Hello everyone! Please join me in welcoming Gabrielle Holly today as she tells us a little bit about herself and her latest release, Soldier of Love. Feel free to say hi and leave a comment or two. 🙂
Hi Jen. Thanks so much for inviting me!
Happy to have you here, Gabrielle! 🙂
When and why did you begin writing?
I think this is a pretty common answer among “our type,” but I’ve always written. And, I write because I have to. I have more stories and characters knocking around in my head than I’d be able to write in a lifetime.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
Freedom. Kind of a broad response, I know, but there’s something very liberating about being able to create your own worlds and the people who populate them. Once the basic rules of grammar, structure, etc. are mastered, a writer has free rein to create.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I hope I have a distinctive voice as a writer and I always try to infuse a little humor into my work. I would like to think that people could read a few pages of one of my books and – without looking at the cover – say, “Yeah, Gabby wrote that.”
As for my process, it’s pretty loose. I’m a strong believer in tapping into the subconscious and listening to my instincts. Or, has my husband would call it, “hippie-dippy bullshit” J I do have some techniques I rely on. “Rush writing” is my favorite. It’s all about getting that first draft down without self-editing. I set a words-per-day goal then keep writing until it’s met. I go back and edit later. There’s a sign over my desk, “Don’t get it right. Get it written” that reminds me to get the damned words out of my head and worry about putting them in the right order later.
What do you find is the hardest thing about being an author?
Staying disciplined. I work on the “business side” of writing in the morning – research, answering emails, doing promotions, updating the website. I write in the afternoon and I have to set daily writing goals or I’m sunk. I also rely on my fellow authors to give me a kick in the ass as needed. The community of erotic romance authors is incredibly supportive.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
As a kid I read a lot of horror – from Poe to King. I like books with a strong voice, a unique perspective and the ability to transport me into the story. I have a very short attention span but when I’m focused on a subject I LIVE it! I went through a Tudors phase and found a really great novel “The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers” by Margaret George. It’s a behemoth of a book at over 900 pages, but I’ve read it more than once. During my genealogy phase, I had a long love affair with Frank McCourt’s “Angela’s Ashes” (even though I’m not Irish). Currently I’m reading “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” by James Joyce, which was clearly an influence for McCourt.
Of course I read a lot of erotic romance. It’s such a wonderful escape. There are so many incredibly talented writers in the genre – many of whom I count among my friends – so I can’t pick a favorite.
What inspired you to write Soldier of Love?
I’ve always been interested in the paranormal – even though I can’t watch scary movies! The women in my family all seem to have a sixth sense. My late grandmother sometimes visits me in my dreams and I have a “haunted” hand-painted portrait of my great-grandmother in my home. The picture tilts when the energy in the house is negative. I’m the only one in the family that will keep it – it gives everyone else the creeps.
Was there anything you found particularly challenging when writing Soldier of Love?
“Soldier of Love” has my first ménage a trois scene – and one of the lovers is a ghost. It was really more exciting than challenging. I tried to free myself when writing the first draft. I just jumped in with both feet and let my naughty little muse take over.
If you were to give your book a Heat Rating, (lowest) 1—simmering, 2—sizzling, 3—on fire, or 4—blazing (highest), which would it be and why?
Well, the sex is explicit and there is a ménage scene. However, the story, characters and relationships are paramount in “Soldier of Love.” I would probably give it a 3.
What’s next for you?
I did a Viking historical – “Delivering Kadlin” for Resplendence Publishing which will be out in January. My RP editor requested it because she loved the Viking fantasy character in “Dressed for Success.” That book was really fun to write – but very intense. There was a lot of research involved and I made my first literary foray into BDSM. I think it’s an interesting twist given the historical setting.
Book 2 in the Ghost Encounters series will come out in March from Total-E-Bound – that one has a ménage with a little light bondage and ice cream!
I’m currently writing Book 3 in the Ghost Encounters series. Next up is an erotic-shapeshifter-romantic-comedy. That’s the beauty of this industry – imagination is the only limit!
When Toni Bianchi decides to chuck her high-stress career and mooching noncommittal boyfriend to become an innkeeper in a tiny tourist town, she doesn’t realize that she’s trading in one set of problems for another. The inn is a crumbling money pit haunted by the handsome ghost of its former owner – Civil War soldier John Buckman. As the hauntings get more frequent – and much more personal – Toni wonders if she’s just imagining things.
At her wit’s end, Toni calls in the popular ghost-hunting TV show “Paranormal Research Team” and immediately falls for its sexy star, Thomas Becker. Toni, Thomas and Buckman’s ghost engage in an otherworldly ménage that helps the dead cross over and leaves the living wanting more.
Excerpt: In the following Soldier of Love excerpt Toni, the Civil War re-enactors staying at her inn, and the Paranormal Research Team find themselves under the spell of a sensual paranormal trance.
… Toni collected ten mismatched glasses from the top shelf of the china hutch. Using the skeleton key that hung from a ribbon pinned to her bodice, she unlocked the cabinet doors and pulled out her private stash of cognac. She poured her paying guests, and the television team, generous servings before filling her own glass and adding an extra bump. Bridget waved off the drink.
Toni took the open seat at the end of the table beside Thomas. She put her glass to her lips, bowed her head, closed her eyes, and dragged the bouquet of the cognac up into her nose. Toni tried to concentrate on picking out the subtle aromas of grape and oak and flowers and nuts. Another scent busted through—the smell of campfires and gun smoke. Toni was about to ask if anyone else smelt it, but Bridget spoke first.
“We might like to ask a few questions,” Bridget said, batting her long lashes at the re-enactors. “Of course, you’re under no obligation.”
The redhead closed with a dazzling smile and Toni had to bite back a grin when she saw the moony-eyed expressions on the men’s faces. She noticed that Bridget seemed pale in this light and tiny beads of sweat had formed on her upper lip.
“This is fantastic!” Mike Briggs said.
Thomas leaned in to Toni’s ear and whispered, “Told ya they’d eat it up.”
Toni jumped when she felt a pat on her thigh. Thomas sat back and met her eye. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you,” he said.
He hadn’t moved his hand from her thigh and Toni could only manage a shrug and a dopey grin. He was so good-looking. She leaned in a bit and inhaled. He smelt wonderful. Toni scanned his face and stopped at his mouth. She wondered what those lips would feel like against her mouth, her neck, her nipples, her… Toni was amazed by how quickly the cognac had gone to her head. She glanced from his lips to his eyes and he winked. It seemed Thomas had been likewise affected. This kind of inhibition-free behaviour usually didn’t start rearing up until people were well lubricated with liquor.
She heard Arthur Edwards ask if anyone else smelt gunpowder. His voice seemed muffled and far off.
They can smell it too, Toni registered.
Thomas leaned closer. His breath moved the curls that had escaped Toni’s bobby pins and now hung near her ear. He let his hand fall to the inside of her thigh and whispered, “Did you think this was the ghost? I assure you, I’m warm flesh and blood,” punctuating the words by winking and giving her plump flesh a squeeze.
After that morning in the kitchen, being teased to the brink of orgasm before the ghost disappeared, and now under this spell of strange intoxication, Toni felt brazen. She wanted to be kissed and licked and touched and fucked. She slid a cursory glance around the room. The six guests were all leaning in towards Bridget, hanging on her every word. Bridget seemed unaware that she was stroking the valley of her cleavage and glancing at each of the men with lidded bedroom eyes. Brad had pushed back from the table and was staring at the cell phone in his lap, apparently oblivious to the others.
The light in the room had taken on a reddish glow and every movement appeared slowed down and exaggerated. Bridget’s voice sounded far away and sluggish, like a record played at too slow a speed. A thought floated through Toni’s mind. I wonder if we’ve been drugged. She concluded that she didn’t care. She felt wonderful, and sexy and incredibly horny.
Toni reached under the table and laid her hand on Thomas’ thigh. He moaned as if he’d just tasted something wonderful. Thomas pressed the side of his face against hers and breathed in.
“You smell amazing. I could just eat you up,” he growled in her ear.
Toni’s pussy contracted and grew wet and warm at the sound of his voice and the meaning in his words. She slid her hand up his thigh, then flattened her palm over his crotch. She could feel the outline of an enormous erection straining beneath his jeans. She licked her lips as she imagined what that cock would feel like thrusting inside her. Thomas pulled his face from her ear and leant back until they were eye to eye. Toni was bound by his stare. He tilted his head ever so slightly to the right. Toni did the same. Thomas moved a hand behind Toni’s head and pulled her towards him. She could feel his breath on her face and was about to close her eyes and press her lips against his.
“Oh my God! This is it!” Brad yelled, springing to his feet and sending his chair clattering to the floor.
An instant after the chair hit the floor, five of the six bulbs in the chandelier above the dining table flared, then burst in tiny, simultaneous explosions, showering down a hailstorm of feather-light glass shards. Everyone pushed back from the table and stood staring dumbly, as if they’d been shocked awake from a deep sleep.
Thomas was the first to speak. “Please tell me you got that!”…
Gabrielle Holly lives in the Midwest with her husband and two enormous, world-class-shedding dogs. She has worked as a freelance journalist, newspaper humor columnist, stand-up comic and morning radio show host. She has a short attention span and enjoys reading, cooking, crafting, hunting for antiques, attending live theater, spending time outdoors, watching movies, and coercing her husband into being her “research assistant.”