Sandy Huseby

“Even when the bad is staring a woman in the face, she wants to believe her man is good.” Dodge Hanley knows that better than most, and when Caroline King reaches out to him after years of separation, he seizes the opportunity to redeem himself in her eyes. He’s been waiting his baby’s lifetime for just such a call. That baby, Berry Malone, is all grown up now, but Dodge and Caroline’s daughter is in a jam she can’t talk her way out of: A stalker has a twisted plan to punish her for rejecting him in her climb up the ladder at a Texas marketing agency in Sandra Brown’s hot new thriller, Tough Customer.

Caroline calls Dodge after an intruder breaks into her home intent on killing Berry. Instead, Berry’s work partner, Ben Lofland, is shot and left for dead. Calling Dodge was reflexive; the ex-cop turned investigator may have broken Caroline’s heart when Berry was born, but he has the talent and hard-edged drive to catch the shooter. Small-town sheriff Ski Nyland teams up with the battle-scarred veteran of law enforcement—and he’s as susceptible to seductive allure of the daughter as Dodge is to that of her mother.

From the sophisticated realm of the Houston business world to the swampy heat of East Texas’ brambly Big Thicket, the killer leads them on a chase against the time as he targets his next victim. But the romantic pursuit of Berry and Caroline presents even greater dangers to Ski and Dodge.

Brown masterfully weaves a tapestry of two romances with the pulse-pounding suspense of a deadly stalker intent on avenging a lifetime’s worth of wrongs. Dodge may be the “Tough Customer” of the title, but he meets his match in the tenacious Caroline and the strong-willed daughter born of their long-ago love. Readers will meet a story that delivers, with fast pacing, breathless action and twists right up to the very last page.

Sandy Huseby writes from South Dakota and lakeside in Northern Minnesota.

“Even when the bad is staring a woman in the face, she wants to believe her man is good.” Dodge Hanley knows that better than most, and when Caroline King reaches out to him after years of separation, he seizes the opportunity to redeem himself in her eyes. He’s been waiting his baby’s lifetime for […]

Addy Lipton is a third-grade teacher who feels she's living a third-rate life with a marriage that hasn't lived up to her hopes. The garage door represents everything that's wrong with her marriage. Behind it is the Kingdom of Krap, all the stuff that captures her husband Lucky's attention instead of the “stuff” Addy wants to talk about: their relationship. Her compulsion to drive her Toyota right through the garage door into the Kingdom of Krap is thwarted but not quelled when Lucky wins a company sales contest and a trip to Costa Rica that Addy hopes will rejuvenate their relationship. But fate has other plans. An accident lands Lucky flat on his back, requiring back surgery, and then extended rehab and recovery. Addy juggles new care-giving responsibilities with trying to decide whether her relationship with Lucky is worth salvaging in Kris Radish's Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA.

Addy and Lucky are surrounded by caring friends and neighbors – Addy's sister, Hell (which must be short for hell-on-wheels); her spa and abs-crunching gal pals, the Sweat-Hers; and Lucky's cul-de-sac buddies Bob One and Two. They begin what seems to be a simple reach-out-and-care plan to help Addy and Lucky transition from the hospital to home. In the process, virtually the whole town of Parker becomes involved as the couple rediscovers the very best of love and courtship, separation and restoration, dating and friendship.

Radish unrolls a rollicking yet reflective read that adds to her robust repertoire of beloved fiction. (Can a reviewer really use that many “r's” in one sentence?) When an author reaches out to draw you into her pages and the intimate lives of her characters, like Addy Lipton and her hapless husband Lucky, then what's a reader to do but relish the ride.

Sandy Huseby writes from Fargo, North Dakota, and lakeside Minnesota. Visit her at prairiesunrising.blogspot.com.

Addy Lipton is a third-grade teacher who feels she's living a third-rate life with a marriage that hasn't lived up to her hopes. The garage door represents everything that's wrong with her marriage. Behind it is the Kingdom of Krap, all the stuff that captures her husband Lucky's attention instead of the “stuff” Addy wants […]

Noted for her down-to-earth characters and heartwarming tales, best-selling author Debbie Macomber is a clear favorite among romance readers. With dozens of novels to her credit and more than 60 million books in print worldwide, Macomber delivers exactly what her readers want with clockwork regularity. Each holiday season, she gives her fans a Christmas-themed romance, and she continues this tradition with the release of There's Something About Christmas. Emma Collins, a reporter for a small-town newspaper in Washington state, is assigned to interview the three finalists in a national fruitcake-baking contest. Getting to the creators of the fruitcakes proves to be a challenge for a reporter who's afraid of flying, until she meets pilot Oliver Hamilton. The book comes complete with recipes for the award-winning fruitcakes.

Macomber took time from her busy writing schedule to answer questions about her new novel and her own holiday celebrations.

BookPage: Tell the truth—do you really like fruitcake?

Debbie Macomber: In the world of fruitcake, most people either love it or hate it. I am firmly in the camp of "love it." But, I have to admit, not all fruitcakes are created equal. High-quality fruits (not those loaded down with the bitter commercial citrus peels) and nuts, plus a good rum or brandy to keep everything moist while it waits for Christmas, that's the confection I call a good fruitcake. Most often, that would mean a homemade fruitcake.

BP: You've written several novels with a Christmas theme. Why do you think the season makes an especially good setting for romance?

DM: Romance and Christmas seem to naturally go together. Every woman I know has a picture of the perfect Christmas in her mind, the same way we do romance. Reality rarely lives up to our expectations, so the best we can do is delve into a fantasy. That's where I come in. Besides, with all the tension filling the holidays, I want to give my readers a reason to laugh and a reason to sigh.

BP: What is your favorite holiday tradition?

DM: I created several Christmas traditions with my family. [One] involves my daughters, daughters-in-law and granddaughters. We have a slumber party. Okay, it started out as an all-night affair, but after the first year I decided I'm too old (and smart) to stay up all night. We get together the first Friday night of December and assemble nifty gift packets that can include spice rubs, drink, soup or cookie mixes. The grandkids decorate and color the labels, and then at the end of the evening, we share the bounty. It's great fun. We play Christmas music, sing, munch on goodies and just generally laugh ourselves silly.

BP: What is your greatest writing strength—and personal strength?

DM: My greatest strength as a writer is that I'm a storyteller. But, it was a long, hard struggle for me to make the transition from verbally telling stories to writing them. You'll note I don't dwell on descriptions in my writing, because I'm far more interested in telling the story. There are many better writers in this world, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone more passionate about stories than I am.

My greatest personal strength? You mean other than my obvious beauty, charm and sense of humor? Just kidding! In all seriousness, I consider my greatest strength my complete and utter faith in a loving God. Strong family values are also important and I do not hesitate to write them into my books. My reader mail tells me this is something that readers especially like about my books.

BP: What is your worst flaw? Does every heroine have one?

DM: So you want to get personal? Okay, if you must know, I'm an optimist and my heroines seem to be that way, too. It's too much work to be cynical and distrusting. That doesn't mean I create perfect stories and perfect people, however. What this means is that my stories are resolved in a manner that leaves the reader with a feeling of hope and happy expectation . . . and wanting to reach for another one of my books.

BP: What will you be working on next?

DM: I'm just about ready to start on the story for next Christmas, Christmas Letters. It is about a woman who earns extra money for the holidays by writing Christmas letters for her friends. She makes the trials and tribulations of the year sound like triumphs. For example—Shirley is husbandless and is about to attend her college class reunion. She can't bear to face her friends and let them know the only males in her life are her three cats. Catherine, my heroine, while writing the Christmas letter for Shirley, states: I divide my time between Harry, Charlie and Tommy. I love them all and simply can't decide on one over the other.

Noted for her down-to-earth characters and heartwarming tales, best-selling author Debbie Macomber is a clear favorite among romance readers. With dozens of novels to her credit and more than 60 million books in print worldwide, Macomber delivers exactly what her readers want with clockwork regularity. Each holiday season, she gives her fans a Christmas-themed romance, […]

Anyone who believes Washington is awash in power sex will find ample support for their theory in Jessica Cutler's juicy roman ˆ clef, The Washingtonienne. When a lowly Hill staffer starts sharing her exploits with her friends via her blog, the whole world soon knows every intimate detail of her life. Jackie may be just a staff assistant, but she plays Washington's you use me, I use you game to the hilt. Breezing through men for sex, lines of cocaine and cold, hard cash, she's a waif with attitude. Author Cutler, a former Senate mail girl who grew infamous thanks to her own blog, cuts through the spin of inflated Washington egos with an edge as sharp as the heels of Jackie's Manolos. She delivers the dish and an insider's view of Washington's two favorite sports, and we don't mean baseball and the Redskins. Cutler also drops pseudonyms like crazy, leaving readers guessing who the characters (such as Bloggette ) really are. Savvy and sexy, this sizzler strips away the pompous, stodgy veneer of our capital city to prove that all Washington is political, from the boardroom to the bedroom. We just know this racy tale is going to be clucked over and tucked into every messenger bag and briefcase in the District.

Sandy Huseby wonders why Washington seemed so different way back when she was a Senate intern.

Anyone who believes Washington is awash in power sex will find ample support for their theory in Jessica Cutler's juicy roman ˆ clef, The Washingtonienne. When a lowly Hill staffer starts sharing her exploits with her friends via her blog, the whole world soon knows every intimate detail of her life. Jackie may be just […]

The sacrifices of military couples In her new novel, The Ocean Between Us, popular romance writer Susan Wiggs pays tribute to the military families who struggle to keep their bonds strong during challenging times. As Wiggs richly demonstrates, the simple vows "for better, for worse . . . 'til death us do part" have a special meaning for couples who face lengthy separations as a result of military deployments. Grace, the Navy wife at the center of The Ocean Between Us, finds the challenge of sustaining her 20-year marriage takes on bittersweet urgency when a catastrophe on her husband's aircraft carrier threatens to separate the couple forever.

A Harvard graduate and former math teacher, Wiggs is a RITA award-winning author who has written more than 20 novels, from historical romances to contemporary women's fiction. She recently talked to BookPage from her island home in Puget Sound about how her latest novel took shape.

BookPage: What compelled you to write this book? Do you have a military background?

Susan Wiggs: Not at all! Researching this, I felt like an anthropologist studying another culture. The military is definitely a world apart. The book I wanted to write was the story of a woman and her marriage a good marriage. Novels about bad marriages abound, but I find the idea of a good marriage that is severely tested much more interesting.

Then I went in search of my characters. Who was this woman? Where did she live? Who was she married to? What will make this story special? That's when I hit on the military angle for this book. The U.S. Navy is a huge presence here in Puget Sound. It's common to be driving along on Bainbridge Island, and pulling over to watch an aircraft carrier steaming toward its home port of Bremerton. In fact, I stood in the freezing wind one day to watch the Carl Vinson come home after its post-9/11 deployment.

One of my dearest friends and fellow writers, Geri Krotow, is a Navy wife. The day I saw her fix a Command Pin on her husband's chest at his Change of Command ceremony, I was so moved by the gesture that I knew this would be the right background for The Ocean Between Us. The bravery and sacrifice of Geri and her family touched my heart.

What have you learned about marriage through writing this story?

I have a vivid recollection of writing a scene in The Ocean Between Us in which Grace and Steve say goodbye just before he boards the aircraft carrier for a six-month deployment. In the scene, they've just had a huge falling-out, and they're estranged. It's a very sad scene and I remember thinking, "Wiggs, you'd better find a way to fix this situation!" Now it occurs to me that the marriage of the people in this book, which I think is a very good marriage subjected to some terrible pressures, reflects what I believe about marriage and commitment. The good ones are worth fighting for.

What have you learned about writing through telling this story?

That the best way to tell a story is the way that gives the reader the best possible ride. This story doesn't unfurl chronologically. It starts with a huge, dramatic event, then goes back and reveals the steps that led to that moment. Then the story finishes with the fallout from the big drama. It was an interesting challenge to write, and I'm hoping it's compelling for the reader.

What do you hope readers learn about military families from this book?

Without ramming it down their throats, I do hope The Ocean Between Us is an honest look at the benefits and the costs faced by families in the military. It's often a good news/bad news situation. For example, last year, my friend Geri's husband didn't have to pay income tax on 10 months of his income. That's the good news. The bad news is that the reason he doesn't have to pay taxes is that for those 10 months, he was in harm's way fighting in Iraq.

 

The sacrifices of military couples In her new novel, The Ocean Between Us, popular romance writer Susan Wiggs pays tribute to the military families who struggle to keep their bonds strong during challenging times. As Wiggs richly demonstrates, the simple vows "for better, for worse . . . 'til death us do part" have a […]

Anne McAllister breaks out of series romance with a gusto her fans will love in The Great Montana Cowboy Auction. How do you bring a man back to the ranch after he's taken Hollywood by storm? For the good folk of Elmer, Montana, the answer is to whip up a cowboy auction with Sloan Gallagher in the starring role.

Sloan's a reluctant participant; only if the auction's rigged and he knows he can go home with Polly McMaster will he take on the role. But playing house with Polly makes for one hot-blooded, soft-hearted cowboy longing to leave his boots at her door forever. McAllister loves cowboys and it shows and if you've never read one of her great western series novels, you're gonna love McAllister.

Sandy Huseby writes and reviews from her homes in Fargo, North Dakota, and lakeside in northern Minnesota.

 

Anne McAllister breaks out of series romance with a gusto her fans will love in The Great Montana Cowboy Auction. How do you bring a man back to the ranch after he's taken Hollywood by storm? For the good folk of Elmer, Montana, the answer is to whip up a cowboy auction with Sloan Gallagher […]

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