Joey Hill visits with her latest outstanding winner.
Hey everyone! It’s wonderful to be here with you today. One of the questions I get most often is “how did you come up with that?” Which could mean a storyline, a series, or a particularly creative erotic scene using raw vegetables and rubber gaskets, lol. When I recently released Knight Nostalgia, a 3-story anthology of revisit novellas with my Knights of the Board Room series characters, and Desiree invited me to be a guest on her blog, she wanted me to talk about how this popular series came about. (I’ll hold the vegetables and gaskets for another post!)
Before I had the privilege of writing fulltime, I was a secretary. As such, I have sat through a LOT of meetings. Enough to know 95% of meetings could be replaced with a strategic email and a phone call or two. I’m sure any admin assistants reading this are nodding vigorously and saying some version of “tell it, sister.”
However, since those long, drawn out meetings were how I came up with the Knights of the Board Room, I guess I do owe them thanks. I have a pretty restive mind, so while I was taking minutes I usually also had a bag of crochet to keep my fingers busy between note taking. It would startle managers at first (as it did my professors in college, lol), until they realized I used it to focus, which resulted in exemplary work.
I’ve slowed down some over the years, but at that time my multi-tasking abilities were my superpower. Even the crochet and recording the minutes didn’t fully occupy my mind. Because I was writing during almost all my years as a secretary, an important part of my head was always staying alert for any triggers for story ideas.
I believe a lot of romance writing takes place in the personal terrain of one’s fantasies first. If it doesn’t capture the author’s heart, soul and body, how will it do it for the reader? So, I have to admit, the day the KBR “pinged”, I was doing some lovely sexual fantasizing. All indulged while my crochet hook was flashing and looping yarn, and the other part of my brain was noting that day’s meeting discussion.
Hey! Before you get all “judgy” because I was doing this at work, an erotic romance author’s fantasizing qualifies under the tax code as research and storyline development. So I WAS working. (wink)
Here was what was going through my head. I was imagining an executive team in a top floor board room. This select group of very sexy, powerful men were bonded like brothers, and every one of them was a sexual Dominant. While each man wants to find his own woman, they have a pack mentality, so they have no qualms about using a combination of their sensual talents to win over their fellow Dom’s chosen love. Even if that takeover has to happen on that very board room table.
The flip side of what I said above about personal fantasizing is that, whether I want it to become story fodder or not, it does. If it captures my imagination, the writer side of me snatches it right from the private, “do not enter without invitation” part of my head. That writer side is really rude – no respect for personal boundaries.
So that was the spark. But at the time, it was a random thought, written down in one of my many notebooks. No real form yet. After a spark, I need a trigger. A trigger is usually a scene idea that is a powerful pivot point in the story, which opens the flood gate for a bunch of other scenes, and the story starts to come to life.
Fast forward a bit. Now I was working as an executive assistant for a CEO and his VP team. It was a manufacturing company with a lot of offshore plants (which would become the rough business model for Kensington & Associates, or K&A). I had a situation one day where I needed to change out the bulb in the light above my desk. Not wanting to bug maintenance, I stood on my desk to take care of it. Around that time my boss the CEO came by and saw me. He was a very old school guy about women, and a very authoritative male. It bugged him, me up there like that. When I tried to explain what I was doing, he just held out his hand and said, emphatically, “Get down. Now.” Then he took off his shoes, got up there in his dark dress socks, and did it.
Now, I had no sexual attraction to my boss, but that moment set off MAJOR pings for a character AND a scene idea. I believe Matt Kensington was born right then! Soon after, I was offered the chance to be part of a three-story anthology with fabulous fellow authors Laci Alexander and Liz Lapthorne, and my loose idea and brainstorming turned into a story where a powerful CEO decides to engineer an aggressive takeover of the woman and submissive of his dreams, the CEO of another company. And he brings a unique arsenal to that fight—the sensual talents of his four-man executive team.
After Matt’s story was told, it in turn led to Lucas, Peter, Jon and Ben’s. I figured the series would stop at five, but during the course of the stories, a former Navy SEAL, the K&A limo driver Max, got his story with Matt’s admin, Janet (who is a Domme). Her and Max’s story is the only Domme/male sub story of the series, but it’s one of my favorites of that sub-genre I’ve written. At least on the contemporary side of things – Jacob and Lyssa of Vampire Queen’s Servant are my favorite paranormal couple with that dynamic, though Quinn and Selene, the couple that Desiree and I wrote in Nightfall, come close!
The final book of the Knights of the Board Room series is about the reporter who gave the K&A men the Knights of the Board Room title. Celeste had to have her own story, and so it was that Leland, a Baton Rouge cop and a close friend of the K&A men, came together with her to be the final full length book of the series, Book VII.
But the fans of these guys continue to clamor for more, so I’ve written three free novella downloads over the years revisiting them (I’ll tell you where you can find those at the end). Now I also have this new three-story anthology for publication, Knight Nostalgia. I don’t think any of us ever want to leave them behind!
To close, would you like to read the scene that incident with my boss and the light bulb inspired? Because here it is! You can find those links I mentioned and other stuff about my work after this.
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Matt often wondered if Savannah realized she had a circle of devoted knights trying to protect her from harm, when she wouldn’t let them into the inner circle of her life. Geoffrey was gone, and what protection her father had provided, as well as the damage he had done, was gone. She was as alone in the world as a person could get. Matt wanted her in his world, and she wouldn’t even give him an opening to make a move in that direction.
He rounded the corner, his peripheral vision sharpened so he could see if she was in her office. The door was open, her desk light on. And she was standing on top of her desk.
She hadn’t taken off her shoes, and he assumed it was to give her extra height to reach her objective, though he shuddered to think about her stepping on her unstable wheeled office chair in those skinny heels.
He detoured. Determining in a few strides what she was doing, he quickened his pace.
Apparently a bulb had burned out in the incandescent ceiling lighting she preferred to fluorescent. Anal retentive plague that she was, she was changing it herself, rather than waiting to have a maintenance person with solid shoes and a ladder do it tomorrow. She was on the ball of one foot, the other off the ground, straining, her right breast clearly outlined against the fabric of her turquoise turtleneck. The ceiling was too high for her to use one hand to steady her upper body, and as she worked to free the panel over the light fixture, she was precariously balanced. When it came free with a jerk, she overbalanced.
Matt got there in time to clamp his hands on her hips, his palms curled over the hip bones, his fingers on the soft curves.
“What are you doing? Get down from there.”
She was flustered, and he didn’t often get to see that. She backed out of his hold, and he nipped the panel from her fingers, taking it to the floor.
“I’m trying to change a light bulb.”
“I can see that. Get down.”
“I just need to—”
“Get. Down. Now.”
Instead of coming back with another sharp retort, he saw something incredible happen. A moment of confusion. Nervous tension. Something came over him, too, an instinct, and the remarkable feeling that a door had just swung wide open. And he wanted to test it.
“You heard me, Savannah,” Matt said softly. “Come here. Now.”
It was a long moment. Then she shifted her gaze away from his, down, and moved toward his reaching hands, her neck and cheeks flushed.
Still reeling from the revelation, he almost missed his cue, but he recovered in time to take her elbow as she reached down for him. He gripped her waist and she put her hands after a brief hesitation on his shoulders, curiously docile as he lifted her clear of the chair, pushing it out of his way, and lowered her to the floor.
It was a moment before he found his voice, and he managed to make it gentle, since she was blinking at him with the startled look of a deer, not anything like the Savannah he knew.
“Don’t you attend the corporate safety seminars you torture your employees with?”
He saw the snap as the spell was broken. She even took a defensive step back, looked around herself, and that familiar disdain and faint irritation took over her features.
“We fulfill all OSHA requirements, Kensington.”
“Oh, yeah. That was definitely an OSHA-approved maneuver.” He flicked a hand out, caught a loose lock of her hair, enjoyed her look of shocked anger at the casual familiarity.
“I know you think you have to live up to your Savannah Cyborg image, but you don’t have to be and do everything yourself, you know.”
He saw a split second of hurt at the nickname that was used too often for her not to have overheard it countless times before. It made him angry with his clumsiness. And with her, for being so worthy of the name, but only in how she closed herself off to any advances of affection or friendship.
“You delegate administrative tasks to your assistants. Why can’t you let other people help you with things?” He let his concern for her show, hoping to amend that inadvertent barb. “Damn it, if you’d fallen, there’d have been no one to see you fall.”
“That’s the plan,” she said dryly. “Better to bust your backside when no one’s looking.” Some of the spunk was returning, but in the shift of her eyes, he saw she knew something significant had happened. He wondered if she understood what she had revealed, if she even knew it about herself.
The thought brought out a fierce possessiveness in him, a desire to crush anyone who’d taken advantage of such a sweet gift. He enjoyed the many faces and forms of sex, and having an excess of alpha in his personality, he’d often let the natural Dominant in him take over with his casual lovers who liked BDSM. The idea of exercising it in a less casual mode with the woman who’d become his obsession was so intoxicating he had a hard time keeping his cock settled in his trousers. Fortunately, she chose that moment to distract him.
“Fine.” She tossed her head, presented him with a bulb from her desk top. “You want to do maintenance, here’s your chance. And don’t worry. I’ll stand right here and catch you if you fall.”
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I’ll put some other fun tidbits about the series in the comments below, but please don’t hesitate to leave your own comments and questions about anything you want to talk to me about. It doesn’t have to be about the new book or this series. It can be about whether I like Cheerios or Apple Jacks for breakfast! (Cheerios, actually, but I love Apple Jacks as a snack, lol). Here’s all the info about the new book, the series, the free novellas and other stuff about me. Thanks again to you and Desiree for letting me be here!
Knight Nostalgia – excerpt, buy links, blurb – http://storywitch.com/book-kbr-kn
Knights of the Board Room series – http://storywitch.com/series-kbr
Winner of the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement award, Joey W. Hill has published almost fifty contemporary and paranormal BDSM erotic romances, including six series. Her emotionally-intense love stories offer everything from vampires, mermaids, witches and angels, to boardroom executives, cops and simple housemaids. With her books, she hopes readers won’t “look past the sex,” but instead will “look within it,” and find a story that can touch not just the body, but also the heart and soul.
Facebook Fan site: JWHMembersOnly
Free novellas revisiting my characters: storywitch.com/series-cantrips