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Hello! It’s me, Jaunty P. Quills, Porcupine Extraordinaire, to speak about my upcoming trip to Scotland, and the book I—

Margo: Jaunty, it’s my book, and – last I heard, I am the one going to Scotland. Next week, in fact.HIGHLANDER'S DESIRE cover

Jaunty: I bet you’ve never seen me in a kilt.

Margo: No. (Thank God).

Jaunty: What was that?

Margo: Nothing. I was just telling you about my Scottish historical, The Highlander’s Desire.

Jaunty: Are there kilts?

Margo: Well, back when this story takes place, they didn’t wear kilts as we know them today, but yes, my hero, Lachann MacMillan, definitely wears plaid. Extremely sexy.

Jaunty: Is it true that Scots don’t wear anything und—

Margo: I’m not going there, Jaunty. But I will tell you a little about Lachann.

Jaunty: You’re a killjoy. I always knew it when you were one of us.

Margo: Well, I do miss some of you guys.

Jaunty: Some?

Margo: I thought you wanted to know about my new book.

Jaunty: Is this book connected to your last Scottish book – The Warrior Laird?mmWarriorLairdMargoMaguireJPG[1]

Margo: As a matter of fact, yes. The heroes of these two books are brothers, but you don’t need to read one in order to enjoy the other.

Jaunty: I think I’d like to visit Scotland. You probably have some extra room in your suitcase—

Margo: NO! I mean . . . no – I pack light.

Jaunty: Hmph. Shana told me that the inhabitants of those Scottish islands eat a diet of pine nuts and clover.

Margo: She did not.

Jaunty: Just kidding. What do the people on your island eat?

Margo: The food is irrelevant, Jaunty. The Highlander’s Desire is a Cinderella story, so it’s all about my heroine overcoming all obstacles and getting her man.

Jaunty: I love Cinderella!

Margo: What’s not to love? I’ve got Anna, a heroine who is oppressed by her step-family – a wicked step-sister and father, and a gorgeous hero who comes to her western isle to marry the stepsister.

Jaunty: Oh no. No, no, no.

Margo: That’s what I said. Absolutely not. But Lachann really needs to marry the stepsister because she’s the daughter of the laird. Their marriage will put Lachann in line to become laird after the old man in an agreement made by both clans. It will benefit everybody.

Jaunty: But not Anna.

Margo: No, because she falls in love with Lachann.

Jaunty: And what about him?

Margo: The feeling is mutual, of course. But it’s sort of an impossible situation. Lachann has to marry the stepsister, and Anna wants to get away from the island.

Jaunty: How do they work it out? Does he push the step-sister over a cliff or something?

Margo: Absolutely not. He’s a hero, not a murderer. Besides, the wicked step-sister creates her own trouble for herself, as many evil people do.Tuxedo cat

Jaunty: Is there a glass slipper?

Margo: No. But there’s a black and white cat.

Jaunty: A cat won’t fit on her foot!

Margo: Of course not, but the cat plays a huge role in defining the heroine and villain.

Jaunty: I don’t really like cats.

Margo: I don’t think they like you, either, Jaunty.

Jaunty: So The Highlander’s Desire ends happily? With Anna taking her cat and riding off into the sunset with Lachann?

Margo: Well, sort of. Definitely a happy ending, but no riding into the sunset – it’s an island, after all. And it’s sort of a steamy ending.

Jaunty: You are making me blush.

Margo: That was my intention! Maybe you should take a break, Jaunty, while I ask my readers to try The Highlander’s Desire  when it comes out next Tuesday. You can even visit my website for an excerpt.

And just for the fun of it, I want to start a discussion of favorite fairy tale heroes, heroines and villains. I’ll give away a copy of The Warrior Laird to one participant who weighs in. I’ll start . . . I love the wounded Beast in Beauty and the Beast. Now it’s your turn!

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Hellloooo? Hello? Is anyone here? Oh! Readers, you are here. In that case, it’s rather rude of my Jaunty Quills to abandon us. They claim they are working at a conference, but we know the truth, don’t we!

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We know they will all sip champagne and feast on bon bons while pretending they are hard at work planning a new year of fascinating blogs. Ha! I think we all know who really keeps this blog running.

And of course there are the awards they are hoping to receive. Cindy and Shana are up for the Bookseller’s Best award and former member Emily is nominated for the Rita. They say they are happy just to be nominated, but I think we all know the truth—they will scratch out eyes and claw their way to the podium to snatch those awards out of the hands of the presenters. Not a pretty sight, dear readers. Not a pretty sight.

 

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And finally, Kristan. Dear, dear Kristan. She will be speaking at a luncheon on Friday. What will she say? You will have to stay tuned. Suffice it to say that I helped her a little (wink, wink—read: a lot) on this speech. I mean, I practically wrote it for her.

But while the JQs are away, we can have fun, readers. I’m vastly entertaining, you know. Tell me, if you were attending a massive booksigning, like the one in Atlanta this afternoon, which author would you make a beeline for?

My favorite authors are the authors who wrote this book!
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Hello! It’s me, Jaunty P. Quills, Porcupine Extraordinaire. I’m here with a stash of pine nuts and my latest author interview. Welcome to the Jaunty Quills Shana Galen!

jaunty

Shana: Jaunty, this is my blog.

Jaunty: So tell us about your new book, If You Give a Porcupine a Pine Nut.

Shana: Jaunty, you know that’s not the title. It’s If You Give a Rake a Ruby.

Jaunty: That makes no sense. Why would a yard implement want a ruby? You can’t eat rubies. Can you?

Shana: Jaunty, the book is about a courtesan and a spy. Fallon is the Marchioness of Mystery, and she wants to keep her past a mystery. Warrick is under threat of assassination, and Fallon holds the key to finding the hired assassin. She and Warrick meet when she finds him in her bed. She kicks him out, but he blackmails her into helping him.

Jaunty: And then they find the hidden pine nut treasure?

Shana: No. Then they have to delve into London’s underworld.

Jaunty: And that’s where the pine nuts are!

Shana: No. There aren’t any pine nuts in this book. Just rubies.

Jaunty: And the rubies taste like pine nuts!

Shana: No, Jaunty. There are no pine nuts and no porcupines in this book.

Jaunty: Shana, you know Kristan is my favorite, right? Are you even trying to compete?

Shana: No.

Jaunty: I don’t believe you. I’ve seen the cover of your book.

Shana: And?

 Jaunty: There’s a porcupine on the cover! Thank you, Shana!

ifyougivearake-300

Shana: No problem, Jaunty. Readers, I have no idea what Jaunty is talking about, but as a thanks for reading this interview, I’m giving one person who comments a copy of If You Give a Rake a Ruby. Let me know your favorite color on the cover of romance novels.

Fall Ombre

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jauntyJaunty P. Quills here, with an exclusive interview with a certain Kristan Higgins, here to talk about her book, THE BEST PORCUPINE! Now, from what I gather, it’s a tale of a certain spiky little fellow who sweeps a beautiful serving wench off her feet, am I correct?

KH: Pretty much, Jaunty! Except it’s about a human male, and there are no serving wenches, and I wouldn’t really say there’s sweeping. It comes out tomorrow. So exciting!

JPQ: I thought there was a porcupine in this book.

KH: There is. Take that, my fellow JQ authors! I did it again! Please note the following: Faith’s heart sat heavy in her chest. Like road kill, like a dead, stiff porcupine. Okay, that was a really pathetic image. Even now, the dead porcupine was resurrecting and giving her a reproachful look—I was just sleeping, dummy—but yeah, kind of.

JPQ: That’s the porcupine in the story?

KH: Mm-hm.

JPQ: Seriously?

BESTMANfrontcoverKH: You’re welcome! Anyway, THE BEST MAN is about Faith Holland, returning to her hometown three years after she was jilted at the altar. Determined to finally get over the man who broke her heart, she’s equally determined to avoid his closest friend—their would-have-been best man—who knew all about the reasons why this marriage wasn’t going to work. As for Levi Cooper, he has no problem with Faith, other than the fact that she annoys him greatly. But you know how these things work. He doesn’t seem to like her, but deep down inside, he kinda sorta does. Like you and me, Jaunty.

JPQ: Yes, we do have that mysterious chemistry, don’t we? In fact, though I’m a little late for Valentine’s Day, I wonder —

KH: Back to me, Jaunty. One of the things I loved most in this book was the setting. Manningsport is in the heart of the wine-making region of New York, and a prettier place would be hard to find. A  tiny town on the shores of Keuka Lake, rolling hills, farms and vineyards and a really good restaurant. Who could ask for anything more?

JPQ: Are there porcupines up there?

FH logoKH: Who knows? This book is the first in the Blue Heron series. Blue Heron is the family-run vineyard owned by the Holland family. It’s my first series ever, and I’m wicked excited! And another first for me: Levi, the hero, is a veteran. In honor of that, a portion of the first week’s sales will be donated to Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit that provides a home away from home for the families of recovering veterans or service members. (Pre-orders count, too!)

JPQ: Okay, okay, you’ve got me interested, dead porcupines aside. Go ahead, post an excerpt. I’m going to drown my sorrows in a nice dry Finger Lakes Riesling.

KH: Thanks, Jaunty! You do your thing. Here’s a bit from the day Faith’s wedding fell through. She flees the church for home, only to find that her fiancé has sent his best man to see how she’s doing. (And she’s not doing real well.)

 

A quiet knock came at the front door. She jerked it open, out of breath.

Ah. The other man she hated. Levi Cooper, Wedding Destroyer. “You,” she hissed.

He was still in his dress uniform, his chest full of ribbons and medals. Mr. Hero. “Jeremy sent me to check on you.”

“Take me to the airport,” she ordered.

His eyebrows rose, crinkling his forehead a little. “I don’t know about that.”

“Do what I say, Levi,” she said.

“Listen, you’re probably not—”

“Shush. Just take me there.”

Her father came up on the porch. “Faith, sweetpea, I was just coming to check on you. How are you, honey? This is such a shock, I don’t know what to—”

“Daddy, I’m going to San Francisco. Okay? I’ll call you when I land.”

“Wait a second, sweetie, slow down,” he said, glancing at Levi. Why? Why glance at the guy who ruined her wedding and kept Jeremy’s secret, huh? “I think you should stay here, baby, with your family. This is a tough, tough day, but we’ll get you through it.”

“I’m going to San Francisco. I have tickets,” Faith said.

“Faith—”

“I—I—I—I have to get out of here, Dad,” she stammered, the hyperventilating starting up again. “I’ll just go to San Fran. Remember Liza? My friend from college? She lives there, so I won’t be alone. I’ll call her. She’s really fun. Okay? Call you later.”

“Now, Faith this doesn’t seem like a good idea.”

“Daddy, I need to get out of here. I’m going.”

“All right, all right. Settle down. Just…if you want to go, give me a minute, and I’ll pack some things and go with you. Okay?”

“No. I’m going alone. Right now. I have to get out of here or I’m going lose it, Dad.”

Her father looked startled. That’s right, Daddy, she thought irrationally. Don’t mess with me right now.

“Well, I’ll drive you. Don’t be silly, baby.”

“No. He’ll take me. Won’t you?” She narrowed her eyes at Levi, wishing looks really could kill.

Levi cleared his throat. “Is that all right, Mr. Holland?” he asked.

“Don’t ask him,” Faith snapped. “I’m giving you an order, soldier. Get to it.”

“Watch it,” he muttered.

 

Hope you like the book, gang! To order it, click any of the links below, and remember that your purchase this first week (and your preorders) will benefit the wonderful Fisher House Foundation!

xox

Kristan

http://www.amazon.com/The-Best-Man-Kristan-Higgins/dp/0373777922

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-best-man-kristan-higgins/1112406285

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780373777921

http://www.booksamillion.com/product/0373777922

 

Jaunty P. Quills

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It’s the beginning of a new year and time for all those Best Of lists. My Jaunty Quills want to let you know some of their bests from 2012. These recommendations are not to be missed. Add pine nuts to each, and they’re even better!

Terri Brisbin has a suggestion for Best TV show of 2012—IMHO “Once Upon A Time” is the best TV show of 2012. It draws on familiar mythology and fairy tales, tweaks and twists them, makes characters come alive and shows the power of true love, too. How could a romance author not love a series that does all that?!

Robyn DeHart says, Okay I’m probably jumping on the proverbial bandwagon here, but the best new website of 2012 was Pinterest! I love being able to have a visual collection of recipes and ideas for my house and my biggest obsession, organization ideas! Long before this lovely website came along I used to cut things out of magazines and put them in photo albums, having a way to store ideas of cool things to do. This makes it so much easier and everything is in one tidy location and I can sort to my heart’s content.

Personally, I like to pin pictures of pine nuts.

For Best Book of 2012, Shana Galen recommends THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass–romance, mystery, intrigue, royalty…what more could you want?

Best chocolate of 2012. Okay, I say this as a professional chocolate taster (or as close as one can get to being a professional chocolate taster). I love Lindt, Ghiradelli, Godiva. I love me some of the Whitman’s Sampler, and I love Hershey. White chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, malted chocolate balls, chocolate Santas…I think I probably eat chocolate every day, and I have no intention of stopping. But the best chocolate I tasted this year was in Seattle at Fran’s Chocolates. A salted milk chocolate caramel that tasted like angel tears and unicorn kisses. Try them. I command you. And happy new year! –Kristan Higgins

In 2012 Cindy Kirk discovered J D Robb’s In Death series and was hooked! If you like a suspenseful tale mixed with a health dose of romance, Cindy recommends you check out this series.

Margo Maguire: My most amazing experience this year was surviving a nasty case of appendicitis, in spite of myself. On December 1st, I overcame my denial (yes, denial that I had a serious problem that wasn’t going to just go away) and went into the ER. Within a couple of hours, I’d had an appendectomy, managed to get past a crash in blood pressure, and a post-operative spike in temperature. I went home the following day and walked a quarter mile – and kept at it until I was up to my usual 2 miles a day. Thank heavens for modern medicine! And Hooray for the timing. I didn’t have to do any Christmas shopping this year!

Emily McKay has a recommendation for Best new recipe of 2012—

This is a great pot pie recipe if you:

a) love pot pies (and I do!)

b) are trying to eat more veggies (and I am!)

c) are trying to eat less meat (and, again, I am!)

or

d) just love ridiculously yummy food (duh, who doesn’t?)

I really can’t stress how yummy this was. The ingredients seem very humble, but somehow the result is amazing. You might be tempted not to make the crust yourself, but I urge you to try. I didn’t roll mine out, so mine looked nothing like hers. I just patted them into big fat circles and plopped them on top of the bowls. They weren’t pretty, but they weren’t around long enough for it to matter.

One question, Emily. No pine nuts?

Best 2012 Smartphone App: Christmas night, Nancy Robards Thompson and her family went to see the Les Miserables movie. While they were waiting in line to get into the theater, they struck up a conversation with the family in front of them. This is where they learned about a phone app called “Runpee.” It tells you the best times to run and er… do your business so you don’t miss anything important during the movie. Among other features, it even has a timer that makes your phone vibrate to give you the heads-up on when you can “go.” It’s available for all smartphones.

Readers, your turn. What’s on your best of list?

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