Tamara Gill | Honeymoon on High Street


As a lover of time travel romance, it’s only natural I think for an author to be interested in history. If I had my time again with my schooling, I would’ve become an archaeologist and spent the rest of my life quite happily digging up the past. History has always fascinated me, what they wore, what they ate, their customs and lifestyle is something you can get caught up in quite easily while doing research for books. To image going back in time, even for a day, and seeing how others lived would be an awesome dream come true. Unless you landed in the middle of Waterloo or the battle of Hastings, then that would be bad.

And if you’ve read my latest release, A STOLEN SEASON you’ll see that my heroine Sarah is in fact, a time travelling archaeologist. Pretty cool in my book. No pun intended. In my life I’ve been lucky enough to travel around the world a couple of times, visiting cities that are older than my own land, Australia. Walking through the streets of Rome, seeing the Colosseum and imagining well built, musclier sweaty gladiators, made for quite a fun day, not that my husband helped with my imaginings, when he kept reminding me most were criminals, and were probably not the type of guys to bring a girl flowers on their first date. *g*

But of course everyone must have a favourite place in the world, and mine would have to be Old London Town. I dragged my husband, quite literally, there for our honeymoon. Well I may have bribed him a little. He wanted to go to Bali, I wanted to go to the UK. Of course, my excuse was that we lived in Australia with an abundance of beaches so why fly overseas to lie on more sand? It didn’t make sense, and with a little persuasion, I got my way. #score

I’ll never forget when our airline flew in over the city and I spied Tower Bridge, the iconic landmark for the first time. As an Aussie kid, I had the song ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’ memorized from the age of two. Of course, I didn’t know until we started to explore the city that this bride is in fact Tower Bridge, not London Bridge which is a little way up the Thames. As a side note, this bridge plays a crucial role in A Stolen Season. I won’t give you any more hints than that, you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out how. But at that moment as we banked over the city, I knew right there and then, that I would love London, and I did. We walked miles about the parks, cemeteries, did the hop on, hop off tour, travelled out into the country side, visited Stonehenge, and Stratford-upon-Avon. You name it, we did it and it was the best honeymoon I could’ve imagined. I think I even converted my hubby that London is the bees knees.

I plan on going back there, this time with my darling kids and yes, I will drag them around every castle I can find, every church and historical landmark that pops up along the way, but we’ll also include Scotland, because, you guessed it, I love that country as well.

I hope you enjoy A Stolen Season and my twenty-first century girl’s adventures into Regency England. While writing the story, my heroine certainly kept me amused, and I hope she does the same for you all as well.


One small mistake in the past will change everything about her future…

Archaeologist Sarah Baxter just broke one of the biggest rules of time travel: leaving a piece of 21st­ century equipment in 19th century Regency England. Unfortunately, when she goes back to retrieve it, she makes an even bigger mess of things—resulting in the death of an English Earl. Now his brother is not only out for revenge, but he also has Sarah’s device.

Which means an entirely different approach is needed. It doesn’t occur to the new Earl of Earnston that his charming acquaintance is responsible for his brother’s death. He is merely swept away by a passion that threatens his very reputation. Yet he gets the distinct impression that Miss Baxter is hiding something from him.

Now Sarah must find a way to steal back her device, hide the truth about the earl’s brother and—most importantly— not fall in love…

About Tamara Gill

Tamara is an Australian author who grew up in an old mining town in country South Australia, where her love of history was founded. So much so, she made her darling husband travel to the UK for their honeymoon, where she dragged him from one historical monument and castle to another.

A mother of three, her two little gentleman’s in the making, a future Lady (she hopes) and a part-time job keep her busy in the real world, but whenever she gets a moment’s peace she loves to write romance novels in an array of genres, including regency, medieval and paranormal.

Tamara loves hearing from readers and writers alike. You can contact her through her website, and sign up to follow her blog or newsletter.

Sarah Title | Blizzard Blues

Sarah TitleSNOWED INFull disclosure: I actually like winter. But I live in West Virginia, so my definition of “winter” may be slightly skewed. I haven’t had the chance to burn any hot chocolate calories by shoveling snow, at least not yet. (I may have just jinxed myself – April snowstorm, here we come!)

It’s not that I’ve never lived through a *real* winter. I grew up in the Northeast, and I went to grad school in the Midwest – trust me, I’ve had winter. But I’m not going to lie, having some geographical distance from the real white stuff is affecting my memory. Falling snow is so romantic if you know you don’t have to get up early to shovel out your car.

Admit it, there are nice parts to a blizzard. Hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. Curling up in front of a roaring fire. Snuggling under a pile of blankets with a handsome guy… Sorry, where was I?

Right. Blizzards. The best remedy for the Blizzard Blues is something hot and sweet, like Gavin Fraser, the hero of my novella, SNOWED IN. When he meets Maureen O’Connell, she’s kind of a mess. But he’s a gentleman, and when they’re stranded together in a blizzard, he does his best to keep her warm…


There’s nothing like a hot kiss on a cold day…

Librarian Maureen O’Connell might have predicted she’d find herself crying into the ice cream case at the supermarket after a bad breakup—but she definitely never imagined that a guy hot enough to melt the Rocky Road would flirt with her right there in the freezer aisle. Only Gavin Fraser isn’t a fantasy, he’s a mouth-watering new flavor…

When a freak snowstorm strands Maureen at Gavin’s after just one date, it’s a perfect excuse for something a lot steamier than hot chocolate in front of the fire. It’s definitely lust. Can it also be love?

About Sarah Title

By day, Sarah Title is a (sort of) mild-mannered librarian in West Virginia, and by night, she writes funny, steamy comfort reads. Her first book, KENTUCKY HOME, was released by eKensington in April 2013, and she has released another book, HOME SWEET HOME, and two novellas, “Kentucky Christmas” and “Snowed In,” with eKensington (now Lyrical). She also contributed to the anthology, DELICIOUS, with Lori Foster and Lucy Monroe. Her newest book, TWO FAMILY HOME, will be released by Lyrical Press in August 2015. Find her on the internet, where she talks mostly about her dog. Sarah is represented by Louise Fury with the Bent Agency.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram @titleauthor

Lynsay Sands | Favorite Recipes to Tame the Hunger

Lynsay SandsTHE IMMORTAL WHO LOVED METHE IMMORTAL WHO LOVED ME (Argeneau Vampire book #21) brings new life to the series with its heroine’s unique job: she owns a kitchen goods store. This was largely inspired by Lynsay’s own kitchen renovation, which was underway while she wrote. In celebration of the book’s recent release–and the completion of her new kitchen, as you can see in the photographs–Lynsay has shared some of her favorite recipes for you to prepare in your own kitchen.


And one more delicious detail from the Argeneau Vampire series: one of the main side-effects of being a vampire who’s just found his or her lifemate is a sudden craving for good food (not blood!). And lots of it. So whether you are cooking for yourself or a lovestruck vampire, these recipes should keep you satisfied.

Ants Climbing A Tree

-6 dried shiitake mushrooms

-250g pkt bean thread vermicelli noodles

-2 tablespoons peanut oil

-2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

-2 garlic cloves, crushed

-2 small fresh red chillies, thinly sliced

-5 green onion, ends trimmed, thinly sliced

-400g pork mince

-2 tablespoons soy sauce

-2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

-1 tablespoon water

-2 teaspoons cornflour

-150g firm tofu, cut into 2cm pieces

1. Step 1 Place mushrooms in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Set aside for 1 hour to soak. Drain, reserving 250ml (1 cup) of liquid. Thinly slice.

2. Step 2 Meanwhile, place noodles in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Set aside for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain.

3. Step 3 Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Stir-fry the ginger, garlic, mushroom, half the chilli and three-quarters of the shallot for 2 minutes. Add the mince and stir-fry for 3 minutes.

4. Step 4 Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce and reserved liquid. Cook for 2 minutes. Combine water and cornflour in a bowl. Add to the sauce and stir until it thickens. Stir in noodles and tofu until heated through. Top with remaining chilli and shallot.
5. Recipe from here.

Chicken in Wine in No Time

-1/2 c. flour

-2 tsp. salt

-1/2 tsp. pepper

-1/4 c. oil

-2-3 lbs. chicken, cut up

-1 c. dry white wine

-1 pkg. dry onion soup mix


Combine flour, salt and pepper in paper bag. Shake chicken pieces to coat. Brown chicken well on all sides in oil in skillet. Sprinkle with onion soup; pour in white wine. Add a little water. Cover; simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Yield: 4 servings. Easy and very tasty.

Recipe found here.

Easy Pierogi Casserole

-9 lasagna noodles, uncooked

-4 cups hot mashed potatoes

-1/2 cup (1/2 of 8-oz. tub) PHILADELPHIA Chive & Onion Cream Cheese Spread

-6 green onions, thinly sliced

-1 pkg. (3 oz.) OSCAR MAYER Real Bacon Bits, divided

-2 cups KRAFT Shredded Triple Cheddar Cheese with a TOUCH OF PHILADELPHIA, divided

HEAT oven to 375°F.

COOK noodles as directed on package, omitting salt. Meanwhile, combine potatoes, cream cheese spread, onions, 1/2 cup bacon and 1 cup cheddar.

PLACE 3 noodles in 13×9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover with 1/3 of the potato mixture. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining bacon and cheddar; cover.

BAKE 33 to 35 min. or until heated through, uncovering for the last 5 min. Let stand 10 min. before cutting to serve.

Kitchens Tips

Serving Suggestion: Serve with a mixed green salad tossed with your favorite KRAFT Lite Dressing.

Note: You will need to cook about 2 lb. baking potatoes (about 6) to get the 4 cups mashed potatoes needed to make this recipe.

Substitute: For a change of pace, substitute BREAKSTONE’S or KNUDSEN Cottage Cheese for the mashed potatoes.

Recipe found here.

Southwest Chicken Panini

-2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken breasts

-2 Tbsp. MIRACLE WHIP Light Dressing

-2 Tbsp. KRAFT Lite Ranch Dressing

-1-1/2 tsp. chili powder

-8 slices Italian bread

-1 large tomato, cut into 8 thin slices

-4 KRAFT 2% Milk Singles

HEAT panini grill.

COMBINE first 4 ingredients.

FILL bread slices with chicken mixture, tomatoes and 2% Milk Singles to make 4 sandwiches.

GRILL 3 to 5 min. or until Singles are melted and sandwiches are golden brown.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

If You Don’t Have a Panini Grill: Heat grill pan or large skillet on medium heat. Cook sandwiches 3 to 5 min. on each side or until golden brown on both sides, gently pressing down tops of sandwiches with spatula to flatten slightly as they cook.

Make Ahead: Chicken salad can be prepared in advance. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 days. Use to assemble sandwiches just before cooking as directed.

Substitute: Have some leftover turkey? Use it instead of the chicken in these tasty sandwiches.

Recipe found here.

Orange Cream Cookies

Adapted from Betty Crocker; Yields 3 1/2 dozen cookies

-1 cup sugar

-1/2 cup softened butter

-1 egg

-1 tsp. vanilla

-1 tsp orange extract (or 3-4 drops orange essential oil)

-1/3 cup sour cream

-1 TBSP milk

-1/2 tsp. salt

-1/2 tsp. baking soda

-2 cups flour

-1 (12 oz) bag white chocolate chips

-1 small box vanilla pudding mix

Cream together sugar and butter. Add egg, vanilla, orange extract and milk. In separate bowl, combine sour cream, pudding mix, salt and soda. Add flour and sour cream to butter mixture, mixing until smooth. Mix in white chocolate chips. Add orange coloring as desired.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

Recipe from here.

Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars

-1 ½ cups (375 mL) Robin Hood® Original All Purpose Flour

-½ cup (125 mL) icing sugar

-¾ cup (175 mL) butter, softened

-1 can (300 mL) Eagle Brand® Dulce de Leche Caramel Flavoured Sauce

-1 cup (250 mL) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8” x 8” (2 l) baking pan with parchment paper, overlapping the sides for easy removal.

2. Combine, in a medium bowl, flour and icing sugar. Blend in butter using a pastry blender or your fingers. Press mixture into prepared pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden.

4. Bring caramel flavoured sauce to a boil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Stir constantly, cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Spread thickened mixture on top of baked shortbread. Let sit 10 minutes before topping with slightly cooled melted chocolate.

5. Pour melted chocolate evenly on top of caramel flavoured filling and spread to cover. Chill in refrigerator, 3 hours or until firm. Cut into bars.


Reserve 1 tbsp (15 ml) of thickened caramel flavoured sauce to drizzle on top of chocolate layer.
To melt chocolate, bring 1-2” (2.5 cm-5 cm) of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Place chocolate in heat proof bowl and place bowl over boiling water. Ensure bottom of bowl does not touch the water. Remove saucepan from heat. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes and stir.

Recipe found here.


A few hours ago, Sherry Carne would have sworn that vampires didn’t exist. That’s before rogue immortals rampage through her store, leaving bloody chaos (literally) in their wake. The kicker comes when Sherry learns that one of the vamps on the bad guys’ trail may be her life mate. Her head says it’s impossible. The rest of her takes one look at Basileios Argeneau and has much more interesting ideas.

Whatever Basil expected in a life mate, funny, outspoken Sherry isn’t it. But mind-blowing chemistry and instinct don’t lie. They tell him something else, too—that Sherry’s connection to the immortal world goes deeper than she knows. And that she’s in the kind of danger only Basil can save her from—if she’ll just trust him, now and forever . . .

D.R. Graham | From Scene to Story

D.R. GrahamONE PERCENTERMy name is Danielle. I write both Young Adult and New Adult fiction for Entangled Publishing and HarperCollins as D.R. Graham. People ask me all the time where I get my ideas for the novels I write. Those who know me assume because I am a child and family therapist that I must draw all my ideas from counseling sessions. I guess that’s partially true when it comes to character traits, but my stories don’t actually come to me as ideas based on other people’s lives. They start as intense feelings or random images that I find fascinating.

ONE PERCENTER, which is the first book in the Noir et Bleu Motorcycle Club series, was inspired by a funeral of a high ranking member of an outlaw motorcycle club. I watched as the crowd exited the church into a parking lot full of police officers, and I was struck by the image of the little kids holding hands with their rough looking biker dads. It moved me to tell the story of what it is like to grow up loving people the rest of the world is terrified of.

The first book I ever published, titled HIT THAT AND YOU’RE DEAD, became a bestselling young adult novel geared toward reluctant readers. Early in my counseling career, a teenage girl asked me to help her tell her dad that she had been sexually assaulted. After we told him, the first emotion that ripped through him was protective rage. It only appeared for a fraction of a second before he reached over and hugged her in support. It was a powerful emotion that I had never witnessed prior to that. Many years later, I can still see the intensity in his eyes, and it moved me to tell a story of what someone’s protective rage might compel them to do if pushed to the limit.

RANK, which is my next release (March 2015), is a story about brothers who are bull riders on the rodeo circuit trying to pick up the pieces of their lives after their dad’s death. One of the brothers has bipolar disorder. I chose to tell the story from the perspective of the sibling who doesn’t have a mental health issue because people often overlook how difficult it is to be the one who isn’t sick. The story wasn’t derived from any one experience. It’s weird, I know, but it started with the sentence: Facial wounds bleed a lot!

I can’t explain how a story writes itself from a random image or emotion, but it is the part of writing I enjoy the most. I meet the characters at the beginning and get to know them better as we spend time together. I don’t know what’s going to happen, and I’m often surprised, shocked, and delighted when I realize how things work out.

Since there is no shortage of intense emotions or striking images, I think there are story ideas everywhere. Thanks for reading!


99% of bikers obey the law. The other 1% make their own…

Eighteen-year-old Tienne Desrochers grew up in the rough world of the Noir et Bleu. Bikers. Outlaws. But after her dad’s murder, Tienne decides she’s had enough. She refuses to end up like her junkie mom. So she grabs her younger brother and leaves it all behind…including her boyfriend, Aiden Gyllenhall.

More comfortable in the middle of a bar fight than at a country club, living with her wealthy aunt and uncle is an adjustment, to say the least. No swearing. Designer shoes that pinch. And pretty, preppy boys like Leland Crofton instead of super-sexy, tattooed Aiden. But even the upper class can’t escape the rancid touch of underworld violence.

And this time, Tienne won’t just learn who she really is—she’ll learn how to fight for what’s hers.

About D.R. Graham

D.R. Graham is the author of Young Adult and New Adult novels for HarperCollins and Entangled Publishing. She worked as a social worker with at-risk youth for seven years before becoming a therapist in private practice. The clients she works with are children and teenagers and the novels she writes deal with issues relevant to young and new adults in love, transition, or crisis. She is also an award winning columnist for the Richmond News. She currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband.

D.R. Graham’s novels are edgy and reflect the emotional rawness of the young adult psyche. The novels contain coarse language and mature subject matter. They are intended for mature young and new adult readers. Visit her website for more information and to join her street team: The Graham Crackers.

Jennifer Ryan | Meet The Montana Men

Jennifer RyanAT WOLF RANCH

I am so excited to introduce readers to my new series – The Montana Men.

When I think of the rough, rugged land in Montana, I think of the even tougher guys who live and work there. After all, there’s something about a cowboy. Their strength of character. That rock solid guy who knows who he is and what he wants. Under all that grit lies a man who’s got down-home charm and manners any mama would approve of. Their loyalty runs bone-deep, as deep as their love for home and family.

Cowboys are wild at heart. They work hard and play harder, that wild streak taking them from the ranch to the rodeo circuit where there’s no fear or hesitation to get on a giant bull or ride a bucking bronco around an arena, chasing the thrill of the ride.

Let’s not forget how damn good they look in those tight jeans. Or even better, sitting atop a horse. All it takes is one cocky half grin and a sexy as hell narrowed gaze from under their cowboy hat and any woman would melt in their strong arms. Oh yeah!

With such an iconic image and the beautiful Montana landscape to draw from, it wasn’t hard to come up with my three gorgeous cowboys – Gabe, Blake and Dane. If you’re looking for sexy cowboys with wild ways and big hearts, look no further than my Montana Men in AT WOLF RANCH, WHEN IT’S RIGHT, and HER LUCKY COWBOY.


Everything’s bigger in Big Sky country, including the hearts of the Montana Men

After years on the rodeo circuit, Gabe Bowden wants nothing more than land of his own and a woman who will claim his heart for more than one night. When he has the chance to buy the enormous Wolf Ranch spread, he snaps up the incredible deal. Everything is set, until Gabe rescues a woman on the deserted, snowy road leading to the property, and the half-frozen beauty changes everything.

Ella Wolf rushes to her family’s abandoned Montana ranch after her twin sister is murdered. She knows she’s next…unless she can uncover a secret hidden somewhere at Wolf Ranch. The last thing Ella expects is to be rescued by a rugged rancher with his own agenda. A man who almost makes her forget how dangerous love can be…

As an unlikely partnership sparks into something so much more, and a killer closes in, can Ella and Gabe learn to trust one another before it’s too late?

About Jennifer Ryan

Jennifer Ryan writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find. Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three children, dog (Bella), and cat (Shadow). When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one.


Readers, what do you love about a cowboy? Leave a comment below to be entered to win your own copy of AT WOLF RANCH!

To comment on Jennifer Ryan’s guest post, please click here.

Lindsay McKenna | The Shadow Warriors Saga Continues in TAKING FIRE

Lindsay McKennaTAKING FIREI am working with Harlequin to do something rather innovative for my many loyal readers. I got a lot of emails begging me to right a novella epilogue for NEVER SURRENDER (Bay and Gabe, the main characters). I did that, but I also wanted to take a secondary from that book, Mike Tarik, and add him to this 11,000 word novella. I married the two of them into it so that the novella was not only an epilogue regarding “what happened next to Bay and Gabe,” but also became a bridge to Mike’s book, TAKING FIRE.

There are actually THREE books involved, with ZONE OF FIRE (February 1, 2015) coming out first to set up Mike’s book. Then, on February 25th, TAKING FIRE comes out and is Mike and Khatereh’s story. It is followed on March 1st by ON FIRE, Ebook only. It is what I term a “director’s cut” to their story.

Unfortunately, in paperbacks, a 100,000 words is the max amount one can write about a story. I over ran that mark by roughly 40,000 words! And I did not want to delete it and forget it. My editor, Tara Gavin, agreed and so did Harlequin. This is how these three books are like boxcars in a row on a train, kind of thing. It’s a creative and new way to present characters and their stories. And I hope you enjoy them. Do let me know!

TAKING FIRE is a story of US Navy SEAL, Mike Tarik, who is an American citizen, but 1/2 Saudi and 1/2 American, through his mother, Annie. His father is a world renown cardiac surgeon. Dr. Bedir Tarik met his wife, Annie, over in Saudi Arabia where she was an American school teacher. Bedir, who is Sufi, believes firmly that love is the only way to peace and harmony in the world. He falls in love with Annie, and they marry in Riyadh. Later, she gets pregnant with Mike and he is born in San Diego, California.

Bedir takes his young son over to Saudi Arabia for three weeks every year. He has a charity in Riyadh, and he and Mike take a pickup and distribute clothes, food and money to the poor at the fringes of that city, as well as to many others areas. He teaches his son generosity, giving back and being grateful for what he has.

Mike grows up wanting to become a Navy SEAL. Bedir has already shown him his family’s lineage and tells his warrior son that he has the genes of his warrior great-grandfather. Mike’s view on it is that he wants to help the poor and oppressed, to rid them of tyrants who kill or make their lives miserable. When he deploys to Afghanistan with Seal Team 3, he works with NGO charities to bring food, clothing, and shoes to the desperately poor Afghan villages near where his team is located.

He carries on his father’s belief in always helping those who have less. But on one mission, he finds himself in need. He and his four-man SEAL team are out on a mission. And it is a black ops US Marine Corps sniper who saves his team and him from a deadly ambush. And she’s a woman! Mike’s entire life changes in the moment he is injured and saved by this mysterious operator who cares for him deep in the cave systems of the Hindu Kush Mountains near the Pakistan border.

Sergeant Khatera Shinwari is wary of this SEAL, must maintain her deep black ops cover and although she’s powerfully drawn to Mike, there is no way she can act upon it. Mike, before he’s picked up by a Night Stalker helicopter once he’s ready to leave her care for FOB Bravo, promises her, he will see her again.

Khat doesn’t believe him, as much as she wished she could. Her life is not her own. Her loyalty is to her Afghan people, not to a single man like Mike. But life has a funny way of changing up, and Mike isn’t about to just let this enigmatic, beautiful woman disappear out of his life. No way…..

I had great fun creating this story and it’s unlike anything my readers have read. I’m very excited about it, about the sympathetic characters that you are sure to cheer on! And toward that end? I’ve created a “Director’s Cut” of a much longer ending to TAKING FIRE. Don’t worry, the book you’ve bought is complete with an HEA ending. But if you want to know more of “what else” happened,” then ON FIRE (HQN, March 2015) digital only, 40,000 words long and $2.99, will be available to you to continue their twisting and dangerous destiny with one another! And an HEA ending, of course!


She dances on the edge of life–and death

Not all are meant to walk in the light. Marine Corps Sergeant Khat Shinwari lives among the shadows of the rocky Afghani hills, a Shadow Warrior by name and by nature. She works alone, undercover and undetected—until a small team of US Navy SEALs are set upon by the Taliban…and Khat is forced to disobey orders to save their lives.

To go rogue.

Now, hidden deep in the hills with injured SEAL Michael Tarik in her care, Khat learns that he’s more than just a sailor. In him, she sees something of herself and of what she could be. Now duty faces off against the raw, overwhelming attraction she has for Mike. And she must decide between the safety of the shadows…and risking everything by stepping into the light.

Connect with Lindsay and learn more about the Shadow

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Newsletter | Amazon


Roe Valentine | The Little Things and Grand Gestures

Roe ValentineLEFT TO FOREVERThey say it’s the small things, and I totally agree. Little gestures to profess something larger is enough to bring tears to my eyes. My favorite gesture was when a very nice man carried me over a muddy puddle so I wouldn’t ruin my shoes. I don’t think I can possibly forget something that sweet (and I really love those shoes)!

As romance readers, we expect those gestures from our heroes. He must show the heroine in a subtle—or not-so-subtle—way that she is important to him. Her happiness is his happiness. Her pleasure is his pleasure. Even if he gets him nowhere with her, it’s unconditional. In LEFT TO FOREVER, the hero Jacob makes a series of gestures, but one of them was catalytic to the heroine’s self-progression. Isn’t that what’s wonderful about little things and grand gestures? They breathe life intp us—tiny puffs and large ones. They change us. Make us see in different light.

So now, I want to share with you two of my favorite grand gestures:

1 – On Frasier when Niles finally tells Mel in front of their very snobby and judgmental social circle that he loves Daphne. To me that was so pivotal for them because Niles was black-mailed into living a sham, and Daphne wondered if she would be good enough for Niles and his society friends. When he announced to the world he loves Daphne, those fears vanished. And they could finally be together.

2 – On Pretty in Pink when Blane shows up to the prom without a date and stands up to his popular friend for liking the outcast Andie. Then when he sees Andie, he immediately goes to her and professes his love to her. “You told me you couldn’t believe in somebody who didn’t believe in you. I always believed in you…I just didn’t believe in me.” Ahhh, I swoon just thinking of it!


Realist Dr. Carla Harris believes that people create their
own fate through hard work and careful planning. She
believes in playing things safe. But, while preparing for
her upcoming nuptials, she’s forced to confront the most
reckless thing she’s ever done…her estranged husband, Jacob.

Idealist Jacob Moreau believes in soul mates as much as he
believes in saving endangered companies. When his long lost
wife reenters his life seeking a divorce, he is convinced
more than ever they are meant to be together. And he will
do—and lose—anything to have her again.

She thought she had her life planned to perfection. He
thought they made perfect sense together.

Would marrying Jacob be the craziest thing she’s ever done,
or divorcing him?

To comment on Roe Valentine’s blog please click here.

Melissa Foster | Making Your Dream A Reality

Melissa FosterSEASIDE SECRETSSnow was falling outside the window, my two young boys were sleeping upstairs, and these images came to me like a recurring dream; a mother sitting poolside, her daughter playing beside her, and the feeling of freedom whisking through the air like a breeze—freedom from a marriage unraveled. Those are the images and the sensations that first sent me running to my computer. There was a story in my head vying for release. That was in 1991. Fast forward many years, and several children, later, and here I am—a full-time author.

I have craved writing since that bitter winter afternoon, when I began poking away at my IBM Thinkpad balancing in my lap on a chair in our guest room. That particular story has yet to be written, but it opened a door for many more to develop.

Writing is a curious, and solitary, process for me. I can write just about anywhere with a window and a radio. For the most part, though, I must be alone. I sometimes act out my scenes several times before finding just the right emotions to portray. I talk to myself, urging myself to think harder, be more creative, give the readers what will make them want to turn the page. Sometimes I feel a little like a crazy person, alone in the room, arguing story points, or telling myself that my book won’t stink, and to keep writing. Other times, I feel like the wind has taken a hold of my mind and thoughts stream smoothly onto the page.

As the mother to six children, I used to write when my children were in school. They’re my biggest cheerleaders and my greatest critics. Children aren’t afraid to tell you exactly what they think, “That line stinks, Mom!” They’re also a source of encouragement and storylines.

Many people want to know how my life has changed since publishing MEGAN’S WAY and CHASING AMANDA. I spend more time sitting in front of a computer. I have terrific readers who send me interesting questions, invite me to meet with their book clubs, and many who have become my very closest friends. My life, although busy with book tours, marketing, and writing of my bestselling LOVE IN BLOOM contemporary romance series, is full. I still get nervous when I meet a new reader—I never know if readers will like my work or not, but it’s always worth the nail biting moments. One thing never changes. I always, without fail, feel like the luckiest woman alive as I’m crafting my stories. I’m doing something that brings happiness to me, and entertainment to readers. I’m giving back, and for that, every moment, good and bad, is a blessing.

About Melissa

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.

Melissa hosts an Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa at The World Literary Cafe or her personal website. Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.

You can also find Melissa on the following sites…Facebook Twitter Google+ Goodreads Pinterest


Tony Black is the hottest surfer on the planet. He travels the world throughout the year and spends his summers on Cape Cod with his friends, at the Seaside cottages in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. He’s got his choice of women, but Amy Maples is the one he wants. Fourteen years ago she was his for an entire summer, until a devastating accident changed everything, and what they had seemed like it had never existed–at least for her.

Amy Maples is as consistent as the day is long. She’s spent summers on Cape Cod forever, she always does the right thing, and she’s spent years trying to reclaim the heart of Tony Black, the only man she’s ever loved. She’s back for a summer of fun with her friends at Seaside, only this year she’s been offered the opportunity of a lifetime thousands of miles away, and she’s decided to try one last time to reconnect with Tony. But having a relationship with Tony means dealing with her past–and dealing with her past may knock her to her knees.

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Jenny Holiday | The romance BFF

Jenny HolidaySLEEPING WITH HER ENEMYLots of people (and by people I mean “ill-informed snobs”) say romance novels are unrealistic, that they idealize relationships in a way that’s somehow irresponsible and lets women get away with harboring silly fantasies. I could write a whole post on what I think about that, but for now let me just quote one of my favourite authors, Tessa Dare, who said: “Women are constantly told it’s fantasy to expect fidelity, respect, and orgasms in this life and to seek the same in our reading. It’s not.”

So, in complete agreement, I would say, yeah, romance novels absolutely idealize love. And not only is there nothing wrong with that, that’s the whole point.

But I’ve been thinking lately about how romance novels idealize another kind of love, too: the best friend. If romance novels give us something to aspire to in terms of how we expect to be treated by men, they also model female friendships that are healthy, supportive, and fun. And I think that’s awesome.

In my newest release, SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY, my heroine Amy is left at the altar on page one. Yes, she has to learn some stuff about herself in order to earn her romantic happily ever after, but she also has to face up to the fact that she’s not very well-endowed in the friend department. Her friends were all people she knew through being part of a couple.

So one of the things she works on is getting some new ones. She’s a beginner, if you will. But she quickly learns that friends make life better in so many ways (and by the time this series wraps up when I release its last instalment in November, this group of friends, which acquires one more member, is overtly calling itself a “girl gang.”)

Let’s think about the romance BFF for a moment.

  • She is really good at seeing through your bullshit and will not tolerate you settling for less in any aspect of your life.
  • She usually makes you call the boy.
  • She takes you out and gets you drunk when the situation calls for it.
  • She can cue the righteous indignation on your behalf faster than you can blink.
  • She’s usually really, really good at karaoke. And if she’s not, she makes up for lack of talent with enthusiasm.

Idealism? Sure. But just as with heroes in romance, why not? Am I that kind of friend all the time? No. Do I aspire to be? Yes.

What about you? Are you part of a girl gang?

About Jenny Holiday

Jenny Holiday started writing in fourth grade, when her awesome hippie teacher, between sessions of Pete Seeger singing and anti-nuclear power plant letter writing, gave the kids notebooks and told them to write stories. Most of Jenny’s featured poltergeist, alien invasions, or serial killers who managed to murder everyone except her and her mom. She showed early promise as a romance writer, though, because nearly every story had a happy ending: fictional Jenny woke up to find that the story had been a dream, and that her best friend, father, and sister had not, in fact, been axe-murdered.

From then on, she was always writing, often in her diary, where she liked to decorate her declarations of existential angst with nail polish teardrops. Eventually she channelled her penchant for scribbling into a more useful format. After picking up a PhD in urban geography, she became a professional writer, spending many years promoting research at a major university, which allowed her to become an armchair astronomer/historian/particle physicist, depending on the day. Eventually, she decided to try her hand again at happy endings–minus the bloodbaths. You can follow her on twitter at @jennyholi and @TropeHeroine or visit her on the web at jennyholiday.com.


He’ll complicate all her plans…

Amy Morrison is supposed to be at her wedding. But when her
husband-to-be jilts her at the altar, a distraught Amy runs
to the only place she feels safe—her office. Besides,
everyone who works on her floor is at her wedding…except
him. Dax Harris. Playboy, executive, and Amy’s
official office enemy.

While he and Amy don’t see eye-to-eye on the best of days,
Dax can’t help but feel badly when he sees Amy mid-meltdown.
Next thing he knows, he’s gotten her good and drunk, and
they’re making out like two  teenagers. And since
neither of them want anything serious, why shouldn’t they be
frenemies-with-benefits? Because there is no possible way
they could ever fall for each other…

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V.K. Sykes| Surprise!

V.K. SykesMEET ME AT THE BEACHThere’s one thing about VK Sykes that consistently surprises people: we’re a husband and wife writing team. While Vanessa writes bestselling historical romance as Vanessa Kelly, Randy’s attention is focused on the contemporary romances and occasional romantic suspense that come out under the VK Sykes pen name. He also manages most of the book-related finances and paperwork, while Vanessa handles the promo end of things.

So far, so good, right? Because finances, promo, and paperwork can all be done as separate tasks, but writing a book…that’s a different story. People often want to know how we can pull off a writing partnership, much less one between spouses. Because unlike most working relationships, you can’t really walk away from your spouse when you have a disagreement—at least not for long! It has to be resolved or life in our household won’t exactly be kittens and unicorns.

The first thing you need to know is that we do try to separate out the various stages of the process so that we’re not doing the same thing at once or tripping over each other. Randy usually comes up with the germ of the idea for each of our contemporary romances, especially since Vanessa is usually stuck somewhere in the Regency Era with dukes, carriage races, and feisty spinsters. Once Randy has that core idea, we start partnering up. We brainstorm the plot and work through as many of the big complications as we can before committing any words to the page.

Once we’ve figured out the details, Randy then goes to work. He does any necessary research and writes on extensive outline. Boy, does he write an extensive outline! Like, 25 pages single-spaced, if you can believe it. Then he hands that over to Vanessa for “approval.” Not that she ever really disapproves, but she usually ends up making suggestions—especially when it comes to the heroine. Randy is great at plot and dialogue, but he doesn’t always get the female emotion quite right (big surprise!). But that’s the beauty of a partnership. We can compensate for each other’s weak points.

Once we’re happy with the outline, Randy goes off and writes the first draft. That usually takes about two or three months, during which time Vanessa is off writing one of her historical romances. Once the draft is finished, it’s over to Vanessa for full-scale revisions. Then we pass the revised manuscript back and forth for polishing until we’re happy with it. Then, voila! We have a book ready to send off to our editor.

So, you might say, that sounds pretty easy. But are there any tricky spots? Well, yes! Randy hates writing sex scenes. In the beginning of our partnership, he would take a stab at them. Sadly, they were pretty rocky, so Vanessa finally told him to just stop it. Now when he hands the manuscript to Vanessa, there are always several blank chapters with the notation: insert hot sex scene here.

The other tricky spot comes when we disagree about a plot point or a certain aspect of characterization. How do we deal with that? Randy always says that he defers to Vanessa, but that’s a slight exaggeration. If it’s about an emotional turning point or the sexual aspects of the relationship, then he does tend to defer to Vanessa. If it’s about plot, Vanessa tends to defer to Randy—although Randy is more than happy to admit that Vanessa knows more about romance tropes and themes then he does. And, fortunately, we rarely argue about the actual writing. Do we argue about other things in our life? Sure—after all, we do spend almost every minute of the day together, so there’s bound to be the occasional disagreement.

But we’re both happy to say that the writing brings us closer together. It’s fun, challenging, and it probably saves us from getting totally bored with semi-retirement. And it’s always good for a laugh when we tell people what we do. You can’t imagine the looks we get or the questions—especially the one about if we rehearse the sex scenes for the book. But when it comes to real life, we can assure you that the bedroom door will remain firmly closed!

Did you ever have a working partnership? How did that play out? One commenter will win a $20 Amazon gift card

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