How did you start writing Romance?
I got turned onto writing romance after listening to a This American Life segment called What’s Love Got To Do With It? which featured Romance Writers of America. It sounded like a great place to get started and it was.
Plotter or pantster?
I’m a plotter on steroids. I haven’t met a chart I didn’t like.
What are three things you have on your writing desk?
A Starbucks insulated cup filled with Earl Gray tea, my cell phone and my laptop.
Tell us a little about your new release. What character in the book really spoke to you?
Better To Marry Than To Burn is a battle of the sexes set in 1870’s Texas between an ex-slave and his snooty Philadelphia born mail-order bride. I relate most to Queen. Outwardly she’s in control but in inwardly she’s vulnerable, hoping someone will care.
Finish this sentence: I write because ____...
I write because writing is singing on paper and I love singing.
What is your favorite type of character to write about?
The type with self-esteem issues. I love writing the growth arc for someone coming into a full sense of themselves and of the positivity that flows not only for them but for those they’re involved with.
What is the sexiest scene you ever wrote?
In my last novella, One Breath Away, my hero makes love to my plus-sized heroine on their wedding night, first by slowly and lovingly undressing her then by bathing her in huge claw foot tub with warm scented water before introducing her to the wonders of anal sex.
What is next on your writerly horizon?
I’ve got two projects: another erotic historical novella, The Bad Ones Aren’t As Bad and my first romcom romance, The Things We Do For Love.
Erotic Historical Romance
Wild Rose Press
Freed Man seeking woman to partner in marriage for at least two years in the black township of Douglass, Texas. Must be willing and able to help establish a legacy. Marital relations as necessary. Love neither required nor sought.
Caesar King's ad for a mail-order bride is an answer to Queen Esther Payne’s prayer. Her family expects her to adhere to society's traditional conventions of submissive wife and mother, but Queen refuses. She is not the weaker sex and will not allow herself to be used, abused or turned into a baby-making machine under the sanctity of matrimony. Grateful that love is neither required nor sought, she accepts the ex-slave's offer and heads West for marriage on her terms. Her education and breeding will see to that. However, once she meets Caesar, his unexpected allure and intriguing wit makes it hard to keep love at bay. How can she hope to remain her own woman when victory may be synonymous with surrender?
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Queen Esther Payne arrived at noon on September 14th and proved to be a paragon indeed.
Caesar gawked at the copper-toned Amazon who emerged from the stagecoach like royalty descending from a throne.
Queen. Her name definitely suited. Only Cleopatra could have fit better. Maybe Sheba.
The afternoon sunlight crowned her with rays of gold. Kinky black ringlets covered her head, declaring she had a Nubian pride befitting the woman he’d want to wed. She used her bonnet to fan away dirt dusted up by the stagecoach’s departure. Her twisting and turning revealed an hourglass waist above curvaceous hips.
At his approach, her eyebrow curved over a gaze brimming with criticism.
He removed his hat and extended his hand in greeting. “At your service, Queen.”
She donned her hat and examined him with that regal air.
“Miss Payne, if you please. You may call me Queen after the nuptials.” She finished tying her hat’s long ribbons beneath her chin. “Although, even then, I’d prefer Mrs. King.”
“You don’t say?” He chuckled, taking her measure from head to foot. “Well, Miss Payne it is…for now.”
She filled her face with a frown. “I don’t appreciate being examined like some newly purchased cow, Mr. King.”
He pulled back. Amusement wrestled with annoyance. “I’m making sure you measure up, Miss Payne.”
“Pray to what criteria? I doubt there’s a standard for marriages of convenience.” She shoved her valise against his chest then crossed her arms, causing her lovely bosom to swell.
He inhaled against the pull of desire throbbing in his privates. “The same criteria as you I suspect: my own self-worth and what I deserve.” He dropped the bag at her feet. “So, by that token, I don’t appreciate being treated like some fetch-and-carry boy.”
She lowered her gaze. But for the set of her jaw he’d have taken the gesture for apology.
He leaned forward and whispered, “If you ask me nicely, I’d gladly carry your bag.”
“A gentleman wouldn’t need to be asked.” Her tone dripped with disdain. “A gentleman would simply take it.”
“I do many things, Miss Payne.” He pushed up the brim of his hat and grinned, fired up by the hazel flame sparking in her eyes. “Pretending to be a gentleman doesn’t number among them.”
She firmed her full lips into a thin angry line. “But you do aspire to establish a legacy—like a gentleman would.”
“If marrying you to leave a legacy makes me a gentlemen, then I must agree. Although, your letter made it clear you weren’t looking for a gentleman. In fact, if you had your way, you wouldn’t be looking for a man at all…gentlemanly or otherwise.”
She responded with a slight rise in her eyebrows.
He thumbed over his shoulder. “Our marriage carriage awaits.”
He sauntered toward his wagon, not surprised to find when he looked back, her highness hadn’t moved. But uncertainty colored her imperiousness and rippled in her frown.
“The stagecoach back East isn’t due until midday tomorrow,” he shouted.
“Hmmpf.” She turned her back on him, presenting a bustle-less skirt that outlined a behind, round and ripe for his inspection.
He huffed out a breath, cupped his hands and shouted again.
“We’ve a minister waiting…if you’re staying.”
Of course she was staying. She’d never have agreed to marry him if she’d had another choice. Philadelphia’s Lombard Street, bastion of black privilege it may be, had only one place for a daughter of Lesbos who wouldn’t marry: the insane asylum.
Marriage to him here in the West was her last—and probably only—refuge.
She stalked toward him. Her bag made her lean to the side, forcing her hips to rock in a salacious sway. He enjoyed the sight too much to repeat his offer to carry the satchel for her.
As she neared him, the words of the apostle Paul rang in Caesar’s ears.
I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
Burn? Try blaze. Their couplings would be for sexual release, not emotional satisfaction. He closed his eyes and reminded himself of the terms he’d set for their arrangement.
Marital relations as necessary. Love neither required nor sought.
Author Bio and links
History has been an old passion of mine. Romance a recent one. The opportunity to combine the two came in the 2016 publication of my novella, One Breath Away. Now Better To Marry Than To Burn has solidified the union.
I’ve been writing professionally since 2008 and belong to the inspirational, gothic and erotic romance chapters of Romance Writers of America. A surprising, but never boring combination of genres for a retired minister.