We're thrilled here at the Divas of Desire to have Tara Lain with us today. She's an award-winning author of MM, ménage, and most recently MF romance. Her most recent release is Snow Balls, part of the Balls to the Wall series from Etopia Press. She's also published with Loose Id. Thanks so much for joining us, Tara, and for letting me ask you five nosy questions. Let's get started!
1. Most of your titles are male/male romance. What about that particular genre appeals to you?
There are very few gender roles in MM romance. All the expectations we place on women in love aren’t present. So for both a writer and a reader, MM gives lots of unexpected combinations. I write tiny, flamboyant men who are tough alphas at heart, and big, football players who are more queen than quarterback. I love mixing it up. Plus, men in love have fewer societal expectations--marriage, family, etc--so that too can be inventive. And because there is no female character with which women feel they must identify, readers like me can choose which of the men they want to relate to. I also love crawling into the minds and hearts of men. They’re just as sappy and sentimental when they’re in love as women are and I love expressing that from a male POV. Of course, gay men still bear huge burdens of discrimination in our society and that provides a source of conflict in a book even if that discrimination isn’t the subject. Sigh. I love men. Two is better! LOL
2. I never thought about how writing romance featuring two men could enhance one's freedom as an author. That's fascinating. You also recently took the plunge into m/f sensual romance and self-publishing with your holiday release Be Bad, For Goodness Sake. Have you any words of wisdom for authors considering self-publishing?
I purposefully self-published that book so I could get the experience. I’m not at all technical and I would never trust myself as an editor of my own work, so I called in the experts. I hired a freelance editor, a cover artist, a proofer and a formatter who prepared the documents for Amazon and Smashwords and guided me through the uploading process. I don’t think people should do all that themselves no matter how good they are at editing. You need an outside viewpoint to create a good book. I guess you could do it with an excellent critique group. But seriously, these experts don’t cost a lot. So find good people to help. With that said, I think self-publishing is great for established authors who want to take control of their backlists or for authors who are really willing to work at their craft and put out professional quality regularly. I fully appreciate all the hard work my publishers put into my books and I plan on staying with traditional publishing, at least for the short term.
3. You've certainly put a great deal of work and thought into it. You've had a career as a nonfiction writer and you've fed your creative side as an author of erotic romance. But you're also a painter [several of Tara's paintings appear at her website]. How long have you been painting and does that type of creativity differ from writing?
I started painting and doing mixed media collage only about eight or nine years ago. I’ve always been a writer, but never thought I would have any proclivity for visual arts. One day I just decided I wanted to try it and found some great teachers. I love painting though I don’t have great skill and started rather late to acquire it. My real love is mixed media collage. I adore the free-form, “can’t make a mistake” quality of it. It’s a very non-judgmental art! LOL. Extremely left brain. I don’t have a lot of time for it since my writing career heated up, but I still make presents for friends.
4. A black cat named Aloysius figures prominently in your paranormal romances Spell Cat and Brush With Catastrophe. Do you have any animals in your own life?
I am a cat adorer. I grew up with cats but I don’t have one these days. My husband is allergic to cats. So instead I have a very catlike dog. I have a papillon named Jolie. Papillons are the only toy breed of dogs on the list of the top ten smartest dog breeds. You’ve got border collies, Dobermans, German shepherds and this itty bitty furperson. She weighs 9 pounds. She is very finicky about food, washes her face with her paws -- very catlike. I actually love animals. I’m enjoying creating my Aloysius in the paranormal series and my next new series will feature animals as well. I’m already starting to plot the first book in my head.
5. She's adorable! I had no idea Papillons were so smart. It's been so much fun talking with you, Tara. Before we finish up, would you like to share any information on current or future releases with us? We're all ears!
My next book after my current release, Snow Balls, will be Hearts and Flour. It comes out Feb 1st for Valentine’s Day and tells the story of a passionate raw food fanatic who falls in love with a cupcake baker. BTW, it has a great cat in it. I’m currently writing a MM family and wedding drama, and then, of course, there is another Aloysius tale in the offing. And it will be fun! Plus two more Balls books at least -- also fun. And the new series. Oh my, so many books, so little time!
Thank you so much for inviting me! It’s been a treat to be here. : )
Excerpt: SNOW BALLS by Tara Lain; MM Romance -- The Cop and the Creampuff
Big, handsome and hunky, JJ LaRousse looks like an alpha male but acts like an interior decorator. And he’s trying to be happy about it -- until a robbery at the famous Laguna Winter Fantasy brings JJ face-to-face with tough cop, Ryan Star. JJ hears Ryan likes guys who are manly men, so he drops his voice an octave, colors over his pink hair, and tries to pass as a football fan. Ryan Star may be tough but he hides in the closet at work since he learned in New York that being a gay cop can cost you your life. His attraction to that big, handsome kid threatens his anonymity, but he can’t seem to resist. JJ is just his type. But then JJ goes skiing and comes face to face with his greatest nemesis-- and all the secrets come out of the closet. Can Ryan love JJ for who he really is? More important, can JJ?
JJ turned to Ryan. “OK, why don’t you go off and have fun while I learn? No sense you wasting time here.”
Ryan shook his head and with every shake JJ’s stomach flipped. “No, I’d rather be with you.”
Well hell, how could he argue with a sweet rationale like that?
How hard can it be? How hard can it be? Following the instructor to the beginner’s area, JJ fell back into the litany. Three other people waited where they stopped. An older woman and two men who looked like they drove trucks. Very big trucks.
Their instructor who turned out to be named Bronson—seriously?—gathered them together. He spoke with an indeterminate accent that would have been great saying, “I’ll be back.” The woman introduced herself as Michele and proudly announced she was sixty-three. The two guys, Ron and Paul, turned out to be a stockbroker and an English teacher.
Bronson pointed at his boots. “Okey dokey, we’re going to fit our boots into the skis. Be sure you remove all snow from the boots before inserting.”
Instant problem. JJ stood on one foot and tried to wipe the snow, which threw him off balance and he had to put his foot down which introduced yet more snow. Damn, he felt like a leaning tower. Ryan stepped up beside him and provided a shoulder to lean on. JJ tried to smile. “Uh, thanks.” Jeez, he was such a klutz. Finally—last out of the group—he got his boots in his skis, locked them on, and stood up. His skis slid forward, his ass flew into the air, and he fell instantly to his butt with skis crossed. “Oh no!” He clutched his hands in the snow to keep from shaking them. This didn’t portend well.
Bronson walked over and looked down at him. “No problemo. You just leaned back too much. Keep that weight distributed and slightly forward. Okey dokey?”
JJ nodded, and Bronson offered an arm. OK, but what in the hell did you do with the skis when you’re trying to get up? After thirty seconds of pure slapstick comedy, JJ finally got the skis separated, his weight arranged, and made it to his feet. Heat flushed his cheeks. At least the cold could explain that.
God, who knew it would be so slippery?
Bronson stood at the center of their circle. “Now, plant your poles by your sides and slide your skis back and forth.”
JJ planted. He slid one ski, the other, back to the first. OK. Working. One more slide. He slipped, caught himself with the pole, and stayed upright. Yes. He glanced at Ryan who was following the directions too, with perfect balance and symmetry. Ryan gave JJ a smile.
Bronson held up a hand. “Good, everyone. Now, we’ll cover some ground. Put your hands through the pole straps.”
JJ did it but he felt wobbly. That must be normal.
“Now plant your left pole and slide your right ski forward.”
JJ followed direction.
“Now plant your right pole and slide your left ski.”
Wow. He did it. Maybe he could make it on those trails after all.
“Keep doing that, everyone. Good. See, you’re skiing.”
Cool. Yes, he was skiing. Left. Right. In front of him, a little dip in the snow curved downward. In his boots, it wouldn’t have been noticeable, but suddenly he was sliding. Sliding without trying. His arms came up like a helicopter, poles flying. Vaguely, he saw Michele duck as his skis flew out from under him. It felt like he actually rose in the air, suspended for a second, and slammed onto the snow on his ass. His head flew back and smacked hard, throwing ice up into his eyes. Ouch. Shit that hurt.
“JJ, are you OK?” Ryan sounded really worried. JJ must look bad. Damn. He’d like to cry. Probably not a wise decision.
He tried to smile. “I’m fine. Just clumsy.” He looked down and found one ski lying beside his leg and the other crossed over his thigh. What a mess. Dying sounded good. Or sinking into the snow.
Bronson stared down at him, hands on his hips. “Okey dokey. Let’s get organized.”
Find Tara here:
What an awesome interview and excerpt, Tara! Thanks so much for joining us today.
Have a wonderful weekend, all!
Hot Contemporary Romance
Edgy ~ Emotional ~ Erotic
Hot Contemporary Romance
Edgy ~ Emotional ~ Erotic