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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Today's Special - - Kandy Shepherd


It's my pleasure to welcome Kandy Shepherd to the blog today. A former magazine editor, Kandy left that life behind to join her family (both two and four legged) on a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia and write heartwarming romance novels.  When I picked up a copy of Kandy's debut novel, Love is a Four-Legged Word, in 2009 it quickly became evident that we shared a common love of two things:  dogs and romance. Kandy joins us today to chat about another debut of sorts; her first book for the Harlequin Romance line.  I've just finished The Summer They Never Forgot and enjoyed it immensely.  It's a heartwarming, deeply romantic story of second chances written with the expertise that I've come to expect from Kandy Shepherd.  

Thanks for joining us today, Kandy.  Take it away!


 


In love with the beach 
Kandy Shepherd


I don’t know why I find the beachside such an ideal setting for romance. Is it because the rhythm of the waves is meant to echo the human heartbeat? Or because people are often scantily clothed at the beach? Maybe we’re simply more relaxed in close proximity to golden sands and blue water?

Courtesy of Tourisme Tahiti


Whatever, ask me where I’d like to go for a romantic getaway and the answer will always be somewhere near the water. (One day, maybe, I’ll get to visit one of those amazing over-the-ocean hotels in Tahiti!)









Who can forget that classic scene in From Here to Eternity where Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr make passionate love in the breaking waves on a secluded Hawaiian beach? Sigh! However, according to a small survey I conducted (where the respondents shall remain nameless!) the soggy reality of making love on the beach doesn’t always meet the fantasy. Sand in uncomfortable places. The sting of saltwater. Sunburn. Fear of discovery, etcetera, etcetera. Maybe such scenes are better kept as fantasy!










It’s not surprising that I like to set books near water. My first book for Harlequin Romance The Summer They Never Forgot is set in the fictional small coastal town of Dolphin Bay on the beautiful south coast of New South Wales, Australia, about four hours south of Sydney.









I have spent many happy vacations in that part of the world and love the quaint towns, unspoiled bushland and, most of all, the pristine beaches with their white sand and aquamarine waters. In true Aussie style, kangaroos abound in that area—they even come down to the beach to play in the waves. There are dolphins, too. It’s on one of those beaches that I first saw dolphins surfing. The fun they were having was nothing on my delight in watching them frolic!

So you can imagine what fun I had creating the town of Dolphin Bay, putting all the things I loved best about that area into the one fictional place. One early review of the book says the setting “is described so beautifully, readers will almost feel the sand between their toes”.

It’s in this setting that my hero and heroine Ben and Sandy fall in love as teenagers. To them, it’s more than a vacation romance and they never quite forget that first love. Twelve years pass by until Ben and Sandy meet again and, in the interim, they’ve both been wounded by life. Old hurts, betrayals and misunderstandings stand in the way of their reunion. But they’re so perfect for each other! Again that beachside setting starts to weave its magic on them as they find their way back to each other’s hearts. (Though, because this is a sweet romance, there aren’t any torrid encounters in the surf, From Here to Eternity style!)

I’m glad this deeply romantic and emotional story was released in February. This month of romance is also a month of extreme weather in both hemispheres. Readers in chilly winter and those in steamy summer might enjoy the chance to escape to perfect beach weather in the pages of my book!


What’s your dream vacation—beach, lake, mountain, or somewhere quite different? Have you found romance on vacation? I’d leave to hear about it!

Kandy is giving a mass market paperback copy of The Summer they Never Forgot to two randomly chosen people who leave a comment on today's blog. (open internationally)  You must post a comment before 11:00pm EST, February 12, 2014 to be eligible for the giveaway.





61 comments:

  1. I love the beach, so I head to the coast for all of my holidays. I have not found love while on vacation. A good thing too, or the Mister might not be too pleased.

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    1. Your comment made me smile, Mary. I'm guessing Mister goes on those beach vacations with you!

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  2. I love the sound of waves breaking on shore.. But my dream vacation would be a visit to the Almalfi Coast in Italy or the beautiful Highlands in Scotland when the Heather is in full bloom. I have never found romance on vacation.
    Carol L
    Lcky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Oh wouldn't the Amalfi Coast be a wonderful vacation Carol! Years ago I was on a cruise and we were meant to go to the Amalfi Coast but severe flooding in Italy and rough seas meant we had to divert to the south of France instead. Not that I was complaining but it poured rain the whole time we were there, too. One day...

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    2. Need a travel mate, Carol? Those are my dream destinations too! :)

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  4. Sorry about that -- tried to post from my "not so" smartphone this morning. Anyway, what I tried to post was this:
    PJ, I, too, had the pleasure of discovering Kandy in 2009 when I was at my very first RWA national (met you that year, also). I picked up a signed copy of Love is a Four-legged Word from Kandy at the publisher book signing. I loved the book and sent Kandy an email. :)
    Kandy, my very favorite place for a vacation is indeed the beach. I have been going to a place called Pawleys Island in South Carolina for over twenty years with my family. I love it there. Nothing like a beach to soothe your soul. I love the warm sand underfoot and cool (sometimes downright cold) surf rushing up to me while I sit in a low lounge chair reading. I could sit there for hours scrunching my toes in the wet sand. And waking up to the sounds of the ocean can't be beat in my mind. Thanks for reminding me. It helps on these below freezing, snow-ridden wintry days here in Michigan. Looking forward to reading your new book. Anne Stone

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    1. Hi Anne, how lovely to reconnect here at the Dish! I remember I was so pleased when I got your email and delighted you'd liked Love is a Four-Legged Word so much. I've just looked up Pawley's Island and it looks beautiful, definitely a place I'd like to visit. I love your image of reading with the surf swirling around your toes. Being near the water makes me feel happy! I hope you enjoy the setting of The Summer They Never Forget when you get a chance. It's sweltering in my part of Down Under at the moment...

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    2. Hi Anne!

      You all have been slammed up there this winter. My family keeps sending me pictures that make me want to snuggle under the blankets. I left Michigan in 1973 but my bones still remember those sub-zero temps!

      Pawleys Island is a wonderful spot. We love heading to the NC/SC coast for getaways.

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  5. Beach, I always dream one day can go to hawaii :)

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    1. I've been to Hawaii only once Eli (my cousin lived there) and I loved it. I hope your dream comes true!

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    2. Hi Eli! Nice to see you! I visited Hawaii for the first time last year. It was beautiful! I'd love to go back someday and visit more of the islands (we only saw Oahu).

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    3. Hi Eli! Nice to see you! I visited Hawaii for the first time last year. It was beautiful! I'd love to go back someday and visit more of the islands (we only saw Oahu). Hope you make it there!

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  6. Aloha, Kany! Last summer, I moved from Hawaii to Maryland after four years in Paradise. So I am a bit partial to the Aloha State. I miss it (especially with this messy winter) and will return in the distant future. For now, I'd rather have a European vacation!

    Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr rolled around Halona Beach ... near the Halona Blowhole that is a popular overlook along Oahu's Eastern coastal road. It is fairly steep (along a crude path) to get to the beach so it is amazing that the stars and crew were able to get down there!

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    1. Aloha,Kim! How interesting to hear about Halona beach. That scene was quite scandalous at the time I believe, maybe the crew wanted to discourage onlookers!

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    2. Aloha, Kim! I remember wondering the same thing when we visited the lookout at Halona Beach last year. Not an easy trek down but a lovely secluded beach that was perfect for that scene. Of course, I don't remember seeing any beach on Oahu that wasn't lovely. :)

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  7. Technically I could vacation any of those places so long as I didn't have to bring my day job with me. But I prefer the beach. The beach, the sand, the surf, the rum drinks. That's my thing. Mountains are beautiful and lakes are lovely--but the ocean is like looking at the night sky: you feel small, but special just to be a part of it.

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    1. I absolutely agree with you Ms hellion, there are few things I like doing more than walking along a beach - preferably without too many other people on it - and taking in the awe-inspiring beauty of the ocean.

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    2. Kandy, my family of the heart just bought a beach house and we were there this past weekend. It rained Saturday but when Sunday dawned clear (though cold) we took the dogs (we had three with us) and walked the beach. I don't think we saw more than five people the entire time we were out there and everyone we did see had dogs with them also. It was just about perfect. :)

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    3. That sounds like utter heaven, P.J., for both humans and dogs!

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  8. but the ocean is like looking at the night sky: you feel small, but special just to be a part of it.

    I so agree, Hellie. The beach is where I recharge my internal energy bank. We were there this past weekend and, even though the weather was cold, a Sunday walk along the beach with the dogs made my soul sing.

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  9. Hiya Dishies! Hiya Kandy! Hey, this feels like a party with so many of my faves peeps in one spot. PJ, like you, I just loved THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT. In fact, there's a review on the way in a Second Helping which is coming up! Kandy, I must say I'm a beach girl all the way. I just love the ocean and being beside the sea. Feel as thought that's where I should be. Your book brought back lovely memories of beachside holidays for me!

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    1. Hey Anna, so nice to see you here. Thank you for your kind words about my new book, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. And I'm delighted you're doing a review!

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  10. The beach soothes my soul and is the most wonderful locale for a vacation. When I go which is rare I soak up the sun and walk along the seashore. It is restful and special. I went with my soulmate and that is why.

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    1. Hi Petite, you echo my feelings so well, I also feel the beach soothes my soul!

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  11. Does a staycation count:)

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    1. Hi jcp, if you're lucky enough to live near a beach I think a staycation would be absolutely fabulous--in fact every day might have the feel of a vacation!

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  12. The beach is my ultimate place to escape to. I could walk for hours and then read on the sand. This environment has a quality which no other replicates.

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    1. Ah, yes, traveler, walking along the sand then settling down to read a good book is a recipe for bliss!

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  13. We took a cruise once and I loved it. Also, Hawaii when I met up with my husband for his R&R from Vietnam - very romantic!

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    1. I loved Hawaii too, catslady, and it sounds like it was a very romantic trip for you! A cruise sounds wonderful, too, I'd love to go on another one some day.

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  14. Hi, Kandy, and welcome to the blog! We are so glad to have you visit with us today. I love the sound of your new release!

    Vacation? It really depends on the time of year for me. Right now, I long for the beach as we're about to be hit with snow and ice. But during the summer, I long for the cool mountain air. : )

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    1. Thank you so much for having me at the Dish, Andrea, it's such a pleasure to be here! No matter the weather we do long for its opposite for a break, don't we! Stay safe in the snow and ice, it sounds like such a severe winter this year in your part of the world.

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  15. Thank you, Kandy. I dig romantic seaside settings, for the reasons you listed. Plus the fact that when people are in a carefree vacation mood, anything can happen.

    I live several hundred miles from the nearest coast, and here in North America we're shivering in an especially harsh winter. So of course I wish I were somewhere warm and littoral. Such as a resort in your country.

    I dig marine biology, so I guess my dream vacation would be at a Great Barrier Reef resort. I'd love to explore its wonders firsthand. Throw in a guy like your romance heroes and what more could anyone ask?

    Unless, of course, I run into the big danger of the Australian coasts. Sharks!

    Keep up the good work!

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    2. So true, Mary Anne, when people are relaxed those inhibitions can come tumbling down...
      The Great Barrier Reef resorts are beautiful and I would love to be up there right now - except it's cyclone season! The weather has to be good to get me out on the reef snorkeling. I can't wait to visit there again. I hope you get up there some day as it really is special. There are people visiting from all around the world, which is awesome when you consider how far away it is from the US and Europe.

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  16. Sense we have snow on the ground right now and have for a while and beach would really be nice with some warm weather. Thanks for the great giveaway.

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    1. February really is a month for extremes of weather, isn't it Quilt Lady? While you are shivering in snow and ice, Down Under we are sweltering in day after day of extreme heat and no rain. I wonder where in the world it is temperate in February?

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  17. I'm going to be off line the next couple of hours but will be back ASAP to answer comments. My daughter is starting a degree at a university some hours away and asked us to come with her for enrolment day. So that's where we're about to go! ( it's early morning Down Under,)

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    1. Thanks Mary Anne, I'm back home now after a longer-than-expected trip. My daughter is starting her second degree and it will be the first time she has been away from home. As luck would have it, Newcastle University north of Sydney, is just 20 minutes away from glorious beaches. Unfortunately we didn't have time to swim today but I was really taking in some beautiful views!

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  18. Kandy, as you know I recently read 'The Summer They Never Forgot' and loved it. The romance and the characters are terrific and you paint the beachside location so well. You really could feel the sand between the toes! As for beach or mountains - sigh! How can I choose? I love both! What a great excuse for two vacations.

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    1. Hi Annie, I'm so pleased you enjoyed THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT, you've said some very nice things about it! In our family, I love the beach, my husband loves the mountains. Of course our little farm is in the mountains and I love it there too. But I do like to vacation by the sea!

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  19. My dream vacation would be to go to a beach! Where I could sit in the sun and sand and read!!! Oh and get massages and Mai Tais :) LOL... congrats Kandy on the new release and thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for the congratulations, Erin. You have described my ideal vacation, massages and all.I am actually planning my next vacation, to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and all that is on the menu!

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  20. My dream vacation would be a cruise going to the Islands. If I can't do that, I would choose the beach.

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    1. I'm with you on both those dream destinations, Cathy!

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  21. We are more mountain people than beach people. I like the coast, but rocky and wild appeal, not sandy and serene. We would love to spend a month or so in Scotland, Ireland, and England. However, my husband saw something the other night on the Trans-Siberia Railroad and now he wants to do that trip. We love to travel and wish we had the money to do what we would like (wouldn't we all!). As long as we are exploring and experiencing new places and cultures, we are happy.
    Congratulations on the release of THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT. I hope it does well and is the beginning of a long and successful writing career.

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    1. Thank you librarypat. Reading your comment made me think about how much of the world there is still for me to see. However I am grateful for what I have seen so far. The Trans-Siberia Railroad sounds like a fascinating trip, I hope you and your husband get to experience it!

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  22. Congrats on the new release, Kandy! My hubby's family has a lake cottage in northern Michigan that I just love. It's been in his family for generations. I love sitting on the screen porch and listening to the waves hitting the beach while I read. *bliss*

    Marcy Shuler

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    1. How absolutely wonderful to have a lake cottage that has been in the family for generations, Marcy. That does indeed sound like utter bliss!

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  23. Fabulous post, Kandy! Congratulations on the release of THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT.

    I generally holiday in big cities, which is kind of weird because I live in a big city myself. But I just love the energy places like New York, Amsterdam and London give me. That said, I've stayed in beachside resorts and there's nothing like the ocean providing a lullaby before bedtime.

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  24. I love a big city vacation too, Vanessa, all those cities you mention are on my favorites list. And I'm a shopaholic so that's another reason to love a big city. The city stay is exciting and stimulating, whereas I'm hoping for relaxation at the beach--and yes, I love that ocean lullaby! Thanks for calling by.

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    2. Thank you so much PJ for inviting me to The Romance Dish. It's been such a pleasure to hear about everyone's dream vacations. Now I want to go on one myself!

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  26. I do love a beach vacation and each summer my family vacations on the coast of South Carolina. It's so relaxing to sit on the beach and read, take long walks, and listen to the ocean. However, one day I would like to travel to the British Isles or perhaps to Italy for a lovely vacation.

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    1. Hi Pam, your South Carolina vacations sound blissful, just my cup of tea. But I hope you get to travel to Britain and Italy for a totally different experience!

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  27. I should never come on this page, because I ALWAYS want to buy all the books that PJ likes. This one should be popping up on my Kindle any moment and will be ideal for a week of holidays somewhere in 10 days time. I still don't know where, because my husband told me he would organise it this time and he's still "thinking"...

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    1. I do hope you enjoy the book Bridget, and I also hope your husband has picked a wonderful spot for your vacation!

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