- 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.
- Paris! 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.
- 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. 🙂
- 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.
- 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!
Today is release day for FORTUNE’S PRINCE CHARMING! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate here on the JQ blog than to invite my buddy Susan Gorman, of Lady Celeste Reads Romance With Friends, to stop by for a virtual cup of coffee and a chat.
Sometime you meet someone and you know you’re destined to be friends. Sue and I share a love of corgis and romance novels and we both have daughters named Jennifer who were born just a few months apart. So, it seemed only natural that she and I would become fast friends. Sue, I know it’s a busy time of year. Thanks for joining me today to talk books, corgis and college graduation.
Sue Gorman: I’m glad to be here. Can you believe that our daughters will be graduating from college next month? Where has the time gone? Are you ready for graduation? I’m not!
NRT: It only hit me a couple of days ago that Jen (College Girl) will be graduating. Sue, four years ago when we drove away, I thought my heart would shatter into tiny pieces, but it’s gone so fast. Isn’t it wonderful to see the strong, confident young women our Jennifers have become?
SG: It’s amazing! My daughter spent her second semester abroad last year. It was tough saying good bye to her at the airport knowing that I wouldn’t see her for 6 months. Jenny studied at King’s College and travelled all over England and she visited Wales, Ireland and Amsterdam. The semester abroad provided her with lots of new experiences and Jenny returned home confident and determined to pursue a career in law. She starts Suffolk Law School in September. Has Jen made plans?
NRT: Congratulations to Jenny! My Jen has a job working with an interior design firm where she interned for several summers. I’m so proud of her and happy that she’s found something she likes to do.
While we’re on the subject of things we like to do, I love your Lady Celeste Reads Romance blog. How did you start reviewing books?
SG: I “won” a book on Facebook and the author mentioned she’d appreciate a review.
I reviewed it on Goodreads and she appreciated it. I am on a few street teams and receive ARCs for honest reviews. Sometimes, if the book doesn’t resonate with me I contact the author and explain. I don’t leave negative reviews on GR or Amazon. For Lady CelesteReads Romance…we review books, movies and audios that we love. We buy a lot of our books and audios. And it’s all positive! We choose our own books.
NRT: In case the readers are wondering about Lady Celeste, she was inspired by Sue’s adorable Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Celeste. Samantha sends Celeste a corgi kiss.
SG: How is Sammy? Is she still enjoying her walks?
NRT: She lives for her walks. I’ve been on deadline and lately she hasn’t been able to spend as much time outside as she would like, but I’ll make it up to her. How about you and Celeste?
SG: It’s finally Spring and I have started to walk the dogs each morning. Celeste enjoys seeing the school bus in the morning. Children love corgis!
NRT: They sure do! I hear you and Celeste, recently accomplished something major, would you care to share?
SG: Sure! Celeste finished her Beginner Novice obedience title on April 16th! We have worked very hard to accomplish this goal. Celeste wasn’t keen on learning the “sit/stay” command so, we were at a training impasse. After completing her CGC (Canine Good Citizen test), Celeste decided she could sit and stay—so we were able to move towards our goal.
Speaking of goals, congratulations! I saw the gorgeous cover of FORTUNE’S PRINCE CHARMING on Facebook! And it’s your 25th book for Harlequin!
NRT: Thank you, Sue!
SG: I love the small town sense of community in your books and that your characters have to deal with every day issues. I remember you told me that a group of you author the Fortune series. There is a great sense of continuity in the series and characters appear in different books. What’s the secret to keeping the small town feeling in each book?
NRT: Thanks so much for the good words about FORTUNE’S PRINCE CHARMING. One of the reasons that story is so near and dear to my heart is because it’s part of the Fortunes of Texas 20th anniversary. I love writing the Fortunes stories and I also enjoy my Celebrations, Inc. series (I’m working on another Celebrations book right now). One of the things both series have in common is that small town sensibility. I love taking readers to a place they’d to return to over and over again – a place where they know everyone and feel like they’re part of the community. I guess it goes back to the old adage write what you know. The town where I grew up is a lot like Celebration, Texas. I continue to draw on the sense of belonging I felt when I was growing up.
SG: Can I have a hint about FORTUNE’S PRINCE CHARMING? Just a little hint..please?
NRT: Absolutely! The book (and the 2016 Fortunes series, for that matter) is set in Austin, Texas and it’s all about family secrets. In this series we’re introduced to the Robinson family who may or may not be related to the notorious Fortunes. Gerald Robinson, the patriarch, insists he isn’t related to them, but his own children have uncovered some pretty compelling evidence that he might not be telling the truth. If so, why the secrecy and the distancing? His daughter, Zoe, is the heroine of my book. She is the lone holdout, taking her father at his word. But soon she and hunky Joaquin Mendoza (who hails from the Miami branch of the beloved Mendoza family –long-time regulars in the Fortunes series) discover that not only are they both on a mission to uncover the truth about their respective families, they also discover they are perfect for each other.
Here’s the back cover copy:
Zoe Robinson had never known true love—until Joaquin Mendoza rode into Austin and stole her innocent heart. The new guy at work is brilliant and aloof, but Zoe’s nursing a secret of her own: her dad might be connected to the famed Fortune clan! But the determined beauty has never backed down from a challenge—not when it comes to her family, and not when it comes to love.
Joaquin believes he’s all wrong for the wealthiest gal in Texas—he’s got one too many family issues keeping him from surrendering his heart to lovely, innocent Zoe. Until shocking allegations surface about her family drama and Joaquin realizes that he might be the ideal match for his Texas princess after all!
Sue, thanks so much for stopping by and helping me celebrate the release of FORTUNE’S PRINCE CHARMING.
Readers, since release days are always a happy day, tell me something good, something positive — anything as long as it makes you smile. I’ll give away a $10 Amazon gift card to one person who comments below.
Susan Gorman is an avid reader of historical and contemporary romance and mystery novels. She reviews books on her blog Lady Celeste Reads Romance with her friends Gayle Cochrane and Lisa Hutson.
A graduate of Saint Anselm College, she works in the financial services industry and breeds, shows and trains Pembroke Welsh corgis. She lives in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband, daughter and corgis.
A while back, I saw the move Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, starting Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey. It’s about a couple who dates, breaks up, and ultimately employs a firm to erase all memories of their relationship.
It was fascinating to consider that concept and it made me think about past relationships with friends, family members and exes. And certain times in my life when I wasn’t at my most stellar.
After considering the good, the bad and the ugly, I realized I wouldn’t want to completely wipe out memories of anyone I’ve encountered in my life. Maybe I’d forget some of the getups I wore in the ‘80s or some of the what-was-I-thinking hairstyles or some of life’s embarrassing moments. Although, I seem to be good at erasing those from my memory on my own since I know they happened, but I can never seem to recall them when the subject comes up. Anyway, if you can’t remember, did it really happen?
But memories of people? Nope. I wouldn’t do away with a single memory of anyone I’ve ever met. Not even the people in my life who have been…er…challenging.
In my book Fortune’s Prince Charming, (paperback available April 19; e-book available May 1; both available for pre-order now) both my hero and heroine face family challenges that might be worthy of forgetting, but in the end, they help each other come to terms with the family skeletons and become much stronger in the process.
Just a side note — I’m particularly proud of this book for a couple of reasons: It’s the fifth book in the Fortunes of Texas’s 20th anniversary celebration and it’s my 25th book for Harlequin. Doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true. 🙂
How about you? Given the opportunity, would you erase any memories of your past?
To celebrate the Fortune’s 20th anniversary and the release of my 25th Harlequin, I’ll give away a copy of Fortune’s Prince Charming to three people who comment below.
Michelle Major: Nancy, thank you so much for having me back to Jaunty Quills. I love working with you on the Fortunes of Texas and I’m so excited to be here!
Nancy Robards Thompson: Michelle, it’s always a pleasure to welcome you to the blog and to work with you on the Fortunes. The Fortunes gang is a wonderful group of women, aren’t they? And speaking of wonderful, Michelle’s book Suddenly a Father was recently named the best Special Edition of the year by RT Book Reviews magazine. Congratulations on this well-deserved honor!
Let’s talk about your latest book, Fortune’s Special Delivery. Tell us about the book’s hero? Why will we fall in love with him?
MM: Oh, Charles Fortune—how I loved him. I’m pretty much a sucker for a British accent so he had me at ‘hullo, luv’. But his character was a mix of Hugh Grant from About a Boy and Robert Pattinson if Cedric Diggory from Harry Potter had gotten the chance to grow into a man. In fact, I watched the trailer for About a Boy at least a million times while I was writing this book. My favorite part of Charles (besides the accent) was that he thought he had his life together but finding out he had a son turned everything upside down and forced him to grow into the man he was supposed to be.
NRT: Tell us about the heroine. Why is she the absolute perfect woman for the hero?
MM: Alice Meyers is the exact opposite of Charles – sweet, shy – but she is a perfect complement for him. I have a soft spot for nice girls who manage to still have a lot of backbone and becoming a mother has given that to Alice. She also wears incredible shoes (and I do not) so it was fun to research high-heels without the pain.
NRT: What life-lesson do your H/H have to learn before they can find their happily-ever-after?
MM: They are not defined by their pasts or who other people expect them to be.
NRT: This book is part of a continuity series, tell us about your experience writing connected stories with other authors.
MM: I love being part of the Fortunes of Texas continuity. Writing is such solitary work most of the time so it’s fun—and sometimes challenging—to bounce ideas around with other authors and make sure character development and plotlines work together. Because all of us see the outline for each of the six books, I really enjoy reading the books when they release to see how each author has made the story their own.
NRT: Working together is fun, isn’t it? What was your favorite scene to write?
MM: Charles is a well-meaning, if somewhat clueless new father. I love seeing the ladies’ man navigating the treacherous waters of parenthood and being totally out of his element. But he really wants to do the right thing and it’s quite charming to Alice that he’s trying so hard. So one of my favorite scenes is when he shows up at her apartment with every fancy baby contraption his son might need until he starts college. Just like in life, sometimes it’s those tiny moments that make all the difference.
NRT: Can you share if there were any real-life inspirations for a particular scene or character in the book?
One of the interesting things I discovered about Austin, Texas, when researching the story was the popular tourist attraction of the Congress Avenue Bridge bats. The world’s largest urban bat colony lives under this bridge near downtown Austin. Every night in the summer, people gather to watch all 1.5 million of them emerge and take off into the night. I’m deathly afraid of bats so I’m not sure I could actually bring myself to stand there in person, but there are some great videos on YouTube if you want to check them out. I loved using the bats as the backdrop for one of Charles and Alice’s evenings out. Bats as harbingers of romance – who knew? 🙂
NRT: That sounds like quite a scene! Thanks so much for being here today, Michelle!
MM: I’d love to share a print copy of Fortune’s Special Delivery with one person who comments. Tell me what was your favorite baby book – either one you remember from your childhood or one your kids loved to have read to them? Mine is the classic Are You My Mother?. Oh, that sweet baby bird. 🙂
Do Overs, Mulligans, and other Second Chances
I don’t know about you, but when I look back on the unrolling spool that is my thread of life, I sometimes forget about the sinuous curls of discovery, the multicolored braids created with family and friends, or the shining ribbon that is purpose. Nope, I see the snags clear as day–probably because I am an inveterate perfectionist and can rarely sit back and enjoy something for what it was. I always see the flaws first.
I think that’s especially true of those “The Road Not Taken” moments where you have one path that bends in the undergrowth and the other, grassy and wanting wear. Apologies for the shameless theft from Robert Frost, but if there’s a man who understands lost opportunities, it’s Frost. We make a choice that seems right at the time, but we always wonder what would have happened if we’d gone the other way instead.
I have a bunch of these moments in my life, like choosing the tiny private college out of state instead of taking the scholarship to the big university whose football team is on TV every Saturday. Dating that one guy twice and not getting engaged either time. Resisting the urge to go to law school after the GRE scores came in. Staying in my high school classroom instead of making the leap to the university level. Cooking dinner for a man I hardly knew as a first date and talking about religion and politics the whole night (I married that one). All of those, in retrospect, were exactly right for me.
But what about the others, the ones you’re sure you should have done differently? I have a few of those as well. Like not buying Apple stock in the late 80s. Not taking political science or rhetoric classes, which I would have adored. Or saying yes to that nice young man who asked me to be his date to the West Point Hop because I had a boyfriend. THE WEST POINT HOP, ladies. That boyfriend turned out to be a dud, so I totally should have frozen my toes off in the gray stone castle by the Hudson and gone to the ball with a handsome future officer. (Did I mention he played football for Army? I was so lame as a college freshman.) But then again, who knows? Would I have ended up talking politics and religion with exactly the right man, who most certainly did not go to West Point? I’ll never know. But it’s fun to think about.
In my book The Devil You Know, Domnhall and Calla met young. Like most young people, they both made mistakes and spent far too much time wondering where they went wrong. When they get a second chance, they have to work through a decade’s worth of resentment in order to find their way back to each other.
I had a great time putting Dom and Calla through the wringer–I hope you have just as good a time reading how it all turns out!
I’ll gift a copy of The Devil You Know to one commenter who’s willing to share a do over (successful or disastrous!) in the comments below.
From Nancy : Keep reading for five more chances to win!
Sister Jaunties KathIeen O’Brien, Katherine Garbera and I had the pleasure of working with Mimi on a contemporary romance series called the Scandalous Billionaires, which is set on Italy’s fabled Amalfi Coast. The exclusive Isola del Sole is a billionaires’ playground. Intrigue, adrenaline, and deception rule the day for the wealthy De Luca brothers and their closest friends—but only the right women can ignite their passions during the hot Amalfi nights. For a limited time, the set is available for a special price! But today, in honor of Mimi’s visit, we’re giving away five copies. This prize won’t be available until after the pre-order period, but if you comment today, you just might find one waiting in your in-box on May 3. So, please tell us about your do-over moments and check back tonight at 8pm to see if you’ve won one of the five Scandalous Billionaires sets. We will announce Mimi’s The Devil You Know winner Sunday.