Nina Crespo Presents: Book Magic with Tif Marcelo

Nina: I’m so excited to introduce you to Tif Marcelo. I met her at the Romance Writers of America National Conference. She believes in the power of love, great food and coffee. How could I not want to get to know her?

Tif: Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Nina! I love connecting with other authors. It’s really one of the blessings of being one. I’m inspired by the work ethic and passion of others and it keeps me going! So glad to have met you at the RWA National Conference.

Nina: I enjoyed connecting with you too! Thank you for being here. Is there a talisman or something habitual that keeps you motivated or on task with your writing?

Tif: The only real habitual thing about me is that I get up early to write—usually around 5 am. Though not a hundred percent successful in getting all the work done, I’ve attributed most of progress on my first series to this stolen time. After my 5 am sessions, I’m ready by the time everybody else in my family is up, and it kind of sets me up for a productive day! With that said, I am a planner nerd! I look at my daily to-do list often, a constant reminder of what I need to get done, and what I need to prioritize.

Nina: What is your favorite food or beverage reward while writing or for finishing a book?

Tif: Coffee. Coffee. And Coffee. I like mine without sugar and with a little bit of coconut milk. I also love crunchy, savory snacks: raw almonds, popcorn, tortilla chips etc.

Nina: How do romance novels bring magic to the world?

Tif: Ah! It’s my belief that romance novels open the realm of possibility of love, that it’s attainable for everyone. Because the point of it is to bring people together to end in a happily ever after, romance reminds people that dreams—whatever they may be—can come true. Hope can be seen through the characters and their story arc, while they strive to meet their love interest in the middle. Romance plot and obstacles show that struggles in life are inevitable, though not impossible. Since love is truly what brings people together, romance, I believe, is literature for everyone.

About the Book

When an entrepreneur and an Army reservist end up in their own reality show fauxmance, they have to decide whether their love exists just for the cameras…or if it’s for real in this warmhearted romance, perfect for foodies and wine lovers!

Bryn Aquino, the former manager of a Filipino restaurant, knows the value of hard work. With a shiny new MBA in tow and an investor, she’s ready to start her own business: a culinary retreat where visitors can relax, cook, and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Dubbed Paraiso Retreats, she leases the childhood home of army reservist Mitchell Dunford—who returned from Afghanistan to revive his family’s vineyard—but finds herself in a bind when her investor pulls out of the business.

When the retreat catches an internet live stream producer’s eye through social media channels, Bryn is offered the opportunity of a lifetime—to document her journey in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Excited, Bryn happily agrees to the arrangement…only to find out that she’s going to have to fake an onscreen romance with her indifferent landlord in order to keep her audience interested.

As Mitchell and Bryn put on a show for the cameras, they find their romance isn’t hard to fake. They’ve got more in common under their bluster, banter, and doubts. As their relationship heats up and the cameras keep rolling, the line between show and reality blurs. And when the pressures of family, business, and the audience stack against them, will their romance survive internet stardom? Or was it just for show?



It’s only when the lights of the vans disappear that the muscles in my body relax, but just for a moment, because the gravity of what I signed up for descends like dusk. Starting Monday, my home and my words will be transmitted to the rest of the world.

Shit. What have I done?

The sound of gravel crunching from behind makes me turn. It’s Mitchell, walking down the path. He’s in cargo hiking pants and a thin forest-green fleece jacket. His head’s covered with a beanie.

My heart beat quickens at this fine specimen of a man. I hate to admit it even to myself, because I don’t want to let it show on my face. There’s such a short distance from my brain to my mouth and my expressions, and no filter exists.

Or so I’ve been told. To admit he is droolworthy would serve no purpose. As his tenant, I can only show him my professional persona, just as customers saw me as True North’s manager: fair, firm.

And I bet that he’s firm, in more places than one. My eyes travel the length of his perfectly proportioned body, broad shoulders, pulled back with pride. We’ve kept out of each other’s way the last few days, but I’ve watched his daily work with the vines.

He’s made for a good view in the morning.

“Ms. Aquino.” He addresses me all businesslike. So I paste on my equally flat poker face and pull my brain from the gutter.

“Mr. Dunford. Let me guess, you were watching me and didn’t like how I was standing here admiring the trees.”

“Someone’s got to keep you in check.” He pauses. “I’m here because we need to set some parking rules. You can’t allow your guests to park on Dunford’s main driveway. That’s what the meadow is for. Parking on the driveway keeps from any other vehicle from coming up and down the hill safely. So guess whose truck is parked at the bottom? Yep. Mine.”

“Crap, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” My answer is sincere, but I falter. Yes, yes it might happen again. Or it will, because Monday the camera crew will be here, along with the contractors and . . . “Actually, Mitchell, that’s something we need to talk about.”

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About the Author

Tif believes in and writes about heart-eyes romance, the strength of families, and the endurance of friendship. A veteran Army Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Administration, she is a craft enthusiast, food-lover and the occasional half-marathon runner. As a military spouse, she has moved nine times, and this adventure shows in some of her free-spirited characters. Tif currently lives in the DC area with her own real life military hero and four children.

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Nina Crespo Presents: Book Magic with Kate Meader

Nina: I’m thrilled to introduce you to Kate Meader. Readers fall in love with her steamy hot alpha heroes and often wish the story they’re diving into would never end. Good news is she has a line up of romance books for us to discover with more on the horizon.

Nina: Is there a talisman or something habitual that keeps you motivated or on task with your writing?

Kate: FONE (Fear of Not Eating). This hugely powerful motivator demands that I keep my butt in chair, hands on keyboard. Okay, just kidding – sort of. While paying my grocery bill definitely keeps me on task, I find that the carrot works better than the stick. I try to do 45-50 minute bursts than allow myself 10 minutes to check in on social media or 20-25 minutes to watch an episode of a comedy. This reward system works for me (mostly).

Nina: What is your favorite food or beverage reward while writing or for finishing a book?

Kate: While writing, I drink a lot of tea (Earl Grey, hot). I’m an Irish girl, after all.

Nina: How do romance novels bring magic to the world?

Nothing beats the roller coaster of feels induced by a romance novel, especially if it can combine funny with heart-wrenching emotion. While reading in a romance novel, we become imbued with its peculiar and special magic. In times like this, we can all do with a little magic.

About the Book

Three estranged sisters inherit their late father’s failing hockey franchise and are forced to confront a man’s world, their family’s demons, and the battle-hardened ice warriors skating into their hearts.

Harper Chase has just become the most powerful woman in the NHL after the death of her father Clifford Chase, maverick owner of the Chicago Rebels. But the team is a hot mess—underfunded, overweight, and close to tapping out of the league. Hell-bent on turning the luckless franchise around, Harper won’t let anything stand in her way. Not her gender, not her sisters, and especially not a veteran player with an attitude problem and a smoldering gaze designed to melt her ice-compacted defenses.

Veteran center Remy “Jinx” DuPre is on the downside of a career that’s seen him win big sponsorships, fans’ hearts, and more than a few notches on his stick. Only one goal has eluded him: the Stanley Cup. Sure, he’s been labeled as the unluckiest guy in the league, but with his recent streak of good play, he knows this is his year. So why the hell is he being shunted off to a failing hockey franchise run by a ball-buster in heels? And is she seriously expecting him to lead her band of misfit losers to a coveted spot in the playoffs?

He’d have a better chance of leading Harper on a merry skate to his bed…


“You’ve got three minutes, Harper.”

“Do you remember what I told you in Boston, DuPre?”

“Somethin’ about needin’ me to instill leadership and help these boys get to the playoffs.” Warm honey flowed through her veins at the timbre of his voice.

“I did say that. I meant it. And I thought you understood.”

He rubbed his chin, the scrape against stubble delicious to her ears. All he was missing was a Stetson, a blade of grass, and some flighty piece in a cropped tank and Daisy Dukes. “I understood the words because you’d put them together in a highly entertainin’ way, and to certain ears, they might make sense. Then I told you what needed to happen to ensure my cooperation.”

This nonsense stopped here. “Is that why you’re playing like you can barely walk, much less skate? What’s wrong, old man? Feeling a touch of arthritis in your joints?”

For a brief moment, she thought she might have found his weakness: vanity. But no. He merely threaded his arms over his chest—over the Rebels logo of a big C with a hockey stick and a cutlass crossed behind it—and cocked his head.

“You’re gonna have to use a little more finesse, Harper.”

More surprising than the fact Remy had used the word finesse correctly in a sentence was that he didn’t seem annoyed with her. He seemed . . . amused. As if she were a toy he could happily bat around like a kitten would a semiconscious mouse.

Applause sounded, signifying the beginning of the final period. Neither of them moved, hands metaphorically hovering at their hips like Old West gunfighters.

“The trade deadline,” she said, feeling livid and helpless. “Give me that.”

“The all-star game.”

Three months. The all-star game, held in late January, was traditionally viewed as the halfway point of the season. On the cusp of the busy trade period, it led into a month of bartering and haggling as everyone lined up their teams for the big push to the playoffs.

At her hesitation, he leaned in, those cobalt blues flashing. It wasn’t enough to unholster her gun; she should have already taken her shot, and that delay was her undoing.

“Would you rather three months of my full effort or a whole season of my skatin’ like I’m playin’ squirt hockey?”

“You can’t seriously be reducing this to a game of ‘would you rather’?”

His voice dropped to an intimate tone. “If you shake on it now, I’ll begin that full effort tonight.”

The siren blared in the distance, followed by the home crowd’s roar. Five zip. Harper didn’t enjoy being blackmailed, but she enjoyed losing even less.

She thrust her hand forward impatiently. He took it in his firm grasp. That electricity setting her skin aflame was her body telling her she’d made the right decision. Nothing else.

“You have a game to finish.”

He held on, and now he inclined his head so close she could count each and every one of those pretty-boy eyelashes. Her pulse rate spiked, and she was certain he could sense it. Sense her heart thumping rabbit kicks, her vein pulsing in her throat.

“We’ve shaken on it now, minou, so don’t you dare think about welshing. I might sound like I spend my spare time spitballin’ from the rockin’ chair on my porch, but don’t let my accent fool you none. I’m not the kind of man you want for an enemy. We clear?”

She might have rolled her eyes if she wasn’t just a wee bit impressed by his chutzpah. Still, he needed to be informed that while he might have won this battle, the war was far from over.

“Try not to trip on your way to the rink, DuPre.”

He laughed, deep and robust, clearly delighted with himself. Idiot. His thumb pressed against her inner wrist, and a crackle of energy leeched from him into her body.

“You feel that, Harper?”

She snatched back her hand. “If you mean my goodwill evaporating with every second you’re standing here, then, yeah, I feel it.”

“I think we’re havin’ a thing.”

They were. Oh, God, they were. “Why are you still here again?”

His mouth curved. “Lady, I got the distinct feelin’ these next few months are gonna be fun.”

He picked up his stick and, with more grace than a six-foot-two brute wearing skates on dry land should possess, he left the locker room.

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About the Author

Originally from Ireland, USA Today bestselling author Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.

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Nina Crespo Presents: Book Magic with Michele Arris

Nina Crespo: I’m happy to introduce you to Michele Arris. She writes steamy romance books that will carry you into the world of happily ever after. Grab one of her books, get comfortable and enjoy! 

Nina: Is there a talisman or something habitual that keeps you motivated or on task with your writing?

Michele: Before I sit down to write, I must have my favorite pillow at my back. It’s an old, worn pillow that I’ve had to repair tears and add cotton filling many times over. Also, when I’m up writing during the witching hour, which is more often than not, I’ll write in the dark with the only light coming from my computer screen. I tend to focus better that way.

Nina: What is your favorite food or beverage reward while writing or for finishing a book?

Michele: I like to have a cup of hot tea on hand when I’m writing and usually a bag of white cheddar popcorn. Strange combination, I know. On occasion, I’ll switch out the popcorn for freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to get a sugar boost.

Nina: How do romance novels bring magic to the world?

Michele: I think romance novels are magical because it’s like eating a six-course meal with a delicious dessert at the end. The hero and heroine meet, their relationship grows, they fall in love, go through conflict and may separate for a time, suffer being apart, make their way back to one another, and finally live happily ever after. In short, romance novels are an exciting, magical world of hot men, beautiful women, sex, humor, conflict, and a guaranteed happy ending.

The best part is I can glutton to my heart’s content, without the worry of weight gain. Now that’s magic!

About the Book

Sparks fly in this spicy romance debut when an ambitious career woman meets a golden boy billionaire determined to capture her heart.

CEO Billionaire Lucas Marx isn’t used to hearing the word “no.” So when he hits on gorgeous moonlighting waitress Bailey Walters and she coldly turns him down, he becomes focused on finding a way into the captivating woman’s heart.

Bailey knows men are more trouble than they’re worth, and golden boy Lucas is especially dangerous. Turns out he’s not just any guy, but the ex of her boss, who is determined to get him back. Bailey is focused on building her career in interior design, and if her boss finds out she’s stolen her man, she’ll lose everything.

When Bailey’s assigned a design project for Lucas’s home, their attraction soon becomes too hot to handle, and Lucas resorts to bribing Bailey’s best friend into setting up a date for them. But building a relationship on lies and deceit is never a good idea…

Can Lucas crack Bailey’s steely façade to find the vulnerable woman hiding beneath? Or will he discover it’s his own heart that needs defending?

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“Why do you fear me?” Looking up at her, he sat forward with his elbows on his knees, head cocked to the side, studying her. “Or is it that you fear your reaction to me?” At her quick look away, he grinned. “That’s it, isn’t it?”

Bailey had to laugh again at the enormous size of his ego. Obviously, the man was used to women drooling over him. “I don’t fear you. I just know how this ends.” She had been ready to take Sienna’s advice and go out with him, but now …

“Enlighten me since I don’t share your clairvoyant gift.” Seeing her eyes slit hot, he smirked with a look of enjoyment that he was getting under her skin. “Well, I’m listening, Miss Walters.”

“You’ll take and give nothing back. I’m not Sandra. You won’t see me pawing and panting after you,” she bit out. His brows shot up before slanting inward, looking both surprised and perhaps offended.

“You think I like that? That I get off on a woman’s supplication? So you’ve defined me.” He dragged his fingers through his hair and looked over toward the window wall.

Her remark bit deep, Bailey knew. She’d already made up her mind on the type of person he was without getting to know him. It wasn’t fair. How had their meeting turned into this messy discussion?

“Lucas?” His name was said with purpose as she sat back down and laid her hand upon his that rested on the sofa. “I shouldn’t have said that. It was out of line. I really don’t know you well enough to judge you in that way. I’ll admit that the little I do know about you comes from the Internet. My mom has a saying: Believe half of what you hear, see, and read about a person because there are always two sides to every story.”

He looked at her then, and the hard lines between his brows slowly diminished. “I like how your southern drawl creeps in now and then. Really, I find it quite sensual,” he said with a bit less suggestion to it. “Have dinner with me tomorrow evening. You can then decide if I’m worth getting to know.”

“Okay, but I’ll pick the place where there is less chance of running into Sandra.” His eyes brightened, letting her know that she’d caught him off guard for once. “Sandra is never to know about this, Lucas,” she said firmly, and that beautiful smile returned.

“I have no intentions of discussing anything short of the work on my home with Sandra. Even that can be discussed with you. So where to, Miss Walters?” Looking into her eyes, he brought her hand to his mouth and lightly brushed his lips across the back of her fingers.

Sweet mercy! His soft lips and warm tongue drew slow circles on her knuckles. It shocked Bailey how swiftly her nipples tightened and her sex pulsed over such a simple act.

“Where are you taking me?” he asked with a mischievous glint in his eyes.

Bailey reined in her growing desire for him in order to focus and gave his question some thought while lightly tugging her hand free to relieve the throbbing between her legs. “I know just the place. Be sure to dress casual and comfortable.”

“You won’t tell me?”

“It’s a surprise,” she answered with a grin. “You can pick me up at seven thirty. That should give us plenty of time.”

“Miss Walters, whatever your heart desires, I’m at your command.”

“Are you now?” Bailey smirked, and his head cocked slightly at the mischievous look she now gave him. “At my command, huh? We shall see.”

About the Author

Michele Arris is a Golden Heart® award-winning author in contemporary romance. Her writings are edgy and downright steamy with a melting pot of strong, diverse characters.

“It’s enjoyable to write stories where two people are guaranteed their happy ending.”

When she isn’t stationed in front of her laptop spilling her wayward imagination onto the page, she has her head in a book, watching a period classic, or just catching a nap in her backyard hammock.

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