Category Archives: Blog Tours

The Assignment: An Interview with Jade A. Waters (!!!)

Earlier this month, Jade A. Waters released The Assignment, the first book in her three part series, Lessons in Control. Ethically speaking, I couldn’t review it because A. I helped beta it, B. She’s my best friend, and C. I am not at all unbiased so I’d probably just shout things like –> BUT IT’S SO FUCKING GOOD BELIEVE ME AND READ IT.

So, rather than do an (biased but TOTALLY accurate review), I asked Ms. Waters if she’d like to do an interview. She said yes so plans were made – plans that involved a pedicure and drinks over a long lunch. Sadly, I got sick and had to cancel for the first time ever in our friendship. Luckily, she didn’t mind typing in the answers to the questions because she’s awesome.

And so, without further ado, my interview with Jade A. Waters.

We’ve talked a lot over the course of our friendship about how the spark for The Assignment came from a very powerful personal experience. What did it feel like writing from that place? Did it ever feel like it was getting too intense?

Oh, that’s a good one, Malin. I mentioned over at Xan West’s place the other day what the actual spark for The Assignment was, and of course, as you know, there was indeed that powerful personal experience you just mentioned built in, too. I’ve referred to that often as “getting turned out,” and applying it to the book was…well, it was something. Honestly, I’m not sure I was aware that I was writing from that place until later in the process. I wrote the book in the aftermath of the breakup from that very relationship, and I poured all my energy/tension/pain into creating it…but it wasn’t until I went back in to edit that I saw exactly what you described. Add to that the fact that I’ve said Maya’s got a lot of me in her—her troubled past is a rework of my own—so I’d say overall it was both cathartic and challenging. There were periods in working on the book [and the subsequent series] that I was in real life working on my own demons from past experiences that so closely paralleled Maya’s. It was, in some ways, exciting and healing to rake her over the coals and have her work through similar issues. On the other hand, there were times I was like oh my fucking god why did I make her history so like mine because I don’t want to do this right now. They were extremely specific moments in the book—perhaps the spots you once mentioned to me you found “not hard…but real”—and so while I wouldn’t say it was too intense, it required some emotional stamina and fortitude. It was a good growth experience. And healing for Maya and me, both, I guess.

So, Dean and Maya. How has your relationship to those two crazy kids changed over the course of writing the three books? Do you feel like writing their relationship affected you as a person?

Ha ha. These kids! Having written the entire series, I kind of do look at them as a form of kids! Ushering them here, there, trying to get them to listen to what I’m telling them to do and yet watching them do whatever they want as characters tend to do (punks). J Initially, they were hugely connected to me. Maya was a lot of me, and Dean—while not the guy I just mentioned in your last question—had taken little specks of influence from him. However, by book two, Maya had grown and morphed tremendously. She was a real person to begin with, and then she was tackling all these awesome things in ways that inspired me. Dean, meanwhile, was no longer the man I originally pictured him as. He was growing, too, with several character traits that both excited me and would never work for me in a man in real life. That was interesting to work with…but also great for me in a growth manner. Taking them from the real life experience they were based on and progressing them forward, then even further, made them more complicated and intriguing. I think it strengthened my writing, too—and, perhaps weirdly, what I find attractive in relationships in real life.

However, while their progression developed them and me, I actually feel more separated from them now than I did at first. Maybe it’s because they ran their full course in my head? We have spent some good quality time together, these kids and me, for sure…but I feel like they made it exactly where they needed to be, and that’s good. That feels good.

What is it about Dean that made him super, dreamy appealing to you as a hero?

Besides his stunning dark features? (Because those usually win me over.) Initially, I loved that dominant edge. I found that sexy in the period I wrote the book, but I have long loved men who are a bit on the playful side, too. In fact, that is what appeals to me most in Dean, throughout the series. I like playful people. However, I also loved that he had his shit together. He knew what he wanted. He was direct. These are all traits that turn me on in real life, so I was happy to provide that as companionship for Miss Maya.

If you could have a little heart to heart with Maya, what would you tell her (bearing in mind that you’re kind of her mama, since you created her).

Ahh. This is such a sweet question! Hmmm. I think I would say, “Baby girl, you’re going to grow. You’re going to change. Sometimes, it’s gonna hurt. But you’re going to be stronger, and you’re going to find everything you’re seeking, in time, both in your heart and in your soul. Freedom—in every way? It’s yours. Just let your heart run free.”

I was fortunate to be one of your beta readers on this book, so I’ve seen it morph and change and deepen over the process of your writing it. Does it read, now, like what you imagined in your head? Or did it become something new and unexpected? Did the novel ever surprise you?

And I LOVE YOU to pieces for that! You were such a wonderful beta reader, I can’t get over how helpful you were. Thank you a million times over! As to the book, it’s so much better than it was when it started. I mean, I loved it to begin with, and then I had fabulous feedback from you and Tamsin Flowers, and it got even better. Then came my agent and editor (and more with my editor) and it’s definitely grown into a stronger book. I think it was always a little bit “deeper” than a light and fluffy erotic romance, for me, and through all the edits it’s grown more valuable in that regard, in my opinion. It’s richer, in many ways.

Your prose style is very dreamy and lyrical – was that ever a conscious choice, or did it develop naturally? Do you ever feel like your poetry colors your prose?

I love that you describe it that way! I feel that way too…and I’m not sure how that happened, but yes, I think it goes back to my early poetry, in high school, for sure. I was constantly writing about my pain with the boys I was dating (oh, the drama), and I had all these symbols I liked to use then—roses and petals and drowning flowers and such. (Like I said, oh, the drama.) In time it grew more flowy…somehow a bunch of water elements started getting worked in, and it came together somehow. I get a little trance-like when I write, and I like to feel like I’m getting swept along in my work, so I think that may be helping it translate to the page, especially with all the poetry writing.

Channing Tatum or Hugh Jackman? Now. Go. Don’t think. Gun to your head. Channing or Hugh?

NOOOOoooooo! I have to choose? Crap. Um….okay, Hugh. For sure. Channing has some AMAZING moves (we both saw Magic Mike 1 and 2, hello), but I’ve always had eyes for Hugh. He’s the whole package. Granted, I fell for him as Wolverine but then discovered his tap dancing song-singing goodness (also, those abs) and I’m 100% convinced that while he’s married, it’s his starter marriage. He’s obviously practicing for me. Jade Jackman sounds incredible, doesn’t it?

Maya’s relationship to Selby is really strong and very well developed. How important was it to you that their friendship occupy a healthy slice of the emotional real estate in this book?

I love my friends. I cherish you people to death. I am also extremely loyal to those I love, and will pretty much do anything for these people. So, Maya of course needed to have that connection to someone. Selby is a beautiful mix of a couple wonderful women I know, and I loved getting to play Maya—who’s had a rough go—alongside perfectly domestic and sweetheart Selby, especially with her innocent, vanilla past. Their relationship deepened in edits, too, thanks to some comments made by my editor, and I love how their connection flourished in later editions. Friends are important, and The Assignment couldn’t solely be about Maya and her romantic interest all the time. Oh, and fun fact—one of our rejections along the way was that the book seemed to have a lot to do with Maya and Selby. I laughed that one off, because I wanted her to be a whole person with rich friendships.

If you couldn’t paint your toenails blue, what color would you paint them?

Ha ha. I am pretty obsessed with blue toenails, aren’t I? (Which is funny since my favorite color is red and I refuse to paint my toenails red.) I guess purple? But the flower on the big toes is a critical piece, as you know!

You’ve told me that way high on your list of places to go is the Galapagos Islands. Why the Galapagos Islands? I’ve always wondered.

Really? That’s funny. I love tropical and/or island destinations. Always have, always will. Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Curaçao, Greece, Rovinj—these were places I went and treasured, that definitely surpassed Paris and most of my stops in Italy. I liked those trips, but I love the water, sun, and sky. I don’t know if this is true, but I heard that the Galapagos Islands were soon going to get blocked from tourism to preserve the animal life there, and I decided I needed to visit before that happened. I wanted to see the life and enjoy the tropical elements. You know what’s weird, though, about my tropical destination obsession? I hate being in direct sun because I burn too easily and run too hot, I am allergic to mosquitos (I get huge quarter sized bites and they love eating me alive), and I’m not a swimmer. So basically I enjoy these trips and have some definite moments of suffering, usually while under an umbrella on a beach for no more than an hour at a time. And covered in light fabric!

Okay, I know you don’t like champagne (I will never understand this) so what did you drink to celebrate the release of The Assignment?

I can’t even believe I didn’t drink anything but coconut milk lattes that day. How did that happen?! If I had enjoyed a drink, though, I would have gone for sambuca or a whiskey sour.

What do you absolutely love about this book? (I know how critical of yourself you are, so this question is really just a poorly disguised attempt to make you say nice things about you).

Jeezus. Thanks, lady, no pressure…hmm… Okay, I love that this book made me a stronger writer, and that I got to carry it farther than one single book. I love Maya’s growth—I feel like her path through both book one and the whole Lessons in Control series was inspiring (at least for me!). And I honestly love a couple sex scenes in there, a ton. Yes, I adore writing real people with real personalities solving real problems…but I do write erotica for a reason! I enjoyed watching Maya grow through her sexual experiences with Dean.

Oh, and that rain scene. You know how much I love the rain scene, and I will never shut up about how much I love the rain scene!

Thank you so much for having me over today, Malin, and for these beautiful questions—plus our beautiful friendship. MUAH!

 

For more on The Assignment, visit Jade’s official site. And to buy the sexy first installment in the Lessons of Control series, head over to the usual suspects, click and enjoy. 

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

iBooks

Kobo

Guest Post: Delilah Night is Capturing the Moment (And there’s a Contest!)

I don’t tend to do a whole lot of promotion, mostly because I decided a while ago that I wanted to focus on authors and projects that I’ve read and honestly love. In the case of Delilah Night and her new release, Capturing the Moment, I can happily say that both apply. 

This may sound a bit over the top, but Capturing the Moment, is a big, delightful delight. Delilah hit the perfect balance between sex and romance, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t finish it feeling glowy, happy feelings. I definitely recommend it (and the everything else Delilah has written). But before I take over what should, by rights, be a guest post, I’m going to stop there, and let you hear from Delilah herself. 

Take it away, Ms. Night!

Blurring the lines between fiction and reality—RJ edition

I’m so excited to be on your blog today, Malin! I am a tremendous fan of your lyrical, beautiful prose. I’ve gotten to know Malin in the blogosphere and Twitterverse, and she is a delightful friend. I hope all of you will enjoy my post, and stick around for the contest!

For my guest posts this week, I thought it would be fun to talk about how much of myself and my husband can be found in the characters of Meg and RJ. I wrote about Meg and I for F. Leonora’s blog this past Tuesday, and today I’ll be discussing the similarities (or lack thereof) between RJ and my husband.

RJ (Oh, la la!)

RJ (Oh, la la!)

Ways in which RJ and my husband are similar.

  1. The most obvious is that they are Indian American men in a relationship with a white woman. I’ve written before that I write interracial romance in part because I want to couples like my own connecting emotionally and sexually on the page.
  2. They both have curly hair. When my husband’s hair is freshly washed and he hasn’t messed it up over the course of his day, it curls into these perfect ringlets I’m a little heartbroken neither of our daughters inherited.
  3. The snark. RJ and Meg banter in part because of the way my husband and I do. We use tv/movie quotes on each other frequently. My husband even snuck a quote from Babylon 5 (nerd pride!) into his wedding vows.

Ways in which RJ and my husband are nothing alike.

  1. Look, I love the man, but he is *not* as smooth as RJ.
  2. My husband would not enjoy a trip to Cambodia. He’d spend the trip complaining about the lack of decent cell service. Which is why I left him in charge of our offspring and went by myself.
  3. He has less of a connection to his heritage then RJ. My husband does not speak Hindi, like Indian food, or watch Bollywood movies. Going to an Indian restaurant with me is reserved for things like my birthday. The scene below would never happen in real life (although the restaurant is real and the food is awesome).
Curry Walla (yummers)

Curry Walla (yummers)

A Tase of Capturing the Moment.

“Curry Walla? You found Indian food?” She licked her lips. The man knew her weaknesses.

“I found excellent Indian food. The chapattis are better than my mom’s, but if you ever say that, I’ll call you a liar. Do you want to eat there?”

“We’ll do Khmer for dinner?” That way she could feel guilt-free about not eating the local cuisine for lunch.

“Of course. Come on.”

The man behind the counter looked up and greeted RJ in Punjabi. RJ answered, dropping into English to introduce Meg. “Meg, this is Saroj. Saroj, this is Meg.”

“Nice to meet you. You’re far too beautiful for this one. Run away with me instead.” Saroj winked at her.

“If the food is all Arjun says it is, I may have to take you up on that, Uncle.”

The proprietor laughed heartily, indicating they should sit. He passed them menus and spicy papadam to snack on while they decided what to order. After teasing RJ in Punjabi a bit more, Saroj left. He returned with their beverages, took their food order and departed for the kitchen.

“Leave it to you to find the best Indian food in a city,” Meg said.

“Yup,” RJ replied happily as he drank from his mango lassi. He lowered his voice. “Besides, if you’re planning to continue jumping me all day, I need a substantial meal to replenish my energy.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Oh, how awful for you to be at the mercy of my lustful intentions.”

“I do my best with the burdens that have been thrust upon me, babe.”

RJ was right—the food was excellent. Meg caught sight of the owner grinning broadly at them when RJ fed her a bite of his beef jalfrezi, and she blushed.

“Saroj thinks I’m your girlfriend,” she told RJ.

“Wife,” RJ corrected her. “I told him I should be so lucky.”

Meg froze. She had been planning their wedding right up until she’d decided to end the relationship.

Capturing the Moment Cover

You never forget your first love…

Meg and RJ were passionately in love. But that was six years and a broken engagement ago.

Meg has only one day in Siem Reap, Cambodia, before she must leave for her sister’s wedding in Bali. She fulfills her dream of taking a photograph of the sun rising behind Angkor Wat, one of the oldest temples in the world. But her joy is short-lived when she turns around to see RJ standing behind her.

RJ threw himself into work after Meg ended their relationship. He’s built a successful business, but it’s a hollow victory. He’s come to Siem Reap to win back the woman he’s never stopped loving. But first he has to convince her to spend the day with him.

Meg is as physically attracted to RJ as she ever was. Maybe the secret to finally getting over him is a one day only, no strings attached fling.

Can RJ win Meg back, or will she love him and leave him?

 Capturing the Moment is on sale everywhere!

Bio

After 30 years of snowy New England winters, Delilah Night moved to steamy Southeast Asia. While she doesn’t miss shoveling snow, she does miss shopping for bargains at Target.

In 2014, Delilah visited Cambodia for the first time and fell in love with Siem Reap. Many of her misadventures from that vacation (including the one with the monkey) made their way into this story.

Connect with Delilah on her blog,) Twitter, or Facebook

Contest—Win a free copy of Capturing the Moment!

Which fictional character is your fictional crush? Leave a comment, and I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

Review: Show Yourself To Me by Xan West

Cover for Show Yourself to MeThere are authors I read because I want to escape, and there are those I read because I want to do the opposite. Xan West is one of the latter. I’ve admired West’s work since I read their story in one of the first erotic anthologies I was ever published in. When I had the good fortune to meet West at a reading for that book’s release, I was not only charmed, but deeply impressed. Xan West is one of the most aware human beings I’ve ever met, and that awareness runs through every line they write.

Reading Show Yourself to Me, Xan West’s new collection for Go Deeper Press, was the sort of experience I’ve come to expect from reading their work – deeply affecting and, in many ways, transcendent. The characters that populate these stories are so unflinchingly realized that they are, at times, painful in their humanity. And therein lies the beauty of this collection – it is a raw, glorious slice of what it is to be human. You don’t have to be kinky, queer, trans, dominant, submissive or sexually fluid in any way to relate to these characters or the situations they navigate. You simply have to be a person open to feeling.

There are a lot of ways one could read this collection. It covers multiple issues with a political awareness, hierarchical sensitivity and sexual fluidity that is, quite frankly, stunning. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I could write essays on these stories, but, for the purposes of this review, I’m going to narrow my focus and talk about one of the things I loved best about this collection – West’s portrayal of D/s dynamics. In fact, I’ve never seen such a beautiful array of strong bottoms and vulnerable tops in one book before.

Whether it’s the dominant narrator reminiscing about his first experiences as a bottom in “Missing Daddy”, the top switching for a special and very trusted dom in “My Will”, a top recovering from a terrible break-up in “First Time Since” or the dominant narrator’s complicated relationship with his own nature in “My Precious Whore”, West gives us people, not labels. As a dominant woman attracted to strength in submissives, I saw myself in more than a few of these stories, and was relieved to read the longing, vulnerability and ethical struggle that often goes unacknowledged in popular portrayals of tops. But then, I would be an idiot to expect anything less from Xan West.

I’m the first to admit that I’m attracted to emotional catharsis and difficult works, and I would be lying if I said that this is the sort of collection you fly through and put down unchanged. For all the intense vulnerability and humanity in these pages, these stories  are raw, filthy, violent and fucking sexy. It is, quite literally, the whole package as far as the human experience goes.

If you are interested in deeply considered, politically aware erotica that is as edgy as it gets, I can’t recommend Show Yourself to Me enough. And I would likewise recommend looking Xan West up at their site, Kink Praxis, especially if this collection leaves you hungry for more information. There are few kink practicers as ethically committed as West. Combine that with their ability to write surgically perfect prose while slicing into the emotional guts of a piece and you couldn’t ask for someone more qualified to write sex, power and the human experience.

Book Description:

In Show Yourself to Me: Queer Kink Erotica, Xan West introduces us to pretty boys and nervous boys, vulnerable tops and dominant sadists, good girls and fierce girls and scared little girls, mean Daddies and loving Daddies and Daddies that are terrifying in delicious ways.

Submissive queers go to alleys to suck cock, get bent over the bathroom sink by a handsome stranger, choose to face their fears, have their Daddy orchestrate a gang bang in the park, and get their dream gender-play scene—tied to a sling in an accessible dungeon.

Dominants find hope and take risks, fall hard and push edges, get fucked and devour the fear and tears that their sadist hearts desire.

Within these 24 stories, you will meet queers who build community together, who are careful about how they play with power, who care deeply about consent. You will meet trans and genderqueer folks who are hot for each other, who mentor each other, who do the kind of gender play that is only possible with other trans and genderqueer folks.

This is Show Yourself to Me. Get ready for a very wild ride.

Xan West’s Official Site

Stops on the Tour:
October 1: Xan West https://xanwest.wordpress.com/
October 2: Book Birthday! Go Deeper Press http://godeeperpress.com/
October 3: Heather Elizabeth https://kinkopedia.wordpress.com/
October 4: Sinclair Sexsmith http://www.sugarbutch.net/
October 5: Hermia Swann http://www.cuntext.com/
October 6: Dilo Keith https://dilokeith.wordpress.com/ and Cecilia Tan http://blog.ceciliatan.com/
October 7: Kinky Brits http://thekinkybrits.com/
October 8: Stella Harris http://stellaharris.net/
October 9: F. Leonora Solomon https://fdotleonora.wordpress.com/
October 10: Tasha Harrison http://tashalharrison.com/
October 11: Benji Bright http://www.theeroticledger.com/
October 12: Tamsin Flowers http://tamsinflowers.com/ and Karida http://submissionandthecity.com/
October 13: Cassandra Perry http://cassandrajperry.com/
October 14: Peep Scoop http://www.peepscoop.com/ and Radical Access Mapping Project https://radicalaccessiblecommunities.wordpress.com/
October 15: Sugar Cunt http://www.sugarcuntwrites.com/
October 16: Emily Byrne http://writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com/
October 17: Oleander Plume http://poisonpendirtymind.com/
October 18: K. A. Smith https://authorka.wordpress.com/
October 19: Giselle Renarde http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com/
October 20: Butchtastic Kyle http://www.butchtastic.net/
October 21: Lisabet Sarai http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/
October 22: Syrens https://syrens.wordpress.com/
October 23: Anna Sky http://www.iamannasky.com/
October 24: Jade A. Waters http://jadeawaters.com/
October 25: Kal Cobalt http://kal-cobalt.squarespace.com/
October 26: Rebekah Weatherspoon http://www.rebekahweatherspoon.com/
October 27: Malin James http://malinjames.com/
October 28: BD Swain http://www.bdswain.com/ and Jillian Boyd http://jillianboydauthor.wordpress.com/
October 29: Kaleigh Trace http://thefuckingfacts.com/
October 30: Kiki DeLovely https://kikidelovely.wordpress.com/
October 31: Xan West https://xanwest.wordpress.com/ and Annabeth Leong http://annabetherotica.com/

Buy the Book:

For ebook or print copies at Go Deeper Press:

For ebook on Amazon

You can also find Show Yourself to Me at Barnes & Noble