Elaine Cantrell is in the Hot Seat

Hi, I have Elaine Cantrell in the Hot Seat.

Janice: Tell us about yourself?

Elaine: I’d be delighted to! I’m a Southern girl, born and raised in upstate South Carolina. I say ya’ll, which is always plural, and I like grits. I graduated from Clemson University with a BA in secondary education and went back for a Master’s degree in personnel services. I’m a member of Alpha Delta, Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators, Romance Writer’s of America, and EPIC Authors. My second novel A New Leaf was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest and was published by Oak Tree Books in 2004. I’m still teaching social studies at our local high school, and in my spare time, if there is any, I like to read, play with my grandchildren, and collect vintage Christmas ornaments. You can see my vintage collection in my Facebook photos at http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=10000015304148

Janice: When did you start writing?

Elaine: LOL. That’s an interesting question. I started writing because of my son. He came home one day in late 2001and told me he had written a book. Who can describe the pleasure and pride in a mother’s heart at that moment? He told me he had always made up stories in his head to amuse himself, so he thought he might as well write them down. After I picked myself up off the floor, I told him that I had always done the same thing, so I sat myself down at my computer to see if I could write. I bet I stared at that blank screen for ten minutes before I remembered that I had a delete key, and if I didn’t like what I wrote I could start over. Since that time I’ve never looked back. I write now because it’s a compulsion. I’ve even been known to take my computer with me on vacation.

Janice: Who was the biggest influence on your writing?

Elaine: People who’ve read my books compare my style to Danielle Steele and Elizabeth Peters, but I started reading when I was just a little girl, and I’m sure all the authors I read as a child left their mark on me. Louisa May Alcott was one of my favorites, and I think I picked up some wisdom about life there. I was crazy about horses so I read Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books. From them I picked up some ideas for action/adventure plots. I also loved the Anne of Green Gables books. They’re so well done!

Janice: How do you go about your writing? Do your prefer pencils to pens or is it all straight computer work?

Elaine: Gotta have my computer. I have written things out by hand, but the minute I started typing on the computer I changed almost everything I had written. Maybe it’s the backspace key. That’s a really useful thing!

Janice: What influences you in your writing?

Elaine: Music, movies, reading, or straight research? I’d have to say that the biggest influence is probably reading. I’ve often read a book and started to wonder how things would have been different if the author had changed this or that. I once read a book on secret codes in World War II, and while I was taking a shower that evening I started to think about the code, and before you know I had the plot for a sequel to Return Engagement.

Janice: When do you write morning or evening, or are you a late into the wee hours of the morning person?

Elaine: My very best work is done in the morning before my mind gets stressed and cluttered with routine things. Ideas pop into my head with ease, but not so much so later on in the day.

Janice: Who in charge you or your muse?

Elaine: My Muse! I try to make her behave, but she won’t have any of it. She pushes me around and makes me change things all the time. She’s fickle too. At the times I need her the most she deserts me and leaves me to blunder around on my own.

Janice: Use only one word to describe your writing style? Or at least what you want your readers to take away from your writing.

Elaine: Thrilling is a good word to describe it. I want readers to be so thrilled with my work that they’re sorry they’ve finished the book. I want them to sigh and send me an email telling me to hurry up with the next book.

Janice: What other books have you written?

Elaine: Return Engagement
Genre: contemporary romance
Title: Return Engagement
Author: Elaine Cantrell
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Buy Link: http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=819
Author Website: http://www.elainecantrell.com
Format: print and ebook

A New Leaf
Genre: contemporary romance
Heat rating: PG13
Title: A New Leaf
Author: Elaine Cantrell
Publisher: Oak Tree Press
Buy link: http://www.oaktreebooks.com
Author website: http://www.elainecantrell.com
ISBN: 1-892343-36-3
Format: print and ebook

Grandfather’s Legacy
Genre: Contemporary romance
Heat Rating: PG13
Title: Grandfather’s Legacy
Author: Elaine Cantrell
Publisher: All Romance Books
Buy Link: due to the death of the publisher the book is only available from the author at elainecsc@aol.com
Author Website: http://www.elainecantrell.com
ISBN: 1-933548-02-9
Format: ebook PDF

Purple Heart
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat rating: G
Title Purple Heart
Author: Elaine Cantrell
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Buy Link: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/purple-heart-p-404.html
Author Web site: http://www.elainecantrell.com
ISBN: print 1-60154-133-3
Format: print and ebook-Adobe, MS Reader, Web Html

The Welcome Inn
Genre: Romantic suspense
Heat Rating: R
Title: The Welcome Inn
Author: Elaine Cantrell
Publisher: Wings ePress
Buy link: http://www.wingsepress.com/Bookstore/The%20Welcome%20Inn.htm
Author website: http://www.elainecantrell.com
ISBN: print ISBN 978-1-59705-776-9; ebook ISBN 978-1-59705-252-8
Book format: print and ebook-PDF, HTML, MSR, Mobipocket

Janice: What influenced your recent book, the one you are promoting here today?

Elaine: My latest release is Return Engagement, and the book was written to showcase my ideal hero. I noticed that most of my heroes had certain traits in common, so I compiled all of them and came up with Richard Lovinggood. Besides showcasing my ideal hero, Return Engagement explores the topic of ‘what if’. I bet there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t wondered how their life would be different if they had made different choices. In Return Engagement my characters fall in love when they’re both pretty young, but his father is a powerful senator who doesn’t think Elizabeth is good enough for his son. He breaks them up. Ten years later they meet by accident on a California beach, and man do the fireworks begin! Richard and Elizabeth won’t waste a second chance to find happiness. Here’s a blurb and excerpt from Return Engagement.

Return Engagement by Elaine Cantrell


Elizabeth Lane has it all, but an actress isn’t the kind of woman Senator Henry Lovinggood wants for his son, Richard. Ten years ago he broke Richard and Elizabeth up, but this time Elizabeth’s fighting back, a decision that leads to kidnapping and attempted murder and alienates her from the man of her dreams.

Excerpt: In this excerpt, Richard and Elizabeth have just spend the night together. Richard is totally blissed out, but Elizabeth is conflicted to say the least because Alex, the man she’s thinking about, is her fiancé.

A trace of fear briefly contorted her face. He seems as
headstrong and stubborn today as he was ten years ago. Frankly, I
have no idea if I’ll be able to handle him or not. I wish we’d clarified
his position on my acting before we said I do.

When he held her and kissed her as he had done last
night, all doubts flew from her mind, but it was morning
now, and she had to start a new life, a life without Alex, the
man who’d supported her emotionally for three years now.
Searing pain stabbed her. Surely this betrayal said something
bad about her character!

Resolutely, she squared her shoulders. Today they’d
have that conversation Richard wanted. Today she’d make
him talk about what they should have talked about the night
before. Hopefully, they’d have similar expectations of marriage
which would minimize the conflicts between them.

She decided to shower and start breakfast for him. She
couldn’t help smiling as thoughts of Alex faded. She was acting
very much like a new bride who wanted to take care of
her man. She eased out of bed and took her robe from the
closet but paused before leaving the bedroom.

Yes, she’d acted impulsively and so had he, but she loved
him to distraction! The fates had given her a second chance to
get her heart’s desire; why worry about things that would
probably never be an issue anyway? They’d work things out.
We’ll have to because in the space of one evening I’ve found my missing

She tossed her robe across a delicate gilded bench and
stared at herself in the full length mirror on the wall behind
the tub. He had held her naked body against his and plunged
himself inside her with an abandon that took her breath away!
She still didn’t see why he thought she was so beautiful. But
it’s enough that he does.

Return Engagement by Elaine Cantrell

If you like the sound of Return Engagement, you can read the entire first chapter at http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=819
You can also buy a copy at this address.

Elaine: Janice, thank you so much for having me.

Janice: Your very welcome. It was great having you here.

Lux Zakari is on my hot seat

Come on in. You’re just in time. I’vjust put LUX ZAKARI onto my hot seat. Bawawawa-hahaha.




Janice: So tell us about yourself, Lux.

Lux: I write all my dirty stories in northeast PA while getting my master’s in library science. My short stories, poetry and reviews have appeared in anthologies, such as Best Women’s Erotica 2009, Racy Pages’ Surprise and Best Bondage Erotica 2011, and the websites Clean Sheets, Oysters & Chocolate, My erotic novel, Coercion, was released in August 2011 by Lyrical Press, Inc.

Janice: Very interesting. When did you start writing?

Lux: I’ve been writing since I was a kid; I’ve always found that writing was the best, most vivid, most accurate way I could express all the ideas rattling around in my head. I was writing before I could even write; I would color in notebooks and tell myself the story out loud while I drew, and I’d dictate some stories to my grandmother, and she’d write them down for me.

Janice: Sounds like your grandmother had a lot to do with your early writing. Who was the biggest influence on your writing?

Lux: Everyone I know influences me to some degree, especially those who are closest to me, but one memory that sticks out is that of my first-grade teacher. Back then, I was given a vinyl diary covered in little hearts, and it was so beautiful it made me want to write important things inside it. I wrote a few stories in it—nothing more than a few sentences—and had illustrations to go with them, and at recess one day, I asked my teacher if she wanted to hear them. She said she didn’t have time, but I sat atop a desk and just started reading them aloud anyway. That piqued the interest of some kids who’d been inside for recess, as well as my teacher, who encouraged me to keep at it and gave me a flowered planner to write more stories in. In that I wrote about two friends, Bird and Kitty, and my teacher would let me read these stories in front of the class if there was some free time, and everyone would applaud and I got such a kick out of it. I admired the chutzpah I had then!

Janice: That’s wonderful to get such encouragement at such an early age.


How do you go about your writing? Do your prefer pencils to pens or is it all straight computer work?

Lux: I mostly work on a computer; it’s easier to organize my thoughts that way and make corrections. Plus, my handwriting is an abomination. But there’s something very effective about scribbling down the basic framework for a story by hand. That’s how I write scenes I have trouble writing on the computer, which can be intimidating in suggesting that whatever’s on screen must be polished and perfect. Writing by hand just gets those words out of my system once and for all.

Janice: What influences you in your writing? Music, movies, reading, or straight research?

Lux: Anything can provide inspiration. Sometimes I’ll just be wandering along and a sentence will spring into my head. I have to bring a notebook when I hang out with my friends because they’re so quotable. The way other writers phrase certain things in their own works can be very inspiring. Mostly, I think the all-encompassing answer of “living” is the best way to gain inspiration.

Janice: So true.


When do you write morning or evening, or are you a late into the wee hours of the morning person?

Lux: A few weeks ago, I started writing a story skeleton on the back of a receipt when I was at a park, awaiting my turn to suck at tennis. That’s an example of how I sneak writing in whenever and wherever I can, but I usually have to be away from home to do it—too many distractions.

Janice: Lol, I suck at tennis too.


Who’s in charge: you or your muse?

Lux: We work together; we need each other. But my muse is awesome at making me feel guilty if I’m not writing or at least doing something creative.

Janice: What do you want your readers to take away from your writing?

Lux: That happy endings and brighter futures are possible, no matter how flawed people are.

Janice: What other books have you written?

Lux: Coercion is my first novel, but I have several projects in the works. I’ve just finished revising a new novel—a racy, unconventional love story about a self-absorbed, hedonistic ex-celebrity who, upon the death of her former lover, learns she’ s been inexplicably named the guardian of his three children. Being herded into the parental role forces the protagonist to finally face the truth about the cruel decisions of her wild past, her now uncertain future and her secret, turbulent relationship with a man who, even in death, continues to upend her world. Here’s hoping the story has a successful future!

Janice: What influenced your recent book, the one you are promoting here today?

I actually wrote a blog post called “How to Write Coercion” (http://luxzakari.com/2010/10/20/how-to-write-coercion/), which is a tongue-in-cheek look at the ideas and circumstances that went into me creating that story. But the concise answer is that Coercion is the result of just too many dirty thoughts!


Buy Link: http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_12&products_id=315



Introverted and insecure Valerie Mercer was promised that during her senior year of college she would finally attract attention from boys…but never dreamed that would include Michael Vartanian.

Good looking, troubled and every parent’s nightmare, Michael is adamant on introducing Valerie to a world of both pleasure and, inadvertently, heartbreak. His interest in Valerie is dependent upon the mood and fidelity of his on-and-off-again girlfriend, Breeze.

Nevertheless, Valerie lets her hope and desire override common sense and soon finds she can’ t deny Michael anything…no matter what’ s at stake.




Valerie refused to entertain thoughts Michael might ever be interested in her, especially since she didn’t know what she’ d do if she had him. She knew of Kim Breza—better known as Breeze—and couldn’t think of two people more different than her and the popular, talkative blonde, whose sexual appetite was no secret. She had heard Breeze broadcast her erotic escapades in the women’ s bathroom, the hallway and just about everywhere else. Thus, Valerie knew Michael and his girlfriend had done practically everything under the sun during their on-again, off-again yet somehow enduring relationship.

That knowledge both excited and terrified her. Virginity, which was something her peers had outgrown long ago, was not something she wanted to give to just anyone. Therefore, she could never keep up with Michael.

But a little part of her wanted to try. A little part of her wanted to have the courage to find out how those lips of his tasted. A little part of her wanted to slide her hands down his broad back and into the back pockets of his jeans.

A little part of her wanted to do a whole lot to Michael Vartanian.



A racier excerpt can be found at http://www.theeroticwoman.com/erotica/coercion.


For details about Lux Zakari, visit www.luxzakari.com.

Meet Lisa Alexander-Griffin

Hi, you’re just in time. Have a seat. I’m having a nice talk with Lisa Alexander-Griffin, a dear friend of mine and fellow Pink Petal author.

Janice: Tell us about yourself?  *making a gesture with my hand* Whatever you’re comfortable telling.

Lisa: Hi, Janice! Thanks for having me over today. J There’s not a lot to tell. I’m a N. Alabama native. A mother to three children, two of which are grown, and the youngest is twelve. She keeps me hopping for sure. I’m also a grandmother to three delightful grandchildren. I’ve been married thirty-four years to the same wonderful man. [Sometimes not so wonderful, but hey, neither am I.] Life is hard, but we’ve managed this far, so we must be doing something right.

Janice: I guess so, 34 years is very long time to be married and you don’t look old enough to be a grandmother.

When did you start writing?

Lisa: About twelve years ago. I was going through some dark times and really thought journaling would help, but nothing is sacred here at home, so that idea was struck out rather quickly. I started a story to channel my feelings, and along the way, discovered my love for writing; how I could breathe life in characters, give them real personalities and flaws, a happy ending, when in life that’s not always possible. Realizing that I needed to learn the craft, I searched for, and found a few online groups. That’s when I really started to learn.

Janice: Same here and we meet on one of those groups, too. I remember reading an excerpt of Daniel’s Touch two years ago, when it was still a work in progress, and was very impressed.

Who was the biggest influence on your writing?

Lisa: Can’t say there’s just one.  I read a lot of Danielle Steel’s work when I first started reading romance. But I also grew up on Harlequin’s passed to me by my grandmother. Then there’s Cassie Edwards. I love her Native American Romantic tales. She was a major influence, and of course Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Fern Michaels and Jude Deveraux.

Janice: How do you go about your writing? Do your prefer pencils to pens or is it all straight computer work.

Lisa: Really, how I go about writing varies depending on my mood. Lol. Some days I’ll write caveman style with paper and pen, other days my preference is the computer. If I’m really stuck on a scene, it’s back to paper and pen.  *blushes* Yes, I still have creative blocks at times.

Janice: Oh that happens a time or two to me too. *grin* What influences you in your writing? Music, movies, reading, or straight research?

Lisa: Mostly research and people watching. You can learn a lot just listening. A phrase from a song, or a friend or family member’s problems might trigger a scenario in my mind, and from there, a story develops.

Janice: When do you write morning or evening, or are you a late into the wee hours of the morning person, like me?

Lisa: Every spare moment I get! Being a mother and grandmother, I never know what the day will bring. Nighttime is my preference. It’s quiet and there’s no one to call my name or break my concentration.J But with Morgan still in school, that’s next to impossible except on holidays or weekends.

Janice: Oh, yes, I like night for writing too. Who in charge you or your muse?

Lisa: Definitely me. I’ve always said I don’t have a muse, and I really don’t. What goes on paper/computer is up to me. Sad but true.

Janice: Use only one word to describe your writing style? Or at least what you want your readers to take away from your writing.

Lisa: Dark, but always with an HEA. Lol.

Janice: Getting to that HEA is really worth it, when your story is dark. What other books have you written?

Lisa: My first contract was for The Unexpected Gift in One Touch, One Glance, A Sweet Romance Anthology at Freya’s Bower, and soon to follow, a contemporary romantic fantasy titled A Celtic Lover’s Magic where old and new worlds collide. Shattered Illusions released in May at Pink Petal Books, and my latest title, Danielle’s Touch, debuted in ebook format at Passion in Print August 1, 2010. In ten to fourteen days it will be out in print at Amazon and Barns and Noble. Maybe even an independent bookstore near you, so check it out!! J

Janice: Oh, I already have Daniel’s touch budgeted in on the next week’s shops list.

What influenced your recent book, the one you are promoting here today?

Lisa: Oh, wow! This is the first story I’d ever written. As I improved my craft, I tweaked, and then tweaked some more. Danielle’s Touch deals with domestic violence issues, how people overcome and survive such a horrific event. Every cloud has a silver lining, IF we look hard enough to find it. Ethan and Danielle found theirs. J

Danielle’s Touch
Available at Passion in Print

Rebuilding her life after escaping an abusive marriage, Danielle Courtland throws herself into her new decorating business. Men are the last thing on her mind…until a Stetson-wearing cowboy enters her shop, that is.
The hazel-eyed cowboy needs her help. Restoring an old Victorian-styled plantation house, he realizes the job requires a feminine touch. Caught off guard by the sexiest woman he’s ever laid eyes on, Ethan’s vow to never love again is all but forgotten as he falls hard for the tempting decorator.
Passion simmers, and love is no longer a dream. But hidden in the shadows, danger waits, threatening Danielle and Ethan’s chance at a life together. Will a man, twisted by his obsession, separate them forever?
A lazy half smile on his face, Alex leaned against the porch post like he owned the place.
Danielle’s stomach churned. With a hand clutching the doorknob, she moved cautiously onto the porch. God, have I ever screwed up.
Panic erupted inside her, and her body trembled. “What do you want, Alex?”
Alex’s smile widened, his eyes gleaming with a predatory light. “Just dropped by for a friendly visit, Danielle.”
Danielle forced a breath past the constriction in her throat. “You’re not my friend. Say what you have to say and be gone. I didn’t invite you here.” Her knees threatened to buckle, and her pulse pounded in her ears. She edged back against the door to steady the tremble of her body. “I want nothing to do with you.” She fumbled for, and twisted the knob, eager to escape back into the house.
Alex pushed from the post. “It hasn’t been long since you wanted a great deal to do with me,” he drawled.
Her hand slipped, and the door lock clicked, vibrating in the night. Danielle flinched, and the door slammed shut, barring her escape to the inside. Swift in his movements, Alex yanked her against him.
She jerked free and rubbed her arm. “You have no right to disrupt my life. In case you’ve forgotten, we’re divorced.”
He inched her backward, against the door, molding his body to hers. “I told you, Danielle, I’ll never let you go.”
Danielle pushed with all her might. Familiar and overwhelming, the stench of alcohol permeated the air. His grip tightened, and in the dim moonlight his eyes glinted with lust, his erection rigid against her thigh.
“I came for what belongs to me,” he whispered, his hot breath moist on her cheek. “A man has needs.”
The porch plank creaked under his weight, and a dog barked in the distance. Frantic, Danielle scanned her surroundings. There was no visible help in sight. No neighbor or a passerby. Nothing.
“I’m not your wife,” she croaked, and with the realization that she was trapped, terror slammed through her. She had no place to run, hide or seek refuge.
Wrenching her arm to the side, she tried to break free. “We’ve been separated three years, divorced for a year and a half,” she said in an attempt to jar his alcohol-hazed memory.
He glowered down at her, his eyes darkening.
Ice balled in her stomach—whenever she’d seen that look in the past, she’d paid dearly.
Alex snickered. “Those stupid papers mean nothing. You will always be my wife. No paper, no dim wit judge, is ever going to change that. No one,” he snarled, “will know the pleasure of having you but me.” His lips slid across her neck, hot and repulsive. “I know you want me, babe.”
She twisted her body, attempting to dislodge his hold. “Let me go. You’re drunk, and I don’t want you here.” She jabbed an elbow into his ribs and raked her fingernails down the side of his face. “Leave me alone!” she shrieked.
“You bitch.” He stumbled back and grabbed her again, his fingers digging into soft flesh, bruising her arm. Cold and blue, his eyes glinted. “You’re not going anywhere, Danielle. Unless I go with you.”
Tears burned her eyes, clouding her vision. She squirmed and shoved against him.
“Not so fast, princess. You haven’t given me what I came for.”
Brutally, he seized her mouth, his lips crushing hers. The pressure on her arms intensified, and large hands, capable of so much cruelty, yanked her closer.
She gagged, bile rising in her throat. With renewed effort, she fought to be free.
Pinning her to the wall with the weight of his body, he tangled his hands in her hair, forcing her head back. His mouth violated, his tongue forcing entry. Releasing his grip on her arm, he circled his fingers around her neck in a vise grip.
Oh, God! Not again!
Danielle tried to scream, but the pressure of his kiss stopped her. She drove her knee upward, aiming for his groin. He deflected the maneuver with little effort. Determined, she slammed her foot into his shin, and he released a guttural growl.
Open palmed, he struck her face. A starburst of color exploded behind her eyelids, and she bit back a groan.
Alex had the upper hand. He was the predator—she the prey.
She traced her bruised lower lip with her tongue, tasting blood. Desperate, she prayed for the strength to fight him off. Kill him for what he’d done to her—what he kept doing.
With her robe askew and her chest heaving, damp night air caressed her breasts. Alex’s hungry gaze settled on her exposed flesh. He chuckled low, licked his lips, and she shriveled inwardly. He grasped a nipple between his thumb and forefinger and squeezed. Pain radiated outward, and she fought not to cry out. His putrid breath caressed her face.
“God. Alex. Stop!”
“I’ll have my wife tonight,” he whispered, dragging her toward the front door.
His words jolted through her. Dear God, don’t let him rape me. She planted her bare feet but found no leverage. Scrambling, she dug in again, and he laughed. He was too strong, impossible to fight.
Danielle panted, each breath ragged. She resigned herself to the inevitable and went limp in his arms. A scream rent the air, and she recognized the voice as her own.
Alex would do with her what he wanted. There was nothing she could do to stop him.
Tires screeched, and Danielle scanned the streets, hope surging inside her. Nicole Lawson emerged from her car. Her face distorted with rage, she raced around the vehicle.
“Let her go!”
Surprise widened Alex’s eyes. He reinforced his grip, looking over his shoulder.
Nicole jogged up the sidewalk, stopping a few feet from the porch. “Leave or I’ll call the police.” Hatred blazed in her eyes as she held herself ramrod straight.
Alex’s hold faltered, his fingers loosening. Anticipation swelled in Danielle’s chest.
Nicole tilted her chin in defiance. “I seriously doubt you’d welcome trouble. Let. Her. Go.”
Arms tense and his biceps bulging, Alex dropped his hand.
Danielle’s knees buckled, and she collapsed to the porch, the air rushing from her lungs.
He stepped back and pinned Danielle with a frigid stare. “This isn’t over by a long shot, Danny girl,” he growled and pointed a finger at her. “It will never be over for us. You’d do best to remember that you’re mine.” He shot Nicole a hate-filled glare and strode into the night.
Lisa Alexander-Griffin