Friday, March 2, 2012

Forever Romance Tour And Giveaway

I’m delighted to be a part of the Forever Romance Tour helping present romance lovers with the chance to have some fun with contemporary romance writers Bella Riley and Hope Ramsay! 


Bella’s new release is WITH THIS KISS, the second installment in her Emerald Lake series, and Hope’s latest release is LAST CHANCE BEAUTY QUEEN, the third installment in her Last Chance series.

Thanks to both ladies and the good folks at Grand Central Publishing, I have 3 sets (both books) to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for the giveaway guidelines. 

Now the ladies have graciously answered some questions for me.

Mason - What is an average writing day like for you? Do you write longhand and on the computer, have a favorite place to write, a favorite time to write? 

BELLA - I wake up early, get my kids ready for school, do a walk through the local vineyards with my husband, and then sit down at my computer to write. My books have a lot of emotion, so before I type a word, I must dial into each character – what are they thinking in the scene, how should they be feeling. If I can get their emotions down, it's easier to get the words to flow. 

I usually write in my home office, but will take my computer anywhere I need to – a coffee shop, little league practice, an airplane, etc. 

HOPE - I try to get in three hours of writing a day, usually between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Because I own a small consulting firm, I have the luxury of writing in my office. Of course, there are times when the day job intrudes. I really try to limit that by scheduling my writing time in the morning. 

I get to work around 8 a.m. and spend two hours dealing with emails, then I go quiet for three hours. I spend the rest of my day dealing with day-job issues.
Mason - Do you just jump right into a story or do you plan and outline? 

Riley_WithThisKiss_MMBELLA - I usually know the hero and heroine quite well and have a broad outline for the story. Of course, as I’m writing the characters don't always end up behaving exactly as they should. If that means throwing out the outline, then I do.  
HOPE - No, I'm not a jump right into the story kind of person. I'm quite the opposite. I usually start with my hero and heroine and think about what they want and need to be complete, loving people. I need to know why they want what the want and what motivates their inner conflicts. And then I think about all the obstacles that stand in the way of my hero and heroine getting what they want or need.  

I write all that down, and pretty soon I've got all kinds of ideas for scenes. I'll try to put these ideas into an outline and only then do I start writing. My outline helps get me started, but it always evolves as I write. 
Hope answered an extra question for me.

Mason - What is the worst advice you’ve ever received concerning writing?
HOPE - Well the ironic thing is that the worst advice Ramsay_LastChanceBeautyQueen_MMI ever got was also the best advice. Life is often like that. The conventional wisdom is that an author should write what he or she knows.
My reaction to this advice has always been, "What? If J. R.R. Tolkien wrote only what he knew, then we wouldn't have hobbits!" On its face, this advice to write what you know is not terribly helpful. And yet, on a deeper level, Tolkien made his Hobbits into an avatar for something good and true in the make up of Englishmen -- something Tolkien knew very well. Tolkien wrote what he knew. His hobbits came right from the heart.  

So to me the best advice, always, is to be true to your heart. Write what your heart knows, even if you end up writing about angels and have never had the pleasure of meeting one in person. 

Bella and Hope, thanks so much for answering these questions for me. I always enjoy learning what a writer’s day is like.
Now for a bit of background on these lovely authors and a brief synopsis of their books.

Bella Riley has always been a writer. Songs came
first, and then nonfiction books, but as soon as she started her first romance novel, she knew she'd found her perfect career. Since selling her first book in 2003 (under the name Bella Andre), Bella has written more than 20 "empowered stories enveloped in heady romance" (Publishers Weekly). Her books have been translated into German, Thai, Japanese, and Ukrainian, and two of her bestselling books have been Cosmopolitan Red Hot Reads. When she's not behind her computer, you can find her reading, hiking, knitting, or lunching with her favorite romance-writing friends. 

Bella and her fabulous husband and children divide their time between Northern California and a 90-year-old lakefront log cabin in New York's Adirondack Mountains. To learn more about Bella and the Emerald Lake series, visit

Here’s a synopsis of her book: 
The sparks continue to fly in Emerald Lake…
Despite such a close friendship, Rebecca Campbell never saw fireworks with her fiancĂ©. Now with a broken engagement behind her and a promise she has vowed to keep, Rebecca is determined to make a new life for herself in Emerald Lake – a quaint town in the breathtaking Adirondack Mountains. 
When Sean Murphy heads home, he never expects to fall for his younger brother’s girlfriend – but that is exactly what has happened. With a smile like sunshine and a wonderful heart, Sean feels something he has never felt before…at home. 
Neither Rebecca nor Sean anticipated the sparks to fly so quickly. Lingering secrets aside, Sean can't deny the obvious attraction and burning desire he has for Rachel. But how can he give his heart to a woman he can't trust – or can he? As the days pass and his resolve is tested, Sean begins to realize Emerald Lake is home sweet home and that it is the perfect place for falling in love. 

Hope Ramsay was born in New York and grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you'll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. Hope earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Buffalo and has had various jobs working as a Congressional aide, a lobbyist, a public relations consultant, and a meeting planner. 

She's a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart and is married to a good ol' Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She has two grown children and a couple of demanding lap cats. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her 35-year-old Martin guitar. For more on Hope and her writing, visit

Here’s a brief synopsis of her book:
Gracious me, my daughter Rocky sure could use my help. I always knew she wasn’t much interested in the local boys—but who’d have thought she’d come home with English royalty. Trouble is, Hugh wants to buy some of our folks’ land. We don’t want to sell, but Rocky’s job depends on her closing the deal. And though Hugh’s obviously smitten, I’m not sure he’s right for my Rocky. After forty years with my Elbert, all I want is to see my little girl find the same. Well, always nice talking to you, and remember: the Cut ‘n’ Curl’s got hot rollers, free coffee, and the best gossip in town. 
Here are the giveaway guidelines. To enter this giveaway, send me an e-mail ( with the subject line, “Win Romance Tour Set.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. In addition, the publisher advises winners that they will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if they win the same title in two or more contests, they will receive only one copy of the title in the mail. (Winners here have always be great about letting me know if they have already won the book somewhere else so another winner can be selected. However, this announcement is something that has to be passed along from the publisher). And, just so you know, I don’t share the mailing information or use it for any other purpose. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a chance at one of 3 sets (which includes a copy of  WITH THIS KISS - ISBN: 9780446584227 and a copy of LAST CHANCE BEAUTY QUEEN - ISBN: 9780446576086) will be 8 p.m. (EST) on Friday, March 16.

Share your thoughts on today’s post. Have you read either of these series before? Do you enjoy reading romance among other genres? Thanks so much for visiting today.


  1. I have not read either before but both sound good. And I do like have romance mixed in with other genres.

  2. Mason - Thanks for hosting Bella and Hope.

    Bella and Hope - Thanks for giving us a "behind the scenes" look at the way you create your stories. Every writer has a slightly different way of going about it, and it's interesting to learn how different people put their stories together. I wish you both much success.

  3. I haven't read either of these series before but now I want to. I like to read romance among my prefered genres because I like the escapism and sense of hope - both things are badly needed in this economy!


  4. I didn't know of Bella's sery but it seems interesting and the cover is very appealing.
    I read Hope's Welcome to Last Chance and loved it. I'm happy to see her new book here and will surely buy it.
    Thanks Mason.

  5. I enjoy romance - whether the story is a pure romance, or if the romance is an added bonus in another genre. These books sound great. And I love Hope's comment about writing what you know. So true!

  6. I'm usually a historical romance fan, but I do enjoy other novels too as long as they are upbeat and humorous.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.