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Sunday, September 24, 2017

His Mistletoe Wager


His Mistletoe Wager is released worldwide on 1st October 2017
In the middle of the summer heatwave of 2016, and halfway through writing my Wild Warriners series, my editor at Harlequin Mills and Boon asked me if I would like to do a Christmas book for them. I happily jumped at the chance but because I was already a third into A Warriner to Tempt Her and there was no way I was going to be able to turn a smallpox epidemic into a festive tale, I decided to write a standalone story for my publisher instead.
Sort of.

I say sort of because it is also a bit of a sequel to my second book, Her Enemy at the Altar although like all my books, you don't have to have read one to enjoy the others.
Thanks to several lovely messages from readers and quite a few comments from reviewers, I knew that some people, including me, wanted to see the tormented Aaron Wincanton and shrew-like Constance Stuart again. Fortunately, I gave Connie a younger brother in that book and so it was his story I decided to write as the sun singed my lawn and I melted at my computer.
Hal (Henry) Stuart, the newly minted Earl of Redbridge and notorious rake is a little out of sorts. Something is not quite right in his life but he can’t put his finger on what. His scandalous life has suddenly become very boring now that he has a title, largely because hunting for women has got too easy.
On a quest to find his missing vigour, he accepts a bet from his brother-in-law Aaron that he cannot steal five kisses in five separate places before Twelfth Night. One kiss for each of the berries on the sprig pinned to his lapel. Hal assumes he has to kiss five separate women, but Aaron decrees that all the kisses must be stolen from just the one woman.
Sullen Lizzie.
A committed spinster with a hatred for rakes and, unbeknownst to both Hal and the whole of the Ton, a very dirty secret she has kept hidden for five long years.
At times, these two characters had me laughing out loud as I wrote them and despite forming a fast and unlikely friendship, I couldn’t get Lizzie to allow herself to fall for Hal. Throw in a couple of meddling relatives, a menacing butler and three adorable and tenacious children and the end result, His Mistletoe Wager, was huge fun to write.
But in the end, a wager is a wager and it’s Christmas. And at Christmas there is always mistletoe…
Virginia Heath writes raunchy Regency romantic comedies for Harlequin Mills & Boon but her dog Trevor mostly writes her Facebook posts.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Favorite Movie Couples

I am a sucker for a great movie couple – Joan Wilder and Jack T. Colton (Romancing the Stone), Vivien and Edward (Pretty Woman), and Jack and Rose (Titanic) are all on my list. I like couples that banter, couples that laugh together, couples that are hot for each other…even if they’d lost a little of that sparkle. Here are a few of my favorite movie couples.

Phil & Claire (Date Night). First, I have to say that I adore Steve Carell and Tina Fey, I have yet to find a movie starring either of them that I don’t love. Putting them together, and as a married couple, no less? That was the icing on this movie lover’s cake! Phil & Claire have lost the spark in their marriage, and it takes their friends’ impending divorce to make them see it. The problem is that their romantic date night in the city has gone haywire because they’ve been mistaken for a couple on the run from mobsters. It’s delicious watching the two of them working together to save themselves, to see those little moments of jealousy, and when they finally save the day (and their marriage) you just have to cheer!

Tess & Finn (Fool’s Gold). Another couple on the rocks! There seems to be a theme to my list!! I adore a good treasure hunt movie, and I adore the chemistry between Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughy. Tess & Finn haven’t lost the spark in their relationship – they’re still hot for one another. The problem is that Tess has a vision of her life that isn’t lining up with Finn’s; things aren’t lining up because she’s so focused on what she wanted for her life pre-Finn that she can’t wrap her mind around what she wants once he’s in her life. Throw in a mean rapper, a cricket bat, and a lot of banter? And they not only find their way back to one another, but they both realize what they really want in their lives.

Margaret & Andrew (The Proposal). Finally, a movie that isn’t about breaking up – it’s about faking it! This is one of my favorite tropes in all of romanceland – a couple of people faking a relationship and falling for one another is such a sweet journey. . .and when you add in the angst of Sandra Bullock’s Margaret and the obliviousness of Ryan Reynolds’ Andrew? It’s even sweeter!

Those are my top three – tell me, who are your favorite movie couples?


Kristina Knight’s latest release is Breakup in a Small Town, the third book in her Slippery Rock series!

This isn't the man she married…
Jenny Buchanan never considered what "for better or for worse" meant when she married Adam Buchanan at nineteen. Six years and two little boys later, "for worse" arrives in the form of a tornado that ravages Slippery Rock and injures Adam. Now he's a stranger to his family…and love won't be enough to bring him back.

Only when Jenny asks him to move out does Adam become the husband she needs…but Adam isn't the only one who's changed. As their attraction sparks back to life, Jenny and Adam must learn what it is to grow up—and grow together—before this small-town breakup lasts forever.

Kristina Knight is a contemporary romance author, part-time swim-kid wrangler, and full-time Thin Mints enthusiast. You can find out more the book and Kristina on her website, and feel free to stalk follow her on FacebookTwitter or Instagram

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Free Book and New Releases! By Jenny Gardiner


Hi!

Great news! Red Hot Romeo is free! A hot Italian, a gorgeous supermodel, and fabulous wines…what’s not to love?!
You can check out the first book in the Royal Romeo series for a limited time here:

And on Tuesday, the final book in the series, Big O Romeo, will be released! You can get it here
But wait, there's more! ;-) I just started a new series! Falling for Mr. Right. And book one, Falling for Mr. Maybe, comes out November 14. I hope you get a chance to check it out!

Lastly, don't forget, book one of the It's Reigning Men series, Something in the Heir, is free here!

I hope you'll have a chance to check out my Royal Romeos series, which is a spin-off of my wildly popular It's Reigning Men series--please do check them out!

Happy reading!

    
  



  

 Coming November 14! 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Getting my Glad Rags out by Michelle Styles

Today I shall be on my way to the annual gathering of Mills and Boon authors aka AMBA. It is the first I have been able to go in a while. Getting children to their respective universities or going on holiday with my husband has taken precedence. However, this year I get to go and collect my pin for writing 25 books for Harlequin. Harlequin celebrates various significant milestones for authors, marking them with little gifts. There are pins for 25 and 50 and I forget what for 75 books (however I will find out as my friend and fellow author Kate Hardy is getting her 75th memento today as well)
Picture from RWA of Joanne Rock with 2017 Author milestones
I very nearly didn’t get the pin. After my 24th, I thought this is me done.  I am not getting any joy from writing historical romances any more. So I walked away from the offered contract and started writing something new. It took me awhile (and still it hasn’t sold – I have faith that some day it will but it also got me a fabulous agent) But then I was in a used bookshop and saw several historical romances. A fierce longing rose in my breast and I realized that after all I did like writing historical romances, and in particularly I did like writing my Vikings. So I set to work and wrote what became Sold to the Viking Warrior, my 25th Harlequin. I then took time off and wrote a single title because I could. And then I wrote The Warrior’s Viking Bride, my 26th which comes out in March 2018 and I think is one of my best.  I shall be interested to see what readers think. Then partly because my mother made sniffy noises (I don't get her attitude), I am working on the next Viking which isn't finished. Sometimes it is about figuring out what works for you.

AMBA is a magical experience. The first time I went I was frightened because there were all these authors whose books I have loved and then there was me. One of the big things I learned was that no author was born published and therefore everyone remembers what it was like not to be published. There is a certain energy to being there because the attendees know intimately about the struggles, the pitfalls and unparalleled joys which come from writing romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon. In the evening, the party means that the authors get to mingle with the editors. This is always fun as I have worked with a number of editors over the years and it is pleasant to see how they are doing.
The lunch is at London Bridge Hotel and then there is a special presentation about what is happening at Mills & Boon before the party where I will finally get my pin. Then back on the train and home to the reality which is my current Viking. A long and exhausting day but oh so worth it in many ways.


Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romances in a wide variety of time periods, most recently Viking. Her next Viking, The Warrior’s Viking Bride will be published in March 2018. You can learn more about Michelle and her books on www.michellestyles.co.uk

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Christina Hollis—Beginnings and Endings

Goodbye, summer...
September and the beginning of the new school term is always bittersweet. The peace after a summer of comings and goings is tinged with sadness at another milestone passed in the children's lives, and our own. 

This year is more poignant than most, as our son enters his last year at secondary school. It'll be final exams for him in summer 2018. A few weeks after that he'll be off into the big wide world. This is the last time I'll be doing the school run beneath dancing flocks of gathering swallows and house martins. This time next year, he'll be getting ready to fly the nest himself. 

In the meantime he's fine-tuning his skills in the kitchen, learning how to budget, and sitting at the top of the best local driving instructor's waiting list. I'm trying to step back, but it's difficult. He's got numerous health problems, but you can't keep them wrapped in cotton wool all their lives, can you? Not that it stops me worrying. 

Maybe leaving home will be the making of him. Maybe. You hear such worrying things about Generation I—the ones who live life at one remove, behind screens or via their telephones. How they're in danger of becoming Special Snowflakes because they lack the social skills we all learned in the days BC—Before Computer.  They're not so well-equipped to deal with the rough and tumble of daily working life, it seems.

...hello, autumn...
 
I'll look on the bright side. I worried about DD when she went off to university. Now she's back home and has a new career as an archaeologist. We could be toasting Son Number One's similar success in a few years' time, with wine made from our new grapevines!

When she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping, Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women.  Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and she’s sold nearly three million books worldwide. Catch up with her at http://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com, on TwitterFacebook, and see a full list of her published books at christinahollis.com


Her current release, Heart Of A Hostage, is published by The Wild Rose Press and available at myBook.to/HeartOfAHostage  worldwide.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Back to School

Like the post header says, I've gone back to school!!  I'm taking a pottery class at a local university and I'm having a blast!  I know, I'm not a pottery prodigy, but really I'm learning so much!  We had to make a kiln god...I went for a kiln goddess instead.  You can see she has the basic shape of a beehive kiln.  LOL The flowers in her hair came out a bit funky, but otherwise, I'm pleased with her.  And I've made cups.  One had to be asymmetrical...I went for a heart shape. I love the other two.

Not only am I going back to school, but my books are, too!  My PTA Mom trilogy comes out in time for the holiday season!  What happens when three PTA moms miss the first meeting and get stuck on the worst committee the organization has?  Did I mention they were three SINGLE moms?  Hm, so what happens as Samantha, Michelle and Carly plan the Thanksgiving Pageant, Christmas Fair and Valentine's Dance?  Laughter, Friendship...and of course, love.

This was such a fun series to write because frankly...I've been a PTA Mom.  I planned a Thanksgiving kids' zone for years.  And yes, it's a crazy life, but I wouldn't have done it any other way.  Neither would my three moms!  Hope you'll come join them this holiday season!

Holly

Once Upon a Thanksgiving
Once Upon a Christmas
Once Upon a Valentine's






Saturday, September 09, 2017

A Kinder Mother Nature - Kandy Shepherd


Right now, Mother Nature is showing her harshest side, lashing out with hurricanes, floods, fire and earthquakes in various parts of the world. My thoughts are with all those affected by these terrible events. 

In contrast, I’m sharing some pictures of Mother Nature’s kinder side from my very early spring garden in my little farm Down Under in Australia.

Daffodils shout out spring!
I wish I could share with you the fragrance of the daphne and the peach blossom.There’s also the frenetic buzzing of the bees and the different notes of birdsong to bring a lilt to the heart.

This gnarled plum tree is about sixty years old and still bearing superb fruit

 The gentleness of a spring garden seems to bring its own kind of calm in a world that seems to have gone a little crazy.

Nectarine blossom

 Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are safe. My thoughts are also with the teams of people out there helping both the people and the animals affected by disaster.

The gentle charm of hellebores

What simple thing brings you comfort in worrying times? I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments!



Kandy Shepherd’s most recent book Conveniently Wed to the Greek is a May 2017 release from Harlequin Romance in North America; Mills & Boon Cherish in the UK; and Mills & Boon ForeverRomance in Australia and New Zealand.









Kandy Shepherd is a multi-published, award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She lives on a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her family and a menagerie of four-legged friends.


Visit Kandy at her website




Connect with Kandy on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram









Thursday, September 07, 2017

Goodbye summer...

Add caption
It’s not often that I say I’ll be glad to see the back of summer, but this one has been so stressful that I’m looking forward to a change of seasons, a change of pace and hoping the chill will cut down all the bad vibes that seem to have made this year such a stressful one both personally and internationally.

Special thoughts for everyone affected by floods in Texas and Louisiana.

I’ve had to put the book I’m writing on hold while family concerns come first but I have finally managed to launch one of the books for which I reclaimed the rights from Harlequin a while back. It’s been re-edited, freshened up, given a little bit of an update and a fabulous new cover and at the moment it’s available for a re-launch price of just 99c (99p if you’re in the UK, or 99c anywhere if you use the Smashwords link - download to any device).


Trouble in Paradise was originally published by Harlequin Mills and Boon - for marketing reasons that had nothing to do with the story - under the title All She Wants for Christmas.

It has now been given a facelift and it's original title, so grab it now at the special launch price of 99c (US), 99p (UK).  Actually if you use the Smashwords link (they cater for all ebook platforms) you'll only pay 99c wherever you are!

* * *

Hugo Griffin thinks Maddy Osborne is a spoiled little rich girl. She thinks he's a gigolo who is after her vulnerable godmother's fortune.

Stranded alone together on Paradise Island, forced to work together to survive, they have all the time in the world to discover that first impressions can be misleading...


Taste test here.

Here are the links -

Amazon US
Amazon Australia
iBooks
Smashwords
Nook
Kobo

Monday, September 04, 2017

Nicole Locke- Celebrations & Giveaways Continue!


In August, I celebrated my mum's birthday and the release of The Knight's Scarred Maiden. I'd like to say thanks to everyone for sharing your celebrations! It was great fun reading them. I've sent a mail to the winner, and hope to post Rhain and Helissent's story to you soon!

As for the continuing celebrations?

Well, as much as I love writing romances, I think I may love chatting with other romance readers even more. The recent Blog Tour kept me up many a night comparing what's in our closets, what's our favourite snack, and who our favourite heroes and heroines are.


Later this month, there will be even more chatting romance when I, and my fellow Harlequin Historical author, Virginia Heath, attend the Historical Romance Retreat https://www.historicalromanceretreat.com (hope to see you there!).

Now while Virginia is making her own outfits for the festivities,  http://authorsoundrelations.blogspot.com/2017/08/sat-hello-to-veronica.html, I can barely sew on a button.

This has left me in a pickle. Because many of you know, I don't like to shop. I really don't. We've been in this house since December, and as of three days ago, I finally bought...a chair. My living room consists of a rug, and that's what we sit on.

Buying dresses, shoes, hats? I'm hopeless. How am I supposed to know what fits, or what looks good. And the attention to detail needed for period dresses is off the charts. I've been busy making purchases, but I'm returning just as much.

I still can't find a pair of silver shoes to fit my feet or match the dress. None. If anyone has any ideas where I can find a 1930's-ish closed round toe with ankle strap or T-bar, please let me know! I need these for the Grand Ball. Without them, I'll be like Cinderella after midnight, and with no shoes.

So does that leave me in a complete crisis? No. I'm celebrating because I get to chat with more romance readers and no doubt the conversations will be about all my favourite things like food, drink and our favourite heroes and heroines.

And I'd like to keep celebrating here, too. Since this is my fifth book with Harlequin, I want to give five books away. One of each from the Lovers and Legends series: The Knight's Broken Promise, Her Enemy Highlander, The Highland Laird's Bride, In Debt to the Enemy Lord, and The Knight's Scarred Maiden.

Just share your favourite romance novels or heroes and heroines in the comments (with a way to reach you --you can contact me at nicole@nicolelocke.com, too). I'll drop your names in a bowl for my daughter to grab, and notify you (privately) by October 4th!  

-- Nicole






Saturday, September 02, 2017

Celebrating Human Spirit: Susan Sands

The hurricane in Texas and parts of Louisiana brought devastation to so many of our fellow humans this past week. I've worried about family and friends in both states this week. My people are safe, but
they are not dry. They've lost homes and possessions. Several are elderly and face rebuilding. Some are currently in shelters.

I grew up in Louisiana, but lived in Texas as a young child. Some of my earliest memories are of Hurricane Celia in Corpus Christi, Texas blowing away my swing-set as we peeked out the window after hiding in a closet under mattresses. When Category five Hurricane Andrew blew into Louisiana's coast, I was pregnant with my first child, and we lived in New Orleans at the time. We evacuated inland to Donaldsonville, La. to avoid a direct hit. Unfortunately, Andrew changed course and hit us spot on. It was the scariest twenty-four hours of our lives. When we emerged the next day, it looked like an atomic bomb had gone off all around. The tall grasses were sideways from the wind. It didn't carry with it the same kind of rainfall that Harvey did, but the winds and destruction went on for miles. Katrina hit after I moved away, but it displaced a large number of family members as well. Hurricane Rita hit my hometown and caused damage on my parent's property several years ago. So, I am somewhat of a weather freak. I watch it on television with the same intensity as the Game of Thrones season finale.

I am utterly amazed and horrified at the sheer devastation and flooding of homes and businesses Harvey has wrought. But I'm also heartened by the human spirit and the way people from every background have pulled together and continue to help one another.

Consider any form of help you have to offer the victims. They will need assistance for some time. Certainly, keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Susan