RM: Thank you. It's always a pleasure to be a guest on your blog, Nichelle.
NG: And it's always a pleasure to have you, Rie! What draws you to romance novels?
RM: I think it goes all the way back to fairy tales. There was something so magical about Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella getting their Prince Charming. I grew up wanting a fairy tale romance!
NG: Fairy tales started it all for me too. How has your writing process changed since your first book was published?
RM: I've gotten much better at the technical stuff that goes into writing a book. Telling a story is one thing, but writing for publication is quite another.
NG: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy the most...for example the inception of a storyline, world building, crafting the arc of the story or finally writing 'The End'?
RM: I would have to say it's the world building/character development that I love. Creating places I'd love to visit and people I'd love to know is very satisfying. I'm not artistic or musical, so being able to write stories that other people want to buy and read fulfills the artistic side.
NG: What can readers always count on when reading one of your books?
RM: That the story line and characters are going to be real and feasible. A lot of characters and stories are so unbelievable that you know they will never happen, which is fine for some genres, but in romance I think readers want tangible fantasy.
NG: What are you working on for the 2011?
RM: I have a 3-part series called My Soul To Keep about brothers Calen, Caleb & Arion MacLeod. Each book is titled by the brothers' names and Calen comes out in May. This is the ultimate fairy tale complete with pink castles, a demon named Damon, time travel and of course lots of romance and love.
NG: Yummy! Let's talk about your new release One Good Man. In five sentences or less, share what One Good Man is about.
RM: Allison is a BBW who has given up on love after her boyfriend leaves her for her best friend. She accepts a job in Biloxi, MS working on a floating casino. The bosses oldest son, Stephen is the requisite hunk and babe magnet. So when he starts hitting on Allison, she couldn't be more put off if she tried.
NG: What inspired you to pen this sexy tale?
RM: I wrote this right after Katrina blew into town. I used to live in Biloxi and just loved it there and after seeing the devastation to the area, I was in tears. One Good Man came from that.
NG: Wow! Did you face any creative challenges in the process of writing this book?
RM: No. When I started writing this one the words just flowed and it was written in about a week. The editing and polishing took much longer, and then finding a publisher took even longer but I'm very pleased with eXcessica Publishing.
NG: Describe the heroine and hero in three words.
RM: Stephen-hot, sexy, hot
Allison-responsible, steady, reasonable
NG: Give me three reasons readers will love One Good Man.
RM: The characters are believable.
The plot is exciting.
The romance is abundant.
NG: Rie, I wish you the best with this release and all future endeavors! Thanks for stopping back by Simply Sexy Stories!
RM: Thank you so much for having me and featuring One Good Man on your blog. This excerpt is Allison and Stephen's first meeting after Allison has moved to Biloxi and is meeting her boss, Jason for dinner.
Blurb:Allison Hamstead thought it was love, finally, after all the years alone, someone loved her in spite of the fact she was fat! Not that her size had ever kept her from being successful, but it had kept her far from personal relationships. She’d heard all of the fat jokes ever told, all of the things people in her office said behind her back, and she didn’t miss not having a boyfriend, or dates every weekend. Did she? But now she was in love and she couldn’t wait to introduce him to her best friend, Sarah. And what a mistake that had turned out to be! It wasn’t long before the love of her life and her best friend were living together and Allison was humiliated.
Starting over is never easy, but Allison is determined to do so and moves far from Chicago to the warm waters of Biloxi, Mississippi where she accepts a position at one of the floating casinos. For the first time in her life, Allison feels like she’s truly at home. She loves her job, she loves her boss, who is like a father to her, and she loves being a part of all the excitement going on around her. Except for one little thing…
Her boss’s eldest son, Stephen, is probably the most handsome, gorgeous, and sexy man she’s ever laid eyes on…and he knows it! And for some reason he acts interested in her. Then her mother comes to visit and winds up dating her boss. Her accounts start showing large amounts of money missing. And her ex shows up unannounced and says he wants her back. Can anything else possibly go wrong?
Caution! Sizzling Excerpt Below:A stickler for punctuality, Jason could not abide tardiness. It was one of the reasons he’d invited Allison to dinner. He wanted to see what thirty minutes meant to her. To some people it could mean anytime from fifteen minutes to forty-five minutes, to others it would mean thirty minutes to an hour. To Jason, it meant thirty minutes exactly, and while he’d not care if she were five minutes early, arriving five minutes late would not go in her favor.
When he looked up again, he saw Tracey coming toward him with a young woman beside her. Glancing at his watch, he noticed the time was six twenty-nine. Smiling, he stood as she reached the table and extended his hand.
“Yes, but please call me Allison, or Al. Either way is fine with me," she said with a friendly smile. Taking his proffered hand, she gripped it tightly. He liked that, too.
“Please, have a seat." He thanked Tracey as he took his seat.
“You have a lovely place, Mr. Collins." Allison complimented the casino just to break the ice, and to make herself feel more comfortable as she slid into the booth. Her large body fit snuggly between the table and the seat back.
“Thank you. I’m glad you could come at such short notice.”
“I didn’t have much on my social schedule." She replied, laughing lightly, hoping she didn’t sound as nervous as she felt.
He liked a sense of humor too. “Shall we order from the menu, or would you prefer the buffet?"
“I’d like to see a menu. The buffet looks tempting, but I think it would be too distracting if I were jumping up and down to fill my plate. Besides, with a meal from the menu, I’ll be limited to the amount I can eat, and you won’t see what a chow-hound I can be." As always, she tried to make light of her size, and somehow, being the one to bring it up, seemed to ease the tension she felt.
He smiled. “I see we both have the same problem then." He waved at one of the waitresses, who hurried over with two menus.
“Everything looks so good. What do you recommend, Mr. Collins?”
“Well, first I would recommend that you start calling me Jason," he said and looked at her over the top of the menu. “And if you like Italian, the pasta here is excellent.”
“Wonderful. I’ll have the ravioli," Allison told the waitress and laid her menu aside.
“I’ll have the same, and bring me another whiskey sour." Jason drained his glass. “Allison, what do you drink?”
“A red appletini is fine for me, thank you.”
“Tell me about yourself," Jason said when the waitress walked away.
She frowned slightly, then smiled just as quickly, and said, “I hate that question. It always puts me on the spot and I don’t know what to say.”
“That’s the point of the question.”
"I don’t have a long resume, Mr. Collins, but I’m good at what I do. My mother worked two jobs to support us, and I was the one who took care of the bills and managed her income so we had what we needed, with some left over for the things we wanted. She managed to put me through college and I went to work for Markham Brothers in L.A. before being transferred to Chicago.
"I’ve lived in Chicago for the past two years, working for Markham Brothers in the 'windy city,'" she smiled.
“And now you want to work in a casino?”
“Not really. I wanted to live by the ocean again, and I wanted to be some place with warmer winters. I also wanted my salary to equal the cost of living. It didn’t in either California or Chicago. But working in a casino will give me the type of experience I would never get at Markham’s. The faster pace will add an element of excitement, and I tend to work better when there’s a little pressure.”
Jason liked honesty too, and this woman was very honest.
“I have to tell you Allison, it can get very hectic around here, especially during peak season. It’s busy year round of course, but during the vacation season, it can be a mad house. My wife, Shelly works here as well, and you’ll get to know her. She’s home with the kids right now, but she’ll be here on Monday, and I’ll introduce you. Do you have children?”
“No," she said shaking her head. “I’ve never married.”
“We don’t allow dating between employees here, Allison, or between the employees and guests. We don’t allow our guests to harass the employees either, so if anyone gets too fresh, don’t hesitate to tell someone and we’ll take care of it. You will have your own office on the second floor, but as part of the management team, you will be expected to spend time on the casino floor as well. The Captain is big on managers being seen and setting an example by doing, and not just by telling others what to do.”
“I almost forgot to thank you for my room. I didn’t expect you to provide one for me.”
“You’re welcome. We thought that since you were here for a thirty-day probationary period, there was no reason for you to have to worry about finding a place to live. If it works out for everyone involved, you can find a place when the thirty days is up.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it.”
Jason looked up as a man approached the table.
“I thought you had gone home."
“I was just on my way out, so I thought I’d stop by and meet your new assistant.”
“Stephen Collins, I would like to introduce Allison Hamstead. Allison, this is the First Mate and my brother, Stephen.”
“Nice to meet you, Big Al," Stephen said with a grin, shaking her hand. Forcing Jason to move over, he sat in the booth with them.
“We spoke briefly on the phone," she told him. “But it’s nice meeting you too…Stevie." She shortened his name deliberately. He only raised an eyebrow, but Jason chuckled.
“I think she’s already got your number there big brother," Jason laughed, as the waitress set their dinner and drinks on the table.
The waitress looked at Stephen and grinned. “You want anything, Stephen?”
He grinned back and took a long, slow look up and down.
“Not right now, Heather," he drawled, “but thanks for askin’.”
“Anytime," Heather said as she wiggled away.
Jason shot his brother a stern look.
“You shouldn’t be flirting with the waitresses in front of Allison, she’ll get the wrong impression.”
“Oh, I don’t think I’ve got the wrong impression about your brother at all," Allison commented, not sparing Stephen another glance.
Stephen laughed out loud and Jason grinned.
“Allison, I think you’re going to be around here for quite a while. There aren’t many females who can resist my brother’s charms." Taking a bite of pasta, he muttered, “Whatever they may be," loudly enough for Stephen to hear.
“Come on Jase," Stephen said as he elbowed his brother. “You know it’s harmless, I never let it go past the flirting stage with the waitresses.”
“Only because Captain would kill you if you did.”
“Be that as it may, I still keep my hands to myself." He shot Allison a wink, finished his drink, and set the empty glass on the table.
“Allison, it was nice meeting you. I hope you’ll decide to stay on in spite of your low opinion of me.”
“Thank you, but I don’t have a low opinion of you." She smiled innocently, and looked up at him as he stood.
“Really?" He grinned wolfishly down at her.
“Really. To have a low opinion of you would indicate that I have put forth the effort to care enough to have an opinion of you. Rest assured that I do not." She went back to her ravioli.
“Ouch!" Stephen laughed as he walked away.
“Congratulations, Allison. You are the first woman to ever work here that didn’t fall all over herself to get my brother to notice her," Jason told her with a chuckle.
“I’m glad I didn’t offend you, Jason. Although I should have thought before I said anything. Men like that just sit wrong with me.”
“Tell me what kind of man you think my brother is," Jason said as he wiped his plate with a piece of buttered sourdough bread.
“Well, you know, he’s the charming type that thinks he’s every woman’s dream, and all he has to do is snap his fingers for her panties to fall off." She looked up at Jason as she suddenly realized what she’d said.
“Oh my God, I am so sorry.”
Jason laughed out loud.
“Don’t worry about it. You really do know my brother.”
Allison felt the heat in her cheeks and shook her head, then downed the last of her martini. She looked up at him and smiled wryly. “Now if you’d just help me get my foot out of my mouth, I’d be forever grateful.”
One Good Man is available now with eXcessica Publishing!