Mar 10, 2013

In the Spotlight - Gabrielle Evans



Gabrielle Evans grew up in a small town in southern Oklahoma. We are talking one red light that may or may not work depending on the day of the week. She married her high school sweetheart and the rest is pretty much history. They have two very active boys and one high-strung wiener dog that keeps her constantly on the go. For now, she parks her car in central Indiana, but who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Gabrielle believes in love at first sight, falling hard and fast, taking chances, and grabbing your happy-ever-after with both hands. Most importantly, she believes that a great cup of coffee can cure anything.



He can’t cure world hunger, negotiate peace in the Middle East, or even toast bread without burning it. Yet, for some reason, Elder Layke Winters is expected to have all the answers, and it’s beyond exhausting. Everything is different with Aspen, though. He’s different. For the first time in over a thousand years, he feels free—completely alive. Is it any wonder he’s falling fast for the bright-eyed imp?
Aspen never thought someone like Layke could want him, but once they come face-to-face, the elder awakens something wild and primal inside him. Layke is his. He’s certain of it, and he’s prepared to fight heaven and hell to keep him.
The two have almost nothing in common, though. With the odds stacked against them, and more questions than answers, especially about Aspen’s origins, will the pair ever find themselves on the right side of forever?


“Maybe you should cut back on the caffeine, sweet cheeks.” Jacobi’s tongue darted out to flick the hoop encircling his bottom lip, and he rocked sideways to bump their hips together. “The boat is supposed to be here today.”

“Oooh, Zuriel will be happy.” The poor fox had been missing his twin like crazy. With all the horrible happenings in the last few weeks, Aspen felt his friend could use the visit from his brother. “We probably shouldn’t mention that Zuriel almost died.” That just wasn’t appropriate reunion talk.

“No, you’re right. Zavion would birth itty bitty kitties if he knew.” Jacobi scrunched his nose and twisted his lips to one side of his face while he opened his eyes as wide as they could go, clearly attempting an inaccurate depiction of childbirth. “Yeah, we won’t talk about mincemeat fox pies.”

It wasn’t that Jacobi never took anything seriously. He just had his own colorful way of describing situations, which Aspen actually found humorous rather than offensive. The man was never disrespectful, and he clearly cared about the suffering of others. He just didn’t feel the need to stalk through his days with a perpetual snarl curling his lip.

Bad things happened. They’d certainly happened to Aspen. It was over now, though, and instead of dwelling on it, he preferred to just forget it and move on with his life. Maybe that made him naïve, to think that he could ignore his past, but it seemed like a much better idea than feeling sorry for himself.

Placing his mug on the small patio table for safekeeping, he approached the edge of the balcony and folded his arms over the chest-high railing, staring down into the courtyard below. He could hear the car approaching somewhere around the curve, and though he couldn’t see it, the rumble of the engine brought a smile to his face.

“They’re here.”

Sure enough, just moments later, a dark blue Jeep turned the corner and rolled up the sloping driveway, coasting to a stop just beyond the courtyard. Aspen had met Zavion for only a few minutes outside the plane right before his last-minute departure, but if the man was anything like Zuriel, he was sure to like him.

He didn’t quite know what had driven him to pack his things and beg to be taken to the airport that morning. When word had reached the main house that several refugees—men who had suffered at the hands of The Hive, same as him—were leaving for some mystical elf island, he knew he had to be on that plane. Haven was wonderful, and he couldn’t express how grateful he was to the men who had rescued and sheltered him. It just wasn’t…home.

Zavion was the first to jump out of the vehicle, and even from the distance, Aspen could see the shifter’s mouth gaping open as he surveyed the huge palace. It was a gorgeous building with grand staircases, high ceilings, and lavish furnishings, but he couldn’t fathom why one family needed so much space.

Nithron emerged from the driver’s seat, and immediately turned to look at him, waving a hand over his head in greeting. Aspen smiled brightly and waved back. He’d been pleased as punch to find out the person who’d murdered all those poor elves hadn’t been Nithron, because he really liked the guard.

Zavion’s mate exited from the back seat as well, although Aspen couldn’t remember his name. He was fairly certain the man was Flynn Murphy’s brother, but he really hadn’t met many people during his time in Haven. Part of that had been for his own protection, but he had a feeling the bigger reason was for everyone else’s protection.

The arbitrary thought caused him to snort as he stared down his thin chest, over his scrawny legs, and finally to his unnaturally small feet which were barely five feet from the top of his head. Yes, it was amusing that anyone would view him as a threat. Hell, he doubted he could fight his way out of a soggy paper bag.

 He was about to turn away from the railing so he could make himself presentable before going downstairs to meet their guests. A flash of white from the corner of his eye caught his attention, however, and he turned back quickly, watching as the most beautiful man he’d ever seen opened the passenger door and rose gracefully from his seat.

“Wow,” he breathed, mesmerized by the way the sunlight played over the long, golden-white strands that flowed down the stranger’s back. “Who is that?”

“Close your mouth, honey. You look like a guppy.” Jacobi even tapped the underside of Aspen’s chin to emphasize his point. “That is Elder Layke Winters. He’s the elf representative for The Council.”
A measure of disappointment settled in the pit of his belly. No way would someone so important give him the time of day. As with most things, however, he brushed it off quickly, shrugged, and delivered a last lingering gaze to the elder before exiting the balcony.

 The Inside Scoop

Q:  When is your favorite time of day to write?

A: I'm a night owl. I usually stay up until 6:00 in the morning or later and sleep until 2:00 - 3:00 in the afternoon. There's just something about the daytime that I find very distracting. Even when my kids are at school and my husband is busy with work, I still find it difficult to stay on task with my writing.

My writing day usually doesn't begin until 9:00 in the evening. Once everyone in my house is settled and winding down for bed, that's when I really get going. It's not the best schedule, I suppose, but it works for me.

Q: What are you currently working on? How is it different from other books you’ve written?

A: I have a few different manuscripts going right now, one of which is the final Lawful Disorder. This series has always been a little different from other things I write because it's contemporary, and it tends to be a bit darker than some of my other stories.

This book in particular is more character driven, focusing on the development of Rayce and Jasper's relationship. There is still a lot of tension in the story, and they'll get to fight the bad guys in the end, but much of the story revolves around self-destructive behaviors and what happens when those tendencies spill over into a relationship.

I've written plenty of kinky sex, and lightly explored the BDSM world. In this book, however, BDSM, especially a D/s relationship plays a much more crucial role from beginning to end. It definitely won't be for the faint hearted.

Q: What is the one thing you must have to be able to write?

A: Solitude. You hear a lot of authors talk about crawling into their "cave" to write. I'm definitely one of those writers. If there are a hundred different things going on around me, even if they don't directly involve me, I can't concentrate.

If there is someone in the room, I also feel the need to talk. Perhaps it's because 90% of conversations end with "no" or "because I said so" or "stop fighting with your brother." I work from home, so I spend a lot of time with my kids, especially during school breaks. I'm also a bit of a recluse, so I don't socialize much. When there is another adult in the room, I just have to talk, which clearly isn't very good for productivity. This is just one more reason why I prefer to work at night when the house is quiet and free of distractions.

Q: How do you know you’ve written a good book?

A: This is such a difficult question to answer. I have almost no ego to speak of, and I am possibly my own worst critic. If the story has a good foundation, flows well, and is without plot holes, I can say that in the technical aspect, I have written well. That doesn't necessarily make it a good story, though.

While I don't tend to be self-congratulatory, I also am not one of those people who thinks everything I write is crap. Sure, I like some stories more than others. Some characters stick with me longer. Honestly, though, what makes a good story?

Some readers will love a book, while others will despise it. That is the nature of the beast, and I accept that my writing style is not for everyone. If 10 readers love the story while only 3 hate it, does that make it a good book? One could definitely make an argument that it does. Does a good book have a moral? Does it have to be a certain page count? Stories are subjective. Everyone will take something different away from it. Some will say it's the best thing they'd ever read, while others may not even be able to finish it. Really...what makes a good book?!

I love and encourage reader feedback. I work hard to give my fans what they have come to expect while always striving to be better. If readers tell me a book was excellent, I feel I have done my job. That's not the same as personally feeling I have written a good book, though.

So, how do I know if I've written a good book? I laugh. I get angry. I cry. I reach a point when I want to throw my laptop across the room. If several months after a book has released, I can go back, read the story and fall in love with my characters all over again--not as their creator, but as a reader--I feel I have obtained my goal.

Q: Can you offer advice on how to move on from the dreaded rejection letter?

A: Rejection isn't fun, no matter in what form it comes. The best thing I can say is to try to look at a rejection letter as a learning experience instead of a failure. We were all new at one time, struggling to find our way through the murky waters of the publishing world with both hands and a flashlight, without the help of GPS.

Granted, there is not much to be learned from a form rejection. All you can do is take a deep breath, shake it off, and try again. However, most acquisition editors are an invaluable source of information. If someone has taken the time to read your story and critique it, don't get defensive. Listen to what they have to say. They may not feel your work is right for their company, but that doesn't mean it's awful. Most publishers want you to succeed, even if it's not with them.

Try to take a step back and view their comments with an open mind. If you feel a suggestion compromises the integrity of the story, that's okay. If the editor made some logical points that could improve the story, then make those changes and submit to another publisher. You just received free, professional advice from someone who has been in the industry for years. Don't spit on it.

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