Tag Archive | love

The Balm of Love ~ Only 99 Ct!

New Balm of Love 3There was maybe an hour of daylight left when Eleanor finally turned onto a stone and dirt road was like a car path through uncut forest.  Finally she pulled up to a guardhouse made of logs with ‘Welcome to Lewis Wilderness Park’ carved in a wooden plank that hung so that it greeted any arrival.

She hoped for her first meeting they didn’t ask her much about Lewis & Clark. She didn’t recall much history from her high school history class.  A tall light brown complected man with a short afro approached her car door.

She lowered her window.  “Hi, I’m Eleanor Lewis. I’m the new employee. I’m to meet with Mr. Murray in about thirty minutes.”

“Welcome to the Wilderness family. I’m Glen,” he said extending his hand through her window.

“Nice to meet you Glen.”

“So, you’re going to continue down this road and take a left where the road forks up ahead. Oh and no need to be nervous, Sean…well Mr. Murray is a cool guy. He will immediately put you at ease. See you later Eleanor.”

Eleanor now smiled a little easier. “Thanks Glen. I appreciate that.”

As he stepped back he smiled and waved her through and she smiled thinking of the friendly sparkle in his brown eyes. She eased the car forward and tried to follow his advice as she took deliberate slow breaths to attempt to calm her heart.

They’d done all the interviews by Skype, so this would be the first time they’d meet in person. They’d been desperate to fill the position and she’d been desperate to start a new life. Hiding out in some wilderness park seemed as different a life she could shoot for. Here, she was certain none of her old crowd would show up  forcing her to suffer sneers from those she’d alienated or looks of pity from those that once considered her a friend.

Soon she drove toward a group of buildings with log paneling on the outside sharing an extended porch embellished with tall rough rafters.  She grabbed only her purse, deciding to retrieve her luggage later.  As she walked up the steps of the porch she could see the first building was a restaurant and bakery with the next being an Outfitter store.

Moments later, she stood before the main lodge building.  She took a deep breath and pushed the door forward stepping into the main lobby, hearing a chirpy greeting which she searched out as her eyes adjusted to the cozy incandescent lighting.

The scent of fresh cut wood hung in the air and she was aware of the whirring sound of an electrical saw accompanied with hammering. Her gaze scanned the lobby which was beautifully decorated in leathers and faux fur textures.

Whatever construction was behind the scenes from where she stood, which was at the front desk before a bubbly, blond woman with a brass pin that read, Belinda who peered at her with clear blue eyes and a contagious smile looking to be no more than nineteen or twenty.

“Welcome to the Lewis Wilderness Park and Camping Lodge. Do you have reservations?” she repeated with no hint of it being the second time she’d asked.

“Hi Belinda. I’m Eleanor Lewis and I have an appointment with Mr. Murray.”

“Oh yes, I was expecting you. He should be ready to meet with you in about ten more minutes. Can I get you a beverage or cup of coffee in the meanwhile?”

“Some water would be great.”

“I’ll get that right away. Feel free to have a seat.”

Eleanor turned and after scanning the spacious lobby filled with various casual seating groups, decided to walk toward the chocolate colored leather club chairs beside one of the lit fireplaces. She was glad the lobby was empty. She didn’t want the added pressure of making small talk with a stranger.

Soon, she was sipping from a bottle of water trying to calm her frenzied mind and shrug off some of the traveling weariness. There was distraction in the quaint beauty of the room made cozy by warm colors and textile carpets that scattered across the stone tile floors and hung on some of the log paneled walls complimented by two huge stone fireplaces at opposite sides of the lobby.

“Mr. Murray will see you now,” Belinda said suddenly  beside her, startling her from her wandering thoughts.

Elaine stood up and took a deep breath as she followed the petite woman across the tiled floors to a discreet stairway tucked beneath a curved wall. Plush carpet met her foot fall and soon she was in a lavishly decorated office, reflecting a constrained passion for the Safari lifestyle.

She immediately recognized the aged Scottish man with shining dark eyes and plump cheeks that she’d been corresponding with over the past few weeks and smiled as she thrust her hand into his extended one. It felt like she was meeting an old friend.

“I’m so glad to finally meet you in person, Eleanor! Did you have a hard time traveling through the snow storm last night or were you already in town?”

Sean Murray had a slight trilling of his Rs despite the nearly thirty years of living in the States.  Eleanor had come to love hearing him speak.  “No, I was still a few hours away, but safely ensconced for the night.”

“Wonderful, wonderful well please have a seat. We are so happy you were available this weekend. There is a small investor group that will be arriving on Friday. They are interested in seeing some of the package tours that this lodge offers and as you can see there is a race to finish up the last of the construction projects on the main floor—only two days away mind you.”

“Well, as I’ve already expressed Mr. Murray, I am eager to jump in and get us completed by deadline if not before. I’ve been reassured even since arriving how kind you are, so I am thrilled to be working for you.”

She watched the once jovial expression on the man suddenly falter, his mouth now twisting to the side as his wiry eyebrows slash in lines pointing toward his nose.

“Did I say something wrong?” Eleanor inquired quickly.

“No, I think that somewhere along the line I have mis-communicated to you. I am not your boss. I merely handle the HR business. No my dear, your boss, well our boss… well here he is now.”

Eleanor watched as Sean Murray gestured with his hand even as he lifted his gaze beyond her.

She on the other hand was caught off guard by a subtle and yet familiar cologne that she’d only known one person to wear.  No! It couldn’t be. Could it?

“Mr. Lewis, I’m so glad that you will finally meet our new employee, Eleanor Lewis.  I thought it funny that you two shared the same last name. Don’t you?”

Eleanor turned so quick she thought her neck would suffer whiplash. “Oh no!”

“You.” He managed between gritted teeth.

Eleanor stood from the wing chair she’d been seated, even as she continued to grasp tightly to it for fear her jelly legs would collapse beneath her.

She stared into the clear brown eyes of the man who’d stolen her heart when she had only been a girl and dropped her gaze in haste.  She was too afraid to decipher what she might read there—most likely the truth about her, about the person she’d been but from whom she was trying to evolve. But he didn’t know that, nor would he believe it.

Still too afraid to meet his gaze, she instead took in his navy cashmere sweater and button-down striped shirt collar that revealed sparse hairs peeping from the top. His wide shoulders reminded her of how she once felt incredibly safe tucked within his strong arms.

Even standing still, his swagger was as she remembered, except somehow more charismatic.

Intensity bounced off him in waves and she knew she was the lightning rod for much of it.

He appeared calm, his hand casually tucked in the pant pocket of a pair of khaki pants, yet the tic in his jaw something only those who knew him well enough to look for, told the story.

Finally, her gaze lifted and she was slammed with his gaze, the ferocity of too many emotions, all focused directly at her. Sweat beaded on her forehead even as her heart did a frenzied canter within her chest.

“I can’t believe it,” she whispered. “It’s really you. This wasn’t the way I wanted us to meet again.”

The tension was thick as the HR manager’s eyes pivoted between the two of them. “Do you …know each other?”

“Actually Sean, you have managed to successfully hire my soon to be ex-wife, that is if the judge could ever sign and discharge the papers,” Terry said while he moved quickly, his long legs crossing the room in only a few strides.

In seconds he was a breath away from her. “Do you never do anything on the up and up? What are you doing here?”

______________

Can two people who’ve hurt one another manage to fall in love again? Check out my latest in the Serenity Inn Series. Tap into the joy, heartbreak and healing love of Lindsay, Chad, Eleanor and Terrance for only 99 ct for a short time!

The Balm of Love ~ Serenity Inn Series ~Book 3

1-CLICK 👆 TODAY

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Cassandra Baker Durham WAS in Nikki’s Chat Chair!

 

Cassandra Baker Durham author

Feel free to purchase her books by clicking on the covers below; they’re Amazon linked.

I am greatly honored to have Cassandra Baker Durham  to visit and sit in the Chat Chair.  Many know Cassandra Baker Durham from the Real Readers Real Words (3RW) Facebook Club. I became more acquainted with her in the Writer’s Review & Support Resource Group, founded by Nia Forrester.

Her buoyant personality is an asset to any group and if she loves your book, she is  an all-the-way-live promo for you! 

Well, without further ado, I introduce Ms. Cassandra Baker Durham!

Tell us something about you.

I am married. I have six children fantastic children and eight extremely rambunctious grandchildren. I received my undergrad degree from North Carolina A&T State University from the school of Social Work. I hold a Masters in Human Service from Capella University w/ a specialization in Social and Community services ( advocacy) And I am currently finishing up a Masters of Arts in Christian Ministry ( M.A.C.M.) at Liberty University.

Wow! You have accomplished a lot!  Tell us, where are you from?

I am from the Furniture capital of the World… Home of Fantasia Barrino and John Coltrane… High Point, North Carolina.

So tell me about life growing up? How does it affect your writing?

I grew up in a time when folks still had liquor by the drink houses. I was raised in one. The customers have created very vivid characters for me because we saw a little bit of everything. But that also meant I was exposed to a lot of things that little girls should not have been exposed to.  Those experiences have impacted my writing because I always needed some where to put the things that I saw, heard and experienced, and paper was the perfect place.

I agree with you Cassandra!  Pain can be a great catalyst for our muses! What motivates you to write?

At first it was my emotions… I wrote to deal with them, but know I’m writing so I can get all of these people out of my head who insist upon talking to me everyday.

How much of what you write is based on personal experiences?

In my devotional book 100%, the new novel coming out probably 30%.

Speaking of your devotional book, tell us the name and were you surprised at it’s success?

 

cass3

 Fully Persuaded:30 Days of Encouragement in Times of Trouble…. Yes, Yes, Yes…. soooo surprised.

So Cassandra, share with us your  writing process.

I just sit down and write…letting the chips fall where they may…lol. I cannot use an outline to save my life.

What genre do you read? What authors do you admire?

I read everything. I love , love, love to read, but my presence is Christian/Inspirational fiction or Women’s fiction… I admire…. Iris Bolling, Maureen Smith, Takerra Allen, Nia Forrester, Altonya Washington, Nikki Walker… just to name a few…

I’ll be sure to pay you for that endorsement after the interview. (smile)

What advice would you give others about writing and then in general?

Just keep writing. Most of the time what we write initially needs to be refined so just keep writing. Be observant, look at the things going on around you and create stories from there.

That’s wonderful!  What would you like people to know that they might not know already?  

I am also a minister and very, very active in my home church. I am multi-layered and multi-dimensional. I love to read and will shout out a book on face book and twitter in a minute. I make no apologies of a book character causes me to talk. LOL

Finally, tell us what are you working on and when can we expect a release?

cass 1

 

I have one book that is in the hands of the editor it is my upcoming summer release… The Summer of Wrath which is expected to drop Late June.  I am currently working it’s currently untitled sequel.

Well I’m sure I speak for many when I say your book is greatly anticipated!  You all can keep up with Cassandra Baker Durham at her twitter address @cassdurham, her Facebook page and on her blog,Cassie’s Book Cafe

Since that release, here are a couple of other books by Cassandra Baker Durham!

cass4  cass2

 Thanks so much for dropping by! It has been an honor to have you be the first guest in my Chat Chair!

#TBT: Sharon C. Cooper WAS in Nikki’s Chat Chair!

Sharon Cooper face pic   In 2013, I interviewed Sharon C. Cooper, “wife, entrepreneur, Virtual Assistant, freelance writer, playwright and author and not necessarily in that order,” she says. If you’re not familiar with her work, feel free to click on the book covers, they are Amazon linked.  You can also find her books at Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

 

sharon all you sharon still  sharon legal sharon truth sharon vegas sharon secret  sharon rendezvous sharon something new  sharon best  sharon blue

 

Grab a cup of coffee or tea, take a seat and relax while we learn more about Ms. Sharon C. Cooper!

Who is Sharon C. Cooper? What are your passions outside of writing?

Hmm…who is Sharon C. Cooper? Well, I’m a wife, stepmother, sister, entrepreneur and an author (and not necessarily in that order). I love rainy days, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (smashed), and I absolutely love, love, love to laugh.

When I’m not writing I’m usually spending time with my amazing husband, doing fun things like playing golf, shooting pool, or going on long walks. When I’m not hanging with Mr. Cooper, I’m usually reading (avid reader) or reorganizing something in the house (I love organization…and containers – I would definitely be categorized as an “A” type personality…but I’m trying to change). I also do volunteer work at a local women’s shelter.

Great admiration for your volunteer work!  Where are you from?

I’m originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but moved to Atlanta, Georgia by way of San Diego, California a few years ago.

Tell me about life growing up? How does it affect your writing?

**perfectly arched eyebrows drawn together with a finger tapping my cheek**

Hmm…now that I think about it, I guess I had a good life growing up. Not only do I come from a family of entrepreneurs, but I come from a family of jokesters…or funny people – which is probably why I enjoy laughing so much. I grew up in a Christian home where there was a lot of love, and a whole lot of laughs!

I can’t help but think about our Thanksgiving dinners. My mom is an AMAZING cook, so holiday meals were…and still are huge. Re: Thanksgiving dinner – after everyone says what they’re thankful for, we tell jokes (STILL). It’s as traditional as having turkey and dressing sitting in the center of the dining room table on Thanksgiving day. Granted, laughing with our mouths full is probably not the best thing to do – but we all look forward to it and everyone comes to dinner bearing jokes (even “yo mama” jokes)!

As for how my life growing up affected my writing – I didn’t really come from a strict household – probably because I didn’t give my parents any trouble – which forced me to make up “stuff” to put in my diary. I’m serious, a big junk of my daily diary entries were made up. I wanted my life to seem eventful…just in case someone read my diary (I wanted to entertain my reader). As I got older, I didn’t have to make up “stuff” but I did start putting disclaimers in the front of my journals – “Read at your own risk. There just might be something in here about you!” Lol!

So I guess making up things for my diary has played a role in my writing now – I still have an over-active imagination. I also have strong work ethics. My parents are hard workers and have been wonderful examples to my siblings and me. We’re all pretty disciplined and serious about reaching our goals. Those qualities…if you can call them that have definitely helped me in reaching my writing goals.

When did you know you were a writer?

Interestingly enough, I never really thought about it, but if I had to pick one specific moment, I’d say it was when I received my first email from a reader. Nikki, I know you’re familiar with the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when a reader takes time out of their busy schedule to let you know how much they enjoy your work.

That, I  now have the privilege to enjoy Sharon.  There is nothing like it!  What genre do you write?

I write contemporary romance and romantic suspense, although lately most of my story ideas have been more in line with Romantic Suspense…now I just have to get all the ideas down on paper!

What motivates you to write?

I have so many characters and story ideas floating around in my head until I feel I don’t have a choice but to write. I have to get these people out of my head! Lol!

How much of what you write is based on personal experiences?

There is a little of “me” in every heroine I write about, and some of my stories are VERY loosely based on personal experience. One example of that is a scene from my short story, Best Woman for the Job. The heroine in that story, Toni, is afraid of rodents and there is a scene where she sees a rodent in the basement of a customer’s house and she totally freaks out. Let’s just say that she and I have something in common…I am CRAZY afraid of rodents – especially mice/rats. I can’t even watch the movie, Stuart Little – and it’s a kid’s movie!

Now mind you, I was a sheet metal worker for ten years – meaning I spent a lot of time in basements and attics. I don’t know how many times guys I’ve worked with have asked, “How can you be a sheet metal worker and be afraid of mice.” Nikki, girrrl, I could tell you some “mice” stories that would have you rolling on the floor laughing (or at least have you shaking your head)…unless you’re afraid of mice/rats too then they might not be that funny.

I’m afraid, but because I wouldn’t be in the room with them I could definitely laugh! I loved that book by the way!  Your romantic suspense stories are so detailed. What is your research process?

I’m not sure if I have a standard process, but it all usually starts with me hearing about something, reading about a particular topic, or seeing something on television (though I’m not a big TV watcher). Random thoughts and ideas are my friends. Then I start thinking- “I wonder if…” or “What if…” and I just go from there.

I do like many people do and I hopped on the internet in search of info, and of course one search leads to another, and then another. Once I know enough to be able to form intelligent questions, I often talk to individuals who have experience with a particular subject. For example, when Bernard Madoff was busted for his elaborate ponzi scheme a few years back, I started thinking – “What if …” After I did some initial research about investing and ponzi schemes – I asked my husband fifty million questions (or so it seemed – his background is in finance). And before I knew it, I had some great ideas/information for my story, Blue Roses, book 1 of the Reunited Series.

I have a couple of police / SWAT story ideas brewing in my head so I recently signed up for a 10-week Citizen’s Academy class with a local police dept. here in Atlanta. I’m curious to see what ideas spark…especially after I get a good look inside of a police cruiser.

That sounds so fascinating Sharon!  I’ll be curious to see what you write based on that experience as well!  What genre do you read? What authors do you admire?

I typically read contemporary romance and romantic suspense. As far as the authors I admire…I admire ALL authors, because writing books is not easy! But if I had to pick my favorite authors, I’d have to say: Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson, not just because I enjoy their work, but also because they have stood the test of time. Oh, and I also get a kick out of Suzanne Brockman’s work.

I agree.  I admire Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson as well!  What advice would you give others about writing & in general?

Write, read, and write some more. Keep writing and learn as much as you can about the craft. You should see yourself/ writing skills improving with every story you release.

As for general advice … Keep God first and trust His timing.

What would you like people to know that they might not know already?

Hmm…not sure. I guess many probably don’t know that I’m really an introvert, but I force myself to be sociable (at times). Oh, and I have never had braces on my teeth. Surprisingly enough, I get that question often.

I would never have guessed that you were an introvert.  From your smile, I can see why they ask about braces Sharon.  Your teeth are perfect!  What are you working on and when can we expect a release?

I’m working on the rewrites for my first book for Harlequin Kimani Romance (to be released Spring 2014), and I’m also working on my next series, the Jenkins Family Series. The first book of the series is expected to be released late summer or early fall of this year (2013).

Blurb and excerpt from Rendezvous with Danger .

Alandra Pargas, ex-CIA counter-intelligence officer, plans to wreak vengeance on the people who tried to kill her. A little rendezvous with danger is not what scares her, though. It’s seeing the tall, dark, and dangerously sexy man she vowed to love forever that has her running for cover.

Former U.S. Special Operative, Quinn Hamilton, left the world of covert operations after the love of his life died in his arms during a black op. Three years later, he still loses sleep wondering if maybe he could have done something more to save her – until Alandra shows up on his doorstep. With her lies and betrayal, he wants nothing to do with her, yet, his heart won’t cooperate. It’s not until unknown enemies come after her that he must decide if he can leave the past behind and protect the woman he’ll always love. Will they survive this last mission and rekindle the love and passion they once shared?

“Quinn continued to stare. The intensity in his midnight dark eyes scrutinized every inch of her.

“I don’t even know what to say to you,” he finally spoke just above a whisper, his voice laced with anguish. Alandra looked at him, unsure of how to respond, but didn’t have to say anything when he continued. “A part of me wants to wrap you in my arms and love on you so fierce that you’ll never want to leave me again, but then there’s the other part of me. The part that is mad as hell that my wife has been alive all this time, working in the city that I live in, and has never tried to contact me. That part of me wants nothing more than for you to get your ass out of my house and stay the hell out of my life…for good.”

Alandra reared back, stunned by the bitterness of his words. But what had she expected – to be welcomed with opened arms? Maybe not, but she had hoped they could at least talk. Yet, if she was honest with herself, she knew his unforgiving heart would rear its wicked head. He was the most committed, determined and trusted man to those he loved, but merciless toward his enemies. And right now she wasn’t sure how Quinn saw her.

Quinn released a long ragged sigh and leaned against a nearby wall, his muscular arms folded across his chest. “Do you have any idea what I’ve been through these last few years, thinking you were dead? Thinking I’d never be able to touch you, hold you, or make love to you? Hell, I watched you die, Alandra, in my arms! You have any idea what that feels like? To watch the one woman you loved more than life get gunned down.”

His voice broke, but he held his gaze steady, maintaining his usual tough-guy composure, and Alandra’s heart crumbled. She blinked rapidly to keep tears from falling. He had always been so hard, tough, and strong willed. It had been too easy for her to forget he was just a man.”

 Copyright Sharon C. Cooper

I know I speak for many when I say that your Jenkins Family Series and your first Harlequin Kimani story is greatly anticipated! Once again, I am so happy for your recent signing with Harlequin.  Thanks so much for dropping by and helping us to get to know you a bit! It has been an honor to have you in my Chat Chair! 

Please continue to follow Sharon  on Twitter, her website, her blog ,  Facebook Profile, Goodreads, and Amazon pages.

Delaney Diamond WAS in Nikki’s Chat Chair!

delaney diamond 2  You see this silhouette and immediately you will connect it with best-selling author, Delaney Diamond, writer of ‘sweet & sensual romance with multi-cultural characters’.   She now graces my Chat Chair to share some insights into who she is as an author.  Just in case you’re not familiar with her body of work, feel free to click on the covers below, they are Amazon linked.  Grab your coffee or tea and get comfortable as we get to know a little bit about Delaney Diamond!

   delaney unforgettable delaney hard man to love delaney temptation delaney diamond 1delaney here comes delaney better DD worth waiting for DD second chances    delaney the wrong man delaney the blind date DD ultimate merger delaney subordinate delaney the arrangement  delaney fight for love DD private acts  DD Hot Latin Men Vol 1   DD Hot Latin Men

Who is Delaney Diamond? What does your daily life revolve around?

I’m a former CIA operative who retired ten years ago after being shot down over the jungles of Central America in a botched mission.

I wish. I’m so boring, but here goes. I laugh a lot and I’m pretty easy going. I’m fiercely loyal to the people that I love, and I hate meanness. I’m the middle child of three. I have an older brother and younger sister. No kids, but I love spoiling my niece and nephew. I’m very close with my family. I get bored easily, so I’m always looking for something new and interesting to learn to challenge me. Cooking is one of my hobbies, and I also enjoy traveling.

My favorite movies to watch are action movies, romantic comedies, and thrillers. My favorite color is yellow. My favorite season is spring. I’m an ice cream addict. My favorite flavors are Haagen-Dazs’s pineapple-coconut and rum raisin; Breyer’s rocky road; and Blue Bell’s pistachio almond.

During the week, my life revolves around my writing, doing research, my new website Romance Novels in Color, and a small business that I run from home. Sometimes I dodge phone calls from people who think I’m “not doing anything” because I’m at home. On the weekends I hang out with my friends by going to dinner, the movies, or just chilling at someone’s house.

Delaney, tell us where you are from.

I was born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands

How was life growing up? How does it affect your writing?

My life was very simple. We didn’t have much, but I was very happy. I walked to and from school every day, uphill, both ways, in the snow…Okay, no, but I did walk to and from school every day. It was that kind of life, where parents didn’t have to worry about someone snatching their kid. Everybody in the neighborhood knew you, and their parents knew you so you could never get away with anything, but you also felt safe in a way that many kids won’t be able to experience nowadays.

My experiences growing up haven’t affected my writing—that I can think of. I was basically a good, boring kid who never got into any trouble. My parents were protective of me and my sister, so I lived a very sheltered life until I went away to college. The things that affect my writing are the experiences I’ve had as an adult, now that the rose-colored glasses have come off.

What motivates your writing?

The desire to tell engaging stories about love and romance. There’s so much negativity and sadness in the world, I like to think I’m adding something positive and entertaining – something that makes people feel good when they’re finished. Even if the road to “The End” was kind of rocky.

When did you know you were a writer?

Hmm…It started when my first ebook was published, The Arrangement. It was so exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, wondering if people would like it or hate it. Lol. More than anything, what proves to me that I’m a writer is that I can’t stop writing. I’d done some writing in high school and won a few contests, but it was never something I aspired to do. It just sort of happened, and now I have all these ideas. It’s been a creative outlet for me that I never knew I needed.

How much of what you write is based on personal experiences?

There are bits and pieces of me in some of the heroines, as well as my life experiences in some of the stories, but to be honest, not much. A good number of my books take place in Atlanta where I live. The Hawthornes – from my African-American series – own property on St. Simons Island, which is a beautiful place off the coast of Georgia that I’ve visited several times. Rafael Lopez, the Latin hero in Fight for Love, was inspired by one of my exes. I chose Ecuador as the setting for Private Acts because it was a country I’d always wanted to visit. I was finally able to do it last year, and I’m so happy I got the opportunity to cross it off my list.

Outside of my personal experiences, I get ideas from the news, books I read, movies I watch, and experiences of people that I know.

Share with us your writing process.

I don’t have much of a process. I’m not a very organized writer. I don’t do outlines, although I’ve tried several times to make them work. When I sit down to write a story, I’ve already done some preliminary research and have ideas in my head of how and where I want the story to go. I gather my notes that I’ve scribbled or typed into a Word document, combine them with what’s in my head, and I just start to write. I write when I’m in the mood—usually early in the morning or late at night. I also write out of order sometimes. For instance, I may be at chapter three, but I’ll write a scene that may later become chapter ten because it’s more vivid in my mind and I don’t want to lose it.

What genre do you read? What authors do you admire?

I mostly read mysteries, thrillers, and romance, but romance is my favorite genre. In order: contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense. I admire Maureen Smith. I’ll read anything she writes, and she never disappoints. Her heroes are so sexy and her storytelling is second to none. I also admire many of the Harlequin Presents authors because they write such passionate, heart-wrenching stories. They’re often over the top, but I’m fine with that because they’re a nice escape. I’ve discovered some really cool indie authors whose books I now devour because they keep me engaged, such as SK and Nia Forrester.

Those two are great examples of gifted writers! What advice would you give others about writing?

  • Learn all you can about writing and the publishing industry. The industry is constantly changing, so you have to stay abreast of the changes.
  • Treat your writing like a business (even if you only do it part-time), not a hobby, and you’ll find not only success, but happiness. My favorite quote to go along with that is by Confucius: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
  • Invest in yourself. If you don’t spend money to put out the best product possible, why should anyone spend money to support you?
  • Hire a CPA. Trying to save a few hundred bucks by not getting a qualified accountant could cost you thousands. You worked hard for your royalties. Keep as much of them as you can.
  • Experiment with your writing and your marketing. What’s the worst that could happen? When you answer that question, then you’ll know what to do.
  • Learn to write grammatically correct prose that is as error-free as possible. You’re not shooting for perfection, but writers should understand the art of writing. It’s important to know the rules so you’ll know when to break them for effect.
  • Read.

Is there a pivotal lesson that you’ve learned in life that you would like to pass on to others?

A few years ago I became physically ill from the stress of my work environment. When I left, I decided I was never going to work for anyone else again. I also decided that I wanted to be happy and keep negative people far away from me. So far so good.

I am so sorry to hear that you had to undergo such a terrible experience.  I am sure I speak for many in being happy for your recovery.  Your experience serves as a lesson for us all.

What would you like people to know about you that they might not know already?  

I think I’m funny. I have a dry, sarcastic sense of humor which doesn’t always translate well on paper. For the most part, I save my antics for my family and close friends.

Finally, tell us what are you working on and when can we expect a release?

delaney the blind date I have a serial story running on my blog called The Blind Date. It’s an interracial romance and the tagline is One night changes everything…again. It’s been fun interacting with readers each week as the story unfolds. I’ll be wrapping it up in mid-June.

I was working on my second sweet romance in the Bailar Series, but I set it aside. Now I’m working on More Than a Mistress, which I’d like to have released late summer or early fall. It’s another interracial. The hero is Argentinean and the story chronicles his relationship with a woman who was supposed to be just his mistress, but she comes to mean much more to him.

I’m also planning a release for the winter. The book is untitled, but it’s the first book in a series about an African-American family that owns a brewery in Seattle, Washington. I visited Seattle last year and thought it would be the perfect setting for this story. I’m currently doing research, but the storyline is really coming together in my head and in my notes, so I’m excited.

Well I’m sure I speak for many when I say all your new projects are greatly anticipated!  Thanks so much for dropping by! It has been an honor to have you in my Chat Chair!  Click here  or on the link below to see the YouTube trailer for this fantastic book (one of my fav’s).  Continue below to read an excerpt from Delaney’s, A Hard Man to Love.

delaney hard man to love

A Hard Man to Love

Hawthorne Family series trailer:

Blurb:

Hating him is easy. Loving him is hard.

Derrick Hoffman never quite got over not having a relationship with his biological father. The woman he was seeing is pregnant, and there’s no way he’s going to let her raise his child without him—even if it means coercing her into marriage.

Eva Jacob made the mistake of falling in love with Derrick, a man she knows is incapable of love. After their breakup, she discovers she’s pregnant. When she agrees to a loveless marriage, she tries to shield her heart from further pain. But she soon discovers that the heart wants what the heart wants, and her heart wants Derrick’s love.

 

Excerpt:

He stepped closer, eyes filled with purpose. Eva inhaled sharply, overwhelmed by his commanding presence. “I want my child to be with me at all times. I want us to get married right away.”

She gaped at him, thinking her hearing must be going bad. If she didn’t know better, she’d say he just asked her to marry him, but that would be ludicrous. A chuckle of disbelief broke past her lips, and she clamped her hand over her mouth when his face hardened.

“Did I say something funny?”

“I’m sorry, I could have sworn you asked me to marry you—sort of.”

“I did.” His solemn expression swiped the smile from her face.

“You—you can’t be serious. People don’t get married nowadays because they’re having a baby.”

“In case you didn’t notice, I’m not ‘people.’ No kid of mine is going to grow up without knowing me.”

“I agree, but I don’t see why we have to get married to ensure it.”

“Because I’m not satisfied with occasional visits. I want my son or daughter in my house, and I want to see them every day—not when it’s convenient for you.”

Eva stepped back, putting her hands up in a defensive motion against him. “Wait a minute. You’re serious about this?”

“I’ve had plenty of time to think, and it could work.”

“No, it can’t!” She swallowed to calm her frayed nerves. She sounded hysterical, while he remained as cool as a tall glass of iced tea. Before she would have welcomed a proposal—such that it was—but a wedding because of her pregnancy was the last option she’d ever considered.

Lowering her voice, she said, “We don’t have to get married. Besides, we don’t even—” She stopped, finding it difficult to say the words, but managing to muddle through. “We don’t love each other. We were already broken up when I told you I was pregnant. I don’t want to marry you, and you don’t want to marry me. Having a baby is not a good enough reason.” She took a deep breath and gradually released it. “We need to come to another arrangement.”

“All right,” he said, which only unsettled her nerves even more. She had a feeling she wouldn’t like his next words. “Then would you be willing to let me have the baby after it’s born?”

Her eyes widened, and she recoiled from him. “You really are insane, aren’t you?”

“What’s so insane about a man wanting his child?”

“Nothing, but—”

“Let me guess, a father’s not as important as a mother, right?”

“I never said that. I know how you feel because I never knew my father, either.” A common thread between the two of them, but whereas she’d seen it as a pain they could share, he never wanted to discuss it. “But a child needs its mother.”

And its father.”

His implacable expression worried her, and she tried to mollify him. “And you’ll have all the access you want.”

“I don’t want access.”

“Well, if you think I’m going to hand my daughter over to you after she’s born, you are sadly mistaken.”

He froze, staring at her. “Daughter? You know for sure it’s a girl?”

Eva paused and nodded. “Yes. This week I found out I’m having a girl.” She’d chosen to get a 3-D ultrasound done to determine the gender of the baby.

His gaze lowered to her stomach. “A girl.”

He seemed stunned, as if hearing the sex of the baby really brought home the fact that a life was growing inside her. He ran his hand down the back of his head, across the black silk of his hair—hair she’d lovingly caressed with her own fingertips. She could almost feel the texture of it.

Eva’s voice gentled. “Derrick, I know why you’re saying these things, but you never have to worry about me cutting you out of your daughter’s life. She’ll know you love her. The relationship you didn’t have with your biological father has no bearing on your relationship with our daughter.”

He lifted his cool gaze to her face. “How much?” He pulled out his phone.

She frowned. “How much what?”

“How much will it take for you to give her up once she’s born? I can be very generous. I have my accountant on speed dial, and with one phone call, I can have any dollar amount you request transferred into the account you choose within minutes.”

He couldn’t be serious. “Wait, what?” Eva shook her head in confusion. “Did I hear you correctly? Did you just offer to buy my baby?”

Delaney  will always hold a special place in my heart.  The encouragement through her blog was the final push I needed to begin writing again.  I know I am one of many fans that she makes feel special because of  the time she takes to bond with us.  Please continue to follow Delaney Diamond on her Delaney Diamond blog, on  her Twitter, Facebook,  Amazon, and Barnes & Noble pages.

Iris Bolling WAS in Nikki’s Chat Chair!

iris bolling2Today I have Iris Bolling, author of The Heart Series and The Pendleton Rule in my chat chair! If you’re not familiar with her body of work, please  feel free to click on the covers below, they are Amazon linked.

iris bolling touch my heartiris bolling heart of himiris bolling lockiris bolling dividediris bolling a lost heart1iris bolling hear,iris bolling teach me iris pendleton ruleiris bolling book of joshua iris book of joshua 2 iris synergy

 

Who is Iris Bolling? What are your passions outside of writing?

I’m a family oriented person, who loves to have get-togethers at my house that last for days. My passions vary. Of course I love to read anything that is romance, suspense, murder mysteries and historical.  I’m avid sports fan. I love Baseball (go Yankees), football (Ugh, in a real low voice-go Philly-I live in Virginia, Redskin land), basketball (DA Bulls) and sometimes, tennis. My community activities center on politics and education.

Where are you from? 

I grew up in Richmond, Virginia. Moved to Morristown, NJ during my freshman year of high school. Then moved back to Virginia after college.  So I’m a Virginia/Jersey girl.

Tell me about life growing up? How does it affect your writing?

Anyone who has read The Heart Series know a little about my story. I am the youngest child of four. I had two sisters (one past away) and a brother. My Great-grand mother raised us, until I reached high school, then we moved in with my mother. I think most authors write about what they know, I’m no different. Most of my values are demonstrated in my stories.

Wow!  I loved the Heart Series! When did you know you were a writer?

Honestly, not until I wrote Once You’ve Touched The Heart as a way to release stress from work. One of my friends read it and said you should do something with this. So I published it, and here I am. I am still amazed  people like to read these crazy stories that pop up in my head.

What genre do you write?

I currently write romance and romantic suspense. Next year I will be writing Mysteries, and family drama.

I can’t wait to read your new projects Iris!  What motivates you to write?

Readers. I love the enjoyment I see and hear when someone reads a really good book. It is an unbelievable feeling to hear readers talk about your characters as if they were a personal friend, or one of their family members. I know the joy I feel when I pick up a really good book or the feeling I have when I’m waiting on the next book from my favorite author.    I can only hope I generate that excitement in readers.

How much of what you write is based on personal experiences?

My life is not that interesting as my characters, believe me. LOL! Seriously, I think a little of my life is in every book I write. I do have my JD who test some of the love scenes with me, but other than that, not much.

What is your writing process? 

Free flow. I simply sit down at my computer and the characters spill out through my fingers. I have tried, but I cannot do outlines. For some reason I never stick to them. Most of my stories are character driven. If they do not want to go in the direction of that outline, they simply won’t. So, for me I turn on some music, sit back and start writing.

You write such wonderful romances. What’s your take on life and love in real life?

Thank you. I am a hopeless romantic. I believe in true love. I believe there is a person for everyone. People have a tendency to go with what feels like love, however if you wait, be patient, the right person who will love you for you, will appear. There is going to drama, suspense, along the way, but life, should be filled with happy moments and love.

What advice would you give others about writing in general? 

Study the craft. Learn all you can about the writing process. To be a writer isn’t just putting words on paper. It’s making those words you put on paper come alive for readers. Take the time, learn how to write, then learn how to take criticism, it will come, believe me. It’s what you do with the criticism that makes a difference. Then when you believe you are ready, and only you can determine this, think about how you want to be perceived. Research your favorite authors, how they present themselves at book signings and conferences. Learn about their failures and successes. Then setup a plan for you, then surround yourself with people who have similar plans. You can’t get to where you want to be without a roadmap. Whatever, you do don’t give up, believe in you.

What would you like people to know that they might not know already?

I have a really hard time approaching people. There are authors I admire, who I have a difficult time approaching. It’s not that I don’t want to, its’ I just don’t have the nerves. I love Beverly Jenkins, I mean, just love her. She is one of the most approachable people you will ever meet–ever! I have talked with her on several occasions, she has helped me in ways you would never imagine, but I still hesitate approaching her when we are at events or even on line. But, whenever I do, she is always there willing to share her knowledge. Gwyneth Bolton is the same way. She is always there when I reach out. The first time I saw Gwyneth was on a Romance Slam Jam cruise. She was at a table with several other authors, some I knew. Rochelle Alers was also there. I wanted to go over to that table and listen to whatever they had to say, but I just could not get my nerves together to make that move. On that cruise, with the flying trays and all,  Gwyneth won an award and so did I, we were on stage together. I was so nervous, I grabbed her hand and held on for dear life. It meant the world to me, when she didn’t turn around and smack me. LOL! So, if you see me out and about, and I’m sitting somewhere by myself, it’s not because I don’t want to be bothered, it’s because I’m still working on getting my nerves up to say hello.

I’m sure many will make it easier on you from now on!  What are you working on and when can we expect a release?

I have several projects in progress. I am currently working on Xavier Davenport from Teach Me. That will be my next release. Joshua Lassiter, from The Heart Series and The Gems and Gents Series will be two books, both will be release this year. I’m really excited to start my detective series that will feature the ladies from The Pendleton Rule, and last I’m working on a murder mystery for submission.

Well I’m sure I speak for many when I say these projects are greatly anticipated!  Those ladies are B-A-D! And I can’t wait to see what Joshua will blow up next! Thanks so much for dropping by! It has been an honor to have you in my Chat Chair! 

Please continue to follow Iris Bolling on Twitter @Siriaustin  on her blog, her Publisher website, FacebookAmazon  & Barnes & Noble page, and  of course her Facebook group, Iris Bolling’s Book Palace

Love Embraced ~ Serenity Inn 2~ Free All Day Today!

lindsay and chadI loved the characters Lindsay and Chad, but I made the choice to extend their story in a sequel.  I think my readers will be satisfied with the continuation of their story-line as well as that of the feisty Cook, Elaine, Walter and a couple of others to really shake things up! 😉

Synopsis:

Lindsay and Chad reunite and consider if they have what it takes to continue to pursue their relationship. They each have grown since confessing their feelings, but now they wonder if there is room in their new lives for each other. They soon find out that success brings new challenges. Lindsay will also have to contend with Chad’s sister in law, Eleanor, who makes it abundantly clear how she feels about Lindsay. Cook also makes a reappearance and she is feisty as ever!

Elaine emerges from the background as one of the main characters. Suddenly her past is crashing with her present. She will need to figure out how to confront old issues while determining if those old scars will hinder her from new love.

Walter has held his own since stepping into Chad’s shoes. He continues to move forward in his growth from mistakes made in his past. Can he continue to be the backbone and support of everyone at Serenity Inn?

 

Serenity Inn Promo 3

 

 

Here’s an excerpt:

She’d just lifted her legs to the small ottoman before her when Eleanor returned.  She smelled her heavy parfum before she even looked up.  Eleanor moved behind the bar.  Lindsay could hear her drop ice into a glass and then the sound of the ice melting as she poured over it.  She decided to ignore the woman. She was buoyant with excitement and she thought maybe if she didn’t’ acknowledge her, that she wouldn’t bare her fangs and claws. She soon found that was only wishful thinking.

“I have to admit you clean up pretty good.”

Wait for it! Lindsay thought as she sipped from her glass.

“Target did a good job with that rendering of Beyoncé’s dress. Was it on sale?”

And there it is!  “I imagine that’s as close to a compliment as I’m going to get from you.” Lindsay murmured as she connected gazes with the haughty woman.

“I do believe you’ve given me more credit than I deserve,” Eleanor purred before winking.

“Ye–eaaah, it’s a bad habit of mine to give people the benefit of the doubt. Even you, Eleanor,” Lindsay quipped returning her wink before dropping her eyes back to her tablet.

“Well! I think you’re finally learning,” Eleanor said before she walked toward Lindsay and sat down beside her feet on the ottoman.  She sipped what Lindsay could see and smell was whiskey and remained silent.

Lindsay turned her attention back to her Kindle, though she had to admit her attention was waning as she wondered what next would be coming out her bag.

Suddenly Eleanor began tapping her turquoise nail against the glass she held. Almost as if signaling for an announcement.

“You know Lindsay, you’re a beautiful girl.  And you know how to make a good impression, but you need to face the fact that you’re never going to fit within Chad’s world. You see, he has obligations that not only affect his career but his family’s name. The functions he attends require a woman bred in the same background as his. Do you really think a girl from the ghetto will make an adequate woman on his arm?”

She laughed now to make her point. “My family has known Chad’s and Terrance’s family for years.  And I went to school with them.  So, I can tell you, women like you come a dime a dozen for Chad. I mean you have your role for sure, and I guess you’re pretty good at that,” she smirked.  “But its best that you remember you will only be the lady of a season…don’t think to plant your roots for a lifetime.”

Lindsay felt anger pulsate through her as never before. She’d had enough of Eleanor.

“And why is it any of your business, Eleanor?  You would think Chad was your husband and not Terrance. What goes on between Chad and I shouldn’t be your concern.  Besides, you presume wa-aaay too much.”

Lindsay slid to the edge of her seat and stared directly into Eleanor’s sea-glass viper blue eyes.  “I think you should take all that energy that you spend trying to insult me and others and devote it to your husband and your new marriage. And stay away from me!” she said as she pushed the ottoman away from her unintentionally causing the amber liquid in Eleanor’s glass to slosh out onto her red blouse.

“You! You….”

“What’s going on here?”  Chad asked as he entered the room.  He was frowning now as his gaze swung between Lindsay and Eleanor.

Lindsay took in his dark suit that fit him like it was made just for him. Then she realized it probably was.  His white shirt was crisp and open at the collar, revealing bronze skin and wisps of hair, which had her hand longing to touch.  Finally, she tuned back into his question.

“Oh nothing, just a little girl talk,” she said before smiling.  “Then the ottoman slid and spilled Eleanor’s drink all over her.”

“Do you want me to call Michael for you, Eleanor?” Lindsay softened her voice so that it purred just like Eleanor’s.  Then she turned her eyes up at Chad before she stood up and walked into his arms. She brushed her lips against his, completely ignoring Eleanor, who got up and all but stomped from the room.

“Mm, you smell good babe,” she said before she grasped the ends of his tie and began to expertly knot it.  “There you go. Are you ready, honey?”

Grab yours today!  Today it’s free!

 

serenity 2 love embraced cover large2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And be on the look out for the third installment in the Serenity Inn Series, The Balm of Love, coming soon!

Serenity Inn 3 New Cover Promo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much to all my readers!  Through your encouraging posts and inbox notes, you certainly make my writing rewarding! ❤