We are fresh off Valentines Day, so I thought I’d share a little love story.
In November ,2021 we traveled to Albania – a country we fell in love with ten years ago and where our youngest son now lives – and to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. Our son arranged the party and the details were kept secret. On the day of the party we were picked up by a driver who didn’t speak English, could barely understand my few words of Albanian, and seemed confused as to his destination. Finally, the car turned up a dark and winding road and delivered us to our party destination—an ancient castle.
People we didn’t know greeted us like old friends; those who didn’t speak English blessed us in their language. We danced for five hours to Turkish and Albanian music with a little Roy Orbison and The Doors thrown in for good measure.
That night was joyous, exciting, and exactly the kind of adventure my husband and I love. But it wasn’t until I was back home and writing again, that I understood what made the trip so magical. It was like a good book long in the making. My husband and I had 45 years of a backstory, so our sons had a lot of information to draw on. They intimately understood our individual characters and loved us quirks and all. They also had an appreciation for drama, and pitch perfect pacing. Together they crafted the perfect narrative with a very happy ending.
I’m going to remember that night forever. I will also remember the lessons I learned because of it. If I love my characters, so will my readers; if I’m excited by the adventure, the reader will be too. I’m not sure if my books are as perfect as our anniversary adventure, but the fun is in trying to make them so.
Stay tuned for the sequel, watch out for the next book. Meanwhile, happy belated Valentines Day. Here’s to the next chapters of all of our love (and life)stories.
Jann Ryan is taking a much earned break. We’ll be running some of her past interviews while she’s off. Hope you enjoy this chat with Nikki Prince as much as we all did.
Today, I’m happy to be chatting with author, Nikki Prince. Nikki is a mother of two, who always had a dream to be a published author. Her passion lies in raising her children, gaming, reading and writing. She has two Masters, one in English and the other in Creative Writing concentration in fiction.
Nikki’s a multi-published author with several publishing houses. She loves to write Interracial romances in all genres but wants to let everyone know to not box her in because there is always room for growth. Nikki believes that love should truly be color blind and for all.
Nikki’s a member of Romance Writers of America National, DARA, and several online chapters.
Bakersfield Romance Writers Links
Nikki Prince: It’s actually about 25 books and I earned another Masters in Literature during this time frame. My two teens have been a great help as well as inspiration for me because I want them to know that anything is possible in their life as long as they go for it.
I went back to school in 2014 and garnered the BA, and two MA’s in a 3-year span and have maintained a 3.9 GPA. I’ve been wanting to write since I was 11 years old. I finally made that dream a reality when I turned 43 and realized it is never too late to do what you’ve always wanted to do. Writing and reading has been a passion for since I first found romance books at age 11. Before finding my grandmother’s romances, and Johanna Lindsey on my father’s dresser I hated to read.
Reading helped me in so many ways, you see I had a learning disability. However, once I found romance books and started reading that all changed for me and the only inkling of a disability that I still have is in math which is another part of the brain. Reading and writing saved my life in so many ways and knowing that I can bring joy to someone else from reading the worlds and characters that I build is so satisfyingly wonderful. Another shining part in my writing and real life is belonging to RWA it is a wonderful community where writers of like minds can be together to nurture one another.
Nikki Prince: I’ve had this thought of creating a bunch of friends for who all intents and purposes are the best of girlfriends with great guy friends. Three sets of friends and the desire to be together and yet there is something holding them back. Ashton and Keiko’s love story has a few twists along the way to get to the HEA, because everyone deserves a happy ever after.
Nikki Prince: The last story that I had come out is a short called Blurred Lines, and it came out June 2019. I am working on edits for the second book in the Undeniable Series with Áine Reid and Darian Tisdale in a story called “It’s Work” and following that the next story which is Emmerson Collins and Royce Hanson’s story called, “It’s Real.” Beyond that I have a lot of stories still left in me to write. Stories that may be paranormal, contemporary and love between the same gender, opposite gender, interracial mix or same racial mix as I believe everyone’s story should be told.
Nikki Prince: Indeed, I have. I know there are some that say that writer’s block is imaginary. In some ways I think that is true because there is inspiration to write everywhere. However, there are times when the brain doesn’t want to function and let you put out the stories as you have before. Because let’s face it, life can be messy it is one of the reasons most of us read romance is because it lets us get out of our own heads, our own lives and for a moment in time live a life of beauty.
How I get past it is I game (I play World of Warcraft have since 2006), I spend time with my children, Travel somewhere different , read something else and sometimes a nap will rejuvenate the mind and spirit. When I moved to Dallas last year in 2018 it was hard to get a chance to write and for me that was a block, however if it is in you to write and to create it never goes away so here I am.
Right now I am working on putting together a writing community here in Bakersfield, California. I knew when I moved here that RWA wasn’t represented here and I want to change that. So far I have about 7 other people within the group. I hope to gain more so that I can apply for Bakersfield Romance Writers to be a full chapter of the Romance Writers of America. I am also in grad school for a third Masters. This is a Masters in Marketing and Social Media. I’m taking my time with this MA as I already have two and there is no rush, besides I have plenty of stories within me that I want to share with the world.
My writing day really depends. Between having two teens in High School, being in grad school and looking for a full-time job here in Bakersfield (I’ve only been here since June), I write wherever and whenever I can. That has always been the way of it since 2012. I love writing and creating so I will write at night, in the afternoon, and in the morning. Whatever it takes to get the stories done, I’ll do it. One of the ways to do that is I love to do National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo) every November so that I can just immerse myself in my stories for a whole month.
A Few Books by Nikki Prince
Confessions From Quarantine
Fourteen months ago, when life became weirdly constricted, I didn’t wonder what to do with all that extra time. I’d read of course. Read, write a bit, and read some more. I could never tire of reading but by month 7 my eyes could — and did. I was ordered to rest my vision for one month. There’s always audio books, but I hate earbuds.
I tried daytime TV – in that murky upper cable range. I found myself in awe of the creativity of producers desperate for material to fill a 24/7 schedule. What obscure subjects! Shows like Storm of Suspicion. “True crime series that examines spellbinding crimes where the weather uncovered or solved crimes.” Wow! How many of those can you dig up? I moved on to an array of paranormal shows that all seemed to feature casually dressed young people filmed by a shaky camera in a deserted house where they would stop in shock and ask in a whisper, “Did you hear that?” Well, I never heard any thing and Ghost Busters did the hand held ghost meter thing a whole lot better. I conclude that daytime TV is not much of a pasttime.
Next — cooking. I’ve said before I’m not much good at it, but I do strive (now and then) to improve. I Googled ‘simple French recipes’ hoping to dazzle Tom and tried a stuffed chicken roulade touted to be “All the French, none of the fussiness.” Tricksy click bait, that. First I needed to pound my butterflied chicken breasts to ½ inch thickness. Pound them? I have hammers, but I wouldn’t eat something I used them on. I settled on whacking them about with a rolling pin. They weren’t all that thick anyway.
I made the simple filling (I’m good with vegies and nuts). It was the roll up part that got me. My breasts just weren’t cooperative. Once I finally got them in the hot pan they refused to stay neatly rolled. In the end it tasted pretty good, but it wasn’t pretty. Enough with cooking.
By now the eyes felt rested and ready to resume their primary function— reading. It was just a question of what to read. I wanted something entirely new to me. Something I might never in a million years seek out. And I found it by the cover. There is a promise in the lurid illustrations of a hugely muscled man, his clothing torn from battle, his eyes uncompromising. The tales of Doc Savage, the man of bronze were written in the 1930’s and 40’s, all 182 of them.
Lester Dent authored most under the house name Kenneth Robeson and the world and characters he built for the tales hold up beautifully 90 years later. Doc himself was once a victim— his parents were killed by bad guys — and he spent his youth honing his mind and body with lots of mysterious eastern mind techniques, exotic hand to hand fighting methods and grueling discipline — so he could spend a lifetime righting wrongs and punishing evil doers. Doc gathers a group of wonderfully eccentric characters to fight along with him. My favorites are Ham the dandy, and Monk the ape-like chemist.
All successful series books need to work as stand alone stories but need to supply enough background to explain the series characters and setting. It’s a difficult thing to do well without feeling heavy handed. Mr. Dent solved the problem simply: every Doc Savage book uses the exact same one to two paragraph description and character sketch of each supporting actor — and then he gets on with the action. And it works! I read 22 of the 182 Doc Savage adventures and by book 4 I had those set pieces memorized, but they are so good and so funny the tale would have felt empty without them.
It’s hard to decide what’s best about the Doc Savage books. It could be the complete innocence of of the world Doc protects, or the fact that Doc and his team never kill anybody (instead they take them to his Fortress of Solitude in the arctic and give them an operation that ‘cures’ them) or that Doc is a real doctor, he’s stinking rich and uses his money well, has a photographic memory, or that he is very shy around women. I loved it all.
It just goes to show that you can judge a book by its cover.
I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as too many books. I’m sure that’s a quote I’ve seen somewhere. Maybe I should get a t-shirt with that specific phrase on it!
My To-Be-Read-Pile is ever growing, is yours?
I have books on my Kindle, books under my bed, books on my nightstand, and in the special pieces of furniture that I purchased specifically to hold books.
And yet, I still love to go to the library and peruse possibilities or hunt for treasures at used book or garage sales, or add to my Kindle list through all the different newsletters I receive from the many authors I follow.
Am I the only one who does this?
Any suggestions for how to manage them all?
As I’ve made new writer friends in the different groups I’m a part of, I seem to have added a whole slew of authors to the list of books I want to read. It’s fun and exciting, but it can be overwhelming sometimes too.
I’m just curious to know if anyone shares in this same quandary?
My desire to add to my pile seems to ebb and flow, sometimes based on how overwhelmed I am with where to put everything. But mostly, I do tend to just accept and enjoy this desire to continuously add to my pile.
Of course, many books become favorites and I find it difficult to add them to the donate pile. Anyone have that habit as well?
Some days it feels like book overload. But other days, I just smile and look forward to the new set of friends I’m going to meet in the next book I read.
I’m hoping I’m not the only one who suffers from this malady!
Do you, too?
Vicki Crum writes contemporary and paranormal romance, creating tales full of love and laughter and discovering one’s soul mate in the most unlikely places. Her published works include Loving Luc, Once in a Blue Moon, Moonspell, and Blood Moon (Eternal Moon Series). Vicki resides with her husband in a charming seaside community in Southern California. She has two grown daughters and two adorable grandchildren who light up her world.
We’re spending time today with contemporary and paranormal romance author Vicki Crum. Vicki’s third book in her paranormal romance Eternal Moon series has just been released.
Jann: Your Eternal Moon series is about werewolves. What drew you to this genre?
Vicki: A few years ago, my friend and critique partner, Mandy Baker, urged me to try my hand at writing a paranormal romance. I had only written contemporary romances prior to that, and one contemporary romance with futuristic elements. I tried to think what I could write exploring the paranormal world that would hold my interest. I wasn’t really a “vampire” kind of girl, so I settled on a werewolf. I’ve always been fascinated by wolves, and so I figured, why not? I could still create characters that were sexy and mysterious, and they could be awake during the day and eat whatever they wanted!
Jann: You received great reviews for Once in a Blue Moon and Moonspell. For this series, did you start with plot idea, a character or a theme?
Vicki: Oddly enough, I had started a contemporary romance that wasn’t really going anywhere, so I revamped it into what would eventually become Once in a Blue Moon by making the hero a werewolf. Only Jake was meant to be a werewolf in the beginning. I didn’t even know his love interest, Casey, was a werewolf until Jake did! A rare breed of werewolf with a case of latent genes, even Casey doesn’t know about her true heritage until Jake comes along. I can tell you I had some fun with this one!
In Moonspell, I give Casey’s handsome older brother, Reed, his own love story. Due to their odd family genetics, Reed is not a werewolf, but Marin, the woman he ultimately falls for, is. Each book in the series is connected by siblings. In Blood Moon, Austin is Marin’s brother.
Jann: Blood Moon, book three made its debut recently. What can you tell us about your characters Austin and Kat and their journey?
Vicki: Of all the characters I’ve ever written, I think Kat and Austin are my favorites. They completely captured my imagination and took over my life for a while. I love the way they relate to each other, their good-natured sparring, the immense and uncharted chemistry between them that sweeps them along, almost against their will, on an ultra-passionate adventure. The story takes place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Austin serves as Kat’s outdoor adventure guide. Lots of beautiful scenery, wild animal encounters, and plenty of passion-filled nights. And did I mention Kat’s stalker ex-husband, who refuses to take no for an answer? A showdown at the end exposes Austin’s werewolf heritage in a sudden and violent way, causing Kat to reexamine her feelings for him, and what a future with him might look like.
Jann: What do you want the readers to take away from this series?
Vicki: I want them to have fun, to be entertained above all, to be carried along on a fantasy, passion-filled adventure as the characters meet and fall desperately in love, then struggle with how, despite the odds against them, to forge a future together.
Jann: Will there be a fourth book? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
Vicki: The next book (as yet untitled) takes us to Nashville, and yet another sibling of Marin and Austin’s. Ethan Sawyer is a popular country music star who falls for an extremely independent woman, one whose father was a famous, and very troubled, rock star. Due to Skyler’s scarred past, getting involved with a musician is a non-starter for her. She is also half Shawnee, which according to her full-blood grandmother, makes any kind of union with a shapeshifter forbidden.
Jann: Your first book, Loving Luc, is a contemporary romance. Do you have any plans to write another contemporary romance?
Vicki: Loving Luc is a contemporary romance with futuristic elements, as Luc hails from a planet in another solar system that just happens to be very similar in size and scope to Earth. But yes, I’m thinking to finish my Eternal Moon series with Ethan and Skyler’s story, and then I have several straight contemporary ideas I’d like to work on. Also, my daughter has expressed an interest in us writing a book together, so we’ll see where that idea leads.
Jann: Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories?
Vicki: I would have to say the main theme in most of my books has been the tried and true “love conquers all”. I’ve paired lovers from two distant solar systems and given them their happy ending, and three of the Eternal Moon novels feature couples with incongruent genetic lines, human and werewolf. You can imagine what kinds of difficulties they might face trying to create a life together! I love the idea of discovering one’s soulmate in the most unlikely and unexpected places, wherever that may be.
Jann: Are there any words of inspiration on your computer, in your office or in your mind when you write?
Vicki: Honestly, the quote that has always inspired me the most, and I’m sorry I can’t remember who said it, goes like this, “It makes me sad to think of all the truly talented writers who eventually gave up and went away.” When I’m feeling down and discouraged, this quote gives me heart. Never give up your dreams!
Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?
Vicki: You can find my website at: vickicrum.wix.com/author, and catch me on Facebook at Facebook.com/vickicrum.author
Congratulation Vicki on the debut of Blood Moon!! It’s been fun getting a peek into your world of werewolves here on A Slice of Orange.
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