Behind the written word…Author Phoenix Johnson of NNP

This week my publisher made a different kind of request. She wanted each of us to choose a fellow Naughty Nights Press author and do a blog post about them, shed some light as to what makes each of us tick. I’ve literally seen hundreds of author interviews on blogs over the years and I thought to myself, well haven’t we already done this? But then I had to admit to myself that the interview questions and answer sections, were repetitive and safe. It was merely another promotional vehicle for authors to sling new releases. Yes we all love to write but what emotions, are we sharing with our readers? We take them into parallel worlds to our own and we drag them through the mud from Once Upon a Time, to The End. So I thought to myself what kinds of questions would really cross that boundary-line between comfort and truly getting a our reader’s attention and really showing us what makes an author tick inside.

This was my interview with NNP Author Phoenix Johnson.

1.  Why do you write?

I’ve always been a reader, and loved the written word. During school, I enjoyed assignments of writing fictional stories, and even creating book covers for Book Week contests (bragging a little here, but I won both years we had that contest!). I wrote on and off during my childhood, but eventually lost the drive for it until I was encouraged to take it up again in 2009, and I haven’t looked back. It’s part of who I am. I couldn’t stop writing now as much as I couldn’t stop loving chocolate 😉
2. What struggles do you face in everyday life that make it hard to write on some days? 
Studying for my university degree definitely limits my time, concentration and willingness to do anything at times. It can be pretty draining. Having a 5 year old is just as draining at times. However she’s getting pretty good with reading, so happily reads to herself sometimes, and is at school Monday to Friday, so that helps quite a bit. The worst thing, though, is a muse that is as fickle as you can get. I can plan all I want that *today* will be the day I get writing done. And I might be lucky to get 100 words, or I could smash out 7000 words. She’s highly unpredictable and there is no taming her. I’ve tried!
3. What one moment in your life made you want to be a writer.
One moment… Well it’s not a moment, so much as a book. I was reading Stephen King’s “Eyes of the Dragon” in grade 8 for a major assignment in my advanced class (aka “Nerd Class”). The power behind his words, the magic of the story, had me yearning to take up writing again. I started writing a story, and was progressing fairly well, albeit slowly due to school commitments and being tired by the time I got home and finished my homework. I did give up again lately, but that is always the “moment”, so to speak, that sticks with me. 
4. What was the worst day of your life and have you used writing to help deal?  
Easily the worst day was the day we found out that our son had died, not even two weeks before he was due to be born. I don’t think anything could compare to that. It felt as though my heart was being ripped out piece by piece, and I still get anxiety attacks over a year later. For those who have seen LOTR, and know the scene where King Theoden is speaking to Gandalf after buring his son, is one of the most painful things for me to watch now, because I know how badly it hurts, and his words are exactly right: no parent should have to bury their child. 
Although my muse is still fleeting still, writing has helped a little. I’ve written a little piece on losing our boy, though at this point I’ve only shared it with friends. The pain has also helped the darker side of some of my stories. I get into this really dark mood and it comes through in my WIPs like The Coven, The Crypt and The Lost Youth of Cedar Hill. They’re slow going stories, a little heavy, very dark and long. But I don’t think I could create the necessary darkness for them without the pain I feel every single day now. Don’t get me wrong; I would give those stories to have my boy. But I’m thankful I have something productive and positive to channel that pain, when my muse wants to work with me.
5. Which author inspired you most, to become a writer yourself? 
Originally it was Stephen King (not counting my writing as a younger child). But since I’d given up again for a few years, Anne Bishop helped me come back to it. Not just in reading her Black Jewels novels, but I emailed her on the off-chance of receiving some advice. I was stoked when I got a reply, and any time I consider for a second that writing is too much, I’m not cut out for it, I remember that she took the time to email me advice. Surely I can keep at it, and show her that I was worth helping. 
6. What have you written, where can we find it? 
So far I have two titles out, both through Naughty Nights Press: The Wolf in the Neighborhood is book one in my Wolf Smitten erotic romance trilogy of novellas. The Return of Their Master is a peek at a new world of vampires, and looks at Angie, her sisters and their fight to survive their Creator, their Master, Vitalis, driven insane by a blood sickness contracted from one of his victims. That one has been quite fun, creating a new world and a new look at vampires. 
Both titles can be found at Naughty Nights Press directly (where you can get them in the correct format for your ereaders), All Romance eBooks, Amazon, Amazon UK and Aus, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.
7. What hopes do you have for your future as a writer?
My biggest goal is to get my own novel in print on my own book shelf. A small goal, maybe, yet it would mean the world to me. Though I’d also love to build a fan base that would be eager for me to go to conventions not only in Australia, but also in the US and UK. I’d love to be able to travel once a year to a convention or two overseas and meet fans, fellow authors and enjoy the atmosphere of the publishing world in person. Both of those would make it all seem real. 
Thanks for the opportunity, and for the interesting questions. Hopefully they show something new to people,. 🙂

Now available for pre-order on ARe and


Pre-edited Chapter One Excerpt of Beauty and the Geek: You know that guy you went to high school with? No, I’m not talking about the hot jock that’s probably married, divorced and has three kids, with two different women and a beer gut…no, no, no. I’m talking about, The Nerd. He was the guy that all the other smart kids went to for help with their homework. He was the guy that made the teachers nervous when he walked into a classroom. He didn’t date, because he didn’t seem to want to. He didn’t party because, he didn’t need to. He didn’t do much but study, and sit quietly amongst your group of friends, never really saying anything, and now he’s a robotics engineer in California. If you haven’t guessed it, I’m talking about my nerd from high school. His name is Aden, and at this exact moment I’m thinking really hard about Aden, and what could have been. Why didn’t I date him, back then? Why didn’t I date guys like him now? Well, to be completely honest, I’m not only thinking about Aden. I’m also thinking about how I’m going to get away from my currently, homicidally, enraged fiancé. You see my fiancé, Tom, has this one rule, and I sort of bent it a little bit. Okay, bent isn’t accurate, I broke the damn thing in half. His one rule is that I never look into this one little black book. For the last three years I let it slide. Mostly because Tom had platinum cards and gave me expensive gifts. Don’t judge me. I’m not just some fru-fru spoiled little arm candy/future trophy wife. I’d been raised the hard way, and I’d lived that way for a long time, before meeting Tom. When he found me I was just as self-righteous and feminist, as the next classically trained, female artist out there, but I was also hungry and wearing Goodwill garbage bag specials. That means I pulled them out of the dumpster. Tom wasn’t my first bad relationship. There had been between ten and twelve, “Toms,” before him and every time things went south, I found my, self-righteous, self, out on my penniless, single ass. The first time I met Tom, I was desperately peddling my art out of the trunk of a ’94 Buick, Skylark. Said Skylark was also doubling as my current residence. I’d hit rock bottom, and he was interested in my art, and by art I mean me. Tom couldn’t have cared less about my art and at that point, neither could I. So, turning over a new leaf, in an effort to pull my, self-righteous, half-starved ass, out of the pit of despair, I decided Tom was going to be my meal ticket. I knew in order for this to happen, I had to swallow my enormous pride. This, I found, was surprisingly easy to do on an empty stomach. So, I ignored his strange behavior and strange friends, who did everything secretly, from ordering spaghetti to having a conversation about the weather. I ignored that fact that Tom didn’t talk about his work and I ignored his little black book and the fact that I wasn’t allowed to touch it. Four years and one engagement later everything was working out okay, until I first smelled the cheap perfume, three weeks ago, and suddenly, my forgotten pride was rearing its ugly head, and demanding answers to questions I should have left buried. I was never told what was in the forbidden book, or why I wasn’t allowed to look in it, but as they say, curiosity killed the cat, and satisfaction brought him back. Tom carried the damn thing with him everywhere and on the rare occasion when he’d forget it I would sit and stare at it whenever I walked into the room and discovered its presence. It was a real life mystery and since I was recently engaged when I first smelled the cheap perfume, I had somehow convinced myself that the secret rule was officially moot. He must have had her knock off Channel on the brain when he left for work that morning, because he forgot his, little black book of secrets, on the nightstand, next to his watch. I eyed the worn little book suspiciously, from my perch on the edge of our bed, while chewing my perfect, manicure, all to hell. I knew the bastard was cheating on me but I wanted proof, I needed proof. I didn’t have a whole lot of rules anymore, but I didn’t usually accuse people of doing things unless I knew for sure. I’d been accused of things, growing up, that I never would have done, and I didn’t appreciate being judged without proof. So me looking in the book wasn’t an act of rebellion, it was an act of respect. I scooted innocently closer to the night-stand, and flipped the little book open with my heart hammering in my throat but after brief inspection I realized, the names in the book weren’t women’s names…not all of them anyway. No, most of the names in this little book were of people who’d recently gone missing, and showed up again later, in pieces, in people’s dumpsters on garbage day or in the river. Once I realized what I was actually looking at, I reread the extensive list with, “reasons” carefully printed beside their names. Betrayal, snitch, liar, blaa, blaa, blaa…all reasons, Tom and his group of mysterious, cryptic, friends thought were sufficient enough to end someone’s life and desecrate their rotting corpses. Sure, I knew he was into something dirty, but I was thinking stolen toaster ovens, knock off purses, and pirated movies, kind of dirty, not fitting people with cement shoes or cutting them up into little pieces for convenient disposal, kind of dirty. I read through the list a few more times, in utter and complete shock, their remembered faces popping into my memory, from the missing posters and local news channel, as well as few that I’d met personally, and subsequently, hadn’t seen in a while. Abruptly my brain caught up with the racing of my heart. I stood and hauled the largest of my suitcases from under the bed and started packing. Well, packing isn’t what I did. Packing is when you carefully place folded clothes into a suitcase, what I was doing was grabbing fistfuls of over-priced, gaudy, clothes and cramming them, hangers and all, into the open suitcase. Tom walked into the bedroom catching me with two fistfuls of underwear in my hands. My heart seized in my chest, and I glanced at him, then the still open black book on the nightstand, then back at him again, before clearing my throat. “You’re home early.” I said with a shaking voice. The look on his face was grim as he quietly took in the scene before him, and slipped his athletically, wide shoulders out of his tailored sports coat, carefully folding it and placing it on the bed. “You looked in the book didn’t you?” He asked in a strange soft voice that sent shivers of terror down my spine. On sale now for a limited pre-order price of .99.

Coming October 1st to Naughty Nights Press…


Beauty and the Geek

What would you do if you suspected your future husband was cheating on you? Would you break his one and only rule to find out the truth…even if you knew you might find out way more than you bargained for?

While looking for proof that her fiance is cheating, Sage learns that not only is he seeing a stripper named Starlet but he’s also a hired killer. In an effort to go into hiding, she attends an old friend’s wedding in hopes of running into Aden, the sexy high school super geek that’s always had a thing for her. She offers him an arrangement, she’ll fulfill his every nerdy sexual fantasy if he takes her 3,000 miles away. He’s more than willing to help her out but he’s had a lot of time to think and things have changed a lot since high school.