🌟 Please join me in welcoming authors T.S. McKinney and Shannon West to Stories That Make You Smile! They’re here today celebrating the recent release of their wonderful and popular new book, Red Zone. They generously sat down to answer a few burning questions…read on for details of when T.S. got busted at work researching penis wands! 😳🤣 🌟
Red Zone by T.S. McKinney and Shannon West
College football quarterback Kingston Bentley appears to have it all…but looks can be deceiving.
Publisher: Painted Hearts Publishing
Release Date: March 15, 2019
Length: 208 pages
Pairing / Genre(s) / Keyword(s): M/M, Gay Romance, Contemporary, New Adult, Sports Romance, BDSM
From the outside, it looks as if college football quarterback Kingston Bentley has it all—good looks, outstanding athletic ability and a 4.0 average in his classes. But looks can be deceiving. Kingston is battling inner demons that are jeopardizing his safety and slowly driving him to more and more acts of desperation. Everywhere he looks, he’s got nothing but trouble, and when he loses his coveted first-string position on the football team, he goes back to the one thing he can count on—cutting to relieve the pressure and the emotional pain.
The gorgeous new quarterback on the team, Memphis Sabine, is the Coach’s son, and under enormous pressure of his own to lead his new team to the national championship. For that, he needs Kingston’s help, and they soon become an unbeatable force both on the field. But when Memphis discovers Kingston in the act of cutting, he uses his forceful nature and all he knows about being a Dom to take Kingston in hand and ensure his welfare. Kingston loves the pain, but he rebels against the idea of being Memphis’s sub. As Kingston begins his training, however, Memphis discovers just how fragile their relationship really is, and how desperately he needs to help Kingston deal with the secrets from his past.
I took hold of his wrist and held on, squeezing a little. “Who’s in charge here, fireball?”
I could see it trembling on the tip of his tongue to cuss me out and tell me to go to hell. His eyes got stormy and his face sullen, but I waited him out, pressing his wrist harder. “I’m waiting for an answer. I thought we’d already decided this last night. Now who’s in charge here?”
Finally, after what seemed like hours, but was really only a few, long seconds, he dropped his gaze. “You are,”he said, grudgingly. I loved his little hesitations. They told me this was hard for him, but he was doing it anyway, because I’d told him to.
“That’s right,”I said, my voice soft and coaxing. Sometimes it felt like I was encouraging some wild animal to come out of its hiding place in the shadows. “And what is it you have to worry about today?”
He looked up at me, a little blank at first, and then he got a nervous look in his eyes, like he’d forgotten something. I sighed and said, “The answer is nothing. You don’t have to worry about a damn thing because I got this for both of us. I’m making the decisions now and all you have to do is go along for the ride.”
☆ Author Interview ☆
Welcome, and thank you for stopping by! What was the inspiration for your latest story?
Shannon: T.S. and I were on the way up to Virginia for GRL last year and we were talking about a certain SEC football team we both like a lot that had an exciting season, with one very unexpected outcome in a big game. One thing led to another, and we decided we had to write the book. Since we both love BDSM, our minds naturally sort of drifted to a scene. I envisioned a scene of one of the boys dancing that later made it into the book. The entire thing was “written” in the car somewhere in the wilds of a back road in Virginia.
Do deadlines motivate you or block you? How do you deal with them?
Shannon: Deadlines stress me. I deal with them by curling up in a fetal position under my desk and eating lots of chocolate.
Do you schedule a certain amount of time for writing each day/week, or do you just work it in when you can? Would you like to change this, or does your current method work well for you?
Shannon: I like to write every day, and if I can’t fit it in, it bothers me. It’s become a really ingrained habit and it seems to work for me. I try to work every morning and maybe a little at night if the spirit moves me. Often the muse is a surly bitch and I spend a lot of time staring at the screen and pulling out tufts of hair. But she usually kicks in at some point and I can get started.
Tell us a little bit about your work(s) in progress!
Shannon: T.s. and I had another idea on the way home from GRL (which tells me we have to stop driving to GRL so much) We came up with a plan to build a world together and then both write in it. One of the friends with us in the car that day, Susan Scott, also wanted in on it, so we’re going to try this thing and see if it works. Basically it’s about two families of witches who both live in New Orleans. The families are mortal enemies because of a curse and a blood feud. There’s an ancient curse around a diamond called the blood diamond, some voodoo, a lot of magic spells, a spooky old house called Ravenwood and some very sexy male witches. I’m writing the first book, which will be a full length novel called Hexed. Then Susan and Ts will write their novels about the same families.
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?
TS: This answer is really weird (at least I think it is). I can brainstorm with Shannon to come up with book ideas and that’s lots and lots of fun! Other than that, most have my books have originated from my dreams. Yes, I dream some kinky stuff!! I like that about me!
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
TS: Writing, as long as I haven’t pushed the deadline to the “start sweating and upset tummy” limit hasn’t been reached is very energizing for me. When the characters are talking in your head, it is fabulous!!
What advice would you give to newbie writers?
TS: Patience. Yes, it happens overnight for some lucky authors, but most of us have to fight for each and every reader. Keep making your own magic, stop worrying so much about what others think, and always be proud of yourself.
What are you currently reading?
TS: I am reading Order by the lovely(s) Kindle Alexander! It is sooooo good!
What did you edit out of this book?
TS: I wanted the names of the guilty to be even more apparent but people MUCH smarter than me decided that might not have been the most brilliant idea I’d ever had!!
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.
TS: Oh, this is my favorite question!! Yes, I have bizarre internet searches AND I’ve been caught. On one book, there was a penis wand used. I needed to do lots of research to make sure I knew all the facts (or to convince myself that this item of ‘torture’ is really an item of ‘pleasure’). Unfortunately, I didn’t have the internet at home at the time. I used my phone. My work-supplied phone. In typical TS McKinney bad luck, a lot of porn was downloaded onto my phone. Now, I wouldn’t typically think this was a bad thing, but it wasn’t allowing me to answer calls, texts…nothing. I had to take it to the IT department at work and ask them to fix it. A few hours later, he walks into my office, just shaking his head from side to side. He said “Seriously, Teresa? Penis wands? Why? Just why?” With a straight face, I answered, “How will I ever know what they are if I don’t research them?” He just walked away, still shaking his head. What a wimp!
Meet the Authors
I have spent my entire life reading, reading, and reading some more! I love to get lost in the land of fantasy where I can be as naughty as I like without facing too many penalties! Earlier this year, I decided that maybe I should try writing my own naughty stories. That way I can do wickedly delightful things to my imaginary boyfriends without serving any serious jail time! My publishing company, Dark Hollows Press, has been awesome and most patient when dealing with their newbie.
Shannon makes her home in Georgia and North Carolina with her husband and family. She believes that love is love, no matter the gender. Shannon mostly spends her days at the keyboard trying to elude housework, which stalks her relentlessly.