Author of the Week: Leslie Lee Sanders!

leslie

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Leslie.

 

  • Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m an author of over two dozen published books. I write LGBT romance and erotic romance under Leslie Lee Sanders, and also write psychological thriller and horror under L.L. Sanders (to help her readers differentiate my work in my favorite genres). With every story I aim to improve my storytelling and writing skills by learning from the best and challenging myself. I’m also a self-described perfectionist. When I’m not writing I’m reading, and love engaging with my online friends!

 

  • What inspires your writing?

My need to share a message or an opinion. I’m a guarded girl; introverted, reclusive (mostly), and aware of the impact my words and actions may have on others and myself. Because of this, I rarely speak my mind publicly about controversial or political topics, or current events. Not so in my stories! I bring up plenty of subjects that allows me to explore themes such as; tolerance, human rights, justice, bias, and so much more.

 

  • When did you start writing m/m romance? And why this genre?

My first jump into the genre was in 2004 after being a fan of very popular fanfiction. I wanted to capture and audience like that but using original characters. And I did. I learned a lot since then and I think it shows in my current work.

 

  • Are you a full time author?

I am. In my dreams. Lol. It’s a goal most authors strive for, but not many reach. Still, we never know what the future holds.

 

  • Who is your favorite author?

V.C. Andrews and her early books like Flowers in the Attic and Dawn. Some of my absolute favorites that I can reread and still find entertaining and enthralling. The best authors have that gift.

 

  • How many books have you written so far?

I’ve written and published nearly 30 books ranging from short stories, novellas, and full-length novels under Leslie Lee Sanders and L.L. Sanders combined. Admittedly, the current ones are better written than the early ones, but that’s just proof that I try to improve with every new book.

 

  • Tell us a little about your novel, Darkness Eternal (Refuge Inc.).

In a post-apocalyptic/dystopian future, Connor Nichols and Vince Moore are training as peacekeepers and live in one of many underground spheres created by Refuge Inc. The atmosphere above ground make the surface unlivable after an asteroid impact leaves deadly toxins in the air. So the boys only experience of life is in this underground bubble run by Dr. Randolph.

When a toxic leak threatens the lives of the survivors, Connor and Vince are thrown into a whirlwind of chaos as they fight to save lives all while struggling with their feelings for one another.

 

  • How long did it take you to complete Darkness Eternal? Did you write it freely or plan everything in advance?

It took me close to a year to write. Everything was planned and plotted in advance, especially the main plot points and twists. Some things came to me while writing, and it fit so it stayed. But with a universe so big and complex, I had to have some sort of direction before writing.

 

  • What inspired you to write Darkness Eternal?

The current state of the world and the constant fight for dominance and power is what inspires the entire Refuge Inc. series. But mostly the recent big events in America, including the election, civil rights moments, and even the recent developments on gay rights, made me want to pen a gritty tale of the what-ifs. Sort of my way of letting off steam. It’s quite therapeutic.

 

  • Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?

I love Connor Nichols, which is why the story takes place in his point of view (and also why I wrote an entire story about his father’s experience with Refuge Inc. in Resurfaced). Connor has the most intriguing story, the most to overcome, the most to prove, and the most at stake. His backstory is the most interesting, and his character arc and growth is the most satisfying. Maybe a lot of readers will gravitate toward Vince because he’s the strong, handsome love interest. But if you’re looking for more than a quick romp of a read, Connor’s story might fascinate.

 

  • How much of yourself did you manifest into your favorite character?

What a good question! After thinking about it, I can say that there is actually a lot of my personality in Connor Nichols. He can be tough when challenged, serious when necessary, and sweet with the person who has his heart. He’s sensitive to love. Love is his weakness (as it is with most people), it makes him do silly things. But because of love he also does some memorable, honorable, and heroic things, like putting his life on the line for others.

 

  • When someone reads Darkness Eternal, what do you hope they gain from reading it?

I hope readers will remain empathetic to others who are different than them, but gain a bit of understanding of the real world problems that face many who are not like them. It’s easy to stereotype and label a group of people, but it takes effort to stand up against so many who want to box those groups in.

I’m not trying to sound pretentious or take my story too seriously, but deep down, under the surface, tolerance is what Darkness Eternal is promoting. The story is my take on a future without it.

 

  • Can you share four things you’ve learned about the business?

Here’s a list:

  1. You’re first drafts of everything are usually crap
  2. You can’t please everyone
  3. You have to do more than just write a book to gain sales
  4. It’s mostly people you don’t know who buys and reads your books

 

  • What is the most frequently asked question by the fans?

Fans? What fans? Lol. Kidding. Fans want more of their beloved series. They get to the end of a book and ask, “Are you writing more? Will there be more?” That’s the number one question I get.

 

  • What are you working on now?

I’m actually writing short horror stories and novellas on Wattpad. I’m hoping to expand my audience and reach a whole new fan base. I was also planning a follow-up story to Darkness Eternal to bring the series to a satisfying end and bring me a bit of closure.

 

  • How do you keep your creative “spark” alive?

It’s not deliberate. I get flashes of inspiration and I have to write down my ideas. And the ideas brew until I create something of them to share with others. I think that’s a perk of being a creative person, the spark can’t really die unless there’s a deliberate effort to snuff the flame.

 

  • What is your suggestion or piece of advice to new and upcoming writers?

Find someone (or plenty of people) you trust to give you honest feedback on your work, and know when to accept or reject their suggestions.

 

  • Where can we find you on the Internet?

LESLIE LEE SANDERS (LGBT Romance)

Website: http://www.leslieleesanders.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/leslieleesandersAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeslieLSanders

Amazon page: http://amzn.to/2bZcT9h

***************************************

L.L. SANDERS (Thriller & Horror)

Website: http://www.llsanders.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/lls4sanders

Amazon page: http://amzn.to/2bJtS30

 

  • Could you please share your favorite excerpt from Darkness Eternal with us?

My eyes snapped open to a bright red light, similar to the lights that announced our failure during tactical training in the simulation, but accompanying this crimson glow was the ongoing piercing ring of an alarm. It took a second for it all to register, but thanks to the dozen or so drills we’ve had, it finally clicked that there was an emergency. A fire? Some sort of outbreak? Contamination?

A chill crept down my spine.

Throwing the sheets aside, I tossed my legs over the edge of the bed. Still a bit disoriented from being awakened during a deep sleep, I sniffed the air for a trace of smoke but instead detected others’ fear in the form of sweat and body odor. I stood and caught the glow of the hour on the wall: zero-three hundred.

A shout came from nearby and blurred figures rushed left and right in the hall outside the room door. Shadows passed in front of me like wisps of dark mist accentuated by the red hue of the emergency lights. A voice called out orders, “Move it, cadets. To your gear. Move, move, move!” The commands mingled with the distant noise of pained whimpers, panicked cries, and the nearby sounds of rapid and flustered breathing.

Chaos.

Panic rose from my gut, but I inhaled slowly to stifle it. I scanned the space for the source of the orders. Then a tug of my arm pulled me from the room.

***

Thank you for taking time out, Leslie!

 

Author of the Week: Jeff Erno!

jeff-erno

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Jeff.

 

  • Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thank you for the invitation. I appreciate the opportunity and the exposure. About me: I’m a forty-nine year old gay man who lives in southern Michigan and whose passion is writing gay-themed fiction. I’m an author of about fifty published “books,” over half of which are full-length novels. I write in a variety of genres including mm romance, BDSM erotica, gay fiction, paranormal, sci-fi, and young adult.

  • What inspires your writing?

I think those of us with a passion for writing feel that it’s something within us, a part of our makeup. I feel inspired to write for a variety of reasons and draw specific inspiration from life itself, from movies, books, or other creative endeavors, from songs and videos, from family, friends, and coworkers. I see or hear things that pique my interest and take note, someone should write a story about that.

  • When did you start writing m/m romance? And why this genre?

I started writing as a means of therapeutic catharsis after I’d lost several close loved ones including my parents, grandmother, and some dear friends. My first stories were posted on an amateur website. Eventually I published one of those stories as a novel, and at the time I didn’t consider it to be “mm romance.” In fact, I’d never heard of that genre. But it was reviewed on some of the mm romance websites. I became familiar with the genre and fell in love with it. I even started a review site with a friend, and since then I’ve read thousands of mm books. I think I’m drawn to that genre for the same reason most other readers enjoy it. I love the formula, the angst. And I adore the happy endings.

  • Are you a full time author?

Sort of. I worked for years as a store manager in retail grocery and retail convenience stores. I ended up quitting my day job a few years ago to write full time, which I do. But since then I’ve gone back to work part time to supplement my income.

  • Who is your favorite author?

There are too many to list within m/m and I’d hate to insult anyone. Outside the genre, my all-time favorite author is Anne Rice.

  • How many books have you written so far?

When everything I have contracted has been published, it will be fifty-five.

  • Tell us a little about your novel, Life Without Parole.

Life Without Parole is a prison serial consisting of six installments. The story is also available in one large print edition in which all of the ebooks are combined. It is the story of a nineteen year old, Jeremy Banks, who is convicted of a crime he did not commit and sentenced to life without parole in a Michigan prison. While there, he falls in love with another inmate and learns how to survive in an environment quite different than anything he’s ever known.

  • How long did it take you to complete Life Without Parole? Did you write it freely or plan everything in advance?

I usually do not write out an outline but have one (very flexible) in my head. This story, which was actually the combination of six books, was completed over the course of about seven months.

  • What inspired you to write Life Without Parole?

I have communicated with prison pen pals over the years. I started doing this after a friend I knew in high school was sentenced to prison. I visited him a few times and learned about the pan pal program. I’ve known several guys who’ve done time and included details I’d learned from my conversations with them.

  • Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?

Well, I fell in love with these characters while writing. To me, they all seem so real, as if they are separate identities from myself. Of course I love my main character Jeremy most. But other than him, I also adore Shontay, Jeremy’s best friend, a transgender inmate.

  • How much of yourself did you manifest into your favorite character?

I’ve written so many characters over the years that contain pieces of myself. I don’t really see Jeremy as being like me. Maybe in some ways you could draw parallels, but he truly is an entirely independent creation.

  • When someone reads Life Without Parole what do you hope they gain from reading it?

Well, let’s hope first and foremost they’re entertained. I’m not striving so much to convey a message as I am to entertain with a compelling story. I hope they’re touched emotionally in a manner similar to what I felt writing it.

  • What are you working on now?

I just finished a book called Slim Chance. I’ve contracted with Dreamspinner Press, and the book should release next spring. I’m also in the midst of edits for a series of four erotic short stories with Extasy Books. They’re called Bad Boys.

  • How do you keep your creative “spark” alive?

I’m always looking for story ideas. I read a lot, watch movies, and make lots of time for writing.

  • Where we can find you on the Internet?

http://www.jefferno.com

  • Could you please share your favorite excerpt from Life Without Parole with us?

Trey paced back and forth outside the fence, watching the door where he expected Jeremy to exit. He honestly wasn’t even sure how they’d do it, if a CO would escort him all the way to the gate, or if he and Sam would exit on their own. Trey had never been released from Pitney. He’d been transported in the late evening by van to the county jail.

It felt as if he’d been waiting for hours. Every second that ticked by seemed an eternity. He removed his cell phone to check the time, and when he did, noticed he’d had a missed call. Damn, why hadn’t he seen this sooner? He recognized the number. It was from the same phone Jeremy had used to call him back when Trey was still in the hospital. Jeremy had been trying to call him right about the exact same time Chord and David had showed up at Trey’s job. Maybe he’d gotten news of his release and was trying to let Trey know.

Damn, that reminded him, he’d better call his boss. He dialed his work num-ber and told his supervisor what was going on. Trey didn’t want to lose the job. He loved it, and it was in the same town where Jeremy lived, or where he had lived. Where was he going to go now? Would his family take him back? It didn’t matter. Trey would do whatever he had to in order to make sure Jeremy had a place to live. Maybe they could get their own apartment or something.

When he hung up the phone, he debated going back inside the administration building—the pole barn—and finding a vending machine. He was thirsty, and he’d started to feel chilled in the cool mid-winter temperature. But before he could take a step away from the fence, the door to the other building opened. His breath caught in his throat as his heartbeat quickened. He slid his phone into his jacket pocket and moved closer to the fence, gripping the metal mesh with both hands.

And there he was, fifty feet away, standing on the porch beside Sam holding a box of personal belongings. As Jeremy looked up, he froze as he spotted Trey. Maybe Sam hadn’t mentioned he was there waiting. The box fell from Jeremy’s arms as he descended the steps and began walking briskly down the path.

“Hold up, hold up!” It was Officer Levins. “I have to unlock the gate for you.”

Jeremy seemed not to have even heard him. His pace quickened, morphing to a run. He rushed toward the fence, arms outstretched. “Trey! Trey!” His brilliant blue eyes, wide-opened, were brimming with tears. Trey reached up to the fence, placing his hands against Jeremy’s as they gazed at each other.

“Jeremy . . .”

The officer at last reached the gate and fumbled with his key, unlocking it and pulling it open. Jeremy bolted through the entrance into Trey’s arms. Trey’s heart raced a mile a minute. Oh, to feel him again! To have him right there in the flesh, Jeremy’s body pressing against his, was it even real? Was this really happening or just another dream?

Trey grabbed Jeremy’s face, framing it with his palms, and kissed him deeply. Jeremy gasped into the kiss, responding with fierce, unbridled passion. Moaning and crying simultaneously, he clung to Trey as they kissed. Finally, Trey pulled back far enough to gaze into Jeremy’s eyes once more. “Angel,” he whispered.

“My angel.”

Thank you for taking time out, Jeff! Until next time!

 

Surviving Elite High: The Next Generation is HERE! Get it now!

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Surviving Elite High: The Next Generation

John H. Ames

Series: Surviving Elite High

Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Gay Romance

Imprint: Ai Press

Length: 74908 words, Novel

eISBN: 978-1-937796-12-9

Price: 4.99 USD

Release Date: October 7, 2016

 

Flame rating: 2 Flames – infrequent, light love scenes, mildly graphic

 

Print ISBN:

 

 

Cover art: Louca Matheo

 

Surviving Elite High fans, the wait is over! More romance, drama and mystery are unfolding at Elite High before the back-to-school bell has even rung!

 

Seventeen year old, blond-hair, blue-eyed and adorable Robbie Carroll, orphaned at a young age and mysteriously never adopted, has finally found his dream family. Nick Hawking and John Ames, now married, wealthy, and powerful, make Robbie their son, defying the young man’s past- one that Robbie himself has no memory of- that has scared all other prospective parents away. Now, Robbie has great parents and a hot brother, Nicky and beautiful sister, Lily, who take him into their midst and make him part of their tight circle of friends who all go to Elite High.

 

One of those friends is Tim Mercer, a gorgeous football player at Elite High. Tim’s dark looks and simmering eyes capture Robbie’s heart at first sight. But Robbie can’t be sure that Tim feels the same way, or even if he’s gay too. Moreover, even if Tim is available, there are some people around him who don’t want Robbie to get close to him, and will go to ANY lengths to keep him away. Why? What do they want with Tim? What is the secret that Tim is harboring? And who is that strange man in Robbie’s visions, who haunts his life and his dreams? Find out here!

 

Word count: 74908

 

PDF page count: 172

 

 

Excerpt:

 

“You sleeping, boy?” he asked, his voice hoarse and manly. It wasn’t Nick, John or even Nicky. If it wasn’t them, then who could it be? “Mommy’s asleep and it’s time for us to have some fun. Play another round of mommy and daddy.”

 

Panic shot through every inch of Robbie’s body, rendering him weak and nauseous. Deep in his heart, he knew that he was in grave danger and needed to get away from him and fast. Before he could do anything, the man removed the thin cover sheltering his body and ran his hands all over his legs. His touch was ice cold, rough, and treacherous. Something about him made Robbie sick and too shocked to move. His body erupted in goose bumps while a sinking feeling buried itself inside his stomach. Who was he and what did he want?

 

Robbie was about to scream when something weird happened. The man’s touch became warm, gentle, and comforting. The mysterious man covered Robbie’s body with his and Robbie’s heart stopped, feet going completely cold. It wasn’t a stranger or an evil presence. It was Nicky.

 

“What—?

 

“Shhh!” Nicky placed a soft finger over his lips. “I know you want me as much as I want you.”

Robbie’s heart started pounding hard against his chest while his body shivered in delight. Nicky’s hands traced every inch of his body as his lips locked on his neck, tasting his skin. Robbie moaned in pleasure as his member became hard and stiff. Was this real? Or was it all just a dream? Nicky grunted loudly and began to hump and rub his hips against him.

 

“Oh, Nicky!” Robbie screamed as he felt the pressure of Nicky’s body against his.

 

All of a sudden, a loud buzzing sound rang in his ears and he sat up. The morning rays welcomed him with their radiant glow, disturbing his vision. It was already morning and everything had been just a beautiful dream. However, the buzzing sound still continued and he looked around for the source of all of the commotion. It was his iPhone and Nicky’s name flashed repeatedly on the screen. He waved his hand over the device and answered, happily. “Hey! What’s up?”

 

“Get up lazy!” Nicky replied.

 

“I’m up!” Robbie rubbed his eyes. “What time is it?”

 

“Almost eleven.”

 

“Wow!” Robbie glanced outside. “I overslept.”

 

“That’s cool. I was just making sure you were up.”

 

“Oh, okay.” Robbie scratched his head, confused. Why would he?

 

“See you soon.” Nicky hung up on him.

 

Soon? Robbie stared at his phone. Someone knocked on the door and Robbie stood up. Was it Nicky? Maybe it was! He combed his hair with his hands and cleaned his face with the silky covers of his bed. After taking a deep breath, he answered, casually. “Come in.”

 

“Rise and shine!” John announced as he opened the door and stepped inside.

 

It was only John, but he was still very happy to see him.

 

“I sent Nicky to check if you were up, but his lazy ass won’t leave the couch.”

 

Robbie laughed. “That’s why he called me?”

 

“Yeah.” John sat on the edge of the bed. “I want you to clean up, put on something nice and have breakfast with us. After that, we’re going shopping for a few things you might need.”

 

“You really don’t—”

 

“Nope!” John lifted a hand out to him. “I won’t take no for an answer. Remember, you’re my son now.”

 

Robbie’s heart skipped a few beats. It felt so good to hear someone saying those words. “Okay, John. Thank you.”

 

“Good.” John stood up, heading straight for the door. “Hurry up! We’re waiting on you.”

 

 

Purchase links:

 

AMZ Kindle:  https://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Elite-High-Generation-Romance-ebook/dp/B01LTEY0SI/

 

Print from Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Elite-High-Next-Generation/dp/1539181782

 

AllRomance:  https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-survivingelitehighthenextgeneration-2097007-145.html

 

Nook:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/surviving-elite-high-john-h-ames/1124771683?ean=2940157072995

 

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/surviving-elite-high-the-next-generation

 

Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/John_H_Ames_Surviving_Elite_High_The_Next_Generati?id=yeiyAAAAQBAJ