Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Dana Ross, her New Release and a Giveaway


After leaving her career teaching gemology, Caryn DeVincenti, who writes as Dana Ross, moved to the sunshine state to become a full-time writer. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Wilkes University and is the regional director of the Florida Writers Association, Palm Beach County.

When not writing, Caryn nurtures her social media addiction, dances (poorly) to loud ’80s music, and plays chase with her insane Cairn terrier.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Dana: Hi, Beverley. Thank you for hosting me today. My favorite genre to write in would be a tie: Women’s Fiction or contemporary romance. I’m a sucker for a good love story, especially one that isn’t predictable, too syrupy sweet, and features flawed characters. Most of the books or and movies I read/watched growing up featured edgy protagonists or characters we both love and love to hate. In my first book, I wanted to create a memorable villainess, one with flaws, but someone people could actually root for.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Dana: My paternal grandmother was a librarian for seventy-five years. She instilled my passion for reading and always gave me excellent recommendations. I inherited a few collectables when she passed away, and they are my most treasured possessions. But my daughter and my father have been my biggest supporters. They were the ones who urged me to keep writing and never give up.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Dana: Music and my treadmill. Every day I drag myself to my ancient treadmill and key up my playlists on YouTube or Spotify. Songs without lyrics are best because they set the mood yet allow my brain to process the story in my mind. After my workout, I run to my writer’s chair before I shower so the ideas are fresh in my mind.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Dana: I love “Daria” from the late 90s/early 2000s. She had snark and spunk and wit. I loved her dry sense of humor and the way she used it to survive life in suburbia.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Dana: I am obsessed with the actor Hugh Laurie. He was the protagonist of House, M.D., one of my favorite shows—among others, and he’s also an incredibly talented musician/singer. It would be great fun to meet him in person and watch him perform.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Dana: Free time is such a luxury, especially being a mother. If I were to have a free day, I’d go for a long walk outdoors with my fur baby (my insane terrier,) write a few pages in my current manuscript, have dinner at my favorite sushi haunt, and wrap up the evening dancing or having drinks with my friends.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Dana: I’ve been working on a New Adult novel, one I started during NaNoWriMo two years ago, a story based on a real-life heroine who deals with extreme physical challenges.

Blurb for Full Girlfriend Experience

When DC Madam Faith Crawley receives a call from former client, Senator William Drummond, it's the answer to her prayers. The money the dirty politician offers her to smear his rival Finn Billings will save Faith's business, her lifestyle, and her girls.

Raised in the shadow of a political magnate, Finn Billings has the credentials to get the job done, but he lacks confidence and wonders if politics is truly the life he desires.

Using the façade of her front business, a PR firm, Faith turns Finn into a political powerhouse while obtaining the evidence Drummond needs to destroy Finn's political chances. But Faith didn't plan on falling in love with her mark.

Now she has the toughest decision ever—give the sleazy senator incriminating photos of Finn to save her business or give up everything for the sake of love.

Excerpt for Full Girlfriend Experience

In the biz, your word was golden, and there were rules that had to be upheld. White lies were acceptable, but there were certain lines one never crossed. Keep data in code, shield clients’ privacy, and, most importantly, protect the girls. At all costs. I’d always honored these precepts to the best of my abilities. It helped me stay afloat while other madams sank like flat tires in the Anacostia River.

Yet there I was after one free lunch, considering a partnership with a man who didn’t deserve to lick my stilettoes. Why? Was it the champagne? Drummond’s smooth tongue? The fact that creditors were calling on a regular basis? Whatever the reason, I couldn’t dismiss him until I exhausted every option.
Unfortunately, I only had one.
Even worse, she hated my guts.

Buy Links for Full Girlfriend Experience
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Goi9nZ
The Wild Rose Press: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6520-full-girlfriend-experience.html

You can find Dana at:
Website: https://danarossauthor.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/danarossauthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanaRossauthor/
blog: www.mysocalledwritinglife.wordpress.com

    Dana is giving away 2 Full Girlfriend Experience ebooks during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember there is a chance to enter everyday so be sure to follow the Blog Tour. You may find the tour schedule and locations here https://goo.gl/4Zd12n
      a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Weather and Writing

Does weather affect your writing?

Weather can be part of a setting or used as emphasis to describe the mood of a scene, but does it affect your actual writing? If it’s bitterly cold and you’re stuck inside; or it’s pouring rain, or it’s a beautiful warm, sunny day, or many other weather possibilities. Does your writing schedule change?
It affects me. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m looking for an excuse to escape the computer because I’ve written myself into a corner. If it’s really cold I know it’s the perfect time to write, but I swear my brain goes into hibernation mode (you eat to put on fat so you can sleep through the cold). I have to work really hard to motivate myself to write. It’s the old – just put words on a page and set a definite time to sit and star in front of the computer.

Sunny days are just as bad because I want to be outside and take the dog for walks or work in the garden or curl up on the deck with a good book. (It’s research.)  
The in between times are my best writing times April to June and September to November. What about you? Does the weather change your writing schedule? Do you write better at certain times of the year?

Friday, February 15, 2019

Love, Sex, & Relationships in Books

The post this month is love sex, & relationships are part of many books. What seems acceptable, what do you think current readers want, and what (for you) is going too far?
 
Now this is an interesting topic.
I’m not sure what current readers want. I think they each have their own preferences. They find an author who writes what that reader enjoys. If it’s sex they’re going to look for erotica. If it’s love they’ll find those sweet books. If they’re more interested in a strong plot with maybe a first-person detective, they’ll pick up one of those books.  

What’s going too far? I honestly don’t know. Today it’s all about pushing boundaries.
The reader will decide if it’s gone too far for their comfort zone and not read that author.
I do think the books need to be labelled (erotica, YA, RS, etc.) or described on the back cover blurb so the reader has some idea of the sex, relationship inside.

Love and relationships, those are my thing. I think they add an extra depth and layering to the character building, to the plot and eventually the HEA. I find the straight murder/suspense while a great story, leaves me feeling I’ve missed out on something, (the relationships) and the HEA.

All my books, The Hawkins’ Ranch series and The Fourth Victim have love, relationships and HEA. (and a modicum of sex) 😊

Interesting topic and I’m curious to see what the other authors have to say. And I’d love to hear what people have to say from a reader’s point of view.   

Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1vP
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com









Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Christina Lynn Lambert and Bear's Edge

Meet Christina Lynn Lambert:
A few years ago, I read my first romance novel and I was hooked, so much so that I decided to give the idea of writing a story a chance.  My style is more gritty than sweet and I look forward to writing many more stories with strong heroines and imperfect but determined characters. Love, courage, hope, and second chances are a few of my favorite themes. When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time outside and finding ways to avoid cooking. I live in beautiful Virginia with my husband, two daughters, and a sweet, hairy monster of a dog. 

Character Interview
Beverley: What’s your name?
Grant: Grant Mitchell
Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Grant: In a not so great area of New Jersey, USA
Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?
Grant: The present
Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?
Grant: Growing up, I never knew my dad so it was just me and my mom, though she wasn’t really around much. When she was around, she was usually drunk or worse. I tried to fix things up around the house because our landlord was skeevy and cheap. Money was tight so I paid whatever bills I could whenever I had (sometimes stole) enough cash.
I didn’t think much about the future when I was a kid. I was just trying to survive, day to day. My talent at math helped me earn a scholarship. After college, I put my math skills to good use and went into financial management. Numbers make more sense to me than people sometimes. 
I really don’t know why my author chose to write about me. I’m not very sociable and my sense of humor is kind of warped. I laugh at things I shouldn’t and love a good, dirty joke. I’m far from perfect but I’m a pretty decent guy, I guess.
Beverley:
What’s your goal in this story?
Grant: In the beginning of Bear’s Edge, I’m just trying to live my life without getting too attached to the people around me. I lost everyone I loved in a terrible fire and it took a long time for me to deal with the fact that a search and rescue worker turned me into a bear shifter rather than letting me die along with my friends.
My boss, Shayla, complicates my plans to stay alone forever. When I fell for her, I didn’t expect that she might have fallen for me too.
Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?
Grant: The problem with wanting Shayla? She’s my boss so that means we can’t date. Problem solved, right? That’s what I kept trying to tell myself but I couldn’t forget about her. I couldn’t stay away so I need to find a way for us to be together. But would she even want me if she knew I was a bear shifter? What about if she knew how screwed up my family history was? Or if she knew about some of the not-so-vanilla things I want from her in the bedroom?
I don’t know if Shayla could ever possibly want to be with me for the long haul but a conspiracy theory reporter is intent on proving Shayla is something other than human and I can’t let that happen. When that reporter puts Shayla’s business and her life in jeopardy, I have to find a way to keep her safe.
Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?
Grant: Losing someone I love is my biggest fear and someone’s after Shayla. I’ll do whatever I can to keep her safe. I may have to make some decisions in the heat of the moment that will affect our lives forever. I just have to hope I make the right decisions. I hope she can forgive me if the decision wasn’t what she wanted after all.
Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Grant: I’m not really into personal sharing or talking about my feelings and singing Adelle songs and all that mess. When I’m mad or freaked out or unsettled, I fix things around my house or build things. I built a gazebo for my back yard one weekend because I didn’t want to think about why I couldn’t stop thinking about Shayla. I still couldn’t stop thinking about her but lifting and hammering a bunch of heavy wooden beams eased my mind a bit.
I prefer being outside. The quiet and peace of being outdoors appeases the bear shifter side of me, plus, I don’t care for big crowds. Honestly, anywhere Shayla and I are together is my favorite place, even if we’re just walking around the hardware store or waiting in line at the pharmacy dealing with a snarky hipster clerk.
Anyway, thanks for talking with me.


Blurb for Bear’s Edge:
A boss can't date her employee—simple as that. No matter how much Shayla wants to unravel a few of Grant's mysteries and take her friendship with the shy, sarcastic man to the next level, she's determined to keep her fantasies of him to herself. 

After bear shifter Grant lost his girlfriend and three best friends in a fire, he did his best to shut himself off from everyone around him. Falling for Shayla wasn't part of his plan, but after a kiss that leaves them both speechless and hungry for more, Grant can't keep his desire for his boss under wraps any longer. 
When things between the two of them get hotter than he could have imagined, Grant wonders if some of his darker desires will be too much for Shayla or will she embrace the needs he’s kept hidden for so long?

An obnoxious reporter and Shayla's bitter ex have teamed up to chase down conspiracy theories that could destroy Shayla's business and worse, put her life in danger. To find their happily ever after, Shayla and Grant will have to trust in each other and find a way to crush all the obstacles standing in their way.
Bear’s Edge purchase/book links
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/bears-edge-stranger-creatures-book-ebook/dp/b07kb78g9k
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bears-edge-christina-lynn-lambert/1127154505
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Christina_Lynn_Lambert_Bear_s_Edge?id=GcZ2DwAAQBAJ
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bears-edge/id1441668063
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/bear-s-edge-1
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/905705

You can find more about Christina at:
Wordpress: https://christinalynnlambertwordpress.com
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/chris4lamb
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15900423.Christina_Lynn_Lambert 
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Lynn-Lambert/e/B01MCYK0K7
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinalynnlambert

Monday, February 11, 2019

The History of St. Valentine’s Day

 Valentine’s Day, the most romantic holiday of the year. What are you doing for Valentine’s this year?
I’m cooking my husband’s favorite dinner with his favorite wine.

Did you know Valentine’s Day originated as a Western Christian Feast Day honoring one or two saints named Valentinus. It is recognized as a significant cultural, religious and ‘commercial’ celebration of romance and romantic love in many regions around the world. It’s not a public holiday anywhere.
The day first became associated with romantic love when the tradition of courtly love flourished during the time of Chaucer. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering candy and sending greeting cards known as valentines. Since the 19th-century, handwritten valentines have given away to mass-produced greeting cards (which get more expensive each year).
In the United States, the first mass-produced Valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold shortly after 1847 by Esther Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts. Her father operated a large book and stationery store, but Howland took her inspiration from an English Valentine she had received from a business associate of her father. Intrigued with the idea of making similar Valentines, Howland began her business by importing paper lace and floral decorations from England. Since 2001, the Greeting Card Association has been giving an annual "Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary".
In 1868, the British chocolate company Cadbury created Fancy Boxes — a decorated box of chocolates — in the shape of a heart for Valentine's Day. Boxes of filled chocolates quickly became associated with the holiday. In the second half of the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts, such as giving jewelry.

The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the US. Half of those valentines are given to family members other than husband or wife, usually to children. When the valentine-exchange cards made in school activities are included the figure goes up to 1 billion, and teachers become the people receiving the most valentines. The average valentine’s spending has increased every year in the U.S, from $108 a person in 2010 to $131 in 2013.
The rise of Internet popularity at the turn of the millennium is creating new traditions. Millions of people use, every year, digital means of creating and sending Valentine's Day greeting messages such as e-cards, love coupons, or printable greeting cards. An estimated 15 million e-valentines were sent in 2010. Valentine's Day is considered by some to be a Hallmark holiday due to its commercialization. (And thanks to Wikipedia for most of this information.)

Friday, February 8, 2019

SuperFoods for 2019


 
My guest didn’t show up. I’ve been talking about the Food Guide and the top three diets or lifestyle eating, so I thought I’d continue in that theme this month. Today I’m going to talk about SuperFoods. You know, those ones they tell you they think are good for your health ad you should be eating. They are mostly plant-based but may also include some fish and diary. They are thought to be nutritionally dense good for one's health.
Remember Kale? In 2018 it was the number one superfood. This year it didn’t even make the top ten. 😊 This year’s number one superfood is sauerkraut (or kimchi), any fermented food. Fermentation is in and you can buy fermentation kits and ferment your own veges. I did read that if you do, don’t use vinegar, just water.
So, what’s on the top ten list of superfoods for 2019? Here you go.

1. Fermented foods, like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi and miso
2. Avocado
3. Seeds
4. Ancient grains
5. Exotic fruit, like acai and golden berries   (Hmmm…)
6. Blueberries
7. Beets
8. Nuts
9. Coconut products
10. Non-dairy milks

I’d love to hear your thoughts on superfoods.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Flash Fiction with Kelli A. Wilkins


Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
In January 2019 Kelli released the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.
She also authored her first online writing course, Fiction Writing for Beginners, through Teachable. This course is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.
Kelli’s historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past, was published in 2018. This full-length Gothic novel is set in the kingdom of Hungary in 1723 and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense.
If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.

Hi everyone,
Today I’m sharing a look at my latest contemporary romance releases, Cupid’s Schemes - Volumes 1 & 2. As many readers know, I write romances in all genres (historical, fantasy, gay, paranormal, and contemporary) at all heat levels, but these novellas are something new for me. Instead of full-length romances, each book is a collection of flash-fiction stories.

Both volumes contain a dozen or more sweet romances where the characters meet under unusual circumstances and develop an intense connection. And that’s where I leave them—at the start of their relationship. Why?
I wanted to show how two people meet, feel a spark of romance, and then leave the rest of the story up to the reader’s imagination. What happens next is up to you. I end each story with the characters in good places and the potential to have a happy-ever-after ending with their new love interest. These feel-good stories are perfect for a boost of romance whenever or wherever you need it.

The settings vary from New Year’s Eve parties to snowstorms, summer picnics, and even a haunted corn maze. I grouped the stories by season, so as you read through each book, you’ll be following the calendar year. And believe it or not, some of these settings and “first meets” were inspired by true stories people have told me over the years.
Here are the summaries and links to each book, plus an excerpt from the first story in Volume 2.

Cupid’s Schemes - Volume 1 A Collection of Sweet Romances
In these 16 flash fiction vignettes, Cupid’s arrow hits the mark and ignites a spark between two strangers—whether or not they’re looking for romance. Their unusual meetings lead to new beginnings and new chances at love.

Sweet stories of couples falling under Cupid’s spell include:
* a Medieval knight courting a pretty lady
* two neighbors discover that romance can happen when you least expect it
* a dehydrated mermaid rescued by a handsome stranger


These lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Order your copy here:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B07JM9K1BB
All other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/boZxkZ

And don’t miss Cupid’s Schemes - Volume 2 Another Collection of Sweet Romances
In these 12 mini-romances…
* a photographer falls for a sexy cowboy in a supposedly abandoned ghost town
* new neighbors discover that romance can happen when you least expect it
* a long-lost love returns in an unexpected setting


Order Cupid’s Schemes: Volume 2 here:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MFR25KF
All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/mYrBBd

An Excerpt from…  New Year, New Love
“This New Year’s Eve party is going to be fun. I’m glad you could come at the last minute,” Sharon said to Diana as they stepped into the hotel lobby.

“Thanks for inviting me. I didn’t want to let your extra ticket go to waste,” Diana replied. She hated to admit that she’d had no other plans for tonight other than to curl up on the couch and watch a movie. She turned as Sharon’s boyfriend, Matt, and another man strolled up to them.

“You remember my cousin Eric, don’t you?” Sharon asked.
Diana gazed up at the six-foot-three blond hunk. Eric looked absolutely adorable in his dark gray suit, crisp white shirt, and blue and gray striped tie.

“Yes, of course.” How could she ever forget Eric? Even though she had only spent an afternoon with him, meeting a dreamboat like Eric stayed with a girl for a long time.
“Hi Eric. Happy New Year,” she said, then glanced at Sharon, confused. Why was Eric here? Was he alone? Where was his girlfriend, Melissa?

Eric stepped to her side. “Hi Diana. It’s nice to see you again. Can I take your coat?”
“Sure. Thanks.” She let Eric help her out of her gray wool coat. She caught his eyes roving down the front of her midnight-blue dress. She almost hadn’t worn the low-cut dress tonight, but then reconsidered. Why not? It was New Year’s Eve and she should dress up and look nice, even if she was single. One of her New Year’s resolutions was to jumpstart her boring life, starting tonight.

They handed their coats to the coat check attendant and strolled into a grand ballroom decorated in silver and gold. Eric kept pace with her as they followed Sharon and Matt to a table.
“This is some change, huh?” Eric said as he pulled out a chair for her. “The last time I saw you it was ninety degrees outside and we were both in a pool.”

Diana felt a blush creep into her cheeks. “I know. Sharon’s Labor Day party seems like yesterday.” She sighed as she recalled seeing Eric’s lean, tan body in nothing but blue swim trunks. She and Eric had gotten along fabulously at the party and they had a lot in common. They had been having harmless fun playing volleyball when Melissa showed up and everything went to hell.
But Melissa wasn’t here tonight. Did that mean Eric was single?

She looked at Eric and felt her pulse surge. Now she was elated that she had accepted Sharon’s invitation. This was one New Year’s Eve she’d never forget.
***
I hope you enjoy these collections of sweet romances. I welcome comments and questions from readers and other authors. Contact me via my site, blog, or social media pages.

Happy Reading!

Kelli A. Wilkins

Here’s a full list of where you can find Kelli on the web.
Website: http://www.KelliWilkins.com
Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins
Facebook Historical Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/
Facebook Contemporary Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Contemporary-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1965702023664339/
Facebook Gay Romances: https://www.facebook.com/GayRomancesbyKelliAWilkins/

FREE READS: http://www.manicreaders.com/KelliAWilkins/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kelliwilkins2/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kelli-a-wilkins
Books2Read: https://www.books2read.com/ap/nkvddR/Kelli-A-Wilkins
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/

Shutterstock: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins
iStock: https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Teachable Online Writing Course: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/