Welcome! Kick off your shoes, get comfy and join in as we chat about books, romance and the ups and downs of everyday life.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sophia Nash winners!


Thanks to random.org, the three winners of a Sophia Nash book are:

Gena
mariska
Karyn Gerrard AKA~Drew


Congrats, Gena, mariska, and Drew! Please send your full name, address, and choice of ONE book from Sophia's backlist to sophiaATsophianashDOTcom with "The Romance Dish winner" as the subject and Sophia will get those in the mail! Thanks!

Coming Attractions for March



Can you believe another month is upon us? Boy, is time flying fast this year! We have another great month for you here at The Romance Dish. A month full of author visits, guest blogs, and lots of reviews.


On Monday, March 1, debut author Joanne Kennedy visits with us. Joanne shares her call story and talks about her debut novel, Cowboy Trouble.

Author Erica Ridley guest blogs with us on Tuesday, March 2. PJ reviewed Erica's book, Too Wicked to Kiss, a couple weeks ago and gave the debut novel a rating of 4.5 dishes.

On Wednesday, March 3, author Julie James blogs with us about her latest book, Something About You.

Actor, model, and historical romance writer Donna Russo Morin blogs with us on Thursday, March 4.

Don't miss Andrea's list of new releases for March on Friday, March 5. You know there will be one or two or ten books on her list that you are just dying to read!

On Wednesday, March 10, Trish Milburn dishes about the latest in the young adult genre. I'm always amazed at what Trish shares with us.

Historical author Miranda Neville dishes with us on Friday, March 12.

Just as the temperatures outside are finally starting to rise, Buffie's Hot Dish of the Month is bound to get you warm all over. So be sure to stop by on Monday, March 15, to check him out.

On Tuesday, March 16, Andrea interviews author Mary Margaret Daughtridge about her latest book, SEALed With a Ring.

Author Allison Chase guest blogs with us on Monday, March 22.

You definitely do not want to miss Anna Campbells' review of Wicked All Day by Liz Carlyle on Wednesday, March 24. She never disappoints!

Romance writer (and our friend!) Christie Kelley guest blogs with on Monday, March 29.

On Tuesday, March 30, two-time RITA finalist and USA Today Bestselling author Claudia Dain spends the day with us.


Of course, in addition to all of this we will have several reviews and blogs posted through the month of March. We hope you are ready to dish all month long :-)


~ Buffie

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review - - Montana Legacy

Montana Legacy
By R.C. Ryan
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: February 23, 2010







They're the McCords...three rugged, sexy cowboy cousins who'll inherit the family range--if they seek the treasure hidden on it. But even more precious are the women who can tame their wild hearts...


As young boys, Jesse McCord and his cousins, Wyatt and Zane roamed their grandfather’s Montana ranch in search of excitement and the lost gold that consumed their Grandpa Coot’s life. None of them could imagine living anywhere else, but Coot’s obsession with finding the gold drove two of his son’s from the ranch, leaving only orphaned Jesse to live and work alongside his beloved grandpa. Now, Jesse is reeling from Coot’s sudden death, the return of the two cousins he hasn’t seen since they left the ranch with their parents all those years ago and what he views as a betrayal by the one man he thought he knew better than anyone.  He's an angry, emotionally battered man, left wondering what fate has in store for him next when, at Coot’s funeral, he looks up and his gaze collides with Amy Parrish: his high school sweetheart, daughter of the McCord’s sworn enemy, the only woman he’s ever loved, the one who, years earlier, left Montana, and him, without even a good-bye.

Just watching her, he felt all the old memories rushing over him, filling his mind, battering his soul. Memories he’d kept locked up for years in a small, secret corner of his mind. The way her hair smelled in the rain. The way her eyes sparkled whenever she smiled. The sound of her laughter, low in her throat. The way she felt in his arms when they kissed. When they made love…

He’d be damned if he’d put himself through that hell again.

Amy Parrish has returned home for one reason: to care for her ailing father – a bitter, argumentative man who has never shown her one ounce of love or affection. She has no intention of starting anything with Jesse McCord, not after the way he abandoned her when she left for college. But fate has other plans and, as Amy and Jesse soon discover, what each of them thought was the truth about that long-ago summer may have been something else entirely. And, when mysterious accidents begin occurring with Amy as the target, they are forced to acknowledge the depth of their feelings for one another.

A family torn apart, a couple given a second chance at love, a search for lost treasure and someone willing to kill to claim it for their own are at the heart of this satisfying contemporary western romance.  


~PJ

Review - - JORDAN

JORDAN
The Pendragon Legacy – Book 3
By Susan Kearney
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: February 23, 2010





The search for the Holy Grail continues as ancient Tribes prepare to invade Earth in their quest to rule the universe in the final book of Kearney’s futuristic trilogy based on Arthurian legend.

Vivianne Blackstone, owner of the Vesta Corporation, is a self-made billionaire whose company is building the Draco, an advanced one-of-a-kind spaceship that, hopefully, will aid Earth in the search for the Holy Grail. The project is coming along nicely under the direction of Jordan McArthur, Vesta’s brilliant but mysterious chief engineer but, fearful of Tribe spies, Vivianna has had Jordan investigated and is stunned to discover that his entire resume is a pack of lies. The future of Earth is riding on the success of this project and she refuses to let it remain in the hands of a man who could be a traitor, no matter how sexy or brilliant he may be.

Jordan McArthur may not have graduated from Harvard or any of the other schools on his resume but he’s no spy. Born on a distant planet more than 1500 years ago, Jordan has good reason to want the Draco to succeed. In fact, it's his destiny to make sure it happens.  So, when confronted by Vivianne, he does the only thing he can think of to save Earth: using the magical energy source of his ancient staff, he launches the Draco into space ahead of schedule. Now, a not-quite-ready spaceship, with an untrained skeleton crew, a suspicious, angry Vivianne and a determined Jordan must search the universe for the ancient cup that is the only hope for Earth’s survival. 

I’ve enjoyed this series immensely but JORDAN is my favorite of the three books.  Jordan and Vivianna are vibrant, complex people, so vividly drawn by Kearney that they leaped from the pages of the book into my heart.  I quickly became emotionally invested in them and the outcome of their journey.  The passion between them is electrifying and I have to admit that, after reading a certain scene, I'll never be able to view the loss of gravity in quite the same way but, for me, what really makes their relationship soar is the love, respect and deep, sensual, emotional connection that develops between these two highly intelligent, fiercely independent people. 

Kearney's talent for creating alien worlds that come to life through her vivid descriptions has grown with each of her books.  She makes you believe in the possibility of people and places far across the galaxy and in her inter-galactic tale of  King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.   I especially enjoyed her take on the relationship between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot.  All of the questions from the first two books are answered in this thrilling, action-packed, supremely sensual tale from the superbly talented Susan Kearney.

While each of the books in the trilogy will stand alone, I highly recommend reading them in order.  You can check out my reviews of the first two books by clicking here for LUCAN and here for RION.

~PJ

Review -- Something About You

Something About You
By Julie James
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: March 2, 2010





As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Cameron Lynde has seen and heard a lot of crazy things. However, nothing prepared her for what she overhears while staying overnight in a local hotel waiting for her hardwood floors to dry. Thirty thousand hotel rooms in the city of Chicago, and Cameron Lynde managed to find one next door to a couple having a sex marathon. But that’s not all she hears; afterwards, she inadvertently hears a murder. As the only person who witnessed anything, Cameron is then questioned by CPD and the FBI, which is headed up by none other than Special Agent Jack Pallas, the man who publicly embarrassed her three years before.

Three years ago, Cameron and Jack were involved in a case concerning a dirty Chicago thug in which Jack was also the main witness after spending two years undercover. When Cameron suddenly dropped the case due to “lack of evidence” (but actually per the instructions of her boss), Jack went ballistic and made some rather choice remarks about her on national television. His actions caused him to be transferred to Nebraska. He’s finally back in Chicago and wouldn’t you know that his first case upon returning involves the woman he blames for nearly ruining his career. Jack must keep his dislike for her in check if he’s going to be able to protect his witness and solve the crime. Despite their persistent cracks at each other, working with her causes him to need to keep more than that in check.

Julie James has done it again! She has penned a smart, witty, and romantic story infused with humor, suspense, and some serious sexual tension (along with some smoking hot love scenes!). Ms. James is quickly on her way to becoming a queen of contemporary romance. In this one she pairs a confident, tough-as-nails attorney with a strong, always-in-control FBI special agent, and much snappy dialogue ensues.

Cameron is such an amazing heroine. She is smart and sassy, but underneath it all she’s still utterly feminine. She has had to cope with the devastating loss of her father and still managed to become a successful lawyer. Very admirable, that. And then there’s Jack. Sigh. Oh, Jack. I’ve heard other people use the term “sex on a stick” in reference to men and/or heroes and I think that phrase fits Jack to a T. I love that he’s all tough and alpha male, but vulnerable when it comes to the one woman he can’t resist. He’s a total protector. Cameron sums up Jack quite nicely:

...she looked him over closely right then and was satisfied to say that he looked nothing like a ham to her. [Cameron was told earlier that she looked at Jack the way a hungry Tom looked at Jerry—imagining he resembled a ham.]

More like a chocolate molten lava cake. A dessert so sinful, so luscious, so filled with inner heat it made a girl want to lick each and every crumb right off the plate. That was Jack Pallas.

This is a book that despite having an advanced copy I will go out and buy another copy just to have one with that gorgeous cover. And it absolutely fits the book. Whether you sit outside in the breeze, lay out by the pool, or curl up by a fire, Something About You is just the right book for any occasion!

~Andrea

Friday, February 26, 2010

Review - Chick With A Charm

Chick With A Charm
By Vicki Lewis Thompson
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Release Date: March 2, 2010











Free-spirited and vivacious, Lily Revere is a witch on a mission--which is bound to get her into trouble. Apparently she didn't learn from her sister Anica's magical screw-up (see book 1, Blonde With A Wand). But Lily is bound and determined to score a date for Anica's engagement party, and she's had her eye on sexy lawyer Griffin Taylor for awhile. Although, he seems to find Lily attractive, he's not making a move fast enough suit her. So Lily decides to brew a little adoration elixir to slip in Griffin's drink while she's tending bar at The Bubbling Cauldron. Using her loyal Golden Retriever Daisy's essence as part of the potion, Lily is convinced this will give Griffin the nudge that he needs. After all, what harm can a little magic do?

Griffin noticed Lily the first time he walked into the Bubbling Cauldron for happy hour with his law firm buddies. How he could he not notice the tall, brown-eyed, dark-haired temptress? But Griffin refuses to be controlled by his libido. No, not happening. After watching his parents go through a bitter divorce, he's not going to make the same mistake. He's only going to date a responsible and focused woman, no matter how much he wants Lily. But he can't help looking and fantasizing a little. Lily makes him an amazing Harvey Wallbanger for him--laced with a little adoration elixir--and he can't believe how great it tastes. After he leaves the bar, he can't get rid of the restlessness that comes over him and the overwhelming urge he has to see Lily.

Lily is beyond thrilled with the results of her elixir! Griffin can't get enough of her--in bed and out--and she's basking in his undivided attention. It's not long before reality rears its ugly head and bites Lily in the butt. Sooner or later, she'll have to tell Griffin about the elixir and then what? Will he still feel the same about her without the spell? Or will he run screaming when he discovers she's a witch?


Her plan had also worked well for her sex life. But her heart--her heart ached with the knowledge that she'd enslaved this man. Love from a bottle, so to speak, wasn't love at all. Sometimes she could almost convince herself that Griffin really cared for her, but as long as the spell was still in effect she couldn't trust any of his behavior as being genuine.



Vicki Lewis Thompson's second Babes On Brooms book is filled with her trademark humor. Like the first book, Blonde With A Wand (see my review here), Chick With A Charm made me laugh out loud a few times, especially when Griffin's friends decide to do some amateur sleuthing when they suspect that Griffin is not his normal self. If you like your paranormals with a dash of humor, this book is just what the "witch" doctor ordered.


~ Gannon

Review - Atlantis Redeemed

Atlantis Redeemed
By Alyssa Day
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 2, 2010










The Warrior's Creed
We will wait. And watch. And protect.
And serve as first warning on the eve of humanity's destruction.
Then, and only then, Atlantis will rise. For we are the Warriors of Poseidon, and the mark of the Trident we bear serves as witness to our sacred duty to safeguard mankind.


Atlantean warrior Brennan was cursed millennia ago by Poseidon to live his life without experiencing any emotions. When he meets his true mate, all of his long-denied emotions will rush over him all at once. And, to quote Poseidon:

"If that alone is not enough to destroy you, you will also be cursed to forget your mate whenever she is out of your sight. Only when she is dead--her heart stopped and her soul flown--will your memory of her fully return to you, thus allowing you until the end of your days to repent bringing dishonor upon the name of the Warriors of Poseidon."

Brennan's curse comes full circle when he meets Tiernan Butler, an investigative reporter.... and his soul mate. She is also blessed with the ancient Gift of truth telling, instantly knowing when someone is lying. Tiernan is working with the Atlantean warriors to delve into the heinous experiments that human scientists are performing on shape-shifters. Tiernan goes undercover and meets Brennan at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Yellowstone National Park. While she is most definitely attracted to him--he's tall, dark, buff and incredibly handsome...who wouldn't be attracted?--Brennan is struck to the core with the knowledge that she is the one.

The face from those fragments of nearly forgotten dreams. He saw her face, and the entire world jolted and fell out of orbit. There was no sun. There was only her. Tiernan.

Tiernan is fighting her own emotional war. Instant attraction and desire for this sexy Atlantean and puzzlement at his behavior toward her, as if he'll die if he doesn't have her. And his absolute fear to be away from her for even more than a minute. But because of her gift of seeing the truth in others, Tiernan knows that Brennan is speaking the truth from his heart about his curse and why he believes she is his mate.

Tiernan and Brennan must work together to fight the evil that could spell the end for both of their worlds. Will they survive the battle or will Poseidon's curse be the end of their potential happiness?

Ms. Day blends action, suspense and fiery hot sensuality to create another winning book in her Warriors of Poseidon series. This is the first one that I've read-- but the fourth in the series-- and while I like to read a series in order, I had no trouble jumping right in to the story. Brennan is my favorite kind of hero: tall, dark, gorgeous and emotionally wounded. There's nothing better than watching a tortured hero--and is he ever tortured!--healed by the love of the heroine. Tiernan and Brennan are a match made in heaven....or Atlantis. *g* Brennan's complete and utter love and devotion to Tiernan had me sighing through this entire story.

"You are more than I could ever deserve, Tiernan Butler," he said, his voice low and husky. "I will see you safely out of this hell if it is the last thing I ever accomplish in this life. You are mine, my revelation and my redemption, and I will never let you go."

So if you fancy a sexy, tortured hero, I highly recommend Atlantis Redeemed.

~ Gannon

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Guest Author -- Sophia Nash

We are absolutely thrilled to have RITA award-winning historical author Sophia Nash dishing with us today! Before becoming a multi award-winning author, Sophia was an award-winning Producer/Writer for PM Magazine and the CBS/WTVJ-Miami news division, a congressional speech writer, Press Secretary and later a congressional liaison for the United States Information Agency, and the Executive Director of the non-profit Washington International Horse Show for almost a decade. Wow! Sophia has led a very interesting life! Her latest release, Secrets of a Scandalous Bride, has received star reviews from Booklist and Library Journal, and as you can tell by my review here, I loved it! Welcome Sophia to The Romance Dish!

It’s a great honor to join all my longtime friends here on their terrific, new blog spot. Andrea, PJ, Gannon, and Buffie, I love The Romance Dish! Thank you for letting me out of my snow covered writer’s cave to talk about Fantasy Cooking.

Ok, I hear the snickers already. Anyone who has ever spent more than five minutes around me knows how much I love to cook – NOT! Several of you are probably remembering how my oven is the home of my cookbooks, all gifts from well meaning family & friends. I’ve already donned my defensive apron to explain my position. There’s just something about the endless routine of throwing down three meals a day that sucks the pleasure right out of haut cuisine. And I’m completely mystified by the popularity of the ever growing torrent of cooking shows, magazines, etc. these days. I mean, really, who has the time to shop, and lovingly cook an endless round of meals? And if you suggest Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals (which really take 60 minutes), well . . . let’s just say that the sound of her saying EEVOO or EEVO or whatever she says in front of her trash bowl sends me to the edge of darkness.

This is why I loved Sandra Bullocks’ performance in The Blind Side. You know, the one where she bought an entire Thanksgiving dinner and put it on the counter with a stack of dishes? If I didn’t have my French mother come to stay during the holidays, this would be me. Instead, I slave just like the rest of sainted motherhood to crank out a sautéed, basted, baked, broiled, frapped sideboard worth of food that makes my exercise teacher clap her hands in glee due to the number of weeks it will take to get me back into shape. But this is only twice a year. The rest of the time, I serve raw fruits and veggies, nuts, whole grain bread & cereal, and fast-on-the-grill foods. Compliments are nonexistent; even the dog is unimpressed.

So what is Fantasy Cooking? This is when you create a heroine who loves to cook. She’s a brilliant chef. She can cook Rachel’s EEVVOO meals in TEN minutes using the contents of a poorly stocked Regency-era kitchen to feed thirty hungry men three bloody times a day while wearing a blissful smile. Of course everybody loves her. They swoon at her feet, gushing praise over her edible masterpieces. I had so much fun creating Elizabeth Ashburton in Secrets of a Scandalous Bride, my Feb 23rd release, which is the grand finale in the widows club series. She is everything I am not and never will be and therein lies the fantasy. Can you imagine who I paired her with in the story?

Rowland Manning, an enigmatic hero who hates to eat, that’s who. They are delicious together in a cat vs. dog kind of way!

I do hope you enjoy this newest confection… Now let’s hear about your fantasy role in life. If you could play any role, what would it be? A ballerina, a singer, high powered Wall Street player, Olympic athlete, brain surgeon, astronaut…name it and tell us why!

Sophia has graciously offered three lucky commenters their choice of one of her backlist titles!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Secret of Great Reading!

by Anna Campbell

You know you're in the hands of an extraordinary writer when she changes the way you view your personal environment. Barbara O'Neal (and her other incarnations as Ruth Wind and Barbara Samuel) is just such a writer.

After finishing THE SECRET OF EVERYTHING yesterday, I went for a walk and I found myself noticing new and vivid details of my surroundings. The stark white of a gum tree trunk or the rich red of a lovely flowering bottlebrush around the corner from me. It's not that I don't see this stuff normally. But somehow the intense sensory experience of reading Barbara's work had flowed over to freshen up my ability to see what was around me.

Barbara O'Neal is an intensely sensual writer. Her books are full of the things that make life richer. The taste of a good meal. The scent of mountain air. The lovely silky feel of a just-groomed dog (more about the dogs later). How wonderful it feels to stretch out on a comfortable bed after you've done a long, long hike. Hmm, perhaps I'm not QUITE so familiar with that one!

Something as simple as the plain adobe house with blue-painted window frames that the heroine moves into in this story fills your mind with such an evocative picture, it's like you're there. It's an amazing gift. Reading a Barbara O'Neal is like sitting down to an exquisite banquet - and to get the full experience, you won't gobble it all down in a hurry, you'll pause and savor the different flavors and how they come together to make a delicious whole. To emphasize the comparison with food, a lot of the chapters end with luscious recipes from the cafe that features in the book, 100 Breakfasts. I wasn't tempted to get out the frying pan, but I sure was tempted to get on a plane and try and find this place and order about ten breakfasts in a row!

THE SECRET OF EVERYTHING is her second Barbara O'Neal book (I loved her first, THE LOST RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS too). It's probably more women's fiction than romance, although there is a very strong, very sexy romance included in the story.

Tessa Harlow comes to the New Mexico town of Las Ladronas after tragedy and injury. Las Ladronas has painful memories for her too - as a child, she almost drowned in the river and as a result, she has suffered memory loss that has haunted her all her life.

Over the coming weeks, she'll discover those lost years, she'll learn about family, and she'll discover a new love with the gorgeous local Vince Grasso. She'll encounter people who will change her life. Not just Vince, but many people who knew her as a child, Vita who runs the famous cafe 100 Breakfasts, Annie who is a parolee with a tragic past, and Vince's three daughters. She'll reassess her relationship with her father and she'll learn what she wants to make of her life.

And she'll meet lots of dogs! Dogs populate this book and they're all marvelous. Personally I love animals in books and I know I'm not alone. Favorites in THE SECRET OF EVERYTHING include Vince's rather nutty Akita mix Pedro and the stray collie pup who Tessa eventually adopts. You'll fall in love with both of these dogs, believe me!

This is such a lovely, life-affirming read. And the writing is just gorgeous. It's the kind of book where the characters linger in your mind long after you close the cover on the last page. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review -- Secrets of a Scandalous Bride

Secrets of a Scandalous Bride
By Sophia Nash
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: February 23, 2010






Sophia Nash is one of my “go to” authors. When I pick up one of her books, I know I can count on an engaging story filled with wit, tender emotion, and characters that I fall in love with. Secrets of a Scandalous Bride is all that and more. It is the last of her popular Widows Club series (though it stands on its own) and wraps everything up splendidly.

This one picks up right after the previous book (Love with the Perfect Scoundrel) leaves off with the wedding of Grace and Michael. Elizabeth Ashburton and the other members of the Dowager Duchess of Helston’s Widows Club are there standing up for Grace as she’s being led down the aisle on the arm of her brother-in-law, Rowland Manning, the bad boy villain of said previous book. But Elizabeth isn’t concerned with that – she’s worried that her past is about to catch up to her. For the past two years, she’s been living a lie posing as a widow to hide from an obsessive suitor whom she believes killed her army captain father and his friend at Badajoz. That suitor is now a decorated general and war hero, and about to have a duchy bestowed upon him by the Prince Regent. Who would believe her word over his? Upon spying General Pymm enter the church, Elizabeth bolts and hides in a carriage. Unbeknownst to her, it happens to be the carriage of Rowland Manning.

“What the devil?”

“I’m so sorry, Mr. Manning. Um . . . I require your assistance.” She exhaled. “Please.”

Ah . . . the juicy widowed morsel from the church—the one with the bountiful hair and the magnificent glittering emerald eyes. He narrowed his gaze. “Really? And what’s in it for me?”

She was doing a fairly good job of hiding her panic. Only her uneven breathing gave her away. “Everything I have if you will not betray me to those soldiers.”

“Everything? Hmmm, my favorite word.”


Rowland Manning may be one of London’s most popular horse traders, but he worked hard to achieve that status. As the bastard son of the previous Earl of Wallace, he wasn’t afforded the same luxuries as his brother growing up. He was born in the rookery and spent his childhood struggling to survive. Now that he’s built his empire, he’ll not let anything destroy it – especially not a widow with secrets.

Rowland is a tortured soul, but he’s not completely innocent – he’s done some grave injustices that haven’t helped him. He’s jaded and cynical with everyone he meets, but at least he’s consistent. That is until he meets Elizabeth and she starts to crack the ice he’s built around his heart. She is the perfect heroine for him because she is strong-willed and isn’t afraid of him. He may be intimidating, but she doesn’t back down. Having spent a good part of her life surrounded by military men, she handles herself well and he realizes that early on.

He had to give her credit. She was one of the few—no, the only women—who had the nerve to talk to him thusly. Most were afraid of him, or the reverse; interested only in all manner of sexual perversion. He suddenly grinned, unused to the feeling of his mouth stretching into a smile.

Rowland doesn’t trust anyone, so he and Elizabeth engage in the ultimate battle of wills and wits. He has always been a loner, never depended on anyone, and denies himself so much – every pleasure and happiness life has to offer. My heart went out to him! Even though he knows he’s not good enough for Elizabeth (his words, not mine), he goes after her because he’s smart enough to realize a good thing when he sees it. As he puts it, Elizabeth saves him from himself.

With Secrets of a Scandalous Bride Ms. Nash proves once again why she is a superstar of historical romance. Her writing is lush and vivid and leaves me waiting with bated breath for her next release. Packed with emotion and surprising plot twists, Secrets of a Scandalous Bride is the perfect conclusion to the series and a must read!


~Andrea

Monday, February 22, 2010

Guest Author -- Allison Knight

After teaching school for many years, and loving it, author Allison Knight decided that writing happy-ever-after stories appealed, especially when she knew she could do a bit better than some of the romances she read. In her own words, Allison "loves creating characters and then making their lives miserable until getting to the happy-ever-after part". We are happy to have her dishing with us today as she weighs in on e-Publishing versus Print Publishing. Please welcome Allison to The Romance Dish!

With the advance of the internet, many authors wonder, ‘Is e-publishing for me?’ And it’s a legitimate question. Before you decide there are facts you need to consider.

Before you submit to an e-publisher, you have to have a finished book. That makes sense because an e-publisher needs to know how many words are in your manuscript. And there is also the little known fact that some people write a great beginning, but can’t finish a book. Then there is the time factor to consider. No matter the stories out there, most of the big print publishers look at a proposal and have many steps to go through before the decision is made to buy the book. It takes time, as much as two years. So you have time to finish the book.

I’ve mentioned time. With most e-publishers we’re talking weeks, perhaps two or three months before a decision to buy is made. That’s quite a difference from the one to two years I’ve mentioned with big print publishers.

I have to mention postage costs. Many of the major print publishers want a hard copy of your work. Only a few editors insist on e-mail, so you’re dealing with the cost of postage. It’s a tax deduction if you file taxes in the United States, but it’s an expense you have to consider. And mailing a full 90,000 word manuscript costs money. With e-publishers everything is handled over the internet, so you have your internet expense, which you probably would have anyway.

I’ll pause here and mention something called vanity publishing and POD. Vanity publishing is when you pay to have your work published. It’s given the name because, let’s face it, the reason you want the book published is a boon to your personal feelings. You want your name in print, or you want the information you’ve research available with your name attached. The new electronic machines available to print books at once, POD (Print On Demand) make it all possible. But I contend you don’t want to have to pay to have someone to buy your hard work.

Everyone wants to talk about “Money”. With a print publisher, you are offered an advance against royalties, if they decide after a year or two that they want your book. However, If you don’t finish the book, they want the money back.

Let’s say they decide to buy your book, you have your advance in two, three or four installments, then the book is released. You wait for the first royalty check. And surprise, surprise. After they subtract the amount paid in the advance, they withhold anywhere from a fourth to half for something called reserves. This is what the most people don’t know about print publishers. Their business model, especially with paperbacks, says they can print so many copies, but if the copies don’t sell in a month or two, the bookstore can rip the cover from the book, throw away the rest, return the cover to the publisher and get what they paid for the book returned to them. The story is a bit different with trade paperbacks or hard copies, but they don’t print many of them. So after the advance, you wait a while, sometimes a long while for whatever money the book nets. Also there is the percentage of royalties on each copy. Most digital publishers pay three to four times the amount of percentage when compared to a major print publishers.

I have to mention the cost of buying an e-book compared to a print book. E-books are much cheaper. They don’t involve print expenses, paper and distribution costs. You don’t have to spend money on gas to go to the store to buy the book or pay the shipping costs if you order the book from an online store. If you have a cell phone with internet connection, you probably can read the book on you phone, or on your computer unless you splurge and buy a reader.

Which brings up distribution. No one can deny the major publishers have a lock on bookstore and chain store distribution. But with the internet and more and more place available to purchase digital reading material the means of distribution are slowly changing. No matter the method of publication, an author must promote his or her work. Again the internet seems to be the most effective means of communication.

One last point. With e-publishing, you have your book available for a long, long time. Several of my original e-published books are still available on the internet. As long as the publisher and I agree the books can be bought they can be purchased. If you like one of my books, others are available for sampling. But not least is the fact that with e-publishing your book can be sold worldwide without waiting for a foreign company to buy rights and translate.

So there you have it. The reasons I like being an e-published author. And yes, I do have the credentials to compare. My first six books were purchased and printed by a major print publisher. My next ten books are e-published book. I plan to have all the rest of my literary endeavors also available in digital format.

Thank you for dishing with us today, Allison! Readers, what are your thoughts on e-Publishing versus Print Publishing? And do you have any questions for Allison?


What upcoming releases does Allison have coming up? In March, she has a gothic short story called The Haunting at Hastings Hall, part of the Shadowed Hearts Series. Here's a blurb....

Late at night, a ghostly light announces, "Find the will." The voice sounds like Aunt Phoebe - but they buried her that morning.

As Ellie Parker searches for the missing document, she knows her time in her adopted home will soon come to an end. She'll have to leave when her step-cousin inherits the property.

The husband of the step-cousin insists he's interested in Ellie, not his wife, and the young doctor who cared for her dying aunt also wants to spend time with her. So, why are the men pursuing her? Was her aunt really poisoned as the doctor says and what will happen if she doesn't find the will?


And August brings the sequel to her award-winning novel, Heartsong, titled Battlesong....

Their marriage begins with a lie. Tricked into wedding young Laren Blair, the daughter of a Scottish laird, Arthur ap Brynn Ffrydd, an English baron, abandons her at his keep. When he finally returns six years later she has won the affection of his people but all he sees are the changes she has made. Their battles begin.

She fears her life will be as miserable with Arthur as it was with her cruel father. He envisions losing his property to her Scottish clan. As they learn to tolerate each other, desire draws them together. When Laren is kidnapped and Arthur is wounded in battle they realize they love each other. Reunited, can their love withstand the strain of another lie?


For more information about Allison, check out her website and her blog!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jennifer Estep Blog Winner




The winner of a copy of Spider's Bite from Jennifer Estep's February 2nd blog is

INDIGO

Indigo, we have not received your information yet.
Please send your full name and snail mail address to theromancedish@gmail.com, with "Jennifer Estep Winner" in the subject line no later than Friday, February 26th  to claim your prize.
If we have not received your information by the above date another name will be drawn.

Review - Most Eagerly Yours

Most Eagerly Yours
By Allison Chase
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: March 2, 2010










While the four orphaned Sutherland sisters were raised on their uncle's country estate they formed a close friendship with the young Princess Victoria. After the death of their Uncle Edward, the sisters move to a small town home in London and run The Knightsbridge Readers' Emporium. They live simply on the annuities left to them by their parents and uncle, away from the social whirl of high society. Just months before her coronation as queen, Victoria pays a secret visit to the sisters to ask for their help with a most delicate matter, acting as her secret servants.

As the eldest sister, Laurel is chosen first. Victoria asks Laurel to travel to Bath posing as a wealthy widow. Her "assignment" is to get to know George Fitzclarence, the queen's jealous cousin who has on occasion spoken treason. As the illegitimate, but only son of the late king, George feels that he is better than the young Victoria. Victoria cautions Laurel to beware of George's unscrupulous friends, particularly the Earl of Barensforth.

Aidan Phillips, Earl of Barensforth is an undercover agent for the Home Office investigating a financial scam mired in murder and alchemy and George Fitzclarence in the middle. The appearance of a lovely young widow distracts Aidan from his plans. He is sure that Laurel is hiding something, and he is determined to discover her secrets. But what starts as mere attraction quickly turns to something deeper. Despite their growing feelings for one another, neither Aidan nor Laurel think they have a future together. Yet love prevails and is beautifully shown when Aidan waltzes with Laurel under the stars with only the sounds of nature to provide the music.


And then the whirling stopped and all went still, the music coalescing into one long, beautiful, lingering note as Aidan bent his face over hers. At first she thought he would kiss her, but he only smiled into her eyes with longing and sadness and steely-edged resolve.

Her heart overflowed with all the love they would never share. "Why did you do that?"


"So that years from now it will be what you remember of this day. Not the disappointments or the heartache or my wretched failings, but the glory of commanding the earth to sing and the sky to dance. For you, Laurel. All for you."


And she realized that though he might not be offering her a happily-ever-after, he had already given her more than she had ever imagined.




Most Eagerly Yours is the first book of Allison Chase's Her Majesty's Secret Servants series. It is a delightful combination of romance, political intrigue, and mystery with a gothic touch. Book 2, Outrageously Yours, featuring Laurel's sister Ivy will be released in December. I'm looking forward to each book in this series, finding out more about the Sutherland sisters, the mystery that surrounds their parents' death, and the enigmatic "man in black." If you love historical romance with a years-long mystery yet to be revealed, I'm sure you'll enjoy Most Eagerly Yours.

~ Gannon

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Brenda Gayle winner!




The winner of a copy of Soldier For Love by Brenda Gayle is:

chey

Congratulations, chey! Please send your full name and address to Brenda at brendaATbrendagayleDOTcom with "The Romance Dish winner" in the subject line. Thanks!

Review - Fantasy In Death

Fantasy In Death
By J.D. Robb
Publisher: Putnam
Release Date: February 23, 2010









In the 30th book of J.D. Robb's In Death series Lieutenant Eve Dallas is facing one of the most puzzling and challenging cases of her career. Bart Minnock, founder of the computer gaming company U-Play, locks himself in his private holo-room at his home, ready to immerse himself in the ultimate gaming fantasy: assuming the role of a battle-hardened, sword-wielding hero defending his kingdom. This new game is U-Play's latest top-secret project called Fantastical and it could take the world of gaming to a whole new level.

The next day he is found in his still locked game room, decapitated. Security discs show that no one entered his home, no weapons are found and the only blood on the scene is the victim's. Eve must now begin the difficult job of discovering who murdered Bart and how. She decides to focus her attention on Bart's U-Play partners/best friends: Benny, Cill and Var. When she informs the three of them of his death, they are devastated and seemingly as perplexed as Eve about how Bart was killed. Everyone seems to have loved and respected Bart. But Eve has seen enough murder to know that even the most amiable people can have enemies.

Robb, aka Nora Roberts, continues to fascinate and entertain her readers with the latest installment of her wildly popular futuristic series. Friendship and its many faces plays a big part in this book. One of my favorite aspects of this series is the wonderful cast of characters and their interaction with each other. Robb really captures the nuances of the relationships of her characters. Of course, front and center are Eve and her sexy, compelling, sinfully wealthy husband Roarke. They are probably my favorite fictional couple, and even after 30 novels, their relationship is still as captivating as it was in the beginning. Eve is a kick-ass, tough cop, but she has a tender heart for those she loves and Roarke is the center of that.


Smooth and slow and sweet, they moved together. As sensations shimmered through her like light, she cupped his face in the dark.

Not all magic was fantasy, she thought. There was magic here and she felt it glow in her body, in her mind and her heart.

"I love you, Roarke. I love you."

Magic, she thought, watching his heart rise into his eyes.


Roarke grew up on the streets of Dublin, scrabbling and fighting for survival, and through grit and intelligence he became one of the most powerful men on the planet. His complete and utter devotion to Eve never fails to move me.


Her strength, her valor remained a constant wonder to him, as did her unrelenting determination to defend those who could no longer defend themselves. These moments, when she allowed her vulnerabilities, her doubts, her fears to tremble to the surface compelled him to take care. In these moments he could show her it wasn't just the warrior he loved, he treasured, but the woman, the whole of her. The dark and the light.

Who wouldn't love a man like that or want to be loved so completely as Roarke does Eve and she him. While this is obviously a long running series with no apparent end in sight--hooray!--each book can stand alone. But be warned, once you enter the world of futuristic New York, you'll be hooked....and totally in love with Roarke!

~ Gannon