Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Alyssa Cole Black History and Modern Royal Romance.

Posted by Susan B James on 11:46:00 AM with No comments
 This is a repost from earlier this year. Alyssa is one of my five favorite authors - the ones whose books I preorder.
Alyssa Cole's Reluctant Royals series begins with A Princess in Theory. I fell in instant love with the story. Her writing enchants me. I have her next entry in this series How to Catch a Queen on Pre-order. It comes out December 1, 2020.

From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .
Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.
Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.
The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?
Selected as one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018!

Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and sci-fi romance. Her Civil War-set espionage romance An Extraordinary Union was the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award’s Best Book of 2017 and the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, and A Princess in Theory was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018. She’s contributed to publications including Bustle, Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, RT Book Reviews, and Heroes and Heartbreakers, and her books have received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Library Journal, BuzzFeed, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, and various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can usually be found watching anime or wrangling her pets.
When I finished The Reluctant Royals I went on to read An Extraordinary Union, Book one in her Loyal League series.

As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .
Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.
Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.
Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other.
I finished An Extraordinary Union and loved it. And I plan to read the rest of the series. I like princess stories better than historical romance, but this woman's writing has me hooked.
and now . . .Alyssa just released an audiobook only and look who's narrating! 
I prefer words to audio, but I want this one
The A.I. Who Loved Me 

Friday, June 19, 2020

Happy Juneteenth. Interview with Beverly Jenkins.

Posted by Susan B James on 2:11:00 PM with No comments

In honor of Juneteenth. I am reposting this interview with Beverly Jenkins. 

"Love is love. We all love. And the industry should reflect everyone." Beverly Jenkins

The romance genre has come a long way since bestselling author Beverly Jenkins published her first novel, "Night Song," in 1994 — and it's fair to say that she is, at least in part, to thank for its advances
Beverly Jenkins calls herself a "kitchen table historian." She likens American history to a quilt with some pieces ripped out—the pieces belonging to minority history. Jenkins uses her books to weave the quilt back together by revealing patches of black history that are rarely taught in school. Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement are important pieces of African American history, but they aren't the only pieces. For example, her first three novels, Night Song, Vivid and Indigo, feature characters such as a schoolteacher, a cavalry officer, a female doctor and Underground Railroad heroes. They were all inspired by true history.Beverly Jenkins is one of my seven favorite romance authors. If you haven't yet read her, you are missing so much great romance. Beverly's historicals always enlighten me about little known historical personages and events. The knowledge serves as a wonderful background for her strong feisty heroines. Independent women for whom romance is the icing on the cake. They are already complete.
And then there's her seasoned romance series, The Blessings.
It's listed on Amazon under Contemporary Women's Fiction, Women's Domestic Life Fiction and Women's Romance Fiction. They haven't caught up to the term Seasoned Romance. Which is a shame since both my time travel romances are seasoned.

The Blessings series is Pure wonderful wish fulfilment as far as I'm concerned. I just finished book ten  - On the Corner of Hope and Main. (No spoilers. It isn't out yet. I won a copy on Goodreads.)
Book one of the series, Bring on the Blessings. And Yes, Because of Beverly I knew what Juneteenth was. Even though it never appeared in my history books.
If you don't know her work, you are missing so much good stuff. Right now I am reading Vivid - about the first female African American doctor in Michigan. I started it last night and I can't wait to get back to it.
Beverly Jenkins’ first romance, Night Song was published in 1994, Since then, she has been leading the charge for inclusive romance. She was featured in the documentary about the romance industry, Love Between the Covers (My sister Kelly and I rewatched this Saturday on Amazon Prime. Wonderful.) 
Her forty-plus books have made her a constant darling of reviewers, fans, and her peers alike, garnering accolades for her work from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, and NPR. And now she has a romance movie, Deadly Sexy which you can rent on Amazon. 

I messaged Beverly to see if she would be willing to be on my blog. She replied that she was on deadline but would be happy to allow me to post. After she posted that she'd sent off her book, I asked her my favorite question. The other answer came from an interview I read online.
ME: I love firsts. Can you share what it felt like to get "the Call" from your agent? From what I have been able to find online you got an agent before you got your publisher. 
BJ: My first agent was Vivian Stephens founder of RWA. Having her call me at my job to say she wanted to rep my book was an incredible experience. I will always be grateful to her.
What do you hope readers take away from your work?
Romance is such a broad genre that you can do so much with it.

BJ: I call it “edutainment”: entertainment and education. Romance is such a broad genre that you can do so much with it. I mean, basically we’re writing about people and their feelings and people having second chances and people taking chances. I think it’s one of the best genres out there. So, if you can put that history along with these great women that we write about, and show that female empowerment, and show women making decisions that changed not only their lives, but maybe their families’ lives — the history becomes a lot more palatable. There’s no test on Friday, so [the readers just] drink up the history. They just inhale it.

When you educate a woman, you educate a race. So these African American women and white women and women of Chinese extraction and Asian extraction, who are reading these books, are able to share [these stories] with their children and with their grandchildren. And it changes their lives, because kids can’t be what they can’t see. To see that history, it gives them a pride that maybe they didn’t have before, because they were more than just the people that laid the railroads, or they were more than just slaves, or they were more than whatever back room that history has relegated people of color. I call it inclusion. Give me a seat at the table and let me show you what I can do.
One of my other seven favorite authors, Alyssa Cole says Beverly Jenkins was her inspiration. She's mine too. Thank you for your books and for answering my question.

So, my loves, about my giveaway, Bring on the Blessings:
On Bernadine Brown's fifty-second birthday she received an unexpected gift—she caught her husband, Leo, cheating with his secretary. She was hurt—angry, too—but she didn't cry woe is me. Nope, she hired herself a top-notch lawyer and ended up with a cool $275 million. Having been raised in the church, she knew that when much is given much is expected, so she asked God to send her a purpose.
The purpose turned out to be a town: Henry Adams, Kansas, one of the last surviving townships founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. The failing town had put itself up for sale on the Internet, so Bernadine bought it.
Trent July is the mayor, and watching the town of his birth slide into debt and foreclosure is about the hardest thing he's ever done. When the buyer comes to town, he's impressed by her vision, strength, and the hope she wants to offer not only to the town and its few remaining residents, but to a handful of kids in desperate need of a second chance.
Not everyone in town wants to get on board though; they don't want change. But Bernadine and Trent, along with his first love, Lily Fontaine, are determined to preserve the town's legacy while ushering in a new era with ties to its unique past and its promising future.

Beverly's books are available at your local library in eBook, Audiobook, and paperback on Amazon, B&N, and Indie bookstores everywhere. Happy Reading.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Ten Things I Discovered When Researching 2006 #giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with No comments

When writing time travel, it’s important to know what existed when. My characters in Maybe This Time jump forward to 2006 hoping to mend a glitch in time. I choose 2006 because computer technology leapt forward in the five years between 2001 and 2006. 
When I researched December 2006, I found a few things I thought existed then hadn't happened yet, and a few did exist that surprised me.
Here are ten things I can’t imagine life without today that began their existance in 2006 and 2007.
1.   1.  LCD Flat Screen TV  Technically these were “around” before 2006. But that was the year they were made affordable for people to buy commercially, and now they’re everywhere.

2.  2.   Facebook While it was available to college students in 2004 Facebook opened its doors to everyone aged 13 and older with a valid e-mail address on September 26, 2006.

3.  3.  Twitter Twitter launched in July 2006. The world embraced the service which allowed only short bursts of information of 140 characters or less.  Twitter grew from 400,000 tweets posted per quarter in 2007 to 500 million tweets per day.

4.    4.YouTube YouTube was launched in 2005. Every day people watch some of the hundreds of millions of hours worth of content, generating billions of views. It’s physically impossible to watch every video uploaded to the site as it would take over 1,000 years. I have a YouTube channel for videos of some of my acting roles. Not all of them, because shows like American Horror Story do not allow you to post scenes.

5.    5. The iPhone It released in March 2007. I thought it was earlier. But in 2006 the most advanced phone was the Blackberry Pearl. Jen, my heroine can’t understand why anyone would name a phone after a piece of fruit. 
     Today iPhones and Androids together with Twitter and YouTube are changing our view of what is really happening in the world. 

6.   6.  The Selfie. Obviously we couldnt take selfies until someone invented the reversible camera. Selfies as a sport, didn’t become popular until the invention of the iPhone. This selfie, taken at the 2014 Oscars, momentarily broke Twitter. 

7.    7.   E-readers The first Amazon kindle was launched in 2007 priced at $400 and was immensely popular, selling out within five and a half hours and remaining out of stock for months.
8.     8.  Small independent publishers and Self Publishing The demand for content for new e-reader opened up new avenues for authors. Not only did a host of independent publishers spring up, I am grateful that Soul Mate Publishing was one of them. New options for self publishing proliferated. I haven’t tried this yet because I am too chicken, but I’ve discovered wonderful books by self-published Authors.
9.    Amazon Prime. I have had Amazon Prime since it started in 2005. For a flat fee of $79.00 I could have free two-day shipping. I added up what I had been paying in shipping for my bookaholic habits and decided it was worth it.  Amazon Prime wasn’t launched in the UK where my heroine lives until 2007.
10.  AirBnB. This alternative to traditional hotels for short term stays and vacation rentals started in 2007. I’ve used it several times and I love it. I now rent a room in my home through AirBnB.
Back in 2006 when Jen needed to find a short term apartment rental in Los Angeles I had her ask her waiter. (I always got my best apartment tips from waiters.)

Happy Ever  After? Not unless they change time
Popular London stage actress Jennifer Knight just turned forty-nine and she's fine with her life,  thank you very much. Or she was until her beloved niece accidentally time travels them both to 1988 bringing her face to face with her first husband.
Computer guru, Lance Davies is more comfortable with machines than people. He never knew how to handle his beloved, mercurial Jen. But now her future-self is here in front of him and he wants another chance.
Jen's traitorous body insists that home is in Lance's arms, but her heart has trust issues.

When Lance follows Jen into the future, time tangles. And, according to the computer they both died on September, 2001. Their only hope of a future is changing their past. But how?
Maybe This Time won the 2019 Raven Award for Best Contemporary Romance, The 2019 Reader's Favorite Gold Medal for Time Travel and was runner up for the RONE Best Audiobook General Award. 
I don't want to ask you to buy in these crazy times. I have Audible audiobook codes to give away. If you like to do Whispersync, the Kindle Copy is 3.99 or, I can give you a free PDF ARC. But the ARC won't allow you to Whispersync.
The paperback is 11.99 which is on the high end. I don't set the prices. 
If you want a free audiobook code or a PDF ARC please contact me through my Website. Or you can leave a comment with your email here.
I wish you a week of small joys in an unprecedented time. Stay Panic Free. Watch News only once a day. Laugh at least three times.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

A Few Good reads.

Posted by Susan B James on 8:01:00 AM with No comments
The events of thiis past week have left me heartbroken and terrified for all of us. I pray that each of us find a safe place where we can feel love without fear.
I don't want to sell you anything or push my books. I wish I could give you comfort.
I went online to Storyline https://www.storylineonline.net/library/   Here are a few reads to give you laughter and possible comfort.
This is a SAG-Aftra Site with well known actors reading some wonderful picture books. Today I listened to Chris O'Dowd reading Arnie the Donut and I loved it. It made me laugh and feel better about our crazy world. https://www.storylineonline.net/books/arnie-the-doughnut/


There are so many wonderful picture books here. I look forward to going through all of them.
I pray for you safety and your freedom from fear and anger.
And I wish you a week full of joys.