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Friday, March 1, 2024

Interview: Paranormal Romance Author Deja Black + giveaway

Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
As a teenager, I would write stories I enjoyed. Then I would throw them away, not realizing there was an audience out there for my types of books. When I discovered a genre filled with men who love men existed, I knew I’d found the right place for me.

I started out as a proofreader for a publishing company and then moved to an editor. One day, I decided I was ready to write. I was ready to share my stories. So, I did.

What is something unique/quirky about you?
I’ve got my favorites. I’m a nerd, pretty much. I love Star Trek, Batman, frogs, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Stitch. I just want to be happy and generally fight to keep that. I love music, all kinds. I draw, write, and sing. I dance and have a thing for crystals right now. I’m not a person who can be put in a box. No one should. I love life!

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I enjoy doing puzzles. I usually have one or two going at the same time. I’ve been doing puzzles for years. Sometimes, I glue them. Often, I send them to my dad to share.

How to find time to write as a parent?
Writing as a parent is hard. Since my kids are older now, one twelve and the other sixteen, I am able to do more, but as an educator, I typically don’t make it home until after five. My kiddos are athletes, which means I’m running around with them. So, I write on the go or wait until I’ve spent time with them first before I write. My hubby requires my time, too, so when I get home, I prepare food, work on puzzles in the living room to spend time with my husband and family, and then move to the office to write. I’m readjusting my time and working on managing it to incorporate writing. I’ve also started getting up an hour earlier to work out, so that’s one less thing that takes up time when I get home. Finding time as a parent is difficult. I have to make a conscientious effort to write.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Weird, colorful, kind, intelligent, loving

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
For a long time, I wrote poetry in high school and then college. I presented it at events. I was a writer then. I’m a published writer now. Doesn’t mean I don’t have my fears and second guesses. Goodness, I doubt myself and my ability all the time. It’s a blessing to have my editor and friends help me when that happens. They believe in me, which helps me believe in myself. And then there are my readers who ask for more. That right there rocks my world!

Do you have a favorite movie?
The Nightmare Before Christmas. Number one always.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? Unicorn first, dragon next. Something crazy? I told my kids when they were little that they used to be a unicorn (daughter) and a dragon (son), but they changed into humans. It was fun, but they figured it out later. We still smile about it.

A restaurant manager starting over. A merman learning himself for the first time. Will their plunge into the unknown lead to a life shared together?

Unbreak My Heart (Men of Neptune Book 4)

by Deja Black
Genre: LGBTQ Paranormal Romance
A restaurant manager starting over. A merman learning himself for the first time. Will their plunge into the unknown lead to a life shared together?

Restaurant Manager Tony Aikawa moved to Charleston, South Carolina, looking for a fresh start for his family. Life after his wife left him with their four children has made him feel bereft. He’s doing the best he can, but it’s hard doing it alone.

Law student Adamaris Hali thought he was human. Or that’s what his father led him to believe. Now his father, a former Guardian of Neptune, has left his family behind to join his mate in the city of Atlantis. Adamaris has learned his mother didn’t just die but was viciously murdered, and he is not human but a merman as well. Now, he has to learn how to embrace the being within.

These two broken men are starting something new. Will it lead to a forever together?


Unbreak My Heart
Tony Aikawa checked his reflection in the mirror above the bar, his curly red hair shining perfectly. He’d certainly worked hard enough on it. He’d neatly trimmed his beard as well. He wore a soft green shirt to complement his hazel eyes and a pair of starched black dress pants. He looked the part of a restaurant manager. He felt it, too, even though his nerves overwhelmed him.

He took a few deep breaths to calm himself, grateful for this chance at a new start. Having to move states away from the home he and his ex-wife Julianne shared had broken something inside him, but he and his babies needed a place to begin anew where memories didn’t haunt them anymore.

He’d grown weary of his children looking in spaces their mother haunted, hopeful she would suddenly appear. And they weren’t by themselves. How many times had he prayed for the very same thing?

When he and Julianne married, he believed it was for life. Well, he’d thought he would love her forever, and she would love him. That was what high school sweethearts did. So after struggling to complete his culinary degree at Sullivan University in Louisville, he quit his extra jobs when he found his first dream career position, supporting every dream Julianne owned and ensuring their four kids would live well. No more worries over bills. No more creative dinners to feed hungry bellies.

But it hadn’t turned out that way. With him home more, he could see the woman he fell in love with wasn’t the same person. Julianne hung out with her friends every night and went places that left her coming home early the following day. She’d blamed him for not being happy, insisting he’d been too focused on earning his degree to see that his family needed him at home.

But even with him home every evening, she still did her best to avoid him and their kids. She spent more and more nights away, leaving him scrambling to get the kids to school the following day. He did his best to ensure they were clean and scrubbed before heading to work. With Julianne gone so often, it forced him to hire a sitter for when he was out of the house.

Tony hadn’t wanted his oldest child Riley to think she must be a second mother, but Riley wanted desperately to prove she was a big girl. She resented anyone Tony brought in to help, insisting she could care for him and her younger siblings. But Tony insisted just as strongly that she shouldn’t have to.

He had worked hard to make life easier for his family than what he and Julianne had experienced as children. And when he’d finally reached his goal, Julianne didn’t seem to want them anymore.

Trying to convince his kids that it wasn’t them making Mommy stay away, that they were beautiful and good and kind, hadn’t worked. If anything, they cried more and began crawling into his bed at night, too sad to stay on their own. He held them when they wept and took them out bowling or skating on the weekends, but it was never enough. Buying them things couldn’t make them forget their mother’s absence. He hadn’t thought it would, but he would try anything to ease their pain.

Then one day Tony had come home drained, unsure if he needed to have a meal ready for his kids after the sitter left, to discover Julianne had vanished. She’d taken her clothes and left him and their kids behind.

Tony didn’t understand if it was good or bad at first. Sure, his broken heart torched him inside, but instead of wondering when or if it would happen, asking and pleading for a chance to fix whatever went wrong, it was simply over. Julianne just walked away. When the dust settled, Tony and his babies lived in the shadow of forgotten memories.

Turning over each day in the bed he had shared with Julianne hurt. Getting up every day to fix breakfast, thanking Riley for helping her brother dress, then cleaning up the house as much as he could before he left for work hurt. Receiving papers in the mail asking for a divorce and giving him full custody of the kids hurt. Staying in the same place, wishing and praying for Julianne to walk in the door and remember how much she used to love him and their children hurt.

He needed more. His children needed more. They all needed a change.

So he’d applied for a position almost ten hours away from Louisville that his cousin Jerod told him about, located in a small Charleston, South Carolina community. The job offered a place to live, the entire run of an established restaurant, and a chance to begin again.

He was grateful for Jerod. He was a good guy who looked out for him. As a counselor at a high school, Jerod took mental health seriously and noticed Tony wasn’t doing well. Finally, Tony admitted that his emotional balance had suffered because of his divorce and fear for his kids. Jerod had suggested a change. Tony had agreed.

With a final glance in the mirror, he deemed himself presentable. He turned and examined the decor of Iliana’s Safe Haven as he wiped down the bar. Something about the place spoke to his soul. He had loved the restaurant the moment he’d first stepped inside the spacious sitting area. The stained-glass chandeliers depicted sea animals—sharks and a school of fish. An octopus seemed to be the running metaphor, with dolphins as part of the floor’s inlay. The place was a work of art, and he was proud to be here, to call it home.

Song of the Siren (Men of Neptune Book 1)
Graham is a broken soldier in body and soul. With no place to go, he moves to the coast to live with the only relative who loves him. Lost and without hope, Graham is not sure how he can get his life back. That is until he hears the song of the most gorgeous man he has ever seen.

Kamau is a siren who lives part of his life with his siren mother the other part with his human father. Dutiful son to mother and father but never true to himself. That is until Graham walks into the church and Kamau realizes he has found his mate.

Jonah Anderson is the pastor who relies on his son’s gift to grow his church. All is going well for him and the church. That is until he sees the way Kamau looks at Graham.

At a time when Christmas presents are given for the holiday, will Graham and Kamau receive the gift they’ve dreamed of for a lifetime? Each other.


Song of the Siren
Graham’s leg ached, or the knee did right above the piece that had been blown away. He breathed slowly through his teeth as it cramped while sitting in the tiny pew built for a person who wasn’t six-foot-seven. He still worked out as much as he could so that his arms were large and his shoulders wide. Imprisoned in the confined space was not comfortable. The ability to turn and find a spot where he didn’t ache remained difficult. Graham had bumped his cousin, David, over into his husband at least four times between Angus Dei and What Child is This.

“Sorry, man.”

David smiled at him for about the fifth time, but who was counting, right?

“It’s okay, Gray. No worries. It’ll be fine.”

Yeah, fine. If fine was packing up and leaving a place where he grew up because his mom couldn’t deal with him finally coming out, and his sister acted like she hated his ass for being alive. Fine. Nothing was fine, and he didn’t know what to do to make it better.

“You start work on Monday. You’re staying with us until you find your own place. Everything will work out.”

Graham loved his cousin, but he didn’t have the same faith he did. He looked around them. Christmas wreaths and poinsettias. Christmas trees and the smell of candles burning. White walls and stained glassed windows. Wooden pews and worn bibles. Tradition. He’d grown up in church, had gone each Sunday with his mother and his sister. He’d been in every Christmas play and attended every midweek service, Sunday school, and church service.

More than ready to leave his mother, and the church that bound him, he’d fled into the military. And, he’d returned broken. An old GI Joe toy with its leg torn away. What good was he? Hell, why was he alive when guys better than him—more worthy than him—were buried and gone?

He glanced over just as Louis curled his hand around David’s and kissed him gently on the cheek. Graham was happy for them. They’d found a church where they were accepted, where they used their skills and were an integral part of the community. David, a corporate man, ran a partnership that helped the youth of the church. Louis worked as a journalist using those skills to write for New Direction Church. They’d found a place where they fit.

Graham had none of that.

He arrived the other night and wanted to stay in his room, in a bed almost too small for him, and take his pain pills. If a tiny part included thoughts of tipping the bottle so he could swallow all of them together, he’d never tell. But, he didn’t have to. David knew him, loved him, and kept him solid. So instead of attending the pity party for one in the house, alone, he sat in church waiting for the next part of the show.

And, then he heard him sing.

Broken vessel healed by the potter’s hand.

It was Christmastime. Where was the jolly and holly? Another song that praised the birth of a child born long ago?

Filled with the waters of hope, enough to clean the soul and heal the man.

Graham felt warmth run through him and reached to his aching knee running his fingers over the prosthetic. Metal and plastic made to look like him, but it wasn’t real.

Broken vessel healed by the potter’s hand.

Filled with possibility, just needing a reason to be.

The words spoke to him, but the voice seared his soul. He looked up to find the singer and saw a man whose eyes were focused on Graham, his hands reaching up and out toward the congregation but who was singing directly to him.

Graham wanted to look away, but he couldn’t. The notes of the song danced around him, entwining him layer by layer until all he saw, all he heard was Kamau.

David mentioned Kamau earlier, how they’d met in college. He told him how Kamau mesmerized people with his singing. David followed him to this church and remained ever since. Graham saw why. He sat ensnared, and he didn’t want to leave, didn’t want to do anything but be Kamau’s captive. His heartbeat battered his chest so intensely he heard its drumbeat in his ears, and tears lay at the corners of his eyes.

No longer a broken vessel but an instrument of destiny.

The song ended, and the layers of notes fell away freeing Graham. He gasped for air while people around him screamed and clapped, tears staining their cheeks. One woman stood at the front, her arms raised above her head as she shouted praises, and Graham had to escape.

**Don’t miss the rest of the series! **


About the Author
DEJA BLACK had fantasies of men loving men, men who felt strongly, loved hard, and needed a hero. Then one great day she came across a book and discovered the world of m/m writing, encountered others who shared her obsession as much as she did, and found a world where she could not only be accepted for the lives and loves she envisioned, but she could create them too. So why not? Why not take the stories she would write and throw away as a teenager, grow them, dream them, and make them a reality where she could know her own characters, let them live their story, and make them real for someone else? And she did. Now, with the support of her hubby and some intense time management, she is learning to balance her family of two children at home and the many others she teaches each and every day with her passion of writing what she loves to read.

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  1. Beautifully done. Thanks for letting me drop by.

  2. I enjoyed the post. This sounds like a really interesting story.

  3. Thank you. I enjoyed writing it. I have another in this series I'm currently working on. Then it's back to the Broken one.