Interview with J Rocci

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Now that I've finished grad school, I have way more free time. When I'm not at my day job or writing, I love renovating our house, refinishing furniture, going to Washington Capitals games, eating out at new restaurants, going to plays like at Synetic Theater or Shakespeare Theater Company, taking our dogs to the park, quilting and doing embroidery or sewing projects, and occasionally binge-watching shows on Netflix or Amazon. I am also a professional napper, known to doze off even at Rob Zombie concerts.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I want to have a positive impact on the world, whether that's through individual interactions or just using what platforms are available to me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love happy endings. Like, there is so much misery and unhappiness out in the real world, that I want to be able to escape for a while in a safe place, where I know that even if things are bad, they'll work out for the main characters in the end. If I can share that happiness with readers, then even better.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in elementary school, mostly a story that looking back reads like a Power Rangers - Captain Planet - Chronicles of Narnia fusion fanfic. In middle school, I started drawing comic strips for the school newsletter and using water colors and ink for a sci-fi story about intergalactic police officers. I didn't seriously put pen to paper until high school, to write a story about werewolves in a rock band, and that work is still unpublished!
What is your writing process?
I'm a plotter, which sometimes feels like a procrastinator. Usually a scene or idea will strike me to start, but I need to come up with the entire story before I ever put pen to paper. I'll have a loose outline of scenes worked out in my head, so I can jot down pieces of those throughout the day, then just spend a few hours at a time on my computer knitting it all together. For some of my short stories, I've plotted and written the entire thing in one day, one sitting, but for longer works, I definitely will take the time to ruminate, make a list of scenes, and rehearse the scenes in my head before I start typing. Generally, I'll wait a day or two before a final read through, then I'll submit or publish.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I like collaborating with a team, so boutique or indie publishers appeal to me for their level of personal interaction when evolving a work. Self-publishing is appealing because I can write the stories I want to read, regardless of whether they fit with a publisher's brand or not. My first full-length novel, Youthful Gods: Pretty Pleasures, underwent serious revisions because it initially read more like a fantasy book than a paranormal romance. I think after that experience, I understood better the difference between working with a publisher and only for myself. Both have benefits and disadvantages, and I like to have a healthy balance of the two.
How do you approach cover design?
LOL! I like to think I've gotten better at cover design over the years. My early attempts make me cringe! I finally gave in last year and paid for stock photos, an image editing software, etc. and I only use font sites that provide a copy of the license as part of your download/purchase. As for the designs itself, I do like to keep track of what's trending in my genres and use some of the same popular elements or layouts, while keeping some elements consistent across all my covers for branding purposes. I have a basic template I follow, based on feedback I've read at sites like The Book Designer, where authors submit their covers for critique and feedback. I definitely think being familiar with photo editing and having taken art classes helps.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
As more GLBT romance publishers have gone out of business, I've gotten more used to discovering authors on Amazon or social media, including through the recommendations of authors I already like. I've found sites like InstaFreebies to be hit or miss on what appeals to me, so recs / word of mouth is the highest consideration for me.
Published 2017-10-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ivory
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 28,580. Language: English. Published: December 4, 2017 by NineStar Press. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Family shouldn’t be a cage, so he set himself free with a little help.
Courting: 15 Years of Life
Series: Courting. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 82,110. Language: English. Published: October 22, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
Courting: 15 Years of Life covers fifteen years of the relationship between police officer Joshua Dabbs and lawyer Garrison Williams. Starting with their time in the Marine Corps under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, through a civil union, family drama, and adopting two children together, Josh and Garrison find each other and build a life together.
Dapper Gentlemen
Price: Free! Words: 3,420. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Delaney Bixby owns and runs his own barber shop, The Dapper Gentleman, which prides itself on offering an upscale grooming experience to a very select clientele in New York City. When Delaney is closing up shop one night, a special customer drops in for an after-hours shave that leads to slow dancing and professions of love.
This Home We Defend
Series: This Home, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,310. Language: English. Published: April 30, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Menage/Multiple Partners
Zev has no memory of where he comes from, but now he has a pack in Washington D.C. with Callie and Gareth. Zev's search for his past hasn't really been a priority until a new werewolf starts lurking around the city, waiting to get Zev alone. The newcomer challenges Callie's alpha status, and threatens to undo the ties between the three lovers, testing their dedication to each other.
This Home We Make
Series: This Home, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 9,870. Language: English. Published: April 30, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Menage/Multiple Partners
(5.00 from 1 review)
With no memories, Zev only knows that without Callie and Gareth, he'd still be running wild as a werewolf. Relocating to Washington D.C., he's having difficulty adjusting to city life as he fights to relearn his humanity (and fend off the vacuum cleaner). Callie and Gareth have some hard choices, but Zev's yearning to belong to both of them will either drive their pack together or tear them apart.
Sage
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 17,750. Language: English. Published: April 2, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Yu Maguire lost everything when he turned himself in and went to intergalactic prison, but Amergin Sil, his arresting officer, offers him a second chance at life when Yu’s released. Despite cultural misunderstandings and both their pasts, they come to know each other better than either thought possible.
Courting 6: Connections
Series: Courting. Price: Free! Words: 8,120. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
This Christmas is the first time Josh and his husband Garrison are sharing the holiday with their children, Henry and Gabriella. Of course, this being the Dabbs-Williams household, there are crazy dogs, visits from the in-laws, and the uncertain waters of parenthood. But Josh and Garrison have each other, and their family and friends, and a house full of love, so the holidays will be perfect.
Courting 4: Concur
Series: Courting. Price: Free! Words: 7,340. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Officer Joshua Dabbs has been married to his husband, lawyer Garrison Williams, for six years. So he still remembers what Garrison's like wedding plans, and he knows that when their two good friends decide to tie the knot, he won't be seeing much of his husband until it's over. But Josh finds that giving advice to the young couple leads to questions about the future of his own relationship.
Courting 3: Concordant
Series: Courting. Price: Free! Words: 5,880. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Officer Joshua Dabbs has been working long hours and he’s not thrilled to learn his husband, lawyer Garrison Williams, has planned a weekend trip for two to New York City right before Christmas. Josh hates traveling, so Garrison shows how persuasive a lawyer can be with tactics not fit for the inside of a court room, which leads to the couple opening a very intimate Christmas present early.
Courting 2: Cornerstone
Series: Courting. Price: Free! Words: 7,480. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
(5.00 from 1 review)
Josh has built a life for himself in Vermont, and hasn't spoken to his own blood relatives in years. But when Josh gets called home to Ohio right before Christmas, he arrives to find that the requirements of his late father’s will have left everyone in an uproar. Luckily, he has a live-in lawyer at hand -- He just has to come up with a solution that everyone can live with, including himself.
Courting 1: Commitment
Series: Courting. Price: Free! Words: 6,510. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
(5.00 from 1 review)
Officer Joshua Dabbs has big Valentine's Day plans involving his lawyer boyfriend, Garrison, and a certain set of rings. Unfortunately, nothing is going the way Josh planned. Garrison doesn’t think the holiday’s “ruined,” though, so Josh makes his own moment and pops the question he’s tied himself up in knots waiting to ask.
Courting 5: Competition
Series: Courting. Price: Free! Words: 7,580. Language: English. Published: November 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Officer Joshua Dabbs and his husband, Garrison, met in the Marine Corps ten years ago. Their lives are very different now, and they're facing another big change yet again. When their friends challenge them to run in the annual Marine Corps Marathon, they find themselves back in D.C. visiting their old stomping grounds and in a friendly competition to see who finishes first.
Crocodylus Acutus
Price: Free! Words: 5,790. Language: English. Published: October 4, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
(4.40 from 5 reviews)
Craig is a crocodile shifter who loves nothing more than to sit in the river all day among his pure croc brethren. Over the past few days, he's been watching this cute conservationist gather data about his dwindling habitat. But when Grady falls into the mud and the rest of the crocs think lunch, Craig thinks love.