Blog Stop: Lillian MacKenzie Rhine, author of ‘Memoirs of a Succubus’

Memoirs of a Succubus cover

Every author, I believe, remembers what and when they first wrote something just for the pleasure of it, because the writing of it made them feel good, or because they had a story inside them that yearned to be told. And the second most cherished memory that authors have, could very well be the first time they shared what they wrote, and the reactions that produced.

And I truly believe  most writers experience that joy and excitement all over again when watching other authors go through that process of first stepping out and letting others experience their work. Given that, I am happy to host my friend Lillian MacKenzie Rhine, whose very first published work, Memoirs of a Succubus is currently available on Amazon.

What was the very first thing you ever wrote, and how old were you?

This might sound funny but the very first thing I have ever wrote creatively outside of dispute letters for work was Memoirs of a Succubus and I am 32.  Unlike a lot of authors, I did not come up with a pen and a pad in hand.  I was more of a calculator, chemical, and calendars-type child.

What motivated you to share your writing with the world?

Others that had previously heard my stories from my past motivated me to share my writing with the world.  Memoirs of a Succubus was a piece based on my prior trysts with lovers and there were a lot of messages and morals contained within the piece that I learned from my experiences.

Memoirs of a Succubus is your first published book, but if you had to think of one core message, a common strand that you want to run through your work, what would that be?

My common strand would be that everyday struggles in every aspect make you real to the world and when you come off as authentic then your readers can relate to you.  There are struggles and fights found in everyone’s aspect of life; and, when it comes to books and genres, you can portray that theme in many ways.

You write erotic fiction. What appeals to you about this genre, and what are you trying to tell your readers?

Yes, Memoirs of a Succubus is an erotic piece due to the subject nature of a succubus and her past lovers.  What I am trying to get across to my readers is that sex is not always dysfunctional (yes, sometimes it can be) but things happen in life for a reason (even dysfunctional things). Do not look at a one-night-stand as something horrible, but a tantalizing experience of carnality without thought.

When you write, do you think of plot first, or characters first? Tell us about your process for “building” your stories.

My story builds itself for the most part.  The story itself forms its own foundation then I can plan out what follows.  For instance, Memoirs of a Succubus is considered a paranormal/urban fantasy piece; that was not my intention.  I had originally set out to tell my past story of lovers gone but when I created the title, it changed my flow into something of a paranormal nature. My current work in progress, William’s Winter a vampire romance, was inspired by looking at someone’s teeth (sounds crazy but it happens).

What are the best conditions for you to write in—quiet and alone, or in the middle of the action?

The conditions that have to be met for me to flow is several pencils, a large notebook, and the biggest eraser that I can find.  I have noticed that I usually start out stretched out on my stomach across my king-sized bed then I move into other positions as the writing continues. I actually had the chance to write in another location (another bed to be exact) but I got completely blocked (which was very funny).

In Memoirs of a Succubus, there is a specific paranormal reason for Natalya’s overly-sexualized behavior, but what are your thoughts on heroines who are highly-sexual? What are your thoughts on Natalya?

I do not see anything wrong with Natalya’s overly-sexualized behavior; it’s awesome actually. She controls her sex, having orgasms when she is ready, and she can care less about the man releasing.  All women should live this way in my opinion. Take control so you will not fall prey is something that I lived by in the past.  When you gain that lover that you can trust with everything in your heart, body, and spirit then you can relinquish the control but until then a woman has the most power in and out of the bedroom.  We as women are not fueled by sex, we fuel sex.  There is a wonderful, thought-provoking film out there titled Anatomy of Hell that showcases this very point; I implore you to take a look and listen to the message provided.

What other genre are you interested in writing as a new writer?

I have an open approach to genre writing.  So far I have had my hands in paranormal, urban fantasy, historical fiction, adult humor and now my works in progress boast GLBT romance, vampire romance, prison romance.

What are you working on now and when might we expect another Lillian MacKenzie Rhine book?

I am working on a lot of things right now along side of marketing and promoting Memoirs of a Succubus. My current big project is William’s Winter where I am almost to the midway point; this novel will release end of August 2013. You can check out an excerpt on my blog July 4th. After that I will finish Memoirs of a Succubus: Ungulavia which is full fantasy slated to release December 2013. I will be starting a project with an established writer within the next few weeks that will be something of the supernatural nature. My GLBT romance will be submitted to a publishing house for their consideration within the next month or so. So I have a lot of things going on so check out my blog for weekly updates.

What’s the best advice you ever got from someone about the writing life?

The best advice that I have gotten from someone about the writing life is something that I have taken and run with. That would be to think outside the box.  This falls into play in every aspect of writing. I will say one secret that I have created of my own just to share with the readers of this interview, when it comes to marketing there are a lot of groups out there (outside of Facebook and other social media platforms) that specifically relate to your piece. Seek these groups out, join them, tell your story, and build the relationships that are needed to be successful in this uphill battle of selling material. Do not get stuck in the fame of the game, sitting high on the loyalty of fans because all it takes is someone new to think outside of the box and the game will be forever changed.

Thanks for stopping by, Lillian! We’re going to be looking out for more of your work!

It’s a holiday tomorrow, everyone, so if you’re trying to think of something new and exciting to read, drop by Amazon to 

check her out!

-N-

You can find Lillian’s work here on Amazon.com

And if you want to get in touch with her, here’s how you do it:

Email: lillianmacrhine@gmail.com

Blog: http://lillianmackenzierhine.wordpress.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lillymacrhine

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LillianMackenzieRhine

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18137205-memoirs-of-a-succubus

Review of ‘Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever’

Books are like movies. There’s rarely ever a new plot out there. In fact, every single book ever written is probably a variation of one of five basic plots, in my opinion. So it takes some skill to make what you write seem like something completely new. It takes even more skill to pull off and maintain reader interest when you write something that you explicitly want people to associate with something that’s been done before. L.V. Lewis managed to do that with ‘Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever’ and that’s why I wanted to dedicate my last post before I go into writing mode to her book.

Here’s my review. Please read it! And then buy her book here.

Happy Reading!
-Nia-

Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever (The Ghetto Girl Romance Quadrilogy, #1)Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever by L.V. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever is not at all what you might think.

For starters, I should say that I have a love-hate relationship with the Fifty Shades trilogy by E.L. James. I think the writing wasn’t . . . well, whatever, but let’s just say I wasn’t impressed by her craftsmanship. But (and this is a BIG but) she had something that many writers who are great craftspeople don’t have – she had a definite ear for what resonates emotionally. Despite my eye-rolling over some of her word choices, I had genuine emotional shifts while reading the story she crafted. But this is not about E.L. James. This is about L.V. Lewis (see what she did there? even her pen name is a play on the prior series – nice), a writer who has both emotional and verbal eloquence. And to top that all off, wit as well. Not just the ability to interject funny one-liners, but true intelligent wit that comes through loud and clear in her writing.

So if I had to say what I most enjoyed about this book, it would be that. She also paired an unlikely hero and heroine in virtually unbelievable circumstances and gave them such strong voices that you could see them and believe that they do in fact exist, or that they could.

No one is more surprised than I am that I loved this book. I hate – yes hate – the term “jungle fever” to refer to interracial relationships. (And I could go on forever about why, but I won’t.) And the only time I use the word “ghetto” is to refer to places not people. And come to think of it, not even then. So I was a little biased from the outset. But as has been the case with almost all my biases, I was proven wrong. The title is parody wrapped up in irony cloaked in social commentary with a healthy dollop of humor. So that takes care of the title. So don’t be afraid of it because of that . . . now about the plot.

I know, I know. The innocent-and-the-billionaire has been done to death. First up, Keisha is no innocent. She is a smart-mouth, streetwise, intelligent and driven woman who is not about to be led down anyone’s primrose path. But having said that, she has the wind knocked out of her by the force of her attraction to Tristan White (hah! the choice of surname, again demonstrating the author’s humor)and embarks on an unconventional relationship, being indoctrinated into the exciting and pleasurable world of BDSM. And, as was the case in that other Fifty Shades series, she is as surprised as anyone that she loves “all that kinky shit”.

L.V. Lewis walks us through her internal monologue and has Keisha thinking things that you could totally imagine you might think if presented with an extremely attractive new lover who just happens to want to tie you up and “punish” you a little bit. The exchanges between Tristan and Keisha were humorous, sexy, clever and oh-so-true-to-life, considering the utter unlikelihood of the situation. And I don’t mind telling you that the sex scenes increased my pulse, I mean, considerably. And hey, I write sex scenes, so I know how clinical the writing of it can be, but the reading of these . . . let’s just say, not clinical. At all.

Having read the other Fifty Shades series, I know what is likely to happen between Keisha and Tristan, but already it’s clear that L.V. Lewis is an artist in her own right, not someone doing a cheap knock-off, because the places where she chose to depart from the other series (not just the obvious – like the interracial relationship, girl-from-the-‘hood aspect) were smart choices. So now I’m curious to see in the remaining parts of the quadrilogy where she goes. My only complaint is that there will be three remaining parts (I hate series) but who the heck am I kidding? I’m going to buy them all.

View all my reviews

The Chase

© Tim Pannell/Corbis

Not being a full-time writer myself, I spend as much time as I can reading other writers in my genre not just to enjoy them, but to study them and figure out how things are trending. In contemporary romance, I’ve noticed that increasingly, writers are shortening or even getting rid of ‘the chase’. You know what I mean; that part of the romance arc where the woman resists, protests and runs away from the hero because she is just sooooo overwhelmed by the strength of the feelings he evokes? She wants him, badly. But it’s just too strong a feeling and it scares her. She wants to fall in love, but she resists because he arouses so much more than her emotions, he awakens her libido. And Lord knows, we can’t have that!

Fortunately, we seem to be getting rid of that crap.

Now when I read contemporary romance, I’ve noticed that the chase is a lot shorter. There may be some token resistance but it’s almost never motivated by the woman’s fear of her sexuality, it’s motivated by pride or competitiveness or arrogance, traits that are traditionally male traits in popular fiction. Now, by and large the female leads are now more in charge of and comfortable with their sexuality and tend to be pretty cool about putting an end to the chase on their terms and taking advantage of an opportunity to satisfy their sexual needs, not just provide satisfaction to the man.

Still, the converse is true in the new rash of BDSM romances. In those, the surrender, submission and giving in is dramatic and graphic. The traditional chase in those books is lengthened and the eventual surrender by the female protagonist is more dramatic as a result. That’s interesting in and of itself because it means that women surrendering has become so outside of the mainstream that it’s acceptable only in the context of an overtly dominant-submissive relationship (which has not yet completely achieved full mainstream acceptance).

By now you’ve probably figured out from this blog that I’m overly analytical, and many of you are rolling your eyes and going, “Oh for heaven’s sake, they’re just romance novels.” I disagree. I think novels, like movies and even like television commercials, are the real catalogs of our times, even more so than histories that get written later. So I’m paying close attention and hope you are too. Next time you read a contemporary romance and feel tempted to dismiss it as fluff, I would challenge you to look deeper . . . I think the key to what it all means may lie in the chase.

-Nia-