Tag Archives: Totally Bound Publishing
AuThursday – Rosanna Leo
Welcome Rosanna! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Thanks so much for having me here, Tina!
I’m Rosanna Leo and I write contemporary and paranormal romance. When not writing, I work at my local public library in an Acquisitions role, so I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to see all the new books when they first arrive. I come from Toronto, Canada, and I try hard to insert a bit of Canadian flavour into my books. I’ve been writing for over ten years now and am fortunate to be part of the romance community, as a writer, blogger, and reader.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
With the subgenres of romance that I write, I really do get the best of both worlds. With my contemporary romances, I get to explore the conflicts of “real” people, and I love showing how they can grow and learn to love. In the case of my paranormal romances, the characters and situations might be a bit more outrageous, but it’s fun for me to be able to push those envelopes. Each type of writing compels me to think differently, so it’s a great exercise. The one commonality, of course, is that in those stories, the protagonists have to fall in love and be committed to one another by the end of the book. However, that journey to love is the whole point, and it’s the reason I love this genre so much. It carries a powerful sense of hope.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
For me, the part I dread is the initial brainstorming. I know of writers who can just shoot out fresh ideas on the spot, but I’ve never been good at that, not even in non-writing situations. I have to let my thoughts marinate for a while, and I second-guess a lot of my ideas. Nevertheless, as much as it sometimes pains me, I do try to get some ideas down. It’s the first step, after all, so it has to be done.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I do believe in writer’s block, and I know I’ve experienced it before. It tends to affect me at particular times, however. I had it after losing a loved one, during moments of stress in my career and family life, and I’ve experienced when I’ve written myself into a hole (when I haven’t thought out a story properly and I begin to flounder.) It happens. I won’t call myself an expert in dealing with it. For the most part, I just try to either write through it, or I take a break from writing altogether.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
My recent release is A Good Man, Handymen 1, a contemporary romance. It released on June 9, 2020. It’s been published traditionally with Totally Bound Publishing. I’ve been working directly with publishers for a few years now and have worked with some great people. I appreciate that my publisher handles a lot of the details that I don’t feel confident handling (i.e. covers, formatting.) So, for me, it’s a good fit.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
I haven’t ruled out self-publishing and may attempt it down the road. I have many author friends who prefer that method, and they have it down to a fine art. Not having done it myself, I probably can’t speak to its disadvantages, and I think a writer should always do their research before committing to either path.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I like to think my writing is more polished now, more pared down. When I started writing, I used some overly-descriptive language and made some interesting style choices. It’s all part of learning, and it was definitely part of my process. Now, I try to take a lot of care with my word choices, and if I can simplify a statement, I will.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I don’t have a favorite motivational phrase, but I do believe in the power of positive affirmations. For the most part, I try to express gratitude for where I am in life, and I try to be grateful for something each day.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Sure! I’d love to share an excerpt from A Good Man, Handymen1:
Emily threw herself at him and wrapped her arms around his torso, cutting off his words and his breath. Only when he hugged her back did he realize how hard she was quivering.
She wasn’t just crying about the old photos.
“It’s okay, Em. Let it out, sweetheart.”
The collar of his shirt grew wet but he didn’t care. Wardrobe had tons of shirts. Besides, she felt good in his arms, all soft and warm. He rubbed her shoulders and the back of her waist, exploring and familiarizing himself with her luscious body. He breathed, drinking in her scent. His nasal cavities had never known such bliss. It was like that first clear breath after a long period of congestion. His fingers were pretty happy too, enjoying the give of her body. It was all he could do not to slide them down, cup her sweet ass, and pull her up against him.
Just not while she was crying over another man.
She lingered in his arms and he did nothing to push her away. In fact, it surprised him how badly he wanted to keep her there, so much so that when Emily finally extricated herself, he wanted to pull her back into his embrace. Instead, he wiped her cheeks clean of the remaining tears.
“The makeup ladies are going to kill me for making you cry.”
It might have been his imagination, but her tears made her eyes appear even greener. In fact, her entire face seemed a riot of tempting color. Each shade called to him. The crushed roses in her cheeks. Her strawberry lips, so plump and moist. Even the doeskin brown of her freckles fascinated him to no end. He wanted to count them, to kiss and mark them all.
Kissing her made a whole lot of sense right now. Kissing her senseless seemed even better.
Emily’s eyes widened. Her lips parted in invitation. Michael paused, knowing it was wrong, even though every raised hair on his arms told him it was right.
As he debated with himself for a split second, she brushed her lips against his. It was quick and soft, hunger masquerading as something platonic. Even though a spectator might have called it a friendly kiss, he knew the truth. As brief as it may have been, he felt her yield to him, even if just a little.
From the startled look in her eyes, Emily knew it too.
Saturday Sexcerpt – Finish What you Started by Kathryn Lively
About the Book – Finish What You Started
In this business, it gets hot under the spotlight…
Once a teen idol, Gabby Randall now spends her time behind the camera. With her show Danse Macabre scripted and a greenlit for a popular streaming site, she has everything she wants…except her star. Deadlines are looming and she’s desperate to cast the role of a modern-day, motorcycle-riding Grim Reaper. She never thought she’d end up hiring her former co-star, TV’s most beloved geek…and her ex-husband.
Until the day he dies, people will remember Dash Gregory as Freddie ‘Grody’ Grodin, the token geek friend of the cool kids at Wondermancer High. After years of casting agents overlooking him for plum roles, Dash wants to show Hollywood he’s more than a one-note player. He’s ready to break the vicious typecasting cycle, and he’s set his sights on the lead role in a sexy new series too hot for network TV.
When the director yells “Cut!” the star wants to keep up the action behind the scenes. Are Dash and Gabby willing to make rating history again?
About the Author
Kathryn Lively is an award-winning writer and editor, avid Whovian, and Rush (the band) fan. She loves chocolate and British crisps and is still searching for a good US dealer of Japanese Kit Kat bars.
Kathryn is a regular contributor to the Sexy To Go authors group and enjoys the outdoors, when she’s able to get out.
Copyright © Kathryn Lively 2016. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
April, 2006, Las Vegas
Gabby Randall stood at the window of their fifteenth-floor suite at the Fitzgerald Hotel and Casino, looking out at the blinding lights of Fremont Street. Thousands of them, maybe a million, blinked in rapid succession, simulating waves and fireworks and starbursts in colors she hadn’t realized existed. Down and to her right, a two-story tall neon cowboy winked and waved to passersby from his perch at the Pioneer Club. Bright yellow piping outlined his checkered shirt and knowing leer, and if Gabby moved one inch to one side or the other she could swear his eyes took on a sinister glow.
He stared at her, accusing her, as though to say Shame on you, girlie. Eloping without telling nobody. She wanted to turn away, but his eyes proved too hypnotic to resist.
“Shut up. I’m an adult,” she muttered, and blinked to break the spell. The cowboy had a name. The clerk at registration had said as much, but it’d gone right out of her head, replaced by choruses of nearby jingling slot machines as Dash had given him two fake names and paid cash for the room.
She looked past the neon smirk and studied the vibrant patterns of one hotel’s marquee. A thought occurred to her about the lights—how would anyone know to check for burnouts and replace the bulbs if the signs ran twenty-four-seven? Did the hotels each hire a specific person to stand on bulb duty? Were they like Christmas light strands, in that if one was faulty then the whole thing didn’t light up?
Why she pondered this, of all things one wondered about Vegas, she didn’t know. She took a deep breath and decided that her mind chose to focus on inane observations to calm her nerves.
It had less to do with coming to a strange city than it did with this being her first night alone with Dash. Her first night alone with any man, for that matter.
She’d never visited Las Vegas before, though she’d entertained a number of invitations from event planners. Her parents and managers, as devout in their Catholicism as their business savvy, had refused on her behalf time and again. No conventions or junkets unsanctioned by the network, or them, for her. Definitely, they didn’t want her involved in a cheesy celebrity magic show or publicity stunt. Vegas might as well have been situated on the outer rim of Hell.
Now, their say mattered little. She’d turned twenty-one the previous week, on the same day her contract with Randall Talent had expired. Marie and Walter might remain family, but they no longer made decisions for her, business or otherwise. This included her most important one to date—her wedding to Dash Gregory.
Gregory. She was Gabby Gregory now. Or perhaps she should hyphenate to Randall-Gregory, and use her given name, Gabrielle. Maybe that would make her appear mature, and more professional when she met with prospective agents to help her transition from TV ingénue to a place behind the camera.
In her left hand she held the current issue of People Magazine, the cover of which featured her with the other five principals of Wondermancer High, the television show that had served as her work and home for the past six years. In her right, a marriage certificate affirming her union with Dash Gregory bent in her tightening grip. It had happened only an hour ago, and if she brought the paper closer she could smell the printer ink. Her thumb brushed the black-marker signature of the minister, a middle-aged Johnny Cash impersonator with authentic sideburns and a paunch. Dash had insisted using a fake Elvis seemed too cliché, and that his late father—a Cash fan—would have gotten a kick out of it.
Gabby had conceded easily. She’d have stood before a showgirl in all her ostrich plumage and glitter if it meant a legitimate marriage. The Cash impersonator hadn’t recognized either of them, which was good. He didn’t fit their show’s demographic, and apparently he didn’t have a teenager who forced him to sit in front of the set every Thursday evening at eight.
She set the license on the nightstand to prevent further creases, then focused on the magazine. Good Luck, Graduates! read the headline, in reference to the series finale due to air next month. Sadness barely touched her as she recalled the emotion and angst which had pervaded the set when they’d filmed their final scenes. Relief was more like it. She’d played the part of Tula Truebend for six seasons, and as far as the country knew, her real life mirrored that of the prim, straight-A student aspiring to the upper echelons of the magical world. Hardly. Her grades, passable enough to let her continue acting, wouldn’t get her into Harvard. She hadn’t planned on college, anyway.
With the series behind her now, she couldn’t wait to pursue a career as a screenwriter and producer—to create rather than regurgitate. First order of business—develop a project for Dash.
Of the six main actors on the paranormal-set show—created to capitalize on the success of the Harry Potter franchise—her new husband stood to suffer the most typecasting. While she’d played the brain, a pretty one to boot, he’d been the token geek. Glasses, perpetually bent wand, goofy laugh, and no fashion sense. The showrunners had neglected all requests to mature Freddie Grodin toward the end of the run, leaving ‘Grody’ to remain a beloved yet awkward and inept nerd in the eyes of Wondermancer High fans.
She promised herself Dash would have a long acting career, and not in variations of the same role. What the hell was taking so long with him, anyway? He’d gone for water…had he tried the Hoover Dam first?
The handle of their room’s door jerked and rattled, startling her. On instinct, she clutched the full-length robe she wore tighter around her chest. When they’d stood exposed on Fremont Street, walking from the chapel to the hotel, she’d fretted over possible discovery from fans and paparazzi. Instead people had brushed past them, oblivious. Only in a city like this could that happen, she realized.
“Finally,” Dash muttered and entered the room. “I hate these damn keycards. They only work half the time.” A plastic bag, heavy with bottles and snacks, hung from his forearm, and he wore his favorite Dodgers cap pulled low over his face. Gabby smiled upon seeing it, especially since Dash really didn’t need to wear it to conceal his identity. Without the taped-up glasses and slicked-back hair the world saw on Grody each week, Dash as himself resembled nothing of the character he played. She envied his ability to roam free.
No, Dash was gorgeous with his clear blue eyes and a hint of stubble shadowing his firm jaw. He removed the cap and ruffled his short hair, adding to his adorably scruffy look.
“I’m glad you’re back,” she told him, and approached him for a hug. “I don’t like being here by myself.”
“Hey.” He took the magazine from her and set it next to the license, then enveloped her in his arms. He felt safe, warm. “It’s okay. Didn’t I tell you we’d be all right? It’s official, we’re married, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.”
“I keep thinking somebody saw us downstairs.” Visions bloomed in her mind of photographers stalking each floor of the hotel, disguising themselves as room service. Fans pulling out their cell phones or running for the nearest pay phone to tell their friends, or worse, announce it to the world via their MySpace pages and that new site, Twitter. Guess what…we saw Tula and Grody in Vegas! Why would they be here, checking into the same hotel room? Ooooh!
Friends tell other friends. Somebody knows a guy at the Enquirer. He calls his contact in Vegas. Somebody calls her parents…in three seconds the SWAT team will kick down their door…
“Gabby, you’re shaking.”
“I just want to be a married person for one night without the world knowing about it.”
Dash chuckled. It vibrated throughout her body, making her very aware of him. The robe slipped open and her breasts, hidden by a sheer layer of satin and lace, pressed against his body when he drew her against him. Her nipples hardened, anticipating his touch.
They hadn’t seen this much of each other during the year they’d secretly dated. They’d kissed, a lot, and enjoyed a quick grope over clothes in between scenes. She’d saved it all for tonight.
“We’re fine, Gabby,” he assured her. “We could walk the whole Strip tonight and nobody is going to notice us. There’s enough in Vegas to distract people. In fact,” he pulled away and she whimpered, “I thought we might stay an extra night.”
“But we’re going to New York tomorrow.” An outsider might have viewed their wedding as spontaneous, but they’d put a fair amount of planning into this week. Marry in Vegas, then off to Manhattan to shop for an apartment. Stage and TV auditions for Dash while she met with agents to discuss her ideas for projects.
“I know, but you deserve a proper honeymoon, however short. It’s not like we’re broke and have to go back to work immediately.”
“I know.” Assuming Wondermancer High enjoyed a long life in syndication, they wouldn’t have to work again with their combined income if they budgeted well. She wanted to work, though, and intended to distance herself from Tula Truebend.
He sat on the edge of the bed and kicked off his shoes. The white Polo he’d worn for the ceremony came next, discarded onto the carpet. Dash stretched his arms to the ceiling and Gabby marveled at the definition in his muscles. She couldn’t wait to trace every ridge and curve.
“I was thinking we’d go see Celine or Elton, or Cirque du Soleil,” he continued, shucking his pants and socks. Clad in his boxers, he scooted back to lie on the bed. “I’ll get tickets for whatever you want. I got the room for two nights either way, and New York isn’t going anywhere.”
He patted the vacant side of the mattress and eyed her standing form. The robe’s belt had come loose, exposing her legs and the red baby-doll barely covering her thighs.
“I’m not going anywhere, either,” he added.
“Good.” The robe slid to the floor, and Gabby crawled up the bed and moved flush against her new groom. Dash slanted his mouth over hers, and she melted into his embrace, sinking deeper into bed as he rolled closer. She explored the smooth planes of his back on down to his cotton shorts, where she longed to discover his better assets. Limbs twined, fingers plucked at straps and elastic bands, all the while she let her husband plunder her mouth with his tongue. She tasted the coffee they’d shared earlier and a hint of mint gum, clearly used to mask the strong drink.
She’d never felt happier, being with Dash. She was ready to put Tula Truebend behind her and act her age. She’d reveled in the simple act of buying this skimpy lingerie for her wedding night, enjoying shopping like a “grown up.”
Her parents had kept her under constant watch during the show’s run, having everything done for her. They’d paid her bills, chosen her outfits, and watched her diet. No more. She wouldn’t think about them tonight.
The straps of her baby-doll drooped down her shoulders, freeing her body. Dash broke from her lips and kissed a trail to one breast, circling the nipple with his tongue. She shivered at the sensation, as though he set her every nerve ablaze with his touch.
He looked up with glazed eyes and a swollen smile. “Did you…?”
She nodded, and her silent affirmation that she’d taken her pill sufficed. She’d gotten the prescription in secret last month, in anticipation of their marriage.
Dash returned to her breasts for a full-on assault, nipping one while kneading the other. He shifted over her, allowing her to feel the fullness of his arousal. Gabby relaxed and let him take over. His every thrust against her sex, while still in his boxers, sparked her desire, readying her to become his in every sense of the word.
No, she thought, we’ll belong to each other. When the shorts and her lacy thong came off and he entered her with one slow, guided stroke, she bit her lip to avoid crying out and focused on Dash above her, burying his face into the crook of her neck, cooing his reassurance that he would take care of her.
“You okay?” he whispered, his warm breath roaring in her ear.
“Fantastic. Are you?”
“Yeah.” He laughed, giddy like, and pushed into her again. The pain subsided the longer they lay joined, but when he reached down for her clit she cried out. She was no stranger to self-pleasure, but having Dash touch her in this way brought her to climax much quicker than she had ever accomplished alone.
“Wow.” He laughed.
“Sorry about that.” She’d wanted to last, but his kiss soothed her guilt.
“I love you, babe,” he said, and after a second his body shuddered. He bore down on top of her, and Gabby looked down his back to see his cute ass bob faster as he filled her. The increased motion dizzied her senses, and the heat enveloping her took her breath away. She wanted to return the sentiment, tell him she loved him as much, but the words caught in her throat.
Instead, she focused on them and tried something she’d read about in a how-to manual. With him deep inside her she tightened around him and thrust. Oh, that’s nice.
Dash reared upward, his face pinched with pleasured pain, and cried out as he released. The warmth blossomed inside her, and they kissed away their afterglow, their hands sliding across dampened skin and fisting the sheets.
I love you. The words looped in her mind, and she hoped their connection strengthened enough for him to hear it.
Dash pulled away and they touched foreheads. His lashes brushed hers and he shook with quiet laughter. “I can’t wait until bedtime every night, if it’s like this.”
She almost made a Wondermancer High joke—It’s nothing like the dorms at Huntington Hall. Instead she nodded and kissed his nose. No references to the past, she decided. They weren’t Tula and Grody, who only spoke to each other when Tula needed him to get her boyfriend out of a scrape.
She was Mrs. Gregory. Now and forever.
She took the comforting realization to sleep, Dash spooning her as they turned on their sides toward the window looking out onto Fremont Street.
“What do you think?” he whispered in her ear. “Stay an extra day.”
“Sure.” She’d prefer to spend all their time here.
She snuggled against her husband and watched what lights were visible until she drifted away, thankful the neon cowboy couldn’t see them.
Join me next Thursday when I interview my fellow Resplendence Author Amber Daulton. ~Tina