GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Sheep Interview: Paranormal Romance Author C. J. Ellison | I Smell Sheep

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sheep Interview: Paranormal Romance Author C. J. Ellison

Would you go to a hotel that catered to Paranormal creatures? You know:
Vamps, Weres and Wizards...Ohhhhhh myyyyyy...
Yeah, me too! Author C.J. Ellisson writes the Vampire Vacation Inn series, and the third book Big Game came out this year. So let's go check in (see what I did there?) with C.J. and find out some interesting things. (And by that I mean talk about vampires and sex, duh!)

Sharon: Hello CJ! Welcome to the Flock…drink some Kool Aid and eat some moon pies and let’s talk Vampires!
Katie: Now we're talking!
C.J.: Thanks for having me, ladies! *drinks the kool aid* Woo-hoo, let’s get started!

Sharon: You are a new author to me, so could you tell me and the Flock a little about your Vampire Vacation series…and where Katie can get reservations?
Katie: And phone numbers.
C.J.: The series is set in an isolated region of Alaska, above the Arctic Circle. Picture a fully self-contained seasonal resort for vampires and other supernatural critters. A place where they can take their everyday masks off and be themselves. Spooky and sexy all at once, right?

I don’t blame you, Katie, I’d like to go, too!

The first book starts out with a murder. Our loving couple who run the resort tries to find the killer without upsetting the ongoing sexual fantasies of their guests.

Sharon: Why Alaska?
C.J.: It seemed like the perfect location for vampires. When I thought of it as a seasonal spot during the long winter nights, I wondered why no one else had set a vampire story there yet. When I posted my work on for feedback, one of my reviewers pointed out that someone had -- 30 Days of Night, a graphic comic later turned into a horror film, was set in barrow (which was where my inn was originally located).
Sharon: Is your series more PNR, mystery or the perfect balance of both!
C.J.: I’d love to say it was a perfect balance, but the true PNR fans will notice there is no actual romance in the book, just lots of sex. Apparently when categorizing a book that detail matters ;-)

By romance guidelines, I couldn’t have a happy husband and wife. I’d have to break them up and bring them back together, creating conflict in the series between them for it to be labeled a true romance.

I’m not a cookie-cutter mold type of writer, so I ignored the standards and wrote the story I wanted. It’s part mystery, adventure, intrigue, has some humor and dark parts, and sex. The first book has more sex than the other two in the series, but it’s still there.

Katie: Who's your dreamboat vampire and why?
C.J.: Hmm… I’d have to say Jean Claude from the Anita Blake series. More so in the earlier books than when she started collecting men, but he’s definitely at the top of my list!

I like him for his understated sexuality and control. He waits as long as it takes to win Anita and he accepts her for who she is, no strings attached.
Sharon: Got to agree with you, all that long dark curly hair! *swoon*
Katie: No strings? Well how about handcuffs?
C.J.: Are you quibbling over the handcuffs? I’m not so sure I would!

Sharon: Can the books in the Vampire Vacation series be read as stand alones?
C.J.: I think so and I’ve had some reviewers read them out of order, too. The first book really is sex heavy. I find readers either love it or hate it. Book two and three are told in a different manner, from multiple points of view, and the overt sexuality associated with Vivian in book one is watered down when we’re in other POVs.

Each book does have its own adventure, even though a larger over-arcing storyline is hinted at and builds through each book.

Sharon: Katie, this is the second time she has mentioned all the sex in book 1… I am starting to think there might be a lot of sex in the first book…;)
Katie: *note to self: get first book*
C.J.: LOL! Love you guys! Yeah, I mention it often because no matter how many times I do, I still get readers that are shocked at the sexual content. Personally, I think they must be living under a rock to not know what is in so many bestselling vampire series.

Sharon and Katie doing Shocked faces


Sharon: Are there any supernatural creatures you plan on introducing into the series, like mermaids or Fae or Thor…there should always be Thor, just saying…

C.J.: Agreed! There should always be a Thor. In my mind Rafe kind of looks like Thor, but a bit more rugged.

There are werewolves in the series and mention of witches. In the last book I introduce wizards, who are not born with magic like a witch would be, and shifters, beings that can change into any animal.

I’ve debated on whether or not to have multiple species of Were animals, and I might down the line. A novella I’m writing with Boone Brux this fall will combine her grim reaper world with mine. We plan on sending her new reaper to my inn to tangle with some of the resident vampires while she reaps some ghosts on the property. I’m really looking forward to that one!

Katie: Is there such thing as "too much" vampires? I mean really?!
C.J.: I’d say that is up to the reader, wouldn’t you? I know I got tired of the alpha vampire, alpha were, alpha male whatever who comes on strong and the semi-strong heroine who falls for him and his line of alpha-ness. I think the beauty of lots of authors and tastes means we’ll always get to find something interesting to read!

Sharon: You know what happens in New Orleans doesn’t stay there <G>. I intercepted a facebook status about AAD that implicates a certain vampire author, beads, and men…got anything to say <G>?
Katie: And before you answer this just know that I will be at the Vampire Ball in New Orleans so I need all the deets on where to go!
C.J.: LOL! Holy crap was that fun! We started calling it “objectifying men” when we went out cruising the streets. Buy some cheap beads, holler til you lose your voice, and throw the plastic bits at good-looking men. Damn, my kind of town!

My camera ate some of the best shots (bleeping piece of crap!), but one reader got one of me and this totally hunky French guy named Roman. I was at least 15 years older than him, but he was so freakin hot I couldn’t have cared less. I swear, when I get that picture it’s going up at my desk.

The entire atmosphere made me feel sexy and desirable. Young guys wanting to talk to us even if they didn’t have a snow ball’s chance in getting lucky with any of us? Man, it was heaven. I could go on and on about those magic nights objectifying young men… ahh… so awesome.

Sharon: You go girl! *secretly hating CJ for getting to go, and crying on the inside because I couldn’t*
C.J.: Come to Savannah, Sharon! And you too, Katie! I’ll be there and I would LOVE to party with you both. If there isn’t a party going on, I make one. Yup, I’m that dedicated to having fun when I’m finally allowed to leave my computer. ;-)

Sharon and Katie doing objectifying men faces

Sharon: Was this your first time to AAD and would you recommend this event to other authors and readers?
C.J.: Yes, it was my first AAD event and YES I would recommend it to both. I’m going back next year and I hope to go back every year Stella will have me. It was so different than RWA or any other convention I’ve been to. Some of them were very writer-centric, which is okay, but this one was totally focused on readers.

Readers are why we write. To chat and hang out with people who love the same stuff we do? Who appreciate the fictional characters we fall in love with in not just our own series, but other series as well? Priceless! Picture the best book club meeting you could ever imagine, then multiple it by like a thousand.
Sometimes we talked books, just like a regular meeting, but other times we just talked. You’ll find that the people who read books with open-minded philosophies regarding sexual orientation, love, and religion are very similar to you when the cards are on the table. I can’t even say that about the real book club I’m in at home.
Sharon: I have been trying to decide which con at attend next year and I think you just made up my mind J
C.J.: Woo-hoo! I’ll buy you a drink, my dear. We’ll chat and have a blast.

Sharon: What is the nerdiest thing you own?
C.J.: Hmm… nerdy, that’s such a personal opinion, you know? Cause sure as sh*t we all felt super cool when we bought whatever it was. I was at an ICON back in college at SUNY and bought some Star Trek holograms. Which I think my husband still has in frames somewhere. Or maybe the Dr. Who action figures I bought a few years ago? *shrugs* I embrace my nerdiness like Sheldon from Big Bang. It is what it is, so why quibble?
Sharon: We encourage nerdiness around here…I have the delux Optimus Prime and BumbleBee transformers on my desk as well as a Thor hammer (not the fun one, but a nerf one)
C.J.: Way cool! I think I bought my husband a Picard Borg action figure. Wonder what he did with it…

Sharon: Which Disney Princess’ life would you like to live?
C.J.: Oh God, I’m not sure. I’m really not a “the hero must save the day and save me” type of chick. I really liked Mulan. She was kick ass with the sword. I think I wouldn’t mind having her mad skilz.

Sharon: lol! That is the one I liked most, too. Good choice.
C.J.: Let’s bring plastic swords to AAD 2013. When they dress up for the Elemental Ball we’ll go as sword wielding kick-ass chicks. LOL!
Sharon: OMG, I can bring the swords! Really…see? I have Gumdo swords too!

Katie: What's the best way, in your opinion, to catch a vampire?
C.J.: I think that would depend on what you’re hoping to catch. I met this incredible man, John Edgar Browning, who discussed the “real” vampire lifestyle prevalent in New Orleans and other cities. He had so much knowledge on the topic it was fascinating simply spending time talking with him.

I’m not saying that’s my thing, but I respect that everyone has a right to choose to live how they want (as long as it doesn’t hurt others, kids, or animals).
Now, if you mean the PNR kind…. Hmm… the protagonists in those books don’t seem to do anything to get that lucky! They seem to be either in the right place at the right time, or were somehow destined to be with the vampire.
Damn, I really have no good advice on that one—sorry!
Sharon: That’s okay, Katie is pretty good with a net <G>
Katie: And a tranquilizer gun. *evil laugh*
C.J.: Oh! I bet both of those will come in handy on my mission to objectify men in Savannah. The men there are a more… umm… sober…. species of men then what we found on Bourbon street. They might need some extra persuasion rather than plastic beads and cheap booze. Bring them both, Katie!

Sharon and Katie show mischievous hunting faces

Sharon: Is there anything coming up you would like the readers to know, appearances, releases, where you hide the Girl Scout cookies?
C.J.: That’s funny because my daughter actually is a girl scout! I’m going to be in Bouchercon in early October, which is a mystery convention held in Cleveland. Then I’ll be at the Anne Rice Vampire Ball in NOLA, hopefully partying with Katie!
Sharon: *stomps feet* I wanna goooooo!
C.J.: We’ll bring you back pictures of us both cozying up to hunky vampire guys.

To answer your question regarding releases, I’m finishing up a manuscript right now that is near and dear to me. I’ve never written a contemporary erotic romance before and I have no idea how well it will be received. My alpha readers are loving it, but I worry they are just being super nice.

The book is called VANILLA DOM and it may be out this fall. Depends on which publisher I decide to sell it to. I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Sharon: I don’t mind vanilla, but a little hot fudge sauce is nice <G>
Katie: don’t forget the whipped cream…it isn’t a dessert till there is whipped cream…
C.J.: Agreed! I do have a scene in the novel with chocolate covered strawberries… yummy.

Rapid Fire
Grab onto the closest vampire and GO!

Sharon: Deli or bakery?
C.J.: Deli. Unfortunately I’m gluten free.

Katie: Guitar solo or Saxophone solo?
C.J.: Guitar

Sharon: Underground or underwater?
C.J.: Umm… To do what? If it’s making love I’d say underground. That whole “do it in a pool” idea is grossly overrated.
Sharon: I was talking about exploring…gosh! Seems like everything goes back to sex with you <G> (Shhh…I was totally talking about sex, good call)
C.J.: LOL!

Katie: Boxers or briefs?
C.J.: The combo – boxer briefs! Love those tight things.

Sharon: *high fives*
C.J.: Damn skippy. Tight is good.
Sharon: I am amazed! I thought I was the only one who said Damn Skippy! Wesley Snipes kicks ass!

Sharon: Coke or Pepsi?
Sharon: YESSSSS! Finally. I knew you were cool, even though you never did say where you hid the Girl Scout Cookies….
Katie: BOO! HISS!
C.J.: LOL! I stepped into a private battle there, eh? Sorry, Katie!

Katie: Swimming or Jogging?
C.J.: Jesus, neither. But damn, if I HAD to pick one to get in better shape (ugh) it would be swimming. God did not build big-busted women for them to run in comfort.
{Sharon and Katie have no idea what that is like.}

Sharon: M&Ms or Skittles?
C.J.: M&Ms. Is there really any contest? I mean really—they are chocolate, people!!
Sharon: *shakes head in agreement* Do you like the new pretzel ones?
C.J.: L Can’t have them due to pretzels have gluten in them. Are they Good? Please tell me no, they suck.

Sharon and Katie showing sucking faces

Katie: Hot poker or Brass Knuckles?
C.J.: LOL! To beat the sh*t out of someone? Holy cow, that is a funny question. Hmm… The hot poker will give you more reach, but you also run the risk of burning yourself, too. Think I’ll go with the hot poker. Always better to keep your enemy at a safe distance.

Sharon: Suffer in silence or scream like a banshee?
C.J.: Depends on what it is. I’d say mostly it would be suffer in silence. Of course, if it’s something my children have just destroyed I’m going to go with scream like a banshee.

Katie: Sexy highlander vampire or Sexy biker vampire? (this is a win/win question!)
C.J.: Agreed! It certainly is! Damn, the highlander will have that awesome accent and possibly be in a kilt… possibly naked underneath.… the biker will have tatts and possibly be dark n sexy… I’ll go for highlander vamp.

Sharon: Basket of flowers or Basket of Carnivorous plants?
C.J.: LOL! I’ll go with the basket of flowers, please. We’ve had carnivorous plants and my kids managed to kill them all. So depressing.

Thanks so much for visiting and rubbing our noses in the awesomeness that was ADD <G>.
C.J.: LOL! Hey, you all did your research ahead of time and saw the pictures. I was simply confirming that it was awesome.

Thanks so much for having me – it was an absolute blast!

About the Author:
C.J. Ellisson, author of contemporary fantasy and erotica, lives near DC with her husband, two children aged 11 and 9, two Staffordshire Bull Terriers and a young cat she's newly allergic to. After spending most of her working life dealing with real estate - either as a sales manager in wholesale mortgage banking, a corporate trainer, a Realtor, or as a property manager - she's now writing full-time and happy for the first time in years. Writing has become her passion and to find people want to read her stories feels like a dream come true.

Download the first half of Vampire Vacation here

And the first half of The Hunt here

you can also find these on CJ' website


  1. Replies
    1. Sorry for my late reply. I've been writing on a deadline. Glad to see you're an Alaska fan, too!

  2. grandma gave us a CRAPLOAD of beads for NOLA! I hope to chuck some at some vamps! ;) lol
    By the way, Sounds like my kind of hotel! Supernaturals AND murder!? *dies* oh....and im guessing a bit of sex too ;)
    Great interview! y'all are a hoot :D

    1. I will throw them all!!!! Oh wait, are we just throwing them at vamps? Do sexy Cops count? lol I can't wait. Really, so excited!

    2. We are going to have so much fun! You're going too, Bunni? I hope so!!

  3. OK SERIOUSLY, I am not a big PNR person you know that, but Oh EM GEE! I must have these books! CJ you rock!

    1. Thank you, Kriss! I admit, I'm not much of a PNR person either -- so neither are my books! Hope you enjoy them and thanks for stopping by to comment!

  4. Great interview!!! Do I have to just pick on flavor? I guess strawberry on a cone.

    1. Thanks, Heather! Appreciate you taking the time to stop by and comment!

  5. I like Vanilla Great Interview I enjoyed it Thank You for the awesome giveaway
    crystaley73 at yahoo dot com

    1. Thank you, Crystal! My hubby prefers vanilla, too ;-)

  6. I like vanilla as well. I also used to really like Jean Claude form Anita Blake.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

    1. I hear ya, Debby. Once Anita started collecting to many men I lost interest. But I've heard the latest ones have gotten back on track with an actual story. Thanks for stopping by to read the interview!

  7. Fun, fun interview!

    Vanilla Dom sounds like an awesome read as well.


    1. Thank you, Cassandra! I'm so stoked about this book. Writing the final chapters now.

  8. Lol, thanks for this fun interview, I enjoyed reading it very much. If I were to read the books, I would skip the first, and start with number two. To be honest, I am not into erotica. But I would go back to the first book for the story it self if I like book 2.

    Mmm strawberry flavoured please. Or creme brûlee ...

    auriansbooks at gmail dot com

    1. I appreciate your honesty, Aurian, which is why I always try to warn everyone about the sex. I hate disappointing a reader. I hope you give the series a try. I swear, there is a story between them thar sheets. :-D

  9. Hai Ladies. First time comment here. Love the way you're giving interviews.
    You make me want to read the books. And I'll even start with number one. Unlike my friend Aurian I am into erotica/romantica!

    I would say I would like to have a chocolate dom. In a cone please. Chocolate and cookies! And a nice dark dom, heaven ;-)

    maia.boeken at gmail dot com

    1. Maia…. I think you just made me drool. Dark chocolate dom with cookies… yum… I was going to do a second book in the series and call it Something Spicy… but I am sorely tempted to rename it now.

      Damn, must be my diet rearing it's self-deprived head.

  10. Plain Vanilla it too simple.. Maybe a Maple Vanilla, or a French Vanilla would be better... in a cone of course.


    1. LOL! I love how we're all choosing cones and no one is mentioning the phallic symbolism there. :-D

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Nora!

  11. Thanks for a fun interview! I love the covers of these books and they sound fantastic!!!


    1. Thank you, Erin! I hope you'll give them a try! I'm partial to the covers because I did them myself, so double thank you for the kind words!

  12. Strawberry in a cone. Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

    1. You're welcome, Natasha! And thank you for taking the time to read the interview and comment!

  13. great interview... Sounds like a good time in Alaska!
    hmmm, as to flavor. One thing about vanilla--you can always add something to it to, uh, spice things up a bit. Yeah, that's good. Cup or cone? Cones are tastier.

    lizziestarr at neb dot rr dot cnom

  14. Vanilla on a fav is mint chocolate chip on a waffle cone

    1. Jennifer, that was my all time favorite when I was growing up. Simply yummy.

      Thanks for stopping by to read and comment!

  15. Shocked about the sexuality of vampire novels? What could be sexier than a bad boy vanp waitng in the sheets! I have had such fun here. Ya'll "slay" me. There isn't enough room in this comment box for all I want to say!
    I will tell ya, I really want to read these books, in any order, upside down, in a tree, and with green eggs and ham!
    I have crossed everything that can be crossed:) Hoping I get lucky.

    1. Wow, thanks! Please do come back. We try to make all our interviews fun :) and if the authors play along things get wild!

    2. Agreed! And you ladies were an absolute blast.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Laura! Appreciate you taking the time.

  16. Oops! Forgot my flavor. Key Lime in a cone. Sweet and tart, yep!

  17. I guess I would go with Vanilla, you can add so much to them to add excitement: chocolate sauce, whipped cream, caramel sauce. On a cone, so much easier to just lick em, lol.

    The series sounds great! I think I have one of them but will have to check it out and get the rest, unless I am lucky enough to win them.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

    1. Thanks June! Appreciate you stopping by and reading. It is my sincere hope you enjoy the series!

  18. Great post! The books sound awesome, adventure, intrigue, dark and sexy! I would go with choc/vanilla swirl in a cup, maybe a few toppings!

    1. ooooh when I get soft serve I always get the combo swirl. Excellent choice, Laurie!

  19. This sounds great!! I love twist cones, so id want chocolate & vanilla flavored, in a cone! Yum! hehe Thanks for sharing and for the great giveaway!

    1. Me too! man, reading all these comments I am sorely tempted to break my diet and go eat some rocky road. Who the hell left that in the fridge when I'm trying to lose weight? Are they effing crazy?

  20. Fun interview. Vanilla in a cup.

    I follow via email.


    1. Thanks for commenting, BN! Glad you enjoyed the interview. The ladies were a lot of fun.

  21. chocolate, in the biggest cup i can find. that way i can have more of him to savor ;)

    smile_1773 at yahoo dot com

    1. You rock! I love the biggest cup idea… hmm… I sense a naughty scene in the making...

  22. OMG! I don't think I have laughed that much in well I don't remember how long! That was great!

    Thanks for the laugh!

    1. damn...forgot my email!

      mmafsmith AT gmail DOT com

    2. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for commenting and entering!

  23. I love butterscotch please, oh and cup, always a cup. sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Thanks for entering, Sdy! Wishing you the best and I appreciate you stopping by to comment and read!

  24. contest over! will be sending an email out today!