Saturday, April 30, 2011

Need Your Vote Please! HEARTS is up for...

Hi everyone! I need your help, please!

HEARTS IN DARKNESS is up for book of the month at Sizzling Hot Book Reviews!

Would you please consider voting? Click here and see the list on the right side of the screen!

Many thanks for your consideration!

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, April 29, 2011

Welcome Kaye #8: Monica Kaye!

Well, folks, I can't even believe it! We're up to our last guest in the 30 Days of Kay(e)s Blogfest! *sniff* It's been so much fun, and I've met so many great Kay(e)s! So, not only do I have a great guest for you, but, also a GIVEAWAY ANNOUNCEMENT!!
Everyone who has commented on one or more of the eight Kay(e) posts will be entered for the following giveaways: 1) a $5 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press, 2) an ebook of my new release HEARTS IN DARKNESS, 3) an ebook of my upcoming release FOREVER FREED. ***You must leave your email address with your comment so I can contact you!!!***
Okay, without further ado, I give you the lovely and sharp-witted...

Monica Kaye!

Thanks so much for having me! I'm excited to be here.

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

Well, “K” is my middle initial and when I was thinking about a penname, I wanted something true to myself, so it just kind of felt right.

Makes sense!  That’s similar to why I used K—it’s the first letter of my real last name. Okay, please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

My name's Monica Kaye. I write erotic romance for LooseID. I also write contemporary romance and romantic suspense but they haven't been published...yet.

Ah, a fellow genre-hopper! Me too! So, tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

THE BUSINESS OF PLEASURE is out now. It's about Carmen and Drew. Drew is an uptight New Englander who finds himself attracted to the last person he should, Carmen. She's smart and feisty and sexual and not the kind of woman men think of settling down with. Drew wants a wife and family. And Carmen? Carmen is an ex-stripper with an Ivy League degree who has worked for every thing she has in the world. She is about to open a male strip club, her dream business, and the last thing she needs is Drew. He has complications written all over him and still she can't stop herself from wanting to lick him.

These are the kind of stories I like to write. People who know in their heads they shouldn't be together but can't stop themselves from ripping their clothes off. They're fun to read (and write) and I think it's some of my snappiest dialogue.

Oh, my, yes! Watching people fight but give into that kind of attraction is always yummy! One for the TBR pile, folks! Monica, what are you working on right now?

I'm working on a third “Business” story. It features Keeley and Brian. It's my first older woman/younger man story. She's not a cougar but it's been fun to write.

Ooh, fun! What happened to the first book you ever wrote?

It's lost in an old computer somewhere. Actually, it wasn't horrible. I still remember the story. I may rewrite it now that I'm thinking about it. Hmmm…

Get on it, woman! *grins* What do you find easiest and hardest to write?

I love dialogue. It's my favorite thing to write. I start stories and scenes with dialogue and build around it. Every book I've ever written has started out in my head as a dialogue scene. I especially love banter. I'm a sucker for the Hepburn/Tracy type of interactions!

I know it's cliched but writing sex is not easy. You want to keep it fresh and also emotional. I write erotic romance but my stories always end with the hero and heroine together and so their sexual moments have to also build in intimacy. That's difficult to do.

Being strong at dialogue is such a great asset—good for you! Have you incorporated actual events or people from your own life into your books?

Not yet. I'm not saying I'm above exploiting my life for fun and profit but I like playing the “What If” game. Imagining a situation and putting my characters in them and forcing them to interact. Also my fantasy life is much more interesting than my real one.

Ain’t that the truth? Dang it! Is there a theme or message that runs through your work?

“Love Will Keep Us Together”—just kidding. I think a lot of my stories deal with trust. Trusting yourself and your partner. I think it's the foundation of any relationship and a lot of people struggle with it. At least, I know I do.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

As much as I believe in love and romance and happily ever after, I don't believe in soul mates. I don't think there is one magical person out there meant specifically for me or anyone. I think we definitely fall in love but staying in love is a choice. I call myself a practical romantic.

That’s really interesting! Which romance book or series do you wish you had written?

Wow! That's a hard question. I read so many books I admire and I wish I wrote LIKE that but not necessarily that particular book. Even a book I know I love, I think to myself that's a great idea but that's not how I would've written it. That's what's awesome about being creative people. We all see the same thing but in different ways.

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

Carmen from THE BUSINESS OF PLEASURE is my favorite. She's who I wish I was. Sexy and sassy and says whatever is on her mind. I love her and she makes me smile every time I think about her.

Um, I follow you on Twitter. I think you might be more like Carmen than you think! Okay, down to some basics:
  • Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Dark Chocolate
  • Salty or sweet? Salty
  • Bed or kitchen table? Kitchen Table
  • Beach or mountains? Beach
  • Give or receive? Give
Thanks for being a part of The 30 Days of Kay(e)s Blogfest! Where can we find you on the web?
  • Website:
  • Blog:
  • Facebook: Monica Kaye
  • Twitter: @MonicaKaye
  • Goodreads: Monica Kaye
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PARTICIPATING! Folks, leave Monica some love, comments, questions! And don't forget to leave your emails!

Thanks for reading,
Laura & Monica

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kaye #7: Meet Sylvie Kaye!

I'm thrilled to continue the 30 Days of Kay(e)s Blogfest with a fellow Wild Rose Press author!

Welcome, Sylvie Kaye! 

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

K is the first initial of my real name.

Ooh, me too! *grins* Okay, please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

I love to read and write and travel.  Since retirement, my husband and are snowbirds, and live in both Arizona and Pennsylvania depending on the weather. I use the different settings from my travels for my books.

That's great for authenticity! Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

My upcoming release is an erotica with Total E-Bound, entitled, Her Sinful Secret. It's an older woman/younger man story.

On her birthday, Wendy Reed received a cake with too many candles from her coworkers, a call from her grown son canceling dinner, and a tempting offer from a man young enough to cause whispers.

His birthday present to her comes with batteries and a remote that he controls. He ends up stimulating her both in and out of bed when he brings passion and adventure into her life.

Um. Gulp. Wow. Why. Doesn’t. This. Ever. Happen. To. Me??? *ducks out to Total E-Bound* Do you have a favorite character from those you’ve written?

I love all the heroes and heroines I write. Each has a part of my heart as I root for them to find love, laughter, and a happily ever after.

As the author, what surprised you about this story?

That an over forty-year-old heroine’s tale morphed into a coming of age story!

What was the hardest thing for you about writing this story?

Digging deep enough into the character’s emotions.

What are you working on right now?

A western that I hope will be part of the new series, Honky Tonk Hearts, at The Wild Rose Press.  I’m also working on a contemporary western mystery, as yet untitled.

The Wild Rose Press is a great publisher to work with—good luck! What happened to the first book you ever wrote?

My first book was titled, Never Dare a Cowboy, and was published by Kensington for their Precious Gem line which has since folded.  It was reissued by LTDBooks in e-format before they closed.

It is now available at Amazon in Kindle format and at my website for download.

What do you find easiest and hardest to write?

Writing is hard, period.  What comes easy varies from book to book.  Sometimes it’s the love scenes that are easy. Sometimes it’s the dialogue. Usually the plot is the most difficult for me, but lately it’s been developing easier.

I’d have to say Deep POV is the most difficult right now.

Have you incorporated actual events or people from your own life into your books?

All the time!  I’ve used traits from people I know or have seen or have been told about from friends. Dialogue I’ve overheard. Quirks I’ve seen. Interesting things happen everywhere, in grocery lines, in restaurant booths, on the streets.  

Is there a theme or message that runs through your work?

I hope people take away the love and laughter and the hope of a happily ever after.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

That I’m an introvert.  That the over-the-top sex scenes I write about only happen in my imagination.

That doesn’t sound familiar at all! Ahem! Which romance book or series do you wish you had written?

Anything written by Sandra Brown. I love her writing. 

Okay, down to some basics:
Milk chocolate or dark chocolate?   Dark, definitely.

Salty or sweet?   Sweet

Bed or kitchen table?  LOL…Bed.   Like I said above, the spiciest stuff is from my imagination not real life!

Beach or mountains?  Beach

Give or receive? Give if we’re talking about gifts :)


Where can we find you on the web?
Thanks so much for being here, Sylvie! Folks, don't hesitate to post comments and questions -- we'll read and respond! :) Thanks for dropping by!
Laura & Sylvie

Monday, April 25, 2011

For Meet an Author Monday: Reviews & What's in a Title?

It's Monday, so I'm hopping along with Lisa Sanchez's weekly Meet an Author Monday bloghop! Go follow her, chat with those on the bloghop, and join in the fun!

I've got news to share today, of the exciting and useful variety! :)
1) HEARTS IN DARKNESS has earned so many great reviews so far, including a new 5-STAR review from One Great Book Deserves Another. My favorite part of this stellar review was:
The sensuality and sexuality truly made this novella shine. It's been quite a long time...if ever...that I've read sex scenes that were just as emotionally moving as it was physically passionate. I freely admit I'm greedy. I wish this story had been longer. I just adored Caden and Makenna together and would really have loved spending more time with them. The ending though, was as poetic and hopeful as it was perfect for a conclusion. It capped a truly spectacular reading experience that just made me hungry for more of Laura Kaye's work. I'll be watching and eagerly waiting for more!
2) HEARTS IN DARKNESS is available on Nook and Kindle! Plus, of course, you can always buy it on my publisher page!
3) Don't forget--if you purchased HEARTS IN DARKNESS to forward your purchase receipt to to enter to win a Hearts-inspired charm bracelet! [See rotating pictures over in right column!) Getting close to the 50-entry mark for the first bracelet! [And, yes! Friends are totally welcome to enter!]
4) Come visit me over at The Book Boost today where I'm blogging on the significance of and tips for book titles!

As always, thanks for reading,

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday #11

My inspiration for Jack!
So, on the off chance you're getting sick of hearing about HEARTS IN DARKNESS (doh! just did it again! ;) ), I thought I'd share six from something different. Here are the opening six lines of the erotic romance novella I've been in the process of revising of late. It's called JUST GOTTA SAY:

Callie Davis had never been more ecstatic to find herself home alone on a Saturday night.  With Lucas, Jack, and Noah gone to a baseball game, Callie was free to try all those naughty, nasty things she’d been burning to do ever since she’d walked down the night-darkened hallway and witnessed two of her three roommates tangled on Jack’s bed.
            She’d been nearly useless all week remembering what she’d seen as she stared for untold minutes through the not-quite-shut door: Jack Fenton and Noah Ryder were big guys and had been no-holds-barred all over each other.  Images of groping hands, aggressive kisses, and pistoning hips tormented her.  The sounds they’d made taunted her just as much—Jack’s needy curses and encouragements, Noah’s guttural moans, their frantic breathing.  Remembering made her instantly wet.
Weeellllllll then. hehe

Go read the other Sixers' posts here! It's always so much fun! And follow the #sixsunday hashtag on twitter! Thanks for coming back each week and thanks for commenting! I enjoy reading your thoughts so much!
Thanks for reading,

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kaye #6: Willa Kaye Danes on Maintaining Suspense

A big welcome today to fantasy writer  
Willa Kaye Danes 
who has some great advice for us on:


Every story needs ongoing suspense to maintain reader interest – not just action thrillers or murder mysteries. Here are some basic tips to keep your readers reading...

INITIAL HOOK. Your first sentence and first chapter should be a grabber – interesting and unique. But don’t resort to blowing up something unless it introduces your story appropriately.

STORY ARC / CONFLICT. Hint at the major conflict in the beginning. In the middle, use action followed by short relief passages to lull the reader into a false sense of security, followed by scenes with even more danger, suspense, or intrigue. Heighten the drama as the story progresses, with a major ‘black moment’ toward the end, where things look most dire. The final conflict should be appropriately difficult, so the outcome is not clear. Wrap up all loose ends quickly with a summary that satisfies the story’s needs as well as the reader’s.

PACING. Along with varying your scenes as described above, vary the length of sentences and paragraphs. To foster calm, use more luxurious sentences. For a tight spot, make sentences short and choppy. Abrupt wording will subconsciously tense up the reader. Also break up large blocks of narrative or dialog with action so you don’t put the reader to sleep with pages and pages of sameness.

BACK-STORY (INFO-DUMP). Big lumps of back-story about your characters or world-building will drag down a scene. Weave this information into your story as it’s needed, in natural ways that don’t stick out to the reader.

CHAPTER ENDINGS. A cliffhanger ending for every chapter’s not necessary, but try to end each one on a tense note or a surprise or a question raised but not answered. End at a high spot, before a resolution, like picking up the phone for a dreaded call, or turning the corner in an alley and finding–? A character shouldn’t fall asleep at the end of a chapter unless something terrifying or unusual happens.

Don’t give your reader any opportunity to stop reading, and you’ll get review comments like, “I stayed up all night reading – just couldn’t put this book down!”

What great advice, Willa, and really applicable for any genre! Before we let you go, tell us a little about yourself.  To start, please tell us how and why you came to use the name Kaye!

Willa Kaye Danes is a pen name – a mix-up of my initials, sort of. Some of my coworkers at my ‘day’ job are extremely conservative, so when I first started trying to get published, I felt I needed to keep my writing part of my life a secret. Now a lot of them know what I’m doing, but I decided to keep the pen name.

Tell us a little about yourself and your writing style.

I started my writing career later in life and am pleased to have one book published and another, part of an ongoing series, coming soon to publication. I am a ‘people watcher’ – when folks around me aren’t looking, I’m usually busy picking out choice character traits I can use in my books. I harbor a fascination for magical and fantasy themes, and that’s what I enjoy writing.

I love that!  Reminds me of a writer’s t-shirt:  Careful—Anything you say or do may appear in my next book! *grins*  Tell us about your book.

PIXIE – To save her dwindling clan, a three-inch fairy must find and return with a childhood playmate who’s now a human man all grown up!

A three-inch-tall pixie has a very big problem – a human one. To save her clan from extinction, she challenges the ‘no boys’ rule and must find and return a half-human, half-pixie childhood playmate to Fairyland before the next full moon.

Trouble is, he’s no longer the sweet and charming ‘Boy’ she fondly remembers. Now he’s a man, all grown up, and not a very friendly one at that. What’s worse, he’s got a devious fiancée who may just be a real wicked witch plotting to do him and her whole clan terrible harm!

With the help of Boy’s cantankerous father, Pixie must convince him to shrink to fairy size and return with her to Fairyland. And if he does, will he agree to stay as her mate?

A sweet and magical romance, PIXIE is available now in ebook and print through Penumbra Publishing and partner online retailers.

Wow, Willa, what an intriguing world! One for the TBR piles, for sure!  Thank you so much for being a part of The 30 Days of Kay(e)s Blogfest! Where can we find you on the web?

Ooh, and one last exciting word from Willa: I will be giving away up to three ebooks from Penumbra Publishing's catalog, via coupon downloads from This will allow winners to download whatever format works best for their reading device. 

Another giveaway, folks!  Woot!  To enter, leave a comment on Willa’s post with your email address.  Three winners will be contacted tomorrow by email and will need to notify Willa of their title choice from the catalog—she will then send you the coupon codes for free downloads.

Thanks again to Willa!  And thanks for reading!
Laura & Willa

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

HEARTS IN DARKNESS Release & Giveaway!

It's finally here! Release Day for my contemporary romance novella HEARTS IN DARKNESS!  Actually, The Wild Rose Press nearly gave me a heart attack by releasing a day early!  And I've already had some reviews! 
BUY HEARTS FROM THE WILD ROSE PRESS! It will also be available on amazon and other retailers later this week...
So, in celebration of my debut release, I've got a little giveaway up my sleeve!  Please email your purchase receipt to  When I receive 50 receipts, I will draw one lucky winner to win one of a handful of HEARTS IN DARKNESS - inspired charm bracelets!  I'll do this for the first 250 receipts I receive (in 50, 100, 100-receipt increments; 1 entry per person), giving away a total of three bracelets!

Here are the goods up for grabs:

If you've bought anyway, why not enter to win?

Hope you enjoy HEARTS IN DARKNESS, all, and thanks for celebrating with me!

Kaye #5: Welcome Robin Kaye!

The 30 Days of Kay(e)s Blogfest continues on and I'm very excited to host fellow Maryland Romance Writer and contemporary romance author:

Robin Kaye!

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

Kaye is my pen name. My maiden name is Robin Williams and unfortunately my publisher wasn’t happy with me using it. You’d think with all the hell I went through growing up with the nickname Mork, I’d be able to benefit a little bit at least.  My last name is a scary, Russian-Pole, ten-letter name that looks even worse than it sounds. I’m famous for doing sign language to teach people how to pronounce it. I’m not sure they’d be able to fit it on a book cover. All my kids friends call me Mrs. K so I just went with that (I added a few more letters though.)

That is a great pen name story!  Okay, please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

I write funny contemporary romances under the pen name Robin Kaye. I have four books in my Domestic Gods series, and the first book of my Domestic Gods Gone Wild series, On the Wild Side, is coming out December 6, 2011.

What fun series! And such delicious covers!  So, tell us a little about your latest release.

Comment for a chance to win!!!
Yours for the Taking is a marriage of convenience book with a modern-day, urban twist. Ben Walsh has looks, money and charm but if he wants to keep the one property of sentimental value to him, he needs a wife.

Gina Reyez, a crack shot turn-around expert, doesn’t need or want a husband but accepts Ben’s “strictly business “ proposal because the money will solve problems she intends to keep entirely un-marital. By the time the two find that marriage with benefits can never be “strictly business,” their lives are entwined and seriously complicated.

Sounds like one for the TBR pile, folks!  Plus, Robin is willing to give away one copy of Yours for the Taking to a lucky blog commenter!  Woot!  Robin, what are you working on right now?

I’m working on the second book in my new series, Domestic Gods Gone Wild. Wild Thing is Fisher Kincaid’s book and so far, I’m having a screamin’ good time! Of course, it’s still early in the process. I think Fisher’s just waiting to show me his ornery side. He’s so not gonna be happy when my heroine takes all his clothes and his wallet out of his hotel room while he’s in the shower and he has to call home and ask his brothers for a little help. Oh yeah, he’ll never live that one down.

OMG that’s hilarious! We’re all drooling for his ornery side, too! What about the first book you ever wrote—what happened to that?

The first book I wrote toward publication was Romeo, Romeo and it’s for sale. Before that, I wrote a modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice with a twist of persuasion called Come Hell or High Water. I posted it chapter by chapter on a few Jane Austen Fan Fiction sites. It had a huge following, was about 330,000 words, and contained three complete love stories. It was about a year of work and I had a great time writing it. If I ever find the time, I’d love to rewrite it toward publication. It was a really fun story and I still love the characters.

I think it’s cool to hear about other authors having dabbled in fan fiction…I’ve done a little of that myself. What do you find easiest and hardest to write?

Easiest—dialogue. It just flows.

Hardest—synopses. They’re the bane of my existence.

OMG—synopses suck!  That’s trufax, there, sistah!  Have you incorporated actual events or people from your own life into your books?

Not really…okay, well maybe once. I got the idea for Rosalie to not have a spare from my mother. Her brother routinely used to take parts off her first car and sell them—the spare, the air filter (he replaced it with a pair of her stockings)—well, you get the picture. In this case, Rosalie had given Rich money to buy her a new spare and he forgot to replace it.  She didn’t realize it until she was stuck on the expressway with a flat.

Oh, I forgot. I use my animals in my books—Dave, Rosalie’s dog in Romeo, Romeo and Too Hot to Handle is the male version of my dog Clancy who I always thought looked so much more like a boy than a girl. She was half Black Lab and half St. Bernard, Tripod in Breakfast in Bed is my cat Raja—a three-legged Bengal, only Raja doesn’t drink coffee…much. Jasmine in Yours for the Taking is the sweet little pointer mix I have now.  We rescued her one 4th of July right after the fireworks. She was running down the highway during a terrible thunderstorm—I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more frightened animal. It was horrible. She’s a sweetheart but is still afraid of her own shadow.

Is there a theme or message that runs through your work?

Belonging and family, it seems my heroes and heroines are always searching for it.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I’m married to a real Domestic God so I can attest to the fact that they do exist—oh, and my 17 year-old son is a Domestic God in Training. 

Ooh, your house sounds like fun!  Which romance book or series do you wish you had written?

The Chicago Stars Series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips or The Chesapeake Bay Series by Nora Roberts. But then I pretty much loved all her Irish series too…ooh and the Three Sisters Island Series. What can I say? I’ve loved every book I’ve read by SEP and Nora. I can’t think of one of their books I wouldn’t have wanted to write.

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

Oh, that’s like asking which of my children is my favorite—it depends which one of them is in the room. LOL Wow, let me see. I have a real soft spot for Aunt Rose—she’s so much fun to write, Grampa Joe is awesome too, and Cousin Vinny. Why? Because they are all people I wish I had in my life. People who love you enough to give you a smack upside the head when they know you’re doing something stupid, are there for you when you need them, and never resist the urge to tell you “I told you so.”

Okay, Robin, down to basics:

Milk chocolate or dark chocolate?  Dark.
Salty or sweet?  Salty
Bed or kitchen table?  What? I can’t have both?
Beach or mountains?  Mountains.
Give or receive?  Depends on what kind of favors we’re talkin’ about.

Wow, Robin, this has been so much fun! Where can we find you on the web?

Thanks so much for having me, Laura. It’s been great fun!

You’re welcome!  Okay, folks, don’t forget—Robin’s giving away one copy of Yours for the Taking to one lucky commenter (U.S. or Canada)! Please leave your email address with your comment so I can contact you tomorrow!  And please stop back tomorrow for some RELEASE DAY FUN for my debut contemporary romance, HEARTS IN DARKNESS!

Thanks for reading!
Laura & Robin

Monday, April 18, 2011

News! News! News! Guest Blogging, New Sale, & Meet an Author Monday

Hi y'all! So much great stuff going on today! :)

1) I'm over at the lovely Sharon Buchbinder's blog today talking about the tradition of disfigured and disabled heroes in romantic fiction. Come stop over and keep us company and help celebrate the release of HEARTS IN DARKNESS in just **2** days!

2) I sold my Christmas fantasy SNOW'S MAN to Entangled Publishing - it will be the first in a 4-book series and will release 11/11! Woot!

3) It's Monday, so I'm hopping! Check out these great authors, follow and comment, and join along in the fun!

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday #10

This is an especially exciting Six Sunday for me because it's the last Sunday before my first ever release date! That's right, today we're back to HEARTS IN DARKNESS in celebration of the release of my debut novella.  So, why don't we see our hero, Caden Grayson, for the very first time through the eyes of heroine Makenna James:

She couldn’t stop trembling, her body unexpectedly flooded with adrenaline as she drank Caden in through her final sense.
He was … Oh my God! ... so damn rugged and … masculine … and just … darkly beautiful.
The enticing angle of his jaw combined with full lips, high cheekbones and a strong brow framing intense brown eyes with impossibly long eyelashes. His shaved dark brown hair came to a widow’s peak in the center of his forehead. Two small silver loops embraced the left side of his bottom lip and a black metal barbell pierced his right eyebrow. He had a face that, with a certain set of his jaw and eyes, could easily appear harsh, intimidating, but she knew he was neither.
Wanna see my inspiration for Caden???
I mean. Unf. Seriously. LOL

Okay, y'all, be sure to read the other Sixers' excerpts and follow along with the #sixsunday hashtag on Twitter! Please consider leaving a comment--I always love your feedback and reactions!

If you hear major squeeage on Wednesday, that's probably just me! :)

Thanks for reading,

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