Monday, November 27, 2006

Another Newcomer

Lee, thanks so much for inviting me to be here - and for the fun interview we did. I'm waving to everyone from Vancouver, BC, which is normally known for its rainy winters. Right now the city is reeling in shock from 2 days of snow. I'm dealing with the issue by staying inside where it's warm!

I’m Susan Lyons, and I write sexy contemporary romance. After way too many years to count, and about a dozen short story sales, I made my first book sale in June of 2005. I’ve now sold 4 books and 1 novella to Kensington Aphrodisia, so it’s been a wild and wonderful year and a half.

It’s interesting being published by Aphrodisia. It’s an amazing line, with incredible diversity. There are werewolves, threesomes, futuristic, Goth, BDSM -- and then there’s me. One woman, one man, nothing incredibly kinky. I’m pretty “plain vanilla,” among my fellow authors.

But then, to me, what I’m really writing is romantic women’s fiction. My books are about friendship, family issues, work dilemmas, and basically, about finding yourself. I deliberately chose to write about heroines in their 20s because I think it’s such an amazing time. You’re not a girl any more, and you’re trying to figure out who you’re going to be as a woman. How are you different than your parents and how are you the same? What are your values? What do you want out of life -- and out of love?

My 4-book series has been branded by reviewers as The Awesome Foursome Series, because that’s the name the four girlfriends call themselves. They’re kind of like the women in Sex And The City, but younger and less jaded. They get together weekly for food, drink and lots of chat -- often about the men in their lives. In each book, each of the girlfriends gets her own romance.

And it’s true, I don’t believe in closing the bedroom doors. To me, sex -- even if it’s a one-night stand -- is a very significant, meaningful act. I want to know what my heroine and hero do, think and feel. So yes, I’ve been told readers often need cold showers, or can’t wait for their hubbies to get home from work! Reviewers have characterized my books as “combining sizzling hot sex and real emotional depth” (Joyfully Reviewed), and said my “sex scenes are graphic, sexy, and inspiring [and my] multilayered characters have a vibrant emotional impact” (Romance Reviews Today).

You can check out my books (and short stories and photographs, plus view a movie video of The Firefighter) on my website at -- and while you’re there, enter my monthly contest.

That brings me to the subject of firefighters. Why, you might ask? Well, because one of my website contest prizes is a firefighter calendar. Firefighters are a theme with me, right now. My August book, Hot in Here, has a firefighter hero and so does my upcoming February novella, “Hot Down Under.”

Before I wrote Hot in Here, I knew my heroine was going to be Jenny but I didn’t know what kind of hero to give her. Except that he had to make her face her identity issues -- i.e., to what extent was she a good Chinese daughter, and to what extent a modern Western woman? It turned out my book club (another 4-gal group) was keen on firefighters and wanted to attend an open house. In the rush to meet my contract deadline for Champagne Rules (the book before Hot in Here), I figured I didn’t have time for this little excursion. Ooh, unless…Jenny’s hero was a firefighter. So, that began my research into firefighters.

They’re amazing. True heroes, quietly risking their lives on a daily basis. And just all-around good people. They’re willing to take time to teach kids. They’re patient with old ladies who call them out in the middle of the night because they can’t open their pill bottles. And they’ll also sit down and chat with a fiction writer! One group even gave me Earl Grey tea in the kitchen of their firehall.

My monthly website contest is an opinion poll, where I ask a different question each month. One month, it was “what’s the sexiest occupation for a guy?” And you guessed it, the hands-down winner was, “a firefighter.” They’re strong, fit, brave, intelligent -- and honestly, don’t you think they’re recruited in part for good looks?

Hence, my collection of firefighter calendars. Of course the first I gave away had to be from Vancouver, BC, my home town and the city where Jenny’s hero, Scott, works. Stockpiled for down the road is one from Queensland, Australia, where “Hot Down Under” is set. And in between, I’ve just enhanced my collection with calendars from Calgary and Edmonton, gathered personally from some of the calendar models when I attended “Taboo, the naughty but nice sex show.”

A sex show, you may ask. Yeah, I was curious and a little inhibited, but three of us writers agreed to be featured authors at the Chapters booth, and to present seminars on “Writing Hot for Fun or Profit.” It was actually a great experience, and there were almost no people wandering around in black leather with spiked dog-collars. Honest!

Other women came home with souvenirs like bustiers and sex toys, but for me, it was firefighter calendars.

Before I became a writer, I never imagined I’d be sitting in a firehall kitchen or attending a sex show, but wow, have my horizons expanded. Can’t wait to find out what comes next.

Thanks again, Lee, for inviting me to be here.


Lucinda Betts said...

Hey Susan:

That's a great photo of you! I'm just getting around to exploring of Lee's nooks and crannies-- Wait, that didn't come out the way I meant it! I meant to say that I'm just getting around to exploring all the nooks and crannies of Lee's website, and I think this place is great. Have you seen the GOODIE ROOM? I just mailed a bunch of stuff to her.

And to get back to the topic of you, I thought HOT IN HERE was absolutely lovely. You must be very pleased with yourself.


Lucinda Betts *~*
PURE SEX, Kensington, Aphrodisia--out now!
NIGHT SPELL, Aphrodisia--out now!
MOON SHADOW, Aphrodisia--March 2007

deseng said...

Hi there Susan,
Welcome! Great to have you here in the blog room. I agree that picture of you is really great!

I think firefighters are hot! Why is it they are always talk, dark and handsome? Sigh..........

Your book, HOT IN HERE, sounds fantastic! I will have to go out and buy it for a christmas present to me from my husband. We do that alot. He always wraps up the presents himself and puts a special note on it to me. He is very romantic!

Hope to see you back here again!
Michele L.

Kate Walker said...

Hello Susan and welcome. Great to have you here.

I love the cover of Hot in Here - very suggestive and yet subtle at the same time.

Do you know if Kensington distribute your books in the UK or will I have to go through Amazon?

Good luck with sales - hope they're great


Ann Roth said...

Hi, Susan-

Good to "see" you here.

Tammy said...

Welcome Susan,

Like the others I think the cover is hot!

As for firefighteres calenders - we here in the states have a few as well. A friend of mine's hubby is a firefighter as well. You're right they are awesome people.

Amanda Ann said...

just wanted to say welcome and great site Lee you sure are one busy lady!!!

ellie said...

I have read your books and enjoy them greatly. I also love Vancouver as I lived in Montreal and then Ontario.

alissa said...

I love your book covers. They are stunning. Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities, what a magnificent setting. Adore it.

pearl said...

I am enjoying your blog and this site is the best. Your photo is adorable.

Susan Lyons said...

Wow, how nice to have so many visitors! Happy December, everyone. I know it'll be shaping up to be busy but I hope everyone has a wonderful time as well as getting all those holiday chores done.

Lucinda (fellow Aphrodisia author) and Ellie, you read my books! Thanks so much, and I'm glad you enjoyed them. Deseng -- as for Christmas gifts -- tell your hubby he'll reap side benefits if he gets you the book (wink, wink). Readers often tell me their guys say to pass their thanks along.

Kate, I honestly don't know about the UK. Aphrodisia is a new line and I think they're testing it out. Mind you, I do know the books are available in Australia, in places like Rosemary's Romance Books and Intrigue the Bookstore. UK stores can order them, just like Oz stores can! Let me know if you find them. But yes, Amazon is always reliable.

Thanks for the compliments on my photo. I have a friend to thank for that one. It was a birthday picnic, with champagne in plastic glasses, at Lighthouse Park, a fabulous place in West Vancouver. And yes, Alissa, Vancouver is a wonderful city in a gorgeous setting. I'm so happy to live here. Even though November has been terrible - first we had rain, rain and more rain, and now it's snow. It's not supposed to snow here!

I like my book covers too. Kensington does a great job with them. Champagne Rules gets the sense of gentle connection between Suzanne and Jaxon. And Hot in Here is shiny red because, after all, Scott's a firefighter - and Jenny's Chinese Canadian, and red's a lucky color for Chinese people. Looks like the art department knows what they're doing!

Don't forget to hop over to my website and enter my contest - and you could win a calendar with some of those hot (and heroic) firefighters, not to mention a couple of hot books from my collection.

Anne McAllister said...

Hi Susan,

Great pic and great cover. I like the titles, too. Hot in Here sounds great. And while I haven't been to a anything quite like "Taboo" I do know what you mean about writing expanding horizons. I never thought I'd be going to bull riding school, either!

Vancouver's a great place. Glad to see they have great firefighters, too!

Congrats on your books. Will take a look for them and check out your website!

Susan Lyons said...

Bull riding school, Anne? Okay, that definitely tops any of my experiences. Though I did take a pole-dancing lesson, doing research for Hot in Here. Came away with bruised thighs and a whole new respect for pole dancers. The ones who are good are incredibly strong, flexible and coordinated. I bet it's the same with bull riders!