Dream Vacations… WINNER!!

by Stacy Connelly


Brenda Hunt–Please email me at stacyconnelly@cox.net with your address and I will send you a copy of my August release, Small Town Cinderella. Thanks to everyone for posting!

For several years, my best friend and I tried going on vacation in Hawaii. It seemed something (usually something bad) always came up and made it so we couldn’t go. We even started calling it the Hawaii curse and made jokes about an evil tiki (those of you around my age might recall that Brady Bunch episode!).Hawaii pic

But, finally, this year, we were able to go. We went to the Big Island and had a great time–no evil tikis to be found! Just amazing, almost out of this world lava rock beaches, gorgeous waterfalls and even a winery!

While we were there, I realized many of our vacations either included the beach (Hawaii and most often San Diego) or the mountains/canyons. We’ve done road trips to New Mexico, Utah and Colorado over the years.

So that made me wonder… What kind of vacation do you prefer? Beaches? Mountains? Or is city life more your style? Leave a post, and I’ll draw a winner of my most recent release Small Town Cinderella! (And I apologize to my last winners–I tried to mail out your books before leaving for vacation, and I ran out of time. They will be in the mail this week!)

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Congrats Jane Gardner – Winner of Where would you like to live blog! :)

Congratulations Jane Gardner.  You are the winner of the drawing for the Amazon gift card!  PLEASE send your email address to me at leannebbb @ aol.com (no spaces).  Thanks to everyone for stopping by and commenting!


Leanne Banks

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Where would you like to live? And drawing for a gift card!

9780373658350Where would you like to live?

What climate do you think would suit you? Would you prefer a cold climate? Or a hot climate?

In my current book, MAVERICK FOR HIRE, climate is a big issue. It gets super cold in Montana in the winter. On top of that, the setting for our Mavericks is a small town, Rust Creek Falls. A lot of women have come to Rust Creek Falls in hopes of finding true love, but the men in town know that these women may not be prepared for the harsh winters and lack of entertainment. Are you a small town person? Or a bigger town person?

I have told my husband that I don’t want to move anywhere that I cannot get pizza delivered. :) So when he starts talking about moving to the sticks, I say….”What about pizza delivery?”

I live in Virginia and we get all four seasons. I like that, however, I would like a little less snow and ice in Winter. Therefore, I think I would really like to be a snowbird. I enjoy experiencing all four seasons, but I would be happy to take a trip way south in February.

What about you? I’ll draw from the responders to give away one Amazon gift card!


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Congrats, Cindy Hamilton! You won a copy of HIS TEXAS FOREVER FAMILY!

Congratulations, Cindy! Please email me at amywoodsbooks at gmail dot com, or through the contact page on my website, with your address, and I’ll happily send the book your way.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to leave comments! I loved hearing from you. :-)


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HisTexasForeverFamily_UScoverHis Texas Forever Family is a September release, and Amy’s debut novel.

Paige Graham only has room for one man in her life—her son, Owen. The little boy hasn’t spoken since his father died, but things change when he meets his new art teacher, Liam Campbell. Paige can’t help marveling at the progress Owen makes while working with his instructor—and Mr. Campbell isn’t exactly hard on the eyes, either!

New to Peach Leaf, Texas, Liam is captivated by his beautiful boss—who is none other than Paige! He can’t risk his job or his future by falling for his supervisor, but there is just something about her he can’t resist. Thanks to Liam’s lessons, Owen is on the road to recovery. Now if only Liam can show Paige that the best way to heal her heart is to open herself to love again….

* Where did you get the idea for His Texas Forever Family?
A spark of an idea, and the wonderful question, “What if?” inspired the story. I wondered what would happen if a child became mute following a terrible loss, and the only person able to help that child was someone with an unconventional way of treating psychological distress. I combined that person with the child’s mother—who has tried everything, without success, to help her son—along with a sweet romance, and the rest is history.

* Tell us about the hero of the book? Why will we fall in love with him?
Liam falls somewhere between alpha and beta—a spot that I really love for my heroes. He’s firm and strong with the heroine, Paige, when she needs that from him or when he sees that being that way will help make her stronger or lift her up. But he’s also gentle and sweet. I love classic alpha males, but sometimes I’m in the mood for a hero who’s a little closer to the beta side.

* Tell us about the heroine? Why is she the perfect woman for the hero?
Paige’s late husband died tragically and, at the beginning of the book, she’s at a point where she’s spent so much time taking care of her young son and trying to keep up with life in general—her job, her home, and all the other things that make up her days—that she hasn’t had time to really grieve and find a way to move on. Her relationship with Liam is special because, instead of rescuing her like a damsel in distress, he partners with her to share some of her burden so that she has space to heal. In the process, they discover a love that’s amazing and passionate, yes, but is also based on a very solid, real friendship and an understanding that her little boy needs a father as much as she needs someone to love.

* Is there any particular significance in the setting?
Although the book’s setting, Peach Leaf, Texas is a fictional small town, it’s loosely based on one of my all-time real favorite places—Fredericksburg, Texas. Fredericksburg is a town in West Texas with a population of a little over 10,000, and was founded in 1846 and named after Prince Frederick of Prussia. Both Fredericksburg and Peach Leaf are home to several amazing German restaurants boasting excellent beer and mouth-watering Reuben sandwiches, and Pioneer Museums that share artifacts and tons of information about the towns’ intriguing histories.

* What was your favorite scene to write?
really enjoyed writing the scene in which Paige and Liam kiss for the first time.

It was enough. For now. He leaned in slowly, giving her every chance to pull away, praying all the while she wouldn’t. He brushed his lips softly against hers, then kissed her lightly, only once, the small motion causing every nerve in him to stand on edge.
He wanted so much more, but he would have to be satisfied with this for the time being. Paige needed her space. When she was ready, she would have to make the next move.
But, for the first time in a long time, he felt confident enough, and ready, to try again with a woman. This woman.

* What was the most difficult scene for you to write?
There is a scene in which Paige, who’s had a long day of meetings and thought she’d scheduled a sitter for Owen, forgets to pick him up. She feels awful about the situation and it just adds to what is already a load of stress about being a newly single mom. I hated to have to put her through that, but it leads to something good…I promise!

* Why will readers enjoy this book?
His Texas Forever Family has (I hope!) a unique premise, a sweet small-town setting, and perfectly imperfect characters that I think readers might relate to. I would love for readers to walk away feeling uplifted and with a fresh belief that, no matter what life throws at us, love has the power to heal just about any pain, and we are never too old, too broken, or too anything to deserve true love.

That’s all for me. I’d love to hear from you! Are there any specific themes, topics, or storylines that you love to see in your romances? Anything you’d love to read about but haven’t found yet?
I’m giving away a signed paperback copy of His Texas Forever Family to a randomly chosen commenter who posts today (open to residents of US, Canada, or International).

And readers are always welcome to visit me at www.amywoodsbooks.com.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Congrats Elaine A-W! Winner MAVERICK for HIRE!

Congrats Elaine A-W!  And thanks for all of your responses for how you deal with STRESS!  Mwah!  xo, Leanne

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S-T-R-E-S-S! MAVERICK for HIRE A Recipe & Gift Card Drawing!

It’s summer here in the States, so I’m happy to report my stress level is way down, but when I was writing my last two books (especially during deadline), I was very stressed. Like the heroine in my current book, MAVERICK for HIRE, I did some baking. MAVERICK for HIRE should be on the bookstands now if the poor retail people can find time amidst putting out a constant stream of back-to-school supplies.

At Harlequin, we’re celebrating MONTANA MAVERICKS: 20 YEARS IN THE SADDLE! Can you believe we’ve had twenty years of Mavericks? My story features hunky Nick Pritchett and his best bud Cecelia Clifton. Cecelia has come to Rust Creek looking for L.O.V.E, but according to Nick, she’s been going about it all wrong. He’s convinced he can help Cecelia meet her match if she follows his instructions to a T. Trouble is, the only man he finds good enough for his childhood pal is … himself!

This, of course, causes a lot of stress for Cecelia and as I mentioned earlier, she deals with it by baking. Cecelia prepares a lot of baked goods for an apple festival and here is the recipe for an Apple Cake I think she may have used. Warning: there’s a lot of chopping!:)

4 Cups Diced, Peeled Apples
2 Cups White Sugar
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Salt
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs Beaten
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
(optional: 1 teaspoon Nutmeg)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan. In a medium bowl, sift together apples and sugar. Set aside. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and optional nutmeg.
In large bowl, mix oil, eggs and vanilla. Add sugar and apples. Mix well. Add dry ingredients, then nuts and stir. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch.

Cool and cover with optional glaze:
Mix together 2 Tablespoons melted butter, ½ Cup Brown Sugar, 2 Tablespoons Milk and 1 teaspoon Vanilla. Pour over cake.

Back to the subject of stress. I think people deal with stress in a lot of ways. One of my writer friends told me she actually CLEANS when she feels stressed. Not me! I know other people shop when they feel stressed. Others watch television or read. Some even exercise.

I was wondering what do you do when you feel stressed? Put your answer in the comment section and I’ll draw one name toreceive a gift card to Amazon. Please make it easy for me to get in touch with you via email!

Hope you’re having a GREAT week!
Leanne Banks

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Summer Vacation Post Winner….Laney4

Congratulations, Laney4 – you’ve won a copy of A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH and a Starbucks GC. Please email me with your contact info at michelle@michellemajor.com.

Thanks, everyone, for the comments!!

A Kiss on Crimson Ranch cover copy

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Summer Vacation Bucket List…..by Michelle Major

An official end-of-summer milestone occurred in my house yesterday when my kids went back to school. The start of the new school year always signaled a changed of seasons for me, although not as much when it’s still mid-August and we have another six weeks or so until it even begins to feel like fall around here. It feels like we spent our short summer trying to cram in as much fun as would fit on the calendar. We went to the beach in South Carolina at the beginning and ended summer break with a long weekend in Minnesota visiting old friends.

But I’ve also been thinking about other places I’d like to visit if time and money weren’t a factor. I could do a mile-long list of vacation destinations but here are three that would definitely make the cut:

  1. Bora Bora: This island, part of French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean, makes my list because of the over-the-water bungalows. How cool would it be to stay in a room on stilts surrounded by the turquoise ocean? If you’ve seen the movie ‘Couples Retreat’, this is where it was filmed. To me it would be the ultimate beach getaway.images
  1. Switzerland: It’s no secret that I love the mountains and I’d love to visit The Alps. To ride the rail through the countryside, visit the town of Zermatt, hear all the different languages and history there. I don’t love to ski, so I’d definitely want to go in the summer.Unknown
  1. Galapagos Islands: Who remembers studying Charles Darwin and his research on the Galapagos Islands in school? The blue-footed booby? It would be amazing to visit these famous islands and see some of the wildlife there first hand. Although I’m a little torn because I’ve read that the tourism industry is one of the things contributing to the environmental problems on the island. But this is my fantasy list, so I’m keeping it!galapagos-islands

How about you? Where would you go for your dream vacation? Is there some place in the world you’ve always wanted to visit? Or maybe you’ve already checked off your top bucket-list vacation? Share a comment below (or tell me where you’ve vacationed this summer). I’ll draw a name for a copy of my August release, A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH and a Starbucks GC as well.

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Back to School Days… WINNER!!

by Stacy Connelly

Emily B–Email me at Stacyconnelly@cox.net with your address, and I will mail out a copy of Small Town Cinderella! Thank you all for posting!

So, I’ll admit, it’s been a long time since the end of summer signaled the start of the school year for me. But I do still remember the excitement/dread (depending on how old I was at the time!) of that first day of school. I remember meeting the new teacher, the list of items needed for the upcoming year, the choice of classes to take, and that all important call to my best friend to discuss what we would wear! :)

Even with school days behind me, as a writer, I still enjoy shopping in those aisles at the stores. I love fancy pens, colorful stickies, notebooks, three ring binders and a rainbow of different colored markers. And let’s face it, the stuff’s so much cooler than it was when I was a kid!

So how about you? What do you remember best from the back to school years? Are you going through those days again with your kids or grandkids? What’s the best (or worst!) part of it all?


Leave a post, and I’ll draw a winner of my latest release Small Town Cinderella!


PS I hope to get back to all your posts, but I’ve been having trouble commenting on the site. I think it’s my computer. Talk about a ‘back to school item’ I’d love to replace with something new!

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