Today I’m so excited to present the cover of my first ever traditionally published book that will be widely available in stores. Come this fall (September 27th to be exact) I am lucky enough to be included in a Kensington books Holiday Anthology with two amazing, best selling authors, Donna Hill and Farrah Rochon! You can pinch me all you want, but I don’t plan on waking up.
I can’t express enough my thanks over Kensington bringing me to their readers this way.
After Holiday Temptation my first traditional full length stand alone in my Unconventional Bride series will be out in January 2017 so please hold on, there are big things happening in the KMJ world!
For Holiday Temptation my contribution is From Here To Serenity…
please enjoy the blurb and if you are so inclined you can pre-order it here.
FROM HERE TO SERENITY K.M. Jackson
Unstoppable real-estate developer Ross Montgomery is under orders to get some holiday R&R. A cruise to Miami on his yacht, “The Serenity,” is the perfect place to start—especially when he meets his new personal chef, Essie Bradford. Between her calming presence, her amazing food, and her delectable beauty, Ross just might develop a taste for the good life. And when the two discover they have a lot in common—including an irresistible attraction—the next course may be a spicy New Year…
Thank you so much!
All the best,
Tis the season and timing could not be more perfect for today’s author interview. I’m so excited to have my friend the super talented Stacey Agdern on ye old blog today to talk about her contribution to BURNING BRIGHT the new Chanukah Anthology out from Avon Impulse.
Thanks so much for being here today Stacey!
Thank you so much for having me. It means a great deal *hug*
First off can you tell us a bit about BURNING BRIGHT? How did this anthology come together?
I pitched a single title Chanukah story to an editor at a luncheon hosted by one of the two RWA chapters I belong to (waves to LIRW). Two months later, I was sitting with Tessa Woodward, hashing out how the anthology would work. Chanukah. Jewish Characters. Jewish authors. An introduction by Sarah Wendell, and we were off to the races. I recruited Megan, Jennifer and KK , sobbing all over each of them with excitement and pride. I couldn’t believe this was happening. Neither could they (they also probably wanted me to stop crying;).
They came up with some really cool stuff, no?
This December, take a break from dreidel spinning, gelt winning, and latke eating to experience the joy of Chanukah. When you fall in love during the Festival of Lights, the world burns a whole lot brighter.
It’s definitely not love at first sight for Amanda and her cute but mysterious new neighbor, Ben. Can a Chanukah miracle show them that getting off on the wrong foot doesn’t mean they can’t walk the same road?
Lawyers in love, Shari Cohen and Evan Sonntag are happy together. But in a moment of doubt, he pushes her away—then soon realizes he made a huge mistake. To win her back, it might take something like a Chanukah miracle.
When impulsive interior designer Molly Baker-Stein barges into Jon Adelman’s apartment and his life intent on planning the best Chanukah party their building has ever seen, neither expects that together they just might discover a Home for Chanukah.
All Tamar expected from her Israel vacation was time to hang out with one of her besties and to act like a tourist, cheesy t-shirt and all, in her two favorite cities. She definitely was not expecting to fall for Avi, a handsome soldier who’s more than she ever dreamed
What inspired you to write your story?
Three different elements-two happy and one sad. An anthology that never came to pass about characters celebrating thanksgiving in a New York apartment building (thank you Tamsin!), a Chanukah party that is becoming one of my favorite annual traditions( Latkepalooza) and the death of my great aunt Bernice. Mix them together with a bit of amazing New York food, and you have ‘A Home for Chanukah’.
This year especially diversity his caught on as a big word in romance and you have been a champion for more diversity in the genre. Tell us why is it so important to you and what does the word mean to you?
Diversity, to me, means a romance genre that reflects the world we live in. Books telling the stories where the characters (and authors) are of all races, sexualities and faiths. Where readers can see themselves in the lead roles and not just in the secondary characters we hope (and pray) will eventually get their own books.
It’s important to me for many reasons, but the most relevant for this piece is the following : I want to live in a world where a character’s Judaism doesn’t disqualify them from having a leading role in a romance novel and an on the page romance. I want there to be the possibility that the word ‘inspirational’ doesn’t mean Christian. I don’t want someone else writing an article about Jewish characters in leading roles in romance novels to have to struggle, like I did, to find 8.
Also, can I say how lucky the romance community is to have you, Kwana? You lay the groundwork for a diversity conversation that is genuinely inclusive of all types of diversity, whether it is based on race, sexuality or faith. That is a priceless gift.
You are so kind to say that. Thank you and thank you once again for it and all you do.
Tell us a bit about your writing schedule. Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
Mostly a pantser. When I start to write I need: 1.my general direction 2.a bit of knowledge about my characters. 3. The beginnings of my playlist. I don’t write in order either. I’ll write a bunch of scenes, and when I get to the point where I feel I have a story, I’ll start putting everything in order and filling in the missing pieces. I’m also not wedded to the beginning sequences; if I get to the point where one of the early scenes I’ve written is supposed to fit, but doesn’t, I’ve got no problem cutting it.
I’ll plot only when I get stuck, but only the barest minimum. If I plot too much, I get stuck Interesting fact : even if I write a synopsis before I write the book, I need to force myself to forget I’ve done this and proceed as usual.
What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
Pay attention to the market but write your stories. Keep your eyes open and take the opportunities that come your way. If you have a local rwa chapter, join. And READ. Always.
Do you mind sharing with our nosy readers (ok me) what you are working on next?
I’m working on a few different things, one of which is a hockey romance. “Icing the Puck’ comes out in April (no date yet) and it’s the second anthology of stories about the New York Empires hockey team. My story in ‘Icing the Puck’ features a hockey playing renchman, a violin playing heroine, tutoring sessions that slowly become more, interesting family secrets and 4/5 New York City boroughs during the holidays 😉
Sounds fantastic! Thank you for sharing.
And now here’s a short excerpt from ‘A Home for Hanukkah that makes a bit of a reference to my fictional hockey team. I love putting bits of afikomen-what most people call easter egg-references to other things.
She had more ideas in mind, but this was going to be his place when he got around to it, his idea. Which meant she had one more question to ask him. “Any colors?”
This was the one that seemed to catch him off guard. He shrugged his shoulders, then settled back in. “Don’t know,” he finally said, trailing off as he looked around the room. “Maybe blue, white. I’m an Empires fan.”
“New York Empires. Semenov, Emerson, that new guy, they call him lucky seven?”
She tried to look interested, tried to muster a degree of understanding, at least.
She shook her head. “No …”
He raised an eyebrow, as if to say that of everything they’d talked about, this was the thing he was most surprised about. “You’re not interested at all?”
She shook her head. “Sorry. Not really.”
Interesting *fun* fact? The hero of my story in Icing the Puck? Lucky seven, of course 😉
Thanks so much for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure.
You can find Stacey at these locals on line:
@nystacey on twitter
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/staceyaagdern
And her pick up Burning Bright here:
Barnes & Noble:
All the best,
Yesterday I was thrilled to have the cover for my May 2016 Samhain Publishing Novella revealed over at Heroes and Heartbreakers and I’m now happy to be able to post it here today.
ROMANCING THE FASHIONISTA is the 1st in my Flirty Fashionistas series and it introduces Melinda ‘Mel’ Mitchell, a self made magazine mogul who has made it in Manhattan but has yet to find love.
Here is a bit about ROMANCING THE FASHIONISTA:
When fate offers a second chance, only a fool waits for the other shoe to drop.
Manhattan fashion maven and magazine editor Melinda Mitchell shuns the social media spotlight. That is, until a tipsy girl’s night out ends with her first Facebook account and a friend request from none other than her secret high school crush, Nolan Parker.
When Nolan lost his chance at the big leagues, he signed on with Doctors Without Borders and never looked back. Now he’s back home to help out his ailing father. Running into Mel at his fifteen-year high school reunion rekindles old feelings he thought he’d buried for good.
Intrigued by Nolan’s irresistibly sexy profile, Melinda heads to the reunion with her best friend to see if the picture matches up to the man. Their instant attraction flares brighter than the Manhattan skyline.
Although the tough fashionista and accomplished ex-jock rub each other the very right way, a few stumbling blocks will decide if the heat between them is a symptom of forever love, or a past that should be left where it belongs.
Warning: Contains a tough, no-nonsense, Big-Apple businesswoman who likes to call her own shots, and a hot doctor who can turn her on with surgical precision.
And you can check it out here on the Samhain Publishing Site
here on Goodreads to add to your TBR shelf. Thanks so much for your support!
All the best,
Today on ye old blog we have and interview with a fantastic new author Kaia Danielle here to talk, writing, life and her exciting debut with Entangled Publishing: CALLING HER BLUFF.
Hi Kaia, thanks so much for being here on ye old blog today!
KMJ: First off, Kaia can you tell us a bit about CALLING HER BLUFF?
Kaia: Romance author Kamaria Wilson returns to Las Vegas to prove she has kicked her gambling addiction to the curb. But the temptation to play poker again is stronger than ever. Why does Mr. Perfect have to show up now?!
KMJ: That sounds fantastic. I love Vegas and have spent a night or two at the Blackjack tables. What inspired you to write this story?
Kaia: My publisher put out a call for stories set during a romance readers’ convention in Las Vegas. I thought this was the perfect scenario to craft something unique. Once I came up with the premise of a gambling addict heroine, a casino security hero and a one-night stand, I just had to write this story.
KMJ: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Kaia: Um, probably but accepting the fact that I could craft a story that anyone else would want to read was a journey. I had a few years of combatting “Who do you think you are? Zora wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in 6 weeks. You have no business trying”-type inner dialogue.
KMJ: Do you feel your works are more character or plot driven?
Kaia: Plot driven. I usually figure out the scenario first then get introduced to the characters during the pre-planning and first draft.
KMJ: What made you choose this genre to write in?
Kaia: I’m a total romantic comedy movie junkie. I bow down to Nora Ephron’s work. The funny thing is that I set out to write historical romance. But, contemporary romantic comedy comes to me easier. The smartass voice you find in the book is the real me. Just check my Twitter feed.
KMJ: What characteristics are essential in a hero for you? And how about a heroine?
Kaia: Hero: I have to fall in love with him some way, somehow. It is usually the grand gesture that reels me in. I’m still crushing so hard on my hero Jack Alderisi in Calling Her Bluff. Ironically, it wasn’t his grand gesture that hooked me. It was the little every day considerate things he did leading up to his big grand gesture.
Heroine: She has to have a life outside of hunting for a man. I love when a heroine has to deal with real life “stuff”. My favorite line from Kamaria in Calling Her Bluff is when she says something like “I don’t want you to fix it for me. I’m the one who fell off the wagon, now let me figure out how to get back on it.”
KMJ: Getting a little more serious, you have been a strong voice and advocate for more diversity in romance. Can you share with the readers why you feel this is such an important issue for this time?
Kaia: I grew up in a town where at least 66 different languages were spoken at home. My best friend growing up was of Swiss French-Gabonese descent. I attended a college where the African-American female experience was infused into each course. Diversity is my “normal”. The mix I’ve seen promoted in the Romance world hasn’t been “normal” until very recently. I’d like to do what I can to fix that. Besides, there’s a whole group of open-minded, voracious readers who are missing out on a bunch of great stories due to lack of exposure.
KMJ: Thanks so much. Now would you care to share the story of your “overnight” success with my readers?
Kaia: My overnight success started 13 years ago when I started attempting to write short stories for the confession magazine market. (Remember True Confessions, Bronze Thrills and Black Romance magazines? Some of those were me!) It took me a year to finish my first story. It was the second one I sold.
KMJ: I do remember and loved Confessions. Thank you! Who are some of your favorite writers that have influenced you?
Kaia: Zora Neal Hurston, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Beverly Jenkins, Francis Ray, Gwyneth Bolton, Tina McElroy Ansa, Terry McMillan, LA Banks, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde
KMJ: Now please dish what book (s) is/are currently on your nightstand or e-reader?
Ivy’s League by Nia Forester
Passing Love by Jacqueline E. Luckett
A Treasure of Gold by Piper Huguley
Bricktop’s Paris by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting
KMJ: What advice would you give other aspiring writers? Butt in chair. Fingers on keyboard. Eyes on prize. I wrote Calling Her Bluff while working 60 hour weeks, being the primary caretaker for my mother, maintaining a long distance relationship, moving my mother and myself across the state with exactly 2 weeks-notice (during the 60 hour work weeks) and a snowstorm at our heels. (Wait, how the hell did I manage to all that? Oh yeah, sangria.) I decided no more BS, no more excuses when I started this story. Even it was only for a half hour on some days, I still got some words in.
KMJ: Lastly, what can readers expect next from you?
I’m working on an adult contemporary romance set during homecoming week at a fictional HBCU (Historically Black College/University). Remember that guy in college who was “just a friend” but there was always a special connection and everybody assumed that you were together, but nothing ever happened between you guys? Yeah well, play time is over.
Now Kaia is kind enough to share an excerpt from CALLING HER BLUFF:
Shame kept her locked in place, eyes down, trembling hands locked between her knees. She stared at the backs of her fingers, fighting that itch to touch her chips, the cards, to rub the felt of the poker table. Dammit, this wasn’t supposed to happen.
“Ma’am.” The voice was softer now.
“I didn’t do anything wrong.” The words were meant to convince herself. There might be a pile of chips in front of her, but she felt like a loser. Again.
“No one said you did.” The man’s hand now found its way between her shoulder blades. The warmth of his hand flooded into her. His warmth felt safe. Just like the guy from last night. She shook him off again. The last thing she needed was to be thinking about Jack. Or how she should’ve stayed in his bed. If she hadn’t run from him, she wouldn’t be here now.
His voice was too smooth. Too practiced. Too, too familiar. Kamaria didn’t like that either. She didn’t even want the money. No amount of winnings could compensate for what she’d just lost by sitting down at this table. And talk? What could he possibly want to discuss? “I’ve got nothing to say to you. I was just leaving anyway.”
The pressure on her back returned, this time more insistent. “That’s where you’re wrong, Kamaria. I think you have plenty to say to me.”
She could tell by his emphasis on her name that he was going to kick her out. She’d ruined her sobriety, and now she’d messed up the conference too! She felt tears rim her bottom lashes. She willed herself to keep her chin up as she stood. This was no way to start her week at the convention. She had managed to stay away for so long. She hadn’t even been in town sixteen hours and had already crumbled in the face of weakness more than once. All the promises she made to Chastity—to herself—about being able to avoid the casino evaporated into nothing. She should have never come back here.
The rent-a-cop’s hand had now moved from her back to her arm. His grip tightened slightly, pulling her to her feet.
Her stomach fell to her knees the moment the security jerk stood up so she could finally get a good look at him. The big, big body. The impossibly wide chest. Those full lips. Kamaria groaned. “Oh no, not you.”
Kaia: Thanks so much for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure.
KMJ: Thank you the pleasure was all mine!
KMJ: You can find Kaia here on the web:
Excerpt + buy links: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/calling-her-bluff/
All the best,
Hi Falguni. Thanks so much for taking time out and being here on ye old blog today.
Hey Kwana! Thanks for having me here, and for always cheering for me, and driving with me…and lots of other stuff. 🙂
Oh hursh! It’s always a pleasure. Now first off can you tell us a bit about your current work?
Absolutely! Soul Warrior is the first book in my new myth-based fantasy series, The Age of Kali, and reimagines the old myths and legends of India. The story focuses on Karna, the son of Surya, who has been the guardian of the Human Realm for almost 8,000 years, and has recently been appointed guru to a bunch of delinquent godlings fresh of the Celestial boat. On the surface, the divine request seems simple. But very quickly, the situation goes from bad to worse. Karna’s new students give him no small amount of trouble in the obedience department. His old paramour suddenly comes back into his life, seemingly to her own sinister agenda. Also, there are rumors that his old nemesis is on his way back to Earth after 5,000 years in exile to even scores. Then there’s the whole mess about his secret ill-fated offspring. All in all, the demons who Karna vanquishes on a daily basis seem like stress-relief compared to the new unearthly calamities disrupting his life.
SOUL WARRIOR is a shift from what your romance fans are used to. What made you choose this genre to write in?
It’s true that this book is categorized as fantasy fiction, but it has ample romance in it to make my romance readers happy. In fact, I started writing it as a romance between these two iconic mythological characters from an ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata. Karna and Draupadi did not get a love story in the original epic, and I had since many years wished to write one for them. How the story morphed into more of a fantasy than romance still boggles my mind. So, by deliberately bringing Karna and Draupadi together I accidently unleased a whole alternate universe for the book…which since then has turned into a series. And its all good.
Fantastic! SOUL WARRIOR is your first step into the wonderful world of self-publishing. Can you share your first impressions of the experience? Has it been easier or harder than you thought it would be? Are you enjoying the process?
Honestly, I am loving the self-publishing experience. I love having full and final control of my work from prose to final product, even when its scares the pants off me. I love that every inch of this book is my own creation, decision and idea. While I had extremely great experiences working with both my publishers on both my previous books, there still was a kind of detachment from the publishing process after handing in the manuscript. With Soul Warrior I am creator and executor, and that appeals to my inner control freak like nothing before.
What advice would you give other aspiring writers who want to try self-publishing?
Be prepared for some hard work, hard thinking, and hard spending. With self-publishing, you will need to spend first: on excellent editing, fantastic professional covers, ISBN numbers, formatting your manuscripts correctly, PR if you have the budget. There’s a lot of money that goes into publishing a book. You might find free or cheaper alternatives, and finally it’ll be your decision how much or how little you want to spend. See? Full and final control. Do it your way! But do it the correct way. And to do it the correct way you will have to understand self-publishing.
Lastly what can readers expect next from you?
I have a women’s fiction story ready for publication, and set to release in May 2016. Yes, yet another genre jump. But it seems that’s how my writing rolls. I think of a story, write it and then sort out its category. What connects every one of my stories is love and a little bit of India.
Thanks so much for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure.
The pleasure is mine, Kwana J
SOUL WARRIOR: The Age of Kali teaser.
PRALAYA: THE CATACLYSM
Asht Dveep, off the coast of Madh Island, North Mumbai.
“We have visitors, my lord.”
Karna paused perusing the Times of India on his tablet, and cocked a brow at Lavya. Pale and lean, his friend and housemate loomed just inside the door to the den, hands folded in a neat Namaste. Irritated, but not at the interruption, Karna sighed, wondering why he bothered reading the news at all. Daily bulletins had become standard—or substandard, depending on one’s viewpoint. Climate change, economic disasters, terrors and terrorists all held front-page positions, every fugging day.
And what else could one expect in the Age of Kali? It was the age of sin, tsunamis and stock options in this currency-ruled realm. Not that the Gods had ever—not once in his almost eight-thousand-year career as humanity’s soul guardian—asked him to interfere with, subvert or reverse any of the realm’s natural or man-made calamities. His duty required only that he keep the world free of supernatural evil.
Karna stretched, his spine separating from the fiberglass chair like Velcro ripping. He was shirtless to battle the unrelenting October heat and though he’d queued up his sun-bleached, shoulder-length mane, sweat dampened his forehead, nape, armpits and back.
And therein lay the rub, he thought, coming back to the dos and don’ts of his duties. Being “asked” not to meddle in human affairs only made him more determined to help the helpless. At times, he managed to contain the disasters, and all was well in the Cosmos. But sometimes, his actions worsened the fate of the mortals, as well as his own. Like when he’d tried to repair the deficient ozone layer with his god-powers a couple of years ago.
Blasting the stratosphere with a load of solar radiation to augment the emissions from his godsire’s Celestial abode had been a solid, scientifically vetted idea. The extra UV rays he’d discharged from his fingertips had accelerated ozone production, and for a while he’d believed the crisis slowed, if not solved. But the hyper-paced oxygen cycle had also amplified energy output, creating miscreant solar flares, a couple of which had whipped across the Cosmos and breached the lower regions of the Higher Worlds.
Needless to say, the atmospheric fireworks hadn’t amused the Celestials or Heaven’s ruling Council. And as punishment for his hubris, Karna had been saddled with an annoying quirk—his body temperature was now directly proportional to his emotions—specifically, high-voltage anger. And stoicism did not come naturally to him.
Soul Warrior is available on AMAZON, KOBO, iBooks and Nook.
Find out more about Falguni Kothari
Thanks so much once again for being here.
**Falguni has kindly agreed to giving one lucky commenter a SOUL WARRIOR pendant. So comment away!**
*US residents only*
**Please leave your contact email in the comments. **
**winner will be announced on Monday.**
All the best,
Today on ye old blog we have fab author, Aliza Mann here to discuss writing and her latest project, a new adult paranormal romance novella called DARK HEARTS in the FALLING HARD Anthology.
Hi Aliza, thanks so much for being here on ye old blog today. It’s a real treat.
KMJ: First off can you tell us a bit about your current work, DARK HEARTS?
AM: Hi there Kwana. I’m happy to be here. Long time fan.
Dark Hearts is really a story about taking chances. The hero is a young man who believes at the start of the story at least, that he can block himself off and protect himself from being hurt. It’s a story about the vulnerability that comes with trusting and loving others.
While struggling to contain the beast within, Mitchell Rowland imprints on the beautiful and mysterious Aurora Tanner. With Mitch’s dangerous lycan secret and Aurora’s demon father out to kill her, they must band together to fight against the very things that could ultimately keep them apart.
I sincerely enjoyed writing characters who was so passionate and young. It was a lot of fun and I hope the readers will enjoy it, as well.
KMJ: What inspired you to write this story?
AM: The inspiration for this story, like many, came from personal experiences. Mitch is very afraid of intimacy. He was the first character who popped into my head, and he was born from some of the things we’ve all experienced. There are times when you meet someone and think, hey, I wonder if I can really be myself around this person? It can be very scary to drop your mask for another person. And I was so interested in exploring those types of issues fully through my character’s lenses.
KMJ: What made you want to join in on an anthology?
AM: Oh, this was fun. I have a very fabulous critique group and at one of our sessions, someone said, let’s write an anthology! And as we unpacked all the reasons we should, and shouldn’t, we decided to go for it. And we decided to self-publish.
I can tell you, none of us knew what we were getting into. First, we decided we would have a thread of continuity throughout the entire collection through each relationship. For instance, Mitch is best friends with Hazel – in the last story of the anthology, Hunting Witch Hazel. I had no idea it was so difficult to capture another person’s character based on a description. I can tell you, there were times when Heather, the author of the other story, would tell me I had the voice all wrong. And it hurt my feelings, but I’d go back to the drawing board the next day.
Then there was all the self-publishing things, like book covers and editing, to deal with.
But was challenging as it all was at times, I had a great time creating this. I can’t believe it’s done, but it is just as rewarding as I’d hoped it would be. They really are a wonderful group of authors, and I’ve learned so much. That’s the reason behind it all.
KMJ: What made you choose this genre to write in?
AM: I have always loved paranormal, but because of some of the market trends and decline in new sales of paranormal romances, I haven’t been writing in the genre. Since we had complete control over the content, I took the chance to revisit my first love. It’s a story I was really interested in telling, so that was my opportunity.
KMJ: What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
AM: To never give up. Walking in stilettos takes time to learn, along with a few bruises along the way. I wouldn’t expect writing to be any other way.
KMJ: Lastly, what can readers expect next from you?
AM: Well, I have a few stories in the works. The first would be a sports romance, which is currently under consideration by a publisher, so hopefully that will be the next. My current work in progress is a contemporary romance about co-workers who begin a relationship and try to maintain professionalism. That one is fun to write. It’s always great to watch to strong willed people try to jockey for position. So, a couple of contemporary and we’ll see if I can get to another paranormal soon. I should mention, all are multicultural romances.
Aliza would love for you to join her and the other Falling Hard authors over on Facebook on 5/31 for their release party. Lots of fun and prizes to be had!
Click here to join: https://www.facebook.com/events/376131875905513/
And now here is an excerpt from Dark Hearts:
Aurora Tanner had told herself that she wouldn’t get into any mischief. She’d been friends with Hazel since she’d arrived, and with the assistance of Hazel’s witchcraft and multiple safety wards at the bridge to keep her father at bay, Aurora had managed to stay out of trouble.
This Mitch was trouble on a stick. He had the swagger of a hip-hop star, the looks of an actor, and the body of a god. When he’d walked up to her, the awkward moment of silence had made her want to jump him with both hands and feet. He sent her demon intuits into overdrive.
Something about him cracked her exterior. “Well, you’re standing here. What can I do for you, Mitch?” she asked, glancing around the room. There was no sign of demon handiwork, so she relaxed a little.
Mitch stepped into her personal space. Inhaling deeply, he stared at her. Unlike most men, he focused on her face. “Oh, baby, you’ve done a lot for me already,” he growled.
His eyes were different. The deep coal black of them reminded her of her father. Alchoe, her incubus father, had those eyes, along with the rest of their kind. Mitch wasn’t a demon, but she could tell that he wasn’t fully human. His dark hair languished in his face, making him look somehow both deadly and safe. “That was classy,” she said.
This man stood before her, seizing her and making her want to latch onto him. His deep-set eyes were Superman blue with an icy edge, framed by thick, full brows, giving him a sexy, dark look. His jaw line was pronounced. Thick tufts of dark brown hair framed his face, the close-cut sides highlighting his chiseled features.
Her panties were suddenly uncomfortable as he leaned into her, too close.
“If I had a choice, I would apologize. Doesn’t seem that I do. I noticed you from across the room. You’re . . . different than the other girls,” he said.
You can pick up Falling Hard here:
And you can find Aliza Mann on the web here in these cool places:
KMJ: Thanks so much for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure.
AM: Thanks for having me, Kwana. It’s been a blast.
Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to all why participated and helped me with honoring my Nana by sharing yesterday on the #WeNeedDiverseRomance hashtag on twitter. I was so thrilled with how it took off and can only hope that the powers that be in the industry were listening. Whenever the mood strikes please keep it going. I know I sure will as long as it takes and as long as still #WeNeedDiverseRomance. You can check out lots of the tweets here on Storify. It was my 1st time on Storify so I hope they were all collected. And as for the header? Not sure how Sorify picked that.
Now, speaking of diverse romance I love it when I can bring a new writer to ye old blog and today I’m super excited to have my friend and RWA NYC chapter mate Ursula Renee here on Ye Old Blog to discuss her fantastic historical debut novel Sweet Jazz. Thanks so much for being here today Ursula.
First off can you tell us a bit about your current work?
Sweet Jazz is an interracial romance that takes place in Harlem, New York in 1938.
The Big House’s “Coloreds Only” policy makes the club popular with Harlem residents. The same policy makes it harder for the owners to find and retain musicians. After four weeks of listening to saxophonists with bigger dreams than talent, the owners are ready to hire the first person who walks in and plays “one good note.” Their words come back to haunt them when Randy Jones auditions.
Many of the employees are not thrilled when Randy breaks the color barrier. He does find an ally in Cass, the club’s sassy singer, who goes out of her way to welcome him. Offstage, Cass Porter looks like a teenager, but when she sings she’s all woman. Inside, she’s been hurt badly and has determined never to love again.
As their relationship develops, life at the club for Randy becomes complicated when he has to fight both Cass’s fear of opening her heart and those who want to keep them apart.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I discovered the joys of writing after I wrote my first story when I was eight. Though I continued writing short stories, poems, and fan fiction, I did not considering pursung a career as an author until I started working on Sweet Jazz.
What characteristics are essential in a hero for you? And how about a heroine?
I like my heroes to be handsome, strong and confident. However, they also have to be willing to work with others and not insist on charging in to save the day alone.
A heroine should be strong, independent and smart. She should think before rushing into a situation that could potentially cause harm to her or others.
Tell us a bit about your writing schedule. Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
I write during my hour long commute in the mornings and evenings. I also try to schedule one weekend a month in which I focus entirely on my manuscript.
I think of myself as both a pantser and plotter. As soon as an idea pops into my mind, I have to get it down on paper. Once I have completed the first draft, I create an outline. I used this during the editing process to ensure that each plot point moves the story forward and the characters appear and act as I originally envisioned.
What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
Do not give up.
There may be times when you feel as if everyone is against you – family and friends may laugh at you; editors tell you the manuscript does not work; or the words will not come to you. In either case, stop, take a deep breath and remember that success does not come to those who quit.
That is perfect advice. Thanks so much! What can readers expect next from you?
I am working on an interracial romance set in 1957, between a first generation Italian-American and a Filipino/African-American.
Fantastic! And now friends an excerpt from Sweet Jazz:
Cass rolled her eyes as she slid a sheet of paper across the table. He glanced down at the sketch of an older woman standing next to a piano. She wore an evening gown, and her hair was pulled back in a bun, with a feather ornament holding the style in place.
“The Big House is proud to feature Cass, with music by The Big House Band,” Randy read. He
glanced from the paper to her, then back at the paper. He recognized the similarities in the facial features, but it couldn’t be possible. “You can’t be the same Cass.”
“No other Cass here.”
“Your momma lets you work here?” Randy asked as he handed back the flyer.
He knew some parents did not care what their children did as long as they were out of the way.
However, allowing a young girl to work in a club was beyond neglectful.
“My momma doesn’t have much say in the matter, seeing as how she’s down south,” Cass said, placing the paper on the table.
“That’s where she lives.”
“What about your relatives?”
“They’re down there, too.”
Randy lowered his foot to the floor and straddled the chair. He needed to sit down. There was no way she was up there by herself.
“Don’t you have someone lookin’ after you?”
“I’ve been looking after myself for six years.”
“Six years? Girl, you jokin’? You can’t be no older than…what…sixteen? seventeen?”
Twenty-two? It explained why she got away with arguing with Junior, but, still… Randy slowly glanced from the ankle socks and canvas shoes on her feet to her two braids. She looked as if she should be playing with dolls or jumping rope, not singing in a club.
Thanks so much for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure.
Ursula can be found on the web at:
And you can buy Sweet Jazz here:
All the best,
P.S. Sidebar: I’ll be appearing at Between The Covers in Riverdale NY on Monday 11/17 from 7-9 reading an excerpt from BOUNCE (I’ll try and find a spicy scene) And I’ll have some copies to sign! So if you are in upper Manhattan come on out! Details are here.
I’m all full of the feelings today because today is the official launch day, well, the re-lunch day of my Creative Hearts Series under my own banner! I am now my own publisher and the series has a sleek and sexy new look thanks to the genius that is Mae Phillips at Cover Fresh Designs.
Meet the men of The Creative Hearts… Alejandro, Mark & Nick.
As of now the books are all available in E format through Amazon and will roll out to other vendors in the months to come. The print versions will be available coming in November so look out for that announcement soon.
Please be sure to sign up for my Newsletter to stay on top of all my breaking news. Just click here or the box on your left to sign up and leave a comment in the blog comments section to let me know you signed up and tell me which Creative Heart hero you think would be your favorite to be entered in the 10.00 Amazon Gift Card giveaway. It’s that easy and I trust you to sign up.
Please Tweet about the Giveaway or share on Facebook and tell me about it for an extra entry. Don’t forget to leave your email contact info in the comments. Winner will be announced on Monday 10/20.
Through The Lens (Creative Hearts: Book 1)
Mika Walters is a normal-sized woman working in the not-so-normal world of New York fashion. As longtime assistant to uber-sexy photographer Alejandro Vega, she’s tired of being the girl in the background. Just once she wants Alejandro to look at her with the same smoldering look he gives to his willowy models and now she has her chance. Stranded. After a travel mishap where the rest of the crew and the models can’t make the remote island location shoot for another three days, Mika is taking her moment to catch Alejandro’s eye and put herself in front of his camera and if all goes to plan, his bed . . . at least until the real world catches up with them. Alejandro doesn’t know what’s gotten into Mika. Maybe it’s the sand, maybe it’s the sun, but he doesn’t really care. All he knows is that he’s finally opened his eyes and is seeing her clearly for the first time as the smart, gorgeous, and incredibly irresistible woman she is. But why can’t she realize that what he’s feeling for her is not one of his usual one, well, three night stands. This is real. Real love, real passion. What’s it going to take for him to prove to Mika that she’s the woman he wants? Now and forever.
Seduction’s Canvas (Creative Hearts: Book 2)
“I want to paint you” Artist Samara Leighton had wanted to say those words to the sexy motorcycle rider who lived in the building ever since she first laid eyes on him nearly a year ago. But now that the words were out she couldn’t stop her heart from beating wildly in her chest.
“Honey, you don’t have enough paint to cover me.” Security specialist Mark Thorn didn’t mean to come off as a hard ass. As a matter of fact, he wanted nothing more than to let the tempting artist from across the hall do whatever she wanted to him and then some. But her haughty demeanor left the normally cool rider off his game.
Samara knew this was her only chance to live out her long-standing fantasy and she wasn’t going to let it slip through her fingers. She had very little time before her show was done and the pressure of her family legacy meant she would finally go through with living out her life under the umbrella of the Leighton name and its responsibilities. There would be no more downtown jaunts, lazy museum afternoons, and evenings spent lost in the magic of color and her canvases. And definitely no time spent holding tight to the muscular form of her dark rider while the horrors of her past and her cares drifted further away with each mile of road they covered.
Threads Of Desire (Creative Hearts: Book 3)
Sexy fashionista Gabrielle Russell has been challenging Nick Ross most of his life and now is no exception. A top financial analyst, Nick has been dating his boss’s daughter and he’s on the fast track to turning his five-year marathon into a three-year sprint. But life throws him a curve when he finds his perfect girlfriend curled up in a very un-zen like position with her yoga instructor. Faced with this awkward downward dog, Nick heads to the only place he can think of – his brother Steve’s place – only to be stuck face to hips, thighs, lips, just about everything with his roommate, Gabby. She’s the habit Nick just can’t shake. The one that got away and she won’t let him forget it.
Gabrielle is frustrated. She’s been banging it out for years as a curvy girl trying to make her creative mark on the exclusive world of New York fashion and she’s hit a brick wall both personally and professionally. Now stuck in a dead end job designing jersey pantsuits for wannabe mafia wives while dodging the advances of her boss’s son, she doesn’t know how to get out of the hole she’s dug for herself. At least she has a bit of peace in the small apartment she shares with her childhood friend and roommate, Steve.
Or she did until Nick Ross – Mr. Perfection and her own devastation, the one who broke her heart and almost broke her spirit – walked in. And now he’s back and looking for a place to camp out while he gets his life back on track. Well, she’s got news for him: She’s not the same girl she was all those years ago when just a look would send her heart stuttering. Okay, maybe she is, but now maybe it’s time the tables were turned on the unflappable Nick Ross.
As always thank you so much for all your cheering and support. You all are the BEST!
You can pick up your copies of the books here:
All the best,
I’m so happy to have my good friend, Laura K. Curtis, the super talented romantic suspense author of Twisted and Lost on ye old blog today guest posting to introduce us to her latest contemporary romance Toying With His Affections. It’s definitely not your mother’s romance. Take it away Laura…
Not Your Mother’s Romance? Well, It’s MY Mother’s!
My mother reads my books. I sometimes wish she wouldn’t, but she’s eighty years old and knows her own mind, and she’s my mother—it’s not like I can tell her not to! She read my first romantic suspense, Twisted, and said she enjoyed it. But one night right after Lost came out, I was on the phone with my father and he said “your mother is reading your book and she wants to know how you know all this sex stuff.” Uh, she what?
Needless to say, we took a few minutes while I cleaned up the water I’d spat all over the couch when he came out with that gem, which gave me a little time to gather my thoughts. “Uh,” I said oh-so-eloquently, “research?”
I mean, seriously. Those two books were romantic suspense. They had relatively little sex as far as the romance world goes. It didn’t bother her that I knew any number of ways to torture and kill people, that I had good ideas about where to hide bodies. Nope. She was only bothered by the sex.
So now I’ve released Toying With His Affections. No murders. No (serious) crimes to solve. Just a woman who sells sex toys for a living. Oh, yeah, I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about this one.
Here’s a little taste of what she’ll be reading…and what you’ll be getting should you choose to get to know Griffin Barstow and Evie Bell, the Sheriff and the sex toy saleswoman. In this little preview, she’s showing him her wares as she prepares to do a home party.
Evie set the papers aside and reached back into the box. This time, she held up a pair of pink, fuzzy handcuffs. “Want to take these on patrol with you, Sheriff?”
“Uh…not particularly.” He grinned, though, imagining the faces of some of his deputies if he showed up with those hooked to his duty belt. The next item wiped the smile off his face. Black and almost evil-looking, it was circle with small rubber spikes all around and one larger protrusion so that it looked a bit like the symbol for Mars. At the end of the prong, however, a perpendicular spike gave the impression that someone had twisted the arrowhead of the symbol to stand straight up.
“What is that?”
Again, Evie’s fair cheeks reddened. The contradiction between the woman who could passionately defend the use of creams and toys and the one who blushed attempting to explain the actual use of such products entranced him.
“Uh, that’s for men. I mean, it’s nice for women, too, if the guy wears it, but it’s more designed to increase his pleasure than hers.”
“Please tell me this doesn’t sell.”
She’d regained her composure. And her starch. “Everything sells. But no, that’s not a top ten item.”
“Thank God for small favors.”
She handed him a tube of something else. “This is, though.”
He practically choked as he read the name aloud. “Staze-Long?”
“Yep! Between that and the numerous offers I get in my email every day, I can only assume many men in this country have a premature ejaculation problem.”
“I don’t think I can take this.”
She dropped her head and glanced up at him through the screen of her thick lashes. “I didn’t say you could. I need it.”
He dropped the tube and rubbed his hand against his leg. “That’s not what I meant and you know it.”
“Yeah, but you’re so easy to tease. Who’d have believed that under the bad boy of Fairview High lay a closet prude? Your reputation has suffered here today, Barstow.”
“Is that a dare, Bell?”
She cocked her head. “It may be. I’ll think about it.”
His heart pumped harder and he felt more alive than he had since the day he’d moved home to Fairview. You’ve always been addicted to danger, Bub, and it’s never done you a lick of good. Stay the hell away. But he had a sinking feeling he wouldn’t be able to take his own advice.
If you want another excerpt, there’s one up on my site at http://www.laurakcurtis.com/toying.php Come on by!
Thanks so much for being here today, Laura. Everybody check out Laura’s books. And you can get Toying With His Affection Here and at all your favorite e-tailers. You won’t be disappointed!
All the best,
So this slipped right by me.
Sometime while I was sleeping or some such thing, Threads Of Desire became available in PRINT! *Blows Horns!* *Throws Confetti!* I’m so happy to now have all of my books available in both e-reader versions and in print for those who’d like a physical book. This makes be beyond thrilled.
Thanks so much to all who have supported me.
You can pick up Threads of Desire the Print Version here.
Have a fantastic day!
All the best,