Happy Publishing Birthday to ME!

This time last year my published work of fiction was released!

Twelve Strippers of Christmas coming October 2017

The Twelve Strippers of Christmas was the result of an epic challenge, and being the slightly competitive person that I was, I stepped in it.

Most authors will tell you, they are tempted by the “Oh shiny” prospect of the next story, another idea in the middle of a deadline. Two years ago my distractions kept coming in the form of male strippers. They were dancing in, and flexing muscles and demanding my attention.

I described this problem to a few writer friends, and the solution to write short stories to “get these guys out of your hair” was proposed. Which somehow led to a discussion of when to release for holiday novels, which led to:

“If anyone can write a bunch of Christmas strippers
it’s going to be you.”

How could I not prove her right?

Want to know more about the stories in The Twelve Strippers? Click here to find out more, and for all the buy links!

Unwrapped presale and cover reveal

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Cute, fun, sexy, and full of sparkles, feathers, and dancing! Lulu has a knack for taking “ordinary” heroines on extraordinarily sexy journeys!

Beautiful, glamorous Nick does what he wants…and who he wants.

The unexpectedness of Nick hooks Katie from the first moment. He’s the Christmas present she most wants to unwrap. But Katie has been holding back and trying to do what makes everyone else happy. Nick is doing everything Katie isn’t, including living his passion of designing feathery frocks for the burlesque dancers Les Poules Françaises. If only Katie could join their ranks, that would be a dream come true.

Suddenly, Nick has a new goal: make Katie release her inner passion. It’s time to stop trying to please everyone else and do what makes her happy, and that includes going after the one present she wants.

The greatest lesson Katie learns this Christmas is that the best gift anyone can open is herself.

Self-confidence and feathers, so many feathers.

Unwrapped is a Holiday Strippers novella, hot sexy, ridiculous, with themes and situations not suitable for readers under the age of 18.

Release date: November 14, 2018
Ebook pre-sale now available for 99 cents.

Amazon • Kobo • Barnes and NobleiBookGoogle Play

Interview with Heatherly Bell

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I like to set a scene for where the interview is taking place. It’s been a while since I was in the heart of Silicon Valley, where is a good place to hang out and have a conversation?

Here in my small town of Morgan Hill, we like to meet at Peet’s Coffee.

Can you remember the first romance novel you read?

Shana by Kathleen Woodiwiss.

How long have you been writing?

I will say about 14 years though of course I wrote some in high school but I don’t count that.

What is your writing process? Are you a pantser, or a planner?

I like to call myself a plotser. I used to be a pantser, and that actually worked for me, but my publisher forces me to give them a synopsis. I use it as a road map of where I will go with the story. Mostly I focus on the character’s growth ARC. Other things can change but that shouldn’t.

What currently compels you to write?

Deadlines! But seriously, when I am in the sweet spot of a story, I just want to keep going. It’s like I’m telling myself the story.

Character development is a fascination of mine, where do your characters come from?

My characters usually jump into my mind’s eye, practically fully formed. I don’t really know how that happens. I think I’m like a sponge of everything I’ve ever seen and everyone I’ve ever met. But I don’t often know what their favorite color is or their favorite food. I simply know who they are and what they have to learn. I try my best to keep it simple.

Tell us a little about Country Gold, a Wilder Sisters novel (upcoming release out 9/17)

I’ve wanted to write this book for such a long time but had too many other projects in the way. It’s been germinating in the back of my mind for a while and took a few different forms before it settled down. This is the story of three sisters who were very young when they formed a country western band and eventually became very successful. When it all implodes due to a sex scandal and sagging sales, the sisters are let go by their recording label and each has to re-think the rest of their life. Who are they without fame and music? Without each other? While they figure this out, they hide out in their central coast California town of Whistle Cove. And of course, they each have a love interest to come along and complicate the hell out of their lives. Much fun.

Fame tore them apart…can music bring them back together? 

A sex scandal ended the careers of the Wilder Sisters, the CMA award winning, chart-topping country girl band. But Lexi Wilder is okay with that, thanks for asking. 

She’s been on the road since roughly forever, and even if the scandal has followed her home to Whistle Cove, California, Lexi is going to enjoy the break. After all, there’s quite nothing like the beautiful sandy beaches of Monterey Bay to calm a woman’s soul. 

Luke Wyatt never asked to trade fame and fortune for the only woman he’s ever loved. It happened anyway. 

Now that he’s finished a punishing year-long national tour, all bets are off. He’s coming back to his hometown of Whistle Cove for the quiet, the beaches, the inspiration, and the girl. Not necessarily in that order. 

There’s pressure from Nashville to deliver more country gold like the song he co-wrote with Lexi Wilder. But that little bit of magic is not likely to happen again. 

Because she’s still not speaking to him.

http://www.heatherlybell.com/wilder-sisters

Do you listen to music when you write? What do you like to listen to? Was there a musical influence for Country Gold?

I cannot listen to music while I write. It’s too distracting. I pick up the tune, start singing. Forget about the writing, I’m going to dance! I do like listening to country music and do so often. Sam Hunt was the musical inspiration for my hero, and Miranda Lambert for my heroine.

Are you a TV watcher or a movie goer?

Mostly movies and long running series. I don’t watch much TV other than Dateline.

Which (show or movies) are your current favorites?

The Wonderful Mrs. Maizel

Orange is the new Black

Ozark

Set it Up

Like Father

If you could have one of your stories made into a movie, who would be in your dream cast?

I think Crazy for You, a Christmas book, would make a wonderful Hallmark movie. Except for all the sex. Take that out and it works. I would cast Emma Stone as the heroine and Jessie Metcalf as the hero.

If the NSA were to examine your browser history, what “concerning” topics might they find?

Fortunately, I write lighthearted. Recently I searched for Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Wake-boarding lessons (I watched YouTube videos) and also endangered wildflowers in California. Nothing exciting at all!

What are you currently reading?

Lori Wilde’s The First Love Cookie Club.

What’s the one question you always like when people ask authors?

How can I finally finish my book?

Write every day even when you don’t feel like it. It’s a job like any other. It took me 14 months to write my first book. It got faster after that.

What is your secret party trick?

I don’t know if it’s a party trick, but I’m a trained singer so I usually do well on the Karaoke machine!

Pizza or tacos?

Pizza

 

You can follow Heatherly online

Twitter: @heatherlybelle

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherlyBell

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/heatherlymbell/

Instagram: heatherly.bell

Interview with Pamela Gibson

It’s summer, and summer interviews are hot!
Where are we chilling out during our conversation? Are we under an umbrella poolside enjoying drinks with umbrellas, or are we hiding out inside with lots of air conditioning?

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My absolute favorite place to chill is on the aft deck of our Nordic Tug while anchored out in a beautiful cove or on a quiet river. But today I’m home in Sonoma, California, sitting out by the pool in our shady backyard.

Tell me about your Love in Wine Country novels.

The series has six spicy contemporary novels set in Napa and Sonoma Counties. Five are written, although one of the five is being revised and will be re-released in early August. The last book has been set aside for now. The novels follow three Hispanic sisters and their cousins, three Hispanic brothers, all part of the Reynoso family ruled by a fun-loving, pseudo-psychic grandmother they all call Nana. Most of the family is in the wine business—growing grapes, tending fields, making and selling wine. I loved showcasing the working families in wine country who overcome obstacles, resolve conflicts, and find love. The series will soon be joined by four novellas, former Kindle World books, which are being rewritten with some of my characters from my novels showing up.

If you could sit down and interview any character- yours or anyone’s- who would you want to interview?

Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind

What’s the single most burning question you would want to ask them?

What’s wrong with you, girl? A real man wants you and you still moon over that milquetoast Ashley. Do you want to be the dominant one in the relationship, is that it? Or has your spoiled-child upbringing clouded what’s really important. Thank God, you come to your senses at the end.

If you had the opportunity to have your work turned in to a film, which would you prefer Hallmark Channel or HBO miniseries?

I think the St. Helena Kindle World novellas are all suitable for Hallmark films, although readers tell me my other novels are, too. If there were questions at the end of each book—all resolved in the final book—then I might say HBO for the novels. But all of the books in my series are standalones. So Hallmark (with the sex scenes removed).

Of everyone that you have written, who is your favorite character and why?

My favorite character is Marcelina Reynoso, Nana to her grandchildren. She’s tough, independent, flamboyant, and not at all afraid to speak her mind. Plus she loves her Michael Jackson playlist and can moonwalk like a pro in her gold spandex pants with her sequined top and a gazillion bracelets on her arms. She has a smart-mouth, too, and thinks she can predict the future.

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When creating characters, do you get a strong visual/ physical sense of them or are they more personality and emotion?

I start with their personalities, then write their physical descriptions. Paige in A Kiss of Cabernet is a bit of an introvert, but overcomes her shyness by talking to herself to give herself courage. She meets her antagonist (the hero) head-on by using this technique when she tries to talk him out of selling his vineyard which she manages. Her cousin Sam in Sauvignon Blanc to Sigh For is a totally macho, controlling, gorgeous guy who’s a damn fine home winemaker. His best friend Sarah is a planner, a total nerd, who keeps him in check and helps him, even though she could kill him sometimes.

What got you into writing?

When I was six years old my little brother died of leukemia. I started making up stories, often with him alive and well in them. By the fourth grade I was writing stories, and by high school, I was working part-time for a newspaper. I gradually left non-fiction and went to fiction, writing stories with happy endings. News doesn’t always have happy endings.

What keeps you writing?

It’s almost a compulsion. Out of the blue, my fit, active, younger husband had a stroke last year. Now I am one hundred percent caregiver. Writing (usually 5 am is when I start) keeps me sane and centered and lets me escape when I need to.

You used to live on a boat, do you have plans on developing some characters who take on a similar adventure?

I have a non-fiction book underway called Confessions of a White-Knuckle Cruising Spouse. Yup, I was terrified most of the time we were on the water. The last trip was over five thousand miles in a 32-foot boat. I saw and did amazing things and tested my courage over and over. But it really should be non-fiction, to give other spouses encouragement to stick it out when their significant other has saltwater in their veins, and they’d rather be at Starbucks drinking lattes.

Who is your current favorite author?

Susan Elizabeth Phillips—she’s an auto-buy, although she hasn’t released anything lately.

Who was your favorite author as a kid?

I discovered old Carolyn Keene books when I was about nine. Camped out at the library whenever a new book came out, even though Nancy Drew was dated. I still thought the books amazing.

What are you reading these days?

My most recent small trad publisher is Soulmate and my editor loves my historicals. So I am reading Regencies and Westerns because she’s contracted for one book in both subgenres and I have two sequels in progress. I will probably keep my contemporaries Indie. I also like to read romantic suspense and small-town contemporary. Do you get the impression I like to read? You’re right.

Does pineapple belong on pizza?

I’ll eat it because I’m hungry or polite, depending on the situation, but I won’t order one like that.

As a self-proclaimed snacker, what is your favorite thing to munch on?

I do love chocolate—cookies with big chocolate chips, chocolate bars with nuts, chocolate ice cream for breakfast. I am a chocoholic. It got me through a rough ride on Delaware Bay and it helped me cope with a stormy Atlantic and a tornado tied to a lock wall on the Erie Canal. Chocolate anything is my go-to food for stress relief, including a bag of chocolate chips if there’s nothing else.

Thanks Lulu. This was so much fun.

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You can find Pamela online at:

http://pamelagibsonwrites.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pamgibsonwrites/

WIP-it Wednesday: a little burlesque, and a lot of feathers

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Her eyes immediately were drawn to the two women in the middle of the open floor. They wore work out wear, and were posed knees bent, butts pushed out, chests up, arms lifting in large circles. Katie stopped and watched. They were the Poule dancers. Katie’s stomach did a flip. She was already all nerves to see Nick again after last night and this morning, would he still want her around? But now to see the burlesque dancers practicing was an extra thrill. After only having seen one show, they were her personal heroes.

Katie couldn’t take her eyes from the dancers. They stepped, turned and posed to the music. She didn’t move from inside the door until one of the dancers caught her eye in the mirror.

She stopped and faced Katie. “Who are you? This is a private dance studio.”

The words stuck in her throat. “I…” She pointed to where Nick worked. “I’m…Nick.”

“Katie-cat is my lover.” Nick announced as he crossed the studio to where she stood. Katie couldn’t take her eyes from his face. His wide smile and happy expression made her insides quiver. He pulled her into his embrace and claimed her lips in a searing kiss.

He broke the kiss and pivoted to face the dancers. Katie could only blink as she looked at his face. His words and actions claimed her like an object. An inkling in the back of her brain pointed to this as a prime example that he was never going to be emotionally invested in them as a future couple. Her heart smothered that inkling with a pillow, and shoved it far far away. She wanted to be his. More accurately she wanted him to be hers.

More holiday bump and grind this winter coming your way!
©2018 Lulu M Sylvian

Author Interview Marina Adair

As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive.  Her St Helena Vineyard series was the inspiration behind the Hallmark Original movie, Autumn in the Vineyard. (I totally snagged that from her website BTW)

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I like to set a scene for my interviews, gives us a chance to be somewhere, and not just words on a webpage. Are we in a tasting room in wine country? Or on an open patio by the beach somewhere?

We are sitting on a front porch, sipping a glass of Pino Gris and watching the clouds float over Mt Hood in Portland.

You have several small town series, in vastly different areas across the US, did you travel extensively to research the regions?

I love creating new towns for my characters. So even if a series is based on an actual town, I fictionalize it. That said, every series I have written has been based on a place I have lived or visited prior to starting the series. For example, The Eastons series follows five alpha brother is Portland, Oregon who inherit their dad’s brew house. I flew to Portland and explored the city for several days with a friend and fellow author before I started the series.

What drew you to creating these communities of characters and places?

I spent most of my childhood in my head, creating amazing places and stories. It is still something I do to this day. The fact that my job now is to create places I’d wasn’t to live or visit makes it the best job on earth.

Please tell us about the Eastons and your newest release.

The Eastons series follows five brothers who must overcome the loss of their father in order to open themselves up for true love. They don’t mind breaking the rules or testing the limits, but when it comes to matters of the heart … they play for keeps.

My upcoming release in the series, DRIVE ME MAD, which comes out this summer, follows the Assistant District Attorney, Josh Easton, as he finds himself in the run for DA, and going head to head with a sexy, ball-buster of a woman, who teaches him that all is fair in love and war. It is an enemies to lover story, where my hero and heroine can’t stand what the other represents, but can’t seem to keep their hands off each other.

What was your reaction when you found out the Hallmark Channel wanted to make Autumn in the Vineyard story into a movie?

I have an MFA in screenwriting, which was my first love. So when I switched to novels, I thought I had to give up the dream of seeing my work on the screen. So when Hallmark optioned the entire St Helena Series, I was able to fulfill that dream. And it was amazing!

Did you get to visit the set?

I did get to go to the set! It was filming in Canadian Wine Country, so Big Sexy and I took a trip up north. Rachael Leigh Cook was as sweet as she is talented, and the producer heading up the project was an amazing man to meet. The highlight though was Larry the Llama, who was so talented he played Mittens the Alpaca. (edit: don’t you just love how she calls her husband Big Sexy!)

As part of (the now defunct Kindle Worlds) what was it like from your side of the table, having all these authors continue to populate your world, and have new characters, and familiar characters take on new adventures?

I have been so blessed in my career being surrounded by successful and talented authors who helped me get to where I am today. Kindle Worlds was an amazing opportunity for me to help other new authors grow their reader base and write in my world. My readers were able to spend more time with characters they love, and explore new characters as well. It was a win-win for all involved.

ChiChi Ryo is quite the character from the St. Helena Vineyards books. I can almost imagine that this fierce nona came to you and began telling you all about her handsome grandsons, and beautiful granddaughter. I am fascinated with how different authors discover their characters. So, who came first? The DeLuca hotties or ChiChi?

The DeLucas are based on a real-life family from my childhood. My babysitter was the only sister among five older, Italian brothers, who made her dating life hell growing up. But ChiChi is lightly based on my own grandmother and her friends. So, I guess ChiChi would have come first.

If you could rewrite a piece of classic literature (I’ll let you decide what that definition means) which story would you take on? What big changes would you make?

I’m not sure I would re-write, but I would definitely love to play in Jane Austin’s world. In grad school I read, Wide Sargasso Sea, which is a parallel novel of Jane Eyre, and tells the story of Bertha. That book blew my mind and inspired me to read other parallel novels, such as Huck and The Hours. If the opportunity presented itself to write a parallel novel, I’d probably write a book from Mr. Darcy’s or Jane Bennett’s perspective.

Pineapple on pizza, yes or no?

Um YES!

Coke or Pepsi?

Beer

What’s the one question you always like when people ask authors?

“Where can I get your next book?” Lol.

Every Little Kiss comes out July 18, 2018

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Follow Marina, and find out where you can get her next book!

http://www.marinaadair.com/

www.facebook.com/marinaadairaauthor

www.twitter.com/MarinaEAdair

www.instagram.com/marinaadairauthor/

Happy Release Day!

SweetSatisfaction

Now Available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited!

Sexy hot dessert chef Les Hernandez knows how to make a cheesecake.

Les Hernandez is hot. He is sexy as hell, he has that whole bad boy chef vibe, rocks a kilt, and makes the most orgasmic cheesecake Tori has ever tasted. No wonder it was crush at first sight. Tori even changes her work schedule so she can see him more, all under the pretense of excellent customer service. But she knows it’s hopeless, that he only sees her as that funny pudgy girl that’s good to hang out with because she doesn’t threaten away other women. 

Tori begins to question her life choices: moving to a small town in the middle of wine country no longer seems like the best idea. Her best friend no longer returns text messages, her boss has changed the nature of her job, and she really needs to get over her crush on Les.

Les can’t figure sassy Tori out. Her job as Social Marketing and Special Projects Manager for one of their suppliers has her in his kitchen doing everything from delivering vegetables to taking selfies. She also has this way of eating his desserts that leaves him needing a moment or three in the walk-in freezer to cool off. But he doesn’t think of her that way. Or does he?

Play Ball! Interview with author Jen Doyle

A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. CALLING IT, the first book in her baseball/contemporary romance/romantic comedy series of the same name, has been winning awards since its inception, the most recent being the 2017 Best Banter Contest. (And it’s on sale through 4/5/18 for 99 cents!) She also writes the acclaimed HANSONS OF ST. HELENA series of novellas in the St. Helena Vineyard Kindle World.

Today is the beginning of baseball for the year and the first day of Jen’s 99 cent sale! The runs until April 5th.
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I love to set a scene for our interview. It helps to give the readers a little more insight into you as a person. I’m not sure if we should be at a ballpark with hotdogs and drinks, or chatting quietly in the big comfy chairs at a library?

LOL! How about sitting on the beautiful porch of a library that’s situated in an old Victorian home and overlooks a baseball field? (I used the house in the picture at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/385620786821588739/ as my inspiration for, well, the Inspiration (IA) Public Library. So that’s the porch I’m thinking of. Which, come to think of it, kind of looks like the porch on the house in Field Of Dreams, which in turn looks over a baseball field. [See how I did that? ]) Oh, and don’t forget the Cracker Jacks!

Your first series centers around baseball and a small town in Iowa. So let’s start with baseball, I take it you are a fan? Who is your favorite team? Did you grow up playing as a kid?

I am! I actually just recorded a podcast with my sister where we talk about that. For me, baseball brings about memories of sitting in the living room and doing homework while my dad watched the game on the TV. He was a huge Yankees fan, so those games were a big part of my growing up. When I met the man who was to become my husband (we met in college), the fact that he was a Red Sox fan was a bit of a concern in my family…with good reason. We moved to Boston in 1996 and living in such a big baseball town it was hard not to begin to side with the hometown team. I officially converted in 2003 and am now raising three fairly rabid Red Sox fans, to (some of) my family’s dismay.

And now for small towns, you also write for St. Helena Vineyards Kindle Worlds, that also takes place in and around a small town. What drew you to these two small-town locations for your writing?

It’s weird, because I’m actually a city girl at heart, but when it comes to my fiction, I love reading and writing about small towns. I think it’s about these communities of people who know everything about each other and are in each other’s business all the time. Sometimes that’s a good thing, with communities coming together in times of hardship, and sometimes, of course, it’s not quite as idyllic, with small-town politics, etc. But being able to explore those themes—and play up those characters—is definitely one of my favorite things to do.

And to add on to that, what I love about writing in the St. Helena Vineyard KW universe, is the ability to play off the amazing characters that Marina Adair created in her original series and then either expand upon or bring brand new characters into the world. Plus, to be part of this community of writers…it’s like all the amazing parts of a small town rolled up into one.

Tell us a little about the Calling It! series. Is there a next book in the works, and what is that one about?

The Calling It series starts off with, unsurprisingly, LOL, Calling It in which a superstar major league baseball player Nate Hawkins returns to his small hometown of Inspiration, IA, in order to escape a scandal that he’s part of through no part of his own. He hasn’t told anyone he’s coming home, so when he arrives in town just before midnight, he decides to crash at his baby sister’s apartment, not knowing that she’s sublet it. When he’s confronted by a woman in her bathrobe—who is very much not his sister—he finds himself being more intrigued than he should be, especially considering she’s clearly ready to clobber him with a baseball bat. The woman, of course, is the local librarian, Dorie Donelli. Things proceed from there.

There are two more books in the series—Called Up, which centers around Nate’s baby sister (Fitz) and one of his best friends from high school (Deke), and Called Out, which centers around Nate’s former teammate and Deke’s sister Lola. All are standalone books, but definitely more enjoyable if read in order because of the way different characters are revisited. There’s also a shorter length book, Holiday House Call, that takes place in the same small town. It, too, is a standalone and more loosely related than the other books, however, it does bring back some of the same characters from the earlier books.

I’m actually working on a proposal for a new series right now, but my next project is to write the first book in a spin-off series that will revolve around Dorie’s brothers back in Boston. And then—I hope!—back to Inspiration again as there are still some characters whose stories I’d like to tell.  

You also have a paranormal romance serial out on Radish. Educate us a bit on what Radish is, and how readers access your work there. 

Radish is an app that you would download—just like any other app—and then begin to explore the different genres. For those not familiar, serial fiction is made up of stories that are told over a period of time. With Radish, each story is broken up into difference ‘episodes’ which are posted throughout the week. So, for example, Butterfly Ops, my story in Radish, is posted three times each week. It’s part of the ‘freemium’ model, which means that the initial few chapters are free, and then readers can either choose to pay coins for succeeding chapters or wait until they become free over time.

You used to be a big mystery fan, do you blend your two favorite genres? Romance with serious who-done-its?

You know, I don’t! That’s so funny. I never thought about that. Butterfly Ops, although primarily a romance, does have an overarching mystery to it, and that was a lot of fun to write. But my contemporary romances don’t have any whodunit elements whatsoever. Hmmmm… I’ll need to think about that.

Do you listen to music when you write? What is the soundtrack to your latest book if you do?

I don’t really listen to music while I’m writing because there are already too many voices in my head, LOL. But I will say that I find music very inspirational and that it helps stir the creative juices when I’m more in the ruminating stage of a book. Or, for that matter, when I’m really stuck. I will say that I had a very difficult time writing Holiday House Call due to some things that were going on in my life, and although I had a contract deadline to meet, I was getting to the point where I was afraid I actually wasn’t going to be able to do it and that bothered me immensely. And then I stumbled upon Walker Hayes (specifically the video to You Broke Up With Me) and that finally got me going again. It wasn’t the song so much as the musician. He had all the characteristics I was looking for in Tuck, my hero for the book—not just the looks, although the whole chiseled jaw, ridiculously gorgeous arms thing didn’t hurt, but he brought to life a character that I was having a hard time visualizing and it made a huge difference. (Incidentally, Walker Hayes is an incredible songwriter and storyteller. I highly recommend boom., the CD he just recently put out.)

Who are your writing heroes, and how did they inspire you to become a writer?

You know how people say they knew from almost as soon as they could talk that they’d be a writer? Yeah. I’m not one of those. I actually didn’t even think of myself as a writer until about five years ago. Up until then, I considered it a hobby as the first thing I put to paper (well, virtually, of course) was a fanfic in the Buffy universe. One of my favorite characters left the show under circumstances that I wasn’t at all happy with, so I decided to write an explanation that I could live with. My writing career kind of spiraled from there.

As part of that experience, however, I ‘met’ someone named Diana, who responded to one of the first stories I ever wrote. (Incidentally, dear reader, she hated it.) But that turned into a ten-year relationship where she helped me make the journey from hobbyist to actual novelist. She’s the person who eventually told me that I had it in me to write a book—that, in fact, given what I’d done in the fan fiction world, I already had nine times over—and that I should think about it seriously. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be able to dedicate Calling It, my first published novel, to her.

The question I ask everyone is about their characters. How do your characters come to you? Do they show up and say “hi write me” or do they develop as you construct your story?

I’d say it’s a combination of both. Although I have a general sense of where my story is going to go, I find that the characters truly take me there. I’m definitely one of those writers who basically has scenes unfold in my head as I’m writing them (thus the ‘voices in my head’ I referred to earlier), and, as a result, characters basically telling me where they want to go. There are also some characters which take some time to develop—like Tuck, from Holiday House Call, who I didn’t even know was going to have a book of his own until, well, he did—and then some characters who are so vivid and strong that I’ve known from the second they appear in my head exactly how their story is going to play out. For example, Jack, the hero from Called Out (#3), is one of the first characters I ever conceived of even though he didn’t show up in person until the very end of book one. And although some of the background details may have changed a bit, he ended up exactly as I saw him in those very early days.

Which comes first the character or the story?

I guess I’d say the characters, but only by a little bit. I tend to see particular scenes in my head, and those scenes have characters in them—sometimes the romantic leads, sometimes a group of friends—but I have no idea what bigger story the scene is part of. Which, unfortunately, is a huge problem for me, LOL. (I HATE first drafts.)

Which do you prefer rom-coms or action adventure movies? Or are you an Oscars kind of flick person (of course this year a monster movie won, so that’s a bit of a change up, isn’t it?)

I like my movies the way I like my books—with happy endings. So, unfortunately, those big “important” films that tend to win the big awards don’t usually appeal to me no matter how amazing they might be. And although I do enjoy a good action adventure movie for, say, date night with my husband, or a family outing with the kids (have you seen the new Jumanji? It was AWESOME), I will always choose the rom-com if it’s just me. But it definitely has to have a happy ending. None of that Nicholas Sparks stuff for me!

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke. No question. (To the point where I went out to lunch last weekend and ordered a Diet Coke, and when the waitress asked if Diet Pepsi was okay, I had to give the big n-o and switch to Iced Tea.)

What’s on your pizza?

Well, I should probably say things like a lot of vegetables and easy on the cheese. But that would be a total lie. Pepperoni and extra cheese, please.

I really want to ask that credit card commercial question: What’s in your wallet?

Ha! My wallet is pretty boring. Credit cards, my driver’s license, and a bunch of old receipts that I stuffed into the inner pocket. My purse on the other hand…I’ve got toy cars (even though my kids stopped playing with them some time ago), cough drops, tissues, a book, my planner, pens, more cough drops… Oh, I could go on.

And with that, it looks like I’ve reached the end! Thank you sooooo much for having me! I’ve enjoyed sitting here on the porch and watching the game with you. Let’s do this again sometime!

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Baseball player Nathan Hawkins needs to get away from Chicago. After a near career-ending car accident and with paparazzi surrounding his penthouse, Nate can only think of one place to go: home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he’s not sure what to think…except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.

Librarian Dorie Donelli never thought she’d get to meet her fantasy man in person—much less in her bathrobe. To her surprise, her nearly naked run-in with Nate leads to more unclothed encounters. But Dorie is sure their fling is only temporary. As long as she remembers he’ll be gone once his life gets back on track, she won’t get hurt. In the meantime, she throws herself into enjoying their three weeks together before he has to report for spring training and go back to his old life.

For Nate, being with Dorie is the only time in months that he finds himself smiling. Laughing. And he has no intention of letting that go. He might even be falling in love…if only Dorie will let him say the words. What they have isn’t just a dream, but the start of a dream come true.

 

Wip-it Wednesday Tori and Les

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I’m really excited to announce that I will be contributing to the May release of Marina Adair’s St. Helena Vineyards Kindleworlds! This is a little peek at what I’ve been working on for it.

“Oh we’re not done.” Les smiled before turning away. He bent over and pulled something from the lower level of the serving cart behind him.

Tori’s eyes went wide.

Les held two long white rectangular plates with five round mini towers of cheesecake.

“Oh, none for me, I don’t eat dairy.” Krista quietly pushed out of her chair. “I’ll see you in the truck.”

Everyone watched as she quietly left.

“Is she okay?” Marc asked.

“Yeah, she’s just really quiet and shy.” Tori screwed up her face. “And socially awkward. But I think she actually really liked the cakes. She said something.”

Tori turned her attention back to the cheesecakes. Now, this is what she was hoping for. She smiled with delight as he slid the long plate in front of her.

“Are you going to do a cheesecake flight? That would be awesome.” She looked at Les expectantly.

“Hadn’t thought about that. Hmm?” Chef tapped his fork against his mouth. “That might be worth looking into.”

“A flight?” Marc asked.

“Yeah, it’s like a wine tasting where you get a smaller portion of different flavors. People have been doing it around here for so long, they don’t call it a flight, just a tasting,” Les answered. He turned to Tori. “Well? What are you waiting for?”

“Sorry…I…ah…yeah.” She slid the fork into the first cheesecake. Chocolate by the coloring. It was delicious, and smooth, and perfect. The cocoa flavor almost as intense as the cake earlier.

She wanted to dive in and finish the entire small piece, but Krista was waiting, and there were four more flavors.

The next one played a myriad of flavors across her tongue. She closed her eyes and savored the nuances of wine and white chocolate. She may have moaned.

Les shifted uneasily. He watched as the tip of Tori’s tongue touched the morsel of food on the fork. She guided the fork into her mouth, then closed her pink lips around the cheesecake. The fork slid ever so slowly from between her lips, wiped perfectly clean. His body pulled, what he wouldn’t give to be that fork right now. Stop it, dude, that’s just Tori.

She focused on a bite of a different flavor. Mouth, lips, tongue. She made a stuttering mew of a moan. The look on her face…Les felt a throb in his crotch.

Chef cleared his throat and put his fork down. Les looked over at Marc, he shifted uneasily in his chair. Damn, Les wasn’t the only one thinking that Tori might be enjoying her cheesecake a bit too much. Then again, what would it take for a man to satisfy her to that level?

Les started clearing plates as Tori sampled the last flavor on her plate. He had a hard time watching, he felt almost dirty, like he had been caught sneaking into his dad’s Penthouse collection.

He shook his head, yeah, no. Stop that. It was Tori, she was cute and all, but no, not Tori. Not with her plus-sized jeans. Oh shut the f* up Les, you’re beginning to sound like Stevens. Why not Tori?

After a few false starts, and a voice crack, Chef managed, “You certainly enjoy your cheesecake. That was positively…”

“I feel like a bit of a voyeur having witnessed that.”

Les caught Tori blushing, and staring at her plate embarrassed. “No boss-man, that’s exactly the reaction we want. Tori, you clearly had favorites, share.”

“Uhm, okay.” She pointed to the chocolate, “This was nice but boring, especially after trying the rest of these. The wine, whats the chocolate?” Tori slid her fork back into the swirls of the cheesecake she mentioned and then slipped another small bite between her lips.

“White chocolate ganache with blackcurrant marbling.” Les swallowed the dry lump in his throat. The way she enjoyed the dessert made it hard for him to focus. He needed a moment or three in the deep freezer to cool off.

“Yeah,” she hummed. “It’s amazing, but I think too rich for a full-size slice. You really should consider a flight, because this amount would be just perfect. But include a plain cheesecake, as a cleanser between the other fancy ones.”

She tapped her fork against what remained of a soft orange and lavender-tinted piece. “This is the one you threatened me with before isn’t is? It’s amazing. It could easily stand on its own. I’ll make sure to get all the lavender I can for you.”

The kitchen doors swung open. “Your ride is honking, it’s distracting.” Stevens sneered at Tori.

“That’s not like Krista. I better go.” Tori stood in a hurry. “Thank you for letting me try all these out. You have to do the honey lemon and lavender, it’s amazing.”

“You didn’t like the chocolate cheesecake?” Les asked. People loved his chocolate cheesecake.

“Don’t get me wrong…” Tori flushed. “The chocolate was fantastic, but I want to have the honey, lemon, and lavender’s babies. Why have just good, when you can have orgasmic?”

In the back of his brain, Les was kicked with a thought, what would it be like to have Tori look at him as if he were cheesecake.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas

Throwback Thursday to last year and the serial release of
the Twelve Dates of Christmas.

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This sweet holiday romance was presented on each of the twelve days of Christmas last year, beginning on Christmas day.

You can read all twelve installments now, beginning with day one:
http://lmsylvian.com/the-twelve-dates…as-christmas-day/