Writing a Menage: A Special Dynamic

Genetic Attraction is my first novel (although I’ve been writing nonfiction for many years). I decided to write it when I discovered erotic romance and loved the genre so much, I thought “I could write one of these books.”  But Genetic Attraction didn’t start out to be a ménage a trois. When I first conceived the plot, I expected it to be an older woman/younger man romance, but then one day I ordered a book by Jet Mykles called Heaven. It was my first male/male romance and I was hooked! I had to add another man to my book.
Fortunately, ignorance is bliss. I didn’t know that writing a ménage is hard, so I just plunged in. Since this first novel, I’ve written three other books and two of them are ménages – one is m/m/f and one is m/m/m/. I guess I really like this dynamic. Here’s what I’m learning:
  • ·         Love between three people can be just as sweet and intense and passionate as between two – at least in romance novels! The real-life dynamics of a ménage are probably very tricky, but virtually everyone has harbored in their heart at sometime the thought that maybe, just maybe, they could love two people. Menage stories play into this fantasy.
  • ·         Menages make interesting plots. Simple, you have three people to play with, to make interact with each other, to provide richness and detail to your story. In Genetic Attraction, two of my lead characters are scientists and one is a supermodel. As readers, we get to see scenes played out in their different worlds –in the lab, at photo shoots, at a faculty party.
  • ·         Pronouns can be killers! Writing male/male stories is a unique challenge since both characters are called “he”, so you have to find ways to differentiate them without using their names constantly, and without being confusing. Now, add another man to the mix as I’m doing in my current work-in-progress, a m/m/m ménage. Yikes. It takes some creativity and very deep point-of-view for each character.
  • ·         Sex between three people needs careful thought. The reader needs to know where each character is and what they’re doing. No one can be left out, so we need to see reactions from each character as well as actions.

·         But, oh, it’s soooo much fun. A ménage is fun to read and it’s fun to write. So many yummy things can be done simultaneously when you have three people. Just use your imagination.  That’s what I did.  :  )
I want to give huge hugs  to all the readers who have been sending me messages on e-mail and Twitter and in blog posts saying how much they enjoy the book and the excerpts. It makes me cry, guys. So tell me, what kind of romantic pairings or multiples do you most enjoy? I’m listening.  :  )

Cool News! Bestseller and New Anthology!!

I received two great surprises in the last two days. First, i had the NUMBER ONE bestselling book on Loose Id (my publisher) the week Genetic Attraction was released, and the third bestselling book the following week. This is a very cool event –especially for a newbie. So i am happy dancin’.

Then this morning, an author friend of mine (you would know her name if i told you), sent me a message asking me to contribute a novella for an anthology she is putting together for a newly established publisher. I am soooo honored to be asked to play with this group of established writers (even if i do have to bust my buns to meet the deadline.  LOL) So, i’m a writing fool this month, with a novel i’m finishing editing for submission, another novel in progress and this novella to create. Whew. Guess i really get to find out what it’s like to be a serious writer! 
That’s my happy dance for the day. Just wanted to share. What are you happy dancing about today? Got a good one?  

Welcome Michael Mandrake and His Erotic Ways!

It’s my pleasure today to welcome Michael Mandrake, alter ego of Rawiya and erotic story-teller of the first order. I’ll let Micheal tell you about himself while i thank Rawiya for hosting me on her blog today as well. When you complete your time with Michael, pop over and check out my visit to Rawiya.

Buy Link: http://shop.renebooks.com/default.asp

Fellow authors, Em Petrova, Ike Rose, and Daisy Harris

“Only When I Lose Myself” – Michael M

MM: Greetings readers and thank you Tara for allowing me, Michael Mandrake to have the floor today. Rawiya and BL are still hanging around with the people at Wicked Sexy since we had such a great time with them.

However, here I am, with one of the characters from my latest stories, Only When I Lose Myself

Adrian: Sorry, the MAIN character, the star. (Adrian crosses his legs)

MM: Yes, right, the main character in the book, Adrian Vanderguard, singer, songwriter…

Adrian: Millionaire, and world class lover. (Adrian looks up in the air and grins)

MM: (Michael clears his throat) Right, well thank you for being here today. My first question, give us a little background about you other than what I’ve said.

Adrian: Well, I’m in my late twenties, an entertainer from Britain, who loves to perform and quite obviously, I’m not only good at what I do onstage, I am also good off it.

MM: Yes, indeed, so, please, tell the fans a quick sum up of the book?

Adrian: Well, if I talk too much Michael then we would be giving away some secrets, especially if you intend to get some more words written.

MM: Yes, very true.

Adrian: Well, then, let me give the good people a summation without giving any spoilers, yeah?

MM: Go on then.

Adrian: Great, well, basically in the story I’m on tour in New York, ending my long journey before I go back to London. I have made up my mind that I want a lover before Valentine’s Day and my target ends up being a very sexy environmental engineer…(Adrian rolls his eyes) that works for the venue in which I am performing.

MM: What’s his name?

Adrian: His name is Matthew Gionapolis. He’s very attractive, and when we first meet, he basically gives me a lot of shit but eventually he warms up to me…really warms…up… (Adrian grins, licks his lips)

MM: Right (Michael shakes his head.) Okay then, and so, as far as your character, tell the audience more?

Adrian: I am the most successful entertainer since the late Michael Jackson, as I stated, a millionaire, and a very sexual being that is looking for love. Will I find it in the book? Well, you just have to keep reading to find out. (He smiles, nodding)

MM: Thank you Adrian. Lastly, why don’t you tell the good people about the book, where they could find it, etc.

Adrian: The book will be released by Sizzler Intoxications, from master editor Sascha Illyvich, written by you, brilliant writer, Michael Mandrake, just in time for hearts today.

MM: Wonderful Michael, thank you so much for stopping by today. I know we have more to discuss but we’ve taken enough time on Tara’s blog. Thank you so much Tara for allowing us to come today. Please go buy the book when it becomes available.

Adrian: Thank you Tara, goodbye for now.

And now, lets get to know Michael a little better with a short interview.

1 – You write so much in the short-story form. I think this form is very challenging. Can you tell us a bit about how you go about developing a short story? Well, all the ideas and characters just come together. Now that I have written my first novel, this has become especially hard since all my muses want longer stories. *laughs* In anything I write, I let my characters give the direction. Sometimes, they just feel that the idea may only warrant 5-10 because they may want the action to happen fast. I don’t usually interfere with what they want but we do disagree and eventually come to a resolution.

2. How does writing a novel differ from the way you approach the short story form? It doesn’t. All of my writing is character driven. My characters in my Series African Sun have all got interesting stories to tell. They have filled my head with enough ideas to make 4 books. Only one is completed, the second one is close to being finished and the other two are waiting their turn

3. How did you get started writing? I actually began writing in my teens about my favorite things, poetry etc. I did not start erotica until my late teens early twenties when I started writing my fantasies down about the men I liked or my favorite characters on TV. I only began writing for publication last year so I am very new.

4. Do you tell your family and friends you write erotic stories? How did you break the news? LOL All my friends know that I write erotica and they were not surprised. *laughs* Since my early twenties, I have become a person that speaks my mind, sometimes albeit, not in the most formal ways. I’ve always been open minded sexually, telling everyone what I liked and so forth. My friends encouraged me to pick up the pen again and get published. With family, they know, mom and my younger brother are the only ones that have really commented. When I told both they were kind of taken aback but they don’t criticize me so it’s good. With my immediate family, my spousal equivalent is very supportive allowing me to be a writer while he works full time. My 12 year old knows it too. He knows I writes “adult” stories. I’d rather him know than not know.

5. What is your favorite story you have written so far? Why? Well it changes each time I finish one but right now is the one I just discussed in the interview, “Only When I Lose Myself.” The tale is about a musician who wants a committed relationship by Valentine’s Day and ends up finding a man on his current world tour that he wants to take back home with him. The man he is falling for has a form of ADD, but because he finds him very unique, and attractive he looks over his dysfunction but his partner is not sure he is ready for this.

Its my favorite story because it is based on a person I talk to online. He’s a younger man with this form of ADD and because he seems like such a sweet person and I had never heard of this form he has, I was able to develop this tale by talking with him through email as well as doing research on my own.

6. what are you working on now? What am I not working on…*laughs* I’m looking to finish “Lose Myself” and another story that is a short turned longer called “Longing for a Normal State of Vertigo.” I also have a novella in the works as well as several submissions that are in the cue to be published somewhere in the near future. I have my series African Sun which I already talked about and Deliverance, my M/M paranormal that has to be rewritten, again, I hope to finish that by summer so I can submit it for publication.

I also have my blogs to maintain as well as my hobby writing sites where I assist other “inspired” people to get their work read by others.

7. What is your life motto? Never tell a book by its cover. I’m sure if you look at my picture, I look like an everyday parent but I love eighties pop, heavy metal, still go to rock concerts, watch porn as a hobby, and I love sports. That has always been my thing to not be what people expect me to be.

Thanks Tara! 😀

Thank you, Michael. and lets ask our readers, what’s your life motto?

Tara Lain: Works in Progress

Hi everyone–

Since i just have one published novel and the next one not coming out for a few months, people ask me what i’m working on. So here’s a little about some of my writing and current brainstorms.
The sequel to Genetic Attraction (not the prequel, that one comes out in May, see post below) is called Androgynous Dreams. The hero of this book is Jake’s younger brother, Caleb, whom you will meetwhen you read The Scientist and the Supermodel. Caleb plays professional soccer but is at a crossroads, having to decide if he’ll commit his future to the sport when, as a gay man, he has to hide who he is. Plus, he has a deep but unformed desire to help other people like the rest of his family do. Then Caleb meets a beautiful, feminine-looking man and an adorable, dominant tomboy woman, and the two change his life. This book is written, in editing now, and will be submitted to my editor within two weeks i hope.
My current work-in-progress is the first book i’ve created that is not in the Genetic Attraction series. A romantic M/M/M menage with an element of suspense, the book is called The Golden Dancer. A reporter for an online news magazine suspects a billionaire art collector of having stolen a famous statue of a ballet dancer. The reporter, himself the child of dancers, meets a brilliant russian ballet dancer in Los Angeles and is attracted to him, despite the fact that the reporter identifies himself as straight. Then the art collector “collects” the ballet dancer, and the three men are thrown together. But is the reporter there to investigate or to fall in love? This book is about half written, so I’m still waiting to see how it turns out (the characters haven’t old me yet).
I have ideas for the next book or two after that, so i expect my fingers to be flying for some time to come.
BTW, i’m going to be giving away another copy of Genetic Attraction very soon, so leave a comment here and it will be counted in the contest. Thanks for coming by. Any plot ideas you’d like to see in a book? : )

NEWS: The Scientist and the Supermodel Releases May 31!!

Happy Memorial Day to me!! I’ve just heard from my editor, The Scientist and the Supermodel has been “tentatively” scheduled for release on May 31. I’m so excited i’ll even happy dance at “tentatively”.

In case you haven’t heard a thousand times already (i am nothing if not enthusiastic), The Scientist and the Supermodel is the prequel to Genetic Attraction that was released on January 4. The story tells how the two heroes of Genetic Attraction, Jake Martin, PhD, and theworld famous supermodel, Roan Black, meet and fall in love.

In the book, Jake has a mad hidden passion for his older boss, Emmaline Silvay, so why is he getting all hot and bothered when he sees this gorgeous man in a bar? Though Jake thinks of himself as straight, he’s been having a lot of trouble getting excited about any of the girls he’s dated. He doesn’t have any such trouble with the supermodel, which throws his whole world into confusion. Roan Black knows better than to fall for some straight guy, especially a PhD scientist who couldn’t possibly be interested in a high school dropout, could he? Well, maybe they can just have sex …….

Over the next weeks, watch for interviews with my heroes, more details about the book, and, hopefully, i’ll even get a book trailer made! Meanwhile, here are some inspirational photos of my two yummy heroes. : )

Book Promotion: Start Before You Need To

I have a dear friend who is a NYT best-selling author who retired recently, partly due to the need to promote her own books. Back in the glory days, publishers did most all the promotion, and authors just had to show up. Not so today. Even the best are expected to promote themselves.

I’m new to fiction writing, so I don’t know any better. Plus, I differ from many authors in that I have a background in public relations, so I take to the promotion stuff pretty easily. I don’t yet know how my promotional activities will pay off in sales, if at all. After all, I’m brand new. But I have had writer friends ask me to talk about what I do for promotion. So over the next few posts, if people want, I’ll talk about various aspects of book promotion from my very newbie viewpoint.

First, start before you need to. I put up this author blog, back last June before I had even submitted my books to Loose Id. I created the blog to support what I wanted my “brand identity” to be. (Please forgive these over used words. You get the idea.) I wrote about other people’s books in my genre. I did special reports on kissing, on androgyny, and lots of pictures of beautiful men. I developed a small following, and have continued to post to the blog about twice a week. I monitor it daily on Google Analytics to see how it falls off between posts, and which posts are most popular. Most important, the blog helped make some people aware of me. I promote the blog continuously on Twitter and Facebook, and developed more awareness there. (The use of Twitter and FB are subjects for another post.)

After my first book was accepted for publication, I took Christy Lockhart’s suggestion and started posting on craft topics – where the ideas come from, writing your passion, etc I still did racy and funny videos and pictures to keep up the image. These posts built my following further.

Also upon acceptance of the novel,Genetic Attraction, I developed my website. I figured people would now start to check it out, and I needed an authoritative platform to show I was a serious author. Please note, I developed both my blog and my website myself. I have very limited technical skills, and they don’t look very slick or professional, but I know how to change them myself without relying on a webmaster. Updating your site is the key to ongoing traffic building, so, for now, I’m trading the look for the ease-of-use – and the low cost.

Well in advance of publication, I also started blogging at Savvy Authors and collecting friends on Goodreads. Some of LI’s authors were kind enough to invite me to participate in their Yahoo chats. The bottom line is that before my book came out, there were people waiting for it and people who knew my name. Now, whether they bought it, THAT’S another story I won’t know for weeks and months to come. LOL!!

What do you do well in advance of a release to “prime the pump”? : )

Interview with Moi! by Drea Becraft

I recently was interviewed by Drea Becraft on her great blog as part of my introduction and launch of Genetic Attraction. I had a great time answering these questions, so i thought i would share them with you in case you didn’t see them at Drea’s place. A bit about me *blush*:

Questions about book:

What inspired this story?

I discovered erotic romance in 2009 and was hooked! I loved it, especially M/M and ménage. I decided, after a lifetime of writing non-fiction, that I really wanted to write a novel. But what about? Well, when you’re writing fantasy, it makes sense to start with your fantasies. I always loved older-woman/ younger/man stories, but I knew that I wanted a M/M element in the story too, so, voila, a ménage was born. I love capable women characters, and in my great day job (I own a small ad/PR agency) I get to meet people from all kinds of fascinating professions and industries. I heard about a woman geneticist doing all kinds of interesting work, and I thought, bingo, that’s what I want my heroine to do. My one hero needed to be a part of her world, so he’s also a scientist. The other hero I wanted to be from a really different world, and I wanted him to be famous so it would be hard to keep the relationship quiet. That’s where my yummy supermodel, Roan Black, comes in.

What was your favorite part of the book to write – the beginning, middle, or ending?

Wow, that’s hard. I loved it all. Endings are really fun because , if you’ve set up your plot well, the characters are hurtling towards a powerful conclusion. But the sad part about endings is, well, the ending. Then you have to write a sequel or a prequel because you can’t let your characters go! LOL.

Is there a message in your book that you want the reader to grasp?

My heroine’s mother, Shakti, tells her, “You always have a choice, baby.”

I think that’s the message. No matter how impossible the consequences of our choices, we STILL have a choice.

Formal Questions:

How long have you been a author?

This is the first novel I ever wrote. I have since contracted another book, am editing a third and writing a fourth. So I guess a year. I have been writing non-fiction for a lifetime, however.

Whats the biggest surprise you’ve discovered about the writing process?

The degree to which it happens on it’s own. There’s an old play I’ve always loved called Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello. In it six characters that have been unresolved by their writer come to a theatre company to have their story played out. It’s so true. You start a scene and your characters tell you about themselves and the story. You just try to keep up. In my currentWIP, the hero’s boss comes to talk to him and I suddenly realized, oh my gosh, she’s Chinese. I didn’t know that until she told me. LOL.

Do you have any other upcoming releases or projects?

The prequel to Genetic Attraction, called The Scientist and the Supermodel, has been contracted by Loose Id and will appear, I imagine, in the spring. I am editing the sequel to Genetic Attraction titled Androgynous Dreams. And I’m working on a new book that takes place in the ballet world tentatively called The Golden Dancer.

Where can readers find you?

This may be waaay to much information:

E-mail: tara@taralain.com

Website: http://www.taralain.com

Author blog: http://taralain.blogspot.com

Book blog: http://beautifulboysbooks.blogspot.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain

Savvy Authors: http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/member.php?2398-Tara-Lain

Twitter: http://twitter.com/taralain

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Tara-Lain/100001514105686

Fun Questions:

What do you do to recharge your batteries?

I adore movies. Before I started writing fiction, I used to see one or even two a week. Not so much now. I also love Pilates (I have a reformer in my home) and yoga which I started practicing way before it was fashionable.

Whats the one thing you can’t write without?

This is a convoluted way of saying this, but I can’t write without no music. In other words, I can’t write with music playing. Funny, I know most writers actually write to music. I can write with people talking and all kinds of hubbub, just not music. I think I’m so right-brained when I write, that the music competes for the right brain’s attention.

If you could choose anywhere in the world to set up your desk and write, where would you like it to be?

I live near the ocean which I love, but I can’t see it from my desk. Even more than the ocean, I love really big trees. So, I guess I’d like to be somewhere where my desk looked out on really big, lush trees. But I’m quite happy where I am.

Whats so special to you about this place?

I’ll answer about my current spot. It’s in a nice office in a lovely home that looks out on the ocean. Most important, my husband is here and family and friends are not too far away. That’s what counts. Plus, I have a computer that lets me make friends all over the world. I like that.

Who is on your “keeper” shelf?

A LOT. I have many books, dating from way back. Collections of Shakespeare, the Greeks, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill, and a ton more. In my own and related genres, I save Jet Mykles, Lynn Lorenz, J.R.Ward’s BDB, Charlaine Harris, a lot of Laurell K. Hamilton, the Twilight series (blush), plus a bunch of others.

What are you reading now?

Actually, I’m reading Tara Lain! While launching my book, I’m also doing this amazing editing intensive at Savvy Authors called Edit Palooza. We have to read through our own book as if we are a reader. So I popped my WIP on the Kindle and pretended. When I finally finish this month’s marathon efforts, I’ll go back to reading Breathe by Sloan Parker. I loved her first book and look forward to digging into this one.

Planning a Blog Tour for Your Novel

I love that authors who introduce print books may go on a book tour, but we electronic authors get to go on blog tours! Book promotion in front of the computer. As you know, I’m new to fiction writing, but I have a background in PR, so I decided I could arrange my own tour (there are services out there that will do it for you, also). Starting about two months ago, I plunged in. How successful my tour was I won’t really know until I start to see sales figures, but meanwhile I can share some of the steps I went through to set up the tour.

  • · Decide if you want your tour to begin before your book releases or on the date. Since I’m new and have no back list for an inspired reader to buy, I didn’t want to create too much demand that couldn’t be filled, so I decided to start on the day. Plus, I knew I wouldn’t have my blurb or copies of my book until right before its release. As it turned out, I started on the weekend before the Tuesday of release .
  • · Start contacting authors and reviewers you know. If you have been on tour before, you have lots of contacts. I didn’t, so I started by offering myself as a guest blogger on the author’s loop from my publisher. I got lots of response. Next, I went to some of the author’s communities and Yahoo groups I belong to and offered there. More response. Authors are so kind in helping other writers, especially newbies.
  • · Decide if you want more than one blog stop on a day. Sometimes you won’t have a choice, because the blog author will have a specific date they want you to appear. Most don’t mind if you double book as long as you support both posts with social media, etc.
  • · Check each site for what type of blog they prefer. Some sites like interviews, others want you to write something in line with their blog’s theme or topic, others may just want an excerpt and blurb. Often, you’ll just have to be creative, so start thinking of fun blog posts that may tie in with your book ,but aren’t all about it.
  • · Create a blog library. I don’t know if others do this, but it worked for me. Rather than waiting for the last moment, I started creating blog posts on different topics whenever I had a minute to create one. I still do this, even now that the tour is winding down. I had a last minute request for a post last night, and I had a fun post I’d created recently that I could send.
  • · The required time before the post date (some blog owners want posts there a week in advance, others just the day before), prepare a complete document with the necessary materials attached and included. Send: your post, a book cover photo, a photo of you, your short bio, an excerpt from the book, your book blurb, your buy link, all your contact information, and in some cases, a contact at your publisher so the site can notify them. If the site is also going to review your book (Oh, JOY and happiness!! ) I generally send the book under separate cover to be sure it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. I know this is a LOT of stuff, but often if the site has all this they may use more than they’ve asked for, so give them a lot to choose from. Make a copy, and keep it in a file so you know when and to whom you sent it.
  • · On the day(s) of your posts, check in frequently to answer questions and comments.
  • · Promote every stop on your tour extensively – Facebook, Twitter, multiple Yahoo groups, direct e-mail if you have a contacts list, and not just once, but frequently throughout the day. If you’re lucky enough to be on the host site for more than one day, keep plugging it throughout. (What? You’re not doing all this social media? Time to start. But that’s a topic for another day LOL)
  • · Thank your hosts for their hospitality, and return the favor whenever possible.

If this sounds like a lot of work, you’re correct. I was lucky to have some vacation time saved, plus I work from home, so I could keep up with my tour. But it was still a lot to do, and it definitely cut into my writing time. Still, I figured there’s no point in writing if there’s no one to read it, so for me it was definitely worth the investment of time and energy. Questions? Comments? Have you planned a blog tour? Suggestions on what works for you?