Author Speed Dating – C.K. Brooke

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: C.K. Brooke

 

15 Questions

1. Name the best New Year’s Resolution you have ever broken, and how quickly did you fall off the wagon?

Once I made a New Year’s Resolution not to put pressure on myself by making a New Year’s Resolution…whoops.

2. Hottest “The Avengers” actor: Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlet Johansson (Black Widow) or Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye)?

Hey, how come Tom Hiddleston (Loki) isn’t on here??

3. What are the highest and lowest moments you’ve had as a writer?

Highest = my first-ever offer letter in 2014! Lowest = the 164 rejection letters that came before that!

4. Please let us in on a few of your writing plans for the brand new year 2018. Any new books in the pipeline?

THE EMPEROR’S DAUGHTERS, the 4th book in my Jordinia series (Fantasy), is coming in 2018, along with an e-box set of the entire series.

5. If you could only have one type of candy for the rest of your life, what treat would be satisfying your sweet tooth?

Don’t know about my tooth, but I’d gladly let Sour Patch Kids burn a hole through my tongue.

6. Which is your preferred writing location: home office with favorite music, coffee shop with white noise or library in total silence?

Home office with spa soundtrack…unless my husband and son are home!

7. What’s the worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

I can honestly say the woman has never given me bad advice. (That’s the correct answer, right?) 😉

8. In which sub-genres are you published, and what does the wide or narrow focus say about you?

 The romance sub-genres under which I’m published currently include fantasy and historical. I reckon it says I like to escape far beyond the here & now…and I like to take my readers with me!

9. Name two of your favorite authors, one living and one no longer with us. How have their books impacted your writing?

Marion Zimmer Bradley taught me the joy of epic historical fantasy. J.K. Rowling taught me that you’re never too old for adventure. Both lessons translate into my writing of romantic adventures, be they historical or fantasy, every day.

10. When you are starting a new book, what are some of the activities you do to get know your characters and develop your plot?

Outline, outline, outline! I usually create an outline of at least 25 single-spaced pages, hashing out the plot and all the characters, before writing the first word of the story.

11. Preferred winter activities: ice skating, ice fishing and anything involving snow or Couch Potato Olympics?

Anything indoors – snow gives me the blues!

12. Which character from one of your books is most like or most radically different from your significant other?

The character of Orion in my YA fantasy romance, SECRETS OF ARTEMIS, is most like my husband – a gentle giant.

13. What is your most ridiculous fear?

Birds. The way their wings flap… *shudder*

14. What is your favorite social-media activity: watching cat or dog videos on Facebook, Tweeting #amwriting when you’re not or Snapchatting your face with kitty whiskers?

Reposting “Stranger Things” memes. I seriously need a Chief Hopper intervention!

15. Who were some of the other authors who helped you on your writer’s journey, and how did they make a difference for you?

I wouldn’t have had the courage to become a published author if not for Michele DeLuca, NY journalist and author of FOREVER MORE: A LOVE STORY FROM THE EDGE OF ETERNITY. Her constant support, readership, and belief in me has carried me farther than I can express. Thank you endlessly, Michele! And thank YOU, Dana, for this fantastic interview! Wishing you all a vibrant and prosperous 2018!

 

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Commanding His Heart

By C.K. Brooke

 

They stopped in front of an unassuming door, and Commander Redding pulled the handle.

The first word that came to Em’s mind when she stepped inside was minimal. Not that the room was so small. But it was simple, tidy—virtually empty. A wooden bureau stood to the left, its surface clean but for a dimly-lit oil lamp. And to the right sat a single cot dressed in plain, fading linens. A cabin trunk completed the picture, and that was all. The walls and floor were old and unadorned.

Commander Redding closed the door, shutting them in.

Although he hadn’t yet granted his permission, Em assumed it safe to speak. “This isn’t a place you occupy regularly, is it?” It was more of an observation than a question.

“No, it isn’t.” The jovial manner he’d performed upstairs was gone entirely. He stood before her, a full head taller, his expression uncharacteristically stern. “Miss…Winthrop, is it?”

Em nodded. It felt strange that the man who had behaved so familiarly with her just moments ago wasn’t even certain of her name.

He opened his mouth, then closed it again. Sighing, he pinched the bridge of his nose. Em was reminded of the way it had tickled when he’d brushed it across hers above deck. She shoved the mortifying recollection aside.

“I’m at a loss,” he confessed at last.

“You want to know what I’m doing here,” she surmised.

“Yes, and why! And how you found me—!” He stopped, taking a breath to collect himself. Although he was understandably flustered, it appeared he was the sort of man who kept his temper in check. Em found she liked that.

“Sorry, but I had to leave Jamestown.” She met his eyes, and was unexpectedly transfixed by the hue of the ocean in them, visible even in the low lantern light. “You were my only way out. I…trusted you.”

His eyebrows came together. “You don’t know me.”

“Well,” Em hugged herself, “given your title and disposition, I’d deemed you trustworthy. And up there,” she cocked her chin, “you rescued me, did you not? Are you saying I’ve misjudged you?”

His tone was gentler as he studied her face. “You haven’t.”

She pursed her lips, her case made.

“But you’ve misjudged the situation. You never should have come here.” He began to pace, his features wrought with anxiety. “This is no place for a young lady. It isn’t safe.”

A laugh loosed from her. “But Commander, why ever would I be unsafe with my own country’s navy?”

He stopped in his tracks as though she’d thrown something at him. “Miss Winthrop, this is not a naval vessel. It is a pirate ship!”

***

COMMANDING HIS HEART,  a September 2017 release from Limitless Publishing and Book 2 in the American Pirate Romances series, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 

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About C.K.

C.K. Brooke is an award-winning author of over a dozen romance and fantasy novels and novellas. Her debut novel, THE DUCHESS QUEST, was selected by Shelf Unbound Magazine as a Top 100 Notable Indie Book of 2015, and her self-published YA novel, SECRETS OF ARTEMIS, received the Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Award in 2017. She is also the author of THE WRONG PRINCE (48fourteen, 2016), a Global EBook Award Honorable Mention title, as well as the historical romance, CAPTURING THE CAPTAIN (Limitless, 2016), which was a 2017 RONE Award Nominee and a Finalist in the Mid-Michigan RWA Best Banter Contest. She lives in Washington, Michigan, with her husband and son. Visit her at www.CKBrooke.com and subscribe for a free eBook! Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

               

Author Speed Dating – Carolyn Hector

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Carolyn Hector

15 Questions

1. Name the best New Year’s Resolution you have ever broken, and how quickly did you fall off the wagon?

It depends on when the New Year’s Day begins because my Go-To resolution is to lose weight. Like if it’s on a Monday, I’m good for a week. If it falls pretty much any other day of the week I’m like, “I’ll start it Monday”.  

2. Hottest “The Avengers” actor: Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlet Johansson (Black Widow) or Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye)?

Actor… Chris Hemsworth. Hottest Avenger…from this list… The Hulk. 1- he’s technically a POC… (green is a color) and 2- he’s smart.

3. What are the highest and lowest moments you’ve had as a writer?

The highest moment for me would be getting “the call” from my acquiring editor. I remember sitting in my office for an extra hour trying to fix my face after crying from excitement.

The lowest has been finding out that my line, Harlequin Kimani, is going to be dissolved in the next year. This is my home.

4. Please let us in on a few of your writing plans for the brand new year 2018. Any new books in the pipeline?

This year I’m still crowning my heroines with my Once Upon a Tiara series. June you will be able to read TEMPTING THE BEAUTY QUEEN and this winter I’m coming out with HER MISTLETOE BACHELOR.

5. If you could only have one type of candy for the rest of your life, what treat would be satisfying your sweet tooth?

TAKE 5. This candy bar hits all my cravings for salty, crunchy, peanut buttery, and chocolatey. 

6. Which is your preferred writing location: home office with favorite music, coffee shop with white noise or library in total silence?

I prefer to write at home, in recliner, with pillows propped up under my elbows and on my lap. I honestly write best with the television station on something that I have no interest in (usually when my husband is watching football) and I have my headphones on, listening to music.

7. What’s the worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

1st—I have 3 moms… and they’ve all given horrible advice/wisdom/words of comfort.

Adopted mother- You’ll get along better in life if you accept the fact the world doesn’t revolved around you.

Step-mom – he’s just picking on you because he likes you.

Bio-mom—sorry about your curves, you’re Italian and we’re just naturally big people.

8. In which sub-genres are you published, and what does the wide or narrow focus say about you?

I am published in/with contemporary romances. I like to write action-adventure kick-ass women romances, but so far I only have one book published in that area (Check out MR. AND MRS. ROSSI). I like to dabble with historical romances. I have one written, but it’s sitting on my digital shelf. All this says about me is I’m chicken @#^$^* to put myself out there in the world.

9. Name two of your favorite authors, one living and one no longer with us. How have their books impacted your writing?

My living favorite author… geez… I can’t pick just one. Can I cheat? First name—BrendaBeverlyRochelle—last name—JacksonJenkinsAlers. [Editor’s Note: For those who need a key, the answers would be Brenda Jackson, Beverly Jenkins and Rochelle Alers. :)]

No longer with us, Francis Ray.

I wouldn’t be published if it weren’t for these ladies. Back in the ’90s, I was so excited to find books with familiar faces on the cover. I mean, I’d been writing for years basically for myself (and my Barbies, but that’s a whole ‘nother story), but seeing them meant there was a demand for stories with POC (people of color… in case anyone wondered).

10. When you are starting a new book, what are some of the activities you do to get know your characters and develop your plot?

So for me… I have to cast my characters. Usually by the time I have story in my head, I’ve already seen the characters. If they’re an actor/actress or a model… I do the typical stalking research on them. I’ll follow them on IG or Twitter or binge watch everything they’ve acted in to get certain mannerisms. 

11. Preferred winter activities: ice skating, ice fishing and anything involving snow or Couch Potato Olympics?

I’m more of a gold medal Couch Potato. I take that back. I love to bake and cook when it’s cold.

12. Which character from one of your books is most like or most radically different from your significant other?

Most of my books are about beauty queens and the drama/non-drama between them. I’ve never been a beauty queen, but I would have to say I’m most like Waverly Leverve. Sometime my big mouth gets me in trouble.

13. What is your most ridiculous fear?

I fear that if I drive around with the windows rolled down, a bird is going to fly into my car and attack me.

14. What is your favorite social-media activity: watching cat or dog videos on Facebook, Tweeting #amwriting when you’re not or Snapchatting your face with kitty whiskers?

Promise not to judge me? I am still playing Candy Crush. I am years invested in this game. As of this date I am on level 2142. I have yet to break out my wallet for anything. It’s a habit for me…part of my writing routine when I am trying to work out a scene.

15. Who were some of the other authors who helped you on your writer’s journey, and how did they make a difference for you?

Brenda Jackson, Beverly Jenkins, and Rochelle Alers. Picture it, Romance Slam Jam-2001. I’d just won 2nd and 1st place for their aspiring writers contest. Brenda’s family told me to always keep writing no matter what. Beverly’s book saved my marriage (I just knew my husband never paid attention to me and he surprised me with her book… and this was way before going on line to Amazon and ordering a book. He made a big effort). Rochelle once told me to never make a story line out of a situation that could have easily been solved by a conversation… and that gave me the Ah-ha moment …plus, she impacted my life by writing my favorite hero… I loved him so much that I named my son after him (check out VOWS).

 

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A Tiara Under the Tree

By Carolyn Hector

 

“Dominic Crowne?” Waverly breathed the man’s name and hoped to slow down the quickening pulse zipping through her veins. Since she’d seen him last, he’d shed the tailored suit and replaced it with jeans—a pair of well-fitted jeans—and a T-shirt. Tattoos covered his forearms. She tried not to stare too hard. He might as well have come with a neon sign that read DANGER. Excitement coursed through her veins.

Dominic leaned against the door frame with a pizza box propped within the crook of his arm and against his hip. A dangerous smile, accompanied with a quick wiggle of his brow, crossed his face. “You’re not Lexi.”

“This is her place,” Waverly explained. “Lexi is letting me crash here for a while.”

“Crash here for a while?” He frowned. “Is your place being painted or something?”

Waverly shook her head and rolled her eyes. “Are you volunteering or something?”

“Maybe the ‘something’ part,” Dominic licked his lips, and Waverly forgot about the howling in her stomach from a few minutes ago before pizza arrived. She stepped backward into the foyer of her apartment and caught a glimpse of her pink-tinted cheeks in the large, gold-framed mirror by the door.

Waverly cleared her throat. “So, do you normally walk the halls with pizzas?”

“Oh, my bad.” He shoved the pizza toward her. “You haven’t looked at yours yet, have you?”

“I was about to sit down.”

“Right after the crowning?” Dominic asked and pointed toward the top of her head.

Heat filled her cheeks. She cocked her head to the side, untangled the combs holding her tiara in place and released her unruly hair. “Sorry, I was just…”

Dominic held up his free hand. “It’s okay. You had that second cupcake today—it was worth celebrating, I understand.”

Waverly decided not to expose her greed and tell him she’d eaten a total of three cupcakes today. “Thanks.” She laughed lightly. “You said something about a pizza?”

As if remembering the food in his arms, Dominic blinked and inhaled deeply while he nodded. “The delivery guy mixed up the apartment numbers. My sister lives across the courtyard and she’s going to kill me if I don’t leave her any leftovers. She only bought the one, even after I’m here to do a favor for her.”

With widened eyes, Waverly bobbed her head from side to side. She took a step forward into the hallway and peered into the steaming-hot box for a peek of a double pepperoni pie. “I wonder what I got. What other pizza could there be?”

“Jesus, now more than ever I need to know your name,” Dominic groaned, pressing his hand against his chest. “At least I need to know your first name. Your last name isn’t necessary.”

She cocked her hand on her hip and laughed. “Why is my last name not necessary?”

“Because it’s about to change to mine.”

 

***

A TIARA UNDER THE TREE, part of the Once Upon a Tiara series and an October release from Harlequin Kimani Romance, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM!, KOBO, Harlequin, Google PlayiTunes, Walmart, IndieBound and Target.

 

 

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About Carolyn

Carolyn Hector was destined to become a writer when she wrote scripts for her Barbies and passed them out to her friends prior to play dates. In 7th grade she wrote–what is now considered fan-fiction–story based on her disappointment of the ending to “Streets of Fire.” When she later watched “Romancing the Stone,” she finally knew what she wanted to be when she grew up–a Romance Writer!

She currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where there’s never a dull moment of college sports, politics, and Southern heat… aka… #BookFodder. A fan of ’80s Pop Culture, you can find Carolyn around town at a football/soccer/track/basketball game or PTO meeting for her five boys with her headphones on and a notebook hand.

Catch Carolyn on her blog, carolynhector.com, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.