Please welcome my special guest this week, the lovely Cari Quinn! I first met Cari soon after I sold my first novelette last year, and I'm so happy that her first Scarlet Rose, Full Disclosure, has just been released today by The Wilder Roses!
Cari Quinn wrote her first story - a bible parable - in 2nd grade, much to the delight of the nuns at her Catholic school. Once she saw the warm reception that first tale garnered, she was hooked. She attempted her first romance in junior high, long before she'd ever read one. Writing what she knew always took a backseat to what she wanted to know, and that still holds true today. Cari's genres of choice include contemporary, romantic comedy, romantic suspense, urban fantasy and paranormal. Recently she discovered erotic romance. Oh, how far she's come…
Visit her at www.cariquinn.blogspot.com
Cari, welcome! Can you tell us a little about your book?
Sure can! Here's the blurb:
Thirty-eight-year-old divorcee Holly Burrows has had enough of battery-operated love. Prompted by an ad left at her law office, she investigates Hunk Du Jour, a website designed to foster ‘adult connections’. After weeks of sexy emails and phone calls with surf hunk Kent, she's ready to test their chemistry in person. But first she has to get through lunch with her colleague Alex, a man with a brain as agile as his body. When their consultation ends with a bang, she barely remembers the man she'd lined up for dessert. Now she thinks she's juggling two hot young guys. How can she choose between her two gorgeous cubs – and why do they remind her of each other?
And an excerpt...
Alex's hair brushed his collar, messily kempt in its own wayward style. Holly doubted he’d seen a barber in quite a while. She also doubted he was the type of man who’d wince if she yanked his hair too hard during sex.
That sealed it for her, and placed the cherry red lipstick kiss on the envelope. After her sexually anemic ex-husband, she deserved a young stud. And hell, she’d make sure the young stud got a lil’ something out of the deal, too.
After the waitress took Alex’s card, she rose. Her poker face had always held her in good stead. She’d simply act as if she were a sexy older woman who expected her every sexual demand to be met. He’d never guess the back of her neck had already dampened, despite the air conditioning. “Your place or mine?”
Alex stood beside her, drawing her gaze up to his sculpted jaw and the sexy cleft in his chin. He was taller than her five-ten by a good four inches. There weren’t a lot of guys who made her feel small—okay, smaller—but he did.
Of course, she’d noticed his height--and the way he filled out a pair of trousers--in the office. She’d pretended not to notice, just as she pretended now to be unmoved by the heat of his fingers on her wrist. But that single contact tightened her nipples to painful nubs.
Come to Mama.
“Let’s go to your place. I want to see where you live.” His gaze skipped over her face and continued down over her discreetly displayed cleavage in a way that was more proprietary than proper. “Where you sleep.”
When his fingers brushed her thrumming pulse, she gave him a flirty smile. “Where I won’t be sleeping tonight.”
Full Disclosure is about Alex and Holly, lawyers who work in the same Buffalo firm. He's a bit of a wild card and she's seemingly straight-laced, but as we all know, appearances often deceive. He's been intrigued by her for a while now, so he goes to great lengths to show her that sometimes opposites don't only attract, they spontaneously combust. ;)
Holly is divorced and a bit jaded. She's also tired of self-administered sex. ;) Though she wouldn't normally consider online dating, when she finds an ad for Hunk Du Jour on her chair at work, she decides to go for it. And she gets a bit more than she bargained for when she thinks she has to choose between two young, sexy guys - Kent, the man she meets online, and her very hot colleague, Alex.
Christina fans self. Phew! did someone turn the heating up in here? So how did the idea for the plot come about?
I've always found the idea of internet dating fascinating and wanted to write a story about a couple who meets virtually and establishes a sex connection before their feelings develop. Hunk Du Jour, the website that features prominently in the story, really took on a life of its own and I found I couldn't quite leave that world behind, even after Holly got her HEA.
Ooh, do I sense a series could be brewing? As you probably know, I love sale stories! Can you tell us about your road to publication - and your call story?
Hmm, my road to publication started with writing Bible stories in elementary school and climaxed in selling my first story, an erotic romance. How's that for a change of genre? LOL I finished my first short contemporary novel in 2007, entered a contest, didn't win. Entered the Golden Heart, and got scores from low, to average, to pretty high. I moved on to Virgin Territory, a book that tried my ever-living soul. But that book's on submission right now, and I have my fingers crossed. I love Vincent and Kiki and I hope they get to see the light of day somewhere other than on my computer. LOL
Then I tackled Full Disclosure, which I'd started and stopped in between one of my many drafts of VT. I received "the email" from my fabulous editor, Karen Welwyn, at The Wild Rose Press in mid-August 09, on my first day of vacation. I've loved every step of the process. My erotic "short" topped out at 30K, and thanks to the brilliant idea of my CP, Tara Leigh Coons, I'm about to submit a follow-up story about Jenny, the webmistress of Hunk Du Jour. And a story about Haley, Holly's younger sister, is also in the works.
Sounds very exciting! Do you write every day? Do you give yourself daily/weekly goals?
Again, this is another question I wish I could answer "yes!" But unfortunately I seem to be a "spree" writer...it's not unusual for me to write 10K over a couple day period, then not write for two weeks. I'm trying very hard to get into a routine, but it comes about as naturally to me as plotting with index cards. I do give myself goals - I figure out roughly how long it should take me to revise, usually drastically underestimate that time, and end up taking twice as long. But I do set them. ;)
Panster or plotter?
I wish I could say plotter, as I have a rather large streak of envy for those who plot with color-coded index cards, highlighters and sticky notes and actually USE them after they've gone to the trouble of creating them. Alas, that's not me, though for the Blaze I'm doing for NaNoWriMo this year, I did outline two WHOLE chapters. LOL But the story that best illustrates my usual style: when I started my first Blaze, Virgin Territory, I had my hero's name, a location, an opening scene and a premise. I didn't even know my heroine's name! I've gotten a bit better since then, as the three from-scratch rewrites it took to get that story in (hopefully) saleable shape proved that sometimes a little forethought's a good thing. ;)
LOL! I hear you on the (non)plotting aspect! What keeps you motivated when the writing gets tough?
Lots of things. My CPs and writer buddies always cheer me on, and the love of telling a story is something I can't ever forget for too long. Just reading a good book (Nora Roberts and Jeaniene Frost are my favorite authors) is frequently motivation enough. I want to be the one who makes my readers laugh and cry and yes, get turned on too. ;) Plus my goals seem to get bigger and more ambitious by the day, and they definitely don't give me much time to rest. I don't sleep a lot and I drink way too much coffee, but I think that's true about a lot of writers.
It's good to have goals (and definitely good to have coffee too!!!) Is there any advice or light bulb moment you'd like to share about getting/being published?
Not a light bulb moment, but it took awhile for me to understand writing is a job. It can be a hobby, and it should be an art, but it's not just something you play at dependent on your whims, not if you intend to make any sort of living at it. There's way too much competition. To me, Nora is the perfect example of this. She takes her career very seriously, and her work is amazing. But the work comes first. Not before family and friends, of course, but it should take precedence over things like Twitter. (And yes, I'm entering internet rehab for Twitter...admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?)
Do you have critique partners (CPs)? If so can you tell us how you met up and your process?
Yes, I do! I have 3 "regular CPs"...2 I'm working with currently, 1 that I'm on a bit of a hiatus with, another I intend to start working with in the coming months and yet another that's somewhat of a brainstorming partner. So obviously I think having CPs works. ;)
Tara, my first CP, and I met up on an eHarlequin critique partner board. It was love at first crit, and we're still going strong. We even share a blog! (http://wordwenches.blogspot.com/) My second CP, Helen Hardt, and I met up through our freelance editing for an epublisher, and she's helped me get over a lot of my erotic romance hangups...such as getting used to typing certain words that once made me blush. (Hey, I'm a Catholic school girl at heart!) I wouldn't let either of them go for anything. As for Ashley, Jaime and Sam... *waves*. Each of them works a bit differently - some do line edits, some look for an overall "feel" - but they're all hugely helpful to me and I appreciate having them as sounding boards.