Author Spotlight (Interview): Stylo Fantôme

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☆ ☆ ☆ Author Spotlight: Stylo Fantôme @stylofantome ☆ ☆ ☆

It felt like the buzz about Jameson Kane came out of nowhere.  One minute I’m reading my standard romance reads, then I pick up Degradation, with encouragement from Yaya (so I know I should be afraid), and the Devil comes barreling into my life like he owns the place.  It is a fact, Jameson Kane will own you!

That was a nice but scary introduction to this author.  So what does she do with her next release?  She completely reinvents herself with a steamy book about an affair.  And if that wasn’t enough, she then releases the homage to Mr. and Mrs. Smith with Merchanary series, reinventing herself once again.

This author takes chances and if you haven’t read her books before, the Shorties highly recommend that you check them out.  If you can’t tell from our interview with her, we kind of adore her!

Interview
One of my (Rachel) favorite aspects of your writing is your ability to write messy, complicated, and interesting female characters. When the male characters are as alpha and domineering as the ones you write it can be easy to let the females become doormats or not as deeply developed as the males, which is something lot of books in romance tend to fall victim to. Do you find writing strong female characters something that takes a conscious effort or something that comes easily to you?

Stylo: I think it comes easily – despite being an anxious introverted sort of person, I definitely see a lot of myself in my female characters. The sort of weak-willed-virginal heroine is definitely a genre, and kudos to those who like it, but I have a lot of trouble reading them because I can’t identify with the ladies. So when I wrote Degradation, I thought to myself “I want a heroine I’D maybe like to be like, or who is a  little like me in some ways”. The rest just sort of naturally came about. I have never ever in my life felt unequal to a man, I don’t even understand the concept, so I would have trouble writing my heroines that way.

I (Ivy) love what you did with Lily and I’m hoping you’ll bring in more women like that. The romance world needs more strong kickass heroines like her. So with that in mind, I’m wondering what your plans is for the Mercenaries series – do you have a long term arc with this particular triangle or does you plan on introducing other mercenaries, hopefully female ones? *crosses fingers*

Stylo: I do have hopes for a long running series, comprised of stand-alone books/sets for the individual characters. I have a rough outline for Kingsley’s story, and in “Out of Plans” you’ll be introduced to the character Damiano Ledo – not a mercenary, but I may want to explore his story, and then build more stories on other characters as they’re introduced. I hadn’t thought much farther than that, though a female mercenary would be fun to follow along with. With Lily, I was playing on characters like Maggie Q in “Live Free or Die Hard”, or Angelina Jolie in “Mr. And Mrs. Smith”, and it would be nice to see more of that. I agree that the romance world lacks a little in the strong, maybe even “dark”, female character department. Girls can play rough, too!

One thing many people love from your books are your awesome secondary characters, namely Sanders and Kingsley. Do you set out knowing how important these characters will be or is it something that evolves as you write them? Also are there any plans to give Kingsley a story of his own? (I’m not above bribery)

Stylo: Sanders was like getting blindsided – I had no idea people would love him the way they do. Kingsley, I had an inkling, because he’s cheeky and charming and just generally likeable, and then after beta readers’ feedback, I knew he was another “Sanders”. It’s totally an evolution – Sanders was supposed to be a bad guy, and Kingsley wasn’t even in the outline for Best Laid Plans, he just popped up. I was having this discussion with someone the other day; I think secondary characters “flow” more easily because there’s absolutely no pressure to write them. I don’t even think about it as I go along, because they’re not who the story is about. Kingsley can be as audacious and over the top as he wants, because ultimately, he’s not the focus. But it works in the opposite direction – that same flow that gave me Sanders doesn’t work well when he’s the sole character, that freedom from pressure is gone. With Kingsley, I made a point to mentally prepare for him to be a bigger deal, so I think he could still work as a lead. I do plan to write his story – I have no idea when that will happen, I haven’t written a sing word down, but it will happen.

All of your stories have been very diverse from one another. Degradation was steamy erotica, My Time in the Affair was a heartfelt story of a woman struggling in a broken marriage, and Best Laid Plans was a fast paced romantic suspense novel that read like a movie. Is there a type of story or genre that you wish to tackle next and what would it be?

Stylo: I think I’d like to go super dark at some point, but I’m not quite able to do that yet. Some day! I’ve also had people ask if I would ever do romantic comedy – it would be fun to try, though everything I write almost always takes a nose dive into angsty, hahaha. As for next, I actually think after a year and a half of doing such vastly different stories, it would be kinda nice to go back to my Kane roots.

Do you outline your books, particularly your series’, prior to writing, or do you just see where the story leads you?

Stylo: I do an outline in my head, and sometimes I actually write down bullet points, but they’re all more like “guidelines” and I rarely stick completely to them. Series develop on their own. It’s all a very organic process for me.

Without spoilers, what was the most difficult scene for you to write?

Stylo: I have the most trouble with filler – the moment between the big scenes, like a fight or sex. Those things come easily to me because I plan them out in my head. But getting to them, sometimes that’s a bitch. But for a specific scene, I would say maybe in “My Time in the Affair”, after Mischa has her confrontation with Michael, but before she went to Istanbul. It was hard sorting out how she was supposed to react after such an intense moment. I think, personally, in real life, there would need to be a much longer “healing period”, or at least I would need one. But in the romance-book-world, I didn’t have that kind of time, it would’ve bogged down the story. So working out how to make it believable but not have it take forever was hard.

What do you do when you get writer’s block, or are you lucky and this never happens?

Stylo: Anyone who says they never get writer’s block is either a liar, or not a very good writer, HAHA! Okay, maybe some people are that lucky, but I find it very hard to believe. I used to just switch stories. Now I try to pin point what the issue is, what is making me not want to write, and what can I change to get rid of the block? For The Mercenaries books, I had a critique partner, and this kind of changed my life, hahaha. When I started lagging and I would tell her I wasn’t feeling it, she would immediately be like “what’s not working? How about this? Maybe try this, or how about that, or get rid of this” – a new perspective is wonderful. As the author, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes.

We know you’re probably getting tired of this question, but would you ever consider a Sander book?

Stylo: If I could write a Sanders book tomorrow, I would. I wish I could. I’ve even tried. It’s just hard because there’s a ridiculous amount of pressure, which just makes me shut down in general. On top of that, I wrote the Kane books all in one go, and never once thought of Sanders as a romantic or sexual entity – it didn’t occur to me till readers saw him that way. So it’s hard to imagine writing a love scene for him. He’s locked into a permanent role in my brain, and when I try to imagine him differently, it’s like a dozen voices start shouting “no, readers would hate that. And they wouldn’t like this, and they want him to be like that, and you need to make him a certain way so they’ll like him like this …” I know authors are supposed to write for themselves, but it’s not really that simple. I’ve seen what happens to authors when they release a book and readers don’t appreciate how their fave characters get treated. The backlash can be horrible – Charlaine Harris got death threats. And even in our own indie community, there’s been awful repercussions, even over things like “wrong” cover models. What would happen if I didn’t portray Sanders the way people wanted or expexted? He’s too precious to me to risk any kind of negativity, at least right now. That all adds to the anxiety and pressure and then BOOM, Sanders won’t speak to me at all. So I swear – I’m not holding him hostage. I guess I’m hoping that I’ll reach a head space where I can give him the story he deserves, and a time will come where there’s not quite so much pressure.

Will we see a novella in the future with our favorite Satan and his Lilith?

Stylo: Hahahaha, someone told me that their friend asked if I was going to do a “summer barbecue special” for them, and for some reason, that cracked me up. I didn’t realize “summer barbecues” was a genre, but the idea of Jameson attending a barbecue is quite possibly the best thing EVER (Satan in a bib).​ I’ve been picking away at it, mainly because Jameson is my favorite thing to write in the world. It would just be for fun, and I would probably just release it as a short for free, on my pages. Who knows, though, any free time I have usually goes to whatever book is next in line to publish.

I (Michelle) recently saw that you quit your day job, are you finding yourself more productive being at home or more distracted?  (if you don’t want to answer this one, that’s ok)

Stylo: More distracted hahaha author Ella Fox and I have talked about this – both of us write full time, and it’s definitely not what you’d fantasize about. I have zero will power, so setting my own schedule is virtually impossible. I’m also a night owl, so I’m awake when everyone is asleep, and asleep when everyone is awake, also not as fun as it sound. I procrastinate worse than ever. BUT!!! I also work well under that particular kind of pressure (I was that kid always doing their homework in the hall outside of class right before it was due), and I do set deadlines for myself, and I virtually ALWAYS meet them. I have a level of professionalism I always strive to meet, like meeting deadlines and honoring publish-by dates. I would like to find a part time job – something easy! – but just so I have something that makes me leave the house and forces me to interact with other humans. But like not a lot, let’s not go crazy.

SPEED ROUND – 20 Questions
What is your favorite word?
Stylo:  Toss up between “fuck” and “articulate”

What is your least favorite word?
Stylo:  I don’t think I have one

What turns you on?
Stylo: Mouths, teeth. How they look, what they can do, the words that come out of them. All that goodness.

What turns you off?
Stylo: Ignorance. Oh, and toilet humor. No bueno.

What sound or noise do you love?
Stylo: I love music, just about any kind. I also like the way footsteps on rocks sound, like loose stones or gravel.

What sound or noise do you hate?
Stylo: Stylo: That Dolby testing sound, at the beginning of the movie in a theatre? BARF.

What is your favorite curse word?
Stylo: Fuck

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Stylo: Can I be a professional traveler? Is that an option? I’d like to direct plays, I love that kind of stuff.

What profession would you not like to do?
Stylo: Anything with set hours

What are you reading right now?
Stylo: My own book – I’m editing. But before that, I read “Phantoms” by Dean Koontz for the third or fourth time (still scared the pants off of me)

What book(s) do you urge readers to read?
Stylo: Lucy V. Morgan’s “Breaking Leila” and “Breaking Joseph”. I only count two authors as actual influences on my writing and my voice – Christopher Pike, and Lucy Morgan. I think she has a beauty in her words that’s misunderstood, and I think her wit and her story telling are some of the best in the business. I reread her books ALL the time.

What inspires you?
Stylo: Ultimately, my husband – to be the kind of partner he deserves, and to help provide us with the kind of lifestyle we’ve always wanted.

What is your favorite indulgence?
Stylo: Popcorn with like so much butter, you can TASTE the heart attack.

What is your favorite movie?
Stylo: Another impossible question, I’m a huge movie buff. The Matrix? Or Inside Daisy Clover. No wait, definitely Die Hard. Ehhhh, wait, maybe Rebecca. Shawshank Redemption! Gone with the Wind. Mad Max: Fury Road.

What is your favorite piece of clothing?
Stylo: I have a huge hooded sweatshirt that says “I’m From Alaska: It’s a Survival Skill” that I love.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Stylo: Orange Sherbet

What is something you like to collect?
Stylo:I don’t personally collect anything, but sort of accidentally, Mr. F and I have built up quite the collection of old cameras and flasks. If you know us, one really makes sense. I’ll let you guess which 😀

What item must you have with you at all times?
Stylo: My phone. My laptop is too big to carry around everywhere.

What city could you get lost in for hours to explore?
Stylo: I can’t decide between New Orleans and Paris.

What is one thing about you that would surprise us?
Stylo: I get awful anxiety when it comes to meeting people and being in new situations. I wouldn’t be surprised if after meeting me at signings, some people would describe me as bitchy, or cold. But I’m not necessarily – I’m just so anxious and nervous that I clam up, because if I talk, I literally babble nonsense. My mouth won’t translate what my brain is trying to say. Yet online, I’m able to think and process, and even occasionally be witty.

Final Question: Who is your favorite Star Wars character?
Stylo: Bahahahaha, honestly? I’m probably more of a Trekkie, though I don’t watch either very much. But if I had to pick …. it’s a toss up, between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader.

Thanks Stylo!

About

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Crazy woman living in an undisclosed location in Alaska (where the need for a creative mind is a necessity!), I have been writing since …, forever? Yeah, that sounds about right. I have been told that I remind people of Lucille Ball – I also see shades of Jennifer Saunders, and Denis Leary. So basically, I laugh a lot, I’m clumsy a lot, and I say the F-word A LOT.

I like dogs more than I like most people, and I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink. No, I do not live in an igloo, and no, the sun does not set for six months out of the year, there’s your Alaska lesson for the day. I have mermaid hair – both a curse and a blessing – and most of the time I talk so fast, even I can’t understand me.

Yeah. I think that about sums me up.

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If you haven’t read them already, check out Stylo’s books:

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Book Title: Best Laid Plans (The Mercenaries #1)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: 322 pages

Synopsis
THE PLAN:

* Smuggle diamonds from Liberia to Morocco
* Make the trip in three days
* Don’t get caught
* Don’t kill each other
* Don’t have sex with each other
* Don’t fall for each other
* Stick to the plan

This is the story of what happens when an unlikely bond is formed between enemies, causing tensions to rise, and igniting a chemistry that threatens to burn them both. Together, they’ll learn that sometimes even the best laid plans can fail.

If this NOVEL were a MOVIE, it would have an R rating from the MPAA. Contains: Violence, Grisly Images, Strong Language, Nudity, and Graphic Sexual Content.

Amazon

Goodreads

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Book Title: Out of Plans (The Merchenaries #2)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: pages

Releases December 15th

Synopsis
THE new PLAN:

* Find Marc
* Don’t find Marc
* Take down a Russian Bratva boss
* Don’t have sex with Kingsley
* Find Marc
* Take down a Colombian drug lord
* Don’t fall for Marc again
* DON’T FIND MARC
* Kill every –
*
*
* SCREW THE PLAN AND JUST WING IT

This is the story of what happens when best laid plans fail, and a vengeful woman is forced to find her own way once again. A bond bro. . . more.

Amazon

Goodreads

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Book Title: Degradation (The Kane Trilogy #1)
Genre: Erotica
Length: 187 pages

Synopsis
Eighteen year old Tatum O’Shea is a naive, shy, little rich girl. Twenty-three year old Jameson Kane is smart, seductive, and richer. They come together for one night, one explosion, one mistake, and Tate is hurled into space – no family, no money, and no Jameson.

Seven years later, life is going pretty good for Tate, when she runs into Jameson again. This time, she thinks she’s ready for him. She doesn’t have a naive bone left in her body, and she can’t even remember what shy feels like. Jameson has evolved, as well – sharp words, sharper wit, and a tongue that can cut her in half. It all sounds like fun to a woman like Tate, and she is ready to play, determined to prove that she isn’t the same girl he conquered once before. A series of games start, each one more devious than the last.

But as the line between games and reality becomes blurry, Tate quickly learns that Jameson has most definitely earned his nickname, “Satan”. Can she beat him at his own game before someone gets hurt? Or will he leave her soulless, making him the winner, once and for all?

WARNING: contains a wannabe B-rate porn star, an impersonal personal assistant, and the F-word, A LOT. Also graphic sexual situations and sadomasochistic themes.

Amazon

Goodreads

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Book Title: Separation (The Kane Trilogy #2)
Genre: Erotica
Length: 251 pages

Synopsis
Everything is fun and games until someone gets hurt, and what Jameson Kane did to Tatum O’Shea goes so far beyond hurt, he is well into the realm of unforgivable. Tate says she wants him gone for good, and he quickly learns that the old saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”, is most definitely true.

But Jameson has never been very good at following instructions, and when Satan decides to seek redemption, he’ll go to great lengths to get it. He proposes one last game – one to end them all, if she agrees to play. He is very confident that he can win, but Tate warns him that it’s not possible; she will not lose again. Little does she know, Jameson is prepared to do whatever it takes. Prepared to lay the entire world at her feet. Prepared to bear his soul.

What he didn’t count on, though, was handing the damn thing over.

Now Jameson can only pray that his evil ways haven’t rubbed off on Tate too much. Sometimes, it’s very difficult to tell who the Devil really is …

WARNING: contains a semi-reformed devil, a woman scorned, and more Sanders than anyone has a right to witness. Also graphic sexual situations and strong language.

Amazon

Goodreads

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Book Title: Reparation (The Kane Trilogy #3)
Genre: Dark Erotica
Length: 271 pages

Synopsis
The Devil has met his match

When Tatum O’Shea decides it’s time for some payback, no one is safe from her new game – not even the devil himself. Tate is going to get her happily ever after, even if it means making everyone else unhappy in the process.

But a persistent Jameson, a meddling Sanders, and an amorous baseball player make it very hard for a girl to keep her focus, and suddenly it seems Tate has a few too many suitors for her fairy tale ending.

Sometimes, it’s very difficult to tell who Prince Charming really is …

WARNING: may induce Kindle throwing, screaming at fictional characters, and possibly a few tears. Also graphic sexual situations and sadomasochistic themes.

Amazon

Goodreads

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Book Title: Completion (The Kane Trilogy #3.5)
Genre: Erotica
Length: 172 pages

Synopsis
What happens when Satan in the flesh meets Lillith in real life?

Some name calling, a lot of fighting, and even more loving.

For two years, Jameson Kane and Tatum O’Shea have made their relationship work. It might not work for anyone else on the planet, but it’s perfect for them. Their own personal fairy tale.

But can Jameson give Tatum a true “happily ever after”? He’s not sure.

Where would the devil go to buy a throne, anyway?

WARNING: contains little plot, a lot of sex, and was written for the author’s own personal enjoyment. Also graphic sexual situations and sadomasochistic themes.

Amazon

Goodreads

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Book Title: My Time in the Affair
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 292 pages

Synopsis
~Mischa~

I made a conscious decision to cheat on my husband.

Now, before you judge me, hear my story. Hear how much I’m like you, how similar my thoughts are to your own. Yes, I’m a horrible person. Yes, I’ve done horrible things. Yes, I don’t deserve forgiveness. Yes, bad things happened because of my actions.

But I’m willing to bet I’ve done things that maybe, just maybe, you have thought of doing.

Maybe, just maybe, you’re not as innocent as you’d like to think.

Or maybe I’m not so guilty …

Amazon

Goodreads

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