Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Blogiversary Excerpt: A Summer of Surprises by Jan Ellis

Extract from Chapter 8: Boating day

Squinting across from where Daniel had weighed anchor, Eleanor thought that she could make out a handful of pinky-brown shapes on the sand. She screwed up her eyes, trying to focus on what they were.
    “There can’t be sheep on the beach, can there?”
    Daniel laughed. “If those are sheep they’ve been shorn a little too close for comfort.”
    As Eleanor tried to make out what they were, a couple of the forms stood up and revealed themselves to be people – naked people in various shapes and sizes.
    “It’s a nudist beach!”
    “Yup,” said Daniel, extracting towels from the galley and setting them on the deck. “You don’t mind do you?”
    Eleanor was no prude, but she had never before been taken to a nudist beach on what was essentially a first date. It was certainly not what she had expected from Daniel Pearce. He really was a dark horse.
    “No, of course I don’t mind. I’m just a little surprised, that’s all.”
    “So, do you fancy a swim before lunch?” He was already pulling the T-shirt over his head and kicking off his shoes. “There’s nothing like it for sharpening your appetite.” He smiled encouragingly. “Can I tempt you?”
    She mentally scanned her body and decided that it was not in any condition to be presented to the general public.
    “Sure. As long as I can keep my cossie on.”
    “Whatever makes you happy,” he said, with a smile. “You don’t mind if I take my things off, do you?”
    When was the last time a man had asked her that? She shook her head in what she hoped was a casual manner. “Of course not. Go ahead.”
    “Okay. But you had better avert your eyes!”
    She suspected that Daniel was teasing, but she did look away until his clothes were all in a heap on the bench next to her. She looked up in time to see his lithe form disappear under the water. He really was a surprising man and she liked him more and more.
    Surfacing with a splash, Daniel brushed his dark hair back from his face and laughed.
    “Come on in, the water’s lovely. A bit chilly, but lovely.”
    She gingerly stepped out of the loose cotton dress she was wearing and stood there in her sensible blue and white dotty one-piece. Daniel was a strong swimmer and was already several yards away. Bella was sitting in the boat, looking up at her mistress and eager for a swim.
    “What do you think, dog? Shall we go for it?” Bella tipped her head to one side and wagged her tail. “Perhaps you’re right.” What harm could it do for Daniel to see her naked and bedraggled? Would he admire her adventurous spirit or be put off by her saggy bits? There was only one way to find out.
    “Let’s do it!” Gritting her teeth, Eleanor rolled her swimming costume down to her ankles and climbed onto the edge of the boat. “In for a penny, in for a pound.” And with that she screwed up her eyes, pinched her nose and jumped, squealing as the cold water broke around her. “I must be mad,” she muttered to herself, as she began to move her arms and legs in a jerky breaststroke and swim towards Daniel.

Hello readers! What can I tell you about myself? Well, my background is in non-fiction publishing and 'An Unexpected Affair' was the first fiction that I had written since primary school. Fortunately people enjoyed it, so I wrote a second novella, called 'French Kisses', in which my heroine meets a rather nice American academic - but will they get it together? I'm afraid you'll have to read it to find out! (These books are about the length of one of Virginia Woolf's stories, though that is where the comparison ends.)

'A Summer of Surprises', is a longer book and features Eleanor Mace, the heroine of 'An Unexpected Affair'. Like all the stories, it focuses on fun, family and romance in gorgeous locations.

My latest novella, 'A London Affair', is now out! In it, country girl Kate moves to the city and has lots of adventures. I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did writing it.

To discover more, please visit my website or follow me on Twitter @JanEllis_writer. I look forward to sharing gossip with you there!

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Release Day Blitz: The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower by Rebecca Raisin

Book Information
Title: The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower
Author: Rebecca Raisin
Series: The Little Paris Collection, Book 2
Standalone?: Yes
Release Date: July 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers


Escape to Paris this summer and prepare to be swept off your feet…

Anouk LaRue used to be a romantic, but since she had her heart well and truly broken her love life has dissolved into nothing more than daydreams of the perfect man. Retreating to her extraordinary Little Antique Shop has always been a way to escape, because who could feel alone in a shop bursting with memories and beautiful objects…
Until Tristan Black bursts into an auction and throws her ordered world into a spin.
Following your heart is a little like getting lost in Paris – sometimes confusing and always exciting! Except learning to trust her instincts is not something Anouk is ready to do when it comes to romance, but the city of love has other ideas…

Watch out for more in The Little Paris Collection

1. The Little Bookshop on the Seine
2. The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower
3. The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées

Book Links

Author Biography
Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been published in various short story anthologies and in in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and most importantly believe in true love.

Social Networking Links

Blogiversay Interview with Celia Kennedy, author of Prosecco & Paparazzi

What was your inspiration for writing Prosecco & Paparazzi?
My husband and I watch Clint Eastwood on Inside the Actors Studio. We were both very inspired by this multi-faceted man, and thought how amazing it would be to meet him. Which begged the question, how does one go about meeting a celebrity in a non-stalkerish way? I began to wonder how celebrities make new friends, allow people into their lives. How does a celebrity know whether people are interested in them as an individual or their fame?

What do you hope readers take away from reading it?
The first words you read on my website are, “No Damsels in Distress.” Women are more savvy, educated, and independent than ever before. I want to write books that appeal to them, but still take them on an adventure.
Romance is one of the facets of life, but so are bad hair days, falling down and picking yourself up, or having your back when you decide to go for “it.” So, whether you need to borrow a piece of jewelry from or help you navigating the deep end, your friends are there.
Love and Laugher, Friendship and Fashion – that’s my favorite tagline.
Where is your favorite real-life travel location?
I’ve been so fortunate to have traveled extensively and it isn’t something I take for granted. I know many people who haven’t been able to. When I decided to start writing, I thought, “How can I help people escape on multiple levels?” One of them was traveling. All the locations in my books, down to the last little tearoom, are real places.
My favorite place? Honestly? An outdoor market in Saint Tropez, France. It was a gloriously sunny day, and the scent of olives, fresh bread, and the salty sea breeze hovered in the air. The clarity of light, the colors of the buildings, the bobbing boats in the harbor. My gosh, it was heavenly.
What is the number one place you would most like to visit?
Hands down, without a shadow of a doubt, the place I want to go desperately is Australia. Which to me, includes New Zealand. Because if you fly from Seattle to Sydney, you wouldn’t miss New Zealand.
What three items are always in your suitcase when you travel?
Black skirt, white top, toothbrush.
If you were having a dinner party and could invite three fictional characters, who would be coming to dinner?
Excellent question. I read a lot… about three or four books a week. So, this is tough.
Brett Bholinger, from Lori Nelson Spielman’s, The Life List.
Marta Zinsser, from Jane Porter’s, Odd Mom Out.
Velvet, from Mary Whitcomb and Tara Calahan King’s Odd Velvet/
What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?
I was really struggling with Des Bannerman’s character, The King of Romantic Comedy, and the Charlotte’s celeb crush, in Prosecco & Paparazzi.
I followed the life of a real celeb at the time I was writing it, and used his mannerisms, speech cadence and quirks to drive Des’ character. The problem was that this actor never appears in a bad light, angry, annoyed or otherwise.
When I was told his character didn’t work, that he wasn’t compelling, I freaked because so much research had been done. But… I threw it all away and created a much more funny, interesting, and compelling character. Sometimes you gotta take out the trash!
What is one thing you must have when you sit down to write?
Water! I sometimes sit down for five or six hours without moving, and water is key. I often read out loud what I’ve written and that would be impossible without a gallon of water.
What has been the most important lesson you have learned so far in your writing career?
Two! Can I mention two lessons? They are tied. One, be yourself. Write using the voice inside your head, because that is the real you. When you try to change it up, your writing doesn’t flow and when you read it, it won’t sound like you. The other, be yourself. Readers love the quirky you, the you that you expose to them in interviews, your books, posts on Facebook, Twitter, interviews. Celebrate yourself, invite them into your lives, and share the experience. We live in an interactive era and it isn’t going to change.
What are you working on now?
I have just finished (literally) writing Cognac and Couture, book two in The Passport Series. We are hoping to release it by the end of May, so if you enjoy Prosecco & Paparazzi, check-out Kathleen’s story – think fun, fashion, Paris, food… and of course, romance.

After a short break, I am going to dig into Gin Fizz & Grit, Marian’s story. She’s a super sassy, Irishwoman, who takes the ever-expanding cast of Prosecco & Paparazzi, on a whirlwind adventure that will include bicycles, bands, and boys. Mayhem galore!
Celia Kennedy was born in Wurzburg, Germany on a military base. Her parents' penchant for traveling the world, via a Volkswagen Minibus with a Porsche engine, sparked her imagination. Staring out the window, sometimes through fog and rain, at other times at blue skies, she began to make up stories for the places and spaces they passed by. The in-between time, the most fascinating to her.

The imagined world has always fascinated Celia. She has studied Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Interior Design, and every other subject matter. Though she eventually graduated from the UW in Seattle in 1996 with multiple degrees, she began her college career in 1983. Like her childhood, it was the ride that was the most entertaining, arrival at a degree, not anywhere as important.

"Write what you know," is a common enough phrase. When combining this concept with her unusual life experiences (working at a Nuclear Submarine Base when Chernobyl blew, testing software Bill Gates kept close tabs on, travelling extensively while quite broke, falling in love with her boyfriend's close friend) thinking of what to write about isn't challenging; there just needs to be more hours in the day.

Celia has recently published her first book, Charlottes Restrained. Three other books are in the making! Look for Venus Rising to be published in the Spring of 2013.

Currently she lives in Washington State with the loves of her life.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Blogiversary Guest Post: Bucket Lists with Stacey Wiedower, author of 30 First Dates

Do you have a bucket list? If so, how’d you start it? What’s on it? How important is it to you to check off every item? I’d love to discuss these questions in the comments!

I’m thinking about bucket lists today because I’m working on a sequel to my first book, 30 FIRST DATES, which is about main character Erin Crawford’s attempt to do 30 life-changing things before her 30th birthday. Because she’s just come off a bad relationship, she couples her list with a plan to date 30 guys and complete her bucket list items on her dates. And then she blogs about her adventures!

As you can imagine, much trouble and confusion and chaos ensues. J

Well, now I’m hanging out with Erin through the next chapter of her life. She’s a little more settled these days as she puts her twenties behind her and moves on toward 35 … or is she? In THIS IS 35, Erin is finding out that just because you’re “adulting” doesn’t mean you suddenly have all the answers. There’s still plenty of uncertainty in her life that brings its own brand of trouble, confusion and chaos. Meanwhile, she’s working to complete a new 35 by 35 bucket list—only this time she’s doing it with a nationally televised audience.

Luckily most of us don’t face that kind of pressure when it comes to completing our goals! But on a serious note, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own goals and dreams. The thirties, for me, have been a decade of discovery – finding out what I love and what I really want to do with my time, my energy and the life experiences I’ve amassed so far. Obviously writing plays a big role in that for me, but so do spending time with family and friends, traveling, painting, reading and – can’t forget this one – eating delicious food.

These are the things I love, so when it comes to creating my bucket list these are the priorities that shape it. I think having goals is super important, one of the most important parts of life. Even thinking about goals – making big plans and having big dreams – is fulfilling. Right now I’m reading THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin, and she writes that the anticipation of something big is as important to happiness as the thing itself.

I’ve seen this play out with my husband, who’s an awesome travel planner. For one trip we took in 2012, he spent pretty much every night for six months researching destinations and plotting our itinerary. The trip was amazing, thanks to him. When it ended, I think he was the saddest of all of us because it meant his planning and dreaming had ended, too … the anticipation was as much fun as the trip. That’s evidence that working toward our goals makes us happy. But first we have to have goals. Dreaming and planning and anticipating the next Big Thing or Fun Thing or Amazing Thing helps us learn about ourselves, gives us hope and makes our days better.

So, now that all that seriousness has poured out of me, let’s have some fun! In the comments, I’d love to read your top 5 bucket list items—anything from giant life ambitions to small somethings you’ve always wanted to try. I’ll go first:

1.    Live in England. Whether six months or six years from now, one day I really want to make this happen, if just for a little while.
2.    Go to Greece. I’m SO dying to see Santorini.
3.    Write a non-fiction book. Along with my writing background I’ve worked in interior design. One of these days I want to write a fab coffee table book about houses.
4.    Hang out with friends more. I want to stop saying, “We should get together sometime,” and put more actual dates on the calendar.
5.    Paint. This is something I love that I never take time to do. And that’s one reason bucket lists are important – to remind us to do things we love.

I can’t wait to hear your goals. And a bonus: writing goals down and telling them to someone else makes you more likely to achieve them. J Also, enter the giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of 30 FIRST DATES! Thanks so much for stopping by!
30 dates, 30 wild ideas, total media frenzy… but only one Mr. Right.

Erin Crawford is a relationship blogger with a bucket list and a vendetta. After having horrible luck in her own relationships, she decides to start a blog called "30 First Dates." Her mission: go out with 30 men before her 30th birthday. It's her quest to find a non-jerk in 30 dates or less. As she blogs about her sometimes humorous and sometimes just sad dates, she also begins to cross off her bucket list of 30 things she wants to do before she turns 30—killing two birds with one stone by completing the items on her dates! In fourteen months she skydives, skinnydips, crashes a wedding, travels to multiple cities and lives way outside her usual comfort zone. The only question is, as her birthday approaches and her list grows smaller, will Erin be able to find love? Or is she destined to be a first-date-only kind of girl? 



Stacey Wiedower is an author and freelance writer based in Memphis, Tenn. After starting her career as a reporter and editor, she followed her passion to design school and spent three years learning the ropes at a local interior design firm. Today she funnels that experience into her work as a full-time freelance writer specializing in homes and design. Her third novel, How to Look Happy, launched in January 2016 from Gemma Halliday Publishing.

Amazon Author

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Blogiversary Guest Post: Jennie Marts, author of Romancing the Ranger

I’m so excited to be part of Bethany’s Blogiversary party! I’m doing a giveaway for Romancing the Ranger – my newest release with Entangled Publishing. It’s a romantic comedy about Reese Hudson, a city girl, who meets a hunky park ranger when she accidentally burns down a structure in his state park and is required to rebuild it under the ranger’s supervision.

Reese only meant to destroy mementos from her last failed relationship, not burn down an outhouse and incur the wrath of a sexy park ranger. When the judge rejects her offer to pay for the structure and sentences her to rebuild it—with the hot ranger supervising—she embraces the challenge to take control of her life.
Park ranger Wade Baker wants nothing to do with the rich city girl, no matter how tempting he finds her lush curves. She’s too much like his ex-fiancée, and if he’s learned anything, it’s that women like Reese don’t fit into his world. And he sure as hell wants no part of her big city life.
Reese may not know a hammer from a screwdriver, but she’s working hard to prove she’s not just some pampered princess to be toyed with. And damn it if Wade doesn’t admire her tenacious spirit. If only they got along half as well outside the bedroom as they do in it, there might be a chance for them after all…
I love throwing my characters into new situations and trying to build an outhouse in a state park under the watchful eye of a sexy park ranger is definitely a new situation for city-girl, Reese Hudson.
I moved many times growing up and found myself in new situations and feeling like a fish out of water often. Having a positive attitude and a bit of a goofy personality helps in these situations and these are things Reese and I have in common. Reese tries to look at her new situation as an adventure and tries to see how she can turn it into something good (like by having a fling with the hunky park ranger who just accidentally saw her naked).
We’ve all gone through new experiences and found ourselves in situations that were out of our comfort zone. How do you do deal with this? Quietly get through your day with your mouth shut and your head down? Or do you jump into those new situations with excitement and zeal? I would love to hear an experience you have had where you found yourself in a new situation and how you handled it.
Until then, you can read a little about how Reese’s first attempt didn’t work out so well. 

Wade ignored the fireman and turned to her, his face full of anger. “What the hell were you thinking? You could have set the whole forest on fire. This is a state park, and we’re under a fire ban.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.” She awkwardly tried to stand, wobbling on one foot with the hurt dog in her arms, her broken shoe lost somewhere in the chaos of the fire.
A low chuckle sounded from one of the firefighting rangers as he glanced at her chest.
She looked down to see the liquid from the extinguisher had turned her ivory camisole see-through. The white lace bra she wore was no help in concealing her assets, and her headlights took advantage of that moment to shine.
That’s just great.
She lifted the dog higher as Wade stripped off his shirt and held it out to her. Distracted by his broad shoulders and seriously muscled chest, she clumsily handed him the dog and took the shirt. Tearing her eyes from his slim tapered waist and tanned bare skin, she pulled the warm shirt around her. It smelled like aftershave and campfire smoke. “Thanks. Look, I really am sorry. I’m happy to pay for the damages.”
She felt horrible for starting the fire. Her stomach ached at the thought of what could have happened.
But her regret was lost on the ranger.
His face darkened with anger. That had apparently been the wrong thing to say. “What’s wrong with you people from the city? You think you can come up here with your fancy clothes and your flashy cars and disregard all the rules. You could have caused some real damage here. You don’t care about anyone but yourselves. Money doesn’t fix everything, lady.”
Whoa. This guy was hot. And not just in a handsome way. In a seriously pissed off way.
She needed to tread lighter. Not make him any angrier.
Hmmm. Why did this feel familiar?
Because this was what she always did. With her father. With Brock.
Hadn’t the purpose of her drive up here been to take back control of her life? To throw away not just the mementos but the bad habits of trying to please everyone else and bending over backward to not get anyone upset?
The only way to quit being weak was to be assertive.
No time like the present.
She squared her shoulders and stared the ranger in the eye. “Look, mister. It was an accident. I said I was sorry and offered to pay for the damages. That’s my offer. What are you going to do about it?”
Thirty minutes later, she was reconsidering her decision to test her newfound assertiveness on Ranger Wade as she cooled her one dusty heel in a jail cell.

I hope you enjoy a story about a city girl who finds herself adjusting to nature while also finding herself falling for the hunky park ranger. This book is full of small town charm, sassy dialogue, and plenty of sizzle.
Find Romancing the Ranger here: .
Thanks so much for taking the time to check out my new book. To keep on top of all my news, including sales and new releases, please visit to sign up for my newsletter and I would love to invite you to join my street team, Jennie's Page Turners. Click HERE to join on Facebook.
I’m giving away an ebook copy of Romancing the Ranger. 

Thanks again and I hope you love the new book. Happy Reading!


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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Giveaway #9 is HERE!

I can't even begin to say how over the moon I am that this day has finally arrived!  I started planning this event back in January and I know several of you thought "WOW she is organized and ambitious to put something like this together my 1st year on the block!  But my theory from the get go was "Go Big or Go Home!" and I went BIG for sure!  

I have made so many amazing friendships over the year and can only imagine how many I will make in future years!  Books have always been a passion and I was told by an amazing friend of mine, who is also participating in my Blogiversary, that I should create a blog for all my reviews (I had never really thought about it till then) and I have to thank my dear friend Hilary Grossman for "pushing" me in the right direction!  Thank you!!!

Visit me each and every day for an amazing post from amazing authors and bloggers that we know and love!  There are over 70 authors participating and over 80 spectacular gifts to be won!  

Thank you all for joining me on this FANTASTIC 1st Year Celebration and I look forward to many years to come!  This is only the beginning ya'll!  

GIVEAWAY #9!! (US and Canada Only)

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Giveaway #8 is on!!

I can't even begin to say how over the moon I am that this day has finally arrived!  I started planning this event back in January and I know several of you thought "WOW she is organized and ambitious to put something like this together my 1st year on the block!  But my theory from the get go was "Go Big or Go Home!" and I went BIG for sure!  

I have made so many amazing friendships over the year and can only imagine how many I will make in future years!  Books have always been a passion and I was told by an amazing friend of mine, who is also participating in my Blogiversary, that I should create a blog for all my reviews (I had never really thought about it till then) and I have to thank my dear friend Hilary Grossman for "pushing" me in the right direction!  Thank you!!!

Visit me each and every day for an amazing post from amazing authors and bloggers that we know and love!  There are over 70 authors participating and over 80 spectacular gifts to be won!  

Thank you all for joining me on this FANTASTIC 1st Year Celebration and I look forward to many years to come!  This is only the beginning ya'll!  

GIVEAWAY #8!! (US and Canada Only)

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Blogiversary Guest Post: Lorraine Wilson, author of the Chalet Girl Series

The one part of being published that took me by surprise was how rewarding it would be to connect with readers - online via Facebook and Twitter and by email. When you’re having a bad day a reader telling you how much they’re looking forward to reading your next book can be just the spur you need to keep you writing. There is nothing more satisfying than someone enjoying a story I’ve created.
I wrote ‘Chalet Girl Plays Cupid’ specifically as a freebie giveaway for my Chalet Girl series (published by Harper Collins). I wanted something fun to give to my readers as a thank you for all their support. The dedication reads ''For my lovely readers - thank you so much for your support, your friendship...oh, and for buying my books! Without you I'd be nothing x.’

Find out more about me and my books via my website or Facebook
You can download your free ebook copy of Chalet Girl Plays Cupid here:
Outside UK

Chalet Girl Plays Cupid

A match made on the slopes…

After a messy break up that’s left her homeless, jobless and single, temporary chalet girl Emily needs a fresh start! So when best friend Holly asks her to help out before the start of the winter season at the exclusive Chalet Repos in Verbier, Emily jumps at the chance. What broken heart can’t be fixed by après ski cocktails?

Verbier seems like the perfect escape, until Emily meets super-sexy and darkly brooding winter athlete Jake. She’s meant to be avoiding men at all costs, but the spark between her and Jake is sizzling! As she finds herself increasingly left alone with Jake, Emily begins to wonder if Cupid has paid a visit to Chalet Repos…!

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