Monday, June 9, 2014

Meet Rock Star Josh Dunningham

Today Wild Women Authors is delighted to welcome author M.J. Schiller and rock star Josh Dunningham, protagonist from Rock Me Gently, a new romantic suspense release from Kissmet Publishing.
First, an excerpt from Rock Me Gently:
Josh steered Cassie toward an exit, hoping fresh air would help to sober her up. They ended up at the outdoor pool, a monstrosity complete with overhanging palm trees. Not a soul was in sight, unusual, even at this time of night.
Away from the casino hubbub, it was easier to talk. She eyed him. “Tell me about the band.”
“What do you want to know?”
“Well, as an advertising person, I’m interested in the gimmick, Money Back Guaranteed. Did you ever have to back up that promise?”
Josh took a couple of seconds to think about that. “Yeah. A few times. Once, when an elderly couple came with their granddaughter. They didn’t like the show at all.” Remembering their reaction, he grimaced. “And once, when a girl caught her fiancĂ© in the hall with another girl. Hardly our fault, but, she didn’t enjoy the concert, and that’s our promise, so…” He shrugged.
“Interesting. Interesting.” She lifted a leg, grabbing his shoulder for balance, and tugged on the heel of her boot.
“Uhh…what are you doing?”
“My feet are killing me. You’re so lucky you are a guy and don’t have to wear heels.”
“Yes. I was just mentioning that to my friend, Ryan, the other day.”
She didn’t look up. Having successfully removed one boot, she switched legs to work on the other. “Really?”
He smiled. “No. Go on.”
Yanking the other boot off, she nearly toppled over, though still holding on to him. She squeezed his arm. “You’re built.”
He nearly laughed at her frank statement. “Thank you.”
Holding her boots in one hand, her brow furrowed as she concentrated on her next question. She began to balance on the edge of the pool, which was deserted, and scoop stepped, trailing one leg in the water, not seeming to mind at all that her jeans were getting wet.
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” he warned, taking her arm to steady her.
“I’m fine,” she assured him, breaking away for an instant to do a pirouette in the pool’s gutter to demonstrate.
“Okay, okay,” he muttered, grabbing her arm again. “No need to show off. So why are you in the advertising game?”
“I like the creative aspect of it. And, I can be very persuasive,” she said, smiling at him.
As if he somehow silently challenged her, she stopped with a jerk and turned toward him, lifting up on her toes to kiss him. The taste of her was just as intoxicating as the booze had been, and left him equally dizzy. The flavor of sweet lime and midnight rolled across his tongue and sank into him unbidden. Someone in the hotel rooms surrounding the pool above them slammed a door, startling Cassie, the sharp sound almost like gunfire.
She jumped away from him like she had been shot herself and started to lose her balance. He reached to save her, but too late, she fell into the pool, dragging him in after her.
What a way to start an interview! Josh, tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? The corn fields of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
What is Rock Me Gently about? It starts with the day my life really began. I was doing a show in Vegas, and was unwinding at the bar after practice. I was drinking tequila and noticed this other shot being poured with mine and followed it to its receiver. Cassie looked so cute with that lime wedge for teeth and I thought she would just be another distraction for me. I didn’t realize she wasn’t an opening act, she was the headliner in my life.
That is so sweet! What did you think the first time you saw Cassie, who wears a lime wedge for teeth? Like I said, my first thought was easy conquest. But when I actually walked up to her and looked in her eyes, all coherent thinking stopped.
Nice one. Was it love at first sight, do you think? To be honest, I didn’t know what it was! I just knew that it was different. She was different.
Another zinger. What do you like most about Cassie? She makes me laugh. She moves me. Literally moves me to become a better person for her. She awoke something in me that I never even knew existed.
Do you have a brother? Perhaps an older [much] uncle? Sorry for the digression. We want to know more about Cassie. How would you describe her? Man, that’s hard! She’s fun. She has this enormous capacity to love other people. She’s incredibly hot! Yet another way she moves me. She’s smart, creative, a little crazy, but that works because I’m a little crazy, too. How’s that?
Perfection. How would she describe you? I think she’d say I try. I’m kind of a fixer-upper, but I’ve come a long way since meeting Cassie. We have a lot of fun together, so I think she might say that I’m game for just about anything she comes up with.
What made you choose being a rock star for a career? I think most people in this business would tell you that you don’t choose it, it chooses you. My music is so much a part of me…it was the only thing that could make me feel before Cassie. But that probably makes no sense to you. It was like I was playing at life, or just letting it tick away while I played the role that people created for me. People like managers and label execs.
What is your biggest fear, Josh? Before it would have maybe been being alone with my thoughts. If I kept myself busy, playing my music, drinking…making physical connections with people without the real connection, then I wouldn’t realize just how empty my life really was. Now I guess my biggest fear would be going back to who I was before.
How do you relax? Oh, nothing special. The ways everyone else relaxes, I guess. Goofing around with friends…I like playing sports, tennis, basketball…not golf. I’m not really a golf guy. I used to play baseball when I was a kid. I might like to coach that someday. Like Little League coach. I recently discovered that I like working with kids.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Wow! I haven’t done a lot of reading. But fictional could mean movies, right? Uhh…now don’t laugh. That Valjean guy from Les Miz. He made mistakes, but he owned up to them and became a better person.
Very deep. What is the best piece of advice you ever received? I think that would be when my friend Ryan told me to write about confusion. It’s a long story, but it helped me to write a piece of music that some say is my best, and it helped me to understand what I needed to do. And he was right there telling me to go to Cassie and make things right. Or, oh! Wait! I also got some great advice once from Ryan’s dad. Well, probably more than once, but this one particular time it really helped me. He told me to look at the fruit of people’s actions to determine whether they are good or not. Whether you could trust them. Only he probably said it a lot better than that.
That was something. Now it's M.J.'s turn at bat. What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? Books, I’d have to say Stephen King’s On Writing. But I’ve also read a lot of writing books. And really, any book I read helps to make my writing better. Movies, probably all of your standard rom-coms, although I do like the classics, like Pride and Prejudice, which is actually mentioned in Rock Me Gently.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them? I first started out with a small publisher, then created my own company, Kissmet Publishing. I just didn’t see my publisher doing enough to earn their 70%. I was doing most of the marketing. And editing, cover art, and formatting were all things I could have done for me by freelancers. With my first book with the small publisher it took about five months from submission to release, just for e-book. Add another four months for paperback. I think I found out about them through my local RWA chapter. I sent a query letter for a different book, which they rejected. Then, in a na-na-na-na-na sort of move, I sent a second query out to them. To show them I wasn’t fazed by their rejection. They asked for the whole manuscript and offered me a contract. Now that I’m doing my own work it takes me about three months to go through the editing process and acquire cover art and formatting.
We thank M.J and Josh for stopping by at Wild Women Authors and wish you much luck with sales, with Rock Me Gently and future stories.
Kat and Veronica
To learn more about M.J. Schiller and the stories she creates go to: or find her on

To purchase Rock Me Gently, go to


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Veronica! It's always fun revisiting a character through a character interview. I also appreciate the opportunity to tell people about ROCK ME, GENTLY.

  2. Great excerpt, MJ! Wishing you every success!

  3. Thank you! I had a lot of fun with this book!

  4. Great interview and I love the cover. Stephen King's "On Writing" was the book that really pushed me to write for publication. I recommend it to everyone who writes or wants to be a writer. Best wishes for great sales.

    1. Thank you, Katherine! I agree about Stephen King. He's just such an interesting character himself, with a wide range of experiences. I really enjoyed his book and learned a lot from it, too. I appreciate you joining us and taking time to leave a comment!

  5. Josh sounds like a real hunk. Thanks for sharing him, MJ. I love Stephen King's On Writing. Great book.

  6. Kat and I extend sincere thanks to MJ for joining us this week and to those who stopped by and left a comment.
    Diane Burton is the winner of the apron!!
    Veronica Lynch