Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Author Guest Post: Jennifer Shirk, Author of Sunny Days for Sam

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Jennifer Shirk, author of Sunny Days for Sam!

On Brooding Heroes

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

For those of you unfamiliar with me, I write very sweet lighthearted romances. (I say lighthearted instead of humorous, just in case people don't think I'm funny)

Since I write lighthearted, my heroes tend to be nice guys. Not that all romance "heroes" aren't nice men, it's just that my heroes tend to be the REALLY nice guys. My heroes are often funny and make great fathers too, but I digress ... The point is it's not often you see a dark and brooding hero type in one of my books. 

Until now. 

Cue my hero Sam Calloway from Sunny Days for Sam. He is a father of two, with a very sad past. *sniff sniff* He's very successful but he's also a workaholic type. When I began writing Sam, I almost hated going into his point of view because he kind of scared me. His character would just take off in my head, and he seemed so angry. I would send chapters to my critique group and my critique partners would write back saying, "Tone him down!"

Sheesh. I told you "brooding" was new to me. 

I kept thinking of him as Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre (minus the crazy wife in the attic). But don't worry! He's still brooding, but I managed to soften him up a lot and even gave him a sense of humor. And now I can say Sam is one of my all-time favorite heroes I've ever written. 

I hope you all get a chance to check out Sunny Days for Sam and judge my hero Sam for yourself!

Thanks so much to Jersey Girl Book Reviews for having me today!

Do tall, dark, brooding, heroes appeal to you? What kind of heroes do you like to read about? 

About The Author:

Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy - which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations. 

She's also a board member for Straight Ahead Ministries, an organization involved in helping spread the gospel and aiding medical and pharmacy students in Russia. She resides in a beach resort in NJ, and when she's not involved in all the above, she's taking care of her most treasured possessions: her husband, daughter, and four hermit crabs. 

BUY THE BOOK: Sunny Days for Sam

Book Description: Sunny Days for Sam

Sunnyva "Sunny" Fletcher is a firm believer in fairy tales. With the recent debt she's acquired, the hope of something magical happening in her life is the only thing keeping her going. She need a job fast. So when Sunny learns the sexy new vacationer in town is looking for a nanny, she starts to believe she just may have a fairy godmother after all!

Internet guru Sam Calloway is only in town for the summer and needs a nanny for his two small children. However, the beautiful and inexperienced Sunny is not exactly the kind of caregiver Sam has in mind. It doesn't take long for Sunny's tenderhearted and bubble-blowing ways to soon have the children - and Sam - enamored with her. She's a dream come true. But after what Sam's been through, he's stopped believing in fairy tales long ago. 

Sunny manages to work her way into Sam's closed-off heart, but at the end of the summer, will the workaholic dad go back to his life in New York City, or will he decide his days are much sunnier here with Sunny? 

Book Excerpt: Sunny Days for Sam

Kim kicked her under the table, signaling her to say something about the nanny position before her disappeared. 

"Ow!" Sunny scowled at Kim. Rubbing her shin, she turned to Sam. "Uh, look, I was wondering since I need a job now, and you're, well ..."

A dawning of realization sparked in Sam's eyes, and his expression grew several degrees colder. "Ah, I see what this is all about. Now I know why you were so eager to help me. I'm sorry but my  company isn't hiring at the moment. Of course, you're welcome to send in your resume for us to have on file." 

Resume? Company? She didn't even know he had a company to send a resume to. "Um, no, actually, I was more interested in the, uh, nanny position." 

Sam blinked, then threw his head back and laughed. "You want me to hire you as a nanny?" 

Emma stopped blowing bubbles in her milk and looked up with wide excited eyes. "Sunny's going to be our new nanny?"

"Oh cool!" Cole exclaimed. "You're not mean like Natasha was and you're not old like that Mrs. Ferguson. Mrs. Ferguson was always putting things where they didn't belong and she couldn't see so good." 

Sam gave him a stern look. "Hey, that's not nice to say, Cole." 

"Sorry. But if she was a knight, she would be Mrs. Forget-a-lot." 

Sunny banked down a bubble of laughter. 

"Well, it doesn't matter how Mrs. Ferguson was, because Sunny is not going to be your new nanny," Sam firmly told them.

Any lingering laughter Sunny might have had died on the spot. "Oh, but I do have references!" she cried. "I've done a little babysitting on the side for years. I can be at your house at whatever time you want, except Friday and Saturday nights. And ... and ... I - I can cook. Sometimes."

"Sometimes?" he asked.

She shrugged guiltily. "Well, it's usually hit-or-miss with me. I do make very good peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and last year at the County Fall Festival I took first place for my double chocolate chip brownies." 

Sam let out an audible sigh. If Sunny was a betting woman, she'd wager he didn't seem too impressed wtih those credentials. "Look, Miss, I prefer using an agency and going through all the proper channels. No offense. And I need someone willing to put in at least fifty hours a week." 

Sunny almost pinched herself when she heard fifty hours a week. That would pull in a lot of money. She obviously wasn't doing a great job selling herself, though. Sam was already back to calling her Miss instead of Sunny. She needed this job. But what else could she say? She finally looked to Kim for help. 

Kim took the cue and stood, taking Sam by the arm and leading him out of earshot of the children. "Well, just so you know," she said in a hushed tone, "this is a small town. There's no agency here, and from what your children said, I'm not so sure you've had the greatest luck with that. So you should at least consider Sunny. It's really simple when you think about it. You need a nanny and she needs a job. Anyone in town will vouch for her. Heck, if you'd use your eyes, you can see for yourself that she's great with kids."

Sam rolled his eyes then his gaze fell to his children. Emma had already climbed up onto Sunny's lap, running her little fingers through her straight blond hair. Cole had his hands in prayer position next to her. Sunny said a silent prayer, too. If Sam didn't fall for this kind of corny Norman Rockwell pose, then she had absolutely no chance in securing the position. She held her breath and waited. 

Sam walked back toward them with a resigned look. His cell phone went off again, but he ignored it this time. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he finally muttered, "Fine." 

"Yay!" the kids shouted, giggling and dancing around the table.

The breath Sunny had been holding rushed out of her lungs. She almost thought she'd misheard him. "You mean it? You'll really hire me?"

"Yeah, but let's not get carried away. It'll just be temporary. Let's see how the week goes first." 

Sunny high-fived Kim then jumped out of her chair. She was so happy, she almost threw her arms around Sam and kissed him. Fortunately, Sam's disapproving scowl kept her firmly rooted to the two foot distance between them. He didn't have much confidence in her, but that was okay. She had more than enough fro both of them.

"Oh, you won't be sorry," she assured him. "I'll be the best nanny slash brownie maker slash ex-princess you've ever had. I guarantee, after this week, you'll be so pleased, you won't ever want to let me go." 

Sam folded his arms and smirked. "Yeah well, we'll see about that." 

Virtual Book Tour - Book Contest Giveaway

Author Jennifer Shirk will be giving away a print copy of Sunny Days for Sam (US/Canada Only) or an eBook copy of Role of a Lifetime (as a substitute prize for any International winners) to two (2) randomly drawn commenters. Click on the link below to follow all of the virtual book tour stops and post a comment, the more you comment, the better the chances of winning! *Don't forget to post a comment below to enter the contest!*


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for the opportunity to host Jennifer's virtual book tour event.

  2. I do like brooding heroes! But it's good if they also have a sense of humor. ;-) Can't wait to read your book!

    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting on Jennifer's guest post. :)

  3. I really, really want to read this story. It sounds like my kind of read.

    1. I really want to read this book too! Thank you for visiting and commenting on Jennifer's guest post. :)

  4. Hi Kathleen and Jennifer!
    This was such a fun topic. Sam sounds like a wonderful and complex character!
    Mr.Darcy was also a brooder...

    1. Hi Cheryl! I loved Jennifer's guest post, it is a fun topic. I agree, Mr Darcy was a brooder too. Thank you for visiting and commenting on Jennifer's guest post. :)

  5. Hey Jersey Girl! There's still time to get down here to the Wilmington-area for this weekend's Azalea Festival. The weather is G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S.

    Jennifer--YES, I confess to liking dark, brooding, scarred, flawed heroes. That said, I also like rom-coms with handsome, charming, breezy, free-spirited and funny heroes. It takes all kinds!

    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    1. Hi Catherine! I wish I could take a road trip down to NC. *sigh*

      I love the brooding kind of heroes, they make the story so much more fun! ;p

      Thank you for visiting and commenting on Jennifer's guest post and entering the book contest.

  6. Tall and dark certainly appeal to me. I could take a brooding hero as well, but not a must. If I'm going to get lost in the story, the hero needs to have it all - a tall order, I know.

    1. I agree, the hero has to have it all for me too! :)
      Thank you for visiting and commenting on Jennifer's guest post.

  7. Thanks so much for all the great comments! I would have been here sooner but I was out of the country with very poor internet connections. :)

    Thanks, Kathleen, for having me!!

    1. Hi Jennifer! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. I look forward to reading and reviewing Sunny Days For Sam. :)