Today I’m touring a wonderful author from Down Under–from Australia, to be precise. I’ll try not to hold that against her! Denise Rossetti writes wonderful intense romances, usually with a fantasy element. I’ve read most of her books to date, and I’m definitely looking forward to some free time to devote to Strongman.
Brokeback with a Happy Ending
When the credits rolled up for Brokeback Mountain were you in tears? Denise Rossetti was.
Then she got mad – two souls who were destined to be together, so much love, so totally wasted. All because of the society those men lived in. But what if a similar situation occurred in another place, at another time? In a world Rossetti knew well? Her writer’s brain started churning…
Enter Stage Center - Fortitude McLaren, a hard-bitten mercenary who’s had a gutful of mud and blood and death. Brought up in the bigoted society of the Straight Church on the fantasy world of Phoenix.
Enter Stage left - Griff, acrobat and knife-thrower, lithe and athletic, a man with a gift for friendship, for caring.
Put the players together and you get something like this…
When Fortitude McLaren joins the Ten Nations Fair as a roustabout, he’s shocked and angered by his hunger for Griff, a circus performer. Fort regards manlove with indifference and contempt.
Not for him. Never for him.
Although Fort fights with everything in him, Griff affects him like no one else. It’s not just his strong, supple body, the big mercenary is irresistibly drawn by the openhearted friendship the other man offers so freely.
Fort may have found a friend, but the cruel memories of his childhood are the greatest enemy of all. When a job for Jan the Aetherii puts Griff in danger, Fort discovers what’s really at risk—everything he is and everything he’s ever believed in. To save Griff’s life and preserve his own sanity, Fort must not only fight the battle in his soul, he must win it.
Book 3 in the Phoenix Rising series
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre : Male/Male / Fantasy
Book Length: Novel
Release Date: 21 March 2008
For an excerpt
Denise Rossetti’s website
Under and Over, Denise Rossetti’s blog
Denise Rossetti’s MySpace
About Denise Rossetti
When Denise Rossetti was very young, she had an aunt who would tell her the most wonderful fairy stories — all completely original. Denise grew up, as little girls do, but the love of stories has never left her.
These days, she lives in a comfortable, messy old house in the Australian suburbs and writes erotic fantasy and paranormal romance. Her work is intense, lyrical and excitingly different. One reviewer called it “erotically intelligent, intelligently erotic”.
Rossetti is currently published by Ellora’s Cave and Avon Red. THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW, the first book in her erotic fantasy quartet for Berkley Ace, will be released on 4th November 2008. She has also a story appearing in the Berkley Heat anthology, UNLACED (2nd December 2008), together with authors Jasmine Haynes, Jaci Burton and Joey W. Hill. She’s thinking of changing her name to Jenise to go with the flow.
Rossetti is small and noisy and dreadfully uncoordinated. She tends to wave her hands around a lot, which can be unfortunate if the tale she’s telling happens to have explosions in it!
I caught up with Denise and asked her a few questions about her writing:
What advice would you give to aspiring erotic romance writers?
Hoo boy! There’s SO MUCH advice out there - and really, I shouldn’t add to it! But I guess I do have a couple of observations to make, can’t help myself. *sigh*
The first is that if you want to write erotic romance, you must be a WRITER, first and foremost. If you don’t get that right, not all the graphic sex scenes in the world will save you. The second is that you need to be completely at ease with whatever sex you’re writing. If you’re out of your comfort zone it will show. There’s a whole lot more in an article I wrote called Some Write it Hot: Musings and Myths about Erotic Romance http://www.romanceaustralia.com/arti...ti–erotica.htm
Back to being a WRITER. If you’re an aspiring author, take it or leave what I’m going to say, okay? Because if you take on board too many opinions and “systems” and bloody RULES, you’ll end up second-guessing yourself - every word, every phrase. I really abhor “how to write” books, even though many of them are both logical and insightful. But that’s because my head doesn’t work that way. You do what’s best for you, right?
Always remember that reading is a totally subjective experience and so is writing. One person’s “desert island keeper” is another’s “wall-banger”. Therefore, it’s essential that you stay true to yourself, and to your “voice”. Your take on the world is unique, no one writes quite like you. Celebrate your voice!
I know it may be unPC to say this, but I actually believe in talent. Yes, OF COURSE, hard work and persistence is important and will help you to improve, but there’s a “spark” you have to have in the first place.
After that, the only way to learn to write is to write! There’s no more magic to it than that. So, for what it’s worth, here’s my advice -
3. Trust your gut.
4. Write some more
5. Read lots more
6. Then write more and more and more and…
See what I’m getting at? *smile* You need to write in order to gather enough experience to know what the “rules” are so you can break them. You need to be confident enough in your own voice that you can accept constructive criticism with genuine gratitude.
What do you wear while you’re writing?
Most of the time I just want to be comfortable, but every now and then, I’ll fish out my special purple dress. It’s one of those pseudo-medieval numbers, with long sleeves, a scoop neck and a floor length skirt. I like the way it swishes. And if I’m having an especially difficult time, I’ll throw a shawl over my shoulders. It’s really a delicate, open-work baby blanket my grandmother knitted for me a very, VERY long time ago. *smile* It always reassures me that I’m loved and that I can do this.
If you could sit down with any of your characters for lunch, which would it be and why?
I guess you could be expecting someone quite different, but Trey (GIFT OF THE GODDESS) would be my first choice. I love all my men – heck, if I didn’t, you wouldn’t either – but I purely adore Trey. Always have. There’s something about him that just does it for me – the cheeky charm and quick wit, coupled with the absolute loyalty and commitment to those he loves. He’s so centred, so grounded. Then there’s what Anje thinks of as “his slim red-gold beauty”. But he’s all man and all warrior too.
Next would be Fledge (TAILSPIN). I’ve always thought how much I’d like to sit down and just talk with her over a coffee, listen to the stories she tells. It would be an honour to be considered her friend.
And Griff (STRONGMAN). I suspect I’d enjoy Griff’s company enormously. I’d ask him to teach me how to juggle. Or maybe throw a knife.
Surprised? I’m not sure I’d know what to say to pure alpha men like Brin, Jan or Fort. That much testosterone at close quarters and it’s quite possible I’d pass out! Mind you, I’d be happy to simply sit and gaze at Mirry (TAILSPIN) while he read passages from his encyclopedia. You can see what happened when I got a trifle too ambitious during our interview. Wasn’t pretty.
Do you have a “secret or private” drawer, box, shelf, etc. And, if you do, name five things in it.
Brace yourself! I actually have a three drawer bedside table. Five things? Okaaay…
1. A set of Tarot cards. Sadly, I’m too left-brained to let go and be truly intuitive with the Tarot, but I’m totally fascinated by it. I do use the cards for meditation and visualisation, even for plotting sometimes! I love my Robin Wood deck, it’s so beautiful, so rich in Pagan symbolism. http://www.robinwood.com/Catalog/Boo...s/RWTDeck.html
2. Writing stuff - pens and pencils, notepads, USB drive, backup CDs (not paranoid at all, oh no), dictionary and a thesaurus. The thesaurus is the New Oxford and it’s so huge (weighs 5.5 lbs!) that when I heave it onto the bed, My Beloved refers to it as the “co-respondent”.
3. The “smellies” - an oil burner, tea light candles and essential oils. Also a cigarette lighter. (No, I don’t smoke.) I love bergamot and lavender and rose and add a bit of lemongrass for mental stimulation when I’m writing.
4. My “comfort/inspiration” books. I have to have my own, of course, because they’re so precious to me - I print out the ones that are still in ebook. But I also have “Menage” by Emma Holly and “Natural Law” by Joey W. Hill, plus the occasional Georgette Heyer or whatever else I’m reading at the moment. Not that I have much time to read any more. *very deep sigh*
5. Music stuff - the radio/CD/Cassette player and CDs. Plus the remote control. Very handy.
6. The TMI things. You know what they are, because you have them too. And that’s all I’m going to say! *wicked grin* Oh, and spare batteries.
Hmm, that’s more than five, but hey, I have three drawers!
If you could be any animal for just a day, which one would you choose and why?
Hmm, that’s difficult. A pampered house cat? But then I’d have to be neutered. Nuh-uh!
I love tigers. To me they’re a symbol of all that is beautiful and fierce and wild. I love the power of a paw the size of a dinner plate. But the thought of living like a tiger? They’re such loners, which isn’t really me. I need regular cuddles! So, maybe not a tiger…
On the whole, I think I’d love to be a bird for the day, a powerful raptor with keen eyesight and long strong wings. A wedge-tailed eagle would do it. I saw one in the bush once, perched on a dead calf and its wingspan more than covered the poor little animal from nose to tail. Wow! I’d spend the day drifting on the thermals, feeling the wind under my wings, watching everything happening so far below, every tiny detail so clear. And I wouldn’t perch on any dead beasties.
I’ve always wanted to be able to fly. I can imagine so clearly stepping forward off a cliff or a building and taking smoothly to the air. Easy peasy. What a fabulous gift!
Guess you can see why I love Mirry and Jan (TAILSPIN) so much and why they’re so real to me!
Thanks, Denise! It was so much fun having you visit. All the best with Strongman. As I said, I can’t wait to read it.