When I read romance, I often fall in love with the characters and the world in which they live. Series are especially exciting to many of us because we get to revisit our favorite characters and learn their story after the happily-ever-after. Do you ever read more slowly so you can savor those last few chapters? Do you count on an epilogue to ease your transition back to reality? I do! Knowing there’s the promise of another escape into that world in a future book helps me deal with the separation anxiety that hits at The End.
I’m sad about leaving my story when I write, too. I become so attached to my characters I don’t want them to leave my head. They are, quite frankly, real to me. Last Spring, when I had the opportunity to be part of a contemporary series about four life-long girlfriends each finding love, I jumped at it.
I dove into the setting as well, choosing the Adirondacks region in upstate New York. I was born and raised there, but moved away when I married. The area holds a special nostalgia for me. I named my fictional small town Starling and nestled it in the mountains about twenty minutes southwest of Lake Placid—the real-life town that hosted the Winter Olympics.
In Christmas Light, the heroine Jade Engel returns to her hometown of Starling for the month of December after eight, long years away. She discovers her former neighbor and best friend, Ben Stephens—once a geek but now a successful documentary film producer—is all grown up. The chemical attraction between them is off-the-charts, but they soon realize they must face their complicated past before they can move forward as a couple. The rural setting and the season adds a magical quality to their journey, with various members of the close-knit community all doing their part to either encourage or thwart Jade and Ben’s budding relationship.
Christmas Light can be read as a stand-alone novella, although if you love series like I do, I’d highly recommend reading the entire series. The four girls appear in each other’s stories—which occur on the same timeline—without giving away the details of their individual romances.
CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK SERIES…
Book 1: This Christmas by Jeannie Moon
Book 2: All I Want for Christmas by Jennifer Gracen
Book 3: Christmas Light by Jolyse Barnett
His Kiss, my second book with Tule Publishing, picks up where Christmas Light left off, beginning with Jade and Ben’s wedding eighteen months later at the beautiful, real-life Sagamore resort (see photo at left) in Lake George, a popular tourist town located a few hours southeast of Starling. In this novel, Jade’s younger brother, reclusive author Jeremy Engel, discovers his soulmate. A number of characters from Christmas Light appear in his story, especially members of the Engel family, and includes scenes on Long Island where the four families gather for an annual clambake. In addition, Jeremy’s love interest, Elizabeth Desmond, is introduced in His Kiss, along with her extended family whose roots reach back to the beginning of Starling. I’m excited about the prospect of returning to Starling one day with Elizabeth’s siblings’ stories and to delve further into the complex connections between the Desmond family and the tiny Adirondack town of Starling.
Like Christmas Light, His Kiss is part of a connected series, where many of the characters from CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK and SUMMER IN NEW YORK appear in each other’s stories, although the connections are looser as we move further out on the branches of the characters’ family trees. Readers can enjoy these longer stories as stand-alone books or read in any order. I’ve read them all and truly enjoy the worlds in which these characters find love.
SUMMER IN NE W YORK SERIES…
Book 1: His Touch by Patty Blount
Book 2: His Kiss by Jolyse Barnett
Here’s a blurb for His Kiss:
After a motorcycle accident and subsequent alcohol abuse, Jeremy Engel has managed to claw his way back from the dark depths of personal hell. He's now a successful comic book author and working on his second book, and when the woman he met while on a rare getaway—the one he hasn’t been able to forget—opens a shop in his neck of the woods, he thinks he's even learned to trust and hope again.
Elizabeth Desmond may have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she's determined to make a success of her shop in the Adirondack tourist town of Lake Placid. And just when she thinks it can’t get any better, the mysterious stranger she kissed on a moonlit resort beach walks back into her life.
But when Jeremy's old demons return, it’s up to Elizabeth to show him they’re not so different after all...
Do you have a favorite series or setting that you love to get lost in? If so, tell us about it. If not, what setting would you like to see in a romance?
I’m giving away an ebook copy of Christmas Light or His Kiss to one lucky commenter, winner’s choice of title and in preferred digital format as available. (Winner must be 18 or older and provide a valid email address within seven days of announcement.) The winner will be announced August 5th, 2015, at http://jolysebarnett.com.
A country girl at heart, Jolyse Barnett is living her own happily-ever-after in suburban Long Island with her real-life hero, two wonderful children, and very furry cat. She can’t cook to save her life but enjoys writing delicious tales for her readers. Connect with Jolyse at http://jolysebarnett.com, which includes all of Jolyse’s social media links. To learn about new releases and be entered automatically into special, member-only giveaways, sign up for Jolyse’s spam-free newsletter.
***Jolyse's winner is Eileen A-W! Eileen, please contact Jolyse via her website with your mailing details!***