'On the spot' Interview with Pia Veleno

RJ: Hi Pia! Welcome to the first of my ‘on the spot’ interactive interviews... what does it feel like to be a guinea pig?

PV: I’m not sure. Shouldn’t I get some carrots and fresh shavings to nest in? Will you cuddle me first?

RJ: Cuddling is not included in the interview. The carrots are in the post. ROFL... I am nervous about this first foray into interviewing... but we can see how it goes! So... ready for question one?

RJ: How many books do you have published now??

PV: Oh, good, starting with an easy question. My fourth book was just released August 16th... if we count short stories.

RJ: Count all stories! Tell me a bit more about them...

PV: Well, let’s see. The first three were all paranormal -- angels and demons, that is -- Fallen, Bound By Love, and Man Whore. This newest one, Make You Sweat, is my first contemporary novel. Now I’m torn between the two sub-genres. They’re both fun to write and explore.

RJ: Can you give us a synopsis of your new book?

PV: (Shh... don’t tell, but I’m copying it right off of Loose Id’s website) ;-)

Ready for change, Tyler Pierce has the whole summer ahead of him when he flies to Sand Piper Beach to turn over a new leaf. Sun, swimming, exercise, he’ll return home a new man, sexy and buff. Best of all, several states away from home and college, no one but his dad knows him, so he can muddle through the challenges of getting fit without friends laughing at him.

During his first visit to the fitness center, Tyler meets the sculpted and toned Cody Dawson, fitness instructor and sexy gay man. Not only does Cody help Tyler learn how to use the strength training equipment, but he crashes through Tyler’s fantasies and lures him into bed.

Just a passing fling, Tyler decides. Cody, after all, could get any number of better looking men without even trying. Besides, the summer doesn’t last forever and, too soon, Tyler will return to campus leaving Cody to the ex who wants him back. A summer fling can grow into something more, but it’s up to Tyler to recognize if it’s true love or just heated summer lust.

RJ: Oh I like the look of that one. Will there be any scenes of an intensely hot and sweaty nature in a gym on any sort of equipment?

PV: Of course. That’s what a gym is for... Oh, you mean of the “other” kind of hot and sweaty? LOL, I’m not going to spoil that fun for you, but the title is appropriate. ;-)

RJ: Working out in a gym is kind of intense anyway and involves one hell of a lot of dedication (I normally last about … lets see … a week? ROFL...) so how did you get inside your guy’s head? Do you spend a lot of time in the gym?

PV: I spend more time at the gym in the winter when I can’t get outdoors to run. (Oh, yes, there is running in this one too). I got into Tyler’s head more from the self-conscious aspect of this story’s theme. Tyler isn’t all that comfortable with his body, or what he has to do to improve it. I just started running road races last year, and I tend to be at the back of the pack. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that I’m there to beat my own time, and no one else’s.

RJ: Surely the view is better from behind anyway?

PV: LOL Sometimes. But the runners in the best shape are running the course much faster, so I don’t see them much past the starting line.

RJ: Running *shivers at the horror of exercise whilst admiring you wholly!*. So this new book is M/M. Do you mostly write MM, or do you cross into MF at all?

PV: I used to throw a girl into the mix once in a while, but the more I write M/M the more I avoid female characters. I don’t like the way my girls come across on the page, and throwing two men at each other has many more interesting angles to explore. (And I don’t mean positions!)

RJ: I wasn’t going to say anything... ROFL... So what is it about two men together that gets your *writing* juices flowing?

PV: LOL, writing juices huh? That’s a question I hear often (though not in those terms exactly ;) ) but I don’t have a precise answer. Part of it, I think, is that I never quite relinquished the tomboy attitude. I also don’t believe in gender stereotypes. Lace isn’t just for women, and muscles aren’t required to be manly.

RJ: Well there is something about a man..........

PV: Oh, yes, there is something... and then add a second man and... *sigh*

RJ: Can you share an excerpt of the book for us? Just a couple of paragraphs to let people see what the book is like?

PV: Excerpt! Yes, I can do that.

Tyler sat down at a machine near the door. He studied the design for a moment before putting his arms against the gunmetal gray pads. When he pushed, they didn’t move. He glanced at stack to his right. The pin held eighty pounds. If he’d been alone, he would’ve laughed to blow off the stupid feeling creeping up his spine. Instead, with a quick glance at the men to make sure they still ignored him, Tyler fought past the flush rising up his neck and moved the pin up to thirty. He pressed the pads together. Come on, come on, come on. They wiggled; the black stack shifted upward an inch and then dropped with a solid thwack. The little black blocks with their numbers etched in multiples of ten mocked his weak muscles.

The trio of weight lifters glanced in his direction, their voices quieter and indecipherable as they exchanged a few words. Two laughed, and then the third punched them both, refocusing their attention on their workout. Tyler’s cheeks warmed, and he gritted his teeth. Tyler considered changing the pin again, but thanks to the muscle heads in the corner, he felt plenty self-conscious already.

Across the room a treadmill stopped. Tyler had been so intimidated by the lifters casually tossing around metal weighing as much as he did, he hadn’t noticed the noise of the treadmill’s motor until it fell silent. Tyler glanced up. His mouth fell open when he recognized the runner he’d been drooling over in the elevator yesterday. He made sweatpants and a T-shirt look damn sexy. Sun-speckled auburn hair trimmed military short did little to keep sweat from dripping down the sides of his face. His tee clung to cut muscles along broad chest and shoulders but stopped short of his narrow waist. He threw his head back, drinking deeply from a plastic sports bottle. Tyler watched his throat bob with each swallow until the man lowered his drink and looked straight at him.

Snapping his mouth shut and swallowing the lust in his throat, Tyler looked away. He licked his lips. Eyes glued to his sneakers, Tyler squeezed the pads together. The stack climbed a shaky half inch and then slipped from his control, slamming down to its mates.

“Can I help?”

Tyler flinched at the voice. Not at the sound — he could listen to that rich, friendly voice caress his ears all afternoon — but the proximity startled him. He glanced up into soft brown eyes, suddenly so much closer and looking right at him, and then quickly dropped his gaze, stuttering as his mind raced faster than his tongue could spit out the words.

“If you raise your seat a couple of notches,” the runner said, “you’ll have better leverage.”
Tyler lifted his gaze upward, inch by inch, crawling up the powerful, muscular legs of a long-distance runner; narrow hips and a waist that didn’t see much junk food; chest muscles under a sticky, wet shirt looking like a plastic toy in their hardened perfection; large hands drying themselves on a white towel; and that jaw, square and stubbled enough to tickle the stomach or thighs when at play.

Oh God, you can leverage me anytime you want. “W-what?” Tyler pictured the man as he’d seen him in the elevator yesterday — shirtless. He stole Tyler’s voice in just the same way today.

“Let me show you.” The man waved Tyler away from the machine. Tyler dutifully bowed to the authoritative air of the handsome stranger, waiting patiently to one side as he tugged on the seat, lifting it upward until it clicked into the next position. “Try that.”

RJ: I seriously love the sound of this! Do you have a cover I can post as well?

PV: Thanks RJ! I did have fun with these two guys. The cover is the source of strange squealing sounds residents of New England might have heard last week. I requested this artist, but didn’t expect to get her. PL Nunn does great yaoi style cover art for some of my favorite authors, and I’m honored to have her work representing Make You Sweat.

RJ: Nice one! So tell me about a typical writing experience for you? Do you sketch a story out, write notes etc, or do you write on the fly?

PV: Yes, and yes, and yes. LOL, no really. I’ll start with a little nugget of something, and writing about it, or him, and then once I’ve figured out the characters and their issues I’ll stop and sketch out a rough synopsis to make sure it actually is going somewhere besides the bedroom (or restroom, or back room, or...) I don’t always follow that map, but it does help me rein in wilder characters to some degree.

RJ: Or gym equipment...

PV: LOL, okay, I have to warn you. The equipment stays... clean?

RJ: OMG... I was drinking tea... *wipes screen*

PV: And the cat is now ticked off that I laughed too loud and woke her.

RJ: So... this new book is with Loose Id... you are also published with Silver... which of your books is with which publisher and do you have links?

PV: Loose Id only has this one, but I have two others that I think would fit them if I ever get around to finishing them.

Make You Sweat can be found here: http://www.loose-id.com/Make-You-Sweat.aspx

My three from Silver can be found here (as well as a fourth due out on Halloween): www.bit.ly/piavelenoSP

RJ: Do you have to fit writing around full time *non writery* work?

PV: Sadly yes, but my “Job That Pays The Bills” is cyclic. I can have long spans of nothing to do but be available should a client need me, so I work writing time in during those periods. It’s not foolproof, and I have to be quick with the minimize button when writing at work, but it does help.

RJ: Congrats on the Halloween book as well, can you tell us a bit about that?

PV: It’s more of a bittersweet kind of story -- a horror/ghost story with an underlying relationship, so not straight up erotic romance as I’ve been writing.

RJ: Was that difficult to do?

PV: Strangely no. I want to write more horror, and I’ve struggled to get there, but this ghost wanted his story told. I let him tell it, but I’m not sure I could do it again as easily.

RJ: Is there a type of book you would like to write that you struggle to think what to write? Historical? Comedy???

PV: Funny you should mention comedy. If I set out to write humor, I fail miserably, but when I tried sarcasm in a work report to get out of a certain task, everyone thought it was hilarious and insisted I continue to write up those reports.

Honestly though, I’d love to brush up on the horror, or maybe experiment with sci-fi, but the world building (or monster building) intimidates me.

RJ: Tell me about it, Fire was like that... :-(

Anyway...last few things... tell me about Pia Veleno (without copying and pasting your bio! Yes, i can see you doing that as i ask... rofl)

PV: ROFL, you caught me. I was pulling up my GoodReads profile even as you typed that.

Let’s see... about Pia. Well, I’d much rather talk about my boys than myself, but i know you won’t let me get away with changing the subject!

I’m a reader (but not as much as I’d like), a runner (though I’m off my feet recovering from injury), a dancer (but only when no one is looking), and a hopeless introvert (can we make online plans for next Saturday so I can avoid the big pool party?)

RJ: An introvert? Well that is not something i would have said about you, but then again, I am a hopeless introvert too... I think it may be common with a lot of writers! And yes, this Saturday, I’ll be at a BBQ at my sisters, come on over (course England is a bit far!)

RJ: Last question, and this is about your new book, Make You Sweat. Your two characters. Can you sum them up briefly? Just to remind us of who they are!

PV: You might have me at “briefly”...

Tyler Pierce is taking a break from college before his senior year to “buff up” while none of his friends are around to laugh at him for trying. He wants to look like the hot guys he watches on the beach, but he’s a twink with a lot of work to do to get there.

Cody Dawson is a certified fitness instructor who works out at his condo facility when he’s not working for his paycheck. He helps Tyler with his first strength training session, and then offers to help him out around the beach town too.

While Tyler’s figuring out who he wants to be, Cody is enjoying who Tyler already is.

RJ: Oh that is a COOL strapline... did you just think of that?

PV: Actually, yes. *quickly scribbles it down for use again later*

RJ: Well it is AWESOME tweet length... rofl...

PV: Indeed, it is a good tweet length. You’re always planning ahead, aren’t you. :)

RJ: Erm... yes... rofl...

Thank you Pia for taking the time to come on over and chat. I wish you every success with your new book and look forward to chatting to you again... xx

Thanks RJ, it was fun being your experiment today. I’ll admit it now, I was a bit nervous (you know, that introvert thing). I have a couple of more guest visits in the blog world, and I hope your wonderful readers will drop by and hang out there too. I’ll post a list on my blog this weekend: http://piaveleno.com

Thank you for reading, dear Readers. Have a great Happily Ever After.


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