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).

KRBiel-Photo

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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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
Author Pic

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

SandraPic

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

Author Pic

 

 

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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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Sea Breeze Release Day!

Sea Breeze Ebook Cover

Today, I published my newest romance, Sea Breeze exclusively on Amazon. I’m ecstatic to bring you the story of Jordan, a flair bartender from Las Vegas who for the first time has a chance to chase her dreams. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who’ve supported me in my writing.

My editor and friend, Patricia, thank you for your advice, your encouragement, and all the hours you’ve spent working with me. You truly make me a better writer. My publicist, Samantha, thank you for your support, attention, and professionalism. You make this marketing thing look easy. My cover designer, Melody, who knows how to transform the images in my head into beautiful book covers. You rock.

Tami, Ashlynn, Jen Ray, Misti, Sheri, Keisha, Beverly, Anna, Katrina, Sonja, Grace, Christine, Hollie, Brenda, Colleen, Lauren, Quenby, Rachel, Michele, Rebekah, Barb, and all the my other Writing Wenches, including Michael, for teaching me more about writing then I would ever learn on my own. You are my tribe and I love you all.

Thank you Suzie, Eeva, Guy, Sandra, and all the other members of The Alliance for your support of me and other self-published authors.

Thank you Julie, Barb, Elayne, Kim, Tillie, Janice, Niels, Pam, Teri, Cheryl, and everyone else at work who has supported my writing.

Lastly, thank you to my husband, Zouhair, my daughter, Jasmine, my son, Tony for your love and understanding of my relationship with my laptop.

Happy book birthday to me!

Sea Breeze Available Now on Amazon (Free with Kindle Unlimited)

Jordan has never been in love, or been anywhere. Trapped in Vegas, she schleps drinks and dodges losers, while suffering under a burden only she can shoulder. Her life is an endless stretch of blah with no escape.

Until now.

Instead of looking back, she’s sailing forward.

Eric has left his family and friends in San Francisco to travel the world, tending bar on a cruise ship to fund his adventures. He can charm any coed who comes aboard, but Jordan sees right through him.

On the blue cobblestone streets of San Juan, everything changes. Food. Music. Exotic locations. Possibilities. Setting out to discover the world, will Jordan discover herself?

Sometimes, adventure can set you free…

Author Pic You can find me and all my books on my website at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com