSerbu.com. Or I’m on Twitter and Facebook, just link to them through my website!

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

Let’s throw the wine glasses in the fireplace and watch them shatter all over. One of my best friends wanted to do that at Christmas, and now it’s been with me ever since. Come on! It’ll be fun!

Absolutely! *Throws glass*

The Fabulous Jackie Nacht is spending her Valentine’s day here with us!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Jackie! We are thrilled you’re here!

Thank you, Jackie for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

Coffee please.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m married and have two little ones that I stay home with and at nights, I write. A lot of people know that I have a sister, Stephani who I love to vacation with and cause havoc. In the last ten years, I’ve moved around a lot with my hubby and I use those cities I lived in for my books. 😉 Other than that, I’m a college grad, runner and a shoe lover. Ooh I love my shoes! 😀

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

Well…there weren’t really any words, more like a scream. 😀

What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?

My sister and the news. My sister handed me Primal Passions and then I started reading it. Then a couple years later, I heard about another teen suicide and it upset me and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. It drove me to write See. That was the first book I ever wrote and completed.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice. Mystery?

*sneaks a peak* Ooh snicker doodle my favorite!

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

Couple hours. A lot of my time is being a mom. 😀

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

I write a chapter then I go back and revise. Drives me crazy otherwise. 😀

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

Everything is usually planned especially my Moon Compound series. I have little tid bits in books that won’t mean anything until two or three down the road. 😀

Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?


Drew and Mason. They both have a special place in my heart. However, I have spot for Oren in my Moon Compound series. He’s going to have a tough road ahead of him before he gets his HEA.

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, I have these little blockages and I usually call and vent to big sis.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)

Tim Horton’s coffee house is my best place to write. My house has too many distractions lol. Or Barnes and Noble café.

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

I wish but I haven’t quite mastered that yet. Once I do, watch out, I’ll be putting out a lot more books!

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

That’s tough! I know when my sis and I get together, its nuts! The banter and laughs are endless. However, I’ve always thought of her as the funny quick witted one and me the more serious but maybe people would say differently. Can I hope? 😉

What is the most frequently asked (author name) question?

When’s the next book coming out? LOL I really really don’t mind that question either 😀

What are you working on now?

Full Moon Gamma which is Peyton and Rayce’s book.


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?

Have fun with writing. The more joy you get out of it, the easier it is to write. I try not to let the little things get me down. I know easier said than done but if you enjoy what you’re doing, I think it transcends pretty well to just about everything in and out of work.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?

YA, I love reading Paranormal YA.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer-

Hmmm…I’m nervous this is some crazy Mad Lib *closes eyes* Retail?

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

I love to run and work out. I know weird huh?

Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?

Ooh I’ve got a lot planned this year. Moon Compound will be getting a lot more books as well as Birds of Prey. There’s a potential outline of a short series I have and hopefully will get the first one of that out this year. 😀

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

Website: http://www.jackienacht.com
Blog: http://www.jackienacht.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackie.nacht?ref=tn_tnmn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackieNacht
eXtasy: http://www.extasybooks.com/index.php?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=961
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jackie-Nacht/e/B00BSWQ9Y0/ref=pd_sim_b_bl_2

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

*grabs bar mop* Thanks for having me!

Ellen Cross is here to tell us about what inspires her and more!

Hi Ellen Cross! Welcome to Top 2 Bottom Reviews, we’re very happy you’re here!

Thank you, Ellen for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

I’ll pass on the juice, no offense, and head straight for the tea, thanks hehe.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself

Hmm there is not that much to tell, actually.
I’m in my thirties, a married mom of five boys and living at the beach on the north-eastern corner of NSW, Australia. I have a completely warped sense of humor, and am not ashamed to admit to having a geeky side, either.
I’ve always had my head in books, and turned to eBooks after hubby complained that the paperbacks were taking up too much room.

I’ve been with EXtasy for just over a year now, and am so thankful to have found such a wonderful publisher straight off.
My first couple books were straight and ménage romance, but as I settled in and became comfortable, I decided to unleash my true calling, writing gay romance.

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

I was speechless, and feeling a little lightheaded from holding my breath when I saw the email was from my publisher. I actually checked the email twice lol. It was the moment when my confidence soared to a whole new level of “I can do this!”

What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?

I first encountered gay romance with RJ Scott’s, Christmas Throwaway. That book was such an eye-opener. It led me to read more, and I liked what I read.
I hardly ever read straight romance anymore, with the exception of a couple of my favorite authors that I can never pass up on, so why would I want to write it?
There is just something about man-on-man romance that ticks all the right boxes. The strength, muscles, pure domination of a far larger guy holding down their partner and making them feel… Are you inspired yet? I know I am. And let me be honest, anatomy allowing…there is not a single thing my characters do to each other that I wouldn’t do to them!

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

Ooh, Mystery ones, please. Sometimes you just have to hand over control, and let yourself be taken…by surprise, to experience life to its fullest. Even unpleasant experiences can yield inspiration if you look hard enough.

You are very brave, Ellen…LOL!

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

I try to get at least an hour every day, but on good days—I call those school days *grins*—I usually get 3-4 hours in.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

I revise as I go. With the boys and hectic lifestyle, I can never sit and write for long at one stretch, so find myself back-reading to try and get into the moment before I can keep going.
Ideas also love to hit me at the worst possible moments, so I usually have a bunch of ideas and scenes written in notepads, voice messages on my phone etc, and I have to piece them together as I go. Some books are almost like a jigsaw puzzle before I am finished.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I’ll get hit with a basic idea. It might be from a picture, a dream, song, or whatever. Sometimes it will just be a basic idea, or plot structure, other times it will be like a complete movie running through my mind. When the idea first hits I try my best to write that basic structure out, adding every detail I can remember. The rest is by the seat of my pants. I have never storyboarded or neatly planned out my books, just a few certain key points.

Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?

I have too many to just choose one. While I love my strong dominant men, my underdog characters are my favorites. They take on whatever the world throws at them and give the bird back. While they don’t think they are worthy of a mate, I love to prove them wrong, and watch them bloom under the love of their partner.

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it

I do, and usually with each book. I could sit and groan and moan all day from sheer frustration, but I soon learned to place a marker on my work at that point, and skip that scene. I’ll then move along and keep writing ahead, sometimes even working on a different book. When my mind clears, the scene will always come back and let me know how it is meant to be played out. Often just getting up and doing something else will clear the blockage.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone?

I have my little desk corner set up right in the front corner of my lounge room. I can still interact with the family and make sure they are not destroying the house, watch supernatural on Monday nights—thank goodness for those Winchester boys!!—and best of all, it’s straight under the air-conditioner. I have the best seat in the house during summer *grins*.

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

Not a sign, but a big set of noise cancelling—with extra bass—headphones lol. They can disturb me all they want, but when the tunes are pumping as the muse flows, it is almost as good as putting a mute button on the kids *grins*

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

I do have a darkly twisted kind of sense of humor. In fact, I have given hubby asthma attacks a number of times from making him laugh so hard. He’s also woke me up in the middle of the night when I’ve been giggling my head off in my sleep and keeping him awake. Hey, is it my fault the dream was funny?
As for my boys, if they leave their nerf guns around, fully loaded, whose fault is it when I feel the need to hide behind the lounge and launch a surprise attack at the first one who passes? We often have full blown wars in my house. I guess that is the plus side of having five of boys. It makes for a great three-a-side battle royale!

What is the most frequently asked Ellen Cross question?

Probably the most asked question is where I get the inspiration for the sex scenes in my books from. Well, let me tell you, I have a very overactive imagination…and living at the beach with all those Aussie guys parading their tanned muscles on display, who can blame me? *winks*

What are you working on now?

Fractured. Book one of the Preternatural Rescue Centre, series. I also have a few stand-alone books in the works. Some are making even me blush!

We found the cover art for Fractured…it looks great!!

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?

I like to take a leaf from Peter Pan’s philosophy, and try to keep that child-like curiosity, about myself. Life is too short to be serious all the time. It is meant to be experienced, and watching my own kids has proven to me that children really do see things so different to how we do as adults. It’s surprising how many times I have been playing with my kids, and they will do or say something that just seems to “fit” with a certain character’s profile. Take every moment of your day as a possible idea. You never know where you will find inspiration, just keep your eyes and mind open to it.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?

There is another genre?? Just joking lol. I like a pretty wide range, but nothing non-fiction. I just can’t get into true stories. I think it stems from my constant need to keep my head in the clouds, or in the gutter. Take your pick, they are both pretty accurate.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer?

Astronaut, hands down. We have pretty much explored all there is on earth, so that only leaves one place…up!

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

I don’t have much time for anything else, but apart from catching up on a movie every now and again with hubby, I love to get crafty. Most of my swag is hand-made, and I love taking inspiration from my books to create the pieces. I am also a musician, and it is a part for my daily life, also. I cannot create without music pushing me toward my goals, literally keeping me going when my energy is low, yet the muse is flowing strong.
Living at the beach, it is almost a given that spending time either walking along the shore or building sandcastles with my boys, is also one of my favorite pastimes, that is until our completely loopy dog, Jessie, tears through the middle of our creation. She likes to add her own personal touch *grins*.

Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?

I am working on the Preternatural Rescue Centre series, this year, as well as a few stand-alone titles I have in the works. Preternatural Rescue’s prequel, Cole in his Stocking, came out on December 15th, 2013, and is also tied into my 2013 Halloween release, Delta Blues.

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
You can find me at any of the following:

Website – http://ellen-cross.webs.com/

Blog – http://ellencross.blogspot.com.au/?zx=ac342156e1680559

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ellen.cross.376

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Ellen__Cross

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

Sure thing, *rolls up sleeves*.

Please Give a Huge Top 2 Bottom Welcome to A.C. Ellas!!

Welcome A.C. Ellas!! We are thrilled you are here!

Thank you, A.C. for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

Coffee, most definitely coffee. I brought stevia drops and organic cream for it, too, would you like some? What sort of beans do you use? I like the organic blend from Whole Foods the best, and of course I grind my beans fresh for each pot. I should probably look into roasting the beans, too, but I really don’t have the time.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I can. Well, first of all, I write. I consider myself a science fiction and fantasy author, it’s just that my books have a more adult, kinky flavor to them, and I don’t close the bedroom door behind my characters. I believe in world-building, and as a result, I have a small mountain of files about my created world, Ydron. I’ve considered everything, from system mechanics to geography, from ecology to the cultures of the people who inhabit my world.
In addition to writing, I edit. Even when I was a kid, I’d correct the typos in the books I’d read. Now I get to do it professionally. I edit under a different name, mostly to prevent an appearance of conflict of interest. I always want the books I’ve worked on, either my own or the works of others, to do insanely well.
I’m also the mother of two very active young boys. One is a high functioning autist, the other a genius, and between them, there’s never a dull moment. That’s a soapbox I’ll avoid, except to say that to heal my son, I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about guts, brains, and the connection between them, which brings me to my last hat.
I’m a registered nurse. In fact, I’m a cardiovascular intensive care specialist. I take care of patients directly after open heart surgery during those first, critical hours. I take care of a wide variety of other ICU patients, too, but cardiac nursing is what I do best.

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

“Oh, wow, they want it! They want it! Wait, is this a good idea?”
Of course, I decided that it was good, even though breaking a massive novel into shorter serialized segments is a lot of work. Serialization did give me the opportunity to add back a lot of detail that had been cut for length. So, the first volume, which comprises books 1-10 of the Dark Servant, is a third larger in total than it was when I originally submitted it.

What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?

My brother is gay. My best friend from high school is gay. I have a lot of gay friends. Somehow, my main characters end up being gay, and that doesn’t bother me in the least. Since I’m not gay, or even male, I had to do a lot of research, and I quickly discovered that most porn is pretty horrible when it comes to plot.
I don’t think I ever consciously decided to make my characters gay. Technically, several of my characters are bisexual, and at least one is a hermaphrodite. I played with biology when I created my world. It’s an alien planet, even if there are humans there. One of my races has four genders. Another hatches from eggs. Even Earth biology is varied, and there’s more than one way to propagate a genome.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

No, thank you, for health reasons, I follow a paleo diet. No grains of any kind. I eat high-quality, non CAFO (confined area feeding operation), organic meat, pastured organic eggs, organic milk (raw if I can find it), a healthy variety of vegetables, conventional if their pesticide load is low, organic otherwise, and no GMO (genetically modified organism) produce or ingredients.

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

Depends on the day. On a day where I have to work with my kids on school and then go work a shift at the hospital, I get about an hour of writing time. On my nights off, and yes, I’m a night-shifter, I can get upwards of six hours of writing in.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

I do a little of both. I’ll write through until I’m done for the day, but the next day, I read it and correct it before continuing on to new material.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I’m a planner. I flowchart the plot. I arrange scenes. I have it all mapped out in advance. And then I sit down to write. Once I do that, the characters take on a life of their own and sometimes spin off on a tangent that was never in the plan. I either have to backtrack, or find a way to fit the new ideas into the overall story arc. I usually manage to shoehorn it in, but not always.

Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?

If you have to pin me down on just one, then Scorth, the black dragon, is my favorite. I like him because, firstly, he’s a dragon. I grew up with Anne McCaffrey’s books as my surrogate mom. I adore dragons. This dragon isn’t like Anne’s dragons, though. He’s magical, can shapeshift, and can’t teleport. He’s very intelligent and very sarcastic, and that’s a combo that’s just fun to write.

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

I suffer from writer’s block only in revision. I know, that seems strange, right? But I write in a very linear fashion, from beginning to end, and skipping stuff greatly offends my CDO (OCD alphabetized like it should be). So when I’m trying to revise a scene, and something’s not right, I get stuck right there, sometimes for weeks. I muse over that scene at every possible opportunity. Usually, the solution comes to me while I’m driving, occasionally while I’m at the hospital.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)

Not really. I write on my laptop using a lap desk, and I don’t care if I’m in the living room, my bedroom, or a hotel room. Hospital administration, however, frowns on my writing while I’m on duty, and I don’t always get a lunch break. And, strangely, it seems that the nights I take my laptop in with me, I’m so insanely busy that I never have time to even think out breaking it out and working on it. Conversely, on nights where I don’t have my laptop, I’m twiddling my thumbs watching very stable patients sleeping.

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

No, there’s no point. My kids would take such a sign as a challenge. Really, I do most of my writing at night, after everyone else is asleep.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

My humor is dry and sarcastic. Things that make me laugh: George Carlin. Monty Python. Most medical humor. SF&F fandom jokes. Things that don’t make me laugh: Sitcoms. Spoofs. Galaxy Quest was the exception to the spoofs category, that movie was brilliant.

What is your most frequently asked question?

The most frequently asked question is where I got the idea for the Dark Servants. It all happened because I live in a desert. One hot summer night, I was reading a rather good fantasy novel, and it was upsetting me. Why, I asked, are the bad guys always Dark? Why is night automatically evil? From the point of view of a nighttime desert dweller, the SUN is the enemy. And that’s when the idea for the Dark Servants came to me.

What are you working on now?

I’m continuing to work on the Dark Servant serialization, I’m also working on several short stories set in the Dark Servant world, plus, I’m working on an entirely new series, a MM science fiction tale.

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?

I read. I read a lot, actually, but almost exclusively science fiction and fantasy. People-watching is another hobby of mine. It’s like bird-watching, only you don’t want to use binoculars because you might clue your targets in as to the fact that you’re observing them.
Every so often I escape from it all by hiking into the wilderness and pitching a tent. My version of camping is old school—no amenities, only a radio for emergencies. I backpack into wilderness areas where motor vehicles aren’t permitted. Back when I had horses, I would horse-pack in. I miss having horses.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?

Science Fiction and Fantasy. I am widely read within those two genres, but not widely read in the MM genre. I grew up with SF&F, and there’s some overlap there with erotica and romance. Or rather, it’s more accurate to say that SF&F can have elements of many different genres. After all, people don’t stop falling in love because they’re in space, and there can be murder mysteries in fantasy castles.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer-

Astronaut. If they wanted volunteers for a one-way mission to another world I’d be one of the first in line. Although, I have already done two of those – I have a degree in microbiology and I’ve retrained retired racehorses to prepare them for careers off the track.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Reading. I also make soap. Like every good nerd, I follow several SF&F TV shows, such as Game of Thrones (Yes, I’ve read all the books. I’ve even met George), Dr. Who, Supernatural, and so on.

Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?

The short stories should be good, and there’s that sci fi series coming, too. And of course, I am continuing the Dark Servant series, which is almost at the end of the second volume, about to start the third.

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

http://www.ac-ellas.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dark-Servant/340617732680081

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

Sure thing. I have some good soap here, I made it last month.

Stand up and Cheer…Tina Blenke is here!!

Please give a huge Top 2 Bottom welcome to Tina Blenke!!

Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us, Tina! Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

A glass of water would be nice, thank you.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I work in business for one of the top medical institutions in the country. I love to read and write and watch scary things on TV that give me nightmares and keep me up most nights. I have a nice little family, three dogs, and a very old cat. I also spend way too much time on social media.

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

“No freaking way!” I had to read and reread the email several times to let it sink in. I still find it hard to believe.

What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?

I had been working on a manuscript for some time but I wasn’t in love with the main character who at the time was a female. I couldn’t connect with her and at times she seemed stronger than her male counterpart. So, I set it down for a bit. My boss at the time was really into romance novels and had accidentally purchased a MM novel (K.A. Mitchell’s Collision Course) and shared it with me knowing that it was something I could fall in love with. She was spot on. I fell in love with Joey on page one and have read that book more than a handful of times. Maybe a week or so after putting it down, it dawned on me. My MC should be a man. When Evander came into my life it was love at first sight and I finished my manuscript within a month or so.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

Chocolate chip!

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

Since I write for my day job, I spend most of my days writing. Unfortunately, I can’t write for fun all the time. I can only afford two to three hours a week when I’m getting started on a new story and then towards the latter part of the book it’s upwards of twenty hours a week.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

I write through to the end before I go back for edits.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

When I start with a plot bunny, I begin with drafting out a loose timeline with specific events that need to occur. After that, the characters lead me through these time points and everything flows freely.

Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?

It’s difficult to choose a favorite but I think I would get along the best with Evander. He’s bookish and nerdy and full of random facts. He would be great to hang out with.

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

When this happens to me, I write through it. It’s an exercise I learned in high school where my teacher would force us to write. She’d play music and we had to write about anything that was in our head. It could range from whatever was going on in our lives to the sounds playing on her little radio player. So, basically I just start writing. I listen to music or I select an image of a particular setting off the internet and I write about something. Anything. Some pieces make it into the book and some don’t but the point is to write and eventually something beautiful comes out of it.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone?

Not at all. I write everywhere and sometimes I take field trips. Much of Athan’s Kiss takes place in a bookstore so I would write in coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries to get a feel of where they were. I’ve written in parks, gyms, bus stops, my bed, and open public spaces. I’m quite portable
.

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

That sounds like a good idea. I should try that. Many times it’s a dirty look and an enthusiastic, “not right now I’m writing!”

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

Yikes! I’m sure I’m a huge goofball and many things make me laugh. I enjoy classic slapstick and especially love stand up. Some of my favorite comedians are George Carlin, Jim Jeffries, and Louis CK.

What is the most frequently asked (author name) question?

“How do you find the time?” I have a very busy schedule working full time and taking care of family and pets. Finding time to get to the gym and even more time to write takes prioritization and I encourage everyone to make time for themselves.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a contemporary YA story that takes place in Minneapolis. I’m hoping to be finished within the next month or so. I also have a colleague working on some research for me for the next project. That one will return me to first love of paranormal and is starting to sound like a series. Eventually, I’d like to write a sequel for Athan’s Kiss.

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?

I read a lot of MM romance and that keeps me wanting to write more of my own stories. There’s always a story crawling around in my head itching to get out. I jot down notes on my phone and occasionally those little tidbits end up in a current WIP rather than starting a completely new story. When something catches my ear or jumps into my head, I capture them before they float away.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?

Right now I’m reading Stephen King. I also read MF stories by Larissa Ione, JR Ward, and Kresley Cole. I also love classics like Lord of the Flies and Scarlet Letter – two of my absolute favorites. And I love to read Shakespeare and Chaucer, as well as Beowulf.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer?

Since I’m a scientist by education, I’m going to have to go with that one. 

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

I really like to travel. Just this year, I’ve been to Vegas, Tahoe, road tripped to Seattle, and Atlanta. I had a great time meeting other readers and writers in Atlanta during GRL. I’ve traveled my whole life so it’s part of who I am and what I’m used to doing.

Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?

I’m planning on having something out in the late spring and then maybe another novel out in the fall.

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

I can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@tinablenke), and WordPress.

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

Please welcome author U.M. Lassiter!

Please give a big Top 2 Bottom Welcome to U.M. Lassiter!

Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

A cup of tea would be nice.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m just an ordinary middle-aged person from Southern California. As you may have gathered, I write under a pseudonym. Writing stories is an intensely personal experience for me, and knowing the work will stand on its own merits rather than what someone may know about me is very liberating.

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

Wow! Now I can buy that private island!

Well, no, not really. I had a lot of confidence in my work, and if I could only get the right people to look at it, I was pretty certain it would sell. The people at Devine Destinies are real pros, so I guess I just let out a smug, self-satisfied sigh.

What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?

Why, the internet, of course! Oh, you want me to be more specific. For some years, I frequented a couple of private web forums where people posted these kinds of stories. Most of what was posted was pretty amateurish and written for the benefit of lonely men that, um, couldn’t get a date that night.

On the other hand, occasionally someone would post a real story—and I mean a good one with all the elements; interesting plot, fully formed characters, the works. After years of lurking, I started posting, and I was thrilled by the response. Everyone was very supportive—especially the members that wrote the stories I admired. After a while, I realized I had enough material for a book—or three.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

I never met a chocolate chip cookie I didn’t like.

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

I have a day job, so I have to find the time wherever I can. I try to write a few hundred words a day, usually in little bursts, whenever I’ve got an active project.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

When something’s not working, I usually realize it at the time, so I guess you could call that revising as I go.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I’d written non-fiction for years, so when I first tried my hand at fiction, I thought it was important to have the entire plot meticulously planned. What I found was that the story takes on a life of its own, and you often end up going off in a completely different (and better) direction. You know when it just feels right. Now I start with just the broadest of plot points and see where they take me. It’s very satisfying.

Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?

Gosh, that’s like asking me who’s my favorite child. If I had to choose, I’d say Alex Johnson, the lead character in my Growing Lad series. Alex is literally a gentle giant that looks to his heart to do what’s right, even if it’s painful. I wish I could be as kind and guileless as Alex.


Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

When it comes to writer’s block, the subconscious is your friend. Let me explain what I mean. There are two kinds of writer’s block—one is where you are literally stumped which way you’re going to go next with your story. The other is just procrastination; you need to work, but you find a million excuses to avoid it.

When I experience the first type of block, I find that it usually means I’m trying too hard. I set the story aside and try to concentrate on something else. I’ve noticed that throughout my life, whenever I’m faced with a pressing problem, the subconscious continues to work away in the background, regardless of what I’m doing. When I least expect it, an idea will pop into my head and I’ll realize I have a solution. I suspect this is true for most people.

I sometimes suffer from procrastination, the same as everyone else. The important thing is just to get started. It helps to really believe in what you’re writing.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)

I have a home office set up in a quirky little room off my kitchen; I think it was a breakfast room or something. It has lots of windows that I can open when the weather is nice, and I can look out into the street to see what’s going on. I call it an office, but I really just use it for writing and storage. I do all of my bills and things at the kitchen table.

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

I live alone, so that’s not really a problem.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

Other people have described it as dry or wry. I have a well-developed sense of irony, and I can find humor in almost any situation. The best humor is just shy of reality, and it’s those kinds of situations that make me laugh. I love listening to a good storyteller.

What is the most frequently asked U.M Lassiter question?

If I have a web site (I do).

What are you working on now?

A series called Berkeley Daze. It’s a prequel about one of the characters in the Growing Lad series. Ryan Miyashi is Alex Johnson’s boyfriend in those books, and he’s a self-confident, well-adjusted young man with a joy for life. The new series goes back to Ryan’s earliest high school days in Berkeley, California, where we learn that he is anything but out-going and confident. Finding his first love is a transformative experience for Ryan, and it changes his entire outlook and he learns that life is a precious gift.

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?

As I said earlier, I haven’t been able to give up my day job—yet. You’re absolutely right when you describe writing as a life-style. I’ve always loved words and phrases and odd snippets of information and stories. I have a dictionary on my desk at work, because you never know when a new and interesting word will pop up.

Years ago, I had an excellent writing teacher, and she told me that to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. She was absolutely right. The best way for me to keep my creative juices flowing is to read as much as I can. I come from a long line of voracious readers, and I have a large personal library with books passed down to me from my ancestors that go back more than two hundred years.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?

When I was a kid, I used to read a lot of science fiction, as well as some young adult stuff. College pretty much put me off literary fiction, and for a long time I didn’t read fiction at all, preferring books on history and science. Mysteries by P.D. James and Tony Hillerman got me back into the fiction habit.

The book section of the local paper has a column called “Not Just For Kids,” reviewing young adult and kids’ books that could also appeal to adults. The best tip I got there was the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians—simply outstanding. Anything by Neil Gaiman is worthwhile; I just finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane (I think American Gods is his best). I resisted the Harry Potter books for years until a friend pressed the first volume into my hands and I found them very enjoyable. I also thought The Perks of Being a Wallflower was outstanding. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of kids books with action heroes and the like, mainly because I’d like to write one.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer-

Definitely scientist. I’m curious about just about everything.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Traveling, working on old cars, gardening.

Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?

Watch for the aforementioned super hero book.

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

http://www.umlassiter.com

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

It was my pleasure. Wash or dry?