Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Rumney Fire Department

I was invited to participate in my very first Blog Chain, this one made up of members of my local chapter of Romance Writers of America. How could I resist? The men and women of Heart of Carolina Romance Writers are a great bunch of people and this sounded like a great opportunity for me. I write under two names, so today’s post will be my alter ego, Nancy Lennea, answering questions thrown at me by a character from my next book, LOVE TO THE RESCUE.

An interview BY a character you say? Yes! I can already see the possibilities even before I hear the questions. I will do my best to keep the conversation P-G, since my book’s hero has insisted on stepping up to the plate. As you will find out in the book, Pete Thayer is NOT a boy scout, especially with the secret he carries.

The Character:

Paramedic firefighter Pete Thayer arrived in the small New Hampshire community of Parmenter about a year ago. His partner, Josie, suspects he is hiding something. Once on track to be a doctor, a woman’s lies ruined everything for Pete, which is why he keeps women at a distance unless they agree to share his bed…and nothing more.

The Interview:

After what I’ve heard about Pete from the gossip making the rounds all over town, I agreed to meet him in a very public place…the firehouse on Parmenter’s Main street. I pull into the lot and wave to other firefighters who are keeping the summer sun’s heat at bay by hosing down the fire truck…and each other. Ooh, my heart be still. They had removed their shirts, and the water cascading over sun-kissed muscles is making me feel faint. I hope Pete keeps his shirt on, or this could turn into one uncomfortable interview.

I find Pete sipping coffee at the kitchen table. He stands and gestures to a chair.

“Coffee?” he asks.

“Sure. A little cream, please,” I say with a shy smile. He IS good looking!

“No sugar?”

“I’m sweet enough, my husband says,” I add, letting him know up front that I am taken. I must remind myself, too. He smiles as if reading my mind. When he slides his trim 6’ frame into the ladder-back kitchen chair, I take a moment to drink in his tanned profile. Sandy-blond hair and golden eyebrows nearly hide his baby blues. I am such a sucker for blue eyes. I swallow.

“So, ready?”

What did he say? Ready for what? I gain control over my breathing once again and concentrate on his light blue paramedic shirt and brass nametag. I’d glanced at his navy blue uniform slacks with many pockets and several tools. A flashlight? A radio? He wore much the same things I carried when I volunteered on the Rumney F.A.S.T. Squad.

“Ready when you are,” I answered.

“Well, Nancy, rumor has it that you were a volunteer firefighter. True?”

“Yes. I joined the rescue squad first. I have always wanted to be in medicine but never got around to it, and I saw this as a great opportunity. My kids were now old enough to be left unattended when the pager went off. Poor Eric, my youngest.” A laugh erupts and I slap a hand over my mouth. Pete reaches across the table and pulls it away, the heat from his fingers dancing over my skin. Why aren’t these buildings air-conditioned?

“What about Eric? I heard you have two sons?”

“Rob’s my oldest. I didn’t want him stuck baby-sitting his brother, so I waited until Eric turned 10 to join the Rumney New Hampshire Volunteer Fire Department. Several times I had to stop the car and tell him to walk home, or I was late picking him up from sports, or he actually drove to an accident scene with me. He was a trooper and allowed his mother to help others. Both boys were proud of me and the little red light on my white Dodge Caravan!”

“What about the fire department? Isn’t that tough on women?”

“Don’t let Josie hear that!”

Pete had the smarts to blush. “You’re right. Joe is great and as hard-working as any of the guys.”

“But, you DO know she isn’t a guy.” I was worried Pete wasn’t taking advantage of someone who wanted him with every beat of her heart. I’d spoken to Josie just the other day and she couldn’t stop talking about her partner, Pete. Ah, well, love is wasted on the young.

“Well, sure, but I don’t see her as a woman. True, her hair usually smells great, unless we’re fighting a forest fire. And her chocolate-brown eyes make my head swim, when they aren’t hidden by her safety visor.” Pete squirmed in his seat and wouldn’t look at me. He sipped his coffee, then grimaced.

“Gone cold.” He jumped from his seat and poured another cup, giving me a chance to look. Something akin to a bulge filled the front of his slacks. Me thinks the man protests too much. He does like Josie! Well, well, well.

“I take it you’re married?”

“Who, me? Yes. Very. Thirty-five years, actually.”

“To the same guy?” His look of incredulity makes me squirm in my seat. Luckily, I am not one to keep quiet when insulted.

“What? You don’t believe a virile man like my Richard would want to spend a lifetime with a woman like me?” The tips of my ears are burning, and probably turning red. Now I see why Pete has few friends. The man speaks before thinking.

“Whoa, Nancy. I meant no insult! I personally cannot conceive waking up each day to the same woman. Not that you aren’t the perfect woman for…Richard.”

“I guess you have to hope that you someday find the woman who makes waking up beside her worth your while,” I add.

“Okay, let’s change the subject. You have several books out and I want to know more about your latest release, LOVE TO THE RESCUE.”

“Thank-you. Yes, I have four titles out under either Nancy Lennea or Nancy Lee Badger, and my two websites and blogs keep me busy, while I keep writing. LOVE TO THE RESCUE follows my September 2010 release of DESTINY’S MOUNTAIN.

This current book is the continuous mountain saga also set in the small college town of Parmenter, New Hampshire. I have brought two characters from my last book forward, because their relationship and their profession as paramedic firefighters made them an obvious choice for adventure and intrigue. Secrets, mountain rescues, car accidents, and forest fires keep my readers turning the pages.”

“What about sex?”

My throat spasms. No air. What is Pete asking? Well, ask him, you fool. “What about sex?”

“Is there sex in your book? I happen to like hot and steamy love scenes.”

“Well, yes there are a few, but since my heroine is…let’s just say NOT a player…her relationship with the man of her dreams is a long time coming. He, he.”

“Okay, where can your readers buy your book?”

LOVE TO THE RESCUE, my romantic suspense, will be available from Red Rose Publishing on July 14th.”

“Tell your readers more about YOU.” Pete winks, clasps my hand in his, and leans closer. Thank goodness there is a solid wood table between us. “At least, I want to know more.”

“Anything you say, handsome. I grew up on New York's Long Island then earned a Bachelor of Science degree at a small state college amid the mountains of New Hampshire. My husband and I settled in a tiny rural town nearby. I worked many years as a 9-1-1 emergency medical dispatcher and we now live in North Carolina where I write full-time. I am a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Celtic Heart Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and Sisters in Crime. I invite my readers to check out the other HCRW members being interviewed by their characters. "

"Is that all?"

"Oh, well, I would love readers to follow me on Twitter. I am @NLBadger."

Full list of participants:

Aimee Laine :

Lyla Dune :

Carol Strickland :

Amy Corwin :

Lilly Gayle :

Rebekkah Niles :

Laura Browning :

Andris Bear :

Marcia Colette :

Nancy Badger (ME!) :

Sarah Mäkelä :

Jennifer Harrington :

Scott Berger :

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Interview with author STARLA KAYE

Nancy: Today I’m interviewing Starla Kaye. Her book, Maggie’s Secret Wish, is a contemporary erotic romance and was released on June 10, 2011 by Decadent Publishing. Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.

Starla: MAGGIE’S SECRET WISH is my first published work with Decadent Publishing. It is part of their 1 Night Stand series involving a high-end, very expensive matching service run by Madame Evangeline. She is a bit magical, with a knack for finding the perfect matches for frustrated people seeking help in the relationship part of their lives, even if only for one night. She has a personal goal of making long-term love matches. When I first learned about this basic background series story line, I loved it. I am always up for trying something new, dabbling in a new romance sub-genre.

My particular story in the series, MAGGIE’S SECRET WISH, is contemporary erotic romance and involves a light step into BDSM. The heroine has suffered through disastrous relationships and while she is a sensual/sexual person, she is reluctant to get into the dating world again. Her history at choosing the “right” man isn’t good. But lately not only has she become more sexually frustrated but also she has started having dreams with a “naughty” nature. She has become curious about the world of spanking, not that she wants to try anything too harsh. Then after being badgered by a friend to at least try Madame Evangeline’s matching service, she dares to make contact by email. I won’t go into detail here, but let’s say her dreams are more than met.

Nancy: Describe the genre of this particular title, and is it the only genre you write in?

Starla: As I said, this particular story in the series is contemporary erotic romance and involves a light step into BDSM. I have written a lot of novels and novellas with such a combined focus: romance and varying degrees of BDSM. In this what I call “spanking romance” sub-genre, I have written contemporary, contemporary Western, historical Western, Medieval, Pirate, and Sci-Fi story lines. I also write contemporary romantic suspense and paranormal romance.

Nancy: When did you start writing toward publication?

Starla: I started writing toward publication about fifteen years ago, but actually started publishing novels and novellas with online publishers eleven years ago. My first book, Tug of Love, was published through iUniverse in 2000 and is still available. It was a sweet romance, particularly compared to what I mainly publish today. I did try to get it published through the print publishing houses, although I really only tried Harlequin/Silhouette. The editors I dealt with there were very patient with me and offered great suggestions, but we didn’t see eye-to-eye on some elements of the story. After the frustrations of going back and forth trying to come to agreement on story elements and then having it ultimately rejected, I decided that I didn’t want to go that publishing route again. It takes too long. I made the decision to keep on honing my writing skills and find other routes to getting published. I am extremely happy being an ebook published author, with a number of Print-On-Demand books also available.

Nancy: Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?

Starla: I’m pretty sure that most writers have a supply of manuscripts they have sent out, had rejected, and finally buried under the bed or wherever. I have several manuscripts like that. But a few of my early romances have had their basic story lines or characters resurrected into new stories that have been published. No matter how pitiful some a writer’s early works are, they are still near and dear to our heart.

Nancy: What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?

Starla: It isn’t enough for a writer to write a good story that someone is willing to publish. I am fortunate enough to have publishers who arrange to sell my novels and novellas at a number of places, including Amazon, Lulu, Barnes & Noble, Bookstrand, All Romance Ebooks, Fictionwise, and Lightning Books. Still that isn’t enough. An author needs to spend a good deal of time arranging to be a guest blogger on a book review site or another author’s website, take part in blog tours, be a responsive member of some Yahoo group loops, offer the occasional contest, update your website or blogsite, update your Facebook page, Tweet occasionally, and much more. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. But I enjoy most of it, although Tweeting and Facebooking sometimes boggles my weary mind.

Nancy: Which is why you are a welcome guest here, and I why I will be visiting your blog on August 31st! Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?

Starla: I belong to RWA (Romance Writers of America), WARA (Wichita Area Romance Authors), and KWA (Kansas Writers Association), a multi-genre writers group. RWA is a professional organization that I get some occasional help from. WARA and KWA are local writers’ organizations where I get valuable networking with published and unpublished authors who share similar frustrations and experiences. I also belong to EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection), which has an annual conference and other networking possibilities. And I recently joined EAA (Erotic Authors Association).

Nancy: Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?

Starla: Don’t give up if this something you really want. Keep honing your skills, keep writing, keep up with the markets, keep networking, and above all have faith.

Nancy: What’s next for you?

Starla: I am always working on multiple projects and usually in different sub-genres. Currently I am starting a new contemporary Western, So Not a Cowboy, for Blushing Books. I have started a follow-up medieval story, For the Love of Rowan, to be released, hopefully, this Christmas by Black Velvet Seductions. And I am in the plotting stage of a contemporary time travel, Katie’s Kept Man, for Decadent Publishing. Until I actually start writing a story it isn’t definite in my writing schedule, so Katie’s Kept Man might get replaced by another story idea…of which I have many.


Maggie’s boring workaholic life and focus on her obnoxious ex is grinding her down. A friend’s advice sends her to Madame Evangeline’s high-end dating service 1 Night Stand. She hopes to find some fun, a date, and va-va-voom sex…not necessarily in that order. At least she will get out of her apartment for one hot night! Because, yes, she is just that desperate for a change, and there is that secret fantasy she’s been wanting to try out….

As Ian turns forty, his day job as writer of steamy erotica and night job as part-time Dom has him worried he will never have a “normal” relationship. With his particular kinky quirks, what woman would consider him husband material? Madame Eve is pretty good at her own job, are these two a match in a million or just a one night flash in the pan?

A little bit about the author

I love all kinds of settings, themes, and people. I’m an observer of everything around me, especially the romantic things I see and hear. When I read or watch movies, I want to be deeply drawn into the story line…I want to experience highs and lows, tears and laughter. With each book I write, I try to get stronger at giving my readers those kinds of experiences. To date I’ve been fortunate to have had 19 novels, 19 novellas, and 5 anthologies published with Blushing Books, Black Velvet Seductions, Decadent Publishing, and Red Rose Publishing.

She gaped in horror. Five emails from Madame Evangeline. Five! What about her message had captured the matchmaker’s attention enough to have her keep trying to contact Maggie? The spanking stuff! Oh, jeez. That had to be it. Nothing else about her basic info could possibly draw a stranger’s interest.

Fingers shaking, she opened the first message.

I’m so pleased you contacted me, Ms. Malone. I’m sure that I can find someone perfect for you. Please email me back so we can discuss this further.

Palms sweating, she opened the next message.

I’ve done a basic background check on you, Maggie, as I’m sure you’re aware I do for all my clients. Your websites are quite well done, unique. I could see your special imaginative flare. I noticed it in your query message as well. I’m positive I can find the perfect match for you. Please contact me as soon as possible.

Maggie drew in a nervous breath. Madame Evangeline had mentioned imaginative things in her original email, certainly meaning the fantasies. How embarrassing. Yet she opened the third message.

I know exactly what you need, my dear Maggie. You need time away from your work, time to satisfy your secret desires, time to let a very special man attend to your every wish. I eagerly await your response.

Satisfy her secret desires? Let a special man attend to her every wish? Oh, yes! Need thrummed through her, making her squirm in her desk chair.

Heart racing, she opened the fourth message.

What you need, dearest Maggie, is a special night at one of the Castillo Resorts and Hotels. I’m thinking the one in Maui would please you most. The more I study the websites you design, the more sure I am of your sensuality, of the type of man who could please you. I look forward to you contacting me soon.

How could the other woman know about her preference for Maui? How could this unknown woman sense so much about her? See how much of herself she put into each of the website designs? It was eerie…exciting, too.

She gathered her courage and opened the final email, one sent only an hour ago.

Nancy: wow! Sounds like a very interesting read! How can my readers buy your book?

Starla: Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at Decadent Publishing.  You can find more information about Starla Kaye and my book, Maggie’s Secret Wish, by visiting my website.

Nancy: Thank you so much for visiting and for sharing your story. I welcome readers to please share their comments.