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Love in Full Color: Author Tracey Livesay and The Tycoon’s Socialite Bride

10 Feb

Today, I’m lending my spot to good friend and fellow interracial romance author Tracey Livesay. Her passion for this growing subgenre is delightful, and she’s got a real talent for storytelling. She’s also a law school survivor. You know how I support the mission to help people escape The Practice by any means necessary.

Please give Tracey a warm welcome, pick up a copy of The Tycoon’s Socialite Bride today!

Thank you, Alexa, for having me on the blog today! 🙂

I read my first romance novel at the age of eleven and I was instantly addicted. The stories of beautiful women and strong men who fell in love was like teenage girl catnip. I read lots of them and started to notice a common theme. Book after book contained some variation of the hero waxing poetic about the heroine’s fine, delicate features, her flowing mane the color of wheat, and her smooth peaches and cream complexion.

Where did that leave me? I wanted to be seen as beautiful. Where were the books where men were entranced by the cocoa color of my skin? Where they loved the tight coils in my hair and the fullness of my lips? Every once in a while, I’d luck up and find a romance novel with black people, like Jackie Weger’s A Strong and Tender Thread from Harlequin American Romance, but why weren’t there more? Why were romance publishers reluctant to feature love stories involving people of color?

In the 90s, the industry took steps to rectify the situation. Kensington published books featuring black characters under their Arabesque imprint. They sold the line to BET Books who eventually sold it to Harlequin. Harlequin took the line and started Kimani Romance, the only category series imprint with black and multicultural heroes and heroines.

During this time, my life progressed. I met and married my husband, who is white. We settled into life, bought a house and started a family. I left my job as a Public Defender to stay home with our children. And through it all, I kept reading romance novels.

As my children grew and entered school, the idea to try my hand at writing became viable. There was now a whole imprint dedicated to love stories between black women and men. Is that what I should write? And though there was an imprint for these stories, was that the only place I wanted to be? Were there any other choices or options?

And then it came to me. I wanted to write something different. I wouldn’t write stories to fit the expectations of others. I would write the stories that reflected my experiences, but would also speak to girls like me. Marriages of convenience, secret babies, friend to lovers; all the classic category romance tropes I grew up reading but with heroines who looked like me, and white heroes who found them beautiful.

Looking for stories recounting the difficulties of being in interracial relationships? You’ll have to find those elsewhere. In my books, the differing races of the protagonists are the least of their problems. And when a young black girl downloads my novel, excited to see someone who looks like her on the cover? She’ll know that she is beautiful, too and her love story, in whatever form or shape it takes, is worthy of being told.

I’m still at the beginning of my publishing journey, but so far, I haven’t met with any resistance to my stories or requests asking me to change the race of my characters. In the months leading up to my release, I’ve seen blog posts and calls for submission that mention wanting Interracial and Multicultural love stories, so maybe the industry is finally catching up to what’s happening in society. I hope so. I think we’ll all be richer for the experience.

The Tycoon's Socialite Bride

To avenge his mother’s mistreatment at the hands of her upper-crust employer, self-made real estate tycoon Marcus Pearson needs entree into their exclusive world. When D.C. socialite Pamela Harrington comes to him for help, Marcus realizes the golden admission ticket he’s been seeking has suddenly fallen into his lap.

Pamela will do anything to save her favorite cause, even agree to a marriage of convenience. The altruistic “it-girl” isn’t worried about the pretend passion with Marcus turning real; she’s sworn off powerful, driven men who use her for her family’s connections.

So she’ll deny the way her pulse races with one look from his crystalline blue eyes. And he’ll ignore the way his body throbs with each kiss from her full lips. Because there’s no way he’ll lose his blue-collar heart to the blue-blooded beauty.

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Tracey Livesay wrote her first romance novel at the age of eleven, called “The Healing Power of Love.” With a detour through college and law school–where she met her husband on the very first day–she’s finally achieved her dream of being a published author. She lives in Virginia with said husband and three kids. For info on her upcoming releases or to chat about TV, movies and/or purses you can check out her website (traceylivesay.com) or find her on Facebook (TraceyLivesayAuthor) and Twitter (@tlivesay).

Guest blogger Mari Carr

6 Nov

I would like to thank Passionate Reads for allowing me to stop by to do a bit of shouting about my newest Ellora’s Cave release, Bachelor’s Bait. The book comes out tomorrow and I’ve been holding a weeklong “Cocktale” party on my website (www.maricarr.com) to celebrate. There are drink recipes, excerpts, and a contest and it’s not too late to come join the fun!

 

Bachelor’s Bait is number three in my Cocktales series about a group of four friends who open a bookstore-slash-bar called Books and Brew together. Party Naked and Screwdriver, the first two books, are available now.

 

Bachelor’s Bait

Cocktales, Book Three

 

Sophia Kennedy is determined to chase her own success, rather than ride her father’s coattails. She’s devoted herself to Books and Brew, the business she owns with her three best friends. She doesn’t feel the need to explain herself to anyone, least of all the free-aid lawyer who’s determined to judge her as a society princess. She’d ignore him altogether…if it were up to her mind. But nooooo. Her body just has to have its say—and it’s using words like “gorgeous”, “hot” and “sexy”. Soon, annoyance turns to attraction, verbal sparring to physical satisfaction as the couple is drawn together by a common cause.

 

Marc Garrett has no time for a relationship. And he certainly doesn’t want a rich society fixture, though the damning evidence below his belt suggests otherwise. The more he comes to know his hardworking princess, the more he wants her, again and again. Marc’s falling hard, but after holding Sophie’s wealth against her, how will she react when she learns of his own rather prosperous roots?

 

Excerpt:

“Charlotte?” Sophie was annoyed to find the coat-check room unattended. She’d been an idiot to trust Charlotte to keep an eye on it. The woman was too flighty to take the task seriously. She was a regular at the bookstore and when Sophie had foolishly mentioned her problem finding volunteers to help work the event, Charlotte had stepped forward. Sophie had accepted the offer, ignoring the voice telling her Charlotte only wanted to help so she could ogle the cream of society’s crop in a glitzy setting.

Now she was staring at an unprotected room full of expensive shawls and jackets.

“Shit,” she muttered. “Can anyone say liability?” She stepped behind the check-in counter and into the room, intent on finding the extra flyers. Then she’d track down her “volunteer” and read her the riot act for leaving her post unattended.

Spotting the box in a corner, she crossed the small space and bent to retrieve it.

A wolf whistle sounded from the doorway.

Sophie rose quickly but the damage was done. Clearly she’d given someone an eyeful of her ass wrapped in its tight skirt.

Marc leaned against the doorframe, looking far too pleased with the view she’d offered.

“Wow. Sexist much?”

He gave her a seductive grin. She wished her body would stop responding to him so forcefully. Her stomach clenched, her pussy dampened and she was grateful for the box in her hands or Marc would see them trembling.

He was unapologetic. “When I see something beautiful, I feel the need to appreciate it.”

“And being the classy guy you are, you thought you’d whistle at me like a construction worker.”

“I thought you might prefer that response over the first idea that popped into my head.”

“Which was?”

“Stroking my hands over that gorgeous ass you just displayed for me.”

The battle between Sophie’s head and body flared. Her ass cheeks clenched, longing for that caress. Her less visceral side offered a reply. “Then you made the right call because I would have kneed you in the balls. Hard.”

He nodded. “That’s what I thought. Hence my whistle from all the way over here.”

His tone was light and friendly, making it impossible to take offense at his comments. The closet wasn’t that large but his assessment was correct. Several feet protected his balls from her knee.

Sophie subtly pressed her legs together and tried to force air into her lungs. Apparently the space between them wasn’t that safe after all. She flushed as her body heated at their proximity—and semi-privacy.

The observant man’s dark-blue eyes narrowed.

He must be hell on juries. He notices far too much.

He stepped into the room. She tried to hide her shock when he closed the closet door behind him. The darkness was cut by a mellow glow provided by the low-watt fixture hanging in the center of the ceiling, and instantly she was reminded of nights spent beside a dying fire in her family’s large living room. She was a sucker for a fireplace.

Marc’s deep voice cut through the silence. “Maybe I was wrong.”

Her eyes tried to adjust to the dim lighting as he continued to move closer. “About what?” Her throat tightened, making her words sound thick and far too loud in the small room.

Marc didn’t answer immediately. Instead, he took the box of flyers out of her hands, setting it on the floor. “You know I’m going to start coming by the bar, right? I feel the need to become a regular.”

“Why? You get some sick pleasure out of annoying me?”

He shook his head, his voice laced with humor. “No. That’s just a bonus.”

The answer was completely unsatisfactory, even though Sophie liked the idea of him stopping by. Despite her better judgment, she wanted to see him more too. “Then why?” she repeated.

“Because I’ll want to do this again.”

He leaned forward and kissed her.

 

Bachelor’s Bait is available for presale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Special Guest Blogger–Ruby Duvall!

10 Jul

Passionate Reads is delighted to welcome  today’s special guest blogger– author, RUBY DUVAL!

Remember…Read us! Like us! Make a comment! Tweet us and send us to your Facebook friends!

Real life can get weird (and gross and sad), and history is a treasure trove of supremely strange shenanigans. Having done my share (and then some) of research for my time-travel historical Stay With Me as well as my work-in-progress, I’ve come across some doozies.

An example: John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich was likely the one who started the trend of eating meat between two slices of bread–the eponymous sandwich! (This is debatable, but that’s not the weird part.) While his wife’s health suffered, he took on a mistress named Martha Ray with whom he fathered several children. She was a beautiful and very popular opera singer and he adored her, but she also had a crazy stalker named Ray Hackman. As she was leaving the Royal Opera House with a friend, Hackman shot her in the head and then tried to use a second pistol to off himself but failed.

Bet you’ll be thinking about that the next time you eat a sandwich! (Evil grin.)

Even natural disasters get weird in historical context. Do you remember the April 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull, that impossible-to-pronounce volcano in Iceland that shut down European airports with its ash clouds?

In the summer of 1783 a few years after poor Martha was killed, a volcanic fissure named Lakagígar in Iceland erupted, and the sulfur dioxide fallout spread over western Europe. It’s the deadliest volcanic eruption in historical times, resulting in the deaths of millions of Icelanders due to fallout and famine. The strange part is that many people outside of Iceland didn’t know what was up with that weird haze that suddenly showed up!

The fog was so thick that boats couldn’t navigate and the sun looked like a ball of glowing blood. Thousands of Europeans, typically those working outside, died from inhaling the sulfur dioxide gas because they didn’t know they shouldn’t! The event created one of the hottest summers on record and, as a result, one of the coldest, harshest winters, which killed even more people.

On that happy note! My WIP is tentatively titled Escape With Me and is set in the summer of 1783 in London (wink wink), so be sure to keep an eye out for its (hopefully soon) release in the upcoming months!

 

 

“An outstanding historical paranormal romance readers should not pass up.”
 – Joyfully Reviewed

More IS Better!

12 Jun

Passionate Reads is very pleased to welcome today’s guest, author CHERYL DRAGON …

Yes, in one way I’m talking about sex and even lovers! This year I’ve really gotten into writing ménage + and have three difference series going for it! Next year I am planning a little more BDSM with two person couples into my writing but oddly enough, I’m loving the ménage +! I won’t stop writing those.

A reader at the conference that I just attended told me she didn’t like ménage + because that must wear the woman out! I saw her point of view and explained the approach I take in my ménage + stories is that most of the men are bisexual (the odd straight guy might sneak in there at times). So all the men are not only sexually interested in the woman. They share each other too. The heroine can have all of the men’s attention if she wants and then sit back and watch the men screw each other for a while! Really, is four men too many?

The reader seemed to like that approach and hopefully she’ll give ménage another try. Even if she doesn’t, it made me think about more. It can be good or bad. A lot of it has to do with the approach.

We all feel like we should be doing more! For others, for ourselves, for charity etc…but if we’re always giving, we’ll end up like that heroine who does all the work. Exhausted instead of appreciated.

Like my solution for the ménages, more isn’t just about giving. It’s about creating the right group, connections, and circumstances to allow more to work for you. Support when you need it and chances to help when you can. I want to look at the positives of more.

Since I’ve been writing full time, I’ve had the chance to put more into my writing. Write more books. Add another publisher. I expanded to writing for Changeling. I’ve also been able to do more promotion.

Luckily, I was invited to participate in the Love Hangover contest. The best part is I’m not alone! Four Changeling authors who write ménage, m/m and bisexual erotic romances banded together to giveaway goodies and help promote each other’s new summer releases! Check out the link for chances to win free books, goodies, and find the promo code! http://romance-the-night.com/lovehangover/

I went to RT earlier this year and I just got back from the Reader and Authors Get Together (aka Lori Foster event) in Ohio. Lots of Changeling authors were there and supporting each other. Megan Slayer http://wendizwaduk.com/indexMegan.htm and I pimped the Love Hangover contest and each other’s books at a table that got a lot of traffic! Readers could tell we were having fun!

Too much of a good thing? Sure, we can always go overboard. Food, liquor, men…If I had four hot men like the heroines in my books…I’d never get any writing done! I can’t live without writing so I’d try to juggle all of that. Love to try! In real life it might be overwhelming. In the wonderful world of fiction, the heroine and hero(es) get that fantasy world…especially the happy ending! Exactly what we’re all looking for!

Which is why Love Hangover is such an appropriate name for the contest. Check out the four of us (Cheryl Dragon, Megan Slayer, Renee George, Ayla Ruse) and hopefully win something! http://romance-the-night.com/lovehangover/

 See how many men you can handle in your fantasies! For now, I stand by the title of more is better…

Guest Blogger, USA Today Bestselling Author, MARSHA CANHAM!

4 Jun

Hello Passionate Readers!

Joining us to today is USA Today Best-Selling Author, Marsha Canham! 

We are thrilled to have her here and here’s what she has to say about her writing career and about her latest releases…

PR (Shannon Emmel): Welcome to Passionate Reads, Marsha!  Thanks for taking the time to blog with us!

Marsha: Thank you so much for inviting me.  Although I think I sort of invited myself after exchanging Tweets with you one day. 🙂

Shannon (PR): We go back a while and one of the things I love about you, besides your books of course,  is your irreverence.  You have a lust for life that is amazing. You always seem to enjoy yourself and never take yourself too seriously….

Marsha: I tried taking myself seriously once, but it didn’t work out. I see you found a picture of the Norma Desmonds. These ladies are all Loopies…friends who were under contract with Dell more than fifteen years ago and joined an email loop.

We’ve stuck together through thick and thin and celebrated our victories, commiserated with our losses, and simultaneously kicked things while sharing frustrations. In case the faces are not familiar in vamp mode, that would be Julia London, Connie Brockway, moi, Sherri Erwin Browning, Jacquie D’Alessandro, and in the front, the queen herself, Virginia Henley. Missing from the vamp squad are Julie Ortolon and Jill Gregory, neither of whom attended the conference that year, and I’m sure that was the *only* reason they didn’t do the Norma with us.

Shannon (PR): LOL Of course …I’m sure  that’s the only reason 🙂

I’ve been a fan for years, but please, tell our readers a bit about YOU…

Marsha: Hmmm. Where to start for a *bit*? Continue reading

Cowboys+City Girls=Sexy Summer Reads! Guest blogger, Cristal Ryder!

29 May

Passionate Reads welcomes guest blogger, Cristal Ryder!

*****

A cowboy, city girl, mountains, horses and a little bit of danger to stir it all up. That’s what you’ll find in my newest release. A few years ago when my now 21 year old was in a marching band, we went to Banff. I was one of a bunch of parents that came along with the 60 odd kids. I wasn’t an official chaperone but one of the many groupie parents, which was perfect because it allowed me a little more freedom.The trip was in July, right at Calgary Stampede time. I had never been west before and was captivated. The band marched in the opening parade, and on the Stampede grounds, we saw all the rodeo activities and the kids bought their mandatory cowboy hats. Most of which didn’t leave their heads and they wore them all the way back to Toronto.

It was an overdose of cowboy, let me tell you and I was so hoping Continue reading

Happy Memorial Day!

28 May

Just a quick reminder of TWO things…

  • Tomorrow, we have a fantastic Guest Blogger here at Passionate Reads! Don’t miss Cristal Ryder with a sneak peak of her latest release, “Elemental Heat.”
  • Today is Memorial Day.

Between BBQ’s, beaches and just hanging out, please take a moment to remember and honor ALL of those who have served  our country and especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. They are the reason we enjoy the freedom we take for granted all too often.

 

REMEMBER our service men and women worldwide– past, present and future.

These brave men and women ARE the reason for the Memorial Holiday.

We at Passioante Reads…salute YOU.

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