Hi! To start off, please tell us your name, where you’re from, and what you write.
Hi there! My name is Deena Remiel. I’m from Philadelphia PA, and I write PNR and Romantic Suspense.
How did you become an author? Please share a bit of your journey with us.
Since I am a schoolteacher, I’m always writing samples for my students after giving them their writing assignments. One spring break, I decided I wanted to write a story. I sat down before my laptop and one week later I had eleven chapters of a story! I continued to finish it, wrote another book, and then decided I ought to be publishing them. I got picked up by Decadent Publishing, and the rest is history!
What are you working on now? Do you have a recent or upcoming release?
Right now, I have a manuscript in the hands of my agent. It’s quite the story. A dual narrative where the past and the present collide. As far as new releases, I do not have any at the moment, as I am steeped in teaching my gifted 7th and 8th graders and taking care of my health.
What is the most challenging part of writing romance?
Honestly, I feel the stigma others try to impose on us is the most challenging part. I try not to let it bother me, but it’s hard not to cringe inside, waiting for the eye roll or snarky remarks to fly after being asked what I write by those who don’t typically read genre fiction.
What kind of research do you do when you set out to write a new book?
I research the setting down to its smallest detail, like how a character’s hair might behave given certain climate considerations. I use psychology books to craft a character’s personality. My current book, Of Mist and Consequence, had me researching life in 1855 Savannah, Georgia. I read maps, old newspapers, historical websites that focused on slavery and the Underground Railroad. I sought out images of houses and clothing, as well.
Please share one piece of advice to aspiring authors - what do you wish someone would have told you?
The most important thing an aspiring writer can do is complete a project. There are few more suggestions I have, too. I think it’s important to have a mentor author or authors that an aspiring writer can study for their style. For example, I love Sherrilyn Kenyon’s masterful world-building and character angst. I adore Ray Bradbury’s use of metaphor and descriptive language. Finally, research publishers and literary agents before signing with anyone! Money flows one way, from publisher to author, and never the other way around.
What do you love the most about the month of November?
I love the weather in Arizona in November. It’s cooling down and finally feeling like autumn!
Alpha, beta, or both? ALPHA
Vampire, werewolf, demon or angel? ANGEL
Wine, whiskey or punch? WINE
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, or other? THANKSGIVING
Cowboy boots, biker boots, or flip-flops? BIKER BOOTS
Top, bottom, or against the wall? HOW ABOUT LEANED OVER THE SIDE OF THE BED?!
Biceps, abs, or buns? BICEPS
Love Among the Ruins
Paranormal ~ Ghosts ~ Celtic ~ Time travel
Time travel, an Anasazi princess, a fabled Irish sea god and a vengeful Italian ghost - four stories that prove love knows no bounds and lasts forever.
Burning Sage - Volcanologist Sage Wilcot’s heart has lain safely dormant until she meets Emmanouel, the immortal prince tasked with redeeming a vanished civilization—and who is set upon igniting passion in her body and soul.
Immortal Dance - During the summer solstice, true love crosses space and time to find an ancient Anasazi princess who must choose between him and her people’s ancient traditions.
Fiona's Choice - A modern young woman on the coast of Ireland, widowed too soon by the death of her sailor husband, is visited by the fabled Irish sea god Lir...and true love.
Haunting Solace- Haunted by a vengeful ghost in Siena, Italy, Stella will find her seemingly eternal torment exchanged for love by a handsome visitor.
More About Deena
Deena spends her time playing in the Garden of Good and Evil as she writes paranormal romance and suspense. She’s been known to have downed a few beers with her angels and even put Satan in his place a time or two. She’s fascinated with the concept of immortality and all its implications. As a Writer in Residence for Mesa Public Libraries, she was fortunate to work with many aspiring writers, nurturing their craft. Mesa, Arizona, is where she calls home now, but the Superstition Mountains will always be home in her heart.
Warning, this is not for the faint of heart.
My family wasn’t always traditional when it came to Thanksgiving. I have a very small family. Growing up, my ‘family’ consisted of my Mom and Grandmother, my two older brothers, and my Great Aunt and Uncle. Again, perhaps not the most traditional definition. At least not in the 1970s. Later, as my siblings and I grew up, we added spouses, etc. And we often ate out for the holiday. Long before it was fashionable to do so.
In my mid-20s, I became a volunteer EMT, something that I loved and was proud to do. For me, it was less about the adrenalin and more about giving back to my community. My Mom hated it. She had a very old-fashioned idea of a woman’s role. Her vision did not include sleeping in a firehouse with guys and getting covered with other people’s blood. We agreed to disagree.
One very memorable Thanksgiving, we responded to a trauma call at three in the morning on the Tuesday before the holiday. The victim had stolen a, SUV and led the police on a chase for over thirty miles before crashing through the front wall of a restaurant. He had ‘failed to negotiate the curve’, as one officer put it. I was brand new and suddenly in the back of an ambulance careening towards the University of Pennsylvania trauma center with the medic. The dashboard of the stolen truck had folded in on the patient, traumatically amputating both legs. As we left the ER after transferring care of the patient, a young officer walked in carrying a large bio-hazard bag yelling, “I’ve got the legs.” Needless to say, this was the worst call I have ever taken. We cleaned that rig for over an hour.
So there I was, less than 48 hours later, seated at the dining room table, surrounded by my family. Out comes my mother from the kitchen, placing a serving platter with the two turkey drumsticks on it right next to me. And, as you may have guessed, I lost it. I ran into the kitchen laughing so hard that tears poured down my face. If you’ve ever worked as a first responder, then you’ll understand. It’s called gallows humor, and it’s how we get through the crap we see sometimes. Keep in mind, nothing about that ambulance run was funny, and almost 30 years later, I remember it like yesterday. But seeing those turkey legs had hit a chord. My poor Mom came running into the kitchen to make sure I was alright. She took one look at me and said, “I don’t want to know, do I?” That of course only made me laugh harder. She and I had a total honesty policy. I always told my Mom I would answer any of her questions, but she had to be able to handle the truth. I went back to the dining room, and the platter had been moved to the other side of the table. That year, I was more thankful than ever for the health and safety of my loved ones. It’s something I've never taken for granted.
Contemporary ~ Small Town ~ Military ~ Holiday
Eighteen months ago, Amy Windsor’s world imploded. Andrew, the love of her life, died in the line of duty, destroying her vision of forever. Unsure of how to move on without him, Amy’s life is stuck in an endless loop of grief she can’t escape.
Travis “Mac” Mac Gregor was a paramedic on the scene when his friend Andrew died. When he runs into Amy at the cemetery, he recognizes an all too familiar anguish. In that moment, he decides to help coax her out of her cocoon of grief, knowing it could prove to be a Herculean effort. Daily runs. Clearing out Andrew’s belongings. An unlikely friendship develops, and then... something more.
But in the wake of such a tragic loss, Mac fears he’s simply a stand in for her departed love. Are his fears justified? Or, is the bond between he and Amy strong enough to coax her back to the land of the living?
More About Kimberley
Kimberley O’Malley is a transplant to Charlotte, North Carolina from the frozen North. She is learning to say y’all but draws the line at sweet tea. Sarcasm is an art form in her world. She writes small town Contemporary romances and hilarious Cozy Mysteries. When not writing, she is a full-time nurse and part-time soccer Mom, but not necessarily in that order. She shares her life with an amazing husband of more than 23 years, two teenagers, and one very sweet Shetland Sheepdog, Molly.
(On sale Nov 24 - Dec 4! Only $0.99!)
When it comes to holiday treats, everyone has their favorites or their traditions or their excuses to eat all of the foods (that’s me!). My grandma used to make these raisin-filled sugar cookies that I loved so much. My mom still makes candy-cane shaped sugar cookies with crushed peppermint candies on them. And it’s just not the holidays until someone has whipped up a batch of Tom & Jerry batter and gotten the rest of the family snockered.
I still love all of those. Especially the boozy one. But I have found a new favorite tradition—this chocolate-orange flourless torte. It’s rich and chocolatey, with a hint of orange liqueur. I love it so much that I incorporated it into a book.
Chef Ivy Montgomery has hit a streak of bad luck that started when her soon-to-be ex-husband, celebrity chef Parker returned to Lost Coast Harbor, and as chef at a competing restaurant. All she wants for the holidays is for her new bistro to have a successful Christmas Eve event. All Parker wants is…Ivy. But the competition heats up and soon the entire town is in on this battle of the exes.
After Parker hires local pastry chef Annabel to do desserts for his restaurant—exclusively—Ivy is in a bind. She needs to figure out how to add “whip up a gourmet dessert” to her exhaustive to-do list for the Christmas Eve special at her bistro. But not to worry, Ivy’s friends Cait and Val are more than willing to come to the rescue.
“We’re going to make the desserts,” Cait said.
“No.” Ivy shook her head and turned off the flame below the custard, still stirring. “That’s not a good idea.”
Ivy set out the ramekins for the creme brûlée, then she poured the liquid into the cups.
“It’s a great idea,” Cait said. “You haven’t tasted our creation.”
Ivy frowned and pointed her whisk at Val. “You live on frozen pizza.”
“Yes, mostly,” Val said with a shrug.
Ivy then pointed at Cait. “I honestly don’t know how you even survive. You once called me to ask how to cook a hot dog.”
Cait tilted her head. “It was a valid question. If it was raw, I didn’t want to get food poisoning.”
Ivy picked up the tray and walked to the refrigerator, which Val held open for her. When she returned, she put the pot in the sink, along with the whisk and her measuring cups. Hope would be in shortly and could tackle the dishes for her. She had to keep moving on her list of tasks. And if she kept busy, that gave her less time to think about how messed up her life had become.
Ivy sighed. “I appreciate your gesture—”
Val opened the small cooler she’d brought with her, and pulled out a dark chocolate torte, cut in half, and resting on a silver cardboard disc.
“What is that?” Ivy asked, peering at the dessert.
“A flourless dark chocolate-orange torte,” Cait said, pulling off the cellophane wrap. “Try it and see what you think.”
Ivy eyed them with suspicion. “You two made this?”
They nodded and smiled, eyes wide and innocent. She didn’t buy it for a minute. But the dessert did look good. She grabbed a fork and took a bite of the rich cake. Dark chocolate with a hint of orange liqueur melted onto her tongue. The texture was dense, rich, and satisfying. With a small scoop of vanilla gelato, it would be an ideal Christmas dessert.
“It’s good,” she said, unable to keep the surprise out of her voice.
Val and Cait beamed.
“Who made this?” Ivy asked, taking another bite.
“Us,” Val said. “As far as you know.”
This dessert is a wonderful complement to the season—a treat that is rich and dense, with a hint of orange that adds a taste of the season. It’s decadent, so making it for friends and family feels like you’re giving them a luxurious gift. Enjoy!
Chocolate-Orange Flourless Torte
1/2 cup Grand Marnier orange liqueur
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
18 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
zest of one orange
All He Wants
(On sale Nov 24 - Dec 4! Only $0.99!)
More About Eve
Eve Kincaid is a lapsed lawyer who decided that fictional crime was more fun than the real deal. She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense, and co-writes the Lost Coast Harbor series with Lily Danes. When she's not writing about mysterious women and the men who love them, she's probably shopping for books, lipstick, or imported cheeses to complement a nice California pinot noir.
The great Turkey Festival and Food Frenzy Season is upon us and it is a big month for our family. In addition to celebrating Thanksgiving we have seven birthdays—two kids and five adults. And while the holiday remains the same, our location for the main event is moving. And that’s okay. You see, for almost forty years, my husband and I were Thanksgiving Central for our extended family. Each year in November, we hoisted the Turkey Signal and called the kinfolk to our home.
Over time, after decades of doing most of the cooking, we began to first cater the event, then to take the family out to dinner. After all, we reasoned, who wants to cook and clean up? It turned out my niece and her wife wanted to take on this family duty, and with a grateful heart, I said, “Yes, thank you.” This year, with a new baby girl on a tight sleeping schedule, our son and daughter-in-law proposed to do it at their house. My niece said sure—but “I usually travel with a party of eight people”. Not a problem, my son responded, we will set up a table in the kitchen. Naturally, I volunteered to sit at the kids’ table. That’s where all the fun will be. In Judaism we call this L’Dor V’Dor, from Generation to Generation, passing the baton of our culture and family traditions on to our children and grandchildren. It is the most precious gift we can give to our family.
As I reflect on this year’s intergenerational event, I am reminded of Thanksgivings past. One of the most memorable was the year my husband had a myocardial infarction in late October and almost died. He was forty and I was thirty-eight. We had a six-year-old son. For two nights in a row, I returned to the ER with him in excruciating chest pain. The second night, the cardiologist decided to keep him in the hospital. The next morning, I was called to get to the hospital, they were taking him for a cardiac catheterization. This all sounds very tame now, but thirty years ago it was not. It was quite dangerous, a patient could die while undergoing the test. It turned out that he had blown out the tip of his heart in what is classically known as “The Widow Maker.” Lucky for us, he had an anatomical variation that enabled him to defy the odds. As he rested in bed on IVs, with monitors beeping, he took my hand in his cold one and said, “I want a dog.”
Now, this was an old conversation and I had been adamant about no dogs. We had a herd of cats. We both worked twelve hour days. It wouldn’t be fair to the dog. We had a preschooler. I had marshalled all the arguments before this event, I knew what I should say. But as he held my hand looking like death warmed over, I said, “What kind?”
My husband wasn’t sure, but as soon as he was discharged (ten days later), he was ready for trip to the local charity’s pet farm. I managed to put it off for a while, after all he was busy with cardiac rehabilitation and recovering from a major life event. Finally, he was well enough for the family to make the short trip to the neighboring suburb. A litter of German Shorthair Pointers had just arrived and one was cuter than the next. One floppy eared puppy wobbled over to the three of us and my husband and son looked at me and said, “This one.”
We named him Thunder because when he ran in the house, he sounded like a storm rolling over the Chicago area where we lived. He was the cutest puppy. All ears and legs. And he was the best therapy for my husband who was home all day while I worked. Thunder was, shall we say, just a bit spoiled. That Thanksgiving, we sent up the Turkey Beacon and the family rolled in for dinner. I prepared everything from soup to nuts, a real celebration of life. I put away the food, my husband said, “Leave the dishes. Let’s go watch the Macy’s parade.” We all trooped downstairs to our family room (we had a split level rancher) and proceeded to enjoy the floats. In the distance, I began to hear some clinking and I thought it was odd. I went back upstairs and called the family to join me. There in the middle of the table, happily licking each plate was the puppy. He had managed to climb onto a chair and then the table. What a happy boy he was! After removing Thunder from the table, his stubbly little tail wagging, we collected the dishes, still laughing.
The boys in the turkey costumes continue the tradition of dogs in our home. Harbor (on the left) is our rescue dog and Agent Frank (on the right) is in charge of getting in trouble. They are helping us to make new memories, along with the rest of the family. I wish you all love and good remembrances for this and every holiday. Hold your loved ones close. You never know what lies around the corner, what life will bring, good or bad. What we do know is we can share our love with our friends and family and pass the baton to the next generation.
Meows and Mistletoe