Author Leigh Ellwood Guest Blog and $25.00 Gift Card Contest LIVE Here!

Pure Bliss (Love is Bliss) by Leigh EllwoodHello, and thanks to Bitten By Books for hosting me today. I am Leigh Ellwood, and I write erotic romance for Phaze Books, Ravenous Romance, Samhain Publishing, and DLP Books. My latest release is the second installment of a shapeshifter series called Love is Bliss. The first work, Sheer Bliss, came out last year, and Pure Bliss is now available at AllRomance, Kindle, NOOK, Smashwords, and Kobo. I plan at least two more stories in this series before a print collection is published. In the meantime, I also hope to have the books on iTunes soon (though an audio version of Sheer Bliss is for sale there).

While the Bliss books do not represent the first paranormal books I’ve written – I’ve also written vampires and other phenomena – I find they were the most enjoyable to write. It’s always exciting to create a new world and populate it with characters you hope readers will love. When I first took the opportunity to write paranormal romance, I thought I would have an easier time with it than I have with contemporary romance. In truth, paranormal is more of a challenge because, while one might perceive you can make up rules as you go along, you still have to adhere to certain canons.

For example, when a character shifts from human to animal form, there are many things to consider. How long should it take, and does the shifter feel discomfort? Can a shifter communicate telepathically with a human, and vice versa? When a shifter mates with a human, is that human granted shifting abilities? In vampire stories, a bite makes all the difference in changing a human, but how would you have shifter “change” somebody? Should they at all?

Over the years I’ve read various romances where the author approaches shifter traits and actions differently. Because this sub-genre appears more flexible than vampire romances, we may have more creative license. For now, though, I hope to concentrate more on the relationships between characters and crafting stories that readers want.

Author Bio:

Leigh Ellwood is an award-winning author of erotica and erotic romance fiction. Following the release of her first novel, Truth or Dare, in 2004, Leigh has since written several novels, novella, and short stories. She is an EPIC Award winner and has been nominated for many reviewers awards for her works. In her spare time she enjoys travel, Pinterest, and catching up with Dr. Who.

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Learn more about Leigh Ellwood below

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  1. Have you ever written fan fiction? For what fandom?

    • Hi, Dovile! I have written fan fiction, yes. I loved Quantum Leap and Star Trek: TNG, and used to write non-erotic short fics in those fandoms. I also tried my hand at Harry Potter, but those are safe on my computer!

  2. What was your favorite childhood book?

  3. I’m hoping for more PRN romance books with angels, demons and halflings in them.

    • I may have a story that would interest you. It is an M/M erotic work called Enter Sandman, which is about an insomniac young man’s erotic encounter with a “sandman,” of course. The way the story is written hints of demons who haunt us so we can’t sleep.

  4. Hi, Leigh. Welcome to BBB!

    What kinds of things do you enjoy doing for relaxation?

    • Hi, Carol. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      When I have spare time, I love to read. I’ve always enjoyed it, but I have to admit since I got an eBook reader I am reading more books than ever. Romance, mystery, bios, pretty much anything.

  5. Just wanted to say thanks to Bitten By Books for hosting me today. I’m happy to be here to talk about PURE BLISS and other things.

    PURE BLISS is a category bestseller at All Romance, so I’m thrilled about it. Hope you enjoy the story.

  6. Who are some of your favorite paranormal authors?

    • Hi, Bonnie. 🙂

      I have enjoyed reading Cheyenne McCray, Louisa Bacio, Eliza Gayle, and Mychael Black.

      An author I know well, Robin Slick, recently published a novella that is somewhat urban fantasy, called Moon Traveler, which I liked.

  7. I’m hoping to see more vampires in paranormal romance, especially with a sense of humor.

    • On my Twitter feed, I’ve seen other readers want vampires, too. I have a few vampire shorts with Phaze Books – they are all M/M. The Healing, Jack of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds.

      I don’t think it’s in print anymore, but there was a great book by Crystal Bright called Revamped. She described it best as “imagine Monk was a vampire.”

  8. Have you ever co-written a book? Did you find that harder or easier than writing alone?

    • Hi, Jason!

      I have contributed to anthologies, but have not collaborated with an author on the same story. I am certainly open to the idea, however. I suppose the reason I haven’t yet is because I haven’t been asked. 🙂

  9. More GLBT romance is what I would like to see. 🙂

    • As it happens, I also write M/M and F/F stories. My F/F stories are not paranormal, but I have a few M/M paranormals which I have mentioned here:

      Jack of Hearts and Jack of Diamonds (vampire)
      Enter Sandman (paranormal)
      The Healing (vampire)
      Why, Why Zed (a bit more SF than paranormal, but it could go either way)

      All of the above are out with Phaze Books.

  10. Great to be here!

  11. Will you write more paranormal in the future?

    • Hi, Bobbie!

      I will definitely write a third story in the Bliss series, perhaps a fourth. Right now I’m finishing a sequel to an M/M sci-fi work called Taste This. The followup will be called Bittersweet.

      After that, I have many plot bunnies, and I’m sure an idea for a hot paranormal will make its way to the front of the list. 🙂

  12. Hi Leigh,

    I absolutely loved Sheer Bliss and True Bliss. I notice a certain love for geekdom in some of your writing. What sort of things in that milieu inspire you?

    • Hi, James!

      As I mentioned before, I loved Quantum Leap and Star Trek, still do. They were great show – well-acted, but the writing was good as well. When you get into a good story, you are inspired to create good stories. I especially love writing dialogue that entertains and shows wit. I think concentrating on screenplays and TV has helped me in that respect.

    • And thanks for the kind word. Glad you enjoyed the stories. 🙂

  13. Ugh, it posted before I could finish. 🙂

    My question was: do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? I know some authors do only one or the other.

  14. Hi, Andrea!

    I would say I’m half and half. If I’m writing a story in a series, I need to make sure the continuity is intact. So I have to do more plotting than I would for a standalone story so there aren’t any errors. Sometimes, though, I’ll start writing something and keep going to see where the characters take me. Sometimes, the story goes in a direction I hadn’t before considered.

  15. I do enjoy vampires, too, but I like all paranormals.

  16. Love Star Trek, too! Do you watch any of the newer paranormal shows like True Blood and The Walking Dead?

    • I do not, and I know I’m missing out! 🙂 Truth be told, I do not watch much television. At home, the DH and the little one have control of the remote, and I’m usually on the laptop writing, so it’s background noise. I do try to keep up on Sons of Anarchy and Downton Abbey.

      I will have to check Netflix for those others shows and just watch through.

  17. I don’t miss Sons of Anarchy. Biker vampires would be interesting, you think? 🙂

  18. Hi Leigh!

    Great to talk with an author so close to the holidays. I am new to reading romance and erotic fiction but no stranger to paranormal stories. Are there “rules” to erotic fiction as there are to paranormal genres? Example being like in paranormal a vampire’s bite turns you into a vampire. Are there specific formulae or do they run all over the map?

    • Hi, Ellen!

      I know if you want to write BDSM, there are guidelines to follow. I have met people in the community who will point out inconsistencies if you do not research well. As for vanilla erotic romance, I find that readers and editors prefer frequent scenes woven into the story, and the hotter the better!

  19. Hi Leigh,

    Is there a genre you want to try your hand at but are hesitant to try? If so which and why?

    • Hi, elaing8!

      First off, favorite Christmas song is “Christmas is Coming” from A Charlie Brown Christmas. I have the album and play it every year.

      As for a genre I haven’t tried yet: I would like to try my hand at a Steampunk story. I edited a Steampunk anthology – Silver Wings – for Phaze Books, but the authors did all the writing.

      I’ve even been invited by an editor to contribute a Steampunk story to an anthology. I’ve been hesitant, though, because it’s a very specific genre and it will require more research. The authors I had for Silver Wings were very good and helpful through the process. But I’m willing to invest the time. We’ll see.

  20. What is your favorite Christmas song? 😀

  21. I love Cheyenne’s work too. Who would you say has been your greatest influence regarding your writing?

    • Hi, Viki!

      As I’ve mentioned, I love to write dialogue. In college I read Carrie Fisher’s books – Postcards From the Edge and Surrender the Pink – and loved them. She has a knack for producing witty dialogue, and I’ve always sought to emulate that.

  22. Happy Christmas!

    I am browsing your releases. If there were a place I could start where would it be?

    • Hi, Donna! Love your name. 🙂

      If you like paranormal, I’d suggest Midnight Passions and the Bliss stories. For anything else, Truth or Dare is the first of my Dareville series.

  23. Shifters, vampires, more GLBT? Shifters are my favorite.

  24. I liked how you wrote about how a shifter would be affected 🙂

  25. Also, I do have some free shorts available. Check my site and click Free Stories.

  26. Really really sick here but I’m making an attempt..
    If you had the the silver tongue ability (think of the movie Inkheart with Brendan Frasier and the book) what would be the first book would you read and what would you read out. OR would you read yourself in.

    • Hey, Raonaid. Hope you’ll feel better soon.

      To answer: I’d say either the first Harry Potter or The Hobbit. I love both worlds created and would love to lose myself in them.

  27. Hi,

    If you did not write, what other creative outlet would you pursue?

    • Hi, Mary!

      Unfortunately, I cannot sing or dance, so I would probably channel creativity into knitting. I have made covers for my ebook readers, so if I didn’t write I would probably knit more.

  28. Hi there. What do you think of the rise in self-publishing?

    • Hi, Dora!

      I think it’s good that some authors are willing to invest in self-publishing. I have self-published and I have published work with small houses, and I have to admit the former is a challenge. You self-publish, and you’re responsible for everything, and if the book flops it’s all on you. I do not believe self-publishing will render traditional publishing obsolete, but you can tell the game has changed.

  29. What movie or book that came out in 2012 surprised you the most?

    • Hi, Lisa. Definitely, my answer is The Siren by Tiffany Reisz. So many readers recommended the book so I picked up a copy. I found it well-written, but some parts of the story did shock me as a reader, and I’m pretty unflappable! I won’t spoil it, but I will say it’s a pretty intense book.

      She must have done well, because I did buy the sequel to that book. 🙂

  30. In 2013, the thing I’m most looking forward to in the paranormal romance field is more–more vamps, more shifters, more books to keep me reading into the wee hours of the night.

  31. I do love shifters, as anyone who’s ever given me less than a minute of time can attest to! With vampires there’s always an association with the bite. But there seems to be more leeway with shifter origins and how they come into being.

    I so love dialogue, so I appreciate how much you put into it. So I’m curious, is the dialogue how you talk or people that you know? Or is it that form of inner dialogue that runs in your head and never gets said?

    Ooh and I loved Quantum Leap too! Seriously awesome show.


    • Hi, Rae I guess you could say it’s six of one when it comes to dialogue. I do listen to how people talk and try to incorporate realism, but I find the voices in my head want to be heard, too. I try to avoid slang, though, because in the event somebody is reading a book years from now I want it to make sense. 🙂

  32. Greetings Leigh!

    In the shifter romance world, do you think there is such a thing as a hero or heroine turned off by the state of their lover? Certainly fear, trepidation, but is there room in some of these stories for a character that just doesn’t get off on it?

    • Hi, Robin!

      I have read stories where the non-shifter experienced shock and trepidation, but I don’t recall a story where that character resisted. I like to think it’s possible for a hero or heroine to feel turned off by shifting, perhaps to the point of putting off mating as long as possible. It would certainly make for a plausible conflict.

  33. what type of shifters do you write?
    is there just werewolves or other types of shifter?

  34. In 2013, the thing I’m most looking forward to in the paranormal romance field is more types of shifter-animals

  35. Do you have a favourite place to write?

    • Hi, Cheryl!

      I have a writing nook off the living room, where I keep a rocking chair and a small table. I do much of my writing there, but in a pinch I always keep a notebook handy in case inspiration strikes.

  36. I’m hoping for more time travel.

  37. What authors have influenced you?

    • Hi, Susan.

      I’ve drawn inspiration from a number of authors: Dorothy Parker, Carrie Fisher, Carl Hiaasen, and Mercedes Lackey. I read pretty much anything, which is why I suppose I don’t limit myself to one romance sub-genre.

  38. I love your m/m work, but have yet to read your m/f or paranormals. How does your approach differ for each genre?

    • Thanks, Trix! Glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the M/M work. 🙂

      I tend to take my time when writing a paranormal or fantasy work. This is not to say I think contemporaries are easier to write, because one still has to craft likable characters and a strong story. With any story, you must create a sense of place in which a reader wants to stay. Regardless of the genre, it must seem real. With paranormal, I tend to spend more time to ensure the fantastic can appeal normal in the setting.

      When writing M/M or F/F, I think it’s important to have characters stay true to themselves. The relationships must not be contrived, so I do spend more time on dialogue in these types of stories.

  39. I always hope for more m/m and m/m/f…sports and music themes, as well as friends to lovers, appeal to me too!

  40. Do you have a favorite paranormal ‘race’ (fae, witches, elves, etc) that you enjoy reading about, or would like to write about other than shifters or vampires?

    • Hi, Bethany!

      I have a story in Sinful Surprises that features a Fae male and a human heroine. Had a lot of fun writing that one. I haven’t given thought to writing more fae, but I would definitely give it a try again.

  41. Well, it’s close to eleven my time. I’ve had a fun night talking with everybody. Thanks again to Bitten By Books for having me. Good night! 🙂

  42. Do you have writing rituals, such as must-have beverages, snacks, music, etc?

  43. Hi Leigh!

    I love finding new authors. I am having puter issues today and will probably only get one shot at this so I am gonna bunch all my questions in one post.

    Do you generally set one large or many small goals?

    What do yo do to reward yourself when you reach your goals?

    Do you keep track of random plot bunnies as they pop up or do you let them run free and grow until you need them?

  44. In answer to your question….I want it all. Whatever you authors choose to throw our way I will enjoy.

  45. One of the reasons I enjoy paranormal stories so much is because of the world-building. I can definitely see why it can be challenging to write. I’ve never considered all the things to consider such as when a shifters goes from human form or something else. These small things are really neat to see happen.

  46. I would like to see more out of this world paranormal creatures! Or at least have them ahve unique powers.

  47. Thanks for being here! So what’s your favorite scene in Pure Bliss?

  48. What are your favorite paranormal romance books? (aside from your own, of course)

  49. What do you do to “color” outside the lines?