Hi, I’m Viva Gold. I have a hubby and two grown daughters. I am North West London, born and bred. And then there’s this crazy, beautiful, amazing other part of my life – the book world. It has brought so many fantastic people into my life; authors, readers, bloggers, models – it’s been an incredible journey so far.
As Fiona Rachel Warner, I guest review for Books Laid Bare Boys and am proud to make up one third of the shiMMer UK MM author event team. www.shimmeruk.org
Viva’s stories are erotic and explicit. They contain BDSM elements; taboo suggestions and extreme sexual practice. (No poo though, I promise!) My characters are often wilful and arrogant, yet are fiercely loyal and protective.. I like them to be realistic based on demographics and social standing, but they also have to be sexy, gritty and oftentimes needy. They are all handsome and gorgeous and beautiful. My fantasies brought to life through words.
My stories are mainly set in England – a lot of the time in London. The way I write has a distinctly British feel because….I’m British! I use coarse language relevant to the character and try to research as much as possible to ensure everything is accurate and authentic. And I do mean everythinglol! Yay – lucky me…
But most of all, I love words and all the power they contain. Subsequently, it is my ultimate goal in life to use my words for your pleasure and enjoyment.
How many books to your series? (if it is a series)
The Woolf Tales series comprises of 3 books plus a novella. They are Izzy’s Boy, Good Lord, Made to Measure (novella) and Money Man. The ‘Woolf’ refers to the surname of the main character in Izzy’s Boy; Izzy himself, Isadore Woolf. He is the daddy of all the characters in a sense, so rightfully named after him. The books can be read as standalones, although I always recommend to read in order. That way, the reader gets to know all the characters so that when they feature in the other books, they will understand the context.
What do you think makes your book stand out from the crowd?
This is really hard to achieve in this ever expanding world on indie author self-publishing, however, I have receive a lot of comment (mostly positive) on the fact that my men ‘talk’ in a very British way. That’s really important to me as the stories are set in London and Oxford and I absolutely insist that they speak English English, as opposed to American English. The result is that some of my US readers struggle with the language, but are really up for the challenge. They love it! My UK readers are so grateful that my stories sound realistic, thus enhancing the reading experience for them. I think combined with the odd Yiddish, French and Russian thrown in, sets me apart a little bit. That and my inclination to be really explicit!
Have you ever gone to a convention? If so, how was it? If not, do you think it’s something you’d like to do in the future?
This is a fantastic question for me because I am one third of Team shiMMer! I love conventions, signings, author/reader events – however you want to label them, because it is all about connecting with like-minded people over a shared love of words! I have been to MF and MM ones and MM ones are by far and away heaps better. The authors are amazing. There is such diversity among them which makes their books and the panels extremely interesting. One of the massive compliments we get after shiMMer is the feeling of inclusivity, love and friendliness among everyone attending. I also enjoyed EuroPride con last year, although I feel this is more author centric. The discussions and presentations were more geared to writers than readers in my opinion, whereas at shiMMer we cater more for the author to showcase to readers. shiMMer 2020 is in the planning stages, plus I’m signing in Sheffield later this year; at Euro Pride Con again in June, and then next year at my first signing in New York. It’s all very exciting.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Not unless they are writing an IT user guide of some sort! Even then, passion for your subject matter should always power your words. You can’t possible hope to relate or relay strong feelings if you don’t experience them yourself. An emotional scene literally exhausts me after I’ve finished writing it. I feel all the emotions my characters go through and hopefully that makes it more authentic and realistic for the reader.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m in a wonderful author group called DreaMMers. Three are six of us who talk pretty much every day on FB messenger. Three are UK based, two are in Australia and one in New Zealand, hence we speak in the mornings and evenings. We generally chat about our books and believe me we cover every aspect. Sometimes it gets a bit pornographic with the ‘inspirational’ photos we share, but also the technical support is invaluable. The sharing of ideas, suggestions, critique and help, is brilliant. We are at different stages of our writing journeys, but that doesn’t matter. It is a safe, supportive space full of love and admiration. We gossip and moan, vent and rant, but also build each other up, help with promoting and generally motivate one another. It’s brilliant. Whenever one of us gets stuck on a scene or with blurb or character development etc, we pop in the group to ask for suggestions and within seconds answers come flooding through. I love them all madly.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Sean Kerr’s Dead Camp series. I feel like they should be on the New York Times best sellers list they are so good. Whilst not traditionally MM Romance, the characters are mostly gay, yet the story itself is incredibly brilliant. Sean has combined and excellent thrilling plot with an historical theme and some truly great love stories between characters that are original and exciting. The twists and turns of this thriller/horror/romance/fantasy/paranormal kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Just a piece of art in my opinion.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I love research, although my greatest fear is dying before clearing my browsing history on my laptop! Thank goodness for Google, but there is only so much on-line research you can do. I find that authenticity comes from actually experiencing what you’re writing about – obviously for a straight, white, middle-aged woman, this isn’t always possible. My characters are mostly gay men, and some of them are black, Indian, French and work in different professions to mine. This means it’s really important to talk to people who fit those criteria and understand first hand what it is like to be them. The gay sex aspect is researched through a combination of porn and sometimes very frank discussion with gay friends. Hubby is very willing to answer anything to do with male anatomy (and we’ve had a lot of fun with that!) Places are easy to visit as my stories are generally set in places in the UK I’m familiar with. In my WIP, one of the MCs is an optician. Luckily, one of my author friends has a background in optics and he helped me with quite a bit of information. I’ve really learnt a lot while trying to fully develop my characters and their surroundings, it’s been brilliant.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Not really. Firstly, there is NOTHING spiritual in what I write, and secondly, whilst it can be cathartic, I tend not to take it too seriously. I have fun with it and invest a lot of time and energy on it, but it doesn’t feel spiritual. I have a good relationship with God which satisfies my spirituality.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Oh gosh, this is such a hard part of the process. You have an idea for a name then discover it’s recently been used by a much more popular author, or it’s the name of one of your friend’s children (so inappropriate!) I try not to use names of people I know, or of famous people so my characters aren’t immediately associated with an existing personality, however, there are only so many names. If I look at the ones I have chosen to date, they are mostly short, ethnic and slightly unusual. I also try to use names that are recognisable as male or female to avoid confusion. You want your characters to be memorable and using an original name certainly helps, although I do see some really silly ones. I am also aware that some names are distinctly American and some very British. I always spend ages on choosing names and often end up changing them half way through a book. For instance, Jonah from Blue Christmas and Blue Valentine was originally Jonas, until I realised it was the name of someone’s boyfriend and then it felt totally weird. I tend to look at where the character comes from; back ground, religion, ethnicity and then Google relevant popular names. I’m also forever noting down cool names I see on our client lists at work!
A few words about your book
The Woolf Tales stories are erotic love story crime thrillers! I’ve never been good with labels and prefer not to categorise my books (which makes it very hard when trying to self-publish on Amazon!) yet I do seem to lean towards a more brash combination of emotions and events. I like excitement in all forms and try to get this into my writing which means they don’t always fit the mould. I push at boundaries and am not afraid to write in a way that might not please everyone, but I do need to stay true to myself. And here endeth the cliches!
Give us a little insight into your main characters
Isadore Woolf (Izzy) is the Godfather, for want of a better description, who sticks his nose into everyone’s business because he loves them and only wants to help where he can. This can make him a touch overbearing, but he’s a Master Dom with a six and a half feet tall sub, and a Jewish mother, so no wonder he comes off as arrogant. Izzy is handsome and strong with a generous nature, however, we see that once he’s crossed, he can be vicious. Izzy features in all the books and is loved and revered by his friends.
Adam Cohen is Izzy’s husband who was pretty much bullied into loving him. He is a huge and beautiful man, with a soulful and gentle nature. He is a natural submissive despite how he looks and is never happier than when Izzy is punishing him. All the Woolf gang adore Adam.
Jason Greenall is the Good Lord. He opens his parents Manor in Oxford to his friends and in time it becomes a place of sanctuary to the men who need the escape. He is feisty, kinky, utterly without filters and hilarious when drunk. Remi is his cousin. The burly Frenchman is ruthless in his pursuit of Jason, using force, humiliation and shameless sex appeal to seduce him. Their third, Angel, is the calm between the two storms. Serene and quiet but with a fierce and sexy side when riled – he balances the three of them perfectly.
Tal is quite simply a playboy. He’s fit, rich and debauched. A total manslut with a taste for glamour and money and with no desire to settle down. Bastien is a broken little bird of a man that for some reason catches Tal’s attention. Bas and Angel both suffered immense abuse, but where Angel has risen above and moved on, Bas is still terrified of everything. This beautiful boy meets Tal and although it shouldn’t work, something sparks between them.
The book blurb
This is my Woolf Tales series. Can all be read as standalones but better to be read in order. 3 MM stories of men who work, play and love hard. They are fierce, loyal, needy, and full of love. Each story is both a romance and an adventure. These books aren’t sweet love stories; they are graphic in parts and very sexy, but they do all have a very happy ending.
IZZY’S BOY (Woolf Tales 1)
Isadore Woolf surrounds himself with people who cater to his needs and never more so than at his ‘club’ where his Dominant side is free to express itself among many willing subs. But Isadore’s tastes have matured and refined lately, and the tall, muscle packed, long haired, quietly spoken Adam Cohen feeds every one of his kinks. Getting him to submit is Izzy’s new challenge. Still, it’s not all handcuffs and roses as a revengeful ex of Adam’s sets out to jeopardise their love and even their lives. Can Izzy save Adam? Can Adam be what Izzy needs? Fierce passion and untamed arrogance drives Isadore to risk everything for a future together.
GOOD LORD (Woolf Tales 2)
Lord Jason Greenall separates from his boyfriends, G & T, and goes home to Greenall Manor to lick his wounds. Sipping tea in the conservatory with his beloved mother, Jason gets an eyeful of his French cousin Remi, a raven haired hunk.
Remi’s mother is married to Jason’s father’s first cousin Marc, which means they are not blood related. Not that that would prevent Remi from taking what he wants. And he wants Jason. And he takes him. No safe words; no limits.
Jason finds himself in predicaments and situations both physical and emotional that could either make him or break him…. Oh, Good Lord.
MONEY MAN (Woolf Tales 3)
Tal Roth, Money Man extraordinaire. Lover of fast cars, one night hook-ups, designer clothes and of course…..MONEY! Out and proud, Financial Broker, Tal, parties hard and fast, just like his line of hook-ups, all funded mostly by his one major client, Doron Sagall. In an about turn of events, Tal finds himself the scapegoat for Sagall’s fraudulent financial activity, and turns to his friend Izzy Woolf for help. What follows is a wave of criminal provocation, followed by a brutal kidnapping where Tal’s life is put at risk.
Unexpected second chances come in the form of a new, young lover, Bastien, who carries baggage from his own abusive background. Together, these two broken men try to put their past behind them and forge a future full of love and opportunity.
Izzy, Adam and the Woolf gang reunite in a bid to literally save their friends. Tal and Bastien will proudly take their places alongside the other gorgeous men of the series, but will it be together?
Excerpt from Izzy’s Boy by Viva Gold
At the end of the morning session of the day long Yom Kippur service, I went out to the synagogue forecourt for some much-needed fresh air. The stale atmosphere inside would only intensify as the day dragged on with everyone puffing out sour breath and I’m not sure I had the strength or motivation to go back in. The thought of my Dad sitting there waiting for me kept me from leaving, and perhaps the fact that Adam appeared outside at the same time.
“Hi.” He says like I haven’t just been imagining him in all sorts of compromising positions. “Haven’t seen you since this time last year I don’t think. How are things with you? Oh, and yeah, you know, happy New Year.”
Adam’s strong cologne wafted over me and I realised I’ve left him hanging. I shoved my hands into the pockets of my suit trousers and grinned at him. “Yeah, sweet one and all that. And ‘things’ are going well thanks, how about you?”
Adam launched into a monologue that seemed to me to be a rehearsed patter for those occasions that required him to respond in an expected way when confronted with such enquiries. I wasn’t really listening, preferring instead to study the way his man bun bobbed precariously as he talked. His little crocheted yarmulke was in danger of spinning off into the ether due to his being quite animated, and his big blue eyes widened and narrowed in time with his words. His hands moved, occasionally tugging on his full beard which was a warm brown colour the same as his hair, and he shifted from one foot to the other, and I wondered how on earth he sat so still in shul.
His deep voice penetrated my brain sufficiently to notice how sexy he sounded and also to take in enough about what he’s been saying in order to appear interested. I heard the words, choir, music, catching a break, You Tube and so on and surmised he was some sort of musician.
“Weren’t you training to be an accountant after uni?” I interrupted.
Adam’s brows knitted. “Umm yeah but it wasn’t really me.”
He chewed adorably on his lower lip. “So, you chucked it all in to what, sing for a living?” Adam’s cheeks pinked up and now I was definitely half hard. I could be direct verging on rude when the occasion called for it and the results were often thrilling.
“That’s not quite how it happened…” Adam’s eyes darted around nervously and I chuckled to myself. The guy was well over 6 feet and almost as wide with muscles on his muscles, whereas I was just an average guy. Yet that never stopped me from flaunting my arrogance and I never once considered myself to be anything other than the natural Dom I was. I was no leather Daddy and didn’t really go in for the BDSM lifestyle. I wasn’t averse to a bit of pain and discipline but I preferred my own tried and tested methods, border line humiliation sometimes being one of them.
Adam Cohen was in my sights and the thrill of making him squirm was appealing to my very core. He was rooted to the spot. His skin remained blush pink and his lip was still being mauled by his teeth. I had no idea if Adam was even gay but right now I was going with the theory that he would have reacted rather differently if he was straight.
“Not quite how it happened?” I threw Adam’s words back at him and cocked my head. He released his lower lip with a pop and I stared at the plump redness with unabated lust. I swallowed slowly then licked my lips in a lewd but obvious gesture.
“Jesus, Izzy, its Yom Kippur…” Adam whispered as he leaned towards me and I chuckled.
“I don’t think Jesus has anything to do with it.”
Adam huffed at my response. “I remember you from Hebrew Classes – always the joker. You used to drive the teachers nuts always clowning around. I have no idea how you ever learnt enough to pass your Bar mitzvah test.”
“And yet, here I am, millionaire city broker and you’re….’singing’.” I sniffed the air. Adam gasped and muttered something under his breath. He tugged hard on his prayer shawl as he marched back into shul.
“Some people are so tetchy.” I said to no one in particular. A warm feminine hand slid into mine and I turned to see my old friend Lisa shaking her head at me.
“How to win friends and influence people…” Her words were meant as an admonishment but they merely washed over me.
“I wasn’t trying to be his friend I was trying to get him on his knees.”
Lisa slapped me. “It’s Yom Kippur for heaven’s sake!”
“Indeed. And I’m starving and desperate for a smoke. So, sue me.” I kissed my gorgeous friend on her cheek and she giggled. Her riotous ginger curls bounced around her head and I smiled at her because I loved that her hair was as uncontrollable as she was.
“He’s gay but he’s not for you, Iz.”
“Look at the size of him for starters. He doesn’t exactly scream ‘sub’ now does he?” Lisa tucked a curl behind her ear, but the errant strand escaped almost immediately.
“Oh, he’s the most natural sub I’ve come across for a long time. Or hope to anyway.” I gazed longingly at Adam’s retreating form.
Lisa rolled her eyes at my terrible pun. “Isadore Woolf, you are incorrigible. Now go back inside and atone for your sins. You’re going to need the whole day.” I laughed but Lisa didn’t let go of my hand immediately. “Seriously Izzy, Adam is a nice guy.” She narrowed her eyes at me and I saw the warning there ,but I was hot for Adam and I was determined to have him. When something or in this case ‘someone’ was within in my sights, you might as well stick a target on their back and hand me the bow and arrow.
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