The Cowboys of Copper Mountain by Katherine Garbera, Melissa McClone, and Jane Porter – Spotlight and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn rafflecopter winner (international giveaway). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Three novellas and an unforgettable short story, now available together in one festive package!

A Cowboy For Christmas by Katherine Garbera

Annie Prudhomme never expected to be back in Marietta, MT and her family is fond of reminding her that she left them and the town behind in search of better things. A humiliating divorce that cost her everything she’d gained has driven her back home and her family isn’t about to welcome her back into the fold. She’s in town to rebuild the old home that she inherited and to move on once again.

Carson Scott never forgot Annie or the way she left. Now that she’s back in town he’s realizing that the old flame still burns hot but he can’t risk his heart the way he did last time now that he has his son to think about it. Being trapped together during a December snowstorm gives them a chance to rekindle their romance but is Annie back for good or is she just looking for a cowboy for Christmas?

Christmas At Copper Mountain by Jane Porter

Since the loss of her family in a plane crash, Harley Diekerhoff has led a quiet life and keeps to herself. Taking the temporary job at the Copper Mountain Ranch as widower Brock Sheenan’s housekeeper seems perfect for her. But her calm cocoon is invaded with the arrival of Brock’s pre-teen twins, Mack and Molly who’ve never experienced a proper Christmas and before she knows it, Harley’s determined to make their holiday perfect.

Annoyed at first by Harley’s interference, Brock is secretly pleased she’s changed Mack and Molly’s world. It doesn’t hurt that he finds Harley incredibly attractive, fierce, smart and passionate. It’s also an added bonus that she’s not afraid to challenge him and get his blood heated! But when sparks fly and the attractions sizzles between them, Harley’s not so sure she can handle something permanent with this dark, taciturn cowboy who doesn’t know how to let her in. But Brock is determined to hold on to her and praying for a Christmas miracle…

Home For Christmas by Melissa McClone

Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Rachel Murphy loves the scent of gingerbread baking almost as much as she enjoys creating custom edible houses at Christmastime. But she needs a bigger kitchen if she wants to make the most of her impromptu holiday business.

Enter Nate Vaughn, handsome venture capitalist turned Montana dude ranch owner and her brother’s boss. Nate’s commercial kitchen is perfect for the baker. And he thinks she might be perfect for him…as a business partner.

After being burned by a celebrity baker, Rachel’s wary of Nate’s interest in her gingerbread houses, not to mention his mistletoe kisses. She should leave the Bar V5 ranch and return to Arizona. Or can Nate convince her she’s already home?

Mistletoe Magic by Melissa McClone

Spending a quiet Christmas housesitting and reading novels about hot cowboys sounds perfect to Caitlin. Until a stray kitten brings her face-to-face with Noah, her crush from college. Watching the handsome vet in action melts Caitlin’s heart and brings back long-forgotten emotion. She would be safer back at the house lost in the pages of a book. But a toe-curling mistletoe kiss tempts her to stay. Maybe she won’t be spending this Christmas… alone.

Veterinarian Noah Sullivan isn’t a Scrooge, but the Christmas Eve tradition of hanging mistletoe in the clinic’s waiting room annoys him. Kissing doesn’t belong at the Copper Mountain Animal Hospital. Noah rethinks his position when Caitlin Butler arrives with a stray kitten she found freezing in the snow. All he wants now is to maneuver the pretty preschool teacher under the mistletoe. If he’s not careful, he’ll wind up on Santa’s naughty list.

Enjoy an except for Home For Christmas:

Rachel leaned against the island counter, watching Nate Vaughn’s retreating backside, relieved to see him go. Forget about wanting a nice guy in her life, even flirting was too strenuous for her bruised heart. She only wished she hadn’t noticed how nicely Nate’s jeans fit or how his leather jacket showed off wide shoulders or how the duffel bag he carried made her wonder where he’d spent last night.

None of those things should matter.

Not to her.

He might be show-off sexy with that razor stubble on his handsome face and an I’d-like-to-get-to-know-you-better smile, but she didn’t need his business help or advice. She didn’t want anything from him. Well, except the use of his kitchen.

Nate glanced over his shoulder, meeting her gaze straight on.

Busted for staring. Heat rose up her neck. Good thing she was flushed from the heat in the kitchen. Maybe her blush wouldn’t give her away.

His lips curved into a wry grin.

Too late. Her face burned hotter. “Forget something?”

“If it’s not too much trouble, save a piece of gingerbread for me.”

By the time she finished baking, she would have platefuls of ends and cutouts. “No problem, as long as you don’t mind the scraps.”

“Don’t mind at all. My hungry stomach won’t know the difference.”

She expected him to turn back. Walk away. Let her work.

Nate continued staring. He must want another look at the gingerbread houses. Except… she wet her lips… he was looking at her.

The hunger in his eyes made Rachel’s blood simmer. His gaze ran the length of her slowly, appreciatively, like he wanted a taste of her.

Her heart thudded.

Something stirred inside Rachel. Excitement, yes. But also possibility.

He made her feel like an unexpected, but welcomed, guest at a cocktail party. That her flour-stained clothes were as appealing as a little black dress.

Did she dare let herself have some fun? Something missing from her life for a long time.

Self-preservation told her to look away. Run away would be better.

Safer.

She might not have dated many men, but she knew that look from the last cowboy who had broken her heart after Ty had broken his nose. Nate might be a great guy according to her brother, but she needed to keep her distance. She knew better than to think she could handle a man like Nate Vaughn.

About the Authors:

USA Today, and New York Times bestselling author of 47 romances and women’s fiction titles, Jane Porter has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award five times, with her Tule Publishing novella, Take Me, Cowboy, winning the Novella Category July 2014. Jane today has over 12 million copies in print, including her wildly popular Flirting with Forty, a novel picked by Redbook Magazine as it’s Red Hot Summer Read in 2006 before being turned into a Lifetime movie in 2008 starring Heather Locklear.

Jane holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and makes her home in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband, three sons, and two dogs. You can learn more about Jane at www.JanePorter.com.

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USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 65 books. Writing is the chief focus of her time after her family and the only thing she likes more than working on her own books is reading other authors. She is a frequent speaker at conferences and loves the opportunity to talk about writing with anyone who’ll listen. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund.

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Melissa McClone has published over thirty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. She also sends care packages to deployed service members and fosters cats through a local no-kill animal shelter. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!

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A Fur Family Christmas by Melissa McClone – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Welcome to Melissa McClone who is joining up for some Christmas memories.  Leave a comment for a chance to win a Christmas swag pack of goodies!
A Fur Family Christmas
by Melissa McClone
melissa SantaPupandChaosChristmas is a time of togetherness, of family. Ours consists of two-legged and four –legged kiddos. Whether they are covered with skin or fur, Christmas is a big deal, which is one reason I love to put animals in my stories, particularly holiday ones. My furbabies love Christmas, too!

melissa SpiritStockings

Our first Christmas in our first house was spent with two kittens named Rocket and Spirit, who my hubby calls the most expensive “free” pets ever. We found them at a garage sale. I was only supposed to bring one home, but the little gray girl was so underweight and pathetic looking I couldn’t leave her.

I was pregnant with our first child at the time, but my first babies were those two cats. Spoiled doesn’t begin to describe them. I rubbed them to sleep. They both slept on my pillow. I hated to leave them alone for any length of time. I even took them to see the neighborhood Christmas lights. I hadn’t a clue at the time that they were training me to be a crazy cat lady! Of course, everyone else around me knew.

 

 

melissa IMG_1109That first Christmas morning back in 1997, we set up the camcorder on a tripod to videotape the cats opening their presents and stockings. We called it Kitty Christmas and that hasn’t changed even though we now have three kids, two dogs and many cats, including fosters from a local no-kill shelter where I volunteer. Each furbaby gets their own stocking, and each seems to know which one belongs to them. Santa Paws brings a bigger gift that goes under the tree!

 

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Christmas was easy until we adopted our youngest cat, Beauty, in 2011 when she was only a couple months old. Until then, we’d never had a tree climber. Oh, the cats loved to bat ornaments or steal them. They would sleep under the tree or in the nativity crèche. Rocket, who is no longer with us, loved a singing Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer that I bought from QVC after he went up to the TV and touched it with his paws during the presentation. But they left the tree itself alone. Not Beauty.

 

She demelissa beautyintreecided the Christmas tree was hers. And every year since then, she’s made herself at home amongst the branches. That means all my lovely glass-blown and other fragile ornaments no longer get hung. They sit in the ornament boxes, replaced by shatterproof balls and other unbreakable decorations. But I must admit, she looks pretty cute in their place!

This year we have a new foster with us so we’ll have to see if Beauty has company in her tree or not! But no matter how many climbers we end up with, it’ll be a very Merry Christmas at our house!

 

About the Author: 12_9 melissa AuthorPicWith a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa McClone worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! Since then, she has published over thirty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. She also sends care packages to deployed service members and fosters cats through a local no-kill animal shelter. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house. They do!

You can connect with Melissa on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Buy Mistletoe Magic at Amazon or it’s free on Smashwords. Buy Kiss Me, Cowboy at Amazon. Enjoy Mistletoe Wedding at Amazon.

Mistletoe Wedding by Melissa McClone – Spotlight, Scavenger Hunt, and Giveaway

12_9 melissa MBB_MistletoeWedding_Banner

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions and a part of a Scavenger Hunt! Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour and enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a $20 Amazon GC and a prize pack.

12_9 melissa 20_ScavengerHuntGraphic

12_9 melissa Cover_MistletoeWeddingEvent planner at the Bar V5 Dude Ranch, Meg Redstone is dreaming of a white Christmas with twinkling lights, sparkly decorations and strategically placed mistletoe. She loves making dreams come true for others, whether planning a holiday wedding or giving her young daughter the best Christmas ever.

Ranch foreman Tyler Murphy loves the holidays, but his newest employee has taken over his barn with her over-the-top decorations. He admires Meg’s desire to give her daughter the perfect Christmas while planning a winter wonderland wedding, but he wants to show her that a Montana Christmas is more than glitter and lights.

After raising his younger sister, an instant family is not on Ty’s Christmas wish list. But he finds himself falling hard for the single mom and her little girl. Meg, however, is not interested in a romance with a cowboy like Ty, or any man. Getting her under the mistletoe is going to take a Christmas miracle . . . or a little help from Santa.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Her gaze kept straying back to the man walking next to her.

And she knew with pulse-pounding certainty.

All the rationalizations of why romantic feelings didn’t matter and why she was better off alone than in a relationship disappeared like a snowflake being caught on a tongue. They mattered, and she wanted those things badly.

With Ty.

She hadn’t meant to fall for him, but she had. Hard.

A shiver raced down her spine. The realization was unexpected, scary.

He shot her a sideways glance, which she knew because she couldn’t drag her attention off him. “You, okay?”

“Just thinking.” Of course, he would sense something was up. That was part of his appeal. He got her. The way he understood her daughter, too. If there was one man out there who was what she needed and Brooklyn needed, that was Ty Murphy.

Feelings and desires long buried rose to the surface. She was ready to stop saying she didn’t want more, want him.

“Know what you want?” he asked.

Meg swallowed around the lump in her throat. “Excuse me.”

“What chocolates you’re going to get?”

She sighed with relief. She thought he’d read her mind. “Salted caramels for the guys. I’ll have to see what Sage has in the display case before I decide what I want.”

Besides him.

“You can have more than one,” Ty said.

“I might want only one.”

“It’s Christmas. Don’t be so cautious. Live it up.”

If only she knew where he stood . . . Dare she ask?

About the Author: 12_9 melissa AuthorPicWith a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa McClone worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! Since then, she has published over thirty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. She also sends care packages to deployed service members and fosters cats through a local no-kill animal shelter. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house. They do!

You can connect with Melissa on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Buy Mistletoe Magic at Amazon or it’s free on Smashwords. Buy Kiss Me, Cowboy at Amazon. Mistletoe Wedding is currently $0.99 at Amazon.

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THE BAR V5 DUDE RANCH SERIES by Melissa McClone – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Melissa will award a $25 Amazon Gift card and a Mini Swag Goodie Bag to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (international giveaway). Click on the tour to see the other stops on the tour.

Three couples. Three stories, where you can follow one pair from meeting to wedding day!

Mistletoe Magic

Spending a quiet Christmas housesitting and reading novels about hot cowboys sounds perfect to Caitlin Butler. Until a stray kitten brings her face-to-face with Noah, her crush from college. Watching the handsome vet in action melts Caitlin’s heart and brings back long forgotten emotion. She would be safer back at the house lost in the pages of a book. But a toe-curling mistletoe kiss tempts her to stay. Maybe she won’t be spending this Christmas… alone.

Veterinarian Noah Sullivan isn’t a Scrooge, but the Christmas Eve tradition of hanging mistletoe in the clinic’s waiting room annoys him. Kissing doesn’t belong at the Copper Mountain Animal Hospital. Noah rethinks his position when Caitlin arrives with a stray kitten she found freezing in the snow. All he wants now is to maneuver the pretty preschool teacher under the mistletoe. If he’s not careful, he’ll wind up on Santa’s naughty list.

Kiss Me, Cowboy

She didn’t mean to kiss him…

When dude ranch wrangler Charlotte – aka Charlie – Randall kisses Zack Harris in an act of empathy, she falls hat over spurs for the handsome military veteran turned cowboy. Zack has too many demons, however, and refuses to get involved. A year later, he’s still stonewalling, and Charlie needs to move on with her life so she can find a fulfilling relationship, not frustrating unrequited love. Putting distance between them seems the best way to get Zack out of her head and heart…but that means quitting the job she loves and accepting a position in Colorado.

He didn’t mean to kiss her back…

Growing up, Zack longed for a real family, and had one with his squad while deployed in Afghanistan. Now, he’s back in the States and doesn’t want anything messing up his new ranch family, no matter how much he’s attracted to the sexy, hard-working Charlie. She could break his heart and ruin the comfortable working relationship they and the other wranglers enjoy. Besides, her friends claim she’s looking for the perfect guy, and perfect he’s not.

A kiss is just a kiss…or is it?

When Zack learns Charlie’s thinking about leaving the ranch, he decides to find her a boyfriend — someone so good, so perfect, she has a reason to stay in Montana. Until he realizes too late that the only cowboy he wants her kissing is him. Can he commit to love and convince Charlie not to leave? Or has she made up her mind to put the past, and the kiss that started it all, behind her and move on without him?

Mistletoe Wedding

Event planner at the Bar V5 Dude Ranch, Meg Redstone is dreaming of a white Christmas with twinkling lights, sparkly decorations and strategically placed mistletoe. She loves making dreams come true for others, whether planning a holiday wedding or giving her young daughter the best Christmas ever.

Ranch foreman Tyler Murphy loves the holidays, but his newest employee has taken over his barn with her over-the-top decorations. He admires Meg’s desire to give her daughter the perfect Christmas while planning a winter wonderland wedding, but he wants to show her that a Montana Christmas is more than glitter and lights.

After raising his younger sister, an instant family is not on Ty’s Christmas wish list. But he finds himself falling hard for the single mom and her little girl. Meg, however, is not interested in a romance with a cowboy like Ty, or any man. Getting her under the mistletoe is going to take a Christmas miracle . . . or a little help from Santa.

Enjoy an excerpt from Mistloe Wedding:

Her gaze kept straying back to the man walking next to her.

And she knew with pulse-pounding certainty.

All the rationalizations of why romantic feelings didn’t matter and why she was better off alone than in a relationship disappeared like a snowflake being caught on a tongue. They mattered, and she wanted those things badly.

With Ty.

She hadn’t meant to fall for him, but she had. Hard.

A shiver raced down her spine. The realization was unexpected, scary.

He shot her a sideways glance, which she knew because she couldn’t drag her attention off him. “You, okay?”

“Just thinking.” Of course, he would sense something was up. That was part of his appeal. He got her. The way he understood her daughter, too. If there was one man out there who was what she needed and Brooklyn needed, that was Ty Murphy.

Feelings and desires long buried rose to the surface. She was ready to stop saying she didn’t want more, want him.

“Know what you want?” he asked.

Meg swallowed around the lump in her throat. “Excuse me.”

“What chocolates you’re going to get?”

She sighed with relief. She thought he’d read her mind. “Salted caramels for the guys. I’ll have to see what Sage has in the display case before I decide what I want.”

Besides him.

“You can have more than one,” Ty said.

“I might want only one.”

“It’s Christmas. Don’t be so cautious. Live it up.”

If only she knew where he stood . . . Dare she ask?

About the Author:

With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa McClone worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! Since then, she has published over thirty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. She also sends care packages to deployed service members and fosters cats through a local no-kill animal shelter. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house. They do!


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MISTLETOE MAGIC is FREE at Amazon and Smashwords
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MISTELTOE WEDDING is on sale for only $2.99 at Amazon
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Guest Blog: Melissa McClone

It may be early November, but given the way stores are decorated for the holiday season it feels more like December. Some of the shops where I live had the sparkly red and green stuff out when the Halloween decorations and costumes where for sale.

I tend to look past it. I don’t like to listen to Christmas carols or decorate until after Thanksgiving, but I like to start my Christmas shopping early. I bought a gift for one of my children back in August. You never know when you’ll see that perfect present for someone on your list so I keep my eyes peeled on what’s out there all year long.

In my ideal world, I’m finished shopping by the time Advent arrives. That way I can concentrate on preparing for Christmas by decorating, baking and addressing envelopes, rather than making trips to crowded malls and stores. Of course, ideal rarely happens.

Well, except in 2008 when snow began falling on December 14th. And kept on falling. And falling. Forget about shopping or going to parties. No one could go anywhere until the 23rd and even then chains were required.

Sounds awful, right? Cabin fever after so many days. Running out of food. Not being able to shop for presents.

I’ll be honest, it was sheer heaven. My kids will agree.

Sure, we were stuck at home. But that turned out to be a very good thing. Face it, preparing for Christmas can be crazy busy. All that shopping, mailing and party/events to attend are hard to juggle. Not to mention all the regular obligations and daily word count goals!

But thanks to Mother Nature, we didn’t have to spend our time trying to cram it all in. The holidays, as well as life, were simplified for us when the weather cancelled most everything except Christmas itself. We didn’t have to go anywhere except outside to play in the snow with our neighbors then back inside the house to warm ourselves when it got to cold and wet. It was great.

When the weather finally let up on the 23rd, my husband and I left the kids with the neighbors. We drove to a couple stores to pick up much needed food, including what we needed for Christmas dinner, and a couple remaining presents on the list. We ended up spinning out on the freeway on-ramp and nearly crashing head on into an SUV that was behind us. After that the only other place we drove to was Christmas morning Mass. When we exited church, snow had started falling again!

The white Christmas the kids had been dreaming about! A perfect winter wonderland.

As I prepare to have my family over for Thanksgiving dinner, I want to remember what I learned back in December 2008. It shouldn’t take a snowstorm to keep us from getting so caught up in the holidays that everything happens in a blur.

This year, I went so far as to schedule in a two-week slow-down/break for my writing. I want to keep things simple and focused on what’s most important about Christmas—love. Though if Mother Nature wants to lend a hand in helping me do that, I won’t complain. The kids would love another white Christmas. And so would I!

Back Cover Blurb:

Christmas magic in Hood Hamlet…

For Leanne, infuriatingly charming firefighter Christian Welton is out of bounds. Not only is he too young for her, but his trail of broken hearts is legendary. Leanne’s fought hard to be one of the boys, and won’t let anyone see that Christian’s smile makes her want to melt into his arms!

Christian wanted to discover the softer side of the tough-talking paramedic, but hasn’t counted on how much the real Leanne affects him. He’s vowed never to settle down, but under the mistletoe it’s certainly the season to be tempted.…

If you’d like to meet Leanne Thomas, she was a secondary character in Melissa’s free on-line read, Snow-Kissed Reunion, at eharlequin.com. (If you want to link to it here is the url: http://www.harlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1538&chapter=1)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
:
Melissa McClone writes for Harlequin Romance. She was a 2011 RITA® Finalist in the Contemporary Series Category. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, but quit her job to write romance novels. Writing happily ever afters is a lot more fun than analyzing jet engine performance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, three oh-so-spoiled cats and a dog named Chaos.

Pets in Books

I have four cats and one dog. Some would call me a Crazy Cat Lady. That term wouldn’t be too far off. I once said I could sum up my life with LOLcat pictures from icanhascheezburger.com. People thought I was joking. I wasn’t.
Chaos & Yoda
Pets are an important part of my life. Although I have a husband and three children who are around much of the time, the animals are my constant companions while I write. Right now one of my cats, Spirit, is keeping me company while I write this post. Another cat, Smalls, is asleep next to me. If it wasn’t so warm, I’m sure the dog would be upstairs with me instead of napping downstairs where it’s cooler.
I love putting pets into my romance novels. Before I had furbabies of my own, I used other people’s pets for inspiration for my animal characters. A friend from college, Mike, had a cat named Francis who was named that for two reasons—Frank Sinatra and Shakespeare. I used both the name and the basis for his name in my first Silhouette Romance If the Ring Fits….
A deep longing for a dog led me to create Denali, a blue-eyed Siberian Husky, who appeared in my Harlequin Romances Rescued by the Magic of Christmas and Christmas Magic on the Mountain. Giving a heartbreaker-player type hero was a way to show a different side of him. And if he was willing to commit to a dog, maybe he wasn’t quite the confirmed bachelor he claimed to be. (We ended up adopting Chaos, a Norwegian Elkhound, after realizing a husky’s personality wouldn’t be a good fit for our family.)
Our newest cat, Yoda, who we adopted from a local Humane Society and is pictured above with Chaos, ended up being the inspiration for a stray black kitten taken in by my hero in my Harlequin Romance Not-So-Perfect Princess. 
It was so much fun to use Yoda, who is known as the Master of Disaster and Ninja Kitty, to create Boots. The kitten not only is the catalyst for my heroine and hero meeting, but the cats brings them together throughout the story. I fell in love with my fictional kitty when it came time to make Romance Trading Cards for my characters I made him one, too!
Here’s a little taste of a scene from that book with my hero, Alejandro, and the kitten:
Lying in bed, Alejandro Cierzo de Amanecer heard a noise outside his room at the beachfront villa. The stray kitten he’d found at the boatyard must want something. He opened his eyes to see sunlight streaming in through the brand-new floor-to-ceiling windows. Most likely breakfast.
 
The bedroom door burst wide-open. Heavy boots sounded against the recently replaced terra-cotta tile floor.
Not again.
Alejandro grimaced, but didn’t move. He knew the routine.
 
A squad of royal guards dressed in blue and gold uniforms surrounded his bed. At least they hadn’t drawn their weapons this time.
Not that he would call another intrusion progress.
“What does he want now?” Alejandro asked.
 
The captain of the guard, Sergio Mendoza, looked as stoic as ever, but older with gray hair at his temples. “King Dario requests your presence at the palace, Your Highness.”
 
Alejandro raked his hand through his hair in frustration. “My father never requests anything.”
Sergio’s facial expression didn’t change. He’d only shown emotion once, when Alejandro had been late bringing Sergio’s youngest daughter home from a date when they were teenagers. In spite of the security detail accompanying them, Alejandro had feared for his life due to the anger in the captain’s eyes. 
“The king orders you to come with us now, sir,” Sergio said.
Alejandro didn’t understand why his father wanted to see him. No one at the palace listened to what Alejandro said. He might not want to be part of the monarchy, but he wasn’t about to abandon his country.
He’d founded his business here and suggested economic innovations, including developing their tourist trade. But his ideas clashed with those of his father and brother who were more old-fashioned and traditional in their thinking.
 
A high-pitched squeak sounded. The scraggly black kitten with four white paws clawed his way up the sheet onto the bed. The thing had been a nuisance these past two weeks with the work at the boatyard and renovations here at the villa.
 
“I need to get dressed before I go anywhere,” Alejandro said.
“We’ll wait while you dress, sir.” Sergio’s words did nothing to loosen Alejandro’s tense shoulder muscles. “The king wants no delay in your arrival.”
Alejandro clenched his teeth. He wanted to tell the loyal captain to leave, but the guards would use force to get him to do what they wanted. He was tired of fighting that battle. “I need privacy.”
Sergio ordered the soldiers out of the room, but he remained standing by the bed. “I’ll wait on the other side of the door, sir. Guards are stationed beneath each window.”
Alejandro rolled his eyes. His father still saw him as a rebellious teenager. “I’m thirty years old, not seventeen.”
Sergio didn’t say anything. No doubt the captain remembered some of Alejandro’s earlier…escapades.
“Tell me where you think I would run to, Captain?” Alejandro lay in bed covered with a sheet. “My business is here. I own properties. My father’s lackeys follow me wherever I go.”
“They are your security detail, sir,” Sergio said. “You must be protected. You’re the second in line for the throne.”
“Don’t remind me,” Alejandro muttered.
 
“Many would give everything to be in your position.”
 
Not if they knew what went with being the “spare” entailed. No one cared what he thought. Even when he tried to help the island, no one supported him. He’d had to do everything on his own. Alejandro hated being a prince. He’d been educated in the United States. He didn’t want to participate in an outdated form of government where too much power rested with one individual. But he wanted to see his country prosper.
“Guard the door if you must.” Alejandro gave the kitten a pat. “I won’t make your job any more difficult for you than it is.”
As soon as Sergio left, Alejandro slid out of bed and showered. His father hadn’t requested formal dress so khaki shorts, a navy T-shirt and a pair of boat shoes would do.
Do you have any pets? Do you like books that have pets in them?
 

Hero Inspiration

When I brainstorm a new story, I usually have an idea about the characters. Some info about their past, maybe a hobby, their family…some tidbit that gets me brainstorming so I can create someone readers will come to care about, root for and, in the hero’s case, fall in love with.

With my current release from Harlequin Romance, Not-So-Perfect Princess, the heroine was a continuity character. I knew everything I needed to know about her. My hero, however, was unknown. I knew he lived on an island in the Mediterranean, was a prince, a sailor and a black sheep. But his backstory and motivation were a mystery to me. 

Until I was at a friends house and thumbing through a magazine…

As soon as I saw a Nautica advertisement, my hero came alive in my mind. The setting, the sailboat, the man. It was all so perfect. Ideas and insights exploded in my head. I couldn’t jot down notes fast enough. I asked if I could rip out the ad to take home with me. She, also a writer, said yes, even though it was a brand new magazine.

When it came time to write my story, I kept this image firmly in mind as well as the ad close at hand. Alejandro became his own man, but the ad helped me get there!

Of course, when the cover came out, that hero looked nothing like I imagined my hero looking like. This wasn’t the first time that happened. I knew it wouldn’t be the last.

But when I had Romance Trading Cards made for this title to take with me to the RWA conference in NYC, I decided to look for a hero who was more like my inspiration from the ad than the one on the cover. I must admit it was fun looking through all the stock photo sights for the perfect guy.

I don’t think I did too badly. What do you think?

Melissa

Happy 4th Anniversary to LASR!

I’m so excited to be a part of this anniversary blogfest! The reason—I love LASR.
It’s not because one of their reviewers gave my newest release from Harlequin Romance, Not-So-Perfect Princess, a 5 Books rating, and the kind of review that puts a smile on an author’s face for weeks, but because they are true supporters of the romance genre. Whether you are a reader or an author, LASR has something for everyone.

LASR is the definition of author friendly.

They offer opportunities like this Blog Fest to allow interact with readers and meet new ones. They post reviews, not only on their site but also at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads. They also understand authors—the constraints on our time, our sometimes forgetfulness, our nervousness at a new release. They go out of their way to help authors get their exposure for their books, even showcasing booktrailers.

Yes, I’m a LASR fangirl! I’m guessing I’m not alone, either!

Happy 4th Anniversary to Long and Short Reviews! I hope everyone has a wonderful time during this celebration. I’m looking forward to it.

Don’t forget to comment on all the blog posts today to be entered to win some fantastic prizes. And remember, this blogfest is only the beginning! There’s going to be a scavenger hunt, too, with even more really great prizes! Enjoy!

Melissa

Friday Spotlight: Melissa McClone

A Tale of Two Covers

When I first saw the cover for Rescued by the Magic of Christmas, I fell in love. The horse-drawn sled is from a scene in the book. The snowflakes falling, the lit cabins and the pine trees all fit the Mount Hood setting perfectly. They’d even got the characters right.

When I clicked on a Google alert for Christmas Magic on the Mountain, I got a sense of déjà vu looking at the cover. It seemed very familiar. Oh, there were some differences: character faces, day vs. night setting. But there were also a lot of similarities.

This often happens with series romance covers. Artists create cover images from photographs taken at shoots. The pink-clad baby who appeared on the cover of Marriage for Baby has been on many other covers. So if a cover seems familiar, it probably is.

I thought I’d see what my heroes, Jake Porter and Sean Hughes, from the respective books have to say about their cover similarities.

Jake: Why were you wearing my sweater, Hughes?

Sean: Dude, I own a snowboarding company. You think I’d actually wear that sweater? Out in public?

Jake: You’ve got a point.

Sean: At least we’re wearing our own gloves.

Jake: Damn straight.

Sean: Dudes don’t borrow accessories from other dudes.

Jake: Unless it’s climbing gear.

Sean: True that.

Jake: Now the girls…

Sean: I could see Zoe borrowing Carly’s green sweater.

Jake: And gloves.

Sean: My Aunt Vera knitted Zoe’s hat and scarf.

Jake: Kendall and Austin gave Carly hers.

Sean: Why the hell are we wearing scarves?

Jake: No clue. I don’t own one.

Sean: I sure don’t. I can’t believe we aren’t wearing hats.

Jake: I always wear a hat in the wintertime. Fleece lined.

Sean: Comfy and warm. The only way to go.

Jake: Wool’s good, too.

Sean: Wool rocks.

Jake: Those sweaters look like cotton.

Sean: It’s amazing we didn’t suffer hypothermia dressed like that. Never wear cotton when you’re going outside and could get wet.

Jake: Stop with the rescue team leader stuff. No one cares.

Sean: Sorry, dude. Occupational hazard.

Jake: You should have put your arm around Zoe to keep her warm like I did with Carly.

Sean: I was trying to be good. Act like a gentleman.

Jake: How long did it take Zoe to see through that?

Sean: Let’s see how long it’ll take for you to see through a black eye.

Jake: Let’s grab a pint of the new Winter Ale at my brewpub instead.

Sean: Sounds good. But you might really want to ditch the sweater first.

Thursday Spotlight: Melissa McClone

MUSIC TO WRITE BY

I’m not only a writer, but also a wife and mother. I have a lot going on in life besides my current work in progress and spend a lot of my time driving kids from one activity to another. Often, my writing time comes in bits and pieces. That means when I have a free moment, I need to get my head into the story right away.

This isn’t always easy with so much going on around me. But like many other authors, I’ve found music is the quickest way to get my head where it needs to be so I can write. Certain music and lyrics remind me of characters, setting, plot, etc. When I hear these songs, I can easily transport myself into the pages and start writing more productively.

With each manuscript, I come up with a soundtrack to help with the writing process. Sometimes it’s one song. Other times I could fill an entire CD. There are always some standby songs (such as music by Lifehouse) that put me in the writing mood for every book. Here is the book soundtrack for CHRISTMAS MAGIC ON THE MOUNTAIN:

The main song was Use Somebody by the Kings of Leon. I was writing the proposal when I heard this song on the radio as I was driving to Toys R Us. I knew it was perfect for the story. Of course, my husband cannot stand the song after hearing it pretty much non-stop from September through January, when I finished the revisions. My kids, however, love it and know all the lyrics by heart.

The other song was All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey. (I also listened to the version from the movie Love Actually a couple of times.) I’ve always loved this song. It’s so cheery and fun. The lyrics are perfect for a Christmassy romance and really fit with my heroine, Zoe.

In late October, I was driving and heard the song All In by Lifehouse. Even though the song wasn’t out when I was writing the story, I’m including it here because it fits perfectly. Whenever I hear the song, I can’t stop thinking about CHRISTMAS MAGIC ON THE MOUNTAIN.

Are there certain songs that you use as a reminder or to put you in a frame of mind? What are they?