The fabulous covers for the Roman Cantrell-Nikki Holden
Mystery-Thriller Series have been created by the artistic genius of bestselling author Ashley Fontainne
Meet – Nikki Holden – investigative reporter with more enemies than friends – and her friends are very shady! She’s tenacious, sarcastic, and an ex-con. I love to find photos of my characters and except for the haircolor and a slightly broken nose Rebecca Romijn is the spitting image of what I had in mind. The perfect ‘baby, innocent’ con-womans face.
https://youtu.be/enJF0q4bnDg And Nikki’s theme song: give it a listen!
Meet Roman Cantrell – ex-army ranger, who couldn’t stop fighting, went off the grid for a while taking up causes, then came back to the US to start an international security firm. Perfect ‘hunk’ for Roman is Jason Morgan!
I love finding themes for each book and Phil Collins’ Something in the Air – is perfect – https://youtu.be/6Mt0ee9FraQ
(all material pertaining to Dangerous Places by Elaine Raco Chase is copyright protected)
http://amzn.to/1GMuPAF Amazon US
http://ow.ly/U0CyY Amazon UK
http://ow.ly/U0DoN Amazon Canada
http://ow.ly/U0Edn Amazon Australia
http://ow.ly/U4a4x All Romance
Check out my blog post:
We are delighted to welcome author Elaine Raco Chase to Omnimystery News today.
Elaine first introduced series characters Nikki Holden and Roman Cantrell in 1987 and has now updated the story and given them a contemporary setting in Dangerous Places (Damsel in Distress Publishing; December 2015 ebook format). We recently had a chance to catch up with Elaine to talk more about her work.
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Omnimystery News: Tell us the backstory to your new Dangerous Places.
Photo provided courtesy of
Elaine Raco Chase
Elaine Raco Chase: Here’s the story behind this story and characters: Roman Cantrell and Nikki Holden were actually the first characters I ever created. They were born in 1978 in a book called All in the Family. I patterned the couple after Dashiell Hammett’s wonderful duo Nick and Nora Charles. Nope, you never read it. It never saw the light of day because the mystery field was a closed market to a newbie author.
My career then shifted to an “open market” — romance. I was thrilled by the response of readers and reviewers. All of my original Dell and Silhouette romance novels were #1 on Walden Books Romance Bestseller’s List.
In 1985, Dell Publishing asked me to create a romantic mystery series and I pulled Roman and Nikki out of a drawer, updated and changed the plot, adding a lot of action and a sports theme. Off the Wall was born. Alas, my editor didn’t like it. “Too hard. Too tough. Especially Nikki.”
Hmmmm … I didn’t think so. Neither did Bantam Books who grabbed up the series, changed the title to Dangerous Places and off it went. Garnering great reviews, hitting numerous wholesalers best seller’s lists and spawning a lot of imitators.
Dark Corners followed as did even more reviews and a few movie options that never went anywhere. Rough Edges was to be the third in the series (with at least four other titles/synopses in the works.
However my life was altered — I was hit by a drunk driver, in a coma for twenty-four hours, broke, twisted, and pulled every part of my body as well as suffering permanent damage to the short muscles of my optic nerve.
It took me over 18 months to be able to walk and talk and even remember things but my vision was a mess. Luckily, we lived in Houston, Texas at that time. My husband worked mission control for NASA. One of the astronauts suggested I see their vision specialist. Blessedly, he was able to figure out my problem and prescribe special glasses.
With the advent of eBooks, I’ve been able to update, expand, add new characters to all but two of my romance novels. Two I left as classics.
Now, I’ve pulled Roman and Nikki out of the past: 1987 and into the present! In this version of Dangerous Places you’ll find new characters, expansion on some of the regular characters, expanded and new scenes and even a twist or two.
Nikki Holden’s been brought back to her original hard-edged roots. She was always one of the strongest women characters I’d ever written but now she’s even better! Roman Cantrell even sexier and funnier than before. Both are modern, sharp, sarcastic, and fun!
OMN: With the reboot of the series, how do you expect your characters to develop as more books are written?
ERC: Just like real people, they will evolve over time. Not only will their own feelings/emotions change them during/after particular situations but also the events they encounter. As with real people, I think events can do both negative and positive changes to a person’s character.
OMN: How do you go about finding the right voice for your characters, especially the male ones?
ERC: As I have dual lead characters, as well as more male continuing characters than female, I don’t find it a problem at all. Coming from a background of writing for radio and TV as well as writing romance novels, doing point-of-view from another gender proved no problem for me. When I write the male POV of the characters, I literally submerge myself in reading how men walk/talk/idioms of speech and certainly know every occupation I’m putting my characters in. But actually it’s the same for the female characters. Just because I’m a woman, my own POV/feelings/emotions do NOT and should NOT reflect my female characters. Each character, whether male or female, have their own particular personalities.
OMN: Into which genre would you place this series?
ERC: Mine seem to change with each novel in the series. The first Dangerous Places is a romantic suspense with more suspense than romance. The second, Dark Corners, is a thriller with a dash of sci-fi. The third, Rough Edges, is definitely a hard-boiled suspense.
OMN: Tell us something about Dangerous Places that isn’t mentioned in the synopsis.
ERC: When I broke down the themes in Dangerous Places, it duplicated the 7 deadly sins for each of the characters. Greed and power were in the forefront … as well as revenge.
OMN: How much of your own personal or professional experience have you included in the book?
ERC: Wow … fun question. Some of Nikki’s background is based on my father’s real-life situation — I don’t want to put in any spoilers here but I can safely put in that Nikki and my Dad had the same first job at age 10 — running numbers for the mob. Other real events: I’ve taken internet gambling to one level higher that is beyond legal controls as well as the use of Bit Coins.
OMN: Tell us a little more about your writing process.
ERC: I’ve done expansive bios of all the continuing characters in the book and created a bible that includes: their clothes, homes, cars, food favorites, quirks, loves and hates (Nikki especially hates being “leashed” by a cellphone, whereas Roman would have his permanently attached to his body!) I layout my plots pretty carefully, but sometimes when I find an interesting piece of research that I didn’t know about, I will go out of my way to make sure it gets into the story. As for adding characters … yes … if the story calls for it, in they come … sometimes out they go!
OMN: Where do you most often find yourself writing?
ERC: The extra bedroom is my writing domain. Lots of textbooks (still), always looking thru at least 3 newspapers a day and related magazines. I now use a laptop set up as a desk-top. That allows me to have the laptop monitor plus a larger one and a full-size keyboard and mouse. Much more comfortable to use. I still use the wide oak desk that I started with in 1978 — put the quill pen and papyrus is gone (snicker). I need quiet to write, I know many authors love to listen to music but not me … I need to hear my characters talk to me.
OMN: How do you go about researching the plot points of your stories?
ERC: I use all research material I can get my hands on. Internet, newspapers, magazines, interviews. Jai alai is the sport that is central in Dangerous Places … it was beyond “hot” in the 1980s so I had to make it “hot” today and that was rather exciting to do … plus I had to create a Pleasure Island that was beyond the 12 mile limit. I did a lot of research on how the architects and builders of the many Islands around Dubai did it … along with the ocean tunnels that were created by an Australian team.
OMN: How true are you to the settings in the book?
ERC: The series is bascially set in the cities of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida … since I’ve lived in the area I use the real geography and local environments. But I also for Dangerous Places needed to “build” an island that was beyond state and federal control … so I did that as well.
OMN: What is the best advice you’ve received as an author?
ERC: I actually received no advice as an author. I was an accidental writer — starting out writing for radio and TV at a local station in upstate NY that was the number one NBC affiliate. I did voice overs for TV as well as taking part in an occasional radio show … then moved on to writing commercials. Since my writing was 20-60 seconds of dialogue I figured short stories would be perfect.
I tried writing short stories, in a genre I knew nothing about — science fiction and sent two to Isaac Asimov Magazine. The rejection letters came back quickly and both said the same thing: “your stories have been done before but your dialogue and characterizations are outstanding. Why don’t you try to write in a genre you like?”
I’ve taught creative writing for over 20 years to kids from the first grade to high school, colleges and adult ed classes. I tell them the same thing: DON’T let anyone tell you what to write or how to write it. Be innovative. Take chances. Write from the heart because it will be brilliant. Know the rules of grammar and punctuation but don’t be afraid to break them. (my editors labeled me the “queen of the sentence fragment” — but they liked the power of those fragments as much as I did).
Today, with the advent and the power of self-publishing, yes there are many “disasters” out there among the written word but there are also brilliant novels that have broken all the rules and succeed beyond belief.
OMN: What kind of feedback have you received from readers?
ERC: I’ve had some interesting emails/letters from readers about Roman and Nikki. Especially Roman’s character — I did a lot of research on Army veterans and what they went through during our series of “never-ending almost wars.” Apparently it shows as I received: “You must really be an ex-soldier writing the scenes for Roman because you nailed the feelings of being in a war and a first battlefield kill.” For Nikki (without giving away spoilers) “her background grabbed me. It was cut from today’s headlines and was shockingly real.”
OMN: You mentioned that you originally received a few movie options for the series. Suppose that comes true today. Who do you see playing the key roles?
ERC: I’ve done an entire Pinterest board on this subject … dreaming of course. Jason Morgan or Scott Eastwood have the right-stuff to play Roman. If you just change Rebecca Romijn’s blonde hair to fiery red, she’d be perfect for the innocent looking tough who’s Nikki.
OMN: When selecting a book to read for pleasure, what do you look for?
ERC: I look for compelling characters in twist/turning plots … so mostly suspense and thrillers for pleasure along with romantic comedies.
OMN: What’s next for you?
ERC: I’m excited about plans for the audiobook for Dangerous Places … can’t wait to hear on narrators. And just keep writing and expanding the series plus I do have an outline for a new thriller series: A Rare Medium, Well-Done features a lawyer who dies but then is resuscitated. She’s not quite the way she was … especially with handling clients from the beyond who are angry.
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Elaine Raco Chase’s heroines are not thin, petite, clueless or submissive. They are strong women who aren’t looking for a man — until the right one comes along! And those men! Tough-guy, alpha males who don’t know what hit them! But do know they want more! Elaine was past President of Sisters in Crime International, a charter member of Romance Writers of America and a registered lecturer for Poets and Writers. She currently teaches a variety of writing courses.
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Dangerous Places by Elaine Raco Chase
A Roman Cantrell and Nikki Holden Mystery
Publisher: Damsel in Distress Publishing
The 7 Deadly Sins have never been so … deadly! Or so much fun!
Meet Nikki Holden — she may know 140 characters but social media is not her venue. She’s an investigative reporter with more enemies than friends — and her friends are very shady. She’s on the trail of a stunning story at Pleasure Island. And she doesn’t mind using her pick pocket talents or a well-aimed champagne cork or even a pair of 38’s (boobs not guns) to get her story. She’s tenacious, sarcastic and an ex-con.
Meet Roman Cantrell — ex-army ranger who couldn’t stop fighting, he went off the grid doing Black Ops but came back to the US to start an international security firm. He keeps popping into Nikki’s life at the most inconvenient times. And he knows too much about her past. He also knows she’s not capable of good behavior.
Is Roman looking for the person Nikki’s … kidnapped? Or is he looking for a more intimate connection? One thing for sure — they’re both heading into murderously dangerous places!
— Dangerous Places by Elaine Raco Chase