Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pink Heart Picks Book Club - A Mother's Wedding Day

Welcome back to the Pink Heart Picks Book Club!  I hope many of you visiting had a chance to pick up A MOTHER'S WEDDING DAY by Rebecca Winters and Dominique Burton.  I couldn't resist  choosing such a special release - Dominique's debut with American Romance and the additional WOW factor of Dominique being Rebecca's daughter - a real Mother's Day Mother-Daughter endeavour!

I like the American Romance line.  I'm a big fan of small town settings - and small town FEEL.  I like the sense of community that you find in the line - I guess you could say Home and Hearth stories are ones I naturally gravitate to.  What I liked about both these stories is that while you had that small town feel, there was also a sense of glamour built in.  In Rebecca's story, A Mother's Secret, Andrea lives on a vineyard.  I love winery stories.  I think because it takes the farm girl in me and adds a little something high class.  There is something inherently romantic about vineyards, and I like that.  Likewise, in Dominique's A Daughter's Discovery, Samantha is a photographer who travels around the world.  She might find her heart in small-town Alaska, but there's that element of worldliness and glamour that I really liked!

After a bit of a backstory in chapter one of A Mother's Secret, things get moving once we get Max and Andrea together in Chapter Two.  The plot centres around Max's father Steve, who enters rehab for alcoholism.  As the story progresses, Andrea falls for Max all over again and together they sort out the what's what of Max's parents' divorce and how Andrea played an unwitting part.  I liked how they joined forces.  And I liked how Max was willing to do whatever it took to be there for Andrea - even travel around the world to find her daughter.

The daughter's story is up next with A Daughter's Discovery.  Samantha, on the search for her paternal grandparents, encounters Alaskan Ranger Jake.  Jake's hot.  We get that right away.  And the way I like my heroes, too - a little rumpled and dusty.  His father is also Sam's late father's best friend.  Sam finds what she's looking for in Craig, Alaska - a family she never knew she had.  But there are things missing.  Like knowing she's falling in love with Jake even though things stand in their way.  And like reconciling with her mother, who kept the existence of Sam's grandparents a secret. I also liked the use of Mother Nature throwing her weight around.  Sam is still traumatized from a tsunami that struck while she was in the Maldives.  And the glamour I mentioned?  Well, Sam also treks to Africa and then to Antarctica.  Exciting!

The ending is lovely, tying up the loose ends, tying both stories together, and with hopes for the future.

So what did you think?  I'm looking forward to chatting with you in the comments!  Rumour has it Rebecca is going to drop by too.  If you have any questions for the authors, now's your chance!

And of course, now it's time to announce the May pick.  This one is also a little special, because not only are you getting reads from bestselling authors, you're supporting wonderful causes.  Harlequin's MORE THAN WORDS program is a great endeavour - you can read all about it HERE.  This year's volume includes stories by Harlequin favourites Joan Johnston, Robyn Carr, Christina Skye, Rochelle Alers and Maureen Child.  WOW!
We'll be coming back here on MAY 25 to chat about the stories.  If you haven't joined in so far, this would be a great time - not only a great selection of authors to discover but a chance to support a wonderful program.

Synchronize your watches - see you here on the 25th!



  1. I love a rumpled and dusty hero too! I haven't wrtiten one in a long time but you have me thinking!

    Congratulations on your book! It's so cool to see a mother daughter team.

    Haven't yet picked up the book, but I have a gift certificate to Amazon and I'll be book shopping today!

    Congrats again,

    susan meier

  2. I haven't read these stories yet, but they sound lovely, and I think it's fabulous that a mother and daughter can share a publication like this.

    Congratulations, Rebecca and Dominique! May there be many more.


  3. Susan - hi! and oooh on the gift certificate! I LOVE it when that happens!

    I noticed a fair bit of similarity between American and the Romance line, especially in emotional appeal. It got me thinking - perhaps American is more small town slice of life America and Romance does that global appeal thing. It would be interesting to get Rebecca's take on the differences for writing for the 2 lines!

  4. It is on my tbr pile. I have been a fan of Rebecca Winters from back before I started writing, so it is lovely to see her daughter is also getting into the act!

  5. I read the book and I really enjoyed it. I liked the mother daughter combination. It was emotional for the two characters. I really liked Jake, I like the outdoorsy types for my heroes. I liked how the story wrapped up, ended it with a happy sigh.

  6. Hello Ladies,

    I have to say thank you for putting us on your to be read list.

    Michelle, Rebecca Winters is one of my favoriete authors too.

    As for you Donna, I know my mom will be checking throughout the day and will answer your question. I know our editor makes my mom change a lot of her wording for Harlequin American but her great storytelling show's through in all her books.

    Any more questions? Feel free to ask..

    Dominique Burton

  7. Thanks Nicole,

    I loved writing Jake. He made me laugh and surprised me throughout the whole process.


  8. There's nothing better than characters who surprise us! I love writing those.


  9. Dominique - welcome to the Pink Heart Society!

    I thought your story had a real fresh, youthful feel to it, and Jake was such a great hero. But I did think Grandpa was quite a charmer. I bet you enjoyed writing his character. :-)

  10. I just finished the book and I loved both stories. I loved Andrea (Maybe because that's my name) and Max...and Jake and Sammi. I loved that everyone had a happy ending, but I was really pleased that Steve and Helen put their marriage back together in the story.

    It was wonderful to see the family come together at the end.

  11. It was so interesting reading a book written by a mother daughter team. Rebecca is a tried and true author who has given us so many hours of wonderful reading. I enjoyed the first part of, “A Mother’s Day Wedding.” It was a great read. As I started reading the second half of the book I was captured the moment I started reading it, I could feel Samantha’s anger against her mother, I could feel her need to find a family she knew nothing about. Dominique took me on a rollercoaster of emotions, I laughed, I felt anger, I felt the excitement of falling in love, I wiped tears from my eyes, especially when Samantha was embraced by her newly found grandfather. I personally loved her grandfather. I’m sure most people who read this will fall in love with Jake, but I fell in love with her grandfather. I loved this book and would recommend to anyone I know, in fact I passed it on to my mother, who by the way didn’t put it down. She loved it too, in fact she has passed it on to her best friend, and after she has read it her sister is waiting in line to read it. I look forward to many more books from you Dominique.

  12. Thanks to all of you for your love of Nels. I think some characters come out of your heart and I know Nels came from the love I had for both of my grandpa's. They both loved me fiercely and without question.

    I have to say my editor really helped me bring Nels' story full circle. Kathleen is a genius at looking at a story knowing what needs to be done, explaining how to fix it but she doesn't tell you how...

    I cried too when I wrote Sammi and Nels' first encounter. I think it had been a year since my last grandpa had passed on and I was missing him.

    This book really wrote itself. All the characters were so fun and had jumped to life before my eyes. I'm glad that many of you experienced the same emotions I felt as I wrote it.


  13. Donna?
    Oh boy--- where to start. I just arrived and saw all these posts and there's a lot to say. First off I want to thank you, Donna, a real star in the Harlequin firmament, for allowing me and Dominique to talk about our books today. It's an honor and privilege.

    First of all I loved your post. One of the things you mentioned was that the first chapter gave a history before the second chapter came alive. Normally that's something I try not to do. In this case I debated how to set this story up since it was an experiment. The background had to get in there because once the story took off, these were two novellas and there's only so much room for everything.

    I perceived the mother as the artsy type who lived in her little dream world, always yearning for something that had eluded her.

    It's interesting. As Dom and I were talking, she just knew instinctively what Samantha, her character, would be like. There's this connection we have that made the creation of both stories easy. The hard part was deciding on the tone.

    This was an unusual story and so, it differed from the normal Harlequin American presentation, like for instance my ranger books.

    The truth is, Donna, this was a special project. Because I decided it would take place at a vineyard (the only one I've ever set in the US) I wrote it as a Harlequin Romance, even though I'd asked Kathleen to be the editor. I didn't know if she would slot it in American, or if it would be sent to Harlequin Romance. When Dom and I discovered it was slotted for American, I tried to take out the elements that made it like a H Romance, but some of it obviously came through. There's definitely a globoal appeal to the H Romances, yet I've set many of my H Romances in the states. But I think the word vineyard connotes France or Italy for the average reader, so in that sense this book crossed both lines.

    Dominique has her own tone as those of you who've read her book have found out. She also writes young adults, so she has a flair for that genre I wouldn't dare to touch. She gets that world, I don't.

    What I find fascinating is that the comments here have touched on these very aspects she and I discussed.


    Thanks so much for dropping by and giving us a boost with your congratulations. I'm grateful for the support and know Dom is too. There's no way of knowing if we'll ever be asked to do a mother/daughter duo again, but I have to tell you this has been a real highlight in my life. Writing is basically a business where we shut ourselves off from the world for a few hours at a time to create our little masterpieces. For my daughter to occupy that space with me and thrill to the same thrills I get from dreaming up stories is a joy I can hardly put into words. Thank you for making this day an exciting experience. We writers don't often get the chance to stand at the pulpit so to speak and talk to a hopefully captive audience (for the right reasons, Lol.)

    Do you know I've never written a dusty, rumpled hero? You see how differently Dom and I think? We are shoulder to shoulder on what makes a story compelling to us, but our characters are our own. I think I've always taken myself too seriously and that's how my characters come across. Very dramatic and intense.

    Dom's style is lighter hearted and it shows, which is a real plus in today's writing world with all the new readers starting to pick up Harlequins. She's much more in tune and finds humor in many places. The dog Beastly is her dog in real life. You probably guessed. It's the way she used her dog in the tory that made me smile.

    You mentioned having read some of my books before. Those words reminded me of the words I wrote to Anne Mather and Margaret Way after I'd read dozens of their books. They really hooked me on H Romance. Just the other day one of my books came out at the same time as Margaret Way. I always loved her Alpha heroes. Anyway, I was stunned to see my book u p there with hers. I never dreamed I'd see one of my books by hers. I still pinch myself that I write for a living because I love it so much. Thanks for you comments.

  16. TO NICOLE:
    You're so great to go to the trouble to read the books. What a compliment. Jake is definitely a hit with the readers we've heard from. He's fresh and different.
    If I have one reget, I wish we could have had double the space to develop the story in a more natural way... you know...going more slowly and beading in action with narrative. There was a lot more to Jake than Dom had space to put down. Luckily, her next Harlequin American will be full length so she can develop her next hero more fully. Thanks a million for coming today and letting us know you liked the book.

    Thank you for responding and letting us know you read the book. I means a lot to me that you cared about Steve and Helen. I did too. Their story was a story in itself, one I would have liked to have written just for them. They suffered a lot and Max got caught in the cross fire. Sometimes gossip can really destory people and in my story, the villain did a good job.


    What greater compliment could my daughter receive than your impressions of the books. The grandfather captured my heart too. This crusty old fisherman who had a heart of gold and suffered over the loss of his son, Andrea's husband. The great thing about writing is to see our characters come alive. Sometimes you don't realize what's happening and all of a sudden there they are with their own voice and feelings and needs. You feel like they're so real you could run up to them on the street and hug them.

    A secret like the one Andrea kept from her daughter had a great outcome in the end, but not without a lot of pain and anguish in between. Both Dom and I wanted this story to end up with everyone happy and feeling good. That's true romance for us! Thank you for dropping in today. It's a real thrill for both of us.

  19. Rebecca- thanks so much for taking the time to pop in and leave such lovely responses! I agree with the Steve storyline too - I was glad to see that resolved.

    I have to say - going through and taking out elements to make it more Harlequin American sounds like a tough job. I think I liked that it had a little of both in it - though I'll say that I've enjoyed any of the American line I've read, perhaps because they do tend to be more hearth and home type books, no matter if they are urban settings or small town America.

    It has been a real pleasure having you and Dominique here today!

  20. Well as you can all see my mom is the master. I'm always in awe in how she can draw everyone in and answer all questions so quick, beautifully and efficiently.

    I also want to thank all of you for reading our book and giving me a chance. As a first time writer it's scary to put your heart out there for all the world to see.

    I don't know if any of you watch the t.v. show Glee? The character's of Rachel Berry and Sue Sylvester absolutely catch my attention every week. They believe in themselves completely and never doubt their talent. That is a quality I wish I had.

    Plus its hilarious.

  21. Dear Dear Donna:
    Just heard the news you're a finalist in the Golden Quill. Wow. You never cease to amaze me at all you accomplish and you're so successful too.

    I'm glad if I could answer your question about the tone of HAR verses H Romance. Like you said, a little bit of both slipped in there.

    Dom and I are honored to be here.

  22. Dear Dominique:
    Have loved all your comments. You and I are a mutual admiration society, but that's a given since we're mother and daughter. You have a refreshing voice whether in your books or on this blog. Isn't it fun to be doing this together?
    Love, MOM

  23. My congrats to you Donna as well! That is wonderful..

    I don't know how you do it all?

    I can barely write and raise a family.


  24. Hi1

    Just popping in to say that I really enjoyed both the stories In A Mother's Wedding Day. I sometimes feel cheated with shorter stories in that there hasn't been enough time to develop character and settings but these two had great backgrounds despite the shorter length. I loved the vinyard--art world setting in the first story. Alaska is such a draw for me. I haven't been there but I felt like I was visiting there in this story. I really loved how Nels used his wisdom to help both his grand daughter and Jake to see what lonely lives they would lead if they didn't do some forgiving. When he lost his son he realized that life is too short to not seek reconciliation.

    I just read Rites of Love, a book set in the Florida Everglades. It wasn't your first book but it certainly shows why you are such a success. I really enjoyed it as well. I don't think I have ever read a book by Rebecca Winters that I haven't enjoyed.

    I hope you have a writing carreer as long as your mother's if that's what you want.

    Kaelee on eHarlequin

  25. Thanks Rebecca and Dominique!

    Dominique - well, as far as managing it all - it doesn't always go swimmingly. LOL I have a couple of kids, a sweet dog and a very bad cat and sometimes juggling it all drives one a bit mad. For example, I'm in dire need of a haircut. We have high humidity here so I look slightly like the cook (Imelda Staunton) in Nanny McPhee at the moment. I should have made an appointment but this week the pets got priority for vaccinations. Not to mention my volunteer day at the school, so God Bless Ponytail Elastics for another week or two.

    It's a major balancing act but it's worth it. I hope this is the beginning to a stellar career!

  26. TO KAYLEE:

    Aren't you terrific to read our two books! Many thanks for taking the time and trouble. They were both very different in feel and setting. I think everyone loves the idea of Alaska. I felt like I was there myself. There were quite a few places that touched me. Doug was friends with Sammi's father... I liked that connection. I also liked the tension between the twin brothers. Like we've both said, the shorter length made it impossible to develop all the elements in the story to their full potential, but Dom pulled it all together beautifully. Yup, the grandpa showed the way like some wonderful grandparents too. Her grandmother was a character and didn't try to run Sammi's life. I liked that.

    I can't believe you read Rites of Love. I wrote that in the beginning days. I loved that story, but it didn't have as many sales, so I didn't try to write anything ethnic again, but I loved the hero's love for her and I loved the traditions of the Miccosukee. The Florida Everglades have always fascinated me.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  27. Donna?
    I just sent off my latest HAR to Kathleen today. You should see my house. AAAGGGGHHHHHHHHKKKKKK!
    The balancing act goes on and on for us writers... But would we have it any other way? Even if we need hair cuts and someone to cook and clean for us? I think not. LOL.

  28. Kaylee,
    Thanks for your sweet words about the book. I'm very glad you didn't feel cheated by a shorter novel. I felt like I had a trial by fire when I wrote this novel. I too worried about that exact same issue and did my best to give the reader a full story with half the words.

    It definately helped that mom and I developed the story line together. I believe the two books lent a helping hand to each other.

    I hope to have a career in the writing world. To dream of sucess on my mother's scale would be amazing. I am loving the journey I am on right now. Currently I am working on Jake's twin, (C.J. the firefighter in San Francisco). Once finished with that book I wil be writing (Cole the Alaskan bush Doctor's story.) They will be out next year I believe.

    Donna today I haven't done anything but cook, write, take care of kids, blog, write, cook, blog and now I'm off to bed. All so I can get up at four and write again. Ahh- the exciting lives of writers! I agree with the ponytail. At least you do your hair. I don't think I put a brush through mine today.

    My thanks and gratitude to you all.


  29. I've never read any of the American Romance before (maybe because they're not released in the UK) but I really enjoyed the settings, as well as the stories. Maybe because I'm older I preferred Andrea's (Anthea's?) story and the winery setting. It sounded fascinating. I loved the Alaskan scenery in the film 'The Proposal' and that helped me visualise it. And I'm a sucker for a baby at the end of a story and there were two here!

  30. Alison - that's what this book club is all about! Trying new lines and authors. I'm having great fun!