Monday, July 27, 2015

Author Interview: Cheryl Harrington

Cheryl Harrington
author, Sparks Fly


Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures.)

I’m a second generation Toronto native, an only child unless we count Cookie the dog. (We probably should count Cookie the dog – she was definitely one of the family!) Growing up, home was a few short blocks from Lake Ontario. All the best adventures of my childhood (not to mention the best lifeguard watching) took place on the half mile of beach and boardwalk between Woodbine and the Balmy Beach Canoe Club. I sometimes think lake water must run in my veins, because I can’t seem to stay away. Whenever I need to escape from the busy-ness of life or resolve a stubborn plot hole, I head to the shore for a walk. Nowadays, getting there means a trek through city traffic, but it’s worth every minute of the drive. The rhythm of waves against the sand, the call of gulls wheeling overhead, and the cool, lake-freshened breeze calm frazzled nerves and clear my mind.

The lake was very much a part of my parents’ lives, too. Mom and Dad met and married at a church near the beach and for as long as they were able, one of their favorite things was a walk along the boardwalk, holding hands. Those two held hands every day of their lives. I guess romance must run in my veins, too!

My travels have taken me across Canada to both Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and south through the States as far as Louisiana and Florida. Most memorable of all was a vacation on Vancouver Island where I had the chance to go whale watching on a small boat out of Telegraph Cove. The thrill of seeing a pod of Orcas at play in the water mere feet from our tiny vessel was unforgettable; the awesome, resonant splash-whoosh of their breach and blow …indescribable. I’d better figure out a good description soon, though, because my current work-in-progress is set near Telegraph Cove. Here there be whales!

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

Oh, this is an easy one – Cornwall, England.

As a child, I had a pen-pal relationship with my Dad’s Great Aunt Win. I remember how carefully I’d print her address on a flimsy blue airmail envelope: Myrtle Cottage, Trevail, Cuthbert, near Newquay, Cornwall, England. In my little girl imagination, Myrtle Cottage was tiny and white with a thatched roof and wild English garden, roses rampant around the front door. My fondest wish was to visit that magical place. Years later, when another relative unearthed an old photo and written description of Myrtle Cottage, it was nothing at all as I’d imagined – an ungainly former mill with no central heating, unreliable cold-water plumbing, and only a narrow road outside the front door. Still, in my imagination, there will always be thatch and roses.

I never had the chance to meet Aunt Win in person but I will visit her beloved Cornwall someday and I know I’ll find inspiration there for a new book. It will be dedicated to Win’s memory.

What is one silly fact about you?

I am absolutely not to be trusted in a pet store. Proof: I stopped at PetSmart on my way home from work one afternoon. My plan was to pick up some birdseed. It would take five minutes, tops – dash in, dash out. More than an hour later, I was loading up the car with a cartload of supplies and one very annoyed cat who repeated, “Sssss-aaaaa-mmmmmm” at the top of his voice all the way home (true story). He’s never made that astonishing sound since, so I figure he was letting me know his name was Sam. Check out the “menagerie” page at my web site if you’d like to see photos of Sam and his friend, Jazz the Lineolated Parakeet, who did eventually get his birdseed.

What got you started on your writing journey?

I thank pen-pal Aunt Win for my love of books and writing. She sent me a book for every birthday and Christmas, leather-bound classics starting with Black Beauty and moving on to Dickens, Bronte, and Austen. Win encouraged me to share stories in my letters and wrote tales of the Cornish life and landscape in return. Most important, she made me believe in myself as a writer.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

The absolute wonder of bringing people and places to life on the page is the very best kind of reward. And when characters take control and begin telling me what they’re going to do …magic!

How many books have you written, and how many of those have been published?

I’ve completed five full-length novels, with two more in progress. Four have been published. My first exists only as a manuscript in a box on a shelf, and that’s where it belongs. I worked on that book for several years and took it through many re-writes until, finally, I worked up my nerve and queried. One lovely editor at St. Martin’s Press asked for a partial and I chewed my fingernails to stubs waiting for a decision. Of course, it wasn’t suitable – I still had much to learn. But that editor took time to write a personal rejection and I will be forever grateful for her insight and thoughtful encouragement.

Books two and three were co-authored with my friend, Anne Norman. We had more fun working on those two books than I would have thought possible. Our first, ROCK SOLID, is the story of a landscape architect who is challenged to save her small town’s much-loved Quarry Lake from developers, only to find herself falling in love with the man behind the development plans. Our second, FAST FOCUS, is a romantic caper set in New York City and featuring a young photographer, her big, goofy dog, an eccentric aunt, and an FBI agent on a mission to protect them all. Both books are clean romances, available in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover formats from Amazon under their Montlake Romance imprint.

Book four, ONE FOR SORROW, TWO FOR JOY, is a romantic suspense about a young chef on the run and a reporter determined to uncover her secrets. It was published in a large print paperback edition by Ulverscroft Press (London) as part of their Linford Romance Library. The book is now out of print but I’ve got the rights back and I’m polishing it up with plans to give indy publishing a try.

I’ll share more about book five, SPARKS FLY, in the next answer.

Please share about your book.

SPARKS FLY by Cheryl Cooke Harrington is a Clean Read romance with a dash of adventure. The overall theme is one of family ties and homecoming, played out in a wilderness setting with forest fires and float planes to keep our heroine on her toes.

From the book flap:

What happens when a thoroughly modern woman, who longs to return to her roots, meets an old-fashioned hero on her first day home?  Sparks Fly.  And it doesn't take a forest fire, smoldering in the distance, to turn up the heat between high school science teacher, Logan Paris, and bush pilot, Mitchell Walker.

Logan's dream of a bright future for her grandfather's lodge at remote Thembi Lake hits an unexpected snag when Gramps introduces the handsome pilot as his new partner.  It seems Mitch has plans of his own for Casey Lodge, and Logan is certain they don't include partnership with a 'city girl'.  Determined to prove herself and protect her heritage, Logan sets out to unravel the many mysteries of Mitch Walker.

Where did he come from?  Why is Gramps so willing to trust him with their future?  And most disturbing of all …what's she going to do about the undeniable attraction she feels whenever he's around?

Purchase Link: http://amzn.com/B00E6BRMNM

If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be? 

1. independent
2. loving
3. curious
4. determined
5. brave

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

“Author Cheryl Cooke Harrington puts the reader right in the passenger seat alongside the spunky heroine ... and this is just the beginning of a wonderfully entertaining romantic tale. I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves a sweet romantic story filled with loveable family members, adventures in the sky and on the ground, and that age old feeling of falling in love.” – Amazon review

I enjoyed the interview, Jennifer. Thanks for having me at Clean Romance Reviews!
Cheryl Cooke Harrington (cchweb.com)

Come find me on social media - I love connecting with readers!
Twitter: http://twitter.com/cheryl_cch
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CherylCookeHarringtonAuthor
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cherylcch
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylcookeharrington

Saturday, July 25, 2015

SMT: Shadow of the Hawk

Shadow of the Hawk
K.S. Jones
Historical Romance
Young Adult Romance

Shadow of the Hawk is the story of Sooze Williams who sacrifices everything, including love, to save her family during the Great Depression.



Friday, July 24, 2015

Unraveled

Julie Daines
Fantasy Romance

"Fear, it seemed, lasted only so long before running dry. If the faerie witch  was  going  to  curse  them,  why  didn’t  she  get  on  with  it?  Keeping  them waiting was bad manners, like hovering on someone’s threshold and never entering in."




Bronwen has never even dreamt of making her presentation to the king, despite her being of age and the daughter of a late nobleman.  Left lame from a childhood illness, she was destined to live the rest of her life with her mother, amongst those in town who would barely look at her.  That is, until the faerie witch comes with an unexpected surprise.  Shoes that cure her legs while worn and a whole new world is opened up to her.  Traveling with new friends to the city seems to be the highlight of wonderful experiences, until she catches the eye of the prince.  Hiding the truth can be difficult, especially when the prince's own bodyguard is someone who knew her for who she really was, if he remembers.  When lies pile on lies, can Bronwen keep her head, and her heart, safe?

My Opinion: This was a wonderful tale of hope, magic, and love.  The author has an excellent grasp of history and lore that weaves a wonderfully realistic tale.  The characters, though few, were rich and believable.  The ups and downs of love tugged at your heart and made the most believable love-triangle plot I've ever read.  The romance was both sweet and epic and I loved every minute of it.  The side characters were wonderful as well and I dearly hope they each have their own stories as well.  I would definitely recommend you get as swept up in this story as I did.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Book Spotlight: Making Ends Meet

Making Ends Meet
Anna Clifton


From Anna Clifton comes a sweet, emotional, beautiful romance about a man whose life has been derailed and the unexpected woman who can help him get it back on track.

‘It’s for other reasons that I won’t need a nanny beyond a month.’

Twenty-three year old nanny Somer Sullivan has never had a job quite like this one: fix the messed-up, out-of-control life of high-profile artist and thirty-something dad Harry Halligan. But Somer is organised, efficient and not afraid of a challenge. She will do everything Harry needs her to do, including bringing his ex-wife home for good.

‘One month, Harry, and I’ll be out of here.’

Harry Halligan doesn’t want a nanny, but he needs one—he needs Somer. She’s the only one who can reach his troubled daughter, who can bring some measure of peace to his home. But as Somer advances her mission to fix his life, a few things become clear: his ex-wife might not be the answer, and Somer just might be. But Somer is running like hell from something in her own life and hiding in his.

Only one thing is for sure. Harry now has less than a month to make the hardest decision he’ll ever have to make—a decision that will change all of their lives forever.

Author Bio:
Anna Clifton is a lawyer by trade and a mother to several children and a couple of cats. Her passion is writing warm, family oriented contemporary romance novels with a special focus on legal eagles. Making Ends Meet is her fourth novel.

Other Links:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

SMT: Dancing With Velvet

Dancing With Velvet
Judy Nickles
Historical Romance

President Franklin D. Roosevelt concluded his request to Congress for a declaration of war on Japan with the words, With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God. Inevitably, not only the armed forces but the people at home would be fighting, too…though different battles on a different front.
~~~
In the waning days of the Great Depression, Celeste Riley wonders if life will always be the same: going to work and coming home to keep house for her widowed father who ignores her. She clings to her married sister, Coralee, and the recurring dream of a blue velvet curtain and a faceless lover who beckons her beyond it. Then a blue velvet dress in the window of a local department store seems to promise the change in her life she so desperately longs for. When she dances in the arms of Kent Goddard at the Roof Garden, she is sure she has found the man of her dreams and is crushed when he disappears from her life. Soon after Pearl Harbor propels the United States into war, he returns in uniform as a student at the new bombardier training school. Inevitably, a wartime separation threatens their deepening relationship. Then Celeste realizes that what she doesn’t know about the man of her dreams may become her worst nightmare.


Friday, July 17, 2015

The Villain


May Nicole Abbey
Paranormal Romance
Historical Romance

"I struggled for a word that didn’t sound absolutely ridiculous.  ‘Indecent’ didn’t seem to apply out here, with a man bleeding to death in front of you."




Rosemary Mayfield is out of options.  With little money and the murder of her parents still echoing in her mind and those of her younger siblings, they must face a lonely town and starting a ranch on their own.  That is, until a handsome stranger literally falls onto their front porch.  Hurt and barely conscious, they take the stranger in, unaware of just who they are inviting into their home.  Nor how he will change their lives forever.  Nicolas Ekkridon isn't a good man.  In fact, he's the last person who should be cast as protector for three poor orphans.  Especially considering how attracted he is to Rosemary.  Even moreso because of his own past.  With more at stake than either realize, Rosemary and Nicolas will have to figure out if they can trust each other, and themselves.

My Opinion: This was a thoroughly captivating story that drew you in and played with your mind as much as it did the fabric of time.  Though a bit confusing at first, being plopped into the middle of a story, it kept you interested in figuring out what was going on.  The romance was strong and sweet.  The main characters were rich and deep with lovely side characters that folded you into a world of the wild west with a big of magic weaved in.  Interesting twists and an enthralling, but somewhat less than explain super-naturalism, the author achieved an effective relate-ability.  Overall, a very interesting read.

I received a free copy of this book to review.  No other compensation was given.  The summary and review are 100% my own.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Book Spotlight: Falling Like a Rock

Falling Like a Rock
Bonnie McCune


Unloved and unemployed. That’s Elaine Svoboda, after she’s sacked, then flees across country to her boyfriend who drops her flat. Teetering on the abyss of disaster, she calls an old friend who invites her to a tiny mountain town with fresh prospects. There she meets rugged, hunky Joe Richter-Leon, mayor of Falling Rock. Maybe he can help her find a job. Maybe they can become friends, even share romance. Sparks fly immediately, but major obstacles make a new life on the ashes of the old appear impossible. Joe’s consumed with challenges like the dismal local economy and an impetuous sister. Elaine butts heads with him at every turn in the rocky road. Is the problem her bungling attempts to help? Or does she remind him of a greedy, selfish ex-wife? Before they can build a new life on the ashes of the old, she must overcome a few obstacles like a broken ankle, an eating disturbance, his stubbornness, and her own fears. She’s smothering her hopes when a battle with a forest inferno illuminates their true feelings and desire. Funny and frank, poignant and perceptive, when two people are “Falling Like a Rock,” they learn surrender sometimes means victory.

Author Bio:

Bonnie McCune lives in Colorado and is the author of novels, novellas and short stories. A writer since the fifth grade, her interest in the craft led to her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. Simultaneously, she’s published news and features as a free-lancer.

Her civic involvement includes grass-roots organizations, political campaigns, writers’ and arts’ groups, and children’s literacy. For years, she entered recipe contests and was a finalist once to the Pillsbury Cook Off. A special love is live theater. Had she been nine inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, she might have been an actress. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes that one person can make a difference in this world. Her entire family is book-mad.

Bonnie’s writing explores the highs and lows of everyday people and their unique lives with humor, close attention, and appreciation. Her blog addresses "ordinary people, extraordinary lives" and also features samples of shorter works. Visit http://bonniemccune.com/ to connect with her.

Other Links:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Book Spotlight: Pride and Proposals

Pride and Proposals
Victoria Kincaid


What if Mr. Darcy’s proposal was too late?

Darcy has been bewitched by Elizabeth Bennet since he met her in Hertfordshire. He can no longer fight this overwhelming attraction and must admit he is hopelessly in love.

During Elizabeth’s visit to Kent she has been forced to endure the company of the difficult and disapproving Mr. Darcy, but she has enjoyed making the acquaintance of his affable cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam.

Finally resolved, Darcy arrives at Hunsford Parsonage prepared to propose—only to discover that Elizabeth has just accepted a proposal from the Colonel, Darcy’s dearest friend in the world.

As he watches the couple prepare for a lifetime together, Darcy vows never to speak of what is in his heart. Elizabeth has reason to dislike Darcy, but finds that he haunts her thoughts and stirs her emotions in strange ways.

Can Darcy and Elizabeth find their happily ever after?

Author Bio:

Victoria has a Ph.D. in English literature and has taught composition to unwilling college students. Today she is a freelance writer/editor who teaches business writing to willing office professionals and tries to give voice to the demanding cast of characters in her head.
She lives in Virginia with an overly affectionate cat, two children who are learning how much fun Austen’s characters can be, and a husband who fortunately is not jealous of Mr. Darcy. A lifelong Austen fan, Victoria has read more Jane Austen variations and sequels than she can count – and confesses to an extreme partiality for the Colin Firth miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice.

Other Links:
twitter: victoriakincaid@kincaidvic

Monday, July 13, 2015

Author Interview: Sarah Brocias

Sarah Brocias
author, More Than Scars

Fill in the blank favorites – 

Type of hero. Oh, my favorite type of hero is the strong silent type! His actions, more than his words, speak for him. He has to be sweet underneath all that masculine exterior.

Type of heroine. \he has to be feminine. Most look at femeninity as a weakness (blushing for example) I see it as a strength. Yes, she can take care of herself, but she has just enough sweetness and innocence to have the ability to still be able to blush.

Most writers are readers. What are some of the books you have on your nightstand and/or on your "must read" list?

This is a tough question! Do you know the movie “Ever After”? Danielle is asked to choose a book and she says, “I could no sooner pick a favorite star from the heavens!”  THAT is how I feel!

What is your favorite genre to write? 

I write both Contemporary Romance and Paranormal. Paranormal is fun, but my heart lies with contemp!

Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance?  Do you write steamy romance as well?  

I have read my fair share of steamy romance, but I choose to write clean. I guess it just comes down to my characters. Do I want a spark? Absolutely! But I want the main focus to be on the emotion, rather than the act.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer? 

When someone comes up to me or messages me and tells me how much they loved the story. When they ask for more. What an amazing feeling.  It means they fell in love with the characters while reading…just as I fell in love while writing them.

How many books have you written, and how many of those have been published? 

I have written many books and four of them are published! I am currently working on a novella, which I hope to have out within the next six months.

What are the elements of a great romance for you? 

The beginning stages of falling in love is the best! The glances…the touches…the butterflies in the tummy! In other words, the emotional foreplay. Love it!

Please share about your book 

I started writing  More Than Scars after I had a dream. (this happens often) I dreamt of a young woman in a big home, walking down a shadowy hallway toward a set of double doors. I felt her nervousness and anxiety. I never got to see what was behind the doors in my dream…so I wrote what I would have wanted to find behind them. Enter Liam Byrne! He was one of my most favorite characters to write so far!

If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be?

Tenacious, Sweet, Optimistic, Hopeless Romantic

What are your hero and heroine of the story like? 

Liam, my hero, is wounded and stubborn and in absolute need of a kick in the pants. Nerissa, my heroine, is exactly who he needs. She is about as opposite in nature to him as you can get.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?  

More Than Scars is a modern day Fairytale. Who doesn’t want to escape into a fairytale now and then?


Twitter: @SarahBrocious
Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/sarahbrocious
YouTube trailer: https://youtu.be/1I1ssHWbUrY

Saturday, July 11, 2015

SMT: Seventh Heaven

Seventh Heaven
Elizabeth Bailey
Historical Romance

In the tradition of Regency Romance, a fast-moving humorous Georgian romp: a sweet and crazy tale of the poet and the wealthy widow. Can Lady Louisa Shittlehope’s common sense save her from an unwise attraction to Septimus Berowne, poet, and stop her falling in with his disreputable gold-digging family?


Seventh Heaven

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Book Spotlight: Another Summer

Another Summer
Rebecca Stevenson


When literary agent Tracy Ratcliffe travels to the sleepy village of Wentworth Cove,
Maine, for a much-needed vacation, the most excitement she’s expecting is a sunset
walk along the beach. Instead, she hears about a portrait of a woman who looks
suspiciously like her that had hung in the local art gallery for years, even though she’s never set foot in Wentworth Cove before.

Tracy also meets handsome Nathan Norsworthy, a moody aspiring novelist who
takes her breath away. Nathan helps her deal with the suspicion that the man she
knew and loved as her father probably wasn’t. That is, until she begins to suspect
that Nathan is using her to break into the world of publishing.

Author Bio:
Rebecca Stevenson is a freelance editor and writer whose frequent visits to New England have become the inspirations and settings for her stories. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Dallas Area Romance Authors and currently lives in Texas with her husband.

Other Links:
Twitter: becki_stevenson
Facebook: becki.stevenson.3

Saturday, July 4, 2015

SMT: The Key to Charlotte

The Key to Charlotte
E.A. West
Contemporary Romance
Christian Romance

Charlotte Harris can't speak due to a quirk in her autistic brain, but that doesn't stop her from communicating with others. Unfortunately, it prevents her from achieving two of her dreams--praising God through song and to carrying on a simple conversation using her own voice.

Zakaria Rush is the new Director of Children's Ministries at Charlotte's church, and he can't keep his thoughts off the partially mute blonde with a love for guitar music. Her love of the simple things in life intrigues him and makes him long to give her what she wants more than anything: her voice.

Can Zakaria help Charlotte find the key to unlocking her ability to speak, or will his attempt to help her only lock away their chance for love?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Royal Date


Sariah Wilson
Contemporary Romance

"I was the lyingest liar who ever lied."







Kat McTaggart has every intention of enjoying the ski trip in Monterra with her best friend by not skiing.  When convinced to try out the bunny slopes, she reluctantly agrees, never imagining she'd find herself accidentally on a black diamond slope.  Nor being rescued by the very attractive man she'd seen at the lodge.  His royal highness, Prince Nico is intrigued by the beautiful American who refuses to date him.  Finding a way to convince her that their worlds aren't that far apart is a task he's willing to take on.  Especially with the help of his family and her best friend.  But when scheming ladies and paparazzo interfere, they may find their blossoming feelings tested too soon.  Can they find a way to work past it all?

My Opinion: This was a very cute and engaging story.  The main character was fun with a hilarious inner monologue.  The storyline was slightly stilted at times with some very easily overcome problems, but was still fun.  The romance was great and the overall arch was definitely a squeeze-your-heart-out kind of emotional battle as you root for them to find love.  There were great side characters.  Granted, they flung money and circumstance around rather haphazardly, rather like a good Hallmark movie, but it was still fun.  A good story to curl up to and read on a rainy day.

I received a free copy of this book to review.  No other compensation was given.  The summary and review are 100% my own.


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