If you're not familiar with Sylvina's work, you might want to check out her Aliens, Myths, & Magic series. Pre-Destined (the prequel) is available free to her newsletter subscribers, and Book One- Destined, will be available at all retailers on 8/10/15, but can be pre-ordered at Amazon and Kobo now.
The Paranormal Ménage Erotica series is set in the modern world, but as Ryleigh discovers, they aren’t all human. The Intarans have visited Earth for millennia, and they’re the source of every myth, legend and fairy tale.
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Please tell us about yourself.
I’ve been writing since middle school. Remember the kid walking in the halls with their nose in a book, bumping into everyone without a care in the world? Yeah, that was me. Every moment I had, I was in the library reading or writing in my notebooks. By the time I decided to sit down and write my first novel in 2008, I had several boxes of notes to decipher. I wonder what my teachers thought of all those plot ideas in the margins of my homework?
When I wrote my first novel, my mom read it and her first comment was, “I thought there’d be some sex’. You see, I started a sordid love affair with romance novels in middle school, and she expected me to carry that into my writing. I’m happy to say, I took her advice, although I might have gone a bit deeper into the dark side than she imagined.
These days, my reading preferences don’t qualify for the school library (maybe not even the public library). When I started writing this series, I decided to go all the way, and write what I love to read. This includes Ménage, Paranormal, Erotica, Kink, BDSM, and everything in between. I write soft/med-core kink with hard-core sex, and my stories encompass MMF, MFM, MM and Dom/sub relationships.
Some authors hide their pen names from their ‘real life’ contacts; not me. My entire family is aware of my naughty side, and conversations often drift into rated R territory. My stepmom and mom have beta read my books, and my mom-in-law knows, though she still covers her eyes if characters kiss on TV. It’s nice to have a conversation about the dynamics of a male-male-female sex scene over a nice family dinner, and know my whole family is cool with it! (Watching my twenty-year old brother squirm is just a bonus.)
I’m happily married to my best friend. Though I don’t have multiple lovers, we did start off as a love triangle. Sort of. I met my hubby online in the forums looking for help fixing my computer, but he was firmly in the friend zone. My other best friend (technically she was there first) was a flirt, so when she saw him in the chat window, I gave her my blessing to go for it. Long story short- if they hadn’t been sorta cyber-dating, I would have never invited him to my high school graduation party, and we would’ve never met in real life. They didn’t hit it off in person, but we did, and the rest is history.
When I stayed home to raise my newborn daughter in 2007, I decided it was time to get this writing gig started. I have two finished novels in a box that will never see the light of day, and a third that I cannibalized my favorite scenes from to write an Urban Paranormal series under another name (Kyra Dunst). My plot bunny folder has over a hundred documents for short stories, novels and series that I’d love to write one day. I’m in my element now, and I’ll never go back.
Other than writing, what other life-long dreams do you have? Any plans to make them into reality?
I’ve always wanted to fall in love with a vampire, or maybe a werewolf, or ride a dragon. For some reason, they’ve remained elusive. The closest to reality I get is writing my daydreams into existence. If I write it, it’s real, right?
If you could sit down and talk shop with any one author (past or present), who would you love to spend a few hours speaking with? Why?
Up until recently, I would’ve said Piers Anthony or Anne McCaffrey. Both influenced my love of reading to the point of obsession during middle and high school.
Now? I’d say Julia Kent is the first author I might seriously have fan girl issues with. She writes very realistic polyamorous (threesome/ ménage) romances, and she’s funny. I have to settle for stalking her on social media. 😀
Trick question. The short answer: as long as it takes to put out a quality product.
For my other series, it took around six months from outline to completion. For book two in my current MMF series, it should be around the same. Book one was ‘finished’ at the end of April 2014, but feedback from my betas sent me back to the plotting board. It was ‘good enough’, but lacked the wow factor. I redesigned the entire series, roughly plotted all nine books, and rewrote book one. That took me around 14 months.
Each book starts with a concept, then gets an outline, and goes through 6-12 drafts before I consider it worthy of Beta eyes. Then I incorporate Beta notes (which can influence my work greatly, as you see). After it passes muster, I send it to my critique partner, and the red pen comes out. Or, in my partner’s case, multiple colors of highlighter in Word. Book one looked like a rainbow the first time she sent it back!
What was the hardest/most unexpected thing you found out when writing your book?
Writing comes easy for me, but I’m disabled, so sitting in a chair for more than a few hours is the difficult part. My books are written on my iPad, cell phone, sticky notes and sometimes, even at my desk!
There’s a fine balance between writing and doing all the other things any author needs to do. How much time do you devote to marketing for a new release?
Fun fact- If you build it, they will NOT come. My other series is lost in la-la land, since I did absolutely NO advertising for it. I put them up and ignored them, and they are ignored. LOL.
This time, I wanted to make a career out of this, so I needed a strategy. I started working on marketing early. I don’t set certain days or hours to it, but if I can’t write, I can work, so I do. Fortunately, a lot of marketing is social media, and I can do that from my mobile devices. I’ve met so many wonderful people, too.
Some people love them, other people hate them. What’s your take on cliff-hanger serials?
I don’t really like serials, but a properly done cliff-hanger is acceptable.
I won’t read a serial unless all of the parts are written and the story is done. I like having a complete story, and I read very fast, so I don’t find them worth my time any other way. On the other hand, I pick up a lot of freebies, and sometimes I accidentally start one that isn’t done (hey, I like yummy covers, too!). If the rest isn’t available yet (or I don’t like something about the plot), I just spend fifteen minutes ‘writing’ the ending in my head, and move on. I don’t go back to see when the rest of the series is out, because I’ve already moved on to the next story.
Cliff-hangers only bother me if they don’t transition properly, or the cut-off is unnecessarily abrupt. I hate when the scene itself is broken up. If they are on a date, and he leans to kiss her, do NOT cut scene before their lips meet!
And now for the silly… if you were stranded in the middle of nowhere and a genie offered to supply you with one book, one person, and one kind of food, what (and who) would you choose to have with you?
I’d ask for a blank book (and a pencil, please) that lets me keep writing indefinitely so I can publish all those plot bunnies once I’m rescued. I don’t have the patience to carve rock, and dirt etchings wash away.
I’d ask the genie to stay, of course! Come on, when am I going to get to talk to another paranormal person ever again? It’s not like I’m a hot college co-ed partying at the bars they attend…
Food is tricky. I’d like to eat more than once, so I’d ask for a huge fruit tree. Maybe that hybrid that grows several types of fruit.
What’s in the works for you right now? When can we expect to see it released to the world?
I’m already around 1/3 through the rough draft of book two in the Aliens, Myths, & Magic series. I expect to release it sometime early 2016, but the pre-order might go live around Christmas. My newsletter subscribers will get teasers and snippets before release. (Wink, wink.)
Can you share an excerpt of your upcoming book, or recently released one?
Excerpt from Destined- Aliens, Myths, & Magic: Book One
Thumping drums jarred my nerves as I made my way to the massive bar along the far wall of Tainted Eden. Decadent furnishings were accented by the staff, each one dressed as elegant as the clientele. There was a hint of leather here and there, but the regular guests would never guess what hid behind the curtains.
As I navigated the crowd, I compared myself to the other women flirting with the nearest bartender. My outfit was nowhere near as risqué as some of the ladies preferred. The ruby bodice hugged my breasts down to my hips. The flirty skirt flared to my knee and swished with every step.
Several guys sent interested looks my way, but one in particular captured my gaze without trying. My naughty side crooned ‘hello tall, dark and dangerous’, but sensible me screamed ‘abort mission!’ He hadn’t done anything to draw attention to himself, but I watched him as I passed.
A moment of eye contact set my senses reeling. God, I sounded like a cheesy romance novel. Yet, it was true. One glance between us, and now I wanted a drink.
Well, first I had to sit before I fell, but a drink was a priority.
Then, I would focus on my objective, not my hormones. The detective had nothing to offer on Tobias’ abduction, so I was determined to discover all I could. A little flirting should get people talking. Unfortunately, it meant I had to go into The Club.
Oh, yeah… and flirt.
I swear I felt his eyes on me as I pushed through the crowd, but I refused to turn and look. Being here, intending to venture into the den of iniquity, made me nervous. This attraction to Mr. Dangerous didn’t help.
Sure, I was interested in Toby’s secret lifestyle. Hell, I’d even gone on a date with a man from Fetlife. It wasn’t my fault the guy had had different ideas about what I considered ‘safe, sane, and consensual’. Thank god Toby had been there as my safety net.
How could I fail him when he needed me?
I saw him again. Mr. Dangerous chatted with various customers as he circled the room like a hungry shark. He had a powerful vibe about him. Part of me was ready to bolt if he so much as looked at me. But I couldn’t let anything stand in my way; not when my best friend might need my aid.
As I fought the horde, I scanned the patrons, searching for Tobias. I half expected to find him. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d gotten involved in a scheme like this and escaped unscathed. Besides, for all anyone knew, this was some sort of kinky captive fantasy he’d enacted.
If it was, I’d kill him for making me worry and trying to involve me without my approval.
When I made it to the bar, I eased myself onto a vacant stool. Service was fast, and I had a Shirley Temple in my hands minutes later. I nursed it as surveyed the club.
Last night, I’d focused on him and his friends; tonight, I was on a mission.
A stage and DJ booth occupied opposite ends of the far wall. Lights twinkled over the crowd, shifting like clouds through moonlight. Mahogany graced the carved columns lining the dance floor at intervals, separating the writhing mass of bodies from the tables on both sides.
The monstrous bar took up most of the remaining wall, and three bartenders coasted from one customer to another in synchronized movements. The entire area was encased in rich gold and burgundy accents. It amazed me how this kind of establishment survived in backwater Massachusetts, but patrons didn’t come here for the dancing and booze.
My eyes drifted to the two curtains on the back partition, each guarded by a bouncer. Nervous, I downed my drink and gestured to the bartender for another. As I reached for the glass, Mr. Dangerous slid onto the seat next to me and eyed the bracelet.
I fought the urge to hide the jewelry, and my cheeks flushed when he faced me.
His grin turned downright predatory, but in a good way. His chocolate gaze sparked a tingle of recognition. I knew without a doubt I’d never met this man in my life, but he seemed familiar.
When his fingertips hovered near my wrist, I trembled in anticipation. “May I?”
I’m not sure why it felt so right, but I placed my hand in his. The second our skin touched, something unfurled within me. The feeling, like warm champagne bubbles, flowed from my chest to my stomach, and beyond. It pooled in my nether region. Embarrassed, I crossed my legs and squirmed.
Mr. Dangerous paused, and his eyes found mine. Had he experienced the incredible sensation, too? It couldn’t be the drink. So why did I feel so unbalanced?
The jewelry came with the exclusive membership; my twenty-third birthday gift from Tobias. The thin platinum band caught the light as he exposed the charm. Three solid infinity symbols linked to form a triangle which dangled from the center of the chain.
Next to the bauble hung a scrolled key with ‘Ryleigh’ engraved along the shaft, almost too tiny to read. To an outsider, it looked like a classy ornament. But to someone in the know, this was my pass to the kink club hidden behind the curtains.
His whisper inflamed my already heightened libido as he traced my name. I blushed under his intense scrutiny and ducked my head. My anxiety ramped up for a moment, but before I bolted, he lifted my chin. The heat on my cheeks increased as he watched me with obvious interest.
A faint silvery scar trailed down his left cheek over his neck, and under the collar of his jacket. He ignored my blatant staring, for which I was grateful, and extended his pinky to caress the trinket. When goosebumps appeared on the flesh beneath the charm, his grin turned cocky.
“It’s your first time, isn’t it?”
Now, I wasn’t shy, but I was so far out of my comfort zone, I froze.
“There’s no reason to be afraid, Red. There’s no big bad wolf here tonight.”
The twinkle in his eyes told me the opposite was true. The wolf was right here. And if I let him, he wouldn’t hesitate to eat me.
“I’m Darian Farkas, by the way. Floor manager for Tainted Eden.” He still cradled my hand in his, and he caressed the skin as he spoke.
“Ryleigh Morgan, but I go by Lia.”
Oh, god. He knew what the bracelet represented. My embarrassment rendered me speechless. I was thankful he kept the conversation flowing without my active participation. When the music changed, I found myself leaning closer to hear the words his delectable mouth formed. English wasn’t his first language, but I understood his careful pronunciation.
He wore his hair longer than most men, and it fell to his shoulders in wild waves. One dark chocolate lock tried to fall into his face, and I wanted to touch the silken strands. Only the shear insanity of my thoughts stopped me from acting on the urge.
This wasn’t me, and I wasn’t sure if I liked it.
Another woman approached the curtain leading to the private rooms. The indecent gown clung to her, and the peek-a-boo slits left nothing to the imagination. I wondered how she’d walked through the front door without exposing herself. Darian’s attention never strayed as she passed, though he had to notice her. I tugged at my conservative skirt with a shy smile.
“I don’t think I could ever fit the dress code in there.”
“The Club caters to all types. Don’t worry about it. I’m certain I saw a nun in a habit sneak back earlier.”
A snort escaped before I contained it.
“What? I’m serious.”
What girl didn’t love a man who made her laugh? But this giggling had to go. Professional women did not giggle.
“So how did such an upscale venue come to hide The Club behind its curtains?” I asked.
“What, don’t all classy ladies have a hidden naughty side?” His eyes twinkled. “It’s more like a hobby; one they took semi-public to turn a profit.”
“How did you end up working here?”
“The owners are family.”
“Speaking of, I can’t place your accent. Where are you from?”
“I was born in Hungary a long time ago.”
His somber answer didn’t invite questions, and the conversation lapsed. The mood passed a few minutes later and he stood. I had to look up at him, but I enjoyed the view.
He was tall, at least six foot six inches, and muscular. He dwarfed my five- nine, and I was reminded why I’d considered him ‘Mr. Dangerous’. Something subtle about him compelled me to pause.
He brought to mind the police dog in my father’s unit. It was deadly if provoked, but if he was yours he kept you safe. Except, this man wasn’t mine at all, so why did I feel this way?
“Dance with me.”
I hesitated, searching for Tobias again, and his hand fell.
“Are you waiting for someone?”
I blushed and shook my head. “Not like you think. I’m looking for a friend. Toby was with me last night, but he disappeared. I hoped he’d show up. He’s here most evenings.”
“You know him?” My voice rose in excitement.
His words were cautious. “You didn’t hear?”
“Yeah, I heard. I kinda thought he’d pulled some sort of stunt. It wouldn’t be the first time. He might be hiding back there, for all anyone knows. He likes a good prank.”
I looked from the curtains to the crowded club. While I wanted to spend the evening with Darian, I knew Toby needed me, too. Honestly, I didn’t believe he was playing around.
My intuition told me he was in serious trouble.
Another guy in a suit approached us and dragged him aside before I answered. He topped Darian by an inch or two, and was almost twice as wide. My companion was strong, but this dude looked like he could wrestle a bear. And win.
“Dammit. Why haven’t you responded? We have a situation.”
“I’ll be right there.” Darian sighed. The bouncer glared at him for a minute, but when he caught me staring, his scowl softened. He turned and stepped back, shaking his head. Darian gave me a rueful smile. “I hate to do this, but can I get a rain check?”
“I’d give you my number, but I know a beautiful woman like you has stacks of them. What do girls do with all those numbers they collect, anyway?”
I grinned, amused. “Hmm, if I had your number, maybe you’d find out.”
Look at me flirt like a pro. Toby would be so proud. This man made me feel comfortable enough to be myself.
His smirk widened as he flipped over a business card and wrote in bold script on the back. As he slid it into my palm, he looked over my shoulder. His coworker gave me a polite nod, saving his glare for my companion.
Darian sent me one last heated look before he followed with a mumbled curse. I watched him walk away, admiring how his suit clung to his well-defined arms and backside. The moment he left my side, several other men gave me the ‘look’, so I headed to The Club.
You can connect with Sylvina Storm all over the internet.
Thanks again for the great interview, Sylvina. Congratulations on your upcoming release.