Posts in the Contemporary genre

Q&A

Q&A: Kendra C. Highley of THE BAD BOY BARGAIN

The Bad Boy Bargain Kendra C. Highley

We high five with the amazing Kendra C. Highley yet again over perfect taste in movies (you could build world peace around Princess Bride if you tried) and talk a little bit about her favorites! Her latest book, The Bad Boy Bargain is out right now!


What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?

The Princess Bride, Pride and Prejudice (A&E version FTW!), Beauty and the Beast,  Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Sense and Sensibility.

 

Describe your favorite scene from each one (you can include a Youtube clip if you want as well).

Princess Bride: The scene at Miracle Max’s and the whole debate about “true love.”

P&P: The pond scene! The look on Lizzie’s face when Mr. Darcy comes across the grass in a wet shirt? ::fans self::

Beauty and the Beast: When the Beast has to let Belle go…and she comes back.

Four Weddings: When Charles admits—at his wedding to another woman—that’s he’s in love with Carrie, then asks Carrie not to marry him.

Sense and Sensibility: Am I on a Hugh Grant roll here? Yes, and Edward’s scene at the end with Elanor is sweet and lovely, but it’s Alan Rickman’s Colonel Brandon bringing Kate Winslet’s Marianne in out of a rain storm then asking for a job when she’s ill that demonstrated the love he had for her. SWOON! (Plus the happy bride with her dashing husband being watched by the lover who jilted her watching from a distance is a fitting ending).

 

Did you have any of these scenes in mind when writing scenes from your latest release?

No, but I made a lot of Princess Bride references in my previous book, Defying Gravity.

 


FIVE BOOKS

 

If you could only read five books for the rest of your life, what five books would they be, and why?

Pride and Prejudice—because Jane Austen is AWESOME.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy (I’m cheating) by Laini Taylor…the writing is so beautiful and the story is great.

The Red Rising Triology (Still cheating) by Pierce Brown. Visceral, violent, but so compelling I have a hard time putting it down.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy (yep, I’m a cheater) by Rae Carson. The heroine is unique, self-sufficient, and strong, and the love story is outstanding.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (I know, I know) because…J.R.R Tolkien, elves, Aragon, and a great story. That Arwen/Aragorn love story is one of my favorites.


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Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: COMPROMISING POSITIONS by Jenna Bayley-Burke

Compromising Positions Jenna Bayley-Burke

Back-to-work blues got you down? We’ve got you covered. Get a taste of a delectable Contemporary Romance with this exclusive excerpt from Jenna Bayley-Burke‘s Compromising Positions, out right now!


David tried to remember the last time he’d been to a grocery store. College maybe? If there was anything at all in his fridge, his sister had put it there. Kelly was wonderful about leaving ice cream and chips in her wake.

“If we split the list, it will go faster.” Sophie smiled up at him.

“Okay.” He shrugged, taking the torn piece of notebook paper from her hand. He scanned the items. All produce.

“What’s on your list?” he asked, taking it from her hand. More produce. He knew it. Women ate weird. His sister was the only sane woman in the entire world.

“The joy of having a nutritionist for a brother-in-law. Craig’s using me to test his latest diet plan,” she explained.

He took a step back and looked at her again. Even in sweats, she looked fit. “Why?” She waved her hand.

“Who can keep track of Craig’s reasons? I indulge him. To a point.”

“You should do his Deliver-Ease. It actually has real food, not just vegetables.” And since the plan was run through Strong Gyms, utilizing it let him do a little quality control.

She raised a dark eyebrow. “You’re on his diet plan?”

“You’re not the only one who indulges Craig. Besides, it’s easy. Comes right to the office. I don’t even have to think about it.

She looked at him in disbelief. “But why are you on a diet?”

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Guest Post

Guest Post: Holiday Cheer from Terry Spear, Nicole Helm, and Samantha Chase!

What’s better than one person giving us the warm holiday fuzzies? “Oh, like, 3? That’s better, right? Like, off the top of my head, that sounds like the better amount of people for spreading holiday cheer.”

Well, guess what? We’ve got that exact amount of people here to spread some mid-November happiness and they are all amazing romance authors. Samantha Chase, Nicole Helm, and Terry Spear are our guests today and we are overjoyed to have them.


Samantha Chase

Christmas is my all-time favorite holiday. I always enjoyed it while I was growing up, but it wasn’t until my husband and I moved away from our family that I truly started to LOVE it.  I loved being able to start our own traditions and we really found our groove on that right away. One of my favorite things to do is decorate the tree. I’m a lunatic with that. We get a live tree every year and we sort of make it a family competition to see who picks out the best tree on the lot. The very first year Frank and I were together, we had nothing for our tree except a box of hand-me-down ornaments my dad and stepmom gave us. Every year since then, we’ve added to our collection.

When the kids were little, we did a lot of the Hallmark Keepsake ornaments and then we did a Disney ornament-of-the-month thing for about two years. Now I tend to just add one a year and it’s almost to the point that we don’t have room on the tree for everything that we have! The tree has a Disney theme – and if you know me, that’s not surprising! – and whenever I go to Disney World, a Christmas ornament is my must-get souvenir.

We definitely have foods that we only have at Christmas. Our Christmas Eve tradition is that we have a traditional Italian fish sauce for dinner. Seven different kind of fish in a red sauce. I have to admit, it’s not my favorite, but my husband and sons LOVE it. It’s a lot of work and I’m totally fine with just having it once a year. LOL! They look forward to it to the point of talking about it non-stop for the entire month of December. On Christmas morning, we have pepperoni omelets for breakfast. I’ll admit, I cheat and make these at random throughout the year, but they’re a must-have on Christmas morning after we open our presents. And my husband has learned to bake his family’s Christmas bread. For years, he only had it when we saw his parents. After we moved away, it was something he really missed. So he got the recipe from his mom and now he bakes it himself.

And our final tradition that I absolutely LOVE is our Christmas Eve dessert open house. We live in a very transient area. There’s a Baptist Seminary up the road and so a lot of people who live here only come for school and then move. So we open our doors on Christmas Eve to everyone who doesn’t have family to spend it with. They bring a dessert to share and we all hang out and it’s a wonderful time of fun and fellowship.


Nicole Helm

Butter. My favorite thing about the holiday season is buying a million pounds of butter and making everything delicious out of it. I kid, I kid. Mostly.

Though I do love the baking (and all the butter) involved, my favorite thing about the holiday season is seeing a lot of people I only get to see once a year, and celebrating with things and food we usually only engage in once a year. In my family, we go to at least seven different houses, five different cities, two different states over the course of the week of Christmas to visit all the family we can.

It’s a ton of driving, but that’s part of the fun too. We listen to Christmas music in the car as we go here, there, and everywhere. The kids snooze in the back or play with their new toys. I sneak a cookie or two from my legion of treats to donate to the meal we’re going to. Bing Crosby croons White Christmas one too many times and my husband tries to put ‘normal’ music back on (he never wins, though sometimes I can be persuaded away from Bing).

When we reach our multitude of destinations, we see parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and their kids, nieces (a first for me this year!).I always make Kringla, plenty of cookies, and Swedish Rye Bread to take to different houses, and we get to sit and eat these once a year treats while catching up and enjoying each other’s company. I get to see my kids play with my cousin’s kids, just like my cousins and I used to play growing up. I love tradition, so seeing the same ornaments on everyone’s tree year after year, the same decorations and stockings, never fails to make me smile. Sharing memories of Christmas past and making new memories with my little guys is such a joy.

By the end, we’re always exhausted, maybe a little ready for some quality alone time, or some food without butter (for maybe one meal tops), but fulfilled and happy and full to the brim with holiday spirit (and butter, never forget the butter).


Terry Spear

Family time! This is the second year we’ll have Christmas with both my son, and my daughter and son-in-law. My son was serving in Afghanistan for two years with the Air Force and so that’s what’s most important to me—family time. My daughter just informed me she’s pregnant, so Christmas after next we’ll have a new little pack member to add to the mix of my two dogs, their two dogs and my son’s dog. One big, happy family for the holidays. Nothing could be better. Decorating, making turkey, and baked goods, watching Christmas movies, playing board games, and just visiting–that’s what it’s all about. Of course, the gifts are fun–both giving and receiving. But most of all, making Christmas memories and taking pictures to capture those memories is what’s so special. Just like with my wolves or jaguars. In all my stories, I try to show this because it’s so important to me. I had the same tradition with my parents, who I was close to and the memories continue to carry on long after they were gone.

Long after my dad died, a decade even, my mother didn’t want to bother with decorating for Christmas. She had always loved decorating for the holidays. And so after decorating my home, I ran over and helped her with hers. I didn’t want her to miss out enjoying the holidays because it was just too much work to put up the tree.

Even Everett, the jaguar shifter hero in A Very Jaguar Christmas, was glad he’d decorated for Christmas. Not only because it made him feel good when he came home from a day of work, but because he’s got a special guest coming to have dinner with him, and she’s someone he’s wanted to get to know forever.

Guest Post

Guest Post: “Calling All Fake Fiancées” by Avery Flynn

Her Enemy Protector Avery Flynn

If you could take a peek at my bookshelves, you would see that there are certain romance tropes I love and — not surprisingly — a lot of those tropes are ones that I love to write. One of my favorites is the fake fiancée.

In Her Enemy Protector, the hero—Lucas—blackmails the heroine—Ruby—into being his fake fiancée. Sure, it’s not a nice thing to do, but he really does have the best reasons for doing it (the fate of the world is at stake). Lucas expects Ruby to be trouble but what he doesn’t expect is to fall for her. Don’t ya hate it when that happens? grin

So to celebrate the fake engagement (and all that wedding planning) in Her Enemy Protector, here are some fun recommendations for fake relationship movies for your binge watching pleasure!


The Proposal

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Q&A

Wedding Q&A: Lynette Austin and Margaret Brownley

Today we welcome multi-published author Lynnette Austin and New York Times bestselling author Margaret Brownley. Brides and grooms are very much on their minds and for good reason; they both have new book releases featuring weddings. Here’s what they have to say about their favorite on-screen nuptials.


[The Proposal Wedding]

What is your favorite movie wedding and what makes it so special?

Lynnette: I love when two people who are so not right for each other find that happy-ever-after. I think that’s why I’ve watched The Proposal so many times I can lip-sync everyone’s lines. Uptight Margaret Tate and her assistant, Andrew Paxton, wouldn’t make the top of anyone’s list of perfect couples. Margaret practically blackmails Andrew into proposing to her and then calls off the wedding as they literally stand at the altar. And still, love prevails.

Margaret: The wedding that still stands out in my mind after all these years is the one in Shrek. Fiona transforms into an ogress every night because of a magic spell. By morning she reverts to her regular human form. But something goes haywire during her wedding and she is transformed back into an ogress. Wanting to look beautiful for Shrek, she’s naturally dismayed. He looks at her with loved-filled eyes and says, “You are beautiful.” The real magic is that every bride is beautiful to the man who loves her—even a green ogress.

If your new book was made into a movie, who would you like to play your bride and groom?

Lynnette: I’d hope that Dierks Bentley, an incredible country singer, would step up to the plate and enter the acting world to play Beck Elliot. He’d be perfect—and I’d owe him! For Tansy Calhoun Forbes, I’d choose Lyndsy Fonseca. Add some curly red hair, and she’s my Tansy!

Margaret: Meg Lockwood would have to be played by Jennifer Lawrence. Since Meg has two grooms (I know, I know) the first one must be played by an actor who’s a bit nerdy like Elijah Wood.   Australian actor Chris Hemsworth would be great in the role of groom number two, provided he can manage a Bostonian accent.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “My Most Meaningful Christmas Gifts” by Margaret Brownley

Left At The Altar by Margaret Brownley

At age 8, I received a most meaningful gift. It was a big beautiful doll with blond hair and eyes that opened and closed. In an effort to get on Santa’s “good” list, I cleaned my room and did my chores. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, I even did everyone else’s chores. When I opened the box Christmas morning and saw two big blue eyes staring back at me, I was elated. I felt as if I could make every dream come true if I wanted it bad enough and was willing to work for it.

At 11, I received a most meaningful gift. It was an angora sweater. A year earlier, I had received toys for Christmas, but that year I had “graduated” to clothes. Wearing that sweater made me feel so grown-up. More than that, the gift told me that others saw me as grown-up, too.

At 17, I received a most meaningful gift. It was a heart-shaped necklace from my boyfriend. I believed at that moment that love would last forever. The chain snapped less than a week later, and we broke up soon after, but I learned that some things are meant to last for only a short time and that we must enjoy them while we can.

In my twenties, I received a most meaningful gift. Our oldest son was born just before Christmas. It was a gift that both elated and humbled me. This baby—this beautiful gift from God—was solely dependent on me and I wanted so much to be the perfect mother. But as I walked the floor that Christmas day trying to comfort a colicky baby, I realized the futility of that goal. I soon learned that no child ever said that his or her mother was perfect, only that she was the best.

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Q&A

Q&A: Erin Fletcher of ALL LACED UP

All Laced Up Erin Fletcher

It’s election day, which means things are going to be tense for the next few hours. We’re unwinding with this awesome Q&A with the lovely Erin Fletcher, author of All Laced Up!


What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?

Love Actually, 17 Again, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Notebook, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days

 

Describe your favorite scene from each one (you can include a Youtube clip if you want as well).

Love ActuallyThe signs / “to me you are perfect” scene gets me every time!

17 Again The “You’re the best decision I ever made, I just forgot” scene is my favorite. Plus, it has Zac Efron AND Matthew Perry in the same scene!

10 Things I Hate About YouThe poem! Always the poem.

The NotebookThe rowboat / kissing in the rain scene is my favorite for obvious reasons.

How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days I love the “that’s how it’s done” scene when they both think they’re playing the other. So adorably naïve!

 

Did you have any of these scenes in mind when writing scenes from your latest release?

Not really…while I love watching these scenes, I try not to borrow too much from them! The movie closest to All Laced Up is probably The Cutting Edge, but I intentionally did not watch that while writing the book. (It is a great movie, though…toe pick!)


FIVE BOOKS

If you could only read five books for the rest of your life, what five books would they be, and why?

That’s such a tough question, and the answer changes fairly often! But here are today’s five…

  1. Every Day by David Levithan – I love the premise, and it makes me think differently about people and the world, in a good way.
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – I’d choose this one because it just makes me happy.
  3. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – Both the story and the writing style are fantastic. I could easily read this one over and over again.
  4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – It’s a classic for good reason.
  5. The Bible – It’s a book that’s important to me.

BOOK BOYFRIENDS

Who are your book boyfriends? (list a maximum of five) What do you like about them? What characteristics do they share with the hero from your latest release?

Since I read and write young adult novels, but am not a young adult myself, these would be my book boyfriends if I were still in high school: Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss), Four (Divergent), and Wes (The Truth About Forever).

I like them all for different reasons – Etienne because he’s sweet and gorgeous, Four because he’s smart and strong, and Wes because he’s swoony and mysterious. These guys are similar to Pierce from All Laced Up, because he’s gorgeous, strong, a little bit mysterious, and a lot swoony!


FIRST ROMANCE (AKA My First Time):

What was the first romance novel you read?

I think the first “romance” I read was A Walk to Remember.

 

What do you remember about it?

I read it when the movie came out back in college (yeah, I’m old), so I remember reading it on my bunk bed in my dorm room while my roommate studied organic chemistry. I remember wanting guys like Landon to exist in real life.

 

What did you like most about it?

The thing I like most about reading it was escaping from the college world and into Jamie and Landon’s world. I liked pulling for the two of them to end up together.

 

What did you like least about it?

It was sappy and predictable, but still made me cry like a baby.

 

Have you ever reread it? If you did, how do you feel about it now?

I don’t think I have reread it! It would definitely bring back a lot of memories from college.


SNAPPY CHAT

Darcy or Wentworth?

Darcy

 

Christian or Gideon?

I don’t know either of these!

 

Rochester or Heathcliff?

Team Rochester!

 

Spock or Kirk?

I’ve never seen an episode of Star Trek.

 

Sunrise or sunset?

Both! I’m a sucker for sunrises and sunsets. But if I had to choose one, I guess it would be sunrise, because I’m a morning person.

 

Angst or humor?

Depends on my mood, but probably humor most of the time.

 

Tea or coffee?

Both! But coffee more often than tea.

 

Wine or beer?

Neither. Liquor or water for me.

 

Cake or pie?

Cake!

 

Scruff, beard, or clean-shaven?

A little bit of scruff.

 

Blue-collar or white collar?

White Collar! (Probably only picking that one because I love the show…)

 

Jeans or a suit?

Jeans

 

Car or motorcycle?

Car

 

 

Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: A SURE THING by Marie Harte

A Sure Thing Marie Harte

It’s getting colder in New York, which means one thing: huddling by the heater in your apartment and praying it actually works. We do, however, have a quick cheat we’re willing to share just for today: It’s this totally heartwarming and ever-so-slightly steamy excerpt of Marie Harte’s A Sure Thing!


They ate in silence for a few bites, and he felt it safe to change the subject. “Ah, so all that talk about the self-defense class. Did you like it?”

“I did.”

“Don’t sound so surprised. We know what we’re doing.”

“What surprised me most was that you two never talked down to us. You never tried to act tough and manly, as if you know better. You explained, you broke things down, and you put the power to act in our hands.” She considered him, and her intensity stripped him bare. “You’re doing the class for your sister.”

“I mentioned that.” Not in so many words, but Ava was smart. She’d put the clues together.

“Not in so many words.”

Like she read my mind. He cleared his throat and pushed his po’boy aside. “Hope is my little sister. Lately she’s been dating some real bozos. I don’t want to see her get hurt, so we’re teaching her how to physically stand up for herself. I mean, hell, she’s smaller than you.”

“I’m not small.”

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Exclusive Excerpt, Guest Post

Guest Post: “Jack o’ Lanterns, Vibrant Foliage, and Love! It Must be Fall!” by Lynnette Austin

Picture Perfect Wedding Lynnette Austin

You know that feeling when someone hands you an unexpected gift? That’s exactly how I felt when I learned the release date of Picture Perfect Wedding, the third in my Magnolia Brides series, was November 1st! What a perfect day for Tansy and Beck’s story to hit the shelves because it echoes the time frame of the book itself.

Don’t you just love fall?!? No other season has quite the emotional impact. The air is crisp and clean. Sweaters and mittens come out. It’s time for hot chocolate, pumpkin spiced lattes, and reading by the fireplace. Most of all, it’s time for family and friends around the Thanksgiving table.

For Tansy Calhoun Forbes, autumn this year marks her return home to small-town Misty Bottoms, Georgia. For the first time in way too long, she’ll be with the people who are most important to her. Five years ago, she made a single mistake. A big one—and it cost her everything.

But she’s come home in time for the holidays. Home, she hopes, for the rest of her life. Coming home isn’t always easy, though, and not everyone is happy to see her. Beck Elliot, the man Tansy left behind, heads the top of that list.


A building off to Tansy’s right caught her attention and caused a hitch in her heart. Elliot Construction and Lumberyard.

Beck Elliot, the groom behind door number one, the door she hadn’t chosen.

Oh boy. Was she making another mistake? Should she have started over somewhere else?

Ding, ding, ding. The low-fuel indicator chimed, and the little red light blinked on. Shoot!

Tommy’s Texaco loomed.

Relieved, she flipped on her turn signal, veered into the lot, and pulled up to the gas pump.

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Guest Post

The SMP Holiday Romance Blitz: Costumes & Consumables!

SMP Romance Holiday Blitz

Listen, we’re into the holidays over here. How into them? Well, I’m wearing a plastic ghost necklace that lights up as I type this. We’re extremely into holidays. So when we found out about the SMP Holiday Romance Blitz we had to participate! Check out Part 1 of our holiday Q&A with some amazing authors!


Favorite Halloween Costume

halloween

Ruth Logan Herne: Crotchety Old Lady Slightly Sinister… 🙂

Donna Alward: As little as possible. 🙂 I confess I’m not really a Halloween person.

Laura Trentham: I was a roller derby girl for an adult Halloween party a couple of years ago. Everything was great until after a couple of drinks, I fell on my tailbone. Nothing was seriously hurt except for my pride though! The next year, my hubby and I went as bacon and eggs. Very safe (and delicious 🙂 )

Nancy Naigle: Pocahontas! Easy to answer this one because I was Pocahontas for Halloween in the 2nd grade, the 6th grade, in junior high and even as an adult…twice. All with different costumes, and each more elaborate than the last. In the 2nd grade I was Pocahontas and my little brother (3 years my junior) was Chief Powhatan. My mom even made a wooden papoose for me and made my baby doll a matching Indian outfit complete with headband and a feather.
I might just have to find a costume party to attend. I’m in the mood to craft another Pocahontas outfit this year.

Margaret Brownley: One year my six-foot-six husband dressed as the Jolly Green Giant and I was a can of peas. It took forever to apply the green makeup, but it was worth it. We took the top prize at every party we attended that year.

Tara Wyatt: In college, I dressed up in a red fedora and trench coat and went as Carmen Sandiego. Where in the world am I? Eating all the candy. That’s where I am.

Opal Carew: Genie! I’ve always loved genies. I love the magic and the power play between the genie and the genie’s master. I love the costumes because they’re sexy and beautiful. (I used to do belly dancing and made several costumes for myself.)

Emily March: The Uncle Sam costume we put on our beloved boxer, Doc. He was disgusted by the ordeal, but stoic. 🙂

Melissa Cutler: Cowgirl (of course!)


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