Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Book Trailer Bonanza

Current Read: Revealed by Kate Noble

As promised, here are a few book trailers for your viewing pleasure! Who knows? Maybe you'll see a familiar favorite or find a new one.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on book trailers! Do they influence your buying decisions? Do you enjoy them? Think they're silly? Love to watch them just for fun?

Visit Jennifer at

Learn more about the Moon series by Rebecca York at

Learn more at

Bit of a paranormal theme today, huh?!

See you all next week...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Author Feature: Elise Chidley

Current Read: Your Roots Are Showing by Elise Chidley

I'm thrilled to have double RITA Finalist Elise Chidley here today. In the writing world a RITA is like an Oscar! Elise's debut novel, Your Roots Are Showing, is nominated in the Best First Book category and the Contemporary Single Title category. I am reading it right now and love it! It's one of those books that, as an aspiring author, makes me want to throw my arms in the air and quit because I'll never be that good. :0) And on that note, please welcome today's featured author, Elise Chidley!

Tell us about your first novel, Your Roots Are Showing.

Your Roots Are Showing was inspired by a house we lived in briefly in England—the bare-bones, badly-laid-out rental house Lizzie relocates to at the start of the novel after her husband walks out on her. I remember standing in the hallway of that very house, looking up at a light bulb swinging from the ceiling, and then out of the window at the desolate front yard, and thinking it was the ideal setting for a book about a woman whose life had suddenly fallen apart. The house was like a clean slate—somewhere to reinvent yourself and start all over again.

In Roots, this is exactly what Lizzie has to do. Ironically, by zapping off an unforgivable email to her husband by mistake, she sets in motion a train of events that will force her to reevaluate herself, her choices, and the state of her married life.

What a great inspiration! I can just see the house...Have you ever sent an email to the wrong person? :0)

Yes, I often make email blunders, but nothing truly devastating has ever gone astray.

I understand you've also written short stories. Tell us more...

I wrote a collection of stories for my MFA thesis at Penn State University. One of these, The Water Diviner, was short-listed for the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award. Another, Gifts, was short-listed forThe New Writer’s annual Prose and Fiction Prize. The stories are set in South Africa, where I’m from, and are more literary in tone than Your Roots Are Showing.

What are you working on now?

I’m at the editing stage of a second book, and beginning work on a third. They’re both similar in style to Roots, and both deal with the ways children can complicate and enrich a woman’s life. (Can you tell I don’t like the term ‘mom lit’?)

Tell us three things we don't know about you:

I’m not very tall; okay, I’m ‘petite’—I like to say I’m 5’2” but I think it’s a whisker less than that.I drink an awful lot of tea, so I’m hoping to live forever. Then again, maybe it’s the wrong kind of tea…

After years of suppressing the urge, I realize that in my bones I’m an avid gardener, just like my mother.

If Elise Chidley were a fictional character in a book, what would she be like?

I’d be tall with one of those golden skins that tan easily; I’d have eagle eyes, and I would know for a fact that you can’t please all the people all the time, so I wouldn’t even try.

Is that close to the real Elise? What did you change and why?

As I’ve already confessed, the word ‘tall’ could only be applied to me by leprechauns and their ilk. I’m plagued with very fair skin that keeps me ducking around under umbrellas and shade trees outside for fear of wrinkles and skin cancer. I’ve been myopic all my life, and I’m a habitual ‘people pleaser’. I think my fictional life will be a lot easier without these all-too-real shortcomings (pun intended).

I can sympathize, I have the "people pleasing plague" as well. :0) And finally, where can we find you?

Look me up at and I’ll be speaking and signing books to promote Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms (in which I have a piece) at the New Canaan Library, New Canaan, CT at 7pm on Tuesday, April 21; at the Greenwich Library, Greenwich, CT, at 6:30pm on Tuesday, April 28, and at Barnes & Noble in the Lincoln Center, New York, NY, from 1-3pm on Friday, May 8. I will also be signing books at the RWA’s “Reader’s for Life” Literacy Autographing at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington D.C. on Wednesday evening, July 15. For more about the RWA Conference, go to the RWA’s web site:

Wonderful, Elise! Thank you for being here.

Elise is giving away one copy of Your Roots Are Showing! All you have to do is comment - let us know what's on your mind or ask Elise a question and you're in. The winner will be announced here on Friday. So, let the fun begin!

And heeeeere's the winner of Elise's contest:

Last Nerve

Email me your snail mail address at and Elise will get Your Roots Are Showing headed your way!

Thanks again to Elise and to all of you who joined us! Be sure to join me next week when I chat with historical romance author Emily Bryan!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Author Feature: Julianne MacLean

Current Read: Your Roots Are Showing by Elise Chidley

I'm so excited to welcome todays' featured author, Julianne MacLean! I recently read The Mistress Diaries and loved it. Now I have almost all of Julianne's other titles waiting at the top of my To-Be-Read pile.

Hi, Julianne, and welcome! Your most recent book, When A Stranger Loves Me, was released in February. Tell us about it.

Hi Tiffany - When a Stranger Loves Me is about a scandal-ridden aristocratic lady who's been living in exile on an English Channel Island, when a man washes up onto the beach, naked and gravely wounded. He has no memory of his life or how he got there, so he must be cared for until the family can decide what to do with him. In the meantime, Chelsea decides to use him for her own secret purposes, but I won't tell you what they are because I wouldn't want to spoil the story :).

I can't wait to read this one! When A Stranger Loves Me is the third installment in your Pembroke Palace series, tell us more about it.

The series takes place at Pembroke Palace, where the Duke of Pembroke is going a little mad, and has insisted that all four of his sons marry before Christmas, or be disinherited. The first book, In My Wildest Fantasies, is about Devon Sinclair, the eldest son, who marries a woman who had been fantasizing about him since she was a girl and wants true love with her fantasy hero. But their reality is a far cry from her fantasy life, and she discovers she has married a man who is very different from the one she imagined.

The second book is The Mistress Diaries, and it's about Lord Vincent, the second son who is a true rake, scoundrel, and libertine. He idly takes a fiancee for the mere purpose of securing his inheritance, but within a week, a former lover delivers a baby to the doorstep, demanding that he take responsibility. He agrees to set her up in a house and provide for her and the child, with absolutely no intention of becoming emotionally involved. None whatsoever. Because he is a heartless, dissolute rake with no conscience. But sometimes, even a hardened man can be wooed and seduced when his soulmate comes along - which is not an easy thing to manage when he's engaged to another woman and his inheritance is at stake.

There is a fourth and final book which needs to be written, but I've just changed publishers, so there might be a little bit of a wait for that one. I'm determined to write it, however!

As I've said, I loved The Mistress Diaries. I can't wait to read In My Wildest Fantasies and When A Stranger Loves Me, and you know I'll be waiting with bated breath for the fourth! :0) You've written twelve books. Do you have a personal favorite? (I know, this is a horribly unfair question!)

Such a difficult question! I can't pin it down to just one, but I do have a soft spot for Love According to Lily. I also enjoyed writing and researching Surrender to a Scoundrel, because it takes place on the Isle of Wight during the sailing regattas in the Victorian period. It was nice to get out of the London drawing rooms for a while and explore a fresh setting.

I mentioned the RITAs the other day during another post...Surrender to a Scoundrel was a RITA Finalist. ;0)

You started out writing western romance then switched to 19th century historicals. Why?

I had always wanted to write about American heiresses searching for titled husbands in England, even before I sold my first western. At the time, however, I was told that Victorian set romances were a tough sell, so I set that aside and wrote something more marketable. (Not that I didn't love the Western settings as well. I grew up on the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and even named my daughter after her, so those early prairie set books I wrote are near and dear to my heart.) But when the Victorian period opened up for British set books, I knew right away that I had to write about the American heiresses.

I know you're on a bit of a hiatus for the next few weeks, but what's next from Julianne MacLean?

I just turned in my first Scottish Historical called Captured by the Highlander, which has been a tremendous writing experience. Again, it was nice to get out of the London ballrooms, and this time write about a rugged and dangerous hero, who is not quite as polite as my usual English gentlemen who follow the rules of high society. This hero carries an axe instead of a fashionable walking stick. And he's much dirtier :). I'm starting the sequel now. I don't have release dates yet, but I'll post them on my website as soon as I know.

Oooh, I love Scottish heroes! What do you know now that you wish you'd have known when you first started writing?

That's such an interesting question. To be honest, I'm glad I didn't know everything - especially how long it was going to take or how tough it would be to sell. In some situations, ignorance is bliss, and if someone had told me it would take me six years to sell my first book, it might have taken some of the wind out of my sails. It's important to always be hopeful every time you send out a project, because that's what keeps you from giving up. I'm so glad I didn't give up after the first few rejections. And I'm glad I didn't know how many there were going to be. You just have to believe, despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, and keep at it, because that's how you learn.

What are some of the things you've found most surprising about your characters?

My characters surprise me every day, sometimes in just a single line of dialogue. I think as a writer of romance, it's important to take risks and to not always play it safe. In that way, I let my characters say or do things that a reader might find shocking, because it might not be very nice. Bring on the flawed characters! That's my mantra. They are so much more interesting and unpredictable.

I agree completely! Who are your favorite authors/books?

In romance, I love Lisa Kleypas, Jo Beverley, Liz Carlysle, Laura Lee Guhrke, Mary Balogh, Lorraine Heath. Outside of romance, I enjoy Jodi Picoult, and I'm reading the Josephine B. Trilogy now, by Sandra Gulland, which I'm really enjoying.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Watch movies, read books, and spend time with family. My daughter plays basketball, so we're into the sport. We go to all kinds of games. I also like to run.

If you could have tea with someone from the past, real or fiction, who would it be and why?

Jane Austen, so we could talk about the writer's soul, and I could tell her how incredibly famous and beloved she would be in the future - beyond her wildest imaginings, I'm sure. And maybe King Charles II, so I could tell him that one day, a descendent of his would sit on the throne again - because he died without a legitimate heir and believed that was the end of his bloodline. (Prince William will be the first monarch directly descended from him, through one of his mistresses.)

Thank you so much for being here today, Julianne!

Julianne will be checking in periodically to answer questions and comments so let the chit-chat begin!