Happy Monday!!! I’m back after a break last week. I needed to recover from the RWA National Conference, and writing a blog post wasn’t high on my agenda. I always take extra days off from the day job after National, but I feel like this time even two additional days wasn’t sufficient. LOL, is it weird to need a vacation from your vacation? The con was fantastic. I had a blast. It was great seeing writers I adore, and it was a pleasure making new connections as well. Happy I won’t have to travel next year, WOOHOO!
This week’s author spotlight is the wonderful Priscilla Oliveras. I was finally able to connect with Priscilla in-person at a Mother’s Day event at Word Bookstore in Brooklyn. She’s a super duper lovely lady, and you should get to know a little bit about her.
Take it away Priscilla!
I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail about you would they enjoy revealing to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?
Ay Dios mío, we’re starting off with a bang! 😁 Let’s see, I guess, maybe…while I try to use polite language in public and professional settings, when the situation warrants, and especially while I’m watching sporting events, my speech can definitely get a little more colorful or salty. 😉
Name three words that describe your thoughts on the Royal Wedding.
Enchanting, sigh-worthy, diverse.
Do you believe your destiny is pre-determine or in your hands?
I believe God has a plan for me, but with free will, whether or not that plan is fully realized is in part up to me and my decisions.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Way more a night owl. I’d rather be up until 4 AM writing than go to bed and set my alarm for 4 AM. Of course, when a deadline is staring me in the face, the time of day is irrelevant. All that matters is getting quality words on the page.
What’s the sexiest Romance book you’ve read in the last six months?
Oooh, great question. I’d say, my buddies Mia Sosa, Alexis Daria, and Sabrina Sol do a FAB job ramping up the sexual tension and delivering a great romantically sexy read. I’m the sweet contemporary romance writer in the 4 Chicas Chat group, so I’m a bit outnumbered, but it’s all good. Maybe some of their sexy writing will rub off on me via osmosis. 😉
What are three signature elements readers can always anticipate finding in your stories?
Family relationships (the good and the bad), Latinx culture, heartwarming romance.
If a relationship, friendship or job makes you unhappy, do you stay or leave?
Wow, tough one. I’m not one to walk away easily, hoping to try and make the situation better or healthier, sometimes to my own detriment. I will say, as I’ve gotten older and have experienced some not-so-good situations, I’m less willing to stay quiet. My instinct is to find a silver lining, look for the good. But I’ve learned you can’t control other people, and it takes two individuals wanting a healthy relationship for there to be one.
What makes you roll your eyes every time you hear it?
Anything denigrating the romance genre. Por favor. To me, it’s a sign of the speaker’s ignorance. Once, I was out with girlfriends and a guy asked me what I did for a living. I mentioned teaching and romance writing and his response was, “Oh, like porn for women, right?” Needless to say, he didn’t get my phone number!
First, think of a product. Now, what would be the absolute worst brand name for one of those products?
HAHA!! I have to admit, my first reaction was, “Huh?” Actually, it was, “Qué?” (What?) Then my mind jumped to a bottle of wine. Probably a red blend or a pinot noir. Strangely, my thoughts jumped to that “I Love Lucy” episode where she’s stomping the grapes (I know, my mind has a tendency to…”squirrel!”…) Anyway, a wine bottle brand that would catch my eye, but make me laugh (maybe wince) at their sense of humor: Feet Squished.
I’m thinking “Feet Squished, for that au naturel flavor.” With a Lucy-like image stomping around in a barrel full of grapes.
Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?
Um, no. Can’t say that I have. And well, while I’m not one to never say never…I’m not too sure about this one. I’m blushing a bit at the question itself. But, I guess you never know. If so, it’d be between my partner and me. I’m kinda private that way.
PRISCILLAOLIVERAS is a 2018 RWA® double finalist who writes sweet contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latinx culture with readers. Her debut release, His Perfect Partner, and the second book in her Matched to Perfection series, Her Perfect Affair, both earned Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Since earning an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, she serves as English adjunct faculty at her local college and teaches an on-line course titled “Romance Writing” for ed2go. Priscilla is a sports fan, a beach lover, a half-marathon runner and a consummate traveler who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock. To follow along on her fun-filled and hectic life, visit her on the web at www.prisoliveras.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prisoliveras or on Twitter via @prisoliveras.
Happy Monday! The temperature in New York City is supposed to reach the high nineties, but feel like triple digits thanks to humidity. W-T-mothafreakin’-F!!!! 😩 😲 😱 I DON’T LIVEINTHEDESERT.THISIS A TADINSANE.NO, MORETHAN A TAD.
*takes deep breaths* I am alarmed. Very very alarmed. Okay, now that I’ve freaked out because the world is totally heading in the direction of the movie The DayAfter Tomorrow, I’m going to focus on the good things in life and do my best to make Mother Nature less angry. #reducereuserecycle #minimalism
In case you hadn’t noticed, today is my first day back from a mini social media hiatus. I had a lot I needed to get done this past week, and Nationals will surely take up most of my time this week. I wanted to get as much completed as possible without feeling like a total failure. I also needed the break to be quite honest. Escaping to my bubble of goodness keeps me sane. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, extended social media breaks are healthy. Sometimes it’s easy to forget what life is like outside of gadgets and social media. I don’t need to be connected all the time, and going off the grid replenishes my energy like you wouldn’t believe. I highly recommend a detox once in a while. Of course, I can’t say my to-do-list has been fully executed, but dammit, I made a dent in that sucker.
In any case, I had to come back to do a Pre-Release Day Author Spotlight for Rayna! She has a book dropping tomorrow, and if paranormal M/M Romance is your thing, you definitely want to check it out.
Get to know a little more about this amazing lady who’s also a True Crime junkie! Take it away Rayna…
I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?
Ummm…perhaps that I have an unhealthy attachment to true crime and police procedurals. I love watching all those crazy shows like Snapped and Forensic Files and Buried in the Backyard (yes, it’s a real show). That I watched all 30 something Hallmark movies this year, but I was equally excited to watch Homicide for the Holidays. Also, that I’ve seen EVERY episode of NCIS more times then I can actually count (Thank you, Netflix). But come on, Mark Harmon is in it and he’s still looking good.
How do you make the Universe a better place?
I guess by trying to be a decent person and a decent friend. And, by helping people organize kickass trips to Disney. There is nothing quite like the joy on a person’s face when you help them plan an amazing Disney experience. I’m not a travel agent or anything. I’m just a huge Disney fan. ;-) (I know, I know, first homicide then Disney. I’m an enigma.)
What would your 80-year-old-self tell you to make time for?
I’d tell myself to make the time to study abroad in college. Probably to go to Physician Assistant school earlier in life. Also, to take every opportunity to travel or have an adventure. Not that I don’t do that already, but older me would have encouraged me to get the point where I was freer to travel and adventure earlier in life.
Finish this sentence: The quiet unhurried mind _________.
Has endless depths of creativity.
What was your gateway Romance book?
The first true romance novel that I ever read was Angel by Johanna Lindsey. A classmate offered it to me because she was done with it and was going to throw it away if I didn’t want it. The thought of throwing away a book was absolutely appalling to me, so I took it and took a chance on reading it and I’m so glad I did. Truth be told I was heading toward being a romance fan anyway. I remember reading the Ned and Nancy romance scenes in the Nancy Drew books from the late 80s and 90s. Death by Designwas a personal favorite.
Nancy was helping a friend who worked for a fashion designer and managed to get poisoned during the investigation. I remember loving how Ned rushed to her side and took care of her as the worked to solve the mystery and find the antidote to the poison. To a tween, it was so romantic, plus I’m a sucker for those high drama life or death scenes. From there I moved on to Christopher Pike, who had light romance threaded through his books. The murder and mayhem sucked me in, but the romantic scenes were the scenes I always went back to on re-read. I guess you could say that I’d been tugging on the gate lock until that first Johanna Lindsey book and then the gate swung all the way open for me.
What’s the last item you purchased on sale?
It was a casual video game called Dark Parables: Return of the Salt Princess. It’s the most recent in a series of hidden object games based on classic fairytales. I love all manner of video games. So, when I can get one on sale it’s a good day. P.S. I’ve already played the game to completion. Meanwhile, I’ve got a backlog of Xbox games that need playing, but every so often you want something quick and fun.
Do you believe there are hazards to falling in love online?
Absolutely! I’ve watched that MTV show Catfish. I’ve seen how badly it can go. I have a healthy level of skepticism and wariness when it comes to the people you meet on the internet. There are too many scammers out there on social media and the like. People can so easily make fake accounts and claim they’re anyone. Even if I meet someone online I prefer to wait until after I meet them in person to form any type of true emotional attachment.
What advice have you been given by mentors that’s helped you in your writing career?
Write the best book you can, then let it go. As writers we’re constantly learning and growing. We learn something from each book we write that then enables up to write an even better book next time. So, don’t get bogged down in trying to achieve “perfection”.
In forty years what will people be nostalgic for?
Possibly the current Marvel Comic Universe. I figure in forty years, they’ll either have moved on to completely new superheroes or on to different movies altogether. Just like we like to reminisce about how old we were when we first saw the original Star Wars, perhaps we’ll do the same with The Avengers.
What body part do you wish you could detach and why?
Probably my arms so I could use them as blunt weapons.
Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?
No, I haven’t. That lifestyle just doesn’t appeal to me. Plus, if someone were to try and spank or flog me, I’d likely hit them back. Although now that I think about it, I might make a halfway decent dominatrix.
Rayna Vause is a lifetime learner who wants to live on a Disney cruise ship traveling the world and thinks purple should be considered a natural hair color. She’s fascinated by the magic and mystery in the world; things like psychics, demons, cats (especially cats!) and true love. A proud geek, she injects some of her tech-obsessed soul into every story she writes. When not writing she’s pursuing another degree, running a conference, working through her massive TBR pile, losing herself in a video game, and plotting her next novel.
As I mentioned, RAYNAHAS A BOOKCOMINGOUTTOMORROW!!! Check out an excerpt below:
“Dance with me.”
He walked toward Kier, stopping an arm’s length away. Kier stared at the steady hand reaching out to him. Even as he craved holding Danny in his arms, a small part of him wanted to hold back, to protect himself. Still, he reached out and let himself be drawn into the man, the music, and the memories. His gaze locked with Danny’s as he tugged him close, holding him body to body. Danny slid his hands up Kier’s chest and looped his arms around his neck. Kier rested his hands on Danny’s hips. They started to sway, their movements fluid and familiar.
Kier closed his eyes and breathed deep. Danny’s warm, clean aroma filled his senses. Nothing else in the world smelled as intoxicating as him. Nothing else could ignite a slow burn deep inside. Kier’s breathing came a little faster, and his body went hard. He pressed his cheek to Danny’s temple as he rubbed his hand up and down his back. Damn, he missed this.
“Do you remember the first time we danced to this?”
Kier nodded. “That country and western theme night you dragged me to. Thank God they broke up the blocks of country with other types of music.”
“You had fun.”
“I did after a few shots of bourbon.”
Danny chuckled and gave him a light whack on the shoulder. “I remember you standing at the bar surrounded by a small harem of women. Man, were they disappointed when you walked over to me.”
“Yeah, well, I was going into perfume overload.”
“I was happy to be your escape route. Happy to be held in the arms of an amazingly beautiful man. Happy, period. You made me happy. You still do.”
Kier leaned back so he could study Danny’s eyes. He stopped dancing. He stood there continuing to hold the man who had the ability to destroy him in his arms. What the hell am I doing?
Danny reached up and caressed his cheek as he pressed even closer. Kier sucked in a breath as low-level currents of electricity thrummed through him. Danny carded his fingers through Kier’s hair and set tingles dancing over his scalp. Danny started singing to him in that sexy, off-key manner about being taken into loving arms and kissed under the light of a thousand stars. He sang until their lips were a mere breath apart. Then the singing stopped, and Danny pulled Kier down and pressed a soft kiss to his lips as he slid his leg between Kier’s. He brushed his thigh over the bulge in Kier’s pants.
Danny tasted, nipping and nibbling and driving Kier out of his mind. The slow sampling didn’t last long. This time Kier took the lead and claimed Danny’s mouth. His familiar flavor flooded Kier’s senses. He delved deep with his tongue, licking and caressing, as he took his time exploring the landscape of Danny’s body with his hands.
Everything ceased to exist but this moment and this man. The fresh hunger hit Kier. He wanted to taste more than Danny’s skin. He wanted to drink the rich blood that ran through his veins while he buried himself deep inside of Danny. Kier could hear the rapid thump of Danny’s heart pounding, the rush of his blood.
Mine, he thought and growled as his fangs started to drop. His heart thundered; his breathing was loud and ragged. Only Danny could do this to him, make him forget everyone and turn into a ravenous beast.
The sharp call of Kier’s name cut into his consciousness and allowed reality to creep in. When the call came a second time, he stepped back from Danny and sucked in a sharp breath. He opened his eyes to see a kiss-dazed Danny standing in front of him and Alex a few feet away, looking ready to tackle him should it be necessary.
“I’m fine, Alex. I promise.” Guilt, need, and confusion all swamped him.
“Kier? What just happened?” Danny bit his lip and furrowed his brow as he reached out.
Kier stepped back. “I’m sorry. I got caught up in the moment, and things got a little out of hand.”
“It’s okay. If you need that from me, I’m offering willingly.”
Kier took another step away. He needed to settle, to think, and he couldn’t do it with Danny this close.
“Thank you. You don’t know what that means to me to hear you say that, but taking that step is too much too soon. We need to talk to Sharon and figure out if your blood is safe to drink. We need to think before we take that step. We need to—I need to slow way down.” Kier shoved a hand into his hair. “I need some air.”
He started to walk past Danny, but instead he paused and brushed the back of his finger over Danny’s cheek. “I’ll be back in a bit.” With that said, he turned and strode off down the hallway to his office, leaving a stunned Danny in his wake.
Activate your one-click finger and buy Twice Bitten here or on the DSP website!
Happy Monday! This past weekend was super productive for me. I’ve been working on a book I hope to release fairly soon. *crosses fingers*
It’s due to my editor before I leave for Nationals on the 18th. I also have a couple of other things I need to get accomplished this week, so that means I’ll need to hunker down and drink lots of coffee. I detect a lot of late nights in my future, which is a pain considering I wake up long before the sun rises. 😬 Wish me luck!
In between writing, I’ve been keeping myself occupied with pop culture goodness. Allow me to share the shit I’ve been digging this week:
I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but NETFLIXREALLYGETSME! I don’t know what magic goes into creating their algorithm, but they know what I like. I try not to indulge in shows that are less than a 90% match. I know, I know I may be missing out on a gem that doesn’t have a high rating, but with limited TV time, I want to be sure whatever I’m watching is going grip me from beginning to end. Marcella did the trick with a 96% match. It’s dark, creepy, disturbing AFBUTIT’S SOGOOD.
I plowed through two seasons this weekend while writing. Granted, the seasons are only eight episodes each, but there’s a hell of a lot of story packed in. I had a bit of an issue with season two, but overall I LOVEDTHISSHOW. If crime and suspense is your jam and you can deal with being gut punched, I highly recommend it. Check out the season one trailer below.
I’m not a fan of subtitles, but for some reason, I end up watching a lot of things in French on Netflix. I think I just really love the language. The Forest was a Netflix rec based on my interest in Marcella (another 96% match). Surprise, surprise it’s another dark show involving murder and mayhem, LOL. Look, I like crime and suspense okay? 👀 #dontjudgeme
Psychological thrillers and murder mysteries are a big part of my reading tastes, so it makes sense that it carries over into my TV watching. I don’t want to give away the plot, but it’s also a short season. Only six episodes. You can watch the trailer here: https://www.netflix.com/title/80240691
Everything Is Love
After years of collaborations, Jay Z and Beyoncé finally made an album together! The Carters have given us Everything Is Love. A few weeks ago the video for the first single “Apeshit” dropped, and I can’t stop watching it! I’m also in love with the Louvre. I have to admit it took a few listens for me to get into the song, but now it’s part of my workout rotation. I live for the 5:30 mark. BEYONCÉISGOING H-A-M IN A DESIGNERGOWN!!!!
Never read the book, never saw the first version of the movie, but last week I tuned in when “It” premiered on HBO. Holy crap! I have to admit I was intrigued since Cary Fukunaga co-wrote the script. If you don’t know who he is, you should totally Google him. #hotdirectorbae
Fukunaga bowed out after creative differences with the movie studio behind It, but I still wanted to see what the hype was about. Verdict? I dug it and now that I’ve seen the cast for It: 2 I’m all in! Haven’t seen it yet? Give it a go via HBO On Demand.
John Coltrane’s Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album
Both Directions at Once is an unreleased album from 1963 featuring the classic quartet. Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxophone, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones bringing it on home on the drums. I’ve had this album on repeat since the tail end of June. I am a Coltrane stan, and this album made me feel like Christmas came early. You can listen to one of the songs here on SoundCloud.
And that’s all folks! See you in two weeks for the next installment of Shit I’m Digging.