Congrats Elaine A-W! Winner MAVERICK for HIRE!

Congrats Elaine A-W!  And thanks for all of your responses for how you deal with STRESS!  Mwah!  xo, Leanne

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S-T-R-E-S-S! MAVERICK for HIRE A Recipe & Gift Card Drawing!

It’s summer here in the States, so I’m happy to report my stress level is way down, but when I was writing my last two books (especially during deadline), I was very stressed. Like the heroine in my current book, MAVERICK for HIRE, I did some baking. MAVERICK for HIRE should be on the bookstands now if the poor retail people can find time amidst putting out a constant stream of back-to-school supplies.

At Harlequin, we’re celebrating MONTANA MAVERICKS: 20 YEARS IN THE SADDLE! Can you believe we’ve had twenty years of Mavericks? My story features hunky Nick Pritchett and his best bud Cecelia Clifton. Cecelia has come to Rust Creek looking for L.O.V.E, but according to Nick, she’s been going about it all wrong. He’s convinced he can help Cecelia meet her match if she follows his instructions to a T. Trouble is, the only man he finds good enough for his childhood pal is … himself!

This, of course, causes a lot of stress for Cecelia and as I mentioned earlier, she deals with it by baking. Cecelia prepares a lot of baked goods for an apple festival and here is the recipe for an Apple Cake I think she may have used. Warning: there’s a lot of chopping!:)

4 Cups Diced, Peeled Apples
2 Cups White Sugar
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Salt
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs Beaten
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
(optional: 1 teaspoon Nutmeg)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan. In a medium bowl, sift together apples and sugar. Set aside. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and optional nutmeg.
In large bowl, mix oil, eggs and vanilla. Add sugar and apples. Mix well. Add dry ingredients, then nuts and stir. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch.

Cool and cover with optional glaze:
Mix together 2 Tablespoons melted butter, ½ Cup Brown Sugar, 2 Tablespoons Milk and 1 teaspoon Vanilla. Pour over cake.

Back to the subject of stress. I think people deal with stress in a lot of ways. One of my writer friends told me she actually CLEANS when she feels stressed. Not me! I know other people shop when they feel stressed. Others watch television or read. Some even exercise.

I was wondering what do you do when you feel stressed? Put your answer in the comment section and I’ll draw one name toreceive a gift card to Amazon. Please make it easy for me to get in touch with you via email!

Hope you’re having a GREAT week!
Leanne Banks

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Summer Vacation Post Winner….Laney4

Congratulations, Laney4 – you’ve won a copy of A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH and a Starbucks GC. Please email me with your contact info at

Thanks, everyone, for the comments!!

A Kiss on Crimson Ranch cover copy

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Summer Vacation Bucket List… Michelle Major

An official end-of-summer milestone occurred in my house yesterday when my kids went back to school. The start of the new school year always signaled a changed of seasons for me, although not as much when it’s still mid-August and we have another six weeks or so until it even begins to feel like fall around here. It feels like we spent our short summer trying to cram in as much fun as would fit on the calendar. We went to the beach in South Carolina at the beginning and ended summer break with a long weekend in Minnesota visiting old friends.

But I’ve also been thinking about other places I’d like to visit if time and money weren’t a factor. I could do a mile-long list of vacation destinations but here are three that would definitely make the cut:

  1. Bora Bora: This island, part of French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean, makes my list because of the over-the-water bungalows. How cool would it be to stay in a room on stilts surrounded by the turquoise ocean? If you’ve seen the movie ‘Couples Retreat’, this is where it was filmed. To me it would be the ultimate beach getaway.images
  1. Switzerland: It’s no secret that I love the mountains and I’d love to visit The Alps. To ride the rail through the countryside, visit the town of Zermatt, hear all the different languages and history there. I don’t love to ski, so I’d definitely want to go in the summer.Unknown
  1. Galapagos Islands: Who remembers studying Charles Darwin and his research on the Galapagos Islands in school? The blue-footed booby? It would be amazing to visit these famous islands and see some of the wildlife there first hand. Although I’m a little torn because I’ve read that the tourism industry is one of the things contributing to the environmental problems on the island. But this is my fantasy list, so I’m keeping it!galapagos-islands

How about you? Where would you go for your dream vacation? Is there some place in the world you’ve always wanted to visit? Or maybe you’ve already checked off your top bucket-list vacation? Share a comment below (or tell me where you’ve vacationed this summer). I’ll draw a name for a copy of my August release, A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH and a Starbucks GC as well.

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Back to School Days… WINNER!!

by Stacy Connelly

Emily B–Email me at with your address, and I will mail out a copy of Small Town Cinderella! Thank you all for posting!

So, I’ll admit, it’s been a long time since the end of summer signaled the start of the school year for me. But I do still remember the excitement/dread (depending on how old I was at the time!) of that first day of school. I remember meeting the new teacher, the list of items needed for the upcoming year, the choice of classes to take, and that all important call to my best friend to discuss what we would wear! :)

Even with school days behind me, as a writer, I still enjoy shopping in those aisles at the stores. I love fancy pens, colorful stickies, notebooks, three ring binders and a rainbow of different colored markers. And let’s face it, the stuff’s so much cooler than it was when I was a kid!

So how about you? What do you remember best from the back to school years? Are you going through those days again with your kids or grandkids? What’s the best (or worst!) part of it all?


Leave a post, and I’ll draw a winner of my latest release Small Town Cinderella!


PS I hope to get back to all your posts, but I’ve been having trouble commenting on the site. I think it’s my computer. Talk about a ‘back to school item’ I’d love to replace with something new!

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Winner! – See below RE: NICE TO MEET YOU! Winner.

by Lynne Marshall

United hands on bright background. Conceptual photo of teamwork

CONGRATULATIONS TO Felicia Ciaudelli – you won the blog giveaway.  Please contact me at my website e-mail and give me your address so I can mail the book to you.

Sorry for the delay in choosing the winner, but I have been at another conference and Sunday was my travel day.  Got to meet Tammy Y. on Saturday in Charlotte, NC – what a treat to meet readers.


As many of you may or may not know, the Romance Writers of America held their annual conference in San Antonio, Texas this past July. Writers from all over the country, as well as from countries around the globe, gathered to share knowledge, learn new information, promo books, and attend parties! (And so much more).

One of the biggest treats of all for me was getting to meet so many Special Edition authors at the Harlequin Series Meet and Greet, Thursday afternoon. I have met many of them before, but this was my first time meeting the majority of these authors. One of my favorite moments was getting a warm hug from Cindy Kirk. What a great lady!

I copied this fabulous picture from Harlequin editor, Susan Littman’s Facebook page to share our group picture. Thank you, Susan!

Special Edition Authors at RWA

From left to right, front row: Brand spanking new to the line author, Amy Woods , Michelle Major, Judy Duarte, Back row from left: Me, Lynne Marshall, Amanda Berry, Caro Carson, Stacy Connelly, Christyne Butler, Stella Bagwell, Cindy Kirk, and Nancy Robards Thompson.

I had a ball bouncing from one Special Edition author to the next at the Wednesday night Literacy signing, where over 50K was raised for literacy. I got books signed by many of my favorite authors and firends to the tune of over a hundred dollars! But it was for a good cause, right? Now I just have to find time to read them all. I also got to participate in the Friday morning Harlequin author signing for the Medical Romance line that I also write for, and Nancy and Caro were there representing SE. Here’s a picture of me with Caro at the signing.





The Harlequin party is always the big event of the conference for us authors, and I’m happy to report I got to group-dance for a bit with Christyne, Caro, Michelle Major, and Stacy Connely, who looked amazing in her full length gown. A little birdie told me it was Stacy’s and Cindy Kirk’s birthday!



The biggest moment that night for me personally was seeing my Special Edition – A Doctor for Keeps –on the huge media screen at the party as it scrolled through every line’s book covers for July. Lucky me. You may have to squint to see me, but can you tell I’m feeling proud?

A Doctor for Keeps and Lynne


Have you met anyone lately that you’ve been looking forward to?  Or have you had a proud moment you’d like to share?

I’ll give a UK copy of A Doctor for Keeps – which is a 2-in-1 book with romance author Alison Roberts, to one commenter.


 Thanks for reading and commenting!


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Small Town Cinderella Q&A – by Stacy Connelly – WINNERS

9780373658329Laney4 & Therese Lopez – Email me your addresses at and I’ll mail you your copies of Small Town Cinderella!

Sorry I wasn’t able to get back on and reply to more comments! I’m having computer issues!



* Tell us about the hero of SMALL-TOWN CINDERELLA? Why will we fall in love with him?

Drew Pirelli is as solid and grounded as the houses he builds. He puts his heart and soul into his work, and after years of turning the keys over for another family to live in the houses he builds, Drew has decided to build the home of his own. Now, he just needs the right woman to settle down with to have the family of his dreams…

Debbie Mattson has always been a good friend and the girl next door. When Drew overhears her comment that she’s looking to go out and have a red-hot fling, he sets out to protect her from herself. Before long, though, Drew starts to understand why Debbie is looking for a man to sweep her off her feet. Now, it’s up to him to convince her he can be that man!

* Tell us about the heroine? Why is she the perfect woman for the hero?

Debbie has spent too much of her life tied down to the family bakery. After caring for her mother during an illness and taking over the bakery after her mother passed away, Debbie is looking for the chance to break free and have fun. Settling down is not part of the plan…

Drew is not the kind of man she has in mind. He’s too serious, too settled, and far too easy to fall for!

*What life lessons do your H/H have to learn before they can find their happily-ever-after?

Drew has to break out of his shell a little, to stop thinking and start feeling. He’s always downplayed his emotions, but putting his heart on the line is the only way he’ll convince Debbie they’re right for each other.

Debbie has to change her view of relationships. While she wants to break free of a life that she sees as too boring, she has to realize that falling in love is the most daring risk of all.

* Is there any particular significance in the setting?

Like the rest of the Pirelli Brothers miniseries, the book takes place in a small Northern California town called Clearville. There are several fun scenes that take place in Debbie’s bakery.

* What was your favorite scene to write?

This book, for me, has so many fun scenes. I enjoyed writing the scene where Drew follows Debbie to a karaoke singles event and encourages her to break out of her shell and go up and sing. But I think the scene I liked best was Halloween night where Debbie dresses like Cinderella (of course!) and Drew goes out on a limb to convince her that he is her Prince Charming!

* What was the most difficult scene for you to write?

The scene where Debbie pulls away from Drew toward the end of the book was an emotional scene. She knows Drew loves her, but events both from her past and in the present (I don’t want to give too much away!) make her retreat into a shell and feel that she’s already lost too much to risk giving her away.

* Can you share if there were any real-life inspirations for a particular scene or character in the book?

I was fortunate to stay in a small bed and breakfast in Williams, Arizona that had its own bakery. Not only were their pies and Danishes AMAZING, I also had the opportunity to look around and talk with the owners about running a small bakery.

* Do any beloved characters from your previous books show up in this one?

Yes! Since this is a Pirelli Brothers book, both Sam and Nick, Drew’s brothers, make appearances as do other members of the Pirelli family.

Since Debbie runs a bakery, I was wondering about favorite desserts? Do you go for baked goods–pies, cakes, donuts? Or are you more of a chocolate fan? Or maybe, my favorite, ice cream?

Leave a post, and I’ll draw a winner of a copy of Small Town Cinderella.

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Thanks for all of the comments – we have a nice mix of morning people and night owls here!

I’m going to draw 3 winners for this giveaway: Kate S., Jane Squires and Marcie R. please contact me at and I’ll send out your books.

A Kiss on Crimson Ranch cover copy

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A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH Q&A….by Michelle Major

A Kiss on Crimson Ranch cover copy


* Tell us about the hero of A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH? Why will we fall in love with him? Josh Travers is a former professional bull rider who retired after an injury and is now raising his almost-teen daughter in Crimson, Colorado. He’s working hard to make Crimson Ranch into a vacation destination to give his daughter a solid home. I think readers will fall in love with Josh because he’s a classic cowboy hero (and it was a ton of fun to visit rodeos and research bull riding to create Josh). He’s strong, upstanding and trying really hard to make his life work.

* Tell us about the heroine? Why is she the perfect woman for the hero? When readers meet Sara Wellens at the beginning of the story she’s a bit of a hot mess. Raised in Hollywood, she’s out of her element when she comes to Crimson after inheriting her grandmother’s ranch. She’s perfect for Josh because she makes him see the world beyond the his little slice of life and she helps him have a better relationship with his daughter.

*What life lessons do your H/H have to learn before they can find their happily-ever-after? Both Josh and Sara have been kicked around by life and betrayed by people they love. There are some trust issues they have to overcome – both trusting other people and being true to yourself.

* Is there any particular significance in the setting? This is the first book in my new series for Special Edition set in the fictional town of Crimson. My family travels a lot throughout Colorado so Crimson is a mix of elements from some of my favorite mountain towns (Ouray, Steamboat Springs, and Crested Butte are a few).

* What was your favorite scene to write? There is a scene in a local clothing store where Sara has a run-in with some of the grown-up mean girls in town. It’s the first time Josh sees that Sara isn’t as tough as she appears on the surface and he tries to come to her rescue – I loved writing it because of how it showed her vulnerability and allowed him to be protective of her.

* What was the most difficult scene for you to write? Sara has a rocky relationship with her mother so several of the scenes between the two of them were hard to write. My mom is wonderful and supportive so it was tough writing a mom character who was such an awful person.

* Can you share if there were any real-life inspirations for a particular scene or character in the book? One of Sara’s habits is that she relates real-life situations to movies and can spout off random movie facts. It’s a defense mechanism for her – something she does when she’s nervous or feeling out of her element. I have an embarrassingly good memory for Hollywood trivia and names of actors – I mean, really, why can’t it be history or great literature or something that makes me sound super smart? But it’s the first time my useless well of movie knowledge has been put to good use. ☺

* Do any beloved characters from your previous books show up in this one? Since this is the first in a series, I hope readers will enjoy meeting some of the secondary characters who they’ll get to know better in future books.

My husband and I get up early and are lights out by 10pm, which makes us feel a little lame. I wonder sometimes if more people hit their stride in the evening or run out of gas like we do. So tell me if you’re a morning person or a night owl – what works best for you? I’ll draw 2 names to win copies of A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH

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Top Things I’ve Learned from Watching My Grandbaby

by Lynne Marshall

So glad we see eye-to-eye on this.

So glad we see eye-to-eye on this.


To help out my daughter, since she’s gone back to work, my husband and I each watch baby Thea one day a week. That way she only needs to spend minimal time in day care.

Well, this is a blessing for me, of course, as I get to bond with my only grandchild, and I’ve learned a few things from that little one in the process.


Oh, and the handsome and distinguished looking Lab is Max.

  1. A smile can win over the world (well, Grandma’s heart anyway)
  2. Licking lips and making smacking noises always gets attention.
  3. When someone kisses your cheeks and play-nibbles your neck – enjoy it
  4. Eye contact brightens the other person’s day.
  5. A long, relaxing nap can really change a cranky attitude.
  6. Drama gets you everywhere
  7. Bath time is both functional and fun
  8. If something excites you kick your feet and flap your arms so the other person will know.
  9. If someone sings to you, act fascinated.
  10. If a person makes silly faces for you, indulge them and laugh, because you’re special and they want your attention.
  11. You fill in this blank.

Share what you’re learned from being around children, babies or grandbabies.


Lynne Marshall’s current Special Edition. A Doctor for Keeps, is out now!



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