New Release: Shopping for a Billionaire’s Wife by Julia Kent

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Book Blurb:

Who needs a SWAT team to escape from their own wedding? Me.

My Momzilla turned us into hostages at our own ceremony, so Declan and I are getting married the good old-fashioned way, just like everybody else.

By calling in his private security team, stealing away before the ceremony by helicopter, connecting to his corporate jet and heading for Las Vegas.

The Boston wedding of the year is about to become a trashy Elvis drive-thru ceremony.

Until the best man spills the beans and Mom, Dad, my sisters, his brothers, my maid of honor, my friend Josh, and even my cat, Chuckles, all come along for the ride.

I can’t win, can I?

Oh. Yeah. I already did.

Love conquers all.

Even my crazy family.

Shopping for a Billionaire’s Wife is the 8th book in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Shopping for a Billionaire series. After Declan convinces Shannon to escape from their own wedding minutes before the ceremony begins, the madcap adventures are just getting started. When the mother of the bride pries their location out of the tortured best man, the whole crazy crew follows the bride and groom to Las Vegas in this romantic comedy from Julia Kent.

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Excerpt:

Bzzzz.

“I’m ready to throw my phone into a running jet engine,” Declan says against my mouth, the vibration of his deep voice making me shiver.

“Better than throwing in my mother,” I joke.

His silence makes me stomach clench.

“Declan!” I say with a nudge.

He laughs, the chuckle a tactile sensation I feel through his chest. My hands are still on his neck and back, and he’s pressing his forehead against mine.

“Let’s not talk about Marie right now,” he says.

“Agreed.”

Without effort, we pivot and return to the path toward the terminal. My wedding dress has a long train, covered in silk, tartan, tulle and what feels like chain mail. Declan seems to anticipate any potential mishap I may experience, expertly shoving various pieces of fabric out of the way so I can move with freedom and grace. Who on earth thought this monstrosity of a wedding dress was a good idea for a July ceremony in Massachusetts?

Oh. Right.

She Who Must Not Be Named.

I love my mom. I do. But I don’t love what the wedding made her become.

We enter the private airport lounge, where a large, thin-screen television is bolted to the ceiling in one corner. When I was a little girl, Dad liked to bring me, Carol and Amy to the local small airport. The place had a diner in it, and we’d order French fries and strawberry milkshakes, spending an hour or two watching the planes land and take off. If we were lucky, a helicopter would come along.

Once, a really friendly pilot let us climb in his plane.

The place is nothing like that little airport. This is where millionaires and billionaires go to avoid the TSA.

The rich really do live different lives than the rest of us.

This lounge is all clean glass and smoky brown leather. If you told me that the same interior designer who decorated James McCormick’s office at Anterdec had done this job, I’d believe you.

It looks like Teddy Roosevelt came back from the dead and demanded his own airport.

The small bar chairs, dark brown and creased with the kind of patina and age that looks shabby on cheaper leather, but chic and old-world sophisticated among the wealthy, are filled with a smattering of men and women, most in their fifties on up.

All of the servers and bartenders are in their twenties, and not a single one has an extra ounce of fat on them. It’s like Crossfit decided to hold a bartender school.

As we walk into the lounge, every single pair of eyes swivels to take us in.

“Why are they staring at us?” I ask Declan, clutching his arm.

“Because you’re wearing a wedding dress and I look like something out of a BBC documentary?” he answers smoothly.

I look down at myself. Look over at him. Take in the kilt, the socks covering his calves, the laces on his special Scottish shoes.

“Oh.”

One of the patrons, a man who is sitting next to a woman who looks like an adventurous traveler and not a mannequin on a rich man’s arm, points to the television, then back to us.

“You two on the run?”

Buy Links: 

iBooks:  http://apple.co/1MakCyR

Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/1MQ6iHe

Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/1PcrclH

Nook/BN:  http://bit.ly/1UteJ0M

Kobo:  http://bit.ly/1PIOrbz

Google Play:  http://bit.ly/1OMTusz

Print:  http://amzn.to/1QHfwIU

Audiobook:  http://adbl.co/1Ml3l2t

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Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge, and new adult books that push contemporary boundaries. From billionaires to BBWs to rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every book she writes, but unlike Trevor from Random Acts of Crazy, she has never kissed a chicken.

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://jkentauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/jkentauthor

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/jkentauthor

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Festival of Romance, Bedford

I got back on Sunday, and after having chilled out a bit, I am almost back in the swing of things. As it was my very first event as an author, I thought I’d share what happened with you all.

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First stop – Nando’s!

I took mother with me, since hubby had to look after the ratbags, and I didn’t want to go on my own. We stayed at the Park Inn, which was on the same level as a Premier Inn – comfortable but basic. It was ideally placed, and only walking distance from the venues.

On Friday evening we went to the Higgins’ Museum to listen to some readings from some amazing historical romance authors. My TBR list was suddenly extended. We were also given an impromptu private tour by the lovely William Coles (if you’re reading this – thank you for showing us the teapots!!)

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Evening view of the Great Ouse from the hotel dining room

Saturday was when the fun started for me. We got to the Harpur Suite at 8.30 a.m. to set up, and I shared a table with Lucy Felthouse. I have to admit to being a little bit overwhelmed by it all. I was surrounded by authors, many of them having been featured on the Sunday Times Best Seller’s list. I was meeting people I’ve been following on Facebook and Twitter for a while, and authors whose books I have on my shelf, like Miranda Dickinson.

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The set up

At 10.30 I followed everyone down to The Lane, and waited to do my reading. To say I was nervous would be a severe understatement. I was shaking so much that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to read the words. But armed with Citrine point (my birth crystal) for luck, a copy of the book, and my glasses I took my place and read the opening scene from Seven Dirty Words. I think it went okay…

And after that we headed back to the Harpur Suite to pick up sales. Well that bit didn’t go as well as it could have. I sold 2 books. And now have a box of 47 sat in the boot of my car. But hey-ho! I did give away a fair few bookmarks, postcards, and business cards, and quite a lot of people did say they would download it on Kindle – I only hope they are true to their word.

I try to look at it as experience. I did a lot of networking, made a lot of connections, and “put myself out there”. Overall it was a good day, and I had fun.

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Listening to the Baby Shower readings

Saturday evening was the ball, but I was shattered and so was a party-pooper, heading for the hotel, a cup of tea, and QI in bed.

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But not before a second Nando’s…

A quiet drive home, and I am now back with my babies and the hubster, planning a massive market-drive next week to try and shift some of these books and swag. (Watch out for a giveaway in the next week or so!!)

But I am looking forward to next year’s Festival of Romance!

How I lost 2 dress sizes in 2 months

On my 31st birthday (sorry… 29th…) back in June I was a size 12-14 with a measurement of 36E-30-36 and weighed 10 and a half stone. I am now a 34DD/E-28-32, with 9 and a half stone, and fit into a size 10-12. How did I do it? A fad diet? Personal trainer? Nope. I have only made small changes to my lifestyle and it’s made a big difference to my waistline.

Diet

Okay, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t done some dieting. I used to live on takeaways – quite literally. We’d have 3 or 4 a week, if not more. I also drank a lot of coke, ate a lot of chocolate, and snacked on crisps and biscuits. We’ve cut down on takeaways by a long way, and when we do get one I’ve cut down on what I have or make a healthier choice. Pizza – instead a large one all to myself, I now only eat 3 slices if that. Curry – my major downfall since I LOVE curry – I now have a chicken tikka biryani instead of a cream and fat laden masala.

I don’t snack anymore either. I will occasionally have a glass of coke, but I don’t drink 2 litres a day like I used to. I rarely eat biscuits or crisps now either, choosing fruit or a glass of juice or water if I’m feeling peckish.

Once a month for a week I do the Soup Diet. This is a fad diet, I have to admit to that. But I only do it once a month, and I’m not strict about it. I tend to have the soups with chunky bits of vegetables in them (Spicy 3 bean being my favourite), and I do add a handful of crutons to it. I also only have soup for my main meal and eat fruit and salad during the day.

I think it’s helped that my daughter is on a gluten-free diet now, so the only gluten I’m eating is in bread and pasta (she has her own). Plus, while I do still use jars and packets, I have to be careful about what I’m using, so tend to make a lot of things like bolognaise and chilli from scratch.

I still drink a lot of tea though…

Exercise

I am no exercise freak but I do like to keep active. Unfortunately after breaking my ankle a few years ago, followed by a hysterectomy last year, and tearing the ligaments in my foot back in July, I’ve been unable to do much in the way of major exercise. I miss kickboxing, horse riding, and going to the gym. But I’ve found little bits and pieces to keep me going.

I walk to school when I can. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I do drive to pick them up, but only because the kids have got to get home, fed, and changed before swimming / Rainbows. But otherwise, in the morning, I do try to walk to school. It’s not a long walk – 5 – 10 minutes at the most when I’m on my own, 15 – 20 minutes with the kids and their bags (I’m a pack horse), but every little helps.

I also walk the dog when I get home. Sometimes it’s a quick 10 minute walk around the block, sometimes it’s 20 minutes up to the park and back, and sometimes it’s an hour or more around the fields or up to Ham Hill. It all depends on the weather, what else I’ve got planned for that day, and my general mood.

Housework helps – it’s true what they say, a housewife has to be fit. I must climb those stairs at least 50 times a day, and I’m not exaggerating. With getting the kids ready for school, tidying toys away, vacuuming, putting clothes away, doing the washing, cleaning the bathroom,  bedtime… It all adds up, and it’s all exercise.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle has been my major change. I suffer from clinical depression and anxiety, which leads to days where I have a serious case of CBA (Can’t Be Arsed). After my operation, and with everyone getting pregnant around me, I did begin to feel very down. On top of trying to get books finished, and the ones that are, publicised, it all got a bit too much and I fell into the trap of waking up, doing what had to be done and nothing else.

Add that my health problems and injuries were making it impossible to exercise, and I was comfort eating, I soon began to pile on the weight. But in June when I hit 29 (again), I decided enough was enough. I went to my doctor and got myself put under a physiotherapist and am currently having talking therapy as well. (I think that’s a PC way of saying counselling.) But before the counselling (let’s call a spade, a spade here!) could start, just admitting that I needed some help boosted my confidence and self-esteem. That boost is exactly what I needed to help with my diet and exercise.

I still have down-days, but I try not to wallow in my own self-pity and concentrate on what it is good in my life. I’m feeling better about myself, I have two wonderful (if not bratty and diva-ish) children, a loving husband (who is far from perfect, but with a bit more nagging he’ll get there), and my career as a novelist is really starting to pick up.

So there you go. That’s how I lost 2 dress sizes in 2 months – sheer bloody-mindedness, simple bits of common sense, and absolutely no hard work required. Just will power.

The Surreal Life

Two days ago I was schmoozing, networking, and meeting celebrities. I was drinking champagne, eating delicious food in a 4-star hotel, and enjoying the company of some amazing people. I was discussing my latest novel, book signings and tours, and organising a book launch. I was going to the theatre followed by a concert at a local church.

Today I’m cleaning up cat wee in the shoe cupboard, ironing school uniform, and wondering how I’m going to cook a gluten-free spaghetti bolognaise and get my daughter to swimming classes in the space of an hour. I’m vacuuming bedrooms, walking the dog, and clearing out hair from the plug in the shower. I’m standing in the playground discussing the bowel habits of children whilst trying to stay warm and dry on a foggy morning, and stop my son from throwing his hat into a tree.

This is the surreal life of an author who also happens to be a housewife and full-time Mum.

My brain is literally all over the place. One minute I’m trying to figure out how to fill in that rather large plot hole I’ve just discovered, the next I’m throwing old food into a compost bin. I’m filling out forms and speaking to companies about which systems would be best to use in the bookshop (should it EVER open), and then I’m talking to the school about volunteering to help children with reading and writing. I’m emailing publishers, booksellers, and agents. I’m emailing the PTA. I’m booking hotels for an upcoming romance festival, and figuring out the logistics of being in two places at once to do a reading and a signing. I’m ringing up the vets to book the cat in for their vaccinations.

I’m editing manuscripts, proof reading projects from friends… I’m helping my daughter with her homework. I’m organising blog tours (and trying to encourage people to email me back with their filled out interviews – eh-hem…), I’m wondering if a twentieth takeaway this month would really be such a bad thing… I’m giving advice to other writers, I’m getting advice from other parents. I’m creating a believable main character who is sexy but not overly beautiful, powerful, but with weaknesses. I’m dressed in jeans (wet from walking the dog) and a man’s hoodie.

I’m ordering flyers, business cards, posters, and trying to find somewhere cheap that does bookmarks. I’m proof reading catalogues and promotional material for my husband. I’m creating promotional material for myself! I’m marketing and advertising. I’m washing clothes and trying to understand why there are so many pairs of boxer shorts just floating around the living room.

I’m cooking everything from scratch since my daughter is currently being tested for coeliacs disease. I’m going backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards to the doctors with her. I’m reading 5-star reviews on my book. I’m discussing figures and finances and getting quotes from a PR consultant. I’m gardening and wondering if we’ll ever get round to fixing that piece of decking that’s rotten through, and when would be the best time to buy a greenhouse and set out the raised beds? I’m talking with my husband about looking at properties that would best suit the bookshop and photography studio.

I’m tapping away at the computer in an attempt to create the next Sunday Times / New York Times bestseller. I’m traipsing around Tescos wondering if 1000 teabags is enough.

And then someone asks me if I’m going to get a real job now my son is at school…

The breeding of bookworms

This is more of a Proud Mummy Alert post than anything else, so be prepared for lots of spouting about how great my kids are…

At the beginning of the summer holidays (mid-July here in the UK), the library started a challenge for all school children – to read 6 books throughout the holidays. That works out at 1 book a week. They called it the ‘Creepy House Challenge’, and for every two books the children read, they were given a pack of stickers (the scratch and sniff kind) to put on a poster. They were also signed off on a form, and if they complete the challenge, they will be given a medal and certificate when they go back to school, during a small ceremony in assembly (I assume).

It’s probably not all that surprising that my children love to read. We have a routine whereby Daddy reads them at least one, if not two, bedtime stories. They also do their homework reading with me after dinner or first thing in the morning. My son is only 4 so still learning how to read, but my daughter (who will be 6 next week) is able to read on her own, and quite often reads at least a book a day anyway.

So, at the beginning of the holidays, we went off to the library and got their first library cards and began the challenge. 4 weeks into the challenge, and we went back this morning to return their third lot of books – and if you’re any good at maths, you will have figured out that they have completed the challenge already! Yup – 6 books in 4 weeks, leaving 2 weeks to spare!!

But we didn’t just dump the books at the library and go home happy, no we picked up even more books. And my daughter has read them already. 1 hour we’ve been home when I hear the words: “Mummy, I’ve read my books…”

I think I’m breeding bookworms…

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I’ve had a lot of people comment on how much Becca reads – many are surprised that she is happy to sit with a book instead of playing on computers etc. Now, I will say that she does love the PC and my tablet, and she does watch far too much TV (my fault), but she does love to read as well. And it made me think about parenting techniques. Does it make me a bad parent that my 6 year old isn’t as computer literate as some of her friends? Does it make me a bad parent that my 6 year old doesn’t play outside as much as her brother because she’d rather be inside reading, threading, sewing, or drawing? I don’t think so, but there are some out there who seem to think that she will struggle at school because she’s not as technologically capable as other children. I’ve even been accused of being old-fashioned. To that I say – it’s her choice.

I’m proud of my children and their love of books. I refuse to stifle their imagination or creativity by buying them handheld consoles. They’re not deprived of computer games – we have an XBox, tablets, PC, laptops, and smart phones – I just think that they will be able to disappear into those as teenagers, and while they are young and their minds are developing, I should be encouraging their development with life skills, and let’s face it – reading is a skill that is necessary in life. If you couldn’t read, you wouldn’t be reading this!!

The only downside to their love of reading is that I have to be very careful of what I’m reading and writing since they also love to read over my shoulder. In fact my daughter has just read that entire sentence back to me… So no Dirty Words for me until they’re in bed!! It also means I won’t be writing or editing until they go back to school.

My daughter has expressed an interest in writing stories as well, which is probably only natural considering she is a true bookworm, artist, and has writer-genes. So look out for R. D. Howard – writer extraordinaire – in about 15 years time!!