Please help me welcome S. J. Thomas to the blog today!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from just outside of London but I have lived in the South West of England since I was 4. I live with my wonderful husband and a very spoilt Springer Spaniel on the edge of a small town right in the middle of the English countryside, about 20 minutes from the beach. It’s a really lovely part of the country. I have a full time job so have to fit the writing in whenever I can.
Did you always want to be an author?
I’m probably going to annoy people now but I’ve only thought about writing for a little while. I’ve always been an avid reader and had an active imagination and I did toy with writing when I was about 16, but I honestly didn’t think I could come up with anything original so I stopped. I didn’t write for years but discovering new authors, in particular Gena Showalter and Kresley Cole, and reading interviews by them about the inklings they had for some of their stories, I remembered the ideas I’d had when I was 16 and started writing again. I started a few different things but got more focused with the 2011 Mills and Boon New Voices competition and then came across a Facebook contest for a paranormal horror anthology. That helped me get really focused and having my story accepted gave me the confidence to keep writing and submitting and I've had several stories published so far.
What is your favorite part of being a writer/author?
When that little spark of an idea turns into a whole story seemingly by itself and when your writing takes you by surprise with a quirky twist or hidden secret.
Tell us a little about your book.
It's a paranormal romance short called One Wild Vegas Night, coming out in October from Breathless Press.
The story follows a very sexy jaguar shifter Soloman Martinez, who facing an arranged mating he doesn't want, goes to Vegas for his last night of freedom. There he meets Hannah who is escaping a very dark past and is in Vegas to celebrate her new freedom. As soon as he sees her Sol wants her and though initially weary, Hannah soon finds herself falling for Sol and they spend a wild and passionate night together. But typical Vegas style they get a lot more than they bargained for!
What was your favorite part of ONE WILD VEGAS NIGHT?
The scene in the Salsa club - its so sexy and sensuous.
Rate your story in terms steaminess?
Very steamy. Sol's shifter side is very sexy and possessive and Hannah responds to it with a lot of enthusiasm.
Let's take a peek!
The couple in the middle of the dance floor swayed together in a sensual embrace, staring into each other's eyes with a deep intensity, the heat between them almost palpable as they moved to the slow beat of the music. Sol Martinez watched them with an almost painful yearning. After tonight he would never experience such passion.
Lifting his glass to his lips, Sol swallowed the last of his drink with a grimace. The burn did little to ease the black storm swirling inside him, but Sol was sure if he drank enough the storm would eventually calm. Around him the club in his hotel was alive with the early evening buzz only Vegas could provide and Sol was determined to lose himself in it; even it was only for this one night.
Raising his hand to signal the waitress for another, he cast a longing look at the human couples around him. Men and women brought together because of mutual attraction and free will. A precious luxury he was to be denied.
The waitress put his drink down and he slipped some dollars onto the table. Flashing him a suggestive smile she scooped up the money and sauntered off, fully aware of how good her ass looked in that tight black skirt. Unconsciously Sol's grip tightened on his glass, his anger simmering at what he was facing.
As one of only a handful of pure blooded jaguar shifters in the world, since childhood Sol had been pledged to mate a pure bred jaguar female called Anita. A female who was both breathtakingly beautiful and a cold hearted bitch he loathed.
Though he'd known her his whole life Sol hated her, hated how spiteful she was, how she lorded her pure breed status over everyone around her, not caring if she inflicted hurt with her cutting remarks and humiliations. Anita's beauty did not override her flawed character and Sol had known from an early age that there would be no passion between them. Hell just the thought of having her in his bed was enough to make his cock go into hiding.
When he'd come of age Sol had tried again and again to break the arrangement between them, pleading with his parents and Anita's to release him from their pledge, but they had refused. The match was too good, the desire to breed more jaguars too strong, and tomorrow he would have to go through with the mating ceremony.
Sol slammed the glass to the table, the noise earning a few curious glances from the humans around him, but he didn't care. God damn it, he didn't want this. Didn't want to be joined to someone he didn't desire and who would make his life a misery. But for all his power and strength he couldn't get out of it.
Though he could go out on his own terms, which was what had brought him to Vegas. While he should have been home preparing for the ceremony, instead Sol was in Sin City, the place where dreams could be made and where anything went. His last night of freedom, as far as he was concerned, and Sol was going to make it one wild night. Drowning himself in drink and burying himself in a string of willing females until Anita was nothing more than a bad dream.
Sol lifted his glass to his mouth, the liquid touching his lips with a welcoming sting, when a flash of red caught his eye. His head turned, his gaze zeroing in on the human woman who was walking into the bar. She was dressed in a slinky red dress that hugged her generous curves in a truly divine way and his gaze moved over her appreciatively, his body responding viscerally to the color. Males his kind loved red.
Realizing he was staring at her body Sol dragged his gaze up to her face and the view got even better. Her skin was pale but flawless, matching the light blonde hair that hung loosely down to her shoulders, giving her an ethereal quality. Large hazel eyes framed by thick lashes dominated her face, but were balanced by full, almost bee-stung lips. Her features gave her a sensual air that his animal side responded to instantly.
Yet despite how she was dressed, and the sensuality that rolled off her in waves, she looked nervous; her wide eyes darting round the bar, her skin flushing when she noticed the interested looks from the gathered men. She kept flicking glances over her shoulder, as if she was expecting someone to come after her.
Sol's brow furrowed. The woman was dressed for sex, dressed to turn heads, but her manner screamed the exact opposite. He found it a fascinating contradiction. Breathing in deeply Sol caught her scent, his groin tightening in response. He could smell her fear, but underneath that he could also smell her; a delicate floral scent that sank into his cells, firing up his blood and hardening his body.
His fingers clenched, digging furrows into the table and he quickly drew his hand back. Now this is what he wanted—that physical gut deep reaction to a female, that possessive need to stalk over there and pull her tight to his body, to imprint part of himself on her so every other male would know she was his. But for the moment he held himself back.
He watched as she took a seat and ordered a drink, her hand clutching her purse so tightly he could see her knuckles whitening. She looked scared and uncomfortable, but taking a deep breath she crossed her legs, exposing an expanse of thigh that attracted even more glances from the males in the bar. Sol struggled to suppress a growl. Oh yes. He was definitely feeling possessive.
The woman kept her eyes down, not raising them till she'd taken a large swallow of her drink, but when she did their gazes locked instantly. Sol's entire body tensed in reaction and her eyes widened, a delicate blush moving across her cheek. She looked positively mouthwatering and it took all his self control to remain seated.
Sol tipped his head as he smiled at her and she tentatively returned the gesture before dropping her gaze and reaching for her drink. She was skittish, on edge, ready to bolt at any minute—exactly like prey being stalked. The thought sent a bolt of lust straight through him and into his cock. Sol shifted uncomfortably in his seat, trying to adjust himself without anyone noticing.
Forget who else he'd intended to be with this night. In that instant Sol knew he wanted this woman. Wanted to break through whatever fear she was carrying until she was naked beneath him and he was thrusting inside her. He would have her legs wrapped round him and her cries ringing in his ears before the night was out.
Seeing that her glass was nearly empty Sol signaled the waitress. "Another for me and whatever that woman over there is having," he said nodding toward her.
"Sure thing honey. Do you want me to invite her over here?"
"No, just send the drink to her."
"You got it."
Sol watched with a growing sense of anticipation as the waitress took the drink over. The woman looked up at her in surprise, starting to protest, but when the waitress gestured to him, he nodded and smiled. She looked shocked but then returned his nod with a small smile, accepting the drink and taking a sip.
Sol had meant to wait before walking over, but when her tongue darted out to dab at the alcohol lingering on her lips he was up and moving to her before he even realized it.
When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
As I said above I only really started writing last year and I haven't written a full novel yet as I've mostly been doing short stories for anthology calls. One Wild Vegas Night and Alpha Chase (the other story I have releasing as part of the Hot Shifters line) are my two longest stories so far.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Anywhere really. It might be a film, a line in a book, an image, a song. Anything that creates that little spark of what if? I got the inspiration for One Wild Vegas Night from the film the Hangover.
Do you plot and outline or do you just write? Plotter or Pantser?
I'm actually half and half – I get the spark of an idea and run the scene through my head but then will mentally plot out how they got there and where they are going though I don't write it down.
Can you tell us a little about the process of getting your first book published?
My first published work was a short story in the Withering Darkness, a paranormal horror anthology. The publisher Candy Crum author of the Eternal Series ran the submission call through her Facebook page. I came up with an idea, submitted it and got accepted. Since then I've had several stories published with Candy, as well as Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing and my main publisher Breathless Press. One Wild Vegas Night and Alpha Chase will be my first stand alone book and that's very exciting.
What book have you most recently released?
An anthology release called Ravaged from Breathless Press featuring my short story Pleasure Bound. This book has every type of hot shifter you could want!
Do you have another book in the works?
I'm finally about to start working on my novel. I've got a delicious idea for a demon series and I've had the characters running round my head for months. I've also got a half finished twist on a fairy tale as well as several other scenes jotted down.
What advice would you give new authors? What have you learned about the business?
Start off with short stories for anthologies. It gets your name out there, its really good practice and its a lot easier to complete a short story. My writing has really improved with the stories I've written and going through the full editing process is an eye opener.
Research publishers, make sure you submit to the right place for your story and follow their submission rules to the letter.
Definitely set up a Facebook page, Twitter account and website and try and find groups and pages related to the kind of story you write to connect with readers and get useful contacts.
Don't think you have to go through the traditional agent, publishing house route, ebooks have really opened up the market with e-publishers being a lot more accessible and much better self publishing options.
Boxers or Briefs?
Pizza or hamburger?
Beer, Wine, or mixed drink?
Mixed drink - barcardi and coke
If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be? Would you write or read there, or do something else?
My favorite holiday destination is Disney World in Florida so it would always be there and I would be running round the parks like a loon with my husband.
What were your first impressions of each other?
Sol: Sexy, mysterious, delectable.
Hannah: Jaw droppingly handsome and sexy but kind.
What’s your favorite characteristic of each other?
Sol: All of her, there's not one bit that's not sexy.
Hannah: His smell, spice and pine that just makes my mouth water.
What are your plans for the near future?
Sol: Make love, order room service, make love, have a shower, make love in the shower - you get the idea.
Hannah: Well yes all that and I am determined to see Cirque du Soleil
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