Get to Know author @RoslynHolcomb

Today Atlanta author Roslyn Hardy Holcomb stops by for a chat. She’s sharing the inspiration behind her small town series (yes, it’s based on a real town) and her series featuring a group of female assassins working in exotic locales and stories prompted by international headlines.

RoslynHolcomb

You’re a small town girl now living in Atlanta. How does your small town upbringing impact the characters and settings in your stories?

Being a from a somewhat provincial area has had tremendous impact on my stories. My first book was set in a place called Maple Fork, which is a HIGHLY fictionalized version of my own hometown of Gadsden, Alabama. Like Maple Fork, Gadsden is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and is bisected by the Coosa River. Dark Star, which is a Rock Star sequel, has a climactic scene at a major landmark, Noccalula Falls. I did a question and answer session at the local library when it was first released and the readers had a lot of fun telling me about the sites they recognized, and speculating on who some of the characters “actually” were. (All the characters are fictional, BTW, but it made for an interesting afternoon!)

I deliberately chose to set many of my books in small towns because I love the dynamic it brings. Busybody neighbors, being related to everybody for miles around. It’s fun, and can be silly at times, but character development is one of my favorite things about writing, so I love it.

 I laughed when I read your bio about loving rock music and how that made you an “oddity” growing up, because I was also an “oddball” due to  my eclectic musical palate. Tell us how it inspired your first book, Rock Star.

When you grow up black in blue collar town and all the other girls worship the Jackson 5 and you’ve got posters of Robert Plant, yeah, you tend to stand out a bit. Over the years, I’ve met lots of other black “rocker chicks,” and wanted to write a book for us. I wanted the rock star to write a song for his love, because most of us black rocker chicks have never had the thrill of imagining ourselves as Lady D’Arbanville or Layla. (Please don’t mention Brown Sugar, yuk).

You recently released another book in your Pussycat Death Squad. Give us a brief overview of the series and what inspired it.

The Pussycat Death Squad is a series about a squad of women who’ve trained all their lives to be bodyguards for a North African strongman. Now they’ve escaped and provide their lethal services around the world. I was inspired by a picture I saw years ago of the late Libyan leader, Colonel Qadaffi, and his all-female Amazonian Guard. Allegedly, they took a vow of chastity and had to be beautiful. With a set-up like that the first book practically wrote itself. Drop in a hot alpha Marine and stir. In something of an homage to the old Harlequin romances I read as a kid, I try to set the stories in exotic locales. Those books introduced me to a world far from my hometown. Back in the day it was called “armchair traveling,” and it’s still fun.

The Lion in Russia’s oligarch hero has wound up on the wrong side of the Russian president who sounds suspiciously like Vladimir Putin. So yes, these stories are definitely “ripped from headlines.” The most recent story, Pussycat in Peril is a return to Laritrea which has fallen into a highly-factionalized civil war, much like Libya, the country it’s based on. The next one, Diamonds on the River, will take place in Ghana mainly because I love the way NPR correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton says “Accra.” Listen to her sometimes, her voice is AMAZING.

Gee Whiz, It's Christmas by Roslyn Hardy Holcomb and Lisa G. Riley.

What can we expect from you in coming months?

My current work in progress is a Christmas series with my writing partner, Lisa G. Riley, called Christmas at House and Home. The leads grew up in foster care together, working in the family restaurant, House and Home. Though it’s set in Atlanta, there’s a definite small-town vibe in that these kids grew up in a multicultural suburban enclave so tightly enmeshed they developed their own language. The series was inspired by my experiences as a social worker, and also my joy in discovering the dining experience that is Buford Highway in Chamblee Georgia. The whole street is lined with international cuisine and one evening my husband and I were scarfing down Korean barbecue and listening to the owner of the place talking to his employees in a Spanish/Korean mash-up we quickly dubbed Sporean. Though I often complain about the Babylonian Exile that is my life in Atlanta, I do love the level of diversity to be found here.

*****

Thank you for visiting with us Roslyn! I have friends who live in Atlanta. Next time I visit I want some of that Korean barbecue. 🙂 Visit Roslyn online and check out her latest releases here.

Reese Ryan. Colorful characters. Sinfully sweet romance.

Get to Know @Ursula_Renee author of A Bookie’s Odds

I was excited when Ursula Renee accepted my open offer to stop by the blog and chat. I read her story Sweet Jazz while doing some research for a historical series I was in the midst of writing nearly a year ago. Sweet Jazz is about an interracial couple working in a jazz club with a “Coloreds Only” policy during the Harlem Renaissance. I became an instant fan of her delicious writing voice and juicy characters. Now, let’s talk to Ursula and find out more about latest release, A Bookie’s Odds.

UrsulaRenee

Welcome, Ursula. Please tell readers three things we should know about you.

Thank you for having me here today.

For starters, I love to cook and I transfer that love to my novels. In Sweet Jazz, Cass proves she can cook as well as she sings, while the men in A Bookie’s Odds prove they know their way around a stove.

Another thing readers should know is that I enjoy music. My favorite is Alternative, yet, on a particularly stressful day, I find Goth soothing. When I write, I play music based on the time period the story is set and my characters’ preference.

Finally, I believe everyone should follow her dreams. Do not sit back and wish you did something…go out there and do it.

First, I have to tell you that I loved Sweet Jazz. It’s an engaging story with two strong characters, both of whom I loved. Tell us a little about that story and what prompted you to write it.

Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Sweet Jazz, which is set in 1938, explores the difficulties Randy Jones faces when he not only breaks the color barrier at The Big House, but falls for Cass, who is reluctant to open her heart after a past hurt.

After remembering several incidents that occurred when I was in an interracial relationship, I decided to explore the challenges Randy would have if he decided to break the color barrier.

BookiesOdds

Your recent release is A Bookie’s Odds. Give us a quick rundown of the story.

Because she looked beyond the surface and befriended a girl, Georgia Mae Collins grew up under the protection of the Santiano family. But, after a series of tragedies, Nicholas has to protect her from herself as well as his growing feelings for her.

What makes your hero and heroine, Nicholas Santiano and Georgia Mae Collins right for each other? 

Nicholas understands Georgia’s desire to follow her dreams and is willing to help her achieve her goals. And, though they do not always see eye to eye on the best way to deal with a problem, Georgia will always be there to comfort Nicholas.

What should we expect from Ursula Renee in the near future?

I am currently working on a historical romance set in 1856 that will explore two families’ fight to maintain their homes that are being threatened by eminent domain.

Sounds intriguing! To connect with Ursula Renee, follow her on social media at the sites listed below:
Website: UrsulaRenee.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ursularenee.author
Twitter: @Ursula_Renee

Get your copy of A Bookie’s Odds at one of the links below: 

AmazonBarnes & Noble | iTunesThe Wild Rose Press

Get to Know Tia Kelly, author of Baby Love

This week we get to know Tia Kelly, author of Baby Love.

Baby Love by Tia Kelly

Welcome, Tia! Thank you for chatting with us today. Please tell readers three things we should know about Tia Kelly.

Wow, that’s a tough one. I have three loves (in addition to writing and reading): faith, family and food! I think everything I do, write or read somehow ties into those three things.

The cover of your latest release, Baby Love, is gorgeous. Tell us about the premise of your story.

Thank you! Baby Love is about a guy that truly enjoys his bachelor status until a woman shows up on his doorstep claiming he is the father of her child. She disappears and in the process of tracking the mother down so he can return the baby, he meets Brandi.

Here’s the blurb:

The son of an NBA legend, Trent Scott was born a catch and groomed since birth to know it. Little fazes him, including the mystery woman that appears on his doorstep with a baby in tow… even when she claims Trent is the father before disappearing. Until he can prove otherwise and find the delusional woman, he’s stuck caring for a kid he knows can’t be his… or is it?

Brandi Avery is ready to start the next chapter of her life. After coming to the rescue of a frazzled (and extremely attractive) stranger with an adorable (yet obviously upset) baby, she can’t help but fall for Trent Scott… which wouldn’t be so bad if she could convince him to feel the same way about her.

How would you describe Trent Scott, the hero of Baby Love?

Trent first appeared (very briefly) in my novel, Playing for Love and later in Taste for Love. He is the Paige Scott’s half-brother and the two of them didn’t have the best relationship thanks to their father. Their father was an NBA legend that probably made more history creating children through extra marital affairs than during his career playing basketball. The story opens up with Trent dealing with the fallout of his father’s infidelities and he goes through a process where he realizes he doesn’t want to continue down the same path.

Tell us about Brandi Avery, the heroine of Baby Love. What makes her right for Trent and willing to take a chance on him, despite his complicated situation?

I think the cool thing about Brandi and Trent’s relationship is that it just feels right. There’s nothing other than good old-fashioned friendship and chemistry building up between them. Her patience and immediate bond with London also helped them along. Brandi’s also successful and she’s learning from her professional role. In order to reach that place, she doesn’t have time or energy for drama – something she has come to realize when she meets Trent – therefore she wouldn’t entertain that even if it comes in the form of a tall handsome stranger with an adorable baby. Knowing Trent is also trying to eliminate stress from his life as well, they complement each other that way. Also, if she sensed that from him, Brandi wouldn’t have given him a second glance. These are simply two people that want better and encourage each other to be better.

What can we expect from Tia Kelly in the near future?

I have a few projects in the works. One upcoming project is called Chasing Moments and I’m very excited about it. That one is about a young woman named Chase Ryan. She is a confirmed party girl that has it all… and she wants the world to know it. After making her way through all the hotspots and parties across town, Chase is used to waking up the morning after with no recollection of the night before. Until she wakes up one day with a thin memory about her entire life and all she can do is chase the moments she left behind hoping to figure out her own story.

Thank you for having me!

Connect with Tia online or on social media and grab your own copy of Baby Love by using the links below:

Website:      www.tiawithapen.com

Social Media:

FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/authortiakelly

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/tiawithapen

INSTAGRAM – https://instagram.com/tiawithapen/

GOODREADS – https://www.goodreads.com/tiakelly

PINTEREST – https://www.pinterest.com/tiawithapen/

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1eBcAB6

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1H71f3x

Get to Know Shelly Ellis, author of Best Kept Secrets

Today I’m excited to play host to the blog tour for Best Kept Secrets, the lastest release by author Shelly Ellis.  Shelly is an author I admire and have gotten to know a little via Twitter over the past couple of years. So it was fun to get to know her better and talk more about her latest release.

Best Kept Secrets author, Shelly Ellis

Shelly, thanks for visiting with us today. Tell us three things we should know about you.

Revelation 1: I’m a socially awkward introvert. It has its downside, speaking in front of audiences makes me freak out but the upside is that I’m a natural born observer. I like to watch people and walk around places and just get a feel for them. I don’t feel the need to interact and am perfectly comfortable with sitting on the sidelines. You learn a lot about people and places being that way and you can use it in your writing.

Revelation 2: I have eclectic taste from books to music. One week I can be deep in a horror novel and the next week I’ll pick up funny women’s fiction. I love 90s HipHop like Pharcyde but have been a fan of Bjork since college. I refuse to limit my tastes.

Revelation 3: Before I decided to become a writer, I flirted with the idea of becoming an artist. I paint on occasion as a stress reliever. My paintings are around my house. I’ve done them for friends and family too at their request.

Tell us a little about what genre(s) you write and what we should expect from a Shelly Ellis story.

I write primarily romance and women’s fiction FOR NOW. But I might expand in the future. If you’re reading a Shelly Ellis book expect lots of drama, some snark, some humor, and a multicultural cast of characters.

Your new release, Best Kept Secrets, is the first installment in your Chesterton Scandal series. Tell us a little about the series.

Best Kept Secrets by Shelly Ellis

The series is set in the fictional town of Chesterton, Virginia, and it’s about the wealthy Murdoch family—Evan, Terrence, and Paulette—which is both admired and envied in their small town.

There is lots of drama in Best Kept Secrets. Shady business deals. Scandalous affairs. Tell us more about the Murdoch family and the entanglements they find themselves in.

At the beginning of the novel the former patriarch, George Murdoch, is deceased and now his eldest son, Evan, is taking over the family business and is now considered the leader in the family. We follow his tribulations in his marriage to his alcoholic wife, Charisse, and his feelings for his best friend, Leila. We also see the secrets and drama that his little sister Paulette is going through. It’s basically a night-time soap. My editor was like, shoot for something like Scandal, and that’s what I did.

What’s next in the Chesterton Scandal series and are you working on any other projects that we should expect in the near future?

The next book in the series is called Bed of Lies and it comes out in April 2016. It continues many of the storylines from the previous book but also introduces some new ones and new characters. I had a lot of fun with it. I also get to explore Terrence Murdoch as a character a lot more in this novel than I did in Best Kept Secrets. He goes through a lot and evolves. It was rewarding to take him on his journey.

I have other projects in the pipeline but nothing I can really talk about now. I hope I can share more about them in the future.

Get to know Shelly Ellis better, grab your own copy of Shelly’s latest release, and enter the $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card raffle contest using the info below:

Shelly Ellis $25 Barnes & Noble Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Summary

Between the fall-out from his father’s latest shady business dealings and his wife Charisse’s alcoholism, Evan Murdoch has his hands full. But he should be most concerned about the scandalous affair Charisse is having right under his nose–with his half-brother. Evan’s being pushed to the edge, and no one knows that better than Leila Hawkins…

Leila is back in Chesterton, divorced, penniless, and desperate enough to do anything to save her mother’s home from foreclosure–including turning to Evan, her former best friend. But Evan isn’t interested in friendship. Instead he makes Leila a shocking indecent proposal…

Meanwhile, Evan’s newlywed sister, Paulette, wants to be the perfect wife. But a blackmailing bad boy ex has reappeared in her life–and he’s threatening to reveal her most painful secret…

The scandals just won’t quit–and for everyone involved, desire, betrayal, and lies are all in a day’s work…

Buy the Book

Amazon: http://amzn.com/1617733997

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/best-kept-secrets-shelly-ellis/1120843660?ean=9781617733994

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25739781-best-kept-secrets

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/best-kept-secrets-11

Indie Bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781617733994

Get Social with Shelly

Website: ShellyEllisBooks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Shelly-Ellis-554332437931239/timeline/

Twitter: @EllisRomance

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6464591.Shelly_Ellis

Get to Know Vanessa Riley Author of Multicultural Christian Regency

Christian regency author Vanessa Riley.

Our guest today is Vanessa Riley. Welcome, Vanessa! For readers unfamiliar with you, tell us three things we should know about you.

Reese, first I want thank you for having me here. “Three things,” she says tapping her finger on the table.

  1. I’m an old fashion nerd girl trapped in our modern society. In addition to knowing how to write robust software programs, I can knit, crotchet, and cook, but don’t tell my husband. He might want regular meals.
  2. I love Bible stories. Haven’t quite figured out how to allude to an ark or turning people into pillars of salt in a novel yet, but I just might.
  3. I love, love all things about the Regency Genre, and romance novels of the era by Jane Austen to Georgette Heyer. I have even made from scratch my own authentic 1800’s gown and wore it to a conference.

You write Christian Regency romance. When did you first become fascinated with the regency era? When did you decide that you wanted to write in this genre?

You remember that one assignment in high school where we had to read Pride and Prejudice. Well, for me, Jane Austen’s work was like a light bulb turning on in my head. The language, the strict sense of how people had to act and speak, it made a deep impression upon me. From that point on I read as much as I could and did all kinds of research. I had to know everything about the Regency era. From 1805 to 1830, England lead the world in culture and social issues. Slavery ended there without a single shot, thirty years before our American Civil War. The more I learned, the more I had to know, and it influenced my writing voice. My hope is to use my novels to bring this incredible society to readers in ways they have never seen before.

Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley

Regency definitely isn’t the first genre that comes to mind when I think of diversity. LOL. I love that you’re showing us a different side of the era. Tell us a little about the types of heroines you write about in this time period.

Unfortunately, it is rare to see a diverse cast in most Regencies. There were over 10,000 Blacks and a large Jewish population living in London during the Regency, but one couldn’t tell that from most Regency novels on the shelves of your local bookstore. It is my goal to change that perception. My heroines are strong women, but because of societal norms on the proper roles for women, they are trapped. It takes dire circumstances to shake off their shackles and it will take their faith to guide them to becoming a better person and to that wonderful happily-ever-after.

Your biracial regency romance Unmasked Heart has a very intriguing premise. Tell us a little about the story and its heroine, Gaia Telfair.

Gaia is a meek girl with a great love for her family. particularly her mentally-stunted brother. Though she has tried hard to earn her father’s love, she has accepted he will always treat her differently. He remains distant, his love always out of her reach. Now that Gaia is of age to marry, he tells her she cannot. She is to be a servant to her brother and to be grateful [for] the position. That is the day her world changes forever. Gaia isn’t the genteel daughter of a gentleman, but the product of an adulterous affair between Gaia’s late mother and an African.

This isn’t modern times. Back then the economics that you were born into set your life. Born a servant, die a servant. Affairs for women created horrible scandals and having mixed raced-children was taboo. The hint of scandal could doom you and all your relations to be ostracized.  Genteel women weren’t even to associate with male servants or confide in any man who was not a father or husband. So Gaia now finds herself caught in between worlds, not quite a respectable daughter, but not a servant either. Learning to love herself within an identity of a black woman is the key to her healing from all the lies that have shaped her world.

The Bargain by Vanessa Riley.

Last week you released the third episode of your serial The Bargain. What can we expect in the ongoing saga of Precious Jewell?

Precious Jewell has to figure out how to make a life in Port Elizabeth, a place filled with danger and freedom. Her willful spirit gets her and Lord Welling into more trouble. This episode has a secrets exposed theme, so you will learn more about all the characters of The Bargain, be introduced to the powerful Xhosa warriors, and experience a couple of who’s the daddy moments.

What can we expect next from you, Vanessa?

The last episode of The Bargain releases in November. Can Precious and Lord Welling stop the next massacre? Will two stubborn hearts find the courage to love regardless of the consequences?

My next full length novel will release on January 1st Unveiled Love which is the next book in the Challenge of the Soul Series. Expect more romance and faith-filled encounters within this series, where men and women have to decide who they are and what they want before fate or clandestine forces ruin everything.

Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to get to know you!

It is my pleasure to spend time here. Please have me back.

Connect with Vanessa at her website, ChristianRegency.com, Facebook or @VanessaRiley on Twitter.  Purchase your copy of Unmasked Heart or The Bargain by clicking the book covers.

Are you an author who’d like to be featured in my Get to Know series? Make your request here.

Get to Know Marcia Colette author of Stricken

This week author Marcia Colette stops by to talk about her long-time love of all things horror and her urban fantasy Stricken.

Author Marcia Colette

We’ve been Facebook friends for a while. It’s great to get to learn more about you. Tell us three things we should know about Marcia Colette.

  1. I’m an IT Manager in my day job. One of the most interesting places I’ve ever worked was in the nuclear industry.
  2. I was pretty much raised on scary movies, but they range from about the 1940’s to present day. Believe it or not, my all-time favorite movies range from Alien to The Greatest Show on Earth.
  3. I don’t like comedies. The more bodily harm they do, the worse they seem to me because they’re trying too hard to be funny. I didn’t even laugh when I saw Zombieland, which should’ve gotten something out of me, given that it was more like a horror comedy. Nope. Na-dah.

When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?

When I couldn’t find any more Laurell K. Hamilton books to read. That was about 10 years ago. Since I had read everything up to that point, I decided I wanted to write my own to keep myself preoccupied until her next book came out. But, I also found some other authors I liked at that time, but by then, the writing bug had bit me.

What genres do you write in, and what is it about each genre that appeals to you?

I like horror along the lines of Bentley Little and John Saul. They amp up the creepy factor to the point that you know it’s leading to some big reveal at the very end. I just have to know why their characters are acting the way they are or where the trouble that keeps getting piled on top of them is going to lead.

I also enjoy science fiction, but strangely enough, I haven’t read a lot of it. I prefer my science fiction via the movies because it opens my mind up to the possibilities even more. Unless I’m already familiar with the characters, I won’t read it. I’ll read Star Trek and Star Wars novels, but that’s about it. Unless there’s a huge buzz like with The Hunger Games, I probably won’t pick it up.

Tell us about the intriguing premise and heroine of your latest urban fantasy, Stricken.

Stricken by Marcia Colette

Stricken is about my female half-werewolf known as Alexa York. She’s been through a horrible tragedy and needs some time away from her husband. So, to keep busy, she takes up the offer to act as a bodyguard for a doctor who services the supernatural world. She has no idea that there are Amazons dying due to some mysterious illness and she’s about to step right into the chaos of trying to figure out if it was a disease by design or due to genetic makeup. Either way, her charge is tasked to find a cure, despite those who would rather see him die trying.

What can we expect from you next?

Right now, I have the next book in my Alexa York series in my editor’s hands, so I’m hoping it’s a “yes”. I’m also working on a follow-up to a YA Paranormal and a Women’s Fiction. Whether or not any paranormal will creep in on the Women’s  Fiction is anyone’s guess.

***

Learn more about Stricken and connect with Marcia Colette at one of the links below.

Website: www.marciacolette.com

Blog: http://marciacolette.wordpress.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/marciacolette
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MarciaColette

Get to Know Tasha L. Harrison Author of The Lust Diaries Series

Today we get to know Tasha L. Harrison, author of The Lust Diaries series. She reveals the first book she was obsessed over, talks about life as an indie publisher, and offers insight into her unapologetic heroine of The Lust Diaries, Yves Santiago.

Tasha L. Harrison DiverseBookTours

Tasha thank you for visiting with us. Please tell readers three things we should know about you.

  1. I write filth. I enjoy writing filth more than anything else. I write the stories that I want to read; stories about people of color that are so difficult to find in mainstream romance.
  2. I’m kind of a gypsy. I’ve lived a bunch of places, but I don’t really call any one place home. Home can be anywhere as long as my boys, my hubbie and my boxer pup Cassius are there.
  3. I’m kind of an introvert (aren’t most writers?), but if you give me a beer or whiskey or chicken wings, I will become the life of the party!

Every great writer is also an avid reader. So when did you first fall in love with books? What prompted you to become a storyteller?

The first book I remember being completely obsessed about was Charlotte’s Web. I must have checked that book out no less that fifteen times. I still love that story.

I think I have always been a writer, but I first tried my hand at storytelling in middle school when I drew and wrote a comic strip for myself and my best friend at the time. They were mostly tales of boy crushes and winning the yearly talent show (which we often did. I could dance back then too 🙂 After that I wrote quite a few poems and short stories, but I didn’t begin writing seriously until my late twenties.

Tell us about the premise of The Lust Diaries and your heroine Yves Santiago?

Everything She Never Wanted by Tasha L. Harrison In Her Closet by Tasha L. Harrison

Yves Santiago is a the kind of unapologetic woman who lives her life full out. After being in an abusive relationship, she is just learning what she wants from relationships and how to love again. The Lust Diaries is her journey to finding a love that is the right fit for her.

You’re both the author and the publisher of The Lust Diaries. What do you love most about being an indie author? What do you find most challenging?

I tried submitting my books to traditional publishers and after numerous rejections, I just found that process too soul crushing to repeat again. At the time, self-publishing was becoming more common and I figured I would try my hand at it. The learning curve is steep and things are always changing, but I wouldn’t trade being an indie author for any other form of publishing. Wearing all of the hats is overwhelming at times (especially when it comes to marketing and promotion), but honestly, I like the fact that whatever success I gain is because I did the work. I love being an authorpreneur!

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m currently working on Having it Both Ways which is book 3 of The Lust Diaries. I have two more novels planned in this “world” and then I plan to write a few standalones because writing a series is EXHAUSTING.

Thanks for being with us today, Tasha, and good luck with the rest of your tour.

Thanks!

Tasha L. Harrison The Lust Diaries Blog Tour

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter contest for a $100 Amazon Gift Card below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Woosah (or How to Dodge Rocks and Keep it Moving)

Hope you’re having a fantastic Friday. Mine got off to an interesting start that resulted in a cracked windshield when I failed to dodge the rock that came flying at me from across the highway. An unexpected development that could have easily ruined my day. Instead, I took a cue from Bad Boys II. (Isn’t that where everyone gets their life wisdom?) I woosahed and  chose to let it go. No need in allowing a random event to drag down the trajectory of my day when there were so many good things in store.

So, in the spirit of keeping it moving, I went on with my day. I used Rafflecopter random winner selection function to pick the winner in my Summer Reader #Giveaway. I honestly couldn’t be happier about the the name that popped up. Reader, Monica KL deserves this win. (See, sometimes random good things happen, too.) 🙂 I’m excited about creating a jewelry piece from my Sinfully Sweet Handmade shop, just for Monica.

Moments ago, I announced the winner and revealed the cover of Playing It Safe, the first book in the Playing with Bad Boys series, to my VIP Readers. If you’re not on my VIP Reader Mailing List, you can join by clicking the link. You’ll be among the first to hear about book and event news. Otherwise, stay tuned for the cover reveal here on my blog in the coming weeks.

Speaking of blogs, over on the Contemporary Romance Cafe my post Sex, Food and Rock N Roll takes a little walk down memory lane of the role food plays in my stories and the power of having characters share a meal. Here on the Reese Ryan Diaries, I started a series where we get to know authors of color who write in a variety of genres. Be sure to check them both out.

Now it’s time to put my head down and get back to work on Book #2 in the series.

Woosah!

Reese Ryan. Colorful characters. Sinfully sweet romance.

Photo courtesy of Grand Velas–Yoga and Pilates.

Get to Know Erin Ashley Tanner author of Dirty Little Secrets

Today we get to know author Erin Ashley Tanner who shares her love of all things Marilyn Monroe, reveals the book that made her want to be a writer, and lets us in on her Dirty Little Secrets.

Author Erin Ashley Tanner

Welcome, Erin. Tell us three things we might be surprised to learn about you.

  • I am an amateur genealogist who traced both sides of my family tree. My dad’s to the early 1800’s and my mothers to white ancestors from Massachusetts in 1798.
  • I am an avid collector of Marilyn Monroe and The Little Mermaid items.
  • I’m a little bit of everything: Black, Irish, Middle Eastern and Native American.

With such a diverse genealogy, that must be fun. Like solving a great mystery. In which genre(s) do you write?

I’m a multi-genre author. I started off writing paranormal or urban fantasy romance. Currently I’m writing contemporary romance with heavy suspense but I want to try my hand at a little of everything in the future.

What book(s) made you want to become a storyteller?

The novel that made me want to become a storyteller was Jackie Collins’ Dangerous Kiss. At the time I read it, it was the most recent of her Lucky Santangelo series and I fell completely in love with it. I loved her writing style. It was an engaging read. I loved the plethora of characters she had from all races and backgrounds, but most of all I loved that she had written a kick ass heroine that took no mess from anyone.

Seems like that love of kick-ass heroines has filtered into your stories. Congrats on Dirty Little Secrets, your recent release with Samhain. Tell us about the premise of your story and its kick-ass heroine.

Dirty Little Secrets by Erin Ashley Tanner

The premise behind Dirty Little Secrets is that we meet this beautiful young widow, Ava Hill, who is doing like most women these days, trying to build her own legacy and raising her child. But Ava’s had a rough go of life. Her husband Joseph, was a mob boss who recently died. There is an interesting backstory of how they met, but I won’t spoil that. Now Ava finds herself really free to live her own life and then her comes Dominic Sambarino who claims to be Joseph’s son and he wants his share of everything Joseph left behind. Naturally he and Ava are at odds. She actually attacks him with a baseball bat when they first meet. So you have this two strong personalities going at one another, and we all know where there’s smoke there is fire. The way this two come together is pretty interesting. Needless to say they both soon find themselves having to work together to face their pasts when secrets are revealed.

What was your favorite (or least favorite) scene to write in the book?

My favorite scene in the book to write was the bathroom scene on the yacht. The sexual tension really flowed and when they came together, talk about hot.

What can we expect from you in the near future?

Well at the current moment I’m working on a contemporary romance series with stronger mafia ties and revising a possibly historical romance to send to my agent. I also have another novel with Samhain called Devious Little Lies that will be releasing next year so stay tuned.

Thank you for being with us, Erin. We wish you many sales!

Reese Ryan. Colorful characters. Sinfully sweet romance.

Get to Know Elle Wright author of THE FORBIDDEN MAN

Author Elle Wright Over the past few months of the #WeNeedDiverseRomance campaign I’ve been getting to know multicultural authors that were new to me. During that time I’ve come to the realization that in reality, this campaign isn’t just about blazing a path for new authors of color. There are plenty out there right now that we don’t know about. So periodically I’ll be sharing an interview with authors of all colors. However, I will focus on getting to know authors of color and spotlighting their work.

My decision to add this feature was prompted by an invitation to participate in the promo for Elle Wright’s new release, The Forbidden Man. So it’s fitting that we begin this feature with an introduction to her.

Elle, welcome and thank you for inviting me to help get the word out about your exciting, new Edge of Scandal series. For readers who are new to you, tell us three things we should know about Elle Wright.

  • I love music. Prior to starting any book, I browse my music library and make a playlist, kind of like a soundtrack for the novel. I feel like it helps me reach my characters. Each character has a theme song and I use it for character motivation.
  • Fun fact: I am a total Barbie girl—in my own Barbie world. When I was a kid, I used to sit in my room for hours making up stories for my dolls. And they weren’t just your average Barbie meets Ken type of story. Barbie was the star of her own soap opera. When I moved out of my mother’s home, my dolls went with me. I’m a total geek like that. I just can’t bear to part with them.
  • Most of my story ideas come from weird real life situations or questions posed by friends or acquaintances (ie. What would happen if a woman was torn between two brothers?)

I love the premise of FORBIDDEN MAN. It’s filled with drama and high-stakes conflict. Tell us a little about the story.

THE FORBIDDEN MAN by Elle Wright The Forbidden Man is the story of a woman (Sydney) who finds out that her fiancé cheated on her while she’s getting fitted for her wedding dress. Devastated, she calls off the wedding and proceeds to get smashed. Enter Morgan, her fiancé’s brother and one of her closest friends.

Initially, Morgan just wants Syd to be okay so he helps her. He offers her a safe haven, away from his brother. Eventually, they cross a line and they can’t turn back.

How would you describe your heroine, Sydney Williams? And your hero, Morgan Smith?

Sydney is an intelligent, ambitious woman. In business, she knows what she wants. She thought she knew what she wanted in her personal life, too. Unfortunately, she ends up being hurt in the process. One of the things I like about Sydney is she’s a planner (like me). She has mapped out her life and when Caden cheats on her, everything screeches to a halt. It’s interesting seeing her try to plan her way out of the situation she finds herself in because there are no rules. And she hates to hurt or disappoint the people that she loves. She’s terrified of losing her core group of friends/family. She’s a protector—loyal, dependable. And she’s done something that is not good in her eyes. At the same time she can’t stop herself. She’s human, flawed. But she’s a survivor and she has the scars to prove it.

Morgan is fine. Ha! Just kidding. Well, he is fine. But what I like about Morgan is he’s real, doesn’t hold punches. He had a horrible childhood, but rose above his circumstances. He’s determined, trustworthy (normally), and generous. But he’s very guarded and stubborn. His biological father was a criminal so he works hard to never be like him. Morgan is a caregiver, just like Syd. He’s practically turned his life upside down to take care of his older brother and has grown tired of it.

Writing is so personal. As writers, we put our heart and soul into every scene. But is there one scene you are especially fond or proud of? Give us a brief highlight of the scene.

There are so many parts that I love because I adore the characters. Sometimes when I read the book or a random scene, I think… WOW, I did that. But there is one scene that I really love. Morgan and Syd have realized there is more building between them. Syd puts the brakes on it and asks Morgan to take her to a hotel. On the way, they hit a patch of ice and end up stranded on the side of the road. At first, they are cool and talking like the friends they always were. But eventually, things take a turn and they have their very first encounter. It completely takes them by surprise which was fun to write.

What can we expect next in the Edge of Scandal series?

The Edge of Scandal series explores the lives of the group of friends introduced in The Forbidden Man. I’m probably biased, but I love these characters. And they are ride or die for each other, which is awesome.

HIS ALL NIGHT (November 24)
Did I mention Sydney has a twin brother? Well, book two is all about Jared and Sydney’s best friend, Cali. Jared is in love (or falling in love) with Cali, but she is not trying to change their current awesome-sex-but-please-no-commitment relationship. Even if Cali does love him, she’d never tell him. Can Jared convince her to let go and take a chance on him?

HER KIND OF MAN (Spring 2016)
Engaged to a prominent preacher, Allina is the envy of Cleveland. But instead of walking down the aisle, she walks out the door and runs back home to Michigan. Instead of seeking solace with her friend, Sydney, she ends up on Kent’s doorstep. One look is all it takes for Kent to know two things: his attraction to Allina is stronger than ever—and there is more to her story than she’s telling him…

Thank you so much to Elle for stopping by today! To learn more about Elle and the Edge of Scandal series, check out the summary and buy links below.  Then don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter contest for your chance to win a copy.

The Forbidden Man Release Blitz

THE FORBIDDEN MAN by Elle Wright (July 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; The Edge of Scandal #1)

In Love With the Wrong Man

Sydney Williams has forgiven her fiancé, Den, more times than she can count. But his latest betrayal just days before their wedding is too big to ignore. Shocking her friends and family, she calls off the engagement. She walks out on Den . . . and into the arms of his brother, Morgan.
Known as a player, Morgan Smith has secretly spent years fighting his feelings for Sydney. When Den’s latest dirty deed leaves Sydney devastated, Morgan can’t stop himself from coming to her rescue. What begins as friendship quickly escalates into all-consuming passion. Despite their intense connection, Sydney would rather deny her desire than come between brothers. But as Morgan is determined to make Sydney his, Den won’t give her up without a fight . . .

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About the author:

Born and raised in Southeast Michigan near Ann Arbor, Elle learned the importance of reading from her mother. It was also her mother who, later on in her life, gave Elle her first romance novel: Indigo by Beverly Jenkins. From that moment on, Elle became a fan of Ms. Jenkins for life and a lover of all things romance. An old journal she wrote back in college became her first book (which she still wants to publish one day).

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