A Void of Magic
Kennedy Rain, Book 1
by Sandy Williams
General Fiction (Adult) | New Adult | Sci Fi & Fantasy
They trusted her to keep the peace between the paranorms. They made a mistake.
Kennedy escaped the family business when she turned eighteen. Now, an ill-timed vacation pulls her back to The Rain Hotel, the only known null zone on the planet. It’s a place where vampires can see the sun rise and werewolves can avoid the lure of the full moon. And it would be the perfect place for a paranormal wedding…if the bride wasn’t the local alpha’s daughter and the groom the scion of a vicious master vampire.
With a sexy werewolf determined to sabotage the wedding and dark forces threatening The Rain, Kennedy’s life is thrown out of balance when she’s forced to confront a past she swore to avoid. Ultimately she must choose: will she maintain the stability of the supernatural world…or will she destroy it.
This is another is the genre of providing an hotel for paranormals. With the difference that in this hotel there was a magical void – that is the magic that made the wolves or vampires into their paranormal selves was missing and thus during their stay they were just ‘normal’ human beings.
This meant that if for instance you had a werewolf that had ‘moon madness’ – a state where they forgot their human side completely, a stay st the hotel restored it. And that vampires could eat ‘human’ food rather than blood.
It was set up by a treaty many hundreds of years past with one family and their descendants eoing the inn-keepers by trade and the wolves and the vampires trading places every week. Other paranormals came to stay also but were not as constrained as these two branches.
Our heroine is trying not to be an inn-keeper – at least not yet. So she was studying at university, but got called back when trouble arose and her parents had gone on holiday. A wolf and a vampire decide to marry and have their wedding at the hotel. This breaks all the treaties as the 2 races were not meant to mingle.
And so the mystery begins and the trouble escalates.
I enjoyed this story as it was nicely written and the characters were well enough drawn. It is of course, the first in a series but book 2 is not out for another year (July 2022).
Renovated: A Workplace Romance
Blake Brothers #1
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: August 5th 2021
They’ve been hired to remodel a mansion. Will they end up getting a room? Marisa Sanchez has grand designs for her future. After taking over her grandfather’s construction firm, the successful vlogger and civil engineer is about to take the next step with a new show on the Home Design Network. But she’s not pleased to find out she can only have the lucrative gig if she agrees to work with a handsome rival. Levi Chance takes the responsibility of providing for his brothers seriously. So when his biggest client asks him to come into the spotlight to co-host a new program, he reluctantly accepts. But he fears the pretty, camera-loving partner he’s been assigned might bring his top-notch reputation tumbling down if she can’t deliver the goods. Discovering her teammate is quite capable, Marisa battles her attraction to him as she ambitiously turns the project upside down. And the more Levi works with the smart Latina, the more he worries he’s about to push the “no sex” morality clause in their contract into forbidden territory. Will Marisa and Levi’s fixer-upper turn into a happily together forever? Renovated is the charming first book in the moving Chance Brothers contemporary romance series. If you like sparkling attractions, comedic moments, and steamy action, then you’ll love Nikki Kiley’s well-built romp.
Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
My fascination with home renovation began as a superfan of HGTV, Discovery, and E! Entertainment. I couldn’t help but imagine myself as the homeowner that needed to confront the various scenarios, budget, choices, the letdowns when things didn’t work out, and the joy of the final walk-through with the TV host. It’s corny; my husband and I would–and still do–watch the shows where the guests travel to foreign countries and choose between three different homes, and we’ll make a game of guessing which they decided, based on the future homeowner’s personalities. When the lockdown became our reality, I put my imagination to work on overdrive. I immersed myself in the behind-the-scenes of tv production companies and learned what happens in the production of Home Renovation shows and Home construction for TV. I had the idea of a protagonist, a mid-twenties Latina with the preparation, looks, and desire to make a name for herself in reality TV, focusing on home design. It was just a matter of getting it down on paper (or on my computer, haha)
How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a notebook where you write down topics that appeal before deciding as to which topic this time?
The idea behind Renovated percolated for close to a year. I dreamt of it, gave it shape, plotted in my mind until I could no longer fight the words that needed an outlet. I thought about the series, their future partners, tropes, and the misbeliefs. In each story I ask my characters, “Okay, what’s your issue? How are we going to find the one? Who will it be, and how can I create enough conflict to make it riveting”.
What resources do you use? In general, and for the last book that you wrote?
I started using excel spreadsheets, then I discovered PLOTTR (game changer), Scrivener(I’m probably using a tenth of its potential), Microsoft Word(when in the editing stage). I use a mix of Save the Cat and Gwen Hayes Romancing the Beat to outline. I’m 100% a plantser: I do very detailed outlines but swerve off the path when my characters develop a mind of their own and deviate from my storyline.
How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police, medics, etc when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?
My experience has been very positive when asking professionals for feedback about their profession or even advice. One of the books in my series will be about a home stager that falls for one of the Chance brothers. I was fortunate that I knew in Miami a very successful home stager, my sister’s sister-in-law. I spent the day observing and asked numerous questions of everyone that worked the home staging process. People love sharing what they know, and if they love what they do, even more so.
I will say, “I am writing a book. Can I pick your brain for purely research purposes?” In my experience, thus far, people are flattered that you have an interest in their life or job and are more than happy to answer questions and share details about their profession.
If you need specialist knowledge to write a book, how do you obtain it? For instance, do you interview people? Go to the location? Use Google Earth? Apps?
I’ve googled so much during the lockdown. My book takes place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Miami, Florida. I know those places extremely well. For Tennessee, I googled for details. When things are a bit easier, I would love to go and visit Nashville to do some reconnaissance. My book is about the behind-the-scenes of the Home Renovation production company and the individuals that make up that world. Thank God for Google once again. There’s a lot on the internet, and It’s easy to fall through the research rabbit hole.
Did you need to self-publish on ebooks before a publisher took you up?
I chose to self-publish from the very beginning. I never entertained the idea of looking for a publisher. I wasn’t waiting for someone else to make my dreams of becoming a published author a reality.
Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?
I never entertained the thought of a publisher since I decided that I was going straight to Indie. But if I am blessed enough to garner an audience and am approached by a publishing house I would consider it. One thing people who aren’t in the industry hardly realize is that you have to put on a lot of hats with self-publishing. You are not only the writer, but you are also the advertiser, the researcher, etc.
I consider self-publishing and building an audience similar to the concept of the newsletter. It’s essential to make a connection with your readers, and at the end of the day, your fans belong to you, follow you, and will back your books.
What do you read when you are ill in bed?
When I am sick––which thankfully doesn’t happen very often––it’s Paranormal romance for me. I get to stretch my imagination and construct the author’s world-building in my mind. I forget that I’m sick for a while. I am a huge fan of Shelly Laurenston (Her shifter romances), Lora Leigh (Breed Series), and Laurann Dohner(New Species). Alpha Males that have animal DNA. Wait, there’s a pattern there somewhere.
What is your favorite genre?
Romance, Paranormal, Contemporary, Rom Com––all Steamy.
If you could recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?
Penny Reid, Roni Loren, Devney Perry, Shelly Laurensten, Vi Keeland, the list could go on and on. All of them are fabulous at their craft. I love their writing: clever writing, strong women, great conflict, and a guaranteed HEA or HFN.
In your opinion, who is the funniest author now writing?
Penny Reid – Winston Brothers Series
Pippa Grant is Rom-Com personified.
Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?
There are so many talented and fabulous authors. I just want to write my story in the best way possible. I know what’s good. We all know good writing and literature. But it’s when you are putting actual words on the screen that you realize how damn hard the process is.
Do you have any pets?
If so, what are they? I have a bullmastiff named Kira, the epitome of a gentle giant. She‘s even written into my book Renovated and will be the family dog in all the Chance Series.
And what are they called? Kira
Do they help you write? Kira sits with me all day. Until she wants food, to walk, water, or a treat, then she’s the boss.
What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing? Kira just sleeps a lot. But at nine years old, she can do what she wants.
Which of your books are you most proud of?
Renovated is my first book, so I am partial to it. I am proud of the fact that I realized I could finish a book and get it published. I slew that monster, and now I’m on to the next.
What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?
On a personal level, raising my children to be two incredible young adults and my thirty-two years with my husband, on a professional level, passing my CPA exam and holding my book in paperback. Nothing says a published author more than having the evidence in your hand.
Do you have an unusual hobby? Is it related to the books you write? Or is it for relaxation? Is it dangerous/ adventurous/ requires travel?
I love to travel. I live in Puerto Rico. Therefore we have to travel by plane to get everywhere. There’s no getting in the car and traveling to the next state over. Learning about the world and experiencing their cultures is extremely important to me as an individual and family. Pre-pandemic, we traveled to South Africa and stayed on a reserve, traveled to Zimbabwe, sailed the Nile, and climbed Machu Picchu. Hopefully, one day we can all return to a normal where we can travel and visit without fear.
Which is your favorite place to visit? Do you incorporate it into your books?
I love Florida, and it plays a central figure in my book, the different cultures that make up the state’s personality are front and center in my book.
If you could be any fictional character, which would you be? And why?
When I was young, it was Nancy Drew. As I got older, it was Mrs. Marple. Then I read J D Robb__ Eve Dallas. I think I see another pattern forming. Funny, I love romance but see myself as Angela Fletcher of Murder She Wrote.
If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?
Rome, Italy, or San Sebastian, Spain. I believe I’m motivated by the food in those countries. London, England because I’m a secret anglophile. But deep down inside, they would all be to visit. I love the United States and could not see myself living in any place other than here.
What music – if any – do you think inspires you to write? Is it different for each novel or the same?
Do you write at home or away from home? If at home, what does your space look like? Are you a tidy person? If away from home – where and why?
Since the lockdown and the pandemic have not been very conducive to coffee shop writing, I write at home.
I have a home office, but when the muse leaves me, it’s in bed from nine to midnight, just me and my laptop. My husband’s a saint and sleeps by my side while I write into the night.
Do you keep a timeline and character traits pinned up on your wall? On post-its? How do you remember important items about your characters like height, weight, coloring, likes and dislikes, etc.?
Plottr (not sponsored) has been instrumental in creating my timelines and character descriptions. I have now started using the Enneagram for character development. In Scrivner, I also keep a detailed character sheet that I transfered from Plottr, which I then add to.
Do you enjoy sailing? On a lake or the sea? And what about tall-masted ships- are they better than engines or?
I’m more of a motorboat person, I want to get to the endpoint, to start the trip and the fun fast. Not so much into the journey, more the destination. I wonder what that says about me.
Has the pandemic inspired you with any new stories to write? If so, what is the story premise?
The pandemic inspired me to finish my first book finally made me realize that life is too short not to acknowledge your deep-seated dreams.
Do you prefer doctors or nurses as your hero/heroine? Why?
I’ve been married to a doctor for over thirty years, and my daughter is studying medicine, so from a practical perspective, I have more input from them. Since he was a med student, I have been with my husband, and I have seen my daughter go through the same thing. Plus, my day job is running my husband’s office, and I’m a witness to the ins and outs of hospitals and patients.
But, on the other hand, writing a romance with a doctor as the protagonist is a bit difficult since I have first-hand experience of how little free time doctors have––especially when they are starting, so a hero/heroine that’s a nurse is a bit easier to make realistic (But I’ll have to research that premise since I really haven’t investigated that either)
What about ‘snark’? Is it good or bad?
I love reading snarky characters, but I have now realized how difficult they are to write because there is that fine line between snarky and being considered bitchy.
Is it easy to write humor?
Writing humor is not easy at all. It’s incredibly different from in-person humor, as you really have to have a mastery of writing to be able to look at every aspect of a scene to find the humor in the situation, then exploit it for all it’s worth.
How easy is it to write a good sex scene? And do you have to have experienced these things, do you think, to write about them successfully?
Ugh, I sweated the sex scenes. I’ve taken classes on creating sexual tension and writing sex scenes, read books and blogs. It was crucial for me to write them because I wanted to write the type of book I liked to read. I love books with steamy sex scenes, and I take my hat off to all those authors who make it look easy. I need to delve into all the senses, so much of the sex scene is mental, and you have to keep that constantly present in the execution of writing it. It’s what your characters are thinking, feeling, experiencing at the moment, all immortalized on the page.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nikki Kiley is an aspiring author of Contemporary Romance. Since she was a young girl, she dreamt of writing stories that would entertain and move her readers, like she was and still is, by talented authors.
When not working the day job running a medical office, she spends hours crafting and writing stories about heroes and heroines earning their chance at love. She makes her home in Puerto Rico with her husband, two young adult children, and a gentle giant, the bull mastiff, Kira.
She loves the beach, her Nespresso maker, and cupcakes (S’more in particular).
Comet's First Christmas
The North Pole Chronicles Book 1
by Delilah Night
(Adult) | Romance
GPub Date 20 Oct 2020
A bad Santa is turning believers faster than melting snow. Can the mystery be solved in time for Christmas? Claudia I’ve dreamed of this day for years, and now it’s reality. I’ve been called up for the Big Show. Official Pole phone and email, Naughty-or-Nice login, and upgraded I.D. with my new job title—Comet. In three weeks, I’ll be part of the team flying Santa around the world. In an instant my life goes from peaceful, if boring, to a blizzard of last-minute flight preparations, route planning, and anxiety-triggering stress. The moment I meet my P.A., Jillian, her beautiful smile and sparkling blue eyes are an oasis of calm. But I’ve barely got enough time to wonder if her plump lips taste as sugarplum sweet as they look. Disturbing news has popped up on Santa’s radar. Someone is turning Santa’s most fervent believers into non-believers overnight. If we can’t find and stop this hacker, there won’t be enough reindeer cutout cookies and hot chocolate in the world to restore balance to Santa’s Naughty-or-Nice list in time for Christmas Eve. Note to reader: What sweet Christmas romance would be complete without reindeer, The Nutcracker, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, and New York pizza?
This lgbtq novel is not full length but rather a sweet novella. It is full of magic and elves. And as it is set at the North Pole we also have reindeer shifters and blue snowmen. But the storyline is all about the grinch who wanted to steal children’s belief in Father Christmas and the magic of the presents that came from their letters and wishes as told to the department store (etc) stand-ins.
It was sweet but…the main issue with all novellas is that they are too short to really develop the characters and the storyline. Thus, it was all too easy to solve the mystery and get things organised at the very end..
I Was a Stripper Librarian
by Kristy Cooper
Genres: Adult, Memoir
Publication date: July 30 th 2021
No one at the library she worked at knew about Kristy Cooper’s other job.
On the surface, it seem that being a librarian and a stripper are polar opposite jobs, but in practice Kristy found that they were not nearly as different as most people would think. Strip club customers and library patrons both produce wild stories, and you have to be good at working with people in both professions (whether your clothes are off or not).
In this first-hand account, Kristy describes her decision to get into stripping to make her student loan debt more manageable, overcome her introversion to learn how to hustle customers, learn about sex worker advocacy, and finally transition into full-time library work. For years Kristy hid her stripping history to fit into the mold of a respectable librarian, but as time went on she realized this wasn’t something she should feel ashamed about. Telling these kinds of stories helps destigmatize sex work, which makes it safer for current sex workers.
Librarianship is changing, especially as the profession begins to evaluate itself through a greater anti-oppression lens. Librarians can learn a lot about class struggle and privacy advocacy from sex workers.
No one at the library she worked at knew about Kristy Cooper’s other job.
I Was a Stripper Librarian is a new memoir by Kristy Cooper and it’s out NOW!
I got involved with a former stripper before I ever became one myself.
Lillian had gorgeous long red hair, tattoos, and wore glasses. She was working as a barista at a coffee shop in my college town, Champaign, IL. I was twenty-three and finishing off a year of fucking around partying before moving to Ann Arbor to pursue a Master of Science in Information at the University of Michigan.
One day, I went into her coffee shop and, as I often did when ordering things, I became annoyingly indecisive about what I wanted. “I want a green tea, or wait, maybe a chai… I think I’m hungry… I’m sorry I’m wasting your time.”
Lillian just looked at me coyly. “Don’t worry about it. I don’t have anywhere else to be.” I smiled and felt more at ease as she winked.
I finally picked a chai and enjoyed the feeling as her gaze lingered on mine while she handed it to me. Then another customer popped up behind me, and I realized I had to move along, but I knew I wanted to see her again.
Later, I found out from mutual friends that she was newly single and, like me, was hitting the bars like a fiend. We formally met when our friend groups started coalescing at all the local watering holes. After our drinking group finally reached critical mass, we declared ourselves a girl gang, named ourselves Pussy Control, after the Prince song, and convinced ourselves that we were a serious force to be reckoned with. Most guys quickly learned not to mess with us, because we would cackle at them or mock their ridiculous attempts to approach us. We were not the toughest or most organized gang ever, but we did at least manage to decrease the number of random guys hitting on us.
Maybe Lillian’s risqué past was part of what drew me to her. I don’t know. I had never thought there was anything wrong with stripping, but like most people, it was something I didn’t think I would ever do. At the same time though, I was intrigued with her previous job and wondered what it was like to do something considered so socially deviant and potentially stigmatizing. I had actually done sex work before, but it was working as a dominatrix one summer in Chicago. That kind of work had its own stigma, but there was no audience, I didn’t have to get naked, and I also didn’t have to be nice.
Lillian would tell me about the stage and the pole tricks that would leave calluses on her hands. There were her quirky customers, like the man that just wanted her to sit still like a doll on his lap while he spoke to her. She explained how different customers liked different looks for their strippers and how she avoided working at clubs that only featured what she considered Barbie look-alikes. Lillian described living in Baltimore and how she would walk around half-naked all night, make good money, and then go home to her apartment. It sounded so normal, like being a waitress who happened to forget to put the rest of her clothes on.
Kristy Cooper is a librarian single mom in Michigan. In her spare time, she fights politicians for libraries and will eventually get around to finishing writing her YA series.
Amends: A Psychic Mystery
(A Diana Hawthorne Supernatural Mystery, #2)
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Publication date: July 23rd 2021
For as psychic as she is, shit goes sideways far too often around Diana Hawthorne. Diana now has everything she ever wanted–her memories, and the soul mate she didn’t realize she was missing. There’s just one problem… the old gods expect her to make amends for her absence. And her work starts now. But time lost at the oracle isn’t the only thing she has to atone for. Her friend Demetri was stripped of his powers–and it was all her fault. If she could just set things right, she’d feel a whole lot better about moving forward. Unfortunately, Demetri wants nothing to do with her and knows exactly how to keep her out of his head. To make matters worse, in the age of social media, Diana’s abilities have gone viral. People from all over the world are clambering to get on her books. One case, in particular, hits her radar and despite herself, she can’t shake it. A 14-year-old boy is wrapped up with a deadly governmental agency and he’s scared to death. And he should be–they want to weaponize his power. Torn between what was and what is, Diana struggles to fully embrace who she’s becoming. Will she be able to help Demitri and make things right? Or will her new role mean leaving the past behind?
Calling fans of KF Breene, Shannon Mayer, and Shayne Silvers! If you like snarky-fun humor, gripping supernatural scenes, and twists that leave you spellbound — then you will LOVE Carissa Andrews’ world built especially for Diana Hawthorne.
Carissa Tells Us:
Which of your books are you most proud of? I’m very proud of all of the books. Each one came about at just the right time, helping me to next level my career and deal with things in the real word. Pendomus, though, will always have a special place in my heart because it was my “first” book. I have that in quotations because technically, I had written the first draft to Secret Legacy when I was fourteen, but it looks nothing like how that book came out now. Oracle is also special because Diana was the first character I created after spending 4+ years in the world of Pendomus. But most recently, the Windhaven Witches series is the most haunting and the one I’m most proud of based on how I’ve grown as an author. <3
Do you have an unusual hobby? Is it related to the books you write? Or is it for relaxation? Is it dangerous/ adventurous/ requires travel? My biggest hobby is learning new age ways to enjoy this life we live. I am a Reiki Master and practice mindfulness, meditation, and I’m obsessed with the Law of Attraction and Manifestation. It probably comes out a lot when I write about magic! HA! I am currently learning about EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) also known as Tapping.
What about turning your best seller into a film or TV series – would you want to write the script or be on the production team? Why? Why not? I’d love to be on both teams! Writing the script would be tons of fun, but being on the production team would be like watching magic unfold. My husband filmed a live-action trailer for Secret Legacy and it was TONS of fun, so I have a little idea of what that all would look like.
What about ‘snark’? is it good or bad? Oh, I love me some snarkastic peeps! Diana Hawthorne is definitely snarky and I love every minute of writing in her world. She gets to say and do some of the stuff I could only DREAM of saying out loud. HA! She’s very upfront and is done dealing with anyone else’s shit. I guess being 2000+ years old will do that to a person.
Is it easy to write humour? That all depends. If I’m not in a funny place, then I’d say yes. But if I am in a good place and things are going well, it’s pretty easy. Especially if the characters themselves are funny. They have their own personality and vibe, so when they go off on one, I feel like I’m just along for the ride. 😉
How easy is it to write a good sex scene? And do you have to have experienced these things do you think, to write about them successfully? Sex scenes are a lot like humor. You have to be in a good place to write them well. Meaning, you need to be able to go along for the ride when the opportunity presents itself. In my books, sex is a secondary or tertiary thought after everything else going on. S,o it’s not typically planned out. But if the idea presents itself to the characters naturally, I’m able to go with the flow of it. But I don’t think you have to have experience in any of it to know how to write it. I mean, I’m not a psychic who’s lived 2000+ years old, but somehow manage to pull it off. So, sex scenes are no different. If you can visualize it and write about it, you’re good to go. Granted, a little base reference wouldn’t hurt.
Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist? I’m an avid indie, so there’s zero effs given to getting a publisher. But I also teach other indies how to be successful, so it’s part of my job. As the CEO of Author Revolution (an online academy for authors), I am always finding ways to teach indies how to self-publish and design a deliberate, sustainable author career. It’s truly the heart of what I do. So, in that way, yes, self-publishing and building your audience is crucial to being a success later on. But I also know that once you start, you’re not going to want to give up the control (and royalties) you have when you are in business for yourself
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“An author emerges from the depths of Minnesotan waters. Sci-fi/Fantasy is my pen of choice.” Carissa Andrews is a Minnesota-based genre-bending author who writes a combination of science fiction, fantasy, and dystopia. When not writing her own books, she’s busy reading them. Carissa’s internationally bestselling trilogy, The Pendomus Chronicles, is now in digital, print, and audiobook formats. She has hit the scene as an up and coming speculative fiction author who uses a mix of scifi and fantasy, twisted in modern mythology and alternative history. Check out The Final Five, Oracle, Awakening, and Love is a Merciless God! Carissa has big plans for 2020. Check out her upcoming series, The Windhaven Witches.
For more information on their release, visit Carissa Andrews’ author website: www.carissaandrews.com and sign up for her newsletter notifications. S
he lives in central Minnesota with her husband and brood of five kids. Not to mention, her insane husky puppies, Aztec and Pharaoh. Carissa is also a freelance graphic designer, writer and content creator, social media manager, and marketing professional. She writes consistently on topics of science, technology, art, writing, photography, graphic design, health, self-improvement, and more. Her articles can be found published across the interwebs.