Monday, August 08, 2011
The Civil War brought casualties beyond the bloody battlefields as North fought South. Philip Burke, against his family's wishes, volunteered to defend the Union and became a prisoner of war who bartered his medical expertise to remain out of prison. When the Union Army invaded Tennessee, Clarissa Wakefield's antebellum mansion became a Confederate hospital. Philip was placed in charge and against propriety, she volunteered to stay on and help nurse the wounded. Clarissa's husband was a Confederate soldier and Philip's fiancee waited for him in Oswego but the fire between them soon raged out of control. As the opposing armies fought for possession of Chattanooga, Clarissa and Philip faced their own battle. Caught in the passions of war and love, with hurt inevitable either way, would they be faithful to their vows or listen to their hearts?
If you are looking for a fascinating read that will keep you on your toes, look not further as Ms. Swift has just provided you with this very book. My first thought when I finished the last sentence on the very last page was "Wow, just wow". No matter how good of a review I give this book, it can not adequately describe my feelings and how much I fell in love with this book.
The depth of the characters is a vital element in this story. If this book had not delved into each character as much as it did, I believe it might not have been as captivating. Yet with just the right amount of background information and character development, I felt myself completely immersed in the story line.
Clarissa's character is a strong young woman who holds fast in her convictions. Not above putting herself in a position where gossip and rumor might surround her, Clarissa takes on the duty of being a nurse. Here she meets Phillip, an integral part of this book. Clarissa's life will never again remain the same. With full bodied characters, I could not help but feel connected to each and every character. Even the villain in the story held credibility and at times I felt almost sympathetic towards him.
This Time Forever is set amidst the tragedy that we call The Civil War. Rich in heartfelt emotion, be prepared to be swept away with compelling characters as well as an intriguing plot line. Ms. Swift has captured the essence of this time period in the little details of the characters behavior, their dress and even down to the way they speak. I was fascinated with the interaction through letters between those in the battlefield and their loved ones.
This Time Forever will captivate you through the heartbreaking and graphic details of a time when war bred hate between states as well as brother against brother. The twists throughout the story stole my breath and left me surprised but eager to read on as I just had to find out what happened next. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a captivating romance. Although I am a huge fan of Ms. Swift, I have to say that this is the one book that stands out from the rest and is my personal favorite.
Buy This Time Forever here
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Tell us about ONLY MINE.
Each book in the Fool’s Gold series is a standalone novel, meaning that you won’t get lost if you read them out of order. Fool’s Gold is a town facing a serious (and seriously funny) problem – the 2010 census revealed that the town is suffering from a man shortage. Fool’s Gold has become the punch line of countless jokes on TV talk shows, which makes the strong, independent women in town pretty darn crabby... and which attracts the attention of a sleazy TV producer.
In ONLY MINE, it’s Dakota Hendrix’s job to interview potential contestants. After she recommends two handsome young twins for the show, the twins’ gorgeous, stern older brother demands that she declare them unfit. Finn Anderson wants his brothers to return to college. Finn has raised the boys since their parents died, and he won’t consider his duty done until they graduate. While Finn does everything he can to strong-arm or coerce his brothers back to Alaska, Dakota is struggling with a problem of her own, a problem so big that it will change the course of her life.
You can read free excerpts here. You’ll find lots of freebies and fun bonus content there, too!
How did you come up with your Fool's Gold series?
I knew I wanted to create a series based on a place. In the past, I’d written series based on a family, so once I ran out of siblings, I ran out of stories. Readers kept asking me for more in every series. They loved that sense of connection, and they wanted it to go on. Debbie Macomber was the one who suggested I stop writing about families and start writing about a place. With a place, the story possibilities are infinite. (Debbie Macomber is like my Mayor Marsha – I never say no to Debbie! She’s a genius.)
The place itself needed to have a strong identity. As I was brainstorming the series, I heard a story about the then-upcoming 2010 census, about everything a town can discover about itself from census results. I wondered, “What if there was a man shortage?”
So Fool’s Gold was born… the town with the man shortage. But instead of making the women eager to get more men to town, I tweaked reader expectations and made the women strong, self-sufficient, and kind of crabby that anyone would think they need more men. They can run the town just fine without men. Which means that any men who do move to Fool’s Gold have to earn the right to live there . . . and they have to earn the hearts of the women they love.
www.FoolsGoldCA.com is my gift to readers who have been so loyal to me. I wanted to create an experience for readers that goes beyond the books. On FoolsGoldCA.com, readers will find amazing bonus content such as between-the-books updates, stories and pictures from the characters’ weddings, Fool’s Gold magazines, a map of town, and funny ads from local businesses… I could keep going, but the truth is, you have to see it to get it. Fool’s Gold is the Land of Happy Endings!
What draws Dakota and Finn to each other?
At their core, Finn and Dakota both value their families more than anything. Finn thinks he wants to be done with his familial duty. He wants to get his brothers through college so he can return to his days as a carefree bachelor, but he will learn that he’s not that guy anymore. Somewhere along the way, he grew up. At heart, he’s a family man.
You love to write about families, such as the Hendrix triplets. Why?
I was an only child, so I love writing about the big, boisterous family that I never had. Triplets are an extension of that – three sisters who have been together since birth. Each of the triplets has her own personality, but the experiences these three women have shared throughout their lives make them as close as it’s possible to be.
You’re known for both the depth of your characters and for your humor. Do both come naturally to you?
I think men and women falling in love with each other is inherently hysterical. Who came up with that bright idea?! Men do everything they can to avoid emotion, and yet they’re irresistibly drawn to women, who overflow with emotion. When I get teary-eyed over a commercial, my husband looks at me like I’m completely nuts. There’s this constant push-pull between men and women that never really goes away, and it will always be funny to me.
Most of my storylines are not funny in and of themselves. My characters deal with some very serious issues in their lives, but their ability to find the humor says a lot about their resilience. I like people in real life who can laugh at themselves, and I like that in characters, too.
Do you plot your books before writing?
I do a lot of plotting in advance, which means I can write the story quickly, which further means that I don’t lose interest. For me, the creative rush is highest during the plotting process, and the actual writing of the book is more about getting the story down on paper. I’ve tried writing without a plot, and it just doesn’t work for me. I enjoy the aspect of surprise, but I dread revisions. Even when a book is thoroughly plotted, though, the characters can sometimes surprise me. I was sweetly surprised by a secondary romance in ONLY MINE.
How many more Fool’s Gold books will you write?
There will be at least seven more books after this year’s. In 2012, three delicious cowboy brothers and their younger sister will move to Fool’s Gold. And in 2013, I think I’m going to establish a bodyguard academy on the edge of town. After that, who knows? If readers clamor for more from Fool’s Gold, anything’s possible. (You can let me know you want more by writing to me at www.facebook.com/susanmallery, www.twitter.com/susanmallery, or www.goodreads.com/susanmallery.)
Are you working on anything new outside of Fool's Gold?
BAREFOOT SEASON, my next women’s fiction novel, will be out in April 2012 and will launch a new series set on quaint Blackberry Island. The story is about two former best friends who form a turbulent truce to save the inn they both love.
The recent Buzz has been that you have your own team of Cheerleaders for the release of Only Mine and the books to follow. How did the idea come about? What is their purpose? How did you choose the squad?
Often, I hear from excited fans who discovered me because someone put one of my books in their hands and said, "You have to read this!" It moves me. And this year, it inspired me to create the Fool's Gold Varsity Cheerleading Squad. I decided to form a team of avid readers to share with the world their love of Fool's Gold, the Land of Happy Endings. (Fool's Gold is the setting of my ongoing series of romance novels. It's a quirky small town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Fool's Gold is dealing with a man shortage. This year's stories center around the Hendrix triplets. They are ONLY MINE, ONLY YOURS, and ONLY HIS.) The cheerleaders will earn lots of prizes along the way for doing what they love - talking about books - and I will dedicate a book next year to the grand prize winner.
I invited my fans to "try out" for the team by sharing three creative ideas for spreading the word about Fool's Gold. I was overwhelmed by the response! More than 500 fans tried out in the first few days, with some pretty amazing ideas. As I read through their applications, their enthusiasm brought a lump to my throat. I wish I could have accepted every one of them and had a cheerleading battalion that could take over the country. Unfortunately, I only had 25 advanced copies of ONLY MINE to give away. Selecting the final 25 was a daunting task. I wanted to get a good mixture of people who emphasized online ideas and those who emphasized in-person ideas, such as standing in front of a bookstore on release day, wearing a sandwich board, ringing a bell like the Salvation Army. (Yes, she got picked. Hi, Stacey!) I also wanted cheerleaders from all across the U.S., so geography played a role.
I don't know if it was pure luck or my discerning genius, but I am thrilled with the cheerleaders who made the team! They've handed out bookmarks, talked to people at the bookstore, called long distance friends. And now they're doing a blog tour to tell the world how much they love Fool's Gold!
Where can readers meet the squad?
The cheerleaders are pictured on my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/SusanMallery?closeTheater=1. You can also join my Goodreads fan page and my goodreads group to discover other readers who love my books! (Including the cheerleaders!)
Will your squad answer some questions? They would love too!! Readers please meet the squad…
Why did you try out for the squad?
Angela: Honestly? Because I thought it would be fun. I LOVE Susan's books... I've been a fan of hers for years. I've met some really great people through FB author pages and knew I'd enjoy meeting and working with a crew who enjoyed her books. It's hasn't really felt like a competition.... more like a group of women with similar interests. Already, I've met more people than I imagined and it's only been going on for a week!
Marilyn: Because I missed the last try out!
What is your favorite Fool’s Gold title?
Kelly: Sister of the Bride, which was part of the Summer Brides anthology. I could relate to Kate being a complete tomboy and sportswriter myself.
What's your favorite book by Susan?
Beccie: My favorite book of Susan's would have to be from her Buchanan Family series, "Sizzling". I love Reid's character and how he falls in love with the smart and understated Lori. I guess I see myself in Lori and that's why I love it.
Marilyn: Accidentally Yours and Sunset Bay
How did you discover Susan for the 1st time?
Stacey: I am an avid reader of the Harlequin Desire line and found Susan that way. Her “Millionaire” series was my favorite.
Jen: My Aunt had given me a stack of books & Susan’s was included…I can’t remember the title now (of course), but it was with the ex football player & a bakery.
What made you an avid fan of Susan's books?
Heidi: Susan's writing made me an avid fan! I love the way her writing can pull me into a story, make me feel part of a small town, and fall in love with the characters. As I began to research her list of back-list, trying to find more to read, I found that Susan is a very fun and out-going person. The creativity behind Fool's Gold website is brilliant and has me wanting more and more from this small community of people. I love how Susan tries to connect with her readers through her website and blog...the videos, yummy recipes, and I love the fun stories and pictures of her dog, NIKKI.
Jennifer: Her writing is humorous with a great story...she is a one of a kind author.
What's it like to be on the squad?
Charlotte: To be on the Varsity Cheerleading squad with the 24 other women who love Susan as I do is AWESOME, we all share a love for Susan and her novels. We sit and wait with baited breath for the next installment.
Have you read only mine yet? What do you think?
Angela: Yes! LOL... and I loved it!! My daughter adopted a child just this year. She has 2 children, but we nearly lost both of them with her second child. Her husband refused to let her bear any more children, so they decided to adopt. The months and months of filling out paperwork, and it happened just as suddenly for her as it did for Dakota. I really liked how strong Dakota was--she never whined or complained about the hand that Life dealt her. Finn was a hero who was easy to respect. Even though he comes off strong in the beginning, you know WHY he's the way he is. He's like the parent, but not. And so close to feeling like he could do "his" thing.
Why should readers buy this book?
Kelly: Because it will make you smile. This is the perfect escape from reality with some wonderful characters read.
Marilyn: Why not?
Any favorite quotes from the book?
Angela: "You're not funny," her mother snapped. "If you think this is humorous, you're wrong. I'm in crisis here. A really, really big crisis. I feel sick to my stomach, my head hurts, I'm retaining enough water to sink a battleship. I'm a woman on the edge. You need to respect that."
Charlotte: "Mom I'm pregnant!" bhahahah I would have been killed but her mom embraced her and wanted to share in her love.
Be honest... What's Susan really like?
Jennifer: She is humble and an absolute doll!!
Jen: She’s amazing! I never thought she would be as involved with our squad as she has been. Everyone and I feel I need to keep up & stay on top of those.
Tiffany: Supportive, Caring, Giving, Friendly, Creative, and a great author! She is someone you would want as a friend in good times and bad. She really has been so kind and supportive of all of us even when it has nothing to do with her or her books! She just cares.
*New York Times* bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women and the relationships that move them. *Publisher’s Weekly* calls Susan’s prose “luscious and provocative,” and *Booklist* says, “Novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling.” While Susan appreciates the critical praise, she is most honored by the enthusiastic readers who write to tell her that her books made them laugh, made them cry, and made the world a happier place to live. Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. She’s there for the coffee, not the weather. Visit Susan online at www.susanmallery.com and www.facebook.com/susanmallery.