Welcome to my blog this week. My guest author writes sizzling erotica for those who love tantalizing M/m romance! Come on down to the dungeon where Jacob is waiting for us. He's offering up a FREE e-copy of Moral Authority so get your entries into the Rafflecopter below! Please comment at the end and welcome Jacob this week!
Tonya: Jacob...ah, there you are. I hope my male submissives down here helped you enjoy your dungeon tour while I gathered our guests. Come sit with us. Everyone get comfy. Jac, readers love to know more about their authors. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Jacob: First, I’d like to thank you for having me here on your blog. I appreciate it, and you’ve been a fantastic host. You didn’t need to hire hot male submissives to undulate around us while we chat, but I love the gesture! Mmmmm...
As for information about me, well, I tend to think I’m pretty boring. I’m your average family man with a husband, three kids, and two dogs. We live in a small South Texas town, where we sometimes feel like a tiny blue blip amid a fiery red swath.
Like I said, nothing all that exciting there. Just your run-of-the-mill family, who sometimes works as a spy in Her Majesty’s secret service. Oops! Did I just say that? Obviously, I was kidding. I’m not really 0069. I promise!
Tonya: *glancing at her obedient submissives standing by who'd love to get their hands on Jacob* Do you have a day job?
Jacob: I do. I’m a college English professor at the college here in our town, where I’ve worked for the past seventeen years. Gosh, I’m getting old! How the heck did that happen? It seems like just yesterday, I was skipping my college classes in favor of late-night parties with my friends. Now, I’m the professor that monitors attendance and scowls at his students who constantly miss class. Talk about role reversal!
Still, I work at a great place with some remarkable people. I’m also able to devote as much time as I do to my writing because of my job. I can’t complain!
Tonya: A professor...how interesting! And you're not old by any means! That's just a frame of mind. Some of us have things we do to get into the writing frame of mind like music, or drinks. Do you have anything special you do to get into the writing mood?
Jacob: I don’t have a specific ritual. I do have a routine, though. During the summer, I wake up early, go to the gym, and then spend the day writing. I stop for dinner, spend time with my hubby and family, and then repeat the process the next day. When I’m in the middle of a semester, I write in the afternoon after school and before dinner. I can’t really listen to music or have the television on when I write. I need silence and preferably solitude. My family knows this.
For the most part, they do their best to give me space even though they wish I had a study where I could squirrel myself away. They get irritated with me when they have to turn down the volume of their favorite shows! But I just work the best when I’m not distracted because I’m easily sidetracked by something shiny. I can’t tell you how many times a Facebook notification has derailed me from my writing. I’ve taken to putting my phone on silent and out of my reach. When I disconnect from the world, I’m able to create. That’s what I need to be able to write.
Tonya: Then you couldn't write down here! LOL Where do you keep story ideas? Where do they come from?
Jacob: First off....NO! I couldn't write down here! I don’t have a pat answer for where my stories come from. 3, which was my first book by Dreamspinner, was inspired by a trio my husband and I met in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The Gifted One came from a nightmare I had, and Moral Authority was born from a random musing. I asked myself: what would happen if the moral majority got everything they wanted.
My ideas tend to just somehow spring to life. Once I get the plot bunny, I work on it and follow the bunny down whatever path he leads me. He’s been good to me so far, so I think I’ll keep following where he leads.
As for where I keep my stories, well, when I get ideas, I jot them down in my phone or on the Growly Notes app that I have downloaded onto my computer. I stockpile a whole lot of information between those two places. I tend not to write in a journal because it takes me so long to write. I’m very impatient, and since I can type pretty darn fast, I prefer to store my ideas electronically. Of course, I’m worried about computer crashes or phones dying, but I back up those notes everywhere just in case.
Tonya: Are you a daytime writer, night time writer, and do you have to be alone to write?
Jacob: Definitely daytime and definitely alone. I’m at the top of my game early in the morning. As the day wears on, I lose steam. I’ve tried writing at night, but not much comes from those attempts. There has been only one exception to that rule. When I was writing Moral Authority, I had only about 5 or so chapters left before the manuscript was complete. I couldn’t sleep knowing how close I was, so I stayed up until three in the morning to finish writing the book. I was glad that I did. If not, I might have lost all the good stuff that my mind came up with at the end of the book.
Tonya: I'm a night writer and NOT a morning person at all. What advice would you give to new authors?
Jacob: I think writers need to realize how much of a business this is. That was something I was ignorant of at first. I believed that all I needed to do was write, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Completing a book is only part of the process. Yes, it’s the most important part, but there are other factors that can’t be ignored.
As authors, we have to develop a real online presence through social media and blogging. It’s really vital for sales and for connecting with readers. Readers enjoy getting to know us, and interacting with them helps build real connections. I can’t tell you how much my writing and sales have changed because of that. I wish I had realized that from the start. Still, it’s never too late to reach out to fans and make real connections. And it’s important for those interactions to be real, not just hawking your books or your blog posts.
Tonya: Great advice. Do you write better when you first have an idea of what your characters look like or do you write, then add character looks?
Jacob: I have to know what my characters look like from the get-go. I can’t do anything else until I have that down. I scrounge the Internet, looking for pictures of men who resemble what I envision for the character. Once I find the right photos, I take it from there. I create their background by writing a character sketch. I flesh out far more about them than the reader will ever learn, but that’s an important step in my opinion. We have to know our characters inside and out if we expect readers to care anything about them.
Tonya: I couldn't agree more. Writing those character outlines helps immensely. What attracts you most about men?
Jacob: *eyeing my submissives then rejoining me* Besides the fact that I think they are damn sexy? For me, it’s a mixture of confidence and vulnerability. I don’t want my men to be weak. They should know what they want and be strong enough to go for it. They have to stand up for themselves and speak their minds, but at the same time, they can’t be too cocky. There has to be a balance between the hard, rugged quality of a man and the soft, tenderness that melts the heart. For me, that’s an unbeatable combination.
Tonya: We’re dying to hear about your latest book. What can you tell us without spoiling the storyline?
Jacob: I’d love to share! The book is titled Moral Authority. It’s dystopian gay fiction, and like I mentioned earlier, the idea came about when I asked myself what would happen if the moral majority got everything they wanted. What if morality was defined for all?
Well, in the America of my book, the government has done just that. They have added a fourth branch to the government called the Moral Authority. They are charged with being the moral compass of the nation and creating morality laws that citizens must follow. Anything that is immoral has become illegal.
Homosexuality is outlawed. Cursing is banned. People cannot get divorced, have extramarital affairs, or engage in premarital sex. Caloric intake is even monitored. If any moral laws are broken, then a moral citation can be issued or the offender can be sentenced to moral prison.
Moral Authority shows what happens in a country that continues to restrict freedoms instead of broadening them. When subjective ideas become defined by a select few, the America we know disappears.
And my three main characters—Mark, Isaac, and Samuel—take three very different journeys. One is a victim, one is a rebel, and the other is a tyrant intent on maintaining control
Tonya: Mmmm....sounds like an interesting, sexy read! Where can our readers find you and your books?
Jacob: Most of my links are listed below and I love to interact with my readers! Please stop by my blog and comment when you all have time.
Tonya: Is there anything else you want to tell our readers?
Jacob: I just want to thank your readers for spending this time with me. I know I’ve rambled on for quite some time, but I enjoy getting to meet new friends. Thanks to everyone who’s stuck it out to the end.
Tonya: I'm sure of our guests will be clicking over to check out your sites. Let's have a bit of fun. What is your favorite night time snack...besides your husband?
Jacob: LOL Oreo cookies. OMG! I just love them. I become the Cookie Monster when they’re in the house, which is why I can’t have them in the pantry too often!
Tonya: Do you like toppings on your ice cream?
Jacob: Of course! Chocolate sprinkles please! Sprinkles make everything better.
Tonya: What’s your favorite meal - Italian, Mexican, Thai, etc?
Jacob: Anything my husband cooks. He’s quite the gourmand. I’m quite lucky that he loves to cook because I’m so awful at it. In fact, I’ve been asked not to cook by the family. I think they’d rather starve than eat anything I might whip up. It’s really that bad!
As Mark drew closer to the Starbucks on 14th and Lavaca, dread once again crept along his spine like an army of spiders.
Moral code posters were everywhere. On every building wall or storefront display. All lampposts, trash cans, street signs, and mailboxes supported the same gruesome image of Uncle Sam.
Saggy, aged flesh framed a smile that radiated no warmth. His cold blue eyes looked more akin to sharks’ than humans’. Uncle Sam’s gaze pierced through flesh and peered into the soul, looking for the immorality hidden within as easily as a shark detected a drop of blood within the ocean. His demeanor was that of a top-tier predator, and his pointing finger was not only accusatory but also a sign that you might be his next prey.
As a child, he’d never understood why all the adults, his mother included, praised Uncle Sam so much or even why they referred to him as an uncle. No sense of family attachment connected him to the man with a crooked smile, who commanded moral obedience in the advertisements all around him. In fact, Uncle Sam was the subject of many of Mark’s childhood nightmares. In them, Uncle Sam entered his room, his finger pointing at him like a loaded gun and his smile hitched up at the right corner of his face. He hovered over Mark’s bed like a specter. And then it would happen.
In his dreams, Uncle Sam unhinged his lower jaw and turned into a human vacuum, sucking up everything that was distasteful inside his bloating body. Hamburgers, hotdogs, and candy flew from under Mark’s bed and disappeared within the gaping void of Uncle Sam’s mouth. Eventually, no matter how tightly he gripped onto his headboard, Mark soared through the air, straight for Uncle Sam’s yawning maw.
The memory of those dreams caused Mark to shiver even though the oppressive Texas sun beat down upon him. Walking past all these posters unnerved him as if he had been transported inside a nightmarish dreamscape where escaping Uncle Sam was impossible.
Uncle Sam’s eyes and smile lined the street in almost every direction, berating all who looked upon him into submission.
“Wonderful day today,” another government employee said to Mark as Mark walked by. He nodded in agreement, even though he disagreed. His day was wonderful until Uncle Sam ruined it.
REMEMBER THE MORAL CODE OF CARE. EAT RESPONSIBLY was now posted on the wall of what used to be Dan’s Liquor Store. It was now one of many health food shops where citizens purchased the food needed for their daily allowance.
Uncle Sam was obviously expressing his displeasure at Mark’s desire for a Frappuccino. That didn’t stop a sense of vindication from washing over him as he drew closer to the Starbucks.
MORAL CITIZENS ARE GOOD CITIZENS.
THE ROAD TO MORALITY IS PAVED WITH MODERATION.
THE MORAL LAW OF RESPECT KEEPS CITIZENS HAPPY.
MORALITY IS NOT AN OPTION.
BEING MORAL IS BEING AMERICAN.
Finally, Mark reached the front door of Starbucks. Once inside, he would be out of Uncle Sam’s line of sight. Before going in, however, he took one look back at the posters. Dozens of pairs of Uncle Sam eyeballs stared back, boring into his being and condemning him simply for existing.
Yeah, well, fuck you too, Mark said within the safety of his own thoughts. He then entered Starbucks and slammed the door shut behind him.
Bio: Jacob Z. Flores lives a double life. During the day, he is a respected college English professor and mid-level administrator. At night and during his summer vacation, he loosens the tie and tosses aside the trendy sports coat to write man on man fiction, where the hard ass assessor of freshmen level composition turns his attention to the firm posteriors and other rigid appendages of the characters in his fictional world.
Summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, provide Jacob with inspiration for his fiction. The abundance of barely clothed man flesh and daily debauchery stimulates his personal muse. When he isn’t stroking the keyboard, Jacob spends time with his husband, Bruce, their three children, and two dogs, who represent a bright blue blip in an otherwise predominantly red swath in south Texas.
Tonya: Thank you all for stopping by! Please leave a comment or question for Jac, share the post on FB and get into the contest!
Tonya: Thank you all for stopping by! Please leave a comment or question for Jac, share the post on FB and get into the contest!
CONTEST – One lucky reader will win a free e-copy of Moral Authority, so I hope everyone enters and don't forget to earn your additional entries!