Monday, October 11, 2010
Mary Eason is visiting me today
Please welcome prolific romance writer Mary Eason.
First the interview:
Mary Eason grew up in a small Texas town famous for, well not much of anything really. Being the baby of the family and quite a bit younger than her brothers and sister, Mary had plenty of time to entertain herself. Making up stories seem to come natural to her.
As a pre-teen, Mary discovered romance novels and knew instinctively that was what she wanted to do with her over-active imagination.
She wrote her first novel as a teen, (it’s tucked away somewhere never to see the light of day), but never really pursued her writing career seriously until a few years later, when she wrote her first romantic comedy and was hooked.
Today, Mary still lives in Texas, and still writes about romance. In fact, she can’t think of anything else she’d rather do.
You can read more of Mary’s work through the following publishers: New Concepts Publishing, Samhain Publishing, Champagne Books, The Wild Rose Press, Whiskey Creek Press, and White Rose Publishing. Or at her websites:
And be sure to send Mary an email and let her know what you think about her work. She loves hearing from fans.
You’re a prolific author, Mary, with books in many romance sub-genres. Do you have a favorite genre and why?
I do have a favorite genre. I started out reading romantic suspense novels written by Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney as was quickly hooked on that subgenre. But I love writing stories that are an emotional read and filled with characters that must overcome great conflicts.
Characters, setting, or plot. Which starts your story?
Usually the characters introduce themselves to me, followed shortly by the storyline or plot.
Is there a particular character from any of your books that resonates with you, even after you’ve sent him or her off to print?
Yes, in THE THINGS YOU THINK YOU WANT, (Samhain Publishing) the main character, Carrie Sinclair fits me to the letter. She is a little stubborn, a little insecure, sometimes clueless, but in possession of a heart of gold.
What’s one of the most surprising things you’ve learned about writing?
Just because you love your story doesn't mean the editor will or the reader for that matter. Writing is hard work no matter how easy it seems. It takes a lot of fortitude to survive in this business.
How about a movie? Is there one you’ll sit through again and again?
I absolutely love Baby Boom with Diane Keaton and Chevy Chase's Funny Farm was hilarious.
Tell us a little about your current projects and what's inspiring you.
I’ve just finished editing a romantic suspense release through The Wild Rose Press entitled, Deadly Connection (working title). It’s about Dr. Jordan Scott who is banking everything, including her life on finding out the truth behind her brother’s murder, but she has no idea it will lead her straight to the man she trusted with everything. Can Jordan learn to trust again? And is Riley Donavan worth staying for?
In the upcoming months, I have another romance coming out through New Concepts Publishing which is a romantic comedy, entitle, Must Love Sidney. Also, I will have two new releases coming out from Whiskey Creek Press. The first will be in November, entitle Pieces Of A Family and the second in early 2011 entitle The Book Of Love, so I hope readers will keep an eye out for them as well.
How much do you read? Who is your favorite author?
I love reading. You’ll always find a couple of books on my nightstand that I’m in the middle of reading. I read a variety of genres, but my favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. I adore Rita Herron and Lisa Gardner as well as Brenda Novak. These ladies are heroes in my book. My favorite book romantic comedy is Lolly Winston's, Good Grief. I love that story. I love the way the main character, Sophie deals with her grief.
Throughout your career, what has been your biggest disappointment? What has been your biggest success?
I think receiving a rejection letter for a writer is always the hardest thing to deal with. Through time, you develop a thick skin and learn to accept them and hopefully learn from them. But there are some rejection letters that are harder than others are. My hardest one to accept was the novel that I’d put so much of myself into, THE THINGS YOU THINK YOU WANT. I cried for days over that one. Needless to say, it found a home and at Samhain Publishing, so it all worked out nicely.
My biggest success comes from having someone tell me that they loved my work. That’s a wonderful feeling. Almost better than seeing your name in print!
Do you hear from your reader's much? What do they say? What's the strangest thing you've ever heard from a reader?
Yes, quite often I’ll hear from readers. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad comment from a reader. The strangest thing I’ve ever heard was from one person who seemed a bit too obsessive about one of my main characters in one story. But hey, could be worse right?
Describe a typical day in the life of Mary Eason.
I start my day out with reading emails and working on promotion. For a writer, promoting this is almost a full time job, but I try to limit my time of the internet to a couple of hours a day. Then I spend the rest of the day editing and working on my new projects. Usually I have several story ideas floating around in my head demanding my attention.
What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work? That's if you have any time outside of work!
I’m starting to relearn playing the piano. As a child, I grew up playing, but I’ve been away from it for almost twenty years…hum, I think I just gave my age away, anyway, I want to relearn it for me as well as my granddaughter who I’d like to teach how to play someday. Also, my husband and I have a small cabin at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where we love to go during the summer months, when it’s too hot to survive outside in Texas.
Do you like to cook? If I were coming to dinner at your house, what would you cook? That's before you kick me to the curb of course.
I do cook, but I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m not the best cook in the world, but I do like to grill. Being from Texas, I think I’d probably have to make you something like barbeque brisket or ribs. And no, I’d never kick you to the curb. Although you might choose to run once, you’ve tasted my cooking.
Have you had any interesting day jobs on the way to your writing career? What's the oddest job you ever did?
I’d say my most interesting job was working at a pathology lab.
I ran into some interesting cases and definitely some interesting characters. Some may have even made it into a few stories of mine.
Thanks so much!
Check out all of Mary Eason’s great books at her website
Blurb for The Arms Of A Stranger
Everything Kate Bradshaw believed to be real about her marriage to her husband Alex slowly slipped away from her as the newspaper reports explained the sordid truth in black and white. Their marriage and Alex's seduction had been nothing more than a lie, a means of accomplishing one thing--Alex's revenge against the man he believed responsible for killing his one true love—Kate’s own father.
Excerpt – The Arms Of A Stranger:
“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay and help you finish up here? It won’t kill me to skip one class, you know.” Brandy Richards slung her backpack over her shoulder and eyed the stack of books that still needed putting away with concern.
“Thanks, but no way, Brandy. You need this credit to graduate at the end of the year.” Kate Edwards placed the last of the latest self-help books on the display next to the register and turned to her younger cousin. “Besides, this is your last class before finals. You can’t afford to miss tonight. Go to your class. I’ll finish up here.”
Brandy had struggled with World History for weeks now, using every available minute to study. Luckily, the bookstore was unusually quiet this time of year due to the pre-holiday slump.
“Okay, but promise you won’t stay too late? And don’t forget to lock the doors at six this time. You know how crazy this part of the city gets after the sun goes down.”
“Yes, Mother.” Kate smiled affectionately at her cousin’s concern before shooing her in the direction of the door. Of course, Brandy was right. The downtown Austin business district transformed itself at night, from the bustling financial center of the city to a twenty-something’s party haven.
Crowds of young people flocked to the bars and clubs along Sixth Street.
Brandy hesitated for another moment before giving in. “Okay, I’m going but I’m calling the store when I get out of class and you’d better not still be here.”
Kate had hired her cousin to help at the bookstore part-time after her parents’ death, when Brandy seemed to be floundering. It wasn’t long before the girl excelled at the job. With Kate’s help, and thanks to Brandy’s excellent GPA average, she’d been able to enroll at the University of Texas, Kate’s alma mater. After a few bumps that first year, Brandy was back on track and scheduled to graduate with a degree in business at the end of the fall semester.
“Go to class, Brandy, and stop worrying about me. I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself.”
“Yeah, well it wouldn’t hurt you to have some fun every now and then, you know. When was the last time you didn’t put in fourteen hours a day at this place?”
“Brandy,” Kate warned. She knew exactly where this conversation was going. Brandy loved the single life. She constantly invited Kate to go clubbing with her friends down on Sixth Street, but Kate always refused. She’d put those days behind her after college. When her last serious relationship ended in a bitter breakup, Kate decided she needed to take some time off from men as well.
“Well, you know it wouldn’t hurt you to get laid.”
“Brandy!” The last thing Kate wanted to get involved in right now was yet another discussion about her sex life, or more specifically her lack of sex life. “Will you let me worry about my love life for once? You just concentrate on passing that test so you can graduate and start working here full time, okay. Then I won’t need to work fourteen hour days.”
“Whatever you say, Kate, but technically, you have to have a love life to worry about one,” Brandy retorted. She blew Kate a little kiss then made a hasty exit, before her cousin could manage even a single retort.
Kate shook her head. Her cousin just refused to let up at times. Brandy meant well, but she just didn’t understand. Kate picked up the last remaining stack of books—a group of romance novels and eyed the couple on the cover with scorn.
Yeah right. If men like that existed in the real world, then women wouldn’t need to read those novels.
If I could find a man like that, I’d give up my self-imposed exile and sleep with him in a heartbeat.
So far, she hadn’t found anything resembling Prince Charming in the men she’d dated in the past, certainly not in Seth Mathews.
She’d been engaged to Seth for two months when she’d finally given in and had sex with him, which ultimately resulted in Kate’s self-imposed exile from dating entirely. After Seth got what he wanted from her, he’d quickly moved on to another woman. Seth was a lousy excuse for a man. And a cheat. Not to mention terrible in bed.
But to Kate’s credit, her judgment had been impaired by all the lies Seth was so good at feeding her. She actually believed he meant it when he told her she was the only woman he ever wanted to make love with, until she’d discovered the truth.
Thank goodness, she had her career at Montgomery Books to fulfill her. It was immensely challenging and she actually felt good about the work she was able to accomplish at the bookstore. She didn’t need a man to make her happy. And if she did, she’d find the perfect man in one of those romance novels the store carried. She could have all the pleasure without any of the pain.
Montgomery Books had been part of the Congress Avenue merchants for more than thirty years. Kate had worked for Elise Montgomery throughout high school and college. Once she graduated from the University of Texas, she’d begun managing the store after Elise’s husband James passed away and the older woman decided to retire three years earlier.
Someday, Kate hoped to buy the store. She wanted to wait until she’d saved enough money for a down payment. With any luck, and if the business continued to grow, she’d have enough money to make an offer next year.
At twenty-five, Kate was proud of what she’d done with the store since becoming manager. When she’d first started, the financial records were in the red. Now, thanks to her insight, the business had been running in the black for over a year.
If only she could accomplish the same in her personal life.
She placed the remaining books on the cart and moved to the romance section. With any luck, she’d finish by eight, and then she’d go home to her one true love: Earl, the little mutt Kate found digging in the garbage bin behind the store a few years back. Earl turned out to be the best male companion she’d ever known. He didn’t care what she watched on TV and he didn’t hog the covers. As far as Kate was concerned, Earl was the perfect male specimen.
Kate grabbed a rubber band from the counter and twisted her shoulder-length, golden brown curls into a knot at the top of her head to keep them out of her eyes. Retrieving the stepladder she used to reach the higher shelves from the storeroom, she slipped out of her three-inch pumps.
At five-foot two, Kate needed those three inches just to put her on equal ground with most people. But they were terribly uncomfortable and downright dangerous when it came to climbing up and down a stepladder.
Once the last book was in place, Kate leaned back to survey her handiwork. She prided herself in having each group of books lined up just right. Her full attention was on the task at hand. Kate didn’t hear the little bell above the door at all. She wasn’t aware of anyone else being in the store until he spoke.
“ ... Whatever You Desire?” an incredibly sexy male voice asked with just a hint of amusement.
“I beg your pardon?” Kate spun around on the ladder, surprised to find the voice came attached to one unbelievably attractive male, who just happened to be standing next to the ladder. Taken off guard, her bare foot slipped on the top rung. Before she could steady herself, she was tumbling backwards and right into the arms of the owner of that very sexy voice.
“Hello there,” he said with more than just a hint of amusement now.
The moment Kate’s eyes collided with the most amazing ice-blue ones she’d ever seen, her breath caught in the back of her throat and answering him became impossible. Two very strong, very capable arms held her close and not exactly in the “I’ve just met you” kind of way either, if the pressure of his hands were any indication. One rested beneath her breast, while the other held her just above her knees. A thousand different responses popped into her head but all she could think about was the cover of that blasted romance book. Wasn’t the hero holding the heroine in just the same manner?
Don’t think about that now ...
“I don’t think I’ve ever had this type of an effect on a woman before.” He grinned back at her. “This must be a sign.” The warmth in his eyes melted the ice away.
Left breathless by her plunge into shame and pretty much speechless by the man holding her a little too intimately, Kate took her moment of silence to get a better look at him.
He was stunning—gorgeous, well, if you could actually use those words to describe a male, and he was definitely all male. His dark brown hair swept back from a smooth forehead. He had the perfect nose, amazingly full lips that literally begged for kissing, and two matching dimples.
Kate couldn’t keep from returning his contagious smile. But when his arms tightened around her body, her smile disappeared completely. Suddenly she became aware of her skirt slowly creeping up her thigh to reveal quite a bit of leg, which he’d clearly spotted as well. Kate cursed the warm color spreading across her face, betraying her obvious embarrassment.
“A sign?” she repeated before her voice disappeared entirely when he tugged her skirt back down.
“Yes, don’t you believe in signs?”
I do now! Kate thought but had the foresight not to say those things out loud.
As a young girl, Kate had once been a hopeless romantic. She loved to read and devoured tons of those sappy old romance stories because they gave her hope. Maybe there was such a thing as two people being happy in love. Unfortunately, real life wasn’t anything like those romance novels. It was a hard lesson to learn, but one Kate knew by heart.
“Um, you can put me down now,” she told the handsome man holding her. His arms tightened around her in response. She waited for him to let her go. He didn’t.
“Are you sure? I mean, maybe you hurt yourself in the fall?”
Kate stared back at him as if he’d suddenly grown two heads. But she did her best to keep her jaw dropping any further when his smile widened at her expression and the dimples made another appearance.
“Yes, I’m sure, but thank you. I’m fine, really,” she added when he still made no move to put her down. “So, could you please put me down, Mr.—” She didn’t even know his name and already her thoughts were heading in directions her self-imposed exile from men wouldn’t allow. It didn’t help that he looked as if he’d just stepped off the cover of one of those romance novels. Or out of bed ...
“Alex. Alex Bradshaw,” he said slowly and waited for some response from her. It was almost as if he expected her to recognize the name. No, there was no way she’d ever met this man before. She’d definitely remember him. Maybe he was famous. A movie star, perhaps.
“But you can call me Alex.”
“Thank you…Alex.” Kate found her voice again. “That’s very kind of you, but I’m fine.” Reluctantly he set her on her feet but didn’t let her go. Instead, his hands circled her waist, inching her closer. Kate didn’t think about resisting, even when she realized he was going to kiss her. Instinctively her hands moved up to his chest.
“Alex.” The sound of his name dissolved into a tiny little whimper the second his lips touched hers for the first time. Damn, could the man kiss or what? Alex Bradshaw put all of her past boyfriend’s to shame, and made her seriously rethink the whole, self-imposed exile thing. No one ever kissed her the way Alex was right now.
His lips glided skillfully over hers, igniting a primitive response deep inside her being. Kate never felt this way before. Not even with Seth. After her first initial moment of shock, she gave into instinct and kissed him back with abandon. Her arms circled his neck, bringing their bodies closer.
For a moment, he was the one hesitating. Kate opened her eyes to find him watching her carefully. Something unnamed passed between them. Kate shuddered at what she saw in his eyes, before closing hers.
His fingers tangled in her hair, holding her in place before his lips claimed hers once more, gently urging them apart. Kate eagerly opened up to him. He smiled against her lips at her response. It was as seductive as his kiss.
“Alex.” Kate fought against unfamiliar desires coursing through her body, melting her against him. She tried to think beyond this moment. After all, this man was a complete stranger to her. She’d only met him and yet she’d allowed him to touch her in a way she’d long ago stopped believing in.
Shh,” he whispered into her mouth, his hands slipping over the curves of her body, down to her hips, molding her intimately against him. She could feel him holding back. He was being careful with her.
This is crazy! Kate couldn’t believe she was behaving so recklessly. If she didn’t stop him soon, she wouldn’t want to ever. She forced her hands between their joined bodies and pushed against his chest.
Slowly Alex lifted his head, letting her go. He wasn’t smiling any longer. The dark inferno blazing in his eyes made it hard to breathe, even harder to think clearly.
“Are you okay?” he asked, stroking his thumb over her swollen lips.
Kate stared back at him wide-eyed. Was he crazy? Of course, she wasn’t okay. She wasn’t sure what she felt at that moment, but okay certainly wasn’t one of them.
“I’m sorry—I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have no idea why I did that.” Her voice sounded breathless and uncertain. She stopped talking and shook her head.
“Well, technically I think we both did that,” he told her gently then smiled when she looked at him as if he’d lost his mind. “And it’s like I was saying. It’s a sign.”
“Yeah, more like a sign I’ve been here way too long. I must be tired, otherwise ... ” Kate stopped trying to defend her actions when she heard him laugh. “I think I need to go home now.” She smoothed a hand down her blouse and straightened her skirt before finding the nerve to look at him again. “Is there actually something I can help you find?” God she was blushing again. But did he have to have the most devilish grin? As if he was reading much more into her innocent question. “Because it is after closing time and—”
“Yes, you can. You can tell me your name.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Kate, is it? Kate Edwards.” He read her name off the gold nametag pinned to her blouse very slowly. It sounded like a caress coming from those lips.
For a moment, something flashed within his eyes and he grew serious again. Did he recognize her? Kate shook her head again. She was definitely tired. They’d never met before. She would remember meeting him.
“That’s a very pretty name,” he added and Kate tried not to react to his compliment.
“Thank you. So now that you know my name—is there anything else, Mr.—” She searched her jumbled thoughts, trying to remember his last name.
“Bradshaw. But you can call me Alex—remember? And yes, there is. You didn’t answer my question.”
“That’s because you haven’t asked me a question yet.”
“No, but I was going to. Before you fell into my arms and took away my train of thought.”
Kate couldn’t resist smiling at his open flirting. The man was charming and an incredible kisser. Not to mention quite possibly the sexiest man she’d ever met.
“Well, then I guess you don’t need anything else from me,” she said and immediately regretted the words when he chuckled softly.
“I didn’t say that. But I’m willing to take things slow, Kate Edwards. So, Whatever You Desire,” he repeated the same words that sent her tumbling into his arms minutes earlier.
“I beg your pardon?” Kate felt the hot color start at her toes and spread quickly through her body.
When Alex spotted her embarrassment he pointed to the paperback he held in his hand. “Whatever You Desire?”
“Oh—the book! Well, what about it?”
“Can you recommend it?” he teased her softly. Even the simplest of words took on a much more alluring meaning when his eyes slid over her body.
“I don’t know. I don’t read romance novels.” Not anymore, anyway.
Kate bit back a smile at his fake shock. She couldn’t tell him there had once been a time when those little books fulfilled all of her teenage fantasies.
“You’re kidding? You don’t believe in romance?”
Kate shook her head. The undercurrent of sexual tension flaring between them still made it hard to concentrate on what he was saying. “Do you?”
“I do now,” he told her quietly with a solemn expression on his face.
“So then you’ll definitely want to buy the book, I take it? What with your newfound belief in romance and all,” Kate added as a challenge just to see how far he might be willing to take this game.
“Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of buying this entire line of romance books.”
Kate’s jaw dropped when he walked over to the section of paperback novels and selected ten different titles along with Whatever You Desire.
“You want to buy all of those books?” she asked incredulously.
“Absolutely.” He walked over to the register and took out some bills.
“Will that be all, Mr.—,” she began and quickly caught herself before he corrected her again. “Alex?”
“Not at all,” he added so seriously Kate wondered if maybe he might be preparing to buy out the whole romance section.
“Oh, is there something else you wanted?” She met his gaze and knew even before he said the words he was going to ask her out. Just as she knew her self-imposed exile from men was about to be shattered into smithereens.
Purchase Link for The Arms Of A Stranger:
Available in Electronic Formats - $4.50 Digital