That is all…Be back soon…
That is all…Be back soon…
This week’s offerings has something for everyone, and I’ve read all but two, so I have some reading to do too 😛
PICTURE PERFECT DECEPTION by Emeline Piaget
All I’m gonna say about this one is you have to watch out for them “sweet and docile” chicks. They’re good people, but they aren’t as perfect as they seem. Add one hot veterinarian and a cast of funny supporting characters, and you’ve got a great “read in bed” story.
MARCO by Raven St. Pierre
When a random hookup with a sexy stripper and a plus-size PYT yields some unexpected consequences, whatchu gon’ do? All I can say is, if this happened to me, I would want Marco to be the one I go through it with.
LIGHTNING STRIKES by Trevion Burns
The long-awaited conclusion to the Almeida Brothers series is finally here! Jack Almeida has finally met his match, but can he let go of the past and move on with his life? I cannot wait to find out!
ENTICED by Chanta Rand
Chanta Rand is a “new” author for me, and the blurb immediately caught my attention: Hunky, action star meets plus-size photographer and the ish goes down…Yes, I am intrigued…
RENO GABRINI: FOR HIS LOVER by Mallory Monroe
Ok, Mob Boss fans: This one is for you! When don’t Reno and Trina have drama in their lives? I swear between the two of them, they have more skeletons in their closet than all the cemeteries in Vegas. And I love it!
I’m going to try to be more consistent with new releases. My goal is to mix fan favorites with some under the radar authors as well. Same with spotlights and reviews…
Many times when I do author spotlights, it’s by request. And I thank those authors for reaching out because you’ve introduced me to something new, and I truly appreciate it.Then there are those times, when the unabashed fangirl in me breaks out and goes lowkey stalker to get an author to talk.
This is one of those times.
You may not know her name or her work, but after this interview, I hope you will want to read The Men of Whiskey Row series and love it as much as I do. Let’s do this:
Musings Romance Junkie: I’m a huge IR romance fan, and one of the first things I always ask IR romance authors is why IR?
D.A. Young: I’m a huge fan of romance and a firm believer in diversity. When I write, the characters just take on a life of their own.
MRJ: Have you always wanted to be a writer, or what was that defining moment for you?
DAY: I always knew I had a BIG imagination. My mind was ALWAYS going to different places, LOL. Five years ago, I was sitting at my work desk and a story I’d been thinking about, just wouldn’t leave my mind. So I took my lunch and started to write (soooo unprofessional, I know). By the time my thirty-minute break was up, I was still writing. I informed my boss I would like to add my fifteen-minute break to extend my writing time, LOL. By the time that was over, I knew I was on to something.
MRJ: Describe your writing process? Do you always start with a concept, then outline, or are you just a write, write, write, then go back and edit type of gal?
DAY: I’m a mixer. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to write and then I’ll outline everything. Other times I just write and write, then I’ll go back and look at it, THEN outline/edit. I’m always inspired while writing so I make sure to write all the other ideas down, including what inspired them. I research and plug them in where I feel they will work best.
MRJ: Who are some of your favorite authors or what do you like to read when you aren’t writing?
DAY: This is a hard one! There are just too many, but the first romance book I ever picked up was by Beverly Jenkins. To this day, she has never disappointed me.
MRJ: Let’s talk about Men of Whiskey Row! Real talk, I clicked this book on a total whim, and truthfully, I had no expectations, but after chapter two, a sista was like WHOAAAAA! I gotta contact this author! What was the inspiration for this series?
DAY: Music, diversity, family and documentaries. When I wrote Sweet Obsession, I was exposed to artists like the Alabama Shakes, Passenger, Taylor Swift and The Lumineers. Their music inspired a lot of rustic Americana in me. Throw in the fact that I’m OBSESSED with the prohibition era, Smoky Mountains and family being everything, a concept was formed. I’m also a lover of small towns, but a lot of them lack diversity, especially in the mountains. I wanted to create a place where all of this would come together and meld beautifully.
MRJ: On the surface, this series looks like just another romance featuring a group of brothers, but you deal with some pretty serious issues, specifically, domestic abuse and the lasting effects that it leaves on the children directly impacted by it. What has the reception been like because this plays an integral part of the series?
DAY: It’s definitely not a subject to be taken lightly. The feedback has been amazing overall, but it varies. I have some people who like to address it directly, but others who focus on the book as a whole, which is fine. In writing this series, I wanted to showcase a group of people that were scarred from things in their past, how they’ve attempted to overcome it and function in society. There have been some responses where it’s like ‘OMG, it’s ridiculous, that everyone is so good-looking’ or they’re not ‘alpha’ enough. Your human first and there isn’t one of us who’s not flawed. In book one, Jack is walking the finest of lines to NOT turn out like his brute of a father, you know? He even left his wife, because he was ashamed of what he thought he was doing/becoming. In the end I just wanted to show that no matter what it looks like, let’s not judge. Everyone is going through something. It’s what you make of your situation: Either you run it or it runs you.
MRJ: You really flipped the script with this series on a number of levels. The Sullivan brothers, even with all of their accomplishments, are still the underdogs. I really felt like this was a “social justice” romance on some levels because you talked about racism, classism, body-shaming…without beating the reader in the head with it, and I felt it so refreshing and entertaining at the same time. Was that intentional or did it just “happen” as the story developed?
DAY: It was a little bit of both. We live in a society that is quick to judge on so many levels, that it just becomes the norm. None of it is okay, but it happens every. Single. Day. In my books, I’m trying to convey the message that we can all learn something from each other. Example: Darby, Avery and the photo both 😉 Too bad about all those pesky love scenes in between, LOL.
MRJ: How easy or difficult is it for you to write love scenes, because chile…I had some pearl-clutching moments!
DAY: Oh dear…are you going to think badly of me if I say they aren’t difficult at all? I think couples need to have a connection physically and mentally to work. Avery and her relationships (Pierce/ Darby) are a PERFECT example of how things can either work or go awry. When I write a love scene, I never want to give it to my readers the same way twice and I’m fully invested in making it worth their while. Fingers crossed, I can only hope I’m doing okay in this department, LMBO!
MRJ: If Men of Whiskey Row were made into a series, whom would you cast as Jack, Darby, Casey, Noelle, Avery, and (my personal fave) Sidra?
DAY: I’m sorry, but this one has me stumped! I can’t really say except for Vivienne whose personality is a mixture of Olivia Pope and Cookie Lyon, LOL! This is the reason that I don’t put complete faces on my covers. I want people to create in their mind what these characters look like. Half the fun is in using your imagination. Please don’t hate me, guys! 🙂
Sidenote: Yeah, I’m hatin’…snort
MRJ: What more can we expect from D.A. Young this year, and when is the next book dropping?
DAY: A LOT. Definitely more Whiskey Row, but I am currently finishing the very first book that I worked on (see question 2). It’s called The Farmer & The Belle and it is the first book in the Baymoor Series. Book 2 of that series will follow Casey and Sidra. In November, Lost & Found, then at the end of December, I will venture into the M.C. world.
You can also connect with D.A. Young on Facebook where she shares up-to-date info about her current and upcoming releases.
Three things happened in the last week that prompted this post:
All of these events were somewhat of a shock to my literary being (I know that may make zero sense to some, but let’s just go with it). I was not only shocked that I didn’t like something that one of my ultimate faves had written, but I was even more perplexed that everyone else overwhelmingly loved it. What did they take away differently from a story that so utterly turned me off? Same with the book that received the glowing reviews as opposed to my scathing one? With the book that I edited, that author and I put our feet in it, and we both had a few headscratching convos about where we went wrong, and we conspiratorially concluded that those readers are just nuts (teehee…Yes, I do get in my feels.)
I’ve thought about this, and the simplest answer is “Everything ain’t for everybody.” But more importantly, when we read, we process things differently. Our head spaces aren’t the same. Life events may come into play. While both books were not badly written, meaning, they were “technically sound”, I wasn’t captivated by the storyline or attracted to the characters. And you know what? I felt really badly. I felt like I was betraying a friend for not liking her work, and I felt like shit for going in so hard on a book that just triggered something in me that just pissed me off to the highest level of pisstivity. With the book I edited, I am still quite pleased with the end result, but more importantly, the author loved the end result, and that’s all that matters as far as I am concerned (But yeah, I’m still a lil raw over one particular negative review…)
Words and emotion. They don’t just apply in real life.
Yes, I’m on cp time with this blog post, and to the author and tour host, I sincerely apologize. But good things come to those who wait, and I am personally psyched about this story. Why? Because it’s an African American paranormal romance. And they are hella rare which makes them all the more special. N.D. Jones is a new author to me, and after the deets on her latest, Of Fear and Faith, peep out my lil Q&A. And then add this book to your TBR. Better yet, click it up!
Death and Destiny Trilogy 1
Of Fear and Faith
By N.D. Jones
Genre: African-American, Contemporary, Fairy Tales/Myths, Paranormal, Shape-shifter
Before trust and love can take hold, grow solid roots, and blossom into a reality larger than self, fear must be conquered and faith embraced. Yet fear of an ancient prophecy, of burning magical power, and a broken heart, Sanura Williams, psychology professor, is unprepared when Special Agent Assefa Berber enters her life, hunting a preternatural serial killer. Assefa’s intelligent, chocolate eyes and intoxicating aura signature stirs her fire spirit but frightens the woman.
In a world where all is not as it seems, Sanura and Assefa must battle the gods’ first creations – vile predators who threaten the safety of humans. Each confrontation, each bloody clash, will bring Sanura and Assefa closer to fulfilling the prophecy of being the Fire Witch and Cat of Legend – the ones who will save humanity from the Water Witch of Legend.
Death, godly magic, and physical attraction draw Sanura and Assefa to each other, but fear and faith will determine their destiny.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/g_QvkLjHEIo
N.D. Jones lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. While she likes to read historical and paranormal romance novels, as well as action-packed comics, she enjoys writing love stories with three-dimensional and positively depicted characters of color.
On Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Pe9JKj
On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1SWcgyF
On Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1QYqOfL
Musings of a Romance Junkie: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
N. D. Jones: Until a few years ago, I never gave professional writing a thought, beyond my academic writing. As a child, I wanted to become a lawyer. Then, when I was accepted into law school I decided not to go, seeking my M.A. in Political Science instead. Eventually, I entered the teaching profession, which I love. Writing came much later.
MRJ: How did you come up with the story idea for Of Fear and Faith?
N.D. Jones: I read a lot of paranormal romance novels and comic books. I also read fanfiction. The quality of those stories run the gambit, but fanfiction writers love the characters they write about and are a loyal fan base, which I respect. For a while, I also wrote fanfiction, which was pretty cool. One of the stories I brainstormed had to do with witches, shapeshifters, and African gods. I considered writing an alternate universe story with one of my favorite comic book couples as the hero and heroine of my paranormal romance. This is the thing, I owned none of the characters I so loved crafting stories about and I was spending a lot of time on a hobby that could so easily be turned into something more productive and personal. So I decided to create my own characters, using my brainstormed idea of a witch-were-cat romance and an ancient prophecy as the starting point for my first full-length novel. From there, the story evolved into a mammoth manuscript that I eventually divided into three parts. Hence, the Death and Destiny Trilogy.
MRJ: Do you only write paranormal romance or do you consider yourself a multi-genre writer?
N.D. Jones: I always list my books as paranormal romance. But I consider myself a multi-genre writer. That’s one point that often comes out in reviews for “Of Fear and Faith.” Reviewers often mention that the book has suspense, action, horror, as well as romance and paranormal elements. For readers who want more romance and less paranormal, they may be disappointed. For others, they’ve been pleasantly surprised by the mix. I think this multi-genre mix comes out due to my love of fantasy, paranormal, romance novels, as well as superhero comics, anime, and manga. The romance is always there, under-girding the entire story. But I like for my novels to tell an intriguing and engaging story beyond the beauty, as well as the trials and tribulations of falling in love and finding that happily-ever-after.
MRJ: Do you write full-time?
N.D. Jones: No, I’m not a full-time writer. I have the pleasure of working for a local system where I plan and facilitate professional learning opportunities for school-based and central office teachers, staff, and administrators. I fit writing in on a part-time basis, using my evenings and weekends.
MRJ: How has the audience reception been towards Of Fear and Faith? There are very few dedicated AA paranormal romances on the market today.
N.D. Jones: Until recently, I haven’t taken the time to really market the novel. I’m doing a lot more of that now and learning so much along the way. I’ve found that most readers enjoy the book, particularly paranormal and fantasy romance lovers. But I’ve also received great reviews from people who don’t traditionally read books like “Of Fear and Faith.” I value such reviews because those readers stepped out of their reading comfort zone and tried my book, not quite sure what they were getting themselves into. And no, there aren’t many dedicated African American paranormal romances on the market, which is, in large part, why I write the stories that I do. I assume, if I want to read such stories then others do as well.
MRJ: Who are some of your writing influences?
N.D. Jones: I could list writers whose works I read and enjoy, but I wouldn’t say they influenced my writing. No, I take that back. Going back to the previous point about a lack of African American paranormal romance authors, I can see how the works of some of my favorite authors have definitely influenced my writing. Influenced in the sense of African Americans being virtually absent in their novels, particularly as the hero and heroine. “Black love” is so rarely represented in romance novels, regardless of the subgenre. I can and do enjoy novels with all types of characters. But as an African American woman married to an African American man, I think it’s important to write novels with Africans and/or African Americans as romantic leads.
MRJ: Who were your inspirations, if any, for the story? If you could cast this series for a movie, who would the actors be?
N.D. Jones: Such a great question. And wouldn’t it be great if someone, maybe Spike Lee, wanted to have my book made into a movie? Okay, a girl can dream. And while I’m dreaming, Oprah Winfrey’s Network would be a great place for my book turned television movie. As for who would play them? I don’t know, maybe two talented, up-and-coming actors who fit the physical profile of Assefa and Sanura. Many YA and teen books that have been turned into movies starred new or barely-known but talented actors. I would love that for my novel. Here’s to dreams.
MRJ: What else can we expect from N. D. Jones for 2016?
N.D. Jones: I just finished writing “Of Beasts and Bonds.” It’s the second installment in my Death and Destiny Trilogy. I’m going through the editing process now, making sure, in part, that I haven’t contradicted myself from book one to book two. Which, yes, I’ve found places where I definitely did not align the works as smoothly as I should have. My working back cover blurb for the new book is: Mami Wata and Oya are now free from their watery prison and ready to wage a battle five hundred years in the making. Special Agent Assefa Berber and
Dr. Sanura Williams are the prophesized Cat and Fire Witch of Legend. To save the world from Mami Wata, a water goddess with a bloody thirst for power and an insatiable appetite for death and destruction, they must defeat her beasts and the Water Witch of Legend.
Assefa and Sanura are fully in love but possess only a partial mate bond. While Sanura has merged their auras, bonding Assefa’s cat spirit to her, she has yet to accept his claiming bite. Their incomplete mate bond and their new relationship are tested when Mami Wata sets her malevolent eyes on them, manipulating beasts, sacrificing humans, and creating heartache. Can their bond survive, or will they drown under the vicious tide of godly might?
In a world of mystery and magic, sometimes old bonds must be broken before new ones can be formed. Who knew that finding one’s soul mate would test bonds and unleash beasts?
Thank you N.D.! It’s always lovely to meet new authors and discover new works. I look forward to reading Of Fear and Faith. Don’t forget to check out the trailer and add to your TBR today!
ME AT THE END OF THE BOOK:
ME DAYS, EVEN WEEKS LATER:
I hate this feeling! There is a series out now (which shall remain anonymous) that has me on the brink of violence, yet I am on pins and needles waiting for the next book to drop. You ever read a book or series like that? Kill me now…
Hot off the presses and kindle-ready! Here are the latest from a few of your faves…
Will the gorgeous supermodel and the dashing real estate mogul rekindle the flames of their youth, or will they get burned by the drama that threatens a promising future? Click it up to find out!
Interracial historical romance set in 1930’s Maryland, featuring both a BWWM and a WWBM coupling. This is book 4 in the Oyster Harbor series. This one sounds really explosive. Click it up!
Chickie-poo is left high and dry at the altar by her fiance when he discovers she was unfaithful. But was she really? Sounds hella messy and entertaining! Click it up.
Double your pleasure and your fun with this duology by Nana Malone and Sienna Mynx. Opposites attract in more ways than one. Click it up to find out how.
PS: I forgot to hit “publish” this morning hence the late post. Enjoy your weekend, and I’ll be back Monday with an all-new musings!