Interview with Dani Collins, Author of More Than a Convenient Marriage? and Giveaway


[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Dani, and welcome to the Manga Maniac Café. Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Dani Collins] Twitter-literate overcommitted unbalanced libra seeks to write full time, travel wine country, and eat well #romanceauthor #bigdreamer

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about More Than a Convenient Marriage?

[Dani Collins] Sure. The most important thing for N.American readers to know is that it will be packaged as a 2-in-1 with my first sale book, No Longer Forbidden? which came out in the UK in Jan 2013.

More Than A Convenient Marriage is the second book in a four book series I didn’t consciously plan to write. Nic, the hero of No Longer Forbidden, told his heroine, Rowan, about his sister and two younger brothers. This got me thinking about the lives of his siblings, one of whom is Adara.

Adara grew up wealthy, but her father was abusive and controlling, thus she wound up in a marriage that made her father happy, not her. She and Gideon are sexually compatible, but don’t have any luck starting a family. When her father dies, she decides to look for her brother. She thinks Gideon is having an affair anyway and he thinks the man she’s chasing is a romantic interest. The book opens as they confront each other on possible infidelity and discover there’s actually a LOT they haven’t told each other.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Dani Collins] I kind of answered that above and some of the storyline would be a bit of a spoiler to reveal here. I have a friend who experienced something similar to what Adara experiences with her pregnancy so I knew it was possible and wanted to incorporate it into a story. How’s that for a tease?

As for Gideon, I sometimes struggle with finding the right inner conflict for my heroes. I had to ask myself why Gideon would choose a marriage of convenience if he was already succeeding at making his own fortune. Even more importantly, why would he be so determined to hang onto his marriage when it was crumbling? I found the answer when I realized exactly how self-made he is. He married under a false name, trying to leave his ugly past behind him. A high-profile divorce could reveal all of it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Gideon?

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Graphic Novel Review: Bleach, Vol. 4: Quincy Archer Hates You by Tite Kubo



May Contain Spoilers


This volume of Bleach gets off to a fantastic start as Kon, feeling unappreciated, runs away from Ichigo’s room.  He is beset by one misadventure after another, until he runs home to Ichigo’s arms, screaming like a girl.  Poor Kon!  He really gets no respect!  If Rukia isn’t trying to clean him with a bathroom broom, Yuzu is dressing him in fru-fru clothes and gluing flowers to his ear.  Ichigo’s gruff indifference would certainly be preferable to that!

The next story arc is a winner.  It’s absolutely hilarious, and packed with explosions and ghostly wailing.  When TV sensation Don Kanonji arrives in town to excise a spirit at an abandoned hospital, Ichigo is forced to tag along with his family.  Yuzu and his dad are nuts about the popular spiritualist; Ichigo, not so much.  He thinks the celebrity is a big phoney, so  imagine his surprise when it turns out that Kanonji actually can see spirits.  Too bad he turns a chained spirit into a Hallow. Oops!  Not one of his better moments!  Good thing Ichigo is there to save the day, as well as the enormous crowd of cheering fans.

I love Don Kanonji.  He is so flamboyant and a total attention hog, but he takes his position as role model for his young viewers very seriously.  When the ghost changes into a Hallow, instead of running away, he’s ready to sacrifice himself so Ichigo can send him off with his zanpakto.  This is one of Ichigo’s most amusing adventures so far, and I found myself laughing aloud several times during the story arc.  Even my favorite supporting character, Kisuke makes a timely appearance, enabling Ichigo to race to Don Kanonji’s aid.

The volume closes with the start of a story arc introducing Uryu Ishida, a bow toting Quincy who hates Soul Reapers.  He’s made it his mission to take out the Hallows before Rukia and Ichigo can even get to the scene, and then he taunts them for their incompetence.  It’s a promising beginning for Ichigo’s next challenge, and I can hardly wait to read the next volume of Bleach. 

Grade:  A

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A new reality-show craze is sweeping the nation, garnering legions of screaming fans (the majority of them being teenaged girls). But this program comes with a supernatural twist – the host, a media-savvy spiritualist, travels to local hotspots and performs exorcisms, live on national TV!

Surly Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki has his doubts about this primetime prima donna, and his assumptions are about to be put to the test – the show is heading straight for his neighborhood. what effect will this unprovoked media presence have on the fragile balance between Earth and the spirit world?

Guest Post: The Cover Design Process by MK Reed

Today I’m thrilled to be part of The Cute Girl Network blog tour.  Check out what MK Reed has to say about the cover creation process for this graphic novel by Greg Means, MK Reed, and Joe Flood.  I think the cover is so cute!

The Cover Design Process by MK Reed

Greg, Joe & I are pretty lucky to have an awesome friend in Colleen Venable, who is also our awesome cover designer. Granted, the process can be lengthy, but Colleen’s got a system that pushes way past "This is the first thing I thought of" to "Oh my god Colleen, if this isn’t it I’m going to punch a kitten in front of a baby and we’re all going to cry together." (It has not yet come to that.) And the end results usually end up working out pretty cool, but I didn’t really appreciate our cover until I started looking at some other romance covers.

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Interview with Mary Brady, Author of Better Than Gold and Giveaway!

Please give a warm welcome to Mary Brady, author of Better Than Gold.  After the interview, Mary has one signed copy of Better Than Gold for one of you to win!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Mary Brady] I love happily every after, a friend’s smile and the power of nature, and I write it into reality for my characters.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Better Than Gold?

[Mary Brady] Neither the archeological find in the wall of the old building she is remodeling nor the forensic anthropologist sent to investigate will stop Mia Parker from finishing what she started. When it’s completed Pirate’s Roost restaurant will give her back her livelihood, allow her the small town lifestyle she craves–and give the faltering town of Bailey’s Cove, Maine, a boost in tourist traffic and maybe a chance at survival.

Daniel MacCarey has lost everything except his teaching job at the university. When he is called upon to investigate an archeological find in a tiny coastal town, he knows he’s being sent away to give him a break from the devastation that used to be his happily ever after. When the find turns out to be huge in archeological terms he is torn between Mia Parker’s desperate need to get the remodeling back on schedule and his own need to regain meaning in his life. If he handles the project carefully, he will bring his career back on track. As a tenured professor he can choose the projects that help humanity learn of and hopefully learn from it’s triumphs and failures. However, if he gets what he needs, he might just destroy Mia Parker’s chance as success.

What neither plans is falling in love at a totally impossible time in their lives.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Mary Brady] Great question. I often start with a location and then a reason for the location. For Better than Gold, I started with the ever-gorgeous State of Maine, USA. Then I chose a tiny town where people would know one another. Then the remote town needed to stop shrinking in order to survive. It needed to bring in dollars, and dollar opportunities were going to come mainly (no pun intended) from tourists. Why weren’t there many tourists? Because the town wasn’t set up to attract them. Someone needed to build something tourists would seek out. What do all tourists do? We eat. Enter restaurateur Mia Parker. Mia, an archeological find, Daniel MacCarey, thieves, etc.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Mia?

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Interview with Dana Marton, Author of Spy in the Saddle

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Dana! Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Dana Marton] Addicted to books. Author, businesswoman, dreamer, hopeless romantic. My motto is: CREATE THE LIFE YOU’LL BE EXCITED TO LIVE.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Spy in the Saddle?

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Interview with Kris Fletcher, Author of Now You See Me and Giveaway!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Hi, Kris, and welcome to the Manga Maniac Café!  Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Kris Fletcher] I’m a doughnut-loving mother/wife/writer who likes to make up happily-ever-afters while bursting into song at random moments.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Now You See Me?

[Kris Fletcher] JT Delaney, the infamous bad boy of Comeback Cove, is back in town after 25 years away. He just wants to help his mother settle her affairs and move south with him. But Lydia Brewster looks beyond his reputation and sees the one person who can help her stave off the "heroic widow" label the town is determined to hang on her before she begins to believe it herself.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Kris Fletcher] In all honesty, I don’t remember! I wrote the first draft of this book a good 8 or 9 years ago, then put it away. I do know I wanted to find the most unbelievable match for a bad boy that I could think of. The next thing I knew, JT and Lyddie were parading through my head.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Lydia?

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Harlequin has just opened the voting for their annual More Than Words awards – a charitable program that honors women, real-life heroines, making a difference in their communities.

How often do we get a chance to say thanks to someone who is dedicating their life to helping other people? By voting for your favorite woman and charity, you give one of these impressive women a chance to win $15,000 for her charity of choice and to be paired up with a bestselling Harlequin writer, who will turn her inspiring story into a novella that’s released to the public as a free e-book.

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Interview with Colleen Thompson, Author of The Colton Heir

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Colleen, welcome to the Manga Maniac Café! Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Colleen Thompson] A Texas-dwelling, book-obsessed animal lover thrilled to be writing novels of romantic suspense and intrigue.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Colton Heir?

[Colleen Thompson] When Dead River Ranch’s large animal whisperer Dylan Frick learns he may be the missing Colton heir, he’s thrown into a tailspin. Unable to accept that his murdered mother could have been involved in a kidnapping, he is obsessed with disproving the theory—and blown completely off course by his attraction to the mysterious new maid, a gorgeous showstopper with deadly secrets of her own.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Colleen Thompson] As part of an overarching continuity series, The Coltons of Wyoming, The Colton Heir came to me with a set of characters and plot points I needed to cover. The challenge of it—and the fun—was in embellishing these characters, making them larger-than-life but still relatable, and in twisting the story in surprising and creative ways.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Dylan?

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