Blood Mark follows a woman who realizes that her nightmares our actually visions of real people being killed and her birthmarks are the only thing protecting her from the killer. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
The inspiration for the set up of Blood Mark comes from dreams, the ones that seem far too real. The ones where, when you wake up—sometimes in a sweat—you experience a brief moment in which you wonder if what just happened was a dream or reality. I’ve had vivid dreams all my life, including some pretty bad nightmares when I was young. The worst dreams are the ones wherein someone I love is killed, or hurt, or leaves me – those dreams devastate me.
Jane Walker is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
There’s always a danger of making a character too perfect, too rich, too beautiful—it makes them unrelatable, which doesn’t work well in books like mine that are set in contemporary times, where the character is living amongst us. In developing Jane Walker, I wanted someone with flaws. As such, Jane has personality traits that make her difficult to live with. She also makes poor choices at times, which we all do, and she has to live with the consequences. It was also important that I made her both strong and vulnerable. Wrapping Jane in the blood mark served both of those ends. And finally, I wanted her to know what it felt like to have nothing—no family, no money, no beauty—so she would appreciate the friends who came into her life, complete with their flaws.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I really wanted to explore the concept of what is beauty—a theme as old as time. I find it especially interesting in light of tattoos being so popular today; the designs people choose, and where they choose to display them are often topics of judgment. Instead of having a choice in the matter, I thought I’d explore what it might feel like to live with an unflattering birthmark that’s difficult to hide.
I also wanted to explore how beauty plays into assumptions of good vs evil. Our society often puts unearned labels on people because of their perceived attractiveness, wealth, or clothing. But these things are all facades, like the recessed ceiling in the bar Jane frequents, painted black to hide the pipes, wires, and ducting. Jane sees this as “Proof that even the sleekest facade had something ugly to hide.”
I’ve also explored the role of family in the story. Jane and Sadie didn’t have the benefit of a stable, loving home, but developed a keen sense of family, honour, and justice. Rick, who had the benefit of a loving, well-off family, turned out to have a warped sense of justice and to love himself more than anyone else.
And I’ve also played around with the concepts of strength and vulnerability, exploring both from the physical and psychological perspectives. I love that sometimes it’s the person who’s weakest physically, that’s the strongest psychologically. And if the game is psychological, well, sometimes the weakling wins!
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on a sequel to Blood Mark, possibly two. Though Blood Mark is a stand-alone book, it contains some intriguing storylines that are ripe for exploring. What became of Jane’s friend, Buddy? for example. And where is Maria’s Inca offering bowl? I’d hate to think what might happen if it got into the wrong hands. Does Jane’s roommate, Sadie stay the course she set for herself? How does the court case against Rick and Andrew turn out? I’m excited to see where these possibilities take me. I expect the first sequel to come out late next year.
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Articulate and full of spiritualism, Heart of a Warrior Angel by Lali A. Love is a journey not only in the world but within oneself. Our protagonist, Lilac, reflects on her life’s path as she reaches her twilight years. She recalls her journey through life as she crosses literal and metaphorical oceans to become the person she is in the moment. We learn her life story, her heartache, and her triumphs. We celebrate and grieve with her as this book lays bare the raw emotions that entangle themselves with the journey of life.
Heart of a Warrior Angel drips with dramatic tension, and excellent descriptions of the living situation Lilac regales us with is moving and heart rendering. It is a metaphysical thriller, with a touch of supernatural fantasy, following one woman’s journey through the hell on earth she was forced to live as she comes to terms with her ascension onto a spiritual plane deserving of her essence.
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If anyone tells you hunting ghosts is less dangerous than chasing down real-life criminals, they’re wrong. Very, very wrong.
Case two takes us to a New Jersey Shore Inn. A beautiful, yet dead opera singer seems to be begging for help, but her pleas do nothing but terrorize the locals.
While trying to decipher the clues to her 1919 disappearance, uncovering hair-raising horrors, it becomes clear that Jason and I no longer see eye-to-eye.
Jason wants me to stop meddling with the supernatural. He wants me to stop risking my life by interacting with demons and spirits.
What he doesn’t understand is this is my life. These tortured souls need my help in order to move on. How do I walk away from that—from them?
But the better question is—how do I walk away from him?
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On Loving follows Rose who must deal with a storm of emotional chaos involving family, secrets and another man. What was the source of inspiration for the journey that Rose goes on in this book?
As a family physician, I’ve had a true chance to work with different people, men or women, at different stages of their lives and this gave me a chance to get more familiar with humans’ emotional changes and the way they affect people’s lives. People that I’ve come to know and worked with always inspire me. An important lesson I’ve learned during all these years of practicing was that self-awareness and self-scrutiny are the hardest tasks to get through in life and people who have the chance to achieve them are, indeed, the luckiest people alive. Rose is an accomplished woman, modern and respected. A woman with a good career and education who has a wealthy family with all the possibilities in front of her, but she is still missing something, and she doesn’t feel complete. She needs to know her roots and she needs to go through her personal growth to become satisfied with herself. Falling in love and what comes next gives her this opportunity to know herself, her strengths, her weaknesses and how to overcome her fears and open her heart to embrace her life at every stage of it. She learns that being a woman is a privilege and something to be proud of.
Rose is an intriguing and thoroughly developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character?
“Rose”, a symbol of new beginnings, hope and resilience, was the name I chose for this main female character. The year is 1972 and the world is changing. She is a modern and educated woman with the respect for her fellow human beings. She is a strong-willed character, but weak and fragile at the same time during the challenges she faces while taking many steps of her love-driven life journey. As in real life, being a professional particularly being a physician, doesn’t protect her from the devastating and destroying effects of tragedies she endures in her turbulent life. She is a human being with all the flaws and faults, beauties and capabilities possible. She falls, she breaks into pieces, but she stands up again and moves on in her own ways. The title is chosen in a loving memory of the late, controversial Iranian poet, Forugh Farrokhzad, who was also a modern woman with her modern ideas much ahead of her time in a society that discriminated woman and criticized her for her ideas and the way she expressed her emotions. Just like Rose, she was a free spirit who explored her emotions and as a poet she brought them to life by writing beautiful poetry that showed the delicate soul of a young woman in a modest and pure manner. I intended Rose to represent such a woman, but in another type of setting, a surgeon with a good knowledge about literature who learns how to analyze her emotional journey and connect to her inner being to become a better person.
This novel is emotional and explores the meaning of love in new ways. What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?
“On Loving” is a love story, but more importantly it is a story about love itself: its psychology, its physiology and the research behind it. The concept of conditional versus unconditional love has been explored in depth in this story. Both main male characters were following their own agendas representing these two concepts from the beginning till the end. Valuing and getting to know your emotions (including love, anger, fear, jealousy, etc.) by working to achieve self-awareness was another main point I was intending to explore. Unfortunately, unknown or miscomprehended emotions can make us vulnerable in life and be the main source for depression and anxiety disorders. Rose, on the other hand, explored the real meaning of love (both of the above concepts), depression, bereavement and their inevitable consequences all through this story. Being a physician with the knowledge of these mental health issues never made her immune to these unfortunate consequences. In fact, she was missing the signs for years and this is what we see in real life of many people including health care professionals.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on a new story which is also about women’s related issues and the issues I work with as a physician. The title, “Greeting the Sun Again”, has also been chosen to honor Forugh Farrokhzad, the late Iranian poet, and it has been taken from the title of her popular and famous poem called, “I will Greet the Sun Again”. Just like “On Loving”, It is a love story twisted with literature, history and everyday life realities. I’m expecting it to be out by next year.
In 1972, Dr. Rose Hemmings has just finished her general surgery residency when a haunted stranger is shot in front of her in a New York City bar, and their lives become forever intertwined. And when, having been given the blessing of her adoptive father on his deathbed, Rose travels to prerevolutionary Iran to discover the past her American family kept secret from her, she finds a true Pandora’s box. It is a world both foreign and familiar, in which her primary place is as the heiress to a great tribe. In Iran, Rose will find family she never dreamed of, her own people, and a man who loves her as passionately as he does the rare black roses of his garden. She will return to the United States carrying a new secret and torn between two men: the one she loves helplessly, and the one who loves her unconditionally.
Woven throughout with Persian poetry ancient and modern, On Loving is the story of one woman’s lifetime of love and loss, of societal change in a nomadic people, and of overcoming personal challenges, including mental and physical health, to find true contentment. Above all, it is a story of love: its physiology, psychology and philosophy; the many forms it takes; its myths and truths; its challenges, its joys and its gifts.
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From an early age Rose Hemmings is asked to define love, a theme that is analyzed throughout the book and truly encompasses On Loving. While at the time she cannot compose a definite response, a single turning point in Rose’s life has her struggling to find the answer. She continues to question what love means as she narrates the story of her life.
On Loving begins with the tragedy of Rose’s beloved father, a man she attributes her love of literature, and who urges Rose to find the truth of her birth parents resulting in a spontaneous trip to Iran in search of answers. Just before leaving Rose’s world is once again shaken to the core as she comes face to face with a stranger who instantly steals her heart away. In a twist of fate, the two fly off to Iran resulting in a storm of emotional chaos involving family, secrets revealed and another man to drastically change Rose’s life forever.
For blatantly being a romance novel, On Loving rarely rears the exotic scenes of lust and passion. Instead, Lili Naghdi illustrates a love story shrouded in poetic anecdotes and literary quotes through the eyes of an A-typical surgeon inquiring every aspect of her ever-changing life. The story of Rose spans decades of heartache and misfortune, deep longing and joyous fulfillment.
However, I could never completely empathize with Rose. She shows all the signs of a well thought out main character, the author thoroughly explored the mind of Rose Hemming detailing all her faults and frustrations. I could tell Naghdi held Rose close to her heart while writing this book. The story is written in the first person, and like so, we are bound to watching Rose make decisions the reader might not completely agree with.
Overcoming these hiccups, I found steady glimpses of genuine understanding for several characters. Especially in the second half of the book, Naghdi beautiful vindicates the hurricane of emotions Rose has been building up throughout the story. Those moments of Rose carefully weighing her judgments, decisions, and feelings are true bliss. Moreover, the authors’ literary insight is phenomenal and while at times the call back to famous authors and poets is overdone, each example is carefully chosen perfectly matching the mood of the scene.
Any romantic or literary buff will wholeheartedly enjoy this book. Read the book and you will understand.
Pages: 483 | ASIN: B07NSJLJLZ
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Cuffed by You captures the romance, comedy, and drama of the last two books and takes it to a new level. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
It’s funny but one of my readers who has been with me from the start suggested that I use a meme that I posted as a scene in one of my books. That scene ending up being the attempted drowning scene in Addicted to You. To pay homage to my reader I named Kayla after her. Cuffed by You sort of took on a life of it’s own. I knew that I wanted Kayla to have her own book because who doesn’t love a good woman who was pushed to the brink receive her happily ever after? Who better than to be brought down by craziness than the series’ man-whore Marc. I thought that it was fitting that he would go from never wanting to person, to ending up with five. Really, the characters took on a life of there own and I was just along for the wonderful ride.
I enjoyed the depth of Kayla’s character. What was your process to bring her character to life?
I wouldn’t say that I had a process. Being a stay at home mother of three, it was easy to grasp what she would be like daily. All I had to do was add in what I would feel like if my husband ever did that to me and bam, she came to life. I think that a lot of women are able to relate to Kayla regardless of whether they’re married and have kids. What happened to her is a woman’s fear. Of course we want her to come out on top and with a much better man than ever before. The fact that Marc was so sweet and loyal to her children was just a huge plus and is what really stole her heart. It’s easy to guard your own heart, but when someone loves your kids as much as you do…well cupids arrow sticks.
I really enjoy the level of detail you give to each character. If Hollywood came knocking who would you cast as your main characters?
Hmmm, that’s a pretty tough question. I’m not really sure because I haven’t really based them off of any celebrities. I know that some authors use inspiration boards for their characters but I don’t. Let’s see, I love Alexander Skarsgard, I most certainly wouldn’t mind him playing either Marc or Rocco. Tom Hardy has to be in there somewhere because…Tom Hardy. Luke Evans would be great as Morris. I think Eddie Cibrian would make a great JJ because of his dimples. Tyler Hoechlin would make a great Damon and Declan. He has the body and broodiness of Damon but also the smile and sweetness of Declan. Huh, I guess that wasn’t very hard after all. Thanks for making me look up some hot celebs!
What is the next book in the in the SAPD series and when will it be available?
The next book in the series will be JJ and Sage’s story titled Protected by You. I’m hoping to have it out by May 5, 2019, but we’ll see. Every Indie author knows that a million and one things can go wrong when it comes to self-publishing, so wish me luck!
Kayla has had a pretty crappy year. Cheating husband? Check. Getting arrested for trying to drown him? Check. Getting handcuffed by the world’s hottest cop? Check. Raising four kids alone? Check. Cheating ex-husband being a complete nuisance? Check.
Obviously, it makes sense that she wants to stay as far away from the opposite sex as possible. The only thing she cares about is her family and work…well and maybe keeping her battery supply fully stocked. Of course, staying away from the opposite sex would be a lot easier if a certain Viking looking police officer didn’t seem to be everywhere that she is. It would also be a lot easier if he would just stop flirting with her. Doesn’t he understand that she’s a mess on the best of days? A mess with four kids! What man in his right mind wants a woman who’s crazy with a ton of kids?
Marc is the type of man who enjoys variety in life…if you know what I mean. But he hasn’t been able to get a certain crazy jilted woman out of his mind for the past year. Unfortunately for him, he likes a woman who’s a little crazy and Kayla has just the right amount. He knows that the last thing that she probably needs in her life is a man like him. But it’s like fate is even trying to help him. She is everywhere these days and he’s not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
He’s a man who always has a plan. His newest one? To get Kayla to be his. Pretty simple right? Sure, if you don’t factor in that she doesn’t want a man. And that she has four kids. And that her ex-husband is the biggest piece of trash that he’s ever met. And if you don’t include meddling family members. Sure, this will be a piece of cake. What could go wrong?
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Kayla is almost at her wits’ end. Her ex-husband is a loser of massive proportions, and it just so happens that she attempted to drown him. Ridding herself of his insanity has left her alone to work the business his family built together and raise her four small children alone. With a more than just supportive family of in-laws who actually favor her over their own son, Kayla is making her way in the world one day at a time. A chance meeting with the officer who cuffed her during that lapse of better judgment turned drowning incident leads Kayla down the path to a life she thought was no longer in the cards for her.
Nikki Mays has done it again. Cuffed by You is the third installment in her romance series, SAPD SWAT, and it actually may be my favorite of the three. Kayla and Marc, the book’s main focus, are lively and easily visualized characters. Kayla is every single mom striving to make a better life for her children and resigned to the fact that she won’t allow her heart to be broken again. She walks the straight and narrow, for the most part, and is a truly likable character.
Marc, like the other male figures in Mays’s series, is a wonder of nature. As Mays churns out one stunning adjective after another to describe his physique, readers are left wondering how this could still be considered a realistic fiction piece–he is almost too good to be true. Mays is a pro at making her male main characters into loving and caring men who still manage to exude a rough exterior–they are dreams come true. This is only one of the many aspects of Mays’s writing that make her books so exceptionally readable and easily favorited.
As with each of the other books in the series, Mays has included a hateful and spite-filled antagonist. Enter the ex-husband. Mays succeeds in making Kayla’s ex a virtual monster, and the loathing is almost palpable page after page. While the entire cast of characters, including his own mother and brothers gang up against him, the reader is swept into the same vortex of hatred and animosity. Mays makes it easy to despise him while simultaneously building a case for Marc to take his place.
Mays is queen of the banter. Her dialogue between characters dominates the pages and makes the book what it is–a masterpiece of romantic comedy. While she includes a good bit of the traditional romance elements in her writing, she is able to make her characters jump off the page as they bicker back and forth, hurl jovial insults, and generally function as one loving unit of friends-turned-family.
Mays’s writes for her books to be enjoyed and for her characters to be remembered well beyond the last page–she achieves that, no doubt.
Pages: 221 | ASIN: B07L6WLS6Y
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Misty Briscoe is ready to gracefully bow out of her successful career and bow in to an uncertain future. But her choices may result in a turning, twisting leap of faith.
Strength is one thing, courage another. Just ask Misty Briscoe. Her dignity has taken a beating the last couple of month’s She’d found herself at a crossroads of staying put in her career or returning home where her family needs her.
If only the choice wasn’t so complex.
Her workplace predicament with her married boss and her successful job in Chicago are anything but stress free. Yet, back home in southwestern Michigan, her beloved grandmother has recently passed, and now her grandfather has disappeared. Add to that, Misty’s best friend needs her support in the most unlikely of circumstances.
In the end, will she remain in the big city where she’s worked hard to attain a career or give it up and begin again at home where she has a sense of belonging?
From the spectrum of executive boardrooms to shadowy blue collar bars, secluded beaches, and dense woods, follow Misty on her challenging journey to find peace of mind, contentment, and a place among loved ones.
The saga takes a hard look at life from the classified agendas of friends, lovers, families, and enemies to the ultimatums behind closed doors. Come along for the ride through the avenues of indiscretion, loneliness, hope, secrets, courage, love, deceit, and integrity into LEATHER HORIZONS.
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