Monday, August 31, 2015

Coming Attractions







I love September. It's one of my favorite months of the year. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, September brings cooler temperatures, crisper air, new television shows, and the fun and excitement of college football. Oh yes, and my birthday. It's true, I'll be one year older but I consider every year that I'm here to celebrate a good year. And those of you who have been regulars at The Romance Dish for a while now know I do love to celebrate (more info on that below!). Here's what's on the Dish schedule for September.





Meredith Duran kicks off this month's author visits on Friday, September 11th with her Luck Be a Lady blog tour. One lucky reader will receive autographed copies of three of Duran's books, including her 2015 RITA® award winner, Fool Me Twice.









Don't miss Janga's review of a reissued romance novel in her On Second Thought column on Tuesday, September 15th.







Contemporary author Tracy Solheim joins us Thursday, September 17th for a Q&A about Sleeping With the Enemy, the newest book in her popular Out of Bounds series. I do so enjoy the hot men of the Baltimore Blaze football team and the smart, savvy women who tame them!






Sunday, September 20th is my birthday and this year we're going to celebrate for a whole week with five terrific authors, daily giveaways and a grand prize that will have your romance reading heart racing.







One of my favorite new contemporary authors (and a 2015 double RITA® finalist), Patience Griffin will get the party started on Monday, September 21st. Griffin's newest book, Some Like it Scottish was released in July and features a hero that kept me laughing, grinning, and sighing throughout the entire story.







Next up on Tuesday, September 22nd is the always delightful, Elizabeth Michels who just so happens to also be a September 20th birthday baby! Elizabeth writes smart, sassy Regency romances that sparkle with wit and humor, just like the author herself.  Be sure to check out her Tricks of the Ton trilogy!









I wouldn't dream of throwing a birthday bash without inviting one of my favorite Aussies, the always fabulous Anna Campbell! Anna will be here on Wednesday, September 23rd and, knowing Anna, I can pretty much guarantee she will be ready to party. :) Anna has been busy writing and publishing wonderful novellas this summer. Don't miss Three Proposals and a Scandal as well as tomorrow's release, The Seduction of Lord Stone. I'll probably still be awake at midnight impatiently waiting for it to download to my Kindle. ;-)







Thursday, September 24th brings one of my favorite Canadians, Debbie Mason to the party! Debbie's Christmas, Colorado, with its quirky citizens, heartwarming stories and touch of suspense, has become one of my favorite fictional towns to visit. I'm eagerly anticipating her next installment, Snowbound at Christmas, out September 29th.








We wrap up my birthday celebration on Friday, September 25th with Dish favorite, Vanessa Kelly. Whether she's writing Regency historical romance as Kelly or creating gritty romantic suspense, sexy baseball players, or heartwarming small-town contemporary romance as V.K. Sykes with her husband, and writing partner, Randy, Vanessa's books are always on my auto-buy list. Don't miss her summer releases, How to Marry a Royal Highlander (Vanessa Kelly) and Summer at the Shore (V.K. Sykes). I loved them both!









Monday, September 28th brings a familiar author with a brand new name as Avon debut Regency author, Eva Leigh joins me for a Q&A. I'm reading Leigh's book, Forever Your Earl (out Sept. 29th) now and thoroughly enjoying the unconventional heroine (she writes a popular London gossip sheet) as well as the witty banter between her and the hero. I'm equally fond of the steampunk, paranormal, and Victorian romances Leigh writes as RITA® finalist Zoe Archer.





Are you happy to welcome September? What are you looking forward to this month?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Karen Hawkins Winners






Congratulations to the following randomly chosen winners from 
Karen Hawkins' August 24th visit to The Romance Dish:

Pat from Fenton, MO
(an autographed copy of The Prince and I)

and

Pat (patdupuy (at) yahoo.com)
(an autographed copy of How to Pursue a Princess)

Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address to us at:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Friday, August 28, 2015

Today's Special - - Catherine Bybee





Treasured by Thursday
Weekday Brides - Book 7
By Catherine Bybee
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: August 18, 2015





Catherine Bybee is a relatively recent discovery for me and I've been having one heck of a good time catching up with her Weekday Brides back list. Treasured by Thursday, her newest release, is the seventh and final book in the contemporary romance series that features a touch of suspense. While there are many crossover characters throughout the series, each book focuses on one primary couple and is written to stand on its own, Having said that, I do recommend reading the sixth book, Seduced by Sunday before you read Treasured by Thursday. It will give you a deeper understanding of Gabi and a richer appreciation for her story.

Having survived a brief but devastatingly abusive marriage eighteen months earlier, Gabriella Masini left her brother's island resort off the Florida Keys and has been living in Los Angeles where she works for the matchmaking firm, Alliance. A whiz with numbers, Gabi has been asked by the firm's owner to investigate a potential client in search of a temporary wife. Gabi rejects his application but rejection isn't something Hunter Blackwell, self-made, ruthless, billionaire businessman is willing to accept. Gabi thought she had finally put her first marriage and her louse of a husband - now deceased - behind her. But Alonzo's power seems to reach beyond the grave when Hunter uncovers information that could land Gabi in plenty of hot water. She's forced to accept Hunter's help in keeping her out of prison in exchange for a temporary marriage.

The number of women trying to trap Hunter Blackwell into marriage seems to increase with each million added to his net worth. Obtaining a wife for the next eighteen months will make that part of his life easier - so he thinks - yet his real reason for needing a wife remains a secret. Hunter isn't a man used to being told no and when Gabi rejects his application he uncovers information about her past that enables him to blackmail her into marrying him herself. He's not particularly proud of himself, especially as he spends time with Gabi and begins to know her better, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

At first, Gabi and Hunter seem a pairing destined for disaster but that slowly begins to change. With Hunter, Gabi gradually begins to rediscover her self-confidence and repair her battered sense of worth. She strengthens, coming into her own and beginning to trust again. Hunter has his own trust issues along with a history of being betrayed by those closest to him but, with Gabi, his rough edges begin to soften, he learns to laugh, and he starts to envision a happy ending to a relationship that began with blackmail. Unfortunately, a Colombian drug lord with ties to Gabi's late husband has other ideas.

As with the other books in this series, I had a hard time putting this one down until I reached the end. The banter between Gabi and Hunter is wonderful; at times, poignant but frequently filled with snap and humor. I especially enjoyed the island scenes between Hunter and Gabi's fiery Italian mama and the kitchen scene with Gabi and Hunter where they both take that first step in lowering their guard. Hunter could have easily been a jerk throughout but Bybee imbues him with just enough vulnerability, humor, and honor - qualities he tries to hide - to keep me rooting for him. Gabi is a woman who has been to hell and back. She's been damaged but not defeated. I cried for what she had been through and cheered her on from the get-go. I loved watching her rediscover her spunk, her sass, and her ability to once again learn to trust and love. The story flowed well with a suspense element that built throughout the book until it reached its fiery climax. The only issue I had a problem with was the rather abrupt - and too easy, in my opinion - resolution of Hunter's secret problem but that was a small blip in what was otherwise a very good read.

I highly recommend all of Catherine Bybee's Weekday Brides books. I'll miss these characters but I can't wait to see what she brings us next!

~PJ



New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her two teenage sons in Southern California.  



CONTACT LINKS:


TREASURED BY THURSDAY
The Weekday Brides Series, Book Seven
Montlake Romance, Contemporary
August 18, 2015, First Edition
Paperback & Kindle

The seventh and final tale in the dazzling, heartwarming, and pulse-racing Weekday Brides series.

Gabriella Masini: She’s a woman haunted by her past, with the scars to prove it. She believes that fairy tales are for other people. An elite matchmaker at Alliance, she’s great at crunching numbers, but something doesn’t add up with her latest prospective client: a billionaire bad boy with his own secrets. When Gabi refuses to be his temporary wife, Hunter forces her hand with an offer she can’t refuse. But marriage to a man like that could never last…or could it?

Hunter Blackwell: Only his bank account is bigger than his ruthless ability to obtain anything he wants. These days, he has a secret reason to settle down, at least for a while—and he thinks the sensual and sassy Gabi will fit the bill perfectly. But when their marriage of convenience becomes downright dangerous, Hunter must decide how far to take his vow to honor and protect Gabi forever.


BUY LINKS:
Amazon   
B&N   
BAM    





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review - - The Secret Sister

The Secret Sister
By Brenda Novak
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Release Date: July 28, 2015


Maisey Lazarow has mixed feelings about returning to Fairham Island after a decade away, but with what was supposed to be her HEA turned into loss and disillusionment and her once promising career stalled, her choices are limited. She knows her brother Keith is emotionally fragile and needs her support, but the thought of living at Coldiron House, the home of Josephine Coldiron Lazarow, her arrogant, controlling mother, is more than Maisey can bear. Even a hurricane-scarred cottage at Smuggler’s Cove is preferable.

The rental beach cottages belonged to Maisey’s late father who had promised that they would one day be Maisey’s, but like almost everything else on Fairham Island, the cottages are under the control of Josephine. Maisey is disturbed to learn that her mother has bartered one of the nine cottages to the owner of High Tide Construction in exchange for his repairing storm damages on all the cottages and accepting responsibility for maintenance and upkeep on the repaired cottages. Another unpleasant shock is in store for Maisey when she discovers the new owner of cottage #5 is Rafael Romero. Eighteen years ago, Rafe was the local bad boy to whom a sixteen-year-old Maisey surrendered her virginity in a foolish act of rebellion against her mother who despised the kind of “riffraff” Rafe represented.

The mature Rafe has little in common with the young rebel who was almost too drunk to perform the night he met Maisey. He is now a single father devoted to Laney, his blind daughter, and proud of the reputation his small company has earned. He is attracted to Maisey, but he wants more than the no-ties physical relationship that seems to be all she is willing—or able—to offer.

But Maisey soon finds that her feelings for Rafe are not so easily contained, and Lacey makes her own claim on Maisey’s heart. When Rafe uncovers a stash of old photographs that leave Maisey with haunting questions about the unidentified female child in the family pictures, she needs Rafe for emotional support and for practical help. Is the child a secret sister? If so, what happened to her? Did she perish in an accident, or is the truth more sinister? Maisey can’t rest until she solves the mystery. Only when her questions have answers can Maisey look toward a new life with Rafe and Lacey.

The first novel in Brenda Novak’s new Fairham Island series is a combination of romantic suspense and women’s fiction. It is a wholly intriguing tale as Maisey’s struggle to discover who she truly is coincides with a mystery that makes her question all she thought she knew about her family and a new love for which her heart is not fully prepared. Novak’s readers know they can depend on her for captivating characters and compelling plots, and she does not disappoint them.

I found both Maisey and Rafe sympathetic, likeable characters, and the questions surrounding the mystery sister kept me turning pages with rapt attention. I especially liked the touch of the gothic that cast shadows of doubt in many directions. I highly recommend this book. And the fact that it is the first in a series makes me a very happy reader. One caveat, however: readers who limit their reading to books in which the romantic relationship is front and center for the full story may not be happy with this book.


~Janga

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Today's Special - - J.A. Coffey

I'm delighted to welcome one of my local authors, J.A. Coffey to TRD! J.A. joins us today to talk about two of my favorite things: romance and cupcakes. Yes, I said (yum) cupcakes.  Please give her a warm welcome!

J.A. Coffey’s books are lush, sensual and romantic. She writes both sizzling and heartwarming contemporary romance and lush, gritty historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. A complete cupcake addict, when she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found in trying to convert her front lawn to an edible landscape, test baking desserts, or “feathering her nest” with spruced up flea market finds. A 2014 Indie Book Awards Finalist and former RWA Golden Heart finalist in the “Best Manuscript with Romantic Elements” category, J.A. is currently working on her latest novel and trying not to get cupcake batter on her keyboard. Visit her on Facebook at JA Coffey.







Cooking up Great Romance and the Great Gluten Free Salted Caramel Cupcake

From our earliest days, human beings have always craved sweet things. Whether it was berries picked from the bush or honey straight from the honeycomb, we coveted those special treats.

They say that dessert and romance go hand in hand. Seriously, is there anything more tantalizing than the scent of warm vanilla, rich buttery caramel, or deep dark chocolate? Just thinking of it makes my mouth water. It makes me want to slip into something more comfortable…perhaps a new romance novel?

Why, yes!

“He'd noticed that sex bore some resemblance to cookery: it fascinated people, they sometimes bought books full of complicated recipes and interesting pictures, and sometimes when they were really hungry they created vast banquets in their imagination - but at the end of the day they'd settle quite happily for egg and chips. If it was well done and maybe had a slice of tomato.”

Just like food service, the Romance industry caters to all kinds of appetites. Whether your tastes run sweet or spicy, there’s sure to be a book that gets your juices flowing. And, as Pratchett suggests, perhaps the reason we’re so willing to slip happily into romance novels is for a sexy bit of escapism. Something different than the mundane menu of everyday life.
For example, the fascination with “complicated recipes” of a great romance novel provide the “interesting pictures” of complex romance relationships which provide us with a feast in our imaginations (when in real life, we’re quite happy at the end of the day to settle for Pratchett’s proverbial egg and chips).

I couldn’t agree more. When I dig in to a hot Carly Phillips, an exciting Cherry Adair, or a lush Eloisa James, I know I’m in for a treat. (Ahem, share the bag of Oreos, would ya?) I’ve escaped to another place and time with characters that I wring my hands over until the HEA.
Why not put two things we love together? It’s the frosting on my cupcake!

I had the fortune to chat with PJ (yes, over lunch and no, we didn’t get dessert!) about my decision to include a recipe at the end of my contemporary romances. My decision stemmed from a desire to push myself in areas that I’m passionate about. Writing. Romance. Flinging Powdered Sugar. I’m playfully called the Cupcake Queen of Romance. So it seems natural to want to explore creative ways my stories can come to life for readers by offering a little taste of something they can do in the privacy of their own homes. Bake.

Have you ever read a book description of food that you were dying to try? Me too! It’s why being featured on The Romance Dish is so perfect!

For example, in LIAR LIAR, the hero is referred to by the heroine as ‘a hot fudge sundae poured into a pair of tight blue jeans’. The accompanying recipe is a Mexican Chocolate SoufflĂ©, a nod to the hero’s heritage. PANTS ON FIRE boasts the perfect Salted Caramel Pecan ice cream to go with a hot, reunited Atlanta couple. And the latest book in the series, HELL ON HEELS (releasing September 1, 2015), takes place primarily in Barbados, which gave me a chance to test my culinary cravings in truly tropical tastes! Here’s a little about my upcoming release, now available at a special pre-order price of only 99 cents!

Flamboyant, artistic Caroline Cattrell is determined to remain independent of her wealthy family's influence--even if it means losing her friends in the process. After losing her job, she's forced to use her seductive personality and pose as a honey pot in an undercover operation to keep her head above water.

Stan Kendrick was the one man that everyone had it out for. Branded as a cheating ex, he was forced to uphold his bad boy image to save the lives of those he cared about. But working undercover gets a lot more complicated when the one woman who could help him nail an international crime lord and finally close the case is the last woman who would dare to help him.

The Southern Seductions series continues and it's never been hotter in the South!



CLICK HERE TO PREORDER -- priced at .99 cents for a limited time! (releases September 1, 2015)

So, I asked PJ what her absolute favorite cupcake flavor would be. She suggested Salted Caramel, but here’s the deal. I noticed that PJ ordered her lunch off the Gluten-Free menu. And that got me thinking…I’m probably outing her, but I don’t think she’ll mind.
I’ve been experimenting and there are a lot of gluten-free, paleo-friendly options out there. Just because your diet is restricted doesn’t mean you can’t indulge. (PJ here. Have I mentioned how much I like this woman?) I’m all about the indulgences, people. (Did I mention my street team is known as my SWEET team?) Find out more by signing up for my VIP Newsletter here!

Just for The Romance Dish, I’ve discovered the GREAT GLUTEN-FREE Salted Caramel Cupcake Recipe (based on the recipe at Simply Gluten Free, 2012).





Ingredients

Agave Caramel

1 cup organic raw blue agave
½ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt

Cupcakes

1½ cups all-purpose gluten free flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1 large egg
¾ cup milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup vegetable oil
16 – 18 teaspoons agave caramel (see above)

Optional: stir in ½ cup chopped pecans or reserve and sprinkle on frosting

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

6 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
3 large eggs whites
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 tablespoons agave caramel (see above)


Directions
Agave Caramel
Combine the agave and cream in a large saucepan (use one bigger than you think you will need) and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely. If the caramel gets too thick to work with, just heat it slightly.

Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk. In another mixing bowl whisk together the coconut sugar with the egg, milk, vanilla and oil. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth and it starts to thicken slightly. If desired, add in chopped pecans. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins and bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until they are golden brown and puffed, the tops spring back slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting
Combine the coconut sugar with the egg whites a heatproof mixing bowl and set over a pan of simmering water; whisk by hand until the mixture is warm and the sugar has dissolved, about 2 -3 minutes.
Attach the mixing bowl to the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat, starting on low then increasing the speed to medium-high, until the mixture is thick, fluffy and glossy and completely cool, about 6 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and caramel and beat on medium high until the caramel is fully incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixture and stir the frosting vigorously with a spatula to knock out some of the air and make sure all the caramel is fully blended in. Let sit at room temperature if using the same day.
Once the cupcakes are complete cool, cut a cone shaped piece about an inch in diameter from the top of the cupcakes. Spoon in 1 teaspoon of the caramel, and place a bit of cupcake on top of the caramel. Spread or pipe the frosting on top and drizzle with any remaining of caramel. Lightly sprinkle with a hint of sea salt and chopped pecans.

There you have it, folks. I hope you enjoy your tasty gluten-free cuppies. Be sure to check out my romance series, discover tasty recipes on my blog, and comment below to let me know how your culinary creations turn out!

Thanks so much for blogging with us today! I can wait to try this recipe! 

Readers, are you cupcake fans? What's your favorite flavor? Do you have a favorite cupcake recipe you'd like to share? 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review - - If You Only Knew

If You Only Knew
By Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: August 25, 2015


Eighteen months after her divorce from Dr. Owen Takahashi, a plastic surgeon with a social conscience, Jenny Tate is leaving Manhattan where she has enjoyed considerable success as a designer of wedding dresses to return to her hometown, Cambry-on-Hudson. If she had any doubts that her decision to open her own shop where she planned to sell custom-designed wedding gowns was the right choice, they are erased when a baby shower for Owen’s new wife ends with Jenny helping to deliver their baby in the apartment that Jenny once shared with Owen. She needs some distance from the Takahashi family and her role as best friend to her ex and Ana-Sofia, his perfect Peruvian mate. Her shop, Bliss, a great new apartment, and the presence of her sister and nieces in Cambry-on-Hudson are reasons enough to be excited about the move.

Unlike her sister, Rachel Carver’s ambitions never centered on her career, although she enjoyed her work as a graphic designer at a company that made computer games for kids. But Rachel’s dream was always to have a husband, a home, and children. It took some time and in vitro fertilization before the babies came, but now Adam and Rachel have triplet daughters whom they both adore. But life with three preschoolers is demanding and exhausting, so exhausting that Rachel even fell asleep once during sex. Still, she is happy with her life and in love with her husband. When she discovers a sexually explicit photo on her husband’s phone, she buries her questions and accepts his explanation. When she learns later that Adam is engaged in an affair with a colleague, she is hurt and angry.

When a penitent Adam begs for a second chance, Rachel, after considering their years together and Adam’s strengths as a father and provider, agrees to reconcile. But trust once broken is not so easily restored, and Adam’s promises prove to have little substance. While Rachel is examining her choices, uncertain about what is best for her and her children, Jenny is finding joy in a relationship with her sometimes surly, always studly, and definitely mysterious landlord, Leo Killian. But Leo has a full load of baggage, and he is far from ready for the kind of commitment Jenny wants. As both sisters deal with the emotional stress of conflicted relationships and weigh the costs of their choices, they offer one another love and support, emotional and practical.  

In this book, Higgins departs from her usual contemporary romances to give her readers a women’s fiction tale that is as much about the personal journeys of Jenny and Rachel and the bond of sisterhood that unites them as it is about their relationships with the men in their lives. The change in genres does not mean that the qualities Higgins fans love in her books are missing. There is humor here, some great dialog, mother issues and family secrets, and, of course, a loveable dog, but there is also heartbreak, anxiety, and real poignancy.

Quirky Jenny is the kind of character I expect a Higgins heroine to be, and I liked her from the beginning, even when her behavior made me shake my head. I found Rachel less likeable, but to be honest, this may well have been because her story was too close to some family matters about which I have strong opinions. Leo is wounded and in hiding from himself and from life. I found him sympathetic and interesting. Even Adam is more than a one-dimensional jerk, and several other secondary characters add texture and complexity to the story.

If you like Kristan Higgins and women’s fiction, I think you will find this novel well worth reading. Higgins provides a layered treatment of marriage, infidelity, and divorce that includes a look, sometimes probing and sometimes glancing, at half a dozen different relationships. Do be warned, however, that the ending is not the rosy-epilogue, fairy tale finish that some romance readers demand.  I won’t be surprised if Higgins joins authors like Robyn Carr and Susan Mallery in producing a women’s fiction novel periodically along with her contemporary romances. She has proven she has the skills to do it.  With that said, I admit that I will never be as excited about a woman’s fiction novel as I am about the next Blue Heron book that will be published in January 2016. (Connor’s story—yay!)


~Janga

Monday, August 24, 2015

Today's Special - - Karen Hawkins


I'm delighted to welcome New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Karen Hawkins to TRD today. Filled with both humor and heart, Hawkins' books (more than 30, historical and contemporary) are always on my must-buy list. Her infectious humor is on display in her stories and in the following bio from her website:

Karen writes for a living between shopping for shoes, playing around on Facebook and Pinterest, looking for fun items for Hawkins Manor, and napping, although usually not at the same time. Sometimes, for fun, she takes Instagram pictures of her two rescue dogs, Sadie and Teke, and posts them online.

Yeah, she's a wild one.

Cuteness alert! PJ, here. I'm jumping in to introduce the newest furry addition to the Hawkins family: Karen's grandpuppy, Banksy. I'm in love. <3

Karen lives in balmy Orlando, Florida, with her husband, aka Hot Cop, and her two dogs. Her children are both out of college and have become productive, non-violent members of society. Karen writes six to eight hours a day when not obsessively reading research books on Regency-era Scotland, snacking on chocolate, or looking out the windows of her house and thinking about gardening. Her hobbies include sculpting, oil painting, playing badminton, and -- ok, ok, she doesn't have any hobbies, but if she did, she's sure they'd be something refined and fascinating. 

FACEBOOKhttps://www.facebook.com/AuthorKarenHawkins

TWITTERhttps://twitter.com/TheKarenHawkins

INSTAGRAMhttp://instagram.com/karenhawkinsauthor

PINTERESThttp://www.pinterest.com/thekarenhawkins/



Why I want to be Robin Hood.

Yes, Robin Hood. Just think about it. – if you were Robin Hood, you’d get to shoot bows and
arrows (and you’d be good at it – VERY good), engage in exciting sword fights (which you’d ALWAYS win), collect gold and beautiful jewelry (FREE!), AND go glamping with a bunch of merry men (who do all of the cooking and cleaning).

Seriously, what’s not to love about being Robin Hood?

Which is why my next book, THE PRINCE AND I (available tomorrow!), is a fun, swashbuckling, Regency Scotland-set retelling of Robin Hood, although … (drum roll, please) … my Robin of the Hood is no other than Maid Murian herself, and she – well, I’ll let you read the book to see the mischief she gets into, especially once she meets dashing, infuriating Prince Max of Oxenburg.

Just trust me on this: my fiery, red-haired Murian is no wilting flower. She’s more than willing to fight for those she loves, even when fate makes her difficult path even harder when she meets a green-eyed prince who is far too handsome for his own good.






The story of Robin Hood is old, old, old, first mentioned on paper in the 1377. Yes, the story is THAT old. And throughout the years, characters have been added -- Little John, Friar Tuck, and even Maid Marian herself. But after the first century or so, the main story has been the same -- a loyal, fierce opponent to a crooked prince, Robin Hood bravely fought for those who had less.










In preparing to write this book, I read several old Robin Hood tales and watched a ton of Robin Hood movies including those of Errol Flynn, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Cary Elwes, (and more recently, the one starring Richard Todd), and even the Disney fox-as-Robin-Hood version, and I came to fall in love with the merry auld tale all over again.

Robin Hood is the story of independence, and love, of good fighting evil, and of power and responsibility . . . in a word, it’s a story worth retelling.



What Robin Hood books or movies have you seen? Which one is your favorite?

Karen is giving away two autographed books today. One randomly chosen person leaving a comment will receive a copy of How to Pursue a Princess and a second person will receive The Prince and I


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review - - Capitol Danger


Capitol Danger
An anthology by 
J.D. Tyler, Jeanne Adams, Nancy Northcott, and Suzanne Ferrell
Publisher: Golden Gryphon Press
Release Date: July 25, 2015




The United States has sworn in its first woman President and inauguration parties are in full swing across Washington, DC but one party is about to come to an abrupt halt. The Red Mantle, a homegrown terrorist group that believes women have no place in government, has infiltrated the hotel where the party is being held with a plan to kill as many high-ranking, female government officials as they can, including the new President, who they have good reason to believe will be making an unscheduled stop at the party. Will anyone be able to stop these well-organized killers before they reach their target?

Capitol Danger is a unique anthology in that each of the four stories, written by Suzanne Ferrell, Jeanne Adams, Nancy Northcott and J.D. Tyler, occurs during the attack on the inaugural party yet is told from the perspective of that author's characters. Undercover FBI agents, a television reporter, a former Special Forces medic battling PTSD, a rookie agent from one of those no-name black ops agencies and many everyday people with no special training must all put their fears aside and work together when chaos erupts. Events move seamlessly from one story to the next as friendships are forged, relationships are tested, the suspense builds, and lives are put on the line as the characters race against the clock to identify and stop the terrorists before more lives are lost.

There's plenty of action in these well-written, tightly-woven novellas that tell a suspenseful, edge-of-the-seat story that could easily have been ripped from real-life headlines. The four authors skillfully navigate the tunnels, stairways, hallways and ballrooms of the fictional Fierenze Hotel without missing a beat. The collaboration among the authors and attention to detail is evident throughout with the suspense skillfully built from beginning to end. Romance is light but leaves readers with the possibility of happy endings for several of the couples; couples I was delighted to discover that we'll be seeing more of in future books and novellas from all four authors.

In the case of Luke and Abigail from the first novella in the anthology, their full story has already been published and can be read in Suzanne Ferrell's Vanished (27 Feb. 2014).

~PJ

Friday, August 21, 2015

Today's Special - - Sara Arden






Today we welcome Sara Arden and the TLC End of Summer Blog Tour to the Romance Dish. 

Sara Arden has always been fascinated by things better left in the dark. She wrote her first story after watching The Exorcist at a slumber party. Like all writers, Sara's held a variety of jobs from an operations supervisor to a corrections officer. But as Hemingway said, "Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it." So she traded in her cuffs for a keyboard and is married to her very own Prince Charming. Sara joins us today with a true story of summer lovin'. Welcome, Sara!    

 




A True Story of Summer Lovin’ 
by Author Sara Arden



There was a boy.

Isn’t there always? But it’s the summer I’ll never forget.

He was tall and muscled; his skin had this surreal golden glow from being outside on the boat all day fishing and water-skiing. His hair fell just over his shoulders in that swoop that only rebellious young men seem to acquire.

He was a rebel without a cause—and as an adult, I can say mostly without a clue. He wore a leather jacket with no shirt, all so we could bask in the glow of his golden chest, and ripped jeans that were slung low on his hips, giving us a prime view of abs of the gods. We won’t even talk about his oblique muscles.
I was fifteen and I’d decided he was the one. Not my forever, because I wanted to explore the world, travel, meet tons of new people from different places. I wanted my forever to be one of those people. But the one, this guy, I wanted him to be my first experience. All well and good, but for someone who could read about it but couldn’t talk about it…that would be interesting.

Our grandparents were friends. His grandpa lived across from my grandma and he allowed us to use his dock for lake access.

The whole summer I kept trying to work up the nerve to tell him. We spent almost every day together because his grandpa loved me. Told me I was “good for the boy” because he’d been in a bit of trouble and his grandpa thought I was a good girl. Wouldn’t let him take the truck anywhere unless he took me, too. (I learned how to drive that truck down dirt roads going one hundred miles per hour, and flipped it muddin’, and Grandpa never said a word about it. But he’d slip me a beer now and again, too.)
We were in that truck and The Boy had just cracked another dirty joke and I’d punched him for the fortieth time that day. He was developing a bruise. I told him it would be something for him to remember me by.

He pulled the truck over and turned it off. He looked me straight in the eyes and told me if I wanted him to remember me I should sleep with him.

Hope, fear, joy, confusion—it all welled up inside of me like a fountain. I didn’t have to figure out how to tell him. He did it for me. But instead of saying yes, I told him that I was pretty sure he’d remember me longer if I didn’t.

I was so mad at myself at the time for saying that. I tried to backpedal the night before I left. I went over to see him and he’d been working out…muscles bulging, body slick with sweat. He hugged me and told me I was right—that he’d remember me forever and he was glad.

He wasn’t the one and I’m glad, too. I think I remember him because we didn’t. I remember his face more clearly that summer in sharper definition than I remember the one where the big it did happen.

What about you? Do you have any memories of summer loves? Share with me in the comments below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Finding Glory
By Sara Arden
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (May 26, 2015)


Once upon a time, he was just a hopeless cause from the wrong side of Glory, Kansas. And he’ll be damned if he’ll let anyone drag him back down after finally clawing his way out.

Everyone knows that Gina Townsend is a saint, always taking care of everyone around her. And now she’s trying to be a mother to her six-year-old niece, Amanda Jane. But the girl’s biological father isn’t helping matters. The scruffy, gangly boy Gina remembers has returned to Glory a sexy, successful man, but Reed Hollingsworth is the only thing standing between her and losing Amanda Jane to foster care.

Betrayed that neither Townsend sister bothered to tell him he was a father until he had money, Reed’s still not about to shirk his responsibilities. So when he demands Gina move in with him as part of Amanda Jane’s custody agreement, he tries not to notice pretty much everything about her—especially the way his solemn-faced daughter laughs when they play together.

Raising a child together, Reed and Gina learn that some dreams come and go, but some are a spark that burns eternal…

Purchase Links



Want to keep up with Sara? Subscribe to her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/brHv3L or connect with her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SaraArdenBooks, and www.saraarden.com.



END OF SUMMER BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY DISCLOSURE:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER.  Purchase or acceptance of a product offer does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes opens 8/3/2015 at 12:01 AM (EDT) and closes 9/1/2015 at 11:59 PM (EDT).  Enter online athttps://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/82ae250c9/Open to legal residents of the U.S. and Canada who have reached the age of majority or older.  Void where prohibited by law. Void in Quebec.  One (1) prize available to be won consisting of: one (1) print copy of each of Back to You by Lauren Dane, Finding Glory by Sara Arden, Taking the Heat by Vitoria Dahl,Can’t Fight This Feeling by Christie Ridgway, and Second Chance with the Billionaire  by Janice Maynard; one (1) e-book copy of Riding Dirty by Jill Sorensen; one (1) Harlequin tote bag; and a Fifty dollar ($50.00 USD) VISA gift card (Total ARV: $92.00 USD). Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received.  Full details and Official Rules available online at https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/82ae250c9/. Sponsor: Harlequin Enterprises Limited.

OTHER TOUR STOPS:

Monday, August 3rd: Reading Reality – Lauren Dane guest post, “Hurley Family Summer Itinerary
Monday, August 3rd: Reading Reality – review – Back to You
Wednesday, August 5th: The Sassy Bookster – Janice Maynard guest post, “Sock it To Me Cake
Wednesday, August 5th: The Sassy Bookster – review – Second Chance With The Billionaire
Friday, August 7th: The Bookish and the Romantic – Sara Arden guest post, “Lemonade,” and review – Finding Glory
Friday, August 7th: The Sassy Bookster – review – Finding Glory
Monday, August 10th: A Chick Who Reads – Christie Ridgway guest post, “Summer Crushes
Monday, August 10th: Romance Novels for the Beach – review of Taking the Heat
Wednesday, August 12th: Urban Girl Reader – Victoria Dahl guest post, “Summer Adventure
Wednesday, August 12th: The Sassy Bookster – review – Taking the Heat
Friday, August 14th: From the TBR Pile – Back to You excerpt
Friday, August 14th: The Sassy Bookster – review – Back to You
Monday, August 17th: Mignon Mykel {Reviews} – Jill Sorenson guest post, “A Sexy End-of-Summer Bucket List
Wednesday, August 19thSnowdrop Dreams – Janice Maynard guest post, “Summer Vacation
Friday, August 21stThe Romance Dish – Sara Arden guest post. “True Story of Summer Love
Friday, August 21stRead Love Blog – review – Back to You
Monday, August 24thSatisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Christie Ridgway guest post, “Romantic Summer Dates
Monday, August 24thThe Sassy Bookster – review – Can’t Fight This Feeling
Tuesday, August 25thSatisfaction for Insatiable Readers – review – Can’t Fight This Feeling
Wednesday, August 26thRead Love Blog – Victoria Dahl guest post, “Summer Fling Cocktail Recipe
Thursday, August 27thA Chick Who Reads – reviews of Finding Glory, Can’t Fight This Feeling, Taking the Heat
Friday, August 28thRomance Novels for the Beach – Jill Sorenson guest post, “Virtual Motorcycle Road Trip
Friday, August 28thThe Sassy Bookster – review – Riding Dirty
Sunday, August 30thSatisfaction for Insatiable Readers – review – Finding Glory
Date TBD: Mignon Mykel {Reviews} – reviews of all 6