HS: How long have you been writing?
LC: It seems as though I have always been writing. I used to love creative writing in school, even writing papers for my two sisters who seemed to be more interested in math. I’ve been writing romance for 8 years, but you have to throw about 3 of them out during the time I was getting marriage therapy/separation/divorce. You can’t write romance or erotica when all you really want to write about is murder and mayhem.
HS: Very True. With all that going on, what attracted you to writing romance?
LC: I read a lot of different genres, yet time and again I found romance in each story and began to look for it, and miss it if it wasn’t there – the connection between the hero and heroine. Eventually my reading turned to single title romance and erotic romance and I never turned back, although I still love mystery and science fiction. Since that is what I love to read, that is what I love to write.
HS: I'm always looking for the romance! How many manuscripts had you completed before you sold?
LC: I had completed two full length novels and a novella before I sold my first book, each one at a higher level of heat than the last, until I found my niche in erotic romance.
HS: It's funny how you kind of just fall into it. Tell us about the day (the minute, the second) you got ‘The Call’ (or The Email). What was your initial reaction?
LC: I was on high at my first RT conference. There were so many incredible people to meet! I’d already gotten an offer from Ellora’s Cave for my novella Building Magic, if I completed certain changes. That was pretty exciting! Then I had an appointment with Theresa Stevens of Red Sage and something just clicked. She already had a copy of Building Magic – I had placed in the Chase the Dream Contest and she, along with Raelene Gorlinski at EC had asked for a copy. So she already knew about my writing and something about her, about our conversation (and about the way she was also interested in my full length novel Dark Harmony) made me certain she was the one I wanted to work with. And she wanted to work with me! I knew immediately I would sign the contract she promised to send me – I consider that the moment I sold. Meeting her in person, instead of an email or a phone call was incredibly important to me, worth the entire cost of the conference, the time, the flight, you name it.
HS: That's awesome! I was at that RT with you. You were so excited! What did you do to celebrate afterward?
LC: I was to meet up with several friends – all published authors there to promote or meet agents etc, and I did, telling everyone along the way what had happened! It didn’t matter that I had no idea who these people were, I was too excited to be quiet! That night we had drinks by the pool, a big bunch of us with our feet in the water, sharing bottles of sangria in the warm Florida weather. I was 800 miles from home, so of course I had already called to share the news with my family. I can’t remember what I told them, just a babble of words. LOL
HS: I can't remember what I said either. I'm sure it was nonsensical. Anyone whom you wanted to rub your news in his/her nose?
LC: In a way I would have liked to show off to my ex. He wasn’t exactly supportive in our final year together. But I was past the point where it really mattered anymore. I was more interested in sharing my news with everyone who wanted to celebrate with me!
HS: I love the honesty! Tell us about your current release. (Please include an excerpt!)
LC: My first release is Dark Harmony – the first book in my Dark Seduction Series. It is a dark erotic vampire novel, full length. Here’s a blurb about it:
Running from a lover that has twisted her very nature, Lena Townsend hunts on her own.
Lena has been the object of many desires. Now she is all too aware that being an obsession can be deadly. Her mildly adventurous sexual life reached its pinnacle, and its end, when she met sexually dominant vampire Darien. He stole her life, and used her sensual nature to bend her to his will. In making her his own, he placed her in a position where she must constantly submit to him, yet be dominant to his pack. It’s a conflict that pulls her apart.
In leaving the pack, Lena strives for independence, but her vampire instincts push her to find more – to find a new pack, a new family. Alone, she cannot share what makes her vampire, and she cannot find a lover she can trust enough to reveal her submissive nature.
In her escape Lena discovers a power that could save her – the ability to read and influence emotion. With this talent she might survive the loneliness.
Unfortunately, her old pack wants her back, no matter what.
Richard Heron has given up everything for his daughter since the murder of his wife, but what he misses most is the chance to explore his deeply sensual side once again. Once the owner of a popular S&M club, and its favored dom, he left everything he was to shelter his family. Lena could offer him more than he ever expected, a level of sensuality he never knew existed and a love that could never die, but he must reconcile the danger she brings with his need to shield his family – especially when what killed his wife was certainly not human.
In a flight that leads her thousands of miles from her territory and into the province of a dragon, independence is not what Lena expected. But if she can finally learn to trust, she can find harmony with her submissive and vampiric natures, and join with Richard into a new blend of family – a Dark Harmony.
And to whet your whistles, here’s an excerpt:
London - Spring, 1981
The bar was hopping, full of people, lights, and sound. Helena Townsend sipped her drink and laid it on the bar counter. It had definitely been worth coming out tonight, her last night in London before she returned to her job in the United States. This place is alive. Her nose wrinkled at the tang of pot that hung in the air, and she threaded through the crowd toward the dance floor, a few steps lower than the bar level. The dancers rocked and twisted to the music. She looked out over them, enjoying the scene before she joined in.
From across the floor he watched her. Tall, blond, drop-dead fantastic, he stood apart from the crowd, just as she did. His eyes held hers and a slow sizzle began low in Helena’s belly. She licked suddenly dry lips. He walked toward her through the packed dancers. People shifted aside to let him pass, but she found she couldn’t move.
“I’m Darien. Dance with me.” The pounding music swirled around him like fog, parting for the deep timbre of his voice.
The tune changed from a fast rock beat to something slower, a power ballad. He smiled and she shivered as the heat in her body surged, pooling in her breasts and pussy with a force that made her gasp. He held out his hand and she took it, breathless as he led her to the center of the dance floor. With his long blonde hair and piercing eyes, he looked as though he could be one of the singers, a heavy metal god.
They danced for hours, moving together each time a slower song soared through the heavy air. Helena pressed closer to her dancing partner. Every curve of her body that touched his sent quivers of desire through her. Darien danced slowly. His tall, muscular frame swayed against her, and his hands caressed her back through her thin cotton blouse.
Loving you Sunday Morning floated out from the speakers, encouraging the dancers to cuddle their partners closer. Couples crowded the small dance floor as the persuasive guitars invited the crowd to consider sweet, slow-paced sex. God knew Helena was considering it.
The aroma of spice rose from his skin. She laid her face against his chest to draw his scent deeper into her body. Although she didn’t usually go for blondes, Darien’s height and his velvety bass voice caught her attention as no man had in some time.
The song drew to a close, and he held her, looking down into her face. His eyes were dark, his pupils huge despite the flashing dance lights. His lips held a soft smile.
“Let’s go for a walk.” His deep voice vibrated through her, starting a resonance low in her belly.
She shivered. She never went anywhere with strangers, and this man, Darien, was that. She’d only known him this one night, these few hours of dancing. But, good Lord, he was sexy. And it had been a while since she’d been this turned on. A long while, maybe never. She could admit it to herself. For a long time her fantasies had been better than any man.
“Don’t be afraid, Helena. I simply want to be with you and to taste those full lips.”
“O-kay,” she stuttered. Her voice sounded ridiculously soft against the noise of the guitar solo, but whether he heard her or saw it in her eyes, he immediately began to lead her toward the bar’s side exit. She used to love to come here and dance. It had been months since her mother’s death, and in all that time she hadn’t returned to a bar until tonight. She hadn’t needed the press of people to remind her she was alone in the world now.
Perhaps she’d been avoiding people. Her clothes brushed against the throng of other dancers as they wound through the mass of people crowding the bar. It almost seemed as though they were tugging on her blouse, catching their fingers in the soft ripped edges of her denim skirt. Each touch made her more aware of her growing arousal, her tightly peaked nipples, and the heat that radiated from her pussy. Music roared from the stage, some new raw heavy metal band pumping out sound. The drums pounded a heavy beat that echoed the blood pulsing through her veins.
Finally, they reached the door and pushed past the bouncer. Cool night air slid around her neck and beneath her long black hair. For a moment she hesitated, and then Darien was pulling her to the sidewalk and hailing a cab.
“I thought we were going for a walk,” she said.
He looked back at her, amused. “Helena, you don’t want to do this in an alley, do you?”
Her heart pounded wildly. There was no mistaking what he meant. “Not really.”
The cab ride was swift, most of it lost to his heated kisses. As his tongue thrust into her mouth, she opened her lips for him and let the sensation wash over her. Cascades of sparks danced down her body until they pulsed at her hot clit. When had she become so wanton? She wondered at her behavior even as she allowed his hand to slide up her skirt.
“I never do this sort of thing,” she gasped.
God, the way he smelled, like cloves mixed with saffron and musk. She wriggled closer to him. His fingertips grazed the lips of her pussy. She could have ripped off her clothes then and there, but the cabbie spoke up to tell them they’d arrived.
The local Hilton had never looked so inviting.
“I’ve got a room.” His voice rang deeper than ever, its low peal humming down her spine.
His steps as eager as hers, they dashed to the elevator. The instant the sliding doors closed, he pulled her to him. His long-fingered hands cupped her ass through her skirt and his mouth devoured hers again. She stroked the taut, lean muscle of his back. She couldn’t think. His mouth left hers to kiss and lick a path to her throat, and she groaned aloud with need. He nipped at her neck and the quick pain made her gasp. Desire flooded her senses.
The elevator doors opened with a chime, and they stepped out as one, their bodies pressed as tightly together as possible while still managing to rush toward his room. Helena’s mind was reeling. She staggered off-balance as he let go for a moment to unlock and open the door to his room. Why was she so dizzy? She put a hand to her throat and felt wetness. When she looked down at her hand, she saw blood.
“I’m bleeding.” Her voice caught in disbelief.
He grabbed her arm, wrenching her through the open door and into the dark room. Faster than she thought possible, the door slammed tight and the lock clicked shut.
“I’m bleeding!” she said again, louder, panicked.
“I know.” He pulled her hand to his mouth and licked at the blood on her fingers. She wanted to scream, but couldn’t. The heat of his mouth and the sound of his soft moan froze her in his arms as the room whirled around them.
As his tongue rasped her fingertips, her heart pounded again and not from lust. It was so damn dark in the room, she could barely see a thing. Only a crack of light from the bathroom door and the faint glow from the half-draped window allowed her to glimpse his face. His cold eyes glittered with the tiny amount of light. She felt odd, sick. She tried to pull her arm away, throwing her weight away from him, but he didn’t budge. Her attempts to pull away from his awful licking were useless. His height and strength, so arousing earlier, were terrifying now. Worse, as she scanned the shadowy room for some weapon or way to escape, she caught a movement.
They weren’t alone.
HS: WOW!!! I can't wait to read it!!! When can we get our greedy hands on them?
LC: The first book of my Dark Seduction series, Dark Harmony is available this month as an e-book! However, for one lucky commenter on this post, I will be offering a free e-copy, just share your thoughts to qualify to win!
HS: Damn it! I can't win one. But I am sure that my blog readers will be happy. Thank you. And if we don't win, where can we buy your books?
LC: You can buy my books at www.eRedSage.com. It will also be available for kindles at Amazon, and there will be several other distributors as well over the next few months.
HS: I'm going right now! What are you working on now?
LC: I am currently writing the sequel to Dark Harmony which I have tentatively titled Dark Melody. It is a ménage with two of the characters from book one and a third from the hero’s past. The main concept is still freedom, or our interpretation of it. And it features one red hot dragon shapeshifter. I am going to have to take a little time away from that in a month or so though to begin revision of my novella, Building Magic, the story that got everything started for me. Building Magic is the story of another world – the home world of dragons, as they struggle in a time of civil war. I will be making the story a little longer and opening it up for a sequel or more. The story is complex and needs more time to see everything through.
HS: A dragon? HOTT!!!! That's all I need to know. What advice do you have for ‘Soon To Be Published’ writers (as I like to call them)?
LC: I am sure everyone has heard this advice. WRITE. Finish your story. You can’t sell a story if it isn’t finished. And without practicing writing ‘The End’ a few times, you really won’t know how to complete a book. Beyond that and learning the mechanics of writing, I would suggest two things. One, enter contests, and two, go to conferences. You can learn a lot from both, and make contacts from both. I really believe that meeting someone is incredibly influential, and that nothing is more important than getting your material in front of an editor, thus the contests.
HS: Great advice! Now, tell us one thing about yourself that no one knows (or something very funny or interesting about you or your life).
LC: When I first separated from my ex I found an interesting parallel to our lives. He joined Yoga, I took up Karate. He joined ball room dancing and I took up KobuJutsu – the study of ancient Japanese weaponry, LOL. Hey, we all deal with stress in our own way.
HS: LMAO!!! Boxers or Briefs on your man?
LC: Helllooo boxers! Accessibility, and a variety of textures and patterns. What more could a woman want?
HS:Too true! If you could have sex with one celebrity who would it be?
LC: Wolverine…er I mean Hugh Jackman!!
HS: Thank you so much, Lilly, for visiting the Smut and the great interview!
Now, all you readers or lurkers, POST! Lilly will be choosing one commenter at random to win a copy of her book, Dark Harmony.
Me? I'm off to buy.