Writer Wednesday: Meet Nicole Leiren!

Hey hey, May – it’s Writer Wednesday! So glad you popped in for this brief-but-fun-AND-informative interview with an author – a perfect bite-sized chance to get to learn a bit more about them and their works.

This week I’m proud to present USA Today Best-selling Author Nicole Leiren, writer of contemporary romance and cozy mysteries! Nicole and I have known each other on social media for some time, so it’s a delight to get to share her with folks who may not already be familiar with her – and to welcome in readers who are!

But hey, enough from me… Nicole, take it away – we’re excited to learn about your new cozy mystery, Heroes and Hurricanes!

What inspires you to write?

For as long as I can remember, stories have been playing out inside my head (some people call that crazy, I prefer creative LOL) – sharing those stories with others and having them affect them emotionally brings me a great measure of joy. Giving people an escape from the day-to-day grind of their lives is a large part of what inspires me. And, to be honest, if I didn’t get those stories out of my head…it might explode. Seriously…LOL

Which type of romance do you love most, and why?

I love romantic suspense the most. Having some type of mystery or life-threatening dilemma our hero and heroine must deal with while falling in love – well, that just gives me happy sighs!

Name two things people don’t know about you:

At age 37, I turned total rebel and got my first tattoo (much to the dismay of my mother LOL) She continued to disapprove when I added my second tattoo a few years later. What can I say, I was a late-blooming rebel 🙂

I started publicly sharing my writing in the wonderful world of fanfiction. Through the encouragement of the readers there, I finally decided to pursue my dream of becoming published. Many of my fanfic readers followed me over and became readers of my non fanfic writing as well.

What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

I think it would be that you must decide what you consider a success and be willing to do what it takes (both creatively and from a business standpoint) to achieve that success. There are many ups and downs in the journey and knowing WHY you’re doing this is just as important as WHAT you are doing. Never forget the reasons why you write (see my previous answer lol) and go back to that when things get a little rocky.

A Bit About Heroes and Hurricanes:

From USA Today bestselling authors Nicole Leiren and Elizabeth Ashby comes a decades old mystery…

When Lilly Waters moved to her ancestral small-town home of Danger Cove, Washington, she hoped for a walk down memory lane and a chance to connect with the family she never knew. What she got instead was a bartending job at the Smugglers’ Tavern, a mysterious man promising information about her grandfather—who had been listed as MIA since the Vietnam War—and a dead body she practically tripped over!
When the police point to Lilly as their number one suspect, she decides to take fate into her own hands. She enlists the help of a trivia loving waitress and a hot local security guard who sincerely hopes Lilly is doing more than just passing through. As Lilly searches for clues to clear her name, she uncovers puzzles that reveal secrets about her family and hidden treasure. Each clue brings her closer to the fortune…and to the real killer who will stop at nothing to get the gold.

Pre-order Heroes and Hurricanes here (release date: May 23, 2017):

Barnes & Noble  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords  
And find Nicole’s Heroes of the Night romance series here:  https://www.amazon.com/Nicole-Leiren/e/B011MKQRMQ/

A Bit About Nicole:

Nicole is a USA Today Best Selling author. She has been an avid reader from a very young age. Starting with mysteries, her love for whodunits expanded to include romance and suspense. Nicole’s stories feature what she likes to call her real world heroes and heroines. She enjoys sharing the love, laughter, mystery, and occasionally a touch of the mayhem she forces her characters to endure—all for the reader’s pleasure!

A Midwest girl, born and raised, she lives in the Western Suburbs of Chicago with her hubby, her own personal hero for over 28 years now.

Email  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Website  |  Street Team  |  Pinterest

Thank you so much for being with us, Nicole! It was a pleasure to have you here. 🙂 

Writer Wednesday: Meet Irene Onorato!

It’s the first #WriterWednesday of 2017! WAHOO!

To celebrate, I’m bringing you clean military romance author Irene Onorato. Because nothing spices up a cold winter day (well, it’s cold here in Virginia, at least) like a love story, and getting to know the authors behind the romances is fun for everyone.

Thanks for joining us! I hope you enjoy learning about Irene and her work – and please do leave some love in the comments!

What inspired you to write your latest novel, A Soldier Finds His Way? Any real-life heroes you’d like to tell us about that might have been an inspiration to you?

A Soldier Finds His Way had been brewing in my head for several years before I wrote the first draft. I’ve always been drawn to military men, so it stood to reason my male leads would be in the service. My father had been in WWII and part of my inspiration was the stories he told me about his time overseas. Also, he and I were huge fans of the old TV show Combat! starring Vic Morrow, who played Sgt. Saunders. Go ahead and laugh, but I had a huge crush on him.

How would you categorize the sub-genre of romance you write?

My publisher listed A Soldier Finds His Way in several categories: contemporary, clean, inspirational, and Christian. But don’t let that give you the idea that there’s no action, conflict, or outright romantic moments. There’s plenty of that in Soldier. My target audience is women young and old who prefer their reading material to be profanity-free, and for romantic scenes to stray no further than passionate kissing and embracing. I stay within these boundaries for this audience.

Tell us about the craziest thing(s) you do in the name of “research” for your books:

The craziest? I don’t know if it counts as research, but sometimes, when I want to describe facial expressions or moods, I stand at the mirror making the face I envision on whatever character I’m writing about, and try to describe what I’m seeing. If I want to describe sorrow, I think sad thoughts (like how I felt when I had to put my dog to sleep, etc.), and write about how the pain goes beyond the heart, right down into the depths of my very soul. That kind of stuff.

What’s your favorite romance movie of all time, and why?

I have several favorites, and it would be hard to pick the one I like best. I’m a big fan of You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping, Notting Hill (I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her…Sigh…), and Dear Frankie. The last one on the list, Dear Frankie, wasn’t a very popular movie. Gerard Butler played the lead with his delicious Scottish accent. Need I say more?

What fellow romance author(s) do you recommend reading?

I’m particularly fond of Dana K. Ray, author of A Second Chance, Beatrice Fishback, author of Bethel Manor, and Linda Robinson, author of When Love Abounds.

Dana is an up-and-coming author with several more books lined up for publication. Bea is a diverse writer whose next published book will be a cozy mystery. Linda has several published novels on the market and has just added a compilation of short stories to her repertoire. Great authors, all.

So what’s next for you? Do you have another book in the making?

Yes. A Soldier Finds His Way is the first installment of the Veteran’s Heart series. More Than a Soldier and A Soldier’s Song will follow in June and December of 2017.

*Thank you so much for hosting me on this Writer Wednesday blog. It’s been an honor and a privilege.

[ML says: The privilege has been ours! Thank you so much for joining us!]

A Bit About A Soldier Finds His Way:

Sometimes getting lost is the best way home . . .

 After a painful youth spent in foster homes, Special Forces soldier Edward Giordano has all but given up on love. Returning to New York from a dangerous mission in Costa Rica with no one to welcome him home, he knows he must find a way through his bitterness and embrace faith, or he’s destined for misery and loneliness. But he never expects that saving someone else’s life might help him save his own…

Audra Lorenzo is a first-year school teacher with a bright future. All she’s missing is a man to share her happiness. Her father wants her to rekindle her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, but she can’t stop thinking about the handsome, kind, and courageous soldier who rescued her from a near-deadly car accident…

Edward too, has not stopped thinking of Audra. After making peace with God and with his difficult past, he’s ready to re-connect with her and reveal his feelings. Edward knows that opening his heart will mean risking pain, but he’s prepared for whatever comes—from a perilous deployment to Audra’s meddling father…

Find A Soldier Finds His Way here: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

TypewriterA Bit About Irene: 

Irene Onorato was born and raised in Bronx, New York. Her father, a first-generation American whose parents were born in Italy, was an Army veteran who had served with the 178th combat engineers during WWII. He told numerous stories of battles, hardships, tragedies and triumphs. The glimpses he gave into the hearts of many American warriors would later become the inspiration for much of Irene’s writings.

In 1972, a few months after graduating high school, Irene met James Onorato, a soldier who had just returned from Vietnam. After dating two weeks, they married, raised three children, and are still happily married today.

Irene and James, both radiation protection technicians, retired from the nuclear power industry in 2014 and now reside in Louisiana.

Want to connect further with Irene? Find her here:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Author’s web page | Author’s blog   

Writer Wednesday: Meet Marliss Melton

Marliss MeltonIt’s with great pleasure and pride I bring you Marliss Melton as our guest today on #WriterWednesday. Marliss is a fellow romance-writing Virginian (specializing in military romance), whom I was privileged to meet in person at the Charlottesville Festival of the Book in March – and she definitely impressed me with her explanations of how thoroughly she crafts her characters (Myers-Briggs and other personality guides play a large role!). She writes some seriously kick-ass heroes and heroines, y’all.

I hope you enjoy this chance to get to know Marliss and her work a little better – and feel free to show her some love in the comments!

What inspires you to write? 

Navy SEAL medal and dog tags.

Reading biographies and autobiographies written by U.S. Navy SEALs inspires me to write military romantic suspense.

Books like LONE SURVIVOR, SERVICE, AMERICAN SNIPER, and THE INTUITIVE WARRIOR have not only familiarized me with military tactics and jargon but they’ve given rise to my fictional heroes.

Back 2005, before LONE SURVIVOR was ever released, I had read a newspaper article about the sole surviving SEAL of an operation-gone-wrong, and that article alone inspired my fictional account of such a SEAL. NEXT TO DIE was published two years later, the same month and year as LONE SURVIVOR, by the same umbrella publisher! I was honored to present the real SEAL with a copy of my book, and Marcus Luttrell signed copy of his book for me!

Which type of romance do you love most and why?

Man in military uniformIt’s got to be obvious that I love military romance. There’s just something about a man in uniform—especially one who can run longer, swim deeper, and kill a bad guy a hundred different ways.

Having grown up in the military environment and married both an Army officer and a Navy man, I understand what it takes to commit to a man who risks his life for the sake of his country.

But I bet you didn’t know that I also write medieval historical romance. The precursors to Navy SEALs were the warriors of old, so I’m also quite content reading sweeping historical romances set in the Middle Ages.

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book.

Cover of Intuitive WarriorMy upcoming release, FRIENDLY FIRE, debuting May 13, 2016, was inspired by the autobiography THE INTUITIVE WARRIOR, by Michael Jaco.

I was astonished to discover that Navy SEALs have adopted a special skill used by American Indians called “remote viewing.” This skill involves tapping into one’s intuition in order to envision with accuracy the path on which one travels. SEALs, of course, want to develop this skill in order to avoid walking into an enemy ambush.

Michael Jaco has refined his intuitive abilities to such a degree that he can “see” miles ahead of his location, as well as sense an imminent terror attack in time to avoid or disrupt it. How cool is that? It’s no wonder he inspired my upcoming hero of FRIENDLY FIRE.

Cover of Friendly FireA Bit on FRIENDLY FIRE (coming May 13, 2016):

Boarding a cruise ship bound for Mexico, Jeremiah “Bullfrog” Winters is struck by a terrifying premonition. At the same time, he runs into the only woman he has ever loved and lost.

Emma Albright might still teach Romantic Lit, but life has taught her there’s no such thing as everlasting love. While she made a promise to enjoy her vacation, she has no intention of falling for the younger man who captivated her years earlier.

Persuading Emma to love again becomes Jeremiah’s newest mission. But when violence disrupts their magical vacation, wooing her takes a back seat to survival. Love may be the only weapon powerful enough to save them, if only Emma can bring herself to believe in it. 

Cover of Next to DieBuy Links for Marliss Melton’s Books:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Marliss+Melton+books
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Marliss+Melton?_requestid=178397
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/search?Query=Marliss+Melton
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=hard%20landing%20marliss%20melton&c=books&hl=en
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hard-landing-echo-platoon/id980911097?mt=11

A Bit on Marliss:

Pen in handMarliss Melton is the author of two very disparate genres—medieval historical romance and military romantic suspense. Yet she creates in both a common theme: Men of Valor, Women of Strength.

Daughter of a U.S. foreign officer, Marliss grew up in various countries overseas. Exposure to different languages led her to teach high school English, Spanish, and—her favorite subject—History of the English Language which she taught at the College of William and Mary, her alma mater.

Marrying into the military, Marliss Melton’s love of British history existed side-by-side with her appreciation for the selfless sacrifices of the military community. With many contacts in the military and Intelligence communities, she was well-equipped to write realistic romantic suspense featuring U.S. Navy SEALs and agency heroes.

Marliss resides in Williamsburg, Virginia with her husband and their youngest daughter. Be sure to “friend” her on Facebook! Visit www.marlissmelton.com for more information.

 Thank you so much for giving us some of your time today, Marliss! It was a pleasure.