Interview with Scarlet Wilson, Author of English Girl in New York


Please welcome Scarlet Wilson to the virtual offices this morning.

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

[Scarlet Wilson] Mad Scotswoman. Mum. Writer. Nurse. Love holidays. Tidiness is an optional extra.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about English Girl in New York?

Read more

Interview with Olivia Miles, Author of ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas and Giveaway!


Please give a warm welcome to Olivia Miles this morning! She’s here to chat about ’Twas the Week Before Christmas, and she brought a signed copy for one of you to win!

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

[Olivia Miles] I’m determined more than disciplined, a bit more introverted than extroverted, and a personality test I once took for a job determined my predominant trait was empathy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas?

Read more

Review: A Candence Creek Christmas by Donna Alward


A Cadence Creek Christmas (Cadence Creek Cowboys)

May Contain Spoilers


I really enjoy Donna Alward’s Harlequin Romances, so I was looking forward to reading A Cadence Creek Christmas.  I love cowboys and small town romances, and most of Alward’s books have both.  This is a winning combination for me, probably because, like most people crammed into a metro area, there is too much traffic, too much rushing around, and too much stress.  Small town romances leave me feeling a little more relaxed, and I wonder if I would actually be able to live in a small town.  I hate shopping, especially lately, and Amazon delivers everywhere, so as long as a cable modem was available, I think I’d get on famously.  And cowboys? I just can’t resist a cowboy story.  These guys actually ride horses and like doing it!  My guy has been to the barn one time, and that’s when I was dropping something off – he wouldn’t even come look at my horses!  Though as long as he doesn’t complain that I’m there so often, I guess I can’t complain too much about that…

Taylor Shepard is in Cadence Creek, organizing her brother’s wedding to Avery (the protagonists from Little Cowgirl on His Doorstep).  She’s also going to stay in Cadence Creek over the Christmas holidays to decompress.  The owner of successful event planning company, she’s been run ragged by her wealthy clients and their outrageous requests.  While the money is good, she isn’t finding much satisfaction from her work, especially after meeting Rhys, the somber cowboy who is a friend of Callum’s and a member of the wedding party.  As Taylor spends more time with Rhys and gets to know him better, she can no longer hide her attraction to him.  She doesn’t want to get involved with him, though, because she’ll be leaving town soon and heading back to her life in the big city.

A Cadence Creek Christmas is a sweet read about two people searching for the happiness that’s lacking in their lives.  Neither Taylor nor Rhys is miserable, but they both feel that something is lacking and keeping them from finding true happiness.  Rhys has moved back to town after losing his own business, and now he’s wary about small businesses and small business owners.  He feels that he let a lot of people down when he was forced to close up shop, and he never wants to feel like that again.  Now he’s working a steady job for a steady paycheck, and he’s content with that.  He’s also helping his mother run the local diner, and though he’s a silent partner, he doesn’t want anyone to know about his involvement.  His  father was a terrible businessman, and Rhys doesn’t want to follow in his footsteps anymore than he already has.  He is now completely risk adverse, and when Taylor blows into town with the winter cold, he knows he’s in trouble.  Taylor is trouble with a capital T!

Taylor can’t understand why a man as smart and capable as Rhys is content working for others.  He could easily be his own boss, instead of punching a clock.  Taylor’s family is filled with one success story after another, so she feels a lot of pressure to succeed as well.  There is no other option for her.  Her relationship with her father is strained because she feels that he looks down at her work.  Her brothers are both very successful, and they are the apple of her father’s eye.  She is struggling to gain his acceptance, and this need to strive to be the best all hinges around her father’s less than stellar opinion of her.  She just wants the same approval that he lavishes on her brothers, but she despairs that she will never receive it.

Because Taylor is so driven, and also so outspoken, she and Rhys hit it off at first as well as oil and water.  There is no middle ground for them, but because they are so different, they aren’t willing to look for any, either.  As she gets to know him, Taylor begins to see his strengths; his loyalty, his truthfulness, his steadiness.  This is what I loved about this book – even though Rhys and Taylor are so very different, they both begin to see the other as the anchor that’s been missing from their lives.  They both need a rock to lean on, to be what the other needs.  They are a natural fit; it just takes them a long time to figure it out.  I was worried that I wouldn’t like the resolution to their greatest conflict, but I needn’t have.  Everything works out neatly, and neither character is forced to change who they are to make the other happy.  Rhys can continue to be the calming influence that Taylor needs, while she is free to hustle for her business, but in a new, more meaningful way for her.  Perfect!

A Cadence Creek Christmas will fill your need for a sweet holiday romance.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by author – Thank you!

From Amazon:

It’s Christmas in Donna Alward’s Cadence Creek…

Taylor Shepard has come to Cadence Creek to organize her brother’s Christmas wedding. Organizing such a special event might be a little bit stressful—but she can’t deny she’s swept away by the town’s holiday charm…and by brooding rancher Rhys Bullock.

Loner Rhys has been burned far too many times in the past. He’s sure he has city girl Taylor all figured out—she’ll be hightailing it straight back to the city in a few days! But as the snow starts to fall, Rhys and Taylor embark on a tentative winter romance. Could Taylor be the Christmas present Rhys never even knew he wanted?

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?

Read more

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?

Read more