When You’ve Never Been…

People say write what you know about. I’m not a total believer in that, but I have to admit it does make things easier. I’m English from Kendal, a small town in the north of England (though I now live on a mountain in Spain) and most of my books are set in England, mainly in London, where I lived and worked for a number of years.

However, I love to try different things, and so the book I’m writing now is set in a small town in America. I could have set my small town anywhere, but I settled on Virginia’s eastern shore, close to the island of Chincoteague, because when I was a child, I read a book called Misty of Chincoteague and fell in love with the area and the ponies.

Four wild ponies of Assateague Island, Maryland, USA crossing the water of the bay. These animals are also known as Assateague Horse or Chincoteague Ponies. They are a breed of feral ponies that live in the wild on an island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia. It is unknown how the animals originally populated the island, although there are a few legends.

So now I need to get a feel for my small town, what’s it like, who lives there, what do people do in the evenings, at the weekends, does everyone go to church, do they welcome newcomers with open arms or does it depend on who you are…?

Maybe I need to visit. I would in fact love to visit, but it’s not going to happen any time soon. So I’m attempting, from the comfort of my own home, to steep myself in all things small town and east Virginia in particular. Here’s my list of things to do in the name of research:

  • Read books set in small towns
  • Watch movies set in small towns
  • Google my chosen area (http://www.chincoteague.com/)
  • Google small town America – some fascinating articles come up.
  • Ask questions

What do you think is the best way (short of getting on an airplane) to get a real feel for a place you are writing about?

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

From Fake to Forever Sale!

Hi, all! Jennifer here with a brief announcement.

My romance From Fake to Forever is now on sale for 99 CENTS until Sunday, May 7th. So grab me at ITunes, B&N, AMZ, or KOBO while you can!

Here are what a few nice people have said:

5 STARS  “Great writing, incredible characters, and a storyline that touches your heart make this one a perfect lazy afternoon read. I highly recommend it.” -Bette H., Goodreads review

5 STARS  “Jennifer Shirk has written a beautiful sweet romance which made me laugh plenty of times.” –Anniek, Goodreads review
5 STARS  “This was my first read by Jennifer Shirk and I’ve been missing out.” –Isha Coleman, Netgalley reviewer

5 STARS  “This story is filled with captivating characters, lively banter and a touching romance.”–Rosemary, Goodreads reviewer

Here’s a little bit about it:

Sandra Moyer’s preschool is struggling, so when her sister suggests allowing a super-famous actor to research his latest role there, she reluctantly agrees. Except the actor turns out to be Ben Capshaw—a playboy who’s never serious, always joking around, and who knows zero about kids or being a parent. Case in point: his involvement in the untimely death of the preschool’s class pet…

Ben is enjoying teaching more than he thought he would, but that doesn’t mean he’s looking for a permanent position. Sure, he’s ready for more serious movie roles and less goofing off, but the buttoned-up, beautiful Sandra and her young daughter are more than he bargained for. Plus, Sandra still won’t trust him—what if it’s all an act, research for the role? As the lines between make-believe and reality blur, Ben will have to decide if love is worth casting aside the role of his life for a new role…that could last a lifetime.

Hope you check it out!

Have you read it?

 

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her upcoming sweet romance: WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH releasing December 5, 2016.

My Obsession with Hallmark Christmas Movies

Hi, all! Jennifer here.hallmark

Well, we are officially now into the “Christmas season”, which means decorating for the holidays, shopping, wrapping, making cookies, reading Christmas books, and of course (my personal favorite): watching Hallmark Christmas movies!

Yes, HALLMARK CHRISTMAS MOVIES. you might even say I’ve been a bit obsessed with them. 🙂

Why? They are the ultimate feel-good kind of comfort people like me like to wrap themselves into this time of year. It’s a time and place where love always wins, people are more important than money or things, kindness can never be overdone, and memories are to be made and cherished. A good part of that is why I read romance novels too. Because in a world where there is nastiness, sorrow, pain, and ugliness, these vehicles are the perfect escape and the perfect reminder that there is a lot of good in the world too.

My FAVS (so far) this year have been:

  1. The Mistletoe Promise (I liked it so much, I bought the book!)
  2. A December Bride (will buy this book too)
  3. Fir Crazy
  4. Snow Bride
  5. Debbie Macomber’s Trading Christmas
  6. Love Always, Santa
  7. The Christmas Ornament
  8. A Very Merry Mix-Up
  9. Best Christmas Party Ever
  10. Family For Christmas

It should also be mentioned that my husband is a huge fan of “A Grandpa for Christmas”. 🙂

I haven’t had time to watch them all, but rest assured that I have been taping them and will slowly make my way through all of them by the end of the month. (I may even have to re-watch a few of them in January!)

In the meantime, enjoy the holiday season in whatever way you like!

Do you love/watch Hallmark Christmas movies too? What is your favorite one?

 

wrrmsmallAlso, if you love Hallmark Christmas movies, don’t forget to pick up my new Christmas sweet romance  which releases tomorrow, December 5th!

WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH

Matchmaking guru Kennedy Pepperdine’s life is perfect. Perfect job. Perfect friends. Perfect boyfriend. Except…when she gets trapped in an elevator with a handsome stranger, she accidentally confesses a secret: maybe her perfect boyfriend, Justin, isn’t so perfect for her after all. But a matchmaker should be able to successfully match herself, right? Thankfully, she’ll never see the handsome stranger again. Until she heads home with Justin for the holidays and learns that the sexy stranger is none other than Justin’s older brother, Matt.

Matt Ellis is trying to be on his best behavior for his mother—it is Christmas, after all. But when he recognizes the beautiful woman from the elevator—the one he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about for months—his best behavior is being held by a thread. Matt’s always sacrificed for his family, and nothing is more important than their happiness, but the more time he spends around Kennedy, the more he wonders if her supposed “right match” might just be the wrong brother.

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her upcoming sweet romance: WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH releasing December 5, 2016.

Collaborating with Other Authors by Julie Jarnagin

One of my favorite parts of being an author is getting to work with other writers. One way I get to work with awesome authors is through the critique group I’m in with the ladies on this blog.

Another way is getting the opportunity to take part in anthologies. This month, I’m excited to announce a new novella, Engaged by Friday that you can get on its own or as part of a four novella anthology.

One reason I love working on projects like this is because of the creativity that comes when more than one author brainstorm together. It was so much fun to come up with the idea of four women on a high school reunion planning committee making a pact to use online dating to find reunion dates. From that idea, we all helped each other come up with our own twist on the original idea. There’s something about writing within the confines of a collection that helps me come up with fun, unique ideas.

Not to mention, that I love these authors as people. So I hope readers have as much fun reading these stories as we had creating them!

Engaged by Friday

From a USA Today bestselling author Book 4 in the Matched Online series

Can a fake engagement lead to lasting love?
After her boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing, Mary Beth wants nothing to do with her ten-year high school reunion. Especially because if she shows up without a date, she’ll lose a bet with her high school nemesis. Christian is too busy with his camping equipment startup to date—until his sister sets him up online. The chance connection could help his business—if he agrees to Mary Beth’s dramatic request that he pretend to be her fiancé. But when make-believe becomes something more, they must decide if this new love can last…

Amazon
B&N – Coming Soon
Kobo
iBooks – Coming Soon

Amazon
B&N
Kobo
iBooks

In this four-book anthology, join four friends on a journey to find the perfect guy—online.

With their ten-year high school reunion on the horizon, four girlfriends make a pact to find reunion dates through online dating. But nothing is simple when they are Matched Online…

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Dates by USA Today bestselling author Lacy Williams

Single mom Angela thought she was ready to date again, but several disastrous online matches have her reeling. And it turns out she’s more attracted to the handsome coffeeshop barista than any of her dates. Drew Scheffield is only in town for the summer, looking for a distraction from debilitating grief. But as he gets to know Angela he discovers his heart isn’t as dead as he thought. As Angela’s online dates continue to go wrong, she falls for Drew. Will Angela lose the perfect guy in 10 dates?

A Package Deal by Robin Patchen
It’s been years since her cancer treatments, and Jo is finally ready to move past her illness and try dating again. Her first online match seems perfect, except for a mysterious call that has him ending the date early. Carter should have been upfront with Jo about his five-year-old daughter. Now that he’s falling for her, he fears telling her will push her away. When they learn the truth, can Jo and Carter accept each other’s package deal?

Rival Hearts by Susan Crawford
After a senior-year humiliation, the only thing that could’ve brought Morgan home is her passion to bring a much-needed food bank to town. Somehow, she got wrangled into being on the reunion committee. And into a pact to find a reunion date online. Sparks fly when she’s paired with her high school rival—the man who ruined her life. Slater is not the same class jokester he used to be. When he sees Morgan again, he wants forgiveness—and something more. Can Morgan open her heart to the former rival who might just be her perfect match?

Engaged by Friday by USA Today bestselling author Julie Jarnagin
Can a fake engagement lead to lasting love?
After her boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing, Mary Beth wants nothing to do with her ten-year high school reunion. Especially because if she shows up without a date, she’ll lose a bet with her high school nemesis. Christian is too busy with his camping equipment startup to date—until his sister sets him up online. The chance connection could help his business—if he agrees to Mary Beth’s dramatic request that he pretend to be her fiancé. But when make-believe becomes something more, they must decide if this new love can last…

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and young son who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

Falling Down the Christmas Romance Rabbit Hole

It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays and my favorite thing to do at Christmas, besides watch Christmas movies or bake cookies is read Christmas romances. There is nothing like a good Christmas romance anthology. Over the years I’ve read many, and each season a new one becomes available for the masses.

There’s the historicals, which are always marvelous because who doesn’t love seeing how in a time when couples had difficulty falling in love in the first place, let alone being alone together, a pair of romantically matched people find themselves declaring love for one another in less than forty thousand words.

Here’s a few of my favorites:

Christmas in the Duke’s Arms by Grace Burrowes, Carolyn Jewel, Miranda Neville, and Shana Galen ~ All the tales occur around an inn, in a small town. My favorite is a friends to lovers tale. twg-final-large

The Heart of Christmas by Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick, and Courtney Milan ~ Delicious romance with rakes, benefactors, and unlikely heroes

All I Want for Christmas Is a Duke by Valerie Bowman, Vivienne Lorret, Tiffany Clare, and Ashlyn Macnamara ~ Dukes. Need I say more?

I’m mighty proud of the fact I’ve offered you stories by 11 different Historical romance authors, and they are all fabulous. This is just the tip of the romance iceberg because several other historical authors offer up full-length Christmas tales, including an entire series from Theresa Romain, which right now they are all together as a Holiday Pleasures Bundle in an ebook steal deal.

Then I have that ‘but wait; there’s more’ moment. Because I haven’t discussed contemporary romance. There is plenty of holiday joy to be shared around there. The ones I fell in love were the typically full length and the run the gauntlet from sweet to steamy. Regardless, they are all romances and feature Christmas in some capacity.

A few more favs:

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis ~ first in the Lucky Harbor series.maybe-this-christmas

Last Chance Christmas by Hope Ramsey ~ part of the Last Chance series.

Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan ~ a friends to lovers tale and part of her Snow Crystal series.

And, if you haven’t heard a fellow HSG blogger/author, Jennifer Shirk has her latest release in the Christmas contemporary romance category. Check out Wrong Brother, Right Match. A shameless plug, but I’ve already got it pre-order and on my list of holiday romances to indulge in.

Of course, as with all things, these are just a handful of Christmas romance books available. I’m leaving out Maisey Yates and her cowboys, and Jessica Lemmon with her Bad Boy for Christmas book. I could go on and on, but I do believe that will cut into my reading time.

Do you have a favorite Christmas romance book? If so, tell me, I’d love to add it to my list.

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Happy Birthday to Me

WeddingsecretcoverHi, all!

Today is kind of a birthday…it’s a BOOK Birthday!

I have a new novella out today —THE WEDDING SECRET–based on Lucy Kevin’s “Four Weddings and a Fiasco” romance series.

This exciting for me for a whole new reason besides just having a new release. This is the first time I’ve ever written a Kindle Worlds story. What is that? Basically, there are certain stories or licensed “Worlds” created by other authors and a new author can sort of piggyback on that created world and write a new story out of it.

I was very excited to be invited to participate in Lucy Kevin’s world. Thank you so much for the opportunity! If you would like to read the first book in this series, it’s free now on Amazon. · The Wedding Gift ~  http://lucykevin.com/KW_Kevin1

I’m thrilled to be sharing this release day with these wonderful authors as well, so don’t forget to check out their sweet romances, too:

· A Wedding Miracle ~ Melissa Storm: http://lucykevin.com/KW_Storm
· The Wedding Arrangement ~ Stacey Wallace: http://lucykevin.com/KW_Wallace
· The Wedding Bridesmaid ~ Jennifer Conner: http://lucykevin.com/KW_Conner
· The Wedding Chaos ~ Isabel Micheals: http://lucykevin.com/KW_Micheals
· The Wedding Charade ~ Melissa McClone: http://lucykevin.com/KW_McClone
· The Wedding Day ~ Sharon Kleve: http://lucykevin.com/KW_Kleve
· The Wedding Do-Over ~ Jennifer Faye: http://lucykevin.com/KW_Faye
· The Wedding Gem ~ Ann M. Richardson: http://lucykevin.com/KW_Richardson
· The Wedding Fountain ~ Kathryn Le Veque: http://lucykevin.com/KW_LeVeque
· The Wedding Photo ~ Pamela Kelley: http://lucykevin.com/KW_Kelley
· The Wedding Secret ~ Jennifer Shirk: http://lucykevin.com/KW_Shirk
· The Wedding Snafu ~ Aaliyah Burke: http://lucykevin.com/KW_Burke
· Wedding Rules ~ Dee Tenorio: http://lucykevin.com/KW_Tenorio

Happy reading!!

~The Wedding Secret~

Ten years after a high school pregnancy left her abandoned by her family, single mother Brenna March is finally getting her life under control. In possession of her dream job as a florist at the Rose Chalet, one of the premier wedding spots in San Francisco, she’s about to prove her worth and take on her first wedding as head florist. Unfortunately, the best man is none other than Senator Ashton Mirenda—her old high school sweetheart and the father of the daughter he knows nothing about.

Ashton doesn’t have time for marriage or a family. He has other aspirations and the first is winning the next senate seat election. Or so he believes until he meets a woman from his past. Seeing Brenna again stirs something inside him he’d thought long dead, and he knows that he wants her beside him all the way to the White House. But Brenna is holding a ten year old secret, one which could not only hurt his chance for re-election but also their chance to rekindle the love they once shared.

 

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her upcoming sweet romance: WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH releasing December 5, 2016.

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series release in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.