Author Spotlight: Nikole Knight

It’s 2021 and it’s time to kick off this year’s author spotlight interviews! Today I’m joined by the wonderful Nikole Knight, who’s here to tell us about her passion for hurt/comfort, her upcoming new series and starting in fanfiction!

Over to you Nikole…

First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hi! I’m Nikole Knight. I’m an American, born and bred in Indiana, but I live in a tiny little European country, nestled between Germany and Belgium. I spend most of my time wrangling my two mini knights into some semblance of order so that they don’t answer the front door in their underwear. I’m grey/ace, I’ve been married for eight years, and I write angsty, painful, but victorious LGBTQIA+ love stories.

Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I write angsty stories with broken, imperfect characters. I write awkward flirting and snarky humor. Sometimes, I write dark, painful stories where I put my characters through hell. Happy endings are always worth more when they have to fight for it, don’t you think? 😉 My stories tend to be character-driven with love at the center, and while they’re not very fluffy, I always deliver a happily ever after. My alpha reader calls me Sadie because I’m apparently a sadist that enjoys torturing her characters and her readers. I write the stories I love to read, with relatable characters, hard-fought victories, and love that conquers all.

Describe your books in only three words.
Angsty. Emotional. Raw.

What’s your next book about and when is it coming out?
I’m starting a new contemporary MM romance series this year, and the first book (the prequel) will be releasing later this month. The series follows a chosen family of exotic dancers as they find love. It will be a lighter (and steamier) read than my previous two series, so I’m excited to be trying something a little different.

Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
That is so hard! I wrote a short story last summer called The Night We Met. It’s literally one night in the lives of the two main characters. They come from different walks of life and spend 12 hours together. And those 12 hours change everything. The story tackles the heavy subject of depression and suicide, and I think I’m most proud of that book because of the rawness and vulnerability it brought Sam and Jethro (and me) to. Though, I would be remiss not to mention the lovestory I’m most proud of—the love between Riley and Gideon from my Fire & Brimstone series. With Gideon identifying on the ace spectrum and Riley being demi, I am very proud to have written a story portraying that love and intimacy are more than—and in some case, exclusive from—sex. 

What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
TJ Klune has been a huge inspiration for me as I have developed as a writer. Not only his incredible talent but the messages his books impart. This might sound weird, but injustice is a big motivator for me as well when I write. I like to write about those whose voices may have been silenced, because every story deserves to be heard.

What inspired you to start writing?
Um…boredom? JK, let me explain. I wrote my first story when I was in high school, and it was a travesty of prose. After that, I wrote down little story ideas here and there but never pursued it. It wasn’t until 2016, when I immigrated to my husband’s homeland, that I started writing. Unable to work until my immigration paperwork was approved, I had a lot of time on my hands, and I started writing a fanfiction story on Wattpad. It was popular in the fandom, and I branched out into original stories which were also met with enthusiasm. With the support and encouragement from a core group of readers (who later became my friends and beta readers) I pursued publishing my works “for real.” So while it was a hobby that snuck up on me because I was bored and jobless, I found I had a knack for it, and it’s now grown into my passion and my full-time job!

What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I recently was fortunate enough to quit my day job to write full-time. So every day is supposed to be my writing day. Of course, 2020 was a crazy year, and with lockdowns that resulted in my kids being home 24/7, it led to a rather chaotic writing schedule. I write when I can, usually during the day if my kids are agreeable. If not, I take time in the evenings when the hubby is otherwise entertained. I’m looking forward to a more structured schedule once schools open back up. As for my process, I’m a pantser, not a planner. I have ideas and plots and characters; I know where the book begins and where it ends, but how we get there is anyone’s guess. I put on music, block out social media, and write. I see where the characters take me, correcting when they get too enthusiastic, and eventually, we make it to the end, a little worse for wear but alive and satisfied.

What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Usually the plot, or at least, the main idea for the plot. Then I meet the main character and it develops from there.

What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Like an existing book that I wish I had written first? I mean, probably Harry Potter because it’s amazing but it was written by an awful person. I might not have been able to write it better, but I’m not a transphobic b*tch, so I feel like I wouldn’t have ruined the series after it got popular by being a terrible person. If you mean a story I want to write that I haven’t…I mean, all the stories? I have too many ideas and not enough time to write them all. 

If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Hurt/comfort 100% It’s my jam. It’s my bread and butter. Give me all the broken characters and I will patch them up with love and awkwardness and trial by fire 😉 There is something beautiful about a character who believes themselves worthless or broken and them discovering their strength and worth. Not because they needed “love” or a “partner” to validate or complete them. But because there are people in our lives who support and encourage us to be the best versions of ourselves we always had the potential to be.

What would be your three desert island books?
You are really being mean now, making me choose only 3. I need to pick standalones because I hate only reading one book in a series. It drives me crazy. So… ugh, How To Be A Normal Person by TJ Klune. Host by Stephanie Meyer. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
My Fire & Brimstone series is perfect for a TV series. Please! Netflix? CW? Anyone? JK. For casting, I have no idea! The only actor who physically encompasses one of my characters would be Chris Hemsworth who I feel is a good representation of Gideon in looks and body build. Other than that, I don’t know.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
I am musical, which I don’t think I have ever talked about. I sing, and I’ve played piano since 7th grade. I play guitar but badly. I love reading, obviously, so if I could choose what my time was spent doing when not writing, it would be reading! In reality, when I’m not writing, I’m a wife and mother, doing boring stuff like grocery shopping, cleaning, and laundry. You know, adulting.

Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Velociraptor, hands down!

NIKOLE KNIGHT is a born and bred Hoosier living in a top-secret location in Europe. She’s the lone female in the house, unless you count the dog, and she writes love in all its forms.

When she isn’t racing after a half-naked toddler or arguing with a child’s logic, Nikole can be found in her writing nook, typing away as her fingers turn to nubs.

You can find more information about Nikole on her website, sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Instagram and join her Facebook group, Nikole Knight’s Round Table!

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Author Spotlight: JP Sayle

We’ve reached the end of 2020 already and what a year it’s been! Today it’s time for the final author spotlight of this year, and it’s with the wonderful JP Sayle.

So, take it away JP…

First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hi I’m JP or Jayne, I’m now a full-time writer tucked away on a small island in the Irish sea. I’m married and have one daughter and two grandbabies. I’ve a love of cake that I share weekly with my twin and older sister when we do ‘sisters who eat cake saturday’.

Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I’m a total pantser on the whole, I sit at my computer and let out whatever is in my head. Although recently I’ve tried doing an outline thing, it doesn’t work as well, but I’m all for stretching myself with a challenge.

Describe your books in only three words.
Angsty, real, different.

Can you tell us a little about your latest release?
I have a new release just out, Reluctant Billionaire. This is series I had no intention of writing lol, but lockdown happened and with that came this need to do something different, then Nanna happened. In book one Property of a Billionaire, you get to meet Charlie and his Nanna. Nanna hands down steals the show as she channels her cat. In that book you meet Guy, Charlie’s best friend and Brett, who is Charlie’s boyfriend’s psychologist. 

Anyhow, in Reluctant Billionaire Nanna excels at meddling when they all end up skiing at New Year. Guy is a fem, high heel loving dominant and years younger than Brett. Brett is man who just wants to be loved for who he is after his father behaves in ways that make him doubt himself. What ensues is a rollercoaster of emotions that a blogger described at a great anti pandemic laugh out loud book.

Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
That has to be Ferron’s Journey: Trilogy, those three books really took it out of me mentally but the end result left me feeling proud of the depth of emotion that comes  across from the main characters

What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
All books have influenced me as a writer. From the moment I found I could disappear from the awful crap of my childhood in pages, I’ve never looked back. In terms of who helped make my decision to write MM, that would be my twin and Kindle Alexander the first MM author I read.

What inspired you to start writing?
My nurse manager’s job and the life coach asking what I want to do with my life. That simple question started me on a path of discovery and challenge to change my life so could live my dream.

What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
Yep I do I suppose, lol. I wake, do social media stuff and connect with friends, I then mediate. I sort myself (in pjs) to be at my desk by nine am with a two litre bottle of Pepsi Max. If hubby is home I give him a kiss and lock myself in my office. If the door is shut he knows not to come in. I’ll then write until I get mentally tired. This could be four hours or eight, I never know. If I get a manuscript back that requires editing I tend to do that in the afternoons. I can do that even if I’m mentally drained. 

What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
I wish I had the plot, but no, it’s always the characters, I can be inspired by anything which makes it hugely difficult to keep going with one project. I’ve a dozen unfinished books (possibly more) because I get distracted easily. 

What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Practical Magic – love anything that’s magically and witchy.

If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Age gap, it’s in nearly every book I’ve written. I think it stems from personal preference for older partners.

What would be your three desert island books?
Really that is so hard  but, I’m going to say, (boxset is one right) Nice Guy Series by Kindle Alexander, Cruel and Unusual by Patrica Cornwell, my own boxset for Manx Cat Guardians.

If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Where it all Began, I’ve often seen in my head my Viking stood by the castle I wrote about. Jason Mamoa would be perfect for the role of King Olarfr, my guardian cat Max, the voice I see as John Rhys-Davies, and Magnus I think I’d want Zack Ward.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
Family tend to take most of my spare time, as I have my grandbabies weekly. But I’ve been searching recently for the wizards that we have scattered all over the island. I love to walk. My secret passion is sunbathing, I love the sun and I don’t get to sit out like I used to.  

Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Velociraptor for sure. 

Hey, I’m JP, a manxy lady of a certain age who embraces life to the full and it’s why I now write full time. I quit my job because life’s too short not to follow your dreams, right? I’ve a love of all things bookish and writing has given me an unexpected bonus, friendships all over the world.

I’m lucky that I’ve a hubby who is supportive of me and the world I’m trying to create. I’ve a twin who is to blame for me dipping my toe in the MM world. My daughter isn’t so broad minded lol, but I’m sure I’ll sway her one day 😉

My one goal when I started on this epic journey was to write and take people with me on a
voyage through the pages of my books. I hope I’ve achieved that.

You can find more information about JP on her website, and sign up for her newsletter.

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Author Spotlight: Toby Wise

Today my Author Spotlight guest is the wonderful Toby Wise who’s here to chat about their love of omegavese, their background in fandom and breaking out of their comfort zone with a new alien romance.

Over to you Toby…

First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hello! My name is Toby Wise and I write queer omegaverse romance often with a side of mpreg. I hail from a small town in the middle of Wisconsin and live with my partner, our feisty four year old, and our spoiled rotten cat, Pikachu.

Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I absolutely love focusing on the omegaverse trope. There’s so much you can play with whether that’s shifters, true mates, or non-shifter omegaverse. I adore writing found family finding each other and being a mismatched crew that somehow just fit together. My staples are adding humor and fluff to every story I write.

Describe your books in only three words.
Humorous. Sweet. Sassy.

What’s your next book about and when is it coming out?
My next book is called A Layperry’s Tradition. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit with this one and writing an alien/human romance. There will be a foreign planet, gorgeous aliens, snarky best friends, and mpreg in this book. It’s coming to a kindle near you this January.

Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
This is a tough question because I’m proud of all of my books for different reasons. I’m really proud of Ageless Fate because it’s my very first book. Fate’s Perfect Timing is also one of my most proud moments because it’s a book with a non-binary main character and being able to tell their story was amazing and I had so many people come to me, thanking me for explaining what being non-binary means to me through Isaiah. That really touched me.

What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
I think fandom has influenced me the most. I’m not sure I would have started writing without the community I’d found on tumblr. It gave me the opportunity to write tropes I probably would have never tried before and helped me find my own style.

It wasn’t long after I started writing fanfiction that the idea of ‘A Collection of Strays’ came to me and I really wanted to write an original, even if it was just for me. My best friend showed me there was amazing MM romances on Amazon and once I read my first omegaverse novel, I was absolutely hooked and knew I wanted to write books too. 

What inspired you to start writing?
I started writing because of fandom and fanfiction. Without that community I’m not sure I’d be here writing books right now. Super big shoutout to Charlie for always pushing me to write and encouraging me and reading my drafts when I’m positive they’re trash. XD Without her and the other friends I’ve made over the years in fandom, I wouldn’t be the writer I am right now. 

What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I try to write whenever Lil Wise gives me a moment of quiet during the day. And then every night I get two hours in my office to write and do admin work. I usually play some music to get in the zone but other than that, I don’t really have much of a process. 

What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
I usually get a vague overall plot and then I need to come up with the characters that fit into the world I want to write. 

What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
I honestly can’t think of one. There’s something so wonderful about sitting down and reading your favorite book and I don’t think I would have that same enjoyment if I had been the one to write it. 

If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I know this is a cop out but I’m going with it anyway; Omegaverse! There’s just so many things you can do with that one trope. You can do fun shifter pairings, you get to write mpreg, you can write fun heat/rut sex. And no matter what combo you come up with, you’ll never write the same story twice because there’s such a wide variety to play with. 

What would be your three desert island books?
The Bane Chronicles, Alpha’s Mates by Susi Hawke, and Starting from Scratch by Jay Northcote.

If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Oof, this is SUCH a hard question omg. I’d love to have A Collection of Strays as a TV sitcom comedy type show where you get to see all these different shifters find their mates and fall in love while being wacky and goofy together. Cameron would be played by Andy Black and he would be a HILARIOUS little shit right up until Future Cameron becomes Present Cameron and he has to deal with his shit. 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
When I’m not writing I’m a full time parent. So lots of arts and crafts, lots of reading the same exact book over and over and over again, lots of walks where we get distracted by every noise and insect we find ;D
The things I do just for me are crocheting and doing thing with fandom either on tumblr or discord. 

Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
The dinosaur from Meet the Robinsons who yells ‘I have a big head and little arms!’ 

TOBY WISE is a stay at home parent who hails from a small town in Wisconsin. They grew up loving to write but fell away from their passion once they became an adult. Thankfully, the world of fanfiction drew them back, forcing them to write about a pair of idiots falling in love (and sometimes engaging in acts of debauchery). As they started up their journey of writing once more, they realized there were a plethora of characters in their head that needed their story told, birthing ‘A Collection of Strays’.

When Toby isn’t writing fanfiction or original books, they’re likely chugging coffee and shaking their head at their kiddo.  

Toby can be found on Facebook, and Patreon. You can also join their Facebook reader group, Toby’s Wiseasses, and sign up for their newsletter.

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Strawberry Kisses is LIVE

I’m super excited to tell you that Strawberry Kisses is now live in Kindle and KU! *fires confetti canon*

This was a book that I’d wanted to write for ages before I finally put pen to paper and I loved writing Patrick and Connor so much. They’re so sweet and funny and I hope you love them as much as I do.

It’s the low angst, best friends to lovers, fake dating, only one bed, soft pining, sweet virgin, sexy, funny book that a lot of us need right now. So if that sounds like something for you, then you’ll find all the links below!

Patrick’s To Do List:
1. Tell family I’m gay
2. Make giant cake for anniversary party 
3. Convince Connor to be my fake boyfriend for the weekend 
4. Try to keep my hands off Connor
5. Make sure Connor doesn’t find out I’ve been in love with him for the last three years

Connor’s Steps for Success:
1. Perfect pole routine for Chrome Stars
2. Continue search for perfect music
3. Survive weekend with Patrick’s family without mauling him while sharing a bed
4. Prevent feelings from exploding like a glitter bomb
5. Make sure Patrick doesn’t find out I’ve been in love with him forever

 Strawberry Kisses is a 78,000 word standalone, contemporary MM romance featuring a sweet pastry chef, sassy pole dancer, a nosy but loving family, fabulous make-up, fluffy feels, and copious amounts of cake.

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Universal Link
Goodreads

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Coming Soon: Strawberry Kisses

I’m super excited to show of the title, cover, blurb and release date for my brand new novel, Strawberry Kisses.

It’s the best friends to lovers, fake dating, only one bed, soft pining, sweet virgin story that I couldn’t resist writing, plus it also comes with lots of cake, fluff, sweetness and some fabulous make up too! If you’ve read Screens Apart, you’ll already have met Connor and I knew he needed a happy ever after of his own.

Strawberry Kisses will be out at the start of November, and it’s available for pre-order now. Check out the link below.

Strawberry Kisses

Coming 12th November 2020

Patrick’s To Do List:
1. Tell family I’m gay
2. Make giant cake for anniversary party 
3. Convince Connor to be my fake boyfriend for the weekend 
4. Try to keep my hands off Connor
5. Make sure Connor doesn’t find out I’ve been in love with him for the last three years

Connor’s Steps for Success:
1. Perfect pole routine for Chrome Stars
2. Continue search for perfect music
3. Survive weekend with Patrick’s family without mauling him while sharing a bed
4. Prevent feelings from exploding like a glitter bomb
5. Make sure Patrick doesn’t find out I’ve been in love with him forever

Strawberry Kisses is a 78,000 word standalone, contemporary MM romance featuring a sweet pastry chef, sassy pole dancer, a nosy but loving family, fabulous make-up, fluffy feels, and copious amounts of cake.

Pre-Order Now

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Author Spotlight: Drea Roman

Today my Author Spotlight guest is the lovely Drea Roman who’s here to chat about her brand new holiday romance, what’s coming next and how publishing her first novel proved to her that she could do it.

Take it away Drea…

First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hi! I’m Drea Roman. I’m still a newbie-ish writer of contemporary and omegaverse paranormal LGBTQ romance. So far, I have two series, Hearts Intertwined and Waves of Fate as well as several books in the shared magical universe of Vale Valley. My fifth book just published and I have another due in January.

Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I have a PhD in literature and I am sure I am influenced by the people I read as well as academic writing rules. It is hard to use contractions, lol, but I’m learning. Emotional and funny – at least I hope so.

Describe your books in only three words.
Emotional, funny, romantic.

Can you tell us a little about your latest release and what you’re working on now?
2020 has been a horrible year and so I started the holiday season early! In October 2020, I published Santa’s Right-Hand Delivery Man as book 2 in the final season of Vale Valley! Santa falls for his tiny delivery elf — it is sweet and super fluffy. It picks up with characters from my VV from last year, His Christmas Magic. In January, I will publish my final VV, Trio: Friend, Lover, Mate, which picks up with characters I set up as mates at the end of HCM.  It is the book gift that keeps on giving, lol.  

Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
Loving Him is my first book. I love the characters. Publishing that proved to me that I could do it.  Plus, Aubrey and Black are one of my favorite couples. Their story was so emotional for me.  It seemed readers really liked Black, the brooding artist, but Aubrey, the sun-shiny park planner, was my favorite. He is just so giving, but even he has a limit.

What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
I read a ton of romance growing up.  As a writer of shifters, I am influenced by Nalini Singh, who writes MF paranormal romance. Her shifters are very in touch with their animals and that is the way I imagine them in my stories. In recent years, I have been influenced by Maxine Hong Kingston, whose work was the focus of my dissertation. In LGBTQ romance, I would say Piper Scott, Susi Hawke, and Sloane Kennedy have been influences for various reasons — creativity, world building, humor, and emotions. 

What inspired you to start writing?
I always wanted to write romance. I was teaching high school and we had a speaker who was inspiring and gave out bracelets saying “I believe in myself.” I decided I was going to write that romance novel I wanted to write. I thought I would write MF, but ended up with a MM plot bunny and the rest is history. 

What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
Ugh, I work too much. So I frequently write in the evenings or on days that I clear for all day writing. I write a lot of notes on my phone in between. I write on my couch or in my bedroom or at the kitchen table.  A lot of Loving Him was written on my phone in messages to my email. I still do that a lot. There is no typical writing day, but I wish there were.

What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
A scenario, often with particular characters. A selkie who drops his magical coat in front of his fated mate or a guy tracking down his love, but he is waiting not so patiently in the lobby because he needs to pee or a Christmas elf who gets amnesia while flying to a magical town to track down his fated mate.  

What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
None. I appreciate other people’s books, but I don’t want to have written them. Writing and reading are different enjoyments for me.  I adore The Forbidden Desires series by Scott and Kelly, but I just want to live in it.  🙂 

If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Hurt/comfort.  🙂 I swear it makes its way into almost every single story I write anyway. 

What would be your three desert island books?
Peppermint Spiced Omega by Susi Hawke; The Fifth Book of Peace by Maxine Hong Kingston; an anthology of British Romantic Poetry from college.  I’m cheating and adding Bond by Piper Scott and Virginia Kelly (Lynn Van Dorn).

If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
I think my Vale Valley stories would make a fun mini-series. I have no idea who I would cast, probably new, up-and-comers who look like I imagine the characters in my head. 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
Ballroom dancing– I did it for years and have fallen out of the habit in the past few. I miss it and the people.  I plan to start up again when Covid is finally handled. 

Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Brontosaurus~  it is a real dinosaur! 😉 I co-own a science and tech store with my fiancé. We have lots of dinosaurs, science toys and kits, and 3D printing services.

DREA ROMAN is an overeducated lady with cats, a ferret, lizards, a fiancé, a sister, and a wonderful village of likeminded friends, authors, and artists. All of this coupled with too many day jobs makes Drea a ridiculously busy woman.  She has one contemporary series, Hearts Intertwined; one paranormal omegaverse series, Waves of Fate; and is a frequent contributor to the shared universe series, Vale Valley.  

Drea can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Bookbub, Amazon and Instagram. You can also join her Facebook reader group, Drea’s Dirty Divas, for special stories and reading opportunities, and sign up for her newsletter.

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Author Spotlight: Susan Mac Nicol

Today my Author Spotlight guest is the wonderful Susan Mac Nicol who joined me to talk about her favourite tropes of soul mates and emotional trauma, what she’s working on right now and getting started in novels by writing a screenplay.

Over to you Susan…

First things first, please introduce yourself!
My name is Susan Mac Nicol, I live in the UK (where most of my books are set) and I write M/M romance novels. It’s a genre I adore (I’ve written M/F too) and the gay romance genre is where I see myself spending most of my time.

Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I guess every writer has their own ‘voice’ and mine tends to be relaxed, with lots of dialogue, which I love writing. I hope to always inject realism into every tale I tell, and make sure my characters are people you could meet on the street, and be comfortable with.

Describe your books in only three words.
Humorous. Edgy. Sensuous.

What’s your next book about and when is it coming out?
I’m currently writing a snarky tale of a zoologist/zookeeper and a supernatural being – a Djinn. It’s a funny, romantic story of how Daliel (the Djinn) manages to complicate and enrich Sullivan’s life at the same time. It’s called ‘Rubbing One Out.’ 

Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
I think Living on Air. It took the longest to write, and the research was a lot of fun. I stayed with a circus for 3 days, in an old circus caravan, and had back scene access to all the performers and the ins and outs of circus life. This book also won the Bronze Award from Readers Favorite Book Awards, chosen from thousands of submissions.

What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
I read loads of Mills and Boons when I was a kid, and seemed to get the bug for soppy romances. I also read James Hadley Chase and Charles Dickens. Now I read other MM authors, urban fantasy, horror and thrillers. I don’t think any one writer has influenced me. I tend to take bits away from all the authors I read. Stephen King is my favourite ever author, though.

What inspired you to start writing?
Oooh there’s a leading question lol. Ok. Here goes. I watched Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch. I fell in love with the Batch and wanted to write a screenplay (a romance) for him to play the main character in. I figured that would be the only way I’d ever get to meet or see him in person. So I began writing a romantic script about an older woman and younger man (modelled on BC as an actor) It was hard to write a screenplay off the bat so then I decided I’d write a novel first, and then convert to a screenplay. (Are you all still with me?)

So I wrote the novel, didn’t think it was too bad, thought I’d have more kudos if I had a book published first before tackling the screenplay, so sent the MS to one publisher (Boroughs)  just starting out. I figured I’d take a chance on them and they might take a chance on me. They did and I’ve not looked back since.

What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
There’s no typical writing day for me. I find the time to write in between other things and try and put a certain amount of hours aside for full on writing. I don’t plot anything, I simply sit down and start creating my story.

What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
The plot.  I’ll think of something and decide, Ooh that sounds as if it could be a great story, then develop everything else around that.

What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
I’m a HUGE fan of the Val McDermid series, Wire in the Blood. I wish I’d got the talent to write books like these.

If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Probably soul mates and past emotional trauma. It’s one I enjoy writing about, having two people meet up and realise as the relationship progresses that they complement each other. I love the whole redemption idea in tortured souls finally being to love someone.

What would be your three desert island books?
The Stand by Stephen King, any one of Phil Rickman’s books, and Dracula by Bram Stoker.

If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Oh, this one’s easy. As I’ve already got the screenplay written for Sight Unseen, with my co writer Nicholas Downs, actor and producer, it would be this one. Nicholas would play the part of Nate and Eric Christian Olsen would be Cody.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
I have a two day full time job in the Financial Services industry, as well as a few compliance consultancy projects as well where I work from home. So when I’m not writing, I’m busy working on these. My passion has always been writing 🙂

Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Triceratops. They look awesome!!

SUSAN MAC NICOL writes steamy, sexy and fun contemporary romance stories, some suspenseful, some gritty and dark and hopefully always entertaining. She lives in her dream home, a cute thatched cottage in the Essex UK countryside.

She’s also Editor in Chief at Divine Magazine, an online LGBTQ e-zine, and a member of The Society of Authors, the Writers Guild of Great Britain, and the Authors Guild in the US. Susan is also an award-winning script writer, with scripts based on two of her own published works. Sight Unseen has garnered no less than seven awards to date and her TV pilot, Reel Life, based on her debut novel, Cassandra by Starlight, was also a winner at the Oaxaca Film Fest. 

She loves going to the theatre, live music concerts (especially if it’s her man crush Adam Lambert or the divine Cumberbatch) walks in the countryside, a good G and T, lazing away afternoons reading a good book, and watching re-runs of Silent Witness.

You can find Susan on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Bookbub and her website, plus you can sign up for her newsletter. You can also join Susan’s Facebook Group, which she shares with some other fabulous British authors, Talking RoMMance… with a British Accent.

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Author Spotlight: Layla Reyne

Today my Author Spotlight guest is the fabulous Layla Reyne who’s here to talk about her adrenaline-fueled romances, being a foodie and how her Southern family, and love of car chases, influenced her writing.

So, over to you Layla…

First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hi! I’m Layla. I’m a multi-published, hybrid author of romantic suspense and contemporary romance. I’m also a full-time juggler, balancing writing with two other day jobs, a scientist husband, three dogs, and a ton of cookbooks I dive into on the regular. Originally from North Carolina, I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area now, never too far from the coast and still a die-hard Tar Heel fan.

Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I love a good twisty plot, complicated characters, unresolved sexual tension, and big found families. That cocktail translates to books – often trilogies – that are more plot heavy with a side of slow burn romance. And lots of spin-off potential!

Describe your books in only three words.
Adrenaline-Fueled Romance

What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on several projects. Helena’s and Holt’s books in the Fog City series – Queen’s Ransom and Silent Knight – plus a few secret projects, including a fun mystery romp with one of my favorite side characters, another sexy foodie romance, and a very long overdue wedding short.

Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
I can’t just pick one! But I can pick two! 

Craft Brew (Trouble Brewing 2) in the romantic suspense column. When Cam first appeared on page in Single Malt, I immediately wanted to tell his story and dive into the mystery of his missing sister and how it drove him to the FBI. Six books later, I finally got to tell that story, and Craft Brew fires on all cylinders – the mystery, the suspense, the angst, the family drama, the Jamie-Cam and Aidan-Nic bromances, and the cementing of the relationship between Cam and Nic.

Dine With Me in the contemporary romance column. It’s the book of my heart, I’ve been to all those places featured in the book (or the place the fictional ones are based on), I adore the supportive supporting cast (that was so important to me in this book given the other conflicts the MCs are already dealing with), and I really love the journey the Miller and Clancy take together.

What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
Two things, I’d say. Growing up in a Southern family, that oral history tradition was strong. So many stories get handed down and told over and over, like how my grandpa’s birth certificate, which his mother kept in the family bible, got eaten by one of the goats who got in the house. Or like how relatives used to smuggle moonshine down from the mountains in Christmas trees. The other thing would be television and movies, especially when it comes to my romantic suspense leanings. I’m an action tv/movie junkie. The more tangled the plot the better, the more car chases the better, and when you throw in a heavy dose of UST, I’m a goner. I love those high stakes, high tension situations.

What inspired you to start writing?
I always gravitated toward writing, to those courses and competitions in school, but it was my twelfth grade English teacher who pushed me further. We had to assemble a writing portfolio over the course of the year, and I strived to fill it with top notch pieces, including an epilogue for To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. My first piece of fanfiction that launched a ton more fanfics that led to a shelf of my own books.

What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
LOL, this question always makes me laugh. My other day jobs have to come first because those are the jobs that pay my bills. They also give me the flexibility to write what I want – more LGBTQ+ pairings, trilogies, cliffhangers – so I’m cool with that trade off. But it means I don’t have a typical “writing day.” When I do steal time for words, a book usually goes like so for me: dialogue layer first with some minimal scene blocking, followed by a fill layer with more detailed movements and emotions, followed by another pass where I really tease out the emotions and romance and pick up the detail stuff I might have skipped over. Finally, before it goes to betas and editors, time permitting, I like to do a clean up pass from the last chapter to the first, which helps with consistency, spotting dropped plot threads, and just generally giving later chapters fresh eyes.

What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Totally varies for me. For Irish and Whiskey, it was pretty simultaneous. For Trouble Brewing, those characters came first (in AIW). For Changing Lanes, that was a plot first situation, as I wanted to feature the Olympics and a sport that isn’t usually front and center in romance. For Dine With Me and Variable Onset, I started with the tropes, road trip romance and fake marriage, respectively. And for Fog City, it all started with a photo (the couple shot on A New Empire) I saw on Wander Aguiar’s photography site. Within a week, I had the characters sketched and the entire trilogy plotted out.

What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
There’s not one, because any book I love that much, I love it for that author’s voice. I wouldn’t want to tell it in mine; I wouldn’t love it as much.

If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Enemies to lovers.

What would be your three desert island books?
For Real by Alexis Hall, Lady Luck by Kristen Ashley, and I’m gonna cheat and say the The Captive Prince Trilogy by C.S. Pacat.

If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Single Malt, because then that would kick off the entire Whiskey Verse, which would then lead into Fog City, and it would be an awesome series to feature the Bay Area. As for casting, the major Whiskey Verse casting would be Gabriel Macht as Aidan, Armie Hammer as Jamie, Tom Ellis as Danny, Gina Torres as Mel, Anna Kendrick as Lauren, Daniel Gillies as Cam, and Richard Armitage as Nic.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
If you’ve read my books or checked out my social media feeds, it’s not so much a secret that I’m a huge foodie. Cooking up food and mixing cocktails are right behind writing in things I love to do.

Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Velociraptor. I love that it looks kind of innocent and then BAM!

LAYLA REYNE is the author of the Fog City, Agents Irish and Whiskey, Trouble Brewing, and Changing Lanes series. A Carolina Tar Heel who now calls the San Francisco Bay Area home, Layla enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. 

You can find Layla on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter. You can also join Layla’s Facebook Group, Layla’s Lushes.

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Author Spotlight: Carly Marie

One of my favourite authors, the amazing Carly Marie is here today to chat about throwing a little bit of everything into a book, flying by the seat of her pants and giving a force of nature his HEA in her latest release!

Take it away Carly…

First things first, please introduce yourself!
My name is Carly, I live in Northeast Ohio. If you’re not from the US, I’m a little south of Lake Erie. I’m a mom of four kids, and we have two cats, and I could probably be considered a crazy chicken lady.

Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I fly by the seat of my pants with absolutely zero direction. The voices in my head tell me what to do. I often tell people that I have enough drama in my life. Writing is an escape, and I don’t want to bring drama into my escape.

Describe your books in only three words.
Kinky, sweet, low-angst.

Can you tell us a little about your latest release?
My last release, Attraction (Undisclosed #3) was a much anticipated book. Dexter, a character introduced in Desires (Undisclosed #1) finally got his HEA. Dexter is a force of nature, and his love interest, James, is his complete opposite. Their relationship develops slowly, but organically and their chemistry is off the charts. 

Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
Untamed. When I wrote it, I knew I was taking a chance. I basically threw a little bit of everything into the book: Friends to lovers, fake boyfriends, Daddy kink, age play. On top of that, Daddy kink, especially Age Play, is usually a “behind closed doors” only thing. In this case, Rand and Kyle were pretending in order to make Kyle’s family uncomfortable. It was very in the open, everyone knew about it, and it filtered into their every day lives. It worked so well for them and I had a ton of fun writing that book. 

What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
I think, mostly, it’s been my imagination and my desire to read books that I can’t find. I’ve been lucky and people like my crazy 🙂

What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always written. Since I was a teenager, it’s been an escape, and a way to live outside of myself. I don’t think I could point to a time in my life that I could say “And now I’m going to be a writer.” 

What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
Sit down, pray words come. I try to make words during normal work hours, but right now I have 4 kids distance learning and I swear, a normal work day is basically a three-ring circus. I just go with the flow and hope like heck I get words in.

What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
I don’t think I could tell you one way or another… I think they grow organically together. If forced, I’d say that the it’s probably the characters come to me as scenes. 

What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Uhhhhh…. I have no idea. 

If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Daddy Kink… There’s so many variations, and I adore Daddies and their boys, of any age.

What would be your three desert island books?
Any M.A. Innes/Shaw Montgomery book, Sky High Scaffolds by N.R Walker and Stick Side Novel series by Amy Aislin. Yes, I cheated, but omg, desert island, and only 3 books????

If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Undisclosed… the characters are so vast and funny and the series just keeps growing. But I don’t watch TV or movies, so I have no idea. 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
Read. That’s my life. Oh! I like to watch hockey too. 

Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Diplodickus

CARLY MARIE has had stories, characters, and plots bouncing around in her head for as long as she can remember. She began writing in high school and found it so cathartic that she’s made time for it ever since. With the discovery of M/M romance, Carly knew she’d found her home. She was surprised to learn not everyone has sexy characters in their heads, begging for their stories to be written. With that knowledge, a little push from her husband, and a lot of encouragement from newfound friends, she jumped into the world of publishing.

Carly lives in Ohio with her husband, four girls, two cats, and more chickens than she can count. If she’s not writing, she’s probably lost in a book, avoiding mounting dishes, laundry, and chores around the house. The numerous plot bunnies that run through her head on a daily basis ensure that she will continue to write and share her stories for years to come.

You can find Carly on Instagram, Amazon, and her website. You can also join Carly’s Facebook Group, Carly’s Crew and sign up for her newsletter.

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Author Spotlight: Ruby Moone

We’re heading into my favourite time of year, Autumn, and we’re kicking it off with an interview from the lovely Ruby Moone, who’s here to chat historical romance, second chance love and her latest release!

Over to you, Ruby…

First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hello! I’m Ruby Moone and I’m so excited to be here. I write historical and contemporary  stories, and I’m an avid reader too. I live in Lancashire in the UK. I don’t have any pets because I’m pretty allergic, but next door’s cat pops in from time to time for a cuddle! He’s snoozing on the settee as I write this lol!

Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
Good question – what’s my writing style. Well, I love writing historical romance. A lot of my stories are set in the Regency era, with a mix of stories about Earls and Marqueses (I haven’t written about a Duke yet..) and stories involving ordinary people. I Love exploring the language of bygone eras, the customs, and the traditions. I also write contemporary, set in Manchester, so I think my writing style varies with the story I’m telling.

Describe your books in only three words.
Hot, exciting, romantic.

Can you tell us a little about your latest release?
I’d love to! My last release was People Like Us, book two in my Winsford Green series – a Regency historical romance. It’s the story of a gentleman’s valet on the run from an abusive master who meets a lonely, bur very gorgeous, blacksmith. It’s probably the most tropey story I’ve written – Opposites attract, forced proximity, age gap, only one bed… I absolutely loved writing it. It’s a little snarky, and has a little kink too. This is the blurb:

Arthur Fitch clawed his way out of the violence and poverty of the slums of London to become a valet to the aristocracy. His ambition to secure a higher position led him to a disastrous appointment with a cold, brutal man, and when things come to a head, Arthur is forced to flee into a snowstorm to find safety.

Joseph Wilkinson is the Winsford Green blacksmith. He has a good life, good friends, owns a thriving business, but at the end of the day when he goes home, loneliness consumes him. When he stumbles upon a small man determinedly trudging through the snowstorm, he invites him into his home to shelter.

Arthur Fitch is older, smart-mouthed, and as prickly as hell. But, as Joe peels back the layers, he discovers a warm, funny, vulnerable man whose tastes in the bedchamber leave Joe gasping and desperate for more. Trouble is, having found the real Arthur Fitch, how can he convince him that life in a small town can be infinitely better than working for an Earl? That love really is possible for people like them? Particularly when Arthur’s past catches up with him in horrifying fashion.

Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
Oh wow, that’s a bit like picking a favourite child! I love all my books, but I’m particularly pleased with my Winsford Green stories – Dances Long Forgotten and People Like Us. I’m working on a third book for Christmas release. I’m also pretty proud of my MC Securities Series – I wrote those last year and it was my first foray into Contemporary. Those guys really stole my heart.

What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
Hmmm. Hard to say, there has been an awful lot. I think my love of historical stories stems from studying Jane Austen in school. Also, growing up I loved Georgette Heyer, Anya Seton and a whole host of writers of historical stories.

What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always told myself stories. From being very young, I spent hours daydreaming re-writing stories I’d read, films I’d seen, to suit how I thought they should have gone, usually with me in a starring role, and I started writing them down. I did a lot of writing when my daughter was young, but never really did anything with it. It was only about five years ago I started writing seriously for publication. I’m a bit of a late bloomer!

What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I’m a complete panster. I sit down, start writing, and see what happens. I usually have an idea of my main characters, a strong opening scene, and that’s it. I see where they take me as I get to know them. This is the exciting part. Once the first draft is done, I go over it six or seven times to get the plot right, the character and narrative arcs, the beats… so my writing day depends what stage I’m at. If it’s the writing stage, I can lose myself for hours. If it’s the editing stage, I give myself frequent breaks to make sure it stays fresh. I like to write in the morning or late at night.

What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Definitely the characters. I know when I need to start writing when they won’t shut up lol!

What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
There are so many books I wish I’d written. The book that I re-read the most, and really wish I’d written, is, A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles.

If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Oh wow. I love so many tropes, but the one that really gets me in the heart is second chance love. There is something so soul wrenching about a love that went wrong and along comes the chance to put it right. My MC Securities book, Loving Daniel, is probably the angstiest book I’ve written and it’s about lovers wrenched apart by a terrible secret. I made myself cry a lot writing it.

What would be your three desert island books?
It’s taken me ages to decide this, and I’ll probably change my mind tomorrow, but I’d go for: A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles, Frederica by Georgette Heyer, and In the Absence of Light by Adrienne Wilder

If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
I’d like to see my MC Securities books made into a TV series. For Loving Daniel I’d have Alexander Skarsgard as Christian and Tom Hardy as Daniel… sigh!!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
I still work as well as write so much of my spare time is usually taken up with writing and reading. However, I do love to go for long walks because it’s a good way of working out knotty plot problems.

Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Totally influenced by Jurassic Park… Velociraptor!

Ruby Moone lives in the wilds of Lancashire with her husband and writes historical and contemporary romance. At school, her teachers said that she lived with her head in the clouds and if she didn’t stop daydreaming she would never get anywhere. She never did stop daydreaming, and after years of happily living in the clouds, decided to write the stories down.

You can find Ruby on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and her website. You can also join Ruby’s Facebook Group, Ruby’s Room.

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