Friday, September 28, 2018

Today in The Loft: Author Viviana MacKade!

Today in The Loft, I am joined by romantic suspense and contemporary romance author Viviana MacKade. Viviana is the author of five books, including the Crescent Creek Series.  She lives in Florida with her husband and son, where she enjoys spending time on the beach, horseback riding, and hiking. Viviana is also a fellow MS Warrior.

Author Viviana MacKade

S: Welcome, Viviana. Thanks so much for joining me for coffee and donuts. 

You write about romance, so of course I have to ask, do you think people only fall in love once?

V:  No, I don’t believe that. You can fall in love a number of times in your life, but you only stay in love if you’re lucky enough to find someone you can give your heart to and be sure he’ll treat it well, you’re willing to put in work for it, or  the person earned your respect.

S:  I think you're right. It's easy to fall in love. It's much harder to stay in love. Love is hard work.

Along those lines, complete this sentence--(blank) really makes me hot.

V:  Brains.

S:  I am with you there. There is nothing sexier than an intelligent man! (Takes bite of a Cyclops donut and smiles.)

If a paranormal invited you to dinner and permitted you to bring five guests--all prominent figures in history--who would you invite and why?

V:  In no particular order--

Churchill:  He was someone who really understood politics and because of it, he could make it in his own way. He led England out from one of toughest time in European history and did it with wit, courage, and brains. His speeches are memorable.

Lincoln:  I’d love to ask him how it felt, being the man who changed America’s face so radically. Why and how he really did it, how it felt and what it cost him.

Marcus Aurelius:  The Philosopher Emperor. Is astonishing how he ruled in such a modern way. Most of our politicians today should study his reign and take notes–a lot. Cassius Dio, the historian of Marcus’ reign, said Marcus’ death marked a descent “from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust.”

Boudica:  She may have lost in the end but she kicked asses, man, and she kicked ‘em good. What a woman she must have been, one who led an army and made a Roman emperor (Nero) consider withdrawing Roman troops from England.

Cavour: He led Italy (and Europe, really) during the Renaissance and was one of the most brilliant statesmen of his time. The world needs more like him.

S:  Wow. That would be quite a dinner party! I can just imagine the debates over politics, governance, and war. 

You seem to have fondness for many different periods of history. Is there any period of time in particular in which you would want to live? 

V:  I’ve always wanted to live in the Renaissance. Then I thought, hell, I have MS. Modern medicine keeps me on my feet (literally), and I still have to take a rest after lunch to recharge the batteries. Even with that, sometimes I need a cane (I’m not even touching the fatigue crap). Living in the past means, in the best-case scenario, I’d be stuck in a chair with a fuzzy brain. No, thank you. I’ll stay in the present and keep walking. Or in the future, where I can be cured.

S:  Exactly. They didn't even understand MS until the end of the last century. From what I have read, early treatments bordered on the barbaric. I'd much rather fly into the future, where there is a better possibility of a cure.

You released a new book, "His Midnight Sun," this month. What can you tell me about it?

V:  "His Midnight Sun," is the fourth book in my Crescent Creek Series. Here's the blurb--
Tormented, fierce, and broken, sculptor Aidan Murphy has judged himself guilty. He yearns for love but pushes everyone away. He longs for acceptance but has lost the key to open his heart. Until he meets Summer Williams. Beautiful and smart, Dr. Williams promises haven for a man who believes he deserves none. All he has to do is let her in and risk his heart and soul.
Summer’s managed to keep her inner light alive, even through tragedy. She’s created a new life for herself and her daughter in Crescent Creek with loving, caring and fun friends–well, except brooding, breathtaking Aidan. She’s used to keeping away from his type, though. All she has to do is ignore the pull of a man who’s turning up to be much more than snarls and storms. Will her compassion and medical instincts let her?
Love can heal a broken soul and shake up a timid heart. Or it can unleash devastation and revenge.
Will Aidan and Summer survive the hurricane?

S:  That sounds hot! Where can readers find the book?
V:  Here are the links--
 S:  Thanks so much for joining me for coffee today, Viviana! For more information on Viviana and her books, visit--


Next week in The Loft:  Author Lili Draguer!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Today in The Loft: Author Kayelle Allen!

Visiting me today in The Loft is romance and science fiction author Kayelle Allen! Kayelle  is the author of seven books, three novellas, and multiple short stories. She is also the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers, which provides a variety of marketing opportunities for romance authors.

S:  Good morning, Kayelle! Thank you so much for joining me today in The Loft! Tell me, what would you like people to know about you?

K:  I've been published for 14 years. I'm also a veteran (U.S. Navy) and I've been married forever. Well, almost. I write about misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. What else... I have three grown children and five grandchildren, three of whom are teenagers. Can you believe that? I can't. I still think of myself as a geeky twelve-year-old with scrawny knees. But that's me!

S:  First of all, thank you for your service. I don't believe we do enough for our veterans and that has to change. I don't know what impresses me more--the fact that you're a veteran, the work you do to assist other romance writers, or the fact that you have grandchildren. My son is barely out of his teens, so I suspect grand kids are far off. I'm so jealous!

If you were offered one of the following gifts: a day back in time, a glimpse into heaven, or perfect health, which would you take and why?

K:  I'd take perfect health. I don't want to go backward and I believe the future will take care of itself, but good health helps in the here and now.

S:  That certainly makes sense. Good health makes most things bearable. Is there a person, book, or song that inspires your flights of fantasy?

K:  I recently completed a photo shoot/cosplay session with Nik Nitsvetov as my immortal king, Pietas. I have hundreds of images of him looking like he just stepped right out of my head. If anyone could inspire my imagination, it's Nik.

S:  Wow. That sounds so cool. Unfortunately, I write about lawyers. After 30 years of living in Lawyerland, I don't want their images in my head! (Laughs)

If you could "seize the day," how would you do it?

K:  I would shut off Skype, my browser, my phone, and lock myself away from friends and family. Then I would just write until I felt like stopping. Or fell over because I was hungry and tired.

S: (Chuckles)  Ah, the gift only a writer would want. Solitude. We crave it. You have spent much of your career writing romance. Is there a reason for that?

K:  I love telling the stories behind relationships. When two characters meet, incite sparks, and then merge into a loving couple, it's fun to watch. I don't always write romance, though. My latest is a science fiction space opera short story set in the same universe as that immortal king I'm so fond of. 

S: Can we take a peek?

K:  Sure. This is "Lights Out," which is featured in The Expanding Universe, Vol 4, edited by Craig Martelle--

"Join the Ghost Corps, they said. You'll live forever, they said. You'll save mankind, they said. They didn't say that to do it, first he had to die.

When Tornahdo signs on the dotted line, he puts his life into the steady hands of the mighty Ghost Corps. Three grisly deaths and three agonizing resurrections later, he's assigned duty on the space station Enderium Six.

He's facing his most dangerous mission yet, the very reason the corps exists.

Do they expect him to win? Fat chance. Tornahdo and his team are already dead and this mission is codenamed "Lights Out." No, there's more to this than he can see.

To discover the truth, he must face an unbeatable, unkillable enemy, and this time--somehow--find a way to keep himself alive..."

S:  Ohhhh, sounds like an entertaining read! 

Thanks so much for visiting me today, Kayelle. For more on Kayelle and her latest release:

Reader Groups
Amazon Author page

He can save mankind. After he does one important thing. Die. 
Exclusively on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited:

Go behind the scenes with the world and characters of "Lights Out" in a free downloadable illustrated book filled with inside information, exclusive character insights, and links to the author's research.

Next week in The Loft:  Viviana MacKade!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Today in The Loft: Romance author Valerie Ullmer!

Today in The Loft, I am pleased to welcome romance author Valerie Ullmer. Valerie is the author of 11 books, all paranormal and contemporary M/F and M/M erotic romance. A resident of Denver, CO, she shares her home with her husband and their black lab.

Author Valerie Ullmer

S:  Good morning, Valerie. Thanks so much for bringing along my favorite morning buns from Babette's Bakery in Denver. (Seelie takes a bite.) Best.morning.buns.ever.

Anyhoo, let's get down to the nitty-gritty. How do you define romance? 

V:  Well, I have two definitions of romance. In real life, like with my husband, it’s the small things we share with each other I consider romantic. I love it when I make my husband laugh and when he makes me, but it’s the moments where you spend together talking about nothing and everything that make your relationship and romance special. I don’t need flowers, candy, or a night out, I’m most happy when he and I are together with our dog and we’re laughing or talking. When I read romances, I look for that moment where the book brings out so much emotion, I can’t put it down. Although the book is guaranteed an HEA (Happily Ever After) during these moments there is a tightness in my chest and my eyes start to water because you are rooting for these two people to finally admit their feelings but one or both unintentionally get hurt and there is a sense of desperation. But the end, knowing the two characters will fight for one another to be happy in the end, I consider that truly romantic.

S:  Is that why you write romance? The HEA?

V:  Yes. I love a happily ever after. I love to think that these two people I’ve gotten to know throughout a book; their feelings, their insecurities, and the reason why the two of them fell in love are all laid out on the page. The best part, I can go back to their world any time I want and they are still together in the end.

S:  Do you believe you only fall in love once?

V:  No, I don’t think you do only fall in love once. I think love takes different forms. Some people are in abusive relationships and they’ve sworn up and down they love that person who’s harming them, but once they leave, they stop. Some live their entire lives married to one person and love that one person. Others find themselves falling in love easily before realizing that although they might have thought it was love at the time, they are different from who they used to be and aren’t in love now. I believe trying to answer this question is like trying to define love, and no matter how hard you try, I don’t think there is one definitive answer. And I believe love comes in all forms.

S:  I like to say love comes in all shapes and sizes, because everyone's experience is different. I am especially struck by the people others find love with. Love is so unpredictable, which is what makes it so fun to write about!

Tell me, what’s the best advice you have ever given?

V:  Advice is what you ask for when you already know the answer, but wish you didn’t.

S:  (chuckles) Now that I think about it, you're right. Seeking advice is a way of clarifying thoughts. 

Summer is breathing its last gasp, fall is almost here. Fall is my favorite time of the year. How about you?

V:  (nods) That first fall day where the leaves have just started their change from green to oranges and reds and yellows. There is a crisp scent to the air that promises cooler weather and the clouds are scattered about in the sky. It’s not cold enough to call it winter and not warm enough to be the end of summer, but it’s the perfect fall day.

S:  Of course, the thing I love most about fall is everything pumpkin, from carving them and baking pumpkin bread to pumpkin spice coffee. 

Tell me about your latest book, "Fall for You."

V:  Well, it's a new adult M/M romance and it's available on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents. Here's the blurb:

Ethan Sutton had come to the stunning revelation that he’d fallen in love with his best friend, Sebastian Young. Although friends since childhood, Ethan vowed to keep his feelings for Sebastian under wraps and live the rest of his life with this one secret between them rather than risk a lifelong connection and never see him again. But when they move into their own apartment at the start of their third year of college, can Ethan keep his feelings from showing when they live so close together?

Sebastian Young had an epiphany about Ethan at the end of last year and arranged for the shared apartment he’d found over the summer to be closer to Ethan and see if a relationship could develop between them. But as they settle into their lives in a new place with such close quarters, ex-girlfriends, nosy downstairs neighbors, and Sebastian’s own doubts, their relationship could be in jeopardy before it even begins.

Can two best friends admit their feelings and fall in love?

S:  Ah, moving out of the friend zone is always risky. Can you share an excerpt?
V:  Sure--
"Ethan kept his eyes on his phone during the entire trip. It wasn’t as though he didn’t want to speak to Sebastian, who sang under his breath at the song coming through the speakers of his older SUV. But whenever he’d been in an enclosed space with Sebastian, he caught his scent of pine and cedar mixed with 'a hint of mint, and each time he moved, it drifted over to him and drove Ethan crazy. Even from the other side, Sebastian’s body heat surrounded him and he wriggled in his seat to adjust himself before his desire for his best friend became clear.

For years, the closeness he shared with Sebastian had been enough. It was he and Sebastian against the world throughout high school, and Ethan understood it would be the same in college.

But when they started their freshman year, Sebastian decided he would make up for lost time by dating his way through the female student body at the University of Oregon. Sebastian still made time for him, but it was rare during their first two years of college for Sebastian not to have at least one date on the weekend.

Ethan hadn’t understood what the churning emotions were each time Sebastian talked about a new woman. Later, he recognized the feeling was jealousy.

There had been a time during his sophomore year, driven by those feelings of jealousy and his new found awareness he was gay, he’d gone out. Most of the time, with a frequency that matched Sebastian’s frenzied dating life. Ethan resolved to find someone and forget about the man he most wanted, his best friend, so he headed to a well-known bar off-campus.

Although he’d gone home with guys, nothing progressed past blowjobs. For one, it solidified the fact he was gay. Despite knowing, Ethan had no clue what held him back from going further with the willing men he’d met, but something stopped him.

After his break-up with his long-time girlfriend, Sebastian became a constant in Ethan’s life again. Their friendship had never strained during their first years of college, and they grew closer when Sebastian found himself single.

During the summer, they decided they wanted to rent an off-campus apartment and live together. Ethan believed they would request a room together in the dorms, but Sebastian wanted to ditch the dorms and find their own place. Their parents had agreed to it although it would be more expensive.

More than once, Ethan had wanted to look for a place before they were all rented, but Sebastian said he would handle everything.

“Don’t worry. I’ve got it covered.”

And now they were moving in together, Ethan found himself nervous about having his feelings show at the most inopportune moments.

Their freshman year, they were assigned separate rooms in different buildings. And being so far apart from each other became a pain in the ass. More often than not, Ethan would stay at Sebastian’s place, or Sebastian’s at Ethan’s. Unless Sebastian had a date.

It had been easy to hide his feelings then. He wasn’t so sure his desire wouldn't show in such close quarters. But when Sebastian brought up living together, there wasn't a reason not to, and he agreed. Hundreds of excuses became plain as they drove closer to their destination but Ethan didn't voice them aloud.

But his eyes kept being drawn back to Sebastian, his heart kicking in his chest as he took in Sebastian’s tanned arm draped over the steering wheel. Each time Sebastian caught Ethan looking at him, he would give him that easy smile. The smile made every man want to be his friend and every woman fall in love with him.

Although their friendship was an easy one, Ethan sometimes wondered how they grew so close when they were so different."

S:  Sounds interesting. Where can readers purchase your book?

V:  It's available on Amazon Kindle. Here's the link--

S:  Valerie, thanks for much for visiting me today. I wish you much luck with "Fall for You." It sounds like a great read!

To learn more about Valerie, visiting the following--

TWITTER:  @valerieullmer

Next week in The Loft:  Kayelle Allen!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Today in The Loft: Romance author Zara West

Joining me today in The Loft is romantic suspense author Zara West. Zara divides her time between New York and the Maritimes, but seeks the inspiration for her tales of suspense, mystery, and romance from wherever she travels. An accomplished artist by training, Zara also enjoys tending to her organic herb garden, collecting hats and cats, and whipping up ethnic dishes for friends and family.

Zara West
Author Zara West

S: Good morning, Zara, and thanks so much for joining me today. Tell me, why do you write romance?

Z: When I turned from writing non-fiction to fiction, I didn’t set out to write romance. But when I looked around my house, the biggest pile of fiction books I had were all romances. I loved the happy endings, and I was especially inspired by Shana Abe’s beautiful writing. So when I picked up my pen, a love story set in the place I was born, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, seemed a natural way to start. But I also like sexy-hot, thrilling, page-turners like Shannon McKenna’s novels so I didn’t want to make it easy on my characters. In my Skin Quartet series, I made sure there was plenty of action, conflict, and even a bit of terror in my stories. Book 1 Beneath the Skin is about a kidnapped tattoo artist and the two people trying to rescue her. Along the way they have to learn to trust each other in order to save not only her, but themselves. In Book 2, Close to the Skin, a billionaire crime boss is taken captive and tortured by his own brother who wants the crime empire for himself. But will the woman who loves him be able to save him before it is too late? In my new release Within the Skin, an illegal immigrant, to support her family, robs a wealthy architect. But when she is forced to steal for a criminal enterprise, he faces down his worst fears to save her.

S:  If someone wrote a song about you, what would be the title?

Z:  “Dancing through Life” It might be hard for anyone who has read my romantic thrillers to believe, but I am a naturally upbeat, happy person. I have done some pretty amazing things in my life – everything from climbing mountains to living with Greek shepherds, teaching art to running a sheep farm. I have enjoyed each and every experience, and I hope to have many more. But I think what would make me dance my feet off would be would be writing a best-selling novel!

S:  I'm impressed. I have always been a little afraid of sheep and you ran a sheep farm? You must have a tremendous sense of adventure!

You have a new book coming out September 17. Complete this sentence for me: “When one of my books is released, I….”

Z:  When one of my books is released, it’s like a dream come true. I never thought I would be writing romances. I studied art and planned on being a professional artist, and in particular, a book illustrator. But I should have had a hint that my future was going to involve writing. My very first book was a how-to on building weaving looms. And yes, I illustrated it, but I also wrote it. I went on to illustrate two other books. But the writing side of me was awakened.

S:  Why choose writing?

Z:  Writing is so many things for me. It is exciting. It is fulfilling. It is something I am driven to do. But most of all, it is a way to bring alive characters who face obstacles, take a stand, and find their happy ending. In my Skin Quartet series, I have a cast of characters who have dealt with homelessness, discrimination, injury, depression, death, and being the victims of ruthless criminals. I hope that in some way my strong characters empower readers and show that through persistence and love, the world can be made a better place, especially if we are willing to trust each other and stand up for each other.

S:  What can you tell me about your book, "Within the Skin?"

Z:  Here's the blurb--

Known as El Toro, street artist Alba Vargas is on the cusp of fame and fortune. Winner of a prestigious award, she is the toast of the New York City art scene. Or at least she will be, once she figures out how to act like a woman after living disguised as a boy for six years. If she is lucky, she might even attract the attention of the tattoo artist she has long loved from afar. Tattoo artist Fernando Pharaoh has betrayed everyone who ever cared about him, including El Toro, the street-wise graffiti artist who saved his life when all looked bleak. Depressed, he turns from his friends and becomes ensnared in a criminal enterprise run by a former enemy. Then the crime boss kidnaps Toro’s younger brother, Hanger. Blaming himself, Pharaoh sets out to rescue him, resolving to do one good thing in his life. But Toro has her own desperate plan to save her brother—one that will not only break Pharaoh’s heart—but will also destroy every hope and dream she has ever had. 

S:  Wow. That sounds like a real nail-biter! Where can readers buy your book?

Z:  It will be available at all major booksellers, including:




Wild Rose Press:

S:  Thanks so much for joining me today, Zara. More information on Zara is available at--





Next week in The Loft, author Valerie Ullmer!