Guest: Kallypso Masters

Hello and welcome Kallypso Masters to my site. Kally has so graciously agreed to be interviewed.
So let’s begin…
1) First, tell us a little about yourself so the readers know who you are? 
I write emotional erotic romance novels as Kallypso Masters. I’m 53, live in Kentucky where I was born, and have been writing romances off and one for more than 35 years (since high school). I’m happily married (28 years) and have two adult children. I rejoined the Romance Writers of America in 2009, but was a member during the 1990s, too. In April, I quit my day job rather suddenly. After a few weeks of unsuccessful job hunting, I decided to try a one-year experiment to see if I could make a living writing romances full-time. I pulled out NOBODY’S ANGEL, an erotic-romance novel I drafted in May 2009, and started editing. 
A lot has happened since then, including the publication on Amazon and Smashwords this month of my first novel—MASTERS AT ARMS, an introduction to the “Rescue me” series in which ANGEL will be the next book. In May rejoined one of my former RWA chapters, the Kentucky Romance Writers, and try to be an active member.  
SC: Well I have to say, just be reading your teasers you have me HOOKED. I hope this works out for you. I really do. 
2) What made you decide to write? Was it something you accidentally began? Or what you wanted to do? Or annoying character who refused to leave until their story was told?  
My first conscious memory of wanting to write was in the eighth grade. I wanted to be a journalist. About twenty years later, I went to college to earn a journalism degree. Even then, I made it clear to my academic advisor that writing romance novels was a strong interest. She was thrilled recently when I told her I was finally pursuing that dream. I have always loved writing and reading these novels with their happily-ever-after endings. Today, I have characters from one published work and four upcoming ones (including a Western historical that will be written after the Rescue Me series is finished).
SC: I adore writing and reading is the one thing I think I’m addicted too. 
3) Tell us why you decided to publish your novel independently.  
In May, I saw a couple of articles in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post about writers publishing their books independently. I had only ever submitted one story to a publisher before—in 2009 for an anthology—and was given a “good” rejection. (Not what we’re looking for, but please submit something else.) I figured my writing was good, so I decided to embark on a one-year experiment. If I succeeded in making a modest income, I would continue; if I didn’t, then it would be back to job hunting. I’ll probably publish five books within that one-year period (roughly May/June 2012). Then we’ll see!
SC: My fingers are crossed for you. 
4) Tell us about your current release? Where can readers buy it from? 
MASTERS AT ARMS, the introduction to the Rescue Me series, tells the story of three men and the turning points that lead them to come together in a Marine unit in Iraq. What happens there and the aftermath will lead them to form a band-of-brothers bond that no one can break. A few years later, and for very different reasons, the three will band together again to open their Masters at Arms BDSM club. The book provides no Happily Ever After endings for the three men. Those will come with their upcoming romances. 
But MASTERS does introduce readers to the “first meets” of the heroines for two of three men. Based on preliminary feedback from readers, the story that gave me the most anxiety—a romance with a 25-year difference in ages between Master Sergeant Adam and Karla Paxton, the 16-year-old he rescues in the beginning of the book—is the one most readers are clamouring for. (She’s no longer jailbait when the oh-so-honorable widower Adam first notices her sexually at the end of MASTERS, when she is 25!) I think they are anxious to see if Karla can bring Adam to his knees—again. But the more mature Dom Master Adam is very much a fan favourite (and with me, as well). The younger Doms will be mentored a bit by their former master sergeant as they struggle to make things right with the women they are destined to love. I should mention that Master Adam was inspired by Mark Harmon’s NCIS character (and Karla has a wee bit of Abby Scuito, the forensic specialist in that series, in her, as well as some Tarja Tarunen, the Finnish Goth singer). Their story, NOBODY’S HERO, is due to be released in December 2011.
Another of the Masters at Arms is Navy Corpsman Marc D’Alessio, an Italian-born playboy, who embarks on a journey to discover the hero within, although in his mind it is to come to grips with his guilt over his brother’s death in Afghanistan. Having embarked on his life as a Dom at the age of seventeen under the tutelage of a cougar at his family’s ski resort, he will take Damián Orlando, the third of the Masters at Arms Doms, under his wing and introduce him to a BDSM club before they deploy to Iraq. Marc keeps his emotions closely guarded and isn’t one to let his guard down easily. He’d like to go from superficial relationships to something deeper with his perfect subbie, but doesn’t know where to start until he opens up to Master Adam in NOBODY’S ANGEL, due to be released in September 2011.
The youngest and most reluctant of the Doms is then 19-year-old Damián, who come to the rescue of Savannah Gentry who is being tortured by two sadists at the hotel where he works as a bus boy. He doesn’t know that she is a sex slave and incest victim. His distaste for the BDSM lifestyle is evident early on. BDSM equals pain and degradation and that’s no way to treat a woman. (Things will change for him after Iraq.) The two of them spend one perfect day together on a beach, then are separated by circumstances beyond their control. Having been fired as a result of the rescue (her father/abuser/Master owns the hotel), 19-year-old Damián joins the Marine Corps, eventually training as a Reconnaissance Marine with Marc, the Navy Hospital Corpsman who has been assigned to his unit. Damián will return from Iraq marred for life and suffering from severe PTSD. The two will meet again briefly as secondary characters under tragic circumstances in the December release of HERO. But readers will have to wait until February 2012’s release of NOBODY’S PERFECT to see Damián and Savi exploring their feelings for one another again. Both will need to work around severe PTSD triggers and trust issues in order to find their HEA.
SC: love hearing more about the books I’m falling in love with. 
5) What are you currently writing? 
I am rewriting NOBODY’S ANGEL which will be released in September. This book was written originally as what I envisioned an erotic romance to be—and as a ménage. In the rewriting, after having developed the characters so much in MASTERS AT ARMS, the book is totally being revamped. I don’t know that it will be quite a ménage as much as a triangle—and at this moment I can’t tell you how it will be resolved in the end. I write by the seat of my pants and until I get to that point, I really don’t know. I know what I want to happen, though. But, we’ll just have to see.
SC: Just keep writing, just keep writing :-) 
6) What inspires you most when you write? 
I have a need to tell stories of redemption, heartache, reunion—stories where the characters literally go to Hell and back, before eventually finding their Happily Ever After (HEA) ending. (Ask anyone who has read MASTERS AT ARMS, and they’ll tell you that I met the first part of that going—sending them to Hell. Now I am busy bringing them back to give them their HEAs. I tend to write characters who are broken or lost—physically and/or emotionally. I write romances with dominant males and strong, but usually submissive, women who bring them to their knees. 
While writing, I listen to music that inspires a particular character or scene, and also to look at photos of the actors and models who inspire the physical attributes of the characters I am writing about. I share these with my Facebook and Twitter fans regularly. (I’m more of a Facebook person, though—and primarily use Twitter when I’m trying to avoid the time suck that always pulls me in when I go to FB. Writing is so solitary and I am an extrovert, so I love to interact with people.)
SC: Love it :-)
7) What experiences have you had working with your publisher/s?
Other than one submission to Samhain (the good rejection one), I haven’t really submitted anything anywhere else. But some of my best friends are e-publishers!
SC: I’m e-published lol 
8) What are you reading now? 
I’m actually RE-reading Cherise Sinclair’s Club Shadowlands series. I’m on Breaking Free, the third book. One of my favorites in the series so far—two characters who have had to overcome a lot of brokenness in order to find love, especially the heroine. Cherise is my idol for BDSM romances. 
I’m also reading a book by Donna McDonald’s Dating a Cougar, the first book in her humorous contemporary “Never Too Late” series. She’s an indie writer, as well, and has six books out now. I’m playing catch-up!
And I’m rereading MASTERS AT ARMS and making notes of all the things that I need to resolve or bring back up in the next three novels for these guys.
SC: So wish I was you right now and could be reading the Masters at arms.
9) What are your guilty pleasures? 
To be honest, I had to google this to get some ideas. Then, I thought, why are people feeling guilty about such wonderful things? I guess my Catholic upbringing has worn off, because I don’t let guilt rule me any longer. If it feels good, do it.  
SC: :-)
10) What would be your advice, if any, for other aspiring authors? 
Write every day. Even if all you can carve out is 30-60 minutes a day, plant your butt in the chair and do it. Just like an athlete trains his or her body by working out day in and day out, writers develop their craft by training their muses and their brains to get into writing mode every single day. I have not had a single day since May where I didn’t do something writing related—including journaling, editing, etc. But don’t get stuck in forever-edits, either. You have to write something before you can edit. Always keep writing new, fresh material. 
Another thing to do is learn all you can about the crafting of a good novel. I have taken numerous classes over the last two decades. In in the early 1990s, I took an adult-education class with Garda Parker, a fellow writer in the Central New York Romance Writers. More recently, I’ve taken three courses (two this year along) with Bootcamp for Novelists. My classes were taught by fellow romance writer Linda Style. She’s fabulous. But there are lots of options both physical and virtual for writers to learn more about writing. No one is ever finished learning new things!
And while I have just published my “first” novel, there are many, many manuscripts that will never see the light of day. Strangely enough, when I told a friend from my college days that I had published, she was asking about the characters in a couple of those earlier ones. So, I guess they were memorable! But I’d totally gut the stories and start from scratch if I did them again. But the experience of writing those manuscripts helped me hone and develop my skills. So, the advice here is: Not everything you write is a gem that needs to be published. Listen to your beta readers and critique partners, especially if you are hearing similar things from multiple readers. And just keep writing and trying. Perseverence is the key. 
SC: Thank you so much for being here today. Love your answers and I impatiently wait for the rest of your books.
This is for you to talk more about yourself, leave your blogging details, site details and generally promote yourself. 
Thanks for interviewing me, Sam! I find out new things about myself with every interview I do—and hope there’s something of interest to readers and writers, as well.
I hope your blog readers will send me a friend request on Facebook (Kallypso Masters), follow me on Twitter (@kallypsomasters), or follow my “Ahh, Kallypso…the stories you tell” blog at http://kallypsomasters.blogspot.com. And I welcome e-mail to kallypsomasters@gmail.com.
And now, I’d like to offer a giveaway contest! Please comment below and we’ll choose the winner of a free copy of MASTERS AT ARMS. Please make sure to leave an e-mail address so we can inform you if you win!

25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cari Silverwood
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 06:59:58

    Great interview Kallypso and Sam. Good luck with your books and Kallypso with your skills and your love for writing romances with deep tragedies at their core I can easily predict you’re going to be a great author.

    Reply

  2. Patricia
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 20:55:10

    Loved the interview, though I do have a question. How did you come up with the idea of the PTSD? This is something that very few writers touch on even though some of their heroes are military/veterans.

    Reply

    • Kallypso Masters
      Aug 27, 2011 @ 23:15:41

      Thanks for asking, Patricia. My father fought in Korea and came home with PTSD. Of course, in those days, no one knew what to do about it. I swear, his mother and brother used to just roll him up on a mattress (they weren’t the stiff kinds they are today) and sit on him when he raged. My mother told me recently that once when she was pregnant (well, she was pregnant a LOT, but…) he was lying beside her and just jumped up of the mattress and sprang over the top of her to the floor–and somehow he didn’t even touch her. Of course, without treatment, he found comfort in a bottle. So, I wanted Damian to find his way back without having to go there. :)

      Master Adam and Savannah will help. And I’m fascinated with how some Doms (and subs) use BDSM as a means of regaining control of their lives. Of course, his subbie, Savannah, has her own PTSD issues. Together, it’s going to be…interesting, to say the least. They even have a similar trigger (can’t have weight on their chests), which will result in some creative sexual positions. :)

      And as if that’s not enough going on, Damian is now a Sensual Sadist. of course, that’s what Savi (Savannah) needs. But it’s so different from the pre-war Damian. That intrigued me, too.

      I like to put characters through hell and THEN give them their HEA. More accurately mirrors real life sometimes–and let’s readers going through hell believe they can have an HEA, too. I know romance novels did that for me!

      Thanks again for asking!

      Reply

      • Patricia
        Aug 30, 2011 @ 01:08:00

        I just wondered as I am a second generation woman vet and my hubby was Special Forces with three tours in VietNam. As a result, our daughter is an MFT that wants to work with veterans. You definately walked the walk, girl.

  3. Liz Crowe
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 23:42:02

    I’ve thought for a while that this is one of the most well-thought out and richly charactered stories I’ve heard. I have not had a chance to read it YET but plan on it very soon. keep up the great work!
    Liz

    Reply

    • Kallypso Masters
      Aug 28, 2011 @ 00:38:40

      Wow, Liz, thanks! Hope you like it! But, in actuality, this is one of those books that just flowed out of me, even though the initial intent was to write a marketing piece to let potential readers discover if they liked my writing style and characters. I drafted it in three weeks (May), edited/revised (while also working on Nobody’s Angel), and published less than two months later.

      I absolutely fell in love with these three men, Karla, and Savannah–and the thought of letting their backstory just be mere snippets here and there in their romances would have been awful. But I learned so much about them just in the process of writing that their romances are richer as a result. A win-win.

      Reply

  4. leisa prater
    Aug 28, 2011 @ 01:29:20

    I am 53, from Kentucky….I will now add you to my Authors to read list…would love to start with Masters at Arms…Thank you for writing!!!! leisaprater@att.net

    Reply

  5. Brenda Woody
    Aug 28, 2011 @ 02:34:32

    Ahh Kallypso, the tales you have yet to weave. You are such an inspiration to any aspiring author. You really did your homework before writing Masters at Arms. Kudos to you. I watched your comments on Facebook as you moved from a very nervous writer to a writer who knew exactly where she wanted to go. You will go far with your writing!
    I also quit my day in June. I gave my two weeks notice and never looked back. Between writing articles for extra money and publishing 3 more books this year. I hope to make a modest income to be able to work from home too. We took the plunge!
    Awesome interview SammyJo as always. You ask the right questions.
    ((hugs to you both))

    Reply

    • Kallypso Masters
      Aug 28, 2011 @ 13:54:22

      LOL–wow, Brenda! Sometimes I still get nervous if I think I’m breaking some “rule” I shouldn’t. But people seem to love my rule-breaker first novel (no HEA in the first of an erotic-romance novel series?!? *gasp*), I think maybe that’s what the Indie Writing Revolution is all about. Readers might be ready for some rules to be broken!

      Good luck to you, too! I hope I can make it as a full-time writer by the end of my one-year experiment. I so don’t want to get another Day Job. Luckily, the bar for success wasn’t set too high! lol

      Reply

  6. Fiona Archer
    Aug 28, 2011 @ 09:29:14

    Sam and Kally–fantastic interview. Kally, I’m fascinated with the PTSD aspect and how you’ve woven that through your story. It brings such added depth to your characters, which I think is missing in some portrails of Doms and their subs. I can’t wait to read more.

    Sam, thank you for having Kally as your guest today. :-)

    Hugs,
    Fiona.

    Reply

    • Kallypso Masters
      Aug 28, 2011 @ 13:57:07

      Thanks, Fiona! Sometimes I worry that I make my Doms TOO real, rather than knowledgeable and perfect right from the beginning of the novel. I like for them to grow as Doms in the story–Master Marc definitely does. And Master Damian is so young, he also has a long way to go. Master Adam is the most comfortable in his Dom skin–but even he is going to have to try some new things if he’s going to be with Karla. :) I just hope my readers are open to my imperfect, but loveable, Doms!

      Reply

  7. Gina Kincade
    Aug 28, 2011 @ 11:54:19

    I’m still determined to get & read this entire series Kally. You’ve put alot of your heart in this work, as anyone can plainly see, and believe me it shows. You may write by the seat of your pants but you definitely keep your followers & fans on the edge of theirs!
    Don’t ever stop being you and writing like you do. I’ve a feeling, and I so hope, that you will never go back to a regular job again.
    Yours,
    Gina

    Reply

    • Kallypso Masters
      Aug 28, 2011 @ 13:59:14

      From your lips to God’s ears, Gina! Glad you enjoyed my first novel! (Well, first PUBLISHED novel, anyway. Like all “overnight” successes, I have my box of 7 or 8 manuscripts that won’t see the light of day.) LOL

      Reply

  8. Gabi Wurst
    Aug 28, 2011 @ 13:43:56

    Eliza Gayle send me this link and i was surpriced – a real good interview and good book to read :-D !!! it is a good idea to begin a series with the background of the people. i hope, i can get this book!
    here my email:

    gabi.wurst@nexgo.de

    i am allways looking for good books. get on with writing – my ebookreader has much space… LOL

    Reply

  9. Sondra Carr
    Aug 28, 2011 @ 14:15:01

    Great interview Kally. Like so many others, I have read Masters at Arms and I’m impatiently waiting for more. (Pause while I crack the whip) Now get back to writing! Hurry up! :-)

    Reply

  10. Laura Harner
    Aug 28, 2011 @ 14:22:43

    Love learning more about you, Kally. Great interview, ladies!

    Reply

  11. Cherise Sinclair
    Aug 28, 2011 @ 16:34:27

    That’s a great interview, Sam & Kally! I love hearing about how stories–and authors–came to be. Having read Master of Arms, I’m eagerly awaiting the rest of the books…especially Master Adam’s. (sigh).

    Reply

    • Kallypso Masters
      Aug 29, 2011 @ 00:15:44

      Thanks, Cherise! You’ll have to wait until December for Master Adam, er, his book anyway (no, you still can’t have him!)–although you’ll get to see quite a bit of my Alpha Dom and Karla in the next book, NOBODY’S ANGEL. :-)

      Reply

  12. JM
    Aug 28, 2011 @ 17:31:40

    Fantastic interview Kally. I think you will go far with this series.

    Reply

    • Kallypso Masters
      Aug 29, 2011 @ 00:16:51

      Thanks, JM! I hope so! I am already introducing secondary characters for books 5 and beyond! :) But first, I must get the Masters at Arms their HEAs! They’ve certainly EARNED them!

      Reply

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