Avril Tremayne was born in Australia, with an Italian/Irish pedigree.She's been an avid reader all her life, but took the scenic route to becoming a writer, via shoe-selling, nursing, teaching and—most recently—a highly successful career in corporate affairs and public relations
Along the way, Avril studied acting, singing, pottery, oil painting, millinery, German and Arabic - with very mixed results.She's a mad keen traveler with more favorite destinations than should be allowed, but currently resides in her hometown of Sydney, where her husband and daughter try to keep her out of trouble - not always successfully.When she's not writing or reading, Avril can generally be found eating - although she does not cook - drinking wine, and obsessing about shoes!

Jan Schliesman: Welcome, Avril!  Tell me, how often to you get lost in a story?
Avril Tremayne: All the time. I am a voracious reader - and as an opportunistic insomniac, I read a lot! I'm an upstairs, downstairs, mezzanine kind of girl, who starts to panic without a massive to-be-read pile on each level. At the moment, I’m reading The Heat Of The Night by Amy Andrews downstairs (ebook), Hustle by Claire Chilton on the mezzanine (ebook), and Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts upstairs (print, for the bath).

So You Think You Can WriteJan: We met through Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest last fall. Was this the first contest you entered?  Did you worry about posting your story for EVERYONE to read? 
Avril: I entered a few contests quite some years ago, and was lucky enough to be a finalist in some of those. But nothing on the scale of SYTYCW, where so many people were looking at my work. I was a little bit terrified of sharing so publicly, to be honest - but in the end I found it to be one of the most valuable aspects of the competition. And good practice for being published, of course!

Jan:  You hail from Australia and have led an adventurous life, sometimes rubbing shoulders with a few celebrities.  Care to drop a name or two?
Avril: Oh, I've had tons of celebrity sightings over the years, which I won’t drone on about except to say that Hugh Jackman and George Clooney were close enough to touch at two separate events I was at - not joking! But I do have two favorite examples that were a little more substantial. The first:  I toured the world as part of the PR/marketing team managing John Travolta's Spirit of Friendship tour back in the day. For those who don't know, as well as being a phenomenally 

talented pilot and an ambassador for the airline I was working for at the time. Talk about a career highlight! And the second example: I once sat next to Jim Caviezel on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney. We even had a little conversation during the meal service, without me knowing who he was – only that he was the best looking man I had ever seen in my life! It wasn’t until we disembarked and I saw one of the airport staff holding up a sign with his name on it that it all clicked.

Jan: After visiting San Antonio for the Romance Writers of America Conference, did any one thing strike you as being different from the sister conference held in Australia?
Avril: It's a matter of scale. The American conference is huge; the Australian one is more intimate by comparison. But what they have in common is wonderful people sharing amazing knowledge. Imagine being able to attend sessions taught by a veteran cop (San Antonio) and an Egyptologist (Sydney). There’s always something fascinating on offer. If you’re interested in romance writing, I say no matter where you are, get to the closest conference you can. You will never meet a more welcoming, generous, inspiring group of people.

Jan: What’s a normal day like for you?  Is your family good about helping out when you’re under deadline?
Avril: I have a tiny but gorgeous little writing ‘nook’ at my house, and I’m in it writing/editing for between four and ten hours every day. Confession – those hours include more than the occasional foray into the world of social media. I go for a run in the afternoon if I can't find a believable excuse to dodge it. And I always stop for a G&T or a Campari at about 6pm. I'm both delighted and ashamed to admit that I am generally excused from housework and cooking duties at Casa Tremayne because I suck at that stuff! 

Jan:  Did you buy yourself something special when you sold your first book?
Avril:  My first ‘writing’ present to myself was a pair of custom-printed Converse All Star hot pink sneakers with my name emblazoned on the side, which I bought in Los Angeles on my way to the Romance Writers of America conference. I just love them.

Jan: Tell me about your August release, Here Comes the Bridesmaid.
Avril: Sunshine Smart has only got two months to organize her friend’s wedding. 
She has to include the grouchy, surly best man Leo Quartermaine—a top chef and her complete opposite!
Said best man is extremely handsome and sexy—and knows it!  
He has no interest in decor, flowers, clothes or shoes…but has an uninformed opinion on all four!
And just a few days in she's already slept with him. Rookie mistake

Jan:  How many times were you a bridesmaid? Worst dress you had to wear?
Avril: I’ve been a flower girl once, a bridesmaid at least twice, and I was also a near-bridesmaid on one occasion when the bride and groom didn't make it to the altar and a day of excessive booze-fuelled wedding cake consumption ensued. The worst outfit was one I designed myself. It was a faux-Victorian era dress in red, with a fake fluff/fur pillbox hat and matching muff. Actually, the dress itself wasn’t so bad, but a muff in Sydney? I was probably in full-on costume drama mode when I thought that up, daydreaming of my own distant future wedding, which I imagined as a medieval fantasy, with me in royal purple, ten bridesmaids in white velvet, and a destrier to trot me up the aisle!

Jan:  Did you have a big or small wedding?  Did anything go wrong on your wedding day?
Avril: I had a smallish (70 people) and very stylish wedding, at a private home overlooking Sydney Harbour. It started with a cocktail party, and then at a certain point, I made a grand entrance. I walked up the ‘aisle’, which was actually a steep path that none of the guests could see, to the wonderful song 'This Guy's In Love With You' by Herb Alpert – and I now cry every time I hear that song. Nothing actually went wrong but I did two things by the seat of my pants that easily could have.
The first was my bouquet. I opted to wander up the road to a nearby florist on the day of my wedding to choose something from whatever flowers they had available. I ended up with native Australian flowers - the main ones were plain, pretty, velvety flannel flowers, which are greenish-white in color - and just wrapped the stems in a leftover piece of fabric from my wedding dress, which was a beautiful peacock blue/green Thai shot silk. As people left the reception, rather than the traditional bouquet toss, I handed a sprig from my unconventional bouquet to each and every woman.
The second thing was my arrival. Because nobody would see me arrive, courtesy of that long walk up the steep hill, I decided not to waste money on a fancy hire car and instead called a taxi when I was ready. There were a few tense moments with my brother Pete, who was escorting me, as the taxi took its time arriving!

Jan's GOTTA ASK: My hubby works for Haagen-Dazs so I always have to ask…what’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Avril's GOTTA ANSWER: Well, it's a two way tie. In ice cream - rocky road! In gelato - lychee and coconut. 

THANK YOU SO MUCH AVRIL FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US!  And watch for her two new Harlequin releases in October:

Avril will be giving away a signed hardcover copy of Here Comes The Bridesmaid and will ship it ANYWHERE in the world so scroll to the bottom and answer this question (and be sure to include your email.) 

What was the best or worst bridesmaid dress you ever wore?

Contact: avril_tremayne@hotmail.com
Website: http://www.avriltremayne.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/avril.tremayne
Twitter: @AvrilTremayne
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AvrilTremayne


Meet Debut Author Jamie Wesley

Tell Me Something Good cover
Two radio show hosts. One show. Who will come out on top?
In a moment of restlessness, Tate Grayson sold his multimillion-dollar company and spun his love of sports into a radio talk show. Life, and love, is too short to take seriously—a fact he enjoys rubbing in uptight radio host Noelle Butler’s face.

After the death of her parents, a tragedy she blamed on herself, Noelle vowed to live a controlled, focused life. Now a psychologist, she channels her need for connection into her radio show. But when the arrogant sportscaster next door tells listeners men shouldn’t get married, she’s all too happy to yank the silver spoon out of his overprivileged mouth.

Their heated on-air arguments are a hit, but when the station director forces them to do a joint show for two weeks, Tate and Noelle object. They can’t stand each other, despite the attraction sizzling beneath every interaction. But if they can’t pull the struggling radio station back from the brink, they’ll lose their jobs. Or worse, their hearts.

EXCERPT: Tate held back a laugh. She wouldn’t be winning an Oscar any time soon. “You need to learn how to relax.”
The frown reappeared. “And you’re the one to teach me how, I take it.”
He leaned closer to her, catching a hint of the light, but alluring lavender fragrance she preferred. A preference he was beginning to share. “Oh, darlin’, you have no idea,” he drawled.
Her eyes widened, but she didn’t move away. Good. He liked a woman who held her ground.
“Don’t I?” The words were brassy, but the way she cleared her throat let him know she felt the heat, as unexpected as it was, throbbing between them.
“Imagine the best scenario you possibly can, and I guarantee I can make it ten times better.” The words spilled out without a thought. Yes, he liked to flirt, but what the hell was he doing flirting with Noelle, especially when he’d turned down Tammy and Alicia, women who were actually interested in him? Hadn’t he and Noelle tacitly agreed to never go there again after yesterday?
Her gaze slowly skimmed his body from head to toe, making him wish it was her pretty mouth making the tour with no clothes between her lips and his skin. “You sound awfully confident.”
“I never say anything I don’t mean.” Damn it. More unlicensed flirting.
“I’ll have to remember that. Now, let’s get to work.” She put on her headphones. “Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Tate and Noelle Show, better known as the TAN Show.”
Wait a second. Had he been dismissed? His body, which had hardened at her perusal, and was still clamoring for relief, refused to believe it.

Meet Jamie

I'm so excited for you all to meet my friend Jamie Wesley. She is one of the sweetest people I know and I'm so excited that her first book has come out this month!
Jamie Wesley

A little about Jamie. She has been reading romance novels since she was about 12 when her mother left a romance
novel, which a friend had given her, on the nightstand. Jamie read it instead, and the rest is history.

She started her first manuscript, a contemporary romance, after she graduated from Northwestern University in 2002 and couldn't find a job. Life got in the way as it often does, i.e. she found a job, and she didn't finish the story. However, she never forgot about it and finally got serious about completing it in 2009. She’s been writing ever since.
Jamie holds a master’s degree in sport management (yes, that's a real thing :-) ) from the University of Texas at Austin, so it probably comes as no surprise that she loves sports and spends an inordinate amount of time rooting for her hometown Dallas’s pro sports teams and her alma maters.

She also adores Walt Disney World, shopping, and pop culture. Want to know if your favorite TV show is going to be canceled or what the newest Disney attraction is? Ask Jamie. She'll probably know the answer.

CLOVER: How often to you get lost in a story?
JAMIE: Every time I read a book. I love romance and rooting for the heroine and the hero to get their stuff together and realize everything they’ve ever wanted and needed is RIGHT THERE!

CLOVER: Be honest, when reading...do you put yourself in the heroine’s role?
JAMIE: YES! What woman can’t use a hot guy who is all about doing whatever it takes to win her heart in her life? I know I can!

CLOVER: What do you do to unwind and relax?
JAMIE: Watch TV. Too much TV, but I like sports, dramas, comedies, and reality TV. That stuff is all on TV, so what am I supposed to do? Lol. I also spend too much on the Internet. Oh, and reading. No way I can forget that.

CLOVER: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
JAMIE: Can I have two? Dirty Dancing because of the love story, music and the dancing! Steel Magnolias because it makes me laugh and cry. I’m a sucker for 80s movies obviously.

CLOVER: Right? You can’t beat those older flicks.  So what are the next five books on your ‘to be read’ pile?
JAMIE: Jill Shalvis’ Always on My Mind (just started this one) and Once in a Lifetime. Candace Shaw’s Her Perfect Candidate. Kristen Callihan’s Winterblaze and Shadowdance. But really my TBR pile is beyond ridiculous. And yet I keep buying books because I LOVE them.

CLOVERS GOTTA ASK:  Describe an absolutely perfect day.
JAMIE’S GOTTA ANSWER:  Oh, wow. So much to do, but so little time. I’d love to spend the morning at Walt Disney World with the parks all to myself so I wouldn’t have to wait in line for any of my favorite rides. Then I’d eat lunch, have a massage, and find a beach to lie on and read a book. I’d end the day watching my one of my favorite sports teams win a championship in person. LOL. TOTALLY realistic.

CLOVER: Sounds like a great time. I’d love to come along with you!

Website       Facebook         Twitter        Goodreads

What do you have coming next for us? I’m working on the next book for Entangled that features a secondary character from TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD.

Jamie is offering an e-c0py of her book Tell Me Something Good in a drawing from anyone who answers these questions: What is your favorite movie? What do you love about it?

Note: Please leave an email address for notification. 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. 


JENNIFER HAYWARD writes charismatic heroes for Harlequin Presents...

IMG_0034Jennifer Hayward has been a fan of romance since filching her sister's novels to escape her teenaged angst.
Her career in journalism and PR, including years of working alongside powerful, charismatic CEO's and traveling the world, has provided perfect fodder for the fast-paced, sexy stories she likes to write, always with a touch of humour.

A native of Canada's East coast, Jennifer lives in Toronto with her Viking husband and young Viking-in-training. Her book club of 10 yrs helps her keep the world right side up.

Changing Constantinou's Game
One kiss couldn't hurt, could it? 
Alexios Constantinou is notorious for his lethal charm, so when the exquisite Isabel Peters is—literally—dropped into his lap during a hellish elevator ride, he doesn't waste the opportunity! With tensions sky-high after their near-death experience, an insatiable desire ignites between them, and all bets are off. 
But when Alex discovers that reporter Isabel's next story is him, he's furious…yet determined to use it to his advantage. He's calling the shots, but the closer Isabel gets, the closer she comes to discovering his carefully concealed secret. Now, with everything at stake, he'll need a whole new game plan….
Read an excerpt here.

Jan Schliesman: Since this is my very first blog on GLIAS, I'm going to share the pronunciation of my last name: Sh-LEASE-man. How do you pronounce your hero's last name?
Jennifer Hayward: Con-Stan-Teen-O

Jan: How often to you get lost in a story?
Jennifer: Oh every day :) Almost…. When I'm writing a book, I'm usually working on it six or seven days a week. It flows so much better even if I just write a few hours that day. I take breaks in between books.

Jan: You won Harlequin’s 2012 So You Think You Can Write contest, which led to your first sale. How long had you been writing before then?
Jennifer: My story starts back when I was nineteen and submitted my first manuscript to Harlequin Presents. I got an encouraging letter back from a senior editor at the time, but they didn't want to see that particular story again. I think I also really needed life experience to write the deeply emotional stories you see in Presents. Over the years I submitted two or three more partials, but my career in journalism and PR kept me really busy. Finally I cut back my work hours with the support of my husband, finally finished a full manuscript (which I may rewrite some day because I loved the story). That story was rejected but I learned so much from writing a full book. How surfacey my earlier partials had been. I took a ton of craft courses and finally finished Changing Constantinou's Game, which was on my editor's desk when I won SYTYCW with The Divorce Party.
Jan:  What’s the best part of your day?  Are you a morning or night person?
Jennifer: I love the morning! I'm definitely a morning person and breakfast is my favourite meal :) But strangely, sometimes when I do write at night, I write my best material. Maybe no distractions! :) It's also hard being a mom to get to bed early sometimes. You need time to yourself and often that's an hour snuck in at night.

Jan:  Is your family good about helping out when you’re under deadline?
Jennifer: Oh yes. My husband is amazingly supportive of my writing and so is my little boy. There's a joke in our house - everyone always knows when it's deadline week. The temperature goes up a notch or two! My husband also jokes that 'it's a good day in our house when it's a good writing day'. Really?

Jan:  Did you buy yourself something special when you sold your first book?
Jennifer: I'm not sure if I did! But a fellow author told me I always should, so I do now. With my second book it was a beautiful necklace on a writing holiday in Tuscany! (Sharon Kendrick's course is amazing btw!) For my last book, it was a pair of rockin' cowboy boots from California!

Jan:  You dream of building a beach house in Barbados, which happens to be my favorite island. If you held a writer’s retreat there, who would you invite?

Jennifer: Definitely my two girlfriends who are working on books of their own who are also in my book club. Then my writer girls from the Watermill writing course in Posara and finally my two wonderful critique partners. OMG we would have a full house wouldn't we? Maybe we need a hotel! And I love that we are kindred spirits with our love of Barbados. To me, it's heaven on earth!

Jan:  Have you ever used real life experiences in your stories? Changed the names to protect the guilty?
Jennifer: Oh yes. There are many instances/scenes in my books from my own life and that of people I know. I think real life is stranger than fiction for sure! In my second book, An Exquisite Challenge, I drew heavily from some of the fun parties I've thrown in my PR career over the years. In Changing Constantinou's Game, Izzie's one-night-stand-of-a-lifetime was inspired by a marine biologist from the Great Barrier Reef I met on a flight home who I was too scared to show the town! Izzie is smarter than me :)

Jan's GOTTA ASK: My hubby works for Haagen-Dazs so I always have to ask…what’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Jennifer's GOTTA ANSWER: Ha! I love this one. My present obsession is chocolate chip mint but I still dream about the black liquorice flavour I had in Sweden (where my husband is from) that was amazing!


Ooh I'm very excited about my next release. Here's the back cover blurb! I took risks with this heroine and this story and I'm hoping you're going to love it! It's called The Magnate's Manifesto:

Jared Stone: Visionary, rebel, the tech world's golden boy…and now the most hated man on the planet! 
Bailey St. James: Survivor, powerful female executive, the only woman who refuses to bow down to Jared Stone…and the only woman who can save him? 
When Jared's manifesto makes him public enemy #1 the only way out is to make Bailey an offer she can't refuse—a very public promotion to VP! Now, with a major deal on the line and tensions rising, can it be long before Jared and Bailey move from spreadsheets to bed sheets?
Thanks so much for sharing your world with us, Jennifer!

Jennifer is offering a  $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD to one lucky reader who posts a comment:

What nationality is your favorite hero and why?


Get Lost with Pam Mantovani and Cowbow on Her Doorstep!

Get Lost in a Story Reader's, we are pleased to welcome Pam Mantovani as our Tuesday guest. 

About Cowboy on Her Doorstep

When Army Ranger Logan Montgomery returns to his family’s ranch in western Montana to mourn the loss of his father, he discovers that his best friend had a little girl as the result of their lovemaking the night before he left to join the service.  He sets out to prove himself to her – that he’s come home to stay.

Deputy Sheriff Kendall Grant has worked hard to build a stable life for her young daughter, Marissa. When Logan discovers he’s Marissa’s father, Kendall refuses to believe he intends to become a doting daddy. She’s convinced he’ll grow bored with small-town life and re-enlist. More than anything, she’s afraid this time he’ll shatter both her heart and Marissa’s. How can she learn to trust that this time it’s forever?

DONNELL:  Welcome to Get Lost in a Story, Pam! Am I correct, this is your debut novel.  Tell us about your path to publication.  Short, Long, piece of cake?
PAM: I’ve been working at publication for more than 20 years.  Some of those years, granted, I didn’t pursue publication as strongly as other years but I always wrote. There were some lean times when I questioned if it was time to admit that I’d done my best but I should move on. I never did, although I was very close to doing so right before National RWA in Atlanta – only to fulfill a fantasy of mine by selling the first book there! It was great because there were so many people there who had supported and encouraged me and I was able to celebrate with them.
DONNELL:  Tell us about Logan Montgomery? What’s his best trait? What’s his worst?
PAM: Logan’s best trait – I always begin with the best J - is his heart. He cares more deeply than he reveals most of the time. I know that’s typical of a man but Logan is also a very honorable man, as evidenced by his military service and his actions during Cowboy On Her Doorstep. His worst – he’s always had a tendency to avoid conflict by walking away – something Kendall fears he will do again, and again crush her heart.
DONNELL:  How about Marissa, what makes her a special heroine in your mind? 
PAM: I love Marissa! One thing I tried really hard to do was keep her as real a four-year-old as possible. I didn’t want her to be perfect so, while she can be charming, she does at times insist on getting her way. Plus she still sees the world as simple and happy as the books her mother reads to her.
DONNELL:  Montana’s Big Sky Country. Is that where you’re from?  If not, where do you call home?
PAM:  Sadly, I’ve never set foot in that beautiful state. When I came up with the idea for this story, I literally picked a spot on the map. Thank goodness for Google and all the info I gleaned from there! For the last twelve years now, we’ve lived outside of Atlanta GA. I was an Army Brat growing up so we moved, although not nearly as often as some friends. Although I didn’t expect it when I married him, my husband’s job had us moving to four different states – we once figured that on average we’d moved every 2.7 years of our marriage. I am now staying put.
DONNELL:  Love the title Cowboy on her Doorstep. The title evokes home and hearth. What do you think is the theme of your novel?
PAM:  Second chances.  There are several instances where this comes into play within the book. The obvious, of course, is the relationship between Logan and Kendall and their second chance at going beyond their friendship to finding a sustaining love.  There is also Logan’s second chance at repairing his relationship with his brother and Kendall helping her friend have a second chance at life after escaping from an abusive relationship.
DONNELL:  What comes next for Pam Mantovani; any more books in the works?
PAM:  I’ve completed one manuscript, a marriage of convenience story and actually, the first book Belle bought from me is an opposites-attract story line and I have the bare bones of another story completed.  My editor however, has asked me to write the follow-up book for Cowboy On Her Doorstep, involving Logan’s brother and Kendall’s friend, so I’m currently working on that one – and, no surprise, but in plotting out that storyline, I’ve come across another couple that hopefully will follow.
DONNELL:  When you’re not writing, where will we find you?

Pam:   I’m a bit of a homebody. My husband and I have a large yard which occupies much of our time during the summer, along with assorted DIY projects. And of course, there are family get-togethers. I married into one of those families that enjoys spending time – and each other’s business - with one another. In the evenings I usually kick back and work on a quilt – but there is always a notepad nearby in case I come up with a plot point, dialogue or some internal thought.
Pam, now it’s your turn.  Time to ask the reader a question.  And here you can indicate if you’ll do a book giveaway.
PAM WANTS TO KNOW:  I’d love to know what trends the readers are seeing in romantic fiction and how they feel about it.
GIVE AWAY:  I’ll pick a comment at random and give a gift of an e-copy of Cowboy On Her Doorstep.

Chill out with Melissa Cutler!

I'm so happy to have my friend Melissa Cutler back on the blog today!  She's got a new series, and the first book has just been released.  Let's get to the good stuff!

Risky Business (Bomb Squad Hockey #1)
Publisher: Berkley InterMix
Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1ju6akN
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1zRdGiJ

The Blurb:

A heated match-up begins…
Welcome to Destiny Falls, New York, home of Bomb Squad—an ice hockey team full of rugged military heroes. But the season’s biggest match-up isn’t on the ice as one of their own prepares to go head to head with his new boss…
Allison Whitely’s ex left her with a mountain of debt and Cloud Nine, a struggling boat rental business. With zero job skills, her only hope of getting back in the black lies in a brooding ex-soldier who has her seeing red… 
Theo Lacroix’s teammates are counting on their star player to help them win an upcoming high profile hockey game. But when a sexy tornado of a woman sweeps into town and expects him to help her with Cloud Nine, Theo is tempted to skate away from it all. 
Theo vowed to never again be someone’s knight in shining armor, but his feelings—and desire—for Allison are becoming harder to ignore. He longs to save her, but to win Allison’s love, he’ll have to throw out his old playbook and take the ultimate risk…playing from the heart.
The Teaser: (From the first two paragraphs of the book!)
Of course, being that it was Allison Whitley’s lot in life to suffer the presence of water, it was pouring rain the night the Buffalo police marched her husband down the front walk of Pinky Rae’s Gentleman’s Club, right past Allison and into one of four idling patrol cars.

From her birth, Allison’s world had been saturated with water. It flooded her waking hours with rain, snow, swift rivers, and waterfalls, and her nightly dreams with crashing waves and the insidious menace of backyard swimming pools…

You can read the rest of Chapter One and Chapter Two in an extended excerpt on my website

Meet Melissa!

Melissa Cutler knows she has the best job in the world writing sexy contemporary romances and romantic suspense. She was struck at an early age by an unrelenting travel bug and is probably planning her next vacation as you read this. When she's not globetrotting, she's enjoying Southern California's flip-flop wearing weather and wrangling two rambunctious kids.

The Interview:

Lara: Tell us about your new series.  What are these books about?
Melissa: I’m so excited about this series. Bomb Squad is the name of the men’s league ice hockey team that the wounded veteran heroes of the books belong to. The series concept came to me in a dream. That sounds like a cliché, but, hey, it isn’t every night that my dreams are invaded by a brooding, testosterone dripping, motorcycle riding French guy. (I wish!) So I did what any self-respecting writer would: I leapt out of bed shouting for a pen and paper. Mr. Cutler happens to be used to this kind of craziness, so he just rolled over and went back to sleep after a muttered “have fun, dear” while I got to work on what would become Risky Business. [Lara: LOL!]
That brooding French guy ended up being Theo Lacroix, the soldier hero of my first Bomb Squad hockey romance. With Risky Business, Undefeated, and Game Changer, I wanted to explore the lives of combat wounded vets after the dust settled. After they re-harnessed their power and their peace of mind, after rehab was over, and they’d gotten back to the business of living. And I wanted to pair each of them with a woman who’d challenge them, but also love them fiercely.

Lara: What’s your favorite hockey team/player?
Melissa: I was just starting high school when the Pond was built in Anaheim, California, to house the Mighty Ducks, which was about 30 minutes from my house. Along with my best friend’s family, I was a season ticket holder until I moved to San Diego. I’m still a rabid fan. I was so sad when they were knocked out of the playoffs this year, and even sadder to see Teemu Selanne retire, since he’d been with the team since that first season the team was formed and I got my first season tickets. [Lara: Even though I am a die-hard Dallas Stars fan, I always enjoyed watching him play against us!]

Lara: You write several different types of books (Bomb Squad series, Cowboys, and romantic suspense).  Do you work on one book at a time, or are you writing several books at once?
Melissa: Well, my writing schedule is a bit more complicated than that because, typically, I write the first few chapters of a book and an in-depth synopsis, which becomes a proposal that gets pitched to my editor. Then, while the editorial staff is trying to decide whether to buy the book/series—which can take up to a few months, depending—I start working on a book that’s already under contract, picking up with the next chapter where that proposal left off. And, usually in the middle of writing that manuscript, one of my other books will come back from the editor with revision or copy edit notes, so I take a break from writing the manuscript and tackle those revisions. It’s a very fluid process and I love that I write in several different sub-genres of romance because it keeps my workdays fresh and fun.

Lara: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
Melissa: What a great question! I do create playlists for nearly every book I write, including sometimes having specific songs attached to each character’s journey. Sometimes, the songs are only connected through mood, even when the lyrics don’t apply, and some songs are more about a single line in the song that sparks my muse.

For RISKY BUSINESS, I listened to Paramore’s “The Only Exception” a lot. And I frequently listened to the album These Times by SafetySuit. The mood I wanted to create was hopeful and buoyant, with touches of people making wonderful self-discoveries and joyous discoveries about life and the people around them, if that makes any sense.

Lara: What is your hero’s “kryptonite” – in other words, what will bring him instantly to his knees?
Melissa: He hates being thought of as heroic and does everything possible to avoid being put in situations where others’ safety, livelihood, or future hinge on him.

Lara: What one thing about your hero drives his heroine crazy? And what one thing about your heroine drives her hero nuts?
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Melissa: Both Allison and Theo in RISKY BUSINESS spend the first half of the book driving each other bonkers. Yeah, they don’t get along so well to begin with. One thing that Theo does that drives Allison nuts is that, because of the hearing loss he suffered during a traumatic brain injury, he has the ability to “mute” the world by running loud appliances or starting his motorcycle or turning the radio up. Allison HATES IT when he “mutes” her. [Lara: That would be annoying!]

As for what Allison does to drive Theo crazy, her very presence at the boat rental company they’re both vying for ownership of is a worst case scenario in Theo’s world. That, and her fear of water that she just can’t seem to overcome.

Lara: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Melissa: I love this question. Not sure I’ve ever been asked that before. I usually have a good cry, honestly. It’s like an adrenaline crash to finish a book and my body lets it all out by crying. When that’s done, I head straight for the kitchen and rummage for chocolate.

Lara’s GOTTA ASK:  What are the next five books on your ‘to be read’ pile?
Melissa’s GOTTA ANSWER:   The second In Death book by JD Robb, Sharla Lovelace’s Stay With Me, Tracy Solheim’s Risky Game, Against the Cage by Sidney Halston, and Reaper’s Legacy by Joanna Wilde.

Where can you find Melissa?

I love hearing from readers at melissa@melissacutler.net, or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelissaCutlerBooks ) and Twitter (@m_cutler). Visit www.melissacutler.net to learn more about me and my books…and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter: http://bit.ly/16mkpCs

What's next?

THE MISTLETOE EFFECT, which is a Christmas-set “Marriage of Convenience” story, cowboy style. You can learn more about it on my website


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