Thursday, February 4, 2016

Today's Special - - Anna Sugden


It may have taken Anna Sugden a while to reach her dream of being a romance writer but I'm so glad she never gave up. After careers in global marketing and teaching, Anna - a Brit - finally turned her total focus to writing when her husband's job took them to New Jersey in 2002. They returned to England in 2008 but Anna kept writing and in 2012 she sold her first book and the New Jersey Ice Cats were born. Anna's love of sports - especially hockey - shines through in her books. She also loves classic films, cross-stitch, good food, wine, penguins and, especially, great shoes! 


Welcome back, Anna! It’s always a treat when you bring us a new Ice Cats love story. Please tell our readers what they should expect from A Perfect Compromise

Thanks so much, PJ. It’s great to be here. I love being able to hang out with you and all the lovely
readers at the Romance Dish.

This is the fourth book in the series and it moves away slightly from the Badolettis and the Jelineks -- although not too much since JB is like an adopted son/brother -- to feature reader favourite Jean Baptiste Larocque.

This is a story about coping with the curveballs that life throws at you (I know, wrong sport ). For both JB and Issy, they have their sights set on certain goals and what should be a fun vacation fling really ends up causing major problems for them both! It’s also about the idea that love takes work and compromise.

J.B. has a lot of growing up to do in this book before he can move from Mr. Right Now to Mr. Right. What was the most difficult part of writing this character? What do you want readers to understand about him?

Getting the balance right. JB is a player, both on and off the ice. He doesn’t like responsibility or commitment and he’s happy with a free and easy life. But, at the same time, he’s not a bad or mean or selfish person. He’s charming, fun, loyal and well-intentioned. A genuine guy, an honest guy, whose heart is in the right place. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in the other books, he gets caught up in bad situations. So, with all of that, it was important to ensure readers could see both the good and bad of JB.

J.B. and Issy are in two very different places in their lives when they first meet and must overcome some significant obstacles before they have a chance to make a relationship work. What is it about these two that convinced you they were meant to be together?

You know how sometimes you just know when two people will be perfect for each other? That’s what happened when Issy appeared in my head. She kept telling me how much JB couldn’t work for her and yet … J. I think it’s because they’re such different people with such different needs that they work. They bring out the best in each other. JB loosens up Issy and Issy shows JB that ties and commitment don’t have to be a noose around his neck.

J.B. is one hot hockey hero. Did you use a real-life inspiration for his physical characteristics or is he
solely a product of your imagination?

The character was originally inspired by a combination of former Devil, Johnny Oduya, and former Yankee, Derek Jeter. But the actual physical inspiration was Shemar Moore. Whenever I see him on Criminal Minds, I say - ‘There’s JB!’ .

After losing the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the book, J.B. and his teammate, Mad Dog take off for a getaway in Antigua. What location would be your favorite getaway?

Anywhere warm and sunny, with a beach or lake! I was lucky enough to be whisked away to Antigua for my 50th birthday and it was the perfect spot to spend two weeks chilling out with my lovely hubby. If we can’t make it to the Caribbean, we love Italy and have a soft spot for Charleston, SC. Both places have everything we love -- good food, nice people, great weather, a laid-back atmosphere and the occasional fab shoe shop!

In the book, Issy fantasizes about chocolate brownies topped with hummus. What’s the weirdest food combination that makes your taste buds sparkle?

At least Issy can blame her craving on her pregnancy! LOL I don’t think my tastes are that weird. I love peanut butter and cream cheese omelettes. I also love peanut butter and banana. Marmalade and sharp cheddar is another fave. My lovely hubby makes an awesome lime curd which is also yummy with sharp cheddar.

Here's the recipe for another favorite from Issy:

Issy’s No Olive Seven Layer Dip Recipe

2 cups leftover or canned chili (vegetarians can use refried beans, crushed kidney beans or vegetarian chili)
1 cup guacamole
1 cup sour cream
1 cup salsa
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 cup corn
1 cup chopped tomatoes, spring onions (scallions)


In a large bowl (clear is better so you can show off the layers), layer the ingredients in the same order as above, starting with the chili. Serve with tortilla chips or strips.


At Issy’s first hockey game, J.B. scores the winning goal and gives her the game-winning puck. What’s your most prized sports memorabilia item?

Oh it’s so hard to choose. You should see my office walls - covered in all kinds of hockey memorabilia. Signed pictures, game-used sticks, pucks and jerseys. All, naturally, from my beloved Devils. J. If I had to pick one, I think it would be Brian Gionta’s game-worn jersey from the night they retired Scott Stevens’ number. It’s signed by both Brian - who scored in the game - and Scotty.

Will there be more Ice Cats books?

Definitely! I’m currently working on book 5, which is tentatively entitled A Perfect Plan. It features recently retired Ice Cats’ captain, Scott ‘Scotty’ Matthews, and Issy’s best friend from A Perfect Compromise, Sapphire Houlihan.

Where can readers find you online?

All the latest news is on my website www.annasugden.com. That is where I post my free short stories, as well, so it’s worth checking out!

I’m on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AnnaSugden.RomanceAuthor and Twitter as @annasugden and I’m also on Pinterest https://pinterest.com/annasugden

What’s next?

I’m planning to write more holiday-themed short stories featuring some of the secondary characters from the team. I hope to offer A Perfect Bouquet, a Valentine-themed story on my website in February. And, in response to readers’ requests, I’m hoping to release A Perfect Selection - an anthology of the short stories - for sale in March.

Thanks, Anna! Would you like to ask our readers a question?

For those of you who’ve had children, did you get pregnancy cravings and if so, what were they? For the rest of you, what is your weirdest food combination favourite?


Anna has generously offered several giveaways so start posting those comments!

Giveaways include:
A signed copy of A Perfect Trade
A signed copy of A Perfect Catch
A signed copy of A Perfect Compromise
A signed set of the limited edition print version of the short stories



68 comments:

  1. I did have a few cravings when I was pregnant, but it was so long ago I don't remember. I wanted peanut butter on toast, but it would upset my stomach. I really don't remember having any weird cravings.

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    1. Hi librarypat! Thanks for stopping by today. That's what a lot of people told me - food they normally liked would turn their stomach!

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  2. Hey Anna! I'm totally jelly of your collection, if only mine was half as cool as yours but then mine would be Jets related of course. :D No kids here but my weird food combo would be putting ketchup on my rice, it's a strange but I think it's a pretty fantastic combination!

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    1. Hey Ada! Thanks for joining in the fun today! I'm jealous of your job - being able to watch your Jets from such a great seat! I know a lot of kids who put ketchup on their rice - you're obviously young at heart!

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  3. Hi Anna

    "This is a story about coping with the curveballs that life throws at you (I know, wrong sport )"

    I think you must have been seduced by those hunky American sports heroes!

    The inswingers or googlies that life throws might be more appropriate for an English lass hopefully steeped in cricketing traditions. LOL

    I would love to read a sporting romance centred on test match cricket or premier league football .... and the English ladies are doing pretty well in both sports right now.

    weirdest food combination favourite?
    That would be Baked Alaska with lashings of je ne sais quoi created from the chef's imagination.

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    1. Sorry replace life throws with life bowls !!!

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    2. Hey Quantum! Great to see you! Between you and me, I'm not a big cricket fan ('ex' issues!) - shh I know it's sacrilege. But I am a huge footie fan (Man Utd season ticket holder). I'd love to write some Premier League stories some day. I hoped there might be interest after the Rugby series, but no joy.

      Yes! The English ladies are rocking!

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  4. Ever since I was pregnant with my first child, over 30 years ago, I almost always have ice cream for breakfast.

    I put chocolate chips in my coffee.

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    1. Hi Laurie! Thanks for stopping by! Ice Cream for breakfast works for me - wonder if I can get away with it even though I've never had a baby. Oh yum on the chocolate chips in your coffee.

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  5. Hi, I love sports related stories. Would love to win the short stories if possible as I think I have the others on my oh so long tbr. But would be happy to take any and pass them along if I won.

    No cravings or crazy combos. Boring me.
    ladbookfan

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    1. Hi ladbookfan! Thanks for joining in the fun. You're not boring at all! I hope you get a chance to delve into your TBR mountain (I have one of those!) and catch up with the Ice Cats!

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  6. I never had cravings when I was pregnant. I avoid strange combo's. Your sports books are captivating.

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    1. Hey Traveler! Great to see you here! Thank you so much for your kind words about my books :)

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  7. No cravings with my first pregnancy, but I had cravings for corn on the cob and peanut butter with my second pregnancy.

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    1. Hi Diane. Thanks for joining in the fun today. I love it - corn on the cob with peanut butter!

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  8. Yes, fried egg sandwich with bacon, cheese, pickle and ketchup - especially ketchup lol. I worked near a McDonalds with my first pregnancy and ordered one M through F. With the second I had to make them myself lol.

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    1. Hey Catslady! Great to see you here today! That is one heck of a craving - sounded yummy until you added the pickle (and I love pickles normally!) LOL.

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  9. A Perfect Compromise downloaded to my Kindle earlier this week. I am eager to read it.

    No pregnancies for me, but I can remember some strange combinations as a teen including balogna and banana with mayo on white bread. Frankly, my stomach rolls just typing the combo now, but one of my BFFs and I loved them when we were 15.

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    1. Hey Janga! Lovely to see you! And thank you for letting me know that you ordered A Perfect Compromise - you've made my day!

      You know, having grown up in the US, I had several friends who made weird combo sandwiches with bologna!

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  10. I enjoy sports-themed romances. No pregnancy cravings, but as someone said above, in school, I did have ice cream for breakfast a few times.

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    1. Hi Kim! Thanks for stopping by today. I'm so glad you're a sports romance fan - I hope you enjoy the Ice Cats.

      I don't see a problem with ice cream for breakfast - it's dairy, often with fruit. ;)

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  11. During my 2 pregnancies I craved pizza. One time my husband went to get a pizza to bring back to the house. I stood at the window watching for him because I was DYING for pizza! :-)

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    1. Hi Cheryl! Thanks for joining in the fun! LOL oh bless your hubby for doing the pizza run for you. At least it was just ordinary pizza. I had a friend who wanted pickles on her pizza and her hubby had to go and get the pickles separately and put them on the pizza before bringing it home!

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  12. Sports novels are a delight. When I was younger I had a unique combo tuna with mustard, on toast. Otherwise no cravings nor weird combinations.

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    1. Hey Petite! Great to see you here! So glad you're another sports romance fan!

      I haven't heard of tuna and mustard, but I often make tuna and cream cheese :)

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  13. Welcome, Anna! It's great to have you back! One of my weird taste combos dates back to my teens and my first job, as a carhop at a drive-in restaurant. This was an "after closing" treat my favorite cook would make for us while we cleaned up. It's a hamburger patty with cream cheese and sliced green olives on grilled white bread. I still love it today!

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    1. Hey PJ! It's always such fun to hang out with you Dishy Dames!

      How funny, because I remember someone I grew up with loving exactly the same combination! Except she worked at a diner.

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  14. Congrats on the new release, Anna! Can't think of anything I like that is a weird food combo, but my cousin once ordered a ham sandwich in a deli and by mistake the roll was smeared with butter instead of the usual musard/mayo, but he said it was so delicious and he now sometimes orders a ham sandwich with butter. No need to enter me in the giveaway.

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    1. Hey Jane! Lovely to see you here! I love butter on all my sandwiches *g*

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  15. No kiddos.... but when I was young, I liked sandwiches of grape jelly [for whatever reason, the only choice in our house except when leg of lamb was served with mint jelly] and American cheese.... not gourmet to say the least!!!

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    1. Hi Girlygirl! Thanks for stopping by! Ooh leg of lamb with mint jelly - yum. Grape jelly and American cheese sounds good. It's that mix of sweet and sharp that works, I think.

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  16. Hi Anna, Being a big Chicago Blackhawks fan, I get to claim Oduya also. He helped us win a couple of Stanley Cups. I also agree on Shemar Moore. Weirdest combination was ketchup and relish on bread. My husband looked at me like I was crazy. I have never eaten that since. Looking forward to reading your books. I love football and hockey.

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    1. Hi Pamela! Thanks for joining in the fun. Oh yes - you get to claim Johnny too. Sad you let him go, though. I have a Blackhawks t-shirt, with Madden on the back - for my boy John Madden. The only hockey shirt I'll wear that isn't Devils. Hope you enjoy my Ice Cats. :)

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  17. Sorry for the silence all day! We've had ongoing internet problems but I'm back online now. Off to read comments! :)

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    1. Hugs PJ - we've had them this morning too! xx

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  18. a friend in high school loved cream cheese & marischino cherry sandwiches - they are kind of yummy (but not too often)

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    1. I've never tried them in a sandwich but I do love the cream cheese and maraschino cherry combo. I skewer them on toothpicks with a chuck of pineapple for appetizers. Good stuff.

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    2. Hi Di! Thanks for joining in the fun! Interesting combination. We have a cheese over here which is Wensleydale cheddar and cranberries - one of my faves - I imagine that's much the same thing.

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  19. With my son I craved shrimp pizza and watermelon in January and with my daughter
    Baby Ruth candy bars . In fact that was all I could eat and keep down I lost 45 pounds while pregnant with her...threw up the entire pregnancy.

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    1. Okay, I'm having a hard time with shrimp pizza but Baby Ruth? Oh yeah, I could definitely get behind that craving! :)

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    2. Hi DeerDoe! I know the kidlets were a blessing, but hugs on the throwing up for the whole pregnancy! Shrimp pizza and watermelon - nice combo.

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  20. I love sports novels, but I will admit that I haven't read any about golfers or bowlers. What's up with that, I wonder? The only craving I experienced (and it was a long, long time ago--my younger child is nearly 33) was for pickled beets. And I still love them!

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    1. Nope, no cravings for pickled beets or beets of any kind, really. ;-)


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    2. Hey Nikki! Thanks for stopping by. Urgh - beets of any kind, especially pickled make me shudder. Our grandson loves them though. I remember reading one about a golfer years ago. I want to say it was a Temptation (when Harlequin still had that lovely line!) And my fab Supers sister Cathryn Parry has a golfing story, Secret Garden, set in Scotland

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  21. I had different cravings with each child. With my son at least once a week I HAD to have California Rolls with sides of cucumber kimchi and boiled potato dish from a specific Korean restaurant. The last trimester I also craved watermelon. I think I at a whole one every 3 days or so. With my daughter I wanted Vietnamese charcoal grilled pork rice noodle bowl (not the soup) with extra fish sauce and spring rolls with extra peanut sauce. Turns out my kids are still pretty adventurous in their dining choices. :-)

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    1. Hey Glenda! Great to see you here. Wow those are adventurous cravings! Bless your other half for indulging those! So can you still eat them or did the cravings turn you off?

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    2. Not the normal stuff for me... Well, I did have to have a few ice cream sundaes, but only with traditional toppings. As far as my other half indulging me, he isn't a fan of any of those foods (except watermelon). I tried really hard to eat these things for lunch so he didn't have to attempt it. :-D

      Oh and I can still eat them. No problems whatsoever!

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  22. Hi Anna! *waves* Love your Ice Cats, I can't wait to read J.B. and Issy's story. No pregnancies for me so no weird cravings. I don't think I have any strange combinations of food that I eat maybe peanut butter and banana sandwiches?

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    1. Hey Anita! Lovely to see you! Peanut butter and banana is a perfectly acceptable combination - I love it! Wasn't it a favourite of Elvis's too? :)

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  23. Yay, Anna!!! Great interview, and hooray on your newest Ice Cat story! As for pregnancy cravings, mostly it was for cheeseburgers ;) (Which I admit I still enjoy, even though NOT pregnant ;) ) What was a little odd for me was that I sort of lost my taste for chocolate during at least one of my pregnancies... (I know--WHAT?!) It came rushing back in the early post-partum days, and DH was kind enough to oblige by splurging on a two-pound box of Leonidas that time...

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    1. Hey Fedora! Fab to see you here! OMG losing the taste for chocolate! That must have been so weird! I'm glad it came back. We know someone who is allergic to chocolae, which is so sad!

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  24. Hi,

    I didn't get cravings, but I couldn't drink tea either time. It just upset my stomach. I actually knew I was pregnant with my daughter about 3 days into the pregnancy because of this.

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    1. Hi Mary! Great to see you here! Isn't that funny? My Mum knew she was pregnant because she hated certain smells - I think it was gasoline - and loved others - I think boiled cabbage - which was normally the other way around.

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  25. Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by and joined in the fun! Loved some of the combos and cravings (except the pickled beets - blech!) And a special thank you and monster hug to dearest PJ. I hope you'll all say hi to me wherever you do social media!

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  26. I'm not in the pregnancy category as yet so that's out for me and I don't have any weird food combo probably it's because I'm young when I get over my 40s then I'll have more experiences to share

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    1. Hi Natasha! Thanks for stopping by. Isn't that funny - I often think of younger folk as having the open minds to enjoy weird combinations. :) Perhaps it's the rebel rule-breaker in me LOL

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  27. No weird combos. And no cravings either. Other than dessert. LOL.
    Patty B

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    1. Hey Patty! Thanks for dropping by. Cravings for dessert - oh yes!

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  28. My favorite weird combination of food is peanut butter and pickles. Yummy!

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    1. Hey Cathy! Great to see you here! I love peanut butter and I love pickles - never tried them together though. Hmm :)

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  29. Hi Anna! Congrats on the new release! I love to drink cold milk with my popcorn. Maybe not too weird, but it grosses out the hubs! ;)

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    1. Hey Karyn! How are you? Lovely to see you! Thanks so much. LOL men are such delicate creatures, aren't they?

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  30. Best wishes with the new book. I really do not have anything weird that I eat.
    Karen T.

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    1. Hi Karen! Thanks for stopping by! That's okay - there have to be some normal people lol!

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  31. Congrats on the book!! Most people I know think it is but I put Salt on my french toast.

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    1. Hi Gabrielle! Thanks for joining the fun! Given how salted cararmel and salted chocolate are so fashionable no, it seems you're ahead of the game with French Toast!

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  32. With my daughter I craved pickles and beef sticks. With my son it was always pizza.

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  33. I always craved olives and had an aversion to ground beef. I had very serious morning sickness problems which worsened with each pregnancy (three).

    denise

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