Friday, December 20, 2013

Getting to know L.E. Franks

Welcome to my Reading Nook, L.E. Franks. Please make yourself at home and let my cabana boys/girls get you a drink.

Comfortable? Wonderful. Now let’s get started.

To get us started can you tell us a little about what you are working on or have coming out? Hi Dawn!  I take my martini's dry as the Sahara with four olives please! Thanks for having me and Happy Holidays, everyone!

I'm currently in the middle of promoting Snow Globe my short story recently released as part of Dreamspinner's annual Advent Calendar.

It's a little quirky, one MC has a form of Tourette's that isolates him, the other has left his life in Chicago to care for his elderly uncle and brain damaged older cousin. It's the cousin who brings the two men together.

This year's calendar theme was "heartwarming" and when the submission call came I spent months racking my brain for a story that was original and interesting (I'm a huge fan of Christmas/holiday stories in general and the Advent Calendar in particular). By the time the deadline loomed, I'd given up. Two days before, inspiration finally hit and Snow Globe flowed out of me like a river--I practically wrote every spare minute I had, just submitting it seconds before the midnight deadline. The result is a story with an energy that mimics some of the frenetic pace of the way the Kris' brain works.

The story captures moments of connection between the two men - bad and good as they occur over six months - and yes, the fast pacing doesn't allow for much lingering or fleshing out. However, my plan writing this was to follow up with a longer novel written from Tyr's point of view. Tyr's a much more complicated man and it will be interesting to explore the reasons behind some of the decisions he makes in Snow Globe.

Currently I'm working on a sequel to my Novella 6 Days to Valentine which should be out next month. 6 Days to Valentine is the story of Nick, happy living his life as a mixologist for a trendy bar/restaurant in the South. He's shut himself off from having more than a casual relationship and his friends and co-workers are starting to worry.

6 Days to Valentine takes place in the days running up to Valentine's day - a holiday Nick loathes because of his name, and the state of his love life currently being complicated by pushy bouncer, Davis "Fat Boy" Newman, who's trying to set him up on a blind date. My hope for the series is to follow the main character Nick Valentine as he slowly gets a clue about life and love.

If we asked your muse to describe you using five words, what do you think they would say? Changeable, Eclectic, Sensual, Quirky, Pain-In-The-Ass (that counts as one word, right?)

Name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you. I'm a mostly-Vegan.

Food often plays another character in my stories. I have an amazing editor who slums, playing Beta for me and I can crank her up with descriptions of food dishes. She was craving steak by the time she finished going through 6 Days To Valentine for me.

What's surprising? That I can describe food and the sensual pleasure of eating as well as I do, since I'm a natural born vegetarian/mostly Vegan. By the time I was 15 I was down to a small selection of shellfish and, of course, bacon (the candy of meats). High school biology killed the last lingering enjoyment I got from any sort of food with a digestive track after dissecting clams, and the rest was pretty easy to let go. But it doesn't stop me from cooking with meat or writing about it.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? France.
I confess, I've been in love with the country, the language, the culture since I was in middle school. Whenever I'm in Paris, it feels like home. I was there on business for a couple of weeks and the last thing I did was buy a fresh Pain au Chocolate to bring home to my husband. I hand him the bag at the airport, he opens it and pokes it, eventually taking a bite and then sort of shrugs. I'm staring at him like he's grown another head. For him, after twelve hours it's a stale pastry the cafe would toss…but for me--it's a frickin' Pain au Chocolate FROM PARIS! He has no soul. I ate it (and it was good).

If someone hasn't read any of your work, what book would you recommend that they start with and why? Snow Globe is a good one to start with - it's short and gives you a flavor about my writing style - the downside is the frenetic pacing and short length leaves a lot on the table. 6 Days to Valentine coming out in January, is a longer piece - you'll get a better sense of my love a characters and quirky humor. 

Where do you find the inspirations for your stories? I have no clue. The submission prompts help - but it's lightening in a bottle. That's the muse at work. If I can't capture that split second impulse…it's gone for good.

Are your characters able to love or do they need to be taught? I have to say I feel most comfortable tagging along in the middle of their journeys, so it's often a combination of both. I think they're headed for a HEA, but it's the internal development that surprises and interests me. Sometimes it's easy--they just need a random circumstance to get them on track, and sometimes there's a cluelessness that makes things complicated (Nick Valentine from 6 Days is a case in point). Sometimes I get caught in their heads and I can't get out. A few weeks ago I wrote a birthday not-so-flash fiction for a friend of mine - another author. I made the MC so angsty and such a head case I suffered along with him for weeks. Finally I had to remind myself that birthdays are to be celebrated. I lightened it up a little and it turned out fine.

Do you have a book that was easiest to write or one that was the hardest?
Once I got started Snow Globe was the easiest by far. It just poured from me.
Birthday Cake - a flash fiction I wrote to celebrate author Vicktor Alexander's 30th birthday was the hardest. In that story I wrote in First Person, Present tense and then used sensory deprivation ad a vehicle that kept him in his head. I'm surprised people like it. I still can't read it with any objectivity, all I see is the suffering and angst I went through. One of these days I'll post it on my website and see if someone can explain it to me.

If you could collaborate with one author who would it be? Anyone? Can I pick three? Currently I co-write the Wolves & Waves series with author Sara York. She is amazing to work with. Kind, generous…talented. What more can you want? We wrote Prodigal Wolf together over a few months. It's the introductory book to a series which is a little unconventional for wolf shifters. There's no easy HEA or simple romance. We wrote our pack angsty and hot. I think we have to finish the series for some readers to understand where Sara and I are going with these books. 

But if I could pick anyone else? Hands down, it would be Josh Lanyon for craft and style and story… and Mary Calmes for voice (and the other stuff, too.) It would be like taking a masterclass from these folks.

Coffee, tea or other drink to get you moving in the morning? Coffee is my preferred brew (as dark as you can make it…smoky roasts…yum) I do take it with scaled almond milk in the morning. When I'm being a good vegan I'll go off coffee and turn to green tea. Peets Green Tea Lattes are bliss. I'd like to give a shout out to LatteBoy - he's been delivering my first cup to me in bed most days for years now. I highly recommend to everyone to find your own LatteBoy. Bliss!

What is coming up from you in 2014? Anything you want to tease us with?
6 Days to Valentine will be released sometime next month by WildeCity Press. As I mentioned earlier, I'm very excited that Nick gets his time in the sun, so to speak. I'm currently writing the sequel 6 Days to Get Lucky - so fingers crossed on that one. Sara and I are working on our sequel to Prodigal Wolf but it's early days for that, and I have a couple of things submitted I'm still waiting to hear back from, and like every other writer a stack of wips, teasing me.

Anything else you want to add?  If you'd like to to read more, or follow along as I pick up the random threads of life I stumble across and see where there go here's where I am. Each is a little bit different.

Facebook - please like my author page. You'll find more news and links about what's important to me as well as release info:

Twitter - this is where I'm my snarkiest as @boxtersushi

Tumblr - is well…tumblr.

Blog: Naked Butts and musings. I enjoy posting here - more personal & whimsical.

Website: What can I say… It's practical and PG.

Thanks for taking the time to be here today. I wish you many sales and wonderful reviews.

Thank you Dawn, I'm grateful that you've allowed me a moment to put your readership to sleep - afternoon naps are very healthful, particularly during the stress of the holidays!

On a serious note, this is such a lovely, incredible community we have. When I look around I am constantly touched by acts of encouragement and support, not only from other authors, but readers and reviewers. I want to thank everyone who reads and supports LGBTQ writers and their work. Without you we wouldn't have a forum to share the knowledge that Love is Love, no matter the flavor it comes in. Thank you again, Dawn for this lovely opportunity to share a little more about myself.

Wishing everyone a joyful, happy, and safe holiday season.  - LE Franks

SNOW GLOBE – by LE Franks  

Heat rating PG-13 (no explicit scenes)

Available at Dreamspinner Amazon ARe

Kris Hamilton escaped the rat race in LA to live his dream of owning an art studio and making snow globes in a Christmas-themed town in northern Minnesota. But life in a tiny town isn’t as peaceful as advertised, and being treated like an outsider is making Kris’s Tourette's flare up. When he inadvertently offends Tyr Tollefson—a beautiful blond giant of a man—Kris is ready to chuck it all. But he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Tyr's cousin Bun, who shows them the magic of Christmas and gives them both a lesson in love and acceptance. 


IT WAS the face pressed against his storefront window that first caught his attention.

"Pressed" might have been too delicate a word. "Mashed" is better, Kris thought idly, admiring the spread of pink skin sticking to the glass before his brain latched on to the thought spinning and tumbling at an increasingly alarming rate.

The litany of words shoved their way to the tip of his tongue, rushing to spill over and out of him in a waterfall of frothing adjectives: smushed, squashed, scrunched, crunched, crushed, squished, pushed, flattened, pancaked…. He'd barely been able to throw on the brakes, limiting the torrent to a barely audible whisper until the words dribbled to a halt.

Crap. It had been weeks since the last time he lost control of his own peculiar form of Tourette's.

He looked around the tiny store to see if anyone had noticed, but was quickly drawn back to the spectacle outside. The little voice teasing at the edges of his mind suggested a few more words that he ruthlessly rejected, fully alert to the insidious nature of his own brain. The person outside was an impossible mélange of old and young, tiny and broad, all brown and pink and white and fluffy red. Was that a scarf and hat?

Pompoms in July seemed off to Kris, and the noise came rushing back—odd, unusual, unexpected, surprising, strange, weird, astonishing, peculiar…. Gasping, he stuttered back a breath, choking in the words and squeezing eyes shut tight.

Twenty-five cleansing breaths. Twenty-four, twenty-three…. His head noise kept pace with his diaphragm until petering out around number twelve. Kris paid attention, waiting to open his eyes again until the countdown reached number one… or was it zero? He felt another tingle of panic try to erupt. Shit. If he wasn't careful, he'd be off to the races again, and he could feel the happy little ponies inside him bouncing in delight at the thought.

This time when he opened his eyes, his world was still. No strange visions at his window, no customers with pity or contempt in their eyes, no rampaging word strings waiting to torment him. With shaking hands he put up the Out to Lunch sign and locked the front door.

Not for the first time, Kris felt like he was living inside one of his own snow-globe creations—never knowing when something was going to yank him upside down and shake him. At least for now, all the blizzarding shards seemed to have settled back to the bottom. 

"NO, BUN, we'll be late for Eddie's appointment." Tyr ran his long fingers through his white-blond hair as he silently begged for patience. His cousin was having one of her "days," and she wasn't in the mood to go along with "the plan." Insisting that they go back to the little Christmas shop across the square. Gently he pulled out the yellow, lined paper, carefully unfolding it to show the pair. At least no one had started wringing their hands. Yet.

"Look, Bun, this is the step we're on." He'd gathered them next to a convenient mailbox, carefully laying it on the top so that they could all see. Bun jerked forward to smooth and touch every inch of the paper and run her fingers over each of the meticulously printed words.

They'd referred to it numerous times since leaving the farm. Tyr hoped this would be enough to get them all back on track with enough time to get his uncle to his cardiology appointment. Monthly trips into town had always been stressful, but his uncle's declining health and Bun's advancing age seemed to be making them worse.

Sighing, he carefully pointed to item number two: Eleven thirty appointment with Dr. Morgan for Eddie. "See, Bun, Dr. Morgan is expecting us in…." A quick glance at his watch showed that they were already ten minutes late. "Well… we have just enough time to make it if we walk over there now."

A flash of movement from across the way drew his attention. There was a God. Someone in the Christmas shop had just put up the CLOSED sign. From across the street, he caught just a glimpse of long dark hair before the figure disappeared. It only took a few nudges and a promise to stop by later to get them all moving again.

Prodigal Wolf by L.E. Franks and Sara York
Wolves & Waves Series, Book One
Paranormal M/M
MLR Press
Available at MLR Press Amazon ARe
Carlo has a problem, after years away he's finally returned to his South Carolina roots - but instead of peace and quiet all he's found are nosy wolves, romancing twinks, an out of control roommate threatening to expose them all, and a demanding Alpha who just won't go away.

All his Alpha wants is to show Carlo who he really is, and where he belongs. But Carlo Montefiore is a man fighting his instincts, memories, and responsibilities. His beachside home was supposed to provide sanctuary, but pack politics, unruly roommates, and human neighbors at risk of discovering that shifters exist, are making life anything but peaceful. Twinks Kevin and Grady have their own problems. Two college freshmen are no match for a couple of hot wolves who like to play chase. If they don't stop playing games they'll miss the biggest thing to happen in their young lives---love.

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