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My Writing Process ~ Blog Tour

Welcome to the My Writing Process Blog Tour – a Monday feature where authors talk about their process and tag three more authors to share next Monday. Fellow Red Hot Authors Café author Lynda Bailey tagged me last week – you’ll want to be sure to check her post at this LINK. Thanks, Lynda! At the end of today’s post, I’ll tag three authors who’ll be joining the tour next Monday.

Q. What am I working on?

Sometimes I think my husband and I have too many irons in the fire. It seems we always have two or three new WIPs in various stages, plus some finished novels to edit and submit or publish, not to mention marketing everything that’s already out there.

Right now? Three unfinished manuscripts: First, an erotic romantic suspense (is there such a genre? We can think of no other descriptor for this book) entitled Next Man In – ménage, intrigue, a murderous villain on a personal vendetta against our hero, and a spunky pair of rodeo barrel riders for heroines. We love these characters – we just need to fill in some more details on the suspense plot.

Ripening PassionSecond: Book Four in our Passion series at Whiskey Creek, set in our (fictitious) New York based Institute that studies sexuality and creates educational sex videos. We’re having fun exploring what happens to romance with characters who have sex on camera for a living. Readers seem to like it, too.

Third: A time-travel series under contract with Extasy Books. The opener, set in Wales during the Roman occupation of the British Isles, is already finished, but we’re finding ever new complexities with these characters and their descendents as we bring them forward to the present day.

What that means for our process is that at any given time, a couple things have to sit on a back burner while we play with whatever’s hot. This week, it’s our rodeo riders.

Q. How does my work differ from others of its genre? The easy answer: most of our erotic romance features ménage – but very few authors are writing ménage for one man and two women. We also feature main characters across the age spectrum, including some in their fifties and even sixties. We’re out to prove Miley Cyrus wrong – great sex hardly stops at forty!

Q. Why do I write what I do? We started writing erotic romance because we hoped it would sell, but there’s a bigger reason. We’re baby boomers. It didn’t take us long to figure out that a lot of people our age have given up on sex. Clearly that hasn’t happened for us :), but we’re passionate about writing scenes that partners might like to read together to add a little heat or fantasy to their sex lives. So we write what we love to read (well, and fantasize, and watch, when we have time). Both of us especially love the possibilities that open up when we feature two women together. Readers might expect that an f/f/m ménage means two women focused on a man (and we know lots of men fantasize about this). But in our stories, we never put two women in the same bed without featuring their attraction for each other. Our stories are never about pleasure and fulfillment for just one person – we always strive for balance across our characters, no matter how many of them we throw in the bed at the same time.

Q. How does your writing process work? We’re a writing team. When a new story idea strikes us (and that can happen anywhere, anytime) we start noodling with it and taking copious notes, including on a napkin, if that’s all we have. A broad plot arc comes first, but then we spend long hours meeting our characters: who are they, where have they come from, what drives them, what tragedies and pain do they struggle with, what are they afraid of and why – background that might never show up on the page, but the stuff of their “real” lives. Then we start writing on page one. Every few pages we read what’s been written out loud and talk through what’s coming next. Once we write “the end,” it’s on to the seemingly endless edits. We take turns going completely through it until we think it shines.

Q. Who will we meet next week?

I co-founded the author group Midnight Seductions in 2007, and these authors have become my friends and support on the journey. I’m thrilled to showcase three of them in the Writing Process Blog Tour – watch for their posts on March 10:

EM Lynley

Beth Wylde

Qwillia Rain

 

New Release ~ The Unmasking

It’s here! The Unmasking is live at Amazon.com!

It’s All About the Research

Authors of erotic romance often get teased about what kind of research they might delve into for the sake of their books – it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it…**snicker, giggle, knowing wink.**

The research my husband and I engaged in for this spicy romantic suspense is a little different – some might say, it’s been our entire lives. We’ve both taught at universities (that’s where we met) and we know the academic life from the inside. The choices and struggles faced by our professorial hero, Anthropologist Matt Bayfield, are more familiar than we might like to admit.

Hubs is a sociologist with a specialty in criminology. I promise he’s drawn on this background immensely in creating our spunky female undercover cop, Nancy Appleby, in plotting the trajectory of the crimes and the mystery of solving them, and especially in understanding our truly creepy villain (who I won’t name, of course – that would spoil everything!).

We’ve both immersed ourselves in understanding Celtic culture and history for years – long before we envisioned this novel. Hubs has Welsh roots, and mine are Scotch-Irish on one side, so we feel an ancestral pull to that era and its understanding of seasons and cycles. It was easy to hand that passion over to our ersatz professor. We won’t say more about how it’s woven into the plot, but we think readers will like it.

We had a close call researching the technology we’ve given our resourceful cop – hubs found himself on a website requesting security clearance for more information. Backed right out of that one! But we found what we needed to know without tripping any more alarms.

The North Woods, where we’ve set the novel? A place we’ve lived and loved, and left, when the winters grew too much for us to handle. But while we lived there, we threw ourselves with a passion into the cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and crisp winter outings Nancy enjoys so much. Writing those scenes was like watching snippets from our own life on the screen.

The Unmasking was originally released in 2008 under a different pen name; rights reverted to us when the contract ran out, and we’ve decided to re-issue it as “ourselves.” We’ve thoroughly re-edited the book and incorporated helpful feedback from our beta readers

Our tag line is Erotic Romance for Two, Three, or More. Most of our published work has focused on the “three or more” side of the equation. We’re happy to offer a book focused on the “two” element, and we think readers will find the sex is no less sizzling. And no, we’re not going to share any research we might have indulged in to write those scenes.

The Unmasking, by Adriana Kraft

February 15, 2014
B&B Publishing
ISBN  978-0-9894693-6-4;   ASIN   B00IDVB6KQ
Romantic Suspense, 87,000 words
Heat rating: Four flames

Buy Link: Amazon.com

BLURB

Whose mask will crumble first—
the enigmatic professor of Celtic Studies,
the undercover cop masquerading as a co-ed,
or the campus stalker,
biding his time to strike again?

Is anthropology professor Matt Bayfield the Blackthorn College rapist, or a potential ally? Aloof and unapproachable, Matt has academic ambitions. He can’t escape Blackthorn College soon enough, and he doesn’t want any entanglements to slow down his exit.

Nancy Appleby would like nothing more than to solve the string of campus rape cases before Thanksgiving so she can go home. The last thing she wants is a relationship to complicate her life—but she’ll settle for a fling, especially when the sex sizzles.

The stalker has his own carefully crafted timetable, with a special date just for Nancy. Can Matt and Nancy force him out of his hidey-hole before it’s too late?

REVIEWS

Four and a half stars at Romance Junkies: From beginning to end, THE UNMASKING is a fascinating tale…I was intrigued at how the writing team is able to intertwine a love story with such horrifying circumstances in startling clarity. One of the many things I adored about this story is that the main characters are flawed. They both make judgment errors and their mistakes and assumptions lead to some emotionally trying scenes that had me eagerly reading to find out how they were going to solve their conflicts – or at several points if they even would be able to remain together. If you enjoy romantic suspense novels then I can definitely recommend THE UNMASKING. Chrissy D.

Five Stars at Amazon: One of the best stories ever written by Adriana Kraft…a truly great read. Could not put it down until I finished it. Amy B.

Five Stars at Goodreads: The suspense is so well done you don’t know who the bad guy is until it’s revealed in the book. The action is fast paced and kept my interest to the very end. Could not put the book down. Donna H.

EXCERPT

Chapter One

Who will be the next victim?

Nancy Appleby scanned the co-eds in the small lecture hall. Each could be his next prey. Each looked much younger than she remembered being as a full-time student. Each woman hung on Professor Bayfield’s well crafted words.

Was it the topic, Celtic Myths and Rituals, or was it the aloofness of the tall, dark-haired lecturer with the strong protruding chin that mesmerized? He did command attention. Although his tone was mild, Bayfield played with his audience like a polished actor. Clearly he was in control. Though he gestured but rarely, he moved like an athlete, comfortable in his body.

Nancy jotted notes on a yellow pad pretending to be no different than anyone else in the room. She glanced up at Bayfield, whose eyes had settled on her; they were piercing and inquisitive. Then he shifted his gaze, but he’d noticed her, was thinking about her. Why? She’d done everything she could to blend in. He hadn’t seemed particularly troubled by her presence, just curious.

Nancy redirected her attention to the individuals sitting in front of her. She’d arrived early to claim an aisle seat in the back row. The raised auditorium layout provided an advantageous observation post. About sixty women and twenty men were in attendance, no doubt a decent turnout. Blackthorn College had a student body of less than two thousand.

Nancy scribbled more notes and then focused on the men in the room.

Was he in the lecture hall? Would he strike again, tonight? Or would the rapist stay in his hole, biding his time?

 

It’s only maple leaves…

The moment grabbed me from out of nowhere. Hubs and I were walking in the neighborhood (a daily practice, whenever weather permits). We rounded the corner, scuffed through the rustling golden maple leaves that had magically carpeted the sidewalk since only yesterday, and I was suddenly a five year old child in the front yard of the house I grew up in, where four mature sugar maple trees dropped their colorful bounty just for me, without fail, every autumn. A child’s paradise!

I’ve been thinking about the moment and about writing fiction – about the power of our sensory memory to transport us across time and distance, about the power of sensuous imagery to propel us into the moment. Four of my five senses were involved (well, okay, I never tasted them, now or as a child :)). Any sense by itself might have sufficed, but the combination was compelling. You can scuffle all sorts of other leaves in your path, but maple leaves have a light crisp sound all their own. It must be the sugar in them that creates their unique scent – I can smell them coming, and I wait for it every autumn. There’s the common musky autumn dried leaf scent, but there’s an added punch if it’s maple. The touch? Well, I didn’t pile them up for a tumble (they were my neighbor’s leaves, after all), but I did pick one up, crumble it in my hand and remember. And the sight – the intense color of any single leaf, the transformation of entire neighborhoods from green to gold (some years, mixed with some red and orange.)

Skillful authors use these details to pull us into the scenes they’re creating – here’s to more sensory images in everything we read, write, and do! And here’s a little taste of the autumn bounty from our neighborhood ~ the end of the lane, the view from our deck, and across the road from the front  of our house:

 

 

 
© 2020 Adriana Kraft. All Rights Reserved.
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