Tuesday, January 28, 2014

One Week Update on Writing a Sexy Story in a month #amwriting

I got a beautiful feeling about writing my sexy story in a month. It might even turn into a series!

First of all, I must say I enjoy the group writing project. Knowing that more than twenty other writers are also working on their steamy reads is motivation to keep the conversation going by keeping the words flowing.

Follow the conversation on Twitter with the #buqosteamyreads hashtag. Admittedly, I have to use translate.google.com since my dialect is English, but it's all good fun.

Now, for the story. 
Title: Taming Romeo
Heroine: Evie Sanchez, medical student on temporary leave of absence
Hero: Romeo Garcia, Filipino soap opera actor on location in San Diego for three weeks
Primary Setting: Evie's family's Filipino restaurant
Trope: The One Who Got Away

Evie and Romeo have a history, one they kept secret from their families, except for Evie's older sister, Choco. They run into each other at the restaurant and naturally, sparks fly.

Here's my progress:
Jan 20 #buqosteamyreads 1000 words. My heroine's checking out sexy bad boy Romeo Garcia while hiding her eyes under an old man's golf cap.

Jan 21 #buqosteamyreads 3000 words. My heroine waitresses at her parents' restaurant and was found hiding in the dumpster by the hero.

Jan 21 #buqosteamyreads going to bed now. 5000 words. Hero is about to run my heroine off the road with his motorcycle.

Jan 22 #buqosteamyreads up early 5:00 AM because my heroine woke me up with more scene ideas. #amwriting kissing today

Jan 22 #buqosteamyreads at 6000 words - kissing scene.

Jan 22 #buqosteamyreads Don't know how steamy going to the UC San Diego library will be. at 8300 words.

Jan 23 #buqosteamyreads She got kissed by another guy at the library? Ahhh! at 9800 words.

Jan 24 #buqosteamyreads 11500 words - vegan pulled pork?

Jan 25 #buqosteamyreads 13000 words. Getting hotter. She's at his apartment.

Jan 25 14224 words -  needing a smoke.

Jan 25 goodness, they're going a second round. will post wordcount later

Jan 25 15280 words, can't find words for that experience. whew!

Jan 25 #buqosteamyreads The Walk of Shame - at 16,200 words

Jan 26 #buqosteamyreads 19400 words - first big fight

Jan 27 #buqosteamyreads 23400 words - Hero is knocked out by a plate of lechon kawali and receives a make up kiss from heroine

Each day is a new beginning and a new discovery because I don't know what happens next. Romeo and Evie never fail to surprise me and I don't know what the final word count will be. The initial project was 5000 words, but as you can see, I've gone way past that now.

I'm having so much fun, I might offer an online #romanceinamonth class over Google Hangout. Anyone interested?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Writing a sexy short story in a month with Mina V. Esguerra #buqosteamyreads #amwriting

My motto this year is "Don't Say You Can't" and one of the first things I'm going to do is write and polish a completed sexy short story in one month. I took the challenge from chick-lit author, Mina V. Esguerra, who is holding her second romance writing class #buqosteamyreads.

The class kicked off in Manila while I stayed in San Francisco. Oy. I missed all the action with the steamy alpha male interviews. Mina graciously posted a picture on Instagram and it looks like they all had a LOT of fun and maybe a few kilig moments? Darn, I missed it. Not to worry, I already have my own alpha male persona, a former boy band singer, Romeo Garcia, who reappears at my heroine's family restaurant while she's on break from medical school.

Okay, so Mina has assigned me my trope. I will be writing about ba-dum-ba-dum-dum THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY!!!

I love messy histories! Yay. But the wordcount limit is going to be my major challenge. Anyway, I have to commit to a steam level before I start: "sweet," "sensual," or "sexy/sizzling."

So, I'm marking today as the official start to my sexy short in a month project. And I'm not going to say I can't do it. A completed draft of my story is due on February 15th.

Meanwhile, she recommends the following books as great examples of "The One Who Got Away" trope.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

#BookChat EQUINOX by Heena Jadav #Pakistani #Author of Romantic Fantasy Fiction

Equinox Equinox Synopsis
"As long as you breathe so shall I, princess if I am not found in you I do not exist. I'm lost in you bad ..."

'Equinox' engulfs the readers into getting acquainted with an orphan, teenage girl, April who is raised in a Convent School. It would not be long till she discovers the reality of the shadow that has been following her most of her life; in a combination of heartbreak, sorrow, love and friendship, fates would be decided and lives unraveled ...

When April came to her new orphanage-Rupert House, she was already being followed by a dark shadow, her cravings for chocolates had also heretofore augmented, she could feel his presence everywhere near her, and with a heavy heart she was certain that she will never again get to see the boy she had seen only once on her fifteenth birthday. And who had since then never absconded her thoughts.

Smacked with his tempting ruggedness and a magnetic dynamism, the young plutocrat Richard Chase seems only a dream that never comes true. Richard’s intimacy fetched desires, which April never thought existed inside her. She began believing in fairy-tales-until the night Richard dumps her….

Wavering between shock and torment, due to the nakedness of her feelings before Richard, April falls into the realm of vacuity. But, with every passing moment Richard’s presence becomes so robust that he begins breathing inside her, blazing her from within. As long as she gets to see him she believes she shall survive.….Yet he shatters her to bits….

 Will April’s love surpass Richard’s sudden incivility towards her? Will she get to unveil the spectral side to Richard, ever? And, when she does will she be able to accept his irrefutable love for her? Will their love still excel amidst the deliria of qualms?

Equinox, when the precession of stars, rigidly bottled the lives of two conflicted beings, destining them to indivisibility-there was no way for them to dart rearward, but to accept the celestial decree of kismet as it came…

Equinox Excerpt

 What the hell just happened? Holding my head down I quickly climbed
down the stairs and pushed my feet across the colossal foyer towards
the corridors that led to my dorm. At the curve of the corridor I marched
towards an arched column and leaned against it breathing heavily. I
needed a moment to breathe. To relax my chaotic heart beats. Resting
my palms over my knees I bent, heaving heavily. If this weirdness
continued I knew I’d be seeing a shrink sooner than I expected. Oh
god, seriously, will I have to see a shrink now?

My dorm sharer was already snoring and roofed under her quilt.
There was a dim light in the room and a ghostly silence that racked the
whole house, with just few ushered foot-steps faintly trouncing against
the wooden floorboards, in the other dorms. Lying on my bed, I gazed
at the shadows of trees materializing into different shapes up on the
ceiling, owing to the haulage of winds outside.  My mind was freaking
out with confusion. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that it was just
nothing and that I was just

I gazed through the window; a deathly dark coating smeared the
skylines. All of a sudden an odd hissing cold broke in, unlocking the
window and shattering it against the red bricked wall outside. A stealthy
movement of a long shadow upon the ceiling pulled my twines into
attention.  With chattering teeth I got out of the bed and moved towards
the desk. My fingers hunted for the edge of the window, and I sharply
air tightened it. As I turned around to go back to my bed, I felt soft
fingers slither inside my hair, terror rolled down my spine, and my feet
cemented on spot, with fright. I closed my eyes instantly.

Heaved amid a tight grip I was lifted in his arms and gently laid on
my bed. This had never happened to me ever! His gorgeous smell was
a killer. I shut my eyes tight, trying to shoo away this dream. Like it

“Sleep love,” his soft voice ruffled in my ears. All of a sudden
dimness lapped before my eyes, the dark night outside no more clear.

Fear dimmed out and was replaced by I don’t know what, but I felt as
if I belonged here. Right here in his arms, whatever it was I couldn’t
feel terrorized anymore. I sighed, and saluted amnesia.

Author Bio

I’m a mother, a wife, a sister, no more a daughter, a friend (I suppose, I hope I’m), a counsellor and an English Language Development Facilitator. Yet, I have survived being me. Because I’m also a Sophian, I’m also a girl, a woman, and above all a warrior. I think if I stopped writing and if my imaginations ceased from going wild, I’ll seize eternal abyss. I'm a Bachelors in Commerce and Bachelors in Business Administration-and these are the only two invalids in my valid quest.
H.M Jadav (A.K.A Heena Sunil)

Heena Jadav is the first Pakistani author to have written a romantic fantasy fiction novel, titled, 'Equinox'.


Here are a few encouraging words from the editor, Jim Blackburn:


The most famous lovers are recognizable by one name only: Romeo & Juliet, Abélard &Héloïse, Edward & Bella, and Bonnie & Clyde to name just a few. Author Hina Jadav introduces us to April & Richard in Equinox, the first book in the Equinox trilogy.

April must make her way through a Catholic boarding school in the picturesque, yet haunting English countryside. Her world is one where reality and fantasy intermingle, a world that centers upon her true love, Richard. But, all is not what it seems for these young lovers and their shared fate, like all the famous couples mentioned above who were drawn together by an uncontrollable pull of the heart, April & Richard must face trials and tribulations in the name of love. Emotions run high, and passion is in a constant struggle to be contained. Jadav opens the door to an exciting new world with Equinox, inhabited with a dramatic and fantastic story of love.
Jim Blackburn
Jim Blackburn is an author, freelance journalist, and editor living in the Hudson ValleyShokan, NY. Book Reviews. Editor of SJU @http://www.southjerseyunderground.com https://twitter.com/SJUndergroundblackburnbookreview.tumblr.com

Soon will be available on Kindle.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

#AuthorInterview Vincent Morrone's Top 10 Horror Movies

Featuring Author Vincent Morrone
and his top-10 list of favorite Horror Movies

I was asked for a top 10 list of my favorite horror movies. I didn’t make it based on the most important ones (Like Psycho) or even the scariest (Like Pretty Woman. (Wait, that wasn’t a horror movie?)) So here are:
My favorite Horror Films
10) Them
Big, giant ants. Why nobody thought to make a huge can of raid, I don’t know.

9) Jaws
I almost didn’t include it since I wasn’t sure it would count as horror, but then I remembered how my sister screamed her bloody head off and threw popcorn all over the people in front of us and decided, yeah that counts.

8) The Birds
I always loved that movie. And that scene where she’s waiting by the school and the birds start to gather behind her.

7) Warm Bodies
I count it because it’s got zombies, so there.

6) The Shining
Jack Nicolson. ‘Nuff said.

5) The Blob
This movie actually gave me nightmares as a kid.
5) Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Such a cool concept. The 2nd version is the one I remember.

4) Nightmare on Elm Street
The original please. Freddy rocks!!
3) The Blair Witch Project
Anything that’s been ripped off that much has to be included.
2) Night of the Living Dead
Zombies. I love Zombies.

1) Scream
Great series. 1st was the best.

About the Author:
Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, Vincent Morrone now resides in Upstate NY with his wife. (Although he can still speak fluent Brooklynese.) His twin daughters remain not only his biggest fans, but usually are the first to read all of his work. Their home is run and operated for the comfort and convenience of their dogs.

Vincent has been writing fiction, poetry and song lyrics for as long as he can remember, most of which involve magical misfits, paranormal prodigies and even on occasion superheroes and their sidekicks.

As they say in Brooklyn: Yo, you got something to say to Vincent?

Check out http://vincentmorrone.com/ where you can learn about Vincent and leave him a comment. You can also connect with Vincent on Twitter https://twitter.com/Vince524 and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Morrrone.

You can find and contact Vincent Morrone here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads

Vincent also participates in a group blog called YA Rush which consist of YA and NA Entranced authors. You can find YA Rush here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Pinterest

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Vision of Shadows.
Here is what you can win:
- 1 Vision of Shadows Pen
- 1 Vision of Shadows Calender
- 1 Vision of Shadows Pen & calender
- 1 Vision of Shadows Pen and calender in a Vision of Shadows canvas bag
- 1 Vision of Shadows Pen, calender in Vision of Shadows canvas bag and an e-copy Vision of Shadows

Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win:
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Thursday, January 9, 2014

#NewRelease ETERNAL NIGHT by Jade Kerrion #urbanfantasy

I'll confess that when I first came up with the concept of the novel that would eventually become Eternal Night, I spent a long time debating the use of vampires in my novel. Vampires have had their time in the spotlight, and I was certain that others, including myself, were getting tired of them. On the other hand, vampires are among the most recognizable of humanity's original terrors. They embody both the quiet horror of things that go bump in the night, and our innate fear of dying in a slash of fangs and spray of blood. (At least that was before Stephenie Meyer made vampires sparkle instead of die in daylight.) Regardless, it made sense for me to go back to one of humanity's original terrors if I wanted to turn the concept on its head. So what is Eternal Night? It's a paranormal fantasy that challenges us to take a much harder look at the fears that consume us and the assumptions that anchor the foundations of our belief system. I hope you enjoy the excerpt! Eternal Night ebook "What makes Kerrion’s writing so compelling is the beautifully flawed characters that find themselves in unexpected relationships...these kind of character level conflicts make Kerrion’s writing so deliciously addictive."—Noor A Jahangir, Author of The Changeling King “Everything you want in a great story. Love, intrigue, action, betrayal, and understanding.”—Ch’kara Silverwolf, Author of Daughter of Light and Dark Alone for a millennium, since a human murdered her beloved consort, Ashra, the immortal icrathari queen, rules over Aeternae Noctis, the domed city of eternal night. Her loneliness appears to be at an end when her consort’s soul is reborn in a human, Jaden Hunter, but their reunion will not be easy. Icrathari are born, not made. If Ashra infuses Jaden with her immortal blood, he will be a vampire, a lesser creature of the night, a blood-drinker rather than a soul-drinker. Furthermore, Jaden is sworn to protect his half-sister, five-year-old Khiarra. She is the child of prophecy, destined to end the eternal night and the dominion of the Night Terrors—the icrathari and the vampires. As Ashra struggles to sustain her crumbling kingdom in the face of enemies without and treachery within, Jaden fights to defend his sister and unravel a greater mystery: what is the city of eternal night, and how did it come to be? E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
With Tera beside her, Ashra strode forward. A wall of vampires parted to reveal the other two icrathari, Siri and Elsker. A dark-haired human slumped at Elsker’s feet, his wrists cuffed behind his back. Ashra stifled a chuckle. Surely Tera was overreacting; the human was by far the weakest creature in the chamber. Tera knelt down, wrapped her fingers into the human’s hair, and pulled his head back. The human’s face was handsome enough—the slash of his cheekbones accentuated his perfectly proportioned, sculptured features—but taken as a whole, he was not compelling enough to justify the fuss. Ashra shrugged. “You’re wasting my time, Tera.” Apparently undeterred, the icrathari warlord shook the human hard. His eyes flashed open. They were brilliant green, the exact color of the emerald ring Ashra wore on the index finger of her right hand. His gaze was unfocused, and the reflexive narrowing of his eyes matched the clenching of his jaw, hinting of wrenching pain. Tera looked up and met Ashra’s gaze. “Taste his soul.” Ashra recoiled, her upper lip curling in disgust. She had no desire to taste a human’s soul. Over the centuries, humans had grown weak, their small lives consumed by superstition and fear. It was better to live on the edge of perpetual starvation than fill her hunger with the pitiful excuse humans called a soul. “Go deep,” Tera said. But why? Ashra’s brow furrowed. She glanced at Siri and Elsker, but the two icrathari shrugged, apparently no more clued in than she was. She looked back at Tera. The icrathari warlord known as Ashra’s Blade was the epitome of calm understatement. If she was so insistent, she must have had a reason. Ashra knelt beside the human. Without flinching, she placed her hand against his muscled abdomen. It was bloody, his flesh ripped by a vampire’s talons. The man tensed at her touch, and his eyes flared wide with agony when her soul-sucking powers leeched into him. His breath came hard and fast, his chest heaving with the effort as he twisted in Tera’s unyielding grip, trying to break free. Ashra’s eyes narrowed. The human was weakened—tapped into his life source, she waded through his dazed thoughts and shivered from the echo of each spasm of pain that wracked his body—but still, he fought Tera on the physical plane and Ashra on the psychic dimension, denying her access to his memories and to his soul. She frowned and slammed her will against his, tearing an anguished scream from his throat, but still, his will did not crumble. Askance, Ashra looked at Tera. “Did you taste him?” Tera nodded. “It wasn’t hard the first time; he didn’t know what to expect, but apparently, he does now and is doing a fine job of fighting back.” Was that grudging respect she heard in Tera’s voice? “Does his soul really matter?” The icrathari nodded again. Ashra’s shoulders shifted with the motion of a silent sigh. His resistance left her with little choice. She leaned forward and glided her lips over his in a whisper of a kiss. Human myths spoke of succubi and incubi—demons that, with a touch, could stir lust in their unwilling victims. All myths were based in reality. The maddening beauty and soul-sucking powers of the icrathari had spawned the legends of succubi and incubi. With a touch, the icrathari could lure their victims into a state of sexual ecstasy, bending the will and baring the soul. The human tensed against Ashra, resisting the intimate contact. She almost recoiled. Had the centuries dulled her innate powers? Surely she had not forgotten how to lure a man. She closed her eyes and remembered love. As always, Rohkeus’s fine-featured face—those beautiful gold-flecked green eyes, so unusual for an icrathari, and teasing smile—came to the fore. With a dreamy half-smile, she deepened the kiss, driving the memory of love before her like a sharpened stake. At last, the man relaxed, succumbing to the kiss. She leaned into him, heedless of his crimson blood staining her white gown. He was warm, feverish even. Just skimming over six feet, he had more than twelve inches on her, but his physical strength, compared to hers, was puny. She was well aged; over four millennia old, she was the oldest of the icrathari and the strongest. She could have broken his neck with as little effort as a human child snapping a twig. Her hand trailed across his muscled torso. He made it easy for her to be gentle. His body trembled as if he longed for her. His mouth was hungry for her kiss. He arched up against her, as if craving more. His need was like a living creature, wild and aching for her touch. Eyes closed, Ashra shivered. Only one other person had desired her as much. And he was dead. She forced her way through the memories of pale bodies tangled upon cool silk sheets. When her soul-sucking power leeched out, it found no opposition. Images of the human’s life rewound in a blaze of vivid sights, sounds, and sensations. Ashra looked up at Tera, her smile little more than a barely perceptible curve of her lips. “He fancies himself the protector of the child of prophecy. Was she among those taken tonight?” Tera nodded. Ashra chuckled, the sound without humor. “It’s a pity her genetic heritage wasn’t sufficiently superior to prevent her from being culled.” “There’s more. Go deep.” She pushed past the blackness at the start of his memories, expecting deeper darkness. Instead, the colors shifted into shades of ochre and gray. Memories, older than his body, resided in his soul; memories of an Earth long since lost to them—a planet surrounded and nourished by water; images of tall buildings glistening beneath a benevolent sun, and of thriving cities filled with the bustle of humans; memories of quiet and intimate conversations beneath a silver moon, the same silver moon that now graced Malum Turris with its light, though a thousand years older and viewed only from beneath the protection of the dome. She saw herself as he must have seen her, a much-younger icrathari, still hopeful for the future, never realizing that the Earth they had all known and loved was irretrievably lost. Had she ever looked that vulnerable? Had her smile ever been so beautiful, so filled with love as she looked upon— “Rohkeus?” Oh, blessed Creator, was that stricken whisper her voice?
E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository Connect with Jade Kerrion at: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

#BookBlast CRIMSON FOOTPRINTS 3-book series by Shewanda Pugh

Crimson Footprints
When an insecure, bi-racial woman begins a cloak-and-dagger love affair with a Japanese American man, she is intent on keeping her bigoted family in the dark albeit with devastating consequences. On the night of her brother s murder, Deena Hammond stumbles upon Takumi Tanaka, lost and on the wrong end of a .32. After rescuing him from the certain fate driving through the hood in a Porsche will bring, a sweet kind of friendship begins. A balm for her grief. Maybe, Deena likes to think, it happened the day her white mother killed her black father. Or maybe, it was always a part of them, like DNA gone bad. Whatever the case, Deena knows that her family would never approve, hell, never acknowledge her fast-growing love for Takumi. And had he never made love to her that way, in that unraveling, soul-searching sort of way, she could ve done the same. But love s a devil that way. So, their game begins. One where they hide what they are from everyone. Anyone. And Tak understands this for now. After all, Deena s career hinges on the favor of her mentor and boss, his hard-ass of a father. And the Hammond family is already stretched thin with grief. Yet, each step Deena takes toward family and career brings her closer to an acceptance she s never had. And away from him.

Crimson Footprints II: New Beginnings
An eleven-year-old boy hitchhikes 1500 miles from Bismarck to Miami; a prostitute yearns for escape from a prison of her own making, and the horrible secrets of a long-ago murder are unraveled in the shadows of one woman's dreams. Lizzie Hammond is an ill-fated whore that believes in little, save her own ultimate demise. Kenji Tanaka is a pseudo-architect, content to hide in the shadows of his family's overwhelming success. Neither can stand the other. But the appearance of a boy only rumored to be true helps them discover that two unlikely halves can fit together as the perfect whole. For Lizzie Hammond and Kenji Tanaka, redemption is found in the most unlikely of places: each other, even as the world around them disintegrates.

Crimson Footprints III: The Finale
Deena's grandmother is dying. Her final wish is for a Hammond-Tanaka reunion. Both sides set out for Aruba, and once there, all hell breaks loose. Then they miss the evacuation order. Threatening floods push Hammonds and Tanakas up, up to the top floor. No secret is safe on the top floor. Even if Tak and Deena do survive, the question is: will their marriage?

Novelist Shewanda Pugh burst on the literary scene with her debut novel, Crimson Footprints, in 2012. Since then, she's been featured in newspapers, radio shows, and television networks throughout the U.S. Shortlisted for the National Black Book Festival's Best New Author Award, the AAMBC Reader's Choice Award, and the prestigious Rone Award for Contemporary Fiction, she's best known for brazen, out-the-box romances that delve deep into contrary worlds. Pugh whips up wit, charm, humor and a dose of heartache, for a sophisticated recipe all her own. Crimson Footprints I and Crimson Footprints II: New Beginnings are available now, in stores and online. Crimson Footprints III: The Finale is scheduled for release on January 7, 2014.

Connect with Shewanda Pugh on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or through her blog.

Shewanda Pugh
Author of the Crimson Footprints Series
"Romance at its best..." The Kindle Book Review
"A sophisticated read." U.S.A. Today

Saturday, January 4, 2014

#AuthorInterview KIM CANO talks about her prison novel On The Inside

I'm happy to introduce author Kim Cano, author of On The Inside: A Novel, a story inspired by her own family. I was hooked on the book by the very first paragraph and read the entire book in one sitting. Naturally I was very curious to find out more about the characters, so here is Kim to tell us more.

On The Inside is a very personal story for you. How much are you willing to share about it?

I wrote On The Inside because of a family tragedy. My brother's wife of 20 years was arrested and sentenced to 17 years in prison for stealing half a million dollars from her employer. We were all stunned, especially my brother since she handled all the bills at home. They had nice things but there was no evidence something like that was going on. The aftermath has sent my brother and his children into a tailspin. No one speaks to my sister-in-law or visits her because they're hurt and angry. Since I'm a writer I thought maybe I should keep in touch with her. I felt if I were in her shoes I'd want someone to tell me what's going on in the outside world and tell me about my family. So for the last four years that's what I've done and will continue to do until she gets out.

It must be an incredibly difficult time for your family. But I'm glad you reached out to her. What were some of the emotions you experienced while writing On The Inside

Wow. So many emotions. I was afraid to tackle the subject matter but felt compelled to. I wrote another story - Dogschwitz - first to put off writing this one. Almost every scene was so emotionally exhausting to write I often had to take a nap afterward. And I cried a lot. It was hard to relive that part of our family's life. It's still hard when I get her letters.

I can understand how hard it is to read her letters. The story opens with Lakeisha reading letters and hooked me from the very first paragraph. It was very colorful and had many interweaving storylines, a good balance of people who worked at the jail as well as the lives of the inmates. Whose story did you enjoy writing? Whose story was the hardest to write? 

I enjoyed writing about Lupe most. She was the most colorful and upbeat character. I based her on my brother in real life. All her funny stories actually happened to him. The hardest one to write was Abigail. I didn't want to reveal her crime right away. I wanted the reader to connect with her before judging her. Another challenge was dealing with the issue of gay sex in prison. I don't know any lesbians in real life, but knew I'd have to tackle the issue if the book were to be genuine. Instead of dancing around it in a superficial way, I delved in and created an epic love story. That surprised the heck out of me.

The character I struggled most with was Kristen. I wanted her to be likeable despite all she'd done. I knew my sister-in-law would read the book and I didn't want to hurt her feelings. Unfortunately, this Christmas I ordered her a copy from Amazon and the prison returned it. I guess she's not allowed to get books about prison, even though this one was written about and dedicated to her.

I can assure you as a reader that I liked and understood Kristen after all she went through. I also enjoyed the love story. Seeing Abigail through the eyes of her lover really helped. I will always remember Abigail in the vegetable garden as being the most transforming scene for her and it helped to endear her to me, despite her flaws. I love how you made both the inmates and the guards/workers into well-rounded characters. Were you surprised at how real the characters are? Did they feel like family at the end of the book?

Yeah. They did. And I based a few of them off the personalities of family members, which I know they got a kick out of. All these years I've been writing my sister-in-law and thinking about the person who reads our mail, thinking that's kind of a cool job. I thought of making her the main character, and the book originally had another title, but changed it when my editor said the story is really about Kristen.

Your editor was right, although I loved how you used Lakeisha as the framing device. What's next on your agenda? Anything else you'd like to share with your readers? 

I'm working on another novel. It's about two sisters that made a pact when they were teens not to live past age 80. I got the idea for that one from my mom. I guess this was a real pact she and her sister made. Of course they think it's silly now, but in the book one of my characters wants to keep her end of the bargain at age 70.

Can't wait. I bet you specialize in powerful emotional reads. Your first book, A Widow Redefined, has met great success and much critical acclaim.

Ah... thanks. I recently released A Widow Redefined as an audiobook and we're going to give away a free audiobook copy right here. It's also available in kindle and paperback. And I have two animal books. For Animal Lovers is a collection of short stories for middle grade kids (adults love them too) and Dogschwitz is a novella about a dog that cheated death and went on to become an internet celebrity. It's got a nice little love story wrapped in there too. And unlike For Animal Lovers, where things often end badly, Dogschwitz has a happy ending. I wish it could be that way for every animal in real life and none of them would get euthanized.

A girl can dream. . .
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