Sunday, December 25, 2011

True North FREE for Five Days on Kindle

Get the book that started my indie author career for free on Kindle for the next five days!

The first time Travis North lays eyes on Liana McDermott, she’s wearing the most hideous bridesmaid dress he’s ever seen. He doesn't immediately recognize the world-famous super model who is attending her cousin Enid's wedding at the country club he owns. Thanks to Enid's shameless matchmaking, Travis and Liana become acquainted and later embark on a two-week fling intended to be free of emotion and entanglement. As Liana's return to work gets closer, however, Travis wonders how he'll ever let her go when the time comes while Liana considers whether he might be her true north. Two high-powered careers, two amazing weeks and a love that comes along just once in a lifetime. Is she ready to give up her career for a different kind of life? Does he want the same things she does? After insisting on an emotionless affair, she can't very well ask him. Or can she?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Favorite Books of 2011

I was asked to do this for a blog posting, so I figured I'd post my list here, too. You all know that I keep a running tab of my books on the blog. Last year I read 112 books. This year, I'll be lucky to hit 100. I expect I will exceed both totals next year when I'm "only" working as a mother and author with hopefully more time to read! So here is my top 10 (okay a few more than 10) for the year, in no particular order:

1. Seven Secrets of Seduction by Anne Mallory was the first book I read in 2011, and I absolutely adored it because it had all the elements of a great historical romance, was extremely well written and just plain old good fun. In fact I may have to re-read it to end the year!

2. All They Need, One Good Reason, Her Best Friend, The Last Goodbye: Why? Sarah Mayberry. Enough said! If you're not reading her books, why not?

3. What I Did for a Duke & To Love a Thief. Julie Anne Long was a big discovery for me this year, and I loved her Pennyroyal Green Series. Some of the best historical romances I've ever read.

4. After the Fire, On the Line, Nothing More to Lose: Kathryn Shay's firefighting series was spectacular. I loved all three books.

5. Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard, an oldie that I had never read until the R&O Book Club brought it to my attention. Spine-tingling suspense, heart-pounding romance and signature Linda Howard humor all in one "perfect" story. If you haven't read this one, you're missing a classic!

6.  Breaking Point by Pamela Clare (brilliant) 

7. The Search by Nora Roberts (the best Nora book in years)

8. Treachery in Death and NY to Dallas by J.D. Robb (love me some Eve and Roarke)

9. Summer of Two Wishes by Julia London (beautiful story)

10. The Many Sins of Lord Cameron and Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley (fantastic series). 

I also reallllllllly enjoyed my friend Bella Andre's Sullivan Family series, and not just because I'm a Sullivan! :-) I'm also really enjoying In Bed With a Highlander by Maya Banks, which I'm reading now. Looking forward to the other two books in that trilogy, and I LOVE her KGI books.

Okay must stop now. Could go on and on....

Tell me what's on your top 10 list for 2011! What books are you most anticipating in 2012?

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Starting Over, AVAILABLE NOW!

BOOK 3 in the Treading Water Trilogy

In a drunken stupor, Brandon O'Malley frightens his brother Aidan's girlfriend, enraging his brother and the rest of his family. Aidan offers Brandon the choice of rehab or jail, and Brandon reluctantly enters treatment. While in rehab, he confronts the lifetime of secrets and resentments that fueled his spiral into alcoholism, and these revelations have a major effect on his entire family. When he returns home expecting to resume his supervisory role in the family’s construction business, Brandon learns his father has retired and put his younger brothe, Colin,r in charge. Brandon is unhappy to be given the job of renovating an apartment building where he loses his heart to an adorable five-year-old tenant named “Mike.” After he falls hard for Michaela, Brandon becomes involved with her mother Daphne, who is running from a past that will later test his sobriety and his mettle as a man.

Get Starting Over in ebook format:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Isn’t This Glamorous? Leading the Life of a Romance Writer

By Stephanie Queen

If I’m leading the glamorous life of a romance writer, then what is glamour anyway? It’s every gal’s dream come true, isn’t it? For instance, at a book-signing, having every Fabio-like guy in the room standing in line for an autograph… or a photograph with you. There’s something about the flash of a camera in a buzzing crowd-filled room that screams out “GLAMOUR!” (at least that’s what I thought I heard).

Don’t look now, but in this photo taken at my recent book-signing, this random fan (I use the term *fan* loosely—but he was definitely random) topped the male portion of the audience. Not exactly Fabio-like (so who really likes Fabio anyhow? He’s so 80s cliché.) but we weren’t exactly in Hollywood. (We were at an undisclosed location which I can’t disclose due to my super-notoriety and wanting to maintain some privacy—the downside to the glamorous life.) (yeah, right. Boo-hoo.)

Back to figuring out what glamorous means. According to Webster, glamorous means : full of glamour (no kidding): excitingly attractive, such as a glamorous life. As if Merriam knew. Had they even invented cameras in his day?

Favorite Synonym: romantic. Yes, even Merriam is enticed by the connotations of romance. Although I’ll bet he never wrote a romance novel. Outlandish was my second favorite synonym. I can testify to outlandish. I’ve been to a romance writers convention.
Least Favorite Synonym: Bizarro. Hmmm.
Favorite Antonym: plain Jane, closely followed by the uncreative antonym, unromantic.
And my favorite unrelated feature in Websters: “Rhymes With” GLAMOROUS: amorous and clamorous. They definitely go with the glamorous territory. I could write a poem (but don’t worry, I won’t) (see bizarro).
So in summary, the answer to the question “Isn’t this glamorous?” is of course it is! If my life as a romance writer wasn’t excitingly attractive, why else would I do it? Isn’t glamour everything? Plain Jane is out. Bizarro? Well that’s another story for another day.

What do you picture as the ultimate glamorous moment of a romance writer’s life?

We'll give a copy of The Throwbacks to one commenter today. Here's the scoop on the book: 
To salvage his career, exiled Scotland Yard "Flying Squad" detective, the not-so-young David Young, joins the Boston Police Department. But this rogue detective can’t resist an unlikely romance with his young and vivacious decorator, Grace Rogers, even when she becomes a key witness in his high-stakes case—and like Kryptonite to his career and well-being.
Stephanie Queen writes romance novels while running from the paparazzi who constantly haunt her excitingly attractive life. Her most recent release is The Throwbacks, the first in the Scotland Yard Exchange Program series of romantic comedy suspense novels. Visit her at for all the latest in her glamorous romance-writing life.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Welcome to My Friend Cynthia Eden with a Giveaway!

I'm very excited to welcome my writing pal, Cynthia Eden, over for a visit today! She writes wonderful suspense and paranormal romances. It's a thrill to have her here, so show her a good time while I am slaving away at the day job! :-) Now, here's Cynthia!

An Angel’s Wings…

Hi, everyone! And a big thank you to the lovely Marie for having me over today.  ;)

It’s the holiday season! Folks are happy…and feeling a little frantic. It’s the time of the year to snuggle up by a fire and watch a Christmas special. At my house, I always enjoy both the funny shows (Scrooged, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) and the shows that make me tear up (It’s a Wonderful Life).

In It’s a Wonderful life, I love it when the little girl tells her dad, “Teacher says…every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”  During the holidays, my son now listens for bells, hoping that means that somewhere, someplace, an angel is getting wings.

An angel with wings—well, that can sure be one great thing.

Pity I’m taking those wings away.  Ahem…

Because I’ve got a new series out now—a dark paranormal series about angels who fall. And, when they fall, their lovely wings get burned away.  But it’s actually when they fall, well, it’s then that life truly begins for my angels. They start to experience human emotions and needs. They want. They crave. They lust.

They love.

And isn’t love one of the best things about the holidays? 

So fall with my angels. Get tempted this holiday.  Enjoy yourself. Even sin a little.

Have yourself  a merry old holiday time.

I’d love to give one commenter ANGEL OF DARKNESS. To enter the giveaway, just tell me the holiday movie you love to watch at this time of the year. The winner will be randomly selected from all the comments that I receive. Good luck!

Happy Holidays.
Cynthia Eden
ANGEL OF DARKNESS—Available now from Kensington Brava
When an angel falls for a vampire, all hell breaks loose…

Monday, November 28, 2011


“Marking Time” continues the story begun in “Treading Water” as Clare Harrington begins a new life. She’s considered a miracle, but everything that’s happened since she recovered from a three-year coma has been something less than miraculous. Now left to grapple with the aftermath of a selfless decision, she is home from the hospital and trying to figure out what the next chapter in her miraculous recovery has in store for her. Meanwhile, her eighteen-year-old daughter Kate, a talented singer and songwriter, sets out to pursue her musical dreams in Nashville. Her parents have agreed to allow Kate to spend a year there, but they couldn't have anticipated Kate falling in love with a much older man. Her newly divorced parents are forced back together to confront their wayward daughter. Spanning from Newport, Rhode Island, to Nashville, Tennessee, to Stowe, Vermont, "Marking Time" is the story of new beginnings and new loves. 

Read an excerpt of Marking Time.

Get Marking Time:

Other retailers coming soon!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Tis the season in the U.S. of A. when we take a day to honor the turkey, gather with our families and, in most cases, spend most of the day eating and watching football. In my family, we also try to take a moment to offer up our thanks for all the blessings we've received in the past year, so I thought I'd share the Top 10 things I'm thankful for as 2011 comes to a close.

1. My children. They are teenagers, so they often drive me crazy, but I wouldn't trade them for any other crazy teenagers, unless, of course, the circus came a'calling and offered the right price. Seriously, I'm abundantly grateful for their good health, good (and often inappropriate) humor, relatively good grades and positive outlook on life. They are a joy to live with and a constant source of amusement with a healthy dose of consternation thrown in to keep things real. I repeat: they are teenagers, so they can't help it. And even though the teenage years are rife with challenges, I much prefer them to the baby years. I genuinely like my kids and the people they are becoming.

2. My husband. Yes, I call him The Turnip for a variety of well-earned reasons, but he showed his true stripes this year, handling my health crisis with equal parts humor and determination to get us all through it. I appreciate that he's always where he says he's going to be and never gives me a reason to wonder what he's up to. He's true blue all the way, and I am lucky to have him. (Just don't tell him I said any of that or he will be unlivable.)

3. My dad. At 77, he is going strong, enjoying good health and keeping me entertained. He is one of my best "girlfriends," and I'm very thankful to have him here to laugh at me as I navigate the teenage years with my kids. I'm also thankful for his lovely boat, which is one of my summer happy places. He enjoys every minute he spends with my kids, and they appreciate the time they have with their only remaining grandparent. He is very much their "third" parent. I'm also grateful that he will be over later to take care of getting the turkey ready. Since the process gives me the dry heaves, I am appreciative of his assistance (which is largely self-serving because he is VERY fond of turkey).

4. My health. You all know I had some health challenges this year that led to surgery, which fixed the problem once and for all. I'm feeling a thousand times better than I have in a LONG time, and I'm grateful it wasn't something more serious. It was treatable and fixable, and the entire ordeal made me thankful for the good health we often take for granted.

5. My dog. My dear sweet Brandy brings me joy every single day as my steadfast work-at-home companion. Whether we are chasing her down to retrieve a pair of socks or trying to coax her off the beach by pretending we're going to leave without her, there is never a dull moment with the Brandana around. I'm grateful that this year she realized we like to READ the newspaper, so it's better if she doesn't shred it for us every day. She sleeps right smack between us every night, and we wouldn't have it any other way. I also love how much joy she brings my dad, who is her biggest fan. Tomorrow they will carve the turkey "together." My favorite Brandy moment of 2011 was when my boss and his wife were here for dinner and he made the mistake of lowering his hand when he was holding a potato chip. GONE. "That," he said with typical good humor, "was unexpected." We still giggle about that months later!

6. My extended family. My brother, my niece, my nephew, my aunts, uncles and the gaggle of cousins who are more like siblings than cousins, I'm grateful for every one of you. We recently celebrated my aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary and had most of the large family in attendance. Many of them will be at my house tomorrow night, since we still spend holidays together even in our late 30s and 40s. I wouldn't have it any other way.

7. My friends. Whether you are near or far, whether I've met you in person or online, you know who you are and you know what you mean to me. I found out how many friends I have when I was sick, and each of you means the world to me.

8. My readers. I am one extremely lucky author to have such a loyal, dedicated group of readers. I've had an incredible year with my books, and I'm thankful to everyone who bought one or more of my books. The lovely reviews, emails and postings make me smile, and I treasure every one of them. As long as you all keep reading, I will keep writing!

9. My characters. Sam, Nick, Mac, Maddie, Joe, Janey, Luke, Sydney, Jack, Andi: thank you all for appearing in my imagination, becoming real people to me and real people to my readers. I don't know where this stuff comes from, but I'm not asking any questions. I'd appreciate it if the characters and stories could keep on coming so I can keep on doing what I most love to do. In 2012, we'll be hearing from Grant, Evan, Adam, Tiffany, and of course, more from Sam, Nick and the gang!

10. The Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo, etc. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the brilliant people who invented these life-changing devices and to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple and all the retailers who've made it possible for authors to take their stories direct to readers. I'm eternally grateful for the opportunities I've been afforded this year, and look forward to growing my business further in 2012 when I will become a full-time writer.

Bonus: Oreos. Need I explain?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Now tell me what you are most thankful for this year!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Treading Water Winner

Thanks to everyone who came out this week to join in our conversation about some of the tough issues covered in Treading Water. I think we decided there really are no easy answers to some questions in life. I promise you that Clare gets her happy ending in Marking Time, so I will look forward to another chat after you've had a chance to read that one!

If you didn't get the word about the new reading group that was born as the result of this discussion, find us on Facebook under my main profile Marie Force (Author). The name of the group is Marie Force Book Talk. The group is open to anyone who has enjoyed my books and wants some reading buddies for future books. Thanks to Amanda for suggesting the group. We're already having fun over there!

Now, for the winner of the advance copies of Marking Time and Starting Over: JOY! Contact me at and I will send your copies a few days ahead of the launch dates for each book. Thanks again, everyone. It was a great thrill to see readers debating the finer points of the book of my heart.

UPDATE: Whoa, I totally forgot to say yet another thank you to Jennifer Marriott and Kellie Harker who got the ball rolling on this week's fun and were wonderful hostesses! Thanks ladies!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

And Now for My Take...

Yesterday, Jennifer and Kellie posted some great questions about Treading Water, and we had a spirited conversation about the book. Before I invited them to come on the blog, I answered some questions for them. So I will post our Q&A here and look forward to hearing what readers have to say.

Question 1 from Jennifer and Kellie: Was Andi Jack's "true love?" I know you touched upon it when Jack himself asked Jamie his opinion of what Jamie thought would've happened had Jack met Andi while married to a healthy Clare. I mean he was going to meet her anyway...the project was in the works, etc regardless of the accident happening to Clare, right? I feel like Jack would still have been torn about his relationship with Clare. I guess what I'm leading up to is WHAT IF the roles were reversed and it was Andi he was married to and ended up in a coma and Jack had met Clare...would he have had the same pull he did with Andi? I don't think so. I think his bond to Andi was stronger than it was to Clare? He even admitted to it when he told Andi that she knew him better than ANYONE ever had.

Question 2 from Jennifer and Kellie: Clare - There's a part of me that feels like she gave up on Jack too soon. I would've preferred if Clare and Jack lived together for a bit in the same home after her hospital stint and then Jack would be then be the one to approach Clare that it just wasn't going to work although he had given it his darndest to make it work. Andi would already have the twins and in her own way moving on with her life....although heartbroken. There's a part of me that thinks that if I was Andi I would still wonder if Jack was really over Clare so it would've felt better for ME had he lived with Clare and realized it was really done.

Marie on Questions 1 and 2: The thing I like best about TW and Jack's dilemma is that it's one of those things where you can't possibly know what you'd do unless you are IN the situation. I'm with Jamie: Jack might've looked, he might've been attracted to Andi, but before Clare was injured, he wasn't in a place where he'd be OPEN to what might be possible with Andi, which made all the difference. That said, in the end, I do think Andi was Jack's true love. He and Clare had a great run, but by the time she rejoined the land of the living their time had come and gone. It took great courage on her part to be able to recognize that and not belabor the point by trying to get back what was already gone. Remember, she had a couple of months to watch and observe and by the time she made her decision she knew he was hopelessly in love with someone else. What else COULD she do?

From the author's standpoint, I needed to get Jack out of the marriage "cleanly" so he could end up with Andi. Readers were committed to their relationship by then, and there was no other possible ending but for them to end up together. When I was writing the first (of many) drafts, Clare had woken up and I was like, well, this is a fine mess. Now how do you propose we get him out of this? LOL! And please rest assured, Clare gets her happily ever after in Marking Time with a guy I love almost as much as Jack!

Another thing I want to say is that Andi never had any reason to doubt that Jack truly loved her. Look at what they went through to be together. He had proven himself to her. I don't think she relished the idea of him "choosing" her over Clare. Then she'd have to live with the fallout of that. I think, especially knowing what happens in book 2, it was better for Clare to be the one to pull the plug on the marriage. In the opening chapters of Marking Time, she is grappling with the reality of that decision and she is quite heartbroken over it when she gets home to the house he built for her and it really sinks in that she will have to live the rest of her life without him. Sigh....

Question 3 from Jennifer and Kellie: The Ending - Thank You for a Happy Ending. You had me worried there. The ending made me love Clare. In the end, we were both so impressed with Clare's strength and dignity. She did the RIGHT thing although it would've killed ME to do what she did.

Eric - Adorable and so touching how Jack adopted him and changed Eric's last name to Harrington. Perfect.

Marie: I'm glad you approve of the ending. I love the way the whole thing came together in the end and that Jack managed to make it all work out the way it was supposed to. I loved writing Jack and Eric's relationship. The scene where Eric tells Jack he loves him gets me every time.

My turn to ask a question: What would you do in Jack's situation? Your spouse is in a coma, you are told he or she will never recover and you have a second chance at love. Would you take that chance?

Just a reminder that I'm giving away copies of Marking Time and Starting Over (copies will be provided the week of their respective releases) to two commenters this week. Comment on yesterday's blog or today's to be entered into tomorrow's drawing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jennifer and Kellie Take Over to Talk About Treading Water

By: Jennifer Marriott and Kellie Harker

Type faster Jennifer, before Marie comes back...

Hi, we’re Jennifer and Kellie and we’ve taken over Marie’s blog. Well…..“taken over” might not be completely accurate. She did give us permission and all, but we are so excited to be here we can’t stop giggling like school girls. Marie asked us to share “our” story with you.

K - So last March, it was March right Jennifer?

J - Yep, March!

K - Ok, last March I finished Marie’s book The Fall and was left with lots of questions and emotions. I wrote a blog post about this being the first book I read that made me feel so much all at once.

J - Marie is a master at emotionally “messy” books.

K - Messy is exactly right, Jennifer! Feeling entirely too brave, I sent a link to Marie with a link to my blog,, and went back to bed. When I woke up hours later I realized Marie had posted a link to my blog on her twitter and Facebook page! Marie, HERSELF had come and commented and slowly other people started commenting as well.

J - Including me! That’s where I came in. In Kellie’s post she admitted she had read 120 books in the last year and I knew we’d be friends. I finally “met” someone who read as much as I did. We commented back and forth and got to ask Marie a lot of questions about her books and she took the time to answer each one. It was just awesome!

K - We can be honest, we were totally star struck.

J - SQUEE!!! We couldn’t believe she took the time to answer our questions. A few weeks later Kellie and I started emailing each other about this book or that book and at some point we decided to read a book together and then meet online to talk about it. We would start a book on a Monday and have an online discussion just between the two of us around Thursday. It was a virtual book club….with two very cool chicks as members.

K - Oh we should mention. We’ve never met. Jennifer lives in New Jersey and I live in Arizona. If we had met through a classified ad it would have read something like “Enjoys devouring romance novels, time alone with our Kindles and looking for someone to have long chats on the internet with about books” We both would have answered that ad..

J - So true! It was SO fun. Our friendship grew quickly from that point. We could no longer wait to finish a book before we started commenting. We were e-mailing and then soon we were texting every day. It started with texts about the characters, story lines and soon followed with our own personal lives, discussions about our children and families and all that fun stuff. Recently, we finished Treading Water and the text messages going back and forth were classic. When we finished the book we of course sent Marie our questions. Here is just sample of our texts to each other about Treading Water:

J - I’m at 57%. I swear at this point I would dump Jack.
K - What??? Dump jack? R U ill?
J - Are you reading? I don’t think I can move on.
K - Tell me when you get to the beginning of Part 3 and tell me what you’re thinking!
J - I think I’m about to cry. Poor Andi
K - My heart is absolutely broken for her. Can you imagine?

K - We tried to keep out any comments that would give the ending away for the few of you out there who may not have read it yet. Hurry though because the next book is coming out soon and you'll want to keep up. Marie didn’t pay us to say that either.

J - When Marie wrote back and graciously answered all our questions again she asked if we'd be willing to write a blog post about "Our Story" and share how we met, meet online to talk about the books and share the questions Marie gets after we finish her books.

K- I think we’re still star struck.

J – Ya think?!? Totally!!

Here are a few of the questions we posted to Marie about Treading Water. What do you think? Thanks for letting us stop in and tell a little about us. We met through Marie's books, quickly became close friends and share an absolute love for romance novels. Doesn't get much better than that! Come leave your comments and let us know what you think about the questions we were rattled with after reading Treading Water.

1. Was Andi Jack's "true love?"
2. Do you think Clare gave up on Jack too easily?
3. If Clare had not made the choice she had, what do you think would have happened between Jack and Andi?

Marie: Thanks so much to Jennifer and Kellie for sharing their totally cool story of how they met through my books. I LOVE that, of course! So, weigh in on their three questions and tomorrow I'll post my answers as well as a few other questions we talked about as we planned these blogs. On Friday, I'll give away copies of all three books in the Treading Water Trilogy, so make sure you comment today and tomorrow to be entered into the drawing. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fun Three-Day Event This Week!

Very exciting three-day event coming up on the blog this week! Two of my favorite readers, Jennifer Yao Marriott and Kellie Zondlo Harker became friends through my books. What a kick, huh? They'll be sharing how they bonded over The Fall and their thoughts and questions on Treading Water, beginning Wednesday, Nov. 16, with other readers welcome to weigh in on their questions (and they ask some GOOD ones!). 
On Thursday, Nov. 17, we'll post my answers to their questions. And Friday, Nov. 18, we'll give away copies of all three books in the Treading Water trilogy (winners will receive Marking Time and Starting Over just before they launch on Nov. 29 and Dec. 27). Make sure you've read Treading Water before you come by the blog as the girls will be spilling some spoilers. :-)

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Love at First Flight hit the shelves in Japan this week!

Friday, October 28, 2011

What a Fun Fun FUN Launch Week!

The first sign of good news for Treading Water came early yesterday. I woke to a flurry of emails from readers and friends who told me they'd gotten a notice from Amazon letting them know my new book was on sale.

I had a feeling it was going to be a very good day, and I wasn't wrong. By the end of the day, the book was at no. 17 for ALL of Kindle, which makes it a Kindle bestseller! Commence happy dancing in an Elaine-from-Seinfeld kind of way, since I'm still recovering from surgery after all!

Treading Water began climbing the charts. I wonder if Nicholas Sparks was feeling the heat from the new kid in town...

The news got even better as the day went on...

And better still...

And then today I found myself in some very good company with two of my all-time favorite authors. Pinch me please!

Of all the books of mine that could be in this position, this is the one I would've chosen. It's my all-time favorite, the book of my heart, the first book I ever wrote. Thank you to everyone who has given me this thrill ride of a lifetime.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Club: Flat Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy

By: Kris Gilson

First off, I must divulge that I had never read any car racing-themed book.  I just wasn’t interested.  Nuh-uh…no way.  Then came Flat Out Sexy and….OH. MY. GOD.  I was totally hooked.  This book centers around Tamara Briggs, a widow with two children whose husband died in a crash at Talladega.  She is just getting back into the dating scene when she meets Elec Monroe at a cocktail party.  She’s with a dud of a date when they accidentally collide.  Elec is smokin’ hot, the attraction is instantaneous.  Tamara dumps the dud, and they unexpectedly share a scorching night together (he was trying to be gentlemanly…didn’t work out so much!).  

There are two things wrong with this scenario…Elec is a race car driver and he’s seven years younger.   Tamara really tries to keep it light and casual and wants to do right by her children and she obviously has fears over Elec’s occupation.  Beyond the age and occupation, she has a few body image issues, but they make her more likeable and don’t detract from the story.  Elec is an all-around great guy; he’s nice to her kids and he falls for her immediately.  At Elec’s age and with his occupation and having women fall all over him all the time, you’d think he’d at least be tempted a little.  But he only has eyes for Tamara.  It makes you love his character even more and the chemistry between the two sizzles right off the charts.  

This book is fast paced and funny, but there is also emotion and depth to the story.  The kids in the story are great, never annoying, and they are not used as props, they’re integral to the story.  I liked how Tamara wasn’t willing to just dump her kids in order to be with Elec; they had to figure out how to make time into their routines.  The secondary characters are funny and charming, adding to an all-around awesome story (oh, how I loved Suzanne and Ryder and couldn’t wait for their story!).   The racing scenes and information are interesting and not overpowering and written so well that it made me want to become a racing fan.

Flat Out Sexy is the first in a series and I highly recommend reading them all….in order!

I actually found this recipe on a website called “Talladega Superspeedway Recipes and Menu Ideas”:

Apricot Honey Grilled Chicken

Makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 min.
Grilling Time: 15 min
  • Glaze Ingredients
    • 1 - Tablespoon butter
    • 1/4 - cup chopped onion
    • 1/3 - cup apricot spreadable fruit
    • 2 - Tablespoons honey
    • 1 - teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
  • Chicken Ingredients
    • 1/2 - teaspoon dried oregano leaves 
    • 1/4 - teaspoon salt 
    • 1/4 - teaspoon pepper 
    • 4 - boneless skinless (4-ounce) chicken breast halves
Preheat gas grill on medium or charcoal grill until coals are ash white.
  1. While grill is heating, in a 1-quart saucepan, you want to melt butter in until sizzling and add onion.
  2. Sauté over medium heat for 1 minute or until onion is softened.
  3. Stir in fruit, honey and lemon peel. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, you will combine oregano, salt and pepper.
  5. Rub on both sides of chicken breasts and place chicken onto grill.
  6. Grill, turning once, for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
  7. Brush chicken with glaze during last 5 minutes of grilling. Cook remaining glaze in 1-quart saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Serve warm glaze over chicken.
A Note About Book Club
After a year of meetings and books and authors and giveaways, we've decided to close the door on what has become a really fun weekly event for all of us. However, it takes more time than we've got to give right now and since we can't do it weekly, we've decided to do it once in a while. We'll still hold occasional meetings to talk about books we love, authors we love and of course, Oreos. Thanks for making the Romance and Oreos Book Club such a fun place to hang out this last year! Thanks so much to Aly Hackett and Ronlyn Howe, who helped out behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly. And to the authors who participated in the meetings and offered giveaways, thank you!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Next Up On Book Club: Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy

Independent single mother Tamara Briggs wanted to find a new, sexy, no-strings-attached man-just not one as young as NASCAR driver Elec Monroe. But he sure does get her heart racing. And after she’s tricked into a blind date with him, Tamara gives in to her passion. Things screech to a halt, though, when he asks to meet her children. Whatever happened to wham-bam-thank-you ma’am? Suddenly Tamara has to decide how much risk she’s willing to take to experience the power of true love.

Join us and author Erin McCarthy for our discussion of Flat-Out Sexy on Thursday, October 27th

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Club: After The Fire by Kathryn Shay

By: Aly Hackett --- with some help from Kara and Ronlyn

I started reading Kathyrn Shay’s Super Romance firefighter series back in 2000.  I immediately fell in love with her characters and knew that when she came out with After The Fire, that I would feel the same way.  She did not disappoint!

The Malvaso family siblings – Mitch, Jenn and Zach – have had their share of issues in life.  When a major fire happens, it makes all of them take a look at where they are in life and decide to make some changes.  Mitch wants to work harder at making his family work, Jenny wants a baby and wants her best friend Grady to “father” it and Zach wants to make up for all his past errors.

Mitch realizes that making his family work is going to be difficult for 2 reasons – 1.  His wife is a mean, spiteful bitch and 2.  His attraction to Megan Hale.  I really appreciated watching the relationship between Mitch and Megan grow.  Despite that everyone knows how horrible Mitch’s wife is and would understand if he had an affair with Megan, I give him – and Shay – credit for not going in that direction.  Although, yes, Mitch and Megan were emotionally connecting, they did their best to stay away from each other and keep things professional.

Jenn and Grady were pretty fabulous as well.  They embark on a journey that has so many possible pitfalls.  And of course poor tortured Zach!  He has done so much wrong but you know he wants to make it all right!

Shay writes characters in a way that draws you into them.  The family dynamic and the relationship between the siblings is wonderful.  I also think that the “family” nature of the members of the fire department just adds strength to the book.

I asked Kara and Ronlyn to share some quick thoughts on After the Fire and this is what they had to say…

Kara :  I loved that this was not your typical romance. There wasn't really a main couple who followed a romance formula to happiness. I loved the fact that 'family' seemed to be the main character, both the Malvaso's and the family of smoke eaters.  None of the members were perfect to be sure!
There was raw emotion, which brought tears to my eyes more than once, as well as lighter moments that made me smile.   I couldn't nail down a favorite character, although I'm VERY confident it wasn't Cynthia.

Ronlyn:  I LOVED when Megan went to the record store and chatted with Mitch's son re: his music and her reaction and support of his dream.  Such a small thing for her, but so huge for both Mitch and his son

His psycho ex wife...well, I'm none too fond of psycho exes at the moment. ;-)  But when his brother came clean about what happened and the whole misunderstanding re: that.  Very emotional.

And Megan's memories of her times at the camp with her father.

I laugh that Kara and I had the same reaction to the family element.  And in a way, so did Ronlyn by her reaction to Megan’s interaction with Mitch’s son, Bobby.  Kathryn Shay does such a marvelous job with these characters that you are invested and drawn in and you MUST know what happens next.

If you haven’t read After the Fire yet, you really must.  And then you need to grab On the Line and Nothing More to Lose.

Kathryn is at a conference but is going to try her best to pop in and say hi!

In honor of the Italian Malvaso's, here is a recipe :)

1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon dry milk powder
1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup pizza sauce
4 ounces pepperoni sausage, chopped
1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Place water, salt, bread flour, dry milk, sugar, and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select Dough cycle.
After cycle ends, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface; shape into a 16 x 10 inch rectangle. Transfer to a lightly greased cookie sheet. In a small bowl, mix together chopped pepperoni and mozzarella. Spoon pizza sauce in a stripe down the center of dough lengthwise; add sausage and cheese filling. Make diagonal cuts 1 1/2 inches apart down each side, cutting within a 1/2 inch of the filling. Criss cross strips over filling, sealing with water. Brush top with melted butter.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 to 45 minutes.