Jasmine Lin Rodriguez is an ambitious actress with a big heart and a huge family. After finding out her boyfriend broke up with her via tabloid, Jasmine, with the aid of her best cousins, came up with a Leading Lady Plan. Number one, a leading lady doesn’t end up on a tabloid cover. Two, she doesn’t fall for her costar. You know what they say about the best laid plans. When her new costar turns out to be none other that telenovela hunk, Ashton Suarez it makes it difficult for Jasmine to keep to her plan.
Ashton Suarez’s telenovela character was killed off. He fears his career as a leading man may be over. “Carmen in Charge” is his last chance to get a Hollywood career. In New York he is a fish out of water and floundering. He was known and respected in Florida’s telenovela world but here no one realizes that his aloofness merely hides insecurities.
Jasmine’s beautiful spirit and open personality brings Ashton out of his shell. Practicing their lines in private leads to a behind-the-scenes romance. But everything is threatened when they end up on the cover of another tabloid.
This was a fresh, fun story filled with a variety of ethnicities, mostly Latino. I enjoyed this story so much. It was one of the best romance stories I’ve read in a long time. Strong female characters, sexy men and an abundance of supporting characters that brought the world to life. This book needs to be a movie. I’d pay to see it.
With each book I feel I’m learning more about what I want to do with my writing but especially what I want to say. The town of Leeward is peopled with a variety of personalities, races, religions and ethnicities, much like the community where I live. I want it to represent my home but more importantly, I want to represent the place it could be.
In Janie’s Secrets I introduce two characters, one, an older lady whom I say is from southern Asia without being specific and her granddaughter who is half-Cambodian. My eldest daughter-in-law is Cambodian, a beautiful and amazing woman. I want to portray a character with similar attributes without infringing too much on the privacy of my DIL. Y’all know I use family and friends to influence my characters. Sometimes it might be in how they look, other times it is an attitude or aptitude that I need to borrow but while the character maybe inspired by my friend or family member, they aren’t that person. I take one or two pieces and create a character who is uniquely their own.
But in my warped mind it just made sense that Chanthou would be the muse for Sothy Chhan because her husband, my oldest son is the muse for my character Remy Harrell. Before those of you who know Dustin, start giving me lip because Remy is sort of the bad guy, remember the keyword is muse. As the older brother Dustin could be bossy, he is also very analytical, he has a strong personality and he tends to take charge. These are not all bad attributes but add in a little JR Ewing from the 1970-80’s television drama Dallas, a little imagination and we have Remy Harrell. Remy isn’t bad, but he has learned that sometimes you have to do bad things to get the results you want. He often makes the gray choice for the greater good. I think Remy is basically a good guy who has to live in a bad world. He’ll try it the right way, then he’ll get it done.
Remy and Sothy will have their stories later but for now, I hope you will enjoy Janie’s Secrets.
Those of you who receive my newsletter know there is a second chance romance at play here between librarian, Janie Harrell and Leeward’s Police chief, Mike McKenzie. The story-line from The Leeward Files continues but now we are focusing on one family in The Harrell Family Chronicles.
It is so
nice to have author Maida Malby here at Creekside Café. Welcome Maida, have you
ever been to North Carolina before?
I have. The first time I came to the US was in 1994 as a participant in the YMCA
International Camp Counselors Program. I was assigned to the Sandy Ridge Girl
Scout Camp in Bennettsville, SC for two months. I remember going to Rockingham
first time you came to the US? Where are you from?
originally from the Philippines, now living in San Angelo, Texas.
lived in San Marcos, Texas many years ago. I loved it out there. I visited
Laredo and El Paso, and my parents lived in Houston. How did you end up in
husband is a retired US Air Force veteran. He got a job at the Randolph Air
Force Base as a civilian contractor that’s why we moved there from Colorado Springs.
Sherri: How has
your previous jobs or career influenced your writing?
most recent job before I became a writer was as a Public Affairs Specialist at
the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. I’m using my experiences there as
inspiration for my main characters’ backgrounds. For example, in Singapore
Fling, Maddie is a Public Relations Director.
must have been an interesting job, but I can imagine the headaches.
One of my
daughters-in-law was born in Thailand, her parents were refugees from Cambodia.
I’ve never been to Asia. It’s on my bucket list.
Give us a
little insight into you as a person and as a writer.
easy-going and I make friends easily. I’m a slow writer. I can only write two
books a year, one novel and one short story or novella. This is why I
us about your books.
Contemporary romance. Multicultural/interracial. International lovers.
characters are multi-racial and multicultural, why is that important to you?
find that couples like my husband and I (American and Filipina) are not
well-represented in romance. Since only a handful of authors are writing
Filipinas and other Southeast Asians as female main characters, I decided I
needed to be one of the few writers who tell our story and share it with the
think that’s wonderful. We need more diversity in romance. Do you write full
I write full time.
long have you been writing?
started writing in November 2016, so nearly three years now.
you plan to write any other genre in the future?
write short stories in other romance sub-genres using a pen name.
is your latest writing/publishing project?
Maida: I just finished Singapore Fling, Book 2 of my first series Carpe Diem Chronicles. It’s publishing on October 21. I also have a Hansel & Gretel retelling novelette publishing on Halloween. I’ll be writing Samui Heat during NaNoWriMo this year. I plan to publish it in April 2020.
look for me in NaNo, my handle is Pamlico Writer. This is only my second NaNo
event. I won the first one but I’m not sure about this year, November is such a
busy month for me. I’ll be working on Red Steel, the fifth book in my Leeward
writing. I cannot imagine not writing. What do you love about writing?
creativity. There’s something about the words adding up into a cohesive story
that is super fulfilling.
most jobs, there is the good and the bad, what do you despise about being a
Marketing! Having to convince people to
read the product of my blood, sweat, and tears is incredibly stressful.
suspected that answer. Marketing is one of the most difficult things we have to
do. We have to figure out what works and then take time away from writing our
books to promote and market them. That’s one of the reasons I started doing the
author interviews. Is that why you started doing book reviews?
Maida: I was
a reader first before I became a writer. Reviewing books, especially romance,
helps me improve my writing skills. I learn so much of what appeals and what
doesn’t, of what is missing in my work and what’s already there I can continue
to build on.
a bit of a foodie. I collect recipes and my favorite channel is the Food
Network. Do you have a favorite food or recipe?
Maida: Food is a huge part of my books. My current favorite is Hainanese Chicken Rice. It’s Maddie’s favorite dish in Singapore Fling.
Chicken rice is Maddie’s
favorite dish in Singapore. Here’s what she has to say about it in Chapter Two:
From the first time she’d tasted this
particular meal—one of the country’s national dishes—Maddie was addicted. The
plain steamed chicken over rice looked simple. But the gingery, garlicky, oily,
fragrant goodness of the white chicken meat—even without the skin she had
removed from it—and the savory rice boiled in the same broth won her over. She
had already eaten the dish five times since she’d arrived in Singapore.
This recipe is my attempt to capture that deliciousness. It might not be the most authentic–different ingredients, the taste of the water, etc.–but if you make it with love, the meal is sure to satisfy.
– medium whole chicken (organic, if possible)
– Kosher salt
– 1 thumb ginger, peeled and sliced
– 3-4 stalks green onions, sliced
– 2 cups uncooked Jasmine rice
– several cloves of garlic
– vegetable oil
– soy sauce
– sesame oil
For the chicken:
1. Exfoliate the
chicken by rubbing salt all over until smooth. Rinse and pat dry.
2. Season the entire bird
inside and out with salt. This will also season the broth, so salt generously. Stuff
the cavity with sliced ginger and scallions.
3. Place in a big pot and
fill with water up to 1 inch above the chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce to
a simmer immediately. Remove the scum as soon as it rises. Simmer for 20-25
minutes until the temperature at the thickest part of the thigh not touching
bone is 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Prepare an ice bath and place the chicken in to stop the cooking process and tighten the skin. Set aside.
For the rice:
1. Clean the rice until
the water is less cloudy (2-3 times). Soak the rice, then drain after 10
2. Sauté minced ginger and
garlic in vegetable oil or chicken fat. Add drained rice and fry for one minute.
Season with salt. Pour two cups of reserved broth and bring to a boil. Reduce
heat, cover tightly, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Keep covered and
let rest for 5-10 minutes.
If you have a rice
cooker, follow instructions p to he frying.
For the dipping sauces:
1. Combine Sriracha, lime
juice, sugar, salt, couple of tablespoons of broth, garlic, and ginger in a
blender. Give it a whirl.
2. Grate peeled ginger
and finely mince garlic. Combine with a dash of salt and vinegar. Cook in hot
oil for a few seconds.
3. Mix light soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil.
Ready to serve!
Spoon rice on a plate. Cut chicken into serving
pieces and place on top of the rice. Pour soy sauce mix over it. Garnish with
cucumber or parsley. Serve with soup and dipping sauces.
you have any other hobbies or interests?
and cooking and baking.
these show up in your writing?
much so. Samui Heat will have a chef hero- Craig Ryan. My short story 19th
Hole Fiesta, part of the San Antonio Romance Authors’ anthology Love
Fiesta Style, is a golf romance. I’m planning a spin-off series and one of
my main characters is Patrick O’Connor, a professional golfer. He appeared in New
York Engagement, 19th Hole Fiesta, and Singapore Fling.
do you feel are your greatest writing strengths and your weaknesses?
claim that I have a great sense of place. There’s balance in my books in terms
of humor and drama. As for weaknesses, I need to improve on utilizing the senses
of smell and taste. I’m pretty good with sight, sound, and feel. The other two
need to be amplified.
are your favorite authors/genres?
Roberts/J.D. Robb is my idol. For non-romance, I like Paulo Coelho.
no, our time has run out already. It has been lovely to have you here at
Creekside Café Maida. I wish you luck with your new novel, Singapore Fling.
enjoyed my chat with Maida Malby be sure to follow her on social media and
check out her books, the links are below.
I hope y’all will come back and join me at my Creekside Café.
One alluring French-Filipina beauty.
One sexy US Air Force officer. One torrid weekend affair.
Maddie Duvall should be
living it up at her challenging new job in glamorous Singapore. But two months
after her wild weekend with Aidan Ryan, she’s still yearning for him. She
craves the passion only he can ignite in her.
Aidan’s job takes him
around the world, yet he can’t get Maddie out of his mind. When he returns to his
assignment in Singapore, he seeks her out with a proposition she can’t turn
Intensely enamored with
one another, their relationship takes off. But when Aidan’s mission exposes
treachery by someone close to Maddie, lines blur and wires get crossed. Can
their growing love survive the intrigue?
is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary
romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast
Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.
Maida Malby writes, reads, reviews, and
lives Romance. Through her multicultural contemporary romance stories, she
takes readers on trips to her favorite places in the world and shares her
experiences of their rich cultural heritage.
She is a member of the
Romance Writers of America (RWA), San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA), Cultural,
Interracial, Multicultural Special Interest Chapter of the Romance Writers of
America (CIMRWA), and several romance book clubs. Her To-Be-Read Mountain and
reviews of romance novels are featured on her website http://www.maidamalby.com.
When not writing,
reading, or reviewing books, Maida consults her husband on word selection,
debates with her ten-year-old son regarding the Oxford comma, cooks the dishes
she features in her stories, procrastibakes using Baileys as her secret yummy
ingredient, and watches golf and food shows on TV.