Sunday, 30 June 2013

Author Hot Seat Welcomes JC Szot

Today we welcome fellow Siren author J C Szot to the hot seat. Her new release Painted Posts is out now and we have an excerpt for you all to read at the end of the interview. Okay, let's get started and see if we can make JC squirm with some tricky questions.

About your writing:

How did you get started as a writer?

I really began writing in the first person in my diary at the age of twelve. I still keep one but now I call it a journal. That sounds more mature-Lol. My seventh grade English teacher really got me rolling. She always gave a lot of writing assignments and said I had the "knack" for it. 

Why do you write?

I write to escape, unload my imagination which never rests, and to entertain myself as well as others, hopefully. 

Have you ever had a day you wanted to quit and never write again?

Oh yes... There's been a few of those. I've had a few slumps over the years. My longest lasted almost three months. It was after my husband became ill. I just couldn't focus. I became so anxious that I'd forget how to do it. My dear friend and fellow author, GA Hauser said my characters would eventually call me back, and she was right. 

Do you feel lucky to be doing what you are doing?

Yes. It is an honor and a privilege to have a publisher accept your work. After years of rejection I feel fortunate.

How did you get to where you are today?

By not giving up. Again, my hat is off to GA Hauser. When my work was being rejected she counseled me many times, reminding me to never give up. She also granted me space in the back of her fiftieth novel- "Black Leather Phoenix" I wrote a short M/M story-titled- "Breaking Chains" for which she added in the back of her celebratory release. I was floored and honored.

How do your family/spouses react to your work as an author? Do they know what you write?  

They do.  My husband teases me and sometimes wishes we were my characters-Lol.
 My mother and sister have read my material. They're supportive, but sometimes deep down I'm not sure what they really think, but the support is there so I guess that's all that matters.

About you:

What are you passionate about in life?

Good health and having what I need. I take one day at a time and try not to obsess about the future. We only have so much control.  
If you had to give a thank-you speech at the Oscars, who would you thank and what would you say?

I would thank GA Hauser and Loose-Id for giving me my first chance and then Siren Publications for accepting the ten books I've released through them. It's a privilege no writer takes for granted.

What are the three most important life lessons you’ve learned that might make life easier for others?

If you want to step out and do something, DO IT! Don't wait until you're forty like I did. Also...don't- DO NOT listen to the negative feedback of others. Their negativity is their own insecurity talking . Lastly, take the road less traveled. There's a heck of a lot more room. :)

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. Whom would it be and why?

I would trade places with my character, Ella Rowen who inherits her Uncle's home in my latest release, Painted Posts. The house is on Delaware Bay in Cape May, NJ. My dream is to have a small bungalow with an outdoor writing nook overlooking the water.

What's the worst thing you did as a kid?

I bullied my sister. Today we're great friends, but I was not nice. Hopefully I'm making up for that in our adult life.

What do you do to have fun?

I love to read. Occasionally I enjoy baking. I'm diligent about writing in my journal, which I enjoy. I still work a few hours a week outside the home so between my works in progress, promotion and networking sometimes there's not enough time for other things.

Share a funny incident in your life.

After a few drinks at a party when I was much younger I was trying to explain the story of Anne of Green Gables. I of course was slurring my words and referred to Anne of Green Gables as Barbara Gombles.  When my girlfriend reads this interview she'll probably wet her pants. We've been howling about it ever since.
Fun Stuff:

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?

That's a tough one. I'm not very glamorous. Actually... I don't know.

If you were a type of food, what type of food would you be?

Something healthy like fruit or granola. I'd hate to be a piece of cake and torture everyone all the time- Lol- but then again, if I were a dessert I'd always be attractive. That can go either way.

What is your favorite color- food- song- movie?

Green is my favorite color, all shades of. My favorite food is baked ziti and meatballs. Movies? There's a few. I'll have to go with The Shawshank Redemption. The Rolling Stones- Satisfaction is the best rock and roll song of all time- for me.

What's the funniest pick up line ever used on you?

"Haven't we met before? My sister had a party last week- weren't you there?"

What's the one thing you can't live without?

My laptop.

And finally:

You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night, it's raining heavily, when suddenly you pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for a bus:
                       -An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
                       -An old friend who once saved your life.
                       -The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.
You can only fit one person in your car, who would you choose to offer a ride to?

I'd have to go with the elderly woman. A heavy conscience and regrets are hard to live with.

Thank you, Jan for having me today. It's been a pleasure.

Thanks for being here Justine, it's been fun. Before we go here is a sneak peak at Painted Posts by JC Szot. 

Story blurb: Painted Posts
Tired of dead-end jobs and a portfolio sitting idle, when Ella Rowen unexpectedly inherits her uncle’s house, she abruptly relocates. Bombarded with change and apprehensive about becoming a homeowner, Ella takes the first job that’s offered. An invitation to join her boss for a drink at the local bar leads to a careless one-night stand. Forced to quit her job due to the awkward aftermath and her impulsive decisions has Ella back at her starting point. Enter, Jayden Preston, her handsome neighbor. Jayden becomes the object of Ella’s desire, as well as the lens of her camera. As their connection intensifies, a leaky roof leads Ella to making a discovery in her uncle’s attic that sends her into a tailspin. When Jayden’s roommate shares information pertaining to her uncle’s past, Jayden struggles with his position, afraid of ruining a relationship that has him head over heels. Will disclosing hidden secrets prevent any damage or tear them apart?
Excerpt - Painted Posts

“I wanted to introduce myself. I’m Jayden Preston. I live over there.” He pointed. “My roommate, Brian, owns the place.” Jayden extended his hand.
“I’m Ella Rowen. It’s nice to meet you.”
Their fingers threaded together, her skin like a brush of silk. Jayden didn’t want her to have to wrestle with the thought of whether to invite him in or not.
“Wanna take a walk? The sunset’s amazing.” Jayden checked her expression. Her lips eased into a welcome smile.
“Sure, let me get my sandals,” Ella said.
“You don’t need them. See?” Jayden pointed to his feet. “Sand’s nice and cool now.”
“Okay.” She turned and slid the door closed. Jayden waved her on, following her down the stairs and onto the beach.
A cool breeze blew off the water, lifting her hair. Jayden snuck in as many sideward glances as he could, hoping he was getting away with it. Her skin was gorgeous, so milky it glowed, and those eyes. They were a pale blue. When he looked into them, he felt an intense pull. As they trudged through the sand, Jayden eyed the curved flexing of muscle on what he noticed was a fine pair of legs. His insides quivered with excitement.
Damp, salty air coated his hair, weighing it down over his brows. He searched his thoughts, needing to engage in some get-to-know-you conversation. Her beauty was hindering his skills. All the rehearsing he’d done had been blown to pieces two seconds after she’d opened the door.
“So you just moved in…Where’re you from?” He slowed his strides, wanting her body aligned with his.
“I’m from Bangor, Pennsylvania. I’m just about settled in,” she told him. “It was sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing.” Her eyes danced around him, lowering back down to the sand.
“How do you like it so far?” Jayden dipped his toes into the water. Ella did the same, meeting his eyes.
“It’s beautiful here.”
“It is.” The lapping water filled the pause for a moment. Her next question caught him off guard, teasing an eagerness he felt he should restrain. He’d been noticed.
“I saw you the other day. You train dogs.” Ella smiled. Her lower lip was full, tempting enough to bite.
“Yeah, I work for The Seeing Eye. You must’ve seen me downtown?” Jayden felt his mouth pulling into a smile. His eyes sank into hers, taking a casual cruise down her sensual neck. Jayden fed his urge as nonchalantly as possible. He drank in the flesh of her chest and the slight pillows of her breasts. I’m gonna have to tie my hands together.
“Yeah, I was on my way to apply for a job,” Ella said. Her voice had a raspy tone to it, very sexy.
“You landed a job already?” Jayden faced her, the wet sand grainy between his toes.
“I was surprised, too. I got a job answering phones and making appointments at Brahman Restoration.” A wide smile spread across her lovely mouth.
“How do you like it?” he asked.
Ella lifted a shoulder. “It’s okay, but I’d rather be taking pictures,” she confessed.
“You’re a photographer then?” Jayden moved away from the waterline and sat down, gesturing to a spot on the sand. Ella sat next to him. Her hair blew back off her face, giving him a clear view of her angled cheekbones and arched brows.
“It’s a hobby, but…”
“Hey, a lot of people who claim a talent’s just a hobby wind up being quite good at their craft.”
Ella reclined back in the sand, crossing her shapely legs. Darkness bled across the water, turning the bay into a shimmering pool of ink.
“What’s your specialty?” Jayden asked, his inquiry hesitant. He didn’t want to push, but his mind was running. All of a sudden he wanted to know everything about this girl. She looked to be his age, midtwenties. She shifted in the sand and faced him.
“I snap everything.” She grinned. “Tell me about the dogs. That’s so cool.”
Jayden explained what it was that he did with the dogs—how he trained them, and how people in the community fostered the puppies until they were a certain age, preparing them to become a Seeing Eye dog.
“The dogs have to be a certain age before you can begin training them. They also need to have the right temperament. That’s huge.” Ella’s eyes narrowed at the gust of wind that rushed off the bay. Her light laughter tickled his insides. Her next statement had his dick jumping with glee.
“I have to confess that I did see you my first night here,” she admitted, chewing her lower lip, her expression worried. “You were playing Frisbee with your dog. The lighting was too perfect. I just had to…”
Jayden laughed. “You photographed me?” He felt his jaw fall.
Ella nodded. “I did. I’m sorry. If you want the pictures, I’ll give them to you,” she said, her voice wavering.
Jayden couldn’t help but laugh as Ella vacillated after conceding to her indiscretions.
“I’d like to see them, but you can keep them,” he insisted.
“It’s not polite to photograph subjects without their consent. I do have ethics,” Ella told him, her tone now serious.
“Hey.” Jayden lifted a hand. “No problem. I’ll pose for you anytime.” His mouth went dry, her presence intoxicating.
“Really?” Her face lifted, her eyes widening. “I got some great shots that day,” Ella said, tracing her finger through the sand.
“Which dog did I have?” Jayden soaked up her animation.
“It was a black Lab. I’m guessing that you can’t keep the dogs at your house?”
“No. If you want to join the puppy-raising program to prepare them for training, you can. You get to keep them for up to eighteen months,” Jayden explained.
“Giving them back must be hard,” Ella sighed.
“It can be, but you know that going in. Just think of the disabled person you’ll be helping, that helps. The older ones stay at training headquarters. Those are the ones I’m allowed to play with. They need to get out and run. I can’t have any animals at the house because my roommate, Brian, is allergic to pet dander.” Jayden laughed. “It’s sort of ironic. I find the perfect roommate, but can’t bring in a dog.”
“That’s too bad. At least you get to work and play with them. To give someone that gift must be an awesome feeling.”
“It is. We’ve helped a lot of veterans as well. That was Jordan you photographed, the black Lab. We just placed her. That was our swan-song romp. She’s a great dog.” Jayden glanced away, feeling the emotion grip him for a moment. Ella’s soft voice washed it all away, healing him like a homeopathic tonic. Her beauty and grace was all natural. He was smitten already, and all it took was one fucking walk through the sand.
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