An Interview with M. S. Spencer

Thanks for having me today, Cynthia. I’d like to offer a pdf copy of Mai Tais and Mayhem to one lucky reader.

MaiTaisandMayhem_by_M._S._Spencer_2What is your typical day like?

I lie abed for hours, noshing chocolates and ringing for my maid. Eventually I rise, take a long bubble bath, then dress for a dinner of lobster and champagne at the local five-star restaurant with my adoring fans.

Thank God they don’t care if I’m in my pjs and bunny slippers. And forgot to brush my teeth.

Honestly? Between household chores and staring out the window and checking email I fit in a little writing—usually starting about four p.m.

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

I have a wonderful view. My study looks out on my tiny backyard, but beyond the fence is a park, a belt of trees, and a river. I can while away the hours watching an endless parade of deer, foxes, dogs and their walkers, and birds. Sometimes I even look down to discover my laptop. It sits on an enormous desk I got for free when the local community theatre had finished with it. Missing the middle drawer, it does have two pull-out leaves on either side of me, so when I write I am literally surrounded by desk (and papers, and books, and…). It’s my nest.

What is your favorite dessert/food?

I don’t have a sweet tooth although every now and then I must have a Hostess Chocolate Cupcake—and since they’ve found a buyer for the company I won’t have to go without much longer! If I had to choose one favorite it would be a hamburger of Angus beef, cooked rare, slathered in blue cheese, and smothered with tomatoes, onions and lots of butter lettuce. Take that, food police!

What is your least favorite part of writing?

It’s when I have to stop writing because I really should do a little more research before I go on, and maybe decide on the names of the hero and heroine, and possibly where the plot should lead. I’m so anxious to get words on paper that I have to force myself to hold back and make some decisions before I start, although sometimes just letting the fingers dance can lead to unexpected twists and turns. After all, no one knew until the end how Casablanca would turn out, and it worked out pretty well.

What is your next project and when will it be released?

I have a romantic suspense/action/adventure novel coming out in May from Secret Cravings. Lapses of Memory is a story within a story of a couple who meet every few years on a plane. Journalists, they become embroiled in all kinds of international crises, from the Iranian revolution to the Lebanese Civil war. Along the way they get to fly in the latest aircraft as it goes on-line. The story is intertwined with the contemporary romantic troubles of the heroine’s daughter, who must choose between a reserved American and a mercurial Frenchman.

What are you currently working on?

I’m finishing the draft of The Mark of Love and Death, a romance set in the 330-foot-tall Masonic Memorial in Alexandria. Here’s a summary:

Her first day as docent in the George Washington Masonic Memorial, Claire Wilding finds a distinctly non-Masonic item: a dead body. As she deals with a smitten police detective, a handsome Washington expert, black ops agents, and two ruthless mothers, she learns more than she ever expected to about jewels and pennies, irregular Masonic lodges, and our first President’s family secrets.

Do you have any rejection stories to share?

You want me to suffer all over again? Hmm? Actually, my rejection was a bit unusual in that the acquisitions editor returned my manuscript, not with a terse note, but with copious editing and advice—bless her! The second time I submitted it went to a different editor and was rejected (again), but I learned so much from that wonderful editor. My next attempt met with success.

What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?

I use all the usual suspects to get the word out about my books: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Yahoo groups, Pinterest, plus blog hops and guest posts as well as having guest authors on my blog. I’m participating in a pilot program set up by my publisher, Secret Cravings, where a few authors in each region have a publicist.

I’ll let you know how it works out!

Tell us a little about yourself and your latest book.

Although I have lived or traveled in five continents, the last 30 years have been spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, chair of a large volunteer program, and non-profit director. I am blessed with two fabulous grown children, the company of Iggy Pop the cat, and have published six romantic suspense novels. I now divide my time among Alexandria, Virginia, the Florida Gulf coast, and midcoast Maine.

My latest release is Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine (a Sarasota Romance). Set on the Florida Gulf coast, it follows the adventures of Tessa Diamond as she deals with new love, old love, murder, sea turtles, smugglers and the Russian mob, not necessarily in that order.

Mai Tais & Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine (a Sarasota Romance)
Secret Cravings Publishing (January 2013)
eBook 65,000 words (208 pp)
Contemporary romantic suspense/mystery, M/F, 3 flames

When Tessa Diamond rescues a baby pufferfish from a hungry gull, her good deed leads her into a shady world of smuggling, Russian gangsters, and coded messages. She confronts murder, attempted ravishment, parrots, sea turtles and big fish, only to encounter blossoming romances at every turn, including one of her own.

She is torn between Cameron Mason, tiger-eyed and handsome, and Dugan Trevally, sexy and dangerous, but before she can drop her longstanding opposition to marriage and accept her true love, she must face the possibility that one of them could be a thief, and even a murderer.

Excerpt (PG): The first meeting

“Do you work here?”

Tessa jumped. A man stood next to her. Distracted by her ruminations on life and death, she at first only gave him a cursory once-over. His trim body and broad shoulders encased in a finely made dark suit hinted at strength. He wore a nametag, but the writing was too small for her to decipher without getting up close and personal with his chest. Once her eyes traveled up to his face, though, she wanted to. Very badly. Talk about hot.

He reminded her of a dream she’d had a few weeks earlier, in which a stranger held her in his arms and crooned a love song. Here in the flesh was her stranger. Dark blond hair feathered with gold, the mysterious tawny eyes of a stalking tiger, gently tanned skin drawn taut over the arched cheekbones, a nose…well, the nose could use some work. It tilted at an odd angle, presumably due to a collision with a blunt instrument sometime in the past. Tessa found it endearing.

“I repeat, do you work here?”

“I…uh…no. I don’t.” She indicated the nametag. “Do you?”

“Technically yes, only not in this building. I’m hoping you can tell me which door I use to get out. I mean, now that the aquarium’s closed.”

“It is? Oh damn.” She checked her watch. Sure enough, the minute hand showed ten minutes after five. “I guess we’d both better leave.”

Together they made a circuit of the doors, finding them all locked. Finally, the door to the gift shop gave to the combined pressure of four hands. Feeling like mischievous children, they crept past the ancient man counting money from the cash register. At the main entrance, her companion grinned at her. “Shall we make a break for it?”

Tessa smiled back and legged it out to the parking lot. She was rooting around in her bag for her keys when he caught up with her. “Hey, I didn’t catch your name.”

“Well, catch your breath first.” She waited, thinking he didn’t seem in very good shape despite his physique. Good. Otherwise he might have been too perfect. She didn’t want any complications in her life right now.

“Sorry,” he puffed. “I guess I haven’t entirely recovered from that bout with pneumonia.”


“So, are you going to tell me your name? After all, we’re partners in crime now.”

“Tessa Diamond. And you are?”

“Cameron Mason. At your service.”

“Nice meeting you.” Tessa turned to her car. He cupped her elbow with a big, warm hand.

“Say, Ms. Diamond, can I interest you in a drink?”

“I don’t think…”

“You see, I was supposed to meet with the Lab director at five and he called in sick. Since I live up in Bradenton I really don’t want to schlep all the way back during rush hour. It would be nice to while away some time.” His lips curled in a tentative smile and she knew she’d have to give in. “You’d be doing me a favor. How does Tommy Bahama sound?”

Tessa gazed deep into his eyes, the green and brown intermixing in a steamy jungle of color. She woke up with a start when he touched her elbow again. “Miss Diamond?”

“Uh, sure. That would be fine.” Can you act any lamer, Tessa? But those eyes…

“My car or yours?”

“Er, why don’t I follow you?” She should at least make an attempt at keeping her distance. Anything to get away from that scent of his, a combination of dark rum and cinnamon, Very…tasty.

“Okay. I’m the tropical blue hybrid over there. The one with the I Love Caviar bumper sticker.”

“And I’m…” she stopped.

“The red Porsche. I know.”

Shut up, Tessa.

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7 thoughts on “An Interview with M. S. Spencer

  1. Thanks everyone for commenting and reading and enjoying! Nancy (one of my favorite writers) Cindy announces that you are the winner of a copy of Mai Tais! I’ll be sending you a separate email. M. S.

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