Debut Medical Romance author Robin Giana in the Lair!

  I’m thrilled to introduce you to a good friend and now debut author Robin Giana.  Robin’s first book, SAVED BY HIS SON’S SMILE, is being released by Harlequin’s Medical Romance imprint.  They recognized a good writer when they saw one. Watch for several new Robin Giana medical romances to hit the shelves in 2014.

Robin, I’ve know you for some time but tell the readers about yourself.

 Robin GianaThanks Donna, glad to be here.   I play piano and enjoy gardening and cooking and am particularly skilled at ignoring clutter in my house. 🙂  I’m lucky to be a part of a big, Greek family that likes to spend time together (and eat a lot of great food by great cooks!) My late father’s parents emigrated from Greece, but my mother’s parents were from England so my Greek heritage was only a small part of my life growing up.  But by chance I married a man whose family is Greek!  My children have grown up with cousins upon extended cousins and wonderful family gatherings that have been a big part of their lives. 

Publishing is all about persistence.   How long did you write before you sold?

 Way longer than I ever expected! 🙂 There were about nine years between when I had my epiphany that I wanted to write romance fiction and when I sold. I wish it had been a shorter journey, but I know that’s not terribly unusual. There was a bigger learning curve than I expected in learning how to write sellable fiction, that’s for sure! Add to that the busyness of life with kids at home, and two years of dealing with my parents‘ ill health, and time can pass by awfully quickly.  But maybe there’s a reason it took so long.  Certainly it makes it all the sweeter when it finally happens! 

We love to hear call stories in the lair, can you share yours? How did you celebrate?Robin's cover

 I’d gone to my son’s track meet and my college-aged daughter had just gotten home from school and joined me. My husband was able to make it and we were standing there in a pretty stiff wind with the crowd cheering for one of the races when my phone rang. It was my agent, Cori Deyoe of Three Seas Literary Agency. I later accused her of being horribly mean, because she teased me at first, implying we’d gotten a rejection. When she told me I’d been offered a two-book contract from Harlequin Mills & Boon, I started shrieking into the phone (her poor ear!) and my husband and daughter could tell what was happening and were grinning like crazy. Problem was, between the wind and the crowd noise, I could barely hear Cori! After we hung up, I feared that I’d gotten it all wrong somehow. That I’d misunderstood, and I was afraid to tell anyone until after I’d spoken with her again! Happily, though, it really was a contract 🙂 

      After the track meet, we went home and my husband chilled a bottle of champagne which we by chance had in the house. My father-in-law was staying with us at the time, recuperating from an illness, so it was fun to celebrate with him there too, clinking our glasses of champagne!

 Robin and I share the same agent.  I can see her enjoying stretching out the suspense  😀 .  I wasn’t surprised to hear you’d sold, but I was surprised by the medical romance imprint.  Why medical romance?

 One of the things I had been working on was trying to break into series romance with Harlequin. I heard about the medical romance line offering a ‘Fast Track’ submission where you could submit just one chapter and a synopsis. That sounded fun, as my husband is a doctor, my critique partner is an ER doc, and I have numerous friends and relatives in medicine. I had a lot of resources I could bother with questions! 🙂 Not to mention that I’ve learned a lot about medicine by osmosis over the years.  The editors liked my first chapter, then the next three, and I submitted the full manuscript in December of 2012, which they apparently liked, too!

Enough about you 😀 .  Tell us about the story. What was your inspiration?

 George ClooneyWhen I first decided to write a medical romance, I figured it would be a good idea to stand out from the crowd by choosing an unusual location, but to still use a popular romance trope so it would feel familiar. I knew immediately that I wanted to set it in Benin, West Africa. Before I met him, my husband worked in a mission hospital there for three months while he was still a med student. The photos he has are interesting and powerful and sometimes tragic, and I knew I would enjoy learning more about it.

 In the story, the hero, Dr. Chase Bowen, is the son of mission physicians and grew up living around hospitals in developing nations.  He knows a family is out of the question for him, because the places his work takes him are too dangerous for children.  Chase is stunned when his former lover from three years ago shows up to work in Benin for an eight-month stint. They’d worked together in Honduras for a year before Dani had asked him to marry her and have a family together.  Chase had no choice but to turn her down flat, despite how much it hurt saying goodbye.

 When Dani arrives in Benin, she has a two-and-a-half year old boy with her, and Chase realizes why she’d asked him to marry her—the child is his!  He tells her he now accepts her marriage proposal, but Dani says it’s too late.  Chase is determined to convince her, and insists their son belongs in the US, where he’d be safer than in places like Africa.  His mission work is his life, but he’s convinced they can make it work with her and their son in the US, and Chase working there a few months a year.  Dani knows how it feels to be unimportant to a parent, and refuses to marry a man she and her son would see only weeks a year.  Can Chase and Dani find a solution that will work for all three of them? Or are their differences too big to overcome?

This sounds AWESOME!  I put an excerpt at the end of the interview so the readers can get a taste of what’s in store.  Meanwhile,  what’s next for you?

  I’m pleased to say that my next book, titled The Last Temptation of Dr. Dalton, will be released in April. It features another sexy mission doctor that readers will meet in my first book, and a spunky heroine who is director of the mission hospital where he is assigned to briefly fill in for a delayed doc.  This story is set in Liberia, which has a fascinating history, and also a tragic one with the recent devastating civil wars.  I hope readers who like this character from the first book will want to read his story.

 I’m now working on a third medical romance, will be working on a medical duet with another writer after that, and plan to spend some time later this year pondering a single title series.  We’ll see!  Pretty exciting to now get to have this writing thing be a real job!

Any words of wisdom for writers chasing the dream?

  My advice is probably the same aspiring writers always hear!  Don’t give up.  Keep working and learning.  Read a lot and write a lot.  Don’t stick with one manuscript and work on it forever—branch out and work on a number of different things.  But eventually, you have to FINISH a book!  It will teach you more than you ever dreamed to have a complete manuscript, and not just ten you’ve written four or five chapters of then tossed aside.  And it will prove to you that you CAN do this crazy novel-writing thing!

 Join an organization of writers—spending time with other writers is so important to being able to keep the dream alive! Not to mention that romance writers in particular are the most generous and lovely people in the world, sharing their knowledge and expertise with others. I honestly don’t think I would have stuck with it if my writing had stayed a solitary journey.

 Know that you’ll get knocked down a lot, and you’ll receive rejections galore. But also know you can learn from those knocks to become a better writer.  And as you become a better writer, your chances of breaking in get better.  And can I say it again?  Don’t give up, and it will happen.

And so Bandita Buddies, I’ve shared a bit of my cultural heritage.  Do any of you have a great ethnic background that enriches your life, or any special family traditions that are meaningful to you?  I’ll send a printGreek Wedding copy of  CHANGED BY HIS SON’S SMILE and a tote bag to someone leaving a comment.  

Here’s an excerpt from CHANGED BY HIS SON’S SMILE:

“Chase.  It’s been a while.  How’ve you been?” 

            Her polite tone sounded strained, and he’d barely squeezed her soft hand before she yanked it loose.

            “Good.  I’ve been good.”  Maybe not so good.  As he stared into the blue of her eyes, he remembered how much he’d missed her when she left.  More than missed her sunny smile, her sweet face, her beautiful body.  

             But he’d known it was best for both of them.  If a family was what she wanted, she should marry a guy rooted in the States.  No point in connecting herself to a wandering medic who wouldn’t have the least idea how to stay within the confines of a white picket fence.

             Apparently, though, she hadn’t found husband and father material, because here she was in Africa.  The woman who had burrowed under his skin like a guinea worm, and he had a bad feeling that her arrival would start that persistent itch all over again.

            “Dani,” Spud called from across the car, “I’m going to take your duffle to your quarters, then be back to help you get—”

            “Great, thanks,” Dani interrupted brightly.  “I appreciate it.”

            She turned back to Chase, and he noted the trapped, almost scared look in her eyes.  Was having to work with him again that horrible?

            “I thought the GPC website said you were in Senegal,” Dani said.  “Are you…staying here?”

            “No, just stopped in for a little day tour of the area.” 

            The twist of her lips showed she got his sarcasm loud and clear.  What, she hoped he was about to grab a cab and head to the next tourist destination?  He couldn’t remember Dani ever saying dumb things before.  In fact, she was one of the smartest pediatricians he’d had the opportunity to work with over the years.  One of the smartest docs, period.

            “Well.  I…” Her voice faded away and she licked her lips.  Sexy, full lips he’d loved to kiss.  Tempting lips that had been one of the first things he’d noticed about her when they first met. 

            “Sooo,” Trent said, looking at Dani, then Chase, then back at Dani again with raised brows.  “Chase and I were about to have a late dinner and a beer.  Are you hungry?”

            “No, thanks, I had snacks in the car.  You two go on and eat, I’m sure you’re starved after a long day of clinic and surgeries.”  She put on a bright and very fake smile.  “I’ll get the low-down on the routine around here tomorrow.  Right now, I’m just going to have Spud show me my room and get settled in.  Bye.”

            She walked back to the other side of the Land Rover then just stood there, strangely hovering, practically willing them to leave.  Well, if she wanted to act all weird about the two of them being thrown together again, that was fine by him. 

            “Come on,” he said to Trent as he moved toward the kitchen.  While his appetite had somehow evaporated, a beer sounded damned good.

            “Mommy!”

            The sound of a muffled little voice floated across the sultry air, and Chase again found himself stopping dead.  He slowly turned to see Dani leaning into the back of the Land Rover.  To watch, stunned, as she pulled a small child out through the open door and perched him on her hip. 

            Guess he’d been wrong about her finding husband and father material.  And pretty damned fast after she’d left.

            “Mommy, are we there yet?”  The sleepy, sweet-faced boy of about two and a half wrapped his arms around her neck and pressed his cheek to her shoulder.  A boy who didn’t have blue eyes and crazy, curly blonde hair like the woman holding him.

            No, he had dark hair that was straight, waving just a bit at the ends.  A little over-long, it brushed across eyebrows that framed brown eyes fringed with thick, dark lashes.  A boy who looked exactly like the photos Chase’s mother had hauled all around the world and propped up in every one of the places they’d lived.  Photos of him and his brother when they were toddlers. 

            Impossible. 

            But as he stared at the child then slowly lifted his gaze to Dani’s, the obvious truth choked off his breath and smacked him like a sledgehammer to the skull.  He didn’t have to do the math or see the resemblance.  The expression in her eyes and on her face told him everything.

            He had a son.  A child she hadn’t bothered to tell him about.  A child she had the nerve, the stupidity, to take on a medical mission to a third-world country.  Something he was adamantly against…and for good reason.

            “I guess…we need to talk,” Dani said, glancing down at the child in her arms then back at Chase with a mix of guilt and frustration and resignation flitting across her face.  “But let’s…let’s do it tomorrow.  I’m beat, and I need to get Andrew settled in, get him something to eat.”

            “Andrew.”  The name came slowly from his lips.  It couldn’t be a coincidence that Andrew was Chase’s middle name.  Anger began to burn in his gut.  Hot, scorching anger that overwhelmed the shock and disbelief that had momentarily paralyzed him.  She’d named the boy after him, but hadn’t thought it necessary to even let him know the kid existed?

            “No, Dani.”  It took every ounce of self-control to keep his voice fairly even, to not shout out the fury roaring through his blood and pounding in his head.  “I’m thinking a conversation is in order right this second.  One more damned minute is too long, even though you thought three years wasn’t long enough.”

 

 

 

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Comments

101 Comments

  • Helen says:

    Is he coming to visit me ?

    Have Fun
    Helen

  • Helen says:

    Hi Robin

    Congrats on the release I do like the sound of this one and I really enjoy medicals so I will be adding this one to my must have list 🙂

    I am Australian and pretty much all my family are from an Australian background but I grew up next door to a wonderful Greek family and spent a lot of time in there I so love Greek food 🙂 sadly I never learnt to cook it I should have learn’t more when I was younger

    Have Fun
    Helen

    The GR is coming to some very hot weather I have the air con on and there are Tim Tams here he should be happy

    • Barb says:

      Hope you have the Tim tams in the fridge helen

      • Deb says:

        Helen, my friend Andrew (who lives in Wagga Wagga) and I were just discussing Tim Tams yesterday on FB. I was lamenting about not having the real thing, but did find a website called http://www.simplyoz.com that sells them. 🙂 He was giving me a bad time for calling them cookies and not biscuits! Don’t let the GR have too many.

      • LOL – I was thinking the same thing, Barb.

        We’re having record low temp temps here. I have to have the faucet in the bathroom set to drip to keep the pipes from freezing. This weekend we’re to have the lowest temperatures since the 1880s. The tim-tams would have no problem here LOL. 🙂

        • Helen says:

          Donna

          We could really do with some of that cooler weather some parts of Queensland had temps up to 46f today glad it wasn’t that hot here but we have had the air con on all day. Stay warm

          Have fun
          Helen

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Good morning, Helen! Though I know it’s not morning for you any more – I guess you’ve earned the Bandits Golden Rooster! 🙂 Thanks for your congrats!
      A lot of Greek food is definitely complicated or takes a long time, but there are some that are simple but still delish! Thanks for stopping by.

  • Robin and Donna, great interview. Robin, huge congratulations on your debut! I love that you’ve broken out when it comes to settings. I love learning about new places when I read. And my, what challenges you’ve set your characters. Talk about high stakes! Lovely excerpt too. Hope you sell a million!

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Anna! I love learning about new places, too – I learned a lot about West Africa while writing these first two books, that’s for sure! And I can still remember, as a teen, reading and loving Harlequins that were set in places exotic to me.

  • Barb says:

    Hi Robin

    Congratulations on your book … I don’t know if I would be called ethnic as I am an English living Australia lol…. I love medical books so this will have to go on the list to buy

  • Deb says:

    Robin, congrats on the debut! I haven’t read a medical romance in quite some time.

    I am Danish and my father immigrated from Denmark to Iowa. We do many Danish traditions still, mainly at Christmas time. For example, we make little tiny cookies called pebber nodder, a deep fat fried “cookie” called klejner, I string 3 or 4 garlands of tiny Danish flags on my tree, and make little woven paper heart baskets to hang on the tree. When I was a child, Grandpa liked us to hold hands and stand (we were really supposed to dance) and sing around the Christmas tree.

    I used to belong to a Danish folk dancers group. My sister and I had to dance together since there weren’t any boys interested in the group. 🙂 We wore Danish costumes (hehe, I got to wear the skirt, apron, and vest and my sister wore the breeches and a vest) and danced the schottish and the spillemand (the violinist). Interestingly enough, my cousin Edly and her husband Per are in a folk dance group in Frerikshavn, Denmark.

    Other times of year, my family makes Danish foods as well, such as aebleskiver (round apple donuts, I guess, using a special pan to make them.)

    As you can tell, my Danish roots are very important to me.

    Congrats again.

    • Deb says:

      OOPS….that should be GRANDFATHER!

    • Deb –

      This is really fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Loved to read all you and your family still enjoy of your Danish roots, Deb! I smiled at the Danish flags on the Christmas tree. My husband’s uncle (who was born in the U.S.) flies a Greek flag outside his home in San Diego, and we have both the American flag and Greek flag flying outside by our pool in the summer, even though we’re two generations removed now.
      I so wish I could see photos of you and your sister dancing. So many great memories and lovely traditions – thanks for sharing!

  • flchen1 says:

    Ooh, great excerpt, Robin, and great call story! Congrats on your debut and the upcoming stories!

    As for ethnic background, I’m grateful my parents ended up in the US after journeying here from China. It’s a delicious and family oriented outlook I’ve inherited from them 🙂

  • Amy Conley says:

    I’m part Polish and part British so it makes for an interesting mix. I remember growing up and eating roast pork for New Year’s Day and we had some sort of pudding or maybe it was a cake, and there would be a dime in it and whoever got the piece with the dime was suppose to have good luck for the year. Pretty sure that came from the British side since I know my grandmother did it long after my great grandparents passed away. I just don’t remember when she stopped doing it or even why. As far as my Polish side goes, it was all about the baking. My great-grandmother always had something baking in her oven. My aunt took over this duty (and the house) after she passed away. My aunt re-did the entire house, kitchen included, and finally sold the house several years ago (I still haven’t forgiven her for that!) and I go by there whenever I am in town. A few years ago a young family was standing outside and I began talking to them. They were asking me about the history of the house and I told them what I knew. I also told them if they ever smelled baking bread in the house, it was my great-grandmother. The woman then told me she was a baker! I was gobsmacked, to say the least. I think the house has a good owner now, but I still think it should stay in our family since my grandfather built it for his mother. I think it will come back to our family one day in the not to distant future also.

    • It’s so hard to keep property in a family anymore. How fortunate that the baking tradition continues!

    • Robin Gianna says:

      What a wonderful story, Amy! I can practically smell the bread baking now 🙂 How incredible that your family home is now owned by a baker – perhaps that’s the universe at work!
      Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    Great excerpt, I do believe it is going to hit the fan shortly.

  • Heathercm2001 says:

    What a wonderful call story! Congratulations! The books sound very interesting! I dont think I’ve ever read a medical.

    My family is made up of quite a few ethnicities, so we kind of do our own thing. A lot of our Slovak part comes out around Easter. My mom does a great job making the traditional Easter foods. I can’t believe I almost forgot about the polka dances! We regularly go to Polish Polka dances. It was something my grandpa loved to do and my 4 year old nephew picked up the love of it from him. The music most definitely runs in his blood. He has his own accordion and everything. It’s always a good time!

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Thank you, Heather! I would so love to hear your little nephew play the accordion, and see him dance!
      I appreciate you stopping by!

    • Heather – My husband is from the Cleveland area and we lived there for several years after we married. Do you know I had to teach him how to polka! After he learned the basic step we’d polka at weddings and parties. Such a fun, enthusiastic dance. You can’t do it without a big grin on your face.

  • Laurie G says:

    My heritage is primarily German and French. with a tiny bit of English and Scottish thrown in to spice things up. My husband is 100% German with Hungarian influence as his parents came over from Hungary in1951.

    We make a lot of German dishes: cheese and apple strudel, spritz cookies spritzgeback, stuffed peppers, palacsinta( crepes) plum dumplings kvatsche,, yeast doughnuts kapfel,obstboden strawberry torte, yeast apple cake with streusels and rollbraten pork loin.

    Kolatches (polish treat)are another favorite picked up in my hometown.

    • Robin Gianna says:

      This conversation is really making me hungry, Laurie! While I don’t know what some of the foods you mention are, I’m sure they’re all delicious! I once had German food in Minneapolis, where there’s a large German community, and it was absolutely fabulous – so much better than any German food I’d had before.
      Thanks for stopping in!

    • Laurie – My sister-in-law brought some kalatches down for Christmas dinner. My husband loves them. My daughter packed up the leftovers to take down to my sister in Cincinnati. The next day, my husband was prowling looking for those kolatches. Apparently he was saving them for later (my daughter saved them from his waistline). LOL

  • Susan Sey says:

    Good morning, Robin & Donna! I love the sound of your medical romances, Robin! I love the combination of recognizable trope + exotic location–will have to pick them up ASAP!

    As for family heritage, we’re mostly Irish. My mom was born in Dublin, & emigrated when she was 9, so I’m first generation American. My girls both take Irish dancing, & it’s a super-fun way to connect with our heritage! I’ve been known to bust out a jig or a reel on occasion myself. 🙂

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Irish dancing is wonderful to watch! I’m sure you’re proud of your daughters.
      If you decide to read Changed By His Son’s Smile, I’d love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping in this morning!

    • Susan – I didn’t realize you were Irish. HAH – Learn a new thing. My maternal grandparents came over from County Cork.

  • Kat Sheridan says:

    Robin, this book sounds like all kinds of awesome. I loved the excerpt! Congratulations! I come from a “Heinz 57” kind of heritage–a little bit of a lot of things, mostly plain English/Irish/Scots. My father’s family came to the US in 1609 (11 years before the pilgrims!) so we’re about as American as it gets. The good thing about this is that it allows us to pretty much pick and choose and integrate whatever traditions we want, although I’ve always sort of envied those with rich cultural and family heritages.

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Wow, Kat! 1609? That’s an amazing heritage right there! I like the idea of getting to pick and choose whatever traditions speak to you. 🙂
      Thanks for your kind words about my debut!

    • Kat – Are you a Daughter of the American Revolution? Sounds like your heritage would qualify. Cool!

      • Kat Sheridan says:

        Donna, my father did the geneology research to see if we qualified and discovered we had ancestors fighting on BOTH sides. He said it wouldn’t be fair to choose one and ignore the other, so we never applied. But yeah, we could have been DAR (although given some of their controversies, I’m glad we didn’t join!)

        • Wow! Kat – that’s amazing. Both sides? Interesting how history convienently forgets that not everyone here was in favor of separating from the Crown.

          Didn’t know there were controversies in DAR. I thought they just had teas and such. LOL – many that’s the controversy!

  • I think I agree — a conversation is DEFINITELY due! Can’t wait to see where this all goes. What I’ve read so far is un-put-downable! 🙂 Love it!

    Also, gardening, piano, and cooking? You really are out to make us all look bad, aren’t you? 🙂

  • alisha woods says:

    Can’t wait to read love medical romances

  • Great excerpt, Robin. I love that this story is set in such an exotic location! I just downloaded it on my Kindle and I can’t wait to read it. Seems like a nice time of year to spend a while in Benin… Congrats on your debut and best of luck with all that you have coming up!

    I loved the insight into your fabulous Greek background, too. I’m kind of a mutt–some branches of the family have been here since before the pilgrims, some came during the late 1800s. My dad’s side is British and my Mom’s side is German and we were just basic Americans in my house growing up. My husband, however, is 100% Finnish. His parents were born here, but they both grew up in a Finnish community speaking Finn, so there are still lots of traditions that his family keeps. We even made it to the national Finn Fest one year–I felt a little out of place among all those blond-haired, green-eyed Finns. lol

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Thanks so much for buying the book, Susan!
      I’m amazed that some of your ancestors were here centuries ago! Do you know much about why they decided to take such a big step, and where they settled?
      I love the words Finn Fest – it’s fun just to say it! 🙂 What kinds of fabulous foods do Finns eat? (And that sentence made me want to come up with some more F words…nice ones only 🙂

  • Sheri Adkins says:

    Hey Robin… I have a HUGE extended family that migrated to Ohio from Appalachia, mostly Scots-Irish decent. Though all families have issues, it’s wonderful to grow up as a part of a large family. You really have this innate feeling of belonging. I’m sure your kids felt a part of that too. Can’t wait to read your book!

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Thank you, Sheri! Yes, they do have that feeling of ‘belonging’ and have friends who don’t, so they know it’s special. I’m sure that’s true for your kids, too.
      Another good thing about having a large, extended family is that there are always a few…eccentric ones… who are great to put into a book 😉
      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Sheri – Just wanted to wave madly at you!

  • Jodelle Brohard says:

    The excerpt from your book was really great. It made me want to read a lot more.

    My heritage is mostly German but I also had a Grandfather who was an immigrant from China. Most people can’t tell that I’m a quarter Chinese, but both my daughters ended up looking “ethnically ambiguous.”

  • Margs says:

    Robin – love the excerpt! Your book is on my Kindle and as soon as I dig out from under everything else, I plan to dive in. My family is pretty much as Irish as Patty’s pig – with some Scotch Irish in the mix for fun. Lots of freckles and red hair in the Crowley clan.

  • Patty L. says:

    I love the excerpt and am going to have to read the whole story to discover their story. My Amazon account thanks you. ;).

    unfortunately, I don’t have any.interesting family heritage. We have been in America for generations and raised our families with “American traditions” I.e. Large 4th of July celebrations and boisterous and fattening Thanksgivings.

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Thanks so much, Patty! I would love to hear from you after you read the story!

      American traditions are great too, aren’t they? I think Thanksgiving is particularly wonderful – family time, foods we don’t get to eat all the time, and a day set aside to be grateful for all we have.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Patty –

      America is a big place. Not only do we have the traditional American holidays, but there’s a number of regional traditions in places and most definitely regional foods. Growing up American ain’t a bad deal 🙂

  • Laney4 says:

    Don’t know if this qualifies or not, but my husband’s family is really into playing a card game called Canasta. We get together often to play 3-, 4-, 6-, or 8-player games. Makes for great conversations and feelings of togetherness.
    Years ago my father-in-law started a pool night every Tuesday night for him and his sons/grandsons. Dad passed away 11 years ago (where does the time go?), but his sons/grandsons still play – and they take Dad’s cue with them so “Dad is still with them”. Nice tribute to a lovely family man.

    • Awww…the pool night tradition makes me smile. I love it.

      When I lived in Cleveland the card game of choice was Euchre – I’d never heard of it to the astonishment of others. I think card games can definitely be part of a heritage.

      • Robin Gianna says:

        That’s a lovely way to continue your family’s memory of your dad, Laney. And yes, games of all kinds are a wonderful type of family tradition, I think! We crack out the Monopoly board when we know we’re going to be together (say, during the holidays when my college daughter is home, or on a ski vacation when we’re hunkered down in the evenings). It gets pretty competitive sometimes! 🙂 But I’m willing to be that someday my kids will play it with their kids.
        Thanks for sharing your story!

  • catslady says:

    I can relate because I come from a Sicilian family. I loved when we all gathered for holiday meals and my mother always did Sunday dinner. I too do the same thing. Unfortunately, my sister’s family got really big and she was never interested, but I carry on the tradition with my family. I can’t think of anything better than getting together with good food and family!

    • Robin Gianna says:

      I so agree! It’s funny you mention Sunday dinner – my husband’s grandmother always had a big meal for everyone after church, with avgolemono soup, roasted chicken and potatoes, and other wonderful things. He recently suggested to me that we resurrect that tradition with family and friends…except he doesn’t cook 🙂 I suggested perhaps once a month was more in line with my schedule!
      Thanks for stopping by!

      • You know, Robin, I could visit once a month. I could be adopted into your family. After all – I’ve been to the sponge museum. That’s qualifies, doesn’t it? 🙂

        • Robin Gianna says:

          HA! Yes, the visit to the sponge museum gives you honorary family status! 🙂 I think I even have one of those sponges around here somewhere – it could be the centerpiece for Sunday dinners!

  • Janie Mason says:

    Although my husband and I didn’t have big family gatherings growing up, in 1994 we moved into a home next door to a Greek family who quickly adopted us. Their gatherings are so much fun and the food is abundant!

  • Shannon says:

    Congrats on the debut novel. I remember the old Harlequin medicals, with the upper class surgeon called Mr. not Dr. and the female nurse with the starched hat. (That dates me, no?)

    My grandmother emigrated from Norway. She cooked American meat and potatoes for my very American grandfather with vegetable from her extensive garden. One food tradition she kept was making rosettes for special occasions–thin dough fried in oil and dusted with confectioners sugar.

    • Robin Gianna says:

      I love the visual of the old medicals, Shannon! I can just picture the cover 🙂 I read many old Harlequins, but not medicals back then – would love to get my hands on some!
      Your grandmother’s rosettes sound wonderful – did you learn how to make them?

      • Shannon says:

        Yes, I found the “irons” when I was looking for vanilla for the Russian tea cakes. I thought about making some, but they’re so fragile to transport and the goodies were going to friends and co-workers.

        • Shannon – I really think you should make some for your family just to uphold the tradition. That sounds so neat that you discovered the irons while looking for something else.

        • Robin Gianna says:

          Shannon, I think your ‘finding’ the irons is a clear sign you should make them on a special occasion sometime! And post a picture so we could see them and drool!

  • trina morgan says:

    I love all romance books. This ones sounds like it will be awesome to read and I really can’t wait.

  • bn100 says:

    Nice excerpt

    Yes, the food

  • Becke Turner says:

    Robin,
    Love excerpt and the secret baby plot! Lots of luck on your debut.

    My grandfather, an immigrant from Modeno, Italy, was known in the family circle as the Italian stallion. Use your imagination and it will probably fall short. Therefore, I don’t think I’ll share that story here. The other side was Irish so we were extremely outspoken-almost to a fault.

    My dad was the only male and raised by grandma and his five aunts. He grew up to be the family patriarch. Everyone went to him for advice and he ensured all of the aunts were cared for.

    I considered my family as chauvinistic. Men were the providers and family loyalty was prized.
    b

    • Ahh…but I bet you ate well. Does your dad cook?

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Sounds like you have a lot of great stories about your interesting grandfather, Becke! 🙂 I love that your dad was raised by women and became so sage and caring as the patriarch – not all are, as you know!
      I think many cultures still cling to a somewhat chauvinistic attitude, though it’s diluted with each generation, I think (I hope!). A number of years ago my father-in-law’s female cousin (by marriage) was visiting the States from Greece, where they live. There was a big buffet set out (yes, that food thing again!) and she lectured me on how I should fix my husband a plate of food and bring it to him to keep him happy. We joked about that for a long time after!

  • Great excerpt! Very intense!

    My Mom is FBI (Full Blooded Indian – that is an inside Native American joke) Her Mom was Creek and her father was Cherokee. She grew up on share cropping farms in Alabama and was told to lie about her heritage because in 1930’s rural Alabama being Native American was the same as being black. One of my cousins, doing genealogical research had a tough time finding our great grandmother’s grave until a caretaker told her to check the “colored” section of the cemetery. That’s where she found her. Many of the herbal cures my Mawmaw used on us can be traced back to Native American medicine.

    My Dad’s family were Welsh coal miners who immigrated to the States in 1892 to work in coal mines in Pennsylvania. My Dad grew up hearing Welsh spoken in his home as his maternal grandmother lived with them. I’ve been doing research on this side of the family. One of my father’s grandfathers was actually English, but he married my great grandmother in Wales with her brothers as witnesses. I have found the church where the married in Wales and I have even found pictures of the church on the internet.

    • Robin Gianna says:

      What a fascinating family history you have, Louisa! How wonderful that you’re exploring your genealogy. I have a friend who found the Catholic church her grandparents were married in in Poland, and she and her husband made a trek there for their 25th wedding anniversary to renew their vows. After some effort, the priest and church employees found the record of her grandparents’ marriage while they were there, if you can imagine that.
      Good luck with the exploration of your family’s history!

  • Kaelee says:

    Congratulations Robin! Sorry I’m a bit late commenting but at least I didn’t miss today’s party. I missed the one yesterday. Stuff happens.

    I love the H Medical line. I’m looking forward to reading your books. I’m also glad that there are a few authors setting their stories in Africa now. (Two in the new Harlequin Heartwarming line.) I used to love the Harlequin Romances set there during the 1950’s and 1960’s. I love books set in different places and there is a lot of different settings in the H MED line now. It’s wonderful.

    I’m Canadian. My paternal Italian grandparents came to Canada via the USA. My maternal English grandparents came straight to Canada. I married a man of Mennonite background. His father was born in Russia and the family moved to Oklahoma and then on into Canada. We have a really mixed bag of traditions. Some we keep and some we just remember.

    One of our newer traditions is to eat Chinese food on Christmas Eve with my bachelor brother unless he is working. We also have to attend the Greek Ladies Christmas bazaar.

    • Robin Gianna says:

      So glad you enjoy the H Medical line! And I didn’t know the Heartwarming line had several stories set in Africa – I’ll have to look for them.

      You have a wonderfully interesting mix of heritage in your family. It’s fascinating to me to figure out why someone from Russia, or Greece or Italy or England, chooses to move to Oklahoma or Ohio then on to Canada. Usually it has to do with a family member or family friend living there, but not always.

      And I like your new traditions! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • Rita Smith says:

    Having ribs on the new year is a favorite tradition of mine.

    • Robin Gianna says:

      We do pork for good luck, too, but stick with the traditional pork and sauerkraut! How do you fix your ribs? In the oven, smoker, or grill? I don’t make them often, but I’m not sure why since my family loves them!

  • Robin, welcome and congratulations! That’s a great excerpt.

    I’m a mixture of Basque and English (with possible unknown others mixed into that) on my dad’s side and English and Scots Irish on my mom’s. I love the family tartan, but I’m also an Anglophile and have seen the Devonshire farm where my grandfather was born. I didn’t know my grandmother on that side was Basque until recently.

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Thank you, Nancy! I got to go to England with my grandmother and stay with relatives here and there when I was fifteen, but not Devonshire. While I confess I know nothing about the area, it always makes me think of beautiful rolling hills and a romantically beautiful place. What was your grandfather’s farm like?

  • Cassondra says:

    Welcome Robin!

    Huge congratulations on your debut!

    Wow…I have to say, it’s rare that I see a situation set up where I think “there’s no way that can work out” even though those always make the best stories. Yet you’ve done it. I’m going, “they can’t fix this and make it work.” So kudos to you! Very intriguing excerpt.

    Lessee…the question.. You can’t get much more Scottish than a Murray crossed with a Grant, and that’s my dad and mom. I’m the only one in my family who really cares about that, but I feel a deep attachment to Scotland and when I was there, it felt like coming home. So I attend Highland games and try to stay in touch with other Murrays who connect with their Scottish heritage. My family is very small though, so the connections are few and far between. Not at all the way you describe your Greek family!

    As I was reading, of course I thought of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and there you posted a picture. *grin*

    Thank you so much for visiting with us Robin, and Donna, thanks for a great interview!

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Thanks so very much, Cassandra!
      I love that you have a feeling of deep attachment to Scotland, even when there for only short periods of time. Perhaps it’s in your genes somehow to feel that warmth and connection. An interesting thought, isn’t it?
      Thanks again!

  • Marcy Shuler says:

    I’ll be sure to get your book, Robin, since I loved that excerpt!

    I’m a Heinz 57 of nationalities. LOL My father’s side was German and Irish, while my mother’s side was French and English. Sadly, no Greek, since I love the food. I’ve made pastitsio, spanakopita and dolmades before to rave reviews from my family. We all love feta and baklava, though I’ve not attempted to make it. LOL

    • Robin Gianna says:

      Thank you very much, Marcy! If you read it, I’d love to hear from you to learn what you thought of it!
      I am beyond impressed that you’ve made pastitsio, spanakopita and dolmades – and spelled them all correctly, as well! 🙂 All three of those take serious work and practice to turn out well (especially the spanakopita – I struggled for so long to not get a soggy bottom). You must be a very accomplished cook! Your family is as lucky as any Greek one, that’s for sure!

  • Kim says:

    Thanks for the excerpt; it’s very interesting.