Love and Laughter in the Desert… #RT18 in Pics!
Hi Blog peeps! I know you’re all like where you been? Or maybe not if you’re following me everywhere else like: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and you know exactly where I’ve been; on deadline, editing, editing and editing some more and now I’m back on deadline again.
See, don’t I lead a fabulous and totally un-blog worthy writer’s life? I’m sparing you all from boredom with my tardiness.
But thanks to being all writerly, I finally have something I can post about on Ye Old Blog to my my like seem glamorous and noteworthy! You know the stuff that social media is made for!
*cue confetti cannon*
Am I trying too hard? Well you’re still here so it’s working.
That said, I have my pics of RT18 which was the Romantic Times Book Lovers convention 2018 held in Reno Nevada last week. Sad surprise, it turned out to be the last official RT Convention and RT magazine is now shutting down as its founder, Katheryn Falk is retiring. I have been honored to have received lovely feedback on my work from RT during my short career and am happy to have attended this year’s convention.
I look forward to attending next year’s new Booklovers Convention in New Orleans. Here is the site if you’d like to sign up for their newsletter.
Now onto the fun! I’ve finally gotten around to going through all my photos from last week and here are some glimpses of all the fun I romantic bookish fun I had. Can you spot some of your favorite romance authors?
Sidebar: I’m over at Fiction From The Heart right now with a 10.00 gift card giveaway. Click the link to join us and get your entry in!
See you all soon. Check back next week when I’ll have some exciting GIVEAWAY NEWS!
Oh and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to stay in the know!
All the best,
- #WeNeedDiverseRomance, authors, book launch, Books, diverse romance, diversity, guest posts, interviews
Have you Met Nicole—I mean Nora? Interview with Nicole Blades
Happy Halloween and Welcome Peeps!
Today on ye old blog I’m thrilled to have my friend and fellow Kensington publishing sister, Nicole Blades here to answer a couple of question on her latest release:
HAVE YOU MET NORA? (OUT TODAY!).
She’s blossomed from a wealthy surgeon’s beautiful daughter to elegant socialite to being the top fashion stylist in the country. And Nora Mackenzie is only days away from marrying into one of New York’s richest, most powerful families. But her fairy tale rise is rooted in an incredible deception—one scandal away from turning her perfect world to ashes . . .
What no one knows is that Nora is the biracial daughter of a Caribbean woman and a long-gone white father. Adopted—and abused—by her mother’s employer, then sent to an exclusive boarding school to buy her silence, Nora found that “passing” as a white woman could give her everything she never had.
Now, an ex-classmate who Nora betrayed many years ago has returned to her life to even the score. Her machinations are turning Nora’s privilege into one gilded trap after another. Running out of choices, Nora must decide how far she will go to protect a lie or give up and finally face the truth.
Thank you so much for being here Nicole and for answering my questions:
KMJ: First off What inspired you to write this story?
N.B.: I’ve always been deeply interested in identity, more specifically, how someone organizes their entire spirit around being something and claiming it out loud. I’m also curious about the weird line between how we see ourselves and how we wish the world views us. For some people, the two versions are similar and live close to that line. And of course, for others, the two “selves” can be worlds apart.
For this story, I wanted to go even deeper with this concept and examine how someone could construct an identity rooted in a lie, taking “fake it ‘til you make it” to a totally different level. And then, how far would they go to protect that identity that they’ve created out of nothing but dust and dreams? I had to find out!
K.M.J: What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
N.B.: I’ve been asked to offer advice to writers a few times, and I tend to say basic things. I must preface this by saying that advice can be tricky. What works for one person might lead to total disaster for another—and getting too many opinions can often leave you feeling more bewildered than when you started. You have to have a certain presence of mind and awareness to recognize what “wise words” to keep and what you can just let fall away. All that said (heh.), here’s my advice to writers: First, read. I know, with the way the world is spinning and all that’s going on, It can certainly feel like there’s not enough time to read everything. So many links, so many books, so many articles and posts! But the fact is, you have to make the time to read books, because writers read. And it’s important to read wide–read genres that are not necessarily up your alley, read authors you wouldn’t normally lean toward, read great work and less-great work too. Keep it varied; expose yourself to all the flavors, and add breadth to your POV.
The second key piece of advice I would suggest is also simple (in theory, anyway): You must write. It’s one thing to say that you want to write X or Y, but it’s whole other thing to actual sit your bum in the chair and do it. We are busy, all of us. We are juggling plenty, but you must make the time to write if you want to be a writer. Find a schedule that works with your life—getting up before the sun or blocking off two hours at night after everyone’s gone to bed—and write, and try to do it every day. Even if it starts with 20 minutes a day and you build from there, just do it. Storytelling is a craft and you have to continue to work on it.
Lastly, find your voice and use it. Don’t bother emulating your favorite writer. That’s their voice. Use yours to tell the stories that you want to read, the stories that you’re not seeing out there. Trying to decipher the code about what sells and what people want to read is wasted energy. You should have one goal: tell a great story. Focus on that goal. All the other stuff—the genre that works for you, loyal readers, bigger-better opportunities, even book sales—they are byproducts that often show up when you’re fixed on telling a good story in your voice.
K.M.J:Lastly, please share with us what’s next for you?
N.B.: Next for me is the H.Y.M.N. (small) book tour. First stop is the nation’s capital. I’ll be at Sankofa Bookstore in Washington D.C. on November 6th at 6:30 p.m. Then back to New England for a local-ish book event at R.J. Julia Bookstore at Wesleyan on November 14th at 7 p.m. before heading to Canada for fun events in my hometown Montreal followed by Toronto. (All my upcoming events are listed on my web site: NicoleBlades.com.)
I’m also working on a new novel. I don’t like to talking too much about whatever I’m cooking up. I’m a little weird and low-key superstitious about it, but I’ll just say break out of my usual rule and say this: It’s about a scientist, struggling to move through her broken life, who stumbles into investigating a mysterious illness that’s killing off the nation’s youth. I’m really hoping to be finished by the end of the year. Wish me luck, and good writing vibes!
And now here is an excerpt from HAVE YOUR MET NORA?:
Nora opened her eyes and stared through the darkness at the ceiling. Three twenty-eight, she thought, before rolling up off her back a little and craning her neck to look just past Fisher’s shoulders at the blue numbers on the clock by his nightstand. He was dead asleep, the rhythmic flow of his deep breathing like white noise. The numbers gleamed: 3:41 am. Close enough, she thought, and returned to the ceiling. Although Nora had long been an early riser—she couldn’t remember a time when she had slept later than the sun—this was different.
She eased the covers off and slid out from under Fisher’s muscled arm, moving slow and steady toward the edge of the bed. She hopped down, landing with a soft thud, and then froze, shifting her eyes back to Fisher. No change. Not even a break in the beat. Nora grabbed her iPhone and padded along the hall. The moon, pushing through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the penthouse, provided more than enough light for Nora to find the handle to the mini champagne fridge that Fisher bought for her last year. Nora gave the half-drunk bottle of Armand de Brignac—a gift from a client—her deepest bow with prayer hands before grabbing it and shutting the fridge door with her foot. She pulled the orange stopper from the bottle, letting it drop to the floor, and started typing into her phone on her way to the bathroom at the far end of the penthouse. Nora waited until she was inside the empty, freestanding tub before taking her first, long swig from the bottle. She rested her phone on the ledge of the tub and pressed a button on a remote that sent the massive blinds skyward. Nora stayed there in the empty basin, soaking in the city’s glow, and waited.
Her phone buzzed and vibrated against the acrylic. She took another sip before answering it.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” a croaky voice said.
Nora shook her head. “I’m just—”
“Nervous? You’re just nervous, hon. It’s pre-wedding jitters. You’re fixin’ to get married to that gorgeous, big-*icked, super-hot bastard in twenty-two—no, twenty-one days and you’re feeling anxious. That’s all. No Biggie Smalls.”
“Jenna, I’m sitting in an empty tub, pounding old champagne straight from the bottle, and staring out the *ucking window. Do you really think it’s necessary to remind me that there are twenty-two days—”
“Technically it’s twenty-one—”
“Jesus, fine, twenty-one days. It’s twenty-one days before the wedding. I’m aware. My whole entire body is aware. We’re all very aware.”
“Deep breaths, sweetheart. You’re freaking out. This is what freaking out looks like on all normal women,” Jenna said. Her Southern twang, though soft, still tickled Nora. “You’re just different. It’s foreign territory for you.”
Nora stopped mid-swig, her arm wobbling and then dropping with the weight of the bottle into her lap. “What does that mean?” she said, squinting her eyes and bracing her body.
“Nothing, just, I don’t know. . . . I mean, you’re always even and calm; it’s preternatural,” Jenna said. “No matter what’s going on, you’re on like perma-chill. It’s automatic for you. No headless chicken stuff.” A chuckle. “It’s why we kept calling you I.Q. when we first met you. Ice Queen.”
Jenna’s full creaky cackle made Nora move the phone away from her ear and level it on the ledge of the tub. She could still hear Jenna from that distance, but pushed Speaker anyway and went back to drinking her champagne. Nora reclined, cradling the bottle into her chest. “Ice Queen? Seriously? And here I was thinking you were dazzled by my smarts.”
“Oh, we were. Totally. By your smarts, for sure, and also your long legs, your frat-boy mouth, your perky *its, them Kelly Ripa arms, and your entire wardrobe, espesh the shoes. Plus, you speak fluent French—I mean, *ucking French—and you’re the first white girl I’ve ever met who can actually dance. Like, legit, Beyoncé backup dancer dance. Need I go on?”
“Yes, you need. Come on, I’m practically perfect,” Nora said, the beginnings of a laugh tickling her throat.
“Practically?” Jenna said, yawning. “Okay, so we’ve thoroughly covered your Boss Bitch status. It’s why Fish is locking you down so fast, while those eggs are still viable.” Nora’s expanding grin disappeared, replaced by a clenched jaw and gnashed teeth. “What I need clarity on is: Why are dry-tub drinking again?”
“How did you know I’m in the tub?”
“Echoes, booby. Also, you said so earlier. Either way, I’ve got you pretty much figured out. You’re not the QB on this play. What’s the wedding planner’s name again, Gloria? Glenda? Whatever. She’s the quarterback. She’s the one calling all the plays, and you’re watching from the sidelines and it’s driving you bananz.”
“First, are you talking sports at me?”
“A little,” Jenna said through her teeth.
“You’re still hooking up with that sports writer guy?”
“Wait, isn’t he the one who sent you the dick pic when you asked to see his new coffee table?”
“Well, it was pretty impressive . . . the coffee table.”
“Jesus, Jenna. What needs to happen to get you out of these dating app traps? Nothing but Dumpster fires on there.”
“Hold up, I met Sports Guy the old-school way, my dear: at a bar, not on a dating app,” Jenna said. “You kidding me? My filters are tight. He would’ve never made the cut.”
“What about the one who called you from rehab on what was supposed to be your third date?”
“Oh, that whole thing was about me trying to be charitable. I’m from Texas. It’s how we do.”
“Father-God, you need prayer,” Nora said, closing her eyes and leaning her head back in the tub.
“You sound like my sister’s nanny, Bernadette. She says that all the time about those twins: Fahdah-Gowd,” Jenna said, mangling it. “She’s from Trinidad, I think. No, St. Kitts. One of those islands. But you got that accent down solid. So many tricks in your little black hat, woman.”
You can pick up your copy of HAVE YOU MET NORA?
And Follow Nicole on line at NicoleBlades.com to stay up on her latest happenings!
Thanks so much for being with us Nicole!
Uncharted- Guest post with Micah Persell
Hi Peeps! I’m so happy to greet you all today and even happier to greet you with guest news! Today on ye old blog I’m proud to introduce to some, though many of you already know her, the incredibly talented writer, Micah Persell. Micah is here to tell us about and share a bit from her latest book, Uncharted Waters which was just released this week! Take it away Micah!
Hello, everyone! I’m so excited to be here today to talk about my latest book, Uncharted Waters. This book has a special place in my heart because the heroine works in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field as a scientist at the top of her field in gray water recycling systems. Women comprise 48% of the general work force, but we’re only 24% of the workers in the quickly growing STEM fields, and the representation of STEM heroines in romance is much, much less than even that. I couldn’t be prouder to have written Bethany Morgan, the woman who ends up snowed in with a sexy, virgin recluse in the Rocky Mountains. I hope you find this book just as sweet, sexy, and empowering as I did when I wrote it! Thank you so much, Kwana, for this opportunity to talk to your wonderful readers!
Here is an excerpt from Uncharted Waters:
“I promise not to touch you if you get more comfortable, James,” she said softly and firmly, more a warning to herself than anything else.
He hesitated, but she could tell he was longing to cool off. Suspecting pressing him would only keep him clothed, she stayed silent and simply watched him.
After what felt like an eternity, his hands began to move. Starting at the hollow of his throat, he began to undo his buttons one by one. Bethany’s gaze was riveted, watching as more and more skin was revealed and cursing—all over again—the dark. When she took a breath, she startled herself with how loud it was.
His fingers paused at their current button, and she glanced at his face. He was staring at her with wide eyes. She was certain he wasn’t breathing. In her peripheral vision, she saw him resume unbuttoning his shirt, and now she was certain she wasn’t breathing.
God, had she ever wanted any man as much in her entire life as she wanted this mountain hermit? It made no sense; it was so intense, she didn’t know if she would survive it.
He finished unbuttoning his shirt, and hesitating only a moment, he sat up and shrugged it from his shoulders and dropped it to the ground.
It had taken maybe two seconds, but Bethany had caught plenty an eyeful of flickering muscles across his shoulders in the fireplace’s dim glow, and when he turned back to her, her mouth was dry. She swallowed hard in vain.
He lay down again slowly and then rotated to his side, mirroring her. The glowing embers from the fire highlighted a sheen of perspiration over the curve of his naked shoulder, and Bethany pressed her knees together.
“B-better?” she rasped.
He pulled in an extraordinarily loud breath. “Very much not,” he said in a rumble.
She fisted her hands to keep from reaching for him. “I know,” she whispered.
That was fantastic! You can read more by ordering your copy of Uncharted Waters now:
And you can find Micah on the web at: http://www.micahpersell.com/
Thanks so much for being here Micah!
All the best,
When you wish… RWA17 National Conference Photo Recap!
At RWA 17 When you wish…
I had the joy of spending the majority of last week in sunny, sometimes stormy, always humid, Orlando, Florida at the 2017 Romance Writers Of America National Conference. What a time it was! So much so, that I’m still exhausted an at a loss for words.
The conference was at the Disney Swan and Dolphin Hotels with workshop schedules jam packed with so many informative subjects it made making your hourly choices quite difficult. Thank goodness for recorded sessions. And the fact that the conference was held on Disney grounds also made, at least for me, a bit difficult to stay focused on the business at hand since the call of the amusement parks were quite loud and the 10-year-old in me was just itching to go out and play. I found myself watching they clock at times like I was back in elementary school watching for the recess bell.
That said, it was a great conference all in all. I got lots of writerly knowledge, while catching up with some of my very best friends, (thank you to all who supported diversity by wearing your #WeNeedDiverseRomanceTee shirts) and to top it all off I got to go out and play like a kid again.
Not to mention I was in the room when Ms. Beverly Jenkins received her Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award!
Now please check out my recap collages and see if you can spot some of your romance faves who were in Orlando at the conference too!
Some of the fab folks in this set: Katana Collins, Falhuni Kothari, Robin Lovett, Kate McMurry and come on me with over 17K steps. that is insane!
With our lovely Disney tour group! Thanks so much Deb! Marie Long, Dana Kaye, Joy of Joyfully Reviewed!
Shawntelle Madison, Creah Demps, Laurel Cremant , Sage Spelling & Aliza Mann, Pintip Dunn, Priscilla, Oliveras, Alyssa Cole, Adrienne Mishel, Farrah Rochon
Kate McMurry, Falguni Kothari, Sonali Dev, Alyssa day, Carolyn Jewel, Adrienne Mishel, Callie Hutton, Beth Yarnall, Faith Salle, Damon Suede, Alyssa Cole, Falguni Kothari, Synithia Williams, Kristan Higgins, Farrah Rochon & Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Beverly Jenkins!
Cheryl Etchison, Megan Frampton, The incomparable Ms. Brenda Jackson, Yarrah St. John & Synithia Williams, Beth Yarnall, Sofia Tate, Shelly Bell, Holley Trent, Tracey Livesay
Pricilla Oliveras, Sabrina Jefferies, Megan Frampton,
The fab women of The Ripped bodice Bea and Leah Koch.
Sally Kilpatrick, Heather McGovern, Sally Mackenzie, Dee Davis, Adrienne Mishelle and some of the rip roaring members of the RWA board, Nancy Holland, Fran of Frannie’s Romance, Joyfully Reviewed
Me, Jamie Wesley and Flaguni Kothari kicking up at Animal Kingdom. Adrienne Mishel,
Farrah Rochon, Mari Mancusi, Karen Lynn
Wishing you all… dreams coming true and may we all live like Farrah Rochon on a ride at Disney!
In anticipation of Book 3: THE BETTING VOW coming out at the end of the month.
Both Book 1: INSERT GROOM HERE:
And Book 2: TO ME I WED
Are on Sale for a limited time! Now’s the time to check them out if you haven’t already!
Thanks so much for your support!
Reading, Romance & Ruckus at #RT17 Convention in Atlanta
What a week I had last week at the RT Booklover’s Convention in Atlanta Georgia. I’m sure I can’t properly express what a joy it was to see so many of my old friends in the writer community and making so many new ones. Not to mention (but, totally to mention) I was over the moon about meeting, up close and in person so many readers. There are no readers like romance readers! They are the very best! And I’m proud to include myself in that mix. I’m such a fangirl that’s it’s hard to play it cool and not get all swoony when you’re in the presence of the likes of greats like Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson.
A few of the fab friends in these pics. If I fail to mention you I apologize in advance. Blame it on the after con brain fog I’m still under:
Me and the Dear DH at the Atl aquarium, Aliza Mann, Our big Romance Jeopardy Winner, Lovely family from Atl, me at the Kensington signing, a sea dragon!, Me with the incomparable Beverly Jenkins, sea turtle, players at Romance Jeopardy
I also had a knee slapping good time in the workshop I had the honor or participating in called Romance Jeopardy. Thanks to the other workshop presenters: Shelly Bell, Isabelle Drake, Aliza Mann, M.K. Schiller, Sienna Snow and Sage Spelling all went well and we had the best time posing Jeopardy style romance questions to a room full of enthusiastic readers. Another fun part of this was my dear DH joined me in Atlanta and got to sit in the back during our game/workshop. He was impressed and amazed at the knowledge of readers when it came to the stories they loved. He left vowing to read more fiction which I can so get behind.
I can’t let this post go without saying what a dream come true it was having my first signing with my publisher Kensington books. It was so much fun and the Kensington team showed themselves to be as gracious and wonderful as I has come to know them to be. An extra special thanks to Jane, Vida, Tara and Esi for making me feel like one of the family and to all the amazing readers and my crew, the Destin Divas who came to my table and for the hour had me feeling like the belle of the ball!
Robin Bradford, Alyssa Cole, Reese Ryan, Zuri Day and her new fiance!, Tiffany Warren, Latoya Smith, Iris Bolling, The amazing ladies of RT Book Reviews, Sheryl Lister, Janice Maynard, Ursula Renee, Leslie Penelope, Laquette, Brenda Jackson, Jacqueline aka @fangirl_musing, The super Midnight Ace and Kelly!
Also an extra thank you to all who showed up and showed out by wearing their #WeNeedDiverseRomance tee shirts. It gave me such a good feeling to see the call for more diversity in the industry represented at the convention.
This RT was truly a hit. Even tornado warnings during a Scandal Tweet In with Sofia Tate could not dampen spirits.
Thank you to the Romantic Times team for a super con that I won’t soon forget. Big hugs to Tere Michaels, who somehow was everyplace all at once. I’m thinking she has 2 clones somewhere, but maybe I watch too much Orphan Black. I dunno.
Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of my collage of pics and see if you can spot some of your favorite folks!
Alisha Rai, Readers Kay and Lynn, Beverly Jenkins, Unicorn Slippers!, Megan Frampton, Ursula Renee, Tara Gavin, Pintip Dunn, Cynthia, Iris Bowling and Midnight Ace, me and the fab Lorel, Carolyn Hector, Pintip Dunn, Sofia Tate, Jane Nutter
Aliza Mann and Sage Spelling, Lena Hart, Lasheera, Leslie Frohberg Kaia Danielle, Carla Fredd, Alisha Rai, Sage Spelling, Aliza Manna, M.K. Schiller, Shelly Bell, Sienna Snow, Kelly, Felishia, Dina, Alyssa
Me & the DH, M.K. Schiller, Ursula Renee, Joyfully Reviewed, Sherelle Green, Kate McMurry, Frannie’s Romance, Sarah Wendell, Blue Saffire
Till next year. Happy reading!
All the best,
The Forever Summer- Guest Post with author Jamie Brenner
I’m so thrilled to have my friend and chapter-mate, Jamie Brenner guest posting with us today to talk about her upcoming (we share a 4/25 pub date) release The Forever Summer!
Thanks for being here and take it away Jamie!
The Family We Find
By Jamie Brenner
The Forever Summer a story about the beauty of family — even when the traditional notion of family is challenged. And this is something that happened to a friend of mine and inspired this book.
Last year my lifelong friend confided that something major was going on in her life. She had recently taken one of those at-home DNA tests, and was then contacted by someone also using the same testing company. My friend and this woman shared such a close DNA match, they had to be half sisters! Needless to say, this opened up a lot of questions — how had this happened? While my friend searched for answers, the writer in me created my own. And I had the starting point for The Forever Summer.
There’s probably no greater, more universal question than, who am I? Ten years ago, we could simply look at our parents and grandparents and that was enough of an answer. The idea of delving into family research was usually the domain of adoptees that couldn’t simply look at their immediate family. But now, in the era of ancestry.com and 23 and Me and shows like “Who Do You Think You Are,” ancestry research is the second biggest hobby in the U.S. following only gardening. And while it’s interesting and fun, there’s a percentage of people who get results they are not expecting, and in some cases, not prepared to deal with and as a result, have to reconsider what it means to be family. The complexity and joy of the discovered family is at the heart of The Forever Summer.
The Forever Summer begins with a surprise that brings three generations of women together. When two young women living on opposite sides of the country discover they are half sisters, they go on a road trip to meet the grandmother they never knew they had. One sister is thrilled by this development, the other is devastated; her mother has been exposed for keeping a very big secret. As for the grandmother, she is a woman who has suffered a lot of loss, and she had thought her days of having a house filled with family were long behind her. And then two young woman show up on her doorstep.
A big question for me was where this grandmother lived. What place could possibly facilitate the emotional journey these characters must go on? The answer came last spring when the CBS Sunday Morning show aired a piece about Provincetown Massachusetts.
Provincetown is past Cape Cod, the very tip of Massachusetts. It’s 3 miles long and two streets wide and framed by water on two sides. It’s remote and beautiful and has two big claims to fame: It’s the place where the Pilgrims landed before Plymouth, and it’s also one of America’s oldest arts colonies. Legends have lived and worked there: Jack Keroac, Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, Jackson Pollock and Milton Avery.
A more recent great artist, author Michael Cunningham, has lived and worked there for thirty years. He was interviewed on the CBS Morning show segment, and he called Provincetown “an eccentric’s sanctuary.” He said it’s one of the very few places he knows of that “prefers peculiarity.” That’s when I started thinking — this might be the place I’ve been looking for. A place where my characters could not only come to terms with their unconventional family, but embrace it.
Another piece of the puzzle fell into place when I visited Provincetown for research: walking around the wharf, I saw giant black and white photos on the sides of buildings. They were of older women, women who looked serious and weathered and from another era. It was an art installation called “They Also Faced the Sea,” about the matriarchs of the Portuguese fishing families who were, for many generations, the backbone of Provincetown. So of course the grandmother in The Forever Summer had to be Portuguese, and she passes this rich Portuguese to her two granddaughters.
Still, I needed something that would bring the two sisters in my story together. It’s one thing to be related to someone. It’s another to relate to them. Provincetown again provided the answer: art. Art was everywhere I looked; even the signs outside of restaurants and shops are mosaics made from bright tiles and colorful stones and sea glass. I decided that mosaics would play a part in helping the new sisters bond. With a mosaic, , there a lot of different bits and pieces, some that clearly fit together, others not so obviously — but in the end, all coming together to create one beautiful, colorful whole. Just like a family.
I hope The Forever Summer brings home the idea that our families might be messy, complicated, even not what we expected. But at the end of the day it is the most important thing we have if we can just let go and embrace it.
Pre-order The Forever Summer here now
Jamie Brenner’s latest novel is The Forever Summer (Little, Brown). She is also the author of The Wedding Sister published by St. Martin’s Press ( a Target Emerging Author pick and one of Popsugars Best Books for Women 2016) and the historical The Gin Lovers (St. Martin’s Press), named by Fresh Fiction as one of the Top Thirteen Books to read in 2013. She lives in New York City with her husband and two teenage daughters.
Check out Jamie on the web:
Jamie Brenner will be on tour!
Tuesday, April 25th, 7:00 p.m.:
Barnes & Noble, Upper East Side
In conversation with Cristina Alger (author of This Was Not The Plan)
(150 E 86th St., New York, NY)
Wednesday, April 26th, 7:00 p.m.:
Barnes and Noble, Cherry Hill
(911 Haddonfield Road, Cherry Hill, NJ)
Thursday, April 27th, 7:00 p.m.:
WORD, Brooklyn (126 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11222)
Saturday, April 29th, 11:30a.m.:
Turn of the Corkscrew Books and Wine,
Celebration for Independent Bookstore Day!
(110 N Park Ave, Rockville Centre, NY, 11570)
Tuesday, May 2nd, 6:00 p.m.:
Savoy Bookshop and Café (10 Canal Street, Westerly, RI, 02891)
Tuesday, May 9th at 6:30 p.m.:
Ferguson Library (1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford, CT 06901)
Tuesday, May 16th at 7:30 p.m.:
Point Street Reading Series (Point Street Dueling Pianos, 3 Davol Square, Providence, RI, 02903)
Wednesday, 5/31 at 7:00 p.m.:
Summer Reads Panel
Turn of the Corkscrew Books and Wine
(110 N Park Ave, Rockville Centre, NY, 11570)
Saturday, June 3rd
BookCon, Details TK (Javits Center, 655 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001)
Thursday, June 8th at 6:30 p.m.:
Drinks and Discussion at Booktowne (171 Main Street, Manasquan, NJ, 08736)
Rom Com? Don’t mind if I do!
I adore a good romantic comedy and to that my upcoming Unconventional Brides Series, starting with INSERT GROOM HERE is my take at ROM COM wedding fun!
So today I was completely over the moon to see that my novella ROMANCING THE FASHIONISTA was included in Book Riot’s list of top 100 Must Read Romantic Comedies. What? Huh? I mean come on people Helen Fielding is on the list. To be anywhere near her air, to know me, is to know that’s a dream come true.
So please check out the list and add some new Rom Coms to your TBR piles. Trust me you can’t go wrong. There are so many of my faves here. Ahem, Farrah Rochon, Jamie Wesley, Megan Frampton, Phyllis Bourne, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Victoria Dahl… I could go on. Just get you some books people and enjoy the love with a side of laughter.
All the best,
Time For A Change- Author Interview with Sonali Dev
Today on ye old blog I’m proud to welcome bestselling author of THE BOLLYWOOD BRIDE and THE BOLLYWOOD AFFAIR, Sonali Dev. Today Sonali is here to talk about her latest release, A CHANGE OF HEART.
Hi Sonali, thanks so much for being here on ye old blog today. It’s a real honor and a treat.
Thanks so much for having me!
First off can you tell us a bit about A CHANGE OF HEART?
It’s the story of Dr. Nikhil Joshi who lost his wife two years ago in a horribly tragic crime, and Jess, the woman who claims to have his wife’s heart in a transplant. It’s basically a journey into healing from loss and trauma and coming out into the light.
Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:
Dr. Nikhil ‘Nic’ Joshi had it all—marriage, career, purpose. Until, while working for Doctors Without Borders in a Mumbai slum, his wife, Jen, discovered a black market organ transplant ring. Before she could expose the truth, Jen was killed.
Two years after the tragedy, Nic is a cruise ship doctor who spends his days treating seasickness and sunburn and his nights in a boozy haze. On one of those blurry evenings on deck, Nic meets a woman who makes a startling claim: she received Jen’s heart in a transplant and has a message for him. Nic wants to discount Jess Koirala’s story as absurd, but there’s something about her reckless desperation that resonates despite his doubts.
Jess has spent years working her way out of a nightmarish life in Calcutta and into a respectable Bollywood dance troupe. Now she faces losing the one thing that matters—her young son, Joy. She needs to uncover the secrets Jen risked everything for; but the unforeseen bond that results between her and Nic is both a lifeline and a perilous complication.
Delving beyond the surface of modern Indian-American life, acclaimed author Sonali Dev’s page-turning novel is both riveting and emotionally rewarding—an extraordinary story of human connection, bravery, and hope.
What inspired you to write this story?
Nikhil and his wife Jen were major secondary characters in my previous book, The Bollywood Bride, which was a book that lived inside my head for many years before it was published, and Nikhil and Jen’s story was always one I knew I was going to write. But Nic and Jen both worked in some of the most disturbed and dangerous parts of the world, they constantly put themselves at risk for their cause. When I started writing their story, the risks just caught up with them. It happened without me meaning for it to. Then I got obsessed with the idea of healing from unspeakable loss and with the privilege of being able to say things like “I could never live without x, y, or z,” and what happens when we lose a belief so basic. That’s where A Change Of Heart came from.
Without giving too much away can you tell us how A CHANGE OF HEART ties in with your other books?
A CHANGE OF HEART (and all my books, really) stand alone. However, we do meet Nikhil and Jen in THE BOLLYWOOD BRIDE first and in that they two books are related. They basically follow the same family and there’s a strong family saga element to all my books.
You go a bit dark in A CHANGE OF HEART, really getting deep into emotions. What made this an important story for you to write right now?
I think we all cherish our families and loved ones and live with a deep-seeded fear of losing all that. One part of telling stories is exploring situations that disturb us so we can keep the faith that everything is surmountable and to keep our lives hopeful even when we see horrific things going on in the world. That’s at the heart of it, I think. I wrote this dedication to my children for A CHANGE OF HEART and I think it says it all:
For Mihir and Annika, because I want you
to believe that every darkness can be overcome.
And because you are the brightness that lights up my world.
Ok now I’m in tears. Thank you for sharing that.
This next question is a favorite of mine. Care to share the story of your “overnight” success with my readers?
I’m one of those writers who didn’t discover her love for writing suddenly or serendipitously. I’ve written and loved to write for as long as I can remember. But making a life as a writer was one of those dreams that somehow always seemed like a pie in the sky. So while I went to architectural school so I could have a ‘real’ career, I continued to pursue my ‘hobby’. But the need to write was so strong I found myself quitting my job at my architectural firm to work for an architectural magazine within months of graduating.
So, really, for me the true journey was going from business writing and journalism to fiction, and that flip happened when I was talking to my best friend who is a movie producer. She was complaining about the scripts she’d been reading and we both said, ‘Well, how hard can it be to write a good movie?’ Famous last words, right?
I wrote my first script for her within a month and then wrote several after that. None of these ever got made into movies (answering our ridiculously arrogant question with all the delicacy of a tight slap).
But once I’d caught the fiction bug I couldn’t shake it off. The high of creating characters and putting them through the ringer and watching them triumph was a drug like no other.
My kids were babies then and I wrote everywhere. When they napped, at playgroup, at the park. As they grew, I wrote at soccer fields, on swimming pool bleachers, in math class waiting rooms, and in parking lots large and small. I still get a lot of my writing done in parking lots outside my kids’ various activities.
But my quest to get published didn’t start in earnest until I completed my first manuscript, The Bollywood Bride, in 2010 and joined the Romance Writers of America (RWA). After that it was all crazed obsession. I spun in the edit/query/get rejected loop incessantly for three years before I sold The Bollywood Bride following an impromptu pitch to my editor in the middle of a Kensington spotlight at The Chicago Spring Fling conference.
Lastly, what can readers expect next from you?
My next book is a Rapunzel story about a girl who’s been locked up in a sterile room for 12 years waiting to find a cure for her illness and a boy who’s been a servant in her home and her only friend and her eyes to the world, and how they navigate the real world when she’s finally free.
And now here’s a short excerpt from A CHANGE OF HEART:
Nikhil’s head felt like someone had squeezed it through a liquidizer. Whiskey burn stung his brain as if he had snorted the stuff instead of pouring it down his gullet. He leaned into the polished brass railing, letting the wind pummel his face. The ship, all twenty-four floors of behemoth decadence, was like the damn Burj Al Arab speeding across the Caribbean. And yet the only way to know they were moving was to watch the waves. His fingers released the glass sitting on the railing and it flew into the night, disappearing long before it hit the inky water.
He imagined hopping on the railing, imagined being that glass. Boom! And it would be over. Finally, there’d be peace.
The sky was starting to ignite at the edges, as though the glass of Jack he’d just tossed into the night had splattered amber flecks across the horizon. It would go up in flames soon. All of it orange and gold when the sun broke through the rim of the ocean. It was time for him to leave. The last thing he needed was the mockery of another breaking dawn.
“Sir, why don’t you stay and watch today?” A man leaned on his mop, staring at Nikhil from under his windblown hair, that tentative, guilty look firmly in place. The look people couldn’t seem to keep off their faces when they talked to Nikhil—the one that announced, rather loudly, that they were terrified of intruding. Because The Pathetic Dr. Joshi with the giant hole in his heart might break down right before their eyes.
“Very beautiful it is, no?” The man pointed his chin at the burgeoning sunrise that had just pumped Nikhil’s lungs full of pain and waited for a response. But while the blazing pain in Nikhil’s heart was functioning at full capacity, the booze incapacitated his tongue. He wanted to react, wanted to have a conversation with the man who was obviously starved for it. He searched for words to say, but he came up empty.
Now there was a word: empty.
Still empty after two years.
Thanks so much for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure.
Sonali can be found at these places on the web. Please check her out:
And don’t forget to pick up your copy of A CHANGE OF HEART!
Hudson Booksellers: http://www.hudsonbooksellers.com/book/9781496705747
All the best,
Tell No Lies… Guest Post from LaQuette!
Today on ye old blog I’m thrilled to have my friend, chaptermate, and she just happens to be RWA/NYC’s Golden Apple Award Winning Author Of The Year 2016, LaQuette guest posting to tell us about her latest release LIES YOU TELL. Congrats and thank so much for being with us LaQuette!Lies You TellbyLaQuette
A mob boss finding his dead lover alive six years after her
death, shocking. Learning they’ve got a
Six years ago Sanai Ward fled her life in Florida when her
lover’s infidelity nearly brings her life to a fiery end. Scared and devastated, Sanai starts over from
nothing, determined to create a safe and happy life for the child she discovers
she’s carrying.Single parenthood isn’t easy. But the joy of watching her
beloved Nazario thrive is more than enough motivation to ignore the ache in her
heart for the man that shattered her soul.Dante De Luca is a passionate man who’s had his life stolen
from him. Six years ago he was in love
and happy, until his woman was killed in a fire. Sanai was gone. There was nothing left in the ashes but the
locket he’d placed around her neck. Too
angry to deal with his loss, Dante seeks to make the rest of the world pay for
his broken heart by forming an unholy covenant with an unspeakable ally. He knows he’ll live to regret it, but signing
away your humanity to the devil seems meaningless when your soul is already
gone.When an accident involving a family member draws Dante to
New York, and forces an unexpected meeting between he and Sanai, Dante has to
decide what’s more important. His rage
and revenge, or the safety of the woman he once loved and the health of their
son?Just when Sanai’s deception is beginning to sting less,
Dante is faced with the fallout of his own lies. Will she forgive him? Will they survive them, or will their lives
become tragic casualties of the dangerous lies he told?
Excerpt:He’d been overwhelmed with love. She hadn’t said it to him,
still hadn’t, but he saw it in every other way possible. The fact that she’d carved
out a space for him in her home—several spaces to be exact—marked his
permanence, his residence in her life.He sat next to her on the bed, hating the fact he couldn’t
remain there pressed against her. He leaned down and placed a loving kiss on
tender lips. “Take care of yourself. Take care of my boy.”“As long as you agree to get back here as soon as possible,”
she answered through their kisses.“Then we have no worries…because that’s
exactly my plan.”He kissed her again, deeply this time, savoring her taste. He
intended to be home late tonight or early tomorrow morning, but even that short
expanse of time was too much to be away from her.“Mi mancherà mentre
non ci sono…mi piace quando torno,” he whispered to her before stealing one
last kiss.“What does that mean?” she asked. “You say it every time you
leave.”He only spoke bits and pieces of Italian around her. He knew
Nazario understood quite a bit from spending so much time in Mrs. Rossi’s care.
He never wanted Sanai to feel as if he was excluding her, so he only ever spoke
English in her presence.“Miss me while I’m gone…love me when I return.”She pulled herself up, leaning against the headboard for
support. He could see there was so much emotion building up behind her open
stare. He didn’t press. The truth was he didn’t need the words. These moments
they shared together told him more than any words in any language could ever
convey. He was stamped across her heart, and no one and nothing would ever
change that.Author Bio:LaQuette is an erotic, multicultural romance author of M/F and
M/M love stories. Her writing style brings intellect to the drama.
She often crafts emotionally epic, fantastical tales that are deeply pigmented
by reality’s paintbrush. Her novels are filled with a unique
mixture of savvy, sarcastic, brazen, and unapologetically sexy characters
who are confident in their right to appear on the page.This bestselling Erotic Romance Author is the 2016 Author of the
Year Golden Apple Award Winner, 2015 Swirl Awards Bronze Winner in
Romantic Suspense, and 2015 Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award Finalist in
Erotic Romance. LaQuette—a native of Brooklyn, New York—spends her time catering
to her three distinct personalities: Wife, Mother, and Educator.Writing—her escape from everyday madness—has always been a
friend and source of comfort. At the age of sixteen she read her first
romance novel and realized the genre was missing something: people that looked
and lived like her. As a result, her characters and settings are always
designed to provide positive representations of people of color and various
loves hearing from readers and discussing the crazy characters that are running
around in her head causing so much trouble. Contact her on Facebook,
Twitter, her website, NovelsbyLaQuette.com, Amazon, her
Facebook group, LaQuette’s Lounge, and via email at LaQuette@NovelsbyLaQuette.com.Lies You TellBook TrailerbyLaQuette
Thanks once again LaQuette and readers don’t forget to check out LaQuette’s latest and her incredible back-list!
All the best,
The Devil’s Bedpost- Lena Hart Release Day Guest Post & Giveaway!
Today on ye old blog I’m welcoming my chapter mate and friend Lena Hart to guest post for the release of her latest THE DEVIL’S BEDPOST.
Please welcome Lena and let’s get ready to one-click and please enter her giveaway!
Limited time sale!
He had it all…Good looks. Thriving business. Beautiful fiancée. Life for casino owner David Carrone and his sweetheart Athena Lewis is at its peak—until a scandal of lies, a secret from his past, and an unspeakable tragedy tears a wide rift between them.
He lost it all…
With his reputation in question, his business in ruins, and his world crumbling around him, David struggles to protect all he holds dear. But when the most important person in his life is met with danger, he can no longer play by the rules.
He risked it all…
Desperate to get back the woman he loves, David recruits the help of some unlikely allies—and become the monster many believe him to be. Because when risking it all for the one you love, sometimes you have to face the devil with a demon…
Enter Lena’s giveaway!
To celebrate the release of THE DEVIL’S BEDPOST, she’s giving away a special gift bag that includes exclusive swag. Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!Find Lena on…
All the best,