Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Well, Look at The Bright Side ...!

by Michelle Monkou

I've thought about that phrase -- well, look at the bright side ... and how it started to become ingrained in my life from time that I was young girl. The advice probably was of little comfort to me because the upbeat sentiment usually followed something that would have made me sad or angry. But it was something that my parents would say, especially my father, to boost my spirit.

Nowadays, I find myself often sharing that bit of advice with my children, with other family members, and friends. My gems of wisdom and experience are often met with groans of protest or frustration to stop with the "wise elder" approach.

But you know what? Thre is nothing wrong with hope and optimism.

There is purpose to looking at the bright side life. Doesn't mean that you are oblivious to what is wrong or what is bad or unacceptable. Doesn't mean that you can't be angry, upset, or disgusted.

And if there isn't a myriad of reasons for that bright side to show itself, then the main lesson might simply be that you have survived to live another day, to have a better chance, to overcome the odds.

As a writer of romance novels, I write about hope and optimism within each story. I bring imperfect people together with imperfect lives and toss in challenges and opportunities to test their strengths, trigger their weaknesses, and force them to dig deep to be the hero or heroine of their story as they fall in love.

Happy ever after is that bright side that we celebrate long after the story ends and the readers fondly reminisce about the characters. Romance books are not only for entertainment, but can be handy tools of life lessons reminding us to see and believe in our humanity and capacity to love.

Looking at the bright side ... don't underestimate its power.

All the best,


Monday, February 27, 2017

Five Fav Shelfies

by Joanne Rock
My actual shelves

I’ve been on the road and away from my bookshelves lately. I miss them! As a book lover, I find it fun and inspiring to work while surrounded by stories I love. Plus, when I want to promote my own books or run a contest, it’s tricky to manage when I’m not within arm’s reach of my personal archives to take photos and post online.

I asked one of my sons back home to take some photos of my books for me, and in describing to him what I wanted, I got thinking about my five favorite shelfies—bookshelf shots that are art for art’s sake. I follow lots of them with the bookstagram hashtag on Instagram or shelfie tag on Tumblr. I know… some people follow cute animal pics. I like following books.

Anyhow, here are some of my favorite kinds of book pics:

PopSugar - see full article here
Rainbow- I think I love this motif because I’d never copy it in real life. Who could possibly USE a bookshelf organized by color, after all? I tend to group books by theme on my shelves. Medieval history in one place. Decorating in another. Romance goes together. Literary fiction has a place. But if you start grouping by color? I’d never find what I needed! However, it’s so pretty to look at and makes you focus on the physical joy of a book as opposed to the content. And sometimes, that’s really fun.

Teacups and Flowers- Less a shelfie than a book montage, the photograph of a beloved cover with coordinating teacup or flowers has timeless appeal! A colorful Harry Potter cover next to an equally jazzy bouquet or a quirky mug. A classic Jane Austen novel beside a teacup on white linen. It makes me want to run to the library and start reading.

White – Like the rainbow, I could never go for a color theme, but I’ve seen shelves where people wrap their books in protective papers so they all match. All white paper wraps are insanely pretty! I like the clean look of lovely white rooms that feel like a breath of fresh air. And to give the white some texture and depth with one book spine after another is so beautiful.

Vintage... so pretty!
Vintage- The history lover in me could stare at vintage book bindings for days. Gold leaf. Worn leather. A hint of must. It makes me wonder who else has held the same books as me, and how many other minds have wrestled with the ideas in those tombs. There’s a beautiful sense of connection to share a book, or maybe to find an insightful marginal note scratched eons ago in a margin. It’s what makes estate sale shopping so rewarding.

Fairy lights- My fanciful romantic assures me every bookshelf in the world is just a little bit better with fairy lights. I would fret that too much heat would hurt my precious titles, so LEDs are a must with a little bit of distance from the books themselves. But I think seeing the tiny twinkling lights around a bookshelf reminds me of the transporting magic of a story. One of my favorite quotes is from the storyteller Clarissa Pinkola Estes who talks about the power of story this way, “Whenever a tale is told, it becomes night. No matter where the dwelling, no matter the time, no matter the season, the telling of tales causes a starry sky and a white moon to creep from the eaves.” Fairy lights help give that feeling, like the stars are coming out as night falls and a story is about to begin...

Win my April release!
What about you? Have you ever followed the art of book photos? How do you like to see a shelf arranged? Share with me this week on the blog and I’ll give one random commenter a copy of a red-spine book for your red themed book shelf—an advance copy my upcoming Harlequin Desire, The Magnate’s Mail-Order Bride. In the meantime, please be on the lookout for the next book in my Harlequin Superromance series, "Heartache, TN," Wishes at First Light, available March 1. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Eve Gaddy: Inspiration

Whenever I start a new book I look for pictures of people who might be inspiration for my hero and heroine. I'll add in other secondary characters--people, dogs, cats, horses. I also find pictures of settings, such as the beach, the mountains, a ranch or wherever the book is set. I look for houses, images of something important in the book, or clothes the characters might wear. I use Scrivener to write in now and it makes importing pictures so easy. I also use Pinterest to make a private board for each book. As soon as the book is published I’ll make the board public.

My most recent book, The Cowboy and the Doctor, is coming out in May. It’s the fourth Gallagher brother’s story. Dylan is the only one of the guys who isn’t a doctor. He’s very much the cowboy. I had so much fun with the pictures for it. I now know a lot about Norwegian Fjords, the type of horses Dylan raises. And I have lots of pictures too. Since there were dogs in the story, I had to look for them too.

I have several pictures of the hero but this one is the picture that inspired me every time I looked at it. It fits Dylan Gallagher perfectly.

Samantha should be in scrubs but I couldn’t find a picture of a woman in scrubs that I liked.:)

When I got the mock up of the cover I fell absolutely in love with it! Talk about perfect for the book!

The Cowboy and the Doctor

Dylan Gallagher loves playing the field. The only serious relationship he's ever had was with his horses and his ranch, and he had no intention of ever changing that... Until he met Dr. Samantha Striker, a challenge too tempting to resist. 

Samantha Striker doesn't fall easily, not even for Dylan and his heart-melting charm. But she can't deny that the more time they spend together, the steamier their relationship becomes. Soon, she finds that their relationship is more than just simple desire. 

When Samantha is threatened by a series of incidents, each one more terrifying than the last, she realizes that someone doesn't want her to be happy–with Dylan or anyone else. Can they find the man responsible before his actions turn from dangerous to deadly, and Dylan loses the women he's discovering he can't live without? 

Do pictures ever inspire your imagination? Do you ever see a picture and make up a story to go with it? It doesn't have to be a picture of a person. There are all sorts of images that spark my imagination. What about you?

Visit me on the web, Facebook or Pinterest.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Laura Drewry: Wish Lists

It’s my birthday next week and when my Oldest Darling asked me what I would like, I told him the truth: I would like Chinese food for dinner. But not just that. I'd like someone else to order it, someone else to either pick it up or answer the door when it arrives, someone else to set the table and I'd really like someone else to clean up afterwards.  

If you’re a parent, I bet you can relate, can’t you? We don’t need gifts, we don’t need big bouquets of flowers and we don’t need expensive dinners out. All we need is for someone else to take care of the cooking and cleaning for one day. :)

When I was a kid, though, my wish list was a little longer - and a whole lot stranger. We didn’t have many “extras” growing up, but Mom and Dad worked hard to make sure my three sisters and I never went without, and you can bet your boots that when one our birthdays came around, our folks knocked themselves out to give us the one thing we really wanted. I don’t honestly remember most of those things I “just had to have” back then, but I do remember a few because they were so weird.

One year it was my own jug of Hawaiian Punch because the girl down the street always had it in her fridge and I though she was one of the most exotic creatures in the world, so clearly that had to mean that I, too, would become exotic if I drank this entire jug full of high fructose corn syrup and sodium hexametaphosphate. Shockingly, I think the only thing I became was sick to my stomach, but that's a whole different story. Another year I just had to have my own bottle of maraschino cherries. I know, it makes me shudder to think of it now, too, but I'd been introduced to the wonder of the Shirley Temple, and what was a Shirley Temple without a cherry? And yes, if you're wondering, I ate every one of them.

Despite how it might seem up to this point, not everything was about food. :) One of my all-time favourite gifts was my Holly Hobby doll because it added to my belief that I must be related to the Ingalls family in my Little House books; I mean, I did, after all, share the same first name with the girl in the books and that had to mean something, right? 

I still have her, too, stored safely away in my trunk with Mrs. Beasley. 

I'd love to hear about some of your weird or wonderful birthdays. Do you have specific traditions, do have you have the same cake every year, or do you pretty much ignore the day all together? :) This year I'm extending my birthday fun an extra day because my new book, CATCH AND RELEASE (Book 3 in my Fishing for Trouble series) comes out on the 28th and I'm throwing an online party to celebrate, so I hope you'll join me. I have an amazing line up of guest authors who'll be there and I have it on good authority that there'll be prizes and giveaways, so come on over and be part of the fun!

   OFF THE HOOK                                         LURED IN                                           CATCH & 
          (Book 1)                                                   (Book 2)                                               (Book 3)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Virginia Heath: What to Buy that Difficult Person?

My husband and I have reached THAT point in our lives. The point where you have a house filled with stuff. Stuff we have meticulously chosen to last for ages because our kids are older and we don't have to worry about finger-paints on the furniture any more. We both have wardrobes filled with clothes, a kitchen stocked with every labour-saving appliance known to man and a loft and garage crammed with more stuff we have no place for and should probably get rid of.

Which means buying Christmas and birthday presents for each other is a nightmare, especially as we managed to be born in the two worst months of the year- January and February. Birthdays so close to Christmas that it is practically impossible to buy a gift that is unique, wonderful and produces the eyes-wide awe you want to witness when somebody opens one of your gifts.

A few years ago, we started to gift each other memories instead. Experiences and moments which last far longer than that expensive bottle of perfume or yet another sweater. Some of our 'memories' have been expensive, but not everything has to coast and arm and a leg. So below is some ideas to inspire you to make a memory with that Difficult Person in your life...

Sunset on top of The Shard

Champagne on the top of things:
The world is crammed full of tall buildings and a great many of them offer packages with a glass of something fizzy. We like to book times as the sun is going down. I've seen sunset on top of No. 1 World Trade, the Empire State, the Eiffel Tower and my local skyscraper- the Shard in London. Each one has been amazing.

Sunset in The Hamptons

And on the topic of sunsets:
Just sitting somewhere and watching the sun go down with someone special is awesome and completely FREE!

The whole family and Hadrian at the British Museum

Making Memories at Museums:
Usually either free or very cheap, you can spend a fabulous family day at a museum and learn something in the process.

Special tours:
My kids on the usually fenced-off exercise yard at Alcatraz
I suppose it helps that we are complete history nerds, but we adore a special tour of a place. For historic sites or parks, these tours are usually inexpensive but give your a unique guided insight into  a place. The night tour of Alcatraz, for example, gave us access to areas of the prison which are closed off most of the time, but on special tours where numbers are limited they make concessions. The added bonus of this tour is you also get to watch the mist roll down the hills and cover San Francisco Bay from the deck of the boat out, and the twinkling lights of the cityscape on the way back.

chillin' in Central Perk, Warner Bros Studios LA
For a few measly pounds in London (so long as you book WAY in advance!) you can watch the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. A ceremony which has been performed every night for about 700 years. You also get shown around the Tower in the dark, which is eerie and spooky and beyond atmospheric. I also highly recommend the Houses of parliament tour and the Kennedy Space Centre Fly with an Astronaut tour (but that one isn't cheap!). The Warner Brothers Studio tour in Los Angeles is far and away the best of the studio tours and if you book it early enough, you can finish it with a live recording of a hit show like The Big Bang Theory.

The gift that keeps on giving:

Last year, Mr H bought me an English Heritage card for my birthday. There are similar schemes all over the world and this one gives me (for a small yearly fee under £90) free access to over 400 historic sites in the UK. Whenever we have a long car journey, instead of stopping off at municipal motorway services, we go and have a cup of tea at a castle or a stately home or Stonehenge!

And in case you are wondering what we did this year for our birthdays and Christmas, we went to Iceland to see the Northern Lights and swim in the Blue Lagoon. The Northern Lights proved to be elusive but it's a trip I will remember forever.
Virginia Heath writes witty, raunchy regency romantic comedies for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Her latest novel, Miss Bradshaw's Bought Betrothal is out now.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kristina Knight: Taking a Break to Sew

The Bears Project
By Kristina Knight

This winter instead of frigid temperatures and a lot of snow on the ground, we've had a lot of gloom and rain and cloud cover. Now, don't get me wrong, I like a good rainy day. Rainy days are great for reading or bingeing on a favorite TV show. They're great for movies, and they're also great for writing.

But 67 of these days in a row? Can get a little the point you need to head to Home Depot or Lowe's for one of those 'happy lights' to chase the winter blahs away. Which is why, on day 54 - when bebe had a day off from school - I decided to brighten the day with fabric.

bebe is always up for a little craft project - three years ago she helped me pick out fabric for a book quilt for our new nephew and a couple of summers ago, we made a raggedy jelly roll quilt .

What I like about sewing is that it frees my subconscious to think about other things. I'd just received a revision note on my next SuperRomance from Harlequin, and I've been trying to figure out the basics for a new series I want to start, and I'm waiting on edits for another of my SuperRomances, and I need to figure out the conflict elements for the book I have in there are a lot of characters vying for attention. They don't all talk at once, but invariably when I start thinking about one project the next wants more attention.

Quilting gets me out of the cacophony of characters talking in my head - because I need to concentrate on how cutting the right dimensions, and where I want the seams to go, and which thread is going to add dimension to which fabrics. The characters have to settle down, and invariably while they're settled, my subconscious goes to work.

By the time I had all the squares for this project cut out and put together, I knew what I wanted to do with those conflict elements, and I had a better grasp on the new series...and I still didn't have edits for that other book, but I thought I had a better handle on the revision note, too. Which led to another a-ha moment for the book in draft. And I got all of that when I wasn't actively thinking about any of them - I was focused on seaming and thread and how to arrange each square...and on and on.

I also had a great conversation with bebe, and I won't hear from my editor for a little while yet, but I'm eager to hear her thoughts...all because of a super simple quilt pattern, some fabric and thread.

Do you sew or quilt? When you're not writing, what kinds of creativity inspire you?

Kristina Knight's latest release, Protecting the Quarterback, is available now from Harlequin Superromance: 

This is more than just a game … to her.

Sports broadcaster Brooks Smith has always been more involved with the game than the players. But after she shares the spotlight at an awards ceremony with tabloid sensation Jonas Nash, one night of letting her guard down around the infamous quarterback spirals into many heated days and nights together when she gets assigned to the story of the year…

The hottest player in professional football is hiding a secret that could end his career for good. Now Brooks is caught on the sidelines between the job she loves and the man she is falling in love with.

Amazon  B&N  KOBO  iBooks  Harlequin

You can find out more the book and Kristina on her website, and feel free to stalk follow her on FacebookTwitter or Instagram

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Jennifer Gracen: Good Advice for Writing and for Life

I subscribe to several blogs, and one is called – it usually has great posts that appeal to me in several areas, be it writing, the arts in general, psychology, social issues, etc. Last week, I saw a post about Poet Jane Kenyon and Advice On Writing. This quote in particular really resonated with me:

"Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours."

It struck me that this isn’t just good advice for protecting your creative spirit and writing life, but good advice for living your life in general. Especially in these times, which seem more tumultuous than any we’ve seen in a generation or two. The world is in a state of transition, and like all transitions, some serious chaos is accompanying that. It can be downright disheartening and draining to just look at the news every day. It can be emotionally overwhelming, which sometimes leads to physical manifestations of those concerns and anxieties. I keep seeing people online talking about how important self-care is, now more than ever. Those people are absolutely right.

It’s a tough call these days between wanting to stay informed and wanting to stay sane. I’ve had to make good self-care a priority. For me, that’s meant taking a step back from social media/getting online/the news in general, because being bombarded by constant intensity, vitriol, and uncertainty was wearing me down, mind, body and soul. So that quote above? Let’s look at it a little closer.

Be a good steward of your gifts. Manage the keeping of your gifts wisely and with as much passion as if you were telling your best friend, lover, child—someone super important to you that you’d likely be nicer to than you often are to yourself—to take good care of those gifts, and do that. The world needs you and your gifts.

Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Easiest way to do this? Stay offline. Or at least get online less. Read books. Binge watch a TV series. Go to the movies. Sing songs you used to love. Dance while you’re cleaning your house. Do something every day to feed your head. It’s good for you. And right now, it may even save you.

Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. See above tip. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Be by yourself as often as you can. As a writer and a single mom, I’m actually by myself more than most people, and I do treasure that alone time. If it’s not easy for you to come by—and for most people, it really isn’t—you need to fight for some alone time. Make it a priority; schedule it into your day or evening somehow. Even if it’s only fifteen minutes, while your baby is napping or your kids are playing video games or your significant other is scrolling on his/her phone... find a way to have some time all to yourself each day. It is more re-centering than you might imagine. And it also helps you go back to your busy world of demands with a little less... edginess. Try it if you can.

Walk. Take the phone off the hook. My main form of exercise is walking. I love to take long walks outside. Breathing fresh air (no matter what season), a change of scene, reconnecting with nature... some of my best story ideas have come to me on walks, as well as some of my greatest personal epiphanies. Sometimes nothing comes to me at all, but it just feels so nourishing to take a walk and let my mind wander. And I don’t—I repeat, I DO NOT—answer my phone or look at it while walking. (Only exception: I look at it if it rings in case it’s one of my kids’ schools calling. If it’s not them, I don’t answer the call.) Do that for yourself a few times a week, if you can. If not, even once a week can make a difference. Reconnecting with the outside world in this way is so rejuvenating for your mind, body, and soul.

As for the Work regular hours thing... well, easier said than done for many. But coming at it as I think it was intended—as writing advice—yes, if you can get into a regular routine for when you write, making it as much of a priority as doing your laundry or cleaning your house or going for a run, your writing muscles will thank you for that. Humans respond to routines. Make that time every day to write, and before you know it... you’ll have written something.

Good advice for writing, and for life. Take care of yourself. It’s so very important, and we all forget that sometimes. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

How Horribly Lovely by Jenny Gardiner

Hey all!

Happy three days after Valentine’s Day ;-). This winter I’ve tried to make time for a little bit of TV series binge-watching—the latest being The Crown. I thought it started out slow but I quickly became quite engrossed in it—a bit of insight into what is really a strangely rarified world that the rest of us peons could never properly relate to. I did find it quite fascinating to learn about I guess you’d call it the moral underpinnings of Queen Elizabeth—what has motivated her over the years, perhaps why she’s often seemed cold and detached, even why she’s not yet yielded the throne to her son (who sure comes across as neglected in that series!). But it turns out, it’s complicated! Evidently it’s not easy being the Queen…

One of the fun things about writing about royals is the research involved. For Red Carpet Romeo, which comes out today and is centered around a royal wedding in Monaforte with the It’s Reigning Men gang, I started digging around to learn what happens in a palace in preparation for things like State Dinners and other premier royal events, and wow, it’s nuts! The manpower and the elbow grease are staggering. It takes days to prepare, and there is no detail unattended to, right down to measuring the distance between the dinner plate and the edge of the table.  You can learn more here

I suspect I’d make a horrible guest at a royal dinner: guaranteed I’d say the wrong thing, use the wrong utensil, request my dressing on the side, make an inappropriate joke that would render those within earshot dead silent. I feel fairly certain I’d not be invited back.

Once I saw a documentary about Queen Elizabeth in which two girls presented her with a sweater they’d knit for her. The Queen, in her own inimitable way, thanked them. “How horribly lovely,” she said with what looked like a grimace but was probably actually a smile. Not many people can properly use the word “horribly” in a compliment. I thought it was endearing.

We’ve also caught up on movies in advance of the Oscars—so many good ones out right now but a lot of pretty depressing ones. Loved Manchester by the Sea but ugh, it was, to borrow the Queen’s phrasing, horribly sad. La La Land—they had me till the ending, which I hated. Jackie—again, so grim but so well-acted. Lion—amazing. But so sad. Hmmm…there’s a theme here. Hidden Figures was uplifting! Oh but I adored 20th Century Women—it was quirky yet so much fun and terrifically acted. The other night because of a movie ticket snafu, we ended up watching The Nice Guys at home—loved that film! Lots of laughs and slapstick, which I love. Oh and go watch A Royal Night Out if you’re looking for a fun escapist movie.

I also wait anxiously each week for a new episode of This is Us (the best!) and I can’t resist that evil Corinne on the Bachelor, which has me tuning in for all their mindless nonsense ;-). Oh and now I can’t help but watch Riverdale—it’s totally not my thing, but the girl who plays Veronica used to live across the street from us and was my daughter’s best friend when they were little girls, so it’s fun to watch her all grown up and all girl-powery while being slightly villainous.

On a sad note, we lost our beloved Labrador Sassy a couple of weeks ago after nearly 14-1/2 wonderful years. It’s been really hard; I miss her like mad. I set her picture as my phone wallpaper, but it made me cry every time I looked at her so had to switch it out. I’ve now taken to stalking the most gorgeous Labrador retriever on Instagram here—his name is Camden and he belongs to a friend of a friend of a friend. He’s so a handsome boy! Oh, and if you love him, check out these insanely adorable white Lab puppies here—makes my heart jump for joy to watch them! I really need a puppy…

Here’s to royal weddings and puppies and good guys and villains, and while we’re at it, springtime being just around the corner.

 Check out my Royal Romeos series, which is a spin-off of my wildly successful It's Reigning Men series--I hope you'll be able to check them out!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Lisa B. Kamps: Falling In Love With a Seal...

Not that kind of SEAL, although there's certainly enough reasons to fall in love with them, too. And I actually got to train with those SEALS once, too. Well, kind of. But that's a story for another day!

This time, I mean real seals. Or rather, sea lions. Yes, I'm talking about those sleek majestic creatures that plow through water and make those cute woofing-barking sounds.

My husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a few weeks ago—our first trip there. And yes, we did the sightseeing and tequila tours and the whole beach-and-pool thing. But I wanted to do something else, a bucket list item: I wanted to swim with the dolphins.

You see, I used to work at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and got to see the dolphins every day. But I ran the retail operations there so that was all I got to do: see them, wave to them, play with them through the glass. So yes, a bucket list item was to actually swim and play with the dolphins, up close and personal.

So we did. And yes, it was wonderful! A real dream come true. If you get a chance to do it—do it!

I know, you're asking yourself what this has to do with sea lions. Well, when we checked in for the dolphin swim, they asked if we wanted to add on the sea lion adventure. I glanced at hubby.

                Me: You want to do the sea lion thing?

                Hubby (giving me a weird look): Really?

                Me: Yeah, it'll be fun.

                Hubby (rolling his eyes): Not really, no.

                Me (maybe kind of pouting): But I want to!

                Hubby (shaking his head and trying not to laugh at me): Then go ahead. I'll just watch.

                Bingo! One sea lion adventure coming up.

I really had no idea what to expect. Maybe a quick intro to learn about them; maybe lean over and toss them some disgusting raw fish or give them a quick pet. I was honestly clueless. I mean, everyone talks about the dolphins but I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about swimming with the sea lions.

Let me tell you: I am so glad I did that impulsive add-on because I had more fun with the sea lion than I did with the dolphins!

Maybe it was because I didn't know what to expect. Maybe it was because I was the only person there. I don't know why, I just know it was way more fun than the dolphins!

It started with meeting the trainer, Jesus. He went over everything, gave me a lesson about sea lions, talked about conservation and rehab, told me what we were going to do. Then he introduced me to Marina, the female sea lion. A quick jump in the pool (which was a lot colder than I was expecting!) and it was play time!

Marina was the perfect hostess: cute and cuddly, smiling and winking, giving me hugs and kisses. Seriously. And we're talking real hugs here—there aren't any other kind when a 450-pound sea lion decides to give you a bear hug! And maybe she had fish-breath but with her diet, I can't really blame her.
 Marina giving kisses and lots of hugs!

I left the sea lion adventure with a new best friend, and memories of a lifetime. I also walked away with a lesson: bucket lists are great and I think everyone should have one. But never underestimate the lure of an impulsive adventure!

Oh…this has nothing to do with anything but I thought I'd do a shameless plug here as well. My newest release, PLAYING THE GAME, just came out on February 14. PTG is the launch title in a new hockey romance series, The York Bombers, and is already getting some great reviews! You can read more about it by checking things out here.

And just so I'm kind of tying things in here: comment below with some of your bucket list items (planned or impulsive) and I'll choose one random winner to receive a digital copy of Playing The Game. I'll post the winner's name in the comments on Tuesday morning, 2/21.

Until next time!


Friday, February 17, 2017

Susan Stephens: February in a sub-tropical climate.

Hello again, and thank you so much for inviting me to be here again, Lee!

As the roof is, quite literally, being taken off my house back home in the UK, I thought it would be a great excuse to get away, so here I am, in one of the places I love best, a tiny Spanish island called La Gomera in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa.

I thought this month, instead of talking exclusively about books, I'd share some of the fabulous scenery with you. 

You can see the volcano Teide on the neighbouring island of Tenerife in the shot above

Basically, La Gomera is volcanic rock. Early morning walks are fabulous, if strenuous. Those ravines you can see are called barrancas, and they really are as steep and tricky to navigate as they look. But the weather is usually fabulous, apart from today, when we had a tropical rain storm attempting to take the roof off this house too!

Because the ravines are so steep, the people who live here have developed a whistling language over the centuries in order to communicate with each other without the necessity to climb for miles to stand face to face. The whistling language of La Gomera is now a protected language, and is taught to children in all the local schools.

And yes, I'm finding time to write - firstly,  a new Harlequin Presents set in Italy, due for a Christmas release, which features a prince plucked from the gutter as a child, and a poor girl who has just had the most enormous stroke of luck. I absolutely ❤️ Christmas stories, so this one is really flying.

After that I'll be writing the fourth book in my polo series, Blood and Thunder.

 If you haven't tried this series yet, the first three books have been bestsellers. Maybe because the guys are smoking hot 😉

Anyway, wherever you are, I hope the sun shines on you and those you love, and that you enjoy plenty of good reading in the month ahead.

I look forward to chatting with you again really soon,

With my warmest hugs and good wishes,
Susan xx