Wednesday, July 17, 2013

**Giveaway** Today I Welcome two Harlequin Special Edition authors Christine Rimmer and Christyne Butler who chat with me about their novels in the Montana Maverick series


Life, love and family. The Harlequin Special Edition series presents contemporary stories where heroines find the balance between their work life and personal life on the way to true love. Whether the sensuality is sizzling or subtle, whether the plot is wildly innovative or satisfyingly traditional, the novel's emotional vividness, its depth and dimension, should clearly label it a very special contemporary romance.


Some of you may know that I review the Special Edition series for RT Magazine and I thought it would be fun to host two of those authors on a blog post to celebrate the Montana Maverick: Rust Creek Cowboys series.
So please welcome USA Today bestselling Authors Christine Rimmer who talks about her novel Marooned with the Maverick and Christyne Butler who talks about her novel The Maverick's Summer Love
Be sure to check out the Special Edition Author's blog

Christine Rimmer has offered a signed copy of her Rita nominated novel The Last Single Maverick to one lucky US only entrant.
Thanks Christine!!!


 Rust Creek Ramblings
 Seducing the Schoolteacher?
We apologize, dear readers, for our brief hiatus in publication. The offices of the Rust Creek Rambler were damaged in the Great Flood, but we are now filing our reports from a bar stool at the Ace in the Hole. 

Please welcome to my blog a fan and personal favorite of mine USA Today bestselling author Christine Rimmer!!
Christine Hi! Welcome to my blog.
Debbie! Thank you. So glad to be here.  And so appreciative of all you do to get the word about the books you love.

Tell us a bit about Marooned with the Maverick.
The title kind of says it all.  When good-girl kindergarten teacher Willa Christensen is stranded with bad-boy maverick Collin Traub in the flood of the century both of them end up way over their heads. 
On a deeper level, Marooned with the Maverick shows how the toughest times teach us what we're really made of and bring people together, uniting us in a common cause. Tough times strip away our defenses and pretenses. For Willa and Collin, the near-destruction of their town breaks through the barriers between them and allows them to find the love they both want together, at last.

What’s so special about romance?
To me, romance is the perfect story form.  I love to read—and write—about ethical people struggling to find their way to each other.  I love that, no matter the obstacles, in the end, the lovers in the story will make it work somehow.  I love that romance is a literature of hope and love and faith and besting inner demons to claim a chance at a future with just the right person.

What’s your favorite part of writing for Special Edition?
I think it’s the community aspect of Special Edition stories that works so well for me.  I love showing how the heroine’s world affects the arc of the story.  I love writing about sisters and girlfriends and worried parents.  I love writing meddling, well-meaning big brothers.  Of course, the love story is the focus.  But whether it’s a family the heroine makes for herself, or her often challenging family of origin, in Special Edition, there’s a slightly broader lens that can include any number of fun and troublemaking secondary characters.  Love that broader lens.

Are you surprised that series romance still has as large an audience as it does?
Why do you think it does?
Not surprised at all.  In series, to a great degree, a reader knows what’s she’s getting.  The title, the art, the cover copy, front and back, are carefully crafted to telegraph specifically what kind of story is inside. Whatever her fantasy, the reader can find it in series.  From the bad boy next door to those fabulous domineering sheikhs, from small-town Montana to New York to Shanghai.  There’s a series line for every romance reader’s taste—or just about.  Also, series stories are tight and fast-paced.   They keep readers turning pages. And the best series books not only deliver the story they promise, they manage to do it in way that surprises and delights the reader.

You’ve written both stand alones and series for Special Edition.
Do you have a favorite between them?
I enjoy writing both series and single title.  But series really is my “home.”  There’s something about the tight format, about the fun I have matching up just the right guy with the girl he won’t be able resist no matter how hard he tries.  Oh, yes. And my two favorite story setups, Marriages of Convenience and Pregnant Heroines, are always big hits in series romance. I never get tired of writing certain classic plots and in series, the classic plot is king—or maybe queen.  

Christine in your bio it states that you went to college for acting.
What became of that dream?
I pursued a career in acting for about a decade. I got my degree in Theater Arts, moved to Manhattan and waited tables to support myself while spending every moment I could pounding the pavement chasing my big break.  When New York didn’t pan out, I tried Los Angeles.  It was in Southern California that I wrote my first play.  For a while, I workshopped my efforts in little theaters all over the Southland.  Two of my short plays were actually produced.  Two longer efforts each had dramatic readings but never made it into full-blown production.
And then one day I read an article in Writers Digest about writing romance.  I had always read romance and loved it and turned to it when I needed to lift my spirits and make a tough day a little more bearable.  That article was the lightbulb moment for me.  I decided to try writing the books I loved to read most of all.  I sold my first book to Harlequin Temptation—a line that is sadly no longer with us. All these years later, I can’t wait to write my next Harlequin Special Edition. 

It also states in your bio that you’re a playwright and your plays have been produced and performed on the West Coast. First, how cool is that!
Is writing a play at all like writing a novel?
Cool?  Thanks!  And yes, I did have some minor success with my playwriting.  And I’ve always loved writing dialog, so writing plays was a good fit for me in that sense.  I’d say writing a play is like writing a novel in that both are a way to tell a story.  But a play is only revealed and complete once it is cast and staged.  So in a way, what the playwright creates—the script—is the framework, the bones of the story.  Actors, directors, producers, stage crew, designers…so many creative brains go into making a play come alive.  With a novel, it’s all about the words on the page.  Yes, with a novel, editors will hone what the author has created.  But in the end, with a novel, it all comes down to the words on the page and the mind of the reader. 
I found writing plays much more collaborative than writing novels—and that has me thinking how much I enjoy participating in continuities like the ongoing Harlequin Montana Mavericks series, of which Marooned with the Maverick is a part.  With a continuity series—where the publisher gives a group of authors basic material to start with—it’s more of a community process.  In Rust Creek Cowboys there were six authors contributing.  That’s one book each to be released July-December of this year in Special Edition.  We all six worked together, along with the wonderful Special Edition editorial team, to create the town of Rust Creek Falls and to make sure our stories meshed.  I enjoy opening up the creative process now and then, and working with other authors to make a series a success.

If fans had a hankering to see you in person are you planning any signings/events soon?
Things do come up now and then, but lately I’m more available online than at signings or speaking engagements.  Come visit me at my website, or at our Special Edition group blog, or friend me on facebook at  From my website, you can join my mailing list and I’ll send you information on my latest releases and also any events I might be planning.

Christine thank you so much for answering a few of my questions. I can’t wait for my next adventure with you.  
It was a pleasure, Debbie.  As always.  Thanks again.

My review of Marooned With The Maverick
courtesy RT Magazine
MAROONED WITH THE MAVERICK (4.5) by Christine Rimmer: Bad boy, renegade and eternal bachelor Collin Traub and good-girl schoolmarm Willa Christensen are lifetime adversaries who have always secretly lusted for one another. When the worst flood their town of Rust Creek, Mont., has ever seen brings them together, they indulge publicly in their attraction under the scrutiny of the town’s prying eyes. When things take a serious turn, Willa must decide if he’s worth the risk of heartbreak and Collin must figure out if he’s ready for forever. Rimmer’s romance is a pleasure to read, filled with belly laughs and a tragedy that gives the tale its realism, as well as a bucolic setting that radiates small-town wholesomeness.
Reviewed By: Debbie Haupt


 USA TODAY bestselling author Christyne Butler visits Rust Creek Falls, the setting for the popular Montana Mavericks: Rust Creek Cowboys continuity, in a sexy and emotional romance that is sure to capture readers' hearts!

Rust Creek Ramblings The Great Montana Flood has brought all sorts of interesting menfolk to Rust Creek Falls. 

Please welcome to my blog a favorite Harlequin series author of mine USA Today bestselling author Christyne Butler.
Christyne welcome to my blog!
Thank you so much for having me here, Debbie!

Unfortunately The Maverick’s Summer Love deals with an all to timely crisis here in the Midwest floody 2013. Tell us about the novel, Maverick’s Summer Love.
Yes, a flood isn’t a likely topic for a group of romance novels, but THE MAVERICK’S SUMMER LOVE, and the other five books in the Special Edition continuity “Montana Mavericks: Rust Creek Cowboys” that runs from July through December 2013, is about how the town of Rust Creek Falls, MT, and its inhabitants, recover and carry on after so much of their town is destroyed by a summer time flood.
THE MAVERICK’S SUMMER LOVE, which is book #2 in the continuity so it’ll be out in August, tells the story of Dean Pritchett, a small town carpenter who comes to Rust Creek Falls to help with the recovery efforts, mainly rebuilding the town’s medical clinic and elementary school and the last thing he expects is to fall in love!  Shelby Jenkins is a young single mother who has been burned by love in the past and still carries the stigma of getting pregnant while in high school.  She is very unsure about getting involved with anyone, but this carpenter cowboy has a special way about him and gets both her and her daughter falling head over heels…

Christyne you served in the Navy, first thank you for your service. It states in your bio that’s when you fell in love with romance.  Were you a reader before then?
Thank you Debbie and yes, I’ve been a reader since I was a little girl.  I never came to the breakfast table with a book growing up and Sunday car rides after church always meant I had at least two of three books along with me.  I loved the Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames series as a kid and everything by Judy Blume and Louisa May Alcott were favorites of mine as well.

What was the hardest thing about being aboard a Navy Vessel?
I think I hardest thing I remember about working and living onboard a navy vessel was the lack of green.  I really missed green grass, trees and flowers! Everything on a ship is “haze gray” in color and while some of the sunsets I witnessed while at sea were spectacular, I did miss the connection with the earth. And bathtubs! I remember having to rent a hotel room during my first months in the Navy just so I could enjoy a bubble bath!

Tell us your road to becoming a romance author.
I started writing back in 1999 in the world of “fan fiction”, which for those who don’t know, it’s where fans take characters and setting from their favorite television shows or movies and write a story. I was, and still am, a big fan of the daytime drama, “Days of our Lives” so I started writing stories for the characters on the show and posting them to an online group. I did this for about a year (and got terrific feedback and made great friends), but then my husband suggested I write something that I could sell so I started on my first book!

Why romance?
When I decided to write something of my own, I just naturally turned to romance!  Being a fan of daytime soap operas, which are filled with romance and intrigue and drama, was a great foundation and having been a reader of romance novels for so many years just made it a perfect fit for me.

What is so special about Harlequin and Special Edition?
What I love most about Harlequin is the diversity we have.  No matter what type of romance you are looking for…be is paranormal, sweet, suspenseful, inspirational, sexy…you can find a category line at Harlequin that fits the bill.  Special Editions are special for the same reason.  There are all kinds of stories in our line, from first loves to reunited families with lots of kids, heroes who cover every profession from sheiks to cops to doctors to cowboys (and heroines too!) and the sensual levels run from sweet to sexy.  No matter what kind of story the reader is looking for they can find it at Special Edition!

Speaking of Special Edition. What do you think of the new cover design?
I love them!! The older designs that look more like artwork are beautiful and I have been blessed with some terrific covers.  The new look allows the artwork to be seen from edge to edge, which is wonderful, while still maintaining the blue band that has the name of the line across the top.  Well done!

When you write a section of a series what’s the biggest challenge when it’s your turn to take the reigns?
I think the biggest challenge is when it comes to writing characters that are featured in other books in that same series.  I’ve written books that are farther down the line, like in 2011 I wrote the 5th book in the FORTUNES OF TEXAS, LOST AND FOUND series and I had a lot of characters in my book whose stories were already told while introducing the heroine and hero of the 6th book…that’s quite a responsibility!  What was really fun at this series, MONTANA MAVERICKS: RUST CREEK COWBOYS is that the town was brand new so I and other five authors worked together to create the town from the ground up! That was so fun!
My favorite type of romance is the second chance romance. What’s yours?
Oh, I love second chance stories! To see two people fix the mistakes of their past and find love again? Nothing better!  I also love ‘opposites attract’ stories where two people who will swear they are just too different from someone to ever be attracted to them, much less fall in love? It’s so fun to watch those two people realize how wrong they were!

Christyne, are you planning any signings or events where fans could see you in person?
Yes, I will be signing at the Romance Writers of America’s 2013 "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing on July 17th at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, GA and at the New Jersey Romance Writers Booksigning on October 19th at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin, NJ. Both events are free and open to the public!
Thank you so much for answering my questions, good luck with this novel and all in the future.
Thanks again, Debbie! This was so fun!!
Connect with Christyne-Website-Facebook-Twitter-Pinterest-Goodreads

 My Review of The Maverick's Summer Love
courtesy RT Magazine

THE MAVERICK’S SUMMER LOVE (4) by Christyne Butler: Grown-up Shelby Jenkins still wears the label of “bad girl” in Rust Creek Falls after getting pregnant as a teenager. When newcomer Dean Pritchett shows interest, she’s afraid to trust and hope. Dean came to town for the summer to help with flood restoration, but he loves what he sees in the picturesque town — and the sexy bartender who is gun-shy due to her past. Butler’s small-town meddling + small-town attitude = one small town romance to remember. Her couple shines above all, except for a certain little girl who’ll steal the show. The love scenes will also raise temperatures.
Reviewed By: Debbie Haupt

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  1. Thanks Debbie for bringing us these two romance writer's interviews! Very interesting that they are both writing about "Mavericks"! lol

    Maverick definition: an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party

    I think I like Mavericks!

  2. LOVE the interviews and interesting stories of two C's! Ohh! If I had to select a favorite type of romance today I'd say Western- contemporary ;)

    1. Lorelei! Thanks for stopping in. Love Western contemporary... :D

    2. Hi Lorelei :) (waving) thanks for giving us your fav romance type
      Good Luck!

  3. Eadie, yep! A couple of Mavericks, fersure. ;) Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Hi Ladies and a big YeeHa to Christine for stopping by and for sponsoring our giveaway.
    I LOVE the Special Edition series mostly because it's all real not over the top not unbelievable and Both Christine and Christyne really know how to tell a story.
    Good Luck to everyone

    1. Debbie, so glad to be here. :) Love what you love about SE--and thank you!

  5. I love the Montana Maverick series. Harlequin never steers me wrong!!

    1. XOXO! My editor was just telling me yesterday that NEXT year, 2014, will be the twentieth anniversary of the Montana Mavericks stories.

    2. HI thanks for the comment, I hope you visit often
      Good Luck

  6. I love the interview and I love romance and the Maverick series...I always look for them the old ones and both these authors a lot!

    1. Bookworm, thank you! And totally agree on the Montana Mavericks AND romance!

    2. Hi Bookworm, I love the series too Good Luck!

  7. So fun to see you ladies here. I am now bookmarking Ms. Haupt's blog.
    Wow, twenty years of Mavericks, that's fantastic.

    I love contemporary romance, and Special Edition does it right!

    1. Hi Lynne, thanks for visiting. Ladies Lynne Marshall is another Special Edition author and another fav :)

  8. Replies
    1. Wow Christine I just saw the Mavericks are celebrating 20 years next year, Yay!!!
      What a great series. Do some of the older characters still make cameos?

    2. Debbie, time does fly, doesn't it? I think there have been several towns featured in the series. It started in Whitehorn. Whitehorn was the setting of at least fifty books, probably more. In the Whitehorn stories, characters and settings repeated and authors used what had been set up before. The next town I know of is Thunder Canyon. The TC stories started in January 2005, and have continued through 2012, with a repeating cast, settings, history. This year, with Marooned with the Maverick, we've moved to Rust Creek Falls, bringing some of the beloved characters along from Thunder Canyon, but creating a whole new town to tell more stories in. :)

    3. Christine Thanks for the great history of Maverick's lesson. I'm going to have to check out some of the older ones too.

  9. I adore Harlequin romances and the Mavericks are one of my favorites and twenty years..I have been reading them about that long!

    1. Hi Kim, thanks for the visit. I happen to believe that Harlequin actually makes the world go round :)

  10. Hi everyone! I tried so hard to get in here last night but the internet wasn't playing nice here at the hotel for the 2013 RWA conference. Thank you to all who stopped by! So glad to hear of your love for Special Editions and the Montana Mavericks. It was so much fun writing for this series and working with the other authors. Hope you all enjoy getting to know the heroes and heroines of Rust Creek Falls!

    1. Hi Christyne, I'm green with envy I hope you're having big fun at the convention
      Thanks for stopping by, thanks for all the great stories you give us and thanks for taking the time to chat with us.

  11. Christyne, add me in with Deb. Have a great conference!! Well, I know you are. XOXO!

  12. I am SO HAPPY! Thank you Christine and Debbie! I look forward to reading Marooned With The Maverick, and any of Christine's really. I'll be sure to share my thought after I read it! :D