Note: the giveaway of Sweet Restraint is now closed. The winner will be posted over the weekend.
I’m in such a good mood these days. RWA was a blast. I turned in Book 3. Even better, my editor likes it– really likes it. (And those of you following this blog know that I worked my tail off with that book…)
So now I feel like celebrating.
I’ve got six books from GREAT authors to giveaway–trust me, you’ll want to check these out. It’s a wide range of books, everything from sexy erotic romance to regency vampires to contemporaries and–psst– even a RITA winner. And who knows, maybe we’ll even have an author or two drop by to say hello. Like my first author…
Yep, that’s right– fellow Chicago author and just generally fabulous Beth Kery is here today. And I’m kicking things off by giving away a copy of her new release, Sweet Restraint.
This time, he’ll never let her go…
Chicago Special Agent Shane Dominic was in love with Laura Vasquez until the day she left him and married another man. Thirteen years may have passed, but Laura’s never disappeared from his fantasies, or destroyed his desire to learn the truth about why she left him. When her husband, the criminal mastermind behind an international ring of thieves, is murdered, Shane knows this is his one last, desperate chance to learn Laura’s secrets. And he’s not above using their scorching hot passion for one another and a little domination to do it.
One look at Shane, and Laura’s own memories come back to haunt her. Her feelings run deep, but she’d never divulge her secrets—a desperate vow that’s compromised when Shane stuns her by taking her as his captive to a secluded cabin. Here, she will finally belong to him, be subjected to his every torturously erotic whim, and be forced to trust him with a shocking truth she’s hidden for so long—one that will expose them to a danger closing in on the both of them.
I love Beth’s writing. I’ve read both Wicked Burn and Daring Time and really enjoyed them both. Great characters, great use of Chicago, intense emotion, and whew– are they steamy! I picked up Sweet Restraint the day it came out and I can’t wait to dive in. And now Beth has generously donated a copy for one of you. She also very kindly answered some questions I asked her about writing, her books, and just about her in general. Here goes:
JJ: When did you first realize you wanted to write, and how did you get started?
BK: When I was in my twenties I had a brief stint of writing. I always had read in all genres, but for whatever reason, I just thought I could write romance. So I gave it a whirl, and submitted to Harlequin—I can’t even recall the line anymore. I ended up getting a call from assistant editor, saying she wanted the full manuscript. I was on pins and needles waiting, but I got a rejection. The thing of it was, the rejection came with all these specific suggestions that the editor wanted changed to improve the book. I was so naïve. I had no idea it was actually a successful submission, relatively speaking—the phone call, the detailed personalized notes about changes, etc. I ended up trashing the manuscript! So it wasn’t until over a decade later I heard about Ellora’s Cave, and I thought—hmmm, I could write that. And I did, and I could, I guess. LOL. I always think of that Harlequin episode and mentally kick myself in the butt.
JJ: What is it about writing erotic romance that appeals to you?
BK: I read every single Sandra Brown book ever written and used to always wish it was more descriptive as far as the sex scenes. (That’s not a criticism of Sandra; to this day, I think she writes some of the steamiest scenes imaginable.) As the years passed, authors like Christine Feehan really started to push the envelope sexually, and I loved it. When I discovered Ellora’s Cave, I thought—finally, a publisher is giving women what they really want in regard to sex. For me, the genre of erotic romance is ideal. A rich, emotionally intense love story is so important to me, but I like that in this day and age, sex can be an integral part of that romance. I think it is in real life, so why not in books?
JJ: What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
BK: Write. I’m not being facetious, I just mean that so many other things can sidetrack you from your art. I would suggest setting a daily word count and fulfilling your goal. Writing itself will inspire ideas and free up your creativity. Even if what you write is total crap, at least you know that’s not the direction you want to go. It’s more than you would have known by surfing the Internet all day. *grin*
JJ: How did you come up with the idea for Sweet Restraint?
BK: Sometimes I have these sort of…snapshot visions, just a quick flash of a scene. That happened for Sweet Restraint. I had a flash of a man breaking into a woman’s house and going to her jewelry box. But instead of stealing anything, he removes a fake emerald necklace and replaces it with the real one. Then he exits her life. Whenever I have flashes like that, it’s a great source of creativity, because the ‘whys’ start to kick in. Why would he do that? What could have possibly motivated him? Why didn’t’ he tell her, etc. The answers to the questions start to flesh out a story.
JJ: What did you enjoy most about writing Sweet Restraint?
BK: It was my first book for the Heat line at Berkley, so I felt like I got to explore a few sexual taboos. The hero in Sweet Restraint takes the heroine captive, essentially, which is a hot point for women…on many levels. I think women (and men, for that matter) have a lot of sexual fantasies that they’d never really act on and would never want in real life. So it was interesting for me to write something a little more forbidden than what I’d done previously. I mean, really, I’d never want anyone—even if it was man I’d loved since I was a girl and had to keep at a distance at all costs—to kidnap me and tie me up to a bed. It’d piss me off to no end. But it was fun to write it within the fantasy forum of erotic romance.
JJ: What do you do on those writing days when you’re stressed, worn out, or distracted?
BK: Typically, I don’t realize I am stressed out until I find myself getting all snappy and short-tempered. Hubby is usually the undeserving target, poor guy. When I recognize it, I just have to step back, take a hot bath, go out to dinner or for a long walk with my husband…gain a little perspective. It’s getting to the point where I recognize that I’m morphing into the Wicked Witch of the West Loop that’s problematic. LOL.
JJ: What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your writing or a book?
BK: I get the biggest kick out of hearing that someone recommended one of my books to someone who hasn’t ever read erotic romance, and that their friend loved it. A specific story—a good friend of mine from high school had only read my Ellora’s Cave books, and was so excited to read Wicked Burn when it released. She and a friend, and both of their families took a trip together, and my friend brought Wicked Burn along on the plane. Well her friend asked her what she was reading on the plane, and my buddy gave her some vague answer. Well her friend started reading over her shoulder. The kids ran wild on the plane because the two moms couldn’t part from the book. Afterwards, my friend said that her friend was really blown away by Wicked Burn, and she’d never picked up an erotic romance in her life. I love that story.
JJ: What can you tell us about your next release, Paradise Rules?
BK: It’s a story about a woman who has to return to the island where she was born and that she’s avoided like the plague until then—Oahu. Lana’s a successful blues singer, and because of a dark history with men, she tends to want to be totally in control with her sex partners. When she meets local businessman and island god Jason Koa, however, she has to play by a whole new rule book. He constantly challenges her to face her fears and not to give in to her desire for escape…both from her past and from the volatile passion that erupts between them.
JJ: Fun questions: (borrowed, in part, from my girl Rowena at The Book Binge). What are you watching on TV these days? What are you reading?)
BK: I feel like a social misfit, because I rarely have time to watch TV. I’m reading Robyn Carr’s Temptation Ridge at the moment, and really enjoying it. Melissa Bliss, a dynamic and knowledgeable romance bookstore owner in Westland, Michigan, recommended that I read Shannon McKenna, because she thinks her stuff is similar to mine. So I have Behind Closed Doors on deck.
JJ: What are you listening to on your Ipod?
BK: Audioslave, Joe Cocker live in concert, Pearl Jam.
JJ: What is your biggest weakness (shoes, purses, chocolate, etc.)
BK: Chocolate and red wine. (My husband would say shoes.)
JJ: Complete this sentence: One fun thing about me that people might not know is…
Umm…I’m kind of a goof. I get kind of punchy sometimes. People always think I’m quiet and serious, but I think of myself as always looking for an excuse to laugh.
JJ: Thanks so much for coming by, Beth!! Love these answers.
So now for the giveaway– one lucky person who comments below will win a copy of Sweet Restraint. P.S. This contest will run for more than one day, until I post that the giveaway is closed and that we’re moving onto the next one.
P.P.S. Beth and I will be doing a book signing together in the Chicago area on August 2nd. Here’s the information, so if you’re in the neighborhood, drop on by:
August 2nd, 1:00-3:00PM
Best Sellers Book Store
6509 W. 127th St.
Palos Heights, IL
Happy reading everyone!
Edited to add: the giveaway will remain open until 10pm CST Friday, July 24. Winner will be announced over the weekend.