I’m very happy to have one of my writing pals on the blog today. She’s acclaimed women’s fiction author, Marilyn Brant. Marilyn has spent most of her life immersed in the written word. She’s a former teacher, a library staff member, freelance magazine writer, and national book reviewer. It’s no wonder, then, that she writes award-wining books that are witty, smart, and totally engaging.
Marilyn burst onto the scene with her debut book, According to Jane, which won the prestigious Golden Heart Award from the Romance Writers of America.
Take a gander at the blurb for this book:
It begins one day in sophomore English class, just as Ellie Barnett’s teacher is assigning Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. From nowhere comes a quiet “tsk” of displeasure. The target: Sam Blaine, the cute bad boy who’s teasing Ellie mercilessly, just as he has since kindergarten. Entirely unbidden, as Jane might say, the author’s ghost has taken up residence in Ellie’s mind, and seems determined to stay there.
Jane’s wise and witty advice guides Ellie through the trauma of adolescence and beyond, serving as the voice she trusts, usually more than her own. Years and boyfriends come and go, but Jane’s counsel is constant, and on the subject of Sam, quite insistent. Stay away, Jane demands. He is your Mr. Wickham.
Still, everyone has something to learn about love — perhaps even Jane herself. And lately, the voice in Ellie’s head is being drowned out by another, urging her to look beyond all she thought she knew and seek out her very own, very unexpected, happy ending…
Seriously, doesn’t that sound great? Readers can certainly see why reviewers called Marilyn’s debut smart and wildly inventive. Marilyn’s second book, Friday Mornings at Nine, was a Doubleday Book Club & Book-of-the-Month Club Featured Alternate Selection for October 2010. Wow! Impressive, eh?
And here’s what NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Simone Elkeles had to say about Marilyn’s books:
“Reading a Marilyn Brant book is like eating a piece of rich chocolate – it gets you excited, it’s deliciously satisfying, and it leaves a smile on your face after you’ve finished it!”
Marilyn’s fans are eagerly anticipating her next book, A Summer in Europe, which will be released by Kensington Publishing on November 29.
This book has already been picked as a Literary Guild & Rhapsody Book Club Featured Alternate Selection for December 2011. How cool is that?
Here’s the blurb for A Summer In Europe:
On her 30th birthday, Gwendolyn Reese receives and unexpected present from her widowed Aunt Bea: a grand tour of Europe in the company of Bea’s Sudoku and Mahjongg Club. The prospect isn’t entirely appealing. But when the gift she is expecting — an engagement ring from her boyfriend — doesn’t materialize, Gwen decides to go.
At first, Gwen approaches the trip as if it’s the math homework she assigns her students, diligently checking monuments off her must-see list. But amid the bougainvillea and beauty of southern Italy, something changes. Gwen begins to live in the moment — skipping down stone staircases in Capri, running her fingers over a glacier in view of the Matterhorn, racing through the Louvre and taste-testing pastries, wine and gelato. Reveling in every new experience — especially her attraction to a charismatic British physics professor — Gwen discovers that the ancient wonders around her are nothing compared to the renaissance unfolding within…
A Summer in Europe has already been getting fantastic reviews, which you can check out on Marilyn’s website. If you like beautiful, warm stories with lots of wit and heart, I think you’ll really love Marilyn’s books. And by the way, while you’re visiting Marilyn’s website, check out her ebooks – two really fun romantic comedies.
For my readers today, Marilyn has graciously donated a copy of A Summer in Europe. Since the book takes place in Europe, let’s talk about that. If there was only one country you could visit on that wonderful continent, which one would it be, and why? One person who comments will win a copy of Marilyn’s book!
56 thoughts on “Guest Author: Marilyn Brant & Giveaway!”
I would LOVE to visit Germany. I have long been fascinated by the green rolling hills and gorgeous scenery in pictures that I have seen of that country. It is also the home of my ancestors so I sometimes feel a need to go see where they once lived…. to visit my “roots”.
Betty, the scenery is really lovely in Germany, and there’s such a variety of it, too — from the rolling hills to those places where you can see the gorgeous Alps. I think you’d enjoy it a lot!!
Italy for its history and for its art. Don’t need the fig leaf coverups, though I loved the fig leaf thingies when studying art history. They made it easy to guess which statue was in the Vatican. Italy has statues ouside in the streets and in gardens that we’d have in museums surrounded by guards.
LOL about the fig leaf coverups, Maggie!! I always really liked looking at paintings in museums, but the statues were what won me over in Italy and, like you said, I couldn’t believe how many they had there :).
ah the places a book can take you, sounds like a really good read. thanks for the giveaway also.
Thanks for stopping by, Julie!
Wow would love to win a copy of the book in paperback….it would be like traveling to Europe……….reading is such a wonderful relaxing hobby…everyone such experience it……firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, Linda — I tried to make the story a travel experience for everyone who read it!
I went to France this past summer, which was the trip of my dreams. I want to go there again!
I love Marilyn Brant’s writing and would be thrilled to win this book.
Marlyn!!! It’s wonderful to see you here, and thank you :). Two of my good friends were visiting France this fall (separately), so I got to hear their wonderful accounts of their trips. Glad you had such a fabulous time when you were there this summer!
Ukraine. I’m fascinated with the country’s history and the people’s ability to adapt to their ever-changing political environment while keeping their cultural heritage intact.
Please don’t place me in consideration for “A Summer In Europe” as I already have it. Wonderful story by the way.
KevaD, thank you! How kind you are to take time to comment here!! (You know I loved getting to do that interview with you 🙂 .) I always wanted to visit the Ukraine, too, and Russia and the Baltics as well. I took a semester of Russian back in college and was fortunate to have a professor who really brought the culture to life for us. I still remember the lyrics to one song she taught us…but, unfortunately, I don’t remember what it means, so I’m afraid to sing it!
Good Morning Vanessa! And Welcome, Marilyn. Would love to win the book!
wow that is a tough one, there are many places I would love to visit there. I would have to say Great Britain. I have friends that live there. But if I were REALLY going to be adventerous I would say Ireland. Such a beautiful place.
You can’t go wrong anywhere in the U.K. 🙂 How wonderful it would be to go to Britain to visit your friends for part of the trip and then slip over to Ireland, too…
*waving to all*
Vanessa, thank you so much for having me here today!!
I have run out for a little bit this morning, but I’ll be back so I can respond to everyone personally. I’ve loved reading all the comments and great places so far!
Marilyn, thank you so much for being here today – and for donating a copy of your lovely book!
I was in Rome with my mom [on our way to visit USAF BIL & my sis in Crete] for 3 days. Would love to go back and take my hubby. Guess I’d better go & buy that lottery ticket… the only way to travel is to plan on spending some real time… none of that ‘it’s Monday, so it must be Spain’ for me!
Cate, in the years before we were parents, my husband and I used to save all year and then travel somewhere during the summer (we were teachers so we had time off together), and we tried it both ways: backpacking on our own and as part of an inexpensive tour. We were too scared to rent a car in Italy the first time we were there — having heard so many rumors about the crazy driving! — so we took a bus tour for that and enjoyed it a lot. But we only got to stay a day or two in each place, which wasn’t long enough for the cities we really fell in love with, like Rome, Florence and Venice… It was a great “taster platter” experience, though, and it gave us a reason to later go back and linger ;).
There are so many places & countries I’d love to visit in Europe it’s hard to just name one. Italy I think; because of the beautiful art (the handsome Italians probably swayed my decision a bit too).
LOL, Linda!! I think the presence of “handsome Italians” is an *excellent* reason for a visit — I’m biased, though, because my hubby is half Italian :).
I never thought I would say this country first but I want to visit France, I have so many places there I want to see. Such as The Louvre, The Eiffel Tower, and The Palace at Versailles. Then I would want to immerse myself in the French countryside and eat lots and lots of yummy french food!
Maria, my husband teaches world history, so for that reason alone he had a list (several pages long!) of sites he wanted to visit just in Paris. You’re right — there is so much to see in France. And, I’ll confess, I was *very* thankful we had to walk around the city so much because I was eating pastries and tartlets nonstop and needed to burn off a few calories! (Don’t even get me started on the chocolate-filled croisants…)
I am dying to visit France–Shakespeare & Co in Paris, the Riviera, Provence… So many places, so much history.
I can’t wait to read SUMMER IN EUROPE!
Great to see you here, Marilyn!
It’s wonderful to see you here, too! And I know with your love of all things historical — not to mention Hemingway and Fitzgerald! — that you’d have a fabulous time in France. Maybe a trip to celebrate the release of your book Hemingway’s Girl??!! 😉
I havealways wanted to visit the Black Forest region of Germany. It just seems like such a romantic area to me.
Sandra, it is lovely and, you’re absolutely right, very romantic, too… 😉
My family and I lived in Paris for six years and were able to visit many European countries. Each and every place we visited was thrilling. The history of these countries makes that of the U.S. pale in comparison. I wish every American could have the chance to visit more countries as I think we would learn to respect each other more. I do so look forward to reading Marilyn Brant’s new novel, “A Summer in Europe.” She is an amazing author! Thanks for the giveaway!
Connie, thank you so much!!
What an amazing experience it must have been to live in a city like Paris for 6 years. The richness of the history around you and the proximity to other countries and cultures was certainly an education in itself… I know I would’ve loved it, too. (And I’m envious of how fluent you must be in French!)
I lived in Spain twice and LOVED it, so I’m tempted to say Spain, just so I could return. However, I think I’d like to try new places, and I’ve heard that Poland is amazing. I think I’d love to check it out!
You lived in Spain twice?! That’s so cool!! We were in Spain for just a couple of weeks and loved it…sigh. I was so intrigued with how different the various regions were and wish we could have seen a few more, like the island of Majorca and the Basque region. I can see why you’d want to go back! As for Poland, I’ve never been there but would love to go, too. Friends of ours are from there originally, and we’ve seen beautiful pictures of their hometown…
I would love to spend time in Italy. I was there 11 years ago but had to cut my trip short due to my Mom’s illness. The history, the food, even the light are so different from home. I’d love to read ‘A Summer in Europe’ and visit vicariously.
Oh, Diane, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s illness those years ago, and I know it must have been a serious thing to cut your trip short… It’s so interesting what you said about the light — I felt it was different, too, and particularly so in some places like the Isle of Capri and Venice. Just thinking about it makes me wish I could go back for a visit as well…it’s been over a decade for me, too.
I would really love to spend time in France. My Mom & sister have been there, but I’ve never had the chance. The bood sounds great!
Thank you so much, Lynn!! I hope you get the chance to go to France and that my story is one you’d like if you read it :).
As was said earlier, it would be Italy – for the art, architecture…and the food!!
I’d love to read this book, thank you so much for the giveaway opportunity!
Jane, those are many of the reason I personally love Italy so much, too!! Glad you could stop by today ;).
Sorry I’ve been MIA today, everyone! Lots of family stuff today, which kept me away from the computer. But what a great discussion! I’ve been very fortunate to visit Europe a number of times over the years, so it’s hard to pick my favorite country. England probably edges out Italy, but only by a wee bit. And I really want to see Ireland one of these days. Maybe hubby and I will make it there next year – fingers crossed!
Vanessa, it’s been such a pleasure being on your blog today — I’ve *loved* getting to chat a little with everyone who took time to visit. Thank you all so much!! And I’ve got my fingers crossed for you and your husband that a trip to Ireland is in your near future… 🙂 xox
Thanks, Marilyn! Maybe next year.
I’ve been lucky enough to have seen some of Europe but I always wanted to go to Sicily because all my grandparents came from there and I grew up hearing the stories.
catslady, my mother’s family was from Italy. I so enjoyed going there – what a beautiful country!
Catslady, some very good friends of our family are from Sicily. Not only are they wonderful people but, when I was growing up, they would made the most delicious meals for our get-togethers! I especially loved when the wife taught my mom how to make the traditional Italian Christmas cookies — and the two of them still make them sometimes 😉 .
I would love to go to England. Since I was a child, I have always wanted to visit and explore its history. I read a lot of books set in England and would love to experience the land that has occupied my dreams and royal fantasies for years. My ancestors are English and Welsh. I would love to visit discover our roots.
Jamie, England is so beautiful. My favorite country, as I mentioned earlier.
Jamie, I hope you’ll get to visit there sometime soon!! England is one of my favorite places, too, and it holds an extra-special romantic memory for me as well because London is where my husband proposed :).
I don’t see how it could be anything less than extraordinary. England is 2nd on the list.
There is just so much to see in France, isn’t there? I know it’s so hard to pick just one place (I’ve never been able to do it!) because each country has such unique treasures… 😉
I would like to return to China with my family (especially my daughter who was born on China and joined our family when she was 8 months old back in 2004.) It is an amazing country full of beautiful people with an amazing culture.
nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net
Nancye, I responded to you on the old blog post comments, but not all of them transferred to this new site (it’s beautiful, btw, Vanessa!!) — I just wanted to say that it must be amazing to visit China, especially when someone you love has a connection to that culture. I’d be fascinated to see it, too!
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