A very good morning to everyone today! How was your Monday? Mine was like living in the twilight zone only the theme song has followed me into the next day. I swear I thought coffee cured all illnesses but 'frazzled-ness' is holding its own against the onslaught of caffeine! Thank goodness I get to spend some time here with my friends today!
I have the privilege this morning to introduce a debut author and friend that I admire. She has proven that determination can make a dream come true! Please help me welcome debut Author Roz Lee to Bookin' It!
Good Morning Roz!!! I am so excited to have you here today, welcome!
Hi Talina!! Thanks so much for having me over today. As a writer, I don’t get out much, so this is a real treat for me. I know you understand, so quiz away.
Oh, gosh don't I ever, Roz! *passes and nice hot cocoa to Roz and all the visitors* yumm! Comfortable everyone? Okay, lets get started...
1) So, Roz, give us a glimpse into your world? What is it like to be Roz Lee?
Honestly, I feel a bit like Cinderella at the ball right now. First, there was the long period of working and trying to please the ugly step-family (agents and publishers). Then along came my fairy godmothers (the lovely women at Red Sage Publishing) who recognized all my years of toil, dressed me up in a fabulous cover, and gave me a ticket to the ball. Luckily, no mice were involved in the process!
I’m still at the ball, enjoying every minute of being the new girl in the pretty dress, for as long as it lasts. Like all writers, I know the clock will strike midnight, and I’ll be back in the real world, waiting for Prince Bestseller to find me and sweep me away to a life of fame and fortune!
Okay, I know that’s a bit dramatic, but I can dream, can’t I?
Talina ~ Dreams were made to come true, right!
2) Okay, here's a challenge for you. In one sentence, describe your voice.
You should know better than to challenge a writer to say anything in one sentence! I’ll take pity on you and try to make it short.
I’d say I write like those little red-hot candies - sweet, but spicy.
Talina ~ LOL...oh, I will forever have the taste of those little candies in my mouth when I read your books! ;-)
3) Tell us a bit about your story to becoming a published author.
I didn’t start out to be a writer. I’d never given it a thought actually, until one day my daughters pointed out that I’d read so many romance novels that I could probably write one. Yeah, it’s cliché, but that’s the way it happened. Like everyone else, I’d read a few that had me thinking I could do better, so I gave it a try. It took me several years to complete my first novel, and let me tell you, you will never see it in print!
My family encouraged me to try again, and I did. Again, and again, and again. I studied the craft, attended conferences where I learned from some really fabulous people, and I wrote. Each manuscript was better than the one before, and after a few years, I thought maybe I did have something marketable. I queried and submitted, and continued to write new material. Then I pitched The Lust Boat to my fairy godmother at the RWA National Conference, and now I’m dancing at the ball.
The short version of that story – I worked hard, and then I got lucky!
4) From Novice Author to Debut Author: Do you have any insight to share? Have there been any misconceptions of the publishing world debunked after crossing over to the land of published author?
Insight? Hmm… I think everyone is aware that the publishing world is in the midst of big, sweeping changes. The explosion of e-book sales has altered the playing field for all of us, and no one seems to know exactly where the industry is heading. I’m extremely happy to be debuting as an e-book author. Digital publishing is the future, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the process.
Does that answer your question? Sorry, I think I got a little off topic there!
5) What's the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome in your writing/career?
I know people are going to throw rotten tomatoes at me for this one, but I can’t think of a single thing. My family has done nothing but support me in my endeavors. When writing was nothing more than a hobby, they smiled and told me to have fun. When I decided to pursue publication, they encouraged me every step of the way. They celebrated every request from an agent or publisher, and they encouraged me when the rejections followed. I couldn’t have done it without my husband and daughters. They believed I could do it, even when I didn't.
Talina ~ A true blessing, Roz!
6) In your opinion, what are the key elements a romance novel needs to possess? How do you ensure they've been included in your books?
Every good romance needs a bit of strife. Even in real life, the road to true love is paved with cobblestones. Characters, like real people, have flaws, and to recognize those flaws and love anyway, well, that’s romance.
No one wants to read about two perfect people who fall in to perfect love and live the perfect life. It isn’t realistic, and it would be boring as all get out. So, I try to make my characters real people. Sure, my heroes may be rich and sinfully handsome, but like real men, they still do irritating things, and have a few insecurities that only my heroines can fix!
7) Give us a sneak peek into your writing habits. How do you structure your writing? Do you outline or wing it or a little of both?
I’d call myself a planster. Part plotter, part panster. I start out with a rough outline of the story, basically a beginning, a middle and an end, then I sit down at the computer and try to fill it all in from there. I usually have a good idea who my characters are before I begin, and I do keep a chart with their characteristics so I don’t mess up.
I’ve tried a more structured path, but my characters tend to evolve as I write. I found it too frustrating, trying to force them to walk the pre-prescribed path, so I quit doing it. Writing is difficult enough without arguing with the characters too!
8) What is one quirky habit you have before or during writing that helps you get out the word count?
I’m not sure it counts as quirky, but I listen to ‘70’s music while I write. Okay, that’s quirky, I admit it.
Talina ~ Nooo.....now I can't get the theme song of That's 70's Show out of my head. Just kidding ;-)
9) What is one thing you can share today to help gear the novice writer towards becoming a published author?
I'm fond of this saying - you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. You won't be published if you don't write.
If you want to win the lottery, chances are you're going to have to buy more than one ticket, over an extended period of time. Just because your first manuscript didn't win the prize isn't a reason to stop trying.
Don't play the same numbers every time. this may work for the actual lottery, but if you keep writing the same story over and over, you're less likely to win the publishing lottery.
OOps! That was three things...
Talina ~ Honestly, that is the one of the best pieces of advice a novice or recently published writer could receive!
10) Please tell us about your upcoming debut release. When can we expect it out?
The Lust Boat is the first book in the series based on a fictional cruise ship, the Lothario. In the words of the Cruise Director, “The ship is designed to stimulate and facilitate sexual exploration and expression.” Be forewarned, this is not your grandparent’s cruise ship!
The Lust Boat will be available Jan. 1, 2011 from Red Sage Publishing. www.eredsage.com
Please, keep reading for a sweet taste of The Lust Boat. You can read more about Roz here: http://rozlee.net . While you're there, scroll down and watch her book trailer and snatch up her printable bookmark!
Roz has been married to her high school sweetheart for thirty-two years and is the proud mother of two grown daughters, both in grad school. She divides her time between her home in rural New Jersey, and Los Angeles, where her husband works. She’s never without her laptop and prefers to write with her Labrador Retriever, Betty Boop, by her side. Roz admits she’s addicted to Facebook, chocolate, and travel, not necessarily in that order.
When she’s not clicking the computer keys, she’s either on the road, looking for a new adventure or at the gym, where she claims some of her best ideas come to her while she’s on the elliptical. She confesses some of that has to do with the hot, sweaty men to be found there too, but don’t tell her husband. He thinks she goes there to stay in shape!
When her fiancé called off the wedding and told her he’d had better sex with a blow up doll, Candace traded in her honeymoon cruise for a week on the Lothario, the most notorious ship to ever sail the high seas. Little does she know that Ryan, the sexy passenger who offered to be her escort as she samples all the ship has to offer, is really Ryan Callahan, the ship’s playboy owner.
Ryan Callahan is single, rich, and considered quite the catch. Two years ago he and his business partner launched the Lothario, a floating den of iniquity where passengers can indulge their every sexual fantasy, but since the ship docked following its maiden cruise, Ryan has been so scarce he’s earned the nickname, Monk, until sweet, naïve Candace coaxes him out of his tower, heats his blood, and steals his heart. But will she still want him when she finds out who he really is?
And if that isn't enough of a tease for you, Ms. Roz Lee is sharing an excerpt with us today...!! ;-)
Ryan watched the monitor as the last few passengers came aboard. His friend and business partner, Richard Wolfe, greeted each one in person. Ryan left the task to Richard, preferring to run the business end of the cruise from his forward suite, one deck above the Bridge. He rarely left the luxury suite, preferring solitude to the bacchanal atmosphere of the lower decks.
Richard, however, loved the party scene. As acting Cruise Director he had his finger, or to be more accurate, his penis, in every aspect of the cruise. The crew and staff were well trained, leaving Richard plenty of time to screw his way through the clientele. Such behavior would be frowned upon on any other cruise ship, but aboard the Lothario it was considered good customer service, and by all accounts, Richard was up to the challenge. In the two years they had been in business, not one complaint had been lodged about the quality of Richard’s customer service.
“Hard to argue with success,” Ryan mumbled.
“What did you say?” Richard said into his headset.
“Nothing, just talking to myself,” Ryan answered. “How can we have over 2,500 guests and not an interesting one in the bunch?”
“You, my friend, need to get out of that tower of yours and walk among the living. We have 1,257 gorgeous women aboard this ship. And here comes number 1,258. Hello! Would you look at that?” His voice trailed off as Richard shifted his attention to the last passenger. Ryan glanced at the monitor. His head spun like a compass in the Bermuda Triangle. Botticelli would have loved those generous curves, the kind a man could hold onto, sink into. Soft auburn curls bounced over her shoulders and framed the face of an angel, a nervous angel, he surmised by the way she bit her lower lip and glanced over her shoulder as if contemplating her escape.
“Who is that?” he asked.
Richard took the angel’s hand and drew her closer to the security camera. “Hello. Welcome aboard the Lothario. I’m Richard, your Cruise Director. And you would be…?”
“Candace Williams.” She tugged on her hand, but Richard held fast.
“First names only, please. That is our one and only privacy rule onboard.”
“Oookaaay.” She looked like a rabbit caught in a trap as she once again tried to free her hand.
“Get your slimy hands off of her, Richard. You can have all the others,” Ryan growled into Richard’s ear. “This one is mine.”
Richard gave no indication he’d heard a word his partner had said. Instead, he drew Candace further on deck and tucked her hand up against his bare chest. “Anything you need just let me know. I am your servant to command,” he purred. Candace glanced over her shoulder again as the crew disassembled the gangway and stowed it for sailing. When she turned back to Richard and the camera above his shoulder, her full lips were drawn together in a thin line, her eyes wide, and her magnificent chest heaved. Nerves; maybe a touch of panic.
Ryan knew Richard was trying to annoy him. For two years, he’d tried every trick in the book to get him to take advantage of the veritable feast of female flesh offered up to them on every cruise. His first mistake had been showing interest in this one. He might as well have waved a red flag in front of a charging bull. By playing up to her, Richard insured Ryan would have no choice but to come down and rescue her from the clutches of his reprobate partner.
“May I see you to your cabin?”
Miss Candace Williams tugged on her hand again and this time Richard let it go. “No, thank you. I’m sure I can find it on my own.”
Her perfect ass wiggled out of sight, and Richard swung the security camera around to his face. “She’s a skittish thing; didn’t even want me to hold her hand. I might have to give her special attention, if you know what I mean. Bring her out of her shell so she can enjoy all the amenities onboard.”
“Stay the hell away from her.” Ryan broke the connection while his fingers flew across the keyboard. In a matter of seconds, he had Candace Williams’ information in front of him. She had a single cabin on the Aegean deck, forward. Age twenty-seven, five-six, heterosexual and she’d never been married. She’d booked her single ticket at the last minute, unusual, but not unheard of. A few more keystrokes brought her photo up on the big screen. He couldn’t say what it was about her; only that she wasn’t like their usual passengers. If he had to put a label on it, he would say she looked fresh, innocent perhaps.
He wondered if she knew what type of entertainment they offered on this cruise, or if she’d needed a place to go on the spur of the moment, and booked the Lothario without checking into the details. Whatever it was, Ryan was going to make it his job to find out. He needed to find a way to show her the various delights the ship had to offer without her knowing who he was. He knew from experience how his name and bank balance could change everything.
He took another look at the photo of Candace Williams. This woman was different. He knew it to the depths of his soul. Anticipation built inside him, and he smiled as he began to formulate a plan.
* * * *
Candace didn’t know what to expect, but when she stepped into her stateroom, she knew this wasn’t it. The wall above the bed depicted a peaceful scene of a seaside villa at sunset and the rest of the room resembled a Greek boudoir. Pillows in shades of cream and white, trimmed with gold Hellenic borders, covered the king-sized bed. A matching comforter added a luxurious touch. For a moment, Candace forgot all her qualms, and flopped on her back onto the billowing soft bed and looked straight up. “Oh. My. God.” A wide-eyed reflection of herself stared back at her from the mirrored ceiling.
She rose to a sitting position, grateful for the comfortable mattress. If she could get past seeing herself in bed, she would sleep well. Candace stared at the welcome basket on the built-in vanity. The elaborate arrangement, more than anything else, brought home the enormity of the mistake she’d made by letting her friends talk her into this cruise. She didn’t like to think of herself as a prude, but the array of sex toys and suggestive items in the basket, told her how naïve she was. She poked through the basket, afraid to touch the contents. A few, like the rubber penis, were self-explanatory, but Candace blushed as she read the instructions on the boxes. Clearly, there was a lot more to sex than she’d ever dreamed of. Among the toys, creams and oils were several books. Like most college co-eds, she’d explored the Kama sutra. The one in the basket was a modern version, complete with full-color photos that had more than her skin heating. Maybe it wasn’t too late to go ashore. She ran to the outside door and stepped onto the glass-enclosed balcony. Miami was nothing more than a speck on the horizon. The Lothario had sailed, and her ship was sunk. Somehow, she would have to figure out a way to make the most of the situation.
Thank you so much, Roz, for stopping in here and sharing your answers with us. Don't forget to pick up The Lust Boat as you ring in the new year on 1.1.11! Perfect timing if you ask me! ;-) And don't forget to stop by Roz's website for a printable bookmark - which Bookin' It had the honor of designing - and her book trailer!