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Harlequin Spotlight….with Sharon Kendrick, Maisey Yates, & Liz Talley and Kimberly Van Meter

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THE SHEIKH’S CHRISTMAS CONQUEST

Topics by Sharon Kendrick

Writer’s Space: 

I write in a small room which I call my Writing Room (because I refuse to call it a “study”. It has a view over treetops  which are currently brushed bronze and gold from the early Fall.

On one wall is a beautiful Bob Dylan print, of a woman sitting alone in a room – and that woman feels like me!   (SEE PHOTO).

Next to the bookcase, I have an orange velvet chaise longue – where you can see a witch’s hat because next week is Haloween and I shall be wearing it at a dinner party in Italy!

My final indulgence is this delicious and delicate chandelier, in ruby-red and gold and mauve…I need it there so that I can look up and narrow my eyes, and imagine that I am in the Sheikh’s palace….

 

Q&A with Sharon Kendrick – The Sheikh’s Christmas Conquest

1.) Can you bring us up to speed on The Sheikh’s Christmas Conquest? It’s a shamelessly emotional story about a powerful Sheikh whose heart is empty because of something awful which happened in his past, and Olivia – a woman with demons of her own. Saladin needs something from Olivia – something she doesn’t want to give. Marooned in the snowy English countryside, the Sheikh’s most persuasive weapon is his sexual mastery and he sweeps Olivia off to his scorching desert kingdom. The trouble starts when a straightforward seduction becomes so much more…

2.) What was the first romance novel that you ever read? That would be PRIDE & PREJUDICE by Jane Austen (I still love it)

3.) What is one thing that you absolutely need when writing? My imagination! And coffee…

4.) What’s the best interaction you’ve ever had with a fan? Once I wrote a trilogy centered on a single wedding dress and a woman in her eighties sent me a lovely long letter telling me about a similar wedding dress in her own family, and all the different people who had worn it.

5.) Who would you fan cast for Sheikh Saladin and Olivia? The delicious Aiden Turner (who plays Poldark in popular UK TV drama) and Isla Fisher – for her red hair (just like Olivia’s) and her wonderful humor.

6.) Why do readers love Sheikh romances so much? Ah. For me, that’s simple. Because a Sheikh symbolizes many of our secret fantasies about men. He’s dark. Powerful. Masterful. And he’s irresistibly sexy. What woman wouldn’t want to be taken by horseback across the burning sands to be ravished by a gorgeous desert king? My Sheikhs often appear sophisticated and can be found in Paris, or New York – but beneath their urbane exterior beats the indomitable heart of the true alpha male.

7.) Where have you traveled to and how has this informed your novels? When I was a student nurse I travelled to the Middle East, which has been invaluable for my Sheikh books. Subsequently, I’ve taken in Australia, parts of the US and lots of Europe (especially Italy). I love to be immersed in countries and culture which are different from my own. When you’re on the outside looking in, that’s when your imagination is most on fire.

8.) Without giving away too much, what’s your favorite scene from The Sheikh’s Christmas Conquest? Well, a reader has described the epilogue as “heartwarming” and I tend to agree with her, but I love the part where Saladin reveals to Olivia what happened in his past. Yet after he opens up, he immediately kills off any hope that there’s some kind of future for them.

9.) Do you have any conferences/book signings/events coming up? I’m going to several UK-based author gatherings and I’m very excited to be attending the buzzy RWA conference in San Diego in 2016 where I’ll be signing books for Harlequin. Hope to see you there!

10.) What are you working on next? I’m currently writing a story about a Prince who visits his ex-lover one last time, mainly to prove to himself that he’s finally gotten her out of his system. Only, guess what? He hasn’t! Fireworks erupt and all kinds of consequences follow. Oh, and I’ve got an unbelievably sexy Irish hero coming up in THE BILLIONAIRE’S DEFIANT ACQUISITION, which is out in April, 2016.

 

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Q&A with Maisey Yates – A Christmas Vow of Seduction

1.) Can you bring us up to speed on A Christmas Vow of Seduction and the Princes of Petras series? The Princes of Petras centers around two brothers – Andres, the spare and notorious playboys, and his older brother, Kairos, who has always done his duty to his country, but never to his heart. The series starts with A Christmas Vow of Seduction, and with Andres, when he’s gifted a princess from a neighboring country to be his wife. The strong-willed princess Zara refuses, but Andres is determined to step up and do his duty for the first time ever. But in order to do that, he has to seduce his intended bride before Christmas.

2.) What was the first romance novel that you ever read? It was a Presents by Miranda Lee and for the life of me I can’t remember the title.

3.) What is one thing that you absolutely need when writing? Coffee. I can write almost anywhere, any time under any circumstances but I need to have had my caffeine.

4.) What’s the best interaction you’ve ever had with a fan? I feel like there have been so many good ones! But one that stands out is when I went to register for RWA at the Nationals conference and said my name and the woman running the registration went: OH. MAISEY. I LOVE YOUR BOOKS!

5.) Who would you fan cast for Prince Andres and Princess Zara? Pedro Soltz and Emmy Rossum

6.) Why do you think romance readers love reading about royalty so much? Royalty is such a big fantasy, but the great thing about romance is you get to dig down deep and crack it open and show that, at their hearts, these people aren’t that different. They want love too. I think that’s a universal truth in romance and that’s one thing I love about it.

7.) What is your favorite type of hero to write about? Hmm…I do love a bad boy.

8.) Without giving away too much, what’s your favorite scene from A Christmas Vow of Seduction? I think it’s the first love scene. The hero is very intense, and I like that. 😉

9.) Do you have any conferences/book signings/events coming up? Nothing soon! Not until Summer 2016.

10.) What are you working on next? Right now I’m working on the 6th book in my Western Contemporary series, Copper Ridge.

 

 

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Bon Appétit and a Book:

In “Where There’s Smoke” a novella in the Wrong Bed Christmas book, my two characters Emma and Erik are stuck in an abandoned cabin with only a couple of granola bars, a box of expensive chocolates and a very nice bottle of wine. Not the worst to make a meal on, but if I were planning the perfect meal for being stranded with a sexy firefighter in the middle of Colorado, I’d go with something that would give me more energy for the night ahead 😉 Here’s the perfect rustic yet filling dish would appeal to any red-blooded American man (who wasn’t a vegetarian):

Seduce Me Beef Stew*

1 lb of lean good quality stew meat

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

2 tsp oil

2 onions (sliced into thin rings)

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp tomato paste

2 cups of beef broth

3 cups sliced carrots

2 medium potatoes, sliced

1 cup green beans

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp cold water

 

  1. Coat beef with flour, shaking off excess. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil. Add beef and cook about 5-7 minutes until slightly browned. Remove beef to a separate plate.
  2. Add onions and mushrooms to the pot; saute for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and saute for a minute or so. Return beef to the pot and stir in tomato paste. Next add broth and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for an hour.
  3. Add carrots, potatoes and green beans. Cover partially and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch. Stir into stew and increase heat to a boil. Turn off and let cool slightly. Serve with cornbread or crusty French bread.

 

*Derived from Healthy Meals in Minutes

Excerpt from “Where There’s Smoke” by Liz Talley

The crackle of the lit fire drew her attention and instantly made the space cozy and—she licked her lips—intimate.

“Ah,” Erik said, stripping off his gloves and warming his hands in front of the blaze. “Good thing this wood is aged and dry. Instant warmth. Come on over and warm up.”

Emma hesitated for a moment, trying to regain a calm, less amorous demeanor. So they were alone in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with a bottle of wine, chocolate and a single double bed? Big deal. She could handle it. After all, she’d never allowed her attraction for him to show through.

She walked over and crouched beside him, sighing at the warmth. Exploring the cabin had kept her moving, but her fingers and feet were numb.

“Here,” he said, grabbing the nearest chair and dragging it close to the dancing flames. “Sit.”

Seconds later they each sat in matching chairs, thawing out.

“I can’t believe we’re stuck here,” she mused aloud, the warmth making her drowsy. She suppressed a yawn. “This is like a movie I once saw.”

“Misery?” he joked.

Emma laughed. “Are you planning on drugging me, incapacitating me and making me write you a romance story?”

He wiggled his eyebrows. “That could be fun. But I could think of better things to do.”

 

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