There’s something special about the beginning of a new month. My to-do list is looooong on the first, since I’m permanently playing catch-up–but it still feels like a fresh start.
For me, the start of October means…
- A new round of birthdays to prepare for. I take birthdays a month at a time, because I have a big extended family. All the relatives and friends who have birthdays in a certain month get their names written in my planner that month. (Yes, written: I use a paper planner. I’m kind of a Luddite like that.)
- A sharp drop in temperature. It’s like the weather could read the calendar. The forecast for the last day of September? In the 80s. For the first day of October? Ten degrees cooler. Yes, please and thank you.
- I’m done with copyedits on my April book, Fortune Favors the Wicked! Or I will be before the end of the day. Er…is my editor checking this post? I’m working on them, I swear. And they’re going GREAT.
- A treat for readers! Fellow Jaunties Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, and I–along with the awesome Kate Noble–are releasing a historical romance anthology on November 10. A Gentleman for All Seasons includes four original novellas, each set during a different season of the year. If you’ve pre-ordered the anthology, we’d like to share some bonus goodies with you as a thank-you. Just visit this form, and it’ll direct you to the secret bonus site. And if you haven’t pre-ordered the anthology yet, you can find the ebook at major vendors.
kindle • nook • kobo • ibooks
What’s notable about the start of a new month or about the month of October for you? To one random commenter, I’ll send a print copy of my marriage of convenience historical romance, Season for Scandal, which–you guessed it–begins in October.
I know it’s a bit early to talk about Christmas–or, rather, it probably seems early to you. I’ve been thinking about Christmas all summer. I’ve been imagining snowflakes and cozy fires, mistletoe and evergreens, holiday balls and hot cider. And then I’d step outside and the sweltering heat of summer would bring me back to reality. The fact is that if one is to publish a Christmas book, one must write that book in the off-season. This fall I have two Christmas novellas being released.
One is a re-release of my novella from last year’s anthology Christmas in the Duke’s Arms. It’s called The Spy Beneath the Mistletoe, and it’s about two secondary characters from Love and Let Spy, which is my James Bond-themed historical romance. In this novella Q and Moneypence get their happy ever after.
The second release is an anthology set in a London bookshop during the holiday season. This one is titled Christmas in Duke Street. In this novella Lucien, a former prince whose family was overthrown by a revolution, is in London searching the volumes of a little bookshop in Duke Street for documents proving his identity when he comes across Cassandra, a lovely widow looking for adventure.
It wasn’t all Christmas, all the time this summer. I was also able to write a bit about summer for an anthology that will be out in November titled A Gentleman For All Seasons. You’ll notice two resident JQs are part of the group of authors. My story, “The Summer of Wine and Scandal,” is about a London dandy and a country miss with a secret.
Do you have a favorite season to read about? I actually love fall and love writing books set in autumn. One person who comments will win a copy of my new release, The Rogue You Know.
The winner will be randomly chosen and announced on the blog Sunday.
This is Shana, posting for Kristan Higgins…
It’s release day for IF YOU ONLY KNEW, gang! I’ll be hopping and bopping around the country on book tour, and hopefully I’ll get to see you. Check my website for states and dates!
In the meantime, I thought Jaunty, our incredibly good-looking mascot, might want to interview Jenny, Leo and Rachel. Jaunty, take it away!
Jaunty P. Quills, Porcupine Extraordinaire: What? I’m sleeping, Higgins.
Kristan: Wake up. It’s interview time. They’re here.
JPQ: Let me comb my quills first.
Kristan: You’re perfect. Get out there.
JPQ: Fine. You’re right, I do roll out of bed looking magnificent. God, I love mirrors. Hello, Jenny, Leo and Rachel! Wait. Why are there three of you? Has Higgins started writing those ménage—
Rachel: No, no, Jaunty. Jenny and I are sisters, and Leo is just incredibly nice. I think he has a crush on my sister.
Leo: I don’t, but I wish she’s stop thinking dirty thoughts whenever she’s within fifty feet of me.
Jenny: Your dog is humping your leg, Leo. You may have the two of us confused, since you’re not the most observant man in the world.
Leo: I see all sorts of things, Jenny.
Jenny: I wish.
Jaunty: Okay, okay, back to me, you three. Rachel, you seem like the sweet one here. Tell me about your story.
Rachel: Thanks, Jaunty. Well, life was really wonderful a few days ago. I have three little girls, triplets, and I love being a stay-at-home mom.
Jaunty: How old are these triplet people?”
JPQ: Dear God. Anyway, you were saying?
Rachel: Well…I think…I mean, I’m probably wrong, but it seems like maybe…
Leo: Her husband’s cheating.
Rachel: I’m really hoping he’s not. He’s probably not. He said he wasn’t.
Jenny: I will go after him with a hammer if he is.
Leo: She’s good with tools.
Jenny: And you’re not. How did you ever become the super of my building?
Leo: Good looks and charm.
JPQ: Leo, I understand you teach piano.
Leo: It’s true.
Jenny: Yet I never hear him play. Not even Billy Joel or Lady Gaga.
Leo: This is why we’re not together, Jenny. Your taste in music.
JPQ: Jenny, you’re a wedding dress designer.
Leo: You are? I thought you were a caterer.
Jenny: Pay attention, man-child. Your looks aren’t everything.
JPQ: And both you and your sister have a somewhat idealized view on marriage, despite the fact that Jenny, your ex-husband left you for someone rather fabulous, and Rachel, your husband is probably, ah…
Leo: Screwing around?
JPQ: As a gentleman, I was looking for a more delicate way of saying it, but yes.
Rachel: Our parents had the best marriage, Jaunty. They were so happy together. No wonder Jenny and I are idealistic.
Jenny: (dark muttering)
Leo: Use your words, sweetheart.
Jenny: It’s just that nothing is what it seems. Including you, Piano Man.
Leo: I love when you look at me that way. Sorry, darling. I’m for recreation only.
JPQ: You are a very charming man.
Leo: Thanks, Jaunty. You ever think about trying the piano? Those little paws look quite dexterous to me.
JPQ: You know, I am rather musical. Shana Galen loves when I sing to her.
Kristan: Okay, you guys, I think we’re done for now. Folks, I hope you’ll pick up If You Only Knew this week, because a part of the sales benefits Fisher House Foundation, which provides gorgeous, state-of-the-art homes so our veterans and military members can have their families close by when they’re getting treatment. And I think it’s a book you’ll love, honest and true!
Thanks for the interview, Jaunty! You’re the best.
JPQ: You did mention me in the book, didn’t you, Higgins? You’re the only one, after all…
Kristan: Whoops! Look at the time! Gotta run!
I’ve always been a fan of the Three Musketeers. If they make a movie about it, chances are, I’ve seen it. Something about a the royal bodyguard thing just works for me. So I decided to write about such an organization and thus created my Brotherhood of the Sword, an elite and covert organization dedicated to protecting the Crown of England. In just a couple of weeks, the first book in that series, UNDERCOVER WITH THE EARL releases and I’m so excited! Here’s a little teaser to introduce you. Let me know what you think…
“Now then, I don’t know if you’ve already deduced what you’ll be doing for us, but I cannot stress enough the importance of your discretion. No one is to know, not your family, your friends, no one.”
His was formidable, there was no denying that, but she felt no fear in his presence. Instead, she found herself fascinated with the lines of his face, the square angle of his jawline, and the dimple that settled deep into his chin. He was ridiculously handsome, but his expression seemed permanently locked in a scowl. She wondered what a wealthy, handsome earl had to be so angry about.
He leveled his blue eyes on her. “Understood?”
He stood and walked around to her. He picked up a stray curl that rested near her ear, the strand curled around his finger as a cat’s tail wound around your leg when they begged for attention. She shivered against his touch. What had her cousin gotten her into?
“Have people ever told you that you resemble someone?” Earl Somersby asked.
His question nearly disappointed her, though she knew not what she’d expected. She frowned. “Once or twice I suppose.”
His brows rose. “Who have they said you look like?” He moved away from her then, sat in the chair adjacent to her.
“Well, one fellow in the market said that I was the spitting image of his Aunt Gertrude, but for the most part people say I favor Her Majesty, Queen Victoria.” Evie shook her head. She was loathe to admit that as she didn’t want him to laugh, so she quickly added. “Personally I don’t see it. Then again, I’ve never actually seen her, only portraits.”
“You and Her Majesty are about the same age,” he said.
“I am older, by two years I believe.”
He nodded, leaned forward, and braced his elbows on his knees. “Miss Marrington, I need to know that I can trust your discretion.”
“Yes, of course.”
“I work for the Crown, as your cousin told you. I will not detail how precisely, but suffice it to say, you have been chosen to assist on a very important task. We need you to pose as Her Majesty at an upcoming event.”
Had she heard him correctly? Certainly not. Charading as the monarch must be an act of treason. “I’m sorry, I thought you said that you want me to pose as the queen.”
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.