New Release from author Mel Curtis ~ Breaking the Rules

Obstinate Headstrong Girl ~ Author Renée Reynolds: Mel Curtis ~ Breaking the Rules

Author Mel Curtis is releasing a hot new novella in The Hollywood Rules series, Breaking the Rules.  We’ve met the Rule siblings – Amber, Blue, Cora, and Gemma (and we’ll meet the unknown Daisy in the future!).  Now we’re going to find out the story of fave supporting characters Jack and Viv.

Let’s get The Story Behind the Story of Breaking the Rules, straight from the author, Mel Curtis.

I’ve been writing books in The Hollywood Rules series for a couple of years now. From the very first book an estranged couple showed up – Jack and Viv Gordon. Here was a couple that through three books and a novella clearly loved each other (when they weren’t being out of control), but couldn’t seem to work their problems out. I’m sure you’ve known couples like this and wondered what the problem was. You’ll find out more about why their marriage broke up, and why they’re destined to be together when they go about Breaking the Rules.

The blurb:

To say Jack and Vivian Gordon’s marriage has been rocky would be an understatement. The Gordons have been on a roller coaster of love and lust, but can’t seem to get on the same page at the same time. This power couple needs a time-out to find their happily ever after. And life coach to Hollywood’s rich and powerful, Cora Rule, has just the solution – have the couple sign their divorce papers in a safe room…and lock them inside.

The excerpt:

Vivian Gordon had a problem.

A six-foot-two-inch hunk of a problem.

Sex with Jack hadn’t solved the problem. Marrying him hadn’t solved the problem. Leaving him hadn’t solved the problem.

The problem was that Viv loved her husband, but Jack didn’t love her.

It wasn’t as if Jack was incapable of love, as some of Hollywood moguls seemed to be. No, Jack had passion aplenty, but it was for the NBA team he owned, the L.A. Flash, not for a woman. Not for Viv.

Viv watched Jack swim his daily laps with strong, commanding strokes. Heaven forbid Jack didn’t get his laps in. If he didn’t, he was the biggest shit.

Her Gianvito Rossi black suede lace up heels clicked slowly across the white marble tile as she approached the patio doors in the house they’d once shared. Her cadence was one of a doomed prisoner being shown the open door of the gas chamber.

This is the end.

And she’d chosen the execution date.

Grab your copy of Breaking the Rules here:


Apple iTunes


Gentle Readers, just for stopping by today, Ms. Curtis has an awesome gift.  You can download a FREE COPY of Amber Rules from Melinda’s website during the week of October 20-26, 2014.  Amber Rules is Book 1 in the Hollywood Rules series (there are three books and two novellas currently out).  Just click on over to, then enter Amber_Rules under Username and blogtour2014 under Password.  That’s it.  Easy peasy.

But wait, there’s more!

If you sign up for Melinda’s book release email and newsletter, you will be sent a FREE, fun, sweet novella set within the Hollywood Rules world.  Simply click here to sign up.


Obstinate Headstrong Girl ~ Author Renée Reynolds: Guest post by author Mel Curtis with her new release, Breaking the Rules

Melinda Curtis is an award winning, USA Today recommended, Amazon best selling author. She writes independently published, steamy Hollywood Rules series as Mel Curtis. Jayne Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: Sharp, sassy, modern version of a screwball comedy from Hollywood’s Golden Age except a lot hotter.” Melinda also writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet and emotional romances for the Harlequin Heartwarming line. Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf”.

Find Mel:



J.C. McKenzie ~ new release ~ The Shucker’s Booktique


Obstinate Headstrong Girl ~ Author Renée Reynolds: Guest post by author J.C. McKenzie and her new release, The Shucker's Booktique


After her fiancé dumps her and her beloved Aunt Jenny goes missing, Willa Eklund travels to Lobster Cove with a broken heart to search for Jenny while running her bookstore. When a mysterious man visits the Shucker’s Booktique on a stormy night, drenched in rain and covered in mud, Willa’s heart melts under his stormy gaze. She wants Lon and the answers he may have, but he also has a secret. Can Willa trust him?

Lon Devlin is a Tempest, a water sprite who can only take a human form during stormy nights. He rides the waves, lives by the tides, and nothing can hold him down, not even a beautiful woman. When he visits his mortal friend, he discovers she’s missing, and her intriguing niece has taken her place. He wants Willa, but he also wants answers. What happened to Jenny?

Thump! Thump! Thump!

No! She gasped. It couldn’t be. The banging on the front door of the booktique had to be a figment of her imagination. She couldn’t will Lon into existence. Why would he come back? Especially if he was involved. Unless…cold ice prickled up her spine…unless he needed to eliminate her to take care of loose ends.

No. Crazy thoughts, Willa. He could’ve taken care of her the night before. No, her heart hammered against her chest for a different reason. But it didn’t matter. The knocking on the door wouldn’t, couldn’t be him.

Thump! Thump! Thump!

Could it? She clutched her hot mug in both hands and turned toward the doorway leading to the bookstore. From the kitchen in the back room, she had a clear view through the store to the front door, but not who stood on the other side.

Willa!” Lon growled. “Wake up and let me in!”

Willa gasped and almost dropped her cup. The tea sloshed around and some spilled over her hands. It burned, but she didn’t move. She couldn’t breathe. Somehow the air got trapped inside her throat. Why was he here? What did he want?

Oh God, let it be me!

lobster cove series

Grab your copy of The Shucker’s Booktique at:


Wild Rose Press


Obstinate Headstrong Girl ~ Author Renée Reynolds: Guest post by author J.C. McKenzie and her new release, The Shucker's Booktique

Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.  To catch up with J.C., please visit:








J.C. is hosting a fantastic giveaway to celebrate her new release – a $25 Amazon Gift Card, 5 e-copies of The Shucker’s Booktique, and 3 copies of Shift Happens .  Click HERE for your chance to win!


Title: The Shucker’s Booktique

Series Name: Lobster Cove

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Editor: Lara Parker

Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor of DCA Graphics

Theme(s): Shapeshifters, supernatural

SubGenre(s): Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Rating: Spicy (PG13)

Keywords: Shifter, Paranormal, Fae, Urban Fantasy

Page Count: 115

Word Count: 27346

Digital Price: 2.99

Digital ISBN 978-1-62830-659-0

COPYRIGHT © 2014 by J. C. McKenzie


Meet Mageela Troche ~ Claiming the Highlander

I want to warmly welcome author Mageela Troche to the blog today.  She graciously agreed to stop by and reveal the inspiration for her latest novel, Claiming the Highlander.

As a romance author, I am asked many questions. One that I often get is “where do you get your inspiration from?” For my latest novel, Claiming the Highlander, I can say it all started with a football game. I was watching the Green Bay Packers play. I couldn’t help but watch number 52, Linebacker Clay Matthews. His long blond hair flapped out from the bottom of his helmet as he tackled his opponents. One thought popped in my head: Viking.

clay matthews #52

Of course, my books are full of medieval highlanders, but Scotland and Norse have an intertwined history. Thus my hero, Caelen MacKenzie, was born. But who would be the woman that captured his heart? That I didn’t know. I had the opening scene: two children wed for political reasons. I knew one thing – a woman makes her man.

kemp muhl lady brenna

Then my heroine came to me—Brenna Grant. She would be opposite of Caelen. Brunette and brown-eyed . . . but there was more. Marriage at this time was about political power, building connections and strengthening family ties. Brenna would be trained for the life she would live once joined to her husband, but this marriage had to help her clan as well. Now she was torn between the life she was raised to live and the one she was leaving behind. She risked the loss of the one truth in her life – her marriage to Caelen – because of men’s machinations.

Claiming the Highlander, the latest novel from author Mageela Troche

Caelen MacKenzie married heiress Lady Brenna Grant in his youth for a large parcel of land and an earldom.  Years later, Scotland trembles from the tables of the Viking Highlander, yet Caelen must face his most challenging battle – returning home to the past he ran from.

Lady Brenna loves her husband.  As her loyalties are tested, the life she was reared to live is in jeopardy.  She knows no other life apart from Countess and wife to Caelen.  Snagged in the power plays of men, she will do anything to save that life, and the man she loves.

From the rugged western highlands to the glittering Scottish court, they must battle the machinations of powerful men scheming against them.

Grab your copy of Claiming the Highlander at:


Barnes & Noble

Secret Cravings Publishing


Author Mageela Troche

Author Mageela Troche writes in the cramped corner of her Big Apple apartment.  She is currently working on her fourth novel.  When she’s not writing, she has her nose in books while her lovebird flies about, making a great deal of noise.  But her bird is sooo cute.

Catch up with Mageela on:




Meet My Character

My Facebook friend, fellow author, and like-minded history enthusiast Francine Howarth (do you get the idea that I like this lady a bit?) invited me to join the blog-hop Meet My Character.  Francine is not only a former mainstream-published author and former publisher, she’s now the self-published author of 17th century swashbuckling romances, lavish Georgian novellas, and romantic Regency murder mysteries.

I know.  She’s that awesome.

Find out more for yourself by visiting Francine at her website, where you can also find links to points of sale for all her novels.  You can even read sample chapters, view images of places featured within her novels, and discover links to more places of interest to historical novelists (like me!).

For this blog-hop, I’m to profile a main character from a current work in progress (WIP).  I classify my third novel, Earl Crazy, as a WIP, as I am currently putting the final touches on it before shipping it off to my editor.  When it returns with bleeding red wounds, I will definitely progress to working on it some more.  For now, let’s get to know my beleaguered, crazy Earl.

What is the name of your character? Is he fictional or historical?

Tobias Kitteridge, the Earl of Aylesford, is a most fictional character, although I picture him quite alive and well in my mind.  For each character in my book, I pick real titles, estates, and events, but I mix them up to fit my completely fictional story.  My Earl of Aylesford hails from Warwickshire rather than Kent.  He inherits his title after his father refuses to be the heir, forcing Aylesford’s grandfather to seek to have the Letters Patent for the earldom amended (which is very fictional, by the way; it could happen, and did in the 20th century, but not during the Regency). As for what Aylesford looks like, I picked a public figure that fit my idea of his characteristics.  On my Pinterest page, Novel Inspiration, I have tacked up pictures of close representations of my fictional characters.  Aylesford happens to look very similar to Tom Cullen, the dashing Lord Gillingham on Downton Abbey.


You can see why it’s quite easy for me to blur the line between figment and fiction, yes?

When and where is the story set?

Earl Crazy is set in the autumn months of 1814.  All the action takes place in London.  1814 was an unusual year in history in general, and London in particular.  February brought a Frost Fair to the Thames for four days as the river was frozen solid.  Napoleon was deposed, abdicated his crown, and set sail for Elba in April.  Louis XVIII decided it was safe to leave London, and departed with dreams of a triumphal return to Paris.  Universal peace was declared in May, and dignitaries from various countries began to find their way to the English capital now that the war had ended.  Wellington was made a duke, fêted formally in polite homes, and extremely informally at a masque held by The Dandy Club of Byron, Devonshire, Leinster, et. al.  The Glorious Peace was celebrated in multiple parks and ballrooms in August.  So unlike most years, the aristocracy stayed in Town throughout the summer.  It would not do to miss a thing this the happenings in London, despite the heat and unfortunate stench.

london 1814 closeup

What should we know about your character?

Tobias Kitteridge is a man who grew up without a childhood, inherited an earldom that should never have been his, and shouldered the responsibilities of an entire family.  His grandfather, having lost two sons to accident and war, and the third and youngest to a world-wide treasure hunt, pulled young Tobias from university to bring him home for study.  He petitioned Parliament to let the earldom bypass his living son – Tobias’s father – so that grandson Tobias could inherit.  His petition was granted, thus ending Tobias’s youth of school, friends, and frivolity.  Life soon became endless lessons on land management, book balancing, and sober living.  At the death of his grandfather, Tobias became Aylesford, and inherited the care of his grandmother and aunt in addition to his wealth, lands, and tenants.  When we meet Aylesford, he is desperately trying to balance the demands of the earldom and supervision of his relations with the understandable desire to pursue his own interests for a change.  Just when things seem to be working out, two of his closest friends marry; now even the landscape of his friendships is changing and adulthood is leaving him behind.  A drunken suggestion is made that the answer to Aylesford’s problems can be found in a wife: one who will manage his family and his household, and allow him some much-desired free time.  This leads to a drunken advertisement for a wife (another bit of real history coming to life in my fiction).  Mix in two scheming countesses, one daffy aunt, liberal drops of the machinations of well-meaning friends, and you have the picture of life for Aylesford in Earl Crazy.  Sounds like he only wants for the perfect – for him – woman.


What is the main conflict?  What messes up his life?

I touched on this a little bit above.  Aylesford had to grow up too soon, and missed out on many of the classic youthful male pursuits of drinking, wenching, and gambling.  His main conflict comes in trying to find a balance between his responsibilities and needing a much-deserved break from those responsibilities.  He thinks he’s figured out a solution with the helpful prodding of his friends and family: a wife will take over the household concerns while his secretary and stewards will help with the earldom.  In reality, a wife complicates his life . . . but in a surprisingly satisfactory way.  He congratulates himself on finding a lady who needs help as much as he, thinking they can both do each other a fine turn.  Instead, he finds that he likes her, wants to spend time with her, and relishes taking on the burden of ridding them all of her horrid brother.  It ends up further “messing” up his life, eroding what little order he had managed to scrape together, but in exchange he finds much more than he ever thought he needed.

life messy love messier

What is the personal goal of your character?

This is a bit of a difficult question.  At the beginning of the story, I think Aylesford’s goal is simply to survive.  He wishes his life were simpler, and wishes his responsibilities were lighter, but he doesn’t necessarily want them to go away.  He wishes his problems were more self-solving and involved him less.  After he marries, thinking he has achieved his goal of simplicity, we see him start to look at his life from the outside in, taking stock of the things that are important and those that are secondary concerns.  Pretty soon, his goals becomes to nurture and protect.  First he wants to help his wife, to give her the things she has missed most her life.  Next he wants to protect her from her threatening, grasping brother, and the subsequent worries he causes.  This softening of Aylesford’s perspective leads him to trouble himself personally for people rather than just attempt to manage them – he begins to care for his wife, react tenderly to his aunt and grandmother, and cherish his friends.  Responsibilities become privileges.

love story

Is there a working title for this novel? Can we read more about it?

There is a working permanent title for Book Three in The Lords of Oxford series – Earl Crazy.  It will be published later this year.  Soon I’ll have the cover to reveal, chapters to share, and general newsy bits to discuss.  I do have an excerpt that well describes the heroine’s perception of Aylesford, and gives a bit of insight into how others see him.  Lady Margaret and her benefactor, the Countess of Ashford, with whom she is staying as her brother is threatening her safety, are on their way to Aylesford’s house.  The Countess has just read of the Earl’s need for a wife, and she thinks Margaret is the perfect candidate.

The Earl of Aylesford.

Margaret bit her lower lip in concentrated thought.  That man unsettled her, for some nameless reason.  The gentlemen of her immediate circle were affable and courteous, as was Lord Aylesford, but that gentleman also made her feel . . . something indefinable.

She usually avoided men as a general rue.  They were unpredictable, brash, hot-headed, and downright mean.  The men of her family had taught her early that their sex was selfish and impatient, and brooked no intelligence or impudence from their women.  So she became a great studier of persons – their character, actions, and expressions – and tried to blend in as much as was possible.  But the Earl of Aylesford was a mystery, other than seeming to be perennially frustrated or harried.

And those black, fathomless eyes.

“You are thinking of his lordship, yes?  Worrying and wondering what possible reason we have to visit him.”

Lady Ashford’s words scattered Margaret’s musings to the wind.  “I thought we visited his relations, his aunt and grandmother.”

The Countess’ knowing smirk faded to a look of chagrin.  “Yes, that’s what I meant.  I merely misspoke.”

“You never misspeak.”

The Countess now flushed.  “True.  You misunderstood, then.”

It was Margaret’s turn to color, but she paled instead, casting a quick eye down at her beautiful borrowed morning dress.  She raised a hand to her elegant up-do, brushing her fingers as well against the delicate gold earbobs the Countess insisted she borrow.  “Please, Lady Ashford, I beg you not include me in any scheme–“

“Scheme?  I also never scheme.  I plan, and would even admit to the occasional plot, but never would I be so vulgar as to scheme.”

Margaret leaned across the carriage to take her mentor’s hands.  “Then I do beseech you leave me out of any ideas that should arise from this morning call.  There is nothing I lack that Lord Ayesford, or his family, should be sought to provide.”

“So you want nothing to do with anything planned at Kitteridge House?” Lady Ashford queried, enunciating the last three words carefully.  Her eye narrowed under beetled brows as she waited for an answer.

“Yes–” Margaret began.

“Ha-ha!” the Countess interrupted in victory.  “All was conceived at my own dining table.  My plan is well in hand, and now allowed by your own concession.”  She squeezed Margaret’s hands in reassurance.  “Trust me, darling girl.  I have your best interests at heart.  Or if it makes you feel more at ease, this meeting is as much about what you can provide this family as they, you.”

Margaret swallowed painfully, and loudly.  “I am well and truly sunk.”

Lady Ashford smiled with tenderness and affection at the timid lady now slumped back in the squabs opposite her.  “No, my dearest.  You are saved.”

So there you have it.  I’m hard at work in the writing cave, creating like mad for release later this year.  If you’d like to stay in the know, do the clicky thingy on the follow buttons of your choice up there on the right side of this page.

But this tour isn’t over yet.

jane austen good company

There are two other lovely ladies participating today, and they would adore it if you’d stop by, browse a bit, and say “hi.”


Please visit Sasha Cottman to read about her upcoming new release.

She also has a giveaway going on here.

madame gilflurt

Finally, hop on over to meet Catherine Curzon, AKA Madame Gilflurt, of Covent Garden fame.


New Release and FLASH GIVEAWAY ~ Shelter Me by Kathy Coopmans

Shelter Me cover

Shelter Me, the brand-spanking new novel by author Kathy Coopmans, debuts on September 7.  Check out this sneak peek from Kathy:

At the young age of nineteen, Shayne Andrews thought she had it all. She had the love of her life, her high school sweetheart, and a bright future ahead of her. That is, until one day he just disappeared, leaving a note as his only goodbye. With her heart shattered and broken, Shayne did the only thing she could. She left her small town on the shores of Lake Michigan to start her life over, needing to distance herself from the memories she and Luke had made. At that time, she vowed to herself that she would never return to her hometown again. Seven years later, Shayne realizes that fate is not on her side as she returns home for her aunt’s funeral, bringing back the one secret she swore to protect.

kathy teaser

Luke Schavone has regretted every day that he had to leave Shayne behind. Though he didn’t have a choice, his heart still bore the scars from the impact. After five years, Luke returned only to find that Shayne was gone. His best friend was the only lifeline he had to finding her, but Adam wasn’t talking. When the one thing Luke has wanted everyday for the past seven years runs right into him one night, he becomes determined to make sure he doesn’t lose her again.

kathy teaser3

At first, Shayne is hesitant. She wouldn’t be able to survive losing him again, but the pull toward him is so fierce, she can’t deny herself the chance. With her decision to start over, Luke and Shayne must admit truths and come to terms with the events that forced them apart in the first place. When secrets are revealed and old threats come to pass, will Luke be able to shelter Shayne from the destruction, or will she become lost to him forever?


Can’t wait one more day to snag your copy of Shelter Me?  You’re in luck!  Do the clicky thingy and pre-order now at Amazon.

You can also add Shelter Me to your list at Goodreads.

kathy teaser2

Don’t miss out and join in the fun to at the Facebook Release Party to get more behind-the-scenes scoops.


Kathy is a Michigan native, where she lives with her husband Tony. They have two sons, Aaron and Shane.

She is a sports nut. Her favorite sports include NASCAR, Baseball, and Football.

By day she is a hairstylist and loves her job. She has always been an avid reader, and at the young age of 50 decided she wanted to write. She claims she can do several things at once and still stay on task.

Her favorite quote is, “I got this.”


Still need to know more?  Find Kathy on:






Now for the FLASH giveaway.  You can see Kathy’s inspiration for her hero in the graphic above – the tasty Jake Gyllenhaal.  Who would be your lusty romantic inspiration?  Who are you sure would set the room on fire if he would only come on over?  Post a pic of your hunk in the comments below to be entered in the giveaway.  It’s that simple.  And if you want extra entries, tag your friends to come share their inspiration – just have them also mention that you sent them.  Winners will be drawn on Sunday, September 7, and will receive a free digital copy of Shelter Me straight from the author.

I’ll get us started with my obsession the inspiration for the hero of my coming release this autumn, Earl Crazy.  I call him Tobias Kitteridge, Earl of Aylesford.  Others know him as Tom Cullen (currently starring on Downton Abbey as Lord Gillingham).  Le sigh.


We’re Beautiful.

Beautiful.  What does that word even mean?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines beautiful as “excelling in grace of form, charm of colouring, and other qualities which delight the eye, and call forth admiration.”  Yikes.

look great see no one

The most popular definition at Urban Dictionary says, “Beautiful is a woman who has a distinctive personality, one who can laugh at anything, including themselves, who is especially kind and caring to others.”  Now this definition, I love.

sweat pants cheerleader

Different cultures have different standards of beauty, and those standards have evolved over hundreds of years under the such diverse influences as economics, norms, fashion, and even religious beliefs.

Author, historian, researcher, and all-around Wonder Woman, Geri Walton, blogged this week about Ideas of Female Beauty in the 1700s and 1800s.  It’s a fascinatingly specific essay on what people – and especially men – considered beautiful two and three hundred years ago.  Some ideals seem a touch odd today, like round knees, white shoulders, an unaffected air, or a smooth, high forehead.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of the characteristics called beautiful are still used as measures today: youth, smooth skin, straight teeth, and plenty of bosom.

If there’s one thing history can teach us about beauty, it’s that someone will always be around to judge who they think is or isn’t qualified to wear the adjective.  So it’s up to us to set our own standards, create our own definitions, and find what fits for us.

It’s just like Mr. Knightly said: “Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us perfect for one another.”  (For the purists: I know it was 1996 movie Mr. Knightly, or rather screenwriter Douglas McGrath, and not Jane Austen who gave us these words . . . but I’ll take them.  And Jeremy Northam.)

Do the clicky thingy and head over to read Geri’s post at 2Romance, and check out the beauty standards of yesteryear.  You might be surprised to see that a  few of the things we search for in our mirrors were the same things searched for in a foggy pier glass in a Georgian town house.

beauty isnt perfect

5 Easy Questions


Did you catch my answers to 5 Easy Questions at fellow author Kayelle Allen’s Romance Lives Forever blog?  The questions are designed to be easy and fun, and they were!

In case you missed the post, click here and find out some of my favorites, and if I have a book boyfriend.

It’s no surprise that I do, but who he is might be.  Here’s a hint: he’s never been repped on the big screen by Colin Firth – although that’s not a bad idea….

boyfriend material