Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday Author Spotlight~ R. Phoenix #Interview #Giveaway

Happy Saturday my good people! Yes yes another spotlight is here. Another amazing author with incredible adventures to share with you. R. Phoenix has written some incredible stories and it's only just beginning. She shows no sign of stopping and that's a great treat for all of us. We have a terrific interview, we will look at her work, and then shut it down with a giveaway. So get a cup of coffee and let's do this.

When he agreed to take the fall for his pack leader's failed attempts to help the Rebellion, Jace knew he wouldn't live long enough to regret it. However, instead of the noble end he envisioned for himself, the werewolf finds himself at the mercy of a witch and his depraved games. Though he clings to his conviction that he can withstand anything his new master can dish out, it isn't long before he realizes pride has no place in his life as the pet of the controlling Elias Ivers.

Revised & expanded edition as of 3/22/16. Please note that content, publisher, and other aspects of the work have changed.

Bought is approximately 12,600 words.

(This dark erotica novella caters to those who cheer on the villains as they pursue their matter what it takes to get there. This includes Very Bad Things as well as Very Sexy Things.

Those with sensibilities will likely be offended and want to attack the author with flaming pitchforks. If this applies to you, save an author. Step away from the button.

Light-heartedness aside, this is dark erotica, and it does contain elements of depravity and cruelty that will be offensive to some readers. Please proceed with caution or skip this read.)

For the past few years, Reese has hidden away in his home, refusing to venture out where he might have to face what reminds him of all that he’s lost. When Ashton, a human thief, breaks into his home one night, he doesn’t have a choice but to face the harsh truths of the world he’s turned his back on. He knows he supports the society monsters of myth and lore built upon the backs of humans through his silence, but the new leaders don’t tolerate sympathizers.

If a werewolf can’t act against the status quo without facing severe consequences, a human with Ashton’s cunning and experience circumventing supernatural predators certainly can’t risk drawing their attention. Their chance encounter leaves them both shaken and questioning whether they are living life as they were intended—or if surviving is really living at all.

In a world flipped upside down where the supernatural now rule over humans, a financially struggling vampire must face the ultimate attack on his humanity: breaking a mortal to slavery. Groomed to fight, the human is no easy picking, but Khaz has an ace in the hand in the form of an alluring magic many find impossible to resist.

Noah has spent the past ten years since the Takeover on the run. His entire life has been one of hardship and hatred, and he’s only survived by giving himself over to both. When a slaver gives him to a vampire to prepare him for auction, he’s sure he’ll hate his new captor every bit as much as he hates every other supernatural creature. The problem is...even the harsh lessons the Rebellion taught him couldn’t prepare him for someone like Khaz.

Elias Ivers was promised a slave recently captured from the Rebellion, and it would have only been a matter of time before the witch broke a mere human. His new pet would have been a beautiful match to his already enslaved werewolf, and the potential information gain was not something he was willing to pass up. However, when Malkhaz takes what should have rightfully been his in a single hasty decision, Elias is determined to make the vampire pay. No one denies an Ivers witch what he wants–especially not someone who’s little more than dirt beneath his expensive shoes.

The Ripples in the Status Quo works are set within a world where supernatural beings seized control from humans and relegated them to the bottom of the food chain. Used for food, entertainment, and worse, nothing protects them from the hands of those who claim them as slaves. But not everyone adheres to the status quo the world at large has accepted...

Please note that the RISQ world has little place for humanity--and the author's idea of romance may not match yours. As such, there are no guarantees of happily ever afters, and content may be offensive to some readers.

The suggested reading order is below, though these works can be read as standalones.

1. Bought. [Dark Erotica]
2. Ravel. [Romance]
3. Recoil. [Dark Erotic Romance/Paranormal Horror/Stuff/Things]
4. Owned. [Clusterf*ck of all of the above. Follows events in Bought and Recoil.]


Hello there Raissa! It’s so fabulous to have you here today. Having read some of your work I’m truly impressed not just by your talent but by your creativity. I’m excited to ask you some questions and poke around that beautiful mind a bit. So, let’s just get down to the nitty gritty.
Yeah, so, I’m now hiding in a corner. You’ll have to excuse me while I blush and stammer and occasionally peek out to try to answer a question. Shame on you!

...Right. Questions. Answers. Things.
You classify yourself as an M/M paranormal romance/ erotica reader but you’re also a writer of what you read as well! What intrigues you so much about erotica?

Until there’s a classification that encompasses “I have no fucking idea what I write; I just happen to write things with supernatural creatures and they occasionally fuck and do bad things to each other,” I supposed that would have to do. I feel like a fraud, to be honest, advertising myself that way! I don’t really do the whole “happily ever after” thing, so Romance tends to be out. I’m not always sure the sex is what people are looking for in Erotica.

So I just write things, and I read things, and there’s just something about Erotica in particular that fascinates me. It reaches into the deepest corners of the mind and soul and drags out who we really are; it lets us explore ourselves and our characters in a way that I don’t feel more “mainstream” fiction allows. In a lot of what I read outside the genre, what happens in the bedroom doesn’t get described, and I think that’s a shame in some ways.

My favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson (Stormlight Archive), Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel’s Dart), Mercedes Lackey (early books with Vanyel, Talia, etc.), and Tiffany Reisz (Original Sinners)... Straight-up (I’m resisting the urge to make a bad joke. Give me some credit. I deserve credit. This is very hard. Damn it.) M/M Romance/Erotica is still very new to me. I’ve started reading more within the genre, but I just don’t have a ton of time. Or, you know, any.

That being said! Until about six months ago, yes, I read epic and urban fantasy almost exclusively. No Romance or Erotica for this’un, no sirree. Don’t hate me for saying it, but until about a year or so ago, I saw Erotica as Porn WIthout Plot and I saw Romance as all about dainty maidens being taken off to fall in love with their heart-of-gold roguish captors. If I wanted porn, there was BDSM Library. (And no, I will not admit how old I was when I started reading the crap there or the keywords I search with. Okay, I’m lying; I probably would if asked because my shame apparently went the way of the dinosaurs, but let’s not go there here.)

And then someone told me to read The Siren by Tiffany Reisz. Erotica. Seriously? Why? But hey, her biography was funny (she’s changed it a bit, but it’s still great), and I read the first few pages… and I was hooked. I quote her a lot, and I’ll quote her more as things go on, because she really opened up my eyes about what Erotica could be. She defies boundaries, and she does it with so much cleverness and wit that you barely notice what she’s done until it’s over with. She’s managed to take things mainstream that are, quite honestly, staggering. BDSM (and not the 50 Shades sort), M/M, taboo topics… She’s got it all.

From her, I learned that Erotica wasn’t anything like what I thought it was. Sex didn’t have to be a substitute for plot. It could be a way to further character development, and since I love character development, that was amazing to me. I fell in love with that--the idea that you could take topics that were serious and not-so-serious and entangle sex and romance and story without worrying about boundaries.

When did you know erotica/romance was where you wanted to take your writing?
Um. November of last year? So extremely long story short! (Which means it’ll only take fifteen minutes instead of thirty, probably; you’ve been warned.) Blah, blah, the universe decided I had wasted enough time being miserable in a dead-end job living paycheck to paycheck. Instead, it decided I would get deeply enmeshed in student loans, learn how to stop burning water, figure out how not to drown plants without drying them out, take care of ducks, adjust my graphic settings to allow for sunlight, and keep a three and a half year old entertained.

So everything went to hell in a handbasket, and it wasn’t even a particularly pretty handbasket. I’ve been writing via role play since I was a kid, but uh… Recoil was the first thing I’ve finished since about… oh, 2007. And the second thing I’ve finished in my life. I always got bored, because I was trying to write something mainstream. People kept telling me I should write porn for fun and profit, but I laughed it off.

But I needed something to do that I loved, and writing is my first true love. (I suspect it also took my virginity, but we won’t go there.) I decided to just write in the universe I was comfortable in, with characters I knew, and thus Recoil was born! It happened to fall into the genre of Erotic Romance, and I just sort of went with it. My muse decided that it would be fun to see just how many synonyms I could find for “ass” and “cock,” and really, who was I to fight the inevitable?

I was completely and utterly terrified. I didn’t know anyone in the community, I hadn’t read much of anything in the genre, and I had no idea what I was doing. I opted to go with a cooperative instead of a traditional publishing company, which meant a lot more of the weight was on my shoulders (editing, getting my own cover art, promotion…) But it was fun. The more I wrote, and the more I started easing in and talking to people, the more I liked it.

Nicholas Bella was the first person I read who made me feel like there might be an audience for what I was writing. Before that, I was just sort of writing because it was fun, and I had three books out before I read the first of his New Haven series (which is free, by the way, if you like the dark and gritty). We’ll just skip the part where I flailed around like one of my ducks when I realized there were some similarities between what his world and mine. They didn’t last long, but I panic-messaged him and he was insanely nice to me and reassured me that it was okay! He’s so supportive of other authors and so interactive with his fans that I thought… Man. Maybe I really can do this. I may not make any money, but it’ll be fun.

I started talking to more people; some of them wrote Romance, some of them wrote Erotica, and some of them wrote Dark Erotica or books that fell somewhere in the lines of all of it. I was blown away by how kind and supportive (and freaking hilarious. Dude. Devon McCormack’s cucumber story. Seriously. Have you read it? I about DIED.) And he people who write the most fucked-up stuff are some of the nicest I’ve ever met. Nicholas Bella, Brad Vance, Devon McCormack, Bey Deckard, Wulf Francu Godgluck… They’ve all spoken to me and helped me at some point. And there are so many more I admire that I can't even list them all. Varian Krylov and Aleksandr Voinov, who intimidate me still... Man. Amazing people. The ones I haven't listed are a bit off-genre, but so many and I could just list and list for DAYS.

I think my train of thought got derailed a while back, but I didn’t actually “decide” that was where I was going to go until fairly recently. It sort of happened, and as I realized that a) it’s what I enjoy and b) It’s a lot of fun telling people I write gay porn in my not-so-spare time, I settled into it. And honestly, I didn’t fully embrace the title of Dark Erotica author until one of your posts the other day, Meredith. I was so afraid of being thrown into that genre and not being able to get back out, because I didn’t understand what it meant. I just wrote and then flailed around until I figured out what to call it.

Now? I love it because there are so many fewer boundaries. I can write without worrying constantly. I’m not writing for the “mainstream” audience. I’m writing for me, and that’s what makes it fun. The fact that other people enjoy it is humbling and amazing and I get giddy every time someone reads something and likes it…

Did I ever actually answer this question, or did I just ramble you to death? Hello? Anyone still there? (How the fuck do you write books that aren’t 100k words and more, you might ask, when you can’t give a short answer to save your life? The world may never know.)
You’ve written 4 books in your Ripples in the Status Quo series. You’ve worked your ass off with them between writing, editing, all of it. Tell us about this series and what we can look forward to?
I’ve actually rewritten the answer to this question several times. (This makes seven, but who’s counting?) It’s pretty easy to describe the premise: supernatural creatures got tired of hiding, said they weren’t going to take any human bullshit, and took over the world. Some told themselves it was so they wouldn’t have to worry about the power of stupid people in large groups when they turned humans and detractors into slaves, but others knew the truth: absolute power corrupts absolutely. (Did you see what I did there? I managed to get two sayings in one sentiment.)


I like to think it’s a little more than that, though. My titles are actually chosen very deliberately, and they usually have multiple meanings. I’m a total word geek, and there are these things called contronyms that have meanings that contradict each other, too.

Bought, Ravel, Recoil, and Owned--they all have more than one meaning and they apply to each book. Bought is to acquire or purchase, to bribe and have someone in your pocket, and there’s even a slang meaning that means to kill. Ravel means both to tangle and disentangle. Recoil means to draw back and away, but it can also refer to effects that rebound and come back. Owned can be to possess, to admit and acknowledge, to completely defeat, to take over...or to maintain and “hold his own.”

Yes, I’m a word geek, but those things actually tell a lot about the books and the series. The world explores what it might be like if the “bad guys” won. The heroes always seem to save the day, and the paranormal beings either hide or struggle to gain basic rights. My supes say fuck that. They took over through brute force, enslaving and killing their own kind as well as humanity. Humans have had the advantage of having strength in numbers, but cunning and planning got around that.

So now we have this world that’s falling apart, because the leaders (the Elders) were too short-sighted to really plan for much more than being able to announce who and what they were. Tentative alliances are failing, people who supported the Takeover are starting to realize that this wasn’t what they agreed to, and everything’s sort of falling apart.

As dangerous as it is, people are starting to understand that the tide could turn against them next--that, or they get a little too close to someone they’re supposed to scorn or hate. Each time they defy the new world order, they cause “ripples in the status quo.” Their actions have consequences, even if they aren’t immediately visible.

I don’t believe that anyone is fully good or fully bad; I don’t believe that heroes don’t ever do bad things or that villains don’t ever do good things--though it doesn’t change who they are or what they’re capable of. The plan is to showcase that. Khaz and Noah, the main characters from Recoil, really showcase what the series is about. I won’t give spoilers, but in essence, you can expect that if a character seems all good or all bad, I’ve got something up my sleeve.

I plan on taking things slow. I want to work my characters in and explore their lives; I’m not in any hurry to advance the plot, though there is a slow progression going on. These things take time, and I have plenty of stories to tell before good triumphs over evil…!

Assuming it ever does… :)

You’ve been posting pictures on Facebook of sweet little critters, and they are so cute!!! This is a side of a dark erotica writer I wasn’t expecting…lol… Tell us a little bit about Raissa from the light side?
It’s just a ploy to get you all to let your guard down.

Right. Answers. There should be answers. Does it help if I tell you that said sweet little critters are bound for freezer camp? That makes me sound big and bad and tough, right?

Believe it or not, “in real life,” I’m extremely serious and shy. I don’t interact much with people, so most of my interaction comes from said cute little critters, my son, and my husband--as well as my online friends, who mean the world to me. I’m a total fangirl over Penny Dreadful, I have the world’s worst crush on Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil, I’m more surprised when I cook something that tastes good than when I taste something that’s barely edible…

Oh! Funny story. I was out back one day feeding the ducklings before they razed my garden to the ground. I had kale and lettuce in my hands, and I was surrounded by adorable baby ducks. Then one of my cats who I’d only recently started letting out into the yard with me comes along, jumps on my back, wraps his paws around my neck and starts head-butting me.

And eating my hair.

Meanwhile, my kid is too busy laughing at me to help me. I have five ducklings who aren’t bothering to differentiate between fingers and kale (HELLO THE FOOD IS THE GREEN STUFF, ASSHOLES), a cat who thinks I’m a chair and my hair is a snack (NO and NO), and a child who’s enjoying my misery too much to help.

Such is a normal day in my household.
You write in a genre that is filled with a lot of adversity. How do you combat it? What message would you get out to the masses if you could?
Honestly? I sort of combat it by being too stubborn and ignorant to understand that I shouldn’t. I know that sounds sad, but a lot of times, I’m encouraged to keep my mouth shut and just let things go. That’s just not me. There are too many people getting hurt out there for me to watch it happen in a community I badly want to be a part of. People are so hurtful, and I try hard to be a force for good instead of a source of evil.

Though some days, admittedly, it doesn’t work so well.

I try to challenge people’s expectations when I can. When I’m told that I’m too new to understand how it goes, I try to remind them that I’m new enough not to be jaded. I remind them that the most important thing is to just be kind to each other, even if it helps.

Some days, it’s really, really difficult. I don’t have a thick skin. It hurts when people get nasty to me and others and they make it personal. I’m fiercely protective of people I care about, so it gets even harder. I’ve been told I’m too much of an idealist, because I think it’s possible for people to be kind to one another.

My message would be that we face enough adversity in “the real world.” For so many of us, reading and writing is a desperately-needed escape. We don’t know what happened that day for others, and we don’t know what will shatter someone’s fragile self-esteem. It isn’t that difficult to be kind, and it isn’t necessary to put other people down to raise yourselves up.
If you could travel anywhere in the world for book research, where would you go?
My couch. The backs of my eyelids definitely need more studying.
What is your favorite childhood book or books?
R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books, V.C. Andrews books… Anything and everything. I had pretty much every Goosebumps, Fear Street, Lois Duncan, and Sweet Valley High (don’t judge) book that was ever written.

Really, it’s no wonder I write the things I do. Do you know there’s a scene in one of the Fear Street books where this woman puts dough in another’s mouth and nose so that when it starts to rise, she suffocates on it? Seriously.

Nope, no reason I ended up like I did...

What were you like as a child?
A pain in the ass teacher’s pet who got easily bored and always carried a book or three with her. I resisted the urge to go outside like I was a vampire who would burst into flames if I met the sun, and anyone who tried to get me there soon discovered that I could get stubborn. Quickly. I had the distinct advantage of not being easily punished, because taking away books as a punishment was never a possibility and I didn’t do much else!

I don’t get personal very much, or if I do, I tend to get evasive and vague because I don’t want to be all dramallama. But I will say this: my childhood shaped me, for better or for worse. I know intimately what it’s like to struggle with mental illness and medications that make things worse instead of better, and I know what it’s like to feel alone and isolated. I learned how frustrating it was to be told that I was too young to be depressed and that I couldn’t possibly have anything to be depressed about.

And I learned at a young age what it was like to be blamed as a victim, something that’s a cycle that’s perpetuated over and over in our society. Writing what I do--writing what I did--gave me an outlet. It helped me to escape for just a little while, but happily ever afters never rang true. Life didn’t work out that way, and that’s something that comes out in my writing.

We struggle, and if we aren’t careful, that can consume us. Instead of being who we are, we can become the disease. Writing saved my life, and I say that with the utmost sincerity. Without books, without my notebooks, without my computer… Let’s just say I had plenty of opportunities to destroy myself in reality instead of destroying characters on paper. This is much more fun.

On that morbid note, I was also one of the people who ruined the curve and got you extra work because I didn’t want to sit and stare at the wall when I was finished with my own. You’re welcome! *hides*

Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
I’m currently working on Go, which will be the fifth book in the RISQ world. It centers around a pro-status quo werewolf, and you’ll get to see more about werewolf society--about how they treat their human family members, about how they interact with each other and see the world, and potentially some of their role in the Takeover. The other new character is a magicless witch, which means he was born into a powerful witch family but never manifested any abilities. This is their story, and in the process of following it, we’ll get to see more of Reese and Ash and some of the others you’ve met so far.
How can readers follow you? Twitter, Facebook, website…
Facebook is the best bet. I sort of forget to check other things. And by sort of, I mean I remember maybe once every few weeks... Facebook Page
Okay, it’s Fast Fire Questions Time!!! Ready?
Twitter or Facebook? Facebook
Movies or TV? TV
Paperback or Kindle? Trick question! I call trick question! Paperbacks except I can’t carry 800 books with me wherever I go. Thus, e-books.
Favorite alcoholic drink? Mudslide.
Dog or cat? Pussy...cats.
Winter or Summer? Not much of a difference where I live!
Favorite color? Purple.
Favorite smell? Lavender.
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate.
Thank you, Raissa, for being here today! It’s been a blast!

Thanks for the fun questions! :D

R. Phoenix wrote an acknowledgement for her cover artist, Brandyjo Newton. 

And don’t worry. I’ve got my very own dedicated stalker--er, cheerleader--perfectly willing to poke me with a stick if I take too long with it. Repeatedly. And I’m going to tell you about her, because she deserves recognition in a major way.

I’m not sure if you’ve seen my book teasers or trailers (or my brand new banner and avatar on my FB profile), but these were all designed by Brandyjo Newton (who is awesome). She was my first fan of the non-obligated friends-and-family variety. She messaged me to give me a running commentary of the first book of mine she was reading, and I had a blast getting her feedback as she went… because, uh, apparently Bought pissed her off. Tiny bit. Can’t imagine why anyone would hate poor Elias...

Somehow she wormed her way into the artist category, then the beta reader category, then the friend category, and now she’s sort of living there. Like a parasite. Or something. *ducks* The really amazing thing is that the last minute cover she did for the original version of Owned (now used for Bought because reasons) was the first thing like this she’d ever done. FIRST. THING. EVER. She gets better and better every time, and she’s all miiiiine. Okay, maybe I’ll share. But yeah! I have ample motivation, because without more books, I get no more pretties. And I love pretties.

She also has a FB page ( I may have made her make it just so I could have a place to point people if they’re interested in the gorgeous things she’s made.

Raissa will be doing a reader's choice ebook giveaway.
Now you should know that book 1 in her series is FREE 
You can get Bought on Amazon at no cost.
Remember that when choosing your winnings.

Contest will end on April 29th. WInner will be contacted
via email so please check your spam.
Thank you!

A special thanks to Raissa for being here today and sharing her fabulous work with us!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. New to me author. Very informative post. Congratulations on the release!

    1. I enjoyed writing it. Even if I'm shocked anyone actually got through the whole thing without being all, FFS, woman, get to the point! :D Thank you so much, Julie! <3

  2. Looking forward to reading these. I'm intrigued by dark erotic stories

  3. great interview.......books sound great

  4. All of those look like books I need to check out. There's something quite enticing about the dark :)

    1. *beam* Thank you, Helena! I love my beautiful nightmares.