Guest post: Joanne DeMaio

I’m so happy to welcome author Joanne DeMaio to the blog today. Joanne’s new novel Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans was published last week. I loved her first book Whole Latte Life and look forward to reading her second:


In my new novel, Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans, the main character Maris Carrington is a denim designer. Her denim specialty connects her to the summers she spent at a close-knit beach community while growing up, to memories of her and her mother walking the sandy shoreline, to the breeziness of the whole beach essence that has long been a part of her life.

 So today, let’s take a fashion quiz to see how blue jeans connect to your life. I think that our denim preferences say a lot about our personalities, and I hope you’ll give it a try. Which jean style represents the true-blue you? Feel free to stitch another style into the mix, too.
Bootcut ~ You’re relaxed, easy-going, a bit bohemian.
Flares ~ You’re a Free-spirit, love live music and the arts.
Straight-leg ~ You’re classic and dependable, a good friend.
Skinny ~ Fun and upbeat, you’re the life of the beach party.
Boyfriend Jeans ~ Artistic, comfortable, confident … You enjoy lazy reading days.
Trouser Jeans ~ You’re professional and polished, a go-getter.
Cropped Jeans ~ Cheerful, sunny, calming … Walking along a beach is your perfect day.
Carpe Denim!
Thanks so much for visiting today, Joanne. I wear bootcut the most but choose trouser jeans when I want to dress up a bit and can still get away with wearing denim. I also have a pair of white denim cropped jeans that I love to wear in the summer months.
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JoanneJoanne DeMaio is the award-winning author of Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans and the bestselling novel Whole Latte Life, which won First Place in the 2012 Discovery Awards and was named a Kirkus Reviews Critics’ Pick. It has also been featured in USA Today, The Huffington Post and other outlets. Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans is her second novel. Both books explore the intricate relationships between mothers and daughters, sisters and friends. In addition, her music essays have appeared in literary journals, celebrating her passion for song. Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut, where the coffee and stories are always brewing. She is currently at work on her next book.

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After years of pursuing a denim design career, Maris Carrington never imagined trading her Chicago studio for a New England BlueJeansandCoffeeBeansshingled cottage. But a forgotten home movie tucked inside a dusty attic box leads to an unexpected summer . . . One of uncovering family secrets while settling her father’s estate, one of inheriting a forlorn German Shepherd, one of reconnecting with old friends on a weathered boardwalk, beneath starlit skies on a beach nestled in a crook of the Connecticut coast. Her design career had become a shell, curving around her like the intricate whorls of a conch, shielding her until now. Until fried clam dinners and carousel rides beckon a lost love. But can Maris ever really go back? Can these beach friends ever be who they were to each other all those summers ago? Now one of her circle is dead; another unemployed and struggling in a tenuous marriage; another regretting a fateful decision; while one is missing a mother, ever seeking a connection she longs for. To the backdrop of seaside cottages and a boarded up beach hangout, to the soundtrack of whispering lagoon grasses and a vintage jukebox, Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans asks if we can really design our own lives, or if our fate lies somewhere in the stars.

You can buy Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans here.

Guest Post by Jodi Thomas

Today I’m happy to welcome author Jodi Thomas to tell us about her newest book in the Harmony series. This is one of my favorite series so I can’t wait to read CHANCE OF A LIFETIME.

chance of a lifetimeWelcome to my town, Harmony, Texas.  I thought readers might like to start the new year with a book set in a small town called CHANCE OF A LIFETIME.  Once in a while everything comes together in a story that makes it fun to write. I think you’ll love the visit where secrets whisper of old love affairs and kindness to others warms your heart.

I wanted to write a deep love story about two people who had been friends in childhood and lost each other one night because of an attack.  She was hurt and he felt guilty for not being there to help.  When Emily Tomlinson sees Tannon Parker ten years later, they don’t know how to mend the fences to find one another again.  I wanted to write a very tender love story about an attraction far deeper than physical, a love that went all the way to their hearts.

Writing the story of Harmony in CHANCE OF A LIFETIME has been a pure joy for me.  I grew up in a small town and understand how the people’s life stories blend together and how everyone bands together when trouble comes.  So come along with me this cold night on an adventure that will make you smile and keep you reading long into the night.

Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 35 novels and 11 short story collections. A RITA winning author,1028_jodibio Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.



Release Date: December 31, 2012


Amazon  Barnes and Noble  IndieBound

Spotlight on The Rx Factor – Author Guest Post and Giveaway


Five years after the death of his wife and children, Ryan Matthews is living alone with memories of his failed career in cancer research when fellow scientist Jordan Carver catches his eye. Preparing for a move to Mexico, Jordan plans to open a clinic where terminal patients will have affordable access to experimental medication. Despite Ryan’s skepticism on her willingness to bypass the FDA drug approval process, he is intrigued by Jordan’s passion and determination to provide alternative care to terminal patients. But when a violent explosion leaves the small Bahamian island of Exuma on edge, Ryan knows his life has once again been forever altered.

Drawn together by circumstance, attraction, and shared ambition, Ryan and Jordan become united in their international quest for the truth. The two embark on an explosive thrill ride ending in Washington, D.C., where the couple unravels the country’s best-kept secret: the government will stop at nothing to maintain the American way of life, with heartbreak and sickness for all.

♦  ♦  ♦


I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader (US/Canada)


Click here for details 

Giveaway is closed


Good luck!

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And now a guest post from the author:

A Solution to Transform Medical Research and the United States Health Care System 

Despite spending more than any other nation in the world on health care, only 15% of Americans believe we have the world’s best health care, according to a recent Pew Research Center and Gallup Poll.  The CIA world Factbook reports that the United States is ranked #50 in terms of average life expectancy. The average age at death in the U.S. is 78.49 years of age, over 11 years behind #1 ranked Monaco.

This is where you end up on the list with a “make money at all cost” health care system. However, I have a three step plan that will transform medical research and the health care system as we know it in the U.S.  If we act now, we can go from #50 to #1 by 2030 while at the same time cutting our spending on health care in half. My plan will also drive down insurance premiums, making coverage affordable for the vast majority.

Half of the country is demanding that the government stay out of health care while the other half is supporting a quasi-socialized health care system. With such vehemently opposing views, there is zero chance for a consensus and therefore nothing will ever get done that moves us in the right direction. And this is exactly what Big Pharma wants. Therefore, the first step is to change the debate. From Hillarycare through Obamacare, we have been debating {health care} costs and {health insurance} coverage. Cost and coverage are not the problems; they are symptoms of the real problems which are {unidentified} causes and {a lack of} cures.

The next step is to stop donating money to the mega health charities who each take in tens of millions of dollars annually by offering hope to find a cure, but continue to come up empty as a result of Big Pharma’s influence over all medical research.  Instead, not-for-profit universities conducting medical research need to sever their ties to Big Pharma and seek funding from private citizens. The vast majority of medical researchers want to be involved in discovering the cause and cures for human ailments, but they also have to live and they know who butters their bread. If private individuals fund this research, then our nation’s medical researchers no longer need to be beholden to Big Pharma.

The third step is to fight fire with fire.  Like any other publicly traded company, Big Pharma has a fiduciary responsibility to increase shareholder value by enacting business plans that will increase revenues and profits year over year.  In the current environment, the best way to accomplish that objective is to get more people reliant (addicted) on the drugs they produce.

Big Pharma’s mission is not necessarily to get every single American popping their daily maintenance drugs, rather it is to make as much money as possible and selling addictive maintenance drugs is the best way to accomplish that mission as things stand right now. Therefore we need to change the tax code and enact legislation to make their pursuit of profits align with the greater good of the health our citizens.

This can be accomplished by the carrot and stick approach. First we need to show Big Pharma the stick:

1.      Institute a windfall profits tax on any profits derived from any new products developed that is considered a maintenance drug.

2.      Eliminate deductions for R&D expenses associated with any drug being developed as a maintenance drug and not a cure.

Next is the carrot:

1.      No income tax paid on the profits generated by any product that cures a human ailment – for eternity.

2.      Offer permanent patent protection on any product produced that offers a real cure. Expand patent protection to natural cures documented in human trials.

3.      Pricing – fix pricing on drugs that cure human disease to make it as profitable to cure as it does to maintain in today’s health care environment.

This is all about money. If we have the courage to make those changes to the tax code and enact this type of meaningful health care reform, within 15 -20 years, we will have a cure for nearly every human disease known to man. In addition, the cost of health insurance will be affordable for almost everyone and the vast majority of us will end up living much longer and more productive and healthier lives.

About J. Thomas Shaw

J. Thomas Shaw is the author of The RX Factor, a fact based thriller that pits one man against Big Pharma and the FDA. Fact based fiction has the power to bring people from all walks of life together and focus on a single issue. Check it out at

Guest post: Jodi Thomas

I’m pleased to welcome author Jodi Thomas today. She’s here to tell us about the newest book in the Harmony series.

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JUST DOWN THE ROAD is my 34th novel and I believe one of the best I’ve ever written.  Whenever I write I always think about the kind of story I love to read.  I want to laugh and cry and fall in love.  I want to care.  I want to stay with the story longer than planned because I just have to know what happens next.  I think, as you read JUST DOWN THE ROAD that I will take you on that journey.  You’re going to love my people, not because they’re rich or famous, or powerful, but because they’re kind.  They’re trying to survive in a world where doing what is right matters.

Whenever I begin to plot I like to mix my stories together so that one plot forms out of the life of several people.  In JUST DOWN THE ROAD I have the beginnings of young, first time, love and the sweet love of two people who thought they were destined to live their lives alone.  In the opening I introduce two people who are running, one from life and the other toward it.  One, because of fear, thinks she’s never lived and the other feels his life is over.  They are not a couple anyone would put together but as they grow to love each other.  Tinch and Addison realize they’re a perfect match.  And, for a man just learning to live again, Tinch has to also realize that there are some things in life worth risking his life for.

I’m never sure what to say when people ask me what I do for a living.  I daydream.  I play.  I imagine.  I create.  I scrub the rough worlds clean.  I’m not a writer for a living, I’m simply a writer.

In JUST DOWN THE ROAD all my work and skill and that spark of talent seemed to come together.  The people I created breathed.  I’m very proud of this book and I hope it makes you laugh, and cry and fall in love with the people who live in Harmony.

Enjoy the story, 

Jodi Thomas

Thanks for visiting today, Jodi. The Harmony series is one of my favorites so I can’t wait to read Just Down The Road. I hope readers will take a few minutes to watch the trailer:

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I have one copy of  JUST DOWN THE ROAD for a US reader

Click here for giveaway details.


Guest Post: Joanne DeMaio – Whole Latte Life

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome author Joanne DeMaio to the blog. Joanne’s novel WHOLE LATTE LIFE published last week. Thanks for visiting today, Joanne. I’m a big fan of books and coffee! I look forward to reading Whole Latte Life. 

The Perfect Blend ~ Coffee, Books and Life

Coffee has such comforting affiliations, I think because it’s an integral part of our days.  We need our morning coffee, grab a coffee-to-go, linger with a dessert coffee, meet over coffee.  And that one’s the clincher.  Meeting over coffee.  In fact, some of the best talks happen over a fresh cup of java.  Think of all the latte’s you’ve enjoyed, with family or a friend.  How much life you’ve mulled over with someone near and dear in a local coffee shop, or in a neighbor’s country kitchen with a fresh-brewed pot, or in a restaurant’s cozy nook.

The same way we mull over life with a coffee, don’t we also consider life in the books we read?  In the genres we favor?  I know I do.  My novel WHOLE LATTE LIFE is a blend of the choices we make as mothers and daughters and friends, and how those choices sometimes haunt us.  It’s filled with topics we’d talk over with a friend, over a steaming cup of java.

Coffee and books.  I’m a fan of both.  They fit together like, well, like a cup and saucer.  Even the flavors of java correlate with our reading preferences.  Give it a try … If you had to choose, what coffee flavor would you give your reading preference?

I’ve brewed up a few literary-coffee choices … You can choose one, or add your own unique blend to the menu … Let’s get percolating!

Do you read Regular, With Cream ~ Literary with a Commercial bent?

Or is your preference Cream with Sugar ~ Very Commercial?

Is your favorite genre Black Coffee ~ Strictly Literary?

How about Café au Lait ~ Historical, set in France?

There’s always a Coffee Milkshake ~ Blending the Genres?

Or maybe Monk’s Cappuccino ~ Inspirational/Christian?

Does Layered Caffé Latte describe it ~ A life layered in Memoir?

Science Fiction, YA, Romance, whatever the genre ~ What flavor do you enjoy reading?

Coffee Cheers to all!


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About Whole Latte Life

Sara Beth Riley never dreamt she’d walk straight out of her life. Actually she’d never dreamt a lot of things that had happened this year … From being kidnapped by her own best friend, to throwing her wedding rings into the Hudson River, to calling an old love in France, to getting inked with said best friend, painting the passionate constellation of these choices into permanence. But mostly, she could never have dreamt what started it all. How could it be that her mother’s unexpected death, and the grief which lingered painfully long, turned her into the woman she was finally meant to become?

Sara Beth’s escape begins a summer of change – of herself, of marriage, of the lives of those around her. In a story that moves from Manhattan to the sea to a quaint New England town, Whole Latte Life looks at friends we never forget, at decisions we linger with, at our attempts to live the lives we love.

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You can read more about Joanne DeMaio at her website.

More info about Whole Latte Life can be found at

Guest Post by M.J. Rose author of The Book of Lost Fragrances – Virtual Book Tour

Today I welcome  M.J. Rose, author of THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES:

M.J. Rose:  I’ve been fascinated with lost fragrances since long before I started writing The Book of Lost Fragrances… since I found a bottle of perfume on my great grandmother’s dresser that had belonged to her mother in Russia. Here is one of those lost fragrances that stirs the senses and the imagination… (researched and described  with the help of the perfume writer  Dimitrios Dimitriadis)


Considered to be the glittering gem in the Serge Lutens / Shiseido crown, Nombre Noir is coveted for its scarcity and deep, dark mysteriousness. Created in 1982, Nombre Noir embraces 1980s style… it is bold, dramatic and commanding. It opens with a huff of aldehydes and bergamot which settles over a lavish floral heart of ylang ylang, rose and lily of the valley. An ambery benzoin / sandalwood  base imbues the perfume with a stunning honey-like quality… the sum of all components being rich, dark and plummy. This perfume was created when Lutens worked at Shiseido, and as such is a highly sought-after discontinued treasure.

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A sweeping and suspenseful tale of secrets, intrigue, and lovers separated by time, all connected through the mystical qualities of a perfume created in the days of Cleopatra–and lost for 2,000 years.

Jac L’Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances–and of her mother’s suicide–she moved to America. Now, fourteen years later she and her brother have inherited the company along with it’s financial problems. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing–leaving a dead body in his wake–Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind.

Back in Paris to investigate her brother’s disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend the House of L’Etoile has been espousing since 1799. Is there a scent that can unlock the mystery of reincarnation – or is it just another dream infused perfume?

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac’s quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.


M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her next novel THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES (Atria/S&S) will be published in March 2012.  Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.  Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors –  The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype.  She is also the co-founder of and

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

Click here for tour schedule

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her WEBSITE. You can also find her on Facebook.

Guest Post: by Deborah Coonts

Today I welcome author Deborah Coonts to Bookfan. I read Deborah’s book Wanna Get Lucky? a few months ago and really enjoyed it. Next week I’ll review the second book in the series: Lucky Stiff. I asked Deborah to write about her inspiration for the Lucky series.
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Inspiration for the Lucky Series: A Sinful Escape
By Deborah Coonts,
Author of Lucky Stiff

When my then fifteen-year-old son suggested a family relocation to Las Vegas, my then husband and I started packing. Okay, maybe we didn’t think it through, but after five years in suburban Maryland we had yet to find our niche, so we were ready for a change. Little did I know, the story I had been looking for was lurking in Sin City. In retrospect, perhaps it should’ve been obvious, but back then I was pretty naive.

With bags packed and good wishes ringing in our ears (The one I remember the best was: You’re going to finish raising a hormonal teenage male in Las Vegas? Are you on drugs? I’m still thankful those ‘friends’ didn’t call Social Services), we packed two cars and a moving van and headed toward the bright lights.

A lot of people say Vegas is an acquired taste — not for me.

Where else outside of maybe New York City can you watch an everchanging cross-section of the world parade past and still go home and sleep in your own bed? Absolute heaven for a storyteller.

However, it is true that everyone sees something different in Vegas.

I see magic.

And this is the Vegas I wanted to write about. The fun stuff. Not bodies buried in the desert. Not mobsters. Not fools losing everything. But the real Vegas. The forty-five million visitors a year — each of whom are on a mission of mischief, the celebrities, the singers, the shows, the amazing shopping — that Vegas.

My Vegas.

Wanna Get Lucky? is the beginning of the story. Of course, the story had to be set in a huge strip casino/resort, and since I’m a storyteller, not a reporter, I created my own — The Babylon. And who better to tell the story than a woman in her early thirties (old enough to know better, but young enough to ignore it) who is the Head of Customer Relations?

On a roll, I wrote the first sentence of the story — I’m big on beginnings — then came to a screeching halt.

Great, forty-three words into the next Great American Novel and I had writer’s block. This was going to be harder than I thought.

That’s when I started hearing voices.

At first, I thought maybe this ought to worry me, but then I remembered an interview with P. D. James. When asked how she came up with her stories, she said something to the effect that she sat in a room with her characters, listened to what they had to say, then wrote it down. I was so there. And, by all accounts, Ms. James did all right. So, if it was good enough for her, it was fine for little ol’ me.

Lucky, my protagonist, was the first character to speak to me. Apparently fed-up with my waffling, she spoke up loud and clear — she told me her name — while I was minding my own business sitting on the porch at the Grand Lake Lodge in Colorado. Vacation interrupts. Two women and one man (my then husband) do not make a great vacation. Of course, if we’d been in Vegas, that would’ve been just an interesting evening . . . or so I’ve been told.

But I digress. Being given my protagonist’s name was a good start, but I was hoping for more. Lucky didn’t disappoint — she introduced me to her friends: The Great Teddie Divine (Las Vegas’ premier female impersonator who is straight and, understandably, has a tough time picking up women), Miss Patterson (Lucky’s plucky assistant and a cougar), the Beautiful Jeremy Whitlock (a private investigator and prime cougar bait), The Big Boss, and Mona (Lucky’s bordelloowning mother).

The whole female impersonator thing sort of opened the door for me. I mean, some of the impersonators in this town are amazing. And then I started wondering . . . well, anyway, I finally ended-up wondering what would a straight guy do if he spent his professional life sheathed in Oscar de la Renta? How would he do with women? Of course, this being my fantasy, I decided he might do all right. Think about it. A man who can speak Jimmy Choo? A man who can help me with make-up (I’m not a girly-girly.) A man who would not only know who Rodgers and Hammerstein were, but who could even hum a few bars of I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta My Hair. All this and sex too? Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she? So, Teddie was born.

The cougar thing . . . well, I’m of a certain age — old enough to find that concept interesting. Enough said.

And who wouldn’t wonder what it would be like to have a mother in ‘the business’? This is Vegas after all.

The cast set, I actually had to come up with a story. Porn stars and spouse swappers?

The genesis for the porn star angle was a chapter of a book, Skin City by Jack Sheehan. Jack is a Vegas author and quite wonderful. The vignette he wrote that inspired me was a recitation of his attendance at the real adult film awards held in Vegas each January. I laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my face. So, of course, I had to have porn stars — of my own creation, of course.

And the spouse swappers — that idea came right out of Sixty Minutes.

Put the two together, along with a young woman who falls out of a tour helicopter, landing in the middle of the Pirate Show in front of Treasure Island, add some Vegas magic, and romance . . .

So, do you Wanna Get Lucky?

© 2011 Deborah Coonts, author of The Lucky O’Toole Vegas adventure series

Author Bio
Deborah Coonts, author of Lucky Stiff, says her mother tells her she was born in Texas a very long time ago, though she’s not totally sure — her mother can’t be trusted. But she was definitely raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. She currently resides in Las Vegas, where family and friends tell her she can’t get into too much trouble. Silly people. Coonts has built her own business, practiced law, flown airplanes, written a humor column for a national magazine, and survived a teenager. She is the author of the Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas adventure series.

Her first book, Wanna Get Lucky?, was released in 2010.

For more information please visit, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

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Thank you, Deborah. I love that Lucky named herself 🙂 I hope she introduces you to many more characters! I can’t wait for her next adventure.

Guest Post: Jodi Thomas – The Comforts Of Home

Today I’m pleased to welcome author Jodi Thomas. I’ve enjoyed her Harmony series so I’m anxious to read the latest installment: The Comforts of Home (on sale Nov. 1st).  So, without further ado, here’s Jodi!

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As fall settles in around the Panhandle of Texas, I’m getting excited about THE COMFORTS OF HOME coming out Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011. My favorite time of year is fall with the cool nights and sometimes rainy days. The perfect weather to curl up with a book.

When the people of Harmony began to sit down and tell me their story (in my head) I found one quiet woman fascinating from the first. At a time in her life when she was young and should have been going out on dates and having a ball, she was silently  working at the post office without one person she called friend. The story whirls around with people falling in love, breaking up and living life, but in the corner of my mind, Ronelle Logan waited for her story.

People in general frightened her. One by one they were terrifying.  Chapter 2, The Comforts of Home

In the opening of THE COMFORTS OF HOME she is about to meet a man who will petrify her at first and awaken her to life as they talk.

I love writing and plan to do it as long as stories come. Writing is hard work and I often think the story will never be as bright as it is in my mind. Then I remember that someone asked Mark Twain about his wonderful stories and he said “You should have seen it in my head.”

So, order, or borrow, or download my story, cuddle up in your favorite chair and come along with me on a journey that will make you feel at home in Harmony.

Jodi Thomas

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Jodi ThomasJodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today best-selling author of 34 novels and 11 short story collections. In June 2011, WELCOME TO HARMONY won a RITA, the highest award for contemporary fiction. Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
Thanks for visiting, Jodi. My review of THE COMFORTS OF HOME will post November 2. I hope everyone will come back to see what I think.  
There will be a giveaway!

Guest Post by Wendy Wax, Author of Ten Beach Road

I guess we could call this week Ten Beach Road Week at Bookfan! I’m pleased to share this space with author Wendy Wax. She writes about her latest novel and the inspiration for the setting of Ten Beach Road. Take it away, Wendy!

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The House at the Heart of TEN BEACH ROAD

Wendy Wax

Ten Beach Road, which came out May 3rd, is a story about three strangers who lose almost everything in a Ponzi scheme, except co-ownership in what turns out to be a dilapidated beachfront mansion named Bella Flora.

Madeline Singer, a homemaker who’s celebrating her newly emptied nest right up until the moment it starts filling back up, Avery Lawford an architect and HGTV host who thinks playing ‘Vanna’ to her now ex-husband on their show is the worst thing that can happen until he elbows her out completely, and Nicole Grant, well-known dating guru and matchmaker who’s already battled her way out of poverty once, arrive at Bella Flora planning to put their sole remaining asset up for sale, only to discover just how far from ready this once-fabulous home is.

Caught between a rock-and-a-hard-place choice, they elect to stay on and, with the help of a local (and infuriating) contractor, work to bring Bella Flora back to life, bit by backbreaking bit.

They’re joined over that long sweat soaked summer by Madeline’s unexpectedly pregnant daughter and Avery’s estranged mother, which is a whole lot of estrogen for one house to absorb—especially when the renovation forces them to share a single bathroom and no air conditioning.

I got to tour a number of wonderful homes while trying to imagine Bella Flora and heard some really inspiring stories of both restoration and renovation in the process. I also developed a somewhat unhealthy addiction to HGTV!

In the end I decided to make Bella Flora a Mediterranean-Revival style home, with the foot thick walls, high ceilings and strategically placed balconies and windows that made them so popular in Florida and California in the 1920s.  The Don CeSar Hotel, a fabulous example of this period and style, stands at the northern end of Pass-a-Grille, the Florida beach community where I grew up and not far from the southernmost tip of this barrier island where I placed Bella Flora. Of course, I had to mentally move a condo building to claim Bella Flora’s fabulous view of the pass, where the Gulf of Mexico and the bay meet, but I figure that’s one of the perks of writing fiction.

In the end, this wonderful house became a character in its own right as well as the catalyst that helps Madeline, Avery and Nicole rebuild their own lives.

I’m attaching a few photos of the kinds of details that made Bella Flora so special to me, and I hope, once you’ve read Ten Beach Road, to you as well.


Guest Post – Jodi Thomas

When I began writing TEXAS BLUE I knew I wanted to write two stories that ran at stampede pace through one novel.  I’ve written 23 Historical Romances and Sagas, but this time I wanted the stories to be equal.  No plot and subplot, just two full stories.  I opened in 1875, with two friends parting ways one stormy night in Austin.  Duncan McMurray, a Texas Ranger, is off to fight at the border and Lewt, a gambler, plans to find a wife while his friend is away.  He thinks he wants a quiet, wealthy lady, unfortunately in Emily McMurray, Duncan’s cousin, he finds far more than he bargained for.

Duncan is all a hero in a western romance should be, he’s wild, loyal and intelligent.  He leaves his law practice to go fight with the Texas Rangers.  Lewt, on the other hand never wants to get involved in fights of any kind.  He plays his life like a game based on luck.  Duncan wants to do what’s right, but his friend, Lewt, only wants to live a normal, quite life.  When the stories collide, Duncan must depend on Lewt’s bravery and trust his life to their friendship.

I’ve been setting books in Texas history for almost twenty years.  As a fifth generation Texan, the world seems very real to me.  People sometimes ask if I’d like to go back there, and I always say no, I just love living there in my imagination.  While writing this book I felt like I was returning to a much loved ranch I’d written about before called Whispering Mountain.  My hero, Duncan, was rescued as a boy from an outlaw camp and adopted by the McMurrays.  He’s been raised with three girl cousins and feels very protective of them.  When they think he sent men to the ranch hoping to marry them off, the girls declare war on Duncan.

I know my readers are going to love this story as much as I loved writing it.  For those of you who would like more about what was happening at the ranch before Lewt arrives, check my website and read two chapters that had to be cut from early in the book.  Remember, they haven’t been edited so jump over the misspellings.

Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear from you.

Jodi Thomas

Thanks, Jodi!

I’d like to invite readers to come back tomorrow

for my review of Texas Blue and a giveaway

Jodi Thomas guest post – Somewhere Along The Way

Please join me in welcoming author and guest blogger Jodi Thomas.  I’m a fan of the Harmony Series and am happy to tell you that the second book, Somewhere Along The Way, will be in stores on November 2 – that’s next Tuesday!


Good morning everyone.  Thanks for inviting me to drop by and visit.  I’d like to welcome you to step into my second book in the Harmony Series.  SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY.  This is my 30th book and what I believe will be one you’ll keep and read again and again.

In this book I had a great time writing about love at different ages and how we all fall in love different ways.  Sometime it comes softly after growing up with someone and until you realize there was never a time you didn’t love them and sometimes it slams into you all at once with a kiss.


Liz and Gabe’s story from SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY

“I’ll take it in the living room,” she said. Liz walked across the hall, picked up the phone, and waited for the click from the kitchen before speaking.

“Elizabeth Matheson,” she said in her most professional voice.

“I need your help.”

He hadn’t said his name; he hadn’t needed to. She’d know Gabriel’s voice anywhere.

“Where are you?”

“County sheriff’s office,” he said. “They’re about to take me up to a holding cell. Ask for Gabe Leary, Elizabeth, not Smith, and get here as fast as you can.”

She’s already figured out that Smith probably wasn’t his real name. “What did you do?”

“Nothing,” he answered. “But they think I may have killed someone.”

Liz told herself she was a lawyer. Whether he did or didn’t commit the crime, he had a right to counsel. Only she wasn’t sure she could go through with it if he had. She wasn’t sure which bothered her most: that he might be lying, or that if he was, she’d kissed a murderer.

She gripped the phone for a minute, trying to think.

“Elizabeth,” he whispered again. “Are you still there? I’m no good around people. I seem to be causing more trouble for myself than helping.” He was quiet as if listening to her breathe, and then he added, “I need you.”

She straightened. “I’ll be right there.”

She hung up and walked back into the dining room, where everyone was having dessert. “I have to go. I’m needed over at the jail.”

“A client,” Claire said. “Oh, how exciting. Little sister has a real client.”

Liz grabbed her coat and purse. As she walked out the door, she yelled back, “No. A date.”


Come along with me on this journey.  I’ll make you laugh and cry and smile at the ending.  I promise you’ll care about the people of Harmony.

Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today best-selling author of 31 novels and 8 short story collections. As of July 2006, she was the 11th woman to be inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame. She is also currently serving as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

Jodi Thomas guest post

It is my pleasure to welcome award-winning author Jodi Thomas to Bookfan. Her  new book Welcome to Harmony will be in stores on June 1st. Come back tomorrow for my review and a giveaway.

Cover design for Twisted Creek
In a few days WELCOME TO HARMONY will hit the stores and I don’t know when I’ve been so excited about a book coming out.  This will be my 29th book.   A writer writes a story, climbs into a world and lives there for months.  Then, the writer has to send the story off and let go of the characters for a while.  With this book it wasn’t easy.  I didn’t want to say goodbye.    Funny, sometimes a writer writes a book they’d like to read and in this case I did just that.

WELCOME TO HARMONY opens with Reagan, a runaway, being dropped off after dark on the Main Street of Harmony, Texas. Before the night is over, she’s stepped into a world she’s never known. A world where she can belong.

As I wrote it seemed like my characters came to me one at a time, sat down, and began to tell me their story. As the book moves through the weeks, you’ll meet a funeral director who cares about everyone he meets, a volunteer fire chief who loves what he does, a sheriff who fights every day to live up to her family, and a child who sees people for who they really are.

This story will touch your heart and make you laugh. By the time you finish, you’ll feel like Harmony is a real place.

Three love stories wind their way through the book. One is a story of first love between two teenagers. Another is a love story between two strong willed adults who have loved each other since childhood but are torn apart because of an accident. The third love story is between a middle aged kind man who had never found anyone he can talk too. He develops a relationship with a woman on line that he met one icy night when they were both forced of the road due to weather. Both are professionals dedicated to their work and not the kind of people used to sharing feelings.

I hope to keep you up late because you have to learn what happens to the folks in Harmony. So, come along with me for a visit.

Much love to you all,
Jodi Thomas

A fifth generation Texan, Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state. With a degree in Family Studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A & M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer In Residence.

You can read more about Jodi Thomas at her official website