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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Blog tour - "The Warlords' Concubine" by J.E & M. Keep





Paranormal Romance (Explicit Sex)
Date Published: 6/1/2013

Mirella often wonders what her life would've been like had she been born a princess, rather than the property of one.

When a dark warlord from the north conquers her princess' kingdom, however, he has plans for the dainty young future-queen. It makes the question all the more poignant, because now, more is at stake than just her rough treatment, but love and lust as well.

As an indentured servant and handmaiden to the princess for much of her life, the middle-aged Mirella sees the conquest of the land as an opportunity to elevate herself. Though as she earns the trust of their conquerors, she finds her own nature challenged as well. A life of callous disregard has made her hard, but as she battles the princess' will for the first time and finds new allies and friends, does she have what it takes to win the love and favour of the brutal warlord? Will love and friendship be her downfall? Or will her station in life yet again be her undoing?

Caution: The Warlord's Concubine is a dark fantasy novel that contains explicit scenes, and a twisted romance between a handmaiden and a God.

About the authors
J.E. & M. Keep

J.E. and M. Keep have a passion for all things sci fi/fantasy, and a desire to see what characters do when others fade to black. They set out to explore the most sexual, titillating and sometimes terrifying encounters. The plots are contemporary, fantasy, or science fiction, but they all have one thing in common: they’re hot.
From dark and taboo smut to coming-of-ages lust, from twisted love stories to tragic tales of self-destructive needs, they explore the fact that not all ‘Ever Afters’ are happy, and not everyone’s idea of happy is the same.
Come explore the limits of erotica and discover new desires from the smutty minds of J.E. & M. Keep. They can be found on their website at http://www.darkfantasyerotica.com/.




LINKS TO BUY

EXCERPT


A great table filled the center of the tent, and upon it was heaped food. A mix of the rich pantry of the palace with the flavours of the harsh tundra, making for the oddest banquet Mirella had ever seen.

But at the heart of it stood a statue, carved from obsidian stone. It was unmistakable though the craftsmanship was not as refined as that of the courtly artists who decorated the millennia old palace. The presence of the mighty man, albeit nude and holding a great scimitar that was lodged into the spine of some defeated foe, inspired all the other women, even the guards, to fear. Mirella could tell they—unlike her—knew much greater terror of the God-King, even in his lifeless representation.

It was curious to her why the man of such taste would be so destructive, but it didn’t matter. She barely glanced to the other women. The evening prior she might have been a handmaiden, but now she was on equal footing with all of them, and it filled her with a strange sense of righteousness. Her eyes worked over the statue as she left the princess to recover on top of some pillows, her gaze one of wonderment and a lingering, heated desire.

His power radiated from the stone and she briefly wondered at what the more skilled artisans could do for him.

She couldn’t recall at how long she might’ve been staring at that statue when she was disturbed, her gaze lost on that harsh stone depiction, entranced by the generous proportions of his muscles and loins. It was, as far as she could tell, true to form, but lacking in the expert subtleties a court artisan would bring to it.
“Most don’t even dare to look at it,” came that otherworldly voice, so richly masculine, irradiating such strength and command in a manner she’d never heard before.
In the torchlight of the tent she could make him out all the clearer. His charcoal skin was smooth and flawless. His face so chiselled and handsome. Hair long and perfectly shiny. Her first guess only seemed all the more right; a god. Though the dark clothes he wore, looking a blend of velvet and leather, mixed with his piercing dark gaze and skin, it didn’t take much guessing to place as what kind of deity he might be.
Excerpt 2:
She couldn’t recall at how long she might’ve been staring at that statue when she was disturbed, her gaze lost on that harsh stone depiction, entranced by the generous proportions of his muscles and loins. It was, as far as she could tell, true to form, but lacking in the expert subtleties a court artisan would bring to it.
 “Most don’t even dare to look at it,” came that otherworldly voice, so richly masculine, irradiating such strength and command in a manner she’d never heard before.
In the torchlight of the tent she could make him out all the clearer. His charcoal skin was smooth and flawless. His face so chiselled and handsome. Hair long and perfectly shiny. Her first guess only seemed all the more right; a god. Though the dark clothes he wore, looking a blend of velvet and leather, mixed with his piercing dark gaze and skin, it didn’t take much guessing to place as what kind of deity he might be.


and now an interview with the authors :)

1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?

Oh, we’ve always known we wanted to be writers, but in the same way that Josh always knew he wanted to be an astronaut.

Growing up when we did, the only way you became a successful writer is by somehow gaining the attention of some publisher who fancied your work and thought it would make them a lot of money. That seemed far fetched and unrealistic. Even to our young, wide-eyed selves. Somehow Josh had found becoming a historian more realistic, which tells you a bit about how silly the notion of being a successful writer used to be for a working class boy.

It wasn’t until ebooks started a sort of revolution in the industry that we realized the fan following we had for our own story site could be the start of a career.

2. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?

Simple question, but complicated answer! The actual writing? It could take anywhere from two weeks to months -- or more -- depending on how you look at it.

Everything starts with the idea process, of course. Which is impossible to pin down. Ideas don’t tend to come when you want them to, they pop up of their own volition by their own schedule. Once that’s done though, the process of laying out a plan for the story begins.

Usually it’s Josh who lays out a skeletal framework of the story, plotting all the scenes and the goals with each. Once done that -- and revising it a few times -- we set aside time for it. When it comes to novels, we usually begin when we have a quiet stretch of a few days with no plans, then start really getting into it. That last step is usually complete within a couple weeks when we’re uninterrupted and dedicated.

Though sometimes once you start writing you realize the plot needs some reworking and if solutions don’t come to you, it can hold up the process.

3. How do you come up with themes for your stories?

Themes often seem to create themselves, though of course, we know that’s not true.

With the Warlord’s Concubine, a strong theme throughout was that of the the struggles and compromises one has to make to rise from humble beginnings to great power and achievement. Mirella, the handmaiden, is embittered with her fate, but not so much that she couldn’t see opportunity for herself in the ruination of her adopted land. Then there’s the Warlord himself, and the Seer who paid such great cost for her own son.

Of course, what you intend as the author isn’t always what the reader takes from it! For many of our fans what really spoke to them was the idea of power in servitude, a very sort of BDSM style attitude, I suppose.

We have a new novel about to come out, False Shades, a 1920’s investigative erotic thriller, and we don’t want to spoil anything with the themes there, as the book is so much about surprises and mystery, but we’re excited to see what readers take from it. What they see as the central themes.

Personal experience comes out in our themes a lot. Our own struggles, aspirations or sadnesses speak through what we write. We had different class backgrounds and grew up in two very different areas of the country, so we each bring our own perspective to things.

4. Do you have a schedule of when you write?

Of course! We’re very regimented and serious people.

Life has a way of throwing such behaviour for a loop, however.

Evening’s tend to be for short stories, while every chance we get we spend the mornings and afternoons working on our novels. Ideally we’d write every day, or most every day. When you’re dealing with family, friends, the world at large, business and legalities, that ideal is often far off.

5. How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?

We’re not always able to!

Though since our writing has become successful enough to pay the rent n’ bills, Josh works full time on the creative and editing side, laying aside his career as an unassuming historian.

Meanwhile, Michelle simply works two lives, handling a bit of that plus all the business, web design, marketing, finances, and publishing stuff that comes with being self-published.

Somehow our passion for writing triumphs and we get things done.

6. What elements do you think make a great story line?

For us it’s intrigue, mystery, surprise and subversion.

We like to write stories that interest us, that excite us, and most importantly that seem to offer something new or different. With the Warlord’s Concubine, we took what would’ve been a simple story of a princess learning to submit to the dark conqueror and twisted the hell out of it!

It’s very important to us to keep the reader curious and interested. We’re curious people ourselves, and it’s questions that keep us motivated. Surprises the little rewards along the way that make the pursuit so satisfying.

7. What was the hardest thing about writing a book?

All the publishing end of it. Writing is something we have a passion for. We wrote prolifically long before we ever thought we could make a dime off it, and we’ve spent countless hours and days over the past dozen years as a couple honing our craft as a unit. We work hard to be descriptive writers that keep things interesting, but we enjoy that.

Work you love and enjoy isn’t work at all.

The coding, the marketing, all that stuff? That’s the bottleneck. We write stories far faster than we can edit, proof, code and market.

8. How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?

Including short stories, novellas and our precious novels, we have just shy of fifty published works out there, perhaps hundreds more that remain unpublished. Either because they were early fanfiction works, or something we don’t consider up to the standards of our current writing, or because they are sitting and awaiting the day when we have time to get them out there.

As for favourite? In all honesty, the Warlord’s Concubine is our favourite right now. It combines so much of what we love and have a passion for, we really poured ourselves into making it great. In the end we were pleased with what we accomplished.

Though that’s the thing with us. Before Warlord’s Concubine our favourite work was probably Vile Wasteland. A speculative fiction novel about a young woman in the post-apocalypse, that was our newest novel then. We’re always trying to outdo ourselves, and when we feel we’ve succeeded, we gain a new favourite.

We hope that feeling never stops!

9. Do you have a favorite character?

So tough to pick just one! The Warlord himself for being such a mysterious, dark man who gets us going with his rough possessiveness. Then there’s men like Ralen, of our early Forgotten Thrones work, who’s such a sweet, gentle young man.

With female characters, you have the ones like Cassidy in Bound as the World Burns, who’s so naive and helpless, wanting someone to free her of the burden of choice. Then there’s Alex in Vile Wasteland, who has a mission, and will kickass or do whatever is needed to accomplish it.

10. Where do you write?

We’ve converted a room in our home to a joint office. Our desks are pushed right up against each others and we write side by side like that. We’ve been told on several occasions with our four monitors, office supplies and other equipment that it looks like we run a call center.

11. When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?

Like we said before, we never thought the traditional publishing route held much opportunity for people like us. We write a lot of off-the-wall stuff. Not all of it is niche, mind you, but we won’t shy from that term. So that only compounds the problem. We have a friend who works for a publishing company, but they don’t do romance or erotica, and for us sex is a big part of life and our writing.

We consider offers to work with a publisher, but wouldn’t do it under any old circumstances. As much as we detest the publishing side of things, having control and seeing the bulk of the profits from your work is deeply satisfying.

12. Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?

They haven’t yet found out! We’re holding off until we’re millionaires and can help Josh’s mom retire early before we have that conversation.

13. What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?

We love nature and technology.

We enjoy going for walks together, enjoying the botanical gardens and admiring people’s flowers. Then we also love playing the latest and most impressive video games and gadgetry.

We also have a weekly tabletop RPG night, from Call of Cthulhu to GURPS. It can be quite stimulating, gets your creative juices flowing, and often inspires story ideas.

Reading is another big thing, of course, though we usually read outside our genres of romance and erotica. We’re big fantasy and scifi (or speculative fiction) readers. We think it’s important not to get too caught up in our own genres, as that can lead to stagnant, typical writing.

14. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?

Just write. Start writing, keep writing, don’t stop. Writer’s block? Doesn’t exist, just write.

Writing is a skill like any other. It takes time and effort to hone and get better. Stuck because you don’t know how to write the next part? What you mean is you don’t know how to do it well. Just write something. Maybe it’ll stink, maybe it won’t. What’s important is that you do it and get the practice.

Maybe everything you write for the next few years will be awful, so what? If you’re committed and you love it, hold out and eventually you’ll find your style and make it work.

Just remember: nobody expects a woodcutter or jewel maker to produce a mastercraft piece of work on their first try. They practice, you need to practice as well.

16. What is your favorite book? Favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?

For Joshua: When it comes to fiction, that would probably be Tolkien, no use in denying it. I hold almost nothing in common with his writing style, but I think that’s what I enjoy: he wrote things I could never do. For non-fiction, Carl Sagan continues to inspire me in life and in writing.

For Michelle: It really depends on my mood. I love fantasy and scifi authors like Elaine Cunningham and Lisa Smedman. Speculative fiction I go to Margaret Atwood. Most of the contemporary stuff I read is quite dark, though, and I love Nabokov’s prose. For dark erotica I turn to Skye Warren, Varion Krylov or C.J. Roberts. They all inspire different parts of my writing in theme and form.

17. Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?

We’re a writing duo! There are other writers we speak with, give and take advice with, though really, all the work of it comes down to the two of us. Two heads are better than one, they say, and so we perhaps have a bit of a head start on those who write alone.

18. Are you working on anything now?

Always.

Our current big project is a rather hefty novel. It’s light fantasy, with a lot of different characters spread across a big, interesting world. There’s love, deception, tragedy and triumph. Lots of sex and lovemaking too, of course.

We’ve released parts of it in serial format so far as In Search of Innocence, but we’re making a push to finish it up soon. It’s an ambitious work however, very daunting, but exciting! It’s almost like a fantasy soap opera, with less cheese.


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