Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekend Wildcard - Books, Romance & Adventures

We're delighted to welcome Jane Porter to the Pink Heart Society today, as she talks about how meeting her husband, and the travels that followed, changed her life and her writing...

I met my surfer husband, Ty Gurney, when I was in Hawaii eleven years ago, holed up in the gorgeous Halekulani Hotel on Oahu, trying to finish The Sheikh’s Disobedient Bride for Harlequin Presents. The hotel is five stars and all about discrete attention and VIP service...and romance. 

But I was there in the early stages of my divorce, and alone, and certainly not enjoying Hawaii, or romance. And then I met Ty, and he changed my trip, my outlook, and even my career, giving me an idea for a story (Flirting with Forty) that would become my most popular novel ever.  
 
He would also change my life...but I didn’t know it yet.  
 
What did I know that April morning in 2004? I knew that Ty was young, tan, muscular, sexy and dangerous. He was a risk taker and embraced all things physical. I was—am—a classic book girl. I read and imagine things (including romance and hot sex) but I don’t actually do all those things I write about.  
 
Well, Ty changed that. And inspired a book. The book became a movie. And then his zest for life (and motorcycles) inspired Odd Mom Out. We continued to date, and then bought a house in Waikiki, and after three years of trying, had a baby when I was 45, and then when Mac was 2, we finally got married. We’ve done everything out of order but it has worked, and now each September we celebrate our Las Vegas Elvis style wedding, with an anniversary trip to somewhere on our bucket list of places we must see.  
 
Morocco has been a dream destination for years...back before I wrote my first Harlequin Presents. I’ve written dozens of sheikhs for Harlequin (including my newest, His Defiant Desert Queen, March ’15 and the second book in my Copeland mini-series) and Morocco has featured prominently in all of them, so this past September Ty and I flew to Heathrow, then connected from Galway into Marrakesh, flying over part of the 2,400 kilometers of the Atlas Mountains located in the northwestern corner of Africa. These beautiful rugged red mountains stretch through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and are a forty-five minute drive outside Marrakesh.
 
Our first three nights were spent in Marrakesh, at a former private villa, giving us plenty of time to tour museums and gardens and the crowded shopping medina. I’ve written about the medina in my Presents, and I’d heard that the shopping bazaars in the old town centers are loud and crowded, but it was even more overwhelming than I imagined. 
 
It turns out I don’t like haggling (at all), and I didn’t enjoy the constant shouts to stop and look and buy. The introvert in me emerged so I grabbed Ty’s arm and stayed close to him as we wandered through the hot medina, passing through souvenir stalls, goatskin tanneries, chicken sellers, and carts of hot grilled meats.  
 
I am glad to have experienced Marrakesh, but was really happy to set off for our next stop: Sir Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot in the mountain village of Asni, an area inhabited by Berbers for the past thousand years.  
 
I confess, being in the Kasbah was a bit like being Cinderella at the ball. It was gorgeous, and luxurious and lots of A-list stars and jet-set celebrities stay at the Kasbah, so for three nights I pretended to be one, too.  
 
It wasn’t hard, either, with all the pampering. We ate our dinners on the Kasbah’s rooftop garden, and lounged by the pool during the hottest part of the day. In the mornings I wrote in the library while Ty hiked in the mountains.
 
I left Morocco relaxed, and spoiled, hopeful that I captured the exotic beauty of the real Morocco in my newest Presents. If you haven’t yet read His Defiant Desert Queen, you can find a long excerpt (http://janeporter.com/bookshelf/defiant.php#excerpt) on my website. The blurb is below!  
 
I always love hearing from readers so if you pick up a copy of His Defiant Desert Queen, do write and let me know what you think, and in the meantime, I’ve a little Morocco Magic Giveaway for one of you!  
 
To enter, tell me about a place on your bucket list. Where are you dreaming of going one day? Contest closes....XY...
Jane's newest Harlequin Presents novel, His Defiant Desert Queen is available now:
 
I will not marry you. I will not!  
 
When Sheikh Mikael catches notorious model Jemma Copeland flaunting Saidia’s laws—and her body—in his desert, he knows one thing: revenge against his family’s destruction is within his reach! To achieve it he makes Jemma an offer: imprisonment or marriage.  
 
With her life shattered by the scandal that rocked her family, Jemma needed that modeling job. She didn’t know that she was breaking the law! But Mikael’s outrageous proposal pushes her beyond shock…to utter fury. If he expects her to be a meek, pliable bride, this arrogant sheikh has another think coming!

To find out more about Jane Porter, visit her website and her blog, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

45 comments:

  1. Wow, Jane, you've made me want to go to Morocco! There are a lot of places on my bucket list but one that stands out is Mykonos, Greece with its whitewashed buildings and the bright blue Aegean as a backdrop. I have a feeling a lot of wonderfully romantic stories would be written afterwards!

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  2. I just don't care where I go, as long as I am with friends/family. It can be to the local grocery store, for example, and not necessarily a city.
    I DO wish there were "tall stores" in my local city or a city 3/4 hr away, as I currently have to drive to a big city (Toronto) over 2 hours away in order to buy a pair of pants long enough, so I'll say that this store is on my bucket list (if a local store ever is built).

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  3. I LOVE YOUR STORY!!! I've never had a travel bucket list as I'm not really adventurous! I would love to see Tuscany some day. I enamored with the fields of sunflowers.

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  4. I would love to see Beautiful Ireland but I love your Morrocco trip so may have to add to my buscket list. Just need alot more $$ money. My husband would like to get home to see his mum in England we havent been home in 8 yrs so its time. I love taking trips with my family and we are all due for a break!

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  5. Ireland! My mom's side of the family is Irish and we have always wanted to go.

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  6. Vegas is on my bucket list. [Paris is, too, but i think i have a better chance of getting to Vegas since it is in the states.] I want to see the lights, the hustle & bustle, the gaming areas, the show-girls and the Strip! i love Flirting with Forty book and movie. I also love the story of how you and Ty came to be.

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  7. Paris and Australia have been on the bucket list forever

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  8. There are three places I've always wanted to go. Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. It's doubtful I'll ever make it to any of them, but I do get to travel there in books.

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  9. Ireland, Scotland, England, Australia, New Zealand and Italy. Well, Spain too. Reading brings me fabulous places and makes me aware of even more that I would like to visit.

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  10. Ireland, Scotland, England, Australia, New Zealand and Italy. Well, Spain too. Reading brings me fabulous places and makes me aware of even more that I would like to visit.

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  11. Ireland. I want to visit my roots. *sigh*

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  12. I would love to visit Ireland and go back to the UK and spend some real time there...

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  13. I loved His Defiant Desert Queen. I also enjoyed hearing of your Morocco trip. It does look like one of those fantastic exotic locations that I would enjoy. I have a lot of places I would love to visit before i get too old to travel.

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  14. Btw never been out of the country with hubby because he thinks there's enough to see here but I've been to islands in the Caribbean and loved it, but I'd rather be here with him where I feel safe loved and secure rather than travel the globe without him

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  15. I have Australia and New Zealand on my bucket list, as well as Ireland, Scotland, and a Baltic Cruise. Now that we're retired my husband and I are slowly marking these off.

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  16. I would love to go to Scotland, Ireland and Australia. Thanks for the chance! angelhwk68@yahoo.com

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  17. I have a few places on my bucket list: Australia, Ireland and Scotland.

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  18. My bucket list is one place, a smallish town in the CO mountains with a river for my husband to fish in and a fun walking town with a good library and bookstore!
    Library Lady (from your blog) ;-)

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  19. I loved His Defiant Desert Queen!

    I don't have a bucket list, per se, but perhaps one day I can go to Disney.

    Denise

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  21. New Zealand is my dream destination thanks for the giveaway

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  22. I would love to get to Scotland one day...where I have so many relatives but have never been. My older sister even lives there. I've been to England when she lived there but never made it any further than Oxford and London!

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  23. I would like to stay at the Ice hotel in Finland one winter. That's on my bucket list.

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  24. Ooh, Morocco looks amazing! Italy and New Zealand are on my bucket list :)

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  25. I've always wanted to visit Scotland and Greece. I'd love to see the castles and attend a real Highland Games in Scotland. And the kilted men? ;-) I want to soak in the atmosphere in Greece and eat the food.

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  26. I would like to see all of the US...visit every state! I'd also like to visit New Zealand.

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  27. Ireland and Paris :)

    uniquas at ymail dot com

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  28. I want to do a tour of Europe. My husband studied in Belgium for 3 years so there are many places he wants to return to visit. He wants to go to Belgium, Amsterdam, Vienna, & Germany. I want to go to Spain. I'm sure we will compromise before we go.

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  29. I really want to go to Alaska and Hawaii. I have always wanted to go.

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  30. I've been a fan of Jane's for years and have followed her story with Ty...a real fantasy come true. :) My dream? Tahiti. My great-grandmother was a Tahitian princess who married a missionary and came to the states..

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  31. I would love to go back to Italy, where my family lives, and then on to Poland where my husband's grandmother came from

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  32. I'd like to visit Glacier National Park in Montana.

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  33. I would love to visit Hawaii some day.

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  34. I have traveled to Europe, Canada and even Hawaii, but someday I really want to go to Scotland! Edinburgh, Glasgow and more are on my bucket list!

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  35. I would love to go to France and Italy. Have never been in Europe at all. I hope I make it. I love the story of you and your husband. Things don't always happen in the right order but hey, I'd say it worked out great for you two. Vicki littlequeenie29@msn.com

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  36. I love to travel and I am so grateful that I have already been to a few places on my bucket list. Places still on the list: Ireland, Austria, Italy.

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  37. I would love for my husband and I to go to Scotland, Greece and Paris. I really enjoying traveling.

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  38. I would love to go on one of those cruises that visits Antarctica.

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  39. There are many places on my bucket list. I really want to go on an African Safari, and to the Galapagos Islands, and Fiji. I also want to go to Alaska and New Zealand and a lot of the National Parks in the US.
    Your trip to Morocco looked fantastic.
    Thanks for the chance.

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  40. Hi everyone, thank you so much for stopping by to comment! My Morocco Magic winner is - Lisa Sherrington!! Lisa please email me at jane AT janeporter DOT com with your mailing address and I'll get this package in the mail to you right away!!
    Jane

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