Author Speed Dating – Thea Devine

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: Thea Devine

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If you could revisit any favorite period in your life for a day, in approximately which year would you be found and what would you be doing?

The year I met John — 1964 — at a party; we were there with other dates, he brought his date home, came back to the party, and as he walked in the door, I walked right into his arms — and I stayed there for 52 years.

2. Sure, it’s like picking a favorite child, but which one or two of your titles do you secretly love just a little more than the others?

TEMPTED BY FIRE — my first Regency and how much I loved writing it:  the language, the propriety, the clothes.  It wasn’t just Jane Austen — you can fall in love with the Regency period all on its own.

3. Will you be glued to the screen during the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, will you catch the recaps, or will you ignore the games completely? Any favorite events?

I am glued.  Favorite events:  ice skating (all forms), snowboarding,  skiing … and all extreme versions.  I do none of these sports, but I can dream.

4. Dogs or cats? Pedigree or mutts?

I wasn’t raised with pets, and the first thing John said after we were married was, we’re getting a dog.  He’d always had dogs.  And then we found a kitty cat (our Kippy) in a dumpster, and we fell in love with cats.  And from then we always had both, and at least two of each.

5. How many books have you published and in how many genres and sub-genres?

Twenty-seven books and about a dozen novellas, all either erotic historicals or contemporaries.  My books were some of the first to be reviewed as erotic romance, even though there were constraints.  We had to use what I called “everyday household words” and still make our readers feel the experience.  And they did.

6. Favorite female singer/rocker over 60: Tina Turner, Deborah Harry (Blondie), Stevie Nicks, Gloria Estefan or _________?

Oh, Stevie Nicks for sure.  Rumours” is one of my favorite albums and her voice — rich, indelible … love love love.

And Adele.  Don’t know if she’s over 60, but she’s 100% for me. [Editor’s Note: Adele Laurie Blue Adkins is 29. 🙂 ]

7. If you were marooned on a deserted island with plenty of food and water but with only one book to read and re-read, which title would you hope for?

GONE WITH THE WIND,   [by Margaret Mitchell], which, for me, was a different book every age I reread it, including recently, with my sister-in-law.  It surprised me to no end how much more history there was  than romance.  And you know, when I was sixteen and first read it, I was swooning over the romance.

8. What is the first thing you do when you finish a book?

 Put it down and think about it.  If I really loved it, why?  If I didn’t, why not?  How would I do it differently? 

9. Which Disney princess (or prince) do you wish you were more like? And which one are you really most like?

You’ve got me here — I grew up with Cinderella and Snow White — one passive, one active. I’m afraid I wasn’t a princess-y kind of little girl.

10. Who was the first person, besides your mom and dad, who told you that you could write?

Nancy Drew.  I started writing because of Nancy Drew — I wanted to create stories like that and I don’t know or remember why.  It just seemed like something I wanted to do,  so I started writing.  Writing something coherent at age 8 or 9 was a reward in and of itself.  As for encouragement — I don’t remember anyone specific, except my dad who, when I was fourteen, bought me the most expensive typewriter on the market.  Nothing more needed to be said.

11. What are some of your non-writing talents that readers might find surprising? (Keep it PG please.)

I love to crochet. I’m left-handed and my right-handed mom tried in vain to teach me.  It turns out I crochet right.  I also play guitar (3 majors and a minor) right-handedly.  I’m a sixties folkie; John and I lived in Greenwich Village back then, which was the place to be for folk music. I had grown up listening to Burl Ives, Roy Acuff and other country stars of the era, because my mom loved that music AND she could yodel.  I wanted to, badly, but there are some things you just can’t inherit.  I also love to write lyrics, songs, poems and doggerel.  The last lyric I wrote was about John’s complaining he couldn’t tell if I was talking to him or to myself (which I do — a lot).

12. Names some things that have changed in publishing since your first book was published.

 Everything. 

13. Have you ever, even for a moment, forgotten that one of your characters was…you know…fictional?

No, but I sure fell in love with Nick Galligan in HIS LITTLE BLACK BOOK and Doug Rawls in SEX, LIES AND SECRET LIVES.

14. Do you own at least one purse (or twenty) from a well-known fashion designer, or are you more the bag-to-carry-my-junk-in type?

I’m a big-bag-to-carry-my-junk kind of girl, which John facilitated by buying me a nice large and beautiful bag every year for Christmas.  He bought the designer names.  I shopped the thrift shop.

15. Offer a piece of advice to new writers that you wish someone had given to you at the beginning of your career.

Keep writing no matter what.  You have the most control over this.  And you’ll get better at it.  You’ll get to know when it’s too much and when it’s just right.  You’ll know when to gloss over and when to drop details, and many other subtleties that you’ll discover when you’re not looking. 

I’ve been an author for more than 30 years, and I’m still refining how I write.  When I look at old manuscripts, I can see vestiges of how I write now and how much I’ve learned.  You will too.

 

***

 

 

His Little Black Book

By Thea Devine

 

 

… He came in with two cups of coffee and handed her one, made exactly the sway she liked it.

She slanted a startled look at him, and in that moment, she saw what Delia had seen:  the bafflement, the resistance, the hunger, the restraint, the desperate wish that her choices hadn’t been so heedless.  She saw the difference between a hedonist who had only wanted to play the game by his rules for his ongoing pleasure, and a man whose sole goal was centered all on the woman he had chosen.

This thing between them had everything to do with her — what made her her, the mystery of her, and his need to know the things about her that complemented the opposite things in him.

The spark, the attraction had nothing to do with her body or sex, although there was that too.  She understood that the detective in him was really a romantic under the skin, and he wanted to believe.  He almost could believe because he wanted it so much.

But for his own moral peace, he had to push her away because any relationship for him wouldn’t be a cavalier display of power.

It scared her how much he knew, how much he saw. Whereas she knew virtually nothing about him — barring he was a voracious reader, he loved music, he made good coffee, and  he was neat, tenacious, irritating, sarcastic blunt, and on every level, exciting. Superficial things overlaying what was beneath.

But when she looked at him, she felt enfolded.  She saw cozy nights and shared lives;  she saw the kind of man a woman would want to marry…

And in that moment, she fell in love…

***

HIS LITTLE BLACK BOOK, a 2006 release from Pocket Books, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

***

About Thea

Thea Devine‘s books defined erotic historical romance. She’s the USA Today bestselling author of 27  steamy historical and contemporary novels and a dozen novellas.  She was the recipient of RWA NYC’s “Lifetime Achievement Award”, and honored by Romantic Times for being a “Romance Pioneer”. Learn more about Thea through her website, www.theadevine.com, and connect with her on Facebook.

 

***

Bonus!!

Call Me Home 

(Thea’s Work in Progress) 

Oh damn.  The problem of Bobby Sainz had her all tense and on edge.  Jack Tierney had specifically asked her to deal with Bobby’s father since she’d known Bobby, he said, and she’d handled estate matters in New York.

She waved at a recent client, as she turned at the Corners.  Here, catty-cornered, were The Cup ‘n Sup, the post office, town hall and, in a lovely old house that backed the lake, the town library.

Marco Sainz’s house was in a prime ten minute walk-to-town location.

In no time it seemed, she stepped up onto the sun porch, pausing a minute to look at the lake, and then noting a battered truck parked on the shoulder of the road.  But there was always a battered truck parked somewhere on the roads around here, she thought as she opened the door.

Immediately the atmosphere felt charged.

Someone’s here

She dug for her cell phone and left the door open as she moved slowly into the living room.  Nothing had been moved or changed, but something was different.  Or she was imagining things.

“Anyone here?”

She went into the kitchen.  Everything clean and pristine as before.  Into the larger of the two bedrooms – and she stopped.  Suitcases here, thrown carelessly on the bed,  a grocery bag on the floor.

Oh dear God …please, no

“Hey!  Don’t move …”

A hard ruthless voice behind her, shocking her.  She whirled, her cell at the ready … “Bobby …?” Her heart stopped, her breath caught.  He was tall, muscular, and gorgeous.  Hard body, hard gray eyes, long hair threaded with gray falling into his eyes.  Hard voice, deep, rich, demanding,  “Who the hell are you?”

Carrie let out her breath.  He didn’t recognize her. Good.  He was more formidable than she’d imagined. with that hard scowl and an animal magnetism that subtly infused the air.  The pull was almost irresistible.

She resisted.  “Carrie Scott, Bobby.”

“Jeez …” He stared at her for a long moment.  “Carrie?” Not the Carrie he remembered, the one with the big blonde hair, tight skirts and barely buttoned blouses.  The Carrie with the crush that had nearly crushed him.

“Carrie Scott, Esquire,” she amended coolly to put a measurable distance between them.  Or was it a chasm, between the elite lawyer and the hard bitten military man?   “Nice to meet you too, Mr. Sainz.”  She held out her hand.

He brushed it aside, almost afraid to touch her.  “The hell.  What are you doing here?”  Carrie?  Really? With that long thick braid brushing her breast like a caress,  wearing jeans and sneakers? And silk?  Why the hell had that registered?

He barely heard her answer, he was so stunned..

“I check up on the house once a week.  I do that for all my absentee clients.  Where there’s renovation, there’s temptation.  And an empty house?  They take anything they can sell when they can get away with it …”

She stopped abruptly, aware he wasn’t listening.

They stared at each other for a long time. She was certain he was seeing what she saw:  their younger faces superimposed over the adult, and how much they’d changed and how much they were still the same.

Memories cascading suddenly — how she had been:  sassy, cocky, beautiful even then, intelligent, sure of herself, crazy crushed on Bobby Sainz.  Following him around, surreptitiously, she’d thought.  Dressing provocatively. Doing things to make him notice her.

Oh God.  Had it been like that?  Had she been like that?  She’d been so sure of herself.  Fifteen, for God’s sake.  Thought she knew it all …

And then, the morning at the lake.

Bobby broke his gaze first, and turned abruptly to stalk to the front door.

“Thanks.  Nice of you to drop by.”  Goddamn it, she was beautiful.  Still.

And she was his past as much as anything else in this town – which meant, despite that girlhood crush, she could be his worst enemy.

Carrie followed him slowly.  “I was your father’s lawyer, Bobby. We have things to discuss.  I’d like you to come to my office … at your convenience.”

He was standing by the door, tall, predatory, savage,  his anger potent and tangible, as if she were the one who’d stoked it up.

Maybe she had.  The past was never that far away, it seemed.  She did not like him in that moment. She saw then the hard reality of what the past twenty years had done to him.  He was an exile. There was no softness in him. But there never had been.  And there was nothing of the boy she’d crushed on so futilely.  This was another person from another place; he didn’t belong here.

“All you have to do is come to the office and sign some papers, Bobby.  You don’t even have to stay here.”

“Really?  Nice welcome home, Lawyer Carrie.  Chasing me out after I’ve barely just walked in the door?”  How could anyone be so beautiful and such an absolute bitch?  Nothing had changed in all these years. “Thanks for the drive-by.”

“I walked,” she said coldly.  “My hours are ten to four, the office is on Main, the green house by the One Stop.  Any time this afternoon would work.”

“I’ll be in touch.”  He slammed the door behind her, and she stood there, stone frozen for a long moment.

What just happened in there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Speed Dating – Roni Hall

 

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: Roni Hall

15 Questions

 

1. If you could revisit any favorite period in your life for a day, in approximately which year would you be found and what would you be doing?

My wedding day. I’ve never felt such intense, overwhelming emotion as I did walking up the aisle…nervousness, anticipation, excitement and of course love. The icing on the cake… everyone that was important to me was there to share it.

2. Sure, it’s like picking a favorite child, but which one or two of your titles do you secretly love just a little more than the others?

LOL, that’s easy. MONTANA WILD, my only release. I am working on another as we speak.

3. Will you be glued to the screen during the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, will you catch the recaps, or will you ignore the games completely? Any favorite events?

I will be glued to the TV. I LOVE the Olympics. Downhill skiing is crazy, scary and exciting.

4. Dogs or cats? Pedigree or mutts?

Definitely dogs. I am extremely partial to Labs.

5. How many books have you published and in how many genres and sub-genres?

My debut novel is contemporary romance with a flair for adventure. I threw in some suspense too!

6. Favorite female singer/rocker over 60: Tina Turner, Deborah Harry (Blondie), Stevie Nicks, Gloria Estefan or _________?

So many to choose! Aretha Franklin.

7. If you were marooned on a deserted island with plenty of food and water but with only one book to read and re-read, which title would you hope for?

I would have to take two vastly different novels…GONE WITH THE WIND [by Margaret Mitchell] and THE STAND by Stephen King.

8. What is the first thing you do when you finish a book?

Crack open a special bottle of wine!

9. Which Disney princess (or prince) do you wish you were more like? And which one are you really most like?

I wish I was more like Belle (“Beauty and the Beast”) because she could see inner beauty. And which one are you really most like? Ariel [“The Little Mermaid“]. I am a water baby.

10. Who was the first person, besides your mom and dad, who told you that you could write?

My boss! I was rewriting a job classification and he was impressed with my manipulation of words to describe the position.

11. What are some of your non-writing talents that readers might find surprising? (Keep it PG please.)

Calligraphy, cooking, wine appreciation. I took some woodworking classes and have a renewed respect for all power tools!

12. Names some things that have changed in publishing since your first book was published.

When I was writing my debut novel, self-publishing was frowned upon. Now it is a respected, legitimate option!

13. Have you ever, even for a moment, forgotten that one of your characters was…you know…fictional?

Sure. When you spend so much time with your heroine, she becomes your bff!

14. Do you own at least one purse (or twenty) from a well-known fashion designer, or are you more the bag-to-carry-my-junk-in type?

I love bags…but they don’t have to be designer. I like them to be FUN with lots of compartments!

15. Offer a piece of advice to new writers that you wish someone had given to you at the beginning of your career.

Don’t quit. Don’t compare yourself to others. Stay true to YOUR voice.

 

Thanks Dana!

 

***

 

 

Montana Wild

By Roni Hall

 

 

Swept up into the sea of travelers at the airport, she focused her attention back to the present as she followed the human current through check-in and security gates. It wasn’t until she was buckled into her seat that she registered the panic present in the far corner of her mind. What am I doing? A sickening wave of nausea rose in her throat as clammy beads of sweat trickled down her face. What the hell am I doing? Get up. Get off the plane now. It’s not too late, go!

Dizzy with indecision, she reached for the buckle on her seatbelt as her alternate conscience spoke up. No, stay. Do I really want to go back to my cramped little studio and spend more time alone? Her fingers released the grip on her seatbelt and she closed her eyes, deliberately trying to relax the tense wires in every fiber of her body.

Uneasy thoughts lingered after her internal schizophrenic conversation and she tried to leave all doubts behind as the plane ascended. Finding it impossible to concentrate on reading, she tried to distract herself by striking up a conversation with the unlucky soul sitting next to her.

“Have you ever been to Montana?”

“Oh yes, my sister lives there and I try to visit her every few years. How about you?”

“No, I’ve never been. This’s my first time and I’m nervous,” Jamie admitted.

“It’s pretty enough, but it’s rough country. I couldn’t live there. What brings you?”

Well, I finally got enough backbone to break up with my abusive, criminal boyfriend Derrick three months ago, and then my best friend and only ally, Noah, left on tour. I have NO family since my father died an agonizing death from lung cancer ten years ago, resulting in my mother becoming depressed and committing suicide two years later. I was pathetic enough to attach myself to one of my patients and become a helpless spectator as death cruelly consumed him. Only days after his death, my only surviving relative and second mother died, leaving me a 31-year-old orphan. So you see, I’m a loser and terribly lonely. So when this man I’ve never met in person asked me to join him on an intriguing escape across the country, I accepted.

That was the whole enchilada she wanted to spew out to the sweet, unsuspecting gray-haired matron in seat 21A. Instead she answered succinctly, “Just visiting a friend.”

 

***

MONTANA WILD, Roni Hall’s debut novel and a 2016 release from Soul Mate Publishing, may be purchased through Amazon. An Audible version of the book may be purchased by following this link.

 

***

About Roni

The summer after high school graduation, Roni worked two jobs to pay for nursing school. During the midnight shift as a waitress, a charismatic young man at the counter flirted with her for hours as he consumed seven cups of coffee.  Their first date was eventful enough to be a book itself! Thirty-nine years and two kids later, the love story continues. Just like her novels, life can’t be too simple and you must make it an adventurous ride!

Her favorite place to write is in her hammock at their small Michigan cottage where she literally dodges the feeding hummingbirds while being serenaded by the lake’s loons.  Besides writing, she loves Slow Rollin’ in Detroit and the combination of good food, better wine, and dear friends.  Learn more about Roni through her website, www.ronihall.com, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Email her here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Speed Dating – Betina Krahn

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: Betina Krahn

 

15 Questions

1. If you could revisit any favorite period in your life for a day, in approximately which year would you be found and what would you be doing?

1989. My boys would be in elementary school, and I would be welcoming them home on an icy Minnesota afternoon with hot chocolate and cookies and big warm hugs!!  [sniff, sniff]

2. Sure, it’s like picking a favorite child, but which one or two of your titles do you secretly love just a little more than the others?

A GOOD DAY TO MARRY A DUKE. Seriously. I had such fun writing it.  And MY WARRIOR’S HEART, reissued by Bantam as THE ENCHANTMENT Vikings with a six-foot battle maiden.  What more can I say?

3. Will you be glued to the screen during the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, will you catch the recaps, or will you ignore the games completely? Any favorite events?

Not much into the Games these days, but I still love the figure skating—see it when I can.  Always my fave!

4. Dogs or cats? Pedigree or mutts?

Definitely dogs.  Rescue dogs… pedigree or not.  Goldens, especially.  Like my Gracie.

5. How many books have you published and in how many genres and sub-genres?

Yikes.  At least 30.  ::blush::  I lost count.  All historicals… except SOLDIER’S RESCUE, which was out last September with Harlequin Heartwarming.  That’s a contemporary.  All time periods: Medieval, Vikings, American Colonial, Elizabethan, Victorian…

6. Favorite female singer/rocker over 60: Tina Turner, Deborah Harry (Blondie), Stevie Nicks, Gloria Estefan or _________?

Probably Tina Turner.  Too bad Mama Cass [Elliot] and Janis Joplin aren’t with us… they’d be over 60 now.

7. If you were marooned on a deserted island with plenty of food and water but with only one book to read and re-read, which title would you hope for?

Only one? Honestly, a C.S. Lewis or the  HOLY BIBLE But if I could have two… Judith Merkle Riley’s A VISION OF LIGHT That book changed my outlook on women’s lives entirely.

8. What is the first thing you do when you finish a book?

Hug the hubs deliriously and then SLEEP.  Champagne comes later.

9. Which Disney princess (or prince) do you wish you were more like? And which one are you really most like?

Anna, from “Frozen.”  Plucky women are my stock and trade. But, I’m really more a Rapunzel [“Tangled”] … without the hair.

 10. Who was the first person, besides your mom and dad, who told you that you could write?

My crazy sister.  She was my very first reader.

11. What are some of your non-writing talents that readers might find surprising? (Keep it PG please.)

I can talk angry people down.  Not sure what kind of “talent” that is, but it’s pretty useful in the medical field.  My staff gets a hot one and it’s: “Get Betina!”

12. Names some things that have changed in publishing since your first book was published.

How much time have I got?  Independent wholesalers and bookstores have all but disappeared.  Publishers have consolidated into empires.  Everybody can (and does) publish on the Internet.  And, in general, books are so much better these days.

13. Have you ever, even for a moment, forgotten that one of your characters was…you know…fictional?

In the early days, my whole family talked about one of my heroines as if she were real.  Treasure.  I think the neighbors wondered if we had a kid we kept in a closet.

14. Do you own at least one purse (or twenty) from a well-known fashion designer, or are you more the bag-to-carry-my-junk-in type?

No great couture. I get a Dooney & Bourke or a Coach (usually as a gift), and I carry it until my sister says: “That thing looks like a feed bag.  An OLD feed bag.”

 

***

 

 

 

 

A Good Day to

Marry a Duke

By Betina Krahn

 

 

Looking into her reflection, she managed to settle two silk butterflies back into her hair and wrap the dangling threads of a third around some seed pearls in the flowers at her shoulder.  She must have groaned aloud, because her fashion critic laughed.  When she looked up, he stood nearby with a gold stickpin in hand.

“Try this.”  His grin raised both hackles and gooseflesh.

“I couldn’t possibly.”  She dropped her gaze and found the butterfly she’d applied hanging to one side, as if it had expired from the indignity of having to appear on that dog’s dinner of a dress.

“Well, I could,” he said, taking the butterflies from her and stabbing both through with the stickpin.  She watched in disbelief as he pulled out the fabric of her bodice, jabbed the pin through a flower, and threaded it through from behind.

When the butterflies were secured, his hand remained in audacious contact with her liberally exposed skin.  He ran the backs of his knuckles slowly around the neckline of her bodice.

She should be kicking him like a Missouri mule, should be giving him a painful lesson in how American girls dealt with “bounders.”  But, truth be told— tall, dark men with bad intentions had always been her weakness, and he was taller and darker than most and from what she could tell, his intentions were spectacularly bad.

Right now every muscle in her body was taut with expectation and her lips ached for contact of a sort she’d sworn to forego until she had spoken respectable vows.

“There,” he said with a wry smile, lowering his hand.  “If you can overlook the fact that those two appear to be mating, you’ll be fine.”

“Mating?”  Her eyes flew wide as she realized what he’d done.  “You, you—” She caught herself before she uttered a curse and drew a fiercely controlled breath instead.  “What is her name?  This mama you slunk in here like a polecat to avoid.”

His grin dimmed and he paused a moment, studying her.  She had caught him off-guard.

“A gentleman does not discuss the ladies in his life.”

“Is that so?” she said, lifting her chin as she headed for the door.  “Well, I’m sure I’ll recognize her when I see her.  She’ll be the one with the shotgun” –she raked him with a look— “and the horse-faced daughter.”

 

***

A GOOD DAY TO MARRY A DUKE, Book 1 in the Sin and Sensibility series and a November 2017 release from Zebra (Kensington Publishing Corp.), may be purchased through these and other retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Kensington.

***

About Betina

 

Bestselling author Betina Krahn is the creator of dozens of satisfying “happily-ever-afters.”  Her many historical romances have received a coveted RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America, numerous reviewer’s choice and lifetime achievement awards and have appeared regularly on bestseller lists. . . including the USA Today and The New York Times.

Her books have been called “sexy” “warm” “witty” and even “wonderfully wise.”  But the description that pleases her most is “funny”. . . because she believes the only thing the world needs as much as it needs love, is laughter.

Learn more about Betina through her website, www.betinakrahn.com.

***

BONUS!

Useful Quotes from A Good Day To Marry A Duke

 

  • Truth be told, tall dark men with bad intentions had always been her weakness.  And he was taller and darker than most and, from what she could tell, his intentions were spectacularly bad.

 

  • “Careful, Miss Bumgarten. Such remarks might lead one to wonder how you came to be such an expert on men.”

It was a perfect opening.

“A body doesn’t have to have been bitten to recognize a snake.”

 

  • She had enjoyed it, damn it. Just like she knew she would.  She had reveled in it, right down to the way her toes curled in her boots.

And it danged-well couldn’t happen again.  Ever.

 

  • “You think I couldn’t make him happy.”

His laugh came from deep in his chest and had a knowing edge.

“Sweetness, you could make a fencepost happy.”

 

  • “It’s a church, Daisy,” he said leaning close. “I’m hardly apt to ravish you in the nave.”

“You didn’t seem to have any scruples about doing it in a library.”

“Nor”—he smiled wickedly—“did you.”

 

 

 

 

Author Speed Dating – Jessica Jefferson

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: Jessica Jefferson

15 Questions

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

This year, I wanted to have a better relationship with my almost-13yr-old. Four hours after writing that resolution, I checked my Comcast app that tells me how much data’s been used on her cell phone, and I could see that she’d been using the phone all night, despite being told to hang it up right after midnight.  I may have lost my cool and grounded her forever.  Real constructive.

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)?

I may have wanted to have Chris Hemsworth’s baby. Or current tense, want.

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

They happened in the same week!  Thanksgiving 2013…there I was, my first book came out and it was on the Amazon historical romance top 100 list. I was wedged somewhere in between two ridiculously famous authors and I was over the moon with excitement.  Then Thanksgiving morning I received my first one star review. It was so harsh I gave a little spiel about it in the monthly Romance Writers’ of America publication. That reader eviscerated me and I think about that review every time I publish.

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

I have a contemporary that I would love to sell. It’s part of a series, Bliss and Bourbon. I am also in the final stages of writing REVEALING MISS TISDALE, the last book in my Regency Blooms Series. I have a book to follow up on my Second Chance novella in the pipeline as well.  In 2016, I had a lot of life-altering things happen, and in 2017 I lost my mom after 8 months of in and out of hospital care, so I’m just happy to be getting back to writing again. 

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

Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs.  The kind that come out at Easter. I hoard them.

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

I have kids so I’m not sure what this silence is you speak of. I have an office that I conduct business in, but I also camp out on the end of my sofa just so I can be there to make sure the house doesn’t burn down or the kids don’t hurt each other.

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

I now realize she was right about pretty much everything. I honestly can think of no bad advice.

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

I am very narrow – small town romance and Regency-era. This says that I don’t have time to learn about anything else right now. Also, I love to read Regency, and am from a small town, so…

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

Kathleen Woodiwiss is my favorite romance author who has passed on. I remember seeing her books on my mom’s shelf and thinking they were so big, I’d never get through one. But as soon as I picked up that first book, I was hooked. I still have those old copies – they’re held together with brown packing tape. I also have newer copies, but I still go back to the older ones.

As for living authors, Judith McNaught is probably at the top of my list. She hasn’t had a book out for a while, and I really would love it if she could put out about twenty more. PARADISE was the first book I read of hers, and it made me think, wow – I need to write like her.

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?

I write a lot of Post-it notes. I write who they are, who their family members are, map out their world. I also start a Pinterest page for each of my books and pin pics of what I envision each of the characters looking like.

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

I am a gold-medalist in most consecutive episodes of Outlander consumed in a single sitting during the winter months. Winter – I’m not a fan.

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

This is one of those questions that could get me in trouble. I have yet to write a hero that is like my husband. My character Jason St. Regis is cocky and a total rogue, easily a fan-favorite.  I only get emails about that guy, and he isn’t even a hero in any of my books (will be in REVEALING MISS TISDALE). Total opposite of my husband.

13. What is your most ridiculous fear?

I have come to the realization that I’m a big baby about most everything. I am terrified of flying. So much so, I made author Gina Conkle drive with me to Atlanta this year for the Romance Times Convention.

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?

I love to live-Tweet during television shows. My most recent discovery is Love After Lock-Up. If you haven’t watched an episode yet, you’re welcome.

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 had entered my first book into a contest, but somehow my payment never made it. Sonali Dev was the contest chair, and she reached out to me. Now, she could have just forgot about me, but she allowed me to re-submit, and I ended up being a finalist.

Author Violetta Rand was the first author to reach out.  At the time, we were both with Soul Mate Publishing, and she reached out to congratulate me and give me some advice. We still talk today.

Victoria Vane invited me to be on her blog, Embracing Romance, and the networking opportunities were awesome. She’s also given me so much advice. Collette Cameron has pointed me in the right direction a couple times. Gina Conkle has been a huge help to me and really brought my writing to a different level, and Judy Myers is like a sensei of writing. Kathryn Le Veque gave me a chance with her publishing company.

I belong to the Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America, so I can safely say that I feel like I have dozens of great influences. They’re all so awesome, I don’t want to name names because I’ll leave someone out. The only ones I’ll mention here is Julie McMullen, Annie O’Rourke, Alyssa Alexander, and Dawn Barley because they let me bunk with them at our yearly Retreat.

And of course, Dana – because I remember you talking about a scene you were writing during one of those Retreats, and I thought, holy cow, I hope I can know my characters so well. [Host is blushing.]


Thanks for having me!!

***

 

Second Chance Marquess

By Jessica Jefferson

 

“Fine.” He looked away first, turning his attention back to the items he’d collected upon his desk. “If you want to join me, then you may.”

She squared her shoulders and stood a bit straighter having won their duel of wills. “Good.”

Without another word or a single glance, Chesterton left the room.

Not one to be left behind, Wilhelmina hurried after him, through the study and up the stairs.

“Where are we going?” she asked once they’d reached the top, breathless from the burst of activity.

He strode down the corridor, seemingly unaffected by the brisk climb. “To my bedroom.”

She immediately stopped. “Your bedroom? Why ever would we go in there?”

Chesterton turned back to her, one sardonic eyebrow arched high. “To change,” he answered. “You didn’t expect me to head out in this, did you?” He turned and continued toward the room, looking back at her before entering. “Are you coming?” he asked, voice smooth as warm chocolate.

This wasn’t the first time she’d been lured into George’s bedroom. He’d been an earl, the courtesy title bestowed upon him at birth, but more than that, he’d been a gentleman. Apparently, he’d lost that when he’d inherited the Marquisate. His bedroom was no longer an inviting sanctuary, and this invitation was not one of love as it had once been, but a lewd proposition, tenderness replaced by cruelty, as he watched expectantly for her reaction.

“I don’t think that’ll be necessary,” she stuttered, trying in vain to remain calm and collected as he started to untie the sash about his waist holding his robe closed. He let it fall to the ground and the robe opened, revealing his chest and torso in all its naked glory.

And it was indeed glorious.

She quickly averted her glance, whipping her head around and staring attentively at the painting on the wall.

“Is something the matter, Mrs. Turner?”

She was not about to play this game. She didn’t have the time, and he didn’t deserve the enjoyment it would undoubtedly bring him to see her suffer so. And most importantly, she couldn’t play because she knew good and well that she had no chance of winning.

 

***

SECOND CHANCE MARQUESS,  Book 1 in the Second Chance series and a March 2017 release from Dragonblade Publishing, Inc., may be purchased through these retailers: AmazonBarnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

 

***

About Jessica

Jessica Jefferson makes her home in Almost-Chicago with her husband, two young daughters, French bulldogs Hamilton and Lulu, and English bulldog Pete.  When she’s not busy trying to find middle-ground between being a modern career woman and Suzy-Homemaker, she loves watching “Real Housewives of [insert city here]” and performing unnecessary improvements to her home and property.

Jessica writes Regency-era historical romance with a modern twist where she invites her readers to fall in love with romance again. Learn more about Jessica through her website, www.JessicaJefferson.com, and the group blog, http://www.embracingromance.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

Author Speed Dating – Kathy Kalmar

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: Kathy Kalmar

 

15 Questions

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

I made the resolution to stay away from my bad boy love. It lasted until the next time he called─about 5 minutes later.

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)?

Robert Downey, Jr.: hubba hubba!

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

When an editor for Baby Talk magazine rejected “Discipline is part of loving too”, that was depressing. I guess yelling at your baby was a poor parenting strategy. When BEYOND THE BEACH was published, that was an all-time high! Oh yeah and my doctoral dissertation!! That made all the difference.

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

I plan to extend my Mountain Series which is set in the Great Smoky Mountains. MOUNTAIN SKYE, THE PREQUEL is going through first edits.  MOUNTAIN HOT and MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS are out. I’m playing around with a Cape Cod Series… we’ll see. I still have the Beach Series going – BACK TO THE BEACH, PROMISES ON THE BEACH.

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

King-sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my weakness. I am a raging chocoholic.

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

All of the above; but, I prefer my Smoky Mountain round house which burned up in the Chimney Tops 2 wildfire of 2016. We just approved the blueprints for our Comeback Chalet. Now, I write in the dining room looking out the backyard window pretending I’m in the mountains or Hawaii!

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

“I think marrying Jim (1st husband) would be a struggle.” I wish she’d said it would be a catastrophe. But it’s given me tons to write about and the best children and grandchildren in the world. A struggle sounded so challenging, spicy and romantic. Geez.

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

Contemporary romance, inspirational, children’s , women’s, non-fiction education articles. It says I’m a Gemini.

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

Catherine Marshall, TO LIVE AGAIN. It got me through my divorce. Inspirational. Helped my faith grow and develop.

Janet Evanovich and Elin Hilderbrand; one makes me laugh, the other takes me to Nantucket which I pretend is Cape Cod.

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?

I take notes, snatches of thought, descriptions, lines, scenes that come to me. The characters come full-blown. The challenge is to show them being who they are not telling who they are.

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

Hot tubbing is my competitive winter sport. So is summer hot tubbing, spring…

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

Wolfe is an old…boyfriend… and I nailed but good him in PROMISES ON THE BEACH. All my heroes are…opps that would be telling.

13. What is your most ridiculous fear?

That I’ll live too long or not long enough-as if I have any say. Ridiculous.

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?

Kitty videos have me in stitches. Any animal shots that show love and kindness.

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?

Kathleen Woodiwiss made me wordy and maybe horny. JoAnne Delmanico, wonderful island stories. Hers take me back to Cape Cod. I like Dean Koontz– master wordsmith.

 

***

 

 

Beyond the Beach 1

 

By Kathy Kalmar

 

She stood there a long time listening to the comforting sound of the surf. It was constant and reassuring balm to her aching, bruised heart. The divorce had taken its toll. Exhausted, she drifted into the bathroom and took a hot bubble bath. When she was done, she opened her garment bag, searching for her white gauze nightgown but finding seersucker instead! Her fingers flipped rapidly through the unfamiliar clothing. This garment bag held men’s clothing. Good grief.

In her need to put some distance between her and Chance, she must have grabbed his bag! She found his huge tee shirt. Wisely, she didn’t even try the boxers. That seemed futile and too risqué for her. Finding she had the opportunity to get inside some man’s pants – safely, no risk involved- she passed on it. She could make do with what she had in his bag, but he would have no such luck. He’d have to rough it in the buff. Hugging the shirt closer to her, knowing it had covered his body too, she drew in his scent. She sat on the chaise stretching out her bare legs. She giggled. If he could see me now. Strolling to the mini bar, she poured herself a drink and carried it to the lanai…

Meanwhile Chance thought Hope she likes surprises. Over-balancing he fell at her feet in a heap. Hell!  “We really have to stop meeting like this, you know.” he said from the floor.

Caren jerked, spilling the wine against her breasts. The red liquid spread making a large wet spot that made the thin white fabric cling. She recovered from her shock as she realized who it was. “Falling appears to be habit forming,” she agreed .”Ever think of knocking?”

 

***

BEYOND THE BEACH, Book 1 in the Beach Series and a January 2017 release, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 

***

About Kathy

Kathy Kalmar was born in Detroit, Michigan, and lives with her husband, Larry. She feels her life has gone something like a bad country song since her Smoky Mountain cabin retreat burned down, her girlie inside parts were removed and her beloved Bichon-Maltese mix dog, Valentino, died. She’s the mother of two adult children and Grammie to three. Love and family influence her writing. Like her heroines, she got her second chance to love when she married Larry in 1981. She writes non-fiction for teachers and parents and children’s fiction. She reads widely but prefers contemporary romances and enjoys writing them. She prefers to write in her Smoky Mountain cabin in Tennessee, which she is rebuilding after the 2016 Chimney Top Two fire. Although she enjoys reading, walking, and writing, she excels in hot tubbing, chocolate, and in sampling generous glasses of wine, preferably on Waikiki Beach. She enjoys mai tais and butterscotch moonshine too! Learn more about Kathy through her website, www.kathykalmar.com.

Author Speed Dating – Angel Smits

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: Angel Smits

 

15 Questions

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

I’m really not much for resolutions.  I can’t think of any I’ve broken, since I’ve made so few.  Probably when I decided I wasn’t going to bite my nails anymore.  I wanted long pretty nails.  I did it.  I was fifteen, I think.

 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)?

Thor!  The body.  The story—that voice!!  (Fans self)

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

The highest moment so far was when I won Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award.  Such glamour and fun!  An affirmation that I really needed.  The lowest…the announcement this past summer that the Harlequin Superromance line was closing.  I love Super!  (As a reader and a writer.)

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

I’m busy.  My last Superromance is ADDIE GETS HER MAN, which will be in June, #6 in the series.  It’s a bittersweet honor to be one of the final 4.  I’m working on a proposal for the next book I have contracted with Harlequin, though it won’t be a Super.  Love new things!  And I’ve just put out a book on Alzheimer’s care.  (My day job popping up!)  It’s part fiction and part fact.  It was really fun to write. 

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

Oh, man, that’s a tough one!  I love sugar in any form really—but honestly if there were no more M&Ms in the world, what would be the point of going on? 

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

For rough draft I do best with my little pink (yes, pink) laptop at a coffee shop near my house, my IPod playing the latest country tunes!  Editing I have to do on my big desktop.  Need the bigger screen.

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

Technically it is the worst and the best.  Never quit on something you’ve committed to.  Definitely gives me drive to finish things—but sometimes I have a hard time letting go. 

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

My last few novels have been contemporary romance.  My Golden Heart was in the Single Title category.  But my first two books were paranormal romance.  I love ghosts and psychics! I think it says that I have a very weird and varied imagination.  Some might call it overactive…but I love it!  It’s never dull.

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

Just two? There’s so many.  One of my favorite living authors is Jean Brashear.  Beautiful stories!  I get lost in them.  And the author I think who really impacted my writing early on was Emily Bronte.  I’ve read WUTHERING HEIGHTS multiple times.  Heathcliff!!   

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?

I have a box where I’ve cut out pictures of people I think look interesting or like characters.  I’ll sit and go through the box, hopefully finding people who resonate with the people in my head.  I’m terrible about visualizing people.  I need the help! And I love to play with my characters.   

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

I am most definitely the couch potato type.  I love to watch ice skating and even football sometimes, but from the comfy spot on my couch, with a cup of coffee, my fluffy blanket and a book—just in case!  

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

My husband is SO alpha.  And the hero in my book, THE MARINE FINDS HIS FAMILY, is probably the one most like him.  But thinking about it now, I kinda think each one has a little bit of his characteristics.  Hey, I know what I like! 

13. What is your most ridiculous fear?

I do not like anything that slithers or crawls.  Snakes and spiders…ewww…  When we were first married we had cockroaches in one apartment, and I got up in the middle of the night once and turned on the bathroom light.  My poor husband woke up to his new wife’s blood curdling scream.  I’m not sure he’s forgiven me yet. 

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?

I LOVE Twitter.  It’s so fast and furious, but it’s really difficult to keep up with!  I just let it drag me along.  The challenge of putting everything into a few characters fascinates me.  It’s almost disappointing when they expand it.  Like they’re taking away the challenge.

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?

If I started listing them, you wouldn’t have any more room on your blog for anyone else!  I’ve been lucky that so many writers have supported me, and guided me along the way.  Early on, people like Jasmine Cresswell, Pam McCutcheon and Heidi Betts inspired me by writing great stories as well as encouraging me to keep going.  Writing is fun, but when you turn to the publishing world—it can be rough.  Without support, I can see why people give up.  Believe me, there were times I’ve wanted to.  But it always seems like when I reach a point of feeling defeated, some story came along and reminded me why I write, and it’s back.  Or a writer friend will write or call and ask what I’m up to.  Their interest inspires mine.

Since writing for Superromance, I’ve gotten to know the women who are my “Super Sisters.”  They really have made me want to write better.  It’s not a competition, but I sure want to feel like I’m worthy of hanging with them. 

 

***

 

 

Last Chance

at the Someday Cafe

By Angel Smits

 

“Hunk alert,” Wendy called out in a pseudo whisper.

Tara wasn’t sure when the staff had started this ridiculous behavior.  Whenever a good-looking guy came by the restaurant, one of the waitresses would make this announcement.  She knew she should stop it, but with a brand-new staff, she was going to allow anything that helped them become a cohesive team.

“You really should see this guy.”  Wendy passed Tara and whispered in her ear.  “He’s perfect for you.”

Not only was her staff getting involved in the life of the diner, they’d started to make their feelings known about her life–specifically, her lack of a love life.  Love was in the air everywhere–and her staff thought she should join in.

“Not interested,” she said, focusing on the biscuit dough.  “Told you that already.”

“This one might make you change your mind.”  Wendy’s voice came out all sing-songy as she wiggled her eyebrows.  “You never know.”

Wendy disappeared out into the dining room as Lindy, the hostess, came in.  “You gotta see this guy,” Lindy said as she carried a stack of dishes to the sink.  The girl was a ditz at times, but she knew when to chip in and help.

“You girls need cooling off.”  Gabe lifted the water spray and sent a brief blast of water at Lindy, who squealed.

“All right.”  Tara needed to stop them now.  “Everyone get to work.”  Her voice was soft, though, so while they stilled the horseplay, the glances and snickers continued.

Shoving the tray of biscuits into the oven, she stepped back and dusted off her hands.

Suddenly, hands cupped her elbows, and she found her waitresses on either side of her, each taking an arm.  “Hey!”

“You’ll thank us later.”  Wendy laughed.

The laughing trio had to angle awkwardly through the swinging doors, and the thump of the doors falling back into place barely broke the din of the dining room.

Tara didn’t have to ask.  The man at the counter, on the end.  Blond short-cropped hair.  Broad, body-builder shoulders.  And muscles.  His arms were huge, stretching the fabric of his black T-shirt tight.  She didn’t dare look in the direction of his faded blue jeans.

“See?”  Wendy didn’t even bother to try and hide her pointing hand.

Tara froze.  And stared.  “Oh.  My,” she whispered and spun on her heel.  She scurried back into the kitchen before he could look up and see them all gawking at him.

But that man…  He was exactly what she’d normally be attracted to.  He was the opposite of her brothers, so different from her normal reality.

Which was why she’d turned around.  She’d made more than her fair share of bad choice in men.  She did not have time for any kind of relationship right now.  None whatsoever.  Not even a wishful one.

Even if those arms could make any girl feel safe.

 

***

LAST CHANCE AT THE SOMEDAY CAFE, Book 5 in the A Chair at the Hawkins Table series  and a November 2017 release from Harlequin Superromance, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Harlequin.

 

***

About Angel

Angel Smits shares a big yellow house, complete with gingerbread and a porch swing in Colorado with her husband, daughter and Maggie, the border collie mix.  Winning the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award was the highlight of her writing career—until her first Harlequin book hit the shelves.  Her social work background inspires her characters, while improv writing allows her to torture them.  It’s a rough job, but someone’s got to do it. Learn more about Angle through her website, www.angelsmits.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

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!

 

***

 

 

 

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.

 

***

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).

 

 ***

 

 

 

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.

 

 

***

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

                             

Author Speed Dating – Holly Mayes

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: Holly Mayes

16 Questions

1. If you celebrate, name a holiday food you would eat your weight in if you could do it guilt-free.

Not sure if it falls under the category of a holiday, but white wedding cake. All other foods pale in comparison.

2. Give the title of the first manuscript you ever wrote. How many years ago did you pen this masterpiece, and whatever happened to it?

I wish I could remember the title of it; unfortunately, I don’t. I was in elementary school, and it had to do with two girls and one loved square dancing. I won a young author’s award and got to visit an author at MSU.

3. If you could keep only the possessions that would fit in one suitcase, and you were limited to two books – one you wrote and one by someone else – which titles would you tuck inside your bag? Explain your choices.

This gives me anxiety. I can’t even imagine not being able to bring all my favorites. My book would be my very first novel, GEMS. I’m proud I was able to finish a full-length book. The other book would be any of the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. They’re classics, and I grew up reading them.

4. In the winter, would you rather be zipping through powdery snow on skis or a snowmobile or escaping to a sandy beach? Now how do you really spend most of your winter?

Sandy beach. All the way. But how I really spend my winter is cussing and shoveling snow away from my vehicle on the back roads we live on after I get stuck in snow drifts.

5. Which character in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is your favorite, and what does that say about you?

I didn’t grow up believing in Christmas, but I do remember watching it. I guess I’d have to say Rudolph, although I feel like he’s the obvious choice. I don’t recall many other characters in the story. Wasn’t there an abominable snowman or something, too?

6. In which genres and sub-genres are you published, and which others do you plan to add to the list in the next two years?

My first book is a speculative fiction YA novel. My second novel is a contemporary romance. My third book (just released) is the follow up to the first novel. I’ll be working on more fiction in the future, but I’m also interested in memoir. I feel like I’m all over the place when it comes to my writing.

7. If you could visit the studio and hang out with any visual artist, past or present, whose creative space would you be invading? Why?

Annie Leibovitz. Definitely. She’s iconic and has been pushing the limits for years. I used to study photography in school. Her work has always mesmerized me.

8. Do you listen to music when you’re writing? If so, name some of the artists whose work you use to get you creative juices flowing.

I can’t listen to music with words. It throws me off. I listen to Shakuhachi Sakano (Bamboo Flute Music, Japanese Flute), or the Relaxing Music Orchestra or Classical Piano stations on Amazon Prime.

9. What are you reading now, and what is the best book you’ve read in a long time?

I’ve taken a bit of a break from writing so I can “fill the well” again by reading. I just finished THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M.R. Carey. Great read, couldn’t put it down. The best book I’ve read in a long time would probably have to be ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman

10. What is your strategy for writing over the holidays?

I don’t. Haha. I know better than to stress myself out like that. Writing is hard enough as it is.

11. Name three things that are in your purse or pockets right now.

My jack knife my Uncle David gave me, a notebook for writing down thoughts or notes, and about a million stupid cards to every different store I go to that always end up hiding from me at the cash register when there’s 5 people lined up behind me rolling their eyes and saying “c’mon already” under their breath. 

12. Do you write a synopsis before you write a book, and, if so, does your finished product look anything like that road map?

I’ve never written a synopsis. That’s probably what scares me away from traditional publishing. How the devil do I know what’s going to happen until my characters tell me?

13. Are you a fan of reality TV, or could the current Bachelor marry every contestant on Cake Boss and then sing his lungs out on The Voice for all you care?

I usually don’t get stuck on TV, but it is the holidays, and I’m not in the middle of writing so, yeah, I kind of got attached to The Voice. Because Adam Levine…omg… (insert drooling image here). Except for recently he had some pervy pornstar mustache thing going on, and no. Just no.

14. What is your biggest dream for your writing career? The New York Times bestseller list? A movie deal? Your own island in the Caribbean? All of the above?

I guess it’d be nice to think about hitting it big with a novel. But at the same time I think that could be stressful. I’m getting more introverted the older I get, and I don’t like people enough to be recognizable. The people who do follow me and enjoy my books make me happy with their encouragement. That’s enough for now.

15. What is your biggest hope for a reader when she opens one of your books?

That I was able to transport them to the world that was shown to me by my characters and my setting. If they can forget real life for a moment, my job is done. If it lingers after they’re done reading, then double bonus.

16. Are you more a Times Square-ringing-in-the-New Year-type on New Year’s Eve, or will we find you at home, tucked into bed by nine o’clock.

Home tucked in bed. I wake up super early.

 

***

 

 

GEMS

By H. J. Mayes

 

 

 

My head is cradled between my hands as I crouch on the floor. The only sound is my own voice screaming the word “no”, echoing in the walls of my mind. Bits of dust and plaster make my mouth bitter and force me to cough.

There seems to be damage to the hearing in my left ear, but sounds register around me. My hearing picks up the sound of sirens, howling in the distance above ground and coming closer. Coughs and moans rise from the dust near me.

My blurry vision sharpens as I wipe my shirtsleeve across my eyes. The explosion has not affected my legs or arms; they’re intact and moving with little pain.

The door to the break room is thrown open; it’s actually off the frame and tilted in the hallway. Lights flicker on and off, there are wires swinging from the ceiling.

As I stagger to my feet, that’s when I see them. My breath catches and panic makes my chest feel tight.

The leader of the group is slumped over the overturned table in the corner. The other man is buckled on the floor by the door; his head tilted and blood trickling from his mouth. The canvas bag still in his hand. Neither of them is moving. The third one is on the floor by my feet, the needle tossed off to the side.

Bile rises in my throat.

What did I do? Where’s Jack?

Someone with dark hair—maybe Jack’s hair—is unconscious in the hallway by the door. I rush over to him and lean down, gently pulling him back to see his face. It isn’t Jack, but someone else. His face is bloody and some of his teeth are missing, possibly from the door hitting him in the explosion. I pull back, gasping in shock.

The main leader inside the room groans and struggles to sit up. He rubs the dust from his eyes, shaking his head as he stands. When he makes eye contact with me, he slowly reaches for a gun lying near him on the ground.

I stumble backward further into the hallway and trip over someone else. It’s Joe. He’s not moving either. His leg is twisted backward at the knee.

My scream echoes through the hallway.

The lights in the ceiling begin to pop, one by one. As the emergency lights flicker on, the man with the gun appears in the break room doorway. He’s holding his arms up to protect himself from the breaking bulbs raining down on him.

I’m not sure who these people are, but they knew my name and they weren’t worried about my abilities. That’s not what I would consider a normal reaction if people find out who, or what, I am.

 

***

GEMS, Book 1 in the GEMS Series, may be purchased through Amazon.

 

***

About Holly

Holly Mayes is a native of Michigan and enjoys reading, writing, photography and spending time with her two daughters, husband, cat and dog.

She has been published for her short stories in the Lansing Community College Washington Square Review, the women’s online journal When Women Waken, and the Rescued Pets Anthology by Splattered Ink Press.

GEMS is her first full-length, speculative fiction novel about a group of teens with super powers. The second book in the GEMS Series (GEMS-LOST) was released October, 2017.

Her romance FADE TO BLACK, the first in the Love in Bloom series, is currently available on Amazon.

Connect with Holly on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

Author Speed Dating – Shae Ross

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: Shae Ross

 

16 Questions

1. If you celebrate, name a holiday food you would eat your weight in if you could do it guilt-free.

Green bean casserole. My brother and I used to hide the leftovers from each other in the back of the fridge!

2. Give the title of the first manuscript you ever wrote. How many years ago did you pen this masterpiece, and whatever happened to it?

CRUSADE. I wrote the first scenes of CRUSADE the summer between college and law school, which is to say, a long time ago! When I left my job to pursue writing, I had intended to publish CRUSADE, but in 2015 the new adult sub-genre was much more popular than medieval historical. Rather than finish CRUSADE, I let myself get distracted by Jett Trebuchet and Ryan Rose. I wrote their story in, PRETTY SMART GIRLS, LACE UP and sold it on my first pitch. I still plan to publish CRUSADE, someday soon. 

3. If you could keep only the possessions that would fit in one suitcase, and you were limited to two books – one you wrote and one by someone else – which titles would you tuck inside your bag? Explain your choices.

Gosh, what a question! It makes me sweat to think of only having two books. I would pick my third book, RUSH, because characters from my first two books appear in RUSH—that way I’d kind of have them all with me, right? As for the other title, it’s a tie between PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, by Jane Austen, and OUTLANDER, by Diana Gabaldon. (I’d give up at least one pair of shoes to add in a third book though!)

4. In the winter, would you rather be zipping through powdery snow on skis or a snowmobile or escaping to a sandy beach? Now how do you really spend most of your winter?

Hmmm. I’m not crazy about either. Cold weather sports set off warning signals in my mind. I like the beach, but I don’t like to sit still that long. My idea of dream land is wandering through a city that has historical sites to explore, great cafes, and shopping markets!

5. Which character in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”  is your favorite, and what does that say about you?

I haven’t watch RTRNR in so long, I can’t remember the personalities. If there’s a reindeer who’s slightly rebellious and bossy in a non-offensive sort of way (usually), who likes to sing and dress fancy, that’s me! 🙂

6. In which genres and sub-genres are you published, and which others do you plan to add to the list in the next two years?

I’m published in Contemporary, New Adult and Romantic Suspense. I’ll publish another Romantic Suspense next, then likely another New Adult. After that I’d like to publish my Historical and a Women’s Fiction book with strong romantic elements. I have all of these books in progress at various stages. It’s just a matter finding the time to finish!

7. If you could visit the studio and hang out with any visual artist, past or present, whose creative space would you be invading? Why?

I’d love to hang out with Nora Roberts for a day and see what her writing process is like.

8. Do you listen to music when you’re writing? If so, name some of the artists whose work you use to get you creative juices flowing.

YES! Music inspires me, and I love listening to music almost as much as I love reading and writing. I make playlists on Spotify and listen to mixes on Pandora. I’m more of a genre listener than a specific artist listener. Some of my favorites include Miranda Lambert, The Band Perry, Carla Bruni, Melody Gardot, and Madeleine Peyroux.

9. What are you reading now, and what is the best book you’ve read in a long time?

I’m reading MOLLY’S GAME, by Molly Bloom, and NO EXCUSES, by Brian Tracy. One of my favorite recent romance reads is BLUE-EYED DEVIL, by Lisa Kleypas.

10. What is your strategy for writing over the holidays?

On busy days, I still try to squeeze in three hours of writing. I like to write every day, and I’m incredibly irritated with myself when I don’t. I look at the week ahead and try to time block out writing sessions.

11. Name three things that are in your purse or pockets right now.

Biofreeze, for neck and shoulder relief, a permission slip for my son’s next field trip, and a can of cherry vanilla soda.

12. Do you write a synopsis before you write a book, and, if so, does your finished product look anything like that road map?

I do write a synopsis. The finished product follows the synopsis, but has a lot more twists and turns in the road.

 13. Are you a fan of reality TV, or could the current Bachelor marry every contestant on Cake Boss and then sing his lungs out on The Voice for all you care?

Yeah, not really a fan.  I much prefer drama, especially if there’s a romantic element or historical setting. Right now, I am loving, Good Behavior on TNT, The Crown on Netflix, and Knightfall, which just began on the History Channel.

14. What is your biggest dream for your writing career? The New York Times bestseller list? A movie deal? Your own island in the Caribbean? All of the above?

My biggest dream is to keep writing and continue to balance my other priorities effectively—time with my husband, kids, extended family and friends. The above mentioned honors would be thrilling, but none would feel like success unless the people I’ve signed up to  love, honor, and cherish are with me and they know that I’m with them. So far, so good!

15. What is your biggest hope for a reader when she opens one of your books?

I hope my readers experience what I want to experience when I read a book. I want to feel the characters’ emotions. I want to laugh, cry, think, learn something I didn’t know, be captivated by the hero and completely immersed in the story. Oh, and of course, I want the happy ending. Always.

16. Are you more a Times Square-ringing-in-the-New Year-type on New Year’s Eve, or will we find you at home, tucked into bed by nine o’clock?

My husband and I are pretty social. We enjoy going out as much as we love chilling with our neighbor pals at home, but we’ve never been big on going out on New Year’s Eve. We’ll be home.

 

***

 

 

 

 

Bottom of the Sky

By Shae Ross

 

 

He stops and flips upright in the middle of the moonlit river. His hands hold my waist as our feet cycle. “Why are we stopping?” I ask.

“So you can kiss me.”

His hands catch my ribcage lifting me as he tows me in.

My palms flatten against his slick, hard chest. “I make the rules, right?”

He shakes his head, and a wicked smile sprouts from the perfectly shaped lips. “This is no man’s land…the river is ruled by nature.”

His grin widens, ripping something open in my heart, and I think maybe this isn’t such a bad thing. He obviously needs the distraction and so do I.

I meet his kiss. His head slants over mine, and I open for him, sucking him in. Our bodies bob from the force of his treading feet, keeping both of us afloat. His hand slides to my back, slinging me in flush to his body. My breath jams in my throat when I feel him, thick and hard against my stomach, teasing the nerves gathered low in my belly.

“John…” I break the kiss and gasp a short breath. “I need to conserve some energy if I’m going to make it to the other side.”

He chuckles softly, twirling our bodies until we’re in the current again, but when I stroke to swim beside him, he glides underneath me, looping one of my hands over his shoulder and the other under his chest. I surf his back as he swims, resting my cheek on the wet strands of his hair, feeling the muscles of his chest moving under my fingertips with each stroke. Weightless and languid, water floods my limbs, caressing my bones. I’m floating through the Sky as if I’m on my way to heaven..

After several moments, John’s body shifts and his arm contracts. He’s caught the ladder to his dock, supporting our weight with one hand. He dips a shoulder and swings me in front of him. I point my toe and find a slippery rung. The ladder sinks as he steps onto the rung below mine, brushing my back with wet skin, gripping the rails and cocooning me with warmth.

Everything about this moment makes me want to stop and take it in.

I sway into him feeling his cheek brush my temple. He curves around me, dropping a hand to my stomach. I arch as it travels up and his knuckles graze my cleavage, prickling the sensitive skin. A voice inside echoes this isn’t me as his fingers continue upward, sliding to the side of my neck, but this is me with John.

“If you don’t want this, Gianna…” his voice sounds almost tortured. “Climb up.”

My toes curl, standing firm on the rung, submerged like anchors. His mouth lowers to the side of my neck, and I tilt giving him full access.

“If you don’t climb up now, I’ll keep touching you…”

 

***

BOTTOM OF THE SKY, a March 2017 release, may be purchased from Amazon.

 

***

About Shae

Shae Ross grew up in Ferndale, Michigan. She attended Michigan State University and continued her education at Detroit College of Law. Prior to 2014, she spent the majority of her career practicing corporate law and engaged in entrepreneurial ventures.

After having too many stressful days at the office, Shae began to pursue her dream of writing and signed a contract with Entangled Publishing. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes who deliver stories filled with sass, smarts and sizzle.

Learn more about Shae through her websites, www.shaeross.com, or through her Amazon Author Page or Goodreads. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, and join her newsletter here.