Wednesday, March 30, 2016

To Agitate...or Impell?

By Jeannie Watt

We’re moving within the next few months and I have to buy new appliances. My husband is in charge of choosing the refrigerator because he had some strong ideas about cold storage. Choosing the range was a joint effort and, since I do all the laundry, I assumed I had carte blanc in the washer and dryer department. Assumed. Come to find out, I'm an agitator fan and my husband is all about the impeller. (I think it's because of the HE factor. Guys just love the concept of high efficiency.)

I'm one of those people who enjoy doing laundry. When my husband and I were first married, we drew up an agreement—he would chop all the wood and I would do all the laundry. It was a reasonable agreement when we lived in north Idaho where we…I don’t know…had wood that needed chopped? After moving to Nevada, I definitely got the short end of the stick agreement-wise, but I never renegotiated because (a) I like doing laundry and (b) I don’t trust other people to do my laundry. Things happen--bad things to favorite clothes. If anything is going to happen, it will be due to a dire mistake on my part and, so far, those mistakes have been few and far between. Actually, they’ve been nonexistent.

My husband asked why I didn’t want an impeller washer—after all, they use less water and they’re gentler on clothing.  Well, so far clothing damage has not been a big problem for me. I’ve learned how to not damage clothing using an agitator washer. What I want is the ability to do some damage. When I wash jeans that have been out with the cows, getting you-know-what ground into the denim, I want to really wash them. I want to make them eventually look like a $250 pair of boyfriend jeans that you might buy at Macy’s.  And then maybe I’ll sell them. I want to wash the heck out of the fabrics I’m about to sew so that I know the clothes I make can take a beating once I pour my blood, sweat and tears into their creation. And I really like to agitate towels. I don’t know why. I just do.

We’ve yet to make a final decision, but my husband continues to hold the impeller line. He even said at one point, “Well, maybe we could get you a wringer washer and put it on the porch if you like the old ways so much.” What he didn’t know was that for two summers I did wash clothes with an old gas-powered wringer washer in a remote mining camp my dad ran. My mom taught me how to fold the wet clothing and put shirts through the wringer so that the buttons didn’t break, and the best way to work the thick part of jeans through…lovely times. I told him I would consider it. I wouldn’t want to do all my laundry like that, but nothing beats an old wringer washer for horse blankets.

Are there any agitator washer fans out there? Or am I all alone? If you love your HE impeller washer, please tell me about it, so that I can make an informed decision.

Thank you! 

Their rivalry isn't new…but their attraction is! 
Wild spirit Jolie Brody never dreamed her new boss at the ranch supply store would be Dylan Culver. They haven't seen each other since high school, but he's just as straitlaced as ever. Good thing it's only temporary; Mr. Uptight is in town nursing an injury before he goes back to law enforcement. 
As they work together—surprisingly well—they can't deny their attraction. Letting a kiss lead to love is a commitment Jolie has never had to risk. So why is she now flirting with the possibility of a future with Dylan…a man with a dangerous job that makes everything complicated?

Harlequin   

Monday, March 28, 2016

“The Secret Between Them” Giveaway – by Cathryn Parry

** This contest is closed. Congratulations to Colleen C and Tammy Y! Colleen and Tammy, please send me your mail addresses via my website contact form here so that I may send your prizes.
(If you already have The Secret Between Them, feel free to substitute one of my backlist books.)
Thanks for reading, everyone! **


Good Morning, Harlequin Superromance readers! To celebrate the release of a new story, I have two advance paperback copies of my April 1st Superromance, “The Secret Between Them,” to give away on the blog this week:

They share more than a past 
A Marine wounded, weary and wiser, Kyle Northrup had planned to stay far away from Wallis Point. But after his stepfather’s passing, he must return home and claim his unexpected inheritance: the ice rink he grew up on.

Except he has to share ownership with Jessica Hughes, the hometown girl who got away and whose figure skating career he ended. He’d hoped the rink would save him once more, as it had when he was a grief-stricken youth, but working with Jessica will be hard.
Especially since his teenage infatuation is now full-blown adult attraction. And the last thing he wants to do is hurt Jessica again.

The Secret Between Them is the second, standalone story set in my fictional Wallis Point, NH beach town. The first story, The Long Way Home, featured hearing-impaired lawyer Natalie Kimball. She--and her now-husband Bruce Cole--return as supporting characters in Kyle and Jessica’s story.
My childhood vacations on the New Hampshire seacoast inspired the setting for these two books. Do you have any special memories of a seacoast vacation? Mention a favorite, and from the memories in the comment section, I’ll choose two winners for the book giveaway.

The comment section will close on Friday at midnight. On Saturday, I’ll list the prize winners in this blog. Good luck! And as always, thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Anna Sugden's Prize Winner!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by, and especially those of you commented.

The cats have done their job and chosen a winner. So, without further ado, congratulations to ...

Mary Preston!


Please email me your information, so I can send you a copy of A Perfect Selection. I can send either a Kindle book, or a PDF. You can reach me at anna at annasugden.com.

Hope everyone has a lovely Easter weekend!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Why I write small-town romance...by Rachel Brimble



It's always been a dream of mine to write a series set in the same small town. When I wrote Finding Justice, the first book in the Templeton Cove Stories, I hoped an editor would love it enough to visualize a series that could run and run. Thankfully, my editor Piya Campana, saw just that.

Right now, I am preparing the proposal (first three chapters & synopsis) to send to Piya for book 7 - I know, BOOK 7!! My career with Harlequin is a dream come true.

The books are a mix of mainstream romance and romantic suspense, which I love because it means I am free to write which every sub-genre takes my fancy! I have now have a cast of over 35 characters to pick and choose from who will feature in each book...as well as deciding whether one or two of the characters will come to the forefront and be my next hero or heroine OR whether I want to introduce someone brand new.

It keeps the series exciting for me...and hopefully my readers too!

Book 6, Saved By The Firefighter, is in the editing stage and has been given a release date of November 2016 - I can't wait! This is my first 'firefighter' story and I had a blast writing it. The hero (Trent) and heroine (Izzy) are new characters to the Cove but I have lots of existing characters coming in with cameo roles. I love that the stories are all stand-alone so a new reader to the series can pick up any book that grabs their attention and not become lost.

Templeton Cove Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtVExzpJ6b4

All my characters are British and the fictional seaside town of Templeton Cove is a blend of my childhood holiday destinations in Southern England. Fingers crossed, my beloved series will run and run!

Happy Reading,

Love Rachel x
www.rachelbrimble.com

Saved By The Firefighter - coming Nov 2016
Her Hometown Redemption - Sept 2015
Christmas At The Cove - Nov 2014
What Belongs To Her - March 2014
A Man Like Him - August 2013
Finding Justice - Feb 2013

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Writing into the Storm

by Angel Smits

Today it snowed.  How simple that sentence is.  How not simple this storm was.  I’ve lived here in Colorado all my life, and I’ve never driven in weather like this.  It was a full out blizzard.  Later I learned the wind gusts were 50mph.  We got nearly a foot of snow in places, but who could measure it with gusts like that?  Bare ground sat next to two foot high drifts. 
            I have a great little all-wheel-drive car, and I know how to drive in snow, so I took my time.  I wasn’t in a huge rush to get anywhere, but I did want to get home.  The idea of not moving, inside, where it was warm, definitely filled my mind.    


             But as I drove on, I saw other drivers get stuck and spin their tires.  I knew it wouldn’t take much, and that could be me.  There were moments I couldn’t see the front of my little car much less the road beyond that.  I knew where I was, and yet it looked and felt so different.  I’d stop, wait and soon the swirling wind would move away and I could see again.  Then I’d put my foot back on the gas pedal and keep going.
            Twice I had to turn around because they were closing the roads ahead of me.  There were a couple of times I had to seriously wrack my brain to figure out alternate routes that had the best option of not being closed yet.


            It was an experience. 
            And all that time, alone in my car, gave me time to think.  Since there was no one else to talk to, and the radio wasn’t playing anything relaxing between the road reports, I was stuck with me. 
            Driving today was a whole lot like writing my most recent book.  I got this great idea --leave early to go home—or like the next book in my Chair at the Hawkins Table series that I just finished—let’s write about a ballerina who is deaf.  (I never said all my ideas were good or easy!)    
            So how do we get this trip done?  Not easily.  Just like driving today, I started down one road, and there are things that didn’t work, paths that got shut off, or just didn’t look right or safe.  I played with all the things that needed to go wrong in my character’s life, I knew that she had to be tested and challenged.  I had a whole lot of things not work. 
            But just like driving today, I didn’t stop.  I had to puzzle through roadblocks and corners I’d written myself into.  The prize of getting home, of finishing the book was too tantalizing, too important. 
            When the wind created whiteout conditions, I kept driving, and when I had no idea what was going to happen next in the book, I kept on writing.  A lot of words eventually got thrown out and deleted, but I kept going.  Something on the page is fixable, nothing—is a whole lot like staring at that swirling snow and seeing only white. 


            I’m so glad I kept going.  I finally pulled into my driveway, gunning the engine to get over the drift, and hoping I wouldn’t run into the freezer in the garage.  And I finally turned The Ballerina’s Stand in to my editor—only a “few” months late—hoping I’d accomplished what I set out to do, to write a solid romance about two people I’ve really grown to love. 
            The sigh of relief when I turned off the engine today was almost as deep and loud as the one I gave when my editor said she liked my story.
            Hopefully, you’re safe and warm and home right now, and this is the last winter snowstorm we get for awhile.  I’m not foolish enough to think this is the last book I’ll struggle with, besides where would the fun be in that?  
            (My daughter took the pictures that accompany this story.  I was too busy white knuckling the steering wheel...but you get the drift...)  

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sometimes, Short is Better!

As readers, we all want our favourite authors to write faster and publish more books, more quickly. The wait until the next new release can seem to take forever.

As authors, we strive to write the best books we can and deliver them as quickly as we can. But some of us simply aren't fast writers! A Perfect Compromise came out in February, and my next release won't be until 2017. Sigh.

This has been my dilemma and I hope I've found a solution.


About eighteen months ago, I was asked to take part in an anthology of bite-sized romances for Christmas, Tiny Treats. The challenge was to write a short story, Christmas-themed, featuring one of my New Jersey Ice Cats. How hard can that be, you might think? Well, it's a whole different ball game to write a story that's 1200 words long, when you're used to writing books that are almost 90,000 words long!



So, I gave it a shot and had lots of lovely compliments about A Perfect Party.

Then, I was asked to contribute another short story, in a second Tiny Treats anthology, for St. Patrick's Day. That's how A Perfect Lucky Charm was born. For fun, I offered my readers a free download of those stories, for a limited time, on my website.


Having done those two and had great feedback on them, I decided to do a few more. So, last autumn, I gave away three, holiday-themed, New Jersey Ice Cats short stories on my website. One for Halloween, A Perfect Disguise, one for Thanksgiving, A Perfect Reunion, and one for winter, A Perfect Storm. Then, I wrote A Perfect Bouquet for Valentine's Day.

Again, readers loved them. But, some had only discovered the short stories too late and so had missed out on a couple. Now, we all know what it's like, not to have a complete set! So, I was asked if I could put them in an anthology for readers to purchase.


Always happy to make my readers happy, I created A Perfect Selection. A collection of the six short stories, which I released this month on Amazon and will be available on all platforms shortly. To purchase, simply click on the cover of A Perfect Selection and it will take you to Amazon. Or this link:
http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Selection-New-Jersey-Cats-ebook/dp/B01CJ7H4NC/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 

Hopefully, that's a perfect solution to the problem of being a slow writer and keeping readers happy until the next New Jersey Ice Cats book comes out!

If you'd like to win a copy of A Perfect Selection, all you need to do is comment below and tell me which holiday you'd like to see me write about in my next New Jersey Ice Cats short story.

Friday, March 18, 2016

One Last Lovely


Well! That was a fine week of fun, indeed it was! Here's hoping that all of you who visited us this week had as much fun as the authors did. I'm thinking that now might be the perfect time to sit down. put me feet up, and sip some of that Irish Coffee I was reading about in the blog. But before I leave, there's a couple of things that I must do. 

First, a giant tip o' the hat to all the authors who donated prizes and chipped in help with the running of this week. Special thanks go to: 
  • Mary Sullivan, for compiling the recipes and taking such lovely pictures
  • Anna Sugden, for turning the recipes into a cookbook (more on that in a minute)
  • Tara Taylor Quinn, for our lovely graphic
  • Pamela Hearon, for all the photos
  • Rachel Brimble, for her Nora story & photos
  • Janet Lee Nye, for sharing the fun that is Thor
  • Kristina Knight, for compiling that special Question of the Month and for the photo
  • Jennifer Lohmann, for her fun picture

If you are ever in need of a group of smart, enthusiastic women to help you with a project, I highly suggest you turn to the Super Authors. They are a force to be reckoned with! 

If you missed some of the St. Patrick's posts yesterday, here's a list of our winners. If you won, contact the author donating your prize (look for the post that says (Your Author's) Winner! for contact info). 



Author Winner
Joanne Rock Colleen C
Mary Sullivan Kaylee

Tammy Stoneman Yenalavitch
Nan Dixon Jo's Daughter
Claire McEwen Trinitee Mitchell-Dunn
Kristina Knight Donna Schnur Kunkle
Rachel Brimble Jennifer Craig
Cathryn Parry Amanda Avakian
Janet Nye Diane Sallans
Tara Taylor Quinn  Sally Schmidt
Jennifer Lohmann Agatha Townsend
Sharon Hartley Jackie Wisherd
Anna Sugden Kirsten
Angel Smits Jennifer Long
Pamea Hearon Jean Craven
Lisa Dyson Pamela Lowry
Kris Fletcher Linda May
Harlequin Books Nancy Crocker
Jeannie Watt Heidi Madsen Robbins
Amber Leigh Williams Tammy Rose Dodson

And don't be thinking that we forgot about the last prize we have for you all! As I said up above, all the recipes that were featured here on the blog have been pulled together into one lovely cookbook that you can download, print, or view as you wish. You can find it by clicking here.

(If for any reason that link doesn't work for you, you can get a copy by emailing kris@krisfletcher.com. Leprechauns are only so tech-savvy, you know.)

And with that, I'll be tipping my hat in farewell and leaving you with this blessing: 

A Wish for a Friend  

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!














Harlequin's Winner!


It's been a long day of traveling and adventures, but Lucky is back home once more. Good night, Lucky O'Reader. Maybe we'll see you again next year. 

Our final prize of the night, from Harlequin Books, is a copy of all four March Superromances:  WILD HORSES by Claire McEwen, THE CLOSER HE GETS by Janice Kay Johnson, LOVE BY ASSOCIATION by Tara Taylor Quinn and THE BIG BREAK by Cara Lockwood. And the winner is Nancy Crocker! Nancy, please email Kris Fletcher (kris@krisfletcher.com) with your mailing info, and she will pass it on to the folks at Harlequin.

Many thanks to all who participated in the Luck of the Reader event. But be sure to come back tomorrow. We still have one more gift for you!

Claire McEwen's Winner!

Could there be any other way to close a St. Patrick's Day parade than with a green dragon?


Claire McEwen's winner of a copy of her March book, WILD HORSES, is Trinitee Mitchell-Dunn! Trinitee, please contact Claire (cmcewen.writer@gmail.com) with your mailing info!

Amber Leigh Williams' Winner!

Lucky is busy on St. Patrick's Day, but there's always time to stop and smell the flowers!

Amber Leigh Williams' winner of an autographed copy of HIS REBEL HEART is Tammy Rose Dodson! Tammy, please contact Amber (amber@amberleighwilliams.com) with your mailing info!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Joanne Rock's Winner!

We saw the Girl Guides already, so you KNOW there had to be Boy Scouts in the parade as well!

Joanne Rock's winner of a signed copy of DANCES UNDER THE HARVEST MOON is Colleen C! Colleen, please email Joanne (jrock008@gmail.com) with your mailing info!

Kristina Knight's Winner!

Oh hooray! Lucky escaped from the trap and made it safely to Kristina's place. Where better to hang out than between the pages of a super Super? 


Kristina Knight's winner of an autographed copy of FIRST LOVE AGAIN + some author swag is Donna Schnur Kunkle! Donna, please contact Kristina (kristina@kristinaknightauthor.com) with your shipping info!

Rachel Brimble's Winner (And a Story)!


Here's Rachel and her husband at Ashford Castle in Ireland. Why is Rachel glowing, you ask? Read on! 



Occasionally, something happens in your life that you will never forget for as long as you live. One such thing happened to me in August 2014.

I am a HUGE Nora Roberts/JD Robb fan and have been for years. As I live in England, my chances of ever meeting her were slim to say the least. So when I had an advertisement flash up on my computer screen that she would be doing a one-time book signing in Ireland, I clicked on it immediately.

The venue was a beautiful 5 star, luxury castle hotel in County Mayo. The event would be afternoon tea with Nora, followed by an interview and book signing. The cost of flights and a night at the hotel wasn’t cheap and I didn’t hold out much hope, but I asked (begged!) my husband anyway.

He said he was sorry, but we couldn’t justify the money…

And then he went on to surprise me later that evening saying he’d booked the flights, the tea and a night in the hotel!!

I darn near fainted!

It was everything I’d hoped it would be and more – I got to meet and chat with Nora at the signing, and
again later in the hotel as she walked through the bar. My life was complete!

The hotel and its gardens were stunning and I truly didn’t want to leave – an unforgettable day and night.

Now, how can I persuade my husband to fly to Boonsboro, Maryland for a Nora book signing and a night in her hotel…


Rachel Brimble's winner of a signed copy of HER HOMETOWN REDEMPTION is Jennifer Craig! Jennifer, please contact Rachel (rachelbrimble@googlemail.com) with your shipping info!



Tara Taylor Quinn's Winner!

It wouldn't be a St. Patrick's Day parade without plenty of live music! 

Tara Taylor Quinn's winner of the first three books in her WHERE SECRETS ARE SAFE Series (WIFE BY DESIGN, ONCE A FAMILY, and HUSBAND BY CHOICE) is Sally Schmidt! Sally, please contact Tara (ttquinn@tarataylorquinn.com) with your mailing details!

Angel Smits' Winner!

Thor won a tee shirt for his awesome taste in clover. Think he'll let Lucky borrow it?

Angel Smits' winner of  signed copy of COWBOY DADDY + something special from Angel's trip to Ireland is Jennifer Long! Jennifer, please contact Angel (angel@angelsmits.com) with your shipping info!

Jennifer Lohmann's Winner!

Faith and begorrah, look at this fine looking feller and his leprechaun friend that Jennifer found celebrating the big day!

Jennifer Lohmann's winner of a copy of A SOUTHERN PROMISE is Agatha Townsend! Agatha, please contact Jennifer (jenniferlohmann@gmail.com) with your shipping info!

Sharon Hartley's Winner!

Oh no! Lucky got caught in a trap made by Kris Fletcher's daughter! Use your magic, Lucky!

Sharon Hartley's winner of a signed copy of HER COP PROTECTOR is Jackie Wisherd! Jackie, please contact Sharon (sharonhartley01@bellsouth.net) with your shipping info!

Mary Sullivan's Second Winner!

What would a St. Patrick's Day parade be without Irish Wolfhounds? Or Irish Wolfhounds in socks?


Mary Sullivan's second winner of a copy of her April release, CODY'S COME HOME, is Tammy Stoneman Yenalavitch! Tammy, please contact Mary (maryes@rogers.com) with your shipping info!

Jeannie Watt's Winner!

The Toronto parade featured another Canadian institution - Girl Guide cookies marching down Bloor Street! Lucky prefers the vanilla cookies :-)


Jeannie Watt's winner of a copy of TO TEMPT A COWGIRL and TO KISS A COWGIRL is Heidi Madsen Robbins! Heidi, please contact Jeannie (jeanniewrites@gmail.com) with your shipping details!

Cathryn Parry's Winner!

Lucky was very fond of Pamela Hearon's garden!


Cathryn Parry's winner of an ARC of THE SECRET BETWEEN THEM is Amanda Avakian! Amanda, please contact Cathryn (ceparry@aol.com) with your shipping info!

Janet Lee Nye's Winner!

Janet's cat Thor has a taste for all things St. Patrick. Here's hoping Lucky wasn't holding that clover!

Janet Lee Nye's winner of an autographed copy of SPYING ON THE BOSS is Diane Sallans! Diane, please contact Janet (janlnye(at)Comcast(dot)net) with your shipping info!

Lisa Dyson's Winner!

Back to the parade! Mary Sullivan says that this gentleman has marched in the Toronto parade for the past 29 years!


Lisa Dyson's winner of a copy of CATCHING HER RIVAL and RESORTING TO THE TRUTH is Pamela Lowry! Pamela, please contact Lisa (lisa@lisadyson.com) with your shipping info!

Kris Fletcher's Winner!


Lucky took a trip to Kris' place and had great fun visiting the fairy houses in her garden.

Kris Fletcher's winner of a copy of DATING A SINGLE DAD and A FAMILY COME TRUE is Linda May! Linda, contact Kris (kris@krisfletcher.com) with your shipping info!

Pamela Hearon's Winner!

Pam spotted Lucky O'Reader hiding in a few places, and managed to capture some pictures. Here's the first one!

Pamela Hearon's winner of a copy of RIGHT WHERE WE STARTED is Jean Craven! Jean, contact Pamela (pamelahearon@gmail.com) with your shipping info!

Mary Sullivan's First Winner!

Bagpipes and kilts were found in abundance at the Toronto St. Patrick's Parade!


Mary Sullivan's first winner of a copy of her April release. CODY'S COME HOME, is KAYLEE! Kaylee, please contact Mary (maryes@rogers.com) to share your shipping details!


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