Author Speed Dating – Aliza Mann

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: Aliza Mann


15 Questions

1. If a director made a movie about your life, which actress (living or dead) would you like to portray you, and which one would more likely be cast?

I hope it’s okay if I do two actresses – one living and one deceased. The first (living) would be Viola Davis because she is one of those freaks of nature who is so incredibly moving and powerful, she could play a loaf of bread and we’d be in tears by the end. Right? The other (deceased) is Dorothy Dandridge because she could sing and dance. I can’t do either (ha!) and it would just be nice to see someone really great enhance those skill sets for me in a movie. Obviously, my life would be a musical.

2. What are some of the things that have changed in the publishing industry since your first book was published?

There were more big publishing houses than there are now. We’ve seen a number of mergers and acquisitions across the industry that have somewhat narrowed the playing field in one aspect, since the emergence of self-publishing. There are arguments for both, traditional vs. self, along with lots of pros for hybrid publishing. I went with a small press back then, since I was scared to death of self-pubbing. I don’t think I’d do that if faced with the same decision today. So much info is available on how to, what to, and when to self-publish which is making it a more viable option, in my opinion. There were also some genre shifts. I think there will always be those types of up and downs in every genre.  At the time, trends led away from the paranormal genre. Otherwise, my first book probably would have been something about shifters or vampires. I’m glad to see that paranormal is on the rise again in both popularity and sales.

3. Us Weekly or Newsweek?

Us Weekly because my guilty pleasure is gossip.

4. As a reader, do you sneak a peek at the end of the book, or do you make yourself wait for answers until the very end?

I read in order. I feel weird when I sneak ahead. I really want to walk with the characters. Gosh, I’m such a goody-goody sometimes!

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

I have a character who I’ve written a few chapters on and haven’t made it back to the project. Her voice came out so clear, I had to stop and write her. It was, oddly, such a strong story that I did find myself thinking of her as a real person a couple of times. I think there has been maybe one other. It doesn’t happen often, but I imagine it will. Something of an occupational hazard.

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 have contemporary and paranormal romance. I don’t think I’ll go beyond those two subgenres, unless I dabbled in Romantic Suspense. I feel that suspense is one you must do very well to carry off. Maybe that’s me romanticizing those wonderful writers of that subgenre. Maybe one day…

7. Brad Pitt or David Beckham?

Beckham! Did you see those underwear ads? I was sold.

8. If we imagine that a reader has lived on a desert island and missed the opportunity to read one of your books, which title do you recommend that she order as soon as she returns to civilization?

I would recommend FURY RISING. It’s one of my favorite stories and I believe it offers a glimpse into my psyche.

9. Do you have a green thumb or black one, and, either way, how are you gearing up for spring planting season?

It has to be black. But I have one plant that is a climbing pothos. It has grown from the top of my bookshelf to the floor. I’m so proud of it because I’ve never been able to grow a thing. It’s very temperamental however. It really hates water, I think. Whenever I over-water, the leaves look so sad for a couple of days.

10. When and how did you first decide you wanted to be an author?

This, like most things here, is going to sound crazy. I knew I wanted to write something when I was about eleven. I called up the local paper and asked if I could write a column for them. No idea what that entailed, but a very patient and kind editor told me all about submitting a portfolio and have engaging topics, and finding my audience. I will never forget how excited I was that he’d taken me seriously. That day, I knew I would write.

11. Antique Roadshow or Law & Order: SVU?

SVU. It’s the best.

12. What is your favorite song of all time, and what do you do when it comes on the radio or when you stream it?

Ed Sheeran: “Thinking Out Loud”. Whenever it comes on the radio or my playlists, I sing and sway along with it. Again, I’m the worst singer and dancer, but that song makes me feel like I can. So beautiful.

13. What do you believe is your biggest strength as a writer, and what has been your approach to tackling some of your weaknesses?

I believe I am very strong at emotional development of characters. I could use some working on plot. One of the things I’ve done is shifted, or tried to shift, from pantsing to plotting. It is very helpful to see what I need to do, what isn’t working, the areas that are lacking tension… If it’s all in my head, I’m unable to see those things as clearly. As much as I hate plotting, I had to change for the good of my writing.

14. Regarding board games, Scrabble or Left, Right, Center?

Scrabble. I mean, most writers have to go with Scrabble, right? LOL.

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

The primary goal for anything I write is connection. If one reader reads one of my stories and goes away from it feeling as if they connected with the story, the hero, the heroine, I’m going to be very happy.



Dark Hearts

By Aliza Mann




The heat burned into Mitch’s knuckles from the grill as he flipped the quarter pound beef over and lightly poked with the tip of the spatula. There was no excuse for an overdone burger in his mind. He avoided looking at Gigi. The glare in her eyes was bound to be intense and accusatory.

“I don’t know why you want to go down that road again. She’s not for you, wolf-boy.”

Mitch choked down the disdain at his best friend’s comments with a smirk. “Who says?”

“Kayla is not what you need. Leave her alone, Mitch. I mean it,” Bridget said with a huff. Picking up her tray, she turned and flipped her midnight black and white-streaked ponytail over her shoulder, then sped off to yet another table of hungry, possibly drunken college students.

On her way across the room, she dropped off the fries he’d just prepared to the curly-haired beauty at a table in the middle of the room.

Mitch may have been prepared to ignore Kayla and heed Gigi’s warning, but then it happened. She smiled . . . bit her bottom lip, then ran her hand through that wild as hell, sexier than hell hair of hers. His mind ran back over the night they’d shared a week prior. She captivated him.

Her smooth, brown skin radiated with a warm blush as she spoke some quick statement to Gigi. It could have been ‘thank you’ or ‘bring me another trough of fries’ or whatever. Regardless, she looked like an angel.

Mitch returned his attention to the grill, the scent of the burgers reaching the overcooked point that demanded he stop daydreaming about the beautiful girl who’d managed to do what an entire campus full of women had tried and failed at. Miserably.

“Where’s my chicken tenders and fries, Mitch? C’mon, keep up with me. We’re down a server tonight, so stop poking around.” Gigi’s voice echoed into the kitchen from the small serving window, which also served as Mitch’s vantage point for the whole dining area. Jesse’s was an endless source of entertainment.

“Intense, much? Here. Take your order,” Mitch barked in his playful way and placed the heated plate from the steel countertop. “And you should try to keep up with me. There are three more behind this one.”

“Remember what I said, Mitch. Besides, she already has a man in her life making things difficult. Not only that—you’re just too different. So take your break outside before the next rush. And don’t even think about bringing those bedroom eyes into the dining room. Leave my orders up.”

Another flip of her ponytail, and she was off again. Mitch didn’t need to be psychic to pick up that Kayla had been having a bad time, what with all of Gigi’s hints and their conversation the night they’d met. And she was right. The last thing he needed was a demon bringing unwanted attention. They could be messy. Mitch was mostly invisible to everyone on campus. Except for the women who went for the tall, dark and arrogant type. The façade he depended on made his life more difficult, but he needed it. His survival depended on it.



DARK HEARTS, a May 2016 release from Intima Press, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.



About Aliza

Aliza Mann is, and always has been, infatuated with reading and writing. From childhood, one would be more likely to find her reading than most anything else. Spending her summers hidden away in her room until it was time to either eat or go to the library to get more books, she wasn’t interested in many things outside of her fav pastime. Even then, it didn’t necessarily dawn on her that writing romance would be the career of her dreams. She had an idea that writing would make her happy, but not necessarily becoming a novelist. In fact, as a child she once contacted a local newspaper to get info on becoming an advice columnist. It wasn’t until 2008, after her education in business was behind her and she was well on her way to a promising career in the health care industry, that she realized her dream of becoming a romance writer. From there, she found Romance Writers of America and a local chapter, Greater Detroit Romance Writers and through their support, education and resources, she has been able to follow her dreams. And she lives happily ever after writing paranormal and contemporary romance titles.

When she isn’t working her two full-time jobs and reading, she is spending time with her wonderful family – her daughter and son-in-law; her son, who is about to break her heart by leaving for college; and her beau at her home in Metro Detroit. She loves golf, food (not the cooking part), and fashion (with the credit card bills to prove it). You can find her on Twitter , Facebook and through her website,


















Author Speed Dating – MK Schiller

Author Speed Dating(1)

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: MK Schiller

MK pic


15 Questions

1. If you were to make an appearance at Comic-Con, which Superhero costume would you be rocking?

It would be Wonder Woman. The girl is armed with a truth lasso and killer cuff bracelets. Bonus, she has a jet.

2. At which time of day are you more productive as a writer, mornings or nights, and is caffeine a friend or foe?

I think it really depends on what’s going on. I wish the moments I’m creative are scheduled. I’d say nights win though. Caffeine is a great pal, but red wine is a close friend.

3. George Clooney or Bradley Cooper?

Definitely, Bradley Cooper circa “Limitless” and “Silver Linings Playbook”. He always plays characters that make me laugh and feel.

4. What is your biggest dream as an author?

Well, if we’re dreaming big, I would love to see one of my books on the big screen.

5. Name a movie you’ve watched countless times but one you’ll still tune in to whenever it’s on cable.

“Forest Gump”.

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

It’s hard to believe, but 9 books with one on the way. They are all contemporary romances, but range with sub-genres of romantic suspense, new adult, and multicultural romance.

7. Love It or List It or Modern Family?

I’d have to go with Modern Family as it’s one of my family’s favorite shows.

8. What is your favorite way to celebrate after you receive a new book contract or get a great review?

Going out to dinner with my family and announcing it at our monthly Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America meeting.

9. What is your best advice for new writers?

Be encouraged by all praise and heed the criticism to help you become a better writer. But…do not let either define you.

10. Extra-large French fries or a perfect square of dark chocolate?

Chocolate every time, all of the time. Now, if we could make deep fried chocolate French fries, that would be something.

11. Which of your books gave you the most trouble, and what helped you make it to “the end”?

I struggled with the conflict and black moment in Where the Lotus Flowers Grow. It was almost too dark, especially for me. But in the end, I kept it because the whole theme of the book is that love can bloom in any dark corner. Just like the Lotus Flower.

12. Do you have a music playlist for writing? If so, list some of your go-to artists.

Absolutely. In fact, every book has a playlist and artists that helped me get through it. I love Indie artists like Hugo to classics like James Taylor. My playlist is super eclectic and frenzied just like my characters.

13.Virginia Woolf or Maya Angelou?

I’ve read both and enjoyed them, but I’d have to go with Maya Angelou. I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in high school and it really resonated with me. After all, the beautiful heroine used literature to make her stronger in the face of severe trauma.

14. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a book and a new idea pops into your head?

I turn my head and mutter, “squirrel.” It depends if I’m under contract, but I might start writing the new book if the idea makes my fingers twitch enough.

15. Were there other authors who helped you along the way on your writer’s journey, and how did they make a difference for you?

There are too many to name. I was inspired by amazing authors I had read, but also by those who I had met through my local writing group from our knowledgeable speakers to our members. These brave and lovely authors helped pave my writing journey.


MK Cover




Where the Lotus Flowers Grow

By MK Schiller

Steam from the bathroom swathed him as he stepped out, a towel looped low around his hips. His naked chest, revealed muscles chiseled to perfection. I’d seen him when he arrived, but I wasn’t paying attention. And now my attention would not go anywhere else. His damp hair, the color a mix of sun with flecks of sand, lay unruly against his head. His expression conveyed annoyance. I pivoted, my bum backing into the bureau. He narrowed his eyes. Green eyes? Brown? They were both.

They were neither.

“I’m waiting for an answer.”

My fingers clutched the book, digging into the hardback cover, holding it against my chest as if it could shield me from his voice, deep and husky. I shrank back farther, praying the floor would quake open and swallow me up.

His eyes shifted to my hands. He blinked, staring at the book. As much as my eyes were absorbing, my mouth refused to work. What could I possibly say to him? There were no excuses. I’d trespassed and, as a result, I’d be sacked.

“I’ve frightened you,” he said, his voice a shade softer. He held up his hand. “Wait.”

He picked up a few articles of clothing from the open suitcase on the bed, then looked back at me. “Stay.” He closed the bathroom door behind him, disappearing into the diminishing poufs of steam.

I should run. But my feet were stuck to the floor, even though my legs were shaking. For once, I was grateful the sari would hide that.

When he came out a few minutes later, he wore soft, faded jeans and a green rugby shirt. He stood a few feet away, but I could smell fresh soap and sweet mint radiating from his body.

He slapped his chest three times. “My name is Liam Montgomery.”

I continued to stare, dumbfounded. Was he introducing himself to me as if we lived on the same plane? I had found comfort in being a maid because the attention paid to me was on par with my paycheck. That was my preference. My choice. Perhaps a penance in a way. But now…I had all his attention and no idea what to do with it. He sighed, shaking his head with disappointment. “Lotus Girl, why would you pick up a book you can’t read?”

Lotus girl? Was he talking to me?

“Let’s try this again. Mera Nam, Liam Montgomery,” he said in poorly pronounced Hindi.

“You don’t speak Hindi either?” When I didn’t respond, he picked up his phone and pressed a few buttons. “So many languages in this country. Rest assured, I’ll find yours.”

As if rest were a possibility.

“Ah, here we are.” He repeated the introduction in Punjabi, Gujarthi, Marthati, Tamil, Bangali, and even Sanskrit. Each time, he looked at me with a hopeful expression. With my continued silence, he grew more disappointed. Somehow, his desperation to talk with me made the tension dissipate just as the steam had. Finally, he threw his phone on the bed.

He shook his head in resignation, offering me a self-deprecating smile.

“That’s all I got. I suppose we shall never speak.” He stared at the book again. I held it out to him with both hands. He stepped closer, his bare feet oddly beautiful. Later, I would wonder why I didn’t just lay the book back on the bureau. His hands, large with long fingers, gripped the other edge and stilled the wobbling tome. I tilted my chin, forcing myself to look at his face. I knew I’d regret the moment if I chose to…squint.

He nodded toward the book, but kept us at a distance. “It’s a shame, really. This is my favorite Dickens’s novel. It’s almost an autobiography.”

He tugged on it. I wouldn’t let go.

He chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck. “Why the hell I’m still talking to you when you can’t bloody-well respond, I have no idea.” He gestured to the door. “Either it’s heatstroke, or I’m going mad.”

“You’re wrong.”

He swallowed, his eyes widening. “I’m not going mad?”

“It’s not an autobiography. Dickens said his most autobiographical book was David Copperfield. Not Nicholas Nickleby.” I thought I’d said it in my head, but the way his jaw dropped made it clear I’d articulated the statement.

Liam smiled again, his expression a mixture of curiosity and suspicion.

“She speaks. And what interesting things she has to say.”


Where the Lotus Flowers Grow, a September 2016 release from Lyrical Shine, an imprint from  Kensington Publishing, may be purchased from these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.



About MK

MK Schiller was born a hopeless romantic in a hopelessly pragmatic world. She has a full-time life and two busy teenagers, but in the dark of night, she sits by the warm glow of her computer monitor and attempts to conjure up passionate heartwarming stories with plenty of humor. She hopes you enjoy her stories and always find The Happily Ever After in every endeavor.

Stay in touch with MK through her website,, her Facebook author page and Facebook profile, her Amazon Author Page, Twitter and Goodreads.