Interview with RITA finalist Shannon McNear – & giveaway!

Welcome to my RITA® award celebration! Hosted by the Romance Writers of America®, the RITAs celebrate outstanding romance novels and novellas. I’m so thrilled to be a finalist in the Romance Novella category, and I’ve asked my fellow RITA® finalists to come tell you more about themselves and their books. I hope you meet some new favorite authors!

Today we welcome Shannon McNear!

A Midwestern farm girl transplanted more than 20 years ago to Charleston, South Carolina, then lately to North Dakota, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history, especially the colonial era. She’s currently a homeschooling mother, military wife, and a member of ACFW and RWA.

When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she finds joy in worship, women’s ministry, and encouraging whoever God brings across her path.

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1. Which of your books has been nominated for a RITA, and in what category?
Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, novella

2. How do your hero and heroine meet, and what are their first impressions of each other?
While out hunting, Truth Bledsoe happens upon a half-starved fugitive Tory. She can’t decide whether to shoot him or feed him—but pity and curiosity win out. Micah Elliot is grateful she didn’t actually shoot, and for a few mouthfuls of food, but he’s wary enough to not give her his real name.

3. What are their best and worst characteristics?
Truth is strong, resourceful, independent—which make her capable of caring for herself and younger siblings in her father’s absence, but she’s also reluctant to ask for help when she does need it. She’s also moved by compassion for Micah’s plight, but later she views this as weakness when she should (she thinks) stand firmly on her principles. Her worst characteristic, as she realizes later, is self-righteousness.

Micah has great protective instincts, and a strong sense of loyalty. He’s a little slow to commit to things, which in some situations might translate as cowardice, but he’s learning to navigate a newfound caution, born of his recent experiences.

4. Where is this book set, and what makes the setting special?
Near the “overmountain” settlements in historic western North Carolina, which is present-day east Tennessee. During the American Revolution, it was officially illegal for white settlers to live there.

5. Is this the first time you’ve been a RITA finalist? If not, what books have previously finaled?
Yes! And with this being my first contracted story, it’s extra special to me. 🙂

6. Have you read any of the other books that are finalists in your category? If so, which ones?
I haven’t, sorry!

7. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were a RITA finalist?
I don’t know, I might have cried? It took a while for it to really sink in. 🙂 I just kept saying “Omigosh!” during the actual call, then after I hung I up, I said to my husband, “I just finaled in the RITA!” and fell across the bed in shock. 🙂 The squeeing came later when one of my writing friends called to congratulate me!

8. Do you write in genres other than the one you finaled in? If not, are there any genres you would love to write in?
I have several fantasy manuscripts (my first love, LOL), but I’ve also written a long contemporary and a long historical.

9. If you win the RITA, who’s the first person you’ll thank in your speech, and why?
Oh man, I don’t know … it sounds cheesy to say, but probably God, because this contract (and the story!) were such an amazing gift. 🙂 The first after Him would be my longtime friend and critique partner, Beth Goddard, since she was the one who tossed the writing opp my way and encouraged/coached/cheered me on at every step.

Speed-dating round

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
I have to pick one?? I love Charleston SC, but the mountains of NC are also gorgeous. Central Missouri. Umm…and our new home in North Dakota has gone a long way toward seriously winning me over. The northern prairies are beautiful!

If you were stuck on a desert island, what ONE book would you want with you?
The Bible is kind of a no-brainer. After that, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, in one volume. Or Lord of the Rings.

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream career?
Custom sewing–picky, detailed stuff like wedding dresses and historic costuming.

What kind of dessert are you hoping they’ll serve at the award ceremony?
Cheesecake or something with very dark chocolate!

What’s the best compliment a reader could give you?
“I laughed, I cried, it moved me, Bob.” 🙂 Seriously, that it affected them emotionally, gave them hope in some way.

How would you describe your books?
Intense, a little broody, with flashes of light.

Left to care for her siblings at their mountain farm while her father fights the British in the East, Truth Bledsoe tries to remain brave when she finds an emaciated Tory hiding in a cave. Can Micah Elliot convince her that his political leanings have changed and that he can be trusted when her family is put in serious danger?

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Giveaway!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Winner will be announced on Monday July 21. Make sure you come back tomorrow for another interview and another chance to win!

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Interview with RITA finalist Jane Porter – & giveaway!

Welcome to my RITA® award celebration! Hosted by the Romance Writers of America®, the RITAs celebrate outstanding romance novels and novellas. I’m so thrilled to be a finalist in the Romance Novella category, and I’ve asked my fellow RITA® finalists to come tell you more about themselves and their books. I hope you meet some new favorite authors!

Today we welcome Jane Porter!

Jane PorterThe bestselling author of 47 romances and women’s fiction titles, Jane Porter has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award five times, and today has over 12 million copies in print.

Porter wrote Flirting with Forty, a novel picked by Redbook Magazine as its Red Hot Summer Read in 2006 before being turned into a Lifetime movie in 2008 starring Heather Locklear. Jane holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and makes her home in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband and three sons.

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1. Which of your books has been nominated for a RITA, and in what category?
Take Me, Cowboy – novella category

2. How do your hero and heroine meet, and what are their first impressions of each other?
They meet on a street corner. She’s in her wedding dress, having just been stood up by her fiance, and the hero is driving past in his truck and he thinks she looks like a princess at the bus stop. He’s immediately drawn to her, not recognizing her as the little girl who lived down the street from him. She’s horrified that her childhood heart throb, bullriding champ, Colton Thorpe would be there to witness her moment of shame.

3. What are their best and worst characteristics?
He’s tough, mature, and a risk-taker…and cynical about women and love. She’s hard working, tenacious but has given up her dreams, setting for a loveless marriage that would have been secure.

4. Where is this book set, and what makes the setting special?
Marietta, Montana set in Paradise Valley is a small town of 11,000 where everybody knows something about you…good or bad. I love writing about Montana. I had a grandfather that was a cattle rancher and so the rugged, tough cowboy is in my blood.

5. Is this the first time you’ve been a RITA finalist? If not, what books have previously finaled?
I have finaled 4 other times… 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2010

2003, 2004 and 2010 were with Harlequin Presents in Short Contemp Series

2008 was in single title/mainstream with romantic elements for Odd Mom Out

and then this year with my novellas from Tule Publishing

6. Have you read any of the other books that are finalists in your category? If so, which ones?
I am reading them all! It’s my reward for writing hard under my current deadline.

7. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were a RITA finalist?
I laughed. I couldn’t believe it. And then I told Meghan Farrell, who runs Tule Publishing and then my husband and some author friends.

8. Do you write in genres other than the one you finaled in? If not, are there any genres you would love to write in?
I write women’s fiction and contemp romance of all lengths.

9. If you win the RITA, who’s the first person you’ll thank in your speech, and why?
Wow. That’s a good question. I don’t think I’ll ever win. But if I did win….hmmm….I’d have to thank God for giving me the desire to do something good in the world, and then my Dad (gone since I was 15) thanks for passing the writing gene on to me. But I don’t need to win…just finaling meant the world to me as this is a story I wrote for my readers and it’s my idea of a perfect Jane Porter fairly-tale.

Speed-dating round

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
Kyoto or Cape Town…one of those. Don’t know how to choose.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what ONE book would you want with you?
The Bible because it has poems, stories, advice, and a lot of pages. It’d hopefully keep me busy for awhile.

If you could bring one of your heroes to life for a day, who would you choose?
I did already. That was my surfer hero in Flirting with Forty. 🙂

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream career?
Architect. I love building things…

What kind of dessert are you hoping they’ll serve at the award ceremony?
Something with meringue or marshmallow. Maybe chocolate, carmel and marshmallow. Maybe s’mores….?

What’s the best compliment a reader could give you?
You made me feel good.

How would you describe your books?
Emotional, bittersweet, and hopefully at the end, uplifting.

Take Me, CowboyWhen Jenny Wright’s fiancé leaves her standing at the altar in a Vera Wang bridal gown she can’t afford, she’s humiliated and heartbroken. To have Marietta hero bull riding champ Colton Thorpe witness her shame makes the rejection even more devastating.

Jenny and Colton grew up in the same rough neighborhood and they both left home right after school to pursue big dreams. Now they’re both back, with Colton as the celebrity chair for the 75th Copper Mountain Rodeo, and Jenny in disgrace. Sexy, rugged Colton didn’t get to be a national champion by chance. He’s a man that takes risks and goes after what he wants. During the rodeo weekend, Colton makes it clear he wants Jenny. Flustered but flattered, Jenny finds it difficult to resist his charm. But what happens when the rodeo ends and Colton leaves town? Will she dare to dream again?

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Giveaway!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Winner will be announced on Monday July 21. Make sure you come back tomorrow for another interview and another chance to win!

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An American’s Christmas in England

My first Christmas away from home, I got lucky.

I’d moved from Los Angeles to Prague in the Czech Republic and couldn’t afford to fly back for the holidays. I was expecting a lonely few weeks as all of my new friends scattered to be with their families.

But then I met the most incredible guy—a Brit with a luscious accent and a sense of humor as dry as the desert I grew up in.

We got serious very quickly. We’d only been going out for a week when he invited me back to his parents’ house in England for Christmas. Yep—from “Let’s be more than friends” to “Come meet my family and spend the holidays with us” in one week.

By the time Christmas came around, we’d been together a whopping ten weeks. We spent the next two weeks with his family—and holy cow, did I ever get to know them, and their British Christmas traditions, quickly.

His parents picked us up from the airport. Our flight had been severely delayed, so I fell asleep in the car on the way to their house in Norfolk. It was late when we arrived, and my first view of their house included one of my boyfriend’s brothers standing in the living room wearing nothing but his underwear.

Continue reading “An American’s Christmas in England”

Five ways to have a British Christmas

Brits and Americans share a lot of Christmas traditions—such as bringing a tree indoors and hanging stockings in the hope that they’ll be filled with gifts overnight—but the first time I went to my British in-laws’ house for Christmas, I discovered a lot of traditions I’d never heard of before.

In my Christmas novella, Mine Under the Mistletoe, California-girl Ashley fulfils her lifelong dream of spending Christmas in London. If you can’t spend this Christmas in Britain, here’s how you can make your Christmas a little more British.

1. Pantomime

Christmastime is also known as panto season in Britain, the time when B-list (and C- and D-list) celebs find work as cross-dressers in the country’s theaters. Pantomimes are based on classic children’s tales, like Puss in Boots and Cinderella, but with lots of naughty jokes for grown-ups. The main character is almost always a boy, who’s played by a woman. Camp men don padded bras and strut around the stage dressed as older women.

Pantos are hilarious and probably my favorite British tradition—which is why some of my favorite scenes of Mine Under the Mistletoe take place at a pantomime performance of Jack & the Beanstalk.
Continue reading “Five ways to have a British Christmas”

Release day party for Mine Under The Mistletoe and All I’m Asking For!

Whoop whoop! My Christmas novella Mine Under The Mistletoe has hit the virtual bookshelves! So has the anthology it’s in along with novellas by Christi Barth and Brighton Walsh, All I’m Asking For: A Contemporary Christmas Anthology.

It’s the holiday season, so we’re having a few parties to celebrate. Grab a bottle of bubbly and join us!

Twitter chat TODAY!

Christi, Brighton and I are having a Twitter chat, hosted by Closed the Cover blog tours. We’re giving away prizes every ten minutes, so please come chat with us.

Please join us TODAY from 2-3pm EST. That’s 8-9pm in Western Europe. Follow the hashtag #XmasAnthology.

E-reader giveaway at Dear Author

The lovely Jane at Dear Author is having us as guests at her site today, and we’re having a giveaway along with the authors of Carina Press’s other contemporary Christmas anthology, For My Own. We’re giving away either a Kindle or a Nook Simple Touch. Hurry! The giveaway ends this weekend!

Book giveaway at Give Me Books blog

The wonderful Give Me Books blog is hosting a giveaway for us. You could win a $25 gift certificate and books! Stop by today and enter!

Giveaway at Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance

One of my favorite blogs has invited me to take part in their December Joyathon along with some of my all-time favorite romance authors. Come find out which 12 sports romance heroes I’d put in a calendar. You could win a copy of my rugby romance novel Knowing the Score!

Blog tour

Our blog tour continues, and you have a chance to win a $25 book gift certificate. Here’s the schedule – stop by one of the posts and enter to win!

Most importantly, here’s information about the books that are out today. We hope you buy and enjoy them!

Mine Under The Mistletoe by Kat Latham

Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat LathamThanks to a transatlantic house swap, California girl Ashley Turner is finally going to fulfill her lifelong dream of a proper English Christmas. Her holiday plans did not include a sexy stranger climbing into her borrowed bed in the middle of the night. But in the light of day, Ashley can’t help but wonder if Santa has delivered early…

Game designer Oliver Stansfeld can’t wait to leave dreary London—and all its difficult holiday memories—for sunny San Diego. But a freak ice storm and a grounded plane have forced him back to his already-occupied flat. To make up for the mix-up, the least he can do is show his pretty houseguest where to get the perfect Christmas tree before he leaves.

The more time they spend together, the more their attraction grows, and soon Ashley is tempting Oliver to give in to the spirit of the season and snuggle up for the rest of the winter. As the ice melts and flights start taking off again, he must choose between giving in to the past or risking his heart on a chance at love.

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Also available in All I’m Asking For: A Contemporary Christmas Anthology

All I'm Asking For: A Contemporary Christmas Anthology by Brighton Walsh, Kat Latham and Christi BarthThis Christmas, the producer of a small town holiday spectacular is swept away by a handsome Hollywood director. Being stranded in a snowstorm offers a couple a second chance at a future together. And an American in London helps a brooding Brit put the ghosts of Christmas past behind him.

Wherever you are, however you celebrate, this collection of three festive novellas will bring warmth to your holiday season.

Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:

Tinsel My Heart by Christi Barth
Season of Second Chances by Brighton Walsh
Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat Latham

Stories also available for purchase separately.

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And for those of you who love small-town contemporary romance, Carina Press has another Christmas anthology out, For My Own. I’m reading it now and so enjoying it! Here it is.

For My Own: A Contemporary Christmas Anthology

For My OwnSnowy days and steamy nights

This year, a modern-day Scrooge learns the true meaning of Christmas with the help of a suddenly sexy old friend. A down-on-his-luck baseball star finds a beautiful new beginning with a hometown girl. And a prim-and-proper teacher is determined to bring out the holiday spirit in a grumpy tree farmer. Settle in for the season with this collection of very merry short fiction.

Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:

A Christmas for Carrie by Alison Packard
Christmas Curveball by Shari Mikels
Kissing Her Scrooge by Kinley Cade

Stories also available for purchase separately.

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | B&N | Carina PressGoodreads | Audible | More options