Monday, September 21, 2009

Special Guest: Jeanne St. James


Today we have a special guest, award-winning erotic romance author Jeanne St. James. Her book Banged Up launches today at Liquid Silver Books:

Mace Walker can’t wait to get home. Being buried deep undercover for the past two years, on the most complex case of his career, has torn him down physically and mentally. Now the FBI agent has come home to recover after having his leg badly injured from a gunshot wound. Arriving home late one night, his relief is short-lived as he’s faced with a stranger pointing a gun to his head, acting like he is the one who doesn’t belong there!

Colby Parks, a biochemist at the local university, had come to town a year earlier to escape an abusive relationship. She vows never to put herself in that situation again. Then the perfect opportunity comes along: house-sitting for Mace’s sister while making the house she purchased habitable. But she couldn’t anticipate this big snag: the one wearing the tight Levi’s and worn leather jacket, looking like he had just escaped prison. Being forced to share a house creates sparks between them in more ways than one. However, things take a turn when their pasts catch up to them, threatening to pull them apart forever.

Happy release day, Jeanne, and welcome to The Cozy Page!

Thank you for having me! I’m very excited that you’ve invited me here today to celebrate my first release.

Banged Up sounds like an exciting story. I can't wait to read it! Tell us where this idea came from and why you were compelled to write it.

Oh, boy, it’s been so long since I originally started Banged Up. I sat on it for years (I hate to admit that!) afraid to submit it anywhere (even with its contest wins). But I love all aspects of law enforcement and have training in law enforcement myself (as well as two degrees in Criminal Justice) and know a little bit about guns (I own a Glock). One day a scene popped into my head and it ended up being the beginning scene which is an injured FBI agent coming come to heal and being confronted in his own house by a gun-wielding stranger. The irony of him coming home and being put in harms way in his own “safe haven” was what got the story started.

Banged Up has received several accolades! To name a few, it placed 1st in the 2006 Spring into Romance Contest, 2nd in the VRW’s Fool For Love Contest, and 3rd in the CNYRW’s Close Encounters of the First Kind Contest. Why do you think this story has been so well-received?

Good question. I think it was because of the opening scene. I’ll include an excerpt of Chapter One and maybe everyone can judge it for itself.

Your hero, Mace, is an undercover agent. What kind of research did you have to do for his job?

Actually, not much. I work in law enforcement and so does my fiancé. I have various law enforcement training, so that helped.

I can’t count how many romance readers love their law enforcement heroes. What is it about them that makes them so gripping?

They are true Alpha heroes. They are not afraid to put themselves in harms way to save or protect their loved one, friends or family.

Colby, Banged Up’s heroine, sounds like a character readers will easily be able to sympathize. Can you tell us what motivates her and what attracts her to Mace? What draws her back?

What motivates Colby is her desire to be independent (since she came out of an abusive relationship). Mace is a strong male presence but has a soft spot for Colby. He is non-threatening but still an Alpha through and through. His strength is what keeps drawing her back.

According to your website bio, you write erotic romance because it’s a blast and because you love tying it up with an HEA at the end. What’s your method for tying the romance into an erotic storyline?

Well, basically it’s just a romance at the core. I just push the envelope a bit (sometimes quite a bit like in Double Dare) when it comes to a sex scene. I make it hotter, steamier. Banged Up began as a non-erotic romance and I decided to expand the love scenes before submitting it. An erotic romance needs to be a romance first. The hero and heroine have to have an emotional tie and not just have sexual relations.

You fell in love with romance by reading historical and contemporary category romance. Was there a title that really stuck out to you? Why?

Not just one title but some authors. Katherine Sutcliffe and Laura Kinsale are some of my all-time favorites. It had to do with their characters. I fell in love with their broken heroes (especially Kinsale’s).

Banged Up isn’t the only release for you this fall. In fact, November’s a big month for you with two launches, an interracial ménage and m/m. What made you want to branch out to these sub-genres (and feel free to tell us more about them :)?

Well, I just found out I have a little schedule change (which occurs in the publishing business). Double Dare, which is my interracial ménage a trios, will not be out until January due to scheduling conflicts. It involves an established m/m relationship in which the couple brings in a third, who is a female. It was my first ménage and the fastest book I ever wrote. I enjoyed every minute of writing it. That will be released by Loose Id. Then November 30th, Rip Cord should be released. More firsts for me: a m/m romance and a novella. I decided to write m/m to try something different. I’m not sure I will stick with it. I enjoyed writing the m/m/f ménage story more. But I wrote Rip Cord for a special call for submissions Phaze was having. So Rip Cord will be part of their “Rebel” Heatsheets. You can find out more about both of those stories and read the blurbs and excerpts on my website at http://www.jeannestjames.com/.

Okay, now for the fun part! What’s your zodiac and what does it say for today?

I am a Leo. Today it says (which is funny because I am working on edits so it’s really fitting):
The process of your work or a work project will have quick completion today . . . perhaps coming to an end a little faster than you thought possible. The ending of some projects leave you plenty of time for a long lunch; careful with those second helpings. Your thinking, talking and communication with co-workers flow smoothly. You may later receive news that excites you into action for the next project. Your attitude is usually to hop onto something as soon as it comes to your attention, which is why you are appreciated. This afternoon is favorable for planning, short trips and letter writing. Others acknowledge your intelligence and informed ideas. This evening there are community obligations but there is always time for family affairs.

If you could set a romance where you live, what genre would it be? Historical? Romantic suspense? Paranormal or urban fantasy?

Well, I’d have to say a paranormal because I live in the woods up on the side of a mountain. I could see werewolves and vampires running around.

If you were a mixed drink, what would you be and why?

Probably a whiskey sour. I’m strong and sometimes can be sour (LOL!) but I have a sweet side too.

Who is your favorite erotic/romance hero of all time? Heroine?

I can’t pinpoint any in particular. I really like damaged heroes and heroines who have to overcome a lot internally and externally to find their true love.

What recent read would you recommend?

I recently read Sea Lord by Virginia Kantra. I enjoy her Children of the Sea series. I recently met her at the Romance Writers of America National Conference down in Washington, D.C. She’s a very nice person and a great storyteller.

What’s your favorite smell and is there anything that makes it significant?

Vanilla. It just soothes me.

And last but not least, if you found your heart’s desire at the end of the rainbow, what would it be?

To stay home and write full-time. Maybe soon.

Thanks again for lounging with us here at The Cozy Page, Jeanne! I look forward to reading Banged Up and will definitely be looking for Rip Cord in November and Double Dare in January! To close, would you mind giving us a nibble of Banged Up?

From Chapter 1:

Relief flooded over Mace Walker as he twisted the key in the lock, gave the front door a shove, and stepped over the threshold. Finally home. About time.

Time to heal.

The foyer was dark, but he didn’t need to hit the light switch. Even being gone for as long as he had been, he still knew the house well enough. He made his way to the stairs and set down his bags. Those two small duffels didn’t hold much evidence of his life for the past couple of years. Just some toiletries and a few basic items of clothes.

As he straightened, the foyer lit up, blinding him for a second. He blinked as a young voice rang out from the top of the steps.

“Hold it right there! Put your arms up and back away from the stairs.”

What the fuck?

Mace had expected to see his sister bounding down the stairway of his two-story colonial, excited after not seeing her brother for the past two years. Actually more like one year, eleven months, and fifteen days. Not that he was counting. But instead he stared up into the deadly eye of a Glock. And from his viewpoint it looked like a model 23, a .40 caliber. A compact, but still a decent sized, gun in a very small, very uneasy hand. Instantly, the hairs on the back of his neck rose.

Damn. He'd dealt with crime bosses and their flunkies -- from drug to porno rings -- and had managed to survive. Now he was going to be killed by some measly punk he surprised while burglarizing his house? The cruel irony made him want to laugh.

Instead, he did as he was instructed. With caution he raised his hands above his head before stepping back toward the middle of the foyer. He avoided standing directly under the light, trying to get a better view of the top of the steps. But he didn’t have much success; the upstairs hallway and the upper section of the stairway were hidden in shadows.

If he played his cards right, this little situation would be under his control in no time at all. He just had to keep the kid calm and make the skinny punk believe that he was the one in command. From experience Mace knew the Glock didn't have a conventional safety. All the kid had to do was pull the trigger and pull it again and again until all the rounds in the clip emptied into Mace’s body. And from what he could see in the limited light, the kid's fingers were twitching from nervousness.

Not a good sign.

Where had a young punk gotten an expensive handgun like that? It certainly hadn’t been in the house. And if it had been it would have been locked up in the gun safe.

If only he could see the boy's face. He needed to see the eyes. Mace couldn't even begin to predict what the kid would do without seeing his eyes.

“Don't you dare move or I'll blow your face off!” The kids’ voice raised an octave, making him sound more and more like… a girl.

Tension ran through Mace’s body as the boy started down the steps. At first he could see bare toes, then one slim calf, then another. His eyes flicked to the gun, then returned to the shapely naked thighs that couldn't belong to a kid – no way. Especially not a boy. Those smooth legs definitely belonged to a woman. And he couldn't wait to see the rest of her. So far, the view almost made it worth being held at gunpoint.

Almost.

He was disappointed when an oversized t-shirt – shit, was that Marmaduke on it? -- blocked his view of creamy flesh. His arms were tired, his leg throbbed painfully, and his patience was wearing thin. But he still wasn't going to move, since he had no idea who this woman was descending the stairs. His curiosity piqued when she stepped down into the light, which highlighted her long, curly red hair and made her wide, green – glaring -- eyes sparkle and snap.

A twitch shot through his lower stomach and landed in his groin. Fear or pain didn’t make him suck in his breath. It was her unrestricted breasts bobbing under the cotton shirt with each step she took. Her nipples stood out like two beacons under the worn cotton. Jesus.

He had to clear his throat twice before he could ask her, “Are you robbing this house, dressed like that?”

Readers, don’t forget to stop by Liquid Silver Books and get your copy of Banged Up today! Jeanne, I wish you tons of sales! Everyone can find out more about Jeanne at her website!

3 comments:

jilljames said...

Amber and Jeanne, a great interview. Can't wait to read Banged Up. It sounds hot.

Jeanne St. James said...

Amber, thanks for having me today. Here is the buy link for Banged Up!

http://www.king-cart.com/cgi-bin/cart.cgi?store=linda018&cart_id=1897733.22055&product_name=Banged+Up&return_page=&user-id=&password=&exchange=&exact_match=exact

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Jill, thanks for stopping by.

And, Jeanne, come back any time! I also can't wait to get my hands on a copy. The excerpt definitely sold me ;)