Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Interview - - Karen Hawkins

It's my pleasure to welcome NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Hawkins to The Romance Dish!  The author of more than twenty humorous historical and contemporary novels, Karen is one of my go-to authors.  Her newest book, The Taming of a Scottish Princess (check out my review here - I loved it!) releases today.  You can find out more information about Karen, her books, her life and her obsession with Hugh Jackman (grin) at her website.  You can also find her online at Facebook, on Twitter and at The Goddess Blogs. 


Happy Release Day, Karen!  Those of us who have been enjoying the Hurst Amulet series are delighted to finally have Michael’s story hitting the shelves.  Please tell our readers a bit about this series and what they can expect from The Taming of a Scottish Princess.

Thank you! Release days are always the awesomest days of all. 

I'm so excited that THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS has finally - FINALLY - hit the shelves. The final book in the Hurst Amulet Series is a Regency set action adventure romance with a good dash of comedy tossed in. My hero, Michael Hurst, has just been freed from captivity by the energetic efforts of his siblings (see the first three books in the Hurst Amulet Series: ONE NIGHT IN SCOTLAND, SCANDAL IN SCOTLAND, and A MOST DANGEROUS PROFESSION) and is hot on the trail of the Hurst Amulet, a long lost family heirloom. 

As he always does, Michael travels with his personal servants, which include his assistant, the no-nonsense Miss Jane Smythe-Haughton, a woman so excellent at doing her job -- overseeing Michael's comfort -- that he hardly notices her. That is, he hardly notices her until his search for the Hurst Amulet takes him to the remote Isle of Barra and he begins to unravel the truth about both the amulet, and the suddenly mysterious Jane.

I've waited so long to meet Michael and Jane.  What’s one thing you want readers to understand about these two?

In the beginning of the book, Michael comes across as a complete ass. And he really is a complete ass because he's brilliant and knows it and is used to getting his own way. It will take a huge transformation before he goes from 'sexy but still an ass' status to 'sexy and hero material' status, but transform he does -- because of Jane.

I thoroughly enjoyed that transformation!  


Every book has at least one scene that stays with the reader long after they’ve finished the book.  What’s the one scene you would never consider cutting from The Taming of a Scottish Princess?

Oh wow. That's a tough one. Hmmm. I would never cut the scene where Jane and Michael first discover the cliff on Barra. It was a ton of fun to write because I had to act parts of it out using my couch as the cliff ledge so that I could adequately describe it. 

I would tell you more, but that would take away the fun . . . but let me say for the record that my two dogs are pretty sure I'm insane.


I'm sitting here laughing over you acting out that scene with your couch filling in as the cliff.  Sure would love to see that on video!  lol! 


Your last two multi-book series have told the stories of siblings.  What inspires you to write about families? 

In addition to my brother and sister and myself, my parents took both foster kids and exchange students. At times there were fifteen or more of us in our little house. It was rather like living at summer camp - loud, boisterous, and at times very exciting. It really taught me to treasure my family and as a result, I find myself writing about large families. I love that relationship dynamic.

Moving from the book to the author; what’s one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?

Hmm. Maybe that I met my new and improved Husband 2.0, aka Hot Cop, while researching one of my contemporary books, TALK OF THE TOWN. I never thought of research as sexy until I started interviewing cops. 


If you could step into the life of any romance heroine, who would you choose and why?

I would love to have been in Jane's shoes and traveled through Egypt during the early 1800s. It was an exciting time historically and culturally and the experience would have been phenomenal.

What do you enjoy reading when you’re not busy creating stories of your own?

Besides research books (which I love), I always read contemporary romances while writing historical romances and vice versa. Recently, I've been reading Rachel Gibson, Susan Andersen, Christie Ridgway, and Susan Mallery. As soon as I'm off deadline, I'll dive into Suzanne Enoch, Connie Brockway, Teresa Medeiros, Sabrina Jeffries, and Madeline  Hunter. 

I read a LOT. I can't imagine not doing so.

What’s up next?

The first book in my new Duchess Diaries Series, HOW TO CAPTURE A COUNTESS. It's about a very busy-body duchess who tries to match-make everyone she meets. HOW TO CAPTURE A COUNTESS comes out in September.


Marking my calendar for September 18.  It will be a perfect "Happy Birthday to me gift!" :)
Quick Six!

Salty or Sweet?
Salty!  No, sweet! No wait, salty! But I couldn't live without sugar, so ...

Both!

Mountains or Beach?
Mountains! I live near a beach, but grew up in the mountains and I miss them.

Dogs or Cats?
Dogs! I have two rescue dogs right now, Sadie and Po.

Alpha or Beta?
Both! I like to mix up my hero-quotient. :)

Fly or Drive?
Fly! Hot Cop has his pilot license so we fly often.

Tom Boy or Girly Girl?
Tom Boy with mud on my jeans from sitting under a tree while reading a romance novel.


Thanks, Karen!  Do you have a question for our readers?

Thanks, PJ!!!  I've been thinking of writing a series of short stories just for fun.  Do you like short stories?  How long do you think a short story should be?

One lucky person leaving a comment today will win a signed copy of MUCH ADO ABOUT MARRIAGE and a THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS t-shirt!

73 comments:

  1. Happy Release Day, Karen. I do enjoy short stories. You can finish it in one sitting. I think a short story should be around 100 pages.

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    1. Hi Jane! I like short stories, too, especially on weeks when I'm super busy. :)

      100 pages, hm? That's about what I was thinking - 100-125.

      Thank you!

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  2. I really enjoyed your interview, Karen. Happy Release Day! Really looking forward to reading THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS.

    I love short stories. I think they should be 100-125 pages.

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    1. Thanks, Cathy! I hope you enjoy it.

      That's two votes for around 100 pages. Thank you! :)

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  3. Thanks for an enjoyable post. I have read primarily your historicals, but the beagle on the cover of TALK OF THE TOWN has made me put is on my TBR list. As much as I enjoy your historicals, I am sure i will like your contemporaries.

    I enjoy short stories, but they are tricky to get right. Many I have read lately have been lacking. In most cases the writer was trying to cover too much for the format and probably not an experienced enough writer. THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF by O Henry is a favorite of mine. After our son was born, it became more so. ( He is a good kid, but would have given those men a run for their money.) I just checked it and am surprised just how short it is. He didn't waste words and had a narrow focus for his story. You are a good writer and could deliver some delightful snippets I am sure. But they don't have to be that short.

    Congratulations on the release of THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS. I know I will enjoy it.

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    1. Thanks, LibraryPat! I hope you enjoy Talk of the Town. It was a ton of fun to write and I loooove the characters, too, and want to revisit them.

      I haven't read THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF since high school, but I loved it. And you're right; you can't waste words in a short story. Every one has to count. I've written two novellas thus far, both in the Lady Whistledown Anthologies, and it was a lot of fun, but also hard work. You have to really work to round out the story without running over your page count. It can be tricky!

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  4. Hi Karen and PJ! I loved the interview and can't wait to read the finale to the Hurst Amulet Series, THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS. Congrats on it's release tomorrow, Karen, you have been an auto buy for me for a long time now, so I know I will love your contemporaries as well!

    Short stories are a passion of mine; I agree on the 100-125 pages that Cathy P. stated. However, as Library Pat pointed out with
    O. Henry(The Master)it's all about the economy and accuracy of writing that makes a successful short story. Will your shorts be in historical or contemporary format? Both I hope!

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    1. Aw, fsbuchler, being an auto-buy with a reader is the highest compliment ever -- THANK YOU!

      I'm thinking of writing both! I want to write some more contemporary Glory, NC short stories, and tie up some secondary historical characters. I looove short stories, so I'm excited to write both. :)

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  5. PS. I love your term: Husband 2.0! New and improved! Delightful!

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  6. Hi Karen, happy release day!

    I cannot wait to read Michael's story, I've loved this series. I do like short stories, they're great for a quick fix when you're short on time. I think around 100-150 pages is a good length.

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    1. Beebs, I hope Jane and Michael's story lives up to your expectations! It was a ton of fun to write, which is usually a good sign that the book is working.

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  7. HAPPY RELEASE DAY!!

    A series of short stories sound wonderful. I also think 100-150 pages is a good length for a short story.

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    1. Thank you, marybelle! I hope you had a lovely day, too!

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  8. Happy Release Day! So excited to read for Michael! It's one of my most favorite male's name. :D And I just can't wait for TO CAPTURE A COUNTESS to come. Love the cover!
    I love and prefer reading short story sometimes, especially when I want to read something fun and light but don't really have time. 100-150 pages would be great.

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    1. Diah, I think a lot of us are pressed for time and enjoy some shorter works now and then. I know I do!

      I hope you enjoy Michael's story as much as you enjoy your Michael. :)

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  9. Happy release day Karen, can't wait to get my hands on The Taming of a Scottish Princess.
    Short stories are great, like others have said about 150 pages is good.

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    1. Hi Dianna! :) Thank you so much! I think I'm seeing a consensus on page length here -- I may shoot for 125 pages, then. Thank you for your suggestion!

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  10. Congrats Karen on your newest release. I love all your books. I'm looking forward to reading The Taming Of AS Scottish Princess.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  11. Congrats Karen :)!! I love short stories hmm word count wise I think between 10,000 and 15,000 does that sound about right?? I would tell you which of your books is my favorite but its just to hard to pick, I can't do it :) lol


    HAPPY RELEASE DAY!!

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    1. Savannah, I don't think I could pick a favorite book at all because I like so many books for so many different reasons. It would be hard! :)

      Thank you for supporting my work. That's so sweet of you!!!

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  12. Congrats Karen. I do like short stories they are nice when I don't have alot of time. I like my short to be about 100 to 150 pages.

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    1. Short stories are great lunch time reads, aren't they? That's when I read them. Or in the tub. At 100-150 pages long, they're just the perfect to keep the water from getting cold.

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  13. Morning, everyone! Thanks for stopping by today to check out my interview with Karen. I'm working today. Will be back later to respond to comments!

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  14. I enjoy short stories and novelles. My only guidance on lenth is that the story should be long enough for readers to become invested in the characters and to see a real conclusion to the story.

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    1. LSU, and that's the real test of all stories -- do they engage the reader enough and is the story believable. It's a fine line to walk!

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  15. I am dying to open my kindle right now to start devouring Karen's new book - have to wait until tonight to start. As far as short stories, I would say, I don't like them. I love the unraveling of personalities and the bit by bit sexual tension that needs so much more than a short story to produce. I wish regular length books were longer cuz I always want more.

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    1. Christy, I have to be in the mood to read a short story first, too, but when I am, I have found a few that really made me grin. They're hard to write well, though!

      Thank you for ordering my book! I hope it is as fun for you to read as it was for me to write. :)

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  16. Hi, Karen! I enjoyed reading about your new release, as well as your upcoming ones and cannot wait to read them all. They all sound like lots of fun. I've loved reading all of your books and I find it extremely admirable that you are able to write in more than one genre. That really takes talent!

    All the best!

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    1. Connie, it's fun to write in more than one genre as I never read the genre I'm writing WHILE writing. It's a good way to keep someone else's phrasing from creeping into your own work.

      I hope you enjoy THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS. :)

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  17. Congratulations to Karen on her new book! It sounds pretty interesting. I like short stories when I don't feel like the story suffered for being short. I like a story that I can't wait to see what happens next and that I feel like all the issues are resolved in the end.

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    1. Maureen, you're right -- all of the issues have to be resolved in the end or the story/book won't work. That sounds so easy, but it's actually tough to do in with such a small page count.

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  18. Congrats on the new release Karen, cannot wait to get my hands on it...which will be very soon thankfully! I love short stories, some days I am just not in the mood to read a full book so they are perfect for me. I don't really have a preference on length, so long as I feel as though I have not been short changed on the story. I have read some short stories and just sat there afterwards and thought..Aww, not enough information! Or felt that the couple fell in love too quickly, in one story I read they met and fell in love with in a two or three day period and it just didn't go over well for me.

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    1. Thank you RhiRowland! :)

      You can't rush a short story, so it takes careful plotting and writing. Honestly, in some ways it's easier to write full length than shorter. It's a good challenge!

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  19. Congratulations, Karen! I'm about a third of the way into "Taming..." and I have to say it's even better than I expected, and I have very high expectations of you! It's wonderful! As for short stories, length really depends on the story. I've read some that came in at 50 pages or so and they were excellent. I've read some over 100 pages and they didn't cut it. I suspect whatever length you write will be just perfect for the story. My main issue with romance short stories is that a shorter story allows less time for the main characters to really know each other and fall in love. I tend to prefer short stories about characters who know each other before the storyline starts, not necessarily in a romantic way, but enough so that they have a basic knowledge of the other person to build on. Otherwise I have a hard time believing in the HEA.

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    1. susanna, I'm delighted you're enjoying TAMING! :)

      As for short stories, it's smart to start a short story with characters who have a history, although I've written a plot for one where they haven't. I might have to write that one a bit longer than I expected.

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  20. Oh, and I love romance short stories. I snatch up anthologies as soon as I see them. I even search for them. With the advent of ebooks, it's great to buy stand-alone short stories too.

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    1. I love anthologies -- I wish they'd print more. And yes, ebooks are really changing the short story landscape, too, but in a good way, I think.

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  21. Hi Karen,
    I am so excited about SCOTTISH PRINCESS! Of course I've been trying to win it everywhere *g* but I'm going to purchase it if I don't win as you are an auto-buy for me!! I enjoy reading short stories. They should be at least 100 pages long. Congrats on your new release, Karen. I'm also looking forward to CAPTURE. Have a great day. You are loved. :-)

    Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

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    1. Hi Meljprincess! Good luck on winning the book. There are a lot of giveaways out there. In fact, I'm giving away a Kindle FIRE on my website, if you're interested in entering. www.karenhawkins.com/blog

      I hope you enjoy TAMING and good luck on winning a copy! :)

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    2. Thank you, Karen. I won a Kindle Fire in Dec. 2011 so I won't enter your contest. But as you've seen I'm finding blog contests. :-) I want your book not a Kindle! Have a good day. :-))

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  22. I love anthologies (are those considered short stories?). Sometimes it's fun to get to the HEA sooner.
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

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    1. Di, yes, anthologies are collections of short stories. I had to grin at your 'sometimes it's fun to get to the HEA sooner." Lol! Yes, it is!

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  23. Happy Release Day, Karen! Can't wait to read the book. :) Great interview!

    Personally, I love short stories. I like to read them when I don't have as much time to read a whole book. Plus, I've been introduced to so many new-to-me authors that way.

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  24. Congrats on the new release! :)

    I love short stories, as long as they aren't too rushed. They are great for people like me: in college and not a whole lot of time to read.

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  25. Karen -

    I love saying Happy Release Day! to you because it means I get to read another wonderful book!

    Thanks for all the wonderful stories in the Hurst Amulet series. I think I'm going to enjoy reading Michael's story most of all, you see everybody (even in the animals) are male in my household with the exception of me. They are all sexy (yup even the dog and cat) and all asses as well (again the animals too) so I know I'll identify with Jane while I'm reading it. If I were to advise Jane I'd tell her to just ignore all the stupid things a man does and focus on the few times he has a clue!

    I always have a few short stories and/or anthologies on my Kindle which I always carry in my purse. Perfect way to fill up all that time that's wasted in lines, whether at the bank, the drive-thru (the ones that's called "speedy" and isn't), the docters office and the grocery line (when have you ever NOT waited in a grocery line).

    When my husband sees me reading and I say I'll just be a minute and he reminds me that I think anything that doesn't have multiple volumes to it is what I would consider it a "short story"!

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    1. Jeanne, thank you for such a kind post! I think you and Jane will get along very well. You sound a lot like her. :)

      I think of short stories as appetizers. Sometimes you don't have time for a full meal, but a plate of nachos is just right. It's good to have some variety in type and length, too.

      I hope you'll enjoy TAMING!

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  26. Congrats on the newest release! I really, really need to catch up on your HR titles! I've read and loved your contemporaries... sad to hear that isn't going to be any more :(

    I'm more of a novella type for a "short story". I'm in it for the meat and potatoes and it's soo hard to do that w/ a short story. So the novellas are about as short as I want to go as a reader.

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    1. Erin, there will be more contemporaries, only they'll be shorter on e-book only. I do hope you have an ebook! If not, be sure to enter the contest on my facebook page as I'm giving away a Kindle FIRE.

      I have so many stories to tell about Glory, NC, and I am excited to be able to do so. I'm not tied to 100-150 pages and if the story needs more, I'll write it. But it's good to have an idea in mind of where you're heading, even if you end up driving a few more miles to get where you wanted to go. :)

      Either way, thank you for reading my work. I truly appreciate that you've given my work a chance!

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  27. Hey Karen!! Congrats on the new release! I can't wait to read it :-)

    I'm all for short stories. Some days are just way too busy, so its nice to pick up a short story to read.

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    1. Buffie, I love all lengths of stories ... but you're right, some days a novella is all you have time for. We live crazy busy lives these days, don't we? Whew!

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  28. Great interview! Congrats on your new release!
    I do enjoy reading short stories, they are perfect at times when you don't have a lot of time to read or when you finish a book at night and still want to read a little more. All different sizes works for me anywhere between 30 to 100 pages.

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    1. Thank you!

      Quilt Lady said: "they are perfect ... when you finish a book at night and still want to read a little more."

      You know, I can't count the time I've done just that but had to settle for watching tv instead because I didn't want to get into the middle of a regular sized novel. Novellas are indeed perfect for those times!

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  29. I love short stories and usually have a couple of them hanging out in my vehicle for those time suck moments of waiting in line for access to the recycle center, bank, etc. Any size works for me.. Congrats on the release!!

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    1. Thank you! I'm very excited to see the book on the shelves. Finally! :)

      Short stories are terrific for people on the go, aren't they? And they work super well as an ebook, too.

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  30. Congratulations on the book! I like short stories. I think they should be around 100 pages.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi bn! Thank you. I'm very excited about it.

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  31. Happy Release Day! Let's Celebrate! SO, the secret to meeting a sexy cop...become a writer and start "interviewing" them as research. I LOVE IT...Wish I had thought of it. LOL. Congrats on Hot Cop, too.

    Regarding short stories...I like them. It's great to be able to finish something in one sitting, during lunch or before bed. I like short stories and novellas.

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    1. Catherine, yes, interview cops. You'd be surprised at how many of them are flirts. :)

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  32. Happy release day! :)

    Not a big fan of short stories normally... I miss the long drawn-out stories and character development.

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    1. Thank you! It's been a long, but happy day.

      I will never read only short stories. Like you, most of the time I like a normal length story of 400 pages or so. But for me, every once in a while, a shorter story is good, too. It's a good thing we have so many options! :)

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  33. I don't really like short stories. It seems as if I just get into it and it's over. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  34. I have read short stories; enjoy them, but feel like is only taking a bite or two out of a candy bar instead of eating the whole thing. Hope that makes sense. Thank you for doing this interview. I truly enjoyed it & look forward to reading it.

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    1. Jessiel, I think of them as appetizers. They're not a full meal but they're tasty and are a treat.

      I hope you enjoy THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS! I had a blast writing it and I'm happy to be able to share it with all of you. :)

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  35. Hi Karen and PJ, yes i do love short stories. Sometimes i wish that they will continue the short story on and on. Years ago i read one of the most wonderful short story ever written in my opinion called the white glass slippers. In the end i truly wish the author will continue the story, arethazhenATrocketmailDOTCOM

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    1. Hi Anon! I'll have to look up that short story. Maybe the author expounded on it in a book later on. I've seen people do that. I hope they did since you enjoyed it so much!

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  36. PJ, thank you so much for hosting me at The Romance Dish! I had a great time! I'll be sure and check back tomorrow to see if there are any more comments that need answered. :)

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  37. Thanks for allowing me to interview you, Karen! I hope you had a wonderful Release Day for THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS. It's such a terrific book!

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  38. Short stories are nice when you want a quick read to enjoy before going to bed or while waiting for someone or to read outside as you relax. Length really depends on the story you're trying to tell.

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  39. Karen I love your books!!!!


    Donna

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  40. Karen -

    Forgive me for not getting back to you sooner but I wanted to say thnaks for your reply that you think of short stories as appetizers!

    What a great comeback for when my husband complains that I'm reading another book! I can just say no I'm just having a snack!

    PS: In my case I love anthologies - longer than a short story but shorter than a book!

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