Wednesday, August 26, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Jean Brashear!

Award-winning Harelequin romance author Jean Brashear knows a lot about taking crazy chances. A lifelong avid reader, at the age of forty-five with no experience and no training, she decided to see if she could write a book. It was a wild leap that turned her whole life upside down, but she would tell you that though she's never been more terrified, she's never felt more exhilarated or more alive.

She sold her first book two years after she began writing. Now a three-time RITA finalist and Romantic Times Career Achievement Award winner, she has been a finalist for or won numerous other awards including several Romantic Times BOOKReviews Magazine Top Picks and Reviewers Choice Awards, the National Readers Choice Award, Holt Medallion, and others, and has been a Waldenbooks Bestseller. She's an ardent proponent of not putting off your dreams until that elusive “someday”—take that leap now.

Jean writes “powerful stories straight from the heart,” and is not only known for her heartfelt romances about reunited lovers, but she is also a contributing author to Harlequin’s NASCAR series, having published two standalone books and a short story for a Harlequin NASCAR novella. Her next release, however, is a Harlequin Super Romance, The Man She Once Knew, coming in October 2009:

David Langley was the golden boy of Oak Hollow, the one everyone looked up to--then Callie Hunter came to town, Goth-wannabe teen in full rebellion, bringing trouble right along with her. David stood by her in her darkest hour, never realizing that the price would be his star-bright future.

Fifteen years after the tragedy that parted them, Callie has returned to town to bury her great-aunt. Her path crosses David's, but the hard, angry man she encounters is nothing like the boy she loved. Their fortunes are reversed-Callie is now an ambitious prosecutor, and David is a convict barely released from prison after serving fifteen years for murder, newly charged with assault. Will Callie take his side as he once did for her and risk the career she painstakingly built from the rubble of her life? And even if she tries, how will she deal with a man who refuses to have anything to do with her, ready to go to prison again rather than help her uncover the one thing that could clear him?

Jean, an avid volunteer, uses some of her boundless energy to serve others, and has a strong belief in giving back, sewing adaptive clothing for disabled soldiers and quilts for children in crisis, along with mentoring at-risk high school students. Her roots in Texas run deep, back five generations to the time before Texas independence. She is married and lives in Georgetown, Texas, just outside the capital of Austin.

Jean’s contribution to our “This Kiss” tote will be her Super Romance Everlasting book, The Way Home.

IMHO: Welcome, Jean, and give us your take on this month’s theme, “This Kiss, This Kiss.”

JB: Certainly, TJ, and let me do that by sharing this scene from one of my favorite books:

"Scarlett, you need kissing badly. That's what's wrong with you... You should be kissed and by someone who knows how."

"And I suppose you think you are the proper person?" she asked.

"Oh, yes, if I cared to take the trouble," he said carelessly. "They say I kiss very well...take heart. Some day, I will kiss you and you will like it. But not now, so I beg you not to be too impatient."

--Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind, 1936

I like hot sex (in books and real life both!) and I know I'm flirting with fogey-hood to say this, but there was once a special magic not just in waiting for sex but waiting for that first kiss, wasn't there? The dance and counterpoint of flirting and longing, of imagining just how it would be when IT finally happened...the sighing over sideways glances and eyes full of longing...

Instant gratification has become such a part of us, hasn't it? Are we better for it?

So much skin, so much sex on the page, the screen...oh, boy, now I really am sounding bona fide fogeyish! But I feel sorry for kids who don't get that delicious anticipation, who are bombarded by sex on TV and movies, in ads and music and practically in the ozone way before they even feel those longings themselves.

There's something to be said for having to wonder and imagine and quiver in anticipation of...That Someday Kiss...That Teasing, Smoldering Rhett...

(What on earth did Scarlett see in Ashley, anyway, I ask?)

But even as I'm discussing delayed gratification, I must confess that however long I live, I swear I will grind my teeth over the ending of that movie! I wanted my happy ending! (Yet isn't that why we remember it, because we were left wanting more?)

IMHO: Absolutely, Jean. A very tooth-grinding-worthy ending, LOL! Still, always leave them wanting more, I say. We’ll never forget it, either, will we?

That brings up a good point: IMHO readers, were there any stories you’ve read with great kisses that left you wanting more…or at least, wanting to know more about what happened to the characters after the story moved on? I can think of Deanna Raybourn’s Julia Grey Mystery series, where Lady Grey and Nicholas Brisbane shared a couple of fiery hot kisses and an unconsummated passion in the first book (and second) that made me have to buy the next book in the series just to see where it all led.

What about you? Be sure to tell Jean all about it for a chance to win autographed books from guest authors Kimberly Frost, Karen Young, Linda Warren, and Jean Brashear, a vintage-style handbag featuring our theme, and my outside-the-box historical romance THE PROMISE, all stuffed into a fun, sparkly Indian-style tote. Remember to leave your comments for at least two authors this month to be eligible to win. The more posts commented on, the better your chances of winning. And do check out my contest rules page for all the details.



mrsshukra said...

I love late bloomers like Jean!

I just finished reading Sabrina Jeffries' Seduced at Midnight and Tempted at Midnight which show how a kiss can make a reader yearn for what happens next. Logan Jennsen and Emily Stapleford's kiss near the end of Seduced at Midnight really made me want to read their story in Tempted at Midnight!


JeanBrashear said...

Thanks Delilah! I'm living proof that it's never too late to do something crazy...that just might change your life. ;)

I've never read Sabrina's books, but I met her recently through my dear friend Julia London, and I had already resolved to do so (nothing I love like a juicy historical!) so thanks for the recommendation.

It's funny...if I'd ever dreamed I'd write a book, I would have expected it to be a historical, as that's what I loved. I'd never even read a contemporary romance before I started writing them--who knew?!?! Actually, I read thrillers mostly, and my first book (which shall remain under the bed in perpetuity)was what I later learned was called romantic suspense...because, after all, what book couldn't be improved with a good love story in it, right?

I made about every mistake possible with that first one, but thank heavens an agent (Tami Hoag's, actually) saw some promise in it and asked for more...until, that is, she realized that I knew jack-diddly about the romance market and sent me back to the bench. ;) But that one positive response helped keep me going, and then dear, wonderful Jennifer Greene (who is now a cherished friend but whom I didn't know then at all) judged me in a contest and took the time to say something along the lines that "boy do you not know the market, but I see real talent here. Your scores are going to be terrible, I fear, because of that not-knowing-the-market thing, but I don't want you to give up because you've got the goods." How kind was that?!?!?

And then Stella Cameron, whom I also didn't know, judged me in a charity contest for the OKC bombing victims' families and bothered to seek me out and actually call me to grill me on what my career plans were, did I have an agent, etc. and gave me some wonderful advice as well as friendship. It was still another very frustrating year or so and a change of agents before I sold, but I will be grateful to these lovely women to the end of my days for helping me feel that there was a reason to keep trying.


jcp said...

I can't think of any books right now but I can think of two old movies Mildred Pierce )1950) or Sepate Tables (1958)

JeanBrashear said...

You know, I have heard about Mildred Pierce a million times and have never yet seen it! Netflix, here I come!

Margay Leah Justice said...

I felt the same as jcp about the Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility. It drove me crazy that Edward and Elinor and Marianne and Brandon never showed affection for each other. So now, it is my mission to read the book and see if there is anything in there that can satisfy me! (I also felt the same way about Hope Floats with Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. - why didn't they ever kiss??)


JeanBrashear said...

They didn't?!?!? Wow, Margay, I obviously imputed one...I totally didn't register that! But...a good reason to watch it again (wink) just to be sure...

mrsshukra said...

Hi Jean, I just love your story, you are an inspiration!

JeanBrashear said...

Well, thank you! I learned a lot of lessons from this crazy venture--among them, that as soon as I'd finish one story and submit it, I'd start on another so that a) I kept stretching and growing (and not putting all my eggs in one basket) and b) that I had something positive to focus on, rather than being tortured by the waiting. And that fear can immobilize you if you let it. My husband taught me a good lesson from his days in battle--that you take the fear that seems so overwhelming and instead of trying not to think about it, you focus on it and let yourself imagine what the worst would be if it came true. Somehow that seems to reduce it from this amorphous fear to something with a name and a face and the natural response is to start thinking how to deal with whatever that worst thing is, instead of being paralyzed by general fear.

I'm proud to say that no matter how many times I wanted to quit (and there were countless of those), at the very moment when I got The Call (after another round of the most brutal rejections yet, occurring right before and after my birthday, no less!) I was at my computer working on yet another story.

My husband is a big fan of Viktor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor and psychologist who wrote a wonderful book called Man's Search for Meaning. In that book, he boils life down to this principle: you can't control what life throws at you--all you can control is how you react to it. Therein lies the difference between the victim and the victor.


The Scarf Princess said...

For me, I always wanted more from Pride and Prejudice. Yes, it's sweetly romantic the way it is. But a good wet kiss (or more than one) would've been even better.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I never understood the appeal of Ashley, either. Especially once I saw the movie. Yick.

No need to enter me for stuff, TJ. As always. I'm here to say thanks for the e-mail. I've posted about this over at Win a Book. Jean, if you've got any doings that could use an extra mention, drop us a line!

Unknown said...

I loved that kiss you mentioned in Gone With The Wind one of my favorite books of all time. In the third book of the Twilight series Jake kissed Bella when she really wanted him too and it left me wanting more, but it didn't go no where. This is a great series and I didn't think I would like it.

JeanBrashear said...

Susan, thanks--I'll have to check out Win a Book and see what you all are doing!

Virginia, you like the Twilight series? It's certainly been popular, hasn't it?

Debby said...

Hi Jean,
Ido know of some but right now thier titles escape me. If I wonder then I make up something inmy head. I amvery interested in the NASCAR books. I will have to check them out.

Jeanette J said...

I have always wanted to know what happened to Aragorn and Arwen in Lord of the Rings. They share a wonderful moment as their eyes and then their lips meet towards the end of the movie.

Erin Radford said...

You sound like my Mom, fogeyish. But that is in a good way. I just read Love's Rescue by Tammy Barley. It is christian fiction, but is a good romance which leaves you wanting more. And there is a sweet kiss.

TJ Bennett said...

Hey, everyone, let's give a big hand to Jean Brashear for stopping by and leaving us such thoughtful comments. THANKS, JEAN! And thanks to you, IMHO readers, for stopping in as well. Feel free, those of you who come late to the party, to continue leaving your comments for Jean here.

Jean's visit is the last of the month, so you know what that means--you have through Aug 28 to make comments on all the posts left by our guest hosts. On Aug 30, I will select the winner of the tote filled with autographed books and a vintage-style purse.

I have to apologize for not getting a picture up this month of the contest prize. The USPS did not deliver one of the books an author sent me, and neither one of us realized it until this week. I will get a picture of that tote up with all the goodies as soon as the re-sent book arrives.

Take care, and talk at ya you soon!


Jean Brashear said...

Debby, the NASCAR series is a lot of fun, and should you try it out, you'll find a whole new world to enter. We're now writing the third season with related casts and appearances of previous characters, so that's fun, too--and a lot of terrific writers because the series is invitation only.

Erin, the last word I ever expected to have applied to me is fogey, but I sort of knew when I decided to take that contrarian POV that it would feel ouchy! Thanks for saying it's in a good way.

Thanks to all of you and to TJ for letting me be part of the fun! Good luck on the contest, and here's to love in all its incarnations from sweet to steamy!

Very best wishes,

Carol L. said...

I agree completely with the ending of GWTW. Even my 22 year old daughter said "What is it about Ashley" ?I think she always was spoiled and because she couldn't have him made her want him more. Go figure. :) My daughter is a big fan also of Viktor Frankl. She loves history and brought him tomy attention.
Carol L.

Anonymous said...

I love reading your books Jean. They are really gret and I can't wait to read more.

I just started reading Stephanie Laurens Cynster series. I'm a big series fan.