Saturday, December 10, 2016

Sit-Down Saturday with Carol Ross

The always-gorgeous Oregon Coast: photo courtesy of Pixbay
Thrilled to be here talking about my latest book Christmas in the Cove on this frosty Saturday morning.  This one is special to me for a couple reasons. One, because it’s my first to be set outside of Alaska. Which leads to the second, it’s set very close to my home. I only live about an hour from the Pacific Ocean. My family spent tons of time at the coast while I was growing up: camping, fishing, crabbing, clam digging, and just hanging out on the beach. So many of my best memories were made in places just like the fictional town of Pacific Cove.

In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption, what would it say?
Life is always just a little bit better at the beach.

How long did it take you to write?
This book took me about four months to write. This time-frame is a little deceiving, though, because I spent so many hours doing research. I lived and breathed the Coast Guard for a few months last summer; reading books, internet searching, watching documentaries and movies, and taking tons of notes. I gained so much respect and admiration for this branch of our military. I'm incredibly grateful for the service these men and women provide.

What is your favorite scene?
Eli and Aubrey were childhood sweethearts and when the story begins they haven’t seen each other for 12 years. Eli broke up with Aubrey and is now back in her life and trying to win her over. My favorite scene is the one where he invites Aubrey over for dinner and fixes one of her favorite meals from their past.
Here’s a snippet:
Eli had just flipped the steaming pancakes and was removing the last pieces of bacon from the frying pan when a knock sounded on the front door. His palms were sweating and he couldn’t remember the last time he had felt this kind of nervous buzz. He opened the door and the smile on her face propelled him back in time, dissolving much of the tension he'd been battling.
“Your feast awaits, milady.” He gestured toward the kitchen.
She walked in and let out a happy gasp. “Eli?! Buttermilk pancakes? Your dad’s recipe? I’m so excited.”
“Yep.” He met her joyous smile with his own, relishing in the fact that he'd already managed to cheer her up.
Wielding a spatula, he removed the perfectly-browned pancakes from the griddle. He handed her a plate with a fluffy steaming stack. He dipped out a scoop of whipped butter and plopped it on the top.
Scooting two dishes toward her, he added, “I warmed up some peanut butter and sliced your bananas.”
“I can’t believe you remembered.”
“Really?” he asked dryly. He turned to face her with one quirked brow. “You honestly can’t believe that I remember how you like your pancakes?”
She swallowed nervously as she set her plate down and Eli couldn’t help but enjoy that, too, because she was so cute when she was flustered. “Um, well… It’s been a long time.”
He leaned a hip against the counter, so close to her now that they were almost touching. “Aside from swimming, baseball is your favorite sport to play, football is your favorite sport to watch, although I would say speed skating is a close second, it’s just not on television that much. You drink your coffee black, but you like your tea with cream. Broccoli is your vegetable of choice, and the only ones you won’t eat are Brussels sprouts and water chestnuts. Your foot is a size nine. Your favorite color is pink and you’re afraid of frogs. The last two I always thought were slightly odd because you’re such a tomboy, and frogs are amphibious. Like you.” He lifted one shoulder. “But, hey, when I got to go swimming with you in that pink bikini, it was my favorite color, too.”

The beach equals romance any time of the year.
Who was your favorite character and why?
My favorite character is hero Eli. He tries so hard to always do the right thing, even at the expense of his own happiness. He’ll go to any length necessary to keep others safe. Especially Aubrey. Even when she might not want or need his help. Yikes, I think we can all see where this is headed...

Tell us one thing you learned during research.
Becoming a Coast Guard rescue swimmer is crazy difficult. Roughly 50% of trainees don't make it. It’s a dangerous and demanding job, both physically and mentally. There are only about 350 active U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmers. Of these, there have been three women. (Three awesome, fierce, talented, amazing women.)
The U.S. Coast Guard in action. Heroes every single one.
What do you plan to work on next?
I’m currently finishing the next Pacific Cove book, titled Summer at the Shore. I have a proposal in for another Seasons of Alaska book (or two) that I’ve been busy brainstorming. And I just found out that I’m going to be part of another special project that I can’t talk about yet. (I usually don’t mention stuff that I can’t mention, but this one is so exciting I couldn’t help myself!)

And now for this exciting announcement:
It’s tour time! Free admittance! No ticket required! 


I’m going on tour with Christmas in the Cove via Prism Book Tours from December 13 – 20th. I’d love it if you’d drop by at one of the stops along the way. There’s a giveaway! Click here to view: Christmas in the Cove Tour Schedule

About the book:


Nobody is going to hurt her—not on his watch 
A DEA stealth mission has brought coast guard Lt. Commander Eli Pelletier home. But when he ends up aiding rescue swimmer Aubrey Wynn during her own harrowing mission, powerful emotions reignite between them. Except Aubrey doesn't want Eli's protection. She wants answers. 
Twelve years ago, Eli broke up with Aubrey without telling her the real reason he was leaving Pacific Cove. How can he try for a second chance if he's forced to deceive her again? Amid suspected drug trafficking and a sabotaged Christmas contest, Eli must find a way to regain Aubrey's trust without compromising his career or endangering the woman he loves.

Buy Links:


Thanks for spending a few moments of your precious Saturday with me! Hope your Holiday Season is off to a wondrous start.

Friday, December 9, 2016

A Christmas Wish by Cerella Sechrist

This year, one very special wish for our family came true. For the past few years, my brother has been the only father figure to his wife's daughter, Emily. Caleb met Emily when she was only three years old, and next month, she turns ten. While we've always considered Emily part of the family (see my Dear Reader letter in Harper's Wish where I mention Emily!), it was still a special event when my brother was finally able to make his title official and became Emily's dad on paper.



This Christmas will be the first they'll share as official father and daughter. In honor of this wish come true, I wrote a scene with the characters from Harper's Wish because my heroine, Harper, is in a similar situation with my hero's daughter, Molly.

You can check out the scene below and make sure you read to the end of the post to enter for an awesome Christmas prize package!

This holiday season, I hope that you are surrounded by those who love you and that all your wishes come true.

 ***



The party was winding down. After hours of music, dancing, and speeches, Callahan’s contained only the final few of Connor and Harper’s closest of friends who had gathered to celebrate Harper’s official adoption of Molly, Connor’s daughter. The paperwork had been finalized at the courthouse that morning, and now Harper was truly Molly’s mom. Not just in the day-to-day but on paper. It left Harper a little breathless, both thrilled and overwhelmed, that this wish of hers had come true.

And just in time for Christmas. Harper couldn’t imagine any other present as precious as being entrusted with Molly’s care.

Harper sat at one of the tables in Callahan’s and twirled her fork through the remains of her dessert. Connor was exchanging goodbyes with the last of their guests as Molly leaned against his legs. She opened her mouth wide in a yawn and rubbed at her eyes. Harper smiled at the sight.

Her daughter.

As if her thoughts had called to the little girl, Molly turned and focused on Harper, her lips turning upward as their eyes met. Molly had been impatient for this day, ever since Harper and Connor had first sat her down and told her that Harper planned to adopt her. There had been a lot of negotiation and paperwork to get them to this point – locating Connor’s ex-wife who never stayed in one place for too long, broaching the subject of giving up her parental rights, and then arranging for the exchange of forms.

Though the other woman seemed stunned by Harper’s request, in the end, she conceded it was what was best for her daughter. She’d never really wanted to be a mother and only spoke to Molly once or twice a year. Harper had been in Molly’s life every day since she’d moved to Findlay Roads. And during her engagement to Connor, Harper had instituted weekly girl days and monthly sleepovers. Molly had felt like her child long before the papers had been signed. But to have the rest of the world recognize her as the little girl’s mom felt…right.

She watched as Molly moved away from Connor and came toward her. Harper pulled out a seat so the little girl could sit next to her at the table. The lights from the Christmas tree in the corner of the dining room bathed them in a soft glow.

“Did you have fun today?” Harper asked.

Molly nodded.

“Your dad did a great job on the menu.”

As a chef and the owner of Callahan’s, Connor had made up a special winter menu for their adoption celebration: potato chowder, fisherman’s pie, colcannon, and honeyed parsnips with bread and butter pudding for dessert. Harper had eaten way too much, as she always did when it came to Connor’s food, but that was something she and Molly shared. As a former restaurant critic, Harper enjoyed trying new dishes, and as Connor’s daughter, Molly had been raised on a healthy diet of both traditional and contemporary cuisine. The little girl was the least picky child she had ever met and would try just about anything placed before her.

“I liked the custard.”

Connor had made a special custard, in Molly’s honor, and was even adding it to the menu in the new year.

“It was delicious,” Harper agreed and then asked, “What was your favorite part about today?”

Molly’s lips twitched at all the memories they’d made that day. She tugged on one of her braids and ducked her head, almost shyly, though Harper had never known her to be very shy.

“When you gave your speech,” she answered, “about how happy you are to be my…mom.”

Harper couldn’t resist then. She pulled Molly into her arms and dropped a kiss onto the crown of her head. “I am happy. More than you can imagine.”

She lifted her gaze then and noticed flakes of white falling softly against the windowpanes.

“Molly, it’s snowing.”

Molly pulled away from her embrace and turned her head. She gasped with delight. “Let’s go outside!”

As they went to get their coats, Harper caught Connor’s eye. He looked at Molly who was tugging Harper along by the hand, and then at her. His eyes twinkled with happiness, and Harper warmed at the sight.

Was there anything better than a Christmas wish come true?

As she helped Molly finish buttoning her coat, she drew her close.

“You know what my favorite part of today was?” she asked the little girl.

“What?”

“Hearing you call me ‘Mom’ for the first time.”

Molly beamed, and together, they went hand-and-hand out into the snow.

***

Before you leave, don't forget to enter the Christmas giveaway below! Entries close on Sunday night! The prize includes an Irish Pub Cookbook containing recipes from the dishes mentioned in the story above along with a Starbucks Christmas stacking candy dishes cup, a set of Starbucks ornaments, a sweater sleeve to keep drinks warm, and an autographed copy of Harper's Wish, the first book in the Findlay Roads series.




And don't forget to pre-order A Song for Rory, book #2 in the Findlay Roads series, releasing in March 2017. Pre-order links can be found here.


Harper's Christmas Wish Giveaway
About Cerella:

 CERELLA SECHRIST lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. Inspired by her childhood love of stories, she was ten years old when she decided she wanted to become an author. These days, Cerella divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. She’s been known to post too many pug photos on both Instagram and Pinterest. You can see for yourself by finding her online at www.cerellasechrist.com. A Song for Rory, Book #2 in her Findlay Roads series, releases in March 2017.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Silent Night by Amie Denman




Do you have a favorite Christmas decoration? As a child, I revered a white church my mother displayed every year. It sparkled, played my favorite Christmas song Silent Night, and an internal light bulb illuminated the stained glass window. My mother loved it so much, I was stunned when she gave it to me last Christmas. My grandmother gave it to my mother the year she married my father, and my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. In my mother's words, "I've enjoyed this for fifty years, and it's time to give it to you." I wonder if you have a similar item in your family treasure-trove of decorations?

In December of 1947, my great-grandmother Mary saw this church in the Spiegel catalog and knew she had to have it. My grandmother ordered it for her, and the date on the original shipping box (which I have) is December 12, 1947.


December 12 happens to be my birthday, which I think may be a sign that the church would eventually end up with me. My great-grandmother Mary dearly loved the church. Every Christmas, it was the first decoration she unpacked. She had a group of candles shaped like Christmas Carolers that she would line up as if they were going to church. My great-grandmother lived with my mother's family, so my mother developed an attachment to the church from a young age. Her family would wind up the back of the church and listen to its beautiful music box play Silent Night. I'm so glad it still works, and I can enjoy it, too. This is a close-up of one of the windows of the church.



Although I never knew my great-grandmother, the original owner of this church, I feel a strong connection to her. My mother tells me that I'm a lot like her because I'm a peace-maker and I have a special fondness for ribbons and beads. I have three drawers full of ribbon scraps (I may need those some day...), and my great-grandmother had a similar stash.

Family heirlooms are valuable not only for themselves but also for the memories associated with them. My mother has warm memories of the church from her childhood, and I have those, too. I hope my children will appreciate the church someday when I feel that I can part with it. I called my mother this evening to chat with her and to ask her details about the church and her memories, and it was so nice to talk instead of texting. It's one of the many perks of having items passed down through the generations--it brings us together in so many ways.

Merry Christmas, dear readers, and I hope you find many moments of joy through your family, your heirlooms, and, perhaps, through a snow-covered church that still plays Silent Night.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Alert! Wonder Woman is On The Tree by Anna J Stewart

It won't come as any surprise to those who know me that I love and I mean love the Christmas season. Yes, I'm one of those people who anxiously await the new displays in stores and yes, I'm also one who doesn't mind how early they arrive. Not going to apologize for it because this time of year reminds me just what is most important in life...my family and friends.

Christmas for me officially begins on Thanksgiving the second the turkey (or whatever I'm cooking) is put in the oven. The boxes come out of the closet and I dive in, almost like opening presents as I tend to forget what I've packed where. The containers come down from the shelf in the garage, the fake tree (hey, I'm a California girl) gets hauled out of it's cabinet (at least this year it didn't look like I was hauling a plastic encased body through the house).  The lights get tested...oh, yes, the lights.  I think a minor miracle descended this year as it was the first time in memory ALL of my lights from last year worked.  Whew! Because as you can see...I use a lot of lights.



The tree used to be my nemesis. While I loved it once it was up, I hated the process. Until I worked out a system and now, while it takes me about 2 hours to get each layer open, separated, and strung with lights, I don't have a swearing fit as I untangle cords and trip over electrical strands. My biggest concern is always whether the topper is straight. Hooray! This year it is (for now <G>). I'm also super fortunate to have one of those cats who really doesn't have any interest in climbing the tree. Thank goodness!! I feel bad for people who have explorer cats. This is a rough time of year for them.

Once the tree and lights are done, it's time to start bringing out the ornaments. Now I will fully admit to being an ornament junkie as in I should join a support group. I actually have to put myself on a Hallmark budget every year. About four years ago, however, after going through four boxes of ornaments that came from my grandmother, my mother, and myself, I culled the collection down, putting a lot away for good. Now I display ones that have a special memory or connection. I bet you do the same thing, too, especially those of you with children.  Here are a few of my favorites:


I'm a long-time Barbie collector and while I have a TON of Barbie ornaments, there are only 3 or 4 which make the tree these days. The Nutcracker ballerina is still my favorite.  She's just so pretty and reminds me of all the Xmas Eves we spent watching the Baryshnikov production of the ballet. To this day it's my favorite thing to watch during the holidays (except maybe the Harry Potter movies).


Yes, that's a scuba diving bumble bee. I have a few bees, because once upon a time my critique group was called the TKBees (Tiny Killer Bees. The name is a blog worthy story so...maybe soon <G>). The bees just make me smile. This one in particular. Come on! A scuba bee?! Isn't that the most ridiculous think you've ever heard of...or seen?  He makes me laugh every year.


In my early years (and for a lot of them), I was a dancer.  Tap, jazz, acrobatics, hula and ballet. While I don't move nearly as well as I used to (who does?!), I still have a particular affinity for ballet slippers especially if they come with tiny mouse residents.  She's so cute!! Another one that brings a smile to my face.


So this little crocheted baby ornament is from way back from when I was around five years old. It was given to my mom by a waitress who worked at the coffee shop my mom and grandmother used to take me to quite often. By now this little baby is about forty years old, but every year I unwrap her is like the first time I'm seeing her. She reminds me of what a wonderful childhood I had growing up in San Francisco in the Sunset District, walking down Irving street to the doughnut store or the used bookstore (which incidentally fed my romance novel addiction for yeeeaaaars!). 


If there was one cluster that represents our household the best, it would probably be this trio of ornaments which, every year, goes near the top. The STAR TREK ornament is self-explanatory (LIVE LONG AND PROSPER TO ALL). The butterfly? Well, Heartwarming readers (and authors) know about my Butterfly Harbor series. But that little blue and white angel sitting on a shooting star? That was my grandfather's and by now must be nearly sixty years old. I've written about him on this blog before. He died when I was 6 months old so I have no memory of him, but between my tree topper angel (which stands tall on my miniature Harry Potter tree), the jingle Santa hugging his knees, and this tiny plastic ornament, he's with us every year. Merry Christmas, Grandpa (and Grandma! I miss you!)


You guys all know me well enough by now to know none of my decorating would be complete without SOME representation of my favorite superhero! That's right, Wonder Woman is in the house er, on the tree. I actually have a couple of this same ornament I've received some as gifts (see? People do know me, LOL). I keep one at my writing desk, but this one stands guard over my tree every day it's up.



Christmas does not stop at any door in my house. In the kitchen, aka my writing office, you'll find the little 3 foot tree that at one time used to go up in my Grandmother's room every year. She made all the needlepoint ornaments displayed and that topper? My grandfather bought that for her for 10cents back in the day (I still have the box with the price tag on it!).  Now it's my tree...my writing tree. Or at least one of them.



A little glimpse of my writing area and the little tree that adds some holiday cheer amidst the Barbie character inspirations, a curious Tinkerbell, and a ready to fight off demons Dean Winchester (for you Supernatural fans). And yes, that's Jason Momoa peeking out from between two of my girls (don't worry--he belongs with them <G>).

As you can see, everywhere I look these days, I'm reminded of the joy and cheer this time of year brings. It's been a rough year for a lot of people in many ways, but when I take a few minutes, and sit in the quiet, surrounded by quiet lights and memories of family and friends...I am reminded of how truly blessed I am to be living this life.

So to all my Heartwarming sisters and brothers, authors, readers, and editors alike, I wish you all the blessings of the holiday season and may 2017 bring you everything you heart desires. As for the next Butterfly Harbor story? I can officially announce book three will be released in August and will feature Deputy Fletcher Bradley, Paige Cooper, and Paige's daughter Charlie, who may have seen The Parent Trap once too often. And you thought Simon Campbell was a handful? You haven't seen anything yet!

In the meantime, I'd love to hear what your favorite holiday decoration is and if it has any special connections for you. Please, share in the comments!!

Happy and Merry!
~Anna J



A self-admitted TV and movie addict, USA TODAY bestselling author Anna J Stewart writes sweet to spicy romances across the genres including the Butterfly Harbor series for Harlequin Heartwarming. Visit her online at www.authorannastewart for more information on her workshops, editing services, and to join her mailing list.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

WINTER MUSINGS, MOVIES & OTHER FAIRY TALES by Catherine Lanigan & Rula Sinara

Catherine's first snow of the season

CATHERINE: We just got our first winter snow here in Indiana. The skies are pewter palettes that would make a black and white photographer swoon. The air is heavy with anticipation of the coming transformation that will cover brown and wrinkled plants, old and weary of struggling for a last breath against frost. 

Some folks decry the onset of icy days and chilling nights, but my birthday is in December and I’ve always loved this time of year. Not just for the holidays, the decorations (though I go overboard every year) or the giving and sharing and the majesty of Jesus’s birthday, but for the feeling of magic that permeates the end of autumn and the beginning of winter.

Catherine's 'frozen' chandelier
Catherine's snowy winter table display

The winter solstice is December 21st. It is the beginning of the “Positive” energy period of the year. For six months, the earth is pregnant with new growth, new beginnings that will come to live in the spring. Few people understand this. Too many of us think of the “dark days” of winter as a sad time and some do suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I’ve been lucky to evade it thus far. As an author (or a creative person) this seemingly “dark” time is quite the opposite. It is the time of gestation of ideas. This is when the creative mind blooms.

Catherine's 'frozen' garland

When I was very young, not in school yet, I used to sit on my low chest of drawers and look out my bedroom window at the snow and I made up winter fairy tales, about the Faeries and Elves who lived beneath the blanket of snow and worked diligently to feed and care for the tulip bulbs in the ground. I made up horrible creatures who kidnapped the little elves and took them away to ice castles at the Arctic. These were the stories I told to my sister who suffered greatly from Asthma and other lung problems. Once I invented sea monsters, my brothers joined in the listening.
Catherine's 'winter night' tree

I always remember Russian fairy tales that our next door neighbor Harriet Hazard told us. She had the best—I mean the best—Christmas cookies. I still make her recipes every Christmas.

For centuries, storytellers have created Winter Fairy Tales to entertain. Disney’s mega hit, FROZEN, has captured this new generation in a way that Snow White didn’t come close to hitting. 


‘DAY AFTER TOMORROW’ with Dennis Quaid is now my son Ryan’s favorite.


The list of Christmas movies goes on forever, but I have, have to say that there’s still no movie like WHITE CHRISTMAS. And the songs! Well, that’s another blog.


RULA: Those are great movie picks, Catherine! Before I list a few my family loves, I have to say that your 'frozen' winter decorations are fantastic! I love what you did with your chandelier.

I love how you describe winter as Earth's pregnancy and that it's a time for ideas to gestate too. I totally feel the same way about winter. It's full of potential energy, yet there's also a serenity about it that encourages everyone to slow down. It's a chance for all to stop and breathe. Sometimes, that's when the best ideas come to life like sparks flitting above the crackling logs in a fireplace on a snowy night. 

My son has been performing this month in his school play, Peter and the Starcatcher, and one of the things orphaned Peter (before he gets his name) longs for most is to gaze up at a twinkling, starlit sky. I don't think the night sky ever sparkles quite as dramatically as it does on a crisp, clear winter's night and all those stars...and the fireplace sparks, Christmas tree lights and glistening snow...remind me of Tinkerbell and 'star stuff'. I like to think of falling snow as 'star stuff', or star dust, sprinkling down on us so that our imagination and ideas flow like they did when we were kids. That makes winter a precious time for writers.

But when I'm not writing, I love watching movies with my kids and we love all of the ones Catherine mentioned. FROZEN was and is a big hit in our house and I can't resist watching DAY AFTER TOMORROW. Both Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal are awesome in it. I'll add ICE AGE (and its sequels) to the list. That has to be one of our favorites.


When my youngest was even younger, he also loved the SANTA BUDDIES movie. Gotta love cute golden retriever pups at Christmas! And of course, we always watch A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, RUDOLF THE RED-NOSED REINDEER and FROSTY THE SNOWMAN.


But although there's a bit of romance going on with Rudolf, I'd have to say one of my favorite romantic winter/holiday set movies is WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING.


What are your favorite 'wintery' movies? I know there are more great ones that we're not thinking of! 

Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice to all our beloved readers, Heartwarming Sisters, fantabulous Editors and our entire Harlequin Family!
Catherine and Rula

www.catherinelanigan.com
www.rulasinara.com

Monday, December 5, 2016

Holiday Parties by Melinda Curtis

I have never been much for holiday parties. Usually these are either parties for my work or my husband's. And usually the topic of conversation is work, not the holiday. You've got to figure out what to wear (dressy, casual, tacky holiday sweater), a gift to bring the host/hostess (I once brought wine for someone who didn't drink), and a gift if there is a gift exchange (last year I was told at 3:30pm to find a joke gift by 5:30pm).

I've decided I much prefer cyber parties! They are come as you are and usually last 24 hours before they close, so you can drop in and out. There are fun games, prizes, and free reads. Whether you love Facebook author parties or you've never attended one, I'd like to extend some party invitations to you:

You May Now Kiss the Bridesmaid Release Party

This party celebrates the release of my 4th Bridesmaid book. And it is live today from 4-5pm Pacific (7-8pm Eastern). Games and prize packs open until 4pm Pacific on Tuesday.

Note: This digital only novella is 99c now, but will be $2.99 on December 13.



Sweet Romance Reads Christmas Bash

If you enjoy reading sweet/clean romance, you'll enjoy this party. 18 sweet romance authors (including me) means there will be lots of fun & games! Click on the link and ask to join the Sweet Romance Reads Cafe to attend (it will be held on that site).

This party starts Friday, December 9 at 2pm Eastern (11pm Pacific) and you can play games for prizes through Saturday at 8pm Eastern (5pm Pacific).

All I Want For Christmas (hosted by A Taste of Romance Book Club)
This party is on Monday, December 12, 4-7pm Pacific (7-10pm Eastern). All proceeds from this box set go to fund research to find a cure for diabetes. We've raised $65,000 so far! If you haven't bought your copy, it's a steal at $7.99 (give a little, get a lot!).

Check out this line-up: Brenda Novak, Carla Neggers, Samantha Chase, Shannon Stacey, Anna J. Stewart, Jennifer Bernard, Ruth Cardello, Melody Anne, and Melinda Curtis. With prizes also offered from Marie Force, Jill Shalvis, Melanie Shawn, Laurelin Page, and Kayti McGee!

So if you like to party, I hope to see you online in the next week! Please feel free to share these party links with your friends. The more, the merrier! Happy Holidays!

Melinda Curtis is an award-winning USA Today bestselling author. You can find her latest releases here:

You May Now Kiss the Bridesmaid (what happens when you wake up married in Vegas & can't remember how or why you got married)
iTunes: http://apple.co/2f6MLth
BN: http://bit.ly/2fuboUX
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2f20nYz
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2eJWDw3

All I Want for Christmas (14 holiday novellas for $7.99 - all proceeds to charity)
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2cZGZZ1

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sit down Saturday with Amie Denman



Today we’re celebrating the December release of Meet Me on the Midway.


So, Amie Denman, where did you get the idea for this novel?

Because this is the third book in the Starlight Point Stories, I’ve known Evie all along. As the youngest member of the Hamilton family, she’s been a savvy voice on the fringes of her older siblings’ romances. I knew her, but I didn’t know who the perfect man for her would be. I knew Evie would want to make capital improvements to Starlight Point such as the marina and the hotel renovation, and I thought about what man she might come in contact and conflict with on her projects. When I dreamed up Scott Bennett, a fire inspector who’s passionate about every single line in the fire code, I knew I had the right man.

In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption or captions, what would they say?

A few things come to mind. First of all, I dearly love the Harlequin cover artists! They have done an amazing job on this whole series so far. In this image, Evie could be saying, “Are you crazy? I don’t have time to ride that Ferris Wheel! I have an amusement park to run!” and Scott might be telling Evie, “I may be the one in the rescuing business, but you’ve saved me from being a brooding grouch protecting my big book of fire code violations. I love you.”

How long did it take you to write?

After many discussions with my wonderful editor Dana Grimaldi, it only took me about three months to write Meet Me on the Midway. For me, creating a really strong conflict that will end with a very satisfying payoff is the biggest challenge. Once I figure that out (with help from my editor and my writing critique partner), I can usually write quickly.

What is your favorite scene?

I love moments when characters reveal their vulnerabilities to others, whether they want to or not. In my favorite scene, Scott falls asleep on the Starlight Point ferry as it takes him from the amusement park to downtown Bayside where he lives. The poor man is exhausted from working two jobs and worrying about every smoke alarm and sprinkler system under his jurisdiction. Evie happens to jump on the ferry at the last moment and grabs the only empty seat. It’s dark, but she recognizes the handsome sound-asleep firefighter on her bench. She watches him sleep on the twenty-minute ride, and she attempts to awaken him when they reach the dock. Her efforts to rouse him fail until she decides to say the one word she knows will get his attention. She leans very close and whispers the word “fire” in his ear. You can imagine what happens next!

Tell us one thing you learned during research.

I actually learned some disturbing things about fire codes as I researched laws regarding hotels. I’ve always been quite cavalier when I’ve stayed in hotels on vacation, assuming they had sprinkler systems and alarms that were up to date. They have to, don’t they? Not necessarily. Depending on the location and age of the hotel, you may not be as safe as you think. Fire and building codes are regional and vary state-by-state and even within states. Now, whenever I travel, I call the hotel to make sure there are sprinklers in every room. When you read Scott’s backstory in Meet Me on the Midway, you’ll see why.

This is your 11th book. Exactly what does that mean to you?

The thing I’m most excited about is that this is Starlight Point Stories #3, and #4 and #5 will be coming from Harlequin Heartwarming in 2017 and 2018. I love writing a series because it’s so much fun to build a world and get to know characters you’ll see over and over. My heart belongs at Starlight Point, and I’ll miss it when the series is finished!

Thanks for hosting me on Sit down Saturday! I love talking about Starlight Point!
Amie

P.S.

If you haven't read the first two books in the Starlight Point series, they're on sale throughout December. The codes you'll need are on this graphic: