Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Read-A-Romance Month 2015 - The Joy of Romance and a Giveaway!

The One That I Want (Mirabelle Harbor,
Book 2) - just released!
Many thanks to Lorelei from Lorelei's Lit Lair (read her essay here) for inviting me to participate in this year's celebration and also to Bobbi Dumas who created the Read-A-Romance Month event!! Such a fantastic idea, and I'm so pleased to be a part of it, ladies!

A Few Thoughts on Romance:

I don't know what's going on this summer, but it's been a time where several people close to me have gotten some very difficult news. There have been a few health crises, the sad loss of loved ones, deep frustrations with relationships or careers, and worries about children...

In a couple of cases, the first thing I did after giving that friend a hug was to offer her a romance novel by one of the many authors whose work I enjoyed. Something joyful and uplifting that would hopefully make my friend laugh and provide for her a short-term mental escape from the darker, daily-life realities. I can't tell you all the number of times that a reader has sent me or another romance author a message through social media thanking us for writing stories that are funny, touching, and ultimately optimistic and hopeful. I've personally received some beautiful emails from readers who were sitting at hospital bedsides with a sick parent/spouse/child, and they told me how grateful they were to read a story that brought a smile to their faces during a time when they most needed it.

This is one of the reasons that I love to write humorous contemporary romances and romantic women's fiction. Because the reader in me does the very same thing when I'm sad -- I reach for a romance novel to remind me of some of life's most joyful moments. The authors whose books I escaped into were lifesavers. They helped me keep my spirits up and gave me mental images that were -- for a brief while, at least -- as real to me as the world I was inhabiting. I'll never stop being appreciative of that gift!

The Questions:

1. Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy:
When I got the call from RWA that the manuscript that later became my debut novel -- According to Jane -- was a finalist for the Golden Heart Award. A few months later, at the 2007 national Romance Writers of America's conference in Dallas, it won! That was so exciting. I still smile when I think of it :).

2. Tell us about a place that brings you joy or is attached to a memory of joy:
Seeing Venice, Italy for the first time. I was utterly spellbound. It looked just as I'd imagined it would be, but even better. We came around the Grand Canal in a water bus and saw San Marco's Square, and the sight of it in the sunlight took my breath away. It's simply gorgeous. (I got to write about the city in A Summer in Europe, and I gave my character Gwen some of my real first impressions!)

3. Tell us about a sound that brings you joy:
Music is a huge part of my life. I've enjoyed being a singer in a women's barbershop choir, a cast member in a community theater musical, and a dancer in a touring dance group that traveled through Europe with a live band. I also studied viola, piano, and guitar. So live music -- in a multitude of genres -- always brings me joy!

4. What recent book have you read that brought you joy?
I loved THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion. It's an unusual romance that I found to be really heartwarming and humorous.

5. And, for fun, the joy of choice -- which Chris: Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris, Rock, Chris Evans, or Christopher Plummer?
This was the hardest question!! I really like all of these actors...but I posted a picture of my personal favorite below. Mmmm!!
Take a Chance on Me (Mirabelle Harbor,
Book 1) - out now!!

The Giveaway:
In celebration of the release of my new Mirabelle Harbor series, I'm giving away a digital copy of the opening novella (TAKE A CHANCE ON ME - Book 1) to one commenter on this post! Winner's choice of format (epub, mobi, or pdf). The contest is open internationally, and I'll do a random drawing for the winner around noon Central Time on August 18th. PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS in the comments, so I can easily contact you if you win the ebook!

Here's some info about the first two books in this new romantic series:

Take a Chance on Me is a standalone romantic-comedy novella and Book 1 in Marilyn Brant’s Mirabelle Harbor series. Dedicated personal trainer Chance Michaelsen falls hard for Nia Pappayiannis—his complete opposite and a member of the family that owns the Greek bakery just down the street from his gym. He considers their pastries to be the enemy of good health, but he can’t quite shake his attraction to Nia, who doesn’t seem nearly as impressed with him or his sculpted physique as most of the women around town

Unfortunately, between her doctor’s orders and the interfering ways of Chance’s crazy-making ex-girlfriend, who just happens to be one of Nia’s long-time friends, Chance gets assigned to be Nia’s fitness coach for the month. Pure torture. And if his ex weren’t already causing enough problems, he also has to deal with Nia’s current boyfriend—some hotshot Chicago CEO who talks big but, in Chance’s opinion, is as fake as a Styrofoam barbell. 

Nia may have her doubts about a romance with him, but Chance has a well-developed competitive streak and might just be willing to give it a shot...if he can convince her to do the same. 

In matters of the heart, would you risk it all?

[Available now on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and Kobo -- as well as in paperback!]

Chris Hemsworth, a swoon-worthy movie star,
who looks rather like the actor that Julia had a
longtime crush on in The One That I Want...
The One That I Want is Book 2 in the Mirabelle Harbor series, and it's a full-length standalone novel. The summer after her beloved husband died in a car accident, Julia Meriwether Crane is still picking up the pieces of her life in Mirabelle Harbor and trying to help her ten-year-old daughter adjust to this difficult new reality.

After her best friend Sharlene—one of the well-connected Michaelsen siblings—talks her into finally going out on the town again, Julia finds herself stunned to be the object of interest of several different men: The boy who’d broken her heart back in high school. The college ex she’d left behind. And most surprising of all, the movie actor she’d always fantasized about but had never met in person...until now. Can one woman have more than one “great love” in the same lifetime? And, if so, how can she be sure which man that’ll be?

Sometimes the person you think will be best for you isn’t the one you really want.

[Available now on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and Kobo -- as well as in paperback!]

Some Favorite Writers I Recommend:
I love all of these authors! Each of them writes wonderfully romantic stories (sometimes blended with mystery, suspense, paranormal, fantasy/sci-fi, or historical elements...) and, what's more, they're some of the kindest and most generous people I know ;). At one point, we all blogged together on Magical Musings -- a fabulous site for both readers and writers -- and it was always a pleasure to spend time with them there!

Please check out their websites/posts below:

Robin Bielman
Michelle Diener
Misty Evans
Edie Ramer

My Author Bio:
Marilyn Brant is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy and 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 and keep an eye out for more novels this year in her new "Mirabelle Harbor" series. 


Lúthien84 said...

Thanks a lot for the generous offer, Marilyn. I love reading romance novels too as it offers a way to escape and experience another life different from what is in my world. Congrats on the release of the Mirabelle Harbor series.


TarheelFIT1 said...

Thanks so much for the opportunity! I loved reading about you and have read a lot of great buzz about your newest books. tarheelfit1 (at) gmail (dot) com

Robin Bielman said...

Thank you so much, Marilyn, for including me in your post! You are so special to me and I appreciate your kindness and guidance more than I can say! Hey, I just finished reading Take A Chance On Me and loved it! I'm also craving Greek food now, thank you very much. ;) Can't wait to dive into The One That I Want next! Happy August! xoxo

Lori Raines said...

Take a chance and pick me! I would love to read your book! Thank you for the giveaway!
lraines78 at gmail dot com

Stephanie L said...

Please leave me out of the giveaway...but I wanted to say that I agree. When life gets tough, and sometimes exponentially so, the "getaway" of a romance novel or even just a really great book can really help me deal. It helps me to clear my head. I know it sounds counter-intuitive but it also works for homework. If I am facing an assignment that is giving me overwhelmatosis (lol) I step aside and read something light and fun. It clears my mind and I find that I can face the homework with a lot better outlook and clear ideas. Thanks to you and some others, I have the books that do the trick! =D

Marilyn Brant said...

Lúthien84, TarheelFIT1, and Lori - Thank you all so much for taking the time to comment and enter the giveaway ;). It's always wonderful to get to celebrate the love of romance with other readers!!

Robin - You're a fabulous friend and a tremendously talented writer. I was so lucky the day I was introduced to you. Thanks for being such a kind and supportive person in my life for all of these years! xox

Stephanie - LOL! I love your term "overwhelmatosis" :). I've totally been there, and your solution is a perfect one! I've used romance novels as a blissful escape so many times. Being on the writing side of it now, one of the greatest gifts is getting to talk with reader friends about the stories... Thanks to you for being such a lovely part of my world. *Hug*

elena k said...

loved your post! I didn't know you had a greek heroine! I am so excited as I am from greece too. elena-k84 at hotmail dot com

Marilyn Brant said...

Thank you! I'm delighted you liked the post and, yes, Nia is a proud Greek-American!! I have some family from there, and we know many wonderful people who were born in Greece, but I've only had the opportunity to visit your beautiful country once. LOVED it! :)

Diana Tidlund said...

pratt , evans then Helmsworth…. though I do have to admit he was hysterical in the latest vacation being endowed with a huge penis and trying to flaunt it… I died laughing at the end credit and photos….it was hanging out the bottom of his pants…no wonder his wife stayed with him in the movie!

Marilyn Brant said...

LOL!! I'm going to have to see that movie ;) .
Yeah, all of the "Chris" actors are pretty great -- very enjoyable to watch & so handsome!

kaisquared said...

Baklava and Thor, a potent knockout combination!Thank you for your post and the giveaway!
emmasmom69 AT gmail DOT com

Sue G. said...

I having going to Italy on my bucket list...lucky you! As for that picture of Chris H.....wow! Thanks for the chance.


Marilyn Brant said...

kaisquared - LOL!! The only improvement I can think of to that combo is if Thor were to actually feed us the baklava... ;)

Sue - I hope you'll get to visit Italy sometime soon! It's truly a magical, beautiful place!!

Marilyn Brant said...

Just did the drawing and...congrats to Elena! You've won the copy of Take a Chance on Me!! I'll email you & I hope you'll like it ;).
And everyone -- many thanks for your wonderful comments! I enjoyed reading them all!!