Megan's 5 star rated Contemporary Romance

Friday, 30 November 2012

Mary Curtis

A Warm Welcome to Mary
Mary Raimes Curtis was an editor and freelance writer for many years before an early retirement when she had the time to indulge in writing for herself. Her first novel, Taming the Hawk, was published by MuseItUp Publishing in June 2012.
Mary, a one time Brit, now lives on the banks of a tidal river in Nova Scotia. This beautiful area is the genesis for her second novel, Luscious & Lethal—the first book in the Gilded River Chronicles.
Here's the Blurb for
Luscious and Lethal:

All is not what it seems in peaceful Jancy’s Cove. Renowned New York model and designer, Dani Renaldo, believes her new home on the shores of the Atlantic will provide a peaceful haven after an abusive marriage and the loss of her unborn child. But peace is a rare commodity.

Someone stalks the dark shadows and a boat slides into the cove after midnight. Between unknown prowlers and an arrogant but sexy neighbour who is determined to claim her, Dani wonders if the mean streets of New York would be less hazardous to her well-being.

Before treating us to an excerpt, Mary Reveals:
What inspires you to write?
Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Megan. You asked what inspires me to write. Finding inspiration is the easy part, ideas seem to arrive with little prompting. The impetus for my latest ebook, Luscious & Lethal, arrived one morning as a visual. My desk sits in a window overlooking a small bay on a salt-water river. Early one evening, I watched a woman walk into the scene through the long grass as a large dog ran out from the bush. Then a small boat chugged into view. Suddenly the boat speeded up and disappeared around the headland. That was the moment Luscious & Lethal became real to me.

In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character.  What do you like best/least about him?   Like most of my heroes, Simon has a dark side, of course he hides his vulnerability after a troubled past. He’s tough, arrogant and determined to deny the growing attraction between him and Dani, his provocative neighbour. Dani maintains he acts like a low-land gorilla, albeit an extremely sexy one. I like that Simon can change and open up to the woman who zings all his strings.

And the heroine? How do you relate to her?   The woman seen from my window became Dani, a plus-size supermodel who must come to terms with the fact that you can run but can’t always escape the bad guys. She’s experienced a thousand knocks in her life and managed to make it in a tough profession. So there we have it: a woman running from her past, a dog who belongs to a faceless man, noises in the night and an arrogant but sexy neighbour. Dani is my hero as she overcomes the bad guys.

Who controls the story – you or your characters?   Maybe I’m a sadist, but I love turning the hero inside out as he meets a woman who gives as good as she gets. In Luscious & Lethal, Dani doesn’t yield easily. But then, it wouldn’t be a story if everything fell into place without a ripple that develops into a storm.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your books?   Megan asked me a tough question: What do I hope readers will come away with after reading my books? When I thought about it for a while, it wasn’t really such a tough question. I realized that all my heroines have some kind of a dark past and must fight to survive and move on. In real life, many, many women face what sometimes seem overwhelming odds. I hope readers can relate to that in my books and realize the past can be overcome.

What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful book?   I believe great characters make for a successful book. Well-developed characters, whether good or evil, can draw you into the story. Then of course you have to provide an interesting plot and setting. It’s very frustrating, my characters arrive unbidden and demand I give them space to create the story. So I have little to do with the mayhem or otherwise they create.

What do you like best and least about writing?   As I write these words, I realize that writing isn’t something I thought of doing. It’s something I just do, like breathing, and have done since I was young. As a child reading was an escape from situations I could do nothing about, writing came from wanting to tell stories to someone who wasn’t there. I know it sounds sort of enigmatic, but that’s the way it was.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What would be your tips to overcome it?    I understand many writers experience writers’ block. I had no idea what that was like. Once upon a time, my day job involved writing for corporate clients. It would have been a serious mistake to call in and tell then I didn’t feel like writing that day as my muse was missing. Besides, characters were always knocking at my brain wanting me to listen and write their story. Until one day, my long-time companion died and I absolutely couldn’t write or paint for two years. I thought my creativity had gone walk-about forever. Then a friend asked me to write an article about one of my cats for the local animal shelter newsletter. Oh, wow, that was a daunting. I am a supporter of the shelter and my four cats were abandoned in one way or another, so what could I do? I agonised for two days and nights, literally couldn’t sleep. Then one morning I got, up made my mug of kick ass coffee and sat down at the keyboard. The article about Smokey Joe, who is a demolition expert, clicked into place. That’s what broke the dam. I still haven’t produced another painting yet, but I’m not complaining. One breakthrough at a time is about all I can handle.

Do you have a writing routine?   One of my regrettable quirks is that I hate routine. I seem to live life as it comes. Writing is no different, a character pops into my head and I sit down and type. Once, at a conference, a young woman asked me what my magic formula for writing was. There is no answer to such a question. At least I don’t have one. All I could offer was an old adage: If you want to write you have to sit down and do it instead of talking about it. I did learn, over time, that as you write, write, write, it’s a good idea to read other writers. Not to copy, to learn what works and what doesn’t. I once took painting lessons where we were supposed to copy well-known paintings. I discovered I can’t copy worth a damn. That ineptitude spills over into the written word. 

Anything special you require to keep the creative juices flowing?   Except for those two years of mourning, I find a myriad of things that help to keep the creative juices flowing. At the moment I’m working out an idea for the follow-up book in the Gilded River Chronicles. A friend is active in a program she helped develop that humanely reduces the overpopulation of feral cat colonies. It’s an amazing program. I call it the nip and tuck program, meaning spay/neuter. After listening to the stories from behind the scenes, I woke up one morning and sat at my laptop. 5,000 words spilled out about an ancient barn, glittering eyes watching from high rafters, the dark of night and someone hiding a long-ago crime. Really, I don’t have much to do with the process, it just happens, although my friends should definitely get credit for sparking the idea and answering a multitude of questions about their work.
Asking questions comes with the territory. When I decided that I really should try and write stories for a larger audience than one, I took on-line workshops, soaked up advice from a number of sources, listened to all the naysayers who said you can’t do this and you can’t do that and you must do the other. (It seemed to me that there were more rules and twisted regulations in the publishing business than comes out of a totalitarian regime.) One person who read an early WIP said that editors would reject the story because a character, who was a whore who married a lord, was unbelievable. Then an author whose books I enjoy told me that I should write my story and ignore the conformists. Now I have Lea Schizaz at MuseItUp Publishers to thank for taking one of the stories that starts out with a non-hero, hero and publishing it. That book was Taming the Hawk.

What was your favourite book as a child/teen/adult? Are you currently reading anything?   Books were hard to come by when I was a child so I’m not sure I had a favourite. I loved them all, the bad the good and the ones I shouldn’t have been reading. My brother tried to hide his stash of hard-bitten detective stories. I always found them. When asked by a teacher what I read at home, my answer: Dashiel Hammett and Edgar Allan Poe, that didn’t go down too well. A note went home to my mother…which was ignored. At the moment I’m lusting after a copy of Iced by Karen Marie Moning. Love her Fever paranormal series.
There really isn’t enough time, or funds for that matter, to read all the books on my wish list. Which is just as well, I’m determined to complete the second book in the Gilded River Chronicles, finish edits to a historical and submit it to my editor then do some more research on seaglunking for the third story in the Chronicles.

In a few words, how would you describe yourself? How do you think your husband/partner would describe you?   Megan asked how I would describe myself. I’d rather answer her final question regarding how a husband/partner would describe me. Back in the day, my partner declared that I was from outer space.
Before I step into another dimension, I have to tell you that talking about myself is my least favourite topic. Thankfully, Megan made it easy.

And Now A Taste of Mary:
Next morning Dani’s time was spent catching up on a slew of emails, trying to sort out the office into some semblance of order and doing three sketches for her next Luscious Rags collection. Plus some notes on a new design for a slinky gown, size two, for Meridee Crane. Meri, an old friend and rising movie star, had sent a frantic email plea in purple typeface.
HELP! Drop everything. Movie nominated for Academy Award. Need a Dani special. Double slinky with a dash of whore. Meri.
Oh, dear, Dani felt her own panic start with a twitch in her left eye, a sure sign her blood pressure was going to crank up. She sorted through her file folders and found Meri’s and hoped she hadn’t gained or lost weight. What if the actress wanted her to travel to New York to do the fittings? She couldn’t do that. Just the thought of being in the same city as Tom was enough to bring on a case of hives. After sending an email to congratulate her on the nomination and requesting more information on what kind of outfit Meri had in mind, Dani tried to settle down and figure out what to do. Meri stood by her during the divorce and she didn’t want to let her down. But, and it was a big but, how could she design something spectacular at long distance? And what about the trip with Simon? It would have to be put on hold.
Hours later, frazzled and nursing a doozy of a headache, she closed the studio door on chaos. A flitter of an idea for a slinky beautiful gown that had a definite touch of whore, had begun to take shape on her sketchpad, and, she had scattered enough discarded sketches around her desk to obliterate the honey-coloured sheen of the plank floor.
There was a note on the fridge door from Jay when she walked into the kitchen. She smiled. He’d gone into town and would be there for the evening. She bet she knew whereabouts in town—a house beside a barn by the river. Going up to her bedroom, she took a shower and pulled on a pair of caramel-coloured slacks and a crossover sweater in soft cream wool that tied at the waist. The evening was chilly but the clouds had sailed out over the Atlantic. Gathering the few sketches she saved from the discards, she picked up a bottle of Sangria and set off through the trees to Simon’s house.
The warm sweater was a good idea as the sun had set some time ago and it was dim and cold under the heavy canopy of branches. There was a rustling somewhere on the rock-strewn hill behind her. Her head turned sharply. Nothing. Or at least, nothing she could see. Who would know if someone was hiding up there in the shadows? She should have brought a torch and a bazooka. Trying to shake off her over-active imagination, she followed the faint trail that wound its way down to the cleared space behind Simon’s house. All the while she had a horrible suspicion someone was following.
Just as she was about to step out from the trees and into the muted lilac-grey light of evening, a sound close by, like the harsh inhalation of a breath, made her skin crawl and her heart thumped as she turned to stare back. Still there was nothing but shadow and the twittering of agitated birds.
Was that the slide of footsteps through old leaves? Suddenly she began to run, pushing aside branches, jumping fallen deadwood. Simon, she had to reach Simon before…she didn’t know what or who was following, only that it wasn’t benign. Long moments later, she burst from beneath the trees and headed for the welcoming light on Simon’s veranda. Dashing up the steps she realized the sketches were gone, although the bottle of Sangria was still clutched under her arm.
“Damn!” She turned again. Nothing moved back there in the darkness, the only sound the rasp of her breath in her throat and the soughing of wind through the treetops. Nevertheless she wasn’t about to venture into the woods again to find her sketches. What a terrible coward she was.
“Something wrong, Dani?”
She whirled around to find Simon standing still as a monolith. Nerves twanging she lashed out. “Why do you do that? At least sing, or bang a pot or something, to let me know you’re there.” She bit her lip and held out the bottle as if it was a burnt offering.
Simon took it and laid an arm around her shoulders. “Did something frighten you, sweetheart? You were running like a tornado was on your tail.”
Dani shook her head but couldn’t help looking over her shoulder. The shadows were deep beneath the hemlocks and hoary old pines but no dark figure stood there watching her. Damn! She had to get a grip. For a moment she thought of resisting, going back just to show that she wasn’t afraid. Stupid, what did she have to prove? She allowed Simon to draw her into the warmth of the house.

BUY LINKS: For those readers who would like to check out Taming the Hawk and Luscious & Lethal, both are available from
MuseItUp Publishing click link here , Amazon click link here and other on-line bookstores.
Now leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of Luscious & Lethal
or Taming the Hawk. (two prizes on offer - please leave an email address)
If anyone would like to get in touch, Mary would love to hear from you, her website is:
 Pleasure to meet you, Mary, and I wish you huge success with Luscious and Lethal!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Margay Leah Justice

A Warm Welcome to Margay

Bio: Descended from the same bloodline that spawned the likes of James Russell, Amy and Robert Lowell, Margay Leah Justice was fated to be a writer herself from a young age. But even before she knew that there was a name for what she was doing, she knew one thing: She had a deep and unconditional love for the written word. A love that would challenge her in times of need, abandon her in times of distress, and rediscover her in times of hope. Through her writing, Margay has learned to cope with every curve ball life has thrown her, including the challenges of single parenting, the harsh realities of living in a shelter, coping with the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, and the roller coaster ride of dealing with a child who suffers from bipolar disorder. But along the way she has rediscovered the amazing power of words.

Margay currently lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, two cats, and a myriad of characters who vie for her attention and demand that their own stories be told.
Here's the blurb for Sloane Wolf

For more than a hundred and fifty years, the gray wolf has failed to roam the hills of Massachusetts, leading to the belief that they are extinct. But with a spattering of sightings across the Berkshires, the legend of the gray wolf comes to fruition. The product of that legend, Micah Sloane will go to great lengths to protect his kind from the threat of outsiders, who seek to exploit the legend for their own interests. One thing he didn’t count on, however, was finding his soul mate in the company of such men.

From the first time she predicted a stranger’s imminent death when she was little more than a child, Shiloh Beck knew she was different. Wishing to cultivate her gift, her parents made the fateful decision to enroll her in a private school for paranormally gifted children. Unbeknownst to them, the school was just a front for a research facility simply called the Institute, whose secret board members weaned gifted children from their families to exploit their gifts. Shiloh has spent the better part of her life trying to escape the Institute and reunite with the family she was told had abandoned her.

From their first meeting, Micah and Shiloh share a connection that goes beyond the normal to bond them in a way that love alone cannot. But before they can build a life together, they must deal with the fall-out when the legend of the wolves collides with the men behind the Institute.

Before treating us to an excerpt, Margay Reveals:

Who controls the story – you or your characters?    That is a good question! Sometimes, it's me, but a lot of times, it is the characters. Whenever I can't get a scene to work, I soon realize it's because the characters are balking at it, as if to say "I wouldn't do/say that."
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?    First and foremost, I hope they enjoy the book and want to read more! So, in short, I'd say satisfaction. I want my readers to feel fulfilled and to enjoy the story told.

What do you most enjoy about writing romance?    Romance is everything! It's the thread that keeps everything together. It's magical and innocent, heart-rending and bittersweet, challenging and hopeful. It's why we keep putting our hearts out there, why we risk getting hurt again and again - because we want to grasp that magical thing that makes it all worthwhile. That's what I love about writing romance.
What do you like best and least about writing?    The first page! For me, it's the hardest to write because I want it to be perfect. But once I get beyond it, I fly.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?    Keep writing. Plain and simple. From my junior high English teacher. Best writing advice ever.
How do you like to spend your free time?    I am a mad knitter, so i spend a lot of time making gifts for my family. I also love to read (shocking, I know), so I can often be found with a book pressed to my nose!
What was your favourite book as a child/teen/adult? Are you currently reading anything?    The Diary of Anne Frank. It deeply moved me.
And now A Taste of Margay:
Shiloh nearly leapt off the sill as his hand touched her knee. It took every ounce of willpower she possessed to remain seated and appear undaunted by the gesture. “I am…much better now…thank you,” she said, becoming more unnerved by the presence of his hand by the minute. Oh, this was not good, not good at all. The longer it remained there, the stronger her impulse to bolt became. Oh, no…

What was it about this man that rattled her so and with so little effort on his part? Sharing the same air with him was enough to send her pulses to the moon—and her mind somewhere else, something new for her. Being this attracted to a man was beyond her realm of experience. She didn’t know what to do with it—or about it. Should she do anything? Should she pretend indifference? And why wasn’t he so deeply affected? It wasn’t fair.
Still confused, she gave him a weak smile, intent on backing up her previous claim with the gesture. She feared it failed miserably. When Micah returned her smile and lifted his hand from her knee, she felt precisely one second of relief before he shook her world again by caressing her face in parting. She stumbled back against the frame of the window, her lips parting on a startled breath as a lightning bolt shot through her at his touch. Something flickered in his eyes at her reaction—pain, perhaps—and he retracted his hand, balling it into a fist as he turned away from her, preparing to depart.
In an instant, she realized her mistake. Along with it came the knowledge she couldn’t let him go away angry or upset. After everything he and his family had done for her, she owed him that much. She grabbed him by the shirtfront to stop him, and a shock of awareness shot from her hand directly into his heart, just beneath it. She could see it in the gaze he leveled on her then, could hear it in his breath trapped within his lungs, feel it in the missed beat of his heart. But then, all sense abandoned her, and her heart skipped a beat as he held her hand firmly to his chest with one of his own and lifted the other to her head, anchoring it against the window frame. Slowly, his eyes never straying from hers, he leaned across the space separating them. His lips brushed hers, like a whisper, before he withdrew, tilted his head to the side, and advanced again. This time the kiss was fuller, penetrating her every defense, both physical and emotional, but still not long enough for her. He retreated once again after a fraction of time and hovered before her, scarcely an inch away. Watching her. Waiting.
Her heart beating a frantic tempo now, Shiloh abandoned all of her reservations and her good sense to swoop in for a more vigorous kiss. So vigorous, in fact, she knocked him off his perch through the open window. Only quick reflexes honed to perfection at the Institute prevented her from tumbling after him.
Bracing herself against the sill, she leaned out the window as far as she was able and watched his descent from the slanted roof to the ground below. She lost sight of him the moment he slid beyond the reach of the light from her window. But then she heard him land with a thud —and a howl—on the ground in front of the back porch when he failed to catch himself on the roof edge. She clasped a hand over her mouth to silence her reaction and waited. When he didn’t rouse right away, panic shot through her and she leaned out another few inches.
“Micah? Are you okay?”
“Fine,” he answered after a few moments, appearing beyond the overhang of the roof as if to prove it to her. “Nothing hurt but what’s left of my pride.”
Relief coursed through her at his statement, and she allowed herself the laugh she’d literally held back before. Her mirth was cut short, however, by his next words.
“Hey, Shiloh! We’ve got to stop falling for each other like this.”
His laughter followed her as she ducked back into the room. She could still hear it even after she closed the window, though not as well. Oh, Lord. She rested against the cool pane of glass and touched her still-tingling lips with shaky fingers. Was she? Falling for him? Was that what this crazy-mad feeling inside of her was?
The question plagued her long into the night.
Pleasure to have you here, Margay!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Maggie Jaimeson

A Warm Welcome to Maggie

Maggie Jaimeson writes romantic women’s fiction and romantic suspense with a near future twist. She describes herself as a wife, a step-mother, a sister, a daughter, a teacher and an IT administrator. By day she is “geek girl” – helping colleges to keep up with 21st century technology and provide distance learning options for students in rural areas. By night Maggie turns her thoughts to worlds she can control – worlds where bad guys get their comeuppance, women triumph over tragedy, and love can conquer all.

Her latest release, HEALING NOTES, is the second book in the Sweetwater Canyon Series of four books.  The final two books will be available in 2013.

Healing Notes  by Maggie Jaimeson
Forgiving yourself is the first step, but helping others forgive may be just too hard.

 Rachel Cullen grew up in Scotland with a fiddle in her hand from the age of four. She couldn't imagine life as anything but a musician. When her husband brought her to America she was immediately embraced by the Celtic and Bluegrass communities. But after her divorce, Rachel's life is a mess. 
click here to BUY
A year of trying to prove to herself that she's woman enough for any man, and then a vicious rape while on tour with the band, leaves Rachel reeling. When she meets Noel Kershaw, an English teacher who is poetry in motion, she is definitely attracted. But he has a young child and he's suffering from his own divorce. The last thing Rachel needs in life is more baggage.
First, Rachel must reconcile who she is, what she wants, and how to get there. Maybe then she'll know how to be a part of the family she's always wanted.

Before treating us to an excerpt, Maggie Reveals:
In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character.  What do you like best/least about him?
My hero, Noel, is someone who is dedicated to raising his young daughter.  As a single parent his primary concern is making sure his daughter feels safe and secure, and gets the right education and personal confidence that will allow her to be successful in life.  The thing I like  best about him is his focus and his honesty. I also love his romantic, poetic side. The thing I like least about him is how stuck he is in the past—stuck in the wounds from his previous wife and stuck in blaming himself.  Of course that is also how he must grow in the novel.

And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
The heroine, Rachel, relates to me and many of my sisters in cousins who have been raped and have had challenges moving forward, often not even realizing how it impacts daily life. Also Rachel’s perseverance and striving to find her own unique way in the world. It takes confidence and the ability to balance having a thick skin and being vulnerable to be a great artist, a musician, a writer. Rachel portrays that part of me as well.

Who controls the story – you or your characters?
I would say my characters control the story 80% of the time.  However, in the 20% where I fight back and insist on a specific direction, I always win. If I didn’t fight for that 20%, I’m afraid no book would ever be finished.

What do you most enjoy about writing romance?
I love knowing that no matter the obstacles in my character’s lives, they will triumph in the end and find a happily ever after (HEA).  I know it sounds cheesy, but I really believe  spending time in a world where that happens consistently is a large part of why I’m an optimistic person.  I’m doubly blessed because I read probably 100 romances every year, and I get to spend many hours every day reinforcing those HEAs.

What do you like best and least about writing?
I love learning about my character’s, their lives, their problems.  I love recording that and fashioning it into a story.  Then my most favourite part is the editing to most accurately reflect their settings, tensions, emotional growth.  All of the writing craft I love and find it constantly challenging.  The think I like least is the waiting to find a publisher and then to find an audience, after the book is done.  In many ways, that seems the most time consuming and difficult.

Do you have a writing routine?
Prior to this past September, I have always worked another job full time.  That meant my writing routine was to come home from work, have dinner, (My husband has always been the primary cook in the family), and then head upstairs to write for three to four hours. Depending on family schedules, I might also eek out one day of the weekend for a four to six hour block. Since September, for the first time in my eight years of writing novels, I am writing full-time.  I’m still figuring out exactly what that routine is. At the moment, I wake up around 7am and spend until 10am doing “chores”—meaning everything from making phone calls, doing housework, or responding to email.  I work on writing from 10am to somewhere around 4pm, with a half hour break around 1:30 or 2:00 for a snack.  Then depending on the day and what other obligations my husband and I have,  I will either return to my computer at 8 or 9pm and work until midnight or we will be out of the house.

What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
There are two pieces of advice I follow religiously.  1) Once you thin you have finished writing and editing the book, put it away for at least a week and don’t think about it. Then print it out and read it again. You will find a lot more things to change and edit when you approach it fresh.  2) Once you send the book to the market (agent, editors, publisher), forget about it and immediately start the next book.  Don’t wait for responses or think about what you could have done differently.  If you receive rejections, send it to the next person/company on your list and keep writing the next book.

What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
Healing Notes is the second book in a four book series.  Undertones was released last year. The final two books, Heart Strings—Sarah’s Story, and Two Voices—Theresa and Kat’s story, are scheduled for release in July and October/November of 2013.

How do you like to spend your free time?
My husband is in a classic rock band.  As much as possible I like to go to his gigs and enjoy the music and watch him and the audience having great fun.  The other thing we like to do is explore the natural beauty around us with day hikes, picnics, or the occasional weekend camping.

 What would you most like to accomplish this year?
Now that I am writing full time, I hope to be able to set my schedule to get out at least three books a year, instead of the one per year I’d been averaging the last eight years.  I already mentioned the completion of the Sweetwater Canyon series for 2013. I also have a YA novel, Chameleon, out to publishers right now that I hope to be picked up in 2103. If so, it probably won’t release until 2014. It is being marketed under my Maggie Faire penname. I would also like to return to both my Expendable characters and  my Eternity world and develop further books with them.

What was your favourite book as a child/teen/adult? Are you currently reading anything?
My favourite book as a child was Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgrin.  I started reading them when I was nine, the same age as Pippi in the books. Pippi reflected both the person I perceived myself to be and the person I wished to become.  I identified with her being friendly kind girl, but also someone who didn’t really know proper manners and didn’t have the best understanding of behavioral expectations. What she did that represented who I wished to become was to display amazing confidence, assertiveness and sense of who she is.  As an adult, I still admire her as a free spirit. She says what she thinks without much editing, does whatever comes into her mind, no matter how ridiculous it is, she can laugh at herself, and she enjoys life to the fullest. 

Any exciting plans for the near future?
For me every day is filled with promise. Right now I’m excited that I’m able to write full time, and I’m looking forward to discovering exactly what that means for me.   More time with my husband, more time to spend with friends, and more time to write seems like absolutely heaven to me.
Now A Taste of Maggie

As she reached for the handle, the door opened and a little girl rushed out, maybe six or seven years old, with beautiful long blond hair caught up in a blue denim bow.  She ran to a light blue sedan next to Rachel’s and giggled as she skipped through puddles circling the car. Rachel couldn’t help but smile at the child’s carefree innocence.

 After three circles, the girl stopped at the back end of the car, cocked her head and waved two fingers at her. “Hi.”

“Um, hi.” Rachel raised her hand and waved back. “Did you forget somebody? Your mommy maybe?”

“Claire, I told you to stay close.”

At the sound of the tenor voice beside her, Rachel started.  A man three to four inches taller than her had stepped out. In one hand he held several colorful ribbons attached to a bright pink, heart-shaped helium balloon that read Happy Birthday. He looked toward the car where the child was still giggling.

The little girl raced back. Skidding to a stop in front of Rachel, they bumped and Rachel teetered slightly toward the wall.

“Careful there.” A weathered hand reached toward her and wrapped around her elbow. His touch was softer than she expected, but her knees still locked, ready to spring if she needed to move fast. He held her up with one hand. Deep brown eyes, emphasized by his full head of short, wavy blonde hair, looked at her then turned toward the girl.”

“Apologize, Claire. You almost knocked her over.”

“I’m sorry.” A small hand lifted to touch her other arm.

“That’s okay. Really.  I should have been paying more attention.” Rachel smiled and pointed to the balloon. “Latha breith.”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, I…” She had lapsed into Gaelic.  Something she hadn’t done in public since Kavan left her almost three years ago. “I said ‘Happy Birthday.’” 

click here to follow the rest of Maggie's tour


Twitter: @maggiejaimeson
BUY click here
Maggie will award one autographed cover flat to a randomly drawn commenter at each blog stop. In addition, she will award a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) as a grand prize to one randomly selected commenter on this tour, and a $25 gift certificate to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn host. 
LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER THE DRAW (with email address please)
Pleasure to meet you, Maggie! 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Ann Montclair

                 A Warm Welcome to Ann            
Bio: "I grew up sneak-reading all my mom's steamy romance novels. She kept them high on a shelf in her closet and warned, "You better not read those..." Of course, I read them. And now I write them! I strive to take readers on a fun, emotionally charged, and highly sensual ride to happily ever after. Available now: THE BILLIONAIRE'S BAUBLE (Soul Mate Publishing 2011), ONE WET SUMMER (Musa Publishing 2012), and GOOD THINGS COME IN TALL PACKAGES (Musa Publishing 2012). Next up: LADY IN DEED, my debut novel in historical romance set in Tudor England (Musa Publishing Winter 2012).

I am a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and a community college English professor. I live in the Finger Lakes region of New York with my sexy hero and our teenage son. Our grown daughter lives in Los Angeles, California--my hometown."

Here's the blurb for Ann's latest release:    
Good Things Come In Tall Packages  
Dr. Joe Connors and socialite lawyer Lucy Alcott come from two different worlds, two very different cultures. But will those differences keep them apart when their attraction is too strong to be denied?

When socialite Savannah attorney Lucy Alcott entered the Hyatt looking for fun, martinis, and hot sex, the last thing she expected to find was Dr. Joe Connors. Joe is Lucy's opposite in every way: he’s dark, she’s pale; he’s tall and reserved, she's tiny and vivacious; he wears his compassion and deep spirituality on his sleeve, she wears designer bags and clothes. That night at the Hyatt Lucy found herself not in the arms of a casual encounter but reaching out to a man who challenged the walls she had built around her heart—and when he gave her his number, Lucy knew Joe deserved a woman as warm and tender as he was. So she threw his number away. When an unexpected meeting six months later brings them together again, will Joe overcome Lucy’s fear of losing her heart, or are their two very different worlds destined to keep them apart forever?

Before treating us to an excerpt, Ann Reveals:
In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character.  What do you like best/least about him?
I adore Joe Connors. He’s family oriented, successful, dedicated to healing, a huge eater—at 6’6” and 250 pounds he can afford to be-- and athletic. He’s a doctor, living in Atlanta, Georgia, and even though he’s spectacular looking, he’s really a regular guy who loves watching football, eating pizza, and hanging with his friends and family.  Because his mother and father are deceased, he’s super close to his single sister and her daughter—they’re his responsibility in many ways.  He’s never been in love, but he figures no one can have everything. Until he meets everything. Lucy Alcott.

And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
I think she’s very relatable. Any woman who has put her career and self-worth first, who has developed her self-confidence without a man, can understand Lucy Alcott. Lucy has brains and sass, but she refuses to be traditional.  She figures why hassle love and loss when life can be high-end shopping and one night stands? Her transformation and growth throughout the novel is inspiring, and watching Joe find Lucy’s heart will fill yours.

Who controls the story – you or your characters?
My characters run the show.  I believe they become real, aybe in some alternate universe, and it is my honor and pleasure to tell their stories.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your books?
I want readers to believe that true love is possible, that happily ever after is attainable, and that each one of us deserves passion—untamed and unbound.

What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful book?
Complex characters engaged in interesting lives with plenty of believable conflict and non-contrived resolution. Heat, steam, and fire are essential in romance.  Something between the characters has to spark on the page in order to light up a reader’s imagination. 

What do you most enjoy about writing romance?
I am in love with love, and that’s where romance lives.  I have a girlfriend who says that after she reads my sex scenes, she bookmarks them in her Kindle and rereads them for inspiration.  Now that makes me happy! And I bet it makes her partner happy, too.  How fantastic is that?  To think my words might inspire expressions of love—well, it’s the reason I write romance.

How do you like to spend your free time?
I spend most of my free time with my family.  We enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and cycling. We also go to the movies once a week, attend concerts, and eat out.  My husband is a big man (like Joe Connors) and I enjoy cooking for him.

What is your culinary speciality?
For a while it was French cuisine, but all that butter weighed me down about twenty extra pounds! Now I only cook French once or twice a month.  I specialize in Spanish food, my heritage: rice, beans, and brightly colored veggies cooked with fish, beef, or chicken. I also make Sicilian dishes as my husband was raised in a huge Italian family. Pasta is a passion.

Now for A Taste of Ann 

The man wanted her.

Lucy felt the passion rolling off of Joe like tidal waves, and she was more than ready to let him knock her off her feet.
“Shall we go upstairs, Joe? I could use a quiet moment with you before we say goodbye again. Every time we’ve been together it’s been in a crowd with music pulsing in the background and drinks in our hands. Let’s be real. Let’s go upstairs and spend some alone time. I won’t bite. Unless you want me to.”

His big smile lit up the room like Georgia sunshine. He stood and proffered his hand, looming above her like an awesome Egyptian statue. Lucy was dwarfed by almost everyone, but Joe was enormous by anyone’s standards. When she’d first met him, despite the fact he was at a medical convention, she’d assumed he played for the NFL. The fact that he possessed brains and brawn made him ideal for bed sport. It hadn’t worked out that night, but tonight…Lucy could hardly wait.

“Should we say goodbye to Ben and Maura?” Lucy cocked her head to scan the crowded room. She spotted them in the center of the ballroom floor, Jessie sandwiched between her parents, standing on her dad’s feet as the happy newlyweds shared a family dance.

“Let’s not bother them. Come on, sweetness.” Joe effortlessly pulled Lucy to her sore feet and put his strong arm around her waist. She hobbled a bit. “Shall I carry you, my Southern Belle?”

Pleasure to meet you, Ann.
Love the premise of 'Good Things Come in Tall Packages!'

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