Please welcome the lovely Mia Downing who has stopped by with tons of information about herself and her wonderful books, keep reading to find out how you can not only grab yourself a free copy of Lethal Limits but also enter a contest to win more...
Mia, I am so thrilled that you’ve stopped by my blog today. Your stories look super hot and I’m sure we are going to have a great time.
Thank you so much for having me, Lily! I’m going to give away an e-copy of one of my books, winner’s choice, to a lucky comment leaver.
Can you start by telling us whereabouts in the world you sit and dream up your stories?
I dream up my stories in rural Connecticut, just outside of New Haven. We’re far enough out in the country so it’s very peaceful on my little farm.
How many books do you have published to date?
I have 5 books out right now, and another novella to be released any day. Four are with The Wild Rose Press and there’s one novella I had edited and self-published since it’s straight erotica and TWRP only takes erotic romance.
Ripped (m/m short novella, very light BDSM):
Exceeding Boundaries (m/f office romance, light kink and BDSM):
Spy Games: Trained for Seduction (m/f/m super spies! Light kink and BDSM) (Spy Games #1)
Spy Games: Birthday Games (m/f/m short novella, light kink and BDSM) (Spy Games 1.5)
Amazon only: BUY
Spy Games: Lethal Limits (m/f, with kink and very light BDSM) (Spy Games #2)
Lethal Limits will be FREE on Amazon
I love your covers! Do you get any say in their design?
Thank you! I think they’re rather yummy, too. As far as a say in design, yes, and no. My editor is my cover artist—how lucky is that? So she knows the books intimately, and has an idea of what to put on them. We have detailed art sheets we fill out as well. Unfortunately, what you picture isn’t always what you can get because there are just so many things to be done with stock art. You have a better chance of striking gold in downtown Manhattan than you do of finding a hot blond guy. She won’t put horses on my cover unless I write a Cowboy Kink. ::sniff::
The cover needs to reflect your genre, so an erotic romance cover has to be sexy. If you want to write erotic romance, suck up to the fact it’s going to contain a hot, nearly naked man or woman. The cover for Ripped was not what we originally wanted, but I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it!
I notice you have two books in your Spy Game series. What is it about writing a series that you enjoy?
There are actually going to be three full-length books in the series, and a set of shorter novellas to fill in the gaps between. I love the world I’ve created for them, and how the characters interact from book to book. Because they’re super spies a la James Bond, they are cooler and more bad ass than your normal character. They don’t get the cool gadgets, though!
Describe your writing schedule in the winter? I know you have animals, do they take up a big chunk of your day?
My schedule changes from day to day. Right now writing and editing are my only jobs, so I try to get to the desk first thing and get to work. I usually do any promo that needs to be done first thing or last thing. My best writing time is at night, but I can write during the day as needed. I’m a fast writer, so 10-30,000 words a week is standard if the story is flowing. It comes in fits and spurts, though.
The animals are fairly easy despite having a herd of them. We have cows, a horse, chickens, a dog and 2 cats. The horse needs regular exercising and care, which is done after school when my daughter gets home. The cows are the beef kind, so no milking required.
Do you have an overall favourite character in your books?
I really like them all, but I think I admire Kate Wells from Spy Games: Trained for Seduction the most. She’s caught between a rock and a hard place, and fortunately, that hard place is Chase’s chest! She’s the genius daughter of a mad scientist, and she’s been trapped in his lab, creating bombs and other weapons of mass destruction for him. She thinks they’re selling their weapons to the US, but eventually discovers she’s been used as a smart pawn. Chase was the man sent in to bust her father, and was also the man who took her to third base. She eventually discovers he’s her boss, and he’s been chosen as the man to finish the job so she’s trained for seduction.
Kate is strong, sassy and though she didn’t choose to be a spy, she’s happy with her new life. She has an incredible partner and trainer, Jake Anderson, who is her best friend though he lusts after her. And slowly but surely, she’s falling for Chase.
Is there anywhere in the world you haven’t set a book yet but would love to – and by that I mean visiting first for that all important research!
I’d love to visit Egypt and the pyramids. Ireland. England. And there are tons of places in America I haven’t yet seen.
Do you have a beta reader?
I actually have several. Everyone has preferences, so m/m may not be for some of them, or they may not really enjoy a ménage. My two main go-to women have been my friends for over a decade and are both published. They also know how to tell me I suck without making me curl up into a fetal ball for days.
For the Spy Games series I actually went and hunted down fresh victims who had never read the previous books so I could make sure the books could stand alone. I hate jumping into a series and being confused. I also rely heavily on my editor for her input.
Any tips for new writers?
Write! Write lots! Send your books out, collect the rejections and then write your next book. Don’t spend precious time revising over and over when publishers tell you no. Put it away and write something different. Learn from your mistakes and realize you’ll make new ones. Bad grammar is not synonymous with voice. Learn the writing rules before you try to break them. Blog even if you hate it. Always be nice.
Have you ever had extreme reviews for the same book? For example I had one reviewer say my book was ‘disturbing on so many levels’, and then another reviewer say it was ‘Hot, Hot, Hot and she wanted more’? How do you cope with reviews?
Oh yes, I’m just starting to get into the world of weird or conflicting reviews. I have a DNF (did not finish) from a reviewer nestled between two reviewers who had stayed up all night reading and loved it. I’ve now made it a goal to get a DNF for each book from a reviewer, since embracing the embarrassment instead of hiding from it seems to be more fun.
It’s definitely hard to read a bad review, because I put long hours into writing what they read. People starved, went to school in wrinkled clothes and lived in a dirty house while I wrote that (they have more right to complain.) I wouldn’t go to a dinner my Aunt Fanny cooked for me and write all over my blog that she serves the worst roast beef, ever. She spent time cooking it, so I should be nice. However, I’m selling a product and if I had to pay for Aunt Fanny’s crappy food then I’d be more apt to complain about choking it down.
So how I deal: I give myself 24 hours to have a pity party. I write whatever I wish to say about that bad review and I send it to my friend. If she feels it is fit to print somewhere, then I’m allowed to do so. But usually she says hell no, do not post that anywhere. Then I move on from it and remember there are total strangers out there liking what I write. So I go write for them.
When did you start writing and what led you down the path of erotic romance?
I started writing in 4th grade when I penned the sequel to Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I wrote my first historical in college. After I was diagnosed with lupus right after getting married, I picked up writing again as a creative outlet. I joined RWA and became a contest diva, but eventually I turned to technical writing to make money.
I started writing a few erotic romance pieces and put them away. Then my New Year’s resolution for 2012 (which I never make because I set myself up to fail miserably) was to finish what I had started and to submit it. I have written over 450,000 words in 2012, contracted 5 books and self-published one novella. I guess for once I didn’t fail!
What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
The best thing: I wake up, take the 30 second commute to work in my jammies carrying coffee from the Keurig. I search for hot men on stock photo sites. Reading books about sex and searching out DH for fun could be construed as research. I live in someone else’s world, manipulate them like God and someone pays me (eventually) to do it.
The worst thing: I spend a lot of time in front of the computer. The internet is easily distracting. You get people that love what you write and HATE what you write. The cookies call to you.
Any tips for staving off the dreaded writers bum? Do you force yourself to exercise or do your daily chores keep you active?
Is making coffee considered exercise? I have a really big mug. It’s heavy. I do walk, but I’m not nearly as active as I should be.
Do your family and friends read your books?
NO. Well, my sister has, and that’s it. My friends—a few have read them. Erotic romance is not for everyone, so they’ve been warned just because there’s a ménage, it doesn’t mean it’s happening here.
Have you ever written a dominant character who you’ve had to really work with to make likeable?
Chase Sanders is probably the most difficult character I’ve written. He’s all boss, strong and invincible, in control of every aspect of his life. He expects your best and won’t take less than that. He takes no prisoners. He has no problem omitting the facts to get the mission done.
And then Kate came into his life. She shakes up the boss side of him and drives him to distraction. Unfortunately, Chase’s need for control stretches into every aspect of Kate’s life and into their bed. In the first book it’s easy to see why he does what he does, but in the second book, Lethal Limits, Chase gets himself into trouble by micromanaging Kate’s life a little too much. I understand why he did it, but readers have been hating on my poor Lord of the Spies.
It doesn’t get much better for Chase, either. He’s between a rock and a hard place when he gets to Charlotte’s book, Spy Games: Endgame. Things might be happier at home, but he his job means balancing getting the bad guys and making sure his spies return from the job. Charlotte is like his sister, and she’ll question if he ever loved her at all in her book.
Sexy spy’s are always great reading fodder, what was it that drew you write about these particular heroes?
The first Spy Games book was something I had dreamed up while my DH was snoring and I was too lazy to get out of bed. I had different scenarios, but Kate always ended up with Jake, and it just never seemed to work as well. Then one night, I let Chase win Kate. While I was writing Exceeding Boundaries, I wondered why it couldn’t become a book. I started thinking about it in a more sexy way, and the series was born!
Can you give us some links so we can stay in touch?
What’s coming next from Mia Downing?
I have a m/m coming out very soon with The Wild Rose Press. Just Ask is a gay for you contemporary set in Fiji.
When business mogul Jordan Hill inherits half of Bendura Island Resort, a posh vacation destination in the Fiji Islands, the will demands he release his half uncle's ashes somewhere on the island and that he indulge in a real vacation before he sells. As Jordan is reeling with grief and under good circumstances doesn't do vacations, especially if they include horses and looming volcanoes, he finds himself on uneven footing. The footing turns treacherous as Jordan realizes, for the first time in his life, he's attracted to a man--his new business partner.
For resort entrepreneur Ryan McCale, Bendura Island is a dream come true as well as his livelihood. He was warned Jordan would try to sell sight unseen, and after meeting him, there's no doubt the business shark has dollar signs in his eyes. But there's also vulnerability and desire in that chocolate gaze. Suddenly, Ryan's looking forward to showing Jordan the delights of the island and hoping to convince his new partner Bendura could be his dream, too.
I’m also working on another series, out the first of the year and other short novellas to go between the Spy Games books.
WOW! Thanks so much for stopping by, Mia, and sharing inside information all your lovely books and giving us an insight into your life and your writing. I'm itching to get reading now and immerse myself in the worlds your sexy characters live in!!
Don't forget readers, Mia is giving away one of her books, so leave a comment, say hi, add in your email address and you could be in with a chance.