Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Today's Special - - Karen Hawkins

I'm tickled pink to welcome USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author, Karen Hawkins to the Romance Dish today. I've been a fan of her books for years and of the woman herself since first meeting her at a Celebrate Romance conference in 2008. She's smart, savvy, incredibly funny, and, after hearing her hilarious family stories, I'm still convinced our family trees must have crossed at some point in the distant past. Karen's third Oxenburg Princes book, MAD FOR THE PLAID was released yesterday. It's a fun, fast-paced, adventurous road romance that I gobbled up like a box of good chocolates. Another winner from this talented author! 

Find more information about Karen at her website and connect with her online:

FACEBOOKhttps://www.facebook.com/AuthorKarenHawkins

TWITTERhttps://twitter.com/TheKarenHawkins

INSTAGRAMhttp://instagram.com/karenhawkinsauthor

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



Welcome, Karen! I’ve had so much fun meeting your Oxenburg Princes and the women who lay siege to their hearts. Please tell our readers what they should expect from this third book in the series, Mad for the Plaid.

I’m delighted to be at The Romance Dish, which is my
FAVORITE romance site. I’m always lurking on here, finding delightful new reads. My next book, MAD FOR THE PLAID (out TODAY) is about the final Prince of Oxenburg, Nikolai Romanovin. Nik has spent his life neck deep in court intrigues and betrayals and it’s hardened him. When his grandmother is abducted from a friend’s castle in Scotland, Nik rides to the rescue. What he doesn’t count on is the spirited fight from the lady of said castle, Lady Ailsa MacKenzie, a head-strong lady of quality determined to lead the rescue, prince or no.

I had a LOT of fun writing this book because of the stubbornness of both characters, because they remind me of my own family.

Seriously, you should hear us talk politics – It’s NOT PRETTY. That said, it’s always passionate and loving, which is why this book really ‘sang’ for me.

That passion, stubbornness, and love comes through loud and clear. This book 'sang' for me too!

Many of your historical romances are set in Scotland. What is it about this country that calls to you?

Beyond the breathtakingly romantic scenery, the abundance of truly inspiring castles, the sexy accents, and the idea that just around the next corner could be a hot man in a kilt? The kindness of the people. I’ve been four times now, and every time, I’m just swept away by the warmth and generosity of the Scottish people. I could live there. Who knows, maybe one day I will.

It's the land of many of my ancestors and on my bucket list. One of these days. Until then, I'll enjoy visiting the 'mother land' through your books. 

I adore the princes’ meddling grandmother. What was your inspiration for this character?

My great grandmother was the inspiration for the Grand Duchess. My Grandma Lura was an inveterate matchmaker, a determined relationship advisor, and a professional meddler. She had an opinion about everything, and was never shy about telling us we’d ‘be sorry’ if we didn’t take her advice. And yes, that always seemed vaguely threatening, as if she would indeed turn us into goats if she had the know-how.

My Grandma Lura used to live on a huge farm in West Virginia near the Pennsylvania border. Back in the day, before private phone lines were used, everyone was on a party line. That meant that 20-30 families had the same phone line. Common courtesy dictated that if you picked up the phone and someone was talking on it, you’d hang it back up and not listen. Well, my grandmother was not the ‘hang it back up’ sort of person and she used to listen in. Her neighbors would complain, and she’d deny it, but my cousin said they all knew she was lying because she was the only person in town with a cuckoo clock. When someone pointed this out to her, she claimed she’d been set up by people she’d ‘rather not name’ who were jealous she’d won the local Baptist Bake Off eight years in a row.

Oh, I would have enjoyed meeting your Grandma Lura. My paternal grandmother was cut from the same cloth. And I hear you on the party line. We had multiple families on on our phone line when we were kids and there was a 'listener' on ours too. I think it was a requirement of each line. ;-) 

A few years ago, you wrote two wonderfully humorous contemporary romances. Do you have plans to set any future books in the present century?

Thank you! I LOVE those two books and I’d like to bring Glory NC back to life. In fact, as soon as I finish my current WIP, I’m scheduled to write a contemporary. J

That's awesome news! 

I’m counting down the days until the kickoff (pun intended) of
my favorite season: Autumn. Or as it’s known in my house: FOOTBALL! What’s your favorite season? What sets it apart from the others?

I’m with you, PJ. Autumn is my favorite, too, because, yes, FOOTBALL! I love the Green Bay Packers and I yell myself hoarse during the games. It’s both an agony and one of my most favorite things in the world. True sports fans know how that painfully delicious dichotomy works.

I love your sense of humor and how you infuse it into your books. Whose books make you laugh?

Thank you! Humor is super important to me. I feel like real life is sad and stressful enough, and a laugh is so helpful in staying sane and balanced. Originally, I was a HUGE Jill Barnett fan – still am, in fact. I also love Rachel Gibson’s humor, as well as that of Connie Brockway, Suzanne Enoch, Sabrina Jeffries, and Julia Quinn. They ALL make me laugh, and I love them for it.

Will you be attending any conferences or book signings this year where readers can meet you?

I’m going to attend the Historical Romance Retreat (http://www.historicalromanceretreat.com/) this September 22nd-25th at the historic Davenport Hotel In Spokane, WA, and then the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Atlanta, May 2nd-7th (http://www.sierracartwright.com/event/rt-booklovers-convention-2017/).

I'll be at the Historical Romance Retreat too! 

What are you working on now?

A contemporary is next on the list – more about that in my September newsletter, (sign up for Karen's newsletter here) but I’m just turning in a Scottish Regency-set historical for a new series about three brothers who must marry a lady of quality or lose their inheritance. It’s called MADE TO MARRY, and the first book is scheduled for 2017.

I'm very glad to hear you're dipping your writing toes back into contemporary but, have to say, I really love the sound of that Scottish Regency series! 

Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Karen! Would you like to ask our readers a question?

Yes! It’s hot now and I find that I read shorter books in the summer, and longer books in the winter – perhaps because of the cold or the earlier evening time. Do you find that you read different types of books summer vs. winter, too, or is it just me?

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment will receive a $20 gift card from Karen to their choice of amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com. Thank you, Karen!   





MAD FOR THE PLAID
By Karen Hawkins
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: August 30, 2016

Nikolai Romanovin, a royal prince of Oxenburg, has travelled to the deepest wilds of Scotland to rescue his grandmother the Grand Duchess, who was abducted while visiting an old friend in the Highlands. Wanting to avoid an international incident, Nik plans to quietly slip into enemy territory disguised as a groom at Castle Cromartie. But his plans go awry when he falls under the cool gray gaze of the laird’s daughter.

Pragmatic and clever, Ailsa Mackenzie has been left in charge of the family estate and her unruly grandmother in her father’s absence. Something about the new groom catches her eyes, and makes her think he’s not who he pretends to be—and even more shockingly, stirs her senses. Is it his obviously educated manners? His arrogant, non-servant-like presence? It’s certainly not his towering, powerful form, or slumberous, inviting green eyes!

After confronting the imposter and learning the truth, Ailsa agrees to help Nik—for she, too, understands difficult relatives and would do anything for family. Soon their secret partnership leads to growing respect, searing kisses, and then something far more perilous. And when their quest turns dangerous, Ailsa and Nik must discover this unknown enemy while facing the dangerous demands of their own unruly hearts.

92 comments:

  1. The biggest change in my seasonal reading habits is that during the holiday season I'm much more likely to read anthologies and , of course, Christmas stories. I'm so excited that Mad For the Plaid is out! I'm going good to binge on the series! :-D

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    1. Glenda, oh how I love a good Christmas story! It's one of the best things about the season. I hope you enjoy MFTP! It was a lot of fun to write the final story as I'd been thinking about it FOR EVER.

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  2. The biggest change in my seasonal reading habits is that during the holiday season I'm much more likely to read anthologies and , of course, Christmas stories. I'm so excited that Mad For the Plaid is out! I'm going good to binge on the series! :-D

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  3. During the summer I read lighter novels and shorter ones. The season do influence my choice. Heavier, and more intense for the fall and winter. Congratulations.

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    1. I do the same thing -- I just want to snuggle in and read in the coolder months, so I look for longer books.

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  4. I absolutely get down when I read her post. She is hilarious in her stories and her books are out of this world. My favorites are her "hot cop" stories!!

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    1. Aw, thank you! I love writing about Hot Cop. I really need to do a Hot Cop series of some sort. I could lionize that man in fiction and he wouldn't even know it. Heh!

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  5. No matter the season I read as much as possible since reading is my sole form of entertainment. Wonderful post.

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    1. I read a lot all of the time, but I definitely am drawn to red wine and longer books in the winter, and white wine and shorter stories in the summer.

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  6. I don't really change my reading habits according to the seasons. The only thing I do differently is that I read a lot of Christmas stories in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

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    1. Christmas stories are like bon bons. I can't get enough!

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  7. For some reason, I tend to read more contemporary books in the Summer. I like reading holiday books in the fall & winter.

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  8. I just love to read whenever I get the chance. I have been really into audiobooks lately because of my long commute.... so, Karen, that is a big hint!!! I will admit to enjoying a nice Christmasy themed romance around the holidays, other than that the seasons don't really affect my choice.

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    1. Sharlene, me too! I hadn't realized it until you said that and then I went and looked, but I do read more contemporaries in the summer. It might be those fun, sunshine-filled covered.

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  9. I do like lighthearted, fun, and humorous books for the beach season, and I wish beach season could be almost year round! I always prefer books with happy endings.

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    1. Beach reading is the BEST, isn't it? So relaxing!

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  10. I read both long and short no matter the season. I go through reading phases where I'll read 1-3 books in a day for weeks or months, then not read at all for a few weeks and catch up on my shows. (Horrors!!!)

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    1. Oh my gosh, I try SO HARD not to get caught up in a show. But then I do. And then I have to fight the urge to watch every one of them at one time ... oh, I'm a horrible binge watcher.

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  11. There is not a day that goes by that I don't either have a book in my hand or my ereader or Android phone to read...

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    1. I've found myself reading on my phone more and more. Who would have ever thought that would be something we'd do?

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  12. Hi Karen, I'm so excited about Mad for the Plaid! I find during the summer I tend to prefer reading fantasy type stores (Harry Potter, Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon type books) whereas during the autumn and winter of the year I like reading classic historicals/contemporaries... although I do make an exception for certain authors.

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    1. Rebecca, that's an interesting seasonal preference. I love fantasy, but I tend to read it more during the winter. They're bigger books usually, and I love to snuggle under a blanket and find out who the dragon is going to go after next. :)

      Btw, have you read The Belgariad series by David Eddings? I love those books. They were Harry Potter before HP was HP.

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  13. Can't wait to read. Love all your books, Karen. You have just the right amount of humor and romance!

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  14. I read whatever I'm in the mood for at the time. It doesn't really matter what season it is. Loved your books! Great interview!

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    1. Thank you, Courtney! I read a little of everything all the time, but I do tend to put the bigger books aside and then pick them up again when it's chilly. Not all of them, though. Some CATCH me, and then that's it. :)

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  15. I will be attending HRR as well! I am so excited to meet so many of my favorite authors! Bonus: Spokane is my hometown, and I am so excited that The Davenport was chosen for this opportunity or I would have missed it! I cannot wait to read your book and get some autographs!

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    1. Ev! YAY! I look forward to meeting you. And I'm so happy to get a look at The Davenport, too. Sigh. I love old places.

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  16. What a wonderful interview, Party lines were all like that, kids now don't even know.

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    1. Michele, I know! Heck, I didn't even know, so when my aunt told me about it, we all laughed to think they had to share a phone. What the heck?!?!?!?

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  17. I love big books all year round, it means I can be lost much longer.

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    1. They are so satisfying, aren't they? Like a steak dinner WITH a potato!

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  18. I'm just glad that I get to read about Tata Natasha again. I love her. Please tell me she has some more Grandchildren to meddle in their life?

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    1. No, she won't, BUT I'm going to write HER story sometime soon as an enovella. I think she deserves a happy ever after, don't you?

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  19. I have my books all lined up in a box and just go from one to the next. I ordered Karen's new book-I've read all the others so I am excited to get to it.

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    1. You are so much more organized them I am. I'm so jealous. My TBR is a huge, towering pile.

      And thank you! I hope you'll enjoy Mad for the Plaid! :)

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  20. I don't so much find myself choosing differently in books to read depending on the season, it is just dependent on mood.

    Lil

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    1. Hi Lil! I tend to avoid super sad books, so most of mine are a little lighter in tone to begin with. Once in a while, I'll cuddle up with a super emotional read and enjoy the weepy richness of it, but like you, I have to be in a certain mood.

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  21. Congratulations on the new release. No, the season doesn't influence the length of the books that I read. As long as it's a good story, I'll read it.

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    1. I do love a good story -- book or movie or teevee series. It makes me see my own life in new and different ways.

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  22. Pat D (patdupuy@yahoo.com)August 31, 2016 at 1:37 PM

    No, my reading doesn't change by the season. I stay inside a lot in the summer; Houston is freakin' hot and humid. Long books or short-it doesn't matter. Does Hot Cop read your books?

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    1. Houston boils just like Florida. Too hot! Too hot! And no, Hot Cop doesn't read my books. He asked, but I told him I didn't want him to know how much of his phrasing I was using for my heroes. Lol!!!

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  23. I'm not super picky about what kind of books I read. I do t stick to one particular theme or type of book. 99.9% of the time it's romance but as for historical, contemporary, regency, highland, military..... It doesn't matter!!! I read whatever strikes my fancy!!!

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    1. It's nice there are so many options out there. It's nice we're seeing early Georgian settings, and Victorian and Edwardian settings, rather than all Regency, all of the time.

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  24. Hi Karen, congrats on the new book! I don't find my choices of books are influenced by the weather, in fact I read Christmas books in the summer too! LOL. Can't wait to read Mad For The Plaid since I always enjoy your books :-)

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    1. Anita, you are a Weather Rebel! I'm impressed. I hope you enjoy MFTP as much as I enjoyed writing it. I do love that Tata Natasha, and I think Nik is one of my favorite heroes, too.

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  25. The seasons don't influence the length or types of books I read, as I always try to choose something I'd love! (I do however buy books for my younger grandchildren based on seasonal themes at times.) I enjoyed the interview. (And Grandma Lura was a person to be cherished! Loved her influence!)

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    1. Grandma Lura is/was the rock of our family. We never get together that she's not fondly remembered. :)

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  26. I prefer longer books. When I want a short read I prefer an anthology so I can read a story then set it aside.

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    1. Oh yes, the seasons have no bearing on the length on what I read.

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    2. Oh yes, the seasons have no bearing on the length on what I read.

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    3. Hi Molly! :) Novellas do fill the space between longer reads, don't they? I love novellas, but not everyone feels the same.

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  27. When my children were home I would take them to the YMCA pool in the summer which was reading time for me. Now it doesn't make a difference and I read the same no matter what the season with the exception of maybe a couple of Christmas themed novels. Your books sound wonderful - love historicals.

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    1. Hi Catslady! I hope you enjoy MFTP. It was a lot of fun to write.

      I used to take my kids to the pool, too, and I read there as well. Now, I sometimes go and read on the beach. Such fun!

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  28. I don't know that I vary the length of what I read by season so much as I like to read books that happen to be set in the current season. I'll read a lighter contemporary set during the warmer months during the Summer months, or I enjoy reading Christmas anthologies during the holidays.

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    1. Lisa, oh wow, that's interesting -- read books set in your current season. That would give you an instant connection to the story. Very cool!

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  29. I read the same sort of books, regardless of the season. And I'm looking forward to Mad for the Plaid. Thanks for the post and giveaway.

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    1. You're quite welcome, LSUR! :) I hope you enjoy MFTP. I think the humor in it represents some of the best I've written.

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  30. I'm not picky so it really doesn't matter to me what season it is, I just read whatever is next from my massive TBR pile! Thanks for the giveaway and look forward to reading Nik and Ailsa's story.

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    1. Thank you, Ada! I hope you enjoy it. :)

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  31. I glom read series so the weather makes no difference to me. I collect a finished romance series by a favored author and I dig in. I love being saturated in the world the author has created and not missing any lovely details in the stories. The exception to that is long running series that I'm up to date on and then all stops until I stay current. Thanks for the giveaway and your delightful Scottish world you let me get saturated in. Best wishes with the release and see you in Sept!

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    1. Glittergirl, I love that 'saturated' feeling, too. Some authors craft some amazing worlds, and it's so luxurious to get lost in them.

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  32. I read as per normal during the winter times although I do admit that I get a lot more reading done rather than during the summer months

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    1. Me, too. I think that's why I also read the longer books in the winter -- more time, and not so much "Hm. Can I finish that today?"

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  33. Hi Karen! *waving* Sorry it's taken me so long to get here today. I'm fighting bronchitis and have spent most of the day in bed. :( Not what I want to be doing when there are great books like Mad For The Plaid to celebrate!

    I don't think the length of my books changes so much with the seasons as the type of books. I tend to read lighter contemporaries in the summer and darker, (gothic-type) historicals in the winter. I guess I read more by mood.

    Novellas are my go-to for the busy holiday season and, of course, I love my Christmas themed romances. I usually start reading those mid-October.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Spokane!





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    1. OH NO! PJ, I'm so sorry to hear that. I hope you're drinking lots of whiskey and honey. It may not kill the bronchitis, but you won't mind it so much.

      That's interesting about when you read certain length books. I'm especially big on novellas during holidays. That's all I have time for, too.

      See you in Spokane. Get better SOON.

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  34. Welcome to everyone who has stopped by today to read my Q&A with Karen and left a comment. It's great to have you join us! It's my custom to answer each comment individually but I'm sick and I don't think I can stay awake long enough to accomplish that so I'll just say this:

    Thank you for playing in my cyber-sandbox today. I hope you'll visit again soon and I do hope you buy a copy of Karen's Mad For The Plaid. It's a thoroughly enjoyable ride!

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  35. Hi Karen, congrats on yout newest book release. As a non Winter country resident, reading Winter books along lend me that cool holiday feeling. But otherwise, I read whatever available for me. :D

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  36. I just read. The season doesn't matter (I'll read a Christmas story in May, lol). What effects my choice on the length of the book is just really what I'm in the mood for. Sometimes, I want something short and quick. Other times, I like the longer length so I can savor it...never want some to end (like this Oxenburg series...wink, wink...nudge, nudge. I can think of one person who could use a story there :) ). One thing I can say for sure. Your books are always a "don't even think about it" purchase. You write a book, it's in my collection without questioning whether I'm going to like it. I know it's going to be a great read!

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  37. I hope you get to feel better PJ!
    Funny, I've never notice any change in the length of my stories but as some have said, in the winter I'd like to add a few Christmas stories here and there and in the Summer I like to include a few stories taking place on the beach. Thanks for the interview PJ and Karen!

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  38. Seeing it can be so hot and humid in the mid-south, I tend to read books that have cooler climates in the summer and warmer ones in the winter. Always make time for my Christmas books.

    Yes Karen, I understand about watching your favorite team. We are rivals. Been a Chicago Bears fan for as long as I can remember. The emoji bomb gets used a lot.

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  39. I am more interested in whether it is a quality book, rather than a season. But, at Christmas I like to read holiday stories. Christmas just seems to be a time when there are wonderful stories to read.

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  40. I have to agree with a few other commenters, I love reading seasonally especially Christmas!

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  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I messed up what I wrote so I deleted it. I meant to say I'm really excited about Mad for Plaid and the season doesn't change what I read. I do tend to save the holiday one till Christmas.

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  42. I only read seasonally when it comes to christmas or thanksgiving books :) I don't think I switch it up lengthwise depending on the summer. Thanks for sharing!

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  43. I think the only way the seasons effect my reading habits is that I read even more in the hot weather since I don't have air conditioning & I'll sit in front of a fan with a large water.

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  44. Your Grandma Lura was super cool person :D :)
    I enjoyed reading this post,Thanks for the lovely interview :)

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  45. My reading habits don't really change for the different seasons, except perhaps reading holiday stories during the holidays. :D

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  46. As it gets closer to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, it is fun to read books that reflect that theme. Same with summer and the beach. Mainly I read favorite authors, good stories I heard about, interesting ideas, etc, what ever the time it is set in or what time of year.

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  47. so busy during the summer, so my books are sometimes shorter than the ones I read in the winter while hunkered down under a blanket or quilt

    denise

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  48. I absolutely LOVE seasonal reading! I like to read Christmas romance books during the holidays, lately it really ads to the spirit of the holiday. I will be undergoing multiple surgeries this fall and with recovery, I don't see myself able to to go out or decorate etc so I will be turning to my Christmas books to keep the spirit alive!

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  49. I absolutely LOVE seasonal reading! I like to read Christmas romance books during the holidays, lately it really ads to the spirit of the holiday. I will be undergoing multiple surgeries this fall and with recovery, I don't see myself able to to go out or decorate etc so I will be turning to my Christmas books to keep the spirit alive!

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  50. I know I love summer romances in the summer and then look forward to Christmas books until I get my fill. I am excited that you're writing a new contemporary book...Happy writing!!

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  51. I prefer a longer read no matter the weather. I do actively search out seasonal books though.

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  52. I read long and short romances any time of year. However, I get to the library more frequently in the wintertime, so I read biographies and other non-fiction books then too.

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  53. I thunk I read shorter books in the summer because there is so much going on with the family. I'm looking forward to reading Mad For The Plaid. It kind of fits my nature that title. :)
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol ( dot) com

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  54. I don't tend to change my reading habits during the year except for around Christmas. Then I read more Christmas stories. I love your books and your stories about hot cop. Am looking forward to reading Mad For the Plaid.

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