We are very happy to have have Joey W. Hill, Author of the Vampire Queen series and many more, here today with an interesting guestpost.
Joey also offers a wonderful giveaway at the end of the post so be sure to stay tuned.
And don’t forget to give Joey a warm welcome.
Writing A Menage – Digging Deeper
by Joey W. Hill
It’s lovely to be here at Book Lovers, Inc – always so much going on, and populated with people who love to read, my favorite kind of crowd. As some of you may know, I write paranormal and contemporary erotic romance, much of it with a BDSM flair. I write four series. My Nature of Desire and Knights of the Board Room series focus on Dominants and submissives in our present day world. The Vampire Queen series focuses on the vampire-servant relationship. And my Daughters of Arianne series, which is sensual romance but not BDSM, jumps off from the Little Mermaid legend – as an example, the first book in the three-book series follows a mermaid heroine as she seeks to overcome her cursed past and embrace love with a powerful angel.
I’ve had “not for the fainthearted” at the top of so many of my reviews that I’m thinking of having it tattooed across my forehead (lol). But the truth is, I like writing deeply character-driven stories, and let’s face it–clawing your way down to the bottom of another person’s soul is messy and intense. And sexual expression is one of the most primal avenues by which we do that. The book that releases this week, Vampire Mistress, gave me the challenge of doing that not just for two people, but three.
I’ll admit, more than once during the writing of this book I thought about bashing my head into my desk and having myself committed, the only acceptable excuse for missing a book deadline. Well, that and death. Your own, not a family member’s (grin). Why did the book drive me so crazy? Let me present it anecdotally. I have three wonderful dogs. Many days they overwhelm me because they are like having three rambunctious children running around during my writing day. Not too long ago, we fostered a young female dog, about sixty pounds and also highly energetic. Suddenly I discovered that, as trying as managing three dogs can be, adding a fourth made three seem SO much simpler (lol). Same experience in writing a ménage story. As challenging as it can be to get to the bottom of two people’s emotions and motivations and bring them together in a happily-ever-after, doing it with three tempts an author to send a carrier pigeon to her muse with a bright red “WTF?” scroll tied on the skinny leg.
But I’m so glad I took the plunge. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of seeing three fascinating characters evolve from individuals struggling to overcome their personal demons to three people bound by blood, unconditional love and fierce loyalty. And what a threesome they are! Here’s an excerpt that features at least Anwyn and Gideon, and I already gave you the book blurb link above. However, I can’t resist talking about them a little bit from a more informal point of view. After all, since it’s taking two books to tell their story, they’ve been part of my life for the better part of a year!
Gideon is my central figure. A hardcore vampire hunter who is truly lost. His brother became a vampire last year, and helping him with that changed Gideon’s viewpoint of the vampire world. But he is one of the most successful vampire hunters in the world, and the things he’s seen and done won’t leave him be. He tries to seek a moment of peace here and there under the hands of professional Mistresses, but none of them are quite right for him…until he meets Anwyn. She sees this scarred, dangerous man’s pain and isolation, and it calls to something inside of her Mistress’s soul. She has a connection to vampires Gideon doesn’t know about – she’s the lover of one of the most powerful vampires he’s ever met – Daegan Rei, and Daegan has his own interests in Gideon.
Gideon is the pivotal character in this book, the one that drew me in. Though like most women, I have a soft spot for bad boys, I’ve never really written one. I have strong alpha males, of course, many with emotional baggage, but not really “bad boys.” Gideon is all attitude. Just as an example – two lines from the book –
“You’ve been very ugly to my ladies, Gideon,” Anwyn said. “Been rude and surly as well. I expect better of you.”
“Better lower your expectations,” he advised. “This is as good as it gets.”
From the beginning, Anwyn suspects that Gideon needs both a Master and Mistress to keep him in line. She knew him far better than I did at first. When I started planning this story, I fully intended Gideon to have a delicate yet strong-willed heroine (not a Domme) who needed his protection when she’s attacked by vampires. The book would be how he dealt with her becoming a fledgling vampire, despite his own vampire hunting background. She’d lean on his help, and it would be through her gentle nature and vulnerability to a brutal vampire world that she’d help him find love and his soft side again. Snort – no, I’m not kidding, that’s where I thought the story was going.
Though Anwyn is forcibly turned and desperately needs Gideon’s help (as well as Daegan’s) to get through an unstable transition, she’s far from delicate. In fact, the meshing of her Mistress nature with a vampire’s makes managing her aggression one of her most difficult challenges. But ultimately, it’s Gideon’s soul that most needs saving in this book. And it takes not only Anwyn, but Daegan as well, to help a violent, damaged man find a way to embrace life again. In turn, his presence in their lives helps them resolve things they’ve never been able to overcome in their five-year relationship
So in short, it’s not just the POV chaos or the choreographing of arms and legs that makes writing a ménage such a hard journey. It’s taking the maze of three people’s emotions, figuring out how to connect those mazes so they can find one another’s hearts, and then tangling their destinies together permanently in an unforgettable way. No problem – want fries with that? Chuckle. That’s probably why it also became clear that their story would be told over two books. Vampire Mistress releases this week, and Vampire Trinity just a handful of months later, in early September. Hope you’ll enjoy their story.
Now, if you’d like to win a copy of Vampire Mistress (or another of my titles, if you already have it or simply have a different preference from my backlist), tell me about ménage stories you’ve enjoyed in the past, and how they differ from the ones you DIDN’T like. (That way I can find out if I’ve done well or screwed up – lol).
Any other relevant comment is acceptable as well, if you’ve never read a ménage. I’d be happy to be one of your firsts!
All comments left here between now and when I announce the winner on May 9 will be eligible for the drawing.
I’ll post the winner in this comments section as well as contacting them directly. Good luck!