Posts tagged with: Chasing Damn

Meet 2016 Golden Heart Finalist Denny S. Bryce!

Today we’re welcoming another Mermaid, the lovely Denny S. Bryce, finalist for Best Historical Romance in the 2016 RWA Golden Heart® with her manuscript WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES, set in Chicago in the Black Belt in 1925.

denny bryceDenny, who won the 2014 Golden Heart® in Romantic Suspense for CHASING DAMN, writes romantic suspense (contemporary, paranormal, and historical) and historical fiction. She also is a regular contributor to Happy Ever After USA Today. She writes monthly columns about fan fiction and author book boyfriends/book girlfriends, and weekly recaps for OUTLANDER on STARZ (or where she publicly displays her obsession for all things James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser—or Sam Heughan—you decide:).

 Here’s a blurb for WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES:

Nineteen-year-old Honoré Dalcour is one audition away from her dream job as a chorus girl in one of Chicago’s ritziest nightclubs. But her life changes forever when she witnesses a murder. Now the only one she can turn to is the same man who abandoned her without a word three years earlier. She’s not sure she can trust her childhood sweetheart after his betrayal, but with gangsters searching for her, she may have no other choice.

I’m so excited for this one, Denny!! What a great title, and what a great setting! It’s sure to put a refreshing spin on the historical romance genre!

Okay, everybody–grab your favorite jazz club cocktail and sneak backstage to the chorus girls’ dressing room with me for a lively chat with Denny S. Bryce!  Leave a comment afterwards and be entered in a drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card!


 Welcome, Denny! We’re delighted to have you with us here again!

Thank you, Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood and Elisa for the invitation. It was a thrill for me to blog here in 2014–my first Golden Heart® final, and it is as exciting, if not more so, in 2016.

You won in Romantic Suspense in 2014, and now you’re a finalist in a very different category: Historical Romance! Tell us a little about your new Golden Heart book and the process of writing it.

This is my first historical romance. Inspired in part by my maternal grandparents, the story takes place in the mid-1920s in a Chicago neighborhood known as Bronzeville (in the Black Belt). The book includes some things you might expect from a 1920s story set in Chicago, but it primarily focuses on the life and times of a chorus girl and the young boy, now a man, she met and fell in love with when they were still youngsters.

What a rich and fascinating bit of history!! This winter, I was doing academic research into the jazz clubs of 20s and 30s Harlem, and was blown away by all the social boundaries the artists were knocking down. Just amazing human beings, with amazing stories. I’d bet Bronzeville is just as fascinating to learn about. What was it like taking on a historical novel?

I have enjoyed writing the historical manuscript, but why didn’t someone tell me about the research rabbit hole? I dropped in and am still clawing my way back to the surface. It’s been a fun fall, however, and educational, but jeez. I know as much about cloche hats, beaded drop waist dresses, and Mary Janes (and not the 1970s term either, ladies and gents:) as my late darling grandmother did!

I will say this about research, though. There is a point where a story hits its stride and will work because you’ve created characters, readers will care about, independent of the period in which they exist. Their longings, emotions, fears and romance become timeless.

Yes! Yes! Yes! The physical details of history are great, but in the end, it’s all about the people. You said your maternal grandparents were part of your inspiration for this book?

Yes, my grandparents on my mother’s side are at the heart of the romance in WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES. Although no one in my family lived in Chicago or worked in a jazz club. They were farmers in a small town in Ohio. But their love affair and romance were the inspiration.

My grandmother, Ella Elizabeth Greene was born in the mountains of Montego Bay, Jamaica in 1901 (I believe). The middle sister of eleven siblings, she spent a lot of time away from home as a teenager hanging out on the docks. When she was nineteen, she met a merchant seaman from Ghana, who was in town for a couple of weeks while his ship loaded up with whatever they loaded up with back then. They fell in love. He left. He wrote letters. She wrote back (for three years). Then he finally sent her a ticket to join him in New York. She boarded the ship, and when she arrived in NYC, he wasn’t there. He’d sent some other man to meet her (gotta love a seaman). It all worked out in the end. They were married 60 years. But I loved hearing my mother tell me the story about how her mother arrived in America.

**Swooning**. That’s so incredibly romantic. Isn’t it amazing the ways people found each other in the past, and the risks they often had to take to make it work? (Makes seem so tame.) Other than the inspiration of family stories, what got you started writing in the first place?

My mother will say I started when I was a kid. But I loved to read and always kept a diary, which I still have. But I would say I truly started writing because of Joss Whedon and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wrote tons of steamy, erotic, Buffy/Spike fan fiction. So, when I left that world, I dove into writing paranormal romance. And I still love vampires. I mean, seriously, my vamp love will never die, just like my heroes:).

Then I started reading romantic suspense and some horror (Chelsea Cain’s series about serial killer Gretchen Lowell comes to mind). But for RS, I read and fell in love with J. D. Robb and Laura Griffin, to name a few. Then a SavvyAuthors class during NaNoWriMo in 2013 resulted in my first RS effort, CHASING DAMN, which won the 2014 Golden Heart in Romantic Suspense.

Congrats again on the wonderful win in 2014!! And now you’re a finalist again! What about the Golden Heart call this year? Was it different from the first one, if so, how so?

I still think about the poor woman with the name I can’t remember who called me in 2014. I screamed so loud; I’m sure she is still massaging her ear lobes. But the 2016 call, let’s just say I had a total FANGIRL moment!

It was 9:40 am EST (and no, I wasn’t watching the clock), and the phone rang, but there was no caller ID. So, hope was dashed. But I was cool. There are no guarantees. But I admit I was thinking, “This is it.” Or at least, “I hope this is it.” And then I said hello, and on the other end of the line, I hear. “Hi, Denny. This is Kristan Higgins.”


I started screaming, and alternatively, apologizing for screaming for a good five minutes. Where was my cool? Gone. Vanished. Non-existent. But at least I remember who called:)!

KRISTAN HIGGINS CALLED YOU?!!!!! I am jumping up and down and screaming here at the very idea. Lucky, lucky you!!! Okay, one more question before we open the floor to our readers. It sounds like you have a busy schedule, but what’s something else you pack into it besides your writing?

ian and samIMG_2820Currently, I have two obsessions: travel (I just returned from my first trip to Rome, Italy) and Outlander. Besides falling in love with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series two years ago, I am mesmerized by the television adaptation of the series on STARZ. And part of that love may or may not have something to do with the actor portraying James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser (Sam Heughan). But maybe not – Ha! Ha! I did have the pleasure of meeting him in person at a fan event in Rome. But that’s a story I’ll save for another day—J!

Oh, I saw your picture on Facebook! What a HUG!!! I suspect you won’t get through the day without a commenter demanding the details!! Thanks so much for being with us today, Denny! Do you have a question for our readers today?

Has an event or person from your family’s history inspired one of your books? Or helped you mold a hero or heroine? Tell us all about it!

One lucky respondent will win a $20 Amazon gift card.



Connect with Denny on social media:

Meet 2014 Golden Heart Finalist Denny S. Bryce!

Today we’re delighted to welcome Denny S. Bryce, a 2014 Golden Heart Finalist in the Romantic Suspense category with her contemporary novel CHASING DAMN.

dennybryceAsk Denny for a bio, and she’ll tell you, “I want to break it into acts. I’ve had three careers (and working on number four—writing romance:), and each has had its own beginning, middle and end (except the romance author who is just getting started:).” After college, she danced professionally in New York, New York, working with modern dance companies including Matthew Diamond and Alvin Ailey II. After a few years of loving the life of a struggling NYC artist “way too much,” she returned to Chicago (she’d graduated from college in Lake Forest, IL) and managed to get a job in public relations. Ten years into that career, she launched her own marketing and PR firm. And during that block of time, she started writing fiction (actually fan fiction in the Buffy/Spike fandom). Her first books were urban fantasies, then the romance took over and she was writing paranormal romance. She’s written romances in four genres—paranormal romance, urban fantasy, contemporary romantic suspense and a historical set in 1925 Chicago’s Bronzeville community. She currently lives outside DC next to a lake, not far from her grown son, who’s married and lives in the city.

Here’s a blurb for CHASING DAMN:

FBI Special Agent Nikki Chase is a brilliant ethical hacker, and the middle sister who doesn’t follow the rules. Nikki returns home after three years to search for her younger sister, a twenty-two year-old law student, she believes is missing. But other family members don’t agree, and she sets out on her own only to discover a connection between a cyber theft and her sister’s disappearance. Can she count on a one-night stand to help her solve a crime and save a life? Or will her inability to trust a man with more than her body keep her from making the right choice?

Ray Taylor, owner of a private security firm, is a government contractor for Homeland Security with a talent for persuading mid-level criminals to snitch on their bosses. He is determined to catch a sex-trafficking gang leader, but after a snitch commits suicide in front of him, he’s reevaluating his priorities. But when a one-night stand is the adopted niece of his next sting, he has to answer the question what matters most? His hate or his heart?

CHASING DAMN is a romantic suspense about an emotionally scarred woman and a determined private security consultant forced to work together to catch a cyber thief, but they soon learn the cyber gang leader wants more than data—he wants revenge.

Sweet! Those kinds of wounded, prickly, intense (and deep down inside vulnerable) heroines and heroines are right up my alley! Can’t wait!

And now a treat for today’s visitors: Denny’s a champion of the Romantic Suspense genre, and today she’s offering one lucky commenter a $10 Amazon gift card, which you’ll have to promise to spend on a Romantic Suspense!

In keeping with the suspense theme, I invite you all into my secret, high-security underground computer surveillance lair for a highly confidential chat with Denny! (Don’t worry…the chairs are comfy and the coffee’s strong! Plus, the brownies should be out of the high-security oven any minute now.)


Welcome, Denny! Here’s my favorite starter question: tell us the story of your Golden Heart Call…

It was the best call ever (so far). I had turned off the Internet and settled in front of my computer to work on revisions for a story that wasn’t the romantic suspense I submitted for the Golden Heart. When my cell phone rang at 9:30 am I looked at the area code, I saw it was from the Midwest. Definitely not a Texas area code because yes, I thought GH calls came from RWA headquarters. And in PR, you pick up strange skills—knowing area codes is my thing:).  I answered the phone expecting to talk marketing stuff to a client when the woman on the other end asked for “Denny”. Outside of the writing world, only my mom and dad call me Denny:). And I didn’t recognize the voice.  So, I said, why are you calling me? (Manners went out the window). “Denny, this is XXX (no typo here:). I asked the caller six times, but I still don’t remember the name of the wonderful woman who called me. But if you read this, please let me know who you are, and I’m sorry for all the yelling. Yes, I might have raised my voice for five minutes saying over and over again, “Oh, my God!”

Tell us about your inspirations as a writer. Who’s got your back when the going gets tough?

I met a group of women four years ago at my first Washington Romance Writers (WRW-DC) retreat. Thirteen of us formed a group called the Waterworld Mermaids. The original crew included: Alethea Kontis (our leader:)!, Avery Flynn, Robin Covington, Loni Glover, Carlene Love Flores, Kerri Carpenter, Masha Levinson, Susan Andrews (aka Susan Jeffrey), Dana Rodgers, Diana Belchase, Kimberly MacCarron, Pintip Dunn, and moi. These fantastic women writers (our tag line:) have inspired me every day with their generosity, humor, fearlessness, frustration, determination, and awesome talent.

Ah, yes—I’ve seen the Waterworld Mermaids around the web. And, aside from the published folks, some of the names from that list should be familiar to anyone who’s perused lately….

Two of those women are also 2014 Golden Heart finalists, in fact, both are double finalists (Kim and Pintip – my critique partner:)! The rest of the group are authors you are familiar with (or should be:), or like me, authors seeking publication as others gear up to self-publish.

So yeah, although I sometimes point to a pretty face or a photo of a perfect set of abs as inspiration for a character’s looks, the real deal for me and writing are the authors that help me stay in the writing cave and loving it there (whether it’s a good day or a bad day).

Congrats to all of the 2014 Golden Heart Finalists! So happy to be a Dreamweaver!

Congrats to you, too, Denny! And best of luck in San Antonio! So, do you have a question for our readers to get the conversation rolling today?

Many of us love to write – which is a given – but writing ain’t easy. What and/or who keeps you grounded? Who helps you get through when the writing days aren’t your best days….

And don’t forget: It’s Buy Romantic Suspense Day:)!

To support romantic suspense authors, one lucky commenter will receive a $10 AMAZON gift certificate for which you’ll be honor bound to buy a romantic suspense!!!!


You can visit Denny at her website,; on Twitter @dennysbryce or on Facebook at or visit

The Latest Comments

  • Marianne Hull: The genre is paranormal romance with shifters. It’s going to be a novella, I think, so there...
  • Autumn Jordon: Marianne, I’m not sure what genre you story is, so my suggestion might be totally off, since I...
  • Marianne Hull: I’m finding this very restrictive, but it does boil the story down to essentials. He walks away...
  • Lydia Stevens: Ooh! I like that! It definitely speaks to the immediacy of the conflict! Thank you! 🙂
  • Autumn Jordon: Happy to help.