Friday Fanfare Welcomes: Mackenzie Crowne and The Billionaire’s Con


Let’s jump right in and thank Mackenzie for sharing her latest release! Also, for stepping up at the very last minute to do this today.

How did the writer’s journey begin for you?

I come from a big Irish clan. I’m talking large here, with seven siblings and countless wannabe add-ons who would join us around the crowded kitchen table where we would linger for hours after a meal, laughing, teasing, or listening intently to one tale or another; some real, some complete fiction. You could say I come by storytelling honestly because you know what they say about the Irish having the gift of gab, or is that blarney? (So you’ve kissed a Blarney stone or two? CR)  

Either way, I discovered my love of weaving a story as a child, and penned my first tale at the age of ten. (Just don’t ask me where that story is now. Hell, I have enough trouble keeping track of my cell phone.) (I wrote my first story at age ten too! I donated it to my school library and have, since becoming published, tried to locate it-with no luck so far- CR) Fast forward to adulthood. I dabbled with writing for years, but it wasn’t until a brush with breast cancer that I got serious about my dream of sharing my stories with others. As of today, I’m a five year survivor, living my dream.

Congrats on your survival record, Mac! The world is a much better place with you, and other like you, in it. 🙂

Tell us three things about you-the writer-readers wouldn’t typically know.

1. I’m a cat person. With the exception of maybe a month, I’ve had one in my life from the day I was born.

2. I’m a hair twirler. In fact, I’m twirling right now.

3. Liverwurst with catsup on cracker is one of my favorite snacks. I know, sounds gross, but mom is German and she fed it to us all as kids. And hey, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. 

Ugh, huh-uh! I’m seriously allergic to anything liver…actually the high iron content in it.

It all began when… A smart mouthed blonde showed up in a scene I was writing for another book (Cara O’Shea’s Return – summer 2013). I didn’t see Meggy Calhoun coming. I simply opened the door to Cara’s sidekick and from that point on, Meggy wouldn’t leave me alone. I’ve never had a character pester me the way she did, demanding I help her discover her own story. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore. I plowed through the first draft of Cara’s story, then  set it aside to write The Billionaire’s Con.

Don’t you love those kinds of characters? I’ve met a few myself who refuse to be patient and wait their turn.

Where did you get the premise for this book? As Cara’s story unfolded, I discovered Meggy was adopted. She immediately began demanding; Come on, Mac. Aren’t you curious? Where did I come from? Why would my birth parents give me up? With those questions in mind, I went in search of Meggy’s beginnings. Of course, she’s fiercely independent and so full of fun, I simply couldn’t handle giving her a story full of emotional trauma. No, Anastasia with an attitude is more Meggy’s style. And since this is a romance, I couldn’t resist introducing her to Trevor, a Greek god type who doubts her identity and sets out to prove she’s a con artist bent on cashing in on a fortune.

I need to read this story. Seriously.

What stands out about this story that made writing it different for you? The Chic-lit undercurrents. While Meggy’s story is a romance, her close friendship with the O’Shea sisters is a heavy element. I’ve never written a story with so many key characters before, but I have to say, the experience was a blast.

I’ll bet you did have fun. Chicklit, huh? Interesting.

Were there any difficult challenges or special subject matter you came across while writing this book? For someone who has to dust her oven before tossing in that frozen pizza, writing a heroine who is a chef was a definite challenge. Thank God for my little brother. Did I mention he’s a chef?

You did, actually, at Christmas. Very cool. Both of my brothers are proficient cooks, though not professionals.

What about this book would make us want to read it more than others of similar taste? God, I hate this kind of question. I feel so… egotistical, pimping my own stuff. (That’s the fun of the question! -CR) But, since you asked… 😉 I’d have to say the humor. As I said, I had a blast spending time with Meggy and the girls. They have such a fun way of relating to each other. You know, like that best friend or sister who isn’t afraid to tell you your roots are showing.

Sounds like an amazing relationship.

What do you want readers to take away from this book? I want them to walk away with a smile and a sigh. It’s a lighthearted romance after all. And perhaps an appreciation for New England. I grew up there and loved using my happy memories of my small town childhood to fill in the scenery.

Tell us about the finished book. Is there anything special we might not know after reading it?Hmmm. Well, since I mentioned Cara O’Shea’s Return, you know The Billionaire’s Con is part of a series. Of course, I never do anything the normal way, so I released Meggy’s story first, even though it’s a sequel to Cara’s. Does that make sense? *rolling my eyes* Anyway, here’s a little taste of The Billionaire’s Con.

The Billionaire's Con Final resized (2)Blurb:

Determined to succeed, Chef Meggy Calhoun realizes her dream with the opening of Boston’s hottest new culinary experience. But will her secret connection to one of New England’s most powerful families poison her recipe for success, and leave her heart flambéed?

Excerpt:

“What are you doing in here, Meggy?” Jill moved to stand beside the stepladder. “And why are you painting?”

Meggy frowned at the intruders, ignoring Jill for the moment. Her gaze scanned the tall stranger. She noted his expensive suit and handsome face below a thick pelt of dark, auburn hair. Though very attractive, he had that stiff, life-is-serious-business look about him.

Lawyer.

Meggy sighed at the waste and turned her frown to Jill.

“I needed something to keep my hands occupied until I can get back into the kitchen.”

Agitated as much with the delay as the mess, she flicked her hand holding the roller. A silken thread of paint danced through the air, leaving a drizzle of pale yellow across the faded denim of her favorite jeans.

Perfect. Just perfect.

“Get back into the kitchen?” Jill placed her hands on her hips. “I thought the kitchen was up and running.”

Meggy hoisted her butt off the top of the ladder and slapped a hand to the wall when she lost her balance. From the corner of her eye, she saw the lawyer take a startled step forward. With a disgusted growl, she glared at the fresh slash of paint coating her hand, and clambered down the ladder backwards before he could reach her.

“We had a leak.” She jumped the last two steps to land on the floor, jamming the roller into the pan at the foot of the ladder. “The plumber is there now, dealing with the aftermath.” Reminded of the calamity in her kitchen, she turned a glower on the silent man and quirked a brow. “And you are?”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Jill rolled her eyes at Meggy and made the introductions. “Meggy Calhoun, this is Trevor Bryce. He’s a writer who’s interested in renting the Carriage House. Mr. Bryce, Meggy is one of the owners of Palmer House. She’s also the head chef.”

Meggy watched, fascinated, as the stiff lawyer vanished behind a wicked smile, a flash of white teeth, and dimples. There was nothing stiff about the penetrating gaze that met and held hers. The deep drawl of his voice, when he said hello, reminded her of the smooth slide of the aged whiskey found in Palmer House’s well-stocked bar.

She glanced at the hand he held out, and flipped up her own paint-smeared palm. “Sorry, I’m a mess.”

Laugh lines crinkled the tanned skin at the corner of his eyes, and the soft core of femininity within her sighed in appreciation. She’d always had a soft spot for the Greek god type. Looking at Trevor Bryce, she had a sudden craving for Feta cheese and Ouzo.

LOL What a fun scene. Oh the things one can get into with those Greek god types!

Where can readers find you and your books? You can find all of my titles at my Amazon Author Page, or at Still Moments Publishing and The Wild Rose Press. I haunt the usual sites like Facebook and Twitter, but if you want to know more about me, stop on by my home on the web at mackenziecrowne.com

Is there anything else you want to share or add?

Sharing the details of a romance with a heroine chef wouldn’t be complete without a recipe. I promise, it’s not mine. It’s from my brother and Meggy, and it’s wicked easy and wicked good! Enjoy!

Scrumptious Brownie Cheesecake:
Follow instructions for Betty Crocker Brownies. Mix ingredients and add to a parchment lined spring mold pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min. While that’s baking, mix 1 pound of softened Philly cream cheese, half cup of sugar, teaspoon vanilla, 2 eggs, until smooth. Remove brownies from oven, pour cream cheese batter over them and swirl in with a butter knife. Bake for additional 30 to 40 min at same temp or until set.

And did I tell you how this “easy” recipe turned out for me when I attempted to make it for my RWA Christmas party? Let’s just say wicked is right… Good? Not so much. I managed to royally screw it up–two batches! I pity the person who ate the one piece missing before both pies went into the garbage.

Thanks for braving my inquisition, Mac and I wish you and Meggy all the love and success you both deserve.

Let’s ask readers- What is the “easiest” recipe you couldn’t master?

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Posted on 02/22/2013, in Friday Fanfare, Interview, Pen of the Dreamer, Promotion and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. Hi Mac – great post and I really love your cover. I LOVE chocolate brownies but HATE liver!

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  2. Thanks so much for hosting me, Calisa. Today is a much better day the last two. We’re hoping life will quickly be back to normal. Again, thanks. You’re the best.

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  3. Due to unforeseen circumstances I don’t think Mac will be back tonight. If she’s able I’m sure she’ll pop back in tomorrow or Sunday possibly. If not, please don’t let her absence keep you from enjoying her fun interview, please! Keep talking to her and she’ll see you all when she gets back. 🙂 And I’m here… 😛

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  4. I’ll bet Christmas at your house was fun, Mackenzie 🙂 Your book sounds great, I love the excerpt too, and quite fancy the chicklit elements. Good luck with it!

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    • EVERY day at our house was fun, Cait. Christmas was a free-for all. “quite fancy” Is that an accent I hear? 🙂 Thanks a bunch for popping by.

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      • You do know your accents, Mac. Cait is my lovely crit partner in England. 🙂 Another awesome blog to get addicted to, as well. 😛

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        • I knew it! Too funny. The thing is, my name? Mackenzie? Came from role play adventures with my G’daughter. She’d break into a British accent and insist her name was McKayla and I was Mackenzie.

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  5. Love the excerpt! What a sassy gal. The whole liverwurst with ketchup, not so much for me. This bit just adds to Mac’s unique appeal. I very much enjoyed the interview and best to you both!

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  6. Fun interview, ladies. I *might* be able to successfully bake the cheesecake brownies. The excerpt was great so I added it to my TBR mountain (at the top, of course!).

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  7. I had some things I had to do for another writer this morning so I’m late to the party…and what do I find? Liver puke fests!!!! What the heck are you two up to? Must I keep an eye on you ALL the time?

    Great post Mac and Calisa. Having said that I’m outta here. You two are a mess…and I’ve got a fireman and a reporter about to strangle one another. Gawd, if it’s not one group of nuts, it’s another.

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  8. Um…YUM! To the book AND the recipe. I can never get enough cream cheese! Oh and I LOVE liver sausage. I hate liver, but love that sausage. My dad taught me how to eat it with super sour yellow mustard smothered all over a thick slice. Congrats on the book and sounds like a fantastic read! Adding it to my TBR pile!! XO

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    • Hey AJ,
      I don’t eat liver either but there is something about that mushy pate’ that is just so good. With catsup. Not mustard. Ewww I make it for my grandkids while we chant, braunshchweiger, braunschweiger! LOL Like most people, it grosses my DIL out. People have such a strong reaction to the word liverwurst that I have this gleeful desire to champion it. Or maybe it’s just that I have a goofy sense of humor.

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      • My mom used to wake us at two AM with the rank odor of cooking liver and onions. Blech! And I don’t eat Ketchup either. What does that say about me? LOL

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        • Oh God, Calisa. My dad banned my mom from making us kids eat liver when my older sister puked at the kitchen table one night. Next thing we knew, we were in the midst of a mass vomiting incident. God, it was horrendous… and hilarious in hindsight.

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          • LMAO! OMG Mac that is hilarious! 😆 Though I’m sure it wasn’t at the time! I on the other hand don’t even need to know I’m eating liver to get sick within minutes. :/ Yes, it’s been tried. Uber Fail.

            Welcome back to The Ranch, btw! I enjoyed this interview with you. I wish you much success with your book, all of them.

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  9. The brownies sound delicious, Mackenzie. Your appetizer/teaser made me crave more. Great interview, ladies!

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