Aug. 17, 2022

Safe spaces with S.J. Tilly

Safe spaces with S.J. Tilly
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We have S.J. Tilly’s day job to thank for her books. While she was on the road for work, she conjured stories in her head. By the time she wrote them all down, she had five books ready for rapid release. Our conversation is free-flowing and wide-ranging — moving from the mechanics of writing romance to the mechanics of sex to how writing and reading romance is part of our evil plan to dismantle the patriarchy. Plus, I read an excerpt from her super steamy book Smoky Darling.


This podcast is brought to you by ProWriting Aid, the AI editing software that I use before shipping my manuscript off to my editor. Visit to give it a test drive! 

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Elle 0:00
SJ Tilley is a contemporary romance author who lives and bases all of her books and Minnesota when she's not busy writing, editing or otherwise stressing herself to death over her books, she's spending time with her husband and their three rescue boxers. And when she's had enough of them, you can find her elbow deep and compost in her gardens. Welcome, SJ to steam scenes. Thank you so much for being here.

SJ 0:22
Thank you for having me. I'm so excited.

Elle 0:24
I'm super excited. I feel okay, so. So what before our listeners who do not know this? Before I have guests on, I send a list of questions. And I try to keep it like to 10 because I feel like when you go above 10 Like it's a little it's a little daunting, you know, and some of them are always like, sort of very general. I asked it of everybody. Although even asked of everybody. I don't even ask question. Like, I don't follow the script, like I'll veer off. But you know, so I have some sort of standard questions. And then I have like some more particular questions. I was, I was like, I was like, I'm sending her too many questions I had. So like, I feel like I have so much to say to you and talk to you about.

SJ 1:04
I'm here for it. Okay, all right.

Elle 1:08
Awesome. Okay, so, um, just to sort of set this up, you only started publishing last year, correct?

SJ 1:15
That is correct. Which didn't happen necessarily by plan. It was me not knowing what I'm doing.

Elle 1:27
Talking about that.

SJ 1:29
Right, which is a common theme in my life is I'm just stumbling through one day to the next, hoping for the best.

Elle 1:36
Okay, so to back up a second. So when so you have these books, and you released a bunch of them last year? It was like five or six? Right?

SJ 1:46
Yeah, yeah. Okay. Did.

Elle 1:48
When did you start writing them?

SJ 1:50
Okay, so this is where my brain stops working is timelines. But I started writing I think 2019. And this, I spent a lot of time on the road with my blurriness day job. And I'd sit there and daydream. And so I started thinking of this outline. And lo and behold, that was Sleek Kitten. So one night, I just like sat down. I'm like, I'm just gonna read this. And so I wrote it. And then I tried to get an agent because I didn't know what to do. I don't know what the fuck self publishing was. We can swear, right? Yeah, we're sorry. Oh, my God. Oh,

Elle 2:18
yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

SJ 2:21
Okay, perfect. I assumed as much as I got shit. Okay. So, but I couldn't get an agent. No one wanted my book, you know. And so I just kept writing. And then I had five completed books. I had the three sent three sleep books to send books, and I didn't know what the fuck to do with them. And then it would have been November of 2020. I think I like one an auction for a mini mentorship with Jamin. Eve, who's also an amazing romance author. Does a lot more paranormal romance. She does a lot of CO writes with Tate James, she's based over in Australia. Anywho. She's amazing. So she mentored me and basically was like, Bitch, publish these one month, one book a month, five months in a row, just get them out there. And

Elle 3:09
I was wondering what because you did do that's technically what you did was rapid release.

SJ 3:13
Right. Right. And I didn't even know I had a name. So that would have been so yeah, it was ended 2020 I won the auction. She she was like moving. And then I met with her in January, just like you know, over the phone. And then march 1 Was Mr. Santa did March, April, May, June, July. And then I wrote another book and then publish that one in the very end of October. So yeah, I had six books last year, which is not the expectation I want to set for my readers. Like a one off? Yeah. It's never gonna be repeated. Yeah.

Elle 3:45
So did you come to writing almost by accident? Or was this something that you always wanted to do you were doing when you're a kid? And then like, you know, everybody tells you well, writers don't make money. What are you talking about? You want to be a writer?

SJ 3:57
Right? Well, so I've always enjoyed storytelling. I've always liked writing. You know, I do a shout out to like my fourth grade teacher in my first book. Because like, she would let me you know, sneak out of English class to go write stories in the library. But that's where like, she was great, Mrs. Watson, I love you. But that's where it ended. You know, like, I never, I never thought about it. Like, it wasn't ever something I thought I should do. Or really considered. You know, and then just one night is like, just started writing it and I like emailed it to my mom that night. I'm like, hey, look what I'm doing. And she's like, you're writing a book? I guess. So. We'll see.

Elle 4:39
I can't quit parse. Like the, the voice. Your mom's voice. They're like, I can't tell us that's like, like this sort of like, oh, how fabulous honey, or if it's like, oh, you're writing a

SJ 4:52
BA it's probably somewhere in the middle. Yeah. And my mom, okay, my mom is super supportive. She's alive. Mariam, she is like it. So she's all about the book life, she gave me my first romance book, which I know is one of the questions we can talk about. But so okay, my writing style, which totally weird some people out and you've read one of my spicy scenes. So every night when I finished writing, I email my manuscript to my mom. And I've done this since book one. And so the whole the whole fucking thing. So she the next morning, cuz she gets up early to stay up late, she opens it, she has her coffee, and she reads it and then she'll send me her edits. So then that way, it makes it easier when I actually go through to edit because now I've been cleaning it up as I go. But so the very

Elle 5:38
FAMAS kind of your first pass.

SJ 5:40
Yeah, so like, I didn't even know like what a beta or alpha reader was, you know, I still don't really understand. But my mom is that for me, and I have one other friend that gets my copies as I go. But the very first time I had to send her, it's a fingerbang scene in Sleek Kitten. I like write it and I'm like getting ready to send her the email and I just like I got a little drunk. And then I just wrote lol.

Elle 6:06
I was gonna I was gonna say, like, like, Did you agonize over hitting send at that point? I don't know how I don't know.

SJ 6:13
I mean, it was awkward, you know. And then like the next scene, you know, bumped it up, you know? But now, so Smokey Darling not the scene I gave you. But there's one later that's, I'd say the filthiest scene I've ever written. And I was like, Oh,

Elle 6:26
I'm getting this book. Because I thought, okay, so I was gonna save this, but I might as well say it at the beginning because this is the hook. This is the spiciest seen. I think I've read on Steam Scenes.

SJ 6:40

Elle 6:42
I think you've done it.

SJ 6:43

Elle 6:44
Oh, my God, I think you've done it.

SJ 6:47
And this is the tame one in this book.

Elle 6:50
And that's why I'm like, holy shit. There's one here than this. Like, seriously, my cheeks were on fire when I was like reading this to myself in my head. So I don't know what's gonna happen when I actually have to read it out loud. So

SJ 7:08
well, you know, as you continue writing books, you got to change it up. You got to think of something different. And this guy, you know, Beckett in this book, he's a little filthy, you know? So, it, you know, his scenes are filthy. It's a good classic small town romance. You know, that's just what every small town really needs.

Elle 7:33
So were you always a romance reader?

SJ 7:36
No. So that's where I've always been a reader, right? And I didn't really no, the romance genre and like, I read a ton of like Stephen King Dean Koontz was like, my fucking jam and college. Read the shit out of that, you know, grew up on like, Goosebumps, whatever, you know, but so after college, I did the classic move into my mom's basement, you know, fully degreed and nothing to fucking do. And so she would like give me books. I don't even know where she got this one because this wasn't a library book. It was a paperback copy. And it was Naked in Death by JD Robb, which is Nora Roberts alter ego. And that series is amazing. It has held up I think that first book was like in 1995 was published. There are now like, a kid, you know, like 54 books in this series. It's insane. But it was my first romance book. And it was actually two it's like romantic suspense. And I know you had kind of talked about that. Because she's like a detective. He's like a billionaire Bad Boy, you know, from your own side of the tracks, whatever. But that was like my first taste in it. Because I've always loved the suspense, the thrillers even now still, like there's like a few like assassin novel series that like I'm obsessed with. But it kind of combined that with romance. And as we all know, right, your listeners, everyone like romance is it's more than just the hot steamy times. It's the relationship. It's that you know, that growth. And so that was my introduction to it. And I'm like, Oh, shit, this is amazing. And that was before. Ebooks were a thing then. But kind of knew. And I was still like, I'm not going to do an e book. I want paperbacks. You know? I'm like, I'm like five at a time. So like $6 a paperback on Amazon for these you know, cuz they're like the mass produce. She's obviously traditionally published. But yeah, that was really my my start into it. And then once I got a Kindle, everything changed. You know, like, just the availability and you're like, oh, shit, there's like 1000s of amazing options here.

Elle 9:38
Yeah, almost. It's it's almost like to like sometimes I'll just sort Yeah, you do like the Doom scrolling. Like, I'm like that on Amazon where I just can't make my choice.

SJ 9:48
Oh, yeah. Yeah, well, that's why I don't watch TV anymore. Like Netflix. I will like Oh, I'm gonna eat something. Let me watch something and then the entire time I'm like, eating I'm just trying to find something to watch and then I'm done. I'm like, Well, okay, that was fucking dumb. Yeah.

Elle 10:01
Yeah, I was gonna have dinner, watch TV, but I'm eating dinner and trying to find something to watch. And then I'm like, I guess I'll go to bed now. Yeah,

SJ 10:08
it's over. So and that's where like finding authors you love is great, you know, because then you can binge them and like and with the algorithm that can work for against you, but then it's like, Oh, you like this to read this? And you're like, okay, and then you go down rabbit hole. And me personally, I read every sub genre for the most part, like I love historical romance. I'm currently listening to like a Highlander one. I love paranormal romance. Love contemporary. I love dark. Sweet.

Elle 10:34
I think and I think that this is like, I think romance readers read across the genres. I haven't No, I don't think I've met one reader who said, Oh, no, no, no, no, I only read Regency. Yeah. Do you know, I know some? Do you really, because I haven't met any anyone.

SJ 10:52
I think the ones that I know, though, too, are like, I only read contemporary. But I also think that they haven't tried the other ones, you know, or like, they're just not interested in the paranormal because they maybe have preconceived notions of it or something when I'm like, look like it's so broad. Like, you can't possibly know that you I mean, there's like, there's, I saw somewhere because someone you know, people are bashing romance all the fucking time. Oh, no. Yes. How to do right, right. And I saw something, somewhere where someone, like counted out all the sub genres and like, tropes and whatever that are available in romance. So when someone's like, I don't like romance, and I think it was like, 420 sub genres or something like that. That's a lot of stuff. Yeah. Right. I mean, some of them got really specific. But so it's like, you know, I don't like this. It's like, what? No, this is too broad. You can't No, not like all this.

Elle 11:43
Yeah, I mean, that. I mean, that's, I think that's the great thing about romance. Like, there's a flavor for everybody. You know, and just, you know, it's fun I owe so I took this Saxon relationship and intimacy coaching class to help me write my steamy sleep. So interesting. Have a bit of a professional now. Doing the whole get to know you with the class thing, right? Like, there was this person who was, you know, what I was like, Oh, I write romance. This person came forward. And they were like, oh, yeah, you know, I tried to read romance during the pandemic, but I like read a few books. And I just couldn't believe like, what they what these books were promoting. And, like, in terms of, I don't even know what they were just like this real like, and I do she answer was totally douchey. And it was really kind of passive aggressive. You know, and this person is from the kink world, like, I was not expecting this, right, because they do a lot of BDSM work and kink work. And so I'm just kind of like, you know, sitting there at my computer looking at this comment. And I'm like, I guess you just haven't found your flavor. And you know, you don't yuck on someone's Yum, because, you know, romance readers spam, like, the gamut. Like, you just probably just didn't find the right books for you or something like that. But um, for sure, it's like, super surprised. And I was, and that just just sort of stuck with me, because here I am in this program that is obviously very sucks forward. You know, and usually, that sort of criticism for romance is like, well, it's just porn.

SJ 13:29
conservative person. That's yeah, like someone in the kink community. That's not something I was

Elle 13:34
expecting somebody in the, and then it was like, I guess maybe because there is a lot of like, more, I mean, depending what you're reading, but there is a lot of vanilla sex. It can be kind of heteronormative. But Oh, for sure. But again, like there, but there's still there's plenty of there's plenty of other stuff there. There's plenty of kink. There's plenty of you know, male male, there's plenty of trans. There's plenty. You just need to look for it.

SJ 14:00
Yeah, like you said, I mean, there's a book for everything. And I know, and I'm sure you've gotten this question. And I know I've talked about it and other like interviews, podcasts or whatever it where it's like, as soon as I started writing the people in my life, because I told everyone I knew because I want people on my books. I'm like, No one went, my friends are gonna buy this. I'm gonna tell everyone to buy it. And I'm like, Yeah, I'm writing romance. And like, so many people are like, Oh, is that like, 50 Shades of Grey? And I'm like, Oh, my God. Like, yes, that is a romance book. But if that's the only basis you have, then you need to read more. You know, it's like, these people that that's the only exposure they've ever had, and especially someone because I know people in the kink community that have read that book, and hate it, you know, because it's not like,

Elle 14:40
to whatever it's yeah, it's not Yeah.

SJ 14:44
And like, and so I could see someone like that if that's all they read, and they're like, oh, I don't get into this. It's like, that's one book. That's one series like, love it or hate it. I don't care. Like I know a lot of people that love it. That's great, you know, like, and introduce people to romance. So like I appreciate what it did for the community as far as that goes like Making more people aware of it. But then it's like when someone asks you that, or someone tries to compare something to that you're like, Okay, guys, like there's like 1000s, if not millions of books in this umbrella, it's the biggest selling general worldwide romances. It's a billion dollar industry.

Elle 15:15
It's like a multi billion dollar industry. Yeah. And I do think that a lot of the vitriol is because, you know, for the most part, and I again, for the most part, there are plenty of romance readers that are men, but mostly women, it's mostly women. And it's mostly women writing for women. And so I think that there is this sort of, yeah, there's there is an attitude and you get it from women. You get it from men, you get it from, you know, it's not, it's not necessarily sort of, you know, yeah, anyway.

SJ 15:48
Yeah. One, it's female empowerment is what yeah, like, Yeah, and you see that, and it's like, too, and like the men and like, this is where, you know, we were talking before we started recording, right, like about booktok. And like, you see, like, these stupid men, tic tok that are like bashing lady porn and whatever else. And it's like, dude, just because you can't give a woman an orgasm doesn't mean you need to shit on romance, you know, like, you're just pissed at the expectation now is that she's going to actually fucking enjoy herself for once. Like, imagine that, right? Imagine that. Like, I mean, when you look at some of these studies, that are done, like just as like the society as a whole, and they're like, you know, like, 60% of women don't experience orgasms during sex. And you're like, THE FUCK IS THAT? What relationship are you in? Like? Yeah, right. And so but these women read these books, and they're like, Oh, wait. And obviously, like, you know, some of these scenes are exaggerated, and like, we have bad backs and knees and whatever, you know, the shits not going to happen in real life. But like, enjoy yourself. I mean, right?

Elle 16:51
No, it's true. I mean, absolutely. And I mean, I think, what is this, like, there was something I don't even remember the statistic but like, X amount of men, like, don't eat percentage of men, like don't even know what the clitoris is for. They think we're only orgasm through penetration. And it's something like, I don't know, only, like 10% of women can actually orgasm through penetration. Yeah, it's there. It's kind of wild how little we know about and it's sad. It's

SJ 17:19
education. And even, like, you know, even something that was something recently, and we're getting way off on the weeds here. But like, some woman had, like a medical thing that she was like dealing with. And like, they found it. Like, there's been so little, like, even just like medical research into, like, female anatomy, you know, where it's like, you've studied the dick to death, like, but we can't do that, you know, and it's just like, so again, it's like, women are not at the forefront here. But they are in romance. And so that scares people, when, like, really, we're just trying to, like, get ours, you know, like, and enjoy yourselves and like, and that's part of the books too. Like, we just want to enjoy yourself. Some people do it for, you know, different things. But really, who cares? Why someone reads it? Like, there's no need to shit on it.

Elle 18:01
I mean, yeah, I mean, I guess I do. The one thing that is sort of always really important to sort of recognize, too, that I think people don't get it, like they really don't get it is that, you know, a fan fantasy that and this is some form of fantasy for women, it is so important for everybody to have that and to have that sort of active fantasy life, and you can get it through books, and you can get it through films, and you can get it, you know, I don't necessarily think like straight male porn is the best place to get it. But hey, you can get it that way, too. You know, um, and so I think that it just, you know, it really, I don't know, it's just not very, it's, it's very short sighted, for people to sort of have a whole genre that beautiful, I mean, and really, truly beautiful writing, but you know,

SJ 18:51
right, and that's like, and there's it's a safe space to explore some of these things, like their books and like shit that I've read in books, and I'm like, This is amazing. I never want to do this in person. But I absolutely want to read about this, you know, like, or, you know, if you're in a monogamous relationship, you're not gonna be able to have your reverse harem, you know, but I can read it all day long, like, you know, right. And it's also the unrealistic expectation like, when was the last time you had like, some action hero? Like, how many people is James Bond slept with? Right? And how many times we've seen him sleeping with people in movies. And no one cares about that. So it's like, but then that's like this book. They're like, Oh, it's a book about sex or like, no, it's about characters, and they happen to have sex just like they do in your fucking movies. But somehow, it's different now. You know, like, yeah, it's just the hypocrisy. People are so fucking

Elle 19:39
hypocritical. It is true. It is true. There's a lot of hypocrisy there. It's like what was that? I think it was like the Jack Reacher book, Lee childs Jack Reacher book. Yeah, I think in that one, I only read the first one I'm trying to remember but I think that he does have sex with a woman in it. But it's really funny because it's like a fade to black but very awkward.

SJ 19:59
Yeah, I've read a bunch. I've read a bunch of those. Yeah. Yeah, there was like, there's one book further down the line. I remember where there was actually like a semi graphic sex scene. And this was before I get into romance, and I was like, oh shit, what is this? Like, you know, and it's like in there to like some of these assassins series. I. So orphan x by Greg Hurwitz is an amazing fucking series, and I love it so much and whatever. It's super great. And there's a few scenes with sex on there throughout like the six or seven books that he has, but they're like Fade to black. And I get it and it's like, he doesn't want to write that. That's not what the books about. But it's also like, you get to really graphic murder. No. Like, I mean, some of the shit he does to kill people. You're just like, Oh, my God.

Elle 20:42
But we're gonna sit down and

SJ 20:45
yeah, yeah, I mean, like, it's intense. It's not for the faint of heart. But then yeah, like, oh, but we're gonna fade to black for this missionary style that they're gonna have here. You know? We can't handle that. Right? You're like, Oh, my girls. Oh, yeah. But also murder him. In the worst way possible. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, ridic.

Elle 21:08
I mean, I think I, you know, I think that they're also missing something because so much character work comes through the intimate scenes for my characters. Anyway, you know, and I mean, maybe it's because of romance, but they don't because of the genre we're writing in with romance. But, but I don't feel like it needs to only be for romance. I do feel like certain like that romantic and town entanglement can push characterization forward, whether you're writing a mystery, whether you're writing a thriller, whether it you know, there are 1000 ways you can you can work with character and have like a little bit of steam in your book and not be writing romance.

SJ 21:44
Absolutely. I mean, it's it's human nature, it's relationships, like that's what it is. Right? And that's in every book unless you're doing like, you know, Castaway and he's by himself, like all even then even then he's gonna get entertain himself somehow.

Elle 21:59
Wilson, right.

I want to jump back for a second because you were like saying you're on the road. You were bored. You're like outlining your first book. When did you so you have an outline? And when were you like, you know, I think I want to sit down and write this thing.

SJ 22:22
So I am absolutely an outliner. And I waited until I had like my outline done. So I don't linear linearly, like I don't Oh, my God words. I'm not I'm not a wordsmith, okay. So I don't go into linear like line as I'm outlining. But I need to have it finished or mostly finished before I start writing because my anxiety can't deal with like the people that just start writing. I know a lot of people do that. So I think I had most, almost all that line done. And every book I have starts with, like a single scene. And it's not necessarily the opening scene, but it's just like, you know, like that one idea. And then you're like, okay, but who are these people where they come from, blah, blah, blah, outline. Done. And then from there, it was, oh, well, I think this person is actually going to have their own book. And so that wasn't intended to be a series, but it became one. And that's kind of how all my books are now as I have these little series that, you know, it's like, Well, I'm just gonna write this, but then this character needs one. And then this character needs one. And

Elle 23:23
so you never wrote like, you don't necessarily right. Like, I know, some writers plan out their series. Like, they're like, I'm going to do a book for this person. That's what this this, this this. I did that with the Rock Star Series with three books, envisioning it as a trilogy. And then I was like, oh, but then I think I need to do this. Oh, but then I think, you know, so it just kind of expanded beyond that. But I know people who are like, it's going to be a seven book series. And I don't

SJ 23:51
have like that. I don't know. I don't know how people do that. And that's like some of these major series especially when they're people that don't plot they're like, I just write and see what happens I'm like, How the fuck do you not just get completely lost? I don't understand that. But so I write like, again, like see kitten was supposed to just be the first one. So that's my hockey rom com series each. They're all my books are independent or interconnected standalone. Right. So it's a different couple each book, they tie in together, but you could absolutely pick up any one of them and read it without knowing the other ones. And you'd be fine. I prefer you read them in order but whatever. We all Yeah, exactly. People like just pick up number three and like sort of wanting you asshole. So like and so that one was just that one. But then like I had a character that was originally going to come in and be a bitch, but then she actually ended up becoming friends with the main character and I'm like, Okay, well then she gets a book. And as I was writing that one I knew, I knew I wanted the second one. So books two and three in that series have overlapping timelines. So you see the same scene multiple times in both books. Are you seeing the same scene in both books multiple like Yeah, so there's like and then that's when you're like, oh shit, that's what's going on. Like, you know, it's I love that I love when other people We'll do that. And I knew I wanted to do that.

Elle 25:02
I actually want to do that too. But I'm just I don't know why I don't I think it's because I'm like, it's it's a little too overwhelming. For me. It's,

SJ 25:10
it's a bit much. Yeah. Like, yeah. Like, I'm

Elle 25:12
like, I'd love to do that. And then I'm like, Oh, my God. And then. And I'm like, no, no, I can't do that.

SJ 25:17
This is where my outlines come in, you know? And as I was writing book three, I had booked to open next to me, because then I'm like, you have to get the exact lines, right? You know, because it's like, this is the same bowling alley scene. No, it's from a different person's perspective. And so copy, paste, copy, paste. And luckily, I hadn't published yet, because this was the thing too. I just wrote them all. So then I was able to be like, actually want to change that line in this one, where if you've already published something, you can't do that. Right? Like, right, right, right. So it worked out a little in my favor. For that instance, I don't know if I'll have any overlapping things more, but like, that was just gonna be a trilogy. But then there's another character. I'm like, fuck, okay, I have an idea for him. So he has a fourth and that was the same thing with the sin books will actually that was just going to be two. That's romantic suspense. Because the third book, the main character's name is John, which also happens to be my husband's name, which is the brother of the female lead, and book one. And he was never supposed to have his own book. So that's why I gave him John. Because it's super weird to write like, yeah. Yeah. I just, I needed a name. So I'm like, Well, I'm never gonna use John as a main character name. So I'll do that here. You know, and then I was like, Oh, shit. And then as I was writing John's story, there's new SCI character I needed to add. And then like, now I love him. So now he's getting a fourth book, but I'm stopping those at for you all. 99%? Sure, I'm pretty sure. Yeah, I should.

Elle 26:42
Well, it's done are you just like, ah, a couple of reasons

SJ 26:46
is, I don't want it to get out of control. Because I love there are so many series that I love that are like six, eight books long that when I was telling you about this, like 50 books in it, right. But it also, sometimes it's daunting for readers, because then it's like, I want to read this, but it's too many books, you know. And I have an idea for like a spin off series kind of thing. And it's not really a spin off, it'll be like, there's a prequel I want to write for a character who's older, this will that would take you way back. And then that would allow for another series that would be kind of in the same stem of romantic suspense. And I have that very vaguely outline so far. So that's where I want to stop that. And same with the the Sleek books, the hockey books, I have another yurina First here, I have another sports series, I want to write that I have a very brief outline for three books for that. And by brief, I mean like four sentences for each book, and I'm like, This is what I want to be bound. And book four of the Sleek, we'll tie those together. So I got plans. But be separate series.

Elle 27:52
Yeah. Okay. This is actually making me feel better. Because this is like the generally sort of what I have mapped out like The Rock Star Series isn't going anywhere, anytime soon. Because every time I think I'm going to end up like, I'm like, oh, no, but I need to do this, right. But I have to spin up spin off series in mind. One of them is actually one of them is not really a spin off. It's but it's a small town, but it's a tie in. So because I'm bringing one of the characters from Los Angeles world to this small town, this is awesome. Grew up. So so there's a tie in, but it's not necessarily a spin off, right.

SJ 28:28
But I love that. So it's Easter eggs. It's that same world.

Elle 28:32
Yeah. And then, and then I have another one in mind. Specifically, that's a spin off that will have like other characters coming in and out. That's going to be you know, the Rockstar characters coming in and out that's going to be set in LA, but it's not necessarily going to be Rockstar. So I'm like, I totally get what you're talking about. And I just like writing it because it's nice to keep your characters in your world.

SJ 28:53
Right? It's fine. It's fine. Well, and that's where like I love authors that do like those little tiny easter eggs. No Pippa Grant does it really well, Mariana Zapata, who I'm like flicking obsessed with, and like having the same world so all my books are in the same world. And they will be for the foreseeable future. And so then that way you can do like so in Book Two of the second series, like, which is the suspense, they go to a hockey game, and it's asleep. And if you pay really close attention, she gets the tickets from the main characters mom from the first book, you know, like, oh, so it's like little, it wouldn't matter if you didn't notice, you know, like, it doesn't make one bit of difference to the plot, but it's kind of something fun. And I did drop a teaser in smokey Darlene for a holiday novella, I plan to write that you will not even understand what that teaser is until that book comes out. So those are kind of that's a should I love to do that no one can appreciate. Because no one knows that it's there. I know it's there. And I love it.

Elle 30:00
That's awesome. So when you are writing the first book and you know it's did you know where you like it's going to be steamy? There's no way I'm gonna close the door or was that something you were kind of grappling with?

SJ 30:10
Oh, I knew it was gonna be steamy. Yeah, I was all for it. And by that point I had, so like, from when I got my first romance novel, to when I started writing, there was years that went by in there, and hundreds upon 1000s of books. Like before I started writing, I was one of those people like the book talk book Instagramers that we see that like, read three to four books a week, like that was me, you know, I did that. Okay. Yeah. Where it's like you just been treated book a day. I can't do that anymore, because I got to ship my brain. And I got it right, but like so I've read the gambit, romance books from like, super steamy to like the different kinks to whatever. So I knew I knew what I wanted anyways, but I also was well aware of the genre by this point to be like, this isn't too far. And I definitely, I definitely started tamer. It's also rom com, you know, so it's like, it's rom com, but it's steamy. But it's not, you know, like the romantic suspense. Some of those were a little more, you know, like, make me sort of vibe. You know, you can play with different vibes with different different genres.

Elle 31:24
Okay. All right. I was kind of curious about that. Because I feel like with romantic suspense, it's I don't know if you want to say it's a little hotter, but sometimes when I read romantic suspense, I always feel like it's there. It's it just feels higher stakes. Maybe that's what it is.

SJ 31:38
Yeah, I think that's right. Well, and it's high energy, people die. People die in my suspense books, you know, in in most of them. And so there's, there's actual, like life or death. Whereas, you know, like, my romcom series, it's like, shit happens. I hope you cry, you know, but like, you're not gonna ever be worried about someone's life, you know? So like, so then when they're having their sexy times, like, yeah, there can still be like, high heat, high angst, but it's a different level. It's not like the oh my god, I thought you were dead. Now. I'm gonna call you like, you know, there's so different fields.

Elle 32:16
Yeah, that yeah, there's a totally like, I just feel like sometimes when I read romantic suspense, the, the heat level is higher, but I don't necessarily think it's, it's the heat level that's higher. It's just that the stakes are higher. Yeah, it's

SJ 32:29
overall yeah, overall tone, where it's just yeah, everything's a little more intense as it's supposed to be, you know, like, right. I'm just different.

Elle 32:38
Do you prefer romantic? Like, do you prefer writing one over the other? Or, or? or does one come easier to you?

SJ 32:46
You know, it? I don't have a good answer for that. So I, I love writing both funny scenes. And like, if I'm gonna go with like feedback, I get more feedback from people on like, my comedic scenes. Like people being like, I laughed my ass off at that, like, that's hilarious. You know, whatever. I really, really enjoy writing the suspense parts, like, the end of each book, there's some sort of climax, you know, some sort of dangerous thing, but that's too I grew up like obsessed with like, these assassin and, you know, whatever, sort of sort of books where I'm like, I love that shit. So to be able to combine my love for romance with my love for like, thriller. You know, I'm very much enjoy that. Yeah, but I don't No one's ever messaged me be like, Oh, I love that shootout scene, you know?

Elle 33:38
Ever. I think they're an urban fantasy. So like that, that and I, I love that. And I love you know, choreographing fight scene. Yeah, you know, and like, I like I live for that. And that when I was writing, in urban fantasy, it was like, those are my favorite things to write and fun. And it's been the transition to writing romance. And I struggle with this. Every single book I write is trusting that the emotions that the characters are having are enough to drive the plot like, I I'll be the first one to be like, and then a bomb. And then No, no, there is no bomb. Take the bomb out.

SJ 34:23
No, you're you're absolutely right. And I have never thought of it that way. But it's totally true where it's like you people think people think of like rom com or light hearted romance, where it's like, Oh, that's easy, but you're right. Like it takes way more not necessarily way more character to have I like to think all my characters have the same depth but like, the focus is strictly on the characters and their issues and their problems and like you really have to fucking nail that. So it's not boring or dragging as opposed to like, yeah, like someone tried to kill me now I'm on the run. Like that. So that's a whole excitement on their own. Whether or not you like the people, you know, right, right.

Elle 34:57
I think it's easier honestly. I had it easier to write the high octane stuff and keep it going, rather than slowing it down and letting and letting the characters almost be and letting them evolve?

SJ 35:11
Yeah, no, you're totally right. And I some missin was the last suspense when I wrote. Well, there is a little bit of a suspense and Smokey Darling. There is but, but missing is like a full suspense book and kind of in the middle, like, you know, something happens, she's recovering. And they're just like, chillin for a while, like in her house, you know? And so it's like, how do I keep it? Keep it entertaining? You know, now it's just them. Now we're back to like, the different genre where it's just like them hanging out and talking. You know? Like, you gotta ya gotta nail it. Did I don't know. So,

Elle 35:51
so Okay, so you knew you're going to write steamy straight? Was it easy for you to write the first sex scene or where you've started? Are you sort of like,

SJ 35:58
oh, ay, ay, ay. Yeah. You know, like, I enjoyed it. I liked it. I think it went well. And by that point, it was a little ways into the book so that some people have called that book a slow burn, and everyone has their own tastes on that. I'd say it's like 30 40% in which for me slow burn, like, I think again, right. And it's part of who I love. And hers are like, 500 page books and like, the steam doesn't happen to like 95%. Like, that's a slow burn. Yeah. But whatever we call it, everyone. I got I got a little drunk when I wrote it, you know? Because that helped. And that was maybe in like, well, inhibitions be gone. Let's just see how this goes. And yeah, I don't know. Maybe it should have been more difficult, but

Elle 36:48
Okay, so you had to have a little health there, though. Are you good? Now you're like, Okay, no, no, yeah,

SJ 36:57
that was like, I mean, it's it's fun to do it that way. There's nothing I mean, yeah, it definitely, definitely will still invite if my characters are drunk in my book, there's a good chance I was drinking while I was writing it. Because I like to get like to be method writer, you know, like

Elle 37:14
I'm too old for that. Now. That's how you write and now I'm just like, oh, the next morning? I'm like, Oh,

SJ 37:20
yeah. What did you just do? Yeah, there's a fine line. It's like a drink. Because otherwise Yeah, then it's like you're not writing. You're just like, tap on your keys. Yeah. There's a difference. Oh, my God.

Elle 37:36
Okay, so um, I'm just, I just, I just lost the plot for a second. So Smokey Darling. You said this, like your filthiest book out?

SJ 37:48
Yeah, I think so. And the readers that have read it so far agree. And some people haven't read my other books. They just started on this one. So surprised

Elle 38:00
to be that filthy? Or was that it? Did it just happen?

SJ 38:03
Um, it just happened. So it was never I mean, it was, it's, it's one of those books that like, you know, when people are like, we're the tropes, and I'm like, trying to figure it out. Because it's like, there is a bit of suspense. But that's a very small amount. And that's kind of a surprise. Sorry, spoiler. And then, you know, it's like the small town, there's an age gap. It's brother's best friend's older brother. So it's not just brother's best friend. Because there's more of an age gap. And it's childhood crushed. But it's not second chance. You know, because he was eight years older when she was a kid. So it's not that right. So it's, yeah, like I knew there was gonna, like, obviously, it was gonna be steamy. But the part that it got dirty, like the it's kind of a angry sex, punishment, sex sort of thing. Like, he gets pissed about something that she's doing that's unsafe for herself. And so he takes it out on her in a very fun manner for everybody. But that one, like so we do. I do like writing sprints with like a group of author friends. And they, you know, we share our plots as we're writing to get some feedback. And so they knew that scene. And so when I, when they all know, I send my shit to my mom every night, right? So they're like, Oh, my God, you got to tell us what your mom says about this. So I email it to her. The next day, she sends me back. This she'll text me, you know, it'll be like, paid to this paragraph this, like you're missing an E missing a comma, you know, whatever. Right? And so she just sends back that was like, no comment, whatsoever. And so I reply, I'm like, Oh, my friends are kind of bummed. They thought you were gonna say something. I guess you must be, you know, pretty desensitized. And she's like, all caps desensitized. I don't know what the fuck to say. Okay, that's what I was expecting. All right. She likes it. There are no words. She's still recommends it to the old ladies that come into her library and like she's she's she's a good fan girl. She's gotten me some good. She's in small town, Wisconsin is where she lives. And she's like, gotten a bunch of the local, the local ladies to, to read all my books.

Elle 40:10
That's great. That's my 80 year old cousin, you know, like the, you know, third cousin where you're always like, Isn't your aunt? It's like shouldn't right cousin, right when I wrote the book? Her her son's girlfriend, now wife, they were over and she was like, Oh, we all gotta get your book into a reading club. And I was like, I think that's a good

SJ 40:34
that's a great idea. And I

Elle 40:36
was like, why? And I was like, It's a little spicy. And she goes at my age. We need some spice. I was.

SJ 40:43
That's amazing. Okay, go for it. So I know, like, when she has kids, right? Like, they all got made somehow. Well, my, my, it's my mom's aunt, so my great aunt or whatever. And she's in her 80s. And she read, she's read all of my books. But she read the first one and then sent me a text and said, You know, I loved it. I was gonna tell you I loved it either way, but I actually did love it. And thank you for not using the term throbbing member.

Elle 41:16
You must have read a few of that then. Yeah.

SJ 41:19
I mean, that's the back in the day to you know, and I was like, You're welcome. And thank you.

Elle 41:26
Well, since you wrote something so steamy, I wanted to ask you because this is a question I'm posing to tick tock soon. If I ever get the balls to do it. What makes a book of five chili pepper read.

SJ 41:40
I have no fucking idea. Okay, because like I so I'd say this is my steamiest one. And I've had people give it like three, three chili peppers. I think it's one out of five. I've seen one for four. I've seen someone else give like one of my other books like a two and I'm like what? Like, so I don't know if it's quantity because like these are plenty graphic

Elle 42:05
like yeah, oh, yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah.

SJ 42:08
This is plenty graphic. I think this one there's a scene you have. There's the one I'm thinking of. There's another one too. I think there's four graphic scenes in this book. You know, like, so what does it take to be a five if you just have nothing but but sex scenes. Right. Require threesomes? I don't know. I have no fucking idea. And that's to like, this is where that whole rating says I would love for you to ask us on Tik Tok and see people's answers because the whole rating system drives me bonkers. Because you get people that are like, Oh my god, I loved your book is the best thing I've ever read four stars. You're like, what? Yeah. And then I've seen people do the same thing. And then they like loved it. It was so great. I would definitely recommend this three stars. And you're like, what? Yeah, you know, so you're like, Okay, I don't fucking know. Well, so

Elle 42:56
every I think the star system is different. Sometimes. I think like people are always like, if you get three stars on Goodreads, that's a good thing. So I don't know if these are people that are like Goodreads. People that are like, I loved it three stars. And you're like, wah, wah, or like, but it's like, you know, good reads three stars is an excellent. I don't know, I don't like I honestly don't know. And I know, my last book, people were like three chili peppers, or three and a half chili peppers. And I was like, to five?

SJ 43:26
Pepper is the half pepper blow job like, Where'd that come from? What is this? How

Elle 43:30
do I get to five? And I don't know, it's like, because I don't know that I have? Is it

SJ 43:35
possible? A lot? Like, I

Elle 43:36
think maybe I average three sex scenes a book,

SJ 43:39
which is normal? Like I'd say that's a good a good amount.

Elle 43:42
You know? And I don't know, like, I'm like, should I have more?

SJ 43:45
Should I dwell on it? It depends. Like, I've had to. I've had how, I don't know, whatever. I've had a couple books that start on when it stands. So you're getting sex, like in the first couple chapters in those scenarios. And then there's more obviously, but then there's other ones where it doesn't start in one nightstands. You're not gonna get it for a little while, you know, and you're gonna be 3040 5060 pages in like, and you're just not gonna be able to get that many scenes, you know, so it's like, I don't know, it's definitely I mean, it's all personal preference too. And like, what people are like, you know, someone recently did sleep kitten like that. That book kind of blew up for me, which was great. And then I saw like, you know, some comments on different Tik Tok videos or like, was it spicy? I don't like spicy. And she's like, well, I don't know what you qualify as spicy. Right? You know, laying. Right? Right. So I guess you can flip through the pages if you don't like.

Elle 44:38
Okay, um, I see. And that's the thing, right? Because there are authors that I love and read and reread and reread and reread, but this particular one and I'm not calling her out because I love her books, so I don't want to complain. But she has so many sex scenes that I skipped them.

SJ 44:55
Oh, I've encountered that which is like it's surprising for me because obviously love that, but you're right, there's, there's a point where you're like, Okay, that's enough. It's like, I'm

Elle 45:05
kinda like, Y'all are just fucking a fog at this point. I mean, like, there's nothing there, like, we already know that you're having these feelings or whatever, you know, right, so So I just want to move on with the story, we don't need to be in bed and you don't need to be flipped 16 times like a grilled cheese sandwich.

SJ 45:23
Although grilled cheeses, well, and that's why I was just having this conversation with Cat when because we did you know, talking cuz she has a book coming out. And so we were talking about sex and books because you know, she's gotten different feedback too, because it was like, some people are like, oh, there's too much sex in here, where they're like, it's just the right amount. And it's like, as long as it works with the plot and furthers the plot, like you can have sex as many times as you want, if there's some sort of character development going or some sort of relationship development going. Sometimes it's just good to have a hot scene. But there is a point where like, because I've read some recently to where it's like, okay, so they've had sex six times on this weekend. That's great. But like, you don't

Elle 46:02
need to see it every time. What happens next?

SJ 46:04
Yeah, yeah, you're just like, okay, yeah. So I think that too, is where you're like, I don't mind coming across this. But then you're talking about people that are picking up a romance book for the first time. And they're like, Oh, let me see what this is all about. And you're like, Oh, I hope that's not what you pick up first. Unless that's your jam, you know? Right. And obviously, like, I love Jessica Kane, like her novellas. I love them. And they're just sex. I mean, it's like, minimal plot, and still love instant everything. But I read that knowing that that's what I'm getting. Right?

Elle 46:36
I mean, that's fine. Like, that's where I go with like, like Selena Kitt. Although sometimes she has a little bit more story behind her, you know, but some of her books don't. Some of her books are like pure erotica, right, there you go. And so you know that that's what you're gonna get. Right? Right.

SJ 46:50
It's great when that's what you want. Right? Exactly,

Elle 46:53
exactly. So and I should also mention that you and Kat were talking about that on your tall, dark and fictional podcast? Yes, yes, we

SJ 47:02

Elle 47:03
a great podcast, by the way, you really have been enjoying it, you guys are really good together to

SJ 47:10
thank you, and we're gonna have you on and obviously, it's gonna be a shit ton of fun. Wild, that's just fun. I do. And I also do because I have no responsibility with it. So kat, kat started it with her friend Beatrix. And so the two of them were on it, I was a guest on their podcast. And then kind of started those writers friends. So there's like a handful of us that she's had on the podcast or just friends that she's known from other writer groups. That will get on a couple times a week and just do like a zoom call and like we normally spend like an hour to to just like bullshitting and then like we like you know, turn off our cameras and mute ourselves and like, write for half an hour and come back and chat, whatever. But this will be tricks had to step away from the pod. And she asked me if I'd like to co host and I was like, hell yeah, I love listening to myself talk. They do that. So, so I've you know, and then I was able to pull some of like friends I've made from the community and so we've like interviewed a handful of authors recently, we have a book talker coming up that we're going to talk to you next next week or whenever this airs that we're going to talk to, you know, this but so I don't have to do any of the promotional or the editing like cat does all of that I literally just show up and fuck around and it's

Elle 48:25
so she's chasing down guests and because I have to say that's like really time consuming, particularly like if their guests that you like you really want, which is why I love it when I'm like done. And I'll be like, Hey, do you have anybody else you think? Like, the recommendation is like, great. Because otherwise I'm out there sort of like, you know, I am in people on IG and I think they're probably like, you know, and I say it's like cold calling. Everybody slams the door. I

SJ 48:53
was gonna say the people we've asked so far, I've had a few people like I have one friend who's like I would but she's like, I hate like, she's like I have such stage fright. I can't she's like it was anything else. Even just like I'm like we can do without a camera. She's like, even then I can't, you know, but like other people have been really receptive to it. And we've done like a variety of authors and then talking to some, like I said, like book talkers. So it's just, you know, it's fun. And so that was when a sushi asked me to come on, like I reached out to like all my friends. And then like, in our schedules been a little crazy. And I was like, Okay, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do that to us, like I was go down. Let these all kind of go through a schedule. And then we'll look again in June and like restart booking people, because I Yeah,

Elle 49:35
yeah, you gotta kind of flow with it. Like, yeah, you gotta looking for a little while and then open it up. And then and I tend I don't know how you guys work, but I tend to book out far in advance because I'm always worried that I'm never going to have another guest again. And so yeah. Make sure I have a lot bank. Do you know,

SJ 49:52
girls like oh, I'll get a whole bunch. And then I'm like, we're doing like, you know, one a week or sometimes it's two weeks and then I'm like, Fuck no, we're already out to like a domain and I'm like, Ah, okay. I need to just wait and like look at it again. But of course not gonna be me next week because where does time go? So? Exactly.

Elle 50:07
Alright, so I need to read your steamy scene. And I was like looking at your Amazon reviews because you have so many it's only been out for like, not even a week or a week like no seven week today we try and like, like one of the I love this one for this review. There's like, grab it back. It was so dreamy. And I was like everyone like he is dreamy, even though he's like, kind of seems a little douchey in the scene. Yeah, this

SJ 50:35
scene is not necessary. Well, no. Yeah.

Elle 50:40
It was weird because I was kind of reading it. I was like, is he a little douchey? And I'm like, he's all douchey but I kind of get like, a little douchey. But like, you know,

SJ 50:49
yeah, he's also high emotions at this point, because some of the shit has happened, you know, like, but he's definitely behind closed doors. He's different than what you see elsewhere. Oh, four times close. 10 flaps. Because, you know, this is a campaign seen.

Elle 51:05
Okay, yeah. So, set this up for us. Where are we in the book? What's the what's the, what's going on here?

SJ 51:13
So I'm gonna I'm gonna kind of backtrack to the beginning. So this book starts out there again. It's an eight year eight year age gap between Eloise and Beckett. And it opens up age seven Eloise, a kickball game. Someone's mean to her Beckett comes in and saves the day if she falls in love with him right there. Love that you showed them when they were kids. But so he's 15 and she's seven. Obviously he's like, you know, this is his his brother's best friend's little sister. You know? So it's that's how it how it goes. So then you see you see her at seven. You see her at her at her eighth birthday. You see her at 15 You see her at 18 all making a fool of herself in front of her crush Beckett. And we can all relate Right? Like it's just like so cringe. Like a poor Eloise has all

Elle 51:59
these cringe moments leave Yeah, this big moment. Yeah, that.

SJ 52:04
Yeah, there's one scene and like and cat call me out. She's like, I don't think a 15 year old would wear that. You know, it's like at a Christmas party. I'm like, Bitch, I wore that. This is accurate. Because she's like, that seems childish. I'm like, No, this is this is legit. Plus, this is small town, Minnesota, you know, like, so. So we see that and then after 18 Then we then we jump ahead. she's 30 she's 30 she's a teacher in her hometown and she's on a spring break camping trip. And if you know anything about Minnesota, you know that spring break is still cold as fuck. And like there was like a mix up. They're supposed to be in cabins another intense she's fucking miserable. She's been there. Like, there's a whole scene of her trying to like put on leggings and a sports bra. Like after getting out of the shower. And she's like, still damp. And like, that's the word. Right?

Elle 52:49
I did that this morning. And worse. Yes. That's the

SJ 52:53
scene I've gotten the most feedback on in the entire book was that scene, like people are just like, I

Elle 52:58
like it's I love that every morning. Yeah.

SJ 53:02
So this so she goes through that. And then she like walks out and they're like, oh, we have like a survivalist expert who's coming in to like, help us out. And it's back it. And so she hasn't seen him in 12 years. Now he's back. And now she's growing up. And now he you know, and so yeah, yeah. And so the first night, you know, he like brings her some extra blankets because she's super ill prepared. She has like her brothers Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sleeping big from the 90s

Elle 53:33
She's not outdoorsy as well, as I am. You

SJ 53:35
know, she was not ready for this. She's got like a bottle of vodka stashed in her tent. And then this is him coming in that that second night to help keep her warm. More. Excellent. So they've

Elle 53:49
just reconnected basically like this. Yeah. Like this is their their first. Yeah, I mean, this is the first time they're seeing each other, but close

SJ 53:58
to it. Right. Right. Yeah. So they'll Yeah, they'll have they spent like the day before together. Some shit happens, you know, whatever. And then now this is like their second night they're together, but they're again in a campsite surrounded by people. So hence trying to stay quiet. Right. Okay. And then from there, she goes back to her teacher job. She doesn't know why he's in town. And you know, and this is still the beginning. Quarter of the book. Oh,

Elle 54:26
okay. So we're not even like 25% And at this point,

SJ 54:29
it might be somewhere around there. Yeah, I don't know. I can't remember.

Elle 54:35
All right, I'm just gonna start reading. Yeah, I have I actually have like way long chunks. But this one's This one's kind of brief. So okay, good. Get ready. His eyes stay locked on my chest to see exhales then he reaches back and turns off the lantern and darkness settling between us. No one else sees you back at whispers not even a silhouette. My eyes haven't had time to adjust to the sudden change. So I can't got Sam but I can hear him as he moves closer. The thin mattress beneath me shifts as he climbs onto it. And no one hears you His words brush against my skin. He's so close now. The blanket over my bottom half gets pushed away and one of Beckett's thighs presses its way between mine. I opened my legs for him. The heat of him seeping into my every pore. Not a single sound, his lips brush against my cheek and I squeezed my eyes shut. Not a single moan his breath feathers over my neck. Not even the smallest grown his open mouth presses just below my ear. Not a peep, Eloise. Oh, okay. No idea why, but I was like, Oh, that sucks. Between like, I was just like the promise of it. No. And I think it was like that last paragraph, not a single sound not a single mode, not a grown like, and I was just like, Oh, get out the fan. Holy shit.

SJ 56:01
Oh, yay. That was so much fun to listen to.

Elle 56:06
And then y'all it gets dirty. I mean.

SJ 56:10
Yeah, it gets this word.

Elle 56:14
Okay, so yeah, all right. I'm just gonna keep going. So I'm dropping down a bit. This is going to be long so everybody settle in. My senses are instantly overloaded. Our first kiss the heat of his palm pressing against my nipple, his fingers gripping the soft flesh, the feel of his mouth moving against mine lips tongue, his mouth slants one way and I moved the other deepening the kiss. A kiss I dreamt about so many times growing up, but even my dreams don't come close. My hands reach up and grip his hair his chocolatey lock soft contrasting the feeling of this scratchy beard rubbing against the sensitive skin next to my mouth. This isn't the back end I was infatuated with as a girl. This is man back at and he's so much better. When his tongue sweeps into my mouth again. I let my lips close around it sucking it into my mouth. I can feel the rumble of approval rolling around in his chest. Pulling back from our kiss back at lowers his head and sucks one of my nipples into his mouth, nipping at it with his teeth, flicking it with his tongue. I can feel everything and I'm about to burst. He switches breasts pulling my other nipple into his mouth. But when he uses his fingers to pinch my other peak, I can't stop the moan. That leaves me. He left he stops lifting off me completely. No back at weight on panting but I can't let them stop now I might die. He removes his thigh from between mine but he doesn't go far. kneeling next to me Beckett rolls me onto my side facing away from him. Before I can ask him what he's doing. He lays down behind me and hooks an arm around my waist, pulling me back until I'm flush against his front. He's the big to my little spoon. With a few adjustments. He gets one arm under my head like a pillow and the other splays across my stomach. My tank top is bunched under my breasts. So all that's left separating us are his boxer briefs and my thin sleep pants. I arch into him and his grip on my middle Titans. Keep that as still smokier. I'm gonna fuck it. I can't help but his words are setting me on fire. And we're leaving in the morning. And I don't even know if I'll see him again after this. And I don't even know if he's talking about doggy style or actually fucking me in the ass. But I find I don't care. I'm so far gone. He could talk me into trying just about anything right now. Ignoring his warning, I grind back against him. This time he is the one to groan. Do you know what you're doing? He shifts his hips and I feel the full length of him pressing against me. Do you understand where this is going? I understand my back arches. And I'm not some little virgin anymore back at the arm under my headbands and I'm hauled higher up against his chest. His hand grips the front of my neck not hard, but enough to show who's in control. Who took it he bites out. What I tried to turn my head back back to look at him. But his grip tightens keeping me in place who took this sweet little cherry from me. The hand around my waist is suddenly between the legs cupping my pussy over the material of my pants, his hips, flex and he thrusts his cock against my ass. My thoughts are sizzling, but they keep sparking on the same word. Yours mine and a flash his hand is inside my pants finding me bear he groans into my hair, his fingers sliding against my slit, my wetness instantly coding his hand. One finger presses into me just an inch and I hold my breath. You're always too young for me to innocent the finger pulls out and pushes back in to fucking young but not anymore. A second finger joints the first now give me your name. Give me a name sorry, you know surname. Lift my top leg and hook it back over his head. I'm opening myself for his use name. I'm entirely lost to the climax is building rapidly inside me a name babe. Now his fingers dip in and out, in and out. Tim it was Tim I stopped her squirming against his touch teeth scraped against my earlobe. That's the last time you ever say that name. The hand on my throat slowly slides up my neck. Now remember, you promise to stay quiet for me? Oh my god.

I'm sorry. I'm curious. Like there was this whole thing with like the name and Tim and there's so much leading up for there. Why was it important for him to know that?

SJ 1:00:41
Because he is a possessive bastard. Also, I need to say it's so hard not to laugh the entire time you're reading that

Elle 1:00:49
isn't a great match. It's like made you read it.

SJ 1:00:53
Oh my god. I just like sitting here like smiling like an idiot alone in my room. Like,

Elle 1:00:58
that's why we're not on video.

SJ 1:01:04
That makes that makes a lot more sense now. Yeah. Well in like, so. Okay. Here's the snippet. And I hope this doesn't ruin it. But like, originally, I was going to have that person who took her virginity come into play in this book. Like that was going but it doesn't, it doesn't. So part of the thing because there's so many different time, time jumps and scenes. Like because this is camping scene, there's a bunch of characters. And then she goes and she works at school. And then she has a friend. And then the parents are involved in the siblings. There's too many fucking people in this book, like and so it became a big fear of mine that I was gonna have too many people ask me too many names. But I wanted him to want to know a name just in case. I think maybe for him it was like he might have, he wanted to know who it was in case you knew who that person was. But he never asked for a last name. But he just wants wants confirmation of who this was. But yeah, but then I did have an idea to at one point have like that guy come back in. But then I was like, Yeah, I don't need that mess. So I took that idea. That's what originally sparked it.

Elle 1:02:14
Okay. Oh, that's really cool. And that's sort of interesting to hear about that. Because I know like, you know, I have issues with clotting, right? Yeah. Like I struggle with plot. I don't I don't I outline sort of, I don't think it's as extensive as you I have a general idea of the story, sort of like hitting the high points. And then because I don't trust you know, because I don't trust the emotional conflicts to drive the story. I will either insert something that is totally ridiculous. I just need to be there. Or I will introduce more and more obstacles for them. And then it just gets to be like, I'm just in the weeds with the right. Plot everywhere, because I forgot where I was, like, you know, yeah, so I think I kind of feel so much I feel seen right now.

SJ 1:03:07
Well, and I forgot I was even gonna do that until you ask that question. Because there's a scene later at a school play where I was gonna have that guy, I was gonna have this virginity taker there. But then I was like, I don't want the other man drama. I'm not trying to get into that. And then there's two names already. And then it was just like, but I still liked it in that scene. So it's, I guess, like it.

Elle 1:03:28
I mean, that's the thing. Like it works. Like honestly, like, it doesn't matter that like Tim is just him and who cares? Like, yeah, like, it just it absolutely works. And I think that it builds him as a character, right, that he is going to be a little bit possessive. He's going to be easily you know, he's very forceful. He's very, you know, he's in charge. Yeah, I don't know. They're just they really did set this moment up. And that character up in so many ways, so it's kind of a happy accident.

SJ 1:03:55
Thank you. Well, and I, I love my, my over the top jealous was so alpha males. Like, that's what I write, they all are two different degrees of insanity. You know, like,

Elle 1:04:08
how do you get to that point, I don't, I have a hard time writing them, in my mind tend to be more beta e and like, and I'd love to write an alpha, but it doesn't. I don't think I can do it.

SJ 1:04:19
I just can't help myself. It's all I know, it's all I want. It's all I like, you know, like, and, and I mean, I get some feedback, you know, and like, with missin, when I wrote it, he's probably the most arranged, you know, John, which fits and then like, and, you know, as I was going through my editor at the time, and she's like, Ooh, you got you got a whole bunch of red flags in here. And I'm like, Yeah, I'm aware. You know, like, in real life, this guy, you know, he's a, he's a walking red flag. But he does it just on the side of like, Alright, I'm cool with us, you know? Okay. And I think that's just I mean, that's just my style. It's what I like, they're all you know, and I've had some people describe this book as instant love, even though you know, it takes place 2020 years, 23 years after the opening of the book, which I'm okay with, because like, that's, that's what I want is I want my men obsessed with my women, I don't want them to have any question that they want this girl, you know, they might not know from the get go that they want to marry her and you know, like, it's like, but they're like, at least they want to pursue this. Right? That's just, that's what I like. So if, if someone listening has not read any of my books, you can expect that from every single one. So what I do?

Elle 1:05:38
Well, that's excellent. Like, and I like, you know, and I like that, that's the thing that readers are gonna expect from you. So you can actually write in all the different sub genres, because you still have that, that sort of calling card that this, like the readers know what they're gonna get, it just might be a slightly different story.

SJ 1:05:54
Right? And that's, like, you know, and when I think of the scenes that people you know, either using, like their tic tac videos or message me about, you know, it's always those, like, possessive seeing, so there was, you know, we're gonna go back to sleep kitten because that one, you know, this past weekend did very well. And that's all because someone had tic tac me the tic tac video about a kitten, and it's one of those like, you know, 10 second long videos, but it's just like, had like, two little mini paragraphs talking about the scene where it's like, there's a kiss cam scenario. And it's on her. And the guy sitting next to her and the guy sitting next to her is trying to get her to kiss him even though she's there because she's dating the hockey player. And so the camera keeps coming back to them. And everyone's like, Kiss Kiss, you know, but they're not going to because she's like, I don't know this dude. And then Jackson, my main character hockey player, you know, slams his helmet against the glass and it's like back the fuck off. Oh, my God, that's that's my favorite scene in the book. I mean, that's what started the whole book was because I wanted to do something with a kiss cam. But so that I mean, it was literally she just like, it was like four sentences of that. And that's what put that book at number 13 in the Kindle store, you know, was that tick tock video? Yeah,

Elle 1:07:11
I was crazy. Because like, like, I was like, when I looked like the other night, it was like, you were in the top 100. And I was like, yeah, the fuck did she get there?

SJ 1:07:23
Yeah, so who I know, follow, and I've sent her some books, and I've sent her some thank yous. And I've like, you know, replied to all the comments, but like, I wasn't following her before she found my book. Did a tic tac, she has like a think like 13,000 followers, which is good. But I mean, some of these people have hundreds, you know, yeah, but that video had been viewed 400,000 times since it went. Wow. And then yeah, it went. And thankfully, my readers are so much better than I am because I had never know these things. And I have like a reader group on Facebook. And I woke up one morning, it was like the day after my launch of smoky Darlene. So I'm like all excited about the smoky darling lunch. And then like, I see like my Kindle Unlimited pages have fucking blown up and I'm like, Oh, damn, people are reading smoking. I'm like, oh, no, they're not. They're reading kitten. Like what is this? Like? Oh, wow. So one of my readers posted a screenshot in my beanbag Facebook group. And she's like, look at this, you know, sleep kitten at number 13. I'm like, What the fuck? So then as well, it stayed in the top 100 For three days, which is crazy.

Elle 1:08:25
Well, congratulations. That's amazing. You can you just spend more time on tick tock, although I don't think tick tock books man. It sounds like it doesn't really like the way they like that like domineering alpha male. That's not my guys.

SJ 1:08:37
Well, they like the sex scenes to you know, well, and, and to like, so all of my female leads are curvy. And I had another another tic tac video that someone else made. None of these are mine. None of mine have gone viral. But someone did it for missin. Christie from we've read between the the wines. And that one went went crazy to and that that book up to the top 100. I think it was like number 87 for a day. Which again, tic tac, it gets insane. Like as an indie author, like, we're out here on our own. We're trying, you know, we're doing our best. And so this is a time when readers have pulled through and made all the difference in the world. Yeah.

Elle 1:09:21
Amazing. Okay, I've got one. I mean, I don't want to say a little bit. So like, Gird your loins because it's a little bit long again, but and this is like, this is where you're still going. Yeah, this is like turn off the air conditioning. Yeah. This is great. This was this is okay. So this moment, I think, and you all can like email me later. lol rocks and let me know if I'm right. I think this is the steamiest bet I've ever read on the scene. I've read. I've read trans romance. I've read mal Mal. This this is this is it I hope I can do

SJ 1:10:05
I feel like I need to mute myself.

Elle 1:10:09
fingers slowly slide out of my pussy. You want to Suck my cock Babe, you want to swallow me down. I not again knowing I won't be fully seated until he joins me over the cliff. Fuck. His movements become frantic as he untangles himself for me come here, wet fingers gripped my shoulder and roll me onto my back. My eyes have adjusted to the dark, dark, so I know what's coming when he lowers his head and licks across my nipples. My hands clot asides, but his deck is out of reach. Beckett lifts his head to look me in the eye. Fuck smokey. You sure? I want it. My voice still shaky for my release, but I can hear the certainty. I try to push up onto my elbows but he flattens his hand at the bottom of my neck and pushes me back down. Stay. he shuffles around removing his boxer briefs. Then he's crawling over me, straddling my chest. Open up baibe the tip of his deck presses against my lips and I open eagerly taking him in. Fuck he whispers my fingers grip the outside of his spies keeping my lips closed around his deck. I run my tongue up and down the underside of his head. Flicking against that sensitive spot. Fucking hell his hips start to move. I hum taking him deeper. Beckett lets out another soft curse. Then he leans forward placing his hands on the ground above my head. on all fours he pumps his hip burying himself deeper down my throat shit and other thrust fuck babe I'm so close out and and I tip my head back as much as I can. His hips working above me as he fucks my mouth. His words are labored. I'm so fucking close. I use my tongue to stroke the length of him high on the satisfaction I feel it being the one to please him. I'm gonna come he whispers morning me, but I don't pull away I suck hard or get ready babe a hand grips the hair at the top of my head holding me still as he pumps into me one last time exploding. Overwhelmed with last I swallow around his length, taking everything he gives me

SJ 1:12:18
like even just the position, like

Elle 1:12:23
I'm like, Oh, what if they do it doggy style and think I'm being proud of myself, you know, for that one. And the last thing of this? Like, oh my god, you can do that. Of course you can.

SJ 1:12:42
Gotta get creative while you're camping man, you know, like, like, holy crap. I am a fan of the Facebook. I mean, you'll see it in a couple of my books. It's it's a good time. And it's a good time. fictionally because some people don't enjoy that IRL. But it doesn't matter because you don't have to actually deal with breathing, you know, when you written a book, so, right.

Elle 1:13:10
It just was like, I think it's the first time. I mean, obviously I've read oral sex and books, but this was like the first time where he's like sitting on her face. Yeah,

SJ 1:13:22
yeah, that's this was the first for me to I've always kind of wanted to write this in. And this seemed like the right time. So thank you. Thank you. Oh, my God, that was amazing. And they needed you know, they didn't come prepared for sex. No one has condoms. I tried to be safe in most of my books. I mean, whatever. But like, so they had to be great. Yeah, they'd be creative. So worked out. Yeah.

Elle 1:13:57
So I'm gonna say it again, L at El Greco dot rocks. Let me know if that was indeed the steamiest theme that we've had. I feel like it is so what do you have next? What's what's next? Because you just released this book. What's what's coming up?

SJ 1:14:14
I also want to say before I tell you what's next is I am very much looking forward to sharing this episode all over the place like I do with like any podcast I'm on because it's so it's gonna be hilarious to make people listen to

Elle 1:14:27
your mom to listen.

SJ 1:14:28

Elle 1:14:36
tell me how do you feel

SJ 1:14:37
about do it honestly, like love that shit? That's hilarious. Um, so what's next? So smoky darlin came out last Friday. I think as of last night, I'm 47 pages into the next Darlene book. Some writing that one this is a three book series. In theory that I have three plan And but so I'm writing this book, I have plans to write a holiday novella as long as I get my shit together and get that done on time. And then next year, it will either be the third Darleen book or the fourth sin book or the fourth sleep book, it depends which outline finishes first. That's how I, as I finished my outlines, I write my stories. So and I, it drives, like I understand it now. Because previous to writing, it would drive me freaking crazy when I love an author, and they have a series and then the releasing books that aren't in that series. I'm like, What are you doing? Finish the fucking series? You know? Yeah. But I'm like, No, I get it. Because like, you don't know the plot yet. You know?

Elle 1:15:43
Because you're working out, but Well, I mean, also, I mean, in fact, like, I think, you know, I thought that you had brought up a really great point, which is why I did a transition to writing small town for my next book, and starting the small town series that's been in my head for a while, because, you know, um, book five, and my Rock Star Series, I'm getting to that point where it's going to be daunting for new readers. Right? Because even though they're standalones, even though you can pick it up at any point, you know, it's probably better to read an order, like they all are, but you can just read it, no big deal you can read in the middle, but I still think they see all those books, and they're like, oh, shit, you know, and so I want to, I want to have another option, you know?

SJ 1:16:23
Absolutely. And like, it helps when they are standalone. Because I know some series like some my favorite series are not standalone, you know, like, you have to read them in order. And that's, that makes it super hard. But even as standalones. Like, like, we you know, when that missin book kind of had had its day, it's book three. And like, people just read that one, which is great. But there's like a scene in the end of that book where all the guys get together for like this big thing. And it's funny, but it's better if you actually know who the fuck they are. Like. So it's like, people enjoyed that even though they're like, they don't know who these guys are. But I'm like, Ah, it's so much better if you knew, you know. So it's this tick

Elle 1:17:00
tock success with this book. You know, are you seeing spillover? Are people picking up the other books in the series?

SJ 1:17:06
Yeah, so it's, it's, I've noticed. Okay, so I've noticed a difference with the with the sleep kitten book, because that that's the one that went off recently. And that's the first in the series. And you can watch for anyone that doesn't know, right, like, Kindle Unlimited, I can watch my pages read. As the day goes, I can see which books are read. And I can see that people are reading sleep kitten sleep sugar, sleep Banshee, like because that's the three books and so I can see that it's going through the series, because those pages are kicking up and kicking up. But when missin went crazy, missin blew up. And then it just kind of tapered down. Because it was book three. So like, I would hope that it would entice people to go back to one and read it and some people did. And Mr. Sin was my most read book up until yesterday. As of now sleep Kitten has kicked past it by a couple 100,000 pages. But like, so that was new, because that was which is great for me. Like any book you read is is great for me. Um, but it definitely worked. That the book that blew up was like the first in the series, because then it's easier to be like buy the next book next book, whereas with missing people like oh, I want the next book. I'm like, Yeah, I'm gonna read the first one like, Oh, yeah. I haven't started writing the fourth book yet. I don't know what I will. So that's, yeah, I think I have like 11 outlines started.

Elle 1:18:30
Wow. Do you work on outlines all at once? Are you like one outline, one outline, one outline.

SJ 1:18:37
I work on the outlines all at once. And sometimes to like the other day, I can't remember what it was. But I thought of something like, Oh, that'd be a fun scene in a book. And then I like scroll through my list of outlines. I'm like, which book should this go into? Because I'm like, I want the scene, but it doesn't, you know, and so, so I have them all going at once. And then obviously one takes over in my brain. Like originally, I was going to start writing the Christmas novella right after smokey Darlene so that I would have it done and I wouldn't have to worry about trying to cram it in before the holidays, which is what I'm doing now. But by the time I get done with Smokey Darlene, like this story, the Darling book, too, was just like, it was like the outline was done. It's in my brain. This character. I love this character. I've wanted to write this book the whole fucking time I was writing smokey, darling. I'm like, I just want to be done. So I can write this one. Sound like I just got to do it. Like my brain wouldn't even focus on that other story. Right? So it's like, Whatever, whatever story is done, I need to write it. Okay, so that's yeah, and some of these outlines. When I say there's an outline like, again, it's like, here's an idea. Here's four sentences that will eventually become a book. I don't know probably, maybe

Elle 1:19:45
when you're done with the outline, how long does it take you to actually draft the book?

SJ 1:19:50
I think it's an average of two months for the first draft or something like that and like good actually. So I in this is where like My plodding. Like when I have my outline, like, I don't have every detail, but I have every scene, right. And every once in a while a new scene will pop up. And I'm like, oh, I should add that. But like all my notes, it's all in my notes app on my phone, because I just kind of scroll through, I see where I'm at, you know? But yeah, so I do about about two months to write, give or take. And then once I finish, I do my one through edits. Because to my mom's when editing as I go, right, right, I write, I don't write super fast at the time, but I write pretty clean, like, I don't have to change much. Once, like from my first draft, from there, it's just I normally add five to 10,000 words in my second draft, like flesh out scenes, you know, like, and then then I give it to my mom again, as a whole. And she reads it and then gives me any of her edits. And then it goes to my editor. So and that process is about another couple of weeks. I mean, my mom can fly through it in like a week or so. And then the editor has week. So

Elle 1:21:04
wow, it's

SJ 1:21:06
pretty quick turnaround.

Elle 1:21:07
That is a very fast turnaround.

SJ 1:21:09
Yeah, I mean, well, and like we were saying, before we actually start this episode, like for this book that I'm writing, I'm going to try to work with a PR company for the release of this, which means I actually need to set a date, which is super stressful for me, because I've never done that. I'm always just like, it's always taken me about this much time. So this should work for a deadline. But then as soon as you write that down, it's like, oh, fuck, yeah.

Elle 1:21:36
You're locked in? Yeah, I

SJ 1:21:38
have to Yeah, I

Elle 1:21:39
can't, I can't work like that. There's too many moving parts in my life where I'm just like, I like one, one thing goes wrong, and it's just gonna spiral everything. I can't do

SJ 1:21:49
it. Because absolutely gonna happen to me about this as well, too. I was just doing last night. I'm like, okay, so I need I want to do that holiday novella, which means backtrack. When does actually be done. When do I have to start when does this and like, okay, so I need to be done with this book. By the end of July. I'm saying start that and I'm like, writing.

Elle 1:22:08
Yeah, I had a meeting with my editor the other day, and she was like, and then you need to do a holiday novella. And I was like, fuck, I forgot about that. So I'm really gonna do

SJ 1:22:17
like, Oh, right. So because I, you know, going through and I was looking at December and I'm like, fuck, why's my December, like my slowest month I've ever had since I started publishing and one of my like, friends who's like big in the book talk, or Bookstagram community, she's like, it's because you don't have a holiday novella. Because that's like, like the hardcore romance readers like they spend like Thanksgiving to New Year's binge reading Christmas books, or holiday books or whatever. Yeah. Sounds like alright. I've never written a novella. So I have no idea how long this will be.

Elle 1:22:51
Yeah, I did one. So I did. I've done two I don't one with my urban fantasy. And one is a piece that I wrote for an anthology that's there was a Kickstarter that has yet to come out. It was for Kickstarter. stretch goal. And that's still pending. But that was another urban fantasy ish that I had in my head. But I think I might end up turning it to a paranormal romance series. Because I should be able to twist to twist the story. Because I miss I don't I still miss writing in that sort of magical fantasy monster world.

SJ 1:23:29
I love it.

Elle 1:23:30
I know. I know. And I get to get my fight scenes back

SJ 1:23:36
fight scenes, some paranormal sacks? Do it. Yeah, that's

Elle 1:23:40
sort of like, you know, that's like way down the road. So you know, and it's actually really hard. I find those the shorter books really, really hard to write.

SJ 1:23:50
Yeah, I'm, I'm super curious how long this actually turns out because that outlines done I'm finished with that outline and know exactly what's going to happen. Yeah. So which is good because like the which is why I'm like, I need to I need to get the fuck on this book. And like finish writing it, even though I'm like, barely doing. So then I have time to do this one, but and like the outline is shorter. So obviously, it'll be shorter. But I don't know. I don't know page length, how long it'll be it's gonna be however long it is like, I'm not going to try to fit it into any sort of box constraint, you know, it has to be X number of pages. Fuck that. Whatever. It'll be what it'll be.

Elle 1:24:24
Because I think he was like, you know, for the Kickstarter anthology. He was like, Yeah, you know, short story like maybe 7000 words. And I was like, turning in 25,000. It's short. Yeah, that's a novel.

SJ 1:24:41
Right? Yeah. I just tripled your printing costs. My bad break it up into three. Yeah, like he was really happy with it. So I was like, Oh, that's good. Yeah. Well, yeah, it's I don't know how to plan for like a start. Didn't length it like magically every other book I've written has like been within like 20 to 30 pages of each other like, you know, which works. So we'll see. I mean knock on wood. Hopefully I get it done.

Elle 1:25:13
So you're on Tech Talk like where do you hang out online? Where can readers find you?

SJ 1:25:17
So I am everywhere I spend way too much time on social media. You can find me at SJ Tilly author. I'm on Instagram. I'm on tic tac I'm on Facebook. I have a private Facebook reader group called the beanbag book club beanbag is a coffee shop that you will see in several of my books throughout all my series. I do have a Twitter account. I don't fucking use it. So yeah, I don't do Twitter. I'm like posted like five things. I don't know. Yeah, I'm just all over the place where you can just go to Sgt. And that'll bring you to all my different links. But yeah, I'm everywhere perfectly and

Elle 1:25:55
I will have all of these in the show notes for people who who can just do a one click over. Tilly, thank you so much for doing this. This was super fun. It was

SJ 1:26:06
fun. Thanks for having me. And for all your listeners were having LNR is the toddler fictional podcast I don't know when both of these are going to airs. So like at some point they'll both be on the air and then you can listen to us again.

Elle 1:26:21
I will be great on social media when I'm on yours. And I will also be broadcasting this episode on social media too when it when it goes out. So cool. It's been so much fun.

SJ 1:26:32
Thank you for having me. It's been a great time.

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