Regan's Books

Regan's Books
Reads From Regan Taylor

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Meet Tim Smith!

Tim is one of my fellow authors at my publisher eXtasy ( and over the holidays we both had a little time to stop, chat and get to know each other a bit.  Here's a bit of what I learned about Tim.

How did you come up with the premise for your stories?

Many of my stories are inspired by actual events and some of my own experiences. When I travel I like to chat up the locals and I’ll usually hear something that sparks a concept. I also love to hear people tell stories about their lives, and that includes things from my own life. I based one of my romances, Mistletoe and Palm Trees, almost entirely on something that happened to me a few years ago. Often I’ll hear an anecdote or read a news item then ask “What if this happened instead?”

Once you sit down to write, do you find your stories write themselves? Or do you outline everything ahead of time so you know exactly what comes next?

When I start I have the beginning, middle and end in mind, with a few other things I want to include. I don’t do an outline unless I’ve written myself into a corner and have to figure a way out. Often the stories write themselves once I get into a good flow. I may look back at something I’ve written and decide to change directions or add another element.

What attracted you to your main genre?

I’ve always enjoyed the pulp fiction style of Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane and Donald E. Westlake. When I decided to write fiction I knew I wanted to include some of these elements. It was a challenge with the lighthearted contemporary romances, which is why I switched to romantic mystery/thrillers. If you read between the lines in those old books you’ll find a wealth of sexual innuendo. The fun I have is expanding on it and making the sex steamy without being gratuitous. By the way, I’m not talking about the old joke “She pulled out her thirty-eight then drew a gun on me.” That would be gratuitous, and pretty lame.

Is there other genre’s of writing you haven’t delved into, but are dying to sink your teeth into?

I’d like to try writing a true crime story, but I know you have to be careful with those. I have a good friend who has written a few and she cautioned me about being 110% accurate on the facts.

Tell us where our readers can find you on the web.

My website is . I also have author pages on Amazon, Manic Readers and Goodreads.

How did you get started writing?

I developed an interest in high school and wrote some pieces for the school paper. Between then and now I penned a number of short stories that haven’t seen daylight, as well as a lot of product reviews that have (books, movies, music, etc.). I recall being a kid, looking at the books on display in a store and thinking, “Someday I want to have my own books on those shelves.” Be careful what you wish for.

What are some of your literary inspirations or influences?

I’ve gotten a lot of influence from movies versus books. I’m a big fan of screenwriters like Billy Wilder, Blake Edwards, Paddy Cheyevsky and Woody Allen. Through their films I’ve learned a lot about character building, plotting and dialogue. I try not to let another author’s work or style influence me too much, though. That’s one reason I don’t read a lot when I’m actively developing a story. I think I’m afraid that something they wrote will accidentally wind up in my book. This may sound strange, but I’m also influenced by mediocre writing because it reminds me not to make the same mistakes.

Which character that you have created do you find the most fascinating? Why?

I would have to say Nick Seven, the former CIA operative hero of my newest release, Memories Die Last. I’ve written several adventures with this character and he gets more interesting with each one. I think he’s the most fascinating for me because he gets to do all the things I can’t, like living in the Florida Keys, getting into intriguing situations he has to think or fight his way out, and having a beautiful woman from Barbados for a roommate.

Felicia, his live-in and co-star in the adventures, also intrigues me. She’s a former CIA op who worked with Nick, and she can kick ass as well as any man. She’s also incredibly hot. When I conceived her character I didn’t want her to be a wallflower or damsel in distress waiting for Nick to come riding to the rescue. They make a good team, and the sparks that fly between them make for good old-fashioned steamy sex.

What is your writing process like?

I start by reading what I wrote the day before, to get back into the flow of the story. When I’m working on something I’ll make notes as they occur to me throughout the day then incorporate them. Once I’ve finished the first draft I’ll put it away for a few weeks and work on something else, to gain perspective. When I go back to it, it’s with a fresh set of eyes. That’s when I begin rewrites and corrections. Ninety-percent of the time I’ll read something after being away from it for awhile and ask myself “What the hell were you thinking???”

Besides writer, what other jobs have you had in your life?

Sometimes I think there aren’t many jobs I haven’t had – teacher, musician, job placement specialist, photographer, retail manager, delivery driver and a wonderful summer job in college cleaning apartments vacated by the students. I haven’t found a way to work that charming occupation into a story yet. My current job is being a case manager for adults with disabilities, which I’ve been doing for twenty-plus years.

How do you deal with criticism or bad reviews?

I don’t take them personally, unless the criticism is personal. I’ve been blessed with overall good notices but there were a couple of times where reviewers blasted my books because I’m a male romance author. They ignored the story and focused on my gender, including some snarky comments that reflected their opinion about men writing straight romance. That kind of prejudice bothers me.

What do you do for fun?

I’m a freelance photographer so wherever I go my camera goes with me. I enjoy traveling, catching a good movie, going to concerts and spending quality time with my friends and family. When I’m in The Florida Keys you can find me parasailing or snorkeling when I’m not seeking out the perfect Mojito.

What are you reading right now?

I’m catching up on a few books by Nelson DeMille and James W. Hall that have been gathering dust on my reading table. I just finished reading James Garner’s memoir, The Garner Files, and found it highly enjoyable.

What are some upcoming projects that you are working on?

I’m working on another Nick Seven romance thriller that will pick up where Memories Die Last ended. I’m currently awaiting the release of a romantic mystery, Lido Key, which is a follow-up to a book I released last year, The Bundle. I’m also putting the polish on a romantic anthology set in Key West and I keep busy writing blogs, and reviewing books for Two Lips Reviews.

Tim Smith is an award-winning author whose books range from romantic thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. He is also a freelance photographer. When he isn't pursuing these two passions he can often be found in The Florida Keys doing research in between parasailing and seeking out the perfect Mojito. His website is

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Give Credit Where It's Due -- But Don't Take it When It's Not

I had something kind of disburbing come to my attention today.  In the course of a normal every day google search on one of my books I came across a link I hadn't seen before. It linked to an editor I had several years ago who happened to be the only editor I ever had any qualms about. She was rude, abusive, nasty and insisted that all authors like to have their books edited piecemeal....excuse me, in parts. She would do a chapter or two, send it to you with a host of some really nasty comments and while you worked on those she'd send you the next set. That worked well until I got chapters that belonged to someone else's book. She also tried to change all of the dialogue, especially the period dialogue, to perfect American English. In everyday life I don't speak perfect American English. I don't know anyone who does all the time and since I hope to make my characters life like, they don't either.

After the book was signed off on I thought it was off to be published. I received my errata copy and quickly discovered she had re-written entire scenes. In a few there was so much re-writing it changed the entire sense of the chapter. My errata was 16 pages long. Normally my errata are maybe 3 pages and then it's things like a funky looking quote mark or a word that just doesn't look right that turns out was misspelled. Minor things that I know are there but most other people wouldn't notice. Max is 3 pages. My summer release of Neverending Dream (which was edited by one of my most favorite editors) had something like 3 changes -- not pages, changes. 16 was a whopper.

So today I'm googling a book and up pops the one this editor edited....on her book doctor website!  She has a list of over 100 authors on this book doctor site that gives the appearance that we all came to her -- personally -- to have her "fix" our books. Not that she edited them while working for this publisher -- but that WE came to her, on our own, and asked her to fix our books.  I recognize many of the others and the book titles from at least one publisher -- these were not authors seeking her out, it was a job she was assigned to do by a publisher she worked for.

I'm less than happy about it. She almost ruined my book with her unauthorized re-writes, she didn't ask me if I wanted to be included in her long list of books she "fixed".

I try to remember to give credit when it's due -- I thank my editors, my cover artists, my fellow authors who had suggestions both privately to them and then publically because the ones I work with on a regular basis are incredibly talented and creative people. The artists are amazing with what they create. My editors are incredibly bright and so very knowledgeable about their craft. And my fellow authors are among the most giving people you could ever meet. I am so fortunate to be able to work with them.

But the editor of the 16 page errata? That was a sad experience for me.

If credit isn't due, don't take it.