Hi, everyone! I’m so excited to welcome the lovely RITA Award-winning author Beth Andrews, who is here today to share her inspiration for her new Superromance, CHARMING THE FIREFIGHTER, and to talk about how
The Times They Are a-Changin’
So far, 2014 has been a doozy for my family. Little Sis (my younger daughter and youngest child) started her senior year of high school which means she and I have been busy visiting colleges and sending in applications. Big Sis (older daughter who is actually NOT bigger than her 5’8” baby sister) is in Columbus for her second year at Ohio State. And their big brother? Well, he’s been the busiest of all. In the span of eight months he got engaged, graduated from college, started a new job, moved into a townhouse, got married and moved again.
Did I mention the part where my son, my firstborn, my only boy, got married? My baby is a married man. It’s been a month and I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around that one. Wasn’t it just a few years ago that I birthed him? (I swear, those 75 pounds I gained were all baby)
Changed, bathed and fed him?
Kept him warm for those cold, Northwestern Pennsylvania winters.
Taught him the importance of pitching in with the yard work.
Why, it was just a few days ago we were wearing matching outfits and traipsing around in the woods.
And, of course, he learned the art of pulling off any hairstyle with aplomb from me (not to brag, but I did rock a mullet for a year back in the eighties).
Then, in the blink of an eye (or twenty-three years – same thing) my husband and I were escorting him down the aisle.
Now, he’s married to the love of his life, giving me another beautiful daughter!
Yes, there are plenty of changes afoot at my house (isn’t that the way of life?) and while those changes may take some getting used to, they should also be celebrated.
Change and the relationship between mother and son are two big themes in CHARMING THE FIREFIGHTER, my December release for Harlequin Superromance (like how I tied that together?) Single-mother Penelope Denning moved to small-town Shady Grove, Pennsylvania hoping to raise her son in a warm, safe environment. But when local firefighter Leo Montesano wants to build a future with her, she feels torn between him and her son.
“As in out on a date,” he clarified. Must be he sensed that her brain had ceased working the moment he’d stepped into the room. Then again, he was probably used to having that effect on women. The power of a pretty face knew no bounds. “Dinner. A movie. Or we could go into Pittsburgh, see a show.”
Her throat dried. She couldn’t feel her fingers, had to lock her knees to remain upright. Date? Him? Absurd. They were too different. He was too good-looking. Too smooth. Too young. Too…everything.
And she was afraid she wasn’t nearly enough.
She leaned her hip heavily against the desk. “I don’t think—”
“Or we could start slow. Have lunch. Or even coffee.” His voice dropped to a husky, sexy tone that could strip a woman of her inhibitions. And her good sense. “It doesn’t matter to me. Just a few hours. I’d like to get to know you better.”
She shut her eyes. Counted to ten. But when she opened them, he was still there, broad and earnest and, it seemed, completely sincere. “Why?”
The word hung in the air, bald and loud and yes, desperate sounding. Too bad. She wouldn’t take it back even if she could. She was too curious to hear his answer.
“Because I find you interesting.” He stood and stepped forward, his body and her own pride trapping her between him and her desk. “Because I’m attracted to you.”
Her breath locked in her chest. A thrill raced through her before she could stop it. He was attracted to her? That…that was impossible. Implausible. Incredible.
He edged even closer and she pressed against the desk, the rounded edge digging into the back of her thighs. “How about it, Penelope?” he asked, drawing her name out as if savoring each syllable. He trailed the tip of his forefinger up her forearm, his light touch like a flame along her skin. “Go out with me?”
Dear Lord, but he smelled wonderful, a mix of citrus and spice that made her want to breathe him in. And when he smiled at her, his eyes dark with intent, she wanted to believe in fairy tales. Wanted to believe in foolish dreams.
But fairy tales were for children. And dreams were for people who didn’t know better. She wasn’t some naive girl waiting for a handsome prince to sweep in and make her life complete. She was a mature, sensible woman with a teenage son who needed her time and full attention.
A mature, sensible woman who was wise enough to know when she was in over her head. Leo flustered her, and she hated being flustered. She doubted that feeling would ever go away, even if they went on a hundred dates. She needed to be the one in control. She liked knowing what the right thing to do and say was, and with him, she wasn’t sure she’d ever have that ability again.
“No,” she said, her voice firm. “Absolutely not.”
I’m giving away three copies of CHARMING THE FIREFIGHTER! Just leave a comment telling me the biggest change in your life recently or your idea of a dream date. Winners will be drawn at random and announced on Sunday.
When Romance Writers of America RITA® Award winning author Beth Andrews was a young wife, she started a gas grill with the lid down. The small explosion left her with singed hair and a life-long respect for propane. While no handsome firefighters came to her rescue that day, she will never forget that particular incident. Mainly because her husband reminds her of it every summer.
Learn more about Beth and her books by visiting her website, www.BethAndrews.net or her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BethAndrewsBooks.
Howdy and happy Friday! Please join me in welcoming a wonderful author-friend of mine, Jennifer Gracen, as she talks about:
Getting By With A Little Help From My Friends
My friends mean the world to me. And I’m very lucky to have many of them. From all phases of my life— elementary school, high school, college, past jobs, moms from my kids’ classes, and writing groups. From near and far— to my local friends I grew up with here on Long Island, to newer friends all over the country, and even other countries now, thanks to Twitter and Facebook. From other writers to stay-at-home moms to lawyers to teachers to doctors to librarians to musicians to business people— many professions, varied and interesting. I cannot overstate how much I value and cherish my friends.
In my books, friends of the main characters aren’t merely window dressing. They’re more than supporting players, their roles are important. Because I know how important a role friends play in our lives. No matter how good your relationship is with your family, it’s usually your closest friends you’ll go to for an opinion, for advice, to tell your secrets, to cry on their shoulder, and to share your joys with.
In the first book of my romantic women’s fiction Seasons of Love series, AUTUMN GETAWAY, Lydia is on shaky emotional ground when she attends her friend’s destination wedding. Recently divorced and a single mother of a special needs child, she’s drained and looking forward to just spending a weekend with her three closest friends from college, Melanie (the bride), Donna, and Kathryn. The bond between the four women hasn’t diminished after almost twenty years. When Lydia meets Sam, charming, sweet, and handsome, and it becomes obvious he’s interested in her, she leans on her friends. They give her advice, encourage her to give Sam a shot, try to assuage her fears since she hasn’t dated in forever, and provide more than a few laughs and snarky comments throughout the weekend. Their relationships (I hope!) enrich this story because of the warmth, fun, and affection they provide to the heroine.
Similarly, my upcoming Christmas novella, ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS, one of four novellas in the Christmas in New York series, is connected to the other three stories: the heroines of all the stories are lifelong friends, practically raised as family. Their mothers were sorority sisters in college, and raised their daughters to be as close as they were. My character, Cassandra, absolutely considers Bree, Jade, Kara, and Elena to be her sisters. When Cassandra runs into Sean for the first time—the one who broke her heart, her first love from years before—she is grateful to be standing next to Bree, her best friend. Bree was there when it all fell apart, so she knows the history and understands what a deep shock it is for Cass to run into Sean again. It’s Bree who pulls Cassandra to a table when she realizes she’s shaking, because she understands why. The next morning, Cass gets facetious texts from Kara, blasting her for not calling to dish about running into Sean. Jade and Elena provide additional support, as good friends would. They all make appearances in all four of the books; their strong bond of friendship is the golden thread that holds the series together.
Sometimes, friendships are the glue that can hold us together, both in real life and in fiction. I know my friends have been such a crucial part of my life, which is why I enjoy writing friendships in my books.
GIVEAWAY: a signed paperback copy of my debut novel, AUTUMN GETAWAY, is up for grabs.
I’m sure you all have friends that feel like family also. How long have you known your closest friend, and do they live near or far from you?
Bio: Jennifer Gracen hails from Long Island, New York, where she lives with her two sons. After spending her youth writing in private and singing in public, she now only sings in her car and is immersed in her passion for writing. She loves to write contemporary romance for readers who look for authentic characters and satisfying endings. When she isn’t with her kids, doing freelance proofreading, or chatting on Twitter and Facebook, Jennifer writes. She’s already hard at work on her next book. Jennifer is a member of the Romance Writers of America and is active in the Long Island Romance Writers, as well as being a member of CTRWA.
Please join me in welcoming contemporary author Jeannie Moon to the Quills today to talk about her new release and a subject near and dear to many of our hearts, namely …
Book Boyfriends: A Way of Life
Hey Gang! I’m really happy to back here on the Jaunty Quills, I love the warm welcome I always receive when I’m here.
But, well, I have a confession to make. And you may not be the first to hear this…
My name is Jeannie, and I fall in love with guys in books.
Nothing to say? No comments from the peanut gallery?
So, um…do you guys feel the same way?
*sighs* You are my people.
I suppose it’s no secret that romance lovers embrace the book boyfriend like no other reader, and I believe I know why—because romance authors are just as bad. We’re shameless hussies, throwing over one boyfriend for another every time we open a new manuscript. And, of course, we have great fun dragging our readers along for the ride.
Between the heroes I write and the heroes I read, my imagination runs wild! Lately, I’ve been much more selective. But I most definitely have a type. And it’s not necessarily a physical type, it’s an emotional type. I like an alpha male who’s got a bit of a soft belly. You know, the tough guy who loves that little purse dog his girlfriend adores. It’s the focused businessman, the cop, the athlete or the computer geek who is never too busy for the people he loves.
He’s perfect in so many ways. Tall and broad. Handsome and wealthy. But the best ones have hearts of gold, and we can’t resist them.
Writing Owen Kent, the main man in The Second Chance Hero, was a challenge because let’s face it…he’s a billionaire marine. That’s pure romance fodder, but then we learn more about him. He never expected to be in business. He planned on getting his education at the Naval Academy and then spending his career in the military. When he left active duty he stayed in the reserves. He works hard; he’s smart; he’s close to his family; he likes babies. Do you love him already? How could you not? Owen the hero is a product of his backstory, and that’s what makes him so loveable.
And such is the way of the book boyfriend. However, because of those wonderful heroes, romance readers are much maligned. It’s thought we have unrealistic expectations, but I think the book boyfriend, while he may set the bar high, also lets us see what we really should be looking for in our lives. We deserve to be loved unconditionally. To have a partner who cares about our needs, or wants. Handsome is nice, but if that’s all you think about, you’ve missed the point of the book boyfriend or any boyfriend, for that matter. Looks will fade. But a sensitive heart, a kind nature, a sharp mind and a good sense of humor will outlast a pretty face. Those are the things we want.
Those are the things that matter.
In real life, our significant other is there with us through life’s ups and downs. Our book boyfriends take it one step further, allowing us to escape from the stresses of everyday life. No job is too outrageous, no setting is too far away, and money is not an object. It’s the perfect storm of happiness and we can go there whenever we want.
The romance novel isn’t necessarily about perfection, but the book boyfriend is perfect for us. He lives in a safe world that provides a haven, and a new guy, whenever we need one.
Tell me about your favorite book boyfriend in the comments. Who is your guy? I’ll be giving away a digital copy from my backlist to one lucky commenter.
Here’s a link to my website jeanniemoon.com. You’ll find all my social media links there, as well as links to my books. While you’re there, make sure you read the excerpt of The Second Chance Hero. After you do, find me on Facebook (there will be a post there waiting for you) and let me know what you think. Facebook commenters will be eligible for another drawing.
Thanks again for having me, JQ’s. I always love stopping in.
Jeannie Moon has always been a romantic. When she’s not spinning tales of her own, Jeannie works as a school librarian, thankful she has a job that allows her to immerse herself in books, and call it work. Married to her high school sweetheart, Jeannie has three kids, three lovable dogs and resides on Long Island, NY. If she’s more than ten miles away from salt water for any longer than a week, she gets twitchy. The Second Chance Hero is the fourth book in her Forever Love Series. Visit Jeannie’s website at www.jeanniemoon.com
The Jaunty Quills are excited to present debut author Jessica Peterson, author of The Gentleman Jewel Thief. I was fortunate enough to read an advance copy, and it’s one of the best debut books I’ve read. The Gentleman Jewel Thief was sexy, witty, and fast-paced. Keep reading to find out how to win a copy of The Gentleman Jewel Thief, plus an ARC of The Millionaire Rogue, book 2 of The Hope Diamond Trilogy, which comes out on January 6 from Berkley Sensation!
Shana: Welcome, Jessica! Tell us about The Gentleman Jewel Thief. This is the first book in the Hope Diamond Trilogy, right?
Jessica Peterson: Hi Shana! Many thanks to you and the Jaunty Quills for hosting me today. It’s an honor to rub (virtual!) elbows with so many authors I admire.
And yes, The Gentleman Jewel Thief is the first book of The Hope Diamond Trilogy. I pitch it as The Thomas Crown Affair meets a (very sassy) Jane Austen. The idea first came to me while I was doing research on the Regency era. Turns out the Hope Diamond – known as the French Blue back then – shows up in 1812 London after disappearing, mysteriously, some twenty years before during the tumult of the French Revolution. I knew I had to write a series around the infamous gem; its appearance in Regency England was far too tantalizing a mystery to leave unexplored! My agent was the one who came up with the “gentleman jewel thief” idea, and I ran with it. In the process, I encountered an array of fascinating historical figures who may or may not have been involved in the French Blue’s travels – the Prince of Wales (Prinny, later King George IV) and his long suffering wife, Princess Caroline; the bourbon King Louis XVIII; the Hope family; and Napoleon Bonaparte – many of whom make cameos in The Hope Diamond Trilogy.
Book One – The Gentleman Jewel Thief – tells the tale of (you guessed it!) a bad boy gentleman jewel thief, and the alluring lady from whom he pilfers the French Blue. Book Two – The Millionaire Rogue, out in January! – follows Thomas Hope, the millionaire banker who purchased the gem under suspicious circumstances, and the debutante who may foil his plans to get it back. Book Three – The Undercover Scoundrel, available next summer – explores the inconvenient attraction that blooms between Henry Lake, the man tasked with recovering the diamond, and Lady Caroline, Dowager Duchess of Berry, our jewel thief’s widowed sister. All sorts of deliciousness ensues!
I had so much fun writing The Gentleman Jewel Thief, and am so glad you enjoyed it as well, Shana. I mean, what’s not to like about a forty five carat diamond? I wouldn’t mind wearing that thing around my neck.
Shana: I’d wear it too, but I’d feel like I needed a bodyguard. I loved your hero, Lord William Townshend. He’s so deliciously wicked. Tell us more about him.
Jessica Peterson: William is quite wicked, isn’t he? I drew enormous inspiration from both Steve McQueen and hairy-chested Pierce Brosnan in their roles as Thomas Crown in The Thomas Crown Affair. I loved the idea of a bored, wildly handsome, unimaginably wealthy playboy who steals a priceless object in front of all the world, just because he can.
It is a fine balance to strike when you’re writing a rakehell hero like William Townshend – wealthy but not entitled, bored but not aloof, intelligent but not callous. No one likes a careless, spoiled, rotten hero less than me, so it was a challenge to uncover William’s softer side; the vulnerable part of him, the part beneath the debonair, calculating exterior. I think Lady Violet, my heroine, uncovers that part of him quite nicely – along with other, rather less virtuous parts, of course.
Shana: Pierce Brosnan and Steve McQueen! Love the combo of those two. What drew you to writing about the Regency era?
Jessica Peterson: I am a huge history nerd, and I am proud of it. Growing up, I was a chunky, awkward, decidedly introverted kid, and I think I liked escaping into worlds that were very different from my own – worlds without bullies, gym class, or braces (I suffered all three). I started with Gone With the Wind, and was blown away (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) by the romance. It wasn’t long before I discovered Jane Austen, which led me to Regency Romance. I grew up on a steady diet of Princess Diana and her handsome sons; I loved England, I loved royalty, and I loved the idea of living in a palace. So I guess the Regency period is a natural fit for all the things I love – add a Benedict Cumberbatch-lookalike hero, and I am one happy camper!
Shana: Tell us a bit about your publishing journey. Is being a published author like you thought it would be?
Jessica Peterson: It’s funny – when you’re working on your first, or maybe your fifth, or fiftieth manuscript, and you’re not published yet, all you can think about is getting that publishing contract. You think, “Hey, once I sign the dotted line, I am going to live like Danielle Steel and I am going to date Benedict and all my problems will go away.”
I am here to tell you that your journey BEGINS when you get that contract. Obviously I am new to the publishing world, so this is by no means a blanket statement, but signing the dotted line brings with it a whole new host of challenges – and desires. Marketing and publicity are things I never thought twice about when I was unpublished; now they take up a decent chunk of my time, and I never seem to know what I’m doing! You want your book to sell well. You want it to get good reviews. You want to write like Shana Galen, or Sarah MacLean, or other masters of the genre.
I guess you realize just how much you have to learn – and that, sadly, unless you are an A-list actress or Pippa Middleton, you are never going to date Benedict.
Shana: Aww, thanks! And how do I not know Pippa Middleton is dating Benedict?
Finally, tell us what you have coming next.
Jessica Peterson: Sure! Book 2 of The Hope Diamond Trilogy, The Millionaire Rogue, hits shelves on January 6, 2015 – perfect for all you lucky readers who receive Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift certificates over the holidays!
I’d say this book is a lot more emotional than book one – lushly so. Thomas and Sophia, my main guy and gal, have such an instant, intense connection from the moment they meet on the page. Thomas is one of those quiet, but intense and passionate, heroes. Neither Thomas nor Sophia intends, or wants (or is allowed, really) to fall in love; it’s a “one-drink-turning-into-naked-kissing-on-the-couch” type situation. The thing they share – they can’t resist it. And that’s the kind of romance I love.
Readers, now it’s your turn. Are you a fan of sexy bad boys? Could you love a gentleman jewel thief? One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win a copy of The Gentleman Jewel Thief and an ARC of The Millionaire Rogue. U.S. and Canada only, please! The winner will be announced Sunday and contacted via email.
The Millionaire Rogue…
In a time when ladies were demure and men courtly, one priceless treasure set England’s lust ablaze and incited unimaginable scandal and passion—the Hope Diamond.
Heir to an impressive title and fortune, Lord William Townshend, Earl of Harclay, is among the most disreputable rakes in England. But, desperately bored by dull heiresses and tedious soirees, he seeks new excitement—with a dangerous scheme to steal the world’s most legendary gemstone from its owner, Alexander Hope. To his surprise, however, it’s not the robbery that sets his blood burning but the alluring lady from whom he pilfers the gem.
A string of bad luck has left the fate of Lady Violet Rutledge’s estate entirely in Hope’s scheming hands. So when his prized jewel disappears from around her neck, she has no choice but to track down the villain responsible for the theft. Only Harclay has his sights set on taking more from her than the necklace—and she’s tempted to surrender anything he desires…
Now, caught in a thrilling game of secrecy and seduction, Violet must find a way to protect her fortune—and her heart—before she loses both forever…
Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Rhett Butler and Mr. Darcy, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark, and handsome heroes of her own.
A graduate of Duke University, Jessica worked in an investment bank before leaving to pursue her writerly dreams. She lives with her husband, the tall, dark, and handsome Mr. Peterson, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
You can find her at
Congrats! Look for an email or email me at email@example.com