Hi, Jessica! Thanks for stopping by the campfire today. I love your hat😍 What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine? The camp fridge is like the Starship Enterprise, you speak it, you get it.
Cocoa. Not today though – it’s way too hot!
Have you ever had a frozen hot chocolate? I've posted a recipe below. But here's some ice water. Have to stay hydrated in this weather. Tell us, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
I’ve never camped but my husband and I are talking about doing it later this summer, perhaps even before this post goes live. We love the outdoors—hiking, swimming, cookouts, and seeing as how this is a rather unusual summer, we were thinking it might be the perfect time to try it. We think we’ve scouted out the perfect place for it, too, in the Poconos.
The Pocono's are one of our go-to places for weekend trips. We usually stay in the KOAs. You should also check out Camp Taylor right on the border but the Jersey side in Columbia. It's a little more rustic but again one of our favorites. Tell us about your latest project. What book are you talking about today and what’s on the horizon?
I’ve just released the 4th story in the Rabourn Theater Series, An Intoxicating Interlude. In this series two rival families battles for control of the world they love and 5 unlikely couples come together and discover a different sort of passion. An Intoxicating Interlude is a second-chance romance with a twist—Dani and Ryder were never a couple and in fact, Ryder wants revenge on Dani for sending him to prison. He’s hatched the perfect plan only, being married to the woman he’s wanted since the day he first set foot in Rabourn Theater isn’t as simple as he wanted to believe. Dani is a temptress, warm and sensual and capable of turning his world on its head. As a series of dangerous accidents befall the people of Rabourn Theater, Ryder prays the end won’t come sooner than he’s prepared for.
I’m currently writing the final story in the series, An Enchanting Song. Ryder’s diabolical brother Sebastian is back in Briarcliff Manor and he wants what he has since the beginning, Rabourn Theater. But a beautiful, mysterious woman may put a serious kink in his plans…
Wow! It sounds like a great story. I've read your Passionate Play from this series and was enthralled by it. I'll have to add the rest to my TBR (to be read) list. Do you have a tagline? Life Motto?
Be who you are. Do what you love. Find the person who completes you and never let them go.
Yep, you nailed it. Let's talk about writing. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
I generally write 1 book a year but I often outline them years in advance, since I like to write series. I need to have a strong sense of where the series is going before I begin writing the first book, so that I don’t lock myself out of any potential great ideas later on. That said, I created the initial outline for An Intoxicating Interlude a couple of years ago and polished it up earlier this year.
I never knew how difficult series are until I started writing one. Good for you planning ahead. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to?
I’m proud to be a member of New Jersey Romance Writers for over a decade, and I’ve met some of the most amazing authors in this group, (some who are still members, some who are not) who write the greatest stories! Roni Denholtz, Emma Kaye, Jennifer Wilck, Deborah Garland, Nancy Herkness, Tina Gabrielle, Maria K. Alexander, Jenna Victoria and most recently, you (D.V. Stone), just to name a few!
Thank you, Jessica. I'm humbled to be added to such an illustrious group. Different people have different ideas about my next question. What does literary success look like to you?
Success, in any profession, is doing what you love and sticking with it even when the chips are down. Every profession has its difficult days, yes, even the ones we love. A writer who chooses to write, and does it regularly, is infinitely further ahead of the game than one who says they want to write and never does. I consider just being in this game, and staying in it, to be a degree of literary success.
Do you have any tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others. I’m also interested in how you have been managing your life and writing with COVID-19.
Before the pandemic, I gave a talk on Editing and Pacing at the Easton Book Festival, sharing interesting and useful tips I’ve picked up on these topics over the years. You can see the video with all of the slides I used on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPOmR5rfkPw&t=255s
As for my life and writing afterward, for me, being home more has actually been a good thing. I’m a writer who can write in the midst of minor distraction and when you cut out the commuting time each day, I’m good at taking that extra hour and turning it into writing time. I don’t watch the news, so I’m only distracted by negativity when someone tells me what is going on, which is not exactly the same and those closest to me know I’d rather talk about something else. Do I want to get back to the old normal, you betcha, like, yesterday. But I play the cards I’m dealt and do what I can to turn lemons into lemonade. A little more time to myself is never a bad problem to have, IMO.
Thank you for sharing the link. I know I'll be able to glean great information from it. And yep, I agree. Life isn't fair or easy. You do the best you can and roll with it. Now the fun questions...
What's your favorite candy, cookie, pasta?
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Double Chocolate Chip, Any kind as long as it’s covered in delicious sauce!
What’s your favorite ‘90s jam?
Too many to pick from – Wilson Phillips Hold On For One More Day, The Cranberries Dreams, Go West King of Wishful Thinking, Selena Dreaming of You…
If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would play you?
I’d call the movie Somerset (where I grew up.) Anne Hathway would play me. Several people have told me I look like her. I’m eagerly awaiting the day that someone walks up to her and tells her she looks like Romance Novelist Jessica Lauryn!
Do you have a special object like a piece of jewelry or keepsake of some sort? Can you tell us what makes it special to you?
On my wedding day I was given a beautiful bell, which belonged to my grandmother who passed away a few years before, and which she’d intended to give to her first grandchild who got married. Right before she died, she told me she would always give me something. She’s given me so many things that I will treasure forever. This one was extra-special.
What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Beauty & the Beast. Perhaps that has something to do with why I’m obsessed with tortured heroes and reforming former villains?
Jessica, you're a riot! Thank you for being such a fun and interesting guest. Please leave us some more information about where to find you as well as more about your books.
An Intoxicating Interlude Blurb:
Will the monster who almost ruined Dani’s life make all her dreams come true?
Former exotic dancer Dani Talbert is determined to leave Briarcliff Manor and raise her son in a place where he won’t be branded by her mistakes. She’s dreamed of being a star on Rabourn Theater’s stage all her life and it’s time she put the dreams that have cost her everything behind her. But when Ryder Nathanson, the conniving man who once blackmailed her, comes back to town and arranges for Dani to have the lead role in her favorite play, her plans of starting a new life are brought to a halt. Ryder may be a monster, but he intrigues her a lot more than she realized.
An Intoxicating Interlude Excerpt:
Ryder shut the door. He sat beside her, on her bed. Drawing a breath, as though he was the one who was anxious, he asked, “What do you want to talk about?”
“Oh”—Dani thought quickly—“well I told you a lot about myself earlier, about my life growing up. But you didn’t tell me anything about yours.”
Ryder’s eyes darkened. He walked to the window and stood there a long moment before saying, “There isn’t exactly a lot to tell. My past is legendary at Rabourn Theater.”
“Well, yes and no. All of us who participated in the secret society believed Augustus Nathanson was a good man. I know he was your father, but I don’t really know anything else.”
“What more could there be to say?”
Dani studied his expression. Ryder was there with her, but it was like he wasn’t there, as though he was someplace else. It was as though his mind was in another time—when exactly had she become so curious? Yes, Ryder had gotten her to open up to him, something she still couldn’t believe she’d done, but the fact that he was unwilling to talk about himself made her wonder. Was it possible their pasts had been similar? Had Ryder been betrayed by the people he’d loved the most, like she had?
She rambled, “Something, I’d imagine. Everyone has a story, I mean, it isn’t as though you were born on another planet.”
Ryder glared at her. Dani met his stare.
He lifted an eyebrow. “You seem awfully curious about me all of a sudden.”
“You are my husband.” She shrugged. “Why wouldn’t I want to know more about you?”
“I don’t doubt you do.” Ryder crossed his arms. “Though I can’t imagine how I spent my adolescence is very high on the list.”
Unsure of how to respond to that, Dani stammered, “When I said let’s talk, I did mean talk. I wasn’t trying to…that isn’t why I…”
“You know, it’s amazing to me how a woman who used to take her clothes off in a room full of drunken men could be so guarded. Unless it’s an act. I have always believed your acting skills were uncanny.”
“How dare you! I told you that—”
“You were forced into exotic dancing because you had an unfair shake in life? Maybe that’s how it started, but you were at home on the stage. There were other ways you could have supported yourself, even under the worst of circumstances. You chose dancing because it’s in your blood, because it’s running through your veins, pumping through your heart with every beat.”
“So, I enjoy dancing,” Dani said, unable to believe how flawlessly he’d been able to turn the focus back onto her, or what a wild shift in topic had come of it. “It isn’t as though that was ever a secret. I have a skill and I used it to support myself. I did what I had to, to survive.”
Ryder sat beside her. Looking into her eyes, asked, “Were you doing what you had to do earlier tonight, when you were kissing me?”
Dani’s heart came into her mouth. She backed up, attempting to hide her burning face. “I see what you’re trying to do. It’s the same thing you were doing earlier. You want me to let my guard down.”
“What if I do?” Her husband inched closer. “You asked me not to leave, which I can only assume you did because you want me to stay.”
Dani wanted to move away. She needed to move away, but her body refused to do anything besides remain in place, tingles rushing through her, her body shuddering as though she’d been caught against an electric socket.
“You don’t really want to talk.” Ryder grazed her cheek. “Do you Dani?”
Dani’s throat was so dry she couldn’t speak. She inclined her head, intending to move it up and down. It seemed to be locked in place.
“You have so much passion inside of you. I saw it when you were on the stage. You’re dying to let it out, but you bottle it up inside because you’re afraid.”
“I’m not afraid,” she insisted.
Ryder smiled. “Prove it.”
Ryder Nathanson wants revenge on everyone who has wronged him, and the woman responsible for sending him to prison is at the top of his list. He’s hatched the perfect plan only, being married to Dani Talbert, the woman he’s wanted since the day he first set foot in Rabourn Theater, isn’t as simple as he wanted to believe. Dani is a temptress, warm and sensual and capable of turning his world on its head. As a series of dangerous accidents befall the people of Rabourn Theater, Ryder prays the end won’t come sooner than he’s prepared for.
An Intoxicating Interlude Buy Links:
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CJH42ZW
I was born and raised in New Jersey, where I live to this day. There are a lot of people living in the area where I reside and I love being part of a very active community – coming back from a vacation, NJ always feels like home. I’m a big antique collector and I love hitting up the local (and sometimes not so local!) antique stores in search of pretty, Victorian treasures. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs, where I’ve met a number of interesting people, several of whom have found their way into my stories. I am obsessed with 80’s music but I try to stick with classical while I’m reading and writing. I find it less distracting, and also, greatly inspiring!
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