Saturday, August 1, 2015

August 2015 Releases

Sweet Southern Nights
Liz Talley

One kiss can change everything 

Eva Monroe is always cool under pressure. As a firefighter, it's part of the job. But after kissing Jake Beauchamp in a moment of confusion, she's struggling to keep it together. Jake's her best friend and coworker—two very good reasons why crossing this line is a bad idea. 

Yet something between them must've changed, because one kiss isn't nearly enough—for either of them. But Jake is haunted by a past tragedy and isn't the commitment type. With more than just Eva's heart on the line, she needs to end things now before this fire burns out of control.

Secret Garden 
Cathryn Parry

Hidden from the world… 

A reclusive artist in the Scottish Highlands, Rhiannon MacDowall is an enigma. Few people know about her carefully structured life, or why she hides within the protection of her family's estate. Until an errant golf ball changes everything…

Colin Walker was once Rhiannon's best friend. Now he's a pro golfer on the verge of ruin who's returned to Scotland on family business. But as much as Rhiannon tries to keep Colin out, their connection remains—and turns into something both exhilarating and terrifying. Something that threatens the foundations of Rhiannon's safe little world.

Her Second Chance Family
Holly Jacobs

 Good can come out of bad 

If it wasn't for the tragic accident ten years earlier, Audrey Smith might never have taken in the three foster kids she loves so dearly. And if it wasn't for the new addition to her home—a troubled teenage thief—she wouldn't be fantasizing about Sawyer Williams.

Make no mistake—Sawyer's the victim here. He's the one who was robbed by Audrey's daughter. But teaching the teen a lesson rather than punishing her makes Sawyer a superhero in Audrey's eyes. Someone who can forgive and forget… That is until another break-in rocks their community, threatening Audrey's family and her future with Sawyer.

Yesterday's Gone
Janice Kay Johnson

Tomorrow's a new beginning… 

When a digitally aged photo of a girl named Hope Lawson is posted online, Bailey Smith can't deny the similarity to herself. But could she really be the same woman who was abducted as a child twenty-three years ago?

When she meets Detective Seth Chandler, who opened the cold case of Hope's disappearance, suddenly everything changes. Not only does Bailey have a family she barely remembers—and a sister she's never met—she's connecting with a man for the first time. A man who's loving and gentle. But Bailey's not sure she's ready to be found: by him or the parents she once lost.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

RWA Red Carpet

The RWA National Conference in New York City is behind us now, and I think I speak for all the Super authors when I say that a blast was had by all. Rather than tell you how amazing everything and everyone was, I'm going to let these pictures speak for themselves.

We begin with a blackmail shot - er, I mean, a candid photo - of the Superromance editors rehearsing a dance number for the Harlequin party.
Then it was off to the Waldorf Astoria ...
... for the Harlequin Black and White Ball!

Nan Dixon was there

So were Jules Bennett (Desire and Special Edition author), Joanne Rock (Superromance), Danica Favorite (Love Inspired Historical) and Dana Nussio (Superromance)

Nan Dixon, Pamela Hearon, and Anna Sugden
Jeannie Watt, in a dress she made - yes - herself. The pattern was from 1960. It stood up well, methinks.
A pair of the famous Harlequin party dancing socks

Pamela Hearon, Cathryn Parry, and Angel Smits

The Starlight room before the dancing began

Another shot of the Starlight room. Claire McEwen is in the black top and white tutu.

Nan toasts us as we depart the party and head to the Rita & Golden Heart awards ceremony
Claire McEwen, Pamela Hearon, Angel Smits and Janet Lee Nye with their Super fans, ready to cheer for our Rita finalists.

Yes, Jeannie Watt made this dress as well, this time from a 1952 pattern. Isn't she amazing?
Here's a better shot of those Super fans (made by Janet Nye, that talented woman), being put to good use by Pamela Hearon and Angel Smits.

Janet Lee Nye with Rita award winning Harlequin author Tiffany Reisz

My favorite picture of the entire conference - the Superromance authors who made it to the Meet and Greet session. Smart, funny, talented, and dedicated, these women rock the publishing world.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Acts of kindness

Mary Sullivan

I am always amazed by the acts of kindness I see that pop up out of nowhere.

Recently, I was walking down the street with my sister when we noticed something strange. A man stood beside his parked car with his hood up and booster cables hooked up to his battery. My first natural thought was that he was waiting for a friend or a roadside assistance service to come give him a boost.

As cars passed by and he waggled the cables at the drivers I realized he was hoping for a good Samaritan to stop and help. It didn't take long. While I watched, an SUV stopped then pulled forward onto a side street, reversed and turned around until his and the stranger's car were nose to nose. It was a busy corner and the turn tricky, but he pulled it off to help out a stranger. I was impressed!

So many people are in a rush these days to get where they need to go, so it was wonderful to see a man take a few minutes out of his day to help someone he didn't know.

This happened in my hometown of Toronto. I've heard it said many times that this is a cold city and yet, I see these kinds of things happening regularly.

A short while ago, an elderly woman fell down on a busy street near where I live and you should have seen how many people stopped to help her and then stayed with her to wait for the ambulance.

A taxi driver made an impression while the PanAm games were on in the city. A young athlete left her wallet in his car after paying her fare. He was a distance away before he realized what she had done and, instead of dropping it off at a police station, drove all the way back to the athlete's village to try to find her. He did and the story had a happy ending.

Have you witnessed any acts of kindness that really stood out for you?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Irreplaceable, Inimitable and Classic: How Do Characters and Actors Become Memorable?

As part of my research for my next book, I watched the great classic The Maltese Falcon for the first time in my life. The classic film noire starring Humphrey Bogart, based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett, is about hardboiled detective Sam Spade (Bogart) who get tangled up in a web of lies and secrets as he searches for the person who killed his partner and what the murder has to do with a legendary jewelled artifact.

The stuff dreams are made of...
As I watched, I started thinking about the proliferation of movie remakes and how Bogart is one of those rare actors who cannot be replaced or emulated. I spent an unworthy amount of brain space recasting The Maltese Falcon with contemporaries, but Bogart had no equal. Writes Tom Shone in Slate:Bogart is one of the few Hollywood actors recognizable entirely in silhouette—the true mark of an icon.” It’s true: few actors have achieved his status—being on the A-list doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Bogart embodies. Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, and Leonardo DiCaprio are all accomplished A-list actors who’ve played a wide range of roles over several decades, but I think you’d agree they don’t quite measure up.

Think of it this way: If I tried to suggest a remake of Casablanca with someone like George Clooney in the roll of Rick, I’d probably be run out of town. No offense to Mr. Clooney.

So what makes a character or an actor irreplaceable? The answer to the question is as elusive as that “star quality” directors, producers and agents look for in talent—that particular je ne sais quoi that even scientists have tried to measure and qualify. One might argue Bogart has the advantage of time and timing on his side—after all, he was making movies like Sabrina and The Big Sleep back in the golden age of the silver screen, during one of the world’s most transformative eras in world history. He and his contemporaries have had a lifetime or more to marinate in popular culture history, waxing from classic to cliché and mellowing to nostalgic.

This all got me thinking about the heroes we read about in romance. With so many powerful CEOs, tycoons, sheikhs, princes, athletes, working heroes and single dads inhabiting the world of romance novels, how do writers make their characters memorable? How is Rhett Butler more memorable than any other rogue in romance fiction? Did Clark Gable’s performance in the film solidify his character? Or is it simply that Gone with the Wind is a seminal a piece of work in the romance genre and Rhett Butler is the ultimate bad boy?

Another example of a memorable hero is Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy. He’s been portrayed by numerous actors on stage and screen over the years, yet Colin Firth’s portrayal in the BBC version is one of the most enduring. He was so iconic in this role that Firth even played a version of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 film adaptation of Bridget Jones’ Diary, a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, made six years after the BBC version of the Jane Austen tale. Talk about typecasting!

Is it something about a particular actor in a particular role that crystalizes a literary figure or fictional character in the collective consciousness? Do movie adaptations ruin or strengthen the inimitability of particular actors or characters?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. Bona fide Bogart scholars have written tomes about the enduring figure that is Humphrey Bogart. I like to think part of the appeal of such characters and actors is their mystique—that we can’t qualify or quantify their appeal. Sometimes thinking about it too hard takes some of the shine off them.

The one thing I do know for certain: they should never, ever remake Casablanca.

Here’s looking at you, Bogie.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Little About Me...Rachel Brimble

As I had a complete brain freeze of what to blog about today, I thought I'd complete a self-interview so you lovely visitors can learn a little more about goes!

1. Tell us 4 things most readers wouldn't know about you.

- I love to knit
- I have a phobia of bridges
- I regularly eat four jelly donuts from our local bakery in one sitting ;)
- I was rescued by helicopter from a hotel roof during the 2010 French floods

2.What is your favorite genre to read? and what is your favorite genre to write?

My favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense – although a close second is historical from either the Tudor or Victorian eras.

3. What is the most challenging aspect of writing romantic suspense?

The plotting! I LOVE writing romantic suspense but getting the suspense thread and relationship thread right is tricky. I start out with a sketchy plan but it always ends up completely different thaN I thought at the beginning. ‘Upping the stakes’ is the most important element and I constantly worry about it.

4. If you could be a character in any of your novels, which one would you be?

I love Cat in Finding Justice – she’s a feisty, hardworking cop who has all sorts of personal problems going on. Yet she manages to balance them and keep her heart in the right place. I really enjoyed creating her and telling her story. She’s the protagonist of book one in my ongoing series with Harlequin, but also features in books two and three.

 5. What is your favorite book?

For a classic – Gone With The Wind

For modern – The Chesapeake series by Nora Roberts or The Virgin River series by Robyn Carr

The next book in my Templeton Cove Stories series is out in September and available for pre-order. Here's the blurb & links:

She's back to right her wrongs 

When Tanya Todd returns to Templeton Cove, she knows better than to expect a warm welcome. She burned a few bridges on her way out of town, and making amends won't be easy. First on her list is the man whose heart she carelessly shattered, Liam Browne. 

Seeing the successful criminal lawyer after all these years, Tanya is interested in more than just Liam's forgiveness. As they work together to bring the man who hurt her sister to justice, the attraction between them sizzles. Suddenly Tanya's second chance could include a future with Liam…if she can prove she's changed.

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