Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Spotlight - Midwife to Destiny with Nana Prah

Today I have the lovely Nana Prah talking about her new release with the Decadent Publishing Ubuntu Line. The book is a medical romance called Midwife to Destiny. Over to Nana:

The birth of Midwife to Destiny

I’m so happy to take over Kathy’s blog today. She asked me to talk about the origins of Midwife to Destiny.

A couple of years ago my friend introduced me to the Afro Romance Writing Competition on Facebook where people would post a chapter of their work and have it critiqued. There were eliminations of participants after each chapter. One of the requirements was that the romance had to be set in Africa. I didn’t have such a book written at the time so I decided to be a reading participant.

It took me all of a week to realize that I could write just as well as those who had taken the time and courage to enter. So I set off writing. Instead of writing a chapter or two to enter, I wrote the whole novel within three weeks. Granted, it wasn’t phenomenal work on my part, but it wasn’t horrible either and it got better when the participants critiqued the work. It was like having eight beta readers for the first four chapters.

The competition was fierce and I won third place, made a few fantastic friends, and later on got a publishing deal from Decadent Publishing (a whole other story). 

The moral? Even when you don’t think you have a story, you do, so sit down, write, and then take the risk to share it. Who knows what will happen?

The Blurb
Ghanaian nurse Aurora ‘Ora’ Aikins never expected to find the love of her life while on vacation in South Africa. Engaged to another and believing that love has no place in her life, she returns to Ghana, and puts duty and honor first.

Three years later, Dr. Jason Lartey still can’t get Ora out of his mind or his heart. After learning she never married, he takes a risk and moves to Ghana hoping to rekindle what they started. His sudden appearance in Ora’s Emergency Department sends sparks flying all over again.

They’re in the same country, working in the same hospital, and together but distance creeps between them. Can they make their destined love one for the ages? 

Buy Links

About the Author:
Nana Prah was born in Ghana, West Africa, raised in the US and currently resides in Ghana where she loves her job as a writer and nurse educator. She has been writing since she can remember (in her journal) and has been an avid reader of romance novels since the eighth grade. She has finally been able to utilize the years and years of inadvertent research into writing her own romance novels where love always conquers all.

Contact Details:
Twitter: @NanaPrah

Enjoy the following excerpt for Midwife to Destiny:

Ora focused on putting one foot in front of the other as if she were a one-year-old learning how to walk. After turning the corner and seeing the back of his head, she froze. She would know that head anywhere. He’d grown his hair out a little, but his adorable, Will Smith ears gave him away. Initiating the process of pivoting and sprinting out of the ED unnoticed sprang to mind when he turned around and his gaze caught hers.

The air became charged with tension and neither of them moved. Her heart threatened to pop out of her chest with the force of each beat. The nurses stood between them, looking back and forth as if they watched a tennis match. They didn’t bother to hide their expressions of curiosity.

They’d never seen Ora behave in such a manner. Not cool as a cucumber super nurse. Like herself, they kept looking at the new doctor just because of his tall, broad-shouldered, gorgeous stature. The past three years had matured him, adding a few lines around his eyes and the new feature of a goatee with a moustache changed his countenance a little. But otherwise, the same man she’d met three years ago, at least in the physical sense, stood before her.

After an eternity, Ora snapped back to attention. “Akwaaba, Dr. Lartey. Welcome to the ward.” Madam Professional stuck out her hand for a handshake.

Her words seemed to drag him out of his own stupor. “Uh….”

She had rendered the man speechless. Ora’s gracious nature—that’s what she blamed it on, anyway—took pity on him and she touched his shoulder. The contact sent sensual awareness through her and she recoiled her hand.

“Hello, Aurora. Please forgive me. It’s just that I’m a little surprised to see you.”

“Not as much as I am,” she muttered, attempting to squash both the joy bubbling up inside of her at seeing him again and the overwhelming sadness of what she’d been missing for so long.

“Pardon me?” he asked.

“I didn’t expect to see you here. It’s a surprise to me, too.” She tried to smile, but it came out contorted, as if she’d been able to have a painful, rocky bowel movement after being constipated for seven days.

I’m  giving away a $20 Amazon gift card.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring in Your Step Blog Hop with Candelight Reads

I'm taking part in the Spring in Your Step Blog Hop with Candlelight Reads blog. We're talking about Spring and what we like to do in my favourite season of the year.

First of all, just for your interest, we're not going into Spring here in South Africa where I live. Instead we are approaching Autumn or Fall although it hasn't hit us yet. The days are still balmy and sticky but a few leaves have started falling. The trees haven't turned orange, brown and red yet.

When Spring comes in September, I'm desperate for some warmth. We really are spoilt here. Our Winter is only about five months long but for me (who hates the cold), it's a long time. We don't have heating in our homes so have to dress up warm even inside and it seems to drag on forever. How I love Spring. The flowers come out and brighten up our lives, banishing away the dry, brown deadness of everything. Spring has a certain smell. My daughter and I can always smell when it has arrived. We usually go outside into our yard and pick fresh flowers to put in a vase for the kitchen table. We also watch our Chinese mulberry tree. We know Spring has arrived when it starts getting bright green leaves. Spring is in full force when the leaves have filled up the branches and the mulberries start appearing. In Spring in 2012, there were so many mulberries that it filled up bowls and blanketed the ground with purple. Spring 2013, we started our first vegetable garden and with the plentiful rains, the courgettes flourished. Here's a pic of my daughter with one of our smaller courgettes (zucchinis):

For the blog hop, I'm going to give away a PDF copy of Wedding Gown Girl to a lucky commenter. Please put your email address in the comments section below so you can receive your prize. The reason I chose my debut novel is because some of the book is set during Spring. Kienna has a Spring personality - she's fresh, innocent and likes wearing pastel colours - the colours of Spring.

Here's a link to my book to see what it's about: Amazon

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why I Write Romance and Giveaway Continues

Today is the second day of the Love and Diamonds Anthology giveaway.

I'm going to share a fairly short blog post on why I decided to write romance.

About 13 years ago, I did a writing course on writing for children. That's what I thought I wanted to do. I enjoyed the course and the assignments but struggled to get my stories to shine. I then wrote my first novel - a story about a car that goes into a place called Motoland where he talks and drives himself. The story was inspired by my toddler's love for cars. In those days, I used to write my books down on paper while looking after my son and a baby. I then transcribed them when I had those brief moments of reprieve like when I had a babysitter or my baby and toddler were sleeping. Oh, do I remember those busy, busy days. And my third one hadn't even arrived yet.

Those three little stories have since been revamped and put onto Smashwords for free.

I gave up writing while we relocated to SA and life got busy again. Only about a year later, while shrivelling up with boredom running a very quiet little church bookshop, I decided to pick up my pen again. I wrote another kid's fantasy novel which makes me shudder when I read it now. It truly was very rough and I made all the mistakes like telling and not showing. I sent it out to publishers but received rejection letters. Understandably.

My husband suggested I try an adult novel. Not sure if it was me, I tried it anyway and thoroughly enjoyed how the words flowed. That book was such fun to write and it ended up being an inspy romance. Also, very rough and crude but a good story.

Then I discovered ROSA (Romance Writers of South Africa) by accident when I was searching for publishers on the web. Rubbing shoulders with other romance writers, I realised romance was my natural writing inclination. I've always enjoyed watching romance movies and reading romance. I'm addicted to happy endings, to light, happy books. Maybe because this world is so dark at times and tragedy and fear surround us in the news and sometimes touch people we know, I want to write about light, happy, funny things. Love is about the best there is. Love is what we all long for and need.

I suppose I'm probably the last person people expected to write romance when I was growing up. I was a nerd through and through. I didn't have boyfriends and was quite shy. Not that I didn't want any but it just didn't happen. I cringed when my parents watched anything romantic on TV. Being deeply involved in church and religion and sometimes misunderstanding what was taught, I shied away from anything mildly sexual.

Then I met my hubby. He wooed me very well. I resisted him in so many ways. I think many of my friends thought I would never take that plunge and marry him but I did and things changed.

So, that's my story.

Don't forget. The Love and Diamonds anthology from Astraea Press is still available on Amazon. It's a great compilation of romantic stories. You can buy it here: Amazon

I'm giving away a copy to one commenter on this blog post or yesterday's blog post.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Love and Diamonds

Image thanks to Boykung of www.freedigitalphotos.net
Diamonds are supposed to be a girl's best friend. I still haven't fathomed where that statement comes from but I suppose my ring has been a trusty companion the last 18 years of my life.

When I think of diamonds, I often think of the concept of "getting there." In my story for the anthology, Rosalee felt she was like a rough diamond straight out of the mine. She wasn't sparkling and perfectly geometrical with neat edges. She had a serious flaw - she chose the ring with her boyfriend but then changed her mind after he proposed to her. A diamond straight out of the ground is very different to one that has been cut and polished. I couldn't find a free image on the net to show you but it basically looks like a milky stone with bumpy and rough edges. Some even look yellow or black. A diamond has to go through a process to get to it's perfect form. Rosalee lost Sam, the man she loved because she rejected his proposal. She learned about being more careful about her actions. She discovered things about herself and also discovered that she still loved him.

I've had a bit of a "rocky" relationship with my engagement / wedding ring the last year. It's been giving me a rash. I even soaked it in hydrogen peroxide and vinegar and scrubbed it with a toothbrush to get rid of any germs, lastly boiling it in water for twenty minutes but I still can't wear it. I think it may be too tight for me. Sigh ... That means I've put on weight. I don't want to resize it though because in winter, everything becomes loose again. This ring has a special place in my heart. It's the ring I found and Kevin bought for me, the ring I gave back to him, and then the ring I gladly accepted in the end. It's been on a journey to Zambia and back. It's been with me through having three babies, being hi-jacked at gunpoint, crashing our car into a cow in the middle of the Botswana wilderness roads and coming back to South Africa where I've had other experiences. I can't wait to wear it again when the cooler weather comes.

Love and Diamonds Anthology is a book of stories. What's so great about it, is that you enter into the minds and souls of fifteen different writers whose lives are unique and colourful. Yet these writers have something in common - they want to write about love and life.

You can buy the Anthology here: Amazon

I'm having a giveaway for the next two days on this blog. The prize will be a Kindle copy of the anthology. All you have to do is leave a comment below. I'd love it if you shared and tweeted about the giveaway to all your friends, too.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ashley Stambaugh with Debut Novel, Collide

Today, I have Ashley Stambaugh who is spotlighting her debut urban fantasy novel, Collide. The book sounds fascinating!


Melina Rowe never thought her quiet, simple life could change to one full of fear and confusion just by accidentally bumping into someone. But after she collides with an elderly man named Walter, she starts to hear people’s thoughts and have unsettling visions.

Walter reveals himself as a guiding angel and explains to Melina that she’s a rare type of human who can absorb angel powers. But her special ability is more of a problem for her than a gift.
The powers are too strong for humans and will eventually kill Melina unless she can successfully use them to help a select individual who’s in need of guidance. Her chances are slim, though, seeing that the handful of other humans this has happened to before didn't survive.

Scared for her life, Melina desperately tries to help a young man named Lee, but his continual resistance and her struggle with the powers make it almost impossible. Her situation only grows worse when a trio of soul-snatching demons is sent by an unknown entity to take her soul and kill her.
As a determined Walter sets out to discover who sent the demons and why, Melina must defend herself from their relentless attacks all while trying to use powers she doesn’t fully understand to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. If she can’t figure out how to break through to Lee, the powers will ultimately destroy her. But if the powers don’t kill her first, the demons will.


Melina Rowe peered out of her bedroom window and wrinkled her nose. It was late October, so she knew it was cold outside, but it also appeared to be windy. These weather conditions weren’t her favorite, but she was determined to continue with her morning runs until snow prevented her from doing otherwise. She pulled her long brown hair up into a ponytail, slid a fleece headband on over her ears, and zipped up her coat before heading out her apartment door and down the stairwell to her bookstore below. The store didn’t open for another hour, so she had plenty of time. She took a quick look around and then turned to exit through the back.
Starting off in a slight jog, she followed her normal path toward the park, taking in the city in its early morning state as she went. Traffic was light, and there was only a handful of people out and about. The sky was a dull gray, and brown, dried up leaves swirled and danced around her, giving the city an even gloomier feeling. She hoped the blustery wind didn’t mean rain was on its way.
After only a few short blocks, the wrought iron gates that surrounded the park appeared alongside her. She picked up her pace and rounded a corner to her right, making her way toward the entrance, when she came upon an elderly man walking from the opposite direction. They met each other so suddenly that neither of them had a chance to move out of the way. Melina collided with the man, and it was in that moment that it happened.
As soon as their bodies made contact, she felt a powerful surge of energy pass through her and then a bright white light exploded between them, knocking them both away from each other. Melina, who had been knocked to the ground, pushed herself up to her feet, wondering what had just happened. The sensation that went through her body was like nothing she had ever felt before. It was very sharp and intense, like an electric shock, but at the same time it was soothing and warm. The feeling still lingered in her body as she finally looked over at the man.
After catching his balance, he looked over at her, and she noticed his expression of confusion and shock. His mouth opened as if to say something, but nothing came out. He stared at her for a moment and then finally he spoke to her.
“You,” he muttered.
“Excuse me?” she asked, returning his confused look.
“You’re one of them.”


What is the best thing for you about being a writer?
 Being able to bring life to the many different characters that develop in my head, and then to see others enjoy them just as much as I do.

What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?
Rejection.  Even after you make it out of the querying phase and into the publication stage, you still have to worry about your book being rejected by readers.  We authors work so hard on our books, so it can be painful when others don’t feel the same about it.

What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?
This is my first book, and while it does have some romance, the main story line makes it more of an Urban Fantasy.  Paranormal Romance is in my future, though.

What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year?
I’ve learned that I can’t force myself to write.  There have been times when I’ve sat down with my laptop and said to myself, “Okay, you need to get some writing done today,” and then nothing comes out.  If I just let the ideas happen and come to me naturally, then I’m much more productive.

Who is your favourite heroine from your books and why?
Since this is my first book, I’d have to say Melina.  But even when I start to publish more books, I think she’ll always hold a special place in my heart since she was my first heroine.

What type of hero do you like? Super alpha, wounded or somewhere in between? Or even something totally different? You could give an example from a movie or well-known book.
I like a humble hero.  One who knows that he’s the one to save the day, but does it because he knows he can and he should, not because he wants fame or glory.

Tell us about your journey in writing this book.
I completed the first version of this book back in the summer of 2009.  I started to send out query letters to various literary agents and publishers, but after receiving nothing but rejections, I knew I needed to rewrite it.  So I did.  And then I sent out more query letters, only to receive more rejections.  So I rewrote it a third time, and I guess the third time really is a charm.  A little over four years from when I sent out my first query letter, I finally received an offer of publication in the fall of 2013.  And as the saying goes, the rest is history!

Tell us three quirky or interesting things about yourself.
My birthday is the day after Christmas.
I play online computer games with my husband.
My favorite color is brown.

What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page e.g. music or a snack?
I have to have some type of background noise.  Music is preferable, but sometimes I turn the TV on really low.  It may sound strange, but my mind tends to wonder from one thing to the other if the room is completely silent.  Oh, and having some type of chocolate to snack on helps, too.

Mention something unique about your books and your writing style.
Something unique about Collide is that it’s a new spin on the normal angel and demon storyline.  The main character, Melina, isn’t an angel or a demon, nor is she a human who falls in love with an angel or a demon.  Melina is a unique human who can absorb angel powers.

What book would you like to work on next?
Collide is the first book in a planned trilogy, so I’m currently working on its sequel.

Thank you Ashley. I normally read romance but I'm really keen to get stuck into your novel. Of course, brown is a lovely colour - it's the colour of chocolate.

You can buy her book here: Astraea Press and Amazon

Monday, March 10, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

Thank you to Elsa Winckler for tagging me to take part in a writing process blog hop - a chance for authors to spread their wings far and wide for more people to discover them. You can find Elsa's writing process blog post here: Elsa's Website. She's a prolific Afrikaans romance writer who has recently had an English romance published by Escape Publishing called "Love, in Writing." It's a beautiful story and can be purchased here: Amazon. I'm amazed how someone can write novels in more than one language. I certainly couldn't do that.

So, today, I'm going to give some details of my writing process. I'm answering four simple questions:

1. What am I working on?
At the moment, I'm actually writing a book for my alter-ego. I write books under a pseudonym and I'm working on a new line that Decadent Publishing has brought out called Beyond Fairytales. You get assigned a Grimm's fairytale and must write a romance based on it. I was given The Frog King which is similar to the children's cartoon movie, The Princess and The Frog. I'm writing a contemporary fantasy romance which has now become one of my favourite genres to work on. The book is about a single aspiring writer who buys a bureau from an antique shop which magically brings one of her characters, a hot Theo, to life, as her husband. For someone who's enjoying her freedom as a single, a new husband dumped on her, no matter how cute, is a total nightmare. Joanie is set out on getting rid of kind, gentle Theo, but the magic and Theo have other plans.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It took me a while to work out my own style or voice as they call it. From reviews and comments on my books, I've realised that my stories and characters are mostly sweet, gentle and tender. I think it just comes out naturally and I don't intend to write like that but that is my natural voice. Even my books under my pseudonym, although spicier, are essentially sweet romances. As much as I would want to write about very strong-minded, tough and spunky characters, they usually don't end up like that.

3. Why do I write what I do?
My main aim is to make characters who are real to life. I generally don't like those that are super-rich, super-put-together or perfect. I like characters with flaws that my readers can relate to. Maybe because I'm just an ordinary, everyday person, I want my characters to be the same. I also tend to prefer to read books about everyday people, not about billionaires or rakes. I write romance because I'm a lover of romance. Since I fell in love with my husband, my heart has become like putty. I never used to cry in movies, now I cry so easily. And also because I gave my husband such a hard time before I accepted his proposal, I tend to enjoy making my characters find it very difficult to say yes.

4. How does your writing process work?
My first job is to come up with a book idea. I come up with the gist of the story in my head. I don't write it down in detail. Maybe I'm superstitious but as soon as I write an idea down in too much detail, it loses it's power for me. I never plot the whole book beforehand but just start writing with a general idea where the story is headed. I write a bit and then brainstorm the next step as I do other tasks like housework. When I sit down again to write, I have an idea what direction I'm going. Sometimes I stick to it, other times I don't. Basically, I'm a hybrid pantster but lean more towards pantster than plotter.

I've tagged two other authors who will blog about their writing process a week from now - the 17 March. Zee Monodee, author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and urban fantasy novels and Leigh Hann, contemporary romance writer.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Excerpt Day

I'm going to start a new thing - once a month, I will post an excerpt from one of my books. Today, I'm going to post from Dragonfly Moments, my Ubuntu Line book.

Ryan was standing a foot from her again. His woodsy, manly scent drifted into her senses.
“Do you always listen in on other people’s conversations?”
“Don’t settle for less.”
Her vision blurred for a moment. What did he mean by that? Was he referring to Mark? How dare he? It was her decision. How dare he come back out of the past and start assuming things about her.
“I don’t know what you mean, and you’re starting to upset me.”
“You know what I mean.”
“No, I don’t. Look, I think you’d better go.”
“Kicking a customer out.” He winked. He never used to wink like that—that much she remembered.
“Are you really intending to buy anything?”
“Paint me something from your heart. Truly from your heart, and I will buy it.”
What? Goosebumps ran up her arms. Paint something specially for Ryan? It was as if he’d touched a chord inside her that was only hers. She knew what painting from the heart implied. The proof was at home in her cupboards. But Ryan mustn’t know that.
“I don’t know what you mean,” she said again.
“Yes, you do. Let me know when you’ve done it.”
“I don’t even have your number.”
“Here’s my business card.”
He handed it to her, and she dropped it on her desk like a hot coal. So she wasn’t going to get rid of Ryan and all the memories so easily. Business was business. Having someone commission a painting was a first for her.
“Thanks.” She let out a shaky breath and looked down at the papers on her desk, desperate to find something to busy herself with. Too much intense emotion for one day. At least her evening with Mark would be calm and ordinary.
Ryan left, and she walked to the door, intending to lock it, but no, it was still working hours. The relief of him leaving was short-lived. Now she had to face up to the empty gallery and her crazy thoughts about Mark leaving. But, everything would happen for the future good. She had to look to the future, not be swayed by silly current emotions.
She padded to the painting with the red roof and studied it. It would have looked wrong with a brown roof. His attention to detail was commendable yet not good enough to have noticed how much she loved him all those years he visited them. And he hadn’t been clever enough to dump Annie and date her. All his fault.
A muffled groan escaped her lips. Just when she’d moved on with her life and forgotten about Ryan, there he was, back in it.
Too bad. He could stay in but at a distance—a comfortable distance. Given how she’d made it through art college working part time until late most nights, she could stop him from swaying her. He wasn’t going to get in the way of what she wanted and needed. He couldn’t offer her the guarantee of forever or have her need for a family met.
Running to her desk, she pulled out the baby magazine from inside a drawer and let her fingers slide over the glossy pictures of the soft little bundles of humanity displayed on the pages. She would make a good mother, that was one thing she knew. Anyone who wanted a child as much as she did would be the most devoted mother in the world.

Buy here: Decadent Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble