Wednesday, March 12, 2008

IT'S BEEN QUITE A WEEK!

Gale force winds brought down a huge tree that smashed through the roof of the old village school in Golden Grove (if you're an Under Milk Wood fan that name will ring a bell), just down the road from us. It's been closed for a couple of years and there was no one inside at the time, but when I drove past yesterday it was a sorry sight. It's a pretty stone building in a group with an equally pretty village church and the great manse. Needless to say, I didn't have my camera with me.

Then, the minute I finished posting my blog on Monday, my laptop died on me. I'm usually good about backing up, but somehow my head has been all over the place with the book I'm writing and a whole lot of stuff slipped through the net. The poor thing was picked up this morning and taken away to be made better (fingers crossed) and now I'm struggling with a strange machine.

My worst concern was the fact that I'd lost all the stuff that this week's guest, Donna Alward, had sent me in plenty of time.

I met Donna online on the eHarlequin message boards before she was published by Harlequin/Mills & Boon. She was enormous fun, loved the Harlequin Romance series and we all gave the biggest cheer when HIRED BY THE COWBOY was bought and published.

This wonderful warm and emotional read set the standard for Donna's storytelling and she has quickly become a fan-favourite. I'm delighted that, in what is a very hectic time for her, she's able to spend a little time celebrating with me and sharing news of her latest book, THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING with all of us.

Donna...

I’m so happy to be here and help Liz celebrate such a glorious milestone. Some days I get to be completely awed at what I’m doing and the company I’m doing it with. This is one of those days.

When I first starting reading in the Romance line, Liz was one author I knew I was going to love, as soon as I read the first book. She creates such memorable characters. One of my favourites ever is Dodi from The Bridesmaid’s Reward…I mean who can’t appreciate a woman with a love of a fine hamburger! I’ll always love that scene!

And when I was a regular on the eharlequin boards looking to get published, she was incredibly generous with her advice and support. I was a little star-struck at first but she’s so friendly and has such a unique sense of humour that I soon got over it! Well, for the most part. I think I’ll always be a little star-struck because I simply respect her and what she’s accomplished so much.

Now I’m fortunate to call her my friend, and that’s very, very special to me.

To help celebrate Liz has again shown her generosity in inviting several of us to tell you about our latest books. Mine is THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING, out this month and it is the hardest thing I’ve ever written, probably because I loved my hero so much that it hurt to torture him so! I could feel his pain, his guilt, his feelings that he wasn’t worthy any more. He’s a Special Forces soldier, wounded, working as an instructor as he isn’t medically cleared for combat. He’s feeling guilty because he survived an attack that he considers his fault. Everything he based his identity on, is gone.

Of course, what he needs a woman strong enough to stand beside him. The only problem is, that very woman has betrayed him by keeping a secret…the fact that she had his baby five years earlier.

Here’s a short excerpt…from when he learns the truth:

The door to the back opened and she heard his voice talking to Geneva, thanking her politely. Shannyn turned her head towards the sound, only to snap it back abruptly as the front office door swung open carrying laughter with it.

“Mommy!”

A charged bundle in jeans and a red t-shirt barreled across the floor towards Shannyn’s desk, bouncing to a halt and grinning up precociously. “Surprise! I came from kindergarten!”
Jonas released Geneva’s hand as he turned, his heart stopping for a brief moment as the girl wrapped her chubby arms around Shannyn’s neck.

I have a daughter. The thought struck him like the sure aim of a bullet.

As if she sensed something was off, the girl turned her head and their eyes met, green to green. Every muscle in his body tightened with the impact of the truth. This is Shannyn’s daughter.

She’s in school. I left six years ago. She has my eyes.

Shannyn’s cheeks coloured; the blatant guilt on her face and the way she shifted in her chair seemed to confirm his suspicion. This was his daughter, one Shannyn had kept hidden from him all this time. A tiny poppet who looked eerily like the pictures of himself he remembered from his grandmother’s photo album.

All of it left him gutted. How much more could he lose? He clenched his fingers. It wasn’t enough to have the life he’d made for himself ripped away in the space of a moment. Now he had to find out he had another, separate life that he hadn’t even known existed.

It took every ounce of his self-control to not go to the little girl, to kneel before her and demand to see her eyes again. Moss green eyes. His eyes in a miniature of Shannyn’s delicate features. But what would that accomplish beyond frightening the child? She wouldn’t understand. He didn’t understand.

Congratulations Liz on Fifty Fabulous books! And thanks for letting me celebrate with you!

I’ve got a copy of The Soldier’s Homecoming up for grabs…all you have to do is post in the comments and tell us who your favourite Liz Fielding character is!

And, a final word from Liz, if you can't wait,you can buy now here. And don't forget, it's also available as an eBook!

30 comments:

Michelle Styles said...

I have read The Soldier's Homecoming and loved it. Made me cry in three places, but I couldn't resist the chance to say that Dodi from the Bridesmaid's reward is one of my all time favourite Liz Fielding's. She is just great and has a stash of chocolate for special emergencies.

Donna Alward said...

I know! It's a little scary how much we think alike, Michelle.

I think one of the reasons I loved Dodi so much was that she was so REAL.

Estella said...

Dodi is also my favorite Liz Fielding .

Ellen said...

Maybe I shouldn't say this but I have only just begun to read Liz's books in the last month or so and so don't have a favorite. But I will be reading more of her books now that I have found Liz.

juliemt said...

Donna, I'm reading the book now and it's absolutley lovely!

I've so many favourite Liz Fielding heroines: Jilly from Dating Her Boss, Daisy from The Best Man and the Bridesmaid, Gabriella from The Secret Life of Lady Gabriella, Diana from The Sheikh's Unsuitable Bride, Ginny from The Billionaire Takes a Bride...you didn't expect me to pick just one?

Donna Alward said...

LOL Julie...I didn't say it was going to be easy!

I'm glad you're enjoying the book!

Donna Alward said...

Estella...I know. Dodi just sticks with you, doesn't she!

And Ellen...pssst...amazon is great for backlists! :-)

Michelle said...

Ooh I love the except, Donna. I can't wait till it hits the shelves in Oz. I strode up proudly to the counter of my local supermarket yesterday with 4 Harlequin Romance titles stuck to my hot, little hands and the sales assistant (male, all of sixteen) had the gall to smirk. To smirk! I said, 'Excuse me, is something wrong?' And he went bright red and stuttered. I shall be heading straight for his checkout when I buy your book, Donna.

Favourite Liz Fielding character. EASY. Emmy from Eloping With Emmy. She's fun and lovely and naughty and I want her as my new best friend.

limecello said...

Oh wow- I hope the roof is all fixed now - or at least taken care of.

I really like Max Valentine in The Valentine Bride. I just loved his character, and story. Haha - too many good characters to choose from, so I just picked the first one I thought of :D

Snookie said...

I am going to have to find the book with Dodi in it :) My favorite characters are Diana from the Shieks unsuitable bride and Lady Gabriella. Can't pick just one...

Liz Fielding said...

Well, if this was a race, Dodi would definitely be out in front at the moment, wouldn't she? :)

So clearly I have to write another heroine who's overweight, hates exercise and has a chocolate habit?

How fortuitous that Grace -- my wip in progress heroine -- was a fat little girl who's never quite lost the, um, curves. And has a little business making candy.

Liz Fielding said...

Hi Ellen and welcome! Don't apologise for only just finding me -- I'm thrilled you have.

Dodi is the heroine of The Bridesmaid's Reward -- a girl who is under orders to lose weight before her sister's glam wedding. The incentive is a picture of her dancing with the film star best man in a Hello-type magazine -- just to show her ex...

But first she has to do the work and her personal trainer moves in with her to make sure she doesn't fall off the no-chocolate/burgers wagon.

Dena said...

I'm a newer fan to Liz's books too. Out of the handful I've read my favorite is her latest hero, Zahir. Also I loved the heroine Ellen with her duo life imagination.

Donna Alward said...

Oooh, Max! I always picture him as Christian Bale in a tux. MMMMMMMMMM.

And one of my OTHER fave characters is Matty from The Marriage Miracle.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the comments about Donna. I am always looking for new authors I have not read yet. My favorite character in one of Liz's books was Gregor in Her Wish-List Bridegroom. It was the first book of hers that I read and I really liked the book.
JWIsley@aol.com

Lois said...

Hiya folks! :) Well, I've only read a handful of Liz's books, but I am quite partial to Ginny in The Billionaire Takes a Bride. Ginny and her hamster, of course. ;)

Lois

Donna Alward said...

Oooh, good choices, Dena, Joy and Lois!

robynl said...

Her voice emerged as a painful croak. A bit like a frog with laryngitis.... GINNY from The Billionaire Bride.

Annie West said...

Hi Donna,

Lovely to see you here.

What a question! How to choose. I have to say I love Liz's sheikh stories, so that's a good place to start, particularly as there are so many great characters it's hard to make up my mind. Zahir and Diana in The Sheikh's Unsuitable Bride where such a great couple. I loved the interaction between them and their respect for each other. Not to mention their wit.

Annie

Maureen said...

I loved Belle from Reunited: Marriage in a Million. She makes a difficult decision and suffers emotionally. I think her happy ending was well deserved.

Donna Alward said...

LOL Robyn!

Annie, why am I not surprised at your choice? :-)

And Maureen....I love characters with emotional decisions with consequences.

BethRe said...

Fleur Gilbert from 5 year baby secret, I love secret baby stories

CrystalGB said...

Gabriella from The Secret Life of Lady Gabriella.

Liz Fielding said...

There's a secret baby in The Bride's Baby, Bethre -- she's just not born yet :)

Carol said...

I am currently reading The Bride's Baby and like Sylvie Smith very much. But reading the other comments, I'm going to have to find a copy of The Bridesmaid's Reward. Dodi sounds great and a must read.

Donna Alward said...

I love the name Fleur. One of my favorite dvd moments is Damian Lewis as Soames Forsyte, holding his new baby daughter in his hands and saying "Fleur".

Sigh....

Keep them coming! We still have a all weekend!

Virginia said...

I loved Lady Gabriella, I just loved that book period, so that why I chose her. It is a fantastic read.

Nathalie said...

Wow... that is hard... but I think I really enjoyed the characters of The Bridesmaid and the Best Man... they were very human and fun.

Anonymous said...

I can't choose . . . I do have to say that my small collection (when I discovered her I only got some of her backlist) of Liz's books is getting to visit several people this year. They've read a recent release or two and loved them and they've promised NOT to crack the spines and to return them. These are avid readers whom I trust. I don't loan books to my mom as they come back in noticeably worse condition. Isn't that mean? I mean, she's my MOM.

Penn

Donna Alward said...

LOL Penn. I do not like to lend books. Some I will give away, but my keeper shelf keeps getting bigger!

I'll be doing a draw soon, so stay posted! I wasn't around yesterday as we went mad packing up a good deal of our basement!