Friday, October 11, 2013

Tina Moss and Yelena Casale: A Touch of Darkness

Today on the blog I’d like to introduce Tina Moss and Yelena Casale, two fabulous writers (and wonderful people) who will be releasing their first book via E-Lit Books this month! I’ve had the privilege of knowing this dynamic duo for a few years now, and even met up with them for lunch on a recent visit to New York City. Lucky me! (Chocolate for lunch...YUM). The three of us were part of an online crit group of five, waaaay back when, and they are also agent-mates with the wonderful  Literary Counsel in NYC! Welcome! 

A Touch of Darkness

BD: Hello Tina and Yelena and welcome to my blog! Firstly, congratulations on the upcoming release of A Touch of Darkness!

TM: Thank you so much for having us here! We are very excited for the release and hope the readers enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it.

BD: So, could you tell my readers how you met?

YC: We actually met at a karate school, where we both came to train. Martial arts are our other passion and we became fast friends and dojo sisters.

BD: When did you start writing A Touch of Darkness?

TM/YC: A few years into our friendship, we realized that we both loved writing. Yelena wanted to start writing again after a long hiatus, and Tina wanted to switch from writing children’s books to adult novels. Just like that the writing team was born.

BD: Tell us a little bit about your process…from first words to agent representation to publication.

YC: We started out with little meetings at the dojo to talk about what we wanted to write and the characters. The meetings quickly moved to a diner, where we would satisfy our post-workout hunger and brain storm ideas. We would also parse out the chapters for the week or two and review parts of chapters that were already written. Our style of writing is very similar and it meshed well from the start. We would edit each other’s chapters and use our respective strengths – Tina for dialogue and Yelena for description – to make them even better.

BD: What are the pros and cons of co-writing a book? How does it work?

The fabulous Yelena Casale
and Tina Moss!
TM: Co-writing a book is, in a lot of ways, a partnership of trust. For this to work, ego has to be put aside. Brainstorming ideas is a lot of fun and can always get you unstuck, which is a big pro. There were days when we would laugh through most of our writing meeting because of all the crazy ideas that came to our mind. But at the end, we had a winning idea and were ready to move forward. You definitely have to figure out a workable, efficient system when co-writing. Whether it’s weekly or bi-weekly meetings, doing everything by email or a combination.

BD: Can you tell us about any other projects you are working on?

TM: Too many. My newest project, Code Black, is complete and with the agents. It’s a paranormal romantic suspense about a fire-wielding heroine and a hot-blooded shifter. The sequel, currently titled Red Alert, is three-quarters of the way done. In addition, I’ve got a paranormal romance outlined, an urban fantasy started, secret project with Yelena, a possible YA contemporary/magical realism serial, and another idea kicking around the old brain that won’t leave me alone. So… Yup, way too many.

YC: Besides the Secret Project with Tina, I’m currently working on two urban fantasy novels.

BD: Anything else you’d like to tell us about?

TM: We’ve been asked about the sequel to A Touch of Darkness several times and the short answer is we’ve started and stopped twice. We did originally have it planned for four books, but decided to see how readers respond before jumping in a third time. However, we can always be swayed by chocolate. Really. J 

BD: Of course, CHOCOLATE! Who wouldn't? Okay on that note, non-writing questions… salty or sweet?

TM: I love both. I’m a bit of a salt fiend which is not the best for my health, so I need to cut back. Sweet is great too, but I’d take salted chocolate caramel over sweet candy any day.

YC: Definitely sweet, although I’ve been known to have salty and sweet at the same time.
BD: Dogs or cats?

TM: I actually developed a cat allergy as an adult after having a cat for eight months, but I still love the little buggers. That said, I’m pretty much a dog person. My corgi, Chuck, is my website mascot.

YC: Ugh, that’s a tough one. I love all animals. I used to be an all dog person, but I’ve had cats now for about ten years and they are my babies.

BD: Tea or coffee? (VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION…no pressure here…) J

TM: Team Tea!

BD: Nooooooooo!

YC: Tea all the way!

BD: You guys are killing me! Gah! *covers heart and takes multiple deep, painful breaths*...

BD: Sigh. Back to the interview. What is one of your biggest fears?

TM: Mirrors. Don’t laugh. I have a horrible phobia and cannot be in the dark while looking into a mirror. It’s bad enough looking too long into one in the light. I mean, they are so freaky! They’re basically inverse reality and the thought of seeing something that isn’t supposed to be there…ugh.

 BD: Okay...

YC: Being buried alive.

BD: Yeah. I can see that too.
BD: Last one. Favorite place to visit?

TM Oh this is tough. I’ve been very fortune to learn early in life how to travel on the cheap. The most beautiful places I’ve ever been are Bora Bora and Hawaii. Ireland owns a piece of my heart. Italy and Turkey are incredible, but I’ve got to go with Japan hands down. The culture, the people, the land are all amazing. I’d go back any day.

L to R: Me, Yelena, Tina at Max Brenner's in NYC
YC: Any place that has a lot of history. So far Rome and Paris are the current faves. Kiev, the city I was born and spent my childhood in, is an ancient beautiful place that I would recommend visiting. Unfortunately, I haven’t been back there yet.

BD: Thank you so much for stopping by, Yelena and Tina! You guys are awesome. Best of luck in the coming months. When can we do lunch again?

TM: Thanks for inviting us. And lunch at Max Brenner – anytime!
BD: I'm there!
* * *
More about Tina: Tina Moss is a writer of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. She lives in NYC with a supportive husband and alpha corgi, though both males hog the bed and refuse to share the covers. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching cheesy horror flicks, traveling, and karate. As a 5'1" Shotokan black belt, she firmly believes that fierce things come in small packages.
You can find Tina here:
More about Yelena: Yelena Casale is an Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance author. When she is not writing, she loves to read, watch TV with her husband (and without), take long walks and cuddle with her cat Bones. She is a second degree black belt/Shotokan karate instructor, and archaeology, history & art enthusiast.
You can find Yelena here:


  1. Thanks so much for having us stop by, Brenda! :)

    1. Thanks for popping by Yelena! Can't wait to read your book!

  2. Great interview ladies!!! I've always though it'd be cool to write a book with someone!!! And OMG, Tina, I don't like mirrors in the dark because of that stupid urban legend about saying "bloody Mary". LOL. Hope we can all meet up for a Team LC writing retreat. It'd be SO fun!!! ((HUGS)) and congrats on your forthcoming book! Can't wait to read it.

    1. Okay, we REALLY have to do this. Pick a place easily accessible and a multiple room rental cottage???

  3. Thanks for having us on, Brenda!

    And seriously, mirrors in the dark = freaky!

    Can't wait for a Team LC retreat!

    1. You are most welcome, Tina...and read comment above!


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