Temper: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story
Author Name: R. Phoenix
Publisher: Self-Published (as Phoenix Publications)
Genre: Paranormal, Dark Erotica
Length: 141 pages
Release Date: July 1, 2016
Only one thing can keep Ashton safe from the supernatural predators who made the world into their depraved, twisted playground after the Takeover—but it’s the one thing that would steal the last remnants of his freedom. At every turn, society confronts Reese and Ashton with the way humans are treated as mere playthings to be used and discarded. When they realize their own desires and pride have no place in the status quo, Ashton and his werewolf lover understand they’ll have to engage in the deadly games played by those in charge if they want to make a difference.
But Reese isn’t a diplomat, and Ash is only human. Together, they must decide if they’re willing to work with the devil they know in what might change everything or rely on their consciences in a world that has no place for kindness or honor… and if they’re ready to sacrifice everything along the way.
“You should smile more, ‘lias,” Desideria remarked. “You’re happy, aren’t you?” And with those mocking words, she was gone as though she’d never been there at all, leaving only the lingering traces of death to mark her passing.
Julian shrugged as he rose. “She’s in a mood,” he said mildly.
“Isn’t she always?”
Julian laughed, and Elias wanted badly to kiss the lips that parted in mirth. But as ever, he knew he would taste the vampire’s blood instead of Julian—and he knew better than to risk what they had. “If you only knew, brother. If you only knew.”
Elias shook his head. “You’re welcome to her.”
Julian’s laughter rang in his ears as his stepbrother departed, and Elias sank down into his chair. Even had they shared blood, if his brother had kept to the old ways—if they had lived as siblings of the royal families of old, of the witching families of old—they could have ruled the world together. As it was, between the full weight of the Ivers name and the powers the vampiress could wield, they held influence that staggered those who attempted to defy them.
But no. He had lost Julian, just as he had lost—
“Mr. Ivers?” Spencer asked tentatively from the doorway, where Julian had left it open. “I have a Mr. Dorsey here to see you.”
Elias took in a deep breath, forcing himself to calm. “Show him in.”
“He’s brought a human pet, Mr. Ivers,” Spencer reported. “Do you want him in here or in the kennels?”
Elias considered a moment. “Is he marked?” Spencer nodded, and Elias smiled. “The kennels would be perfect. Take Jace there as well.” He glanced between them, his smile turning sharp as he looked between the former lovers. “Separate kennels. My puppy here doesn’t have the best manners.”
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INTERVIEW WITH R. PHOENIX
What is your favorite book and why?
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. The man is a fucking genius. World-building, characterization, plot… It’s all just gorgeous. I can’t gush enough about it.
What is the #1 most played song on your music list?
Even though Lacuna Coil and Icon for Hire are my favorite bands, somehow this is Radioactive with Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix.
What is your favorite or most inspiring quote?
Oh, man. I love quotes. Quotes are my thing. I’ll be writing about one in another blog, actually, and another later in this interview. So I’m going to have to choose these two:
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings
“He saw it in her eyes. The anguish, the frustration. The terrible nothing that clawed inside and sought to smother her. She knew. It was there, inside. She had been broken.
Then she smiled. Oh, storms. She smiled anyway.
What chore do you absolutely hate to do?
Cleaning out the duck pools. Oh god, I hate it. It’s hot and annoying and it takes forever because I’m a weakling.
Do you have a favorite time of day/day of week/month of year and if so, why?
Any time I can get quiet, whether it’s late at night or early in the morning. I’ll flip-flop between them depending on when the family’s most likely to leave me alone.
What sound do you love to hear or make?
Cats purring. Just sets me at ease unless there are also little tiny claws digging into my flesh while said cat purrs.
What is your favorite movie?
Dogma. I don’t watch many movies or much television, though.
How do you relax?
I’m sort of a workaholic, so I don’t do much of this. When I’m awake, I’m doing something. But I still do some role playing via Google Docs and so on. I love telling stories with other people and being a part of a world we create together. I also like chatting with people online. Not so much in the real world.
What is your favorite drink?
Coffee brewed straight into hot chocolate topped off with Bailey’s Chocolate Cherry.
What would people be most surprised to know about you?
People are always surprised to find that I have a mini farm filled with the cute and cuddly. I have Muscovy ducks and Silver Fox rabbits and cats and just… things! Oh, and that we eat them.
Can you give the readers a brief summary of your latest book? What led you to write this book?
In the wake of tragedy, two lovers must decide what they’re willing to do and how far they’re willing to go to see the world around them changed—or if they’re able to do anything at all. There are a few darker moments than what’s come before in the series with what I think is a surprising twist thrown in for good measure.
Temper continues my Ripples in the Status Quo series. The first three can be read as standalones, but in books four (Owned) and five (Temper), things really start to come together.
What genre does it fall in?
Temper is Dark Erotica. At its core, it is a love story, but there are no fluffy bunnies or clear skies for these characters. Their path is a difficult one. There’s sex, there’s violence, and there’s a bit of everything in between, I think. As I’ve said, I love quotes, and here’s another one. Tiffany Reisz wrote in The Siren that Erotica is a subgenre of Horror–because “Romance is sex plus love. Erotica is sex plus fear.”
Do you want to share any funny moments or experiences while writing this book, did your characters play well with you? Did you play well together?
My characters are assholes.
Give us a little insight into your main characters. Who are they?
Reese and Ashton return from Ravel, the second book in my series, and the story centers primarily around them. Reese is a werewolf who, up until recently, was a bit of a recluse after his lover died. When Ashton, a human, broke into his house to try to steal from him, he sort of started to wake up and see what the world is really like.
There are really mixed opinions on both of them. I’ve had a friend call Reese my Christian Grey, and I’ve had others say he’s sweet and romantic. The fact of the matter is that he’s an entitled rich werewolf in a world where that means he’s pretty much a god, and he doesn’t quite understand what it means to be less than that. Ashton, on the other hand, is a snarky little asshole, and he has a special place in my heart. He wants his freedom so badly, and he knows that it’s not going to happen.
Will we be seeing these characters again any time soon? Is this book part of a series?
These characters will be returning in Fracture, which is the sixth book in the Ripples in the Status Quo series!
Which actor would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Alexander Skarsgård. He would be perfect for Reese.
Tell us about some of the other books you have written.
So the Ripples in the Status Quo Books were meant to be a set of standalones that might occasionally cross, but they were never really meant to be a series. Somewhere between Bought and Recoil, though, that changed. Temper is the fifth book in this series. I’m really not that great at brevity, but let’s see if I can summarize:
Series: Supernaturals take over the world. Yay for supes, bad for subjugated humans.
Bought: Werewolf takes the fall for his lover. Bought by an evil witch who wants to break him.
Ravel: Thief gets caught breaking into werewolf’s house (oops) trying to find things to steal to save his BFF.
Recoil: Vampire whore tries to break a human slave from the Rebellion.
Owned: Everything has a consequence. Everything. Continuation of Recoil. Brings back Bought characters.
What scene in your writing has made you laugh the hardest or cry the most?
The final scene in Recoil made me cry my eyes out (spoilers!). An unpublished short with Reese and Ashton made me laugh the hardest.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Have you held any interesting jobs while you worked on your books?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I first learned people did this for a living. I had this teacher in 5th grade who would either be proud or appalled at what I’m doing now, and she encouraged me to do more of it. I learned how to write out my demons, and I’ve been doing it since.
Unfortunately, I let people tell me that I’d never succeed, and I let myself languish at jobs I hated. I worked at a bank for almost 10 years! Not really that interesting, but hey. I’m also in school for Cybersecurity, which is what I’m doing while I do…everything else.
What are your ambitions for your writing career and what’s your favorite part of writing?
My ambitions are pretty modest: I just want to keep writing because I love it. My favorite part is getting to explore my own world and get lost in it; I get to play deity for a little while and control everything that’s going on. And then beyond that, I’ve met some amazing people who I never would have met otherwise.
Do you write full or part-time? If part time would you like to share your J.O.B. with your readers?
I work 24/7. I’m a full time student doing 8 week condensed courses, I’m a housewife and mother, I write, I copy edit for another author, I take care of the mini-farm, I cook, I sometimes clean, I take care of the garden… When it’s close to deadline, fulltime. The rest of the time, I steal moments.
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
Finding time? That and getting started. I write by getting an idea into my head—whether it’s from a word, a phrase, a song, a character—and then I just write. Once I get started, I’m fine, but the whole “getting started” part is where things get a little murky.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I write out of order. I start by getting a vague idea of what I want to do with a book, and then I start writing scenes. About halfway through, I realize I have no direction, panic, write an outline, write around the outline, then go back and put the pieces back together. Editing is fuuuuuuun.
Writing in the field that you do, how would you explain to someone the difference between erotic fiction, erotic(a) and maybe even porn?
In my opinion, erotic fiction is fiction where the sex scenes could come out and the story would be mostly unchanged. They add to the story, but they don’t diminish it if they’re gone. In erotica, the sex is integral to the plot. In porn… Come on, there’s no plot in porn except people getting laid. (Haha, ‘come on.’)
Does your own sexuality come into play when writing your books (i.e. do any of your real life scenarios make it to the page)?
Alas. Since I’m not a gay man, I don’t get to experience these things.
How do you go about writing a good sex scene?
I’m totally good at writing one-handed. Oh. You want a real answer? The characters decide how they want to do it, and I write it.
If you are self-published why have you chosen to take this route over going with a publishing house?
This should come as no shock to anyone who knows me, but I’m a teensy bit of a control freak. I like getting to write what I want when I want; I like setting my own deadlines, picking my own cover artist and growing with her, doing my own editing or getting my own little team to help me out… And I like being able to experiment with pricing and strategies and so on.
…There’s also the fact that most publishing houses won’t take what I write.
In your opinion do you feel a book blurb or the cover art is more important in generating interest in a book and why?
The cover art is the first thing someone sees, but the blurb is what makes them decide whether or not to buy the book. So I have to say the cover art first, because it needs to catch a potential reader’s attention. I know mine tend towards the “simpler” side, but that’s exactly why I love them. 🙂
Who would you say is your biggest supporter?
I can’t name just one person, which is amazing to be able to say. But I’m fortunate enough to have had three people who got me through writing Temper: Brandyjo, Patricia Kristine, and Sharon. I was terrified of writing this book, because I went to places that I’ve never really been before. These three dealt with, uh, quite a bit. You should probably pity them, really.
How do you feel about social media and its impact on the world of literature?
I love connecting with people who are reading my books; I love talking to people online, because I’m very introverted and quiet “in real life.” At the same time, though, it’s draining. There’s also the dependence on Facebook, which frightens me for so many reasons.
What is the one thing you wish individuals would consider when writing a review?
They really don’t have to be anything special or long and drawn out! The fact that you took the time out of your day to write a review still means the world to me and most of the authors I know.
Are there any causes within the LGBTQ community that are a hot button for you or that you are passionate about?
I want to write a story with a bisexual character, which might include M/F scenes. I’m wary of doing it, because I’ve heard readers say they refuse to read books with M/F pairings. It makes me sad, because I would love to see more bi characters in stories. I don’t talk about it much, because I’m actually extremely private about my personal life, but it hits pretty close to home.
Are there certain authors who inspire your writing?
Brandon Sanderson, above all, inspires me—to write faster, to write better, to build better worlds and characters. He writes epic fantasy with a deft hand, and his stories and plots are spectacular. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files taught me a lot about writing urban fantasy—which I don’t really write, but it’s still something I keep in mind when world-building. His villains are also multi-dimensional and fascinating, and in general, his characters evolve beautifully. Tiffany Reisz taught me it’s okay to write erotica and that there can still be a story; she’s also the first author I read who wrote male/male, I think! And Nicholas Bella’s books teach me that it’s okay to push limits, which is one of the hardest things to do.
What sort of book do you enjoy reading in your free time? What was the last book you read? What did you enjoy about it?
Free time? What is this free time you speak of? I love anything with strong, flawed characters. The last book I read was Paper Kisses by R.M. Grace. I loved her prose. She writes like poetry, and it was just a gorgeous piece of writing. (I’m still pissed, lady.)
In this ever changing market, do you prefer e-books or paper books and why?
I really prefer paper books (as evidenced by the five billion I have), but at the same time, I like being able to carry said five billion with me.
What other projects are you currently working on that you would like to divulge to us?
I have a few small things I’m working on—a Reese and Ash short story that’s actually humorous, a story with two new characters from the world (Khaz’s “uncle,” so to speak, and his pet human), and I have this idea for a contemporary book that I might one day work on. Most of my attention is focused on the main RISQ books, though.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us – an exclusive perhaps?
Here’s the start of my contemporary book:
He was the most beautiful man I had ever seen–and I nearly destroyed him. He entrusted me with a heart that had broken so many times that hairline cracks marred its every surface. Instead of locking it away and tending lovingly to it, I held it too tight and squeezed until there was very nearly nothing left.
Until he was gone.
Now, I can make amends.
This time, he’ll stay mine.
Many thanks for sharing all this with us and congratulations on your new release.
R. Phoenix has an unhealthy fascination with contrasts: light and dark, heroes and villains, order and chaos. She believes that love can corrupt and power can redeem. Her muse is a sadomasochistic slave driver who thinks it’s terribly amusing to give her the best ideas when she just got comfortable and warm in bed, and she passes on that torture to her readers.
If she had it her way, she would describe the books in her “Ripples in the Status Quo” world as: “Supernatural creatures take over the world and turn humans into pets and food. There’s some sex between guys. And… um… effed up things happen.” It’s probably a good thing she has people around her to remind her that she actually wants people to read her books. (They should really be more diligent, especially when they know she’s writing her author bio.)
She’s an author, stay-at-home mother, housewife, second time college student, and duck herder extraordinaire. She’s learning how to cook without burning the house down, her garden is somehow neither drowning nor drying up, and one day she might remember what that mythical thing called “free time” is. She’s starting to wonder who thought it was a good idea to write bios in third person.
She also tries entirely too hard to be funny, and she mercilessly inflicts her terrible sense of humor upon anyone who speaks to her. Really, it’s not you. It’s her. All the same, she’d love it if you’d say hello, because it makes her day to hear that someone read something she wrote. If they enjoyed it, there’s usually an awkward happy dance and embarrassing sounds of joy to accompany it (no, not that kind of sound, you perv). If all of that hasn’t scared you away, please visit her website at