Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Meet Tema Merback, Sexy Romantic Suspense Author

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 5 comments
Meet my friend, fellow Los Angeles RWA member and critique partner, Tema Merback. Tema's novel with Soul Mate Publishing,  One More Time is Not Enough, came out July 13th. 
 Susan, I know you love firsts, so, first let me thank you for hosting me this week on your wonderful blog.
Susan: You're right. Firsts are some of my favorite things. Tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book.
Tema: Funny, you should ask this, because I just signed another publishing contract for a new book. It seems that my birthday in July is very lucky for me.
Last year, I signed a publishing contract with Soul Mate Publishing for the third and final book in my The Only One series: One More Time is Not Enough (also a standalone). Having experienced so many rejections, my reaction was to burst out crying. As writers, most of us have experienced that heart-wrenching moment when you receive a rejection letter, or worse, the impersonal rejection letter that is a one-size-fits-all form letter. When you finally get a positive we-want-you letter, it’s like the heavens have opened up and you’ve been offered redemption for your sins. 
         I was at RWA, and believe me, I kicked up my heels and did a dance. Then, low and behold, again on my birthday, while at RWA this year, I heard from Hartwood Publishing. I’d sent Georgia Woods, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief, a submission letter and I received a fabulous letter back from her that she wanted to publish my latest entitled Saving Layla. She also expressed interest in a sequel, which I’m writing now, working title I Will Not Forget You. 
   Unfortunately, for my first publishing experience, it took one year to bring that baby to fruition. It finally was published July 13.
            I’ve figured out by now that this whole writing, publishing experience is about baby steps. So long as I’m moving forward, I’m making progress. I’m very persistent. The girl who was incapable of dealing with rejection has learned, “No guts, no glory.” 
I am so happy for you. What a fabulous Birthday present! 
Susan: Got a recipe you want to share?
Tema: Well, since I’m a gourmet cook, I always have a recipe up my sleeve. These days because of my focus on writing and social media, I try to keep my recipes simple and one-pot (if possible). Here’s a favorite that I’ve adapted and altered. It’s probably from Bon Appetite. I call it chicken & potatoes on the wall. It is irresistible. It will fill your kitchen with the most delicious aroma. Think Greece or Italy.
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons dried oregano (sometimes I use fresh)
2 ¼ lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
1 4 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces (sometimes I had extra breasts, or legs, or both) in which case I add a little more of everything, especially garlic and oregano
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush inside of large roasting pan with 1 tablespoon oil. Combine remaining 4 tablespoons oil, garlic and 1 ½ teaspoons oregano in a large bowl. Add potatoes and toss to coat (I usually use my hands). Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper and line the edge/border of the roasting pan with potatoes. There should be plenty of oil, garlic, oregano leftover in bowl, now toss the chicken and coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and arrange chicken in center of prepared pan. Drizzle chicken and potatoes with lemon juice.
Roast chicken and potatoes in oven for approximately 1 hour. Voila, you have one of the best chicken dinners ever! The potatoes will be a little crispy, and the chicken will be so moist it will melt in your mouth. Everybody loves this recipe. Enjoy. Sounds fabulous. I can't wait to try it.
Susan: What genre’s do you write?
Tema:  My main focus at the moment is romance/suspense/sexy, however, I seem to be leaning toward the thriller aspect. As a reader, I really like a great story with lots of unpredictable twists and turns. I do have a couple of book ideas brewing in my mind. One of those stories is actually a contemporary/historical/romance that has everything to do with reincarnation and past lives. OK I want to see that. Like yesterday.
 Susan: Tell us about your newest release.
Tema: My newest release is One More Time is Not Enough
            My heroine, Adelia Lindstrom Bremen, has a dilemma, she is in love with two men, and she doesn’t know that she’s on a serial killer’s hit list. This is the story of a woman trying to get her life back on track. A woman who instills passion and desire from the two men who love her. Adelia has everything, she is independently wealthy, she has beautiful twin children, and a career that she loves. Even with all of her blessings her life has become a minefield of lies, disappointments, and tragedy: Her parents were murdered, her marriage ended in a messy divorce and custody battle, her children were kidnapped by her ex-sister-in-law and had to be rescued from Cuba, and her godfather that murdered her parents was killed in the rescue. After divorce, a custody battle, and kidnapping, she finds herself swept up in a love triangle.
            Adelia is about to find out that putting her life back together and opening herself to love may be the least of her worries. Can she find her true love and survive being the prey of a serial killer? Can the two men who love her rescue her in time? The clock is ticking.
 Excerpt: One More Time is Not Enough
When they returned to the cliff house, it was late. Adelia suggested they take a Jacuzzi and have a nightcap. While David changed into his swimsuit, she ordered a bottle of champagne and fresh strawberries. By the time he finished in the bathroom, she was in the hot tub, immersed in a cloud of steam, sipping champagne and nibbling on fruit.
“Come on, slowpoke, the water feels like heaven.” She eyed David’s muscled body. “The FBI Academy seems to have agreed with you. You’re a treat for the eyes, Agent Weiss.”
David sighed. “What am I going to do with you?” He slipped into the water.
“I don’t know. What are you going to do with me?” she goaded, handing him a glass of champagne.
Enjoying their playful repartee, she placed her feet in his lap. “This is bliss.” The intimacy of the hot tub was having its desired effect, she could feel the sexual tension mounting.
“You know I’m not going to make love to you.”
“Really. She furrowed her brows annoyed. “Why not?”
“Because, Adelia, even all of this”—he spread his arms wide— “can’t make the reality of our lives go away. You have an ex-husband who wants you back, children who’d be better off with both their parents. I can’t compete with that.”
She could sense his goading her into a confrontation. “You’re not going to spoil this perfect evening. I won’t let you.”
“Do you know what it’s going to be like for me, when this is over? Poor David, too bad his girlfriend went back to her husband.”
“It’s not true, you could stop it if you wanted to.”
“We’re fighting destiny, Adelia.”
Doubt plagued her, but it wasn’t within her power to stop what she was feeling. She stood and placed her glass on the side table. With determination, she reached out and took the champagne glass from him. Then, grabbing a strawberry, she sat on his lap, facing him.
He started to protest. “Adelia, stop . . .”
Without a thought, she placed the strawberry seductively between her teeth and brought her lips close to his.
He stared into her eyes. “Please, don’t do this.”
“Why? Don’t you like strawberries?” She could feel his erection beneath her bikini bottom. “Or, is it just me you don’t care for?”
He growled, then bit half of the strawberry off, his lips brushing hers. He tried to pull away, but her arms encircled his neck, and she deepened the kiss.
“If you keep this up . . . you might get more than you bargained for.”
“Is that a threat or a promise?” she whispered, her lips inches from his.
“You’re killing me.”
“Funny, am I the only one here who knows what they want?”
“What I want isn’t in question.”
“Oh, but I think it is. If you were honest with yourself, you wouldn’t pull away. It’s been such a perfect evening. What’s wrong with two people who care for each other, exploring their feelings? I dare you to tell me you don’t want this. That you don’t want me.”
“I’m trying to protect you . . . me . . . both of us . . . from making a mistake.” He smiled. “But you’re not cooperating. I don’t know how much more I can take.”
“Then surrender and let me win. I’m a big girl. If this is a mistake, it’s my mistake.” She pressed her lips on his, her tongue darting against his.
He rose with her in his arms. “I won’t blame you for what’s about to happen. You know how much I want you. I just hope we don’t live to regret it.”
He kissed her with a lust that turned her blood to fire.
“No regrets. I want this. Let’s take a shower,” she teased, kicking her legs playfully in the air.
Susan: What’s your current WIP?
Tema:  My current work in progress is, working title, I Will Not Forget You. It is the sequel to Saving Layla which I just signed for publishing with Hartwood Publishing. Saving Layla is a sexy, romantic, suspense novel set in Iran. It centers upon two people as different as the sun and the moon, who are caught in a web of political intrigue between Israel’s desire to exist and Iran’s goal of their nuclear destruction.
            Cyrus Hassani is at the top of his game. He has risen to a powerful position in Oghab2 whose responsibility is the safety of Iran’s nuclear program.  Oghab2 is the most clandestine arm of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence & Security. However, Cyrus is not whom he seems, he is Israel’s greatest spy asset, a deep cover mole for MOSSAD. He’s an alpha-male, cold, with a heart of steel. He’s lived in the shadow world for so long that love is the last thing on his mind.
            Layla Wallace is a Jewish, Harvard student, whose father is a renowned nuclear physicist. When Layla and her Saudi boyfriend go to Dubai during winter break, the two are abducted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp and kidnapped to Iran.
            This sets off a tidal wave of events. Cyrus is ordered by MOSSAD to blow his cover in order to rescue Layla and get her out of Iran. Cyrus dedicated to his mission and life’s work, feels betrayed. He fights his intense attraction to the fiery redhead who challenges him on every front, while Layla fights her impulse not to trust her mysterious savior.
            The two are being hunted by Cyrus’s boss, a man driven by vengeance who will do anything to retain his power. Cyrus and Layla embark on a treacherous escape to find a safe haven and freedom. A journey that will ignite their passion and love, and test their ability to sustain and build a future together.
            Saving Layla is a seductive romantic adventure. It is about as current and topical as a book can be, dealing with the possibility of a nuclear Iran and what it means to the world.
            The sequel, I Will Not Forget you, my current work in progress is very comparable to the movie Taken. Layla is again kidnapped, this time in the US by an Iranian Quds Force/Hezbollah team who are seeking revenge against Cyrus, the US and Israel. These terrorists have blown up a restaurant in Manhattan and are planning a major hit on US soil. I don’t want to reveal too much because this book has a lot of plot twists and turns, all of which are real possibilities. I do a lot of research for my books. My goal is always to ground them in reality and current events. I’m very excited about the ending of this baby. Layla’s rescue will ignite a crisis in Layla and Cyrus’s marriage. I’m going to pursue some of the psychological aspects of a relationship or marriage gone wrong. What happens when there is cheating, mistrust, jealousy, and betrayal. Can my heroine and hero get past their issues and hold onto love? I’m betting they can.
And I get to read the next twenty pages this week. I am very excited, as the first twenty are great.
 And finally, where can we find you?
Tema: You can find me wherever there is imagination and creativity. LOL
Amazon buy link: http://bookshow.me/TheOne
Twitter:  @BelleAmi5
Website:   http://belleami.us
Thank you for being here, Tema. Tema is giving away the first two books in the Only One series: The One and The One And More. Although One More Time is Not Enough is a stand-alone. It's always fun to have the series. Happy Reading. 

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  1. Congrats on your new contract. Did you want to try a new publishing house? Also, that recipe sounds yummy!! I'll try it with chicken breasts. Thx and best of luck.

    1. Thank you Beth! You'll love the chicken, it's so easy and satisfying. Yes, I want my books to be published right out of the box in print, and I want more marketing and promo, more support from my publisher. This business is all about baby steps and moving up the ladder. Thanks for checking in and commenting.

  2. Hi Tema, Congrats on your new book! I'm bookmarking this post for the recipe...sounds yummy!

  3. My comments echo Beth. Good luck with the new contract. I know what you mean about the support too. One more time is not enough sounds exciting. Good luck sweetie, take care x


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