Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Guest Blogger B.H. Dark

B. H. Dark is the pseudonym for bestselling authors Julie Cohen and Kathy Love. Their first jointly-written book, erotic science fiction romantic comedy CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, was released with Samhain Publishing yesterday. They've agreed to be interviewed today for the blog, so y'all give them a big Playground welcome!

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is about what happens when aliens with strange ideas of human sexuality, and no clue about human love, abduct two human men and two human women to help form an intergalactic porn empire.

How did you two meet?

Kathy: Julie and I actually met in kindergarten. We went to different elementary schools, but we had a group field trip to the zoo, and we were matched as partners. We didn't meet again until junior high. Which was a good thing, because Julie was really strange when she was five.

Julie: In high school we used to write books together about us having sex with rock stars, and then we both grew up to be romance writers, which is hardly surprising, really.

How was B. H. Dark born?

Julie: I think we were drunk at an RWA conference and one of us suddenly said, “We should totally write another book together, we’d make millions! Or at least, like, ten bucks for more booze.”

Kathy: Yes. Will write for booze.

Why porn-loving aliens?

Kathy: We really just felt it was a subject not addressed nearly enough in literature. Or in porn either.

Julie: We figured some porno-flick aficionado got sick of his collection and jetted it into space, and the aliens got hold of it, and they think these films really reflect human behavior.

If Kathy’s in the US and Julie’s in the UK, how did you write the book?

Julie: We’d talk about each scene beforehand, and then decide who was going to write it, each focusing on one couple. Once we’d finished, we’d email the scenes to each other. When all four humans were in the room together, we wrote it over Instant Messenger, as if it were a real conversation; I’d cut and paste and edit into the book document. We both went over the whole thing a few times to blend our voices and add in bits.

Kathy: Yeah, given the physical distance, it was remarkably easy to write. We know each other so well, and understand each other's voices, so it wasn't a problem at all. And we agreed with each other's changes and suggestions--again, I think because we have been friends so long.

What’s your favourite part that the other person wrote?

Kathy: I loved the admission of love between Cassie and Beau, one of the couples. They are, of course, in sexual congress, but what they are doing sexually just doesn't, at least in my experience, lend itself to declarations of undying love. I also love the great "fight" scene between Beau and Leandros, the two heroes. I find it oddly quite sexy.

Julie: It’s when the four humans are in the Western scenario, Bone-anza, and Eve, one of the heroines, is sitting on top of a piano dressed like an Old West whore. Around her, a bunch of holograms are getting ready to have an orgy. The piano player, who is also a hologram, suddenly looks up at her and says, “I ain’t been much of a pa to you.” I don’t know why, but that cracks me up every time.

What does B. H. stand for?

Julie: Burly Hulkman.

Kathy: Beni Hana.

Who’s your favourite hero in the book, Beau the southern mechanic, or Leandros the Vegas lounge singer?

Julie: Definitely Leandros. He’s this total alpha male, arrogant and sexy as hell, and he can sing like nobody’s business. Plus he calls his woman “baby”. What’s not to love?

Kathy: Definitely Beau. He's sweet and sexy--a Southern gentleman to the core. Yet he isn't afraid to do his woman in a pick-up truck or in a glowing blue tube or anywhere really. Plus he calls his woman “darlin’”. And he doesn't sing, but if he did it would be like nobody's business. Oh, and he likes dogs, too.

B. H. Dark’s website:

P.S. Watch for Julie/Kathy/B.H. to go Under the Bleachers with an informative (and fun, of course!) article on the Playground website soon!


Jane said...

Hi Julie and Kathy,
Congrats on the new release. Are you guys currently working on a new B.H. Dark book?

B.H. Dark said...

Hi Jane! Thanks for the congratulations. I love being here in the Playground.

Kathy and I are super-busy at the moment with our individual careers--she's doing a series of books about New Orleans vampires and demons for Kensington Brava, and I'm writing single titles for Little Black Dress.

BUT we do have another B. H. Dark book planned. I'm not sure I can reveal the working title, but I can say that it has something to do with demons, and contraception.

Problem Child said...

I still do a double take at the idea of a sci-fi, erotic romantic comedy. I'm going to need to check this one out.

Because you're friends, was it easier to know what the other would find funny or did you worry that your closeness would lead to a humor only you two would get? (Or does that question even make sense...)

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hey, y'all! This book sounds so different! I'm not sure how you manage writing as partners. I've never really considered collaborating, though I'm sure it could be totally fun with the right person. Would you say you balance each other out personality wise? Or are you so alike it's scary?

Smarty Pants said...

I can't stop snickering about this long enough to comment. I love it. Space alien porn. Bone-anza.

:: snicker ::

Welcome, by the way. :)

B.H. Dark said...

Heya Problem Child! Yes, we had fun playing with genres on this book. I think the romance is the most important bit, though.

That's a good question about the humour. I guess since we've both written lots of books by ourselves, and people have tended to get the jokes (well sometimes at least), we were fairly confident that the humour would come through. Plus, both of us are total blabbermouths. We had told all our friends about the book and what happened and everybody laughed, so we figured it was funny.

There are one or two private jokes in there too, I think. There's one secret running gag that I might be persuaded to divulge...maybe. :-)

B.H. Dark said...

(That said, when the two of us get together sometimes people have no idea what we're laughing about, so hopefully the book is a little bit more comprehensible than we are personally.)

B.H. Dark said...

Hi Lynn! Yup, the book is pretty different in lots of ways. Different from our usual books written under our own names, and...well, just different.

There are some things that are the same, though; both of us tend to write funny, but emotional, stories, and I think the emotion came through in this book. Maybe in weird ways, yeah, but it's there.

In some ways, the two of us are so alike, it's scary. We can finish each other's sentences (and did, often, when writing this book). And we share a sense of humour, of course, and our writing styles aren't so dissimilar that they can't blend together with a little editing. (I will be interested if anyone is able to tell which parts I wrote and which ones Kathy wrote!)

But our differences were really useful when writing this book, too. If one person got stuck, the other one could write us out of it. Each of us had our own favourite hero/heroine couple. Kathy is a genius at coming up with one-liners and things that make you suddenly fall down laughing. On the other hand, I'm more of the anal editing freak. It worked out well.

It will be interesting to see what Kathy says about this, actually.

B.H. Dark said...

Smarty Pants, you snicker away. We're still snickering about the strap line, to tell you the truth.

"In space, no one can hear you cream."

Sherry Werth said...

Hi Julie and Kathy,
Well this book sounds very interesting. My eyebrows shot up at the use of the words 'intergalatic porn empire' all in the same sentence! And if that wasn't enough I'm gonna have to read it just to find out what that glowing blue tube is all about! : D

Word verification: matingan- yep, sounds appropriate.

B.H. Dark said...

BTW, have any of you Playfriends ever collaborated on a story? How did it work out?

Angel said...

Wow! You never can tell what will show up on the blog. I was totally unprepared. :)

I have to admit, this type of series would probably never occur to me, even in my wildest dreams. How in the world did you think of it? Although, I guess the drinking helped.

Is it really fun to get away from your other, solitary work and be able to work with someone else for a while. Especially someone you're so close to.

I don't think the Playfriends could ever collarborate on the writing part, though we often plot together to help each other. Unfortunately, that leads to me trying to give PC's characters heavier emotional baggage and Instigator trying to solve every problem with sex. Don't know what to do? Add a sex scene there. We're done. :)


Problem Child said...

Heavier baggage!?! Try a sea trunk of despair! I don't know how Angel's characters get out of bed in the morning...

(okay, so I'm just a bit jealous of Angel's emotional depths. I think I'm pretty shallow...)

I think it would be fun if the Playfriends could collaborate on a anthology or a series or something -- but we'd each have to write our own story. I think we're too different stylistically for it to work without bloodshed. Plus, we get sidetracked too easily to accomplish much :-)

I'm deep in a book I must write and normally I'd never pick up a sci-fi erotic, but this just sounds too great not too. Maybe I'll be able to reward myself with some space alien porn when the book is done... Or maybe when I finish this chapter :-)

Kathy said...

Welcome Julie and Kathy!!
Intergalactic porn empire? Youza!! The word, Bone-anza, jumped right out at me. Go figure. :)

What has been the best part of this collaberation between the two of you?

And what tips would you give others who might be thinking of teaming up with someone in the future?

B.H. Dark said...

I'm back. The sun is past the yardarm here in the UK, so I've got a glass of wine and I'm ready to rock. :-)

Hi Sherry! Sorry I missed your comment earlier, I am obviously a ditz bag.

Yup, the blue tube is something else! It's the experimental area where the aliens dose up the Earthlings with pheremones that cause an irresistible sexual reaction. Beau describes it as looking sorta like that chrysalis that guy gets stuck in in the Spinal Tap movie.

B.H. Dark said...

Hey, Angel!

How in the world did you think of it? Although, I guess the drinking helped.

The drinking helped, and also, Kathy and I have been making up stories together since we were in high school. You gotta figure, that if we can write 200+ handwritten pages about us having sex with the Beatles in 1965 before either of us was born, we can write just about anything.

Is it really fun to get away from your other, solitary work and be able to work with someone else for a while?

Yeah, it was great. I was actually really sad when the book was over and we no longer had that excuse for incredibly long expensive transatlantic phone calls. Not that we really need an excuse, anyway.

B.H. Dark said...

Okay, I am totally laughing at your ideas of what would happen if you guys collaborated. Sea trunks of despair and lots of extra sex scenes? Sounds a perfect read! Sign me up to buy it!

Seriously, though, knowing your own and each other's strengths or preferences could be a good way of approaching a collaboration; you could split the work so that each person writes to her strengths, maybe?

Kim, just give in to the dark side and read the space porn while you're still writing your book. Maybe you'll end up sneaking a blue tube into your next Modern Heat! How cool would that be!?

B.H. Dark said...

Hey, Kathy, I can see the attraction of Bone-anza for you! LOL!

What has been the best part of this collaberation between the two of you?

The very best thing is working with my very dear friend. Every single part of writing this book was an absolute joy because of my writing partner and our relationship. I loved it.

On a less emotional and more writing-based level, it was good for me (Julie) to work with someone else because I had to let go of my control freakery and be a bit looser about style, structure, plot and character.

I also loved having an immediate audience for what I wrote, and to be an immediate audience for Kathy! We would write a scene and then send it to each other the next minute and then call each other up and listen as we read it! It was so, so cool and fun.

B.H. Dark said...

And what tips would you give others who might be thinking of teaming up with someone in the future?

Hmm. I would be interested in Kathy's take on this one. (And Kathy will try to be here, BTW--she's in deadline hell at the moment so I'm being the Official B. H. Dark today.)

For me, I think you have to put the collaboration and the story first. Even if you're writing with your best friend who you've known since you were five, there are still going to be some major differences in how you approach character and plot and structure, and how you tackle writing. For example, I'm quite analytical, and Kathy is more instinctive.

You have to put those differences aside, let go, and do what's best for the story. Adjust your style, break some of your own rules, let each other make important decisions, don't sweat the small stuff, don't take disagreements about the story personally. Trust each other.

Sounds a bit like a marriage, really. :-)

Instigator said...

I love this! It sounds fantastically hilarious. I can't wait to read it.

Yeah, collaboration with us would be...interesting. I'd actually like to try it. I think what makes us good friends (and makes our site and blog work so well) is that our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other. Where I suck someone else excels. I think our writing would be the same.


Kathy Love said...

Hi All!

Sorry to be late. As Julie can attest, I'm always behind everyone else. But can we call it fashionably late?

I just finished my deadline on my next paranormal for Kensington. Sent in the epilogue this morning.

As far as writing with Julie, it's very easy actually. While we do have similar senses of humor and our writing styles mesh really well, I think the most important part of collaborating is having differences that suit.

I'm not as detail oriented as Julie. I know this, and like when she fixes the small problems. Two writers who both want to do that kind of thing will likely butt heads.

(Butt heads, Julie. Hee hee.)
Oops, see there's one of those private jokes Jul warned about.

And Julie is right, it was great to have someone to help when you're stuck--we would often come up with solutions that the other one normally never would have thought of.

And I love the immediate audience. Getting Julie's reaction instantly often motivated me to write more right away. We got this book done in record time.

I guess I'm really just saying what Julie already did. But I hope it's interesting. And helpful.

Smarty Pants said...

It would definitely be an interesting book. Might not make a darn bit of sense when we got done, but it would be emotional, have great sex, snappy dialogue with snarky, sarcastic characters and great punctuation.

I've actually considered farming out all my sex scenes to Instigator, anyway...

Kathy Love said...

Julie said that what we have is kind of a marriage--and she's right.

Although I like to think of us as the Lennon and McCartney of the erotic sci-fi romantic comedy genre.

I'm McCartney. Sorry Jul, but you know it's true.

Kathy Love said...

Oh man, Smarty pants, I so could have used one of your sex scenes for the book I just finished.

And I would have paid big for it.

Smarty Pants said...

See...I'm not the only one willing to pay for someone else to write them. Instigator, you could seriously make some money off it. I'll trade you sex scenes for snappy comebacks and smart-@ss comments. (Although you do fine at those too, its all I've got to offer...)

Kathy Love said...

Oops, Instigator, I needed one of your sex scenes.

Did Julie mention that I'm also easily confused?

B.H. Dark said...

Although I like to think of us as the Lennon and McCartney of the erotic sci-fi romantic comedy genre.

Sadly for me, you know it is true, you are the McCartney, Kathy. You are more into skipping through fields writing songs about sheepdogs with the plunky piano and forming a band with Denny Laine. Whereas I'm more prone to singing about walruses, and bedding up with Japanese artists in Amsterdam.

We've got the Playfriends bartering sex scenes and smart-@ss comments! Our work here is done, Kathy Love.

Playground Monitor said...

Okay, I thought I'd commented in here this morning before I headed out for an early haircut appointment followed by a bunch of errands and a writing session at Books-a-Million (I wrote 1619 words and finished a short story I plan to submit before NaNoWriMo starts on Saturday).

Yeah, a collaboration by the five of us would be quite interesting. We have paranormal sex with humor and angst all written in first person like the heroine was confessing the whole thing to her best friend across the kitchen table. ::grin::

Close Encounters definitely sounds interesting and your whole writing process is amazing (especially the IM'ing part).

The delinquent Playfriend,
Playground Monitor

verification word: inerops, which sounds like something from the CIA

Instigator said...

Me? With snappy comebacks and smart a$$ comments? Seriosly, I need you to point out where I do that so I can try and do it on command. I am not funny. You, SP, on the other hand are a genius and hilarious. You constantly amaze me. However, I'd be happy to barter my sex scenes :-) Those are the fun parts to write anyway.


Smarty Pants said...

You, SP, on the other hand are a genius and hilarious. You constantly amaze me.

So, how much do I owe you for saying that?