Please join me in welcoming author Morgan Brice to my blog. Morgan is here today to tell us a little about her new book, Badlands, about herself, and about her writing process.
“Bikes are a big deal here,” Simon said to fill the pause. “I’m always amazed at how many come through for Bike Week.” Several major motorcycle events each summer turned the Grand Strand into a cavalcade of the hottest cycles on the coast.
Cop Dude shrugged. “I always liked Born to Run. Springsteen fan. What can I say?”
“Sir?” the voice called from the counter, making Simon turn away. “You’re next.” Simon had never been less happy to get to the front of the line.
“I’ll have a Dread Pirate Roberts,” he mumbled, not wanting to look like an idiot to the guy he was trying to impress. He handed over the money, took his change as she rang him up, dropped a one dollar bill in the tip jar, and moved down the counter to wait for his drink.
“I’ll try that, too,” the cop said, flashing him a grin. “What the hell? Live life on the edge.”
Le Miz baristas were fast. Simon knew he needed to come up with a way to extend the conversation without looking like a creeper or lose the connection, maybe forever. Just as the barista handed both of them their drinks, a deafening thunderclap sounded, rattling the windows, and the rain came pouring down.
“Want to grab a table?” Simon asked, nervous enough that his throat felt tight. “We’ll drown if we go out there now.”
“Sure. Why not.”
Simon led the way through the crowded outer room where the tables were all taken to the back room where there was once a display of pirate doubloons and recovered sunken treasures. The room kept its murals of sailing ships and scruffy pirates, along with the odds and ends left behind by the previous owners—a beat-up old chest, a pirate mannequin everyone called “Mo” and a bedraggled stuffed parrot on a perch, dubbed “Percy” by Le Miz regulars.
“You must come here a lot to know there’s a second room.”
“Told you, I take my coffee very seriously,” Simon teased as he sat down. “I’m Simon, by the way.”
“Vic,” the man replied. “So what’s in this mystery drink?”
“Do you like the smell?” Simon asked.
Vic leaned over his cup, took a deep breath, and his eyes fluttered almost closed. Simon’s heart did a little samba, instantly imagining what Vic would look like blissed out and debauched after sweaty sex. Simon’s erection strained at the fly of his jeans, and he was insanely glad they were seated at a table where Vic couldn’t see how aroused he was.
“Good?” Simon asked, hating that he sounded a little breathless.
“Yeah,” Vic replied, with a little moan that made Simon painfully hard.
“Glad I could turn you on to a good thing,” Simon replied, hoping he hadn’t read the signals wrong since he was blatantly flirting.
“Much obliged,” Vic replied, and maybe it was Simon’s imagination that the man’s voice dropped a little lower, a bit huskier, than before.
“You’ve been here before, you said?” Simon asked, finding that his pick-up skills were as woefully rusty as his ability to make polite chit-chat.
“A few times,” Vic replied. “I haven’t gotten to the boardwalk as much as I’d like.”
“I try not to overdo the special coffees,” Simon said with a self-conscious smile. “I know the sugar adds up. But you’ve got to do something to make yourself feel good now and then, right?” Oh lord, that sounded really bad. I can’t believe I said that.
A wicked twinkle came into Vic’s eyes. “I’m all for feeling good,” he replied, and his foot bumped into Simon’s beneath the table.
It’s just his foot. Doesn’t mean anything. Could have been an accident, Simon told himself, but Vic didn’t move away, and Simon hoped his smile looked encouraging instead of merely nervous.
“So are you in town for business or pleasure?” Simon asked, and cringed internally. What’s wrong with me? I’m never smooth, but I didn’t used to be this awful at picking up a date. “I mean, are you a local or just visiting?”
Vic’s full, sensuous lips quirked in a smile. “Neither,” he replied.
Simon tried and failed at not staring at his lips and imagining them around his cock. Get a grip! Shit, that only changed the mental image to a hand job. So not working! Don’t fuck this up. That didn’t help at all.
“Moved here not too long ago, so I don’t feel quite like a local, but definitely not a tourist,” Vic added.
“You can still take in the sights, even if you live here. Most people don’t take time to enjoy what’s in their backyards. I’d love to show you some of my favorite spots.” Oh, just shoot me now. That sounded like the worst line from a cheap porno. I totally suck at this. No, don’t think about sucking…
“Sounds fun,” Vic said, and Simon was so lost in his embarrassment that he almost missed it.
“You would?” he asked, then cleared his throat. “I mean, that’s great,” he failed miserably to cover his awkward reply. Simon was just about to ask for Vic’s number when Vic’s phone went off.
The ringtone sounded odd, and Vic’s manner shifted in the blink of an eye, going from casual and relaxed to tense and alert. “I’ve got to take this,” he said, without even glancing at the number. “I’m sorry. It’s work. Confidential—need to step away.” With that, he got up and headed toward the service corridor that went toward the men’s room, taking his coffee with him.
☆ Author Interview ☆
Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.
I’m a full-time author, and before I began writing urban fantasy, MM paranormal romance, I’ve been publishing epic fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk and more as Gail Z. Martin for the last eleven years. My writing goals are pretty simple—I want to show my readers a good time and make them forget their troubles. Whatever is stressing you out, I want to give you a fun escape with some adventure, some romance, a few chills and thrills, and hopefully create fictional people and places you’ll want to come back to time and again.
Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?
Badlands is the first book in a new series. Here’s the blurb: Medium and clairvoyant Simon Kincaide owns a Myrtle Beach boardwalk shop where he runs ghost tours, holds seances, and offers private psychic readings, making a fresh start after his abilities cost him his lover and his job as a folklore professor. Jaded cop Vic D’Amato saw something supernatural he couldn’t explain during a shootout several years ago in Pittsburgh and relocated to Myrtle Beach to leave the past behind, still skeptical about the paranormal. But when the search for a serial killer hits a dead end, Vic battles his skepticism to ask Simon for help. As the body count rises, Simon’s involvement makes him a target, and a suspect. But Simon can’t say no, even if it costs him his life and heart
One of my favorite aspects is that it’s set at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which is one of my all-time favorite places on earth!
Sometimes, secondary characters steal the show. I do love Simon and Vic—they’re the main characters for this novel and throughout the series. But I also love Tracey, Simon’s best friend. She is one of those characters who just showed up in my head and told me exactly who she was and how her lines were going to go!
What was your inspiration for your latest story?
I’ve taken family vacations to Myrtle Beach for a long time, so setting the story there was like coming home. In fact, thinking about the beach all the while I was writing makes me really want to go back for a visit! I’ve wanted to do a cop and medium storyline for a while, but I wanted it to be different. I’ve read some really good series with characters like that, and I wanted to do a twist that came at it from another angle.
I read a book about Myrtle Beach one summer when we were on vacation, written by a journalist who went behind the scenes and looked at some of the not-so-nice aspects that the tourists don’t notice. That stuck in my mind, and I put some of the things I learned to use in Badlands and plan to do more in subsequent books.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book? Why?
Not actually being at Myrtle Beach when I was writing! I LOVE to be able to look out at the ocean when I’m thinking about the next scene!
How do you develop a story idea? Do you always use the same method? Specifically, which do you develop first in your story building, the characters or the plot?
It depends. Sometimes, characters just show up in my head and demand to have their stories written, and I have to work backwards by asking, what kind of world/situation would create a character like this with this particular problem? In other cases, I know I want to write a certain kind of book, so then I have to sit down and think about how to make it different from books with similar settings, and what kind of characters, dangers, situations, supernatural elements, will make a good story.
What are your favorite genres when it comes to your own pleasure reading? Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?
I read a lot of MM romance, and even enter if it has supernatural/paranormal/occult elements, or crime drama. My favorites are books that have a strong action plot along with a strong romance, and that’s what I model mine after. Outside of romance, I like epic fantasy, urban fantasy (I’m a big fan of the Harry Dresden books), cozy mystery, and ghost stories!
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing is the best thing in the world! It can be tiring, but I’m happiest when I’m writing.
If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?
Never give up. Everything takes longer than you think it will.
What advice would you give to newbie writers?
Never give up. Keep writing, keep polishing your craft, make friends with other authors, support the work of other authors, and do your research.
What did you edit out of this book?
I don’t usually have deleted scenes. Normally what gets edited out are words that I have used too frequently or phrases—it’s like my brain gets stuck on things, and they’re different with each book! I look for places where I’ve repeated something that was said before without a good reason to do so, or that aren’t clear, or where I need to explain better.
Does your research lead to bizarre internet searches? If so, tell us about some of your wackier searches, or ones that would make you nervous if your computer were ever confiscated by law enforcement.
Always! I think this is true for most writers. I’ve looked up how long it takes for blood to congeal, how to make explosives out of materials available during the Middle Ages, how far a catapult can shoot, various medical procedures, all kinds of plants and flowers used in spellcraft….you know, the normal stuff!
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I’ll be a Hosting Author at RomCon and a Supporting Author at Gay Romantic Lit Retreat in October, so please look me up and say hello!
I will also be attending the Supernatural Convention in Charlotte, NC this August as a fan. Let me know if you’re going, too! Always happy to meet up.
Badlands is available in ebook on Kindle, Kobo and Nook and in print. We’re working on audiobook. Please also check out Witchbane, the first in my other urban fantasy MM paranormal romance series!