Erzabet, thanks for having me here! I'm anxious to get started, but also want to let your followers know I'm going a giveaway, so be sure to enter to win! So, what questions do you have for me?
1. How did you begin writing erotic romance? Did you intend to or was it an accident?
A. I attended a Kentucky Romance Writers workshop in March 2009 and first learned about erotic romance after being out of the romance-writing loop for over a decade while I pursued my journalism degree and worked as a technical editor/writer. I'll admit that the first appeal for the genre was seeing writers were actually making a living at writing in this genre (which wasn't true in other genres among the writers I knew in real life). So, I went home to see if I could write one (not having read one, mind you) and within a month I finished a hot, steamy, dubious-consent novella with coercive BDSM elements and submitted it to Samhain Publishing where it was rejected for the anthology they were doing. But they did ask to see more, so that was my "good" rejection we writers talk about. (I never submitted another book again, though.)
The following month, I drafted Nobody's Angel as a ménage story, because I heard those were hot. Then two years of evil-day-job pressures kept me from writing until I just quit the job. Since Erotic romance had been my last endeavor (and the only time I'd ever finished a manuscript despite 20 years of trying), so I figured I was meant to write erotic romance. I drafted Masters at Arms in three weeks in May 2011, had it professionally edited and improved, and released it in August 2011, my debut book. Over that summer and into September 2011, when it was released, I revised Nobody's Angel (several times). I learned in the process not to write to the market, so Nobody's Angel was not a ménage by the time it released. I just couldn't pull that off realistically and I prefer to write realistic Romance and realistic BDSM. That's not to say I won't someday have a ménage book in the series or that triads or polyamorous relationships don't exist in real life, but it just wasn't right for these characters.
2. In your writing, you focus on imperfect characters. Many of them are in the military and have issues with healing after trauma. What inspires you?
Life. I've had trauma in my past and have known many others who have, as well. I was blessed to find someone who could help me heal, but know that not everyone is so lucky. So, I like to write stories that encourage readers who think they can't be loved to let down some of their walls and let someone close enough to love them.
As for why I like to write about imperfect Doms, in particular, when I first started interacting with readers of the genre, over and over I would hear them say, "I can't find the Doms in my books at the local clubs." Um, how many of us can find the heroes of our perfect Romances ANYWHERE? That inspired me to write Doms who might be someone they would know in real life. Imperfect, human, non-fantasy (although I think these guys do spark many a fantasy, maybe BECAUSE they seem more attainable in their imperfection). I also knew other writers knew the lifestyle better and did a better job of writing the fantasy Dom, so I wanted to find my own niche in this world. I don't like to color within the lines or stay inside the tried-and-true box.
It's heartwarming to read my fan mail, especially from military family members who thank me for so accurately describing PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the aftereffects of combat tours. One even said that my books helped her and her wounded-warrior hubby get their love life back on track after he was severely injured in combat.
Anyone who thinks this is porn or smut just needs to read some of my messages to see that the books really are a means for healing broken hearts, minds, and bodies.
3. How do you think BDSM could be used to heal someone with a trauma like sexual abuse?
BDSM can be used to help redirect the negative, harmful messages about the survivor's body and sex. I use that technique a lot in Nobody's Perfect, as Damián tries to get Savannah to stop feeling the shame of what happened (because the shame belonged to the perpetrators, not the victim) and to change what once was a negative into a positive, especially words or actions that were triggers. One of my subject experts, Toymaker on Fetlife.com, helped me set up play scenes that would provide maximum progress and healing for Savannah.
I also showed in Perfect how a whipping can be cathartic for someone like Patti who can't cry or feel anything when she's been severely triggered. Several submissives told me how their Doms/Masters know to do a severe pain session for them when they need to cry or release something, so they helped me to understand what the process felt like. I also wanted to show that scene with Patti because, while Damián was very gentle with Savannah in this story it was mainly because she was so new to the Scene. As time goes on, she might need session similar to what Patti experienced, because her tolerance for pain will increase and it will take more for her to release the pent-up emotions when triggered or stressed. Besides, I didn't want to disappoint the readers who were expecting a sadist in Damián. While he isn't using sadism for sexual gratification or arousal, he does find it helps him maintain control of his own demons sometimes, dealing with his own PTSD issues from Iraq.
4. Master Adam has to be the hottest Dom ever! Was he modeled after anyone in your life? (Yes, I voted!)
A. Thanks for voting. Not only was he voted the Ultimate Dom of 2012, but also the Summer's Hottest Hero this year. He's got quite a loyal following. But, alas, Adam is a total figment of my imagination. Of course, there are parts of him in some people I know as with all of my characters. However, as I told readers last May, three months after I published the third book in the series, I was approached by a retired Marine Master Sergeant who had become a fan of the series and wanted to help me with the Marine Corps facts. Top Griz had served 22 years active duty and retired the same year Adam did (who served 25 years). There were a number of similarities between the two that were just eerie, but I think it's just a testament to doing my research and learning to understand and appreciate the Marine mindset. (I don't know any other Marines, so my stories are written strictly from research. And there were some minor errors, but he said he loved my books so much, he could overlook them because he just had to keep reading to see what happened. I did have him go over Masters at Arms and help me correct some things, though, so the version I published free in May/June was even better than the original.)
So, while writing Nobody's Perfect, I was able to call on Top Griz to help me with some scenes, including the retribution for Lyle and Savannah's father. I even had to call on him to help with a love scene—the frag-order one. (After he texted me that info, I told him that he'd never look at FragOs the same way again.)
5. What kinds of characters are your favorite to write about? (Doms, subs, Dommes) and why?
A. I love to write about wounded characters who feel they have nothing to offer anyone in the love-and-romance department. I pair them with their perfect match (be it a Dom, sub, Domme, or vanilla person—although there is something about the power-exchange relationships that call to me to keep writing BDSM romances) and then I slowly showing them grow to love each other and learn they are loveable and sometimes just what the other person needs, too.
6. If you were going to have Master Adam train a sub, what would he do first?
A. Establish trust. That's the basis of any D/s relationship and without it, you can't have that exchange of power. With Karla, of course, things moved very fast—and further than he wanted to go—but these two began establishing trust nine years earlier, so I didn't have to go through that phase. She would have entrusted her life to Adam—and would have laid down her life for him, as she almost did in Nobody's Angel. But I showed how their bond of trust was achieved in the two books preceding the one where they actually enter into a BDSM relationship.
7. Where do you see the Rescue Me series going?
A. Well, at the moment, I envision the series through book #10, but know there will be others beyond that. Among those coming up (and I'm not sure of the order beyond the next two) are Marc and Angelina (finally getting them to Happily Ever After in Somebody's Angel), Luke and Cassie (Nobody's Dream), Mistress Grant and the man who got her booted from Black Ops (Liam—Nobody's Home), Gunnar Larson (the Whip Master and sadist who trained Sir Damián and was only mentioned briefly in Nobody's Perfect, but certainly caught the attention of readers, including Cherise Sinclair, who are awaiting his story), Patrick Gallagher (Adam's half-brother from Nobody's Hero), and even a kinky historical Western about Adam and Patrick's great-great-grandparents. In my Facebook group "The Rescue Me Series Open Discussion" group, readers tell me they also want to see Rosa (Damián's sister), Dr. McKenzie (from Nobody's Perfect), Patti and Victor (from Perfect—they might be my first Master/slave), Ricco (the bartender in Aspen Corners, who may be my first gay male romance and I'm seeing him with one of Angelina's brothers, either Franco or Matteo). I actually see Angelina's brothers as a spin-off series on fire fighters. Then they want to read about the next generation—Marisol, Teresa (Damián's niece), Tracy (Miller's daughter), and I'm sure others. Apparently, I have the next 20 years of my writing life accounted for.
8. I hear Master Adam has a favorite peanut butter brownie recipe...we would love to know the recipe!
A. That whole peanut-butter thing came up when one of my author friends, A. Lizzie Walker, had a weekend visit with Adam. (During the summer before I published, my characters often paid visits to my author and pre-fan friends, as needed or requested. On this visit, Adam revealed he liked peanut butter for various things. (I believe I incorporated that into his past with Joni.) But then he dropped that little tidbit to Karla before he headed back to Pendleton in Masters at Arms. So, despite her inability to really cook many things other than tuna noodle casserole and broccoli casserole, she learned to bake him peanut-butter brownies and sent them to him in Iraq until she moved away to college. She's never really shared the recipe with me, but I'm sure it's something she found online. You know how she likes to do online research. (One of my favorite parts of Nobody's Perfect was the scene where Karla corrupted Savannah—I mean did some online research to help Savannah be more comfortable in bed.)
9. Flogger or whip?
A. Flogger. I'm not into pain, although I hear butterfly kisses with a whip aren't too bad and the marks go away within hours. But I'm partial to the thud or sting of a flogger, depending on how or where it's used.
10. Sushi or pizza?
A. Pizza (with everything but black olives and anchovies). I don't particularly care for fish, cooked or raw, but sushi has yet to cross my lips.
11. What projects are you currently working on?
A. I'm trying to get my first four books into print. They will be in three volumes and because of their length, just a tad pricey, but readers say they want them in print and I aim to please. Next month, I plan to work on Somebody's Angel. Part of this book was cut from Nobody's Perfect, because it became clear I didn't have room in that book to keep bouncing back and forth between Damián/Savannah and Marc/Angelina. Marc has some major issues to work out and they just needed their own space to do it, so I announced to my newsletter subscribers in August that book 5 would be theirs. I'm learning that it's best not to put out lists of future books or even release dates for future books, but I'm relatively new at this and hope my readers will understand and forgive me for all the promo items out there giving promised dates that would be impossible to meet. I think from the experience with Nobody's Perfect—first slated for a June release, then not released until September and then revised already by early October because it was rushed still—that I do not put the book out until I'm at least relatively happy with it. I've vowed to make sure I'm 99 percent happy with it in the future, though, which is why I won't announce any more release dates, so I can alleviate that pressure of readers taking the day off work expecting to read the book and not having it available in time. (Yes, there really are readers who schedule their days around releases for their favorite series or authors. God love them!)
RESCUE ME SERIES
The introduction and first book in this series is FREE at most booksellers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and Sony. The stories in this series build upon that book and each preceding book, so they need to be read in order. These characters' romances are NOT contained within one book and the main characters from Masters at Arms are so closely connected that they are intertwined in each other's lives forever. Each subsequent book is only $3.99, even though the books are anywhere from 225 to 365 pages in PDF, because Kally wants her books to be affordable and read. Many of her readership are on tight budgets and she doesn't want to make them wait any longer than necessary when one of her books comes out.
Here is the reading order:
Masters at Arms (Adam, Karla, Damián, Savannah, Marc)
Nobody's Angel (Marc, Angelina, Luke, Adam, Karla)
Nobody's Hero (Adam, Karla, Damián, Savannah, and a bit of Angelina and Cassie)
Nobody's Perfect (Damián, Savannah, and a bit of Luke, Cassie, and Mistress Grant)
For buy links for the available books in the series, go to
One lucky commenter chosen at random will receive an e-book from the Rescue Me series (either a current book or an upcoming one in the series). The winner also will receive some Rescue Me series swag, including a pen, bookmarks, and Romance Trading Cards for the first three books.
Kally loves to engage with readers and you can find here here:
Ahh, Kallypso…the stories you tell blog: http://kallypsomasters.blogspot.com
Facebook Author Page (like me!): https://www.facebook.com/KallypsoMastersAuthorPage
Facebook Profile Page (friend-request me!): https://www.facebook.com/kallypsomasters
Facebook The Rescue Me Open Discussion group (Warning—spoilers galore):
Thanks Kallypso for being on the blog today! I am enjoying your books immensely.