Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson

Discussion:
59 comments

Categories:
Christmas, Jaunty Guests, Special Edition

 

 aroyalcmasproposalChristmas Wishes… A Royal Christmas Proposal… and a drawing for a Gift Card!        

 

I’ve always loved the Christmas season.  Sure, things get hectic and the crowds and traffic aren’t always fun, but to me there’s a wonderful sense of excitement and expectation in the air.  Even if Santa doesn’t come down my chimney, maybe I can play Santa to someone else and make one of their wishes come true.  There’s magic in that.

 

In A Royal Christmas Proposal, there’s excitement in the air, but it doesn’t start out as all that romantic.  Fredericka Devereaux is no pushover princess.  She’s determined to provide the best life possible for her infant son, Leo.  So when her brother, the ruler of Chantaine, insists that she and her hearing-disabled son need a protector, Ericka objects.  But her new bodyguard, handsome Treat Walker, warms her heart as he cares for her baby… and proves himself deserving of his name…

 

Treat keeps telling himself that he’s not into Ericka and her little family.  She’s stuck-up and a royal – hardly his type!  Despite his best efforts, the former football player finds himself charmed by the sexy single mom and her adorable infant.  This Christmas, all Treat wants in his stocking is the royal twosome he’s sworn to protect…

 

If you get a chance to read A Royal Christmas Proposal, I would love to hear from you at leannebbb@ aol.com (no spaces)

 

*What I’d love to know right now though is what is your favorite part of the Christmas season?  Tell me and I’ll draw a name from the responders to receive a $10 Amazon gift card!

 

Merry Christmas!

 

santaearsxo,

Leanne Banks

************************************************************************************

Leanne Banks is a national #1 best-selling author with over 65 books to her credit.  Leanne’s heart-warming books have been published in many languages.  Leanne loves writing about the miracle of the transforming power of love.  You can learn more about Leanne at www.leannebanks.com   Friend Leanne on facebook to get the latest news and fun giveaways! https://www.facebook.com/leanne.banks 


pumpkin_breadHalloween marks the start of the busiest time of year in our house. There are so many birthdays mixed in with the holidays we’re pretty much celebrating through Valentine’s Day.  Still, no matter how busy we are, I always carve out time to do some baking. Birthday cakes, sugar cookies, gingerbread, and bourbon balls are standard holiday favorites in our house. My mother-in-law was the Queen of the Snickerdoodle cookie.  My mom used to make these incredible seven layer cookies. But the thing that really signifies the start of the holiday season – or at least “fall” is my grandmother’s pumpkin bread.

 

In my latest release A CELEBRATION CHRISTMAS, Lily Palmer is a nanny for Dr. Cullen Dunlevy’s four foster kids. What better way to keep them occupied and out of trouble than to keep their hands busy baking holiday treats? She teaches them to make sugar cookies and her grandmother’s Christmas bread.

 

Even though I’ve been busy in the writing cave working hard to finish up deadlines before the festivities begin, Lily inspired me to pull out the mixer and whip up a batch of my grandma’s pumpkin bread.

 

Here’s her recipe:

 

Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread

 

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup fresh or canned unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup milk

toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Sift together the first eight ingredients.

In a separate large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in the pumpkin puree, vanilla and milk. Beat in the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix until smooth.

Pour the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds (if desired). Bake for about 1 hour.

I guarantee you it will make your entire house smell like fall.

 

What says “fall” to you? I’ll give away a $5 Amazon gift card to one person who comments.

 

A Celebration Christmas cover

RT Book Reviews gives A CELEBRATION CHRISTMAS 4 Stars!

“Dr. Cullen Dunlevy is in need of a holiday nanny for his for grieving, misbehaving wards. What he gets is a curve a shares beauty who is making him all hot and bothered. Celebration schoolteacher Lily Palmer needs this temporary job and is prepared for everything these kids throw her way. What surprises her is how fast she falls for them and their guardian, Dr. Dreamy. Thompson takes us back to celebration, Texas, to check in on old friends and create new memories. It’s fun to watch her complicated commitment-phobic hero and nurturing nanny take the ultimate plunge, but it’s the four hurting little co-stars who add heart rending-poignancy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Celebration Christmas larger cover

Lily Palmer is in for the Christmas of a lifetime! When the nanny signs up to watch Dr. Cullen Dunlevy’s four foster kids, she’s got her hands full. The Thomas clan is the most mischievous group of youngsters she’s ever had to wrangle, but Lily loves the job. After all, what girl wouldn’t adore spending the holidays with a warmhearted new family—and their irresistibly handsome foster dad?

Cullen doesn’t mind Christmas, but his Scrooge-like facade is there for a reason—to protect himself. His tough childhood caused him to hide behind his work and avoid entanglements at all costs. That includes avoiding falling for the deliciously tempting new nanny that Santa left for him this year… 

Where did you get the idea for A CELEBRATION CHRISTMAS

The Sound of Music has always been one of my favorite movies. I saw it for the first time when I was very young. Later, I shared it with my daughter. I hope someday she’ll continue the chain. In the meantime, I wanted to write a book that was a nod to that classic story that shows that with love and family you can overcome just about anything.

Of course, I changed it up enough to make it my own. First, it’s set during the holidays. Cullen, the hero, is a doctor rather than a wealthy navy captain; and Lily, the heroine, is a teacher rather than an aspiring nun. There are four kids rather than seven. Actually, in the first incarnation of this book, I gave Cullen seven foster children, but then I came to my senses. He and Lily were grateful because as it turned out, four feisty Thomas children were more than enough.

 * Tell us about the hero and heroine of the book? Why will we want them to fall in love?

 We met both Cullen and Lily in previous books. I introduced you to Lily inCELEBRATION’S BRIDE (she was the woman who won the wedding of her dreams, only to have her fiancé back out on national television). Cullen first appeared inCELEBRATION’S FAMILY. He was the stern chief of staff at Celebration Memorial, who insisted that the hero of that book participate in the bachelor auction that raised money for the hospital’s pediatric wing.

 Lily’s nurturing, never-give-up-on-love spirit softens Cullen’s hard exterior and together they realize that through love and family they can heal hurts of the past.

 * Is there any particular significance in the setting?

 I think Debbie Haupt of RT Book Reviews said it best, “Thompson takes us back to Celebration, Texas to check in on old friends and create new memories.”

 * What was your favorite scene to write?

 This book was so much fun to write, that it’s difficult to pick just one scene, but I guess the scenes with the kids were my favorite…or maybe the scenes at the Holiday market…or maybe when the hero and heroine go to the Christmas ball… Wow! Choosing is kind of like naming my favorite child.

 

stollenWere there any real-life inspirations for a particular scene or character in the book?

 I infused several personal details into the book. Like Lily, I lost my mother and was exceptionally close to my grandmother. My grandmother’s recipes are very special to me. I cook her food when I’m missing her.

 My father remarried a wonderful woman, who was first generation German American and my lovely step-mother shared her mother’s recipe for a German Christmas bread called stollen, a confection filled with dried fruits and marzipan. In the book, the stollen recipe came from Lily’s grandmother and to bring some holiday cheer into the house, she teaches the kids how to make it.

 * Do any beloved characters from your previous books show up in this one?

 Oh, yes! Sydney and Miles from CELEBRATION’S BRIDE and Pepper and A.J. from Celebrations, Inc. Catering Company among others. It was fun revisiting everyone.

  * Any interesting tidbits of information you discovered while researching this book?

 I wanted Lily to tell the children the story of Christmas stollen and when I was researching it, not only did I learn all about where stollen came from (Lily will tell you all about it in the book), I learned there used to be an annual stollen festival in Germany. They’ve recently revived it and now it’s called Stollenfest.

 That makes me wonder about your holiday traditions. I know it’s a little early for some of you to talk about Christmas and Hanukkah, but we are getting close to Halloween and Thanksgiving. What are some of your fall/winter traditions?

 I will give away an ARC of CELEBRATION CHRISTMAS to one person who posts on this blog.

 If you’d like another chance to win, I’ve joined with a group of authors from Tule and we’re a prize package worth $500 in the Great Thanksgiving Giveaway. Follow the link for details on how you can win. 

I can’t wait to hear about your fall/winter traditions!


 A Celebration Christmas cover

Shortly after my first book hit the shelves, an acquaintance confided that she almost couldn’t finish reading it because she felt as if she were prying into my life. “It was just so… intimate!” she’d said.  I was equal parts astonished that she actually thought it was autobiographical and flattered that she thought I lived (or once lived) such an exciting life. I mean, I love my life, but it’s vastly different from the fictional worlds I create for my heroines.

After I thought about it, I could see where she might have drawn that conclusion. While I’m a bit older than most of my heroines, I do tend to lend them characteristics and features similar to my own. Still, my heroines are not me. I don’t write about myself as much as I write about observations and what I find interesting.

 

Take, for example, my first book, REINVENTING OLIVIA. It was born one night when my husband and I were out to dinner at a trendy downtown restaurant. As we approached, I heard dance music pulsing from the loft condos above the restaurant. When I looked up, I saw a hand holding a drink over the balcony rail. I thought, wow, if I were young and single that’s where I’d live… and the story took off on its own. So, while Olivia was most decidedly not me, she was definitely a child of my imagination, born out of what-ifs and shades of possibility.

 

I’ll confess that within the pages of my twenty-five (and counting) books I’ve drawn strongly on my own life experiences (because the first rule of writing is write what you know).  I’ve borrowed characteristics from real-life villains (uhh-hmm - bosses) and given them their comeuppance on the page, or rewritten an unsatisfying true-to-life experience so that it ended happily, but the majority of my plots and characters come from the most unexpected places.  That was the case with my book WITH VIOLETS (HarperCollins) – written under my historical nom de plume, Elizabeth Robards.

 

I’ve always been infatuated with the French Impressionists. So when my husband and I went to Paris, I was anticipating a daytrip to Giverny, Claude Monet’s home and famous gardens. Before we boarded a train at the Gare Saint-Lazare, to make our way to Giverny, we stopped at the Musée Marmottan to see Monet’s famous ‘Impression, Sunrise’ (Impression: Soleil Levant), the painting that launched the French Impressionist movement.

 

Little did I know, but I was about to meet painter Berthe Morisot on the second floor of the Musée Marmottan. Not literally, of course, because she died in 1895.  However, I saw her work for the first time and a photograph of her with her family. Something about the photo haunted me and urged me to research her life. In doing so, I discovered the tale of a deeply complex, richly talented woman who bucked nineteenth century convention to become one of the world’s greatest artists and the heroine of WITH VIOLETS.

 

The research and the story were labors of love. And while the Berthe Morisot I wrote is not really like me – well, except for her strong, independent streak and a great passion for what she loved – I think there’s a little bit of every woman in her.

In my next release A CELEBRATION CHRISTMAS (Harlequin Special Edition, November 2014). I  drew inspiration from one of my favorite movies THE SOUND OF MUSIC. To make it my own, I gave it a Christmas twist. Here’s the back cover copy:

THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL 

Lily Palmer is in for the Christmas of a lifetime! When the nanny signs up to watch Dr. Cullen Dunlevy’s four foster kids, she’s got her hands full. The Thomas clan is the most mischievous group of youngsters she’s ever had to wrangle, but Lily loves the job. After all, what girl wouldn’t adore spending the holidays with a warmhearted new family—and their irresistibly handsome foster dad? 

Cullen doesn’t mind Christmas, but his Scrooge-like facade is there for a reason—to protect himself. His tough childhood caused him to hide behind his work and avoid entanglements at all costs. That includes avoiding falling for the deliciously tempting new nanny that Santa left for him this year…

Anyhow, when a fertile imagination has its way with an interesting subject… Well, that’s how stories are born. Whether or not the plot is autobiographical, a writer can’t help but infuse a little of herself and the things she loves into the story.

Have you ever related to a fictional character so much that she seemed real?  Who was it and what about her grabbed you?

One person who comments will win the book of her (his) choice from my backlist… Can’t wait to hear from you!

 


Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson

Discussion:
40 comments

Categories:
Jaunty Guests, Special Edition

A Kiss on Crimson Ranch cover copy

Thank you so much for having me back on Jaunty Quills – I love visiting with everyone here. One of my favorite things about creating a new book or series is coming up with names for the main characters. To me, it’s a chance to dust off all those potential baby names I loved but never used and to match up the personality of the hero or heroine with the perfect name.

 

What I don’t love is naming secondary characters. I have this bad habit of accidentally choosing familiar or famous names for the people who populate my books. Let’s see, his last name will be Daniels. I’ll call him Jack. Yes, Jack Daniels, that’s original. Or maybe the town gossip is named Betty. How about Betty Crocker? Or Betty White? So creative.

 

It may not be that extreme, but it’s close.

 

tubingIn my current release, A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH, the hero is an ex-bull rider with a career-ending injury. When it came time to mention his accident, I wanted the bull to have a name. We had just spent a week with friends at a Minnesota lake and one of the huge inner tubes was called ‘Big Mable’.  My daughter dared me to let her best friend’s dad pull me around the lake on the tube (note to self: never take a dare from a blood-thirsty 8 year old). She convinced my husband to take out a second boat to create extra wake behind my boat. If you haven’t tubed for a while–in my case close to thirty years–the wake makes it extra bumpy and sends the tube flying. I ended up bruised and sore and wondering whether the ride was worth the ‘cool mom’ points I got in the process. But there was no question what I was naming the bull: Big Mabel (I changed the spelling just a touch).

 

We went back to Minnesota this year and I made sure that my co-rider for the tube was 6 years old. He demanded slow and smooth and, not surprisingly, we didn’t fall off once.

 

What do you think about character names? Do they help you understand the hero and heroine better? Do you notice if the name is familiar or one you don’t love? Do you have an all-time favorite romance character name? Leave a comment below and I’ll draw two winners to receive a copy of A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH.

 

 Major photoMichelle Major grew up in Ohio but dreamed of living in the mountains. Soon after graduating with a degree in Journalism, she pointed her car west and settled in Colorado. Her life and house are filled with one great husband, two beautiful kids, a few furry pets and several well-behaved reptiles. She’s grateful to have found her passion writing stories with happy endings. Michelle loves to hear from her readers. Visit her on her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

 


Keep in contact through the following social networks or via RSS feed:

  • Follow on Facebook
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Subscribe