Friday, January 14, 2022

This week in The Loft: Adriana Kraft!

Joining me today in The Loft is the husband-wife writing team that goes by the name of Adriana Kraft. Breaking the mold of staid, fusty academics, the retired professors write erotic romance. After living in the Midwest, they moved to southern Arizona, where they enjoy hiking, golf, and travel to Arizona Native American historical sites. Adriana Kraft has published more than 50 erotic romance novels and novellas.

The avatar for Adriana Kraft


S:  Good morning from the very chilly Midwest. You must really be enjoying the weather in sunny Arizona!

Let's start at the beginning. Why write romance?

A:  There is more than enough tragedy, drama, and despair in real life to go around. All of us need hope, happiness, and escape at least some of the time. Romance--at least the way Mr. Kraft and I choose to write it--offers so many gateways, not just to happy feelings, but to self-exploration, personal growth, facing tough issues, discovering what we hope for, expanding our dreams. We could all benefit from a little more romance in our lives.

S:  We certainly could! Especially in these troubled times. Do you write in other genres?

A:  Romance is the only genre we write. It’s our first love—we need happy endings as much as anyone else. We love living in a fictional world where real-life problems we all face can be overcome. I suppose that’s our way of tilting at windmills. We do write in two main sub-genres. Our romantic suspense is for readers who want danger, suspense, and a traditional romance between one man and one woman. Our erotic romance nearly always expands to include three or more persons, sometimes in a committed polyamory relationship, sometimes in what’s come to be called consensual non-monogamy, such as the swing lifestyle. Sometimes, we blur the boundaries between erotic romance and erotica, but we always have a loving relationship at the center of our stories, no matter how intense the eroticism.

S:  I think you know I am a big fan of your writing. Your books are a pleasure to read.

When it comes to writing romance, do you consider yourself a dreamer or a realist?

A:  We pour so much of ourselves and our personal experience into our stories that we’d have to be classified as realists. That being said, if anyone wrote the story of our lives, it would never be published, because it’s too filled with coincidence, luck, crazy left turns, and yes, big dreams, more than one of which came to fruition. In "Willow Smoke," one of our favorite heroes--a wealthy man from success with stock options--tells the heroine “…if you hang around me much, you’ll have to get used to expanding your dreams. I don’t dream small. It doesn’t take any more time to dream big than small.”


S:  Are there any characteristics your lead characters share?

A:  Not surprisingly, they share our major values or if they don’t, they’re troubled about it and learn some hard lessons--Honesty, integrity, kindness, generosity, acceptance, equality, staying healthy, dreaming big. For example, the entire plot of our erotic romance, "The Diary," hinges on a major deception--Kate sets out to entrap a professor she believes has seduced her younger sister. Eventually her lie becomes an albatross and its discovery is an earthquake in her life, with a steep learning curve.

S:  Do you adhere to tropes when writing romance? Which ones do you enjoy writing? Are there any tropes that make you squirm?

A:  Mr. Kraft and I were raw amateurs when we first began writing romance, so in the beginning we didn’t even recognize tropes. If we followed them it was accidental and probably a tad off the beaten path. One trope neither of us particularly likes is the hidden pregnancy--you know, when the hero comes back to town and discovers the heroine/ex-girlfriend has had his baby. When we wrote it, we changed it up--we won’t tell you who the father actually is, but it’s not, as people assume, the recently returned war hero of "The Painter is a Lady."

S:  I have to admit, I always find that trope somewhat offensive. While concealing a pregnancy may make sense in life-threatening circumstances, most of the time it does not. This trope also tends to make the women appear weak, rather than strong. I am not a fan of that.

How did you meet your current partner? When did you know he was “the one?"

A:  I was a graduate student and entry-level faculty member when he was hired onto the faculty of the program I worked in. I remember going, “Wow,” when I first saw him at the fall university gathering where new faculty were introduced. Evidently several other women did, too. In any case, the more we worked together, the more I liked him, and by the end of the academic year--with a push from one of our co-workers--he asked me out. We were married a year later, on the summer solstice. We’re still in love. Writing romance together both grows from and feeds into that love.


S:  That's such a wonderful story. What would you like people to know about you?

A:  A social work educator and a sociologist, Mr. Kraft and I are now retired from our day jobs and live in southern Arizona. Both of us had been avid romance readers, and there came a point in our careers where we thought it might be more fun to write romance than the sometimes dry academic writing we’d occasionally collaborated on. In a way, the jury’s still out on the fun element--turns out it’s a lot of hard work and we had a lot to learn. But we were also full of stories. Writing was definitely a part-time endeavor while we were still in our day jobs, but these days it can easily fill up a week if we let it. We do love it and I’m guessing that qualifies as fun.

S:  What’s the best advice you have ever been given?

A:  Never give up. I always cop to two favorite authors when I answer this question. I was fortunate to hear Judith Viorst in person in the early 90s--starting in her teens, she never stopped writing through nearly two decades of rejections before her first acceptance. The same message rings true in the German Poet Reiner Maria Rilke’s "Letters to a Young Poet." Many years ago, I typed out the following passage--in the era before personal computers--and pinned it to my bulletin board: “This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple I must, then build your life in accordance with this necessity.”


S:  What inspired your most recent release, "I Am Not for Sale?"

A:  So many things. Not long after Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in 2004, I travelled there for a work-related project and was struck with the deep strength and resilience of the people I met. Mr. Kraft and I wanted to capture that spirit in a character, so recent U.S. Immigrant Nadja Petrov was born out of that first spark. We took advantage of some local real estate shenanigans for part of our plot, and we blessed Nadja with proprietorship of our favorite espresso café, a hangout for artists and musicians where we’d also done readings. I will add that Mr. Kraft is trained as a criminologist, so we had no shortage of resources for throwing our characters into the path of danger.

S:  Is there anything special you would like people to know about "I Am Not for Sale?"

A:  Perhaps most of all, I was struck by the ingenuity and determination of the Ukrainian people to maintain their orthodox faith during all those decades of communist rule. Religious practices were banned across Ukraine--yet many of the local staff I worked with had been smuggled as infants by their families to orthodox priests, to be baptized in secret. All those decades of suppression could not snuff out the flame. We play both sides of this phenomenon in our story. Nadja herself is not a believer. Too much has happened in her life for her to trust. But her Aunt Ivett, who immigrated to America earlier than Nadja, gives us a vehicle for some of these older Ukrainian memories. Ivett helped make sure the faith did not die and she brought it with her to America. She is still faithful, frequently lighting a candle for herself or her niece. Unable to have children herself, Ivett is committed to family and deeply wants Nadja to marry and carry on the family line. Perhaps it’s not so surprising then, that there’s an entirely different side to Ivett’s character. She supplies Nadja with toys and explicit videos to enhance her, um, skills.

S:  As the granddaughter of immigrants from Eastern Europe, there  is a lot in that story I identify with. 

Adriana, thanks so much for joining me today. If you'd like to learn more about the Krafts and their books, please visit--



Newsletter:  Free download of our erotic romance novella, Cherry Tune-Up, for signing up.

Friday, January 7, 2022

This week in The Loft: Australian author Jan Selbourne!

Joining me today in The Loft is Jan Selbourne. Jan writes historical romance, as well as historical fiction. She discovered a love for literature and history while growing up in Melbourne, Australia. After graduating from business college, Jan entered the dusty world of ledgers and accounting, working in Victoria, Queensland and the United Kingdom. Eventually she went to work for a large New South Wales historical society. Now retired, Jan writes full-time. She has two adult children, a lovable dog, and lives near Maitland, New South Wales.

Author Jan Selbourne

S:  Good evening Jan. Thanks for joining me for a chat. 

Why write romance?

J:  It’s an escape, hope, a voice. I’m sure authors enjoy guiding their characters through adversity, loss, and despair to a happy ending as much as our readers.

S:  Providing a happy ending is always satisfying. You also write historical fiction. What attracts you to that?

J:  History is my favorite because every era is unique and full of colorful people who made their mark.  Caesar and Cleopatra, Robin Hood, Henry VIII and his six wives, Mozart, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington, Hitler, regrettably--all good fodder for a book. I recently joined forces with my author friend Anne Krist to write Christmas novellas set in the Vietnam war era, bringing me into the 20th century.

S:  What is the best thing that has ever happened to you as a writer?

J:  Meeting authors from around the world and receiving wonderful book reviews has been incredibly rewarding, but the best ever was The Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year Award, Silver Medal, for my historical novel, "Lies of Gold."

S:  If you had to do it all over again would you still choose to write books?

J:  Yes definitely.  Writing a book is a joy and very satisfying.

S:  What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

J:  If something in our life isn’t right, such as a bad relationship, a rotten job, unjust treatment, we have two choices.  We can leave, take another direction even though it might be tough for a while. Or we can stay. If we stay, we can't complain because it was our choice.

S:  Wise advice. You are in charge of your own destiny. What inspired "Perilous Love?"

J:  Reading an article on how a person’s true character emerges when faced with life threatening danger or extreme stress. The chest puffing he-man might turn to water and run. The shy insignificant person finds inner strength to face adversity head on. I was working on my family tree and had just read my grandfather’s military service records of his time in France and Belgium during World War One. The bloodshed and appalling atrocities affected him deeply and it was years before he could talk about it. His anecdotes to my mother and that article inspired "Perilous Love."  

S:  How fascinating to have access to such a personal account of World War One. Is there anything special you would like people to know about "Perilous Love?"

J:  The story is fiction but what my characters witnessed and endured in Belgium is based on fact.

Here’s the blurb--

As the world rushes towards a war, the British government orders wealthy businessman, Adrian Bryce to leave his mistress and accompany his estranged wife, Gabrielle, to Belgium. They require proof Gabrielle’s uncle is supporting the German Empire. Adrian discovers secrets which plunge him and Gabrielle into a nightmare of betrayal. Forced to run for their lives as Germany invades, they must trust each other through danger, brutality, and injury.

Gabrielle enjoys her role of mother of their two children. Wanting only to be with her lover, and now fearful of exposure, she readies herself and her children for a difficult trip. With no way out, Gabrielle knows the visit with her aristocratic traditional family will be a trial, and Europe is on edge. She had no idea of the horrors ahead of them.

Will Adrian and Gabrielle reach safety? If they do, are they out of danger or will the intrigue and treason follow them back to England?


S:  That certainly sounds suspenseful. Where can readers buy "Perilous Love?"

J:  It's available at Perilous Love - Kindle edition by Selbourne, Jan. Romance Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

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

Website:  https://nomadauthors.com/JanSelbourne/index.html

Blog:  http://nomadauthors.com/blog

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/JanSelbourne

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jan.selbourne

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14661584.Jan_Selbourne?from_search=true

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Selbourne/e/B0184OSZ6E/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jan-selbourne-2817b6140/

Book Marketing Global Network:  Jan Selbourne’s Books – Book Marketing Global Network

Newsletter:  https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/h8t2y6

Friday, December 31, 2021

This week in The Loft: Author Alana Lorens!

Joining me today in The Loft is author Alana Lorens. Alana, who writes under a pseudonym, has been a published writer for more than 40 years. She writes romance and romantic suspense. Under another pseudonym, Lyndi Alexander, she writes Sci-Fi, fantasy, and paranormal mystery. Alana's experience as a family law attorney, journalist, floral designer, and pizza maker often find their way into her stories. A self-described "aging hippie," Alana is the mother of seven children. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina with her youngest daughter, who is on the autism spectrum, and three crotchety old cats and six kittens.

Author Alana Lorens

S: Good morning, Alana! Thanks for joining me today.

Since you write romance, what's your preference--Brains or brawn/beauty?

A:  Definitely brains. I’d choose a beta male every time, but not just any farm boy. My women don’t need a man crushing them and ordering them about. They want a partner who’s as smart and sharp as they are, who can be equal without feeling unmanly. A sense of humor is way more appealing than a handsome face with nothing behind it.

S:  I'm with you! I love a man who can make me laugh. 

Do you remember your first kiss? What was memorable about it?

A:  I do! It was with David Martin, one of the neighbor kids, in the playground at the bottom of the hill behind my house. I was six at the time. I thought it was so romantic, but squishy.

S:  Squishy? I hope that when he grew up, he corrected that...uh, deficiency.

You write in a wide variety of genres, rather than sticking to just one or two. Why is that?

A:  Because the stories I write aren’t formulaic. I write whatever comes to me, with no nod to any specific rules. So a Cinderella story becomes "The Elf Queen." A mercenary spaceship captain falls into a menage with a human and an alien. A lawyer finds herself at the mercy of her client’s abusive husband. And for my current book, "A Rose By Any Other Name," after learning about blogging myself, I find Marisol, also known as Jerrika Jones, whose mommyblogging gets her into a lot of trouble and brings her back to the one who got away.

S:  What would you like people to know about you?

A:  That I write from a place of humanity that has much in common with many others. I write about single mothers, because I’ve lived that struggle. I write about women lawyers and domestic violence, because I’ve fought in that war. I write about people coping in recovery, because I’ve lived with those dealing with that hard, hard process. I have lived in loneliness and painful disease and adventure and excitement, and most of all, in love. All of this I use to craft my stories, and they are relevant on some level to everyone.

S:  Complete this sentence: “When one of my books is released, I….”

A:  …kick myself in the hind end because now I have to make sure everyone knows about it. Marketing is the evil stepchild of the creative writing process.

S:  It definitely is the evil stepchild. I don't know any author who enjoys promotion. Most of us would rather be writing.

Is there anything special you would like people to know about "A Rose By Any Other Name?"

A:  The book will be released on January 10, 2022 by Wild Rose Press. It’s a sweet romance, safe even for your old grammy to read. I’m much more interested in the interworkings of relationships and people than writing erotica. I trust my readers to know that off-camera my characters are able to generate plenty of heat, and to allow their own imaginations to fill in the blanks. 

Here's the blurb--

Up-and-coming mommyblogger and single mom Marisol Herrera Slade returns to her old hometown in western Pennsylvania for her 20th high school reunion in 2005, reluctant and yet compelled to see her high school sweetheart, Russell Asher, who dumped her for the homecoming queen.

Russell's marriage to the golden girl, however, ended in a nasty divorce, and he has been systematically excluded from his sons' lives. In his Internet wanderings, he's found feminist blogger named Jerrika Jones, who glorifies single motherhood, essentially putting a stamp of approval on what's happened to him. His group of single dad advocates have vowed to take this woman down.


What Russell doesn't know, when he thinks to rekindle what he had with Marisol, is that Marisol and Jerrika are one and the same. When his group discovers the truth, will their drive for revenge derail any chance the couple have to reunite? Or will they find they have more in common than they ever expected?



S:  I love it when former couples reunite. Those stories are filled with hope and that's something we could all use in our lives.

Where can readers buy your book?

A:  It will be available at--


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

Friday, December 17, 2021

This week in The Loft: Author Amber Daulton!

Joining me today in The Loft is author Amber Daulton. Amber writes sexy stories with heart, including romantic suspense, and contemporary and historical romance. She is the author of the romantic suspense series, Arresting Onyx, and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through Daulton Publishing, The Wild Rose Press, and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats. Amber writes full-time and praises her husband for being the cook in her family. Without him, Amber claims, she'd starve. Amber and her husband live in North Carolina with two spoiled, demanding cats named Darby and Pepper.

Author Amber Daulton

S:  Good morning, Amber! Thanks for joining me today.

Why write romance?

A:  I love the versatility of it. Most romance books are more than simple boy-meets-girl love stories. There’s action, danger, mystery, emotional upheaval, physical trauma, etc. If you take away the falling in love aspect from a romantic suspense, for example, then you have a suspense/action/thriller story. The romance genre is so widespread that I’ve heard of men reading and enjoying various books without realizing those books are classified as romance.

S:  Versatile is a great way to describe romance stories. I like to say love comes in all shapes and sizes. Thankfully, we are seeing more diversity in romance and romance characters.

What's your preference--Brains or brawn/beauty? 

A:  I like a mixture of both. My heroes don’t have to be ripped and gorgeous, or be brainy, but it doesn’t hurt either. Same with the heroines. I try to create flawed, three-dimensional characters readers relate to.

S:  I think it's important to make the characters in contemporary romance books real. It makes the story more credible--unless you are writing fantasy or paranormal romance.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

A:  No, but it makes for a nice fairy tale. I do believe in lust at first sight, though, since we all have animal natures. But for love to grow between two—or more—people, there has to be respect, mutual compatibility, and friendship. Something like that can’t pop into existence as soon as you see someone. Love and relationships take a lot of work, and even if you do fall in love, outside forces or even your and your partner’s actions can enhance that love or make it fade.

S:  What do people get wrong about writing romance?

A:  They often think it’s cliché and full of toxic heroes with gleaming muscles and waif-like beauties without an original thought in their heads. These naysayers have probably never read from the genre. Romance books are more than just romance these days, more than broad-shouldered men and clingy women. They focus on family problems, friendships, careers, personal demons, and hope. The villains are often sympathetic, and sometimes you even root for them. There’s action and tears, everything that makes up a blockbuster movie.

S:  It's amazing to me that so much prejudice is directed at romance stories as well as romance authors. It takes real skill to write romance well.

What’s the best advice you have ever given?

A:  For new and veteran authors alike, read modern books--as in what’s been published in the last five years. Publishing guidelines and styles change all the time, so you can stay updated on what’s acceptable by reading newer books. In addition, don’t put excessive demands, deadlines, and restrictions on yourself. Writing is difficult enough, and it’s only half of the work. I’m a plotter, not a panster, so I always recommend you plot out as much of the story as you can before you actually start writing it. By doing that, it’s easier to see plot holes, and you can avoid writing yourself into a corner later. Finally, handling rejections and bad reviews with finesse is a must, taking care of marketing and publicity demands is a handful but a requirement, and writing your next book while dealing with everything else is cause to bring out the vodka. But ’tis the life of an author.

S:  That's good advice. What inspired "Ryan’s Temptation?"

A:  That’s a loaded question, and I should start from the beginning. I never meant to write the Arresting Onyx series. Book 1, "Arresting Mason," started as a single book, but the secondary characters demanded stories of their own, so I kept writing. Before long, I had a trilogy on my hands. But that wasn’t enough either. As I was writing book 5, a pestering little voice in the back of my head told me to go back and squeeze in two novellas in the middle of the series. You see, I’d introduced two secondary characters in book 1 and let them return in book 3, but I didn’t give them a chance to shine in their own story. Deep inside me, I just couldn’t accept that. These two women, Chanel and Shea, are wonderful friends to Mia, the heroine in "Arresting Mason." They deserved a story of their own. So after a little re-writing of books 2, 3, and 4, I wrote two novellas and marked them as books 2.5--"Ryan’s Temptation," and 3.5 "Trevor’s Redemption." All the books in this series include the men’s names, but I chose a different format for the novellas to help readers differentiate between them and the full-length novels. Into The Fire collects ten romantic suspense stories from ten authors, including "Ryan’s Temptation," featuring Chanel Leroc and her sexy new doctor friend Ryan Naylor.

S:  Is there anything special you would like people to know about "Ryan's Temptation?"

A:  "Ryan’s Temptation" is only available in the limited edition Into The Fire box set—at least for the time being. In late summer of 2022, I’ll re-release it as an individual book, so grab it now if you don’t want to wait. Plus, you’ll get a bunch of other great stories in the set. A win-win!

Here's the blurb for "Ryan's Temptation"--

Wrong place, wrong time. Now she’s running for her life.

Beautician Chanel Leroc can wield a pair of scissors like nobody’s business. After she witnesses a murder and lands on a serial killer’s hit list, she has to figure out how to protect herself—and fast. The killer tracks her down, but her sexy new neighbor, Dr. Ryan Naylor, drives the brute off.

The police dump the pair in a witness protection program, which doesn’t last long. Either the killer has a connection to the police, or he’s far more intelligent than they realize. All Chanel wants to do is get back to her safe life and get to know her attractive neighbor better. Instead, she and Ryan hit the road and try to survive on their own.

How will they stay alive and keep their blooming romance intact with the killer hot on their trail?

And for the Into The Fire box set--

Danger, Secrets, Murder, Passion… Love.

Lose yourself in the world of cops and criminals, witnesses and fugitives, old loves and new flames, where the stories turn scandals into romance and secrets into passion. With all levels of law enforcement included in the intrigue, you'll find unintended romance, passionate secrets, and forbidden love.

Your favorite contemporary romance authors invite you to join them for scintillating stories of law and order. Which of these arresting stories will have you cuffed?

These romances will take you deep into the fire.

Who will get burned when the case is cracked wide open?



S:  Wow. That's sounds pretty suspenseful. 
Where can readers buy the box set?

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


S:  Amber, thanks so much for joining me today and good luck with "Ryan's Temptation" and the box set it's included in. If you'd like to learn more about Amber and her books, please visit--

Friday, December 10, 2021

This week in The Loft: Author Tim Smith!

Joining me today in The Loft is fellow eXtasy author Tim Smith. Tim is a best-selling author of romantic suspense/thrillers and contemporary erotic romance. His Nick Seven series, which features the adventures of a former CIA agent, has won several awards and garnered international acclaim. When not writing, Tim is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, and photographer. He can often be found wandering around the Florida Keys conducting research for his books, parasailing, and searching for the perfect Mojito.

Author Tim Smith

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

Why write romance?

T:  When I decided to add more romance to my stories, I viewed it as a challenge. I’m more at home writing mystery/thrillers with lots of action and hot spontaneous encounters. How many people like me do you know who actually want to write lighthearted contemporary romance, and are cocky enough to think they can get away with it? One of the things I wanted to prove was that a man can write a realistic love story, told primarily from the male point of view, and make it believable. There seems to be a misconception that men don’t have romance in our souls, and we can’t express our true feelings very well. For the record, I resent that, and anyone who feels that way isn’t welcome in my Man Cave.

S:  It's always a pleasure to read romance from a man's perspective. It helps women figure out what's really going on in a man's head. Most of the time, I certainly have no clue.

Do you write in other genres? 

T:  I focus primarily on two series. One features a former CIA agent named Nick Seven, who lives in the Florida Keys. The other is about a former cop turned private eye named Vic Fallon, operating out of the Lake Erie town of Sandusky, Ohio. I have also turned out a number of contemporary romantic comedies, both long-form and short. Some are part of my publisher’s summer beach read series, and others, like my featured book, are holiday stocking stuffers. I’ve found that whether it’s mystery or thrillers or rom-coms, romance is romance, and I have fun writing all of them.  

S:  What's your preference--Brains or brawn/beauty? 

T:  It’s actually a combination of the two. The female lead in my most popular romantic spy thriller series is a former CIA operative named Felicia, who lives with the hero, Nick Seven. Felicia is from Barbados, and she’s what I call “sex on two feet.” She’s also as tough and clever as any male action hero, sort of a female James Bond or Jason Bourne. When I conceived the character, I didn’t want a demure wallflower who always had to be rescued. Felicia can hold her own in any situation and in each story, I give her at least one scene where she gets to kick ass and take names. I have fun writing that character, because there’s a lot of depth to her.

S:  For a long time, my biggest complaint about romance novels was that the female leads were written as weak, in need to a man to save them. I love female characters who can fight their own battles, and thankfully, we are seeing a lot more of them.

If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose to write books?

T:  I would, because this is something I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school. I got hooked on reading adventures and private eye thrillers, and began imagining my own stories that needed to be told. This was also the brand of entertainment that was popular on TV at the time, which fueled my desire. I think the only change I would make is publishing under a different name, particularly when I switched to romance. In retrospect, a gender-neutral name would have served me better.

S:  What inspires your stories?

T:  Since I write contemporary stories, I get most of my inspiration from current events and real life. This is not only true with the mystery or thrillers, but also my romantic comedies. Many of the situations were inspired by events that happened to me or my friends. One of my rom-coms, “Mistletoe and Palm Trees,” was the result of a real experience. I had planned a combination book signing and vacation trip to Florida, but at the last minute, my traveling companion couldn’t go. I used that as “What if this guy went to the Florida Keys alone because he broke up with his girlfriend, and he meets a woman who recently dumped her fiancé? What would happen?” 

S:  The ability to ask, "What if?" is essential to a writer of fiction. That question always leads to interesting outcomes.

What famous book do you wish you had written? 

T:  The Godfather,” because it has everything that makes an entertaining page-turner. Family conflicts to resolve, interesting characters, vivid atmosphere, drama, commentary about society and the human condition—it’s all in there. Fifty-plus years later, it’s still popular, and continues to influence writers. What I find interesting is that Mario Puzo didn’t really care for it, even though it was his most successful book. 

S:  That's a really good book choice. Such vibrant characters and solid storylines.

What inspired "Santa Slept Here?"

T:  When I came up with the concept for “Santa Slept Here,” I was dealing with some major life changes. My longtime career had ended with a forced retirement. I was making the adjustment to a different job and lifestyle, and my current relationship had hit some turbulence. Because of all that, I was feeling nostalgic for past holidays. I wanted to write a lighthearted Christmas romance with likable characters who could realistically end up together. This story is my version of a comfortable quilt on a cold winter’s night in front of a fire.

S:  What an apt description! Is there anything special you would like people to know about "Santa Slept Here?"

T:  Although I didn’t label it as part of a series, “Santa Slept Here” is the first of three holiday romances featuring the same two characters. The books don’t need to be read in order, however. The follow-up installments are “Cupid Says Happy New Year,” which picks up a week after the first one, and “Under a Christmas Moon,” which takes place a year later. Each one presents a different conflict, centered around the holidays.  

Here's the blurb-- 

Scott Burke wasn’t looking forward to spending his first Christmas alone after his divorce. His family was scattered over different parts of the country, his friends had plans, and he didn’t really want to partake of the annual community Christmas dinner with strangers. Add to that a general malaise he was feeling about a career that was going nowhere and you had all of the elements for a miserable holiday. A chance meeting with a former classmate on Christmas Eve changes things, when Scott runs into Lisa Berger, stranded on her way home due to a car breakdown. Can the two high school friends rekindle a flame that died out years ago, or will they say Auld Lang Syne when the holiday is over?


S:  I love these types of stories! Where can readers buy "Santa Slept Here?"

T:  It's available at all major booksellers, including--



S:  Tim, thanks so much for joining me today. If you'd like to learn more about Tim and his books, please visit--


Friday, December 3, 2021

This week in The Loft: Author Caroline Clemmons!

Joining me today in The Loft is author Caroline Clemmons. The author of more than 60 books, Caroline writes sweet to sensual romance, both historical and contemporary, as well as western, time travel, and mystery. She is a Top 100 Amazon historical author, as well as a bestselling and award-winning writer. When Caroline’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading her friends’ books, dining in restaurants, browsing antique malls, delving into genealogy, checking Facebook, and taking the occasional nap. Caroline lives in North Central Texas, where she and her "hero" ride herd indoors on their two cats and two dogs. 

Author Caroline Clemmons

S:  Good morning, Caroline! It's a pleasure to chat with you today!

You have written more than 60 books. Why write romance?

C:  By illustrating characters overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles, romance creates hope that we can triumph over obstacles in our personal lives. Readers have said that reading romance has “saved” them in difficult times.

S:  Digging into a romance novel is a great way to shut out all the stress in our lives, isn't it?  

Do you write in other genres?

C:  Most of my books and novellas are historical western romance, but some are contemporary. I also dabble in contemporary cozy mystery. This coming year, I’ll add contemporary women’s fiction and, perhaps, English Victorian. I read several genres and enjoy writing several of the type of books I read.


S:  What was your worst date ever?

C:  Fortunately, I didn’t have many dates I consider terrible. One stands out in my mind. When I was in seventh grade, there was this gorgeous guy was two years ahead of me. I admired him from afar. When I got to high school, there he was again, even cuter. When I was a freshman in college, he asked me out. I discovered he was no longer two years ahead of me, but was only a sophomore. On the date, he told me some of his theories, and I was surprised he was as misinformed as he was confident. He proved a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Or that’s how he seemed to me. For instance, one of his theories was about the reason people get a headache after overeating--our date was near Thanksgiving. He believed that eating a large meal gave one gas. Gas rises in the body, but can’t get through the hard skull. Hence, a headache occurs from the gas in one’s head pushing against the skull. I could hardly wait for the evening to end.

S:  It may have been a bad date, but when it was over, you sure had some tales to tell! 

Do you believe in love at first sight? Has it ever happened to you?

C:  I am a firm believer because it happened to me! I remember the instant I saw my husband and everything in the room as if it were a photograph.

S:  What attracted you to your husband?

C:  In my head, when we met he was the most suave and sophisticated guy ever, though photos of him at that age offer contradictory proof. He was neither of those, but he was attractive. He was also extremely intelligent, which is one of the many things I like about him. He was--and is--kind to his family. When we announced our engagement, his mother told me she knew he’d be a good husband because he was such a good son. She was right.


S:  Stories like that renew my faith in the magic of true love. You are one of the lucky ones.

What do people get wrong about romance?

C:  One of the things stems from those old-style cover photos I hate—the bodice rippers. Romance by some authors might be fanciful, but most romance authors write solid stories about events that might occur or if historical, have occurred. We don’t write wimpy damsels waiting to be rescued. Today’s heroines can rescue themselves, thank you very much. What they need is a partner who is understanding and offers commitment and love. The other thing some scoffers get wrong is thinking romance novels are immoral. Whether they are or not depends on your personal moral code. What I think is soft porn someone else thinks is fine. The thing is, enough variety is offered that everyone can find titles that meet their preference. If critics really studied the Bible, they’d be surprised. An example is the maligned yet determined Tamar, who would not be cheated. Oooh, sorry, that’s probably going to annoy some readers. My point is, critics would be surprised if they actually read a modern romance novel. Sorry, now I’ll step off my soap box.

S:  I totally agree with you. I have heard all sorts of criticism about my steamy romance books--from people who have never read them. In addition, anyone who thinks sex does not occur in a romantic relationship is no doubt hanging around a cabbage patch praying a stork will appear. That said, love is, mostly,  beautiful and takes on all shapes and colors. We do ourselves a disservice when we aren't open to that.

What would you like people to know about you?

C:  Whether a reader likes my writing or not, I want them to know that I strive to provide an entertaining story, an escape from whatever cares they have, and take them to another world. No author can please everyone. Sometimes characters speak to us more distinctly than at other times, so that book will be better. Our lives change and we work during autoimmune diseases, illnesses, and other problems. I hope readers understand that I always do the very best I’m able at the time I’m writing.

S:  If you had it to do over again would you still write books?

C:  You bet I would! The difference is I’d try earlier and do things differently. With 20/20 hindsight, I see many times I would change. I believe those people who say, “If I had it all to do over again, I wouldn’t change a thing” must be demented. Did they learn nothing?

S:  What do you consider your greatest achievement?

C:  Personally, that would be a tie between two things. One is watching our daughters grow into the amazing women they are. The second is being married to my sweet husband, who I call Hero. Professionally, writing over 60 titles, each of which I loved at the time I wrote it. Single titles and series and multi-author projects are represented. There are books in which I take more pleasure at having written, of course. There are two I don’t particularly like now. I completely rewrote another after the rights were returned to me.


S:  What inspired your latest book, "Mail Order Gloria?"

C:  When Cheryl Wright invited me to be a part of her Christmas series, an idea popped into my head. I’ve enjoyed working with Cheryl on other projects, and knew I’d like being included in her Impostor for Christmas series. One reason is because I love Christmas, especially the month leading up to the day. The name of a long-time friend who’s had last several years have been rotten, Gloria, came to mind. The song “Angels We Have Heard on High” also occurred to me. I enjoy writing about a woman who has been the underdog, but who takes charge of her life, takes a chance, and finds her happily-ever-after.

S:  Caroline, thanks so much for joining me today, and congratulations on all of your success. If you'd like to learn more about Caroline and her books, please visit--

blog

website

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

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Caroline’s Cuties

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here and receive a free novella of "Happy is the Bride," a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you? 

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Save big on my holiday stories!

 

All of my holiday stories are 50% off! Check out these great deals and more-- 

The Last Christmas (contemporary romance/inspirational): https://www.extasybooks.com/the-last-christmas 

The President’s Daughter (romantic suspense): https://www.extasybooks.com/the-presidents-daughter 

A Touchdown to Remember (sports/contemporary/erotic romance): https://www.extasybooks.com/a-touchdown-to-remember

Put a little sizzle in your holiday with a tale of romance!