Monday, April 27, 2015

It's April and Flowers

It’s April and flowers!



I’m Kathleen Wright, writing as Kathy Damp, new to the Harlequin Heartwarming family of authors. It’s great to meet you.

And I'm Patricia Bradley, and not so new to the Heartwarming family.


Welcome to Spring! At least it’s Spring in Utah where I live in the Rocky Mountains and where Pat lives in North Mississippi. In Utah we just passed the lilac season and are blowing into the snowball bush season. Makes me happy because that means bike riding season is here!


Pat here--Do you remember the frozen buds last month?


I thought you might like to see what they look like now.





Want to get to know us?



Since I’m brand new to the Harlequin Heartwarming family (first book out in June) and Pat had her first title, Matthew’s Choice, out in September 2014, how about you get to know us?


Questions readers ask us



Here are some questions that readers toss our way whenever we meet them (and we love to meet them, whether online or in person).


“Do the things that happen in your books happen to you in real life?”


Kathleen: In Waiting for Sparks, my very first Harlequin Heartwarming story, there’s a peripatetic Border Collie who presents the heroine, Emma, with some challenges. Wait till you read what his name is. I hope you laugh. Sometimes I read about things that I think would be fun to work into a book. And my friends know that whatever they say and do just might end up in a story.


Pat: In Matthew's Choice, the kitten storyline was taken straight from my life. Like Matthew, I found a kitten on a parking lot and took it home.

“Are your heroes based on guys you know?”


Pat: I wish! My characters come from straight from my head. lol. I'm sure they all have bits and pieces people I hang out with, though.


Kathleen: Guys I’ve seen, known, and made up in my head. I think my heroes are the best bits of lots of people and then some bad habits as well, to keep it interesting. I’ll be interested in who Sparks reminds you of in Waiting for Sparks. A lot of him is based on a certain TV show host.


“My friends tell me I should write a romance. How do I start so I get published?


Kathleen: You are in luck! Harlequin.com is giving you some help. For details on bootcamps and this year’s contest, join the community of romance readers and authors, and follow Harlequin on Twitter at @sytycwglobal and @HarlequinBooks and on Facebook.


Pat: Kathleen has a great idea! Harlequin is one of the most open publishers in the publishing world. Writer's don't have to have an agent to pitch a story to them. And it's always good to submit your stories to contests. The final judges are usually editors and/or agents.


Our newest books



Check out Pat’s book by clicking here:


Check out Waiting for Sparks by clicking here:


See you next month and I’ll leak some secrets about the secrets in Waiting for Sparks!


~Kathleen

www.kathleenwright.com

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spring Fling Giveaway Winners Announced!


Our Spring Fling Giveaway is over. We would like thank everyone who participated. We had a lot of fun connecting with old friends and new readers! Now it's our pleasure to announce the winners of our prize packs.

Our first prize pack contains:

The Truth About Hope by Kate James
Katia’s Promise by Catherine Lanigan
Raising the Stakes by Karen Rock
A Case for Forgiveness by Carol Ross

and the winner's choice of one of Elizabeth Heiter's current releases



And the winner is: Heather P.!


Our second prize pack contains:

The Long Road Home by Lynn Patrick
Man of His Word by Cynthia Reese
Fighting for Keeps by Jennifer Snow
Firefly Nights by Cynthia Thomason

and the winner's choice of one of Elizabeth Heiter's current releases



And the winner is: Laurie!


Our grand prize winner receives all eight books, along with an “ever-blooming” spring garden, consisting of a bouquet of 13 white daisies, two periwinkle blue alliums and a set of 13 black-eyed Susans, a retail value of over $150 US, before shipping.


Photos and “ever-blooming” flowers from Gardener’s Supply Company (http://www.gardeners.com/)













. . . and the winner's choice of one of Elizabeth Heiter's current releases


The grand prize winner is: Andrea B.!


Congratulations to our winners, and thanks again to everyone who participated. Check back here on Sunday, May 3rd for the kick off of another exciting giveaway just in time for Mother's Day!

Happy spring . . . and happy reading!

(Please note, prize packs can only be shipped to a continental US or Canadian address. International winners will receive the books only, in e-book format.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sit-Down Saturday with Carol Ross



A CASE FOR FORGIVENESS by Carol Ross


The past has its place…in the past! 
Innkeeper Shay James has been telling herself for a decade that she's over her ex-fiancĂ©, Jonah Cedar. But now the Chicago attorney's come home to care for his ailing grandfather, reawakening powerful feelings—along with painful memories. Shay can't afford to repeat history. 
At twenty-two, Jonah couldn't wait to trade his secluded Alaska hometown for big-city success. Shay was supposed to share that dream. Yet even with unresolved issues between them, their connection is stronger than ever. Jonah's visit was only going to be temporary…until a threat to Shay's beloved Faraway Inn gives him a reason to stay and fight for that second chance.
Available:


Where did you get the idea for A Case for Forgiveness?

The idea for this one was definitely character based. The heroine, Shay James, has a bit part in the first book in the Seasons of Alaska series as owner of the Faraway Inn and cousin of Mountains Apart hero Bering James. There is just something about her…  She's spunky--loyal, generous and thoughtful, but she also has a quick temper and a stubbornness that can (does) get her into trouble.  She’s so lovably flawed while she valiantly struggles with the hand fate has dealt her… She just had to have her own story.  And I'm so grateful to my editor Kathryn Lye who helped me figure out some critical plot details.

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

Thank you, Harlequin, for the perfect cover? Okay, that might not be that great as a caption, but I do love it.  How about…forgiveness is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to ourselves. 

Who was your favorite character and why?

I am going to pick two because they are pretty much a team--Gramps and Doc.  Gramps (aka Caleb) is the hero’s grandfather and Doc is his long-time friend. They are loosely based on my own dad (who was called Papa by his family) and his friend of roughly sixty years, Warren. The joking, teasing, bickering, and unwavering love and loyalty were a joy for me to write.  I think Papa may have had a hand in helping me with some of the dialogue from his favorite fishing hole up in heaven.

What music would match the mood of this novel?

Country music fans think Rascal Flatts…. The beginning is ‘What Hurts the Most’ and ‘Prayin’ for Daylight’ while the end is ‘Bless the Broken Road’, with touches of ‘I Melt’ and ‘Mayberry’ throughout the entire book.

What is your favorite scene?

I love the scene where Jonah is playing bingo with the Senior Circle. Cynical about returning to Rankins and used to his action-packed big-city attorney lifestyle, needless to say he’s very reluctant to attend. But he soon gets caught up in the spirit of it. I got the biggest kick out of writing it, and this is where Jonah first begins to see that maybe Rankins isn’t quite as bad as he remembers even as he realizes his connection to Shay is just as strong as he recalls...

Tell us one thing you learned during research.

One of the best things about writing this series is researching the state of Alaska. I’m always learning something new and getting lost in (and inspired by) the most stunning photographs.  But for this book in particular I’m going to go with estate law and the Alaska Homestead Act. I was fascinated to learn that homesteading was possible in Alaska until 1986 (no, that’s not a typo).

How many books does this make for you? Exactly what does that mean to you?

A Case for Forgiveness is my second published novel. This one is huge for me in terms of confidence. I kept thinking with the first one that maybe it was just a fluke, that there had been some kind of mistake, or that my editor hadn’t really read it… I also love this book because it was the first time I made myself cry while writing--that felt like a milestone, too!

What do you plan to work on next? 

I am just finishing up book four in the Seasons of Alaska series and waiting on revisions for book three, which is due to be released in October. So very excited!

What are you reading for pleasure right now?

John Sandford’s Deadline, number eight in his Virgil Flowers series. John Sandford is one of my all-time favorite authors--I read everything he publishes. (I dream of going fishing with Virgil…)

And don't forget! There's still time to enter the Heartwarming Spring Fling!

 Awesome prizes & easy to enter--I promise!
Enter Here!
 

Friday, April 24, 2015

THE EGGS AND I




My life is filled with miracles, big and small.  I shouldn't be surprised by them at this point.  I mean, my mother died when I was four months old and I was taken in by the coolest, kindest adoptive parents anyone could ever ask for.  They taught me to pray, and because the best prayers are simple conversations with God and I talk ALL the time, I'm experienced.

While working in Los Angeles, a mega-city filled with fast-moving strangers, I found the one man in the world who would understand my need for kids, cats, and chocolate - and he fell in love with ME.

Despite a body that refused to give me children, I prayed that we'd be able to adopt a baby, and two months later (when we were told it would be two years before we would have one child) we were gifted with a family of three, ages 4, 8, and 10.  Our family is now enormous with spouses, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and wonderful in-laws.

I still have my husband after more than a dozen MRSA infections and diabetes that's grown erratic after a lifetime of predictability.  (It's no wonder women see firemen as such heroes.  They were here last week in the middle of the night when Ron's blood sugar dropped to 25.)  I was so scared, and they were so calm and competent.

So, I've grown used to the big miracles, but the little ones continue to confound me.  The most recent began when the larder was low and Ron was feeling too poorly to allow me to leave him to go to the store.  So I ran across the street to borrow two eggs for breakfast.  Curt, my neighbor, working under the hood of his car, pointed a wrench toward his house and said, "Take whatever you need."

I could not find one egg.  His wife is a caterer on the side and had been working at a conference on quilting since early morning.  I concluded she must have taken every egg in the house with her.

So I walked a few houses up the street and tried another neighbor who said she'd just used her last egg in a brownie mix.  I thanked her and walked home, thinking that if I couldn't have the egg, a brownie mix was a noble end for it.

I made hot cereal - not Ron's favorite - then took the dog quickly around the block.  By the time I got home - I swear this is true - Ron was at the door in his walker with a big smile.  "You've done it again!" he said.

All the possibilities of what I could have 'done again' ran through my mind.  Melted the tea kettle onto the burner?  Forgot to turn off the phone?  Left the ice cream out? But he was smiling.  Hm.

"Follow me," he said, and led the way to the kitchen.  On the counter were four dozen eggs.  I stared in disbelief.  There were two one-dozen cartons, and one 24-pack.

"After you left, Curt remembered that Rosemary had taken all the eggs," he explained, "so he went to the store to get us a dozen.  Barbara used her last egg, went to get herself another dozen, and got one for us, too.   Then, Rosemary (the caterer) came home from the quilt thing with two dozen eggs she didn't use." He grinned at me.  "You prayed for eggs, didn't you?" 

This is all attributable to God's goodness and the kindness of neighbors, but on the chance that my prayer skills play any part, I'm turning my focus to the Middle East, world hunger, and racial injustice.  But I might need some help.  Who's with me?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Filling The Well (Tara Taylor Quinn)

After two grueling months in which I've written two complete novels and worked on another, I finished revisions on my second Heartwarming book, Once Upon A Marriage, on Monday.  Prelims - the letter in the front of the book from the author to the reader, the dedication and author bio - were all done yesterday.  And to celebrate...I bought and planted a couple of rose bushes.  It's something I have been wanting to do for more than a year.  This morning I have two glorious roses.  This is one of them.  The fragrance is so incredibly pure I wish I could lay out there and just be one with it.  Take it.  Refill my well.

I've already got an idea in for more Heartwarming books.  I loved this experience.  It's different from my other work in some ways.  Not different at all in others - in the ways that matter to me.  The intensity, the heart and soul, that pour into ttq books is all there.  Just some of the 'gritty' is gone. 

And I learned something over the past few months.  Or was reminded of it again.  By my own example.  I had books to write.  I wrote them.  Period.  I have more books due this year - two of them by September.  And they will be done.  Because if you put your mind to something, really put your mind to it, it happens.  I finished the last book and was drained almost to the point of being emotionally comatose.  And yet, felt strengthened, too.  I walked outside and I saw those two places where I had underground irrigation that was capped off.  I thought of the rose bushes that I wanted there.  And I knew that I could make them happen.  I just had to put my mind and energy to them.  And, as life often works, when you do all that you can do, fate steps in and gives a hand.  I didn't have a lot of time.  I found exactly what I wanted in the first place I looked.  And paid less than $20 for both bushes - not a piece.  A miracle.  A small one, yes, but for me, significant.

I have a synopsis due to my agent.  And three chapters on a Superromance due next week.  I step outside.  Smell my rose.  And I am ready...

How about all of you?  What fills your well?  Maybe if we share, our collective energies will multiply for all of us!