June 8, 2015

Dearly Beloved Series by Margo Hoornstra {Excerpts & Giveaway}

Night Stars and Mourning Doves
by Margo Hoornstra
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Wild Rose Press
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 22, 2013
Length: 90 Pages

Elyse Monroe may be her sister's maid of honor, but that doesn't mean she has to follow the bride's example and fall in love. Battle-scarred and weary from previous relationships, she has no desire to take a chance on another--no matter how many hints her little sister drops about the best man.

Devastating life events have taken a toll on Eric Matthews. After losing his wife and unborn daughter, he's come home to heal. Serving as best man at his kid brother's wedding is the only relationship he cares to contemplate--no matter how attractive the maid of honor.

Thrown together again and again by wedding duties, Elyse and Eric reluctantly agree to explore a possible relationship--only to have their casual date turn into a glorious night of passion. Can two hearts, convinced a happily ever after will never happen, recognize love when it finds them?

The Book Excerpt

“I have to tell you, Eric Matthews, you are not what I expected.”

“Not sure how to take that. You always prejudge people before you get to know them?”

“Just those I think may have the chance to impact my life.”

“Impact in a good way or bad?”

“Makes no difference.”

He put his hands on either side of her, effectively trapping her between the wall behind and his body in front. “It always makes a difference.”

“Your mother talked to me about you a little. You’re just not how she described you.”

“My mother’s been saying for weeks I needed to get out.”

“Is that why you called me? For your mother?”

“Not a chance.”

There was no opportunity for further discussion as his mouth reclaimed hers. On one part surprise and three parts delight her arms wrapped around his neck, hands clutching his hair as she, not Eric brought their kiss to another level.

As always with this man, heat emanated from the places he touched her. Except tonight after what they shared, the sensation was different.

“I want to make love to you, Elyse. I don’t want to wade through the formalities.” The words came out short and urgent.

Her reply was firm and breathless. “Every book on dating etiquette is telling me how wrong this is.”

His hands gently cupped her face as his lips tasted hers. “You need to quit reading.”

“I definitely need to quit reading.”

Only If You Dare
by Margo Hoornstra
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Wild Rose Press
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 26, 2013
Length: 117 Pages

All the pleasures and none of the pain, that's what Cynthia Buckingham wants in a relationship these days. A one-night stand with Jonah Colt seems to fit that bill perfectly. Newly divorced, she's too busy planning her daughter's wedding for any serious involvement. Besides, her true passion is helping victims of PTSD reclaim their lives.

Waking up after spending the night with a woman he barely knows, Jonah is stunned to realize sex for the sake of sex isn't enough for him anymore. A veteran of more military battles than he cares to count, he wants to forget it all and focus on peaceful civilian life. Except flashbacks won't allow it.

Falling for Cynthia makes Jonah regret his weakened state, but he'd rather hide the truth than face it. When she sets aside everything she believes in to help him heal, can he accept her help--and her love?

The Book Excerpt

“Jonah. I was wrong, and I’m so very sorry.”

His hand froze on the gear shift. “About picking up your car? I can just give you a ride home then.”

He obviously wasn’t going to make this easy for her, but who could blame him?

“You know, I always tell my patients they need to focus on reality, to believe in what is, and go from there.”

“I understand you care about your patients. I’m not one of them.”

What did he think? That she was creating notes for one of her counseling session? “I was wrong about—I should have admitted to myself how much you mean to me and let you know, too.”

“It might have been nice.” He didn’t respond with anything more, just put the car in gear and pulled away from the hospital.

The litany of confessions had already formed in her mind and, when she couldn’t contain them any longer, began to gush out. “I tried to pretend what we had together—” She paused when her voice cracked. “—wasn’t incredibly special. I wanted to believe I could enjoy a physical relationship and dismiss my emotions.” Her voice lowered. “As irrelevant.” She laid her hand on his arm, and a bicep muscle twitched then tensed. “And that was my biggest mistake of all.”

“You were only doing what was working for you, I suppose.”

Squaring up in her seat, she concentrated on the scenery passing by outside. He’d said very little as she went on and on. Because she hadn’t given him a chance to speak? Or because there was nothing he cared to share with her? Either way, she had to go for broke.

“I love you, Jonah.”
The Cafe Interview

Thanks so much for stopping by the Authors' Cafe today, Margo. I'm very excited to host you and your two book DEARLY BELOVED SERIES!

Okay, I see you've got your coffee (black) and asiago cheese bagel with veggie cream cheese, so let's get right to the interview.

At what point in your life did you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?

First of all, thank you for hosting me here today. Always a pleasure I look forward to. Now to answer your question. Writing has always been a part of my life. It was how my dad made his living and how I paid the bills and fed the kids, as they say, in my day job. Other people’s words, though, not mine. As for actually becoming an author for real, I wrote about six books of my own that were never published. Then I met a fabulous editor named Kathy Cottrell, who saw something in my writing she liked. After she contracted a number of my short stories, I took the plunge and wrote my first book. She contracted that one also. Then another, and another, and another. Writing them was one thing. Finding an editor who also BELIEVED in them was quite another.

It's a pleasure hosting you too! Which of your characters is most like you?

Both Elyse and Cynthia, my heroines, are strong women who face life head on, admittedly sometimes with their eyes closed. Though Elyse is somewhat softer and Cynthia more daring, they each have minds of their own. I’m sort of a combination. (How’s that for a non-committal answer?)

If you were stranded on a desert island, which character from either of your books would you want with you?

Jonah Colt from Only If You Dare, hands down. He’s a battle tested military veteran (my thanks to all who serve and have served), an intelligent and compassionate sitting judge, and not too bad to look at either.

Where do you write?

Wherever I happen to be when the ideas hit.

Do you have any “rituals” you go through before you write?

None. When there’s the opportunity to write, I write.

What was your favorite scene to write and why?

The second chapter of Night Stars and Mourning Doves begins with **spoiler alert** a dream sequence, and introduces heroine Elyse Monroe. A survivor of abuse, both sexual and physical, we see how she’s strong enough now to fight back.

What would YOU like your readers to know about your books or you in general?

It’s no secret I write romance. After all, it’s what I love to read. What bugs me is that some uninitiated - ie those family and friends who haven’t read my books - always seem to think bodice rippers. In my books, this is not the case at all. I’d like to think my stories are more emotional. I like to think I tell true, human experience, stories. In the name(s) of my characters I deal with, and ultimately resolve such issues as post-traumatic stress disorder, abuse, loss of a spouse, single parenting. Family issues, not just two people lusting after one another. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Thank you for asking.

What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Never give up, either on yourself or your dream. (Pretty cliché, I know, but my advice just the same.) I came across a quote a while back, author unknown, that I decided to live by. “You will be the same age whether you follow your dreams or not, so why let age be a factor in your decisions?”

Do you have a favorite author?

I have many favorite authors. Phyllis Whitney is one. Kathleen Woodiwiss is another. It was reading Shanna by her that really spurred me into finally writing my own. (An epic historical that will not, and should not, ever see the light of day. But I had a lot of fun writing it.)

LOL! What is your favorite quote?

Aside from the one about dreams mentioned above, it’s this: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” by Doctor Seuss.

What genre of books do you read for pleasure?

There seems to be so little time for that, but when I do read for pleasure, it’s straight contemporary or romantic suspense. Usually books by authors who have become friends.

What’s the most amusing thing that’s every happened to you?

Getting kicked off the merry-go-round at Cedar Point. (They wanted me to leave my purse ‘by the door’ as it were, for the duration of the ride. I refused.) As it turned out, my husband could have stayed on for the ride - his wallet was in his pocket - but left with me in a show of solidarity.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Spend time with family and friends. Walk, especially outdoors, weather permitting.

Who is the Fiction Hero you’d run off with?

I’m too old to ‘run off’ with anyone. They’d have to come to me.

If all TV shows were real, what show (all time) would you most like to live in?

I Love Lucy. She and Ethel always seemed to have a ball! (Wow! Just noticed the pun there after I wrote it, but I’m letting it stand.)

I LOVE that show! And now it's time for some . . . 

Cafe Randomness

Party dress or blue jeans? Blue jeans for sure.

Plotter or Panster? A little of both. Though I don’t plot extensively at all.

Print or e-Book? Print book for posterity, e-Book for convenience.

Coastal walks or extreme sports? Coastal walks, especially when water is involved.

Cookies or cupcakes? Cookies. Preferably without chocolate.

Super hero or super villain? Hero, of course.

If you had a free afternoon you’d . . . ? Walk, read, sit quietly.

The smell of what takes you back to your childhood? A baseball glove.

You suddenly realize you live in a haunted house. Do you:

  1. Run screaming for the door. 
  2. Bravely go to a church, load up on holy water and try to get rid of the ghost. 
  3. Set up ghost hunting equipment to capture phenomenon. 
  4. Call in the Ghost Adventures crew so that you can ogle the lead guy Zac’s amazingly stiff hair when you’re not ogling his uh, physical attributes. 
  5. Deny you have a ghost and just let it scare the bejesus out of your visitors. 

All good options, but I’d go for #6. Determine, okay maybe with Zac’s help, whether said ghost was friend or foe and go from there.

Could you tell us five random facts about yourself?

Not as easy as it seems to come up with. Let’s see. 
  1. Though I was born in a big city, I know live in, and love, the country. 
  2. My first job was as a waitress at a Howard Johnson’s. 
  3. Love to go barefoot. 
  4. Own way too many pairs of pierced earrings. 
  5. Always shop the clearance racks. Always. 

That was really fun. Thanks again for the opportunity to share so much of myself. Hope I didn’t bore anyone. Too badly, anyway. 

I had fun too, Margo - Thanks so much for stopping by to visit today!!!

About Margo Hoornstra

Like many writers, it’s hard to determine exactly when my fiction writing career began. I remember composing a short story in grade school (I have no idea about what) which was chosen for publication in an all school anthology. A journalism class taken in junior high school led to a job on the school newspaper and a weekly column.

I always loved reading. I loved writing too. Someday, I thought, maybe when I grew up and received the right training, I could actually write a book. After all, I was often told, laughingly most times, I had an extremely vivid imagination.

Through the years, the desire to write was always there. I had so many ideas and characters roaming around in my head, so many stories. But the business of living—going to college, getting married then raising a family—took precedence over something as frivolous as writing a book.

Then one day out of the blue I was downsized—effective immediately—from a job I’d held for over thirty years. What seemed so unfair at the time, I now recognize the tremendous gift I was given that day. As I’m now able to spend more and more time doing what I love—writing romantic fiction—I find I really do have an abundance of stories to share.

The Giveaway

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