Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Desert Series by Lisette Brodey

The desert is a fascinating place. It could be the arid landscape or the many types of cacti, that draws my interest. It also might be the danger and endless questions as to how anything could survive there. I've recently read Lisette Brodey's, Desert Series. She used the desert as her backdrop and made it come alive in her three-book YA paranormal series.  




In my humble opinion, I feel that each story has incredible depth. Lisette wasn't afraid to expose some real-life issues through her characters. She made me feel their struggles and their happiness. I became invested in who they were and how they dealt with things. 

I decided the best way to present the books in this series was through my reviews: 

My thoughts for book #1 - Mystical High:

The friendship between Jinxy and Jessie is awesome. They're true blue to each other and to those they love. Lots of serious issues come to light in this book. How Ms. Brodey has her characters deal with everything that's thrown at them is what kept me hooked. I could feel the characters' turbulent emotions, but also their joy. There were twists and turns I didn't see coming and I'll admit to getting misty-eyed when the author tied everything together in the end. 




My thoughts for book #2 - Desert Star:

I loved book one, so I knew I would feel the same about book two - Desert Star. The author didn't disappoint. Ms. Brodey gave us two main characters, Larsen and River, who you can't help but care about right away. There's also an amazing cast of secondary characters that add to the conflict and to the joy in this story. Larsen's world spins out of control when he is bullied for being gay and when his own mother turns her back on him because she can't deal with who he is. River comes to his defense and they become great friends. The trials of being teens in high school seems to multiply by the day. On top of it, there's a paranormal element that fits into the story perfectly. In my humble opinion, this is a well-thought-out tale that brings to light -- bullying, the difficulties of being LGBTQ, insecurities, starting over in a new school, the haunts of your past, parents who don't support their children because they don't agree with their lifestyle, and how great friends can make all the difference in your life.




My thoughts for book #3 - Drawn Apart:

I wondered how Ms. Brodey would spin Avalon and River's story. I finished reading the book before I went to bed. When I woke the details were still with me. I absolutely loved how Lisette gave Avalon a best friend and soul mate in Stephanie (they affectionately call each other North and South). Steph is in an accident and ends up in a coma. The real story starts from there. I think Lisette did a great job with the flashbacks and current situation of their friendship. While Avalon tries to handle the tragedy, she also tries to deal with her feelings for River. She fears losing the love of a dear friend to an accident and the love of River to another girl. Avalon is stressed to the max. One scene in particular made me cry. In the midst of all that chaos, Lisette tossed another heart-tugging issue out there - a selfish mother who tries to manipulate Avalon. The twists and turns in this book kept me intrigued. The paranormal element tied everything together perfectly in this story and the series as a whole.




All three stories are unique, but each one contains paranormal elements as well as romance, mystery, serious issues, friendship, strong characters and some seedy ones as well. 

If you'd like to check out this amazing series, click on the links below:







Be sure to visit Lisette at...

Website/Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram


Did I mention she has an adorable dog named Bentley?







  

Saturday, May 20, 2017

And those lips... (small snippet from Keeping Kylee)




From KEEPING KYLEE (book #2 in my Texas Boys Falling Fast series)

Kylee puffed out a small breath. She would never understand men. They were complicated and frustrating and she was of the strict opinion that every last one of them qualified as a pain in the butt. Her father was a huge pain who broke away from the family to start a new life with a much younger woman. Asher Hutten, the man who fathered Kylee's three-year old daughter Gabbi, definitely was a pain. Without reading all the things printed in the newspapers about Quinn Randel, her instincts pegged him to be a pain too; a dangerous one with blue-grey eyes capable of stripping her naked with just a glance. All three men were well-known skirt-chasers. Two of the three had already turned her life upside down. Quinn's remarkable blue-grey orbs said he'd do it too if given the chance. The steamy looks passing between them promised paradise between the sheets, nothing more. She quietly scoffed, "Been there, done that. With Asher." Maybe she should be upfront with Quinn and let him know that he stood an ice cube's chance at the equator of hooking up with her. No way could she risk her heart and sanity with another meaningless liaison, especially with someone who would toss her aside before he put his clothes back on. Kylee tried not to stare but the man lassoed her attention the second he entered the reception hall. It was hard not to stare at the infamous millionaire. Quinn Randel was drop-dead handsome. There was no other way to describe him. Mischief and lust radiated from his every pore. And those lips...

* I just love Kylee and Quinn's story because just about every girl who has ever struggled emotionally over her bad decisions and wrestled with her finances to make ends meet, has daydreamed about hooking up with a guy who can fix everything. At the same time, if that guy can work wonders with your life, he still might be a risk to your heart. Do you take the chance? Or keep him at arm's length in the name of self-preservation? 




If you'd like to check out how Kylee deals with Quinn and vice versa...

  

Loving Lindy - 7 sentences

I was recently combing through some stored Word documents and ran across this...

7 Sentences from LOVING LINDY.  

These sentences made me snicker when I wrote them and just now too. They're from a humorous scene in the book, but also a tender one. 

     "You want me to do what?" Lindy swallowed a chunk of asparagus at the same time she asked for clarification. She gasped and clutched the arms of the chair when the asparagus stuck in her throat.
     Gunther yanked her up and wrapped his arms around her from behind.  He placed his fists just above her navel and with quick upward thrusts dislodged the asparagus. It torpedoed into the fire.
     Lindy was embarrassed all the way to her core. She stood trembling for more reasons than having her life flash before her eyes.

In this scene, Gunther delivered a wild request and it caught Lindy by surprise. Have you ever had someone ask something so bizarre they startled you to where you knocked over your drink? Fell off the side of your chair? Or choked on asparagus? (Probably not, but hey, in my mind this stuff happens. *Grins*) 




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sun Chara - Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife



Today I have the pleasure of having author Sun Chara on my blog with her newest release, Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife. The title alone was a big draw for me. When I read the tag, I was doubly intrigued -- 'A tempestuous fling...a marriage...a betrayal?'




*Raises coffee cup* Welcome, Sun! 

Check out the blurb for Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife --

When Michalis Leonadis' bride jumps ship at the first sign of rough waters, he's annoyed. When she costs him a marriage and a billion dollar deal, he's furious; but when he discovers she ditched him whilst harboring a secret...he's out for revenge. 

Ex-model, Julia Armstrong gave up everything for Michalis but when she catches him with another woman, crushed, she jets out of his life. The proud Greek blasts back into her world seeking retribution -- in exchange for a divorce, he demands she relinquish the one thing she cannot. Her daughter. Only one other bargaining chip remains...Julia herself. 

Wow! Sun writes stories that jet you across the globe for you to tour the glamorous lifestyle of the wealthy and the beautiful, with heart stopping alpha males and spunky heroines who ignite the passion and the pain in their tug-of-wars to get Happily-Ever-Afters. I can see all that and more from the blurb. Let's check out an excerpt from chapter one too. 

Chapter 1
“I’ll take that one.”
“The green gown, Monsieur Leonadis?”
“No, the model.”The man chuckled. “The model’s not for sale, monsieur.”
“You wanna bet?” Michalis Leonadis loosened his tie, lifted an arrogant eyebrow at the sales manager of the Haute Couture show in Paris, and geared up for battle...not with the manager but...with her. Tracking the model every step with his slitted gaze, he slipped a hand inside the pocket of his jacket and extracted a card, then a pen.
Julia, strutting down the runway and steaming up the ballroom in the Hôtel de Crillon had cost him a marriage, and a billion dollars in a Tokyo deal gone belly-up. As if that hadn’t been enough, his head of security informed him she’d recently given—
Applause broke out, splintering his thoughts, and spiking his fury...his passion. For revenge.
She’d ripped his heart out. Shredded his pride. Cost him.
Her untimely exit had rocked his sphere and his bank account. She nearly bankrupted him. He’d put everything on hold to search for her, and to clean up the legal mess his uncle’s amour had created when she’d charmed... er... scammed the old guy into signing half the Leonadis fortune to her and ultimately her heir. The fortune Michalis had slaved over years to amass.
He set his jaw, batted that distraction from his mind, and turned his laser sharp eyes back to the supermodel, his present dilemma.
When he found out Julia had been living it up in Paris, he’d shut her out, and scrambled to salvage his business and stay afloat— he’d waste no more time on her. He was better off without her.
A spike lodged in his aorta, but he ignored the sting.
He clamped his teeth, his breath rumbling in his chest and escaping through his nose in a hostile sound. How dare she keep that a secret from him?
Cold, calculating bi—the expletive stinging his tongue was smothered by shouts of “Brava!” from the audience.
He scrawled a message on his business card, adrenaline pumping him to action.
She’d definitely pay. He curled his lip. His way.
Michalis slapped the card in the man’s hand. “Make sure she gets it.”
The man glanced at the bold insignia of the Leonadis Cruise Line on the card and inclined his head. “Oui, Monsieur Leonadis.”
Michalis tuned him out.He liked things simple. She’d been anything but.

From Harper Impulse and Sun Chara

If you'd like to see where Michalis and Julia's story goes from there, you can find it at:




*Available also in paperback 


About the author:

Sun Chara, a multi-published, JABBIC winner for Manhattan Millionaire's Cinderella, writes sexy, hip 'n fun contemporary romance, high adventure historical romance, and any genre that knocks at her imagination. Globetrotting for lore while keeping tabs on Hollywood leads, she loves the challenge of creating stories for book and screen. Designer frappuccinos with whipping cream/sprinkles on top makes every day a celebration!

Find her at:  



  

** Information for this post provided by Sun Chara and Petra at Sparkly Word (www.sparklyword.com)




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Doing it all wrong!?

I've been a published author for a while now, yet lately I've wrestled with the question -- Am I doing it all wrong? I'm a fairly confident person, so it isn't doubt in myself as a writer. It's more of an inquiry into how I promote myself and my work. Networking with other authors is an amazing thing. You learn what works and what doesn't. I've come to realize, I fall short when it comes to promo. I've dug deep into my personality for the reasons why. I'll share them later in the post. Here are some of the things I either do too much of or not enough: 

I don't put out a newsletter.

I've never done a blog tour. 

I don't have a separate author page on Facebook and use only my personal page.

I blog when the mood strikes me. 

I tweet or retweet on Twitter a lot. (Way too much according to some)

I don't actively pursue an agent.

I believe in a sense of community, yet in the big scheme of things I'm a lone wolf.

I have no street team to put the word out about my books.

When I get cover art for my next book, I don't do an awesome reveal to build anticipation. I get so excited I share the art right away.

I have a LinkedIn account I don't know how to use.

I'm on Goodreads, but have never done a giveaway there.

I have an Instagram account going to waste.

I don't post a lot of selfies.


I don't post my books regularly in all the different Facebook groups for authors and readers.


I've never done a Thunderclap campaign for my books. I've been involved in one though for the box set I'm part of.

I don't take advantage of all the programs Amazon offers (Kindle Scout, Kindle World, etc.) 

Okay, so that's some of the things that sets me apart from other authors. Do I need to step up my game? Probably. Do I need to follow their road map? I don't see that happening. As much as I hate to admit it, there's a small rebel in me. (I imagine my sisters and brothers rolling their eyes and saying 'Ya think?' Ha.Ha. Love them.)

Am I doing it all wrong? Nope. Everyone has to do what they think is right for them. I occasionally like to step out of my comfort zone, so in the future I may try the Kindle Scout program or rev up my activity on Instagram and Pinterest. (Don't hold your breath. LOL) For now, I'm happy to connect with readers and fellow authors the way I do. You can count on me to over-tweet and get all giddy when I get cover art. But that's just me.



Big love to all of you!

~ Jan
  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Comedy with a dash of Romance - Jude Haste!

My guest today, is author Jude Haste who comes to us from London and writes comedy with a dash of romance. Jude is also a strong anti-bullying advocate.



Instead of an interview, Jude chose to write a guest post. Take it away, Jude...

Raising awareness of Bullying and Work Stress
By Jude Haste - Author on Amazon

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my latest novellas. I write comedy with a dash of romance that I hope raises awareness of the subjects of bullying and work stress. These are important themes as they involve people's mental health and stability.

I began writing to deal with my own work stress and I cut my teeth on a quirky comedy called Loaded. I then went on to write Toxic I and Toxic 2 novellas which follow a lady's life as she deals with her toxic boss. I wrote the Knockout novellas with a bit of a 'Carry On' theme in mind and dealt with a bully in the bedroom rather than the boardroom.



My latest works include: You're Just a Picture On My Wall. I took this title from a song track which my older sister wrote the lyrics to decades ago, so it is quite a personal story. It starts with an incident that actually happened to me. I had to switch off this fire alarm after doing a fire drill at a school and the blasted thing would not shut up. So, I made the situation worse by attacking the alarm box and cursing at it only to turn around and find an entire fire brigade standing right behind me. How embarrassing! Later on in the story, there is a skiing trip and again I used one of the thousands of embarrassing incidents in my life in this section of the story too. It was my first time skiing and my group had to carry their skis to the top of the mountain and then the instructor has you put them on and explains what to do. Unfortunately, when I clicked mine in I was facing the mountain and as soon as I stood up, I shot backwards down the mountain out of control. The instructor raced to save me by skiing backwards behind me and catching my butt in between his thighs to slow me down. Again, how embarrassing!



My main inspiration for writing this book though is based around a character called Ms. Reed, who is the elderly headmistress of an all-girls private school in London. She is a quirky and eccentric character, a bit of a snob, but the point is that she is NOT a bully, in my opinion. When I think of the word bully, the word 'relentless' springs to mind, and Ms. Reed, as quirky as she is, is never shown in the story to be relentlessly picking on or excluding anyone. We all have flaws. 

I always deal with second-chance romances as my  heroes and heroines, who are around my age and I can identify with. The main characters, in this novella, have both been through heartache and need to put their feet back on the ground to deal with the present.

My next novella, Jaywalker, is set in New York, although there are flashbacks to scenes in London. It is based on bullying in the workplace. The main character meets and falls in love with a New York cop but the course of true love does not run smoothly and there are many bickering scenes. The hero is depressed after a failed long-term relationship. When we meet him, he is in rather an unhygienic state. This was deliberate as one of the first signs of someone being depressed is that their own hygiene standards deteriorate. The workplace bullying is based around a series of emails that are received from the boss's sidekick, a lady who seems to spend most of her time relentlessly writing emails, criticising other people's work.




This novella, as it played out in my head really took me out of my comfort zone, but we meet a lot of other characters, like Simon the Psychiatrist who was a wacky character that I created to add to the comedy.

Just an Illusion was another novella I wrote, that I set in India. It is based around an interracial relationship and was important to me in that I wanted to highlight that most mainstream religions share a lot of similarities. I wanted to dispel myths that make us see each other as odd or different.




The boss in this book is actually held a bit accountable for his bullying, but unfortunately with men or women in positions of power, they always try and justify their actions, feeling that the use of bully boy tactics gets the job done. There are courses in conflict resolution that exist and should be taken up by managers. These courses aim to get managers to acknowledge their workforce as people. We are not robots!

We should try to have a positive impact in this world we live in. I hope that from my work, people may learn to come to terms with their work stress by finding an outlet for it, as my characters did and that my novellas bring a bit of comic relief in what can at times seem like a dark and hopeless night! 

You can follow Jude here...  (click the links)



     
    




Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Exactly how I pictured it!

Have you ever imagined a place and when you finally got the chance to visit, it was exactly as you pictured? 

In my book, WILD GOOSE CHASE, Olivia Pence and Dezz Casey had a love-hate relationship since kindergarten. When they ended up working for the same magazine, all hell broke loose. Their boss had her fill of their back and forth taunts, and ordered them to take a two-week cooling off period. They were to travel separately and find serendipitous situations to write about and if the time away didn't fix their woes, the boss threatened to take drastic action. 

Of course, Dezz laughed in the face of danger (a/k/a being fired) and followed Olivia, who was on her way to Florida. Some funny situations took place along the way and so did some romantic ones. Of course, trouble also found it's way into their adventure. Dezz headed back to New York and Olivia continued on.




Olivia visited Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park in St. Augustine, Florida. When I wrote this scene for her, I'd never actually been to this amazing attraction and had to heavily rely on information from the internet. WILD GOOSE CHASE was published in May 2016 by the Wild Rose Press. In February 2017, I finally got to visit the place I wrote about. I admit to being in awe when I realized how close I came with my descriptions in the book. The second I saw the albino peacocks I got all warm and gushy inside. There were also colorful male peacocks strutting around, making noise since they were in rut. I drank from the Fountain of Youth. The water tasted remarkably like well water. I'm still waiting for the 'youth' bit to kick in. At present, those pesky crows feet are still creasing the corners of my eyes. 

In my story, Olivia sat on a bench and tried to come to grips with her true feelings for Dezz. I think I sat on that same bench after I finished touring the park.  

For me, this after-the-fact research was surreal. It was a writer's retreat that not only helped me reconnect with the characters in the book, but also recharged by my creative batteries for future stories. 

There's a lot of beauty and history to enjoy at Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. If you get a chance, check it out.

~ Jan

www.authorjanromes.com




      

Monday, March 20, 2017

Special Guest: Cindy Dorminy

Today my special guest is Cindy Dorminy. She hails from The Volunteer State -- Tennessee. We'll talk to her about her latest book release, Left Hanging, and then discover the talent behind it.




First...

Welcome, Cindy! It's great to have you here! 

* Thanks for having me, Jan.



On with the interview and a sneak peek at the cover for Left Hanging. 




Q: Cindy, what genre would best describe your book?

A: Left Hanging is a sweet contemporary romance, but it borders on women's fiction. 

Q: Setting is so important. It pulls the reader in and makes them feel like they're experiencing the story firsthand. Where does the bulk of Left Hanging take place?

A: Left Hanging is set in Nashville, TN. At first, it's in a university setting and the rest is based around a hospital. Both the female and male characters are from Nashville and work at the hospital.

Q: Without giving too much away about your main characters (because half the fun is discovering them as we read), can you tell us a little bit about them?

A: Theo is the second oldest of four children. His father is a pastor and his mother is an attorney. He's on the last leg of his medical training when he returns to Nashville and reunites with his 'Juliette' or at least that's what she said her name was in college. He loves games (hint: check out how the title of the book is laid out) and that's how the two main characters bonded.

Darla is a nurse and single mother. She figures 'Romeo' a/k/a Theo didn't want to have anything to do with his baby, so she's been going it alone. And out of the blue, he shows back up, which turns her life upside down.

Q: Sounds interesting, Cindy! Could you share with us the blurb? Perhaps one of your favorite passages from the story?

A: I'd be happy to. Here's the back cover content:

As a nurse and single mom, Darla Battle hides her loneliness behind a smile. But when she discovers that the new cute doctor everyone is talking about is her daughter's father, she knows she needs to keep her distance from the man who abandoned her and their child, Stella.

When Theo Edwards returns to Nashville to finish his medical training, he never expects to run into Darla, a girl he spent one night with seven years ago. For reasons he can't fathom, her attitude toward him is frosty, but he still hopes to ignite the spark they once felt.

Once Darla realizes Theo doesn't know he's Stella's father, she has no idea how to tell him the truth. And the longer she waits, the more difficult it becomes. When the situation spins out of control, can the two come together for the sake of their daughter? Or is forgiveness out of reach? 

And here's one of my favorite scenes when they bump into each other years later: (Theo's point of view)

Through her dark hair, which hides most of her face, she glances my way, not stopping her face washing or babbling. She tries to snatch some paper towels out of the dispenser, and they fly through the air, missing her shaking hands. "Are you lost? she asks as she kneels down to pick up the mess on the floor.

I take her arm to help her stand.

"This is the women's bathroom, you know," she adds.

Whoa. Not what I expected. Maybe our time together didn't mean very much to her. I thought we had something special. I wanted her real name, a real relationship. But she vanished after the fire, and no one I asked seemed to have a clue who she was. This little reunion is a shock to me too. I would like to know what she's been doing all these years, but I get the feeling she doesn't have the same curiosity.

"Yeah, well, we met in a bathroom, so I thought it was appropriate." I cannot stop the Cheshire Cat grin from spreading across my face.

She stands there, focusing on the hand dryer, the sink, everywhere except my eyes. Cat's got her tongue. I wish this cat did.

"Hello...Romeo." Finally, she speaks.

I throw my head back and chuckle as I lean against the counter, crossing my arms. The edge of my shirt absorbs a puddle of water. "It's you, after all this time."

She throws the paper towels in the trash can, and her eyes flit around the room. Sorry, girl. It's only you and me.

It's as if her hands can't figure out what to do. I can help her with that. Eventually, she's going to have to face me. She crosses her arms and huffs. I enjoy the scenery while she clenches and unclenches her fists. She is as beautiful as I remember. Not model, stop-and-stare beautiful, but purely, completely perfect-for-me beautiful. And she still wears that same uncertain "I'm not good enough" look on her face. But today, it's coupled with a nasty nail-spitting stare. She waxes and wanes from seeming upset to acting as if she's ready to smack me. Maybe I should take a step back in case she wants to make contact, and not the fun kind. I remember how much her face lit up when she finally realized I really liked her and that I wasn't playing her like some random hookup. We did hook up, but I was already gaga over her by that time. I remember later that night when she woke up in my arms, with one leg slung across mine, dangerously close to the fun zone. It's something I'll never forget. But here we are seven years later, and she seems scared again. Well, let's see what I can do to get rid of that feeling for good.

"So, how long has it been?" She wears a painted-on smile that doesn't reach her eyes.

I'm trying to be nice here, but she's not making it easy. "About seven years, give or take a few months and days." Actually, it's been seven years, one month, sixteen days, not that I'm counting.

"Nice to see you," she says.

She could have fooled me. I don't have a long history of girlfriends, and I'm certainly not a master of body language, but I'm pretty good at knowing when I'm not wanted. I take a step toward her anyway, knowing good and well that I might regret it. She steps back, bumping into the paper towel dispenser. I reach out to flip over her ID badge. She has conveniently clipped it on her shirt so her picture and name aren't showing. She swats my hand away.

"Whaaa? I still can't know your real name?"

She crinkles her forehead.

I lean against the counter again, and my entire face lights up. "It's really good to see you." Inside, I'm doing a happy dance and yelling, "Yes." This isn't the happy reunion I imagined we would have one day, but I can work with this.

"Well, I need to get back to work," she whispers. She tries to push past me, but she's not getting away that easily.

I put my hands on her shoulders. "Please."

Her eyes flick to mine for a second before she looks away again. She doesn't need to be afraid of me. It wasn't my fault a fire interrupted the best night of my life. I run my hands down her arms. "You can't leave before I know your name."

She stretches her lips into a tight line as she averts her eyes from me.

"I thought I'd lost you. You gotta at least give me a name. Preferably, a real one this time."

Q: Is there a central theme? Or, like many books, are there a few themes throughout the growth of your characters?

A: Everyone deserves a second chance at first love. Also, since Theo's a preacher's kid, the theme of forgiveness is woven throughout the story. It's not preachy, but it comes from his upbringing.

Q:  Is Left Hanging a stand-alone book or part of a series?
A:  It is a stand-alone...for now!! I do have ideas for three more in this family, but they are not ready for anyone to see.

Q:  As you wrote your story, were there any surprises you didn't see coming?

A: The ending is totally different than I originally planned. I was working with a writing coach and she said my ending was too obvious and I needed to "throw more apples" at my main characters. Sorry, Stella. It's Kristen's fault.

Q: What did you find the most challenging about Left Hanging?

A:  It is a sweet, low heat romance. Most publishers want super hot romance and this is definitely not that! I'm so glad Red Adept welcomes all levels of heat in their romance novels.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I'm finishing up edits on a romantic comedy, then will dive back into the Left Hanging family.

Q: Aspiring writers look to published authors for guidance and to give them a bit of our reality. Do you have any advice or experiences you'd like to share?

A: Several things actually:

1. Don't give up. If you enjoy writing, keep at it.
2. Be flexible with how you plan to get to your end goal. If you want to be published, getting an agent might work for you. Going with a traditional publisher may be for you. Being an indie author may be for you. They all can lead to the same end goal. Explore all options.
3. Make writer friends that can help you be a better writer, give you advice, and be there when you receive the one hundredth rejection letter.

Q: When you're not writing, what do you like to do? What helps you recharge your creativity?

A:  I work out every day. If I'm not lifting weights, I'm taking my dog for a walk, or I'm riding my recumbent bike. I love to read all kinds of novels too. Exercising and reading (sometimes at the same time) really helps with writer's block. Another way to recharge my batteries is to sleep. If I'm stuck on a scene, I'll try to go to sleep thinking about it. Many times, I'll wake up with a way to move forward. 

Q: You live in Nashville. Can you tell us what it's like to live in such an incredible city?

A:  Nashville is a great city. There is live music everywhere (see my bio - yes, the grocery store, the airport, even in the shoe department at Macy's). I love seeing new up and coming bands and it's not unusual to see famous musicians walking around doing normal activities. It's an unwritten rule in Nashville that we leave the celebrities alone. I think that's why they like to live here. They can go to the Pancake Pantry or the movies without anyone asking for an autograph or a selfie with them. Plus, there are countless people that live here most people don't even know about. Like the session players you'll hear on albums, or the writers who are the talent behind the big hits. One time, I was at a big concert sitting next to a writer friend. It was surreal when the band started playing a song he wrote and everyone in the place was singing along...to HIS song.

Q: You're the proud owner of a four-legged fur friend. Tell us about her. What does she add to your life? Does she make an appearance in any of your books?

A: Daisy Mae is just the coolest little critter. She's a Chihuahua / something / something mix. We went about a year without a dog and when it was time, we went to 'Dog House' as my daughter called it. (Nashville HumaneAssociation) After several trips trying to find the right dog, we were wandering around the kennels when an employee asked us what type of dog we wanted. We told her what we had in the past and (I'm not kidding), she said, "Let me see what we have in the back." She rounded the corner with the cutest little 1 year old sweetheart and we knew immediately she was the one for us. She is a food hound. If we have food, she wants it, no matter if she's already eaten. She's also my writing companion. During the warm months, I sit outside on my screened-in porch and she hangs out with me (as long as I have food).

Q: Your husband is a musician. Do you care to give his music a plug while you're here?

A:  Yes he is, but not professionally. He's also a songwriter. Lately, he's devoted his performing time to the praise band at our church. Another unique aspect of Nashville:  Churches are overflowing with talent. He loves it and he doesn't have to deal with smoky bars anymore. He spent about ten years in the music publishing industry, so he was a big asset to have in my corner when it came to publishing contracts. The downside (he wouldn't think so) to being married to a musician is that there is always one more instrument to buy. I think he has more guitars than I have shoes.

Q: It's been a joy hearing about your book and learning who you are, Cindy. Can you tell us where we can follow your writing career?

A: Thanks so much for having me. I love connecting with readers. They can find me here:

Website: www.cindywrites. com (You can also sign up for my newsletter on my site)

Twitter: @cindydorminy

Facebook: CindyDWrites

Instagram: DorminyCindy

Blog:  http://www.musiccityarts.com/blog/

Red Adept Publishing/Cindy Dorminy:  Left Hanging

        

Check out Left Hanging on Amazon 


About the author:

Cindy Dorminy grew up on a steady diet of popcorn (the kind you pop in a sauce pan), Tab (pre-Diet Coke), and movies for teenagers. She can't let a day go by without quoting a line from one of her favorite films, so quirky dialogue is a must in her stories. When she's not at her research coordinator day job, Cindy is writing funny love stories, walking her dog, or slinging iron the old-fashioned way. She shares her house with her musician husband, her awesome daughter, and a cool, four-footed child that would eat all the cheese if she could figure out how to open the refrigerator. Cindy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Music City Romance Writers. She resides in Nashville, TN, where live music can be heard everywhere, even at the grocery store. 








Romance isn't everyone's cup of tea...

...but where would we be without it? (the romance, not the tea *grins*)



Romance is the special connection that provides a feeling of excitement, mystery, and an escape from our everyday lives. It's the extraordinary chase most of us want to engage in on a regular basis. Some might scoff at the notion, but deep down, they crave it too.

I admit to being a hopeless romantic; an inexhaustible, sentimental daydreamer. I believe in meet-cutes that ignite a spark, chemistry so strong it can melt plastic, and happily-ever-afters.

Writing romance is a good fit for me. Some shy away from the genre because the ending is always predictable. The characters are guaranteed a happy-ever-after or happy-for-now. The path to get all that happiness, however, is never easy. That's where the true test for the characters comes in. It's also where the height of endurance and love can be staggering. As the author, I try to throw as many obstacles as I can at the hero and heroine, and hope they can weather the storm so their hearts can sync.

Reading romance isn't everyone's cup of tea, I get it. In the past, you may have read romance novels filled with flowery prose or unrealistic situations. I think a lot has changed in the genre over the years. If you haven't read romance for a while, you might want to give it another try. There's a good chance you'll find writing that's intelligent, entertaining, and filled with personality. ♥♥

~ Jan

www.authorjanromes.com




                              




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cheryl Holloway is my guest today!






Welcome to my blog, Cheryl. I’m so happy you’re here to discuss your book, A Sisterhood of Women Living Life: A Short Story Collection – Book 1, and to find out more about you too. I’m currently reading your book, and I have to say, you have a keen way of setting up the conflict for your characters right from the start. I’ve been able to feel the emotions along with your heroines. I can’t wait to dive back in and discover what else they have in store for me as a reader. 




On with the questions... ♥

Q:  In the preface of the book you address your readers and explain that most of the stories are based on real-life events: from your own experiences and those of your close friends and relatives. I won’t ply you to find out which ones are real and which ones are fiction, but I wondered what kinds of emotions you felt while breathing life into your characters and putting them in some familiar situations?

A:  Jan, my emotions while writing this book were all over the place: anger, frustration, love, happiness, joy and pain. I wanted to develop characters that were like the actual person, but I had to also make my characters fictional. In some stories, I added believable events, while elaborating on the truth.

Q:  The stories are geared around romance but from the title I’m sensing some real camaraderie between women in order for your characters to survive the circumstances you put them in. Can you say a little bit about the roles your secondary characters play?

A: The Dreaded After Call, is about a long–distance relationship gone haywire and the main character leans on her secretary, Avril, who is a wise young woman. In Wine A Little, I was a wine connoisseur many years ago and used some of my background to write that story and the secondary character was a kind gentleman who was not afraid to show his love. In Rape’s Revenge, the secondary character was a mother, who was strong in her faith and beliefs; and she guided her daughter to do the right thing. In A Widow Moves On, the man she had fallen in love with was not the man that she knew and loved. He had a secret and skeletons in his closet. In Dark Secrets and White Lies, I show how when you tell one lie, you generally have to tell another lie to keep the first lie a secret.  The lies had escalated and it was almost as if the truth was hit by an avalanche of lies.

Q:  Given that your book is a collection of short stories, was there one story in the grouping that you found easy to write? One that was more difficult? Were there any stories that didn’t make the cut; meaning you decided not to share it at this point?

A: The easiest story to write was Wine A Little, because it was a “light weight” topic. LOL. The hardest story to write was Rape’s Revenge. Anytime children get hurt in the process, I tend to cry. Yes, I had a couple of stories that didn’t make the cut for Book 1. I don’t want to reveal them because I think they will make the cut for Book 2.

Q:  Settings in a story can play a big part. Sometimes the setting is subtle; in the background not rousting much conflict. Sometimes, however, it adds to the drama and escalates the tension. Can you whet our appetites by picking a setting from one of your stories and how it was the perfect place for conflict to arise?
 
A:  Yes, in A Widow Moves On, the couple always went out to dinner or other places, rather than his home. So, the setting of his family room was the perfect place for her to “notice” things that seemed out of place.  I don’t want to give away the ending.

Q:  Which heroine was your favorite to write? What trait of hers do you think your readers will pick up on right away and fall in love with her?

A: The young woman in Dark Secrets and White Lies, was a Millennial and she was somewhat of a challenge for me to write her character and stay true to the events.  I think my readers will pick up on the fact that she was frustrated and angry with herself for continuing to lie. I, especially, wanted this book to have something for women of all ages.

Q:  On the flip side, which hero was your favorite? What trait of his do you think the readers will connect with?

A: In Wine A Little, I so enjoyed writing the hero and making him a man that we can all love. He was kind, caring and loving—all the time.

Q:  Romance is easy; love is not. Were there any heroines/heroes that as you wrote their story, you weren’t sure they were going to get their happily-ever-after because they didn’t seem to be able to resolve their issues?

A: You’re absolutely right, romance is easy and love is not. In Rape’s Revenge, I knew what the outcome was going to be, but I had to figure out a way to execute it without making all of the characters look bad.

Q:  Please describe how you felt when your book was finished. Were you emotionally spent from everything you put your characters through? Did you break into song? Dance around the room?  (There have been times when I’ve burst into song and danced when I type The End - *grins*)

A: Of course, some stories drained me more than others, but, overall, I was elated when the book was finished.  I usually give myself some type of treat when I finish a book, such as a special chocolate candy, a movie that I’ve been wanting to see or dinner at a new restaurant. 

Q:  This was book 1. Are you currently working on book 2? If so, when do you plan to publish it?

A:  No, I have two projects that I need to finish before I start working on Book 2.  However, I plan to publish Book 2 in late 2017 or early 2018 depending on the editing.

Great information about your book. Thanks for sharing it. Okay, now a little about you...

Q:  You wear a lot of hats when it comes to the whole scope of writing. You’re a writer, journalist, editor, writing instructor, accountability writing coach for debut authors, and an experienced blogger. You are so kind to fellow authors and pay-it-forward by highlighting them and their books on your blog. How in the world do you balance everything?

A: It is definitely a juggling process. I took an early retirement, so that I would have time to write. Now, I’m busier than ever. I teach writing workshops and have several clients in my accountability writing programs. On my blog, I pay it forward to other authors on a regular basis and I write every day. I am extremely busy and yes, each day still only has 24 hours. LOL

Q:  Regarding your workshops, I see on your blog that there's one coming up in March. Would you tell us more about that in case some aspiring writers/or seasoned writers want to attend?

A: Yes, my workshops are held in Maryland at a Bed & Breakfast, so writers feel relaxed and they can get their writing juices flowing.  Each workshop has a specific theme.  On March 4th the theme is Getting Focused. Writers can get help to start or finish a novel, write poetry, or revise a short story. I provide motivation and inspiration. On April 15th the theme is Getting Published. Writers get tips, shortcuts and advice on self-publishing and traditionally publishing their books. The workshops are a one-day event from 9-5 and at a reasonable cost. Writers can email me.

Q:  When it’s time to step away from writing, what do you like to do? How do you recharge the batteries for your muse?

A:  I recharge by writing a “new” story. I also enjoy going once a month to the local Writers Group for a few hours. We share our stories, good news, tips, advice and new releases. The camaraderie is great for renewal.

Q:  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

A: On the beachfront, where I could look out at the water and enjoy the sound of the waves and the smell of the ocean. But then, I probably wouldn’t get any writing done.

Q:  Music is a constant inspiration for me. Is it for you as well? Which musical artist sings to your soul?

A: Yes, music is an inspiration for me. I wouldn’t be able to write without some kind of music playing. I like R & B and Gospel. If the house is too quiet, I cannot concentrate. My grandkids all know that they can talk to me when they come over, but they say, “Shhh. Grandma is writing her new book.” They love to look at my blog and see my picture.

Q:  You have a trailer for your book. Would you like to share it with us?

A:  Yes, I have a new trailer coming out soon for A Sisterhood of Women Living Life. Readers can check my blog for actual release date. I currently have a Blog Giveaway in Celebration of 500 Blog Posts and 500 Tweets. The prize is for three winners. They will receive an eBook copy of A Sisterhood of Women Living Life and The Proposal: A Leap of Faith, as well as a $10 Starbucks Gift card. All they have to do is leave a comment on my blog.

You’ve been a joy getting to know, Cheryl. I’m glad you visited my blog and I hope you’ll come back soon.

Bio for Cheryl Holloway:

Cheryl Holloway is an amazing contemporary romance author, journalist, award-winning editor, writing instructor, accountability writing coach for debut authors and experienced blogger. She has written several eBooks, The Cougar Tales Series, Book 1: Father and Son; Book 2: The Italian Basketball Player; Book 3: Jamaican LoverThe Bane Bath Salts, (Teen Drug Prevention), and her latest release, A Sisterhood of Women Living Life: A Short Story Collection.  They are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Cheryl has worked for the Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press. She has several forthcoming books, including Lana’s Dream and How to Enhance Your Life with Prayer. When she’s not writing books, she is either writing her blog or reading. Cheryl Holloway’s passion is to Pay-it-Forward to other authors on her blog.  


You can follow Cheryl here: