Banner © Fiona Jayde

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Valentine Treat, a giveaway, and romance begins... #TransCRW #RB4U #MFRWauthor

Since Valentine’s Day falls in the middle of Winter, I thought I’d share a couple of terrific recipes for staying warm and sharing a romantic and cozy evening with your special loved one. So, first let’s settle in with a toe-curling warmer-upper drink:

Positano Winter Sunset Recipe

Relax with this popular drink direct from sunny Italy.  It's just right for a cold winter's night and may inspire dreams of a Mediterranean vacation.


1 1/2 oz. Malibu coconut-flavored rum
1 1/2 oz. white crème de cacao
1/2 oz. Tia Maria
Warmed whipped cream (the canned variety works)
Warm chocolate syrup


Warm up your can of whipped cream by immersing it in a pot filled with medium-hot water for three to five minutes. (Water should cover at least half of the can.)

Combine Malibu, crème de cacao and Tia Maria in an old fashioned-style glass.

Stir gently.

Remove whipped cream can from medium-hot water and top drink mixture with whipped cream.

Drizzle with hot chocolate.

Serve with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie on the side. OR, one of these yummies:

Cinnamon Sugar Nutella Crescent Rolls

1 (8 oz) can crescent roll dough
1/2 cup Nutella spread
2 TBS butter, melted
3 TBS granulated sugar & 1/4 tsp cinnamon, combined


Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Lay crescent dough triangles flat and spread with Nutella. Loosely roll and place on baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Using a pastry brush, brush with melted butter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until dark golden brown.

So, there you have it – a delicious Valentine’s evening treat! Enjoy!!

If you’d like to add a romance to that cozy evening, how about a sweetly sensual tale of the magic of Roma, Italy… where dancing and sophisticated verbal fencing can lead you to love of the everlasting kind… This one is available in a love audio version, as well as eBook formats, and I will give one lucky commenter a copy of the audio book!!

Bella Signorina

Amazon  •  Barnes & Noble    Amazon AUDIO    iTunes    Audible   

Set in Rome, Bella Signorina is a sweet, romantic story of two people who meet in a trendy caffè, and through the magic of dance and music discover they have many things in common. Bianca comes to Caffè Rosati every week, and for many weeks she's been watching a special man, a handsome, charming stranger who dances, flirts, and leaves alone each week. Bianca is a woman who enjoys her freedom, and has been hurt before, so she's not anxious to fall in love again. Something about the enigmatic Stefano has captivated her heart, though, and she is drawn to him in spite of herself. When she finally gathers her courage to approach him, and ask him to dance, little does she know that her entire world is about to change.

Stefano Esposito is a man who's past relationships have not left him much in the way of ideals about women. Many have claimed to love him, none have understood him. Stefano is a rare breed in today's world of fast-paced life and love. He is a gentleman, a man who many consider a little out of step with the times. For Stefano, falling in love is the completion of a soul, not the consummation of a sexual itch. He wants the woman in his life to respect, understand, and adore him, as he will her. When he meets Bianca, he wonders if he's finally found the one he's waited a lifetime for? She understands his internal conflicts, his desires, and his dreams, after only hours together.

When their attraction to each other flares too quickly and too intently, Stefano pulls back. Confused and uncertain, Bianca flees his beautiful home and business, and goes back to her busy life. But, once the dance has begun, is there a way to go back to what you knew before, or is it just a matter of time before the music lures you back to your dreams and, perhaps, makes them reality?

Amazon  •  Barnes & Noble    Amazon AUDIO    iTunes    Audible

Continue on the romantic journey with these wonderful authors:

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Discover Evanthia’s Gift @EffieKammenou @PumpUpYourBook #RomFantasy

Evanthia’s Gift

About the Author:

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog,, you can find her cooking for her family and friends.

Her debut novel, EVANTHIA’S GIFT, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her recent interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the book.  

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.

For updates on the release of Book Two of The Gift Saga 
Follow Effie on Twitter, Facebook, or contact her via E-mail.

For More Information
About the Book:

Title: Evanthia’s Gift
Author: Effie Kammenou 
Pages: 548
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance


In the year 1956, Anastacia Fotopoulos finds herself pregnant and betrayed, fleeing from a bad marriage. With the love and support of her dear friends Stavros and Soula Papadakis, Ana is able to face the challenges of single motherhood. Left with emotional wounds, she resists her growing affection for Alexandros Giannakos, an old acquaintance. But his persistence and unconditional love for Ana and her child is eventually rewarded and his love is returned. In a misguided, but well-intentioned effort to protect the ones they love, both Ana and Alex keep secrets - ones that could threaten the delicate balance of their family. 

The story continues in the 1970’s as Dean and Demi Papadakis, and Sophia Giannakos attempt to negotiate between two cultures. Now Greek-American teenagers, Sophia and Dean, who have shared a special connection since childhood, become lovers. Sophia is shattered when Dean rebels against the pressure his father places on him to uphold his Greek heritage and hides his feelings for her. When he pulls away from his family, culture and ultimately his love for her, Sophia is left with no choice but to find a life different from the one she’d hoped for.

EVANTHIA’S GIFT is a multigenerational love story spanning fifty years and crossing two continents, chronicling the lives that unify two families. 

Magnificent 5 Stars
Exceptional, outstanding and award worthy were the first words that popped into my mind after I finished reading this book. A surface description of this story could be easily stated by saying; it’s a 50 year generational Greek family saga that’s filled with multiple love stories, devastating betrayals and heart breaking secrets. That depiction alone would be enough for anyone to be drawn to this book. But the essence of “Evanthia’s Gift” is held within each character created in this masterpiece; that is the true heart and soul of this book. I could feel the struggles within each to come to terms with their past mistakes, recognizing their self-worth, all the while staying steadfast to their beliefs and for some, finding inner peace. I started reading this book late one evening with the intent of reading a few chapters and then going to bed. I found myself incapable of putting the book down… several hours later I was wiping away the tears to get through the last chapter.
This superbly written emotional story comes full circle in the end, which reminds us all just how precious love and family really is.

--Stephanie Lasley, from The Kindle Book Review

For More Information

Book Excerpt:

The air was unusually chilled for early November in NYC, but despite the dropping temperature, sweat trickled down the back of Anastacia’s neck. Unable to wish away the nausea that was taking hold of her and too ill to sit through her last class, she’d left the NYU campus, hopping on an uptown subway to return home for the day. She’d been lightheaded and queasy the past few days, but nothing as violent as what she was currently feeling. Waiting at the crosswalk, the aroma of garlic and cheese permeating from a nearby café antagonized the volcano that was about to erupt in her belly, and she prayed she would get home without incident. 

At last, Anastacia ducked into her apartment building, closing her eyes, and offering a silent thank you to the heavens for the safety and comfort of her home. Once inside her foyer, she removed her coat, hung it in the closet and glimpsed herself in the mirror hanging over the Bombay Chest. Pale skin and sunken eyes replaced her usual olive complexion and healthy glow.

I just need to sleep off whatever this is.

Her husband, Jimmy, was not expected home from work for several hours, and she hoped to be feeling better by then.  

Suddenly, the sound of voices startled her. She walked through the living room, following the noise. She almost forgot the motion sickness that forced her home earlier than usual as the guttural sound of rhythmic moans grew louder, interrupted only by a woman’s shrill laughter. Anastacia forced her legs to follow the cacophony and found herself at the doorway of her bedroom. She stood there frozen. Seeing, but not believing. Tears sprang to her eyes and dripped down her cheeks, and she began to shake uncontrollably. Anastacia attempted to speak, but bile rose to her throat, rendering her incapable of uttering a word. Then, a cry that seemed to escape from her very soul, revealed her presence. 

In that second, they knew she’d witnessed their betrayal. Anastacia was taken aback by the look of pure satisfaction that flashed across the naked woman’s face. A face that held not even a hint of guilt or remorse.

Her husband’s face told a different story. Shock, fear, maybe regret. For getting caught. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds, but so many thoughts bombarded her mind that it was as though she were moving in slow motion. But then, the impact of it all slammed into her, and she ran.  

Jimmy jumped up, wrapping himself in a bed sheet.

“Ana! Wait!” He pushed the woman off him. “Get off me! Move! Get out of here.” 

Barely making it to the bathroom, Anastacia leaned over the toilet, expelling the contents of her stomach.

“Ana,” Jimmy pleaded, coming up beside her.

“Get away from me.” She wiped her mouth with a towel, straightened up and gathered all her strength to push past him. 

Jimmy blocked the doorway. 

“Ana mou, I’m sorry. Please. Let me explain.  Sagapo. I love-”

“Don’t touch me or ever say that to me. You’re disgusting. You both are.” She ducked under his arm, but he grabbed her wrist.

His touch seared her to the bone and she pulled away. She was shamed, shaken—broken, but there was no way she was going to let him see it.

“I said don’t touch me. Never come near me again.” 

“It’s not what it looks like. She… it was all her. I never meant to… Ana, please.”

“It looked like it was both of you. Now let me pass,” she spat. He lifted his hands in surrender and stepped aside as she pushed her way past him through the narrow bathroom doorway.

In the hallway, the woman stood, watching, gloating. Although she and Anastacia both had dark brown hair and similar Mediterranean features, she lacked the poise and grace that Anastacia exuded.

“Get out of my home,” Ana ordered her. “I never want to see you again.” Anastacia stormed out her front door, slamming it behind her. Doubling over, she thought she might heave again, but she drew in a deep breath and continued down the hall to Soula’s apartment. She frantically knocked on the door. When she opened it, Soula took one look at her best friend and she hugged her. 

“Ana mou, what is it? 

Between gasps and cries, Anastacia relayed the entire humiliating scene, as well as Jimmy’s despicable attempt to explain the unforgivable.  

“What do I do now?” 

“We go upstairs and talk to your uncle,” Soula said. “He will know how to handle this.” 

“How can I tell him? What will my parents say? How could I be so stupid? What will Uncle Tasso think?”

“Of you?  Nothing different than before. Of them?  They will get what they deserve.  Come. We will go together. I will tell your uncle if you cannot.”

An Interview with the Author:

Has writing been something you always did, or was it a discovered talent that came to you at a later point?

I know that many writers say that they always knew they wanted to write, and they’d done so even as a young child. I can’t claim that to be true. All I ever wanted as long as I could remember, was to be an actor. I even majored in theatre in college. But I ended up working in the optical field for over thirty years. My need for creativity was satisfied in several ways. I wrote and directed a couple of children’s play for my church and my children’s class. I love to bake, so I took it to the next level, designing cookie favors for special occasions, and finally, writing my own food blog, sharing recipes, traditions and stories. I wrote a few articles for a regional magazine, but it wasn’t until my mother passed away that I sat down to write a full length novel.

Do you remember how it felt when you were offered that first contract? What emotions stand out in your memory?

I am still waiting for that first contract. I’m self-published. I feel very passionate about this book, and it has been received well. I can tell you how I felt when fans of the book began contacting me. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was relieved, of course. But more than anything I felt a great sense of accomplishment. Not only because I’d completed the book, but more because I had touched readers, and they were responding.

Is this a first book, part of a series, or the latest in a long line of many?

Evanthia’s Gift is the first book in The Gift Saga. There will be three books and possibly a companion cookbook.

What is the oddest thing that’s happened to you since you chose to become a professional writer? Will it ever make it into a book, or is that a secret?

Nothing really odd has happened. Everything has been quite awesome. I’ve had people contact me that I hadn’t spoken to in forty years to tell me they loved the book. I had a woman find me and come to my job so that I could sign her book. I was chatting with a woman one day, and I mentioned I wrote a book. I gave her my card and she said, “That’s you’re book? I just downloaded it on my kindle.” This was very exciting for me.

Do you have your next book underway, or other titles in the planning stages?

I am currently writing book two. I have no idea what the title will be, though. Originally, Evanthia’s Gift had a completely different title. It wasn’t until my last revision that I changed the title. I won’t know the title of Book Two until it is completed.

Do you have a favourite genre and why? Is it one you write in, read in, or both?

Women’s fiction is the genre I read more than any other. I knew that my basic story was a love story, but I wanted it to have substance. With women’s fiction, I was able to combine a love story, a family saga and the real life struggles women encounter. The splashes of history, culture and heritage make it more interesting, as well as relatable to many readers.

What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process? Does it change from book to book or remain the same?

When I get an idea, I can’t wait to get it down in writing. This is my first book, so I have no idea if it will change, but I imagine the actual story and character development will always be the most satisfying part of the process.

If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why? What kind of book do you think would come from the collaboration?

As much as I love the classics – Steinbeck, Austen, and Shakespeare, I am going to name a contemporary author. Sylvain Reynard. His poetic use of language and his beautiful descriptions are breathtaking. He is an Old World romantic in a contemporary world. He brings culture, art, literature and history to his beautiful romances, elevating them to something greater than the genre implies. Together, we would definitely write a romance with a backdrop of tradition, and the struggle between good and evil.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Media Contact:

Dorothy Thompson
Pump Up Your Book
P.O. Box 643
Chincoteague Island, Virginia 23336

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The magic and romance of Italy... Bella Signorina #RB4U #MFRWauthor #RomFantasy

Bella Signorina

Amazon  •  Barnes & Noble    Amazon AUDIO    iTunes    Audible   

Set in Rome, Bella Signorina is a sweet, romantic story of two people who meet in a trendy caffè, and through the magic of dance and music discover they have many things in common. Bianca comes to Caffè Rosati every week, and for many weeks she's been watching a special man, a handsome, charming stranger who dances, flirts, and leaves alone each week. Bianca is a woman who enjoys her freedom, and has been hurt before, so she's not anxious to fall in love again. Something about the enigmatic Stefano has captivated her heart, though, and she is drawn to him in spite of herself. When she finally gathers her courage to approach him, and ask him to dance, little does she know that her entire world is about to change.

Stefano Esposito is a man who's past relationships have not left him much in the way of ideals about women. Many have claimed to love him, none have understood him. Stefano is a rare breed in today's world of fast-paced life and love. He is a gentleman, a man who many consider a little out of step with the times. For Stefano, falling in love is the completion of a soul, not the consummation of a sexual itch. He wants the woman in his life to respect, understand, and adore him, as he will her. When he meets Bianca, he wonders if he's finally found the one he's waited a lifetime for? She understands his internal conflicts, his desires, and his dreams, after only hours together.

When their attraction to each other flares too quickly and too intently, Stefano pulls back. Confused and uncertain, Bianca flees his beautiful home and business, and goes back to her busy life. But, once the dance has begun, is there a way to go back to what you knew before, or is it just a matter of time before the music lures you back to your dreams and, perhaps, makes them reality?

Exclusive excerpt:

            Stefano kept a close eye on the pretty dancer even as he walked to the small caffè. She was lovely, and he’d seen her many times, always enchanted by her presence, but never inclined to find out if the outward beauty was all there was to her. If she was another vain and brainless girl, he didn’t want his illusion shattered. The romanticism of the thought made him smile. He wasn’t as jaded as he pretended to be if he was still protecting his heart with illusions.
            Less than fifteen minutes after he’d left her, he rejoined her and handed her a steaming cup of coffee.
            “It’s so different here at night,” Bianca noted, her eyes scanning the area. In a matter of hours, thousands of people would begin their daily movements, passing over the steps, not noticing anything but the need to be wherever they were headed. “There’s peace here now.”
            “Is that why you dance, to find peace?”
            She sipped her coffee and considered an answer. When it came, it surprised him.
            “The music is freedom, and the motion is passion. Sometimes the only passion that matters.”
            “All passion matters, bella,” he commented. “It’s what gives us life.”
            “Or burns it out of us.”
            He turned on the steps, faced her fully. Then he touched her chin and made her look at him.
            “Who abused your love so fully that you can believe that?”
            “People destroy each other for love,” she replied after a lengthy pause.
            Stefano shook his head. “Love is the only gift there is worth having, Signorina. It’s what men live and die for.”
            “Who are you, Signor?”
            He was startled again, twice in less than five minutes.
            “Would you like to walk?”
            She laughed in the growing darkness, and Stefano felt it ripple the length of his spine, as though cool, flawless silk had glided over him.
            “Where are we to go, Stefano?”
            “I think you’ll like the place,” he observed, with a hint of irony texturing the subtle undertone of his voice.
            She eyed him for a few timeless moments, then nodded and rose.
            He smiled when she offered her hand, and he curled his fingers around hers in a loose, but firm grip.
            “So, is there a wife hidden somewhere?”
            He laughed. “No. What about you? A husband who will come looking for me before dawn?”
            She shook her head and sipped her coffee. “How does a man with so much passion not have the woman of his dreams in his arms every night?”
            “I could ask you the same question,” he pointed out. “Why are you alone?”
            Her laughter washed over him again and she stopped walking to look up at him. “No one I’ve met has inspired the things I need to feel.” She shrugged. "I've been too honest with too many, and it scares them away."
            For a moment he said nothing, weighing her surprising confession. “What do you need?”
            “To be respected for who I am, what makes me unique.” She tilted her head to one side and held his level gaze. “I need to be given all the things I’m expected to provide, and that seems to be something quite beyond many men. Real men, who understand the value of a smart woman, also see that her beauty is in her wisdom, and her spirit.”
            “And her ability to be all things without effort, because she is all things naturally,” he concluded, genuinely pleased at the startled flicker of surprise his words lit in her eyes. “We’re here,” he announced, indicating the building they’d reached.
            She looked up, and her smile was radiant in the soft glow of the nearby streetlight. “La Galleria d'arte di Idillio,” she murmured. “I love this place.”
            “It’s mine,” he told her as he dug out the key that would unlock the doors to the small gallery.
            There was enough real shock in her voice to make him stop as he held the door for her to go inside. “Why does that surprise you so much?”
            “I’ve come here a number of times, and I’ve never seen you,” she replied, once he’d locked the doors and turned on the lights.
            “I’ve never seen you,” he noted. “Except at the caffè.”
            “I’ve always felt this place was a tribute to love, and romance.”
            “It is. My father began the collection for my mother.”
            “Your father was a romantic?”
            “My father was a gentleman, in the truest sense of that word,” Stefano said with a familiar sense of loneliness and pride combined. “He lived la dolce vita,” he smiled, “with the passion of a man who loved all life had to offer him, good and bad.”
            “He’s gone?”
            A curt nod was all he could offer without revealing how deeply the loss still affected him. He set his coffee on the reception desk, hung his jacket on a rack then did the same with Bianca’s things. Then he took her arm and led her to a small area that had been his work for the past year.
            “This is my latest addition to the collection.”
            Bianca wandered the area, studying the beautiful collection of photographs. Each one was in a different area of Italy, and the women smiling and lovely, but each one as unique as her surroundings.
            “What do you see?”
            “Beauty. Romance.” Bianca stared at the photographs for a few moments longer, considering them with serious thought, then turned to face him. “In every photograph, they are not looking at you, but at the camera. They’re seeing the opportunity, but not your reason for wanting them.”
            Something fluttered against Stefano’s chest from the inside, an excitement he hadn’t felt in a very long time. He let his gaze drift, cataloguing the woman in front of him. Standing next to him the top her head was at his chin. She had long, waving hair, dark brown with a distinct tint that caught the glow from the lights and turned her thick mane into a mass of warm, burnished auburn. She had eyes that resembled Chinese jade, and a wide, full mouth that curved upward, as though a secret hid behind her smile. She was curvaceous and feminine, effortlessly graceful, and with minimal makeup, appeared very much without artifice of any kind.
            “What is my reason for wanting them?” He forced his tone to calm and curious, sincerely interested in her reply, but also caught in the spell she was exerting. Part of his mind was still watching her, measuring the emotion and internal workings of her mind as she analyzed his photographs with real interest. Her teal-colored dress was simple in design, flared skirt unevenly cut at the hem, swirling around her shapely legs as she walked, pausing often to peer intently at the images on the walls. The upper half of the dress clung to luscious contours, and the silver crucifix, her only jewelry, drew his eyes to the shadow between her breasts. He wanted very much to touch her, and instead stuffed his hands into his pockets and went to join her as she stopped at one of the last photos, then looked at him over her shoulder.
            “She loved you.”
            “So she said.”
            “You didn’t love her?”
            “Not the way she thought I should.”
            “You wanted love from every woman here, yet not one of them saw who you really are,” she observed softly, sadness evident in her tone.
            His eyebrow rose. “Who do you think I am, bella?”
            “How honest do you think I should be?”
            “I admire honesty, Signorina,” he told her. “I respect the courage it takes to offer it to anyone.”
            “But do you respect it if the object of discussion is you?”
          “Now you’re beginning to worry me,” he teased with a smile. He was fascinated by her intelligence and her insight. She looked past his appearance and his presence to probe his secrets, and whatever she was seeing made her even more alluring to him.
Want to know more? The dance is only beginning for Bianca and Stefano, drop by Eirelander Publishing and indulge the fantasy more…

Amazon  •  Barnes & Noble    Amazon AUDIO    iTunes    Audible

Monday, January 25, 2016

New #Teen #PNR Release from @MarcusDamanda and @EvernightTeen #Urban #Fantasy

“This is what the truth is. Second Salvations murdered my parents, and I’m running away.” A single post over unregulated Internet channels. A sleeping society awakens to a chase, broadcast live on television screens all across the New United States of America... Rebecca and Daniel have never met. A fifteen-year-old preacher’s kid and a sixteen-year-old atheist outcast, they appear to have little in common. And yet they have both attracted the attention of a recruiter for Angel Island, where bad kids go to be remade—or destroyed. Agents of the all-powerful New America Unity Church will stop at nothing to get them. They’re building an army, a modern children’s crusade, in which Rebecca and Daniel may be just the kind of future leaders they need. If not, they might be just the kind of sacrifice necessary to keep the rest of the faithless in line.

What does your writing desk look like? What would we find on it right this minute? 

My “desk” is actually a table with aluminum legs! The mouse for my computer sits atop a soft, book-sized afghan that, in turn, is binder-clipped to my all-in-one hardback edition of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (50th Anniversary edition). There’s a small pile of McDonald’s napkins that I’ve accumulated under the monitor. I also have a pepper shaker on my desk for some reason—can’t remember how it got here, and I’m not sure why I haven’t put it away yet. Oh, and there’s my magnifying glass. I was wondering where that went. Most importantly, there’s a small black metal box filled with notecards. I do all my outlining on those cards before transferring to computer—weird, I know. My daily double shot of caffeine is here, too: coffee and Diet Coke. Next to me is the cat perch, where my partner in crime, Shazam, curls up and makes sure I don’t get myself into too much trouble.

When and why did you begin writing?

I was nine years old when I wrote my first short story, an eight-page epic and heroic fantasy tale called “Mighty War of the Dragons.” I was going to a private religious school at the time, getting into all kinds of trouble, and really feeling like I couldn’t fit in with my peers. Being able to pass that story around and get other kids to read it—well, that was my thing. I was starved for attention. There was no driving need to be creative, no need for catharsis or escape. I wanted an audience, and I had no other talents.

At what point did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve considered myself a writer ever since I started writing tales that weren’t specifically assigned to me by a teacher. I even bound my stories with little garbage bag twisties and put ratings on them, like this: “The Witch and the Haunted Forest,” by Marcus Damanda, Rated R for violence and the presence of demons.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My family, especially my dad, was very encouraging. I also had terrific friends who pushed me and help me get better—especially an amazing woman named Barbara Posey, who’s been suffering through my material for thirty-one years now. When I was nineteen years old, I wrote my first real book-length story that had a chance. I was inspired largely by Stephen King at that point. The horror market was in full-gear back then, and I was excited by the prospect of shocking and terrifying an unsuspecting world.

Do you have a specific writing style? In other words, are you a plotter or a pantser? 

I’m absolutely a “plotter.” I plan everything. It’s ridiculous, borderline obsessive—but, then again, when it comes time to start the fun work of typing a draft, I can usually attack the story with a good deal of confidence. There are times, sitting in front of the screen, that’ll I will lean back in my chair and actually cackle in satisfaction—which used to freak out the cat, but he’s used to it now.

How did you come up with the titles to your book(s)?

I alternate between banging my head against a wall and screaming aloud, “God, please, give me a title that doesn’t totally suck!”

Is there a message in your book(s) that you want readers to grasp?

I’m already prepared for people to make the assumption that The Salvation State is a “message” book—a grand statement about the evils of government and organized religion. It’s fair enough, I suppose, although all I really wanted to do was try my hand at the dystopian future genre. Same thing with The Devil in Miss Drake’s Class horror trilogy. There’s no denying there’s an anti-bullying message underlying that story, but my first goal was to write something blow-your-hair-back scary. I never deliberately set out to teach something in a didactic way to readers; nor do I mind if a larger implication comes through in a natural way. Story first—anything else is just a bonus … or, if done poorly, a distraction.

What are you currently working on? Can you give us a sneak peek?

I’m currently outlining the sequel to The Salvation State, of course! There’s nothing polished enough to show just yet, but I’m hoping it will be done by the end of the summer. I can tell you this much: there’s going to be a lot of action in it. It’ll be kind of a futuristic update of that old Steve McQueen movie, The Great Escape. I’m really excited about it.

Do you see writing as a career? Do you write full time? Or in addition to another job?

I absolutely see writing as a career, and I intend to do it until I seize up and die in front of the computer. However, I am also a middle school English teacher—so I’m juggling two careers at once. I love both jobs, and I’m always trying to get better at them.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Even as I was struggling socially and academically in my private school, I had a strong little brotherhood of friends at home. My writing got kick started by playing Dungeons and Dragons with the other neighborhood kids. D&D is a storytelling game at its core, and that was what appealed to me. So, before long, I took on the role of “Dungeon Master” in my group, setting up all the heroic and adventuresome scenarios the other kids would play through. And it was at exactly that time in my life that I started writing, too.

The Fun Stuff

Who I am: I am Marcus Damanda: world’s greatest uncle, teacher of tweens, master of Shazam the cat—I am a writer, weaver of nightmares and dreams, oracle and prophet, conjurer of tales magical and terrifying. I am the Ferryman who bears readers across story landscapes hitherto unexplored … or some crap like that.

What genres I write in: Dystopian future, horror, character-driven young adult and teen fiction

Favorite genres to read: See above! Also, I try to keep up with what the kids are reading at school, and I’ve grown unexpectedly fond of the romance novels and fantasies published by my talented colleagues at Evernight Teen.

Favorite TV shows: Game of Thrones—and that’s pretty much it. To me, usually, the closest I come to television is enjoying a never ending stream of audiobooks.

Last movie I saw on the big screen: The Force Awakens (along with everyone else), but I’m looking forward to The Hateful Eight.

What’s on my Netflix list (to be watched): I still have to finish up the two Mockingjay movies and The Scorch Trials, believe it or not.

Coffee or Tea: Coffee—easily. By the bucket.

Chocolate or Caramel: Yes. Put ’em together!

Apple Cider or Pumpkin Spice: Gotta go pumpkin here, unless we can ferment the cider and start a serious party.

Rock N Roll or Country: Rock and roll—specifically, 70s and 80s heavy metal.

Lumberjack or Police Officer: For a friend? I’ll take a cop any day. As an alter ego—still a cop. In a Monty Python movie, I’ll take the lumberjack.

Tropical Island or Winter Cabin: Winter cabin, warm fire crackling, the wind outside singing like a chorus of ghosts. And, yeah, you really don’t want me in swim trunks. We’ll leave it at that.

Marcus Damanda lives in Woodbridge, Virginia with his cat, Shazam. At various times throughout his life, he played bass guitar for the garage heavy metal band Mother’s Day, wrote for The Dale City Messenger, and published editorials in The Potomac News and The Freelance Star. Currently, while not plotting his next foray into fictitious suburban mayhem, he spoils his nieces and nephews and teaches middle school English.

1/16: Nics Book Nook

1/18: Darkest Cravings

1/20: The Book Pub

1/21: All Book Finds

1/22: Nikki Noffsinger

1/25: Fantasy Pages

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Indulge in a little SAND AND SIN with @Dani_Jace #MFRWauthor #RB4U #RomFantasy

Today we have Jax Taylor from Dani Jace’s new release, Sand and Sin.

Hi Denyse. Great to be here. 

Tell readers your occupation? Navy SEAL.

How did you meet your love interest and what’s here name? Peri. I walked into her bar and she read my number right away. I had to play handyman until she couldn’t resist me any longer. **laughs** 

Oh come on, you guys like it when women play hard to get. Guess you’re right. **smiles** 

What intrigues you most about her? She’s the wittiest woman I know. But then she’s had to learn while running a bar catering to SEALs.

How do you stay fit? Running through foreign countries toting an M4 rifle.

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be? To have had more time with my father.

Sound like you still miss him. **nods** What would you say is your most comfortable article of clothing? The thigh strap holding my pistol. **winks**

Ha ha! What’s one thing Peri can do to totally turn you on? Run her fingers through her hair. She’s got amazing hair. 

What’s something you’ve done that could have landed you in prison? **laughs** I’d have to write you a list. 

I’ll bet! What worries you the most? That I won’t be there for Peri when she needs me. 

What’s a sexually fantasy that Peri would never agree to? She trusts me so probably nothing, if I asked nicely. **winks** 

What’s the hottest thing Peri has ever said to you? Hmm…oh I know. “So, I’m thinking we should seal this deal, Chief.” 

Awesome! Well that’s it, Jax. Thanks for coming. It was a blast, Denyse. Thanks for having me.


The heart has a mission of its own…

Wounded in more ways than one, Navy SEAL Jax Taylor only understands short-term commitments. And when he walks into the Trident Bar in Virginia Beach, beautiful bartender Peri Halstead sizes him up right away. But that doesn’t stop her from teasing him with her sultry sarcasm, or taking him home—after she finds him passed out cold in the parking lot…

Soon enough, Jax is recovering at Peri’s in return for doing some handyman work, and the sexy sparks are flying—in almost every room in the house. Peri tells herself she deserves some fun, especially now that she’s a single mom with a cheating ex to deal with. But when it’s time for her and Jax to go their separate ways, the miles between them—and the danger that’s about to touch both their lives—has them wondering if Jax can learn to love more than the mission… 


After catching a ride with another SEAL leaving base, Jax Taylor made it to a car rental before closing. The GPS directed him to the Trident, located in a small shopping strip a few miles north of Oceana Naval Base. The sign bore the SEAL special ops standard of an eagle on an anchor with a trident in one claw and a pistol in the other. SEALs had nicknamed their insignia the Budweiser because of its resemblance to the famous beer’s logo.

He climbed from the compact. Stiff from the bullet wound and transatlantic trip, he limped a few steps but righted his gait before opening the heavy oak door. In his bar experiences, such an entrance usually led to a man cave.

Inside, darkness enveloped him, matching his mood. Pain meds and exhaustion made him irritable. He was still pissed about not being allowed to rejoin his team, and doubly so because TJ had a training op circumventing their party. So much for buddy reunions.

Behind the bar, a tall, lean beauty glanced up from the beer taps. The gnawing ache in his leg disappeared under scrutiny of wide, sea green eyes. Long, wavy hair surrounded her shoulders like a lion’s mane. His fingers itched to tangle in the strands. Other more intimate visions flitted through his mind.

Months without a woman made him a sick bastard. Probably in stark contrast to the public’s standard perception of a SEAL, but they didn’t know or understand a Special Operator’s life. What they did for love of country and their brothers in arms. For him, the best antidote after a gruesome mission was down-and-gritty sex.

Before he readjusted his sour expression, she stepped in front of him. Her lovely gaze branded him with I got your number, sailor.

Amazon Kindle * Apple * Google * Kobo * Nook

Author Bio:

Dani Jace lives in coastal Virginia and enjoys writing headstrong, flip-flop casual heroines and everyday heroes who work with their hands―and other body parts. Claiming the Outer Banks of North Carolina as her second home, she includes the scenic and legendary chain of barrier islands as a setting for many of her tales.

When not working on her next novel, she’s dipping her toes in the ocean, reading or checking out the newest action flick. Husband, son and many imaginary characters make life complete.