Diversity in books is not just black and white

Live For This

Diversity is a hot topic amongst authors and readers who are tired of not being represented or being misrepresented in fiction. But diversity is not limited to the racial background of the hero and heroine. It’s so much more than that. We should consider not only race, but religious backgrounds, cultural backgrounds, economic backgrounds, and people with emotional, physical, and mental disabilities. Everyone deserves love and happy endings.

Recently I was given an advanced reader copy of Live for This by Kathryn R. Biel. Check out my Amazon Review.

Here’s the official blurb:

Samirah Lundgren is living the party girl life. While she’s trying to forget about her past and put off having a meaningful future, her lifestyle catches up with her, leaving her in a wake of personal destruction. Alone and homeless, she encounters Michael Salinger, a man carrying his own baggage in the form of a spinal cord injury, not to mention his former fiancé is marrying his former best friend.

Can a man with a broken body and a woman with a shattered soul help each other find the redemption they need to become whole again?

Samirah comes from an Iranian/British background, one she has totally disconnected with. She masks her heritage behind bleach-blonde hair and her nickname Sam, allowing her acquaintance to think of her as Samantha. The sad fact is, I believe this is true of many people. We all try to fit into the accepted concepts of what’s considered beautiful or perfect. But in whose eyes?

Tall and handsome, Michael had no problem approaching women. Until he was paralyzed. Now women won’t even look at him. All they see is the chair. His fiancé leaves him, unable to cope with the reality of his day-to-day, even though he is totally self-sufficient. Even women he would normally not find attractive regard him with contempt. The sad fact here is while ideally we can all say a disability would not change how we feel about someone, how many can say they would consider dating someone who was paraplegic?

This book hit the mark on so many levels. I stayed up reading until almost 2am to finish it knowing I had to get up the next day for work at 6am. This well written emotional read knocked my socks off. This piece of fiction matters. It will change your view of life, love, and the power of the human spirit.

My takeaway: Love may not be blind, but we shouldn’t let stereotypes blind us to the potential for love.

More about the author, Kathryn R. Biel.

Author Bio:

Telling stories of resilient women, Kathryn Biel hails from upstate New York and is a spouse and mother of two wonderful and energetic kids. In between being Chief Home Officer and Director of Child Development of the Biel household, she works as a school-based physical therapist. She attended Boston University and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The Sage Colleges. After years of writing countless letters of medical necessity for wheelchairs, finding increasingly creative ways to encourage the government and insurance companies to fund her clients’ needs, and writing entertaining annual Christmas letters, she decided to take a shot at writing the kind of novel that she likes to read. Her musings and rants can be found on her personal blog, Biel Blather. She is the author of Good Intentions (2013), Hold Her Down (2014), I’m Still Here (2014), Jump, Jive, and Wail (2015), Killing Me Softly (2015), and Completions and Connections: A Romantic Holiday Novella (2015).

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Kathryn R. Biel, Author Telling Stories of Resilient Women

Website: bit.ly/KRBOnline

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kathrynrbiel

Twitter: @KRBiel Instagram @krbiel

 

I was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and have a husband and two children. Music is an addiction. I can often be found in the car, singing along at the top of my lungs to whatever is playing. I work full time, and I split my spare time between family, reading, blogging, and writing. I’m a habitual quoter. Lines from films and TV shows constantly pop into my head—my kids are the only ones that really get it. I’m an only child, and so of course I married a man who is one of ten children. Other than English, I speak Spanish, Moroccan, and a little French. I love to travel, but don’t do enough of it. Reading has been a passion for most of my life and I now love writing. I’m klutz, and in my own mind, I’m hilarious.

Author Pic Final 2016

 

Find me at http://www.yoursweetandspicyromanceauthor.com/

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The Perfect Romantic Setting – Guest Post by Susan Ann Wall

Please welcome guest blogger, Susan Ann Wall.

Thank you for joining us, Susan.

Hello!! Thanks to Jennifer for hosting me as I prepare for the release of The Sound of Circumstance, book #5 in my Puget Sound ~ Alive With Love series.The Sound of Circumstance

 

If you caught my post a few days ago on the Fierce Romance blog, you’ll know the setting in this series comes from some of my personal experiences. I don’t currently live near Seattle, but I did for a short period and fell in love with the city the first time Hero Husband took me there.

Seattle may not be labeled the city of love, but in my contemporary romance series, it is definitely alive with love. Puget Sound has a little bit of everything, the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west, with 14,000 foot Mt. Rainier standing tall in the distance like a snow-covered beacon. Seattle is enclosed by Elliot Bay to the west and Lake Washington to the east, with Lake Union accessible right downtown. What an incredibly romantic setting with all that water and those beautiful, snow-capped mountains.

I love a naturally romantic setting, someplace you can enjoy the tranquility of the water and the beauty of the mountains. In the story, Stacie escapes to Alki Beach to gain a little clarity and cool her heals. Stacie loves the beach because the first time Owen brought her there (The Sound of Consequence) they shared a romantic interlude under a full moon.

One of my favorite locations in Seattle to write about is Gasworks Park. Sitting on the edge of Lake Union, it’s the perfect place for a romantic picnic (The Sound of Consequence) or a cookout with friends (The Sound of Deception). I’m not the only one who thinks Lake Union is a romantic setting … the house where Tom Hanks lived in Sleepless in Seattle sits on Lake Union!

I also have many scenes in the series that take place on the ferry and the image on the cover of The Sound of Circumstance was taken from the lower deck of the ferry returning from Bremerton. Aren’t sunsets so romantic?

I could bore you with all the places in Seattle that inspire romance, or you can just dive into the series and lose yourself in those settings!!

Tell me, what is your favorite romantic setting (that you’ve been to, read about, or dream of visiting)?

Bio:Susan Ann Wall
Big dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob.
Susan is a nationally bestselling, multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking romance and women’s fiction. Her bragging rights include nine books in three different series,  three perfect children, adopting an amazing rescue dog, and a happily ever after that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned nearly two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29).
In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver).

Susan’s new release, The Sound of Circumstance can be found at the online retailers below.

SOC Cover

The Sound of Circumstance Purchase Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1jA1sXU

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1j5yGPa

iTunes: http://apple.co/1jA1pvo

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1O4RZ6k

Blurb:
To finally leave the past behind, they’ll have to trust … their friendship, and especially their love.
Stacie Nightingale doesn’t what the 2.5 million dollars of blood money she’s been awarded as a result of the lawsuit she filed. She also doesn’t want the memories that are flooding her mind, causing her to remember everything that led to the car accident that killed her friend and left Stacie with a traumatic brain injury. Neither of those circumstances matter though once her boyfriend Owen Landry proposes to her. She doesn’t want his proposal, not due to the circumstances that drove him to it. The mysterious woman he seems to be keeping company only fuels her insecurity and doubt. Stacie loves Owen, but with her past continuing to haunt her, she questions if their love is strong enough to survive.
Owen Landry has been carrying the ring around for months, waiting for the perfect moment to propose. He has a plan, but when a gallery owner starts swooning over Stacie – and not just her paintings – Owen once again has to face the demons of his own past. His insecurities spike when Stacie not only refuses his proposal, but confides in her brother rather than Owen. He doesn’t believe she would betray him, but his past has proven he can be a bad judge of character.

You can find Susan online at:

Social Media Links:

www.susanannwall.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/susanannwall.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@susanannwall

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/susanannwall

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Ann-Wall/e/B007NZU7X0

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/susanannwall

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/nQ7wH

 

Thank you for joining us today, Susan and good luck with your latest release.

Author Pic

I was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and have a husband and two children. Music is an addiction. I can often be found in the car, singing along at the top of my lungs to whatever is playing. I work full time, and I split my spare time between family, reading, blogging, and writing. I’m a habitual quoter. Lines from films and TV shows constantly pop into my head—my kids are the only ones that really get it. I’m an only child, and so of course I married a man who is one of ten children. Other than English, I speak Spanish, Moroccan, and a little French. I love to travel, but don’t do enough of it. Reading has been a passion for most of my life and I now love writing. I’m klutz, and in my own mind, I’m hilarious.

Find me at http://www.yoursweetandspicyromanceauthor.com/

Signup to join My Dream Team: http://eepurl.com/bjAzz1

 

Review of Jennifer Senhaji’s Sunset Dreams Series

BRENDA'S BOOK PICK OF THE WEEK (AND OTHER MUSINGS)

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BRENDA’S BOOK PICK OF THE WEEK
(A Review of the Sunset Dreams Series by Jennifer Senhaji)
By Brenda Rogers

Today I’m going to tell you about not one, but two amazing books by my favorite “Sweet and Spicy” author, Jennifer Senhaji. Sweet Dreams and Choosing to Dream are from Jennifer’s Sunset Dreams Series. Both books follow the oftentimes turbulent journey that famous actor Jake and down-to-earth coffee shop owner Jenna travel to find each other and true love.

Both books were incredible I enjoyed reading them. The best thing for me about the books was that they were written in first person POV. It made me feel like I was a participant in the story rather than a spectator from the sidelines, and I feel that the first person POV helped create the books’ realistic, in-depth characters that I was rooting for from the beginning. Another wonderful thing about…

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Real Romance: Truth or Fiction

Wine and Cheese

Writing romance, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of grand gestures: Jewelry, serenades, love letters.

But the truth is this: Real romance is in the little things your loved one does to make your life a little sweeter.

Truth: Sometimes, I want to strangle my husband or spank the ever-loving sh*t out of him, and not in the kinky way. He drives me crazy, as I am sure I drive him crazy. The only reason neither of us is in a stripped jumpsuit behind bars is because the things we love about each other outweigh the things that make each of us stabby.

Truth: My life isn’t all sunshine and roses. But the sunny days outnumber the cloudy ones. Especially when my spouse makes me laugh.

Truth: My husband sometimes gets jealous of my fictional characters. But he’s also always willing to help me research the love scenes.

Fiction: You need money to be romantic. Please don’t think that all romance comes from expensive dinners and gifts. Putting the other person’s needs first is more romantic than any gift. You’ll find some everyday tips on romantic gestures at the bottom of this post. Keep reading.

Fiction: Sex isn’t as good as it is in the beginning of a relationship. No? Well then start experimenting. You have a partner you trust? Tell him/her your fantasies. You’d be surprised how many partners are excited by this idea. It’s a great way to reignite the passion.

Truth: I’m writing this post because my husband pissed me off yesterday. Last night, he got me to laugh by being a horny goofball, even though I was still pissed. Today, he called me at work to see how my day was going. When I asked him what he was doing, he told me he had just cleaned the house and was getting ready to go to the market to buy the ingredients to make paella. My immediate response, “Now that is real romance.” All was forgiven when I walked into my clean house and found the cheese, olives, and wine above waiting for me.

Real Romance for Everyday

  • Take care of a chore that your partner loathes. Laundry, dishes, general house cleaning- whatever. If it’s something they always dread and complain about, do it for them, without having to be asked.
  • Give your partner space. It’s not always about you or the two of you. Sometimes, we all just need a little alone time. Tell your partner to take a break. Offer up some quiet time for a nap or a bath. Take the kids out of the house. Give your partner time to relax.
  • Make a meal. Check out Food Network for ideas or pull out a cookbook and make something amazing at home that isn’t on the regular weekly dinner menu. Lighting a couple of candles doesn’t hurt.
  • Take care of your partner’s needs. Hopefully this is already happening. However, if you tend to rush through the motions on a race to the finish line, take your time and try some of the experimenting mentioned above. You’ll either come out of it with a new perspective and a new vigor or a really good laugh.
  • Read to your partner. We all get caught up in watching TV and some of us get to go to the movies now and then. But reading aloud to your partner can be a truly intimate experience. Especially reading romance. I’ve been reading my summer romance, Sea Breeze, aloud to my husband, and he loves it. Feel free to pick up a copy of one of my books if you need a little sweet and spicy romance here.

Well, that’s it for today folks. The aroma of garlic and seafood perfumes the air as I write indicating the paella is almost done. My husband will live to see another day because of this. Paella

 

Tell me, what everyday tasks equal romance to you?

Author Pic

Find me at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

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Lost and Found-Release Day

Kay Blake is one of my favorite people, and when she told me she was publishing a summer novella, right after her own summer wedding, I was thrilled. So congratulations, Kay, on your wedding and your book. I wish you all the best.
Lost and Found by Kay Blake
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Interracial Romance
Amazon link:

Here’s the blurb:

Zoe Reynolds life is thrown in a tailspin when she catches her fiancé sleeping with his receptionist. Reeling from his betrayal and wanting a change fast, she cuts her hair and purchases tickets to go on a seven day cruise to the Caribbean.  All Zoe wanted was some fun in the sun and some time to paint. That was until she meets handsome but shy Donatello “Donnie” Carson a forensics investigator who is on the cruise only to appease his best friend. Donnie is still hung up over bitter loses in his life, but with Zoe he is able to start living again.

Though both have past wounds, sparks fly and their connection sends them on a whirlwind romance. Can Zoe and Donnie let go of the past and find solace in each other?

Kay has provided the top ten list below as a little glimpse, for all you lovely readers, at how truly awesome she is.

My Top Ten Favorite Things about Summer

By: Kay Blake

Since, my novelette takes place in the summer, I thought I would share a few things that I like about the summer. They are in no particular order.

  1. The zoo- I know how crazy that sounds, but I am a mama bear. I have three cubs and well, the zoo seems so much more inviting when the sun is bright and shining. I also love big cats, you know tigers, leopards, panthers and jaguars. (If I could have one-I would in a heartbeat lol)
  2. Fruity drinks– I am a sucker for a good fruity drink and though I don’t drink too often this is the time of year that a Bahama Mama or an Orange-Cherry Champagne Cocktail
  3. A good book- Because a good book goes along with any weather
  4. Weddings- I may be a little bias since I just had a summer wedding, but seeing all the pictures of weddings in the park, beaches or anywhere in nature is one of my favorite things about summer.)
  5. The beach- Give me a beach umbrella, a book and a beach chair and I am there)
  6. Summer Fashion- NYC is one of the cities that fashion its peak. I picked out a few trendy pieces for my summer collection and I can’t wait to show it off.
  7. Ice Cream and more ice cream- Because let’s face it, who doesn’t love ice cream?
  8. BBQs- Most time Memorial Day marks the beginning of BBQ season. I love the burgers, hotdogs and chicken off the grill with a nice cold glass of lemonade. (I am drooling just thinking about it.)
  9. Summer break for my cubs- When the cubs are out of school, I have more time to do things with them outside of the house. Outings and outdoor events are fun with the cubs around.
  10. More time to spend with friends- There are so much things to do in the summer. Summer in NYC makes it easier and more convenient to hang out and have a good time with friends.

Kay Blake

Bio:
Kay Blake was born in the city that never sleeps or as she sees it arguably the greatest city in the world (NYC). She have always loved written word and breezed through books all of her life. She decided to take a real stab at writing professionally in 2014 and have been on a roll since.
She is a mama to three cubs and recently re married. She is working on her psychology degree. Her guilty pleasures are chocolate, wine, a good book and horror movies. You can find her being sarcastic, while bawling at romance movies and being a super mom.
Social Media
Twitter: Author Kay Blake/ www.twitter.com/authorkayblake
Instagram: AuthorKayBlake/ www.instagram.com/authorkayblake
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Jennifer Senhaji was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and is married with two children. If she’s not singing along at the top of her lungs to whatever is playing on the radio, you can find her making music playlists at home on her laptop. She works full time and splits her spare time between family, reading, blogging, and writing. Other than English, Jennifer speaks Spanish, Moroccan, and a little French. She loves to travel, but doesn’t do enough of it and will weave places she has gone or wants to go into her stories. Reading has been a passion for most of her life and she loves to write. She calls herself Your Sweet and Spicy Romance Author because she loves the sweet nuances of new love, but also is a bit of a voyeur and wants to be in the bedroom when the characters finally come together. You can find Jennifer and all her book links and social media links on her website at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

#WriterWednesday-New Excerpt From Reconstructing Roman by Sandra S. Kerns

Reconstructing Roman is a brand new romantic suspense novel by Sandra S. Kerns. You can read my Goodreads review here, but I thought it might be nice to tease you with a little excerpt. Enjoy.

ReconstRoman

When Kaia hung up the few remaining doubts about her move vanished. Despite the money her family had, she had never belonged in that world. Grant understood that. His father didn’t.

Daniel Wentworth had fought her move every step of the way, even trying to have Grant talk her out of it. When Grant refused, even siding with her, his father had gone ballistic. When he found out she’d sold her apartment and rented a trailer, he’d finally accepted the truth.

Well, she thought he had, but now she had her doubts.

“Okay, Nicky. If we’re going to stay here, it’s time to call for some help.” Kaia grabbed her backpack from the floor and dug through several pockets before she found the card Daniel had given her. Nicky sat at her feet while she input the number.

“Hello?”

Kaia was caught off guard by the older female voice that answered the phone. Daniel had said the caretaker was male and lived alone.

“Hello, this is Kaia Beecher. I’m–”

Before she could finish she heard a short startled scream and the person obviously dropped the phone. She called out hello a few times hoping to find out what happened.

“Who is this?”

The deep, angry, demanding male voice surprised Kaia as much as the original female voice. “Kaia Beecher. I was given this number if I had any trouble at my grandparents’ house. I’m looking for an Adam, um, just a minute.” In the shock of being yelled at, she’d dropped the card.

“Smirnosky,” the deep voice said. “Why would you be looking for Adam?”

The man didn’t sound angry anymore, but concerned. Kaia persevered. “The executor of my parents’ estate told me he was acting as a caretaker for the farm. Mr. Wentworth was supposed to call ahead and let Mr. Smirnosky know I was coming. I’m guessing he didn’t do that.”

Of course he didn’t. The man had no intention of making her life easy unless she married his son. Damn him.

“Just a minute,” deep voice said.

Kaia heard a click as if the phone had been set down. Then she heard the man’s deep voice speaking to someone in a much softer tone. The gentleness of his voice sent a shiver over her skin. The only time she’d ever heard a man’s voice sound like that was her father comforting her mother. Those two had been unbelievably, head-over-heels in love, even after thirty years.

“Miss Beecher, I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. We’ve had a rough week here. Adam isn’t available right now. He hadn’t mentioned taking care of your property to me, thus the confusion. Well, that and the fact that you sound just like your grandmother.”

“Excuse me?”

“The lady who answered the phone was a good friend of your grandmother’s. When you said you were Kaia Beecher, Miss Hattie thought it was a ghost. It gave her a bit of a scare.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I never even thought about it.”

“It’s okay. I’m sure Miss Hattie will recover. What was it you need help with? I can try to take care of it.”

Kaia debated the wisdom of getting help from someone she didn’t know, hadn’t been recommended, and seemed to have a quick temper. Then again, she didn’t really know anyone here. Still–

“If it helps, I’m Adam’s brother. Actually, we met earlier today up at the Bury Patch. I’ve just come back to town and . . .”

“It’s been a rough week,” Kaia finished for him, her mouth pulling into a grin.

“Well, yeah, but actually, I was going to say, I probably know the property better than Adam. I used to help your grandfather out when I lived here.”

Deciding he sounded repentant for his earlier harsh tone, he was trying to help his brother, he used to work with her grandfather, and she had at least met, she would trust him. Her earlier thought about a boy who helped her grandfather returned. She wondered if this was the same person, but she wasn’t brave enough to ask.

“I just got back to the house before the rain hit. Since it stopped, I looked around for the main water valve and fuse box, but I can’t find either one.”

“I can take care of that for you. I’ll be over shortly.”

The man disconnected and Kaia found herself staring at the phone. She didn’t remember people out here being rude, but then she had only been a child. When she really thought about it, he hadn’t really been rude. He probably thought I’ll be over shortly was the same as saying goodbye. He’d also said things hadn’t been going well this week, so she should give him a break. As long as shortly didn’t turn out to be two hours or something. Until he got here she could start moving boxes to appropriate rooms, she thought.

She’d barely moved two boxes when Copernicus ran to the front door yipping and jumping up and down.

“What is it, boy?” she asked, emerging from the kitchen in back. “Do we have company?”

Kaia looked out the door and watched a familiar truck pull up behind her SUV. The cab door opened and a large work boot appeared below the door. She saw Roman’s dark hair above the door before he leaned back in the truck for something. Without thinking, she opened the screen door and Copernicus bolted through the opening. He ran to the man yipping all the way and jumping up against his calf.

“Hey there, Cujo,” the man said, reaching down and scooping him up in one hand. “We meet again.”

“Copernicus,” she chided the dog as she walked toward them.

“Uh-oh, I got you in trouble again,” the man said before meeting Kaia’s gaze.

“It is you.”

“It’s me, who?”

Kaia laughed though he looked serious. “The Roman I remember from when I visited here as a child and the man from the cemetery earlier today. That must be why Nicky ran to you, though he did run to you at the cemetery too. That’s odd. He doesn’t usually . . .”

“Guilty of the first two, but what doesn’t he usually do?” he asked, handing Nicky back to her.

She felt color suffuse her face and dipped her head as she answered. “Like men.”

Roman Smirnosky laughed. “Smart dog. Let me take care of the power for you first and then I’ll look into the water.”

With that, he turned and walked down the side of the house. Kaia watched him until he disappeared. “Okay, Nicky, I guess he’s in a hurry. Let’s go inside so we can let him know when it comes on.”

Walking inside, Kaia went to the kitchen. She looked out the window to see where Roman had gone. There was no sign of him. She knew he hadn’t come inside, so where the heck was the power box?

A minute later, the side door of the shed opened and he stepped out. She watched him lock the door and then pause. His head turned just a little as if he had heard something behind the shed. It was only a moment, but for some reason it gave her a sense of unease. Then, he turned and walked toward the back door. Remembering she’d locked it earlier, she rushed over, twisted the deadbolt and opened the door before stepping back.

“You’re letting your imagination get the best of you,” she said laughing at herself and shaking her head as he knocked on the back screen door. “Come on in.”

The moment he set foot inside, the rest of the room seemed to shrink. Copernicus ran straight for him. When he smiled and scooped the dog up again, Kaia lost all ability to breathe. He had a killer smile. He rubbed Nicky’s head before turning his gorgeous green eyes toward her.

“Are you and your resident astronomer staying here alone?”

A sliver of fear pierced Kaia’s mind. His angry accusation on the phone, and his obvious physical strength had alarm bells clanging in her ears. She was a woman alone in a town, hell a state, where she didn’t know anyone to call if she needed help. Then she noticed that he hadn’t moved any closer. He made no move to crowd her. And damn it, Nicky liked him.

You can find Reconstructing Roman online below. Love that dog.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MXZFoP

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1FZKgVE

iBooks: http://apple.co/1PO3UbG

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The north and the south collided again when Sandra was born. Her parents relocated to New York from Kentucky shortly before she was born. Talk about worlds colliding; being the only official Yankee in a house full of rebels made life interesting to say the least. If you ever speak to her in person, don’t be surprised if a “y’all” pops out because she also spent a number of years in Mississippi. Sandra now lives in Northern Colorado where she writes her stories of love from a sweetheart-of-a-town. With the majestic Rocky Mountains, family, and friends to inspire her she never lacks for ideas.

Sandra has always loved words. By the seventh grade she should have known she would be a writer, when much to the regret of her classmates, she chose idiosyncrasies as a spelling word. One of the high points of her life was the first time she beat her mother at Scrabble! Yes, it’s still her favorite game.

Being a morning person allows her to get all her writing and other work done which leaves her time in the evenings for her suspense, thriller, sci-fi shows. While she enjoys the intricacies of figuring out the how, who, and why of crimes, her real love is for the relationships that bind the players together. The bonds between partners on and off the force. The dance between people at work, at play, and in their everyday settings. These are what keep Sandra writing her stories bringing suspense and romance together in a mutually satisfying conclusion.

Author links:

Website: http://sandrakerns.com/

Facebook: Sandra S Kerns Facebook

Twitter: @SandraSKerns

LinkedIn: Sandra on LinkedIn

Pinterest: Sandra S. Kerns on Pinterest

Blog: Ramblings & Reviews

Goodreads: Author Sandra S Kerns

Amazon: Sandra’s Amazon Author Page

Smashwords: Sandra’s Smashwords Author Page

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You can find me and my books on my website at http://www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com/

It’s Not All About the Money

Finalist Medallion-CRW

This week, I received a notification from CRW (Colorado Romance Writers) that my first novel, Sweet Dreams, is a finalist for the 2015 Contemporary Single Title Romance Award of Excellence.

How did this happen?

Last February, a fellow author posted a notice in my writing group about this competition, and on a whim I entered my novel. Entered and completely forgot about it.

Earlier this week, a call came in on my cell from an unknown number in Colorado while I was at the day job. Naturally, I thought it must be a telemarketer. I was wrong. The message was from one of the contest coordinators who followed up with an email informing me my novel, Sweet Dreams, is a finalist.

SweetDreamsEbookCoverFinal For Promo

You can find the complete list on their website at http://crw-rwa.ning.com/page/2015-aoe-finalists

Congratulations to all the finalists. We did it.

Authors love reviews. I do. It means someone has read my work. Out of the millions of books out there, someone chose to read mine. It’s a great feeling.

I write contemporary romance. My goal is to entertain the reader with stomach-flipping chemistry and characters they can fall in love with. My messages are simple: Love conquers all. Friends can make the best lovers. Live life to the fullest. Be strong. Love is a gift.

I’m not expecting a Pulitzer, but this type of recognition, by my peers is really touching. I rarely monitor my sales. In fact, I don’t know when I’ve sold any books until I see a deposit in my account two months later. I haven’t broken even yet on any of my books, but the knowledge that readers enjoy my work is so much more gratifying than a couple of bucks.

Thank you, readers. Thank you, CRW. I truly appreciate your support.

You can find the CRW at http://crw-rwa.ning.com/

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New Release: Shades of Blue by Dana Britt

 

“I can promise you one thing will stay the same—me.”

She wants to get lost in her memories.

He wants her to find her way home.

About Shades of Blue:

Shades of Blue

Heart-broken and reeling with grief, Charlie flees to a far-flung tropical island in search of a safe haven where she can let her treasured memories consume her. Hiding away from the world, she battles nightmares and fresh tragedy while trying to make sense of her new reality.

Living his island dream, firefighter-turned-fisherman Gabe Montgomery is determined to be Charlie’s port in her storm of pain and loss. Blindsided by life-changing revelations from his own past followed by the possibility of a terrifying personal loss, Gabe realizes that sometimes letting go is as much a part of love as holding on.

When Charlie and Gabe acknowledge their powerful connection and cling to one another for comfort and hope, both face a frightening dilemma: surrender to the past, or face the challenge and promise of a future together.

Will the memories and mistakes of the past consume them or can Charlie and Gabe hold fast to each other and the hope that will bring them to promising future together?

We have a character interview with Gabe Montgomery. Check it out.

Gabe Montgomery—Shades of Blue (Dana Tanaro Britt)

  1. What was your childhood like? Wildly idyllic. I grew up on the New England shore– Mom, Dad, Sister, Friends. A kid’s dream.
  2. Do you have any hobbies? I like to call my life my hobby, I love what I do. That being said, these days I’m building toys for the FDNY toy drive. It’s a lot of fun, even with all the minute details & all.
  3. If you were at a store now, what ten items would be in your shopping cart? Before I met Charlie or after? *laughs* Before, probably less than ten items since I eat most of my meals at The Painted Parrot—things like shaving cream, toilet paper & a woodworking magazine. After? Things like scented candles, pink tissues, chocolate milk…who knows what else?
  4. What is your favorite scent? Why? Hmmm, I’ve never thought about it, but I’d have to say the smell of the sea–for obvious reasons—followed closely by orange blossoms, because Charlie always smells like orange blossoms. *smiles*
  5. What is your favorite beverage? I’m a bar owner, there’s probably a rule against having a favorite. *raises lemonade glass* However, lemonade is always handy around here.
  6. Are you lucky? Oh, hell, yeah. *gestures around him at the bar, the sea*
  7. What is your most closely guarded secret? *raises eyebrow* Wouldn’t be a secret if I told you, would it?
  8. Do you keep your promises? Sure, I try to.
  9. What in your past would you like to forget? *shifts in his seat & looks around then sighs* Ya know… *pauses* Let’s just move on.
  10. Was there ever a defining moment of your life? Two big, big moments—the ones where I met those two people. *points*
  11. You’ll have to read Shades of Blue by Dana Tanaro Britt to find out just what two people Gabe was pointing to just then! : )

Author Bio:

Once upon a time, a sassy Kentucky girl fell in love with a handsome Hoosier boy. What followed is a still-unfolding story filled with laughter, starry nights, children…and pizza–yes, pizza

When Dana Britt is not writing stories of hope, home and happily ever after, she can be found porch sitting with sweet tea and a book in hand. Dana carries three things everywhere she goes: cherry chapstick, a camera, and her phone. Her idea of a perfect day is a road trip that includes sunshine, pizza, taking pictures and spending time with her own Hero and two young adult children. Dana often shares bits about it all online at DanaBritt.com–she’d love for you to stop by!

Author links:

Website: http://danabritt.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dana_Britt

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dtbritt1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/DanaBritt

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MihSwj

 

Book Links:

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1QieuYJ

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MiexNH

 

A freebie for you!

Burnout is a short prequel to Shades of Blue. http://danabritt.com/blog/coming-soon/

BURNOUT cover

Thanks for stopping by.

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Today’s Special-Sweet and Spicy Romance

Menu

Yet another night I sit at my laptop, catching up on blog posts whilst episode after episode of the tasty food competition show Chopped simmer over the airways.

Spicy- If you follow me, you know I love spicy food. Tonight, we had a beautifully marinated chicken for dinner that my husband was kind enough to prepare before leaving for work. My daughter had it baked to golden brown, a nice tossed salad, and some quick French fries done by the time I put my purse down after overtime at the day job. Love it. I’ll take dinner on the table when I get home every night, Alex.

Spice is so important. It warms. It invigorates. It makes you sweat. It flavors your food and your love life.

This week I’m sharing excerpts of my books that will make you salivate for more…Hopefully. Monday, I shared an excerpt from Sweet Dreams which you can read here. Below, is a little morsel from Sea Breeze. Bon appetit.

Sea Breeze: Sea Breeze Ebook Cover

“Hey. Where have you been?”

“I was upstairs, having a drink. It’s less crowded up there and they’re playing reggaeton.”

“Sweet. Hey guys, let’s go upstairs for a bit.”

Kim’s friends all trail behind her as she leads the way. Following the group, I make eye contact with Eric as soon as the bar comes into view and head out to the dance floor. This is the first time Kim and I have actually spent any time together on the cruise, except for sleeping.

Of the five women with Kim, I’m probably the most conservative in my dance moves. They’re all going for pole dancer, “drop it like it’s hot” status, whereas I’m conservatively swaying to the beat. But it’s all fun, and I laugh, watching as each woman tries to outdo the last. Getting caught up in the music, I let go and close my eyes. Dipping my hips to the sultry rhythm, I imagine dancing with Eric in a small Puerto Rican bar, as the crowd pushes us closer together, sweat dripping, breath mingling, gripping his taut shoulders as his strong arms encircle my waist…

My eyes open and immediately find Eric behind the bar. He watches me intently on the dance floor, lips parted, and my body flushes with arousal. Body language is easy to read. Bartenders are freaking experts at it. Nothing short of screaming “come take me” would be any more obvious to him at this point as I keep my gaze locked on his while rocking my hips side to side. He knows it. I know it. He could crook his finger and I’d be over there in a second, or he could come out here and join me for a grind.

Our gazes remain locked a few more beats, but when a customer approaches him and breaks the connection, I come to my senses, duck out and run back to my room before he has a chance to accept my body’s invitation. I may want him, but I also want what’s best for me. Better to be safe than sorry, I tell myself as I lie in bed, frustrated and alone.

For more from Jordan and Eric, Sea Breeze is available on Amazon.

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Excerpt from Sea Breeze, a summer romance

Sea Breeze Ebook Cover

My new romance, Sea Breeze, releases May 27th and is now available for pre-order. Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite.

I finish off the rest of my sandwich as Eric talks. He’s so open and candid. I’m not getting any fake vibes from him now. He seems… Sweet.

“So you live in Las Vegas, but where did you grow up?”

“Vegas.”

“Really. That must have been… interesting.”

“Not really.” I look away, hoping he’ll change the subject.

“Not very talkative, are you, Jordan?”

“I can be. At least, I am at work.”

“Let me guess. You’re a bartender as well?”

“How did you know?”

“The tip. The best tippers I’ve ever seen are usually other bartenders. How long have you been doing it?”

“About four years. Before that, I worked as a waitress for a long time.”

“What are you, about twenty-five?”

I nod and take another sip of beer that’s getting warmer by the second. “You?”

“Twenty-seven. Are you done?” He motions to my pile of napkins and takes the last sip of his beer.

“Yes. Thank you. That was really good.” I stand up and dust off the back of my pants, adjusting my bag across my shoulders. “So what are you up to, today?”

“Oh, I was going to head over to The Cigar House to pick up a few cigars for a couple of friends who have to work today. It’s only a couple of blocks from here. Then I was going to wander. We could… wander together, if you’d like? Or if there’s something specific you want to see, I can take you. I know this area pretty well.”

He asks sincerely, without any trace of his flirty bartender persona. What the hell? “Sure. Let’s go get your cigars first. Boy, it’s hot. Hey, do you know where I can get one of those hats?” I point to the guy walking past us.

“Oh, a Panama hat, yeah sure. I’ll take you.”

On the cobblestone streets, the colors of the colonial style buildings with their wrought iron balconies draw my eyes upward. So beautiful and vibrant. It feels old, and yet looks new. The sidewalks are narrow, so we walk down the middle of the street. I fish a cigarette out of my pack along with my Zippo, but as soon I try to light up, Eric’s hand comes up to stop me.

“It’s actually illegal to smoke in most areas of Puerto Rico. So unless you want to pay a fine, I’d wait until we get back on the ship.”

“Really. Okay.” We get to The Cigar House and Eric makes his purchase. The place is huge and there’s a bar in back. I’m almost tempted to ask if we can go back for a drink, but I know that’s my cigarette craving talking, not me.

We walk down another block to a hat shop on the same street with a small doorway in an olive green building called Ole Curiosidades. There are handwoven hats everywhere in different sizes and shapes. A wall of ribbons is on the left, and different types of artwork line the walls closest to the ceiling overhead. A distinct odor of wood and glue permeate the air in this cramped space. Pictures and newspaper clippings fill in the gaps, and I’m overwhelmed with the choices. I want simple, fedora style with a black ribbon.

Eric shakes hands with an older gentleman he introduces as Guillermo. “My friend, the lady would like a hat, and I knew you would take care of her.”

Por supuesto. Hola, niña. What can I get you?”

Hola, nice to meet you. I’m looking for a hat.”

“Yes, I figured as much. See anything you like?” He chuckles and motions to the rest of the room.

My eyes scan the stacks and land on one with the same shape I saw on the man outside. I pick it up and place it on my head, gazing in the mirror.

“This is the one. Yep. I like this one.” It fits perfectly. I peruse the moccasin-like shoes and find a pair in black as Eric follows the gentleman over to the register. They talk for a moment, as he rings up a man with a similar hat as mine. Fifty-five dollars? Do I really like the hat that much? Yes. I do. I can afford it.

I head over with my pair of shoes, and pull out my wallet.

“That will be forty-five dollars, por favor.”

“I’d like these shoes as well, please.”

“Yes, already included in my price for Eric here.”

“Oh, well, thank you.” I smile at Eric and hand over a fifty dollar bill.

“Thanks for coming in, and I hope you enjoy San Juan.”

“Thank you.”

I stroll out of the store, my new hat in place and Eric following behind me.

“So, where to next?” He looks up and down the street in both directions.

“Let’s go to Casa del Libro. I want to see those letters to Columbus. Plus, it’s getting hot, and I wouldn’t mind staying inside for a bit, if that’s all right.”

“Sure, it’s about a block away.”

We stroll down the blue stained cobblestone street, keeping to the shade. I don’t know if the stones are painted or are naturally blue, but the effect is beautiful. A woman overhead stands on her balcony with a fan, people-watching. She quickly yells something in Spanish to someone inside and disappears.

“How long have you worked on the ship?”

“About two years. I worked another route before this one, down to Mexico. I’m hoping to transfer next year to a European route.”

“Really. You can do that? Transfer to different lines around the world?”

“It’s a big company. You have to wait for an opening. Put your name on a list, get a recommendation from your manager, and you’re good to go. As soon as a spot opens up.”

“Interesting.” What would it be like to travel the world like that on a regular basis? To see different countries and cities, places I’ve never dreamed of going… My stomach flutters. “What did you do before you started working for the cruise line?”

“I went to college and got a degree in business, but ended up working as a bartender in the city. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do and the money was good.”

“Yeah. Same here. I’m good at it, and it’s hard to walk away from income like that. You kind of get stuck.”

“Exactly. That’s why I left. I felt stuck. In any case, I’m not the type to join the military, and I didn’t want to work in an office. I needed a steady income, but wanted to travel. When I saw an ad for a cruise line hiring full-time, I immediately called. And the rest, as they say, is history.”

“So you like it?”

“I love it. I may settle somewhere someday, but for now I’m happy. It’s still a job and I work hard, but on my days off, I get to come to places like this. I’ve been all over Puerto Rico.”

“Don’t you ever get tired of schlepping drinks and dealing with assholes?”

Eric stops and turns to face me. “Yes, of course I do. But then I meet someone new.” He winks at me to drive home his point.

“I bet you get a lot of boat babes with that line.”

He rubs the back of his neck and chuckles. “Okay, yes, I used to. I was the bartender making drinks for the coeds going to Cozumel looking to party. You know what? It gets old after a while. Now, I stay away from the passengers as much as possible. In fact, why are you following me again?” He furrows his brow and his charming smile sucks me in.

“You’re following me, remember, Casanova.” I raise an eyebrow in his direction. He bows at the waist and motions me ahead of him and into the museum.

***

To read more head over to Amazon and pre-order your copy today.

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Author Pic You can also find me and all my social links at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com