Welcome to February!
Let's get started with this month's interivews with a romance author, Em S. A'cor.
Mountain State native and Steel City romance author Em S. A’cor explores the unique challenges, issues, and humor of finding love and satisfaction as a doctor in midlife. Against a medical backdrop, she brings all the Gen X feels. When she’s not writing tension-filled romance, she’s checking your reflexes and looking so deep into your eyes, she can see your optic nerve. Her sexy secret: the spice is in the seduction.
Find Em and her romance books at https://em-s-acor-romance-author.mailchimpsites.com/.
● On Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmSAcor_Romance
● On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmSAcorRomance
● On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emsacor_romance/
Website links https://em-s-acor-romance-author.mailchimpsites.com/
Read for FREE on KU! “Greg and the Jill of All Trades” https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BPYKVJYC?ref_=pe_3052080_397670860 Read “Twitter Crush” on Kindle Vella:
Star Trek or Star Wars?
BOTH. I’m impressed by the philosophical questions raised by Star Trek. The good versus evil of Star Wars is classic. Live long and prosper, my friend. And may the Force be with you.
Coffee, tea, or cacao?
ALL the COFFEE.
Favorite hangover recovery recipe?
See Chapter 9 of my book “Twitter Crush.”
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I believe in writing what you know. As an author of Gen X, medical romance, I take inspiration from real life. My characters are Gen X doctors, like me. The themes in my romances are not “customary,” in that they are not the stuff of quarter-life crisis and unbridled lust, but rather, they revolve around midlife angst – career, family, retirement, physical challenges and maturity. And yet, amidst all that, Gen Xers still want to feel the heat of desire and be sexy in their own way. I try to capture that in a realistic way.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
At the moment, I have two works of romantic fiction out in the world: “Twitter Crush: a holiday, Gen X, medical romance,” and its short story prequel, “Greg and the Jill of All Trades: a Gen X, May December, doctor romance.” Both are available on Kindle Vella and also through Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. I love both of my brainchildren, but in different ways. “Twitter Crush” was actually my firstborn. To reach the end of a substantial story after many months was a satisfying feat. “Greg and Jill” came to me as a prophecy after the fact to “Twitter Crush,” and it was a delicious surprise to have that spring forth.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?
While “Greg and the Jill of All Trades” is the prequel to “Twitter Crush,” both books can stand alone. If you read both, you’ll understand something better in “Twitter Crush,” but each is a self-contained story. If you only read one, everything will still make sense.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both. The adage: “I hate writing, but I love to have written.” Unless you’ve felt this, are you really a writer?
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
ORIGINAL always. Another adage: “If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, then write it.” This is what I strive to do. I don’t see many romance authors writing for a more mature audience. It’s what I would like to read, so that is what I write. I’m sure some other readers out there would appreciate a more seasoned point of view.
Do you write novels, novellas, short stories, episodic fiction, poems, screenplays, or something else? What is your preferred format?
I contend less is more. Pack a punch with tight writing. So I favor the shorter forms. In fact, I intended “Twitter Crush” to be a submission to a short story, holiday romance anthology with the prompt “a winter promise.” I started writing it, and it bloomed into a 45K-word novella (almost a novel!) – the longest piece I’ve ever written. Now I plan to continue this as a series of novellas with the same characters.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Twitter Crush is my first book. I completed it when I turned 55.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
At the urging of a writing colleague, I published my work on a new platform, Kindle Vella, which features serial episodes. It’s kind of like watching your favorite weekly television series, but instead you read instead of watch. The typical Vella author writes as they go, but I’m not typical. I complete the entire story first, have it professionally edited, then divide it into episodes and publish one episode on Vella daily over the course of a week or two. Once the story is complete, I put the same book on KDP thirty days later, which is permitted. I’ve had a good experience on Vella. I’ve received a lot of reads and favorable comments and a small pittance. I’m not sure my books would have garnered the same kind of attention if I went straight away to KDP. From here on out, I plan to put all of my books on Vella first.
Are you traditionally or self published? Or both? Do you feel there are advantages to one over the other?
SELF. I have colleagues who have gone the traditional route. Having observed their struggles with their publishers, I’m squarely on #TeamIndie. I want to be in control of my creative product and marketing path. If it flops, it’s all on me. If it succeeds, it’s on me, too.
What does literary success look like to you?
The average book in America sells 500 copies. I would like to sell 501.
What do you have coming next?
I’m thrilled that you can now get both “Greg and the Jill of All Trades” and “Twitter Crush” on Amazon Kindle and KU. They’ll remain on Kindle Vella, too. Book Two of the series will continue the romantic saga of dermatologist Dr. Marisol Cruz and dermatopathologist Dr. Greg Kaczmarek with some crazy twists and turns. Working title: “Twitter Flames.” Coming soon!
And now an excerpt:
Sunday 11:00 a.m.
This was not how Marisol envisioned turning 55.
She always thought she’d be making these trips with her husband. She proceeded at a steady, careful pace along the peaks and curves of I-79, wending northward from Morgantown, West Virginia to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Alone.
The wipers of her minivan swept away the occasional snowflakes and thumped in rhythm to her early December musings. Among the clouds in her mind were the double-fives. The “in-between birthday,” and “on the fives,” she called it. Not where you were, but not where you’re going. Occasion to take stock of the current decade. She was keenly aware her upended life left her without direction.
A menacing 55 mph sign taunted her about her midway milestone. She glanced at the speedometer and chugged along at 60. Feeling flushed, she cracked open the driver’s side window.
Out of nowhere, a Nissan Pathfinder swerved around her. Marisol jumped and narrowed her eyes at the car zooming off into the distance. Grrr…Pathfinder! Path. Finder. Path…Derm path...Hmm. Her mind wandered from anger to distraction as she daydreamed about the handsome dermatopathologist she followed on Twitter. She had received a morning email update about a new tweet from Dr. Greg Kaczmarek, but in her rush to leave the house she hadn’t checked the particulars. She made a mental note to look later, and her mind continued to putter from one notion to the next.
Her twin 21-year-old daughters occupied her more concrete thoughts. During every stretch of their final exams at Carnegie Mellon University, Marisol made it a tradition to stay in Pittsburgh for the week to feed them dinner and bring them snacks and coffee. When they were freshmen, they appreciated the doting. As seniors, they simply indulged their lonely mother.
Also among her thoughts were the nuts and bolts of a week away from home. I hope I have enough wiper fluid. Did I take my Paxil this morning? I think I forgot pajamas.
The fall semester finals week always coincided with Marisol’s birthday. Being able to celebrate with her girls warmed her heart. For nearly the past decade, the marking of another year had been low key. But for her daughters’ last holiday season of college, she wanted to do something more joyful.
Marisol pulled into the snow-dusted parking lot of Panera Bread at the proximal cusp of Oakland, the city’s academic corridor. Her fraternal twins climbed out of their car when they spied the familiar family vehicle approaching.
“How was the drive, Mama?” Rosalyn was the first to reach her mother. Marisol beheld her fashionista in a sweater dress, leather vest, and stiletto boots.
Helena, the taller of the two, bounded over in a peacoat and Chucks and squeezed the petite materfamilias, lifting her an inch off the ground.
Marisol let out a startled whoop. “What a welcome! I’m so glad to see you.” She embraced them both. Having her arms full of her grown children felt good after having driven an hour and half. “The road was slick in spots, but not too bad. I could use some caffeine.”
She locked arms with her daughters as they ambled toward the entrance.
After grabbing breakfast at the checkout counter, the trio plunked down at a table by the front window. The two young ladies picked at their muffins amid chatter about their test schedules. Marisol looked on with affection as she sipped her coffee under the jangle of the piped Christmas melodies.
“We’ll study a bit this afternoon, but then we have to get ready for your big night out!” Rosalyn swept her long, dark waves into a bunch and fastened it with a stylish scrunchie. She was a young carbon copy of Marisol. “I have a presentation tomorrow for robotic kinematics. What a way to start finals.”
“I don’t want to blow my A in computational genomics.” Helena, her father’s fairer-haired daughter, tapped a stirrer against her paper cup. “Did I tell you I have another med school interview?”
“Why is your mother always the last one to know?” Marisol twisted her mouth. “Where is it, honey?”
Rosalyn chirped. “Northwest –”
“I’ll tell her!” Helena interjected with a light, playful shove at her sister. “It’s at Northwestern, Mama. Hopefully I’ll get a few more. But I don’t know. I have that internship at Amylyx Pharmaceuticals lined up, too.”
“Have you thought about the pros and cons of each?”
“The internship would get me into the workforce sooner.” Helena added another creamer to her coffee and stirred. “But it would be cool to follow in your footsteps. And Dad’s. And it would be good to help people like Dad.”
Marisol listened as Helena weighed the time and cost and potential benefits of each option. Marisol had her own opinion, but Helena’s confident analysis convinced her that her daughter would own her eventual decision. No matter what, Marisol would support her daughter’s choice. However, she felt compelled to contribute some food for thought. “You’ve heard me say it a million times. Think with both your head and your heart.”
“Hmmm.” Helena ran her fingers through her pixie do, then quickly flitted to other matters. “You look great, Mama! Look at your pretty hair. And your nails, too!”
Marisol had dyed her hair the night before. This monthly ritual replaced her periods as the curse of menopause, among other curses. As a dermatologist, she saw hair color and skin care as professional necessities, but the last time she had done her nails was more than five years ago. “It took me a whirl or two to get the right shade of red, but I think they turned out alright.” She studied the tips of her extended fingers and tried to remember the last time she did them, but she stopped herself from going that far back in time.
Helena cocked her head. “I haven’t seen you all done up like this since…since before…”
“Since before Dad died?” Rosalyn finished her twin’s thought.
The girls stopped nibbling. Rosalyn’s head dropped. Helena held her breath.
“I miss your dad, too,” Marisol murmured softly as they all got misty eyed. A hot flash enveloped Marisol’s shoulders and head, and her radiant, chestnut hair wilted. She steeled herself against the grief. “But we keep moving on. We keep doing the good things, right? That’s what he would want us to do.”
The girls absorbed the words, but they echoed in Marisol’s head, searching for somewhere to land. The women silently nipped at their warm cups, and the cheery holiday music turned extra sentimental. Visions curled into Marisol’s consciousness of the girls when they were five, side by side on the swing set, with their father pushing them. Double fives.
“Hey, it’s my birthday, so let’s celebrate, okay?” With a motherly grin, Marisol gently boxed her daughters’ arms. “We’ll have a nice dinner tonight, and more dinners all week long. I have to make sure my young scholars are well-fed. How else are you going to change the world?”
The girls’ eyes met with mutual smirks. Marisol noticed but didn’t say anything. Her children were on the launch pad, but her heart dropped every time it crossed her mind. They were a physical connection to their father, and she wanted to hang on to that as long as she could.