Calling Her Bluff… Interview with author Kaia Danielle


Today on ye old blog we have and interview with a fantastic new author Kaia Danielle here to talk, writing, life and her exciting debut with Entangled Publishing: CALLING HER BLUFF.

Hi Kaia, thanks so much for being here on ye old blog today!

KMJ: First off, Kaia can you tell us a bit about CALLING HER BLUFF?

Kaia cover Calling Her Bluff

Kaia: Romance author Kamaria Wilson returns to Las Vegas to prove she has kicked her gambling addiction to the curb. But the temptation to play poker again is stronger than ever. Why does Mr. Perfect have to show up now?!

KMJ: That sounds fantastic. I love Vegas and have spent a night or two at the Blackjack tables.  What inspired you to write this story?

Kaia: My publisher put out a call for stories set during a romance readers’ convention in Las Vegas. I thought this was the perfect scenario to craft something unique. Once I came up with the premise of a gambling addict heroine, a casino security hero and a one-night stand, I just had to write this story.

KMJ: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Kaia: Um, probably but accepting the fact that I could craft a story that anyone else would want to read was a journey. I had a few years of combatting “Who do you think you are? Zora wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in 6 weeks. You have no business trying”-type inner dialogue.

KMJ: Do you feel your works are more character or plot driven?

Kaia: Plot driven. I usually figure out the scenario first then get introduced to the characters during the pre-planning and first draft.

KMJ: What made you choose this genre to write in?

Kaia: I’m a total romantic comedy movie junkie. I bow down to Nora Ephron’s work. The funny thing is that I set out to write historical romance. But, contemporary romantic comedy comes to me easier. The smartass voice you find in the book is the real me. Just check my Twitter feed.

KMJ: What characteristics are essential in a hero for you? And how about a heroine?
Kaia: Hero: I have to fall in love with him some way, somehow. It is usually the grand gesture that reels me in. I’m still crushing so hard on my hero Jack Alderisi in Calling Her Bluff. Ironically, it wasn’t his grand gesture that hooked me. It was the little every day considerate things he did leading up to his big grand gesture.

Heroine: She has to have a life outside of hunting for a man. I love when a heroine has to deal with real life “stuff”. My favorite line from Kamaria in Calling Her Bluff is when she says something like “I don’t want you to fix it for me. I’m the one who fell off the wagon, now let me figure out how to get back on it.”


KMJ: Getting a little more serious, you have been a strong voice and advocate for more diversity in romance. Can you share with the readers why you feel this is such an important issue for this time?
Kaia: I grew up in a town where at least 66 different languages were spoken at home. My best friend growing up was of Swiss French-Gabonese descent. I attended a college where the African-American female experience was infused into each course. Diversity is my “normal”.  The mix I’ve seen promoted in the Romance world hasn’t been “normal” until very recently. I’d like to do what I can to fix that. Besides, there’s a whole group of open-minded, voracious readers who are missing out on a bunch of great stories due to lack of exposure.


KMJ: Thanks so much. Now would you care to share the story of your “overnight” success with my readers?

Kaia: My overnight success started 13 years ago when I started attempting to write short stories for the confession magazine market. (Remember True Confessions, Bronze Thrills and Black Romance magazines? Some of those were me!) It took me a year to finish my first story. It was the second one I sold.


KMJ: I do remember and loved Confessions. Thank you!  Who are some of your favorite writers that have influenced you?

Kaia: Zora Neal Hurston, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Beverly Jenkins, Francis Ray, Gwyneth Bolton, Tina McElroy Ansa, Terry McMillan, LA Banks, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde


KMJ: Now please dish what book (s) is/are currently on your nightstand or e-reader?

Ivy’s League by Nia Forester
Passing Love by Jacqueline E. Luckett
A Treasure of Gold by Piper Huguley
Bricktop’s Paris by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting


KMJ: What advice would you give other aspiring writers? Butt in chair. Fingers on keyboard. Eyes on prize. I wrote Calling Her Bluff while working 60 hour weeks, being the primary caretaker for my mother, maintaining a long distance relationship, moving my mother and myself across the state with exactly 2 weeks-notice (during the 60 hour work weeks) and a snowstorm at our heels. (Wait, how the hell did I manage to all that? Oh yeah, sangria.) I decided no more BS, no more excuses when I started this story. Even it was only for a half hour on some days, I still got some words in.

KMJ: Lastly, what can readers expect next from you?

I’m working on an adult contemporary romance set during homecoming week at a fictional HBCU (Historically Black College/University). Remember that guy in college who was “just a friend” but there was always a special connection and everybody assumed that you were together, but nothing ever happened between you guys? Yeah well, play time is over.


Now Kaia is kind enough to share an excerpt from CALLING HER BLUFF:

Shame kept her locked in place, eyes down, trembling hands locked between her knees. She stared at the backs of her fingers, fighting that itch to touch her chips, the cards, to rub the felt of the poker table. Dammit, this wasn’t supposed to happen.

“Ma’am.” The voice was softer now.

“I didn’t do anything wrong.” The words were meant to convince herself. There might be a pile of chips in front of her, but she felt like a loser. Again.

“No one said you did.” The man’s hand now found its way between her shoulder blades. The warmth of his hand flooded into her. His warmth felt safe. Just like the guy from last night. She shook him off again. The last thing she needed was to be thinking about Jack. Or how she should’ve stayed in his bed. If she hadn’t run from him, she wouldn’t be here now.

His voice was too smooth. Too practiced. Too, too familiar. Kamaria didn’t like that either. She didn’t even want the money. No amount of winnings could compensate for what she’d just lost by sitting down at this table. And talk? What could he possibly want to discuss? “I’ve got nothing to say to you. I was just leaving anyway.”

The pressure on her back returned, this time more insistent. “That’s where you’re wrong, Kamaria. I think you have plenty to say to me.”

She could tell by his emphasis on her name that he was going to kick her out. She’d ruined her sobriety, and now she’d messed up the conference too! She felt tears rim her bottom lashes. She willed herself to keep her chin up as she stood. This was no way to start her week at the convention. She had managed to stay away for so long. She hadn’t even been in town sixteen hours and had already crumbled in the face of weakness more than once. All the promises she made to Chastity—to herself—about being able to avoid the casino evaporated into nothing. She should have never come back here.

The rent-a-cop’s hand had now moved from her back to her arm. His grip tightened slightly, pulling her to her feet.

Her stomach fell to her knees the moment the security jerk stood up so she could finally get a good look at him. The big, big body. The impossibly wide chest. Those full lips. Kamaria groaned. “Oh no, not you.”

Kaia: Thanks so much for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure.

KMJ: Thank you the pleasure was all mine!

KMJ: You can find Kaia here on the web:

Kaia headshot



Excerpt + buy links:


All the best,


Warrior’s Heart… Interview with author Falguni Kothari & a giveaway!

I’m thrilled to have my friend and chapter mate, ultra-talented writer, Falguni Kothari on ye old blog today with a chat about and an excerpt from her long anticipated mythic fantasy, SOUL WARRIOR.

Hi Falguni. Thanks so much for taking time out and being here on ye old blog today.

Hey Kwana! Thanks for having me here, and for always cheering for me, and driving with me…and lots of other stuff.  :-)

Oh hursh! It’s always a pleasure. Now first off can you tell us a bit about your current work?

Falguni Age-of-Kali-3D-book

Absolutely! Soul Warrior is the first book in my new myth-based fantasy series, The Age of Kali, and reimagines the old myths and legends of India. The story focuses on Karna, the son of Surya, who has been the guardian of the Human Realm for almost 8,000 years, and has recently been appointed guru to a bunch of delinquent godlings fresh of the Celestial boat. On the surface, the divine request seems simple. But very quickly, the situation goes from bad to worse. Karna’s new students give him no small amount of trouble in the obedience department. His old paramour suddenly comes back into his life, seemingly to her own sinister agenda. Also, there are rumors that his old nemesis is on his way back to Earth after 5,000 years in exile to even scores. Then there’s the whole mess about his secret ill-fated offspring. All in all, the demons who Karna vanquishes on a daily basis seem like stress-relief compared to the new unearthly calamities disrupting his life.

SOUL WARRIOR is a shift from what your romance fans are used to. What made you choose this genre to write in?

It’s true that this book is categorized as fantasy fiction, but it has ample romance in it to make my romance readers happy. In fact, I started writing it as a romance between these two iconic mythological characters from an ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata. Karna and Draupadi did not get a love story in the original epic, and I had since many years wished to write one for them. How the story morphed into more of a fantasy than romance still boggles my mind. So, by deliberately bringing Karna and Draupadi together I accidently unleased a whole alternate universe for the book…which since then has turned into a series. And its all good.

Fantastic! SOUL WARRIOR is your first step into the wonderful world of self-publishing. Can you share your first impressions of the experience? Has it been easier or harder than you thought it would be? Are you enjoying the process?

Honestly, I am loving the self-publishing experience. I love having full and final control of my work from prose to final product, even when its scares the pants off me. I love that every inch of this book is my own creation, decision and idea. While I had extremely great experiences working with both my publishers on both my previous books, there still was a kind of detachment from the publishing process after handing in the manuscript. With Soul Warrior I am creator and executor, and that appeals to my inner control freak like nothing before.

What advice would you give other aspiring writers who want to try self-publishing?

Be prepared for some hard work, hard thinking, and hard spending. With self-publishing, you will need to spend first: on excellent editing, fantastic professional covers, ISBN numbers, formatting your manuscripts correctly, PR if you have the budget. There’s a lot of money that goes into publishing a book. You might find free or cheaper alternatives, and finally it’ll be your decision how much or how little you want to spend. See? Full and final control. Do it your way! But do it the correct way. And to do it the correct way you will have to understand self-publishing.


Lastly what can readers expect next from you?

I have a women’s fiction story ready for publication, and set to release in May 2016. Yes, yet another genre jump. But it seems that’s how my writing rolls. I think of a story, write it and then sort out its category. What connects every one of my stories is love and a little bit of India.

Thanks so much for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure.

The pleasure is mine, Kwana J


SOUL WARRIOR: The Age of Kali teaser.




Asht Dveep, off the coast of Madh Island, North Mumbai.

The present.


“We have visitors, my lord.”

Karna paused perusing the Times of India on his tablet, and cocked a brow at Lavya. Pale and lean, his friend and housemate loomed just inside the door to the den, hands folded in a neat Namaste. Irritated, but not at the interruption, Karna sighed, wondering why he bothered reading the news at all. Daily bulletins had become standard—or substandard, depending on one’s viewpoint. Climate change, economic disasters, terrors and terrorists all held front-page positions, every fugging day.

And what else could one expect in the Age of Kali? It was the age of sin, tsunamis and stock options in this currency-ruled realm. Not that the Gods had ever—not once in his almost eight-thousand-year career as humanity’s soul guardian—asked him to interfere with, subvert or reverse any of the realm’s natural or man-made calamities. His duty required only that he keep the world free of supernatural evil.

Karna stretched, his spine separating from the fiberglass chair like Velcro ripping. He was shirtless to battle the unrelenting October heat and though he’d queued up his sun-bleached, shoulder-length mane, sweat dampened his forehead, nape, armpits and back.

And therein lay the rub, he thought, coming back to the dos and don’ts of his duties. Being “asked” not to meddle in human affairs only made him more determined to help the helpless. At times, he managed to contain the disasters, and all was well in the Cosmos. But sometimes, his actions worsened the fate of the mortals, as well as his own. Like when he’d tried to repair the deficient ozone layer with his god-powers a couple of years ago.

Blasting the stratosphere with a load of solar radiation to augment the emissions from his godsire’s Celestial abode had been a solid, scientifically vetted idea. The extra UV rays he’d discharged from his fingertips had accelerated ozone production, and for a while he’d believed the crisis slowed, if not solved. But the hyper-paced oxygen cycle had also amplified energy output, creating miscreant solar flares, a couple of which had whipped across the Cosmos and breached the lower regions of the Higher Worlds.

Needless to say, the atmospheric fireworks hadn’t amused the Celestials or Heaven’s ruling Council. And as punishment for his hubris, Karna had been saddled with an annoying quirk—his body temperature was now directly proportional to his emotions—specifically, high-voltage anger. And stoicism did not come naturally to him.

Soul Warrior is available on AMAZON, KOBO, iBooks and Nook.

Find out more about Falguni Kothari








Thanks so much once again for being here.

**Falguni has kindly agreed to giving one lucky commenter a SOUL WARRIOR pendant. So comment away!**

*US residents only*

**Please leave your contact email in the comments. **

**winner will be announced on Monday.**

falguni IMG_0072


All the best,


Happy 9th Birthday Jack!

Please join me in wishing a very happy birthday to the sweetest little bad dog I know, Jack! It was his birthday yesterday and he got quite a few new toys that he destroyed faster than a zombie on The Walking Dead.

SMH it’s so very Jack. 9 years and he hasn’t slowed down yet.

Jack 9 Birthday collage 2

Love you Jackster! Thanks for keeping me on my toes.



A year and 1 day…

I saw something the other day that said ‘think of where you were last year‘.

It was supposed to be uplifting so I did. And you were there and for that moment I was happy.

Until I stopped and remembered that you are gone. And won’t be back again.

Now I know in this past year lots has changed. Some for the bad and as with life many things for the good. But without you it’s hard to feel that good fully. Without you I don’t know how quite how to be… just me. I’m honestly not the same.

Lost within myself. A stranger in my own mind. I know I should be better and as you would always say, ‘pull up my big girl panties’ and I promise I will with more time. But that time is not now. What is a year to a heart in pain?

Because if I were granted one wish right now, one happy thought for now… Today… It would be to go back- just a year and 1 day.


Kwana & Nana








… who knows how 26 years go by and the one you love barely changes in your eyes.

But it happens and thank goodness we have these dates called anniversaries to take the time to mark the moments. To look back and plan forward.

To hold hands and give thanks.

And today I am thankful,

for so much but mostly for being here… still…

Anniversary 26 B

…with you.


Hello old friend, hello… knitting it all together

So I just handed in another story to my super fab agent. Go me!

But really those in the KMJ know, know there is never any of that “Go me!” spirit when I do these kind of things. It’s more of a weak ‘yay, got that done’ and a shaky hand turnover because I’m never all that confidant in what I just put down on the page. The neurotic writer critic in my always wins out.

I will say I do adore this story and these characters and I hope when it’s time to share them come next holiday season you all will think they are just as delicious as I do. My heroine got to take the dream vacation that I have been longing for so there is that.

And with my hand-off, my super agent gave me the advice to not just dive into the next work, but take a moment for myself, which I also find hard to do. But with that permission to goof off from her I’m pulling out my long forgotten knitting to unwind with and instead of unwinding I’m having a devil of a time trying to remember this lovely stitch.

Oh well, I wonder if I can get this shawl done by the time my story comes out late next year.  Ya think?

knitting d


Tell me do you have an unwinding hobby that you retreat to?


All the best,


Be cool girl…fave plot book recs

Over the next 6 months I’ve got writing deadlines breathing down my neck

and looking at me like…

work witch

And I’m looking back at my original concepts like…

bad idea

And the pressure of it all has me in a state of panic like…


So a little over a week ago in my panic stricken state I reached out to my peeps on twitter looking for bookish ways to help streamline my plotting process and get my racing, jumbled thoughts in some sort of order.

You see I only play a cool multi-planner having, washi tape decorating, cucumber on social media.

The chaos in my mind in a big old mess.

So I sent out this tweet:

Plot question

And here are the books that were recommended to me in response. Thanks so much my twitter friends!

 I know some of them will be of help to me (hello 1 click) and I wanted to share them here with you.

Please feel free to add any of your faves in the comments. Thanks and happy writing!

Save the cat b

Save The Cat by Blake Snyder

Plot 2 20 Master Plots

20 Master Plots and How to Build Them by Ronald B. Tobias

Plot 3 GMC

GMC: Goal Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon –

This one I already have in my library and is a fave

Plot 4 Trough of Hell

Trough of Hell: How to Wrap Up the Middle of Your Story with Maximum Impact

  by H.R.  D’Costa

Plot 5 Rock Your Plot

Rock Your Plot by Cathy Yardley-

This is another one that I already have in my library and like.

Plot 6 The Plot Whisperer

The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master

by Martha Alderson

Plot 7 2K- 10K

2K to 10K:  Writing Faster, Writing Better and Writing More of What You Love

by Rachel Aaron –

another book I have and am a fan of.

Plot 8 Outlining

Outlining Your Novel Map Your Way To Success by K.M. Weiland –

this is one I just ordered and am getting into. Lots of good points here.

Plot 9 Story Structure

Story Trumps Structure: How To Write Unforgettable Fiction By Breaking The Rules

by Steven James

Meanwhile wish me luck with my deadlines because I need to be like this and just do it…

be cool


All the best,



Gifs from Reality TV Gifs


I’m concerned. I mean this brings up so many questions:

How did he or she get out? Through a door or an open window? Was he out for a walk and broke free of his leash? Who is missing him and are they crying themselves to sleep at night? I hope not.

Is there such a thing as a turtle locator chip if not maybe this should be a thing?

Yep, many questions.

And sidebar: The name Mr. T is perfection.

20150820_192626 (2)

I sure hope he’s found.

All the best,


RW… hey, hey, hey! My time at #RWA15 in pics

This post is late in coming and I apologize for that, but here it is.  Last week most, well many in the romance community, convened at the Marriot in Times Square for the annual Romance Writers of America National Conference. A fun and enlightening time was had by all, ok I’ll say most because what do I know? What I do know and can say is that I had a good time, though it was quite the whirlwind.

I’d love to know how is it a day could speed by so fast?

I want to thank so many for their amazing support of #WeNeedDiverseRomance by wearing their Tee Shirts on conference Thursday. Seeing so many Diverse Romance tees around the conference was just amazing and I do think made quite a bold statement that those in the gate keeper positions could not ignore (I do believe I heard some keys rattling).

Also I’d like to give thanks to all who came to the multicultural workshop I participated in on Thursday with Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart and Falguni Kothari. Your support was priceless and so appreciated.

I was also so happy to attend the other workshops held on diversity this year. As a longtime member of RWA I feel there was a much more open and truthful vibe to the conference dialogue this year all around when it came to diversity, self -publishing and the state of the industry. The dialogue, for the most part, was well received and for the parts that were not, let’s just say, they needed to be said.  I’m so happy to hear that RWA will now be forming a special committee on diversity so this will not just be a one year buzz hashtag type of thing.

Thank you all so much once again for helping make this happen. Please keep up your support by continuing to voice your opinions and get the word out about the need for more diversity in romance and all genres of publishing. #WeNeedDiverseRomance

Now onto the pics…

So many beautiful faces! Can you spot some of your faves?

RWA Collage 3


Lauren Dane, Members or RWA/NYC, Flappers at Passionate Ink party,  Me & the fab Nora Roberts, Holley Trent, Vanessa Peters, Falguni Kothari, Trent Hart, Elizabeth Mahon, Jenn Le Blanc, Trent Hart, Falguni  Kothari, Carolyn Jewel & Carolyn Crane,  Vanessa Riley, Jamie Wesley, Farrah Rochon, Synithia Williams, Tracey Livesay,  Alyssa Cole, Laura K. Curtis, Megan Frampton


RWA Collage 2


Sugar Jamison, Kianna Alexander, Ginger Merante, Falguni Kothari, Kianna Alexander, Farrah Rochon, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Adrienne Trent, Jeannie Lin, Me and Farrah again :-) , Me and the Carolyns (again LOL) ! Carolyn Jewel & Carolyn Crane, Seressia Glass, Jamie Wesley, The panel of Diversity in Romance: Why it Matters : Corrina Lawson, Sugar Jamison, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Farrah Rochon, Alisha Rai, My panel Multicultural Romance: When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong and How To Make It Right: Alyssa Cole, Me, Falguni Kothari, Lena Hart, Me and Laura Von Holt and finally the lovely: Synithia Williams, Lena Hart, Mia Sosa and Karen Manns.

Wowza! Looking back at all of these pics I see how great the conference was and how incredibly lucky I am to know so many amazing, talented and lovely people. Thanks for making this an unforgettable RWA.

All the best,


Just here… looking pretty

Jack says, hey people! He wants you all to admire him and his lovely haircut and his bandanna that says ‘I am handsome’ while Kwana runs around over on the sidelines doing all the things a writer does a week before the biggest conference of the year (no, she’s not grumpy or stressed at all).

Jack hansome (3)

For those coming to RWA National next week she can’t want to see you and remember Thursday the 23rd is #WeNeedDiverseRomance tee day.  Later!


All the best,

Jack & KMJ