Friday, January 10, 2014

Tour, Author Interview and Giveaway - Playing for Keeps (Once and Forever Anthology) by Mary Blayney

Playing for Keeps

by Mary Blayney



Once and Forever -  An anthology 

By Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Emelle Gamble, Lavinia Kent and introducing Evie Owens

From five compelling authors, five original novellas which will make you laugh and cry, and believe in a love that once found will last forever. Meet a duke, a psychic, a bodyguard and a professor…and one "guardian fairy" in absorbing stories ranging from regency and contemporary romance to paranormal and women's fiction.


Playing for Keeps by Mary Blayney 

Actress Kendall Marshall is determined to get an autograph for her sick sister from famous TV personality Mike O’Hara, the Oprah Winfrey of sports. In the process she meets his brother, security consultant Steve O'Hara, lands a job on O’Hara’s show and gets in the way of a man set on causing big trouble. As the stalkers attacks escalate, Steve and Kendall are thrown together and find it impossible to ignore the chemistry between them.


The Princess & the Pinot by Elaine Fox 

When a beautiful woman shows up at the Vineyard Inn, wine manager Kim is certain she’s been sent by fate for the inn’s owner, Cooper. Self-effacing to a fault, Kim knows she can’t hold a candle to Principessa Bella, who also seems to know even more about wine than Kim herself, but her heart has belonged to Cooper since they shared one kiss as teenagers. 

While Prin sweeps easily into the job of sommelier at the renowned inn, Kim is afraid Prin will sweep just as surely into Cooper’s arms if she doesn’t do something about it. Can she tell Cooper how she feels without losing even his friendship? 

Kim is willing to try except for one problem: she’s almost certainly losing her mind. Or is that belching, swearing, smoking, farting fairy – who claims to be trying to help her – real?


Duets by Emelle Gamble 

Duets offers alternating looks into the lives of two women who would seem to have little or nothing in common.  

Screen star Molly Harper is on the verge of marrying a man who has swept her off her feet, thought perhaps hasn’t swept all her feelings for her first love away. Anne Sullivan, happily married for twenty-five years, is fighting to hold onto the man she loves, and hold off a confrontation that could shatter her family’s image of what they are.  

Duets confronts a past secret that ties these two women’s lives together, just as chance events turn Molly and Anne’s worlds upside down. 


Never and Forever by Lavinia Kent     

Never and Forever is the beginning of the love story of two people who shouldn’t belong together.  Molly, Miss Wilkes, runs an employment agency helping women of quality find positions perfected suited to their characters.  Although her father held the title of Earl for just over a week before his death, Molly has never wanted to be a lady.  She knows her place in this world – and it is not at the center of society.  

The Duke of Radford also knows his place in this world – and it’s above everybody else’s.  He cannot imagine a world without all the privilege and power that comes from being Radford.  He’s had foreign princesses and heiresses dangled before him for years.  Why would he ever have interest in a simple woman who doesn’t even understand that she should want to be a duchess? 

Can these two overcome the obstacles of their own beliefs and realize that love can make all things possible? 

Never and forever are both a very long time.  Where will their love fit?


The Psychic Detective by Evie Owens 

Psychic Martin Sterling doesn't trust cops--and the feeling is mutual. Detective Erin Healy needs more than a ghost story to save her job and reputation. Her partner is dead, a million dollars in drugs and money is missing, and all the evidence points to her.  

Can a sexy psychic and a by the book cop, trapped between the living and the dead, unearth the truth? Or will a cold-blooded killer get away with it all... 


Playing for Keeps: Excerpt Chapter One 

Kendall, you can’t do that!”

Kendall Marshall looked at her twin sister and grinned. “Jess, you’ve been saying that since we were kids.”

“Yes, I have,” she admitted. “And after thirty years, I should know that the minute I say it you become determined to prove me wrong.” They headed down Remson toward Jessica’s house.

“We have a great reason to ask him for an autograph.”

When Jessica rolled her eyes, Kendall could tell her sister was already halfway convinced despite her better judgment.

“It’s only a TV production crew. And Mike O’Hara is only a talk show host, not the president.” Kendall poked her sister’s arm. “Come on. This will be an adventure.”

“An adventure.” Jessica sighed, apparently not convinced it would be a good kind of adventure. “Mike O’Hara might not be the president, but ever since that reviewer called “the Oprah Winfrey of sports” he’s been the hottest interviewer on TV.

“I can see why. Mike O’Hara is hot in more ways than one,” Kendall said, even if he wasn’t exactly her type. Too big, too good looking, and too intense.

“He does take over the space, doesn’t he?” Jessica said.

Kendall turned to look her sister. Jessica was checking him too, but she had a smile on her face that said, “Take me, I’m yours.” Kendall hadn’t seen her sister react to a guy that way in a long time, a fact that only strengthened her determination.

“Come on, Jess. You know it would mean the world to Cassie to get his autograph, and who would turn down the wish of a girl who’s waiting for a heart transplant? He’d have to be a real creep.” Kendall took a step toward him, but Jessica’s hand on her arm stopped her.

“If he believes us.”

“What, we don’t look like we have a sick sister?”

“No, we look like groupies who lied their way onto the set, or whatever it’s called.”

“If that were true, someone would have stopped us by now.”

“Who’s the guy over there watching us?” Jessica asked in a quieter voice, nodding discreetly toward the edge of the set. Kendall looked over and stopped short.

The man was leaning against one of the old trees that lined the street.

Catching her eye, the guy smiled at her, an expression both friendly and flirtatious. Kendall only nodded back, but her whole body registered his whole body in a way that made her wish he was something other than a guy who had nothing better to do than pretend he was a part of a tree in Brooklyn Heights.

Apparently one look was all he needed. Kendall swore very quietly when he straightened and came toward them.


“Forget it. I’m not interested.” Kendall turned her back to him, but not before she’d taken note of his blue eyes and gorgeous mouth, plus the worn down sneakers and ragged jeans he was wearing. 


Getting to know Mary Blayney

What is your writing environment?
What we call the “downstairs office” where I have two desks, one for writing and one for everything else. I used to write in the “upstairs office” but there were way too many distractions. On the lower level there is a window but it looks out on woods. Much more conducive to creativity than watching for the UPS truck.

Who is your perfect hero? And why?
If we’re talking fiction I have to go with Roarke in the JD Robb IN DEATH series. He understands Eve, knows her better than she knows herself, loves her in spite of/because of her flaws, and knows exactly when she needs time and when she needs him. And I’m materialist enough to love his wealth. He’s a true fantasy with no bearing on reality but when I read that’s fine with me. In my own writing world, my heroes are all perfect for the heroine but all share honor at the core of their being. 

Which authors have caught your interest lately? Why?
Great question cause it’s plural! First and honestly Evie Owens. I love her novella “The Psychic Detective” in ONCE AND FOREVER and wish there was a way to get her to write more, faster – nagging does not seem to be working. Also Ilona Andrews series that starts with MAGIC BITES. It takes a while to get comfortable with her extreme world building but as urban fantasy with stgrong romantic elements it is an amazing series. I had never read John Hunter before and late coming to that fan party. I loved YA novel THE FAULT IN OUR STARS despite the fact much crying was involved.

What type of book have you always wanted to write?
Books that explore relationships between men and women. Not just in a romantic context. My stories always have a strong family element as I think family relationships are as fundamental as relationships between a man and a woman. I also want to write stories that a great escape or a comfort read. I will never be able to write with the wonderful emotional intensity of Emelle Gamble (SECRET SISTER) but trust there is room in the publishing world for both of us,

What’s the last movie you watched and loved?
Ooooh, tough one. Liked Captain Phillips but did not LOVE it. Did love The Avengers but that was a long time ago. I am a very sporadic movie goer though and missed Gravity and Linclon and Marigold Hotel which makes me think I should develop a closer relationship with Netflix.

Top three things on your bucket list
Don’t really have one, but can come up with a few. I’ve lived all over the US from Puerto Rico to Alaska but have not spent nearly enough time in the west. So I would like to spend at least a month on a ranch, on an island in the Pacific Northwest and a city in Arizona or New Mexico. I love clothes and long to see and touch a Fortuny gown. And I have always wanted to go to a White House State Dinner. Some how I think that last is the least likely to happen.  And I long to make the New York Times Bestseller list on my own (that is without being in an anthology with JD Robb) 

How did you get the idea for this particular novel?
Kendall Marshall, my heroine, was an eight year old in my second book for Silhouette back in the late 80’s I have always known that she and her twin sister, Jessica, married brothers and was delighted when I had a chance to share Kendall’s story in “Playing for Keeps” in the anthology ONCE AND FOREVER. Jessica’s story is coming next year.

What is your favorite scene in your new release?
When Kendall, who is an actress, goes on the subway and gives money to passengers rather than asking for it. She tells hero, Steve O’Hara, that “it’s performance art.”

What’s your idea of a perfect date?
Jeez, I’ve been married for more than forty years and there is a total lack of romantic restaurants in our neck of the woods. So I would have to say my current idea of a perfect date would include a lovely spring night so we could eat outside, with whatever Paul wants to cook on the grill, followed by a movie that we both want to watch and some fabulous dessert after (pun intended)

If you could take a romantic trip, where would it be?
I love hotels and my romantic trips are mostly hotel centered. They include: Stephanie Inn in Cannon Beach, Oregon, Inn Boonsboro in Boonsboro Maryland in the Wesley and Buttercup suite or the Oheca Castle on Long Island, New York.  Each of these spots is surrounded by good restaurants and fun things to do if you can make yourself leave the wonderful rooms. 


AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

NY Times Best Selling author Mary Blayney’s first two romances were contemporaries published by Silhouette Books. Since 2000 she has been writing regency set historical novels and novellas for Kensington, Bantam and Berkley. Returning to the contemporary market with her novella in ONCE AND FOREVER, Mary hopes to continue to tell stories set in both the regency and the 21st century.            

Married to a retired Coast Guard officer, Mary has lived all over the US from Alaska to Puerto Rico, but is now settled near Annapolis, Maryland within sight of the Chesapeake Bay. Her life close to the Coast Guard and its mission to search and rescue, has convinced her that life is best lived with joy, love and a generous heart. Those convictions are what she most wantS to share with her readers. Family will always play a strong part in her books since she believes that family relationships are as fundamental as the love between a man and a woman.

ONE MORE KISS:           

“Mary Blayney’s newest Regency romance is a genuine pleasure to read”(NY Journal of Books)           

“One More Kiss is a delightful combination of social comedy, slight mystery, and sweet romance. It’s a thoroughly charming novel, well worth a read.” . . .(NY Journal of Books)


MIRROR MIRROR anthology, “If Wishes Were Horses”            

Debut at #3 New York Times Mass Market List October 2013           

“Blayney's wish-granting coin entwines a pair of lonely adventure seekers in romance beyond their lives as a servant and a sergeant in her charming 1816 fantasy, If Wishes Were Horses. . . .” (Publishers Weekley, October 2013)


The authors will award a digital copy of the book to five randomly drawn commenters and one grand prize of a $50 Amazon GC will be awarded to a randomly drawn commenter from this tour and the review tour.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning!
Follow the tour HERE


  1. Great interview, Mary Blayney. I feel like I got to know more about you...a Fortuny gown, huh? I'm thinking you can make that happen. Not so sure about the White House dinner, but then, stranger things do happen. I share your shout out to fellow author Evie Owens and her The Psychic Detective. I hope readers will give our anthology a shot, just to get introduced to an amazing new talent.

  2. Thanks for having me on your blog today, Booklover Sue. Yes, Marsha, it was a fun series of questions and I'm looking forward to more comments today 'cause, hey, who doesn't like to talk about themselves?

  3. You just made me look up Oheca Castle. WOW! I think a crit group road trip may be called for.

  4. You guys! Thank you for the shout out.

    Loved the interview, Mary. What did you think about "Inside Llewyn Davis"? The previews make it look like such a downer, but its getting lots of good reviews.

  5. Thanks for the interview! Can’t wait to read these stories! Fan of 3 of the authors.. The other two… definitely will be checking out these authors! <3 books!

  6. Great interview, Mary! It's amazing to me how many places you've lived - the world really is your oyster! That's probably why your stories are so rich and your characters so authentic.