I’m pleased to have Meg Benjamin here today. She has a new release out and she’s celebrating with a book tour. As part of her tour Meg will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter. Be sure to follow her tour and leave comments – the more you do, the better your chances of winning! You can also enter her Rafflecopter drawing by following the link at the bottom of this post.
Now… let’s hear from Meg.
Describe a typical day in your life as a writer.
Oh boy, is there ever anything that could be called a typical day? Well, more or less…I tend to wake up very early, four or five in the morning, and after I read for a bit, I try to write a thousand words or so if I can. That way I’ve got a cushion if other things come up. I run errands and do chores for the rest of the morning (plus the gym), but then I come back in the afternoon and try to write another thousand or so. This is a good day, you understand. On a bad day, the evil Interwebs can suck me in or I’ll just sit staring at the screen for a long, lonely time!
As you sit down to write a new story, what comes first for you characters, plot or other?
I don’t know that you can separate the two. You’ve got people, but what do they do? You’ve got a story, but what are those people like? Sometimes I’ll have a character I know I want to work with, and sometimes I’ll have a story I know I want to tell. But they do tend to blend together.
Do you prefer writing as part of a series or a standalone? Why?
I’m a series girl, as a rule. I’m always running into secondary characters who want to have their own stories told. And once I have a setting I like, I hate to leave until I’ve used it two or three times. This goes for my reading, too. I’m always looking for new series because I like the idea of an overarching story that ties several books together. To me, it’s only a problem if the books don’t work on their own. That makes it hard for a reader to come into the middle of something that’s been going for a while. My Konigsburg books aren’t like that. Each one can be read by itself or as part of the larger whole.
What do you like best about Darcy Cunningham in Hungry Heart?
Darcy is absolutely fearless, or at least she gives that impression. She’s a professional chef, a tough job for a woman since most kitchens are male-dominated. And she’s absolutely confident about her abilities. She’s a little less confident about her love life, mainly because her drive to succeed at her job hasn’t left her much time to develop relationships. When she falls for Harris, the Barbecue King, she finds it sort of scary. But being Darcy, she learns how to cope. And, of course, Harris being a stand-up guy doesn’t hurt.
Tell us a little about the Konigsburg, Texas series.
I’ve been writing about Konigsburg for around five years now, eight books in all. The series started with Venus In Blue Jeans, my first published book, and the first four books are about the Toleffson brothers, transplants from Iowa to Texas. But once I’d finished with the Toleffson stories, I found I still had other things I wanted to do with my little town. The Texas Hill Country is the state’s most popular vacation destination, and Konigsburg is a typical Hill Country town. That gave me all kinds of things to write about: wineries (Long Time Gone), honky tonks (Brand New Me), and fine restaurants (Don’t Forget Me). Now, in Hungry Heart, I’m talking about barbecue, the official Texas cuisine. It’s a friendly place with a lot going on—drop by for a visit sometime!
What’s next for you?
I’ve published eleven books set in Texas now, and I lived there for over twenty years. But now I live in Colorado, near the foothills of the Rockies. I’d really like to tell some stories about this region too—it’s one of my favorites. I’m working on a couple of Colorado trilogies, and I hope to have them finished within the next few months.
About Hungry Heart:
Sous chef Darcy Cunningham is less than entranced with small-town Konigsburg’s obsession with barbecue. But her future career as a chef de cuisine requires expanding her culinary horizons, so she talks the Barbecue King, a.k.a. Harris Temple, into taking her on as his apprentice.
However, learning Harris’s professional secrets wasn’t supposed to include falling for his spicy blend of smoky sexiness and laid-back charm.
Chico Burnside specializes in flying under Konigsburg’s small-town radar, but lately life has been going a little too smoothly, even for him. Hoping to shake things up a bit, he talks Harris into teaming up for Konigsburg’s first barbecue cook-off. But once shy scientist Andy Wells catches his eye, Chico’s got more on his mind than brisket. Like enticing her out of her shell to show her just how tenderly a big guy can love.
As the competition ignites, so does the romance. Until a natural disaster threatens to derail Konigsburg’s dream team before the grills even get good and warmed up.
And an excerpt from Hungry Heart:
He leaned forward slowly, maybe giving her a chance to run. A chance she wasn’t going to take. His lips brushed hers, lightly, as his hands cupped her face. He rubbed his thumbs across her cheekbones, dark eyes watching her carefully.
The flecks of green had deepened, making his eyes even darker now. She leaned forward, placing her hands on his shoulders, bringing her mouth against his more firmly. The contact seemed to send an arrow of heat through her body, making her nipples ache, her pulse warm again.
His mouth opened against hers and she let him inside, rubbing her tongue against his, feeling it rasp against her teeth. She sucked his lower lip for a moment, nipping him lightly, hearing the catch in his breath.
His hands dropped to her breasts, cupping, then rubbing them, his palms brushing her nipples to hard points. She felt cool air against her back as he pushed her shirt up, his fingers fumbling with the catch on her bra. His lips drifted down the side of her throat, leaving a trail of heat as he did.
She pushed his shirt up, running her fingers through the slight dusting of hair across his chest, then down along the ripple of muscle over his stomach.
His hands cupped her breasts, pushing the bra aside. He leaned down, taking one nipple into his mouth, sucking, his tongue laving the aching peak.
Somewhere behind them something beeped loudly. Porky came awake with a woof.
“Shit.” His hands dropped to her hips, his forehead pressed against her breasts. “Shit. Fuck. Goddamn.”
“Timer’s beeping,” she muttered. “And Porky’s awake.”
He nodded, his forehead still resting on her collarbone.
“Fire’s ready. And you’re behind with the meat as it is.”
He raised his head to look at her. “I didn’t plan this.”
“I know.” She wasn’t entirely sure what he meant—the timing with the meat or the timing with the two of them. She brushed a hand across his cheek, pushing his hair back from his face.
“I don’t want to stop.”
“I don’t either.” She slid back a few inches, moving her hands to his shoulders. “But like you once said, barbecue waits for no man.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Meg Benjamin is an author of contemporary romance. Her Konigsburg series for Samhain Publishing is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Medium trilogy for Berkley InterMix is set in San Antonio’s King William District. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award for Contemporary Romance, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Indie Press Romance, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers and the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers. Meg lives in Colorado with her DH and two rather large Maine coon kitties (well, partly Maine Coon anyway).
Find her on the Web at:
Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget to leave a comment for Meg to be entered in her drawing. You can find the entire list of book tour stops on the Goddess Fish website at: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2014/03/virtual-book-tour-hungry-heart-by-meg.html
And enter Meg’s Rafflecopter by following this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway