Interview with Jennifer Bernard, Author of The Night Belongs to Fireman and Giveaway

Jennifer Bernard dropped by the virtual offices to share a Top 5 list about her sexy new fireman hero, Fred, from The Night Belongs to Fireman.  Be sure to enter the giveaway below, too!

Fred’s Top Five (tongue-in-cheek) Headaches now that he’s been branded the Bachelor Hero:

His barber has named a haircut after him. When clients ask for “The Fred,” they get it long-ish on top, some razoring on the side. Now he keeps seeing versions of his own head wherever he goes.

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Novella Review: Santa to the Rescue by Adele Downs

 

 

Santa to the Rescue (Entangled Flirts)

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Santa to the Rescue is a very cute story.  Jamey is the new guy in town, and he’s working through his probationary period at Appleton Fire Station.  He’s feeling a little blue because it’s his first time away from home during the holidays, and he doesn’t have anyone special to spend Christmas with.  When he meets Heather at the grocery store, he’s instantly charmed, but can he convince her that he’s worth taking a risk on?

This novella worked for me because Jamey is such a sweet guy.  He’s proud to be on the Appleton fire fighting team, and now that he’s accomplished that goal, he’s eager to move on to his next life goal; finding the perfect woman and starting a family.   Being away from home for the first time is rough on him, so he wants to meet someone special to spend Christmas, and possibly the rest of his life, with.  Heather seems like the girl of his dreams, but when he has to break a commitment he made to her, he has to show her that he’s not a flake or a liar.  A tough job, because Heather has been burned many times in the past.

I’ll admit that Heather’s attitude irritated me at first.  Jamey was upfront about why he couldn’t make it to the party at the hospital, and I thought she was acting like a spoiled child about it.  If she couldn’t accept his odd fire fighter hours before they are officially even dating, how is she going to deal with them if they do enter into a long term relationship.  When she finally pulled on her big girl panties and admitted to herself that she needed to be more accepting of his erratic schedule, I did like her better.  Part of Heather’s problem with Jamey breaking the date was because of betrayals in her past, but if she never even gave him a chance to prove himself to her, she was going to be one lonely RN.

Jamey is desperate to make Heather understand how important his job is to him, and I loved how he was able to integrate a job conflict into her party.  Here’s a guy who goes above and beyond the call of duty because he is such a nice guy.  He was willing to think outside of the box to make Heather, his boss, and the hospital administration happy, and it’s hard to fault a guy for that.

Santa to the Rescue kicked off my holiday reading spree on a positive note.  Clocking in  at about 50 pages, there is a realistic conflict to Jamey and Heather’s romance, and a satisfying resolution for everyone.  You can’t beat that, especially in a holiday read.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Firefighter Jamey Tucker knows three things in life to be true: an honorable man doesn’t go back on his word; never hurts a woman; and lasting love isn’t a myth. But with his recent move to a new job at Appleton Fire Station, the long hours don’t offer hope of finding the love he’s looking for.

When Jamey meets beautiful pediatric nurse Heather Longhurst after hearing her sing "Santa Baby" in a supermarket aisle, he offers her a promise he discovers he can’t keep. Heather has been betrayed by men in the past, making it hard for Jamey to gain her trust. Determined to find a way to win her heart, Jamey uses firefighter engine-uity and Heather’s favorite song to prove he’s got Christmas spirit she can believe in all year.

Spotlight and Excerpt: Undeniable by Shannon Richard

 

 

About UNDENIABLE

Grace King knows two things for certain: she loves working at her grandmother’s café and she loves the hunky town sheriff. She always has. As she bakes him sweet treats, Grace fantasizes about helping him work up an appetite all night long. But whenever she thinks she’s finally getting somewhere, he whips out some excuse to escape. Growing up, he never looked twice at her. Now Grace won’t rest until she has Jax’s undivided attention.

Jaxson Anderson can’t deny that his best friend’s kid sister is the sexiest woman in Mirabelle, Florida. Unwilling to burden Grace with his painful past, Jax keeps the sassy blonde at arm’s length. Yet one heated kiss crumbles all of his carefully built defenses. But when a town secret surfaces, threatening to destroy everything they have believed in, can the man who defended Grace from bullies as a child protect her now?

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Cover Shot! How to Tame a Wild Fireman by Jennifer Bernard

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café.  I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share.  More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents.  There is an allure to a beautiful cover.  Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Here’s another smokin’ hot cover, and this one has the protagonists almost engulfed in flames.  Really!  While I can certainly think of better things to do than cuddle when about to be BBQ’ed, that tat is mighty distracting!  The yellow pants, not so much, but I’ll forgive a lot when there’s 6-pack abs involved.

How to Tame a  Wild Fireman by Jennifer Bernard will be in stores September 2013

 

The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel have a rebel among them, and there’s only one woman who can put his flames out.

Firefighter Patrick "Psycho" Callahan earns his nickname every day. Fast, fit, and a furious worker, he thrives on the danger which helps him forget a near-tragedy that changed his life forever. But when his off-duty carousing gets out of hand, Patrick is sent back to Loveless, Nevada, where the wildfire threatening his hometown has nothing on sizzling Dr. Lara Nelson.

Lara would rather be thought of as the physician who returned to Loveless than as the misfit brought up at a hippie New Age commune. But right now she’s focused on her job at hand, patching up injured firemen…until the past hits her in the hard-muscled, blue-eyed form of Patrick Callahan. Now, the embers of their decade-old attraction have ignited into a full-on inferno, as the bad-boy firefighter and the good doctor take a walk on the wild side they’ll never forget.

Review: Jane’s Gift by Karen Erickson

 

 

 

Title:  Jane’s Gift

Author: Karen Erickson

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

A devastating house fire cost Jane Clark nearly everything: her husband, her confidence, and her looks, with the physical scars marbling her body. Now, two years later, she’s living and healing back in her childhood hometown of Lone Pine Lake. The upcoming holidays are the perfect opportunity to bring some Christmas cheer into her young children’s lives, starting with a visit to the firehouse, where her brother’s best friend has offered to help quell their residual fears.

Lone Pine’s resident playboy, fire captain Christian Nelson is happy with his single-guy lifestyle. He’s an everyday local hero, so he’s never wanting for attention around the holidays. But when Jane Clark shows up, Chris is immediately drawn to the beautiful widow—even though kids and commitment have never been his style.

Despite her brother’s warnings about his friend’s playboy status and dangerous occupation, Jane can’t help but fall for the gorgeous fire captain. The holidays are a time of new beginnings, but can two scarred people find the strength to let go of their pasts to live in the present, when a lifetime together might be the sweetest gift of all?


Review:

Some books come out of nowhere, start quietly, and before you know it, you’re completely hooked by the characters.  Jane’s Gift was like that for me.  I had no expectations when I picked it up, other than I wanted a quick read with a holiday setting.  It’s all about the holidays now, and I wanted to latch onto a little Christmas spirit.  Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down, and I polished it off in almost one sitting.

Jane is recovering from a house fire that took her husband’s life and left her with horrible scars.  She is understandably terrified of fire now, as are her young children.  When she moves back to her small hometown, her brother suggests she take her kids to meet the fire chief to help ease their fear of fire.  I had a hard time getting into the story at first, because it seemed a little hokey.  But I kept turning pages, and before I realized what happened, I was completely invested in the characters.  It’s the protagonists that give Jane’s Gift a breath of life, and once I got to know them, I didn’t want to step away from their fears and hang ups.  Jane thinks it’s too soon to become emotionally involved with another man, and Chris has sworn off of serious relationships after watching the train wreck that was his parents’ marriage.  As time slowly passes, both Jane and Chris find themselves drawn to each other, and as they get to know each other better, they can’t help but care for each other.

To add a little conflict to their relationship, Jane’s daughter isn’t happy about having Chris around all the time, and she makes her unhappiness known.  Jane begins to question the wisdom of a relationship with Chris again, wondering if it’s a good idea to involve her children in Chris’ life.  He has such a dangerous job, and she wants to protect them from any more emotional disasters.  She is uneasy with the thought of Chris facing death every day, when she does her best to run as far away from risk as possible.  Jane’s emotional conflict was convincing, and when she does push him away, it’s understandable.  She doesn’t know if she’s strong enough to support him, and as the reader, I kept hoping she would somehow find the strength to be there for him.

Chris turned out to be a wonderful hero.  At first he pulled a few douche bag moves, but as he allowed himself to get to know Jane and her kids better, he allowed himself to care for them.  Suddenly their feelings and well being were more important than his own.  He realized how empty his life was, and how much he wanted to be part of Jane’s family.  He actually came around faster than Jane did, though he did have less to lose.  Jane’s whole focus was on her kids, and with her scars from the fire, she didn’t think she would ever find a man who could accept her as she was after the horrible accident.  It took her a while to trust Chris enough to believe that her scars didn’t mean anything to him.

Jane’s Gift is a wonderful holiday romance with likable characters and a convincing HEA.  I am looking forward to reading more by this author.

Grade:  B+, wavering on an A-

The BLI Holiday Reading Challenge

Interview with Karen Erickson, Author of Jane’s Gift and Giveaway!

Please welcome Karen Erickson, who is celebrating the sweet holiday romance Jane’s Gift.  Please check back tomorrow for my review, too!

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

[Karen Erickson] Romance author/mom extraordinaire/lover of books. I write for Samhain, Entangled Bliss/Brazen & Avon Impulse. I’m a lover not a fighter.

(I stole most of this from my Twitter profile LOL)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Jane’s Gift?

[Karen Erickson] Jane Clark is a widow who survived a house fire. Now that she’s mostly recovered, she’s moved back to her hometown to be close to her family and start anew. She immediately meets the handsome fire captain Chris Nelson, who’s her younger brother’s friend and there’s instant chemistry. Despite the both of them not looking for anything serious, they somehow end up together…

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

[Karen Erickson] I read an article a few years ago about a woman who suffered terrible burns and survived a plane crash. She should’ve died but from pure determination and surrounded by the love of her family, she survived.

I wanted to create a strong heroine like that woman. A heroine who had an amazing spirit and family, a woman who suffered much but came out on the other side a winner. And I wanted to give that woman a second chance at love.

That’s how Jane came to be. And then I gave her a fear of fire (of course) and that her hero should be a fire captain. Instant conflict!

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

[Karen Erickson] Determined, thoughtful and passionate.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Chris had a theme song, what would it be?

[Karen Erickson] Oh my gosh, this is a HARD question! What’s that song Donna Summer sang? Hot Stuff? Ha! He’s pretty hot and he’s a firefighter so…yeah. That works.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Jane won’t leave the house without.

[Karen Erickson] Her purse! When you’re a woman with three children, you need your purse to stash everything they need in. Trust me. I know (says the mother of three children). Smile

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Chris’s bedroom?

[Karen Erickson] Whips, chains and a flogger? LOL This is a sweet romance so none of those naughty bedroom accessories would appear in his bedside drawer or be stashed deep in his closet.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Karen Erickson] I read a lot when I was young. I was an only child until I was eleven and I needed something to occupy my mind. Plus, I had an active imagination. I wouldn’t say there’s anything that’s my one greatest creative influence but I do try to always look for a story idea. They’re everywhere. On the news, in a magazine, a person I see walking down the street…

Sometimes music gets the juices going. Or reading. Oh, I could go on and on!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Karen Erickson] Diet Coke, an open mind and at the moment, my desk heater (it’s cold!).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Karen Erickson] It was a YA—Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. Oh, it was SO FREAKING GOOD. I couldn’t stop reading it. I had to know what was going to happen next. Can’t wait for the next one!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Karen Erickson] That is a TOUGH question. How about the one book that turned me on to reading romance? That would be Judith McNaught’s Paradise. I found an excerpt in the back of a Cosmo magazine when I was a teen. Went right out to the local bookstore (B. Dalton’s in the mall baby!) and bought it. Oh. It was so good. That was the start of my Judith McNaught consumption.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Karen Erickson] Hang out with my family, reading, catching up with the TV shows on my DVR, traveling (wish I did that more).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Karen Erickson] Where you can find me: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Karen is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite, so be sure to click the link below and fill out the widget to enter for your chance to win!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NzYwNzA3YTg0ZTE3OWY4MzU4MzYzMjIwZmI4Yzg3OjEx/

You can order Jane’s Gift, as well as Karen’s other titles, from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below:

 

Blurb for Jane’s Gift:

A fire captain afraid of commitment. A widow afraid of fire. Can the holidays bring them together?

A devastating house fire cost Jane Clark nearly everything: her husband, her confidence, and her looks, with the physical scars marbling her body. Now, two years later, she’s living and healing back in her childhood hometown of Lone Pine Lake. The upcoming holidays are the perfect opportunity to bring some Christmas cheer into her young children’s lives, starting with a visit to the firehouse, where her brother’s best friend has offered to help quell their residual fears.

Lone Pine’s resident playboy, fire captain Christian Nelson is happy with his single-guy lifestyle. He’s an everyday local hero, so he’s never wanting for attention around the holidays. But when Jane Clark shows up, Chris is immediately drawn to the beautiful widow–even though kids and commitment have never been his style.

Despite her brother’s warnings about his friend’s playboy status and dangerous occupation, Jane can’t help but fall for the gorgeous fire captain. The holidays are a time of new beginnings, but can two scarred people find the strength to let go of their pasts to live in the present, when a lifetime together might be the sweetest gift of all?

You can find JANE’S GIFT | B&N | Kobo

Keep up with the Jane’s Gift blog tour here

Interview with Jennifer Bernard, Author of The Fireman Who Loved Me

Jennifer Bernard is the author of the new romance series, The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel.  The Fireman Who Loved Me kicks off the series on April 24th, and Jennifer stopped by the virtual offices to chat about her new book.

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

[Jennifer Bernard] First of all, thank you much for having me on your blog! I’m so excited to be here.

Now for my 140 characters (actually, 132 without spaces, 150 with spaces): New wife, stepmother, lover of the absurd, Alaska-dweller, bemused stumbler through life, believer in serendipity, fan of romance both real and fictional.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Fireman Who Loved Me?

[Jennifer Bernard] The Fireman Who Loved Me is the first in the Bachelor Firemen series. It’s the story of Captain Brody, who’s been burned in the past, almost enough to believe the rumored “Bachelor Curse” that dooms the San Gabriel firefighters to big trouble in the romance department. Melissa McGuire is a news producer whose grandmother maneuvers her into a date with Brody. Both are convinced they have nothing in common, but nevertheless the sparks fly right away, in more ways than one.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for your Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series?

[Jennifer Bernard] Well, there’s just something about a fireman … I’ve always found them incredibly appealing and drool-worthy, and thought they’d make wonderful romance heroes. The idea first came to me after a friend invited me to a firehouse dinner and I got to spend time talking to the firemen and listening to their stories. The whole series started with Captain Brody – as I wrote the first book I basically fell in love with him, not just for his heroism, which is legendary on the force, but also for his honorable nature and how he handles being a leader. But I hadn’t thought in terms of a series until Avon suggested it – then it seemed so obvious – of course the other firemen needed stories too! And that’s how the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel were born.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the series?

[Jennifer Bernard] I’d say the most challenging aspect is that I’m not a firefighter, nor do I have any firefighters in my family – I don’t have personal knowledge of life in a firehouse. I worried a lot about getting details or technical terms wrong. The upside is that in my quest for accuracy, I got to know a Los Angeles Fire Captain who was incredibly generous with his help and feedback. He pointed out some things I needed to completely change, but also gave me some fun insider details that (I hope!) really added to the book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Why do you think firemen heroes are so appealing to romance readers?

[Jennifer Bernard] Great question! First of all, they’re genuinely heroic. Their job is running into burning buildings and saving lives, after all. They’re strong and courageous protectors. They’re physically fit—firefighting equipment isn’t light. They’re also dedicated, to their communities, to their firehouses, which function as surrogate families, and to their actual families. I’m not saying every individual firefighter has all those qualities – all kinds of personality types become firemen. So it’s a bit of a generalization, but I’m all for it. They also have a fun-loving, almost domestic side – there’s nothing cuter than a bunch of firemen filling up a shopping cart so they can cook those firehouse dinners.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Brody would never have in his pockets?

[Jennifer Bernard] His keys. Metal and running into a fire are not a good combination.

A little black book. When the book starts, Brody has given up on the idea of a happy personal life. He’s not a chaser of women, though he’s extremely attractive in a slightly intimidating way.

Clutter. Brody, like many firemen, appreciates order. He isn’t one of those guys (such as my husband) with a big wad of random credit card slips and rubber bands and lucky pennies in their pockets.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you enjoy most about romance?   What prompted you to try writing your own?

[Jennifer Bernard] Romance has always, from the age of twelve or so, been an incredible source of comfort, escape and joy for me. I say “escape” in the sense that I’ve turned to reading romance during rough times in my life. But I don’t see it as “escape” in terms of avoidance, but more as a reminder of the good, hopeful things in life. Romance has meant so much to me over the years, I suppose I wanted to try writing it in order to give back some of the joy I’ve received. I want to spread the love as much as I can.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Jennifer Bernard] In the literary realm, I’d say Flannery O’Connor, Jane Austen, and Louisa May Alcott. But in terms of my approach to the world, I’d have to say my greatest creative influence is more of a spiritual thing. As someone who’s gone through some hard times, I’ve found that happiness is a “practice,” that believing in love and goodness and hope goes a long way toward finding meaning in your life. That’s part of why I choose to write romance. I think if everyone could appreciate a good romance, the world would be a better place.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Jennifer Bernard] Time. I need to know I have at least an hour ahead of me, preferably more, so I can relax enough to be creative.

Mental space. I’ve trained myself to create an imaginary cone of silence around myself even at the busiest coffee shop.

Computer. I always wondered how Jane Austen managed to write so many novels in longhand. I need that delete function – I’m a rewriter to the core.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Jennifer Bernard] Little Women. I’ve read that book probably fifty times, and never get tired of it. Those girls feel like my own sisters, and I swear I was Jo in a previous lifetime.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Jennifer Bernard] Jennifer’s Website http://JenniferBernard.net

Facebook http://www.Facebook.com/JenniferBernardBooks

Twitter @Jen_Bernard https://twitter.com/ – !/Jen_Bernard

Amazon Author Page amazon.com/author/jenniferbernard

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Jennifer Bernard] I read a LOT. I’m a yoga junkie, and try to practice daily. I’m also a newlywed (well, it’s been a year) so I like just hanging out with my husband. He came with a 7 year old daughter who I adore. One of my favorite things is playing pretend with her. Which might qualify as writing, come to think of it.

Thank you so much for offering me a chance to talk about my firemen!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you for stopping by!


The Fireman Who Loved Me hits shelves April 24th.  You can pre-order a print or digital copy from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below: