Today I would like to make welcome a talented new author, Rhiannon Ayers, who I had the pleasure of interviewing.
Business before Pleasure:
1. What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve wanted to be an author since I was six years old, so “first book” is a relative term for me, lol. When I was eight, I read the Redwall series by Brian Jacques and I fell in love with the concept of talking animals. I wrote an admittedly copycat series of books that featured a talking groundhog named George. My teacher at the time loved the fact that I was writing the books in a series and encouraged me to share them with the class as soon as I finished each installment. His enthusiasm really convinced me I was meant to be a writer, and I’ve been working on my craft ever since.
My first officially published book, Demons Within, was inspired by a friend of mine. He went through some seriously horrible things as a child, and I was inspired by his story and his willingness to survive. Though my book is not based on his actual story, it was inspired by the emotional journey he took. I wanted to tell the story of a man who has been struggling with his identity his whole life, who discovers what it means to love and be loved. That kind of self-discovery and personal tenacity has always inspired me, and I wanted to convey those concepts in Demons Within. Hopefully, I succeeded.
2. How much real life do you put into or influences your books?
My books take place in Houston, Texas. Every detail about the city itself, from the street names to the districts and their locations relative to the rest of the city, are all one hundred percent accurate. I love Houston, and my characters will always be based here because this is the place I know best.
Does emotional accuracy count as real life? Because I always try to have my characters act and react with realistic emotions. I’ve always been fascinated by human psychology, and I love creating scenarios that push the limits of our emotional ability to process the events. I love delving into the reasons why we act the way we do, from the true definition of jealousy to the emotional reasoning behind those of us who practice D/s. I’ve always prided myself on being accurate with my assessment of human emotions, and it is my hope that my readers will gain insights into the human condition by identifying with my characters.
3. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Organization is probably my biggest issue—I have too many stories in my head to focus on just one at a time, and that can lead to problems since I have deadlines to meet.The voices in my head get so freaking loud sometimes, lol. Authors are unique in that we all have other people living in our heads, yet we’re not considered technically insane. I have to force myself to focus on one manuscript at a time, because if I don’t try to tune everything else out, I’ll end up with several WIPs and nothing actually finished. I also hate the tedious side behind my day job, because the moment I get bored, all I want to do is stop working and start writing. Sometimes my husband gets so disgusted with me, he kicks me out of the room and tells me to go write before I drive both of us insane.
4. What are your current projects?
I am almost finished with book 2 of the For Love of Authority series, which will be called Angel Without. I’ve also started on the third book in the series, though I’m attempting to finish book 2 before I get any deeper into book 3.
5. How do you go about choosing the title for your book(s)?
I try to choose a phrase that people will recognize from the book itself. “Demons Within” came from Allen’s description of the tattoo on his back, when he tells Sidri that the meaning of the Latin words that are written above the tattoo mean “Angel without, demons within.” It was eminently appropriate, since the whole book is about Allen’s struggle with the demons from his past. The second book’s title, “Angel Without”, comes from both the fact that that phrase was used in the first book and because it is about Allen’s sister, who has suffered without love and affection her whole life.
6. What is your favorite genre to write?
When I first started writing, I always wrote Fantasy. Since I’ve gotten into writing Romance, however, I find I absolutely love it. I love that I get to write about real people with real emotions, and that I get to explore what happens to people as they interact and fall in love. I love creating different personalities and figuring out ways to have my characters influence each other.
7. Generally, how long does it take you to complete a book from idea to handing it over to your publisher?
I’m slow, I admit. Three months is the fastest I’ve ever completed a manuscript. In my defense, I do have a day job, a young son, and I own my own business. Finding time to sit down and write is difficult. The only reason that I am able to get anything done is that writing is integral to my nature, and I get grumpy when I can’t write for long periods of time. Thus the reason my husband kicks me out of the room, lol.
8. Do you ever use someone in your life as a sounding board for ideas or do you prefer to work alone?
I generally work alone. I tend to think on paper, not out loud, so it would be counterproductive for me to try and verbalize ideas. I can sit down and knock out 10,000 words in no time flat when I’m typing, but ask me to speak the same words out loud and I sound like a jacked-up CD, all skippy and broken. Words flow from my brain to my fingers, not my brain to my mouth, lol.
9. Have you ever had an idea for a book but never written it and what is it?
Oh, lord, that’s a hard one to answer. At any given time, I have anywhere from three to twenty stories running through my head. Eventually, I will have to find time to sit down and write them all. I do have two distinctive stories that I’m hoping to find time to write soon. One is a YA urban fantasy story about a boy whose parents get transferred to a top-secret base in a small Nevada town. The town itself is filled with mysteries, such as the fact that no one is allowed to go into the woods on the western edge of town. The boy makes friends with a local kid, and together they set about uncovering the mysteries, which involve dragons and fairies and all sorts of fantasy creatures being studied at the top-secret lab. The second story is considered dark high fantasy, and it’s about shapeshifters and vampires. The world they live in is unique because it does not rotate, therefore half the planet is always in daylight and the other half is always night. The book focuses on the shapeshifters, who find themselves being invaded by humans who are coming from the daylight side of the planet. They seek help from the vampires in repelling the human invaders, but something goes awry when the three sides meet to fight—they discover that the vampires are not the only monsters who live in the dark.
10. When writing, do you have a process?
Characters always come first for me. The story arc is always secondary, because there’s no point in writing the story if the action doesn’t directly affect the character’s development. So I always begin with the people I want to write about—who they are, what their insecurities might be, how are they going to grow or change because of the events in the story. I always have an objective, too, such as exploring the emotional reasoning behind the practice of D/s.
11. Do you have a favorite Hero or Heroine from any of your books and why?
All three of my characters in Demons Within are my favorites to date. Allen’s struggle with his identity is deeply personal and inspiring to me. Sidri’s no-nonsense attitude and innate self-confidence embody the type of woman I’ve always wanted to be. And Tatum’s big heart and Dominant nature are what I’ve always found attractive in a man.
12. Do you have anything you would like to say to your current readers or to those that haven’t yet read your work(s)?
One of my biggest pet peeves about the BDSM genre is that people who read it (and sometimes, those who write it) assume that it’s always about specific acts, such as restraints and whipping. I wanted to illustrate the fact that there is a softer side, which is simply referred to as D/s, and that the lifestyle doesn’t always have to revolve around pain. Sometimes the circumstances alone are enough to enthrall a submissive—D/s is 99% psychological, after all. There’s a dearth of authors who actually try to explore the emotional and psychological reasoning behind being Dominant or submissive—they focus on the chains and whips, not of the reason the submissive would want to experience those things in the first place. The lifestyle is very different when you look at it from the perspective of someone who understands it on a visceral level. Authors and readers who assume that the entire lifestyle must involve pain are missing 99% of the real thing. When people read my books, I want them to see and comprehend this softer side of BDSM and understand that it’s not always about pain, bondage, and masochism.
More About You ~ The Fun and the Naughty
1. Share one thing about yourself that would surprise people who know you.
Hmmm. Probably the biggest “secret” would be that I’m bisexual, and I’m a practitioner of D/s. I’m also one of the rarest of the rare: a Switch. That means that under very specific circumstances, I am able to switch from being Dominant to being submissive. Most people who practice the lifestyle are one or the other, and for most of my life I assumed I was a pure Domme. But several years ago, I met a man who proved to me he was more Dominant than I am. With him and only him, I am submissive.
2. Doggy style, cow girl or missionary?
Cow girl. I can’t get off unless I’m on top!
3. What secret sinful pleasure do you keep hidden in your cupboards?
I have a wide variety of sex toys, of course. Strap-ons are my favorite. I also have several Rabbits and a selection of plugs.
4. Are you a wine or beer kinda gal?
Neither, actually. I don’t drink. Not only do I despise the taste of alcohol, I hate the feeling of losing control that comes with being drunk. Call me crazy, but that’s the way I’ve always been. I have very few inhibitions to begin with, so I don’t exactly need the effects of alcohol to be myself. I also can’t hold my liquor, lol. One Drink Wonder? Yep, that’s me.
5. If you could go anywhere at all on your next vacation where would you go?
New Zealand. Ever since I saw the Lord of the Rings, I’ve wanted to go there and visit the sets they created. The island is simply gorgeous.
6. If you could choose any hot famous guy to take with you who would it be and why?
Channing Tatum. He can dance for me and I can stare at him. He doesn’t have to do anything else—not even talk. Just dance for me and look pretty. Mmmmmm Magic Mike…
7. Thong, Bikinis, Granny Panties, or Boy shorts?
Bikinis, duh. Thongs are butt floss. I have no desire to have a permanent wedgie, thank you. Boy shorts never fit me right. I have more ass than is comfortable for wearing those. Granny panties? Get real. I’m still young, damn it!
8. Tall, Dark and Deadly or Smart and Sexy or Athletic and Funny?
Tall, Dark and Deadly. I’ve always had a kink for that kind of man. Who doesn’t want the thrill of taming a bad boy? I love seeing a supposedly Dominant male brought to his knees by a true Domme. I’ve tamed my share, let me tell you!
9. Significant other or Tearing up the town free and clear?
Married. Together for 14 years. He was my high school sweetheart. We do, however, have an open relationship. Kind of hard not to, considering we’re both bi and we practice D/s. One of the best things about practicing the lifestyle is barriers only exist where you choose to allow them to exist, and the gender barrier is always the first to go. Anything goes, so long as your own heart and mind approve of the idea. We don’t allow any faceless, emotionless, judgmental, anonymous “they” into our bedroom.
About Your Latest Release : Demons Within
Allen Heras couldn’t believe it when he managed to land his dream job at the best advertising agency in the city of Houston—hell, the whole freaking country. He’d come a long way from the troubled kid who’d grown up in an abusive household, ran away at 14, and had managed to survive living on the streets for two years before a kindly old man saved his life. This job was his chance at a new beginning, a new life, and there was no way he was going to let his effed-up past mess with his future success.
But there was one small problem. Actually, make that two ginormous oh-my-god-what-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-do-now problems. Because despite his best efforts to the contrary, he can’t seem to get past his overwhelming lust for his bosses—both of them.
The fact that one of them is a flashing green-eyed beauty with a perfect hourglass figure and legs that go on for miles doesn’t help matters much. The fact that the other is a 6’7”, 220 lb. wall of solid male muscle with devastating blue eyes and a sweet smile that manages to turn Allen’s knees to jelly every time he sees it—now that’s a far greater, far scarier problem. After suppressing his bisexuality successfully his whole life, having it come roaring to the surface now is tantamount to begging to get fired. And he simply cannot let his screwed up hormones destroy his chance for a better life.
Now, if he could just get his big head to convince the little one of that, he’d be just fine.
Unfortunately for Allen’s peace of mind, his bosses have other plans. Though they’ve been together since high school—preschool, to be perfectly honest—they’ve always known there was something missing between them. No, not something, someone: another man. A man who could bear the weight of their combined love and put up with two extremely dominant personalities being solely focused on him. From the very first time they saw Allen, they knew he was meant to be the one to fill in the missing pieces of their lives, and they have every intention of getting him right where he belongs: in their bed.
They’d known it would be an uphill battle, convincing Allen that three people could make it in a long-term relationship. But when a demon from Allen’s horrible past shows up unexpectedly, threatening to expose him for the pervert he thinks he is, they realize that the real battle isn’t convincing Allen to love them—it’s convincing him he’s worth loving in the first place.
Demons Within is a contemporary menage romance detailing the struggles of three people who are desperately trying to make themselves whole. With sexy whispered fantasies, masturbation, voyeurism, F/M, M/F/M, M/M, and M/M/F, this story of unconventional love in the modern world is sure to set fire to your imagination—and possibly, your sheets.
Allen could definitely come to love this place.
But that wasn’t the half of what he was coming to love. The man and woman who were quickly overtaking his entire world were climbing that slope with staggering ease. Which was amazing, when he started considering how little he actually knew about them. Sidri, he knew mostly from work and the few social encounters they’d had over the last couple of years. Tatum, he’d only spoken to via phone or e-mail. Sure, they’d had dozens of conversations over the years, and he had heard tons of stories about both of them. But he’d never had the opportunity to simply hang out with them, never gotten the chance to just talk to them. And he’d never had the experience of seeing them together—or seeing how they interacted with someone like Allen.
Allen smiled, laughing at himself silently. He honestly hadn’t known what to expect, what it would be like to be the sole focus of two über-Alpha individuals. He’d had brief, uncomfortable visions of being totally controlled, of having every thought and action dictated for him. Eat this, go here, do that—no decision left to himself. The thought had made him instinctively shy away. He’d fought hard for his personal freedom, after all.
Fortunately, those half-formed fears couldn’t be further from the truth. With the two of them watching over him, taking care of him, he could almost begin to feel…cherished. Respected. Desired.
He shivered, and Sidri caressed his biceps without looking over at him. She was curled on the couch like a contented cat, watching reruns of her favorite show, The West Wing.He glanced over at Tatum, who sat in the easy chair closest to the arm of the couch Allen rested against, and received a small smile. Allen grinned, sighing with pleasure.
They were nothing like he expected. In the grand scheme of things, what they did for him didn’t appear to add up to much. But for Allen, it was a revelation of how wonderful his future could be.
Small things. Simple things. Like when Tatum brought them food earlier. He’d heaped two plates with Asian delicacies, setting them on the table with a wink and a flourish, before retrieving the plate he’d made for himself. Allen’s mouth had watered as he discovered Orange Beef, Kung Pao Chicken, and Happy Family vegetable medley. Then he had noticed that all the beans and sprouts had been removed from his portion—he’d glanced at Sidri and Tatum’s plates, just to be sure. Apparently, Sidri had told Tatum how much Allen hated beans and sprouts, and the big man had taken it upon himself to pick them out, one by one, before serving Allen his plate. It was such a small thing, such a simple gesture. But it rocked Allen to the core.
There were other things. Like when they settled in front of the TV after eating and talking for a good two hours. Tatum had snapped up the remote, earning a death-glare from Sidri, which he answered with a self-satisfied smirk. He’d flipped through the channels, obviously looking for something in particular, and eventually settled on one of Allen’s favorite guilty pleasures—a BBC crime drama. Allen knew—again, via Sidri—that Tatum absolutely detested crime dramas unless they featured lots of hot chicks wearing very little. He would never voluntarily watch one. Yet he’d stopped on the show without a single sign of discomfort, settling into his chair with a contented sigh.
Throat tight, Allen had snatched up the remote after the episode ended, quickly locating a sports show he knew both he and Tatum liked. The big man grinned appreciatively, and soon all three of them were arguing with the commentators and heaping ridicule on each other’s favorite players. With the Super Bowl happening tomorrow, everyone was focused on whose quarterback would make the most plays, which defenders would make the most sacks. It tickled him, listening to Sidri detail each player’s stats and list her ideas on how different plays should be run. That she obviously loved football just as much as her men made him love her that much more.
After sports, it was Sidri’s turn to hog the remote, a fact both men argued against vociferously. Grinning, she’d flipped through the channels, stopping on every chick-flick she found just to hear them groan. When she finally settled on The West Wing, he and Tatum quieted, content to let her have her way for now.
It was fun. Easy. Relaxed. Except for the thick undercurrent of constant, evolving sexual tension, he could almost believe they were just old college buddies, hanging out.
But that sexual tension was always there, under the surface.
When he’d returned from the kitchen, lips swollen and swimming in a haze of lust and anticipation, Sidri had taken one look at his rumpled state and said, “Damn, I wish I could have watched that.”
He’d blushed profusely and mumbled something about changing clothes—with his jeans’ button now lost somewhere on the kitchen floor, his pants were riding disconcertingly low. But Sidri and Tatum, who had just walked into the room carrying three Cokes, both instantly forbid him from doing any such thing.
“You’re so fucking sexy right now,” Tatum had breathed as Sidri nodded appreciatively. Both pairs of eyes were fastened to his waistline, where the now-zipped jeans still gaped at the top.
Sidri licked her lips, looked up at him through her lashes. “I want you to wear those jeans the whole time we’re here. Understand?”
A blush heated his ears as both of them voiced their approval of the idea, closing the subject as far as they were concerned. So Allen had been forced to wear the evidence of Tatum’s inability to wait to get his hands on Allen’s cock, the evidence of the man’s sheer brute strength. And every time he stood up, sat down, or simply walked across the room, his jeans, which were now loose enough to slip down to the points of his hips, rubbed against his hard-on.
Tatum headed straight for the freezer instead of making good on his offer to get them all food. He yanked open the door and shoved his face inside, a hard gasp shuddering out of him as the ice-cold air washed over his over-heated skin.
Too much. He wanted Allen too much. He stood with eyes shut tight, letting the frigid air try to cool the raging inferno of lust inside him. God help him, how would he ever manage to control himself?
A tentative, light-fingered touch on Tatum’s shoulder had him jumping and whirling around instantly. Allen stood behind him, eyes soft even as his hands trembled at his sides. As Tatum watched, Allen licked his lips and swallowed hard.
“I may not understand all this,” the smaller man said in a deep, sexy rumble that had Tatum’s balls drawing up tight, “But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be here.” He paused, laughed self-consciously. “I feel like a teenager, out on a first date. I don’t know what to do with myself, what I’m supposed to do.”
Tatum melted instantly, but Allen cut him off before he could offer reassurance. “This is all new to me, Tatum. Until last night, I didn’t even think anything like this was even remotely possible. So I’m nervous, and jumpy, and scared as all get-out.” He took a deep breath. “But I wouldn’t be here if this wasn’t something I wanted. And right now…” Allen looked down briefly, then speared Tatum with suddenly hot, chocolate-brown eyes.
“Right now, I want you to kiss me, the way you kissed her,” he said in a hushed tone. Then he gulped, licked that bottom lip again, and whispered, “Please.”
He mashed their lips together almost violently, shoving both hands through Allen’s thick black hair so he could grip the man’s skull and control the angle of penetration. With deep, sure strokes of his tongue, he explored every inch of that hot mouth, the sweet taste mainlining sugar straight to his bloodstream. Allen whimpered, his trembling fingers threading through Tatum’s belt loops as he sought an anchor.
Tatum groaned, forcing Allen to step backward until he fetched up against the door to the pantry. Tatum used his greater weight to hold Allen captive against the unforgiving hard surface, kissing the man desperately. That Allen responded, kissing him back for all he was worth, just made Tatum that much hotter. Harder.
With both hands, he reached down and took hold of Allen’s muscular thighs. He lifted the smaller man straight up, raising him to a level where Tatum didn’t have to bend so far to reach those sinful lips. Then he slammed their chests together, holding Allen suspended between himself and the door, his feet off the ground. Allen gasped into his mouth, both hands flying up to circle Tatum’s shoulders as he held on for dear life.
Tatum reached up with one hand and pried Allen’s fingers from his collar, kissing him all the while. Then he guided that hand up and out, finally wrapping the other man’s fingers around a convenient hook on the pantry door. It was supposed to hold bags of potatoes, or other such ordinary kitchen items. Now it gave his soon-to-be-lover an anchor that wouldn’t move. When he had Allen’s fingers firmly in place, he squeezed gently, letting him know Tatum wanted them to stay there. Allen complied with a deep, guttural groan that Tatum swallowed hungrily.
With unencumbered access, Tatum ran his free hand down Allen’s arm, over his chest, and made for the button on his jeans. Allen convulsed in his arms, panting between kisses, obviously reeling from the savagery of Tatum’s assault on his mouth and body. But Tatum couldn’t stop, wouldn’t stop. He needed to do this.
With a growl of imperative male frustration, he ripped the fucking button clean off Allen’s jeans. They both heard the small piece of metal clang on the Italian tile floor, listened to it roll and hitch up against the far counter. With that out of the way, all that was left was his zipper. Tatum yanked it down in one swift motion and reached his hand inside Allen’s shorts.
Allen shouted into Tatum’s mouth as he finally, finally got his hands on that long, thick shaft. Jesus, the man was hung, his cock a perfect handful for a man Tatum’s size. Allen was painfully aroused, dripped pre-cum everywhere, providing Tatum with more than enough lubrication to begin the quick, fast hand-job he’d intended from the start. Allen’s whole body jerked with every hard stroke, his thighs clenching against Tatum’s legs where the taller man held him up. Tatum pulled ruthlessly, holding nothing back, jerking the man in his arms off as if his life depended on it.
Not once did he stop kissing him. Tatum was dizzy, light-headed from lack of air, but he couldn’t bring himself to release those intoxicating lips. He pressed his full weight against the man pinned to the door and growled with pleasure every time Allen jerked in his arms.
When Allen was panting, gasping, mewling, Tatum used his own hips to brace them both and used his other hand to yank his polo shirt up, exposing his abs. He pressed the head of Allen’s cock to his own stomach, tore his lips away, and whispered, “Come.”
Fiery blasts of cum decorated Tatum’s belly even as his own orgasm shot molten lava through his veins. He moaned, long and low, his forehead jammed against Allen’s as they both panted and shook with the force of their mutual release. He held onto Allen’s cock while the younger man pulsed and released wave after wave of hot, sticky seed all over Tatum’s body.
When it was over, they were both panting, trembling with the aftermath. At last, Tatum let the man slide down his body until his feet touched the ground. He stood there, panting, holding them both upright even though every one of his muscles wanted to melt into a puddle on the kitchen floor.