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The Valquez Seduction by Melanie Milburne

The Valquez Seduction

by Melanie Milburne

Giveaway ends December 03, 2014.

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Welcome All New Crusaders!

Welcome to all new followers and fellow crusaders! 
Please make sure you have your blog linked to your friend connect profile. Check by clicking on your floating head on the friend connect. If your photo is not linked then my other friends or I will not be able to follow you back!


I asked HM&B multi-published author Natalie Anderson on a previous post, her views on Social Networking for pre-published authors and published authors, and here are her thoughts:
Firstly, thanks so much to Nas for putting me in her spotlight! I’m thrilled to be here :)
She asked me to give a few thoughts on that big ole’ beast known as social media in relation to pre-published and post-published. Now I’m really sorry because I’m just going to spout the obvious here – but it really is what I think about this. Yep, my thoughts for either camp are the same – it’s all about BALANCE.

There is no denying social media – or the advantages of it. It’s here, to stay, and only going to grow. So yes you need to be onboard (in some form or other) - but you need to manage what you put out there and of course how much time you put into it.

Nothing but nothing can come before the writing. At the end of the day we’re all in this because we have stories we want to share, we want to entertain, and yes, it’d be great to make some money doing that. No product means nothing to sell, no matter how cute your website. So you have to concentrate the best of your effort into your writing. And the most of your time.

So if you’re time pressured, then perhaps you only want to exist as a ‘writer’ on Facebook say – it’s free, its very easy to network and you can build relationships etc by commenting more on other peoples essays and pithy statements rather than having to come up with extended fantastic content yourself.

That’s the hard thing about blogging – it’s a big effort to attract readers and to keep them coming back. It can be a huge time-suck – time that perhaps could be better invested in your WIP. Of course, some people are great bloggers and all power to them. But be sure to think through what the benefits truly are to putting all that time into it.

The other thing that you have to be so very careful about, is what you put out there. Do not, under any circumstances, bite the hand that you want to feed you. Don’t moan about your dream publisher – or any other publisher or agent. What goes up, stays up and anybody can access it. I know this is obvious, but people do it all the time. Think, breathe, think again before pressing the ‘publish’ button. Now I’m not saying you can’t be honest, but just think about the face you’re presenting to the world. You must be professional, so when that potential editor or agent checks your blog/website/twitter/FB account, you want them to see you as someone they’d want to work with.  Sure, show your personality but perhaps not the moments of craziness we all have. I’m also wary of putting anything political up there-  you know the old saying about not talking politics, religion or sex? Well, depending on what you’re writing, it still holds – you don’t want to put prospective readers off by grumbling about the new law they adore...

It’s very difficult isn’t it? Because I guess it’s a kind of self-censorship... But your online presence is a persona – yes be honest, because honesty draws people, but perhaps not about everything. You have to define the lines for yourselves.

The internet has reduced the loneliness of the writer to a degree. It’s been fantastic in making all kinds of information accessible – we all know how to format manuscripts and how we’re supposed to write query letters and synopses – just Google it and you get a ton of great examples. We get to ‘meet’ people striving for the same thing as ourselves. But there’s something to be said for some isolation time as well. I remember in Donald Maas’ book, The Career Novelist (available as a free download here:
http://www.maassagency.com/books.html#career ), he talked about some break-out writers and the one thing they had in common was that they were writing in their own little caves off the network. Now I know this book is coming up 15 years old, but I think there’s still heaps to learn from it. And I do think there is a lot to be said for hanging out in your own cave, ploughing your own furrow. Have some time out where you don’t pay attention to what anyone else is doing, don’t get sucked into checking your blog visitor stats every two hours, don’t worry about how fast someone else has just finished their wip or how fast they heard back from an ed. All of that info is irrelevant to you and your journey. Filter all the garbage that’s on the social networks (‘cos there is garbage, just as there’s a lot of gold and a lot of fun). So yes, try to find the balance – somehow!!!

Of course, I’m still trying to find that balance thing. I blog sporadically – although I do contribute regularly to group blogs and find that great fun. I am much more regular on Facebook –
http://www.facebook.com/authornataliea and  sometimes Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/authornataliea – but I find around deadline time, I drop everything and zone into book world. My time is very pressured – I still have two preschoolers (plus the two school age kids) and the bulk of my writing is done in the evenings and on the weekends. Perhaps when they go to school towards the end of the year I’ll be able to pick up on the social media thing a little more. For now, actually for always, the writing must come first.

So what do you think? Do you prefer to blog over Facebook say? Have you reserved your domain name for when you sell or do you have a full website up and running already? And do you tend to follow favourite authors on social media???


Natalie Anderson
USA TODAY bestselling author
  • UNFINISHED BUSINESS – M&B Special Releases, Jan 2011 UK
  • WALK ON THE WILD SIDE – M&B Riva, Feb 2011, UK ; Harlequin Presents Extra, Apr 2011 USA
  • REBEL WITH A CAUSE – Harlequin Presents Extra, Feb 2011 USA
  • IN BED WITH HER TALL, SEXY, HANDSOME BOSS – M&B By Request, Mar 2011 UK
  • THE END OF FAKING IT – M&B Riva, Apr 2011 UK ; Jul 2011 US
  • DATING AND OTHER DANGERS – M&B Riva, Jul 2011 UK
http://www.natalie-anderson.com
http://twitter.com/authornataliea
http://www.facebook.com/authornataliea

Our Spotlight on Natalie Anderson!

Fun Fact About Natalie Anderson
Astrological Sign:

Scorpio


Natalie Anderson's, Biography

Natalie, like many, was introduced to Mills & Boons when she was a teen. Her Grandmother was a devotee. Natalie still has a collection of her Grandmother’s books from the 1950s and 1960s with fabulous titles like “They met in Zanzibar”. How to instill a desire to fall in love – and go to exotic places!

Natalie wrote lots of stories when young – Agatha Christie meets Romance – but stopped during those senior school and university years – life got in the way of her dream of being an author. She eventually graduated with an arts degree in English and Music and went on to study a Masters in Library and Information Studies. She worked for the judges in the New Zealand court system for a while before heading to London for the ‘Great Kiwi OE’ (overseas experience). There she worked in law firms, management consultancies and corporate banks as a researcher and traveled about.

Yes, she went to Zanzibar and no, she didn’t meet him there.

They met in London.

To her family’s relief, the ‘love of her life’ turned out to be a fellow Kiwi. Instantly aware he was special they were together, forever, in no time. After another few years overseas they finally returned home to New Zealand to ‘settle down’. Looking for something to do ‘on the side’ of parenthood, Natalie started a law degree. She even won a prize. Then she had another child. But this one didn’t sleep - at least not for longer than two hours in any one stretch.

Unable to get to lectures and needing some form of escapism she started dreaming up stories again in her head. Then she decided to write a book – like she’d said she wanted to all those years ago. Romance naturally. It was so much fun she immediately wrote another. She found the Harlequin/Mills & Boon website, found a critique partner and submitted some chapters. Pregnant again – with twins this time – she got a request for the full manuscript and then a revisions request. The second revisions request came the night she was in hospital giving birth to her babies. She managed to do the revisions in the week as requested and in a rather shocked state got ‘the call’ right away. She’s still in shock about all that. Now her challenge is writing more with four children under five… watch this space!

She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, with her husband and four children.

 This information, as usual is shared from here.

On Writing and Reading…
What do you love most about being a writer? I love being able to work from home, in my time, in my head. I love that I can invent people and their relationships. I love eavesdropping on my character’s conversations. It’s so much fun!

What do you like least about being a writer? Sometimes I have the feel of a scene, or of a story but I can’t get it right. It really is like sweating blood – and the doubts that come with it are horrendous.

Do you have a favourite locale or setting for your novels? What is it and why is it your favourite? Not yet! I like traveling, and traveling in my head is fun too so I like to vary the settings depending on what takes my fancy. I’m quite keen on exotic – even for just part of a story.

Which of the books you have written is your favourite? It’s always the one I’m currently working on.

What is your favourite recent Mira, Silhouette, or Mills & Boon title by another author? I loved Wife for a Week by Kelly Hunter and also Behind the Scenes by Trish Jensen. They both had laugh aloud scenes for me but were also great emotional reads.

What are your five all-time favorite books (with authors)? Oh this is too hard so I am going to have to cheat a little:

1.Anything by Georgette Heyer, Elizabeth Cadell, Lucy Walker and Mary Stewart
2.Anything by Agatha Christie and PG Wodehouse
3.Anything by Jane Austen
4.To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5.Bridge to Terabithia by Katharine Paterson (and a whole host of other children’s/young adults books that I still turn back to time and again for comfort).

What one specific piece of advice would you give a would-be writer trying to kick-start a career? To get in the habit of writing every day. The more you write, the better you will get. As with anything – practice, practice, practice.

On Romance...
Describe the ultimate romantic meal. I’m a vegetarian but somehow a dish of salad and new potatoes doesn’t sound that romantic so let’s skip straight to dessert: real raspberry sauce (on anything), lemon meringue pudding (different to ‘pie’ this is hot with lots of bittersweet lemon sauce) and some pavlova (more raspberries on top please). A whole buffet of sumptuous desserts would be good.
Enough about the food... let’s move on to the atmosphere. I’d like it to be warm enough to wear a light dress but not too hot and have a great view of something blue – sea or sky I don’t mind. Quiet, a gentle breeze and with my Gorgeous Dinner Companion (aka my hubbie) next to me. Obviously neither my GDC or I will have had to actually cook the meal and nor will we have to clean up, we’ll just be able to float off after.
That’ll do.

What is your all-time favorite romantic movie? I guess I have to say Ladyhawke - it’s the only movie I actually own on DVD. Rutger Hauer is a fabulous tortured alpha warrior who is tender at the same time, Michelle Pfeiffer is beautiful and true to her lover and Matthew Broderick’s character is hilarious. It’s a sweet story but really funny at the same time.

What is your all-time favorite romantic song or composition?
Now this is impossible – it changes all the time depending on mood and location and the memories inspired, but one song I listen to over and over when I’m writing is ‘And the grass won’t pay no mind’ by Neil Diamond. A gentle song about lovers al fresco!

What is the most romantic gesture or gift you have received? My husband knew I had studied singing as a teenager and that I loved it. When we were living in London he found an opera teacher and arranged for me to have lessons. My Christmas present was this tiny diary and he had written in all the lesson times in it. It was really lovely and an early indicator of his support for my hobbies and dreams. Once he knew I wanted to write he gave me hour upon hour of time while he played with the kids – he still does this for me and without it I’d never have gotten published.

How do you keep the romance alive in your relationship? I’m never afraid to discard clothing;

What tip would you give your readers to make their lives more romantic? Communicate – maybe over a glass or three of red wine and some Neil Diamond playing in the background.

Where is the most romantic place you’ve ever traveled? It would have to be Rome. I went with for my birthday with my then boyfriend. It was autumn but the days were still warm. Walking through the Forum, sitting eating fresh mozzarella, drinking wine. It was so beautiful. It rubbed off on my boyfriend as well because he proposed a week later…

All About her...
Besides writing, what other talent would you most like to have? Piano. I’d love to learn now but need to wait for that window of time.

Who is someone you admire and why? JK Rowling - because she works really hard and she’s single-handedly introduced thousands of kids (big and little) to the joy of reading.

Do you have a good luck charm or superstition?
Not really – but I do touch wood.

Share one of your favorite indulgences with us.Life being what it is at the moment (super busy) it would have to be reading. A favourite indulgence is to read a book start to finish in one sitting. (Ok, maybe I read the end first sometimes). I have already warned my husband that he’s on solo parent duty come July 21 – release of the last Harry Potter!

What quality do you most admire in a man? Shoulders. Oh. I missed quality. Aside from the fundamentals of honesty and integrity it has to be sense of humour.

What is the one thing you've always wanted to do, but never had the courage to try? Walk on a high wire and swing on a trapeze.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? I’d love to say Broadway Star but I get stage fright.

What quote or personal saying do you live by? Who said it? I have no idea who said it but I do believe ‘what goes around, comes around’.


NATALIE SAYS...
 
Like many a modern day Mills & Boon author I have my Grandmother to thank for introducing me to the world of fabulously rich heroes, beautiful heroines and toe curling passion.
 
As a teen I alternated between her Mills & Boons, Lucy Walkers, Georgette Heyers, Elizabeth Cadells, Mary Stewarts and Agatha Christies and the supposedly more 'serious' classics that were on our shelves, mixed in with everything. But I must admit it was either the romance or detective stories that I'd turn to on those days when I wanted a relaxing read. I'd read that Georgette Heyer for the fortieth time - the old friend who still makes me laugh.

I wrote a lot of stories as a kid - mainly Agatha Christie rip offs with a touch of romance - part of me would still love to write a great detective story. I love genre fiction - I love knowing where the story's going to end up, but having no idea how it's going to get there. And I confess - I frequently read the end of a book first. I have to know what happens, then I can sit back and enjoy the story because I know it's all going to be alright!
 
Age 12 I went to a 'Young Authors Conference' in which we had to read an excerpt from a work in progress and I remember cutting mine very short because there was a *romantic moment* coming up and I was too embarrassed to read it aloud. Now that romantic moment was the epitome of innocence - the romantic moments I write today are anything but and there's still no way I could read them aloud! I write them for other people to read.
 
I did an arts degree majoring in Music and English before doing a Masters in Library Studies. But while I'm officially a 'librarian' I worked as a 'researcher' in law firms and corporate banks - heading overseas for the obligatory OE ('Overseas Experience') not long after finishing the Masters.
 
I worked in London for a couple of years where I met the love of my life. He's a fellow Kiwi - much to our respective parents' relief - and yes, after another couple of years in London and Edinburgh we did return home to New Zealand to settle down and have babies - four in five years. Numbers three and four are twins. Life is busy. Baby number two (the boy) decided not to sleep. Ever. So I needed some form of escapism - and started writing. I discovered the Nanowrimo bible "No Plot, No Problem" in the local library. Yes, I thought. I've always wanted to write a novel. I can do this. But what? A romance of course: Entertaining! Flirty! Fun! And writing it sure was. Then I wrote another, and another... now I'm hooked.
 
I was fortunate enough to sell my first submission - right when the twins were born - making life even busier!
 
Check out the telly interview I did and read a newspaper article to get an idea of what that crazy time was like. Use this link to her website. 

Life these days consists of parenting, parenting, parenting and dreaming up gorgeous heroes and heroines who have fun, feisty affairs - what fun!

 
UNBUTTONED BY HER MAVERICK BOSS / REBEL WITH A CAUSE
 Office gossip...
It's well known that rugged tycoon Lorenzo Hall comes from the wrong side of the tracks, and that opposites attract... Apparently one glimpse of his pristine new assistant Sophy Braithwaite had Lorenzo itching to undress her - we wonder if she's as prim and proper as she looks!
Of course, to Sophy, her smouldering boss should be off-limits, but it's easy to see how Lorenzo's criminally hot body and the dangerous twinkle in his eyes could tempt her to break all the rules...


CAUGHT ON CAMERA WITH THE CEO
TO: All staff - Is this the hottest kiss you've ever seen?
Finally our playboy boss plays around at work! Watch this steamy clip of Alex Carlisle getting down and dirty in the lift with the brand-new temp...
Heart-throb Alex has recently been spotted prowling the office floor - is brunette bombshell Dani Russo the reason? From this sizzling encounter, we think so!
Now Dani's lost her job, and the office grapevine says our bad-boy boss has moved her into his bachelor pad and found her a job - but is an X-rated action replay on the cards?! Watch this space...
 
This information, with permission is shared from here. Natalie loves to hear from readers, so please feel free to email her.

Natalie Anderson is also one of the LoveCats DownUnder and you can catch her here as well.


Welcome to all new followers and fellow crusaders! Please make sure you have your blog linked to your friend connect profile. Check by clicking on your floating head on the friend connect. If your photo is not linked then my other friends or I will not be able to follow you back!


I asked Natalie Anderson her views on Social Networking for pre-published authors and published authors, and she gave me her views here:

Firstly, thanks so much to Nas for putting me in her spotlight! I’m thrilled to be here :)
She asked me to give a few thoughts on that big ole’ beast known as social media in relation to pre-published and post-published. Now I’m really sorry because I’m just going to spout the obvious here – but it really is what I think about this. Yep, my thoughts for either camp are the same – it’s all about BALANCE.

There is no denying social media – or the advantages of it. It’s here, to stay, and only going to grow. So yes you need to be onboard (in some form or other) - but you need to manage what you put out there and of course how much time you put into it.

Nothing but nothing can come before the writing. At the end of the day we’re all in this because we have stories we want to share, we want to entertain, and yes, it’d be great to make some money doing that. No product means nothing to sell, no matter how cute your website. So you have to concentrate the best of your effort into your writing. And the most of your time.

So if you’re time pressured, then perhaps you only want to exist as a ‘writer’ on Facebook say – it’s free, its very easy to network and you can build relationships etc by commenting more on other peoples essays and pithy statements rather than having to come up with extended fantastic content yourself.

That’s the hard thing about blogging – it’s a big effort to attract readers and to keep them coming back. It can be a huge time-suck – time that perhaps could be better invested in your WIP. Of course, some people are great bloggers and all power to them. But be sure to think through what the benefits truly are to putting all that time into it.

The other thing that you have to be so very careful about, is what you put out there. Do not, under any circumstances, bite the hand that you want to feed you. Don’t moan about your dream publisher – or any other publisher or agent. What goes up, stays up and anybody can access it. I know this is obvious, but people do it all the time. Think, breathe, think again before pressing the ‘publish’ button. Now I’m not saying you can’t be honest, but just think about the face you’re presenting to the world. You must be professional, so when that potential editor or agent checks your blog/website/twitter/FB account, you want them to see you as someone they’d want to work with.  Sure, show your personality but perhaps not the moments of craziness we all have. I’m also wary of putting anything political up there-  you know the old saying about not talking politics, religion or sex? Well, depending on what you’re writing, it still holds – you don’t want to put prospective readers off by grumbling about the new law they adore...

It’s very difficult isn’t it? Because I guess it’s a kind of self-censorship... But your online presence is a persona – yes be honest, because honesty draws people, but perhaps not about everything. You have to define the lines for yourselves.

The internet has reduced the loneliness of the writer to a degree. It’s been fantastic in making all kinds of information accessible – we all know how to format manuscripts and how we’re supposed to write query letters and synopses – just Google it and you get a ton of great examples. We get to ‘meet’ people striving for the same thing as ourselves. But there’s something to be said for some isolation time as well. I remember in Donald Maas’ book, The Career Novelist (available as a free download here:
http://www.maassagency.com/books.html#career ), he talked about some break-out writers and the one thing they had in common was that they were writing in their own little caves off the network. Now I know this book is coming up 15 years old, but I think there’s still heaps to learn from it. And I do think there is a lot to be said for hanging out in your own cave, ploughing your own furrow. Have some time out where you don’t pay attention to what anyone else is doing, don’t get sucked into checking your blog visitor stats every two hours, don’t worry about how fast someone else has just finished their wip or how fast they heard back from an ed. All of that info is irrelevant to you and your journey. Filter all the garbage that’s on the social networks (‘cos there is garbage, just as there’s a lot of gold and a lot of fun). So yes, try to find the balance – somehow!!!

Of course, I’m still trying to find that balance thing. I blog sporadically – although I do contribute regularly to group blogs and find that great fun. I am much more regular on Facebook –
http://www.facebook.com/authornataliea and  sometimes Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/authornataliea – but I find around deadline time, I drop everything and zone into book world. My time is very pressured – I still have two preschoolers (plus the two school age kids) and the bulk of my writing is done in the evenings and on the weekends. Perhaps when they go to school towards the end of the year I’ll be able to pick up on the social media thing a little more. For now, actually for always, the writing must come first.

So what do you think? Do you prefer to blog over Facebook say? Have you reserved your domain name for when you sell or do you have a full website up and running already? And do you tend to follow favourite authors on social media???


Natalie Anderson
USA TODAY bestselling author

  • UNFINISHED BUSINESS – M&B Special Releases, Jan 2011 UK
  • WALK ON THE WILD SIDE – M&B Riva, Feb 2011, UK ; Harlequin Presents Extra, Apr 2011 USA
  • REBEL WITH A CAUSE – Harlequin Presents Extra, Feb 2011 USA
  • IN BED WITH HER TALL, SEXY, HANDSOME BOSS – M&B By Request, Mar 2011 UK
  • THE END OF FAKING IT – M&B Riva, Apr 2011 UK ; Jul 2011 US
  • DATING AND OTHER DANGERS – M&B Riva, Jul 2011 UK
http://www.natalie-anderson.com
http://twitter.com/authornataliea
http://www.facebook.com/authornataliea



Anne McAllister & Contest Plus Crusade!

 Fun Facts About Anne McAllister

Favourite Books:

Pennington's Heir by K. M. Peyton
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Day the Cowboys Quit by Elmer Kelton
The Dark Wind by Tony Hillerman
The Loves of Ruby Dee by Curtiss Ann Matlock

Favourite Songs:
"Own Heart's Delight"

Favourite Movies:
Charade
The Cutting Edge


Author Writing Tip:
"Write your story to please yourself. Don't haul it out for your friends or critique group all the time and try to please them. Please yourself and your characters. Believe in them and in your story and in yourself."


Author Romantic Tip:
Did you know that this romance writer completed her first book during her youngest son's nap times? It took a year.


Author Nationality:
American Author


RITA Award-winner Anne McAllister was born in California, spent formative summer vacations on the beach near her home and on her grandparents’ small ranch in Colorado and visiting relatives in Montana. Studying the cowboys, the surfers and the beach volleyball players, she spent long hours developing her concept of "the perfect hero." (Have you noticed a lack of hard-driving Type A businessmen among them? Well, she promises to do one soon, just for a change!).

One thing she did do, early on, was develop a weakness for lean, dark-haired, handsome lone-wolf type guys. When she finally found one, he was in the university library where she was working at the time. It didn’t matter. She knew a good man when she saw one.

And they've now been sharing "happily ever afters" for 32 years. They presently have four children, four dogs, and one bionic cat who, contrary to all expectations, is working on his second millennium.

Quite a few years ago they moved to the Midwest, but they spend more and more time in Montana. And as Anne says, she lives there in her head most of the time anyway. She wishes a small town like her very own Elmer, Montana, existed. She’d move there in a minute.

Before she started writing romances, Anne taught Spanish, capped deodorant bottles, copyedited textbooks, got a master’s degree in theology, and ghostwrote sermons.

It all became grist for the fictional mill — as has the family history she likes to learn more about every chance she gets. She might have to try her hand at that historical, after all — especially now that she's learned more about that second great-grandfather who claims to have shot 40 men!


While she has written extensively for Harlequin American and Silhouette Desire and Special Edition, as well as single title, right now she is concentrating on Harlequin Presents. You'll find her books in both Presents and Presents Extras.  And, as is usual with Anne, her characters never seem to totally go away. They are often cropping up in each other's books -- even across lines!

On Reading and Writing…What do you love most about being a writer?Meeting people whose lives and jobs and lifestyles interest me, to find out what makes them tick.
For instance, when I was writing about a bull rider, I got to know some bull riders. It not only helped me with my story and gave it credibility, it introduced me to some of the most interesting and nicest guys I’ve ever met.
I met a major league umpire and a sand-castle builder and a whole lot of other people the same way — people I might never have known if I hadn’t been a writer.

What do you like least about being a writer?Whatever part of the process I’m doing now. If I’m working on a first draft, doing revisions sounds great. If I’m revising, I long for the first draft stage. If I’m filling out art information sheets, I’d rather be doing anything else. It’s all a matter of the grass being greener…even when I know it’s not!

Do you have a favourite locale or setting for your novels? What is it and why is it your favourite? I set a lot of my books in Montana and Wyoming because they are cowboy books and that’s the environment I’m most familiar with in terms of ranching. I would have to do a lot of research to write about Texas or Nevada cowboys as cowboying is different there.
I like setting books in New York City because it’s my favourite American city and I have good friends there with whom I often stay, so I feel like I have my own "neighbourhood" and hangouts whenever I’m in New York.
I also like the Bahamas — the out islands, not Nassau and Freeport, though they have their charm. I prefer the out islands because they are peaceful and unspoiled and truly "paradise" when I want to write about two people being alone together.

Which of the books you have written is your favourite?I don’t have a favourite. I love them all. Sometimes a particular hero grabs me and I get attached to him, but pretty much I like all of them. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have bothered to write the story.

What are your five all-time favourite books?Pennington’s Heir by K. M. Peyton
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Day the Cowboys Quit by Elmer Kelton
The Dark Wind by Tony Hillerman
The Loves of Ruby Dee by Curtiss Ann Matlock

On Romance…Describe the ultimate romantic meal.Whatever meal you’re sharing with the person you love.

What is your all-time favourite romantic movie?Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn or The Cutting Edge with D. B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly.

What is your all-time favourite romantic song or composition?"Own Heart’s Delight" by Ian Tyson

What is the most romantic gesture or gift you have received?Once I had a book with a cover I really loved. And my husband found out who the artist was and bought me the illustration for my birthday. It was entirely unexpected and I was thrilled.

How do you keep the romance alive in your relationship?We laugh a lot.

Where is the most romantic place you’ve ever travelled?A little island in the Bahamas. We had fantastic scenery, deserted beaches, wonderful food — and each other.

All About Me…Besides writing, what other talent would you most like to have? To be a good friend, to be there when the chips are down, to have a good sense of humour.

Who is someone you admire and why?My friend Linda who is caring despite the cost, has a wonderful laugh, and a great sense of humour — even in the face of adversity.

Share one of your favourite indulgences with us.I buy books. (Imagine that!)

What quality do you most admire in a man?Fidelity (which contains a whole lot of other admirable things — like commitment and honesty and integrity and faithfulness, among others).

What is the one thing you've always wanted to do, but never had the courage to try?To write a historical. I’m afraid I would write some anachronism that I wouldn’t catch before the book went to press.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?Whatever else I did, I would always be a writer.

What quote or personal saying do you live by? Who said it?"You have to do a thing before you know how in order to know how after you have done it." — Plato.

This information is shared from here. If you would like to contact Anna, you can email her!


About Anne...

Anne McAllister has written over 60 romance novels for Harlequin Presents, Silhouette Desire and Special Edition and Harlequin American as well as novellas and a single title.

She has won two RITA awards from the Romance Writers of America — for COWBOY PRIDE and THE STARDUST COWBOY — and has had nine other books which were RITA finalists, including  ONE-NIGHT MISTRESS...CONVENIENT WIFE, which is one of this year's finalists.

Her books have also been finalists for the National Readers' Choice Award. In 2000, she was named Midwest Fiction Writers "Writer of the Year" and also received Romantic Times' Career Achievement Award as "Series Author of the Year."

But while the awards and sales are wonderful, Anne thinks the best part of writing is telling the story. With every new book she writes, she meets new characters – or gets to know old ones even better – and discovers what makes them and their relationships tick.

It's the relationships that interest her most and the question about "where do you get your ideas?" has always astonished her as she has more ideas than she knows what to do with!

Anne grew up on the beaches of southern California, and spent summers in Montana and on her grandparents' small ranch in Colorado. They were formative experiences — not only in providing her settings, but in giving her heroes. She finds herself attracted to lean, dark, honorable men – often lone wolf types – who always get the job done, whatever it might be.

She loves writing romance because she thinks getting people together with their soul mates is the best job in the world. It has allowed her to meet amazing, interesting people and see places she never imagined she would see. Happily, too, since she divides her time between Iowa and Montana, it's a job she can do without having to scrape the ice off the windshield of her car before going to work!

In her 'spare' time she takes her dogs for walks and discusses plot problems with them, or she works on family history research and writes articles for genealogical publications. It's all grist for the mill. You never know when some tidbit of family lore is going to spark off an idea that will solve one of those plot problems. The dogs sometimes show up in books, too.

She finds it handy that her four grown children have such interesting lives that she can pick up the phone and pick their brains – or visit their friends. For her Savas' Defiant Mistress, one provided the architect resource, another had connections to houseboat dwellers in Seattle.

Anne and her husband, The Prof, spend the school year in the Midwest now, but are looking forward to more time in Montana when he retires. They'll also be spending time visiting grandchildren (and the grandchildren's interesting parents, too). But wherever they go, Anne will always be writing. There are too many ideas not to!

THE VIRGIN'S PROPOSITION
Royal Virgin
Anny Chamion isn’t used to acting out of the ordinary – not when her position in life dictates that she behave sensibly and with decorum...
Passionate Proposition

But a chance encounter with the infamous Demetrios Savas has this princess desperate to throw the rule book out of the window!
For One Night Only!
Demetrios Savas’s heart is empty – that’s the way he likes it. So how has one night with this delectable stranger left him reeling? And why is he craving to taste such deliciously forbidden fruit once more?



Here Come The Grooms!


Anne McAllister, together with Kate Walker and Liz Fielding are holding a contest!

You'll remember we did a Get to Meet Kate Walker and Today it's Liz Fielding! earlier.

 

The Prize

As before, they have three prizes to give away – each prize will be a set of the three new titles we have coming out soon
These will be:
  • The Proud Wife by Kate Walker
  • Hired By Her Husband by Anne McAllister
  • Chosen As The Sheikh’s Bride by Liz Fielding
    (In Becoming the Tycoon’s Bride together with Patricia Thayer)
Each winner will win a set of all three books!

If you want to enter the contest – you get three chances to win! – go to each of their contest pages, answer the three questions there, follow the rest of the directions on how to enter, and you’ll have three chances to win the books.

Closing date is February 14th - so if you get the answers right you'll get to share Valentine's Day with their three gorgeous heroes!    GOOD LUCK!




And one of our blogging friend, Rachael,  came up with a super crusade for writers!
I've also got a link on my sidebar, just under THE FOLLOWERS. Click on that to see what it is all about!  

Basically, the Crusade is a way to link those within the writing community together with the aim of helping to build our online platforms. The Crusaders are all bloggers in a similar position, who genuinely want to pay it forward, make connections and friends within the writing community, and help build each others' online platforms while at the same time building theirs. 

Don't miss your chance to join the crusade.  Head over there right now to sign up!  


Welcome to all new followers, but please make sure you have your blog linked to your friend connect profile. Check by clicking on your floating head on the friend connect. If your photo is not linked then I will not be able to follow you back!

Let's Meet Sharon Archer!

Sharon's Bio


I can't say I've always wanted to be a writer.  In fact, there was a long period in my childhood where I really wanted to be a horse - which just goes to show sometimes it's definitely good not to get what you wish for.
Anyway, back to writing... I have always had one of the prerequisites to be a writer - I daydream.  My school reports regularly said "Sharon would do much better in (fill in the subject) if she would stop daydreaming".
I did write some truly terrible prose during my school years.  Most memorable was the piece written in first-person from the point of view of a discarded nail rusting in long grass.

Needless to say, I didn't grow up to be a horse - or a rusty nail.  I was born in New Zealand and grew up a regular tomboy around the Air Force bases where Dad was stationed.  

We even had a three-year stint in Fiji when Laucala Bay was open.  It seemed like paradise to me at the age of five: beautiful beaches, clear warm water, fresh-caught prawn feasts, graceful gauzy mosquito nets, citronella oil on the pillow at night, tropical storms where the lawn turned into a sea of frogs... though they might have been toads come to think of it.  And once there was a hammerhead shark dragged up on the slipway down at the yacht club!
                                                The Markets in Suva - Fiji
                  
                                                                                
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
I'm lucky because books have always been a part of life.  My parents were readers.  Christmas and birthday presents were often books.
 
Both parents wrote entertaining letters too, so I always knew that letters could be more than "we went here/saw this/did that" and "there was rain/sunshine/fog/a blizzard."

But it never occurred to me that writing could be an occupation.  
Having a scientific bent, I got a job in a hospital laboratory and trained as a medical technologist.  First day on the job, a senior haematologist took me up to the clinic to learn how to take blood from a real live patient.  Not bad for someone with a 100% fainting score at her own blood tests up until that date.

After qualifying, I was between jobs and decided to see the world.  I bought a one-way ticket to Australia and, apart from holidays, this is where I settled.

I met my husband when a girlfriend and I were setting up house.  We advertised for a "Guy, 25 plus, to share house" and we specified that it needed to be someone quiet.  My friend was a nurse working night shifts and I was studying for exams.  As soon as I opened the door and saw Glenn, I felt a "connection" - perhaps not love at first sight but definitely a sort of recognition.
Me with Husband/Webmaster/Hero
So the daily newspaper was my matchmaker and a very good one it was too.  We've been together now for twenty seven years.

The idea to write a romance came after watching a television interview with Australian author, Valerie Parv.  It was a revelation!  This was going to be my new career path.  Just like that, I decided.  All I had to do was put 50,000 words on paper.  How easy!

Well... as it turned out... not easy, at all!

It took me twelve months to dredge up the required number of words.  I posted them off to Mills and Boon.  I was going to be an author!  A reality check arrived sometime later in the form of a rejection letter.  Thank goodness!  The story was awful beyond description.  And, even at the time, I knew it was awful...  I wouldn't let anyone read it!

But I was hooked.  I joined a writing group, discovered Romance Writers of Australia, did courses, put more words on bits of paper.  After more rejections (still well-deserved!), I hung up my romance pen for a while and dabbled with short stories and articles.  Even some bad poetry!  But it all helped me learn about writing and voice and discipline (still need to work on that last one a bit more yet!.
When Glenn's job shifted, we moved to country Victoria.  Suddenly, there was time to write... and procrastinate! Yep, I discovered that the easiest thing about writing is finding a good excuse not to do it.
Alas, some of my very best creative inspiration has gone into the excuses why I didn't make my word target for that day.

And now that we had five acres and a collection of animals, there were so many good excuses to avoid writing.

Anyway, I began fiddling around with an idea for a book-length story but I couldn't seem to get myself past the idea that I needed to know more about the characters before I got too far.  And somehow I couldn't work up the enthusiasm to do really detailed character charts for them - I really wanted to just write the story.  Stalemate!

Then I found Stephen King's autobiography, On Writing.

After reading that, I made up my mind to finish the manuscript.  No complex character charts, no polished plan, no perfect pacing.  I had a hero and heroine that I liked so why not just write and see what I found out.  And it worked!  I finished the manuscript!  Fifty thousand words that I was happy with!

I even let someone read it!  My husband was my primary reader at this stage and I'd regularly find him dozing off in the recliner with my pages lying on his chest.  Since books by some of our favourite authors have also lain there, I didn't get too upset.
Anna Campbell, Emma Darcy, Sharon Archer, Alison Van Vreumingen & Helene Young
The Romance Writers of Australia were running the 2004 Emma Darcy Award at the time.  I entered and my story reached the finals! When it came second, I was thrilled.  The following year, I finalled with another story and came third.

After that, I became an enthusiastic contest entrant.  These marvellous opportunities provided a deadline for me to work towards and required a small, manageable amount of work depending on the contest: a scene, a chapter, a synopsis, a partial. 
Sharon Archer & Marion Lennox
The judges were fantastic, taking the time to give detailed feedback, suggestions of how to improve, tips for plotting and emotion, pats on the back where it was deserved!



My journey from that first dreadful manuscript until publication has been one of fits and starts and has probably taken about twenty years.  And along the way I met the most fabulous, generous people, published and unpublished, who have shared their wisdom and friendship.  It's been a wonderful apprenticeship and I've enjoyed it enormously even if I haven't been the most diligent pupil.

I had my first manuscript accepted on the 25 of September, 2008!

Marriage Reunited: Baby on the Way won the gorgeous RuBY award for the "Short and Sweet" category! This is the Romance Writers of Australia's Romantic Book of the Year Award and I'm just thrilled to bits as you can imagine!  The awards were presented at the Saturday night dinner and I got lots of photos of me clutching my RuBY and grinning like the Cheshire Cat!


Here's a couple of the pics - one of me with fellow Medical Romance author, Marion Lennox and my hubbie, Glenn.  Two wonderful people who have been so supportive and encouraging! And another with friend and fellow blogger, Tracey O'Hara who is holding her RuBY for winning the Romantic Elements category - you can catch us over at the LoveCats DownUnder!

 

Bachelor Dad, Girl Next Door

The woman of his dreams is right on his doorstep!
Single dad Dr Luke Daniels has come home hoping to heal his heart and that of his daughter; he may have lost his wife, but ten-year-old Allie has lost her Mum too.
A&E doctor Terri Mitchell remembers Luke from growing up in Port Cavill… in fact she remembers him too well! And the twinkle in the new doctor’s eyes makes her shiver just the way it always did!
Try as she might to stay away, Terri falls for Luke, and his gorgeous young daughter. But Luke only sees her as the girl-next-door… doesn’t he?

All this information with permission is shared from here. She loves hearing from readers so please do not hesitate to contact her.



Bachelor Dad, Girl Next Door is one intense, roller-coaster of emotions amid all the Medical Drama.

Sharon Archer is also one of the LoveCats from LoveCats DownUnder and you can catch her blogging there.

Speaking of LoveCats, this week Rachel Bailey did a post about lighthouses. So here are a few of my photos of the lighthouse at Cape Reinga, North Island New Zealand. You can a catch Rachel Bailey's post here!

It is very isolated with steep hills going down straight to the sea. At the back of the lighthouse, right at the edge of the cliff, there is a signpost with arrows pointing to Australia, USA, Canada and all other countries with distance marked in kilometres.

We had to park our car at top and walk all the way to the lighthouse.


"My Hero"

But then, coming back up was hard work! 

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Flirting with Dr. Off-Limits

by Robin Gianna

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