Posts tagged with: Harlequin Superromance

Rachel Brimble Talks About Ideas and Inspiration!

I’m delighted to welcome back Lair favourite, fellow Brit and my lovely Supers sister, Rachel Brimble! Rachel is here in the Lair today to celebrate the launch of the sixth book in her wonderful Templeton Cove series — Saved by the Firefighter — which is out this week. Great to have you here, Rachel. Pull up a comfy seat, grab your favourite tipple and Lair hunk and let’s get to it! Talking about inspiration (as if the Lair hunks — that pesky Golden Rooster definitely not included — aren’t enough inspiration!), in case some of our friskier BBs thought I meant something else … yes, I know how your minds work!

rachel-author-pic-2016 Thanks, Anna! It’s great to be back with you all.

One of the most common questions asked of authors is, “Where do you find your ideas?”. I try to answer this as fully as I possibly can, but it is actually a hard question to which any writer can give a definitive answer.

Ideas are everywhere – whether it be your own experiences, other people’s experiences, the news, historical buildings, modern buildings, holidays, museums, bars, celebrities…but my favourite is TV shows.

How many times have you watched a show and thought “I wouldn’t have ended it that way” or “surely that character wouldn’t have reacted that way considering her or his past” or “what if something different had happened instead of that car crash/gift being delivered/conversation.”

All of these scenarios provide me with a premise/starting point from which I can build an entire story. A lot of romance writers start with their characters, but I usually start with a premise or ‘what if’ question. As a very visual writer, TV shows provide me with images that I can use to get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes, I will take aspects of one character and blend it with aspects of another. I have had aspiring writers ask me if using TV shows in this way is in some way cheating?

rachel-cover-bestOn this question, I can give a definitive answer…absolutely not!

If you attended a writing class where the tutor gave ten students a premise, a character or a setting and asked them to write a story around that information, the likelihood is the tutor would receive ten completely different stories.

The same is true of an aspect I take from a TV show – whatever my creation is, I can guarantee it will bear no resemblance to my original source. Character actions, character traits and characters’ backstories will take care of that. I am a mix of a plotter and a pantser and ultimately, my characters decide the route any story will take.

For my latest release, Saved by the Firefighter (Harlequin Superromance), the inspiration to write a firefighter story came from watching The Smoke back in 2014 and then episodes of Chicago Fire. The series showed me how diverse both the characters and plotlines can be when based around a group of male and female firefighters.

rachel-sbtf-maxieI wrote this book during a very deep grieving period over the loss of my beloved black Lab, Max. I had no clue how dark a place I would go after losing such a constant and loyal companion. At first, I couldn’t write and then it struck me that I could vent my sadness, my anger and grief through my characters. The fact I write romance and ultimately, the story would end with a happy ever after, gave me hope that by writing the book, I’d be on the right track to find a way through my own grief.

I’m happy to say my thought process worked!

rachel-tyler-for-interviews-2016For the dog lovers among you, Max is the black lab and Rachel’s new fur-baby, Tyler, is the chocolate lab.

Inspiration is everywhere, it’s just a case of looking for it and waiting for that spark of excitement that confirms you are on the right track.

So, tell me is there a story, show or movie for which you’d like to rewrite the ending?

Saved by the Firefighter

How can she forgive him for what he didn’t do? 

Photographer Izzy Cooper feels as frozen as her pictures. Trent Palmer might be the hottest firefighter in Templeton Cove, but she can never face him again. Not after he failed to save her brother. But when they’re forced together by a calendar shoot, the sparks between them are undeniable. 

Izzy knows it’s not fair to blame Trent for the tragedy, but opening herself up to loss again isn’t something she’s prepared to do, no matter how determined Trent is to show her that pain is part of life and that love—their love—can make any suffering bearable.

rachel-templeton-banner-inc-sbtf

Buy Links:

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01JFHYGQW

Amazon US: https://amzn.com/B01FQX473Q

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saved-by-the-firefighter-rachel-brimble/1123750035?ean=9781488006906

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/saved-by-the-firefighter-mills-boon-superromance-templeton-cove-stories-book-6

BIO:

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had six books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and recently signed a contract for two more. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.

She also recently signed with a UK agent so is represented both sides of the Atlantic.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

Rachel’s Website

Rachel’s Blog

Rachel’s Twitter

Rachel’s Facebook

Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers

 

 

 

It’s Not Too Early For a Christmas SuperRomance from Rachel Brimble!

From our discussions in the past, I know that many of us in the Lair LOVE holiday stories! So today, I have a real treat for you as I welcome back my lovely friend, fellow Brit and SuperRomance sister, Rachael Brimble, to tell us about her latest release – Christmas at the Cove.

Me  Mr B - xmas 2012Thanks, Anna. It’s great to be back here!

I am so excited that my Christmas Superromance has been released to the big, wide world! Christmas At The Cove is the fourth book in my series set in the fictional UK seaside town of Templeton Cove. When I suggested a Christmas book to my editor, it was mainly for the reason that I wanted to know if I could write one. This was my very first attempt…EVER! The other books in the series are set in the summer––how could they not be when I have a beach, fairground, oceanside restaurants and boardwalk at such tempting access? So a Christmas romance was a new challenge for me in more ways than one.

The first challenge, how could I make the most of my setting and have the story take place in December? Well, I decided to give the town an ice-rink, lots of decorated boutique shops and a big old fir tree in the reception of Templeton’s fanciest hotel. As for the story, that came to me pretty quickly too. I wanted a reunion story…and I also wanted to try a new trope for me, The Secret Baby.

In the two weeks since its release, Christmas At The Cove has received lots of lovely reviews, including over eight 5 star reviews. I am one happy lady! I enjoyed writing this mainstream romance (minus my usual suspense) so much and plan to write another if my editor gives me the go ahead in the coming weeks.I hope you enjoy this latest story too!

We in the Lair have our fingers crossed that your editor signs you up for many more stories! In the meantime, would you share your blurb for Christmas at the Cove with us?

I’d love to!

Rachel christmas coverMore family for Christmas?

Scott Walker doesn’t have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news.

Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he’s not one to shirk responsibility. Scott’s issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.

And here’s a sneak peek, just for the Lair:

She squeezed her eyes shut. “I’ll stay for another couple of days, but then I have to go home. I can’t stay here for Christmas.”

The soft whisper of his exhalation drifted over her folded hands on the table. “That’s great. It’s more than great. Thank you.”

She swallowed, wanting the words she needed to say out of her body as soon as possible. “You have your life, and I have mine.” She opened her eyes. “Neither of us has to change our plans because I’ve told you about Belle. You can still do what you want to do.”

His eyes ever so slightly darkened. “If I’m a father, it changes everything.”

Be strong, Carrie. Lay down the ground rules. “I disagree.” She straightened her spine. “I get it, Scott. Truly. I understand you think knowing about Belle means you have to change your entire life, but that’s not true.”

“That’s not what I’m––”

“Let me just say this, please.”

He closed his eyes and she took that as permission to continue. She inhaled a deep breath. “I like, and appreciate, you thinking what you should to do and how to do it, but I’m not asking you to change your plans overnight. This is going to take time. I want it to take time. Belle doesn’t need to know about you yet. You can go on with your life and when the time’s right, I’ll tell her about you.”

Silence.

Carrie swallowed against the dryness in her throat. When she’d been standing outside the holiday park, the decision to see her mission through to the end burning like a flame inside her, she’d thought her words would be strong and clear, delivered with a reverence he couldn’t argue with. Yet now, her stomach trembled with nerves and her hands longed to take his.

Why did he make her feel so torn and her reasoning unfair? Belle was hers. He had no obligation to her unless he wanted one. “I’m not saying that to be cruel, you know.” She sighed. “I’ve looked after her the last year without a partner beside me. She’ll be okay…whatever you decide.”

His continuing silence raised the hairs at the back of her neck, made her fear she drove a bigger wedge between them, but she wouldn’t falter. She had come to Templeton and achieved what she came to do––the gates were open and Scott could step through them whenever he was ready. As long as he realized the hinges wouldn’t creak back and forth on a whim.

Oooh – can’t wait to find out how Scott and Carrie work their way through this story! Don’t forget, everyone, that you can click on the cover of Rachel’s book to go straight to Amazon.

Rachel bookmarkRachel is offering a prize to one lucky commenter – a signed copy of her third Templeton Cove book ‘What Belongs To Her’, to get you in the mood for Christmas at the Cove! All you have to do is tell Rachel about your favorite gift as an adult and a child?? [Rachel: I’m looking for gift inspiration… *joke*]

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance and a further three in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington–her debut was released in April 2013, followed by a second in January 2014 and the third is released Jan 2015.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family and beloved black Lab, Max. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. You can reach her via her website and blog, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter. Rachel would love to hear from you!

 

 

Fun at the Fair with Rachel Brimble

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m delighted to welcome back friend, fellow Brit and Supers sister Rachel Brimble to the Lair! I know you all had such fun when she visited before, so I’m so pleased we’ve been able to entice her back (okay, so the Lair hunks and Sven’s tasty snacks may have had something to do with it too <g>)

Given how awful the weather has been over here lately, I thought we’d chat in the Lair library, in front of a nice fire. So, settle into one of these big, comfy armchairs, Rachel, and Paolo will bring us drinks and some of Sven’s delicious nachos and seven layer dip. What’s your poison, Rachel?

Oohh, I never say no to a glass of ice-cold Chablis…thank you! 😉

WBTH CoverSince she was last here, Rachel has been busy writing the third book in her Templeton Cove series, What Belongs to Her. Here’s the blurb to entice you all!

She’s ready to take back what’s hers 

Since the moment a local crime boss claimed ownership of her family’s fairground, Sasha Todd has dreamed of righting the wrong. Now it’s time to act, and backing down from the man’s estranged son is definitely not an option. After all, giving up her legacy to hot-blooded John Jordon means losing the chance to finally heal the wounds in her past. 

Stopping John in his tracks—and resisting the sizzle between them—is Sasha’s best defense. But there’s more to him than she thought, which changes everything. With what matters most at stake, she’ll have to risk a brand-new future with John, or walk away from the man whose heart belongs to her

Can you remind our BBs about Templeton Cove, the previous two books and tell us how this one is connected?

The series is set in the fictional UK seaside town of Templeton Cove – the first book, Finding Justice, was my debut with Harlequin and since then I have signed four more in the series. Finding Justice and A Man Like Him (books 1 & 2) were romantic suspense, so I decided the next two would be mainstream romance. There’s only so much murder, stalking and mayhem a small town can take each year, lol!

What Belongs To Her introduces two new characters to the Cove but they are connected to a secondary character from Finding Justice. The hero by blood, the heroine through work. The story is set against the backdrop of the town’s fairground and was SO much fun to write!

Finding Justice cover

Doesn’t that sound great? Even better, here’s an excerpt!

He turned and his dark blue eyes, aflame with anger, pinned Sasha to the spot. She forced herself to stand still as his gaze languidly glided over her face, lingering for a moment at her lips. No smile lifted the corners of his mouth. No softness seeped into his hardened study.

She smiled even as her stomach knotted. “Hi.”

He continued to stare.

Okay, so he’s got that sexy, broody thing going on, but since when does a guy––any guy––leave me speechless? Say something…

“Well, you’re all sorts of angry, aren’t you?” Great, Sasha. Just poetic.

He lifted an eyebrow and turned his focus back to the ride.

She frowned and glared at his profile, feeling like an idiot. The guy needed to take a serious chill pill. Did he think he had a monopoly on being pissed off? Wakey, wakey, Mister, the entire human race holds a grudge of one kind or another.

“I was only trying to make conversation. If you don’t want to talk to me, that’s fine.” She shrugged. “I haven’t seen you before and, as I’m the person running things around here, I thought you might appreciate a friendly word, a kind welcome. My name’s Sasha­­––”

“I know who you are.”

She stiffened. The deep, smooth lilt of his upper English class voice filled her with equal measure of attraction and warning. “Pardon me?”

He faced her and crossed his arms across his broad chest. “You’re Sasha Todd, exceptionally pretty and svelte manageress of this fairground, known so lovingly as Funland. You work for Kyle Jordon. Although, while Kyle’s currently boarding at Her Majesty’s pleasure in prison, you are undoubtedly forced to answer to his bull mastiff of a lapdog, the wonderfully charming and partially toothed Freddy Campton. Am I right?”

Sasha crossed her arms, mimicking his stance as irritation simmered inside her. “Yes, but who––”

“How do you feel about that, Miss Todd?”

“What?”

“Moreover, how are you going to feel knowing from tomorrow, you’ll be answering to me and not him?”

Sasha froze as his words filtered through her mind. Her heart pounded and hot heat seared her cheeks. What the hell did he just say? She uncrossed her arms and splayed her hands on her hips. “Is this some kind of joke?”

A flicker of amusement lit his eyes before he blinked and they turned cold once more. “No joke. From tomorrow you’ll be reporting to me.”

Panic and disbelief hurtled through her. Who the hell does this guy think he is? She huffed out a laugh. “I don’t think so. Who are you?”

“Your new boss.”

She grinned, hoping it would coerce some semblance of a smile to his lips and make him tell her he was kidding. “Very funny. You’re a funny guy, Mr…”

“You don’t believe me?” His face remained unnervingly impassive.

Okay, enough was enough. Sasha glared. “I asked you who you are. If you want to toss a revelation like that at me, the least you can do is tell me your name. Not that I’m likely to believe a word you say after this little, slightly creepy, performance.”

He uncrossed his arms and offered his hand, which she took without thinking. His hand enveloped hers. Warm, smooth and unnervingly large. Why did she have the sudden and unwelcome suspicion nothing about this guy was small or weak?

“John Jordon.” He shook her hand. “Nice to meet you.”

A Man Like HimFabulous! What appealed to you about Sasha and John?

As John is the son of Templeton’s crime lord, I wanted him to be strong, yet very different from his scheming father. I wanted him to be honest and upfront, full of integrity and quiet, brooding strength…yes, I’m a little bit in love with the man. His heroine needed to be a match for him so Sasha is by no means a shrinking violet. I love writing strong, feisty heroines on a mission to right a wrong––Sasha has more of me in her than most of my heroines. There’s nothing that infuriates me more than a bully so I had to create a heroine ready to confront the town’s pain in the butt!

LOL I love heroines who are prepared to stand up to bullies! What inspired you to write a romance based around a fairground?

I have a lot of romantic and fun memories around a fairground that used to come to my hometown every Easter. I developed my first crush there as well as forming deeper connections with my childhood friends as we edged toward young adulthood. The setting of the fairground is very clear in my mind, from the smells to the sights, to the people and tensions. It was fabulous to bring my memories alive 🙂

I know what you mean. We had a fun fair, where we used to live, every October – Hull Fair. It was a local event and everyone used to go. The memories are so clear for me too! What’s your favourite fairground ride?

It’s actually one that is highlighted in the book – ‘The Mixer’ holds great memories for me as well as still being a ride I can’t go on without collapsing into fits of giggles. When Sasha commandeers John to a jaunt on the ride, I loved it! I hope readers find the scene as funny as I do. My editor and agent loved it, thank goodness!

I love The Mixer too. What’s your favourite fairground food?

Doughnuts! I am a doughnut fiend and when you have a bag, hot from the fryer…so bad, but sooo good!

Yumm! Thanks so much for visiting the Lair today, Rachel, and for giving our BBs the chance to win a prize.

One lucky commenter will win a signed paperback of any book from the Templeton Cove series (reader choice). Tell us, do you like funfairs/amusement parks? Do you have a favourite? What’s your favourite ride? What’s your favourite food?

You can find out more about Rachel on her Website and her Blog, and you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter

 Buy Links: Remember you can buy Rachel’s book from Amazon US by clicking on the book covers.

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Rachel Brimble is in the Lair!

Rachel Brimble 2Today, I’m excited to welcome friend, fellow Brit and Supers sister Rachel Brimble to the Lair! Rachel’s here to talk about her latest release A Man Like Him from Harlequin Superromance.

Welcome Rachel! Pull up a seat and make yourself comfortable. Sven, bring Rachel a drink please.

So, tell the Banditas and BBs a bit about yourself.

I live in South West England, near the famous Georgian city of Bath. Lucky enough to write full-time around my husband, two teenage daughters and black Lab, I am never happier than at the laptop. Well, if things are progressing as they should with the work in progress, of course! In my spare time I like to read, knit, walk the countryside or relax in front of the TV.

In my experience, there is little that can’t be fixed by good food and wine. Just saying…

I agree wholeheartedly! We love call stories in the Lair – please share yours.

Finding Justice coverThe Wild Rose Press published my first book in 2007 – I had received countless rejections from agents and couldn’t find a UK publisher taking romantic stories around 65,000 words. Now, of course, there are quite a few! An online friend told me to try The Wild Rose Press and the rest was history. When I read the acceptance email, I screamed and danced around the kitchen. My husband knew what had happened before I even managed to get the words out!

My second ‘call story’ came after another deluge of UK agent rejections! I pitched a book to an editor at a conference in 2010 and she recommended I try some US agents as I have a very ‘global voice’. The rest is history! My agent sold Finding Justice to Harlequin and things have gone really well ever since.

A Man Like HimHow lovely to have two call stories <happy sigh>. Now, please tell us about A Man Like Him.

This is the second book in my ongoing series with Harlequin Superromance. The books are set in a fictional UK seaside town called Templeton Cove. A Man Like Him was inspired by what happened to my family and me when we were caught up in the 2010 French floods and ultimately rescued by helicopter from the hotel roof. The first three chapters are an almost hour-by-hour account of what happened to us. Here’s the blurb:

Changing her life…again 

After two years in hiding, Angela Taylor knows her independence is worth it. As long as she can escape her past, she has everything under control. Until a flash flood hits the park where she works, and hot Chris Forrester shows up the exact moment she needs a hero. 

 Chris proves he can save lives-and weaken a girl’s knees. But how can she make him understand that she’s off-limits, that getting close to her will endanger his life? Her happiness or his safety: it shouldn’t even be a choice.

Because when you love someone, you protect them, no matter the cost. At least, that’s what Angela keeps telling herself….

Oooh – sounds fab! What inspired you to write about Chris and Angela?

Chris was a secondary character in the first book in the series (Finding Justice) and I enjoyed writing his scenes so much, I wanted to give him his own story. When the flood story came to me and I knew it was romantic suspense, Chris was the perfect hero for the story because he had a lot of changes to make and the flood would give him the foundation to start the process.

Angela is an independent woman running from someone in her past – she likes her life and living alone. When she is thrust into the media spotlight, no one better could be there to protect her than Chris.

I’m sold! Would you share a sneak peek with us?

I’d love to :).

Their eyes locked and Chris’ gaze dropped to her mouth. It fell ajar and her tongue poked out to wet her bottom lip. He snatched his gaze back to the sky. They were in the middle of a disaster situation. They were reaching out to each other for support. Nothing more. Nothing less. So why the hell was his heart beating like a damn jackhammer?

He shielded his eyes against the sun and prayed to God she hadn’t seen his need to kiss her. He focused on the helicopters. “Damn it.”

She shifted beside him and he felt her gaze on him once more. “What is it?”

“They’re not going to be any help to the people stranded in the trees.”

“Of course–”

“Those vultures aren’t going to do a damn bit of good. Where are the rescue teams?”

“What are you talking about? What vultures?”

“Can’t you see?” He shot his arm toward the sky as frustration hummed along his nerve endings. “They’re TV helicopters. A fat lot of bloody help–”

“TV cameras? Oh, my God.”

Chris turned. Her face grew ashen and she swayed back on her heels, her eyes wide with terror. She gripped his forearm. “Help me. Don’t let them see me. You have to do something.”

“What? What are you talking about?”

“Chris, please. Help me.”

Without thinking, he pulled her into his arms and she buried her face into his chest. He brought one hand to the back of her head, the other to the small of her back and pulled her close. She fit the contours of his body like she was meant to be there.

He held her tight. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

She shook her head against his chest. “It’s over. It’s all over.”

The helicopters circled one more time and then flew away, disappearing over the horizon once more. “They’ve gone. Angela? Look at me. What is it?”

She pulled back and tears slipped over her lower lids and down her cheeks. “I’m dead. He’s coming. He’s coming and this time he’ll kill me.”

He gripped her forearms, adrenaline filling his blood on a protective wave. “Who will? What are you talking about?”

She closed her eyes. “My husband.”

Oh no! Can’t wait to read this and see what happens.

You also write for several other publishers – tell us a little about some of your other books.

Cover (3)I currently write Victorian romance for eKensington as well as my Superromance series. I try to alternate the two because it keeps the writing fresh for me, and hopefully, my readers. Secondary characters becoming protagonists in the following books link the Kensington books. I love working this way and deepening existing characters with each succeeding book. It’s proving popular with readers too!

My second book with Kensington, The Temptation of Laura is out Feb 20th.

What’s next for you?

After the release of The Temptation of Laura, I have another Superromance out two weeks later – the beginning of 2014 is going to be super busy, lol! What Belongs To Her is the third book in the series and features two brand new characters as the hero and heroine as well as lots of cameo appearances from existing characters. Set at Templeton Cove’s fairground, it’s the first mainstream romance, rather than romantic suspense, of the series. Fun!

Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Rachel. I know you have a prize to give away and a question to ask our BB’s, so fire away!

I’d love to ask your readers what is their favourite fictional town?

One lucky commenter with win either a signed paperback copy of either of Rachel’s Superromance titles or a PDF of either of her Victorian Kensington titles. Winner’s choice.

You can find out more about Rachel on her website and her blog, and you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Anna Sugden is Bandita of the Month!

It looks like September will be another ‘Anna‘ month with Anna Campbell and I swapping places. Whereas in August, La Campbell was being interviewed and I provided an exclusive sneak peek of A Perfect Distraction, this month, you get an excerpt from Anna’s delightful A Rake’s Midnight Kiss and an interview with me!

So get a drink from the bar, pull up a hockey hunk … uh, a chair … well okay, you can have a hockey hunk too 😉 … and settle back for some Bandita chat!

Now, the last time I was in the interviewing hot seat, it was April 2012. You can read that interview here. Isn’t it funny that I talk about my favourite thing that I researched for Bad Boy, Good Man and that is the manuscript that became A Perfect Distraction. By the way, the links in that article are out of date, so if you want to read about that research and other fun stuff, check out the For Readers section of my spiffy new website.

A lot has happened since last April! As regular visitors to the Lair know, I sold my first book in December 2012. A Perfect Distraction is available this month from Harlequin Super Romance in the USA and Canada (plus from most Amazon outlets and the Book Depository, which has free shipping worldwide!). It is also available as an Essence Duo in Australia and as a Mills & Boon ebook in the UK. 

Then, in June 2013, I sold three more books in the New Jersey Ice Cats series! So readers can look forward to more hockey hunks 😉

9780373718740And now without further ado, here are the answers to some BB questions I’ve been asked.

Tell us a bit about The New Jersey Ice Cats. Are they based on a real team?

Despite being a huge New Jersey Devils fan, from my days living in New Jersey, and receiving help from the Devils’ organisation in researching A Perfect Distraction, the only connections between my fictional team and the real one are that they’re both based in New Jersey and they both play in red. Of course, I did tap into the experience of the Stanley Cup-winning season in 2003 to help the Ice Cats win! None of the Ice Cats’ players (nor their opponents) are based on real players either, although I’ve used certain character traits that I’ve observed in real players to help Jake and his team-mates come to life!

Jake ‘Bad Boy’ Badoletti is the hero of A Perfect Distraction. Which other players do you plan to write about?

Definitely the Jelinek brothers. Readers met Tru and Ike in A Perfect Distraction, but there are also two younger brothers called Kenny and Linc. I’m currently writing Tru’s book, which will be out next summer. In it, readers will find out what caused the friction between Tru and Jenny and see if the pair can overcome the problems of the past to rediscover love. After that, will be Ike’s book. He has to deal with an injury that is potentially career-ending, which forces him to think seriously about what his life post-hockey will be like. The fourth book hasn’t been decided yet, but as well as the younger brothers, there are other players who could get their own book eg cocky rookie JB Larocque.

Which cocktail do you ask the hockey hunks to bring you when you’re in your writing cave?

It used to be Mojitos, but since my trip to Antigua, I’ve become rather fond of Chocolate Monkeys, Banana Sip Sops and Reggae Tops!

Do you have a favourite snack to nibble on while you’re writing?

I try not to snack too much, especially as I’m sitting a lot when I have to get a book finished. But when I get the munchies, I tend to go for savoury, rather than sweet foods. Popcorn is a favourite, as is nacho cheese flavoured Doritos or cheese and onion crisps, both sour cream dip.

 

sakic (1)

Is your cave tidy, with a clear desk, or cluttered?

Definitely cluttered, though I like to think of it as organised chaos! I think I get my creative energy from having things I love around me.

Finally, if you could have dinner with any hockey player, who would it be?

I’ve been lucky enough to meet many of the Devils’ current and former players over the years. It’s hard to choose just one to have all to myself 😉 So, I’ve decided to pick a player from another team – former Colorado Avalanche great, Joe Sakic.

 

Members Only Peek at A Perfect Distraction!

Hi Bandita Buddies!

9780373718740Can you believe it’s only a month until A Perfect Distraction hits the shelves?! As a special treat for you, below is an exclusive sneak peek at the first book in my New Jersey Ice Cats series. In this bit, Maggie has just arrived at Jake ‘Bad Boy’ Badoletti’s rented, Manhattan apartment for a meeting with the infamous hockey star.

You can read another excerpt from my debut Harlequin Super Romance on my newly-redesigned website www.annasugden.com

A Perfect Distraction

A face-off — head vs. heart

For Jake Badoletti, this year is all about his career. He has a rare second chance to make the most of being a pro hockey player, so no parties, no scandals. Too bad he’s met a woman who could sideline those plans. Maggie Goodman is not his usual type—right down to being a single mom. Still, the sizzling connection with this gorgeous brunette can’t be ignored. 

With a little juggling and a lot of focus, Jake manages to have the game and Maggie. Then his performance on the ice suffers and a scandal erupts. Now he can’t afford the distraction of Maggie…even if she is perfect for him.

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

“Showtime.” Stiffening her spine, Maggie strode out of the lift.

Her steps faltered. Noise spilled out of the open apartment doors. Voices, laughter, underscored with a heavy bass beat. The air was thick with a mix of expensive perfume and potent aftershave.

Jake had arranged their meeting during a party? That didn’t reassure her about the kind of man he was.

Several enormous men headed past her toward the elevator. Built like tanks, with thick necks and tattoos, she guessed they were American footballers. A couple of tanned women wearing microminis, crop tops and skyscraper heels hung off each player’s arm.

Maggie couldn’t help a pang of envy when she saw one of the women wearing a sexy pair of Giuseppe Zanotti studded sandals. Her toes curled in her sling-backs. Even though they were Chanel—she hadn’t given up the designer shoes she loved—the sedate pair didn’t have the same feel as she knew those strappy stilettos would.

Once, she would have loved being at a party like this. She would have delighted in rubbing shoulders with those richer and more famous than she and Lee were, hoping some of their glitz would come her way. Back then, she would have found a way to be the center of attention.

“Get your butt over here, Cindy,” one of the men growled impatiently at a blonde tottering unsteadily behind the group.

Maggie’s stomach twisted, as darker memories filled her mind. She turned away, desperate to escape both her thoughts and the building as fast as possible. Before she could take a step, an inner voice reminded her that wasn’t an option.

She brushed her damp palms against her linen dress and forced the memories aside. Her heels clicked on the marble floor as she walked along the hallway.

Her sense of dread grew as she progressed through the apartment. Aside from the flamboyantly garish decor, this could have been the house she’d left behind in England. From the leather, steel and glass furniture to the top-of-the-range boys’ toys in every room, the place reeked of money and testosterone overload.

She’d expected to find Jake at the heart of the party, but he wasn’t among the crowd in the living room. There were some fit blokes, probably teammates, and a couple of actors she recognized from one of the New York cop dramas , as well as a bunch of fresh-faced clones in buttoned-down shirts and chinos who could be Wall Street whiz kids, lawyers or the wealthy of Upper Manhattan. The women were all tall, thin and tanned with long, shiny hair and the latest designer fashions.

Jake wasn’t among the thick-necks doing body-shots off a giggling redhead, sprawled across the long, shiny table in the dining room. Nor in the den, where another group of men sprawled on leather couches, alongside yet more tanned, scantily clad women, watching a baseball game on a giant plasma screen.

Where the heck was he? How could she make a good impression on him, when she couldn’t find him? Biting back a sigh, she headed in a different direction.

Near the master suite, she noticed a pair of handsome, well-built men coming toward her. Clearly brothers, they looked like athletes. Hockey players? Maybe they knew where Jake was hiding.

“Excuse me. Have you seen Jake Badoletti?”

“Honey, whatever you want from Jake, I can do better,” the taller man said, with a twinkle in his eye.

Though she normally ignored such blatant flirtation, the man’s grin was infectious. Maggie couldn’t help smiling back.

“Behave, Tru.” The stockier bloke frowned, then glanced through the open door behind them. “Jake’s kind of busy.”

Maggie’s smile faded. Great. Her client was holed up in his bedroom with a groupie. She was tempted to leave and make him reschedule, but didn’t want to get Tracy into trouble. “I’ll wait for him in the living room. Thank you.”

“Don’t rush off. Have a drink with us.” The friendlier brother stuck out his hand. “Tru Jelinek. I play with Jake on the Ice Cats. This is my brother, Ike.”

They seemed harmless enough, and it would be better than waiting alone. “Nice to meet you. Maggie Goodman.”

“You’re English?” Ike studied her carefully. “I didn’t think you Brits were hockey fans.”

“I’m not a fan. I’m with Making Your Move. I have an appointment with Jake.”

“Tracy’s company?”

“I’m her sister. I’m helping her out until she’s back on her feet.”

“We heard about her busted appendix.” He sounded concerned. “Is she doing okay?”

“Yes, thank you. She’s recovering nicely, but frustrated she’s not healing faster.”

“I bet,” he muttered.

“Do you know her well?” She was curious about his reaction.

“She helped me find my town house last summer.”

From his tone, there was more to that story than the single, bald sentence, but she didn’t have time to explore it, as Tru motioned her toward the open bedroom door.

“Since you’re here on business, you should go on in.”

When Maggie hesitated, he urged her on. “You’re not interrupting anything important. Besides, the sooner you’re done, the sooner you can join us for a drink.”

Swallowing her apprehension over what she’d see within, she gripped her briefcase tightly and stepped into the doorway.

In the large sitting area of the suite, by the floor-to-ceiling windows, a group of women fluttered around a tall, dark-haired man, like a flock of brightly colored, exotic birds. That must be Jake Badoletti.

Her mouth went dry.

None of the photos in Tracy’s file had done him justice. She’d known he was good-looking, but that didn’t begin to describe the man in person.

Heaven help her, he was gorgeous!

Square-jawed and rugged, with piercing, blue eyes and a crooked grin. He was clearly a warrior of the ice, but his broken nose and scars somehow added to his appeal and made him more intriguing. Unlike the hulking bodies of the thick-necks, Jake had the firm, solid lines of an athlete in peak condition. Lean, corded muscle shaped the snug-fitting black shirt and faded jeans. Exciting and enticing, he brimmed with charm and hints of danger.

No wonder he had that reputation—any woman would have a hard time resisting the pull of this particular bad boy. Once upon a time, she’d have been in that crowd, fighting for his attention. Not anymore. Never again.

Still, she couldn’t help feeling a little relieved that she probably wouldn’t see him again.

He’d be Tracy’s problem, assuming Maggie did what she had to in this meeting. Pushing aside a last-minute nervous quiver, she donned her polite, but reserved media smile and entered the lion’s den.

 

Rescuing Jenny

Currently, I’m working on book 2 in my New Jersey Ice Cats series – working title Rescuing Jenny. Tentatively scheduled for release from Harlequin Super Romance next summer, this is Tru and Jenny’s story.

Jeannie Watt and A Cowboy Wedding

Please join me in welcoming Jeannie Watt back to the lair!

Hi everyone! I’m so happy to be back at the Romance Bandits today!

Since it’s June, the Wedding Month, and since I write cowboy romances, which often end in a wedding, I thought I’d share some moments from a Nevada cowboy wedding I attended.

The wedding was held on the homestead property of the bride’s cousin.  The guests parked and walked through the pasture to the site of the former homestead. They passed a few of the local residents along the way.

Cowboy Wedding 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bride and her father arrived in a carriage with an out rider to assist in the journey.

Cowboy Wedding 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ceremony was held under giant cottonwood trees and presided over by the bride’s grandmother, who happened to be a Justice of Peace.

Cowboy Wedding 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then some kissing happened:

Cowboy Wedding 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And some more kissing:

Cowboy Wedding 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t easy, but the photographer got everyone lined up for an official photo…

Cowboy Wedding 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

…before the real fun began.

Cowboy Wedding 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cowboy Wedding 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the bride and groom drove away to start their new life together.

Cowboy Wedding 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now they’re living happily ever after.

Married Life

 

 

 

 

 

*Sigh* I just love a good happily ever after. Have you encountered a good HEA recently, either in a book or in real life?

Once A Champion mmpIn celebration of June, happily ever afters, and the release of my most recent book, Once a Champion, I’ll give away three autographed copies to randomly chosen commenters.

Harlequin Superromance author Jeannie Watt lives in rural Nevada and writes fast-paced, character driven stories set in the western United States.  To find out more about Jeannie and her books, please visit her website www.jeanniewatt.com or her blog at http://retrosewingromance.blogspot.com/

 

Emmie Dark’s Winner!

BanditBootyThanks to everyone who swung by to say hello to Aussie author Emmie Dark who was here late last week. I’m delighted now to announce that the winner of the copy of JUST FOR TODAY, her latest romance, is:

MARY PRESTON!

Congratulations, Mary. Please email Emmie on emmie @ emmiedark.com (no spaces) with your snail mail details and she’ll get your book out to you. Happy reading!

Emmie Dark Is Our Cup of Tea!

Emmie 2Welcome back to Aussie author Emmie Dark who visited us last year to talk about her wonderful debut for Harlequin SuperRomance CASSIE’S GRAND PLAN.

How time flies! Emmie’s back with us today to talk about her newest (and third) SuperRomance, JUST FOR TODAY, which came out in North America on 4th June. Here’s the blurb:

She’s not that kind of girl!

Veterinarian Jess Alexander doesn’t have one-night stands with the best man at a coworker’s wedding. But thirtysomething divorcée Jess is definitely in a rut that a night of reckless passion with a younger man just might break. And what better candidate than criminally good-looking Sean Paterson?

Being with Sean is exhilarating. But where could this relationship possibly go? Expecting anything more than a good time from Sean is a one-way ticket to heartbreak. Against her better judgment, Jess can’t walk away from whatever this is…not yet.

Emmie 1You can find out more about Emmie and her books on her website: www.emmiedark.com

Emmie, welcome back to the lair. Congratulations on your new release for Harlequin SuperRomance, JUST FOR TODAY.  Can you tell us about this story?

Thanks, Anna! I’d love to tell you more about JUST FOR TODAY – it’s the story of Sean and Jess. Sean is an author of supernatural horror novels and Jess is a recently divorced vet. Sean is that rare breed of rockstar-style novelist, with passionate fans and a huge twitter following and serious Peter Pan complex. Jess is still licking her wounds from her marriage break-up and convinces herself that one night with the delicious Sean might just kick-start her back into the dating world. Of course it doesn’t turn out to be as simple as all that…

Sounds great. What were the inspirations behind this book?

I kicked off writing this book with a very clear picture of Jess – I wanted to tell the story of a woman recovering from an emotionally damaging relationship and finding her feet again. And then as soon as Sean hit the page I knew both Jess and I were in trouble! I based Sean’s character (and cheeky good looks) on Jensen Ackles who plays one of the lead characters in the TV show SUPERNATURAL. I also went to a couple of science fiction conventions to get a feel for the world Sean inhabits and a local neighbourhood vet was very kind and gave me time to ask lots of questions about Jess’s typical work day.

Emmie 3What’s coming up next for you?

I’ve got a few irons in the fire right now! But my next release will be a follow-up to my e-novella SPELLBOUND, which is scheduled to come out later this year. In the meantime I’ve got lots of travel planned, including a trip to New York, and hopefully will find some writing time in there somewhere!

Last March, you released a paranormal e-novella called SPELLBOUND through Destiny Romance, Penguin Australia’s romance imprint (available internationally). Can you tell us about this story? It looks pretty hot!

That’s because it is! 🙂 SPELLBOUND is a fun, racy story about a modern-day witch, Belle, who has an unrequited crush on her downstairs neighbour, Nick. She sets about using some magic in an effort to “satisfy” herself and things quickly go wrong from there. While Belle is a witch and it does involve magic, it’s not a paranormal – it’s pretty much the ordinary world with a magical twist. It’s a short and hot read – different to JUST FOR TODAY in lots of ways, but similar in that it’s about finding love again after life has dealt you a difficult blow.

Last time you visited in February 2012, we were talking about your great debut for SuperRomance CASSIE’S GRAND PLAN. I’m wondering if there have been any surprises in the last eighteen months or so as a published author.

emmie 4It’s been full of surprises, actually! JUST FOR TODAY is my fourth book to hit the shelves in that time (three SuperRomances and SPELLBOUND with Destiny) and there’s been a lot to learn. I think the biggest lesson for me is realising that the work doesn’t stop with “the call” – in fact that’s where it really begins! And it’s been tough for me to go back to being a “beginner”. In my non-writing career I have twenty years of experience – I’m used to being the knowledgeable veteran. But in publishing I’m still learning – and I’ve so appreciated the support and wisdom shared by other authors as I find my way.

I notice from your website that you’re VERY fussy about how you take your tea. Do you want to give us the lowdown on Emmie Dark’s Way of Tea?

I am VERY fussy. And recently I’ve stopped drinking black tea totally, which only causes more headaches for anyone hoping to offer me hospitable cuppa, because if all you’ve got is Liptons in the cupboard, then I’m out, because I don’t drink coffee either. The lowdown, in all honesty, is simply to boil the kettle, give me a cup and leave me to it. I always have a little ziplock bag of my own tea de jour in my handbag, so I can easily grab out my own supplies and help myself to hot water. So in some ways, I’m a pretty easy guest, really!

BanditBootyI’m happy to giveaway a copy of JUST FOR TODAY to one lucky commenter today. I mentioned that my hero, Sean Patterson is a “rock star novelist”. Please leave me a comment and let me know your favourite rock star novelist – I’ll leave it up to you as to whether you interpret that as a very famous writer or a literal rock-star-turned-writer.

Get commenting, people! Good luck!

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