Ranch owner Quinn Pedraza has to find someone to run the saloon he won in a bet, but more than that, he needs a woman who can handle his alpha personality…and closet submissive sexual cravings. When vampire Selene Torres arrives on the scene, he gets everything he wants—and learns what he really needs.
Inside Scoop: Quinn’s BDSM journey is not for the faint of heart and includes extreme sexual situations and dubious consent, as well as male/male scenes.
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Hello SASSE Readers, let’s welcome co-writing authors Joey W. Hill and Desiree Holt to our SASSE world. I must say how excited I am to talk with two amazing authors. Pull up chairs ladies and tell me if you prefer tea or coffee for our little chat.
Desiree: I have become a very big tea drinker over the past year. I love all kinds, especially English Breakfast Tea and Orange Cinnamon Spice. Will you be serving that?
Joey: What a great intro – and we love having the opportunity to hang out with an amazing author like yourself, Yvette! I love the smell of coffee but don’t enjoy the taste. I’m a Celestial Seasons type of girl, particularly Tension Tamer blend. Good for calming the nerves before writing those stimulating scenes (wink).
SASSE: Tell the readers a little about how yourselves. How did you get into writing? Have you always thought you would be a romance writer?
Desiree: I always wanted to be a writer. I loved making up stories but it wasn’t until I retired that I had the time and the opportunity. I never thought about romance, though. I grew up reading mysteries by authors like Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Mary Stewart, Mary Roberts Rinehart. I know, I know, showing my age. But that’s what my mother and sister read. But a funny thing happened on the way to writing my first mystery novel. I could never get past the first three chapters. Then I read Cry No More by Linda Howard and an entire new world opened up to me. I couldn’t buy them and read them fast enough. My brain then went into overdrive and hasn’t shut off since then.
Joey: I started writing around 5th grade. Up until college, I was sure I wanted to be a writer, and then I had a ten year hiatus to pursue my interests in the animal rights movement. I’m glad I had that break, though, because it helped me build life experience that contributed to my writing. About age 27, a switch flipped, and I went back to writing as if I’d never left.
As far as what I wanted to write, there was never any question about that. The fantasy genre drew me in during my pre-teen years, and fantasy is by nature very romantic, even if there is no actual love story. If you’re wondering what I mean, think about the movie Glory with Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington. The movie has no “in love” relationship, but it’s still very romantic, filled with heroism, sacrifice and nobility. So I nursed my interest in romance initially in stories like the Thomas Covenant Chronicles by Stephen Donaldson, Raymond Feist’s Riftwar Saga, and then of course I discovered Mary Stewart and anything related to King Arthur. From there I went to Harlequins, eighties bodice rippers, Nora Roberts and Kathleen Woodiwiss. Fantasy and romance all came together in a mix that drove me to start writing stories like what I was reading. Only I wanted waaay spicier sex than what they were offering (wink).
SASSE: What was the first romance book you read by each other? Were you already fans of one another’s work?
Desiree: The first book of Joey’s I ever read was The Ice Queen. I was a contest judge and she had entered the book. I fell in love with the story, the characters, the incredibly rich style of writing, the beautiful prose. It also introduced me to the world of BDSM which I write about a lot.
Joey: Rodeo Heat. Grace’s personality, her vulnerability and desire to unleash her inner yearnings, caught my attention. I love a vulnerable heroine (different from a doormat), as well as the type of hero who has the sensitivity to help her explore that with a mix of kindness and relentless sexuality. Desiree delivered that VERY well in Rodeo Heat. While I hadn’t read her work before that, I was already a fan of Desiree the person. I think she brings a class and style to our genre that serves as a role model for all of us.
SASSE: Can you explain to the readers how the two of you started writing together?
Desiree: A little over a year ago we both had a paranormal book releasing at the same time. I asked Joey if she’d like to do a Twitter party with me and she graciously agreed. It was our readers that night who asked if we’d consider writing a book together. Joey has her world of vampires and my signature hero is a cowboy so-a vampire and a cowboy. We emailed back and forth and last fall at a conference we huddled her room after dinner to plot it out. I’m sure our squealing and screeching drove our neighbors nuts but we had a good time. I hope the experience was as rewarding for Joey as it was for me.
Joey: It surely was! As Desiree knows, I was a little nervous about it at first, because I tend to be like one of those Finding Nemo seagulls when it comes to my writing process - “Mine! Mine! Mine!” - but we meshed wonderfully.
SASSE: How does the writing process work? Do one of you start the story and the other fills in the gap? Do you each get a chapter? Tell us.
Desiree: Joey introduced me to this fabulous software program Storyist that allowed us to outline our characters completely and plan the book chapter by chapter. We decided it would work better if I wrote from Quinn’s POV and she wrote from Selene’s, for obvious reasons. But funny thing. It didn’t always work out that way. Sometimes we would even split chapters. It was just what worked best for the story.
Joey: And I think at a certain point, we weren’t even following Storyist anymore. We were just following one another. Desiree would write a scene, kick it to me, and it would inspire me as a springboard to the next phase of the story. It became very organic. We had no problem writing from the viewpoint of either character, expanding on one another’s scenes, going in and tweaking and changing the direction in ways we both liked. A synergy happened that I think took the book to a different level for both of us.
SASSE: Bring us into the world of your latest release Nightfall. Introduce the readers to Quinn and Selene. Joey, this is a part of your Vampire Queen series, will readers have to read the others to know what is going on?
Desiree: Quinn is a typical alpha male, rancher, former rodeo rider. Because of what it took to be successful in the rodeo he always had to exercise enormous control. Buying the ranch gave him the opportunity to relax that discipline but unconsciously he felt something was then missing. He had nothing to take its place.
Typical Texan, he has taken to ranching like a duck to water. Not so much to the bar he won in a poker game. He’s never had experience running one and the ups and downs of it frustrate him. While the ranch runs with efficiency, the bar is always in one crisis or another. His cook has gotten lazy, his bartender is stealing from him and his waitress doesn’t feel compelled to be too efficient. Not to mention the constant fights between customers he has to break up.
He’s about at the end of his rope when Selene walks in and brings a bit of magic with her. She not only takes control of the bar with her soft but firm voice but charms his staff and his customers. And awakens something in his he never knew existed—a latent desire to be a submissive. At least in the bedroom. The first night she arrives he falls under her spell and realizes his life is about to change completely.
Joey: No, the cool thing about this book is the reader doesn’t need to know a thing about the series to read it, because Selene and Quinn are entirely new characters for the series, in a new setting, and there’s only a brief mention of other series characters from the full length books. The reason it can stand alone like that is because of the situation and location of the characters.
Selene is young for a vampire, only in her sixties. She’s a made vampire and not a wealthy one. She’s a very good bar manager who was working the New York scene, but the vampire overlord there was taking advantage of her skills and she couldn’t accept that anymore. So she took off and became a fugitive, hoping that if she goes as far as Texas she’ll be left alone (the vampire world is not forgiving of those who buck the hierarchy). Selene is a strong, independent spirit who just wants to carve out a place in the world that hers.
While she’s used to enjoying males as her food and sexual playmates, Quinn is a new entity for her, and one way too hard to resist. Vampires are naturally dominant, and Quinn is an alpha cowboy struggling with a true desire for submission. For a female vampire, that’s an irresistible combination. But he also wants to protect and care for her in a way she’s never experienced – she’s been on her own for some time and had a rough beginning as a made vampire.
SASSE: Desiree, was it hard to jump into another authors staged world and write? Why or why not?
Desiree: Joey actually made it very, very easy for me. She staged her vampire world and wrote the details when needed since she is so familiar with them. I learned a lot about that world and took the time to figure out how it would affect my cowboy. I mean, he’s Mr. Macho Rancher with no understanding of the paranormal at all. But it really worked. Joey made it very easy for me. And when I had a question about something in the segment I was working on, she was right there with the answer. I owe her a lot.
Joey: That’s a mutual debt, hon!
SASSE: What was the most emotional challenging scene to write in the book for you both? Do you normally find yourself getting emotional while you write; crying, screaming…sighing?
Desiree: I do, because I immerse myself totally in what’s happening. Without getting into too much detail and giving things away, the scene that took the most out of me was when Selene is injured and Quinn finds her and has to tend to her.
Joey: Screaming only happens during particularly bad editing sessions (lol). Along with lots of cursing, peppered with comments like “I could be a Walmart greeter and be VERY happy, dammit!”. But I’m with Desiree on the most emotionally challenging scene. I also shed a few tears over another one, where everything that has happened overcomes Quinn. If it doesn’t make me cry, laugh or aroused, how can it do the same for the reader? So yes, I do experience those things when I write – if I’m doing them right! The most challenging scene was a big fight scene at the end, though. Since I prefer to write intense emotional, relationship-oriented scenes, action scenes are always a bit of a bear for me.
SASSE: Can readers expect more collaboration between the two of you in the future?
Desiree: I think it’s something we can always discuss. It depends on our schedules, of course. And we each have ideas for a book based on characters in Nightfall that we would write separately.
Joey: I agree. If schedules and plans work out that way, I’m sure neither of us would hesitate to collaborate with one another again, because we really did have a great time with this book.
SASSE: You both are such talented authors and have written stories in several genres. If you could write in any genre that you have never written in before what would it be?
Joey: I’ve always wanted to write romance, both contemporary and paranormal, and rarely gave a thought to doing anything else, but I admit I have had a mainstream literary piece running around my head for the past few years. I think I would probably call it women’s fiction, because it focuses on family relationships, though it’s a bit dark. We’ll see if it ever sees the light of day. Writing erotic romance is a lot of fun!
Desiree: I think if I wanted to branch out more, it would be in the genre of women’s fiction. I have a book releasing in September, Finding Julia, that is as much in that genre as it is erotic romance. I’d like to explore it a little more in the future.
SASSE: Thank you Desiree and Joey for your candor. This has been delightful to sit back with you two and learn a little more about both of you and your story.
Get to know Author Joey W. Hill
Winner of the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement award, Joey W. Hill has published over forty contemporary and paranormal BDSM erotic romances, including multiple series. Her emotionally-intense love stories offer everything from vampires, mermaids, witches and angels, to boardroom executives, cops and simple housemaids. Free excerpts from all her works are available at her website, www.storywitch.com. Additional vignettes, character interviews and graphics inspired by the work are at the fan forum site, accessible through www.storywitch.com/community.Twitter: JoeyWHill Facebook: www.facebook.com/JoeyWHillAuthor
Get to know Author Desiree Holt
Known the world over as the oldest living author of erotic romance, and referred to by USA Today as the Nora Roberts of erotic romance, Desiree Holt is three times a finalist for an EPIC E-Book Award (and a winner in 2014), a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, winner of the first 5 Heart Sweetheart of the Year Award at The Romance Studio as well as twice a CAPA Award winner for best BDSM book of the year, and winner of the Holt Medallion for Excellence in Romance Literature. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times and numerous other national and international publications. She is also the Authors After Dark 2014 Author of the Year.