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Showing posts from March, 2015

Sneak Peek Sunday: Cameron

Following on from the last few Sundays, here's another snippet from the futuristic dystopian world of Love by the Book.  This novella was my NaNoWriMo effort from a few years back, and as I still love it, I'm finally getting around to polishing it up. Last week I introduced the heroine, Susan.  This week, we get our first glimpse of the hero, Cameron.

Finally Susan opened her mouth to let out the admission she’d always known she’d have to make: she didn’t know what was happening, or where the Elders were.  But before she could answer, the doors from the courtyard opened and Mother led the usual train into the dining room: first the other Parents, then the Aunts and Uncles, and finally the Managers, until all the Elders were in place.   But where the procession would normally have stopped, there was a new face.   As the young man paused at the door, the chatter, which had already begun to subside, fell silent.  Susan stared at his vivid blue eyes and sweeping blond fringe and his …

Sneak Peek Sunday: Susan

Here's something different for Sneak Peek Sunday - a glimpse into the futuristic dystopian world of Love by the Book.  This novella was my NaNoWriMo effort from a few years back, and as I still love it, I'm finally getting around to polishing it up. Last week I shared the opening.  This week, 6 paragraphs which introduce Susan's role in the House.

Sometimes Susan dreamed of being far away, in a world she’d never encountered where nobody told you how to live your life or who you could love or be friends with.  Sometimes she woke from a dream where the table was empty, the precious book having vanished along with its thick glass covering, and she was responsible.  “It’s not my fault!” she would plead to the assembled masses.  Sometimes they were faceless.   Other times it was her mother, or her father, or her teachers, or the gardeners, whose faces stared back at her sorrowfully.  That was worse. “But you’re the Guardian,” their voices would echo, “Of course you’re responsibl…

Writer Wednesday Interview: Melinda Dozier

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Today I'm talking with Melinda Dozier, whose new book 'New York Minute' I featured on the blog last week. She's back to talk two of my favourite topics: writing and globe-trotting. Thanks for being here, Melinda!



When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? When I was in highschool, I used to fill up notebooks with stories-- usually young adult stuff with The Brat-Pack as my inspiration (I’m aging myself here). Though it was only a hobby, I wanted to become a writer way back then.


How did you come to start writing romance? I’ve been an avid romance reader since I was a teen and one day I said, “Hey, I could do that.” So I did! On a whim, I entered my first novel into a pitch contest a few years ago, and the editor signed my book right away! That’s when I really felt like a “real” romance writer, when I held that contract in my hand.  

You teach as well - how on earth do you fit it all in?  What are your biggest distractions? Yes and to be honest I don’t know how I f…

Book Review: New York Minute

New York Minute immediately appealed to me because it involves my favourite combination of business and music. 
The heroine, Veronica or Vero, is an accountant who decides to break out of her boring life by putting on the persona of an outgoing fashion buyer and having a one-night stand with Diego, a gorgeous guy she meets at a wedding.  When she bumps into Diego again at a speed dating event she’s dragged to by a more outgoing friend, their brief flame is rekindled and the one-night stand rapidly starts turning into a real relationship. 
Diego is a fabulously hot hero, with a successful – and fascinating - career as a musician and a deep devotion to his family.  As Vero learns more about Diego’s apparently perfect life, she feels less and less able to tell him the truth about her career, but of course the secrets she is keeping soon become a threat to their relationship.  Not only that, but it turns out that she’s not the only one keeping secrets, and we’re left wondering what he’…

Sneak Peek Sunday: Love by the Book

Here's something different for Sneak Peek Sunday - a glimpse into the futuristic dystopian world of Love by the Book.  This novella was my NaNoWriMo effort from a few years back, and as I still love it, I'm finally getting around to polishing it up. These 6 paragraphs appear at the very beginning, so shouldn't need too much introduction.

Something had changed.  Susan felt it instantly.  The darkness was as dark and the stillness as still as the night before, yet she woke knowing, without knowing why, that everything was different.  Things had changed a little when she joined the main House, and a great deal when she became the Guardian, but she was used to those changes.  They had to do with where she lived and what she did and how people treated her.  This change went deeper.  It crackled like radioactivity around the edges of her awareness and vibrated somewhere inside her with an excited hum.  She lay in silence, feeling out the change, as dawn broke through the dusty ai…

Book Review: An Autumn Crush

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An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The four seasons books are my favourite Milly Johnson books and although I didn’t love ‘An Autumn Crush’ quite as much as ‘A Spring Affair’, it was still a great read. Juliet is a strong, funny heroine and her new flatmate Florence (Floz) is the perfect sidekick to her, as kind and private as Juliet is noisy and outgoing, but just as appealing in her own way.

The men in the story are perfect too – Steve is a wrestler and Juliet’s brother Guy is a chef who also wrestles. At first it appears that Steve is all brawn and no brain (that’s certainly how Juliet sees him) but as time goes on we see his softer side, and learn about the mystery in Guy’s past that has made him wary of women, even ones as sweet as Floz.

There are some wonderfully funny moments and the humour never felt forced to me. Like most of Milly Johnson’s books, ‘An Autumn Crush’ envelopes the reader in a blanket of warm Northern friendliness, and like ‘A Sprin…

Just Out: Melinda Dozier's New York Minute

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It's always a pleasure to welcome a fellow Crimson Romance author to my blog, especially when they've got something to celebrate!  Here's Melinda Dozier with her brand new release, New York Minute!

Title: New York Minute Author: Melinda Dozier Release Day: March 9, 2015 Publisher: Crimson Romance

Blurb: Shy accountant Veronica Bass is determined to live it up a little before settling down with a perfectly respectable man to live a perfectly respectable life, just the way her mother wants.

So when rock star Diego Diaz flashes his bedroom eyes at her during a wedding reception, Veronica swallows her shyness and leads him to the nearest hotel room. Now this total sex god keeps popping up in her life, and she finds herself telling some not-so-little white lies to keep him interested.

Diego's world evolves around music, women throwing themselves at him, and having fun. His lifestyle hasn't allowed him to find the right girl to settle down with until now, but his own secret st…

Writer Wednesday Interview: J Arlene Culiner

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It’s a pleasure today to welcome J Arlene Culiner, whose latest book is A Swan’s Sweet Song, from The Wild Rose Press, although like me, she’s also had a book published by Crimson Romance.  Welcome, Arlene.
It’s a pleasure being invited by you, Stephanie. Thanks.





I liked the fact that A Swan’s Sweet Song has a very grown-up hero and heroine, who have both had some great life experiences.  Do you enjoy writing about mature characters?

Actually, I only write about mature characters. I really do think experience makes us more interesting. When we’re older, we have more to say, we’re not just guided by hormones or the desire to find a mate so we can reproduce. Mature characters can have great discussions; they know, finally, how to communicate — and, for me, that means their romance really does have a chance of lasting.


Sherry Valentine is a country singer and Carston Hewlett is a playwright.  What made you choose these jobs for your hero and heroine, and did you have to do a lot of researc…

Book Review: A Swan's Sweet Song, by J. Arlene Culiner

I loved this sweet story about a country singer and a playwright.  Sherry Valentine is the queen of popular culture and Carston Hewlett is the king of high-brow theatre: Nashville meets New York Times.  When they’re thrown together for a radio interview, neither of them expects much of the occasion, but they quickly find that there’s more to each of them than first appearances suggest.  Sparks fly and they’re soon looking for opportunities to spend more time together. 
The mature hero and heroine of the story were totally believable, and I liked the fact that, while they both had a past which influenced their present-day feelings, their pasts weren’t overplayed.  Instead, the focus was purely on how things play out for them in the present, when Carston finds out about Sherry’s desire to become an actress.  While Sherry keeps her ambitions a secret because she doesn’t want to exploit Carston, his past experience makes him misread her intentions entirely.  The crossed wires here are t…