What a week! I’m making great progress on Secrets of the Soul and even squeezed in some words for a new plot bunny that I’ve been using to help me get over my writer’s block (or whatever it was).
This week we have not one but two awesome authors who came to play in our sandbox, so please let me introduce Alexa Piper and Rory Maxwell!
Alexa (she/they) has a lot of characters living in her head and wanting their stories told. Many of these people get snarky and won’t stop complaining if Alexa is too slow writing them, which means that for this author, sleep is a luxury. Consequently, Alexa is a coffee addict, but she is sure she has it under control (six cups of coffee are normal in a morning, right? Right!?)
Alexa’s Quirky Questions
Holly: Describe yourself using… (choose one: a food, a book, a song, a movie, an animal, a drink, a place etc)
Alexa Piper: Benevolent, but more often than not befuddled, squid overlord…overlady…overlay—overperson!
Holly: Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?
Alexa Piper: Does the goat sacrifice count as strange? I mean, everyone does at least that much, right?
Holly: If you could create a new holiday, what would it be? Why?
Alexa Piper: I would make holiday the default, and then maybe have one or two special days in the year for work—except that’s a lie, because I write pretty much every day. But for everyone else! Readers! I’d give you one day a year where you’d have to work, but all the other days you could spend reading! How does this squid overperson-ship sound now?
Holly: Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite?
Alexa Piper: I need silence when I write. It’s so I can hear my characters scream. 😊
Holly: Name an underappreciated novel that you love. What is it about this book that you adore?
Alexa Piper: I don’t know about underappreciated, but I will tell everyone to go and read The Last Sun by KD Edwards. The writing is solid, the sense of humor delightful, the emotional terror when the book ends AND YOU NEED MORE quite real.
Holly: What was the weirdest thing you had to Google for your story?
Alexa Piper: Well, how to kill people really isn’t that weird a thing to google, because we writers all do it. I’ve been doing some provisional research for something to come, so I researched a lot about giving birth and cloacas and stuff, which also isn’t weird. But maybe the anatomy of snake and cat penises? Wait, no. Let’s not shame anyone’s penises. I once researched how long it took women to get the vote, and that was hella weird.
Holly: If you could visit any place you’ve created for a holiday where would you go?
Alexa Piper: The Moonlight Diner for Halloween.
Holly: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Alexa Piper: I’m a pantser, ie I have no roadmap when I go into a story or a novel. I don’t even know what’s going to happen when I sit down to write. It’s what keeps it exciting for me.
Holly: How many books are you usually working on at the same time? How many unfinished WIPs do you have?
Alexa Piper: For the first quarter or third of a book, I can handle multiple books parallel. Then I can’t anymore, because the story has me, and the characters wouldn’t allow it. When I get close to the end, I’m always scared of messing things up, and that’s when my brain goes to different stories.
Entirely too many unfinished works in progress, aka WIPs. I will tell you the top three that are calling for my attention so hard I have to resist: MMM with a manipulative chaos vampire, a caring werewolf best friend, and a disowned son of a hunter family; three werewolf alphas who are in a happy relationship but happen upon the human mate they all share; ex federal agent who lost his memory and the several years I spent falling in love and building a life with a vampire. There are others. I best not talk about the monster romances…
“I feel very possessive when it comes to you. I have no right to, but I do. You became mine when I touched you. And I want you to be mine. Of your own free will. Do you understand, kitten?”
In a world where Guardians are superpowered humans, Conduits must help them manage their powers to prevent them from self-destroying. Guardians and Conduits live apart from regular humans, royalty in a society run according to rank and AI reasoning.
Orrey grew up thinking he was a regular human, but when Guardian Senlas accidentally touches him, he imprints on Orrey, dashing all notions of a normal life Orrey wanted to dedicate to making the city he loves safer for everyone.
Now, Orrey has to come to terms with the fact that he is a Conduit, and Senlas’s, on top of that. The Guardian is kind and caring, yet Orrey’s changed status shoves him into a reality he wasn’t prepared for. It will have him and Senlas and their found family of a team weather dangers from inside the city walls and from outside them, all while learning to rely on each other.
Being special doesn’t always mean being free, but when Guardian Senlas imprints on Orrey, it might just mean being loved.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CBXT7W75
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/GuidingDesire
#mmromance #LGBTQromance #guideverse #sciencefictionromance #gayromance #paranormalromance #romancereaders #paranormalbook #foundfamily #queerromance
~Possessive, superpowered protector
~Lovable side characters
~Futuristic setting, cozy vibes
Ream Community: https://reamstories.com/alexapiper
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AlexaPiperWrites/
Rory Maxwell discovered romance novels on her mom’s bookshelf when she was probably too young to be reading them—the reward for being a nosy kid with great reading comprehension. The magic of a dial-up internet connection led her to the wonderful world of MM fanfiction a few years later and she fell in love with the genre. In 2019 she woke up with a plot bunny, opened a word doc, and started trying to figure out how this writing stuff worked.
Rory grew up outside of Washington, DC, moved away, and then came back for reasons she doesn’t fully understand. An artist and writer, she always has too many exciting ideas and not nearly enough free time. One day, she hopes to escape to the mountains where she can work from home and write as much as she wants. In the meantime, she splits her time between her day job and writing MM romance with heart, heat, and happy endings.
Rory’s Quirky Questions
Holly: Do you have any quirky collections? Feel free to add photos!
Rory: Every kid has some travel collection, right? I always got those mini spoons at the airport. They’re in storage right now in their pretty glass cases because my house has two small walls to hang anything on (lots of window and a sloped ceiling make things difficult) and I have a lot of art.
Holly: If you had to write yourself a warning label what would it say?
Rory: Warning: Contents Are Under Pressure
Holly: What one book have you written that you think best shows off your writing style? Why?
Rory: Something Unintended for sure. It’s got all the things I love, age gaps, Daddy kink, and insta-lust that becomes something more. It feels good to read it back and know I wrote it just the way I wanted.
Holly: What comes first for you, plot, or characters?
Rory: The characters. They usually just appear as I’m writing, with very little say on my part, and then they slowly tell me their back story. The work for me is figuring out how they fit into my world, why they’re there, and where they are going.
Holly: Which household chore do you find the most agitating?
Rory: Unloading the dishwasher. Or maybe folding laundry! I did the work of getting everything clean. Why is there still more to do??
Holly: How many unread books are on your Kindle or bookshelf right now?
Rory: 128 on my Kindle. Mostly from 99 cent or freebie events. That’s probably a small number compared to most authors. I don’t know why I don’t have more other than a lack of time so intense that I don’t even have time to search for things that I’m planning to read. When I do have time, I tend to find an author and binge their backlist.
Holly: What do you do to unwind in between words?
Rory: I read, I hang out with my super sweet 19-year-old cat who’s completely bonded to me and runs my schedule, and I chat on Discord with my friends. I have MM romance writer friends all over the world, so Discord is fantastic to work around the time zones.
Holly: Tell me three reasons I should buy this book today!
Rory: The fun Pride week theme. The Daddy kink. And Eli and Hunter’s scorching-hot chemistry. It’s also a great into to my series and works as a standalone, even though it’s book 3.
Holly: Was there anything lost in the story in the editing process that you wish you’d been able to keep?
Rory: Not in this one. I had a 20k word limit for the Class of 22/23 New Romance Writers event, so I had to keep everything super tight and didn’t let any extras creep in. The fact that I ended up at 22k should tell you how little was lost to editing! I’m actually one of those who’s more likely to add in editing anyway, so I don’t often have things like deleted scenes—even though it would make having something for my newsletter a lot easier!
After his boyfriend ruins graduation day by dumping him—over text!—Eli decides to go solo on the Pride week vacation they’d planned to take together. His first night there, a smoking-hot bartender rescues him from some unwanted attention…then sticks around. Rebound flings aren’t usually Eli’s style, but what better time than his first Pride week to try something new?
Strings-free hookups are the only kind of relationships Hunter goes for these days. As a bartender—especially during Split Rock’s Pride celebration—he doesn’t have any problem finding people to be with. But he’s tempted to break his own rules for a pretty boy who’s only in town for the week. Their tastes line up perfectly, and Hunter finds himself straying from his usual pattern with Eli. It’s nothing to worry about, though. Eli’s on the rebound and Hunter doesn’t do repeats. They can have some fun and both walk away satisfied.
What happens during Pride week stays at Pride week. Right?
Something Unintended is a 22k novella in the Split Rock Ranch universe. It includes an age gap, vacation romance, and more fun stuff, just click the cover thumbnail and look inside for trope details. It can be read as a stand-alone story.
Eli was trapped in Hunter’s blue eyes. He couldn’t look away. “How—“ He paused, unstuck his tongue from the roof of his mouth, and tried again. “How’d you know my name?”
Hunter grinned, revealing perfectly straight white teeth. “I could tell you I saw it on your card when you opened your tab.”
Eli’s brows drew together. That didn’t make sense. His legal name was on his card, and not many people would get “Eli” from “Elliot.”
“But that wouldn’t be the truth,” Hunter continued. “Miss Crystal called and told me to keep an eye out for you. She knows how wild this week can get.”
Eli didn’t know if he was grateful or embarrassed. He settled on grateful. “That was nice of her.”
Hunter’s eyes softened and Eli couldn’t help noticing the way they crinkled at the corners. Hunter was a little older than he’d first assumed. That was hot. “She’s a sweetheart. Now, I gotta apologize too. ‘Cause Brax and his buddies are regulars and it’s gonna get around that you’re here with me.” His grin turned crooked. “So, I really hope I made the right call and you weren’t looking for a date tonight.”
It was then that Eli noticed Hunter’s hand was still resting on his forearm. Eli’s stomach fluttered. He didn’t want Hunter to let go. “I—“ he started, his heart suddenly speeding up again as he felt his face go warm. “I’m not complaining,” he said, then caught his lower lip between his teeth and gave Hunter his best coy look, hoping the blushing didn’t ruin it.
Hunter’s eyes darkened as he leaned closer, his thumb rubbing a gentle circle on the inside of Eli’s wrist. “No?” he asked, his voice deeper than before.
Eli’s mouth dried up and he gave a slight shake of his head. Joe’s words suddenly flashed through his mind. Drink and party and make out with random strangers. His gaze fell to Hunter’s mouth. It was a really nice mouth.
Hunter chuckled and lifted Eli’s hand, pressing a swift kiss to the back of it and making butterflies take off in his stomach. “Make sure you only order drinks from me tonight.”
Eli blinked at him and frowned in confusion.
“I want to know exactly how much you’ve had before I ask to walk you home later.”
My 5-stars reads this week
Assassins To Order
JP Sayle & Lisa Oliver
Following on from last’s weeks series binge, this week, in honor of Conrad’s release, I went back to the beginning and reread my way through to the end. Am I gutted Wyatt isn’t getting his own story, yes and no, maybe I know something you don’t LOL? I think the authors gave us enough for us to be happy without taking the shine away from Conrad and Kylo – who were awesome. My fav from the series, though, has to be Marvin… sigh and swoon and all the delightful things.
Any way they all deserve a read, a reread, and a review, so do yourself a favor and give this series a go. I love both of these authors on their own merit, and together they create a special kind of magic.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of Holly’s Quirky Questions.
A huge thank you to Alexa Piper and Rory Maxwell for sharing your selves with us. Next week we have Ali Ryecart.
Until then: Find a Spark of Magic Every Day.