Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Coming Attractions for September

Summer is drawing to a close and soon we'll feel the chill of Autumn in the air but that doesn't mean things are slowing down here at the Romance Dish.  No ma'am!  Stick around because September promises to be more fun than a gaggle of romance writers in a barrel of chocolate! 

We kick things off in style Wednesday, September 1st when PJ interviews bestselling author and fan favorite, Teresa Medeiros.  Teresa will be giving away a signed copy of her terrific new historical romance, THE DEVIL WEARS PLAID so don't forget to drop by!

Harlequin Blaze author (and Romance Bandit), Tawny Weber cranks up the heat when she blogs with us Thursday, September 2nd.   Tawny's new book, RIDING THE WAVES, is raising more than a few temperatures!

On Friday, September 3rd, you won't want to miss Andrea's list of new releases, the "must have" accessory for every romance buyer! 

The fun continues on Wednesday, September 8th when paranormal romance author, Addison Fox is our special guest of the day.  Addison will be celebrating the release of WARRIOR AVENGED, the second book in The Sons of the Zodiac series.

Andrea returns September 9th with Make Your Reservations, highlighting the October books we Dishies are eagerly anticipating.

On Friday, September 10th, Trish Milburn will be here to bring us up to date on the latest and greatest YA books.  There are some terrific Young Adult books being released these days, including Trish's WINTER LONGING, written under the name of Tricia Mills.  


Mark your calendars for Tuesday, September 14th when PJ interviews the superbly talented, Virginia Kantra. Virginia's newest release, IMMORTAL SEA, is the fourth book in her popular Children of the Sea series.  

Buffie steams things up on Wednesday, September 15th with her monthly Hot Dish.  Can't wait to see what hot hunk she rounds up for us this time!

Drop by Thursday, September 16th when Romance Bandit and Romantic Suspense author, Jeanne Adams blogs with us.  PJ says Jeanne's new release, DEADLY LITTLE SECRETS is one of the best romantic suspense books she's read all year!

Beach season is over for us here in the Northern Hemisphere but we still have lots of books to tell you about so stop by Saturday, September 18th when we kick off Stock Up Saturday reviews!

PJ is excited to be hosting debut historical author, Tiffany Clare on Wednesday, September 22nd.   Don't miss their interview where they're sure to talk about all the buzz surrounding Tiffany's stunning October debut, THE SURRENDER OF A LADY.  

Thursday, September 23rd, we'll be turning our attention to cooking up some love in the kitchen when we're joined by Louisa Edwards, author of those sexy and entertaining culinary contemporaries that combine sensuous romance with delicious dishes!  

The always delightful Anna Campbell rounds out the week on Friday, September 24th with another entertaining and insightful entry in her Second Helping reviews.

And, as always, we'll be bringing you reviews of the books that we're reading this month, giveaways and a few possible surprises along the way.  

We hope you'll join us!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Review -- Chains of Fire

Chains of Fire
The Chosen Ones - Book #4
By Christina Dodd
Publisher: Signet Select
Release Date: September 7, 2010

The Legend
"Long ago, when the world was young..." a gorgeous and vain woman abandoned her children, a boy and a girl---twins with hideous birthmarks---to the river and the forest to meet their deaths. Instead, they became the first of the Abandoned Ones, gifted with abilities that could save the world...or end it.

The boy was marked with a sinister tattoo and given the gift of fire, and he gathered others around him with similar gifts to become the Chosen Ones---seven men and women who became a powerful force of light in a dark world.

The girl had the mark of an eye on the palm of her hand and became a seer. She turned to the devil, gathering six other gifted ones to her. They became the Others, bringing darkness and death to the world.

The Chosen Ones and the Others have fought for centuries for the hearts and souls of the Abandoned Ones.

That battle goes on today...in New York City and around the world.

Samuel Faa and Isabelle Mason are Chosen Ones...and former lovers. As Shakespeare said, "The coarse of true love never did run smooth." Well, the road that Samuel and Isabelle travel is marked with potholes the size of an elephant, hairpin turns and enough road construction and detours to make the most seasoned traveler scream with frustration. But Isabelle and Samuel are far from average.

Samuel is a Gypsy lawyer and the adopted son of servants, the Mason family's butler to be exact. He has spent his life overcoming his humble beginnings by becoming a top notch lawyer, and now he is part to the Chosen Ones with his gift to control minds. His one weakness is Isabelle, his first love, fellow Chosen One and the daughter of the wealthy and powerful Boston Masons. But after he uses his gift to betray Isabelle, Samuel loses the love and trust of the one person he felt closest to. Now they are trapped underground due to an avalanche caused by the Others. With no way out they are forced to confront the feelings that they have long suppressed.

"Because with you, I want to be everything I am---romantic and crude, serious and funny, loving and in love. I want to buy you gifts when I've had a good day, gripe at you when I've had a bad day, be a jerk, and know you'll slap me, know that no matter what I do, you'll love me anyway."

"You want everything," she whispered.

"Yes. I want everything." He kissed her belly. "But I want everything for you, too. I want you to come to me when your friends are a pain. I want to hear you laugh too loud at silly jokes and hold you when you cry over a chick flick. I want you to feel free to be bitchy when you've got PMS. I want to hear you scream when you're angry at me and know you're not going to walk out because we're meant to be together forever. I want everything for us...and all we've got is tonight, so let's make this"---he kissed her again---"a good night."

Isabelle Mason was raised in privilege and luxury, the adopted daughter of the Masons. Yet for all she had, she always felt different, like she never truly belonged. For as long as she could remember, Isabelle was able to heal others with her touch. Her mother didn't like for her to share her ability with anyone, considering it too different and crude. But when Samuel came to live with the Masons when they were both children, Isabelle found in Samuel a kindred spirit. Their friendship blossomed into love, one she thought would last forever. But when Samuel used his mind control on her to obtain information, Isabelle was devastated by his duplicity. In spite of his betrayal however, deep down her love for him never completely died.

"The first time I saw you, back before I even really remember, I wanted to hold you. Then...the first time we made love, you imprinted yourself on me."

"Yes," he whispered.

"There's never been another man for me. That's why, all these years without you, I've been so angry. Every minute we've been apart, I longed for you." She kissed him again. "I knew you were the only man I could ever love."

The first time Samuel and Isabelle appeared on the pages of Storm of Visions, book 1 of The Chose Ones, they threw off more sparks and heat a lightning storm. There was most definitely some big mystery about their past, and readers get one heck of a story that fills in all of the nitty gritty details in Chains of Fire. Scorching passion, betrayal, a tender reunion, and the ultimate fight of good versus evil. Christina Dodd gives her readers another fast-paced, sexy, thrill-ride-of-a-lifetime paranormal. I'm a huge fan of Ms. Dodd and everything she writes, but she has, without a doubt, found her niche with paranormals.

While this book can stand alone, it will be enjoyed and enhanced tenfold by reading the series in order: Storm of Visions, Storm of Shadows, Chains of Ice and Chains of Fire. And true to form, Ms. Dodd leaves her readers wondering what will happen next with a nail-biting cliffhanger! Here's hoping we won't have to wait to long for the next installment in The Chosen Ones series.

~ Gannon

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Donna Fletcher winner!

The random winner of a signed copy of Bound to a Warrior by Donna Fletcher is:


Congratulations, Jennifer! Please send your full name and address to donnaATdonnafletcherDOTcom with "The Romance Dish winner" as the subject and Donna will get your book in the mail.

Thanks to all who stopped by to comment!

Review - - The Devil Wears Plaid

The Devil Wears Plaid
By Teresa Medeiros
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: August 24, 2010

Standing in a chapel about to exchange vows with a wealthy Scottish earl is every young woman’s dream. However, in Emma Marlow’s dreams, the earl is always young and virile, bearing little resemblance to the wizened old man at her side. Yet Emma has no choice but to agree to this union to save her father from debtor’s prison and her mother and sisters from ruin even though the thought of letting the earl, a man old enough to be her grandfather, touch her fills her with revulsion instead of the excitement and anticipation a young bride should feel. Resigned to her fate and about to say “I do”, Emma is granted a reprieve by the unexpected entrance of a brawny Highlander on a huge black stallion, and his band of armed outlaws. But, though the intruder sends shivers down her spine, will he be her salvation or has young Emma just jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the fire?

With surprising strength, Emma’s groom shoved his way past her, nearly sending her sprawling. “I don’t need my nephew to fight my battles. I’m not afraid of an insolent whelp like you, Jamie Sinclair,” he snarled, marching right past his nephew with one bony fist still upraised. “Do your worst!”

“Oh, I haven’t come for you, auld mon.” A lazy smile curved the intruder’s lips as he drew a gleaming black pistol from the waistband of his kilt and pointed it at the snowy white bodice of Emma’s gown. “I’ve come for your bride.”

From the moment of his birth, Jamie Sinclair has been destined to be both an outlaw and the sworn enemy of the Earl of Hepburn. The Hepburn owns the castle and rules the Highland mountains that, by right, belong to the Sinclair clan, living in luxury while the Sinclairs are forced to live the life of outlaws high on the mountain. Most importantly, however, the vindictive and manipulative earl is responsible for the loss of the person most precious to Jamie Sinclair and Jamie is determined to see him brought to justice, even if he has to steal the man’s bride to accomplish it. Rumor has it she’s English so Jamie anticipates a meek and mild miss, too frightened to cause problems while he negotiates the “ransom”. Unfortunately for Jamie, Emma has reached the end of her rope and has no intention of making anything easy for him or his band of outlaws!

The Devil Wears Plaid is my favorite kind of historical. From the very beginning, I was taken on an adventure ride through the Scottish Highlands, with plenty of twists and turns, secrets, surprises, laughter and sighs along the way. The dialog sparkles, love scenes are sensuous and emotion-filled and, of course, there is the trademark Medeiros humor.

“For a brutish Highlander, you’ve a rather persuasive touch, sir.”

“Those fancy English gents are the ones who start all those nasty rumors about us and our sheep. They just don’t want their lasses to know what they’re missing.”

As his tongue swirled around the delicate shell of her ear, making her toes curl with pleasure, she bit back a moan. “Maybe they don’t want their sheep to know what they’re missing.”

Emma is intelligent, feisty and determined to make her own decisions. Jamie is sexy, bold and determined to secure justice for his family and his clan. When they finally come together they are a true force to be reckoned with. In addition to her very likeable hero and heroine, Medeiros has assembled a colorful cast of secondary characters that round out the story, adding key elements without detracting from the hero and heroine. I’m especially intrigued by Ian Hepburn, grand-nephew of the earl and former best friend of Jamie. I’m hoping we’ll see more of him in a future book.

I read The Devil Wears Plaid in one day, then turned around and read it all over again the next. It’s Teresa Medeiros at her finest and a book I highly recommend!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Wedding Memories Winner

Thank you to everyone for sharing some of your favorite wedding memories with me.
It made my 20th wedding anniversary very fun!!!

Thanks to random.org, the winner of the prize package is:


Congratulations Deb!!!!

Please email your mailing information to theromancedishATgmailDOTcom
with "Buffie's Wedding Winner" in the subject line.

~ Buffie

Fortunate Harbor Winner

The random winner of the copy of Fortunate Harbor is:

Karyn Gerrard

Congrats, Karyn! Please send your address to theromancedish@gmail.com so I can send you your book.

Jaime Rush Winners

I apologize for the late notification on this giveaway.  With the excitement, and chaos, of our trip to RWA National in Florida, I completely forgot to post this.  Many thanks to Mariska for the reminder!  Random.org has selected the following eight people as winners of a copy of TOUCHING DARKNESS by Jaime Rush!  

Barbara E

Please send your full name and mailing address, with "Jaime Rush Winner" in the subject line, to theromancedish@gmail.com.  Remember, per Avon's instructions, the books must be mailed to either a U.S. or Canadian address.

Brenda Novak Winner

We have a winner!  Many thanks to everyone who commented on my review of WHITE HEAT by Brenda Novak.  The prize package from MIRA books has been selected by random.org.  Congratulations to

KarenH in NC

Karen, please send your full name and mailing address to us at theromancedish@gmail.com, with "Brenda Novak Winner" in the subject line, to claim your prize.  Please remember that the prize package must be mailed to a U.S. or Canadian address.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guest Review - - Body Master

Body Master
By C.J. Barry
Publisher:  Berkley Sensation
Release Date: August 3, 2010

When it comes to taking down rogue Shifters, Seneca Thomas is the best of the best. As an elite member of the secret government agency XCEL, her mission is to apprehend those of the alien race who have viciously murdered humans. Not as easy as it might sound when the aliens are able to replicate human DNA and hide amongst the native population. Of course, Seneca has a few tricks up her own sleeve. Her Native American heritage lends her the ability to distinguish Shifters while they are in human form and force-shift them at will, making her every evil Shifter’s worst nightmare.

After her partner Riley is slaughtered during a raid, Seneca is horrified to discover that XCEL is adopting a new approach to countermand the rising number of agent deaths. Seneca comes face-to-face with her new partner, Max Dempsey, who is fiercely driven, mysterious and intensely sexy.

And a Shifter.

For Max Dempsey, XCEL and Seneca Thomas are a means to an end. Driven by cold vengeance, he has only one thing to live for: to find the Shifter who betrayed his people and murdered his wife. A mission made much more difficult now that he has a partner who doesn't trust him. It's a small price to pay for XCEL’s intel, which will no doubt help him zero in on his target.

Like it or not, Seneca and Max need each other. When an enterprising Shifter puts a price on their heads to fuel his own agenda, no one can be trusted and their lives are thrust into chaos. The only way out is to acknowledge the emotions simmering between them and to put pride aside and work together.

Despite my love for science fiction, I find that I don’t usually gravitate towards sci-fi paranormals. Aliens rarely snag my interest, though there are a few exceptions (what I wouldn’t do for a ride in the TARDIS!) When I read the brief on C.J. Barry’s Body Master, I assumed that the shape shifters were magic-based beings like most books I’ve previously read. Boy, was I surprised when I started reading!

Pleasantly surprised!

Let me start out by saying C.J. Barry hooked me at the first chapter. Right out of the gates, Barry takes you on a non-stop thrill ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat. In fact, in my fervor to discover the next exciting twist, I often had to force myself to read more slowly to keep from missing things. The book is shorter than most, and there were times when I wished for more plot and character development, but I never felt that the story was considerably lacking. I am definitely excited for the next installment of the Body series and can happily say I will definitely be picking up more sci-fi paranormals from here on out.

~Jenn Colman Tokuda

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Has it been that long?

Today is a momentous occasion. Well, at least it is for the hubby and me.

Today we celebrate 20 years of marriage. 20 YEARS!!! Boy, that makes me sound old. I’m not. Really, I’m not!

The hubby and I always say we got married when we were young and stupid.

Young because we were both still teenagers (see picture for evidence).

Stupid (maybe na├»ve is a better word) because we didn’t know what we were doing.

Even though 20 years has passed since our wedding, I still have vivid memories of the day.

Like . . .

* the bright blue sky when I walked to the front door of the church.

* just seconds before walking down the aisle, my Dad asking me if I was ready for this.

* seeing my adorable little nephews all dressed up.

* crying when my father-in-law welcomed me to the family during his toast (I cry every time I see it in the video).

* dancing the night away with my best friends and family.

* enjoying food at two receptions.

* laughing with glee after hubby and I walked down the aisle.

But my two favorite (and most treasured) memories are of times where the hubby and I were by ourselves.

1. After leaving the second reception, the hubby and I got into his truck and went through the drive thru at Burger King to get an order of fries and milkshake – our very first purchase as husband and wife. You should have seen the look of that cashier when he saw us in our wedding finery!!! LOL!

2. This one actually happened the night before the wedding. We had finished the rehearsal of the ceremony and the rehearsal dinner and my soon-to-be hubby drove me to my parents’ home. Before saying our last good nights as single people, we danced in the middle of the street by the soft glow of the streetlight. It was quiet and romantic and a memory I will hold dear for the rest of my life.

We have experienced many highs and lows over the past 20 years, but we have learned a lot about ourselves, each other and life in general. It has been wonderful growing up together, and I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years has in store for us.

Even though it's my anniversary, you will be the one getting a present. Tell me about your favorite wedding memory (it doesn't have to be from your wedding) and one lucky commenter will win a prize package from my RWA stash.

~ Buffie

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Provocative Read!

by Anna Campbell

THE SLIGHTEST PROVOCATION has to be one of the most unusual historical romances I've ever read.

It's great, but it's...unusual!

Let's start with the tone - not at all the intensely emotional, close focus, sensual approach you get with the majority of historical romances.

Please don't imagine that makes for a cold read. Anything but! The love scenes are deliciously hot.

But somehow Pam Rosenthal adds this edge of Regency detachment to proceedings, a bit like Jane Austen suddenly decided to venture into telling a naughty story. It's utterly compelling! Kind of like Lizzie Bennet is talking dirty (can you imagine that? If you can, you're getting an idea of what this story feels like).

There's a hint of the omniscient narrator and we certainly enter more heads than we do in most historical romances. It's not something everyone could carry off, but the writing here is superb and strides through the tale with impressive confidence. That difficult balancing act between a modern, sexy romance and a suitably 19th-century tone turns into a dazzling display of wordsmithery (I'm sure that's a word!).

What else is unusual? Definitely the hero and heroine who are seriously flawed and have made terrible mistakes in their past. Real life mistakes of vanity and spite and foolishness. These two people are disarmingly human and because of that, the reader tends to forgive their faults. There's a warmth and a fascination about both the hero and heroine in this story that will keep you enthralled as they find their happy ending.

Lord Christopher (Kit) Stansell and Mary Penley have a Romeo and Juliet past. The two of them are childhood sweethearts who meet secretly to avoid the anger of parents feuding over land claims. Not only that, but the match is unequal. Kit isn't his father's natural child, but he's still officially the third son of a marquess while Mary is the daughter of a politically radical brewer rich enough to purchase a small estate next to the Stansells.

In their early 20s, Kit and Mary elope. Just as their parents warned, everything goes wrong and ends in separation. Kit joins the army (the story takes place in 1817 but as you can imagine, back story is hugely important) and Mary pursues her progressive political interests. Both Kit and Mary take lovers in the ten years they're apart although it's pretty clear right from the start that neither has ever stopped loving the other, no matter the seemingly unforgivable sins that divide them.

When these two difficult but extremely charming and likable people are flung together in the Derbyshire countryside, long-restrained passions are unleashed. But the issue between Kit and Mary isn't what they do in bed but the fact that politically they're on opposite sides.

Another unusual element of this story.

The Regency was a hotbed of political unrest and after Waterloo, the lower orders suffered serious deprivation. Not something that turns up in your average romance! THE SLIGHTEST PROVOCATION is actually a pun. Mary and Kit are so hungry for each other that it doesn't take much to have them flinging propriety aside. But it's also a play on the fact that the story revolves around the government's use of agents provocateurs to flush out working men agitating for political reform. Christine Wells used this historical background for her wonderful THE DANGEROUS DUKE too.

Not your average read, then, but definitely a great story. I'm not surprised this book was nominated for a RITA Award in 2007 (Pam's THE EDGE OF IMPROPRIETY won the RITA for Best Regency in 2009). Sometimes it's fun to walk along a more exotic path and the views on this particular ramble are definitely worth your attention.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Today's Special -- Donna Fletcher

USA Today bestselling author Donna Fletcher has loved to read since a young age. She says her mother fed her passion by signing her up for a Young Adult book club, and from then on she was never without a book. Her passion for reading naturally led her to try her hand at writing, but not before she studied every book on writing the library stocked. She started writing short stories and placed second in a magazine contest, which encouraged her to continue and then join the New Jersey Romance Writers. Shortly after, she sold her first book and has since written for three publishers, including her current one, Avon. Her latest book, Bound to a Warrior, is the first in her new Warrior King series and releases August 31st. Please help us welcome Donna Fletcher back to The Romance Dish!

Characters fascinate me, not only in books but in reality.

I can’t go anyplace without being caught up in people watching. Standing on lines (e.g. bank, supermarket, department store) is a good place to watch people and how they interact with each other. I always smile when I see young people in love. They’re holding hands, leaning against each other, whispering, laughing; their faces aglow with the magic of first love. The older couples are just as interesting, some stand patiently together talking and smiling. Others argue though I’ve noticed they still help each other (carrying packages, opening a door, assisting to walk down steps) even though they’ve had a spat. The looks they exchange are more ones of concern and though-I’m-annoyed-at-you-I-still-love-you. Then there are the couples with the kids who barely get to talk or hold hands since they’re too busy watching the kids and getting the shopping done. Their looks say, later, if I’m not too tired or rather let’s get some sleep while we can.

It amazing how, in so many different ways, love binds people together. Perhaps it’s like glue that fastens firm and hard and keeps hold through the years so that even during the difficult times it keeps love solidly bound.

Naturally, the characters in my books go on loving forever and I wonder sometimes that if we recall that magic of first love, does it help renew old love, does it help the glue to stay strong?

Of course all that got me wondering about first love and how it binds and that’s when two characters suddenly popped into my head and introduced themselves and insisted that their story had to be told. I didn’t expect, though I was certainly intrigued when I realized they were shackled together by a chain. Now that’s truly a binding first love.

I did wonder how the heck I would work with a couple who never met, but were tethered by a chain. I was eager to get to know them while they got to know each other, a challenging prospect. After all, they were never more than a step away from each other.

This was my introduction to Duncan MacAlpin and Mercy in my book Bound To A Warrior and the first in my new Warrior King series. No soon as the book opens the two are already shackled together and running for their lives from the King’s soldiers. To make matters worse the pair winds up going over the edge of a cliff and into a raging river.

After nearly drowning you would expect things to get better, but think about it. Wet clothes, chilled air, gooseflesh and the next thing you know... of course, the pair is naked.

Duncan and Mercy have quite an adventure; especially since they remain bound together longer then they had anticipated. When the chain is finally removed, they discover that love binds them far more permanently than a chain ever could. Though their love remains strong, there are other troubling issues that could force the pair apart.

Having enjoyed spending time with Duncan, I became curious about the other three Highlanders in the series, Reeve, Bryce and Trey. The four, close as brothers, are on a mission to seat the true King of Scotland to the throne, the true King being one of them. Each has pledged their loyalty to the task and thought, foolishly, that there was no time for love. It would simply have to wait... of course they were wrong.

But as we all know... love waits for no one.

So what do you think is a good binding substance for love?

If you’d like to take a chance to win an autographed copy of Bound To a Warrior leave a comment and you’ll be entered. And do stop by and visit me at http://www.donnafletcher.com/.

Thanks all for having me here at The Romance Dish again!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Monica Burns winner!

The lucky winner of a copy of Assassin's Heart by Monica Burns is:

Scorpio M

Congratulations, Scorpio! Please send your full name and address to theromancedishATgmailDOTcom with "Monica Burns winner" as the subject and we'll forward your info on to Monica. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

Review -- Fortunate Harbor

Fortunate Harbor
A Happiness Key Novel
By Emilie Richards
Publisher: Mira
Release Date: June 29, 2010

I'm a fan of novels that center around friendship between women and the strength of that bond. Emilie Richards tells the story of five women who are neighbors on Happiness Key and the friendship they have forged in spite of their differences.

Tracy Deloche owns the cottages on Happiness Key---her part of the settlement from her divorce from her ex-husband CJ. He was sent to prison for a myriad of "white collar" crimes, and Tracy is convinced she will never have to deal with him again. Imagine her shock and confusion when she thinks she sees CJ lurking outside her house one night. He ruined her life, and now he has ruined her romantic evening with Marsh Egan, sexy lawyer and environmentalist.

Janya Kapur is a lovely, young Indian newlywed. She and her husband Rishi have been trying to conceive, but after months of disappointment, Janya feels she has failed. Rishi becomes increasingly distant, spending more time at work, and less time at home....and bed. Is he upset with Janya or is there a secret he is reluctant to share?

Wanda Gray is a middle aged wife and mother; her husband is a cop who is busy with his job, her children are grown and gone. Wanda is a long time waitress at the local restaurant, the Dancing Shrimp, but her passion is baking pies. When she is let go by the new owners of the restaurant, her friend, Alice, tells Wanda she should open her own pie shop. What seems an winning situation turns into a war of baked goods with the proprietors of the local bakery.

Alice Brooks, a sweet, but sometimes forgetful lady, cares for her granddaughter, Olivia, whose father is in prison. Alice is incredibly giving and welcoming, even volunteering to watch Olivia's new friend Lizzie, whose mother is the newest resident of Happiness Key.

Dana Turner, single mother and waitress at the Dancing Shrimp, is reluctant to get too close to the other women in her neighborhood. On the run from her past, Dana has always kept to herself, but she finds it impossible not to respond to the warmth and friendship of the others. With Alice watching Lizzie when needed and Wanda offering her job at her shop, Dana finally has friends for the first time in her adult life. But her secret is about to catch up to her. Will she allow her new friends to help her or will she turn her back on them and continue to run?

In her second book in the series---the first is Happiness Key--Ms. Richards shows her readers the real life ups and downs of a group of women who are each struggling to find their place in life. Divorce, infertility, aging, dating, you name it....the women of Happiness Key are knee deep in it. And while they could face their problems alone (and sometimes they try), in the end it's their friendship that helps them navigate the rough waters of life. Or in the words of Wanda:

"There's nothing wrong that pizza won't cure," she said, keeping her voice light. "Men come and men go, but pizza's always there when you need it."

And the same can be said for friends! Pick up a copy of Fortunate Harbor for yourself or maybe your best girlfriend, and say "thank you" to the friends in your life.

One lucky commenter will receive a copy of Fortunate Harbor (U.S. and Canadian addresses only).

~ Gannon

Saturday, August 21, 2010

To Taste Temptation winners!

Yes, you read that correctly; I said winners! Because there were so many comments, I decided to pick TWO winners! With the help of random.org, the two winners of a copy of Elizabeth Hoyt's To Taste Temptation (the first in her Legend of the Four Soldiers series) and some goodies I picked up from RWA is:




Congratulations, Laney and Kirsten! Please send your full name and address to theromancedishATgmailDOTcom with "Andrea's Winner" as the subject and I'll get your prize packs out to you right away.
And thanks to everyone who stopped by to comment!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Today's Special -- Monica Burns

We are delighted to welcome back the super-talented Monica Burns to The Romance Dish! Monica's new series, The Order of the Sicari, is garnering mounds of praise all over the 'net. The first, Assassin's Honor, released in June and was reviewed here by Andrea. The second (and latest) book, Assassin's Heart, releases September 7th! So, without further ado, please give Monica a warm welcome!

First a big thanks to all the gals at the Romance Dish for letting me guest blog in celebration of my newest release Assassin’s Heart. It’s always such a pleasure to talk different dishes of romance. *smile* Any chance I get to talk romance and the words of it, I get excited. Take this beautiful piece of prose.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy (Hamlet by Shakespeare).”

What I take away from Shakespeare’s words is that as human beings, we don’t have all the answers to what makes the cosmos run. Perhaps that very thought explains my fascination with the spiritual and the supernatural. Seriously, there aren’t many 12-year-olds who are running around reading Edgar Cayce and asking questions that made my father (due to his traditionally conservative dogma) uncomfortable. Then there are the fascinating discoveries being made almost daily about physics on the sub-atomic level that lend credence to the notion that something larger than ourselves was at work when we were developed oh so many years ago. Now don’t panic, this post isn’t going to delve into spiritual matters. And I won’t pull Steven Hawkings out of the hat to lecture you with. I’m just gearing up from my example of past lives.

I’ve got two pictures here. The first one is me at the age of 14 in my aunt’s wedding. This is probably the best picture that has ever been taken of me. I love the wide-eye look on my face. But what I love the most is that when I look at this picture I feel timeless. Now I want you to look at the two figures in the other jpg. Do you notice anything interesting? Go ahead, look at them both, I’ll wait.

Look pretty similar don’t we. Well, I’m not going to give you the exact year that my picture was taken, but mid-70s should suffice. The other one?? Well it’s a close-up of a portrait done in 1878 by Sir John Millais of the two Princes Edward and Richard who were allegedly murdered by their uncle, who took the throne of England as Richard III (Shakespeare anyone?).

What I like to point out about these two pictures when I show them to people is that either somewhere in the past there are genetics that point to these portrait models being related to me or they’re an example of one of the past lives I believe I’ve lived. About 20 years ago, I found an Italian painting of a Madonna that I bore a striking resemblance to. Makes me think that some of my past lives over the last several hundred years was as an artist model, not any pay in that!

So what, Monica, does all this have to do with your upcoming release, Assassin’s Heart? Well, the photos are a way of getting you to think about the possibilities of past lives, because that concept is a major factor in the story of Lysander and Phaedra. These two characters shared a past life in ancient Rome, and it plays a major role in resolving their issues in the present, while depicting how the Sicari came into being.

Back before I’d fully conceptualized the series, I wrote a five-page scene of a Roman General and his wife. The two were very much in love, and their story was one I really wanted to tell, but I didn’t know how. At least, I didn’t know how until Lysander came barreling into my head. I fell in love with him from the get-go, and I think he has become and will remain my favorite hero of all those I’ve written. Something about Lysander has touched me, and I think perhaps it’s his resistance to the unbelievable, and how he comes full circle in his beliefs and understanding of what’s happening around him.

I think part of a good story line is bringing characters from point A to point B showing a growth in some area of their lives. Lysander does that. He starts out as a cynic, and with Phaedra’s love and belief in him, he comes full circle to achieve the destiny he was born to. One of my favorite lines from the movie, Return of the Mummy, is when Brandon Fraser sees the tattoo on his arm on the wall of the Scorpion King’s tomb, as his gaze skims the drawing on the wall, he says, “Okay, now I’m a believer.” Lysander has that same type of ah ha moment, and by the end of the story, he’s a believer as well.

Assassin’s Heart is also about second chances. It’s about getting a re-do to either makeup for something we failed to do in the distant past or to experience a love of a lifetime one more time. As for me, well, I’m a firm believer. I’ve seen too many “coincidences” in my life to think they’re coincidence. I’m all about second chances.

So what are you? A believer who wants a second chance? A skeptic who doesn’t believe we get second chances?

Monica's publisher, Berkley, is giving away a copy of Assassin's Heart to one lucky commenter!

Contest Rules: Drawing is open to residents in US and Canada. Void where prohibited. Shipping/handling fees for shipment of book outside the US is responsibility of winner. International winners may pay the required postage via PayPal. To ensure as many readers as possible have a chance to win a copy of the book, Monica awards only one book per reader, per household.

To find out more about Monica and her books, please visit her website at: http://www.monicaburns.com/index.htm or her blog at: http://monicaburns.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Katharine Ashe Winner

Many thanks to everyone who stopped by to visit with Katharine and share your "falling in love" stories. I loved reading them all! Our thanks again to Katharine for being such a terrific guest and for generously offering a signed copy of Swept Away By a Kiss to one lucky commenter. Random.org has made the selection and our winner is:


Congratulations, Sheree! To claim your prize, please email your full name and mailing address, with Katharine Ashe winner in the subject line, to us at theromancedish@gmail.com.

Review & Giveaway - - White Heat

White Heat
By Brenda Novak
Publisher:  MIRA Books
Release Date:  July 27, 2010

White Heat kicks off a new romantic suspense series by Brenda Novak featuring the operatives of Department 6, a private security company that specializes in dangerous, high-risk assignments.  This book features Rachel Jessop and Nate Ferrentino, two people who are less than thrilled to be on their way to Paradise, a ghost town in the Arizona desert.  They've been on eggshells around each other since the awkward and unhappy morning after their one and only night together several months earlier and now they'll be going undercover as husband and wife to infiltrate a religious cult that appears to have taken a turn into dangerous territory.  A woman has escaped from the cult's compound, claiming that the members of the Church of the Covenant attempted to stone her to death and now a local teenage girl is missing and her mother is certain her disappearance is at the hands of the church. 

Ethan Wycliff is one scary dude.  The charismatic founder of the Church of the Covenant is well-spoken and handsome, drawing and binding people to him with ease.  Unfortunately, his charm hides a much darker side that includes drugs, countless depravities and even murder.  This is the man Nate and Rachel must bring down and he proves more than a worthy adversary.  Novak has created a villain that is the worst kind of cult leader and I admit, he brought more than a few chills to my spine, especially when his plans for Rachel are brought to light.  I think what makes him so scary is his realism.  This is a man that could live next door, be my child's college roommate, be the murderer about whom people say, "He was such a nice man."

White Heat is a gripping, edge-of-the-seat story with intriguing characters and truly evil villains.  The desert setting is perfect, giving the reader the same feeling of dread and isolation that Rachel feels when she purposely puts herself at the mercy of Wycliff, cutting herself off from Nate and outside help.  The love story builds slowly and realistically, gaining in intensity and culminating in a classic life and death race against time.

This is a book that I had a hard time putting down. In fact, it kept me awake late into the night until I finally turned the final page. The story grabbed me from the beginning and still has me thinking about it long after the final page was turned.  Brenda Novak really is a master of her craft.

I can't wait to read more Department 6 books. Luckily, I won't have to wait long! The next book, Body Heat will be released August 31st, to be followed by Killer Heat on September 28th.



To celebrate the kick-off of Brenda Novak's new series, MIRA Books generously is offering a White Heat prize package to one lucky commenter. (U.S. and Canadian addresses only) The package includes a tote bag, a 3D viewer bookmark, a copy of White Heat and White Heat Lip Gloss - made especially for the book. Just post a comment (please include your email address) now through August 25th to be eligible.