View Full Version : Gianna's Spotlight Day

June 21st, 2010, 10:24 PM
Supernatural horror writer (and super nice guy) Andrew Richardson has agreed hang out with me on my spotlight day (and he's bringing some prizes). His novels are heavily based on Celtic legend and lore. His latest short is a fantastic piece of women's fiction.

I've been collaborating with Andrew for years now, and he writes the best love scenes (erotic and otherwise) all from the female point of view. We're going to be chatting about that, how a horror writer gets into erotic romance, how a gal from NYC (via New England) and a guy from UK became friends, and other interesting topics.

We'll have prizes, previews of things we're working on, and just be dropping in and out to "chat." I've invited some of the other Eternal Press Authors and I'm sure a few will be checking in as well.

More information about Hot Chocolate Kiss is available on my blog http://giannabruno.blogspot.com or my website http://giannabruno.com

If you'd like to see a bit more of Andrew's work check out his blog.


If you have any burning questions, please feel free to jump in early! I'll be watching.




June 27th, 2010, 11:59 AM
Hi Gianna,
Love your name.
How exciting it sounds. I'll definitely be back tomorrow for your Jubilee day. Looking forward to meeting Andrew as well.:Jumble:
Carol L.

June 27th, 2010, 02:19 PM
Why, thanks. Named after my dad, Gianni. Italian for John. I'll be thrilled to "see" you all on Monday.

June 27th, 2010, 04:29 PM
bhowdysmilie.gif Hiya Gianna & Andrew,

I had just popped in to both of your blogs (signed your guestbook too, Gianna). The Hot Chocolate Kiss character interview was great. I love when the characters get interviewed because then you get to see a different side to them versus the one you read about in the book. I think they are a little more candid too ;) The cover is great also. You know another cover that really caught my attention was the one for The Shoot. I think I was expecting something about guns with that one until I read the synopsis and then I understood. :)

Gianna you've already brought up some interesting topics in your first post that I would love to know more about, but I guess I will just have to wait until tomorrow to find out more :biggrin:

June 28th, 2010, 07:42 AM
Welcome to my spotlight day on Coffee Time Romances. FunnyTongueSmilie Many thanks to Karenne, Dani and all the other behind the scenes folks for all their hard work in getting the forums up and running and keeping things moving. I've enjoyed the special interest forums and the "chats" with folks about their preferences on story lengths.
I'm from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><ST1:pNew York City</ST1:pl</st1:City>where it's a 3 H day: Hazy, hot, and humid. 95ºF. It's been like this for over a week---more like August than the end of June. The other day, we had a freakin' tornado that came across Long Island Sound from <st1:State w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Connecticut</ST1:place></st1:State> and took out two major commuter lines. I was caught in the mayhem in Pennsylvania Station, needing to descend into the subways (not a great place to be in the summer) and bus it home—along with thousands of other stranded commuters. Not fun. And they still claim global warming is a hoax. But I digress.
So, I'm a dancer and used to the spotlight. But this is a bit different. No stage makeup, pretty costumes. No dashing partner to keep me from falling flat on my butt. No corps around me to distract the audience.
Wait! Some of the other EP authors might stop by. And Andrew Richardson will be checking in soon. We've never met in person. He lives in the <st1:country-region w:st="on">UK</st1:country-region> and I in the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:pUS</ST1:p</st1:country-region>. But I was hooked on his writing the first time I read it. Granted, horror is not my fave and some of his scenes give me nightmares. But his writing is evocative, his protagonists are almost always female, and he writes love scenes so sensual you'll check twice to be sure the name isn't Andrea.
We've traded many a manuscript and I've found Andrew to be really helpful when I do get it wrong. To be fair, most of our critiques aren't about sex scenes. They involve other aspects of writing which readers would find most boring: structure, plotting, nuances of voice and tone. But since we're talking romance and erotica, lets stick to the sex.
I think any writer can do a pretty good job with love scenes. Most authors report the discomfort is writing them at all. Maybe it's natural to feel like if you're writing something, it means you're doing it—or at least that everyone will think so. I've been reading romance all my life, and writing it for a while, so I got over that really quickly. But when I ventured into erotica, particularly stories that had BDSM or other kinky content, I was a bit cautious.

Once authors overcome that and convince themselves that scene must be in the story, it usually works. With an occasional gaffe, of course. Which is why having a crit partner of the opposite sex, or GLBT in the case of same sex love scenes, is so important.
Men and women experience sex differently and have a different vocabulary, tastes, responses. Like learning a foreign language, understanding that might take a bit of doing, but it can be done.
Why do most writers get it right? I conjecture that most of us are or have been in enough intimate relationships ( I mean a committed, loving relationship not just sex) to appreciate the bond between partners often transcends words. I mean those moments where you just know what your partner wants, is thinking, wishing. Those moments when it's just perfect and the union isn't just physical.

So, that should get the discussion going. I'm going to merge all the previous spotlight threads into this one (at least I'm going to try) to keep it simple. Feel free to jump in, tell us where you're from and what you like to read/write. A few of you had questions; please ask.:theman:

June 28th, 2010, 10:49 AM
Boy, am I buzzed. Too much coffee. Flying the broom around to get errands done. I'll be out for a while picking my daughter up from her last day of school and attending an end of the year party with a whole class of 7 year olds. In all this heat.

I'll be back later, anxious to sit in front of my computer, do some writing, and chatting with all of you. In the air conditioning.

Alice Gaines
June 28th, 2010, 01:58 PM
Hot Chocolate Kiss is hot! Just as luscious as the title would suggest. Here's hoping we get to read The Journey soon.

June 28th, 2010, 04:33 PM
Hi, Alice. Yes a Hot Chocolate Kiss is yummy. Cocoa, Tia Maria, Kahlua and whipped cream. Knocks you on your ass.

I think I'll post a little bit of The Journey later. A publisher has it and I'm trying to be patient but......

BTW, folks, Alice has a wonderful new novel out: Miss Foster's Folly (Carina Press). Victorian hysterical, I call it. Talk about great sex scenes from the male point of view!

June 28th, 2010, 04:36 PM
Okay, back from the party. My kid is overheated, oversugared, over wrought...

It's cool inside though.

Andrew Richardson is having trouble getting into the forum. Here's his message. I'm going to send him an invite so perhaps he will be able to join us later.

If not, he's given me two PDF's of The Wood and The Shoot to give away as prizes later. I also have excerpts and blurbs to post for him.

From Andrew:

Hello everyone; hello Gianna. I hope you’re enjoying your spotlight day.

I’ve known Gianna for several years, and benefited from a lot of astute critiques. It’s probably not exaggerating to say that my one venture so far into erotica wouldn’t have made it into print without Gianna’s input. (‘The Shoot’, a female/female novelette.)

I do prefer using female protragonists. I tried it once, with a horror short story that needed a female lead, and it seemed to work and suit my style, so I carried on with it. I don’t really like all action heroes like Rambo or Indiana Jones, and I think a female character is more suited to the ‘softer’ lead roles I prefer. (And I fully accept that that might be a sexist point.)

The love scenes of course proved an initial problem in using the female viewpoint - I was always going to be writing them a bit blind. I’ve always tried to get around it by focussing on other things, such as: what did she want to achieve from the sex? What attracted her to him (or her)? I also tried very hard to concentrate on her emotions instead of physical feelings.

June 28th, 2010, 05:22 PM
Gianna and Andrew,

Howdy!!! I'm glad that you could talk to us Gianna and i hope Andrew will make it. I have a question for you both, What "inspired" you both to start writing and for you 'what made you chose your specific genre..." and for Andrew 'what made him decide to use Celtic lore as an inspiration? I know it should be obvious witht the whole UK thing but I was just curious..."

June 28th, 2010, 06:21 PM
Andrew is still locked out. The problem has been fixed but it's well after midnight in the UK and he has to work tomorrow.

Here is Andrew's response:
I think I was inspired to write by reading ‘The Hobbit’. I loved the way Tolkien had the power to create a world and I think I wanted to do that. My own writing is much less ambitious than world creation, but I do like seeing something I’ve created come together (or, sadly, sometimes not come together…).

I chose horror because that’s always been my favourite genre as both a reader and watcher of films. I suppose there was the safety net of writing what I was most familiar with. And the Celtic lore? Yes, there’s a lot of inspiration here in the UK, and I love using atmospheric hillforts, legend-ridden forests, stone circles and the like that I’ve visited in my stories. I’m a history fanatic anyway, and again it’s a case of writing what I’m familiar with.

June 28th, 2010, 06:27 PM
I've always loved romance. And I've always loved the paranormal (yes, I believe). So blending the two were natural to me. And most of my writing is magical realist, so the situations are, well, realistic.

What got me writing?

I have always written nonfiction (freelance journalism) and articles. Fiction is so much more fun to write (but a lot harder to master).
I start with an idea, an experience, then let my fantasies take over.

For example, Hot Chocolate Kiss was "born" when I got caught in a severe mountaintop windstorm. As I battled down, I just knew I was going to write about it. Most of the other things in that story I also experienced (dense fog, hiking in the backcountry) so I had the setting. The plot developed from that.

Hope that answers your question.

I'll be back later with some excerpts for both Andrew and I. Stand by for the contest announcements.

June 28th, 2010, 07:08 PM
Excerpt: Hot Chocolate Kiss

I'm not sure of the heat rating allowed on these forums but here's an excerpt where Keela confronts the witches on steep isolated ski slopes.

She clicked in and headed towards Upper Outcast, which was more sheltered than The Witches or the double black diamond Stump Jumper. Catching air and landing on frozen feet and legs wasn't a good idea. A wipe out at high speed would scatter Burning Luv and ski poles in all directions. They'd find her in the spring.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
A huge black cloud swirled down from The Witches. The apparition of a hag, teeth bared, reached toward her with long black fingernails sharpened to points and wrapped a frigid cloak around Keela. The tiny strip of skin between her facemask and goggles seared, as the witch's claws scraped across her skin. The wind hissed a warning she heard inside her head, not her ears.<o:p></o:p>
"You said it, sister," Keela fought through the gust. "This pissy little mountain is going to give me a wild run today." <o:p></o:p>
She pointed her skis straight down the steep drop off onto Outcast. A shadowy figure blew up the mountain. Giant hands appeared, and two oversized white clown's gloves hit her in the chest. Frosty breath from a thin wrinkled male face with snowy hair streaming behind his head filled her nose and mouth. Ice crystals penetrated the neoprene mask like knives. Her teeth ached as she chewed and swallowed. Blood dripped out of her nose and froze in a decorative pattern on her sleeves. Her head threatened to explode.<o:p></o:p>
Keela gasped for breath. Her vision blurred. The skis stopped, even though they were directly in the fall line. <o:p></o:p>
A gale howled in her ears. "FFFFFFFoolish humannnnnnns!"<o:p></o:p>
What the fuck was that? Keela dropped into a crouch low enough to wrap her arms around her knees. She slipped out of its grip, pushed as hard as she could with her poles, and sank into a downhiller's tuck. <o:p></o:p>
If she let fear take over, she'd never get out of this. Keela channeled it into the skis and let them run scared down the mountain. <o:p></o:p>
A snow tornado ripped the poles out of her hands. Still secured by the wrist straps, they battered her on the head like a mad old lady hitting a mugger with a pocketbook. <o:p></o:p>
The pinging on the helmet reverberated like corn popping. Keela pulled off her gloves and released the wrist straps. The poles flew through the air like javelins, landing god only knows where, taking her gloves with them. Her hands went numb immediately inside the pitiful thin liners.<o:p></o:p>
Stunned by the blows to the chest and head, her nose bleeding, Keela kept her crouch and struggled to maintain balance without poles. Her legs ached from the effort of keeping herself upright.<o:p></o:p>
"SSSSSSStill SSSSSSStanding?" Another figure whizzed at her sideways, <o:p></o:p>
and its arms encircled her. This apparition was a beautiful, high cheekboned female with skin so white it blurred into the background. Feline gray eyes narrowed, black lips pursed and blasted cold air around Keela's face and neck. The mask peeled off. Her helmet strained against its chin strap. <o:p></o:p>
Keela couldn't see with her goggles askew and frosted over. She came out of the crouch and slowed so quickly her heels lifted up in the tight boots. Her legs threatened to snap off at the shins.<o:p></o:p>
"Let me go!" She struggled with the figure holding her in an icy grip. The moldy taste of a damp underground cavern filled her mouth.<o:p></o:p>
"Nooooooo! You were warned to sssttaay away," it whined. <o:p></o:p>
The distinct sounds of the three specters mingled into an eerie symphony. The old man and hag joined their counterpart to form a wall in front of her. Their oversized hands linked and blocked Keela's passage. <o:p></o:p>
Survival instinct kicked in, and she edged hard to the right. The skis responded, turned, and the beautiful witch's grip loosened. <o:p></o:p>
"Show me your stuff, Burning Luv." Keela edged sharply to the left and ducked under them. Once past the witches, she crouched as low as she could to avoid another death hug. <o:p></o:p>
She hit a flat area and slowed, ripped off the now useless goggles, and tossed them aside. Skating without poles required the last reserve of energy to outrun the three voices whistling behind her. <o:p></o:p>

June 28th, 2010, 07:40 PM
An Excerpt of The Shoot by Andrew Richardson

Andrew is likely fast asleep now. He was very disappointed at not being able to be here in person. For lot's more about his writing, mostly supernatural horror heavily based on Celtic legend, please visit his blog at http://andrewjrichardson.blogspot.com

I've chosen to post something from The Shoot because this incredible piece of contemporary GLBT women's fiction captures the essence of female friendship and the anguish of a woman struggling with her sexual identity. And it fits with my theme of writers who can are able to nail the point of view of the opposite sex, even in the most erotic love scenes. And Andrew did this long before we "chatted" about the story and discussed ways to draw the scenes out a bit more.

The blurb:

Kath Mahoney only attends her friend’s first glamour photo shoot because Pippa needs someone to drive her there. Kath expects to find the day boring, but her interest is stirred when the photographer, Rob, turns out to be a sexy, blonde, former glamour model called Robyn.

Kath allows herself to be talked into posing with Pippa. She warms to the sexy poses, and enjoys the photographer’s attention. When Robyn invites Kath back for a solo shoot, Pippa is crushed. Even before Kath steps into the studio, though, Kath suspects that neither she nor Robyn will be particularly interested in taking photographs.

The excerpt:

And how about you?” Robyn asked.

Kath’s brows rose. “Me?”

“Well, it’s just as easy to take pictures of two as it is of one. And if she’s with someone she knows, it might ensure that your friend—Philippa, isn’t it?—is totally relaxed.”

“I haven’t got anything to wear.” Kath pointed to her casual clothes. “It’s hardly modelling material.”

“Don’t worry about that. I’ve got a wardrobe through there. You can choose whatever you like.” Robyn nodded toward the door Pippa had disappeared through. “Have you ever been photographed before?”

“Not since I was a kid. Mum hired someone every year so she’d have a picture of me and my sister to send to relatives at Christmas.”

Robyn regarded her. “You’re a gorgeous girl, Kath. I’m pretty sure you’d be really photogenic. I’d really encourage you to give it a go.”

Kath’s cheeks warmed. “I want to be an archaeologist, not a model,” she said. She pushed her hair behind an ear in an embarrassed gesture, but agreed to pose. She followed Pippa into the changing room.

She told me I was gorgeous. A smile curled Kath’s lips.


June 28th, 2010, 07:56 PM
Miss Foster's Folly by Alice Gaines (Carina Press)

Erotic Victorian Hysterical

Here is my review on Goodreads (click the icon on my blog).

Alice also does a wonderful job of writing sex scenes from the male point of view. Derrington is delightful, and this story is Victorian hysterical.

If you've never read anything by Alice Gaines, this is a great place to start. Miss Foster's Folly is a humorous Victiorian romance which deserves the five star reviews it's garnered. You won't feel the heat from the five flame rating because the writing is so smooth and the story so sweet.<O:p</O:p

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><ST1:pManhattan</ST1:p</st1:City> 1886<O:p

Juliet Foster has just become the wealthiest spinster in town. Her domineering and thoroughly unpleasant father has died and left her millions. She's free to be her own woman and seek a life of adventure. <O:p
David Winslow, Marquess of Derrington, is in search of a wife who can break the Winslow Curse. Every second-generation heir inherits a restless, defiant nature that can only be tamed by a mate as independent and rebellious as himself.
Miss Juliet Foster is perfect and eager for seduction. But when he wants more than a few nights of passion, Juliet runs like the devil's on her heels. Can the marquess convince her that marriage isn't a trap, but the greatest freedom of all?

And so begins Miss Foster's Folly: a rolicking trip accross the <ST1:pAtlantic</ST1:place through the English countryside. Along the way, the reader meets a gaggle of quirky noblemen and women, including David's grandmother, Lady Harriet Winslow, the Dowager Marchioness of Derrington who redefines the meaning of a little old lady.<O:p

June 28th, 2010, 09:16 PM
Let's keep this simple.

The first person to leave a comment on my latest blog post wins a PDF of Hot Chocolate Kiss.


The first person to leave a comment on Andrew's blog wins a PDF copy of The Shoot.


You may enter both but we reserve the right to award one prize per person (we'll ask your preference).

June 28th, 2010, 09:37 PM
Time to call it a night.

Contests are posted. Excerts are up. Preview of my latest story is on a new thread.

It was great being in the spotlight today and I will be checking in frequently over the next few days. Feel free to continue the discussions and ask questions.

Keep in touch!

June 28th, 2010, 09:45 PM
http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/../images/bhowdysmilie.gif Hiya Gianna & Andrew,

It sounds like I have some catching up to do today with those excerpts that were posted :), so I will have to do some back tracking, but it looks like Andrew wasn't able to make it. I don't know if you have already posted about this but how did you and Andrew meet?
I have also posted on your both of your blogs.

June 28th, 2010, 10:56 PM
Saying hello. Happy June Jubilee day!
Sue B

June 28th, 2010, 11:32 PM
Well I posted but unfortuntly I didn't make it there 1st, I love the exerpt & thank you both for awnsering my questions!!!!:balloon:

Andrew Richardson
June 29th, 2010, 03:09 AM
I'm sorry I couldn't join in the fun last night, but thank you to all who turned up and left a comment on my blog. I'm sure Gianna will find worthy winners!

June 29th, 2010, 06:23 AM
Contest winners will be announced tonight. I'm off to work and am blocked from blogs (imagine that!). It's more complicated than it appears to sort these things out. Sorry!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by. Please keep in touch. I'll maintain a presence here and don't forget to sign on to my twitter. I don't send dozens of messages a day--just the facts ma'am.

June 29th, 2010, 07:06 AM
Well better late then never. Sorry I missed it and sorry to see Andrew was blocked. I enjoyed all the excerpts Gianna. More for my TRL.

June 29th, 2010, 07:09 AM
Sorry, for some reason I was unable to finish the rest of my post. I just wanted to add that it was a pleasure meeting you Gianna and Andrew. Hope your Jubilee day was fun and interesting.:flowers:
Carol L.

June 29th, 2010, 07:32 AM
Just came from checking out you and Andrew"s blogs. And friended you on Good reads.Enjoyed meeting you Gianna and being introduced to Andrew.
Carol L.

June 29th, 2010, 05:02 PM
Yadkny, let us know what you think of the excerpts. Do they make you want to read more? It's always hard to know what to post without giving the stories away. Hot Chocolate Kiss and The Shoot are very short.

Andrew and I "met" on an online crit group about five years ago. I read some of his novel (his stuff is really scary but I can't stop even though I know I should) and loved his use of legend and lore. The Shoot is a major exception, but almost everything else he does uses that for a base.

We've become very good crit partners. Our styles are just different enough that we don't clash (never), but we're both open minded enough to understand what the other is trying to do.

June 29th, 2010, 05:22 PM
JUst wanted to say hello to Andrew too. Nice to meet both of you. I love finding new authors and books. :flowers:

June 29th, 2010, 05:42 PM
The excerpts were great and definitely left me wanting to read more.
That's great that you both of have eachother for crit partners, it must make things a little easier knowing that you have someone that will be honest about your work because they are depending on the same thing from you.
Thanx for answering my question.

Any plans to visit eachother in person? That would be fun :) Or you could do something like off of the movie The Holiday and trade houses for a different vacation experience.

June 29th, 2010, 05:45 PM
Thanks, Katsrus.

It's really nice to be able to interact with readers. This is a lonely profession, and when you interact with editors and other authors, they're just telling you what's wrong and what has to be fixed! smilies/079.gif

Necessary to keep the quality high but once that's done, it's time to party.:clap:

June 29th, 2010, 06:07 PM
:clap:Yaaa did someone say 'Party"!!!

June 29th, 2010, 06:07 PM
I'm planning to go to England to do some research for a new novel I'm writing and hope to be able to meet up with Andrew.

June 29th, 2010, 06:29 PM
That would be fun... I've always wanted to go there but it is soooo expensive!!!

Andrew Richardson
June 30th, 2010, 02:15 PM
That would be fun... I've always wanted to go there but it is soooo expensive!!!

You want to try living here...:mad:

We're hoping to get to N America to visit relatives some time, and it would be great to drop in on Gianna too.

June 30th, 2010, 03:53 PM
You want to try living here...:mad:

We're hoping to get to N America to visit relatives some time, and it would be great to drop in on Gianna too.

I've heard that... It is hard to imagine with how prices are here and our economy... but I think "HOPE, PLEAD, PRAY" that things will start looking upBeggin' Smilie