Monday, October 16, 2017

Favorite Fall Treats


Fall is filled with so many great things from hay rides to pumpkin spice EVERYTHING! The authors of the Falling for You Anthology are here today to share their favorite fall treats – so pull up a chair and cup of pumpkin spice something and get ready to celebrate fall!

Jo McNally, author of Meet Me in the Middle: I love comfort foods like lasagna and beef stew. My Mom was adamant that her lasagna wasn't a "summer food," so she wouldn't make it until fall. There's mention of someone's famous lasagna in my novella, "Meet Me in the Middle," but it was only famous because the fire department had to be called!

Kristina Knight, author of Outsider in a Small Town: My favorite fall treat isn’t a food! It’s our annual trip to Ramseyer Farms. They hold a fall festival every weekend starting in the middle of September – there are hay rides, pumpkin spice everything, hay mazes, and all kinds of family activities. We are always worn out by mid-afternoon, but it’s so much fun!

Tara Taylor Quinn, author of It Was You: My favorite fall treat is the mini-sized candies! I have a minimal appetite and most particularly for anything rich, can’t eat a lot before I start to feel sick. And…I LOVE milk chocolate and certain candy bars. Butterfinger and Baby Ruth are my favorite. And I’m an M&M lover, too. They have miniature sizes all year, but in the fall, they’re packaged with more varieties and choices, and they’re on sale! Yay!!

Claire McEwen, author of Her Hometown Cowboy: For many people, fall means the start of all things pumpkin spice. But not for me. I love apples! Fall is gravensteins and rubenstars and jonagolds and many other crisp and tart apple varieties that I find at my local store and farmers' market. I also love hot apple cider, and apple pie!

Janet Lee Nye, author of Finding Harmony: Driving up to the North Carolina Mountains to pick apples, drink apple cider and be amazed at the gorgeous autumn color.

Kris Fletcher, author of If I Fall: My favorite fall treat is Apple Walnut Oatmeal.

Heatherly Bell, author of The Right Man: Once a year I make my Puerto Rican Rum cake. I look forward to it every fall!

Dana Nussio, author of Home to You: I don’t even have to think about that one. My favorite fall treat, hands-down, is Pumpkin Cookies from my family’s recipe. I say cookies, plural, because you can’t eat just one…or two…or three. Especially when they’re warm. When you turn you back to take a tray out of the oven, the cookies on the cooling sheet mysteriously disappear.

Lisa Dyson, author of Can’t Help Falling in Love: My favorite fall treat is heartier food. Chili, soups, pumpkin bread. Now the weather needs to cooperate and cool down!
Angel Smits, author of Perfect Fit: My favorite fall treat is hard! There so much good food this time of year...oh, who am I kidding, there's always good food!  I guess when I think of fall food the first thing that comes to mind is caramel apples.  My mom made them every year when the apples ripened and were so sweet and delicious. Yum. 


Falling for You Anthology

This autumn, warm your heart with ten fall-themed novellas from some of your favorite USA Today bestselling, national bestselling, and award winning Harlequin Superromance authors.

Foreword by Brenda Novak.

It Was You by Tara Taylor Quinn: He has no problem respecting the fact that she is off limits…until the one night he does.

The Right Man by Heatherly Bell: When one long planned dream day veers wildly off-course, she must decide between the perfect wedding or the right man.

Her Hometown Cowboy by Claire McEwen: Falling for him wasn’t part of her plan.

Meet Me in the Middle by Jo McNally: She’s used to playing it safe, but when her old crush comes cruising back into town, she might have to risk it all.

Outsider in a Small Town by Kristina Knight: She may hold the keys to his heart…and his future.

If I Fall by Kris Fletcher: What goes up must fall…in love.

Finding Harmony by Janet Lee Nye: Jericho was the last place she wanted to be, but it was becoming the best place for her.

Perfect Fit by Angel Smits: She never forgot her first love…and though he never measured up, neither did he.

Home to You by Dana Nussio: Can a woman who ran from home and a man who never had it ever hope to discover that home really is a place for hearts?

Can’t Help Falling in Love by Lisa Dyson: She’s career-oriented. and he’s the one who just broke her boss’s heart.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Finding the Humor and Love in Life’s Tragedies

With: Sara Jade Allen

Growing up, my sister taught me that the upside of tragedy is that it can be turned into art. And even better: into comedy. This is what draws me to write contemporary romance with humor. My sister, Theresa Alan, is an author, too. When she was in high school and I was in middle school and we were dealing with a difficult family situation, she funneled her feelings about it into her first published essay (in Sassy magazine! Remember that one? Anyone?). I followed her lead and took the same situation and wrote a funny poem and drew a silly picture about it. It made me laugh, and I think, especially as a tween, that was empowering.  I couldn’t control the situation, but I could control what I did with my feelings.

When I got into high school, I developed an interest in politics and activism, and I found myself not knowing what to do with the deep anger I felt about the injustices in the world. So I wrote standup comedy about it. It’s cathartic to find a way to laugh at anger and pain because getting to the other side of it—somehow divining a punchline in all the turmoil—means you are forced to accept and honor the reality and emotion. It’s not about being glib about terrible things; it’s about finding your way through life’s difficulties with your heart intact.

When I was 28 years old I was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer, and as you can imagine, my world was flipped upside down. I had just completed an 8-month yoga teacher-training program and was the healthiest and strongest in body and mind that I have ever been. Cancer? Possibly losing my leg or never being able to fully bend or straighten it again? Terrifying, and also completely absurd. Since my disease was rare, the options offered me by multiple world-renowned doctors were widely varied and ambiguous. I ended up seeing four of the top orthopedic specialists in the US and one in Germany, so with all that travelling around, finding my treatment took time. During that time, I channeled the confusion, the pain, the absurdity into art, writing a one-woman show about it. After my surgery, during my year on crutches, I started writing Ellie’s story.

As you can see, I greatly value humor as a tool for life. But why the romance aspect? Simple: because of love.

Love is the greatest connecting force in our lives. And while I love the connection that comes with laughter, our loved ones are there in the quiet moments of our darkest hours, in the rawness, before we can find our way through. We juggle our own humanity—fears, hopes, insecurities—to be brave enough to be vulnerable with others, to love and be loved. During my cancer diagnosis and recovery I was lucky enough to be surrounded by an unbelievable support system and so much love, and I wanted that for Ellie in A Messy, Beautiful Life. She has a lot thrown at her, but the people in her life are her force field. Love is the highest art.  It’s the upside to all of life.

Excerpt:
I grabbed Craig’s arm to hold him back. “Hey, let’s, um, go meet our parents first, then get snacks. See if they want any.”

He looked to where my gaze had been. Crap. I was caught. “What, you know them?” He looked back and forth between us. “Bet you have a thing for that guy, huh?” I rolled my eyes. He raised his eyebrows. They begged to be pulled out, hair by hair. “Now, Ellie, it’d be rude to ignore a friend.”

“He’s not a friend.”

“A crush.”

“No, I just…we…”

“Acquaintance? It’s cool. I’ll pretend for your sake that one of them is nothing more than an acquaintance. It’s the girl you’re into, then, isn’t it?”

“You’re impossible. I met that guy for a second at the show last night. Can we go now?”

“Of course not. It’d also be rude to ignore an acquaintance.”

My Ice Princess glare did nothing because he pulled me into line, too close to Jason and his most-surely-a-model girlfriend.

They turned around at the same time. I can hardly explain the double take Jason gave me. It was like an emotional sundae—two scoops of fear with a sprinkle of huh? and a dollop of awkward with excitement on top.

“Wow, Ellie, hi. Crazy running into you. You guys took off so quickly last night I didn’t get a chance to thank you for doing the show.”

“Yeah, well, you know freshmen and their pesky curfews.”

He nodded. I nodded back. That torso. Smooth and tan and apparently filled with a billion bio-magnets, because the entire organ that was my skin gravitated toward it.

Craig piped up, overenthusiastically, “Hey. I’m Craig, and you two are?”

“Sorry, sorry, hey, I’m Jason and this is Marissa.”

“I heard you guys had some fun skits last night. That’s so great,” Marissa said.

I winced at our improv set being called skits. “Thanks, yeah, Scared Scriptless is a talented team. Very meshy and swirly,” I said. Realizing how weird that must have sounded, I quickly added, “And funny.”

Jason wore only his board shorts and flip-flops. I’d hoped my feelings last night were a result of the high from the show making everything shinier. But now, in the light of day, he looked even more irresistible than I remembered. Cheers and curses to the world of fashion for making low-riding board shorts a staple in guy’s swimwear.

A Messy, Beautiful Life

Life is funny sometimes. 


And not always the ha, ha kind. Like that one time where a hot guy tried to kiss me and I fell. Down. Hard. And then found out I had cancer. 



I’m trying to be strong for my friends and my mom. 



And I’m trying so hard to be “just friends” with that hot guy, even though he seems to want so much more. But I won’t do that to him. He’s been through this before with his family, and I’m not going to let him watch me die. 



So, I tell myself: Smile Ellie. Be funny Ellie. Don’t cry Ellie, because once I start, I might not stop.




About Sara Jade Alan:
Sara Jade Alan wrote her first comedy sketch during second-grade recess, then cast it, directed it, and made costumes out of garbage bags. Since then she’s performed in more than a thousand improvised and scripted shows. Currently she’s one half the comedy duo The Novelistas, who perform about the highs and lows of writing and publishing. When she’s not writing or performing, she gives My Life Online presentations in schools to teach kids how to create a positive online footprint, and she’s an educator with Girls Leadership. Raised in a suburb of Chicago, Sara now lives in Colorado with her husband and daughter. A Messy, Beautiful Life, Sara’s debut YA novel with Entangled Teen, is inspired by her personal life story.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Time for Light and Funny


Giveaway Alert!

As a reader, I came to romance through romantic suspense, which can be kind of darky and twisty. My writing voice, however, lands squarely in the realm of contemporary romance. I tried writing romantic suspense, but I failed miserably. Is till love to read them and you’ll never get me to part with TV shows like Criminal Minds. But even as a contemporary romance author, my characters usually suffer some angst and heartbreak. In a way, it’s fun to torture them.

Over the last couple of years, though, I’ve avoided dark and angsty. While my romance series (The O’Learys and For Your Love) are not dark, some titles do tackle serious stuff. That’s why I chose to write Meeting His Match as a standalone.

Meeting His Match is a book I worked on in between other contracted titles. It provided a nice break and time in a new world with new characters. By the time I finished it, I was glad I had written it because right now, the world’s a mess.

This book is light and fun because I think we need some of that right now. Every day, there’s another tragedy on the news. There is no escaping it, but we can take a break. My break comes in the form of TV and books. I watch a lot of TV (It’s almost embarrassing how many shows I record on a weekly basis). I think we all need to exercise some self-care in these trying times.

Dark and angsty books will always have their place—they can be extremely cathartic after all. But light and funny also has its place. It doesn’t require a lot of effort on the reader’s part. A person can sit back and enjoy the stress-free ride.

What kind of read do you prefer when life is bringing you down?

Giveaway:
Comment below for a chance to win one of my O’Learys digital backlist books.

Meeting His Match


Malcolm “Mac” Sterling has one goal: take over the family matchmaking business. His final obstacle? Host his family’s new dating show and prove he can help each contestant find true love. One catch. Mac’s meddling mother has approved a co-host, a so-called expert who seems impervious to his charms. Now he could lose everything, because if his co-host proves she’s the better matchmaker, he can say goodbye to his legacy.

Natalie “Gem” Hale never intended for her alter ego as an online dating expert to get her the opportunity of a lifetime—or for that opportunity to come with a co-host who’s as infuriating as he is tempting. But she didn’t get this far by backing down from a challenge. All she has to do is keep her secret identity a secret.

Except as sparks fly and the competition heats up, Mac realizes his co-host is hiding something. He’s just got to figure out what.

Pre-Buy/Buy Links



Author Bio
Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Learys series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends finding love. Her new series (For Your Love) currently has 3 titles out - Under Your Skin, In Your Arms and Through Your Eyes. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies. Find out more at: www.ShannynSchroeder.com



Excerpt

“She didn’t know what she was getting into?” Malcolm asked Brad.
How she hated when people talked about her as if she didn’t exist, sitting right in front of them. “In my original meeting I was told there would be a professional matchmaker, which as I’m sure you’re aware, could mean any number of things. I just found out about Everyday Love a couple of days ago.”
“She’s right, Brad. It’s not a fair competition. She doesn’t have a chance.” Malcolm leaned back in his chair and crossed an ankle over a knee.
Natalie’s hackles rose again, so she clamped her jaw tight.
Brad looked at them.
Before he could say anything, Malcolm spoke up again. “To even things out, you can have access to my mother. Gail Sterling founded Everyday Love. She’s been a matchmaker for almost thirty years. I’ll set up a meeting right now.” He pulled his phone from his suit coat.
“Why the hell would your mother help me?”
His steely blue eyes met hers with a smile. “Oh, don’t get me wrong. She won’t help you win. But she can answer any questions you have about matchmaking, her process, whatever you think I know that would give me an unfair advantage.”
“Why would you attempt to even the field?” Her suspicions multiplied.
Malcolm leaned over, putting his face within touching distance. It was a mighty fine face: his blue eyes had the slightest lines fanning out from them, his mouth surrounded by a trim mustache and beard—one that begged to be touched, lips curved between a friendly smile and a taunting smirk.
“Because when I beat you—and make no mistake, I will win—I won’t have you cry foul. I play fairly.”
Natalie opened her mouth with no clue what she planned to say.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 13th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dollhouses


I'll never forget the day I walked in to my first dollhouse shop. I was in college and didn't particularly feeling like going to class. Fortunately, another classmate of mine felt the same and said, "hey, you want to go to my favorite store?".  Cut to about twenty years later (oy, is it really that long?), and dollhouses and miniatures have become a passion. One I haven't been able to indulge in much now that I'm writing full time, but there's a reason I call miniatures the mafia of hobbies: once you're in, there's no way out.

I don't know that there's any way to describe why (or how) this hobby takes hold of a person. I mean, I've always had a very vivid imagination (I think I came out of the womb with a book in one hand and a book store discount card in the other). There's something about being able to create the world you want, in any way you want it, and soon (or not so soon) be able to look at it any time that you want. I've only done one main dollhouse. I chose carefully because I knew I'd probably only ever do one (who has the space for more!). The one I decided on is called the Apple Blossom and the main selling point was that little tower room that (some day) I will be turning into a mini observatory complete with star maps and telescope. The rest of the house, however, is completely finished (dust included! How amazingly authentic is that?).

As you can see, I did a pretty typical room choice. I have the kitchen (classic Victorian meets...See's Candies?) that includes an old-fashioned stove, icebox, and a cat overseeing the construction of a strawberry pie (I'll replace that with a gingerbread house in a couple of months). The living room includes special "family" touches such as the tatted "rug" beneath the coffee table. That rug was actually made by my late grandmother. I have an entire box filled with scraps and unfinished pieces like that that I can include. The bedroom has a little bit of elegance to it, with an classic writing desk that reminds me of my favorite movie, Pride and Prejudice (along with a teeny candy dish for treats while composing letters). The bathroom...well, the cat needs a litter box, right? And then there are my two favorite rooms: the sewing room, complete with that all-too familiar tomato pin cushion I bet a lot of you recognize. The children's play room was super fun to fill and that teeny little black and white porcelain doll lying on the blanket (one of my few attempts at crocheting in miniature) belonged to my great-grandmother. Dollhouses are the perfect place to display all those unusual items passed down through the generations.

Back to that dollhouse store I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I actually ended up working at The Elegant Dollhouse for a number of years. I still go back to visit and fill in when the owner needs a break or goes on vacation. I don't have as much time, or any time really, for miniatures any longer. Over the years, I've done a number of room boxes (you can find pictures on my website www.authorannastewart.com under extras) both for myself and for special friends. That way I can stay in the hobby and not have to find a place to put them.


This holiday season for HEARTWARMING HOLIDAY WISHES (the boxed set on sale for only $.99 cents!), I took a different tact with the hobby and created an entire story around Hazel MacIver, owner and operator of Christmas Town Maine's premiere dollhouse store Plum Pudding Cottage. I actually got to "own" a dollhouse store without having to worry about all the work, LOL. There's something special and magical about Christmas Town to begin with. Adding a dollhouse store, where you can step into miniature worlds you can create yourself? I'm not sure there's any better way to celebrate the holiday season.

No, dollhouses aren't just for little girls (or boys). They're for anyone who loves the idea of creating the perfect house, stretching their interior design ideas, learning a new craft and planning out construction ideas if you want to build from scratch. You can get a kit, buy blue prints...and here's the kicker. ANYTHING you want that your real house has, you can have in a dollhouse. That's right: electricity, hard wood flooring, staircases (no, there aren't any in my house--my people can fly <G>...and stairs take up valuable space). I've even seen one with running water and working doorbells. The sky is the absolute limit and while the hobby can get expensive, there's always a way to make it affordable.

Trust me...take a look online and, if you're fortunate enough to have a dollhouse store in your town (you might be surprised where one lurks), give yourself the gift of exploring...and maybe bringing some of that magic into your holiday season this year.

Happy reading!
~Anna J

USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart writes sweet to sexy romance for Harlequin's Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense lines. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family-centric romances with happily ever afters for her independent heroines. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her). When she's not writing, you can find her at fan conventions or at her local movie theater, or building her client list for her content editing services. You can read more about Anna and her books at www.authorannastewart.com.
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This holiday season, warm your heart with 10 connected sweet, clean & wholesome holiday romances set in Christmas Town from 10 Harlequin Heartwarming authors who are USA Today bestselling authors.

This collection of PG-rated holiday romances are all set in Christmas Town, Maine, a location introduced in the 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release Christmas, Actually.

A Heartwarming Holiday will bring you laughter, tears, and happily-ever-afters (no cliffhangers), for more than 1000 pages.

Santa's Secret Heart by Anna Adams
Merry Christmas Carol by Melinda Curtis
Miracle on Joyful Street by Liz Flaherty
Finding His Fiancée by Christmas by Cheryl Harper
The Christmas Window by Tara Randel
Mistletoe and Holly by Leigh Riker
Gingerbread Girl by Carol Ross
The Christmas List by Anna J Stewart
A Case for Christmas Magic by Amy Vastine
Jingle Bell Love by Cari Lynn Webb

iBooks: Coming soon!

Monday, October 9, 2017

An Emotional Ride…and Rick Springfield


I fully admit, I’m a Rick Springfield fan. I was a preteen when he made a big splash on General Hospital as Dr. Noah Drake just as his music career was exploding in the United States. I dreamt once that I met him in my school gym.  Ahhh… (Not exactly sure why my subconscious mind chose my Catholic school gym, but I guess it was as good of a place as any to meet my crush.) To this day, I still have several Rick Springfield albums in my basement, yet I no longer have a record player. Some things are hard to part with.

Besides being able to sing all the lyrics to Jesse’s Girl, I can also think of countless other songs that take me right back to a place and moment. For example, I’m not a fan of Waiting for a Star to Fall (Boy Meets Girl) because in the Fall of 1989, the girl in the dorm room next to mine played it on repeat after her boyfriend broke up with her. The tune vibrated through the walls. Almost 30 years later, I groan every time I hear the first few notes of that song.

The other day I heard Kiss from a Rose (Seal) on the radio and I fondly remembered someone I love who has since passed away. (So, yeah, music can evoke all kinds of emotions.)

On a happier note, Alicia Keys’ and Jay Z’s Empire State of Mind takes me back to the ballroom in the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City dancing with my friends at the Harlequin party. So much fun!

Emotions are also a big part of the reading experience. It is my job as an author to elicit emotions from the reader. Jesse’s Girl is my first contemporary romance after writing fifteen romantic suspense novels. (It’s no surprise I gave a little hat tip to my childhood crush.) Jesse’s Girl has been called a character-driven story and a “very pure romance.” I hope it transports you on an emotional journey of love and happily ever after and let’s you escape your real world for a little bit.

Which song brings you right back to a moment in time? What book has drawn out such strong emotions that you’ll never forget the story?

Jesse’s Girl

Can good girl Mary Clare find love with bad boy Jesse as her perfectly crafted world comes crumbling down around her?

Stay-at-home mom Mary Clare has her country club life upended during her divorce. She decides to return to her small hometown of Mills Crossing with her young son for the summer to sort out her life. Bad turns to worse when she realizes her ex husband mortgaged her future leaving her with little financial means for the future.

Bad boy Jesse Thorpe has always lived life on his own terms. Yet, he abandons his successful motocross business on the West Coast to care for his ailing father in Mills Crossing. 


When Jesse and Mary Clare cross paths at a family party, she is immediately reminded of how she crushed on her big brother’s best friend back in high school. The attraction is mutual, but Jesse only does flings. Mary Clare is definitely not fling material. And neither have plans to stay in Mills Crossing long term.

Despite their mutual determination not to get attached, they find themselves drawn together as Jesse takes Mary Clare’s young son under his wing and shows him the love and attention Mary Clare’s ex never did. A casual summer fling is inevitable. 

Just when they find a bright spot in an otherwise dark time in their lives, life and family responsibilities tear them apart. Can Mary Clare and Jesse find a way to find love and happiness beyond the waning days of summer?

Jesse’s Girl  is available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited

About the author:
Alison Stone discovered her love of writing after leaving a corporate engineering job to raise four children. 

Constantly battling the siren call of social media, Alison blocks the Internet and hides her smartphone in order to write fast-paced books filled with suspense and romance. She also writes sweet contemporary romance.

Married for almost twenty-five years, Alison lives in Western New York, where the summers are gorgeous and the winters are perfect for curling up with a book—or writing one.

Sign Up for Alison’s Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/berYBH

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Annual Harlequin Backlist Sale!

500 romance ebooks on-sale October 7-10, 2017

Harlequin is happy to announce their third annual backlist sale. Each year Harlequin has given readers a chance to get incredible deals on a large variety of romance novels. This year, they are having 500 ebook titles go on-sale from October 7-10, 2017, all for just $1.99 each. Even better news is that all titles included in the sale fall in the original on-sale range of June 2016 – June 2017, and have never been marked down before! For more information, visit the Harlequin Blog.

You can find these ebooks at some of your favorite e-retailers including Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo and Harlequin.com.

Here are some hand-selected titles just for the Just Contemporary Romance readers:

The Greek’s Christmas Bride by Lynne Graham (original on-sale: November 22, 2016): Coldly ruthless and deeply cynical, Apollo Metraxis has made a career of bachelorhood. But when the inheritance of his father's estate is conditional on marriage and a child, he is forced to do the unthinkable!
Unpolished Pixie Robinson is the world's worst choice of wife for Apollo. Yet her family's mounting debts leave her defenceless and therefore uniquely suitable. But when their wedding night exposes Pixie's untouched vulnerability, striking a chord in the dark reaches of his heart, Apollo is forced to think again.

And that's before he discovers that she's carrying not one - but two Metraxis heirs!

Bachelor Unforgiving by Brenda Jackson (original on-sale July 19, 2016): They say you can forgive but you can never forget. Virgil Bougard takes that saying to heart. Four years ago Kara Goshay believed a vicious lie about him and ended their relationship. And even after her apology, Virgil is still bitter. He doesn't intend to make things easy for Kara when his family's firm hires her PR company to revamp his playboy image. But faking a liaison with Kara for the media backfires when the line between fantasy and reality is blurred by strong sexual attraction.

Kara wanted forgiveness. Instead she's deep into a heated affair with the powerful, charismatic man she can't resist. The man who claims he'll never forgive her, especially when a secret enemy puts her professional reputation in jeopardy. Stakes are high—but so is their searing desire, a connection so intense it could possibly tame this elusive, unforgiving bachelor at last…

The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne (original on-sale November 2, 2016): With two kids and an active life, widow Faith Dustin only wants peace and quiet for Christmas. But her snowy Pine Gulch ranch is nothing but chaotic. All that keeps Faith going is her helpful neighbor, cowboy Chase Brannon. He's always been "good ol' Chase," her faithful friend. Until he kisses her under the mistletoe…

Years ago Chase blew his chance with the woman he's loved since childhood. Now he's determined to step out of the friend zone…and into the role of husband. But the scared and stubborn Faith won't let herself fall. With Christmas just days away, Chase will need all the magic of the season—and the help of her two matchmaking children.

Their Secret Royal Baby by Carol Marinelli (original on-sale March 1, 2017): Dr. Elias Santini, secret prince of Medrindos, has his world rocked when he attends an emergency delivery. The patient is Beth Foster, the woman he spent one stolen night with, and she's in premature labor…with his baby! 

Estranged from her strict parents, Beth both fears the desire between them and yearns for the support Elias offers her as their tiny newborn fights for her life. A fiery kiss tempts Beth to risk everything, but what will happen when she discovers her daughter is the future heir to the Medrindos throne?

 Her New Year Baby Secret by Jessica Gilmore (original on-sale January 1, 2017): Waitress Sophie Bradshaw is \used to being ignored at glamorous parties and, bruised by a disastrous relationship, that's fine by her. Until Marco Santoro offers her his jacket, leading to a magical Christmas evening together… 

Exasperated by his family's matchmaking, millionaire Marco never gets close to anyone. But one heart-stopping night with Sophie isn't enough, and he invites her to his Venetian palazzo. Little does he know that Sophie is bringing one tiny, life-changing surprise with her!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Some Stuff About Kissing


I am the worst person to write a kiss scene. This could be because I’m a thriller writer and, as such, am better suited to gore and stalkers. But, probably (definitely), it’s because I’m me and I’m neurotic. There’s just so much to think about it when you’re writing them. Stuff like, Is the hero sufficiently into this? Or, my personal favorite, Is this sexy…or assault?
It’s a fine line, people.
Plus, kiss scenes are hard to write. No really, they are. You have to consider logistics, emotions, and your hero’s ability to verb the heroine’s noun without sounding gross. See? These are all things that give me terror sweats. The accident scene in Never Apart took a few hours to write. That last kiss scene with Finn? It took days.
It’d be so much easier if I could just type “And then they sucked face.” But y’all don’t want to read that and neither do I. You know who I could read again and again though?
Yeah, I know. You don’t care, but I’m in a sharing mood. It’s probably all the carbs I’ve been loading lately. Side note: I enjoy saying “carb loading.” It makes me sound like I’m preparing for a marathon rather than worrying about the upcoming release of Never Apart. I am a big fan of frosting. Big. Fan. And sandwiches. Those are good too.
And now my side note has turned into a full-fledged digression. For those of you playing along at home, this is surprising no one.
Okay, back to writers who amaze me. In no particular order, let’s start with…
Rainbow Rowell. If you have not read Eleanor and Park, there is something seriously wrong with you. Kidding! But really why? Why? Why do you hurt me like this? All I want to do is share the awesomeness that is Eleanor and her Park. Rowell’s kissing scenes are so well done—not only because she’s a beautiful writer, but also because the tension leading up to that kiss is perfectly rendered.
Sherry Thomas. Okay, confession: I have not read THE BURNING SKY series…yet. I discovered Thomas back when she was writing historicals and they were amaze-balls.The emotional angst between the hero and heroine in Private Arrangements was like a gut-punch. In the absolute best way. When the h/h finally kiss, you want to cheer…and cry because there’s so much damage between them.
Simone Elkeles. Actually, I’m going to have to say that again, Simone Elkeles. Can we say Perfect Chemistry? Yes. We. Can. How about Chain Reaction? Yep. Enough said.
Although now I have to sit down. Y’all are going to have to give me a second.
Okay. Am better now.
So those are some of my favorite authors, but because I’m still filled with the spirit of sharing (or cake pops, it’s a toss up really) I’m sharing one of my favorite kiss scenes from Never Apart and it’s from Finn’s POV! I am not Rainbow Rowell, Sherry Thomas, or Simone Elkeles, but I hope you enjoy it.

Excerpt from Never Apart:
Tell her the truth. The idea grabs my breath as the humid breeze picks up again, swirling around us with even more force. “If I hadn’t come to Boone, I would never have met you and I know I would’ve missed that—missed you. I would never have known your name or your face, but I would’ve known the absence of you, the gap that was left in me because you were never there.”
I’m breathing and not breathing and we’re so close, I can’t help myself. As she stares at me, I brush my fingertip against her knuckles, feel her skin’s heat. It’s like discovering something no one has ever named.
“I think I know what you mean,” she whispers at last, putting down the Solo cup.
Grabbing my T-shirt.
I exhale—hard—and lean closer.
“Finn?”
“Yeah?” My heartbeat is deafening as her other hand climbs my chest.
“I want…”
Then she kisses me and I’m frozen. I’ve kissed dozens of girls. But this kiss? I can’t move. I can’t think. She feels—oh my God, this is what the first jolt of espresso feels like, what the first rush of whiskey tastes like. She’s warm, but I’m burning.
My hands go for her neck, her jaw, her cheeks. She kisses me like she needs something, but I kiss her like she’s everything.
“I’ve wanted this,” I whisper against her lips. She’s snowfall soft. “I wanted you to want this…”
“I do want it.”
I pull back. Grace’s lips are swollen and her eyes are wide. She looks like she just woke up, and it knocks the air from my lungs.
“I want it so much it scares me,” she says.
I cradle her face in both hands. “Me, too.”
Then she drags me down to her again, and I’m lost. My fingers in her hair, my hands along her cheeks, my thumbs bracketing her mouth. I can’t get enough.
I’ll never get enough.
I push her against the wall, and she pulls me closer. My hips grind into her stomach and she digs her fingers into my shoulders.
Grace…” Her name rides my groan, and she smiles. Inside, the music climbs and people laugh and someone gasps. I shouldn’t be able to hear it, but I do.
So does Grace. She goes still. I look up.
Ander.
He’s drunk. Swaying a little. Furious.
Is this the part where he fights for her? Where she takes him back? My hands tighten around Grace, but she doesn’t notice. She’s turning for him. She’s going to him.
Or is she?
Grace falters, and in the distance, heat lightning splits the blackened sky. A storm’s coming.
Then Ander’s eyes meet mine, and I know it’s already here.

Never Apart

What if you had to relive the same five days over and over?

And what if at the end of it, your boyfriend is killed…

And you have to watch. Every time.

You don’t know why you’re stuck in this nightmare.

But you do know that these are the rules you now live by:

Wake Up.

Run.

Die.

Repeat.

Now, the only way to escape this loop is to attempt something crazy. Something dangerous. Something completely unexpected. This time…you’re not going to run.

Combining heart-pounding romance and a thrilling mystery Never Apart is a stunning story you won’t soon forget.


About Romily Bernard:
Romily Bernard graduated from Georgia State University with a literature degree. Since then, she's worked as a riding instructor, cell-phone salesperson, personal assistant, horse groomer and exercise rider, accounting assistant, and, during a very dark time, customer service representative. . . . She's also, of course, now a YA novelist. So don't let anyone tell you a BA degree will keep you unemployed. Romily currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Her debut novel, Find Me, won the Golden Heart Award for YA Romance from the Romance Writers of America in 2012.

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