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!

KINDLE | KOBO | iBOOKS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Same Time Next Week by DL White

Same Time Next Week Tour Image

Wet close up macro rose petals with water drops

Same Time Next Week Blurb
From the author of ANONYMOUS and Brunch at Ruby’s comes a decadent, sexy, indulgent Interracial Romance. 

In a past life, Jackson Sweeney, child star and former member of award-winning male vocal group ‘Boy Wonder’, was more rich and famous than he’d ever imagined he could be. But that was then. Now he’s returning home to Orlando to take on a new job– Music Director to rock’s reigning Prince, Rod Phillips. On an early morning shopping trip, he meets a disheveled insomniac named Shelby. 

Shelby Morris is a troubled young woman in hiding and on the run. Her past involves a fiery accident, a murder accusation and an escape from Miami in the dead of night. She doesn’t sleep, so she wanders until dawn. On a warm twilight morning, she happens upon music’s most eligible bachelor at the grocery store. 

Sparks fly, especially the next morning when they accidentally-on-purpose meet up again. After a flirty first date, they decide to meet up again the next week. And the next. And the next. Soon, Thursdays come to mean decadent chocolate cake, sweet red wine and two bodies intertwined.

Every attempt to get to know this beautiful, mysterious woman is rebuffed; Shelby is cagey, full of secrets that can’t be pried from her. Jackson can’t risk another relationship where he gives more than he gets… but Thursdays have become a habit that his body can’t do without.

 Eight seconds turn Shelby’s life on end, luring an old enemy from the shadows. Jackson is poised to learn more than she ever wanted him to know about the woman she used to be. And this time, her mistakes could hurt someone she’s come to love. 

This summer, Thursdays will never be the same…

Purchase Links
Amazon.com
Smashwords
Lulu.com

Excerpt

The cage of the grocery cart rattled on wobbly wheels as he slowly pushed it up one aisle and down another. Jackson wasn’t much of a cook but he could make easy dishes if the directions were clear. He loved those one box meals– pour it in a pan, shove it in the oven. Warm up some rolls and there you have it. It was nothing fancy, but it was dinner. And if he couldn’t stop by a Taqueria in the middle of the night and get a burrito, the least he could do was have something easy to make and warm up when he got home.

It was going to be a long year.

The store was virtually empty; a few cashiers, an overnight manager who didn’t even look up when he walked past the Customer Service counter, stock boys refilling shelves and maintenance gliding over the floors with dust mops, emptying garbage cans, washing windows. It seemed like a peaceful job, if you were a night owl. Not a lot of people around to bug you, pretty much the same deal, night after night after night. Maybe, when he was done with all of this music industry business, he could retire and work at a grocery store, and work overnights, and make it his job to see that the windows sparkled, and the floors were clean, and the shelves were stocked.

Yeah, right.

Jackson heard the front doors slide open and then close again. Someone else liked shopping at 4 AM, it seemed. He’d made his way around most of the store, his cart only half full of boxed food, cereal, milk and bottled water. He stopped at the vitamin section, overwhelmed with all of his choices—One-A-Day for Men, One-A-Day for Energy, Vitamins added C, D, and E…
He pushed his cart, steering it toward the next aisle. With a loud rattle and the vibrant clang of steel on steel, he collided with something he couldn’t see around the bend.

“Sorry, sorry. My fault.”

“It’s okay,” said a female voice from around the corner. “I’m sort of not paying attention, either.”

His cart wouldn’t pull back for some reason, no matter how hard he pulled, so he had to walk around and inspect the wheels. As he expected, he’d rammed the other cart so hard that the wheels rode up and got caught in the rungs at the bottom of the other cart. The harder he pulled, the more he was melding them together.

“Uhm. Our carts seem to be uh… intertwined, here.” Jackson bent and pushed and pulled and tipped and twisted, and finally they came apart, rolling away like they couldn’t stand to be near each other.

“Thanks. Sorry, I guess I wasn’t looking where I was going.”

Jackson stood, wiping oil and dirt off of his hands onto his jeans, reaching out for his cart before it knocked boxes off of the shelves. He redirected it and lifted raised his face to hers. “No problem. It was my fault, anyway.”

She smiled back and for a millisecond everything was fine. And then he saw it, in her eyes. Recognition. That look that women got when they realized who was standing in front of them, that split second of trying to decide if they should freak out or play it cool, say something or let it go, ask for a picture or an autograph and a serenade, or respect his privacy.

“Well, it was nice running into you,” she said, her smile a little wider.  She had a dimple. It was cute. She was cute, despite a half up, half down messy pony tail and an inside out t-shirt. Her eyes were red-rimmed, though and she looked tired. “Maybe we’ll do it again sometime.” She was going with playing it cool. Good choice.

“Sure,” he said with a chuckle. “Anytime you’re out shopping at five in the morning, I’m game.”

“It’s a date. Well… I’ll let you get back to your… shopping.”

He watched her back up and steer her cart around him, on her own trek through the store. He might be missing Kim but he was still a man with a libido and still knew what a pretty woman looked like. He could only imagine how she looked when she tried.
He poked his head around an end cap that boasted 50% off of Flintstone Vitamins, Bayer Aspirin, and Calamine lotion and watched her walk toward the frozen food section. His eyes fixed on two perfectly formed cheeks, hugged and outlined by the fabric of her yoga pants as they moved with her slow, sexy sway across the dull linoleum. His eyes roved up her body quickly before she could move out of his line of sight to her thin waist, slight shoulders and long neck. He wished he’d paid more attention to the front of her, but the back of her wasn’t a bad view at all.

She turned her head as she was about to go down an aisle. He quickly ducked back behind the end cap. Flushed and embarrassed, he pulled his cart down his own aisle and headed toward checkout. Praying she hadn’t seen him leering at her like a creepy old man.

But afraid that she had.

Author photo

Author DL White

About the Author DL White

As the daughter of a serviceman, I am formerly from all over the place; however I have lived in the grandest city in the south, Atlanta GA, since early 2003. I’m a northwestern girl at heart but I think I’ve finally got this southern thing down… the tea is sweet and the fish come with grits!

I’m a lover of technology, a fan of brunch and am seriously addicted to coffee. I am hardly ever serious and ridiculously sarcastic. I devour books (and Skittles) and have been blogging my thoughts on books and writing at TheSweetEscape.net since 2009.

I previously released a short story entitled ANONYMOUS in December 2014 and my first full length novel, Brunch at Ruby’s, was published in March of 2015. I have been writing for most of my life but began seriously pursuing a writing career in 2009. More than four years later, I’m loving my experience as an Independent author and I hope to be able to provide more good reads for those that enjoy them!
For more information about me or my writing, I’m a click away! Find me online at:

Facebook
Twitter
Website
Email
Amazon Author page

OTHER TITLES BY THIS AUTHOR

ANONYMOUS, a Short Story
Brunch at Ruby’s

Giveaway

Click the link below to enter DL White’s Same Time Next Week giveaway. There will be four prizes drawn

  • (2)$25 Amazon gift certificate
  • eBook edition of Same Time Next Week
  • Paperback edition of Same Time Next Week

Winners will be drawn and notified via the entry email submitted to Rafflecopter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Getting to know Ines Johnson

It’s time for another instalment of my “Getting to know…” series. Today, author Ines Johnson is joining us. I first heard about Ines through Facebook–we’re both passionate about diversity in romance writing– and after reading her novel, Pumpkin: a Cindermama story, I asked her to join my release party for Maybe Forever. Ines is based in Washington, DC and writes erotic, paranormal and fairytale romances. Add her books to your TBR list, and follow her on Amazon, Goodreads and Facebook

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 07.25.03When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

I come from a family of storytellers. My mother would talk your ears off for hours and my father is a songwriter. I began my storytelling career in television, where I still dabble from time to time. A few years ago I’d written a script that I thought would make an excellent book, only I didn’t know how to write a book. So I took a couple of classes and started querying. I never received a single rejection letter. Instead, I got no responses at all in the beginning! But I never gave up and I never stopped writing. Wait, isn’t the the definition of insanity?

Do you have a favorite place to write?

I do my best writing at hightop tables where I can alternately sit or stand while typing on my laptop. A cuppa is a must. My favorite is a cuppa soy chai, sweetened with honey. I write best in the morning from 8am until lunchtime. Nights are reserved for reading.

Where do you find your inspiration when you write?

I’m a very bad Buddhist. I sit each week in sangha, which is similar to sitting in a church pew on Sunday. In a sangha the teacher, think preacher, will  lecture on spiritual teachings and guide the group in mediation. During meditation when I’m supposed to be getting my zen on, my mind always wanders back to the teaching and turns it into a story.

Tell us about your latest release. What inspired this book?

I released my debut fairytale retelling in March. It’s called Pumpkin: a Cindermama story. Here’s the blurb:

Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Now she believes she’s not cut from the storybook, heroine cloth and searches for Mr. Good Enough amongst the sidekicks and supporting men of the town. Love at first sight isn’t a cliche for town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne because for generations the Charmayne’s have spotted their soulmates be seeing a golden aura around them the first time they laid eyes on them. When Manny meets Pumpkin he sees…nothing, but sparks fly off the richter scale. The more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Could you describe your writing process for us?

I love plotting. Its my favorite part of writing. I love to go into Scrivener and use the Outline tool to plan the journey of my characters. I can recite just about any plotting structure you can think of. The Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat, Romance Arc, Relationship Arc…I could go on.

The first time I tried to write a book it took me one year to write the first three chapters because I agonized over each word choice. Now, I believe in fast drafting. Vomit the story onto the page without a care for comma placement. All told, it takes me about six months from the first drafted word to the final polished manuscript.

I take three to four weeks for the first draft, which I call The Dirty. I let The Dirty breath for as long as I am able to be parted with it -usually a week or two. Then I come back and Sweep up the grammar and plot holes, which usually takes another three to four weeks.

Next I send The Swept draft out to my trusted critique partners. When it comes back I Clean it up for another three weeks focusing on my weaknesses which is setting. Finally, I send The Clean manuscript off to the copyeditor for two to three weeks. When it comes back I Polish up all the commas and rethink my overused words. Then I hit publish, and start all over again!

Whats the hardest part about being a writer?

I went to school for producing and screenwriting, and worked in the broadcasting industry for over a decade, before trying my hand at novel writing. I wrote my first novel in 2009. It was based on a script that I wrote but couldn’t find the financing for. I was so proud of my work, but readers and critique partners noted that it was evident that I was a screenwriter and didn’t understand the mechanics of novelization. Screenwriting consists of action and dialogue. That’s it. In scripts, there is no internal monologuing and setting is minimal. I had some learning to do. Five years, and a ton of classes later, I’ve got four published novels lush in setting and internal angst.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Why are you so partial to that character?

My favorite character is still my first hero, the pleasure monk, Jian, from The Pleasure Hound.

The elements of a great romance is when the hero and heroine fit each others need. There’s a preponderance of books where pain is pleasure. And that’s okay with me -when I believe that there’s actually pleasure being had. I’ve read too many books where women are getting spanked just to get spanked. It’s not clear how the act satisfies a need in them, nor is it clear that the man understands and is acting to fulfill that need. That understanding is the sexy part to me: a woman who knows (perhaps subconsciously) what she needs and a man who knows exactly how to give it to her.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 07.26.23My book, The Pleasure Hound, came into being out of this frustration. I wanted to read about a heroine who was eager to explore pleasure. I wanted to encounter a hero who was skilled in, and solely interested in, that woman’s pleasure. My hero, Jian, studies women’s bodies like textbooks. After thorough perusal of, he emerges ready to ace the examination.

Do you have a critique partner? If so, could you describe how you work together?

I have a fairy book sistah in author L. Penelope. We’ve been sharing stories since our days as film students and college roommates. In 2014, after a few years at NANO and writing workshops, we made a pact to self-publish in 2015. Pulling, pushing and shoving each other along, we both made it through and haven’t looked back.

We share WIP drafts in the early stages of crazy sentences and plotting derailments; messy pages that we would never show our editors. For me, the early stages is the only time that I’m open to making changes in my story. Once I start painting my words with pretty prose I’m no longer open to critique.

Which books are on your TBR list? Do you have any particular indie writers who are your favourites at the moment?

I’m obsessed with Ernessa T. Carter who just went indie. Her book “32 Candles,” is an 80’s fairytale retelling for women of color.

Whats next for you? Are there any new publications in the pipeline? If so, could you tell us about them?

Author Ines Johnson

Author Ines Johnson

I’m currently working on the second book in the Cindermama series. These books are fairytale retellings featuring single mothers as the heroines. The first story is Pumpkin: a Cindermama Story, which is a retelling of the Cinderella story. This story is based on actual events. Shortly after my divorce, I was out with my two children at a community farmer’s market. A really handsome politician waved me over and began chatting with me about his platform. I was more interested in his light-colored eyes. But my burgeoning fantasy was dashed when my son sauntered over and embarrassing words spewed from his mouth. I ushered myself and my kids away, chiding my silly imagination. What man would be interested in a single mother of two school-aged kids? There are no fairytales featuring mothers as the heroines.

That night, I rewrote the events of the day to my liking. In my imagination, the light-eyed politician asked me out, after winning over my guard dog of a son. We got married and I moved out of my apartment and into some big mansion with a closet stocked full of name brand clothes. Oh, that closet…

Anyway, it was October, and so I plotted the book for the next month of NANO. The completed manuscript sat in a drawer for years because I didn’t think anyone would want to read a story where a single mother was the hero. Thankfully, I was wrong. Every woman deserves an HEA.

Thanks so much to Ines for joining us! Hope we can meet in person when I am in the US again! 

Getting to know Michele Kimbrough

Time for another edition of Getting to know… Today, we meet fellow indie author Michele Kimbrough. Michele and I came into contact last year when both of us were going through a bout of writing malaise.  We’ve been cheering each other on every since. I had the chance to read Michele’s latest release, Dangerously in Love, a great film noir-esque story. (Make sure you add it to your TBR List or 1-click it ASAP!) I thought it would be fun to to get know Michele a little better. Let’s see what she has in store for us. 🙂 

 

Do you have a favorite place to write?

I started out writing at Starbucks and Panera Bread (very comfy seating). But one day, I was lying in bed ill but had an idea for a plot twist. So I grabbed my laptop, propped myself up on my bed and wrote. That was the most comfortable writing I’d ever done. So, now, I am often found sitting on my bed writing.

Book Cover - DILTell us about your latest release, Dangerously in Love. What inspired this book?

I’m in love with this story. Two things inspired this story. The first thing was an FBI case I read about. I thought it was so outlandish that it might make a great fictional story. That same day, I watched an old favorite movie of mine. Then I was struck by inspiration. 

I think my faithful readers tell what Dangerously in Love is about best. So I’m going to let them tell it: 

Bookclub Reader said, “The main characters are Hill and Caitlin. After a case Hill was working on went south, he decided to change his profession as a lawyer and became a landscaper. Also during this life change he became disengaged in his relationship with long-time love Samantha. Caitlin was on a journey of lust, deception, and revenge to make those responsible pay for the tragedy brought upon her family.” 

Journalist Reader said, “When we open up the book, we meet Ms. Caitlin stumbling into the gruesome scene of a triple homicide. One which almost found her caught up in it as well. Skip ahead a few years, and now Caitlin is the beautiful and desirable wife of a “Suge Knight” type husband named Adam. Adam hires an attractive landscaper named Hill. Hill flirts, from a distance, with Catlin and catches the swiftest, quickest, most thorough asskicking ever. That still didn’t stop the two from having some of the steamiest, hottest and riskiest sex ever.”

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Could you describe your writing process for us?

I’m most certainly a pantser but I never start a story until I know who the characters are and what the major plot points will be. Then I fly by the seat of my pants, allowing the characters to drive, until midway through the story. At that point, I outline the remainder of the story. 

By the halfway point, the characters are fleshed out, their antics have roots and I need a roadmap to direct them to the conclusion. 🙂 I usually have seven drafts by the time the manuscript is ready for the editor.

Which three authors would you love to meet for a good gab session? Why those three writers? What do you think you’d talk about and where would you want the gab session to take place?

I’d love to chat it up with Stephen King, Harlan Coben and Walter Mosley at a bar and grill over shots of tequila and burgers. These writers are masters at what they do and I’d love to just sit with them and have a casual meal to hear how their creative mind works.

Author Michele Kimbrough

Author Michele Kimbrough

What’s the hardest part about being a writer?

I think the hardest part for me is managing my expectations. When I’m promoting, I have great expectations that people will flock to Amazon and one-click my books, ascending them to the bestseller lists. On the flip side, when my books go live on Amazon, my stomach tightens and my heart races. Why? Because I’m often petrified of what people are going to think of my stories – fearing I’d get a bunch of hate mail telling me to keep my day job, which, by the way, is writing news articles.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, could you share your playlist with us?

I will listen to music before I write for inspiration or to set the mood/emotion for me. However, I cannot write with music playing. It’s too distracting. I get lost in the lyrics and my mind shifts from writing to listening. My playlist is quite varied, from classical to country to R&B.

What are three things you’ve learned since you first began publishing? Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do it all over again?

(1) Ego has no place in writing — it only serves to stifle you. (2) Lose the expectations (as I explained earlier). (3) Have fun. If you aren’t having fun, then you aren’t enjoying it. And if you aren’t enjoying it, that energy will transfer to the page and your readers will feel it. Not a good look. 

If I could do it over, I’d make sure I understood for certain what genre I wanted to focus on (not necessarily exclusively but if my readers were to describe me, they’d know what genre to associate me with). I’d also write under a pen name.

Which of your books would you recommend to someone who is new to your writing? Do you have a particular favourite? If so, why is it your favorite?

So far, each of my books are quite different and fall in different subgenres. If you like a really fast paced book, I recommend Dangerously in Love. If you like high drama, I recommend Prudence. If you love a good unexpected twist, you’ll enjoy Wildflower. My favorite is Wildflower because of the subject matter and family dynamics. I love the characters and how they interact with each other.

What’s next for you? Are there any new publications in the pipeline? If so, could you tell us about them?

Currently, I’m writing a story that was originally intended for readers between 9 and 12 years old. However, as I get deeper into the story, I believe this story will resonate with readers 12 and older. I expect that it will be ready for publishing by the end of Summer.

Connect with Michele Kimbrough

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon

 

 

Interview: Getting to know Tia Kelly

A few weeks ago, I discovered indie writer Tia Kelly via another fellow writer, Nia Forrester. I’d just finished reading Nia’s novel, Mistress, which I loved, and was waiting for her next book, Wife, to come out. Then Nia shared a post on her blog about Tia Kelly and her latest novel, Taste for Love, and it sounded like it was right up my alley–and it most definitely was.

So without further ado, let’s get to know Tia Kelly!

10364484_215119008697142_832864325_nWhen did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved reading and enjoyed the creative side of story telling. I guess it’s in my bloodline and I’ve always known the passion existed.

How would you describe your writing for people who’ve never read your work before? And which book would you recommend they start with?
I am a contemporary fiction writer. My novels have elements of realism and romance, but I love to explore characters lives…. one moment at a time. I would recommend The Love Sessions to become familiar with my work.

How would you describe your writing process?
That’s a hard one. The writing process for me changes with each novel. It all depends on what my characters lead me to do and I will follow wherever they want me to go. Chances are I will play with a few ideas in my head just to get the characters talking. Then I will either just start writing or jot down a very loose outline. I hate to even call it an outline. From there, anything goes.

When did you decide you wanted to self-publish your writing?
A wonderful author suggested it a few times and I was always afraid to give it a try. One day, I uploaded Love’s Rebound just to get reader’s feedback using Amazon as a pseudo-online writing class and haven’t looked back since.

What would you say are the most important lessons you’ve learned since you began publishing your writing?
Patience. I sometimes struggle with patience in my every day life, but it’s something I am getting better with thanks to writing. I had to learn that I need to give a story time to grow before it hits the pages… patience in the process of seeing it evolve while I write it… extreme patience when I get excited to write or release the next one. Learning how to give my story time to breathe… Patience would be one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned so far.

One of the aspects of your writing that I really admire is how your characters come across as real, flawed and not necessarily perfect. How do you go about creating characters? Do they come to you fully formed, or is it a long process in creating each nuance?

Thank you. I just want to write real life, especially with love. I am an unapologetic people watcher. I observe and listen to everything. I watch mannerisms, I listen to tone, I try to get all of my senses involved so when I write those elements are translated to the characters I see playing the scenes out. Usually these characters whisper softly, hinting about what they have the potential to become. Then out of the blue they show up ready to go, literally taking me by the hand and jumping into the story with me.

A lot of writers complain about finding a good balance between “real life” and writing time. How do you manage the delicate balance?

I haven’t figured that out yet, but when I do I’ll be sure to let you know. I write all the time, especially in my head. Writing rarely takes time off and pushes it’s way into my real life.

What’s next for you now that Taste for Love is live? Have you already started working on your next book? If so, could you tell us about it?
I am working on a few things right now. The one I can talk about is the next novel in the Wilkersons in Love series. Jeremy Wilkerson is content with his life and has no desire to fall in love again in Ready for Love. This novel features Alejandra, Javier Fernandez’s sister from my novella, Yours.

Tia’s Taste for Love Playlist

Philadelphia plays a big role in your latest release, Taste for Love (which pleases me as a transplanted Philly girl). Tell us why Philadelphia ended up being the setting for Taste for Love, and what is it that is so special about Philly that non-natives just don’t understand?
Philadelphia is just a great city. Perfect location for so many other things outside of the city, too. Taste for Love ended up in Philadelphia because that’s where the entire series takes place. It’s where a few of the characters play professional sports, which is perfect since Philadelphia is such a big sports town. My next novel, Ready for Love, is about Jeremy Wilkerson and he works with renewable energy. Philadelphia plays a big part in the country’s renewable energy market, too. It’s just a great city and one of my favorite places. It just felt right to use it as the setting for a few of my novels.

What advice would you give to young writers who are just starting out?
Just keep writing and never stop. And read!

Many thanks to Tia for taking the time to answer my questions! Interested in finding out more about her writing? Check out her Amazon Author Page for a list of all her available titles. 

Blog Tour: Zack Love’s The Doorman and City Solipsism

Book Blitz Banner The Doorman Cover Synopsis

Alex seems to have it all: a great penthouse apartment, a lovely girlfriend, and a prestigious Wall Street job. But below the surface he is sure of nothing but his angst-ridden doubts. And when he realizes that his doorman may be God, or sent by God, he will question things like never before.

This novelette is a story of New York doormen, tormented love, empty office life, and the theological questions that arise in response to the horrors of evil.

City Solipsism Cover Synopsis

Have you ever been on a train, bus, metro/subway — or any other shared space with strangers — and started to wonder what that person right next to you is thinking? Did you ever start to think or hope that maybe your temporary neighbor was somehow sharing your thoughts and/or desires? Ever sensed some sort of romantic connection or sexual tension and wished you could get into the individual’s head, to know for sure?

“City Solipsism” will take you on a journey into the mind of one commuter on a New York City subway car, riding next to and thinking about a person standing awkwardly close…The man and woman are total strangers but their proximity is almost intimate, as their hands share the same metal subway pole…

NOTE: Readers seeking the over-top-hilarity of “Sex in the Title” should know that “City Solipsism” is written in a very different style. Rather than a comedic series of misadventures in New York, this short story takes more of a philosophical and psychological walk through the mind of one New Yorker observing and speculating about another.

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CITY SOLIPSISM: A SHORT STORY

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THE DOORMAN

AMAZON * AMAZON CA * AMAZON UK

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CITY SOLIPSISM: A SHORT STORY

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MeetTheAuthor

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Zack Love graduated from Harvard College, where he tried to create a bachelor’s degree in Women. With the bachelor portion of that degree in hand, he settled in New York City but – to afford renting his bed-sized studio – found himself flirting mostly with a computer screen and stacks of documents. Determined not to die a corporate drone, Zack decided to sacrifice sleep for screenwriting, an active social life, and Internet startups offering temporary billion-dollar fantasies.

To feed his steady diet of NYC nightlife, he regularly crashed VIP parties in the early 2000s and twice bumped into his burgeoning crush, a Hollywood starlet. But – much to Zack’s surprise – neither of those awkward conversations led to marriage with the A-list actress. Zack eventually consoled himself by imagining fiascos far worse than those involving his celebrity crush. In the process, he dreamed up a motley gang of five men inspired by some of his college friends and quirky work colleagues. And thus was born Sex in the Title. But the novel is not autobiographical: Zack never had his third leg attacked by any mammal (nor by any plant, for that matter). In fact, keeping his member safe has been one of Zack’s lifelong goals – and one of the few that he’s managed to accomplish.

Excerpt

THE DOORMAN

During my first year at 777 Fifth Avenue, I came to realize that Lenny had never made a false prediction or failed to supply the correct answer to a question, no matter what the subject. He wasn’t just a handyman who could fix a twitching toilet or stubborn sink; he could look at his watch while taking you down in the elevator and accurately estimate the number of minutes before a downpour would start or a cab would show up outside. He could tell you the corner where the scent of fresh lox and bagels mixed just right with the scent of the neighboring Laundromat; he knew the best place to buy your curtains or cut your hair or get your suits dry-cleaned; and he knew every phone number you needed, like the yellow pages on two short legs. He was a pipe-smoking almanac, energetically rattling off any fact about the world. “Bhutan’s current population? Let me see,” he would say, looking up for a moment before launching into his usual light-speed speech, “2,047,453. But seven more were just born yesterday, so it’s at 2,047,460 now.” Of course, I couldn’t verify such a preposterously precise claim, but he was always right about everything else, so I was inclined to believe him. He could tend to any wound or malady, as though he had perfectly mastered the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine, and his advice always seemed more effective than any doctor recommendation I obtained. And despite the swiftness of his incessant chatter, there wasn’t a word he uttered without gentle passion and infectious enthusiasm. And so he would engage you in some topic you never imagined could interest you for more than a polite minute – the history of vacuum cleaners, or the different flavors of ice cream in China, or the intricate ways of the delicate blue ball turning third in line from the sun. The elevator ride would be over but you’d still be listening until someone else called the elevator or Lenny jokingly reminded you that you had originally entered the elevator with a look of great purpose. Mercifully enough, Lenny always kept it brief in the mornings, knowing that I had to be at work by 8:30 a.m.

At one point, I began to think that I had a divine doorman. Lenny was the most unlikely incarnation of God I could imagine, and yet I kept drifting irresistibly towards this absurd conclusion. Despite my staunchly atheistic inclinations, I couldn’t explain Lenny any other way. But eventually I came to my senses and realized that he was just one of those game show freaks with an encyclopedic memory. That didn’t make him God, did it? Would God proclaim so regularly how much he likes Patsy’s Pizza?

Excerpt

CITY SOLIPSISM: A SHORT STORY

The pages of my calendar flip by faster each year as the bewildering march of time presses forward through alarm clock blues, dinners at the office, and “free time” planned away – in the same way – month after month. As I stand on the same subway platform, waiting for the same local train, I think to myself how youth is marked by a breathtaking novelty that diminishes with each year of age – until life becomes a delusive struggle to break routines, escape the ordinary, and rediscover the joy of discovery.

“What does it take now – as a ‘grown-up’- to make a month memorable?” I wonder. “How do you make treading the treadmill feel like trailblazing a trail? What would make this morning any more remarkable than any other morning?”

And then I notice someone who doesn’t look quite so beleaguered by it all. She’s a woman in her early-twenties with features that hail from either Italy or Spain – I can’t be sure because it’s been about six years since I played my guitar for coins across Europe (and even then, I wasn’t great at differentiating Italians from Spaniards).

Summer sticks to her skirt sumptuously, in the shiny gray fabric hanging loosely from her curves. Her chestnut eyes, apparently hidden from strangers; her simple but graceful face, unpainted by Madison Avenue; and her straight black hair, parted down the middle without ego, all suggest a minimalist – almost pastoral – beauty that is oddly discordant with her fashionable attire, comfortable indifference to the crowds, and quasi-attentive perusal of the Time magazine unfolded over her hand.

I don’t know her name and I’m sure that I’ve never seen her before, but there is something familiar about her. She seems to have this schizophrenically interested or curious look that reminds me of the female shoppers I once observed in a busy Florentine marketplace. The young Italian women in that spice-filled outdoor market, buying their extra virgin olive oil and red ripe tomatoes, seemed flirtatious in their enjoyment of the young men eyeing them, yet guardedly guilt-ridden about any deviations from a properly Catholic day of shopping. And here in our subway car, the way in which this bucolic belle’s eyes occasionally seem undecided between the text of her magazine and the people standing around her makes me wonder how those Florentine shoppers would look if their daily routine were transformed from an outdoor Tuscan shopping spree to an indoor New York subway ride. Would they all look at the magazines in their hands more or less than this woman two feet away from me does?

At the risk of fetishizing an unsuspecting subway rider, I’m going to call her “Florence.” The name of that city evokes in me so many magical memories that I’ll call her “Florence” even though the vestiges of my origin-detection skills insist that her roots might actually be Spanish. Calling her “Madrid” just wouldn’t sound as good, and admitting my uncertainty by calling her “Southern Europe” would sound even worse. So she’ll be Florence for now.

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