Monday, December 30, 2013

Welcome to Author Maria Grace!

It's a treat to have as my guest today Maria Grace -- a friend and fellow Austen Author (we had the chance to meet for the first time in person at the JASNA conference in September :), and she has out her latest novel, Twelfth Night at Longbourn!! I'm delighted she's visiting -- what a lovely way to end the year! -- and she's sharing with us a bit about her inspiration and writing process for this new story. Welcome to Brant Flakes, Maria Grace!!

I have to confess, Twelfth Night at Longbourn is a book I didn’t actually intend to write. I had finished a three part series, Given Good Principles and thought the story was finished. Very happy with that decision, I picked up my pen to address other heroines and other plots. Little did I realize there was a disgruntled heroine waiting in the pile of edited material from Volume 3, All the Appearance of Goodness, who was not at all happy about my decision to cut her subplot out of the story.

I tried to reason with her. She was not the main character and the book was long enough. Adding her subplot back in would make it heavy and ponderous. She should have been happy to have a part in it at all. That did not go over well, not even remotely.

She informed me that I had no right to dangle a ‘Happily Ever After’ in front of her and yank it away by not actually telling her story.  It was unfair and just plain thoughtless and if I didn’t do something about it quickly, she was going to hijack my muse and torment my rather type-A personality with the reality that I had left a story unfinished.

Those were fighting words. What else was I to do? I picked up my pen and started, or rather finished, her story. But, oh, she did not make it easy on me.  I started by outlining the story and that was a bad choice. Neither she, nor my very stubborn muse appreciated that.  Four false starts came out of three different outlines. It was not until I finally threw out the outline and just wrote that Kitty Bennet decided to come out and play.  Then when she did, she kept insisting on teasing me with a plot leading on direction, then veering off somewhere completely unexpected.  She did that until the very end, surprising me with a final conclusion that I did not see coming until I started writing it.

Twelfth Night at Longbourn ended up being a very unusual ride for me, but I am glad I took it.  Now I can finally call Given Good Principles finished—I didn’t say that out loud did I?  Oops, I’d better run, I have a feeling there may be a few characters I will need to be hiding from! 

LOL!! Thanks so much for sharing this ;). For those of you interested in reading a delightful excerpt of Maria Grace's novel, there's a long snippet here on Austen Authors. (Don't miss the book giveaway there, too, if you leave a comment before tomorrow night, and there's also a link to a free PDF of extras!) Below is the intriguing blurb for the book:

Twelfth Night at Longbourn

Twelfth Night—a night for wondrous things to happen.

At least for other people.

In the months after her sisters' weddings, nothing has gone well for Kitty Bennet. Since Lydia’s infamous elopement, her friends have abandoned her, and Longbourn is more prison than home. Not even Elizabeth's new status as Mrs. Darcy of Pemberley can repair the damage to Kitty’s reputation. More than anything else, she wishes to leave the plain ordinary Kitty behind and become Catherine Bennet, a proper young lady.

Her only ray of hope is an invitation to Pemberley for the holidays. Perhaps there she might escape the effects of her sister’s shame.

Getting to Pemberley is not as simple as it sounds. First she must navigate the perils of London society, the moods of Georgiana Darcy, and the chance encounter with the man who once broke her heart. Perhaps though, as Catherine, she might prove herself worthy of that gentleman’s regard.

But, in an instant all her hopes are dashed, and her dreams of becoming Catherine evaporate. Will Kitty Bennet's inner strength be enough to bring her heart's desire?  

On an ordinary night perhaps not, but on Twelfth Night, it just might be enough.


Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful.

She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six cats, seven Regency-era fiction projects and notes for eight more writing projects in progress. To round out the list, she cooks for nine in order to accommodate the growing boys and usually makes ten meals at a time so she only cooks twice a month.

She can be contacted at:
Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorMariaGrace
On Amazon.com: amazon.com/author/mariagrace
Visit her website Random Bits of Fascination (RandomBitsofFascination.com)
On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace

Twelfth Night at Longbourn can be found at:
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/Twelfth-Night-at-Longbourn/yoolLDy_TU2RcfbmWP2OQQ

Thanks again, Maria Grace! And to all who are reading this, I wish each of you a joyful, peaceful and healthy 2014. Looking forward to a wonderful year ahead!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy 238th, Jane Austen!

Just a quick note to wish the incomparable Jane Austen a very Happy 238th Birthday!! May we all look as good at her age...or at least be as lovingly remembered ;).

And, of course, we must have a toast in her honor, right?!

Here's an easy recipe for Regency Rum Punch:
1 1/2 oz. dark rum
1/4 oz. lime juice
2 oz. orange juice
2 oz. pineapple juice
Dash of bitters
Add grenadine for color
Sprinkle with nutmeg

Thanks for the awesome stories, Jane!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Celebrating 'Undressing Mr. Darcy' and a Great Giveaway!

UPDATE: Congrats to Edie Ramer who won the copy of Karen's book, Undressing Mr. Darcy!!

Today, it's my pleasure to have my friend and Austen Author pal Karen Doornebos as my special blog guest and to get to celebrate the launch of her latest release: UNDRESSING MR. DARCY, a new Austen-inspired story!! Just check out the very fun premise below:

Taking it off in the name of history…
Thirty-five-year-old American social media master Vanessa Roberts lives her thoroughly modern life with aplomb. So when her elderly Jane Austen–centric aunt needs her to take on the public relations for Julian Chancellor, a very private man from England who’s written a book called My Year as Mr. Darcy, Vanessa agrees. But she’s not “excessively diverted,” as Jane Austen would say.

Hardbound books, teacups, and quill pens fly in the face of her e-reader, coffee, and smartphone…

…Until she sees Julian take his tight breeches off for his Undressing Mr. Darcy show, an educational “striptease” down to his drawers to promote his book and help save his crumbling estate. The public relations expert suddenly realizes things have gotten…personal. But can this old-fashioned man claim her heart without so much as a GPS? It will take three festivals filled with Austen fans, a trip to England, an old frenemy, and a flirtatious pirate re-enactor to find out…

Karen is here to take us on an excursion to Twinings in London and to share with us some of her inspiration behind the writing of her second novel... Welcome, Karen!!


Hello from Twinings Tea in London!

As an ice-breaker to each leg of my Blog Tour for UNDRESSING MR. DARCY, I’m taking you along for a ride to England, where I traveled during the summer of 2012 to do some research for the book.

Where am I on this stop? The fragrant tea shop on the Strand in London where Jane Austen herself shopped: Twinings. I set a scene in UNDRESSING MR. DARCY in this very shop! They have a tea bar in the back of the store where you can sample various teas and a “museum” set in among the shelves that brings to life not only the history of Twinings, but the history of tea itself. If you are ever in London it’s worth a visit!

Thank you, Marilyn, for hosting me…
I’d like to thank my fellow Austen Author, Marilyn, for having me visit today! You are one of my favorite authors and so inspiring! Not too long ago you revealed that your husband proposed to you on London Bridge—how romantic! How great that you and your family just went on a whim back to London and had a fabulous time. I’m sure that with your books ACCORDING TO JANE and PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND THE PERFECT MATCH, your readers need no introduction to Jane Austen and Mr. Darcy…

So, what’s up with this Undressing thing?
Imagine a history lesson where you watch a very handsome Regency gentleman lecture about his clothing as he proceeds to take it off—down to his drawers. This is the premise of UNDRESSING MR. DARCY!

As I was researching male clothing for my first novel, DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY, I stumbled across an English website called The History Wardrobe and they had a show called Undressing Mr. Darcy in which a man disrobed while a woman lectured about his clothing. The show is no longer staged, unfortunately, but I have learned that there is a Dressing Mr. Darcy show in Louisville at the Jane Austen Society of North America’s Jane Austen Festival in the summer.

It wasn’t long after learning about the show Undressing Mr. Darcy that I came up with:

He’s an old-fashioned, hardcover book reader who writes in quill pen and hails from England. She’s an American social media addict. Can he find his way to her heart without so much as a GPS?

The rest is…history! Well, fun history. I also tossed a pirate into the mix. Not a real pirate, but a modern guy who, in his spare time, does some pirate reenacting. Did I mention he looks a lot like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean?

You can read the first chapter here!

Buy now at Berkley PenguinIndiebound - AmazonB&NKobo BAM - iTunes    

Brant Flakes readers, comment below for your chance to win a copy of UNDRESSING MR. DARCY… If you’re stumped for what to say, you can tell me what appeals to you about UNDRESSING MR. DARCY! To increase your chances of winning you can share this post on your Facebook page or Twitter—let us know you’ve done that! You can also increase your odds by following me on Twitter or Facebook, or, if you’re not already, following Marilyn on her social media—don’t forget to let us know about it in your comment, thanks! Contest limited to US entrants only.

Mr. Darcy’s Stripping Off…
One of his stockings. Look at those shapely calves! At each blog stop Mr. Darcy will strip off another piece of clothing. Keep track of each item in chronological order and at then end of the tour you can enter to win a GRAND PRIZE of the book, “DO NOT DISTURB I’m Undressing Mr. Darcy” door hangers for you and your friends, tea, and a bottle of wine (assuming I can legally ship it to your state). US entries only, please.

Karen Doornebos is the author of UNDRESSING MR. DARCY published by Berkley, Penguin and available here or at your favorite bookstore. Her first novel, DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY, has been published in three countries and was granted a starred review by Publisher’s Weekly. Karen lived and worked in London for a short time, but is now happy just being a lifelong member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and living in the Chicagoland area with her husband, two teenagers and various pets—including a bird. Speaking of birds, follow her on Twitter and Facebook! She hopes to see you there, on her website www.karendoornebos.com and her group blog with Marilyn: Austen Authors.

Launch! 12/3: Austenprose
12/5 Chick Lit Plus - Review
12/12 Risky Regencies Q&A
Jane Austen’s 238th Birthday! 12/16 Jane Austen in Vermont, My Jane Austen Book Club and Author Exposure Q&A
12/18 Savvy Verse & Wit - Review
12/20 Booking with Manic- Review
12/26 My 5 Monkeys - Review
12/27 All Grown Up - Review

Karen, thank you again for visiting us, for the great giveaway opportunity, and for letting us know about all of the cool stops on your tour. HUGE CONGRATS on this new book!! You know I can't wait to read it ;). xox

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cover Reveal: ALL I EVER WANTED!!!

*Tossing confetti in the air!!*

Yes, it's time for the cover reveal for the new antho, ALL I EVER WANTED, coming in ebook and print on January 13, 2014!!

I'm so delighted with this project -- not only was it fun to write, but I had the chance to work with three authors whose work I admire and who are simply terrific people. Many thanks to Rhonda Helms, Lexi Ryan and Caisey Quinn for making it all happen, and to E.M. Tippetts for designing such a lovely cover for us!

Hope you all had a fabulous first week of December. Can't believe we're already in the midst of the holiday season... Wow, this year has zoomed by :). Any special weekend plans??

ETA: The new Goodreads page for the book is HERE!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Giving Thanks

One of the sweetest, most intangible pleasures of writing a novel is getting to read the reactions of wonderful readers around the world who connected with the story and its characters. Of course, not everyone will love every book...but that makes the times when everything comes together all the more magical.

In the past 24 hours, I had the delight of reading several brand new reviews for THE ROAD TO YOU that brought a smile to my face and made me glad I'd spent those three long years writing this story!

One lovely reviewer, Charlene/Chucha from the Book Freak blog, not only wrote a review I adored (it's here), which included this line -- "I fell in love with the plot, the clues, the suspense, the thrill, the car chase, and not to mention – the twist" -- but she also made these two beautiful quote posters for the novel!! (I *love* them. :)

Kimber Leigh of Once Upon a YA Book shared her kind review online, too (it's here), and she wrote: "I loved the way Ms. Brant included the handwritten pictures of the journal entry pages; seeing them helped me draw deeper into the mystery. This novel is full of intrigue and suspense, making it a real page turner. Aurora and Donovan travel along Route 66, unraveling the mystery bit by bit from pieces they discover in each town. In some ways it reminds me of a treasure hunt, the map being Gideon's journal."

Finally, I came across Sydney's review from The Peasants Revolt (it's here), and got a thrill from reading her thoughts on the story as well: "One thing I love about romance novels is feeling the tension built between the two main characters over the course of the book. One of the things I love about mystery novels is discovering the clues along with the characters as they progress through their journey. The Road to You is a romantic mystery novel that captures the best elements of both genres perfectly."

So, I wanted to say a BIG thank you to these three awesome reviewers for brightening my week and, also, extend my deepest appreciation to ALL of the amazing, thoughtful people who've taken the time to read and review my stories. I can't even begin to express how much that's meant to me over these past four years!!

To everyone celebrating Thanksgiving this Thursday, may you have a very happy one. And to everybody who reads this post, here's hoping the start of the Holiday Season will bring you only peace, abundance and joy. Thank you for being a part of my life -- I'm truly grateful for each of you!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

New Book Coming: All I Ever Wanted!

I have a fun announcement to make, and I'm really excited about it! A novella of mine is part of a new adult romance anthology that's coming out early in 2014 called ALL I EVER WANTED. I've been working on it throughout the fall with three wonderful writing friends -- Lexi Ryan, Rhonda Helms and Caisey Quinn -- and, on December 6th, our cover will be revealed! (That'll happen through Expresso Book Tours, btw, so if anyone would like to be a part of it, the signup for the reveal is here. :) For now, though, we've got the titles of the individual stories in our collection and the blurbs for each... Take a peek: 

All I Ever Wanted 
Caisey Quinn, Lexi Ryan, Marilyn Brant, Rhonda Helms 
Publication date: January 13th, 2014
Genres: ContemporaryNew Adult

Winterfest is heating up in Abbott Springs…
As the town’s yearly festival kicks off, cold days turn into steamy nights, new flames will be ignited, and old romances will be rekindled.
All About Us by Marilyn Brant—All Sami Abbott ever wanted was permission to be herself. At home, she aims to be the perfect daughter but never measures up. At college, she’s the bold girl who had a one-night stand with sexy musician, Alex Hamilton. When he arrives unexpectedly in Abbott Springs, her worlds collide and she must reconcile the girl she tries to be with the person she really is.
All I Need by Caisey Quinn–All pink-haired rocker chick Everly Abbott thought she wanted was acceptance in her straight-laced hometown. But her best friend and bandmate Justin Cohen is about to show her that what she thinks she wants isn’t necessarily what she needs.
All for Love by Rhonda Helms–All Maya Monterey ever wanted was to belong. Happiest with the Abbott family, Maya’s been secretly in love with sexy pastry chef Oliver Abbott for years. With a flirty new look, she’ll pull out all the stops to get him to notice her. And if her plan fails, she’ll walk away from the only home she’s ever known–and Oliver–for good.
All or Nothing by Lexi Ryan—After years of placing the wrong bets, all Aubree Baxter wanted was someone to take a chance on her. Golden boy Kennedy Hale plays it safe in life and love, but to keep Bree in Abbott Springs, he’ll have to go all in.


Looking forward to sharing more news about our "Abbott Springs" anthology soon!! I've loved getting to write Sami and Alex's story, and the Winterfest celebration is just pure fun. Wishing you all a fabulous November, and here's hoping we can keep the snow away this month. I don't mind a white Christmas, but I'd really like to avoid a white Thankgiving!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Just a quick note to wish you all a very Happy Halloween!!

Jane and I hope you're having a great day filled with fun and lots of tasty treats ;).

And here's hoping that November will be a wonderful month for each of you.

Now...back to those Milky Ways, Reese's of all varieties, Snickers bars, Almond Joys...and my character Donovan's favorites -- Kit Kats!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Inheritance...and a Giveaway!

My lovely friend -- Olivia Mayfield -- now has out one of the coolest serials I've ever heard of...THE INHERITANCE! It's a six-part series, and the first two parts have already been released. The third one will be coming in just a few days (on October 29th) and the rest will become available to all during November. Just take a look at the fascinating premise:

Debut author Olivia Mayfield presents a thrilling and sexy new serial about seductive money, deadly secrets, and fatal attractions…

The Inheritance
Part I
The Will

Maggie Willings knew that returning home for her estranged grandfather’s funeral would not be easy, but she never expected the reading of his will to be the most difficult part. The four people named in the will—Maggie, her brother Robert, her ex-boyfriend Andrew, and her grandfather’s far-too-young girlfriend Bethany—are given a challenge: find out the truth about what happened to Maggie’s younger sister Cassandra, who vanished over eight years ago, and win the entirety of the estate.

Maggie is thrown by the strange request, reluctant to drag up painful memories of her sister’s disappearance, and bothered by her lingering attraction to Andrew, who wants to team up to solve the mystery. But there are ten million dollars on the line and Maggie has no idea where to start—or who she’ll be able to trust.

Squeee!! SO EXCITING! 

Because Olivia is AWESOME, she's giving away 2 ebook copies (the winners can each choose either a Kindle or a Nook version) of Part One in the series: The Will. All you have to do to be entered is to leave a comment on this post between now and the evening of Wednesday, October 30th and answer this question: What is one of your favorite mystery stories?

As many of you already know, I was a big Nancy Drew fan growing up and was inspired a bit by that when I wrote The Road to You, but one of my adult faves has been Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale -- very compelling! I'd love to hear yours ;).

Good luck on the drawing, everyone!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

No Matter the Hour...I'm a "Sleepy Head"

One of my favorite shots of Mison as Ichabod Crane...
Okay...I'll admit it, I'm captivated by Tom Mison! I love, love, love his portrayal of Ichabod Crane on the new TV show "Sleepy Hollow," but the thing I'm most mesmerized by is that I'd watched him in another role -- over 3 hours worth, when he played Mr. Bingley in "Lost in Austen" -- and I didn't recognize him as Crane until after I'd read his actor bio.

THAT is amazing acting! And stellar costume design. And terrific hair & makeup. But so much of the credit for the transformation has to remain with Mison himself. And, if truth be told, with the writers who've given him some pretty great dialogue worthy of that sexy British accent :). 

Mison as the affable Mr. Bingley.
I wrote about this on Facebook, but one of my favorite lines of dialogue from ANY television show this season so far was in the pilot episode of "Sleepy Hollow" when Abbie Mills, the police lieutenant, says to Crane, "I told you to stay in the car."

And, because he's been dealing with a police force that thinks he's crazy (not surprising, given his claims that he just awakened 250 years into the future because his wife saved him from certain death by putting a witch's curse on him that tied his life to that of the Headless Horseman...yeah, just go with it...), Crane replies, "As you know, I'm insane and, therefore, impervious to simple commands."

So. Brilliantly. Written. And. Delivered!

Anyway, I could keep gushing, but I'll stop here. Anyone else watch the "Sleepy Hollow" on Monday nights? (If so, then you're considered one of the "Sleepy Heads," too, LOL.) Anyone else see Mison in "Lost in Austen" from a few years back? Any other fall programs you're hooked on -- new or otherwise? I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Her Accidental Boyfriend by Robin Bielman is Out Today!

It's always so exciting to share the release of a friend's new book, and that's absolutely true in Robin Bielman's case! Congrats, Robin, on the release of HER ACCIDENTAL BOYFRIEND!

About the book:

Faking it with this flirt never felt so real...

Kagan Owens has a secret. One she thought she'd escaped by leaving New York, but when her past follows her to her temporary new life, Kagan lets a teeny lie slip. And now the town's biggest playboy and flirt, Shane Sullivan, has become her pretend boyfriend--just until she's ready to return to NYC. But the handsome, fun-loving Shane makes it tough to determine where their friendly agreement begins and ends...

Shane has no intention of settling down--in fact, his job depends on it, and nothing's more important than his work. Still, he can't help but agree to Kagan's scheme, if only to find out more about the mysterious beauty. But when every touch from her sets his heart and body on fire, he realizes playing an accidental boyfriend may be more than he bargained for--and more than he can give.

About the author:

Robin Bielman lives in Southern California with her high school sweetheart husband, two sons, and crazy-cute mini Labradoodle, Harry (named after Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books). When not attached to her laptop, she can almost always be found with her nose in a book. She also likes to run, hike, and dip her toes in the ocean. Filled with wanderlust, she longs to visit many different places and fulfill her curiosity. She wouldn’t mind indulging her sweet tooth in every location either. She’s a lover of Post-it notes, cable television shows and café mochas. Writing is a dream come true, and she still pinches herself to be sure it’s real.

Her other novels include Kissing the Maid of Honor, Worth the Risk, Risky Surrender and Yours At Midnight. She loves to connect with readers. Learn more and sign up for her newsletter on her website at http://robinbielman.com. She can also be found online here:

Find Robin’s latest release, Her Accidental Boyfriend, online at:

And there's a VERY COOL giveaway, too!
In Her Accidental Boyfriend Kagan designs jewelry similar to this beautiful pink pearl double wrap bracelet that is up for grabs.
Check it out here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Christmans at Angel Lake 235x350 72dpi**And I also wanted to give a shout out to our friend Edie Ramer on the release of her newest novel this month, CHRISTMAS AT ANGEL LAKE!!

About the Book: 
A kitten saved her…
Broke, pregnant and deserted by her boyfriend, Maddie Barrymore swerves to avoid a kitten while driving in a Wisconsin blizzard—and her life takes another turn. Like Puss in Boots, she stays in an empty house. She has the baby, the kitten, gets a job and a degree…yet every day she’s ready to flee if the real owner shows up.
Five years later, he does…
Dumped by the woman he loves, film producer Logan MacLeesh’s heart is as dark as one of his movies. He plans to hole up in his grandmother’s old mansion and throw himself into his work…until he discovers the sexy squatter and her four-year-old son. Before he can call the sheriff, Maddie’s tale of how she ended up there entertains him. They make a deal that as long as she tells him a story every night, she and her son can stay. Even the cat, though Logan’s always been a dog person.
A dog in need of saving…
Far away in another state, a homeless dog lifts his head, sniffs…and smells him. The human who’s meant for him. As he heads through the snow toward the scent, his journey seems impossible, even though it’s Christmas, a time when miracles happen.
Get your copy at:
CONGRATS, ladies!!! I'm so thrilled for you both!! :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Release Day for THE ROAD TO YOU!!!

It's here!! Finally, finally...The Road to You is making its way into the world! It's available right now on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords in the digital realm (coming soon to Apple/iTunes, Kobo, Sony and more), and it can also be purchased in paperback from Amazon, Half.com and AbeBooks (soon to be at B&N, IndieBound and others as well). Check out the novel's Goodreads page for story details and early reviews.

**Throwing confetti in the air in celebration!**

In fun other news, as many of you know, my husband, son and I traveled to Minneapolis, MN for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) last week, and we had a blast. The ladies of Jane Austen Books -- who sold copies of my two Austen-inspired titles, According to Jane and Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match -- were as gracious and helpful as always. And my husband and I loved browsing through the books they had available in the Emporium, as well as the other crafts and Regency delights for sale. (Yes, I did buy something called "Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Trivia Game"...who wants to play??)

Me (in my "I randomly quote Jane Austen" t-shirt) & my husband Jeff

I had the pleasure of seeing lots of the Austen Authors in person, too. We had a special dinner one night, which was a loud and fun-filled occasion!

From L to R: Karen Doornebos, Jack Caldwell, Susan Mason-Milks, Maria Grace,
C Allyn Pierson, Sharon Lathan, me, Syrie James, Shannon Winslow & Abigail Reynolds
This musically designed building was across the street from our hotel. I never could figure out why, exactly, these notes were on one side (or what the song was), but I thought it looked really cool regardless...

Another interesting thing that I got to do while at the AGM was to go on a tour of the Elmer L. Andersen Library, which has a really impressive collection of Sherlock Holmes books and memorabilia!!

And a fascinating presentation that all of the JASNA members got to hear was about the YouTube sensation "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries" -- thanks to a panel discussion with one of its creators, Bernie Su, along with a producer of the series (Jenni Powell) and a writer for it (Kate Noble/Rorick) as well. It was a hoot to listen to them, and now I'm hooked on the show...

I've got a bunch of dancing and dining pictures up on my Facebook page, if anyone wants to see more, but the AGM was definitely an exciting way to end September. And, now...October has begun!! Wishing you all a wonderful month ahead :).

Friday, September 20, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway!

I've had better Fridays... I'm congested, feverish, a little headachy and basically still in my pajamas, even though it's late afternoon. So, yes, I'm definitely moping around and feeling sorry for myself for managing to catch a cold (for no discernible reason!) on this last weekend of summer/first weekend of autumn. But I'm sure it will pass quickly -- well, I hope it will, lol -- and that I'll be germ-free again before the big JASNA conference starts next Thursday. I'm looking forward to the AGM and to seeing my Austen friends once more!

Until then, I do have one bit of fun news to share: There's a Goodreads Giveaway in progress right now for 5 signed trade paperback copies of The Road to You!! If you're a member of the GR site, I hope you'll enter!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Road to You by Marilyn Brant

The Road to You

by Marilyn Brant

Giveaway ends October 02, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
And, yes, the print copies of the novel have just become available (whoo-hoo!), and the digital versions will be ready soon.

For anyone who may be interested in being an advanced reader for this story, I'm doing a review tour from Oct. 3rd - Dec. 3rd through AToMR Book Tours, and there's a sign-up page here for my novel: http://atomrbookblogtours.com/2013/09/19/review-opportunity-the-road-to-you/ .  I can't tell you how thrilled I am that I finally will get to share this book with you all... I truly hope it's a story you all will enjoy!

Have a good weekend and a happy Autumnal Equinox, everyone, and please stay healthy!! ;)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

USA Today Bestseller List!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last week's special book sale for The Sweet Temptations Collection was really exciting -- not only because my 3-book boxed set reached #9 on Kindle and #1 on Nook (!!!), but because the response from readers was so wonderful. I ended up being able to extend the discount for an additional few days to give those readers who found out about the sale later in the week a chance to pick it up during the long Labor Day Weekend. I truly hope that all who were interested grabbed a copy!

However, for anybody who may have missed it or for those who might like to get the set as a gift for someone they know who enjoys light romantic comedy, the price of the collection will be discounted to $5.99 (regular price is $8.99) during the month of September on both Amazon and B&N. My characters -- Elizabeth & Rob (On Any Given Sundae), Cait & Garrett (Double Dipping), and Shannon & Bram (Holiday Man) -- hope to make your acquaintance, and I can't thank you enough for ALL of your enthusiasm and support.

The icing on the cake for me was that I just found out this afternoon that the boxed set hit #89 on the USA Today Bestseller List!!! It's really and truly a dream come true, and there are no words to express the thrill of it. Just...THANK YOU!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Sweet Temptations Collection: Only $0.99 Through Thursday!!

Oh, my friends...I've got some very exciting news!!

My 3-book boxed set of romantic comedies, The Sweet Temptations Collection -- which includes the novels On Any Given Sundae, Double Dipping and Holiday Man -- is on sale for just a few days this week for only $0.99 (reg. price $8.99)!! It's discounted on both Amazon Kindle (worldwide) and B&N Nook, but just through Thursday the 29th, so please spread the word. And, if you don't have one or more of these three novels yet, I hope you'll consider adding this boxed set to your ebook collection or giving it as a gift to a romance-loving friend!

In other great news this week, my friend Robin Bielman has a brand new release!! Risky Surrender is the second story in her "Risk It" series from Entangled Books.

Here's a little more about it:
Archeologist Lucy Davenport made a promise to retrieve an elusive piece of history buried in the walls of an iconic Indian village. But when she draws unwanted attention that interferes with her plans, she’s forced to risk it all with a man who threatens not only her goal, but the walls she’s carefully constructed around her heart.
Keats McCall is an environmental preservationist navigating the globe on behalf of heritage protection. When he catches Lucy at his latest project, he suspects she’s up to something. She’s secretive, sexy as hell – and has trouble written all over her. He devises a plan to keep her close so he can keep an eye on her. But what he isn’t prepared for is just how close he wants to get.
Definitely check it out!! The story is available for only $1.99 at Amazon, B&N and Apple/iTunes!! Congrats, Robin :).

Wishing you all a wonderful week...and to help you stay cool ('cuz it's been broiling here!), this is a link to a thirst-quenching recipe for Electric Lemonade. Be forewarned, there's vodka in it -- but, in reading the rest of the ingredients, I think it would taste pretty refreshing even without that added kick. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Upcoming Book Cover Reveal & Happy Left Hander's Day!

I don't know how it managed to be the middle of August already, but when I flipped the calendar to this week and realized that -- for my son, at least, the school year was beginning -- I couldn't deny that little pang telling me summer was nearing its end.

Not that I'm unhappy about that, mind you! As much as I love the joys of long hours of daylight, the absence of snow/hail/frost, the time spent with my husband and son while they're on their vacations...I'm looking forward to this fall BIG TIME!! There are so many events coming up in the next couple of months that I feel like a little kid right before the holidays. So many treats and presents! (Of both the edible & non-edible varieties. ;) So many fun gatherings! (When, exactly, am I going to get any sleep?!) So many occasions ahead for celebration...it's a little overwhelming, actually.

In just a few weeks -- on Friday, September 6th -- there will be the cover reveal day for THE ROAD TO YOU! And, if you have a blog and are at all interested in being a part of it, you're more than welcome to join in (there's a sign-up at Xpresso Book Tours HERE for anyone who'd like to participate). The book itself will be available in early October (planned release date is 10-3-13), and I'm naturally thrilled about that! I spent three years writing this novel -- my first coming-of-age romantic mystery for older teens through adults -- and I can't wait to finally get to share it with you all.

Before that, though, the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Jane Austen Society of North America will be coming up at the end of September!! I'm now a lifetime member of the organization, and it's going to be such fun to get to take part in this wonderful conference as a published author for the first time. I've been to two prior AGMs -- in Milwaukee 2005 and Chicago 2008 -- but this time I get to visit Minneapolis, sign my books at their author event and meet in person several members of the Austen community that I've gotten to know online. We'll be talking about Mr. Darcy and the P&P gang nonstop!! (How could that not be a blast?!) It's my kind of conversation for sure :).

Just a few weeks later, on October 18th, I'll have the honor of speaking at the annual Illinois Association of Teachers of English conference in Normal, IL as their 2013 Author of the Year. So, truly, this is an autumn season that's already packed with exciting things!

However, I know I'm not the only one busy with upcoming plans and events... What are you doing? Any special end-of-summer activities on your agenda? Looking into September or October, do you have anything ahead that you're particularly looking forward to seeing or doing?

On a totally different note, today is "Left Hander's Day." So, in honor of the many Lefties out there -- including my son, who just started high school yesterday (OMG...) -- I wanted to wish you and all of the Loveable Lefties in your life a wonderful one!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Prairie Dogs, Mountain Majesties & Route 66...oh, my!

We just got back from a family road trip that spanned 11 states in 10 days, took us over 2,700 miles and introduced us to such delights as the tame prairie dogs in the Badlands of South Dakota, the picturesque Garden of the Gods and the thrill of spray-painting grafitti on cars in Amarillo's Cadillac Ranch! Add to that Mt. Rushmore, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Sandias of New Mexico, the awesome kitchy-ness of Catoosa, Oklahoma's Blue Whale and more... and you have a sample of our hot-n-humid, wild-n-wonderful summer vacation ;).

Aside from my hungry prairie dog friend above, here are a few other shots I really liked:

Beautiful Bear Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park. We walked all the way around it and every picture we took seemed prettier than the last.
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.
One of the ten cars at the famous Cadillac Ranch...I left a pink note to say I was there!

Oklahoma is home to the National Route 66 Museum -- another fun stop on our journey.

The new novel I have coming out this fall -- The Road to You -- is a coming-of-age romantic mystery that involves a trek down the Route 66 of the late 1970s. So, truly, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to snap some photos on that famous ribbon of highway, and I'll be sharing many more of them in the next few months!! Hope you'll fasten your seatbelts and get ready to go on a road trip with me... ;-)

Have any of you been down Route 66 or visited any of the other places I mentioned above? Are you driving/flying anywhere special this summer? If so, happy travels!