Thanks You-Gotta-Read Reviews. It's so nice to be here. Let's see...about me...hmmm. I come from a military family, My father is a retired Marine. We lived all over the US growing up, including Hawaii. Since graduating from the University of Hawaii, I've held all sorts of jobs, from pastry chef to quality management professional. It took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I started writing professionally a few years ago and since then I've put out several short stories and collections of stories, ranging from erotica and romance to horror and suspense. All the Good Men is my first full-length novel.
The book revolves around Dahlia Foster who's staring down forty and has never been married. As the reader gets deeper into Dahila's life, it's easy to see that she uses the complications in her life to avoid taking that leap. That is until one drunken night, she takes an ill-advised dare from her sisters. They set her up on several blind dates that end in disaster. Also, her new neighbor, a sexy firefighter named Jackson Carmichael, turns out to be interested in her. And she's interested in him. But Dahlia falls back into her comfort zone and tries to push Jackson away before she gets too attached. Luckily, Jackson's not easily dissuaded.
YGR: What inspired you to write the novel?
Several experiences went into the making of this book. First, I had a stray thought while working on another book. The phrase, “All the good men are either married or gay,” came up in dialogue. I thought, “That would make a funny premise for a book—to have my heroine prove or disprove the statement through a series of blind dates.”
Jackson is based on my own personal firefighter hero and life partner. Dating a fireman has given me a glimpse into the realities of the job and the challenges they face.
Weaving all these life experiences together, I came up with All the Good Men.
YGR: Is erotic romance the only genre you write? If so why?
While erotic romance and contemporary romance are the genres I'm most comfortable with, I also write horror, suspense, and paranormal as CJ Elliott. I even have a couple fantasy manuscripts in the works. I love pushing my boundaries and keeping my skills fresh.
YGR: Do you have anything new in the works?
As CJ Elliott, I have another new release, a shape-shifter short story, with Cobblestone Press titled Hour of the Wolf. CJ also has a novel coming out with Moongypsy Press later this year titled Clean about a woman whose job it is to clean up after professional hitmen. And I'm shopping around a new manuscript, Desire, in which the god Bacchus is cast out of Olympus and stripped of his godly status and must work his way back into the realm of deities.
YGR: What advice would you give unpublished writers?
I used to say, “Write everyday,” but it's recently come to my attention that some folks take that advice literally so now I say, “Treat writing like a full-time job and think of yourself as a professional.” By that I mean, write five days a week, just like any other job. Set aside as much time to work on your writing as you would a full-time job. And learn as much as you can about the world of writing and publishing so that you come across polished to the publishing houses you approach. But just like any other career, you have to take breaks, vacations and sick days, too!
YGR: What is your writing process like?
I'm very much a plotter. I have to outline my books, fully develop my characters, and understand their backstories and the progression of events before I can begin to work in earnest. That being said, I often deviate from the outline once it's in place. Characters rebel, ideas that once made sense start to sound forced so I think it's important to let a book take it's own journey once the work is started.
YGR: Where do you get your inspiration?
Most of the time, I get my best ideas when I'm cooking. I love to make work-intensive food, like homemade bread dough or handcrafted ravioli. And though cooking might keep my hands busy, it seems to free up my mind to simmer about writing.
As for plotlines and characters, I draw much of those elements from real life. For example, all the bad dates that Dahlia goes on in All the Good Men are dates I've actually been on at one point in my life. Luckily I didn't go on them in a row like poor Dahlia, but they're all based in reality.
YGR: When you set aside your work in progress for the day, what sort of books do you like to read
I usually read something that reflects the genre I'm working on. For erotic romance, I love Mari Carr and Vivian Arend. For romance/chick lit, Marian Keyes and Helen Fielding are two of my favorites. And for mystery and suspense, no one does it better than Agatha Christie.
YGR: Where can we find you on the net?
I love new friends so please add me!
YGR: Where can we find out more about your books?
My entire catalog is listed on my website on the 'Books' tabs. Also my publishers' websites have some great blurbs and excerpts to read: