I’d planned to draw just one name, but there were so many wonderful comments, I had to draw two… Thank you all SO much for celebrating this new book with me!!
Congrats to June A and Lisa S on winning a copy of HOLIDAY MAN! Please email me (marilynbrant AT gmail DOT com) or let me know your best email address in the comments section below, and I’ll send it out to you right away.
And, to everyone reading this, a very Happy St. Nick’s Day to you all!!
Just a couple of weeks ago, I released my sixth novel — a light, steamy, contemporary romantic comedy called Holiday Man – and I’m thrilled to get to share it with all of you!! In celebration, I’m giving away one PDF copy (open internationally) to one commenter on today’s post. The random drawing will be around noon on St. Nick’s Day, December 6th!
This is a romance told over a year of holidays, much like one of my favorite classic Christmas musicals, Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire’s “Holiday Inn.” (Have you seen it? Do you like it, too??) The love story is between Shannon Quinn, who owns the holiday-themed resort in scenic Door County, Wisconsin, and Bram Hartwick, the wealthy businessman from Minneapolis, Minnesota who keeps coming back to visit her.
Unlike my debut novel, According to Jane, this new story isn’t an Austenesque one, but the cover (which I love!) was designed by Abigail Reynolds’s talented daughter, Rebecca Young. She also designed the cover of my upcoming January book from WSP, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match, which — as I’m sure you can guess from the title! — is definitely an Austen-inspired novel.
Below is an excerpt from HOLIDAY MAN (this scene is from the middle of the book, but you can also read the entire first chapter in The Writer’s Block). I really hope you’ll enjoy it!
*** EXCERPT ***
Bram dialed room service in his Belgian hotel and had them send up a cup of decaf with cream and a chocolate croissant. Carbs usually knocked him out fast and he needed that. He was having a devil of a time falling asleep. But the sweet pastry, like virtually everything else he laid his eyes on, made him think of Shannon.
So he tried some strong bourbon from the mini bar. No such luck.
The late-night TV show in Flemish didn’t help either. Nor did the French one.
He checked the clock and, counting backward seven hours, he decided there remained only one viable option. He punched in a phone number he’d long since memorized.
“Hello, you’ve reached the voicemail of Shannon Quinn. I’m unable to take your call right now, but please leave your name and message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Have a wonderful day.” Continue reading
Like many of my fellow Austen Authors, I love this time of year. The scent of a pumpkin-spice latte…the crisp autumn wind…the gorgeous changing of the leaves here in my little corner of the Midwest…and, of course, the taste of fall, which, in my opinion, comes in the form of caramel apples and savory turkey stuffing. (And do I need to even mention Halloween candy miniatures?! Just the sight of an Almond Joy wrapper brings me…well, joy. )
I also love carving pumpkins, although I did not carve these two on the table. They’re actually the jack-o-lanterns that were on display at the Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood last October (I was there for a women’s fiction writing retreat). For those unfamiliar with it, that’s the hotel where several aerial shots were taken for the famous film “The Shining,” based on Stephen King’s terrifying novel by the same name. (I like to think I’m brave but, really, I’m a huge scaredy cat when it comes to any kind of horror story!)
I may not write with a narrative style that resembles King’s at all, but I do enjoy putting fall themes to use in my books. For anyone who’s read According to Jane, you know that the story begins and ends in the autumn. In fact, on the very first page of the novel is this sentence: “I was in sophomore lit then — midweek, early November, daydreaming of life after high school — when Sam Blaine made his first move and Jane Austen made her first comment.” I wrote that line in the fall of 2004, when I initially began drafting what became my debut novel, and they were, in fact, the very first words I composed in the writing of the book. Probably why I always get a little sentimental when I read them… It was also the middle of fall when I first read Pride and Prejudice, and I’ll never forget the way I ignored everything and everyone when I was engrossed in that amazing novel. Looking back, I can’t believe there was really a time when I had no idea what would happen Continue reading
However, just as it was fascinating to see Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech” or in “Mamma Mia,” I’ve been curious to watch Matthew in some of his other acting roles, which I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of seeing. I mean, c’mon — it’s pretty easy to love a man when he’s portraying Darcy (!!), but what about when he’s playing a different character altogether? A modern spy with a gun, perhaps?
Well, for years, I’ve heard about the long-running British series “Spooks,” aka “MI-5.” Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been watching episodes from the show’s first and second seasons — devouring them one at a time, like chocolate truffles — and falling hopelessly in love with Matthew all over again!
I know, I know, I’m a decade behind the times on this, but you have to understand something about me and TV shows: I’m not quick to jump on series bandwagons. I didn’t start watching “ER” until the episode at the end of the 5th season when George Clooney’s character was leaving the show. I didn’t so much as allow myself to watch those (scary!) commercials for “The X-Files” (let alone an entire episode) until late in the 7th season when I heard David Duchovny’s character would be leaving as a regular cast member. I didn’t begin watching any of “The Vampire Diaries” until the 3rd season finale because…well, no major character was leaving, but I just didn’t think I’d like a teen vampire show. And in every single case, I wished I would have flipped on my TV years earlier so I could start enjoying these programs sooner. Continue reading