Latest On The Nocturnal Nina Blog
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!
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?
“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
“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.
Last week, my husband gave me one of my favorite things. A really cool notebook with fantastic affirmations on the cover. As I mentioned in my Facebook post, I hugged it and maybe I squealed a little with happiness. I couldn’t help it. The phrases jumped out at me. Write Your story. Dream Big. Follow Your Heart. Love Freely. Make It Happen.
The affirmations resonate as I think of life and my aspirations. Seven years ago, becoming a romance author was the big dream that captivated my heart. It’s been an adventure with twists and turns, but I couldn’t imagine anything different.
As I think of the characters I’m writing about in my upcoming new book FORGET YOU (The Kingman Brothers, Book 1), these positive declarations about life and living also hold true. My hero learns to write his own story and not compare himself to the past. My heroine discovers the importance of believing in herself. In the end, they follow their hearts and choose love. The relatable dreams, wishes, and wants characters encounter in books is part of what makes reading about them a magical experience. We can lose ourselves in their adventures, complications, and successes and perhaps gain more courage to embrace our own.
During the month of September, Michele Arris, Tif Marcelo, and Kate Meader will share how they create the wonderful magic in their stories. Visit Nocturnal Nina blog each week. Read their answers. Discover their fantastic new books. Add some fun and enchantment to your day. Play and dream in the world of happily ever after.
Have you seen this awesome giveaway from BookSweeps?
This giveaway ends soon, so make sure you hurry and enter! Good luck!
Join the fun here! bit.ly/2tkZPp3
When you’re done, tell me which books you’re most excited to win!
Nina Crespo: Summertime means vacations, getting away from it all, escaping everyday life for fun and adventure. What do you like about the warmer months and what’s on your list of summer fun?
Nicole Elizabeth Kelleher: That’s a tough question for me to answer. I’m one of those people who has reverse SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I revel in cold winter nights and dreary spring days. What better time is there to cuddle up with a good book, or my family, usually both? The super hot summer months have me hiding out in air-conditioned bliss—also cuddling up with a good book!
Readers, if you’re looking for a summertime read to escape into, read Nicole’s historical romance, The Queen’s Dance. Enjoy!
Lady Claire is the brightest addition to the queen’s retinue, but she hides a secret that could change the fabric of Aurelia: she can foretell another’s fate. This curse has only brought her sorrow, and because of it, she vows never to give her heart to anyone. But Trian, a shy Aurelian Guard, has fallen hard for Claire, and when King Godwin assigns him to escort her across the realm, he jumps at the chance.
When they are thrown together, Claire discovers that Trian may be the one person who is immune to her powers, and friendship takes hold. Trian teaches her his unique way of seeing the world, and Claire tutors him in the healing arts. She realizes too late that she has done that which she promised she would never do: she falls in love.
Her greatest fear is realized when Trian is knocked down by deadly quarrels. His assailants transport Claire far from Aurelia to the foreign lands of Nifolhad. To return home, Claire will need to cross the most treacherous parts of the kingdom, from the merciless desert to cities where spies listen to every whisper. She allies herself with the women from the Fenrhi Temple, who possess powers beyond Claire’s comprehension. Their customs and secrets seduce her, while plots and machinations drag her into the very heart of the battle for Nifolhad’s throne.
If she ever hopes to return to those she loves, Claire must overcome the most perilous challenge of her life and embrace her curse as a gift.
Lark wondered why he had never before noticed the clouds of Cathmar as he lay flat on his back staring up at a sky so pale and thin that, if he could just reach it, he could rend it open one-handed. Mere wisps, the clouds were, nothing like the billowing masses drifting over the rest of the realm. The blue of the northern sky looked stretched, as if the expanse might rupture with the slightest breeze. Of course, there were no breezes in Cathmar. Only wind. Lark took a great gulp of air, his lungs unclenching as his own breath was returned to him.
He heard barking laughter above him, but turned instead to see Trian holding his own against his cousin Cordhin. It had been Terrwyn, Trian’s older brother, who’d knocked Lark flat. That was the way of the Cathmarans: any reason to brawl was a good one. Lark loved Trian’s family. And that Terrwyn attacked him so ruthlessly was testament to the fact that they counted Lark as one of their own.
His bear of a friend was locked in combat with Cordhin, neither one gaining nor giving ground. Though nearly as tall as Lark himself, Trian was a mere cub compared to his barrel-chested male relatives. Cordhin was greater in size and strength, but Trian was faster, both in body and in wit. It had been his friend’s wit that had started this trouble.
Lark grimaced. He had been enjoying the thick grog the Cathmarans preferred, and was feeling quite at ease. He and Trian were due to depart the next day, and Terrwyn wanted to send them off properly, pouring round after round into their cups.
Aside from being apart from his wife and daughter, the only disagreeable aspect of their journey had been Cordhin. The cousin was a constant needle, jabbing Trian at every opportunity with choice words and veiled insults, usually having to do with Trian’s proportions.
Here at Cathmar, where girth of chest was more important than height, Trian was the brunt of many a jest—delivered more oft than not by his cousin. Cordhin had just proclaimed that Trian was the runt of the house, smaller even than some of the women. Trian, with his ever-calm demeanor, took each sting with a serene expression. Lark knew better.
To forestall the coming storm, Lark had suggested that Trian test him on his knowledge of the rugged dialect that was still spoken in the remote states of Cathmara. It had put Cordhin off, at least for a short time, while Lark provided translations to the words Trian threw his way. Then Trian gave Lark the word dhin. Simple enough. It meant “tiny” or “small”. Terrwyn smothered a smirk that left Lark wondering.
“And corai?” his friend asked.
“Spear or sword, if I’m not mistaken,” Lark answered, unaware that, next to him, Cordhin was turning purple. “And if put together,” he continued blindly on, “you get coradhin, or ‘little dagger.’”
Terrwyn blew out his grog. When Trian winked, Lark grasped the meaning of Cordhin’s name, and his laughter echoed off the castle walls. Like all Cathmaran women, Cordhin’s mother had a wicked sense of humor. Trian held up his pinkie and wiggled it to renewed gales of mirth
And that was how Lark found himself staring up at the heavens. Cordhin had launched himself at Trian, and Terrwyn at Lark. Not because of familial honor, either. No, Trian’s eldest brother and heir to Cathmara attacked Lark for no other reason than that he enjoyed a good scuffle.
About the Author
A graduate of the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and Arts, Nicole E. Kelleher studied French Literature and Language, Spanish and Chinese. During this time, she attended classes at the University of Michigan’s School of Art with an emphasis on drawing, watercolor and photography.
She resides in Virginia with her children, husband, and Tully the Dog. When she is not writing or taking care of her family, she volunteers at a local organization helping the less fortunate. She encourages her friends and readers to do the same.
Nina Crespo: We’re almost to the official start of summer, my favorite time of the year. What do you like about the warmer months and what’s on your list of summer fun?
Heather Hiestand: I love how endless the days seem in the summer. It’s no big deal to go out for a walk or even run errands at times in the evening that would be unthinkable in the winter months. I enjoy catching up on my reading in the evenings on the deck, when it’s much nicer outside than in for a couple of months, even in the Pacific Northwest. I’m looking forward to getting my son away from the screens and electronics and be outdoors. My heroine in Wild Image, Kasee Kean, enjoys the minimalist clothing that warmer weather brings, and she meets my hero on the street where he’s trying to take photographs, but that short skirt creates quite an “oops” moment on the pavement!
Readers, how do you like to spend the long, lazy days of summer? If reading is one of your favorite ways to relax, Heather’s contemporary rom-com is a must for your TBR pile.
Blond, bubbly, and single-minded Kasee Kean is a reality TV star, holding onto her celebrity status by the tips of her manicured fingers. Dion Hamilton is a professional photographer in search of a subject. When the two meet outside of Pat’s Irish Pub one sultry spring night, sparks fly and careers are re-ignited.
Losing her mind on camera during her divorce cost Kasee her featured spot on the Ladies of Baltimore television show, but she has a plan to regain her post. A romance manufactured for the tabloids will put her back on top. But what happens when she wants her made-for-television romance with sexy Dion to be real?
Dion isn’t sure what kind of person Kasee is underneath her perfect exterior, and all parts of his life aren’t camera-ready. Still, he can see her vulnerability, and she does have a way of punching excitement into his life. Is this a relationship he should keep turning into cash, or is there a chance she’s the one?
“Quick,” Kasee whispered to Louise. “What do I have to do to get a picture?”
“They aren’t interested.”
“They want to make quick money. They all do. If I’m memorable enough…” she trailed off. “Maybe if we wait by the door? I can drape myself over anyone we recognize. That would get me in the blogs.”
“Do you care if they are married or not?” Louise asked, her gaze following a town car was stopping in front of the bar.
“Because that’s Sky Mitchell.” Louise pointed at a handsome man with dark hair and tight jeans, in a crowd of others, who had just exited the town car.
“Strange that he’s going in at the front. He’s family to the Collinses.” Kasee finger-combed her hair, refusing to second-guess herself. “Here goes.”
Watching for a break in traffic, she stepped into the street, then raced across on her heels, narrowly missing the back of a motorcycle. Louise squealed behind her, but Kasee ignored her friend as she barreled straight for Sky.
The famed rocker held out his muscled arms as she attempted to hug him. He held her off, her arms wheelbarrowing in an attempt to throw them around his neck.
“Come on,” she called. “Just give me a hug, Sky. It’s Kasee Kean.” She attempted to fling her arms upward again, but someone grabbed her around the waist and hauled her back.
The man pulling her sent her flying backward. Her right heel, stiletto thin, snapped against the rough pavement. The impact jolted her from ass to brainstem as she hit the sidewalk. Nerve endings in her hands began to scream. She glanced down and realized she’d attempted to catch herself on her hands. When she picked them up, her palms were scraped and bloody, and her nails were mere shards of their former glory.
“Sky!” she screamed, her jostled brain still on its former path. “I’m Kasee Kean. Please, I need this.” Sitting there, legs spread wide apart, displaying her black silk underpants for the world to see, she began to cry.
Three men surrounded the superstar and pushed him into Pat’s. Kasee stayed on the pavement, legs splayed, hands bleeding. And only then did she see photographers had crossed the street and were finally taking her picture.
About the Author
Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois, but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period, and she continues to return to historical fiction as well as other subgenres. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.
Nina Crespo: I’m making plans for the summer and I know you are, too. What do you like about the warmer months and what’s on your list of summer fun?
Andie J. Christoper: I love the summer months because I feel like everyone comes alive when the temperature warms up. My favorite thing to do in the summer (after the words are written, of course), is head over to my local Mexican restaurant patio with my dog, Gus, and drink a (large) margarita in the sun.
Readers, I’m sure you can jump on board with Andie’s plan. Who can resist a good margarita? You’ll want to heat up your summer with Andie’s sexy contemporary romance, Dusk Until Dawn. Enjoy!
“How do I know that?”
“Because, if it was, I wouldn’t consider a ten thousand dollar suit a small price to pay for seeing you smile with satisfaction.”
She laughed. “I’m sorry about the suit.”
He shook his head and a few strands of the hair she’d pulled out of his ponytail hit his face. “No, you’re not. But I don’t want you to be sorry. I want you to say yes.”
“Why? Give me one good reason.” She didn’t know whether she was rooting for him to fail or rooting for him to succeed.
He cocked his head to one side and licked his bottom lip. Lech. “Remember what I said when I promised to let you go?”
Of course she did. Nothing about that conversation had faded from her memory. “That this doesn’t mean that we’re not still friends.”
Although, she set aside writing fiction for a while, her love of romance novels stayed with her through college, law school, and multiple cross-country moves. During one long East Coast winter, she decided writing a book would be a good excuse to avoid braving the elements. It was love at first write. Her heroes are dirty-talking alphas, and her heroines traded Esprit for Free People. (None of them would turn down a Campari, though.)