Christmas in July Trivia Page for Dellani Oakes

Cover by Suzette Vaughn

Cover by Suzette Vaughn

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing stories since I learned how to write. Before that, I made up stories and told them to my mother and anyone else who held still long enough. After my older sister started school, I started making up stories about my friend Snowy Green and our adventures at Rainbow School. I don’t remember them, but my mother does.

Which of your main characters is your favorite? Do you have more than one?

I have so many characters I love, but I have to admit that I fell in love with Kris in Room 103. He’s such a wonderful man who’s loved Marice since they were teenagers. Don’t get me wrong, Marice is kick ass and I love her, but there is something very special about Kris.

Where do you find inspiration?

I find it in the strangest places. I’ve gotten inspiration from a mud puddle before—go figure! For Room 103, it came from several places. Firstly, a conversation with a gentleman who was staying at the same motel I was. He happened to be there for his fortieth high school reunion—which gave me a backdrop (only I changed it to college). I was bored, which isn’t very hard to be in Pittsburg, Kansas, and I needed something to occupy me. And finally, I was walking from the breakfast room to my room and passed a door marked 103. I couldn’t figure out why it was there. It was obviously for the owner’s quarters. Also, I had to ask myself where rooms 101 and 102 were….

What kind of music do you listen to when you write?

It’s easier to say what I won’t listen to: Rap, Club Music and Twangy Country. I had a lot of Classic Rock, Blues, Soul and Southern Rock going when I wrote Room 103. I also like a few Indy Rock musicians, but generally just select songs and not an entire repertoire. I’m very picky about what I listen to. Sometimes, it has to set a particular mood, other times it’s simply background sound to drown out noises.

 

Name a famous author you’ve met, nearly met or wish you’d met.

I was fortunate, when in college, to attend lectures given by several famous authors. I met and conversed with Robin Cook – Coma, Richard Brautigan – Trout Fishing in America, Edward Albee – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf. I also saw Harlan Ellison speak. I didn’t get to meet him, though.

Through my radio broadcasts I’ve met so many amazing authors, I can’t even name them all. Probably one of my favorite duos to have on are Janet and Chris Morris because I have been a fan or Janet’s work since 1982. Not only that, they are just super cool.

What is the weirdest thing a character ever did in a book?

My characters have done some strange things. I think the weirdest that one of them ever did, was the villain in New at Love. She was mad at her ex-husband for dating a new woman (even though, she herself, had cheated on him) So she broke into the new girlfriend’s apartment and shaved the cat before taping him (the cat) to the hood of his car. (The cat was okay, though. Don’t worry.)

Who really wrote the book, you or your characters?

My characters always write the book. I take them to a point and then they hop on board the Crazy Train, fire up the engine and take off like a wildcat, running full throttle. I have no control and that’s the way I like it.

How many books have you started and how many have you finished?

Unfair! Why did I ask myself this question? Fortunately, I know the answer, because I recently counted them up. I’ve written a total of 137 novels or novellas. Of those, 90 are finished and 47 are still waiting for their endings. Of the finished novels, 10 of them have been published. These numbers are mind boggling enough for me.)

I set myself a goal to finish a book a month in 2016. I’ve finished off 10 so far. Three were written entirely in the month, the rest were unfinished novels that I finally wound up! I’m pretty excited about that!

What’s the hardest part with writing: the writing of the story or the editing?

For me, the writing is easy and the editing is simply tedious. I do my best to make my first draft as close to a final draft as I can. I mentally edit as I write and read through the prior writing session before beginning a new one. This not only refreshes my memory, it gives me a chance to catch errors. I have to change things as I see them, because otherwise I miss something. I can’t guarantee that I’ll spot the same mistake when I go through the next time.

If Room 103 was made into a movie, which would you choose and who would you cast?

Funny I should ask myself that question…. I like to have an actor or actress in mind for my main characters. It gives me a voice, stance, movement pattern for the character I want to portray.

Cast for Room 103:

Marice Houston – Cote de Pablo

Kris Hood – Jacob Pitts

Todd Englund – Ryan Eggold

Regan Toliver – Gabriel Macht

If your characters had theme songs, what would they be?

Marice’s would be You Might Die Trying by Dave Matthews Band

Kris’ would be I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know – Gary Moore version

For both of them Hold On by Alabama Shakes

What’s your greatest strength as a writer?

Dialogue – hands down. This is what I excel at. I’ve been told my love scenes are good and steamy too. I also think I do well at fight scenes. If all of that is entirely untrue (which I hope it’s not) One can’t fault my grammar. I won’t say it’s flawless, but it’s pretty good! I’m proud of that.

You write some steamy love scenes. Do people ever think that you’re some kind of sex fiend who’s had a really exciting life?

Fairly often. People don’t accost murder mystery authors and ask them how many people they’ve killed, but they will ask romance authors, “Have you really done that? You must have a great sex life!” It’s imagination, folks!

A lot of your characters are career or former military. Have you ever been in the service?

No, though many friends and family members have. I like the military characters because they have skills that the average person doesn’t. Characters, like Teague (The Ninja Tattoo) and Frank (Bad Fall) are self-possessed, confident, unflappable and willing to risk themselves for others. They take protecting the people they care about to another level. They are able to follow through with the promise to keep them safe.

Many of your characters come from large families. Is your family as extensive as theirs?

Not really. I am one of 14 grandchildren on one side and one of 8 on the other. My immediate family consists of me and my older sister. I like the dynamic of the big families. They hold one another dear, embrace eccentricities and don’t take themselves or anyone else too seriously. It also gives me a wealth of minor characters to draw on.

What’s your take on romance novels where the main conflict is between the main characters?

I’m so glad I asked myself this question! I hate them. A little arguing goes a long way. I like my characters to get along and enjoy one anther’s company. If they’re fighting, they aren’t falling in love and having hot love scenes! Not only that, I feel that the conflict should come from outside their relationship. They get stronger because they battled adversity together. I think it makes for a much more interesting and entertaining story dynamic.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Books by Dellani Oakes

Indian Summer – historical

Lone Wolf – futuristic romance

Shakazhan Lone Wolf #2 – futuristic romance

The Maker Lone Wolf #3 – futuristic romance

The Ninja Tattoo – romantic suspense

Conduct Unbecoming – romantic suspense

Under the Western Sky – retro romantic suspense

Undiscovered – romantic suspense

One Night in Daytona Beach – erotic romance

Room 103 – romantic suspense

Introducing He Thought He Saw

First Love is over. It got such a good response, I thought I’d share another of my young adult novels. He Thought He Saw is a step in a different direction for me. I’ve written Young Adult novels First Love coverand I’ve written some with fantasy elements, but this is the first time I ever wrote a Young Adult Fantasy. I wrote this for my NaNoWriMo novel in 2012 – when the world was going to end in December. I got to thinking, What if it was really was going to end, but somehow someone stopped it? This story grew from there. It’s set in my fictitious small town of Miracle, Mississippi, somewhere near Natchez.

The title, He Thought He Saw comes from a poem by Lewis Carroll called The Mad Gardener’s Song.  Honestly, I had to look up the title, because I could remember only this stanza and nothing more:

 

He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four

That stood beside his bed:

He looked again, and found it was

A Bear without a Head.

“Poor thing,” he said, “poor silly thing!

It’s waiting to be fed!”

The story has nothing to do with the poem, except that I borrowed a line from it. And there’s a bear. But shush, no spoilers! He Thought He Saw begins Wednesday, July 27. Look for it every Sunday and Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time here on my blog.

He Thought He Saw red

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Come Celebrate Christmas in July with Us!

 

christmas in july banner

 

What’s that I hear? Sleigh bells? Can it be Santa? What’s he doing outside my window in July? He’s looking for the Christmas in July Event hosted by Maria DeVivo on Facebook July 25

Smart Santa! Authors from all genres and all over the world are taking turns chatting, playing games, giving away prizes and freebies from 10:00 a.m. To 8:00 p.m. Eastern time (9 CDT, 8 MDT, 7 PDT)

And the coolest part? Dellani is there from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EDT to talk about her romantic suspense book, Room 103. Join us for a fun filled day. We’re going to have a blast!

 

Participating Authors and Their Times

10 – 11 am Barbara Ehrentreu

11 am to 12 pm Uvi Poznansky

12 – 1 pm Barb Caffrey

1 – 2 pm Dellani Oakes

2 – 3 pm Rebecca Vickers

3 – 4 pm Viv Drewa

4 – 5 pm K.L. Nappier

5 – 6 pm Christine Amsden

6 – 7 pm Chris Pasqueralle

7 -8 pm Maria DeVivo

room 103 front cover

Cover by Suzette Vaughn

I Love Dialogue from Undiscovered

Love Under the Sun

63a75-undiscovered2bby2bdellani2boakes2b-2b500Detectives Walter Scott and Vanessa Weinstein have been called to the scene of a strange crime. Someone shot the younger brother of movie mogul, Kent Griswald. Connor Griswald wasn’t killed, but when a man is shot on a public beach, while surrounded by celebrities, there’s pressure on the police to produce suspect quickly.

Fortunately, Scott and Vanessa have a witness, Cadence Stuart. She shows condos part time and works as a music teacher at a local college. After finishing up the stacks of paperwork, Scott and Vanessa decide to go out to dinner.

They drove back to the station together. They hit the door and headed to their desks to start the paperwork ball rolling. Long after their shift was supposed to be over, they finally finished. Meeting up at the Lieutenant’s office, they decided to go to dinner. They met at the best restaurant on the beach. There was…

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First Love – Conclusion

First Love coverHome again, the teens all go home. After dinner, Maddie gets a phone call.

Maddie picked up the extension and waited for her brother to hang up. “Hello?”

“Hey,” it was Clayton.

“Hey, yourself.”

“Weird being home, huh?”

“Very. My mom is still in freak mode. She doesn’t want me to go next summer. That’s okay, Dad is on my side.”

“Same here. She’s been yammering in Spanish for the last three hours. Dad finally opened a bottle of wine to calm her down.”

They laughed quietly.

“I miss not being able to kiss you goodnight,” Maddie said.

“I’m going through withdrawal. That’s why I called. You promised me something.”

“I did?” she feigned innocence.

“You did. So, I’m asking again….”

There was a click as someone picked up the phone upstairs.

“Robby, off!” Maddie said, knowing it was her little brother.

“You know what I’m asking,” Clayton said. “And I’m totally fine with waiting until you’re ready. But I wanted you to know I’m thinking of you.”

“I miss you.” She paused. “Can you sneak out later?”

“Yeah, when?”

“In about twenty minutes? That way, the mini-monster will be in bed and can’t rat me out.”

“Our usual spot?” he asked.

“You bet.”

“I’ll bring the Dr. Pepper.”

“I’ll bring the Pringles.”

It was nearly 11:00 when they met up in Maddie’s backyard. Their destination was her princess playhouse that her father built for her sixth birthday. Clayton hopped over the fence after handing the sodas to Maddie. His kiss made Maddie breathless.

“I needed that,” he murmured. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve been going through Clayton Withdrawal,”Maddie admitted. “The entire time my mom was griping about our trip, all I could think about was you.”

“For real?” Grinning, he walked her to the playhouse and opened the door for her.

The house was full sized with a vaulted roof and a loft. More than once, Maddie and her friends had spent the night out there, telling ghost stories. The furnishings had changed over the years. Gone were the tiny chairs and toy appliances. They had been supplanted by a full sized desk and chairs. There was an old mattress in the loft. Maddie vacuumed it every few weeks and kept the place dusted. It was her private retreat. She and Clayton had spent many hours here talking.

“This place brings back a lot of memories,” Maddie said as she popped open her soda can.

“Yup. We had our first kiss right over there,” Clayton said, pointing to the far corner of the room. “I about had to tackle you to get it.”

“What can I say? I was terrified.”

“Of me?”

“No, of getting pregnant. You know how my mom is. She always told me that if I kissed a boy, I’d have a baby.”

Clayton chuckled. “Well, not entirely true.”

“Well, duh, I know that now.”

“I don’t just wanna kiss you, Mads.”

“I know that.” She smiled, taking his hand. “Soon, I promise. I want this too. I want you to be my first.”

“You’ve always been first with me, Maddie.”

They kissed a long time, the snack forgotten. Much as Clayton wanted it to progress, he sensed Maddie wasn’t ready. It was enough for now. He was patient and confident that when she was, he would be the one she turned to.

“I love you so much, Clayton. It feels so good to say that after all these years.”

“Maddie, I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t love you.”

“Me too, Clayton. You were my first and best friend. You took me to my first dance, gave me my first kiss and now, you’re my first love.”

“And you’re mine too. My first—and only—love.”

THE END

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

 

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First Love – Part 69

First Love coverIt’s their final day and the Nebraska youth are at church with their friends for the last time. Jose has called them all up to the front in order to give them each a gift.

Jose stepped aside and the members of the youth group walked in, carrying a stack of envelops. Each student got one with their name on it. Inside, they found pictures of themselves, working and laughing. There were copies of a group shot that had been taken at the party on Friday.

Also inside were invitations to visit again the following summer. All expenses paid on a charter bus—a donation from one of the church members. They had also included their addresses, asking their new friends to write.

The service was full of joy. Despite the loss of the church, it could have been much worse. They would rebuild. The entire community was behind them. Ridding the town of Ramon and his flunkies was a great service.

After church, they had a delicious brunch courtesy of the church ladies. They packed their bags and gathered for another group shot. Dressed in their traveling cloths, they lined up with their New Mexico friends and posed for several pictures.

Hugs and kisses all around, the promise to write and call, they piled into the cars. This time, they didn’t have a girl car and a boy car. Polly drove Brad, Beverly, Denise and Richard. Craig had Clayton, Maddie, Daniel and Patti. The trip to Denver flew by. They stopped again with Reverend Davis’ group. They regaled the Colorado contingent with their stories of their trip to New Mexico.

“That didn’t really happen, did it?” Dora asked, wide eyed.

“It sure did!” Maddie declared emphatically.

“Wow, we never had anything that exciting happen when we went on a trip,” Beef said with a pout. “Guess we went to the wrong place, huh?”

“Some excitement I could have done without,” Clayton said. “But mostly it was pretty cool.”

The next morning, they had another delicious breakfast and loaded up. The drive home seemed to take no time at all. By mid afternoon, they were back at the church and unloading the cars. Their parents arrived shortly after and bundled their wayward children into the cars. They had heard Claire and Jane’s version of the events. All of them wanted details about the trip.

“I knew I shouldn’t have let you go,” Maddie’s mother said for the sixth time. “What was I thinking?”

“You were thinking what a great experience it would be for her,” Mr. Reynolds said calmly. “And it was. Yes, it was scary and dangerous, but our daughter learned that she can handle herself.”

“I suppose you’re right,” her mother replied. “But it makes me leery of letting you go back next summer.”

“It will be better, Mom. Ramon and his men will be locked up for a very long time. We have to go. They’re going to dedicate their new church to us and put in a time capsule.”

Mrs. Reynolds reluctantly agreed.

After dinner, the phone rang. Maddie’s younger brother answered. “Madison, it’s for yoo-ou!” he called down the stairs.

 

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