Sunday, May 8, 2016

Interview with AJ Tipton Author of Her Valiant Dragon: A BBW Interracial Paranormal Romance

1. Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

AJ Tipton consists of two writers: Annie and Jess ("AJ" Get it?). We met in college and have been friends for over a decade. Since AJ Tipton was born in 2014, we've written over 25 novellas together, all paranormal romance (immortal Vikings, sexy fairy tales, shifters, and many more). We started writing together after we read an article about self-publishing romance on one of our favorite blogs. Over drinks, we talked about some of the more bizarre  scenarios we'd heard of: dinosaur and Bigfoot erotica, for example, and how the original writers were making great money. The drinks kept flowing and what started as "that's so funny" became "we should totally do this!" That night we started talking through the concept of the series that became the Her Elemental Viking series. 

2. Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

For our gender swapped fairy tale series, “Sexy Gender Swapped Fairy Tales”, we named one of the protagonists in each book after a character from the TV show, Leverage. It’s a show we both love and it was really fun finding ways to slip sly references in for fans. In our other series, we’ll typically grab names out of thin air, trying to find one that best fits the character. But if you know our favorite nerdy TV shows, (Supernatural, Doctor Who, Once Upon a Time, etc, you'll start to recognize a lot of the names).

3. Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? 

We have three paranormal romance series all set in what we call "Audrey's world," which is the universe of AUDREY'S bar. AUDREY’S caters to supernatural creatures and is run by a witch, Audrey, and a mysterious and powerful bartender named Lola. 

The world is contemporary, so the characters have access to cellphones, cars, the Internet, actual cities and known landmarks, and recognizable clothes. But supernatural creatures (vampires, shape-shifters, werewolves, swamp monsters, witches, pixies, etc) all exist and live in this world openly with jobs, trade agreements, laws, and the search for love. Each species is also consistently-portrayed across all of the books set in this world. Tiger shifters, for example, are highly promiscuous (they have a lot of orgies), while centaurs are easily distracted. 

With each book, we build out the world a little farther, with more complex power structures, magical tools, and types of family groups. It's been really fun to explore the world, stretch its limitations, and also return to familiar landmarks. The Winter Wondernasium, for example, is a winter-themed theme park which is the setting for Her Winged Viking (from the Her Elemental Viking series), but shares property with the ice hotel in Alpha's Domain (from the Bear Shifter Billionaire series). Main characters of some books also have walk-throughs in others, even if they're not in the same book series. They're fun shout-outs to folks who have read all of the books and start to recognize people and places.

4. Please tell us about your latest release.

Our latest release is Her Alpha Dragon, the fifth and final story in the Her Biker Dragon series which starts with Her Valiant Dragon. This latest book follows the leader of the Iron Claws as he squares up against the Dragon High Council in the final showdown. Here’s a taste of what’s coming, below: 

The exciting conclusion of the Her Biker Dragon series! 

The badass dragon shifters of the Iron Claws motorcycle club will risk everything for the people they love. Cast out from their dragon clans, they must use their cunning and strength to defy the laws of their people and stay one step ahead of those determined to keep life-saving cures out of the hands of humans. 

Big Joe Silver is the Alpha of the Iron Claws and a man with a secret. When Joe's past catches up with him, he is forced to face the decisions he thought he outran long ago. Joe would do anything to protect his family, the Iron Claws, from the Dragon High Council’s constant attacks, but their final strike may be too much for him to bear. Will the mistakes of his past drive him away from the Iron Claws and his forbidden love, Emma? 

Emma Hernandez is the badass ex-military strategist of the Iron Claws who’s been in love with Joe since the day they met. She knows she can never be with him, but that doesn’t stop her from being by his side every step of the way. When Joe’s past roars back into their world, Emma finds herself pushed away from Joe and the Iron Claws. But everything may not be what it seems. Forced to put everything on the line, can Emma save her club and her man from the Council’s greatest threat? 

5. With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

We like to have it both ways. Each book can be read standalone, and can be appreciated as a full story without the context of the series. However, with the Her Biker Dragon, knowing the overall arc of the series as a whole (and reading them in order) will bring additional appreciation to the events of each individual story.

6. When did you consider yourself a writer?

Annie: When I was in first grade we started learning to write sentences. One of the first things I did when I strung words together for the first time was start making up a story about the Mad Hatter and his wife who fought all the time and thrust each other into teacups. Making up stories has been what I've done ever since.

Jess: The second we hit “Publish” on our first story.

7. Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

Annie: Reading, watching TV shows and movies (Netflix binging is a problem, I won't sleep when the latest season of Daredevil is released), hanging out with friends at bars and comedy shows. 

Jess: Video games, archery, playing with my dog. I have the best dog and anybody else who says that is wrong (but hey, there’s no shame in second place). 

8. What can readers expect next from you?

We’re dipping our toes in the nonfiction waters for the first time! It’s always exhilarating to take on a new challenge like this. We’re writing a book on how to co-write romance, based on our own experiences, mistakes, and challenges. It’s a joy to be able to look at the pages and pages of lessons we’ve learned throughout the self-publishing process.

After that, we’re returning to the much-beloved Bear Shifter Billionaire world, where we’ll have lots of new adventures and crazy cocktails at the AUDREY’S bar. 

9. Where can readers find you on the web?

You can find the latest AJ Tipton news on: 
Or, for an insider view, you can sign up for our newsletter! --

10. Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

Sure thing! Here’s where we meet the male lead, Dylan Masters in all his hunky glory: 

Dylan Masters took another swig of beer and slammed the mug down on the bar top's stained surface. He wasn't a large man, just well built, with Asiatic features and long dreadlocks, but there was enough force behind his blow to chip the mug's edge.

“The Dragon High Counsel denied my plea. By the time I got home, my wife was dead.” Dylan tilted the mug back to capture the last inch of beer, now slightly warm and watery with backwash. He coughed and slid the mug across the counter for a refill.

He wasn't sure how the AUDREY'S bartender, Lola, had gotten him to talk about what happened to his late wife three years ago. He hated to talk about it. His inner dragon was curled in a tight ball under his skin, quiet and still like it had been for the past few years since that horrible night. Dylan remembered walking into the house after flying the week-long journey home in dragon form, practicing how to tell her about the Counsel's rejection, when he realized the house was too still, too quiet to be inhabited. He tore through each room calling out her name. He found her in his favorite chair, wearing his sweatshirt and curled up with a book. She had been dead for days.

“Would you have gone against the Counsel's decree and given her your scales to cure her?” Lola asked, refilling his beer and sliding it back to him. The bartender was beautiful in a way that was alarming rather than alluring. Her mass of small braids stood out from her head like a sea of swaying snakes moving in different directions around her face. Her purple eyes had an ageless wisdom Dylan was only used to seeing in the most ancient of dragon clan leaders. The wicked curve of her smile matched the red rose tattoo curling across her chest and down into her ample d├ęcolletage. Dylan couldn't shake the feeling she already knew everything he was about to say.

“Of course I would have saved her. She was the love of my life. The doctors told us she still had months. If I knew just how little time we actually had, I would’ve--” His voice broke, thinking back to those dark days. Knowing what he knew now, he wouldn't have bothered to beg the Dragon High Counsel for permission; he would have shed a few scales, ground them into a powder, and fed them to her. It was a carefully guarded secret among dragon shifters--Dylan couldn't fathom how Lola knew--but dragon scales, ground to a powder called Puff, could cure humans of most illnesses. Back then, Dylan had still believed in the clan rules that forbade giving Puff to humans. He believed in the system. He'd thought the Counsel would protect and care for him and his family because that was what they were supposed to do. Now he knew the truth.

A scuffling sound came from behind him, and Dylan's body was turning to address the threat before his brain caught up. A fireball was halfway up his already-shifted throat, ready to be unleashed in a furious blaze that would probably raze the bar to the ground.

A pixie stared at him with enormous blue eyes, flowers growing from her head, and bright green vines curling in her blond hair. Her dress was overlapping pink and blue petals and her dainty mouth had dropped open in warning, a swarm of bees waiting right in front of her mouth to retaliate if he attacked.

Dylan held up his hands and deliberately sat back in his seat, shifting his face back to human, feeling foolish.

“Sorry about that,” he said to the pixie. “It's been a rough few years.”

The pixie made a little chirping sound, ordered her drink, and went back to her table. Dylan's eyes widened as he looked at the pixie's companions: a tiger shifter in a leather bodysuit, a ten-foot tall troll with so many warts his green skin was barely visible, and a red-haired witch juggling balls of ice and fire, giggling when she dropped them to the scorched floor. A couple of vampires nursed blood cocktails in the corner, and two leprechauns made out enthusiastically, stumbling and giggling as they made their way to a door labeled “Back Room”.

“Is this, um, normal around here?” Dylan asked, tying back his long dreadlocks.

“This is AUDREY'S, sweetie,” Lola smiled, showing a few too many teeth. “We don't do normal.”
Dylan sipped his beer, thinking. The last few years had felt like an unending series of dive bars and unanswered questions. After his wife's death, he'd spent the first year mourning and trying to carry on despite the enormous hole in his life where she used to be. He'd sold their house, quit his job as an investigator, told the clan leaders exactly where they could shove it, bought a motorcycle, and hit the road. It was in the middle of the second year after her death that he started to hear the rumors. The stories were almost too good to be true, but the possibility the Iron Claws might be real kept him moving, hunting for the elusive outlaw motorcycle club. Looking around at AUDREY'S, Dylan figured this bar seemed like exactly the kind of place where he might get some answers.

“Maybe you can help me,” he said, trying to keep his face a mask of nonchalance. “I heard a rumor about a biker club, the Iron Claws. Apparently they’re a group of outcast dragons who distribute Puff.”

“That sounds admirable of them,” Lola said, her hair waving around her head in extra agitation like a cat's thrashing tail.

“I've been searching for them for the last couple of years, but I've always been a step behind. They keep moving so fast after each distribution that by the time I find where they've been, they've already gone.”

“What are you going to do if you find them?” Lola said, her voice disinterested as she mixed something bright green and glowing for the troll.

Dylan's dragon rolled and stretched inside him, roused by the rare feeling of hope beginning to stir in Dylan's chest. Could they really be close? Lola obviously knew about them. The careful way she stood, the way she avoided his eyes for the first time since he walked in the door…she knew something. And if his deductions were correct, she was deciding if she could trust him with this information.

Dylan could understand her hesitation. The High Counsel would love to find the elusive motorcycle club and shut them down. He'd seen signs of the Counsel’s goons in a few towns he'd been in, heard rumors of violence in bars that sounded like the kind of awful the goons got up to when they stretched the Counsel's leash. But he needed to find the Iron Claws.

Lola caught his eye, waiting for his answer.

“If I find them, I’ll join them,” he said. For the first time, he wondered if they’d have him. He had many skills to offer as a fighter and investigator, but would his past blind obedience to clan tradition make them not trust him?

Lola grinned. “Well, sugar, in that case, you might want to check out the flea market tomorrow at the Winter Wondernasium. Ask for the special brownies. They pack a little extra kick.”

Her Valiant Dragon: A BBW Interracial Paranormal Romance
AJ Tipton

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Book Description:

So hot it's criminal: dragon shifters on motorcycles bring the heat. 

The badass dragon shifters of the Iron Claws motorcycle club will risk everything for the people they love. Cast out from their dragon clans, they must use their cunning and strength to defy the laws of their people and stay one step ahead of those determined to keep life-saving cures out of the hands of humans. 

Sexy dragon shifter Dylan Masters seeks redemption for his dark past. Running out of hope, he finds the Iron Claws, an outlaw dragon motorcycle club. When Dylan decides to join them, he is thrown into a world of shady dealings and powerful enemies. But even in the midst of danger, he believes he's found what his wounded soul needs: the Iron Claws’s brilliant Latina nurse, Marie. 

Curvaceous Marie rides alongside the Iron Claws as their human medic, journeying from town to town dispensing magical remedies to those in desperate need. Experience has taught her to shield her heart, but when the dashing Dylan joins the club, she may have finally found a reason to open herself up. Will her dangerous past cut her happiness short once more? 

This adult novella includes naughty nurses, dramatic dragon brawls, and a passionate love that heals all wounds. 

Available at Amazon 

About the Authors:

AJ Tipton is the pseudonym for a writing team: Annie and Jess (Get it? "AJ"). We spend our days in Manhattan working for our corporate overlords, and during the evening we're in Brooklyn writing fantasies to astound, amuse and arouse. 

Our ideas for future books--everything from sex-robots to ghost brothels--will keep us busy for many decades to come, so be sure to join us for the fun! Let us know what stories you like best, we love to hear from readers. 

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