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Coffee With Bestselling Author Siera London

Coffee With Bestselling Author Siera London

Rae: Thank you for hanging out with me.

Siera: It’s awesome to sip and talk with you this morning.

Rae: First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking a spiced Latte with Coconut Milk with chocolate drizzle, what would you order?

Siera: Give me a strawberry acai tea, light on the ice. Sorry, Books I Love A Latte—I never acquired a taste for, “the bean”.

Rae: Before you began writing romance you were a Nurse in the Navy for over twenty years. Do you miss working as a Nurse and the frequent moves? What was the biggest challenge you faced early on?

Siera: In all honesty, I do miss engaging with the patients and caring for families. What I don’t miss is the pace required of healthcare workers by our current system. As far as the moves are concerned, it’s exciting to relocate to a new community. Mr. Awesome is still on active duty and we’ve grown to cherish the next adventure rather than dread it.

My biggest challenge early on in my naval career was learning to be a military officer. Military leadership has to be planted from day one in uniform. You can’t buy a Navy Lieutenant or an Army Colonel. Like a seed, a military leader is cultivated through systematic training, mentorship, and experience. I’m grateful I had great teachers, civilian and military, who invested in my professional growth and development.

Rae: Speaking of books, congratulations on the release of Forbidden Attraction: A Bachelor of Shell Cove/Fiery Fairytales Crossover Novella Forbidden Series) that released last week. Can you tell us about the series? How many books do you anticipate? 

Siera: Thank you! The Forbidden series consists of two are standalone novellas. Both are loosely tied to my longer series, The Bachelors of Shell Cove and Fiery Fairytales. In Forbidden Distraction, Vivianne Sloan is a sex therapist who’s incapable of any bedroom action except with her boss. In Book 2, Sarah Jones is a scandalized 40 year-old divorcee who slams into a 20 something year-old stranger and doesn’t want to let go. I wrote three books, but…the third one is a surprise.

Rae: For readers who are not familiar with Page Tyler’s Dallas Fire & Rescue (DFR) Fiery Fairy Tales in Kindle Worlds, can you tell them how your characters crossover? What’s it like writing in another author’s world?

Siera: Sure. My firefighters, Nathan, Cutler, and Trace participate in a cross training program with Paige Tyler’s Dallas Fire and Rescue Station 51. I loved linking my three fairytale adaptations to the DFR world. Paige did the heavy lifting by creating this exciting story world filled with sexy firefighters and first responders. All I did was keep the readers burning for more DFR!

Rae: Every so often I add another city to my bucket list and the Florida Keys is close to the top. Living footsteps from the ocean air sounds peaceful and relaxing. Do the beautiful beaches help inspire your writing? 

Siera: As a Florida native and a Navy veteran I’m practically a land-based mermaid. Being near the waters gives me a sense of home; it relaxes me. So yeah, I guess water is my inspiration.

Rae: There has been a lot of chatter on social media about planning and organizing to stay focused and succeed in personal goals for 2018. How do you keep it all from spiraling out of orbit between the family life and writer life? 

Siera: I’m spiraling as I type!  Seriously Rae, you ask a lot of questions, hehe. I’ve been writing full-time for 18 months, and I still struggle to find balance between projects. I used to write everyday, but now I reserve the weekends for my family and friends.

Rae: Are you a planner girl or digital calendar queen?

I’m a cheap planner girl.

Rae: When you sit down to write, do you write the old-fashioned way or type away at the keyboard? Writing all the words is a challenge; do you have a writing ritual or secret location to get the work done?

Siera: All I need is a keyboard and a quiet space. After our Hurricane Irma evacuation, my writing ritual went the way of the Boy George bangs…bye bye.  

Rae: What is your writing process? Do you have a notebook for all the words that flow while out of your office? Do you dictate into your phone? Or, do you remember it all and make a mad dash to your desk when you return home?

Siera: When we arrived in San Diego last November we lived in a hotel for two months. There were too many disruptions for me to focus on what my characters were saying. I’ve been writing in a private study room at my local library for the past three months. Notebooks for jotting down ideas are in my purse, at my bedside, in the kitchen, and in the family room. Yep, there’s lots of paper around my house.

Rae: While writing, how do you tackle plotting your books? Is it on a massive board, sheets of paper in a folder, or do you write it all as you move with the story? There is such a huge range from the simple outline to vision board!

Siera: My longer stories, like the Bachelors of Shell Cove series, all have Pinterest boards. I usually add character avatars, cars, houses, bedroom furniture, and their favorite foods.

Rae: For readers who want to meet up with you in person, where can they find you this year? 

Siera: Romantic Times in May

Cilla’s Maniac Book Extravaganza in June

A Reading Warrior Retreat in October

AC Arthur’s Reader Appreciation Event in November

I think that’s all…hmmm

Rae: What can we expect in 2018? Do you have other projects in the works? 

Siera: In June, you get TWO new stories featuring single dads. Look for the Men of Endurance series around Father’s Day. If you’ve my Fiery Fairytales series, you know I love tinkering with childhood classics. Cindra, my first paranormal urban fantasy hits the digital shelves in November. Also, checkout The Last File, a suspense thriller in the Death & Damages Boxed Set this fall. 

Rae: Thank you for hanging out in the cafe today.

Siera: I appreciate the free drink and great conversation. Ciao, Books I Love A Latte

1. What is a must read book and why?
The Servant by James C. Hunter. We’re all called to some form of leadership, on the job, in our families, and in the community. I like Hunter’s message and his storytelling.

2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? We are stationed in San Diego for now, so I recommend the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial. It’s the only memorial in the country to honor veterans, both living and deceased, that includes their photographs.

3. Do you take-in or cook? If so, what is your “go-to” dish? Homemade meatloaf is my favorite. I have a smokin’ good recipe that calls for steak sauce in the mix.

4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? I still like to play dress-up! I can put on and take off fancy dresses, shoes, and costume jewelry for hours.

5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist? Neither. Soft Rock and Norah Jones are my catnip.

6. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go?
Singapore

7. What is your guilty pleasure?
Fine milk chocolate

8. What are you afraid of?
Not recognizing when I can meet someone’s needs

9. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one?
No tats, my skin is beautiful.

10. Organized or Free Floating?
Organized, or everything goes down hill in a blaze.

11. Binge watcher or weekly viewer?
Total binge watcher

12. What’s on your playlist?
A two and a half minute meditation track

13. What play or musical do you want to see next?
Hamilton is coming to San Diego, but I need a small business loan to get a four tickets.

14. Are you a crafter? Absolutely…not

15. What’s your favorite TV show and why?
I’m not a TV junkie. By the time I discover a show, its on DVD and being sold at the Dollar Tree.

16. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )?
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

17. What’s your favorite movie of all time and why?
Thelma and Louise
I love that these two best friends grew in their sisterhood and stood up for themselves. Personally, I’d leave out the cliff diving, but it worked for them.

18. Would you rather see a movie in the theater or at home on DVD and why?
In the theater…for the popcorn

19. What is the one thing you can’t live without?
My faith

20. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) who would be at your table? Where would you eat? Colin Whitehead, Rebecca Skloot, Kristan Higgins, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, and Thad Allen
I would ask my guests to recommend one dish from each food group.

21. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be?
A state university dean

22. Person you admire and why?
Maya Angelou inspired others with her words and she expressed compassion for the human condition.

Thanks again for hanging out! Time for another spiced latte 🙂
Happy Reading Dear Readers.

 

Coffee With Author Taryn Leigh Taylor

Coffee With Author Taryn Leigh Taylor

Rae: Thank you for hanging out with me. First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking an spiced Latte with Coconut Milk with caramel drizzle, what would you order?

Taryn Leigh: Chai tea latte with extra chai and no water. Starbucks baristas now just ask me, “The usual?”

Rae: First, are you watching the Olympics? Did you catch the Opening Ceremony? I love watching to see what each country is wearing and the excitement on the players as they walk into the stadium. I’m planning to watch the hockey games as the rules have been changed for the US Team.

Taryn Leigh: I do love the spectacle of the Olympics, though I will admit, they opening and closing ceremonies can get a little esoteric for my tastes. My favourite part is the same as yours–the parade of athletes. And I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who loves checking out the Olympic fashion. 😉

Rae: What are your favorite sports to watch? I feel like it’s so hard to choose between the extreme snowboarders, the bobsled, the skating. OMG I swear I’m not going to get much sleep for the next few weeks! It’s so wonderful to watch athletes come together and go for gold.

Taryn Leigh: It’s funny, because the Olympics are the one sporting event where I end up watching stuff–and caring about stuff!–that I never thought I would! I become that girl who’s enthralled by the biathlon! LOL. But my go-to winter sports are definitely hockey, ski jump and half-pipe, and I’m with you on the bobsled! Why is that so compelling?

Rae: Have you always aspired to be a writer?

Taryn Leigh: Having my name on a book has been a dream since I joined the Young Authors’ Club in the second grade, so I’ve always dabbled in writing.

Rae: How did you fill your days before your debut book Kiss & Makeup released back in 2015?

Taryn Leigh: I still have the same day job I had before I got the call. My life before getting published wasn’t so different than it is now, except for the deadlines! The biggest between being published and unpublished is that now I have to write even when the words aren’t coming easily.

Rae: So far your releases have been contemporary romance with what I like to call a bit of spice and a dollop of sweet. Do you have any plans to write in another genre?  

Taryn Leigh: “A bit of spice and a dollop of sweet.” I love that! That’s kind of my wheelhouse, to be honest, although it is my dream to write a YA book one day. Right now, though, I’m happy to be in Romancelandia.

Rae: Can you tell readers about your backlist?

Taryn Leigh: Currently, my backlist consists of a trifecta of Blazes:

 

My first, KISS AND MAKEUP, is the story of a make-up artist and an ad exec who get stuck in a blizzard and a fake relationship.

 

PLAYING TO WIN is my first foray into hockey, and tells the tale of a serious sports journalist who gets the biggest break of her career…so long as she acts like a ditzy hockey-dunce, and the handsome team captain who isn’t buying her puck-bunny disguise for a second.

And finally PLAYING DIRTY, is about a prickly bar owner who wants nothing to do with hockey and a cocky defenseman trying his best to convince her otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

Rae: Can we expect more from your hockey heroes?

Taryn Leigh: As for hockey heroes, you know the Canadian in me isn’t ready to give up on them yet! That’s why I’m thrilled to give Books I Love a Latte this exclusive scoop:

This April, I’ll finally be releasing Eric Jacobs’ book, PLAYING FOR KEEPS! I’m so excited to get this book out in the world. Eric was written as part of my Portland Storm hockey trilogy with Harlequin Blaze, but because of the line closure, only two of the three books fit into the publishing schedule. Chronologically, Eric’s book belongs between Luke’s book (Playing to Win) and Cooper’s book (Playing Dirty), and I couldn’t be happier that the sexy centerman is finally going to get his HEA.

I’m also working on a whole new team of sexy hockey players, which will be released through Entangled’s Brazen line, and I think readers are going to love the men of the Montana Wolfpack. No release dates yet, but watch for them during the course of next year’s hockey season! (And if you enjoyed the Portland Storm books, you might see a familiar face or two pop up in the first book of the series…)

Rae: I am honored that you chose my blog to share with your readers the details on your next release! Readers check out this cover and rumor has it we’ll have an EXCLUSIVE Excerpt that you’ll only find in The Extra Shot so be sure to subscribe (Top right sidebar. Don’t worry we don’t spam or share your e-mail and we promise to send mail more than once a week.) You won’t want to miss that!  OMG, Taryn Leigh…I can’t wait.

Can we just reflect on that for a moment and look at the beautiful cover. I have a feeling this is going to be one hot hero and one sexy book ;)! Hopefully we can all wait patiently. Ok, who am I kidding? When is the release date Taryn Leigh?

Taryn Leigh: Awww! I’m excited too! The release date is April 24, 2018.

Rae: Last year you posted pictures on Facebook of your trip to Rogers Place. How did you get onto the ice? What was that experience like?

Taryn Leigh: I have a one-seventh share in Oilers season tickets with some co-workers, and the team runs some really cool events throughout the season for their ticket holders. When the opportunity to do a couple of laps in the new building came up, I couldn’t resist. I’ve been on skates since I was 4 years old, so I was dying to check out a professional rink. It was an awesome experience to be down there and see things from the players’ perspective, sit on the bench, check out the penalty box. It was a blast.

Rae: In our last conversation you mentioned you were busy with a book deadline. What are you working on and when will it be ready for readers to consume?

Taryn Leigh: The project I was working on when last we spoke is one I’m really excited about. I’m honoured to have a four-book series coming out with the sexy new Harlequin DARE line. The first book, FORBIDDEN PLEASURE, drops in August, and I can’t wait for people to meet Max and Emma. DARE books have a darker, sexier tone, and it was so fun to push myself out of my comfort zone and tell the story of a woman who decides to throw caution to the wind and really start living life to the fullest. In her quest to do so, Emma quits her job and seduces her boss. After all, she’s headedto Europe, so what harm is there? It’s the perfect plan…until Max discovers that his tech company has been hacked…and all signs point to Emma as The two of them are stuck working together to uncover the hacker, but all that sexual tension isn’t so easy to ignore now that they know how good giving into the heat between them can be!

Rae: There has been a lot of chatter on social media about planning and organizing to stay focused and succeed in personal goals for 2018. How do you keep it all from spiraling out of orbit between the family life and writer life? Are you a planner girl or digital calendar queen?

Taryn Leigh: I’m old-school all the way, and I have a thing for stationery products, so planner’s make me feel much more connected to the task at hand. I love crossing things off a to-do list. Though I definitely appreciate my Google calendar and the pop-ups that keep me on track. But don’t let my answer deceive you. Staying organized and on top of things is a daily struggle for me, planner or no planner. It’s something I’m constantly trying to get better at. As a result, my writing and family life spiral into each other on a semi-regular basis. 😉

Rae: When you sit down to write, do you write the old fashioned way or type away at the keyboard? Writing all the words is a challenge, do you have a writing ritual or secret location to get the work done?

Taryn Leigh: Typically, I do a lot of keyboard writing, because honestly, it needs to end up typed into the computer anyway, so why not cut out the middle man? But that being said, when I’m stuck, or if I just need a break, I find taking my pen and notepad to Starbucks and writing long-hand is a great way to jump-start my brain. No secret ritual or location, but ambient-mixer.com is the best way I’ve found to keep myself from being distracted by outside noise. I spend a lot of time writing in the Gryffindor Common Room. 😉

Rae: Are you the writer who has a notebook for all the words that flow while driving or do you dictate into your phone?

Taryn Leigh: I keep a notebook in the car, and beside my bed, and pretty much wherever I am, to catch those rogue thoughts. I’m definitely the type of author who thinks in snippets–a joke or a piece of dialogue will hit out of nowhere, and if I don’t capture it right away, I know it will be lost forever. That being said, I’d love to get more into dictation. I have grand dreams of using my daily commute to plot more books!

Rae: How do you tackle plotting your series? Is it on a massive board, sheets of paper or just write as you go with a simple outline?

Taryn Leigh: I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to plotting, which has a lot of challenges. Sheets of paper are my go-to, and it’s a pretty fluid process. I try to keep notes and build a series bible as I go. This works pretty well for loose series like my hockey teams. I can already tell that my Business of Pleasure series with Harlequin DARE is going to take a bit more effort, so I’m doing a little experimenting with note cards and colour coding. So far, so good!

Rae: A lot of authors use Pinterest and make awesome boards to tease readers, are you one of them?

Taryn Leigh: I do love me some Pinterest, although I tend not to post things specific to each book. I’m always disappointed when an author tells me that a hero or heroine is based on someone I’m not that fond of, so I like to let readers cast my characters on their own. Of course, I have a running tally of hot guy pins, and savvy followers will probably be able to figure out who I’m thinking of in the role of my heroes if they pay attention.

Rae: When you are not busy writing, you keep readers updated on social media, what are your favorite types of posts, pics, or tweets?

Taryn Leigh: Instagram is probably my favourite platform, because it’s fun to tell a story with a picture as opposed to words. Especially since writing words is how I spend so much of my time. That being said, you can definitely find me on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Rae: Where can readers find you in 2018?

Taryn Leigh: If you’re looking for me, here are some good places to check:

Website: http://www.tarynleightaylor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tarynltaylor1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tarynltaylor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tarynltaylor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13696147.Taryn_Leigh_Taylor

Rae: What can we expect in 2018? Do you have other projects in the works?

Taryn Leigh: This is stacking up to be my busiest year yet! I’ve got seven books due in 2018, so be ready for some fun, steamy reads coming at you from Harlequin DARE and Entangled BRAZEN.

And everything kicks off with PLAYING FOR KEEPS, which as previously mentioned, will be hitting your favourite etailers this April.

 


1. What is your must read book and why?

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. It’s got a killer concept, and whether you love it or hate it, it’s the kind of book that makes for a great discussion afterwards.

2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown?

Oh. That’s easy. West Edmonton Mall!

3. Do you take-in or cook? If so, what is your “go-to” dish?

Cooking is not my favourite activity, I won’t lie, but if I’m going to do it, it’s lasagna all the way. (Lots of leftovers, and it’s great hot or cold. Which means I don’t have to cook again for a while.)

4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you?

Hmmm. I have double cousins, so that’s kind of cool. My mom’s sister married my dad’s brother. (I’ll give you a second to map that out. *wink*)

5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist?

That completely depends on the day, but I’d probably say I skew more classical than hard rock more often, just because it’s earlier to write to, honestly. An artist I admire lyrically is John Mayer. Love him or hate him, he says things in the most interesting, thought-provoking way. (My fave example, from “Tracing”: And if you want to know the moment/I knew that I was still alone/I found I never learned your number/I only stored it in my phone/You’d think by now I’d know the shape of calling home)

6. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go?

I love to travel, and there are a million places that I’d love to go…Australia is right up there on the list. If someone wants to fund my trip to Australia, I wouldn’t say no.

7. What is your guilty pleasure?

I don’t know if I feel guilty about it, but I do love the movie Newsies, and it’s soundtrack, with more fervor than I probably should. 😉

8. What are you afraid of?

Failure.

9. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one?

I am currently tat-less. Probably a direct result of my fear of commitment. 😉

10. Organized or Free Floating?

Free-floating, though I wish I were more organized.

11. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)?

Mostly binge watching right now, because of tight deadlines. (Writing is really cutting into my TV time!) One of my favorite binge shows is Black Mirror. Just devoured the latest season on Netflix.

12. What’s on your playlist?

Whatever music makes me think of the novel I’m working on. I find music very helpful to set the vibe of a book, so it changes a lot. But for something specific, while writing my first Dare, I was introduced to the music of Bryce Fox, and both “Horns” and “Voodoo” are playlist staples now.

13. What play or musical do you want to see next?

Hamilton is definitely on the list! Though I get to see Les Mis again soon, and I can’t wait.

14. Are you a crafter?

Not with any regularity. Because I have a day job, I tend to put my free time into book writing. But one day I will learn to knit!

15. What’s your favorite TV show and why?

It’s a toss-up between Serenity and Veronica Mars. Both of them inspire me so much…great dialogue, great characters, great actors, great storytelling.

16. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )?

This one is tough, because so many movies fall flat, and I would hate to see it happen in this case, but I love JD Robb novels so much, that if I could see Eve and Roarke done well on the big screen…take my money.

17. What’s your favorite movie of all time and why?

Oh man. Too hard! One of my favourites, though, is the CBC version of Anne of Green Gables. I rewatch it on a regular basis, usually over the Christmas holidays. The source material is one of my favourite books of all time, and it’s so impeccably acted. I’ll go with that. That’s a movie I never tire of. It hits all the emotions, and gives me the hit of romance I crave. What more could I ask for? (It really hurt me not to say The Cutting Edge. LOL. I’m so bad at picking just one thing!)

18. Would you rather see a movie in the theater or at home on DVD? Why?

Lately, I’m more of a homebody, to be honest. I’ll still drag myself out for the full immersion of a big spectacle like Star Wars, or a good superhero movie, but for most movies, I’d rather be curled up on my couch at home with a soft blanket and a warm drink.

19. What is the one thing you can’t live without?

My phone. I’m addicted. It’s true. I didn’t want to be this person, but I totally am.

20. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) who would be at your table? Where would you eat?

JK Rowling, Nora Roberts, Edgar Wright, Joss Whedon, and Rob Thomas. Just a bunch of people I admire, sitting around a big table in Tuscany, eating family style and talking storytelling. Heaven

21. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be?

Paleontologist. No question about it. Dinosaurs are the BEST!

22. Person you admire and why?

I admire people who put themselves out there and do the hard work that is needed to make their dreams come true. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis, and there’s nothing I find more inspirational that people who get up after they get knocked down. In a world full of pretty social media posts, it’s too easy to think people just “make it,” that their lives are magical as their filtered Instagram pictures, but the truth is, being good at anything takes a lot of patience and reevaluation and hard work. So I admire anyone who is passionate enough about something to just keep working toward the finish line. That’s the kind of person I am striving to be.

Rae: Thank you for hanging out in the cafe today.

Taryn Leigh: Thank you so much for having me! It’s been my pleasure.

Coffee With Stoni Alexander

Coffee With Stoni Alexander

SONY DSC

Rae: Thank you for hanging out with me.

Stoni: Thank you for having me, Rae! It’s always a pleasure anytime we get together.

Rae: First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking an spiced Latte with Coconut Milk with chocolate drizzle, what would you order?

Stoni: That sounds yummy! A warm drink if it’s cold outside and a smoothie with vanilla if it’s summer. I can’t be specific because I don’t have a favorite coffee drink. And you thought you’d start with an easy question…HA!

Rae: Before you published Erotic Romance you wrote a newspaper column and worked in the TV, Film and stage. How does one make the transition into writing Erotic Romance after that? 

Stoni: Great question! I loved being an actor, especially because it’s how I met my husband. And I enjoyed writing my family-oriented column. The desire to pen a novel had been with me for decades, but I never found the time…and the thought of writing a book terrified me. More importantly, I didn’t believe in myself. Then, one evening after a particularly intense and unusually crappy month at the dreaded day job, I had this life-changing conversation with my husband. That evening, a storyline came to me and, three months later, I’d penned my first novel. It was one hot mess, but it was my beginning. I continued on that path and never looked back.


Rae: What was the biggest challenge you faced writing romance?

Stoni: The biggest challenge I faced as a writer was—and still do face—is learning the craft. There’s always room to grow. I read fiction and books on craft. Being in a critique group is key, and I glean a nugget or two from workshops, classes, and industry meetings.

Rae: Speaking of books, congratulations on the release of The Loving Touch tomorrow. It’s the third installment in your Touch Series, what was the inspiration for this series? 

Stoni: Thank you, Rae! I’m super excited to share Taylor and Jagger’s love story. THE LOVING TOUCH is my first novella. Lesson learned here is that a shorter book does NOT mean less time and effort exerted. While there are fewer characters and a simpler plot, I still brought my A-Game.

Stoni: The inspiration for THE MITUS TOUCH (Book One in The Touch Series) came from the erotic, masked scene in Stanley Kubrick’s film, Eyes Wide Shut. The eerie underworld haunted me for years. The second book morphed when Crockett and Alexandra jumped off the page and wouldn’t stop “talking” to me. Crockett became my first book boyfriend. 🙂

Rae: How many books do you have planned in this series?

Stoni: As of now, I’m plotting the fourth (and another full-length) novel in The Touch Series. THE HOTT TOUCH is Maverick and Red’s love story. I’m also working on a project that includes short stories. The final story will be the jumping point for a new novel and the start of a different series, TBA.

Rae: There has been a lot of chatter on social media about planning and organizing to stay focused and succeed in personal goals for 2018. How do you keep it all from spiraling out of orbit between the family life and writer life? 

Stoni: I’ve always been goal-oriented, so this year is no different. But as far as keeping everything from spiraling out of orbit (LOVE your phrase)…I can’t! Life is messy and crazy and unpredictable! Some days, my focus is my family. Other days I write. I also appreciate days that are a mix of this, that, and everything else.

Rae: When you sit down to write, do you write the old fashioned way or type away at the keyboard? 

Stoni: I use a keyboard, but there are pads of paper and pens scattered around my house. Often times, as soon as I step away from the keyboard, I’ll have that “aha” moment and I’ll need to jot it down. Even if I tell myself I’ll remember, I might not. I’ve recorded stuff on my phone, too, but sometimes it makes no sense! When I wake in the middle of the night, I’m careful to write clearly. I’ve heard horror stories from writers not being able to read what they’ve written in the dark!


Rae: Writing all the words is a challenge, do you have a writing ritual or secret location to get the work done?

Stoni: Yes, writing can be a challenge, but I’m grateful every moment I live my dream. My writing ritual is simple. I work in my home office on a computer with a large screen, or out somewhere on my laptop. I turn OFF (yes, off) all social media and stay off the Internet. The exception? When I need to do research or use Merriam-Webster.

Rae: Are you the writer who has a notebook for all the words that flow while driving or do you dictate into your phone?

Stoni: When I’m driving, I’m driving. Period. But if something comes to me, I wait until I’m stopped to dictate into my phone and cross my fingers it’s not some garbled mess I can’t make sense of later.

Rae: How do you tackle plotting your series? Is it on a massive board, sheets of paper or just write as you go with a simple outline?

Stoni: Plotting, ah, plotting. I do a lot of brainstorming with my amazing, intelligent, and handsome hubby. I plot alone. I run things by trusted friends or fellow writers. Once I’ve got the foundation, I write it all out on index cards. It’s archaic, I know, but my system works for me.


Then, I let the characters fill the blank pages. Many times, they direct the subplots as I get to know them and the story unfolds.


Rae: A lot of authors use Pinterest and make awesome boards to tease readers, are you one of them?

Stoni: I have a Pinterest account that I used for MITUS, but I’ve been too busy to keep up with it lately. Tsk, tsk, I know.

Rae: As a reader who appreciates a book where the cover just screams “read me” despite not reading the blurb, I love your covers. Did you select the cover models and design them yourself?


Stoni: Thank you, thank you! I am completely biased, but I love my covers, too. I hired a fantastic graphic artist for MITUS because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. When it was time to focus on the cover for WILDE, my husband and I decided to give it a try. We had a blast working together! I scoured through so many pictures of men I started to go bleary-eyed. The second I came across the photo that turned out to be the cover for WILDE, I knew that was my Crockett. My husband, Johnny, learned basic Photoshop, and together we created the cover. I repeated the process of finding Jagger. Once I found the right man, the rest was easy. 🙂


When I saw the photo of the man who looks exactly like Maverick Hott (THE HOTT TOUCH), I swooned. It’s how I envision Maverick. I can’t wait to reveal it!


Rae: When you are not busy writing, you keep readers updated on social media, what are your favorite types of posts, pics, or tweets?


Stoni: I share pics when I’m at writer-events or if I’m doing something fun with the hubs!


Rae: Where can readers find you in 2018?

Stoni: As of now, I’m planning on attending the Washington Romance Writer’s retreat, I might head to Denver in July for the national Romance Writer’s of America meeting, and I’ll be at the Baltimore Book Festival in September with the Maryland Romance Writer’s.

Rae: What can we expect in 2018? Do you have other projects in the works?


Stoni: THE HOTT TOUCH, will release late summer or early fall. And then, a book of short stores leading into my next series.


Rae: Thank you for hanging out in the cafe today.


Stoni: Thank YOU for having me, Rae. I love your energy, your beautiful smile and can’t wait to see you again! If your
followers want to visit, I welcome them to stop by my website



1. What is a must-read book and why? Oh, goodness, I’m crumbling under the pressing of coming up with one.

2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? I call Northern VA my home, though I moved around a lot as a child. If in NOVA, head into DC. The Kennedy Center and the National Gallery of Art are great places to visit for art.


3. Do you take-in or cook? If so, what is your “go-to” dish? With so many healthy and quick options, I’m all about cooking these days. Pasta & salad. Chicken is an easy go-to. In the winter, we use the crock-pot. One-dish meals are super easy!


4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? I learned to read while living in England and spoke with a British accent. When we returned to the US, a teacher called me out and corrected me, again and again. Besides being humiliated, the beautiful accent faded, over time.


5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist? I love so many types of music. Love love love rock, but lately have been enjoying classical, too. All time fave: Pachelbel’s Canon in D but I also love Darth Vader’s theme music in the Star Wars movies. I listen to everything from Sinatra to Sia.

6. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go? Back to England.

7. What is your guilty pleasure? Potato chips!

8. What are you afraid of? FAILURE.

9. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? I love ‘em but don’t have any.


10. Organized or Free Floating? Organized.


11. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? I’m into This Is Us and The Brave has snagged my attention.


12. What’s on your playlist? Everything from Aerosmith, The Black Eyed Peas, and Imelda May to movie scores by the amazing composer, Danny Elfman.


13. What play or musical do you want to see next? Wicked.


14. Are you a crafter? Does writing count? If so, then yes. Otherwise, no.


15. What’s your favorite TV show and why? Seinfeld makes me laugh.


16. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )? Hmmm, I have to get back to you on this one…I’m still thinking…


17. What’s your favorite movie of all time and why? I have a handful of faves, but if I had to pick just one: The Princess Bride.


18. Would you rather see a movie in the theater or at home on DVD and why? At home, but it depends on the movie. My son took me to see Interstellar and that was better on the big screen.

19. What is the one thing you can’t live without? My imagination.

20. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) who would be at your table? Where would you eat? Rae…Rae, I’m thinking. JK Rowling, Steven King, Malcolm Gladwell, Emma Thompson, and Oprah pop to mind. But if you asked me on a different day, I’d come up with a different list of attendees. Where would we eat? Maybe the Inn at Little Washington.

21. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be? I’ve been a corporate trainer, a marketing rep, an account manager, an actor, and a temp. I’ve sampled plenty, thank you. I’ll stick with being a novelist.

22. Person you admire and why? My son. He’s a pretty amazing young man and, yes, I’m totally biased.


Rae: Thanks again for hanging out! Time for another spiced latte 🙂


Stoni: Thanks for inviting me, Rae. I love spending time with you. You’re the best!

Coffee With Author Avery Flynn

Coffee With Author Avery Flynn

Rae: Thank you for hanging out with me. First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking an spiced Latte with Coconut Milk with chocolate drizzle, what would you order?

Avery: I’m a black coffee girl. Give me the caffeine and nothing else!

Rae: You are currently serving on the Romance Writers of America Board of Directors in the position Director-at-Large. Has that changed how you view the industry? 

Avery: Oh wow, being an RWA director is definitely eye opening. I am amazed by the dedication of the folks on the board.

Rae: What’s the best advice you can give to a newbie writer attending a chapter meeting or the Romance Writers of America annual conference in Denver?

Avery: As for advice, I say go for it, get to that meeting! You will never regret getting to hang out with and learn from some of the best in our profession.

Rae: Let’s talk books – first, congratulations on your upcoming release of The Schemer in your Harbor City Romance series. What was the inspiration for this series and will there be more mischief and shenanigans in the foreseeable future?

Avery: Mischief and shenanigans??? ALWAYS! 🙂 This series really was a brain child of Liz Pelletier and myself. We shot a ton of book ideas back and forth before hitting on the perfect idea with The Negotiator. And, of course, every good hero like Sawyer Carlyle in The Negotiator needs a hot brother with a secret like Hudson Carlyle in The Charmer. Plus, he needs a best friend turned enemy like Tyler Jacobson in The Schemer. I really love the Harbor City Romance series. It’s a series that makes you smile, tear up a bit and will really steam up your eReader.

Rae: Your backlist is extensive with multiple series and standalone reads. What can we expect in 2018? Will there be more books from current series, or new ones in the works? That being said, how do you keep all of your worlds and characters from crossing over?   

Avery: I love world crossovers! These characters all live together in my head so why not on the page too? That’s exactly what happens in 2018 with my Hartigans series. If you’ve read The Charmer, you know the Hartigans are Felicia’s crazy Irish family from across the harbor in Waterbury. They’re just so much fun to write. You’ll get three Hartigans books in 2018 PLUS something totally new from me in the form of a super sexy hero who has to *am tackled by the good people at Entangled Publishing* … Sorry about that, but they won’t let me tell you more. What a bunch of meanies. 🙂

Rae: As a reader who appreciates a book where the cover just screams “read me” despite not reading the blurb, are you involved in any of the design process? FYI – your covers are super sexy and scream “one-click” so please let your team know.

Avery: Right? The folks at Entangled and the designers who work on my indie covers are AMAZING!!! I’m lucky and have input on my covers no matter who is punishing.

Rae: Writing all the words is a challenge, do you have a writing ritual or secret location to get the work done?

Avery: Sheer deadline panic? Stop laughing, that’s pretty much my go to.

Rae: How do you tackle plotting your series? Is it on a massive board, sheets of paper or just write as you go with a simple outline? A lot of authors use Pinterest and make awesome boards to tease readers, are you one of them?

Avery: I am a total plotter but mine is all words, no Pinterest for me.

Rae: When you are not busy writing, you keep readers updated on social media, what are your favorite types of posts, pics, or tweets?

Avery: I am a social media freak – probably a little too much unless I’m under deadline. Twitter is for the snark and fashion commentary. Instagram is pics of my pooches. Facebook is really my favorite place to chat with my fellow romance readers!

Rae: What can we expect to see on the bookshelves in the upcoming months?

Avery: You’ll get the first of the Hartigans books in April so be on the look out!

Rae: Where can readers find you in 2018?

Avery: I’ll be at Rebels Hit the Road in Annapolis, Barbara Vey, RT, RWA and more!

Rae: Thank you for hanging out in the cafe today.

Avery: Thank you so much for having me!

1. What is a must read book and why? Any book that catches your interest because that’s all that matters when it comes to picking a book.

2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? The Scotsbluff Monument is pretty cool.

3. Do you take-in or cook? If so, what is your “go-to” dish? OMG. I can make the absolute best reservations. *grin*

4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? The Hallmark commercials around Mother’s Day gut me every single time.

5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist? I’m a late 80s/early 90s Alternative rock baby.

6. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go? Australia!

7. What is your guilty pleasure? There are no guilty pleasures.

8. What are you afraid of? Horses and rats. Not necessarily in that order

9. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many? Yes to tats and I have two.

10. Organized or Free Floating? Organization is the BEST!

11. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? Total binger. Right now I’m watching The Crown

12. What’s on your playlist? I don’t have one. I’m old and uncool. LOL

13. What play or musical do you want to see next? I’d love to see Hamilton.

14. Are you a crafter? That’s a hard no.

15. What’s your favorite TV show and why? I love Game of Thrones for the pure drama of it.

16. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )? Kate Meader’s Hot in Chicago series.

17. What’s your favorite movie of all time? I’m gonna go with Heathers.

18. Would you rather see a movie in the theater or at home on DVD and why? Well, at home I don’t have to wear a bra and it’s hard to argue with that.

19. What is the one thing you can’t live without? Coffee

20. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) who would be at your table? Where would you eat? Ohhhhhh that’s hard. I’m gonna go with Serena Williams, Roxanne Gay, Meryl Streep, JK Rowling and Nicki Minaj. We would eat wherever we wanted and for dessert we’d take over the world. Totally gonna happen. Mark your calendars.

21. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be? Interior designer

22. Person you admire and why? Anyone who is willing to tell truth to power.

Avery’s bio:

Avery Flynn is a USA Today bestselling romance author. She has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip.She was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their *ahem* other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs. Find out more about Avery on her website (averyflynn.com), follow her on Twitter (@AveryFlynn) and Pinterest (pinterest.com/AveryFlynnBooks), and like her on her Facebook page (facebook.com/AveryFlynnAuthor). Join her street team, The Flynnbots, and receive special sneak peeks, prizes and early access to her latest releases!

 

Coffee With Jamaila Brinkley

Coffee With Jamaila Brinkley

Rae: First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking a spiced Latte with Coconut Milk with chocolate drizzle, what would you order?

Jamaila: My favorite thing to order at coffee shops, bizarrely, is extremely fancy lemonade. I don’t drink coffee (gasp!) or tea (double gasp!) but I’m a sucker for a lemonade with an obscure fruit flavoring in it. Oooh, especially if it’s sparkling.

Rae: For readers who have not read your books, you write historical fantasy romance. Can you tell us a little bit about your books and what was the inspiration for your first one?

Jamaila: My books are like historical romances set in Regency and Victorian England, except there’s magic in them. Dukes mix with wizards, countesses with witches, and there’s a thriving magical community populating the same Mayfair ballrooms as your favorite debutantes. I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy, and came to romance pretty late as a reader. I love anything with magic in it, and when I was reading all my favorite historical romances, I kept thinking how fun it would be if there was a fantasy element to them. When it came time to write my own, I knew I wanted to set it in my favorite time period to read romance in, and I wanted to feature a female thief and an awkward, vaguely nerdy hero. The rest flowed from there – and when that hero’s family got involved, it turned into a series.

Rae: As a mom I know how difficult it is to carve time out to read, write, and get “all the things” done without interruption. As a mom of twins, where do you find the time?

Jamaila: Ha! I don’t! Just kidding. I’m very lucky to be able to stay home with my children, but that also means that keeping my household running fights with writing for my precious free hours. Currently, my kids are in a short (very short) preschool program, which gives me a few hours a week that I can schedule out. I also freelance as a corporate communications consultant, so I have to try to be very careful to prioritize all of my tasks and give myself deadlines. Lists are my best friend. If you come to my house, you’ll find scraps of paper with lists written on them wafting about in the breeze like freshly fallen snow.

Rae: Will we see more books connected to your backlist or new characters and worlds to explore?

Jamaila: The Wizards of London are an ongoing series; the first three feature Thomas, Lord Westfield, and his two best friends. The next set of three books will feature the Edgebourne ladies, something my readers have been asking me about since Thomas’ younger sister first showed up to thumb her nose at him in book one. I also have a short prequel series set in the same world, with cameos by some major Wizards of London players, but featuring an unrelated hero and heroine. So in short, you can expect to see lots of new characters in my world. However, I’m also working on several other projects with a more contemporary flair that I’m pretty excited about!

Rae: When you write do you keep a file, book, or notes on your characters to ensure they don’t crossover into other stories?

Jamaila: I start writing every book by putting together a character sheet for each of my protagonists, with notes about everything from their appearance to their internal motivations. As the series has gotten longer, I’ve found that I needed to create a ‘series bible,’ which for me is an Excel spreadsheet with notable information about each character – like the color of their eyes, the names of their siblings, properties they own, and who they’re connected to. That’s helped me keep things straight, so that I don’t accidentally have somebody aging ten years in three months or the world’s shortest pregnancy, for instance!

Rae: Writing all the words is a challenge, do you have a writing ritual or secret location to get the work done?

Jamaila: I struggle with this, because I’m a massive procrastinator. I tend to only be able to write solid chunks of words if I can give myself a good amount of time to do so – not because it takes me a lot of time to actually write, but because I need to get all of the things distracting my brain out of the way first. It’s something I need to work on! I’m hoping to become one of those people who can whip out their computer or smart device and tap away for five minutes, then put it away and not be completely confused for the rest of the day. So far, it’s not going well.

Rae: Can you tell us how you tackle plotting your series? Is it on a massive board, sheets of paper or just write as you go with a simple outline?

Jamaila: I outline every book, and have a general idea of where the series is going. I also try to plan the series in ‘chunks’ of three. The first three books are out now, and they have a relatively complete storyline with lots of internal references. The next three books will be the same way – a storyline that sticks to the three books, not necessarily trying to stretch out over the entire series. Three is about as long as I can really effectively plan ahead! As I outline each book, I make sure to note down anything that might have bearing on what I have planned in a general sense for the other books in the trilogy. This lets me put in a few details that will become important later, even if I haven’t written the ‘later’ part yet.

Rae: There has been a lot of chatter on social media about planning and organizing to stay focused and succeed in personal goals for 2018. How do you keep it all from spiraling out of orbit between the family life and writer life?  Are you a planner girl or digital calendar queen?

Jamaila: I’m both! I love a paper planner for my daily to-do list, appointments, and meal planning (I’m a huge fan of Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner!). But I also am a Google Calendar power user, because my husband and I have used Gcal to sync our calendars for basically as long as it has existed. We each have our own calendar, rather than a joint one, so we can turn on and off viewing of each others’ appointments if we need a clearer look at what we’re doing. So I plan out everything long-term using Google Calendar, and then on a weekly basis, I transfer anything that’s coming up into my paper planner as part of my to-dos. I also do a ton of planning using my phone, because with two small children, I’m rarely actually at my computer or near my planner unless I’m locked in the office, so digital planning is a must.

Rae: I love your foodie posts on social media, have you always had a fondness for cooking? Where do you find your recipes? I still get the handful of magazines and am constantly ripping out meals to make or sweets to bake. However, in an age of technology I find Pinterest to be my fast go-to for last minute ideas.  Do you share your meals there?

Jamaila: I’ve cooked for as long as I can remember. My maternal ancestors were innkeepers in Poland; I always say that I come by my love of feeding people genetically. I do a lot of Pinterest meal planning! I’ve had a few Pinterest fails (who hasn’t?), but in general it’s such a good resource. When we moved a few years ago, I gave up a lot of my paper cookbooks. I kept the ones I really loved, and the ones that are really useful (you can pry my Fannie Farmer from my cold, dead hands), but I did a big purge because I really don’t use them much anymore. The only food magazine I still subscribe to is Fine Cooking, because I just love it. Everything else I’ll occasionally flip through digitally (did you know your local library probably has a digital subscription to your favorite magazines?? Libraries are the best.). I try to remember to post some of my meals and recipes on my blog, when it’s a particularly good one, but I’m the first to admit I’m bad about doing much more than an Instagram snap!

Rae: What can we expect to see on the bookshelves in the upcoming months? Where can readers meet you in person?

Jamaila: My first foray into contemporary romance, a Napa Valley-set story featuring a winemaker hero and an actress-turned-renovator and the TV show that comes between them, will be coming out in March. It’s co-written with one of my favorite people, my friend Rebecca Norinne, who writes incredible contemporaries. (If you haven’t read her rugby romances yet, GO GET THEM.) We’re super excited about it; we’re both into food and wine, and we’ve planned an entire series featuring heroes in the food and beverage industries, set in the cutest fictional small town you’ve ever heard of. Book one is called THE VINTNER’S VIXEN. I’m also hard at work on the third novella in the Anastasia Galipp series, featuring everyone’s favorite lady spy and her hapless wizard partner. I hope to release that in early summer. After that, I’ll be working on more Wizards of London books, and the next few books in the contemporary series. There are a few other projects on the back burners, but I have another year until my twins start kindergarten, so there’s only so much I can do!

As for upcoming appearances, I’m at Balticon in May in Baltimore every year, and am currently booking other commitments – if there’s somewhere you’d like me to be, feel free to reach out! And of course I’m almost criminally available on social media. Twitter is my favorite, but I’m also on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest… you name it, I’m there!

Rae: Thank you for hanging out in the cafe today.

Jamaila: Thanks for having me! It’s been fun!


1. What is a must read book and why? SORCERY AND CECELIA OR: THE ENCHANTED CHOCOLATE POT is one of my favorite books, bar none, and it’s one of the few books in my own genre, historical fantasy! The characters are incredible, the story is engrossing, and bonus, there are two more books in the series. Lord knows I love a series. And my favorite thing: the backstory. It’s an epistolary novel, which means it’s written in the form of letters between the characters. But what the co-authors have explained is that it started out as something they did just for fun, because they were friends who were writers and both liked the idea. So they wrote letters back and forth, and got more and more involved, until suddenly they were devising secretive, clever ways to surprise each other with new letters, leaving them on snowy front porches without a footprint in sight, etc. It was only after they’d finished their game that they realized they had a novel’s worth of words!

2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? My hometown is Spokane, WA, and the jewel in its crown is a park called Riverfront Park, designed by the same designers who came up with Central Park in New York. Before the 1974 World’s Fair, the area in the center of the city was basically a rusty railyard, filled with junk. Somehow, they transformed it into an amazing park, with a river running through it complete with picturesque waterfalls over which you can ride in a gondola. (The town I live in now is Ellicott City, MD, and it has an incredible historic Main Street which was flooded disastrously a couple of years ago. It’s finally recovered, for the most part, and is absolutely worth your time if you’re in the area! Incredible restaurants, great shops, and a cool museum or two. Plus there’s a chocolate shop that handmakes truffles on site, I’m just saying.)

3. Do you take-in or cook? If so, what is your “go-to” dish? I mostly cook, although I’ll admit that there are plenty of nights when my children eat chicken nuggets and after they’re in bed my husband and I order takeout (there’s this really great Mediterranean chicken salad… but I digress). Generally speaking, I try to plan out our week’s worth of meals so that we don’t fall into the ‘what do you want to eat tonight’ trap. My favorite thing to make is a perfect roast chicken (for the record, stuff the inside with an entire head of garlic, a lemon, and some thyme, then brush the skin with butter, salt and pepper, and roast at 425 for about an hour). My husband’s favorite dish is my roasted salmon, with brown sugar, smoked paprika, and sea salt (the secret to fish in the oven is high and fast: 450 for fifteen minutes).

4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? I know an alarmingly large amount of things about Star Trek. When I was in high school, the Star Trek Encyclopedia was my bathroom reading. Also, I’m allergic to Cool Whip.

5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist? Can I combine them and go for classic rock? Unlike most of my friends, I’m not a huge music person. I primarily listen to the radio, and I don’t have any playlists, sorry! I came of age in the 90s, though, so most of the music that I know by heart is from then. My parents were also big into classic rock, so I can probably recite Eric Clapton’s entire back catalog.

6. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go? Paris. I’ve been dying to go for ages, and keep trying to convince my husband that it’s totally reasonable to take a couple of toddlers on a trans-Atlantic flight and just hobnob in the street markets for a month or two. Thus far, he seems unmoved. I’d also love to go back to the UK, and just visit all the country houses. I have a thing for ridiculous real estate.

7. What is your guilty pleasure? Celebrity gossip. Go ahead. Ask me anything.

8. What are you afraid of? Cockroaches and fire.

9. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? I have one. When we were dating in college, my husband and I got matching tattoos on our shoulders, with kanji characters. His says ‘journey,’ and mine says ‘laughter.’ And yes, we did the research to make sure they said the right thing. And no, we had no idea that every single other person in the world would do the same thing a few years later. I’m hoping to get another one soon, with my children’s initials.

10. Organized or Free Floating? I’m an obsessive organizer. Luv 2 Plan. Maybe that should be my next tattoo.

11. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? Oh my god, binge watcher. We just started watching the new Star Trek, after exclusively binge watching shows for ages, and it’s AWFUL having to wait! I don’t understand how anybody managed it. My husband and I recently binge-watched all of The Gilmore Girls, because we are extremely cute.

12. What’s on your playlist? Ha! Basically nothing. I mostly listen to the radio. If I have a playlist, it’s primarily songs from Disney movies so that my kids can sing along. Moana is a big hit around here.

13. What play or musical do you want to see next? I’d like to see Hamilton, which is probably the answer you’ll get from virtually everyone!

14. Are you a crafter? I’m a failed crafter. I have the detritus of a million abandoned projects stored in a room upstairs, which makes me an amazing mother, because when my kid insists she wants to make something she saw on Pinterest (yes, my toddlers are into Pinterest), there’s a very strong chance that I spent a bunch of money on the exact supplies she needs twelve years ago when I was sure I was going to make a completely different project and be a creative genius.

15. What’s your favorite TV show and why? My absolute favorite current show is The Librarians, which is on TNT and is a spinoff of a set of incredibly cheesy made-for-TV movies from like ten years ago starring Noah Wyle (he was on ER) (‘Noah Wyle-he-was-on-ER’ is how you have to introduce him, FYI). It is the greatest. I also love The Good Place, Grace and Frankie, and a few others. Oh! And my entire family watches the Great British Bake Off, which has resulted in a LOT of baking because when your four year old says she wants to make petit fours, are you really going to argue?

16. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )? I’m really bad at this kind of question, because I don’t actually watch a lot of movies! Buuuut, I’m thinking that Sarah Kuhn’s HEROINE COMPLEX would be pretty fab on screen! Oh! And I just read Alexis Daria’s TAKE THE LEAD, and it would be awesome, too. (It’s based around a reality dance show!)

17. What’s your favorite movie of all time and why? The movie I will always watch if it’s on (uh, not that any of us really have ‘if it’s on’ kind of lifestyles these days) is Notting Hill. Nobody can resist Notting Hill. It’s a fact.

18. Would you rather see a movie in the theater or at home on DVD and why? At home, times a thousand. Have you been to a theater recently? People are terrible. And you can hear them chewing.

19. What is the one thing you can’t live without? Probably my phone. Although, really, my answer should be ‘the cloud.’ The future is pretty great.

20. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) who would be at your table? Where would you eat? Can all of them be Ina Garten? Oh, no, wait, Jeffrey has to come, too. Obviously we’d eat at Ina’s favorite bistro in Paris! Maybe Mel Brooks can show up, unannounced. There’s an amazing episode of the Barefoot Contessa where she’s making dinner for a mystery guest, and the doorbell rings and it’s Mel Brooks. And Ina is like “IT’S MEL!” like Mel Brooks coming to your house for dinner is a weekly thing, NBD. It’s probably my favorite episode. Followed closely by the time she made Alec Baldwin hand-pick carrots on a farm for her.

21. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be? Can I be Ina Garten? Okay, no wait. Is there a career where you lie on a couch and just, like, have good ideas that other people take care of the followthrough on? I’d be really good at that.

22. Person you admire and why? I bet you think my answer to this is going to be Ina Garten. But actually, no. I adore Ina, and she’s my fantasy BFF, but when it comes to people I really admire, I’m more realistic. You know who’s great? Suleikha Snyder. She’s an incredible writer, who’s super public about the issues facing publishing as a whole, and she’s also brutally honest about working through some tough mental health stuff. Also, she likes Star Trek and celebrity gossip, so… you know. Heart eyes.

Author Info:
Jamaila Brinkley writes historical romance with a hint of magic. Her Wizards of London series features thieves, duchesses, witches, and more indulging in mayhem and romance in Regency England. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and was a finalist in the Romance Through the Ages contest in 2015.

Jamaila came to romance as an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and found that her favorite historical romances seemed ripe for an injection of magic. Her favorite historical period is currently the Victorian era, and she’s never happier than when immersed in a multi-book family series.

Jamaila lives outside Baltimore, Maryland in a house that is perpetually under renovation with her husband and twin toddlers. You can find her blogging about romance, writing, parenting, cooking, and more on her website at www.jamailabrinkley.com, and posting pictures of her lunch on Twitter as @jamaila.

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Coffee With New York Times Bestselling Author Cathy Maxwell

Coffee With New York Times Bestselling Author Cathy Maxwell

Rae: Thanks so much for hanging out with me today. First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking an spiced Latte with Coconut Milk with chocolate drizzle, what would you order?

Cathy: Just coffee with room for cream and stevia.

Rae: Congratulations on your 41st release (is that correct?)

Cathy: Not even close. This is my 33rd book. I’ve written a few novellas but 41 is still a high number. I hope to reach it someday, but I’m not there yet.

Rae: If Ever I Should Love You. It released on December 26th and I must thank you, it was my favorite birthday present 😉 I rarely have books released on my birthday! What was the inspiration for this new book adventure?

Cathy: Happy birthday to you! This is lovely, Rae. The inspiration for this new series was something my husband used to say: You can marry money but you can’t live with it.

I know, I know, it doesn’t make complete sense . . . unless one is in an upside down relationship. Money can be a great tool for climbing a social ladder or it can destroy a person’s character.

In IF EVER I SHOULD LOVE YOU, I’m using money has a tool to bring two people who were truth destined to be together. 

Rae: The last time we sat down it was always during games at RT in Atlanta. I am fascinated in your career, you began in broadcasting and then worked in Naval Intelligence. How does one then make the leap writing Historical Romance?

Cathy: I always knew that I would someday write a book. Back when I was a news broadcaster, I found myself frustrated by the trajectory of my career. Mind you, this was back in the day when women were struggling to be taken seriously in broadcasting. I saw my career ahead of me—I’d move up to Wichita, then Omaha, then maybe St. Joe, and by that time I’d be thirty and my on-air career would be over. Furthermore, I found reading the news dissatisfying. It is a bit like telling people bedtime stories. At the time, I was working for a small satellite station where on top of all of the reporting duties I also wrote advertising, did the billing, and vacuumed. It doesn’t sound glamorous but it was great. I had complete control as long as I stayed under budget. However, I didn’t know if I wanted to move up.

So, I made a list of the twenty-five things I wanted to do with my life. Travel was on there. Writing a book was another item. And I wanted to join the Navy. I can’t remember much else because I set into motion the travel and joining the military. I have no regrets. It was a grand adventure.

Writing a book was trickier. I had no idea what I wanted to write—until I read my first romance novel. FIERCE EDEN by Jennifer Blake captured my imagination and here I am today.

Rae: Your backlist is impressive and inspiring with multiple series and standalone reads, what can we expect in 2018? Will there be more books from current series, or new ones in the works? That being said, how do you keep all of your worlds and characters from crossing over?

Cathy: Right now, the plan is for all the three books in the “Spinster Heiresses” series to be released in 2018.
I do have a loose bible of what I want to have happen over the course of the series. More importantly, I have a huge imagination full of people who are alive in my mind. I keep track of them as easily as I maintain tabs on any of my loving friends.

Rae: As a reader who appreciates a well crafted book cover, are you active in the creative design process? They are stunning.

Cathy: Thank you! All credit goes to the excellent Avon Books Art Director. 

Rae: I read that you love horses, do you ride daily? I hear the experience can be very therapeutic.

Cathy: I adore horses. Unfortunately, when I moved to Texas, I left my beautiful Dinero behind. It didn’t seem right to move him from where he is happiest. He is a sensitive soul. My trainer purchased him and they are heading for the show ring, something I had no desire to do or the talent for it. Still, I love them. I’m now content to donate to area equine rescues.

Rae: Writing all the words is a challenge, do you have a writing ritual or secret location to get the work done?

Cathy: No, nada. With me, it is go for it and hope it makes sense when I’m done.

Rae: Can you tell us how you tackle plotting your series? Is it on a massive board, sheets of paper or just write as you go with a simple outline?

Cathy: Most of the story is in my head. I do prepare a bible of sorts so I understand the themes I want to cover but the details of each book are always evolving. I yank stuff that displeases me out with wild abandon.

Rae: What can we expect to see on the bookshelves in the upcoming months?

Cathy: Book two of the Spinster Heiresses series A MATCH MADE IN BED will be released April 26. Look for THE DUKE THAT I MARRY along towards the end of 2018.

** Tantalizing Tidbits **

1. What is a must read book and why? I don’t have one. I have zillions! I just made my Romance Book Club read TIGER’S EYE by Karen Robards. That book has everything—sweeping romance, a outlaw hero, a betrayed heroine. Just big and grand reading.

2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? Summer Moon Coffee Shop.

3. Do you take-in or cook? If so, what is your “go-to” dish? I cook. I’m crazy about a vegetarian chili. I’m also a fan of greens and mustard vinaigrette with fried eggs.

4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? That I can be introverted.

5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist? All of them. I’m eclectic.

6. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go? France and Germany. And the research would be about readers. European markets are opening for Romance in a big way and I’d like to spend time meeting readers.

7. What is your guilty pleasure? Zumba!!!!!!!

8. What are you afraid of? Something bad happening to people I love.

9. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? No tats. I’m a true rebel.

10. Organized or Free Floating? What a mess!

11. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? Binge. Right now, Big Love and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

12. What’s on your playlist? Everything. Classical, blues, bluegrass, rock, reggatone, rap, alternative, jazz. You name it; I’ve got it.

13. What play or musical do you want to see next? I have no idea. I’d like to see Hamilton

14. Are you a crafter? No.

15. What’s your favorite TV show and why? I binge, see above.

16. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )? I’m thinking the Beard Science would be a good one.

17. What’s your favorite movie of all time and why? Waking Ned Devine. Such wonderful characters and good humor. Every time I make a chicken dinner, I think of that movie.

18. Would you rather see a movie in the theater or at home on DVD and why? Home because it had better be an excellent movie for me to watch it in a theater. Yes, I’m one of those people who gets antsy if the movie is mediocre. I want to rewrite it.

19. What is the one thing you can’t live without? My computer. It is my lifeline to the world.

20. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) who would be at your table? Where would you eat?  Brazilian chef Alex Atala, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Poet Naomi Shihab Nye, Behaviorist Dan Ariely, and Pope Francis. There is a great food truck here in Austin that serves barbeque and homemade tortillas. We’ll eat there.

21. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be? Agent

22. Person you admire and why? There are so many . . . but let me choose Merline Lovelace who had a stellar career in the Air Force during some turbulent years for women in the armed forces and has gone on to a wonderful writing career. She lives life to the fullest with grace and laughter.

Rae: Thanks again for hanging out in the cafe today! Time for another spiced latte 🙂 Thank you! It has been fun.

Happy Reading Dear Readers.

Author Info:

Cathy Maxwell is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty historical romance novels.  She never minds spending hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” To her, it remains the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness.   To discover more about Cathy and her books, visit www.cathymaxwell.com