Tag: Wisconsin

Author Stacey Joy Netzel

Stacey Joy Netzel – Love where you least expect it.

I want to welcome Stacey Joy Netzel to the Guest Author blog this week.

Thanks so much for inviting me Judy!  I love small town romance and am excited to share my little part of the genre with all of you.

Tell us about your latest Book.

It is Spring Serendipity, book 8 of the Romancing Wisconsin Series

Sometimes love happens when you least expect it…
Lora Howell is stunned to find out her husband cheated on her before his death, but drinking too much and picking up a one night stand to get back at him might not have been the smartest thing to do. Facing the stupidity of her actions, the thirty-two year old mother of two recognizes the emptiness in her heart can’t be filled by sex—especially not with the town playboy whose reputation for loving-and-leaving is legendary.
Charismatic SWAT Officer Shane Parker was perfectly happy with his carefree bachelor ways until that one night with the beautiful widow. Now he can’t get the woman out of his head, and the more time he spends with Lora and her young boys, the higher the risk to his heart. Convincing her he’s ready to settle down becomes the most important negotiation of his life—until one last unexpected bombshell threatens everything.

Available at all retailers listed here: http://staceyjoynetzel.com/books/spring-serendipity/

8StaceyJoyNetzel_SpringSerendipityWhere is your series set?
Romancing Wisconsin is set in northeast Wisconsin, in the real town of Pulaski—well known around WI for its lively Polka Days Festival every year. I live about 8 miles out of town, and while I’ve kept the name, flavor, and a few businesses true to life, I’ve also taken liberties to create some fictional parts of the town and surrounding area, as well as fictional events.

The series is broken up into ‘seasons.’ The first 3 books revolve around Christmas (though Book 1 is a Christmas in July story), the next 3 are set in Autumn, and I’m currently working on the Spring set. Each season has 3 books and one short bonus story. When I get to Summer next year, you can be sure some of the characters will be going to Polka Days.

What sets your series apart?
In each book of the series there is a matchmaker named Santa Butch who has a hand in getting the hero and heroine together. Sometimes it’s very subtle, and leaves the reader guessing, “Was that Butch?”, and sometimes it’s very obvious he had a hand in the match. Even the townspeople are starting to catch on to him.

Butch holds a special place in my heart because he’s loosely based off my dad, who played Santa for families around the lake while we were growing up.

Very cool to use your dad. What attracted you to the small-town romance genre?
I grew up in a small town of just under 1000 people, about an hour north of Pulaski. And even then, that’s mostly where I went to school. We lived 14 miles out of town on a lake, and my parents didn’t drive us many places, so that lake, and out of town vacationers were what kept us active (swimming/ice skating). As a kid, I wasn’t so sure I liked being so far away from everything, but once I left home and ended up in bigger cities, I longed to go back to country living. I like setting my characters there because I can write them from the standpoint of where they can’t wait to get out of the boondocks, and others are relieved to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Do you have a new book coming up?
I’m currently writing book 9 in the Romancing WI series, Spring Dreams, and then I’ll also have the short bonus story Spring Spark (9.5) that goes out FREE to all my newsletter subscribers. (make sure to sign up at www.StaceyJoyNetzel.com)

What a great idea! What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Reading, watching TV, gardening/canning. Though the older I get, the less my back can handle being out in the garden for too long. This year, I’ll be supporting the local organic farm a few miles away by ordering my canning veggies from them.

Is it coffee or tea for you?
Tea. Unfortunately, I have to limit myself to a cup or two a day because I only like it with sugar and honey.

Wine , whisky or beer?
None. I like raspberry vodka slush (a recipe I came up with by modifying a brandy slush recipe), or some Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) over ice. And even then only occasionally, because again, lots of sugar, and I’ve never been much of a drinker.

Hazelnut liqueur sounds fantastic. What’s on your desk?
Besides the usual pens, books, notebooks…Puffs Plus with lotion, tea mug or water glass, a little stuffed K-9 dog from when I attended the Writer’s Police Academy, Himalayan salt lamp, a match-box sized Delorian from my son because we love all the Back to the Future movies, a smooth rock with the word ‘inspire’ from my daughter, a ‘Joy’ knickknack from a good friend, and occasionally peanut butter M&M’s, marshmallows, and fresh flowers.

If money was no object, where would your next vacation be?
Alaska. Cruise, train tour, hiking…all over the course of a month or two so I’m not rushed and stressed. That’s a version of Heaven to me.

Thanks again, Judy! It was great visiting!  I’d love if you all visited Pulaski in the Romancing 1StaceyJoyNetzel_MistletoeMischief_200pxWisconsin Series and let me know how you like it. In addition to giving away an ebook copy of Spring Serendipity, Book 1 in the series, Mistletoe Mischief, is perma-free on all retailers.  Go to http://staceyjoynetzel.com/books/mistletoe-mischief/

You can find all of my books at my website, and you can also sign up for my newsletter for FREE reads, new release information, and exclusive sneak peeks, and cover reveals.

Okay. Thanks for doing this today Stacey. To qualify for the draw next Monday to win an eCopy of Spring Serendipity, send Stacey a comment below. Come back next Monday to see who the winner is, when I’ll be talking to Kimberley Lang.

Thanks for stopping by.

Judy sig









Author Lee McKenzie

Lee McKenzie…writing fifty shades of pink

First – the winner of last week’s giveaway – Helena Korin! Helena’s copy of Jenny Andersen’s eBook, Stalking Bell, is on the way to her inbox.

Now on to this week’s guest author.

I’m so  excited to have my friend, multi-published Harlequin author Lee McKenzie as my guest!

The Parent Trap - front cover
This week’s giveaway!

I know it’s a much-used phrase, in fact the name of one of the Harlequin imprints she publishes under, but I’d truly have to describe Lee’s books as “heartwarming”. They always make me feel good, like there are still possibilities in life for a happily ever after.

And to celebrate having Lee here today, I’m giving away an eBook copy of her Harlequin romance The Parent Trap to one lucky reader who comments on her blog this week! (This contest closes Sunday June 6 at midnight.)

Let’s see what Lee’s been working on lately.

JH:  Hi Lee. What is your latest published book?

LM:  To Catch a Wife, (Harlequin Heartwarming, May 2016).
is my most recent book and as you can see, it was released just this month.

The story is set in the fictional small town of Riverton, Wisconsin, and it’s the first book in The Finnegan Sisters trilogy. To Catch a Wife is available online right now—in both print and eBook formats—and in June it the mass market edition will be available in select Walmart stores throughout the US. The second book in the series, His Best Friend’s Wife, will be out in December 2016. The working title of the third book is Cowboy, Come Home (release date TBA).

Here’s the back cover blurb for To Catch a Wife:To Catch a Wife - Lee McKenzie - front cover

He’ll prove he’s back for good

Detective Jack Evans will keep proposing as many times as it takes. He never expected to come home to Riverton, Wisconsin, let alone to find himself lost in a night of passion with reporter Emily Finnegan—and he gets an even bigger surprise when he finds out she’s pregnant. Now he’s determined to marry the beautiful brunette. It took a world-shaking surprise to make him realize what was missing in his life. But Emily has been hurt before and isn’t convinced his desire to marry her is about love. He’ll do whatever it takes to prove his heart is hers…for as long as they both shall live.

JH:  You’ve described Riverton as a “fictional small town”, but is it totally made up, or based on a real place?

LM:  Riverton, Wisconsin, is a fictional small town loosely based on the town of Wabasha, Minnesota, on the bank of the Mississippi. I don’t know anyone who lives in Wabasha, but I have been there twice and fell in love with its wide Main Street lined with old, two-story brick buildings. I decided to fictionalize the town because I don’t know enough about Wabasha to make it realistic. The best part of making up my town is getting to make stuff up! If you would like a closer look, please check out my April post on the Harlequin Heartwarming Authors Blog, aptly (I think!) titled “Making Stuff Up.”

JH:  What attracted you to the small-town romance genre?

LM:  I love to incorporate a sense of community in my books and, for me, a small-town setting makes that a lot more fun. Anyone who has ever lived in a real small town knows there are always a few quirky people who make life interesting.

In To Catch a Wife, readers will meet Mable Potter, a retired high school English teacher who taught several generations of Rivertonians and now lives alone with her scallywag of a dog, Banjo. The title of this book is a play on To Catch a Thief, and Mable and her dog just might be involved.

PetHamsters actually play a big part in my stories. The heroine of this story, Emily Finnegan, has a hamster named Tadpole.

I held a Name This Furry Friend contest and the name Tadpole was the hands-down favourite among my panel of judges. I had fun coming up with an explanation for the name, and the winner is acknowledged in the book.

JH:  I love your tag line,Lee McKenzie…writing fifty shades of pink. How did you come up with it?

LM:  Believe it or not, my husband came up with this one. I overhead him explaining to someone that I’m a romance author, and that person asked, “You mean like Fifty Shades of Grey?” My husband replied, “No, more like fifty shades of pink.” And my tag line was born. I think it perfectly reflects what I write…wholesome, tender romance with a focus on family, friendships and community.

JH:  What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

LM:  My favourite pastimes are, in no particular order, cooking, gardening, reading, DIY projects, and scouring thrift stores and second-hand shops for bargains and vintage finds.

I’m excited to share one of my latest vintage finds—a child-sized antique chair that was refinished Vintage Chairwith Annie Sloane chalk paint. Even the vinyl seat has been painted, and in a beautiful colour called Duck Egg Blue. This is not one of my DIY projects. The chair had already been refinished when I discovered it, and it now has a home beside my fireplace where it awaits the arrival of my first grandchild early this summer.

Then there’s other side of thrifting. I often encounter another person’s attempt at DIY that I find…what’s the word?…confounding. For example, this coffee table was made into a bench and upholstered with faux fur designed to look like feathers. Needless to say, this one stayed in the thrift store, but I couldn’t resist snapping a photo.
A Feathered Bench
And no, you’re not seeing double. The price tag is $69.95!

JH:  What is your favourite TV show and why?

LM:  The Big Bang Theory is my all-time favourite sitcom. The writing is brilliant and the character development truly inspired. The show’s creators have taken a popular stereotype—the science geek—and crafted four believable and compelling archetypes. Genius! I’m so impressed, I’ve actually developed a writing workshop based on these characters.

JH:  Okay. The final question – Coffee or tea?

LM:  I love coffee—the darker and stronger the better—and every morning begins with a café con leche (equal parts espresso and scalded milk). I sometimes have a cup of green tea or herbal tea in the afternoon. Otherwise, it’s water, water, water.

Lee here. I want to thank Judith for inviting me to be a guest on her blog, and all of you for joining me here today. If you would like to keep in touch and find out more about my upcoming books, please feel free to drop by my website [www.LeeMcKenzie.com] and sign up for my newsletter, Life in the Slow Lane. For now, I will leave you with an excerpt from To Catch a Wife. Happy reading!


EMILY FINNEGAN SETTLED onto the middle stool at the big kitchen island, sliding comfortably into her place as the middle sister. No matter what was wrong with the world—floods, famines, personal freak-outs—here in the heart of the Finnegan family farmhouse, everything felt right.
Her younger sister, CJ—Cassie Jo as their father affectionately called her—sat on the stool to Emily’s right. CJ was dressed for the stables in dark jeans and a faded denim work shirt, her long blond hair pulled back in a high ponytail.
Across the gleaming white Formica countertop, Annie, eldest of the three sisters, stood with carafe in hand. “Coffee?” She angled the pot over Emily’s mug. If the kitchen was the heart of the home, then Annie was the life force that kept it beating.
“Sure. Oh, wait. No.” Emily hastily withdrew her cup. “Only if it’s decaf.”
CJ clapped a hand to Emily’s forehead.
Emily ducked away from it. “What are you doing?”
“Checking to see if you’re running a fever. Since when do you drink decaf?”
A good question for which Emily didn’t have a good answer. Yet. “I haven’t been sleeping well, so I thought I’d cut back on caffeine, see if that makes a difference.” Only partly true, but at least it wasn’t a lie.
“It’s ten-thirty in the morning,” CJ said.
Emily shrugged.
“Not a problem,” Annie said. “I’ll make a fresh pot of decaf. It’ll be ready in a few minutes.” She looked amazing in a slouchy yellow pullover and crisp white slacks. Given everything she would have accomplished since getting up before sunrise—gathering eggs from the chicken coop, making breakfast, vacuuming, laundry—Emily had no idea how Annie kept herself looking fresh as a summer daisy.
While her older sister turned to the coffeemaker, Emily tried to ignore her younger sister’s scrutiny. Ever since CJ had been little, she’d had a talent for sniffing secrets and wheedling information out of the secret keeper.
“You’re being weird,” CJ said.
“I’m always weird.”
“Weirder than usual.”
“Don’t bug your sister.” Annie, ever the mom, filled CJ’s mug, then her own.
The coffee smelled like a little piece of heaven to Emily. How would she make it through nine whole months without coffee? Although, if the secret thing that had been keeping her up at night turned out to be true, it was now closer to seven months.


Don’t forget to leave a comment for Lee, to be eligible for The Parent Trap, giveaway. And come back next Monday to see who is the winner – and when Stephanie Bergett will be my guest.

Thanks for joining us.

Judy sig