Welcome, Elysa. Tell us a little about Tango in Paradise:
Tango in Paradise is a contemporary adventure romance set in a small South American country during a revolution.
At nearly 40, Jason Blackhawk feels too old to be working as a mercenary in the steamy jungles of South America. His mission – monitor the situation in the small country of Paraiso so the US government can decide whether to quell the rebellion and solidify the current dictator’s regime. He can’t let the right or wrong of the conflict concern him. He gave his word to his commander, the man who mentored him and saved him from wasting his life.
Looking for adventure and a change from her quiet life as a small town grade school teacher, 29 year old Darcy “DC” Camden travels to Paraiso as a nanny for a businessman. Her idealism and compassion for the downtrodden populace draws her into supplying them with food and medicine. Her involvement increases and she agrees to help the rebels overthrow the dictator by hacking into his computer to find information they can use against him.
When the conflict escalates into war DC finds herself on the run with a man she doesn’t know whether to fear or trust, hate or love.
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
I’m just finishing up a contemporary fantasy romance, The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley, featuring a matchmaking cat. I hope to have this book available soon. Thomas Cash (TC) Riley is mad, bad and –dead. Killed in a one car wreck the twenty-nine-year old playboy is given one last chance to redeem himself for living a selfish, unfulfilled life and to determine his soul’s final destination.
To help his young daughter recover from the loss of her mother, Daniel Bishop, a widower who dislikes the country and is allergic to anything with fur, has moved back to his wife’s rural hometown to be close to her large family.
Katherine Sinclair, the local veterinarian and the single mother of an adventurous ten-year old son, is wary of the handsome newcomer. Once before she’d given her heart to a wealthy, charming man and she’d ended up pregnant and alone.
With the help of a lonely little girl and a brash young boy, can TC find a way to bring these two damaged people together? Can he remember his past and save his soul in the allotted time?
And can he do it all as a cat?
I’ve also co-authored a humorous women’s fiction book called Grannies and Trannies: Vegas or Bust that we’re shopping around to agents and editors.
What happens when you put two senior ladies, four transvestites, and a midget Elvis impersonator in a circus bus on a cross country road trip? You get run-ins with skeezy truckers, Cornhole Festivals, hitchhiking farm boys, tranny fights and buried mob money!
Grannies and Trannies: Vegas or Bust combines the best of The Golden Girls with The Bird Cage on a wild, wacky, and heartfelt road trip to Las Vegas to rescue a friend from the mob.
Do you have any good news you’d like to share?
I have another new release from ImaJinn Books – Dark Star Dawning – a sci-fi romance.
Victoria “Tori” Hart doesn’t know it, but she’s the key to saving the universe. a man who claims she’s the answer to the plague that’s destroying his world invades her peaceful if boring life. Abducted into space and facing death, Tori tries to escape as she fights against her growing attraction to her kidnapper. But can she fight her inner obligation to save a people she’s never known?
Reese Taren’s emperor has sent him on what Reese considers an insane mission—to find the Heart of Destiny, a mythical object said to have the power to save the Empire from alien invaders. Reese has lost everything in this war—his wife and son, his home, his planet. His search leads him to Earth and Tori where he discovers that her very body chemistry is the key to defeating the invader. But as they travel through space toward their enemy, Tori somehow manages to heal his damaged heart. Now Reese is once again faced with losing everything, because to save the universe and all of humanity, he must sacrifice Tori . . .
Can you share with us “the call” story?
I’ve never actually gotten “the call.” Most of my books were sold via email. The one time I got “the call” I wasn’t home. My husband heard the message on the answering machine (yeah, back in the Dark Ages before voice mail and text messaging) and stopped by at my job. He said there was a message from Chris Keeslar at Dorchester for me and asked if editors called to reject manuscripts. The next day I returned the call, but over the time I was with Dorchester Publishing I never actually spoke to Chris on the phone. Everything was conducted via emails.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Actually I “hate” writing. It’s hard work. I have to chisel each every word out of my brain with a jack hammer. What I really love is “having written.” My favorite two words are – THE END.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
I usually start with a visual image. For Tango in Paradise I saw a young woman bursting out of the jungle and being grabbed by a man. Once I have that first image then I have to figure out the who, what, when, where and why of my story. Who is this woman? When is this happening? Where does the story take place? Why is she on the run through the jungle? Then I add in a bit of “what if” and the story starts to take shape. At that point I have research my settings, develop the characters and figure out a plot. I’m mostly a punster – I write by the seat of my pants or as I prefer to say “into the mist.” If I plot out the entire story I tend to lose interest, since if I already know what’s going to happen my muse decides I don’t need to write it.
What is the best thing about being an author?
I get to work from home in my pajamas. No commuting. No office politics. No cranky boss looking over my shoulder. Instead I get to play with the characters in my head. I get to play god. Unfortunately I’ve discovered that all my characters are atheists.
Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
It’s hard to pick a “favorite” character from my books. I love them all otherwise I wouldn’t have written them into existence. But I do have a special place in my heart for Brandon Alexander Davis the hero in The Sword and the Pen, probably because he’s a writer and the closest to me in personality (read neuroses.) If I had to choose a heroine, it would have to be Sianna DiSanti the empathic healer in Crystal Moon. She’s the person I’d like to be.
I think I write bits and pieces of myself into every character I create – heroes, heroines, and villains – things I like or dislike about myself, traits I wish I had or didn’t have, things I’d like to do or would rather not do – so asking me to pick a favorite character is like asking which part of myself I like best.
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
I love the scene when DC and Jase are in the mountain village making love in the small hut and the cot collapses.
How do you balance writing and everyday life?
Balance? What’s that? By definition I think writers are unbalanced. We create stories, people, and whole worlds out of nothing but our imaginations. How can we possible be balanced? I do try to live a normal life. I spend time with my family and friends. I take care of house and home, but even when I’m not actually writing, I’m still thinking about writing.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
I don’t have a favorite place. I’m of the opinion that if you can’t be where you want to be, love where you are. I’ve lived most of my life in the Midwest – Milwaukee and Madison, WI, the Chicago, IL area and Columbus, OH – in cities, suburbs and rural areas. Now I’m settled in Florida near Tampa. Each area has its good points and bad points. It’s not the climate, scenery, cultural activities or shopping that make a place special, it’s the people.
What don’t most people know about you but you would like to share?
Since my “real” life is basic beige and totally boring, there’s not much about me worth adding here. My motto is: Boring is good. Excitement is vastly overrated. Rather than taking risks myself, I prefer to torture the characters in my books with adventures and excitement.
These are few of my favorite things:
1. Dark chocolate
2. Watching HGTV
3. Spending time with family and friends
And now Elysa has a question for you all: Do you prefer to experience adventure and excitement in real life or between the pages of a book?
Suddenly DC wanted – needed to get closer – to feel Jase’s life affirming warmth. Careful not to touch his injured arm, she leaned into him. Beneath the thin top she wore her breasts swelled and her nipples grew hard and achy as they pressed against his solid chest. Deep in her belly desire unfurled sending a rush of liquid heat to her groin.
A virgin by choice, she wasn’t ignorant of passion or physical pleasure. There’d been men who’d wanted her, men who’d wooed her. Men she’d thought she might love. But she’d never let them move past second base. Self-gratification was better than settling for second best. None of them stirred her. None of them melted the ice encasing her heart. None of them made her want them like she wanted this man.
When he didn’t pull away she grew bolder. She wrapped her free arm around his waist and tried to pull him to her, but he remained motionless, an immovable object. His passive resistance gave her the courage to explore further. She slipped her hands under his shirt to touch his warm damp skin. Like a child eager for an unknown yet long anticipated treat she explored his smooth muscled chest. His breath hitched. Beneath her palms his heart thudded in time with her own. She caught one flat male nipple between her thumb and finger. It pebbled and his heart rate accelerated. Still, he didn’t move. Didn’t look at her.
She combed her fingers through his close-cropped hair. After the coarse stubble of his beard, the thick, black strands stroked her skin like raw silk.
The musky masculine scent of him filled her nostrils as she reached up and tried to pull his head down to hers. For a second he didn’t move then with a groan his head dipped. His arms closed around her and his mouth took hers in a possessive kiss.
Fire raced through her veins. Needs she’d only dreamed she had erupted hot and heavy inside of her. For the first time in her twenty-nine years she wanted a man – this man – more than she wanted her next breath.
Her body warmed to his touch. The cold, clammy feel of near drowning faded away as his hand slipped under her shirt and stroked her breast. His calloused palms against her tender flesh sent streaks of lightning through her, feeding the fire in her belly. Hungry for the taste of him she opened her mouth to his questing tongue. Heart racing she gave everything he asked and demanded the same from him.
She didn’t object when he pulled off her shirt and cupped her breasts in his palms. The sight and feel of his tanned fingers brushing her pale skin excited her. It frightened and thrilled her how quickly this man had become important to her. She owed him more than her life. For too long she’d been closed to the possibility of life, of love. He’d opened her eyes and her heart.
He lifted his face. “Tell me to stop,” he demanded through clenched teeth.
When he tried to pull away she gripped his wrists and held his hands to her breasts. “No. I don’t want to stop.”
With a muttered expletive he swept her into his arms. Her head whirled as he carried her into the cave and laid her down on the blanket. He braced himself on his arms above her and met her gaze.
“Stop talking and kiss me.” She grabbed his head and pulled him down.
With a groan of surrender he complied. Warm and slightly salty, the taste of him banished the tang of river water lingering in her mouth. When he lifted his head, she mumbled a protest that turned to a moan of pleasure as he moved lower to suckle her breasts. First one then the other. She stroked her hand down his head and over his shoulders. After a few minutes he paused and rested his head on her chest. She liked the feel of his breath and the faint prickle of his beard on her skin.
He lifted his head.
Elysa Hendricks is 5’6″ tall. She has curly hair and brown eyes. She’s an author, a wife, a mother and a daughter. Everything else is subject to change without notice. But if you insist on knowing more about her you can find her on her web site or hanging out (way too much) on Facebook.
You can find Elysa at: