In my new book HOW TO MARRY A DOCTOR (July 2015 Harlequin Special Edition) Dr. Jake Lenox and his life-long best friend, Anna Adams, make a bet that that they can find each other’s soul mates within five dates.
Jake said, “…Let’s agree that the first one who succeeds in making a match for the other wins.”
Anna wrinkled her nose. “Knowing you, you’ll let a good woman go just to win the challenge. You’re so competitive.”
“But if you think about it,” he said, “who will be the real winner? One will win the bet, but the other will win love.”
Little do they know, their soul mates have been right in front of them all along.
Friends-to-lovers story is one of my favorite kinds to write. I love the idea of a man and a woman building a relationship on a foundation of friendship. There’s something so solid about it since they’ve gotten to know each other from the inside out.
In celebration of Jake and Anna’s five dates to “true love,” here are five behind-the-scenes facts about the story:
1. Kate Walsh and Jake Gyllenhaal were the inspiration for Anna and Jake.
2. In the story, Anna drives a yellow VW Beetle. That was my first car – and it didn’t have air conditioning.
3. Dr. Jake Lennox makes a brief appearance in my bachelor auction book, CELEBRATION’S FAMILY.
4. I make a Pinterest board for each book I write and pin pictures of my characters, their clothing, the book’s setting and anything else that might serve as a visual for the story. Before the book is published, Harlequin authors have to complete an “art fact sheet” for the art department to use when they’re designing the cover. I usually send them links to the pictures I pin during the course of the book.
5. Before Jake and Anna discover that they’re each other’s perfect match, they had to go on some bad blind dates. I may or may not have drawn on personal experience for a couple of the dates poor Jake and Anna endured. Haha! Hey, you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince, right?
Have you kissed (or simply dated) any frogs? Tell me about your worst or best date and I’ll give two people who post a copy of HOW TO MARRY A DOCTOR (e-book or print, your choice) so you can read about my –er– Jake’s and Anna’s bad dates.
Who loves those dashing Scottish Highlanders? *Vanessa raises both hands*
Yep, I do, especially when his name is Jamie Fraser. I too have been bitten by the Jamie bug, eagerly awaiting each episode of Outlander to get my fix. Jamie pretty much defines the perfect book or TV boyfriend–strong, handsome, kind, heroic, sexy…and he’s a Highlander, too. Can you say brogue?
But I have to admit that Jamie wasn’t my first Scottish love. Many moons ago and before he went barmy, my heart belonged to Mel Gibson as Braveheart. I could do without the blue face paint, but the rest was sure nice to look at–kilt or no kilt. And heroic? Well, they didn’t call him Braveheart for nothing.
Then there was Rob Roy, aka Liam Neeson. I actually didn’t know much about this particular Scotsman until I saw the movie, I’m ashamed to admit, but I was subsequently inspired to do the research.
Yes, there’s Liam with that well-known Scottish actress, Jessica Lange. Oh, wait…
Anyway, as you can see, my love of Highlanders is obviously deep and of long-standing, which is why I’m so thrilled to see the release tomorrow of my very own Highland historical romance. HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER is book 4 in my Renegade Royals Series, and it’s the first historical romance I’ve written that’s partly set in the Scottish Highlands. It’s got a hunky Highlander hero and even a castle!
Here’s the blurb:
Illegitimate yet thoroughly irresistible, the Renegade Royals are leaving behind their careers as daring spies for the greatest adventure of all…
At sixteen, Alasdair Gilbride, heir to a Scottish earldom, fled the Highlands and an arranged betrothal. Ten years later, Alasdair must travel home to face his responsibilities. It’s a task that would be much easier without the distracting presence of the most enticing woman he’s ever met…
After one escapade too many, Eden Whitney has been snubbed by the ton. The solution: rusticating in the Scottish wilderness, miles from all temptation. Except, of course, for brawny, charming Alasdair. The man is so exasperating she’d likely kill him before they reach the border—if someone else weren’t trying to do just that. Now Eden and Alasdair are plunging into a scandalous affair with his life and her reputation at stake—and their hearts already irreparably lost…
I have to admit that this book was a whole lot of fun to write. I loved the setting of the Scottish Highlands, and I really enjoyed pairing my dashing Scots hero with my sassy Sassenach. And then there were all those pictures of Jamie Fraser I had to study for my research. What can I say–I love research!
There’s more info about the book on my website, including an excerpt and a bonus chapter I wrote just a few weeks ago. You can find ROYAL HIGHLANDER at Amazon, B & N, and iBooks, or wherever books are sold.
To celebrate tomorrow’s release of ROYAL HIGHLANDER, I’ll give away a $10 Amazon gift card. Just tell me if you’re a fan of Highlanders, and who might be your favorite!
Jaunty P. Quills: Hello, Readers! Today I’m pleased to introduce author Shana Galen to the blog. Shana writes historical romances. Kirkus calls her books—
Shana: Jaunty, everyone knows who I am. I blog here every month. I’ve been blogging here since 2004.
Jaunty: Yes, Shana, but it’s polite to introduce a guest.
Shana: I’m not a guest. I’m a regular.
Jaunty: Fine. If you don’t want an introduction, you won’t get one. I’ll just introduce your new book.
Shana: No! No, no, no. I know what you’re going to do. You always introduce my books and put yourself in them, like Lord and Lady Porcupine or The Making of a Porcupine. This book is While You Were Spying. It has nothing to do with porcupines.
Jaunty: Shana, Shana, Shana…I never said it did. Of course, there’s no porcupine in the title (and you wonder why you’re not my favorite!). But I know what happens while your hero is spying. What’s his name? Jaunty?
Shana: Ethan. He’s a marquess and a spy. He’s protecting the heroine, Francesca, and trying to uncover the leader of a spy ring.
Jaunty: But while he’s doing his special agent thing, a porcupine sneaks up on him, shoots quills in his backside, and steals the girl!
Shana: No. That doesn’t happen. The porcupine doesn’t get the girl at the end.
Jaunty: But you said this heroine likes animals!
Shana: She does. She also likes gingerbread and long walks and the hero of the book.
Jaunty: At least tell me there are pine nuts in the chocolate tarts!
Shana: Jaunty, go away! Readers, quick before he comes back, if you want to win a copy of While You Were Spying (print or digital), just let me know some of your favorite things.
**Winner randomly chosen and announced Sunday on the blog.
While You Were Spying is available tomorrow for only $3.99 in eBook. Hurry! The price goes up soon!
Francesca Dashing would like to forget that Ethan Caxton, the Marquess of Winterbourne, exists. He humiliated her in front of all of London Society—and he doesn’t even remember it! But when Ethan shows up in her sleepy Hampshire town, he’s hard to overlook, and his presence stirs up long-buried feelings. Francesca tries to keep her distance…until her life is threatened and the mysterious and handsome marquess comes to her rescue, in more ways than she ever thought possible.
Winterbourne has traveled to Hampshire on orders from the Foreign Office—he’s investigating an arms smuggling ring and is determined to find its leader. Miss Dashing stumbles into his way—literally—and derails both Ethan’s assignment and his ordered country life. Ethan knows he needs to ignore the distraction, but when Francesca is the victim of a vicious attack, he’s compelled to put aside his mission to protect her. Guarding the viscount’s daughter is work, nothing more, and Ethan has no plans to let down his guard…until Francesca’s chocolate-brown eyes and endless compassion melt the ice in his heart and lay siege to his defenses.
Thanks for having me back to JQ, Nancy! It’s such fun to be here. <<NRT: Happy to have you, Michelle!>> Living in Colorado during the winter that might never end, you hear lots of ski terms bandied about–first tracks, back bowls, fresh powder, bluebird days. Friends use these phrases to caption Facebook photos where they are smiling from the top of some mountain resort. These people are about to launch themselves down an icy, snow-covered slope with oversized popsicle sticks strapped to their feet and…they are grinning. It sort of makes me want to push them.
I don’t have time to smile when I ski because I’m too busy praying to make it down the mountain in one piece. Yep, I ski. Despite the constant trembling in my knees, the stomachache that starts as soon as I put on my (never flattering) ski pants and an internal monologue that involves lots of cursing, every few weekends we pile the kids into the car and hit the slopes. Why? For the same reason moms do most things we don’t want to – for the kids.
This season my daughter broke through her fear (unlike me) and now we’re taking lifts to the more advanced blue runs. My son is busy detouring into the trees and looking for jumps as we hurtle toward the bottom. I can barely keep up and I love it! Because it means soon I’ll achieve my ultimate ski dream—to be the mom camped out in the corner of the toasty warm lodge surrounded by coats and gear, sipping hot cocoa and wearing boots I can walk in without feeling like I’m going to fall over. I have happy visions of a full Saturday spent alternating between my laptop and Kindle while I smile at the cold, wet, red-faced suckers who take a break from risking life limb on the mountain. I’m going to be the best lodge mom ever.
Among friends my views on skiing put me in the minority, and I sometimes wonder if I’m a total wimp. I probably am a total wimp, and I’m okay with that. But I’m also curious how people outside of ski-crazy Colorado feel about it.
Would you be carving the slopes or hanging in the lodge? Either way, I’ll have the hot cocoa waiting.
I’ll be drawing two winners from the comments for a copy of my March release, A Second Chance At Crimson Ranch. The heroine, Olivia Wilder, has come to Crimson, Colorado to find place she can feel at home. Lucky for her, there’s a new (and a few years younger) contractor in town that might be the perfect guy to help her. I’m excited to invite readers back to Crimson because it’s a town filled with wonderful people and lots of opportunities for falling in love (yes, there is a ski mountain but I haven’t forced any my characters onto it…yet).
As a kid I didn’t always fit in. I was tall for my age. No, I mean tall. I was five-feet-four inches in third grade and wore a size 7 ½ shoe. My teacher also wore a size 7 ½. When her heels hurt her feet, we’d trade shoes.
The other problem was that I moved a lot. We moved every six months for a while, so just as kids got used to me, I’d leave and be the freak at a new school.
Kids were either afraid I’d beat them up or they teased me unmercifully. I had a wool beanie hat with a cat face on the little puff ball at the top, and I was so lonely that sometimes I’d walk around the playground, cradling my kitty hat and talking to my “friend.”
As I got older and kids grew taller, I made more friends. It helped that we moved to Texas and stayed put. And, just in case you’re wondering, I stopped growing. I’m five-seven. Here’s me with the Jaunty Quills in 2013. I’m in the middle back in red, between Kirstan and Robyn.
I know what it feels like not to fit in. I still know what it’s like not to fit in for lots of reasons—one of them is that I have a stop-the-conversation profession.
Readers often ask me where I get my ideas. The idea for a character who doesn’t fit in came very naturally to me. In Earls Just Want to Have Fun, which is out tomorrow, Marlowe is a thief from the slums of London. She’s not overly tall, but she might as well be a giant because she sticks out in the refined world of Mayfair and the ton, where she ends up.
To make matters worse, the man charged with keeping an eye on her is none other than the Earl of Dane, a man known for opposing any sort of aid or Parliamentary reform that would help the poor. To say they don’t get along is an understatement.
Marlowe just might be the long-lost daughter of a marquess, but even if she is, does that change anything for her? She can’t snap her fingers and suddenly fit in. You can’t erase years of your life, just like I often feel like I’m too-tall, even though I’m only a little taller than average.
Some things are just ingrained into us.
So what happens to Marlowe? Let’s just say Dane goes from her worst enemy to her best chance at finding a common ground and a place where she belongs.
Have you ever felt you didn’t fit in, or maybe you’re that rare breed who can mix and mingle with any crowd. One person who comments will win a digital copy of Viscount of Vice, a novella that’s related to Earls Just Want to Have Fun.
Restrictions: Must be able to read the novella on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, or iBooks. Winner announced Sunday!
His heart may be the last thing she ever steals…
Marlowe is a pickpocket, a housebreaker-and a better actress than any professional on the stage. She runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of London’s Seven Dials. It’s a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she’s alone, she allows herself to think of a time before-a dimly remembered life when she was called Elizabeth.
Maxwell, Lord Dane, is intrigued when his brother, a hired investigator, ropes him into his investigation of the fiercely beautiful hellion. He teaches her to navigate the social morass of the ton, but Marlowe will not escape so easily. Instead, Dane is drawn into her dangerous world, where the student becomes the teacher and love is the greatest risk of all.
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