When I was growing up in Central Florida the space program and NASA was a really big deal. There wasn’t a launch that I couldn’t see from my house (even though I lived in the middle of the state and not on the coast) in fact when there was a launch sometimes my dad would get out the ladder and we’d all climb up and sit on the roof to watch it. This is probably something that no parent would do today but I loved it.
My first job was at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando and it was in Tomorrowland. The ride I worked on was Mission To Mars. It was a simulated space journey to Mars and part of my job was interrupt the audio animatronic Mr. Johnson in mission control to get guests onto the space craft. I had a thirty second interaction with a robot, how cool is that?! If you remember the ride you might have thought it was tired in the 80s but a part of me just loved it. And in that last hour before the theme park closed and we didn’t get that many guests through the ride I’d make up stories about going to Mars. Since I was a romance reading addict from an early age those stories always involved myself as the plucky heroine and some dashing astronaut dude as the hero.
This series is really close to my heart. It came out of a conversation about the space program and ranches in Florida. I also grew up in a very rural area and my parents have had everything from an egg ranch to a citrus grove. I never had any doubt about where the meat on our kitchen table came from (my dad was a big proponent of not naming animals anything except steak or bacon since that was what they’d become!). So I was remarking to my editor that most people don’t realize that Florida has so many ranches. And then we talked about combining it with the space program.
The NASA missions all launch from Florida but mission control and training takes place in Texas—a place I’ve also lived and when I got home from the conference I sent my editor an email and the series Space Cowboys was born.
I’ve got an autographed copy of NO LIMITS to give-away to one of you. All you have to do to be entered to win is to tell me something from your childhood that you loved or tell me about your favorite Disney World ride…mine is It’s A Small World—which I also got to work at! It was really a dream come true. I loved every second of it.
Some cowboys are outta this world…
Astronaut Jason “Ace” McCoy tried to escape Cole’s Hill, Texas—and the memory of Molly Tanner’s dark eyes and strawberry-scented hair—among the stars. Now he and Molly have jointly inherited her father’s struggling ranch. And having failed his latest medical tests, Ace is on leave—maybe forever.
He’s determined to sort things out with the ranch and get back to Houston as soon as possible. What he isn’t counting on is that Molly’s only gotten more beautiful over the years…and she still wants him. The passion between them is hotter than rocket fuel—and just as dangerous. He can’t promise anything as long as there’s a chance to go on another mission. But even in orbit, this attraction has no rules…and no limits.
Harlequin Blaze, On Sale: September 1, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781488000355 / eISBN: 9781488000355
The Jaunty Quills are excited to welcome historical romance author Erin Knightley. Erin’s newest offering, The Earl I Adore, releases tomorrow! Keep reading to find out how to win a signed copy of The Baron Next Door, the first in the Prelude to a Kiss series.
Shana: Welcome, Erin. I can’t believe you’ve never been a guest on the blog before! What a glaring oversight. We’re so excited to have you here. Tell us about The Earl I Adore and the Prelude to a Kiss series.
Erin Knightley: I’m so glad to be here! Especially with the two of us sharing the release week – woohoo! The Earl I Adore is the second in the Prelude to a Kiss series (the first book is The Baron Next Door), which is set in a summer music festival in Bath. These books are (obviously) romances, but there is also a strong storyline about the three heroines’ friendship. They formed an impromptu trio in the first book, and their relationship with one another blossoms over the summer as each of them discovers love.
In The Earl I Adore, Sophie has been in love with Evan since the moment she met him, and though she’s normally loquacious, she can hardly bring herself to say a word to him. But when a looming family scandal leaves her with little choice but to try to capture a husband before the news breaks, she finally has the impetus she needs to pursue the handsome earl.
Shana: I love that premise! This novel is set in Bath. Why did you choose Bath and did you learn anything interesting while researching the location?
Erin Knightley: I visited Bath years ago and was quite smitten! It hasn’t changed much since Jane Austen’s time, and it was easy to imagine my characters strolling along the River Avon and waltzing the night away in the Assembly Rooms. I was especially pleased to have the opportunity to return there this past fall!
I think the most interesting thing that I learned about the city was how far back its history really goes. I had fun researching why the ancient Romans and subsequent inhabitants thought the waters of the baths were both hot and healing. I even included this little exchange in The Baron Next Door between the hero and a friend just because I thought the reasons were so interesting!
Sandburne paused, considering Hugh for a moment before coming to sit beside him. “They say the waters get their healing properties from the necromantic powers of the fabled Prince Bladud. Poppycock, of course,” he said, stroking his damp white beard. “There have been theories of angel’s tears, underground volcanoes, or water from the center from the earth.
“I, however,” he said, extending his leg and rubbing at his knee, “think it is probably more simple than that. People needed a place to go to give them hope, and God gave them one.”
Lifting his brow, Hugh gave the old man a sideways glance, trying to gauge what he was really saying. As lighthearted as his conversation tended to be, he seemed to hold serious stock in his words. “Is that so?”
“Not sure if it needs to be, if that’s what it is in execution.” Winking, he came to his feet and waded toward the edge. “These springs may run more or less consistently, but it is hope that springs eternal.”
Shana: I do enjoy all the Roman influence in Bath and its long history. So fascinating.
I loved reading your Facebook posts about your recent travels to the UK. Do you have a favorite place you’ve been?
Erin Knightley: Are you asking me to choose a favorite child? LOL – there were so many wonderful things about each of the places, it is hard to choose! Of course Bath was magical, but I also loved the gardens of Stourhead and the breathtaking house and grounds of Chatsworth House. The historical sights of London are awe-inspiring, and the quaint town of St. Albans was wonderfully charming. In only 9 days my mother and I traveled over 450 miles, and I wouldn’t have done a single thing different!
Shana: I also adore seeing the book cover Christmas cards you do each year with Mr. Knightley. Mr. Knightley is a good sport! What’s your favorite cover of all of yours so far? They’re all gorgeous!
Erin Knightley: HA! Poor Mr. Knightley. I think he thought it was a once in a lifetime thing when I coerced him into recreating A Taste for Scandal three Christmases ago. Alas, I have roped him into another two parody covers, and I don’t imagine he’ll get out of doing more 😉 If I had to choose a favorite, it would probably be the Flirting with Fortune cover, simply because I love the way he looks in that one 🙂
Shana: Finally, tell us what you have coming next.
Erin Knightley: Of course you know The Earl I Adore releases this week (yay!). I recently finished The Duke Can Go to the Devil (Jul ’15), which is May’s book and the third in the series. I am so excited about this one, as she was a very unique heroine to write: daughter of a sea captain raised halfway around the world before being unceremoniously dumped on her aunt’s front door when her mother dies. May is unconventional and strong-willed, and definitely meets her match when it comes to the duke. I really hope the reader feels their sparks as much as I did when I was writing it!
Readers, now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite place to visit or the place at the top of your bucket list? One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win a signed copy of The Baron Next Door, the first in the Prelude to a Kiss series. This giveaway is open to US residents only. The winner will be announced Sunday.
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from Mia Marlowe…
I’m a firm believer in writing down goals, mostly because I’ve seen the things I commit to paper come to fruition in my life. When our kids were small, I wrote that I wanted to live in a log home in the mountains close to my parents (who were halfway across the country from us at the time.) Within a few years, I found myself living in a log home at the base of the Big Horns, a mere 10 miles from the girls’ grandparents.
But that wasn’t the first time I wrote down my goals. In high school, my English teacher invited us to dream on paper. After deciding finding The One was my first priority, having a family was number two. As a kid, I’d camped all over the western US with my family, and loved experiencing new places, so in a flight of fancy, I wrote “Travel the world” for my number three.
I met and married my DH before we graduated from college. #1 & #2 Daughters arrived thereafter. Then, lo! and behold, out of the blue, my math major/computer guru DH had the opportunity to become a travel IT professional. While he worked for several different airlines, we made great use of the flight benefits. We flitted about at every opportunity. Our kids had passports before they had double digit birthdays. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been to Europe, something we couldn’t have afforded without the DH’s job. I routinely tag along when he travels to interesting places for work and our latest adventure took us to Japan.
Of course, if the work travel isn’t enough to ease my travel bug, we launch out on our own. Even though I suffer from mal de mer, I love cruising. I almost don’t feel as if I’m on vacation unless the deck of a ship is swaying beneath my feet. So, it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I am not in my Boston condo today. I’m actually in Portsmouth, England, getting ready to board a ship for a 12 day cruise around the British Isles!
We’ll be stopping at one of the Channel Islands, Cork, Dublin & Belfast in Ireland, Glasgow, one of the Orkneys, Inverness & Edinburgh in Scotland and finally, Le Havre, France. I’m so excited about this trip, but actually, there is a bit of work involved. I just accepted a new contract from Kensington for more Scottish stories, so I’ll be researching like crazy! I know, I know. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
I have a couple of Scottish titles coming out later this year. First in late August, there’s Plaid to the Bone, #1 in the Spirit of the Highlands series.
Adam Cameron, laird of Bonniebroch, didn’t expect his bride to turn up at his castle so soon after their arranged marriage was settled. But the daughter of his former enemy is comely beyond the common, so he’s counting his blessings. Unfortunately, Adam doesn’t know the lovely Cait Grant has sworn to kill her new husband with a blood oath that will set a terrible curse in motion if she fails.
But Cait never counted on falling in love with the man her father had taught her to hate.
Then on October 1st, my Scottish Christmas story Plaid Tidings hits the bookstore shelves.
Christmas in the Highlands…
Not any dashing English lord’s idea of a good time. But now that Lord Alexander Mallory has won a Scottish estate in a hand of cards, he is the unlikely laird of the wild, snowy Bonniebroch. Worse yet, the ancient pile of stones comes with a betrothal. To a fiery red-headed virgin. And a curse.
Alex will have his hands full honoring the first, seducing the second and breaking the third … all by Twelfth Night.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t share the special price Sourcebooks is offering on my first Scottish story, Sins of the Highlander. I wrote this one in collaboration with romance legend, Connie Mason~a New York Times Bestseller and a wonderful writing partner! It’s only $2.99 right now but the sale is only good till May 26th.
“Mad Rob” MacLaren thought stealing his enemy’s bride would be the perfect revenge. But Rob never reckoned that this beautiful, innocent lass would awaken the part of him he thought dead and buried with his wife. Against all reason, he longs to introduce the luscious Elspeth to the pleasures of the flesh, to make her his, and only his forever.
But back to goals…what about YOU? Do you write down your dreams? Is there one you’d like to share with us here? I may not have access to the internet in order to respond today, but your thoughts are important to me. I’ll check back here when I return!
If you’d like to do a little armchair traveling with Mia, be sure to pop over to her blog for updates on her adventures in Scotland!
Yesterday Kathy posted about things that make her happy. Our Jaunty Quills community is very, very high on my happy list. I particularly love the way we all interact. Sometimes the blog is more like a chat room with back and forth banter and sharing. It’s so much fun to talk to you, to hear your thoughts on our posts and the stories you share.
Recently, my sister Jaunties and I have been wondering what makes YOU happy? What do you like to read about here on the blog? Do you like glimpses into our writing processes? How we come up with ideas; how those ideas eventually make it to the page? Kristan’s post about making out with her hand springs to mind. (Haha! Waving at Kristan) Do you like glimpses into our personal lives and hobbies… a la Kathy’s ode to her son or the time Robyn gave you a tour of her crafting/scrapbooking room? Do you like us to post recipes or previews of coming releases? How about character interviews? Or guest bloggers? What would you think about us doing occasional JQ blog reader spotlights where we interview you? Maybe we could do a ‘Reader of the Month’ feature?
Today, it’s all about you, dear readers. What would YOU like to see here on the JQ blog? And the possibilities are not limited to what I stated above. Those were simply suggestions to get you thinking. So tell us…what would you like to read about?
I just received several advance copies of my new book CELEBRATION’S BRIDE, which will be released in July. I will give away copies to several of you who comment. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
This month we’re posting our best blogs from years past. Here’s one I found with a research emphasis from the 2007 publication of Blackthorne’s Bride. I don’t write nearly enough of these!
If you’ve read a few historical novels, you’re probably familiar with Gretna Green. I’ve married two of my fictional couples there, and I had so much fun researching this romantic spot.
In 1752 the English Parliament passed the Hardwicke Marriage Act, which prevented the rampant practice of clandestine marriages. These marriages were being used by unscrupulous men looking to marry an heiress and secure their fortunes. As you can imagine, the parents of these heiresses were more than slightly displeased, even more so when incidents of men being clandestinely married to three or four women came to light. Lord Chancellor Hardwicke proposed a bill to end the worst abuses of the clandestine marriages. The Hardwicke Marriage Act, as it came to be called, made elopement all but impossible in England.
So what’s a couple who lacks parental support to do?
Elope, of course! And the nearest spot was Gretna Green.
Of course a couple didn’t have to elope to Gretna Green. Boats waited at Southampton to take runaway couples to the island of Guernsey, where the clandestine marriages were legal. But Scotland was easier to access, and therefore more popular.
There are many romantic stories of prospective brides and grooms running away to Gretna Green, the bride’s father in hot pursuit. In fact, Gretna Green has built quite a reputation as a destination wedding spot off these legends.
The primary legend was that the first stop eloping couples made was the local blacksmith’s shop to be wed over the anvil by the local blacksmith—men called anvil priests. There’s probably not much truth to the legends about blacksmiths and anvils, but there were several men who made their fame and fortune marrying England’s desperate lovers. Robert Elliott was one. Some scholars speculate that Elliott married over 3000 couples.
Joseph Paisley was another anvil priest, and he was not your typical “priest.” He’d been a smuggler before he got into the marriage business, and he had a bit of a drinking problem.
Blackthorne’s Bride, my latest novel, incorporates a story about Joseph Paisley and mixed up marriages. Take one drunk anvil priest, a father with a pistol banging on the door to the blacksmith’s shop, and two couples in a hurry, and you get…well, let’s just say that I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed taking this real-life tale and weaving it into fiction.