Hi folks, my name is J.E. Taylor and I primarily write thrillers – erotic thrillers, main stream thrillers, YA thrillers – basically books that keep you on edge or get your blood pumping. I’ve been known to write some smut as well, but my preference is the thriller genre because I’m an adrenaline junkie and this feeds my vice. For the longest time I wrote only in third person and this is still my preference, but I entered a short story contest where the parameters stated we had to write in a POV out of our comfort zone. I chose to write in first person and that story – Nightmares – was my first story accepted for publication. Now, a majority of my short stories are in first person. I haven’t tackled a novel in that POV...yet.
Early on, I was clueless. I didn’t even know how to write a proper query letter. Having a strong business background, I tackled the query letter like a business introduction letter, introducing me and my goal of being published. An extreme novice mistake. I burned through all my "most-wanted" agent list in a blink before I was invited by another author to join Backspace - a writer’s forum that changed my life. My Backspace brethren were very patient with me, showing me the errors of my ways and helping me develop as a writer. The best $40 per year investment a writer can make is joining this forum.
In my early submission days, people kept referring to passive voice and needing to get into a character’s head and at first I had no clue what that meant. I decided to take some online writing courses to hone my craft and to not be so clueless. The best writing courses by far were through Margie Lawson, and I’d highly suggest them to any writer no matter where they are in their writing career. In these classes, I learned the art of writing for impact, of editing for freshness and depth and annihilating passive voice. My writing became much more active and compelling because of this and I took those poorly written manuscripts and revised them again and again until they shined.
Another experience that has helped me grow as a writer is offering critiques and operating as an assistant editor at Allegory e-zine. I learned the critical need to hook a reader within the first page. If you don’t make the reader care or at least curious enough to turn the page, they won’t continue reading and you’ve lost the battle.
After figuring out how to write a query and revising those first pages to have maximum impact did I start to get requests for partials and full manuscripts, it was also the precursor to getting that first publishing contract with eXcessica for my erotic Games thriller series. The day I got the acceptance was exciting, however, the most memorable moment in my career to date was participating on a writing panel at the May 2010 Backspace Conference called Writing From the Edge: Sin, Sex and Similar Taboos. Little ol’ me on a writing panel, talking as if I was an expert – discussing the art of including sex scenes in your novel without being gratuitous. The awe in the audience’s gaze threw me for a loop - they were looking at me the way I looked at David Morrell the year before and I am in no way in the same league as Mr. Morrell. It was the most humbling experience, and the most memorable.
As far as writing itself is concerned, I love the act of creating new worlds, of playing God with my characters, of having control of the direction of the story – well, I’m in control most of the time – sometimes the characters revolt and take over. Although there are trying times as a writer when you’re stuck in the mud and don’t know how to get from one scene to the next, or you’re just not in the mood to write and the drivel that comes out screams with your lack of enthusiasm. But then again, isn’t that what editing is for? I also love creating my own cover art. I’ve actually pulled all the photos for my covers from either 123RF Photo or Romance Novel Covers and worked with a wonderful cover artist – Willsin Rowe when I was stuck or wanted feedback. He has done four of the six published novel covers and has also done video trailers for both Survival Games and Hunting Season.
Which brings me to what I’m doing now – I’m on a lovely contest and blog tour to promote my newest release, Hunting Season. For rules, see my April 29th Blog and don’t forget to leave a comment here on this post!
Here’s the blurb for the book along with the first chapter to whet your whistle... When Kyle Winslow escapes from custody and targets everyone Special Agent Steve Williams cares about, a turn of fate brings Steve face to face with Ty Aris – a criminal mastermind topping the FBI’s most wanted list. Torn between justice and vengeance, Steve must make a decision. Join alliances with Ty, or arrest him and lose his best chance to catch the bastard who destroyed his family.
"Unstoppable, breath stealing, and terrifying all at once." - Cat Connor, author of Killerbyte, Terrorbyte, and Exacerbyte.
"Hunting Season goes where few venture, mixing a compelling crime thriller with supernatural forces. The action and drama is thick and fast and I guarantee you will not be able to put this book down." - Poppet, author of Seithe and Darkroom.
The thought produced a quiet humph and Steve studied the falling snow outside the window, waiting. His fingers rose to the eye-patch, grazing the pliable material that covered the hollowness of the socket underneath. A shiver rippled through him and he clenched his teeth.
He flexed his right hand. After six months of physical therapy, he still didn’t have the dexterity to shoot straight and his arm constantly ached where the bone splintered. His leg screamed whenever a low-pressure-system arrived; making his slight limp more prevalent, and right now, it throbbed in time with his heartbeat. Sighing, he returned his attention to the swirling white flakes.
Dr. Montgomery, the FBI sponsored psychiatrist assigned to his case, slipped into the room and took a seat, opening Steve’s file. He adjusted his spectacles before resuming where they left off. "You need to deal with what happened, Steve."
"The son of a bitch is still out there."
Dr. Montgomery leaned forward and folded his arms on his desk.
They had been through this routine a dozen times in the past few months. Dr. Montgomery, always calm and reasonable, and Steve, always falling back to his unimpassioned crime scene analysis, avoiding the trauma he endured.
Steve watched the snowfall for a few minutes before continuing. "I’m an FBI agent. I should be out there looking for him." He attempted to skirt his emotions, again.
"And what does the husband and father part feel?"
Steve’s jaw clenched. "I’m not sure I want to answer that."
Steve turned toward Dr. Montgomery. "Because you’ll never clear me for active duty."
"Anger is a perfectly normal emotion Steve."
Steve scoffed and turned, catching his reflection in the glass. A single unwavering azure eye stared back. He ground his teeth so hard they ached before meeting the doctor’s gaze. "He blew up my daughter."
"Keep going." Dr. Montgomery said.
"I want to kill him!" Steve closed his eyes, willing the rabid dog inside to stay caged. He drew a deep breath and blew it out slowly, fogging the windowpane in front of him.
Steve turned his head toward the doctor. Fury coursed through his veins. He clenched his jaw and pulled the air in through his nose before he continued. "I should have shot him when I walked in the door."
"Why didn’t you?"
That question plagued Steve at least a dozen times a day since the explosion. If he had, Jennifer wouldn’t be lying in a hospital bed with no hope of recovery. Instead, he paused and that cost him his daughter and his wife. "He had a detonator in his hand and he said if I didn’t put the gun down, he’d blow up Samantha."
Steve’s jaw worked overtime grinding his teeth. Anger pulsed through his body, making the tips of his fingers and toes tingle and his skin burn.
The rage consumed Steve. Raw, unbridled, unstoppable rage.
Rage because he was stupid.
Rage because his baby girl was dead.
Rage because Kyle escaped.
Steve’s breath came in short gasps. His jagged nails dug into the soft flesh of his palms, tempering the rage a notch. Slowly, he uncurled his fists, stretching his fingers as he stared at the floor.
"The fucker’s still out there. And he isn’t done with me yet."