Friday, September 18, 2020

This week in The Loft: Author Dee S. Knight!

Joining me today in The Loft is author Dee S. Knight. Dee publishes under multiple names. She writes sweet romance under the name Anne Krist, and menage and shifter stories as Jenna Stewart. As Dee S. Knight, she writes in all other sub-genres of romance, including fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, contemporary, and erotic romance. Dee has led an adventurous life, at various times serving as a houseparent for 10 teenage boys, a long distance trucker, a teacher, and computer consultant. She married her high school sweetheart and they now live in Idaho.

Author Dee S. Knight

S:  Good morning, Dee! Welcome to The Loft!

Why did you become a writer?

D:  I didn’t intend to write. I kind of fell into it by having time on my hands. My husband was working as a consultant in South Carolina and was going to be there for only three months. That was too little time for me to look for work, and he suggested I spend my time writing a book. I hadn’t done that, but I read a lot, and thought, stupidly, “How hard can it be?” The first month, I zipped off a 95,000 word novel. Sent it off and got a good reply regarding my writing/storytelling. But the publisher wanted more sex in the story. So, again, stupidly, I wondered how hard that could be? By the end of the month, I sent her another book at 90,000 words. To my surprise, she accepted it. By the time we left South Carolina, I’d written three books all over 90,000 words and I was hooked.

S:  (Laughs.) You do make it sound easy, though I imagine a lot of thought went into those books. 

Complete this sentence. "When I started writing books, I wish I had known..."

D:  ...That there was much more to writing a book than writing a book. I wish I’d had some background in marketing, especially. Promotion is hard for me--as I think it is for most authors--and could be a full-time job. Add to that, I started writing when the biggest way to get publicity was with reviews and using Yahoo. I dropped out for a few years while life took control of my time, and when I got back into writing, reviews were very few and far between to find, Yahoo was passe, and social media was all the rage. I knew nothing about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or anything else. It’s a new world for authors.

S:  (Nods.) I was unprepared for how much marketing the author is expected to do. I have experience in marketing, but it can be very time consuming. Sometimes, it really interferes with writing time.

Do you write in other genres?

D:  As you mentioned earlier, I write under three pen names: Dee S. Knight writes erotic romance--though she does have two ménage books. Anne Krist pretty much offers straight romance, sensual, but not erotic. Jenna Stewart writes historical and shifter ménage stories. They all write romance, so not different genres, but certainly different sub-genres.

S:  (Smiles.) Love comes in all shapes and sizes, so it makes sense to employ more than one sub-genre. I have written erotic and contemporary romance, but just started exploring paranormal stories.

Now for one of my favorite questions. What was your worst date ever?

D:  I had two, actually, and they were with the same guy. I have to qualify this answer by saying that I really hardly ever dated. I met my One when I was 13, started dating him--not exclusively--when I was 15, and we got married when I was 21. So these two dates were pretty rare occurrences. The first time we went out, Bob kissed me at the end of the date—a mixer for freshmen at Mary Washington—and he tried to French kiss me. I didn’t let him. I was a "good girl,” but that wasn’t the problem. I had no idea what a French kiss was, and kept wondering why his tongue kept probing my lips. The second time we went out was years later and we doubled with his brother and date. He kissed me at the end of the night--again, no tongue--and I said, “I had a great time, Steve…Bob!” Nothing says good time like calling your date by his brother’s name. Truth was, I liked Bob, so I have no idea why I did that.

S:  (Laughs.) Ah, the innocence of youth. I think we were all a little puzzled by the mechanics of romance as a teen.

How would you like to be remembered? What do you want your tombstone to say?

D:  Here lies Dee/Anne/Jenna. She wrote good books, loved her mother and her sweetie, her friends and colleagues, and made people smile.

S:  Let's talk about your book, "Passionate Destiny." Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?

D:  "Passionate Destiny" came about because I used to live not far from the town of Palmyra, Virginia, where the story is set. The Rivanna River runs through there, and while there’s no house--that I know of--set high on a bluff overlooking the river, there is a nearby house that had a hidden room. When I learned of the house, the then owners had just discovered that there was a small window, seen from the outside but not the inside. It was easy to imagine secrets, and in Virginia, we have both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War to draw on for the paranormal. Another inspiration was my boss in New Jersey. He was the inspiration for my heroine, Margaret. He was just so…so New Yorkerish! Very opinionated and loud about it. I adored the man. He did have his moments. (Laughs)

S:  Is there anything about this book that makes it special to you? To readers?

D:  A few things. Margaret is a woman of strong opinions—and she often voices them. Who of us hasn’t been like her at some point? Plus, she makes me laugh—she’s just too arrogant and set in her ways. It was fun to write her. I hope my love of central Virginia comes through. And then there’s the deep love that Margaret and Aaron develop, and their passion. I loved both characters. I hope readers, do, too. I updated and republished "Passionate Destiny" last year, but when it first came out, it garnered rave reviews and a "Top Pick" designation in Romantic Times, so it’s a book I’m very proud of.

Here's the blurb--

Dr. Margaret Amis-Hollings, professor of women’s studies at a small New Jersey college, is a woman who confidently knows who she is and what she expects of life. Until she loses her teaching position and her well-ordered life gets turned upside down. Then, in a subtle stroke of whimsy, fate tosses her a gift in an historic home and property in Virginia.

Harboring visions of Gone With the Wind, she determines to use River Peace as a temporary reprieve from her troubles. Images of Tara quickly evaporate when she arrives to discover the reality of her inheritance, however.

River Peace has history, grace and style going for it. After only one night, Margaret discovers that it also has a ghost. She’s visited by a male spirit from the time of the War Between the States, who knows how to make a woman feel special. And very loved.

Aaron Belton meets Margaret when she first arrives in Virginia. He’s renowned for historic renovations on a multitude of properties, but he’s got a special place in his heart for River Peace. He and his family believe the property always should have belonged to them. In fact, Aaron will do almost anything to make that happen. When his passion for the house changes to a passion for the house’s owner, Aaron’s as surprised as anyone. Can he gain both, the woman and the house? To do so, he’ll have to face a spectral being.

And his own destiny.

S:  That ghost is a nice touch! Where can readers buy your book?

D:  It's available on Kindle Unlimited at

S:  Dee, thanks so much for joining me today. If you would like to learn more about Dee and her books, please visit--








Sweet ‘n Sassy Divas:

Friday, September 11, 2020

This week in The Loft: Author Alice Renaud!

Joining me today in The Loft is UK-based author Alice Renaud. Alice writes paranormal and fantasy romance, entertaining readers with tales of shapeshifting mermen, water demons, and time-traveling sea witches. Her fascination with mermen began as a child in Brittany, France, when she spotted a group of men emerge from the sea in wetsuits, with palms on their feet. It wasn't  difficult for her imagination to begin spinning tales about shape-shifting mermen with webbed hands and feet. By day, Alice is a compliance manager with a pharmaceutical company. She lives in London with her husband and son.

Author Alice Renaud

S. Welcome, Alice! Thanks for joining me today.

Why did you become a writer?

A:  I think I became a writer because I loved stories. As a child I soaked up stories, in films, on TV, in the tales my parents and grandparents told me, but above all in books. I was a voracious reader. I always made up my own stories in my head and when I played with my toys. I had an entire universe on the floor of the living room, where beads were Elves and buttons, humans, and little plastic animals were huge, intelligent, talking creatures. Most people grow out of that sort of thing, but I never did. Eventually, I became a writer because it’s one of the ways for an adult to create stories without seeming completely mad.

S:  Do you write full or part-time? Do you have another job/other responsibilities? 

A:  I don’t have as much time to write as I would like, because I work full-time and have a family. I have to be very focused when I write to make the most of the precious writing time. I write mostly short stories and novellas. It’s partly by inclination, and partly because if I wrote doorstep novels, it would take me years to produce one book.

S:  (Chuckles.) Exactly. My stories are short because I don't have the time to produce lengthy tomes. I also don't have the patience to read a long novel nor the patience to write one.

Did you undergo any sort of educational or other preparation/training to become a writer?

A:  Initially, no. I just wrote what was in my head. That was a mistake, because I needed to learn the craft. Once I realized that, I did a lot of online courses and workshops. Dozens of them. I also read books about writing and got myself two great critique partners.

S:  Did you have a mentor when you became a writer?

A:  No, but I had a wonderful teacher, Laurie Sanders. She really taught me how to write a story that was good enough to be published. She is still my editor and always gives me good ideas for my books. Now, I also have a publisher, Ric Savage at Black Velvet Seductions, and other authors, especially the ones who also publish with BVS.

S:  What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

A:  The happy ending. I hate stories that end badly. Everyone deserves a happily ever after.

S:  (Nods.) Happy endings are important, especially when in real life, it seems like few are available.

Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?

A:  The book, "Desire Me Again," is a collection of second chance at love stories by a bunch of wonderfully talented authors at Blavk Velvet Seductions. We collaborated last year on an anthology of paranormal romance stories, "Mystic Desire," and really enjoyed it, so this year we decided to do another anthology. We all love the trope of second chance romance, so that is the theme we chose. My story, "The Holiday Mermaid," is the fourth story in my Sea of Love universe. The Sea of Love series follows the lives and loves of shape shifting mermen and mermaids. Each book is a standalone story featuring a different couple, and is set in a different season. Book 1, "A Merman’s Choice," is set in spring. Book 2, "Music for a Merman," is a summer story. Book 3, "Mermaids Marry in Green," takes place in autumn. I wanted the fourth to be a Christmas story. So, "The Holiday Mermaid" became a seasonal second chance fantasy romance tale.

S:  Is there anything about this book that makes it special to you? To readers?

A:  I have always wanted to write a Christmas story set by the sea, with a mermaid and a shape shifting unicorn. My childhood Christmases were spent by the sea, in my family home in Brittany, and I wanted to recapture something of that double magic--a special place by the ocean, and a very special time of year. I hope readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

S:  Tell me more about "The Holiday Mermaid."

A:  Sure, here's the blurb--

Adam fell for surfer girl Rowena the second he saw her. But just as their summer fling was becoming serious, she left him without any explanation. Now, with Christmas just a few days away, she’s back… and Adam discovers that she’s a shape-shifting mermaid, from a Clan that hates humans. Can he love her as she is? Can she brave her family to be with Adam for good, not just for Christmas?

S:  (Grins.) Darn family always gets in the way, don't they?

Where can readers buy the anthology?

A:  It's available from Amazon--

S:  Alice, thanks so much for joining me today! If you'd like to learn more about Alice and her books, visit--

Friday, September 4, 2020

Coming this December!

Everyone deserves a miracle at Christmas!

When the doctors say there’s no hope, Santa begs to differ. After all, he claims, miracles are love combined with action to get the desired result. And at Christmas time, everyone deserves a miracle!

 David Wright is dying from cancer. He's not expected to see another Christmas. At least that’s what the medical professionals say. Fortunately, Santa begs to differ. After all, modern medicine is nothing more than a best guess. Santa believes anything is possible until you give up. When Santa tells David’s wife, Joan, that heaven is full and she has to keep her husband alive, she is beside herself. She has no medical skills. How can she save anyone’s life? Set your skepticism aside as Santa embraces a family already mourning their father’s terminal diagnosis and teaches them that a Christmas miracle doesn’t always require heavenly intervention. Sometimes, all it takes is a family with enough love to create their own. As Santa says, a true miracle is when love combines with action to get the desired results. And only humans are capable of that. Will Santa’s words fall on deaf ears? Or will Team Wright find a way to save their father’s life?

From Extasy Books!

This week in The Loft: Author M. Lee Prescott!

Joining me today in The Loft is award-winning author M. Lee Prescott! Lee has dipped her pen in a variety of genres, including western, historical, and contemporary romance, romantic suspense, mystery, young adult, children's books, and non-fiction. By day, Lee is a professor at a small New England liberal arts college, where she focuses on the social contexts within which children learn. A resident of southeastern Massachusetts, she enjoys spending time with family, yoga, swimming, teaching mindfulness, and walking.

M. Lee Prescott
Author M. Lee Prescott

S:  Good morning, Lee! Thanks for joining me in The Loft.

Why did you become a writer? 

L:  I’ve always loved writing to discover what I’m thinking and feeling in the deepest part of me. The process is full of surprises and awe. Then I got serious with a group of colleagues when we were exploring the writing process for our students. That was it. I was off and running, and 28 books later I’m still at it!

S:  (Smiles.) I often joke that writing romance is addictive. Once you start, you can't stop!

What makes you unique--as a writer and/or person? 

L:  We each have unique life stories that shape the writers we become. My stories are about family and community, and the love and support we give each other. No one else can tell my stories because even though they are fiction, they come from the heart and have sprung from my life as a daughter, sister, friend, wife, mom, grandmother, partner, colleague, and teacher.

S:  (Nods.) That's so true. My personal experiences as a lawyer, wife, mother, sister, and daughter inspire my stories. What is your writing process? 

L:  I write as often as I can, when the demands of my other job, as a full-time college professor, allow. When beginning a new novel, I mull for a while, sometimes a long while, briefly outline, mull some more, then begin. I usually write an entire first draft without lots of revising and editing. Then the shaping begins and I revise, revise, revise. I am blessed with a wonderful copy editor who is critical at this stage. 

S:  What attracted you to the romance genre? 

L:  Like many romance writers, I’m a sucker for a happy ending. I also believe in true love, unconditional love, and all the nuances of love that infuse my stories. I consider it a privilege to spend time with all the characters and families in my stories. They make me laugh, cry, and smile every day.

S:  These days, that happy ending is particularly important.

Do you write in other genres? 

L:  I have two mystery series—the Ricky Steele books--sassy, first person stories beginning with "Prepped to Kill"--and the Roger and Bess books--cozy, village mysteries. My first book in that series was "A Friend of Silence." I’ve also written "Song of the Spirit," a young adult historical novel. Each genre has its own joys and challenges.

S:  Tell me about your book, "Emma's Dream."

L:  Here's the blurb--

A woman is the last thing on Ben Morgan’s mind as he comes home to Morgan’s Run, his family’s ranch in Saguaro Valley. Doctor’s orders, he’s home to heal, but the sooner he can get back to Santa Barbara, the better. Then he runs into Maggie Williams on Main Street, prompting vivid memories of a magical night, and Ben’s ailing heart skips a beat.

Father of her beloved four year old daughter, the eldest of the Morgan sons is the last person Maggie expects to have crash into her car and back into her life. For years, she has struggled to forget him and to make a life for herself and her daughter, Emma, the mirror image of a father who is unaware of her existence. Now, here he is, looking more gorgeous than the day he ran out of town. Maggie swears Ben Morgan will never break her heart again.

S:  Where can readers buy your book?

L:  It's available at all major booksellers, including--

S:  Lee, thanks so much for joining me today. If you'd like to learn more about M. Lee Prescott, visit--