Friday, September 5, 2014

Happy Release Day, Vicki Ballante!

Welcome, and thanks for stopping by. Today we have the pleasure of Vicki Ballante's company for a session I'd like to call, "Woman behind the Word." We're going to have a lil chat about the release of her debut erotic romance and all things fun and romantic.
Before we start things off, here's the blurb of her sweet 'n spicy book, At Second Glance:
Four years after her divorce, Merryn decides she’s ready to find someone. Joining an online singles site, she connects with the perfect guy. Funny, sexy, sensitive. When he suggests they meet, excitement compels her to say yes.

Kirk pines for his ex-wife, but realizes he must move forward. After several stimulating online chats, he believes she might be the one for him. Smart, sexy, willing to experiment and learn. But when he happens across his ex, all his plans fly out the window.

Will Merryn learn to relax and have fun without giving her heart? Can Kirk forget the past and become the man he longs to be?

Enticing, yes? I agree.
Great. Now, let's welcome the lovely author into the lurv seat (a nicer version of the hot seat). Hi there, Ms. Ballante. Thank you so much for gracing us with your lovely presence today. How are you? And how's the new Spring weather in KZN, South Africa?

Thank you, Gaeille. I feel privileged to be on your blog. I’m great, thanks. Spring hasn’t hit us properly yet. It’s still cold in the mornings but the days are getting warmer. I’ll be happy when the first rains arrive.

Sounds just like the Johannesburg weather. Now, I'd like to start this get-to-know Vicki session with a few ice breakers if that's okay with you. First chip off the berg--something simple... What's your favorite book?

Oh my!! That’s a very hard question. I’ve read so many wonderful books, I don’t know if I could ever say I have a favorite.

Ha-ha, I totally understand. Okay, we'll drop that one. How about your favorite song?

This changes from time to time. At the moment, I love “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling.

Beef or Chicken?


Hmm, let's up the heat. Who do you think should be named Sexiest Man Alive 2014? (Besides your man, of course.)

Probably Colin Firth. Is it the British accent? Dunno. But he may be getting a bit old now.

Every time I see that name I just think, Mr. Darcy. Colin may be getting old, but he's still got it. And the accent doesn't hurt ;) Next question, who would you like to star opposite in a movie? Male or female.

Julia Roberts.

Great choice! Love her. And that smile! On to reading, what book are you currently hooked on?

“Betting It” by Cate Masters.

All right... What genres do you write? And what genres do you love to read?

I write erotic romance and fantasy romance. I like to read most romance genres and sometimes women’s fiction or a light mystery.

A woman after my own heart... Okay, since you write fantasy--share with us one of your fantasies. Don't worry, eating gallons of chocolate ice-cream for an entire day could be considered a fantasy...but one could also decide the chocolate goes better with some abs. ;) Don't be shy.

I have this fantasy of entering an alternate universe or world – a bit like going through the wardrobe of Narnia. A place where there is no suffering or sickness or death. A place where I could fly and have other super-powers.

Aw, flying would be amazing. I'd never leave the place! Nice fantasy, Vicki. Now...writing... Do you have any "rituals" you have to perform before typing your words for the day, e.g. a customized playlist, a cup of cocoa, a blankie, e.t.c.? Or do you just dive right in?

I just like a neat environment and a decent amount of interruption free time (a bit difficult in a house with three kids.)

Hmm, I can imagine. Are you a plotter or a pantster? A bit of both?

Hybrid pantster. I plot out the basic outline in my head and then I just write. Usually, the characters take me on a different journey than I expected, and every now and then I have to go through a plotting session in my mind to iron out issues or to move me forward. I never write plots down as it makes me feels trapped.

Where do your ideas come from?

Usually inspired by a movie I watch, music I listen to or just a thought.

What about your debut into the erotic romance genre, At Second Glance, what inspired you to write it?

I think the heroine is a lot like I used to be – reserved and held back by inhibitions. I wanted to write a book about a young woman finding her sexual freedom and love at the same time.

I can relate to that. What do you love best about your heroine?

I like Merryn’s willingness to try new things – to take a chance at things despite her fears.

What do you love best about your hero?

His gentlemanly ways and his ability to forgive.

Any advice for aspiring authors reading this? Or seasoned pros who've lost their steam? For those days when doubts creep in? When procrastination becomes the order of the day?

Doubting days – phew, those are nasty. I think the best thing is to try to push those doubts aside. Remind yourself that you’re still learning and you always have room for improvement. Also try to see the positive in your own work because sometimes we can be very self-critical. 

Procrastination days – I think these are usually caused by tiredness and maybe I need a break. When I’m under a deadline though, I have to push through no matter how hard it is.
Before I ask the next question, let's take a sneak peek into At Second Glance...

*Excerpt (Semi-erotic – Only for 18+)*

“Where did you meet this guy?”
“That’s not safe.”
“I trust him.” Fire spurted from her gaze.
She’d never trusted him when they’d been married. Never let him take the lead. How come time hadn’t healed the wounds? Instead, they’d festered inside him.
Online relationship? He felt the blood drain from his head.
“What?” Panic rose in her voice. “Are you Panda?”
He considered pretending otherwise. He could make his escape now and forget about the crazy mistake of meeting a strange woman in a restaurant because of an internet connection. Then he wouldn’t remember all those times he’d tried to reach out to her and she’d pushed him away and read her book or gone to sleep. The accusing words when she’d found out he’d been looking at porn. The hatred in her eyes when she’d asked him for a divorce.
“Are you?” She collapsed on the chair opposite him.
“I…I can’t do this.” He rose. “I’m sorry. You shouldn’t meet guys you don’t know.”
“It’s a public place.” There was a catch in her voice.
“I don’t remember you being so pale. Blonde doesn’t suit you.”
She wrapped her face in her hands and became as stiff as a corpse. A crack of sympathy passed through him for a moment, but he pushed it away. Yet, she was Hedge. The woman who wanted to experiment. Who hurt from a previous relationship.
He’d called himself a loser.
A laugh came out, sounding out of place, and then he laughed recklessly.
She jerked her head towards him, anger evident in the harshness of her features.
“I called myself a loser.”
“It’s ironic, isn’t it? If we’d both gotten over all our baggage from our messed up marriage, maybe we wouldn’t be here, digging up all the past hurt.”
“I didn’t know who you were. I wouldn’t have said those things to you. It’s the first time I’ve told anyone how I feel.” She didn’t look good with her face screwed up.
He glanced at her body. Had that changed? Her breasts pressed tight against the black shirt she wore. He remembered the first moment she’d shown herself to him on their wedding night. Merryn had insisted upon waiting for that special night. Her reserve had made her all the more desirable to him. In the beginning.
What if he could have another chance to touch her body? She was still shaped to perfection. None of the other women he’d had compared to the beauty of Merryn’s body. The shape of her twins, those pink taut nipples, and the peaks contrasted against her narrow waist. The gentle dip from her slight stomach to her intimate area. He sighed.
“You still want to experiment?” He’d always been impulsive, but seriously, had he said that?

Mhmm, that whets the appetite! So...any tips on writing sizzling love scenes? And did you blush while penning yours or did you take a puff from an imaginary cigarette and wiggle your eyebrows?

Hah! That’s funny. It’s difficult with kids in the house! Keep your print small and be ready to minimise as soon as someone walks in the room. Someone once told me that writing a good sex scene is a lot like writing an action scene. You have to be careful to make sure the reader knows exactly what the characters are doing and that their movements are realistic. Like he couldn’t be kissing her and licking her toes at the same time. Also, after every scene, I think the characters should come away changed in some way – emotionally or in their relationship. It’s not just about sex. Use lots of senses – sound, taste, touch, smell. (Now do I always listen to this advice??)
I think my embarrassment whilst writing sex scenes has diminished the more I write them. But I still fear one of my kids will stumble upon them. (Or even worse, Mom-in-Law)

That would be epic! Thank you so much for your time, Vicki. It was a blast having you here. It's always nice to get a peak into the life of a writer. I wish you all the success in your career.

For those anxiously waiting to get their hands on your beautiful book, where is it available?

Thank you for having me. It was great fun.

At Second Glance is available on:

Author Bio:

Vicki writes erotic and fantasy romance. She loves taking her characters into an alternate world where strange and sexy things happen. She lives with her patient husband and three noisy kids in South Africa. In between being a busy stay-at-home Mom who hates housework and spends half her life cooking everything from scratch, she runs several blogs, writes under another name, and buries herself in the delightful world of her characters. When growing up, her school friends asked her if she wanted to be a nun. She always said “no.”

Online Links for Vicki:

There you have it, folks. Go on and leave a comment and show Vicki some love. Oh, and pick your 'Sexiest Man Alive 2014' winner. We'd love to know! 


  1. Thanks for being my first ever interview, Vicki! 'Tis a day of Oh, and my 'Sexiest Man Alive 2014' is...*drum roll, please*... Henry Cavill!

    1. Gaeille, thank you for a magical interview. Mmmh, Henry Cavill's cute too!

  2. My pleasure! Henry's gorgeous. F.I.N.E. Lol.

  3. Great interview ladies. It's always nice to read more about an author's personal life.

    1. Thank you, Yolande! I also enjoy reading interviews!

  4. Read this book last night and enjoyed it.