Final Cut Miami: Come, Go with Me and the soon-to-be-released When I Fall, has graciously agreed to stop by for a quick chat.
Belinda is based in far Northern California, where she lives with her family and a pack of Siberian Huskies...and a Chihuahua. As an author, she falls under the umbrella of speculative fiction. Her books range from science fiction to paranormal, and pretty much everything in between. In real life, love and sex is complicated, and does not always fall under neat labels. Her writing reflects that notion of sexual fluidity. Like real life, it may get complicated. Unlike real life, she will always give her characters a happy ending.
Please stick around for a spicy taste of her latest, following the interview!
♥ For those who may be new to your writing, and who haven't yet checked out your latest release, please tell us a little about yourself.
Hi….thanks for having me here! Well, I live in Northern California, near the three Shastas…the mountain, lake and dam. I caregive for my disabled niece, she’s lived with us for 11 years now and requires care 24/7. I eventually quit my day job so I could take more time with her.
I write mostly in speculative fiction genres, both het and LGBTQ. My m/m space opera “An Uncommon Whore” won the science fiction division in the Passionate Plume awards this year, which was really a thrill! I write for Loose Id, Changeling Press, Passion in Print and Dreamspinner Press.
♥ The journey from 'aspiring' to 'accomplished' can be a long one, even in the era of small presses and digital publishing. When did you begin writing, and how did you feel when you first saw your work in print?
I’ve been writing for many years, but in 2007 I decided to take a year and see if I could produce a book or two. In May 2008, I signed my first 3 contracts during the course of a week. It was exhilarating, frightening and absolutely wonderful! My first release was ‘Imperative: Missing You” and the buzz of seeing that book go live on the website just can’t be duplicated. Well, until the next release comes along…
♥ Did you deliberately choose a genre because there's something specific that draws you to it, something you feel it offers that other genres don't, or was it just 'right' for the story you wanted to tell?
Actually, I’m a multi-genre writer. I’ve never locked myself into a specific genre though many people associate me with my hot wolfy shifters. I come up with an idea and the genre is determined by the story. I initially began “An Uncommon Whore” as a m/f sword and sorcery fantasy. As I worked on the book, it felt locked and frozen. Neither character had any dimension. When that happens, I shake things up a bit and see what happens. In this case, I made the princess a prince and the story took on a life of its own, becoming a m/m space opera.
♥ How does your past influence your writing? Are you conscious of relating the story to your own experiences?
Well, I’m not young. I won’t go much further than that! LOL! I do have life experience that comes from having many years behind me. I’ve lived through some very tough experiences and survived. I’ve known many amazing people over the years, ranging from working cowboys to Chinese movie stars. I generally don’t write about my own experiences, but I can tap into emotions that relate to my characters. For example, I’ve never been widowed, but I remember the profound grief my grandfather experienced when Grandma passed unexpectedly. I’ve honestly known terror and faced the possibility of dying. This is all stuff to fit into the writer’s toolkit. Time gives a writer both insight and empathy.
♥ Do you have a schedule or a routine to your writing? Is there a time and place that you must write, or do you let the words flow as they demand?
I generally write at night. For whatever reason, everything percolates during the day and after KJ is in bed, my imagination takes off. But I don’t really have a set schedule; my home life is too chaotic for that.
♥ Do you have a soundtrack to your writing, a particular style of music or other background noise that keeps you in the mood, or do you require quiet solitude?
I prefer silence when I write. I do listen to music to inspire a mood. When I was writing Blacque/Bleu, Lukas Blacque loved southern rock. When he knew the vampire Bleu was having trouble sleeping, he’d play Allman Brothers and Stevie Rae Vaughn on his stereo. He didn’t know if Bleu liked that music, but did it so he wouldn’t feel alone. If I’m going for over-the-top romance, I’ll listen to Josh Groban and Al Greene. If its seduction, Barry White and Teddy Pendergrass make me smile.
♥ For some authors, it's coming up with a title, and for others it's writing that first paragraph - what do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing?
I’m very moody when it comes to writing. Sometimes I fly; sometimes I get all surly about it. Also, I have trouble deciding what to work on next. I might have three manuscripts in progress and not be in the mood for any of them. It’s hard approaching this like an office job, but sometimes I have to kick myself in the butt and shoo away the muse just to get something started.
♥ Is there a favourite quote or scene from your work that you feel particularly fond of? Something that reminds you of why writing is important to you?
I have a load of favorite moments, but right now, I’m haunted by a scene from the sequel to “An Uncommon Whore.” The new book is called “When I Fall” and there’s a lot of angst and pain in this story. There’s a pivotal scene and I can’t say too much about it, but every time I go back to it, the emotions hit me hard. It’s a moment when the hero Griffin faces death and realizes some simple truths about himself and his lover Helios. I’d drafted that scene into a loose outline, so I knew it was coming. But as I wrote it, I was stunned at how that scene played out.
♥ Is there a particular author who has influenced or inspired your writing? Somebody who either made you want to write in the first place, or who refreshes your literary batteries?
Actually, yes, there was someone who had a strong influence on my writing. Growing up and through college, I always loved writing and had the idea that I’d find a niche in the creative world somewhere. Unfortunately, when I was 29, my life derailed when I ended up in the path of a drunk driver. I was in pretty bad shape afterward, but it wasn’t until a month or so after that I realized the head injury I’d sustained short-circuited my ability to read and write. After a lot of hard work, I regained my reading and writing, but for years, I felt no creativity at all. It was a long, dark period in my life.
So fast forward, I finished college and put several years into a career that didn’t fit well. I took a brief vacation to attend a dog show in New York State and stayed with a friend and his wife. Both are poets and in that weekend, I rediscovered my love of the written word. Mike and I drove to the shows and he’d recite his poetry, and it was so wonderful. I swear, it was like my brain and heart caught on fire. I returned home and began writing again…hours every day. Writing became my refuge and happiness. It felt like there were years and years of stories all bottled up inside. Not much of that writing ended up in completed projects, but it put me on the path to publication.
♥ When writing, do you ever consider how a reader or reviewer will react, or do you write solely for your own satisfaction?
Honestly, I write largely for myself. You know how sometimes there’s a songwriter or poet whose lyrics just hit you in the gut? It feels as though they are writing just for you? Well, I’ve had people tell me that I write just for them. Everyone brings themself to a book. What they read is colored by their experience, expectations and tastes. I have no control over that, but sometimes my writing resonates with readers. They get it. So I’ve made myself happy, and I’ve made some of the readers happy. And that’s my job.
♥ What is the strangest or most surprising reaction to your work that you've ever encountered?
I sometimes communicate with a few ladies in a totally non-writing context, through a common hobby. One of them linked my personal identity with my writer identity and she and her friends started reading my books. The next thing I knew, they’d formed a book club dedicated to my books! LOL! I don’t know that I’ve ever been so honored before in my life!
♥ If your book were being made into a movie, and you had total control over the production, who would you cast for the leading roles?
Well, I don’t watch TV much and I’m not particularly familiar with the hot faces these days. But if I could cast Belle Starr, I’d use Viggo Mortensen (or Alex Skarsgard) as Armand de le Croix, Joe Manganeillo (or Jason Momoa) as Thorn, and in all honesty, Belle was physically modeled off an actress named Suzie Plackson. She’s a beautiful tall redhead with the fierce, humorous element that defines Belle.
I don’t often “cast” my books with actors and actresses, but in the case of Blacque/Bleu, Dominic Purcell inspired Blacque, and Bleu was modeled off of Donny Lewis. However, I’d love to see him played by Matthew Gray Gubler or Jared Padalecki. Both men have an otherworldly look to them while Dominic Purcell could carry off Blacque’s tough, vulnerable persona.
♥ What can we look forward to from you next? Is there a project on the horizon that you're really excited about?
And Uncommon Whore 2: When I Fall (the sequel to Uncommon Whore) is scheduled to release October 11 at Loose Id. I’m excited about this book, and I’m also very nervous. It’s very different from the original book so I hope readers will be willing to continue the journey with Griffin and Helios.
Thanks so much to Belinda for stopping by! Now, as promised, please enjoy a taste of Final Cut Miami: Come, Go with Me (but please be aware that this is an adult taste, intended for adult readers):
Blurb:One impossible night, two young men made love in a magical Caribbean bay, only to be separated by a violent storm. Decades later Dave Riley still remembers and grieves for a love long lost. Forever drawn to the ocean, he never stops looking for the boy named Kai.
Kai is the descendant of a powerful Polynesian deity. His nomadic life was disrupted when he became infatuated by a young human... one who slipped through his fingers and into the darkness of a tropical storm. He should have been able to move on, but Kai's heart is no longer free.
A good deed and some well-intentioned magic reunite the couple. After so many years apart, can an aging surfer and an immortal demi-god find anything other than heartbreak?
EXCERPT:In the darkness, the neon sign beckoned. Riley looked up and down the street; nothing was different except the Final Cut. It was sandwiched between the bookstore and the beauty shop, just as it had been earlier. Thunder rumbled in the distance and fat raindrops began to patter on the pavement. Riley reached out, clasped the brass handle and pulled.
Tonight, it was crowded and noisy. Music played over the sound of the televisions and several people were up dancing. The energy in the room was high, causing the hair on his arms to prickle. He caught sight of a familiar face. Genie. She smiled and nodded in his direction, then turned her focus back to the pair of men at her table. He’d really like to know what her story was.
Opting against a table, he headed for a small booth toward the back of the room, settling against the soft leather padding. In just seconds, a waitress came. This one had breasts and her beauty was a bit more tolerable. He smiled at her and ordered his beer. Riley then watched the crowd in fascination.
They weren’t normal people. He reached up, rubbing the bruise on his shoulder. He wasn’t normal either. After dinner with Kimber, he’d returned to the shop, catching up on a bit of paperwork. He’d gone to the bathroom and washed up; when he looked in the mirror, an eighteen-year-old version of Dave Riley looked back at him.
He hadn’t even been surprised. He’d faded back to normal and then closed his eyes, focusing on the sensation of smooth skin and a powerful, agile body. He opened his eyes and watched as the younger version returned. The stiffness in his knuckles and knees had come on so slowly over the years that he hadn’t even been aware of it. In that moment of change, it had melted away like an illusion.
Now, sitting here at the Final Cut, he was himself, whatever that might be.
As he knew it would, the air around him went heavy and damp, and he imagined that he smelled ozone from the far-off lightning. He looked up to see Kai standing, just yards away. Their gazes met and did not break. He nodded and Kai slid into the seat opposite him.
They did not speak.
Riley wondered if storms always traveled in Kai’s wake, or if they came and went with his mood. Right now, he was unhappy and it showed on his face like a dark bank of storm clouds. At the same time, his dark green eyes were full of pain.
He didn’t know what to say. He simply stared at the man who’d occupied so much of his heart for so very long. Kai didn’t look as he remembered, nor did he appear as Riley would have expected. He was young, but not the teenage boy he remembered. He was taller by nearly a hand span; his shoulders were massive. His white linen shirt hung open to his chest, offering a glimpse of smooth brown muscle packed onto his torso. His hair was long, brown and tied away from his face. No doubt corkscrew curls cascaded down his back.
Kai was beautiful, frightening, and the most welcome sight he’d ever seen.
“Riley. I’m so sorry.” His voice was deep and husky with emotion. His accent was slight, sounding of the islands. He wasn’t Hawaiian, nor was he Samoan or Tahitian. He was all of that, yet unique. “I’m so very, very glad to see you again.”
Without speaking, Riley stood up, left a bill on the table and walked away, knowing the other man would follow. He passed the main door, heading for the rear access. Following the dim green of the exit sign, he opened the door out onto a wooden dock. As he’d expected, it floated on a saltwater canal. Kai moved almost silently, but he knew the other man followed when he heard the creak of wood. Kinda weird that a dude his size could move so quietly.
He turned and looked at Kai.
The other man stood motionless, waiting. His expression was apprehensive; it looked odd on that regal, arrogant face. Riley moved toward him, pushing him into a shallow alcove by the wall, pinning his body in place. They froze like that, hip to hip, chest to chest. Kai was taller, but the difference wasn’t so much that he couldn’t look him in the eye, pull him down for a fierce, angry kiss. He dug fingers into Kai’s hair, feeling the curls coil around his fingers as though they were alive. He forced his tongue into the other man’s mouth, let his teeth click and scrape against tender skin. When Kai broke away and tried to speak, Riley kissed him again.
After that, all thought fled and Riley was a creature ruled by his body. His cock hardened and throbbed, his balls ached, his heart slammed in his chest. Pulling at the white shirt, he bared Kai’s chest, hands roaming, and then he lowered his head, mouthing the man’s pebbled, erect nipple. When Kai touched him, he grabbed his hands, holding them out of the way.
This was for Riley. This was for all the years of memory. He’d been a boy then, and willing to let Kai lead, but now he was a man. He needed to assert himself on this flesh and blood version of that dream. He jerked open Kai’s loose pants, working them down over his hips.
Like the rest of him, his lower assets were beautiful. His cock was thick and meaty, his balls swung heavily. Black hair curled tightly at his groin. His loins were lean and defined; supple, toned muscle ran down his thighs. He shoved Kai around simply to look at his ass. It was magnificent. Riley bent down, nipped the taut skin of one buttock, reached out, and gently cradled his balls. He smiled as a moan broke from the big man. It was as deep and resonant as thunder.
The sound reverberated through Riley and he reached around, clasping Kai’s cock. It was hard as a rod, yet soft as velvet. He leaked from the tip and shuddered as Riley pumped him. This wasn’t going to be romantic. It wasn’t going to be pretty. Riley dropped his shorts and shoved his shaft between Kai’s massive legs, striking his balls as he thrust. He pulled back, and pumped forward again. Once he caught Riley’s intention, Kai tightened his thighs, creating a warm, tight passage for Riley’s cock.
Every stroke nudged past the larger man’s balls, and Riley pumped his shaft, hand fucking him in time to the rhythm of his hips. Kai leaned against the wall, one hand reaching back to rest on Riley’s leg.
“Riley… need you… ” Kai moaned. In answer, Riley pressed himself into Kai’s back, pressing his chin on his massive shoulder. He wrapped his free arm around Kai’s waist, pressing them together as close as humanly possible.