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A TASTE OF CHARDONNAY with Heather Heyford

Thanks for stopping by Manic Readers, Heather.

How did you come to writing?

I’m kind of famous in my family for my long string of unrelated jobs. As a teenager, I worked at an Italian restaurant owned by triplets who didn’t speak English, where I gave myself first-degree burns spilling a plate of hot spaghetti down my leg.

Following college graduation I became a sales rep. One winter afternoon under a sky the color of a bruise, I slid off an icy rural Pennsylvania ramp into a snow bank. It was dark before I was found.

After that I went to work for a department store, rising to the rank of dress buyer. So glamorous! The f-bomb was my boss’s favorite word, and the women were paid less than the men. At least I got to take the train to New York for my monthly buying trip, where I was put up in a low-end hotel that reeked of carpet glue.

Finally acknowledging my artistic streak, I next decided to become an art teacher, which I stuck with for a decade.

I truly didn’t have what it took to write until I’d accumulated all those experiences. 

What grade and subject did you teach?  

I taught Art. What could be easier than painting and cutting and drawing with cute little kids? Um, just about anything, as it turns out! I ended up getting hired at a high school. Teaching was the hardest thing I ever did. Every adult should have to shadow a teacher for one whole day. That would put to bed complaints about teachers’ salaries, once and for all!   

What is your favorite part of writing? 

I love editing. It’s amazing, seeing your fantasies come alive. Sometimes I’ll laugh and think, “Did I write that line?” I must be in a different zone when I write. 

Least favorite? 

Definitely, the middle of the book is the stickiest. The beginning is fun, I know how it will end…it’s the stuffing that requires the most deliberation. 

Please tell us about your debut A TASTE OF CHARDONNAY, first in your Napa Wine Heiresses Series. 

I’m so excited! Nine months ago, I was teetering atop a rickety ladder hanging Christmas lights, when I got ‘the call’ that Kensington wanted to buy my series about the four daughters of Xavier St. Pierre, Napa Valley’s most notorious vintner. Each book tells one sister’s story of how she finds love and fulfillment. 

Do you have a WIP you can talk about? 

I just finished writing Book 3 in the series, A Taste of Sauvignon, and I’m about to start the next one. In Book 4, A Taste of Sake, Char, Meri and Savvy will be shocked to discover Papa has been keeping a secret from them: their illegitimate half-sister, who’s been living in San Francisco all these years! 

What are you currently reading? 

My first love in the romance genre was Regency, but since I write contemporary, I’ve been scrambling to catch up with the likes of Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Robyn Carr. I also always have one of the Outlander books on my nightstand.  

A Taste of Chardonnay_ebookcover (1)

Heather Heyford is author of the contemporary romance series, The Napa Wine Heiresses. Get “A Taste of Chardonnay” in print or for kindle and Nook.

At Kensington Books or Visit Heather

Born in the Northeast, Heather Heyford learned to walk and talk in Texas, and then moved to England. (“Ya’ll want some scones?”) While in Europe, Heather was forced by her cruel parents to spend Saturdays in the leopard vinyl back seat of their Peugeot, motoring from one medieval pile to the next for the lame purpose of ‘learning something.’ What she soon learned was how to allay the boredom by stashing a Cosmo under the seat. Now a recovering teacher, Heather writes love stories, feeds hardboiled eggs to suburban foxes, and makes art in the Mid-Atlantic. See more at HeatherHeyford.com

With Saturday Morning Cartoon era ending, so does a rite of passage for millions of children

blue falcon

This past weekend saw an era come to a quiet end. For the first time in over 50 years, there were no Saturday morning cartoons on any over-the-air broadcast network.

It is official – the era of Smurfs, Superfriends, Bugs and Daffy, Tom and Jerry, GI Joe, Transformers and myriad other animated features has come to a quiet, albeit sad, end.
Fans of Saturday morning cartoons have an odd, though familial, connection. We grew up together, connected through the television looking glass, viewing worlds of fantasy, action, adventure, excitement. Many cartoons inspired us, some frightened us, others uplifted us, and many more offered us an escape from the worries and fears of childhood and adolescence. For so many of us, waking up early to watch a classic round of “Wabbit Season! Duck Season!” was as much a routine as our parents getting up and telling to turn the volume down. It was a ritual, a rite of passage that all children, from baby boomers to nascent millenials, shared in common.
Unfortunately, our animated temples had to eventually yield to the internet, Youtube, Netflix, On-Demand TV, and myriad other “at your service” delivery and viewing options. There was, literally, no way for the networks to compete. Infomercials for juicers, erectile dysfunction remedies, get-rich-quick-schemes and other products have proven to be more profitable in this 24-hour-sales-cycle world we live in.
So what have we lost?
We lost the joy of seeing Brainy Smurf getting booted from the village for the umpteenth time, never minding the fact his cranial landing spot should have caused, at the very least, a severe concussion. We lost the exhilaration of seeing Superman lifting up a boulder to plug an erupting volcano, forgetting that such an action would eventually lead to the boulder being exploded by the roiling gasses underneath. We will never again see ludicrous image of hand drawn dog in red pajamas flying through the air declaring (“Never fear, Underdog is here!”) The mirth derived from watching a parody of Batman featuring man in a royal blue jumpsuit and his cybernetic canine friend bumble their way to triumph over the bad guys (“Blue Falcon”…”And Dog Wonder”…”AWAY!”) has been lost. Last, but certainly not least, children will never know the frustration of their favorite cartoon being pre-empted by a Presidential speech about jobs, war, or some other White House crisis.
We all thought the same thing – who cares if the Soviets were spinning up ICBMs bound for New York??? Space Ghost is about to finally blow up Zorak!!!
Yes, that is the very thing we lost to this new modern world. We lost some of our innocence. While it had been flatlining since Cartoon Network and Boomerang came on the scene, you could at least hear a faint pulse. Today, no more.
The Fantastic World of Hanna Barbera, Cybertron, Eternia, and Looney Tunes Land has ended and with it, a brave new world of On-Demand cartoons continues.
Th-th th-th th-th THAT’S ALL, FOLKS!!!!

Anjali Mitter Duva and A FAINT PROMISE OF RAIN

Something different for historical fiction lovers. Enjoy!
faint promise of rain
It is 1554 in the desert of Rajasthan, and a new Mughal emperor is expanding his territory. On a rare night of rain, a daughter, Adhira, is born to a family of Hindu temple dancers. Fearing a bleak future, her father—against his wife and sons’ protests—puts his faith in tradition and in his last child for each to save the other: he insists Adhira “marry” the temple deity and give herself to a wealthy patron. But after one terrible evening, she makes a bold choice that carries her family’s story and their dance to a startling new beginning. Told from the perspective of this exquisite dancer and filled with the sounds, sights and flavors of the Indian desert, Faint Promise of Rain is the story of a family and a girl caught between art, duty, and fear in a changing world. 
Faint Promise of Rain  gives an atmospheric, compassionate look into the hidden world of a temple dancer’s family.  Anjali Mitter Duva had me spellbound throughout this suspenseful coming of age novel that delivers a rich, satisfying ending.” Sujata Massey, author of The Sleeping Dictionary 

anjali

 

Anjali grew up in France and has family roots in Calcutta, India.

​ She is a co-founder of Chhandika, an organization that teaches and presents India’s classical storytelling kathak dance. She lives near Boston with her husband and two daughters, and is at work on her second novel.
Photo by Kobo Writing Life/Michael Benabib

HERE IN MY HEART & giveaway with Anna DeStefano

Dru Hampton and Brad Douglas’ story came to me as I finished up the Mimosa Lane novels. Actually, as I wrote Love on Mimosa Lane, a foster family kept grabbing page time, one scene after another, as they cared for their kids and the community rallied behind them. And I started wondering about the older foster children, the ones who’d aged out of the system and were living their adult lives, and how they’d still want to know these amazing parents and, one by one, would be drawn back the community that shaped them.

Here in My Heart is a long novella (or a short novel, depending on how you look at it). It’s about half the size of my 400+ page novels. Which means it’s in no way a short story. Because like all my novels I try to pack as much setting and characters and theme and, well, story in as I can. But at its heart, we find Dru Hampton, one of the Dixons grown foster kids, needing to find her forever home with Brad Douglas, the bad boy who got away. These two are a hoot to watch spar with each other and fall in love again, as well as care for Brad’s cantankerous grandmother and one of Dru’s younger foster siblings. Theirs is a second-chance-at-love story, a coming home story and so much more. You’re going to smile your way through this one, even as parts of their journey grab at your heart and make you misty.

But early reviewers are also saying the community—the small town of Chandlerville we fell in love with in the Mimosa Lane books, that we get to delver deeper in as the lens of the Echoes of The Heart books widens—is just and endearing and exciting to know. How a small town comes together to support their own. How people protect the children in their midst, whether the kids are their own or not. How we see love bloom as we face and conquer adversity together. I learned as I wrote Here in My Heart that that community (as much as Dru and Brad’s adventure in rediscovering their love for each other) was why now is the right time for me to be writing this story.

I’ve lived in a small community near a large city for decades, just like my amazing characters. And I’m hoping you fall in love with the best things that kind of life has to offer, just as I have ;o)

What’s your favorite memory of community or neighbors or friends coming together to help each other? What happily ever after ending would you like to be able to go back and make happen for the people and place that you hold most dear in your heart?

HiMH FinalLive and work together, or lose everything that matters…

The ultimatum tilts Dru Hampton’s contented life in Chandlerville, Georgia, on its ear. The man that Vivian, her cantankerous boss and benefactor, wants Dru to partner with—live with—is Brad Douglas, who’s let Dru down every way a man can.

Sheriff’s deputy Brad Douglas has come a long way since his rebellious youth. He’s back home to care for Vivian, his ill grandmother. He’s stayed out of Dru’s way all these years to make up for the hurt he once caused her. Now, the delightfully mischievous Vivian’s dying wish is for them to rebuild at least a working relationship together…and she’s betting on them rediscovering much more.

The family business and the Douglas home that Dru and Brad both cherish will be sold if they don’t resolve their differences. Can these childhood sweethearts make up and reclaim each other’s hearts before it’s too late?

Anna’s giving away two (2) digital copies of HERE IN MY HEART, a $25 Amazon gift card, & a vintage log cabin quilt!  Good luck!
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annaNationally bestselling author Anna DeStefano has searched her entire life for the soul of the matter at the heart of her world’s mysteries. As a small child, she drew from her experiences, senses, and dreams to paint a lush fantasy world, filled with endless possibility and characters of her own creation. Putting pen to paper, Anna transforms these inner landscapes into rich storytelling.

Hers is a realistic but optimistic vision, searching for hope and transformation through intense emotional journeys. Her fuel–the inner passions and conflicts of the characters she crafts. Much like a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, Anna’s characters face the ultimate of human choices: finding the courage to conquer their fears and thrive until, despite every obstacle, they become the beautiful things they’re meant to be.

An author, workshop and keynote speaker, writing coach, and acquiring editor, Anna’s creative vision permeates every challenge she undertakes.
She wants you to stop, look, and keep digging, until you find the soul of your own fantasies. Her novels’ rich blend of realism and fantasy invites Anna’s readers into her creative mission to dig deeper and see each of life’s moment with emotional honesty and clarity. Discovery and joy are her touchstones, regardless of how difficult her characters’ journeys might be. She will challenge you to transform into all you’re meant to be, as well. She speaks and blogs regulary. Join Anna each week for Soul Of The Matter, Dream Theories, Things My Teenager Says, How We Write, Waterfall Challenges, and more.

Past President of Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), Anna’s also Senior Tech Writer with a GA Tech honors degree an 10 years of experience working in Corporate IT. Her novels have garnered numerous awards including twice winning the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion, the Golden Heart, the Maggie Award for Excellence, and finalling in awards such as the National Readers’ Choice and Book Seller’s Best Awards. She’s the author of over 16 novels since 2004 in four different genres, with nearly half a million copies of her books in print in over 5 different languages.

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Cover Reveal THE PRINCE by Sylvain Reynard

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PRINCE PRE-ORDER CAMPAIGN

The Raven (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PRINCE – Novella – 1/20/15 – InterMix 

BN      Amazon     Amazon UK     Amazon Canada

iTunes 

The Raven – Book One of The Florentine Series 2/3/15

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SR’s links

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Melissa Pearl's THE MASK

True Colors Book Cover

Caitlyn Davis always cruised through life, not being the type to ruffle feathers or involve herself in high school drama. That is, until a chance encounter with a strange, homeless man changes everything.

Suddenly, Caitlyn has the ability to see behind people’s masks. She discovers that her life isn’t as simple as she imagined and high school is filled with secrets…some very sinister ones.

Unable to ignore her new gift, Caitlyn embarks on a mission to learn why one of her friends suddenly appears terrified, but masks her fear with a bright, smiling veneer. Will Caitlyn’s new ability lead her into hot water? Or is her new found vision a blessing that will expose her friends’ true colors?

Her quest will lead Caitlyn to lose friends, stand up for those in need, and even find love.

At Palisades High School every face tells a story…

BUY & TBR LINKS

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Melissa Pearl - Author Photo

AUTHOR BIO

Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011.

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS

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Join Melissa Pearl and friends as she celebrates the publishing of her 15th title, “Two-Faced.” Two-Faced is book 2 of the Masks Series, published by Evatopia. Take part in the fun and giveaways by joining today:

JOIN HERE

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1-MINIBUTTON

Jill Shalvis’ HE’S SO FINE with giveaway

HesSoFineTeaser2

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“Dry off,” Cole said, and stepped back from Olivia.

She nodded but didn’t move.

“Olivia?” he asked.

Her face was a mask of misery. “M­m­my arms won’t w­w­work.”

Shit. He quickly and gently pushed her back down to the bench, sat at her side, and began to pile blankets over the top of them both.

“W­what are you d­doing?”

“Sharing my body heat,” he said.

“I c­c­can’t feel any h­h­heat.”

“You will.” Beneath the blankets, he reached for the towel she still had wrapped around her. “Don’t freak,” he warned. “I’m just going to remove the wet towel and pull you into me.”

She opened her mouth, but using her sluggishness to his benefit, Cole quicklystripped the towel away from her, wrapping his arms around her, pulling her into him as two things happened simultaneously. One, she squeaked. Probably trying to formulate her next threat.

And two—holy shit—he realized she was completely, totally, one hundred percent naked beneath the layer of blankets.

And pissed. “Y­y­your pants!” she gasped. “Th­th­they’re c­c­cold!”

“Sorry, but I’m trying to do the right thing here,” he said through clenched teeth. Jesus. He couldn’t see a thing below her neck, but he could sure as hell feel her. His hands were on her hip and low on her back, respectively, not touching anything he shouldn’t be, but damn she was soft, and at the feel of her, his brain clicked off. Just completely flatlined.

He's So Fine

For Olivia Bentley, Lucky Harbor is more than the town where she runs her new vintage shop. It’s the place where folks are friendly to strangers-and nobody knows her real name. Olivia does a good job of keeping her past buried, not getting too cozy with anyone . . . until she sees a man drowning. Suddenly she’s rushing into the surf, getting up close and personal with the hottest guy she’s ever laid hands on.

Charter boat captain Cole Donovan has no problem with a gorgeous woman throwing her arms around his neck in an effort to “save” him. In fact, he’d like to spend a lot more time skin-to-skin with Olivia. He’s just not expecting that real trouble is about to come her way. Will it bring her deeper into Cole’s heart, or will it be the end of Olivia’s days in little Lucky Harbor?

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JillShalvis (1)New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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