Category Archives: Jenna’s Stuff

Death Under the Mistletoe: A Valentine Christmas Mystery… FREE

You know that saying, “when it rains, it pours?” That seems to be my life lately. Just when I think I’ve got myself organized to get everything done, something new is added. Between that, and a struggle to pace my work, I’ve running around like a mad woman.

I just turned in a draft of Southern Persuasion, book two of the Southern Heat series for review by my agent.  It’s a bad draft. I’m hoping my agent will be gentle. I’m expecting the copy edits on the first book, Southern Comfort, sometime this week. The three-book romance series will be released in 2016 by Penner Publishing.

Death Under the Mistletoe: A Valentine Christmas MysteryDespite all the chaos and busyness, I fulfilled my promise to release a Valentine story by Christmas. As a thank you to everyone who has been a fan of the Valentines, Death Under the Mistletoe: A Valentine Christmas Mystery (novella) is free. It’s available in .mobi (Kindle) and .pdf over in the SweetHarte group at Facebook. If you’re not yet a member, join and you’ll find the book under the “Files” tab. There’s no cost to join the group. You’ll get some freebies, heads up on new releases, behind the scenes info about the Valentines and other books, plus I frequently ask for help and feedback.

The novella will be available shortly at Amazon.

Description of Death Under the Mistletoe

Tess is excited to spend her first Christmas with her sexy husband, Jack Valentine, that is until the mall Santa staggers in her shop and drops dead underneath the mistletoe on Christmas Eve. There’s no shortage of suspects who wanted Santa dead. Was it his jealous elves? His estranged wife?  The in-laws who never thought Santa was good enough for their daughter? Or the neighbor who secretly coveted Santa’s wife? Although Tess and Jack are happy to let Detective Daniel Showalter deal with the case, somehow the newlyweds end up a target of Santa’s killer who plans to make sure Jack and Tess never celebrate Christmas.

Rediscovering Linda Howard

I’m a picky reader. While I read a lot, I don’t venture too far away from my favorite authors. My preference is romantic suspense and mysteries with a little romance strewn in. My go-to authors are Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, JD Robb (yes, I know that’s Nora), Janet Evanovich, Heather Graham and my newest is Michael Murphy’s Jake and Laura Mysteries (ala The Thin Man). But several years ago I read Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard and really loved it. I must have read a few other Linda Howard books at the time, but eventually, I stopped.

I picked up my running this summer and now I run long enough that even the music on my iPod isn’t enough to keep me from getting bored. I decided maybe listening to audio books would distract me. The first book I listened to was Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg’s The Heist, which I really enjoyed and will continue the series.

The problem with digital audio books is that they’re expensive. Audible is fairly affordable, but $15 for an audio book adds up if you buy a lot (granted, I spend a lot on print or ebooks, so maybe it’s a matter of changing my mindset).

My next stop was Overture, which allows you borrow digital books from your library. The only problem with this option is there aren’t a whole lot of audio choices (that I’d listen too…remember…I’m picky), and the ones that are there, have a waiting a list (I’m number 16 for a Sandra Brown novel). However, Linda Howard’s Prey was available and since I remembered Mr. Perfect, I decided to rent it.

I really enjoyed Prey, a story about two wilderness hunting guides who get stalked by a bear and a bad guy. So, when it came time for my next Audible rental, I chose Open Season, another Linda Howard novel.

You know how some books just stay with you? Mr. Perfect did and I think Open Season will too. Even though I make a living with words, it’s difficult for me to pinpoint what it is about this book that has me feeling sad that I’m about to finish it (I’m writing about it and I haven’t heard the ending yet!). The female protagonist, Daisy, is refreshing. She’s not innocent, though she is a little naive. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and she has really fascinating, and sometime funny, thought process. What could have been a cliched story about a tiny town, frumpy librarian, turns out to be really delightful. The male protagonist is strong and tough from Chicago via New York, but he’s not the typical brooding guy wanting to keep the world at a distance because of the horrors experienced as a former SWAT guy and a failed marriage. He’s brusk, but not mean and he gets as much of a kick out of Daisy as I do. Add in that the story is set in the south, which, when done well, becomes a part of the story as well.

The story is frumpy, 34-year old librarian Daisy determines she wants to get married and have kids, which means a makeover and visiting bars. Jack is the police chief, who notices Daisy before the makeover, but mostly because of her personality. After the makeover, many people notice Daisy. Jack doesn’t like that very much and although he’s not interested in settling down, he is interested in her.

Initially, Daisy is annoyed with him because he’s getting in the way of her plans to find a husband. But once he kisses her (her head dialogue during that kiss is great), she decides she likes his kisses and spends more time with him. When Jack learns someone is trying to track her down because she witnessed a murder, he goes into protection mode, which puts them together even more.

It all sounds pretty typical as I explain it here. And part of my enjoyment may be that the reader of the audio book is pretty good. Her southern accent is just what I might expect in small town Alabama. More likely it’s the humor, Daisy’s delightful personality and the fact that it’s romantic suspense without being dark and broody. The love scenes include Daisy’s effervescent outlook of the world and the humor that makes up her life (like when Jack refuses to wear the purple condom from the “Party Pack” of 72 condoms). A change of mood in reading is nice sometimes!

My only beef with Linda’s writing, which I experienced more so in Prey than Open Season, is a few too long narratives. She also revisits some of the narratives, which had me saying, “You already told me about that.” It would have been stuff I skipped if I was reading the book, but since I was listening to the audio version, I had to endure it.

All in all, I’m enjoying Linda’s stories. They’re not quite as humorous or quirky as Janet Evanovich or Jennifer Cruisie, but I still laugh out loud, which must be a sight when I’m running.

Summer Lovin’ and Fun

sweethartesI’ve had a crazy, busy summer, and have ambitious goals for the fall and winter! To finish the summer, I thought I’d have a little fun by having a giveaway for my Sweet Hartes. Not a Sweet Harte? No worries. You can join in the fun for free. I answer your questions, give sneak peaks to upcoming books, have giveaways and more. Visit the Sweet Hartes at Facebook to join now! Then be sure to stop by to see what sorts of fun and goodies will be going on in August.

More news….

I announced on Facebook, that I just received a 3-book deal on my Southern Heat romance series. The first book, Southern Comfort, was the book that sat at Harlequin for nearly 2 years (1 yr, 11 mos, 3 weeks…but who’s counting)! Luckily, during the wait I got an agent, beefed up the book and sold it to Penner Publishing! Southern Comfort will be released in January, at which point book two, Southern Persuasion will be due. The third book, Southern Conflict (I may ask to change that title), is due in July.

I’m very excited to have received this deal. Unfortunately, it puts off more Valentine books for a time. My goal is still to have To Love, Honor and Betray: Valentine Book 5 published in September as well as a Christmas Valentine short story in December. I have several other book ideas for the Valentines, but with the three book deal at Penner, I need to get the other two books written. Plus I have a new idea for a cozy that I’m eager to write (probably for NaNoWriMo).

Here is a picture of fall/winter writing schedule:

Jenna Harte Fall 2015 Writing Schedule

It’s a little ambitious, but I can write fast when I clear my schedule and I know what I want to write. I know you might be questioning this as it has taken forever for Valentine 5 to get finished. That has been partly busy schedule and partly plot issues. But starting in August, I’m making a big push to get it done and to my editor before the end of the month.

So that’s it for now… I’m off to write and when it’s time for a break, I hope I’ll see you in the Sweet Hartes group.

Wassup in the Harte-Land

I’ve been busy, busy, busy … Here’s what’s been going on.

Curious about where Valentine book 5 is?

I’m carrying a lot of guilt that the book isn’t out yet. If you haven’t seen the sneak peek, you can read it here. The book is nearly done. I’ve got the love scenes, fun scenes and even some angst. However, the mystery, clues and herrings aren’t quite fitting together right yet. But I’m madly working on it.

Ever wonder what happened to that Harlequin submission?

Some of you might remember that I entered and won entry into a pitch contest at Harlequin Blaze. It resulted in the request for the full manuscript in February 2013. Well…finally in January 2015 (that’s nearly 2 years later), Harlequin declined the book. However, I got a note back that had lots of praise and areas to work on.

I was able to get an agent to represent that book back in November. With her help, I’ve made it even better and right now it’s being pitched to other publishers. Fingers crossed it sells.

Want to be a Sweet-Harte?

I’m looking to put together a street team called the Sweet-Hartes (clever, eh?). The only hold up is getting some cool swag. Watch for news about the Sweet-Harte street team coming soon.

Well that it’s it. It’s time to get back to fixing Valentine book 5.

Celebrity Romance

hollywoodstarI’m a die-hard romantic. Since I was a ‘tween, I loved movies and tv shows with romantic couples. And like some people, I got caught up in celebrity romances. I remember thinking how romantic it was when I learned that Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood had married twice. I know many fans of his 80s show wonder and wish about a relationship with his co-star, Stefanie Powers, following Natalie’s and William Holden’s deaths (Holden was the long time flame of Powers’).

Although those are old examples, today people get just as caught up in who’s with who and who’s marrying who. After the movie Twilight was released, fans were thrilled to discover Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were dating and crushed when she was caught kissing another man. I think people are still upset with Angelina Jolie for her part in Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s divorce. It seems like I can’t go anywhere without seeing Kanye and Kim or Beyonce and Jay Z in the tabloids.

What I’ve found facinating and annoying is that celebrity gossip is like soap operas: Everyone roots for couples until they’re together. After that, all the news is about whether or not the couple is in trouble. Everyone wants a happy ending, but they want angst more.

I’m not as into celebrity romance as when I was younger, although I would be sad if Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson broke up. And I’m a little sad to hear about Robin Thicke and Paula Patton. I’ve always liked their story because they met as teenagers. But even though I don’t follow celebrity romances much, I know it’s still big news. That’s why I wrote ‘Til Death Do Us Part. It’s my tribute to everyone, like me, who’s ever gotten caught up in celebrity romances.

How about you? Is there a celebrity couple you found yourself rooting for?

 

 
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