Let's give Margie a warm welcome!
Brenda & Steve: Welcome to our blog Margie! We are so excited you stopped by. When did you decide to become a writer? And what genre did you first write under?
Margie: Thank you for having me, and thank you for coping with my crazy schedule. Becoming a writer wasn't a choice for me. I'm hardwired to write. I was first published in the 6th grade and have spent my adult life as a professional writer in corporate and private settings. I became a fiction writer three years ago when I was laid off. I'd been fooling around with some fanfic and one of those pieces eventually became my debut novel, Awakening Allaire. I've always written romance. My debut series is pure romantic suspense because I enjoy reading that myself. Since then, however, I've written m/m, BDSM, and paranormal, but all with an element of suspense.
Brenda & Steve: What inspired you write to erotic romance suspense?
Margie: I like police thrillers and smart plots. I'm a huge fan of John Sanford and Patricia Cornwell, so I wanted to write something I'd read. Although these authors don't usually have sex in their books, Sanford includes romantic elements. I am a die-hard romantic and couldn't leave that out of my books.
Brenda & Steve: You've been very busy releasing several books this year. Tell us a little bit about your latest Nopeming Shores with J. Andrew Lockhart.
Margie: This book was a challenge to me on several levels. First and foremost was writing with Andrew. Because he's a grade school teacher, this book had to have no graphic language or love scenes. My muse raised her eyebrows at me a million times, but the result was utterly beautiful, and I think that even without the graphic language, the love scenes are extremely erotic. Secondly, the story was very emotional. I'm not sure where all the drama came from, but several times I put my head down and bawled like a baby after I finished writing a scene. I've teared up, and become turned on, but never ever cried like this. The story is very compelling – and it does have a HEA. I also had never used poetry as a plot mechanism, and I wondered how readers would receive that element. They've loved all of it.
Brenda & Steve: Was it hard writing with another author or where you two always on the same page?
Margie: Andrew is a published poet who wrote original haiku for the book. I'd loved his work for such a long time, but didn't have a project that lent itself to working together until Nopeming Shores. The difficult part was coming up with a very detailed synopsis before Andrew would agree to work with me. He wasn't trying to be difficult. He has a career to protect and a lifestyle that doesn't include erotica. He added wonderful insights to the ghost, Gabe, because Andrew had technically died twice after a very serious stroke when he was in his early 30's. Once I cleared those hurdles, working together was very easy. When I reached a point in the story that I needed a poem, I sent the manuscript to him. I never had to ask him to rewrite anything. And when I told him I needed one for the marriage proposal and final farewell, he wasn't intimidated at all. Writing pivotal scenes like those always make me nervous! He did a beautiful job as you will see when you read the book.
Brenda & Steve: Hard as Teak is a best seller on Amazon, congratulations! Please share with us a little bit on this story as well.
Margie: Thank you, it's been very exciting to have my first gay romance skyrocket that way. Hard as Teak is an erotic coming out story. I hadn't intended to write a full novel when I started the story, but Teak and Kevin had other plans. In a nutshell, Kevin has been living a hetero lifestyle that has been unsatisfying and doesn't work. Well duh, he's been in denial about his real sexual orientation. This story doesn't have "female" drama qualities; the men aren't chicks with dicks. If you read the reviews, you'll see that a number of gay men have read this book and say it is quite authentic. Hard as Teak has a number of setups for classic scenes, but you will not get predictable results. There is suspense and some great humor in this book and of course, sizzling sex. It's been on the bestseller lists – especially the gay erotica – since July. Big fun. Right now, I'm writing a sequel of sorts to this book. One of the other characters, Drew, is getting his own story, Krewe Daddy. Watch for it in the first quarter of 2012.
Brenda & Steve: Do you have a writing ritual or muse to get you in the writing mood?
Margie: If being alive qualifies, then, yes. It may sound sick, but when I'm not writing, I'm often thinking about what I'm writing. I also work as a copywriter/editor so I spend about 60 hours a week writing something or another.
Brenda & Steve: Do you create an outline before beginning a new book or are you a pantser?
Margie: I'm a plotter. And I hate research. It's the ONLY thing that makes me procrastinate.
Brenda & Steve: Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time? And if so how many and how do you keep your notes organized?
Margie: I'm working on two books at a time usually, and since I'm a plotter, I keep very detailed notes about characters, settings and important plot points. I have a lot of trouble remembering my character names and info – go figure – so I have to be diligent.
Brenda & Steve: If you get writer’s block when you’re writing, how do you get around it?
Margie: I talk plot when I drive. I speak out loud what happened in the last scene I wrote, and then talk about what happens next. I speak in dialog. Then I "rewind" and re-say it a couple times. When I get home, it usually flies off my fingertips.
Brenda & Steve: Do you use specialty software when writing your manuscripts?
Brenda & Steve: LOL We don’t either! Good ole Microsoft Word, a notepad and pen works for us. Do you have a motto or favorite quote you turn to on tough writing days?
Margie: "Forced Writes Suck." ~ Margie Church” If I cave into writer's block or whatever the issue is, the work doesn't get done. I write through it. Sometimes I'll have to go back and make significant revisions, but I keep writing.
Brenda & Steve: During an interview what is the hardest or most embarrassing question you have been asked and how did you answer?
Margie: "How did you learn about the way men make love to write Hard as Teak?" That's the most recent one I can recall. The embarrassing questions are usually sexually-related and I usually reply that I research these things carefully. It's not a lie at all. *grins* But what people really want to know is why I write erotica. The sex makes them uncomfortable. At a recent art event, I had people look at my covers and then at me like I was disgusting. I didn’t enjoy that part or hearing that some people gave my buyers a hard time about their purchases. I haven't got nice things to say about that at all, but you're judging the book by its cover. If you're not careful, not only will I make love with you until you can't stand, I'll also kidnap your wife, get you high on coke, pilfer from your retirement fund, shoot you in the forehead and laugh while my partner uses a backhoe to bury you, drain your blood, and beat you half to death because it makes me feel good.
Brenda & Steve: We agree the research for writing erotica is certainly fun! *winks* Now for the fun question. For the hell of it, you entered a sweepstakes not really reading the fine black print. Well guess what you won! HA! You are now the proud owner of the Mirage Camel Farm in Giza, Egypt. Would you sell the farm or fly there and meet your new hump-back spitting friends?
Margie: Oh hell yeah, I'd go there. I love to travel. I'd probably sell it eventually, but here's a photo of me with one of my recent acquisitions!
Brenda & Steve: OMG! We remember seeing this pic on FB. But didn't even think of it when we created the Fun question. How ironic! LOL Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?
Margie: Thanks for a great year. For buying my books, for finding me on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs like this one. I hope I'll continue to write books you can't wait to read. To those who don't know me, please come by, say hello and read a sample on my page on Amazon. Most of my books are available in print and eBook.
Brenda & Steve: Margie, thank you again for visiting with us. Have a happy holiday and joyous New Year! Readers, Margie is featuring a contest to one luck commenter. Margie, please tell our readers the details.
Margie: Contest: Tell me about the worst Christmas gift you ever GAVE and you could win an eBook of any one my titles.
An IED snuffed out Gabe Holliway's life, but couldn't destroy his love. Using his unique gift, Gabe struggles to help his young wife, Lily, rebuild her shattered future.
But when Gabe's ghost reaches out to her, Lily fears she's lost her last hold on sanity. Can she trust what she discovers and what her heart says? When she sees Gabe face-to-face, can she believe her eyes?
When love transcends death, the answers are found in
. Nopeming Shores
"You want to give your two weeks' notice today?"
She brushed away the last stray tear and sniffled. For the first time since she'd gotten the devastating news of Gabe's death, she breathed normally. "I'm giving my two minutes' notice. I'm sorry if it puts you in a bind, but I have to do this for myself."
She stuck out her hand. "Thanks for everything, Arthur. I've enjoyed working with you."
"Sleep on it. If you change your mind, call me. This conversation never happened."
The tenderness in his eyes touched her, but this was goodbye. To ease his concern, she pasted on a warm smile. "Sure, thank you."
Her lunch bag crackled as she fiddled with the paper sack. "Guess you'll have to find somebody else to pick on about eating these."
Arthur smiled. "Yeah, you're one of a kind, Lily. Good luck. Whatever you do. And come back and visit sometime, when you're feeling up to it. We'd love to see you anytime."
She nodded, and walked out of the room.
Jana stood near the shelves of breakfast items, her gaze fixed on Lily.
"I'm sorry I lost my temper in the parking lot, Jana. It's been a rough few months."
Jana nodded. "It's okay. I wish I could do something to help, but I always keep steppin' in it."
She pointed to Lily's lunch bag. "Want to eat together today?"
"Okay, well, we can do it tomorrow."
Nervous anxiety made Lily's mouth dry as a wool sock. "I'm not just leaving for the day. I quit. Right now. I'm leaving for good."
Jana's eyes widened. "Really?"
Lily felt her shoulders slump in resigned defeat. She nodded.
A quivering frown tugged on the corners of Jana's lips. "I hope this is a good change for you, Lily. And I hope we'll still be friends. I didn't mean to interfere or hurt your feelings."
Emotion clogged Lily's throat. "I know you meant well. I have to work through this myself. Somehow, I have to accept . . . what happened. My life is different. Give me a few days, and I'll call you. I promise."
Jana hugged her and then patted her on the back.
"You take care now." Sadness cloaked her voice. "I'm here if you need me. Don't forget that."
* * * * *
In his spirit state, Gabe heard and watched the entire scene between his wife and Jana. He stood behind Lily while she said goodbye to Jana. He walked out of the building with Lily to the car. The wind caught a wisp of her hair, and he wished he could tuck it behind her ear. He used to love stroking Lily's soft, wavy tresses.
Not yet. She wasn't ready to know he was close by, trying to help her cope. Hell, he was trying to cope, too. God had given Gabe a chance to help Lily, and himself, but it was all in the timing. Gabe wouldn't get long. The Shepherd of Souls had been very clear about that.
Lily drove out of the parking lot, but instead of taking her usual direct route to the base exits, she drove through the grounds.
In his spirit form, Gabe followed her.
She slowed down near one of the park benches.
We met there. Gabe recalled seeing Lily with her brown-bag lunch when he'd gone jogging on the historic base. She'd caught his eye immediately. Her long, graceful limbs and full lips captivated him. When she smiled, the sun seemed to dim. Her charming demeanor wiped out all his defenses.
She'd shaded her eyes to speak to him. "I've never seen you before."
"I was in
training, but I'm stationed here. Are you visiting your husband?" Seattle
She'd giggled this wonderful, heart-warming sound, and her face turned the loveliest shade of pink. Gabe knew in that moment, he was pretty much a goner.
"No, I'm not married. I started working at the commissary last week."
"Well, if you have lunch in the park, I'll be seeing you. I jog through here almost every day."
Gabe didn't usually take that route, but he was darn glad he had that day, and every day after. Lily had waited for him, sometimes bringing along an extra bottle of water or a piece of fruit for him. They'd talk for a little while, then he'd finish his run, although his mind was never on physical fitness after he saw Lilianna Carston.
Now Gabe sat on that same bench, remembering the delight in her eyes when he'd asked her to dinner the first time. They'd been almost inseparable after that date. They thought they'd have a lifetime together.
He turned toward her car and saw the strain on her face.
He watched her shoulders rise and fall in a deep sigh before she drove away from the curb.
Gabe didn't get off the bench and follow her. Being dead wasn't exactly halos and fluffy clouds for him.
Brenda & Steve: Wow! What a great excerpt. We feel Lily's anguish already. Can't wait to read the book!
Buy Link on Amazon
And also available at Noble Romance and All Romance Ebooks.
Other Books by Margie Church
Visit Margie on her blog - Romance With SASS: Suspense, Angst, Seductive Sizzle
Dreaming of a White Christmas
Visit us again soon and especially for our author interviews scheduled in 2012!
Happy Holidays from the Low Country of Georgia ~ Brenda & Steve