Graham and his roping partner, Jackson, have been friends since they were boys. They've ruled the rodeo scene for ten years running, but lately, Graham’s heart isn’t in the game. He’s tired of the bruises, the cowboy mentality, and the animal rights activists who picket every event. He's also tired of being in love with Jackson, and nothing’s been the same between them since their disastrous drunken encounter the year before.
Then Graham has a run-in with one of the rodeo protesters, and everything changes. Kaz is young, idealistic, and sexy as hell. But he's also a know-it-all, animal-loving vegan, bent on saving the world one cow at a time. They have next to nothing in common, but Graham can't stop thinking about what might happen if they can stop butting heads long enough to give it a try. Unfortunately, no matter how attracted Graham is to other men, he always panics and runs when the clothes start to come off. But Kaz has an idea for getting Graham past his nerves and into bed.
All they need is a bit of rope.
Where are you from, and where do you call home?
Marie: I was born in Wyoming, but I've lived in Fort Collins, Colorado since I was eleven years old.
Lori: Even though I haven’t lived there since 2003, the Seattle area will always be home. Since leaving, I spent five years I’m never getting back in Norfolk, Virginia, three amazing years on Okinawa, three more years I’m never getting back in Omaha, Nebraska, and now I’m in Spain. After this, we’ll probably move back to Seattle to stay.
What inspired you to start writing?
Marie: Back in about 2008, I sort of unwittingly stumbled down the slippery slope from fantasy into gay romance. I was instantly hooked and read every one I could get my hands on (which wasn't many, because I didn't really know where to find them, and I was still reading paperbacks exclusively). Then, in spring of 2009, I read one with an incredibly unsatisfying ending. I spent a good week rewriting it in my head. A week or two later, I woke up with an image of two men arguing in a hallway. I knew exactly how they felt about each other, even though I didn’t know anything about the broader context of the story. After some debate, I sat down and started writing, and that scene eventually turned into my first book, Promises.
Lori: I started writing stories when I was in kindergarten, and just never stopped. In late 2008, I decided to do NaNoWriMo on a whim, and figured that a contemporary romance would be simpler to plot/write than an epic fantasy. That’s not to say they’re easy, but they are simpler, and after writing one, I was hooked. Not long after, I wrote my first gay romance on a dare, which became my first M/M book, Rules of Engagement.
How long have you been writing?
Marie: Not counting some really bad poetry in high school, I started writing in 2009. My first book was published in January 2010.
Lori: Like I said, I started writing in kindergarten, and spent years steadily improving my craft. I knew from a very young age I wanted to be an author, so that was what I worked toward. My first book came out in 2009, just before I turned 29.
What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Marie: Read as much advice as you care to read. Use what works, and ignore the rest.
Lori: ^^^ What she said.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Marie: I have definitely struggled with it from time to time. Sometimes, it's a sign that I'm going the wrong direction with a story. Sometimes it's because of depression. Sometimes I just feel like I run out of story ideas. (For better or worse, I am not one of those authors with a stable full of plot bunnies.) Usually, some time away is the best solution.
Lori: For me, if I can’t write, it’s either depression or burnout. I’ve learned the hard way that I can push my burnout to the point it damages my physical health (4 months with pneumonia will get a person’s attention), so I’m much more vigilant now about my workload, taking time off, etc. Just taking a few days off is usually enough to recharge my brain. With depression, I kind of have to ride it out. There are days when I can barely function enough to make myself a sandwich, and I’ve learned to give myself permission to not write on those days.
Removing that pressure doesn’t remove the depression, but it does make me feel less guilty. If I’m not burned out and I’m not depressed, but the words aren’t coming, there’s a good chance the book is the problem, so I’ll usually work on something else, then come back and reevaluate the problem child.
What Authors in the genre do you read?
Marie: I read a lot of the genre back in 2008 and 2009, but at this point, the only authors in the genre I read are the ones I (occasionally) beta-read for.
Lori: I mostly read non-fiction and fantasy/sci fi, so I’m admittedly way behind on the genre. I struggle to read within genres I write because I find it difficult to shut off the writer brain, and I lose myself in analyzing the writing/editing/plot/characters, or comparing my own work, etc., and I forget to…you know…enjoy the story. So most of my reading for pleasure has to be outside the genre just so I can make those critical “you’d be able to write like this if you didn’t suck so much” voices shut up. That said, I have definitely enjoyed books by Marie, Aleksandr Voinov, Anna Zabo, and Cardeno C.
What comes first, the plot or characters?
Marie: Character, 90% of the time.
Lori: Character. Even if it’s suspense or something, it all revolves around the characters, their state of mind, their actions, etc.
Describe the perfect writing space.
Marie: I'm not sure about "perfect," but I'll settle for not too cluttered, and no child constantly interrupting.
Lori: I rather love my office – surrounded by books, kitties, munchies, and my whiteboards. I do love writing in restaurants and coffee shops, but that’s not really done in Spain (they look at you funny if you work in an eating establishment), so when I need to escape my office, I “settle” for writing by my pool.
Do you do research for your books? If so, what does that entail?
Marie: It depends greatly on the book. Some require more than others. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those authors who loves research (which is why I'll probably never write a historical).
Lori: Very much depends on the book. If it’s WWII or contemporary military, I know enough to at least get started, and then I research as needed as I go. With something like ancient Rome, I’ll read about it until the material is familiar enough that I’m not getting much new information (i.e., I start seeing the same information from one book to the next). Then I’ll start writing, and stop to do more research if I need to. When I wrote The Left Hand of Calvus, I think I spent a solid week reading and making notes, then jumped into the story. So, it really depends.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Marie: I think I have about thirty total, at this point. My favorite is Saviours of Oestend.
Lori: Around 100. My favorites are probably Static, If The Seas Catch Fire, Lead Me Not, and Conduct Unbecoming.
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
Marie: I don't feel like I hear from them nearly as much as I used to. Back in 2011 or 2012, I'd do a blog tour and have tons of comments on every post, even when there wasn't a giveaway attached. Every post on my blog would get a swarm of comments. These days… that seems to happen a lot less. Maybe I have a lot fewer fans now, or maybe the majority of the fans just aren't as engaged now that there are so many more blogs to follow. I will say that in the past, I mostly heard from women, but these days, I hear almost exclusively from men (often men who have only recently discovered that gay romance novels exist).
Lori: I hear from readers a couple of times a month, and it’s usually very positive. It’s always nice to hear from someone who was moved by a book, or saw themselves in a book. Occasionally I’ll get what could be described as hate mail, but that’s pretty rare.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?
Marie: To be perfectly honest, no, I'm not working on a damn thing at the moment. I haven't written since January. I'm sure I'll be kicking myself for it next year, but right now, I'm perfectly happy to take some time off. J
Lori: I’m working on a million things as always. As I type this, I’m sitting in Rome after visiting the Colosseum this morning, and I just went to Pompeii a few days ago. So, you can probably expect another ancient Roman historical in the near future.
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along.
Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.
Connect with Marie:
· Website: MarieSexton.net
· Twitter: @MarieSexton
· Facebook: facebook.com/MarieSexton.author
· Goodreads: goodreads.com/MarieSexton
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .
Connect with L.A.:
· Website: loriawitt.com
· Author Blog: gallagherwitt.blogspot.com
· Personal Blog: navywifeadventures.blogspot.
· Twitter: @GallagherWitt
· Facebook: facebook.com//L-A-Witt-MM-Fiction
· Goodreads: goodreads.com/GallagherWitt
To celebrate the release of Roped In, Marie and L.A. are giving away $20 in Riptide Publishing credit plus one ebook from each of their backlists. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 25, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
And don't forget about the TTC Books and more monthly comment giveaway. Every comment left gets entered into the gift card giveaway!