The Story Behind After His Banana by Penelope Bloom

By Penelope Bloom

Believe it or not, I thought I was done with the world of erotic fruit books after the Objects of Attraction series. I’d spent nearly a year writing them from book one to book six, and it just kind of seemed like the right thing to move on.

Well… here we are. And here I am with a cover depicting two grown ass, consenting bananas doing what God intended bananas to do when they are in a loving relationship. No, they aren’t spooning, either. If that’s where your mind went, bless your heart. You’re still a pure soul and I haven’t had a chance to corrupt you with my immaturity yet.

Silliness aside, I did want to talk about a few things relating to this book. One thing I thought was worth bringing up is that I’ve discovered a little something about myself. No matter how hard I try, it’s always going to feel wrong to put myself in one box. As in, I don’t want to get myself in a place again where I start to think, “Oh, I’d love to write a book like that… But it’s not really what people expect me to write.”

So, within reason, I’m going to do my best to keep myself excited and high-energy about everything I’m writing. That will probably mean bouncing between projects, and I’m going to just have to learn to be okay with that.

Big picture stuff aside, I also want to give some perspective on what this book means and how it relates to the Objects of Attraction Series. At the moment, I’m kind of thinking of this new wave of books as a sister series. My goal would be that you could ultimately read them in either order. Like you could come in with After His Banana (and After Her Cherry, which is next), and THEN go on to read His Banana and all of those books. Or you could do it the other way around. If that ends up seeming too complicated, I still sort of reserve the right to say these are books 7 and onward within the Objects of Attraction series, too. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

I’ve never come back to a series in any way after initially finishing it, so this was a new experience for me. I found it was really fun–both re-reading some of the old books to refresh my memory on everybody and their personalities, and then re-imagining them in a new place in their lives. Also seeing them through a different lens (the eyes of these new, younger characters) was really fun, too.

As for the book itself, I feel pretty confident in saying it’s exactly what you’d expect from an Objects of Attraction book. So if you were a fan of those, I’m very confident you’ll love this one, too.

So, we’ll see! In a lot of ways, this feels different than my normal book launches because I’m mostly hoping to make fans of the original series happy. I don’t know if I even put a tenth of the thought I normally do into reaching new readers. It was more about doing something really fun and exciting for everyone who was a fan of the original.

I hope you decide to check it out. Meanwhile, I’m going to go jump back into the writing cave because these things don’t write themselves (unfortunately). My next project is Savage Love… Or Brutal Love… Or Vicious Love? I haven’t decided what to call it, but you can bet your ass that love is going to be rough, because it’s the second book in my bully series I started last month. This one follows Cassian, and I am actually really excited to dive into writing something angsty and more serious after the non-stop humor of After His Banana.

Variety is a good thing. That’s going to be my new mantra, lol!

Happy reading,

And don’t forget to borrow or buy After His Banana. Click here to check it out!

Penelope Bloom is the author of the new book After His Banana.

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Interview with Patricia Barletta, Author of Moon Bright

What can you tell us about your new release, Moon Bright?

Moon Bright is the third book in the Auriano Curse Series. The series is about a cursed Venetian family in 1797. Each of the books is a stand-alone about one of the siblings who search for a magical artifact, the Sphere of Astarte, that will break the curse. The books are connected because they’re about a family, and the siblings show up in each of the books. Moon Bright is Allegra’s story. She has fled to Bath, England, in order to evade the nefarious Legion of Baal. This group wants her dead, because she stands in the way of their search for the Sphere, which they want for their evil purposes. She is also pursued by the ancient, evil sorceress, Nulkana, who placed the curse on the family. While in Bath, Allegra encounters the dashing and dangerous Sebastian Fox, Earl of Hawksmoor, who is an agent for the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, and who has infiltrated the Legion. Revealing his secret identity will put both of them in danger. But Allegra has her own secrets, and she’s not sure she can trust the enigmatic earl. Forced to fight their common enemies while negotiating through Bath society, Allegra and Sebastian are thrust together. As they fight for their lives, passion ignites between them, and love conquers all secrets.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always loved to read, so my love of reading really started me off. I can remember going into the stacks at my local library when I was young, pulling a book from the shelf, sitting on the floor, and starting to read it right there before checking it out. I was entranced by authors like Alexandre Dumas, Walter Scott, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Helen MacInnes. In junior high and high school, I wrote stories for my friends. When I became an adult and read romances by Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rodgers and Johanna Lindsey, I decided I could write one, too. So I did!

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

There are so many good books that it’s hard to choose five, but here are some of my favorites, not in any particular order:
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)
Bird by Bird (Ann Lamott)
Rebecca ( Daphne du Maurier)

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I think my first guest would be Shakespeare. I’d want to know where he got his ideas, and how he did his research for his historical plays. I’d ask if he had ever traveled to Italy, because several of his plays are set there, like Romeo and Juliet, Taming of the Shrew, and The Merchant of Venice. How long did he take to write a play? Who inspired him to write such strong, powerful women in many of his plays? Was it Elizabeth I? What was his opinion of the queen? I think Shakespeare would be a fascinating, interesting guest on a talk show, because he lived in such an interesting period of history.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love creating my characters, putting them into difficult or emotional situations, and then watching them work their way out. I also enjoy writing about the past and exotic locales because of all the research I have to do. I love to do research almost as much as writing! When I start researching something, it often leads to something else, an interesting fact or tidbit that I can put into my story. And the best part of writing happens when I finish a story, because all that drama and angst get tied up, my two main characters live on happily, and the villain gets what’s coming to him or her.

What is a typical day like for you?

After I’ve had my coffee, I sit down at my computer and work for four or five hours. After that, my brain is pretty well fried, so I do errands or chores around the house. I try to go for a walk every day because it clears my head. I might come back to the computer for another hour or so and do busy work. By that time, the work day is over for me.

What scene in Moon Bright was your favorite to write?

I think all the scenes with Sebastian and his mother, the countess, were my favorites. She aggravates the heck out of him, but he loves her, so he grits his teeth and puts up with her drama. Their scenes together have some humor in them, so it lightens the mood after a darker or more emotional scene. Then there’s the big reveal about her past near the end of the book that opens his eyes to who she really is, so she not only has his love but also his respect.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

My work motto is: Butt in chair; fingers on keyboard.
For difficult times in life: This, too, shall pass.
For life in general(I got this one from my good friend, Jane): Don???t postpone joy.

Patricia Barletta is the author of the new book Moon Bright.

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Interview with Monica Murphy, Author of Close to Me

I wrote a book and self-published it seven years ago. It was called ONE WEEK GIRLFRIEND, and it went on to become an international best seller. It hit the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists multiple times, and the other books in the series did the same. That book, the series and those characters changed my career, changed my life.

And now I’m writing about their children.

It’s crazy for me to wrap my head around the fact that in CLOSE TO ME, my new high school set, new adult romance, Drew and Fable from ONE WEEK GIRLFRIEND are now parents. (If anyone reading this has watched soap operas like Days of Our Lives or All My Children, then know I’ve aged up the kids in soap opera time. Meaning they went from three to seventeen in about two years, HA).

When Drew and Fable first met, they weren’t in the best situation. They both came from messed up homes and found each other when they needed a lifeline the most. Really, they saved each other. I always described them as being a complete mess alone, yet somehow perfect together.

Autumn Callahan, their oldest child, is not messed up at all. She’s had a wonderful upbringing, thanks to her parents. Her father is a retired NFL quarterback, they live in a beautiful home and their household is filled with respect, laughter and understanding. Yet like many a teenage girl (and beyond), she’s attracted to the bad boy at her high school. The push and pull, the does he like me? I hate him back and forth takes a toll on Autumn, but she can’t quit him.

And he can’t quit her either.

Asher Davis is a mess. His dad died when he was young, and his mom doesn’t care about him, so why should Ash care about…anything? But he does care. About football. About school.

About Autumn.

It was so much fun to go back into Drew and Fable’s world. I even wrote in their point of views, and even after all these years, it was incredibly easy to be back in their heads. But they’re older now. Wiser. Trying their best to guide their children and live their lives to the fullest. The One Week Girlfriend series makes me nostalgic, but what’s so great is that I keep them alive in this new series that kicks off with CLOSE TO ME, The Callahans. There will be more books about Drew and Fable’s children, and hopefully, you will be excited to read them all!

Monica Murphy is the author of the new book Close to Me.

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New Romance Books to Read | February 11

Looking to fall in love with some new romance reads? You’ll adore these exciting new novels! This week you can get your hands on books by bestselling authors Julia Kent, Monica Murphy, Penelope Bloom, Patricia Barletta, and more. Enjoy your new romance books and happy reading!



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Love Stories For Your Reading List | February 2020

Love Stories For Your Reading List | February 2020

In the mood for a new romance to fall head over heels in love with? Whether you like your books sweet or steamy, you’ll find a new favorite from bestselling authors Cassandra Austen, Tracy Jerald, Carolyn Brown, Layla Hagen, Cindi Madsen, and Ruth Cardello. Happy reading!


Coming Home to Greenleigh

by Cassandra Austen

Release Date: January 31, 2020

Beth Burnham’s small-town never let her spread her wings. She finds herself low on funds for her family’s historic house restoration project and is running low on clients at her law practice. So, she throws herself at the mercy of a posh legal firm. When she shows up to the interview, she never expected the managing partner interviewing her would be the lover she left heartbroken. When he declares he still has feelings for her, Beth longs to revisit the love they once shared.

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Ripple Effect

by Tracey Jerald

Release Date: February 3, 2020

I’ve experienced the ways love can change a man. Yet nothing I’ve ever done was as profound as marrying the woman I love. Every mission I went on was a risk worth taking because I knew she’d be at home waiting for me. What I didn’t realize was that in my quest to right all the wrongs of the world, I was destroying the only part I’d die for… my marriage.

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Wildflower Ranch

by Carolyn Brown

Release Date: February 4, 2020

Shiloh Walker always imagined what it would be like to have sisters. She is about to find out… When a father she never knew leaves a ranch to Shiloh and her two half-siblings, she will have to live with them for a year to claim the inheritance. Soon they all discover that they may have more in common with each other than they thought when they meet the cowboy next door.

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You’re The One

by Layla Hagen

Release Date: February 1, 2020

It all started out as pretend. My best friend and the most powerful man in New York needed my help. The first kiss we shared was unexpected. The next one is going to be in front of his family and we need to be convincing. The kiss was so hot that it almost fooled me.

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Country Hearts

by Cindi Madsen

Release Date: January 21, 2020

Jemma Monroe was laid off from her teaching job in the city. So she takes a job in a tiny town and rents a house on the outskirts. Then a horse suddenly appears at her door. Followed by his owner, a handsome neighbor in boots and a cowboy hat. Now Wyatt Langford keeps finding excuses to spend time with her.

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The Wild One

by Ruth Cardello

Release Date: January 28, 2020

The second book in the Corisi Billionaires series by New York Times Bestselling Author Ruth Cardello… Wren Heath has always chosen safe over satisfying. So, a weeklong fling in Paris sounds perfect to her. Who better to spend her time with than Mauricio Romano, the billionaire with a reputation as a heartbreaker. What happens on vacation stays on vacation, right?

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Interview with Cassandra Austen, author of Coming Home to Greenleigh

What can you tell us about your new release Coming Home to Greenleigh?

Coming Home to Greenleigh is a romantic, slow-burn, second-chance-at-love novel, with a strong element of coming-of-age in the lead character’s story. For that reason, I think it’s more in the women’s fiction area than contemporary romance—the setting is the fictional town of Greenleigh, in New England, which plays a strong role in the story, and there are side plots and supporting characters with compelling backstories, so it’s longer (400 pages) and more dramatic and involved than the average contemporary romance. Also, because I live in New England in an old house, all the details about old homes and New England life and community are drawn very carefully.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I wrote fiction throughout my childhood and into my teens, but never had an interest in becoming a novelist until I was home with young children. I had an exciting career in diplomacy before I had kids, and I just wanted a way to reflect on it when I got back to the U.S. But one thing led to another, and I began to attend conferences and research writing for publication. It’s taken me a long time to actually put my work out, because I ended up homeschooling my four kids, all of whom are competitive athletes. My husband continued his diplomatic work, so he was gone a lot of the time, and there I was, living in this ancient farmhouse, homeschooling four kids who need- ed to be driven an hour each way to sports practice. However, if I had also been pursuing a career outside the home, I don’t know if I would have continued writing, because there’s only so much of me to go around! So I’m grateful that I was at home and in the middle of educating my children for all those years. When you spend a lot of time reading good books and critiquing essays, your head is constantly in that space anyway. Writing fiction doesn’t seem to be such a big leap.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

This list morphs all the time, so depending on what blog post you read, I may say something different! And I love quality children’s literature, from both my own childhood and my experience homeschooling. Right now, I would say that my top five are:
1. The Golden Compass trilogy, by Philip Pullman
2. La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman
3. Persuasion,byJaneAusten
4. The Dark is Rising fantasy series, by Susan Cooper
5. Any book by Pearl S.Buck(The Good Earth,The Living Reed, and Imperial
Woman, especially)

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

The answer to this question changes depending on my mood and the time of year! Right now I would love to talk to Dr. Brene Brown. I know she’s not a novelist—but I’m interested in the intersection between the internal life and going public, and her rallying cry over the course of her research work has been, “Be vulnerable.” It’s been so hard for me to be out there in the world with the books I write. It’s the ultimate vulnerability, putting out my art where people can feel free to trash it, and by extension, me. I know that a lot of artists are lucky enough to be born with a big ego. But many of us are just regular people, and this creative act is just the thing that we do, the way that someone else’s creative act might be teaching kindergarten or paving roads. I would
want to ask Dr. Brown for specific advice geared toward helping us “quiet” creative people continue to be vulnerable without being destroyed in the process. I somehow suspect a talk show episode on that topic would be very popular!

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

My favorite thing is the very act itself. It’s literally like I’m transported. You know the feeling of watching a really amazing movie? Where you’re right there? That’s what writing feels like to me. I would write even without the publishing part of the process, just to grab that feeling.

What is a typical day like for you?

On a typical day, I get up late because I’m always up late at night, when the house is asleep and everything is quiet. I’m a coffee drinker (not lattes, plain old American!) so I sit quietly and enjoy my coffee, catch up on the news (which I completely ignore for the rest of the day), and meditate. I try to stay available for anything my kids might want from me—as a homeschool parent you just never know when someone will have a meltdown over a math problem or an essay—and I tend to work on admin things during the morning and early afternoon. I try to have a gym session every afternoon, because it leaves me feeling great. And most of my creative work is done at night.

What scene in Coming Home to Greenleigh was your favorite to write?

That’s such a hard question! I would say my favorite scene is where I introduce the reader to Gunnar. He’s a cute tattoo artist who introduces himself to Beth at the local coffee shop. I loved that scene because it came out of nowhere, and those are the writing experiences I love best. I knew I needed to stick a love triangle character into my draft somewhere, and I also knew that he had to be someone that Beth would normally never talk to. It was so random, and it was so much fun to write! What’s more, Gunnar has turned out to be such a popular character with my beta readers, I’ll be bringing him back for his own book!

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Yes! It’s from Brene Brown. It’s the reason I decided I had to stop just reading books and start writing books. “At the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of my life, I want to be able to say that I contributed more than I criticized.” This sentence brings me up when I’m feeling down, and reminds me that my writing isn’t just a random activity. It’s filled with purpose, and I want to make my hours on the planet count. Here’s the graphic from her website, which she encourages us to share!

Cassandra Austen is the author of the new book Coming Home to Greenleigh.

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The Story Behind Ripple Effect By Tracey Jerald

By Tracey Jerald

Standing at the rail of a cruise ship last April, whitecaps crashed against the side of a cruise ship when the first ideas for Ripple Effect first drifted over me. People were milling all around celebrating milestone events such as birthdays, anniversaries, and the like.

And I was lonely.

It was the first time in years I happened to be on the boat with one of my sisters instead of my husband. Yes, I was having an excellent time, but I was disjointed because there were so many swirling emotions of love around me. It made me miss my spouse profoundly.

I couldn’t, didn’t, want to imagine if that was my reality.

Out of that, Elizabeth Sullivan was born. She is slightly older than my previous heroines, successful and established. She isn’t a woman looking for love, but one who already found the other half of her heart long ago in her husband, Calhoun.

When you first meet Libby and Cal, as they are known to their friends and family, their hearts have been through so much turmoil and come out the other side stronger for it. Immediately, they’re ready to tell you their story.

During their conflict, Libby realized she didn’t know who her husband was. Or, maybe what might be worse, who they were when they were together.

As for Cal, he didn’t know how to love before he met his wife. She became his definition of the word. He thinks he knew her unequivocally but found himself disturbed when she evolved into someone different as the years passed.

There’s an emotional burden to nourishing love, to ensuring it’s not pulled under the ripples of communication breakdowns that happens frequently in the best of marriages. What Libby and Cal’s story demonstrates is the fight for love is worth it when it matters regardless of whether the waves you battle are the size of tsunamis.

In the end, I think we all secretly long for the kind of love that will endure unspeakable tests of obstinacy but will survive in the end because all marriage has ripples. It’s how we ride out the waves that determines our course.

Tracey Jerald is the author of the new book Ripple Effect.

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New Romance Books to Read | February 4

Looking to fall in love with some new romance reads? You’ll adore these exciting new novels! This week you can get your hands on books by bestselling authors Tracey Jerald, Cassandra Austen, Mia Sosa, K. Bromberg, and more. Enjoy your new romance books and happy reading!



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A HEART OF BLOOD AND ASHES ( Gathering of Dragons #1) by MILLA VANE

5 magically spellbinding stars!

'She had promised to make his life a misery. He still believed she would. But in that moment, he'd realized his life would also be a greater misery if Yvenne wasn't in it.'

Epic! Positively EPIC! A Heart of Blood and Ashes is, without doubt, one of our favourite fantasy romance stories ever. Embarking on this adventure of vengeance, lust, passion, loyalty and love we became instantly swept up in Milla Vane's fantasy dark romance! We met a brave and battle hardened warrior and a heroine with the heart of a warrior-queen who both consumed us in a rich, seductive, passionate and vivid world so expertly woven together with masterful storytelling! What an adventure! Netflix…take note…you NEED to bring this book to our screens!

We can't say enough about the stellar writing of Milla Vane. Vibrant and imaginative, haunting, brutal, passionate, menacing and exquisitely vivid, her words burst before our eyes! It was magnificent! The romance aspect was everything we could have hoped for. Absolutely stunning and compelling reading. And the end….spellbinding perfection!

We closed this story with eyes brimming with tears, hearts full of adventure, reflecting on a story that rendered us willing captives. Bravo! There is no cliffy ending, however we'll be beside ourselves waiting for the next book in the series, A Touch of Stone and Snow, to release in July!

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A HEART OF BLOOD AND ASHES ( Gathering of Dragons #1) by MILLA VANE

Hot New Romance Novels | February 2020

Hot New Romance Novels | February 2020

Have you made your way through your romance reading list and looking for a new favorite book to get lost in? We’ve rounded up some of the best new romance novels from bestselling author Kelly Jamieson, Betty Shreffler, Sophie Barnes, Emma Hart, Winter Renshaw, Rachel Van Dyken, and Kathy Ireland. Get your hands on them now!


Firecracker

by Kelly Jamieson

Release Date: January 28, 2020

Arden Lennox’s charmed life may be in pieces, but she refuses to move back in with her parents. She is no longer the prom-queen married to the football star. She is broke but it’s time she stood on her own two feet. She finds a cheap (free) under-construction unit in a quaint Chicago brownstone. And it comes with a surprise… Tyler Ramirez, her brother’s high school best friend is now a smoking hot firefighter and spending his spare time hammering, drilling, and screwing in her unit.

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King of Kings

by Betty Shreffler

Release Date: January 21, 2020

The third book in A Kings MC Romance series from Betty Shreffler… I told myself that I didn’t want her and I didn’t need her. But that was all a lie. I craved her. But I know she is off-limits, especially right now when my enemies want to put a bullet in my back. They think they can use her to get to me but that will be their downfall. I am the president of the Kings MC and I will do whatever it takes to protect the ones I love.

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The Forgotten Duke

by Sophie Barnes

Release Date: January 28, 2020

The fifth book in the bestselling Diamonds In The Rough historical romance series by Sophie Barnes… Carlton Guthrie is known as the scoundrel of St. Giles. When he sees a runaway brode in the London slums, he offers to help. But it wasn’t out of the kindness of his heart, but because she is the daughter of the Earl of Hedgewick. He can use Regina to get revenge on her father. It was the perfect plan… until he starts to fall for her innocent beauty.

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Frenemies

by Emma Hart

Release Date: January 28, 2020

My hot as hell college booty call has moved in next door along with his adorable daughter. The only time we ever got along was under the sheets. It seems nothing has changed because it only takes two minutes of him on my front porch for us to start fighting. That little fact doesn’t seem to bother my eighty-year-old grandmother and roommate, who is determined to see me get married. And she has her eyes set on me and Mason Black.

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The Cruelest Stranger

by Winter Renshaw

Release Date: January 20, 2020

It was a misty Thursday night at a bar called Ophelia’s when I saw him for the first time. After a trying day, I was there to drown my sorrows and he was there to escape the storm. We had a brief and incredibly cruel exchange, then the handsome stranger bolted. At two cocktails deep, I decided to follow him, determined to give him a piece of my mind. I ended my chase when I realized where he was going. They say not to judge someone unless you know their story but I could have never anticipated this.

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Fashion Jungle

by Rachel Van Dyken & Kathy Ireland

Release Date: January 28, 2020

The new romance from bestselling authors Kathy Ireland and Rachel Van Dyken… Fashion Jungle follows the story of four women Brittany, Zoe, Everlee, and Danica. They are on four very different paths in one incredibly cutthroat world. In the world of the Fashion Jungle, it’s eat or be eaten… but if you make it out alive, you might just have a story to tell.

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