Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kaye #4: Welcome Starla Kaye!

Mid-way through the month now, which means it's time to up the stakes! I'm giving away one surprise prize - to be eligible, simply comment on any of the first four Kay(e)s! Today, I'm so pleased to introduce you to our fourth Kaye guest blogger:

Starla Kaye!

Welcome, Starla!  To start, please tell us how and why you came to use the name Kaye!

My real name is Starla Kay Criser. The first book I had published was under Starla Kaye, with iUniverse.  I went on to use Starla Kay first at Red Rose Publishing, and then I changed to Starla Kaye there because I was already publishing a lot with Blushing Books as Starla Kaye.

Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

When I first decided to try writing books, I wanted to write mysteries. I didn’t grow up reading romances, but I’ve always been a huge happily-ever-after fan, especially in the Disney films. My two all-time favorite movies are “Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Many of my stories are loosely based on their basic themes.

I haven’t quite gotten around to writing full-out mysteries, but I do have a series in mind that one of these days I plan to write. For now I stick with writing romance in many of its sub-genres: contemporary and historical Western, medieval, pirate, sci-fi, futuristic, paranormal, romantic suspense, contemporary and even GLBT. At this point in my writing career, I have over forty published novellas, novels and anthologies written under my pen names of Starla Kaye (my main one), Starla Kay, and S. K. Fero.

Wow!  Congratulations on such publishing success!  Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

I have three upcoming releases, from three of my four publishers. First, coming in the next few weeks of April from Blushing Books will be a contemporary romantic suspense, Buying Trouble, under my pen name S. K. Fero. A major cruise line has caught the attention of both the Internal Revenue Service and the cruise ship crime unit of the FBI. Going separately undercover from each of the two agencies in one of the cruise line’s “fund raisers,” Miranda McGuire bids for Antonio Mancini in a bachelor auction. The prize is the “bachelor” and a week on the particular cruise ship they are investigating. Troubles run amuck on the high seas…including when they each discover the other person is also undercover and there is the game of whose investigation is more important. And, of course, an irresistible attraction that both would prefer to resist.

Hot off the presses!
After that Black Velvet Seductions will release my first ménage story, the medieval romance Their Lady Gloriana, in mid-May, under my pen name Starla Kaye. Think medieval times when honorable men must do what is required of them. Thomas Lancaster, a widow with bad memories of marriage, is also a courageous, hardened knight loyal to his king. In reward for his efforts fighting in the Crusades, King Edward is given Middlemound Castle to hold for the crown, but he must marry the beautiful young widow of the castle’s previous lord. Lady Gloriana Stewart suffered brutally in her first marriage and has no desire to marry again, but has no choice. Complicating the situation is Sir Rowan Montgomery, Thomas’s first knight, friend, and lover. Complicating things even more is that all three have strong feelings for each other.

And coming sometime in the next few months will be my story Maggie’s Secret Wish, which is part of the 1 Night Stand series from Decadent Publishing. Maggie has become a boring workaholic without a life outside her apartment and her career of website designing ever since being dumped by Eric the Prick. Her friend believes she needs some fun, a date, and va-va-voom sex and badgers Maggie into trying out Madame Evangeline’s high-end, online dating service. Ian, a popular erotica writer and part-time professional Dom, likes his work but it has become too same-old, same-old. He knows he will never be any woman’s idea of good husband material because of his kinky quirks and history. He’s depressed…until his friend convinces him to try Madame Evangeline’s services for a one night stand fling. Ian is told that many of the matches turn into something more permanent, but Ian doubts that is possible in his case. Still, why not at least try it?

Wow, three great stories! [I’ll just bet Thomas Lancaster is a hardened knight! ahem] What are you working on right now?

Currently I am writing an historical Western romance, Braddocks: Daniel, the first in a five-novella series for Blushing Books. These books are published in weekly chapters until completed on one of their member sites, and then they are published in completion at Blushing Books.

I am doing the final preparation work to start the follow-up book for the medieval with Black Velvet Seductions. For the Love of Rowan will be Rowan’s story, a ménage and regular romance combination. I fell in love with Rowan in the Their Lady Gloriana and had to write his own happily-ever-after story, which should be released before Christmas.

And I am considering several possible story lines for Decadent Publishing. One I am seriously considering is Alpha-Bet Hell involving a petite, sweet, innocent therapy dog trainer and her four ex-husbands, who she refers to as “primo bad asses,” and “her beloved idiots.” All four are agents for various alphabet agencies (NCS, SSB, DIA, and DEA). This one will be great fun to write with a heroine that drives four seriously hot, seriously testosterone-high alpha males crazy…and I’m seeing this one as hot, hot, hot.

Oh! That sounds fantastic! You gotta write that right now! LOL What happened to the first book you ever wrote?

Tug of Love was my first book published, from iUniverse. The short novel went the rounds of Harlequin/Silhouette and nearly made it to publication. But the story line involved a number of small town side characters, which the editor considering it then really thought should be removed. I decided I didn’t want to take them out, as they were elemental to the story and added a lot of flavor (in my opinion). So I published it with iUniverse. It has sold all right but I haven’t done much promotion for it. Truthfully, it should be revised since my style and writing skills have improved a lot over the years. But I just leave it out there at iUniverse and Amazon and I sell a book every now and then, which always surprises me.

What do you find easiest and hardest to write?

Many writers have a hard time writing intimate scenes, but I don’t. Unless I’m writing a story with more erotic leanings, such as Their Lady Gloriana, I just write character-driven intimate scenes. I prefer to use sensual elements rather than the real graphic terms. I’m one of those people who think a woman’s body is more sensually tempting wearing a bikini than naked…or a man in boxers or tighty-whities is hotter than just naked. What I mean is that sometimes it is hotter to let your imagination “see” what is beneath the clothing, and then see the reality of the naked body.

The hardest part for me to write is always the climax and resolution, because the story is about to end and I’m not ready to let the characters go.

Interesting—I’ve definitely felt that last sentiment myself!  Have you incorporated actual events or people from your own life into your books?

No, not really. Although my husband (who hasn’t actually read any of my books) says he is the model for/man behind each of my heroes, in teasing of course. I simply tell him, “Yes, dear.”

Well, at least he’s not worried he’s the model for your villains! Is there a theme or message that runs through your work?

My only theme in writing romances will always be that a happily-ever-after is possible for anyone, some way, somehow.

Love that! What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I’m not sure I really have any surprises. Each of us is a complex person and I’m definitely one of those. I’m a writer, a wall quilting artist, a traveler, a very busy community volunteer, a gerontologist, an accounting firm’s community coordinator, a so-so gardener, and the list goes on.

Which romance book or series do you wish you had written?
I can’t actually say that I wish I had written any of the following series, more that I enjoy reading them and learning the art of writing in a series from them.

I love the J.D. Robb Eve and Roarke series, follow them faithfully and study how the author continually reveals more and more of the characters in the long-running series.

I love the various Viking stories in Sandra Hill’s two story lines. She amazes me with the easily woven-in comedic elements, the depths to the characters and the settings whether the story is in the present or in the past.

I love Alyssa Day’s Warriors of Poseidon series and don’t want them to ever end.

Of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite and why?

I fall in love with each of my heroes at the time I’m telling their story, so they each hold a special place in my heart. But most recently I fell in love with my two heroes in Their Lady Gloriana. Thomas and Rowan were each unique men. What they discovered by accident as lovers was warm and tender in their own special circumstance. And then their relationship grew to include a woman worthy of being part of their loving relationship. They faced difficult choices but found the happiness each had never thought they would find.

Aw, you’re making me fall in love with them too!  Okay, down to some basics:

Milk chocolate or dark chocolate?  I play no favorites when it comes to chocolate. I like them all.

Salty or sweet?  Satisfying both tastes depend upon the moment. Sometimes I crave something salty, or in the case of romances, something nice and spicy. Sometimes I crave something deliciously sweet. In the case of romances, something tender and light…other times, make that decadently sweet.

Bed or kitchen table?  Bed, kitchen table, floor, stairs…wherever…whenever.

Beach or mountains?  Beach, mountains, cruise ship, desert….anywhere, anytime.

Give or receive?  Giving is my favorite…but receiving is good, too.

Finally, Starla, where can we find you on the web:
A big thanks to Starla for being here today!  Everyone, check out Starla’s books and leave her some love and questions here!

Thanks for reading,
Laura & Starla


Starla Kaye said...

Good morning, everyone...especially you, Laura. Thanks for having me here today.

I do have my new cover for Their Lady Gloriana, which you can see on my website

Laura Kaye said...

So good to have you here, Starla! And congrats on the new cover!

Sarah Allan said...

You had me at Medieval threesome! Another amazing interview, Laura. :-)

Laura Kaye said...

LOL. Yes, that one got me too! Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

Kienna Riley said...

Hello Starla! You are such a versatile and talented writer. I can't wait to get your new releases on my Nook :) And, you've got to get started on Alpha Bet Hell. Sounds like a best seller ;)

Laura Kaye said...

Hi Kienna--thanks for stopping by! Versatile is such a great word for Starla!

Starla Kaye said...

Thanks so much to those of you who left comments! Yes, I loved writing this Medieval threesome. And believe me, these two guys are HOT! I am getting ready to write Rowan's (the second hero) story as a Christmas Medieval release...another menage story. Watch for it

I'm also getting excited about the Alpha Bet Hell story. So many stories to little time.

Laura Kaye said...

It was so great having you here, Starla!

Sylvie said...

Hi Starla...that's such a great reaching-for-the-stars name for a it!

Much success with all your upcoming releases

Starla Callahan said...

ive just now realized that starla, you and i have the same name... my name actually is starla kaye... thats kindof cool... insane really