Monday, January 31, 2011
Is January gone already?? It looks like this year is flying by as we enter February, the month of love, where Valentine's Day reigns supreme. While it may be cold and snowy where you are, we've got plenty of fun to heat things up. *g* Guest authors, reviews, and a prize or two are what's in store at The Romance Dish. Oh, and if that doesn't warm you up, Buffie's Hot Dish will definitely do the trick!
On Tuesday, February 1st, Syrie James will kick things off with a guest blog. Syrie is the author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, Dracula, My Love, and her latest novel, Nocturne.
Paranormal author Joss Ware will be our guest on Wednesday, February 2nd to talk about her latest book, Night Betrayed, book 4 in the Envy Chronicles.
Join us on Friday, February 4th with pen and paper in hand. It's time for Andrea's New Releases for February.
Romance Bandit and debut author Suzanne Ferrell will be blogging with us on Sunday,February 6th about her new book, The Surrender of Lacy Morgan.
It's time to Make Your Reservations on Wednesday, February 9th. Join us to see what books we're looking forward to in March.
On Thursday, February 10th, Trish Milburn will be sharing the best and brightest in the YA genre in her monthly Teen Menu blog.
Prepare for fun and plenty of spice on Friday, February 11th when Kimberly Killion and some of her fellow Ellora's Cave authors blog with us.
Romance Bandit and Harlequin Blaze author Tawny Weber is dishing with us on Saturday, February 12th about her February release, Breaking the Rules. Join us for what is sure to be a good time.
Tuesday, February 15th is one of my favorite days this month. I can't wait to see which delicious hunk Buffie has selected for this month's Hot Dish!
Paranormal romance and romantic suspense author Cynthia Eden will be our guest on Wednesday, February 16th. Her latest book, Deadly Heat (released January 25th), has been getting fantastic reviews.
We are thrilled to have New York Times bestselling historical romance author Laura Lee Guhrke blogging with us on Thursday, February 17th. Her latest book, Scandal of the Year was released on January 25th.
We'll be bringing you more reviews of some must-have books on Saturday, February 19th in our monthly Stock Up Saturday blog.
On Monday, February 21st we have a "goddess" in the house when New York Times bestselling author Julia London joins us to dish about her latest book, A Light At Winter's End, which will be released on February 22nd.
Anna Campbell will be here Thursday, February 24th with her always popular and entertaining monthly Second Helping blog.
What are you most looking forward to this month? One random commenter will win a book from my prize stash.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Today, we are very excited to have author Karin Tabke visiting with us. My (this is Buffie) love affair with Karin's writing began back in the summer of 2008 when I won a copy of Master of Surrender, the first book in the Blood Sword series. I was quickly gripped by Karin's gritty tale of a band of medieval knights and their journeys to a well-deserved HEA. Ever since, I have gobbled up every Karin Tabke book I could get my hands on. Her writing is super sexy and yet still has a way of stirring your soul. Let's just say ... the girl has got some talent! Karin was one of the authors that I couldn't wait to meet last year at the RWA National Conference. And she is just the same in person as she is online -- a no nonsense chick with a sense a humor. Please give a warm welcome to Karin Tabke.
Teaching a Young Dog Manners and an Old Dog Patience.
First of all, thank you Buffie for having me as your guest today!
So, what do dogs have to do with writing a good story? Not much at first glance but stay with me.
I’ve owned dogs all of my adult life. Big dogs, little dogs, purebred show dogs and the affable mutt. I currently have two Shih-Tzus, Coco and Zoe, 10 and 8, mother and daughter, respectively. And Bella. A seven-month-old Cane Corso who is to put it mildly, a hand full. Our last two big dogs were outside dogs. Why? Because the sad truth is, I was lazy. I never gave them the benefit of proper training, which would have required diligence, patience and consistency on my part. And just as much of a reason was, I had no clue how to train them (although if you had asked me then, I would have said, of course I know how to train a dog! It’s them, not me!) and as important, I didn’t understand the psychology of the canine (again, I would have told you I did, but they were not trainable. I realize now how trainable they were and how I failed them.).
After months and months of research, going to shows and interviewing breeders, and the decision was made to bring a corso into our home, hubby and I were adamant that our new pup would not be relegated to the back yard. Of course, we agreed on this before we picked Bella up at the airport. We had no idea what keeping that promise to ourselves and to our new puppy, would entail.
Corsi are a dominant breed. They are an ancient Italian mastiff breed that requires vigilant training, regular exercise and a loving family to protect. Without those three ingredients, a corso will own the house and every living creature in it. In our home we have two cats, two small dogs, three humans and a fourteen-month old granddaughter who is a frequent visitor. We have an active household. Lot’s of coming and going. Having 110 ten pounds of lean muscled corso hurling itself at guests as they come in the front door was not an option.
So, right from the get go, I began my education. I learned that I had to establish that I was the pack leader. It was not assumed. It was earned. I decided what Bella did, with whom and when. Bones and toys were mine. I allowed her to play with them. She was not allowed to take them away from the little girls (Coco and Zoe). She was not allowed to chase them or the cats. She was not allowed on the furniture, she was not allowed to jump up on us or anyone else. She was not allowed to eat until I told her it was ok. She would sit, stay and down when told. She would not take me for a walk or act aggressive toward other dogs or people. She would be a mannered young lady. Period.
Hah! Talk about the work and commitment involved laying a solid foundation, and then going back and forth until each step was accomplished. Talk about fatiguing, grueling, and wanting to throw your hands up in the air! Ah, but talk about rewarding!
To accomplish all of the above, there was an expectation from Bella of me as well. I would take her for daily walks. Play ball, take her to obedience class, work with her several times a day, socialize her, and show her in a calm, confident way that life was much better when we were all calm and confident.
I realized that in asking so much of Bella, I had to step up my game. Hugely. I had to learn how to be a calm, confident, educated trainer. And so, my training began and continues. And what I find so amazing is, that in spite of my mistakes, Bella gets it. She allows me to start over, to get it right so that we get it right together. She doesn’t hold a grudge and I have learned a good pack leader doesn’t hold a grudge either.
I have learned that I can’t just jump in feet first and expect immediate results. Just like writing. It’s what I did in the beginning, until I got that it wasn’t working. So, I stepped back and learned the craft of writing. I learned how to tell a story. It took patience, diligence and confidence to go to the next step. It was fatiguing, and frightening. But I knew if I didn’t do the heavy lifting and keep at it, I would fail.
Bella has taught me a precious lesson. She has taught me what it means and what is expected of a true pack leader. While I feel I have been on track with it naturally, she made me realize I hadn’t nailed it. Because of taking the time to understand and train Bella, I’m a better mother, wife, friend and writer. Along this journey, I realized that my sweet perfect little shih-tzus were not so sweet and perfect. Who knew? I do now, and with what I have learned with Bella, I have applied to the little girls. Our home is quieter and more harmonious. Why didn’t I know all of this when I was raising my kids!?
Bella and I graduate, at the top of our class, I’m proud to say, our first leg of obedience training this Sunday. We begin handling classes Monday night so that when she enters the show ring she will understand what is expected of her. We begin our second leg of obedience training Tuesday. We are learning to track people and objects. We have begun to settle down and enjoy the process and our time together. To be successful in all of our endeavors, we have learned to trust each other.
As with writing, I have to trust the skills that I have worked hard to learn. I have to be open, calm and confident in this ever-changing market. I need to be open to my readers, and do right by them.
This old dog is learning a few new tricks herself and much needed patience.
How about you?
What life lesson have you recently learned?
I have one of my backlist up for grabs to a randomly selected commenter!
Karin* aka Harlow
Blood Moon Trilogy #1
Berkley Heat (May 3, 2011)
Trade Paperback – Erotic Paranormal
ISBN-13: 978-0425240922 Pre-order your copy today!
Barnes & Noble
For all eternity, only one thing shall separate them—until the Blood Law is avenged…
The coming of the Blood Moon will lead two Lycan packs into war, spur two rival brothers into conflict, and spark an act of vengeance so evil that its effects will be felt for generations.
One woman stands at the center of it all…
As undisputed Alpha, Rafael must choose a life mate to preserve the dominance of his Lycan pack. He never suspected, his mate would be a human, the same wounded, girl-woman he seduces from the brink of death. Falon is a dangerous combination of Lycan and Slayer—beings bred to destroy his kind. Even more, she’s a mesmerizing beauty whose sensuality tempts the seasoned warrior to take unnecessary risks. The primal heat between them is irresistible, yet surrendering to it could destroy them both…for a vengeful foe stands ready in the shadows to fulfill what is rightfully his by Blood Law.
Bad To the Bone
Wicked Reads #1
(January 13, 2011)
Digital – Erotic Contemporary
ISBN-13: 978-1452418353 Download Now!
Barnes & Noble
Police officer Vaden Holbrook and widow Olivia Connor’s chemistry is off-the-charts hot, but incredible sex isn’t enough for Olivia. She wants it all. Will Vaden’s inability to commit push her into the arms of another man? Or can he overcome his past to become the man Olivia needs, the man he’d like to be?
Her mind wasn’t on the road. Or her driving. As usual, it was a million miles away, so when she took the wrong turn, it didn’t register. She followed the road a few miles before she carelessly ran a red light. A faint, Oh shit, I hope there wasn’t a cop hiding behind a bush, flashed through her mind. She made a quick left just in case, then gave her SUV some gas down the old country road.
It was late and it was dark. Hers was the only car on the rutted asphalt road. Her headlights blazed the way until she dunked into a pothole, the depth causing her to bounce and hit her head on the roof. As if to let the pothole know how she felt about that, she glanced angrily in her review mirror. That’s when she saw the headlights of another vehicle rapidly closing in on her.
She bit her bottom lip. Her nerves flared and her belly buzzed. When red and blue lights lit up behind her, her apprehension spiked.
The cop car pulled right up on her, lights blazing. She knew what to do. She looked right, making sure the shoulder was wide enough and not littered with the gaping holes left by the recent rain. She slowed, pulled over and came to a stop, then let out a long breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.
In her side mirror, she watched the cop get out of his car and say something into his mic before he started toward her window; his tall broad form was silhouetted ominously against his headlights. As the strobes flickered over him, she could tell by his strut he was cocky. But then, most cops were. Nervously, she sat back, folded her hands in her lap and waited.
Anxiously, she bit her bottom lip and hit the window button just long enough for the window to come down a crack.
He stopped at the side of her car. All she could see was his duty belt and his narrow waist that flared into a wide chest. He tapped on the glass with the end of his flashlight.
“Open the window, ma’am,” he commanded.
Despite the nervous flutter in her belly, her immediate reaction to authority was to open the window more. Even if it weren’t, she’d open wider.
Tension sizzled along her nerve endings when he ducked down and they met face to face. Her instinct was to shy away from the dark green eyes shining brightly in the night. Instead, she swallowed hard as her gaze dropped to full firm lips before bouncing back up to the blistering gaze.
He wasn’t classically handsome. He had one of those etched character-filled faces. His angles were blunt, nothing refined about him, but they complemented his olive coloring and close-cropped jet-black hair. There was nothing soft or apologetic about this man. It was his eyes and those bad boy lips that transformed him from average to sinful.
Her nipples beaded when his gaze dropped below her chin. Her chest rose and fell in shallow puffs. Her shirt was classic Anne Klein office wear. Although her sleeves were rolled up to her elbows and the buttons didn’t quite make it to her neck, the way she was sitting made the shirt gape open, exposing her cleavage supported by a lacy demi-bra.
He looked back up at her face. Heat flickered behind his hooded lids. An insolent half smile quirked the right side of his mouth before he backed up. She huffed, sinking deeper into the leather seat. It wasn’t like she had intentionally given him a peek. She wasn’t like that. She bet half the women he pulled over took one look at him and did more than show a little skin. He was all smoldering sexy. His subtle snub pissed her off.
A woman scorned, regardless of the circumstances, was nothing to mess with. Frustrated by his assumption, she stiffened and stuck her head out of the window. “Why did you stop me?” she demanded.
He cocked a dark brow at her tone. “You ran the light back there. License and registration, please.” He held out a big hand. Thick fingers with smooth blunted ends, neat square fingernails. A working man’s hand. A single working man’s. No wedding ring.
His other hand rested casually on the butt of his gun.
“What are you going to do? Shoot me if I don’t do what you say?”
His lips quirked. “I’ll use whatever force is necessary.”
Shivers hopped along her spine. She wasn’t sure if she were afraid or intrigued. Either way, she didn’t resist. She took her driver’s license out of her wallet and slapped it into his waiting hand. His big fingers wrapped around hers before she could pull away. His touch was electric. A shock wave went straight to her nipples and banked south to the juncture at her thighs. She tried hard to remain impassive. She tugged her hand out of his grasp, then dug into the glove box for the registration. This time, caution prevailed; she sat back and handed it to him, keeping all but her fingertips inside the car.
He took it and looked at her license. “I’ll be right back, Ms. Olivia Connor. Don’t go anywhere.” There was a hint of amusement lacing his deep baritone.
Did he just laugh at her as he walked away? She stuck her head out the window, to tell him to go to hell, but he had already reached his cruiser. She sat back, her temper flaring. “Damn cops think they’re God’s gift.”
In her rearview mirror, she watched him watch her through his front windshield as he called in her info. After what seemed interminably long, he strode back to her door. He reached inside the car, released the door lock, quickly pulling the door open before she realized what he was doing.
“Step out of the car, ma’am,” he said thickly.
“Why? You can’t arrest me for blowing a red light!”
“Step out of the car, ma’am.”
Her pride screamed “no.” Her reason told her to just do as he said so she didn’t invite any more trouble than she already had. Ultimately, Olivia was good at following instructions.
She stuck her left foot out of the car, her four-inch heel digging into the soil of the shoulder. When she stood, she nearly snapped her ankle. The bad cop reached out to steady her. His long fingers wrapped possessively around her bicep. Her skin flared beneath his chaste touch. When her second heel stuck in the ground, she jerked away from him and had he not grabbed her with both hands, she would have tumbled backwards into the mud. The velocity of his actions brought her chest to chest with him.
The contact was electrifying.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
By Karin Tabke
Release Date: January 13, 2011
Olivia could barely move, every muscle in her body ached. The last eighteen hours had been so amazing she wasn‘t sure she had actually experienced it. But Vaden‘s flesh and bones body beside her told her she had. It wasn‘t a dream. She had never felt more treasured, appreciated or respected. She felt empowered and capable of accomplishing anything she set her mind to. And she would. First on her list—Vaden.
Kindergarten teacher Olivia Connor is ready for a new life. It has been a year since her husband Tommy passed away and Olivia is ready to feel again. While her 10 years of marriage to Tommy wasn’t awful, it really wasn’t what little girls dream of either. I guess that is the kind of marriage you get when your high school sweetheart breaks your heart in pieces and you marry the rebound guy. Tommy wasn’t a bad guy. No, he was a nice guy -- always followed the rules and did well for himself on the police force. However, for Olivia the spark had died long ago.
Vaden Holbrook is the kind of man that haunts the dreams of every woman. Tall, dark and handsome with dark green eyes and full, lush lips. A cop with a cocky strut that screams “bad to the bone”. A man who knows how to use every single feature and talent he possesses to bring pleasure to the woman fortunate enough to be in his bed or whatever place he deems the “right” place.
Vaden is just the man to show Olivia that life is worth living and worth loving. Olivia quickly comes out of her shell and embraces a rather vigorous physical relationship with Vaden, including an extremely hot cop fantasy scene. As Olivia’s transformation begins, so does Vaden’s. He realizes that with the “right” woman, his physical attraction can expand to include mental and emotional attraction. Vaden can actually see a future with Olivia.
Karin Tabke does a fabulous job with this short story. As usual with Karin’s writing, this story is sexy and extremely hot!! Man, does this woman know how to write hot scenes!! And while the physical connection between Olivia and Vaden is front and center with this story, Karin carefully layers the story with mental and emotional connections between the two. It is story about two adults evolving and learning what each wants out of life. If you are looking for a quick read that will have you reaching for all the ice in your freezer (and then some!), then be sure to check the links below and buy a copy today!
Barnes & Noble
by Margo Maguire
Release Date: February 22, 2011
The strand of hair must have fallen down again, because Lord Ashby reached for it. He rubbed it between two fingers, the gesture causing an onslaught of radiant heat that coursed from her shoulders to her hands, and especially across her breasts. It was as though a flash of hot sunlight had pierced through her, leaving her singed and raw.
His touch was thoroughly improper, but Mercy could not summon the wherewithal to step away. She closed her eyes as the permeating heat suffused her, suddenly centering and pooling in her lungs and deep between her thighs. His hand was hot on her shoulder, and when he slid it down her back, Mercy felt herself leaning into his touch. Her heart jolted, its rhythm racing frantically as the pressure of his touch increased.
He eased her gently toward him, and Mercy sensed a ravenous hunger emanating from him.
Her breath caught in her throat when she realized he shared her hunger. He was going to kiss her.
Nash Farris, Earl of Ashby, is a scarred man. The physical scars are easy enough to see. His marred handsome face is a daily reminder of the furious and bloody battle he survived while at Waterloo. Nash’s emotional scars are more hidden. The accidental deaths of his two beloved brothers (in separate incidences) has damaged his heart and his soul. Returning to Ashby Hall, which has not been cared for since the recent death of his brother, Nash finds the estate falling apart around him. And while the task of righting Asby Hall is daunting enough, Nash also finds himself the guardian of his small niece Emmy, his only living relative. Several of the soldiers who served under Nash during the war have joined in the efforts to bring Ashby Hall back to its former glory. Nash quickly discovers he needs more experienced help, especially when it comes to raising and educating little Emmy. Steadfast in his resolve to provide only the best for sweet Emmy, Nash hires Mercy Franklin to serve as the young girl’s governess. But soon Nash discovers Emmy is not the only person at Ashby Hall that needs to be schooled. Mercy Franklin needs a few lessons in passion and love and Nash believes he is the perfect teacher.
Since the death of her reverend father several months ago, Mercy Franklin’s world has been falling apart at the seams. With little or no money to live on, Mercy and her mother survived off the sparse generosity of the parish families. As her mother lay on her death bed, Mercy’s world comes crashing down by her mother’s revelation that Mercy is not their biological child. With no family to claim, Mercy must create a new life for her and hopefully, one day, find her real family. Picking up the tattered pieces of her life, Mercy finds employment in the lake region as a governess to the niece of the new Earl of Ashby. Already a bit nervous about her first appointment as governess, Mercy’s nerves kick into overdrive when she arrives at the dilapidated Ashby Hall and discovers all of the servants are former soldiers. With everything at Ashby Hall not exactly what Mercy was expecting, she has half a mind to turn around and leave. But the moment she lays eyes on the sweet, angelic face of her young charge, Mercy knows she cannot leave this little girl in the care of former soldiers. Maternal instincts are not the only new feelings she experiences on her first day at Ashby Hall. Upon talking with the new Earl of Ashby and noticing his fine features, it seems tingles of passion and maybe something more are bound to be an everyday experience for a once sheltered Mercy Franklin.
I had so much fun reading this book. Out from under the suffocating hand of her reverend father, Mercy is quick to offer her opinions on everything at Ashby Hall. I found this to be an endearing quality, especially when it referred to the shy little Emmy (who I must say stole my heart). And it seems that Nash found this quality endearing also as Mercy is the one thing that brought light back into Nash’s dark and dismal world. There is some mystery involved in this story, but I don’t want to give away any of the details and spoil it for you. And yes, by the end of the book you do find out who is Mercy’s real family.
Everyone should know by now that Margo Maguire is an auto buy for me. Every story Margo tells fills me with a few giggles, a lot of sighs and a very happy feeling. Seducing the Governess is another wonderful story to add to my keeper shelf. I hope that you will pick this one up!
Friday, January 28, 2011
The random winner of a signed copy of PORTRAIT OF A LOVER by Julianne MacLean is:
Congrats, EternalsBlissy! Please send your full name and address to theromancedishATgmailDOTcom with "Julianne MacLean winner" in the subject line and I'll forward your info to Julianne. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!
Lords of Vice -- Book 3
By Alexandra Hawkins
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: February 1, 2011
As the younger sister of one of the infamous Lords of Vice, Lady Regan Bishop is no stranger to her brother, Frost, and his friends’ wicked ways. After all, she was practically raised by them following her father’s death and her mother’s desertion. After an amateur science experiment goes awry, Regan is whisked away to safety by one of her brother’s friends, Lord Hugh Mordare, whom Regan has always felt more than brotherly affection for. They get caught up in the moment and share a kiss . . . which is intruded upon by Frost and a distant cousin, Lady Karmack. The lady has been hounding Frost to send Regan to boarding school for months and this incident becomes the perfect catalyst to sway his mind to her suggestion. So, off to boarding school a very unhappy Regan goes. Five years later, Regan returns to London with the full intent of pursuing that kiss and more with Dare.
Dare has never forgotten that kiss with Regan and the feeling of wanting to do it again is intensified when he first spies her at the theater after five long years away. The attraction is still there, but Dare is hesitant to act upon it because she is his friend’s sister and he already has enough problems to deal with in his own family. He and his brother Charles, the future duke, have never gotten along and have come to blows many times—especially since years ago, Charles stole and married the only lady Dare has ever loved. But can he open his heart and take a chance on love again with the beautiful and very desirable Lady Regan?
I absolutely adore storylines where the heroine is in love with her brother’s best friend and After Dark with a Scoundrel is now one of my favorites! The intensity between Regan and Dare sizzles on the pages and as much as Dare tries to keep away from her, he just can’t help himself. She is his weakness and his attempt at doing the right thing makes for some delicious tension. And oh, how I love sexual tension in my books.
“Enough!” He gestured at the door. “You should retire to your bedchamber,” he said hoarsely.
Dare turned away, attempting to shield Regan from his lust that was so blatantly defined under his trousers. Even with her unconventional upbringing with Frost as her guardian, Regan could not possibly understand what Dare wanted from her. That knowledge gave him strength to let her leave the room.
Regan did not move. “I would rather continue kissing you,” she said shyly.
Without glancing at her, Dare groaned and scrubbed his face with his hand. He had always known that he would succumb to some form of madness if he laid a hand on Regan.
“And I would prefer not to,” he lied. “Go to bed.”
Dare glanced up at her refusal. He had not thought it possible, but Regan was even lovelier with her blue eyes glittering with anger and her red lips slightly swollen from his kisses.
“I am not a child, Dare,” Regan said, planting her fists into her hips as she swaggered toward him. “Nor are you my brother.”
These two had amazing chemistry together and it was so strong that I felt it, too. I really connected with them and Dare absolutely stole my heart! One thing I enjoy most about Alexandra Hawkins’s writing is how well she grasps the male point of view and how often she uses it—which is great since the series revolves around the seven Lords of Vice. After Dark with a Scoundrel is my favorite of the series so far and I can’t wait to see which Lord of Vice will succumb to the pitfalls of marriage in Ms. Hawkins’ next book. My vote is for Vane, but we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, pick up After Dark with a Scoundrel and lose yourself in this wonderful story!
Alexandra Hawkins has graciously offered to send a copy of After Dark with a Scoundrel to TWO lucky commentors living within the U.S. and Canada! Thank you, Alexandra!
And if you don't win, don't worry! You can pre-order After Dark with a Scoundrel at the following places:
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide)
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Congratulations, gamistress66! Please e-mail Sally MacKenzie with your contact information at
and she will mail you your prize.
By Tiffany Clare
Publisher: St. Martin's
Release Date: February 1, 2011
You never write to me. I don't even know your whereabouts in the world.
To say that Richard Mansfield, Earl of Asbury, is stunned to see his wife wandering through a brothel would be a supreme understatement. Although he hasn't seen her in the past twelve years, there is no mistaking her blonde curls and her tall, graceful body, demi-masque or no. What he can't fathom is what she's doing in a whorehouse, albeit a high class one. Emma doesn't tell Richard about her blackmailer or the fact that she's a highly sought after artist of nudes. Richard has decided he's had enough danger and adventure and is going to sell his business. It's high time he got to know his beautiful wife much better. Richard married Emma at his father's insistence, and while he found her lovely, he felt like he was taking advantage of a young girl on their wedding night. So he left England to be something other than what his father wanted him to be. No soft, easy lord-of-the-manor life for him. He traveled to the East to go into the trade business, which proved to be quite lucrative, but not dangerous and adventurous enough to suit him. Richard soon found himself in the opium trade, and though it brought him more money than he could want, the danger proved to be too much. And twelve years away from home, away from his wife was far too long.
Why had he wasted twelve years? Had he been less cowardly as a youth, she might be happier and more willing to receive his attentions now. Had he contacted her even once during their marriage, she might be warmer toward him. His own bloody fault she was at odds with him. He excelled at ruining good people.
Reconciliation stories are one of my favorite romance tropes. And Emma and Richard are in dire need of reconciliation. Emma has longed for any communication from Richard over the years, but as the years pass she begins to harden her heart toward him, protecting herself from any further pain. But when she finally comes face to face with him after twelve long years of separation, she still feels an attraction toward him, and a longing for companionship and love that she can't deny. Richard realizes that he must woo and seduce his wife, if he is to find any peace and happiness. And does he ever seduce! But Emma can give as good as she gets, and the dance of seduction and passion these two perform is as hot as the tango, and as smooth and romantic as the waltz.
Tiffany Clare has penned another superb and masterfully crafted romance. The Seduction of His Wife has all that I love in a book: humor, suspense, sigh-inducing romance, and fan-your-face, sizzling sex scenes. Ms. Clare's first book, The Surrender of A Lady was a bold and daring story, and her latest book is equally as entertaining. If you've never read a Tiffany Clare book, run to your nearest bookstore. You don't know what you're missing!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Julianne MacLean on Romance Cover Art – What Sells and What Doesn’t?
Hello Romance Dishies! This is my first time here, and I’m excited to be blogging about covers, a topic near and dear to my heart.
I confess I’m not an expert. I don’t have a background in graphic design. All I have is my instincts and my royalty statements, which tell me which of my books have sold better (or worse) than others.
Of course there are many factors involved in how well a book sells. I like to think that a truly fantastic, book-from-the-author’s-heart will sell for that reason alone – because it’s just plain good – and word-of-mouth will make it a success.
Sadly, that’s not always the case, and the old cliché still holds true. Books do get judged by their covers, which includes not only the front cover but the back cover blurb as well – which is what we,in the biz,call “packaging.”
So think about it – what made you buy the last book you purchased? Was it a sure thing because you were already a fan of the author? (If it was Nora Roberts or James Patterson, let’s just move on.) If, however, it was an author you’d never read before,what inspired you to hand over your dollars at the cash register, or click the “add to cart” button?
In many ways, a reader’s response to cover art is subjective, but there are certain things that can make the packaging “pop.”
My first single title with Avon, TO MARRY THE DUKE, surprised everyone with how well it sold, and the last time I checked, it had gone back to print at least 5 times. There were three factors in its success, which I’ll share here:
1. It had a red cover. Fact: Red covers sell well.
2. It had the word “duke” in the title. Fact: Duke titles sell well.
3. It had a creative back-cover blurb written in first person, which was fresh and different at the time.
My second book with Avon, AN AFFAIR MOST WICKED, did even better than the first and remains my best-selling romance to date. It, too, had three things going for it:
1. A white cover. Fact: White covers pop on the shelves.
2. A sexy back cover blurb, again written in first person, just like before. (Hint: continuity is good. It creates a brand.)
3. Which brings me to point number three: Front cover continuity. It resembled TO MARRY THE DUKE with the same fonts and an indoor clinch with vertical drapes in the background.
Okay… let’s move forward to book #5 – PORTRAIT OF A LOVER – my worst selling book of all time. Take a look. What do you think?
It was certainly different, and remains unlike any other romance cover I’ve seen. But here were the problems: It was brownish/purplish/grey. Not a very sexy color combination. The hero’s expression wasn’t broody enough, and romance readers aren’t ready to give up their tortured alpha males. And evidently, high art doesn’t sell romance novels, and the notion of an unfinished oil painting basically made readers run and hide.
To top it all off, there was no continuity to make it clear that it was part of my American Heiress series. It stood out like a sore thumb.
But interestingly enough, if you look at my reviews on Amazon, that book has the highest starred rating, and I still believe it was one of my better books.
So here I am with three new books coming out this year – a new Highlander trilogy with fantastic continuity. If you hold all three books up side-by-side, it’s clear they are part of a series; even the fonts are the same. The colors are gorgeous, the cover models are beefy and masculine – definitely alpha male material – and I go to sleep each night with high hopes that they’ll do okay and no one will be disappointed.
So tell me, what covers do you like best? Heroine only covers?Hero only?Clinch? Do you want to see the character’s whole face? How about a house and a sailboat? Naked parts?
The possibilities are endless, and I would love to hear your preferences, and one lucky commenter will win a copy of PORTRAIT OF A LOVER, which I think was only read by about twelve people :)
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
AN INVITATION TO SIN Dinner Party
You can imagine how exciting it is to be part of a novella collection that includes Jo Beverley, so Sally MacKenzie, Vanessa Kelly, and Kaitlin O’Riley decided to throw a dinner party to celebrate. They invited some of their favorite celebrities from the Regency and Victorian eras. One can only imagine the hijinks that will ensue! Shall we take a peek and see?
Whom would I like to sit next to at a Regency dinner party? My first thought was Beau Brummell, the arbiter of fashion among the London elite until he had to flee the country in 1816. Brummell was reputedly handsome, stylish--he’s considered the father of the modern suit--and witty. If I were a debutante, his approval could make my London Season--but his disapproval would sink me so low I’d have to pack my bags and go home immediately. Hmm. On second thought, I’d be too nervous to eat if I sat next to him.
If the event was like the dinner at the house party in “The Naked Prince,” Harriette Wilson, one of Brummell’s friends, might be there. Harriette was perhaps the premier Cyprian of the time. Supposedly before she published her memoirs, she offered her lovers--many of the prominent men of the ton (including Wellington)--the opportunity to buy their way out of her book. She would have fascinating stories to tell, all good research for a romance writer. Though like my heroine, I’m sure I’d be far too shocked and embarrassed to say a word to her.
I was going to invite the Duke of Wellington. After all, he was England’s national hero after trouncing old Boney at Waterloo in the most decisive fashion. The hero of my novella, Captain Christian Archer, would certainly approve, since he was an officer in Wellington’s Army. Then again, the Iron Duke was notorious for not appreciating the finer things in life, subsisting on the worst Army rations without a complaint. He did like his fine wines, and often drank a full bottle at dinner, something your average Regency rake would probably scoff at as a modest amount. BUT since Harriett Wilson might be coming to dinner, we should consider sparing the Duke his blushes. After all, he was reputed to be one of Harriett’s lovers, so conversation at the table might get a bit awkward.
I think the perfect dinner guest would be the author, Fanny Burney. Miss Burney, or Madame d’Arblay after her marriage to a French aristocrat, had a life that extended from the Georgian era to the early Victorian period. Not only one of the most popular novelists of the day, she knew the rich, the famous, and the notable, including Samuel Johnson, and all the great musicians and artists who congregated in London. She even served at the court of George III and was one of the most trusted attendants to the royal family during one of the unfortunate king’s mad periods. Fanny was always up on the latest gossip, and she recorded most of it in her detailed and wonderful diaries. I think sitting next to her at a dinner party would be most illuminating!
So at the other end of this lovely Regency dinner party, I would be a little further ahead in time. It’s the Victorian Era on my side, and I would love to have Mr. Charles Dickens as one of my dinner guests. As a writer what wouldn’t I ask him! Did he ever get writers’ block? How did he come up with his intricate plots and memorable characters and what inspired him? I would want to know what he liked to read. Seriously, who was his favorite author? What was his response when more ‘literary’ authors looked down their noses at him and said things like, “Oh, you only write serials for the newspapers…”
Also seated beside me would be none other than Queen Victoria herself. How wonderful would it be to meet the longest reigning monarch in British history! To speak to the woman who has an entire era and architectural style named after her would be fascinating to say the least. What would it be like to be crowned the Queen of England as an eighteen-year-old girl? To be married to the man you love, to have nine children with him, and then to outlive him by forty years? And of course, because I could ask her whatever I would like at this dinner party, who wouldn’t want to know what really happened between her and that Mr. Brown? Hmmm?
So, dear readers, what personage would you most like to sit next to at a historical dinner party? No restrictions on the period you choose, so let it rip! One commenter will receive a copy of An Invitation To Sin, the Kensington anthology to be released on Feb. 1.
USA Today bestselling author Sally MacKenzie writes the Naked nobility series--funny, hot Regency-set historicals--for Kensington Zebra. Her sixth Naked book, The Naked Viscount, arrived on bookstore shelves June 1, 2010, and the seventh, The Naked King, will be out in June 2011. You can reach her on the web at: www.sallymackenzie.net
Called one of the rising stars of historical romance by Booklist, Vanessa Kelly writes Regencies with sizzle for Kensington Zebra. Her latest book, Sex And The Single Earl, is on shelves now. My Favorite Countess, her next Regency-set historical romance, will be released in May, 2011. You can reach her on the web at: www.vanessakellyauthor.com
Acclaimed author Kaitlin O’Riley writes historical romance for Kensington Zebra. Desire In His Eyes and Yours For Eternity, a vampire anthology with Hannah Howell and Alexandra Ivy, are her latest releases. You can reach Kaitlin on the web at: www.kaitlinoriley.com