Earlier this year, my husband daughter and I spent three weeks in Italy. It was a fabulous trip – part research trip for my book The Billionaire’s Betrayal and mostly family vacation and definitely the fulfillment of a dream. I took 6,000 pictures. I’m not kidding – 6,000. I was looking through them the other day, reminiscing about our trip. I’ll spare you 5,994 of my most beloved moments and share with you the Top Six Things I Loved About Italy:
1. Venice – I think it’s the most romantic place in the world. I left a little piece of my heart there. Sister JQs Kathleen O’Brien, Kathy Garbera and I are part of a five-book series called Amalfi Night Billionaires. I set a good portion of my book, The Billionaire’s Betrayal, which is available August 31, in Venice. It was such fun revisiting the places I fell in love with. Kathy’s book, The Billionaire’s Temptation, launches the series on August 17. Mimi Wells’ The Billionaire’s Deception, will be available on August 24. Kathleen’s The Billionaire’s Secret releases on September 14, and Eve Gaddy’s The Billionaire’s Charade wraps up the series on September 21. Just to clarify, most of the Amalfi Billionaire books take place on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. I couldn’t resist having my hero and heroine sojourn to Venice.
2. The cooking class we took in Florence – I learned how to make ravioli from scratch and I also discovered that sage butter is my favorite pasta sauce ever.
3. The way the men look at women – There’s a reverence in the way they look at women. It’s as if they’re beholding a work of art or They’ve just seen the face of the Madonna. There is no place on earth to feel more adored – or attractive – no matter your age, size or shape. That picture over there is some random graffiti in Florence. It says, I love you.
4. The food and wine – the gelato, bistecca, truffles, pesto, pasta, Chianti… I could go on and on.
5. The art – You name it, we saw it: da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Titian. All the masters were there.
6. Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Brownings’ Florence apartment, Casa Guidi - It’s truly a hidden treasure. It took a while for us to find the place, even after we’d arrived at the building. For a while the lovely docent, the Norwegian and I were the only ones in the place (College Girl opted out of this one). When the docent discovered that I’m a writer, she encouraged me to sit at Elizabeth’s desk.
What’s your favorite thing about going on vacation? Do you take lots of photos or do you live in the moment?
Are you as shocked as I am that October is nearly over? It could be a sugar coma induced by the bags of Brachs candy corn that I found at my local American shop that made the month fly by.
I have my usual Halloween costume prepared (suburban mom), I’ve got bags of candy that I don’t like so that when kids arrive I actually have something to give them and I’m preparing to make my family my famous hot chocolate with Halloween sprinkles. I know I’ve mentioned my obsession with sprinkles before.
I’ve launched a new series with Harelquin Blaze called Holiday Heat. The books take place overThanksgiving (US), Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The setting is a luxurious ski resort in Park City, UT. I made it up so I could control all the aspects like cute little alpine chalets where guest can spend more than a week. And my heroine can be the general manager. I used my experience working at Disney’s Grand Floridian Beach Resort as the basis for the idea.
I used to love working there when I was a life guard and recreation hostess. And I loved to make up stories about all the people vacationing at the resort for my own entertainment. :)
The first book, IN TOO CLOSE, is out now. Today I think in the US as both print and e-book. It is a friends to lovers plot which isn’t one I do too often. I loved the fact that Elizabeth is really driven and single-minded when it comes to keeping Bradley at arm’s length and he’s willing to let her do that because he knows one day she’s going to weaken and fall into his embrace.
Here’s a little snippet:
“Is there a security camera in here?”
Elizabeth looked at Bradley with surprise. “No. Only the executives have a key to this elevator. Why? What are you doing?”
“Taking the kiss I really wanted.”
The last time he’d kissed her it had been earth-shaking, and even though she was prepared, there was an initial shock that sent waves of sensation down her body. She shut her eyes, but that only intensified the feel of his mouth on hers. He put his hands on her waist and pulled her closer. For once she just forgot everything and gave in….
His hands caressed her back and then slid lower. He drew her into his body and groaned deep in his throat.
Finally, she felt the rough exhalation of his breath against the side of her cheek as he pulled his mouth from hers.
She opened her eyes and looked up into the dark green gaze of the only man she’d never been able to fit into the “just friends” category. From the moment they’d met, she’d wanted more—that made him dangerous.
Danger at eighteen looked different at thirty, and she knew he still wasn’t a safe option, but she time, she would take what she wanted.
I’m giving away an autographed copy today and a Cheryl’s cookie card to three lucky commenters. Just tell me what your favorite candy is or if you’ve had a friends-to-lovers relationship. My hubby (who’s birthday it is today!) and I are freinds-to-lovers. :)
Thanks so much to my dear friend, Nancy Robards Thompson for inviting me to stop by today. I’m thrilled to be here again! And even more, I was recently delighted to be a part of an anthology with seven talented authors, including two of the fabulous members of the Jaunty Quills—Nancy, and the lovely Katherine Garbera.
More than once over the years, I’ve heard people say things like, ‘working with a group of women is way harder than working with men.’ The logic went that women engage in power struggles and can be too catty to get along. Ironically, it was one of my own gender spouting what I consider the rather sexist viewpoint. But I’m proud to say that I’ve now scaled that female-only wall with not a single scratch!
In all fairness, none of us actually populated a cube farm, gathered around a water cooler or stood on line at a copy machine. Not once. Rather, we created our stories in a twenty-first century version of an office—a virtual office. There were no power struggles, no cattiness. One person stepped in to take the lead and nudge all us as far as deadlines and the like. Another agreed to handle banking, and so on. We utilized a Yahoo group and email loops for communication, signed contracts in tandem, and delegated tasks during the few in-person meetings we were able to have. And in the end, I must say, I’m darn proud of the finished product, as well as the way we were able to work together.
In the course of the project, there wasn’t a single argument. Sure, there were differing opinions on cover concepts, marketing costs and strategies, small things. But overall, for seven women with strong opinions and voices, our visions were fairly uniform. We definitely agreed that we wanted to see a hot, bare-chested man on the cover! I mean, how can you go wrong with that? Although individually we each write varying heat levels, we easily settled on a PG-13 rating. Above all, we all wanted top quality stories.
We named ourselves the Jewel Box Authors. Collectively, we’ve written Enchanted by an Emerald, a box set that’s different from anything I’ve ever read. The set is a combination of seven distinct romance genres, and I’m very excited that the release date is approaching. I can’t wait to see how readers react to the anthology.
The idea started on the trip home from a writers’ conference, four of us in a car, a long stretch of highway ahead of us. Someone threw out an idea, then came the names of those we’d like to pull into the project with us. Despite the fact that we all wrote completely different types of books, we realized that we could start with one theme—a theme that we could weave through time and space.
And so it began. This kernel of an idea. We gave ourselves a year from concept to release, which was about how long it took. Using the concept of a magical emerald through seven stories, from medieval to World War II to New Adult and everything in between—that we all agreed upon. In retrospect, that was quite a feat. But we’re women, and despite having a rep that groups of us have a tough time working together, we did it, and we did it well.
What’s been your experience? Do you think women can work well together?
The Jewelbox Authors have some goodies to offer! I will give away a download of my novella in the collection, titled EMERALD INTRIGUE to one commenter. Nancy Robards Thompson is offering a Kindle copy of her Montana Born Fair novella BEAUTY AND THE COWBOY to another lucky winner. Caro Carson will mail a print copy of her current Harlequin Special Edition, NOT JUST A COWBOY, to one winner! T. Elliott Brown is giving away an e-copy of her book BOMBSHELLS to one winner! Catherine Kean is offering an eBook copy of her boxed set MEDIEVAL ROGUES to one winner. Katherine Garbera is giving away a book from her backlist to one winner. Mimi Wells is giving away a $5 gift card to one lucky winner.
ENCHANTED BY AN EMERALD will be available in EBook and print on September 8.
One enchanted emerald…seven couples in need of its magic to find true love. Follow the magic jewel through time and distance…
Will a medieval Lady risk her heart for the battered knight she believes to be her first and only love?
Can a twenty-first century policewoman find her future after she falls into the arms of an eighteenth century pirate?
A World War II soldier’s luck is in the hands of a beautiful French woman, but is she friend or foe?
A business owner with a tragic past is forced to lean on her neighbor to protect her and the valuable jewel she’s discovered, but can she open her heart before it’s too late?
A woman in an unhappy marriage leaves New York behind to rebuild her life on Iris Island, Florida, but can she find strength in her mother’s wisdom and a special gem to build a future and take a second chance at love?
Can a dark-headed mystery man and one magical stone help a down-on-her-luck young woman discover what Fortune has in store for her?
A jewel collector’s plans to thwart her father by stealing a famous emerald might be derailed by the man who wants to throw her in jail—unless the enchanted jewel has another destiny for the lovers.
Wynter Daniels lives in Central Florida with her family. After careers in marketing and the salon industry, Wynter’s wicked prose begged to be set free. She has authored more than two dozen books in several genres including contemporary romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. You can find her on the web at WynterDaniels.com and on Facebook
Several of the Jaunty Quills were in San Antonio last week for the Romance Writers of America conference. We thought you’d like to see some photos from the conference (at the bottom of the page, there’s a legend telling about each photo).
1. Cindy and Nancy with former Jaunty Emily McKay at the Harlequin Party.
2. Cindy and Nora Roberts.
3. The gorgeous decorations at the Harlequin party.
4. Friday was Cindy’s birthday. Harlequin threw a big party just for her. Shhh! Don’t tell her they the party was for everyone.
5. The annual Jaunty Quills breakfast.
6. Kristan and Alexander Rodriguez.
7. Nancy at the Harlequin authors book signing (signing Cindy’s birthday card).
8. Kristan at the Harlequin authors book signing.
9. Nancy and Kathy before the workshop they presented.
10. Nancy, Jane Porter, and Kathy at the Harlequin party.
11. Raeanne Thayne, Nancy, and Kristan.
12. Cindy, Nancy, Kathy and Harlequin editor Susan Litman at the Harlequin party.
13. Harlequin editor Patience Bloom and Cindy at the Harlequin party.
14. Nancy and Kathy.
15. Robyn at the RWA Literacy signing.
16. Shana looking beautiful before her publisher’s party.
17. Shana and Mia before the Golden Heart and Rita awards.
18. Shana at the RWA Literacy signing.
19. Nancy at the RWA Literacy book signing.
20. Nancy, Kathy, and Mary Louise Wells realize former Jaunty Terri Brisbin was on their flight home.
21. Kristan, Gail Kirkpatrick Chianese, Virginia Kantra, and Jesse.
Allan McKinney here. You know–the hero in Kathy’s latest release BOUND BY A CHILD. :)
I’m in desperate need of some help. Seriously, it’s Valentine’s Day on Friday and I need a gift that will knock Jessi’s socks off. I think you should know that she finds big romantic gestures too grand and always says I’m showing off if I offer to fly her to Paris.
I know I need more than red roses and expensive chocolates. I got some help last week on Twitter and have booked us a nice spa weekend. But I still need a gift.
What’s the best Valentine’s Day gift/surprise you ever received? What’s the worst so I know what to avoid?
Kathy will be giving away an electronic copy of Bound By A Child to three randomly chosen blog participants today. Please, help me. Jessi will never let me live it down if I screw up our first Valentine’s Day together.