Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Today's Special - - Theresa Romain


It's our pleasure to welcome historical romance author Theresa Romain back to the Romance Dish today!

Theresa pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she is working on her next book. This September, she’ll begin a new historical romance trilogy with IT TAKES TWO TO TANGLE (recently featured in Eloisa James' Reading Romance column at BarnesandNoble.com). In October, her third holiday historical romance—SEASON FOR SCANDAL—will be released.  (For fans of the series, this book is Jane's story!)

Website: http://theresaromain.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTheresaRomain
Twitter: @TheresaRomain

Welcome, Theresa!



All the Ingredients for Romance

Thanks, PJ and Andrea, for hosting me today!

I ought to pretend I watch the Food Network for the recipes and advice. For tips on healthful cooking, intriguing and simple meals, or a use for that spare pound of butter in the freezer.

But really, I don’t. I watch the competitions. A recipe for chicken legs? Pfft, I want to see what people can make with chicken feet. And hot dogs are a food too dull to mention—unless they’re part of a dessert.

As you might guess, my favorite show is CHOPPED, that marvelous hour in which unsuspecting contestants
have to create meals from a basketful of ill-assorted ingredients. As you might also guess, we’re about due for an analogy here. (You knew it was coming.)

In my new historical romance, IT TAKES TWO TO TANGLE, the hero and heroine are both pushed to the edge of a society in which they used to belong. They don’t have many ingredients to work with anymore: Henry’s been injured in war, and Frances has been disinherited. Instead of wishing for more resources, they have to get creative. They have to figure out how to build something wonderful with the life they’ve been given. And as it turns out, together they can create a life, and a love, far more delicious than anything they imagined on their own.

Because I love making tables, here’s a closer look at how IT TAKES TWO TO TANGLE compares to CHOPPED. Warning: silliness ahead.








CHOPPED
IT TAKES TWO TO TANGLE
Heroine’s greatest skill
Working with knives to create pleasing dishes despite crazy ingredients
Working with words to create pleasing social interactions despite crazy guests
Heroine’s greatest difficulty
Completing an appetizer in twenty minutes using all four basket ingredients
Completing letters to man she loves on behalf of someone else
At stake is…
Professional respect (and ten thousand dollars)
Social respect (and…oops, the rest might be a spoiler)
Witty and all-knowing host?
Yes, bespectacled Ted Allen
Yes, silk-clad Caroline, Lady Stratton
Villain
White truffle oil (or raw red onions, if Scott Conant is in attendance)
Lord Wadsworth (no matter who is in attendance)
Motivation of villain
Domination of flavor profile
Domination of social situation
Hero’s victory achieved by…
Out-cooking one’s competitors and not getting chopped
Out-dueling one’s competitors and not getting shot




What's your favorite ingredient - either in cooking or in a romance novel?  I'm eager to hear your thoughts! One random commenter will win a copy of IT TAKES TWO TO TANGLE. Open to US and Canada.

WOOING THE WRONG WOMAN…
Henry Middlebrook is back from fighting Napoleon, ready to re-enter London society where he left it. Wounded and battle weary, he decides that the right wife is all he needs. Selecting the most desirable lady in the ton, Henry turns to her best friend and companion to help him with his suit…
IS A TERRIBLE MISTAKE…
Young and beautiful, war widow Frances Whittier is no stranger to social intrigue. She finds Henry Middlebrook courageous and manly, unlike the foppish aristocrats she is used to, and is inspired to exercise her considerable wit on his behalf. But she may be too clever for her own good, and Frances discovers that she has set in motion a complicated train of events that’s only going to break her own heart…

UNLADYLIKE RISK
Jane Tindall has never had money of her own or exceptional beauty. Her gifts are more subtle: a mind like an abacus, a talent for play-acting—and a daring taste for gambling. But all the daring in the world can’t help with the cards fixed against her. And when Edmund Ware, Baron Kirkpatrick, unwittingly spoils her chance to win a fortune, her reputation is ruined too. Or so she thinks, until he suggests a surprising mode of escape: a hasty marriage. To him. On the surface, their wedding would seem to satisfy all the demands of proper society, but as the Yuletide approaches, secrets and scandals turn this proper marriage into a very improper affair.


63 comments:

  1. Yay for the book release! Congrats, Theresa!! :)

    I suck in the kitchen so if I had to pick a fave ingredient for cooking, I'd say something stupid like bacon :P

    But for romance novels...oh for sure it would have to be witty characters. There's nothing I dislike more than limp characters that don't have the ability to spout out witty repartee. As a person who is unable to think fast on her feet, I like nothing more than to sit back and read awesome snappy comebacks. It makes the entire book so much better!

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    1. Ada, don't you know? You can never go wrong with bacon! :)

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    2. Ada, I'm with you and PJ: bacon is essential! We keep a bag of crumbled bacon in our fridge, and I often add some to veggie dishes. And on the book side of things, I'm a big fan of witty characters too. The ever-funny Julia Quinn was one of the first historical romance authors whose books I fell in love with.

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  2. Congrats on the book release Theresa!
    In the kitchen I love black peppers and crushed chilli peppers in my dishes.Spicy is what makes them good~ Minced cilantro and green onions are loved too.

    In a romance humor is always a must and of course the witty banters! The emotions of a character should also be there. Depth of a character is super great because we love to know our characters inside and out and every little thing about them. We want to be them! (kind of) And lovable secondary characters where we dream of having their own book/series one day~ :)

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    1. I like the sound of your kitchen, kipha!

      Totally agree with your romance "must haves." Well said!

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    2. Ki, some people don't like cilantro. Can you believe that?? Your spice mixture sounds delicious. I like spicy food too, and I use Tony Chachère's Creole Seasoning in place of salt in most dishes.

      Getting to know a character well is one of my favorite things about romance--as a reader and a writer. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. My favorite ingredient is an ALPHA MALE! and if they are also a tortured hero...all the better!

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    1. Tortured alpha heroes... Yep, I could get on board with that! ::grin::

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    2. Bring on the dark and brooding Mr. Rochester type!

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  4. My favorite ingredient is anything with blackberries. Anything sweet, but good for you! As far as romance give me a cowboy and I'm a happy woman!

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    1. For me, it's blueberries. I could eat them every day the whole year and never tire of them. ;-)

      Cowboys are definitely on my road to happiness! :)

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    2. Ooh, you are both making me want pie! I recently had delicious slices of blackberry and blueberry pie, and it spoiled me for most other desserts. (Not chocolate, though. I have a bag of chocolate chips in front of me right now, because it's the only chocolate i could find in the house.)

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  5. Congratulations on your new book Theresa! In the kitchen one of my favorite ingredients is honey. I have a sweet tooth and enjoy the flavor of honey in all different types of recipes.

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    1. You know, I like honey but I've never used it much in my baking/cooking. Must investigate more ways to do that.

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    2. Thanks, Maureen! And honey--great idea. My brother's future father-in-law (I hope I got all that right) introduced me to honey in coffee. If you usually use sugar, you can substitute honey to add a little extra flavor.

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  6. Cooking meat I like to add ginger and thyme. Desserts I have to have chocolate included!

    Romance novels: Intelligent heroine and hero

    Your debut book SEASON FOR TEMPTATION is one of my all time favorite books!

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    1. I've never thought to add ginger to meat. That's another one I'm going to try!

      Wasn't SEASON FOR TEMPTATION wonderful? I've really enjoyed this series.

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    2. Yay! Oh, what a wonderful thing to hear. I'm so glad you liked SEASON FOR TEMPTATION. The next Season book is out in four weeks. (Opps, though my editor and I just came up with a name for the series other than "Season books," so I should get used to using it. They're now called the "Holiday Pleasures.")

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  7. Garlic and onions; they give everything a good flavor.
    patoct@yahoo.com

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    1. Onions don't like me much but garlic? Probably my favorite kitchen ingredient!

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    2. I use minced onion and garlic powder in almost every savory dish. They smell so good!

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  8. Congratulations on your release, Theresa! You are a new to me author, but I've been looking at your books and they sound, hahe, delicious!

    My husband and I have tried cooking with minced garlic and onion on meats, vegetables, and fish the last several months and we are finding that they really bring out flavors in the foods.

    In romance stories, I like humor. Romance can and should be fun, so why not read about it, too?

    Congrats again!!

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    1. Humor is an essential ingredient for me too, Deb...along with the garlic! ;-)

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    2. Deb, yum! I like the sound of dinner at your place. Thanks for stopping by to visit about my books. I love humor in romance too. Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Tessa Dare, Courtney Milan...there are so many witty, wonderful authors writing today.

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  9. Hi, Theresa! It’s good to see you here today.

    I guess I with a lot of other readers when I agree that humor in a novel is what makes it fun and one I will certainly remember. As for an ingredient in the kitchen, I would say it would have to simply be a good, extra virgin olive oil. Yummy! Isn’t Chopped a crazy show? It’s amazing the dishes these people come up with. There are certainly some creative and talents chefs out there! And, let’s not forget about our creative and talented authors too!! :-)

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    1. A fellow Chopped fan! Do you imagine from home what you'd make if given those crazy baskets? I do, though I know if I were on the spot, I couldn't think of a thing.

      You remind me: I'm almost out of olive oil. How will I cook the 8,000 zucchini people have given me over the last few weeks? Time to go grocery shopping.

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  10. Hi, Theresa! I really enjoyed It Takes Two to Tangle.

    Because cinnamon lowers blood sugar, I've been experimenting with it recently, using it on oatmeal, in soup, salsa, and even chicken dishes. I like variety in my romance reading, so I appreciate the funny and the angsty, the tortured and the totally in control, the sweet and the spicy, but whatever the type of romance, I want characters in whom I believe and in whose HEA I am invested.

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    1. Janga, that's beautifully said. A connection with the characters is what really makes a romance shine for me. Thanks so much for reading It Takes Two to Tangle; I'm so glad you liked it.

      And thank you for the tip about cinnamon! I didn't know it could lower blood sugar. It should be easy to add to a breakfast food; I'll start doing that.

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  11. PJ and Andrea, it's such a pleasure to visit The Romance Dish. Thanks for hosting me! And thanks, everyone, for your comments. I have a feeling I'm going to pick up a lot of cooking tips today. :)

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  12. Can't wait to read this book! I don't cook much, but I guess sugar would be my favorite ingredient. In romance, it would be love.

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    1. Sugar and love--Sharlene, I like the way you think! Those really are essentials.

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  13. spices my favorite in a romance is tenderness on the part of the hero

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  14. jcp, I love a sweet hero. Henry in It Takes Two to Tangle--and Edmund in my October book, Season for Scandal--are both really good guys (though of course they have their wounds and secrets). And one of my all-time favorite sweetheart heroes is Ethan in Kristan Higgins's The Next Best Thing. Have you read that one?

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  15. Oh, I just love your covers!! I like savory :) I don't usually use recipes but I like variety and add a little bit of this and that lol. Have you ever watched The Chew? It's my favorite cooking show. I don't think I've ever made anything but I love the 5 hosts who are all so different and all cook differently - there's that variety again lol.

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    1. Hi, catslady! I've never seen The Chew, but the variety of hosts sounds great. I'll check it out. Thanks!

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  16. In cooking and in romance (and romance novels), you can never go wrong with chocolate! Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! Chocolate Covered Strawberries? DELICIOUS and romantic. ;)

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    1. You are so right. :) Have you read Laura Florand's "Amour et Chocolat" romances? They are delicious! Impossible to read without craving chocolate, so be sure to have some on hand.

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  17. In cooking, I use lots of cheese always! For baking, it's chocolate, chocolate!

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    1. May, I want to come eat at your house. :)

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  18. I am not the greatest cook, but I love a recipe that calls for sage. I love to use it in a lot of cooking especially with chicken and pork. Even some beef dishes.. And cheese, I love recipes with cheese..

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    1. Kathleen, I've heard of sage in turkey stuffing, but not too many other recipes. What do you like to make with it? Roasts, stews, something else?

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    2. If you use poultry seasoning, it's in there. I too like it!

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    1. Beth, you must make delicious dinners. I use dried herbs, and I've been told they don't have nearly the flavor. Do you grow your own herbs?

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  20. Your post made me LOL, Theresa! I also love Chopped. Have you watched the Food Network's new show (hosted by Alton Brown), Cutthroat Kitchen? Four chefs are each given $25,000 in cash, a dish to cook (ie: Eggs Benedict, a cupcake, pizza), and 60 seconds in the pantry to get all the ingredients they need. After that the contestants have a bidding war for a series of sabotages to give their fellow chefs. These can include: No utensils, frozen mystery meat to replace whatever prime cut had been chosen in the pantry, an apple pie that you must use the crust as your only pizza dough, a bunson burner as your only heat source. One chef is eliminated by a tasting judge at the end of each round. The winner only wins however much money they have left after bidding on the sabotages. It's on Sunday night and it really seems to bring out Alton's evil side. :D

    I like garlic and lemon in cooking. My favorite dried spice is cumin.

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Marcy, I've never seen that show! Ok, now I need to. Alton obviously has an evil wit, judging from his glee about the different Iron Chef challenges. :) Thank you for the recommendation.

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  21. Ooooh... thanks for the fun post!!! Ummm... I don't cook, so therefore don't watch the any cooking shows, so I'm gonna take your expertise :) I think one of my fav "ingredients" in a romance novel is the "Witty and all-knowing host". Congrats on the newest release and thanks for sharing!

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    1. Erin, don't look to me for any cooking expertise! :) But I sure think we could trade romance-novel recommendations. I love witty characters. In romantic comedies, the snarky best friend is often my favorite part of the movie.

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  22. Sometimes, Chopped is like a train wreck you can't look away from. On a recent show, the chefs had to use pork fat in dessert. Ugh.

    I grow a few fresh herbs that I like to use in cooking, like basil and rosemary. Since I'm from south Louisiana, I frequently use the "Holy Trinity" of onions, celery and green bell pepper in soups, stews, gumbos, etc.

    I enjoyed your post and look forward to reading your newest.

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    1. Pork fat? Oof. The dessert basket seems to have the craziest combinations. The hot dogs in dessert that I mentioned in my post--that's something I remember from an episode of Chopped. I felt as bad for the judges who had to eat the food as I did for the contestants.

      I figured you were from Louisiana because of your handle! That's where my family's from too, and that's where I learned about the Tony Chachère's Creole Seasoning I use so often. My dad has taught me a few Cajun recipes; he's quite the gifted cook since he's allergic to onions and has had to figure out how to make gumbo without them.

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  23. Congratulations on the new release. I've never seen Chopped, but I like to use lemon and garlic when baking chicken.

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    1. Thanks, Kim! And that sounds like a great way to season chicken. If you were on Chopped, you'd probably have to cook the chicken with something like...oh, strawberry jam and pickled herring.

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  24. I've never seen Chopped either. My favorite ingredient in a book, is definitely "chemistry" between the hero and heroine.

    Thank you for this chance to win "It Takes Two To Tangle", and congratulations to Theresa on the release.

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    1. Hi, Diane--that chemistry between a hero and heroine can really make a romance special, can't it? I love when the characters shine on their own, but when they make each other better, that story's a keeper for me.

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  25. Its bad for you but salt and pepper is my favorite.

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    1. Because it makes savory dishes so good! We use light salt, which probably makes it a bit better for you. I can't imagine doing without it altogether in cooking, though some people find ingenious ways to do that.

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  26. My favorite ingredient in cooking is cheese - everything tastes better with some cheese on it. :D
    My favorite ingredient in a romance novel is a sexy, rakish hero who is lead a merry dance by the heroine.

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    1. Barbara--what about a cheese-eating hero? I just wrote one of those for the third Matchmaker book (IT TAKES TWO TO TANGLE is the first). He and the heroine share a pub meal of mutton and Cheddar. I can't say it made me crave mutton, but I probably ate a lot of cheese while I wrote that scene.

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  27. One of my favorite ingredients to cook with is the tomato. No matter what form or type it is, it has many uses. I always look forward to the first ripe one in the garden. My husband and I savor tomato on toast for breakfast with that first one.

    In books, I think humor is my favorite or most important ingredient. It can come in many forms, too, and adds so much to a story. Whether it is a romp or a dark and serious tale, humor makes the telling richer.

    Both IT TAKES TWO TO TANGLE and SEASON FOR SCANDAL sound like good reads. I hope both releases go well.

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    1. Thank you, librarypat! I enjoy romance with humor too--even in real life. My husband has a silly, dry sense of humor, and he's always been able to make me laugh.

      As for tomatoes, you must be enjoying a bonanza at this time of summer. Family members who garden have given me a half-dozen tomatoes in the past week, and they're so ripe and flavorful. I added some into a pasta sauce, but what else should I cook with them?

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  28. My fave ingredients in cooking are two: onions and garlic. They can make almost anything taste great. And my fave ingredient in a romance is honesty. I like to hear the heroine and hero speak directly from the heart and not mince words. It's unusual in books and even today in real life. But it's the best way to love, whether it's in a Regency, a western, a paranormal or contemporary. Thanks for asking. jdh2690@gmail.com

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  29. Congrats on your release!!! I'm a bacon lover... it's not a food it's a condiment... Onions and garlic are a close second & third!

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  30. Chocolate? I feel like it's chocolate. To both. *WINK*

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