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5 Things with Heather McCollum

Today Heather McCollum, author of sweeping, magical Scottish historical romances, is visiting the blog. The answers to her “Five Questions” are fantastic! Welcome, Heather…

Thank you so much for having me here today! What a fun way to learn about those of us behind the melt-your-heart pages of romance books.at swing1 (585x640)

1) Since romance authors always write about falling in love, when and how did you discover you were in love? I was a Virginian girl and he (Braden) was an Army kid, his father stationed in Hawaii. We met at college in Maine. I had already kissed too many frogs to count and was pretty disillusioned by the whole concept of falling in love. But…

One night after we had been dating a couple weeks, Braden stopped by my dorm room. I had terrible menstrual cramps (TMI, but it’s what happened : ). I couldn’t move, just stayed balled up on my dorm bed. It was late and someone pulled the fire alarm in my building, meaning we all had to exit. There was three feet of snow on the ground and I wasn’t budging.

Braden picked me up, wrapped me in his coat, and trudged with me through the snow to his dorm room. He then woke up every guy in the dorm trying to find me Ibuprofen. Once the fire department proclaimed it safe, he carried me back to my bed and stayed all night to make sure I was comfortable.

Yeah, I knew then that he was a “for better or worse” kind of guy.

2) What is the very first romance novel that you read? When I was fifteen, my step-grandmother gave me a copy of The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I fell in love with the book and the historical romance genre. Amazingly the hero and heroine in that book are Brandon and Heather. Pretty darn close!

crimson_heart-new3) What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? Umm… I wrote a book. Not only did I write it, I let others read it. For those of you who write, you know what I mean. It takes A LOT of guts to put your art out there. Christina Dodd once said at a conference (paraphrasing here), “Submitting your book to someone is like standing on stage, taking off your clothes and asking for comments.” Yeah – that painful.

I also got my belly button pierced when I was 30 years old. I’m still working up to a tattoo.

4) Where is the most beautiful/romantic place you’ve ever been? That’s kind of two different questions. Most romantic – I’m going to say El Dorado Casitas all-inclusive, adults-only resort in Mexico with my hubby for our 20-year anniversary last November. Five days of paradise (without our three spirited kids) to just focus on each other while lying on the sand with our beach butler bringing us Mud Slides and Pina Coladas. Heaven! We even saw a shooting star together that last night. Sigh…

Most beautiful – There is nothing quite like the Highlands of Scotland to make me tear up at the raw, glorious splendor of the landscape. We (including the three spirited kids) stayed in a house on a loch for a week two summers ago. Around us the green mountains soared up, dotted by white sheep, cows and an occasional herd of red deer. Granite boulders pushed through the grass like a giant’s knobby knees under a blue sky. I can easily understand why the Scots were willing to die to keep their land.

5) If you could be a superhero, what power would you choose and why? The ability to heal. Oh, I know there would be problems with being able to magically heal people, and I wouldn’t want to be in God’s position of deciding who lives and who dies. But… being an ovarian cancer survivor, I would REALLY like to be able to keep myself and family healthy.

My wished-for superpower found its way into my writing (even before my diagnosis). My Highland Hearts series revolves around a 16th century family where the women can heal through magic. In Captured Heart I dive into herbal lore with each chapter starting as an entry in a medicine journal. The heroine learns that she has a powerful gift, and with it comes a great responsibility. Just like a sword can be used for good or for evil, so can power.

Thank you again for having me on your blog today! The third full-length book in the Highland Hearts series came out this past year. Each book can be read separately but most prefer to read them in order: Highland Heart (very short prequel), Captured Heart, Tangled Hearts, Untamed Hearts (novella) and Crimson Heart.

 

You can find Heather on her website, Twitter

Facebook, or Pinterest

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Five Things with Julie Johnstone

school (4 of 12)USA Today Bestselling Regency Romance author Julie Johnstone is here today, with a “Five Questions” post! Her next book, My Seductive Innocent, goes on pre-order this Thursday. Welcome to the blog, Julie…

1) Did you have a nickname growing up? Gosh yes! They called me string bean, and I hated it! I was 5’9” by the time I was in fifth grade and so self-conscious! I was an expert at slouching to appear shorter! I’ll tell you a little secret. In my novel, My Fair Duchess, many of my heroine’s insecurities came from my childhood!

2) Where is the most beautiful/romantic place you’ve ever been? Ah, this one so easy! My husband and I took a trip to Rome and TuscMFD (7)any the year before my first child was born. His uncle lives near Tuscany, so we had a lot of local contacts and really experience the life! It was amazing and unforgettable!

3) Do you celebrate when you finish a book and what you do? I always celebrate when I finish a book! I usually have a glass of champagne that night, and I try to spend a few days pampering myself because when I am in the middle of writing a book I really ignore doing anything nice for me!

4) What’s your strongest/most productive writing habit? I learned a long time ago that if I write daily I am more productive. So, unless I am on vacation, or have just finished a book and give myself a few days, I go down to my office every day and write for no less than two hours.

MSI4 (4)5) What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? I’d have to say that was quitting my “real” job to try to be a writer. It was a total leap of faith, but worth every heartache and triumph. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to earn a living doing what I love. I know so many people who do jobs they are indifferent about at best, but writing is my passion and every heartache and triumph of this crazy, wonderful job has been completely worth it.

You can find Julie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads!

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5 Things with Nicola Davidson

Today Nicola Davidson, author of both Regency and Tudor era romances, is visiting us all the way from New Zealand! Welcome to the blog, Nicola, and thanks for sharing some fun facts with us…

Nicola Davidson1) Did you have a nickname growing up? My father always called me Shorty, because I was a pip squeak growing up – front row of every school photo. He still does, although I’m now 5ft 9″ tall and nearly look him in the eye…
2) Where do you go for inspiration when the creativity well is running a little dry? Anyplace with water. I’ve solved plot issues, untangled dialogue and thought of names, walking along a beach, perched on a rock in the middle of a river or washing my hair in the shower. I really need to invest in waterproof technology. Or keep a bucket beside my desk.
3) What new to you authors are you crazy about? I adore super sexy stories, historical, contemporary and paranormal. I’m on a contemporary binge at the moment, and I’m a big fan of Christina Lauren’s ‘Beautiful Bastard’ books and Jackie Ashenden’s ‘Living In’… series.HFL-500px1
4) If you could time travel, what time period would you most like to visit? That’s a tough one – I write both Tudor and Regency, so would love to visit both! Most especially a jousting tournament or Christmastide in Henry VIII’s era, and a come-out ball at Almack’s in Regency time.
5) What is the most embarrassing song/app on your iPod? First confession – I don’t have an iPod! But I’m an 80’s music tragic, so have countless embarrassing songs to bellow and flail manically to. My neighbours are really lucky people.
You can find Nicola at her website, on Twitter, or hanging around Facebook!

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Five Things with Olivia Kelly

Today bestselling Regency romance author Olivia Kelly has come to visit us, and let us in on five things we probably don’t know about her. Welcome, Olivia!

1) What is the very first romance novel that you read? Nora Robert’s Montana Sky. Well, that was the first “genre” rTLATD silver fontomance I read. I’d read plenty of romance in the science fiction and fantasy novels I devoured as a teen. It just wasn’t very interesting to me if it didn’t at least have one romance subplot! But my first historical romance was Sabrina Jeffries. I think it was her Royal Brotherhood series, actually. I’m pretty sure Marcus North was my first brush with the “dark, tortured aristocrat with a soft, vulnerable center” hero, and I fell hard. He’s still one of my favorites.

2) If you could be a superhero, power would you choose and why? Hmm. I haven’t thought a lot about this (lies, all of it lies, I totally have), but maybe teletransportation. I’d love to be able to get places anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye. And I’d imagine it would come in handy when beating bad guys. There are ALWAYS bad guys when you have superheroes around. “Every hero needs a villain…”

3) Who are your must-buy authors? Darynda Jones, Claudia Dain, Erin Knightley, Charlotte Stein, Stephan Blackmoore, Julia Quinn, Kevin Hearne, Lisa Kleypas, and Jenna Black. A very random, multi-genre/sub-genre list!

4) If you could choose any 3 people in history to meet, who would they be? The Romanov sisters (I count them as one!), because they intrigue me. They are so beautiful in the pictures, before the executions, but what were they like as people? Spoiled, entitled snobs? Or were they smart, interesting girls, with dreams beyond their station in life? L.M. Montgomery, because she wrote the most lovely, uplifting, heartbreaking stories, with characters that endure well beyond her own lifetime. And lastly, Titanic survivor Molly Brown. She’s most famous for her sense of presence during the time of evacuation on the sinking ship, and credited with saving many lives. But that’s just skimming the surface. She was an early feminist, the very first woman to run for office in the US ever, and ran for the Senate years before woman were even allowed to vote! She was a force to be reckoned with, and I wish I’d met her.

5) Print or ebook? Both! While I love the convenience of being able to buy a new book on my Kindle at 10pm on a Sunday night, something I could never do before ebooks arrived, you will pry my paperbacks out of my cold, dead hands. I love the smell of books, the feel of them, the rustle of the pages as you flip through them. There’s nothing like the smell of an old bookstore, or a library. It gives my heart a happy hiccup. I think you know exactly what I mean…

You can find Olivia on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

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5 Things with Leanne Shirtliffe

Today we’re welcoming my dear friend, and fabulous author, Leanne Shirtliffe to the blog! Her author bio tells you everything you need to know about her hilarious new book Mommyfesto. “Leanne is a humor writer whose motto is “If you can’t laugh at yourself, laugh at your kids.”” She’s a blast, and I’m thrilled to have her with us for a Five Things post today…

Mommyfesto1) What’s your strongest/most productive writing habit? My most productive writing habit is that I’m deadline driven. When I set (or am given) a deadline, I meet it. Of course, being deadline driven is basically a polite way of saying that I’m a procrastinator who gets the job done—just barely, and with varying amounts of collateral damage depending on the project—by the time it’s due.
2) What is the very first romance novel that you read? I read lots of Danielle Steele paperbacks when I was a teenager, mostly when I was working in the field (my parents had a large wheat farm), waiting for the combine to come and dump the grain into the 5-ton trucks I drove. I doubt farm-girl-me was the reader that Danielle Steele had imagined when she was penning Fine Things or Thurston House, but her books got me through some long days.
3) If you could be a superhero, power would you choose and why? I would choose the power of having my children listen to me—wait for it—the FIRST TIME I said something. Can you imagine not repeating yourself? All the fights it would save? All that extra time you’d have?

4) If you were going to an island for a long time, name 5 things you would bring. Assuming survival gear is out, I’d happily pack the following:

  1. A lifetime supply of peanut butter
  2. The complete works of Shakespeare (I teach high school English in my spare time, so I can be a bit of a nerd.)
  3. Paper
  4. Pen
  5. Colin Firth         (I should likely say “my husband,” but someone has to lead the search effort.)

5) What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? When I was 25, I accepted a job teaching high school at an international school in the Middle East. I moved to Bahrain as a single woman, and then proceeded to meet the man who’d become my husband (who also happened to have been born in the same Canadian city as me).

 

Leanne is giving away a copy of Mommyfesto to one (random) reader. To be entered to win a copy, just tell us in the comments below what five things YOU would wish to be marooned on a deserted island with!

 

When she’s not wrestling her kids for the Wii remote, you can usually find Leanne on her website, Facebook, or Twitter.

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