Megan's 5 star rated Contemporary Romance

Friday, 27 April 2012

A Warm Welcome to Harlequin author Linda Conrad

Linda Conrad’s

many occupations have included being a stockbroker and certified financial planner, an apartment building manager, a sales assistant and a first grade teacher.  Her family has lived in seven states, though for a couple of years their home was in a travel trailer, traveling around the US.  All of which helped prepare her to write romantic suspense stories.  Linda and her husband and their lovable Bichon Frieze puppy now live in south Florida near where she was raised.  Her hobbies include boating, gardening and Tai Chi.

Linda was first published in 2002 and has since published thirty-two novels, all for Harlequin/Silhouette.  Her novels have been translated into over twenty languages and sold around the world, and they’ve been honored as winners of the Reader’s Choice Award, Write Touch Readers Award, Holt Medallion Award of Merit, Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and the Maggie Award for Short Contemporary Romance. 
 She loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at
Linda Reveals... her brand new TEXAS series 
I’ve written about FBI agents, lawyers, American Indians and sheikhs, but my all time favorite heroes are cowboys and ranchers.  
My brand new series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, called Chance, Texas, debuts this spring with the first two books, TEXAS BABY SANCTUARY and TEXAS MANHUNT out now.  The series features a huge Texas ranch and the men and women who live and work there.  I’ve gone back to my contemporary western roots and I love it. 
Finding unique plots and interesting characters is always a challenge for authors.  Yet I know those are the very things that make readers happiest.  The romance of the great American west stirs a passion in my soul.  I’ve told many of my stories from a contemporary western perspective because I think it’s so romantic for a hero and heroine to face challenges from Mother Nature along with challenges of the heart.  I also love the state of Texas as a setting because my family and I lived there for nearly twenty years and I know it so well.
Western settings intrigue me as a reader too.  But the other day I was reading a book where the western hero and heroine were making love while seated astride a horse.  Now, really.  Even if you’ve never been on the back of the horse you should laugh at that scenario.  Think about it.  A horse is a living entity, with needs and urges it cannot completely control.  A horse would never stand perfectly still while all that moaning, groaning, squirming and quick movements were going on next to its head.
Come to think of it, I’ve read many other ridiculous western sex scene settings too.  I believe in their quest to come up with something unique, authors sometimes get carried away.  I don’t know about where you live, but in much of the south and southwest the lands have been infested with fire ants.  I am intimately familiar with the little devils from gardening in both Texas and Florida.  So when I read about a couple making love outside on the ground in the west, I can’t help but thinking of fire ants.  In my books I try to find safer spots for a couple in love and I usually succeed. 
The first book, TEXAS BABY SANCTUARY, is available now in both print and digital wherever books are sold.  It highlights hero, Sam Chance, the oldest brother in a large ranching family.  A strong, quiet man of the United States Secret Service, Sam’s job is to guard witnesses in their protection and security program.  The one witness that gets to him, running from his protection and changing his life, is Grace Brown.  She hiding from the Mexican drug king, who kidnapped her, killed her parents and then made her his mistress. Grace wants to learn how to protect her baby son by herself.  But she soon discovers she must also learn to trust Sam.                                                                                   HERE'S THE BLURB-      
        There was nowhere safe for Grace Baker and her baby to run.  Even the law was no match for the ruthless drug lord who’d fathered her child.  Serrano had spies everywhere and wouldn’t stop till he captured his son and killed Grace.  Now Marshal Sam Chance was suddenly back in her life offering protection…could she dare to refuse?
        Sam believed his family ranch was the one place Grace would be safe.  Here they found refuge in each other’s arms.  But returning home only reminded Sam of his past failure to protect those he loved.  This time had to be different.  Because Grace and her baby meant more to him than life itself. 

The second book in the series, TEXAS MANHUNT, is available now in print and in digital on May 1. It features Travis, the second eldest brother who stayed home and now runs the mega Bar-C ranch along with most of the town.                                                                                                                                                                   
   HERE'S THE BLURB -                                                                                                                                                                              Rancher Travis Chance has a soft spot for lost souls.  Stranded and broke in Chance, Texas, Summer Wheeler ignites in him a fierce desire to protect her.  Clearly the fragile beauty is hiding something.  But despite his disastrous romantic history, Travis knows in his gut he can trust her.
             Summer comes to Chance looking for one of the men who devastated her life.  Though she hates lying to him, Travis’s job offer provides a means to her end.  But she never counted on falling for the sexy rancher and his troubled little girl.  Then “accidents” start happening at the family homestead.  Has Summer brought the danger to the two people who are teaching her to love again?                                                                                                                                                              
Now for  A Taste of Linda
Linda is treating us to an excerpt from the first book, TEXAS BABY SANCTUARY, to give the flavor of the stories. Enjoy!
 Stinging cold rain ran off the brim of his hat and dripped down the back of U.S. Marshal Sam Chance’s neck.
 Shrugging deeper into his lambskin coat, Sam felt chilled through and bone-weary.  So flipping bone-weary, in fact, that he figured sleeping for a hundred years would make a great way to spend his next time off—whenever that might happen.
           But as he stood on the pavement in the rough March drizzle staring through the smudged front window of a run-down highway café, his body got a shot of much needed adrenaline.  And suddenly, he had no need for sleep anytime soon. 
           She was there.  Bending over to wipe down an empty table.  After searching for the last six weeks, he’d finally found his woman.
           The information he obtained from those truck drivers a few days ago had been the key to finding her.  They’d said she was working as a waitress in this dingy joint.  And there she was.
          But look at how fragile she seemed from this distance.  He’d never known her to be so thin.  And she’d changed her hair color again.  He had grown rather partial to the bright red, but he supposed honey-blond was not all bad—if what you needed the most from your hair color was a temporary disguise.
           Where was her baby?  Did she bring him to work with her?  Was the child in the backroom of the café?
           Wanting to go to her, to hear her voice again, he fisted his hands at his sides instead and tried to clear his mind.
           But he didn’t move.  He didn’t as much as blink an eyelash.  Focusing his eyes past the left-over Christmas decorations on the window, that were by now looking pretty ratty, he simply gazed at her.   
          He shouldn’t be here.  Never should have started this quest to find her in the first place.  He’d taken a leave from his job in order to begin the search.  But now that he’d found her, he couldn’t take his eyes off her.  That she was still well and breathing free air felt like such a relief he could barely think.
* * *
            Grace hauled her last load of dishes into the kitchen, trying her best to put one foot in front of the other.  The feet that were killing her.  Ten more minutes until closing time.  Charlie, the cook and her boss, had left five minutes ago and she was supposed to lock up.  She could make it.
            She’d never done much manual labor, not until the last six months when her whole life had been tossed in the air like a salad.  But this was good honest work.  And it almost provided a living for her and her baby.  Grace was proud of what she’d accomplished so far.
            And she didn’t mind living here in Ft. Stockton.  The kind couple who ran the café had given her a job and a temporary place to live, hadn’t they?  Even the customers were not too bad.  The long-haul drivers left great tips and the locals spoke to her like they’d known her all their lives.
            Knowing she couldn’t linger in this town indefinitely, there were still times when Grace wished she could stay.  Stay somewhere.  Anywhere where she and the baby would be safe.
            She’d better stop wishing for the impossible and finish off her shift.  Pushing back through the swinging kitchen door into the dining room, she noticed the café had a new customer and he was standing with his back to the door.  As she opened her mouth to tell him the café was almost closed, he lifted his chin and their eyes met.  Her breath caught in her throat. 
            Only one pair of sky-blue eyes in the whole world could affect her that way.  Brooding and unreadable, those eyes stared at her from beneath the brim of a soaked white Stetson.  They belonged to a man she recognized all too well.
            Sam Chance.  Marshal Sam Chance.  She froze in place, not knowing whether to feel relief or to turn and run.  He’d found her—after all her efforts to stay lost.
            “Evening, Grace.  We need to talk.”  Sam’s voice still carried that slow, deep, sensual tone that had hypnotized her from the beginning.
            Her mouth went dry.  Her skin tingled.  She was torn with indecision. 
            Sam represented security and a chance for a real life.  But it was also possible that he represented a huge threat to her well-being and to the safety of her son.  Much as she didn’t want to think it, Sam may have been the leak, the one that had brought danger ever closer to her and Mikey six weeks ago.
            Just at that moment, the door at Sam’s back opened and her worst nightmare stepped inside.  Two dark men holding big menacing-looking guns.  And they were definitely coming in her direction. 
            Sam led the wolves right to her door!
* * *
A final word from Linda: There you go! Just a taste of Sam and Grace’s journey.  From here the story takes a fast turn and becomes a grand adventure right to the end.  If you love a good romance mixed with suspense and adventure, I think you’re going to love meeting Sam and Grace and her baby.  Then reading Travis and Summer’s story will be another bonus.  I know I loved writing both these stories.
 Looks like a must read! Thank you so much for regaling us today, Linda.
Pleasure to meet you and I wish you huge success with your new Texas series
So what do you think of books about Texas?  Like them or hate them?  Linda will give signed copies of TEXAS BABY SANCTUARY and TEXAS MANHUNT to one person drawn at random from those who comment. *
*US/Canada only – digital copies of TEXAS BABY SANCTUARY and TEXAS MANHUNT will be substituted for any international winner.
You can find out more about Linda and her books and sign up for Linda’s newsletter at:
or catch up with her on facebook and twitter.!/LindaConrad
Remember to leave a comment for the chance to win a prize

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A Warm Welcome to Peter Brandt

Peter says of himself: It only takes a few minutes of thought before Peter Brandt can devise a scenario that would make a fantastic story, and minutes after that before it begins to fill itself in.
“I have been able to think up stories all my life but it’s only been in the last seven years that I realized I was abusing my creative side by not writing them down.”

Peter retired from the Air Force and began a new career as a Technical Writer. His writing abilities have allowed him to work in Canada, the United States and even in the Middle East. But its Peter’s love for stories that has brought him into a new realm of writing. His humorous memoir about his life as a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces and the tragic memoir about his father’s life in a Prisoner-of-War camp at the age of 14 allowed him to refine his writing before he began to venture in writing Young Adult fiction.

“I have a very unique way of creating my stories. It begins with a craving, like a recent smoker who just quit cigarettes but still feels the addiction. I can’t shake it until I sit down and begin to let my mind wander. Many times I start my quest for a new story by wondering - What If. Soon after I begin to write and can usually get the first draft completed within a few weeks.
Maple Express began as a “what if” question and I’d share it with you but it would give away the storyline.”

I always write my stories as I would see them on the movie screen, which is why writing screenplays are also something I do. I am shooting a short film I wrote with a friend of mine within the next couple of weeks with another film shortly after.”

Peter has taken formal lessons in acting and has enjoyed some success as an actor in TV and film before his day job as a Lead Technical Writer required him to move out of the country.
“I can honestly say I have landed in the perfect job for me. I love to write...doesn’t really matter what I write, creatively or technically, writing is a pleasurable experience.  It has allowed me to travel and for that I am grateful.”

Peter grew up with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew hardcover books.
“I loved them. I remember sitting under my blanket after lights out, sweating from the heat and the fear that gripped me as Joe and Frank carried on with another of their adventures.”
It is with these wonderful stories in mind that Peter wrote “Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square.” This young adult novel will be released summer / fall 2012.
“I never really grew up. I have tried to write for adults but I find it difficult. I was a small, shy, and bullied kid growing up. I was nothing special. I had terrible grades, no idea what I wanted to do with my life and, totally foreign to me. After I joined the Army those years faded quickly and I guess it has caused me to want to get those years back.
That is why I crave writing about young people who feel they are nothing special until I put them in a position where they have no choice but to become someone they never dreamed they could be. It is very uplifting for me to make heroes out of young people who believe they have nothing to contribute. It’s an eye opener for me as well as for them when it happens.”

Pete continues to write and publish through Simple Simon Publishing, a different type of publisher.
“Simple Simon Publishing is all about turning authors into entrepreneurs. For too long authors have felt dependent on the closed loop publishing industry to discover them and make them successful. Simple Simon’s philosophy is you are not just an author but the best person in the world to sell your and your writing.”
Peter and his wife Carly have five kids who are all grown and on their own.
First, the blurb from THE MAPLE EXPRESS

 BLURB:   Sara Maple has a comfortable life—the only child of a wealthy family—a best friend who does everything she asks—and the admiration of most of her schoolmates. Unfortunately, her temper and “indestructible” attitude quickly place her in a very precarious position.

“The Maple Express” is a powerful novel that captures the author’s take on the miracle of the human mind. “The Maple Express” delves into the actions and consequences of a young girl who has never had to take responsibility for her actions before. The story brings the reader into a world where Sara’s determination to find her way off the train sends her on an emotional trip that bonds her to her new friends and changes her life forever.

Both young and old readers will love the emotional journey Sara Maple takes them on as she deciphers the obstacles that confront her. Sara’s story ends with a surprise twist and leaves the reader with a sense of discovery about his or her own humanity.

1.       In a couple of sentences, describe the heroine’s character.  What do you like best/least about her?
Sara genuinely wants something different for herself but she cannot escape what she has be taught by her mother; a sense of entitlement because of her family’s wealth and position in the community.
Sara must become accountable for her actions, something she has never had to do before. 
2.       What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
That I write really great stories. I write what I feel at the time. Action adventure one day, a comedy the next. I have a vivid imagination and I don't mind going outside of the normal to tell my story. I write because I need to, because I really want to share my stories with my readers.
3.       What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful book?
The story has to be able to hold the reader's attention from start to finish. I have read many books that seem to drag on and on at the start and you pray as a reader that something finally happens.
Maple Express is a unique story in that the heroine Sara Maple is her own worst enemy. Headstrong and quick to act without a lot of thought, Sara is forced on a journey that requires her to change how she treats others and how she treats herself.
Sara must take control and decide the direction she wants her life to go, both physically and psychologically.
4.       What do you like best and least about writing?
I hate being alone. I have a large office now and I can leave the door open, but I used to have an office in a small room and when the door was closed, I couldn't write. I had to replace the wood door with a glass door. As long as I could watch my wife and kids going up and down the hallway I was okay.
What I love the most is how the story begins to open up as I write it, ending with a storyline that has me in total awe. Sometimes I wonder what part of my brain it came from because I am always amazed that  I was the one who wrote it.
5.       Do you have a writing routine?
I need to spend one day every weekend just writing. I will spend 10 -12 hours writing that day (usually Saturday) because when I am in writing mode, I need to see a good chunk of the story written to keep my spirits up. I can usually burn through 30 - 50 pages in a 10 hour period. During the week I try to spend at least two hours writing - giving me 2 hours x 5 days = 10 days plus 10 hours on the weekend for a total of 20 hours a week. If I can write 5 pages every 2 hour that would give me 50 pages a week, a lofty goal.
6.       What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
I grew up with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series of books and I was always fascinated with Frank, Joe and Nancy having one adventure after another, so I decided to write one.
"Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square" is my version of a Hardy Boy book. Holly moves to a new town and soon after arriving ends up in a lot of trouble that will require all of her cunning, and the help of her new friends, to get out of it.
As well, I am part way through writing another story about a young man by the name of Taylor from California who disappeared on his way to school and mysteriously shows up two months later wandering along the Pacific Coast Highway. He has no idea who he is and how he got there.
7.       Do you have a favourite author/book? What was your favourite book as a child/teen? Are you currently reading anything?
"On Writing" by Stephen King was very inspirational for me when I was having a hard time writing. I had lost over 15,000 words of a novel I was writing when my computer crashed and I just couldn't do it anymore, so I quit. Reading "On Writing" allowed me to see that I was on the right track and doing the seat time the same way Stephen did. That was a turning point for me. I try to read it every 6 months or so to keep it refreshed in my mind.
8.       How do you like to spend your free time?
Wow, that is a good question. I spend a lot of time writing my novels but I am also writing screenplays and doing some acting. I am also learning to play guitar and later this year I will be taking violin lessons. I also have a video blog titled Author to Entrepreneur where I discuss getting books published as an independent author.
We also have good friends here that we love going out to dinner with on the weekends. We have some really excellent restaurants here in the city.
9.       What would you most like to accomplish this year?
I would love to make enough money in book sales to allow me to retire and write and act for a living. In the meantime, I hope to write a full-length feature screenplay and get my director / producer friend to turn it into movie.
10.       What is your culinary speciality?
I used to cook a lot before I remarried, but my wife Carly is an amazing cook so I let her go crazy. I love Thai food, especially chicken red and green curry. If I cook now I love to take a mixture of vegetables and make a stir fry.
Any exciting plans for the near future?
Being an independent author and selling eBooks can be a nice choice from finding an agent and publisher. I have had a publisher but my experience wasn't so great, so I find myself self-publishing. I don't like the stigma associated with it. Painters, photographers, and musicians make their art and sell it themselves and we don't think any less of them, yet if an author writes a book and publishes it themself they are somehow not good enough.
The reality is there are thousands of authors and books rejected each year that are wonderful and just because the "conventional" publishing model didn't accept it doesn't mean it's not worth publishing. It might just be that the agent isn’t looking for that style of book.
We authors are beginning to wake up to this fact. I treat writing novels as a business. I hire professionals to edit my work and make my covers, allowing me to concentrate on the writing. Getting my name out there and showing the public that I have good stories to contribute is fun for me.
Finally a taste of  Maple Express:                                                                                                                
It took Sara a few seconds to comprehend where she was. As best as she could tell, she was staring at an upside down Thomas Cole painting that appeared to be zipping along at a tremendous rate of speed.

The wind in her hair and face made her eyes water and saliva run from the corner of her mouth. Sara closed her mouth and swallowed.
The last thing she remembered was stepping up on the ladder that led to the train engine. When she woke, she was staring at the scenery, dangling upside down, and being held by something that had wrapped itself around her ankle. Her face was mere inches from the ground. She couldn’t distinguish any one individual rock — they were all shooting past her too fast to see anything more than a blur.
Sara turned her head to find out where the noise was coming from. She knew the sound of the wind that rattled past her but the throaty metallic rattle that overpowered it was far more excruciating on her ears.
The wind spun her a quarter turn and what she saw caused a scream to erupt from deep inside. Two large train wheels were spinning along steel tracks. The sound she heard was steel hitting steel. The pistons created the swooshing sound as they pounded the wheels around, propelling the train forward.
Sara looked for something to grab onto but there was nothing within her reach. She felt like a side of beef dangling in a butcher’s freezer.
Follow the rest of Peter's tour
 Leave a comment for the chance to win one of these prizes    
Peter has some original prizes he's giving away at the end of his tour. Two winners will win a pint jug of Butternut Mountain Farm Vermont Pure Maple Syrup, Grade A Dark Amber, in honor of the main character of The Maple Express, Sara Maple, from the small town of Mapleton Vermont. One grand prize winner will win an awesome Bachmann Trains Pegasus Ready-to-Run HO Scale Train Set. Also, the blog host with the most comments will win a 2012 Canadian (1 oz) Silver Maple Leaf Coin in an "Air-Tite" Capsule.
Many thanks for visiting today, Peter. Great to meet you!
Website: Publisher: Blog:  BUY MAPLE EXPRESS at Smashwords for $1.99

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A Warm Welcome to Karen Mueller Bryson
Karen Mueller Bryson is an award-winning screenwriter, produced playwright and published novelist. She has been writing since she learned to read and fell in love with books! Karen is the creator of Short on Time Books, a series of fast-paced and fun novels for readers on the go. When she’s not at her computer creating new stories, Karen enjoys spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.
Here's the Blurb for  "One Last Class"
Thirty-two year old, Zak Spencer, is a washed-up teen idol, who decides to rebuild his life by returning to college in Arizona. Trouble ensues when Zak falls in love with the young professor, Amy Campbell, who teaches the one class he needs to complete his degree.

        And for “Twyla’s Last Trip”
Twenty eight-year old, Lucinda Starr is an uptight research psychologist, whose deadline to complete her doctoral dissertation is completely derailed by her estranged mother, Twyla Starr's sudden death. Lucinda must take her mother's ashes on a road trip on Route 66, in order to fulfill the requirements of her will and inherit her fortune. To make matters worse, Lucinda finds herself forced to travel across the country with her mother's easygoing country lawyer, T.J. Yates, who drives her crazy, and his drooling bloodhound, Dakota, who Lucinda finds revolting.
Before treating us to a excerpt, Karen Reveals:

From where do you get inspiration and what inspired you to write your books?
Like most writers, I get my inspiration from a variety of different sources. I’m fortunate that I work as a university psychology professor, so I am exposed to a lot of different people and ideas, which often make my creative juices flow.
I got the idea for Twyla’s Last Trip, when one of my best friends died of cancer two years ago and her husband and daughter took her ashes on a road trip along Route 66. The trip was something my friend wanted to do but she never got the chance before she passed away. I work with a lot of adult students, who return to school to complete their degrees after many years away from academia. In One Last Class, I thought it would be interesting to explore the idea of a “washed up” teen idol returning to school to complete the degree he never finished when he rose to stardom.
Who controls the story – you or your characters?
I spend quite a bit of time creating what I hope are unique and interesting characters and then setting them on a journey. It often seems like once the characters are created and I set them loose, they take over the story. I find it interesting that the characters sometimes say or do things that even surprise me! I hope that doesn’t sound insane.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your books?
My primary goal is to entertain people. I want people to say my books are fun and they enjoyed reading them. I want to provide an escape for people, who are busy and want a break from their hectic lives.
What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful book?
The most important part of having a successful fiction book is to have a captivating story. Writers should strive to create such an intriguing story that readers are not able to put the book down. I often listen to audiobooks in my car. There have been several instances when I had to drive around the block a few times because I had to hear what happened next in the story. That’s a great book! I also think it’s important to have characters, who readers fall in love with. Readers don’t have to agree with all of the characters’ choices or like everything about characters but readers must care about what happens to them. Finally, I think it’s important to provide readers with a satisfying conclusion. I find it extremely disappointing when I invest my time in a book only to be let down by how it ends.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What would be your tips to overcome it?
I never suffer from writer’s block. I have the opposite problem. Because I work full-time as a university professor, and write in my free time, I never seem to have enough time to write everything I would like to write. So, if I had to give someone advice, I would say, keep yourself so busy that the time you do have to write is so precious, you always use it for writing!
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
I think the best thing writers can do is to read a lot. You don’t even have to read “good” books. You can learn a lot from reading things that are not very good. You can learn what not to do and what doesn’t work. When you find books you like, try to figure out why you like them. What do the authors do that make the books so special?
What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
My next release is a young adult romantic comedy called, Retro Geeks. The book is about two 80s obsessed BFFs, who decide to prove to their classmates that they are not complete losers by getting super-hot dates to senior prom. I am also working on the release of a graphic novel version of my tween time travel adventure, The Incredibly Awesome Adventures of Puggie Liddell.
Do you have a favourite author/book? What was your favourite book as a child/teen? Are you currently reading anything?
My two favourite authors from my youth are L. Frank Baum (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) and Lewis Carroll (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). The first two romantic comedy novels I wrote, Hey Dorothy You’re Not in Kansas Anymore and Where is Wonderland Anyway, were inspired by the work of these two iconic writers. More recently, I fell in love with Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. Lisbeth Salander is such as remarkably complex character and the books are addictive.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Because I work full time as a university professor, the majority of my free time is spent writing and marketing my work. I also enjoy spending time with my husband and our bloodhounds. We love to watch movies.
What would you most like to accomplish this year?
I just started my own business, Short on Time Books, fast-paced and fun novels for reader on the go. I am in the process of releasing my 5th book. I would love to double my number of titles but that’s a lot of writing and publishing! I think it’s probably more realistic to say I’ll have three or four more titles released by the end of the year.
Finally A Taste of Karen

Excerpt from “Twyla’s Last Trip:

Lucinda peered intently into her microscope until Bunny's voice blared from the intercom—again.

“I'm sorry to bother you, Lucinda, but Mr. Yates is on the phone. He says he won't hang up until he speaks with you personally.”

Lucinda took a deep breath, stood and exited the lab. She marched over to the reception desk and ripped the phone from Bunny's grasp.
“Lucinda Starr,” she growled into the phone. “How may I help you?”
Thirty-year old T.J. Yates, the epitome of all things country, spoke to Lucinda from his cell phone. “Miss Starr,” he said. “I know we've never met but I've been your mom's attorney now for nearly a decade.”
“Will you please get to the point?” Lucinda interrupted. “I'm in the middle of an extremely important experiment.”
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news but your mom has passed away.”
Lucinda flinched slightly but then it was back to business. “And what does this have to do with me?” she asked.
“Well, Miss Starr, you are the sole beneficiary of your mom's estate.”
“Estate?” Lucinda snorted. “My mother was a cat lady, who lived in a trailer.” 
“Miss Starr,” T.J. continued. “I don't think you understand.”
Before T.J. could finish, Lucinda slammed the phone into the receiver and hurried away.
T.J. looked at his cell phone dumbfounded. People never hung up on him, especially women.
Dakota, his two-year old bloodhound, glanced up from her doggie pillow and gave her head a tilt.
“I think this requires a little trip up to Chicago,” T.J. said.
Dakota just yawned and plopped her head back down on her bed.
Follow the rest of Karen's tour

Read more about Karen at the following Links:

Twitter: Blog:
BUY at
Karen will be giving away a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and to the host whose post has the most comments (excluding Karen's and the hosts).

Leave a comment to enter the draw
A final message from Karen:Thank you so much for interviewing me. I greatly appreciate it!

Thank you for sharing with us. Love the way you combine humour and romance. Pleasure to meet you!

Monday, 2 April 2012

A Warm Welcome to Jennifer Shirk
Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.
She writes sweet romantic comedies and won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC's Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her book, The Role of a Lifetime.
She's also a board member for Straight Ahead Ministries, an organization involved in helping spread the gospel and aiding medical and pharmacy students in Russia. She resides in a beach resort in NJ, and when she's not involved in all the above, she's taking care of her most treasured possessions: her husband, daughter, and four hermit crabs.

Sunny Days for Sam by Jennifer Shirk
Sunnyva “Sunny” Fletcher is a firm believer in fairy tales. With the recent debt she’s acquired, the hope of something magical happening in her life is the only thing keeping her going. She needs a job fast. So when Sunny learns the sexy new vacationer in town is looking for a nanny, she starts to believe she just may have a fairy godmother after all!

Internet guru Sam Calloway is only in town for the summer and needs a nanny for his two small children. However, the beautiful and inexperienced Sunny is not exactly the kind of caregiver Sam has in mind. It doesn’t take long for Sunny’s tenderhearted and bubble-blowing ways to soon have the children—and Sam—enamored with her. She’s a dream come true. But after what Sam’s been through, he’s stopped believing in fairy tales long ago.

Sunny manages to work her way into Sam’s closed-off heart, but at the end of the summer, will the workaholic dad go back to his life in New York City, or will he decide his days are much sunnier here with Sunny? 

Before treating us to an excerpt, Jennifer Reveals:
From where do you get inspiration and what inspired you to write Sunny Days for Sam ?

You never know when or where inspiration is going to strike. Sometimes it’s a conversation or what I happen to be doing at the time. For my recent book SUNNY DAYS FOR SAM, I was inspired by all the Disney Princesses walking around in Disney World!

In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character.  What do you like best/least about him?

I like to tell people Sam Calloway is one of those brooding Mr. Rochester-from-Jane-Eyre kind of guys—minus the wife in the attic part. LOL  I like that fact that although he’s cautious and a bit withdrawn, he still has a dry sense of humour. I also like that he loves his kids. But he’s a bit of a workaholic and doesn’t smile as much as he should.
And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
Sunny is...different. She’s one of those sweet Mary Poppins kind of women. In fact, sometimes she’s a little too good to be true. But I like the fact that she has such a sensitive side. She can sense Sam’s hurting and look past his gruff demeanour.
Who controls the story – you or your characters?
Mostly me. But my characters’ personalities can sometimes get away from me. I always need to tone that down when editing my first draft.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
Well, I hope they chuckle—or at least smile—at a few of my scenes. And when they close the book, I hope they really believe my characters will live a happily-ever-after.
What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
Hopefully, a lot more books! I just submitted a sequel (KISSING KENDALL) of my previous book, GEORGIE ON HIS MIND and I hope to hear a publication date for that soon.
Do you have a favourite author/book? What was your favourite book as a child/teen? Are you currently reading anything?
I just love anything Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes. All her books make me laugh, cry and sigh. J
My favourite book as a child was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Charlotte’s Web.
Right now, I’m reading a YA book by Amanda Hocking called Switched. It’s very good so far!

How do you like to spend your free time?
Reading and looking for new recipes to try. I’m also very busy with the Women’s Ministry in my church.
What is your culinary speciality?  I’m a vegetarian now, but I still get a lot of requests for my grilled flank steak, and my Italian mother-in-law told me I make the best lasagne she’s ever had. J
And Now a Taste of Jennifer:
Kim kicked her under the table, signaling her to say something about the nanny position before he disappeared.

Ow! Sunny scowled at Kim. Rubbing her shin, she turned to Sam. Uh, look, I was wondering since I need a job now, and you’re, well…”

A dawning of realization sparked in Sams eyes, and his expression grew several degrees colder. Ah, I see what this is all about. Now I know why you were so eager to help me. Im sorry but my company isnt hiring at the moment. Of course, you’re welcome to send in your resume for us to have on file.”

esume? Company? She didnt even know he had a company to send a resume to. Um, no, actually, I was more interested in the, uh, nanny position.”

am blinked, then threw his head back and laughed. You want me to hire you as a nanny?
Emma stopped blowing bubbles in her milk and looked up with wide excited eyes. Sunnys going to be our new nanny?

Oh, cool! Cole exclaimed. Youre not mean like Natasha was and youre not old like that Mrs. Ferguson. Mrs. Ferguson was always putting things where they didnt belong and she couldnt see so good.”

am gave him a stern look. Hey, thats not nice to say, Cole.

Sorry. But if she was a knight, she would be Mrs. Forgets-a-lot.”

unny banked down a bubble of laughter.

Well, it doesnt matter how Mrs. Ferguson was, because Sunny is not going to be your new nanny,” Sam firmly told them.

Any lingering laughter Sunny might have had died on the spot. Oh, but I do have references!” she cried.Ive done a little babysitting on the side for years. I can be at your house at whatever time you want, except Friday and Saturday nights. And and… II can even cook. Sometimes.”

Sometimes? he asked.

he shrugged guiltily. “Well, its usually hit-or-miss with me. I do make very good peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and last year at the County Fall Festival I took first place for my double chocolate chip brownies.”

am let out an audible sigh. If Sunny was a betting woman, she’d wager he didnt seem too impressed with those credentials. Look, Miss, I prefer using an agency and going through all the proper channels. No offense. And I need someone willing to put in at least fifty hours a week.”

unny almost pinched herself when she heard fifty hours a week. That would pull in a lot of money. She obviously wasnt doing a great job selling herself, though. Sam was already back to calling her Miss instead of Sunny. She needed this job. But what else could she say? She finally looked to Kim for help.

Kim took the cue and stood, taking Sam by the arm and leading him out of earshot of the children. Well, just so you know,” she said in a hushed tone, “this is a small town. There’s no agency here, and from what your children said, I’m not so sure you’ve had the greatest luck with that. So you should at least consider Sunny. It’s really simple when you think about it. You need a nanny and she needs a job. Anyone in town will vouch for her. Heck, if youd use your eyes, you can see for yourself that she’s great with kids.”

am rolled his eyes then his gaze fell to his children. Emma had already climbed up onto Sunnys lap, running her little fingers through her straight blond hair. Cole had his hands in prayer position next to her. Sunny said a silent prayer, too. If Sam didnt fall for this kind of corny Norman Rockwell pose, then she had no absolutely chance in securing the position. She held her breath and waited.

am walked back toward them with a resigned look. His cell phone went off again, but he ignored it this time. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he finally muttered, “Fine.

Yay! the kids shouted, giggling and dancing around the table.

The breath Sunny had been holding rushed out of her lungs. She almost thought she’d misheard him. You mean it? Youll really hire me?

Yeah, but lets not get carried away. Itll just be temporary. Lets see how the week goes first.”

unny high-fived Kim then jumped out of her chair. She was so happy, she almost threw her arms around Sam and kissed him. Fortunately, Sams disapproving scowl kept her firmly rooted to the two foot distance between them. He didnt have much confidence in her, but that was okay. She had more than enough for both of them.

Oh, you wont be sorry, she assured him. Ill be the best nanny slash brownie maker slash ex-princess youve ever had. I guarantee, after this week, youll be so pleased, you wont ever want to let me go.

Sam folded his arms and smirked. Yeah well, well see about that.”
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A final word from Jennifer:
Thanks so much for having me! It was a lot of fun to be here!
 It was our pleasure. We really enjoyed meeting you.