Rae: Welcome to the blog. With the cold days of spring still upon us, I have an Almond Coconut Milk Latte with a drizzle of chocolate and caramel in my mug. What is in your cuppa?
Janna: Puerto Rican blend double espresso.
Rae: I find that reading is best when I have a beverage and a snack; what do you need to have for yourself when you are settling in to read?
Janna: I try not to eat when I read, but it never fails that I get the munchies. My go-to? Popcorn.
Rae: In a few words, can you describe the type of books you write?
Janna: I write historical romances set in the Regency period. I describe my characters as compelling and powerful heroines who meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes.
Rae: When was the moment you knew you wanted to write Regency Romance?
Janna: I was in an email chat with Eloisa James, and she said I should write a romance. That totally convinced me to try and write a book.
Rae: What are your writing rituals? Do you prefer pen and paper or type away?
Janna: I try to write on my Mac between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. I can’t write past that. But many times, I will use pen and paper to sketch the next day’s scene or chapter. It makes my writing go way faster if I do that.
Rae: The attention to details in your books provides a reader with a story filled with adventure, drama, and yes, a bit of spicy heat. If you could go back and chat with your 2017 self when you released your debut book, what words of wisdom or advice would you offer?
Janna: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Everything works out for a reason.
Rae: When you start writing the first book in a new series do you plot out how many books there will be?
Janna: Yes, I do. My publisher wants to see what my plans are for the new series. I need to decide early on what the character and story arcs are for each book. For instance, in the Widow Rules series, I had decided that it would be a three-book series featuring three women who were married to the same deceased man. I’d been working on the series concept for a couple of years before presenting it to my publisher.
Rae: How extensive is your research before beginning a new story in a series?
Janna: It depends upon the series. For my first series, the Cavensham Heiresses, I researched everything, then double-checked it after I’d written it. In the Widow Rules series, I did some pretty thorough research on the Regency-era bigamy laws and the punishment if a person was found guilty. Plus, I had to reread my research on the marriage laws to ensure that the two “illegitimate wives” marriage ceremonies were not legal. But the rest of it? I researched as I wrote. Sometimes, I find all sorts of tidbits that I can incorporate into the series. Plus, it always helps to have author friends who are experts on the subjects!
Rae: I devoured How to Best a Marquess in one sitting. Without giving too much away, you know I hate spoilers 😉, this series was exciting and suspenseful in the way you took the reader through the ups and downs of all that happened. Three strangers are thrown together due to the unthinkable actions of one person, and now they must help each other to avoid scandal and public humiliation. How do you develop such unique characters to make them so different from each other to move the story along as plotted?
Janna: This is a great question! I had to start with the concept of a man who married three women practically at the same time. Why would he do that, and what was he looking for? From there, that gave me the idea of three strong women from different social and economic ranks in society. It would be easier to hide whom the trigamist married if they weren’t from his same social circle.
Rae: While each book is deliciously written as a standalone, I love the way you weave these three characters in and out of the other books. It is so refreshing as a reader to revisit familiar characters, especially when the story ends, and we want to know more. Were there any unplanned events or characters that you did not intend on while crafting this story?
Janna: There was, actually. A reader asked me early on if I planned on writing the age-gap romance between A Duke in Time’s Katherine Vareck’s maid and Christian, the Duke of Ranford’s valet. (The valet is younger than the maid.) I hadn’t planned on putting them in the other books. But the couple had their own ideas. Hence, their romance is mentioned throughout all three books. I’ll let your readers discover what their HEA is.
Rae: What was your biggest obstacle while writing this book and the series?
Janna: The biggest obstacle was with book 2, Rules for Engaging the Earl. I had to write it twice. The first draft was a very dark story. I was in a bad place because of the pandemic. So, I asked my editor for more time. She graciously said yes, so I rewrote it. Frankly, I’m in love with how Jonathan, the Earl of Sykeston, and Constance Lysander’s story turned out. It’s heartfelt, and there is a lot of humor in it as well.
Rae: What hero or heroine do you connect with most?
Janna: I love all the women in this series. They’re strong and independent, and through no fault of their own, they were duped. But they all came together to help each other out. Their friendship is better defined as a sisterhood, in my opinion. They created their own family, and I love that about them.
Rae: What is next on the horizon?
Janna: I’m currently writing two books at the same time. One is for my new publisher, and the other is a series I’m creating based on a character in How to Best a Marquess. His name is the Duke of Pelham, and I’m having a blast writing his story and his sisters’ stories.
Rae: Thank you so much for hanging out with me today, and I can’t wait for everyone to read How to Best a Marquess.
Janna: Thank you so much for having me here. Thank you for all your kind words!! xoxo
1. What is your must read book? The Takeover by TL Swan. I laugh and cry every time I read or listen to this story by TL Swan. Why? I’m a sucker for bad-boy billionaire romances, and this one hits my sweet spot sooo much. This is another age-gap romance where the woman is older, and she is a widow with three boys. The trials and tribulations that the male protagonist has to go through to win her heart are perfection!
2. If I visit your hometown, where are you taking me, and what’s the best place to grab a bite? Minneapolis-I’m taking you on a walk around the Mississippi River trails that wind through the heart of the city. Our restaurant is Bar La Grassa. It’s the best Italian restaurant around.
Kansas City-We’re heading to the Liberty Memorial Museum, the only WW One museum in the nation, then we’re heading straight to the Negro Leagues Museum. Here’s a quote from the organization: The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America.
The late, great Buck O’Neil was a huge part of that history.4/
You can’t visit Kansas City without tasting great barbeque. Around the corner from the Negro Leagues Museum, we’re going to Arthur Bryant, the home of burnt ends.
3. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? I’m turning into a football fan. Always before, it was baseball all the way for me!
4. What is your guilty pleasure? Fletcher’s ice cream in Minneapolis.
5. What are you afraid of? Wasps
6. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? No tats, but I wish I did.
7. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? Can’t claim to be either. I don’t watch a lot of tv except news shows.
8. Is there a book you have read that you would love to see made into a movie (besides yours😊)? Kerrigan Byrne’s The Highwayman
9. What is the one thing you cannot live without? Coffee
10. What is the one career that gives you the shudders? Epidemiologists – They always seem to be delivering bad news.
11. If I opened your handbag/bag/briefcase, what item would I be shocked to see? 3-4 tubes of lipstick. Love the stuff and I always want variety in my colors.
12. What app on your phone/ipad gets the most use? Kindle
Rae: Thank you for hanging out today. Readers for more info on Janna MacGregor you can find her at the links below in her bio.
Janna: Thank you, Rae! Thank you to your readers as well!!! Xoxo
** Closed **
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I hope everyone has now had a chance to read all of the books in this series!
ONE lucky reader in the U.S. will win a fabulous giveaway from Janna MacGregor.
The prize is one finished mass market paperback edition of the first book in the series, A Duke in Time.
To be entered, comment on the blog and tell me…
What is your favorite destination for a road trip?
Good luck to all!
** GIVEAWAY CLOSES APRIL 28, 2023 AT 11:59 PM. WINNER WILL BE POSTED ON THE BLOG.
BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE BLOG SO YOU DON’T MISS THAT POST! **
**WINNER MUST CLAIM PRIZE WITHIN 24 HOURS OR ANOTHER WINNER WILL BE RANDOMLY SELECTED. **
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Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and splits her time between Kansas City and Minneapolis with her very own dashing rogue, and one smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pug. She loves to hear from readers.
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Rae: Welcome back Samantha Chase to the blog. With spring on the horizon I have an Almond Caramel Coconut Milk Latte with drizzles of caramel and white chocolate in my mug. In honor of your book release my barista baked up a batch of peanut butter blondies and chocolate covered strawberries. What is in your cuppa?
Samantha: I am a very boring drinker and it is straight up hot cocoa for me!
Rae: Cocoa sounds yummy! I find that reading is best when I have a beverage and a snack, what do you need to have for yourself when you are settling in to read?
Samantha: Normally I’m reading in bed and snacking and drinking there is a big fat no-no. However…if I’m feeling sassy and in the mood for a mid-day read, I am all about some cookies. Wegman’s has these double chocolate ones called Chocolate Indulgence and let me tell you, I am HERE for them. They are the perfect snack when I’m reading.
Rae: Ok, those really do sound delish. I’ll have to look for them the next time I’m at Wegmans. In a few words, can you describe the type of books you write?
Samantha: Okay… I write contemporary romances that are hotter than sweet, sweeter than hot. That’s my tagline. But people still mistake that to mean that I write clean or sweet, and that’s not exactly true. There is definitely some steam on the page, but we fade to black for the good stuff 😉
Rae: Samantha is here to dish all things Shaughnessy as we celebrate the release of One More Chance which hit shelves yesterday. While writing One More Chance what songs were on your playlist?
Samantha: Thanks for having me on the blog! So…this series was greatly inspired by the music of Bon Jovi and I went back there for Mick’s book, as well. The song that really was a standout for Mick and Sienna was “Bed of Roses”, but I do have an entire Band on the Run playlist on Spotify.
Rae: Great song list, readers click on that link. How much research and travel was involved before crafting Mick’s story?
Samantha: I didn’t do any traveling while writing, but I did a lot of research and some of the places I had been to in the past and drew from my own experience. I was born and raised on Long Island and spent a lot of time in Manhattan so to have the story kickoff there was me just using the familiar. When they went to Memphis, I had to do the research because I’ve never been – but it’s on my bucket list! Vegas, L.A., San Francisco are all cities I’ve traveled to, as well.
Rae: Will there be more books for The Shaughnessy’s or Band on the Run? I feel like there could be another epilogue or novella somewhere down the line, maybe Christmas time?
Samantha: So…if it were up to me, there would be more books. I actually introduce two potential stories in this book, but I won’t write them unless there is a huge demand for them. As vocal as fans of this series were about wanting Mick’s story, preorders weren’t great so I’m not sure how release week is going to play out. As for a bonus epilogue, the special edition paperback (which will be available in a few weeks) will have one.
Rae: You recently shared that you got the rights back to many of your books and recently re-published thirty-two books. Wow, thirty-two. What was your process to make sure all the details were managed? Did you have to create new book covers, what was that process like?
Samantha: I think I still have PTSD from the experience! LOL! I kind of thrive on chaos. I got the rights back the week before Christmas so…that meant nothing was going to get done until the first of the year. I didn’t get clean files back so every single book had to be re-edited, re-formatted from PDF to a Word doc, re-proofed, new covers…it was just all SO much. On top of that, I had a new release schedule in place for 2022 that I needed to stick to. It literally took a village to get it all done. I had three people for each step that needed to be done – except the covers. I have one cover artist and she was AMAZING. And while it was fun to design new covers, it was a lot of work. I had a giant dry erase board in my office that kept me on task.
Rae: Did you make any minor edits or changes to any of those books?
Samantha: Most of the books just got minor edits – things that my previous publisher missed, but I did add content to two of the Montgomery Brothers books – WAIT FOR ME and TRUST IN ME – because they were shorter and I just felt like they needed a little more. Everything else I had to just let go otherwise these books never would have gotten back up on retail sites.
Rae: In the midst of all that re-publishing, you were writing new books as well. Was there one story during this process where the characters decided they had a different story to tell and took you on a different path than the one you envisioned?
Samantha: Since I’m not big on plotting/planning my books, most times I’m surprised where my characters go. Lol! It makes writing so much fun when you don’t put yourself in a box and try to force the characters to behave a certain way. However…my father passed away in February last year (completely unexpected) and we hadn’t spoken in several years. We did get to have those last two weeks of his life to make our peace with one another and I was the only one in the room with him when he died. A month later, I started writing KISS THE GIRL (Magnolia Sound’s final book). I always knew that book was going to deal with a character’s death. I knew that from the moment I started writing the series. I just didn’t realize how much that character’s death and his relationship with his children was going to mirror my own relationship with my dad. So it was a VERY emotional journey and very cathartic for me because I got to say a lot of things in the book, that I never got to say with my dad.
Rae: What was it like to sit down and write Micks story? This story, it was one that I have been waiting for and it was amazing.
Samantha: Years ago – when the original series ended – I really thought I was good with ending it at three books. Readers asked for Mick’s book, and I just sort of figured it would be a bonus, short story somewhere down the road. Last year I was part of a small town promo group and I wrote a short version of this book – it was only 20K words. Well, after readers read it, they wanted a more fleshed-out story so the 20K book got expanded to 72K words! And I was really glad that I did because we got to really dig deep into what was motivating Mick and Sienna to finally take this chance at this point in their lives. Mick’s in his mid-40s and Sienna’s only a few years younger. Love doesn’t only happen in your 20s 😊
Rae: So true! Without spoiling too much, you sprinkled a few beloved characters in a unique and clever way. What made you decide to blend both worlds and revisit the gang?
Samantha: Back when the Band on the Run series was released, I don’t feel my publisher did a good job of promoting that it was a spin-off of The Shaughnessy Brothers series. They gave the covers a completely different look and it wasn’t until the series was over that someone was like, “Oh, should we have put that on the cover?” If ever you want to do a blog on what NOT to do when working with a publisher, I’ll gladly contribute.
Anyway, being that I could do anything I wanted with this story, I wanted to give readers a chance to get updates on as many past characters as I could. And if they are just now finding this series with ONE MORE CHANCE, they can know that there are ten other books for them to read! Lol! The Shaughnessys were such a great family, and the band wouldn’t be here without them, so it just seemed right to check in with them all.
Rae: Speaking of the guys, they have been patiently waiting, should we bring them in?
Rae: Welcome back Riley Shaughnessy, it has been a while since you were here. The last time you were here was back in 2017 and 2016 when your siblings were kind enough to join you. (Readers you can check out those here … Coffee With the Shaughnessy’s Holiday Spice (2017), Samantha Chase Blitz Day 2: Coffee With the Shaughnessy Brothers (December 2016), and Samantha Chase Blitz – Day 2: Coffee With Samantha Chase and The Shaughnessy Family (June 2016)) I hope they are all doing well. I am thrilled the Shaughnessy gang’s all here. Matt Reed, Dylan Anders, Julian Grayson and Agent and Manager Mick Tyler, thank you for being here. Welcome.
I hope everyone had a chance to grab a cuppa at the bar, my barista told me he crafted a few new drinks in your honor. I like to start with a little bit of trivia questions … think of it as an opening act, Mick these questions are for you too.
Rae: You created a spotify playlist – Who are you listening to?
Mick: Thanks for having us here, Rae! If I’m looking for comfort, I tend to listen to something a little softer. And not just ballads, I really enjoy listening to soft jazz or even the old crooners like Sinatra. If I’m on the road, my list is primarily acts that I’m considering representing or I’ll choose whoever is popular right now to get a feel for what fans are looking for. And when we’re all together and hanging out, I like listening to the groups I represent – and primarily, Shaughnessy. (Winks)
Rae: What is the one app on your phone that gets used the most?
Mick: Instagram. Gotta make sure my clients are getting seen!
Rae: Home cooked or Door Dash?
Mick: I do enjoy when Sienna and I sit down to something we cooked together, but we’re both so busy that we use Door Dash more often than not.
Rae: Salty or sweet?
Mick: Oh, definitely sweet!
Rae: Book, Audiobook, or Podcast? Last one you read or listened to?
Mick: At night, Sienna and I love to read while we’re in bed and both tend to gravitate toward ebooks. When we travel – especially in the car – we sometimes pop in an audiobook, but primarily enjoy listening to Podcasts. The last one I listened to was Bandsplain which essentially is like a very polished version of those wee-hours conversations you have with your best music buddies. Definitely a good listen.
Rae: How often do you meet up, as a band – in the studio, just hanging out, or on the road? When you meet up is it easy for the wives to join- I hear they are friends as well?
Riley: My family and Dylan’s are still primarily set in L.A. so we get together fairly often.
Matt: Vivienne and I are east coasters all the way, but we go out to L.A. probably every three months or so for the sole purpose of getting together to jam or record.
Julian: Yeah, Charlotte and I made the move to the east coast and we spend most of our time there unless there’s something going on with the band.
Dylan: Paige and I are the last holdouts on getting a vacation home on the east coast. (laughs) And because these guys all have houses, we just crash with one of them!
Riley: We’re contemplating having to get a bigger place with a guest house just for Dylan and Paige…
Dylan: It’s not like we’re there that often, dude…
Julian: He can practically claim you as a dependent.
Mick: Alright, everybody play nice!
Riley: As for our wives, they are the best of friends and are thrilled to have Sienna as part of their group. We’re all fairly blessed that everyone gets along and genuinely likes each other.
Dylan: It’s true. We’ve only done one major tour in the last several years and it was a true family affair – wives, kids, and dogs!
Mick: Do not even get me started on the dogs…
Julian: Normally, I’d prefer to stay at a house – Airbnb or something instead of a hotel just for the sake of the dogs – but when you’re only staying for a night or two, it’s just not as practical.
Rae: What are the chances we might see Shaughnessy on tour or in the studio this year?
Riley: We’re currently in the studio right now and trying to get the last few songs done on this album.
Matt: I’m the reason we’re rushing. Vivienne’s pregnant and as much as she doesn’t mind being away from home, I think right now she’d prefer it.
Dylan: I think we’re all…I don’t want to say rushing, but we understand. We worked out a lot of the stuff before getting into the studio, so things are moving at a good pace.
Julian: We’ve been doing this together for so long, and we talk to each other so often, that it feels more like we’re putting the finishing touches on it all once we hit the studio. We each have studio space in our homes, so even when we’re not together, we’re working on the music in our own spaces. Vivienne will be sleeping in her own bed in no time.
Rae: Do your kids know how famous you all are?
Riley: My kids know it, and our oldest daughter – Aislynn – tries to use it to her advantage at school! Last week Savannah and I got called in because she tried to bargain with her Science teacher…she wanted to give him tickets to the next Shaughnessy show if she didn’t have to dissect a frog!
Mick: (laughing) I love that kid.
Dylan: Dude, that’s brilliant! But I’ll probably aske someone else to babysit next time we’re in town. I can’t have her giving my boys any ideas.
Julian: Our kids are still a little too young to fully understand it, but we really try to downplay it at home. We just want to live a normal life.
Matt: This is going to be our first baby, and I haven’t mentioned it. (wink)
Dylan: I started telling my boys as soon as they were born! Bedtime stories were all about the band and places we’d toured.
Riley: Dude, seriously?
Dylan: What? It’s not like I was talking about groupies or anything…
Julian: Does Paige know? I’ll bet you like a thousand dollars that she has no idea those were the bedtime stories!
Dylan: NEXT QUESTION!!
Rae: I love watching the evolution of bands as they transition from wild days of dating to finding their person and settling down, some might even say driving a minivan too? Do you think any of your children might dip their toes in the music industry? Would you be ok with that?
Julian: I wouldn’t say I’d forbid it, but…I certainly wouldn’t encourage it. This business is hard and it not always a safe space, you know?
Matt: (sighs loudly) For the love of it, you can’t still be this uptight.
Julian: (shrugging) I can be whoever the hell I want. But if either of our kids showed an interest on their own – with no prompting from me or Charlotte – I’d be sure to be there to guide them.
Riley: I think we’d all want to be there for our kids – especially in this industry. Not that I want to get into the whole Nepo Baby debate, but if other people saw that they had talent, I’d want to encourage them.
Matt: Whatever they want to do, I’ll encourage.
Rae: If you could take time off, switch gears for a bit, where would you be and what would you be doing?
Julian: I’d love to rent a place that is quiet and where we could just sort of go unnoticed. There’s a small town in England that I stayed in years ago that I always promised Charlotte I’d take her to. So…
Riley: One of my brother Hugh’s resorts. Hands down. I don’t even think I care which one, just…go and relax and drink some fantastic wine and eat some amazing food.
Matt: Vivienne’s folks live in Paris and we’ve gone there to visit multiple times, but I think I’d love to go and see them and then go on to Italy and just walk around and see the sites and eat the food. Viv used to be a food blogger so I think she’d love that too. So much of our time is spent doing stuff related to my job, that I’d love to do something that I know was just for her.
Matt: Shut up. What would you do?
Dylan: Time off and not doing anything music related? I’d love to be sitting on the beach somewhere tropical and maybe doing some fishing. I’d love to teach the boys how to do it – catch out own dinners, clean the fish…I think that would be a blast!
Mick: Until Paige had to come and clean fish guts off of everyone, right?
Rae: Mick, what is it like knowing this band is stronger than ever in light of the obstacles along the way? I know you went above and beyond to support them through some rather tough times.
Mick: The five of us have been through…everything together. I don’t look at Riley, Julian, Matt, and Dylan as clients. They’re family. And you do whatever it takes to make sure you’re family is happy and healthy. I look at these guys now and it still blows my mind how far we’ve come. And the thing is, it’s not all one-sided. These guys have been there for me, as well.
Riley: We’re brothers.
Dylan: There isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for each other.
Rae: Without divulging the identity of anyone, what is the craziest request you ever had for a client – on tour or just in general?
Mick: Oh, good Lord…sometimes it amazes me what people ask for. The craziest was a certain diva who insisted that her entire dressing room be done in hot pink silk and chandeliers, along with a seafood bar with enough food to feed a dozen people at every stop. She never shared the food with anyone except her boyfriend and her mother, and most of the food got thrown out.
There was another request that was…unusual. A client – whenever we toured down in Australia or New Zealand – insisted that he have a day with no responsibilities so he could have the time with…penguins. (Nods) He loved spending time with them in their native environments and…
Dylan: TWICE! I asked to do it TWICE! Geez!
(Everyone laughs hysterically)
Rae: Mick – Did you ever think of walking away from all of this or focusing on less talent? It seems like with Shaughnessy it’s more than just being their agent and manager, what do you attribute that to? Were there any moments in the past you thought they may not make it as a group?
Mick: I knew from the moment Riley Shaughnessy walked up on the stage in that dive bar that he was going to be a star. All of them. I spent almost a year combing the clubs in Hollywood and every night I’d leave disgusted. The night I saw these guys? It was obvious immediately that they had talent. They were the first band I signed and they are the gold standard that I held other acts to for a long time. Then I had to remind myself that different acts bring different…magic, you can say, to their music.
I’ve dealt with smaller acts and bands/singers who weren’t nearly as talented as I wanted them to be. Some were one-hit wonders, some lasted a little longer, but I have always believed in doing what I can to nurture the talent. Does it always pay off? No. But if I see even a small spark of something, I’m willing to give them a try.
But back to these guys…like I said, I just knew from the moment I saw them that they were different. I feel like we all kind of grew up together – we learned this business together – and we navigated it all together. I made mistakes and they forgave me, they made mistakes, and I did the same. We all genuinely like and respect each other. But…like any family, sometimes we fight and say or do things we shouldn’t. At the end of the day, though, we talk it out.
Riley: Mick’s the king of tough love. We all hate it when it’s focused on us, but ultimately, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that once we calm down, we know he’d never do anything to hurt us. There’s a trust there that…I don’t know…it was just there from day one.
Rae: Riley, after sitting here and talking with you guys I can see how much you genuinely care for each other. It’s why fans are so enamored and devoted, you guys are the real deal.
Ok, Mick, this one’s for you… If you had the opportunity to have dinner with one person, past or present who would it be and why?
Mick: Ooo…I feel like I should say something music related like Brian Epstein – who managed the Beatles. But I don’t know if it would be to learn from him or to maybe brag about how well I’ve done for myself. (laughs) My whole life has been about this path – this industry – and I’ve had the opportunity to sit and eat with a lot of my idols. But if I had to pick one, I’d really love for it to be the late Freddie Mercury. That voice…I still get chills.
Rae: Mick, I’ve asked so many people that question and I don’t think I’ve ever had the same answer. That sounds like it would be a fabulous dinner!
Before we go, for all of those young music dreamers out there, what is one piece of advice you could give them that you wish you had received when you first started in this business all those years ago?
Mick: Persevere. It doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t sell yourself short and listen to the critics with a grain of salt. Not everyone has your back.
Riley: Definitely persevere, and remember to always be good to the fans. They’re the reason you have a career. Don’t screw it up by being a jerk to them.
Matt: Know your limitations. We’re all not going to be Jagger, Jackson, or Mercury, and that’s okay. Go out there and be the best at what you do and don’t ever think you don’t have to keep honing your craft.
Dylan: Know who your real friends are. There are people out there who will just want to ride your coattails and don’t care about who you really are. Keep your circle small.
Julian: This is a business first and foremost. Sure it’s fun to get up on stage and have people cheering and singing along, but it’s not just a big party. Know what you’re signing, be wise with your money, and have a plan for when it’s all over.
Dylan: Geez…that was depressing.
Julian: I just said it’s not just a big party…
Dylan: Yeah, I know but you made it sound just…ugh.
Matt: Dude, are you just meeting Julian? That’s how he talks all the time!
Riley: Bottom line? Yes, Julian sounds like Eyeore, but he’s right.
Mick: It is like herding cats with these guys, but it’s never boring!
Rae: Samantha thanks again. If fans are looking to find you this year, where can they catch up with you?
Samantha: Thank YOU!! This was a blast!! Readers, you can find me primarily on FB and IG, but here are all my links!!
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Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance that’s hotter than sweet, sweeter than hot. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than eighty titles under her belt – including THE CHRISTMAS COTTAGE which was a Hallmark Christmas movie in 2017! She’s a Disney enthusiast who still happily listens to 80’s rock. When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 32 years and their two sons in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Click here for a link to All of Samantha’s Books on Amazon
Rae: Welcome to the blog. I’ve got a Latte with Almond Coconut Milk and a drizzle of chocolate and caramel in my mug. What’s in your cuppa?
Erin: I’m sadly very predictable with my morning beverage of choice: coffee with an obscene amount of milk.
Rae: Congratulations on your debut novel Forever Your Rogue. I have to know, did you have any input in designing the cover? Those colors are stunning 🙂 While I will select books to read based on the book cover or snippets about an upcoming release, I’m a book cover lover so this was a must read on all accounts.
Erin: I have to give a huge shoutout to my cover designer, Erin Dameron-Hill. I indie published Forever Your Rogue, so I was able to have a lot of input on the cover, but she was the one who brought it to life. I told Erin I wanted something that evoked the joyful, dreamy, summery vibes of the novel, and above all, I wanted a smiling clinch cover. She delivered in the best possible way. All of the gorgeous pinks and purples were her idea. When I saw the cover mock-up, I almost fell out of my chair! It completely blew me away.
Rae: You mention in your bio that a portion of this book was written in the pre-school pickup line, how would you describe your writing rituals?
Erin: Haha, yes! It definitely seemed like my notes app got an awful lot of use when I was waiting for those school doors to open at 2:30 pm. My best “writing” usually happens when I’m nowhere near a computer. Running errands, cleaning my house, driving my kids–it often seems like my brain has the most space to think when I’m absorbed in another task entirely. But to be fair, the actual writing took place in regular, boring locations: at my desk, with my laptop. I do have a fulltime job, so I write first thing in the morning, before my kids get going for the day, as well as late in the evening, after they go to bed. I worked on this book in the margins of my day.
Rae: Do you prefer pen and paper, or type away at the keys?
Erin: All typing! I don’t draft anything by hand. Although I do use voice notes quite a bit, so I’ll dictate scenes and then go back and clean them up.
Rae: With so many different eras in historical romance, when was the moment you knew you wanted to write Regency Romance?
Erin: Most of the historical romances I read take place in the Regency, so it felt really natural to set my book in this time period. I didn’t even consider anything else at this juncture.
Rae: I find that reading is best when I have a beverage and a snack, do you feel the same when writing?
Erin: I tend to be so caught up in what I’m doing that I neither snack nor sip–I have to reheat my coffee about five times every morning because I keep letting it grow cold!
Rae: How extensive is your research before beginning a new story in a series?
Erin: I can only speak for Rogue because it’s my first novel, but I did research extensively before I started outlining and drafting. I needed to really interrogate the legal status of mothers in this time period, and I read a lot of scholarly journal articles and legal proceedings regarding child custody in England in the early 1800s. At the outset, I had a vague sense of what I wanted to do with this book, but I revised my story ideas heavily as I researched. It was important to me that Cora’s dilemma was authentically rooted in the reality of her time period.
Rae: I was drawn into the story of a widow who will do anything to make sure her children stay in her care while she is dealing with the aftermath of a few legal matters. What was the most challenging aspect of this story to craft?
Erin: By far, the hardest part for me was figuring out how to draw Cora into the romantic arc of the story. I had created a character that was facing constant, pressing fears for her small children–possibly the highest external stakes I could have given her. What would motivate a woman like her to be swept up in the arms of a man (even one as charming as Nate Travers)? It took me a really long time to crack into her interior and realize the extent of her yearning and loneliness, and how that layered onto Nate’s own character arc. After I figured that out, it was just a matter of letting Nate take over (wink).
Rae: Where did you find inspiration for this story?
Erin: I mention some of this in my author’s note, but the inspiration for the novel came from research I stumbled upon in the very early stages of this project. It was a legal case from 1804 about a mother trying to regain custody of her infant, who had been taken away from her by her estranged husband. The court upheld the precedent that fathers alone had legal rights to the children of a marriage. That in and of itself was heartbreaking but not shocking–but what really got to me was that this complete authority extended even after a father’s death. A mother was not automatically considered her children’s legal guardian, unless her late husband had named her in his will. Even though the law was really stringent on these matters, some women in the early 1800s still petitioned to keep their children with them. And I wanted to write a story about a fiercely determined woman and the man who falls in love with her doing whatever it takes to keep (and make) a family together.
Rae: What was your biggest obstacle while writing this book?
Erin: For me, the biggest obstacle was getting started. I had carried Cora’s character in my heart for a really long time…but I never felt like I had the wherewithal to see it through. This is not only the first novel I’ve published…it’s the first novel I’ve written. So I had a lot of imposter syndrome and doubts around being able to do this. But it got to the point where I couldn’t not tell the story. Once I got out of my head and started putting words on the page, I felt a huge sense of relief. And I am really fortunate that my husband was one hundred percent behind me and helped make space this last year for me to write. I never would have been able to do this without his support.
Rae: When you have time to refuel and read for inspiration or pleasure, what is your go to genre and how do you select those books?
Erin: I won’t lie, I had very little time to read for pleasure this year. Almost all of my “down” time was spent on writing Rogue! But lately I’ve been reading more contemporary romances–it’s helpful to read outside of my genre right now (it feels less like “work” or research). I also adore suspense and psychological thrillers…about as far from my writing life as possible! And I find books the same way many of us do…usually by asking my friends and family for their recommendations.
Rae: What is next on the horizon?
Erin: Right now, I’m giving myself some time to rest and reset. Writing and then indie publishing this novel took up a lot of my head- and heart-space, and I want to return that attention to my family. But I’m very moved by individual characters, so I imagine my next project will happen the same way Rogue did–by seeing who speaks to me and what story they want me to tell. I have a number of beloved characters we met in Forever Your Rogue, and I hope to spend time with some of them again!
Rae: Thank you so much for hanging out with me today. Readers, if you missed my review and exclusive excerpt of Forever Your Rogue click the link below.
- What is your must read book and why? Anne of Green Gables. The whole series, really, but the nostalgia factor of the first book is unmatched.
- If I visit your hometown, where am I going and what’s the best place to grab a bite? We live in a really small town, but there are so many great local places! Our favorite is a local bakery and pizzeria that makes the best woodfired pizzas and craft cocktails, and they do absolutely divine things with seasonal produce. There is not much I wouldn’t do for their roasted carrots with whipped labneh.
- What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? I’m such a perfectionist that I was a nervous wreck to take my driver’s test. It’s become this legendary family joke that the summer I was 17, I basically lived at the DMV…it took me five (yes, FIVE) tries to get my driver’s license. I was so anxious that I made every tiny mistake you can think of. Luckily (not to jinx myself!) once I actually managed to pass my test, I never had any issues!
- What is your guilty pleasure? An ice-cold gin and tonic, the porch swing, and my husband on bedtime duty with the kids! Nothing guilty about it–just pure pleasure.
- What are you afraid of? I suffer from horrible stage fright when I know I have to do any kind of public speaking. I’m always completely fine once I actually get going…but the lead-up is brutal for me.
- Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? No tats!
- Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? A bit of a mix, but I tend to binge a little bit more (likely because we get behind and then have a lot of episodes to catch up on). We tore through White Lotus recently, and we love Only Murders in the Building and The Great. I’ve been faithfully watching Grey’s Anatomy, for better or worse, since I was in high school. It’s my second-longest relationship, haha.
- If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )? I would love to see more diverse historical romances get adaptations. I have not read this book yet (I’m eagerly anticipating the release on April 4, 2023!) but from everything I’ve seen and heard about the worldbuilding and characters in Liana De la Rosa’s forthcoming Luna Sisters series, I think something like this would be incredible to see on screen. Mexican heiresses taking Victorian London by storm? Give it to me!
- What is the one thing you can’t live without? My phone. It’s a sickness!
- What’s the one career that gives you the shudders? I come from a family of teachers, and my mom and sisters are all so creative and patient. One of my sisters is a middle school English teacher, and she does it brilliantly. But I would never, ever trade places with her in a million years. I truly don’t know how she does it!
- If I opened up your handbag/bag/briefcase, what item would I be shocked to see? You would probably be shocked to not see my wallet, because I notoriously forget it in the diaper bag all the time, haha.
- What app on your phone/ipad gets the most use? Spotify! I love listening to music and podcasts during my workday. I’ve been blasting the Forever Your Rogue playlist all winter!
Erin Langston is a historical romance author who crafts Regencies with heart, heat, and humor. A librarian by trade, Erin lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children. When not working, writing, or mom-ing, she can be found outside, drinking wine, buried in a book, or attempting to home-improve. A not-insignificant portion of her first novel was plotted in the preschool pickup line.
Rae Latte: Welcome to the blog. I’ve got a Latte with Almond Coconut Milk and a drizzle of caramel in my mug. What’s in your cuppa?
Barbara Devlin: Well, I’m currently on a diabetes reversal program, so my indulgent lattes are over for a while. Now, I drink regular coffee with heavy cream. While it sounded a bit decadent at first, I’d kill for some nonfat or even low-fat milk, because the heavy cream almost overwhelms the coffee.
Rae: For readers not familiar with your work, please share a little bit about yourself and your previous work.
Barbara: I am a disabled-in-the-line-of-duty retired police officer, turned English professor, turned author. I started writing during my long recovery, based on a book I’d been reading about the Templar Knights. My Brethren of the Coast books are based on the widespread belief that the only surviving Templars were the mariners. All of the Regency books feature an epilogue with the Medieval Templar. I never planned to write their stories, but my readers decided otherwise.
Rae: During the height of the pandemic did your writing rituals change while researching and writing?
Barbara: If anything, during the pandemic, I’ve had much more time to research ideas for future series, and I’ve stumbled upon some fascinating historical personalities that I’m dying to explore for future books.
Rae: I devoured The Accidental Duke and love this band of brothers in your latest series. All of the heroes are disabled in the Battle of Waterloo and the woman who will capture their hearts are exceptional in their own rights. What inspired this series and the cast of characters we will meet?
Barbara: The Mad Matchmakers is an intensely personal series drawing on my firsthand experience with life-altering injury, permanent disability, recovery, and PTSD. I can’t begin to explain what it’s like to wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and go to work. Only at the end of your shift, you don’t come home. When you finally do make it home, your life as you knew it was over. I spent three years in rehab, enduring day after day of excruciating physical therapy as I watched the world go on without me. My wounded warriors face the same struggle to carve out a new life for themselves while constantly fighting the urge to look back to the past and their previous lives.
Rae: All of your books are layered with historical accuracy, and as always your books are thorough and precise. Did you face any challenges in your research regarding PTSD during this time period? What was your biggest obstacle while writing this book and the series? What hero do you connect with most?
Interestingly enough, PTSD was a widely studied condition during the Peninsular Wars. Only it was known as nostalgia or irritable heart. I read numerous articles written by Dominique Jean Larrey, primarily known as Napoleon’s personal physician. Larrey invented the first ambulance and most of our modern-day methodologies for trauma medicine. He revamped battlefield medicine, forming triage units that stabilized injured soldiers before transferring them to hospitals. But what most interested me was Larrey’s belief in treating the whole soldier. He recognized the mental toll war took on soldiers, and he wrote detailed recommendations for treatment, including a recommendation that soldiers be rotated off the line to let them rest mentally as well as physically. As for the biggest obstacle, I’d say it was my own memories. While writing this series has been cathartic, it has also been traumatic. It has forced me to relive some times I’d rather forget, and there were moments I had to step back and deal with my emotions before continuing. And I can’t say I relate to any one hero more than another, because each hero deals with various aspects I suffered during my lengthy recovery. In a sense, every one of them reflects a very intimate part of me. Of my journey on the other side of disability.
Rae: What is next on the horizon? Any teasers for future book adventures?
Barbara: Currently, I’m finishing the second book in my Mad Matchmakers of Waterloo series. I’m also developing a Regency take on Three Men and a Baby, involving a descendant of Moctezuma and Spanish royalty. My agent has had some interest, and I’ll let you know when I have any news.
Rae: Thank you so much for hanging out with me today. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and look forward to hearing all the updates when you have them. Congratulations again on the release of The Accidental Duke, the first installment in The Mad Matchmakers Series that hits e-readers later this week. Readers be sure to check out my review and an exclusive excerpt later today.
A proud Latina, USA Today bestselling, Amazon All-Star author Barbara Devlin was born a storyteller, but it was a weeklong vacation to Bethany Beach, Delaware that forever changed her life. The little house her parents rented had a collection of books by Kathleen Woodiwiss, which exposed Barbara to the world of romance, and Shanna remains a personal favorite.
Barbara writes heartfelt historical romances that feature not so perfect heroes who may know how to seduce a woman but know nothing of marriage. And she prefers feisty but smart heroines who sometimes save the hero before they find their happily ever after.
Barbara is a disabled-in-the-line-of-duty retired police officer. She earned an MA in English and continued a course of study for a Doctorate in Literature and Rhetoric. She happily considered herself an exceedingly eccentric English professor, until success in Indie publishing lured her into writing, full-time, featuring her fictional knighthood, the Brethren of the Coast.
Currently, Barbara lives with her retired firefighter husband in the mountains of North Carolina. Connect with Barbara Devlin at BarbaraDevlin.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter, The Knightly News.
Rae: Thank you so much for joining me here at the blog. Before we start please grab a cuppa and fill it up. I’m having a cinnamon coconut almond milk latte.
What’s in your mug?
Jeanne: My usual – a grande mocha latte with extra whipped cream! (I love whipped cream)
Morgan/Gail: Coffee with cream and sweetener. I do own a latte machine, and I frequently play barista for hubby and me.
Caren: Coffee with heavy cream and coconut oil. My favorite!
Nancy: Cafe latte with a caramel shot.
Rae: With Covid impacting all of us I’m thrilled to have you all together. Don’t worry readers, we’re all socially distant, masked, and plenty of holiday scented hand sanitizer to go around.
Jeanne: I know we’re all happy to be here, talking about Trick or Treat at Caynham Castle during this fabulous spooky season.
Rae: Trick or Treat at Caynahm Castle brings us ghosts and romance, a fabulous location and another collaborative anthology dear authors. What was it like working together on this spooky edition?
Jeanne: After last year’s Christmas at Caynham Castle, we’d had so much fun with the English castle on the Welsh Marches we decided to return to Caynham Castle and Halloween was such a fun holiday, we decided to run with that.
Morgan/Gail: Lots of fun! We had such a good time doing the Christmas collection we decided that we needed to do another book, and now that we’ve done Trick or Treat, we’re looking ahead to a New Year’s edition!
Rae: How did you get in the mood while crafting your stories? Did you bake favorite treats? Listen to specific music? Drink themed beverages? Or, did you go all out and decorate your house to set the mood?
Jeanne: For me, I put on iHeart Radio’s Halloween radio. I didn’t bake, but I must confess I bought Halloween candy! (Caramels, omgosh, the caramels…) I didn’t drink themed beverages, but I considered buying some cider. As for decorating the house…you know me, Rae, it’s Halloween Town at my house from October 1 on!
Morgan/Gail: I’m always in the mood for Halloween! This time I knew my way around the castle, and the characters are ones I’ve written before, so the fun was putting them into a new location and creating some old connections for them.
Caren: Once I lit my “Stay Out Of the Forest” scented candle, which smells like pine. I suppose that could be considered inspirational.
Nancy: I drank tea, that perennial British favorite.
Rae: What can readers expect in this Anthology?
Jeanne: Readers can expect my usual paranormal suspense thrills and chills! The Christmas at Caynham Castle story, The Ghost of Christmas Past was a ghost story (Obviously! Ha!) and my story in Trick or Treat at Caynham Castle extends the discovery of a hidden passage and a secret room from Christmas of 2019 into Halloween 2020! The hero, a photographer, and the heroine, and archaeologist, team up to uncover the secrets in the secret room…but there’s magic and murder afoot! Can they solve it before Halloween?
Morgan/Gail: Readers can expect to return to the familiar people and places of the Christmas collection, but with some new faces, new relationships, and a bit more spooky stuff!
Caren: A combination of some spooky paranormal, some legends and a bit of thrilling action.
Nancy: Spies with a second chance at love, action-adventure, and international intrigue.
Rae: While crafting your stories did you chat often or just once to kick off the story and then race to the finish?
Jeanne: A mixture of both, I guess. I frequently chatted with or emailed Caren, Nancy and Gail just to be sure we weren’t overlapping stories or having characters in the same place at the same time. The collaboration in these anthologies has been one of the most fun aspects!
Morgan/Gail: Ha! We burned up the internet comparing notes, asking questions, and checking details.
Caren: We asked some questions to clarify a few things about the setting, but mostly worked on our own. Gail finished long before the rest of us, so she got to set the stage for the Halloween ball!
Nancy: We checked details with each other by email to be sure we were consistent, but we didn’t confer a lot.
Rae: Is this the end for your beloved characters or will they return in the next Caynham holiday Anthology?
Jeanne: Oh, they’ll be back! We’re already discussing which holiday to do next!
Morgan/Gail: We’re planning a New Year’s Eve edition for 2022…..
Caren: The characters in Murky Waters will definitely show up again. The story involves the characters from my Christmas story set at Caynham Castle, so I don’t imagine any of my characters will go into hiding!
Nancy: This story wraps things up for Dana and Blaine. The next visit to Caynham Castle will involve a different couple.
Rae: As with all chats in the cafe, it wouldn’t be complete without a few tasty tidbits. Thank you so much for hanging out and I can’t wait to chat again!
Jeanne: How fun! Gotta love some tidbits! I look forward to reading them!
Rae: Thank you Jeanne. Readers stay tuned. Over the next few days these fabulous Authors will share those tidbits.
Be sure to check back soon.
ONE winner will be randomly selected to receive an/e-copy from Amazon of Trick or Treat at Caynham Castle.
To enter, answer the following question below by commenting on the blog.
What is your least favorite candy and what to you is the spookiest sound that gives you shivers?
Contest runs 10/30/20 – 11/02/20 at 11:59 PM
Be sure to follow Jeanne Adams, Morgan Brice, Caren Crane, and Nancy Northcott on all social media platforms and Books I Love A Latte for more giveaways and fun!
Winner will be randomly selected and will be contacted. If winner doesn’t claim prize within 24 hours a new winner will be drawn.
** For all giveaway rules read here.
To learn more about each author click on their picture to check out their website.
Rae: Welcome to the blog. I’ve got a spiced Latte with Almond Milk and a drizzle of chocolate in my mug. What’s in your cuppa?
MS: Thank you for hosting us! Your drink sounds heavenly! I’m among the dullest people in this regard. My morning beverage is usually water, though if there’s one nearby, I’ll grab an iced coffee from Dunkin’. My go-to evening drink is a cold beer. My husband bought this excellent sour beer from RAR Brewing called Stunts. When that runs out, I’ll go back to my stash of Seaquench from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.
Rae: Congratulations on your recent release of Lease on Love in the Anthology Love Gone Viral. I love that all the proceeds from the sale will be donated to World Central Kitchen and Feeding America. Romance fiction is so powerful and the community is so giving. I can’t wait to hear how much you all raise.
MS: Thank you! When Meg announced the project and its mission during a book club meeting she and I participate in, I jumped at the chance. It is shameful that anyone goes without food at any time and it is especially egregious that anyone goes hungry during a pandemic. If nothing else, I hope this collection brightens someone’s day. We, as readers and writers, must not forget that romance as an art form is a statement of hope and hope is revolutionary.
1. What is your must read book and why? That answer never stays the same for me. The book I currently can’t stop shouting about for everyone to read is Sarah Kendzior’s Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America. For your romance fix, I recently finished Joanna Shupe’s The Devil of Downtown and thoroughly enjoyed it.
2. If I visit your hometown, where am I going and what’s the best place to grab a bite? You’ll be heading to Fredericksburg, Virginia and if you want quality soft-serve ice cream, make your way to Carl’s Ice Cream.
3. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? I’ve been writing erotica under a pseudonym since early 2016 and regardless of what I’m writing at the time, I turn to my playlist of religious choral music. Some of my best work has been produced while an all-male Russian Orthodox choir sings hymns on a low volume.
4. What is your guilty pleasure? This is gross, but I can’t get enough of dermatology procedures. I followed Dr. Pimple Popper before she got her show on TLC and am a frequent lurker on the r/popping subreddit.
5. What are you afraid of? Authoritarian creep, spiders, and needles
6. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? No tattoos for me. When I say I’m afraid of needles, I mean I’m one of those people who needs to lie down while getting bloodwork. In the aforementioned pimple popping videos, I either turn away or fast forward through the local anesthesia.
7. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? It depends. I binge-watched the first two episodes of HBO’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and am incredulous that I have to wait for the next one. During the lockdown, my husband got me on to Top Chef and I have been devouring that, making commentary on the dishes, which I have no business doing since I am a terrible cook.
8. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )? I have to alter the question a little to answer this accurately. If someone from Hulu’s Harlots could get a hold of Sarah Maclean’s The Bareknuckle Bastards series and delve deeper into her depiction of Covent Garden, I’d be delighted. I’m an absolute glutton for the antics between Devil, Beast, and Grace.
9. What is the one thing you can’t live without? Forgive the saccharine answer, but I’ve come to rely on my husband for more than I should. He’s the first person to read my work. There are, of course, numerous qualities on which I could wax poetic, but I’ll spare everyone.
10. What’s the one career gives you the shudders? Coroner or medical examiner
11. If I opened up your handbag/bag/briefcase, what item would I be shocked to see? There’s an unused Starbucks gift card in there.
12. What app on your phone/ipad gets the most use? Twitter, for sure.
Rae: Thank you for hanging out today.
MS: Thank you so much for having me!
M Spencer is a little too excited that SCOTUS oral arguments are now available for livestream, especially since she’s not a lawyer. A bona fide bibliophile, she hides her piles of romance paperbacks in tote bags because her bookshelves are already stuffed with other titles. Her hobbies include wearing red lipstick, studying French and Russian decorative art, and replaying the Assassin’s Creed games. She is eternally grateful that she can count on the hero of her own romance to read her first drafts and point out any plot holes. She writes erotica under a pseudonym and dwells in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
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