Thursday, January 19, 2012

Today we have a wonderful visitor with us!!!!!! Joey W. Hill writes about vampires, mermaids, boardroom executives, cops, witches, angels, simple housemaids... If there’s an erotic love story to be told, she’ll take the plunge. As a result, she's proud and humbled to have four series and almost thirty award-winning and highly acclaimed titles, as well as the support and enthusiasm of a wonderful and widely diverse readership. In 2009, she was nominated for a Career Achievement award in Erotica by Romantic Times. We are so excited (jumping up and down) that you could join us today and talk with our followers.

It’s wonderful to be here at Vampires, Werewolves and Fairies, Oh My. My kind of place. And the timing was great. My latest release, Bound by the Vampire Queen, was a full-on collision between the vampire world and the Fae one. Lyssa, my 1000-year old vampire queen who started the Vampire Queen series with her servant Jacob, a former vampire hunter and Ren Faire player, has Fae blood. Because of some things that happened in the previous books, her Fae powers have experienced a major surge. As such, in Bound by the Vampire Queen, she has to visit the Fae world and come before the Unseelie Queen to be evaluated. The Fae look down their noses at vampires as inferior creatures, so of course sparks are going to fly.
It’s rather difficult to get me to read a non-fiction book – unless there’s a purpose. I won’t say, “Look, there’s a book on pruning roses” and rush over to get it. However, if my character has to be an expert on rose pruning, I’ll read everything I can find on that, as well as the history of rose gardening, pictorial books showing me all the different colors and styles, and even try a little pruning myself (God/dess help the poor flowers – I’m the only Wiccan in the world with a black thumb). If another fiction writer has written a book featuring a rose expert as one of her/his characters, I might even get my hands on it to see if I’m missing any nuances that my nonfiction sources haven’t covered, verify the sourcing and then use that to create my own character’s unique expertise.
My husband is a gaming addict – loves World of Warcraft and Star Wars currently – and really wishes I’d join him in the addiction. However, if I had to choose between a root canal without painkillers or playing a day’s worth of computer games, I’d REALLY have to think about it (I would eventually choose the gaming, just because I’m that scared of needles, but halfway through the day of gaming, I’d probably think, “How painful would it have been, really?”). There’s just no purpose to playing a computer game. Yes, I do understand that’s the point, to relax and have fun, but I don’t relax. Ever. So I’ve been told. Of course, if he could figure out how to make one of my upcoming characters a gamer, I’d probably be knocking him out of the way to spend hours beating on the mouse to blow up stuff and run across acres of computer generated scenery. But please don’t tell him that. I don’t want to face that root canal.
Anyhow, where the heck was I going with this? Oh, yes – research on the Fae. As a result of drafting out Bound by the Vampire Queen, I had the opportunity to research the Fae, and this was a whole new area for me. I’d enjoyed Mercedes Lackey’s Elves of LA series, and read different derivations of the Tam Lin story when I was younger, and I was pleasantly reminded of them as I delved back into the Fae world. I tend to be a character-driven author, so I’ll latch onto personality nuances/conflicts first and foremost. The Fae have a fascinating moral blend – somewhere between cruel capriciousness, moral neutrality, and an unpredictability that starts to form a pattern after awhile. That blend was what I brought out in Bound by the Vampire Queen. As the Fae Lord Keldwyn explained to Lady Lyssa: 
“Our ways are tricky. A step left, when the dance seems meant to go right. You may have powers like ours, but you do not yet know the way our minds work. We are creatures of random chaos. It is why our paths separated from humans and vampires so long ago. Because of their violent natures, they need order and structure. We do not.”  When Lyssa points out they do have structure, with two separate courts, Keldwyn responds, “We have our own etiquette. It’s just far less predictable.”
Here’s a little snippet I’ve been using to illustrate some of the challenges and fascination of the Fae World. Hope you enjoy it! If you’d like to leave me a question or comment, I’d be delighted to enter you into a random drawing to win a book-of-your-choice from my current titles.  You can find free excerpts, blurbs and info on all of that at my website, Thanks for letting me be here today!
(When entering please remember to first be a follower of our blog and leave your email address after your question or comment.)

“Our visitor will need a proper mount to ride with the Seelie king tonight,” Queen Rhoswen announced, with a cool curve of her lips.
A palfrey was led from a pavilion on the lawn. The mare was decorated with ropes of greenery and lavender flowers in her dapple gray mane. Lavender embroidered silk was cinched with braided ribbon over a saddle pad. The reins were likewise tangled with a trail of lavender and green ribbon.
“Thank you, Your Majesty.” Lyssa nodded to her. “A lovely mare. I hope my servant’s mount is not as gentle, however. He is quite a horseman, and likes to be challenged.”
“It is our pleasure to accommodate him.” Rhoswen’s voice had that silver, brittle sound that resonated off the trees, off the silence of the listening Fae. Not even a horse shifted with restless impatience. “Like a faithful hound, he goes whither you goest, right?”
An outraged whinny came from the pavilion, a thud of hooved feet. The side of the pavilion shuddered, as if a support had been kicked, and then Cayden, Rhoswen’s guard captain, was leading out Jacob’s mount, using all of his strength to control the creature.
The massive black stallion was built like a draft horse, with powerful withers and thick neck. Glowing red eyes glared at the gathering. The high court, whom Lyssa assumed contained many Fae of considerable power, drew back apprehensively as the horse surged forward and then was forced by Cayden’s quickness to swing his haunches around in a circle. He kicked, causing the nearer Fae to draw back farther.
Lyssa’s brow rose as the horse snorted, producing two short gouts of flame that dissipated with wisps of smoke, like a dragon. This horse had no tack except the halter he was wearing. Instead of flowers or strands of jewels in his long mane, he had tangles of seaweed and shells. As he swung around, Lyssa smelled the ocean coming off his damp, heated skin. The steed’s front legs were hobbled, forcing the horse to move at an awkward, hopping gate. When she saw Jacob looking at the headpiece, his expression darkening, she realized a bearing rein was holding the horse’s head at a painful upright angle. The discomfort and restraint prevented him from dropping and bucking.
Jacob had been the master of horse at the Ren Faire, and she knew well how her handsome servant felt about seeing one mistreated.
Easy, Jacob. Lyssa spoke in his mind. There’s more here than meets the eye.
“A water horse is a very difficult horse to catch. Impossible to ride, unless you wish to ride to your death.”
At the sound of Rhoswen’s voice, the horse let out another shrill, bloodcurdling cry. Cayden shifted with the stallion once more, narrowly avoiding having his skull crushed with a swing of the massive head.
Oh, lovely fucking Christ. A kelpie. Though it was likely meant only for himself, Lyssa heard Jacob’s thought loud and clear. 
Lyssa glanced at Jacob. From the set of his jaw, it appeared the situation was far beyond optimal. Perhaps even in the realm of hopeless impossibility.
Ah, my lady, there is no such thing as hopeless around you. Impossible yes, hopeless no. He gave her that warm look he did so well, though it was laced with tension.
“Mortal legend claims a waterhorse coaxes children onto his back,” Rhoswen said. “Then he races away, plunges into a loch and drowns them. It is believed he has a strong binding magic to keep them on his back until the last breath leaves them.”
The Fae queen considered the creature, the brutal effort he was expending, trying to stomp her guard captain into the ground. “Since the bodies were rarely found, it was also suggested that the horse took them to the Fae world. Or ate them, once he had them below the surface of the water.” She shrugged. “Only the waterhorses know for sure. Even the Fae are wary of them, as you can see. The Irish called them kelpie. Right, Irishman?”
“Aye. And the Scottish called them each uisge.” When Jacob looked toward the queen, Lyssa saw his blue eyes were almost as cold as Rhoswen’s. “To be feared . . . and respected.”
“Supposedly, if you have the Kelpie’s halter or bridle, he has to obey your will.” Rhoswen gave Jacob a tight smile. “As far as we know, Firewind has no such weakness. He despises most Fae, let alone humans. He won’t tolerate a vampire on his back at all. Perhaps because he feeds on blood and doesn’t like the competition. However, if you do manage to get on his back, be careful of the unique trait he inherited from his sire, Firebreather.”
She lifted her hand toward the horse, gave a sharp command that was reinforced by a flicker of magical energy. Jacob started forward, but Lyssa caught his arm. Firewind’s head snapped around, long ears pinning back as his malevolent expression intensified. A wreath of flame erupted from his withers and, in a dramatic sweep, encased him from neck to tail, the long black strands like a flame-covered flogger as he lashed them over his haunches. Cayden had his hand on the horse’s cheek rein, avoiding the fire. Then the flame vanished and Firewind made another valiant attempt to get his hooves off the ground.
“Ride him in the Hunt,” Rhoswen said, fixing her eyes back on Jacob. “That is the second quest. If you do not succeed, or if you don’t dare to try, your lady has failed the Gauntlet, per your failure as her champion, and her fate rests wholly in my hands. Since I know you are as full of pointless nobility as Firewind is of flame, I expect you will immolate yourself. But try not to singe your fine backside. Some things should remain sacred.”
Rhoswen turned her attention to Lyssa. “You will ride with me at the head of the procession. We proceed to the rendezvous point with the Seelie court. Your servant will join us, or not.”
The stablehand holding Lyssa’s palfrey moved forward, presenting a hand to help her on the steed. Lyssa turned her gaze to Jacob. Sir Vagabond?
“I’ll catch up,” Jacob told her. He gave her a wink, though there was no such affability in his gaze. His mind was already concentrated on the task ahead because, of course, it wouldn’t occur to him to do anything but try, just as Rhoswen said.
Lyssa accepted the stablehand’s help onto the mount with the brief press of hands on her waist, since mounting with a dress train was not an easy task for any species, Fae or vampire. She caught a brief flash of surprise on Rhoswen’s face at her detachment, but she couldn’t feel any smug satisfaction. For one thing, looking serene and unconcerned was taking all her effort. As she bent her knee over her mare’s withers in a sidesaddle position, she saw Jacob take two steps toward Cayden.
“Looks like you’re a little out of your depth, captain. Ready to turn him over to me?”


  1. I'm looking forward to reading these. Thank you for stopping by Joey. Your covers are awesome.

  2. Wendy, thanks for having me here. I've been blessed in cover art, for certain. We had to send this one back for one rework to make Jacob look older than a teenager (laughter), but they did a very good job with that! :>

  3. Hi, Joey.

    I agree with Wendy's comment; I think your books covers are exceptional. Do you work with one particular cover artist? How much influence do you have on the final outcome?

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  4. JOEY your covers are very very HOT.. i havent read about mermaids yet.. so i will really look into that.. your stories sound wonderful and cant wait to jump into it

  5. Hey, Tracey - Don Sipley does most of my Berkley work (and I love it!), but whether or not he's assigned to each cover is purely up to the publisher. Though the final decision on cover design is also theirs, I do get input - they always ask me for character descriptions, a short summary of the story and cover idea/concepts, if I have any. For the most part, they've used them - and made them even better. :>

    LaTonia, thank you! Hope you enjoy my mermaids. All three of the books can be read as standalones, but you might enjoy the third one more if you've read the first two, since it's about the daughter of the hero of the first book (smile). Free excerpts are on my site under the Daughters of Arianne series if you want to check them out. When and if you take the plunge, let me know what you think. I always welcome feedback.

  6. Hi Joey
    I do enjoy the covers!
    If you have to pick one, which writer would you consider a mentor and why?
    Which of your books is your personal favorite?

  7. Hey, April! When I began writing, I was heavily influenced by Nora Roberts' style and story arrangement. Even after developing my own style, I still give her a bow as to certain key elements - she moved away from the typical "misunderstanding" romance, where the hero/heroine are at odds throughout the book, and instead pursued relationships where the hero/heroine struggled together throughout the story to resolve emotional issues. Which meant they had plenty of chances to build sexual tension and intimate connection. I loved that, and still prefer that in my own work to this day.

    Picking my favorite book is always a tough one - like choosing favorite children - but I can do it by series. Nature of Desire, it's Marguerite and Tyler's story, which was told over two books, Ice Queen and Mirror of My Soul. Marguerite was one of my most damaged heroines, but she was incredibly strong, and the hero who loved her gave her 120%. They were very memorable to me.

    For the Vampire Queen series, it would be Beloved Vampire. While I love my female vampire/human male servant pairings, there's just something about an alpha male vampire I can't resist, and Lord Mason was there for Jessica, a human fugitive from the vampire world, when she didn't think she'd trust or love anyone again.

    Daughters of Arianne series - A Witch's Beauty. Hmm, I'm seeing a trend here - it's my favorite because Mina is a very dark, dangerous heroine, and David, the angel who protects her, is one of the few who understands her enough to think she isn't better off being killed.

    Finally, for Knights of the Board Room - that's a really tough one, but I'd say Afterlife. Jon was one of the most gentle of the five Masters in this series, so I hadn't paid him as much attention, but when he fell for a yoga instructor and physical therapist, he became the epitome of that saying "there's nothing so gentle as real strength". I fell in love with him just the way Rachel did, 13 years his senior.

  8. I too look forward to reading about Mermaids! I love the place these books take me!!! Thank you!!

  9. LOL...sorry Julie Osborn

    1. Your covers are great and reading about mermaids does sound interesting since I have not read about them yet. You are in my TBR pile lol. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Julie - no worries - I get those skips from fast typing fingers as well (smile). Hope you (and bcsndr123!) enjoy my mermaids and their angel heroes.

  11. I don't know what I was thinking when I let my sister snag Bound By The Vampire Queen before I did, and now I can't wait. She is almost done, (such a pokey girl), and I get to start Lissa and Jacob's new adventure this weekend.

    I am thrilled to have KOB and Something About Witches coming our way soon, too, Joey.

    gfc follower
    caity_mack@yahoo dot com

  12. Cathy, I've gotten a hint that Hostile Takeover may be coming even sooner than expected, but don't quote me yet. Am waiting to see! You're a good and generous sister (smile). Hope you feel the book is worth the wait!

    Gotta go and try to read 100 pages before bedtime, but I'll be back to check for any comments/questions before turning in for the night! Will announce the giveaway winner sometime tomorrow morning. :>

  13. Love your books, Joey! I am going to AAD in August mainly because your the mistress of ceremonies! Too excited! First convention and all! Stephanie

  14. I'm so excited to start this new-to-me series. The covers are fabulous and hot!!! I've read such rave reviews from so many book bloggers. Great interview! DeAnna Schutlz

  15. Burbanette, I'm flattered! And hopeful that my dull self won't disappoint (lol - my characters are much more interesting). I'm looking forward to meeting you, and I know you'll love AAD. It's a blast for readers AND authors!

    DeAnna, thank you for that! Fingers crossed, I hope you love the books as much as those reviewers do. Don't hesitate to let me know if you don't, because as I mentioned earlier, all feedback helps!

  16. I have heard very good things about this series and look forward to reading them. The excerpt captivated my attention. And you could not have picked a better one with which to do it as I love a good horse taming description.

    Thanks for the excerpt!

  17. Thanks for sharing the excerpt, I haven't started BBTVQ yet because once I do, I know I won't be able to do anything else until I've finished it! I have several of the Mermaid series on my mile high TBR pile but have never read any of the Knights of the Board Room of these days I will have to rectify that!

  18. Sorry, always forget the e-address....

  19. I am a new fan of Ms Hill but I am very eager to read the rest of the Vampire Queen series. I really need to find a way to get my hands on the rest of this series.
    Thank you so much for the great giveaway!
    GFC follower: June M.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  20. Sophia, there's a good scene in Mark of the Vampire Queen when Lyssa takes Jacob back to his old Ren Faire haunt and he gets to see one of the horses he gentled/helped train. I have several stories involving man/horse interaction, and it always reminds me of that great scene in the Brendan Frasier George of the Jungle when he's running with the horses, and the women are just nearly swooning (lol). There really is something about the interaction between man and horse that catches female attention!

    Elf, I understand - my TBR list toppled over a long time ago, because it became way too high. I just wade into the pile and grab one randomly when I get the rare spare moment to do some pleasure reading (grin). Hope you enjoy the stories when you get the chance! Until then, you can sate (or tempt? :>) yourself with the free excerpts for all of them on my website if you like.

    June, glad to see you here today! You're welcome and hope you get the chance to enjoy the rest of the characters soon.

  21. And now, the winner of the book drawing giveaway is...Sophia!! Congratulations, Sophia. I'll shoot you an email to get the details of the book you want.

    I'll keep checking back the next day or so for any remaining comments/questions, but thanks so much for having me here!

  22. @Joey,

    I look forward to reading the other scenes. I think I was late to reading PNR/UF because I was caught up in historicals and westerns for the 'horse scenes'. (-;

    The other thing that caught my eye about your series is that the female lead is the paranormal being and the male is human, but he is not a wimpy human. Looking forward to it! Thanks for the giveaway.

  23. Sophia, one of the pleasures of writing this series is the paradox of the ones where an alpha male is the vampire's "servant" - but Jacob, Devlin and Gideon handle it VERY well (grin - at least that's what they tell me!) Enjoy...