I’ll be sending a print copy of A Taste of Merlot to the winner of this Goodreads giveaway! It’s easy to enter—just click in the box. Good luck!
Happy New Year, Readers! My publisher is offering 2 print copies of Intoxicating via Goodreads, now through Jan. 16. Click HERE to enter.
Pre-ordering now for Mar. 28 delivery
***CONGRATULATIONS TO CHARLENE IN UTAH! Your copy of A Taste of Chardonnay is in the mail!**
***WINNER of The Crush: ANITA in GEORGIA***
Next Goodreads Giveaway is A Taste of Chardonnay, running between 1/6/17-1/13/17
The Crush autographed print giveaway! Junie Hart’s family leaves her with a fledgling vineyard and some serious trust issues . . . until a footloose ladies’ man lends a hand—and steals her heart . . .
RT Book Reviews, “… a heartwarming romance with lots of spark and great chemistry.”
“Loved It! Great book with a wonderful story and well-developed characters.”
The Crush by Heather Heyford! I loved it!! The Crush makes Heather Heyford’s fifth book, and it may just be my favorite thus far. Heather’s wonderful ability to paint word pictures, in both her character development and scenery descriptions, makes you feel as if you are right there in the story. You are actually watching as friends make their ways through a vignette of their lives. Romance, suspense and family intrigue abound.”
“ The Crush grab tissues close to you. I liked this book and would recommend it to anyone to read.”
“ Stuborn vs stuborn This is a serious stubborn vs stubborn who will win it. Junie is a woman that lost everything except the love of a winery which is in need of some serious help in more ways than one. And then there is Santos that has this ego the size of Texas but deep down all he wants is his family…when Santos and Junie meet they clash in all directions . . . ”
“ Can’t wait for the next book of the series!” it’s a story about male/female attractions, about the process of making wine, but it is really a much more complex story. It’s about family, and family loyalties, about trust, about family expectations, about finding oneself, about dreams that sometimes change for the better and about finding that someone who “gets you” and appreciates you for who and what you are.
I am glad I have a new author in my list of favorites.”
… spice, sass and lots of pizzazz. There is a sexiness and flavor that is abundantly clear from the word go. Junie is a woman that has an emotional bond to wine. Her late father owned a winery and she wants to honor his memory and prove to herself that she can keep his dream alive, despite the odds. Her pride won’t settle for less than success. Manolo knows a thing or two about flavor. His background makes him an asset, but his arrogance makes him an aggravation in Junie’s eyes. Opposites attract but can these two work together without combusting? A robust story that blends spice, sass and lots of pizzazz.”
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Hi Heather and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, The Crush!
Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:
Struggling young vineyard owner Juniper Hart must learn to trust a smooth-talking stranger after everyone else has let her down. Just touched down in crunchy granola country, Manolo exudes plenty of East Coast swagger, but he has a lot to learn about independent Oregonian women!
Please share the opening lines of this book:
Rap rap rap!
Juniper Hart’s head shot up from her bills, agonizing over which of her wine business’s creditors would luck out and get paid this month. She scrambled out from behind her desk and dashed into her tasting room, heedless of the papers she set sailing. Inches short of the threshold she skidded to a stop to smooth down her faded T-shirt emblazoned with We Are Pinot Noir. From the other side of the door she heard a familiar voice.
“Last I knew, lieutenant, you had women in, let’s see—Fort Bliss, Fort Belvoir, and New York City—and that’s just stateside.”
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- If you mispronounce the name of this valley in Oregon’s wine country where The Crush is set, the locals will correct you with, “It’s Will-AM-ette, dammit!”
- Research for The Crush required a considerable number of wine tastings. *Sigh* it’s a tough job . . .
- At one winery, I was given a discount after I told them about my book because they said I was “industry.” Yay! Who knew?
- While trekking through the vineyards, I met another romance writer!
- The setting of The Crush was modeled on a gorgeous, father-daughter winery called Montinore.
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
I have to say it was lust at first sight, though Junie, my heroine, fights her attraction tooth and nail. Junie has never considered herself a beauty. On the other hand, growing up, Manolo’s three older sisters told him every day how beautiful he was. She didn’t think she could measure up.
Using just 5 words, how would you describe Hero and Heroine’s love affair?
Grounded girl steals rake’s heart.
The First Kiss…
…happens in a vineyard:
Wrapped in her embrace, the sun and the planets and the stars seemed to revolve around them.
His heart swelled. Tenderly, he pulled back, intending to take her in a kiss. Junie gazed up at him with soft eyes.
If she hadn’t suddenly blinked—flinched—Manolo wouldn’t even have noticed the bleating car horn.
Not now. Anytime but now.
Without revealing too much, what is your favorite scene in the book?
Manolo, a confirmed bachelor and ladies’ man, has designed the tasting room of Junie’s dreams for her. For the past few months they’ve been inseparable. On opening night when the whole town has turned out to christen it, his work is done. He seems about to bow out:
He took her by the shoulders, gently turned her around and nudged her toward the door. “I’ve monopolized you long enough. You belong out there.”
She stumbled forward, then stopped, turned and saw him standing there alone. Outside, the sound of raucous merriment went on unabated.
“Go on,” he said with a toss of his chin.
She felt like she was being thrown out of her own office. “Aren’t you coming?”
“This is your place, and those are your people.”
She frowned. “What about you?”
He hesitated. And then he said, “I don’t have a place.”
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would be absolutely crucial to include?
Manolo has secretly arranged for Junie and her late father’s special, father-daughter song to be played at the grand opening of her tasting room, in a ploy to reunite Junie and her distant mother:
Then a familiar piano melody filled the air.
Mom extended a graceful hand.
“What’s this?” Junie wondered aloud.
Mom’s eyes glistened. “Your father would be so proud of you. I know he would have danced with you today. But since he can’t, would you dance with me, instead?”
Junie glided into her mother’s arms. The crowd parted as mother and daughter twirled around and around, surrounded by a panorama of friendly faces.
When the song ended there was a smattering of applause and more than one person dabbing her eyes.
Readers should read this book …
… to laugh and cry along with Junie and Manolo on their journey.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?
The Crush is Book 1 of An Oregon Wine Country Romance. Unlike my Napa Wine Heiress series which could be read in any order, the three books in AOWCR work best read sequentially. Book 2, Intoxicating, is available for pre-order. Buy it now and it will be a happy surprise when it shows up on your device on 3/28/17. Book 3, Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, will launch later in 2017. I’m having a blast working on the love scenes between the therapist and former special ops guy who has more issues than Vogue!
Giveaway: 3 digital copies of THE CRUSH.To enter Giveaway: Please go to Harlequin Junkie here: http://harlequinjunkie.com/spotlight-giveaway-the-crush-by-heather-heyford/#comments
Excerpt from The Crush:
“What’s a beauty like you doing hidden away in a place like this?”
Her hands paused where they struggled against the stubborn cork. Beauty? Her? He didn’t just look like Daryl, he laid it on thick like him, too.
Stick to your script, Junie. What had they said at that free class for entrepreneurs at the Yamhill County extension? She was the one who should be asking the questions. Marketing 101.
She gave the screw a vicious twist. The cork came out with a muted pop and she began to pour the one-ounce servings used for sampling.
“How long will you be in the Willamette Valley?”
“Not long. I’m a traveling man. Just passing through.”
Lieutenant Manolo Santos was a walking, talking cliché, thanks to his good looks and bad lines.
Be nice to everyone, they said in the class. You never know who might turn out to be an ally. She clenched the bottle tighter in her moist palm, determined not to fumble under his penetrating glare, ally or not.
Sam hoisted his glass and the others followed suit. But before he could make a toast, the stranger beat him to it.
“To the Beaver State,” he said, eyes sparkling with mischief.
That brought more cautious chuckles, as her friends weighed their loyalty to her against the novelty of the suave newcomer in their midst.
Sam swirled his wineglass at eye level, checking for all the signs: color, viscosity, legs.
Rory downed his glass like cider, followed by a satisfied belch.
Junie’s heart sank. Heath was a brewer and Sam was in the wine business, like Junie. Keval was industry, too, if doing I.T. for the consortium counted. Was it too much to ask for them to appreciate what she was trying to do here? They’d tried her wine before. They knew word of mouth was everything. That’s where sales came from. But they couldn’t pass the word on how great her Pinot was if they persisted in chugging it like marathoners on Gatorade. Maybe they couldn’t handle three tastings in one day, after all.
“Yummy.” Keval licked his lips and picked up a battered copy of Wine Spectator from the bar. “Just think, Juniper. Maybe you’ll be in here someday.”
Yeah, right. She couldn’t even afford to renew her subscription.
At least Sam had the decency to give his wine time to wander around his palate, letting it speak to his taste buds. “Your wine sings, Junie.”
Junie swelled with pride. High praise, coming from Sam. But even he couldn’t seem to find her a distributor, though he’d been looking for the past couple of years.
True to his word, he spat into the receptacle provided. “Now, how about that rosé?”
Junie poised the new bottle to pour but there were only four empty glasses on the counter. She skimmed the room for the fifth, spotting it in the hand of Mr. New Jersey.
Thick, workingman’s fingers cradled her fragile stemware. Dense lashes brushed against carved cheekbones as he lowered them to gaze at the ruby liquid. Then he glanced up over the rim, catching Junie staring. “Young, bright appearance.”
He lowered his Roman nose into the bowl and sniffed, then looked up, his eyes landing in the vicinity of her chest. “Juicy plums.” He swirled and sniffed again. “And some other fruit I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of tasting.”
Junie forgot about the bottle she held poised and it sank to the bar under its own weight. “Lingonberry. It’s native to the Pacific Northwest.”
Manolo drank then. But all the while he worked her wine around in his mouth, he didn’t take his eyes off her.
The tasting room grew uncomfortably warm, despite the chilly April air. Lieutenant Manolo Santos had a politician’s command of the room. Even the guys quit horsing around in anticipation of what he would say next.
“Soft and supple, yet structurally complex. I like that.”
The breath Junie didn’t know she’d been holding whooshed out through her broad grin. This vintage was her most ambitious effort to date, and that was exactly the response she was going for!
“It’s good in a wine, too.”
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Juniper Hart has her dream job—or rather, her dream job has her. Under Junie’s management, the winery her late father started is finally getting noticed. But she’s lonely, deep in debt, and overwhelmed with work. Even if she had time to date, the only men she meets are smug, stemware-breaking hotshots like Lieutenant Manolo Santos, whose good looks and smooth charm don’t half make up for the sour taste he leaves on Junie’s palate.
After years as an army engineer and a childhood in a restaurant kitchen, Manolo can see Junie’s winery is about to go sideways—and he’s bursting with ideas to help. Except Junie’s far too magnetic for comfort. He left New Jersey to escape becoming one more Santos man shackled to a captivating woman and a failing family business. But in the misty hills of Oregon, with a sip of supple Pinot on his tongue, pulling away is the last thing he wants to do
Hipster coffee shops are not usually my cup of tea. You’re talking about someone so sensitive to external stimuli that she picked her gym based on its color scheme. I wasn’t built to write in a setting that requires earbuds to hear myself think—let alone the distraction of good-looking lumbersexuals in plaid shirts and neatly-trimmed beards strolling in empty-handed and leaving clutching their cups of Stumptown Holler Mountain, sending the bell above the door clanging both ways.
But on a recent book research trip to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, my Airbnb up on Ribbon Ridge had “no phone, no lights no motorcars, not a single luxury” (kidding, I had a rental car). After a few days’ solitude to edit my work-in-progress, The Crush, I needed to touch base with my editor in New York. So I asked one of the farmhands where I could go to get Online. She recommended Chapter Books and Coffee, just down the road in the town of Newberg.
photo Chapters Books and Coffee on Instagram
Newberg is an authentic, small farming community founded by Quakers. But it gives off a vibe of being on the edge of something. Beneath the typical American Main Street lined with small businesses runs an undercurrent of change. As soon as the Newberg-Dundee Bypass is finished, the town is gearing up to take full advantage of its location as the gateway from Portland to the wine region known as the Willamette Valley.
Big Pink Hill by Oregon wine country artist Jane Aukshunas
The Willamette has the ideal, maritime climate for the finicky Pinot noir grape. Pinot has brought an influx of tourist dollars and new homes and businesses. The Newberg Downtown Coalition has a vision for Newberg to become not just a gateway, but a destination in itself, with wine tasting rooms, restaurants, and art galleries. For those who prefer finer amenities than my Airbnb offered, a world-class resort called The Allison is already getting rave reviews.
That’s how I ended up spending a couple of hours tucked into a corner of Chapters, steeped in the rich aroma of freshly ground coffee while emailing back and forth to the concrete jungle on my MacBook Air and studying the local characters. Though I’m still not a coffee shop kind of girl, that day, I felt very lucky to be there.
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In wine country, they call it “the crush” . . . that glorious time of autumn when the grapes are bursting with juice and just the right amount of sweetness, ready to be harvested.
The vineyards crawl with pickers in their bright-colored hoodies to ward off the pre-dawn chill. Soon big plastic bins full of fruit will make their way to the press and the fermenting tanks or barrels.
To celebrate the crush, I’m giving away this lovely gift box chock-full of autographed, contemporary romance novels set in wine country, plus chocolate and wine accessories. This box will show up on the doorstep of a lucky person who signs up for my newsletter by clicking here. Contest starts now. Good luck! Winner announced Oct. 1 on my Facebook page. Continental US only.
Heather Heyford writes contemporary romance novels set in the wine country. THE CRUSH, Book 1 of An Oregon Wine Country Romance and set in the heart of Oregon’s wine country, the Willamette Valley, is now available here.
In “Year of Yes,” Shonda Rhimes, mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder, describes the process of getting ready to write as a hard, five-mile run lined with desserts and good movies and great books she’s dying to read before she can get to that place she calls “the hum of laying track.”
Back when I taught art, observing the ways my students settled down to work was a lesson in itself. Some dove right in. Others had elaborate rituals, such as the girl who could only draw using her chewed up, inch-long pink pencil ending in a worn-down eraser. Even when I offered her a fresh yellow one, she refused to trade.
Recently my husband was planning a trip to the opposite coast to run a half-marathon. Anticipating a long weekend free of cooking, I pictured a great swath of time stretching out before me like an empty page, just waiting to be populated with characters and brought alive in scenes. I planned on rising early and staying up late, setting my own personal best in terms of word count.
When the long-awaited day finally arrived? Here’s what I did: made sun tea, fed cats, made bed, made bacon. Ate bacon, felt guilty; mitigated guilt with yogurt. I also went to the bank, had a medical lab test, posted a Facebook video and made a lunch appointment with a friend. By the time I put fingers to keyboard, it was eleven a.m. But instead of working on my novel against a looming deadline, what did I do then? Wrote a random blog post! (The bank and the doctor were non-negotiable, but not the bacon. Definitely not the bacon.)
The hum of laying track. That’s why writers write—to get inside that imaginary world where our fingers are flying and we lose all sense of time. For me, that flow state even trumps the satisfaction of being able to point to a finished book. Some of my writer friends have no problem tuning out crying kids, dirty dishes and their partner’s horrible 80s music. Even given the gift of extra time, others are still compelled to waste precious minutes making the bed and scooping the litter, sweeping away clutter before the muse, like an aircraft signalman waving an orange flag, gives us the all clear. And then, inevitably, someone sticks his head in the door to say “hi” or “bye,” and we have to run that five miles all over again . . .
Heather Heyford writes contemporary romance novels set in the wine country. Her latest release is THE CRUSH, Book 1 of An Oregon Wine Country Romance. It was lovingly researched in the heart of Oregon’s wine country, the Willamette Valley.
While my in-laws were driving north nine hours on I-81 yesterday through the mid-Atlantic states, I was frying sweet Italian sausage for ziti and baking peach strudel.
I opened a bottle of Acrobat Pinot Noir from the all-organic King Estate in the southern tip of the Willamette. Every American Viticultural Area has its own climate, soil and topography. The Willamette’s cool maritime climate is well-suited to growing delicate Pinot grapes, and the King Estate has dedicated 143 acres to the grape. Last March ATF, for the first time in the 33-year history of the Willamette Valley AVA, approved the Estate’s request to expand the area to include their winery.
Since my relationship with Pinot started with Erath, I can’t help but use it as a baseline for comparison. Whereas Erath has a transparency that approaches colorless at the rim and dances lightly across the palate, Acrobat Pinot is a rich red in color, delivering a punch of oak and herbs on the tongue. That enabled the wine to hold its own against the spicy sausage dish and pasta with tomatoes I served. WineEnthusiast contributor PAUL GREGUTT @paulgwine says, “This well-built, aromatic wine smells of fresh raspberries. The mouthfeel is soft and smooth, the tannins subtle and the finish kisses you goodbye with a lick of milk chocolate.”