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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Blog Guest: Dianne Hartsock and a GIVEAWAY

I am delighted to welcome Dianne Hartsock back onto my blog today, author of Wee Willie Winkie, from the Naughty Nursery Rhyme line published by Breathless Press (amongst many other titles including the Shelton in Love series, as featured in my Countdown to Christmas giveaway event).

A glutton for punishment, Dianne is here to face a round of twenty questions, so let’s try to get to know her, and her newest release, that little bit better.

Thank you so much for having me back again! *sips double-espresso for courage* Okay, ask your questions.

ACT ONE – all about you…

I live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with my husband where I write stories of paranormal/suspense, fantasy/adventure, m/m romance and anything else that comes to mind. 

Currently, I work as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for me. When not writing, I can express myself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?

I’ve always been a storyteller, making up bedtime stories for my younger brothers and sister. When I started in the first grade I began to write these stories down. But it wasn’t until an amazing creative writing teacher I had in my early teens told me I had potential, encouraging me to submit my stories to the local magazine, that my passion began. I’ve had a love affair with writing ever since.

2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?

Nothing specific. Usually a bit of music or a magazine picture or something on TV, even a customer at work will catch my interest and I'll start to build a story around it. I'll think about it for a few days or a week plotting it out, then one day I'll sit down in front of the computer and begin to write. Unfortunately, this usually happens when I'm in the middle of edits on something else, or worse case, haven't finished a current story. When that happens I get the first couple of paragraphs down, then let it simmer while I finish the other. Nope, I'm not one of those authors who can work on more than one story at a time. As for ritual, a pot of coffee and some music is about all I really need to get going!

3) I see that you specialize in male/male romance; was this always your intention or did you find yourself led in this direction by your characters?

I absolutely blame my characters! My stories are always character driven. I love putting my heroes in an uncomfortable situation then digging deep into their psyche to see how they react. The more intense the emotions I can draw out, the better I like it. And what's more intense than love? (besides hate, which isn't as much fun to write about) But why m/m erotic? I think it's the thrill of the unknown. Being a girl, I know what it's like when someone touches, kisses, and makes me angry. No surprise there. But with a male character, I have to climb right into their body and mind, really engage all my senses and imagine what they're feeling at a given moment. I love the challenge and excitement and sensuality that comes with this.

4) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?

'The Fortress' series by C.J. Cherryh for my fantasy. Her hero Tristan breaks my heart.

Ray Bradbury for Science Fiction.

'Lost Souls' and the 'Soul Kitchen' series by Poppy Z. Brite for my m/m erotic romance.

5) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?

I'm the mother of two amazing people, both in college. I'm deathly allergic to tree nuts and legumes. I've had a mad crush on Andrej Pejic for about two years now.

6) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?

My coffee maker with the built-in coffee grinder. This laptop, of course. DVD player and TV to watch all my scifi shows. CD player. Cell phone (another of course).

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

Available now
For the past three years William Wilkerson has led the life of the privileged rich. Head of his father’s shipping business, Willie indulges in the pleasures of Boston’s fine young men to his heart’s content. That is, until he meets Fredrick, the one man who has captured his heart, again.
As his former tutor, Fredrick has been declared off limits by William’s father. Fredrick also believes he's beneath the attention of Wilkerson’s heir. Willie disagrees, but is he willing to throw away rank and privilege for the man he loves?

7) Congratulations on your recent release of Wee Willie Winkie, can you tell us what your inspiration was for writing William and Fredrick’s story?

When Breathless Press put out the call for Naughty Nursery Rhymes, I racked my brain to remember the ones I'd heard as a child. One of the first to come to mind, and my favorite, was Wee Willie Winkie:
Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
Are the children in their bed, for it's past ten o'clock?

All I could picture was a naughty little boy with an impish grin and a spark of mischief in his eyes. And a nightgown? Made me think of the turn of the nineteenth century, when men still wore nightgowns. I couldn't get the picture of a grown man running around in a nightgown out of my mind, and built a story around how that might happen. And of course, what's a story without a beautiful lover so Willie could have his HEA? 

8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?

Actually, the story flowed very smoothly, seeming to write itself. I fell instantly in love with my characters, and the plot unfolded at a nice pace. I never quite know where a story is going to end up when I'm writing it, but it was a fun adventure the boys took me on.

9) How long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?

I didn't decide to write a NNR until the last minute and so had only two weeks before the deadline to write it in. Since I also have a full time job, it's a bit of a scramble for me to write a story in that short of a time. But I'd been toying with the idea for Wee Willie Winkie for a bit, so when I sat down to write, it was pretty much ready to go. I think I finished the last sentence and sent it off the day before the deadline. That's cutting it close!

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence that you would like to tantalize us with?

A sigh brought his gaze up to the pretty face that stirred his dreams. Rich brown curls surrounded lovely hazel eyes and full, pouting lips. He groaned when a delighted smile revealed the even, white teeth that had nipped his collarbone on more than one glorious occasion. "Freddie, is it you?"

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Wee Willie Winkie, to make us rush out and buy it?

This is a story of passion and heartache, with William ashamed of his decadent past and Fredrick bent on proving to him that love is all that matters.

12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?

I have three flashes in the 'Hot Flashes' anthology coming out in March from Breathless Press. I also have a short story in the anthology 'Her Story' celebrating Women's History Month, also in March. And I've signed a contract for the Ad-Dick-tion Anthology coming out later this year from Breathless Press.

At the moment I'm working on another contemporary m/m erotic romance, Jack and Peter, that I'm really excited about! I don't want to give away too much yet, but Jack finds a beautiful stranger sleeping on his patio who captures his heart but also puts his life in danger.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser?

A little of both! I'll have a story loosely plotted out; I know where I want to start and where to end it. But in between is anyone's game!

14) Secret Seven or Famous Five? (please tell me you know them!?)

*wrinkles forehead* Aren't they children's stories? And no, I've never read them.

15) Digital books or print books?

I have a collection of romance novels from 1880-1920 that I love. They smell wonderful. I love holding them in my hands, turning the soft paper pages, shedding a few tears over them. On the other hand, warm cocoa and a blanket and snuggling up with my kindle is pretty sweet as well!

16) Tea or coffee? 

Coffee with a giant capital 'C'!

17) Cats or dogs?

If I weren't allergic to them, I'd be a cat person. Love the little cuties!

18) Extrovert or introvert?

Introvert. I'm getting better at putting myself out there, but it's still a struggle.

19) Save or spend?

Save a little, spend a little.

20) Facebook or Twitter?


And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Dianne, I love the excerpt you've shared with us and have giggled at all the 'naughty Willies' I've been seeing on my online travels.

If you want to know what I mean, you'll just have to follow Dianne here:

Blog    Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads

Thank you so much for having me over! It's been fun.

Give-away time!

Comment below, telling me what your favorite nursery rhyme is for a chance to win an e-copy of any book on my backlist! Don't forget to leave your contact info.

Buy it now...

ISBN: 978-1-77101-934-7
Heat Rating: 3
Word Count: 11260

Breathless Press
Amazon UK
All Romance ebooks


Fredrick held up his glass and stared at the candle's flame through the amber liquid. He took a sip, savored the rich, biting taste on his tongue. He welcomed the burn down his throat. This was the very last drink he could afford, and he had to make it last.

A giggle erupted from the booth in the corner, the one whose curtains were drawn against curious eyes. A smile tugged at Fredrick's lips despite the dire state of his wallet. The laugh had been carefree, joyous, naughty. Fredrick shifted on the cushioned bench. Only a few straggling customers remained in the dining room. He wondered if any of them would notice if he shifted his cramped cock as it throbbed in sympathy with the bright laughter.

Rather than risk it, he watched the fruit vender outside the window beguile a customer. Another giggle and stifled moan swiveled his attention back to the corner. A silk-clad foot and slim calf peeked beneath the curtain. He grinned even as the delectable sight emphasized his own loneliness. It had been far too long since he'd had someone in his bed.

"Excuse me. Sir?"

Fredrick looked up, distracted from his memory of lush lips and white skin and wide, hazel eyes, and blinked at the stout innkeeper at his elbow. "Yes?"

A frown fleeted across the man's homely face at another bout of laughter from the corner. "If they're disturbing you, I can have Wee Willie take his guest upstairs. Excuse me, I mean Mister Wilkerson." The man broke off, flustered by the slip of the tongue.

Fredrick's heart leaped on hearing the name mentioned. Is William really here? How could that be? The innkeeper coughed, and Fredrick frowned at the intrusion into his thoughts. The man was so damned serious about such a minor indiscretion. "They're no bother. In fact, I'm almost done anyway." He lifted his nearly empty glass. Hearing a shout, they looked over in time to see a young man tumble through the curtains onto the floor. Fredrick caught a glimpse of red hair and an embarrassed cheek before the gentleman crammed a hat on his head and strode passed them, face averted. The innkeeper shrugged and followed, likely to be sure he paid for his drinks.

Fredrick stared at the silk-clad foot still protruding from the parted curtains. He loosened his hold on his glass but had no way to stop the wild hammering of his heart. Before he lost his courage, he stood and swallowed the last of his brandy, then walked the short distance to the booth.

A grin tugged the corner of his mouth at his eagerness. It had been three years, after all, and they'd parted in anger. Would William acknowledge him? His hand trembled as he drew aside the heavy curtain and allowed his gaze to travel up the silky hose to bright blue trousers. Blood heated his face when he found the laces undone at the waist and the silk shirt open to expose white skin and rosebud nipples.

A sigh brought his gaze up to the pretty face that stirred his dreams. Rich brown curls surrounded lovely hazel eyes and full, pouting lips. He groaned when a delighted smile revealed the even, white teeth that had nipped his collarbone on more than one glorious occasion. "Freddie, is it you?"

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