Romance Promo Central is happy to welcome Calinda B. to the blog. She’s here to answer some questions and tell us a bit about some of her books from The Wicked Series. If any of her books sound like something that you would be interested in reading, please use the buy links at the bottom of the post to pick up a copy.
RPC – Try to describe your book in one sentence.
Calinda – (A Wicked Whispering: Book III in the Wicked Series) This book is full of adventure, magic, a good dose of self-examination, and even homicide as Kai Williams, who eavesdrops on whales, learns more about energy (especially the erotic kind) then he ever dreamed possible.
RPC – How would my friends describe me in 20 words or less?
Calinda – (My friends recently helped me play a game of describing me so this one is easy): A brilliant, changing, endlessly entertaining kaleidoscope. An animal of passionate energy transforming our temporal existence through joy, dance, and intensity.
RPC – Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing on your spare time?
Calinda – My sweetie pie and I love to scuba dive. Being immersed in the sea, with all its wonders, colors and critters large and small, is like flying through this amazing galaxy. I adore swimming with both the larger pelagics like sharks and rays, as much as I enjoy discovering the smaller critters tucked into nooks and crannies. Oh – and don’t get me started about octopus – those sea creatures are amazing!
RPC – Do you listen to music while writing?
Calinda – Absolutely! My characters often have theme songs that I listen to over and over to put me in the mood while writing about them. And, since I write steamy books, my musical preferences lean towards the sexy. Currently, the main character – Manoko Wikaira-Williams – in the book I am working on, A Wicked Ending, has the theme song “Alright” by John Legend.
RPC – What do you love about writing?
Calinda – My first thought is everything. I love fleshing out the characters and putting them into difficult situations, emotionally and physically. I love describing the scenes where the characters find themselves. I adore making up realities and situations and learning about new things. For instance, I learned a tremendous amount about humpback whales for Wicked Whispering: Book III in the Wicked Series from discovering the work of Dr. Fred Sharpe, one of the founders of the Alaska Whale Foundation. In addition, I made a cool new friend in Dr. Sharpe. The whole process is like weaving a tapestry of stories and connecting with those around me. It’s a cool process.
RPC – Who is your favorite character in your new release?
Calinda – That’s a hard one – I love all my characters. I’d have to say, Manoko Wikaira-Williams, my 6’5” 220lb part Maori, part native American part European mutt main character is a delight to “get to know.” And, of course, I am always fond of my villains.
RPC – Did you do any research before start or during of the writing of the books?
Calinda – I didn’t do any research for the first book – I just wrote. Each subsequent book had a fair amount of research into various aspects. Wicked Whispering had the most to date – I studied humpback whales, spiritual aspects of whales, teachings of a Hawaiian shaman and of course, various aspects of personal relating, as always. My latest book, A Wicked Ending, has me exploring the lives of wolves as well as picking the brains of my police and former police colleagues into how crimes are solved. Yes, this one involves both romance AND crime!
RPC – What book is currently on your nightstand?
Calinda – I am reading two books. The fiction piece is Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. It’s part of a series called the All Souls series with a vampire and a witch plunged into the past to uncover secrets, subterfuge and more. The non-fiction piece is “I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Telling the Truth about Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power” by Brené Brown.
RPC – How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?
RPC – Have you ever Googled yourself?
Calinda – Frequently! In fact, I just did it at this suggestion and discovered an amazing review of one of my books! My favorite, though, is to do an image search of Calinda B. There are pictures of me, check…pictures of my books, check….pictures of an ironing board? Huh? A “Fairy of Greed” decorative doll named Calinda including this piece of info: “Calinda comes from the Germanic ‘lint,’ which means dragon, who are creatures of greed.”? What? A little bird nest? Amusing!
RPC – Are you working on any other projects except writing, right now?
Calinda – I seem to whirl about, endlessly busy with something or another. Besides working on the fourth book in the Wicked Series, A Wicked Ending, I am training to become a dive master and learning how to build mobile apps and mobile websites since that is where the web world is heading.
The Fun Part: Calinda B was told early on that she should be a writer. She heard frequent praise for her writing, as well as her sense of humor. Scoffing at such admonitions and praise, she went on to pursue her life of adventure, chock full of the things that make up a well-rounded adventurous life: music (yup, she was a singer in a rock and roll band), dance (even performed hip hop in Russia), rock climbing (ever hung from a rock wall a few stories up? Yikes!), fire walking (taught high-ranking Moscow fire officials how to walk the coals), kayaking, scuba diving (she’s in love with sharks), travel, and falling in love again and again.
The Daily Grind: An award-winning web designer and certified SEO specialist, Calinda B has worked in the Internet industry as a web page designer/developer since the early 1990’s. She has also taught web site design and computer graphics at community colleges in Northern California. In addition to writing, Calinda B creates fine art and music, and enjoys scuba diving, kayaking, and bike riding. Calinda B makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with the love of her life and her two cats. She is currently working on the fourth book in The Wicked Series, tentatively entitled A Wicked Ending.
For more about Calinda B and her work, visit her website…
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A Wicked Awakening – Book I in the Wicked Series: A girl from a small town, Chérie is attempting to live her life the way she thinks it should be. A great boyfriend, a decent job, and a bunch of things in her life that make no sense—like her inability to stand her ground—have her puzzled. Another thing—who the heck is that hot guy whispering “sexy girl” into her ear on the dance floor, getting her all hot and bothered, and then disappearing?
What about the old woman with the flaming hair and the look that screams ‘insane asylum chic’ that appears in her life at the oddest times? If that wasn’t enough, the sultry dreams of the mysterious sex man are driving Chérie to her own brand of insanity. The answers are as much rooted in her past as her present, and reveal an astounding future she never considered.
Purchase Links: http://calindab.com/default.aspx
A Wicked Beginning – Book II in the Wicked Series: Cameron Delaney Tyson’s just an ordinary guy, living an ordinary life, trying to sort out his issues along the way — or that’s what he keeps trying to tell himself, that is. He doesn’t believe in the supernatural, thinks dreams are just daily recycling, and lives in the here and now. As for sex? He loves it – anytime, anyplace. But when sex becomes a deeply erotic, tantric exchange of energy and sensation, he’s not sure how he’s going to deal. Meanwhile, a vicious star dreamling from another galaxy is tracking him, he’s trying to prove himself to the woman of his heart and soul and an ex-playmate is stalking him through sex magic and nightmares. What’s an ordinary guy going to do?
Purchase links: http://calindab.com/default.aspx
Wicked Whispering – Book III in the Wicked Series: In this erotic adventure and magic filled book, Kai Williams hears voices…wicked whisperings that threaten his sanity…his life and livelihood…and his ability to love. He even eavesdrops on whales. When the whispering begins to destroy all that he cherishes, he does what any red-blooded guy would do: he goes deep into the darkness, deep into the sea that cherishes and nourishes his soul. There he comes face to face and eye to eye with evil and more heartbreak than he ever knew possible.
Purchase links: http://calindab.com/default.aspx
Excerpt from Wicked Whispering:
Kai awoke the next day with resolve. He’d made a plan and he intended to put it into effect this very night. He’d decided to pursue Lucinda on a more regular basis. Maybe she could be a girlfriend of sorts. They had a good thing going already; why not try it out as more of a relationship-type thing? The plan was to see her tonight and see if she wanted to take his idea out for a whirl. With a sigh, he ran his hand over his face. Dumb plan, he thought. Really dumb plan.
The idea made perfect sense, didn’t it? He figured all of his confusion with Cassandra had everything to do with the lack of regular sex in his life…sex and connection with someone. He liked Lucinda. She made him laugh. She knew just how to get him off and he her. She didn’t require or request anything different from him. Couldn’t that be the basis for something deeper? All you’re doing is running from your feelings. He sighed and then straightened up with resolve.
The morning ticked along as usual. Eat, shower, dress. Check in at the shop. Check the day’s roster of Dive Masters and divers. Make sure each DM knew which group he or she was responsible for. Find Peter, load tanks into the truck. Get the boat hooked up to the other truck and drive down to the harbor. Take the divers out; bring the divers back. All day he was friendly and purposeful as he accomplished his tasks. The only glitch – and it was a small one, really – was when he saw Cassandra proceeding out of the volunteer lodge. He remembered her making circles in the dust on the windowsill and how that made him feel like she was touching his belly. He paused and watched her until she looked up at him. She gave a small wave, and he looked away. P.R.O. Professional, he reminded himself. Act like a pro.
Finally, the day came to an end. He’d given Lucinda a call earlier – no more showing up, guns blazing – and asked if he could come over tonight.
“So soon?” she said, laughing.
“Uh, yeah, I want to talk with you about something.”
“Talk, huh? That will be a twist.”
“I think you’ll like it.”
“Okay, then, see you when you get here.”
After dinner at the restaurant – the lodge had an on-site restaurant and staff was allowed to eat there at any time for free – he showered and shaved, brushed his hair and pulled it back into a leather tie. Dressing in a short-sleeved black shirt with two bold green slashes across the chest, and comfortable sand-colored slacks, he slipped his feet into his sandals and got ready to leave. Looking at himself in the mirror he thought, Good enough for the government. Since this was a special occasion in his mind, he decided to treat himself to an indulgence he allowed himself on occasion. He did not smoke cigarettes, only drank socially, but from time to time he enjoyed a good cigar and a glass of red wine…or maybe two. Tonight that appealed to him.
Heading down to Sigaro Magnifico, a cigar shop and bar, he felt relaxed and happy. Everything was going to work out just fine. He was glad he’d come up with this idea. It would solve a lot of problems. Nina was always encouraging him to date more. She said she wanted him to have as good a relationship as she and Will had. He’d always brushed her comments aside, but maybe she had a good point. Did Lucinda dive? Didn’t matter. People could be compatible whether they shared the same activities or not. Couldn’t they? He enjoyed the water so much, got so much pleasure out of diving, he could not imagine having a relationship with someone who did not share the same joy. He swiftly booted that thought out of his head.
When he arrived at Sigaro, he circled the jam-packed parking lot to find a spot. Must be a cruise ship in the harbor. He gave up on that parking option and found a place to park the truck on the narrow street. Pushing the cab door open, he was greeted by thick, hot, humid night air. They’d been having a real heat wave on the island lately and even in the evenings it didn’t let up. A stray dog trotted over to him in search of a snack. He ignored the furry mutt and strode towards the shop, sweat forming on his face from the short trudge in the stifling air.
Entering the air conditioned store, he was greeted by George Giordano, the owner. An older man with a balding head, George was Italian through and through with a thick accent. Even when it was blazing hot outside, he wore expensive Italian suits and ties inside the air-conditioned shop and always looked impeccably dressed. Tonight he had on a chocolate colored jacket with dark-hued magenta lapels, a yellow shirt, and a yellow silk tie. One of the world’s foremost experts in cigars, George divided his time between Grand Cayman, Italy, and Cuba. He was constantly honing his knowledge and expertise in the Cuban cigar.
George strode briskly up to Kai and extended a hand. “Hello, my friend. Long time no see.” He shook Kai’s hand warmly. “What are you in the mood for tonight?”
Kai returned the handshake and smiled. “I was thinking something smooth tonight…but flavorful.”
“Everything we have here is flavorful.” George swept an arm towards the large humidor. “But tonight I think you will enjoy a fine Romeo y Julieta. I can see the light of love blooming in your eyes.”
Kai was taken aback by this comment, but ignored it. George was always playing to the customer’s ego. And he didn’t think he was in love with Lucinda…was he? “Okay, George. That sounds good.” He followed George into the humidor.
George pulled a Romeo y Julieta from a wooden case and handed it to Kai. “Hold this, Kai. Smell it. Tell me what you think.”
Kai took the cigar into his fingers and ran it beneath his nose. It smelled rich, smooth, and earthy. Perfect way to jump-start his idea. “Excellent, George.”
George beamed and led him out of the humidor. He picked up a single-blade cutter and in a swift movement, sliced the head off of the cigar. Handing it to Kai, he reached for a gleaming butane lighter and extended the flame to Kai’s smoke. Kai rolled the end of the cigar in the flame then lightly puffed until the cigar was fully lit. He smiled appreciatively.
“Nice smoke,” he said enthusiastically.
George beamed with pleasure. He loved to please his customers. “And now, my friend, you would like something to drink, sì?”
“Sure, I was thinking a glass of primo red wine would do nicely.”
“No, not wine…not with this beauty.” George rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “A Mojito, my friend. I think you will enjoy that combination.”
“Okay, that combo sounds good.”
“You go into the lounge, find a seat, and relax. I will have Maria bring your drink to you. Enjoy!”
As Kai settled into one of the comfortable, rust-colored square-back chairs in the lounge, he felt an ease in his body that he rarely experienced topside. He just knew he’d made the right decision to pursue a relationship with Lucinda. Holding the cigar between his finger and thumb, he took another puff, savoring the taste of the fine tobacco. Yeah, this was good…he’d made a good plan. So why was there this niggling doubt in his mind? He turned his attention to the flavorful cigar.
George’s wife, Maria, strutted over wearing a sleeveless dusty-pink beaded form-fitting silk dress that hugged every curve. It flowed down her body to just above her knees. Kai’s eyes couldn’t help but slide down, up, and back down again.
Handing Kai the rum concoction, she eased into the chair next to him. “How are you, Kai? We haven’t seen much of you lately.” She reached up to smooth her sleek russet-colored hair. Then she dabbed a finger at the edge of her mouth, making sure her fastidiously applied dusty-pink lipstick was still in its fastidiously applied placement on her lips. It was.
“Are you enjoying your cigar, dear?”
“Yes, thank you. It’s a fine, fragrant smoke.”
“We aim to please.” She traced a manicured nail along the arm of the chair. “And how are you? You seem content with yourself this evening. As well you should be. A handsome man such as you should be content with himself at all times. Look at all the attention you garner.” She swept a hand out towards the room. Several women were eying Kai. Turning her attention back in his direction, she crossed one leg over the other and clasped her hands around her knees. She flashed a practiced, seductive smile at him.
Kai knew the smile meant nothing. Both George and Maria were seasoned shop owners and jet setters. An attractive couple, they cultivated grace and elegance among their customers and in themselves as well. “I’m doing well, thanks. How about you? Business going well?”
“Oh, yes. It couldn’t be better. There’s always room in a person’s pocketbook to purchase a fine cigar.” She again patted her hair. “So tell me, Kai. Who is this woman who has captured your heart?” She gave him the same gleaming, meaningless smile.
Kai frowned. “I can’t say that anyone has captured my heart.” He looked down at his chest. “Yup, still there.” The both shared a small chuckle. “Why would you say that?”
“Oh, call it a woman’s intuition.” She looked up at a customer who entered the smoky lounge. “Will you excuse me? I need to talk with the person who just arrived.”
“Sure, no problem. Thanks for the drink.”
“My pleasure.” She stood up, smoothed her dress, touched her hair, and extended her hand to Kai. Giving him a delicate handshake, she took her leave and paraded across the room.
Kai took another puff of the cigar and thought about what she said. He was so not in love with Lucinda. They were just friends. And, when he thought about it, he didn’t really want to be in love with her. In fact, he could not imagine it. She was nice and all but…
“Is this seat taken?”
Kai looked up to see a voluptuous brunette standing next to him. He swiftly rose to standing. “Uh, no…please…sit.”
“A gentleman, I see. How nice.”
The woman settled into the seat next to Kai. He glanced at her nervously. There was something about this woman that made him feel uneasy. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Sure, she was attractive. But there was something else. He felt a shudder in his gut as he regarded her. Her face was beautiful yet held cruel angles and sharp edges, punctuated by a small, dark beauty mark. She wore black high heels, a low-cut lavender blouse and a mid-thigh slinky black skirt. Her hair was a rich brown with a touch of – was it purple? Yeah, that was it. There were subtle purple highlights streaking her hair. She had big, gray-blue eyes and full lips. A long chain of gold slithered down her chest, ending in a huge, brilliant amethyst gemstone nestled between her ample breasts. The purple stone sparkled and shimmered in the dim light. Kai found it kind of mesmerizing. She removed a pack of cigarettes from her clutch and took one between two elegant fingers tipped with bright purple sanded-to-a-point nails.
“Will you light this for me, please?”
“Do you have a lighter?”
“I forgot it.” A look of innocence washed across her face.
Kai doubted that she forgot her lighter. What smoker did that? But since George had supplied the flame for Kai’s smoke, he had nothing with which to comply. He looked around the room. Spying a box of matches at a nearby table, he tramped over, picked them up and brought them back to where she sat. Taking one of the wooden sticks out of the box, he flipped it along the flint side of the box and brought the small flame up to the end of her smoke. She inhaled deeply and exhaled in his direction.
“Thank you, darling.”
His eyes narrowed at the ‘darling’ part. “No problem.” He picked up his cigar again and brought a small cloud of smoke into his mouth. Shaping his mouth into an “O,” he blew smoke rings into the air. Then, he picked up his Mojito and tossed the remainder down his throat. Catching Maria’s attention, he pointed to his empty glass. She nodded and made a swift retreat.
“I’d like something to drink too,” the woman next to him cooed.
“Uh, sorry. We’ll fix that when Maria comes over with my drink.”
After the two of them got settled with their drinks, the woman spoke. “Tell me…do you live here or are you just visiting?”
Kai let his eyes slide over to where she sat. “Not a tourist,” he replied. He picked up the cold drink and took a healthy swallow. He felt cautious about revealing too much info to this woman. Something about her…
“I’m just visiting. Staying at the Ritz-Carlton on Seven Mile Beach.” She took another drag off of her cigarette. Her eyes looked cold and reptilian as she regarded him.
Kai nodded and looked across the room, away from her. “I’ve heard that’s a nice hotel.” He glanced back at her and made the briefest contact with her eyes. He saw disturbing images of heartache, compulsion, and grief. Beyond that lay something more sinister and malevolent…something dark and horrid, as if her life purpose had diverted its course and now spun in a downward spiral that led to a cesspool of hatred, blame, and misery. Troubled by what he saw, he quickly averted his eyes.
“Oh, it’s nice enough. My suite gets a little lonely, though.” She gave him a predatory look, causing a strange sensation to snake up Kai’s thighs.
“Huh,” was Kai’s response. “Guess you’ll have to sort that out.”
“You could help,” she said. When he said nothing, she continued. “Do you have a name?”
His mouth tightened. He did not want to share anything with her. “Sure. Who doesn’t have a name?”
“Are you going to tell me what it is?” Again, Kai remained silent. She pressed on. “Want to know what my name is?”
“Not really.” Kai placed the cigar between his teeth and took a few puffs.
She let loose a deep-throated, husky laugh. “Playing coy are you? Alright then, let’s agree to be strangers…strangers who meet as if destiny was unfolding in their direction.”
Kai placed the cigar in the glass ashtray, drained his glass, and placed it on the table with a sharp thwack. His cigar had burned down past the halfway mark and was starting to leave an aftertaste in his mouth. “Actually, I think this is where our destinies end. I have to go meet someone.” He stood up to leave.
The woman stood up, too, and hustled up next to him. Brushing her fingers along his shoulders, she said, “Here…let me help you look your best for the woman you are meeting.”
Why did everyone think they knew his business tonight? He grasped her hand and removed it from his shoulders. “Thank you, but that won’t be necessary.”
She ignored him, reached up to his face and tucked a stray strand of hair behind his ear. “There…” she said, satisfied.
Again, Kai took her hand and pushed it away from him. “I said, that won’t be necessary.” He turned and began to make his exit. He wanted to get away from this woman, fast.
She followed him out to the street. “Can you give me a lift? I don’t really want to go on foot back to the hotel.”
“How did you get here?”
“Oh, I took a taxi.”
“Take one back,” Kai replied curtly, striding towards his truck. “I’m not heading towards downtown.”
“Oh, please,” she said, hurrying after him. She rushed up to him and reached for his collar. Grasping each collar corner with her fingertips, she brought her lips up to his ear and said, “This won’t be the last you’ll see of me, I’ll guarantee that.”
Kai experienced the strangest sensation in his gut. He started to feel aroused and sickened all at the same time. He put his hands over hers to push her way, but she leaned in and brought her lips up to connect with his.
Wriggling her hands free from his, she brought them up to his scalp and pulled his hair free from the leather tie. A suffocating sensation rolled down his throat at the touch of her mouth on his. It was as if she had her whole hand pushed against his mouth and nose. For a few seconds, he could not breathe or move. Panic began to form at the edge of his awareness. Come on – she wasn’t that big – wasn’t that strong…he was a big guy…lived a physical life…lifted scuba tanks and weights every day…did laps in the pool… Little lights started to form in front of his eyes. Sweat broke out on his forehead, and he became shaky and light-headed. Meanwhile, the stirring in his pelvis seemed completely disconnected like it was happening without his permission. If he didn’t push her away he would be dead in a few moments. Either dead or signed up for more, he couldn’t tell which. Marshaling his will he gave her a shove. He winced, feeling a clump of hair being torn from his head. “For God’s sake,” he yelled at her. “Get the fuck away from me.”