Guest Author: JoAnn Ross & Giveaway!

I’m so thrilled to be featuring one of my favorite authors today – JoAnn Ross, the acclaimed writer of dozens of contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels.  To date, JoAnn has written around one hundred novels (she stopped keeping track a while ago), and her books have been published in twenty-six countries.  Two of her titles were excerpted in Cosmopolitan Magazine – which definitely makes her a Cosmo Girl – and her books have been published by the Doubleday, Rhapsody, Literary Guild, and Mystery Guild book clubs.

Not bad for someone whose first career choice was to play center field for the New York Yankees!  JoAnn swears that writing was intended to be her backup occupation, something she was only going to resort to after her retirement from baseball.  Luckily for us, the Yankees never called and JoAnn was forced to write all those wonderful books, going on to win (more than once) the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award and eventually making it onto the Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll for best-selling authors.

I could wax on and on about JoAnn’s truly distinguished career and her fascinating personal history – she married the same man twice, for instance – but you can find that stuff out for yourself on her great website.

Okay, you DO have to check out her 10 things you probably didn’t know about JoAnn page, which includes such fascinating tidbits as the fact that her early years were spent in a bungalow on Santa Monica Beach.  The best part about that?  Her babysitters were the bulked up bodyguards from L.A.’s Muscle Beach!  And then there’s the fact that…well, you get the idea!

What I really want to talk about are JoAnn’s books, which are fabulous.  As readers of my blog already know, I’m a huge fan of romantic suspense and JoAnn’s are among my favorites.  The books in her recent High Risk series are suspenseful and fast-paced, with a compelling group of military heroes who generate a whole lot of heat and chemistry with their heroines.

Here’s what RT Book Reviews had to say about Shattered, JoAnn’s third book in the High Risk series:

“The third book in Ross’ High Risk series is a fine addition to her oeuvre dealing with veterans of our current conflicts. The story is compelling, and showing characters dealing with some of the issues men and women face when they return from war adds depth.  Highly recommended. ”  *4 1/2 Stars*

JoAnn’s new series leaves the action of the battlefield for the small town of Shelter Bay, Oregon.

Fortunately, she hasn’t left behind the fantastic, emotional stories her readers have come to love.  The latest book in the Shelter Bay series is One Summer, which made the New York Times, the USA Today, and the Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.

See what I mean?  This woman knows her stuff!

Here’s the blurb for One Summer:

It was supposed to be nothing more than a brief encounter…

Former U.S. Marine photojournalist Gabriel St. James doesn’t see the world as others do. His work reflects the heart of a dispirited, disillusioned loner. When he arrives in Shelter Bay to help out a fellow Marine, the last thing he expects is for that cynical veneer to crack. Then again, he never expected to meet a woman like Charity Tiernan.

A veterinarian with a past that would have defeated a less resilient woman, Charity still possesses a heart as generous as her name. She’s known men like Gabe before—a guarded soul with an elusive nature. With a shared attraction impossible to deny, Charity and Gabe agree to a simple affair with no expectations.

But as summer unfolds, and Gabe finds reasons to extend his stay in Shelter Bay, he and Charity realize that there’s nothing simple about falling in love, and nothing easy about the choices of the heart.

I’m reading One Summer right now, and I can tell you that I fell straight in love with Gabe.  I know you will too, and you’ll also fall in love with the small town of Shelter Bay.  Trust me – this series is fantastic.

For my readers today, JoAnn has graciously donated a copy of One SummerNaturally, you have to answer a question first!  On JoAnn’s very cool website she has a number of recipes that match up to her books.  Just check out her recipes pages and pick one you think looks really great (well, they all do – but just pick one).  Then hop on back here and tell me what it is.  One lucky commenter will win the book, and we’ll all get to savor JoAnn’s wonderful recipes!

44 thoughts on “Guest Author: JoAnn Ross & Giveaway!”

  1. I would make SWANN HOUSE STICKY BUNS that is if I could actually find my way around the kitchen. I am so not a good cook. Thank God that my husband loves to cook!

    Not sure if you wanted me to post the actual recipe. Will do if you want =)

    flaca798 at hotmail dot com

  2. The Buttermilk Pecan Coffee Cake sounds yummy! But then again, so does Poogan’s Peanut Butter Pie, Sweet Potato Praline Casserole, Queen Peach Praline Cobbler, and oh-my-goodness White Chocolate Bread Pudding!

  3. My favorite is: CANDY CANE COCOA
    I LOVE both cocoa and cany canes… the combo should be dynamite!!

    I will go right back to the web page to see how she came to marry the same man twice!! LOL Once was enough for me. ;o)

  4. I think the Oregon Blueberry Jam fits this book. After all it is set in summer. Plus I love homemade jams and jellies. We use to make them when I was a kid.

    I’m curious how you decide which to write…a more risk taking book, or a contemporary romance? Both are fun reads, just wondering at the process.

    macladie25 AT Yahoo Dot Com

  5. I can’t decide between the Oregon Raspberry Lemon Streusel Muffins
    (which reminds me of something my local Trader Joe’s used to carry) and the Swann House Sticky Buns with is like something one of my favorite restaurants made (that restaurant no longer exists). As you can see I have a sweet tooth. I’ve bookmarked your recipe page so I can get back to those recipes. I love Charleston, so the Low Country Recipes will get another visit too. ‘One Summer’ looks like a great read with an emotional tug – I look forward to reading it!

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  6. Hi All,

    As you can tell, I LOVE to cook, and these recipes are ones I’ve already tried out. Most of my heroes cook too. All women have their fantasies, and if you’ve read my books, then you’ll know that I think having a man cook you dinner (AND do the cleanup!) is wildly romantic!

    While writing my books set in New Orleans, we ate a LOT of Cajun food. Although I’ll never profess the ability to cook it as well as a native, it is super tasty, and whenever my son would come home from college for vacations, his first breakfast was always beignets.

    Then, when we’d spend about a third of the year in Lowcountry, South Carolina, I got hooked on that local food. There is nothing, imo, as decadent as cheese shrimp and grits!

    Now that we’re back in the Pacific Northwest, it’s all about fresh fruit and seafood. (Melanie, you’re right about the jam, but if I were to do it again, I would’ve used Oregon Marion berries, which are a cross between raspberries and blackberries. They’re my favorite berry!) And, of course, breakfast, from The Grateful Bread. When Sedona, of Take the Cake gets her book, we’ll be eating lots of cupcakes and pies. (My husband’s still waiting for that book, lol!)

    I know we’re supposed to be talking about One Summer, but I do want to say that my January book features SEAL medic Lucas Douchett and celebrity chef Maddy Durand. (The first line is “Madeline Durand was braising short ribs in an Omaha department store when her husband’s sex video went viral.) I’ve always tried to eat fresh food, but that’s when I totally got into farm to table cooking, which is admittedly easier here to do here with super local farmers’ markets. I’ll be putting up several of her recipes on the site closer to January.

    • JoAnn, I totally agree with you about men who cook! My hubby doesn’t, but he does do dishes.

      I loved reading all the recipes on your website, and how great that you got to sample so much wonderful food in your travels. I also love the Low Country of So. Carolina. And beignets sounds like a great way to start the day! DH and I were in NOLA several months back, and one of our first stops was to the Cafe du Monde for the beignets. Heaven!

      • That’s where I get my mix for the beignets! I didn’t know if it was good or bad news when I found I could order it online. Though I do save it for special occasions!

        And doing dishes is super! Mine only started to cook because he got tired of eating cereal for dinner at deadline time. lol

        At first, being a math major, he followed recipes to the T (a problem, because I didn’t have all that many written down, so he’d have to watch me cook and take notes). Over the years he’s become more experimental, but mostly he’s my prep guy who does all the cutting and slicing during the day while I write. Then I come in at the end of the day and do the actual cooking.

  7. Melanie — I used to write family-centric contemporary romance for years and years. If you enjoy the Shelter Bay books, I suspect you’d love my Irish trilogy, which are very close to my heart because they include stories from my own Irish family, such as my grandfather “kidnapping” (with her permission and help!) my grandmother when her wealthier family wouldn’t let them marry. They’d go in and out of print, but have had a resurrection, thanks to ebooks.

    Then, quite honestly, readers stopped buying those type of stories as they switched to vampires and romantic suspense. Since I’d also written a lot of romantic suspense in category and single title, I went with those.

    Then, when the war in Afghanistan and Iraq started, I began doing a lot of military volunteer work. One of the things I’ve done almost from the beginning is spend Sunday mornings making blank-inside greeting cards for deployed soldiers to send back home because there aren’t a lot of Hallmark stores in the desert, or the mountains of Afghanistan.

    So, moving to writing military characters made sense. Also, back in the 1980s, when we lived in Phoenix, we’d go to Coronado several times a year and stay at the Hotel Del Coronado right next to the SEAL training base. I’d sit on the balcony in the morning and watch the SEALS run on the beach. Later, I’d lie on the beach while they ran by. Then, in the evening, I’d be back on my balcony, drinking my wine, watching them as they still ran. We were also fortunate to be there twice during Hell Week when they’d launch their rubber zodiacs (IBS, for “inflatable boats, small”) on the rocks at the hotel’s beach.

    So, I read every non-fiction book written about both the wars, and fit a lot that research in my stories.

    THEN (if you’re still with me, lol) our nephews, Kyle and Patrick kept getting redeployed to those very same places I was writing about. Kyle was even an Army evac medic, flying in those same mountains on the same type of helicopter I had crash in my High Risk stories. By their third tours, it had become too personally stressful for me, so I flew up to NYC, had lunch with my agent, publisher, and editor, and asked if I couldn’t please go back to writing more “comfort” romantic contemporaries. I also thought there would be a market again for them.

    After a few months, they agreed it was a good idea, which was why the book that was originally titled Ricochet became The Homecoming, the first of the Shelter Bay books. And why it’s somewhat of a suspense because I was two-thirds the way through writing it when NAL’s publisher agreed to the switch, but didn’t want to wait until after Sax’s story. Since I already had the opening (which was moved from the bayou to Shelter Bay) and the bodies, I made them cold cases to cut out the serial killer murder and mayhem.

    One Summer is actually what I’d planned to be the first book of the series and I promise if any deaths in future books will be natural.

    So, that’s how and why I switched. And yes, it’s a LONG story, but hey, we Irish don’t do succinct. lol

  8. CARAMELIZED ONION BISQUE is my choice, but man oh man they all look wonderful. I have friend who works at Ft Campbell with soldiers prior to deployment with regard to stress reduction, making good choices under pressure… What I really hate is that the only time soldiers were well treated post war, was WW II. Most other times, throughout history & across the world, they were just dumped back into society.. then badly treated because they couldn’t adjust or had no job skills.

  9. The Sweet Potato Praline Casserole is very similar to what we call Senator Russell’s Sweet Potato Casserole here in Georgia. The latter is a favorite a family holiday gatherings.

    No need to include me in the contest, Vanessa. I bought and read One Summer the day it was released. I’m loving the Shelter Bay Books. In fact, I’ve already added On Lavendar Lane and A Sea Change to my 2012 book calendar. Of course, I’ve been a Jo Ann Ross fan for a long time. I recommended the Callahan brothers books to someone last week.

  10. Cate, yes, I totally agree that we’re going to have to keep supporting our troops after they get back home. The multiple deployments that have been happening (the military is made up of only 1% of Americans) are wearing on both the troops and their families, which only amps up the stress, not just in the warzone, but back home, as well.

    And, as Vanessa said, more are coming home with injuries that would have killed them in other wars. And whatever people think of these wars personally, we all still owe those who stand in harm’s way, so we don’t have to, the best our country has to give.

    In On Lavender’s Lane, I deal with another little reported issue — how military dogs are also returning home with problems. Lucas Douchett’s brought back a dog,Scout, that was with his SEAL team. She lost a leg to an to an IED in Afghanistan, but recovered much more quickly from the physical injury than her lingering PTSD.)

    Thank you, Janga! Not just for buying the books, but for recommending them to others. I did so enjoy passing a good time with those Callahan brothers down in the bayou. 😉

    Oh, and A Sea Change had a title change last week. Karen White, who also writers for Penguin, coincidentally came up with the same title at the same time.

    So, since she’d had a more difficult time coming up with one that suited her story, I agreed to change mine. I sent NAL a list, and we all decided on my favorite one — Moonshell Beach. The cover is going to have a lighthouse, the beach, of course, and moonlight on the ocean. I’ve loved all my covers so far, but think that this one sounds as if it’ll be wonderfully evocative!

  11. Hi JoAnn and Vanessa!

    I’m so happy to see one of my favourite authors featured. JoAnn, I discovered your books this year and have read some of your books from the High Risk, Callahan Brothers and Stewart Sisters series. These series are different and yet they both have endearing characters. I do like the Southern charm of the Callahans with their drawl. I haven’t read any of your Shelter Bay books yet but I know I will soon because they have that heartwarming, small town feel to it. It’s definitely the sort of place I would want to find love or a second chance at it.

    Tomorrow is a new month and I’m feeling restless enough to tackle a new challenge. Since cooking isn’t my forte, I may need to find some recipes to put to use. I may even start with these recipes, especially the FRENCH VANILLA DROP SUGAR COOKIES. My mouth is watering at the smell of freshly naked cookies!

  12. Titania’s Mint Chocolate Brownies
    Sounds delicious… and I love brownies… 🙂

    Congrats on your new book! 🙂 Over one hundred novels??!!? That’s impressive. 🙂

  13. This is Grandma Gute here. What are you doing giving my secret recipe away! Just kidding! I must try her pancake recipe. Fried in butter! Have gained weight just writing this.

  14. Hi JoAnn and Vanessa!

    What a wonderful interview, thank you for sharing with us today!

    OMGoodness, what an adventurous life you have led and still are!
    Kudos to you for living to the fullest! 🙂

    Worked as a magician’s assistant, played folk piano in coffee houses and my favorite…….will work for chocolate!! LOL!! Awesome work ethic!

    When I hopped over to your author’s website I was just blown away with all of the books you have written, man, where have I been all this time!
    Oh, yes, my reading habits….they are strictly romance historical’s, just LOVE them. With rogue’s, knight’s and sexy Highlander involved, I can’t see further! LOL!

    I have been spreading out some with my reading. I have found some new to me author’s through Vanessa, TYVM Vanessa!
    I will admit to being hooked on HARDBALL, loving her Sample Sunday teaser’s. 🙂
    Now I will be adding you to my list. The peek at your books, Callahan Brothers, Irish Castlelough Trilogy and Coldwater Cove left me wanting more, need to know all the stories now.

    As far as your recipes go…..FANTABULOUS!!!
    Wow me, what a variety, so hard to pick just one!
    I do like CRAB CAKES WITH ROASTED RED PEPPER, sounds sooo yummy! So does CORN MACQUE CHOUX , this I can see myself devouring!
    I won’t go into the sweets, I have one major sweet tooth!

    Have a great evening!

  15. Sheesh…….I I forgot to mention the pictures!!
    Your photos from Ireland are great!!
    Flicked on the slide-show button and wa-la!! (sp?)
    Beautiful, just beautiful!
    Thank you!

  16. Thanks Dalila! I’m so glad you enjoyed the Irish pictures! As I said, the Irish books are especially close to my heart because the stories all come from my own Irish family. In fact, Brady Joyce, in A Woman’s Heart, is my own Granda McLaughlin. 🙂

  17. Laura — Sorry about leading you astray with the sticky buns. But hey, sometimes you just have to enjoy life! 🙂

    Maggie — I gained weight just adding Grandma Glute’s pancake recipe! As I said, I made a MAJOR sacrifice researching the recipes from On Lavender Lane. It’s a tough job making sure I got a celebrity chef’s food right. But someone had to do it, and I’m willing to make the sacrifice for my readers! LOL


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