Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Titles:  Glad Tidings, Next Tuesday at Two, To Be, Or Not
Class of '85 Series
Author:  Margo Hoornstra
Publisher:  Wild Rose Press
Available:  Now
Source:  Goddess Fish Tours and author

Genre:  Romance
Rating:  R

I was so excited to be chosen to have Margo to do a guest post on my blog that I had so many questions to ask her to answer, I couldn't narrow it down...so I asked her a couple and let her decided and she answered them all!  So without further ado...Here's Margo!

It’s nice to be a guest today at Good Family Reads. Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on writing, and maybe a little on life. As I see it, anyway.
I’ll do my best to respond to your questions 1 – How much research did you do to get all 3 books out so quickly, or was it really that quick? 2 - I’m an ’85 graduate too…why did you pick this era?
Taking the last question first, I didn’t pick the high school graduation year of 1985. (By the way, congratulations on being a member of that class, it was a good year, and decade, to come of age.) But, back to my answer. The idea to have the stories take place around a twenty-fifth high school reunion was the creation of a group of editors at The Wild Rose Press. And to be honest, 1967 was the year of my own high school graduation, but my oldest son graduated close to that year – 1987. Which brings me to your question about the amount of research I needed to do. My formal research was really limited to what songs were popular at the time. In a way, I experienced high school life during that era through my son and his friends. But, beyond that, I think the high school years are, by and large, a universal experience. One we alternately consider the greatest time of our life and the very worst. Making impulsive peer driven, possibly incorrect, choices. Trying to have a good time and be yourself and feeling that the self you are is totally inadequate and wishing you were more like someone else. Wanting so badly to have people accept you, and hurting when they don’t seem to. Being in the enviable position of having a shiny bright future in front of you. Then, twenty-five years later, some of those same sterling promises may have become tarnished over time. The life we actually lived, while fulfilling, may not have unfolded exactly as we wanted. Yet because we were able to make adjustments to what was dished out to us, we’ve come away with a certain wisdom gained from having navigated through them. Oh yeah, I knew all about that.
Now on to question number one. Completing three books, albeit 40K novella length, in one year was a bit of a challenge and could, at times, become intense from a daily grind perspective. Having to sacrifice other activities in my own life to accommodate what writing I had to get done. One of the hardest parts was having to jump around among all the many stories and characters. It was essentially like writing three books at once. I was working on a chapter for Next Tuesday at Two when the galleys of Glad Tidings came in for proofing then I received a request to formulate a detailed synopsis for To Be, Or Not. It was, however, an excellent exercise in discipline and time management.
A few mornings when I sat down to write, I had to take a moment to focus my thoughts and remember what characters went into which book and what they were all supposed to be doing. I will say the task was made somewhat easier because all three stories took place at basically the same time and place and some minor characters appeared in all three books as well.
Kathy Cottrell, Editor Extraordinaire of the Class of ’85 series set up a discussion loop for the interested authors working on stories to submit. In on-line discussions, we put our heads together to create a schedule of events for the reunion week-end and make up some central characters, venues and locations all the stories could use. It was like working with virtual building blocks to bring an imaginary city to life, with stores and restaurants, a major hospital and a minor league baseball team. I had fun having my characters observe or talk about something or someone from another author’s story.
And, I’ll let you in on a secret here. My first release for the Class of ’85 series, Glad Tidings, I actually wrote to the tune of about 75,000 words the previous year. The manuscript was ultimately rejected in that form for being too wordy. However, the book happened to be a second chance, high school reunion story so, without even knowing it, I was ahead of the game when the call came out for the Class of ’85 submissions. I will also say to cut a novel almost in half word wise, from 75,000 to 40,000, and come up with a better and more enjoyable story was an incredibly humbling experience. But, one I’d do again in a heartbeat if need be.
And now, I’d like to present the blurbs from my three Class of ’85 novels.
Glad Tidings
His twenty-fifth high school reunion leaves hard-driving hospital CEO Jake Holbrook feeling he’s missing something in life. So when a special woman from his past tumbles back into his life—and his bed—Jake is determined to keep her, even if it means recruiting her to work for him. Family practice physician Bethany Thomas knows it’s a bad idea to sleep with her late husband’s best friend—even if he is the only man she’s ever loved. Recently widowed after twenty years of marriage to the wrong man and haunted by guilt over his death, Bethany isn’t looking for an entanglement.  Especially not with her future boss. Working together makes Jake and Bethany confront their clashing philosophies to patient care, and as the holidays approach, Bethany unknowingly betrays Jake. Now Jake’s job is on the line—can they overcome their lack of trust to find their own holiday miracle?
Next Tuesday at Two
Blane Weston’s construction company needs the venture capital Matt Durand is more than willing to provide. Except, given his reputation for hostile business takeovers, she wants no part of the deal and tells him so just before she catches a flight to her hometown to attend her 25th high school reunion. Alone and single for far too long, she plans to hook up with a former flame. Not used to being told no, and determined to close this particular deal, he catches the same flight to wherever it is she happens to be going, prepared to dog her every move until she agrees to his terms. Not for one minute can Blane enjoy the journey back into her past when Matt’s so bent on dictating her future. But, imagine his surprise when he learns her destination holds memories and unfinished business for him.
To Be, Or Not
Barry Carlson had it all, a successful career in professional baseball and the adoration of any woman he wanted. Except one. Forced to retire in his prime, Barry returns to his hometown of Summerville, New York to coach the Minor League Hornets. Twenty years ago, Barry broke through Amanda Marsh’s trust issues. He melted her ice, won her love, then walked away without a backward glance to survey the wreckage. Now Amanda is the head of public relations for the Hornets and happily single—until Barry slides back into her life. Still reluctant to trust, Amanda gives Barry another chance. But the announcement of their twenty-fifth high school reunion leads to an asinine bet between Barry and his old buddies, and threatens to ruin their newfound relationship. As scandals of the past and present converge, can Barry and Amanda get beyond their differences to find their second chance at love?
And that’s a peek into the stories I’ve written for the Class of ’85 series at The Wild Rose Press. Again, thank you for having me here today. I truly enjoyed my visit and hope you did as well.
Thank you soooo much for coming to visit me!  I feel very honored and I can't wait to read more by you!

The Contest
Margo will be giving away one $20 GC to The Wild Rose Press to one randomly drawn commenter AND a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  She'll also be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to the host with the most comments (excluding Margo's and the host's).
Click here to read my review and more about the author:  

My Take:
These books were a quick cute read, around 150 pages each.  It was so neat to be able to read them and see other characters that I met in a prior book.  Even though they were short, they were packed full of great plots and lots of action and amazingly alot of character development.  I never felt like I was being shorted out of anything while reading.  If you are looking for something a little more mature in your reading repertoire, from characters who have been there and done that and are trying to start over in their 40's...these are the books for you!   Even though all three are about the Class of '85 you don't need to have read any of the other books to know what is going on.  Each book is complete story in itself.  
Glad Tidings: This is a great holiday read.  Jake and Bethany have a past that didn't stay with them and they must try and work out a working relationship in the here and now.  The love scenes are mild, but I'd still rate it a R.  The romance develops slowly and sometimes doesn't seem to move anywhere, but the writing makes it so suspenseful that you have to keep reading just to see if they make it.  (not telling if they do or not...you need to read it)  This book takes place after the reunion so if you are planning on reading all 3  I'd probably read it after the other two if you are trying to keep a correct timeline!  But...it doesn't really matter because the stories don't hinge on one another.  
To Be, Or Not: Talk about learning to live again!  Barry not only has to start over in a town he left 25 years previously, he comes back as an injured player, yet like so many small towns in the midwest he is still the town hero and must live that down!  He also has a past with Amanda that he just can't seem to deal with and neither can she.  This was probably my favorite of all 3 books, I think because we all have something from high school that never was resolved and in this book, resolution is really hard to come by.  This book is full of regrets and should of, would of's and kept up that pace during the whole book.  Margo is very talented in packing a lot of emotion into very few pages and keeping not only the heat and suspense going, but also keeping in with the theme of returning home!  I really liked it!
Next Tuesday at Two:  This is a stranger meet stranger story of romance.  I don't know how she did it, but Margo kept two total strangers meeting at unexpected places and made it work!  So many books take the story line and throw in totally unbelievable twists, but this story couldn't have been better.  I loved the fact that things seemed to happen that very well could happen in real life.  Again, another short book,, but you will definately get your bang for the buck if you choose to read!  

About the Author:
Like many aspiring writers, it’s hard to determine exactly when my fiction writing career began. I remember composing a short story in grade school (I have no idea about what) which was chosen for publication in an all school anthology. A journalism class taken in junior high school led to a job on the school newspaper—and a weekly column.
I always loved reading. I loved writing too. Someday, I thought, maybe when I grew up and received the right training, I could actually write a book. And, through the years, my desire to write fiction was always with me. I had so many ideas and characters roaming around in my head. So many stories I wanted to tell. I was even told, laughingly most times, I had an extremely vivid imagination.
But the business of living—going to college, getting married then raising a family—seemed to take precedence over something as frivolous as writing a book. Then one day I just took the plunge and began a novel, which I completed in a year. Unfortunately, that one never sold. (And I might add, never will.) During this time, I was introduced to a relatively new writing organization, Romance Writers of America and attended a few meetings of a local chapter. Those meetings were held a couple of hours drive from where I lived and sometimes traveling all that distance could be a problem. At the coaxing of a girlfriend, I helped found an RWA chapter closer to my home. One which, I’m pleased to say still exists and thrives today.
For a few years, I was able to balance being happily married, taking care of a home, raising four children and a full time job in public relations with writing fiction—romance fiction. I even completed three more novels—all eventually rejected. Disappointed but not discouraged, I kept trying. I did have some success with my short stories. One story even won first place in a local writing competition.
But, real life does go on. I was soon promoted at my day job. More responsibility required more of my time. Soon the free time I had been able to devote to writing my stories became less and less available and eventually dwindled down to no time at all. For the next twenty plus years I ‘went corporate’ as I call it, serving as a magazine editor, television producer, script writer, ghost writer and speech writer. Sure I was writing on a regular basis, but what I created amounted to other people’s words. Not my own. Still the desire to write fiction stayed with me. Not having the time to devote to completing another novel length manuscript, I wrote short stories and essays. A few were published in national magazines—Woman’s World and Country Woman.
One day out of the blue, I was downsized—effective immediately. Being allowed about ten minutes’ notice to clean out my desk and leave an organization where I’d worked for over thirty years seemed so unfair at the time. I now recognize the tremendous gift I was given that day.
With the unending support of my family, including one absolutely terrific husband, I was finally able to realize my dream to write full time. To free the many characters and their stories that have been waiting for so long. My own words at last. For me and for you.
After a couple of years and too many rejection slips to even count, I sold a short story to The Wild Rose Press, then another and another and another, then a few more.
Life is certainly good! And, today, with the children and grandchildren near, my husband Ron and I now live with two formerly stray cats and a half grown German Shepherd rescue—my husband’s latest contribution to the household.
And, as I spend more and more time doing what I love—writing romance fiction—I find I really do have so very many stories to share.
Stories I enjoyed writing and hope you enjoy reading.


Website:  http://www.margohoornstra.com
Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Margo-Hoornstra/e/B00504OMPA/ref=sr_tc_ep?qid=1319653210

I was given a copy of these books for an honest review.  No other compensation was given.


  1. I particularly liked the comment you made about the high school years basically being a universal experience. I can relate.


  2. This sounds like a great read. Always looking for new books.

  3. Good morning,

    Let me add my thank you to the one from Goddess Fish Promotions. This is very exciting. I'm looking forward to blogging with you today.

  4. Marybelle,

    If you think about it, life is pretty universal too.

  5. onangelwings,

    Love your 'name'. I truly hope you do enjoy my work.

  6. The more I read about this series, the more I believe I'll be buying all of the books. How many books in all in the series and should they be read in any particular order?

  7. Karen H.,

    Wow! That's great to hear. On behalf of my fellow Class of '85 authors, and myself, I thank you.

    There are about 25 of different lengths in the series. And they are in no particular order. Some take place at the reunion itself, some before or after. A few of us contributed multiple stories.

    The Class of '85 series can be found under the Last Rose of Summer (contemporary) line of The Wild Rose Press.

  8. Wow..Thank you all for stopping by! Especially Margo! I really do recommend these books for a light hearted read on a cold winter night! I really need to get over to Wild Rose and get a few more of the stories and 'relive' my past so to speak!

  9. Jacque,

    Thanks so much for hosting me today. (Sorry I got back here a little late. Junior High Band Concert.)

    I am so pleased that you liked my books. I truly appreciate the wonderful reviews. My stories not withstanding, the Class of '85 books are all good reads.

    And wouldn't we all like to relive our pasts? This has been a special day. Thank you again.

  10. Margo, I'm in awe of you for writing three books in a year for the Class of '85 series, even if you did have a bit of head start with "Glad Tidings". I barely got one done! Best of luck on your tour.


  11. Jana, Hi!

    Three books wasn't hard to do, with editor Kathy Cottrell behind me. Your's is next on my To Read list.

    I've been follwoing your tour too. Nice job.