I’d like to welcome Ines Johnson to my blog today.
Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandolous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!
Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.
Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.
What do you write? What genre do you favor?
I write romantic erotica, paranormal romance, and fairy tale retelling romance novels. Notice the romance in each genre. I began writing YA, but realized my love scenes were too hot for teens!
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I come from a family of storytellers. My mother would talk your ears off for hours and my father is a songwriter. I began my storytelling career in television, where I still dabble from time to time. A few years ago I’d written a script that I thought would make an excellent book, only I didn’t know how to write a book. So I took a couple of classes and started querying. I never received a single rejection letter. Instead, I got no responses at all in the beginning! But I never gave up and I never stopped writing. Wait, isn’t that the definition of insanity?
Are you published?
I am a proud and thriving independent author. I have three books published through the writing coop, Heartspell Media, LLC.
Where can you be found on social media?
Website or blog: https://inesjohnson.wordpress.com/
What do you think is the best way to publish these days?
I publish independently. I don’t label myself a self-publisher because I can’t, and don’t, do this all on my own. I have critique partners, beta readers, a professional editor, a cover designer, and a street team of fans that help me publish my books.
I’m an author of color writing erotic, paranormal, and fairytail retellings of stories featuring characters of color. Publisher’s don’t think there’s a market for that. They are dead wrong. My autonomy is their loss.
What are your favorite genres to read? Why?
I read what I write; romance. I teach in higher ed where I’m constantly thumbing through textbooks and manuals. When I get home I want pure escapism.
Do your characters talk to you?
All. The. Time. Even when I’m sleeping. When I have conversations with other authors, we constantly say things like, “My hero told me this.” Or, “I can’t believe my heroine made me write that.” If we had these conversations outside of a writers circles we’d be sent to Bedlam.
How do you approach starting a new book?
I’m a firm believer in the Fast Draft Method. The first time I tried to write a book it took me one year to write the first three chapters because I agonized over each word choice. Now, I vomit the story onto the page without a care for comma placement. All told, it takes me about six months from the first drafted word to the final polished manuscript.
I take three to four weeks for the first draft, which I call The Dirty. I let The Dirty breath for as long as I am able to be parted with it -usually a week or two. Then I come back and Sweep up the grammar and plot holes, which usually takes another three to four weeks.
Next I send The Swept draft out to my trusted critique partners. When it comes back I Clean it up for another three weeks focusing on my weakness which is setting. Finally, I send The Clean manuscript off to the copyeditor for two to three weeks. When it comes back I Polish up all the commas and rethink my overused words. Then I hit publish, and start all over again!
What is your writing process?
I love plotting. Its my favorite part of writing. I love to go into Scrivener and use the Outline tool to plan the journey of my characters. I can recite just about any plotting structure you can think of. The Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat, Romance Arc, Relationship Arc…I could go on.
What are the best writing books or blogs you’ve ever read?
Oh gosh, let’s see if I can narrow this list down.
- The Hero’s Journey
- Save the Cat
- The Emotion Thesaurus
- Scene by Scene
What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax?
I love to go hiking in the warm months. Second to that is reading. Third is watching movies or binge-watching on Netflix.
What was your best date ever?
Unfortunately, no date has ever come close to a scene I’ve written and edited. Even worse, all of the dates I’ve actually enjoyed, I planned myself.
Navy SEAL or cowboy?
Cowboy, because of the vistas he gets to see out in the West. I like to sit outside and read or go for a hike on a well-maintained trail.
Chocolate or chips?
Wait? I can’t have them together? I don’t understand this world you live in.
If you could have a superpower what would it be? Why?
Do you remember Evie on the 80’s teeny bopper show, “Out of this World”? She could freeze time. Man would I love to have that power. I could take a time out and think about my answers so that I sound really smart and witty.
Fancy restaurant or picnic?
Restaurant. I’m a single mom. I like having others cook for me.
Beer or wine?
I tried beer at Girl Scout camp and I didn’t like it. Yes, you read that right. Girl Scout camp. Some fast cookie snuck it in. As an adult, I’m a margarita kind of girl.
I’m obsessed with Ernessa T. Carter. Her book “32 Candles,” is an 80’s fairytale retelling for women of color.
Smooth or hairy?
I prefer smooth, but will take a smattering of hair. Its unsexy to constantly be removing hair from your tongue during all the passion.
A young monk is given the chance to redeem himself from scandal when he is called upon to train a young woman and her two bonded mates in the orgasmic arts. But what starts as a simple ritual soon turns carnal when the monk’s heart begins to yearn for the woman, and hers for his.
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“I promise that the choice of mates will be yours,” he continued. “And I hope…” He paused, uncertain, looking down at their joined hands.
Chanyn got the impression of Dain as a child asking for permission to have something he didn’t think he deserved, but was desperate for it anyway.
“I hope,” he began again, “that you will consider Khial and myself for a—”
Dain startled at her response, then he smiled. “Good. I had hoped…” He squeezed their hands together. “This is good.”
Chanyn’s heart thudded in her exposed chest. She was sure Dain could see it. He gazed into her eyes. Was this it? Was her first kiss going to happen now?
Dain rubbed his thumb back and forth over her hand. His eyes dipped to her lips. Chanyn parted them in invitation.
Dain brought his eyes back up to her face, his eyes widening more as he looked at the desire clearly written on Chanyn’s face.
Dain disentangled their fingers and patted her knee. “This is really good news,” he repeated and then rose. “I’ll make the arrangements today.” He walked over to the large desk that took up most of the room.
“Arrangements? For the marriage?”
He glanced up. “Oh no, no. Arrangements for your training.”
“Of course. With a Pleasure Hound.”
Chanyn looked on, dumbfounded. He talked of marriage and then was about to get her some kind of dog to train. “A dog would be lovely, I suppose.”
Dain laughed. “A Pleasure Hound is a man trained in the art of pleasing a woman.” He said it as though it were the most natural thing in the world.
Chanyn shook her head. “I still don’t understand. Why would I need another man to…” To what exactly? Have sex with her?
Dain came back around from the desk and sat next to her once more. He reached for her hand.
“Chanyn,” he began. His face now sheepish. “I’ve never… been with a woman before. I wouldn’t know the first thing to do to please you.”
“But shouldn’t we, you know, figure that out together?”
Dain looked scandalized. He reeled back from her. “I would likely hurt you. A Pleasure Hound is trained to find out what pleases individual women. Then they teach the woman’s bonded mates those particular techniques. It’s an ancient tradition going back hundreds of years.”
Chanyn still looked dubious.
“In our culture women rule. When we are bonded, everything that I have will essentially be yours.”
Chanyn knew that in the twentieth century women fought for and earned a place in the government and the right to own many forms of business. But she hadn’t a clue that the roles of men and women had shifted so completely on its axis in the past thousand years.
The book sounds interesting Ines. And I don’t think you need a freeze time super power, you already seem smart and witty. 🙂 I agree with you about publishing also, there’s room for all in the romance industry. Race, color, or creed, shouldn’t matter, it certainly doesn’t to the readers. What do you think?