Posted by Babs Mountjoy
Thanks for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you for inviting me! I write Science Fiction and Fantasy, Space Opera, YA, and in the past, have written erotic romance. I’ve moved toward a more PG version of story these days.
I’ve been published since 2004. Believe it or not, no one had ever heard of a Kindle back then. We published eBooks, which people had no idea what to do with. Indie publishing was in its infancy. At that time, people still thought “self-published” meant you weren’t good enough to get a “real book” published. They had no idea the number of years it could take to get a book released, if you could even get someone to read your submission in the first place. Compare that to a turn around of a few months if you are indie.
The publishing business went through a revolution, and some of the biggest publishers from that time are gone. Mostly, they failed to keep up with the changing times and embrace the new technology. I’m a dinosaur in the indie world, but I’ve loved seeing the changes as they occur and applaud the freedom it has given writers. Currently, I am 100% indie published.
What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc.
I live north of Atlanta, GA in the rural area of the state. No pets, but I have dog-grandbabies if you know what I mean. Married forever, three grown children, five grandchildren. Huge extended family of people I have heart-adopted.
Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?
I like coffee, but my doctor doesn’t want me imbibing caffeine, so I drink decaf. My drink of choice while writing is water or a caffeine-free Diet Coke.
What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?
I went to college but as far as writing goes, I am self-taught. A lifetime of reading and writing, studying, taking online courses, and polishing my skills has given me a much higher polish than someone with formal education and no experience.
Tell us about your most recent publication/whichever book you’d like to talk about today?
The Bringer of Chaos series is currently two books and a short story, but it will be bigger before I’m done with it. I have two more books in mind and another short story. Currently, readers can download the short story, Lights Out, free when they join one of my reader groups. I’ll leave a link at the end. Here’s the blurb for book 1 of the series.
Bringer of Chaos: Origin of Pietas
Exiled to a barren world, the immortal king Pietas must learn to humble himself and ask for help–politely. Without assistance, he might spend an eternity alone, never finding the people he has already died over a thousand times to save.
The problem is, the only source of aid is a human, the very one who caused his exile in the first place.
Immortal. Warrior. Outcast. Traitors took everything. Except his honor.
What inspired you to write this story?
I had written a book about Luc, a popular character in my story universe, and was working on a sequel. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the villain to be the villain. I literally rewrote the entire book nine times. Finally, a friend sat down with me and started asking me questions about my so-called villain. Turns out, Pietas wasn’t a villain at all. I was looking at the wrong aspect of the story altogether. So I decided rather than finish that book, I’d write a short story about the “villain” so I could understand his motivation. Two books later I’m still writing about Pietas. Turned out he was a hero who masqueraded as a villain in order to accomplish a greater purpose. That’s how the entire Bringer of Chaos series was born. I should mention that Pietas is immortal, so he has appeared in books that range thousands of years in date.
What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?
I learned that there was a human at the center of the story that I had never considered before. I wrote Six as a convenient walk on part to get the story where it needed to go, but the more I wrote, the more I saw an opportunity to develop Pietas by reflecting him off the human. Six’s origin story is told in Lights Out, the free book I mentioned before.
What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?
The wry humor. Pietas starts out as a downright jerk in the first part of the story, but as you move through the tale, you start to see that his “jerkness” is part of an act, a shield to guard his heart. He’s honorable and just, opposite of what he perceives humans to be. Until he gets to know Six. And because Six refuses to take life seriously, and Pietas is all about duty and honor, the friendship that develops between them is one hot mess.
Any special memories you have in the creation of it?
I had a lot of one-on-one chats with a friend over this book. She guided my creation of Pietas and Six both. I’m forever grateful for her influence.
How would you best describe your books?
I write space opera with larger than life, unforgettable characters. Read one of my books and you will remember the people you met while you walked in my world.
What is your favorite genre to write?
Space Opera/Science Fiction. I grew up on it. One of my best friends writes historical westerns. She has to often stop and look up a word to see if it was in use back then. I have to stop and look in the lexicon that I created to see if the word I need is one I already created. Like “Imperinet” — the imperial internet in one period of my story world.
You might laugh, but one of my favorite reads is Regency Romance. I just finished one by Alexa Aston that I absolutely adored. I also read suspenseful stories by authors like Michael Connelly, JD Robb, and Lee Child. I read in my genre too. I want to know what trends are being followed. I plain love any good story.
What do you most like about writing?
World building I think, although when I can figure out how to layer in a character from another book into a new one, I get a kick out of that too. I wrote a lexicon of Felis, the language used by feline-humanoids in my books. There are only a handful of words in any book, but I have nearly forty pages of text I can choose from to create a sentence or phrase when I need one. For example, kahmay t’hahr means “hero of my heart” and it’s a term of endearment.
About the writing process? The time it takes. I wish I could dump stories from my head straight into the computer. What a timesaver that would be!
When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
I was about four or five. My mother loved to write and she was an artist. I learned to write the word cat in school, came home and told my mother that now I could write a story about cats. Fast forward many years, my first book featured a hero who was a HalfKin, a mix of human and feline-humanoid. Didn’t even make the connection until a few years ago.
Do you belong to any writing groups?
I’m in several. I am currently studying Derek Murphy’s Guerrilla Publishing, which includes both writing and marketing, plus I’m the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers, a peer-mentoring group for authors. We help each other find promotional opportunities and serve as a sounding board for questions about the writing business. We also promote for our members. It’s 100% volunteer run, so there are no fees.
Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?
I read the blog posts on Romance University, Save the Cat!, and many others. I’m always up for suggestions on good sites for writers.
Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing?
It’s listed as Epic, Sweeping, and Movie Trailer Music. Try these groups for size: Really Slow Motion (yep, that’s their name), Audiomachine, Epic North, Future World Music, and (very badly named in my opinion) Two Steps from Hell. Their music is heavenly.
How does it inspire you?
I can tune out words and listen to sweeping music that inspires creativity. Depending on the book, of course. I wrote one book to the tunes of Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, and Chevelle. Go figure.
Do you belong to a critique group?
I lead the Canton Writer’s Circle, a group that has met for about six years. I’ve published several books while a member here. One of my beta readers is a member, and one of my developmental editors is as well.
What do you find most valuable about the experience?
I get honest feedback. I’m still after six years learning to shut up and listen when my fellow members suggest something. I try not to defend what I wrote. They are not there to tell me what I did wrong, but how I might make it better. Do I always take their advice? No. We joke about taking advice “under advisement” meaning — yeah, no.
Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published?
I have fourteen publications, with a mix of books and short stories. I started out in small press.
How many books did you write before selling one?
My first book was accepted on submission, but I had a friend who guided me on where to go.
How did you find a publisher?
I was recommended to my first publisher by a critique partner (in a different group from the one I’m in now).
How did you receive the Call?
Getting an email asking for the rest of the story was a thrill, believe me. I can remember everything about where I was and what I was doing the moment I got that message.
What are you writing now?
I’m writing A Stolen Heart, which is a full novel set in the Tarthian Empire and features Luc and Pietas (thousands of years after the Bringer of Chaos series). My first published book was At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, and A Stolen Heart is about how the hero of that book ended up being adopted by Luc.
What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?
I’ll be attending OutlantaCon in Atlanta as a guest next March. I’m there every year and have a lifetime membership. I am planning others as well. Readers can check my schedule on my website.
What would you like to tell readers?
Try one of my books and give my characters a shot. Once you meet them, you’ll be hooked. You can sample any of my books by visiting my website. Each book has a page where you can download a few chapters and check out the story. Plus, if you join one of my reader groups, you get the entire story Lights Out free, plus a starter set of four illustrated books. https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups/ You can unsubscribe at any time.
Author bio and social media
Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She’s a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she’s tenured.
Tags: action, author, critique group, Derek Murphy, fantasy, Guerrilla Publishing, hero, immortal, indie publishing, Kayelle Allen, Lyndi Alexander, novel, Pietas, Save The Cat!, science fiction, space, space opera, villain, world-building, writing, YA
Posted by Babs Mountjoy
They walked through the shadows individually. Will they emerge into the light together?
Leading a vagabond life as a curator for a traveling photography exhibit translates to a lot of bad days for Rikki Salerno. But her trouble doubles when a careless high school student shoves her into a marsh. Being rescued by teacher Sam Kerrigan should have made things better, but Rikki’s inability to confess her true identity casts a shadow over their budding affair.
When Sam refuses an overly aggressive parent’s marriage proposal, she’s determined to ruin him. Not only does she doctor photos to make it look like Sam’s behaved inappropriately in front of students, she hacks the foundation website to reveal Rikki’s true identity. Faster than the blink of a shutter, Rikki’s focus changes from pursuing her full-color future to the black and white necessity of clearing Sam’s name.
Now let’s learn a little more about Gemma!
Thanks for being with us today.
Thanks for having me here today, Lyndi.
First, would you tell us about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?
This should be easier. I love to talk about myself, doesn’t everyone? I live in the Kansas City area, American’s midsection. I love the big city/small town vibe and the amount of green space here. Prior to moving here, my husband and I lived in London for a few years. That’s where I wrote my first novel. The story was great, the writing was crap! So that one remains on my laptop. I get it out and tinker occasionally. I love coffee and wine and reading. Hey – at least one of those addictions is not bad for you. I do have a degree in journalism, which has helped throughout my career, but I don’t think you have to have a writing related degree to write a great story. The grammar and punctuation and deep POV things you need to know can be learned.
Tell us about your most recent publication.
Exposed To Passion is the third book in the Five Senses series, but each book reads as a stand alone. The story centers around Sam Kerrigan and Rikki Salerno and deals with the sense of sight. Rikki is a photographer. I tossed in a high school girl who is being bullied, a grown-up mean girl and a little over-exposure of Sam and Rikki’s affair.
What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?
I knew when I started the series I wanted each book to represent not only a sense, but a social cause. This book deals with bullying behavior, which is beyond reprehensible. Not only have Sam and Rikki both dealt with bullies growing up, they are still dealing with it.
I did have to research photography and cameras and learned how to do astro-photography. Have you seen those pictures of the Milky Way? That’s what astro-photography is. I loved writing a scene that detailed it.
How would you best describe your books?
I’d call them sexy, sensual contemporary romances with heart.
What is your favorite genre to write? To read?
I recently made a foray into Science Fiction with my story, Mission: Mistletoe and I really loved it. But, I’m most comfortable writing contemporary romance. As far as reading, heck, give me the back of the cereal box. I’ll read anything.
What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?
Well, it sure wouldn’t be writing about financial products (which I’ve done). I’d love to write paranormal or urban fantasy, but I’m not sure I can suspend my own disbelief enough to make it believable.
What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
I love to create the world with just words, to infuse emotion and passion into a world in order to make it three dimensional. When I quit a full time job I loved in order to be available when my teenaged children got home from school, I started considering writing. Then, after a transfer for my husband’s job took us overseas, I finally took the plunge.
What do you love most about writing and what do you not like?
I like the freedom of setting my own schedule, which is also what I don’t like about it. Because the schedule I set is usually 12 hour days, at least 5 days a week. That doesn’t include weekends.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?
I am president of my local RWA chapter and I’m in a critique group, which is awesome.
Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?
I’m more of an instrumental kind of gal. I find I can’t write to any music with words. I can edit to popular music, though.
What do you find most valuable about the experience in your critique group?
I love my critique group. They are terrific about catching issues in my manuscript and even better about brainstorming.
Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?
I currently have five books available. Three that were traditionally published and two I’ve self-published. When I finished my second novel, I shelved it until I finished the second in the series before I began trying to submit my first. After I pitched Cooking Up Love, and an editor asked for a full manuscript, the rest is history.
How did you find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?
I did an online pitch with an editor through Word Wranglers. After she requested a full manuscript, I sent it and then kept writing until I heard a month later that Lyrical Press wanted to offer me a contract for the book. After the shock wore off, there was a lot of celebration.
What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?
I was very excited to write about Sam Kerrigan. He has been featured in the first two books in the series and I’ve been eager to tell his story.
What are you writing now? What’s next for you?
I’ve just submitted the fourth book in the series, based on smell. And I’ve begun working on a new story I hope to have out early next year. I guess I better get busy adding words to that story.
What would you like to tell readers?
Keep reading and always remember to review the books you’ve read. Reviews really do help authors.
Sam’s attention wandered yet again off the homework papers he was supposed to be correcting. The universal law of gravitation wasn’t nearly as riveting as the memory of Rikki Salerno wearing a purple jacket and tight running shorts in the early morning sunlight. He’d resisted the urge to wrap her in his arms when he’d run up on her in the park that morning. A fiery halo had lit her hair, glints of red winking in her messy ponytail. The sight of her when she turned back toward town and ran ahead of him! He’d have been happy to follow her for all twenty-six miles of a marathon. But, his need to talk to her overruled his desire to watch her spectacular behind, so he’d quickened his pace to catch her.
Rikki had tensed when he’d started ranting about Marguerite Sims. Without knowing how, he’d made her angry again. He didn’t understand it, but she seemed defensive when he’d made disparaging remarks about her boss. He was going to have to watch his comments about the pampered princess when he was around Rikki.
And, if wishes did come true, there would be a whole lot of around Rikki time. Her image in his mind’s eye—exotic, interesting, and intriguing, all wrapped up in one sexy package…. He fidgeted in his hard teacher’s chair, suddenly uncomfortable with the tightness of his khakis. Thank God, there weren’t any students in the room. That’d be a hell of a thing to explain to a bunch of horny teens.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exposed-to-passion-gemma-brocato/1120138660?ean=9781616506162
About the Author:
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.
After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.
Social Media Links:
Also By Gemma Brocato:
Cooking Up Love
Hearts In Harmony