Author Spotlight w/ Christine Feldman

Hello Romantics!

Today I have a spotlight/special offer from our guest author, Christine Feldman.

Ms. Feldman has written a lovely collection of novella’s called The Heavenly Bites Novella Collection.

The collection follows the love lives of four women who work in or hangout at a bakery called of course, Heavenly Bites.

First up, is Trish Ackerly who meets her junior high school nemesis, Ian Rafferty, several years after he has moved away mysteriously before high school.

Second, is Nadia Normandy, who is used to having a love them and leave them attitude with men. So why is she wondering about Benjamin “Benji” Garner, the man Mrs. Beasley has conned her into giving “love” lessons.

Last but definitely not least, is a double billing of Aimee Beasley who decides to play cupid between her grandmother, the aforementioned Mrs. Beasley, with the uncle of their grumpy downstairs neighbor, Doyle Berkley. But, is Doyle Berkley really adverse to his young upstairs neighbor?

All three of these stories are fun, quirky, and have a lot of heart. The best part is that for a short time Christine is offering this great collection for .99 cents!

So, to tell us a little more about herself and her lovely collection, please welcome to the blog, Ms. Christine Feldman!

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Hello, Christine! Thanks for joining us today. Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got started as an author.

Thanks for having me.  I started writing when I was a kid, mostly about things like my own version of the Black Stallion stories and that sort of thing.  When I hit my teen years, hormones kicked in, and I started appreciating stories that had a little more romance in them and less manure.  😉 And then I stopped writing for a long time when “the real world” seemed to take up all my time and energy, and I figured I would start writing again some day when I had more time.  Several years ago, I had an epiphany and realized there was never going to be an ideal time to write, and so I decided to make the time.  And I’m so glad I did!  Yay!

One of my standard questions is asking about the author’s literary heroes. I always like to know what other authors inspire their work. I think it lets everyone knows part of what makes an author tick. Who would you say are your literary heroes and why?

Oh, good golly… it’s impossible to list them all.  I love so many authors—from so many different genres, too.  I always enjoy reading Neil Gaiman, J. R. R. Tolkein, Stephen King, Jennifer Crusie, Nevada Barr, LaVyrle Spencer, George R. R. Martin, Jane Austin—we could be here all day at this rate, so I’ll stop.  J  Pretty much I appreciate any author who is able to create characters whose lives just pull you in, or who is able to use words to paint a vivid picture in readers’ minds.  Or who can make me laugh.

I, of course, read mostly romance but I do like to shake it up with some mystery and historical novels. Do you write in any other genres and if so what would you say is your favorite and why?

I do write other genres—I love fantasy and suspense—and I’ve also done a little screenwriting.  A couple of my screenplays have placed in a few different competitions (one was even featured as a staged reading in New York, which kind of made me squeal:  http://www.gsiff.com/content/staged-screenplay-reading-1 ), and I would love to rewrite them as novels.  It’s on my to-do list.

Ooo, boy, though.  I’m not sure I could pick a favorite genre; they all have a lot to offer.  Is it cheating to suggest a fantasy story with romantic elements and a hint of mystery thrown in?  If not, then I think that’s my answer.  And if it is cheating, then… oops.  Please don’t tell my mother.

What was the inspiration for this collection?

Well, I enjoy romance, and I love pastries.  The natural thing to do seemed to be to write about love in bakery where they produce lots of lovely, sweet things to eat.  Naturally, I was forced to spend a great deal of time in bakeries doing research to lend authenticity to my story setting.  There may have been a substantial amount of taste-testing involved, but an author has to do what an author has to do…

Can you give our readers a taste of the collection? Something that says, ” I must buy this book today!”

Sure!  Here’s the opening section of the first novella, Pastels and Jingle Bells:

 

It was probably inviting the worst kind of karma to be contemplating murder during the holiday season of all times, but that didn’t faze Trish Ackerly in the slightest as she stared through her bakery’s storefront window in shock.

It was him.  Ian Rafferty, bane of her junior high school existence.  She’d know that face anywhere, despite the changes in it.  Sure, he was a couple of feet taller now and certainly broader shouldered, but as he glanced away from the winter scene she had painted on the window only yesterday and at a passing car that whizzed by much too fast on the busy city street, the profile he presented to her confirmed it.  Yes, it was him.  That same nose, the odd little scar above his eye, the familiar way he quirked his lips…

Her eyes narrowed.  Ian Rafferty.  That miserable, mean-spirited little—

Then he turned his face back to the window, and Trish gasped and dropped to the floor before he could spot her staring at him.

“What on earth are you doing?” came Nadia’s voice from behind the counter.

Trish huddled behind a tall metal trash can and glanced up through her dark bangs at her startled friend and business partner only to remember belatedly that they had company in the shop, namely wizened little Mrs. Beasley, whose startled eyes blinked at her from behind enormous tortoise-shell spectacles.

Well, there was little help for it now.  “That guy,” Trish hissed, jerking one thumb in the direction of the window.  “I know him!”

Both Nadia and Mrs. Beasley peered intently through the glass.  “Mmm,” said Nadia appreciatively a moment later.  “Lucky you, girlfriend.”

“No, not lucky me!  That guy made my life a living hell in junior high.  He’s a jerk, he’s a bully—“

“He’s coming in here, dear,” Mrs. Beasley interrupted her, with obvious interest in her voice.

With a squeak of alarm, Trish shuffled hastily behind the counter on her hands and knees and hunched into as small and inconspicuous a ball as she could.

Nadia blinked.  “Trish, are you out of your—“

“Sh!”

“Oh, you did not just shush me—“

“SHH!” Trish insisted again, knowing full well that she’d pay for it later, and then she pulled her head down into her shoulders as much as her anatomy would allow.

The bell on the door jangled cheerfully then, and a gust of cold air heralded Ian Rafferty’s arrival.

“Hi, there,” Nadia greeted him brightly, surreptitiously giving Trish’s foot a little dig with one of her own.  “Welcome to Heavenly Bites.  What can I get for you?”

“Cup of coffee would be great for starters,” came a voice that was deep but soft, and far less reptilian than Trish expected.  She cocked her head slightly to better catch his words and heard the unmistakable sound of him blowing on his hands and rubbing them together to warm them.  “Cream, no sugar.”

“Sure thing, honey.”

“Your window art,” his voice continued, and Trish straightened ever so slightly at the mention of her work.  “It’s fantastic.  Can I ask who painted it?”

“Absolutely,” Nadia returned, turning her attention to getting the coffee he requested.  “My business partner, Trish.”

“Is she around, by any chance?”

Nadia glanced down at where Trish sat scrunched up and did what Trish thought was a very poor job of suppressing a smirk.  “She’s, um, indisposed at the moment.  Why do you ask?”

“I’ve got a couple of windows that could use a little holiday cheer.  Think she might be interested in the job?”

Nadia gave Trish another brief sideways glance.

Trish shook her head frantically.

“Tell you what.  Leave me your number, and we’ll find out.”  Nadia stepped out of reach before Trish could smack her leg.

“Great, thanks.  Here’s my card.”

“I’ll see that she gets it, Mr.—“  Nadia glanced at the card.  “—Rafferty.  Here’s your coffee, and you, sir, have a very nice day.”

The bell on the door jingled again, and Trish cautiously poked her head up long enough to verify that Ian was indeed gone.  She then ignored the fascinated look Mrs. Beasley was giving her and fixed an icy stare on Nadia.  “I’m going to kill you.  How could you do that?”

Nadia tossed her dark braids over her shoulder.  “Hmph.  Shush me in my own shop…”

“I don’t want to talk to that guy!  I don’t want to have anything to do with him.”

“He seemed nice enough to me,” her friend returned, shrugging unapologetically.  “And easy on the eyes, too.”

“And single,” put in Mrs. Beasley eagerly, one wrinkled hand fluttering over her heart.  “No wedding ring.”

“Of course there’s no ring!  No woman wants to marry the devil!”  Trish sank back down onto the floor and leaned back heavily against the shelves behind her.

“He used to be the devil,” Nadia corrected her, examining the business card he had handed to her.  “Now he’s ‘Ian Rafferty, Landscape Architect’.  And he’s a paying customer, Trish.  Face it, you could use the money.”

“Forget it.  I’m not so hard up that I’d go crawling to Ian Rafferty for a job.”  Trish scowled and folded her arms across her chest.  “I have my dignity, you know.”

“Yeah?  Why don’t you get up off the floor and tell me all about your dignity.”

“Oh, shut up,” Trish muttered, getting to her feet and snatching the card from Nadia’s hand.  Wadding it up, she tossed it in the direction of the trashcan and stalked into the bakery’s kitchen…

I really enjoyed your novellas. In fact, I’d have to say my favorite character was Mrs. Beasley. She’s sweet yet sassy and knows how to get what she wants for the most part. I know this is like asking who is your favorite child, but who would you say is your favorite character in the collection and why?

You’re right, it is hard to pick a favorite!  Well… I think part of me would love to have the self-confidence that free-spirited Aimee Beasley has (Mrs. Beasley’s granddaughter)—she does and says things that some people only wish they could, and that was a lot of fun to write.  So I guess I’ll go with her.  (Maybe she inherited it from her grandma.)

You mentioned at the end of your book that you are married, however, if you could pick any of the guys in your collection to go on a date with who would you pick and why?

Wow, you do ask hard questions, don’t you?  Hmm… maybe Benji.  There’s something about a guy with a good sense of humor, you know?

I do know. I’ve always said that a guy who can make me laugh has gotten halfway to my heart. 😉 I love to ask personality questions. So…with that being said, If you could be any dessert, what would you be and why?

Cherries jubilee.  Because I love the name (it just sounds like a fun time—I mean, it’s a jubilee!), and because any dessert that’s served with fire is pretty dang awesome.  Well, as long as the fire was intentional, that is…

Christine it’s been great getting to know you. Before you leave, do you have any words of wisdom for our aspiring writers out there?

Yes—make time for writing NOW, even if it’s just an hour or two on weekends, and whatever you do, persevere. Sometimes I think the real key to writing is just to hang in there and keep writing.  No matter what, keep plugging away.  And maybe keep a little ice cream on hand for those rough days that come along.  I find it helps me immensely.  🙂

Thanks for having me on your site today!

 ~~~~~

Make sure you click on the link below to take advantage of the .99 cent price that’s being offered for a limited time!

The Heavenly Bites Novella Collection

Re-readability Rating:

Solid 4 out of 5 stars. A great read to have when you are just wanting a fun relaxing read. Great for this summer whether at the beach, pool, or watching the kids in the backyard.

Romance Rating:

5 out of 5 stars. It’s got banter, it’s got kissing, and its got some great laughs! What more could a Romantic want!?!

Christine Feldman

Christine Feldman

Christine S. Feldman writes both novels and feature-length screenplays, and, to her great delight, she has placed in screenwriting competitions on both coasts—and has even won a couple of them.  In 2012 one of her screenplays was featured as a staged reading in New York City at the Gotham Screen International Film Festival (http://www.gsiff.com/content/staged-screenplay-reading-1), and later that same year she signed her first publishing contract.  When she is not writing, she is teaching kindergarten, puttering around in her garden, ballroom dancing with her husband, or doing research for her next project.  Please visit her at her website http://christinesfeldman.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChristineSFeldman, or follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/FeldmanCS.

 

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An Interview with Danyelle Ferguson

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Hello Romantics!
As I told you last week I am the proud participant of a blog tour to celebrate the release of a new book, Sweet Confections by Danyelle Ferguson.
Let me tell you Romantics, I absolutely loved her book!  It has a little of everything. Wit, Suspense, recipes (and I’m so trying some of them), and of course ROMANCE!  I almost read the whole book in one sitting.  Let me tell you I was exhausted the next day at work.
Shhh…don’t tell my boss. 😉
Today, she is stopping by to chat with us and tell us about herself and her wonderful book.
Welcome to the blog Danyelle Ferguson!
Danyelle Ferguson - Color1
Hi, Danyelle! Thanks for stopping by today.  For those of us just getting to know you please tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I’m a mom to four rambunctious munchkins, who keep me hoppin’. I’ve been a reading maniac since I was a young kid. I grew up in the middle of nowhere and books were my best friend. I wrote lots of articles for newspapers and magazines, but never thought I’d become an author. So I did the next best thing – became an editor and book reviewer. Part of my job was attending writers conferences, where I gained the confidence to believe that my writing could be more than just articles and fun stories for just me. Lots of work and several years later, here I am, with my first fiction series kicking off!

My all time favorite Author is Jane Austen.  While I know I will never write like her she still inspires me to write and tell my own stories.  Who are some of your literary heroes and how have they inspired you?

I have a confession to make. I absolutely love, love, love Jane Austen’s . . . movies. I’ve never actually made it all the way through an Austen novel.  Gasp! Don’t hate me! My hubby has read several Jane Austen books and tells me all the time that I’m missing out on her greatness.

 Asking me to name one or two literary heroes is so unfair. That’s like asking what my favorite chocolate dessert is. There are many authors who saved me through my growing up years – Lurlene McDaniel was a huge influence. Then in my teen years, LaVeryle Spencer, Danielle Steel, and Stephen King. Yeah – there was a little suspense/scare-my-socks off stuff mixed in with my romance addiction. Since getting into the Mommy years, I’ve been in love with romance authors who know how to hit the laughter button – Kristan Higgins, Rachel Gibson, and Carly Phillips.

 Every book I read ignites my imagination and makes me want to write!

While I primarily indulge in romance novels, I like to mix it up with some suspense and a few other genre’s.  What is your favorite genre to write in and why?

You and I could be bosom buddies! I’m a romance junkie and love to add in bits of humor, suspense, and a dose of sass, too. My writing closely matches what I enjoy reading. I’m really just a hearts and butterfly girl disguised as a responsible mother and author.

Now for your wonderful book.  Can you give our readers a little taste of what this book is about?  You know just enough to wet their appetite and send them to the stores drooling. 😉

Combine one sassy baker, one sexy hockey player, and one obsessed stalker. Mix well, then pour into a hot pan. Sprinkle on some romance and enjoy!

 Craving more? Check out the full book blurb!

My favorite character in the story was of course Rachel Marconi, your heroine.  She’s fun, quirky, bakes and has a pretty bad habit of sticking her foot in her mouth.  I think I like her because she and I could so hang out together.  Who is your favorite character in this book and what made them special to you?

First you make me choose my favorite author, now you’re making me choose my favorite child, um, I mean, character. Sheesh! You’re a tough chick! I love my main characters, but there are a couple of side characters that I adore.

 The first is Rachel’s nephew, Stockton. He’s a five-year old boy with autism. My oldest teenage son has autism and a lot of Stockton’s personality and quirks are based on him. So Stockton is near and dear to my heart.  

The other character that I had a fabulous time writing was Graydon’s cousin, Chloe. She is, like, so totally a teenager, and like, you just never know what she’ll say next, or when she’ll even stop talking, cause she’s such a talky-talk-talk chick.

One of the things that makes a book for me is witty banter between characters.  I must say you did an excellent job with that. Tell us about one of your favorite scenes in the book that you think was one of your best witty conversations.

Oh my gosh! Rachel is so funny! What makes her fabulous is how real her inner-thoughts and self-doubts are. Sadly, she just hasn’t acquired that extra layer of protection – thinking before blurting out her thoughts. I’m glad you enjoyed her so much.

 One scene I loved writing was Graydon’s cousin’s wedding reception. Aside from some fun banter between Graydon and Chloe – this is a pivotal moment for hero and heroine. Graydon is thrilled to see Rachel again – but Rachel, not so much. In fact, she’s furious with Graydon and let’s him know it too. For those who haven’t read Sweet Confections yet, think witty comebacks, some smashed cheesecake and a surprising confrontation in the back alley.

I read the preview at the end of the book and I noticed that a secondary character from this story is the main character of the preview.  Does that mean we will be seeing all these wonderful characters in future books?(Please say yes, please say yes!)

Absolutely! The amazing Heather Tullis and I are writing two different book series with crossover characters. Her series is called In the Garden (centered around a community garden in Crystal Creek). Hello Again (the preview you read) is the first book in her series starring Piper and Reece.

 The next heroine up in the Indulgence Row series is Charlee, who I affectionately refer to as the Renovator Chick. We’ll get to see her dive into the house remodels on Indulgence Row – Rachel is one of her first clients. You’ll also meet Peter, her brother’s best friend and one of her co-workers, who has secretly had a crush on Charlee since, well, forever. But dating your best friend’s sister – well, that’s against the guy code . . . until Peter realizes he either needs to man up and go for it or lose Charlee forever.

Personality Question time!  Rachel has some very embarrassing moments when she first meets Graydon, (by the way he is one good-looking man.) What has been one of your most embarrassing foot in mouth moments you can remember?

To be honest, Graydon makes me drool, too. Shh! Don’t tell my hubby. (I’ll be sure not to send him this blog link).

 The most horrifying moment I have had was at the first Storymakers Midwest Writers Conference I organized. Award-winning YA author, Lisa Mangum, was our dinner keynote, and I had the privilege of introducing her. I had read my notes several times and was totally prepped, so I left my notes at the table. But when I stood at the podium in front of everyone – my mind totally blanked! I stammered and even had to ask her (still sitting in the audience) what the awards were she won for her books. Holy mackerel! It was humiliating. Thankfully, Lisa was very, very nice about it. Note to all your blog readers – never, ever leave your notes behind!

Danyelle, I just want to thank you again for coming by and chatting with us. Before you leave, Do you have any advice for our aspiring writers who may be visiting?

The one thing that pushed me to continue my writing career has been attending writers conferences. And network while you’re there! You’ll discover lots of writers in gobs of genres – and even a few who will stick with you for years and years as you cheer each other on to success.

Thank you so very much for interviewing me & reviewing my new book, Shineka! You are fabulous!

 ~~~~

According to Rachel Marconi chocolate heals all wounds. That and throwing darts at pictures of her ex-boyfriend. Burned by yet another bad relationship, Rachel decides to reprioritize her life, putting her dream to compete on a Food Network Challenge on the top of her list and dating at the bottom crossed out in red sharpie. But what’s a girl to do when a certain sexy guy keeps asking her out?
Cue in Graydon Green, a former pro hockey player turned restaurant owner. After a lot of persistent and humorous teasing, he finally convinces Rachel to commit to a date. Just when things begin to warm up, threatening notes directed at Rachel arrive. When her bakery is vandalized, Graydon’s protective streak goes on red alert. Is it her obsessive ex-boyfriend stalking her? Or maybe a challenger trying to sabotage the competition?

Either way, Rachel is definitely going to need more chocolate – perhaps drizzled over ice cream and devil’s food cake.

Amazon Paperback: Sweet Confections (Indulgence Row) (Volume 1)

Amazon Ebook: Sweet Confections (Indulgence Row)

Goodreads Link

Also available on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBookstore.

Re-readability Rating:

3.5 out of 5 stars

Great read! Enjoyed it immensely and will be happy to read this story again anytime. 🙂

Romance Rating:

So rates a 5 out of 5 stars!

Great kissing scenes, wonderful banter between characters, and a cute pr…(oops almost gave away the ending!)  Ha! well you’ll like the ending anyway just trust me. 😉

Who wants a free

book!?!

Danyelle is giving a free copy of her newest book and you can enter  by using the Rafflecopter below!

Also, for all of Danyelle’s new fans you can stalk, follow her at her

Blog: Queen of the Clan

Facebook: Danyelle’s Author Page

or

Twitter: Danyelle’s Twitter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Emma, Mr Knightley, and Chili Slaw Dogs: An interview with Mary Jane Hathaway

Hello My Dear Romantics!

So as I mentioned last week I am interviewing the fabulous Mary Jane Hathaway writer of the Austen Takes the South series.

You may have seen my previous review of the first book in the series Pride, Prejudice, Cheese Grits, well since that review Ms. Hathaway has been fortunate enough to have her series picked up and republished by Simon and Schuster Publishing House!

So in honor of her re-launch for the series I’d like to welcome to the blog Mary Jane Hathaway!

Hi Mary Jane! I’m so excited to have you join us today. For my readers who are just getting to know you please tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a writer.

Mary Jane Hathaway is the pen name of an award-nominated writer who spends the majority of her literary energy on subjects un-related to Jane Austen. A homeschooling mother of six young children who rarely wear shoes, she’s madly in love with a man who has never read Pride and Prejudice. She holds degrees in Religious Studies and Theoretical Linguistics, and has a Jane Austen quote on the back of her van. She can be reached on facebook at ‘Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits’ or her regular author page of Virginia Carmichael (which is another pen name, because she’s just that cool).

Who, other than Austen herself, are your literary heroes and how did they contribute to your literary career?

I love classic literature! I grew up in a house packed to the brim with old books and my heart still beats wildly for Elizabeth Gaskell, Louisa May Alcott, The Brontes, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and many more.  In modern literature I love Franny Billingsley, Laura Whitcomb, Shannon Hale, Rick Riordan, Cassandra Clare, Alan Bradley, anyone with a truly distinct voice and story to tell. I guess they remind me to search for my own words, and although we want to imitate our heroes, we also know that our voice is a God-given unique gift. There is only one of you and only one of me. We’re meant to speak our own story. 

I know you write under a few pen names what are they and what is the story behind them?

At the time of my first contract, someone (can’t exactly remember who now) told me that Munoz was too difficult to remember. So I went with my maiden name for my books with Love Inspired/ Harlequin. Then as I wanted to self publish my Austen books but was afraid that people would be confused when I switched to longer, stand alone novels, I chose Mary Jane Hathaway. Mary is my legal first name. Jane should be obvious!! And Hathaway is my mother’s side of the family. So, both of my pen names honor both sides of my family (and Miss Austen).

What was your inspiration for this series?

I read Bridget Jones’ Diary and laughed myself silly. But I couldn’t share that series with most of my friends because of the immorality and the language. It started me thinking of a sweet version of Bridget Jones’ Diary (which was really a new take on P&P). I needed the perfect setting because so much of the story relies on family obligations and expectations. I also needed a place with a very rich dialogue and long-standing customs. What better place than the South? I live in Oregon and we pretty much sound like every newscaster you’ve ever heard. We also eat normal food, nothing out of the ordinary. We also have very little history (our big claim to fame is living on the Oregon Trail). So, it was a blast to dive into the rich heritage and history of the South to set the stage for a P&P retelling!

So I have to be honest I’ve read almost every book Austen ever wrote and Emma was one of my least favorites however your spin on the story actually raised my opinion of the Emma character.  What about this character spoke to you and made you want to take on her story?

I love Emma because she always thinks she has the perfect plan. I’m the same way! I always think I can (refurbish that vintage desk, paint the house, bake a soufflé, write a novel). Most of the time, it’s a major fail and someone has to come in and fix my mess. With Emma, she has a good heart, truly. And that is her saving grace. In my book “Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs”, Caroline comes up with plans that she believes will help everyone around her. As her plans don’t work out, she has to face the fact that her idea of what people need isn’t always the reality.

Was there any part of this story that you had trouble writing about and why?

I was attracted to the story of Emma because she’s such a fun character, but the love story was hard to write. We’re all used to the ‘cute meet’ and instant attraction and characters finally admitting their love for each other. But this story has the hero and heroine in love, without really understanding the depths of their feelings. I had to find ways to plant that idea in the readers’ mind, without bringing the characters together too soon.

In the end, I loved writing it because it taught me how to subtly describe two people in love, but in such gentle ways that the characters themselves could be caught off guard my the realization.

I know there were some added scenes between your original release and the relaunch of Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili Slaw Dogs.  Without giving too much away can you tell us what they are and how they add to the story?

I can absolutely tell you what sort of scenes were added. My wonderful editor, Beth Adams, asked if I could expand a little on the reasons behind Frank’s deception, Lauren’s reasons for assisting him, and Caroline’s job issues in the end. She also wanted a little bit more time between the moment that Caroline and Brooks first kiss (and misunderstand each other so thoroughly) and the actual proposal. The plot line of Lexi Martinez was central to the story, but it didn’t get much page time, so that was another place I got to fill in details. In the new version, Caroline goes to Lexi’s home and talks to her dad at the gas station. This is a pivotal scene, because she realizes how arrogant she was to assume she knew what was best for Lexi. Just like Emma assuming that she could tell Miss Harriett Smith that she should refuse Robert Martin just because he’s a farmer, Caroline meant well, but was very wrong. I also tried to give a little more satisfaction to the villain, since that was something  readers mentioned. In the original Emma, Frank and Jane Fairfax get to ride off into the sunset happily married, I tried to leave the “villains” of my books un-chastised. But what works for Miss Austen doesn’t always work for us! I needed to give them some comeuppance.

What’s the next Austen book you are going to take on in this series and can we get a little taste of the new story?

Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cracklin’ Cornbread is the next book. It’s about an African-American woman from a wealthy, very traditional family. She falls in love with a white boy  from the wrong side of the tracks who has an unmarried single drop out for a mom and an absent father. Her aunt convinces her to dump him before she leaves for Harvard, saying he had no future.

  The story begins as Jeremiah “Jem” Chevy (our hero) comes back into Tupelo, Mississippi on a program from his medical school called the Rural Physician’s Program. (We have it here in Oregon, too. A qualifying medical student can erase their school debt by serving in a rural area for a certain number of years.) His heart has healed, or so he thinks, and he isn’t too worried about running into the beautiful girl who broke his heart ten years before.

Our heroine, Lucy Crawford,  is now on the verge of losing her home, Crawford House, because her father has reversed mortgaged it to the max, and her two sisters are living off his credit cards. She’s trying her hardest to keep the family together, but her job as a historian at a Civil War battlefield isn’t going to save the house. Their family history is rich and they have the respect of the entire community, but they’re in massive debt. In the ten years since Jem left, her life has only gotten sadder and more solitary. She was wrong to break up with him, but by the time she realized her mistake, he was gone forever.

    These broken-hearted people might never cross paths, if the board of the Free Clinic didn’t manage to work out a deal with her father, and now Jem and Lucy are thrown together on a daily basis.
  A story of love lost, love found, and second chances set in the beauty of the deep South. There’s laughter, hope, and lots of Jane Austen!

So, I like to ask a personality question just for fun.  I know you’re happily married but, if you could meet and marry any Austen hero who would it be and why?

Mr. Knightley!!! He brought Emma a book, and he was always in his library reading. I think we’d make a great pair and raise lots of lovely little bookworm children! 😀

Mary Jane, it’s been great talking to you about your re-launch. Before you go, do you have any advice for our aspiring writers out there?

Write the book you want to read. I’d heard that before, but never quite understood it, until I laughed my way through Bridget Jones’ Diary. I just kept thinking, “This is great, but I sure wish…” So, I decided to stop wishing and start writing.

Thank you so much for having me over here!

Caroline Ashley is a journalist on the rise at The Washington Post until the sudden death of her father brings her back to Thorny Hollow to care for her mentally fragile mother and their aging antebellum home. The only respite from the eternal rotation of bridge club meetings and garden parties is her longtime friend, Brooks Elliott. A professor of journalism, Brooks is the voice of sanity and reason in the land of pink lemonade and triple layer coconut cakes. But when she meets a fascinating, charismatic young man on the cusp of a brand new industry, she ignores Brooks’s misgivings and throws herself into the project.

Brooks struggles to reconcile his parents’ very bitter marriage with his father’s devastating grief at the recent loss of his wife. Caroline is the only bright spot in the emotional wreckage of his family life. She’s a friend and he’s perfectly happy to keep her safely in that category. Marriage isn’t for men like Brooks and they both know it… until a handsome newcomer wins her heart. Brooks discovers Caroline is much more than a friend, and always has been, but is it too late to win her back?

Featuring a colorful cast of southern belles, Civil War re-enactors, and good Christian women with spunk to spare, Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs brings the modern American South to light in a way only a contemporary Jane Austen could have imagined.

Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs

Re-Readability Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

This book has made it to my list of books I love to wander back around to when I need a good read to pass the time of day.

Romance Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Love the kiss scene! Great banter and dialog but I will say the lack of communication did get on my nerves just a tiny bit.  We human beings can be so silly sometimes.

Mary Jane Hathaway is also giving away some awesome Prizes!!!!

Leave a comment telling us your favorite Austen character and why for a chance to win a free e-book copy of Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili Slaw Dogs or a pair of Jane Austen inspired earrings from Etsy.com! You have until Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 11:59pm EST

Book EARRINGS Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen quote vintage Typewriter

You can also keep up with Mary Jane on Facebook: Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits Fan PageVirginia Carmichael Author Page

Twitter: Mary Jane’s Twitter

and her blog: Virginia Carmichael @ Blog Spot

An Interview with Rachael Anderson

Hello My Dear Romantics!!
So, today I’m relaunching my blog and I wanted to start off by interviewing a lovely author by the name of Rachael Anderson.
I read her book The Reluctant Bachelorette about a month ago and fell in love with the story! This book is Romantic Comedy at its best.  I had to go to Ms. Anderson’s web page as soon as I finished it to tell her how much I enjoyed her work.
I was so blessed to have her answer me and agree to an interview.  So without further ado (I’ve always liked that phrase), Welcome to the blog Ms. Rachael Anderson!
Hello Rachael!  Welcome to Cause Everyone Needs Romance.  For my romantics who aren’t familiar with you and your work please tell us a little about yourself.
Hey Shineka! Let me start with saying that I completely agree that everyone needs romance. Your blog name fits me to a T. I grew up loving to read, but I found that the more I read, the more picky I became. I liked fun, fast-paced stories. I liked snappy dialogue. I liked it when authors kept it clean (no language or sex scenes). I liked books that left me feeling good. And I found that happy endings were a MUST. Since those kind of titles are few and far between, I decided to start writing them myself. Fast forward a decade or so, and here I am–an author of fast-paced, upbeat romances with snappy dialogue and a whole lot of good, clean chemistry. 🙂
Who are your literary hero’s?
Hmm . . . that’s a tough one. I have read so many books that I’ve enjoyed and learned something from. Among my favorites are Jane Austin (shocker, I know :)), C.S. Lewis (the most brilliant writer ever!), Shannon Hale (the only way to describe her writing is lovely), and Janette Rallison (because she writes clean, fun, and upbeat romances–my fav.)
I don’t think I’ve ever asked an author this but what made you make the decision to write primarily clean romances?
What can I say? I love clean stories. I always have. I think there was a reason Christ taught using parables, and it’s because stories are powerful–they have the ability to motivate, teach, and influence. They have the power to lift people up or drag them down; the power to put good thoughts and feelings in a reader’s mind or negative thoughts and feelings.That’s a huge responsibility for a story-teller to realize, and one I don’t take lightly. Yes, I write to entertain. But I also write to uplift, inspire, and hopefully make this world a better place one story at a time. Because I feel so strongly about that, I keep my books clean and hopefully uplifting.
Now for your wonderful book, The Reluctant Bachelorette, Where did the idea for this story come from?
It started off with me reading about a smaller-scale online version of The Bachelorette/Bachelor TV series. I went to the website and spent an afternoon perusing past dates and came away thinking it would be fun to write about something like that. But there were a few things I wanted to change in my story: #1 – I didn’t want a willing bachelorette, and #2 – I didn’t want it to go the way of the real show, where it appears like the bachelor/bachelorette ends up sleeping with the final 3 dates–hate that! So I came up with my own version.
I’ve read books with a bachelor/bachelorette contest storyline before. What do you think makes your book standout from all the rest?
I’m not exactly sure, since I haven’t read too many myself, but I definitely wanted to make The Reluctant Bachelorette different from the TV version of the show. To do that, I turned the contest into a charitable fundraiser, threw in an unwilling bachelorette (and 1 unwilling bachelor), made it a public vote rather than the bachelorette’s decision, and wallah–a fresh spin on what’s becoming an old story in this world of reality TV.
Who would you say is your favorite character in this book and why?
Honestly, I love Jessa–which is funny because a lot of reviewers thought she was a horrible friend. But I loved her spunk, her love and loyalty of a town she ended up in by accident, and the way she always said what she thought and did what she wanted. She was a really fun character to write. Someday I’m going to get around to writing a sequel about Jessa’s life post Shelter’s Bachelorette, if only to show readers that she does have a softer side. 🙂
Of all the bachelors that were in your story who would you like to date and why?
Am I allowed to answer this since I’m happily married? 🙂 How about I tell you a little secret instead. The bachelor named Greg was actually based on a real person–one of my husband’s best friends. Just like the Greg in the book, my husband’s friend loves yard sales, is always looking for a good deal, wears wrinkled shirts (at least he did before he got married and his wife made him stop), and has a bizarre love of all things Neil Diamond. He’s been trying to get me to write him in as the hero of a book for years, and so I finally gave him a spot as one of the bachelors. The funny part is that when he and his wife read my book, she said, “Any chance I can trade you in for Luke?” 🙂 LOL
Personality question time!  When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
A secretary. Why? Because my dad’s company used to throw this amazing carnival every year that I ADORED. Since I didn’t think girls could be engineers (because the only engineer I knew was my dad), I decided to be a secretary instead. That way, I could always go to the carnivals every year.
Yes, I was that smart. 🙂
By the time I was ready to graduate HS, I changed my mind and ended up going into business instead. But I guess there wasn’t enough romance for me in the business world because now I’m a writer. And a mom. And I love it. 🙂
Rachael, I want to thank you so much for coming out and joining us today. Before you go, do you have any advice for any aspiring writers?
Thanks for having me, Shineka! As far as advice goes, I say if you love writing, learn all you can, write the best you can, and go for it! There’s nowhere to go but up!
Taycee is living in a farm community that is slowly dying and her wonderful friend Jessa is in charge of trying to create revenue to save the community.  Jessa’s idea, start an online Bachelorette contest where viewers pay to vote for the lucky Bachelors.  The problem is who should be the Bachelorette?
Why Taycee of course?  Only Taycee doesn’t know she’s been chosen until it’s too late to back out!!!
Then if matters couldn’t be any worse Taycee’s childhood crush Luke has moved back to town and is now one of the bachelors!
What’s a girl to do?  Will Taycee meet the man of her dreams? Or has she already met him?
You’ll have to read the book to find out!

The Reluctant Bachelorette (A Romantic Comedy)

Make sure you visit Ms. Anderson’s website
Re-readability Rating:
Definite 5 star rating
I’ve already gone back a re-read several parts over at least 4 times since reading it the first time.
Romance Rating:
5 Stars
It’s a Bachelorette contest so there are some nice kiss scenes but everything is extremely clean.
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A Hero’s Homecoming by Carlene Havel

Hello Romantics!

Today I have the honor of interviewing another freshly published author by the name of Carlene Havel. A while back Ms. Havel asked me to read her book A Hero’s Homecoming.  Well brilliant person that I am I “misplaced” her book in my library and unfortunately didn’t find it until early Monday morning of this week. (SMH)  I quickly opened the book and read it in one sitting!!!  

So after apologizing profusely in an email, I talked her into letting me interview her for today’s post.

So with all that being said, please welcome to the blog Ms. Carlene Havel!

 

Hi Carlene!  Thanks for joining us today. Since there are probably some newcomers to the blog and to your work, would you please tell us a little about yourself and how long have you been writing?

Hello Shineka, and everyone. Thank you for inviting me to be interviewed! I grew up in Texas and married a military officer.  It seems I was always packing or unpacking my household for the next few years, but the payoff was a chance to live in a great variety of interesting places. After settling down—back in Texas, of course—I worked in human resources for a while, and finally ended up designing and testing HR computer applications. I had no interest in writing until 2005, when I became a believer in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world.  Along with everything else that changed, I developed a passion for writing.

 Is A Hero’s Homecoming your first published book? And do you have any others that we should be on the look out for?

A Hero’s Homecoming was my debut novel.  “Daughter of the King”, which I wrote with co-author Sharon Faucheux is the love story of King David and Princess Michal, and was published in December 2012.  My next contemporary romance, “Here Today Gone Tomorrow” is scheduled to be released in September.

 What was your inspiration for this story? 

 I wanted to create a deep volume of theology, but knew I didn’t have the knowledge or skill.  So instead, I decided to write about a spiritual journey to demonstrate a remarkable effect.  The redemption story in A Hero’s Homecoming is intertwined with the hero’s falling in love with a believer.  Charlotte appears to be unattainable, but Rich Martino is a man who can’t resist a challenge.  Drawing on my long association with the military, I created the situation and the main characters.  Then Rich and Charlotte took over and told the story for me!

Who was your favorite character in this story and why?

I’m going to call this a tie between Jerry McClain and Lottie Browne.  Lottie captured my heart by making me laugh. Jerry? Because he tries, but fails, to disguise his teddy-bear heart with a crusty exterior.

I love that Homecoming has a salvation message in it.  Was there any other messages/plot points that you wanted your readers to take away from the book?

Busted!  You’re exactly right – I really wanted to tell the story of Rich’s spiritual transformation.  In addition, I wanted to affirm there’s hope of true romance, even for those of us who aren’t young, model-thin, and magazine-cover beautiful.

So I’m an army brat (and proud of it!) and I love that your hero in the book is a retiring Army Colonel. Do you have military members in your family? Have you had a chance to travel and where all have you been?

My husband spent his military career in the US Air Force.  Each time we settled into a new place to live, I would start looking for a job.  I’ve worked as a civilian for the Army, Air Force, and the Department of Defense Headquarters.

So I have to ask at least one personality question.  When you were a little girl what did you want to be when you grew up and why?

I desperately wanted to be a grownup; however, I never had any career aspirations.  I was endlessly jealous of women who were old enough to drive, vote, wear makeup and choose their own clothes.  This shallow short-sightedness may account for the wide variety of jobs I’ve held! Software tester, compensation manager, and banana biller, just to name a few.

Carlene, It’s been great talking to you today.  Before you leave us, Is there any words of advice or wisdom you’d like to give to any aspiring writers?

Aspiring authors, never give up!  Pursue your dreams relentlessly.

Thank you again, Shineka.  It’s been such a pleasure talking with you.

 

A Hero’s Welcome is the story of Rich Martino and Charlotte Phillips.

Colonel Richard Martino has just retired from the military and has been through an endless amount of plane delays, trying to make it home to San Antonio from the Philippines only to find that his house been sold, his wife has disappeared with all of his money, and his father is in the hospital in a coma. Oh and the greatest fact of all that he has been mistakenly declared dead!

Charlotte Phillips, is a psychologist who had been counseling Dick Martino (Richard’s father), and because of their friendship has been made the executor/guardian for his funds in case he becomes incapacitated.

Sparks fly when these two meet! First is anger then something more.

Will Richard be able to find real love in this world? Will Charlotte be able to let down her guard and let someone new into her heart?

Hmm…I guess you’ll have to read the book to find the answers to these questions and so many more!

A Hero’s Homecoming by Carlene Havel

Re-readability Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

I read this in one sitting and have been back a few times to read certain parts.

Romance Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Love the banter between Charlotte and Rich and I would so love to be kissed like he kissed her at the end!

An Interview with Mary L. Ball

Hello Romantics!
Today on the Blog I’d like to do something a little bit differently.  As some of you know I have done a few interviews with more established authors but I want to shine a light on a Newbie who has just joined the ranks of published authors!
I met Ms. Mary L. Ball through this blog and I have enjoyed getting to know her.  She has one published work through Prism Book Group and a new release coming out this summer. In today’s, interview I want all of you to get to know her and her thoughts on writing.
Welcome to the blog Ms. Mary Ball!
Thanks Shineka, It’s great to be part of your lovely blog. I look forward to meeting everyone.
Hi Mary! Thank you for joining us today. Since you are a relatively new kid on the block, tells us about yourself?
I don’t feel so new now, my first novel “Escape to Big Fork Lake” has been out since March 2012 and my second novel will be released this summer. I’m from NC, just a regular southern girl who loves to fish and read.  I have a very busy family life since I keep my grandson around the school schedule and step in to take care of my ailing mom as much as possible. Oh yea, and did I mention I sing gospel music with my husband as we have the time.  Shineka, you can bet in all the activity I find time in my schedule to write. I enjoy weaving stories together, that’s my biggest release from the hustle of life. 
What would you say are your biggest influences in your writing?
Every writer has a different answer, for me it’s a desire to show the world that even though life isn’t always fair, with the mercy of the Lord people can  move pass problems and be happy.
I know that you mostly write romantic suspense novels. What about that genre sparks your interest?
I love to read romantic suspense, so it’s only natural when I started writing the genre drew me in. I guess the reason I write that variety is because I believe we live in a challenging world where at times stressful things happen, situations often cross our paths that we must overcome. I’m also a romantic at heart, and believe circumstances are easier to handle with a love interest by your side. 
If you couldn’t write in the romantic suspense genre ever again, what other genres would you consider and why?
Mystery, which is the genre of my next novel, “Stone of Destiny” the story is spiced with romance of course, so that’s another option. 🙂  
For those of us that are still dreaming of being published, what was it like when you got your acceptance email/letter? Were you cool calm and collected or did you do some kind of crazy dance? and If you did a dance do you have a video of it? I think we’d all love to see it. 😉
Shineka, I remember I was getting ready to go out with my husband and decided to check my e-mail before I left. I was sitting on the sofa,(he was next to me in the he recliner.) I pulled up my mail and saw the response from Joan, the editor-in-chief  of Prism Book Group. I smiled and waved my hands in the air hubby looked at me in question. Then I yelled, “Thank you Jesus!Joan offered me a contract.” it was so wonderful. The offer to publish was a year and half in coming. Prism Book Group is great at giving new authors a chance to grow. 
You have a new release coming in the summer. What’s the title of it and give us a little synopsis of it?
Thanks for asking about my coming soon novel. The title is “Stone of Destiny”
 
The sapphire is said to symbolize mental clarity, faithfulness and truth. For centuries, the legion of the Harrison family revolved around a ring. The family stone believed to have divine favors that  transform lives-sometimes forever.
 Taylor has given up on everything but her work. After becoming the youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, she believes life is complete. That is until her grandmother asks her to oversee renovations at the family home, in addition to searching for a missing heirloom.
 First contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning. Taylor experiences strange dreams. Feelings surface; she doesn’t understand; mere thoughts that should remain unspoken, are voiced. 
 Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself-forcing her to question everything she believes.
 Is this a fairy-tale or her soul, reaching out for a different world, a life she can only find through faith and a divine trust in God?   
Mary it’s been great talking with you but before you go, do you have any advice for aspiring writers both near and far?
Yes, Build a website. They’re plenty of easy to maintain free sites out that will get you started. Showcase contents along with your coming soon novel. Scribe things on-line anywhere you can to build a presence. Never give up!~ Query and re-write , do it over and over, until you finally get a publisher to notice. It takes a while for a first time author to get an offer.  
 I re-wrote “Escape” about five times and sent off over fifty-five queries in a year and half time frame.
If you want to get to know Mary better be sure to check out her blog:
Facebook Author Page:
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An Interview with Linda Carroll-Bradd

Hello Romantics!

Today on the blog, I’m pleased to be interviewing author Linda Carroll-Bradd.  I was introduced to Linda and her writing through this very blog about two or three weeks ago.  After reading a manuscript she sent me I knew I definitely wanted to talk to her and get her take on life and writing in general.

Welcome to the blog Ms. Linda Carroll-Bradd!

Hi Linda! Thank you for joining us today.  So for my readers who don’t know you very well please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a native Californian who returned home last May after living 12 years in San Antonio, Texas. I write contemporary and historical sweet romance with many of my stories being set in Texas. My four children are grown and on their own, and my husband and I live in a national forest in southern California with our two dogs.

What would you say was your greatest influence in your writing?

Early in my writing, I had the good fortune to discover the Romance Writers of America and joined a local chapter. This organization of more than 10,000 members supports and guides those interested in learning how to write a romance novel. I wrote for 12 years before I received the first call that an editor wanted to buy what I’d written, which was a confession story. In 2006, I sold my first short story to The Wild Rose Press. I also learned that my writing benefits from working with a critique group.

I know you write mostly novellas and short stories. Have you ever thought of writing a full length novel?

I have written several full-length novels. One is currently being reviewed by an editor, and the other needs revisions to make the plot a bit tighter. The novel I wrote when I first started writing almost 20 years ago was my learning tool and will probably never see the light of day—although I love the story.

So the Novella I read was called Dipping in a Toe.  Can you give our readers a short synopsis of the story? You know something that will make them want to rush over to Amazon and snatch it right up. 😉

Jessa Landers has a secret crush on her teens’ swim coach. A widow for three years, she’s managing her life and enjoys her freedom—except for long, lonely evenings when she craves an attentive man.

Coach Rick Grant loves being a high school teacher and swim coach. Surrounded by families has him yearning for his own romantic connection—and his eye is on Jessa.

Will Jessa protect the balance of her family life, or take a second chance on love?

Who from this short story would you say is your favorite character and why?

Got to be Jessa, because I wanted to explore a character who takes the step of making a choice just for herself after putting her kids first for several years. I also wanted to write the story in first person and that always gets you into the thoughts and emotions of the character.

I personally, am a purveyor of strange and weird facts, the crazier the fact the easier it sticks in my brain.  Do you have any strange little personality “hiccups”?  What would you say is your strangest one?

Although I write sweet stories, I love action films and am an avid reader of thrillers by Scandinavian authors.

Thank you again Linda for joining us. Before you go, Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

The process of writing is comprised of both storytelling and lots of revision. Know that at least 50% of writing is the time spent perfecting and refining sentences and paragraphs so they are clear and concise.

So there you have it Romantics a great new novella by Linda Carroll-Bradd.

For one of you lucky Romantics Linda is giving away one of her novellas!

From those who leave a comment on this blog, I will draw a name and that person will be eligible for a title of his or her choice from Linda’s backlist. You have until Tuesday, April 23rd 11:59 pm est. to enter and a winner will be randomly chosen. Be sure to include your email address: name(at)internet(dot)com

 

Website: Linda Carroll-Bradd

My blog Linda Carroll-Bradd Blog

Facebook Linda’s Facebook Fan Page

Twitter  Linda’s Twitter Fan Link

 Can Jessa let another man into her life after being a widow for three years? Will Rick ‘s age be a problem for Jessa? Can Rick find a place in Jessa’s  very organized and settled life?

You’ll have to read to find out!

Dipping In A Toe By Linda Carroll-Bradd

Dipping In A Toe By Linda Carroll-Bradd

Dipping In A Toe Amazon Link

Re-readability Rating:

3.5 stars

I could see pulling up my kindle and coming back to read this story for a quick romance fix every so often.

Romance Rating:

3 stars

Some nice flirtation, snappy banter, and a very sweet male lead.

😉