Today I am so pleased to welcome M.J. Calabrese to Joyfully Jay. M.J. has come to talk to us about Warrior’s Way. M.J. has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving a big welcome!


M.J. has written some questions and answers to share with us today!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a Writer?

I was about 13. I was a voracious reader. I’d always had a good imagination. I came home from the local library declaring there were no more books to read. My mother said, much to her chagrin now, “then writer some.” Took possession of my Dad’s old Remington portable and started writing. Of course, looking at them now, they were atrocious, but it was a start.


How long does it usually take you to write a book?

That’s hard to say. The creative process of coalescing a story in my head can take from months to a few hours. Putting it on paper and completing a novel, maybe 3 months or a little less, sometimes. But that being said, I just completed a serial called White Picket Fences: Ryder and Aaron in 2 weeks. That was 38,000 words.


What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

After I’ve plotted out the story and some dialogue in my head, I write long-hand on a steno pad, initially. Just me. That way I can write anytime, like if I’m in the car waiting on someone or a doctor’s appt. or if I’m just sitting in the living room. It’s a very portable way to write. Me or a friend will input it in the computer, usually in the evening. I will continue to expand the story on the computer, sometimes working 10 hour stints. Sometimes as late as 2:30 am. I like the quiet. I’m a bit of an insomniac.


What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have several. I talk to myself out loud, sometimes act out the scenes. Wifey ignores me. It’s great to do in the car when you are alone. People think you are talking on your phone. LOL. When I have an idea in my head, I get this drifty look. Like I go into a fugue state watching the scene unfold in my head as I listen to the characters. Again, Wifey has learned to stop asking if I’m alright. She just looks at me and says, “Writing?” I nod and she leaves me alone.


Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I’m very visual. A photograph can give me a story idea. I collect photos of actors who are the visual representation of my characters and photos that show emotions I want to express in a scene. I’ve always done this. My office looks like a homicide department with all the suspects hanging on my walls. A line from something I read can set me off. If I need to do actual research on a topic, I use photos, Google, library, and my own extremely varied personal experiences, such as unusual jobs and experience with addiction. I’m a trivia nut, as well.


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read and travel.


What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That characters and stories have a mind of their own. It’s a lot like wrangling cats. Early on I was a pantser (someone who just starts a story and lets it go wild), I’m now a plotter. I tend to know at least my ending before I begin. I can’t waste time. Another surprising thing is how big a part social media plays in an author’s life. You may not like to think about it, but what you write may be influenced by what you see there.


How many books have you written? Which are your favorite/s?

This is my debut book as M.J. Calabrese. Using other pseudonyms, I’ve written screenplays and short stories. Ages ago, straight romances. I truly love Warrior’s Way. Adam and Eagle are my boys. They spark my creative mind. They make me want to tell their story and their imperfections are what make them memorable.


Do you have any suggestions to help anyone become a Writer? If so, what are they?

Write, write, write. If you ever want to be published, get yourself a good support team, people who will be honest with you. Be open to suggestion. Sometimes a fresh perspective can show you things you never thought of. Also, No One Is Trying To Steal Your Story! No one can write like you. There are no new plot lines under the sun. Be willing to talk to other writers, mentors, teachers. I’ve taken classes from some of the best and I encourage writers to always be expanding their skills. I took an acting class because I wanted to understand dialogue better.


What do you think makes a good story?

I come from a screenwriting background, so dialogue, plot and characters are important to me. I’ve had to work on description because a screenplay doesn’t have much. I want to be engaged and care about the people I’m reading about. If I’m not, then as soon as I put that book down, I’ll never miss it. Be brave. Tackle topics that aren’t easy to write about. Great sex scenes in MM romance can be wonderful, but it can’t be all there is to the story.



Friends since childhood, Albuquerque detective Eagle Woodard and criminal profiler Adam Coulter are dragged into a serial killer case. Gay couples are being murdered and tortured and the FBI needs their help to capture the sadistic murderer.

Deciding to implement a plan to trap the killer, Adam and Eagle go undercover as an involved gay couple. Or is it really pretend?

Faced with their toughest challenge yet, they must find the active serial killer before he strikes again. With the powers that be not cooperating and the killer proving to be elusive, will Eagle and Adam be able to stop the murderer while navigating their changing relationship?

Please Note: This is the first book in an ongoing story arc. Although the case is solved, the relationship ends on a cliffhanger. Contains graphic violence and scenes of torture.

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My mother now regrets her fateful words she offered the day I came home from our small town library in Palm Springs, California (yes, I’m a Cali girl) complaining that there were no more books to read. “Then why don’t you write some.”

My father never saw his old Remington portable until I entered college and they gifted me an IBM Selectric. By then I had produced at least two dozen unpublishable novels which make me cringe when I read them today.

I found inspiration in innumerable odd jobs (from migrant work as a Date palm pollinator to the person who cleans the washing machines at the launderette to professional Dominatrix) for stories. After a stint in Rehab for Alcohol and Heroin abuse (so when I write those scenes, I know what I’m talking about), I cleaned up and have stayed that way for 29 years. (Me and Sir Elton, LOL). My gypsy lifestyle gave me a unique perspective on the different people who inhabited the Washington, Oregon, Arizona, California, and New Mexico areas where I have lived.

After 3 very bad marriages to men, I finally figured out what was wrong and fell in love with a woman when I lived in Portland, OR 23 years ago. We’ve been married since 2008 (yes it was legal in California at that time). We now live in Asheville, NC and love the people in this liberal and accepting corner of the mountains of North Carolina.


M.J. has brought a $25 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader on the tour. Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

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