GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Sheep Interview: Joan Swan + BLAZE giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sheep Interview: Joan Swan + BLAZE giveaway

*update: Intimate Enemies if free for the kindle right now-use link at bottom of post
Today we have the goddess of multi-tasking and man-titty covers! (seriously...have you seen her covers?) Joan talks with us about Blaze, book 2 in her Phoenix Rising series, ropes, fear and firemen. Did I mention the sexy man titty covers?

Sharon: For our readers who haven’t read your Phoenix Rising series would you tell us about it?
Joan: Love to! Adore this series! Bunch of hot guys, couple of sexy, kick ass girls, one nasty, powerful enemy… 

Oh, you meant seriously. Yeah, I can do that too.

A mysterious explosion at a military warehouse injuries a team of seven hazmat firefighters, killing one. The contents of the building, chemicals used by the Department of Defense, have inflicted the team with various paranormal abilities. Abilities the government wants to study covertly. Abilities the team wants to understand and expose.

Each book in the series focuses on different members of the team and their struggle with the aftermath of the explosion. And as the group delves deeper into the incident and uncovers pieces of the puzzle, their personal issues are complicated by a powerful enemy trying to keep its secrets. 

Sharon: *looks at Katie* she had me at bunch of hot guys… 
Katie: Agreed. 
Joan: Yeah, I tried stopping there with my editor…didn’t fly. They’re soooooo picky. 

Katie: I’m a cover lover and lady your covers are hot! Do you think covers matter to readers? 

have you guys seen these covers?!
Joan: Yep. Sure do. The majority of readers say they prefer the cover to reflect the story within the book. Many will tell you they get ticked off when it doesn’t. And they get really ticked off when it’s misleading.

Many readers will tell you they love sexy covers. Many will tell you they loathe them. Many readers will also tell you one thing and buy another. People are so interesting!

Also, it seems to surprise readers that in traditional publishing, authors have almost no input on covers. Cover design is generally farmed out to freelance artists who know very little about the book they’re designing for. And while authors often fill out an “art sheet” regarding their book’s cover, the input I’ve received from dozens of authors, including NYT bestsellers, is that the house does what the house wants.

I guess I lucked out. <G> 

Katie: Plus people just have different tastes. But I like my man to taste hot like your covers!
Joan: I knew I liked you!

Sharon: Fever, your debut came out earlier this year. How long was your journey from “hey, I’m gonna write a book!” to “Hey, I wrote a book!”? 
Joan: Ten (10) looooooooooooooong years. Oh, wait…that was from “Hey, I’m gonna write a book!” to “Hey, I published a book!” I think the first book took me about a year. They all took me about a year until I sold. Then—whap! Deadlines. It’s amazing how fast you can write when you have deadlines! 
Sharon: how many do you have written already?
Joan: *choke* As in publishable? None. They’d all have to be rewritten. But there were nine before FEVER.
Oh, but I did rewrite INTIMATE ENEMIES, which was a 2x Golden Heart finalist, and self-published it. Very pleased with the result. It’s gotten fantastic reviews. <G> 

Katie: I look through your bedroom closet right now, what deep dark secret would I find? Bodies?
Joan: Me…trembling in a corner… Oh, no wait, that would be the secret to the next question.
Um…fear. Lots and lots and lots of fear…all stuffed waaaaaaay back in the corner so I can actually DO things with my life. 

Sharon: NOBODY PUTS FEAR IN A CORNER! Sorry, don’t know why that popped into my head <G>
Joan: LOL, sounds like your fear needed a voice. Just keep your fear out of my closet. If my fear pipes up, I’ll know where it came from.

photo: acyee_x
Sharon: You have a family, a daytime job, you write books and you have a very active blog…what’s your secret…clones? Cyborg? Eating Wheaties of the gods? 
Joan: OCD. Severe. Bordering on insanity. 
Katie: You have found a home Joan, insanity and the flock walk hand in hand! Weeeee!!! 
Joan: Hallelujah! I won’t be the only one talking to gremlins now!
Sharon: talking? we breed the suckers!

Time for a little fun... Take a deep breath (so you can smell the sheep) and go with your gut! 

Sharon: zip lines or rope course?
Joan: ZIP LINES!! Ropes?? are you KIDDING??? 

Sharon: ropes are very popular in romance ;)
Joan: Wait…were we talking romance? Can’t I change my answer? 

Katie: Coke or Pepsi?
Joan: Oh, man, that’s a dangerous question. I’m only answering because I’m behind the protection of a screen…Pepsi. (Diet) 

Sharon: *dropping to knees and pumping fists in the air* YEESSSSSSS!
Katie: Joan, I thought we had something special going?! *Sobbing*
Joan: *covering face with hands* Good Lord. I knew I should have taken the fifth. 

Sharon: skipping or shuffling?
Joan: Skipping, shuffling makes me feel like an old lady.

Katie: Fist bump or High five?
Joan: High five…guess I am showing my age there <G>

Katie: Pfft. Let’s high five!
Joan: *smack* 

Sharon: manicure or pedicure?
Joan: Pedicure. I use my hands at work (the day job) and there’s no point in a manicure.

Katie: Under the covers or on top?
Joan: HAHAHAHAHA!! That question implies a bed. 

Sharon: O_o you don’t have a bed?
Joan: Didn’t say I didn’t have one…just don’t…you know…always use it…;D

Check out Fever and Blaze. Book #3, Rush, comes out Oct 2013 and Book #4 comes out April 2014

About the author:
I was never a star English student or a Literature buff, but I’ve always had a creative soul and an active imagination. Writing was a natural culmination of those two talents.

Sexy romantic suspense is my genre of choice, and, occasionally, I like to dabble in the lighter side of paranormal as well. I write the Phoenix Rising Series, FEVER, BLAZE, and two more books coming in 2013, for Kensington and the Covert Affairs Series, INTIMATE ENEMIES, independently.

A triple RWA Golden Heart finalist, I am a lover of craft and closet-hoarder of writing craft how-to books. I’m a recovering OCD perfectionist…bet you can just imagine how well that’s going.

In my day job, I work as a sonographer at UCSF Medical Center, rated one of the top ten best medical centers in the nation – a location with an intensity that makes me slightly—okay majorly—insane. This seems to work well with my inner writer. Access to abundant character material—and I’m not only talking about my patients—is a fringe benefit.

I’m married to my own personal hero, a veteran firefighter, we have two beautiful daughters and are blessed to live in the heart of wine country on the gorgeous Central Coast of California. 

To keep up with my latest news & releases please visit me online: 

Phoenix Rising Series


Book 1 
Dr. Alyssa Foster will admit to a bad boy fetish…

But when she finds herself face to face with a convicted murderer with a ripped body, a determination for freedom and an eye on her as his get out of jail free card, Alyssa knows she’s in deep trouble…. Not just because Teague Creek is a prisoner desperate for freedom, but because his every touch makes her desperate for more.

A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose…

Teague Creek has one shot at freedom, but his plan to escape with a hostage develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives who know of his strange abilities, he needs to avoid trouble, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever.

Purchase Links: 

Add to your Goodreads Shelf

Book 2 
The hotter they come, the harder they fall…

With a man like him, every mission becomes personal…
Ever since FBI agent Keira O’Shay started tracking a young boy named Mateo, she’s felt a connection even her empathic abilities can’t explain. Sheneeds to save Mateo from the cult leader holding him hostage. Nothing can interfere with that—not even the reappearance of Luke Ransom, the hot-as-hell fire captain she’s regretted walking out on for three long years.

Losing Keira left Luke vulnerable—in every way. When they were together, the powers each possesses were mysteriously enhanced. But it’s the sexy, surprising woman beneath the tough exterior that Luke’s really missed. Even if she betrayed him utterly. And even if agreeing to help her uncover a government conspiracy means watching his life and his heart go up in flames again…

Purchase Links: 

Joan Swan's BLAZE Blog Tour Schedule
chance to win a book at every stop!
Tour runs from September 17 - October 6
September 17 - Grave Tells -
September 18 - Book Reader Addicts -
September 19 - Pearl's World of Romance -
September 20 - Under The Covers -
September 21 - Reading Between The Wines -
September 22 - Riverina Romantics -
September 23 - Reading on The Wild Side -
September 24 - United By Books -
September 25 - My Keeper Shelf -
September 25 - The Reading CafĂ© -
September 26 - Ramblings From This Chick -
September 27 - I Smell Sheep -
September 28 - Paranormal Haven -
September 29 - Just Romantic Suspense -
September 30 - Just Romantic Suspense -
October 1 - Close Encounters With The Night Kind -
October 2 - Book Monster Reviews / Literal Addiction -
Book Monster -
Literal Addiction -
October 3 - Books-n-Kisses -
October 4 - Readers Confession -
October 5 - Book Lovin' Mamas -
October 6 - Cocktails & Books -

Joan is giving away a print copy of Blaze
To enter:
1. talk to raffle dude
contest ends Oct. 3


  1. No, the cover doesn't matter to me all that much. Though I do appreciate then it's the content that gets me to buy the book.

    1. Hi Victoria! I do love a good cover! I've been guilty of buying a book for it's cover...and then being ticked that the book didn't live up to it. :) Now I understand the disconnect.

  2. I have to admit that I look at the covers. It's my first reference point.

  3. Covers are an added plus. Sometimes it is enough to draw me to the book to check otu the back. The utlimate decision is the blurb.

    Raonaid at gmail dot com

    1. True Rachel, It's:
      the cover
      read blurb
      read first sentence
      read first para
      *turn 1/3 way through*
      read another para

      That's my typical test

    2. Oh, shoot, I forgot TITLE!! Title is second only to the cover!!

  4. Cover doesn't matter but sometimes they do draw me in to read what the book is about.

    1. I can say that if I love an author, the book could be wrapped in newspaper and I'd buy it. (Or written on toilet paper for that matter!)

  5. That was the most hilarious interview ever. I have to admit I prefer the high-five, but I do martial arts/combat training with a bunch of blokes, so I've had to convert to the fist-bump. Somehow, boxing gloves aren't conducive to high-fiving someone after attempting to beat the shite out of each other (in a controlled fashion, of course!).

    I read almost exclusively on my Kindle and mostly shop for books on recommendations from friends or authors I've enjoyed, a favourite author's latest release (which has probably been pre-ordered for months), etc. so covers don't tend to be a focal point for me. In fact, if I'm reading digitally, I generally don't even look at them since my Kindle opens up to the beginning of the book! But I do like when they reflect the story; there have definitely been times when I've glanced at a cover after reading the book and been "WTF??". On the rare occasions I shop for print books (if I'm not going for a specific book), a cover will draw my attention to a particular book so I can check out the blurb in the back, which is the key deciding factor.

    1. a crappy cover in a book store is worse than one online. I am more willing to read a blurb right next to a bad cover than bother picking up a bad covered book in a store. lazy, yes...

    2. and all our interviews are pretty much like this check out some others. thanks for stopping by

    3. SNORT! I could just see you sitting there all nice and cozy, reading a scene, flipping back to the cover -- eyes go wide, mouth drops open. "WTF?" comes booming out of your mouth....:-)

  6. Covers don't matter to me. I mean there have been times when I seen an amazing cover and then it made me read the back of the book to see what it was about. But mostly reviews are what push me towards buying a book, I actually discovered Joan by reading a blog review on her book Fever :)

    1. I'm sorry...could you say that louder? you know that part about reviews pushing you to read a book... thanks for visiting!

    2. Hi Savannah! I'm always so interested in how people find me. Maybe because I typically, um, hide in my closet... I'm glad to know that blog tour from, I mean that amazing FEVER tour, brought us together! :-D

  7. Covers are huge for me. I love cover art and it helps get a visual for the characters in the book or set the mood.
    amotherway@aol (dot) com

    1. Hi Allie, You touch on an important point there -- I have to admit I'm partial because I'm an artist - not the writing, I consider that a craft. But I've been an artist in many media throughout my life and I have a design, yes, I'm visually oriented and loooooooove pretty things! (And sparkly things!)

  8. Covers matter - more the color than the design for me - but I'm like a little kid who is attracted by bright and shiny. Especially in print books - unless I go in with a specific book in mind - it is color and typeset that draw my eye and cause me to pick up a book - it's the first 2 pages that put it in the basket or back on the shelf. It's less important to me in eBook choices - but a pretty cover with color and visual interest will be my first go-to over the same book with something plain. I think we are visual creatures - and while it may have no impact that we see in our choices - it's there.

    1. true, it is a great cover that will make you pick up a book to read the blurb in a store. But online the blurb is usually right next to the cover so I am more willing to read it even if I don't like the cover.

    2. Oooooooooooooooo sh-iiii-n-yyyyyy!!

      Yep, title, type font, color, balance, it's all HUGE!
      ME: **Designer is being stuffed back into the closet**
      Designer: **NO! Don't make me go back in there with fear - all he does is WHINE! I swear I'm going to strangle him!**
      ME: Grinning. Stuffing.

  9. No covers don't matter but I won't walk away from pretty ones!!! I like sexy men on covers, big muscles, flat abs!

  10. Covers matter a lot! If there is a sexy, half-naked guy on the cover...that's when I pick the book up to read the back cover!!

  11. I think covers are critical for a book. It's the first thing you see - right? So the cover should be something that would catch people's attention. I really like creative/artsy covers, as well as, covers showing some hot, sexy abs, i.e, Fever and Blaze - YUM! Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway.

    1. Attention grabbing is all I ask. I love a lot of the drawn/cartoon like covers. They can be so funny and clever! and you can never go wrong with a smexy man

    2. They are yummy! Can't wait to see what they come up with for RUSH!

  12. LOL! One of my favorite interviews so far lol. Covers matter, and will often stop me from even picking up a book if it outright doesnt appeal to me. It HAS to have some kind of link to the story too..usually.. like Joan said, people are interesting lol

    1. you are just saying that because I used the word Man-titty multiple times ;) I wasn't sure if I should say it...didn't want to offend anyone, but it such a damn funny word :)

    2. Oh, that's one I haven't heard, Tina! I've never seen a cover that would KEEP me from picking up a book! Never thought of that. But I know there are a lot of people out there...

      Oooooo, hold on. Yeah. Sorry. If I were in a public place, I have to admit I wouldn't pick up a book with a cover that bordered on porno. Call me a prude, but... (Actually, don't call me a prude. FEAR would have way too much fun, Designer would go ape shit and I'd have to cut back on writing to clean up the blood!)

  13. Totally matters. It what catches my eye. I have picked up books based on cover only and was not disappoint. Thanks.

    1. I am the same way. I am a cover ho and if it doesn't grab me I probably won't pick it up unless someone whose opinion I really trust tells me to.

    2. It's kinda cool to still see that covers still matter in the highly digital age!

  14. Congrats on the new release. This book sounds fantastic. Can't wait to read it. I love hot covers and Joan has some of the best. If I don't like the cover, I rarely will even pick the book up.


    1. I feel bad for the self-pub authors because they often don't have the money to buy a great cover and I have heard often that people don't read books because the cover was so cheesy they figured the story would be too :(

    2. Thanks Joanne! I lucked out. They are lickable!

  15. Cover does matter to me and I like ones that suit the genre and represent the story well. I like everything from landscapes and couples. Your covers are hot! :)

    1. Thanks Na! I agree the cover needs to suit the genre and represent the story!

  16. Yes, cover matters to me. However, if it doesn't match the characters or doesn't go with the story much, I don't mind as long as it's eye-catching. I've almost turned down books because the cover didn't appeal to me. Luckily, that doesn't happen often!

    1. ROTFLMAO, okay, I thought you were going to say it pissed you off...but I really love your outlook Arely!! Hey, as long as they're hot...I'll go with it! LOVE!!

  17. Covers matter to me only when I'm looking through blog posts. I see about 150 blog posts a day and if I don't see a cover that grabs my attention quickly, I skip to the next blog.

    Most of my books are chosen through goodreads or by recommendation from friends. I don't even bother looking at the cover with those. I look at the review, find the ebook wherever and then read the book. I am one that will always choose to read the ebook over the paper one so that might make a big difference in my opinion.

  18. Fun interview with Joan! *high 5's*

    Covers matter in a sense. They don't have to be smokin' hot like Joan's Covers are, but they do need to reflect some aspect of the book itself. If the books cover doesn't have a thing to do with the story its an auto-fail for me.

    My favorite author's with great covers include Joan and also Jodi Redford.

    1. *shaking out hand* You work out, don't you?

      Agreed, the covers *should* reflect the inner story. Alas....

  19. I look at covers on books, esp romance. Some earlier books wouldn't have a print of a sexy man on it. Just flower, swords, etc. I like ones that are different like your books. Tattoo's are real nice. Tks for giveaway.

  20. I do pick sometime based on cover. I think they are important but I also read a little of the story to decide too.

  21. Thats the first thing i look at.If the cover is corny ,most likely I wont buy it.But i do read the blurb and then i might be interested.

  22. The cover is generally what gets my initial interest. I see a cool cover and look at the blurb. If I like that I'll probably pick it up. Although, the author has a lot to do with my choice at this point, as well.

    AquarianDancer at gmail dot com

  23. I love covers. Tattoos on covers are one of my favs. Joan's covers are really hot!!! Adding her books to my TBR pile. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  24. I do love looking at covers (hot, sexy men are my faves) but they don't really determine if I buy a book or not. They might help catch my attention, but if the blurb & excerpts don't sound good, I will skip them.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  25. I love the artistic covers- I am sucker for beauty. I like the man inserted images, but I want to wonder what he looks like, where you do not see his face, mysterious and all. sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

  26. I love to drool over covers as much as the next gal but when it comes down to it I read 85%+ of my books on my kindle and never look at the covers so they don't matter that much. However the few I do pay attention to I like to match what is inside the book. I don't mide cover models, designs, etc...just match what the story is about. Don't put a blond model if the heroine is a different ethnicity, etc.

    Thanks so much!
    mmafsmith at gmail dot com

  27. Love Joan's books and am looking forward to reading BLAZE!! Covers....I must admit to my share of drooling...BUT, I don't buy a book by it's cover. I read the blurb and if I can excerpts. I need to know the meat of the story.

    Thank you for this interview and giveaway!!
    brandypm at optonline dot net

  28. The cover matters to me. I like these kind of covers.

  29. I love covers. And a hot guy on the cover, well that's just even better. ;)

  30. Covers don't matter that much to me. However, I like to look at the hunky guys.

  31. contest is over! and the winner is
    Entry #89Ruth A.
    I have sent an email to Ruth. Thanks to everyone who commented. :)