www.marilynbrant.com

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Read-A-Romance Month 2014

Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match --
On sale for a few more days in celebration of
the release of the new companion book:
Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet!

Let's Celebrate ROMANCE!

I'm so honored to be invited to participate in RARM (Read-A-Romance Month) this year by a wonderful contemporary romance writer, who also happens to be one of my good friends and critique partners -- national bestselling author Laura Moore! I love ALL of her books, and I have copies of all of them on my keeper shelf, too!! Definitely check out her Rosewood Trilogy and her latest Silver Creek Series. Such fabulous heartthrob heroes -- mmmm! ;)

I fell in love with romance novels when I was in junior high and discovered Phyllis A. Whitney and Victoria Holt at my tiny local library. I'm pretty sure I read every single one of their Gothic romances in the collection. Not only did these stories make me long to meet a tall, dark, and handsome stranger from a foreign land, but they also spurred my interest in international travel, castles, and mystery plot lines...

As far back as I can remember, my favorite songs, movies, and novels were love stories -- sometimes with a dash of danger, frequently with a bit of humor, and always with some strong emotion. I'm thrilled to be a part of the community writers that gets to publish romance today and, hopefully, give a whole new generation of readers the joy of discovering tales of passion for the first time!

Questions:
My coming-of-age romantic mystery (which was
chosen by The Reading Frenzy to be one of
their Top 20 Novels of 2013) The Road to You.
1. Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
I'm not a big physical risk taker. I haven't skydived out of any airplanes or skied down a slope much higher than a bunny hill. However, I've taken some fairly major emotional risks... Like auditioning for a community theater musical, even though I didn't have any formal vocal training. (I did get a chorus part in the show, though!) And auditioning for a university dance group that was going to tour Europe, even though I didn't have any formal training in dance either. (I was lucky enough to get accepted into that, too, although I really had to work hard to come up to speed on those Charleston steps, LOL.) But probably the most adventurous thing I ever did in my life -- aside from motherhood -- was to apply to be an AFS exchange student as a high schooler. I was 16 and there was a lot of work involved. My parents were supportive of me, but they made it clear that if I wanted to do it, all the initiative would have to be mine. So, I filled out stacks of papers, got teacher recommendations, officially applied, did the in-person interview when I'd made it through to the second round of the submission process, and waited for what seemed like an eternity... I got a placement and was able to spend the summer between my junior and senior years in high school in Brisbane, Australia. I *loved* it, and the world just seemed to open up like a treasure box once I'd had a chance to travel halfway around it... It was a fabulous and truly memorable experience.

2. Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)
I always loved both reading and writing -- and I do think the two go hand in hand. (Someone once wrote that reading is the "inhale" and writing is the "exhale"... Love that.) I wrote songs and poems in elementary school, but it wasn't until 6th grade that the notion of writing professionally even occurred to me. But I didn't pursue it. In fact, aside from being on both the newspaper and yearbook staffs in high school, I didn't take writing seriously at all until I was in my early 30s with a newborn baby at home. Then I started writing about him (he's never fond of hearing this!) -- articles, parenting-related essays, and poems at first. When my son, who's now in high school, was just a toddler, I began drafting my first novel, and the end result was dreadful. No one will EVER see that book! It took five completed (different) manuscripts before I got my first contract with a New York publisher, and it's been a roller-coaster ride ever since.

My debut novel, According to Jane,
which won RWA's Golden Heart
Award & was a #1 Kindle bestseller...
3. Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
There are MANY novels I've loved, but the one that changed my life -- hands down -- is Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. (I even wrote a blog post about it HERE for the 200th anniversary of its release.) In my opinion, it's a work of stunning brilliance, and I'm just as much in awe of it now as I was when I first read it at the age of 14. Austen knew human behavior. She understood they way people thought, acted in public (and in private), dealt with difficult news, with tedium...or with joy. Her characters are timeless and universal and, more than any other author, she's made me recognize many of the traits of her most famous characters in the real people I know from my life, including my own family members. Her novels have greatly influenced the direction of my writing as well. My debut novel, According to Jane, along with the new contemporary romantic comedy series I'm working on now (Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect ___ ), are both direct nods to Austen's genius. I'm forever grateful to my high-school English teacher for assigning that novel!

My Official Bio:
Marilyn Brant is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy & mystery. She was named the Author of the Year (2013) by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She loves all things Jane Austen, has a passion for Sherlock Holmes, is a travel addict and a music junkie, and lives on chocolate and gelato. Visit her website: www.marilynbrant.com . 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Release Week for PRIDE, PREJUDICE & THE PERFECT BET...and the NY Times Bestseller List!

I'm so thrilled to finally announce the release of my latest romantic comedy, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet (Perfect #2, Bingley & Jane's story), which is the follow up to Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match (Perfect #1, Will & Beth's story).

*Throwing confetti in the air!!*

About the book:

The course of true love doesn’t always run smooth…

Everyone thought Beth Ann Bennet and Dr. Will Darcy had an unexpected romance in Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match (Perfect #1, January 2013). Now, Beth’s best friend, Jane Henderson, and Will’s first cousin, Bingley McNamara, begin their own unlikely love story in Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet (Perfect #2), which starts at the Darcy/Bennet wedding when they find themselves in the roles of maid of honor and best man for the newlyweds.

Jane is an interning school psychologist and a woman who wears an angelic mask in public, but she’s not as sweet tempered as she’d like everyone to believe. Turns out, she may have just crossed paths with the one person who’ll unnerve her enough to get her to reveal her true self.

As for Bingley, he’s a wealthy, flirtatious and compulsively social guru of finance, who likes to wager on stocks and, let’s face it, on just about anything that strikes his fancy. But this dedicated ladies’ man may have finally met the woman who’ll challenge his bachelor ways!

Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet…where life’s biggest gamble is the game of love.

It's available all over the world and at most e-tailer sites right now!!
Perfect Bet:

ALSO, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match is on sale for a limited time for just 99 cents! If you haven't read that novel and would like an ebook copy, here are those links, too.
Perfect Match: 
  
And, finally, in very exciting news, the boxed set my story On Any Given Sundae was a part of this summer -- the Love, Laughter & Happily Ever Afters collection -- has hit *two* New York Times Bestseller Lists (the E-Book list and the Combined Print & E-Book list), and it has been on the USA Today Bestseller List for *three weeks* in a row!! All I can say is THANK YOU to all of you for reading our stories and spreading the word! We all truly appreciate it :).

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

All-Star Romantic Comedy Boxed Set - Just 99 Cents in June!

I said last month that I would still post all of the really exciting book updates on the blog...and this is one of them! I'm thrilled to be part of this incredible boxed set of EIGHT full-length romantic comedies, all by bestselling authors, but it's only going to be available for a very limited time...

While it's here, though, LOVE, LAUGHTER & HAPPILY EVER AFTERS (June 2014) will be just 99 cents for readers, and there are pre-order buttons coming soon (see below -- the iTunes one is already available and I'll add the rest as we get them). So don't miss it! Grab a copy before it disappears!!

Check out this information about the set:

LOVE, LAUGHTER, AND HAPPILY EVER AFTERS COLLECTION

Eight Fun, Romantic Novels by Eight Bestselling Authors

Just in time for summer!  An all-star collaboration by some of today’s most popular bestselling romance authors.  From the funny and sweet to the steamy and heartfelt, this collection has eight full-length FUN, romantic love stories hand-picked to bring a smile to your face while you’re lounging out in the sun this summer.  This limited edition boxed set will only be available until July so get yours today! 

Total length is 1,800 pages and at just **$0.99** for eight novels, that’s a $27 savings!

COLLECTION INCLUDES:

ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAE -- by USA Today Bestselling Author Marilyn Brant
FINDING THE RIGHT GIRL -- by NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Violet Duke
SWEET TO YOU -- by iBooks and Barnes & Noble Bestselling Author Jessie Evans
UNAFRAID -- by USA Today Bestselling Author Melody Grace
LOVE LOVE -- by Amazon Bestselling Author Beth Michele
TEMPTING LOVE -- by Amazon Bestselling Author Melanie Shawn
NOT OVER YOU -- by NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Marquita Valentine
And in her much-anticipated indie debut, Samhain bestselling author Erin Nicholas with the never-before-published novel, GETTING OUT OF HAND.

99-CENT PRE-ORDER LINKS:
Amazon (up and running now!)
iTunes (up and running now!)
Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, and Kobo (pre-order links coming soon - yay)

And there's also a RAFFLECOPTER giveaway going on for just the next few days in celebration of the cover reveal. Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Seven Years...and a Time for Change

Coming Summer 2014! Design by E.M. Tippetts
(http://www.emtippetts.com)
It's nearly impossible for me to believe that seven years (to the day!) has gone by since I began this blog. I remember exactly when and why I started it: I'd gotten the very exciting call two weeks prior that I was a 2007 RWA Golden Heart finalist for According to Jane and, with that, the thrilling launch of my online professional life, along with my very first author website ;).

A lot has happened in the years since. I won that Golden Heart award, sold several novels (eventually!) to a traditional New York publisher, indie published several others, hit the USA Today bestseller list and the #1 spot on both the Amazon and the B&N Top 100 lists...and, best of all, made some WONDERFUL friends in the writing world, online and off. I'm incredibly grateful to you all.

Many more professional publishing-related tasks have been added to my workday in the past few years, though, and not much has been taken away, so I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone who's been a regular visitor to Brant Flakes that I'm not blogging with the frequency that I used to. Most of my readers and fellow writers have told me that if I needed to make a choice between writing blog posts and writing novels...that I should choose the novels. And so I shall.

However, while there will be longer periods between posts, I'm not completely closing down this site. The archives have seven years worth of fun conversations, book info, guest visits, recipes and hot guy pics, after all! And I still intend to pop back on this page occasionally -- to share a new book cover or a release date or a piece of particularly exciting news -- but, for the most part, you'll probably find me more often on Facebook, where I'll post the majority of my updates (I hope you'll join me there -- if we're not FB friends already, please send me a request!) and on Austen Variations (their FB page & the blog), too. Less frequently, I'll be on Twitter, Goodreads, Magical Musings and the Girlfriends Book Club. And, of course, there will always be updates/events/release info on my website.

In that spirit, I'll share the first of these updates here with the latest book news -- the official cover reveal for PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND THE PERFECT BET -- coming out this summer!! What do you think?!

This is Bingley McNamara and Jane Henderson's love story, the cousin and the best friend respectively of Dr. Will Darcy and Beth Ann Bennet from Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match. Jane is a school psychologist and a woman who wears an angelic mask, but she's not as sweet tempered as she'd like the world to believe. At Beth and Will's wedding, Jane crosses paths with the one person who unnerves her enough to get her to reveal her true self. As for Bingley, he's a wealthy, flirtatious, compulsively social guru of finance, who likes to wager on stocks and on just about anything that strikes his fancy. But this dedicated ladies' man may have just met the woman to finally challenge his bachelor ways...

I'm so excited about this story and can't wait to share it with you all soon!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Prepping for St. Patrick's Day

Technically, I'm not a drop Irish, but my husband is and, thus, so is our son... During this time of year, all of us like to celebrate the inexplicable delights of green beer, shamrock cookies, and cupcakes featuring leprechauns or clovers. Who wouldn't, right?!

For those of you who are Irish -- or at least Irish in spirit on March 17th! -- here are links to a few fun recipes from various baking sites to help you kick off the holiday:

Irish Soda Bread
Shamrock Cookies
Irish Potatoes and Cabbage
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Leprechaun Cupcakes

Enjoy!! And may the luck of the Irish be with you!! :)

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Summer in Europe ~ Book Club Pick!

Just want to jump in quick and share this bit of fun news: A Summer in Europe is the Women's Fiction Book Club pick for March!! The discussion will be taking place on Goodreads, and it's completely open to the public and free to join. So if you're interested, I hope you'll come along on this virtual European trip with us ;).

About the novel:
On her thirtieth birthday, Gwendolyn Reese receives an unexpected present from her widowed Aunt Bea: a grand tour of Europe in the company of Bea's Sudoku and Mah-jongg Club. The prospect isn't entirely appealing. But when the gift she is expecting -- an engagement ring from her boyfriend -- doesn't materialize, Gwen decides to go. 

At first, Gwen approaches the trip as if it's the math homework she assigns her students, diligently checking monuments off her must-see list. But amid the bougainvillea and stunning vistas of southern Italy, something changes. Gwen begins to live in the moment: skipping down stone staircases in Capri, running her fingers over a glacier in view of the Matterhorn, racing through the Louvre, and taste-testing pastries at a Marseilles cafe. Revelling in every new experience -- especially her attraction to a charismatic British physics professor -- Gwen discovers that the ancient wonders around her are nothing compared to the renaissance unfolding within...

"Brant's newest...distinguishes itself with a charismatic leading man and very funny supporting cast, especially the wonderful elderly characters with their resonant message about living life to the fullest." ~ Publishers Weekly

"Brant's charming and engaging tale will allow readers to immerse themselves in the magic and beauty of Europe along with the characters. Although the descriptions of the scenery are amazing, the development of the characters and their unique personalities are what really make this novel shine. What an enjoyable escape!" ~ Romantic Times


Have a wonderful weekend and a lovely start to March, everyone!!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Short Stories and Sweet Treats


On our new Austen Variations blog and in honor of this heart-filled holiday, several of us (myself included) have Valentine's Day excerpts up from our stories. I also have a free short story available to anyone who'd like it called "A Tale of Two Matchmakers" (featuring the ever-meddlesome Emma Woodhouse, Mr. Knightley, and a fairy name Sylvia, LOL). Hope you'll enjoy both!

And, of course, what would be a romantic holiday without a few sweet treats, right? Well, it turns out that February 5th was "World Nutella Day!" Yes, a celebration devoted to one of my favorite foods... I didn't know about it until this week, but better late than never, right?! Here are a bunch of recipes to make sure you can eat something Nutella laden all day long, if you so desire :). And I've included the one I most want to try below, because I think it's a PERFECT treat for Valentine's Day. Hope you'll enjoy it, too, and that you'll have a wonderful and romantic weekend!!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

--- See the step-by-step instructions with pictures on "The Kitchn" Blog HERE ---
Strawberry–Nutella Pop Tarts 
adapted from Macheesmo, makes about 8-10 Pop Tarts
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 sticks of chilled, unsalted butter, diced
4 tablespoons of ice water
Best quality strawberry jam/preserves and Nutella, for filling
Powdered sugar for dusting
Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse until mixed. Add the butter and pulse until it is roughly the size of peas. Next, add the water, and process until the dough starts to form a ball. Split the dough into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to an hour. Roll out the dough into a rectangle on a lightly-floured surface until it is about a 1/4-inch thick. Cut the dough into evenly-shaped rectangles using a knife or a pizza cutter. Repeat with the second ball of dough. Line two baking sheets with foil and place the squares of dough down on them, about an inch apart.
Spread the preserves or Nutella (or both) in the center of each rectangle (I used about 1-2 tablespoons).
Top each rectangle with a second sheet of dough and seal the edges by gently pressing dough on the dough with a fork. Work your way around the entire tart with the fork, making sure the edges are sealed.
Prick each pop tart with a fork. Now, freeze the tarts for several hours. Bake them for about about 25-30 minutes, at 375 degrees F. Let the pop tarts cool slightly, before dusting them with powdered sugar. (you can make a glaze, but I like them lightly dusted with sugar).
(part of The Kitchn's "Breakfast with a Blogger" series)
 You definitely want to visit Kasey and Matthew's blog for LOTS of amazing recipes and music to go along with them: Turntable Kitchen