Q+A with TJ Kline

The last time T.J Kline visited Plain Talk she opened up about coping with PTSD. Click here to read more.

Q: Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

Easy! My cell phone. I live on it. I made sure the last time I upgraded that I purchased one that would serve me, and my writing, on the go. I do everything from it – reading, emails, texts, appointments, even writing. I can even set my home alarm from it. I even use it to set up playlists for while I’m driving. I’d be lost without it (which is why it has frequent backups!)

Q: What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?

The best? The fact that, most days, I don’t even have to brush my teeth if I don’t want to. I do, every day, I swear! But I don’t HAVE to. I have the freedom to style my hair or not, wear PJs all day or dress up. I can set a doctor’s appointment whenever I want to rather than in limited “free” time. I work around vacations and trips, around my kids’ schedules and when I want to. Being a writer has given me more freedom than any job I could ever imagine.

The most challenging? The freedom. When you don’t HAVE to do anything, you have to be self-disciplined to still get up every day and do what needs to be done. There are times, under deadline, when I’ve planned poorly and forgo a trip to the movies. Or, even more difficult, when I’m not under deadline to actually sit in the office chair and put words on the page knowing no one is keeping tabs and I have an entire season of Hart of Dixie waiting for me on my DVR.

Q: What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing, you can either find me hanging out with my husband and kids (two- and four-legged). If I’m not out working with my horses – is it work if it’s something you LOVE to do? – the family loves being outdoors. We’ll take off and go to the beach for the day, hiking in the mountains, or playing in the snow. Living in California, we can pick from all three, in the same week even, and I’ll be taking pictures the entire way. If weather doesn’t permit, you can find us watching movies together with popcorn, pizza, candy and sodas.

Q: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Be prepared for the “real” life of writing. It’s not all fun and games, pajamas and book signings. Most days, it’s ugly, hard, gut-wrenching work. You will doubt yourself, listen to people rip your work apart and feel like you are crazy for attempting to make this your life. It’s okay…we all live there. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve written one book or nearly twenty, writing is always hard work. But, as I said earlier, is it really work if it’s something you love to do? Never give up on what you love to do, whether it’s writing, painting, acting, debate, mathematics, history, woodworking…do what you love and it will show in the results.

Want more T.J. Kline? Head over to our website to catch her Book Talk interview.

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Incy Black Blog Tour + Giveaway

Hard to Protect Incy BlackSome Black Op missions are too dark—even for him.

Volcanic hot and ambitious Special Agent Will Berwick doesn’t give a damn what his orders are, he’s not taking the enemy—the lovely, but arctic Dr. Angel Treherne—to bed. Nor will she die on his watch, most certainly not by his hand. Oh, he’ll root out her secrets. But his own way—teaching her a much-deserved lesson while he’s at it: that no one messes with his career plan just because they’re a little peeved with him.

Caught up in a tangled web of deceit and betrayal, psychotherapist Angel trusts no one—certainly not alpha-cocky, cunning Will Berwick. First he’s hostile, then he’s charming, now he wants to protect her? Why? What’s he hiding? With her life—and heart—on the line, she needs to know.

With the risks high and personal, can Will and Angel agree the dangerous choices they must make?

Title: Hard to Protect (Black Ops Heroes #1) by Incy Black
Release date: March 20, 2017
Published by: Entangled Ignite Continue reading

Echo, by Nana Malone, blog tour + giveway

Echo Nana MaloneMoney, power, prestige…freedom. Echo Coulter is—The Player.

You are a Coulter. You will be perfect. That’s what Echo has been told every day of her life. As the only girl in the Coulter clan, she knows it’s her job to be the glue of the family. But with the Olympics looming, the last thing she wants is to follow the rules. She wants to break free, and she knows just the guy to help her.

Cole Atkins has no interest in spoiled little rich girls. Besides, he’s got the job of a lifetime and just met the girl of his dreams…That is, until she ditches him under the cover of darkness. He can put her out of his head and deal with a spoiled princess for a couple of months right?

Title: Echo (The Player #3)  by Nana Malone
Publication date: March 21st 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports

Click to add Echo to your Goodreads shelf. Continue reading

The Trouble with Bachelors, by Caitlyn Blue

Trouble with Bachelors Caitlyn Blue novelFalling for her sister’s first love, how could that possibly go wrong…

Zach Thorne is supposed to be off limits. He’s her sister’s high school boyfriend and his love life is a revolving door of women. He’s also handsome, sexy and the one guy Emma Callahan has never been able to forget.

Now they’ve been thrown together as best man and maid of honor for her sister’s wedding and some serious sparks are flying. Zach is perfect wedding fling material until he starts to take their romance seriously. Now, Emma is left wondering: is he for real or is she about to get her heart broken?

The trouble with bachelors is you never know.

Title: The Trouble With Bachelors (Windy City Bachelors #1) by Caitlyn Blue
Release date: March 21, 2017
Published by: Sassy Muse, LLC Continue reading

Top 10 Bad-ass Fictional Moms

Moms are supposed to be sweet, right? Warm, cuddly, like grandmas but younger. In a perfect world, they are all sunshine and kisses on the noses.

In the fictional world moms can be real bad-asses, and who could blame them. Writers, (myself included) put them in situations which bring out the worst in them, making them a hell of a lot of fun to write and watch on screen… but not meet behind the bleachers on the playground.

Here are my top ten fictional bad-ass moms

Helena Henstridge

Helena Henstridge | Photo: Royals Wiki

10. Helena Henstridge (Elizabeth Hurley) – The Royals (E! Entertainment)

Helena Henstridge, Queen of England slept with her daughter’s boyfriend, lied about the paternity of her children so that she could remain Queen Regent after her husband died, did her very best to one-up her daughter at a fashion show. Eventually, Queen Helena saw the error of her ways and decided that her son was worthy of being king so she backs him, but before he could take the throne, she switches her allegiance and decides to yank the throne from him.

9. Harlee Santos (Jennifer Lopez) – Shades of Blue (NBC) 

Last season when we left Harlee Santos, she’d killed her baby daddy because he tried to lure her teenaged daughter away from her. Not to mention he was violent, and just got out of jail. Had he watched Enough, he would have known he didn’t stand a chance.

8. Daenerys Targaryen (Amelia Clarke) – Game of Thrones (HBO) 

Daenerys Targaryen is the mother… the mother of dragons, that alone makes her a bad-ass. But seriously, when we first met her she was abused and sold off to the savage Khal Drogo, who often raped her. As the series progressed, Daenerys came into her own, she learned how to tame her husband and captured many nations while freeing slaves and empowering women in a time when women were treated as sex objects or child-bearing vessels.

7. Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga)Bates Motel (A&E)

Norma Bates

Norma Bates | Photo: Bates Motel Wiki

With a mother like Norma Bates, Norman Bates didn’t stand a chance at normalcy. Norma has lied, killed and stole to protect Norman. I always wondered why Norma hated her eldest son, Dylan until it was revealed that he was conceived when her brother raped her. That said, you could kind of understand why she borders the edge of crazy town.

6. Savannah Nicole Rose DaCosta (Savi) – The Family Portrait Series (Books 1, 2, 3, 4)

Savi is one of the most hated female characters I’ve ever written! Blackmail and mental torture are her weapons of choice. Below are some of the comments readers have shared about this bad-ass mom.

“How a woman like Savi could ever have two amazingly gentle and caring daughters I will never know!” Rachel B.

“Savi was a terrible selfish mother and reading about her really made me hate her. So Gillian really wrote in a way I could totally imagine Savi being a real person. And boy would I have loved to slap her in the face.” Maureen B

“I am kind of happy how things turned out for Savi. I really hated her especially when she planned on ruining other people’s life.” Fayanne Continue reading

Excerpt – Her Secret Ranger by Donna Michaels

Her Secret Ranger Book coverTitle: Her Secret Ranger (The Men of At Ease Ranch #2) by Donna Michaels
Release date: March 6, 2017
Published by: Entangled Lovestruck

Synopsis

Kissing the sexy soldier was a dare she couldn’t resist…

By-the-book event planner Beth Brannigan’s best friend dared her to kiss a cowboy. She should have said no. Instead, she said please…again and again. If her brother finds out she’s dating—okay, kissing—okay, sleeping with—one of his military buddies, he’ll kill her. Assuming he doesn’t kill his friend first.

Former Army Ranger Brick Mitchum isn’t a relationship kind of guy. But then he meets Beth and starts to wonder if maybe it’s time he settled down. She’s mysterious. Unpredictable. Curvy in every way he needs… And hiding something. He’s just got to figure out what.

Click to read A Quick Chat with Donna Michaels. Continue reading

Excerpt from Incense and Peppermints by Cathrine Constantine

Incense and Peppermints cover

Synopsis

In 1969 it was an age of peace demonstrations, sit-ins, burning of the U.S. flag, an escalation of the Vietnam War. Including the catalyst—a music revolution, flower power, hippies, marijuana, and drugs, spurring a young generation into a new decade.

Sixteen-year-old Mary believes it’s time to cut the apron strings and fly. New experiences and new friends, Mary crosses the threshold of adolescence with a bang. When her brother offers her the solution in the form of a little pill, the rumba going on in her brain should’ve been a forewarning.

Excerpt from Incense and Peppermints by Catherine Constantine

September 1969

The corners of my bedroom had dulled to a muddy gray by the time my brother leaned on, or rather wobbled against, my door. His glassy eyes floated in their sockets. Stoned, again.

“Whatcha doing, Sis?” Stevie, my older brother slurred.

My gaze slipped over his pasty chest, sprinkled with wiry hair, and past his jockeys to his stick-like legs. Did he realize he was only wearing saggy underwear? Normally, I’d say gross and mock him, but only because he normally treated me like a speck of toe scum. Continue reading

Excerpt from K My Name Is Kendra

My name is Kendra book coverAbout K My Name is Kendra

Author: Kamichi Jackson

Genre: Young Adult

Fifteen-year-old Kendra James’ life begins to spiral out of control with the return of her long-lost runaway sister Meisha, and the visit of a young celebrity uncle with questionable intentions. Things take a particular turn for the worse when that uncle exploits Kendra’s loneliness and untreated depression and makes a move on her that sends her world into a tailspin from which she’s not sure she’ll ever recover. Will she survive this tragedy…or will she hit rock-bottom before anyone even notices?

The Return of Meisha

I think someone is stalking me.

I say this, not because I’m paranoid, but because I’ve been seeing the same strange car outside my house almost every other day for the past two weeks. I haven’t told anyone but Nita about it. She thinks I should call the police or something, but what are they going to do? Whoever is inside the car hasn’t done or said anything to me, so what would I be reporting?

Of course that could change. I realize that today when I step outside onto the front steps of my school. This could be the afternoon that changes everything.

“What’s wrong?” Nita asks as I stop dead in my tracks, almost tripping this kid walking on my heels.

There it is again. The same black car with the tinted windows. I recognize it right away because it has two small dents in the back door and a bright red ball on the tip of the antenna. I still can’t see who is inside, and I can’t tell if the person is even looking my way, but it’s definitely the same car.

“What’s wrong?” Nita asks again. She looks across the street. “Is that it?” she asks and I nod.

“I need to know,” I say as I step down off the curb. The car starts to move forward and I wave and scream for it to stop. It does, and I keep running towards it, even though I hear Nita yelling behind me that I shouldn’t go. She catches up to me and pulls on my sleeve, yanking me back before I reach the car.

“Even three-year-olds know not to talk to strangers, Kendra!” she warns. “Come on, girl. Let’s go.”

I know she’s right and I sigh, letting her lead me away. There’s a buzzing noise behind us as we’re walking, and I can tell the driver is opening the window now.

“Keep going!” Nita whispers, her grip on me getting tighter.

All of a sudden I hear my name called out from behind me. Nita and I both stop. She looks at me. We turn at the same time and step forward a little bit towards the car. I hear ding ding ding as the door opens, and a lady’s leg—rockin’ the fiercest thigh-high boot I think I’ve ever seen in my life—hits the pavement, and then the rest of the woman slides out from behind the wheel.

“Who are you?” Nita asks her, not letting go of my arm.

“My name is Meisha,” the young woman replies to Nita, but she’s not looking at her. She’s looking straight at me.

“She’s my sister,” I add, my voice so low I can barely hear myself saying the words.

Author Kamichi Jackson talks about Kendra’s story and creating the book.

Behind the Scenes with LT Shade

LT Shade blog tourToday I’d like to welcome L.T. Shade. Shade is the author of the romance novel Under Her Authority.  Below she talks about the behinds the scenes of her book. Enjoy

If you could spend time a character from your book whom would it be? 

Hmm, this is a hard question because I want to spend time with all my characters! But if I had to narrow it down to only one, I would love to spend time with Rose’s best friend, Olive. Olive is just so much fun to be around. I really enjoyed writing scenes with her. She’s great at making people laugh and helping Rose get through tough situations. She’s a genuine friend. I think everyone should have a [someone like] Olive in their lives.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with and why?

Oh, this is easy. Simon, Rose’s ex-fiancé. Simon is one of the antagonists in the story. His motivations for doing what he did (*no spoilers*) aren’t as clear as say Matthew Moreno’s motivations, who acts as the main blockade in Rose/Shane achieving their goals. With that being said, and maybe I’m sticking my foot in my mouth confessing this, I can’t help but feel sympathy for Simon. He did something unforgivable, and Rose was right to be angry at him and take certain actions because of it. But, at the end of the day, situations are never as black and white as they seem. Rose realizes this once she confronts Simon for the last time and it helps her move on.

Tell us about your book cover and how it came about.

I’d like to think my book cover is somewhat unique in a genre where most covers are of openly suggestive. Erotic romance usually isn’t subtle in its book covers, and they’re mostly male-focused. Not that I mind. I love some eye-candy and those covers make for great marketing. I just wanted to go with something different, subtle, where the female can shine. Both characters are obscured on UHA’s book cover, the female especially, but anyone who sees it knows who is in charge. Rose. Thus the title Under Her Authority. That’s why I chose the cover photo with a background of Charlotte, where it takes place. I have the amazing cover artists at Totally Bound to thank for putting my idea into something tangible.

How do you choose the names of your characters?

My brother. No, seriously. I asked my younger brother to pick two names he liked and that is how the names Shane and Rosemary came about. You could say it’s my way of giving tribute to him and putting a piece of myself into the story.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

Wow, I haven’t even thought about it. No one comes to mind when I think of the actors/actresses I know.

I think I wouldn’t be so focused on appearances (i.e. who plays who) as I’d want the embodiment of the characters’ personalities to be spot on. For instance, whoever plays Shane needs to be able to have his same country-boy gone city charm. He’s cocky and arrogant but at heart, he still holds onto those small-town, gentlemanly, principles. Rose is a special character. She is someone who takes a huge risk and opens herself up after falling down again and again. Her courage to face her obstacles, even her own confusion, and doubt, is endless. Whoever plays Rose has to be as special as her. Continue reading

James L Weaver Presents, Ares Road

Ares Road James L WeaverSynopsis for Ares Road

With his days as a mob enforcer behind him, Jake Caldwell’s trying to go straight.

But it seems his past won’t let him go.

His first job working as a private investigator turns up a teenage girl screaming down a dead man’s cell phone, and Logan, his mentor and the only man with answers, beaten into a coma.

Now Jake’s taking it personally.

The only clues Jake has to unravel the mystery are a Russian with a stolen, silver briefcase and three names: Snell, Parley and Ares. Teaming up with his best friend Bear, the Sheriff of his hometown, and an attractive FBI agent, Jake quickly discovers they’re not the only ones looking for the briefcase and its deadly contents.

It’s no longer about seeking revenge.

The thrilling second book in the Jake Caldwell series is a heart-stopping ride that won’t disappoint fans.

Title: Ares Road (Jake Caldwell, #2) by James L. Weaver
Published by: Lakewater Press
Publication date: March 2nd 2017
Genres: Adult, Thriller Continue reading