Today we have Joey W. Hill on the blog She is a featured author at AAD Savannah. I am so excited to meet her and to start her books. Sexy + vampires = Amber is in love..
Vampires versus sexy corporate executives…decisions, decisions…
On the JWH Connection fan forum there’s an amicable rivalry between those who love my Knights of the Board Room and my vampires from the Vampire Queen series, such that the vampire fans are always devising ways to “add fangs” to the KOBR. The best of both worlds, right? (laughter) I had that same conflict for this post, because the next KOBR book is likely coming up in April, and the next vampire book happens the first week of May. So I decided what the heck, I’ll talk about them both and what I like about them, beyond the usual stuff you can find in the blurbs and excerpts (for which I’ll still provide you links if you want to read those as well – wink).
I tend to write complicated emotional relationships with lots of angsty hurdles before everyone can achieve their happily-ever-after. Yeah, I have both the sadist and masochist in me. Sadist because I inflict that on my characters (though I claim innocence – it’s all the muse!) and masochist because writing complicated relationships is a big pain in the ass. With Taken by a Vampire, I made it worse because there are three main protagonists. I wrote Vampire Mistress/Vampire Trinity a couple years back and swore I’d step out in front of a truck before I wrote another ménage (particularly one that took two books to tell their story!). The muse really likes to bait me about these things, because, sure enough, two books later, here I am again, wrangling with six different relationship directions. At least this time I got it done in one book. I think. (snort)
Seriously, though, what I like best about getting deep into the hearts and souls of my characters is exploring the things we all face to lesser or greater degrees. The desire for connection, belonging and love. Insecurity, fears, trust issues. The noblest struggle we face is finding the best in ourselves to give to others. Alanna was a fascinating character…oops, hold on, let me give you the blurb first so I don’t lose you. Pause for blurb (imagine this being delivered in a sexy male voice, like…hmm. I’m thinking Adrien Brody, because my male vampire in this book reminds me of him (his romantic King Kong role, not the current cheesy goatee look) Yeah, yeah, I know. Get on with the blurb already!
Groomed from birth to be an Inherited Servant and serve only the most powerful vampire masters, Alanna never resented her destiny. Then she did the unthinkable: she betrayed her Master to the Vampire Council. Now death is her future, but until her Master is captured, she must be protected. The Vampire Council assigns her to Evan, a vampire whose wandering lifestyle makes him the perfect guardian…
Alanna’s training was for a vampire of power and ambition, not for someone like Evan who lives in mountainside shacks and caves. Even his servant, Niall, is rough-mannered. But these two men are about to teach Alanna something her rigorous training never did. How to feel, how to desire…perhaps even how to love.
Then the Council captures her Master, and Alanna has no choice but to accept her destiny. But Evan and Niall are no strangers to defying fate—and they will stop at nothing to make Alanna theirs forever…
So anyway, Alanna’s character was a challenge because she’s taken that noble struggle to an extreme. Her whole life since childhood has been about her desire to serve a vampire with everything she is. Which makes the fact she ultimately betrayed her Master an indication of something deeper in her makeup, something that Evan and Niall’s characters uncover. And Evan and Niall themselves were a lot of fun. Most of my vampires have been formal, old guard political types. Evan is a vampire, but he’s also an artist who runs around the world looking for the best picture to take or paint, and Niall is the grumbling, sexy Scot who hauls around his equipment.
To add an intriguing layer, Evan is a made vampire, a Sephardic Jew turned in Italy about four hundred years ago, and that influences his outlook on life to a certain extent. Part of the pleasure of following my muse is finding what new research I’ll need for each book, expanding my horizons. (Or making me a master of the most obscure trivia. I keep waiting for them to make that into a board game. Obscure Trivia Pursuit…) Niall became Evan’s servant about three hundred years ago, which meant I was able to delve into some Scottish history as well.
Anyhow, here’s a link to the full chapter one excerpt to the book. It comes out the first week of May. Though it’s the latest book in the series, there’s a sufficient backstory dump in the first chapter (please hang in there through that, I beg you), such that you can read it as a standalone, no worries. Though if you decide to rush out and buy all the rest of the series before May, I will not object in the slightest. It will help me pay for the new deck cover I need to cover my spoiled dogs when it rains. You DO want to keep my spoiled dogs dry, right?
Okay, on to the next thing. I’m already over 800 words (more if you jumped over to read the excerpt before coming back to this), which I’m assured means I’ve already gone beyond the 100 word attention limit of the average human being these days. So for the one or two of you who are still reading, how do you feel about Navy SEALs? Squeal, pant, yay! Exactly. What woman’s (or gay man’s) blood doesn’t stir at the thought or images of these awesome guys? Well, the next Knights in the Board Room book features a SEAL as the hero!
Ever since my second erotic romance book, the muse delights in giving me challenging pairings when it comes to the world of Domination and submission. Oh, by the way, pretty much all my books have that overriding theme. In my Vampire Queen series, the vampire-servant relationship is always a Dominant/submissive relationship, which is definitely intriguing in Taken by a Vampire, since Niall and Evan are almost equally strong-minded, and yet Niall is the servant. But I digress (constantly). Back to Willing Sacrifice and my challenging pairing. Max is a former NAVY Seal and Janet…sigh. Here’s the blurb (rather than me recreating the wheel). Let’s imagine Kate Beckinsale reading this in her kickass way–
Janet Albright prefers her men submissive, her relationships confined to a club environment. Which is why her attraction to former Navy SEAL Maxwell Ackerman doesn't make a lot of sense. There isn't a submissive bone in his honed, muscular body, suggesting that her interest in Kensington & Associate's head limo driver is best indulged as a private fantasy. The problem is, after a crisis situation reveals a different side of them both, the attraction becomes mutual and undeniable. They take the plunge, willing to see if the give-and-take of their unexpected relationship can satisfy their deepest desires. Unfortunately, ghosts from their past might take the reins from them both, destroying the balance of power before their love can find a way to tip the scales.
I’m waiting on the cover to Willing Sacrifice, but in lieu of that, I’ll share my favorite cover to date from this series, for Book 4, Afterlife. Love the colors in this one.
Soooo, the challenge is partnering a guy who is definitely NOT a submissive with a woman who IS a Mistress and enjoys that orientation thoroughly. Of course, the overriding message in most of my books is that love always figures out a way to prevail, even if it has to hit some bumpy roads along the way. But from the pure fun standpoint, in the past I’ve found very few storylines are as much fun as exploring a sexy romance between a tough guy who doesn’t submit, and a woman who wants to show him how pleasurable it can be for the both of them if he does…and finds herself captured as well before it’s all over. Because love is always a two-way street, if done right. Here’s an example - a little tease on one of the text exchanges they share:
* * * * *
Friday was still on the books. Janet had forty-eight hours to clear her mind and think about it, about Max coming to Club Progeny as her guest. Late afternoon Thursday, she received an intriguing text.
Any special instructions for tomorrow?
Yes. Shave off all body hair and paint your nails hot pink. I’ve shipped an I Heart Justin Bieber T-shirt to your home. Wear that with jeans. No underwear of course.
Sorry. Urgent mission. All SEALs being recalled to active duty, Friday night only. Crisis in Tahiti involving a shortage of sunscreen on swimsuit models.
I’d rethink that mission, sailor. Doubt you’ll get out of that one alive. A not-so-friendly fire incident.
Love it when you’re possessive, Mistress.
That had made her smile. It wasn’t a bad feeling, thinking of Max as hers exclusively, especially when he seemed to reciprocate.
No special instructions. Just bring yourself. If you can find time to brush your teeth and put on deodorant, that would be appreciated.
Check. No sweaty man smell or spinach between my teeth.
* * * * *These two obviously enjoy exploring the dynamic between them, even while they have to hit some deeper, more painful hurdles, most of which come from their pasts. Janet is a tough heroine from head to toe, unapologetically protective of her emotional wellbeing. One of my favorite scenes is when she takes Max with her to a ballet class she teaches (she used to be a ballerina), and how she interacts with the students, demanding the best from them, because she accepts no less than that from herself. And since SEALs share that trait, it’s another thing that draws them together.
Here’s the exclusive Chapter One excerpt for them. If you want to also read the prologue that precedes it, you can visit the JWH Connection fan forum. I always post two chapters out there before the release of each book. You’ll also find a wealth of other stuff there, like free download novellas and short vignettes, revisiting the characters in my series, so you can get a sense of what my stories are like. There are some spoilers in them, but mainly they’re erotic interludes, so if your main interest is the relationship, not plot points, you won’t find they ruin the books themselves. Here’s a page that tells you about forum access so you don’t get confused when you get there.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our informal discussion here. On a very important side note, I can’t wait to meet all of you who are attending Authors After Dark in August! This is an awesome conference. I’ve been to all of them but one, and it is one of the most reader-oriented events I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying. You’ll go home with lots of books and goodies, and have plenty of time to relax and chat with attending authors while you’re there. And it’s a pretty great lineup.
Thanks for hanging out with me today! I welcome any comments or questions. And if you choose to leave one, I’ll do a random drawing of those comments three days from this initial posting and the winner will get a book of their choice from my available titles, in print or ebook format, again winner’s choice. International entries are welcome!
Fan Forum: www.jwhconnection.com