Author Speed Dating – Melissa Keir

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Melissa Keir

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. Picture yourself at an amusement park. Are you the rider on the tallest roller coaster, clamoring for speed; the only adult on the spinning ride with the kids, begging for it to stop; or the bench-sitter, holding the coats and waving?

I love riding on the roller coaster, especially the year I rode the Gemini at Cedar Point ten times in a row before losing my lunch. Luckily, it didn’t stop me from winning the guy’s heart!

2. Name an author whose work you read and still think “I’m not worthy”?

There’s so many. I’ve only recently re-read Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series, and I’m blown away once again.

3. What was genre of the first piece you can remember writing, and how old were you when you penned this masterpiece?

Back in high school typing class, I used to write horror stories involving my friends. Alas, these silly stories will never see the light of day.

4. Are you traditionally published, self-published or a “hybrid” author, and why did you choose that path?

I was published with a variety of small publishing houses, but with the recent market changes, they closed and I went out and self-published my books, adding to the list. I wouldn’t go any other way.

5. Which Star Wars character best describes your personality in regular life? What about on deadline?

In regular life, I’m much like Han Solo—master of my own domain and loving life and an occasional brew. But when I’m on a deadline or when the Internet goes down, I turn into Darth Vader. I set out to crush all those who go against me.

6. Was there ever a time before or after you were published that you considered quitting? If so, how did you convince yourself to try one more time?

Each time a publishing house I was with closed, it was heartbreaking. I felt like it was fate telling me to stop writing, but after one particular event, an author friend suggested I keep writing and suggested submitting to a different place. I did and now have over twenty-five books with my name on them.

7. Celebrities aging beautifully: Mark Harmon or Sean Connery?

Sean Connery- kilt, accent and Bond! What more can I say?

8. Since all writers are readers, name your favorite hero or heroine from a book you’ve read. Has he or she had an impact in how you write the characters in your own books?

Charley Davidson, in the series by Darynda Jones, is amazing. She’s kick butt but also a little neurotic like me. She’s got a hunky supernatural husband and some pretty amazing friends. I’d love to be her, but she hasn’t really influenced my characters.

9. Who was the first person – besides your mom and dad – who told you that you could write? 

My college English professor. She inspired me to write.

10. Do you own at least one purse (or twenty) from a well-known fashion designer, or are you more the bag-to-carry-my-junk-in type?

I’m not a typical girl, no special shoes or handbags. Cheap is better with me—then I can buy more books!

11. Do you belong to a critique group, and how has that membership affected your writing?

I used to. It was great to have someone read through my work and give feedback. But I often found with deadlines, I didn’t have as much time to devote to the critique group so I dropped it. Now I have a good friend who betas for me.

12. What are some of the activities you were participating in when you came up with an idea for a book? (Note: Keep it clean.)

Driving my car, showering, and dreaming/sleeping.

13. Music: Pink or Taylor Swift?

Pink – She’s a little angry, but that’s just the passion coming through. Besides she could kick my behind.

14. Do you write the synopsis before or after you write the manuscript?

After – My story changes as I write sometimes.

15. What is your biggest dream for your writing career? The New York Times bestseller list? A movie deal? Your own island in the Caribbean? All of the above?

Are you giving those away? Sign me up!

***

 

 Broken Vows

By Melissa Keir

 

 

 

The women tied off the horses to a branch of the willow tree a bit away from the pond. She didn’t want them to reach the water. Julie had heard from Jake about how Cherokee tried to roll in the pond to cool off with Angela on his back. She wasn’t in the mood to see it happen face-to-face.

Angela tugged a blanket from the saddlebag and laid it out on the ground in the shade. “With as often as we’re down at the pond, we should consider putting in a picnic table or building a ‘she shed.’” Her smile lit up her face.

“It would be more comfortable than this hard ground.” Julie plopped down on the blanket. “But probably not as conducive to snuggling under the covers.”

Angela raised her brows, but Julie knew all about Angela and Jake’s escapes to the pond. Julie stared at the grass and wished she hadn’t recalled the many stories she’d heard. This pond had become quite the love nest since Angela’s wedding.

“I vote for a bed in the shed. But get it done before the next time Rick comes home.”

“Anything for you.” Angela shoved her shoulder. “I’ll get Jake on it this weekend. Maybe we can come down here together. That man knows how to wear a tool belt.”

“Oh, no. With you down here, the building won’t get done.” She playfully shuddered. “Now I’m going to be stuck with that image of Jake in only a tool belt.”

After laying out the food, Angela dug into the sandwiches. Julie only picked at her plate.

“Hey, why aren’t you eating?”

Julie shrugged. “I’ve had some rough mornings. Ever since Rick left the last time, I have no energy, and eating is the last thing on my mind. Really, food sounds good, but the minute it passes my lips, my stomach recoils.” She pushed her plate away. “Probably stress.”

“Any other problems? Pain?” Angela scrutinized her friend.

“A little pain in my abdomen and across my chest. But I attribute it to the lack of food and all the extra work I’ve been doing in the barn. Without Rick, I’m mucking all the stalls, exercising the horses, and that’s on top of the laundry, cleaning…you know the drill.”

 

***

BROKEN VOWS, Volume 6 in Cowboys of Whisper, Colorado series, was released in May 2017 through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform and may be purchased through Amazon.

 

 

 

BROKEN VOWS also may be purchased as part of the COWBOY SIX PACK box set in both print and ebook forms through Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

About Melissa

Melissa Keir doesn’t believe in down time. She’s always keeping busy. Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a book reviewer and owner of a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice – a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature happy endings and is often seen plotting her next story. Find out more about Melissa through her website, www.melissakeir.com, and stay in touch through her Facebook author page, her Facebook social group and through her Amazon author page.

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Anna Sugden

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Anna Sugden

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If you had the chance for front-row tickets AND backstage passes with any band, past or present, which one would you be jamming with? Explain your choice.

Queen – always regret I never got to see them before Freddie Mercury passed away. They are rock gods, and I think it would be one heck of a party!

2. What is the one thing you wish someone else had told you before you published your first book?

It took me so long to get published that I think I’ve heard it all, and it’s all true! I think what I would tell people is that nothing really changes – you still get rejected when you’re published!

3. Keith Urban or Adam Levine?

Don’t know either of them well enough to choose, though as eye candy … yum!

4. What are your go-to meals for the final week before deadline?

Anything my lovely husband makes for me!

5. Give the title of the first manuscript (published or unpublished) you ever wrote. What was the story about?

“Paws for Love” – about a woman who owned a cattery and hated an arrogant businessman who boarded his cat with her! Included were some fun secondary characters — matchmaking elderly neighbours, a nasty ex- and some precocious cats.

6. Books by George Orwell or Kristin Hannah?

Definitely Kristin Hannah!

7. At which time of day are you more productive as a writer, mornings or nights, and is caffeine a friend or foe?

That’s changed recently – I’ve learned I’m best first thing in the morning (before my mind gets distracted) and last thing at night because I’m a night owl. Friend – especially hot tea with milk (English breakfast – definitely not Earl Grey!) or Coke Zero.

8. Which WIZARD OF OZ character were you most like during your junior high years?

It’s a bit corny, but I was very much a Dorothy – a dreamer, wanting adventures, living vicariously through books, especially romances. I was also a bit of a fish out of water in that I lived in the US (in northern Virginia), because my Dad was in the World Bank, but went to posh boarding school back in England. Two very different cultures and I didn’t really fit in the posh boarding school one. If only I’d had a Toto with me! To this day, I have a split soul that misses the US when I’m living in England and vice versa. I’m lucky enough that I can still get the best of both worlds and consider both countries my home. And there really is no place like my two homes!

9.  In addition to writing, what are your other outlets for your creativity?

I love craft projects – cross stitch, crochet, knitting – as long as they’re not too big.

10. What type of shopper are you: mall rat, online shopper, bargain sleuth, or none of the above?

These days, I’m  more of an online shopper. It’s so easy to click and have things delivered, which you can then try on in the comfort of your own bedroom (and not those horrid communal changing rooms!). The main exception to that is a new pair of shoes – which I may have a bit of a passion for – prefer to do that in a real shop. Plus, most places do free returns now too, so you don’t have the hassle of driving and parking and dealing with the mall crush. We even have our groceries delivered! However, you can’t beat a day pottering around the shops with a girlfriend.

11. Have you ever experienced misgivings as an author, and, if so, what are some of the ways you’ve tried to keep those feelings at bay?

Always – I don’t think there is an author out there who doesn’t. “Am I good enough” haunts us all. My support crew (lovely hubby, dear writer friends, fab agent) boost me through the doubts. But at the end of it, writing is what I enjoy, so I write for myself and try not to worry.

12. Scandal or Pawn Stars?

I haven’t watched either, but Pawn Stars intrigues me.

13. How many books have you published, and how many are still tucked in a drawer somewhere?

Five books and 1 anthology of short stories. As for those “in the drawer” (it’s a virtual drawer – a special file on my computer) probably another 8-10 across contemporary and romantic suspense (my other love).

14. What was the most challenging revision you ever had to make in a manuscript?

All big revisions are challenging! Usually you get good direction as to how your editor wants you to go, but when you get a one line, broad comment, that’s very hard. Finding the perfect beginning for A PERFECT DISTRACTION was probably the hardest to get right – I lost count of the number of different versions. I still have my favourite deleted scene – I should put it up on my website some time!

15. Sure, it’s like picking a favorite child, but which one or two of your titles do you secretly love just a little more?

Ooh mean question!! A PERFECT DISTRACTION will always be special as it was the first book I sold and the one I fought so hard to have published, despite being told repeatedly that sports heroes don’t sell. And who doesn’t love Jake “Bad Boy” Badoletti? <swoon>. A PERFECT TRADE is also special as it features a heroine who used to be a puck bunny. Jenny has had a special place in my heart since she strode into a scene in the first Ice Cats book, and writing her story was tough! But my favourite is one that hasn’t been published … yet. It’s about a Texas cowboy who inherits half of an English sheep farm (and was a two-time Golden Heart finalist). Some day …

***

 

 

 

A Perfect Strategy

 

By Anna Sugden

 

As Sapphie made her way across the room, she spotted Scotty Matthews at the bar, nursing a drink. Sapphie had always had a fan-girl crush on the former Ice Cats captain. Her favorite player since she’d started following the team, he’d been a powerhouse on the ice and, from what she’d heard, a great leader and a mentor in the locker room. He was a nice guy but hard to get to know. She’d seen him at several Ice Cats parties and he’d seemed pretty self-contained. Watching everything, saying little.

She’d found it hard to be her usual chatty self with him. He’d look at her with those serious blue eyes and she’d become tongue-tied. Because she’d never been fazed by a gorgeous man before, she’d assumed it was because he was older than her—in his early forties. Though he’d never said anything overtly disapproving, she’d felt she never quite measured up to his standards.

Tonight he looked lonely.

He’d obviously come to the reception on his own. She’d heard about his divorce last year; hard not to when it had been splashed across the media.

As if he felt her studying him, Scotty looked up and their gazes met.

There was something about the recently retired captain that drew her to him. His dark hair, flecked with gray, was still short, like it had been when he was playing. His tanned face bore the scars of his career. The one that had always fascinated her was the white line that marred his otherwise perfect lips. Left side, near the corner. The result of a high stick—one that hadn’t been penalized—it had taken twenty-five stitches to close the cut.

He gave a half smile, raised his glass to her, then returned his attention to his drink.

Suddenly, she wanted to make that half smile full-blown.

Sapphie sauntered to the bar and settled on the stool next to him. She was pleased to notice him checking out her legs as she crossed them.

“I suppose a dance is out of the question, Captain?” Her question came out slightly husky, giving it an unintentionally sultry note.

***

 

A PERFECT STRATEGY, a February 2017 release from Harlequin Superromance and part of The New Jersey Ice Cats series, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Harlequin.

 

***

About Anna

A former marketing executive and primary school teacher, award-winning author, Anna Sugden, loves reading and writing happy endings as much as hockey (where she prefers a happy ending for her team)! When she’s not researching hockey players (for her books, of course), she makes craft projects and collects penguins, autographs and memorabilia, and great shoes.

Anna lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and two bossy black cats. Learn more about Anna, her books and her shoes at www.annasugden.com . You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

***

Bonus!

 

 

 

For lovers of The New Jersey Ice Cats series, or those who’d just like to meet the guys,  Anna Sugden offers a collection of bite-sized romances featuring popular players from the series. The anthology is offered for free until the 2017 Stanley Cup is won. Get y0ur copy here.
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Author Speed Dating – Sarah Morgan

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Sarah Morgan

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If you had the chance for front-row tickets AND backstage passes with any band, past or present, which one would you be jamming with? Explain your choice.

Beyoncé! Because she’s Beyoncé. Enough said.

2. What is the one thing you wish someone else had told you before you published your first book?

That being published isn’t the end of the journey.

3. Keith Urban or Adam Levine?

That’s a tough question. Probably Adam Levine.

4. What are your go-to meals for the final week before deadline?

Whatever my husband decides to cook for me 🙂

5. Give the title of the first manuscript (published or unpublished) you ever wrote. What was the story about?

WORTH THE RISK – it was a medical romance, opposites attract, and it was the first book I completed (I had written several partials before that) and the first book that was published.

6. Books by George Orwell or Kristin Hannah?

Kristin Hannah. I love the way she writes about friendship and relationships.

7. At which time of day are you more productive as a writer, mornings or nights, and is caffeine a friend or foe?

I’ve trained myself to be productive whenever I need to be, but I definitely need the help of caffeine.

8. Which WIZARD OF OZ character were you most like during your junior high years?

Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. I used to be good at solving other people’s problems (my own, not so much!)

9.  In addition to writing, what are your other outlets for your creativity?

Photography. I also love music.

10. What type of shopper are you: mall rat, online shopper, bargain sleuth, or none of the above?

Usually online because I don’t plan far enough in advance.

11. Have you ever experienced misgivings as an author, and, if so, what are some of the ways you’ve tried to keep those feelings at bay?

All authors feel doubt at some point. The only cure is to keep writing.

12. Scandal or Pawn Stars?

Scandal.

13. How many books have you published, and how many are still tucked in a drawer somewhere?

I’ve written 82 books, and I don’t have any completed manuscripts in a drawer, just a few stray first chapters that didn’t feel right when I wrote them.

14. What was the most challenging revision you ever had to make in a manuscript?

I can’t remember. Revisions often seem challenging to begin with, but I’ve learned that I need to take a couple of days to let them percolate before attacking the manuscript.

15. Sure, it’s like picking a favorite child, but which one or two of your titles do you secretly love just a little more?

SLEIGH BELLS IN THE SNOW, because it was the first novel I wrote after writing series romance. It marked a change in direction for me, and that book is special to me for that reason.

***

 

 

 

New York, Actually

By Sarah Morgan

 

 

“You don’t need to worry.” He leaned in and lowered his voice. “I promise to be gentle with you.”

“Oh please—did you really just say that?” Because her hand shook, she sloshed tea over her leggings. “Ow!” She sprang to her feet and his smile turned to concern.

“Take them off.”

“You’re not funny.”

“I’m not trying to be funny. I’m serious. Basic first aid for burns. The fabric will carry on burning your leg.”

“I am not removing my pants in the park.” But she tugged the Lycra away from her skin and sure enough the burning eased.

“I’m sorry.” He sounded genuinely contrite.

“Why are you sorry?” She grabbed a handful of napkins and pressed them against her thigh. “I was the one who spilled my tea.”

“But only because I made you nervous.” His voice was soft, his gaze intimate, as if they’d shared something personal.

“You didn’t make me nervous,” she lied. “I’m not used to sexual innuendo this early in the morning. Or men like you. You’re—”

“Cute? Irresistible? Interesting?”

“I was thinking more of annoying, predictable and inappropriate.”

His smile promised fun and sin and a thousand things she didn’t dare think about while she had hot tea in her hand.

“I made you nervous. And flustered. And if I were to analyze you, I’d say you’re a woman who hates to feel either of those things.”

Flustered? Oh yes, she was flustered. Being close to him made her feel light-headed and dizzy. She was agonizingly aware of every single detail, from the dark masculinity of his unshaven jaw, to the wicked glint in his eyes. But beneath the humor was a sharp eye for detail and that worried her more than anything.

She had a feeling he saw far more than people usually did.

It was like hiding in a cupboard and knowing that someone was right outside the door waiting for you to reveal yourself.

And that was closer than she ever let anyone step.

“Thanks for the tea.” She threw the cup away and reached for Valentine’s lead.

“Wait.” He reached out and caught her hand. “Don’t go.”

“I have to work.” It was true, although that wasn’t why she was leaving. She knew it. He knew it. Conversation, a light flirtation—that was all fine. She didn’t want more. “Goodbye, Daniel. Have a great day.” She whistled to Valentine, put him back on his lead and took off through the park without looking back.

Tomorrow she was going to take a different route.

There was no way she was going to risk bumping into Daniel again.

No way.

***

NEW YORK, ACTUALLY, Book 4 in the From Manhattan With Love series, is a May 30, 2017, release from HQN Books. It may be pre-ordered through these and other retailers:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Harlequin.

 

***

About Sarah

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and her trademark humor and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. She is a 2-time RITA ® winner, has written more than 80 books and has sold more than 15 million copies globally. Sarah lives near London, England, where the rain frequently keeps her trapped in her office.

Find out more about Sarah at her website, www.sarahmorgan.com, or follow her through these social-media channels:  Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Jennifer Lohmann

 

 

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Jennifer Lohmann

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If Disney made an animated movie about you as Princess Jennifer, which Disney hero would you choose as your Prince?

Does Robin Hood count as a prince? That was always my favorite Disney movie.

2. In which genres and sub-genres have you been published, and what does your narrow or sweeping focus say about you?

I’ve only written contemporary romances. While I love romance and writing about the developing relationship, what I really love is examining about a woman’s relationship with herself and the modern world.

3. Denzel Washington or Leonardo DiCaprio?

Denzel, every time.

4. What is one of the biggest risks you’ve taken as a writer?

I enjoy writing about women who’ve made serious personal mistakes in their past that have lasting consequences which they can’t escape, which include Renia Milek in THE FIRST MOVE, who gave a baby up for adoption when she was sixteen; Ruby Heart from WINNING RUBY HEART, who doped during the Olympics and had a gold medal taken away; and Mina Clements from LOVE ON HER TERMS, who believed a guy who said, “It’ll be okay, baby,” didn’t use a condom, and got HIV. Each of those books include sharp, emotional, and often painful moments that aren’t easy to read and could turn a reader off. But they make me a stronger writer, and the books are better for them.

5. If you could keep only the possessions that would fit in one suitcase, and you were limited to two books – one you wrote and one by someone else – which titles would you tuck inside your bag? Explain your choices.

CORNELIA’S HONOR by Lois McMaster Bujold. I turn to that book in moments of personal crisis, and, if I’m limited to one suitcase, it’s probably because there’s a moment of personal crisis happening.  As for my book? WINNING RUBY HEART. I wrote that book after my divorce, and it’s the book that most speaks to me coming into my own after a personal crisis.

6. How many rejections did you receive before you sold your first book, and what did you learn from them?

Don’t hate me, but zero. I’ve had rejections since, but not the first one. I sold it during “So You Think You Can Write”, Harlequin’s big writing contest. RESERVATIONS FOR TWO was my first book.

7. For your social-media fix, do you prefer crazy cat videos or trivia quizzes on ’80s movies and Biblical characters?

I’m a librarian, so cat videos all day, every day. Did I mention that I have three cats?

8. Which character from one of your own books do you wish you were more like?

Ohhhh…interesting question. Mina Clements from LOVE ON HER TERMS is outgoing and can draw. I’d love to be able to make small talk with strangers and draw anything more complicated than a stick figure. But Ruby Heart from WINNING RUBY HEART is an amazing athlete, something I’ve never been.  But I’m pretty happy where I’m at.

9. Perfect outfit: cowboy hat and boots or sundress and sandals?

Sundress and sandals, preferably retro.

10. Are you a pantser or a plotter in your writing, and have you always written this way, or have you changed methods throughout your career?

Team Pantser for the win!

11. What is your most ridiculous fear, and what have you done to challenge it?

If we’re going for ridiculous, I was once looking at a black mamba snake through a glass window in a serpentarium during a bad thunderstorm. I had a very brief moment of heart-stopping panic as I imagined that there would be a tornado. The glass would break and I’d die of a black mamba bite in Wilmington, North Carolina. I’m not actually afraid of snakes. Or storms.

On the serious side, I’m afraid of needles. I hate it, but I give blood a couple times a year to face my fear.

12. What are some of the activities you’ve participated in, people you’ve interviewed or places you’ve visited to do research for one of your books?

I did a lot of comic book drawing for LOVE ON HER TERMS and took a citizen’s police academy for A SOUTHERN PROMISE. And, of course, I go skiing every winter. 😊

13. Name the strangest snack or food combination you love to eat when no one is watching.

Goldfish and Thin Mints. Mmmm….good.

14. Faith Hill or Lady Gaga?

Lady Gaga.

15. In 10 words or less, give your best writing advice to aspiring authors.

Defend your writing time.

 

***

 

 

Love on Her Terms

By Jennifer Lohmann

 

 

Mina had met all of her neighbors except one. Given how rarely she saw him outside, it seemed like he was determined she not meet him or even lay eyes on him.

Still, she wasn’t used to not knowing her neighbors. Even in graduate school she’d made a point to meet all the people in her apartment building at least once. That way, she figured, even if they avoided her for the rest of their shared time in Chicago, they would be able to tell the paramedics her name if she were found gravely injured on the sidewalk outside the building.

Though how she would have managed being gravely injured on the sidewalk outside her apartment after being hit by a train was still a mystery.

Mina smiled as she crossed the property boundary. A death worthy of Anna Karenina was ridiculous, which was part of the pleasure of thinking about it. She was going to die from something prosaic and boring. A cold that turned into pneumonia. An allergic reaction. Basically, her own body turning against her. Nothing as spectacular as throwing oneself in front of a train after the betrayal of a lover.

She knocked on the door and almost laughed when her neighbor opened it, a death glare on his face that he didn’t even try to hide as he said, “Yes.”

Fortunately, death held little fear for her. It never had. Not even when in the form of a man who stood a head, a neck and a chest taller than her. Every other time she’d seen her neighbor, his black hair had been slicked back against his head, but this morning it was loose about his face, with locks hanging over his eyes. He obviously hadn’t shaven since yesterday at least, and maybe since the day before. One day, once her garden was put in and her bathroom redone, she’d make a study of his facial hair.

Today, she stuck her hand into the void between them, a desperate cover for wanting to push his hair out of his eyes. “I’m Mina. I moved in next door a couple weeks ago and wanted to introduce myself.”

His eyes were a surprisingly light brown, given how dark his hair was. She noticed this as she realized her hand…still hung in the air. She had offered him a strong handshake, like her dad had taught her. No weak wrists. People judged you on your handshake.

Or most people did. Her neighbor might never shake her hand, and he wouldn’t know that she’d practiced her handshake with strangers since she was five.

She was about to give up when his calloused hand slid into hers and gripped tightly enough that her knees went weak in the best possible way.

“Levi,” he said, his voice deep with sleep.

It seemed his dad had taught him to have a good handshake, too. His grip revealed shapely forearms with just a hint of vein under the skin. Enough that Mina wanted to see more. More forearms. More biceps.

More everything of her neighbor.

 ***

LOVE ON HER TERMS, an August 2016 release from Harlequin Superroomance, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Harlequin, iBooks and Kobo.

 

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About Jennifer

Jennifer Lohmann is a Rocky Mountain girl at heart, having grown up in southern Idaho and Salt Lake City. She’s always been a reader–of romance novels, mysteries, nonfiction, cereal boxes, etc. If it had words, she tried to read it. Jennifer had been writing, on and off, for many years when she won the Romance Writers of America Librarian of the Year award in 2010. Being at the RWA conference reminded her how much she loved writing, and she became more serious about it. As part of Harlequin’s “So You Think You Can Write” Contest, she was offered a contract on her first book in 2012. She lives in the Southeast with her own personal Viking hero, three cats, two teenage stepchildren, and a boa constrictor. Visit her at jenniferlohmann.com and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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Author Speed Dating – Heatherly Bell

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Heatherly Bell

 

15 Questions

1. If a director made a movie about your life, which actress (living or dead) would you like to portray you, and which one would more likely be cast?

Like: Michelle Williams. Likely: Lucille Ball.

2. What are some of the things that have changed in the publishing industry since your first book was published?

Eleventy million little things; the combined list on the New York Times is just the latest thing.

3. Us Weekly or Newsweek?

Us Weekly.

4. As a reader, do you sneak a peek at the end of the book, or do you make yourself wait for answers until the very end?

The only time I’ve done this if I’m not reading a romance novel, where I’m guaranteed an HEA. Then I want to peek ahead and find out (and prepare myself) if I’m going to be crushed.

 5. Have you ever, even for a moment, forgotten that one of your characters was…you know…fictional?

Yes, definitely my heroines with the best clothes and fashion sense…I’d like to borrow stuff from their closet, or at least their shoes.

 6. In which genres and sub-genres are you published, and which others do you plan to add to the list in the next two years?

Contemporary and inspirational. If I ever find the time, I’d be interested in writing a contemporary YA or maybe some Women’s Fiction. Someday.

7. Brad Pitt or David Beckham?

Brad Pitt.

8. If we imagine that a reader has lived on a desert island and missed the opportunity to read one of your books, which title do you recommend that she order as soon as she returns to civilization?

FOREVER WITH YOU, a first-love reunion story with a Marine hero, for a feel-good ride. (You’ve been through a hard time.)

9. Do you have a green thumb or black one, and, either way, how are you gearing up for spring planting season?

Black. I’m gearing up for the spring planting season by watching The Bachelor.

10. When and how did you first decide you wanted to be an author?

I wanted to be an author “someday” from the time I was in my high school English class and we had an assignment to write a short story.

11. Antique Roadshow or Law & Order: SVU?

SVU!

12. What is your favorite song of all time, and what do you do when it comes on the radio or when you stream it?

Having been in music for decades, asking me to pick my favorite song is like asking me to pick my favorite child. I can tell you that when Bruno Mars comes on with “Uptown Funk”, I want to drop everything and dance!

13. What do you believe is your biggest strength as a writer, and what has been your approach to tackling some of your weaknesses?

Dialogue is a strength, I’m told, and I’m trying to tackle my plotting issues with a more detailed plan and road map. Good luck to me.

14. Regarding board games, Scrabble or Left, Right, Center?

Scrabble.

15. What is your biggest hope for a reader when she opens one of your books?

I hope she’s able to escape for a while into a believable, but light-hearted world in which everything is possible.

 

 ***

Airman to the Rescue

By Heatherly Bell

 

 

 

SARAH STUMBLED INTO the now dark living room, and found Matt lying on the couch, Shackles curled up at his feet. Through the sliver of moonlight shining through the window, she could make out that he had his shirt off, a pillow over his face. As if she’d given him a headache.

Wait until she got going. “Matt.”

Under his pillow, she heard him groan.

“What’s going on here?” She stood hands on hips and then decided that looked too accusatory for seduction, so she relaxed her arms at her sides.

“Go to sleep, Sarah.”

“No.”

He lifted the pillow from his face, one eye open. “I don’t want to argue with you.”
“I don’t want to argue, either. I just want you to tell me what happened tonight.”

“Guess if you don’t know, I must not have done it right.”

“You did everything right.” Her voice softened. Now that she faced this—thing—between them her mouth was parched and dry. But she couldn’t lose her nerve now. “The only thing you did wrong was stop.”

“Wasn’t my choice.”

“But now it is.”

He didn’t move. “Go to sleep. Please.”

“Well, since you said please.”

“Seriously? That’s all it takes?”

“No. I lied. I’ll go to sleep, but not until you hear me out. I might be Stone’s sister, but I’m also a grown woman and I know what I want.”

“What do you want? Because I thought you wanted to fix this house and flip it. Sell it so you can get back to Colorado.”

Couldn’t a woman want more than one thing? “I want you, Matt. That’s what I want.”

“Do you? Be careful what you’re asking for. Maybe you don’t know me as well as you think you do.”

“I know enough. I know you’re one of the good guys.”

He snorted. “Yeah.”

“Do you think I’m going to fall in love with you? Is that it? Because that’s not an issue. I don’t believe in love.”

At that he removed the pillow from his head. “You don’t believe in love.”

“Does that shock you? Why should it? I grew up as the child of a broken home and I’ve seen more divorces around me than I care to remember. You of all people should understand.”

“Me of all people?”

“You’re also from a broken home. And…you’re a single father.”

“That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in love. And I think it’s pretty messed up that you don’t, Sarah.”

“Okay. What do you want? Is it me at all? Because a couple of hours ago you had me pretty well convinced, so if you’ve changed your mind you need to tell me now.”

There. She couldn’t believe she’d let all her thoughts spill out at last. Everything she’d intended to tell him for months had come pouring out of her lips, like the semidark of the room had given her added courage. In the ensuing quiet Sarah didn’t think he would answer her at all. Worse, in the dark of the room she couldn’t take a cue from his usually expressive eyes.

“I want you, Sarah.” He finally spoke, the sound of his voice so naked and raw that Sarah’s knees went boneless.

***

AIRMAN TO THE RESCUE, a June 2017 release from Harlequin Superromance, may be pre-ordered through these retailers: Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Harlequin.

 

***

About Heatherly

Heatherly Bell drinks copious amounts of coffee, craves cupcakes, and occasionally wears real pants. She lives in northern California with her family. Stay in contact with Heatherly through her website, www.heatherlybell.com; and through these social-media channels: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Lenora Worth

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Lenora Worth

 

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If a director made a movie about your life, which actress (living or dead) would you like to portray you, and which one would more likely be cast?

Hmm, I’d love Jessica Lange, but I’d probably get Amy Schumer!!!

2. What are some of the things that have changed in the publishing industry since your first book was published?

E-mailing our manuscripts back and forth, Indie publishing exploding, Twitter!, Social Media marketing.

3. Us Weekly or Newsweek?

Newsweek.

4. As a reader, do you sneak a peek at the end of the book, or do you make yourself wait for answers until the very end?

No, never. I like to savor the book until the end.

5. Have you ever, even for a moment, forgotten that one of your characters was…you know…fictional?

 Yes, all the time. I wake up wondering what they are doing!

6. In which genres and sub-genres are you published, and which others do you plan to add to the list in the next two years?

Inspirational romance and romantic suspense, single title. One day I’d love to write a historical.

7. Brad Pitt or David Beckham?

Beckham.

8. If we imagine that a reader has lived on a desert island and missed the opportunity to read one of your books, which title do you recommend that she order as soon as she returns to civilization?

 THAT WILD COWBOY (Harlequin Superromance).  A slice of reality.

9. Do you have a green thumb or black one, and, either way, how are you gearing up for spring planting season?

Not a green one. But I supervise my husband in my Southern garden (we are in a new house with new yard.) Gardenias, magnolias, azaleas, and palm trees so far.
 Oh, and jasmine. Lots of jasmine.

10. When and how did you first decide you wanted to be an author?

 In the fourth grade when we had to do a writing project. I loved it!

11. Antique Roadshow or Law & Order: SVU?

Law & Order: SVU.

12. What is your favorite song of all time, and what do you do when it comes on the radio or when you stream it?

 “The Long and Winding Road”  by The Beatles. I cry.

13. What do you believe is your biggest strength as a writer, and what has been your approach to tackling some of your weaknesses?

My biggest strength. I can see the whole story in my head. My weakness–writing a synopsis for what I see in my head.

14. Regarding board games, Scrabble or Left, Right, Center?

Darling, I don’t play board games. Solitaire.

15. What is your biggest hope for a reader when she opens one of your books?

That it makes her laugh and cry and gives her hope. We have to have hope.

***

 

 

 

 

Her Lakeside Family

By Lenora Worth

He prayed the new nanny—one of many his sister Rikki had hired since Althea’s death–had arrived. He hadn’t met the woman but Rikki and Blain had vetted her and cleared her, stating she had impeccable credentials. Santo hurried to the door and opened it while he held Nate’s squirming, screaming little body against his heart.

The woman standing there didn’t look like the typical nanny. She had strawberry-blonde hair that shot out in chunky layers around her face and chin. Her eyes were an ethereal green, like the bay waters in the early morning. She wore a plaid button-up shirt, worn jeans and … work boots.

“Hello,” the woman said. “I’m–.”

“I’m so glad you’re here, Mrs. Brownlee,” Santo interrupted, shoving Nate into her arms. “The instructions are on the counter in the kitchen. The girls go to Millbrook Elementary and they usually catch the bus or ride home with a neighbor. I’ll take them to school and call the neighbor to pick them up this afternoon. Nate has daycare but now that you’re here, let’s just keep him home today.”

He kissed his sobbing son. “C’mon on, girls.”

Nate started crying all over again. But the woman standing there marched right on in and said something soothing in his son’s ear. Nate hiccupped and stopped crying, his misty brown eyes glued on the woman holding him.

She smiled over at Santo. “I’m sorry but–.”

“I want my purse,” Adriana said on a scream, her long brown curls falling over her purple tunic and matching leggings. She looked at the surprised woman. “I can’t leave without my purse.”

The pretty nanny looked at Adriana with sympathetic eyes. “Of course not. I never leave home without my–.”

“Found it,” Lucia said, shoving the shiny purple shoulder bag at her little sister. “Now can I please get to school?”

Santo let out a sigh and nodded to the woman. “You don’t have to apologize but please try to be on time from now on, okay?”

The woman’s green eyes flared with something akin to mirth. “Mr. Alvanetti, I don’t think you understand. I’m not–.”

“I’m here,” said a shrill, laughing voice from the open door. “And not a moment too soon from the looks of things.”

Confused, Santo turned to find a plump, smiling woman with short auburn hair and black-framed, crystal-encrusted glasses standing on the threshold. “I’m Virginia Brownlee. I’m your nanny.”

Santo looked from the smiling woman at the door to the bemused woman still holding his son. “Then who are you?”

“I’ve been trying to tell you that for the last five minutes,” she said, passing Nate back to him. “I’m Davina Connell. I’m here to help you get this house in shape to sell. I’m the contractor.”

 

***

HER LAKESIDE FAMILY, a January 2017 release from Harlequin Love Inspired, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Harlequin.

 

***

About Lenora

Lenora Worth writes award-winning romance and romantic suspense for Love Inspired and also writes for Tule Publishing. Three of her books finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards and several of her books have been RT Reviewer’s Choice finalists. LOGAN’S CHILD won the 1998 Best Love Inspired for RT. Her Love Inspired Suspense, BODY OF EVIDENCE, became a NY Times Bestseller. Her novella in MISTLETOE KISSES, along with several other writers, also made her a USA Today Bestselling author. Recently, she received the Romantic Times Pioneer Award for Inspirational Fiction and became a member of the RWA Honor Roll. With over 70 books published and millions of books in print, she goes on adventures with her retired husband, Don. They have two grown children. Lenora enjoys reading, baking and shopping … especially shoe shopping. Learn more about Lenora through her website, www.lenoraworth.com, and stay in touch with her through her group blog, Craftie Ladies of Love Inspired, and these social-media channels: Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.

 

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Author Speed Dating: Nan Dixon

Author Speed Dating(1)

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Nan Dixon

 

 

Nan Dixon

 

harlequin superromance

 

 

 

 

1.Which of the Peanuts girls – Lucy, Sally, Peppermint Patty or Marcie – would be your best friend if you were added as a character on the comic strip?

Peppermint Patty—we both play sports.

2. Name a genre or sub-genre have you never written in but would like to.

Middle Grade or Historical Romance—but I would probably spend too much time on historical research and never finish the book.

3. When did you first decide you were a writer, and when was your first book published?

In 1986 I started working on a middle-grade book (never finished). In 2008, I began writing contemporary romance full time, and my first book released 2014.

4. Jeopardy or Real Housewives of Orange County?

Jeopardy! I even have it for my Wii! I might be a little competitive.

5. Do you write the synopsis before or after you write the manuscript?

I never used to write the synopsis first. Now I do, but only because it’s contractually required. (But the finished manuscript never matches the synopsis!)

6. Sam Elliot or Robert Downey, Jr.?

A young Sam Elliot.

7. Which character from one of your own books do you wish you were more like?

 I think there is a little bit of me in every character, or at least I give them things that I love doing.  In  SOUTHERN COMFORTS — Abby is a chef. I love cooking and always want to experiment more. I guess I did that vicariously with her! (She matches her appetizers and wine for each evening’s wine tasting.)

8. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” or “The Great Gatsby”? Book or movie version, your choice.

Neither?—Give me “Gone with the Wind”. Movie version and Clark Gable!

9. What has been your proudest moment as an author?

When a reader came up and asked me to sign her T-shirt at the RWA literacy signing, because she loved my debut. I cried.

10. How important is social media to you in your writing career?

Very! It keeps me connected to my readers and writing peeps. And I can stay current on my agent Laura Bradford’s life, through her funny tweets!

11. What kind of snacker are you? Potato chips and ice cream or kale chips and edamame?

I try to snack healthy, but I love gummy worms and orange slices.

12. What are the hardest and easiest part for you as you write a book?

The hardest part for me to write is making sure each character has an emotional arc that changes during the story. The easiest, the black moment.

13. Adele or The Rolling Stones?

Adele! I want to be able to hear the words.

14. What is the best piece of advice you can offer to a new writer, particularly one you wish someone gave to you when you were getting started?

I really needed a beginning craft class when I first started to toy around with writing. I wrote 5 manuscripts before I knew what I was doing. Go to a basic writing class.

15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, free of charge, where would you be booking your next vacation?

England. My English mother met my father during WWII and came to the US to marry him after the war. They corresponded for 3 years during the war and while my father finished college.

***

NanBook

 

The Other Twin

By Nan Dixon

 

It was nice having the craziness of feeding two kids and a man at her table. This is what life would have been like if Brad hadn’t died. Cheryl touched her stomach. Maybe they would have had another child.

She watched Nathan cut Isabella’s chicken. There wasn’t a second child in her future, but she could help Nathan with his daughter. Eventually, Nathan and Issy would move on, both physically and emotionally. But she could help for now.

“I cut the potatoes,” Josh told Isabella.

Issy forked a potato and smiled at him. A pixie with dandelion fluff for hair and her father’s heart-breaking brown eyes.

Cheryl brushed the hair out of Isabella’s eyes. “Is it good?”

The little girl nodded.

“I love it.” Nathan grinned.

Josh shot him a glare. And the bubble broke. They weren’t a family. She was just helping out a semi-clueless father with a damaged daughter.

As dinner wound down, Isabella set her milk too close to the table’s edge and the plastic glass dropped to the floor.

“Issy.” Nathan’s voice was sharper than normal, but he didn’t yell.

The little girl cringed anyway. Her shoulders curled up to hid her face. A whimper erupted as she bent in two.

“It’s okay. It’s just spilled milk.” Cheryl hurried to the other side of the table. “Josh, can you please grab paper towels? We’ll have this cleaned up in no time.”

Isabella was frozen. Cheryl stroked her back and she jerked. “Nathan, I think she’s done.”

Nathan took the hint and picked up his daughter. She wrapped her limbs around him like a vine.

“It’s okay.” Josh handed a wad of towels to Cheryl. “Sometimes I spill, too. Mom never slaps me.”

“Slaps?” Nathan said. “Issy?”

The girl tucked her head deeper into Nathan’s shoulder, shaking her head.

Josh covered his mouth.

“Josh?” Cheryl wiped the floor, trying to keep everything nonchalant. “Has Isabella talked to you?”

“I can’t tell.” Josh looked at Issy. “I promised.”

***

THE OTHER TWIN, part of the Fitzgerald House miniseries, is a January 2017 release from Harlequin Superromance, and may be purchased from these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google, Harlequin, iBooks and Kobo.

***

About Nan

Nan Dixon spent her formative years as an actress, singer, dancer and competitive golfer. But the need to eat had her studying accounting in college. Unfortunately, being a successful financial executive didn’t feed her passion to perform. When the pharmaceutical company she worked for was purchased, Nan got the chance of a lifetime—the opportunity to pursue a writing career.  She’s a five-time Golden Heart® finalist and award-winning author, lives in the Midwest and is active in her local RWA chapter and on the board of a dance company. She has five children, three sons-in-law, two granddaughters, a brand new grandson and one neurotic cat.

Stay in contact with Nan through her website, www.nandixon.com, or through these social-media channels: Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest and Twitter.

 

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Author Speed Dating – Kristina Knight

Author Speed Dating(1)

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Kristina Knight

 

 

Kristi

HARLEQUIN SUPERROMANCE

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If you were to make an appearance at Comic-Con, which Superhero costume would you be rocking?

Wonder Woman, naturally. (I could really use some super-cool bracelets, and that jet plane would mean no more long lines at the airport!)

2. At which time of day are you more productive as a writer, mornings or nights, and is caffeine a friend or foe?

As long as I have caffeine (ice-cold Coca-Cola, please), I can make any time of day work.

3. George Clooney or Bradley Cooper?

Although a little piece of my heart will always belong to Mr. Clooney, a bigger piece of my heart belongs to Bradley. Cooper all the way!

4. What is your biggest dream as an author?

I would love to someday hit one of the big lists, but, honestly, as long as people enjoy my books, I’m a happy camper!

5. Name a movie you’ve watched countless times but one you’ll still tune in to whenever it’s on cable.

“The Princess Bride.” I can quote it line-for-line, and I get sucked into it every time.

6. How many books have you published and in how many genres and sub-genres?

Thirteen, not counting various bundles of my series or boxed sets that I’ve put a book into. All are contemporary romance, but they run the gamut from cowboys to rockers, a billionaire or three…

7. Love It or List It or Modern Family?

Modern Family – love the banter and all the relationship dynamics. So much fun!

8. What is your favorite way to celebrate after you receive a new book contract or get a great review?

RadioMan and I always go to lunch, and then I pick a new bead for my book-charm-bracelet.

9. What is your best advice for new writers?

Just keep writing. There are experts who swear by this advertising or that blog tour, but the truth is that the next book is the best marketing you can have. So keep writing.

10. Extra-large French fries or a perfect square of dark chocolate?

Tough one! I’m going to go with French fries…mostly because I’m starving right now and that sounds like a good dinner option.

11. Which of your books gave you the most trouble, and what helped you make it to “the end”?

The book I just finished (the first book in my Slippery Rock series, which will be out later this year), took a couple of incarnations, and multiple character revisions…but in the end, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

12. Do you have a music playlist for writing? If so, list some of your go-to artists.

I do! I make new playlists for every book/series. Right now I’ve got a lot of Dierks Bentley and Maren Morris in both of my playlists.

13. Virginia Woolf or Maya Angelou?

Maya. Her poetry is so lyrical, and I can hear her voice in my head as I read.

14. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a book and a new idea pops into your head?

I write it down, stick it in a folder, and get back to the book I’m working on.

15. Were there other authors who helped you along the way on your writer’s journey, and how did they make a difference for you?

My WordWrangler pals, and my local RWA chapter girls are all priceless for a variety of reasons – camaraderie, brainstorming help, butt-in-chair-ing, cheerleading, and picking up the pieces…I love them all.

***

Kristina book

 

 

Protecting the Quarterback

By Kristina Knight

 

 

“Jonas.” Her quiet voice snapped him back to the parking lot. “Why don’t you not take me home?”

His stomach muscles tightened as the words slipped from her lips in that slow drawl.

“Are you sure?”

She nodded, and he knew he wouldn’t take her home, not just yet.

When he was behind the wheel, Brooks took his hand in hers and turned her face to watch the buildings passing by. The sun was beginning to set when he pulled into the parking lot of the condo where he’d spent the first few years of his contract with the team. Several other players lived there during the season, but the place was mostly a ghost town now. He parked in his designated spot and then somehow they were inside the glass-and-chrome decorated living room.

Memorabilia lined the walls and a low, white couch sat behind a glass-topped coffee table. He cringed. It was too perfect. Too planned out.

Too much like the other times he’d brought a woman here. Maybe he should have taken her to a hotel. There was still time, he could—

“Wow,” she said, drawing her index finger over the smooth surface of a table lined with photographs of him during games or at press conferences. God, he’d been such a schmuck with the decorating of this place. “This is not what I expected.”

“My interior designer has very specific tastes,” he said lamely. Definitely, definitely should have taken her anywhere but this condo.

She presented herself as the girl next door, but there was a little bit of siren in her now, which made his heartbeat kick up a notch. Brooks made her way around the room and he couldn’t take his eyes off her as she moved. Slowly and sinuously. Taking in everything around her. This was a different Brooks than the woman he thought he’d known over the past week. That woman was businesslike most of the time. The moments she let her guard down, like when she talked to the kids without that microphone in tow, though, she was irresistible. Impossible not to watch or wonder about. It was one of those moments that made him ask her out for dinner. That dinner had led them here.

Jonas met her at the kitchen counter, put his hands on her hips and turned her to face him.

“It was a date,” he said and bent his head so he could taste her lips. She was sweet, as he’d imagined so many times over the past few days. She wound her arms around his neck and slanted her mouth, giving him better access to the sweetness that was Brooks. He squeezed his hands around her waist and she shivered. “It was always a date,” he said again and began walking her down the hallway to the bedroom.

***

Protecting the Quarterback, a May 2016 release from Harlequin Superromance, may be purchased from these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Harlequin, iBooks and KOBO.

 

***

About Kristina

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police–no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer’s capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way, she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she’s living her own happily ever after.

Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. Stay in touch with Kristina through her website, www.kristinaknightauthor.com, or through these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and Google+.

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – MK Schiller

Author Speed Dating(1)

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

 

This week’s guest: MK Schiller

MK pic

 CONTEMPORARY MULTICULTURAL ROMANCE

15 Questions

1. If you were to make an appearance at Comic-Con, which Superhero costume would you be rocking?

It would be Wonder Woman. The girl is armed with a truth lasso and killer cuff bracelets. Bonus, she has a jet.

2. At which time of day are you more productive as a writer, mornings or nights, and is caffeine a friend or foe?

I think it really depends on what’s going on. I wish the moments I’m creative are scheduled. I’d say nights win though. Caffeine is a great pal, but red wine is a close friend.

3. George Clooney or Bradley Cooper?

Definitely, Bradley Cooper circa “Limitless” and “Silver Linings Playbook”. He always plays characters that make me laugh and feel.

4. What is your biggest dream as an author?

Well, if we’re dreaming big, I would love to see one of my books on the big screen.

5. Name a movie you’ve watched countless times but one you’ll still tune in to whenever it’s on cable.

“Forest Gump”.

6. How many books have you published and in how many genres and sub-genres?

It’s hard to believe, but 9 books with one on the way. They are all contemporary romances, but range with sub-genres of romantic suspense, new adult, and multicultural romance.

7. Love It or List It or Modern Family?

I’d have to go with Modern Family as it’s one of my family’s favorite shows.

8. What is your favorite way to celebrate after you receive a new book contract or get a great review?

Going out to dinner with my family and announcing it at our monthly Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America meeting.

9. What is your best advice for new writers?

Be encouraged by all praise and heed the criticism to help you become a better writer. But…do not let either define you.

10. Extra-large French fries or a perfect square of dark chocolate?

Chocolate every time, all of the time. Now, if we could make deep fried chocolate French fries, that would be something.

11. Which of your books gave you the most trouble, and what helped you make it to “the end”?

I struggled with the conflict and black moment in Where the Lotus Flowers Grow. It was almost too dark, especially for me. But in the end, I kept it because the whole theme of the book is that love can bloom in any dark corner. Just like the Lotus Flower.

12. Do you have a music playlist for writing? If so, list some of your go-to artists.

Absolutely. In fact, every book has a playlist and artists that helped me get through it. I love Indie artists like Hugo to classics like James Taylor. My playlist is super eclectic and frenzied just like my characters.

13.Virginia Woolf or Maya Angelou?

I’ve read both and enjoyed them, but I’d have to go with Maya Angelou. I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in high school and it really resonated with me. After all, the beautiful heroine used literature to make her stronger in the face of severe trauma.

14. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a book and a new idea pops into your head?

I turn my head and mutter, “squirrel.” It depends if I’m under contract, but I might start writing the new book if the idea makes my fingers twitch enough.

15. Were there other authors who helped you along the way on your writer’s journey, and how did they make a difference for you?

There are too many to name. I was inspired by amazing authors I had read, but also by those who I had met through my local writing group from our knowledgeable speakers to our members. These brave and lovely authors helped pave my writing journey.

***

MK Cover

 

 

 

Where the Lotus Flowers Grow

By MK Schiller

Steam from the bathroom swathed him as he stepped out, a towel looped low around his hips. His naked chest, revealed muscles chiseled to perfection. I’d seen him when he arrived, but I wasn’t paying attention. And now my attention would not go anywhere else. His damp hair, the color a mix of sun with flecks of sand, lay unruly against his head. His expression conveyed annoyance. I pivoted, my bum backing into the bureau. He narrowed his eyes. Green eyes? Brown? They were both.

They were neither.

“I’m waiting for an answer.”

My fingers clutched the book, digging into the hardback cover, holding it against my chest as if it could shield me from his voice, deep and husky. I shrank back farther, praying the floor would quake open and swallow me up.

His eyes shifted to my hands. He blinked, staring at the book. As much as my eyes were absorbing, my mouth refused to work. What could I possibly say to him? There were no excuses. I’d trespassed and, as a result, I’d be sacked.

“I’ve frightened you,” he said, his voice a shade softer. He held up his hand. “Wait.”

He picked up a few articles of clothing from the open suitcase on the bed, then looked back at me. “Stay.” He closed the bathroom door behind him, disappearing into the diminishing poufs of steam.

I should run. But my feet were stuck to the floor, even though my legs were shaking. For once, I was grateful the sari would hide that.

When he came out a few minutes later, he wore soft, faded jeans and a green rugby shirt. He stood a few feet away, but I could smell fresh soap and sweet mint radiating from his body.

He slapped his chest three times. “My name is Liam Montgomery.”

I continued to stare, dumbfounded. Was he introducing himself to me as if we lived on the same plane? I had found comfort in being a maid because the attention paid to me was on par with my paycheck. That was my preference. My choice. Perhaps a penance in a way. But now…I had all his attention and no idea what to do with it. He sighed, shaking his head with disappointment. “Lotus Girl, why would you pick up a book you can’t read?”

Lotus girl? Was he talking to me?

“Let’s try this again. Mera Nam, Liam Montgomery,” he said in poorly pronounced Hindi.

“You don’t speak Hindi either?” When I didn’t respond, he picked up his phone and pressed a few buttons. “So many languages in this country. Rest assured, I’ll find yours.”

As if rest were a possibility.

“Ah, here we are.” He repeated the introduction in Punjabi, Gujarthi, Marthati, Tamil, Bangali, and even Sanskrit. Each time, he looked at me with a hopeful expression. With my continued silence, he grew more disappointed. Somehow, his desperation to talk with me made the tension dissipate just as the steam had. Finally, he threw his phone on the bed.

He shook his head in resignation, offering me a self-deprecating smile.

“That’s all I got. I suppose we shall never speak.” He stared at the book again. I held it out to him with both hands. He stepped closer, his bare feet oddly beautiful. Later, I would wonder why I didn’t just lay the book back on the bureau. His hands, large with long fingers, gripped the other edge and stilled the wobbling tome. I tilted my chin, forcing myself to look at his face. I knew I’d regret the moment if I chose to…squint.

He nodded toward the book, but kept us at a distance. “It’s a shame, really. This is my favorite Dickens’s novel. It’s almost an autobiography.”

He tugged on it. I wouldn’t let go.

He chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck. “Why the hell I’m still talking to you when you can’t bloody-well respond, I have no idea.” He gestured to the door. “Either it’s heatstroke, or I’m going mad.”

“You’re wrong.”

He swallowed, his eyes widening. “I’m not going mad?”

“It’s not an autobiography. Dickens said his most autobiographical book was David Copperfield. Not Nicholas Nickleby.” I thought I’d said it in my head, but the way his jaw dropped made it clear I’d articulated the statement.

Liam smiled again, his expression a mixture of curiosity and suspicion.

“She speaks. And what interesting things she has to say.”

***

Where the Lotus Flowers Grow, a September 2016 release from Lyrical Shine, an imprint from  Kensington Publishing, may be purchased from these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

 

***

About MK

MK Schiller was born a hopeless romantic in a hopelessly pragmatic world. She has a full-time life and two busy teenagers, but in the dark of night, she sits by the warm glow of her computer monitor and attempts to conjure up passionate heartwarming stories with plenty of humor. She hopes you enjoy her stories and always find The Happily Ever After in every endeavor.

Stay in touch with MK through her website, www.mkschillerauthor.com, her Facebook author page and Facebook profile, her Amazon Author Page, Twitter and Goodreads.

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Author Speed Dating – Janet Lee Nye

 

Author Speed Dating(1)

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Janet Lee Nye

 

Janet pic

HarlequinSuperromance2

15 Questions

1. Which character in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is your favorite, and what does that say about you?

Bumble, post dental surgery, all roar, no bite. Tall and can reach things.

2. What are some of things you do to work your way through a plot problem?

See above, roar a lot. Boring answer: on the treadmill.

3. Name your favorite author who writes in a genre that you never write.

Neil Gaiman.

4. Cherry cordials or candy canes?

Candy canes, licked down to a dangerously sharp point.

5. How many full manuscripts did you have to write before you were first published?

Oh, lordy. [*pulls off socks so I can use toes for this count*] If I count all the times I took an existing manuscript and rewrote it (change a romantic suspense into a contemporary), the total is six. [*puts socks back on*]

6. In 10 words or less, give your best tip for aspiring authors.

The closer you get, the bigger the disappointments. Don’t quit.

7. Lifetime Christmas movies. Yea or nay?

Nay.

8. What was the lowest point in your writing career, and how did you recover from it?

2014. I missed being a finalist in the Golden Hearts by one point, and there were only two finalists in my category. I was considering quitting but went to RWA Nationals and my tribe kicked my butt back into the game. [Note from Dana: The Golden Heart Award, sponsored by Romance Writers of America, is the premier contest for unpublished romance writers.]

9. Are you traditionally published, self-published or a “hybrid” author, and why did you choose that path?

Traditionally published. Mostly because I’m not computer or marketing savvy enough to properly self-publish.

10. “O Holy Night” (Josh Groban version) or “White Christmas” (Bing Crosby version)?

I’m more of a “Holly Jolly Christmas” kind of girl.

11. Which character from one of your own books do you wish you were more like?

I think I’d have to say Lena Reyes, Sadie’s best friend in Spying on the Boss. She has her own book coming out in April. She is strong, smart, sassy and fierce when it comes to family and friends.

12. What is your strategy for writing over the holidays?

Depends. I’m a nurse, so I work on holidays. If I’m not working at the hospital, I may squeeze in a few words. We aren’t big party people so our holidays tend to be rather low-key.

13. Of all the delightful treats available during the holiday season, which one would you prefer to hide in a closet so you don’t have to share it with anyone?

Peppermint bark.

14. Do you belong to a critique group, and how has that membership affected your writing?

No. I was part of a writer’s group many years ago, but I was the only romance writer there, so I felt pushed to be “literary”, and it hurt my writing. Now, I have my Fella give me feedback (he is a writer also).

15. What is your usual New Year’s Resolution, and how quickly do you usually break it?

Which one? Go to the gym at least four times a week? Drink more water? Eat more healthfully? Start dressing like a grown up? Don’t wear pajamas all day?

***

BON Cover

Boss on Notice

By Janet Lee Nye

 

 

“Hey, neighbor,” Josh called.

She tried not to look, but how could she not? He was too good looking. That black curly hair and the blue eyes. His shoulders, his chest, his arms…he was built but he didn’t try to show it off by wearing a shirt two sizes too small for his body.  She bit her bottom lip, felt it slip back into her mouth as she watched him. Those jeans. Levi’s. Straight forward working man’s jeans. Nothing fancy. She felt warm in all the wrong places.

“Hi,” she said.

Short, sweet, to the point. Get out of here before he offers you a ride. She pushed the stroller but he met her at the sidewalk. He squatted to look at Ian.

“Hey, little man. What big adventure are you off to today? Going to break in to a few more houses?”

“Go! Go! Go!” Ian shouted back.

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Sorry,” she said. “Shouting seems to be the only volume he has these days.”

He stood and smiled at her. “You guys always seem to be on the go.”

“Yep. That’s us. Busy, busy, busy.”

He looked at her. Then at the duffels. Then at the street. He rubbed his jaw, the stubble there making a faint scratching noise that went straight through her. She squared her shoulders.

“Yeah. I should get back to work.”

Work. Whoa. Wait. What was it that lady had told her on the phone? He was here setting up a cleaning business. She could clean.

“You’re hiring?”

He gave her a look. A half smile. “Yeah, but…”

“Can I apply? I don’t have any experience other than cleaning my own house. But I’m a fast learner. And I’m not afraid of hard work.”

“Mickie,” he said, cutting off her babble.

“What?”

“We are an all-male cleaning company. That’s our gimmick. Good looking guys cleaning your house.”

“Oh.” She was too disappointed to say anything else.

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Nothing ventured and all. Well, I should get going.”

She could feel him watching her as she navigated down the sidewalk to the street. All male. Weren’t there, like, discrimination laws about stuff like that? She tried to get angry about it but she couldn’t seem to think around the echoes of the scrape of his fingers against the stubble. Her own fingers twitched on the stroller handles. She’d like to run a finger over that stubble.

***

Boss on Notice, an installment in The Cleaning Crew miniseries, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Harlequin and Books-A-Million.

***

About Janet

Janet Lee Nye is a writer by day and a neonatal nurse by night. She lives in Charleston, SC, with her fella and her felines. She spends too much time on Twitter and too little time on housework and has no plans to remedy this.

Stay in touch with Janet through her website, www.janetleenye.com or through these social-media channels: Facebook and Twitter. Learn more about Janet and her fellow Harlequin Superromance authors on the Superromance Facebook Page or the  Superromance Authors Blog, www.superauthors.com.

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