Saturday, July 22

DUNKIRK - The Movie and the Book Promotion

Yesterday, the movie DUNKIRK, starring Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and Harry Styles (making his acting debut), opened in North America. This movie tells the real life story of the miracle evacuation of Allied troops from the coast of France in 1940. The Nazi blitzkrieg had overrun France and Belgium with a speed no one thought possible, trapping four hundred thousand British, Belgian, French and Canadian troops at Dunkirk, with no way to get across the English Channel. But then, like the movie trailer says, when the troops couldn't get home, home came for them. While the Germans waited for their supply lines to catch up, a flotilla of seacraft - naval, merchant and civilian - raced across the Channel. Between May 26 and June 4, 1940, some 338,000 troops were ferried to safety. Here's the official trailer for DUNKIRK:


 
To celebrate the release of Dunkirk, over 40 World War Two writers like me have banded together to bring you the Dunkirk Week Epic WW2 Book Sale. For more information about the sale, go to http://alexakang.com/home/dunkirkweek-booksale-preview/  Check out the fun events and the wonderful books on sale.

I've got my two World War Two books in the promotion:

FLAWLESS:


France, 1942. The world is at war. The Nazis have stolen the infamous blue diamond, Le Coeur Bleu, intending to barter it for weapons that will destroy the Allies. Jewel thief Hunter Smith is given a choice; help the French Resistance steal back the diamond and avenge the death of his best friend, or stay locked up in an English prison. He chooses revenge.


Resistance fighter Madeleine Bertrand’s husband died when he was betrayed by Hunter Smith. How can she now pretend to be married to the arrogant American? How can she betray Jean Philippe’s memory by her passionate response to Hunter’s kisses? Neither is prepared for the maelstrom of attraction that erupts between them. To survive they must uncover the mysteries of the past and conquer the dangers of the present. But first Madeleine must decide if her loyalties lie with her dead husband and the Resistance or with the greatest love of her life.

FLAWLESS is on sale for .99 cents until July 28 at the following retailers:

The Wild Rose Press | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B & N | Bookstrand | Google Play | Kobo | iBooks


HOME FIRES:


Anne Wakefield travels halfway around the world for love. But when she arrives in Canada from England at the end of World War Two, she discovers the handsome Canadian pilot she’d fallen in love with has married someone else. Heartbroken, she prepares to return to London, though she has nothing left there to return to. Her former fiancé’s mother makes a suggestion: marriage to her other son.


Badly wounded and scarred during the war, Erik Gustafson thinks he’s a poor substitute for his brother. Although he loves Anne almost from the first time he sees her, he cannot believe she would ever be able to love him as he is – especially as he might be after another operation on his bad leg.  Anne sees the beauty of his heart. The cold prairie winter may test her courage, but can she prove to Erik that her love for him is real?

HOME FIRES is available for about $2.99 at the following retailers:

The Wild Rose Press | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B & N | Bookstrand | Google Play | Kobo | iBooks | BAM

I can't wait to see this movie. What movie have you seen or would like to see this summer? Are there any movies that are stinkers we should stay away from?

Friday, July 21

Conference-Bound!

Next week is the RWA National Conference, and I’ll be attending for the first time. I’ve spent a
Guess where I'm Going....
month carefully planning my outfits for the hot-AF-Orlando-weather-but-mostly-gonna-be-indoors-and-want-to-make-an-impression-while-being-comfortable days. No small task, let me say.


The good news is that I’m packed. And needless to say, I’m excited. And Terrified.

Not terrified as in worried something might happen, but terrified at the prospect of going to such a large conference where I’ll only know a few souls. While I can make a good show of being personal, I’m still an introvert, and the effort to put myself out there can be exhausting and sometimes overwhelming. Usually, I avoid situations where I have to meet and make chit-chat with a bunch of strangers. Again, just because I can doesn’t mean it isn’t a daunting endeavor.

But I know I’ll manage. And even if I end up fading into the woodwork like some wallflower at a ball, I know I’m going to have a memorable experience. The conference is too big, with too many fellow romance writers for me not to. Just as I’ve found my tribe locally, I’m sure at the very least that I’m with a whole bunch of other people who “get” me. We’re all at some point in this writing journey, and that is a voyage that instantly makes us brethren.

I’m also excited for the workshops I’m planning to attend. The kiddos will be going back to school soon after this, and I promised hubby I’d make an effort to find a job (sigh… my Summer of Play is near an end). So I’ll need ALL the inspiration and information I can glean from this conference to help my writing career!

Lastly, I’m just plain excited to go back to Disney World, where the conference is being held. Yes, we’ve used the conference as an excuse to also wrap a family vacation around it. So, I get to spend a few days in the most magical place on earth, which will be an interesting experience in the heat of July. But I have no doubt it will be fun nonetheless.
Because of all this next week, I won’t be posting a Friday blog. In fact, I think the Word Wranglers are all taking a late-summer week off. But I’ll be sure to highlight some of my experiences when I return! Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, July 20

My Epic Love


 A lot of movie viewers get excited for a new Star Wars or Star Trek movie, I get excited for a new Planet of the Apes story. 

The original movie premiered in 1968. We were in Iceland then, and didn't see it that I remember. I think I finally saw it when it premiered on TV in the seventies after we'd moved back stateside.

One of our local channels, KPTV 12, used to have Planet of the Apes marathons and we'd be glued to the TV. I think that may have been the only Sci-fi my parents actually watched.

In the summer, we'd play Planet of the Apes in the cherry trees and in the rafters of the houses being built in the dirt hills--what we called the development that replaced a filbert grove behind us. 

When Tim Burton rebooted the series with Mark Wahlberg, I was excited to see it come back. And every incarnation since--even though on the surface, unrelated to Tim Burton's imagining--I have loved.

Tuesday night, I saw the most recent one--War for the Planet of the Apes. And it was epic. 

It had subtle nods to the original stories and finally explained how humans became mute and the apes rose to power. Andy Serkis is amazing--again--as Caesar. When isn't he amazing? Steve Zahn as Bad Ape is wonderful.

I've often considered what is epic story building. And I think it's when you can imagine more stories from the original story--like Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter... and Planet of the Apes. I know there are a myriad of epics out there that I'm not mentioning and I'm sorry about the exclusion.

When it comes to the battle between Stars, I've always leaned more toward being a Trekker. The stories are endless and more universal. I've watched most of the series faithfully--except Enterprise, I never got into that one. And I think of stories that haven't been told yet, like why haven't they ever done a Starfleet Academy series??? Lost opportunity right there.

And Harry Potter? I adore the magical world created by J.K.Rowling. My daughters and I went to midnight book and movies releases. I was younger then. Now, I'd probably say, "We'll see it tomorrow."


But, in the end, my heart belongs to the Apes. And well, the Tenctonese from Alien Nation, but that's another blog.


Wednesday, July 19

#CoverReveal: Falling for You Anthology

Hey, WordWrangler Readers! I'm super-excited today because we're doing a cover reveal for a fab anthology that I'm lucky to be part of! It's called Falling for You, and it will be out this fall from a group of Harlequin Superromance authors. The best part? These novellas will be part of our on-going series - so for me, that means you get another Slippery Rock book!

My book in the set is called Outsider in a Small Town and features Aiden (Adam's twin, who has been gone from Slippery Rock for a long time) and newcomer Julia Colson, who runs a wedding/clothing boutique.

This is the cover - don't you just love it? I want to know what they're laughing about ... and the colors of the leaves - it's just perfectly fall, don't you think? The anthology is available for pre-order now, and will go on sale October 17, 2017.

Here's a bit more about the anthology:

This autumn, warm your heart with ten fall-themed novellas from some of your favorite USA Today bestselling, national bestselling, and award winning Harlequin Superromance authors.

Foreword by Brenda Novak.

When the weather cools down, hearts heat up…

Bonfires aren't the only things warming up the night. Across the land, hearts are falling along with the leaves. Curl up with a pumpkin spice latte and warm your heart with ten tales of autumn love.

It Was You by Tara Taylor Quinn:
He has no problem respecting the fact that she is off limits…until the one night he does.

The Right Man by Heatherly Bell:
When one long planned dream day veers wildly off-course, she must decide between the perfect wedding or the right man.

Her Hometown Cowboy by Claire McEwen:
Falling for him wasn’t part of her plan.

Meet Me in the Middle by Jo McNally:
She’s used to playing it safe, but when her old crush comes cruising back into town, she might have to risk it all.

Outsider in a Small Town by Kristina Knight:
She may hold the keys to his heart…and his future.

If I Fall by Kris Fletcher:
What goes up must fall…in love.

Finding Harmony by Janet Lee Nye:
Jericho was the last place she wanted to be, but it was becoming the best place for her.

Perfect Fit by Angel Smits:
She never forgot her first love…and though he never measured up, neither did he.

Home to You by Dana Nussio:
Can a woman who ran from home and a man who never had it ever hope to discover that home really is a place for hearts?

Can’t Help Falling in Love by Lisa Dyson:
She’s career-oriented. and he’s the one who just broke her boss’s heart.


Tuesday, July 18

Welcome Author Robena Grant



Our guest today is Robena Grant, author of several contemporary romance novels, including The English Village Series, stories that take place in a little English village called Oldcastle. The first book, One Safe Place, released in December of 2016, and One Truth Revealed, Book 2 in the series just released on July 14. Robena is Australian by birth but resides in Southern California. She has two adult children, enjoys reading, swimming, friends, simple dinners, a glass of wine, a board game, and man, I love this! Karaoke! Travel has always been her greatest love. France, Australia, Italy, England, and Scotland have featured in her stories. She often chooses a setting that has captured her senses through travel.

I’m so excited to have Robena here today to answer a few questions about Oldcastle and The English Village series. 

Hi Roben, welcome to the round pen! Right off, I loved ONE SAFE PLACE and I just got ONE TRUTH REVEALED on my Kindle on Friday, so I’m anxious to dive into it. Professor Drew Compton sounds like my favorite kind of rumpled academic-type hero. I love that you’ve got a little bit of a cozy mystery vibe going with this series.

Thank you, Nan. And thanks for hosting me today. I enjoyed writing Drew, and knew he deserved a romance, so made him the hero in Book #2.

I know you love to travel. Is Oldcastle based on a real place in England that you’ve visited?

No, it is fictional. However, it came from an oil painting I inherited from my mother-in-law, and it was a scene in the village of Eardisland, on River Arrow. Not wanting to bring bad karma to that village 😊 I made mine Oldcastle but pretty much stole the setting.

What other kind of research did you have to do for this series?

I lived and breathed England for over a year. I did many Google searches, read village church newsletters, spoke with English friends, visited Ye Olde Kings Head pub and restaurant in Santa Monica, and watched every TV show on PBS that I could find.

Your character’s names are all sorta British sounding, even American Naomi in ONE SAFE PLACE has a name that sounds English. How do you pick the names for your characters or do they come to you already named?

Naomi came from a FB post where I quizzed friends. I’d selected the last name from my mother-in-law’s family. Nia Fishchler came up with Naomi. Having known many Brits, Scots, and Irish people in Australia, I used a lot of those names.

Even though your books are marketed by your publisher as contemporary romance, most of them have a little suspense or mystery in them—is that what you read mostly?
I love contemporary romance, and women’s fiction. Add a touch of mystery, and I’m sold.
I know you’re trained as a nurse. Has that or any other jobs you’ve had in the past influenced your writing? 

Sometimes. I often draw on past medical knowledge, but always have to double-check because of newer medicines and techniques.

What’s the last book you read that kept you up enthralled until you finished it?

Definitely Mary Alice Monroe’s The Beach House. I read it last week and still think about it. A wonderful and difficult mother/daughter relationship, a newfound love, and wonder of wonders, sea turtles. The South Carolina island was a fantastic setting and made me want to visit.

Oh, I just ordered that one! Can’t wait to read it! I know we’re going to see a book 3 in the English Village series—is that it or do you have more Oldcastle stories in the works? If not, what is coming along?

Yes, One Unforgettable Friday will release, I think, in Spring 2018. It features Lizzie York as the heroine, she’s the younger sister of Oliver, the hero in One Safe Place, and she is wheelchair bound. I loved writing her story. I think that will be the last, and I’m already toying with a series set in Australia.

Fun! Now, for the trickiest question I always like to ask: Tell me the question you wish someone would ask about your writing, but nobody ever has? Answer it. 

How old were you when you first got published? I’d proudly answer sixty-five, the same year I applied for Medicare. You’re definitely never too old for this gig, you just slow down some.  😉

Thanks so much for stopping in for an interview, Roben—we’re so glad you came by and hope you’ll be back soon! 

Thank you, Nan, I truly appreciate this, and I wish you every success with your new soon-to-be released book, SAVING SARAH.

Kids, all of Roben’s books are available in print and eBook:

and B&N, KOBO, GooglePlay and iBooks. 

Robena may be reached at www.robenagrant.com or follow her on FB, Twitter, or Instagram

Blurb for ONE TRUTH REVEALED:

At thirty-five-years of age, and with pressure from her adoptive mother, Lina Bright is ten days away from undergoing Artificial Insemination in London. She doesn’t need a husband. She travels to Oldcastle to meet her biological mother, a spinster who runs a village teashop. To keep her mother’s secret, but determine her father’s identity, she creates the cover of scouting for property to start a new school.
A bachelor at forty, Drew Compton is an English Professor in Oxford. Diagnosed with “poor swimmers” his fiancée left him. He plans to live out his life alone, with his books. Disliking his mother’s secrets and controlling ways, he seldom returns to Oldcastle. But a chance meeting has him intrigued. Who is this chic Londoner?
As Lina’s plans for a school become a reality, romance blossoms, but roadblocks ensue. Will Lina and Drew trust in each other to overcome the difficulties and create a future together?

Excerpt from ONE TRUTH REVEALED
Heat. She craved his heat. Her arms encircled the back of his neck, pulled his face tighter,
closer, her lips tingled and begged to be crushed harder.
“Lina,” he whispered, his breath fanning her cheek. Then he took her mouth possessively.
She almost couldn’t remain standing. “Again,” she murmured. The headiness of his kisses, the heat swirling in her belly, the weakness in her knees, had her pressing even closer. Their tongues met, tangled in a mating dance she’d rarely experienced. Everything about this man spelled permanence. The girls below shouted, “Keep him, we want him.” Dazed, she pulled away, took in a deep breath, and refocused.
If she didn’t keep her wits about her she’d be dragging Drew into the shelter of the ruins and having her way with him. Could this castle be a magic place? Did it encourage romance, and illicit rendezvous? Rendezvous? Oh, blast it; she couldn’t get involved. There were nine days left until her expected ovulation. She’d chosen her sperm donor. She’d committed to doing this, and had an appointment scheduled with a London clinic. That’s why she had to go back.
Drew rested his forehead against hers. “Everything okay?”