Saturday, December 10, 2016

WEEKEND WILDCARD: Heidi Rice's Writing Year in Pictures and Tweets

With Christmas fast approaching and a New Year on the horizon, Harlequin Presents author Heidi Rice looks back over an eventful year - with a little help from her Twitter & Instagram accounts!

So I'm not gonna lie to you, I wanted to do a great retrospective of what I'd been doing in 2016, but the truth is I started to try and remember what the heck I had been doing and I had to turn to Twitter and Instagram to jog my memory... And then I thought, heck, why not just do this blog in Tweets and Instagram posts... So here's what Heidi did in 2016 –  in 140 characters or less...

JANUARY:

I saw Leo DiCaprio freeze his arse off in The Revenant...


And survived Dry January (just)!


FEBRUARY:

My First Women's Fiction book, So Now You're Back, came out...


So did my Tule novella, Daring the Bad Boy (and the cover made me hyperventilate)




MARCH:

My mate Iona Grey won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award with the fabulous Letters to the Lost... And I may have blagged a photo wtih Fern Cotten...



Tempting the Knight finaled in the RITAs... And I boasted about it incessantly (ie: this was not the only Tweet on the subject)...

APRIL:

I went camper-vanning in Cornwall and saw Poldark (but no one believed me).




Fiona Harper and I went mad at the London Book Fair (and Fan-girled Marian Keyes).



MAY:

I finally discovered Emojis (about a decade after everyone else)...


And I hung out in Dublin with Abby Green.


JUNE:

I did some serious re-filing the well writing-inspiration-wise with trips to North Wales with my best mate...


And Italy with my guys...


JULY:

I milked my RITA final some more at the RWA conference in San Diego with Scarlet Wilson (who was busy milking her TWO finals!!)


AUGUST:

The Olympics happened, I got even more inspired... And I made up for lost time with the emojis.

SEPTEMBER:

I got a sneak peek at my first Classic Presents cover for Vows They Can't Escape (due out next year) at the glittering M&B author drinks party.






OCTOBER:

After months of preparation, I had a ball tutoring the writers on my first Introduction to Writing Hot Romance course at the Professional Writing Academy...


NOVEMBER:

I did NaNoWriMo... And totally aced it, if I say so myself (I also discovered Gifs)


I celebrated 100 books with the awesome and awe-inspiring Sharon Kendrick (nekkid waiters were involved, which totally explains the camera-shake on that picture).


DECEMBER:

I set about finishing the year off in style with a 3-hour lunch with the lovely Jane Porter... Talking writing, my upcoming Marietta book for Tule and alpha guys (not necessarily in that order).


So there you have it, my year in pics and Tweets... What did you do this year? Anything awesome?

Heidi is currently working on revisions for her second women's fiction book for Harlequin UK and getting stuck into her first Marietta book for Tule. Which will both be out next year (fingers crossed). But until then her first Classic Presents Vows They Can't Escape is due out in February 2017 in the US and the UK... And she is ludicrously excited about it.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Christmas Romance Novels


Today on the Pink Heart Society, Candace Shaw shares her list of Christmas romances to read this holiday season!

In between writing, Christmas shopping and decorating, I still try to find time for reading the latest Christmas romance novels. I’ve added several to my ereader and I have a few more to go. Who cares about a budget when there are so many wonderful books to read? Below are a few on my holiday reading list.


One Mistletoe Wish by A.C. Arthur

All she wants for Christmas… 

Everything schoolteacher Morgan Hill loves is in her hometown of Temptation, Virginia—her twins, her students and the charming community center where she's staging their holiday play. But now the building's new owner, Grayson Taylor, is putting sexy visions into Morgan's head, making the young widow long for a future even Santa couldn't deliver.

As the oldest of sextuplets, Gray grew up in the media spotlight. His family's fame once helped Temptation thrive, but drove his parents apart. Coming back is just a bittersweet necessity until he meets petite firecracker Morgan. Somehow she gets the handsome tech guru to forget about big business in favor of small-town delights…and steamy winter nights. It's a life he never knew he wanted, but can he put his past aside to turn a festive fling into the sweetest forever? 


Playboy on her Christmas List by Carol Marinelli

Making her Christmas dream come true…

Paramedic Holly Jacobs knows that her night of scorching passion with Dr. Daniel Chandler meant more than just lust. And she'll fix the hospital staff's Secret Santa to prove it!

Playboy doc Daniel has sworn off love—but he can't resist Holly! And by the time they get snowed in at a B and B on Christmas Eve, Daniel finds himself wondering if the connection he's feeling for Holly is for life, not just for Christmas!





A Countess for Christmas by Christy McKellen

The earl's secret bride…

Emma Carmichael is shocked when she sees who she's waitressing for at a lavish party—Jack Westwood, the new Earl of Redminster. Her new life comes crashing down when Jack announces to the world that they're married!

Jack has never forgotten his first love despite the tragedy that tore them apart. When the paparazzi cameras intrude, he proposes they live as man and wife until the fuss dies down. Emma feels like Cinderella, masquerading as his countess…only, behind closed doors, their marriage feels tantalizingly real…





Love at Last by Sharon C. Cooper

Carolyn Jenkins has never had a problem getting a man, but keeping one is another story. After two failed marriages and numerous short-term relationships, she’s ready to wave the white flag and give up on love. Yet, with Christmas quickly approaching, she dreads spending the holiday alone. Will a chance encounter with a handsome stranger make all of her Christmas wishes come true?

After thirty years of a nearly perfect marriage, widower Lincoln Richwood struggles to move on with his life. The idea of dating at his age seems daunting … until he meets the vivacious Carolyn Jenkins. Normally a straitlaced kind of guy, there’s just something about the woman that tempts him to walk on the wild side.

Opposites attract, but will their differences derail their relationship and keep them from embracing the love they both desire?

Unwrapping the Holidays

Desire is rising—and hearts are melting—in these sizzling holiday stories 


Hot Coded Christmas by Nana Malone 

Nothing says Christmas quite like…computer coding? That's how CEO Jamie Reed plans to spend the holidays, holed up in an upstate New York guesthouse, desperately trying to save her company. She didn't count on sharing this secluded wonderland with her business rival, Cole Nichols. But the sexy tech billionaire just might be the one to make all Jamie's winter wishes come true… 


Be Mine for Christmas by Sheryl Lister 

After her dream Christmas wedding is canceled, Maya Brooks aims to revive her spirits with a little holiday fling. Ian Jeffries finds the gorgeous bakery owner as luscious as her desserts—and wants more of both. But Maya's trust is shattered when she discovers that Ian's real-estate firm is trying to buy out her shop. Can he prove his passion isn't a ruse and that her love's the only gift he will need forever?


Mistletoe Reunion Threat by Virgina Vaughn

MISSING CHILD

Someone wants Mississippi prosecutor Ashlynn Morris dead…and they've taken her son to get to her. The only person she can trust to get him back is his father, a man who doesn't even know about their secret child. When grief and survivor guilt pushed army ranger Garrett Lewis to run out on their wedding five years ago, he knew he was leaving behind the love of his life. But a son? Finding out he's a father has him reeling, especially since his little boy is missing. But now the tormented ex-soldier has a new mission, one that can't fail. Protect the woman he's never stopped loving…and bring her son—their son—home for Christmas.




Hot Winter Nights by Debbi Rawlins
This cowboy can make any girl melt!
Montana in December is cold. Still, struggling actress Lila Loveridge is committed to the independent movie they're shooting—despite frigid temperatures, an empty wallet and a sneaking suspicion that her acting career has frozen in its tracks. Good thing there's a Montana cowboy hot enough to keep her warm.

Rancher Clint Landers is one tall, lean and sizzling specimen, and before long, Lila is shivering with pleasure. Their chemistry is impossible to resist. But while every night is deliciously wicked, every day is a reminder that they can't have a future together. Because in order for Lila to follow her dream, she'll have to leave her sexy cowboy behind… 
Kissed by Christmas by Jamie Pope

Christmas in paradise
Hallie Roberts has had a string of bad luck, beginning with her fiancé dumping her! Now she is disillusioned and ready to leave her beloved big-city teaching job behind and return to her idyllic island hometown. Then fate intervenes, and a slip and fall on the ice brings gorgeous, brave paramedic Asa Andersen to her rescue and into her chaotic life.

Saving victims can take its toll, but Hallie fills Asa with hope and renewed purpose. His mission to show the homesick English teacher a romantic New York Christmas culminates in a passionate, brief affair. But Asa isn't about to lose the best thing to ever happen to him. When they meet again on Hideaway Island, the magic and sensuality of the sultry isle affects them both. Can he convince Hallie to trust in their future and a love that's worth every risk?

Do you have a Christmas romance to recommend? Share with us in the comment section.

Candace Shaw writes romance novels because she believes that happily-ever-after isn’t found only in fairy tales. When she’s not writing or researching information for a book, you can find Candace in her gardens, shopping, reading or learning how to cook a new dish.

She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her loving husband and their loyal dog, Ali. She is currently working on her next fun, flirty and sexy romance.

You can contact Candace on her website at www.CandaceShaw.net, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCandaceShaw or tweet her at https://twitter.com/Candace_Shaw.

Be sure to check out Candace’s latest Christmas romance below!



Chasing a dream of love

The pursuit of love has always been high on Preston Chase's priority list. But the video game developer has yet to find the soul mate he craves. His sister's best friend—artist and studio owner Blythe Ventura—is a world away from the shallow glam girls who've thrown themselves at him. With her creative spirit and passionate commitment, she's the ideal candidate for his Winter Wonderland project. Too bad she doesn't seem interested in being the one to win his heart. 


After a string of dating disasters, Blythe isn't ready to believe in a romantic relationship with Preston. Until their work giving sick children hope and joy for Christmas brings them together—and reveals a very different side of the notorious millionaire playboy. All she has to do is trust in the feelings Preston is awakening and this just might be the year that they both find the happy holiday ending they've been searching for…

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Time Out Thursday - Writer Movies to Love!


Books about writers are kinda boring. I've tried reading a few and have usually been unable to fully separate the actual author of the book from the book’s main character. It gets too weird and I waste too much time wondering if the author really did stalk her sixth grade boyfriend and catch him peeing in the boys’ room. Watching movies about writers though, is something I can’t get enough of.

In the movies, writers have all the fun. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that screenwriters have no idea how novelists and short story writers live, or they want to make everything on screen as far from the truth as possible, unless the movie is heading for an Oscar. Then the writer is some tortured hack who spends way too much time worrying about the readers and their rent to actually write a decent book. Bonus points toward realism if they’re living in their parents' basement or sponging off a frustrated spouse.

My favorite writer movies, though, are the ones with protagonists who’ve written one book and become obscenely wealthy from it, has lots of groupies, and is so creatively constipated from the pressure of needing to write the next bestseller that all they can do is sleep with groupies, do drugs, and hang out in Parisian cafes while smoking Gauloises and making friends with hapless ingénues who will eventually save them from themselves and become the muse for the next Oprah Book Club pick. It's like writer porn. Very fun. Very addictive.

So basically, whenever I steal some time away from my laptop, I sit in front of Netflix trying to find my next favorite writer film. Right now, I’m on the hunt for Ghost Writer, starring Ewan McGregor. It’s a spy flick, but with a writer. Strange, I know.

Here’s a list of my faves and why:


Henry and June – I adore French writer, Anaïs Nin. This is the story of how she met and influenced Henry Miller and his wife, June. In this gorgeously made film, I could barely keep my eyes off Uma Thurman. Very sexy overall.

Stranger Than Fiction – The main character in this, Will Ferrell, is an IRS agent who suddenly begins hearing his life being narrated by the writer, Emma Thompson. A fun and fresh take on the writer film.

Adaptation – This movie is another strange and funny one. I can’t even begin to describe its ridiculousness but I’ll just say it has Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep sharing a screen.

Stuck in Love – I love unconventional love stories, and this is certainly one of them. Greg Kinnear is funny and tragic, and the story twist will absolutely melt your heart.

Young Adult Charlize Theron is amazing in this. She’s a bitter writer of young adult novels who is stuck in the past while being on the cusp of a present life change. By turns funny and sad. I saw this one in the theater!

Finding Forrester – In a lot of ways, this feels a bit like Dangerous Minds, the Principal, or any of the scores of white savior in the hood movies out there. Sean Connery plays a brilliant but reclusive writer who helps a young black student from the Bronx bring out the brilliance in his own writing.



Have you seen any of these? What are your favorite writer movies?

Jamaican-born Lindsay Evans currently lives and writes in Atlanta, GA. A writer of sensual love stories and decadent erotica, she loves good food and romance and would happily travel to the ends of the earth for both.
Her latest book, Bare Pleasures, is out now.
http://amzn.to/2cmvEY5

Sunday, December 04, 2016

A Little Something: Winter Drinks

PHS Columnist and Harlequin Historical author Nicole Locke shares her favourite winter drinks.

I love this time of year, the bundle-up clothes, the brisk smells of pine needles during a park walk and split pea soup simmering on the hob when we return home. But one winter custom I celebrate the most is the hot drinks I clutch in my hand.

I don’t know what I like better, the wafts of steam from hot chocolate, the way wassail keeps the mug scalding hot so my perpetually cold hands finally feel warm, or that first sip of Hot Buttered Rum.
As the years have gone by, I’ve had lots of hot drinks, but I’ve also found my favourites. So I thought I’d share a few. 

Hot Chocolate

It’s the quintessential cold weather drink, and there’s so many recipes I’ve tried. In a pinch, I will drink the dried powdered stuff (with peppermint schnapps). But my absolute favourite is taken from Steingarten’s The Man Who Ate Everything.  

Chocolate Chaud (adopted from Pierre Herme’). 

2 2/14 cups whole milk
¼ cup bottled still water
¼ cup (generous) superfine granulated sugar
1 (100 gram) bar (3.5 ounces) dark bittersweet chocolate (at least 70%) finely sliced
¼ cup cocoa powder, loosely packed (1 oz or 28 gram).
In a saucepan, stir together the milk, water, and sugar and bring to a boil. Then add the chopped chocolate and cocoa. Turn it to a simmer while stirring until it has thickened.

Mr. Steingarten recommends an immersion mixer, etc and more, but I’ve only gone so far as to thicken it. It’s wicked rich, and so good.

 Wassail

This one is for the kids, but I probably drink it more than them…mostly because I’ve been drinking it since I was one! It’s my mother’s recipe.
1 tbl whole cloves
4 sticks cinnamon
½ cup sugar
Boil in 1 cup water
Add 1 gallon apple cider (I use unfiltered apple juice). 1 cup fresh orange juice, ½ cup lemon juice, pinch of salt.

I’ve tinkered with the recipe and it never turns out bad. I sometimes just add extra orange juice and skip the lemon juice, and all too often I add black tea, which gives it depth (and caffeine!).

--  Nicole :-)

Nicole's fourth book in the Lovers and Legends series, In Debt to the Enemy Lord, is out now!

“You have a debt to pay. You owe me your life.”

Anwen, bastard of Brynmor, has fought hard to find her place in the world. But she’s forced to re-evaluate everything when she’s saved from death by her enemy Teague, Lord of Gwalchdu. Instead of releasing her, he holds her captive…

Teague trusts no-one. And with ominous messages threatening his life he must keep Anwen under his watch, no matter how much her presence drives him wild. And when passionate arguments turn to passionate encounters, Teague must believe that the strength of their bond will conquer all!


To find out more about Nicole Locke, visit her website, and follow her on Twitter.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

A Little Something for the Weekend - Weekend Wind-Down

Today Pink Heart Columnist Kate Walker takes a look at the countdown to Christmas - and starts making resolutions early!



It’s Saturday –  and there are – what  - 3 more Saturdays until Christmas. Three weeks from today will be Christmas Eve! 

  That’s when everything is supposed to be done all the presents bought and wrapped, food organised, bought and prepared, guest lists planned, visits arranged. .  . The fourth Saturday before Christmas. I’m supposed to write about the ‘weekend wind-down’. Wind-down? Now tell me, which of us women – because the majority of us in category romance are women – will have a chance to ‘wind-down’ this weekend? Or next one for that matter.

Look at the To Do lists, the shopping still to do.
(OK –I admit it – I’ve got all my presents. But compared to my sister who buys almost all of hers in the sales in July , that’s nothing . . )
There’s the wrapping – every year I vow I will not be still wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve. And every year . . . No, this year’s going to be different!  I have the gifts, the wrapping paper, the labels . . .
Actually, I do have some gifts bought and sent on the way but then with family in Australia and friends in America, I do need to be  organised and send them on their way as early as possible. I have one special trick that always works with my lovely sister who lives in Australia. Luckily, like me, she’s a bookaholic and so  I  get a list from her of ‘Books I Want to Read’  and then I head for the Book Depository.   They have a wonderful scheme where they  will deliver the books you’ve bought anywhere in the world  for free!  My sister and I have agreed we’re not fussed about fancy paper and wrapping and ribbons. It’s the book inside we’re most interested in. And the truth is that I can actually send my sister an extra book for the price of the postage I would have had to pay otherwise.

There are the cards, the decorations. You know that thing about wrapping on Christmas Eve? Well I also always vow that I’ll have the tree and the decorations up and making the house look festive well before the day before Christmas Eve. But somehow . . .

There are the friends to visit and the visitors coming to stay. We’re away this weekend -  have family to visit the  week before Christmas, friends after Christmas, we hope to visit more family around New Year   – it’s wonderful, but is it winding down?

Then there’s the food to prepare, the tablecloths to wash and iron, the crackers, the cats’ stockings . . . What? Of course the cats have stockings? Do you think I would dare not to give them special treats at Christmas too? After all  Charlie the Maine Coon  is more of an internet personality than I am and black and white  Ruby looks set to be going the same way, she may be a lot smaller than Charlie but she still has big ambitions in the treats department.


And not just from me.  A couple of years back, the first Christmas
parcel to arrive at this house  was addressed  to the cats we had then. It came from their favourite LATP (Lady Across the Pond) Anne McAllister.  And it contained  a Cat Advent Calendar.  A Cat Advent Calendar with pockets  - to be filled with a little treat for each day leading up to Christmas.  And guess who has to fill those pockets with treats?

But, busy or not, I had to write a post for the PHS. I was thinking about writing a Writer's Wish List -  but  the I realised just what I really wished for .

And that was when I thought of the ‘official’ title of the weekend posts – a weekend ‘wind-down’ and I realised that that was what I really wanted for Christmas  . . .a weekend  - or more – to ‘wind-down’.  Too often the holiday season becomes a time when we’re rushing around planning, organising, buying, wrapping  talking, cooking . . .  and before we have time to realise it, it’s New Year and time for resolutions and renewing and  . . .well, back to work!   I already have a course planned for February (Writers’ Holiday) another for April (Relax and Write) , visitors from  America in March . . .another book contracted to write and deliver . . .

What happened to that ‘holiday’ time?  So my DH and I have started this run up to Christmas with our ‘Christmas Resolution’  - and it has nothing to do with eating less or exercising more or turning our lives around. No, it’s a resolution to do more of what we really enjoy and for us, that means actually sitting down and reading the books we have now, the books we might get for Christmas (I don’t think there’s any ‘might about that’!) and anything we  find on our travels this weekend and later.  We’ve even put  some reading evenings (and reading afternoons) in the diaries to make sure we do it!    I have a TBR pile that’s  growing more mountainous by the minute. Well, it isn’t a TBR pile it’s a TBR shelf – and bookshelf – and if I don’t make a start on that , when I add any Christmas books to the pile, I don’t think I’ll get through then till this time next year-  if then.

So that’s what I’m determined to do this Christmas – to make it a real holiday and to find time to relax and enjoy  some peace and quiet  - and some reading.  My special present to myself and to the Babe Magnet is time to read.  And the cats will enjoy that too as they can spend a long, cosy time curled up on  a lap each, knowing  we’re not likely to move for a while . Anyone want to join us? We’re starting this weekend . . .

Well,  that is after I come back from our trip tomorrow and Sunday  and when I’ve written and posted all the cards , and wrapped the remaining presents  (I’m still determined not to be doing that on Christmas Eve!). 

Well - Christmas is a time for fantasy and for wishes coming true so I thought I'd aim for what I’d  really enjoy!


Whatever you're dreaming of for Christmas I hope you have a truly wonderful time with lots of love and joy and maybe something really special under the tree just waiting for you. And I’ll look  forward to joining you all again in 2017  - it’s only (eeek!) 28 days away now!



My latest title Indebted to Moreno  was published in October, but it’s still around.  I’m also delighted to say that a  couple of backlist titles  that have been missing  - The Sicilian’s Wife and A Sicilian Husband –  have  been  issued as separate ebooks   in November  (though they've been in the collection Claimed By The Sicilian if you wanted a 3 in 1) .  And if you’re in Australia then there’s a special 3 in 1 Collection of my books  Surrender to The Sheikh out now - with a fabulous cover! 



And all  the most up to date news can be found on my web site  on my blog    or my Facebook page