RNIC would like to welcome Shelly Ellis! We gave Shelly’s first book, Can’t Stand the Heat, a five-star review. She’s telling us about her latest title, The Player and the Game, and she’s doing a giveaway, but first let’s get to know Shelly.
Shelly, what types of books are on your bookshelf at home?
I write romance and women’s fiction, but I’m a big horror and urban fantasy fan. There are a lot of Stephen King and Dean Koontz novels on my book shelves (both in my living room and my virtual Kindle book shelf). I recently finished Joe Hill’s (Stephen King’s son) NOS4A2 and just started the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey.
When it comes to romance novels, I love historical by Beverly Jenkins and contemporaries by Nora Roberts.
What is your favorite body part on a man or woman?
My favorite body part, by far, on a man is a nice, strong back. I know it sounds crazy, but a man’s back can have beautiful contours and I love resting my head on shoulder blades or a broad shoulder. Years ago, a guy accidentally pulled off his shirt in front of me in college and stretched. I swear I almost fainted. The image of his toned back is still emblazoned in my memory.
Which TV show(s) can you absolutely not miss every week?
I must watch the show, Supernatural, when it comes on television on Wednesdays. If I miss it, I sneak and watch the online replay during lunch. I love the Winchester brothers. Not only are they very easy on the eyes, but I love the humor in the show and the paranormal storyline. That show cracks me up!
Finish this sentence: You gotta love a man who…
You gotta love a man who does household chores without being asked. My husband knows there’s nothing that turns me on more than finding the laundry done, dishes washed, and the bathrooms cleaned… especially the bathrooms! (*fanning myself)
Yes or no: Does size matter?
Does size matter overall? Nope! A guy doesn’t need to have the same equipment as a porn star to be a good lover. Hopefully, he can compensate in umm… other areas if he’s a bit lacking in the size department. And there are guys who have excellent equipment who might not know what to do with it!
Is there such a thing as too much sex in a romance novel? Explain.
I think there can be too much sex in a romance novel if the novel is just a series of sex scenes with no real plot. The sex should enhance the plot, the understanding of the characters, or symbolize the evolution of the hero and heroine’s romance. In fact, if a novel has too many sex scenes, it starts to become LESS sexy to me. It becomes almost robotic. “OK, we’ve hit another ten pages. Time to add another sex scene.” I think the reader will pick up on that.
Is there a scene in the book you particularly enjoy? Tell us about it and why.
One of my favorite scenes in The Player & Game is a scene at a blues bar in Florida that involves the hero, P.I. Keith Hendricks, and the heroine, Stephanie Gibbons. He thinks he’s coming in there to rescue her and claim his woman, but she definitely doesn’t see it that way. Things get tense pretty fast. It’s a funny scene because Keith is trying his best to be her rescuer, but she’s more like, “What the hell are you doing?”
What is your greatest accomplishment as an author so far?
I was excited when the first book in my series, Can’t Stand the Heat, made the Black Expressions Book Club bestseller list. It’s one of the top African American book clubs in the country. To make that list as a “debut” writer — a virtual unknown — felt great. I don’t even care if I’m 100 out of the top 100. Just happy to be on there!
Do you have a single book or character that’s dear to your heart, and why?
The book that sticks out in my memory and always will is Zoya by Danielle Steel. I fell in love with the character and the sweeping epic story of her life from Russian royalty, to impoverished ballerina, to rich man’s wife. It made me want to be a romance novelist.
What can readers expect from you next?
The next book I have in the series comes out April 2014. It’s called Another Woman’s Man. It features Dawn Gibbons, the second oldest sister. The fourth book in the series is also in the works. (I’m writing it now.) It will feature eldest sister Cynthia Gibbons.
It’s business as usual for the infamous gold digging Gibbons women of Chesterton, Virginia. But this time, middle sister, Stephanie, may be the one getting played. . .
Stephanie Gibbons has finally hit the jackpot. Her new sugar daddy, Isaac, is loaded and treating her in high style. When he proposes, Stephanie is sure she’s set for life — until she finds her bank account empty, Isaac gone, and a strange — but very attractive — man following her.
Sexy P.I. Keith Hendricks has been tracking Isaac all along the eastern seaboard — where the con man has left behind a trail of heartbroken, swindled women. But when Keith confronts Stephanie, he’s not sure if she’s Isaac’s accomplice — or his next victim. The only thing that’s certain is his overwhelming attraction to her. And when Stephanie joins him on the hunt for Isaac, neither can ignore the sparks. Soon Stephanie is wondering whether true love is worth its weight in gold. . .
He didn’t respond, but continued his long strides.
She raced ahead of him and held up her hands, pressing firmly against his chest, catching him by surprise.
Suddenly, the stirring Keith had been trying to keep at bay the whole time, came on full throttle. She hesitated and took a step back. He gazed at her, taking her in completely now.
Once again, she was wearing an impossibly short dress. She seemed to be fond of them. The dress revealed the long legs that were as familiar to him now as his home address thanks to the hours he had spent watching her. The imprint of pert nipples was visible through its silk fabric. It didn’t look like she was wearing a bra. Her moist pink lips were parted. She looked like she was begging to be kissed.
Stephanie frowned, as if feeling the radiating heat of his charged gaze. She took another uncertain step back from him.
“You can’t . . . You can’t walk out like this,” she murmured. “Do you realize the bomb you just dropped on me? You’re following Isaac because he’s done this before. If you’re still looking for him, I want updates. I want to know where he is so I can deal with the bastard myself!”
Keith pursed his lips. “Look, when I find him, I’ll contact the police and tell them that he stole from you as well. But I can’t—”
“I’ll hire you,” she said hurriedly. “If you’re tracking him down for that woman in Maryland, why can’t you track him down for me too?” She tilted her head. “I could get the money together. What’s your fee?”
Keith wavered. They could use a new client, but he wasn’t too keen on the idea of working for Stephanie. The woman in Maryland had been in her early sixties. She was comely for her age, but matronly. In fact, Keith could see how a younger, suave guy like Isaac had won her over and conned her. She hadn’t stood a chance. But Stephanie didn’t look like the woman in Maryland. There was nothing matronly about her. She was dangerously attractive and she knew it. She was a gold digger who seemed well attuned to the powers of seduction. Now that Isaac had moved on from Chesterton, Keith planned to put as much distance between himself and Stephanie Gibbons as possible. A woman like her could cause him to do irrational things and get him into a lot of trouble.
“You can’t . . . You can’t hire me,” he said slowly, shaking his head. “I work for one client at a time,” he lied.
Her face fell. “But—”
“Look, I gotta get going.” He started backing toward her foyer. “I’ll tell the police. Don’t worry. I’ll give them all my supporting documents.” He opened the front door. “When they arrest Isaac, I’ll give you a call. You can give them your written statement.”
He stepped through the doorway and shut the front door behind him, not giving her the chance to ask him to take on her case again. As he walked back to his SUV in the rain, the overpowering heat inside him slowly began to dissipate. He felt like an unbearable weight had been lifted.
Buy it Now!
Here’s the info on the giveaway!
Prize: an autographed copy of The Player & the Game
Eligibility: You must be a subscriber to the RNIC newsletter.
How to enter: Stephanie Gibbons goes on a wild road trip adventure with P.I. Keith Hendricks to the deep South to find the man who conned her. Have any crazy road trip stories? Share it here. The best story (in Shelly’s opinion) gets a signed copy of The Player & the Game.
Note: By participating in this contest, the winner has given permission to RNIC to share his/her name and email address with the person conducting the contest so they can forward the prize(s). Prizes open to U.S. entrants only, unless stated otherwise.
Deadline: September 13, 2013 at 11:59pm (EST)
Shelly, how can readers contact you?
About the Author
As long as she could remember, Shelly Ellis (who also writes under the name, L.S. Childers) has wanted to be a writer. In college, she studied journalism and started out as a crime reporter for a small local newspaper. Now she is an editor at a trade journal in Virginia.
Her fiction writing career began when she became one of four finalists in the BET Books First-Time Writers Contest when she was 19 years old. The prize was having her first short-story romance published in the book, All That and Then Some! She has since been chosen as a finalist for 2012 African American Literary Award in the romance category and started her new women’s fiction series with Kensington Publishing Inc., the Gibbons Gold Diggers.
She is married and lives in Maryland with her husband, their daughter, and their tabbie cat, Barty. She loves to paint, read, and watch movies.
Laurel Cremant is an opinionated author and reader of romance with a wicked sense of humor. RNIC was smart (or crazy) to bring her on as a blogger. In 2016 she took over the management of this site and relishes her new title of “Overlord of Awesome”