Today I'm interviewing Helen Hardt, who has been a very busy lady this last year with several releases from The Wild Rose Press, and an upcoming release from Ellora's Cave. Today we're chatting about Thai'd Up, the fabulously titled Scarlet Rose Destination Pleasure which is scorching up the bestseller charts!
Helen it's great to have you back on my blog. Can you tell us whether being published is how you imagined it would be? Given the chance, are there things you'd do differently?
Here's the weird thing -- I don't feel much different at all, LOL. I'm still learning. I'm stilling finding stuff in my work that makes me say "I can't believe I did that!" I don't think a writer is ever 100% satisfied with her work. I know I'm not. I started out with a small press, The Wild Rose Press. I have six contracts with them, and no, I don't think I'd do anything differently. My success there gave me the courage to submit to Ellora's Cave, and I now have a contract there, which is exciting. I'm still holding out for New York with my longer works. But honestly, I've only submitted a few times. At my first writers' conference, key note speaker Susan Wiggs said she stopped counting rejections at 140! I'm not sure I've even gotten fifteen yet. So I need to bite the bullet, grow that thick rhino skin (I'm the biggest thin-skinned wuss you'd ever want to meet, LOL) and SUBMIT.
I know what you mean about a writer never being 100% satisfied with her own work! Do you write every day? Do you give yourself daily/weekly goals?
With all the other stuff I do, I found myself putting my own writing on the back burner. In May, some friends and I challenged ourselves to write everyday. I personally decided to do it in the morning, before emails, blogs, etc., with a goal of at least 1K. It has worked well, and I wrote over 26K last month. I'm continuing this month.
I'm terrible at procrastinating on the Internet! Now to your writing process. Would you say you're a panster or plotter?
Such a pantser! Though for my recent western historical novella, The Outlaw's Angel, I wrote a synopsis first because the submissions call required it. Do you know something? I love writing from a synopsis! I actually know where I'm going! It certainly gives writer's block the boot. Of course, then you have to write a synopsis, LOL, which I normally don't do until a project is complete.
When I get stuck and I need to brainstorm, I use the W plot method, which you can find at my friend Karen Docter's website: www.karendocter.com. It's a plotting technique for pantsers .
What keeps you motivated when the writing gets tough?
Tough question! Friends who understand. A wonderful husband who thinks I'm the world's greatest writer . He always makes me feel better about myself when I get a rejection.
Supportive hubbies are the best! Is there any advice or light bulb moment you'd like to share about getting/being published?
Don't stop writing! Once you're published, all of a sudden there are loops, blogs, promotion. Your time can easily get eaten up. Always put family first, then writing, then the rest of the stuff.
That's great advice. Do you have critique partners (CPs)? If so can you tell us how you met up and your process?
Yes. I have five CPs altogether. Three of them are local, and we blog together at The Colorado Vixens (www.coloradovixens.blogspot.com.) I met Tricia Leigh Wood first. We joined Colorado Romance Writers at the same time. Then we hooked up with Monica Kaye a few months later. A few months after that, Viola Estrella joined us. We meet and exchange pages every two weeks. We all have different strengths, so our sessions are always helpful.
I also have two online CPs who I met through freelance editing -- Cari Quinn and Paty Jager. Cari is a huge help with my erotic romance, and Paty with my historicals. Paty and I exchange weekly and Cari and I every two weeks. It all works well!
I love my CPs too! Tell us about your latest release. What can we expect?
Thai'd Up is my latest erotic romance and is available at The Wild Rose Press, Wilder Roses. Here's a blurb and excerpt (R):
Visiting Bangkok to do an interview for her employer, Heidi Clarke is intrigued by the wild and raucous nightlife. When a handsome and engaging stranger, dressed as the Phantom of the Opera, offers to escort her into a BDSM club, she's too curious to refuse. As the man behind the mask introduces Heidi to new and exciting pleasures of the flesh, she can't help but wonder who he is. Or if she really wants to know.
“I know how to keep my submissive safe. And I know what will feel good to you. Trust me.” His velvet voice slid over her, caressing her with its whiskey-like smoothness.
Trust him? Should she surrender to his power over her? God, she wanted to. He wouldn’t hurt her. She was positive. It was in his voice. In the way he looked at her. The way he kissed her. Her pussy still pulsed from her orgasm. She wanted more. Taking a deep breath, she turned over onto her stomach.
“Your skin is the color of moonlight.” His fingers trailed down her spine over the small of her back to her bottom. He squeezed the taut flesh. “Such a beautiful ass.” He pressed a finger to her anus. “Tell me, teerak, has anyone ever fucked you here?”
“Would you like me to be the first?”
“I...I don’t know.” Anal sex? She had never considered it. Ever. Hadn’t given it a thought. So why was the image of him pounding into her dark tunnel making her so hot she couldn’t see straight?
“I’d love to take you there.” He smoothed his finger along the crease of her cheeks. “So lovely.” He sighed. “But for now, I have a promise to keep. Put your hands above your head and grab the bars in the headboard.
Heidi complied, her body quivering in anticipation. A soft whispery caress fluttered across her back.
“Silk, my angel.” He bound one wrist to the bars of the headboard, then the other. “Now get on your knees.”
She tucked her knees forward, her head buried in a silky black pillow. Another feathery caress flowed over the cheeks of her ass.
“Will you trust me, teerak?” Phantom’s breath puffed against her hips.
“Yes.” Tingling sparks threaded through her body. “I trust you.”
Catch up with Helen over at her blog and website