Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Heartbreaker Cover Reveal

by Joanne Rock

Last month at Tote Bags n Blogs, I got to reveal my February cover for Rule Breaker. This month, I have another new cover to share! This one is for my March Dynasties: Mesa Falls release, Heartbreaker. Isn't it gorgeous?! I love it, and I'm thrilled that it reflects the story so well.

Available March 2020
From passion to betrayal and back again…

He knows she’s coming for him…And he’s ready to turn the tables!

When tabloid columnist Elena Rollins shows up uninvited to a private, star-studded party at Mesa Falls, Gage Striker sees red. Though it’s been six years since their abrupt breakup, the scars—and attraction—are still fresh. Certain his ex has a score to settle, the playboy banker vows to protect his ranch’s scandalous secrets. Protecting his heart is a different story.

You can preorder here:

Dynasties: Mesa Falls
If you're interested in the series, it begins with my November title, The Rebel, continues in December with The Rival, and then February's Rule Breaker and March's Heartbreaker. Mesa Falls will also have a free online read from Harlequin in the New Year. So far, both The Rebel and The Rival have been Harlequin Junkie Recommended Reads, so I'm excited about that! Sexy, scandalous, and full of secrets, the Mesa Falls books have the prime-time soap opera feel with characters to root for and surprise villains.

Stay up to date on my books by signing up for my newsletter or joining my Facebook Reader Group, The Rockettes.

**To win a copy of The Rebel, book one in this series, just share with me when you plan to start your holiday decorating! Winner chosen at random the first week of December. Thanks so much for reading!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Just real quick  thought  I'd mention a few books I've read lately that I've  loved!  Kind of in rush so can't  link right this second but will  try to  come back later and do so!  And below  see several books of mine that  are free for you!  Hope you can check them out!

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
City of Girls
Evvie Drake Starts Over
Once Upon a River
The Overstory
Ask Again, Yes
The Mother in Law
The Bear Comes Home

Oh and keep an eye out for BookBub Deals  on Thanksgiving Day for a book of mine that will be  a great deal!

The last book in my Confessions  of  a Chick  Magnet series will release  this Tuesday November 26--it has a piglet. A really  adorable piglet. See this precious cover the talented  Kim Killion designed for it:

Great news! I've got another free book for you to try!  Skirt Chaser, book one of my Confessions  of  a Chick  Magnet series is free!

Google Play

I've got a whole bunch of  first-in-series novels that are free! Hope you can check them  out (and like  them!):

 Falling for Mr. Wrong from the Falling for Mr. Wrong series is now free here:

Google Play

Also Red Hot Romeo is free! A hot Italian, a gorgeous supermodel, and fabulous wines…what’s not to love?!
You can check out the first book in the Royal Romeo series for free here:

Lastly, don't forget, book one of the It's Reigning Men series, Something in the Heir, is free here!

Google Play

I hope you'll have a chance to check out my Royal Romeos series, which is a spin-off of my wildly popular It's Reigning Men series--please do check them out!

Skirt ChaserBoy Toy and Cabana Boy are available! And Bird Dog is available for pre-order!

Happy reading  and  Happy Thanksgiving!




Friday, November 15, 2019

Dealing with Story Ideas by Michelle Styles

Sometimes story ideas come quietly on cat’s paws. You don’t know they are there until they start to flow from your fingertips. You can’t really say when or why they arrived, you simply know you need to write the story. Other ideas roar into your mind and refuse to let go, drowning out all other ideas until they vanish as quickly as they came, leaving you to sort through the wreckage.
My latest book from Harlequin Historical A DEAL WITH HER REBEL VIKING was one of the latter. I saw a tweet about an Oxfordshire Easter tradition about women capturing men and then men capturing women and thought  there must have a romance in it somewhere. Although I have written a number of Viking set romances, I had never set one in the Midlands, in the old kingdom of Mercia. In many ways, Mercia is overlooked as it became part of Wessex after Aethelflaed, the Lady of the Mercians and daughter of King Alfred died. She is probably the person most responsible for stopping the Vikings and for helping to ensure England evolved as a concept. She is also one of my great heroines. However, my story takes place slightly earlier than her reign, during that period when the Great Army was first on British shores.
  The idea seemed deceptively simple when I first started writing it but as ever with these things, the initial idea proved slightly elusive (among other thing I forgot the romance) and I had to work hard to make the story work for my characters (cue large scale revisions). However after working  very hard and completely re-jigging the ending, my editor loved it (cue celebrations on my part). I was also very pleased with the cover as they used the model Carson who had inspired the hero as the cover model.
As I wrote it, I also realised that there was more than one story here and so I have ended up writing a trilogy. The slight hiccup with this was that I had already committed to writing a book in the Sons of Sigurd series which Harlequin Historical is publishing in 2020. The four other authors are Michelle Willingham, Harper St George, Jenni Fletcher and Terri Brisbin. My book is the third one and is entitled CONVENIENTLY WED TO THE VIKING (publishing July 2020).  Michelle Willingham’s Stolen by the Viking will be published in March 2020. It has one of the new look Harlequin Historical covers. And having read an early draft, it is every bit as lush as the cover looks. Writing in a collaborative series was a totally new experience for me and it took me a little longer than I had planned.
 So after a long hiatus,  I have just returned to Midland set trilogy and am writing the second one. It is wonderful to revisit the world that I created last year.  This time, rather than setting it in the Forest of Arden, I have moved the action northwards to Sherwood Forest. It is easy to forget that these forests existed long before the tales of Shakespeare or indeed Robin Hood and I wanted to do something to address that.
Right now, I am hoping that people enjoy my new book. You can read the start of it here for free.

Michelle Styles writes warm ,witty and intimate historical romances for Harlequin Historical in a wide range of time periods, including Roman, Regency, Victorian but most recently Viking. Her latest A DEAL WITH HER REBEL VIKING will be published on 18 November 2019. Her next book CONVENIENTLY WED TO THE VIKING will be published in July 2020. You can learn more about Michelle and her books at

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Christina Hollis: Countdown to Launch Day!

We had snow last night—
let's hope the weather's better next Friday!
This is an exciting time for students at the University of Gloucestershire. 22nd November (next Friday) sees the launch of Heritage: New Writing VIII.

Heritage is an anthology of poetry, prose and artwork of work from alumni past and present, young and old. A selection of work from our parter foundation, Humber College in Canada, is included, too.

Creating the anthology was a great team-building exercise for students on our MA course. Our tutor Mike was an éminence gris, overseeing the project while leaving the organisation and method to our group. We managed everything, from call for submissions to planning the launch night, ourselves.

With more than a dozen people involved (and with our typesetter and publisher's baby due at any moment!) it was quite an undertaking.

A special mention must go to Shannon Storm, who created all the promotional artwork together with the book cover you can see below. It's difficult to see the fine detail at this resolution, but the cover includes a map of the world with the countries made up of fingerprints. It looks amazing in real life!

We wanted our theme to appeal to as many people as possible. The title Heritage is ideal as it is open to a wide variety of interpretations. Cheltenham's geography helped with this. As a Georgian spa town and the gateway to the world-famous Cotswolds, there's no shortage of inspiration right here.

The work of our contributors is as varied as they are. We have pieces that look back, appreciate the present, and look forward into dystopian futures.  There really is something for everyone!

Next month I'll give you some more details about Heritage, and report on our book launch.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Writer Goes Back to School

I signed up for a spring class last week. Another pottery class. If you're sixth. It's my third independent study (officially individualized studio) class. I'll confess, the flexibility works well with balancing the minions and the rest of the family. And I like spending a term going in my own direction. Professor H. makes a great advisor. He offers opinions and some direction, but let's me be in the driver's seat. I'm already feeling sad about spring being my last ceramic's class. Of course, by the time the class is over, I should have my own studio up and running! Yep. I've got studio glee!

But here's what being a class of one is missing...reports. Yeah, I know, some people might think that's a plus, but over the out-of-school decades I forgot how much I love doing a deep dive on a topic.  We have to do a report on a ceramic artist in a week. I did a presentation on Rob Bernard my first term. It was supposed to be five to ten minutes, but I had pages and pages of notes. Interesting facts I was sure everyone should know. (My daughter assured me that not only did the kids in class not want to know, but there was a chance my glee over reports annoyed them! If it did, they were kind enough to feign interest. LOL) I did manage to keep it to ten minutes, but would have loved to have gone longer. I left so much unsaid. This time, I'm doing a presentation on Burlon Craig. I'm trying to keep it short...but it's still hard! He's equally interesting and exciting. He is known
Holly Face Jugs
 for his face jugs in the Catawba Valley in NC (my southern roots are firmly planted just north of there).  I bought a great book, The Final Kiln Opening, about his last sale which was so cool. And I bought a book on that folk tradition, based more in Georgia called Brothers in Clay. Equally engrossing reading...alright engrossing in a totally geeky way. LOL I've got pages and pages of notes.

Ten minutes?  I have to fit all this in ten minutes? The trouble is real. LOL

To add to my condensing everything into a less than ten minute presentation, I found YouTube videos from a PBS show called Folkways. They showed Burlon in his studio and firing his kiln. You can find them at Burlon on Folkways. They were fantastic! The second video talked to other local ceramic artists who were related to, or knew, Craig. They watched him work. I wish I'd discovered him sooner and could have visited his studio as well!

I fell in love with face jugs my second term. I wrote a bit about them here.

Holly's Game of Thrones inspired Face Vase
Holly's Jug
 I've done a bunch since then. For me they're a connection to my southern roots and to be honest, I just think they're ugly cute! LOL And art inspires art. School inspires study. I've been trying my hand at some folk art painting and one of my favorites is Burlon's kiln firing. It's obviously rough, but I've done a few versions of it. I love the flames!
Holly's Burlon's kiln painting.

I've been wanting to buy a Burlon Craig face jug but they're a little rich for my blood. But I did find one of his swirl teapots. It should get here soon. I'm soooo excited! I'll post a picture when it arrives.

I don't know what I'm going to take up at school next fall. Maybe some more art classes. I'm working toward a degree...maybe. I plan to just continue taking classes that interest me, and if I get close to a degree, I'll take some of the must-take classes. At this rate, it'll be a decade from now. But hey, for me, it's not really the destination (a degree) that matters. It's the journey. And so far, I've enjoyed every step of My Novel Freshman Experience journey!


PS Just in time for Thanksgiving, another school story...this one from a PTA mom's point-of-view. Once Upon a Thanksgiving is on sale!

Saturday, November 02, 2019

THE END by Susan Sands

I've been writing a story for almost seven months. Finally, after much research, and a gazillion hours
When the DNA is strong
of putting in the hard work, I finished the manuscript. My husband asked if I was feeling celebratory. My response was a blank stare. 

After I type the best two words (THE END), My brain goes hard into overdrive. Did I forget something or someone? Did I tie things up? Did I drop something I started along the way? Did someone have a cat and I never mention it again? That's before I dive deep into the editing. Then there's the timeline. Days, months, years. Did I stick with the continuity of it all?

That's when I ask some folks to read it with fresh eyes and give it to me straight. I can't do it alone. I don't trust myself after rolling around in the words for so long. Plus, there are multiple points of view, which makes it even more complicated. Every scene from each POV has to match up the next time I'm in their head. Pardon my brain fog...

But I'm excited about the story--or I will be once it's all cleaned up. 

It's a story of a woman who gets a DNA test as a gift instead of her expected engagement ring. Predictably, for a great story, the results aren't as expected. Not only does she figure out that she was adopted at birth, a minor detail her loving parents never found the right time to tell her, but she's got a sister who shows up on her "connections" profile. This leads her to her birth mother, who doesn't want her to know who her birth father is except to say, "He's a bad man."

But as fate and fiction would have it, she gets an alert on her profile soon after that she has another connection. A brother on her birth father's side. Now, there's a whole new branch on the family tree; one that's far more complicated. 

This is a story about family; the old, the new, and finding out that some things, as unwelcome as they seem, can complicate and enrich one's life in equal measure. 

Set in the Low Country around the Sea Islands.

Let me just say that researching unexpected DNA results was fascinating. I spoke to several people who'd found out they had siblings and parents who were different than they'd believed. One woman in Florida found four sisters she knew nothing about. Her father had impregnated women throughout the state. They expect to find more matches. 

I haven't done a DNA test personally, but I look so much like both my parents that I wouldn't expect any surprises, but I might do one for the sake of genealogy.

How about you? Do you have a good DNA story?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!! 

Susan Sands