Monday, February 28, 2011
My guest today is Alexis Craig, author of Imminent Danger. Alexis, tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing.
I could say that I write erotica, but that’s kind of a cop out. My goal was to write the kind of stories that I enjoy reading. My preferred genre is ‘sex and a stack of bodies’ or erotic suspense, so that’s the platform from which I started writing. I’m a longtime romance reader, and I work in a place where I have the downtime occasionally to read at my leisure (police dispatch). I’m a somewhat hyper woman who likes my cinema and reading material fluffy, violent, and sensual, because my real life is so very serious. I prefer to write after the sun goes down because it seems my muses, like me, prefer the cover of night to ply their trade.
I think you've already partially answered this question, but what did you hope to accomplish with your books?
I like a strong female character and a male who is secure enough in his own right that he’s not threatened by that (think Joe from ‘Say No To Joe’ by Lori Foster or Owen from ‘Midnight in Ruby Bayou’ by Elizabeth Lowell). Those are the spaces I want my characters to inhabit. I want to write female characters that working women can identify with and men wouldn’t mind dating. I write with a man’s perspective in mind, actually, and test out some of my scenes on men to see if they ring true to their mindsets, because I would eventually like to cross the gender barrier in terms of overall readership.
Good luck. Who can understand men? What is the greatest test you ever faced as a writer?
Editing was hard, because you really have to separate yourself from your work to look at it objectively. Your editor is not your enemy, and they get paid good money to make sure that you put out a good product that reflects well on all involved, so you have to arrive at a sense that ‘they’re helping you and you are not married to every word, do as you’re told.’ That’s not to say that if there are certain points that you want to convey that you should take them out if the editor says so, but picking your battles is crucial, and the editorial process needn’t be a protracted battle from word to word.
Wise advice. What’s the best advice you ever got about the publishing industry?
Be polite: the publishing industry professionals move around quite a bit, and they also talk amongst themselves. You don’t want to be labeled as ‘difficult to work with’ or a ‘primadonna’ because that will, in turn, make your life as a new author harder than it needs to be. (I got that from the RWA)
If you could meet two authors, which ones would you pick and why?
Gabriel Garcia-Marquez-because his works are so fanciful and fully of color and life. I think he would be wonderful to discuss how he arrives at his ideas and learn what it is that makes him so expressive and vivid in his prose.
Henry Miller/Elmore Leonard (tie)-because their prose and dialogue are so vivid and I think that either would be a damn good time to hang out with. Drink some, shoot some pool, and shoot the breeze about anything and everything that comes up. The ultimate in learning/relaxation experience.
Relaxing. That sounds good. I'm up to my neck in edits for two different books, and it's driving me freaking crazy! Could you share your links with us?
alexisdcraig.net, Alexis D Craig, Author on Facebook, and @Dispatchvampire on twitter.
7.We’d love to read an excerpt. Be sure to give us a buy link.
Jacen got out his wallet as Vince got up from his seat. He took a moment to listen to his radio to make sure he hadn’t missed anything. “What’s up?”
Vince nodded towards the gaggle of dispatchers at the back of the room. “I’m gonna go over and talk to Grace. It’s her birthday.”
Jacen shrugged and watched his friend wade into collection of gregarious and mostly intoxicated communications workers. He hadn’t paid too much attention to them, he didn’t see the one he was interested in and that was all he needed to know. He turned back around accordingly to wait for their food.
He heard his name behind him and turned around to see Vince walking up with a dark-eyed, curvy brunette that Vince would ticket in a hot minute. “Aww, I didn’t get you anything.” Jacen grinned with open appreciation.
Vince narrowed his eyes and then smiled. “Grace, this is my buddy Jacen. Jacen, this is Grace, she works East Middle.”
Like someone else they both had in common. Though he’d never say so out loud, he was willing to stake good money that Vince, good solid family man, had a thing for Grace. “Nice to meet you.”
“You too. Why don’t you and Vince come over and join us? We have the room.”
Jacen and Vince exchanged looks, Jacen’s inquiring, and Vince’s stating unequivocally that they were going to sit across the room and Jacen was going to have to deal. “Sure, no problem. Soon as Gayle finishes up.” He turned back around to find two large tenderloin sandwiches and a ton of fries. “I guess that takes care of that.”
Grace started back for the table and he and Vince hung back, him a little hesitant, and Vince just enjoying the view of her retreating form. “Is this a good idea?” he whispered out of the side of his mouth.
Vince nodded emphatically. “Oh yeah. Definitely. Plus there’s something you gotta see over by the pool table.”
Ooookay? They made their way over to the table and Jacen waited until Grace was seated before sitting down himself and tearing into his food. The music was loud as hell by their table and he listened as Grace’s drunken friends sang loudly and off key to The Black Crows. One voice in particular caught his attention. He looked over at the pool table to see Dani switch from leaning over the pool table to doing a karaoke version of ‘Jealous Again’ into the pool cue that had him completely abandoning his food in favor of watching her.
She moved like a jellyfish, writhing to the music and prancing around in a way that had him glad he was sitting down. Her nod to the dress code at her work was a pair of black cargo pants that showed off her belly button and a form fitting white t-shirt that made her breasts a marble work of art. She finished her song and came back over to the table, grinning like a pirate and cheeks rosy from the singing and dancing.
Dani hugged Vince first and then came over to him. He got to his feet slowly, hoping that she wouldn’t notice how hard he’d gotten just watching her move, but she seemed oblivious, sliding against him, and beaming up at him as she threw her arms around his neck. “Hey, Jacen.
This was new, this unfettered affection. Jacen returned the hug cautiously, and eyed her with suspicion as she stepped away. “Looked good out there, sweets.”
She took the seat next to him and flounced down. “Thanks. Just being silly.”
She and Grace shared a look, and Grace leaned over and stage whispered to Jacen, “She’s had chocolate.”
Dani giggled maniacally, “Correction, luvvie, I’ve had a lot of chocolate. And frosting.” To illustrate her point, she swiped her finger through a dollop of fluffy white frosting on the cake tray and brought it to her lips and sucked it off, licking her finger clean.
Jacen watched her raptly, his ears starting to ring. His vest was feeling way too tight. “I think someone needs to cut you off,” he rasped, his voice suddenly very rusty.
Grace laughed, “You’re welcome to try, but I don’t think she’s gonna go for it.”
Jacen looked at Dani for verification, but she was already up and moving again to put more money in the jukebox. He hadn’t noticed before but she was missing something. “Where’s your cane?”
A hot salsa beat filled the air and she danced back over to his chair. “At home in a closet. Exactly where it should be,” she replied as she pulled him to his feet.
“Where’re we going?”
She looked around them, her hips and feet already moving to the rhythm. “Right here seems good.”
Vince about fell out of his chair laughing. “You want him. To dance. Have you lost your mind?”
“It’s the sugar talking, obviously,” Jacen laughed nervously, but Dani took no heed, sidling up next to him. He was mesmerized by the way she was moving against him. Hips that moved like that could found a new religion. He was a convert. His hands found their way to her hips and when she turned around and ground her ass up against him, he was a goner.
The smell was what got to him, her perfume, sweat, and the slight undertone of sugar. Dani had her hand on his neck, lightly dragging her nails across the sensitive skin at the nape, and giving him a view down the front of her shirt so scandalizing, that he could tell that her bra was red with black lace edging. He was saved from drooling down the delectable arch of her neck when the song ended and she stepped away to take a drink from a glass on the table.
“I’m hot, y’all. I’m gonna step out for a minute and get some air.” She looked in the direction of Grace and Vince, who had their heads together in some sort of deep and meaningful conversation and headed for the door.
Jacen slumped into the closest chair, and simply stared after her, stunned at her ever-shifting moods and the riot she caused with his libido.
Vince leaned away from Grace with his arm draped casually across the back of her chair as he looked at him appraisingly. “Well, I will give you this: it looked vaguely like you were dancing, but more that she was pole dancing and you were the pole.”
Jacen waved his comment off and blew out a deep breath. He had no idea what to make of Dani at all and trying to figure it out was leaving him too exhausted to cope with the next onslaught. Normally, if a woman was this much work, he was out the door, no explanation needed. Right now, he knew that he couldn’t leave if he wanted to; he had to know where the story ended. “I don’t like her out there in the parking lot by herself.”
Vince frowned. “You know as well as I do that she’s a big girl and can more than take care of herself.”
“Besides, there are at least five police cars out there right now,” Grace added, looking around the room to tally up the total.
Jacen conceded the point and rubbed the back of his neck. “I know that, but still, we all know this neighborhood and what can be and often is lurking out in the parking lot. Even with the police cars out there. I’m gonna go check on her.”
Vince shrugged and Jacen was halfway to the door. “Suit yourself.”
“I think I will.”
The wall of smoke free air that accosted him as soon as he opened the door was a little startling, but what got his pulse racing was the fact that Dani was nowhere to be seen. He was halfway out in the parking lot when he heard a voice behind him.
“I’m over here.”
Jacen turned around, faced the dark façade of the building, and still didn’t see anything. “Where’s ‘here’?”
Dani stepped out from a niche between the FOP and the Vo-Tech school next door underneath the fire escape from the second floor. Even in the pale light of the lamp above the door, she was a barely visible silhouette. “Over here.”
She disappeared again as he walked over and he reached out a hand to make sure he didn’t run into her. His hand met her arm and he pulled her up against him. In the darkened alcove, it was like they were completely isolated from the world and not outside in public. His mouth crushed down on hers as he backed her into the wall. Her free hand slid up his chest, to his neck and then on to play in the velvety soft peach fuzz on the back of his head.
Thaks for coming today, Alexis. Good luck with your book.