Hi Lila, thanks so much for hosting me today.
Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
I think my genre more or less chose me. I started off writing mystery and suspense, but somehow it’s morphed into romance.
Did you enjoy language arts in school? Did you have a teacher that particularly encouraged you to write?
For the most part, but when it got to those dangling participles and clauses well I zoned out. All of my teachers encouraged me to write, but the one who did the most was Mr. Allen. Unfortunately he didn’t live to see me become published.
It’s five o’clock somewhere…Let’s have a drink! What cocktail best describes you and why?
As I don’t drink much, I’d have to go with a rocky road milkshake. I’m sweet, chocolatey and a bit nuts. :-)
On my desk I have a rhino that my husband gave me to remind me I’m rhino-tough, as you have to be in the business. Is there anything you have that you use to remind you of that?
My sister. Who better than a sister to encourage when I get knocked down.
I have two muses, Arwen and Bronwyn, they have very distinct personalities. Can you share a bit about your muse?
My muse and her friends love to party. There are a total of three, two males and a female. Kincaid has a dark side and it’s a little scary dealing with him sometimes. Bristol is pretty laid back, somewhat of a romantic ,more of the thinker and my main muse, Amethyst, she keeps it all together. When she doesn’t get her way, she takes the other two and leaves. Which is no fun. Oh and I don’t care what they say, they are never right. If you’re really quiet, you can hear them laughing at me after that last statement.
It seems we all endured English and/or World literature coming up in high school…What was the worst book you were ever forced to read and what about it turned you off?
Beowuolf. I positively, absolutely loathed that story. It was the slowest, most boring book I’d ever read and when Hollywood made it into a movie I refused to see it. Give me a Russian novel any day of the week.
You have a million dollars that you must donate to one charitable organization. Which one would you choose and why?
I’d choose a charity that either helped people with visual impairments or a charity that researched Retinitis Pigmentosa. I have that eye condition and not much can be done to reverse the effects of the eye disease.
Do you have one of those pesky day jobs, or are you a full-time writer? If you do have another career what do you do and do you enjoy it?
No, I’m writing full time. Before I wrote full time I was a cake decorator.
Due to the world we live in, most editors will tell a romance writer they have the moral obligation to protect their characters from scary life altering things, thereby being obligated to the reader. What are your thoughts on this? Do you protect your characters and how?
It really depends on the characters. Not all characters use protection, just like not all people in the real world use protection. I like scary life altering events in my fictional world it helps create conflict. When I do write protection, it’s in the form of condoms, birth control pills or other contraceptives.
Romance has come a long, long way since Fabio graced the covers regularly…it seems the hinges are off the proverbial door. How far is too far in your mind? Are there things you simply won’t write?
I won’t write a same sex love scene or some of the things which fall on a publisher’s do not include list. Everything else is open and fair game, as long as I’m comfortable writing it.
I’ve been asked, as has my husband, if we do “all that stuff in my stories.” Do you get asked this and if so how do you handle it?
I’ve never been asked that question and it’ll be interesting to see what I say.
I had an editor early on that showed me the way…have you had anyone in particular that gave you a gentle **ahem** nudge in the right direction? How did they do that and how did you react?
I had a lovely editor at Wild Rose Press, tell me I was a “head-hopper.” Since then, I learned as much as I could about point of view and a few other things I consider weaknesses in my writing.
Wine or beer?
Satin or cotton?
Fries or tots?
Cake or pie?
Steak or burgers?
Candle light or pitch dark?
It’s a toss up, ‘cause I can’t see in either light level. :-)
Until next time, Indulge Your Inner Romantic
W. Lynn Chantale resides in southeastern Michigan. Married to her high school sweetheart, they’ve been together for the last twenty years, and have three children. She has a mad affinity for milk chocolate, preferably Dove chocolate truffles or the caramel-filled squares (Godiva is acceptable), and plays the bass guitar when the Muse begs for a bit of distraction.
She’s also a member of Romance Writers of America as well Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America, Passionate Ink and Kiss of Death groups. She has one release, Seducing His Wife and a short story, Decadent Seconds under contract with Whispers Publishing. Also look for Breaking Delia’s Rules, from Breathless Press.
Darryl Manning always believed Darling would be his forever. After all he didn’t need a piece of paper to show her how much he loved her, but when she leaves him to pursue her dream of owning a catering company and raising his son, he may have to rethink his views marriage. That is if he wants a second chance at family.
Drunken laughter floated just above the thrumming bass line of Lenny Kravitz’s Are You Gonna Go My Way, competing with the steady buzz of conversation. Soft pastel strobe lights flickered through the muted illumination. Darlene Williams, or “Darling” as she was known to friends and associates, surveyed the banquet hall full of guests.
She heaved a sigh as she glimpsed a swirl of ivory on the dance floor. For one wistful moment, where fairytales glowed bright and rosy, she imagined her own wedding. Her fairytale didn’t have a happy ending. She sighed again. Or a beginning.
A familiar face bobbed in the crowd, and her breath hitched. Twice he tried to take her picture, and she was determined he wouldn’t succeed. His gaze found hers, and her heartbeat matched the pounding bass line. He turned away, and she focused on a set of broad, muscular shoulders. She could spend hours smoothing her hands over his brawn. When he found her again, the corners of his mouth creased, and a familiar tingle crackled through her veins.
Just once she’d like to not react when she saw him. Despite the warmth knocking at the wall of her heart, Darling followed his movements to a group of similarly clad women. When they clustered around him, he raised his Nikon to his rugged face.
She loved his face, all angles and planes, and all that sharpness melted away when he smiled. Sadness and longing wiggled through a crack in her wall and squeezed her heart. They weren’t meant to be. Still she stared after him, envying the way he leaned close to one woman and lowered his camera. He gave a nod before moving away. When he passed beneath a wall sconce, the warm glow gave his smooth brown skin the fine sheen of melted chocolate. He should’ve been out of place in his black polo shirt and khaki slacks as he moved among the tuxedoes and long dresses, but his sexy smirk and camera made things easy.
The discordant clash of a body colliding with cymbals and snare drum drew Darling’s attention toward the dais next to the dance floor. A glassy-eyed young man in a tux tried to untangle his limbs from the instrument without spilling his drink. Succeeding, he then lurched onto the crowded dance floor and crashed into a couple of dancers. She shook her head when he sprawled on the floor, still trying to drink from the glass in his hand.
Not her problem. Darling regarded the decimated buffet, the food reduced to crumbs and half-dried globs of gravy—this was her problem. Swiping sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand, she lifted her gaze again, this time scanning the room for the tall, sexy photographer. He was now taking pictures of the drunk on the floor. Good, she didn’t want to run into him or his camera again. Turning, she hefted the silver chafer by the handles and placed it on the rolling cart behind her.
She reached for the next chafer, moving the serving spoon aside when strong hands seized her shoulders. The spoon slipped from her grasp, splattering white sauce on her black slacks, before settling on the floor. A sensuous chuckle tickled her ear, sending warmth scurrying through her veins, and puckering her nipples. Yanking free, she spun around to glare into dark chocolate eyes. She shoved the owner of those eyes and straightened her clothes. He laughed softly, his gaze drifting leisurely over her white chef’s coat and work pants.
Darryl Manning, the sexy photographer, grabbed her hand and gently tapped the thick bandage wrapped around her index finger. “What did you do to your finger?” She tugged her hand from his grasp, wincing when she smacked the digit on the chafer. “I cut it.” She bent to retrieve the spoon from the floor, straightened, and placed the utensil in a gray plastic tub.
Darling wiped her hands on a towel. Darryl folded well-toned arms across his broad chest, the black knit shirt he wore strained to accommodate the expansion of muscle. She stifled a groan and the urge to run her fingers along the bulging biceps and perfect pecs. Why did her body pick today to rebel? “I don’t have time for this now,” she snapped, “What do you have time for?” His rich baritone conjured nights of hot, steamy sex and decadent morning afters. He lifted his camera, with a sexy smirk. “Maybe a photo or two?”
She resisted the seductive note in his voice and placed her hand on the lens. “I’m working.”
“And I’m not, just finished.” He stepped closer, the heat of his body instantly warming hers. Darling tilted her head back to maintain eye contact.
She studied his face, waiting for the familiar ache and longing to subside. It didn’t. Being this close to him, surrounded by his scent, a little soap and a whole lot of male, made her yearn to be in his arms, to feel his full lips against hers. What was she doing? She couldn’t think about him, about them. She moved away. Not today.
Darling turned as the click-click-click of his camera captured her. Huffing, she stalked toward the kitchen. She caught the attention of Pete, one of her chefs for the evening. “Could you finish breaking down the buffet table while I take care of this?” She jerked a thumb to the hunk at her heels. Light flashed in her face, momentarily blinding her, and she held a hand to her eyes, blinking to clear her vision. “Don’t do that!”
Moving through the kitchen to a narrow staircase, she heaved a sigh as the pulsing rock music faded to a dull roar. Darling entered her office and smiled at the young man seated in a chair. “Thanks, Denny,” she said. He was another employee, and she waited until he closed the door.
Darling knelt next to a car seat and dropped a kiss on the sleeping infant’s cheek. White light zigzagged before her eyes. “Stop it!” she said.
“But you’re so beautiful,” Darryl said.
Her stomach did a slow somersault at the compliment, but he would need more than pretty words and his handsome face to woo her. Straightening, she shoved a diaper bag in his general direction. “I have two more weddings, a funeral, and an awards banquet. You trying to flirt is not on today’s calendar!”
Darryl offered her a smile and her knees turned to jelly. The man would be the death of her. The only reason she still spoke to him was the sleeping toddler. If not for the baby, she’d have kept walking and never looked back.
She brushed a stray curl from her face and planted her hand on her hip when Darryl didn’t move. “I know you may not have anything to do, but I really need to get back downstairs,” she reminded him.
He stepped closer, reaching a hand to tug on the lock of hair she had just swept away. She sucked in a breath, his clean masculine scent beguiling her. Her gaze dropped to the open collar of his shirt. If she pressed her mouth to his warm skin, would he moan? Darling lifted her head, and he met her lips with a kiss. Too stunned to protest, she sank into his kiss, savoring the spicy taste of him and the firmness of his lips. He skimmed the curve of her spine with his hands before resting them at her hips. Drawing her closer, he brought her against the hard line of his arousal. Desire exploded, and she wiggled her hips in hopes of easing the sudden tension at the apex of her thighs. As if sensing her need, he cupped her butt, shifting her slightly until he was wedged between her legs.
Lightning arced through her veins as he settled more firmly against her core. She gasped, and he deepened the kiss, tongues dueling in a fevered dance. Tightening her arms around his neck, Darling relished the sensations vibrating through her system, and decided to enjoy them.
Lifting his head, Darryl stared into her face. For once she didn’t care if he knew how much she wanted him, her fingers stroked the nape of his neck. She regarded him a moment before he brushed his lips across hers one last time before stepping away.
“I like flirting with you.” He trailed his fingers down her arm.And with those few words he ruined the mood. She drew a ragged breath into her lungs and shoved his hand aside. How could one little kiss leave her so edgy and uncomfortable? She couldn’t give in to the demands of her body. She needed a clear head.