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Tag Archives: Character Interview

Know Charlie, the Heroine from Music for a Merman by Alice Renaud @alicerauthor #RLFblog #Fantasy RomanceAlice Renaud, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. I’m Kayelle Allen, author and owner of this blog. Happy to have you here! We’re excited to find out more about your heroine, but first, tell us about the book.

Music for a Merman by Alice Renaud

Genre Fantasy Romance

Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R

Rob Regor knew that humans were trouble. All the shape shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands knew it. And human women were double trouble… especially when they were lying on the road in front of a digger.

Rob has a mission. Go to the mainland. Work as a policeman. Spy on humans. Report back to his father, the head of the Regor Merman Clan. It should be easy. Until he has to arrest Charlie. Rob can’t fight his attraction to the sexy eco-warrior, and it puts him on one hell of a collision course with his family and his Clan. Will he break the rules – or break her heart, and his?

Love ’em and leave ’em, that was Charlie’s motto. It had served her well until now. But Rob is different… Can she open up her heart to Rob – when a secret buried in her past surfaces and changes her completely?

Know the Heroine from Music for a Merman

Here are some fun questions to help us know your heroine.

It’s late, she’s bored. What does she do?

Charlie goes out to a late night bar or nightclub, to find some people still awake and up for some fun.

What kind of food would she impulse buy if hungry?

Chips. She can’t resist chips.

Describe the kind of clothes she prefers to wear.

Her favorite outfit is a swimsuit. She’s never happier than when she’s near the sea, or better still, in it. She prefers casual clothes – jeans, shorts, T-shirts.

Does she know how to fix things?

Yes. Since she’s left home, she’s lived on her own, and often in places with dodgy electrics or faulty plumbing. She’s learnt to be self-sufficient and fix what doesn’t work.

She tried to do something and it went badly. Tell us about it.

Charlie is an eco-warrior. She was protesting against a development in the village of St-Sulien, on the Welsh coast. But the site manager called the police and she got arrested… by the hero of the story, Rob. Rob is a cop who is also… a shape shifting merman. She fell in love with him, which really wasn’t part of the plan!

How does she act around children she doesn’t know?

Charlie likes children and is at ease with them. She will chat to them as equals, ask them questions, and play with them.

What is she like first thing in the morning?

She’s a night owl rather than a lark… she’s a bit grumpy until she’s had her first cup of coffee. She hates being woken up suddenly.

How does she act around people who don’t know what she is?

Natural. She is very good at putting on an act. Though the mask slips sometimes.

Will she let a worker handle things or do it herself?

She will try to do it herself. She doesn’t like relying on other people.

Earrings/piercings/tattoos or unadorned skin?

No earrings or piercings – she doesn’t tend to wear jewelry as it’s not practical when swimming. No tattoos – her stern family would not have approved when she was young, and she didn’t bother once she was an adult.

Personal vehicle or public transport?

Public transport. She’s an environmental activist, and she walks the walk.

Recycle or toss?

Recycle. She hates polluters.

Thanks for helping us get to know your heroine!

Where to buy Music for a Merman

Publisher Black Velvet Seductions

Alice Renaud Social Media

Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she’s a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, “Music for a Merman,” is out now. Alice has also written a short story, “The Sweetest Magic of All,” included in the BVS “Mystic Desire” anthology, out now in Kindle and paperback. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested.
Amazon Author Page


Stressing Matteo D'Cruz from Jungle Salvation by MA Jewell @MAJewell_author #RLFblog #PNR #RomanticSuspense #ShifterLet’s meet Matteo D’Cruz from Jungle Salvation, The Jaguar Queens Book II, a paranormal romantic suspense novel, by MA Jewell. Welcome to Romance Lives Forever. I’m Kayelle Allen, author and owner of this blog. Happy to have you here! Please tell us about your latest book.

Jungle Salvation, The Jaguar Queens Book II by MA Jewell

Genre: Paranormal romantic suspense

Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R

Jaguar shifter males lost in their cats are all animal, feral. Execution is the only course. Enforcer Matteo D’Cruz has terminated two and doesn’t care that he’s next–until Dakota.

Dragged back into the human world by well-meaning friends, jaguar shifter Matteo D’Cruz realizes he’s been in cat form for over seventy years. With another transformation, he could lose his tenuous hold on his humanity. In their world, the only end for a feral is execution. Damaged by grief and guilt, he doesn’t care overmuch. However, when he discovers an unmated latent female, he can’t resist her scintillating allure or his instinct to protect her at all costs.

Carefree Dakota Gorman travels to Brazil to rescue her sister. Determined to expose the drug lords who have manipulated her sibling into a hurried wedding, she’s certain the baffling hottie Matteo is one of them. After Dakota’s sister turns into a giant jaguar before her eyes, she must confront a new reality, one including latent family traits.

Matteo helps her trigger her first exhilarating metamorphosis into a jaguar, leaving no doubt about her genetics, but unknown shifter enemies cut short her joy.

A blackmailer sends Matteo a video of her transformation, demanding DNA samples. The extortionist threatens to post the recording to the internet and expose the shifters to the world. Dredging up courage that she didn’t know she possessed, Dakota joins Matteo and the other jag shifters to save her family–and her new species–from scientific experimentation.

Stressing Matteo D’Cruz

Every hero has a story. He has a background, a history, and a past. This interview allows us to meet a hero and get to know him better, by focusing on how he handles being relaxed, as well as how he handles stress.

Please tell me about your hero.

Age: 133
Gender: Male
Birthplace: Brazilian Amazon Jungle,
Profession: Enforcer (Shifter code enforcement), Coffee
Ethnicity: Brazilian Culture; Mixed indigenous tribal and European appearance
Species (for scifi/fantasy characters): Jaguar Shifter

What does your hero look like?

After living as a jaguar in the Amazon for a few decades too long, Matteo has a unique appearance. Natural, tawny dreadlocks followed him into his six-foot plus human form, along with rich copper eyes and a V-shaped pattern of ochre rosettes down his back. When he’s enraged, he snarls, ensuring his adversary gets a glimpse of a great-cat canine.

Who is the significant other in his life?

Brilliant adrenalin junkie Dakota Gorman is bold, courageous, and protective of the weak and family, yet others see her as a carefree fashionista with an irresponsible streak. With two partially completed bachelors, and an abandoned medical degree to her credit, some even call her flighty. Discovering her true inner strength rocks Matteo to his core.

The Hero’s Relaxed Side

This hero is at a party. Considering his story, describe the party.

Any shifter party is a danger zone. Jag males are solitary and territorial, and since the females died out over seventy years ago, most have never even seen an unmated queen. The discovery of the latent females in the United States invigorates the all-male clan with hope for the future. Now, however, their mixed gatherings are powder kegs with a flame licking at the fuse.

Matteo has two roles. As a guest, he would travel from table to table, exchanging arm clasps and man hugs with the older males and fist bumps with the young ones. However, no one at the party would mistake his congenial manner for relaxed.

How does the hero feel about being this particular party, and what body language is he displaying that gives it away?

Matteo had thought a gathering of mixed company a thing of the past. So when viewing a room filled with male and female jag shifters flirting and getting to know one another, a sense of awe and hope for the future often strikes him. Enough to make him clear his throat to cover the emotion.

Since he retains a keen jaguar sense of smell while in his human form, scents have an impact on him. Dakota’s alluring fragrance tortures him. Cat instinct to claim the formidable female often sends a shift’s heat racing over his skin. Seeking relief, he’ll rub at his nose, though it’s a wasted motion.

Is he more likely to mingle or remain aloof?

Matteo always resists a desire to find a solitary table. Because he must keep the peace, he makes frequent stops to greet young males flirting with the fair-skinned latents.


If he drinks, what is his drink of choice at this party?

With a high need for carbs in human form, Matteo prefers fruit juice, specifically acai juice. Few drugs have any effect on shifters, and alcohol’s taste doesn’t appeal, but he’d thought he might enjoy the fun buzz reported by humans.

How much drink is his usual?

After shifting from cat to human, a need for carbs is impossible to ignore. A pitcher of fruity juice is not out of the question. However, if pastry is near, he prefers coffee.

The hero figures out where the hiding places are and then goes there. Is it to hide, to avoid someone, or to go drag a friend back to the party?

As the Enforcer, Matteo will search any secluded areas regularly. In this particular party, the females don’t yet know they are cats and are uninformed about the risks of an accidental mating. Any male who takes advantage of a naïve queen will answer to the Enforcer.

Is he likely to latch onto a friend and stay with him/her and ignore others, or is he the friend that others latch onto?

Matteo has few close friends, and he values those males as brothers. These older males, the ancients, will coordinate security between them, following Matteo’s lead. No one “latches on” to him. He’s too intimidating to most jag males.

If someone picked a fight at this party, how is the hero going to handle it?

Any male who picks a fight with Matteo is likely driven by cat instinct rather than any logical thought. He’d employ a submission hold and pin the impaired male with a dominant glare until the shifter came to his senses.

Is the hero the one most likely to get tossed out of the party, or the one who does the tossing?

See above.

Will he know when to leave, or stay late and make a nuisance of himself?

If Matteo manages security at the party, he would not concern himself with sensitivities or perceptions. However, in a truly social setting, he will leave as early as politely possible.

The Hero’s Stressed Out Side

How does the hero handle it if the cops or some other authority figure pulls him aside when he was blameless in a situation?

Those few with authority over Matteo must earn his respect, and even then, if their logic is flawed, he will push back.

How does the hero react to hearing a scream?

Having a naturally protective nature, he’d investigate.

If he sees someone being assaulted, what is the FIRST thing that crosses his mind?

Likely due to his roots in the previous century, and assuming the attacker is male, his initial reaction will depend on the victim’s gender. If male, Matteo wonders if the man deserves the beating. If female, he calculates how to intervene.

If he sees someone being assaulted, what is the FIRST thing he does?

Regardless of the victim’s gender, he will stop the assault to determine the facts, and after he’s satisfied his curiosity, he’s not above allowing a deserved punishment to continue.

This hero attempts to rescue someone and realizes that he is in over his head. The odds are against him and there is no way out. He is going to get his butt handed to him. What does he do?

Having a military background, he views retreat as a strategy to win a war or to minimize casualties. That said if a shifter female is involved, all bets are off. No sacrifice is too high to save a single queen.

The hero runs into the one person from his past he wanted to avoid. He can’t get out of the situation and must interact in some way. What does he do?

He’d ignore the person with overt disdain, and if forced to interact, things will go poorly for any individual who has previously disappointed Matteo.

Someone younger than the hero is in charge of the situation, and they are handling it badly, perhaps bungling things. How does the hero deal with it?

Despite his hardened nature, Matteo encourages young ones to challenge themselves, to become more than they are. He’d counsel the younger shifter in the moment, however, depending on the stakes; he’s also comfortable taking matters into his own hands.

The hero is in physical pain but must bear up under it and keep going. What does he tell himself in order to get through the situation?

He focuses on his main objective, the endgame goal. And if an enemy caused this pain, he plots his revenge.

What mentor’s words come to mind in a bad situation?

“If you’d thought of any but yourself these last seventy years…”

What lesson from his past gets him through a stressful situation?

Matteo endured decades of grief for a lost mate. He will spare Dakota that pain. (No more spoiler on that one lol)

What one thing would you like readers to know about your hero?

He’s an educated savage with a gentleman’s heart.

Where to buy Jungle Salvation, The Jaguar Queens Book II

Barnes and Noble

MA Jewell Social Media

MA Jewell began adulting as an operating-room nurse. An avid romance reader for many years, she traded in her reading addiction for a pen to write down all the stories clogging up her brain. Now, she can’t stop.
Recently transplanted to Dallas, Texas, she enjoys her own happily ever after with her biggest fan and supporter, her husband, Jim. Their two sons have fledged and married lovely, competent women. And if you have an extra twenty minutes, go ahead and ask about her two perfect grandchildren.
Book III of The Jaguar Queens series, Jungle Desire, is in the works. To get early details on releases, sign up for her Precious Gems newsletter below. Drawings are held with each issue, too!
Amazon Author Page
Get to know MA Jewell better by signing up for their email newsletter. (10% sample of Jungle Salvation download included)


Know the Heroine from Burning Bridges by Dee S Knight writing as Anne Krist @DeeSKnight #RLFblog #romance #secondchance #vietnamwar #NavyWelcome Anne Krist (aka Dee S Knight). Happy to have you on Romance Lives Forever. I’m Kayelle Allen, author and owner of this blog. We’re excited to find out more about your heroine, but first, tell us about the book.

Burning Bridges by Dee S Knight writing as Anne Krist

Genre Romance

Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R

Consider the role of strangers in our lives. An unknown postman in Virginia hides a bag of mail in his shed one day. His simple action sets in motion untold consequences for many others–strangers–all over the country. How many bridges were burned in that forgotten mail pouch?

Sara Richards’s world is rocked when three love letters from 1970 are delivered decades late. The letters were written by Paul Steinert, a young sailor who took her innocence with whispered words of love and promises of forever before leaving for Vietnam. Sara is left behind, broken hearted and secretly pregnant, yearning for letters she never received.

Then he died.

Now, years later, she discovers the betrayal wasn’t Paul’s, when her mother confesses to a sin that changed their lives forever. How can Sara reveal to Paul’s parents that they have a granddaughter they’ve missed the chance to know? Even worse, how will she find the words to tell her daughter that she’s lived her life in the shadow of a lie?

Picking her way through the minefields of distrust and betrayal, Sara finds that putting her life together again without burning any bridges will be the hardest thing she’s ever done.

Know the Heroine from Burning Bridges

Here are some fun questions to help us know your heroine.

It’s late, she’s bored. What does she do?

If it’s during the week, she hops in her car and drives to Charleston to take her daughter to a surprise lunch. If it’s not day time, she bakes and then takes the goodies to her mother’s house. Or she reads. But as a business owner, she doesn’t often have boring moments.

What kind of food would she impulse buy if hungry?

Pizza. She doesn’t eat it often because she likes to keep her weight in check, something she’s found to be harder the older she gets. And put pizza in front of Sara…? She’ll eat the whole pie!

Describe the kind of clothes she prefers to wear.

Sara lives in Beaufort, SC, where the winters are mild and the summers are hot, so she dresses comfortably. Usually that means loose clothes, and generally cotton. At work she’ll wear a top over slacks or a skirt, or a dress, with sandals or pumps. At home, she’s in shorts and tee shirt, or cargo pants. She wears hats because every Southern woman knows not to expose her complexion to the sun!

Does she know how to fix things?

Oh yes! She moved to South Carolina at seventeen, when she told her parents she was pregnant. She moved in with her spinster Aunt Barbara, who taught her that it was good to have a man to rely on if things needed fixing, but better to rely on yourself. Sara learned her lesson well. Before her dad died he helped her with problems around the house, because he wouldn’t take “No,” for an answer. Sometimes her friend and occasional lover, Marine Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Abrams, helps out now because when a gentleman wants to help, a lady must consider allowing him.

She tried to do something and it went badly. Tell us about it.

Sara adopted a lie about her background when she went to South Carolina to have her daughter. The lie grew to the point that even she believed it. But as we all know, lies are usually found out at some point, and when this one is revealed, Sara realizes that she’s hurt everyone she knows–and maybe destroyed the person she loves most in the world.

How does she act around children she doesn’t know?

Sara loves children. She never found a man to love well enough to marry, so she never had another child, but she likes kids and being with them.

What is she like first thing in the morning?

She’s one of those hard to deal with people who enjoys getting up each morning. She loves her town and her job and her house and… Suddenly bluebirds are singing in the trees! Disgusting, really.

Can she use chopsticks?

Yes. She’s lived near a Marine base for many years and is exposed to many customs from around the world. But she doesn’t see the point. Food doesn’t taste any better with chopsticks than with a fork.

Does she drink coffee? If so, how does she take it? If not, what does she drink instead?

Coffee is a necessity, of course, and she drinks it black. However, like most people in the south, sweet tea is really the drink of choice except for the morning.

What apps would she have on her phone?

Sara isn’t one for apps. She likes something relaxing like solitaire or a brain-teaser app that stretches her mind, but other than that she has Google and a news app. That’s it.

Android or iPhone?


Earrings or unpierced ears?

Pierced. And since she’s good friends with local artisans, she has a spectacular earring collection.

Tattoos or unadorned skin?

Unadorned. Matthew has a tattoo of the Marine emblem, but she doesn’t find tattoos attractive, so she wouldn’t be drawn to a man with sleeves or too many drawings.

Personal vehicle or public transport?

She’s able to walk or bicycle to work, and she lives close enough to town to shop without a car, so she doesn’t drive that much, or take public transportation.

Recycle or toss?


Thanks for helping us get to know your heroine!

Where to buy Burning Bridges


Dee S Knight writing as Anne Krist Social Media

A few years ago, Dee S Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. That’s how Dee spends her days. Her nights? Well, she’s lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret.
After a while, Dee split her personality into thirds. She writes as Anne Krist for sweeter romances, and Jenna Stewart for ménage and shifter stories. All three of her personas are found on the Nomad Authors website. Also, once a month, look for Dee’s Charity Sunday blog posts, where your comment can support a selected charity.


RLFblog offers authors opportunities to share their books #RLFblog #authorsRLFblog grew in 2019. Thank you for a great year! The Romance Lives Forever blog grew, and new interviews were added. For the year, there were 365 new posts. We trialed Free Book Friday, which was not as popular as I’d have liked, but the Christmas Romance Saturdays in December were a huge success. Two hours after I mentioned it online, 90% of the slots had filled. I’ll definitely offer that again next year.

Social Media on RLFblog

The blog uses the hashtag #RLFblog, and the hashtags most often associated with it are #Romance #RomanticSuspense #suspense #historical #contemporary #PNR #paranormalromance #paranormal and #SciFi. Readers here love those genres, but there are dozens more.

Twitter generates about 85% of the traffic to the RLF website, mostly because it is fed from Triberr — which did a great job. Because of my followers, the tribemates I associate with and their followers, RLF has a reach of over three million. The program works because it brings new readers, and reminds current ones of new material. It provides an average of 45 – 50 mentions on Twitter every day, and since each post has the guest author’s Twitter handle in the title, that means the guest gets mentioned too. If you aren’t using Twitter, you’re not getting the full power of this blog’s reach. Please consider signing up, and while you’re there, I’d love it if you’d follow me.

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Sign Up for the RLFblog

RLFblog offers authors opportunities to share their books #RLFblog #authorsYou can see all the signups available by visiting SignUp Genius. This site will email you a confirmation, send a reminder, and even include links where you can download an interview for the site.


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New for 2020 – RLF Blog Author Roster

I’ll be adding a quarterly bonus for readers to download in 2020. Authors who care to be listed may add name, bio, and other book info to a simple form. Takes two minutes to fill out and will put your name in front of hundreds of readers. No cost involved. Limit once per author.

Thank you…

The blog has grown and changed in response to your requests, and I hope you’ve found it helpful. If there is something you’d like me to add or change, please let me know. Thank you for your support. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, and I hope to see you back soon.

— Kayelle Allen

Meet Jarrett Brandt from A Hero's Heart by Amber Daulton @amberdaulton1 #RLFblog #RomanticSuspenseWelcome Jarrett Brandt from A Hero’s Heart, a new Romantic Suspense by Amber Daulton.

Meet Jarrett Brandt

Age: 28

Gender: Male

Birthplace: Washington State

Profession: DEA agent

Ethnicity: Caucasian

Please provide a physical description of yourself.

I’m a little over six feet tall. I have chin-length dark-brown hair, and it’s a little shaggy since I’ve been undercover with a criminal organization for a while. Gotta look the part, ya know? Anyway, I have dark eyes and a killer smile… or so says the ladies.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I made a lot of mistakes as a teenager, but I’ve since straightened out my life. I love my job with the DEA, especially when I’m on an undercover assignment. I thought I was happy until I headed home to pay my respects to my twin brother, who died in the line of duty a few years earlier.

Who is the significant other in your life?

Marissa Reinn Brandt. She was my high school sweetheart and the love of my life. But then I left home and her behind. She married my brother, but the relationship didn’t last. Now I’m back and determined to do right by her and her son, my nephew. Marissa and the boy, Jason, mean everything to me.

How does your hero dress?

In jeans and a leather jacket. Thank God it’s wintertime. He loves that dang jacket and often wears it even in the summer. It’s wonder he’s never suffered heatstroke.

If you could only hear this character’s voice (but not see him) what characteristic would identify him?

His deep, rumbling, seductive voice. The man’s sexy. I can’t deny it.

How educated is this character? Is he book smart, self-taught, widely-experienced?

He graduated from high school and hit the road, leaving town and not planning to return. After a few years of doing drugs and squandering his life, the police picked him up and the DEA offered him a deal. Turns out, some of his friends were involved in an underage prostitution ring, and it sickened him. He agreed to help the feds in exchange for his freedom. After he cleaned himself up and brought down the lowlifes, he stayed on with the agency. Everything he learned of importance since then came from federal training and life experiences.

What does he have a knack for doing?

Pretending to be the villain in order to do the right thing.

What is your character’s family like?

Jarrett’s parents embody the typical middle-class family. Though they lost one son due to a heartbreaking incident and the other due to drugs and lifestyle choices, they treat Marissa, their daughter-in-law, like a flesh-and-blood daughter. They love and support her, and will always rally behind her and their grandson.

Is he close to family?

Not at all. As a child and teenager, Jarrett was the misfit, the black sheep. He always butted heads with his judgmental policeman father. Though he and his twin got along, Jarrett resented him for being the golden child. He loved his mother, but his father always divided them. Now that he’s finally back home, he’s still at odds with his dad, but he’s handling the problems like an adult, not a rebellious kid. He’s repairing his relationship with his mom and rekindling his love with Marissa. He adores his nephew.

Can your hero keep a secret? If not, why not? If yes, why?

Oh, yes. He has to as a federal agent. Lives depend on his silence, but with Marissa, it’s hard for him to keep anything from her. And often, he doesn’t.

About Your Writer: Questions for your character to answer about you.

To honor the person who chose to share your story, please answer at least four of these questions.

Why do you think your writer chose to write about you?

I think she knew I needed redemption after all the mistakes I’ve made. I yearned for a second chance, but I wouldn’t admit it to myself for the longest time. Amber knew that and forced me down the path of forgiveness and acceptance. I’m grateful she did. I’ve missed my family, and most of all, Marissa.

What do you wish your writer had not told others about you?

Well, now that it’s out in the open, I can talk about it. Amber should’ve known better than to tell the readers about my last assignment. I was undercover with a ruthless drug gang and barely got out of there alive. The boss put a bounty on my head, for God’s sake. It’s all over now, but damn. That was a stressful time.

When your writer is writing about you, what do you think makes your writer the most happy? What makes your writer the most sad?

She loves writing about Marissa and me. You should see her eyes light up when I’m kissing my girl or taking her to the bedroom. My author definitely has a naughty side.

She gets sad when writing about my past, though. I told her everything that happened, all the stupid shit I did, and she added it to the story without downplaying the seriousness. She believes in honesty, and I respect her for it, even though she revealed some secrets she shouldn’t have.

Why do you think your writer loves to write?

Amber likes happy endings and redeeming people like me. Everyone makes mistakes. That’s a fact of life. But if you own up to it and try to make amends, it makes you a better person. She tells those kinds of stories because she wants to inspire and give hope to anyone who needs it, and to give them a few hours of reading enjoyment.

Where to buy A Hero’s Heart

Barnes and Noble
Amazon (Audio)
iTunes (Audio)

Amber Daulton Social Media

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.
Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats.
Amazon Author Page


Know the Hero from Sweet Love, Bitter Fruit by Lyndell Williams @laylawriteslove #RLFblog #urbanromance #contemporaryromanceLyndell Williams, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. I’m Kayelle Allen, author and owner of this blog. Happy to have you here! We’re excited to find out more about your hero, but first, tell us about the book.

Sweet Love, Bitter Fruit by Lyndell Williams

Genre romance

Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R

From Lyndell Williams, author of My Way to You, a new novel about keeping the flames of love and passion burning in a world determined to snuff them out.

Harlem lawyer Marcus Kent fights for justice while preserving a stable, passionate marriage with wife, Toni. Smart and confident, he has it all together—that is until his world turns upside down.

Not only is someone stalking his sister, but an intern at work is also getting too close for comfort.

On top of all of that, Toni’s renewed infertility obsession causes them to continually argue, adding more strain and cooling off their steamy union.

Struggling with insecurities and yearning to have a child, successful psychologist Toni Kent looks to her husband for support. Unfortunately, relentless distraction and stubbornness prevent Marcus from being there when she needs him the most and jeopardizes their happy home.

After multiple failed in vitro attempts, Toni is ready to try again, but Marcus is done. He doesn’t want another headache or more heartache. Will infertility tear this dream couple apart?

Know the Heroine from Sweet Love, Bitter Fruit

Here are some fun questions to help us know your heroine.

It’s late, she’s bored. What does she do?

Ever since Toni married Marcus, boredom became nonexistent. They have a very full life together. If she is not helping clients at her private therapy practice, she is helping at the community center, travelling or spending couples time with Marcus. She makes sure to align their schedules so there is plenty of that.

What kind of food would she impulse buy if hungry?

Toni’s mother, Whitley raised her to be conscientious about everything that goes into her mouth. So, she rarely eats on the fly.

She packs her fridge and cabinets with health, organic foods. There is very little processed stuff. She plans every meal so it doesn’t have to be. If she finds herself stuck out there with a growling stomach, the bag of unsalted almonds and vegan protein bar will do just fine.

Describe the kind of clothes she prefers to wear.

Toni’s fashion flare reflects her  Westport, CT upbringing and time living in Greenwich Village before moving uptown to Harlem when she married Marcus. She has a walk-in closet filled with designer labels to don for work, professional networking and partying. Whether a cocktail party or fundraising event for Marcus’ center, she is red bottom ready.

When she is home, feeling sexy helps her shed the day’s tensions. Clients dump a lot on her, so walking around their uptown apartment like a seductress with all of Marcus’ attention hits the spot for her ego. She floats around in her silk cami pant set, knowing is the one.

Does she know how to fix things?

Marcus is pretty competent when it comes to keeping things at home working. Toni concentrates of making sure he and the family are coping. So as far as fixing anything, she is really good at repairing a tense situation—that is—unless she is the one causing the tensions. She is the most stable person in the Kent family, but she is not a saint.

She tried to do something and it went badly. Tell us about it.

Toni felt really badly about how her need for some space impacted her best friend Regina. Sometimes, things are too hard to handle for even the strongest person. When the news that her sister-in-law was having another baby while she struggled with infertility tore into her, Toni headed for the hills. The guilt that she wasn’t there for Regina plagues her.

How does she act around children she doesn’t know?

Toni and Marcus are childless, so their niece Justine is the only kid she consistently spends time entertaining. She likes kids, but when she is at the center, she is helping the adults, so she is not around them too much. She wants a baby, and will make a great mother, but kids are not a major factor in her life.

What is she like first thing in the morning?

Toni loves her bed and fights hard to keep from being separated from it. She will snuggle deeper under the blankets while Marcus jumps up and prepares for his run. She calculates when he should return, and stays in the cushy warmth until the last possible minute. It is her sanctuary. When she has no other choice, she slips from the sheets and heads right for the coffee machine. No one better speak to her until that cup of brew is empty.

Can she use chopsticks?

Toni, Regina and Simon usually have a grand old time watching Marcus struggle with chopsticks. She shakes her head as her loving husband tries to balance them in his big hands, finally lifting some food to his mouth while he grabs a fork.

Does she drink coffee? If so, how does she take it? If not, what does she drink instead?

Coffee is on tap throughout Toni’s day. She starts at the machine on the kitchen counter and continues with stops at the local coffee shop near her office. She likes it with half-and-half and no sugar. She refuses to drink that Seattle stuff. How anyone can call it coffee is beyond her.

What apps would she have on her phone?

Toni’s phone is loaded with social media and calendar apps. She loves posting images and gliding down timelines for the latest fashion. She is a makeup and hair tutorial junkie, watching videos between clients.

Android or iPhone?

Marcus brought Toni to the iPhone darkside when they married. For her, it was easier to communicate with him. Facetime during business trips is a must.

Earrings or unpierced ears?

Toni rocks hoops with her bob. She has four piercings in each ear from when she work rows of them and diamond studs during her teen years. They drove her mom crazy. Now, she will wear only one pair unless she is feeling nostalgic.

Tattoos or unadorned skin?

Toni has a needle phobia. The rebellious teen she was, she probably would have gotten a tattoo if she wasn’t so scared of being stuck.

Personal vehicle or public transport?

New York City traffic is not a joy to navigate. Toni will hop a train or hire a car before getting behind the wheel. She occasionally drives when going to visit Marcus’ parents or when they go for a weekend away from the city.

Recycle or toss?

She better recycle. Marcus is a drill sergeant about it.

Thanks for helping us get to know your heroine!

Where to buy Sweet Love, Bitter Fruit


Lyndell Williams Social Media

Lyndell Williams (Layla Abdullah-Poulos) holds a B.A. in Historical Studies and Literature, M.A. in Liberal Studies, and an AC in Women and Gender Studies. She is an adjunct instructor as well as an anti-racism and gender equity advocate. She is the senior New York trainer for the Muslim Anti-Racism collaborative.
Williams is a cultural critic with a background in literary criticism specializing in romance. She has been published in peer-review journals and presented at national conferences about Muslim and interracial romance fiction as well as racism, sexism and the Black Muslim experience.
She is the founder and managing editor of the NbA Muslims blog on Patheos and a cultural contributor for Radio Islam USA. She is a contributor to the online publications About Islam and Haute Hijab.
Williams is the lead content editor WriteType Editorial Services and mentors aspiring writers across genres.
She’s had numerous short stories published in collections and enjoys a growing list of subscribers to her Layla Writes Love online short story series.
Williams self-published her first interracial romance novel My Way to You. The novel made it onto four Amazon bestsellers lists its premiere weekend.
She is committed to the traditional use of literature as social commentary to affect positive social change.
Williams is married and the mother of six children.
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