If you can't take the heat…
James Lassiter has had a crush on fellow culinary student Ethan Martin for three years, but has never had the guts to make a move. Putting himself out there is hard, especially when under the thumb–and wallet–of his overbearing parents. Now that bad boy chef Ethan–who is always vying with Jamie for best in class–is struggling with the pastry course, Jamie suddenly has a reason to reach out.
Ethan doesn't mean to be an ass–okay, so mostly he does–but even though he's secretly hot for Jamie, he sure as hell doesn't want help with pastry. Ever since his dad walked out, Ethan has been the one to hold things together and he's done fine on his own. Except that he can't get his cake to rise.
Jamie could be the answer to what Ethan's been missing his whole life–someone to depend on. But with the two competing for the same scholarship, things suddenly get too hot to handle. And if Jamie finds the strength to go for what he wants, he isn't about to settle for what he needs.
Because the way to a man's heart…
Eight years ago, the world was their oyster. Until, that is, competing chefs Ethan Martin and James Lassiter's hot and heavy relationship fizzled after Jamie left for an internship in Paris. Even though Jamie's career has taken off since his return to the States, with his own television show and a lot of fame, his feelings for Ethan have never quite gone away.
Ethan's culinary career has developed more slowly, but he's almost saved enough to buy the restaurant where he works and re-open it as his dream spot, Bistro 30. If only he could get the sexy chef who loved him and left him out of his mind.
But when someone starts sabotaging the restaurant and a fire threatens to take away everything Ethan holds dear, his only option is to rely on Jamie for help. Back in close quarters, the two men will have to find a way to work through their past if they hope to save the restaurant and their future.
When Donovan Ramsey comes home from yet another business trip he realizes he and his long-term boyfriend, Nate Pearson, have drifted apart. Donovan is used to engineering solutions in his career, but he’s stumped on how to fix his dwindling sexual relationship with Nate.
After a late night internet search, Donovan finds a place that might be exactly what they need to rekindle the romance in their relationship. There’s just one catch: the idyllic Cooper Mountain Bed and Breakfast specializes in BDSM for couples.
Over the course of the weekend, the two men experience a taste of what the BDSM lifestyle has to offer. Will that taste lead to a stronger connection between Nate and Donovan, or will it ultimately be their undoing?
Be Warned: m/m sex, BDSM, public exhibition
Thank you, Eileen for being here today. As a fan of your work this is awesome, as your friend it’s sort of cool. I get to ask you anything I want and you have to answer because you won’t want to hurt my feelings *laughs* Kidding! I have some questions. Lotsa fun you’ll see. I’m always all over the place so when you think you’re safe or that you know where I’m going with this, I’ll see something shiny. Here we go.
Eileen: *dies laughing* I’m in trouble now, huh? Firstly, thanks so much for having me on your blog - I’m pumped you asked me! As for the questions, I guess I’m ready. Maybe? Hopefully? God, what have I gotten myself into?
How has publishing a book now changed from your very first publication? Emotions, the process?
Eileen: Wow, you don’t pull any punches, do you? As far as publishing goes, I might have a different perspective than some people currently writing/publishing their work. My dad was in the publishing business for over thirty years (first with one of the Big Five, then independently repping multiple smaller presses), so the book world has always been a part of my life. I remember wondering what it would feel like to write/publish my own writing, but never thought it would happen. When my first novella was published (co-written with my best friend and co-author Nikka Michaels), I think I was shocked that something I’d created was actually out there for people to read. After the shock wore off, I was scared senseless. There’s a certain fear that goes along with putting a piece of yourself out there for people to either love or hate. I can honestly say that part doesn’t get any easier. Sure, there’s a thrill that goes into publishing a book for people to (hopefully) enjoy, but I still get knots in my stomach every single time a book goes live. On a side not, actually holding a physical copy of one of my books in my hands is beyond surreal. The first thing I did once I opened the package was cry; then I took pictures of them from every angle and sent them to my friends. Yeah, that part never gets old J
Every writer has that one thing they do as a writer, a bad habit, what’s yours?
Eileen: Oh, god. I have sooo many! Probably my worst is letting myself get distracted by my friends online or allowing myself to get sidetracked by something that needs to be done at home. That’s why I love writing/working at my local Starbucks. I can have all the coffee I want (I get the cheapest cup, then splurge the $ .50 for refills while I’m there) and I’m actually focused on what I need to accomplish. (I’m currently at my Starbucks right now working on this. I know, I’m a huge dork.)
Tell us some of the best things about being a writer and some experiences you’ve had during?
Eileen: One of the absolute best things about being a writer is being a part of the M/M genre community, hands down. From the authors to the bloggers/reviewers to the readers, it is the most accepting and nurturing group of people I’ve ever met. In addition to my awesome community, I have to say one of the best things (personally) about being a writer is getting to write with my best friend, Nik. Writing, by nature, is a solitary endeavor. Having someone I can plot with, rant and cry to, and create worlds with is priceless. She’s my better half and I can’t imagine doing any of this without her there to share it with me.
One of the best experiences I’ve had thus far was attending GRL 2014 in Chicago last year. Not only did I get to fangirl and fawn over my favorite authors, but I spent the whole weekend around people who loved and were excited about the same things I was. Words can never do the experience justice. Simply put, it was a life-changing experience for me. Sadly, I won’t be able to attend GRL 2015 in San Diego later this year, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed (and already setting aside money for) GRL 2016.
You collaborate with Nikka Michaels a lot. An equally wonderful writer. I get asked this question, I don’t know why but I do, how does it work, collaborating? One person write one chapter the other the next?
Eileen: Trust me, we get asked that question all the time. Let me first say, co-writing isn’t for everyone. It takes a tremendous amount of patience, give-and-take, and trust to let someone into your fictional world and play with your babies. That said, I can’t imagine co-writing with anyone except Nik. Don’t get me wrong, we are polar opposites on so many things: I’m a plotter while she’s a pantser; I get OCD about sticking to the outline while she fully embraces deviating from the plan to include something we hadn’t originally thought about; I ramble while she … well, yeah, she rambles too. Regardless of how many differences we have, though, Nik understands me on a visceral level. We often finish each other’s sentences, and she’s the one person I go to when I’ve had a bad day and need a virtual cuddle. If we could only eliminate the two thousand miles that separate us, life would be perfect and we’d be able to crank out a helluva lot more books.
As far as how we manage co-writing, when we outline a work (okay, when I outline a work and Nik keeps me from jumping off the ledge from stressing about it) each one of us usually gets a feel for one of the characters. Since we write in alternating POVs, each one of us takes our character and writes that scene/chapter. However, no plan is perfect and sometimes life has a way of screwing with our best intentions. I’ve taken on chapters from her character(s) and vice-versa, as well as us handing off certain scenes we either “don’t feel” or are having a problem with. Again, trust is imperative for this to work and there is no person I trust more than Nik.
Your In the Kitchen series… So, did you watch a lot of Hells Kitchen or any of those cooking shows when you were blocked? Or was that how the idea for that series came to be?
Eileen: Both Nik and I LOVE food. There are people who eat to live; I’m pretty sure Nik and I live to eat. For me, I didn’t turn to any of those shows (even though “Chopped” is one of my all-time favorite cooking shows) while I was writing. Watching anything that’s too similar to what I’m writing hinders me more than helps me. However, I love cooking. Being in the kitchen and preparing something other people will enjoy is a high for me. So, when I needed inspiration or ideas for the cooking scenes in our In The Kitchen series, I pulled on every memory/experience I’ve had of being in my own kitchen to help pull the scene together.
The series originally came from an idea Nik had about a chef and food critic who didn’t exactly see eye to eye. From that idea, Jamie and Ethan were born, with Claire, Tyler and Trevor emerging along the way. As for the cooking challenges in Book 1: In The Raw, that idea actually came from a scholarship competition we found on a culinary institute’s website. We were immediately drawn to the idea of using something like that for young Ethan and Jamie and it ultimately became one of the central conflicts for them.
What are your comfort foods?
Eileen: Have I mentioned I love food? My favorite comfort foods are coffee (I’d mainline it if I could), chocolate, and wine (it’s one of the basic food groups, right?) while I’m writing or am stressed about writing. As far as true comfort food goes, whenever I’m down or not feeling well, my mom makes me homemade chicken and dumplings (although I can’t stand anyone else’s chicken and dumplings - just my mom’s), I love soups of any kind, and lots of Tex-Mex.
Are you attending any conferences or whatnot this year?
Eileen: Sadly, I’m not L Financially, this year has been a tough one. House stuff, car stuff, and an overwhelming amount of vet bills have cut out any long-distance travel I wanted to do this year. I’m already budgeting for GRL 2016, but outside of that I’ll just have to wait and see.
Do you prefer Kindle or good old fashion paperbacks?
Eileen: Both, but lately I’m glued to my Kindle. I grew up in a house full of books. Literally. Floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall, closets crammed full of books. However, since I almost exclusively read M/M or gay fiction, it’s easier to get my crack … um, I mean books in e-format.
Can you tell us about your future projects?
Eileen: I’m currently working on Book 4 of the In The Kitchen series, Books 2 and 3 of the Cooper Mountain series (both with Nikka Michaels), as well as two WIPs that I’ve already outlined and have been working on (slowly) by myself that I hope to finish within the next year.
If you had one week to travel anywhere, all expenses paid, for book research, where would you go?
Eileen: Hands down, the UK, mostly focusing on London with some day trips for the surrounding towns/cities. London is one of my favorite cities in the world, one that no matter how many times I’ve visited I’m always trying to find ways to go back. One summer I was lucky enough to spend 3 ½ weeks driving/backpacking around the UK (from south of London to the north of Scotland and down through Wales) - it was one of the best summers of my life. I can’t explain it, but from the very first time I set foot on British soil, I felt like I’d finally found a hidden piece of me I hadn’t known was missing. I would LOVE to have enough time (and the forethought) to take a week just to do research so I could set a book there and have it be realistic/believable. One day
How can people, fans, readers, stalkers, follow your work? Website, social media etc…
Thank you so much, Eileen for being here and indulging me with these questions. I love your works and look forward to more from you.
Eileen will be gifting one person book 1 and 2 of her In The Kitchen Series, that she co-writes with the brilliant Nikka Michaels. Simply enter the rafflecopter below. Contest will run until Friday, July 31st. Winner will be emailed so please remember to check your spam.
I want to thank Eileen for being here today and for humoring me with all my questions!