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  1. My Dad’s birthday! He had a heart attack last summer and that made this birthday so much sweeter. He’s the best dad in the world and I love him very much.
  2. IMG_1936Paris! I just spent the weekend in Paris at a Romance Festival where I met so many enthusiastic readers and writers and I was in Paris.
  3. Sunshine…well, sort of. In the UK Spring heralds a change from many hours of darkness to sunshine from about five a.m. to nine p.m. I know that other places in the world have this but I grew up in Florida where our days stay pretty even. 🙂
  4. Two New Releases!!! First is the Scandalous Billionaires box set with four of my best friends. This box set includes five stories and is only .99. If you pre-order  it, we have a gift for you of a cookbook with our favorite recipes in it.
  5. Celebrating a milestone with one of my best-friends. His Seduction Game Plan is my 50th Harlequin Desire. And our own Nancy Robards Thompson is celebrating her 25th book for Harlequin with Fortune’s Prince Charming. This week we are celebrating together on our Facebook pages (Kathy and/or Nancy) so stop by if you’d like to win some signed books and other goodies!

What’s your top 5 for April? Tell for a chance to win a signed copy of His Baby Agenda!

 


Kristan Higgins
Kristan Higgins

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Beyonce-Formation-compressedWhen Beyoncé’s latest song dropped the day before the Superbowl, I of course listened to it and realized I had no idea what it was about. Formation wasn’t for me, a white privileged woman who grew up without knowing a single black family…our town just didn’t have any. But I knew the song would be a defining moment in a lot of lives, a song that spoke to the hearts of millions, that, even if they didn’t share the experience of every line, would mark that time in life. It would become part of the soundtrack of lives.

This week, when Prince died so unexpectedly, the same things happened with me. I went back to that summer when I first heard Purple Rain. I’ll be honest—I didn’t get Prince’s appeal at first, this skinny kid who could barely grow a mustache. I had no desire to see his movie.

ctyp_73ded5_prince-purpBut it was back in the days when movies stayed in the theaters for months, and I was working a summer job between sophomore and junior years of college, and my boss loved the movie and talked about incessantly. So I went. And I understood everything. That music—and movie—spoke to me. I had nothing in common with an African American musician from Minnesota, but my God. By the time the last scene takes place, I was downright sobbing, the only white girl in the theater, utterly devastated and in love with a perfect song that I would listen to thousands of times.

There are other songs that speak to me—Where the Streets Have No Name by U2; Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen; Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Chorale. David Bowie, another tragic loss this year, and Space maxresdefaultOddity, Young Americans, Heroes. Dave Matthews’s Angel. Stevie Wonder’s most perfect song—Overjoyed—was the song McIrish and I danced to at our wedding.

I remember when I was a kid and Elvis Presley died. My mom burst into tears, and I was so confused. She didn’t know him, after all.

I understand now.

These artists mark those moments in our life when only music can soothe or uplift or give voice to our feelings. They write the soundtrack of our lives. When they’re taken suddenly, something in us dies, too, only to be resurrected every time those introductory chords twang, 46TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS -- Prince performs "Purple Rain" as the opening act during the 46th Annual Grammy Awards show, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., Sunday, Feb. 8, 2004. LOS ANGELES TIMES PHOTO BY RICHARD HARTOGand the song lifts our hearts to heaven, taking us back and propelling us forward, underscoring everything meaningful in our lives, comforting and energizing us, and sometimes, letting us have a good cry at the time we need it most.

Goodnight, sweet Prince. Flocks of angels sing thee to thy rest…with the kind of guitar riffs only they—and you—could pull off.

What are the songs that underline the big moments of your life, gang?


Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson

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Congratulations, Amyc! You’ve won a $10 Amazon gift card. Please email me at NRobardsThompson@yahoo.com and I will send your pize to you.


Kristan Higgins
Kristan Higgins

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Laurie Gommerman, congratulations! For an e-pub copy of The Vicar’s Frozen Heart, contact me Karyn at karyngerrard@gmail.com to claim the prize.


Kristan Higgins
Kristan Higgins

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Hi everyone! *waves*

It’s so great to be here on the Jaunty Quills. Thank you for hosting me today.

Main Author Photo CloseFor those of you who don’t know me, I’m Anna J Stewart and I write contemporary romance (both sweet and mainstream) for Berkley and Harlequin. My reason for visiting today is a little on the bittersweet side. THE TROUBLE WITH NATHAN, the third book in my Tremayne Family Romances released this week. Why is this bittersweet you might ask? It is, after all, a new book that’s available. Well, it’s because this book closes a very significant chapter in my life. Hmmm…maybe I should back up a bit.

ASKING FOR TROUBLE, the first book in the series, was actually the very first book I ever wrote. Back about a gazillion (okay, maybe 20?) years ago. This was my “in” book, the book I submitted to become PRO in RWA, the book I sent out to editors for the obligatory “sorry, this isn’t for us” rejections and…hey, I was okay with that, because it meant I was making progress. I was learning. So under the bed this book went and I moved on…to paranormal romance.

Cookbook CoverAlas, aside from a Golden Heart nomination and helping me obtain my first agent, paranormal didn’t get me very far in the publishing world. Paranormal just isn’t selling, I was told. What else do you have, my agent asked me. Something not paranormal. Um…well, there’s this book I wrote about a woman accepting ill-gotten gains from a criminal to support her children’s charity. Great! Drag it out and work on it. Let’s get it out there.

So after a decade of living in the magical realms of my mind, I dived back into contemporary romance (and, sob, reality!) and rewrote this book and…2 publishers wanted it. Yay! (and thank you, Berkley!) They also wanted 2 more. Oh. Sequels. Okay, sure, I can come up with ideas for those. Let me just…

And so went the next 2 years of my life, writing about the Tremayne siblings. Morgan (ASKING FOR TROUBLE) settled in just fine as I tackled Sheila’s story (HERE COMES TROUBLE), which allowed me to delve into the world of art forgery, heists, and con games while dealing with some serious real-life issues. These characters became a part of me. I’ve been living with them for so long, it was hard to gear up to say goodbye. Which could be part of the reason why THE TROUBLE WITH NATHAN (aptly named by the way) was so difficult to write. Not because he’s a thief and the heroine is a con artist, but how do you say goodbye to the stories that helped make your dreams of being a published author come true? Well, I did (kind of…you’ll have to read to see the little dance I did at the end <G>).

JQ Book PicSo who are the Tremaynes you’re probably asking by now. They’re a wealthy family with a serious overdose of social conscience. Yes, they’re well off and very fortunate; they also don’t take any of what they have for granted. Not for one moment. They’ve lost loved ones, but they’ve turned their losses into positive action: Morgan runs a children’s cancer charity and fosters sick children, Sheila helps her and…but on the side, along with Nathan and their father, Jackson, the three of them make up Nemesis, a Robin-Hood inspired thief who chooses his victims very carefully with the intention of doing good (like returning stolen WWII artwork to their rightful owners, or exposing criminal activities to the police and public). But Jackson Tremayne, upstanding patriarch that he is, has been keeping a pretty big secret from his family–one that now threatens to ruin all of them and puts everyone is harm’s way. Enter Nathan who is determined to prove his father innocent of stealing an ancient crown, but finds himself going toe to toe–and heart to heart–with Laurel Scott, a woman who has some serious secrets and a dangerous agenda of her own.

Sounds like a lot to juggle, doesn’t it? I’m not sure these books can settle neatly into one specific category. I’ve got suspense, romance, adventure, thrills, sadness, tears…and I LOVE it! Large casts of characters, kids, pets, grandparents…adding those extra dimensions to my stories is what I live for. Twists and turns and working out the puzzles of the plots while trying to keep the audience guessing…I can’t think of a better job in the world than writing romance novels. It’s my dream come true! Creating this world of characters, figuring out how they live, what they want, the lengths they’ll go to make their dreams a reality, I gotta say, being a writer is just plain awesome. Being able to share those stories with readers like you…icing on the cake. 🙂

Speaking of cake…

I’m running a very special promotion to celebrate the release of THE TROUBLE WITH NATHAN and the end of the Tremayne romances (and don’t worry–each of these books stands alone!). Thanks to my awesome street team, The Butterfly Babes and a friend with serious editing and formatting talent, I’ve created THE LANTANTO VALLEY FAMILY COOKBOOK. This DIGITAL cookbook is a collection of over 60 family recipes submitted by my Babes (and myself, of course). There are casseroles, soups, stews, sweet treats, quick bites for those who might be culinarily (yes, I made up that word) challenged like some of my characters, and lots of make ahead ideas. If you’re looking for fun potluck or family gathering ideas, a new treat for the holidays or celebration, you’ll find something. In fact, there’s something for everyone in this puppy. Why a cookbook?

Well, this idea was inspired by one of the characters from ASKING FOR TROUBLE, my hero Gage Juliano’s Italian (and overbearing) mother, Theresa Juliano (a fan favorite). She puts Gage through his paces for sure, but what she loves to do most is feed her family and friends. Theresa and her husband run J & J Markets in Lantano Valley and so…all of the recipes included in this cookbook are inspired by her and all the other residents of my California town.
Now here’s the fun part. This cookbook will NOT be available for purchase. That’s right. I’m not selling it. But I am giving it away.

How do you get a copy? Well, that’s easy! If you buy THE TROUBLE WITH NATHAN before April 30th, all you have to do is forward me (authorajstewart@gmail.com) a copy of your receipt (the one your e-tailer sends you as confirmation of purchase) and I will send you the file as a PDF attachment (within 48 hours). Easy as that! So…for less than $3, you get to read about Nathan Tremayne AND get a free cookbook. How’s that for a deal?

And…just for you Jaunty Quills readers who comment on this post, I’m giving away TWO digital copies of ASKING FOR TROUBLE, the book that started it all. All you have to do is tell me what your big life dream is…and if you’ve made it come true yet? Winners, open internationally, will be notified this Sunday (the 24th) and posted in the comments.
Thanks again to the JQ ladies, especially Kristan Higgins for setting me up with you all today. Can’t wait to chat with you all, so let’s get to the comments! I wanna hear about your dreams.

 


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