The Matchbaker…Five Fun Facts :)

TM_200x300So, my first review of The Matchbaker came out the other day (it was great and she gave it 4 stars! Yay!) and the reviewer said there hadn’t been a lot of buzz around the book, so she didn’t know what she was getting into.

I was like, “Whaaaaa?” because this is the most buzzing I’ve ever done about a book! LOL!

But I guess with Regency Romance, you almost always know what you’re getting into, at least a little, so even if I didn’t “buzz,” people knew what to expect.

So, since there hasn’t been a lot of buzz and maybe people are wondering, “What the heck is this book??” here are five fun facts about the making of The Matchbaker…

Fun Fact #1 — In the opening chapter, Candy’s BFF drags her to meet with a fortune teller in Paris named Madame Antoinette. What you all might find interesting is that Madame Antoinette is real! She’s not French, and she doesn’t wear gawdy gypsy-style clothing, but she is a good friend of mine, who, by the way, does not know she inspired a character in my book. I suppose I should tell her before I post this 🙂

Fun Fact #2 — Madame Antoinette predicts that Candy will meet a handsome stranger in the fall and fall in love. This really happened. My own Antoinette (or Toni, as we call her) gave me a reading years ago. I was still with my ex-boyfriend, but she told me we wouldn’t be together forever. I was sure we were going to get married, so I thought she was totally heinous. She went on to say it was someone I already knew. Ha! I didn’t know anyone that I was even remotely interested in (shhhh…don’t tell my husband). So fast forward about 9 months to that fall, and lo and behold, I started to fall in love with one of my classmates…whom I had known for several years already. We’ve been together almost 13 years 🙂 (To get in touch with Toni for your own reading, visit http://www.astrology-source.com)

Fun Fact #3 — The Mac & Cheese Candy eats on her date is based on my all-time favorite Mac & Cheese from a place in Jersey City, NJ called Amelia’s. It. Is. Heavenly.

Fun Fact #4 — A certain character talks about having moved to Florida to a seaside town. That town is called Stuart and the coffee shop he worked in was the Stuart Coffee Company. It’s an adorable town, with lots of character, that we love to visit on a nice weekend afternoon.

Fun Fact #5 — Candy mentions her spin studio in Manhattan briefly (though there used to be a whole scene with her spin class). That spin studio is called Soul Cycle. My hubby set up their computers years ago, and a friend from college is an instructor there now. It is THE place to spin if you live in Manhattan!

So there you have it…buzz! I’ll be creating more buzz as we countdown to the release of The Matchbaker! If you own a Nook, you can already get it for pre-order. If not, you have to wait till August 27th! Mark your calendars!

And if you haven’t signed up for the HUGE GIVEAWAY, go NOW!

THE WARY WIDOW…in Audio! PLUS GIVEAWAY!

I’m excited to announce that the 3rd book in my Wetherby Brides series, THE WARY WIDOW, is now available at Audible.com in audiobook format, as well as Amazon.com!
(Coming soon to iTunes!)

WW Audio

In honor of the release of THE WARY WIDOW,  I’m giving away a free audiobook download of BOTH A Gentleman Never Tells and More Than a Governess to one lucky commenter! You just have to fill in these 10 Fun Facts (pulled from BookWormSimi‘s list of interview questions). Copy/Paste the questions, fill in your answers and make sure to leave your email address:

Favorite Color:

Favorite Book:

Favorite Author:

Favorite Movie:

Favorite Actor:

Favorite Actress:

Favorite Song:

Favorite Singer:

Favorite Snacks:

Favorite TV Show:

 

THANKS FOR PLAYING!

 

Links to the first two audiobooks…

AGNT Audio

Audible.com

Amazon.com

iTunes

 

 

 

MTAG Audio

Audible.com

Amazon.com

iTunes

 

 

 

 

 

Getting to Know…THE MATCHBAKER

TM_667x1000My dear friend and crit partner, Julie Johnstone, tagged me in a blog hop and only after I’d filled out this entire thing did I realize it was supposed to be for a Regency novel. So, I’ll do another tomorrow, but for now…here are some fun facts about my upcoming release, The Matchbaker…

1: What is the working title of your book? The Matchbaker

2: Where did the idea come from for the book? Dagnabit, it’s been so long, I can’t remember exactly! Cupcakes and magic are two things I’ve always loved, so it’s not that surprising 🙂
3: What genre does your book come under? ChickLit (or Women’s Humorous Fiction, to be PC)

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Rachel McAdams as Candy, Candace Accola as Holly, Ryan Reynolds as Joe and James Marsden as Colin

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Just when Candace Cooper is on her way to being a hot shot executive, her life takes a drastic and unexpected shift from NYC back to her sleepy hometown of Sagehaven, CT, where she’s forced to trade in her Manolos for an apron and succumb to a generations-old curse.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency? Pubbed under the Night Shift umbrella.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Phew! 3+ years, off and on!

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I’d *like* to compare it to Sophie Kinsella’s novels, though I, of course, bow to the Queen of Chick Lit, and pray that this book is at least half as good as hers.
9: Who or what inspired you to write this book? Cupcakes and Magic! Didn’t I already answer this?

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? It’s hilarious. At least, my hubby and I think it is. And it’s got magic. Oh, and cupcake recipes! I’ve got several bakers/bakeries contributing very special recipes for the book so you can bake along with Candy!

Here’s an excerpt:

Holly and Colin are sharing a good laugh now. How nice. I smile, trying to be a good sport, but really, this isn’t helping at all. Considering I’m going to be the primary baker at Candy’s Confections, I don’t find this memory particularly amusing. It’s frightening, actually. What were my parents thinking?

What am I thinking?

Once they calm down, Colin takes another sip of his drink, and then turns to me. “So, I assume you’ve learned to bake since then, right?”

They’re both staring at me, so I force a little laugh and say, “Sure! I mean, it can’t be that hard, can it? It’s not like I’m a mindless teenager anymore, anyway. I’m sure I can follow recipes a lot better than I used to be able to.”

Colin raises his eyebrows. “You mean, you don’t actually know how to bake now?”

I roll my eyes, trying to play it off. “Well…not in so many words, but it’ll be fine.”

“If you don’t know how to bake, then why are they insisting you…bake?” Colin looks just as confused as I feel right now.

I want to answer him honestly, but if I start talking about the change he’ll probably try to have me committed. I’m considering that option myself. At least it would get me out of all this.

I fish for another reason, but my mind is blank.

“Because she’s the oldest!” Holly puts in and I can see by her smile that she’s proud of her fast thinking. “It’s family tradition, apparently. So Candy just has to learn.”

Meet the Matchmakers: Viscountess Staveley & the Duchess of Weston

On this Valentine’s Day, bestselling authors Ava Stone and Jerrica Knight-Catania are happy to bring you a conversation between their most devious, managing, and cupid-like heroines, the ladies who may make a little havoc, but always find a way to make things right, all while getting others to do their bidding.
Without further ado… Caroline, Viscountess Staveley from Ava’s Scandalous Series and Katherine, the Duchess of Weston from Jerrica’s Wetherby Brides Series.
~ * ~

Caroline re-folds a letter from her sister-in-law and smiles to herself. Everything has turned out exactly as she’d planned.

“Are you going to voluntarily tell me the reason for that sly expression, or am I going to have to pry it out of you?” Katherine asks from the threshold.

Caroline grins in response. “An expression you’ve been known to sport quite often, Kat.”

Katherine shrugs and steps into the Staveley’s white parlor. “Indeed. But what has you smirking like that today?”

Caroline’s grin grows even wider as she makes room for the duchess to sit beside her on the settee. “Vindication. No matter how much my brothers complain about my ability to manage them, they both have me to thank for their current states of happiness.”

“I could say the same thing.” Katherine settles in beside Caroline, an equally sly expression now etched across her lovely face. “I’ve got a story or two about brothers of my own.”

“Of course you do. What feat, in regards to your brothers are you the most proud?” Caroline asks.

“Oh, that’s an easy one. Benjamin and Phoebe, of course. It was easy enough getting them to the altar, but they nearly sabotaged their marriage! If I had not stepped in, Lord only knows where they’d be by now.” Katherine turns to Caroline. “Your turn. Which couple was your greatest success?”

Caroline taps her chin and scrunches up her nose. “That’s so difficult to say, Kat. On one hand, Luke with his foolish male-ness would have lost Juliet forever, if not for me; but I think bringing Robert and Lydia together was my greatest accomplishment. Robert is so stubborn and set in his ways. Domineering, really. His mind had been firmly made up about his wife, and it still would be if I hadn’t intervened. Now several children later, he hardly resembles his former self. It’s so rewarding to know how happy he’s become.” Her hazel eyes twinkle mischievously. “I think we have to do what we do, Kat. Manage others, I mean. No matter how dangerous a situation gets. Where would our friends and family be without us?”

Katherine sits forward in her seat, clearly getting excited about the topic. “Oh, I couldn’t agree more! Why, to think of the hoops I had to jump through for cousin Victoria. Goodness, it gives me the vapors just to think of that situation. Foolish girl! Now if we could only bring her brother, Thomas up to snuff! Of course, the way I’ve seen him carousing about Town tells me he’s not thinking of settling down anytime soon. Perhaps Victoria and I can team up to change that. But tell me, Caroline, what–or rather who– will your next project be?”

“Oh, darling!” Caroline clutches Kat’s hand. “There are just so many people in Town who need a happy ever after, don’t you agree?”

Katherine nods whole-heartedly. “Indeed.”

“Hmm.” Caroline continues. “Lord Carraway would be high on my list of those to help next, as would that poor, brooding Lord Avery. Although, I think his sister, Cordelia Clayworth, might have something up her sleeve for that particular fellow.” Her hazel eyes suddenly start flashing with indignation. “But I can tell you who won’t be getting any help from me. The Marquess of Haversham can go hang, for all I care. That man makes your average rake look like a well-behaved saint!” She heaves a sigh and shakes her head as though to shake an unpleasant thought from her head. “Enough about him. What about you, Kat? Who will you focus your efforts on next?”

Jerrica pipes up, Ava by her side. “Ladies, I’m afraid we must ask you to stop right there.”

Both Katherine and a Caroline turn to them, confused looks upon their faces.

“But why?” Caroline asks.

“We can’t have you giving away any secrets now, can we?” Ava explains. “You’ll ruin things for our readers.”

Katherine shrugs. “She does have a point, Caro. But that doesn’t mean we can’t wait until they leave to continue planning our machinations.”

“Oh!” Caroline leaps from her seat and rushes to where Jerrica and Ava are standing. “Well, thank you for stopping by, ladies,” she says as she ushers them out the door.

They try to protest, but it’s no use. They are no match for Caroline’s desire to plan her next matchmaking adventure.

If you’d like to read more from Katherine and Caroline, be sure to check out Ava Stone’s Scandalous Series, as well as Jerrica Knight-Catania’s Wetherby Brides Series!

     ASWife  1 AGNT 200x300   Robber Bride Cover  

Twelve Days of Christmas: Suzie Grant

Love and Laughter
by Suzie Grant

“You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.” Bill Cosby

Christmas is a big affair in my family. Walk into the front door of my mother’s house and you’re immediately assaulted — err welcomed by Christmas music and blinding — err brilliant lights.  Pack in a dozen people into a moderate-sized dining room and you get total chaos.  Our family is fairly heavy on Christmas tradition and you know I wouldn’t change a thing.  Despite the disorder, extremely loud brother, — I mean family members — and the warring toddlers who’re battling it out to see who gets to sit in the rocking chair first. It all makes the holiday’s complete for me and even though I return home feeling like I’ve just been in a brawl with WWE’s Stone Cold Steve Austin, it’s completely worth it.

I happen to love the chaos actually.  It’s crazy but it’s fun.  Although I will say that I can’t handle more than a day or two before I’m ready to return to my mundane life back home.  The greatest moment is that brief swatch of silence while we gather to hold hands and say a prayer before we eat and then the entire gathering swarm the table like a herd of starving elephants to a vat of peanuts.  Christmas to me is about family and fun.  If you can’t laugh and be silly during these times, then when will you?

Which is one of the reasons why our favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone and we never fail to watch it.  Whether it’s a week before Christmas or the day of Christmas, I always end up piling onto the sofa to watch it with my kids.  It’s become a Christmas tradition for us and one that I love.  Laughter heals the soul in my humble opinion.  No matter what you’re experiencing in life, laughter is the key to staying healthy.  And nothing is as funny as Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern trying to outsmart an eight-year-old kid.  It’s great and it makes me giggle every year.  Best of all my kids love this movie and it makes for great snuggle time.  What could be better than that?

So I’m leaving you with two clips of my most favorite scenes in the movie and hopefully, it’ll give you a good chuckle and bring back some good memories for you.

I wish I could write humor into some of my stories but I’ve always said I’m the guy at the back of the bar who’s sober and laughing at all the drunks.  That’s me.  So I’ll leave the entertainment to those who do it best.  But I love to laugh and I hope it’s a trait I’ve past onto my children and I leave you with this little reminder: “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Charlie Chaplin.

Always remember to take a minute to laugh.  Have a wonderful Holiday Season, no matter how you celebrate it, and from my family to yours, Merry Christmas.

Home Alone Clip one: http://youtu.be/4DgbUBoxa48

Home Alone Clip Two: http://youtu.be/2Lb92tL6R4A

Leave a comment for Suzie and be entered to win a $25 gift card to the book seller of your choice!

5960704A Caribbean Jewel for Christmas: Blackmailed by a British Naval Commander, Captain Randall Whitton, a smuggler with a penchant for gold is rescued by Jewel Derington, a feisty plantation owner and the very woman who betrayed him in the jungles of Barbados. Escaping danger has never been so thrilling. Together they are drawn into a political game of winner takes all from which only his grandfather, the Duke of Danby, can rescue them.

 * Fascinated by the glitter of his Caribbean Jewel, Randall’s lust for gold soon fades. His quest to tame this fiery treasure catapults them both into an adventure where the stakes are higher and the prize greater than either of them have ever dared dream.

Available NOW at…

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And other ebook retailers!

**All of Suzie’s books are on sale for .99 cents for the Holidays from Dec 15th – Jan 15th 2013. Enjoy!**
VVsml

Twelve Days of Christmas: Lilia Birney

For the Price of a Cup of Coffee
by Lilia Birney

Every year at Christmas time, I hear the same thing from non-profits and charitable organizations.  “For the price of a cup of coffee, you can make a difference.”  But I never really believed it.  I never wanted to give so little.  I figured that if I were going to increase my giving to charity, I needed to give in a BIG way.  I thought that if I really were going to give a small donation, it would be somehow insulting to the recipient.

But this year is the first year that my daughter is really old enough to be aware of Christmas and it’s our first year of really struggling against the materialism that comes hand in hand with the season.  I wanted to set an example for her, one that she might be able to really get and to follow.  So, we decided to have “pizza parties for charity” every Friday night for the month of December.

It works like this: usually every Friday night, as a rule, we order two large pizzas and usually a few extras from our local pizza delivery.  Then, we rent (or even purchase) a movie on Amazon to watch.  The total usually tops out around $40 for the night.  So, instead of ordering pizza from takeout, we choose a take and bake pizza from the grocery store (for around $5) and watch one of the movies we already have.  Then, we would donate the remaining $35 to charity.

To choose the charity, each of us wrote the name of a charity on an index card.  We folded them up and put them in a bowl.  My daughter draws the name of that charity out on Friday morning, and all day we talk about how we are “eating for” that charity.  Our first party was last Friday, and my daughter chose a tiger sanctuary.  She is obsessed with tigers. So, all day we talked about how we were “eating for tigers.”

Then, that night, we looked at the tiger sanctuary’s website and “adopted” a Bengal tiger with our donation.  In a few weeks, we’ll get an adoption certificate in the mail.  It’s the most tangible way I can think of to show my daughter how to give more—to get something a little less big to give to others.  And in a few weeks, she’ll get a certificate in the mail and a bunch of cool stuff all about tigers—more tangible proof of how her donation helped.

We tried it the first night and it’s amazing how excited we all were and how much fun we had.   And we can’t wait until this Friday to do it all over again for a different charity.  It may not make a huge difference to the charity of choice, but it has made a huge difference to our family.  It’s like we’re seeing Christmas through new lenses!

Leave a comment for Lilia and be entered to win a $25 gift card to the book seller of your choice!

Summons DukeLady Penelope’s Christmas Charade:
When Lady Penelope Annand’s trusted servant goes missing just before Christmas, she is determined to get to the bottom of the matter.  Even if that means hiring a thief-taker to track down her maid’s whereabouts.  But when the darkly smoldering Pierce Howe takes charge of the situation, Penelope finds herself growing more attracted to him by the second–even if she’s infuriated by his high-handed manner.  Penelope gave up on Christmas wishes years ago when her first husband broke her heart, but could Pierce give her a second chance at love?Pierce Howe has made a name for himself as one of London’s most reliable thief-takers, leaving behind his family’s sordid past to create a life of his own.  But when Viscountess Annand, known in society as The Ice Goddess, demands that he track down her wayward maid, he receives a Christmas gift he never expected–Penelope’s trust.  His carefully-constructed defenses begin crumbling as they embark on a Christmas charade to find Penelope’s maid.  As the Ice Goddess shows that she does indeed have a melting point, the thief-taker must decide if he can risk it all and tell her the truth about his past.
Available NOW at these major retailers…
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 Lilia Birney on Twitter: @liliabirne