Refusing to bleed, my heart beats strong against any lost love. My happiness overshadows all other emotions, leaving peace as a part of my essence. Always fighting for what it wants, my heart builds an armor strong enough to survive any battle. Who I am will never again be sacrificed for any love, but real love will always be worth a chance. My soul searches to fully connect to itself and will do so with or without a soul mate. Respecting itself, my body will never be an object again. I AM worth more than that, and only someone who truly sees my full worthiness, and I theirs, with full understanding of one another’s perceptions will ever be able to unlock the beauty of my heart and soul again.
Soft, unsure voice;
Thumbs twiddling with nerves.
Does anyone care?
Does anyone believe in you?
Strength slowly builds;
Heart races faster with every inch you stand taller.
Does it matter if no one cares?
Does it matter if they don’t believe in you?
Head held high.
Fear no longer paralyzing you.
It doesn’t matter if they don’t care.
It doesn’t matter if they don’t believe in you.
Smiles become real.
Dreams become attainable.
All that matters is that you care.
All that matters is that you believe in you.
Love for yourself deepens.
A light shines on all aspects of life.
The world changes when you believe in yourself.
Fun clickable links are attached throughout the post. Find out what exciting things are hidden.
*Crickets* … *Even more Crickets* …
John Quinlan: *Clears throat*
Amber Autry: *Stands Dazed*
John: Can we get this interview started? I’ve been looking forward to sitting down with you for quite some time now and it’s finally show time.
Amber: Oh… Um… I’m sorry, I just was… um… admiring the powerful artwork in front of me.
*After running a hand through her hair, Amber stretches her typing fingers.*
Amber: Today we have erotic cover model John Quinlan joining us as I bombard him with womanly questions like… Are you single? and If so, will you run away with me?
John: I am married but running away with you sounds like fun for a change of pace, ha ha ha!!!!!
Amber: Okay, not really. I can’t do that. I’m married, and I love my husband. I can’t dwell on how toned, tan, and just plain sexy in all the right places you are in this cover art photo.
*Blushes and looks over shoulder*
Alright, I’ll be good. Hubs will probably read this later. I don’t think he’d appreciate my drools too much, so lets get on to the first question.
Us romance/erotic writers like our hero’s. We love how sexy we can create them, and most of us can’t help but to add the perfectly toned body to every hero we write. Tattoos: a great benefit. You have all this, which is why you are and will do well in the erotic business. Can you tell us some tips and your personal habits that keep your body looking so good? (Yes, I’m also a little jealous and would love to know your secrets.)
John Quinlan: Amber, I am humbled by your kind words you have for me and my body of work. So right back at ya, you are an amazing writer. I am very impressed with your work and want to personally thank you again for having me here today. I do have my share of tattoos, I currently have 20 of them and I am referred to as the most tattooed male romance cover model in the world. I eat a balanced diet that is very low in sodium overall. I love spinach and eat at least one serving of it daily with my lunch along with drinking nothing but water. Occasionally, I will social drink or enjoy soda as I have 3 young children, but for the most part, those are a few of my little things I do to keep myself feeling good. I exercise consistently 5 times per week and I train now more like a boxer/MMA fighter doing my combined workouts with weights and cardiovascular conditioning.
Amber: That is what we call dedication, and many of us, including myself could learn from that in many aspects of our life.
Okay, before I continue to the next question, it’s just been too long since I’ve had a good look at your cover art, and the results of your hard work, so I’m going to share another one. I’m sure my readers would greatly appreciate more eye candy. Because it is for my readers… not for me. I promise. You hear that husband of mine.
These images are both great artwork. The first one is so powerful. You flow into the background and make the image complete with a story of its own. And I love how the last one promises an erotic romance. I want to read the book and I haven’t even seen a title or blurb. That’s what makes a good cover model that writers want. Can you tell us a little bit on how you became a model, how long you’ve been doing it, and what goes on behind the curtain?
John Quinlan: I have been a model for many years now. I began back in the 90’s in my early 20’s while training in the local gyms outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Photographers would come in the gyms and look for guys to use to advertise products in fitness flyers and brochures and that’s how it all began. From there over time I just branched out into different genres of modeling and here I am today. My personal opinion of what makes a good male romance cover model is that he can relate to the readers. As I said earlier I have my share of tattoos which makes my look a bit on the “bad guy” side but many readers love bad guys. I think my look is a bit different from the traditional cover model and that grabs the reader’s attention when they first see me on a cover. I would like to think this draws them in to want to see more. I try to combine the erotic with the bad guy which makes the reader say, “I gotta see this.” I truly love the readers and the great writers like you very much. Without special people like you sitting down with models like we are doing right now none of us would be able to showcase our talents to the world. For that I thank you so much, Amber.
Amber Autry: Different is good. We need variety or we’d get bored, and you sure are giving us that variety! In a pleasuring way too. *wink, wink* So, to give our readers a little view of what goes on during photo shoots, here’s a youtube video they can watch.
Because I have to give credit to some of my fellow authors, while still showcasing you, do you know what books are going to be released in the near future with you on the cover?
John Quinlan: There are a few but the one I am really looking forward to the most, which is due out later this year, is by the amazing author Kharisma Rhayne. I would like to personally thank her for selecting my “Angel of Satan” cover image for one of her Dark Retribution: Warriors of Malice Series. This was one of my favorite cover art pieces. I am an official Phatpuppy Art cover model and artist Claudia McKinney really did a superb job of me on this one.
Amber: OH… I know Kharisma Rhayne, she’s one of my facebook friends *squee*. I love when I know a name I see in a magazine or on a book. It’s so exciting. I haven’t had the honor of reading her work yet, but I know she’s a great person. Her website is here, and here’s the cover to her future book! John Quinlan is HOT… HOT… HOT… I can see why it’s your favorite.
And because everyone could use some advice, do you have any advice for the aspiring cover models who may be reading this?
John: Aspiring cover models stay focused and never give up on your dreams. Good things take time but if you are consistent and work hard there is nothing you can’t accomplish.
Amber Autry: Great advice, and it should be heeded from all people and any goals they may have. Keep on going, you CAN and WILL do it.
It looks like you have done your part in inspiring others. Here’s a great yahoo article about how you inspired other athlete’s. Thanks for doing your part in keeping people going after their goals.
So, how does it feel to be a face of erotic romance?
John Quinlan: I am truly honored. It is such a great genre and the writers have been so very kind to John Quinlan.
Amber Autry: Of course we’re nice. We wouldn’t want to scare off the one thing in the room that’s pleasing to look at. Ha… ha… ha… On that note, I have another treat for my readers. What good would it be to feature an erotic romance cover model, without a little more erotic showcase to get our systems buzzing?
Must… keep… eyes… off… picture… but it’s too hard.
*hears noise behind her*
Amber: Oh, hey honey. *her pitch heightens* Love you.
*Hubby glares at photo on screen*
Husband: *mumbling* Love you too.
Amber: It’s for work. I promise. *flutters eyelashes and smiles*
Husband: *Groans* Whatever. *leaves room mumbling more profanities*
Amber: Well, I have some sucking up to do for the rest of the day, but lets get this interview out of the way first. When I look at these modeling pictures, I can’t help but notice how ever crevice is detailed to perfection. As a writer, I know how important every detail is, especially in a man’s physique. It’s what keeps your reader’s blood boiling. Being a model, you’re the visual that gets the reader’s mind creating the pictures we paint for them. How do they make those small details stand out? Lots of make-up? Photoshop? Both?
John: All of my photos are 100% me, there is no photo shopping as they say with my original images. If an editor or graphic designer wants to do something after the fact to create special effects etc. that’s all good. I try and give people the real John Quinlan. What you see is what you get which I think is great because that leaves plenty of imagination of what one can do with this basic image. As a model I do keep myself in good shape so those crevices you speak of are real and have been attained through hard work. I am glad I can give back to the writers a great product they can work with.
Amber: I did not expect that. Well, I guess that’s where the 5 days of intense exercising comes in. Keep it up, we love the results. So much so… I’m going to share yet another picture. Never going to get enough…
Hold on… One second… I really need to catch my breath after that one. WHEW!!!
So, after I saw your post on According to Ditter, I stalked you… yes it was in a creepy way too. Hey, I’m a romantic suspense writer. I need to live in the shoes of my antagonists sometimes, and stalker is one of their main professions.
Anyway, through my stalking on facebook, I noticed you have children. How do you mix modeling life with being a father? And does that mean you aren’t single? Wait… shush… Did you hear that? Hearts are crushing everywhere.
John: It gets busy at times but I always try and balance my modeling with my life as a good dad. Yes, I am married to my wife Jennifer with 3 beautiful children; Troy-7, Cole-3 and Mia-21 months. I feel as long as I stay organized and allow family time so that even balance is there then it’s really great and very rewarding at the same time.
Amber: Family is the foundation to our professions, no matter what we choose. It’s great you have a strong one.
On a more serious note. We both have a professional end of things. Like appearances and networking. I love that part of the business, and it looks like you do too.
I’ve never gone to a romance book convention, but I have gone to a romance writers convention, and I LOVED sitting next to the cover model during lunch. Even if everyone at our table was blushing and acting like school girls before he sat at the table. No matter how married they were. It’s like cover models are gods to us. I mean, it’s almost as if we are meeting our hero’s in person. Are you planning on appearing at any future conventions?
John: I am planning on attending the Romantic Times Convention in May 2014 being held in New Orleans but we will see how things shape up.
Amber: Sounds like a good plan, and one that just got scribbled into my schedule book. *wink, wink* New Orleans isn’t too far, and I’m sure I can scrounge up enough change out of parking lots or trash cans by the time May comes around. And it starts the day I’ll turn 28 too. It’ll be my b-day present to myself.
Back to the interview. Since I’m selfish and all, I’d love to see you on one of my future covers. Have you thought about branching into other genre’s of romance if you haven’t already, and what are your future plans in your modeling life?
John: I am open to all genres of romance and as far as modeling goes I just take it one day a time because good things happen when we least expect them to and it is easy to get overwhelmed. I just keep it simple and enjoy the ride.
Amber: That’s the way to do things. Less stress. I think that about wraps up our interview. Do you have any parting words, or news you would like to share?
John: I had a great time today chatting with you Amber. It’s the writers like you that make the world of romance so great.
Amber: Thanks John Quinlan, and I wish you the best in the future. I hope everyone has enjoyed John’s company, and we look forward to the eye candy you have in store for us.
My first Q and A as a writer. Go check it out and leave a comment.
A dark night surrounded her, and even the elusive moon cast little light as it lingered behind cloud cover. Scared. She wasn’t going to be scared. No. There was no time for that. Yet, her trembling hands revealed the terror she harbored deep within.
She clasped the cold metal of the gun to steady herself. Being stalked for months, seven long months, had its toil on a pregnant woman. This time, she’d bring her stalker down. For good. A rustle in the woods behind her had her hoping she was right. Her unborn child’s safety, and her own, relied on it.
Stalking… It’s what my current novel is about. I love it. Every bit of it. I think I found my niche in the Romance world. At the moment, I’m impatiently awaiting my chance to dive deeper into the stalker’s mind, but I still have a bit to write before I’ll be able to do that.
This WIP, working title ‘The Baby Heist’, was requested during a Speed Dating with Editorial Assistant Dana Hamilton. For this Pitch date, the book didn’t have to be started, which is unusual for publishing houses. Halfway through writing, she requested what we had finished. Ever since submitting my first few chapters, I’ve been following the editor. Not in real life. On Twitter, but now, I feel like the stalker…
But, upon reading the definition…
…unless she has felt harassed, I don’t fall under the stalker category. Although watching her obsessively probably borders on the same tendencies a stalker would have. How many of you enjoy reading Romantic Suspense with stalkers?
Horse hoofs clicked on pavement as Rob sat next to his wife, Josephine. Her face brightened as the carriage turned the corner and entered a beautiful field of magnificent gardens. His love for her grew every second, but sadness had enveloped their lives the last few months. Even now, during one of their most romantic moments, he wanted to cry.
Her light blue eyes set deep in black circles and her face was ashen, but nothing could cover her beauty. Especially as the lowering sun bounced off her soft blonde curls, and a seductive smile was plastered on her face. Rob scooted closer and wrapped his arms around her.
She ran a hand through his short brown hair and kissed his lips. The softness of her touches subduing the sadness for only a moment. It was hard to live with the knowledge that she was dying, and he hadn’t left her side since she had been diagnosed with cancer. Filling her days with spontaneous adventures like this ride on a horse carriage around England, he would do anything to make the rest of her life special.
When she patted his knee and put her attention back on the peaceful surroundings, he could feel the excitement roll off her. Anticipation caused knots to form in his stomach as they got closer to their destination. This moment had to be perfect for his sweet angel. He reached up and covered her eyes before they rounded the last corner.
She tried to wiggle out of his hands, but Rob inched closer to her ear and whispered, “My love. We’re almost there, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Keep your eyes closed.”
Slowly lifting his hands to make sure she had complied, he halted the carriage and rushed to the back. He rummaged around and a glance back at Josephine made him smile.
She stood on the carriage with her eyes held shut and a wide grin on her face. The joyous chirps of birds suited his agenda well. The scenery was phenomenal. Two trees with dark pink blooms sat in the center of a meadow. These blooms also covered the ground, and in the middle, Rob had laid out a picnic.
Enveloping his wife with his massive arms, he savored every second of this time with her. “Keep your eyes shut.” He led her close to a blanket.
“One more second.” Rob stripped and laid down in the center of the two cherry blossoms.
“I don’t think I can wait any longer.” She started shifting on her feet.
“Okay, I’m ready. You can open them now.”
She stifled a giggle and hurried to his side. “It’s absolutely beautiful, but I don’t understand why you would lay in the middle of such a wonderful view naked. It ruined the whole thing.”
“Hey.” Rob pinned her under him. “At least I don’t have a huge, ugly freckle on my boob.”
They laughed then Rob kissed Josephine deeply. She moved into the kiss and struggled to remove her clothes. Soon, they enjoyed the dance that only lovers can make while the sun moved slowly over the horizon.
When finished, they both lay naked and watched the stars come out one by one. Josephine lay in the crook of Rob’s arm twiddling with a branch of cherry blossoms while Rob ran a finger down her arm.
She turned to face him. “This is so wonderful. Thanks for bringing me here.”
“I found this place a few years ago on that business trip I took. All I could think about was how the beauty reminded me of you. I knew I would bring you here one day, but I didn’t know it would be under these circumstances.” His mood sobered.
Silence surrounded them and Rob laid his head on hers. Tears threatened. He had to be strong for Josephine. How could he accept this tragedy that had befallen them?
“I’m going to miss the hell out of you.” Rob’s voice broke and wet drops fell onto his wife’s rosy cheeks. “I’ll be okay. I promise.” It was a lie. A heck of a lie. He doubted he’d ever be okay, but he had to make Josephine believe it so she could be happy in her final days.
She faced him and wiped away his tears. “I’ll still be with you Rob. Forever and always here.” She pointed to his heart.
“I know, but I don’t understand why nature chose to take you away from me. Of all the people in the world you are the one that gets this horrible disease.”
“I don’t know either.” She paused then gave him a long kiss. “I love you, and I wouldn’t have spent such a special moment with anyone else. You’ve made my last days here worth living.”
Looking down at the blooms in her hand, she slowly slid them into Rob’s hand. “Here take these and keep them to always remember the time we‘ve had here. The peacefulness of it, and the happiness. This is how I want you to always remember me.”
Rob took the small flowers in his hand and felt a thick wave of serenity come over him. Lying back, he finally was able to accept the fact of Josephine’s death and would make sure that every second he had with her would be just as special as today. He grasped her fragile fingers and looked out at the darkening sky.
This was entered into a writing contest on the Harlequin Forums. I didn’t place in the top, but it still was fun. You can find the entry, along with other great ones, at the link below
Change. It’s a part of life. Something we all go through. There’s good change, bad change, and the change you thought was going to be good but winds up being bad. I’ve had a lot of change the last few months. Some good and some bad. But, honestly, I see good things come from bad changes every time. Whether it be something I learned or something much better around the corner.
I’ll start at the beginning of the year. There were two major things that happened to me. One good and one bad. First, we (me and hubs) decided we needed to shut down our business. It was a sad day, but long overdue. I learned a lot as a business owner and in the shutting down process. So, there was some good that came out of this bad.
But, as they say, when one door closes, another opens. For the most part, this has proven to be true in my life. On January 4th, 2013, I participated in a speed date with the editor. This is where I pitched a novel idea (the manuscript wasn’t required to be started) to an editor for the Harlequin Intrigue line. The editor requested a FULL manuscript. I was so ecstatic. This was the hugest step in my writing career. Everyone keep their fingers crossed for me.
Anyway, some other good changes. I got a new job and a promotion. My husband got a good position as a manager, and this just may be our best year yet. I have lots of goals to accomplish and many more changes for the better in my future. I’m sure some bad will come too, but the good always out weighs the bad. Keeping a positive attitude is key.
Don’t forget to Spring Forward this Sunday, and remember, during the time change, now is the time for you to make the difference to have some good changes come your way too. What good changes have come your way already this year? What are some you feel will come to you later in the year?