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Harlequin at RWA 2014

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by Amy Loosemore, Harlequin.com Team

Are you going to the RWA Annual Conference this week? So are we! Harlequin editors, staff and authors are flocking to San Antonio this week and we’d love to see there! Here are some events where you can find us, and check our RWA schedule for more.

Mills and Boon Open House

Thursday, July 26
Time:     11:00 am – 12:00 p.m.
Room: Conference Room 11, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Harlequin Book Signing

Friday, July 25
Time:     9:45 am – 11:15 a.m.
Room: Grand Ballroom C & D, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Series Spotlight

Date: Friday, July 25
Time:  2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Room: Conference Room 3-4, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Single Title Spotlight

Date: Friday, July 25
Time:  3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 3-4, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Harlequin Presents Fifth Avenue Signing

Saturday, July 26
Time:     11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Room: Conference Room 11, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Carina Press Spotlight
Saturday, July 26
Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 p.m.
Room: Conference Room 13-14, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Harlequin Superromance Open House

Saturday, July 26
Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 p.m.
Room: Conference Room 11, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Harlequin Heartwarming Open House

Saturday, July 26
Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 p.m.
Room: Conference Room 11, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

You can also pick up signed books by tons of Harlequin authors during the Literacy Signing on Wednesday, July 23, 5:30-7:30pm at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel. And of course, we’ll be cheering for all the Harlequin and Carina Press RITA finalists during the RITA Awards on Saturday!

Even if you’re not attending RWA, you can follow @HarlequinBooks on Twitter for live tweets of the Harlequin spotlights, plus updates and photos from the conference. We’ll also post a recap of some highlights right here on July 28. Aspiring writers, check out Camp Gonnabe Two in Community for a whole week of online writing discussions, chats and workshops for those unable to attend the conference, too.

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“You Ate What?”

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by A.M. Arthur, author of Maybe This Time (Carina Press)

I’m not much of a scripted television show watcher anymore, and this is probably because I spend so much time with fictional characters while writing my books. I much prefer watching real TV. No, not “reality shows” or “competition reality shows.” My favorite channels are Food Network, Travel Channel, and History Channel. Not only do I learn new things, but it’s great accidental research. I pick up little tidbits for future stories and characters. Some of those tidbits were put to good use when creating the character of Donner Davis in Maybe This Time.

MTT_Cover

While watching an episode of “Bizarre Foods” set in San Francisco, I was introduced to Freegans. These are folks who root through dumpsters and trash cans for perfectly edible produce and other food that grocery stores have thrown away for being less than perfect. Go to YouTube and search for that episode. I’ll wait.

Done? I was astonished at how much food is trashed because Americans are so picky about bumps or bruises on their apples. The Freegans gather up the food, cook it into meals, and distribute it to the city’s homeless. I absolutely fell in love with this idea. People in this country are starving. Children go to bed hungry, and we’re throwing away perfectly good food. It made me look at my buying habits more closely, and it made me want to use that in my fiction. Maybe by writing about it, I can help other people see food differently.

Thus was born Donner Davis. Donner is a professional bartender with a passion for helping others, and he does this by spearheading an organization called Street Feed. He and a friend scavenge around the city looking for edible “garbage.” They collect it, cook it up into soup, and distribute it once a week. Donner’s generosity is the heart of his character, and it’s something that truly confuses Ezra Kelley when the pair first meet. Ezra isn’t used to someone simply being nice for the sake of it, without expecting something in return.

The first time Ezra helps Donner scavenge and his first “dumpster” meal are big moments for Ezra, and it changes the way he thinks about what’s truly disposable—both in terms of food and people.

What about you? Would you eat a bowl of soup if the cook told you that they took all of the ingredients out of the trash?

***

No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child, and scribbling them down nearly as long.  She credits an early fascination with male interpersonal relationships (and “The Young Riders”) with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories.  When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself with her cuisine experiments.

Contact her at am_arthur@yahoo.com with your cooking tips (or book comments). You can also find her online (http://amarthur.blogspot.com/), on Tumblr (http://www.tumblr.com/blog/am-arthur) and on Twitter (@AM_Arthur).

***

About Maybe This Time:

As a regular at gay hotspot Pot O Gold, Ezra Kelley avoids his tangled emotions with the simplicity of one-night stands and attachment-free hookups. Until the night bartender Donner Davis picks him up off the floor after a misunderstanding and too much tequila. Ezra can’t remember the last time someone was . . . nice. It’s more than he deserves.

Witnessing his lover’s death two years ago has Donner trapped in a holding pattern—living in his sister’s basement, working at the Pot and flirting with the customers. He’s not above spending a night with the gorgeous Ezra, but love is not in the cards. That’s more than he’s ready for.

A passionate night leads to a connection that neither man expects, and they take the first steps to something that looks like a real relationship. But Ezra’s been running from himself so long he doesn’t know how to live any other way. And Donner can’t risk his heart just to lose everything again. They’ll both need the strength to let go of the past if they want to get it right this time.

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New Free Online Read: Matched to His Crush by Kat Cantrell

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A geek-turned-billionaire is paired with a former mean girl who one broke his heart in high school in a new free online read by Harlequin Desire author Kat Cantrell. Now Marcus will woo her for revenge—if he doesn’t fall for her first! Find out what happens in “Matched to His Crush” on Harlequin.com with a new chapter posted each Monday. Click here to get started and read an excerpt below!

matched to his crush_OR

Marcus was a geek in high school. Now he owns a billion-dollar company. And the only thing he needs to make his life complete is the perfect wife. So he signs up with the matchmaker at EA International, because she has a reputation for finding soul mates…. But instead of providing the promised perfect match, he’s paired with the girl who once crushed his heart in high school—former head cheerleader Adriana! Now, though, the tables are turned. His beautiful nemesis may have fallen on hard times but that’s not enough atonement for her mean-girl past. Marcus will woo her—and exact his revenge. Yet Adriana isn’t the girl she once was, and soon Marcus is tempted to forgive her mistakes and appreciate the woman she’s become…

Excerpt:

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

And Marcus Braun did not enjoy being shamed. For a moment, he thought about tattooing the saying on his forearm—so it could remind him every day how Adriana McNamara had stood him up not once, but twice.

Both times, she’d somehow managed to convince him she intended to show for their date. His temper spiked as he glanced at his Patek Philippe watch. Yep. Adriana was still over thirty minutes late.

The real mystery was why he still sat here at this French bistro in Uptown, north of Dallas, where she’d agreed to meet him when they’d talked on the phone yesterday.

The café patrons glanced at him curiously, but gone were the days when attention caused him to sweat and stammer. Selling your cloud storage company for 3.2 billion dollars gave a man a serious confidence boost. Otherwise, he’d never have agreed to meet the girl who’d humiliated him at their senior prom by—you guessed it—not showing up.

Obviously, Marcus wasn’t as smart as all the magazine articles said. Adriana had played him for a fool ten years later as soundly as she had the first time. And here he’d thought it was time to let bygones be bygones, assuming they’d both grown a lot in the years since high school and could start over as adults.

Enough was enough. Marcus threw a fifty-dollar bill on the table and stalked to his car, already dialing EA International, the matchmaking company he’d recently hired. Elise Arundel, the matchmaker, had insisted her match software was top-notch and offered a refund if he didn’t find true love. When Adriana’s name came up as his match, Elise had implored him to give it a shot.

Read the rest of Chapter One of “Matched to His Crush” here.

Would you like to be reunited with your high school crush?

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Cover Spotlight: Behind the Scenes of Since You’ve Been Gone

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Today we have a behind-the-scenes look at how Art Director Kathleen Oudit shot and created the cover of Since You’ve Been Gone by Anouska Knight, a moving story about learning to embrace an unknown and unexpected tomorrow–and how to love again.

The photographer, Henrieta, and I met at the studio many hours before the model arrived. A wall of the photography studio had been already been painted and shelves mounted to create a “cake shop” set.

Thanks to Le Dolci, of Toronto, Ontario we had almost an entire bakery’s worth of cakes for our photo shoot!

This local pastry and cake boutique delivered a colourful selection of showstopping cakes, cake stands and platters for us to work with. We also had a selection of character appropriate clothes (including some sweet aprons) waiting to wardrobe our model.

IMG_0152_rs IMG_0153_rs

The cakes looked delicious, but don’t be fooled… they are all display models; just icing and fondant over styrofoam forms. Cake chefs create these samples to display thier creative designs in a showroom or store window–but unlike cake, Styrofoam will not go “off” after a few days.

Continue reading »

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Harlequin Author Milestones: June and July 2014

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Congratulations to all our authors celebrating debuts and milestones in June and July 2014!

Debut Authors:

Black Diamond by Havana Adams
The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal by Adite Banerjie
No Apologies by Sybil Bartel
One Door Closes by G.B. Lindsey
Cooking Up Love by Amylynn Bright
365 Skinny Smoothies by Daniella Chace
Hustle by Claire Chilton
Legal Seduction by Sharon C. Cooper
Hate to Love You by Elise Alden
The Contract by Avril Tremayne
Bad Reputation by Melinda Di Lorenzo
The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst
A Perfect Homecoming by Lisa Dyson
Forgotten Past by Mary Alford
All I Have by Nicole Helm
Her Perfect Candidate by Candace Shaw
Bride by Mail by Katy Madison
Light My Fire by Kristina Knight
No Place to Run by Marion Faith Laird
Heartbreak in Rio by Delaney Diamond
Reasons Not to Fall in Love by Kirsty Moseley
How to Lose Weight and Alienate People by Ollie Quain
Beats of My Heart by Grace Octavia
Chasing the Rebel by Tyler Flynn
The Line Book One: Carrier by Anne Tibbets
Bollywood Fiancé for a Day by Ruchi Vasudeva
Drowned by Nichola Reilly
The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett
The Shepherd by Ethan Cross
Caught In the Crosshairs by Elisabeth Rees
Beyond the Velvet Rope by Tiffany Ashley
Only the Brave Try Ballet by Stefanie London
Boys and Toys by Cara Lockwood
Wicked Sexy by Anne Marsh
A Rose in Flanders Fields by Terri Nixon
Safe in the Earl’s Arms by Liz Tyner
Smoky Mountain Investigation by Annslee Urban
If Only… by Tanya Wright

Continue reading »

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Saturday Excerpt: When Opposites Attract… by Jules Bennett

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A feisty jockey meets a Hollywood heartthrob in Jules Bennett’s new book, When Opposites Attract…, book 1 of The Barrington Trilogy. Mix in secrets and sizzling passion and you get a perfect Harlequin Desire read. Check out an excerpt below to read about Tessa and Grant’s first encounter!

About the Book

“When I want something, I find a way to make it mine.”

After a near-fatal accident, Hollywood hotshot Grant Carter never imagined returning to the equestrian world. But producing a movie about a racing dynasty means he has no choice. Luckily Tessa Barrington, star jockey, provides the distraction he needs—feisty attitude, stunning looks…and a surprising innocence he can’t resist.

Tessa won’t give herself to just any man, especially a smooth-talking player like Grant. Once filming wraps, how can she trust he’ll stick around? He’s already keeping secrets. Besides, Tessa has her eye on bigger prizes…unless falling in love is the biggest prize of all, for both of them.

Excerpt:

With a nice, round backside greeting him as he stepped over the threshold of the fancy stables, Grant Carter was more certain than ever that accepting this film project was not only a chance of a lifetime, it was a gift from God.

He might be looking to settle down and calm his ways, but to ignore the perfection displayed before him would be a sin. Besides, Grant knew his place, and he hadn’t worked this hard in Hollywood to blow it just because temptation seemed to be glaring right in his face. Literally.

Temptation would have to wait, because producing a film revolving around horse-racing icon Damon Barrington was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up…no matter the nightmares that followed him here.

Continue reading »

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Love Transcends Time in Mine Tomorrow

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by Jackie Braun, author of Mine Tomorrow (Harlequin E)

minetomorrowI’ve been a fan of time travel romances since I first read one. It was called Reflections in Time by Elizabeth Crane. In that book, a modern day woman is transported back to Victorian times in Louisiana. I remember staying up all night to finish it. I was sleep-deprived at work the next day but satisfied. It was an awesome book. After that, I read several more. Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux remains on my keeper shelf.

But when it came to writing books, I stayed firmly in contemporary. I wasn’t sure I could manage the historical details as well as the authors I admired. And none of the story ideas I came up with seemed worth exploring.

Then, thirty-some contemporary books later, as I sat at my computer one day, what would become Mine Tomorrow came to me. It was just a very rough opening scene, as often happens when a story begins to percolate. I imagined a woman living in 2014 reaching into the pocket of a vintage coat. Her fingers brush against something and then… voila! Suddenly, she is whisked back in time.

Originally, I titled the book Pocket Change and the item the heroine found in the pocket was a coin. That all changed as I wrote the novella, of course.

The period I chose was post-World War II. I picked this time period for a couple of reasons. First, I love the fashions and hairstyles of the era. Women always looked so put together. Hair neatly coiffed. Makeup on. You never would have seen a woman at the store with curlers in her hair or wearing pajamas. They took the time to dress. (As much as I admire that, I am happy to pull on jeans and T-shirts and walk around in flip-flops rather than high heels.)

I also chose 1945 New York because of the iconic photo of the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square to celebrate V-J Day. That picture takes my breath away. The sheer romance of it. Being kissed with such passion by a stranger. Not groped or pawed, but gently bent backward over his arm. Sigh.

Writing the actual love story in Mine Tomorrow was similar to writing a contemporary romance. Love, after all, transcends time.

So, if you could live in any other time, what would it be?

Giveaway! Answer the above question for a chance to win a digital copy of Mine Tomorrow. The giveaway will end on July 28th, 11:59 ET and a winner will be selected by random draw on July 29th. Open to residents of the US and Canada, excluding Quebec. For full official rules, click here.

 

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When the Clothes Come Off…

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By Erin McCarthy, author of Double Exposure (Harlequin Blaze)

If you’ve seen the movie Love, Actually you might remember the scene where one character works at an art gallery and there are pictures of nude men wearing Santa hats in the background. A group of schoolgirls are giggling while he yells at them, “It’s not funny, it’s art!” I giggled during that scene but didn’t think much about it until I saw a similar reaction from patrons at a museum to a group nude photo. My very scientific conclusion? Public nakedness makes humans laugh. And makes other people uncomfortable.

Sex and laughter. Hmm.

So in my convoluted mind the concept seemed perfect for a Harlequin Blaze book!

Way back in the beginning of my career, when I was a baby writer, I wanted to write for Blaze and its predecessor, Harlequin Temptation. But it never worked out (read: Harlequin rejected me, but really, I’m over it) and I went on to sell to other publishers writing contemporary romance and paranormal romance. But when it felt time to set aside the vampires and demons, I thought back to my original desire to write short and sassy romances for Blaze. Fortunately, this go-round Harlequin was on board with my idea, and the From Every Angle trilogy came to be. The idea of following a photographer through multiple photo shoots and the antics that ensue when people are stripping down in a setting made to be entirely nonsexual was something I knew I could make both humorous and sexy.

Because when the clothes come off, sometimes more than just skin is exposed…

I hope you enjoy the first book, Double Exposure, on the shelves July 1. Love, laughter and a happily-ever-after. With body paint.

Cheers,

Erin

About the Book

An exposé…or just exposed?

Anything for the sake of the story. That explains why journalist Emma Gideon is participating in a large-scale nude photo shoot. Yeah, it’s a stretch for a girl with an old-fashioned side. Worse, sporting only green body paint, she’s on display for Kyle Hadley—the office flirt and her rival at the paper. These unique circumstances are creating a sizzling complication to their rivalry….

Despite her boss’s rule of “no hanky-panky,” Emma ends up in Kyle’s shower…with him! And that’s hotter than she ever imagined. When he suggests a continuation, how can she refuse? But has Emma risked her career for a sexy new development…or is this a severe case of overexposure?

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What Are Your Favorite Romance Adaptations?

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by Amy Loosemore, Harlequin.com Team

What is the next best thing to a great romance novel? A great romance novel turned into a TV show or movie! :) The second season of Cedar Cove, the television series based on Debbie Macomber’s bestselling Cedar Cove series, premieres this weekend and it got me thinking about other shows, films and TV movies based on romance novels.

One of my favorite romance adaptations is the TV movie Diamond Girl, based on the book by Diana Palmer. It first aired in 1998 but if I’m lucky, I’ll still catch it on TV every so often. Being a fan of the classics as well, I will eagerly eat up any new take on Jane Austen’s books or Jane Eyre.

Linda Howard’s classic romance Loving Evangeline also hit the airwaves in 2001. And Cedar Cove isn’t the first Debbie Macomber story to come to television — her holiday romance Call Me Mrs. Miracle was turned into a TV special a few years ago, starring Doris Roberts as the matchmaking Emily Merkle, aka Mrs. Miracle.

Readers can also look for the upcoming premier of Outlander, based on Diana Gabaldon’s time-travel romance and the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Other popular series optioned for TV include Sherryl Woods’s Chesapeake Shores, Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series and Lisa Renee Jones’s Inside Out series. Fans of Eve Dalls and Roarke recently rejoiced with the announcement that J.D. Robb’s In Death series has been optioned for film. Fingers crossed we get to see all these projects soon!

Romance is full of moving, heartwarming tales — and includes so many subgenres like romantic comedies, suspense, fantasy and more — that it’s a shame more of these great stories haven’t found their way to the big and small screens.

So readers, what do you think — which books or series do you think should be made into a movie or TV show/miniseries? What is your favorite film or TV adaptation of a romance novel?

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New FREE Online Read: Cowboy Ever After by Trish Milburn

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Waitress Gretchen Tolliver doesn’t believe in happily-ever-after — but rodeo champion Matt Evans is determined to prove her wrong in a new free online read at Harlequin.com! The first chapter of Trish Milburn’s cowboy romance “Cowboy Ever After” is posted now — click the image below to start reading!

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Gretchen Tolliver doesn’t believe in happy endings. It would be easy for the down-on-her-luck waitress to fall for rodeo champion Matt Evans’ thoughtful charm and gentle spirit. But Gretchen knows, when the rodeo moves on from Blue Falls, Texas, so will Matt.

Matt can’t stop thinking about Gretchen—her gorgeous smile and the quiet strength beneath her vulnerability. Matt sees that Gretchen’s heart has been broken before. But if she’d give him a chance, Matt’s ready to prove that Gretchen’s happy ending has just begun.

Start reading “Cowboy Ever After” at Harlequin.com, with a new free chapter posted each weekeday! And look for Trish Milburn’s newest book, The Texan’s Cowgirl Bride, on sale now from Harlequin American Romance.

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