Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Like a Virgin with SA Reid...

When S.A. Reid was like a virgin…

So…in honor of my first solo release coming out soon…I've decided to celebrate by talking to some very talented authors about their first solo release! *giggles* You see…it isn't all about me all the time…but I do love weaseling my way into the mix most of the time…hehe

Today I've got the wonderful S.A. Reid here sharing a few special moments and hopefully intimate details with me about her first official release…and oh boy was it a doozy…just about knocked her out *slaps hands over mouth and tries not to giggle*…I mean her book silly, Something Different—if I was talking about the other kind of release and said that…um…oh wow I would be bowing…*heads desk giggling*

And after I play with S.A.'s head and get all the secrets to come out…we get an irresistible taste of the real deal…*sighs dreamily*…I do love Wednesdays!

*pulls S.A. down on the very tiny love seat with me and shoulder bumps her* Hiya gorgeous…*pretty decent New Yorker accent* (I am from New England you know lol) How ya doin?
Thrilled to be here! You have so much energy – I love it!

*blushes* Now your first release *stifles giggles*—yeah I know, I never get tired of that—Something Different is just as it states…different, in an intriguing and real life sort of way. It doesn't follow the usual rules of a romance. Where did the idea for this book come from, was it something you had been dreaming up or did it come to you spur of the moment?
Over the summer of 2011, I wrote a rather dark love story called Protection. It’s about a young man unjustly sent to prison in 1930s London. The book includes some difficult scenes, including a rape and a disembowelment. After I finished it, my friends (those wonderful human beings known as beta readers) said, “It was great, but next time, don’t make us cry! Give us something different.”

So I thought about what would, in fact, constitute “different,” at least for me. I’ve written m/m for a long time (since I was a teenager, before the internet, when we used to photocopy stories and pass them around) but in contemporary stories I’ve usually followed certain conventions. For example:
·        The main character is always sexually confident and skilled from page 1.
·        There’s never any mention of STDs, much less a diagnosis.
·        Condom use is strictly observed on-page.
·        The main characters have clean hands. No adultery, no lies, no selfishness.

While I pondered this, a snippet from a British TV show came back to me. A shy, repressed looking man sat on a park bench. Along comes a gorgeous rent boy – fag in hand (as the Brits say) and seeking customers. Naturally, this being TV, the whole thing was a setup for murder. But I kept coming back to that initial scene. What if a shy, repressed man was approached by such a beautiful boy and decided to try something different for one night? And what if I wrote his story as honestly as possible?
Wow…I love how your brain works—and to take on such a hurtle and succeed so brilliantly!

I mentioned above that this is an intriguing and real life sort of read—I wasn't just spouting off words, you really do hit on subjects that are almost taboo in a romance…whether erotic or M/M, M/F…were these subjects hard for you to address? Were you worried about how the public would take to them?
That desire to be honest led to some really unusual twists and turns. Before I started writing full-time, I worked in the medical field. Let me assure you, a tremendous number of people in the western world are living with STDs, including herpes. It’s not a living nightmare, it’s just another health issue to manage. Yet people are still ashamed of it. So I thought it was important for a sex worker like James to grapple with the need to get tested.

Also, although it may not be politically correct in a work of fiction, sometimes committed couples make a mutual decision to give up the condoms, even when one carries a diagnosis. So I touched on that, too. As for the convention of “clean hands” – I let Michael do things I never thought I’d allow any character to do. He makes mistakes not because he’s cruel but because he’s human.

As for the question, was I worried about how the public would take Something Different – absolutely! I was even afraid of how my beta readers would take it. I never considered actually publishing it until one of my good friends, a very talented writer, announced she didn’t dare publish an absolutely brilliant novel. She was having a writer meltdown, convinced that if she put her work out there, she risked bad reviews and public criticism. So to prove to her that bad reviews and public criticism isn’t the end of the world, I published Something Different. And yes, I had to take my lumps. But in general it was a wonderful experience and I am very grateful to the readers who gave my book a try.

What made you choose to publish with Lyonnesse Publishing? Was it just luck? A stroke of fate? Did you search publishers to see which one would be the best fit?
Oh, Havan, I am one of those writers who’s been around the block but never made it to the altar! Around 2004, I wrote a novel called All Our Yesterdays. Couldn’t get an agent to save my life. Around 2008, I wrote a novel called Ice Blue. Got a wonderful agent who made me rewrite it four times, which it needed. Then she submitted it to the publishing establishment – the major houses often referred to as the Big Six. They turned down Ice Blue flat, and in just two weeks.

My next series, Past Lives, went through the same cycle. A couple of rewrites, consideration from the Big Six (longer this time) and rejection. My agent told me the current climate was so hostile, it was almost impossible for new writers to break in.

So one day I was sitting at my day job, miserable, when a friend emailed me with a news story about Amanda Hocking, whom I’d never heard of. By the end of that day, I’d uploaded my book Ice Blue to Smashwords, just to see what would happen. Within a week I gave it a cover and uploaded it to Amazon. After about six months, the book took off.  So I published Something Different. Then Protection. Then Past Lives #1: Rachel. Yes … I am coming out of the closet, Havan. I am Lyonnesse Books. I gave myself a publisher name because my writer friends urged me to. I’ve always loved the Arthurian legends, and Lyonnesse is frequently mentioned in those stories.

PS – I quit the day job!
Talk about a great story—I'm speechless…and amazed! Congratulations!

Okay…me time! *jumps up and dork dances around a bit…stops and sits back down…fixes hair* Now where was I? Oh yes…*clears throat* I'm personally going though some withdrawal anxieties with my boys…did you have any withdrawal pains when you sent your boys out there in the big bad world?
Yes! I even toyed with the idea of a sequel, then decided I needed to take all that smexy energy and pour it into a new story. So I’m working on something else – a m/m vampire story called Soulless that I hope will be ready by June 2012. As with Something Different, I sought to bend certain conventions and break others. But more than anything, Soulless is a story about two men struggling to turn a seemingly impossible attraction into lasting love.

Looking back—now that you have more experience under your belt—would you change anything about Something Different or your way of handling its release?
Another yes. I set Something Different in modern London because of the BBC TV show that inspired it. And I’ve read hundreds of books set in modern London. I have guide books, I have travel books, I have scholarly books about the English. Despite being an American, I thought I could pull it off.

Not exactly. Recently, a very kind reader from England let me know I’d made some errors. In fact, she offered to send me a list! Of course, I was thrilled to get some constructive criticism by an expert. So before long Something Different will be reissued with a few teensy cosmetic tweaks. It’s doubtful American readers will be able to tell the difference. But hopefully my UK readers will appreciate my efforts to make the story as authentic as possible. So for any writer setting a book in England – if at all possible, get a native beta reader before you publish!

If you had to turn the experience of publishing your first book into an erotic novel…what would you title it?
Since I priced Ice Blue much too low in the beginning, I guess that erotic novel would be called, Selling Myself Cheap.

Colors can tell a lot about people and experiences…what color would you label your first foray into publishing and why?
Hah! Given the title of Ice Blue … what other answer can I give? Sorry!

Now…just because I like a good quickie every now on then…*winks*…here are a few of them for us about your two boys…answer with Michael and James…

Most likely to wear a fedora and rock it…Michael. Fun experiment. Google the words “hat” and “Fassbender.” See what happens.
Most likely to be found barefoot…James. Poor boy was living rough before he met Michael.
Most likely to get a tattoo…James. I think there’s probably one somewhere on that luscious Celtic body.
Most likely to eat food in bed *winks*…James again. At least we know he likes to smoke in bed.
Most likely to find a stray animal and bring it home…Michael. Though I think if he’d brought James home to his wife Frannie (“I found this rent boy in the park, can I keep him?”) there would have been a homicide.
Most likely to blow off plans and talk the other into staying in bed all day…Michael. He has many years of pent-up sexual energy to release.
Most likely to have a sweet tooth…James, since he enjoys Pop-Tarts and Frosted Flakes. You might think Brits would eat better than Americans, but some of them are worse than we are. Did you know Scotland has such a passion for deep-frying, they invented the fried Twinkie? There’s a line in the movie The Last King of Scotland where Dr. Garrigan (James McAvoy) makes reference to this, telling an African girl, “If we had monkeys in Scotland, we’d probably deep-fry them.”
In a silly battle of wills…most likely to refrain from…um…pleasuring themselves the longest…James. As a sex worker, he probably yearns for peaceful nights. By contrast, we learn on page 1 of Something Different that Michael has solo sex every single morning…

And now for my favoritest part ever!!! *bats lashes at S.A. and leans into her side* Tell us a story…pretty please…I want it to have angst and hope and growth and I want it to be HOT! *giggles*

Unhappily married Michael Maguire decides to do something different. Setting out to hire a female prostitute, Michael instead finds blue-eyed, beautiful James Campbell. Tempted in ways he never imagined, Michael embarks on a sexual adventure with a rent boy from London's East End. No form of pleasure is off the table. Not even love...

You can find Something Different @ Amazon (print) & Barnes & Noble
You can find S.A. Ried @ Facebook, her M/M here, her M/F here

The room was nice for an old British hotel, which was to say substandard compared to the meanest Holiday Inn.  The bed was only a full, the carpet was patched, there was no mini-fridge and satellite telly cost extra.  The room had been retro-fitted with a toilet and sink, at least, but the shower was down the hall.

James limited himself to one quick glance around.  Staying focused on the client was essential.  So the moment the door closed, James pushed himself into Michael’s arms, lifting his face eagerly.

“Since last week, all I’ve thought about is you.  That huge cock, I have to see it again,” James said with the usual simulated breathlessness.  At least in Michael’s case, the reference to a huge cock was literally true.  “This time I want you in me.  I need you, I need you so bad, I—”

Michael’s hand moved up.  Gently he slipped two fingers over James’s lips, pressing them down and holding.  He kissed James’s forehead.  “May I undress you?”

Thrown off his game – no one had silenced him in mid-patter before – James nodded.  Letting himself go loose-limbed, he didn’t resist as Michael removed his jacket.  Underneath he wore a short-sleeved t-shirt; Michael pulled it off, mussing James’s hair and carefully stroking it back into place.  James hoped he should be flattered by Michael’s stare.  It was intense, devouring, almost intimidating.

The hotel room was chilly.  James’s nipples stiffened into hard pink nubs as Michael continued removing his clothes.  Michael undid James’s belt and unbuttoned his fly, working the tight blue jeans down until James obligingly lifted one foot, then the other.  Once the pants were off, James had a feeling such a methodical man would remove his socks before heading up to the main event, and he wasn’t wrong.  Michael freed James of each sock before gently pushing down his shorts.  Michael’s hands were trembling, that cannibal stare now locked on James’s semi-erect cock. 

“Touch it,” James said. 

Michael hesitated.  His breath sped up.  He wanted to.  He really wanted to.

James took Michael’s long-fingered hand and closed it around his cock.  “See?  Easy.  So what’ll it be tonight?  What do you want?”

“I want to fellate you.”

“Steady on!  You want to fillet me?” James gave an incredulous laugh.  He knew better than that – clients as green as Michael couldn’t stand to be laughed at.  But fortunately Michael didn’t seem offended.

“I want to, um, perform oral sex on you.”

“All right.”  James tried not to look as dismayed as he felt.  The odds were slim that he’d be able to come, and not coming could be disastrous.  Best to put Michael off the notion, quick.

“Mind you, all my condoms are spermicidal.  Little tart on the tongue.  But you know the drill, safer sex and all that…”

Michael shook his head.  “No condom.”  He spoke like a man who’d been fantasizing about this particular act for days.

“No?  Very well, then.  Cheers.”  Grinning as if delighted, James sat on an armchair as Michael knelt before him.  James wished he had a secret weapon – porn on the telly or a butt plug – but no.  He’d just have to imagine something sexy.  A BMW or a Mercedes, maybe…

Michael kissed the head of James’s cock.  The kiss was long, wet, vibrating with suppressed desire.  Then his tongue began working down in hot, precise circles.  Eyes open, unhurried, he licked every millimeter, holding James’s cock steady as he stroked the base with his thumb.  Then Michael took James entirely in his mouth, squeezing his lips around the root, sliding up and down.  It was the best beginner suck-off James had ever had.  He found himself grinning, digging his fingers into Michael’s hair and pushing his head up and down.   Dribbling a little pre-cum as he focused completely on the sensation, James felt his asshole clench and thought maybe, maybe…

But then he heard Michael’s belt unfasten.  Heard his trousers unzip.  Those two unmistakable sounds threw everything around James into sharp relief.  He was in a strange room with a man he didn’t know getting fucked because it was all he was good for.  The possibility of orgasm popped like a soap bubble.

Michael, at least, was getting there, giving himself a proper wank with James’s cock still in his mouth, softening as it moved in and out between his lips.  At the last moment Michael released James’s cock, made a choked noise and shot a white jet against James’s inner thigh. 

“You … you didn’t … like it,” Michael gasped, still shaking with his own climax, barely able to speak.  His eyes were open and focused on James’s cock, red and limp and gleaming with spit.

James didn’t know what to say.  Kevin and Cunt-Boyfriend were back together.  He owed his landlady two months’ rent.  His telly was on the fritz and it seemed like no matter how many men he fucked, there was never enough money to get ahead and put a little by.  James wouldn’t be pretty enough to do this forever.  Where would he be in ten years?  In twenty?  For a second he felt like he would cry.

“Earlier.  You put your fingers over my lips.  Why?”

“Because you were lying.”  Michael tucked himself back into his shorts, zipping up his trousers and fastening his belt.  “I don’t need that.”

“Most people love it,” James said truthfully.

“I don’t.  It’s distracting.”  Michael nodded toward James’s limp cock.  “Why didn’t you enjoy the fellatio?  What did I do wrong?”  He didn’t sound particularly angry.

James felt close to tears again.  If he said the wrong thing, his bi-curious suburban family man would bugger off and find a nice cheery rent boy without any issues.  And James was sure to say the wrong thing, because everything he touched turned to shit these days.

“You didn’t do anything wrong.  It felt good.  Maybe go a little faster next time, but otherwise – good.  I just…”  James drew a deep breath.  “It’s hard for me to come with men I don’t know.  I have to get used to a client first.”

“So last time.  I thought you climaxed.  You pretended?”

James sighed again.  “Men pay me to make them feel good.  And not just physically.  If they realize I don’t like it as much as they do, I’ll get knocked about.  Put in hospital or worse.”

“But it makes no sense.”  Michael seemed to be speaking to himself as much as James.  Rising from the floor, he shifted to the bed.  “I mean, I can pay you to take your clothes off.  To touch me.  To let me touch you.  But I can’t expect you to have an orgasm on command, no matter how much money I give you.  And the fact that you won’t, even though it would be easier, even though it would be safer …”

Michael lifted his head.  He looked James in the eye as if forcing himself to admit something ugly, something difficult.  “I think it means you won’t sell out.  Not all the way.  There’s a part of you no one can buy.  Not with money.  Not even with violence.”

James had no idea what Michael was talking about.  Sitting down beside him, he placed a hand on the other man’s arm.  They made an odd pair in the room’s framed mirror, Michael fully dressed and James completely nude.

“Believe me, I sold out all the way a long time ago,” James said.  “But the fact that you get why I can’t just …” he snapped his fingers, jealous of the ease with which other males shot off.  “It means a lot.  I like you, Michael.”

Michael’s eyes locked with his, light green and acute.

James didn’t flinch.  “Do you like me?”

“Too much.”

“No such thing,” James said with a saucy little wiggle.  Inside he thought, give it three weeks and he’ll never want to see me again.


  1. Thanks so much for featuring my book. Can't wait to feature you and your first solo release on my blog!

    1. It was definitely my pleasure to have you! I have you on my get it *heads desk giggling*

      And I can't wait to have you on your blog too...hehe

  2. Very nice, real world sort of interview!

  3. James is breaking my heart! Poor lost boy. Tell me he gets a happy ending? (or I'll just read the book when you re-release it:)
    It's nice to hear that self publishing is working so well for you, S.A. Very interesting interview and your books sound intriguing. :)

  4. Love Something Different & Protection, those books are made of awesome. Some of the best stuff I've had the opportunity to read this year.