Author Spotlight: Elle Brownlee


Heeeeyyyy Party People!

Guess what? I am pooped. I thought two days would be enough time to recuperate post-RWA but nope. I am still super zonked. I almost skipped out on posting a spotlight today but a schedule is a schedule, so I had to stick with it. Today, you’ll get to know a little bit about one of the kindest authors I’ve ever encountered. I first met Elle at Liberty States last year. She’s such a delightful person, and it made sense to feature her. 

Get to know Elle, folks!

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

I’ve thought about this one the longest, and gosh, I don’t think there really is a big seedy underbelly reveal for me. I’m pretty transparent—and without shame—about everything I like, dislike, do, and support. People often remark I’m funnier (and snarkier) than they expected in real life, so there’s that.

What’s your middle name?

Don’t have one.

What’s your go-to karaoke bar song?

Rhinestone Cowboy.

How’d you get into writing romance?

Funny you should ask, as I recently wrote a whole blog post about my romance origin story! Find that here. Short answer—I literally tripped over it.

Who are the top three authors on your “must meet” list?

Jane Austen. Richard Adams. Ross King and/or Thomas Cahill.

What’s your worst fashion faux pas of the 90s?

I feel very comfortable owning my 90s fashion choices. Terrible neon oversized sweaters and puffy accessories never happened to me. I was grunge before grunge was a thing. Then grunge happened and I fit right in. Of course, I was out again once grunge was over, but I was still happy in my jeans, t-shirts, and flannels.

Your life has suddenly become a television show, what show do you choose?

Some interesting documentary that PBS or Ken Burns would produce and direct. Ideally with the Frontline voiceover guy as narrator.

What does success and failure mean to you?

That is not an easy thing to distill into a few sentence answer, but I always thought trying something and seeing it through to the end meant success. Of course, there are varying levels of personal satisfaction and acclaim, but one is, well, personal, and the other subjective. So for my dollars and donuts, thinking ‘I want to do the thing’ → ‘I did the thing’ is an achievement.

Did you ever own an Easy-Bake Oven?

No—my sister and I went for the Snoopy Sno Cone Machine instead. After making our best attempts with it a couple of times (and winding up with melted, too-sweet goo) we used it as a base/backdrop for our action figures and Strawberry Shortcake dolls.

Finish this sentence: If I had the power to time travel, I would _______.

Be busy visiting my list of “things, people, and places I wish I’d seen.” Dinosaurs, the megaflood that caused the Scablands in Washington state, the library at Alexandria, civilizations in their heyday (Egypt! Rome! Persia! Machu Picchu! Easter Island! Regency England!), megafauna roaming the Americas, taking in speeches and lectures by great people from their times, oh gosh attending the Marian Anderson performance in front of Lincoln Memorial. Caveat of course is I could be a mere observer and not get eaten by a T-Rex or drowned or anything. I’m crying a little just thinking about all of it, and that is not facetious or an overstatement.

Also, for real, I would gift myself two extra hours nearly every day just to get stuff done. Dinner time and the to-do list isn’t finished? Zip! You’re welcome, it’s two hours earlier. BOOM

**Bonus Question**

Have you ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

Elle chose not to answer the bonus question. It’s all good. We all have our secrets, LOL!


Elle Brownlee has always followed her creative, adventuring spirit.

Growing up she loved westerns and taking long hikes. On these explorations she’d craft miniature worlds with moss and rocks while making up stories about everything that happened there. This often included dashing cowboy heroes. As an adult, not a lot has changed. She still loves westerns, long hikes, and allowing her imagination to roam. She also loves spending time with family and friends, rooting for her baseball team, rainy days in autumn, and the perfect cup of tea (black, steeped extra strong, with milk—please!).

Her romances feature flawed but relatable characters in immersive settings, told with wit, tenderness, and a sly note of sarcasm. Though a cynic in many ways, Elle believes love can conquer all. Every story is a little bit naughty, a whole lot of nice, and will always end with happily ever after.

Elle currently lives in New York City, where she maintains her miniature worlds in terrariums and writing.

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Author Spotlight: Soren Summers

Hi Folks! 

I AM OFFICIALLY OVER MY PLAGUE! *screams wildly* And not a moment too soon.

I fly to Orlando Wednesday morning for RWA Nationals, and I was not keen on being sick on a plane. Uh, noooope. My doctor swore I’d be well enough to fly but the fact that I still felt like poo on a stick last week Thursday did not give me any hope, but alas, I AM HEALED. This will be my first time attending Nationals, and I am SUPER excited. Be sure to follow me on social media! I’ll definitely be documenting what I know is likely to be one heck of a time. 

Today, I get to introduce you all to one of my favorite author people. Not only do I fangirl over his work, but we also have an amazing friendship which started from me emailing him strictly as a fan. LOL well, first I followed him on Twitter, to which he replied: ”*gay gasp* I know you.” Of course, I found his response both hilarious and adorable. 

Soren is the yin to my yang. I swear he’s the male version of me. Do you know how rare it is to find your male counterpart? HE IS IT. It’s probably why we get along so well, and he makes me laugh so hard. 

He also forgives me when I take forever to respond to emails (as of this blog post I owe him two emails), but he’s always there to listen when I need to commit some serious word vomit. He is one of the best authors friends I’ve come to make since taking on this writing gig. You should get to know him. You should also know LAST WEEK HE RELEASED HIS THIRD BOOK

I may be squeeing just a little bit. I’m so proud of him! ☺

At the end of the interview, there’s an opportunity for you to win a free read from Soren! 

Take it away buddy…

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

That behind the happy-go-lucky author persona I maintain online lingers a thick, roiling morass of arrogance and wild overconfidence. Seriously. The only way I can get myself to work long enough to finish a project is to shroud myself in the comfort of madness and delusion. That frequently involves preening in the mirror, yelling “You’re so good at this” and “You’re the best writer in the world” at my reflection, then maintaining that veneer long enough to write my quota for the day before I break down into tears and eat another pint of ice cream. Which reminds me…

How tall are you?

Five foot six. Titchy little baby human by American standards, and almost acceptable in Southeast Asia, where I’m originally from.

You’re auditioning for American Idol, what song do you choose to sing for the judges to showcase your talent?

“You Must Love Me” from Evita. Or that song from Dreamgirls, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” the one that goes “You’re gonna love me.” Failing that, given only a microphone and no backing instrumentals, I can do the Galadriel monologue. You know, the one that ends with “All shall love me and despair.”

You sense a theme, you say? I don’t know what you mean.

Why’d you choose to write romance? More specifically, gay horror with romantic elements?

More than writing I know that my real forte is dealing with people. I’ve been told that I’m charming and I’ve made an effort to take advantage of that in all aspects of life. This also means that I am an enormous flirt, which leads to plenty of imagined dialogue as well as lots and lots (and lots) of imagined romantic and sexual scenarios. Those come naturally to me – typically when I’m trying to fall asleep – so that takes care of the romance half of the equation.

I’ve always been fascinated by horror, especially stuff that builds off of sexuality, like the art of H.R. Giger, vampires and zombies in general, even the very basic fact that the French word for orgasm means “the little death.” There’s something inherently tragic and beautiful about both sex and death, how one creates or infuses the body with life, and the other – well, you know. I figured blending the two might be interesting, and so far it’s worked out magically, thrilling literally tens of readers across the globe.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Anne Rice and Chuck Palahniuk, in different ways, showed me that it was possible to blend love and horror. What I really admire about Chuck, though, is his take on self-destructive characters. He does them so very well. I’m not a fan of the omniscient point of view Terry Pratchett used in his novels, but his writing has an incredible playfulness to it that really stretches the boundaries of what you can do with the English language, often to ridiculous and hilarious effect.

My very own problematic fave is H.P. Lovecraft, who was a massive racist, but was also influential in shaping so many aspects of modern horror. I picked up a lot of tricks about building a creeping sense of dread from his writing. I also borrow some tropes of cosmic horror from his universe.

And George R.R. Martin, of course. I love tragedy, but more than that, he has a gift for the economy of words, often establishing incredible characterization in just one or two sentences. He can make you root for a new character within mere paragraphs or pages – and then he murders them brutally, sometimes in the very same chapter.

Let’s get introspective for a sec. What would you say is the #1 challenge to your personal growth? Ha! You didn’t see such a serious question coming didja?

Addiction, whether to things as trite as video games or as complex as human beings. I have a tendency for obsession, even when I know that something (or someone) is terrible for me. Good thing I managed to quit smoking, hey?

Describe your first breakup in three words.

I was monstrous.

Favorite breakfast food?

It’s a Chinese delicacy called tau fu fa, also known as taho to Filipinos. It’s this really silky soy bean custard in a syrupy sauce. In the Philippines it’s sold by roaming vendors in the morning, always served warm with these chewy sago or tapioca pearls. So, so good. A nice bit of a protein boost in the morning, though kind of heavy on the sugar.

What advice would you give to an aspiring romance writer?

Pick your (sub)genre carefully, baby. The hardest lesson I’ve learned from doing this is that you need to manage your expectations. Want to write genre-blending horror-sci fi romance with psychics and butt sex and eldritch weirdness like I did? Go right ahead, but know that you won’t do as well or reach as many readers as an author who writes about, say, wolf shifters, or billionaires, or jocks. Do your research going in, get a feel of the results you might get out of it, then evaluate your goals and options from there.

Where do you envision your writing career in the next ten years?

Dead in a ditch, just like me.

Kidding! I see myself as a financially stable author by then, someone who can finally, perhaps, ease up on the four-novels-a-year rule. I’d love to think that my writing will be enough to pay the bills and comfortably cover my twenty-seven cats several times over, and that I’ll be good enough to bag a couple of awards to shake in the faces of all those who ever dared to doubt or oppose me. I mean to put on my mantle! Haha. Hah.

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

No, but I’d like to, mainly the psychological aspects. I’m not a huge fan of props when it comes to sex. I am, however, fascinated by power play, and I love edging. I imagine those two things in concert would work out wonderfully.


Soren Summers spent 15 years working as a lifestyle journalist and public relations copywriter. After moving to Southern California he decided it was time to stop selling other people’s stories and start telling his own. Inspired by the sweat-laden horrors of ill-tempered editors and looming deadlines, Soren uses his unfortunate love of hyperbole to write novels about ordinary people struggling against overwhelming supernatural odds.

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Amazon Giveaway:

Win a copy of Soren’s Monster Book 1 in the Vertex universe by clicking here. You must be logged into your Amazon account to enter.


Get your one-click finger ready! Check out Soren’s latest release: Paragon Book 3 in the Vertex universe.

Blogger Spotlight: Joood Hooligan & Sofia the Great of Platypire Reviews

Hi Folks,

You know how you follow a Facebook page and you end up following another Facebook page because it led you to a blog? No? Just me? Well, that’s how I came across Joood and Sofia.

I follow Indie Author Books & Blogs because their confessions on Thursdays are what kept me entertained when I was bored out of my mind throughout most of 2016, and the Platypire ladies often made comments on postings. Sofia ended up reading one of my stories, and we became buds because she then became a fan, and Joood found me because of Sofia, and now I give her book recs LOL. It really is a small world. This is the part of Facebook I love, the ability to connect with like-minded people who dig bookish things! 

Take it away Joood and Sofia!

Since I asked authors this question, I’m going to ask you the same thing. Most author interviews are pretty boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. I’m sure the same can be said for bloggers. Soooo, if you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

Joood: I have an addiction to Harry Potter fanfiction.  Especially romance that includes Draco.  He is pairable with pretty much every character of his generation, I don’t even care.

Sofia: Peanut butter and jelly with bologna. Come at me! I got my dukes up.

What’s the last book you read you couldn’t put down?

Joood: Last week I read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, and it was glorious!

Sofia: The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. Everybody please read that book!  

What does romance mean to you?

Joood: At least two people are attracted to each other in some regard, and the book revolves around this attraction.

Sofia: Love.  I need it to be about love and mushy goodness.

Are reviews for readers or authors?

Joood: Ultimately they’re for readers, but the author can always read them and get ideas. Or not. It’s the same for every other product for purchase. Reviews are directed at potential buyers. 

Sofia: Readers.  No doubt. A review is to let the reader know if they want to buy a book or not.  An author can learn from a review or just throw their middle finger at it. But in the end it wasn’t written for them. 

Coolest thing that’s happened to you since you began blogging?

Joood: One of my favorite authors from when I was in high school not only followed the blog’s Facebook page, but she did a 24 hour takeover.  The blog was a little over a year old. But I still fangirl over that moment.

Sofia: Being recognized at author events from people I’ve never met before. They’ve seen our videos or follow our blog. It’s a pretty cool feeling. 

If you’re married or in a relationship, how do you keep the *love* alive?

Joood: We’re both nerds.  So our date night is playing games together. Sometimes we help each other out on minecraft, as an example. My husband will build the weapons and I’ll manage the food, and then we’ll adventure out together. It’s actually one of my favorite types of things we do together. We work together, have to stay in communication, and we strengthen our relationship while having fun.

Sofia: We still go on dates and still can talk about everything.

Say we’re on the verge of a zombie apocalypse. You get to assemble a team of zombie assassins. You get to choose three characters from your favorite books to join your zombie assassin team. Who do you choose and why? 

*I want to interject to say I got the funniest text in messenger from both Joood and Sofia saying the other was trying to steal her answers. I honestly laughed for a good two minutes.* 

Joood: Hermione Granger (Harry Potter), because she’s intelligent and also magical.  I pretty much only need her, but I’ll pick a couple others as well. Sabriel (Abhorsen), because she’s a freaking necromancer. Iko (The Lunar Chronicles), she’s an android - so I don’t have to worry about her being infected ever.  Also we would need someone to keep us optimistic.

Sofia: I thought of doing wizards and witches so they can zap them away. Let’s see Harry Potter doing battle with the undead. But real talk. Non-magical characters (okay maybe a tad magical) would be: Mercy Thompson (Moon Called by Patricia Briggs), Orissa Penwell (Contagious by Emily Goodwin), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (graphic novels, Joss Whedon).

Do you have any weird food allergies?

Joood: Pineapples. I’m still distraught by this, because it’s only got bad the last few years.  Basically it causes my throat to blister and scab.  It’s awful and everything in life is horrible because of it.

Sofia: No, but it’s getting harder to drink milk. 

Favorite childhood toy?

Joood: Does the computer count? Because it totally was. I loved video games from an early age.

Sofia: No lie and I’m gonna lose cool points. But I love my barbies. 

Finish this sentence: Life is _________. 

Joood: Irrational.

Sofia: Hard.

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

Joood: Not yet. Maybe it’ll be something I do later.  I’m not strictly opposed, but it’s not something I’m currently interested in.

Sofia: I read the books. I don’t think I can submit myself or dominate someone completely. I do like the toys so it’s not always vanilla. 

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Sofia’s Goodreads 

Joood’s Goodreads

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