Author Spotlight: Dahlia DeWinters

Hey Folks,

Happy Monday!

It feels like I blinked and these last nine months sped by! It’s hard to believe the last quarter of the year kicks off tomorrow. You know what that means, right? TIME TO CONQUER SOME YEAR END GOALS! I’m in the process of crossing things off my massive to-do list and making serious progress. For the next three months, I am selfishly focusing on me, but please know if I owe you something, you are definitely on the massive to-do list. I’M GETTING EVERYONE SQUARED AWAY! Sending all the pumpkin spice filled good luck to those of you in the same boat trying to end the year on a good note. Let’s👏 get👏 it👏 done👏!

Full disclosure: Dahlia was interviewed some time ago before my self-imposed year-long blog hiatus. I thank her for being patient while I took my time getting things back on track (the deets on that are still to come in a lengthy post scheduled for October). In any case, you should get to know her; she’s an incredibly cool lady!

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?

First of all, if my doppelganger is really evil, then folks better watch out. The first she would say, the evil thing, is that I read Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier fan-fiction. Not sure if that’s super questionable, but, yeah.

How important is word of mouth (online and IRL) when it comes to supporting women-led small businesses?

It’s very important, and I think, more important than paid advertisement. Word of mouth is true endorsement. Nothing sells a product or a service better than the testimonial of a person who has actually used the product or service.  

Do you have a writing mentor? 

Yes, I do have a writing mentor/accountability partner. Although we just “met” a month ago, Taige Crenshaw has changed my writing life for the absolute better.  

What’s the most unbelievable thing that has ever happened in the history of mankind that makes it difficult to grasp the reality that the event occurred?

The election of our current president. ‘Nuff said.

What was your mindset back in high school?

Honestly, my mindset was to try to be everyone’s friend. A real people pleaser. Now? Not so much. In fact, not at all.

When was the last time you embraced your kid like wonder and went exploring?

Because I have children, this makes it easy to do. I took them down to the “brook” where I used to go as a child. They, of course, were a little unimpressed, but I was glad I went, and hopefully, they’ll remember it!

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

I would believe in my writing more. Instead of dismissing it as “a fad,” I would have finished a story and sent it off somewhere. Right now, I feel like I’m playing catch-up!

What was the last five-star Romance you read?

Wow. The last five-star romance I read? I can’t choose! *Harper here, LOL total cop-out answer btw*

If you could have your own reality TV show, what would it be?

Shirtless men in a piano-playing competition. Categories: Classical, Jazz, and mid-20th century American Songbook. Tie-breaking Category: 80s music.

If you were immortal for a day, what would you do?

Probably try that DeathWish coffee and three espresso shots.

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

Yes. Now, if I were a top or bottom, that’s a story for another day. 😉


Dahlia DeWinters was born to run, but she’s too tired for all of that now. Instead of debating the politics of dancing, she writes multi-genre stories that celebrate the Black woman in all her diverse beauty. Her work ranges from sentimental romances to dark zombie epics. Whatever the story, there will always be a unique heroine in the eye of the storm. Sometimes she will be the storm. Coffee, music, and movies keep her motivated, along with the occasional purchase of mascara and lipstick. In her spare time, she enjoys digital graphic design, crocheting and of course, reading. 

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Author Spotlight: Olivia Dade

Hey Party People! 😁

It’s been a LONG time since I updated this blog. A WHOLE DARN YEAR TO BE EXACT. Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes. There will be an extended blog post coming up within the next few weeks updating you all on what’s been going on with me and why I’ve been absent with posting. In the meantime, allow me to get back on track by introducing you to a fabulous lady (emphasis on FAB). 

If you don’t know Olivia Dade, you’re missing out on pure unadulterated joy. Don’t believe me? Keep reading! 

What is the biggest culture shock you’ve experienced since moving to Sweden?

I could expound all day on the Swedish love for pastries (vast and delicious) and tendency to put béarnaise sauce on pizza (troubling, very troubling), but in all seriousness: The realization that what I once considered my strengths are now my weaknesses has been hard. In the U.S., I handled most paperwork and logistical issues for our family, and I literally make my living from my love and knowledge of English. In Sweden, I don’t know how things are supposed to work, and not feeling comfortable with the language is a real barrier. Please don’t misunderstand: My ability to move here was and is a privilege, and I love so much about Sweden. But the adjustment is hard sometimes. Even if I avoid béarnaise-tastic pizzas. Which I do, commitedly.  ::shudders::

What’s your favorite musical instrument, and why?

Electric guitar! In key ways, I’m still a child of the ’80s, rocking out to a guitar solo as my bangs feather majestically in the wind.

Would you rather only be able to have sex in a room full of bugs or no sex at all ever? 

My plan: befriend the bugs, make them all little blindfolds and/or a hangout spot in a corner with a tiny flat-screen TV, thus keeping them otherwise occupied during Olivia’s Bug-Free Intimate Moments.

What’s the worst thing your parents caught you doing as a kid?

For a brief time, I made the most embarrassing, dad-joke-esque prank calls of all time. There were inquiries as to whether someone’s refrigerator was running (“you should go and catch it!”), and, of course, jokes better suited for elderly Victorians than a seven-year-old: “Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Then you’d better let him out!”

Yeah. I was definitely a super-cool kid, as you can see.

Waffles, pancakes, or French Toast? *I want you to know I judge how people answer this, Olivia!*

Ask Mia Sosa about my apple-sour cream pancakes! They are my crowning achievement in the breakfast food arts!

How long does it usually take you to write a novel?

If I can immerse myself in the story, I can write a novella in several weeks and a full-length novel in a couple of months. If I can’t immerse myself in the story…well…

::sobs quietly:: ::grows old::

In one word, sum up Romancelandia.

For me: transformative.

If you could ask your favorite author (dead or alive) three questions about their writing, writing process, or books, what would they be?

I love Joanna Bourne’s historical romances. LOVE. I think she’s the master of immersing readers in her characters’ points of view. I was lucky enough to see her speak about the topic several years ago, and she also has lots of useful writing information on her website, so if I saw her in person once more, I’d probably ask the following questions:

1. Do you agree that your amount of talent simply isn’t fair to other authors?

2. Is there any scientific and/or medical way to transfer some of that talent to me?

3. Why not, dammit?

If you had a signature dance move, what would you call it? 

The Awkward-but-Enthusiastic Flail.™

Finish this sentence: The secret to a happy marriage is ______.

Selective hearing? 

👀 *LOL, the emoji is a Harper addition, I couldn’t help myself*

Okay, my real answer: emotional generosity on both sides and admiration for one another. The ability to laugh together, even after many years and on a hard, hard day, is a definite plus too. (Mr. D makes me laugh all the time. Even on purpose, usually!)


While I was growing up, my mother kept a stack of books hidden in her closet. She told me I couldn’t read them. So, naturally, whenever she left me alone for any length of time, I took them out and flipped through them. Those books raised quite a few questions in my prepubescent brain. Namely: 1) Why were there so many pirates? 2) Where did all the throbbing come from? 3) What was a “manhood”? 4) And why did the hero and heroine seem overcome by images of waves and fireworks every few pages, especially after an episode of mysterious throbbing in the hero’s manhood?

Thirty or so years later, I have a few answers. 1) Because my mom apparently fancied pirates at that time. Now she hoards romances involving cowboys and babies. If a book cover features a shirtless man in a Stetson cradling an infant, her ovaries basically explode and her credit card emerges. 2) His manhood. Also, her womanhood. 3) It’s his “hard length,” sometimes compared in terms of rigidity to iron. 4) Because explaining how an orgasm feels can prove difficult. Or maybe the couples all had sex on New Year’s Eve at Cancun.

During those thirty years, I accomplished a few things. I graduated from Wake Forest University and earned my M.A. in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I worked at a variety of jobs that required me to bury my bawdiness and potty mouth under a demure exterior: costumed interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, high school teacher, and librarian. But I always, always read romances. Funny, filthy, sweet—it didn’t matter. I loved them all.

Now I’m writing my own romances with the encouragement of my husband and daughter. I have my own stack of books in my closet that I’d rather my daughter not read, at least not for a few years. I can swear whenever I want, except around said daughter. And I get to spend all day writing about love and iron-hard lengths. 

So thank you, Mom, for perving so hard on pirates during my childhood. I owe you.

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Author Spotlight: Rosanna Leo


It’s Friday, and I am so ready for the weekend. Those of you who follow the blog know I usually post on Mondays, but this week I was on a mission and blogging fell to the wayside. Bright side? MY PRODUCTIVITY IS THROUGH THE ROOF! For the rest of the year, posts will likely be sporadic which is probably best since I have yet to figure out how to clone myself. My latest WIP has been hogging most of my attention these days. I’m trying to get revisions completed so I can hand it off to my editor. I HAVE A RELEASE DATE FOR THIS BOOK IN MY HEAD, AND I WANT TO SHOUT IT FROM THE MFIN ROOFTOPS, but I never share release dates until I’m at least 70% done with edits. In any case, that’s what I’ve been up to and why most of my social media platforms look like friggin’ dead zones, LOL. My apologies to my Facebook friends, I know people are like does she even use this thing? I do, I swear!

BUUUUUUUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME. LET’S TALK ABOUT ROSANNA! I met Rosanna through Twitter, and it has been such a delight getting to know her. Keep reading to learn a little bit about this gem of a lady!

Take it away Rosanna… 

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?

What a great question, Harper! I’ve never had this one before. My evil doppelganger is alive and well and is, no doubt, plotting as we speak. As far as revealing information about me, my doppelganger would take great delight in letting everyone know how clumsy I am. Like, super clumsy. Falling-down-on-a-regular-basis clumsy. I’m not sure I have anything too questionable in my history, though…or do I?

How do you recover from a setback? 

Well, there are setbacks, and then there are setbacks. I’m pretty good at maintaining focus and sticking to a plan but when something especially difficult happens, I like to give myself time to recover. Writing can be cathartic, and I will write while happy or sad, but if it becomes hard, it’s better to take a break. If it’s a case of writer’s block, I try to write through it, even if I’m writing rubbish.

If you had to change your name, what would your new name be, and why would you choose that name? 

As a younger person, I spent a lot of time hating my name and probably would have gladly changed it. However, I’ve grown to like it and wouldn’t change it now. But, if I had to, I’d pick something that would cause confusion at Starbucks, like Niamh or Siobhan.

I know you’re married but if you could give the last person you dated an exit interview, what would be the number one question you’d ask?

Dude, what took you so long?

What ridiculous thing has someone tricked you into doing or believing?

My younger brother has always been somewhat of a joker. As a kid, he used to love making prank calls and often did it to family members as well. He can be convincing. A few years back, he called me and pretended to be one of our Italian relatives (one of the ones who doesn’t speak English.) My Italian is very rusty and I kept trying to get information out of the “mystery caller,” but he just kept saying, “Pronto? Pronto?” 

What’s the last five-star Romance you read?

I recently finished The Last Wolf by Maria Vale (*HI, HARPER HERE BUTTING IN FOR A SHAMELESS PLUG* Maria happens to be an RWA NYC CHAPTER MEMBER, YAY ✨🎉) and loved it. The world-building was outstanding. Before that, I read Pas De Deux by Lynn Turner. Another wonderful 5-star read that gave a terrific behind-the-scenes look at the world of ballet. 

What are some of the easy things people can do to keep improving their intelligence?

Well, I can only tell you what I try to do. I try to open myself up to new experiences as often as possible. I like to see the world and hopefully, in seeing it, I learn something about the people who live in it. And reading! I’ve learned so much just from picking up books. 

When crafting a story, what’s more important originality or delivering what readers want?  

I think readers want originality, but I also understand that for some readers, comfort is a big factor. I have reader friends who only read the same subgenre because it’s their catnip. They’re okay with similar stories cropping up on their e-reader. As for me, I try very hard to inject something new into each of my books. I hope it keeps my readers interested, and it keeps me interested as well.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer? 

Ooh! I can’t give up coffee or salty snacks. How about ice cream? I’d give up ice cream. (*immediately regrets it and eats all the ice cream*)

What would a world populated by clones of you be like?

It would be populated by clones who are mostly confused but doing their best. 

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

Because I have teenage sons who are mortified at my behavior on the best of days, I will politely decline to answer this one. LOL Besides, a little mystery never hurt anyone. 😉


Rosanna Leo is a multi-published romance author. She is a double finalist in the 2018 Northern Hearts Contest for A Good Man (Best Contemporary Romance and Best Canadian Author.) From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her long-suffering husband, their two hungry sons and a tabby cat named Sweetie. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair. 

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