Fan2Author Interview with Julie Johnstone!

b2bConnie: Julie, before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about your writing career?

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Julie Johnstone: Picture a college graduate who is fresh off a breakup with her boyfriend of five years and headed out-of-town via the New Orléans Airport after spending the weekend mingling with her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend because the ex boyfriend’s sister was getting married and had asked me to be in the wedding.

There I was standing in the airport thinking love was possibly overrated when I decided I needed something to read on the airplane for my short trip to Houston, Texas. I had never read a romance up to this point and I was twenty-five. Oh, wait, I did read Sweet Valley High Growing up so I do need to count that! But I had never read a grown up romance! I skimmed through the books bypassing what I would usually read and the cover of Ransom by Julie Garwood caught my eye. I flipped that baby over and was instantly captivated. It was exactly what I needed in that  moment in my life to remind me true love, the kind that wraps around you and lifts you up, does exist. I spend the rest of the weekend reading at the lake instead of skiing! I knew after that weekend that someday I wanted to write books that made people happy and gave them hope when they needed it the most. 

b2bC: How have your characters and their stories come to you and which one/s whispered the loudest for their story to be told?

JJ: I’ll tell you a secret, they come to me in the shower most the time! I think it’s because it is the only time I am ever alone and it’s quiet. I have two rambunctious boys! Sometimes, though, stories will hit me right in the middle of conversations with people or when they are telling me something about their life. Now as to who whispered to me the most, I’d have to say it was Madelaine from What A Rogue Wants. That book had so many rewrites I lost count, but she never kept pestering me to get her story right!

b2bC: What was your favorite book as a child?

JJ: Are You There God It’s Me Margaret.

b2bC: Is there a book you’re never tired of reading over and over?

JJ: This is an easy one – Ransom by Julie Garwood!

b2bC: Do you like reading classics and is there one that you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read?

JJ: Oh, I love classics!!! I’ve never read Mansfield Park by Jane Austen and considering what I do for a living and what I write I am totally embarrassed that I haven’t’ read that one yet!

b2bC: Is there a book that you recently read that you wish you had written?

JJ: The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes. I stayed up until two in the morning to finish this book and it left me breathless with anticipation and burning with the desire to go write!!

b2bC: What’s a movie adaptation of a book that you loved or that you wish it is made?

JJ: I loved The Notebook!

b2bC: Which book we might be surprised to learn that you loved?

JJ: I love fantasy! I devoured all of The Lord of the Rings books.

b2bC: If you were given only one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?

JJ: That’s so hard! I read outside of what I write all the time and love it, but I’m going to have to say romance. In the end, romance is my true love and can always lift me when I need it.

b2bC: What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry?

JJ: A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James has so many hilarious lines that I found myself laughing out loud quiet a bit. The Last Letter from Your Lover made me cry!

b2bC: Do you read your books post-publication?

JJ: Parts of them sometimes, but really I don’t like to because I’m so critical of what I have written.

b2bC: During a thunderstorm – stay inside or sit on porch watching the show?

JJ: Definitely, sit on the porch watching the show!

b2bC: Flannels or Silk?

JJ: Silk in the summer and flannel in the winter!

b2bC: Sports car or SUV?

JJ: SUV! Two kids, remember.

b2bC: Cats or Dogs?

JJ: Both! I have a cat named Cupcake and a dog named Iris.

b2bC: Champagne or Beer?

JJ: Champagne. I detest beer.

b2bC: Movies or TV?

JJ: Movies.

b2bC: What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

JJ: My favorite TV show right now is Outlander. My favorite move is the Last of the Mohicans.

b2bC: Julie, thanks so much for stopping by b2b and we wish you great success with your novels.

jjAUTHOR BIO: Julie first fell in love with romance fifteen years ago when she picked up her first romance novel in an airport gift shop on the way to Conroe, Texas for a family reunion and spent her whole weekend reading rather than water skiing, which up until then was one of her favorite things to do.

Julie is staying up way too late and typing furiously on her keyboard to finish her next book or blog with her fellow authors at Ladyscribes. Julie is married to an amazing lawyer and when she is not running her two precocious children to one activity or another she is trying to eek out some time to stay in shape and see her dearest friends.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook / Twitter

MY FAIR DUCHESS

jj mfdBOOK BLURB: After years of playing the rake to hide a dark family secret, the Duke of Aversley feels tainted beyond redemption and cynical beyond repair. Never does he imagine hope will come in the form of a quirky, quick-witted lady determined to win the heart of another gentleman.

Thanks to a painfully awkward past, Lady Amelia De Vere long ago relinquished the notion she was a flower that had yet to blossom. But when her family faces financial ruin and the man she has always loved is on the verge of marrying another, she’ll try anything to transform herself to capture her childhood love and save her family―including agreeing to participate in a bet between her brother and the notorious, dangerously handsome Duke Of Aversley.

Bound by the bet, Amelia and Aversley discover unexpected understanding and passion beyond their wildest dreams, if only they can let go of their pride, put trust in each other and chance losing their hearts.

BUY LINKS: Amazon

‘My Fair Duchess’ by Julie Johnstone

jj mfdSTORY: After years of playing the rake to hide a dark family secret, the Duke of Aversley feels tainted beyond redemption and cynical beyond repair. Never does he imagine hope will come in the form of a quirky, quick-witted lady determined to win the heart of another gentleman.

Thanks to a painfully awkward past, Lady Amelia De Vere long ago relinquished the notion she was a flower that had yet to blossom. But when her family faces financial ruin and the man she has always loved is on the verge of marrying another, she’ll try anything to transform herself to capture her childhood love and save her family―including agreeing to participate in a bet between her brother and the notorious, dangerously handsome Duke Of Aversley.

Bound by the bet, Amelia and Aversley discover unexpected understanding and passion beyond their wildest dreams, if only they can let go of their pride, put trust in each other and chance losing their hearts.

REVIEW: In 1795 when Colin Sinclair, Marquess of Nortingham, was born, he and his mother, Camilla, almost died during the birth.  His father, the Duke of Aversley, does not want his wife to go through another pregnancy so he decides to stay away from her to avoid another pregnancy.  Hurt and angry at her husband, Alexander, Camilla chooses to ignore her son Colin and begins having blatant affairs with other men.

In 1812 when he turns 17, Colin and his best friend, Philip de Vere, Viscount Rhetford, are students at Cambridge.  As they are young and carefree, Colin vows that he will be a rake when he grows up.

London, 1820 finds Colin, now age 25 and the new Duke of Aversley.  His father had passed away a year earlier.  When Colin decides to visit his old friend, Philip de Vere, he finds that the family has become quite impoverished since Philip’s father died. Philip’s sister, 22-year-old Amelia is a tall young woman striving to keep the family together and help her mother through her grief.

Amelia fancies herself in love with Charles Stanhope, Baron Worthington.  However, Charles is looking for a woman with a large dowry to supplement his small income. When Colin sees Amelia foolishly throwing herself at Charles, he becomes angry on her behalf for Colin has gotten to know the real Amelia and all that she has to offer.

Colin strives to help Amelia become a lady and coaches her to prepare her for a London season, including providing funds to dress her.  In addition, Amelia is invited to stay with Colin’s aunt, Lady Langley, while in London.

Will Amelia continue her pursuit of Charles Stanhope?  How will she take in her London season?  But most of all, will Colin be able to resist his attraction to Amelia?

This is a sweet story with some humorous parts.  The characters are all well-developed and believable.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

Tracey Devlyn’s Book Blitz Tour!

Night Storm

Book One, Bones and Gemstones series

Night Storm CoverBOOK BLURB: A promising young apothecary picks up the pieces of her life, only to collide with the ruthless thief-taker who once shattered her dreams and her heart.

When the love of his life chose an apprenticeship in Scotland over his marriage proposal, thief-taker Cameron Adair buried himself in his work–building an unmatched network of underworld spies. Forged by his reputation as a ruthless, greed-driven businessman, he has amassed a fortune.

But he has one vulnerable spot in his armor–a brilliant, green-eyed apothecary, who continues to haunt his heart. When a murder investigation brings him back into contact with Charlotte Fielding, Cameron sets aside the past to find a killer and to distract a headstrong apothecary, clue by clue, kiss by kiss.

BUYING LINKS: Amazon / ARe / B&N / Google

EXCERPT:
In the distance, Charlotte Fielding spotted the simple, white-lettered sign that marked her destination. Apothecary. The tension she’d been carrying in her shoulders since entering the Whitley residence loosened its biting grip. The strain between husband and wife had not lifted in her two-day absence. If anything, it had grown worse, now that Mr. Whitley felt well enough to defend himself.

Charlotte’s brisk pace slowed. A man was slumped on the pavement between her shop and the boarded-up bakery next door. He sat with one leg stretched out across the walkway, the other bent at an angle. The rim of his hat protected his face from identification. So, too, did the long black woolen coat and matching muffler around his neck.

The tension in Charlotte’s shoulders returned full force. Even though she could not identify him, she knew what he wasn’t—a beggar. Everything about him was too fine for him to be living in the streets. She glanced around, checking the evening shadows as best she could with only lamplight to aid her. Anderson’s lending library, Patterson’s coffee shop, Gertrude’s lace boutique, Tilly’s former bakery—they all stood silent and free of loitering troublemakers and customers. If she cried out for help, would the shopkeepers hear her from their snug, upstairs apartments?

She considered entering through the back of her building, an area normally reserved for deliveries, but she couldn’t bring herself to venture down the dank, narrow alleyway at this time of night. Drawing in a calming breath, she reached into her reticule and pulled out her pouch of pepper. A poor defense, she knew, but she always kept it, thinking it would give her a small chance of escape if thrown in an assailant’s face.

Increasing her pace, she stopped in front of her shop’s weathered door, the color of a cloud-streaked blue sky. The man remained motionless, silent. Eerily so. She experienced a moment of indecision. Should she nudge him? Could he be hurt and in need of assistance? Or should she continue on inside her own shop and mind her own business?

“Hello, Charley.” The voice was unmistakable.

A chill started at the base of her neck and swept through her body. Bone deep and breath stealing. With slow, precise movements, her gaze lowered to the source of the too-familiar voice. A voice that belonged to the only man who had ever called her Charley.

The man’s uplifted face revealed itself. Thick, bold eyebrows stood out on a pale, pain-filled face. A once-beloved face. Cameron Adair. What little air she had left disappeared at the sight of Cam—Cameron. Other than a brief glimpse of him a few months ago, she hadn’t seen him for years. But she would have known him anywhere. The shock of seeing him held her immobile, terrified in a way she hadn’t been since the early days of their falling out.

“Charley, I need your help.”

His words, laced with a strain born of hard-fought control, snapped her out of the past and plunged her back into the present. Cameron Adair was sprawled at her door, hurt, needing her help.

 She slid her key into the lock. Metal scratched against metal until she heard a familiar click. Setting her bag inside the door, she returned outside. “Are you able to get to your feet?” She managed to keep her voice calm, unaffected. But inside, a violent tremor began and a maelstrom of questions flooded her mind. Why come to her? Where was he hurt? Why show up on her doorstep after complete and utter silence for five miserable years?

Carefully, she folded her hands at her waist and locked her knees before she could humiliate herself with senseless emotion. She had decided long ago to waste no more of it on Cameron Adair.

Something like disappointment flared in his blue, ice-chipped eyes. “Yes, with assistance.”

“Where are you hurt?”

“Left leg, right shoulder.”

“Let’s get you inside out of the cold, and I’ll hail a hansom cab to take you to Dr. Hollingsworth.”

He shook his head and mumbled, “I’ve been shot. Lost too much blood.”

“Cameron, I can’t—”

“You must,” he interrupted. “I haven’t the strength to go elsewhere.”

She knew what it had cost him to admit to such weakness. And because she knew this about him, an unrivaled fear forced her to his side.

Positioning herself in a crouch, Charlotte took a steadying breath before sliding her arm around his broad back. Blood, sweat, and a masculine scent uniquely Cameron’s filled her nose. She gritted her teeth against an overwhelming desire to inhale deeply.

“Ready?” she asked.

He nodded once, his full lips pressed into a thin, determined line. Bending forward, he wrapped an arm around her shoulder to brace himself. The new position put them face-to-face, breath-to-breath.

GIVEAWAY: $25 gift card to any online bookstore of the winner’s choice, plus a “Custom-made Sachet by Tracey” – Open for International Shipping

>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<<

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AUTHOR BIO: Tracey Devlyn is an award-winning author who writes historical romantic thrillers (translation: a slightly more grievous journey toward the heroine’s happy ending). She’s a co-founder of Romance University, a group blog dedicated to readers and writers of romance, and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, Chicagoland’s exciting new reading salon devoted to romantic fiction.

An Illinois native, Tracey spends her evenings harassing her once-in-a-lifetime husband and her weekends torturing her characters. For more information on Tracey, including her Internet haunts, contest updates, and details on her upcoming novels, please visit her website.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Also, for a limited time, Tracey will be giving away the first short story she ever published—HIS SECRET DESIRE—re-edited and re-packaged with a beautiful new cover. FREE for a LIMITED TIME at the following locations.

FREE Download!

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Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iTunes / Kobo / All Romance / Google

‘Love and Let Spy’ by Shana Galen

sg lalsSTORY: Her name is Bonde, Jane Bonde . . .

A beautiful and eligible member of the ton, Jane has more than a few secrets: she’s one of the Crown’s most elite agents. She may be deadly, but she doesn’t know a thing about fashion, flirtation, or love . . . until Dominic Griffyn shakes up her carefully stirred world and asks her to be his bride. He’s exactly the kind of man she’s not looking for. And he’s dangerous, because falling into his arms is so much more satisfying than saving England from her enemies.

He’s an improper gentleman who needs a wife. . .

Tall, dark, and tortured, Dominic Griffyn is haunted by demons from his past. When his stepfather insists that he marry, Dominic allows himself to hope that the beautiful but mysterious Miss Bonde might help him forget his troubles. As they grow closer, it’s clear that there’s more to Jane than danger. She might be just what his neglected heart needs

REVIEW: It is 1816 and Miss Jane Bonde, a beautiful, slender young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes is happy with her life and has no desire to get married.  Why, you ask?

Because Jane is a spy and a darn good one at that!  Jane lives with her uncle and guardian who has taught her the spy craft.  Now, he is informing her that it is time she gets married.  Balking at his request, Jane wants to continue with her work to catch a very elusive French spy.

At age 32, Dominic Griffyn, stepson of Lord Edgeberry, Marquess of Edgeberry, has also been informed that it is past time that he marries and the families are pairing him up with Jane Bonde.  

Both Jane and Dominic aren’t really keen on this marriage decision but have no choice.  When Dominic discovers Jane’s secret career, he inadvertently ends up joining her on some missions.  Jane does not want Dominic with her because she works better alone.  Their escapades are dangerous and scary, but also humorous at times.

The novel is loosely based on James Bond’s “Live and Let Die” which adds some tongue-in-cheek humor to the story that will have the reader laughing.  But there are some poignant scenes that will touch your heart as well.

This is the third novel of Ms. Galen’s spy series.  The first two novels are “Lord and Lady Spy” and “True Spies.”  Shana Galen has an amazing talent for writing spy novels which has resulted in a huge following.

Connie for b2b

‘Crazy For Her’ by Sandra Owens

Crazy For Her CoverSTORY: When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.

Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.

BUY LINKS: Amazon

REVIEW: I was here once before. I remember the apprehension of reaching for the book of an author I greatly admire and love her historical novels, but was sweating bullets before I gave in and read her latest contemporary story. I find myself in the same situation again and while I’ve read and adored every historical romance this author has written, this contemporary story left me wishing she’d write more of historicals.

First, I am a sucker for a broken hero story and reading the blurb I was drawn to this one, but the blurb only scratches the surface of his tale. There is so much more happening and fast, that my emotions were scattered to the four corners of the world and they had a hard time catching up and connecting to either the hero or the heroine.

No matter how well the story is written, and Ms. Owens is a good writer, she never managed to fully convince me of Logan’s long carried torch for Dani, nor his long held secret about his childhood.

I wanted to believe that these two people really loved each other and I didn’t. I wanted to connect and admire both of these people as they triumph over their respective pasts, but something about them was off and left me cold and not caring. If I had one word to describe this story it would be ‘over the top’. I felt that the action, plot, suspense and mystery were all a bit over the top.

If you’re into military romance with a fast pace, some suspense, couple of ‘curve balls’ thrown in and plenty of sex, I’m sure you’ll like it. I wanted more than that.

For my reviews of this author’s historical romances go here and here.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY <<<<<<

Sandra Owens PicAUTHOR BIO: A native of Florida, Sandra once managed a Harley-Davidson dealership, before switching from a bike to an RV for roaming the open road (though she’s also chased thrills from sky-diving to upside-down stunt-plane flying). In addition to Crazy For Her—a 2013 Golden Heart Finalist for Romantic Suspense—her works include the Regency Romance novels The Letter, winner of the Golden Quill Award, and The Training of a Marquess, winner of the Golden Claddagh Award. A member of Romance Writers of America, and potential cat owner, she lives with her husband in Asheville, North Carolina.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

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‘A Winter Wedding’ by Amanda Forester

af awwSTORY: Miss Penelope Rose, exclusive matchmaker to London’s elite, successfully creates love for everyone but herself. Her toughest client yet, the sexy Duke of Marchford, has commissioned her to find him a bride. But he’s more interested in tracking down a spy, and she’s in no hurry to speed up the process…

When the fate of England falls in the Duke’s hands, he enlists Penelope for a new plan—they announce a sham engagement in order to flush out the traitor. But as the stakes get more deadly, and their feelings more real, will they discover that love is the most dangerous plot of them all?

REVIEW: It’s December 1810 and French smuggling is booming in London.

James Lockton, Duke of Marchford, is working for the government to uncover smuggling operations.  A handsome and eligible man, he has decided that it is time that he gets married.  But weeding through all the young ladies looking for a husband is not what he wants to do.
Penelope Rose, companion to James’s grandmother, is the infamous Madame X who helps to arrange marriages.  However, in actuality, Penelope and James’s grandmother together are Madame X.  Having figured this out, James approaches Penelope to find the perfect wife for him.  As they also live in the same house, this puts them together a lot.  In addition, Penelope has helped James with some of his spy work.
When James ventures into Penelope’s room and sees her dressed for bed, he becomes enamored by her and decides that she would be the perfect bride for him.  Penelope feels the same way toward James but his inability to say he loves her is the roadblock to Penelope agreeing to marry him.
As they continue to work close together to uncover the perpetrators of a large theft, their attraction only grows stronger.  While Penelope wants to marry James, she feels she must first find out the reason for his reluctance to express his love for her.  As she learns more about his childhood, the puzzle begins to fall into place.
This was a great story with passion, humor and some edge-of-the-seat moments as well.  I enjoyed it and look forward to more novels from Amanda Forester.
This is Book Three of Ms. Forester’s Marriage Mart series.  Do come and get to know these characters.  I think they are guaranteed to entertain you.
Note:  This book is due to be published September 2, 2014.  I have strived to not include any spoilers in this review.
Connie for b2b
Complementary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Reluctant Governess’ by Maggie Robinson

mr trgSTORY: A secretary for the renowned Evensong Agency, Eliza Lawrence may have a pretty face, but she’s much prouder of her mind and her morals. When she’s pressed into temporary governess duty as a favor to her boss, she doesn’t expect to bend one bit for the rakish Nicholas Raeburn. Not even when he opens the door to her half-dressed…

Despite his bad reputation, Nicholas is a man of honor. To Nick’s way of thinking, he doesn’t need any help raising his daughter, Domenica. If only he weren’t so drawn to the meddlesome woman’s sparkling wit and uncommon beauty…

But when an act of misplaced chivalry goes seriously awry, resulting in mayhem and almost murder, Eliza becomes the only woman he can depend upon. Nick will do anything to protect his family, but who will protect him from falling in love with his reluctant governess?

REVIEW: It is 1904 in Edwardian English where we find Eliza Lawrence who works as a secretary at the Evensong Agency managed by Lady Mary Raeburn.  Their motto has always been, “Performing the Impossible Before Breakfast Since 1888.”  Eliza loves her job. She has worked as a governess before but prefers her secretarial job and is proud of her skills.

Lady Mary’s brother-in-law, Nicholas Raeburn, is known as a wicked artist and Continental reprobate.  His specialty is painting nude women.  When he needs a governess, Eliza is coaxed into accepting the job temporarily until a permanent governess can be found.  
When Mary enters Nicholas’ home, she is shocked at the lack of a butler and the presence of nude models who pose for him.  However, she is delighted to meet her new charge, Dominica (nicknamed Sunny).  Her mother was a past lover of Nicholas’ and when she died, she asked Nicholas to take Sunny even though she was not sure that Nicholas was her father.
Nicholas is a devil-may-care man whose family lives in Scotland and owns a well-known Scotch distillery.  His has an easy life and has chosen to live it as he sees fit.
The first night Eliza is there, Nicholas has a dinner party for several of his friends after which they hit the town.  He comes in later drunk and beaten up.  Eliza hears him enter the house and knowing he sounds injured, goes to his aid.  She is already exhausted as the house members have come down with the flu.  When Nicholas also succumbs to the flu, she ends up becoming caretaker to him and others in the house.
While Eliza does not approve of Nicholas’ Bohemian lifestyle, the closeness involved in caring for someone intimately begins an attraction between them that cannot be denied.
This novel is well written and the humor is not to be missed.
Connie for b2b
Complementary copy provided by the author