An Interview with Jacintha Topaz

BlackStormPackSkidLightningFrontCoverAReHow did you get started writing?

Frankly, I began writing because my characters were stalking me. They haunted me everywhere until I put fingers to keyboard and finally put their stories down. I’m a pantser all the way and only accepted that process of creation (as opposed to plotting) when I finally let go and began to trust my characters. If anything feels off in the story, I dig deep and bide my time until I get it right with a character-driven, character-sourced plot. I never know how the story will turn out, how A gets to Z. I only know that I’ll get to Z, which is the Happy For Now (HFN) or Happily Ever After (HEA).

What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I write LGBT new adult, sci-fi, paranormal shifter and erotic romance with kinky elements. These characters fascinate me, because I never know how they will clash and how the sparks will fly. Yes, it has to be romance, because the story is about how the characters grow in strength and in love and become a positive magnetic force that is greater than themselves.

I find writing about LGBT characters with partiality to BDSM an interesting blend because fiction is about exploring the edges of reality and realism, fantasy and fancy. Eroticism is also a double-edged sword. It’s a touch-and-taboo topic, where women are supposed to know enough to be sexy but not too much so they won’t show up as slutty. Writing erotic romance is about giving permission for us to explore these borders. I encounter a lot of creative license to play with identity issues, especially when the fictional couples explore kink—fetish, role play, and more. Like I said before, the characters fascinate me.

Tell us about your current series.

I’m in the midst of three concurrent projects:

One of my projects, The Miseducation, is a spinoff serial of the Purr Billionaire BDSM Trio serial, which features a bisexual female awakening to her sexuality, a standoffish lesbian Dominatrix, and a heterosexual alpha male Dominant. First slated as a five-part serial, it ended up being six parts. The first part, Purr Scent I: The Meeting, is free at all retail sites. The Miseducation travels back in time and will cover how the lesbian Domme came into being.

Another of my projects springs out of the DykeLove Quickies set of short stories and features F/F sparks on the road. Kicking off this next incarnation of DykeLove is The Invitation, in which a dancer from the tropical island of Guam is recruited to star in a show by a kinky artistic director in the U.S. mainland.

Finally, I had debuted an M/M werewolf story entitled Skid in a holiday anthology in 2015. Skid is the first book (a prequel) in the Black Storm Pack series. (You can scroll down for an excerpt.) I found it enjoyable to write from Skid’s perspective. The project I’m working on in that series is now from Alpha’s perspective.

Aside from the three concurrent projects I’ve been working on, the two series that are on the back burner (aka stalled) star a bisexual female college freshman in modern times named Sy (Bi Girls Do It series) and a transgender man in a futuristic sci-fi space opera setting named Vaughn (Man X Chronicles series).

 What is your favorite part of writing?

My favorite part of writing is immersing in the character’s world and trying my darnedest to get it right on the computer screen. It’s a satisfying feeling when I find the right word choice after grasping at air. Even more satisfying is being able to type The End. Most satisfying of all is clicking the Publish button to get the book live and direct to readers. That’s the most amazing feeling—birthing a book.

 What is your least favorite part of writing?

My least favorite part of writing is getting writer’s block. My version of writer’s block is being stumped, stupefied or mystified by my characters’ actions and having to give them the time off to work things out. That time off happens to be indefinite, no matter how frustrating it can feel.

Instead of pressuring myself to bulldoze through a story as I had before, I’d pick up from where I left off on a different story until I’ve gained sufficient insight on the first story to flesh it out more. To dance between multiple stories in a short period of time (fondly coined as “schizophrenic”) is quite taxing on the nerves.

As an indie author, I have self-imposed deadlines that I’ve never quite been able to meet because of the unforeseen duration I’ve taken off from a particular story. At the same time, it is nice to be indie because I don’t have to stick to any particular official release date schedule.

How has your experience with self-publishing been?

Self-publishing has never been more accessible and acceptable than it is today. It’s been about two years since I began dedicating time and space to write. After dabbling with a few M/F stories, the kinky LGBT characters sprang up and hit me like a brick in April 2014. I hadn’t wanted to approach traditional publishers, small press or e-publishers because I wasn’t sure how the material would be received. I went with indie because I wanted real-time feedback from customers, readers, on the stories.

I’m pleased with the results so far. What began as zero income in my first month of publication (April 2014) increased to a one-digit income in May 2014, a two-digit income in July 2014, and a three-digit income in December 2014. Since then, I’ve averaged a low three-digit income figure per month. In 2016, I look forward to breaking into a higher three-digit monthly income bracket.

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?

Currently, I’ve got three tenets for the indie author newbie: (1) Go Write. (2) Go Broad. (3) Go Tell.

ON WRITING: Write. Write. Write. Books are the best promotion for all the other books you’ve written and will write. If you’ve got little time and energy to do much else, then focus on the writing. Generate the content and the consumers will find you.

If you’re not sure about your writing, then read a lot in your genre and beyond. Notice what kinds of covers, stories, etc attract and repel you. Learn from other authors and apply to your own book. The most important thing? Write. Do the work.

A corollary to this tenet is to do what you excel in. Hopefully, you know that it’s your unique way of spinning a story that wins you readers. That means leave the professional stuff to others: editing, cover design, etc.

However, if you’ve got design experience, you can get your own stock images to make book covers or your own ads. Among the free trials I’ve tried, Bigstock has the best deal right now – 70 free images (5/day for 14 days). They take down your credit card at entry so they can bill 3 days in advance of the trial’s end date. So if you cancel, be sure to do so three days before. The Standard License allows you to use the images as cover art for up to 250,000 sales of your book. Thereafter, you can purchase the Extended License or switch to a fresh image, if you feel so inclined.

ON GOING BROAD: Even though it may be a huge learning curve at the very beginning, I wholeheartedly encourage you to publish direct to the five major online retailers (Amazon, Apple/iBooks, Barnes and Noble/Nook, Kobo, and Google Play*) because you’ll be able to keep the royalties, the reviews, and the sales rankings without having to start from scratch if you’ve gone through a middle man (an aggregator).

*If Google Play is not currently accepting publishers, then you can go through Pronoun for now, as they currently do not take a royalty cut after the retail site (e.g., Google Play) takes theirs for hosting your product on their site.

About Aggregators: To reach other markets that may at first generate little to insignificant sales numbers, you can go through an aggregate such as Smashwords or Draft2Digital, both of which take a 10% cut from post-retail royalties. Yes, they do distribute to iBooks, BN, and Kobo. So if you want to buy yourself some time by doing one upload instead of several before you’ve gotten the hang of it, then by all means distribute through them first.

ON TELLING: Even if you have no idea when you’ll actually self-publish your own book, it’s best to build your list of people who love what you have to tell them. A lot of email marketing programs are free up to a 2000-subscriber limit. A popular choice is MailChimp. You can stick the newsletter sign-up form in your bio, your email signature, your website, your cards, and so forth even if you have nothing published yet. Building your list is the best way to start building a platform, a following that may one day be huge enough to land you on a bestselling list in the preorder phase. Yes, dream big. Start small. Start somewhere.

Do you have a view in your writing space?  What does your space look like? 

LOL. If you only saw my writing space! It’s a disaster. The only space I have on my desk for writing is the space reserved for my computer. Almost every inch otherwise is … well, occupied. I’m not even going to start listing the bizarre array of contents. Given that, it’s a miracle that I actually get any writing done. Such is the life of a stay-at-home mother who’s still nursing her youngest child.

The most important thing about a writing space is that there is space. Second to that is the time you take to write. When you establish a routine that works for you, you set yourself up for success. When it comes down to writing, the only things that matter are time and space and committing the time and space. 🙂

So yeah, I’m not going to tell you how the rest of my writing space looks like. I can sum that up in one

word: cluttered.

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in or do you avoid reading that genre? Why?

I try to read different genres to stretch my mind. I read within my genre to keep up-to-date. That being said, I actually don’t have that much time to read. There are a lot of awesome authors with great works out there that I haven’t even read because I’m strapped for time. So the little time I do have to read I regard it as a luxury.

In fact, that’s my kind of vacation—sit back or lay down and read. As long as I have a book or an ebook in hand, I can be anywhere. In fact, I like being domestic. Why travel somewhere when I’ve got all the conveniences at my fingertips and within walking distance? I don’t need to drive or fly anywhere. All I need to do to escape into another world is have the book in hand.

Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?

Believe in yourself, your work, and your ability to deliver it consistently. Have a blast!


Without further ado, here is the blurb, followed by an excerpt, to my latest release: Skid, a gay paranormal werewolf shapeshifter erotic romance in the Black Storm Pack series.

Alpha finds a mate in the most unlikely man and place

At thirteen, Skid knew he needed to leave his government subsidy-sucking foster family under the cover of dark. Caught in a forest fire as an arson suspect by a werewolf pack, Skid comes face to face with Alpha. Two questions—that’s all it takes for Alpha to take Skid under his wings until the fateful day Skid turns eighteen.

Chapter One

A faint stir in the woodlands wind made Skid hug his winter jacket even closer to his skin. The bitter chill had him hiss out a breath into the air just before he licked his bottom lip.

Damn. Wrong move. The moisture left his lip to sting in the harsh cold. He wished he’d thought of packing chapstick, a scarf, and mittens. He huddled further into his jacket and willed the freeze to depart from his ears, his cheeks, his waist, his jeans, and every place that creaked of icicles in his body.

When he’d left that dark early morning, he had high hopes of crossing several county lines to get as far away as he could from the Denver cityscape. He’d known to go north before he headed west, just in case people were looking for him. He hadn’t made it easy, though, because he had hot-wired someone’s motorbike to go north before hot-wiring another bike to go west. He’d abandoned that second vehicle by the side of a main road before hiking off into a rural area. Not long after, he chanced about these thick woodlands.

Now he wished he’d kept at least one of those motorbikes for convenience of travel as well as for a possible windbreak. He huddled closer to the base of the tree for some measure of relief, only to find none. Worse, another breeze swept past him, carrying the scent of—

“Smoke!” His eyes fluttered open disbelievingly. Had he dreamt it? He took another whiff. No, he wasn’t mistaken. He glanced around and saw that in the far horizon a huge inferno of glowing orange spewed thick clouds of smoke that licked and fused with the dark skies. He snapped upright to gain a sense of reference, but the moonlight he’d seen previously was now fully obliterated by the hovering carcinogenic blanket.

Damn. He’d need to get away from the wooded areas—fast. If only he could recall exactly how he’d arrived at the base of this tree, then he’d know which route to flee upon. No time to ponder. Every second was precious.

So Skid got to his feet and retrieved his minimalist gear—a backpack with a basic DIY first aid kit along with several days’ supply of granola bars, a serving size pack of his favorite hard candies and several pouches of water. Then he ambled with the aid of his flashlight to find his way out.

Although the fire was distant enough, the wind was picking up and blowing even more of the smoke in his direction. If he didn’t make a move on it, then his vision—not just his lungs—would be further compromised.

Vying with the crackling of the wood and the roar of the fire were the cacophonous calls of wildlife scrambling for exit routes. As the sound of fleeing animals neared all around him, Skid realized that he might have another thing to fear: carnivores.

Then again, what creature would want to eat him in the midst of its own flight? Surely, even if he was mauled to death, the fire would finish him off. No animal would come back to reclaim the dead meat; it’d be gone.


Lost in thought as he scrambled over twigs, soil, and dry leaves, he wondered if he’d split his latest foster home at a wise time. The greedy suckers had taken their monthly stipend—subsidies that were supposed to care for him—and then split for summer vacation without him. He’d thought he’d have a head start by running away the day after they’d left for their month-long trip to the Bahamas.

A snarl at his left stopped him in his tracks. A similar sound came at his right. Ten O’Clock and Two O’Clock were closing in. Skid took one step back and a growl came at his eight o’clock at the very same time a huff came at his four o’clock.

Damn. He was surrounded.

is available at these online retail sites:

Amazon  |  Apple  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Google Play  |  Kobo  |  Nook UK  |  Smashwords  |  All Romance eBooks

JacinthaTopaz150x150Jacintha Topaz is the author of Purr Erotica Romance, devoted to F/F, M/M, LGBT, Menage and More BDSM erotic romance reads. When inspired, she’s on permanent deadline. When not writing, she can be found indulging in cashews and kefir and her secret love of armchair gardening. For exclusive news and specials on forthcoming releases, sign up for her newsletter:

You can find Jacintha on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and her Website Blog. Her books are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and other fine retail sites.

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