Thursday, November 20, 2014

Get Lost in The Soldier's Holiday Homecoming.

Buy links: Amazon   Barnes & Noble




Only an urgent mission could bring Sergeant Joe Wilcox back to his Texas town—and the past he’s been trying to forget.  The marine gets his wish when an accident robs him of his memory.  The beautiful blonde who offers to nurse him back to health on a ranch that’s hauntingly familiar is a bonus he didn’t expect…except Chloe Dawson is strictly off-limits.

The letter the wounded G.I. “Doe” is carrying—addressed to Chloe—only deepens the mystery of who he is and why he came to Brighton Valley.  With desire sizzling between them, Chloe’s in danger of falling for the sexy soldier.  But what happens when his memory returns?  Can she help him face his past and, together, find their future—a place where they can both belong?



USA Today Bestselling Author, Judy Duarte always knew there was a book inside her, but since English was her least favorite subject in school, she never considered herself a writer. An avid reader who enjoys a happy ending, Judy couldn’t shake the dream of creating a book of her own.

That dream became a reality in 2002, when Silhouette released her first Special Edition. Since then, more than thirty of her books have hit the shelves, including three women’s fiction novels and two novellas.

Judy, a two-time RITA® finalist with Mulberry Park (2009) and Entertaining Angels (2010), was awarded two Maggies and a National Reader’s Choice Award for her heartwarming stories.

When she’s not cooped up in her writing cave, Judy spends time with her family in Southern California.

On the Season of Wonder and Miracles

This time of year, I love to curl up on the sofa with a cup of hot cocoa or tea and watch timeless classics on television, like Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life.   

There are so many to choose from.  You can even turn to the Hallmark Channel, where some great, made-for-TV movies are sure to warm your heart and put you in the holiday spirit.

I especially enjoy the romances, like Holiday Inn, White Christmas and The Shop Around the Corner.  My all-time favorite is Christmas in Connecticut—both the original with Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan (1945), as well as the remake with Dyan Cannon and Kris Kristofferson (1992).  

There’s just something special about those heartfelt holiday stories—either the ones on we see on television or those we read.

In fact, for that reason, I’ve written several Christmas stories over the years, including Her Best Christmas Ever, Under the Mistletoe with John Doe ,and A Baby Under the Tree, and my latest, The Soldier’s Holiday Homecoming, a November 2014 Special Edition.  

If you’re a fan of my Brighton Valley series and like amnesia stories, you’ll probably enjoy this one, which is the last book in the Return to Brighton Valley series.  


Jillian has a question for Judy: You write wonderful stories that incorporate the holiday season. What is it about Christmas that makes it so magical and romantic?

Judy: I think the holidays are a special time for people to come together as a family, to count their blessings, and to relive warm memories and make new ones.  But we all know that not everyone has Norman Rockwell type families.  

However, writing stories about wounded characters, some of whom have had painful pasts and come from broken homes, allows me to show readers that a family doesn’t have to be one made up of blood relatives.  I hope they see that the holidays are a perfect time to forgive one another and to start afresh.  This truly is a season of love and joy, as well as one of wonder and miracles. 

Judy has a question for commenters: What are your favorite holiday movies or books?  And why do those stories hold such an amazing and timeless appeal? Two lucky people who comment on that appeal today—either books or movies.  One will win an autographed copy of Christmas on Nutcracker Court. And another will win all three books in the Return to Brighton Valley series, including this month’s release, The Soldier’s Holiday Homecoming.  
  
For more about Judy and her books go to: Website: http://www.judyduarte.com/
Twitter: @JudyDuarte

***Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America  addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

COWBOYS & CHRISTMAS ...The Perfect Combination

COWBOYS FOR CHRISTMAS
3 cowboys…2 weeks…1 wedding!

Three all-new stories by Kim Law, Terri Osburn, and Liz Talley

Claire, Georgia, and Mary Catherine couldn’t be more different, but they promised they would be there for one another no matter what. And when they all gather in Holly Hills, Texas, for Mary Catherine’s Christmas wedding, they’ll find they have one thing in common: hearts that are about to be branded—by unforgettable cowboys.

In “Love Me, Cowboy” by Terri Osburn, wallflower Claire would be more excited about the wedding if it didn’t mean running into Mary Catherine’s brother—the bull rider she once had a scorching one-night stand with…

Ivy League volleyball coach Georgia never wanted to see Holly Hills—or another cowboy—again. But a sexy veterinarian is making her rethink her vow to never marry a Texas man in “Kiss Me, Cowboy” by Liz Talley.

Claire and Georgia both think that Mary Catherine is getting hitched to the wrong man, despite how perfect he is. And in “Marry Me, Cowboy” by Kim Law, a local rancher with a wild reputation gives Mary Catherine a glimpse of what might have been—and what could still be…
READ a little, BUY the book  

ANGI: Working on an anthology takes cooperation. But I bet each of these authors has her own opinion about COWBOYS. Let's find out . . .


The first thing I notice about a cowboy is his . . .
AMY: hat. Seriously that’s how I usually know he is, indeed, a cowboy.
KIM: That there aren’t enough cowboys in my life!  And his jeans…and stuff. Cowboys sure do know how to fill out a nice pair of dusty jeans.
TERRI: It's a toss-up between his hat and his belt buckle. Anyone who knows a real cowboy knows they wear belt buckles that are roughly the size of dinner plate.

Cowboys have a distinct . . .
AMY: walk. I love their walk, aka amble. It says I ride a horse, I’m wearing boots, and I’m doing things my way.
KIM: Manliness about them. They’re just so male.
TERRI: Smell. 

My cowboy always wears his boots . . .
AMY: When he’s helping to deliver a foal or calf. Yeah, you definitely want your boots on for that 
KIM: *snort* I think you’re trying to lead me into naughty territory!
TERRI: Until he comes in the door? Seriously. Those things are not trampling through my house.

My favorite characteristic about my Cowboy for Christmas is his . . .
AMY: Tenderness. Reed is exactly what my brash heroine needs. Poor Georgia hides a bruised heart beneath her gruff, smack-talking exterior and needs tenderness in order to show her vulnerability.
KIM: Warm, gooey center.

TERRI: Soft spot for his love, Claire. He'd defend her with his life, but he's sweet and gentle when she's around.



FIND LIZ… I HAVE
& on GLIAS

THE SWEETEST SEPTEMBER
Read a Little, Buy the Book






FIND KIM... I HAVE
 Website   Facebook   @Kim_Law
& on GLIAS

SPRINKLES ON TOP
A Sugar Springs Novel, Book 3
Read a Little, Buy the Book



FIND TERRI... I HAVE
 Website   Facebook @TerriOsburn

MORE TO GIVE
Anchor Island, Book 4
Read a Little, Buy the Book



AMY'S giving away a $15.00 Amazon gift card and a copy ... either digital or print (North America) of any of her backlist.


Note: COMMENTERS are encouraged to leave a contact email address to speed the prize notification process. Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address. 


ANGI'S back Wednesday with the GLIAS crew
THANKSGIVING THANKS
UP NEXT ON GLIAS:  Judy Duarte
Get Lost on GoodreadsFacebook
or @GetLostInAStory  #GetLostStories


AMY WANTS TO KNOW: What’s your favorite character trait of a cowboy?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Release Day! New from E.E. Burke A Dangerous Passion

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Kobo | Smashwords
Today is release day and it feels like my birthday! Except in this case, I'm giving myself a gift. I feel blessed to be writing these stories, and doubly blessed to be able to share them with readers like you.
   A Dangerous Passion, my third book, has been a little like my third child. Unexpected, unique, challenging...and the most amazing blessing. I learned a great deal about myself while writing it.
   Often, we spend so much time striving for achievements that we fail to grasp the true meaning of success. This is something Henry and Lucy must learn, although they have to go through tough times to find their happy ending. Like most of us. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Can a hero lurk in the heart of a villain? 
    Life in a small New England village is too quiet, too ordinary for a free spirit like Lucy Forbes. When her father lands a job out West, she packs her books and her dreams and eagerly sets off to pursue the kind of grand adventures she longs to experience and write about. Yet the moment she steps off the train, she's thrust into the gritty reality of an untamed frontier—and into the arms of a scoundrel. 
    Henry Stevens, the ruthless railroad executive her father has been sent to investigate, is as passionate as he is ambitious. Brave and charming, as well as clever, and possessed of a sharp wit. He is, in fact, the most fascinating man Lucy has ever met. However, his opponents are vanishing, and strangers are shooting at him. Fearing for her father's life, Lucy resolves to unmask the secretive Mr. Stevens and expose a villain. What she doesn’t expect to find is a hero. 

Here's an excerpt:
"Get back!" 
The shouted order startled Lucy out of her frozen shock. She jerked her attention to the conductor, who clung to the rail, his mouth twisted in a grimace of pain. Had someone shot him? Her heart raced, as her mind tried to make sense of what seemed incredible. Horrible.
Another loud crack resounded. She instinctively ducked.
“Get back inside the train!” The repeated command came from a bearded man in a bowler hat. He crouched by the depot door, aimed his gun at the dark interior and fired.
Behind Lucy, a woman screamed and dragged her children back into the rail car. Other passengers crowding the exit panicked. They crawled over each other in their haste to retreat
“Lucy, where are you?” Her father’s cries came from behind the frenzied crowd.
“I’m all right, Father.” She craned her neck trying to see him. He’d be frantic with worry. In her eagerness to start her new life, she’d rushed to be the first off the train—which meant she’d be the last to reach safety.
With a groan, the conductor collapsed onto the platform.
Lucy agonized for a moment. No, she couldn’t leave anyone in harm’s way. Dropping her satchel, she leapt down to aid the wounded man.
His face, florid before, was now pasty white. “Miss,” he gasped. “Go…”
“Sir, we have to get back onto the train.” She grasped beneath his arms and tried to help him stand, but he was apparently too weak to get up and too heavy for her to lift.
“What the hell are you doing?” The man who’d barked the order to retreat had backed up. He positioned himself between her and the depot door, hovering like a guardian angel.
 “Jump down and crawl underneath to the other side.” He motioned to the space between the platform and the train.
 Squelching a fierce desire to flee, she shook her head. “This man needs our assistance.”
 Her guardian angel swore an oath. Yet, his glare seemed more anxious than angry. “I’ll help him. You get away.”
He hoisted the conductor’s arm over his shoulder. The wounded man’s knees sagged, his considerable weight pulling the taller man down. He might not be able to move them out of danger quick enough.
 “You need my help.” Lucy wrapped her arm around the conductor’s waist. Her fingers encountered wet, sticky warmth. She pulled her hand back, stared at it. Blood. Her stomach did a slow flip. Aware of the imminent danger, she swallowed her fear and met the gaze of the man who’d come to their rescue. His expression was one of determination, perhaps the slightest bit of fear. She covered the conductor's wound with her palm and pressed hard.
"I can do this," she whispered. She didn't want to. She had to.
Another shot rang out. The frightened faces of passengers disappeared from the windows of the train. The moment felt surrealistic, like stepping into a Ned Buntline tale. All that was missing were the bloodthirsty Indians.
“Hurry,” the tall man urged. “Over there, behind that rain barrel, and keep your head down.”
Together, they dragged the conductor across the platform. The toes of the wounded man’s shoes made a scraping noise that sent shivers racing across her skin. Her rescuer didn’t have on boots like those images of Western luminaries featured on the covers of dime novels. He wore the Congress style shoes popular with businessmen back home. What an odd detail to notice, much less care about in midst of a life-threatening situation.
Light shifted as they carried the wounded man from beneath the bright lamps into the shadows. Groaning, the conductor fell to his knees. He curled up against the clapboard wall. She dropped down beside him and put her hand on his shoulder to let him know he wasn’t alone.
 “Stay here.” The bearded man’s voice rang with authority. He punctuated the order with his forefinger. Maybe he thought she was slow, like that little neighbor boy back home, the one who had a bad habit of wandering into the street in front of carriages.
Her rescuer flattened his back against the side of the building and inched towards the depot door. From inside came the heart-stopping crack of a gun.
Lucy bit down on her lip to stifle a cry. Screaming wouldn’t help. If she had a weapon...but shooting at cans wasn’t like shooting at people. She didn’t think she could kill someone even if she had a gun.
Keeping her fear in check, she dragged her attention to the conductor. “Let me see how badly you’re hurt.” Her hands trembled as she undid the buttons on his vest. The side of his shirt was blood-soaked and stuck to his skin.
Her head grew light. She took a deep breath to clear it. During the war, she’d volunteered at the Union hospital in Boston. The soldiers had already been patched up and she’d read to them. This man was bleeding. He didn’t need to hear a story.
She did the only thing she could think of to do. Took a clean handkerchief from inside her sleeve, folded it and pressed it against the wound in his side.
He grimaced. So did she. Hated hurting him. “I’m sorry.”
“Thank you,” he murmured, covering the makeshift bandage with his hand. His lips thinned in the semblance of a smile. “Not sure what you was thinking to come after me, miss…”
Reality struck with a sickening punch. She hadn’t been thinking. Only reacting. What if she’d been shot, or that brave man? He might’ve been killed when he shielded her with his body.
Lucy eased over and peeked around the barrel to see if she could locate him. He was still by the depot door, single-handedly holding off whoever was firing on them. She couldn’t see his face, yet she was sure he must be scared. Only a crazy person wouldn’t be.
Her brother had written to her after he’d seen the elephant in his first battle. Courage wasn’t the absence of fear he’d told her, it was doing what one had to do in spite of fear. Like that brave man over there. He was behaving with remarkable valor in a frightful situation. She would write a story about him—if she lived long enough.
Three burly men in railroad denims dashed past where she was hiding. Hoisting rifles in their hands, they crouched next to the bearded man. His hat was still visible above their heads. He was tall, even squatted down. He dared a look inside the depot and then yelled, “They went out the other door.”
All four men dashed to the end of the platform and trampled down a set of stairs. Lucy couldn’t see past the corner of the building. In fact, she couldn’t see much of anything beyond where the light shone. But she could hear shouting.
The gunfire stopped. After a moment, so did the loud voices.
Her shaking legs gave out. She sank into a clump of skirts, rested her head against the side of the barrel and exhaled the breath she’d been holding. The conductor remained curled around his wounded side, but his chest moved with comforting regularity.
“I believe the shooting is over.” Her voice sounded calm, surprising given her uncontrollable trembling. “That gentleman who came to our rescue told us to wait here.”
For once, she was content to obey.
Had it been just an hour ago she’d been sitting in a stalled train, impatient to reach her destination? How eagerly she’d looked forward to seeing their new home, Parsons, Kansas, dubbed by newspapers as “The Infant Wonder of the West. For weeks, she’d anticipated a great adventure. The kind of spine-tingling excitement found in her favorite books. Reality was grittier, bloodier, and utterly more terrifying.
At last, help arrived in the form of an engineer and a soot-stained fireman. They carted the wounded conductor away on a door. Another man in a railroad uniform ushered her into the cramped depot, where she was reunited with her father and instructed to wait with the other passengers. Her newfound hero hadn’t come back. She tried not to be disappointed.
In the small, cold room, men spoke in comforting tones to their wives. Mothers shushed fretful children. Soon, more railroad workers arrived, handing out blankets and shoveling coal into a pot-bellied stove. Lucy watched the proceedings, feeling distant even though she was sitting on a crowded bench.
Her father laid a comforting hand on her shoulder. Thus far, he hadn’t fussed at her about ignoring the command to get back on the train. No doubt he would, at a more opportune moment.
“If you’re recovered,” he said in a low voice, “I’ll go ask where we can find Mr. Stevens.”
Henry Stevens. She’d forgotten all about the man her father had been sent to investigate. Irritation flicked at her raw nerves. “Find him?” Why isn’t he here already? He was supposed to meet us.”
If the Eastern newspapers were to be believed, the Katy’s general manager was an unprincipled scoundrel. Was he also a coward who’d run at the first sign of danger? No wonder the board wanted him replaced.
Shivering, she hunched over and hugged her cloak tighter. Normally, the cold didn’t bother her. With family roots in New England, she came from hearty stock. The shakes were no doubt from the aftermath of fear. She clamped her jaw shut to keep her teeth from rattling and stared at the ground. Capitola, the heroine in her favorite book The Hidden Hand, never fell apart.
A pair of shoes appeared in Lucy’s line of vision. The polished leather uppers were partially covered by the dirtied hems of gray trousers and the edges were caked with mud.
“Miss? Are you all right?” The stranger’s deep voice matched his shoes. Cultured…and familiar. She raised her eyes and a thrill shot through her. Her rescuer. He’d returned. 



A Dangerous Passion, is the third in the series Steam! Romance and Rails. Other books in the series include Her Bodyguard and Passion's Prize.

“E.E. Burke understands the heart of romance and delivers it!”
~ Maggie Shayne, New York Times bestselling author

“Her portrayal of strong, realistic, well-defined characters and meticulous research transports readers back to the American West of old.”
~ Jill Marie Landis, New York Times bestselling author


Fun stuff I learned while researching this story:

Robert S. Stevens
Henry Stevens, my main character, is inspired by the first general manager of the Katy Railroad, Colonel Robert S. Stevens, who is described as a handsome man with "dark flashing eyes and a meticulous style of dress."

He was a larger-than-life persona in the history of this legendary railroad. In 1870, Stevens was brought in by the Katy’s president Judge Levi Parsons to help build a railroad empire that stretched from Chicago all the way down to Mexico City. They didn’t get quite that far, but the Katy’s birth and impressive growth is largely attributable to Stevens, who took a “never surrender” approach to just about everything he attempted.

Many of the events in this book are based on exploits written about this fascinating man and the railroad he built. Here's a portrait of the "real" Mr. Stevens.  

There are two towns featured with colorful histories worth sharing:

Parsons is located in the southeastern corner of Kansas, near the Oklahoma border, which at the time was Indian Territory. Prior to the Civil War, a large swath of Kansas was set aside as “Neutral Land” to protect Indian Territory from white encroachment. That didn’t last long, and after the war, squatters moved in. The railroads cut a deal with the government to purchase the land, which sparked settlers’ revolts that went on for several years.

Fast forward to 1871. Parsons was one of the few “planned” communities along the expanding rail line, primarily because it was selected to be the headquarters for the Katy Railroad. General manager Robert S. Stevens located the spot, which sat on a high plateau between two creeks.

After Stevens located his town site, word leaked out and settlers rushed in to lay claim, thinking they could get rich by selling land back to the railroad. Clever Mr. Stevens then posted in newspapers that he was moving the headquarters to another spot. He ended up getting the land he wanted in the first place at bargain basement prices.

Parsons is named after then-Katy president Levi Parsons. Reportedly, Mr. Parsons suggested that the town be named “Stevens” after his second-in-command. Being politically savvy (Col. Stevens wasn’t a particularly humble man), Mr. Stevens turned down the honor and named the town after his boss.

Stevens was a town planner in addition to being the primary architect of the Katy line. Parsons was laid out in a neat pattern, with the railroad depot being its crown jewel. The railroad facilities constructed there were the largest west of Chicago at the time (mid 1870s). 

In contrast, Denison, Texas, sprang up in willy-nilly fashion from the day Mr. Stevens identified it as the first stop for the Katy in the Lone Star State. The first business was a bar, which consisted of a plank nailed between two trees. Soon after, it was a tent city of mostly saloons and gaming halls, ultimately an entire section devoted to “soiled doves.”

Another historical tidbit featured in A Dangerous Passion is a series of mysterious murders that took place near Parsons, Kansas. From a period stretching between 1871 and early 1873, numerous travelers through southeastern Kansas were reported missing. There were theories as to what happened to them, including one rumor that the railroads were to blame. 

When a well-known doctor went missing, his brother, a U.S. Senator (A.M. York) tore through the area on a frantic search. Authorities ultimately discovered nearly a dozen bodies (including the doctor’s) buried in a field behind a cabin that doubled as a wayside inn serving meals to travelers.

The killer family—John Bender and his wife, daughter Kate and a “halfwit” son (possibly Kate’s common law husband rather than her brother)—fled before authorities could arrest them. The father and “son” were never seen again. Two women were arrested years later, but never tried. I posted a lengthier blog about the Benders on Immortal History. If you're interested, you can read about it here.

Do you like reading American historical romance? Any favorites you'd like to share with me?

I'll be giving away two copies of my new release, A Dangerous Passion for those who enter the raffle and leave a comment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 17, 2014

Get Lost With Julie Lessman!

WHO IS JULIE?






Julie Lessman, award-winning author of “The Daughters of Boston” and “Winds of Change” series, was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. Julie has also garnered 17 RWA and other awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Check out the video for her independently published book, A Light in the Window, which was an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner.




THE BLURB
 From Ugly Duckling to Swimming with the Swans …
but is she over her head when it comes to love?

As a shy and pudgy child, Megan McClare has always been ridiculed by her classmates, but when she returns from her senior year in Paris, the wallflower has suddenly blossomed into a beauty. Hopeful of becoming a lawyer or doctor to help the disadvantaged women of the Barbary Coast, Megan accepts an internship at the District Attorney’s office only to discover she’ll be working with the boy who mocked her in school. She turns to her best friend Bram for support and advice, and Bram—fighting an unwelcome attraction to a friend he’s always perceived as a little sister—encourages Meg to forgive Devin and pursue a friendship. The friendship with Devin evolves into a serious romance, but when a sailboat accident tosses Bram and Meg into the seas of attraction, both her heart and her emotions capsize, threatening to change the course of love …

WHERE IS JULIE?
You can contact Julie (and read excerpts from her books) at www.julielessman.com, or through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest, as well as sign up for her biannual newsletter. Be sure to check out Julie’s group blog, The Seekers, Writers Digest 2013 and 2014 “Best 101 Websites for Writers, and Julie’s own personal blog, Journal Jots, which was voted blog of the month in the Readers’ Choice poll of Book Fun Magazine. Finally, you can download a FREE eBOOK of Julie’s award-winning debut, A Passion Most Pure, at most online booksellers.
  

UP NEXT:

My next release is a Christmas novella called A Whisper of Hope, which is part of Christmas anthology called Hope for the Holidays Historical Collection, with stories of hope from award-winning authors (and fellow Seekerville blogger friends) Mary Connealy, Myra Johnson, and Ruth Logan Herne. There is also a Hope for the Holidays Contemporary Collection as well, featuring award-winning authors Audra Harders, Mary Connealy, Sandra Leesmith, Ruth Logan Herne, Tina Radcliffe, and Missy Tippens. Both collections are available in ebook only for $2.99 each.

Alexa: You’ve been called “The Kissing Queen” of Inspirational romance and have even written a writer’s handbook called Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Inspirational and Sweet Markets. Can you explain your tagline, “Passion with a Purpose” to our readers?
 Julie: You bet! Those who have read my books know they are a tad more passionate than the majority of Inspirational romance, and I did that on purpose. You see, I’m the type of woman who loves a heated romance. You know—the heart-fluttering, pulse-pounding emotional tug-of-war between a man and a woman? It draws me, always has, from my early days when I first read Gone With the Wind at the age of twelve.

But for me and many women, heated romance is not enough. Without faith in the middle, it becomes more lust than love—heat that burns but doesn’t keep you warm for the long haul. I figure if I’m going to invest large chunks of time in reading books, I want more than the race of a pulse. I want to be encouraged, inspired, uplifted in addition to swooning over a heart-melting kiss. Kind of a double benefit, for instance, like organic health foods. Not only do organic foods satisfy one’s hunger, but they also nourish one’s health. So when I turn that last page?  I want to walk away with a WOW factor that goes well beyond a kiss, leaving a feel-good feeling for both body and soul.

Alexa: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Julie: Well, I don’t really remember the first book I ever read, but I DO remember the first one that impacted my life. From the moment Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks, I was hooked, and my “romance-writing career” began! Gone With the Wind inspired me to begin my own novel at the age of 12, a 150-page, single-spaced manuscript that actually became the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure, some 40 years later.

In fact, I was so hooked on romance after reading GWTW, I actually dressed up as a nun in high school to see a free showing of GWTW for the local religious and clergy. One of my friends had a sister in the convent who loaned us novice habits and off we went! I sat there mesmerized, shoving free popcorn into my mouth as I watched the tug-o-war between Rhett and Scarlett. It was one of the most fun times of my teens … until we ran into the nuns from our high school. Whoops!

Alexa: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Julie: Ha—big surprise! That would be Gone with the Wind, of course, followed closely by The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and My Fair Lady.

Alexa: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
Julie: Well, not only do few people know this about me, but most would not believe it either because in my books and online, I’m a bit of a clown with a CDQ (caffeinated drama queen) personality. But, yes, it’s true—I am a bona-fide hermit who seldom leaves my laptop/comfy chair to go out unless my husband drags me. I like to joke that I’m a recluse who has the misfortune of having an outgoing personality because I literally lose myself in my writing and my work, which my husband and daughter refer to as the “zombie zone.” If I had my way, I’d stay at home, grafted to the seat of my chair and write, write, write! Hate shopping of any kind, no longer do scads of lunches with friends like I used to, and NEVER talk on the phone if I can help it. So I guess I wish friends and reader friends understood this so they wouldn’t get their feelings hurt when they don’t hear from me because I reallllllly hate to hurt people’s feelings.

Alexa: What’s the best birthday (or any holiday) present you ever received?

Julie:  Without question, that would be the gift my artist husband gave me for Mother’s Day one year. He’d just built us a beautiful media room in our basement, a work of art really, because the man is incredibly creative and handy, and it had these multi-colored pillows on our leather sectional couch.  Would you believe he took a picture of one of those pillows and designed three different versions in the same colors, then superimposed them on canvas frames as a wall grouping? “It’s beautiful, babe,” I said, amazed once again at his mind-boggling creativity. “Look closer,” he said, and I squinted a bit, suddenly seeing our entire life before my eyes. Yes, you guessed it—this incredible man actually super-imposed pictures of each of us—me, my son, daughter, daughter-in-law and himself—over the multicolored canvases to create living artwork that captured US. WOW!! Let me tell you—I teared up on the spot and threw myself into his arms, giving him the biggest, most grateful kiss I could! What can I say—MasterCard has nothing on him—he’s “priceless.”

Alexa: What would you say is your most interesting quirk?
Julie: Mmm … not sure how “interesting” this is, but I have a number of writing quirks such as MUST HAVE a cup of hazelnut decaf with Half ‘n Half, a box of Kleenex (for the soggy scenes I write), a mirror handy for those facial expressions I’m trying to capture on paper, and … ta-da! … lip gloss! That would definitely qualify as one of my quirks—lipstick and lip gloss. I bet I apply one or the other 20 times a day because I wear it everywhere, even to bed! :)

My biggest quirk, however, is I’m kind of freak about ambiance. I have to have candles lit when I watch TV or eat dinner or visit with friends, and the lighting has to be turned down real low, which drives my husband crazy because he likes to actually see his food!

Alexa: What will always make you smile, even on a bad day?
Julie: This sounds silly, I know, but my hubby has this adorable habit of fixing one of the ten different Keurig K-cup flavors we have in our Keurig carousel, and he’ll very carefully bring his cup to me to test taste, making me guess which flavor it is. He always has this sweet look on his face, like this is the most important thing for him at the moment, and I can’t help it—it always makes me smile. Not to mention crave a cup of coffee!
Alexa: How often to you get lost in a story?
Julie: Oh, goodness, every chance I get, to the tune of 6-8 books a month. I carry a book in my purse at ALL TIMES, plus keep one in the powder room during the day and then on my nightstand at night. I read in the car while my husband drives, after I’ve given him his token 20 minutes of conversation, of course! ;), in store checkout lines, at railroad crossings while I’m waiting for a train, in doctor’s offices, and even when my husband leaves the table for anything when we are dining out. I never miss an opportunity to read if I can help it, because for me, “getting lost in a story” is not only how I relax, it’s one of my favorite things to do!
Alexa: Finally, do you have a question you’d like to ask your fans?
Julie: If you are an inspy reader, how many kisses do you like to see in a book?

Folks, Julie will choose 1 commenter to receive a copy of one of her books. (US: either paper or ebook, international: ebook only) . Thanks for stopping by!
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