Rae: If we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking a spiced latte with Coconut Milk. What would you order?
Kira: I actually have an unfortunate sensitivity to caffeine, so I’d be sipping a nice hot chocolate with a shot of vanilla and whipped cream topped with cinnamon.
Rae: Fall is in full swing, do you have any traditions or decorate the house? If I had the time and money my house would be totally decked out lol I LOVE fall. I mostly decorate my house for Christmas though. Day after Thanksgiving, everything goes up 🙂
Rae: For those who are not familiar with your work, your backlist ranges from romantic comedy’s to urban fantasy, and stuff in-between, can you tell us a little bit your series?
Kira: The Winning the Billionaire series begins with Cole and Kiersten, a workaholic, demanding boss billionaire and his personal assistant…who shortly after the book begins wins the lotto. And instead of immediately quitting her job as most people would, her friends talk her into sticking around and seeing how much she can get away with before her boss fires her. A little payback for all the aggravation she went through working for him 😉 He catches on and tries to see how much she’ll take before she quits. And everyone gets in on it – betting to see who will crack first.
Cole belongs to a poker group with 3 of his billionaire buddies who are prominent in all the books and each book in the series will follow one of them with some sort of funny bet as a major theme. Cole, Brooks, Harrison, and Christopher. Kiersten’s two besties who won the lotto with her – Cass and Izzy – also show up in all 4 books.
Rae: Congrats on Truly, Madly, Sweetly being optioned by Hallmark. That is so exciting. Where are things right now with that? How long till we see it on our TV screens?
Kira: Thank you!! I’m still over the moon about it 😀 I don’t have an exact date on it just yet, however it is listed on IMDb website and several other sites that list upcoming Hallmark movies as releasing this year. I would assume in Dec or perhaps early next year. It looks like Dylan Neal (he plays Anastasia’s stepdad Bob in the 50 Shades movies and is prominent in Hallmark movies) is listed as both the lead actor and the script writer. They’ve changed the names of the main characters, from Nat and Eric to Emily and Ryan – so it’ll be interesting to see the movie come to life and see what changes and what stays the same!
Rae: Where do you find your inspiration?
Kira: Everywhere! The inspiration for 69 Million Things came from my husband’s lotto playing and a convo we had about what we’d do if we won. I draw a lot of inspiration from conversations and situations in my real life. Brainstorming is one of my favorite parts of the whole process. Taking little bits of ideas from all over, twisting them and combining them to make a cohesive story. Love it!
Rae: How do you keep all of your characters from crossing over into other books? Do you use a series “bible” or have files of notes?
Kira: I’ve been meaning to make a bible for a long time and haven’t had the time to do it lol But I need to soon. I do keep written notes though on character’s names and appearances. Those are hard to keep track of.
Rae: When you are writing a book, do you plot it out page by page, chapter by chapter? Or, do your characters guide you?
Kira: Both! I do plot, heavily. I didn’t use to but it made the edit process insane. Now, I begin with a synopsis. The beginning and end are fairly detailed with the middle more vague. Once I’ve got the beginning written and I know the characters better than just the descriptions I’ve written out, I’ll go through and plot the middle with more details. And usually about half way through I go through and plot out each chapter.
Typically, I know what will happen before I start the story. But how the characters react to that sometimes changes as their personalities sometimes change on me as I write them. For instance, I’m working on book 3 in the Winning the Billionaire series right now. I had outlined the heroine as more of a straight-laced person who would be horrified by the hero’s wacky family. But as I wrote her, she morphed into a quirky, spunky chick complete with bright-colored streaks in her hair and tattoos who will fit right in with them. It’s not what I originally envisioned, but it will actually end up working much better than I’d had plotted so it’s a win win 😀
Rae: What was the defining moment that you realized you wanted to write?
Kira: I never really had one defining moment. I just always wanted to write. My mom sent me a box of my old papers a year or so ago that had stories I’d written when I was 5. I won a young author’s book fair in 5th grade. I was always jotting down story ideas. But it wasn’t something I thought I could really do. It was a dream job like A-lister actor or rock star. Not something most “real” people did. Then when my son was a baby, I started writing little stories for him and I decided to try writing novels again. I wrote my first book while my kids were babies and I was going through graduate school. It took awhile lol And then I had this finished book and decided maybe I’d try and get it published.
What really helped was meeting other writers on the same journey. I found some critique partners and an amazing site, QueryTracker.net, that not only is an excellent resource for querying but also has a forum where I met a group of incredible authors who became really dear friends.
Rae: What can we expect to see on the bookshelves in the upcoming months?
Kira: Lots of fun things are coming up! Book 2 in this series, The Billionaire’s Unexpected Baby (Brooks’s book) will be releasing in Jan. The other books in the series, a new Lovestruck series, and the remaining books in my highlander series (written as Michelle McLean) will all be releasing next year and early 2019. And hopefully, the Hallmark movie will be out in the next few months!
Rae: Thank you for hanging out in the cafe today.
Kira: Thank you so much for having me!!
***** Tasty Tidbits *****
1. What is a must read book and why? Two of my all time favorite series are the Outlander series (by Diana Gabaldon) and the Wild Swan series (by Celeste de Blasis). They are historicals and both are massive sagas but they follow epic love stories that will wring your heart out and stay with you forever.
2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? I live in the tiniest little town in Central PA and honestly, it would take literally 2.5 mins to drive down mainstreet lol But it’s like living in a Norman Rockwell painting. I love it here. We do have a LOT of amazing things within driving distance though, including Hershey, PA (a must see if you like chocolate). Really though this is the place to go if you like nature and the outdoors. The PA Grand Canyon is close as are several breathtakingly gorgeous state parks, hiking trails, caves, etc.
3. Do you take-in or cook? If so, what is your “go-to” dish? So, according to my family, I’m not the best cook LOL I do bake really well though 😀 You need cinnamon rolls, cakes, etc, I’m your girl! I make a REALLY good sugar cookie cake/cupcake that is to die for!
4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? I’m actually pretty shy in person until you get to know me. Then you can’t shut me up lol But I’m the biggest introvert. I’m happiest when I’m holed up at home with my family.
5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist? Ooo this one is a hard one. It really depends on my mood. I love everything from Metallica to the Beach Boys lol I do have an obsessive love with 80’s hair band monster ballads though…
6. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go? Scotland! I have a massive list of places I’d like to go, but Scotland has always been up at the top.
7. What is your guilty pleasure? I’m a pretty big binge watcher. I’ll get busy with deadlines, etc, and not be able to watch my favorite shows, so if I can get a few days or a week off I will get caught up on everything all at once.
8. What are you afraid of? Spiders. Heights. Not a fan of small spaces. This is also why I had to abandon a childhood dream of being an astronaut (the heights and enclosed spaces…not so much the spiders. Space spiders….there’s a new nightmare!)
9. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? No tats, but I love them. I have a pinterest board with tats I love. I have considered getting a white ink tat with a tiny heartbeat line on my wrist to honor a baby I lost.
10. Organized or Free Floating? A weird mix of both. I really really like being organized but I rarely have the time to get as truly organized as I’d like. So I organize everything as much as I possibly can. And spend a lot of whatever free time I have organizing more lol
11. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? LOL (see guilty pleasure) 😀 I do like to binge watch because you don’t have to wait a week between episodes! My current faves that I watch every week are Outlander, Scorpion, Big Bang Theory, Will and Grace, Scandal, The Good Place, Modern Family, Speechless – I like the sitcoms because I can sit and watch one while eating breakfast or lunch and then get back to work without being sucked in for an hour+ at a time.
12. What’s on your playlist? Depends on the mood – writing music usually includes Lindsey Stirling, Rob Dougan, Piano Guys. If I’m cleaning or trying to stay awake I like something with a good beat so I’ll go for Lady Gaga or 80s and 90s hip hop lol 🙂
13. What play or musical do you want to see next? It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen a play or musical! Well, I did see my kids’ school’s production of Seussical last year which was fabulous. And I’m a huge Into the Woods fan so I was thrilled when the movie came out. I’d like to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
14. Are you a crafter? Yes! Love crafts! I especially like making those name letters for my kids (like my son has the letters of his name decorated like soccer balls hanging on his wall – gymnastics themed letters for my daughter). I used to cross stitch a lot years ago. I miss doing that. And I really love decorating cakes.
15. What’s your favorite TV show and why? I don’t have one favorite really. I do really love Outlander because it’s based on one of my all time fave books and the casting is so amazing! Mostly though, I want to watch something that’s going to make me laugh. Big Bang Theory and Mom are favorites. Also enjoying the Lethal Weapon show. And Castle was a huge favorite of mine before it was cancelled.
16. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )? LOL well until a year ago, I would have said Outlander but they made that wish come true!
17. What’s your favorite movie of all time and why? Ohhh, same problem here as with books. Too many to choose from!! I’m a big rom com girl though (surprise, I know!) Fool’s Gold is one I will watch every time it’s on. And The Holiday.
18. Would you rather see a movie in the theater or at home on DVD and why? Kind of depends on the movie. I do love seeing movies in the theater but I love the comfort of being in my own home also. We go to the drive-in a lot in the summer with our kids. Kind of the best of both worlds. We get the big screen experience but it’s much more relaxed.
19. What is the one thing you can’t live without? It’s probably a cliché answer and it’s not a “thing” but my kids. Material things I can learn to live without. Even books, though it would make the world a dreary place – because I have enough stories going on in my head to keep me company if I didn’t have access to other books. My kids though…I don’t know what I’d do without them.
20. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) who would be at your table? Hmmm Ellen DeGeneres – she seems like a really fun and amazing person. Robin Williams for the same reason. Ryan Reynolds. Melissa McCarthy. Emma Thompson. That would be a seriously fun dinner party!
21. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be? When I was in school I wanted to be a museum curator. I’d still really love to do that. And a zookeeper. I think it would be fun to take care of animals all day.
22. Person you admire and why? My sister. She has gone through some nightmare situations but is building an amazing life for herself and her kids despite seriously massive obstacles and still has the best sense of humor around. She’s amazing!
Rae: Thanks again for hanging out! Time for another spiced latte 🙂
Happy Reading Dear Readers. Happy Writing Kira
Rae: Thank you so much for hanging out with me today. If we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking a spiced latte with Coconut Milk. 🙂 ! What would you order?
Lynne: I’d order tea, but I’d want it to be hot cocoa.
Rae: As fall is finally here, do you have any traditions? Do you decorate the house with the change of season?
Lynne: My street tends to go all out for Halloween, and my family does also. We’ve got a lot of big decorations.
Rae: For those hanging out today that are not familiar with your work, you write about hot sexy nights in Miami, military romance, a few Alpha Heroes, standalone Contemporary and Historical. That’s a lot. How do you keep it all organized and prevent unexpected “visits” into other worlds.
Lynne: I tend to work on 1-2 projects at once, and all of them have a book bible to help me keep track of things.
Rae: Your Worthy Series has a realness to it, did you spend time in Miami to capture all those little details? Can we expect more books in this series? Other series?
Lynne: I grew up in Miami and my parents still live there. I go down several times a year. The Worthy series is really a love song to my hometown. I’m thinking that Javier and Gabriel will be getting stories. But not for a while.
Rae: I know that you love baseball, are you excited about where your team is heading into the playoffs?
Lynne: Of course I’m excited that the Nationals are NL East Division champs!!! Bring on October!
Rae: Can we expect to see any sports infused into your books?
Lynne: Unlikely. I like sports romances, but I think other authors have cornered that market.
Rae: When you are writing a book, do you plot it out page by page, chapter by chapter? Or, do your characters guide you?
Lynne: I plot out story beats and do character sketches. That’s about it.
Rae: What can we expect to see on the bookshelves in the upcoming months? Do you have any new series in the works that you can give us a tease?
Lynne: I have a story called The Breeder coming out in January with Carina Press’s Dirty Bits line. It’s set in a future dystopian America, and it’s definitely the dirtiest thing I’ve ever written. How’s that for a tease?
Rae: It was so much fun having you here today!
***** Tasty Tidbits *******
1. What is a must read book and why? One? Hah! Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh, The Scoundrel’s Soldier by Cat Sebastian, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley, the entire Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole
2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? If you go to Miami, don’t spend the whole time on South Beach. Hit Wynwood, Coconut Grove, Calle Ocho, Vizcaya, get on a boat.
3. Do you take-in or cook? If so, what is your “go-to” dish? I cook almost every night. I’m in a cooking rut. I make the same rotation of meals every week.
4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? That I’m terrified of flying, but I love to travel.
5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist? I used to be a little punk rock girl, but as an adult I let my kids control the radio. I love Jane’s Addiction.
6. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go? It wouldn’t be for research, but I’d like to go to Australia & Japan.
7. What is your guilty pleasure? I eat a mint dark chocolate bar every day and I feel NO guilt! Oh, and I take really long hot showers. But I don’t live in a drought zone.
8. What are you afraid of? Failure. Watching my kids hurt.
9. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? No tats.
10. Organized or Free Floating? Organized by excel spreadsheets
11. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? Binge & weekly- Odd Mom Out, I’m Sorry, The Flash, John Oliver.
12. What’s on your playlist? Nothing. See above
13. What play or musical do you want to see next? I still haven’t seen Hamilton. I have tickets to go see Mean Girls the musical next month.
14. Are you a crafter? I crochet, but I’m not very good.
15. What’s your favorite TV show and why? Don’t really have one. Depends on my mod.
16. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )? None. Movies tend to ruin books. e.g. Harry Potter.
17. What’s your favorite movie of all time and why? Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, An American President
18. Would you rather see a movie in the theater or at home on DVD and why? Home. I like bathroom breaks and organic air popped popcorn.
19. What is the one thing you can’t live without? My family
20. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) who would be at your table? Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Issa Rae, Anna Kendrick, Ellen DeGeneres. We’d laugh our asses off.
21. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be? Librarian
22. Person you admire and why? Michelle Obama because she never lost her cool at all the haters. And her clothes.
23. Most memorable sports game? Nationals walk off with Werth hitting the home run to clinch.
24. Fangirl moment – athlete, actor, singer…who and where? Dave Grohl at the Hard Rock hotel in Vegas. I followed him around the casino. He’s teeny- like I’d break him in half.
Rae: Thanks again for hanging out! Time for another spiced latte 🙂
Happy Reading Dear Readers. Happy Writing Lynne
Rae: Thank you so much for hanging out with me today.
Terry: Thanks for having me, Rae!!
Rae: If we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking a spiced latte with Coconut Milk. 🙂 ! What would you order?
Terry: White Mocha latte (peppermint mocha when in season–sometimes some places will even have it out-of-season! I love those places. )
Rae: As fall is underway, do you have any traditions? Do you decorate the house with the change of season?
Terry: Yes! I decorate for fall. Love to do that, and then for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, 4th of July. 🙂 I usually decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, but since my son and his girlfriend are coming, I’ll decorate for Christmas before they arrive. My daughter and son-in-law and now baby, always get together for a special Halloween.
Rae: For those who are not familiar with your work, your backlist includes Highlanders, Shifters and stuff in-between, please tell us a little bit your series. Where do you find your inspiration?
Terry: I’m an eclectic reader so I’m an eclectic writer. I write everything from straight romantic suspense to historical romance, shifter romance, vampire, romance, and teen paranormal romance.
My Highlanders were a result of my love of all things historical–books, movies, and we have Highland heritage, both MacNeills, Campbells as the main Highland Scots. So I was doing a lot of genealogy on them, and they were inspired by the Duke of Argyle’s daughter running off with a commoner MacNeill (family history).
With the wolf series, I had started out with vampires: everyone needs to be loved. And I felt the same way with werewolves. I had also loved reading Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London and loved the wolves when I was a kid. So I wanted to create a world where the werewolves were born that way, or turned, but they were wolves like the real ones, not monsters, yet still had their human sensibilities, and as humans, their wolf senses. Jaguar, cougar, and polar bear shifters have followed, and they’re like that too–I try to pattern their behavior after their wild animal, but at the same time, their human counterpart tends to override certain of their characteristics. For instance, wolves live in packs, Jaguars, cougars, and polar bears don’t. So to make it work they need to rely on their human half to be more family oriented.
I also have a popular teen fae series. If you have any trouble at all, blame the fae. They’re probably at the root of it. I have vampire teen romance also, but haven’t had enough time to write more sequels, but it’s on the agenda. 🙂
Rae: How do you keep all of your characters from crossing over into other books? Do you have a series “bible” or do you have files of notes?
Terry: I have a bible, but don’t keep up with it well enough. I either have to do find and searches, or I have a wonderful critique partner and good friend, Donna Fournier, who helps to keep me straight. I had just finished a book, she and others had proofread it and in the middle of the night she woke to remember one of the female operatives (wolf) was pregnant, and I couldn’t have her chasing down villains in the jungle. Oops. I had to write other characters and a bunch of new scenes to change that scenario, but she is an absolute godsend! lol
Rae: When you are writing a book, do you plot it out page by page, chapter by chapter? Or, do your characters guide you?
Terry: Absolutely my characters drive me. It drives me nuts when they go silent on me. If I try to force them to talk, it doesn’t work. And when they do, I have to hurry and write because they’re not going to repeat what they have to say.
Rae: What can we expect to see on the bookshelves in 2017? Do you have any new series in the works that you can give us a tease?
Terry: I’m hoping to have My Highlander available this year. Dreaming of a White Christmas is coming in October, and I hope to have another polar bear shifter story by Dec. But that’s a lot of writing and I’m running out of time. 🙂 I’m finishing up writing Billionaire Wolf Christmas for next October (2018), and I’ll be getting more edits on the other two books that are finished: All’s Fair in Love and Wolf, and Flight of the White Wolf.
Rae” You are a fabulous photographer posting images on social media, what do you use to take them? Your cell phone or a digital camera?
Terry: Thanks so much! I use my cell phone and a Nikon D750. I love taking photos!!! It’s like with writing. If I don’t get to take pictures every day, and write, I feel like my day isn’t complete! I’m not fulfilled. 🙂
Rae: It was so much fun having you here today!
Terry: Thanks so much for having me, and the mocha was delicious. 🙂
** All photos taken by Terry Spear and posted with permission
**** Tasty Tidbits ****
1. What is a must read book and why? I’m reading Tinderbox by Rachel Grant. I was in the military and the heroine is dealing with the military while she’s trying to collect fossils in the volatile region of Ethiopia. I love action, and she’s got plenty of it.
2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? They have the largest urban park in the States. You can walk it for miles. I love nature preserves and hikes.
3. Do you take-in or cook? If so, what is your “go-to” dish? Cook. A good steak and boiled potato and broccoli. M&Ms to top it off.
4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? I love playing RPGs. I’m working on Divinity: Original Sin, love the quests, the fights, solving puzzles and mysteries, and righting the wrongs. 🙂
5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist? Movie theme music, Game of Thrones
6. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go? I would go to Scotland for a month. 🙂 Absorb everything, see all the castles (I’ve seen about twelve, a few a couple of times), and then be able to sit and write by a babbling brook. 🙂
7. What is your guilty pleasure? Chocolate
8. What are you afraid of? Heights (Did rappelling, mountain climbing, slide for life, rope drop, but heights get to me)
9. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? No tats
10. Organized or Free Floating? * Organized!
11. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? Binge watching then don’t watch anything for a long time, concentrate on writing. The Walking Dead, The Last Ship, The White Queen, Game of Thrones, Quantico.
12. What’s on your playlist? Movie themes like the Bourne series, and game themes like Halo and others. I like the adventure, suspense music for mood when I’m writing.
13. What play or musical do you want to see next? Nutcracker
14. Are you a crafter? Award winning teddy bears!
15. What’s your favorite TV show and why? I loved The White Queen and hated that it only had the one season. Adventure, intrigue, paranormal, historical, romance, it had it all.
16. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )? Karen Moning’s The Immortal Highlander.
17. What’s your favorite movie of all time and why? Romancing the Stone–he was so cocky and she was such a fun character, a romance writer who had fans even among the bad guys.
18. Would you rather see a movie in the theater or at home on DVD and why? I have Netflix now, yay! Where I lived before, we didn’t have powerful enough internet. But I LOVE to see movies with my kids when we can do it.
19. What is the one thing you can’t live without? A computer and internet
20. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) who would be at your table? Christine Feehan, Karen Marie Moning, Sandra Brown, Sean Connery, Gerald Butler
21. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be? I had the hardest time with this. And then I thought it’s the simplest thing ever: A world class photographer!
22. Person you admire and why? Stephen King. He threw Carrie in the trash and his wife retrieved it for him. He’s an excellent writer and speaker. One of the scariest movies I ever saw was The Shining, and I’m going to see that hotel when I go to the conference in the area.
Rae: Thanks again for hanging out! Time for another spiced latte 🙂
Terry: Thanks again, Rae!
Rae: Happy Reading Dear Readers. Happy Writing Terry
Author Info: Bestselling and award-winning author Terry Spear has written over sixty paranormal romance novels and four medieval Highland historical romances. Her first werewolf romance, Heart of the Wolf, was named a 2008 Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, and her subsequent titles have garnered high praise and hit the USA Today bestseller list. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry lives in Spring, Texas, where she is working on her next wolf, jaguar, cougar, and bear shifter romances, continuing with her Highland medieval romances, and having fun with her young adult novels. When she’s not writing, she’s photographing everything that catches her eye, making teddy bears, and playing with her Havanese puppies and grand-baby.
For more information, please visit www.terryspear.com, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/terry.spear. And on WordPress at: Terry Spear’s Shifters Terry Spear’s Shifters
Rae: Good morning guys, let’s just jump right in. What’s your favorite Christmas Memory?
Darcy: Oh my goodness! There are so many! Christmas morning is one of my favorite days of the year!
Quinn: That’s because you always got the most stuff…
Darcy: (rolls eyes hard) That’s not even a little bit true.
Aidan: Hold on. Before this turns into some sort of argument, I think we can all agree that Darcy did get the most stuff because she was the youngest…
Quinn: And the only girl…
Aidan: (sighs wearily) Yes, she was the only girl, but because of the age difference, it just seemed like there was more for her.
Quinn: Or she was just spoiled…
Darcy: Any-way…My favorite Christmas memory is making breakfast on Christmas morning with my dad. As soon as I was old enough to help him, we’d stand side-by-side in the kitchen while my brothers would clean up all of the wrapping paper from our gifts and Dad would share stories about Mom and how much she loved Christmas.
Hugh: Yeah. She really did. But Christmas breakfast was always the best. Mom had a way of making each of us feel special and she was able to have a one on one conversation with us even over all of the other conversations going around.
Everyone nods in agreement.
Rae: What’s your favorite Christmas Recipe? Darcy you love to bake – where do you find your inspiration for your unique ingredient combinations.
Darcy: Baking is a serious obsession. I love following a recipe and thanks to Pinterest, I find all kinds of inspiration for baking. Some recipes are keepers, others I just chalk up to curiosity.
Riley: But we are all seriously thankful for her baking skills. Dad has never been a great cook, but we all knew we could choke down a home cooked meal as long as Darcy baked dessert.
Darcy: Awww…it’s official. You’re my favorite brother.
Hugh, Aidan, Quinn and Owen: Hey!
Quinn: How is that fair?
Hugh: I was just going to say…you know…all the stuff Riley said.
Darcy: (laughing) So my favorite Christmas recipe? Hmm…I don’t know if I have one yet. I love making cookies the most. All kinds of cookies. I have the most fun with a simple sugar cookie but I make them in different shapes and then decorate them. Decorating makes everything better.
Quinn: And more delicious.
Rae: When it’s time to find a tree, do you head out to a special place or the street vendor down the road?
Aidan: We are creatures of habit and there’s one particular tree lot that we’ve gone to for easily the last twenty years. It’s a family-owned lot and we always have good luck there.
Hugh: It was hard when Aubrey and I finally settled into our place and I had to find a lot to get a tree since we live a little over an hour away from all of you.
Darcy: Admit it. You considered driving the hour to look though.
Riley: Don’t even try to deny it!
Hugh: What can I say? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Owen: I don’t think that phrase particularly fits in this instance. And I don’t think ‘ain’t’ is what you meant to say and…
Darcy: Moving on!!
Rae: Darcy, how do you select your ornaments? Is there a theme each year?
Darcy: There really isn’t! I tend to find ornaments a lot of times when I’m traveling to visit one of my brothers – or at least that’s how it used to be – so most of the ornaments represented places I’d been to. I have a real thing for snowmen, though. I love a good snowman ornament! (adds a wink) Because I am just fascinated – for lack of a better word – with ornaments, if I find a shop that is selling them, I try and look for ones that have a special meaning or reflect something about my life or my family.
Rae: What is it about ornaments that makes the holidays so special?
Darcy: For as long as I can remember, whenever we put up our Christmas tree, my dad and my brothers would share some sort of story or memory for so many of the ornaments on the tree. I used to love sitting and listening to them talk about them and couldn’t wait for the year when there was a story about me to include. Those few hours while we decorated, no one fought, no one argued, it was just a great time to sit and share some happy thoughts. Plus, it was another time where they would talk about my mom and it made me feel a little bit closer to her.
Rae: You have a tree in your room that you decorate. How come you don’t include your ornaments on the family tree?
Darcy: (Laughs) To be honest, the first few I collected did make it onto the tree. That’s how I got to have a story about me when we decorated. But then I sort of got a little…shall we say…obsessed with collecting them and my dad is very particular about our family Christmas tree. He likes that he’s carrying on the tradition that my mom started with one new ornament a year and having these sentimental ones, and there I was coming up with things that didn’t go! So in order to make me happy, he surprised me with a tree of my own that I could decorate however I wanted. That first year that I did that, I had so many lights on it and there was maybe only a dozen ornaments, but to me it was the most beautiful tree in the world!
Rae: Any new traditions for the brothers now that you are all married? How do you find the time to visit all the family?
Riley: Christmas has always been a bit chaotic for us and now that we’re all married with kids, it’s gotten a little crazier. Luckily with Aidan and Quinn both still living close to Dad’s, we can spread out and still be at home for Christmas morning.
Darcy: I still have my own room so not much has changed for me. Except I sometimes sneak one of the kiddos in with me to snuggle and read Christmas stories.
Aidan: Like with the tree, we’re big on keeping with tradition. I know there’s going to come a time when someone’s not going to make it for Christmas – especially since we all have in-laws now – but even if we don’t get to celebrate all together on Christmas Day, I know we’ll find time to do it on another date.
Darcy: And then we’ll all get to celebrate twice! How cool is that?
Rae: How has Christmas changed the most now that you are all grown?
Aidan: As the oldest, I think I can answer that the best.
Riley: For the love of it…
Quinn: You’re not that much older, Aidan. It’s not like we haven’t noticed the changes.
Hugh: And you and I are close enough in age that I think I’m a pretty good authority too.
Darcy: I think we can all agree that Christmas got way better with the addition of all the girl stuff, right?
Owen: I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much pink in one place as we had on Christmas mornings after you were born.
Aidan: You have no idea how clueless we all were about that. The girl stuff. When you were old enough to give us a list, it helped. But before that, I think Dad would break out in a cold sweat when he prepared to go shopping.
Darcy: Okay, dramatic much?
Hugh: it’s true. Dad was great about picking out sports equipment and video games, but he had no clue about dolls.
Darcy: I didn’t only play with dolls…
Aidan: Well, that’s what he thought.
Quinn: And who knew there were so many of them.
Owen: I think what’s changed the most about Christmas as we’ve grown up is…nothing.
Aidan: What does that mean? Of course things have changed!
Owen: (Shakes his head) Christmas has always been about spending time together. Just us. Mom, Dad and the six of us. That hasn’t changed. We still have a traditional Irish dinner on Christmas Eve…
Quinn: Thank God Zoe and Anna took over cooking it though.
Owen: We still all get together on Christmas morning to open gifts, then we clean up while Dad makes breakfast…
Hugh: And our lovely wives assist with that now too…
Owen: And even though Mom isn’t there with us…she is. We spend the day not only making memories, but remembering all of the Christmas’s we had with her.
(Everyone grows quiet)
Aidan: There weren’t enough of them.
(They all nod)
Darcy: I think what’s changed is that we all appreciate one another more. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have such an amazing family and even though they all share memories of a time that I never got to experience, they have made sure that I always had a great Christmas. (looks at her brothers) And I love you all for it. So…thank you.
Rae: Thank you all. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and can’t wait to meet up again soon.
Holiday Spice is out tomorrow. Click on the cover and pre-order your copy now:
Coffee With Samantha Chase and The Shaughnessy Crew
Coffee With Samantha Chase
New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40’s to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.
When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
For more information, please visit Samantha’s website – www.chasing-romance.com
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Facebook – www.facebook.com/SamanthaChaseFanClub
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Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Samantha-Chase/e/B006CZWRGC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Instagram – https://instagram.com/samanthachaseromance/
Rae: Thank you so much for hanging out with me today.
Damon: And thank you so much for having me. 🙂
Rae: First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking an iced mocha latte with Coconut milk. What would you order?
Damon: A real chai, none of that syrupy Starbuck stuff. 🙂 Earlier this year I stayed with Sonali Dev in Chicago and all weekend she made me this amazing chai that her parents had brought from Mumbai, with fresh ginger grated into it. Heaven!
Rae: That sounds yummy! We met at RT Booklovers in Atlanta this past spring. Not only was our encounter fun, you were extremely generous with your time! My time was packed with places and people I wanted to meet. Were you able to connect with authors of books you read?
Damon: Absolutely. It’s one of my favorite things about RT every year I wind up meeting all these amazing authors and picking up books I never would’ve found otherwise and in the next year I get to go back and party with them. That’s one of my favorite things about romance events: the way Romancelandia extends beyond the physical space. I always say, “ugly carpets, nice people!” It feels like such a blessing, the romance community, and the folks who write the books I love are the people who get to party w-ith. Where else in the world does that happen?
Rae: Is there a topic or panel that you would love to discuss or be a part of but haven’t yet at a convention or conference?
Damon: I dunno… I talk a whole lot. LOL but now that you mention it, I wish more attention got paid to tropes in the genre. Fans love them, authors live by them, our entire industry hinges on them, but tropes tend to get short shrift in programming. Maybe it’s because they’re so complicated and so personal. Hard to say. But I love tracing and tracking the way tropes evolve over time, the way fans embrace and discard tropes. They’re fascinating.
Rae: For readers who are not familiar with your books can you tell us what sparked your desire to write romance? Where do you find inspiration for your stories and how long does it take you to write a novel from start to finish? What is your favorite genre to write?
Damon: Whew! Okay. A lot to answer there. 🙂 I first wrote romance on a dare: I was still screenwriting full time and a friend of mine was working on a book and I helped her with a plot problem and she legit dared me to write a book. I wrote my first book in six weeks, sold it in two days, and it was number one for six months on Amazon. I couldn’t believe it. After two weeks, I called my agent and said, “I never wanna work for the Weinstein brothers or Miramax again!” LOL Romance was so liberating, so fresh after years in showbiz; I didn’t have to wrestle with an entire shoot crew or worry what a director or star might do a story. I could just let to people fall in love and unpack all that emotion the way I wanted to. It was just so freeing, so inspiring. The funny thing is, I haven’t written that many books but I’m actually a very fast writer…I’m just fussy. I’d say the average book takes me three months to finish. And as for genre, I am a proud genre slut: I love them all so wherever the story takes me I follow.
Rae: Your previous jobs are impressive and fun! How much of your previous careers have found it’s way into any of your stories?
Damon: Well in a way, all of ’em. I grew up in Texas where my family still keeps a ranch which absolutely influenced the farm and town Lickety Split. I lived for several years on the Upper East Side of Manhattan amongst hyperpolished A-gays which is where the setting for Pent Up started. I’ve written comics, directed film, and acted and those jobs turned up in Bad Idea. I have a weird secret life as an academic with a degree in religion which definitely had an influence on the daemonology in Horn Gate. Even the Brooklyn in Hot Head comes from personal experience and long stretches hanging out with first responders in sketchy bars. LOLOL
Rae: When you are not sitting at your desk, in your chair, or wherever you find your inspiration to craft, what do you read to fuel your mind?
Damon: Lord. Everything! I read 1200 words a minute so my book consumption is like a wood chipper: history, science, sociology, lit crit, poetry, theology, true crime, biography, pulps… And of course I read tons and tons of romance and other genre fiction because I’m always trying to learn how to do my job better. But I mulch my muse with as much fresh, interesting content as I can lay my paws on. I never want to get stale. I’m always looking for the next thing, a fresh perspective.
Rae: What was the craziest thing you researched for a book you were working on?
Damon: Hmmm. I think it’s a tossup… either types of grass raised for hay bailing operations, which I spent four days researching for Lickety Split because I wanted to get the family business right, or else eels because Grown Men was about terraforming and eel ranching, which led to two weeks of reading and an afternoon on a boat watching fishermen club eels to death. Intense, but very very instructive when it came to writing sci-fi seafood ranching.
Rae: What inspired you to serve on the Romance Writers of America Board? Has your time on the board changed your perspective of the romance writing process?
Damon: I was originally appointed, which felt weird at first. As it happened, right before Diane Kelly took office, two board members stepped down and she wanted to focus on increasing RWA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. I gotta be honest, I turned her down for nine days because I didn’t really believe she was serious. Diversity push? Yeah right. Finally, my husband gave me a stern talking to and said if I passed up the opportunity to make a difference I’d kick myself for the rest of my life. Well color me an idiot… In our first meeting, Diane and the rest of the Directors made my doubts seem ridiculous and that year was in many ways a watershed for RWA’s future planning. After that first year I couldn’t run for the board fast enough. Working with these brilliant, talented women has completely changed the writer I am and the way I work in this industry. I have a completely different grasp and respect for our industry. There’s so much history, so much insight that comes from knuckling down and solving problems with folks this talented, gracious, and experience. Amazing. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Rae: What can we expect to see in 2017?
Damon: Well, aside from the Second Chance anthology which just came out I’m getting close to finishing a new royal romance which I’m having a blast with. Saucy tabloid misbehavior in excelsis. LOL I don’t have a hard date on release but that will be next and I think the fans will seriously dig it.
Rae: Readers, I featured a review and excerpt of Twice Shy, Damon’s tale in the Second Chance Anthology earlier this morning. You can read it here. Where can readers find you in the upcoming months?
Damon: Geez. I’m all over! LOL I’m traveling a lot, which I love. 🙂 Denver, Orange County, Houston, Valley Forge, even Bristol in the UK. There’s a full schedule of my workshops and convention appearances at my site if folks are looking for me and I post updates on all my social media feeds.
Rae: Thank you again
Damon: Thank you, Rae! I had a great time.
***** Tantalizing Tidbits *******
1. What is a must read book and why? Everything I Left Unsaid by Molly O’Keefe… She’s a brilliant stylist, with a sexy, snarky sense of suspense. Deeply emotional and personal in the best ways. This book just grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go.
2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? The next time you make it to NYC you should check out the view of the Manhattan Bridge from the waterfront in Brooklyn Heights. Every square inch looks like a shot from a saucy 1930s musical about Manhattan.
3. Best vacation destination? Prague. Amazing people, amazing food, amazing artwork.
4. What is your guilty pleasure? Well, I don’t believe in Feeling guilty about my pleasures. But probably the thing other people would feel guilty about that I do is collecting and savoring the worst films on the planet. Flop-tastic! I have hundreds and hundreds of the most god-awful films ever created and I watch them with shameless abandon and delight. That’s how Cinema Craptastique was born, actually. Fans had heard about my bad movie collection and the hardcore fiasco marathons in my loft, so we got public with the cheese! 😀
5. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? No tats. I’m too much of an editor so the minute I chose one I’d want to change my mind. LOL Every so often I flirt with getting something that seems PERFECT and then the next week I’m relieved I didn’t.
6. Organized or Free Floating? Worse! I’m a free floating organizer. The most infuriating qualities of each. 😛 I’m always riffing and improvising, but I’m fiddling and fussing and revising as I do it. Like an actor with a screenwriter sending pages telepathically every second of a shoot. LOL I love the wacky freedom but I also want the framework. Roses need a trellis! LOL
7. What’s on your playlist? Movie scores. When I’m writing I don’t like lyrics because I find them distracting, but for the last 25 years I collected movie scores in every genre because I love the emotions and the texture and I can build a kind of soundscape for whatever I’m working on.
8. What is one thing you can’t live without? Books. I literally read every day, sometimes as many as four books in a day. My entire loft looks like the library from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. F’realz. The idea of having to survive without interesting stuff to feed my mind makes me want to jump out of an airplane eating a razor while cutting my wrists with a sushi knife. I love books in a way I don’t know how to articulate properly. They are lanterns on the unlit path and safe harbor in stormy seas. Books save me more often than I’d care to admit.
Rae: Thanks again for hanging out! Time for another Iced-Coffee 🙂
Damon: You’re awesome! Can’t wait to hang the next time we’re in the same zipcode!
Rae: Happy Reading Damon
Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. He has lived all over and along the way, he’s earned his crust as a model, a messenger, a promoter, a programmer, a sculptor, a singer, a stripper, a bookkeeper, a bartender, a techie, a teacher, a director… but writing has ever been his bread and butter. He has been happily partnered for over a decade with the most loving, handsome, shrewd, hilarious, noble man to walk this planet.
Damon is a proud member of the Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Romance Writers. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades, which is both more and less glamorous than you might imagine. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year..
Damon would love to hear from you…. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com
Rae: Thank you so much for hanging out with me today. First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking an iced latte with Coconut milk and a drizzle of chocolate. What would you order?
Rebecca: I’m usually a white chocolate mocha girl, extra sweet with an extra shot of espresso. Hot in the winter, iced in the summer!
Rae: We met at RT in Atlanta when I was lucky enough to find a seat at your table for the Entangled Spoons event. You have mad card skills and made my first time playing fun and memorable.
Rebecca: LOL! Candy & Spoons is INSANE. It’s fast-paced and gets a little crazy. But hey, at least no one dumped a table this year, lol!
Rae: While I had not read any of your books prior to RT I was introduced to Wilder at a Facebook party where you had a link to read the first chapter. I knew at that moment I had to get my hands on not only the book but the entire series. Since then, I have happily read all three books in the Renegades series and hope that we might see a novella for Nitro. Any chance?
Rebecca: That’s amazing to hear! I’m so glad it hooked you. I’m so sorry to say, but the Renegades will end with Rebel. I have so many projects coming up in this next year that there’s really no way I could work that into my schedule.
Rae: Where did you come up with the concept? This summer I took my family on our first cruise and can’t wait to sail again. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to travel for school, follow your passion, and find love at the same time. These stories combine adventure, love and serious heat. While I never studied abroad during college I wish I had applied for the Semester at Sea program and after reading your books, I’m sure many will be inspired too. My review of all three Renegade books can be read here.
Rebecca: Well, my best friend did Semester at Sea while she was in college, and I got all these crazy post cards from all over the globe. Then my husband and I spent 18 days cruising the Mediterranean for our 10 year anniversary and the idea just took hold and wouldn’t quit.
Rae: How much exposure to extreme sports did you have before sitting down to write Wilder? How did you research for each character? The introduction to Wilder was an adrenaline rush as a reader, would you ever do what he did? (I’m trying not to give a spoiler to readers 😉 )
Rebecca: NONE. Ohhhh my goodness, I did SO much research! I even took one of my sons and flew with him to Salt Lake City to watch the Nitro Circus World Games live to get a better idea of how it all worked. So much YouTube, so much reading, and that live event really tied it together for me!
Rae: For those not familiar with your books, can you tell us a bit about your backlist?
Rebecca: Sure! My Flight & Glory Series is military-based and follows a group of friends from college into flight school and eventually to war. My Legacy Series is made up of novellas (for now) and is about a team of hotshot firefighters rebuilding the their small town hotshot team ten years after their fathers were all killed in a wildfire.
Rae: You are a huge advocate for the foster community and post on social media bout your personal connection. What can you say to anyone reading this who has thought about becoming a foster family? We have family friends who have changed lives and some of those children have gone on to find their forever family. I admire what you do and the sacrifices that you and your family make to help those who are too young to advocate for themselves.
Rebecca: We absolutely advocate for the foster community. We fostered our youngest daughter for two years, and were blessed to be able to adopt her two years later. Our thoughts in being so public about our daughter, and her autism, was to open the discussion among those who follow me on my social media platforms, and really normalize foster parenting and adoption. We’re getting our own non-profit started to help kids in care and foster parents, and I can’t wait until it’s up and running!
Rae: Writing is challenging enough, how do you find the time to write with six children? You must be super organized 😉 Are you a digital planner or paper planner? I have a spiral planner for my Blog and a Bullet Journal for my family life and it’s still a challenge. Do you have one system or many to keep everything sorted?
Rebecca: Oh my gosh, I’m actually a hot mess, lol! I use a Day Designer to keep my day to day organized, along with my kids’ school schedules, soccer, cross country and hockey schedules, and of course anything going on with my husband. The military keeps him pretty busy! Because I also have ADD, I work really hard to keep everything in one central location, or I get WAY too distracted.
Rae: What can we expect to see in 2017?
Rebecca: Rebel and Nova will be my only 2017 releases, but I’m hoping to publish a passion project after Christmas, and then I have a couple super fun, but super secret projects coming up in 2018 that I’m waiting for the OK from my publisher to chat about!
Rae: If readers want to find you, where will you be in the upcoming months?
Rebecca: Oh! Great question! I’m so busy lately, and I LOVE to meet my readers!
September 2017 – Indies Invade Philly
October 2017 – Love N Vegas
January 2018 – 1001 Dark Nights Cruise (Cozumel)
February 2018 – Holidays with the Belles (Texas)
March 2018 – Apollycon (Washington DC)
Rae: I am thrilled you were able to join me today and look forward to your next release.
Rebecca: No problem! Thank you for having me, and for taking the time to read and review my books! I truly appreciate it!
***** 8 Tantalizing Tidbits *****
1. What is a must read book and why? The Hate U Give – It is truly eye-opening and made me ask myself uncomfortable questions, especially since I’m raising a biracial daughter.
2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? Garden of the Gods. It’s a geological wonder and truly beautiful to behold.
3. Castles or Beaches? Beaches
4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? I went to college on a vocal scholarship, but I only sing in the car. 😉
5. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go?
Bora-Bora…and I’d find a reason, lol!
6. What is your guilty pleasure? Sleeping. Hands down.
7. What are you afraid of? Class A’s at my front door. That’s pretty much every military wife’s worst fear.
8. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? Tats. My first was a heart with wings and a halo on my hip. I was 17, lied about my age, and I have no regrets. It really symbolized how I felt that love was a gift sent by God, and worth every sacrifice.
Rebecca: Thank you for having me!!!!
Rae: Happy Writing!
Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and a lover of all things coffee, chocolate, and Paleo.
She is the author of the Flight & Glory series, including Full Measures, the award-winning Eyes Turned Skyward, Beyond What is Given, and Hallowed Ground. She loves military heroes, and has been blissfully married to hers for fourteen years.
When she’s not writing, she’s tying hockey skates for her four sons, sneaking in some guitar time, or watching brat-pack movies with her two daughters. She lives in Colorado with the hottest Apache pilot ever, their rambunctious gaggle of kids, an English bulldog who is more
stubborn than sweet, and a bunny named General Fluffy Pants who torments the aforementioned bulldog. They recently adopted their youngest daughter from the foster system, and Rebecca is passionate about helping others do the same.