Author Spotlight

 

I was given the chance to chat with a very talented author this month, who took time out of her busy schedule to spend some time with us here at Joyfully Reviewed.  So, without further delayÖletís hear from

Cheryl Dragon

Was becoming a writer always a goal?
I was always telling stories and making things up. From a young age, I knew I wanted to write so I guess it was a goal without a clear intention. In my family, it wasnít a career to consider. Not practical enough for the non-artistic group (Iím the misfit!) but I made it my second job.

Your day job is as an assistant controller.  What does that involve and do you eventually want to be able to write full time?
Iím part of a team that analyzes sales information and does the accounting for a large sales division. We have to deal with auditor invasions quarterly (at least it feels like they invade our company and torture us). We support our sales staff with info in addition to the routine closing the books. The day job isnít very exciting.

Iíd love to be able to write full time but the day job has those lovely benefits of health care and 401k match along with a regular paycheck. Someday Iíd love to write full time but Iíve got a while before itís a reality to consider. My creativity would suffer if I didnít have some security.

Working for an international company, do you travel a lot and do you have a favorite travel location?
No, I donít really travel much for work. My location is in the US where our corporate office is, so most of the time people travel to visit us.

For personal travel, thereís no place like Las Vegas! Anything you want to do twenty-four hours a day set in a beautiful desert landscape. I set many of my books there because I really love that area.

Tell us what makes CherylÖCheryl.
Iíll try almost anything in my writing (there are certain taboos that go without saying). If I have an idea I feel strongly about, Iíll write it and then find a place thatíll take a chance.

Market trends fluctuate so you never know whatíll be the next hot thing. I just write the stuff Iím drawn to. If I want to write a story about a psychic, I do. And suddenly Medium is a hit TV show and I found The Lotus Circle was looking for psychic fiction. I wrote a f/f erotic romance and sought out Loose Id whoíd take the chance. I also write m/m, BDSM, as well as straight paranormal and contemporary erotic romance and erotica without romance.

I really hate to be bored and write in several genres to keep myself entertained as much as to entertain others. I love throwing in a twist or spin that readers donít expect. In One Hot Experiment, my November EC release, the book is set in a Think Tank on the outskirts of Las Vegas near Area 51. The heroine in a genius who works there and wants revenge on the heroÖher big IQ finds that the best way is revenge sex.

You belong to a writing group.  What do you consider the benefits of belonging to one?  Do you recommend a writing group for aspiring writers?
The main benefit is the support. Writing is a solitary profession and while I love being alone with my characters, itís hard when no one in your family or group of non-writer friends gets it. A writing group gives you the platform to vent, share victories and learn as well as make writing friends who get it and give you the support when you need it. Online or in person, formal or informal-- networking and supporting with other writers is critical to my mental health.

For aspiring writers, the Romance Writers of America is a great place to start (if you write romance) because itís organized and you donít have to be published to be a member like many writing organizations.

What draws you to the paranormal genre?  Are there other genres that you would like to try?
I love paranormal because the options are endless. For my Lotus Circle series (Iím Okay, Youíre Dead, Iím Okay, Youíre A Fake, etc.) I can explore the metaphysical world of psychics, life after death, mediums, astral projection, past lives with a fun cast of characters in New Orleans and do it in a suspense plot where the clock is ticking to solve a crime.

In erotic romance the paranormal adds a twist of the unexpected. In An Extreme Haunting, my first Elloraís Cave release, I used the ghosts haunting a castle to propel the sexual relationship between the hero and heroine faster than it normally wouldíve developed. That book is classified as BDSM (and it is, youíve been warned :) but it also has very strong paranormal elements.

Other genres. Well I write erotic romance that is contemporary, paranormal, BDSM, m/m, f/f and romantic suspense. Iím working on a couple futuristic ideas and some mťnage stories. I also write erotica for Elloraís Cave Exotika (the first one is due out in Feb 08). These stories donít require romance or a happily ever after but are an intense sexual journey for the heroine.

Basically Iím open to trying most genres. The only genre I know Iím not going to dabble in (at least not any time soon) is historical. My style just doesnít trend that way. Oh, and Iím a total chicken when it comes to really really graphic violence so you wonít see me trying anything with horror elements. Seriously, Iím hiding my eyes at the previews for Hostel and Saw.

How do your stories develop, slowly or all at once?
For shorter stories, I frequently get the idea all at once and I have to make notes so I donít forget where Iím going with it. When itís a longer book, Iíll have the main idea with the core plot laid out but subplots and secondary characters weave their way in as I go.

Usually when I have an idea, itís fairly fast and demanding. I keep notes on ideas so I donít loose anything but also can keep working on my current WIP. If only I could write full time!!

Do you believe in happily ever after and have you found yours?
Life will always bring on new challenges. Happily ever after as far as finding the partner thatíll help you get through life is something I think all romance writers believe in. When we close the book on our characters, we have to believe theyíll be together and happy.

As for me, not yet.  Iím still lookingÖMight help if I got out of the home office once in a whileJ

Tell us some of your favoritesÖfoods, hobbies, movies, music, books, authors, holidays, color, and any others.
FavoritesÖ

Food: Mexican and Chinese are always on the top of my list!

Hobbies: Iím a TV and movie addict! The TV is always on in my house for background noise if nothing else. Current favs are Ugly Betty and Nip/Tuck. 

Movies: Too many to countÖfrom Sense & Sensibility to Oceanís 11. My latest odd find is Bride and Prejudice the Indian version of Pride and Prejudice with an American Darcy.

Music: Pop and Rock generally. A little alternative. I donít follow music so much as hear a song I like and buy it on iTunes so I have it.

Books & Authors: There isnít enough time or room. I read a variety but never seem to have enough time to read so Iím way behind on the current stuff.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
My best advice is to find out what you write well. We writers spend a lot of time trying to find out what weíre doing wrong but you need to know what you do well if youíre going to get anywhere.

Be careful, itís not always what you love to read. I love reading regencies but I suck at writing that very proper tone. So I donít write them because thatís not my strength. Knowing what youíre good at is critical.

Do you enjoy hearing from your readers and what is the best way to contact you?
I love hearing from readers! My website is www.cheryldragon.com and you can email through the contact feature. There you can also sign up for my mailing list (I just announce new releases and appearancesÖone email a month at most).

And you can always email me directly at cheryldragon@hotmail.com.

How do you promote your work?
There are several ways I try to promote my work.

~Every month Elloraís Cave has a chat at writerspace and I attend those regularly, post blurbs and giveaway a free download for every new release.

~I put up book cover ads at a variety of review and promotion sites so the newest releases are easy for the readers to find.

~I do chats on loops when I can fit them in, usually as a part of a larger chat about a genre but occasionally Iíll take a whole chat for myself.

~I belong to many loops for review sites where I post excerpts/blurbs and announce releases (I just have to remember and check the calendar and rules so I donít post something on the wrong day!)

~I have a website www.cheryldragon.com that has the latest info on both my Erotic Romance releases (from Elloraís Cave or Loose Id) and my Psychic Suspense series for The Lotus Circle in separate sections.

~I send out promo items like bookmarks and pens to writing conferences and review sites for distribution to readers.

~I attend writing conferences as much as possible and do my best to be out there and available. My next conference is Romantic Times Convention in April 2008 in Pittsburgh.

~Find me at the Saturday book fair signing Iím Okay, Youíre Dead.

~Also Iíll be signing cover flaps for my erotic romances at the eBook fair Wednesday. Find me with the other EC authors.

~You can catch me at Club RT Friday afternoon around 2pm giving away promo stuff and chatting with readers and anyone else who wants to stop by. Iíll be giving away a gift bag at club RT.

~Iím on two panels at the RT convention. Psychic Cravings Thursday morning and The Lotus Circle Thursday afternoon.

~And of course Iíll be at the EC party Wednesday night!

What would a perfect day for you involve?
Iím a morning person so I do my best writing then. A perfect day would be a nice quiet morning at home with good movies on the TV and a great story coming out of my brain and into the computer. Then Iíd go out to dinner with friends at my favorite Mexican restaurant.

What is your greatest strength and what do you consider your weaknesses to be?
My greatest strength? Iíd say determination. I was writing for more than a few years before I sold. It took me a while to find the best genres for me. I never gave up and I found where I fit and what worked for me. Iím still determined to make that next sale and to write that next book.

My weakness. Iím so impatient! Mostly itís with myself to get the next project done. Iím always working up ideas for the next books so I can keep going. But I anxiously await the next cover, the next release date, and the next review.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Thanks so much for opportunity to share!!  I invite everyone to visit my website for info on all my books. Thereís a variety so something will catch your eye!

And with the New Year coming, Iím encouraging readers to resolve to try something new and different! December is my alterative month. I have two releases out with Loose Id that might shock and surprise you.

Bad Brad is a Hanukah themed m/m bdsm erotic romance for the Festival of Lights Holiday series available December 4th.  What these guys do with Hanukah candles definitely puts them on the naughty list!

Sorority Girl Pledge Time is a f/f erotic romance available December 25th about the pressures of pledging a sorority and the pleasures of college experimentation at its hottest!

If erotic romance isnít your thing, remember my psychic suspense series is basically PG13. Iím Okay, Youíre Dead is available in print. See how wacky and dangerous the life of a psychic detective can be in the wild world of New Orleans!

 

     

© All Rights Reserved 2005-2010 - www.JoyfullyReviewed.com

All reviews are the opinion of the reviewer.
Graphic Design by Valerie Tibbs