Maris Black author of the SSU Boys Series and the amazing Kage Trilogy is my spotlight author this Saturday and I am thrilled! She is quite a talented woman. Dubbed the Queen of Cliffhangers she indeed masters that very well. Today we will look at her Kage Trilogy, do an interview, enjoy a wonderful excerpt from her newest book Kage Unleashed, and wrap it up with a giveaway. So, let's get started.
My name is Jamie
Atwood, and I’m an addict. I never thought I’d say such a thing. Never
had a problem being overly-attached to anything in my life. I came from a
perfectly middle-class family, made good grades, and had a hot
cheerleader girlfriend... but the truth is, nothing ever really moved
me. So how did a guy like me become an addict?
I met Michael Kage.
Kage is an MMA fighter. A famous one. I like to think I helped him get that way.
charming as hell, with looks to rival any movie star and talent to back
it up. So why did he need to hire me as an intern Publicist? Simple. He
has a darkness in him– like a black hole so deep it could swallow him,
and me, and everyone we know– and that’s not good for business.
first time I met him, I felt the pull. I think the addiction began at
that very moment. And even if I’d known then what I know now, I would
have fallen for him. How could I not?
For me, Kage is everything.
On Amazon Now
My name is Jamie
Atwood, and I am an idiot. Against all odds, I got the attention of
Michael Kage, the hottest MMA fighter on the planet. To say he rocked my
world would be an understatement. He transformed me completely, made me
depend on him, and made me love him. And the sex? Let me put it this
way: I'd never been with a guy before I met Kage, but I'd gladly spend
the rest of my life on my knees for him. He is my obsession and my
addiction. But I did something stupid, and now I'm paying for it. I
don't know if I'll ever see Kage again.
Being Michael Kage was
never easy. Too many demons, too much anger, and not enough to live
for. And then I met Jamie Atwood. He's got this innocence about him that
speaks to something deep down inside me- in a place that's never been
touched by anyone. He's beautiful, smart, and courageous, and he hasn't
been tainted by the darkness that's ruled my life. I wanted him from the
first second I laid eyes on him. It's selfish, I know. Because you
can't bring an innocent thing into the darkness and not expect something
to rub off.
On Amazon Now
COMING OCTOBER 25th:
Round Three of the KAGE Trilogy continues with the story of Jamie Atwood & his MMA fighter boyfriend.
PreOrder on Amazon
elevator doors slid open, and we stepped onto the empty car. Kage hung
the drugstore bag on his left wrist, stuck his key card into the
Penthouse slot, and stalked me into a corner as the doors closed behind
“What are you—”
“Shhh…” He put a hand over my mouth, silencing me. “God, you make me so fucking hard.”
unzipped his pants and took out his cock right there in the elevator. I
glanced down at it, my breathing getting shallow and fast at the sight
of it, so thick and hard. Then he bent his head to kiss me and started
stroking himself. Kissing and stroking, slow and steady, entraining my
heartbeat to his hypnotic rhythm. All I could do was return his kisses,
licking into his mouth with slow, wet glides of my tongue. All the
while, he kept claiming my mouth and stroking his cock, keeping up that
the elevator doors opened on the Penthouse hallway, he palmed the back
of my head with his free hand and maneuvered me out. The plastic bag
hanging from his wrist rustled against the middle of my back as we moved
through the doors and out into the hallway. He only paused to pull his
keycard from the slot. I had a fleeting thought that it would be really
awkward if Kage’s uncle had been standing outside his door or something,
but the hall was clear and deathly quiet.
only minimal interruption, Kage was able to work his keycard into the
door and get us into the apartment, where he promptly dropped the bag
and keycard to the floor. Then, still stroking himself, he pushed me
down onto my knees.
groaned and parted my lips, wetting them with my tongue, getting ready
to take his cock in my mouth. God, I had missed that thing. Missed the
taste of it, the feel of it, the scent of it.
“You want this cock in your mouth?” he asked, continuing to stroke in that same maddening rhythm.
I swallowed, feeling vulnerable. “I want it. I want your cock in my mouth. Please…”
Thank you, Maris, for
being here today. Your new book Kage Unleashed is currently available! I’ve had
the honor of reading it and it’s amazing. Book 1 left us panting and gasping
with that cliffhanger. I was happy to see those crazy guys again. I’d love to
ask you a few questions about this series.
Thanks for having me, Meredith. Ask away!
Now you’ve told us
that it’s a trilogy. Do you see any prequels or even extending this series
When I began Kage, I essentially had the entire story arc
planned out already. It came to me very quickly and nearly fully formed, and I
knew it was going to be an involved story that would take three books to tell.
I’ve had a number of people suggesting that I do spin-off
books for side characters. Cameron, Steve, & Jason all have all been
requested. However, with as many projects as I have in the works at any given
moment, it’s difficult to say if those spin-off books will ever see the light
of day. SSU Boys in particular has to take precedence over everything, since that
series has a loyal fan base impatiently waiting for the next installments. I
wish there were two of me!
Kage is quite a
complex character. I love how Jamie described him all rough and tough on the
outside and soft on the inside, though I think that’s just for Jamie. What was
the character breakdown like for Kage when you drew up his background?
Alright, I guess you’re about to have information I’ve only
shared with my closest friend and my mother. The very first thing I came up
with about Kage was his big secret. Ironically, it has only been hinted at so
far and is the LAST significant thing to
be revealed in the trilogy. Knowing this secret about him helped me to shape
his personality from the very beginning.
Because of childhood trauma, he is emotionally closed off,
angry, and antisocial. He exhibits symptoms of PTSD and uses controlled
aggression to get relief-- both in the ring and in the bedroom. Inside, he is
still that innocent little traumatized boy, and there are a few people who are
able to catch glimpses of this deeper Kage: his long-time friend Vanessa, Enzo
the chef, Steve the hotel clerk, Marco the trainer, and Jason the sparring
partner. These people have spent enough time around Kage to know that he is not
a hard person at his core, and they are rooting for him.
But Jamie is a different story altogether. He holds the
distinct honor of being the only person Kage has ever wanted to have a
relationship with. Kage is drawn to his innocence (which represents the
innocence Kage himself lost at an early age), his boyish physical beauty, and
his natural submission, though it’s notable that he is only submissive to Kage.
Besides being overwhelmingly physically attracted to him,
Kage craves the normalcy that Jamie brings to his life. In his utter “averageness,”
Jamie grounds Kage, and the promise of a picket-fence life with him is
something that Kage hardly dares to imagine.
I actually was never
a MMA fan. Hell, boxing, wrestling, all that has always been hard to watch for
me. Did you do extensive research in MMA, or is there some personal knowledge
of this sport for you?
I actually got interested in combat sports when I was doing
wrestling research for my second book, Pinned (SSU Boys #1), though I suppose
there must have been at least a seed of interest there already to prompt the
story idea. I knew nothing about wrestling except what I watched of pro
wrestling as a kid with my grandfather (Mr. Wrestling #2, Dusty Rhodes, Nature
Boy Rick Flair…), so I hit Youtube in search of information, and soon I was
hooked. Learning the moves and watching so many matches gave me an appreciation
for the sport. It didn’t hurt that a graphic design client of mine turned out
to be a lifelong wrestler whose son was a college wrestler competing on a
national level. So I had a fantastic resource-- people who essentially WERE my
characters in Pinned.
But something interesting happened to me while I was
researching wrestling. I kept stumbling across MMA videos on Youtube, and I got
fascinated with it. Fast forward one year, and I’m a paying member of UFC.tv,
buying every pay-per-view event they put out and screaming at my television
like a crazy person. And my teenage son is taking MMA classes and aspiring to
be a fighter (UGH!).
So, while I’m not thrilled with the idea of my son getting
beat on, I am a huge fan of the sport and as knowledgeable about it as anyone
you’ll probably ever meet. But I do realize that most of my readers are NOT
fans of the sport, know very little about it, and probably don’t WANT to know
any more than is necessary. My goal is to provide enough authenticity that the
reader gets the sense of being immersed in the experience rather than bogged
down in the technical aspects, since it’s a romance story first and foremost.
When can we expect
book three Kage Unmasked to release?
Do you have
celebrities, that you picture when you see Kage and Jamie? If so, who are they?
Scott Gardner is my Jamie, and Chad White is my Kage. Of
course no one ever fits my vision perfectly. For instance, I picture Kage’s
hair long enough on top to pull into a topknot. Chad White usually wears his
too short for that, though in some of the pictures it’s close.
Another note on character descriptions: I try to use enough
description for a reader to get an idea of what the character looks like, but I
also try to leave enough room for them to bring their own interpretation and
I’m sure your time is
pretty filled but what books are you currently reading, or at least have read
Well, right now I have Lynn Kelling’s third Twin Ties book
just waiting for me. Been looking forward to that one for some time. Hang on,
let me look at my Kindle… My friends Lisa Wilde and Z.B. Heller just released
their first M/M books, so I’ve got their betas on there. And before that was
Roan Parrish’s “In the Middle of Somewhere,” and Heidi Cullinan’s audiobook
“Nowhere Ranch”. Hmmm… the titles on those last two. I’m noticing a thematic
I’ve also been listening to my own audiobooks. They all just
came out recently, and since they’re done by Audible Studios, I had to wait
just like everyone else to listen to them. Because of the book release, I
haven’t even had time to get through them all. It seems crazy to me that there
are tons of people who have heard my audiobooks before me!
How do you celebrate
a book release?
A bottle of Dom, and an all-night sex romp with my husband.
Just kidding, I’ve never even tried Dom Perignon. Things I enjoy celebrating
with: my kids, a Blue Moon with orange, a nice restaurant, something sweet, and
I ALWAYS go to Best Buy and get some electronic gadget. I’m just geeky that
way. Oh, and a sex romp, though it doesn’t actually last all night. I do stay
up all night on release night just because I get an adrenaline high that won’t
quit. It takes me days to recover after a release.
Do you have any
writing rituals you do before or during the creation of one of your books?
#1 - Coffee. Lots of coffee.
#2 - I like to listen to certain songs to create the mood
for each book or scene, but I can’t listen to them while I’m actively writing.
I end up writing random words that don’t fit, or adding “ing” to a word for no
reason-- stuff like that. It’s hilarious. When I read back over my writing, I
can tell if I was listening to music or not. However, I don’t know if their
effect is real or placebo, but binaural beats seem to help me concentrate and
get creative. Sometimes I will lie down in the bed and listen on my headphones
in the dark, and soon I have full scenes playing out like a movie behind my
eyes, WITH the accompanying narrative. The bad part is that my memory isn’t up
to the task of remembering all of it, so many good scenes get lost. Believe me,
when someone comes up with a device to translate words directly from the imagination
to the page, I will be the first in line to buy it. Some of my best work is
rattling around in my head somewhere, inaccessible for the most part.
#3 - I also like to do short character interviews randomly
during the writing process to get inside a character’s head. A sample question
might be, “Kage, what did you think of Jamie the first time you met him?”
Usually, I will start with this as a prompt, begin writing as if the character
is in a real interview, and eventually I look up and the interview has turned
into part of the novel, some scene involving another character and dialogue.
It’s amazing how that happens, and it thrills me to death. At that point, I
edit the interview out, but I do keep the original for myself.
Aside from Kage 3,
what else are you currently working on, or what’s on the docket so to speak?
SSU Boys has to come next. First there will be Dual Threat,
which is the continuation of the short “Initiation.” Then Sammy’s and Seth’s
stories. Lots of people are waiting for those, especially Seth’s, because he’s
been a fixture in the series since the beginning.
I also have some standalones planned, one in particular that
makes me cry thinking about it. Gonna be a real tear jerker. I also have a
series planned that will be more along the lines of cop stories, though I don’t
want to get specific at this time. And then I have a series about Nashville and
the music business. I’ve already written parts of two of those books. Too much
stuff in the works, too little time.
How can your fans follow
you through social media, website etc…?
If you want to see what I’m doing day-to-day and interact,
obviously Facebook is it. If you just want to get an email when something is
coming out, the mailing list is the way to go. I’m also dying for people to
follow me on Twitter, though I’m really just getting the hang of the tweeting
stuff. So if you want to help my ego by increasing my number of followers,
follow me on Twitter. #preciateit
Thank you so much, Maris for your time. I cannot WAIT for more of Kage!
Thanks you for having me, Meredith!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being grilled. :-)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Maris Black (sort of), and I’m a Southern Girl through and through.
college, I majored in English and discovered the joys of creative
writing and literary interpretation. After honing my skills discovering
hidden meanings authors probably never intended, I collected my
near-worthless English degree and got a job at a newspaper making
minimum wage. But I soon had to admit that small town reporting
was not going to pay the bills, so I went back to school and joined the
medical field. Logical progression, right? But no matter what I did, my
school notebooks and journals would not stop filling up with fiction. I
was constantly plotting, constantly jotting prose, constantly
casting the people I met as characters in the secret novels in my head.
Yep. I can blame my creative mother for that one!
I finally started writing fiction for a living, I surprised myself with
my choice of genre. I’d always known I wanted to write romance, but the
first story that popped out was about a couple of guys finding love
during a threesome with a woman. Then I wrote about more guys, and more
guys, and more guys. I was never a reader of gay fiction, and I’d never
planned to write it. The only excuse I have for myself is: Hey, it’s just what comes out!
adore the M/M genre, though, with all my heart. It feels sort of like
coming home. I can’t quite explain it. I’ve always had openly gay and
bisexual friends and relatives, the rights and acceptance of whom are
very important to me, so it feels great to celebrate that. But there’s
also something so pure and honest about the love between two men that
appeals to me on a romantic level and inspires me to write.
Thank you, men.
currently live in Nashville, TN with my devoted husband (my biggest
fan), my three eccentric children, and a hairless cat. Life is good.
Maris Black is giving TWO people a chance to win ANY of her ebooks. Simply enter the rafflecopter below. Contest will run until September 4th. Winners will be contacted via email so be sure to check your spam.
I want to thank Maris for being here today and sharing with us some very interesting little facts about Kage! Be sure you all check out this trilogy. It's EPIC!
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