Tag Archives: romance

Deerbourne Inn Dates: Jean Grant

Today I’m talking to Jean M. Grantauthor of three romances and one Women’s Fiction (set to release in April). She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series, and perf5.000x8.000.inddher book Soul of the Storm is available today.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

Oh, good question. I am sure I did read books earlier than this, but I distinctly remember the thrillers by R.L. Stine in my tweens. I also remember Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Sweet Valley Twins. Judy Blume’s 1980s classics. Am I dating myself here…? I guess I can’t remember the wee early ones. If I was to pick my current favourites that my kids used to read, I would pick all of Mo Willems books. Love them.

What’s your favourite place to write?

Desk, couch, coffee shop, under a blanket. I am versatile. I usually write on my laptop but when traveling I use a good old pen/pencil and notebook. I remember bringing a draft version of one my manuscripts (printed on paper) on a hike up a mountain a few years ago. We were staying in a hiker’s hut that night and besides taking in the gorgeous view, eating a scrumptious cooked meal, and playing cards, I wanted to get some work done. It was a peaceful setting to read and edit as the sunset (and rose) on top of a mountain.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

My motto is the 3 P’s: Patience, Perseverance, and Putting in the time. I’m working on getting thicker skin. Rejection is part of the journey, as are those 3 P’s. For some writers, “success” (or whatever we define as success) happens quickly, for some us it takes years. My advice: keep on keepin’ on and find some buddies to come along with you for the ride to cheer you on!

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I jump around in my manuscript if needed (though I am a plotter and I do a lot of character development up front), work on other projects (there are always other projects…), or focus on something else in my house/family/life that I need to work on. I’ve only been really blocked once, and it was a hard month, but I got back into the swing quickly! I tend to be spinning plates, so I am never bored and never not have something to do!

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I’m enjoying the novella-length books in this series so far. Recently, I read one in the Candy Hearts series by CJ Fosdick called Hot Stuff. It’s more like a novelette. Short, about 50 pages. I read it in one sitting. Her voice and the polished writing just lured me in! In my TBR pile is another book (full novel) by her, The Accidental Wife. I can’t wait to read it.

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

I live in New England so writing about a state near me (Vermont) was enticing, and I

sots vt and nz collage 1

Vermont New Zealand Collage

already had this “hiking/New Zealander/woman with a hurt past” idea percolating in my mind. I loved the idea of writing something shorter (novella, about 150 pages) and being part of a series with other authors.

What was the inspiration behind Soul of the Storm?

A bit of my own life, but it’s quite fictionalized. I lost my sister to an accident when she was young. I’ve been burned by an ex. I love to hike. I absolutely love New Zealand. And before I knew it, this idea came together.

 

Tell us about Soul of the Storm in 100 words or less.

Charlotte lost the thrill of conquering mountains five years ago when her sister disappeared on a hiking adventure without her. Charlotte heads for a vacation to Vermont but she’s still plagued with guilt and questions. Matiu is an outdoorsman and works multiple jobs to save for his dream of owning an outfitter in New Zealand. He’s restless and yearns for his Maori roots. Matiu and Charlotte form a bond through their shared love of the outdoors. But can Charlotte surmount her demons to assist Matiu on a mountain rescue when a late-season snowstorm hits? Can love help her heal?

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

She went to feel her ring on her finger with her thumb…but the ring wasn’t there. That old habit would not die even years later.

A dog bark intruded. The man crossed to the back door. “Reka, sweet girl, take your nap. Only a few hours here and then home, okay?” He spoke to her like a father to a toddler. The dog barked again. “A swim and walk this morning weren’t enough for you?”

He approached the dog, petted it, and whispered affections.

Charlotte made a soundless “Aww” and kept perusing.

The man returned, nearer. Residual sweat traced his brow. He pointed to a selection of books in the middle. “These are the best. Depends on what you’re looking for. Honest reviews or glorified fantasies?”

“Honest reviews, always.”

He stroked a hand through his neck-length black hair, the longer top layer falling over his forehead. He squatted and withdrew a few books from the lower shelf. “You could go with the popular or famous names, sure, but I like these authors.” He handed her one.

A book on South America sat in her hands. She muttered, “Thanks. Don’t need that one.”

“Oh, already been there, eh? All good, all good.” He took it and shoved it back on the shelf. “Where do your dreams lie then?”

She swallowed. No, I wasn’t there in that way. I was supposed to have been there. Five years ago. Instead she said, “Well, Vermont for now.”

“You’re in luck. I’m from Willow Springs.”

Buy links

Buy links for Soul of the Storm:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ GooglePlay

You can also pre-order for my April 17th release, Will Rise from Ashes:

Amazon

Where can readers find you online?J Grant JPEG square

 

Website~ Twitter  ~ FacebookGoodreads~

Bookbub~ Amazon Author Page~

The Wild Rose Press

 

Read about more Deerbourne Inn titles:

 

Wordsmith Wednesday

Today is the first in my 2019 interviews with women wordsmiths. Up first to reveal her secrets is MV Ellis, author of four contemporary romances. Her new novel, Finding MV headshotMarnie, was released earlier this month. MV will be attending the Australian Romance Readers Association Romantic Rendezvous ARR2019 author signing in Sydney on 24 March.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

One of the first books I really remember loving as a child was a beautifully illustrated Winnie the Pooh picture book. I was enthralled by the combination of words and pictures. I still have a soft spot for Pooh to this day. There were many favourites though—Where the Wild Things Are was another that stands out in my mind. I was a big reader from day one, so my first solo read was so far back I don’t remember it, but I do remember reading Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol at around nine or ten, which started my love for Dickens.

What’s your favourite place to write?

Hmmm…I write at my three-metre-long kitchen table. However, I do have an office (aka the spare room), but it’s currently serving as a bit of a junk room during our home renovations. When that’s all done, I’m planning on taking it back over and creating a beautiful writing haven. In the meantime, when I want a break from the dining table, I head to our local café, or even IKEA for a change of scene.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

It’s hard to pinpoint just one, as the past year as a published author has been a steep learning curve. However, one thing I’m currently living by is that you just have to keep on keeping on. It’s not always easy, but you’ve just got to get your eyes down, bum up and keep working and moving forward. I write every day, more often than not, into the small hours of the morning, but I know that’s what I need to do to achieve my not inconsiderable short and long term goals. My current motto is “You can sleep when you’re dead.”

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I’m fortunate enough to never have suffered from writer’s block, but on the few occasion when motivation wanes, I force myself to write, no matter how paltry an amount. Failing that, I watch TV. I’m a very visual person, and I find that consuming visual forms of storytelling helps keep my creative juices flowing, while not specifically trying to write.

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I recently read LJ Shen’s Dirty Headlines, and as is always the case for me with her books, it didn’t disappoint.

What was the inspiration behind Finding Marnie?

finding  marnie_fprjpegs_frontcover.jpgBeing the fourth book in a series, Finding Marnie was somewhat inspired by the previous books, but also by reader requests to know more about some of the supporting characters from the first three books—Marnie and Luke in particular. It was a chance for us to learn more about the troubled pair, and see events portrayed in the other books from a whole new perspective, and in a very different light. Having said that, it’s a standalone novel, so great to read even if you haven’t read the other books.

Tell us about Finding Marnie in 100 words or less.

Finding Marnie: Rock Star Romance (Heartless Few Book 4), the highly anticipated fourth installment of the Heartless Few series, takes us back to the rock ‘n’ roll world of the Jones brothers, but now from a different point of view. “Quiet twin” Luke has preferred to live in his twin brother’s shadow, but when Marnie, his life-long crush, finds herself at rock bottom he’s desperate to save her, even if it means defying Arlo. In this book we see this sexy rock god finally step into the light and become the man he was meant to be, proving to both himself and Marnie that they are worth fighting for.

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

I’D LEARNED to make myself small from an early age—even before my parents had decided that I wasn’t worth living for. They’d always been all about them, and I’d always felt like an inconvenient by-product of their love, rather than a cherished part of it. The state-ordered psychologist I saw after they died had said that nothing and nobody could take away or diminish the way I felt, but it was unlikely that my parents hadn’t loved me. They may have lacked the parenting skills to adequately demonstrate it and been hampered by mental illness and addiction, but apparently, nothing in their treatment of me suggested I had been unloved.

 Try explaining that to a three-, four-, or five-year-old who was never a consideration. I was just there. Not living but existing. I quickly learned that the less space I took up, the less mental real estate I commanded from them, the happier they were with me. The smaller, the better. If I could have made myself invisible, that would have been ideal.

 I curled myself into a ball next to Luke, hugging my knees to my chest. Fuck, he made my heart hurt. In fact, he made all of me hurt. No, that wasn’t right. He made me ache. All of me ached for him. When I was feeling weak and being stupid, I allowed myself to imagine what it would be like if things were different. If I were different. If I were the kind of woman who deserved the love of a man like him. The kind of girl who could match his gentle nature and give him the love he deserved.

 I was clearly feeling more stupid and weak than normal, allowing myself to think that way when Luke was within arm’s reach. When I could just stretch out my hand and run it through his thick dark hair like I’d imagined myself doing ten thousand times before. When I could brush my hand across the stubble of his strong jaw. When I could kiss his ripe, shapely lips just once.

Buy linksMV Ellis.jpg

Where can readers find you online?

 

Deerbourne Inn Dates

In late March, The Wild Rose Press will publish my novella contribution to The Deerbourne Inn series. Deerbourne Inn Dates is an introduction to the other fabulous authors in this series which revolves around an old inn in a small Vermont town. There’s something for everyone in this series – sweet, sexy, historical, contemporary, paranormal.

Today I’m talking to Peggy Jaeger, author of 15 romances. She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series and her book Hope’s Dream is available now.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

The first book I remember reading and that is still my favourite childhood book was THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD. The best book about self-motivation and visual activation I’ve ever read – even to today!

What’s your favourite place to write?

In my attic office, overlooking my property. My third-floor attic is finished and I have a room all to myself with my desk and all my writing “stuff.” My desk overlooks the wooded property surrounding my home on all four sides so it’s peaceful and lovely to watch when the trees change color in the autumn.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

To not get bogged down in writing a perfect book in the first draft. I need to get the entire story that’s in my mind on the page. After I do, I go back and edit – make the dialogue richer, eliminate repetitive words, make sure the timeline and POV are correct. Too many writers spend too much valuable time getting each page perfect each day. My motto is to simply write. Put God in the details once the story is finished.

What do you do when you feel stuck?

Don’t hate me, writers, but I never am. The reason is because I’m a master plotter. Before I ever put word one of a new story on the page, I’ve already got the entire story plotted out, scene to scene so I know exactly where I’m going. It’s worked well for me through 15 books!

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

SHELTER IN PLACE by Nora Roberts. A very timely subject in the United States – teen shootings and the aftermath that a shooting wrecks on the survivors. Plus, there’s a hot romance within the story!

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

When the call went out for stories set in a fictional New England town in Vermont surrounding an historical Inn and quirky town characters, I knew I had to write an addition of my own because I live in a beautiful New England town in New Hampshire (next door neighbour to Vermont) and my town is filled with quirky characters. I felt like I knew Willow Springs (the Vt. Town) like the back of my hand. Everything about it felt familiar. Simply, I couldn’t not write a story!

What was the inspiration behind Hope’s Dream?

At the time the call came through for submissions I’d been tossing a plot line for a rags to riches romance around in my head. I had the characters and the plot but not the setting. The Deerbourne Inn Series provided that. I love a rags to riches and an opposites attract romance. HOPE’S DREAM has both in the main characters. One has a secret that could make the other’s life so much better, but if the secret is revealed, the love story could change – and not for the better. I had to come up with a balance that would afford my hero and heroine both their HEA and the windfall.

Tell us about Hope’s Dream in 100 words or less.perf5.000x8.000.indd

Hope Kildaire gave up her future dreams when a car accident killed her father and left her mother an invalid. Working two jobs and caring for her mother leaves Hope little free time. When a law firm representing her paternal grandparents contacts her, Hope ignores them. The family disowned her father so she wants nothing to do with them.Lawyer Tyler Coleman’s job is to obtain Hope’s signature. Getting it is harder than planned when an unexpected attraction blossoms between them. The opportunity to have everything she desires is at Hope’s fingertips. But will it come at the expense of Tyler’s love?

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

As he started back toward the inn, his hands secured in his pockets against the night chill and his neck burrowed under his scarf, he realized he needed to tell her who he was before this went any further. He should have done it tonight, as he’d originally planned. Why he hadn’t was as clear to him as the night sky above: he was frightened once she knew the truth she’d want nothing to do with him.

Could he blame her? While he hadn’t outright lied, he hadn’t told her the truth, either. Which was worse? An intentional fabrication or a lie of omission? Both felt equally wrong right now.

Disappointment had clouded her face when he’d broken their kiss. She felt something for him. That look proved it. He could only hope once she knew who he really was and why he was in her home town, she’d be able to forgive his subterfuge.

Buy links

Where can readers find you online?peggyheadshot

The Millionaire Mountain Climber

The Millionaire Mountain Climber is now available.

BlurbMMC.jpeg

When danger threatens a bona fide city girl, an adventurer is her only hope of rescue

Mountain climber Matt Hanley is a former investment manager whose lean body and rugged good looks epitomize an outdoor adrenaline junky. When his business partner in their country hotel is injured, he needs an efficient replacement in a hurry.

Hailey Gordon lives a chic city life free of adventures and daredevils. She craves stability and security but loses her job and boyfriend on the same day. A holiday job in France is the perfect escape from her troubles.

Sparks ignite when Matt and Hailey meet, but she resolves to ignore the flame flickering between them. Aside from the fact Matt is her boss, she is convinced he is not her type. Matt is determined to teach Hailey to look beyond appearances. He needs to show her how good they are together, even if he must risk life and limb to do so.

Extract

Hailey drank in the landscape, noticing the clarity of the late afternoon sky and the way the snow-capped peaks glistened despite the fading light.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” said Matt.  “Trending down the valley, you have the villages of Argentiere and Les Praz and the town of Chamonix. Behind Chamonix you can see the Grand Mama of all the peaks, Mont Blanc.”

“Yes, the pens––and the chocolates.” She shook her head. What hubris to name a pen after the magnificent towering peak, but what marketing genius.

Matt grinned. “Ah, you know the chocolates, do you? We’ll have to buy you some.”

“From the lips to the hips,” she murmured, “and I am sure they don’t do the mountain justice.”

“Come on, let’s get you inside before your face turns blue, and I earn a reprimand from Genie for chatting up scantily-clad women in sub-zero temperatures.”

“Really? You were chatting me up? I’m flattered.”

The smile turned wicked. “You’re welcome.” As he bent to pick up her suitcase, he dropped his head next to hers and murmured into her ear in a low, deep voice, sending shivers down her spine. “For the record, Hailey, your curves are perfect. A little chocolate won’t do them any harm.”

She blushed, and the fire of his words flickered all the way through her belly. When was the last time her ex had paid her a compliment? An appalling thought crossed her mind; she, the High Priestess of Order and Long-Term Planning, was ripe for the picking and contemplating a holiday romance.

eBook Buy Links

Amazon Australia IMG_3920

Amazon US

Amazon UK

IBooks 

Kobo

The Wild Rose Press

Paperback Buy Links

The Wild Rose Press

More coming soon.

Release Day Celebration

To celebrate the release of my romance The Millionaire Mountain Climber, I am hosting a party on Facebook with the 1-Click Addict Support Group and a clutch* of other authors. Join us for the chance to meet  new people, discover new books and win prizes.

Date 24 – 25 October (depending on where in the world you live)

24th 3-10pm American EST OR 25th 6am – 1pm Australian AEDT

PartyPromoGraphic_med

*Is clutch the right word for a group of authors? Happy to take suggestions.

Our Five Favourite Winter Reads

Can you believe it’s July already? This year is running towards the finish at a crazy pace. However, I always make time to read. It’s my safe place, my fun place, and the way I refill my creative well. Here are five five-star romance reads I recommend. At the bottom of my post you’ll find links to the other, very different, recommendations from The Writers Dozen.

July books composite

First up is The Lingerie Wars by Janet Elizabeth Henderson. I fell across this delightful The Lingerie Warsromantic comedy in the best way – as a recommendation from an author newsletter. It’s the first in a new-to-me seven book series set in the small Scottish town of Invertary. Englishman Lake Benson, ex-special forces, is forced to take control of the lingerie shop he helped his sister buy – or watch his life savings go down the drain. The problem is the competition directly across the street run by former model Kirsty Campbell. Lake campaigns for victory with military precision. Kirsty takes a more creative approach. Aided and abetted by a cast of quirky characters, they are each determined to win the right to be the town’s sole lingerie shop. When the sparks fly, all bets are off. The Lingerie Warsis great escapism; funny and silly but with depth in all the right places. I’m slowly reading my way through the entire series.

Stand and DeliverStand and Deliver is the latest book in Rhenna Morgan’s Men of Haven series. I adore this family of self-proclaimed brothers, their two mums and the women they fall in love with. Stand and Deliveris Beckett and Gia’s story. Gia’s a kickass Southern belle who has built a reputation in Beckett’s male-dominated security industry. Beckett knows his brothers have his back. He wants Gia to know that he has hers; that she can let down her guard once in a while. Gia’s afraid of being overwhelmed by Beckett, but when it becomes clear someone is trying to sabotage her professional reputation, she needs to take a chance on letting Beckett guard her back – and her heart. As usual, there is an element of suspense to keep your heart racing. I love all the books in this series. They are dark and dirty but with heart and humour in all the right places. And the covers are drool-worthy.

OMG. I have to confess that before May this year, I had never read a Sarina Bowen novel. SpeakeasyThat’s the bad news. The good news is that there is a Sarina Bowen shaped hole on my bookshelf which I am rapidly filling up. Don’t you love it when you find an author you haven’t read with a great backlist?! Speakeasy is new, book five in her True North series. It’s filled with the fabulous vistas and great organic food of the series’ rural Vermont setting, the backdrop for May and Alec’s story. May Shipley is an alcoholic. Alec Rossi owns and runs a bar. Their families are intertwined on one level, competitors on another. On the surface it’s not a great combination, especially given that May is on the rebound, but Alec makes her feel good and she’s not ready to give him up just yet. Sarina Bowen explores tough contemporary issues such as sexuality and addiction, but she wraps it all up in the warmth and love that is the Shipley family, giving us a vision of what modern life should look like. And the covers are great too.

The Right TrackOn The Right Track is Penelope Janu’s follow up to In at the Deep End. The books can be read as stand-alone novels but are linked by Per and Tor Amundsen, twin Norwegian brothers destined to fall in love with complicated Australian girls. Tor is the hero of On The Right Track. He’s a diplomat (read spy) investigating murky dealings in the world of horse racing, which brings him into Golden Saunders orbit. Tor is casting aspersions on the reputation of her grandfather, and Golden doesn’t want anything to do with him – or the chaos his appearance creates in her small but manageable circle. However, Tor falls fast for the combination of fragility and fierceness that is Golden. Can Tor persuade her to extend her boundaries? Can Golden take another risk on the world? Penelope Janu’s books are funny, heartfelt, tender and beautifully descriptive. I love them.

I didn’t however, love the cover for On the Right Track. It’s pretty enough but it’s deceptive. A large property two hours from the heart of Sydney does not a rural/country romance make, especially when fifty percent of the action takes place in the city suburbs. It is also so different to the cover for In at The Deep Endthat readers would be forgiven for thinking that there is no connection between the two books and that, indeed, they are in different genres. Nothing could be further from the truth. The publisher has done their author a disservice. Hopefully readers will not be distracted. I recommend both books.

Shadow Keeper is book three in my favourite Christine Feehan paranormal series, The Shadow KeeperShadow Riders. The Ferraro family of Chicago dispenses justice when the law cannot. However, business and family cannot be separated, making it hard for the Ferraros to find love, especially when their life partner must also be a shadow rider, someone with the potential to both read and ride shadows. Giovanni is on the Ferraro equivalent of desk duty, forbidden to ride the shadows until his leg is healed. He’s sick of his role as a playboy, but then he meets Sasha, a warm-hearted, smart and sassy country girl with a shadow that reaches out and touches his. She thinks she’s tough. She thinks she can look after her brother and herself. But the predators in Chicago are not as easy to fight off as the ones on the family farm. Giovanni must overcome the initial bad impression he made and persuade Sasha to trust him – and love him. Gritty, edgy and magical romance.

For more recommendations:

 

Getting a manuscript ready for submission

In the not to distant future, my romance novel will be published. This is the first in a series of blog posts about my path to publication. I hope it is inspiring and helpful to other aspiring writers out there.

I’ve wanted to write a novel worthy of readers’ delight since I first went to university, saw creative writing on the course list, and realised that real people wrote books. Maybe, just maybe, I could be one of them.

I struggled on my own for years before I found my tribe at the Romance Writers of Australia. With the support and guidance of various members, I’ve made steady progress. I finalled in one competition, learnt from others, and eventually finished my first manuscript. It placed second in the Emerald Award for unpublished manuscripts. I was thrilled but still plagued by doubts. The praise received was consistent; readers liked the setting, my heroine and the dialogue. The criticism coming back was also consistent – my hero was hard to know. Although I spoke to a few publishers, I never submitted, choosing to rework it instead. I say ‘choosing to rework’ and that’s partly true. Part of me was also retreating. If I wasn’t good enough to win, was I really good enough to publish? Would I make a fool of myself submitting it to publishers? Fear of failure can be crippling. It can also be a strangely comforting bedfellow, one which makes sure you never move out of my comfort zone.

But … I really wanted to be a published novelist. I wanted it more than I feared failure and humiliation. So I set myself a goal. By the next year’s conference I would be ready to pitch my revised and improved romance to publishers. I added 30,000 words to the story and thought about the story a lot, what worked, what didn’t. I also thought about what I would do if no one wanted it. I could self-publish. However, I really wanted to take my first steps in publishing with someone more experienced holding my hand. I wanted the support and the learning curve an author gets when working with an experienced editor and publisher. I’ve worked in the industry for years, so I know how valuable that experience can be.

When the annual RWA conference came around again in 2017, I was ready and prepared to face the threat of rejection again. I’d changed my title from the sweet-sounding Alpine Kisses to the sassier The Millionaire Mountain Climber. I put in my pitch request for the speed dating sessions with editors and agents. As a backup, I also made myself a list of romance publishers who accepted submissions direct from authors. I composed the list from the names of publishers who have attended RWA over the years as well as those who publish the books I like to read. I went online to their submission pages and copied their requirements. If the pitches didn’t go well, I had a plan B.

The pitches went okay. One agent was, frankly, rude, but said I could submit anyway. I did so, but didn’t hold my breath. Just as well because neither I, nor anyone else who pitched, ever heard back from her. One publisher was delightful and enthusiastic, and I submitted with some confidence. Another publisher said I didn’t fit their criteria, so that was a no.

However, with only one genuine show of interest, I didn’t like my odds. A month after conference, I hauled out Plan B and submitted to another ten publishers and one agent. It took time. Each one had different submission criteria. Some requested only the first five pages. Some wanted the first three chapters. Some wanted the whole manuscript. Everybody wanted a synopsis and to know a little about me, but not a one of them matched another. Each submission was unique. Some of the publishers I targeted were Australian; others English and American. I changed spelling according to the submission. While I didn’t get it all right, I reckoned it was respectful to at least make the effort. Those submissions took me another month, to the end of October 2017. I meant to submit to more agents, but decided to first see what came of round one. I also decided that if I didn’t get interest from anyone by end February, I would self-publish. I felt my story had legs now.

Next time: The call … make that the email.