Ta-da! A Holiday Anthology and I’m Guest Blogging Today

A Season for Romance Book Cover
They say home is where the heart is…

Yes, that’s me doing the happy dance in the kitchen, while trying not to spill my morning cup of tea. No, I will not be sharing photos of me post-yoga and pre-shower. Even with the Dunkin’ Donut, it’s not a pretty picture!

So, here’s the exciting news of the day: my holiday anthology, A Season for Romance, is out!!! This is a fun collection of short stories that take place between Thankgsiving and New Year’s Eve.

If you ever wondered how Grandma Vi got her matchmaking start, you can watch as she tries her hand with Jessica’s parents, in Meddling with Mistletoe. You’ll remember Jessica from my first book, The Heiress and Her Fake Fiance. There was a throw-away line in there about how Vi locked Jessica’s parents in a wine cellar at a Christmas party. When the offer to participate in the anthology came along, I knew it was time to share their story.

Romantic Suspense author, VR Marks brings us The Sheriff’s Proposal. We meet Sheriff Cochran in her first novel, The Thief, but we don’t learn exactly how he feels about Ruth Williams, the owner of the local diner, until her annual Thanksgiving feast in The Sheriff’s Proposal.

When Ethan Myers, an award-winning photographer short on inspiration, leaves his studio for the road, he’s shocked to run into the one woman he’s never forgotten, in the contemporary sweet story, Finding the Focus, by Jay Keelan.

And finally, we have Snow-Covered Resolutions by Regan Black, a fantastic paranormal romance/fantasy/Young Adult author. It’s New Year’s Eve and all of the Pixie Chicks have someone special to kiss at midnight – except Austin. In this season of resolutions will she stick to hers, or will the snow-covered magic of Hobbitville sweep her up in a whole new adventure?

We’re guest blogging today at Romance Bandits, so stop by. I’ll be checking in throughout the day while I wrap presents and bake a ton of Christmas cookies! And did I mention there will be book giveaways?


Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge is Available

Thanksgiving turned out to be an awesome day for me. It’s the day my new book, The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge, hit Amazon’s shelves! I’m really proud of this book. Here’s the teaser:

The Billionaire Bachelor's Revenge Book CoverMeg Taylor needs help only one man can provide. But is she willing to pay Evan Alton’s price?

Meg didn’t realize her father was embezzling money until it was almost too late. Now, she views it as her responsibility to save the company from the trouble her father caused. In an effort to save the business, she turns to Evan, her former fiancé to help financially support the business. Since he was the man her father pegged as the thief, she’s sure he’ll be willing to help, but doesn’t know if she can handle the personal price he offers: posing as his lover until he recoups the money he puts into the business.

Evan Alton is bent on revenge, out to get everything he was due years ago: the girl, the house and the business. Once he has them all (at least in public), he’s going to destroy them in the same way Meg destroyed him years ago. Unfortunately, his heart has other ideas and at some point he’s going to have to trust the woman who betrayed him years ago.


Facing a Blank Page

There are days when you sit down to write and you just start typing and hope for a great idea. Any great idea. Because anything is better than staring at a blank page. And you hope that if you type enough, you’ll come up with something better than talking about the ankle you sprained getting out of your car yesterday, or Scout Son being upset about having to dance in PE.

Given the choices, the blank page is beginning to look better. But there’s a theory that if you just keep typing, even if it’s just “I don’t know what to write,” that eventually you’ll get bored with writing that and you’ll start writing something interesting.

And if you do that one sentence at a time, you end up with a book.

Writing romance novels means putting up with a lot of nonsense and misconceptions. You’ve got people who think anyone can write a book. You’ve got the funny folks who make cracks about spending all your time doing “research.” The people who think that every book is the same simply because you have a happily ever after ending. But nobody says that about a murder mystery, and someone has to die for that book to be written.

The thing is, writing romance novels can be harder than a lot of other books – yes, I am biased – because everyone knows how a romance novel is going to end. So there has to be another plot that keeps people turning the pages in addition to the romantic plot, or else nobody wants to read the story. Because we know how that story is going to end.

So we type. We fold socks. We talk to ourselves. And then, even if we don’t know what comes next, we write. And trust that the ride will be worth it. That something will shake out that is true to our characters and the story we’re trying to share.

Because the other option is the story about how I sprained my ankle. And who wants to read about that?


Finding a Hero in a Song

The idea for The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé came out of a song.

Number one question writers get asked? Where do you get your ideas? I never know where ideas will come from. Sometimes it’s a snippet of conversation overheard in line for coffee, sometimes it’s a magazine article and NPR interviews some really interesting folks. But this time, it was a song.

Moving On, by Rascal Flatts. As the title implies, it’s a song about new starts. I was singing along one day in the car (it’s what I do), and wondered what the guy in the song would look like. And Matt just appeared.

A good kid born to the wrong family, who was determined to make something of himself. Matt didn’t follow the plot of the song, but he also didn’t leave me alone. Yes, my characters talk to me.

I tried to ignore Matt. I was working on corporate projects at the time and really didn’t have time for a landscape architect with a chip on his shoulder the size of the Grand Canyon. Lucky for all of us, Matt refused to keep quiet.

The more I tried to ignore him, the louder he got. I found myself playing Moving On all the time. Wondering what sort of a woman would be interested in Matt. And what sort of woman would interest him.

It didn’t take long to decide Matt was coming back home to gain the respect he craved as a child. Jessica Heymore, the town Heiress, was a lot harder to pin down. Matt needed a strong woman, but would he see her in the girl he’d rebuffed back in high school?

Jessica has her own issues, what with a father who thinks he can buy her success and a meddling grandmother who thinks she knows best (seems to be a family trait). When Jess blows back into town, licking her wounds from her father’s most recent attempts to help her succeed, she turns Matt’s world upside down.

Force them to live together while Jessica tries to decide how to escape her family’s meddling ways, and you get to watch the sparks fly. But that should go without saying since this is a romance novel.

Creating Blakely and the people who live there took even longer because I wanted to get the town just right. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now looking back, I see the reason it had to be right was because I’ll be spending more time there.

I was laying the groundwork for additional books for the fantastic characters that live there. Of course, in the meantime, I started a trilogy, so the stories from Blakely are percolating. But that’s OK. It’s a small town with some big personalities, which leave lots of room for more fun.

I can’t wait to see what happens next in this little town that’s big on down home charm. Of course, since it’s a Carolina beach town, I might need to head for the coast and do some more research before winter really sets in.

Don’t worry. We’re less than a month away from you getting to meet Matt, Jessica, Gran and the rest of Blakely. Hopefully you’ll like them as much as I do. Maybe some of them will even stop by for some guest blogging!

Until then, be careful what you say in the coffee line. You never know who’s listening or what kind of ideas it will spark!


Countdown Begins to Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé

Wow. This is like a first date without having to stare awkwardly at the guy across the table. Or a decent meal to go with it. Hang on, this whole initial blog announcement needs something to go with it. Wine…dog drool (that’s Cassie’s suggestion for anything having to do with the computer)…chocolate. That’s it. Celebratory chocolate!

I’m so excited my book is entering the final stages of publication. Cover art, line edits, reviews, cover quotes, website, blog. There’s so much to do before The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé is released in November.

Obviously, I’m starting with the website and blog so you all can get to know me while the excitement builds. This is the first of my Heiress at the Door books. The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé takes place in a small coastal town in North Carolina. Take a bit of Morehead City, add a dash of Wilmington, and a smidge of all the other small Carolina towns I’ve visited over the years, and you get Blakely.

Later Heiress books will take place in San Francisco and Europe. Having lived on both coasts, I’ve taken my favorite parts of each locale and made them the backdrop for my sassy romances.

If you know me, you know I’m the sarcastic one. I can’t turn it off, and stopped trying to years ago. It shows in my stories. I’m still trying to get a handle on the webiste, blog, tweets #NoCassienotTreatstweets and everything else that goes into a book launch. So bear with me while I work out the kinks.

When I’m not writing, I’m gardening (can you hear the weeds laughing?), knitting, cooking and playing with my kids and the crazy pets we have. Or running from the kitten who currently rules the house. It keeps me busy. When seriously avoiding deadlines I can be found baking sinful things, like the chocolate chip and pecan cookies I made earlier this week when Photoshop was being cranky about my banner.

So, welcome to my world. My clothes are a little tight, the kids and the music are loud, and there’s a fair chance a Doberman is howling in the background. But without chaos, I’d lose my mind!