Getting to know… GL Thomas

Hi everyone! It’s time for another session of Getting to know… Today’s author is GL Thomas–Guinevere is the G. Libertad is the L. Seems fitting to go by G.L. Tomas as twin coauthors with a mission. They’re mostly known by their platform, Twinja Book Reviews, a review blog that supports and promotes diversity in young adult and speculative fiction titles, but with time, they hope to cross genres successfully with their romance debut Same Page.

Author PhotoSo great to have you both here! Let’s get down to business: tell us a little about yourselves. 

Well this one is wacky because even though we go by one pen name, we’re actually two people! Our pen name is G.L. Tomas and the G.L. is short for Guinevere and Libertad. We’re a twin writing duo who have always had a penchant for diversity in books, no matter the genre and we even have two book blogs dedicated to them, one for romance, the other for speculative fiction and YA.

Originally my sister and I are from Miami, Florida born of Cuban parents but we currently live in New Haven, Connecticut just steps from the Yale University campus.

All our lives we’ve always been interested in culture. Being that we are Afro-Latina, our racial identities have always come into question, so it always made us wonder about other people’s cultures growing up. Languages, food, dance, customs have always been things that have interested us about other people’s culture so I guess that’s more or less what inspired us to write books that center on people of different backgrounds other than the average American experience.

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We are kindred spirits. I’ve also always been interested in different cultures and grew up within walking distance of an ivy league university (University of Pennsylvania). When did you first know you both wanted to be authors?

Wow. This is simple. When I went on my quest to find a romance book that featured an Afro-Latina as the lead character and couldn’t find one. We figured, we might as well write our own. Now we plan on releasing three more books with Afro-Latina heroines this year.

I love it! I’ve got Same Page queued up on my Kindle, so I’ll be posting a review very soon. Are you working on a new book now? Can you give us a sneak peek of the plot?

Omg, we set our sights high this year. Our goal was to release 11 titles this year alone. All ranging in age categories(YA, NA, Adult)and genres(speculative fiction, contemporary and romance) but yes we are working on four books right now,lol. I know, I know we’re nuts but we hope to have all 4 out by the end of August. We’ll give you a jist of our faves.

Book 1: But I’m not A Robot – It’s an interracial light hearted romance centered on an Oklahoma Native living in NYC with just two issues, he’s Mormon and he’s a virgin. This book has been sitting in our heads for a while and we’re finally bringing it to life. We’ve always wanted to make a male virgin because virginity has always seemed to be a personal choice for only women, so we’re always trying to do something different to stand out from the crowd of already amazing books!

Book 2: The Unforgettables– This one’s a YA contemporary romance centered around two teens who love geeky things and try to balance feelings for each other and friendship. This one is a love child we’ve had for nearly ten years in our heads and yay! It features a Haitian American heroine and a Hapa(Half Japanese/half Welsh) hero who’s also a Buddhist, something I’ve never seen in a mainstream book before, which is also how my sister and I identify religion wise.

Both books sound great, so I will be keeping an eye out for them. What is your favorite part of being a writer? 

This one never gets old. When people tell us how naturally we weave culture into stories. Another is when we get emails telling us how amazing it was that we created a black girl who was better than Katniss in a YA fantasy(not my words,lol). It’s always been our dream to make stories for black women of all ages and words like that always drive us to write the next book!

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I love it! And, readers, in case you’re wondering which book we’re talking about it’s the Mark of Noba. So tell me, what do you think is the hardest part of being a writer? It’s not always easy, so how do you deal with it?

G: I can’t speak for Libertad, but culture tends to be the most difficult. I love showcasing Black women from a plethora of cultures. But that makes them harder to market. When the only market for books for Black women is African-American, what do you do when the couple in question happens to be a British-Ghanaian woman paired with an Afro-Puerto Rican?

The Black experience in the West is often limited to just African-American. I agree, that experience is the dominant one. Black folk who are Nigerian, or Cuban, Jamaican, Afro-Canadian, we often assimilate to the dominant Black culture in the West. There’s often no way around this. I love writing all Black women. Of all walks of life. But it’s often hard to market stories like these.

I have no way of combating it outside of hoping people who read our stories open their mind to an experience different from theirs. I’m always going to write Black women from all over the world. From different cultures, of different walks of life, and different experiences. Black unity is important to me. We’re often only separated by language/culture. I want so bad to be ok with the fact that my experience as a Black woman is different than a German-born Black woman, or a Canadian-born Black woman. So I hope people are open to it too.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading an audiobook called Black Rainbow by J.J. McAvoy and another audiobook in the Percy Jackson series. My sister and I are really obsessed with audiobooks right now! They’re so fun to listen to!

I keep trying to get into audiobooks, but it’ just never worked for me. Maybe I should give it a shot again. So tell me: which of your characters is your favorite?

G: My personal favorite so far has been a YA character we created named Sai Liber-Tetraphirmaportacheeq from The Mark of Noba. It was our debut novel, and as much as I regret using her as a guinea pig, people’s response to her encouraged my passion for difficult female main characters.

Women always have to be pleasant. Virginal. Easy to like. Tetra was my biggest fear, and she turned out to be the star of our series. The female characters who’ve followed her can be likeable in some ways, but they make questionable decisions that make readers disconnect with them. If we hadn’t used Tetra as our guinea pig, we would’ve never had the courage to make heroines like that.

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What’s your take on authors and social media? Is it vital to us?

Yes and no. I think we’re beyond the days of loving authors without knowing anything about them, but at the same time, you want to know you’re investing your money in someone who cares about most of the things you do. Twitter is the most time-consuming, but I think most authors should be on Twitter. Some of my favorite authors I’ve met on Twitter, and the opportunity to connect with them within minutes. I do however think there needs to be a balance of how much time an author uses on social media.

That balance is really important. I think there are days when I spend more time connecting with readers on social media than actually writing. I always have to limit myself.

Which authors would you recommend to people looking for someone new to read?

G: I have quite a few authors that push the typical envelope of the traditional romance reader. While I don’t connect to every single thing she writes, I feel as though Harper Miller is one of the few writers in Romance that goes beyond the typical boy meets girl story. As a QWoC I often feel as though there are a ton of writers who don’t take into account women aren’t always just attracted to men. That’s ok, but it’s disheartening. Rebekah Weatherspoon is also an author who’s not only queer friendly, but non-binary/gender non-conforming friendly. I understand the need to embrace femininity among Black women, but a lot of us feel pressure to, based on the way we’ve been viewed as women as a whole.

I want women of color, particularly Black women to know there are writers who take us in mind too. As far as story telling, I don’t think it’s proper not to suggest who’s blog we’re on–Kim Golden.

There’s the traditional way to put together in a story, and then there’s how people actually meet. I wish the single boy meets single girl always worked in real life, but life has an interesting way of putting two people together. Sometimes you find who’s right for you while you’re in a serious relationship. Sometimes you even realize monogamy doesn’t work for you. Maybe Baby features a heroine who wants children, but is in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want more than what he already has, so she’s forced to seek different things, despite thinking she’s happy. In the end, she ends up with someone she’s more equipped to be with, but if she hadn’t sought that out herself, she would’ve been stuck with the wrong person for the rest of her life.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 07.13.53I don’t do recreational drugs, but I appreciate when writers aren’t afraid to push that envelope, because in real life, people smoke weed, they smoke, even do drugs harder than marijuana. Some people are troubled. Some people don’t deal with things by just pushing them away for another day. Life is complicated. Relationships are complicated. Things are complicated.

Thanks so much for the Maybe Baby shout out. It’s my personal favourite of everything I’ve written. A lot of people didn’t respond so well to the infidelity storyline. Which brings me to the next topic, taboos.Are there any subjects that are taboo for you when it comes to reading or writing?

Well this is somewhat of a tough question. First of all, my sister and I don’t find any topics “taboo.” But there are trends and topics we aren’t necessarily interested in writing just yet. The “surprise pregnancy/baby” trope. This is more or less a personal decision as my sister and I are much younger writers than our peers so motherhood isn’t something we ever think to include because it’s not something many of our characters desire. We’re branching out in “Adult” romances later in the year but our niche so far has been New Adult so we’re really attracted to what one would consider a “young love” story. Sometimes it feels awkward to put that in the equation.

Another is full on Erotica. For now, we’re sticking to steamy and sweet romances, but it’s still early in our careers as writers, so never say never!

So true! 🙂 While we’re on the subject of “taboo topics”, what do you think about fiction addressing topical social issues like racism, social inequality, etc when they open a book. What’s your take on this? Some readers say get turned off by books that take on these issues and that they read to escape, not to be reminded of the problems in the world around them.

Honestly this is the writer’s decision if they wish to include these topics. We personally like to address them. Because our releases so far are more in the NA classification, these things matter to readers who identify as “Millennials.”

My sister and I are Millennials so social issues like sexism, misogyny, misogynoir, privilege, class and racism are things we talk about every single day. The only books I read to escape are pure fantasies like Harry Potter or anything by Octavia Butler. When it comes to romance though I think it’s great when authors take the time out to address such issues because it rings true for me. But this again is a personal issue and we totally get why some writers just like to make it about the romance or story.

We really try to make our non-black, cisgender characters the allies we’d like to see in real life, so for us, it doesn’t seem natural not to add issues that are important to us. Because we believe you can fall in love and learn something at the same time, if that makes sense, lol.

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

I’d definitely say it’s been your cover is your calling card. Cover must convey genre, tone and emotion. That it’s not supposed to tell “the story”. Only the blurb does that. Covers is always something I’ve never known a thing about, but my sister and I are going through all these changes and learning more about what sells and what doesn’t.

I am so with you there. I think a lot of writers don’t understand just how important the cover is. They try to do too much with it.

That’s it for this week! Thanks so much to Guinevere and Libertad for joining us today. I really enjoyed getting to know them better, and I hope you did too! 😀

Have a great weekend!

Getting to know…Danielle Allen

I’m a little behind schedule this week. Some things going on at work ended up crowding out everything else. But I am trying to get back on track again, and this time we get to meet author Danielle Allen! Danielle loves football, fashion, film and fiction. She spends her days teaching and event planning and her nights writing. She’s the author of the Back to Life Series (Back to Life, Back to Reality, and not yet released spinoff Back to December), Love Discovered in New York, Autumn & Summer, the Heartache Series (Heartache, Heartfelt, and the not yet released Heartless*), Work Song, and The One.

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Danielle, thanks for joining us today. I’m sure our readers want to get to know you better, so why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m from Virginia and I still live here. I am looking to move to another state to just experience something new. I am a professor at a college and when I’m not teaching, I enjoy creating female empowerment opportunities. As much as I love to get lost in a book, I also watch a ridiculous amount of TV and movies. I’m a huge fan of Shonda Rhimes!! I love karaoke with my friends and enjoying time with friends and family.

Ooh! I love karaoke and Shona Rhimes too. One of these days I have to tell you about the time my friends and I won a karaoke contest at a country-western bar in Richmond. But that’s for another time. 🙂 OK, so spill the beans, Danielle. When did you first know you wanted to be an author? 

I wrote a short story in elementary school and I always thought it would be cool to write. I didn’t actually make a point of doing it until I created my 30 by 30 list in 2011. And as I approached my 30th birthday in 2013, I told myself that I needed to do it. So I did and I haven’t looked back!

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What inspired you to become a novelist? Were you inspired by another writer or was it something else? 

Before the big Indie Author boom, I wasn’t finding too many books about African American women in their 20s that weren’t focused on stereotypical depictions. So I decided to write a book that I would want to read and that book ended up being Back to Life.

It was the same for me when I first began writing. I decided I had to write the books I wanted to read. So are you a plotter or pantster?

I’m a total pantser. I just like to see where the characters take me.

Speaking of plotting and pantsing, are you working on a new book now? Can you give us a sneak peek of the plot?

I am working on two different novels. One is a surprise sequel — it started off as an extended epilogue and then it just grew into a novel.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 22.32.17What are you reading now? 

I’m not reading anything. It’s difficult for me to read and write at the same time. I know plenty of authors who do it, but for me, I just need to focus on one or the other.

 

I know what you mean. As much as I love reading,  reading other books while I am working on something new can be distracting.  So tell me–what is your favorite part of being a writer? 

My favorite part of being a writer is being able to connect with people from all over the world. Having one of my stories or one of my characters touch someone by entertaining them, inspiring them, uplifting them, etc. I remember when I was looking for contemporary romance novels to read and not seeing myself reflected in the heroines. So being able to create that opportunity for someone else gives me joy.

 

 

I love it! I know exactly what you mean. Now tell me–what’s your take on writers being active on Twitter, Facebook, Periscope? Do you think being on social media is an absolute must for today’s authors? 

I don’t have a large following or a huge fan, base so being active on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is important to me. With the reach on these platforms dwindling, trying to find new, creative, unique ways to interact with readers.

 

So Danielle, do you think fiction should take on topical social issues? Some readers say they only read to escape and don’t want to be reminded of racism, social inequality, etc when they open a book. What’s your take on this?

Depends on the story. I believe a work of fiction should encapture whatever message the writer is trying to convey. Some stories don’t need the addition of social issues to tell the story. Some stories need do need it to tell the story. I think it’s most important to tell a believable story. In my novel, Work Song, the heroine deals with dating in the workplace, working in a male dominated field, and body shaming. My novel, The One, deals with the media’s treatment of minorities and women (specifically on TV). Although, both novels are primarily romance novels and focus heavily on the love story, they address those social issues.

If you could work on a collaborative project with any writer, who would be your dream writing partner?

My dream writing partner would be Shonda Rhimes!

Me too! I would love it if she read my books and developed them into a movie or limited run series. Now tell me–what was the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

You can’t please everyone, so write for yourself.

So true! And what advice would you give to novice writers?

Write the story that you want to tell! Your novel is a reflection of you so make sure you put out your best possible product.

Many thanks to Danielle for joining us today! Don’t forget to check out Danielle’s novels and make sure you follow her on

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Getting to know… Ursula Sinclair

It’s Friday again, which means it’s time for another Getting to know… session! Today we have romance author Ursula Sinclair, the alter ego for LaVerne Thompson, an award winning, best- selling, multi-published author, an avid reader and a writer of contemporary, fantasy, and sci/fi sensual romances. She writes romantic suspense and new adult  romance under the pen name Ursula Sinclair. Ursula shares a little of everything with us–including an excerpt from her latest book, Shaken, which is part of the Club Prestige series. Make yourselves comfortable and let’s get to know Ursula. 

LaVerneWhen did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, even before I was old enough to realize what I was doing I wrote my stories on the walls. Much to my mother’s chagrin. lol

I can imagine! My mother would have gone ballistic if I’d written on the walls. 🙂 So tell me, which author or book inspired you to become a novelist? 

I’ve always been a voracious reader so I can’t say it was one particular book or person, but I will say that Octavia Butler’s work opened up a whole new sci/fi world for me.

I was late discovering Octavia Butler, but I totally fell in love with her stories.  They were so innovative and she was inclusive in her writing from the very beginning. With that in mind, do you think fiction should  address topical social issues? Some readers say they only read to escape and don’t want to be reminded of racism, social inequality, etc when they open a book. What’s your take on this?

I think authors should write whatever they want to write about, and if that includes relevant social topics of the day I have no problem with that. I don’t believe authors should be limited that way. Just as readers are free to read whatever subject matters or genres interest them or not. There should be something out there for everyone.

I am with you there. I think, even if we write romantic fiction, we should be able to write about whatever issues feel natural to the story or write the stories we want and need to tell.  So tell us — are you a plotter or pantster?

Pantser. Woot Woot! lol

Haha! I am a little of both. I love the freedom of being a pantser, but then I never get to the end. I need a bit of a roadmap.  🙂 So what is your favorite part of being a writer? 

The freedom to let my imagine run where ever it wants to take me, and the freedoms being an indie author brings. I have no limitations and I reap what I sow. But most of all I love bringing something entertaining and enjoyable to my readers.

 

What are you reading now?

I don’t have a lot of time to read so I’ve been listening to a lot of audio books. I can workout while I listen to them. It’s great. Right now I’m listening to Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, I’m enjoying it.

Are you working on a new book now? Can you give us a sneak peek of the plot?

I’m always working on a new book, usually more than one at a time but in different stages. One that I’m working on today is called Lost Gods. It’s about Zeus and how he’s been reborn several times with no memory of his past and his powers have been bound. But the world now faces a great danger and there are powers trying to get him to remember so he can put a stop to the world’s destruction while at the same time trying to ensure that Zeus won’t then turn around and destroy the world himself in his vengeance against the Fates who took away his memories. All the gods are dead, long live the gods. *grins*

Oh wow–I love this idea! I can’t wait to read it!  What do you think is the most difficult part of being a writer? 

For me the most difficult aspect is finding the time to write. As an indie author I’m a self-employed business person and, while I have people behind me, I still have to organize everything and still have to market myself as well as my books. All of which takes up a big chunk of time in which I’d rather be writing.

I know that feeling. I would much rather write than spend time doing promo, which brings me to my next question. A lot of people say that writers need to be active on Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, etc if they want to make it these days in the literary world. What’s your take on social media? Is it vital for today’s authors? 

I can’t speak for all writers, I’m sure there might be a handful not on social media yet they still manage to sell a handful of books. However, to reach the masses it’s a must. The world has become very small and the way it’s accessed these days is through the thing called the internet. More specifically social media platforms. Some people have better success in reaching an audience on one platform over another. Depends on many factors. For me I’m very active on Facebook and Twitter. A little on Google and Pintrest. But the bulk of my connections come primarily from my interaction on Facebook. That’s where the core of my readers are so that’s where I have to be.

Do you have a favorite writing space? Could you describe it for us? 

Ballerina seriesI have an office upstairs, it’s in a lot of disarray right now because I’m collecting swag to take to a few conventions and I’m in the process of renovating the master bathroom and bedroom and I my office is used as a holding area. But it has windows on two sides so I have lots of light. I’ve two framed large oil paintings my kids did for me in art camp when they were younger. My desk is a table I got from an antique shop sanded it down and painted it yellow. My chair is a Henry Miller chair which my cat decided to chew on the handles can you say I want to murder an animal. Yeah.

Sounds like my dearly departed cat, Smokey. He loved to scratch and chew everything.  So what’s your typical day of writing like?

Everyday for me is a writing day. I turn on my laptop and my fingers hit the keys and I just keep going.

 

 

If you could work on a collaborative project with any writer, who would be your dream writing partner?

JR. Ward.

Angel RisingWhich of your characters is your favorite? Why is she/he your favorite?

My favorite male character is Maze from my Ballerina Series. He does what he has to do and makes no apology about it. Lol My favorite female character is Thalya from Angel Rising. She’s strong willed and can kick ass too.

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

Don’t stop.

What advice would you give to novice writers?

Keep writing. And when you’re finished that book, go on to the next.

Thanks for joining us today, Ursula! Before we sign off, let’s take a sneak peek at Shaken

Shaken Cover

Ursula’s latest book, Shaken. Available now for Kindle, Kobo and iBooks. Cover artist: Minx Malone

Excerpt 

Chapter One

Redd

 I couldn’t quite stifle a yawn. Between my law school classes during the day, studying, and coming into the club every night this week to help out in the Martini Room, I was exhausted. Yet, I wouldn’t trade any of it. Even this, our regular monthly meeting. We would bring up names for consideration of membership in our exclusive strip club. Now after just a year, it was doing very, very well. We even had a waitlist. We were extremely selective in who we allowed in. If you had to ask about our fees, you couldn’t afford us. I glanced around the room at the other four women. I couldn’t have been happier to call them friends and partners in this extraordinary enterprise.

The first time we all met seemed like so long ago, back when some of them were stripping and I was only a bartender. Working in a place that was nothing but a job, a paycheck. No matter how good the money had been, the crap most of us had to put up with drove us to begin our own club. One we could control. A very different kind of place where our employees were safe, which wasn’t always the case in some strip clubs. We were not a brothel. Everyone who worked here and entered the premises knew it.

Olivia tossed a flyer on the table, bringing my attention back to the meeting.

“What’s this?” I picked it up, and after reading it, passed it around.

“This is bullshit,” Andie exclaimed.

We all knew it was. The flier was asking for signatures to shut down the “whorehouse” known as Club Prestige in the middle of their nice, gentrified neighborhood.

The five of us sat upstairs in the four-story building we owned. The top floor held our offices and was where we conducted the behind-the-scenes aspects of the business, but the real running of the club happened on the other floors.

Assholes! Didn’t even know we were not a whorehouse, but a legitimate strip club. Licensed and registered appropriately. We had all of our permits in line. Since I handled the legal aspects for the club, I damn well knew that. Whoever this person was trying to stir things up needed to get her facts straight. For one thing, this area was zoned for both commercial and residential. We also had some pretty influential clients, so I didn’t think this petition would get very far.

“We’re up to date and in compliance with all the city regs,” I said. “So these busybodies need to go get laid.”

After finishing our business, we went our separate ways for the evening.

We each had a room, or section, within the club that we liked to oversee. It made things easier. My favorite place to be was The Martini Room, third floor. I rode the elevator down, and as soon as it opened, the music piped into the hallway flooded my senses. Tonight, the bouncers were dressed in white tuxedos. They nodded at me as I passed. We placed at least one on each floor to keep the clientele and staff safe.

Our club catered to both male and females, having both sexes of dancers for his or her viewing pleasure. Some of the rooms were separated—male dancers in one room, female in another. Some had both.

The Martini Room was where everyone could mingle, and people came together to drink and chat. Not much dancing was done in here, but when it was done, the strippers present made it standing-ovation worthy. The concept of the lounge was my creation, and I loved the atmosphere.

The room was done in purple—so dark, at first glance it looked black—and emerald green. But it was the bar that truly made the room. Handcrafted using a combination of dark mahogany and pinewoods, it took up the entire back wall. The rest of the room had low tables with lush, comfortable S-shaped leather couches where groups could sit, mingle, and drink.

This was more of a social lounge, a place to sit down and enjoy an appetizer or one of the many flavorful martinis the room offered, hence the name. The music was lower here, more soulful, at just the right volume to allow for conversation.

Unlike the room next door. There was a bachelorette party happening there. Every now and then the frosted glass doors to my room opened and I could hear the excited screams of the women. I grinned, knowing they were enjoying Harper’s performance. At six-three with two hundred pounds of lean, rippling muscle, it would be kinda hard not to scream when he moved.

I made my way behind the bar and motioned for Jay. “Go ahead and take off. Congrats and have fun.”

“Thank you, Redd,” Jay said. “You’re the best.”

I usually helped out or filled in for any of the bartenders in the lounge. We had one out sick, and today was Jay’s wedding anniversary. He wanted to surprise his wife by taking her out of town for the weekend. Lucky. I couldn’t remember the last time I had a boyfriend or got laid.

I wasn’t shy. I enjoyed sex as much as the next breathing woman, but my schedule left me little time for a relationship, which I tended to shy away from anyway. I was still fashioning me. Besides, not many could live up to my idea of perfection, at least no one I wanted to come home to every night. So, I settled for a once-in-a-blue-moon scratching, no strings, no expectations. Somewhat lonely perhaps, but necessary. I still had law school to finish and a future to plan before adding anyone else into my chaotic life.

I took a quick visual inventory behind the bar to make sure we had enough supplies. My pom and blueberry martinis were legendary in this town so I had to make sure I had what I needed.

I glanced over the room. Even though the lighting was muted, my eyes were familiar enough with the space to know what to look for. I was making sure everything was as it should be and that our customers were happy. Almost all of the lounge seats were taken, but a few remained at the bar. It was still early in the evening for us. Judging by the glasses in front of everyone and the orders being placed, as well as the smiles and laughter, I’d say it was a good guess everyone was enjoying themselves.

Movement in my peripheral vision had me turning my head in that direction. Someone had just taken a seat at the far end of the bar. Pat, the other bartender, was closer, but I placed a hand on her shoulder, staying her movement and headed toward him.

He had on what looked like a chauffeur’s uniform. The cap he took off and placed on the counter gave it away. A rare sight in here, but sometimes the members are generous and pay extra to have their drivers on premises.

My heart pulsed harder against my rib cage the closer I got and the clearer the lighting became so I got a better look at him. Thick, dark hair and sharp features that could have graced a movie screen or fashion magazine. Damn.

Gunmetal-gray eyes zeroed in on me. I had a sudden itch that needed immediate scratching.

“What can I do for you?” I asked.

Don’t forget to check out Shaken’s trailer. Shaken is available now for your e-reader!

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Getting to know…Stephanie Williams

After a very long hiatus, the Getting to know… interviews have returned. Every second Friday, I’ll be featuring interviews with authors whom I think you should get to know. Today’s author is Stephanie Williams! Stephanie writes erotic fiction and based in Toronto, Canada. So pour yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, kick back, relax and get to know Stephanie…

What is your favorite part of being a writer? 

It’s a mental escape for one thing. Also, I love world building and creating interesting characters. These are people that you may (or may not) want to meet in real life. I love for people to read places and situations that I’ve made up in my mind and they enjoy them.

In essence, I love telling the story. 🙂

twinpeakscover4 (2)Are you working on a new book now? Can you give us a sneak peek of the plot?

I am working on a ménage à trois series. It’s a series of three books. There might be a set of five. The first set is coming out now, slowly but surely, LOL.

TWIN PEAKS is now available and the second book in the series is ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.

They’re all short shorts, ranging from 8k-12k, each .99 cents. The heat level ranges form Hot to down right raunchy! There’s something for everyone. But all the books deal with people getting or considering a ménage a trois relationship. For more details you can go to my blog.

 


Your stories are pretty steamy! When you write, do you imagine any particular actors/actresses as your leads? Or do you find inspiration elsewhere?

I find inspiration in The Hubster and Mutual Friend. For those that don’t know the story, check out my blog. I have yet to find an actress or actor that does it for me. If the hero is someone totally different from my guys, I look at cover models. They’re always inspirational. *WINK*

Should fiction address topical social issues? Some readers say they only read to escape and don’t want to be reminded of racism, social inequality, etc when they open a book. What’s your take on this?

I think you should write what ever you want. Just because some people don’t want to read something, doesn’t mean there isn’t a group that’s not interested. There is something for everyone.

I hate spiders, but there are people who like them and they may want to read about them. That was so random, wasn’t it.

So if want to make a social statement about something, and you have that urge to write about it, go ahead! Someone will buy it.

So tell me: what are you reading now?

I, Claudius. I’m in a Classical Greek and Roman mood this month.

copcover4Tell me about a typical day of writing for you.

Since I have a new career outside the home, I had to change things up a bit. I write during my lunch break, and as soon as I get home for three hours. Saturday I write from 5am to 5pm. I’m consistent no matter what, unless sick of course, then I have a whole lot of catching up to do. LOL

 

 

Many people say that writers need to be active on Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, etc if they want to make it these days in the literary world. What’s your take on social media? Is it vital for today’s authors? On which social media platforms are you active?

Yes, it’s still vital, but it’s not what’s going to bring in the huge readership of the big bucks. Not like it did from say, 10-12 years ago. When I first started writing, My Space (remember that social platform) was big. Yahoo Groups too. But there weren’t as many authors and would-be writers then.

Now the pond has become an ocean of writers, and it’s harder to vie for recognition. You have to use other avenues to advertise your work now. You need to be more creative.

Which authors would you recommend to people looking for someone new to read?

Ursula Sinclair, she writes great suspense thriller IR romances , LaVerne Thompson, is a great NA writer. She has very edgy stories. Stacy Deanne, another great Romantic Suspense writer, Jamallah Bergman has wonderful IR Full-Figured Romances, Kate Richards, she has a great cowboy series and Dahlia DeWinters is another great multicultural writer.

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

Don’t just write what you know, write what you want to know more about. I got that advice from my old World Literature Professor from college.

 

What advice would you give to novice writers?

A: If you have a story inside you that you just need to get out, that you feel burning to be told–WRITE IT DOWN! Don’t let anyone (especially non-writers), tell you that story will never sell, or nobody wants to read story about…whatever. So what? You have a story to tell.

Many thanks to Stephanie for joining us today! Want to know more about Stephanie? Remember to head over to her blog to find out more about her ménage à trois series. And don’t forget to add Twin Peaks and Arrested Develeopment to your TBR lists!

Cover Reveal: Sugar Love by Victoria H. Smith

 
 
SUGAR LOVE by VICTORIA H. SMITH
 GENRE: NEW ADULT
RELEASE DATE: April 2016
 

SYNOPSIS:
 
Sugar…
That’s some kind of name, isn’t it?
It wasn’t any type of name I’d heard of, but across the world, it seemed I was the
only one.
 You see, he’s an international superstar, talented, sexy, and one day, he comes
walking into my record store. He tells me he wants to buy some music, and later
on, wants to get to know me a little better.
I had no idea he was here for his American debut, nor that he was one of the most
successful rappers South Korean music had ever seen. If I had, I might not have
been so frazzled when I found out and accidentally kidnapped him.
But then again…
Maybe that wouldn’t have mattered anyway. 
 
 
 
 
AMAZON Pre-Order Link
 
 
 
AUTHOR BIO:

Victoria H. Smith has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She puts it to good use writing romance all day. She resides in the Midwest with her Macbook on her lap and a cornfield to her right. She often draws inspiration for her stories from her own life experiences, and the characters she writes give her an earful about it.

In her free time, she enjoys extreme couponing, reading, watching Scandal, and general geekery in the form of Sherlock and DC Comics. She’s a bestselling author and the 2014 Swirl Award winner for Best New Adult Romance, as well as the recipient of the 2015 AMB Ovation Award for her new adult romance FOUND BY YOU. She writes both new adult and adult fiction in many genres, but mainly focuses in contemporary interracial and multicultural romances

 Stay connected with Victoria:

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Running in the Dark by Inger Iversen

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RunningInTheDarkRunning in the Dark by Inger Iversen
(Running in the Dark #1)
Publication date: February 8th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, New Adult

Synopsis:
He is known only as Trace—because he leaves no trace of his victims behind.

A deadly Russian slayer, Trace’s life has always revolved around death. Death, and preventing humankind from learning about the legendary creatures of the night. But now his position as a Watcher has become a prison, and dealing death for the Vampire Nation isn’t as prestigious as he once believed it to be.

College dropout Bessina Darrow has witnessed things she isn’t permitted to see, a simple case of wrong place at the wrong time putting her life in danger. When Bessina becomes his new mark, Trace is prepared to eliminate her—until he discovers a way out for them both.

Protecting Bessina means defying the leaders of the Nation, an act that has them both running for their lives. The more Trace fights to disappear from danger, the more he unravels the secrets crafting his world—secrets he must unveil in order to finally save a life, instead of destroy it. Okay , I can do that.
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28143811-running-in-the-dark

Purchase:
Get your copy now from Amazon.
IngerAUTHOR BIO:
Inger Iversen was born in 1982 to Anne and Kaii Iversen. She lives in Virginia Beach with her overweight lap cat, Max and her tree hugging boyfriend Joshua. She spends 90 percent of her time in Barnes and Noble and the other ten pretending not to want to be in Barnes and Noble.

 

 

Author links:

http://www.ingeriversen.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5829788.Inger_Iversen
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Inger-Iversen/187900437937819
https://twitter.com/kris10inger

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Review: Starlight by Xio Axelrod

FS_Starlight_600 Four words: I LOVED THIS BOOK!

Doesn’t matter that I’d read it back when Xio was still trying to decide if Falling Stars would be a series or one book. Reading it again, now with Starlight as its own novel, I fell in love with the characters all over again.

Xio really knows how to pull you into a story, and this continuation of Val and Sam’s love story seriously hooks you. We pick up where Falling Stars left off, with Sam and Val finally seeing one another again after a summer of We the People being on hiatus. The chemistry between them is still smoking hot and–no matter how hard they try to deny it–everyone around them senses that there is more going on than simply a deep friendship. How long can they keep it platonic–even when they cannot seem to resist one another? Well, you have to read Starlight and find out yourself. I’m not giving anything away. 🙂

Sexy, romantic, and a total page-turner, I loved every moment of reading Starlight, and I think you will too. The characters are three-dimensional and there is a strong character arc. The plot moves quickly, but the pacing isn’t break speed. And the ending? Very, very satisfying.

A five-star read–highly recommended!

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Blog Tour: Open Your Heart by Stacy-Deanne

Open Your Heart

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Open Your Heart Book Cover

Book Title:Open Your Heart
Author:Stacy-Deanne
Genre:Interracial/BWWM
Release Date:January 12, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb

When British playwright Stefan returns to Chicago to get back with his ex-lover Dana, he is shocked to meet her twin sister Tess who informs him that Dana died a year earlier. Though Stefan is distraught about Dana, Tess mesmerizes him and he vows to get closer to the beautiful, black psychologist.

Because she does not trust him, Tess does her best to fight her attraction for Stefan but loses the battle. Before she realizes it, Stefan has swept her up into a wild affair full of kinky trysts that pushes Tess physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Even though they try to keep things sexual, Stefan and Tess end up in love but will see that it is much easier to share a bed than to open your heart.

teasers

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meet the author

Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is an award-winning author of sweet to sensual romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction books. She’s written Amazon Top 100 bestsellers, and her work has been praised and reviewed in USA Today numerously. She loves writing stories that focus on main characters who rarely get the spotlight such as characters with physical disabilities, mental illness, and terminal diseases.

With Stacy every book is an adventure.

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buy the book

Open Your Heart Book Cover

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Sale Blitz: Vérité by Rachel Blaufeld

VERITE SALESIn anticipation of the January 21st release of Dolce, the newest stand alone to the Love at Center Court Series,  Rachel Blaufeld has placed Vérité (Book One) ON SALE.

Do not miss out on the opportunity to grab this sports romance for ONLY $0.99!

ON SALE NOW!

**Limited Time Only – Each book can be read as a stand alone**

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1SGDN61

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1O9CKGj

 

That’s me—Tingly Simmons—athlete, foreign-language major, professor lover, obsessed idiot girl. Definitely not a frat rat or sorority slut. I’ve never even played beer pong.

I ditched the vapid, soulless high-society life of Los Angeles for the promise of something more meaningful in rural Ohio. Accepting a track scholarship for college, I tried running my way to happiness, but instead I ended up sleeping with my French professor and falling head over heels for him.

When that relationship fell apart, so did I.

Barely hanging on by a thread and using the most absurd coping skills, I was determined to hide behind my past indiscretions. That was, until I met Tiberius Jones. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d learn the truth about love from a six-foot-five basketball player.

verite teaser

View the Vérité Trailer HERE:

https://youtu.be/Ja1JaXeBLyw

 

Dolce releases on January 21st!

Pre-order your $0.99 copy at:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1MZUe6f

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1SaVxqX

verite teaser 3

Meet Rachel

rachel blaufeld

Rachel Blaufeld is a social worker/entrepreneur/blogger turned author. Fearless about sharing her opinion, Rachel captured the ear of stay-at-home and working moms on her blog,BacknGrooveMom, chronicling her adventures in parenting tweens and inventing a product, often at the same time. She has also blogged for The Huffington Post, Modern Mom, and StartupNation.

Turning her focus on her sometimes wild-and-crazy creative side, it only took Rachel two decades to do exactly what she wanted to do—write a fiction novel. Now she spends way too many hours in local coffee shops plotting her ideas. Her tales may all come with a side of angst and naughtiness, but end lusciously.

Rachel lives around the corner from her childhood home in Pennsylvania with her family and two dogs. Her obsessions include running, coffee, icing-filled doughnuts, anti-heroes, and mighty fine epilogues.

Stalk Rachel at:  website / Twitter / Facebook

Sign up for her  newsletter for the latest news on releases, sales, giveaways and other updates.

My 10 fave books of 2015 and 5 I’m anxiously awaiting in 2016

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Heaven is a stack of good books! And a glass of wine!

 

Some people get excited about new handbags or shoes or guys with tattoos. I am such a book nerd. I get more excited about books. Though if you give me a hottie lumbersexual reading Garcia Marquez or some novel that I am also reading, well, I might get excited about that.

Anyway, I read a little over 50 books in 2015, so I thought I’d share with you ten of them that resonated with me.

  1. Haunted by Christina C. Jones
  2. Addicted Allison by Noelle Black
  3. Kilted for Pleasure by Melissa Blue
  4. Maldeamores by Mara White
  5. Love Is by Tia Kelly
  6. Falling Stars by Xio Axelrod
  7. Ivy’s League by Nia Forrester
  8. Coming Down by Carrie Elks
  9. Brunch at Ruby’s by D.L. White
  10. In the Nothing by Nia Forrester
young black girl excited

Yes, I am just as excited as this little cutie! Photo credit: forharriet.com

And which titles am I anxiously awaiting? You know there are more than five I can’t wait to read, but these are five that I am super excited about. 🙂

  1. Starlight by Xio Axelrod
  2. When I Was Invisible by Dorothy Koomson
  3. City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
  4. Lily in the Middle by Nina Perez
  5. Getting Schooled by Christina C. Jones

So tell me: which titles are you anxiously awaiting in 2016? And which were your favorites of 2015?