Thanks so much, Guilty Indulgence Book Club members, for having me as your featured author this week! What an honor! Let the book talk begin!
I was asked to introduce myself and my RESCUE ME series in this first posting, so here we go! I write erotic romances and my friends and readers call me Kally. I quit my day job last April and a couple of weeks later I decided to write full-time. Told my husband I was going to take a year to see if I could make a go of it. As our retirement savings started being steadily depleted, I wrote like crazy. Because I needed to succeed financially in a short time, I chose to self-publish. But I hired a professional editor and enlisted the help of countless volunteer beta readers and line editors to make sure my books were as good as they could be when I published them. Then I keep revising them if I find a typo, so newer versions were just uploaded to my sales locations earlier this month. I'm a perfectionist! My husband asked if I read my own sex scenes to get "in the mood," and I told him, "No—I'd just start editing them."
I've always loved to read and write about military heroes. I had written Nobody's Angel in May 2009 and Marc D'Alessio was a Navy veteran who had served with Marines on the ground in Iraq. But I didn't really know who else would be in the series at the point that first draft of Angel was done. So, I decided I needed to write some prequels. (I don't plot or plan—just put one or more characters on the computer screen and turn them loose. Makes for some interesting twists and turns—as my readers know.)
So, Masters at Arms was started in May and the first draft was finished in three weeks. I quickly fell in love with Adam, Karla, Damián, and Savannah as their stories came to life. The Doms literally consumed my every thought, as my pre-fans on Facebook can attest to (because they often made appearances in my status updates there last summer). These three men were so honorable, strong, and brave, but had been through hell, as had Savannah. I looked forward to bringing them to their happy endings in the next three books in the series. Those who have read any of the books know that I write about characters who have dealt with horrific things, but who fight back and overcome their pasts. Redemption, rescue, and healing will be common and recurrent themes throughout the series.
In Nobody's Angel, Marc rescues Angelina from an abusive Dom, then finds himself attracted to the woman in a way he's never felt before. But he's always treated women as if they're treats on his personal smorgasbord, as one reviewer said. He knows she deserves someone stable who can commit to her fully, so he tries to convince his friend and search-and-rescue partner Luke to pursue her. Also in that book, Luke needs to come to terms with what he wants and whether he's ready to move on after the death of his wife seven years earlier. And Adam and Karla, who were featured prominently in two sections of Masters at Arms, continue their push-pull until a dramatic accident changes everything.
In Nobody's Hero, which picks up in the same scene where Angel left off, Karla begins to make her move, knowing she'll die a lonely old woman if she waits for Adam to see her as a woman. But the man has buried a secret for thirty-four years that even he hasn't remembered. He has a lot to come to terms with—and he will not go gently. (But he does like it rough, doesn't he? <grin>)
The next book to come out in the series will be Nobody's Perfect, which will bring Damian and Savi (Savannah) together again to work on their issues. I'm working on that now and it's due out in May.
What I love about the way the series is unfolding is that the stories bring the couples to their happy endings, sometimes even happily ever after, but they aren't finished. Anyone in a long-term relationship knows that a marriage (which is happily ever after to me) is just the beginning. They take hard work, nurturing, and maintenance. My characters don't start out perfect in the beginning of their books, and they're far from perfect in the end. They'll continue to evolve and grow throughout the series. Adam's still going to need to work on improving his communication skills (Lord, that man can't communicate!) and to deal with his abandonment issues in Nobody's Home (book 6—due out in November). Marc and Angelina have to continue to work on their trust issues that are left far from resolved in their romance, so they'll be back in Nobody's Perfect confronting those and working through them before they can make a lifelong commitment to one another. (And Melissa will return to try and cause more trouble for Marc.)
As I and many reviewers have pointed out repeatedly, the books really need to be read in order, because they aren't written in a way that they can stand alone. I love cliff hangers. I love recurring characters—and not just showing up in a cameo appearance in a later book. I want them to have a serious subplot and to work on issues and problems in their relationships. Luckily, I write to write LONG novels (Angel was 115,000 words and Hero 137,000), so I make sure there's plenty of room for serious subplots. Some readers might find this a distraction, so if you're into quick reads with one couple, this series might not be for you. But separating these three men from one another's lives would be impossible for me. Adam has worked hard to bring together a family to replace the one he lost, and he continues to bring new people in. "Baby Dom" Luke Denton is becoming a fixture at the Masters at Arms Club and his skills with rope and whips are progressing quite well. His romance will be told in Nobody's Dream (due out in August).
Speaking of the Club, many readers of BDSM genre romances come to expect a fair amount of time to be spent in the clubs. My first three books have had a few club scenes during operating hours for the club. (It's in Adam's house, so he and Karla get to play quite a bit during off-hours.) But I decided last summer that my niche in the genre would be to shed light on an area of the BDSM community that doesn't really get shown in the fantasy BDSM novels. Countless people living in the lifestyle complain that romance novels portray them in a way that is unrealistic. To have a Dom tell me that he identifies with Adam is gratifying, because I know that I've at least portrayed him like one real Dom. (No, he's not based on that person, so please don't ask for his contact info! LOL)
My characters have jobs, kids, parents, and go about their lives quite normally. They aren't millionaires (okay, one comes from a wealthy family). Some barely are making a living. They also just happen to like to get kinky in the bedroom, the playroom, or the club. Most of the drama that takes place in my stories is related to the characters' relationships, not just their BDSM or sexual lives, but theor emotional, psychological, and romantic ones.
That may change in Nobody's Perfect, because my sado-masochistic couple (Damian and Savi) probably is going to bring readers into the club when things are hopping. I think you'll even get to see the dungeon downstairs. I hope to portray their story of dealing with PTSD from the horrors of war and incest/torture and show how SM provides them each with a means of regaining some of the control they lost in those situations. I also want to portray their romance and SM activities in a realistic, loving way. I am currently writing this story (am only about a fourth of the way finished) and my characters have a way of surprising me somewhere in the writing, so, that's just my best guess as to what might happen!
I love to talk about these characters and books with those who have completed the series and am told that spoilers are permitted here. So if you have questions, please ask. Who do you love best and why? Who would you like to see a story for in a future book? I have eight books planned at this time, through 2013, books 5-8 being with Luke, Mistress Grant, Patrick Gallagher, and Adam's great-great-grandparents (in a historical Western).
For anyone who hasn't started the series yet, please use coupon code FV98F at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/80282 for a FREE copy of Masters at Arms (available in a number of formats).
And a lucky commenter on this blog post will be selected randomly to win a copy of a book in the RESCUE ME series (current or future book—winner's choice). Another winner will be selected in my excerpt blog post later this week. I'll have to find a special excerpt for you all. Do you want it to be a steamy one?
Kallypso Masters can be reached at her Ahh Kallypso…the stories you tell blog (kallypsomasters.blogspot.com) and is a regular fixture on Facebook, where she has a friends page—yes, you can be her friend, too! (https://www.facebook.com/kallypsomasters) and an author page (https://www.facebook.com/KallypsoMastersAuthorPage). She also is on Twitter and Goodreads, but less active there. For a list of her books with buy links to available sales vendors, go to http://kallypsomasters.blogspot.com/p/books-by-kallypso-masters.html.