A Valentine for My Friends

Some months back, when I first saw the schedule and realized I was going to get to blog during Valentine’s Week, I found myself feeling very appreciative at having ten truly wonderful women on Magical Musings with me — all of whom have been incredibly kind, generous and supportive since the moment I was first introduced to them. And I thought, hey, if we hung out regularly in real life, I’d be giving them a valentine this week. Or some chocolate. Or at least a frosted, heart-shaped cookie.

But, since many of us live in vastly different regions of the world — and cookies tend not to travel all that well via airmail — I’m sending a virtual valentine to my friends and sharing a tiny taste of what I think is so fabulous about their writing:

Amy Atwell ~ I love that you have a theater background and that you put your knowledge of drama so wonderfully to use in your fiction.

Cynthia Eden ~ Your paranormal heroes are so sexy, my pulse begins to race just thinking about them.

Dale Mayer ~ The suspense you’ve managed to create in both your adult and YA reads are truly compelling.

Edie Ramer ~ Your novels are packed with characters who are not only heartwarming and charming but, also, delightfully humorous.

Karin Tabke/Harlow ~ I love the wonderful passion and suspense in your books and especially enjoyed the heart-pounding tension of the L.O.S.T. missions.

Liz Kreger ~ You’re talented at creating fast-paced romantic story lines mixed with inventive science-fiction/paranormal plots.

Lori Brighton ~ I’m impressed by your versatility in writing across the genres with hot historical romances, intriguing paranormals and fresh young-adult novels, too.

Maria Geraci ~ Your big-hearted, funny, romantic women’s fiction tales have been long-time favorites of mine.

Michelle Diener ~ Not only is your new series full of intrigue, mystery and art, but I love the way you’ve imbued every page with rich historical detail.

Misty Evans ~ You’re able to write believably across a number of genres, and I’ve loved reading both your stories of spies and danger, as well as your wickedly fun paranormals.

Thank you all for being so delightful to blog with throughout the year… XOXOs to each of you!!

To all of the lovely readers, I hope you had a very Happy Valentine’s Day…and I ask: What’s the name of an author you’ve read recently that you admire? And what’s one or two things about that author’s work that you feel he/she does particularly well?

It’s my turn to get to offer a giveaway, so one random commenter will win a signed trade paperback copy of A Summer in Europe on Sunday night. (I’ll post the winner’s name in the comment section by midnight.) Good luck, and have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!

About Marilyn Brant

Marilyn Brant is a chocolate addict, a music junkie and the USA TODAY bestselling author of ACCORDING TO JANE (2009), FRIDAY MORNINGS AT NINE (2010) and A SUMMER IN EUROPE (2011), all from Kensington Books, as well as a number of light romantic comedies, including THE SWEET TEMPTATIONS COLLECTION (2013) and PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND THE PERFECT MATCH (2013). Her latest novel -- a coming-of-age romantic mystery called THE ROAD TO YOU -- was just released in October 2013!
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49 Responses to A Valentine for My Friends

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Marilyn, back at you with love for your writing. You write keeper, prize-winning books with great characters that touch my mind and my heart. That includes your fun self-published books!

    Last night I finished reading an e-ARC of Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep that was so good I was sorry it ended. It’s a YA series, but adults love her books, too. Jennifer has a knack of getting into the heart of the character and into the action right in the beginning. I went to bed thinking she’s like JK Rowling in that she has all these plot threads that she ties together. That’s something I don’t do well and I’m a bit in awe. I’d tell everyone to buy the book right now, but the pub date is May.

    • Edie, *hug!* Thank you ;).
      And I have Jennifer Estep’s Web of Lies (so good!), but I haven’t yet read her “Frost” series, except for the short story that was part of Entangled. I was really intrigued with the main character, and I’m not at all surprised it’s a series you love. I’ll have to read it, too!
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  2. CateS says:

    I’m not sure when or how I found this blog.. but I have so enjoyed reading and learning from it… Thanks!

  3. Misty Evans says:

    Marilyn, you big sweetheart! Thank you for the Valentine’s wishes and virutal cookies. Yum!

    Your heartwarming contemporaries (with delicious food in them) are wonderful reads and I can’t pass by a jar of Nutella without thinking of you. 🙂 Thank you for introducing me to your charming characters and all that is Nutella.

    • Oh, Misty, you are most welcome for the Valentine wishes and cookies! You’re a wonderful person and a very talented writer, and I’m thrilled that I was the one given the honor of introducing you to Nutella 😛 . Makes me smile in pure delight to think someone associates me with chocolate-hazelnut spread!! (And now I’m hungry for it…)
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  4. Chelsea B. says:

    I’ve been reading a lot of Abigail Reynolds books lately, who writes re-tellings of Pride and Prejudice, and I just love the way she writes Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s emotions, and just her writing style in general.
    Happy Valentine’s Week! 🙂

    • Chelsea, I know and love Abigail’s work as well!! She’s a friend and, also, we blog together on Austen Authors :). Her retellings of P&P are just as delightful as you say!

      Thanks so much for visiting and for the kind Valentine’s wishes!!
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  5. Amy Atwell says:

    Marilyn–what a lovely Valentine, thank you! I count myself lucky to be part of this fabulous group of writers. And may I say that your characters and settings have charmed me!

    I recently read Donnell Bell’s debut book, The Past Came Hunting, and I loved how she combined the dark suspense with a very natural feel of suburban life. I could see this story unraveling next door. Chilling!

    • Amy, thank you!! 🙂
      Donnell’s book is in my TBR pile — I can’t wait to be able to carve out a little time to read it! I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed it so much and am already excited to see how she weaves in the suspense with the suburbia…
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  6. Sue Ames says:

    I would love to win signed copy of “A Summer in Europe” even though I’ve read it. Loved this book and it would be a re read.

  7. Cynthia Eden says:

    Marilyn, you are too kind! It’s a pleasure to blog with you! 😉 Happy Valentine’s Week!
    Cynthia Eden`s last blog was …HOWL FOR IT

  8. Marilyn, this was a wonderful post. And may I say you make an awesome Valentine. I recently finished reading Unearthly by Cynthia Hand and was taken with how amazing she brought me into the setting. (Similar to someone else I know!) 🙂

  9. Beautiful post! Would love to have chance to win this book. 🙂

  10. Debbie Haupt says:

    Marilyn What a great gift to give your friends, what a great friend you are.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

    ps I posted a reply earlier but it never showed up, so I changed browsers
    Debbie Haupt`s last blog was …Review of A Deeper Darkness by JT Ellison

    • Deb, I am fortunate to be surrounded (in real life and in the virtual world) with some absolutely fabulous people, present company most definitely included :). I hope you all know how much you’re appreciated…

      As for the disappearing comment, it does that to me sometimes, too! Drives me crazy. I’m glad you took the time to comment again — thank you!!
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  11. Margaret says:

    Thank you for the giveaway! Unfortunately my Valentines was lonely. My husband was out of town working but I curled up with a good book and got chocolates and a very bug kiss when he walked in the door the following day so not so bad after all.

    • Oh, Margaret! I’m glad you and your hubby were able to spend time together the next day… My family and I don’t always get to see each other on the actual big day, whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, a national holiday, etc. A week or more might go by before we can all get together. So, we just decide when WE’RE going to celebrate something, and that day BECOMES the holiday (no matter what the calendar says 🙂 ).
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  12. Connie Fischer says:

    Hi, Marilyn! I would so love to win a copy of A Summer in Europe. It would really bring back memories for me as I lived for a number of years in Paris and got to visit numerous countries in Europe. Such a wonderful place to be and I miss it so much. The cover of your book is absolutely gorgeous. It looks just like a watercolor.

    In response to your question, I recently read Sophie Kinsella’s new book, I’ve Got Your Number. I am a huge fan of Ms. Kinsella and love the way she writes with lots of humor and with the ability to make the reader feel a part of the story.

    I wish you the best and wish I had been there when you were making those delicious looking cookies. Yum! Sugar cookies are my favorite!

    Connie Fischer

    • Connie, thank you!
      I’ve always loved the cover of the book, too (the art department did a beautiful job!), and the pretty lake reminds me of the ones we saw in northern Italy…sigh :). How wonderful that you got to live in Europe — especially an amazing city like Paris! What a fabulous experience that must have been.
      As for Sophie Kinsella, I’m a fan of her novels, too. I haven’t yet read I’ve Got Your Number, but I’m glad to know you enjoyed it so much!!
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  13. Donna Small says:

    What a great blog article! Hope to win! Would love to read your book!

  14. Liz Kreger says:

    Hey Marilyn. Thanx ever so much for the lovely comment. Knowing and meeting all of the women who contribute to MagicalMusings is both a pleasure and honor. Cannot believe the talent we have among us.

    Happy Valentines week to you too. I have to echo Edie’s comments on your books and love the way you incorporate food into your stories. Something everyone can relate to. Now I wanna try Nutella. Haven’t done that yet.

    • Liz, I completely agree — we have a truly wonderful group here ;). I feel really fortunate to be among all of you.

      And thank you for your sweet comments, too. I love writing about food…I’m pretty sure I’d be a lot thinner, though, if I’d never become acquainted with the delights of Nutella!! Consider yourself warned, m’dear. It is addictive stuff — available at every neighborhood Walgreen’s — and it tastes great on toast, on fruit, on pancakes/crepes…or just by itself!!
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  15. I stumbled across author LuAnn McLane, and now pick up all her releases. She has an earthy, everyday small town feel to her books, along with humor–which I love.

    A Summer in Europe looks amazing, and the cover is beautiful, Marilyn!

  16. Candy Morton says:


    I would love to win a signed copy of A Summer in Europe!

    Recently, I’ve read both of Juliette Sobanet’s novels, like you she writes about what she knows, she has spent time in Paris, speaks French, loves chocolate! What’s not to admire!

    Thanks for the chance to win! ~ Candy
    Candy Morton`s last blog was …Kissed in Paris By Juliette Sobanet

  17. Shannon says:

    This book sounds so good! (Went to amazon to look it up.) I’d love to win it and read it, and have added it to my goodreads’ to-read list! Can’t wait to start on a trip through Europe (been once and am so ready to go back so I will travel vicariously!).

    • Shannon,
      I’m thrilled to hear the book intrigued you!!
      Isn’t Europe amazing?! I’d love to visit again in person but, until then, I find myself taking vicarious trips with other people’s book or film characters as well… Just watched “Midnight in Paris” again! 😉
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  18. Monica P says:

    I would LOVE to win a copy (especially one that’s signed!) of ASiE! I read and loved it!

    Another commenter mentioned Abigail Reynolds. Her P&P variations are among my very favorites.

  19. Bonnie says:

    I really like books by Emily Giffin because she does a really good job of drawing you into the books by developing the relationships between characters very well.

    • Bonnie,
      I’ve really enjoyed a number of Emily’s novels as well! Something Borrowed was my favorite because she pulled off a tricky feat, IMO, with the main character — making her sympathetic and likable, despite the cheating situation. I still have to read her most recent novel, but I’m looking forward to it :).
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  20. aww, Marilyn how sweet of you! Happy Valentine’s Day!
    Karin* Tabke aka Harlow!`s last blog was …CAPA Winner!

  21. Na S. says:

    I recently discovered Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s books. I’ve heard about her book for awhile but for one reason or another never tried it. I read Natural Born Charmer and was hooked. She’s really good at using humor in her stories. It comes across natural and the chemistry between the characters makes them so endearing.

    • Na S.,
      I’ve been a long-time SEP fan! I have almost all of her novels and know exactly what you mean about the humor and the chemistry between the characters. Nobody’s Baby But Mine was one of my faves…and I loved First Lady…and, ohhh, Breathing Room! For me, that one was special because it had that fabulous Italian setting, and I thought the relationship between the hero and heroine was particularly fun 😛 . Glad you’ve discovered her, too!
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  22. Marilyn, how on earth did I miss this on Friday?? Don’t know what I’ve been doing, but I am glad to play catch up today. Lovely Valentine, great give-away. You don’t have to give it away to this gal, since I’ve already devoured the gang on their European romp. A quick aside: the great portrayal of the “oldies” and the younger touring folks was done with a mix of tender, loving care. I love mixed gen. stories and to anyone stumbling over my very late comment … don’t wait for a free-be … go get the book 🙂
    florence fois`s last blog was …Writer’s Life … To buy a plum bun

    • Florence,
      *BIG HUG!*
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment!!
      You know I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the book, and I truly appreciate what you said about the characters. I loved getting to write a mix of ages in this novel. (I’d kind of like to adopt Aunt Bea. 🙂 )
      Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  23. It’s nearly midnight here and time for the drawing…and the winner of A Summer in Europe is…Connie Fischer!! Congrats :). I really hope you’ll enjoy the story! Please email me with the address you’d like me to send the book to: MarilynBrant AT Gmail DOT Com

    And to everyone, MANY thanks to all of you for your wonderful comments!! I loved and greatly appreciated reading all of them.
    Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  24. Marilyn, I’m finally back in the land of the living after a really nasty bug left me wimpering in bed all weekend. So thank you for my first foray back online was this lovely post. I love your work so much – the warmth and heart of it. xx
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …In a Treacherous Court Cover finals in the Judge A Book By Its Cover Contest

  25. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Marilyn

    Nothing like being the straggler in the group! The good thing about gifts is they are well received no matter how late! Thank you so much for your kind words and right back at you. It’s truly been a pleasure to blog with you. I’m sorry that my schedule has been so off the wall lately, but it’s my loss to not be able to read everything everyday as I’d like.

    Nicely done!
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …2 books up for free for the 22nd and the 23rd of February!!

    • Dale, it’s never too late!! So glad you liked the post :). And, believe me, I know about the crazy schedule thing…I’ve had a tough time reading all the blogs I usually do, too, just because it’s been so busy… Hang in there!
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

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