Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Return of the Stranger - Kate Walker (Powerful and Pure)



If you love a tortured and brooding hero, one that comes from a "dark" place, then you are going to fall in love with Heath Montanha in Kate Walker's The Return of the Stranger.  This book is part of Powerful and Pure series and as you will read in the "Behind the Book" post by the author, she received her inspiration from Wuthering Heights.

Revenge played such a large part in this beautifully crafted romance.  Heath's mother, one learned, abandoned him in London as a child.   He was found one cold and rainy evening by Kat Charlton's father.  Mr. Nicholls decided he could not leave this child behind.  So he brought him home to High Farm.  His daughter Kat and Heath became friends, but not his son, Joe.  It was Jo who in the end had banned Heath from their home after their father died.  He threw Heath out and he had to survive the cold English weather living outside in a shed.

Heath was now back at the Grange with more wealth than a man could expect with nothing but revenge on his mind because now he had it all, he owned everything.  He knew Kat's brother was an alcoholic and that the man Kat had married was dead.  He also knew that Arthur Charlton had been a sick and twisted man.  The same man who had taken away Kat from him, with the help of her brother.  He would make them all pay for the way they had treated them.  In the end he would throw them all out, because he had a plan.  But not before he could see for himself their faces, one last time.

As a teenage boy he had loved Kat, they had been good friends.  However, as Heath grew to adulthood, he realized he really loved her.  An then one fateful night when they were outside at the manor, everything changed.  Kat was taken inside the manor due to receiving a dog bite.  She was mesmerized by their wealth and in the end was persuaded to marry Arthur Charlton.  They called Heath all sorts of names, like "gypsy" boy, they made fun of him and Kat in the end "denied" him.  Now ten years later, he was back and he would make them pay.

What could I say about Kat?  How could she have treated Heath that way and was it worth it?.  In a way she had sold her soul and for what?  However, she did suffered thanks to her husband and the way he had treated her.  Now the Manor was in jeopardy of being taken away from her and she was frightened others in the village would learn about Arthur's "nasty" secrets.  What she didn't know was that Heath would make her feel like a woman, something she had never felt before.  He would have her yearning for him.  Secretly, I wondered what would happen when she learned everything. 

This romance is definitely not for those romantics who want a tender and sweet ending.  Sometimes one has to suffer in order to get that happy ever after.   Add to the mix a bordering "dark" romance, Kat's alcoholic brother, his neglected son, and Kat's deceased husband's twisted and dark secrets.  I honestly, wondered if Kate Walker would give The Return of the Stranger an ending like Bronte did in Wuthering Heights?  And what would Heath do to Kat who had betrayed his heart and soul?  Would he make her come to him and then cast her off?

The Return of the Stranger was absolutely breathtaking.  Heath and Kat's story was forceful and very dark at times.  There was heart pounding love for both of them.  It was one of those love stories that will stand out in my mind, just like another Kate Walker story, The Italian's Forced Bride.  The word, perfection doesn't even describe it!

Behind the Book:
I have another new title coming out very soon. That is The Return of The Stranger which is the fourth and final book in a miniseries called The Powerful and the Pure. The stories in these books were inspired by some of the greatest classics of romantic fiction – Jane Eyre, Emma, Pride and Prejudice and the one that I have had as my inspiration - Wuthering Heights. It has been both a delight and a challenge to work on this – and over the next few weeks I’ll be talking about how I came to write Return of the Stranger and the way I went about it – plus my love for the original great novel Wuthering Heights itself. The Return of The Stranger appears in September in M&B Modern in the UK and in October in Presents Extra in America – and M&B Sexy in Australia, but it will be available on the Mills & Boon website a month earlier if you can’t wait. K. Walker

Back of the Book

Standing high on the windswept moors, the lone figure of Heath Montanha vows vengeance on the woman who destroyed the last fragments of his heart…

Lady Katherine Charlton has never forgotten the stable hand with dangerous fists and a troubled heart from her childhood. Now the rebel is back, his powerful anger concealed under a polished and commanding veneer.

When ten years of scandal and secrets are unleashed, with a passionate, furious kiss, Heath's deepest, darkest wish crystallizes: revenge—and Kathy—will be his!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

ONLY HIS - SUSAN MALLERY - Fools Gold


Charming, serious, funny, sad, Only His was a book that had my heart racing! Why? I lived it, the death of a husband, stepping out of the box for a new job and walking away from a first love before he broke my heart! All of this was the focus of Only His, a most amazing love story.



This summer, I have so enjoyed reading Susan’s (3) book series, Fools Gold. These books have been about the Hendrix Triplets…..Only Yours, Only Mine and this one Nevada’s story, Only His.  As the back cover states, Mallery has written a love story about "letting go, taking a chance, and finding love".

Nevada’s other two sisters have found love and  were planning a double wedding. Nevada was happy for them but secretly felt some loss. On top of that, she wanted a change from working for her brother and the family construction business. A new construction company was going to be building a casino and hotel in Fools Gold and she wanted to interview for the position. However, she believed she would be interviewing with the father  and owner of Janack Construction.  Not the man she fell in love ten years earlier.  Of course, that was not the case, it was her first love, the son, Tucker Janack she would need to face. Let the games begin!

Then there was Nevada’s mother Denise Hendrix, who had led an incredible life, was an excellent mother and loved her children and the Fools Gold residents with all of her heart. It had been years since her husband passed away and there was a hint that her first love had moved back to town. In fact, she had a tattoo with his name, Max. She was also dating again. However, it was a scene with Nevada walking in on Denise and Max on the kitchen table that had me choking with laughter.

That was not the only complication in Fools Gold. It was her attraction to Tucker; her memories of how years earlier he had broken her heart and had been captivated and obsessed with a world famous artist name Cat.   On top of that, how Tucker had taken her virginity, how embarrassed she had been after the experience.  Now this flamboyant artist had returned to Fools Gold to make Nevada and Tucker’s new relationship even more complicated.   I could not believe it and wondered how this would end.

Susan Mallery always weaves fascinating tales with her romances and with her magic, always includes secondary characters. There was Jo, the woman who owned Joe's Bar, Max, Denise’s love interest, Will who was chasing after Jo. Not to mention Mayor Marsha, the two women who were Police and Fire Chief, the new Librarian and the "goat lady".   There was a shortage of men in Fools Gold and these women were some of the key players.  They supported each other.   In time of need, they all took care of each other. That was what the residents of Fools Gold did!  Add to the mix the new and old residents of this sweet, sweet town……Fools Gold, incredible reading!

However, there “must” be drama and trust me there was, especially with the visit by Tucker’s ex-Cat and a few surprises thrown into the mix.  You'll die laughing when you read Cat and Nevada's renewed friendship and the gift Cat wants to donate to Fools Gold.

Happy Endings? It would not be an excellent romance written Susan Mallery if there was not a sweet and charming happy ending. I laughed, cried, and had to reflect back on my own life and remember the lessons I had to learn, just like the towns resident's of Fools Gold learned in Only His.  Those lessons were about letting go, taking and chance and in the end, finding love.

Book Description:
Wedding bells are ringing in Fool's Gold, but not for Nevada Hendrix. Her triplet sisters are engaged, and even her mother has a more active love life than she does. Determined to make a fresh start, she applies for her dream job, only to discover that her new boss is her first love. Maybe she could overlook the fact that they've seen each other naked, but she'll never forget the way he broke her heart.

Tucker Janack agrees to Nevada's "business only" ground rules. After all, love is a trap that the construction millionaire has avoided his whole life. But when great business partners turn out to be so much more, every rule gets broken. Will either of them be willing to try again…or will their past get in the way?


Behind the book:

Discussion about Only His at KMart

Susan and her HQN editor talk about Only His.  Comment at Romance Author Buzz for an opportunity to win an Amazon gift card.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Meet Daphne Wood (International contest $25 Amazon Card)


Daphne Woods lives in a small township in beautiful, rural Hunterdon County, New Jersey, with her husband. Woods holds a doctorate in Nineteenth-Century Studies with a concentration in English literature from Drew University. She spent the last ten years home-schooling an award-winning scholar and musician, who is now attending the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Woods is working on her second novel.

Book Description:

Meggie Brooks is the gripping story of a girl growing up in a small rural township in New Jersey, living an almost idyllic life, enjoying the beauty of her country environment, spending time with her sometimes dysfunctional relatives, and uncovering a family mystery.

But that is only one side of the story. Although she is an excellent student, Meggie finds out early on what happens when she confronts the politically correct agenda of the schools. A young Meggie is silenced and traumatized for attempting to speak her views about global warming—views she has developed after watching a video on the subject with her parents. After that incident, she becomes wary of speaking out on issues in the classroom, and it is years before she finds the inner strength to defend her own views.

She ultimately does, however, even becoming a lawyer in order to defend religious freedom and free-speech rights, and in the end, it is a story of triumph. Meggie's search for truth in her family correlates with her search for truth in the world around her. A young girl's journey into adulthood, a poignant search for love, a family saga full of mystery and intrigue, and a passionate romance—this amazingly rich novel is all these and more.


Daphne, welcome to Marilyn's Romance Reviews.  Who is Daphne Woods ? What should we know about the Mom, the wife, the friend and the author?

I am someone who loves to read, teach, garden, travel, and take care of my family.

When I earned my doctorate at Drew, I envisioned myself happily ensconced in academia forever—teaching Eng. Lit., which has always been an enduring passion—writing and publishing scholarly papers, and inspiring students to probe and analyze literature in order to enter into a greater understanding of themselves and the world around them. I had, after all, earned the Dissertation Award at Drew, and was told by the Dean I had the highest GPA on campus. I thoroughly expected I’d remain in academia.

For various reasons, life didn’t turn out that way. After I had my daughter, I decided to be a stay-at-home mom, and it was the most rewarding decision I’ve ever made. My daughter developed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in 2nd grade. It took months to get her medication adjusted to the point where she could function normally, and it became clear that she could not remain in school that year. So I homeschooled her from March until the end of the school year. Then, even after she could have returned to school, we decided we liked homeschooling so much we stuck with it right through high school. She turned out to be the best student I ever had, and she benefited tremendously from the flexible schedule which enabled her to practice the piano and the harp three hours a day.

As a mom and wife I’m dedicated to fostering home life and to supporting my family’s development. As an author I want to produce literature of substance and interest. As a friend, I believe I am loyal and kind, but those are qualities that are best left to my friends to decide I have—or not.

What inspired you to be an author? Is it something you always wanted to do?

I always wanted to write—to contribute something of value. I love a good love story, and I always wanted to write a passionate romance. But I also wanted to write a book from a Christian and politically conservative perspective that relates to today. I wanted to create a Christian character who shows her human side—who experiences temptations and anger and disbelief—but who ultimately upholds her values. And I wanted to treat her values as normative, not as repressed or defective.

Was it difficult to get published?

It is very difficult to get published. It is very difficult to find a literary agent, which most publishers require an author to have before they will even consider you. I self-published.

What was the inspiration for Meggie Brooks?

As I said, I love a great romance. But every romance needs a story line to hold it together. Meggie Brooks was originally inspired by a family trauma in my own life. The family story at the center of the novel is based on a true life experience. I fictionalized it, turning it into a mystery, and certainly changing the outcome, but the core of that family event is very real and is still very upsetting to me if I let myself think about it. I thought, however, that it would make a fascinating narrative, and I know that many will think it so far-fetched and the characters so weird that it couldn’t possibly be true! That’s why it makes great fiction!

At the same time, I am disturbed by what I perceive to be a hostile environment toward Christians and conservatives in public schools, universities, and the media. I wanted to address the intolerance of political correctness. By taking Meggie from childhood into adulthood, I was able to incorporate some of these issues into the novel and show her learning to fight back. I took a family mystery, united it with Meggie’s development as a politically-minded character, and combined it with a powerful love story. I think I have produced a very unusual love story.

Describe a day in the life of Daphne Woods

I get up early, usually around 6, sometimes earlier. I spend an hour or so most mornings drinking coffee and reading. If it’s summer and at all possible, I read out on my gazebo—the one described in the novel. I love to be outside as much as possible. My days are never predictable. I try to work out with a Denise Austin DVD at least three days a week. I often run errands, work on photos in Photoshop, send out novels to reviewers, write letters, take a bike ride, do a little gardening, throw in laundry, clean a room, and plan dinner, which I sometimes even make! These days I wait eagerly to hear from my daughter, who’s in college. I’m not working on my next novel these days. I put it aside over the summer to spend time with my daughter before she left for college, and I haven’t gotten back to it yet. The plan is to get a few photo projects out of the way, and then devote myself to the book full time. When I seriously return to the novel (I think in about two weeks), I’ll spend 5 or 6 hours day on it, getting to it as soon as possible after my morning reading. But I can’t work evenings. If I work too late into the evening I can’t sleep at night, so at least my husband has my attention once he gets home from work.

Which story to date has been the biggest challenge?

I would have to say my latest novel is the biggest challenge, since it requires me to write of things I know less about. Meggie Brooks is set here, where I live, but The Redemption of Father Drew is set in Laredo, Texas, and though I have gone there, it is not as vivid to me as my own neighborhood.

Do you ever have any moments of insecurity when writing? If so, how do you overcome those moments?

I do wonder if the things I am writing about will resonate with others or if I will have any audience at all. I overcome these feelings by telling myself that all authors, even the best, have such self-doubts. The best books are those that are written from the heart and from conviction, not those written to placate a publisher or to make money.

What have you found to be the best thing about writing? The worse thing?

The best thing about writing is knowing I’ve produced a moment in the story that really reaches people and in hearing from people who have loved my work. The worst thing is not hearing from people—wondering if they’ve liked the work at all!

What are you reading now? Do you have any favorite authors?

I’m currently reading C.S. Lewis’s God in the Dock, which is a series of essays, and Withur We, which is a science fiction work by an unknown author like myself, Matthew Bruce Alexander. (It is very well written, by the way, with a strong libertarian thrust, and I highly recommend it.) My favorite authors are Charlotte BrontĂ«, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged), Michael Novak (The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism), LaVyrle Spencer, and Kathleen Woodiwiss.

Do you find it difficult to balance home/family with your writing?

Yes. My family life generally wins out.

If you were to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?

Creative, analytical, and romantic.

What are you presently working on?

A romantic political thriller.

Is there anything else you would like to add Daphne, which we haven’t discussed?

After never having any animals at all, I now have two beautiful orange tabbies. One is wild, and though he frequently comes into the house, even sleeping in his bed in the dining room or upstairs under a bed, he won’t let us touch him. I started feeding him a year-and-a-half ago during a particularly brutal winter, but then I decided I had to have a cat I could pet. I found Oedipuss Wrecks at a shelter. So I recently rescued two cats. After bringing Oedipuss home, we trapped Morris, the wild cat, and had him neutered, and now he absolutely adores Oedipuss. They are like brothers and are a joy to watch. By the way, Morris found the litter boxes and trained himself. Even a wild cat will use a litter box!

Where can readers contact you?

Daphne's Website:

Twitter: @DaphneWoods1

Facebook: Daphne Woods


If readers follow me on Twitter, and tweet “contest” to me, they will automatically be entered in a drawing to win a $25 Amazon gift card. This offer is valid internationally. The drawing will be held December 1st.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Meet Author T.P. Boje and Giveaway (International)




T. P. Boje is a mother of two, a stepmother of another two and a hardcore cartoon lover, Tim Burton enthusiast, and enjoys any movie the Coen Brothers have made (with the big Lebowski being her favorite strongly followed by Burn after Reading).

She is also a Y/A fantasy and mystery-writer. She is originally from Denmark but currently living in Florida, USA. Her books are translated into several languages.





Meghan is 16 when she dies. She wakes up on a flying steamboat on her way to a school run by Angels in a white marble castle. She meets Mick who helps her through a difficult time in a different world filled with heavenly magic. One day she finds a mirror in the cellar of the school and goes through it. She ends up back on earth where she meets Jason. But Jason is in danger and Meghan knows something important.

Soon she will have to choose between the two worlds.

The one she belongs to now, and the one she left.

The Academy is a Y/A paranormal romance and the first book in T. P. Boje’s Afterlife-series.


Welcome T. P. Boje to Marilyn’s Romance Reviews. Is there a back story to The Eye of the Crystal ball?

This story is inspired by stories my dad used to tell me. I have always had an interest in gypsies and loved the stories my dad would tell about their music, dancing and fluttering skirts. Actually he used to tell me that I was really a gypsy. That they had found me on the doorstep at our house with a note and that one day my real parents would come and get me. It was just for fun and I didn’t believe him (he also told my brother that they had bought him at the zoo – from the monkeycage) but some part of me wanted that to be my story. I wanted to be different than the regular middle-class girl that I was. I wanted to go to exotic places and dance like he told me they did. I wanted an adventure of my own.

How long have you been writing and what was your call story?

I had a teacher in the fourth grade that really got me inspired. He loved to hear my stories. Ever since I was a small child. I have always told stories to whoever would listen. In school I remember sitting in class during recess and telling stories to my friends making them forget that they were about to go out and play. Then my teacher would often listen in as well. Later on he encouraged me to write them down and he would read them and comment on them. I kept writing short-stories in highschool and then I became a journalist. For many years I worked at a Danish TV-station, and it was then I came up with the idea for my first novel. A Danish truck-driver had been found dead in Poland and I was sent there to cover the investigation for the TV-station. Two years later that story became my first novel.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Have you had other jobs along the way?

I was a journalist for a couple of years working in television. I was actually an anchor as well for a few years. Suddenly I was laid off because of cut-backs and then my husband said to me to go make my dream come true. So I did. For several years I have been writing mystery-novels in Danish. Two years ago we moved to Florida and I started writing in English. I have always wanted to write fantasy so I started doing it for fun. First came “The Eye of the Crystal Ball” and now I have just published “The Academy” which is more of a romance-story.

Do you plot your stories or let your characters lead you?

I always have the plot in my head before I begin. But sometimes the characters surprise me by doing things I didn’t expect them to do.

Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite and why?

Abigail the ten foot giant snail is one of my favorites. She is so clumsy and people are scared of her but she has a heart of gold.

What are you currently working on?

I have just started writing the sequel to “The Academy”. The first book in the series is about Meghan. She is 16 years old when she dies. She wakes up on a flying steamboat on her way to a school that is run by Angels on a big marble castle. She has to graduate from this school to get into Heaven. One day she walks through a mirror in the cellar of the school and goes back to the world she left. Here she meets Jason and soon she has to choose between two worlds.

What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?

The best thing is that I get to do what I really want to. I have all these characters and creatures in my head and they want out. Now I can spend time with them and the worlds that I create daily. I love that. The hardest thing is not making that much money.

If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

Inspiring books that gives us hope and make us use our imagination.

Describe a day in the life of T. P. Boje.

I get up at 7 and get the kids ready for school. At 9.30 I have dropped them both off and I am home and ready to begin writing. I write till noon, eat lunch with my husband and then write for a couple of hours more. Then I run or swim in the pool until my husband brings the kids back home at 4.

What is something you definitely want readers to know about you?

That I am Christian.

When the time comes for you to retire from writing, what would you like your readers to remember the most about you and your writing?

I don’t think I will retire at all. I am going to write until my fingers and brains won’t work any longer. I hope people will remember by books as inspiring.

Who is your favorite author?

Jules Verne, C. S. Lewis and Michael Ende.

What are you currently reading?

I am rereading Jules Verne’s five amazing journeys.

Before I let you go is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?

I really love writing and I hope that everyone will enjoy my stories. I often think about how I used to sit in front of my friends at school and I now know that is what being a writer is all about. Spellbinding your audience so they will forget everything else around them.

T.P., thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me!

Where you can find T.P.

T.P.'s Website
Facebook Page:
Twitter: @TPBoje
Other: You can also find me on Goodreads
T.P. has offered those to post here and follow her on Facebook a chance to win her latest copy of The Academy (autographed).  Please don't forget to leave your email so that you can be contacted.  Contest ends September 30th.  Thanks




Monday, September 12, 2011

Only Yours - Susan Mallery (Fools Gold series)




There are absolutely no words that can express how incredibly
fabulous Only Yours was to read.  Susan Mallery has written a real "hit" with this September release which showcased the second Hendrix triplet, Montana.  Fools Gold, Cailforna is a town everyone would want to move to as the residents not only love their town, they love and support each other.

I knew this book would be a winner and it was.  It placed #7 on the New York Times Best Selling list.  I've read the entire series and recently  Only Mine, and loved it.  However,  this one I adored because it was so intense regarding the heroine Montana Hendrix and a man who touched her soul; plastic surgeon Simon Bradley.  Their chemistry rocked the seismic charts!

Montana had a couple of issues due to past boyfriends.  She never felt she was good enough; they had always commented on "how she could improve" herself.  There was also the fact that it took her a little longer than her sisters Dakota and Nevada to find her career path.  Montana helped train service dogs. She not only did that, she had also created a reading program at the local library.  Children with reading problems, read to dogs and the reading program became a huge success.  Montana's boss was Max, a former Fools Gold resident and he had some secrets.  He wasn't the only one in town keeping secrets, so was Denise Hendrix, the triplets mom and so was Dr. Simon Bradley.  His childhood secret will rip your heart out! 

Mallery's hero was a plastic surgeon with a "tortured" past.  Half of his face was scared from a fire, plus other parts of his torso.  The other side of his face was extremely handsome.  He travelled the world performing miracles on burn patients and now he was in Fools Gold. doing the same. He had one very special patient, a little girl, Kalinda who had been badly burned over most of her body.  People from all over the world were traveling to Fools Gold for treatment.  He met Montana in a most bizarre way when she was walking a poodle named Fluffy, who got loose.  Fluffy made her way into Fools Gold hospital, causing all sorts of havoc and who did she bump into; the grumpy, Dr. Simon Bradley.

As it turned out, it was their destiny to meet and in the end Montana brought a sweet little six pound poodle named Cece to help heal little Kalinda.  I've read many interviews Susan Mallery has given and she describes Only Yours as a beauty and the beast story.  Honestly, I believe it was more than that because Simon wore his scars like a "badge" of courage.  He wanted his patients to see they could survive and live in the world, even with scars caused by burns. From Mayor Marsha, the Hendrix family, and the people of Fools Gold, they all recognized his brilliance.  They wanted Simon to stay and not move on to his next scheduled job in Peru.  The Mayor enlisted Montana to show him around town and try to convenience him to stay.  In the end, it all backfired because Montana fell in love.

As you can well imagine, Montana wasn't like any of the women Simon bedded, she "got him", she didn't see his scars, she accepted him as he was and she was like no other woman he had ever met.  However I wondered at what point he would push her away?  Montana and Simon definitely had passion, saw into each others souls and she was the very first woman who he let into his heart. But was that enough to keep him in Fools Gold because he was so driven to be the best and help those who would not normally be able to get this sort or care?  And then the most horrible thing was revealed in Only Yours, how Simon was burned and who caused it.  Physically it made me sick, it was so horrible.

The secondary characters were incredible. in Only Yours.  Susan Mallery only wets your appetite for wanting to read more books in this wonderful series. Some of the Fools Gold residents were introduced to readers in earlier books like the Hendrix family and they only enhanced the story.  New characters and secrets were also revealed. So many warm and wonderful town residents with stories I can't wait to read in future books.  Nevada Hendrix story will be the next in Only His.  If you're a fan of Susan Mallery's and have read her interviews you'll know it will be a the return of a man from her past; a "first love" story, so I can't wait!

Only Yours, is a stand alone book.  However, I encourage you to read all of the Fools Gold series you won't be disappointed.  Because I so believe in Fools Gold, I'm personally offering a contest for a Barnes and Noble gift card.  To say more about this lovely book would ruin your reading experience.  I hope you'll trust me, Only Yours had me laughing, crying and in the end sighing because Susan Mallery always gives her readers a happy ending.  However, sometimes to get there, the journey can be painful.  In Montana's and Simon's case painful doesn't even begin describe it!

Susan Mallery and Girlfriendology are also offering a contest for a chance for two to win a $150 card.,  I hope you'll check it out!





ONLY YOURS is a Beauty and the Beast story, which is one of my favorite themes, but which I never get to write because I don’t normally do dark, tortured heroes. Simon is a brilliant surgeon whose intelligence set him apart as a child, made him seem strange to everyone around him, including to his own mother. After a fire left him with scars on half of his face, he became even more convinced that he was unlovable. All his life, he has protected his heart by burying himself in his studies, then in his work. He travels from hospital to hospital to heal their toughest cases, moving on before anyone gets too close.

Montana, on the other hand, is deeply connected to her hometown, Fool’s Gold, and to her large, boisterous family. One of the Hendrix triplets, Montana has always seen herself as the screw-up. Until now. She’s finally discovered what she was meant to do – she works with therapy dogs, and the dogs play a big role in the story, which was a lot of fun. Montana has an amazing purity of heart. She’s just what Simon needs, and he will love her with a ferocity that will complete her.

Simon and Montana are one of my favorite couples. I love these two together!  
The above a direct quote from New York Times Bestselling author, Susan Mallery.

Book Description:

Montana Hendrix has found her calling—working with therapy dogs. With a career she loves in a hometown she adores, she's finally ready to look for her own happily ever after. Could one of her dogs help her find Mr. Right… or maybe Dr. Right?

Surgeon Simon Bradley prefers the sterility of the hospital to the messiness of real life, especially when real life includes an accident-prone mutt and a woman whose kisses make him want what he knows he can't have. Scarred since childhood, he avoids emotional entanglement by moving from place to place to heal children who need his skillful touch. Can his growing feelings for Montana lead him to find a home in Fool's Gold, or will he walk away, taking her broken heart with him?


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remember and be Proud to be an American! May you all rest in peace. Amen


Some where in the world it's September 11, a tragic day for Americans. 

Today I can't tell you how proud I am to be an American.  I've always appreciated living in this country for my "freedom" and how when a crisis happens, everyone steps up to the plate.I ask you my friends no matter what your religion, your heritage, where you reside, that you honor our loss on September 11th as we reach out and honor the so many brave who lost their life because of such wasted "hate".

If what happened that tragic day moves you, please pray for Flight 93  and the brave passengers who were determined not to have anymore loss of human life.  I thank God for those in New York City and Washington DC who acted as quickly as they could, who were beyond brave and I pray for those  family's who lost a loved one.  I lived every day of my life watching my husband loving serving his community and the City of Seattle.  Any one in service, I thank you, police, fire, sheriff dept, DEA , FBI, CIA port authority, and I know I'm missing some so please forgive me..

May God Bless America and all of you and I'm hoping you'll understand my passion for the loss of fellow country men as I would understand yours! 


 I honor all who responded, gave their lives and helped to rescue and assist on that day and I honor my husband's memory because he was a Lt. in the Fire Departments. After 911 while participating in a Holland America Inaugural, while he and his co-workers were sightseeing, he had the opportunity to go to Ground Zero. He went to the very bottom of it all with a NYC cop and firefighter. They stood there, prayed and embarrassed each other. Such a special moment for men who want to make a difference.





Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Meet Harlequin Romance Author Lucy Gordon / International Contest





The most romantic love story I have ever known is my own. It started when I was taking a short holiday in Venice, Italy.

I can remember sitting at a little cafe in St.Mark's Square, listening to the orchestra, watching the sun wink off my wine glass, and wondering what this magical city would bring me. Three hours later I met a tall, dark, handsome Venetian, who asked me to have dinner with him that night.

"Definitely not!!" I said. "I've dated Italians before, "and you're all hands."

He looked shocked at my suspicions. "Just friendly!" he promised. But he didn't keep his word - Thank goodness!

He had (and still has) more charm than any man has a right to have, and the evening was pure magic. We ate at a little canal side cafe, and took a motor bus up the Grand Canal, where the beautiful old buildings were bathed in floodlight. And, of course, we took a ride in a gondola.

He was in his thirties, and an old hand at dodging wedding bells. But that same evening he began to drop hints about the kind of woman he wanted to marry. Gradually I realized that he was serious. In the end it took him a whole twenty four hours to propose formally. I said yes. It was complete madness, but I was in love.

My family and friend were aghast, muttering darkly about 'holiday romances'. But now, more than twenty years later, we are still married, still happy and in love.

We have lived mostly in England. My husband is an artist. I was a journalist for some years, working on a major women's magazine. While writing features I found myself in some fascinating situations. I've camped out with lions in Africa, flown with the flying ambulances of the remote Scottish islands, and tried the gaming tables in Monte Carlo.

When I finally gave up journalism to write romances, all these experiences crept into my work.

I also interviewed some of the world's most interesting and attractive men, Warren Beatty, Richard Chamberlain, Roger Moore, Charlton Heston. Even when I took a fill in job in a London store, I found myself serving Michael Caine.

We did return to Italy for a couple of years, and rented a villa just outside Venice. It was then that I really got to know the Italian people, and the rest of the country.

It is no accident that so many of my books are set in Italy. I've used Venice as a background, but also Rome, Florence, Milan, Tuscany and Sicily. I love writing Italian heroes. The legend of the romantic Italian male has a lot of truth in it. The men from this hot, colorful country have a full hearted, emotional reaction to life that makes them wonderful to be with - and to write about.

We now live in the English midlands. We have no children, but our cat and dog make sure they leave us no time to spare.

My husband paints and I write. We return to Venice every year, sometimes more often, to walk the streets we remember. Venice is as timeless as love itself, and the little canals and bridges haven't altered since that first night. Nor has the Grand Canal, or the gondolas. And nor have we.



Description:

Widow Harriet is content with her life - she doesn't need some upstart tycoon ruining it all! Yet, saving Darius from a capsized boat, she recognises that there's more beneath his brooding surface...Can he make her see that she might need rescuing too?






Lucy, welcome to Marilyn's Romance Reviews.  WHAT IS YOUR ROUTINE?

I tend to work very long hours when I’m writing. I don’t have set hours. But when they book’s finished I collapse and do nothing for several days.


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ASPIRING AUTHORS?

Don’t worry if it doesn’t feel right the first time. Keep working on it. I regard the first version as building a skeleton. When it’s properly connected it’s time to build up the flesh until it looks right.

HOW DID YOU START YOUR CAREER? WHO WAS YOUR FIRST PUBLISHER?

I began as a journalist on a magazine called “What’s On In London”, which gave me the chance to interview a lot of big names in the theatre. From there I moved on to a national women’s magazine, which gave me many useful experiences for later. I flew with the flying ambulance service, visited a lion sanctuary in Africa, and wrote many stories about people who’d suffered emotional tragedies.


But I always wanted to write books, and at last I sent my first novel to Silhouette, who accepted it. I’ve been with Harlequin ever since, switching from the Silhouette New York Office to the London Mills & Boon office.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING AN AUTHOR?

There’s always another world open to you, and you can escape into it whenever the everyday world becomes too much for you. The other thing is travel. I love visiting other parts of the world and using them as backgrounds for books. AND THE BRIDE WORE RED came out of a visit to China, which I loved. In a couple of weeks I’m heading off to Egypt.

THE WORST?

There is no worst.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?


I’m writing a 5 book series called The Falcon Dysnasty, about the five sons of a ruthless Tycoon called Amos Falcon. Amos was much travelled and flagrantly unfaithful to his wives and mistresses, so the sons come from all over the world – Paris, Moscow, Los Angeles.


The first book, Rescued By The Brooding Tycoon, is published in the USA this month. It concers Darius, the eldest son, who finds himself unexpectedly the owner of an island in the English channel. (One of his debtors dumped it on him and vanished) There he meets Harriet, a member of the lifeboat crew, used to saving lives. She saves Darius (somewhat to his annoyance because this puts him one-up), but then he begins to wonder if she needs saving, in a different kind of way. And maybe he’s the man to do it.


The second book, Miss Prim And The Billionaire is due out next February. This one is about Marcel, a Frenchman whose life was almost destroyed when the woman he loved abandoned him years ago. But when they meet again he discoveres that things weren’t quite as they seemed, and they have another road to travel together.


I’ve just finished writing the third book, about Travis, an actor in Los Angeles, starring in a TV series about a doctor who’s half man, half angel. But his private life is too colourful to be angelic, and it causes problems which only the right woman can deal with.


After that will come Leonid, the Russian, and Jackson the naturalist, but it’s too soon to know much about them.

WHAT NEWS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR READERS?

I have another identity. As well as being Lucy Gordon I am Penelope Stratton, who wrote historicals several years ago. I’m now going to republish them as kindle books on Amazon. They should start to come out in a few weeks.

HOW DO YOU BUILD THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THESE TWO CHARACTERS SO THAT IT FEELS REAL?

I don’t organise them. I let them organise me. They tell me what they want to do, listen while I protest, then tell me to stop arguing because they know best. And as the relationship develops I find that they really do know best.


For me the best relationships aren’t simple. However much they love each other, there’s an emotional conflict that must he dealt with first, or it will tear them aspart.

DO YOU IDENTIFY WITH THE CHARACTERS YOU WRITE ABOUT?

Yes, definitely. I argue with them, I get mad at them. But I am them.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE ‘HERO’ TYPE GUY.

I do macho heroes a lot of the time, but the ones I prefer are the cheeky charmers, who get their own way by guile rather than aggression. Sometimes they disarm the heroine with passion and romance, but they’re just as likely to do it by making her laugh. I know a lot about this kind of man, because I’m married to one.

DESCRIBE THE HEROINES YOU LOVE TO WRITE.

They tend to be a bit bossy and argumentative – just like me, some people would say.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE IN ONLY 8 WORDS.

Happy, exciting, fulfilled, and definitely mad.

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?

Just get on with it.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE PERFECT HAPPINESS?

A happy marriage.

WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST FEAR?

That I’ll lose ideas and be unable to write.

IF YOU COULD BE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, WHERE WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE?

I love living in England, but my favorite other country is Italy. That’s where I met my husband, in Venice, and we got engaged in two days. More than thirty years later we’re still together. You couldn’t put that in a book. Nobody would believe it. But it happened. So Italy is my other favorite place, especially Venice.

WHAT ARE YOUR MOST OVER-USED WORDS OR PHRASES?

Oh heavens! I’ve made such a mess of this!!

WHAT DO YOU REGRET MOST?

That I didn’t meet my husband sooner.

WHAT IS YOUR FANTASY PROFESSION?

Music. I would love to have become an opera singer.

Lucy, thanks for the interview.  I really enjoyed learning more about you!

Where you can find Lucy:

Lucy's Website


Here is an excerpt from Lucy's current book., Rescued By The Brooding Tycoon.  To win a copy,  what "called" out to Darius?  Leave your comment here, plus your email address.  Contest is International and the winner will be announced Sept. 30th

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Girlfriends' Day Out Contest - Susan Mallery




New York Times best selling author Susan Mallery just announced the Girlfriends' Day Out contest on her Facebook page, which she's running with Girlfriendology.

Anyone who hasn't liked her page yet will come to the Contest page by default. Anyone who has already liked Susan on Facebook will need to click the Contest tab beneath her profile picture. The contest will run until September 14, when a winner will be chosen at random.

The winner will receive a $150 Visa gift card, and one of the friends she refers will also receive a $150 Visa gift card. (Both the winner and her friend must be confirmed Members at www.SusanMallery.com.



-September Recipe of the Month - Kristan Higgins Blueberry Pie











Crust

1 cup cold lard (I know, it’s terrible for you, but it makes the flakiest crust!) cut into small pieces

2 ¼ cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Combine the dry ingredients and cut lard in with pastry fork until mixture is crumbly. Add a third of a cup of ice water and blend, forming dough into ball. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Meanwhile, stick your rolling pin in the freezer, too (trust me).

Filling

Five cups fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, use 5 ½ cups)

Lemon rind from one lemon

Juice from one lemon

¾ cup of sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and let sit while you roll out the crust. I love to make a lattice work crust for the top, but it takes a bit more time. You want to keep everything nice and cold so the glutens don’t melt (as Millie’s mom tells her).

Place in bottom rack of preheated 450 degree oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes (you want the bottom crust to be cooked all the way through and just starting to brown). Reduce the heat to 325 and raise the pie up to the middle rack. Bake for another 30-40 minutes. I like to eat it warm and juicy with some vanilla ice cream.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Bride for Real - Lynne Graham (The Volakis Vow)



The Marriage Betrayal was part of Lynne Graham's The Volakis Vow a two book romance.  Where I thought The Marriage Betrayal was intense, this one was off the charts.  So many secrets, lies and most of all betrayal with the ending chapters having my heart pounding so much so I had to put it down at times

Sander Volakis and Tally Spencer met quite by chance when both of their father's for certain reasons demanded they attend a weekend at Westgrave Manor.  It was there we were introduced to those in attendance with one of the guests being a Robert Miller who was also interested in the lovely Tally.  Now in Bride for Real he is Tally's business partner and he would like to be more.  But that's not going to happen because Zander has a plan to get his wife back!

So many things had happened to Tally and Sander, they'd lost their baby, had suffered so much misery and pain and were living apart.  Tally now ran a successful interior design business and Sander was the CEO of Volakis Shipping.  However he had an agenda because he for some reason couldn't stand the fact that Tally and Robert had been photographed and appeared in the London news.  He also realized there was more to life than business.  He was a man with a plan; so he had his solicitor call Tally's office stating that he was selling their beloved country home in France, the one they were so happy in before their baby died.  The one that held so many beautiful and yet, horrible memories for Tally as she had been devastated by her loss.  So much so, she turned her husband away and wouldn't share her pain with him.

As you can well imagine, she went to retrieve some personal items and who should show up on her door step but Sander.  She was shocked to see him and remembered how much she hated him when she found out why he married her.  But the passion was still there for both of them and very hard to resist.  Communication was the key and finally they both shared their own personal feelings about how they felt when the baby died.  They shared so much of their grief with each other, taking a few steps forward only to have something rear it's ugly head out of Sander's past.  Sincerely they couldn't resist the passion and just when you thought they could have a chance at happiness, a bomb exploded in their face.  A secret so shocking, I honestly couldn't believe it and thought if that had happened to me, could I have forgiven my husband for a betrayal that would have rocked my world? 

Zander was not the only one keeping secrets, Tally was as well.  She had to enlist her father's help to keep her mother out of prison and did not reveal it to her husband.  Couple that with a visit from his parents which was distressing, to having Robert constantly hounding her to divorce her husband. and then a very public scandal......all of it very shocking.  Just when I thought I couldn't continue reading anymore secrets and lies, a miracle happened for them both, something so special that would heal their love for each other.  Lynne Graham is a brilliant author and this book, Bride for Real is a true example of her talent.

Both The Marriage Betrayal and Bride for Real are stand alone books.  However, even with it's intensity, I think Bride for Real was my favorite due to it's spectacular happy ending.  It's one of those romances that will stay with me for a long time.

The Marriage Betrayal (The Volakis Vow) - Lynne Graham

What a dynamite duo, Lynne Graham has written in The Volakis Vow.  Intense doesn't even begin to describe this romance, it's definitely not for the "faint of heart".  Personally, I wanted to strangle Sander Volakis.  He was ruthless, handsome and he absolutely broke Tally Spencer, his wife's heart.  Their marriage was based on secrets, secrets so powerful they could destroy the both of them.

Sander Volakis was the second son of a Greek tycoon.  His older brother was the "golden boy and favored son" while Sander was ignored by his parents, especially his mother. She had hoped her second child would have been born a girl.  Now his brother had died and his father insisted that he attend a function at Westgrave Manor, the home of his brother's ex-fiance, who definitely had Sander in her sights.  Sander hadn't wanted to attend but since his brother's death, Volakis Shipping was in trouble so he agreed to go.  He also agreed to return to Volakis Shipping and help save the family business.

Tally Spencer, how would I describe her?  She was loyal to her mother in ways her mother did not deserve.  She was ignored by her father, the very same man who had an affair while married to her mother.  The end result, his mistress became pregnant and her parents divorced.   He chose his mistress and their child over Tally.  Her stepsister was a spoiled brat and had also been invited to Westgrave Manor.  It was Tally's father who requested Tally accompany her sister and make sure she didn't get in trouble. Meanwhile, her mother was off with another man.

Arrogant Greek, Sander was used to having women fall at his feet and when Tally ignored him, he was definitely intrigued.  Tally was sweet and determined not to be like her mother and go from man to man, making each one of them the most important person in her life until they "dumped" her.  She was so sweet and sensitive and just accepted the way her family, including her father, treated her.   The weekend did not go well.  Cosima, her sister, got drunk and played a horrible prank on Tally, such a nasty prank that Tally wasn't able to function.  Because this ordinary girl intrigue him and kept him at arms length, when Sander saw that she was in physical danger, he took care of her in his room.  In the end, he took care of her alright, he took her virginity.

He was like a hawk!  He struck his prey, Tally, and was relentless until she finally gave in and became his mistress.  In the end she became pregnant.  What a mess and this arrogant man had the nerve to say two things.....I don't do "exclusive" and when she told him she loved him and was expecting his child, he informed her "his lawyers would be in touch".  Could it get any worse?  You bet, especially when her mother found out she was pregnant, and set in motion a series of events.  She called Talley's father and her father blackmailed Sander into marrying her and kept it all a secret from her.  It was then that I realized Tally's life would be horrible, because her husband didn't "do love" and had only married her to save his father's shipping company.

Rejection played such a part in this love story.  Sander's rejection from his parents, Tally's rejection by her mother, father and her father's family.  Add to that his family thought her not suitable and wanted him to marry a Greek girl.  Tally's rejection by his family and friends.  It was all too much and I wondered how could they possibly survive?  Now do you get the picture what this sweet, ordinary and beautiful woman had to endure?  Returning home to Greece with her in tow, business became his priority and he ignored Tally.  In the end, she could see no hope for her marriage, she left him and he followed her.  When he determined he wanted her in his life, even though he could love her, he in the end convinced her to return to their home but I wondered what would she end up enduring and would she be strong enough to endure it?  That answer would be found in the next book by Lynne Graham, in the Bride for Real.

If you think The Marriage Betrayal had secrets, wait until you read Bride for Real.  Honestly, I sobbed my heart out!

The Secret Baby Scandal - Jennie Lucas and Kate Hewitt (Harlequin Presents 2 in 1)



The Count's Secret Child by Jennie Lucas and The Sandoval Baby by Kate Hewitt were two beautifully crafted love stories by two extremely talented authors.


In The Count's Secret Child, Seattle waitress Carrie Powell was finally going to get the chance to introduce her infant son, Henry to his father, Theo St. Raphael Comte de Castelnau.  For well over a year, Carrie had tried to contact  Theo to tell him of her pregnancy and her messages had never been returned.  Carrie had broken the rules, she had told Theo she loved him and he had walked away, leaving her no choice but to raise her son by herself, with the help of her family.

Theo for over a year couldn't get Carrie out of his mind.  He had wanted her like no other woman.   He had tried to forget her but when that didn't work, he sent one of  his body guards to bring her back to his castle.  What he didn't count on was the shock that he had a baby son and how strong his attraction was for Carrie.  A paternity test was a must but while he was waiting for the results, he definitely would get his way, he would bed Carrie because to not have her back in his life would kill him.  In his heart, he knew Henry was his son and there was no way he was going to let her go home to Seattle, he was determined they would marry.  However, there were complications because Carrie would only marry for love and again, she fell in love with him.  However, there would be no love for Theo.  He would be a good father and husband but he would never do love.

Theo was a ruthless businessman we learned in Jennie Lucas Reckless Night in Rio when he stole the company away from Gabriel Santos, the family business he had lost and had wanted back so much it almost cost him his happiness.  Theo had offered more than it was worth and I wondered what sort of man he was, so determined, so arrogant. In the end, Theo would get his way but how far would he go to keep both Carrie and his son?  Honestly, you won't believe what he did and how he lied. Well let's just say Carrie taught him a valuable lesson and brought him to his knees.  Simply, The Count's Secret Child was an amazing read.


Behind the book at I(Heart)Presents, here







The Sandoval Baby by Kate Hewitt was brilliant.  Both the hero and heroine had tortured pasts. 

Freya Clark was carrying around a ten year old secret, so dark it will break your heart.  And then there was the ruthless Spanish billionaire Rafe Sandoval, who as a child had never been loved and had wanted so much to have a family of his own.  All of the women in his life had lied to him; his mother and his ex-wife and he certainly had "trust" issues.  Now it seemed he had a secret son his ex-wife had kept from him and he was soon to meet this son because his ex had died.

Freya  had been Max's nanny for approximately three years and she loved and adored the child.  Upon meeting Rafe, she realized what a ruthless and powerful man he was and she prayed he would let her continue to be his son's nanny.  She immediately felt things during the early weeks of being around Rafe, feelings she hadn't felt in ten years.  Because of her "dark" secret, she knew she needed to prepare herself for her return trip to Spain.   Let's just say hurt doesn't even begin to describe it all.  What she didn't expect was the tension and then the passion she would share with Rafe.  What she also didn't expect was to become pregnant because years ago she had been told she was infertile.

While reading this lovely romance, I couldn't help but cross my fingers for this couple because they both had been so tortured and all I wanted was for them to get their happy ending.  However, first they had to wade through the messy pasts, before they could have a future.  Thankfully, Kate Hewitt in a most amazing way, gave that happiness to all three of them, plus a sweet miracle.

This Harlequin 2 in 1, The Secret Baby Scandal was outstanding and written by two USA Today Bestselling authors.  It's definitely one romance you won't want to miss.


Kate Hewitt tells her "Behind the book story", here





Book Description:

The Count's Secret Child by Jennie Lucas


Theo St. Raphael summoning Carrie to his castle means only one thing to her—he's finally ready to accept their baby son. So as she walks up the grand steps, the last thing she expects is to discover that all Theo wants is her back in his bed—and a paternity test!

The Sandoval Baby by Kate Hewitt

For Rafe Sandoval, discovering he has a three-year-old son by his late ex-wife is a shock. Max's nanny, quiet, beguiling Freya Clark, is a godsend. One night, the growing tension between them turns to passion, and soon Rafe discovers he's to be a father again.… This child will have two parents from the start—and Rafe wants marriage!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Author Julie N. Ford Q&A and Giveaway (US residents)


Meet Author Julie Ford:

Julie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in English Literature from San Diego State University. In addition, she earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. She has worked in teaching, childbirth education and family therapy. Besides writing, she spends many hours working along side her husband at their UPS Store franchise, but hopes to re-enter the Social Work field someday.

She is the author of three women’s fiction novels, the first two due out in March and November 2011, published by Whiskey Creek Press. The third due for release in May 2011, published by Cedar Fort Inc.

Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters





Book Description:

Abandoned at the altar, Kelly Grace Pickens finds herself left holding not only the bouquet but also the exorbitant bill for an A-list wedding. Homeless, a once promising singing career floundering, and her life bearing an uncanny resemblance to one of her country music ballads, she reluctantly accepts a last minute offer to appear on a reality TV show akin to The Bachelor. Pitted against silicon-enhanced supermodels in four-inch heels, Kelly feels confident that she will be among the first would-be fiancĂ©es to be excused. Only, when the mysterious bachelor from New York City, Dillon Black, invites her to stay, Kelly finds herself thrust into the vortex of a game she doesn’t have the first idea how to play. Nursing her hopelessly broken heart while avoiding the foils of her fellow contestants, Kelly is oblivious to Dillon’s affections as she wades through hurt and betrayal to discover, in the end, that she has landed firmly on both feet.

Leaving behind Nashville’s Music Row for the majestic Grand Teton Mountains, Count Down To Love takes readers on a journey from duplicity to sincerity as Kelly discovers that being true to finding happiness and love.


Julie, welcome Julie to Romance Author Buzz. Is there a back story to Count Down to Love?

Not any that the reader needs to know ahead of time. I feel like the relevant back story is woven into the first chapter. The book is about Kelly discovering who she is and what she wants from life, so the plot focuses more on moving forward than looking back.

How long have you been writing and what was your call story?

I’ve been writing for nearly five years. About eighteen months ago, my first “call” came in the form an email from a publisher that I had queried some time prior. I had already received about twenty rejections, so before even opening the correspondence I went straight to the notebook where I recorded my manuscript submissions and promptly scratched this publisher’s name from the list. Boy, was I surprised when I opened the email and it was not rejecting my submission, but accepting it.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Have you had other jobs along the way?

I’ve always had stories in my head that I would play around with, but never considered turning any of them into a novel. About five years ago, I had just finished chemotherapy treatments for Lymphoma when we moved to a new state. I didn’t know anyone, my girls were in school, and I was at home waiting for my hair to grow back when the dialog and narration for my first novel just started coming to me—insistent, almost, that I let it out. I thought I might as well go ahead and write some, so one day I sat down at the computer and started my first chapter. One chapter turned into twenty, and three months later, I had my first novel. Then, before I’d even finished the first novel, I already had the follow-up brewing in my mind and was anxious to get started on the next one. Now I have a backlog of stories waiting to be told.

As far as other jobs, I’ve done some family therapy as well as working alongside my husband at our franchise business.

Do you plot your stories or let your characters lead you?

I do a little of both. When I start a novel, I will experiment with the characters during the first few chapters, see how they develop, what they become. Then, as the plot begins to grow, I’ll write down a rough outline just to keep myself on track. But even with an outline, my plot often changes as I’m writing and I have to readjust the direction of the book. Long explanation short, I use a loose structure that keeps me focused without frustrating the creative process.

Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite you identify with and why?

I can’t say that I do. This question sort of feels like trying to decide which of my daughters I love most. I like, and identify with, all of my characters equally, but for different reasons. Having said that, while writing my first two novels, I thought Brian was the ultimate in male characters—the perfect man—but then I developed Dillon and wow! Who wouldn’t absolutely fall for a soft-spoken, cowboy/millionaire? So, no, I guess I still don’t have a favorite.

What are you currently working on?

I have a fourth novel in the works—The Cadaver Ball. It’s sort of a sci-fi/women’s fiction/suspense about a woman who meets the man of her dreams at Vanderbilt Medical School’s Cadaver Ball. Two weeks later, she finds herself saying, “I do,” in a room full of strangers to a man she barely knows. From there, she gets caught up in the mystery of what really happened to her husband’s late wife. Throw in a few evil clones and maybe some end-of-the-world stuff, and we’ll see what happens.

What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?

The best part about writing for me is when the plot and/or words just seem to flow effortlessly as if being sent from a special place I have yet to discover. It truly feels like my own little miracle.

The hardest part is time. With two teenaged daughters, a husband and a job outside of the home, finding even just a few hours together to sit down and write is a challenge.

If you were invited to appear on a talk show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

Who I Am was the original title of the book and I think would be an appropriate theme. In a society where we as women can be anything from a stay-at-home-mom to the Secretary of State, it’s sometimes hard for us to find our own individual places in this world. When Kelly loses the love of her life and, at the same time, her direction for the future, she’s forced to discover what she really wants from life—who she wants to become—not just professionally but personally as well.

Describe a day in the life of Julie Ford.

Exercise, email, blog, manage children/home/business, yard work, church, and somewhere in there find a few hours to sit down to write. And if all goes well, squeeze in a little reading. I wish I could say I have a daily routine, but right now I can’t. Every day holds its own surprises and challenges. For now, I’m just trying to hang on and enjoy the ride.

What are you currently reading?

Currently I’m reading a youth fantasy, but I have a mystery/suspense and a romance on my nightstand ready to go. I read mostly women’s fiction, but I like to diversify every now and then.

Do you have a favorite author?

No, I can’t say that I do. I really like to read Jodi Picoult because she creates the most vivid characters and plots. I really feel like I’ve stepped into someone else’s life when I read her books. I also like Kristin Hannah because her writing flows with the perfect amount of creative description that doesn’t bog down the pacing. Mary Kay Andrews for Southern Fiction and Sophie Kinsella for British humor always have me laughing out loud. Sheryl J Anderson is my favorite chick-lit/mystery. Michael Crichton, Clive Cussler and Greg Iles are my favorite male writers. And there are more, too many, in fact, to mention them all.

What is something you definitely want readers to know about you?

I want readers to know that I write books because it’s fun, because the creative process makes me happy. Sure, it’d be great if a whole lot of folks decided they loved my stories as much as I do, but as long as even a few of you enjoy my novels I’ll keep writing.

Before I let you go is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?

Just that all of your readers should feel free to email me from my website or blog at any time with any further questions and/or comments.

Julie, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me!

You’re welcome! And thank you for allowing me to talk about my novel(s).

Where you can find Juilie:
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Visit Julie's blog and leave a comment mentioning that they saw this book on Romance Author Buzz. I’ll hold a drawing specifically for your readers fourteen days after the interview is posted. US residents only.

Comment on this interview here as well, leave your email address so that you may be contacted.  Contest ends Sept 30th.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Sabbatini Brother's Contest - US residents only

Meet Melanie Milburne




Melanie Milburne grew up on a small farm on the outskirts of Sydney and as a keen horse rider, often competed in local gymkhanas and even broke in a few horses from time to time. As she was surrounded by animals, she decided at an early age to become a nurse; however, she couldn’t stand the sight of blood and so opted for a career in teaching.

She read her first Mills & Boon novel when she was 17 and that encouraged her to continue reading romance novels; the lure of the tall dark handsome hero, who in reality she fell in love with and agreed to marry on their second date! They moved to Scotland so her husband could work and study for his MD in surgery. Two lively sons later she decided teaching was the last thing she wanted to do!

She went back to University and up-graded her teaching diploma to a degree and then went on to do a Masters but she still felt as if something was missing. She sat down one day and began writing and everything clicked into place.

Melanie currently lives with her family in Hobart, Tasmania. She has now published almost 50 full-length novels for Harlequin Mills & Boon and her books are regularly released in several different countries, including Australia, the U.S., and the U.K. In 2004, she became the first Australian author in ten years to be contracted to Harlequin Mills & Boon Presents.

In 2000, Melanie placed second in the Romance Writers of Australia Emma Darcy Award. She is a two-time ARRA finalist and an eight-time CataRomance Reviewers Choice Award Winner. She was the winner of the ARRA Favourite Category/Series Romance for 2008. She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of Australia, and the Australian Romance Readers Association. She is also the recipient of the Holt Medallion Award's Award of Merit and the 2009 Booksellers Best Short Contemporary Category.

In her spare time, she learnt to swim as an adult and after some great coaching, she went from a non-swimmer to National Top Ten in Master's Swimming plus several State records. She looks on any scary task now in much the same way as she did swimming. Her motto is "Don't say I can't-Say I can try!!" As well as swimming she enjoys long distance running, and of course reading. Melanie also has a passion for the needs of children and animals and is active in supporting the Australian Children's Foundation.



I so loved Melanie’s Thew Sabbatini Brothers. They were described as “three Powerful playboys from the richest dynasty in Europe! Ruthless, irresistible…impossible to tame?” I’ve had extra copies of this series sitting on my shelves and would like to share with one lucky reader here in the United States. I sometimes get carried away with my book shopping, and in this case id did!


He’ll claim his baby…by whatever means!

Billionaire Luca Sabbatini may have ruthlessly cast Bronte from his life…but he’d be lying if he said he’d forgotten this sweet ballerina.

That’s why he’s back, and ready to reawaken their lost passion. Only this time he finds Bronte isn’t quite so biddable!

Her better judgement is urging her to walk away. Bronte has been lured into Luca’s lair before… This time, however, the secret she’s hiding will have its repercussions!

Melanie shares more about the book.




When Maya met Giorgio Sabbatini, he married the penniless waif and stray despite her inferior breeding. So her decision to divorce him now is made with a heavy heart. Giorgio belongs to a notorious blue-blooded family, and their duty to maintain its lineage is unquestioning. Unable to give him the heir he craves, Maya knows she has to walk away.

But the ink on their divorce papers isn't given the chance to dry; after one last reckless night of passion, there's a very shocking announcement…

Author talks about One Last Night



Her trust fund is dwindling. If Jade Sommerville is to continue living in the manner she's become accustomed to, she has only one option…make the notorious Nic Sabbatini marry her!

The youngest of the Sabbatini brothers, Nic doesn't suffer fools, or respond well to ultimatums—especially those in his grandfather's will! But when the stunning, willful Jade breezes into his office and announces their upcoming nuptials to the world's media, Nic might have finally met his match.

He's turned Jade down once before. But this time?

An author post at I(Heart)Presents


To win these three books, follow this blog or Romance Author Buzz.  Tell me if you've read Melanie Milburne's book, comment on her Facebook page, ask her questions, etc.  Don't forget to leave your email address so that you can be contacted.  Contest ends September 30th and is for US residents only.

 

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