Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Robyn Carr's The Family Gathering Review and Giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 1 comment
Robyn Carr became an overnight success halfway through her Virgin River Series after more than thirty years of writing. She's been on the New York Times' and USA Today's bestseller lists ever since. And with good reason.
Her latest bestseller is The Family Gathering, Book 3 in her Sullivan's Crossing series. I fell in love with this series at first book. I eagerly awaited Dakota's story.It was worth the wait. AND I've scored a copy to give away. (I'm keeping mine.)

Blurb: Having left the military, Dakota Jones is at a crossroads in his life. With his elder brother and youngest sister happily settled in Sullivan’s Crossing, he shows up hoping to clear his head before moving on to his next adventure. But, like every visitor to the Crossing, he’s immediately drawn to the down-to-earth people and the seemingly simple way of life.

Dakota is unprepared for how quickly things get complicated. As a newcomer, he is on everyone’s radar—especially the single women in town. While he enjoys the attention at first, he’s really only attracted to the one woman who isn’t interested. And spending quality time with his siblings is eye-opening. As he gets to know them, he also gets to know himself and what he truly wants.

When all the Jones siblings gather for a family wedding, the four adults are drawn together for the first time in a way they never were as children. As they struggle to accept each other, warts and all, the true nature and strength of their bond is tested. But all of them come to realize that your family are the people who see you for who you really are and love you anyway. And for Dakota, that truth allows him to find the home and family he’s always wanted.

You can read this book as a stand-alone novel, but if you haven't already read them, I'm betting The Family Gathering will lure you into exploring the community Robyn created in Sullivan's Crossing. A Carr book is never just about the main characters.  There are so many glorious side stories. And we finally get to meet Sedona.
There are moments in this book that wrung my heart and others I purely rejoice in. I want more Sullivan's Crossing.
If you want to win a copy, enter below. US Only because it's a paperback.
Wishing you a week with a least one unexpected blessing.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Linda O'Connor with a Spring Recipe and a New Romantic Comedy

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 1 comment
Linda O’Connor, author of In the Game Hockey Romance series. (Romantic comedy) stopped by to give us a spring-like recipe and introduce us to her latest book, Behind The Bench. Take it away, Linda.

It’s April and we’re in the midst of a snowstorm in Ontario, Canada! I thought I’d share a spring-like recipe to try to nudge Mother Nature into giving us warmer temperatures. Everyone think spring!! 

Lemon Mousse
Soften 1 package of gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water for 1-2 minutes. Then stir over low heat until dissolved.
Add:  1 Tbsp. lemon rind
            ½ cup fresh lemon juice
            ½ cup white sugar
Stir in 2/3 cup plain yogurt OR Greek vanilla yogurt 0% fat.
Whip 1 cup whipping cream with ½ cup sugar and fold into above. Chill 3-4 hours.  Serves 4.

I’m very excited to celebrate the release of Behind the Bench, the second book of the In the Game Hockey Romance series. It’s included in the Coming in Hot 2:Rescue Me, a collection of 16 contemporary and paranormal medical romances – for only 99cents!!

Behind the Bench (In the Game Hockey Romance series, Book 2)
Dr. Danni Angelo is the team physician for the Clarington Quakes hockey team. She’s worked hard to earn the players’ respect, but the new coach, Trey Mason, is stirring things up, and Danni’s worried her job may be in jeopardy.

Trey finds Danni…distracting. Beauty, brains, and sexy moves on the ice have him uncomfortably attracted. He’s the new guy on the block. He has a reputation to build and a standard to set. The last thing he needs is a complication.

When the team spirals out of control and Danni and Trey get caught up in a drug scandal, things heat up on and off the ice. It’s a whole new game plan…Behind the Bench.

Danni watched the tail end of the in-house broadcast of the news conference and flicked off the screen. How could you not be impressed with that? Trey Mason was confident and eloquent, and spoke in a relaxed and engaging way. The beach-bum blond hair, sculpted cheekbones, and easy smile would win over the non-hockey fans, and his passion and knowledge of the game would impress the followers. He had it all, and landing in a town like Clarington must be a dream come true. For him.
And a nightmare for her.
She had worked part-time as the team physician for the Clarington Earthquakes, Quakes for short, for the past three years. It had taken time to gain the players’ confidence. Being a female physician for a men’s hockey team hadn’t been easy, but she’d built a solid professional relationship.
She loved everything about the job – the energy of the games, working with high-level athletes, and a new clinic in a state-of-the-art arena. She certainly didn’t want it to change because of a new head coach.
Trey Mason couldn’t fire her. Theoretically. That would be up to the owners of the team. He could, however, make her life miserable. And if there was friction between them, it would affect the players, and ultimately, what affected the players influenced the owners. There were two other physicians who shared the job with her and a few more who would be eager to take it on.
He, on the other hand, could be set for a long run if he delivered half of what he’d promised today. She certainly hadn’t seen any charm when he’d walked into the pressroom, and yet it came out in spades when he spoke. She could only hope that her initial impression had been wrong because, between the two of them, it wasn’t likely that he’d be leaving any time soon. Bottom line – she needed to suck it up and get along with the new guy. She sighed. She hated sucking up. She’d thought she was done with that. Apparently not. She shook her head and gritted her teeth. Time to smile and play nice.
 Sounds like so much fun. And you know I love your writing.
Buy links:

Author Bio
Linda O’Connor started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at the local home décor store. It turns out she loves writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician, and it shows up in her stories :D ). She hangs out at www.lindaoconnor.net.
Laugh every day. Love every minute.

Website:  http://www.lindaoconnor.net
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LindaOConnorAuthor
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LindaOConnor98
Newsletter Sign up: http://www.lindaoconnor.net/contact/
Thanks for being here, Linda. Happy reading, everyone.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

In the Meantime

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with No comments
I am drowning in taxes revisions. So I give you two funnies and two great book recommendations from authors Georgette Heyer and Penny Reid.

This is Mrs.Hughes and she's hilarious.
Video is 3 minutes 33 seconds and So worth it.
If the video doesn't play, Click here.

This is my grandson Walter talking to his day on his Apple (38 seconds)
           If the video doesn't play click here.

I am reading the grand mistress of Regency, Georgette Heyer  Just finished Regency Buck. Next is False Colors  Have you ever read her? If so, what's your favorite? This is mine.
I'm also reading the hilarious Knitting in the City series by Penny Reid.
What are you reading? Happy week to you my friends.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Meet Madelaine Grant. #Giveaway Romantic Comedy "A Total Mismatch"

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 4 comments

Madelaine Grant’s first novel, A Total Mismatch, is a romantic comedy with a bit of steam and I loved it. I loved it enought to buy a copy to give away to one luck reader. (Rafflecopter at the bottom of post.)
Blurb: Fate brings polar opposites Samantha (Sam) Peabody and Jordan Hart together. Free spirit Sam is an artist, occasional belly dancer, and sloppy housekeeper while Jordan is a lawyer, fitness and neatness freak, and lover of ice cream.
The one thing they have in common is their dislike of big, fussy weddings.
After a fight with her oldest sister, Andrea, Sam decides not to attend Andrea’s lavish wedding. When Jordan is invited to a wedding, he asks Sam to accompany him, not knowing it’s Sam’s sister’s affair. Complicating Sam’s busy life is an offer from a local craft beer company to belly dance for a TV ad and become the symbol of their new beer company. 
Sam’s disastrous first marriage and the difficult dynamics in her family make her insecure about a new relationship. Besides, she hates the idea of marriage. Can Jordan’s persistence win Sam over and dissolve her fears? 

Maddie, tell us about yourself.
I’ve always loved to read and from the age of ten wanted to become a writer. 
Fate intervened and I became an artist for most of my life. But the desire to write never completely went away. 
About eighteen years ago I joined Romance Writers of America and my local chapter Tampa Area Romance Authors (TARA). Exposure to experienced writers and craft workshops helped me to hone my skills. Networking with other writers gave me the chance to meet one of the editors at True Confession magazine. 
I pitched a possible story and, after several revisions, saw it in print. That was probably one of the most thrilling moments of my writing career. 
I wrote other stories for that magazine and one for True Story magazine. A romance magazine called “Arabella” was eager to print one of my short stories and I signed a contract but before it could be printed they closed shop. 
I eventually contracted for two erotic novellas with Extasy Books.  My first full-length romantic comedy, “A Total Mismatch” was released as an e-book by Soul Mate Publishing on November 22 and came out in print on March 14. 

I collect"Firsts." Can you tell me about your call from Soul Mate saying they wanted to publish A Total Mismatch?
When I submitted the first few chapters of “A Total Mismatch” to Debby Gilbert, head editor at Soul Mate Publishing, she rejected the story. However, she left the door open for resubmission if I was willing to revise those chapters. She gave me two pieces of advice. Start with an action and make it more ‘chick lit’. I spent a few days pondering those two bits of counsel and wondered if I wanted to bother changing things. Then again, I reasoned, what did I have to lose? I hurried to my local library and took out a few books in the ‘chick lit’ genre. Flipping through them, I noticed the breezy, playful writing and decided I could do that. As far as starting with an action, I managed that feat as well.  I sent those revised chapters back to Debby and waited to her response – which took a while as she’s a busy editor. I’d almost forgotten about “A Total Mismatch “since I was in the middle of my second book and completely engrossed in the characters. Debby’s next email informed me that she liked the revision and would I send her the whole manuscript. Well, of course I would. However putting everything together in perfect order took a week or so. I sent it to her and then went back to my current project, “The Sweet Touch”.  About a month later, when I was least expecting it, I received an email from Debby. The first few words will be forever engraved on my psyche.  They said “Great news. I loved the story.” And with those few words my very first full length book was on its way to publication.  It’s been a thrilling journey, tortuous and difficult at times but well worth it. Learning how to make ‘track changes’ was not easy. I must have watched You Tube half a dozen times before the method sunk in. But I finally mastered it.

Tell me about your life as a visual artist
My other passion in life is painting. In fifth grade my art teacher, Mrs. Farrell, told me I used colors well and could become an artist. Rushing home with this news I told my mother I was going to become an artist. 
Her reply was not a positive one. She cautioned me I’d end up living in a garret in Greenwich Village and probably starve. Not knowing what a garret was, her response didn’t bother me very much. I stuck to my goal and became a commercial artist doing mostly fashion illustration and graphic design. 
When I moved to Stamford, Ct. I started teaching art to children and soon made teaching a full-time endeavor. Eventually I became Assistant Director of Art at the museum, which was a really fun job. Along the way I returned to college at night and obtained a graduate degree in Counseling Education. That led to an interest in Art Therapy. I took graduate courses in that field and became a registered art therapist. Wow. That's a wonderful field.
My interest in painting never ceased but it wasn’t until I moved to Florida with my husband that I began to paint full time at my own studio.
Now I divide my creative time between writing and fine art. I love both fields and feel very fortunate to be able to do both art forms .
For my writing I use the pen name Madelaine Grant. My painting is under my real name, Madelaine Ginsberg.  To see images of my paintings just Google Florida Contemporary Artist Madelaine Ginsberg and you’ll get an idea of my work. I’m an abstract painter but my artwork is inspired by nature.

Tell us about A Total Mismatch
Romantic comedy “A Total Mismatch” takes polar opposites Samantha Peabody and Jordan Hart on a wild courtship ride from lavish weddings and fine art to belly dancing and barroom brawls. This rollicking journey includes the best flavors of ice cream in New York City and a touch of tai chi.
This is the beginning of Chapter One from Maddy's Website. You can read the entire chapter there.

    She was late. Samantha Peabody jumped out of bed and dashed to the bathroom. No time for a shower. She splashed cold water on her face, brushed her teeth and pulled a comb through tangled red hair. God what a mess. With five minutes to spare she slipped into a turtleneck, sweat shirt, pants and sneakers. On her way out she grabbed a yoga mat and a protein bar, ignored the frantic meowing of her two fat cats, hurried down the steps of her brownstone on the upper West Side of Manhattan and ran six blocks to the Y.
 Breathless she hurried to the reception desk. “Where’s the tai chi class?”
 Without looking up the blonde-haired woman said, “Down the hall, third door to your left.”
 Ten minutes late already. Taking a calming breath before opening the door, Sam slowly entered the room. Twenty pairs of eyes stared in her direction. The instructor, a tall, dark-haired man wearing black slacks and shirt looked at her in surprise. “You’re here for tai chi?”
 Nodding she edged in trying to look inconspicuous.
 “You won’t need a yoga mat.” He started to demonstrate one of the moves while new-age music played softly.
 Feeling dismissed, Sam edged her way to the rear, dropped the mat on a chair and tried to find a spot for herself. Beads of perspiration dripped down her neck and back. It was chilly that April morning and she seized whatever was handy. Now the turtleneck and sweatshirt were much too warm.
Jordan Hart rarely showed annoyance but this latest arrival ticked him off. First, she was tardy and second, she was garbed in the most garish colors he’d ever seen. An emerald green turtleneck peeked from a hot pink sweatshirt. The woman’s bright red hair was pushed under a sparkly gold headband which matched her gold sneakers. Purple sweatpants completed the outfit. The yoga mat she carried was also green. The crazy colors hurt his eyes. Where did she think she was going? A circus was the only place he could think of. He tried to avoid looking at her thus minimizing contact but her clumsy attempts to follow along made that difficult. She didn’t seem to know her left from her right. Hopeless, he decided.  Absolutely hopeless.  
 At the end of the class Jordan spent a few moments giving handouts of the tai chi moves he’d presented. He chatted with a few students he’d known from previous classes and welcomed newcomers. The late arrival was the last to leave. She approached hesitantly clutching her yoga mat.
 “Sorry I was late,” she mumbled, not quite meeting his eyes.
 He shrugged indifferently and handed her one of the printed sheets he’d prepared.  Tempted to say more, he held his tongue. Perhaps if he was lucky, she wouldn’t return.  There was something familiar about her, though. Where had he seen someone with that bright red hair? Whatever, he couldn’t remember, which was just as well.   
Sam could tell the instructor didn’t like her. His expression was contemptuous, as if she’d broken some holy law by coming in late and bringing a yoga mat. She felt she’d met him before. But where? Nothing came to mind and she decided it wasn’t worth pursuing.  He was good-looking in a macho kind of way. Definitely not her type at all, especially in view of the scorn she saw in his eyes. Well, she didn’t care one iota about his opinion or the class. With her head held high, she left the room without any plan to return. She didn’t need him or tai chi.  
 Sam walked the six blocks back to her brownstone. No point in hurrying. She had an hour to shower and change, maybe even grab a bite for breakfast. Her job at the gallery started at ten. What a waste of money and time this morning had been, she thought, a frown creasing her forehead. The instructor had that superior air as if anyone who didn’t know tai chi was a complete loser. It brought back unpleasant memories of her ballet teacher. Her mother insisted Sam take ballet lessons at age seven. The ballet teacher told her mother Sam was the worst student she’d ever had.  “Now what’s to become of you?” her mother had said. “You’re much too tall for your age and awkward too.” Sam never forgot those words. The one bright spot in her dance experiencer was learning how to belly dance in college. There were no directions in that dance. She’d even done professional gigs with her best friend, Beth Fuller, at the Blue Monkey restaurant owned by Beth and her husband, Sean, and at several bachelor parties.
 When Sam climbed the stairs to her front door and opened it, her two cats, Mushi and Pepper, threw themselves at her meowing piteously.
 “Okay, okay, I’ll feed you.” Sam dropped the yoga mat in the hallway on top of several pairs of shoes, cat toys and other clutter and strode to the small kitchen to fill their bowls. Pulling off her sweatshirt and sliding out of her sneakers, she rummaged in the fridge for something to eat. The protein bar was long gone. Did she have time for an omelet? Glancing at the clock she decided to simplify her menu and opted for toast, cheese and a cup of peppermint tea.
 By nine thirty she was on her way to the Finch/Peabody Gallery in the East Village.

When Beth called that evening to check on her reaction to the class, Sam was tempted to tell a small fib but she resisted. “I didn’t really like it,” she confessed and proceeded to explain. “I’m definitely going to the yoga class tomorrow night. Maybe that will work out better and I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn.” Beth was the one who’d suggested tai chi originally. She’d told Sam tai chi helped with focusing and concentration besides good exercise. Sam was always trying to lose those extra fifteen pounds she’d put on since college.
“By the way what’s happening with your sister’s wedding?” Beth asked.
“You really don’t want to know,” Sam replied.

What are you currently working on?
My current WIP is a contemporary romance with recipes titled “The Sweet Touch”. The heroine teaches nutrition and gardening at several elementary schools. She believes a mostly raw food diet is the best way to eat. The hero owns a chain of restaurants specializing in steaks. Among other things the hero is attracted to the heroine because her large brown eyes are the color of melting chocolate and, being a chocoholic, he’s impressed.
I love the premise. Thank you for being here, Maddy. 
You can reach Maddy through her Website http://www.madelainegrant.com

Enter the Rafflecopter to win a copy. Happy reading, all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway