Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Here, There, Heartwarming Romance Everywhere! by Amy Vastine and Carol Ross

When you get a Heartwarming novel, you know you're getting a clean romance, but what we love about this line is that beyond that, the stories really can take you anywhere! Heartwarming stories may be set in small towns or big cities, on the streets of Paris or on an African savanna. You never know where a Heartwarming romance will take you.

Setting plays such an important role in any story. Where a story is set affects the mood and feel of it. It can help create tensions and conflict. It can add to our understanding of character motivations and emotions.

In Amy's newest series, Chicago Sisters, readers get to meet three very different sisters, living and finding love in a big city. Chicago offers up such a variety of settings for a book. From its skyscrapers that take you to unbelievable heights to its gorgeous parks and beaches, Chicago is always alive with energy and zing. There's something for everyone in this town - art, entertainment, shopping, and let's not forget some of the best food in the world (Chicago pizza, anyone?)

Speaking of food, the first book in the series, The Better Man, is set in a downtown restaurant. Sato's is an upscale Japanese restaurant inspired by some of the city's finest dining establishments.

In the story, Kendall Montgomery is hired to design the space for this new business, unaware that she will be working under the watchful eye of manager Max Jordan (who just so happens to strongly resemble her dead husband). The chaos of a place under construction adds to the tension the characters are experiencing. As the restaurant comes together, so do Kendall and Max.


In March, Amy's second book in the series will be available. The Best Laid Plans features a determined ER nurse and a lovable paramedic who both live and work in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Charlie and Emma spend a lot of time at the hospital and firehouse, their homes away from home. These settings allow for a plethora of secondary characters and dramatic action scenes that help set the pace of the entire story.




In complete contrast to Amy's books, Carol's Seasons of Alaska series tells the stories of four members of the James family living in the small town of Rankins, Alaska, which is about as far from Chicago and the big city (or any city for that matter) as you can get. Rankins is all about country life, situated on the edge of a deep water bay (fresh seafood anyone?) and the lower reaches of the scenic Opal River. It is bordered by rugged, snow-capped mountains and seemingly endless wilderness on one side, and the beautiful North Pacific Ocean with its islands and sandy beaches on the other.

In the first book, Mountains Apart, readers get to visit Rankins’ wild side with guide and outfitter Bering James as he tries to win Emily’s heart and show her the "best" that Rankins has to offer. But moose, wolves, bears, snow-covered mountains, and especially this town's obsession with seafood aren't quite what sun-loving San Diego corporate executive Emily has in mind.  But in Bering and Emily's case, country meets city in just the right ways.

A Case for Forgiveness, the second book in Carol’s series is slated for an
April release. In this story readers get a glimpse of Rankins’ more professional venues, although in this small town sometimes notions of 'professional' are not quite the same as their big city counterparts. No one knows this better than Shay James, the owner of the Faraway Inn.  Needless to say, an extraordinary inn in a remote location like Rankins attracts some rather, um...interesting guests. While attorney Jonah Cedar discovers that practicing law in a small, one-room law office (however temporary) is a whole lot different--and quite a bit more challenging, than his regular life with a big city law firm.  These two have a seemingly impossible legal matter to solve and a bitter past to get over, which they achieve in quintessentially Rankins fashion as plenty of wildlife, a bit of fishing, and a taste of an inviting Alaskan summer set the scene for love.

Whether you’re in the remote country or the glamorous big city, chilling on the windswept coast or basking in the heat of a scorching desert, perched on a rugged mountain peak or lounging at a lakeside retreat, you can be sure that Heartwarming will deliver sweet romance in any setting!

23 comments:


  1. It was fun taking a stroll with your books, the past, present, and future

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    1. Thanks, Pam! I love that we have such interesting variety in this line!

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  2. I agree with Pam. And I love reading books that immerse me in a special setting.

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    1. It's fun to travel to other places via a book (and a lot cheaper in most cases!)

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  3. Agreed! I love experiencing different places in books. Vicarious travel :).

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    1. Exactly! I sure had fun in Africa with you :)

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  4. Great post. Can't wait to read the new releases!

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  5. I've never been to Chicago (other than O'Hare) or Alaska, so I look forward to being transported!

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    1. Oh, O'Hare so does not count! It's not even really in the city. Come visit and I'll show you all the good stuff :)

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  6. I’ve never been to Chicago or Alaska so these books should be interesting reads for me. My son lives in Alaska and Carol’s first book gave me some insight into what he’s experiencing. Every now and then he sends me a picture of a wandering moose.

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    1. Love it! I can't imagine seeing a moose in my backyard. I live in the suburbs but close enough to the city to feel like a city girl. Come to Chicago anytime, I'd love to show you the sights :)

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    2. Marion, my brother-in-law lives in Alaska and provides me with so much inspiration from that very thing--photos and stories of his adventures. Amy's description of Chicago makes me want to visit there, too! I consider myself a pizza connoisseur and would love to try some of that Chicago-style pie!

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  7. As I struggle to bring conflict to the book I'm working on now, both of your intriguing settings and dynamically paired characters make me jealous for a younger, more nimble brain. The series sound wonderful Amy and Carol. Look forward to reading!

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    1. Thanks, Muriel. I loved Carol's first book and can't wait for the second. And something tells me your "experienced" brain will get it figured out. You've somehow managed to make it work 92 times already!! I have faith in you ;)

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    2. Muriel, I would love to trade brains with you! I'm not much of a city person myself, but Amy's description of Chicago make me want to see that place (of course it helps that she's there, too(: I'm excited to read about this Lincoln Park neighborhood she describes in The Best Laid Plans!

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  8. What a treat, having an opportunity to learn more about you two AND your terrific titles! Can't wait to read the latest releases!

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    1. Thanks so much, Loree! Hope you're feeling better! I LOVE the titles for Amy's Chicago Series--she is so great with coming up with catchy titles. (Of course, her books are pretty awesome, too.)

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    2. You'll probably laugh, Loree. In planning this post I said to Carol - let's do something cute like Loree and Cerella do! This was as good as it gets for us. You guys are our blogging heroes, though :)

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  9. Amy Vastine and Carol Ross, two of my favorite Heartwarming authors. I have read and enjoyed a book written by each. Congratulations on your upcoming releases!

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    1. Thanks so much Laurie! We appreciate your support so very much :)

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  10. I'm with Muriel on wanting a younger, nimbler brain! The settings (always a character on its own!) in the books sound sooo good. I must admit to being way behind on reading, but you make me want to catch up!

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  11. I love this blog, Amy and Carol. It conjures up memories of Jack London books. I've read both your books and can't wait for your next installments! Both of you are such sparkling assets to our line. Since it's freezing sub zero in Indiana near Chicago where I live, I feel I can empathize with the mythical folks in Alaska. I adored Mountains Apart, Carol and I'm constantly talking up Amy's books. A better Man was truly memorable. That said I just read two books not in our line and threw them against the wall! So bad. Please keep writing!!! And kudos to your editors!!!

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