Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ask Five with... (and a giveaway!) .....TONI BLAKE!!!!

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Toni Blake is one of my all time favorite authors. I first read her when she wrote for Harlequin. I was thrilled to hear she was writing bigger books. Yay! More Toni!

I recently had the pleasure of reading TEMPT ME TONIGHT and it is fabulous!!! Bad boys, move over...meet Joe Ramsey...and the lady who has tempted him all these years.
I love that cover for TEMPT ME TONIGHT!

If you haven't read Toni Blake, well, you are missing out. Seriously! She can write them sexy, funny, with some decidedly delicious heroes.

Without further ado...meet Toni Blake!!!!!


1. What is the title of your latest release and what’s it about?

TEMPT ME TONIGHT was released on May 29 by Avon Red, but I think readers will find that, just like my previous book, SWEPT AWAY, it’s not your typical Red offering. By that I mean that while the imprint is billed as erotica, readers will find TEMPT ME TONIGHT falls more into the category of “super-sexy, super-steamy romance.”


TEMPT ME TONIGHT is the story of a woman who returns to her hometown after many years away to help her parents with some legal issues, but she soon bumps into her first love, who betrayed her when they were young. The book starts out to be much about her sexual attraction to him and how she decides to deal with it – through seduction, and through having the upper hand – but when she realizes her old feelings for him have never died, the book turns into a good, old-fashioned, heart-wrenching love story about youthful emotions, protecting our hearts, and forgiveness (but it also happens to come with lots of uber steamy sex ; ) )

I’m super-excited about this book, not only because I personally love it, but also because it was excerpted in the June issue of Cosmo! Now, I gotta be honest and tell you – Cosmo heavily edited the piece they used and I think readers will discover my “real voice” is a lot different than what’s in the magazine, but just to be featured in Cosmo is a dream come true for me, so this has been a super-fun time!



2. Which authors have influenced you over the years, whether for their writing or for their friendship?



Great question! And this might be a long answer because the romance community is so broad yet also tightly knit in ways. The first romances I read were Jenny Crusie’s Harlequin Temptations and they greatly influenced me, showing me that romance could be smart, sexy, and funny all at once. I’ve also been influenced by the writings of Kathleen Eagle, Teresa Medeiros, Judith Ivory, Barbara Samuel, and Rachel Gibson, just to name a few. I’m sure there are a ton of authors who influenced me early on who I might be forgetting about, unfortunately.



As for friendship, wow – so many people have befriended me along the way that it’s hard to name them all, but I’ll just mention a few who have always been wonderfully supportive and encouraging: Lori Foster, Elizabeth Bevarly, Laura Resnick (aka Laura Leone,) Jenny Crusie, and Teresa Medeiros have all been kind enough to give me advice along the way, answer questions for me, and help me feel my way through the maze of the publishing world.

Wow, I managed to keep that to a reasonable length, after all : )


3. What is the hardest part of writing?


These days, I find it challenging to balance promotional efforts with the actual time and focus required to write a good book. Part of that is because I have three books coming out three months in a row, so the promo push, for me, has been bigger than usual this time around. As for the actual writing, though, I suppose the most challenging part is pulling all the threads together in the end in a satisfying way. I tend to write fairly complex books with a lot going on and I usually reach a point of thinking: Oh no, I’ll never get this all tied up correctly. But then, somehow, I do. It can be nerve-wracking, though.


4. How do you stay motivated?

For me, writing is a pure joy, so I’m naturally motivated. It’s what makes me tick and I miss it immensely when I’m away from it. It’s the only thing I ever really wanted to do, and I’m thrilled that I’ve managed to make a career of it.


5. Looking in your crystal ball, what can readers expect to see soon in bookstores?



Well, after TEMPT ME TONIGHT this June, Avon is re-issuing my last book, SWEPT AWAY, in a new mass market version, available June 26, in just a few short weeks!. This book was the first full-length novel to launch the Avon Red line last fall, so I’m thrilled to see it getting a “new life” so soon! Also currently on the shelf (released May 1) is VOYEUR, an erotica novel by my alter ego, Lacey Alexander, put out by Penguin Putnam.


Next up for me (the Toni Blake me ; ) ) will be the release of LOVE LETTERS, currently set for June 2008. This book will mark my move out of the Red line and into Avon’s mass market contemporary program, but readers need not worry – the books will be the same as always for me, super-sexy and super-emotional. As for what it’s about, think Carrie Bradshaw meets Men in Trees. Also next June, I’ll take part in an anthology with twelve authors including Lori Foster, called THE POWER OF LOVE. Each story in this book is about women’s empowerment and the proceeds will go to a shelter for abused women.


I hope readers will sign up for my newsletter at www.ToniBlake.com so that I can remind them when new books are coming out and share new news with them when it hits. And if anyone out there is on MySpace, so am I, so feel free to “friend” me at www.MySpace.com/ToniBlake.


Thanks a bunch for a fun interview, Patti! You know how much I appreciate your support!

*******

Thank you,Toni! You can visit Toni at her website: http://toniblake.com/index.html

If you have any questions for Toni, go ahead and ask her but she will be at the Lori Foster Get Together this weekend. She should be able to pop in Sunday to answer them for you.

And finally...

We have a giveaway of a copy of TEMPT ME TONIGHT.
The copy from Amazon came today.

Post and you shall be entered into the contest for a chance to win a copy of TEMPT ME TONIGHT.

I will pick the winner Sunday night.

Good luck!

25 comments:

Jules Bennett said...

Hey, Toni!

I have to say, you're one of my must-buy authors. I can't wait to see you again at Lori and Dianne's Get Together this weekend!

Have any advice for a newly pubbed author?

Jules

Cryna said...

Patti and Toni what a great interview......I enjoyed reading it.......thanks

Sue A. said...

Very informative interview! I didn't know Lacey Alexander and Toni Blake were one and the same.

Lori Foster Get Together sounds like a great event. Have fun and come back and tell us about it!

Toni Blake said...

Hey ladies : ) As luck would have it, since my dear Patti posted the blog nice and early, I can pop in for a bit today, then, as promised, will check in again on Sunday : )

Hey Jules! Thank you so much for putting me on your must-buy list! That is truly an honor : )

Advice for a newly pubbed author? Let's see. My best advice is that, even though promo is important, the MOST important thing is writing a good book. I fear that many authors get so caught up in promo that they begin to forget that without a good, quality book, all that promo means nothing ; ) The market is a tough place right now, but I'm a firm believer that if you keep working at your craft and truly believe in yourself and what you're writing, the right doors will open for you.

Hey Cryna - thanks a bunch for stopping by : ) Always good to see you in cyperspace : )

And Hi Sue : ) Yep, although it was kept under wraps for a while, I recently started letting folks know that in addition to writing my sexy, emotional Toni Blake novels, I also write erotica as Lacey Alexander. Surprise! : )

And yes, the Lori Foster event is always a fun time for both authors and readers alike. I'm particularly looking forward to meeing some readers who I've spoken to online a lot but this will be the first time to meet them in person : )

Thanks for stopping in, ladies - I really appreciate it : )

Judy F said...

Hey Patti and Toni great interview. I can't wait to read this book. WIll have to check out your lacey books sometime.

Looking forward to catching you later today

CrystalG said...

Great interview. I love your books. I will be looking for Tempt Me Tonight and Voyeur in the bookstore.

Toni Blake said...

Hi Crystal! Thank you SO much for looking for TEMPT ME TONIGHT and VOYEUR - I truly appreciate that and hope you will enjoy them : ) Thanks for stopping by!

And hey Miss Judy! Thanks for looking forward to TMT : ) And yep, I, too, look forward to seeing you a bit later today and tomorrow at the event : ) I hope you like the Lacey stuff when you get around to trying it out : ) Thanks for popping in : )

Maureen said...

Hi Tony!

I have read and enjoyed your books in the past so I am definitely looking forward to this one.

Toni Blake said...

Hey Maureen - thanks for stopping in! And thanks very much - I'm so glad to hear you've enjoyed my books and are looking forward to TEMPT ME TONIGHT! I sincerely appreciate that : )

And as Patti mentioned, I'm off the Lori Foster event very soon, but thanks for the comment today, and feel free to chime in with more as I'll check back in Sunday : ) Until then, have a great weekend, everyone : )

Nichole L said...

Great interview love Toni's books.

wona said...

That is too funny about the excerpt with Cosmo magazine. I think I might have the mag somewhere; I'll check it out :-)

jennybrat said...

Hi Toni, I love a good heart wrenching romance so TEMPT ME TONIGHT sounds great.

With your alter ego and multiple book deals, how do you write more than one book at a time?

Jennifer Y. said...

Great interview! I have been looking forward to this book!

Jodi said...

Another great interview!
I just won Voyeur from Patti, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. It's next up in my stack of books.
TMT is on my TBB list. I just placed an order and forget to get it. Oh, well, it's a great excuse to buy more books - have to save that shipping cost! LOL

anne said...

Wonderful interview which peaked my interest in your book. Would love to read it this summer. thanks for the background info.

sharon said...

Your books have always appealed to me. Lovely interview. This book sounds great.

diane said...

Tempt Me is a winner! Enjoyable interview.

ellie said...

Thanks for the excellent interview. Tempt Me Tonight will definitely tempt me to read it. Love the premise and story.

Toni Blake said...

Wow, ladies - thank you ALL so much for stopping in while I was away at the Lori Foster event this weekend (which was mega fun, by the way, and the only disappointment was that they ran out of TMT copies at the bookfair, darn it, so not everyone who'd waited to get one there was able to : ( On the other hand, it was wonderful to see that so many people were anxious to read it : ) )

Also, thanks very much to those of you who said kind things about my books, and if you check out TMT, I sincerely hope you enjoy it : )

Jenny, thanks for the question. Actually, I never write more than one book at a time. I know some authors can do that, but not me : ) I need complete focus on what I'm doing, and that means only one story at a time. So with the dual identities and multiple publishers, it's just a matter of scheduling. The way it's working right now is that I'm writing one Toni book for Avon a year and one Lacey book for Penguin a year. If I end up with a month or two to spare along the way, I squeeze out a Lacey novella for EC or an occasional short story. For instance, I will have a short story in the POWER OF LOVE anthology with Lori Foster next year, and Avon has just contracted with me to write a short story e-book connected to one of my Avon books which will be sold exclusively on the Avon website. But I definitely have to take things one at a time or I don't think I'd be turning out very good stuff ; )

Thanks again for all the wonderful comments, laides - I truly appreciate each and every one of you popping in to say hello : )

Cindy said...

Great interview!!

Julia said...

Great interview! I have never read Toni Blake books before *slap my own hand* shame on me! *grin*...but I have heard great things about Toni from a dear friend who had read her. And have add her books into my "buy list".

Hope everyone have a good day!

Loretta said...

Great Interview!
I really enjoy Toni's books!

Toni Blake said...

Hey ladies, just checking in again and am delighted to see a few more comments.

Julia, thanks a ton for adding me to your "to be bought" list - and please thank your friend for recommending me : ) : )

And hi Loretta - thanks for stopping in and I'm thrilled to hear you enjoy my books : )

Thanks to everyone again for being so responsive to the interview! I really appreciate all the support!

Anonymous said...

Great interview. I haven't read any Toni Blake but did read your Lacey book. It was really good.

Stacy S

Linda H said...

Great post. I love Toni Blake books and I so can't wait to get my hands on this new one.

Hugssss
LindaH