Tuesday, April 30, 2013
It’s hard to believe that another month has passed! May is here! We’re gearing up for the end of the school year and summer vacation at my house. But at The Romance Dish, we are gearing up for all things romance! Please help us celebrate May by stopping by often. We have a lot of wonderful guest authors lined up along with some terrific reviews, regular monthly blogs, and prizes galore!
Join us on Wednesday, May 8th
, as fan favorite historical author Cathy Maxwell drops by to visit! We always have a ton of fun when Cathy dishes with us. Her latest, The Devil's Heart, the third and final book in her Chattan Curse series, releases TODAY!
Make Your Reservations on Thursday, May 9th, as we let you know which books we are most looking forward to in June.
The always witty and glamorous Anna Campbell will bring us her Second Helping of a book or books that we may have missed the first time around on Friday, May 24th!
Monday, April 29, 2013
Cantrell, and Alex Justice.
Kat is giving a signed copy of AGAINST THE EDGE to one randomly chosen person who leaves a comment!
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
Back in 2010, I wrote about an anthology from Harlequin called More Than Words, Volume 6. (read the post here) This book, sixth in a series of collections that tell the stories of real-life women making a difference in their communities, is part of Harlequin's philanthropic More Than Words program. All proceeds from the sale of these books are reinvested into the program which, according to their website, aims to enhance the well-being of women through the following goals:
* Raise awareness about worthy causes that are of concern to women
* Provide financial assistance to these important charities
* Engage employees, authors and readers and the general public in worthy causes and provide opportunities for them to make a difference.
Nominations for the 2014 awards are now open and Harlequin is inviting you, the readers, to tell them about the real-life heroines who inspire you...or tell them about yourself! Nominations will be open until August 9th and can be submitted by completing this easy online form. All you need to do is write a few sentences about the person you're nominating, the charity with which she's involved, what inspires her and how she's inspiring others. It's a wonderful opportunity for us to honor those women who give tirelessly to others, making a positive impact on the lives of the people in their communities.
After the nomination deadline, Harlequin will select five finalists and, in November, the public will vote for the three winners for 2014. Those three women will each receive a $15,000 donation from Harlequin to the charity of their choice. They will also each be paired with a bestselling Harlequin author who will use their story as inspiration for a novella that will be released to the public as a free e-book.
Check out these free e-books that were inspired by the dedicated women who won the awards in 2012:
- Good Neighbors by Sheila Roberts (inspired by Sally Spencer, who manages a mentoring program that rescues at-risk children)
- Just Joe by Carla Cassidy (inspired by Helen McGovern, who oversees Emergency Food Network, a food bank that serves all county residents, including those with health restrictions)
- Light This Candle by Cindy Dees (inspired by Mindy Atwood, who runs Patches of Light, a nonprofit organization where anonymous angels pay the rent for parents of desperately ill children)
You can download these (and other free) More Than Words novellas, as well as purchase the More Than Words collections, at http://www.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Did you know that 2013 is a big year in Romancelandia?
The book that launched a million Regency romances, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, is 200 years old this year. There are events planned to mark this momentous occasion in every corner of the world . I wouldn't be surprised if there's even a Turn Your Yurt into Pemberley day in Outer Mongolia!
There are lots of things happening in Australia to mark this anniversary. I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the Absolutely Austen! event at Gold Coast Libraries back in February.
I've read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE more times than I can count. I always find something new in it. In fact, my very first review here at the Romance Dish was of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: http://www.theromancedish.com/2009/11/mr-collins-to-rescue.html
So I knew I could wing it if someone asked me about P&P (especially if the question involved swooning over Mr. Darcy. Always had a crush on Mr. Darcy!), but I haven't read the other Austen books in years. Partly because, don't shoot me, I'm not a huge fan of MANSFIELD PARK, EMMA or SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.
The book I decided to read again was NORTHANGER ABBEY because there's a really lovely BBC version of it that made me want to revisit this story (haven't read it since I was standing in line for theatre tickets in London in 1985). But I couldn't find it. One of the hazards of having so many books lying around the house.
Instead I read a book I've always loved, I've read several times, but I haven't read in ages, PERSUASION.
PERSUASION often seems to be treated a bit like the redheaded child in the Austen canon, which is a pity because it's wonderful. It's much quieter than PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and the heroine has none of Lizzie's flash and sparkle. Captain Frederick Wentworth is a wonderful hero, brave and handsome and passionate, but he's not actually on the page a lot as a character although he plays a large part in the other characters' thoughts.
One of the things we love about Darcy is that he's got a hill to climb before he gets his happy ending. Wentworth on the other hand is pretty much the ideal man from the get-go. Yeah, it takes him a while to get over his huff but honestly, who could blame him? And despite our heroine's obvious qualities, he sets his sights on the wrong girl before he quickly comes to his senses. Yup, pretty much a flat character arc with the ole captain dude.
At the heart of PERSUASION is Anne Elliot. Anne is a sensitive woman of refinement and intelligence and unselfish courage. She's also a bit of a Cinderella in her horrible family. Her father, Sir Walter Elliot, is shallow and vain and a world-class social climber. Her oldest sister is a colder version of the father. Her younger sister Mary is a comic masterpiece, the sort of girl who would complain in heaven and who always feels completely hard done by.
At the age of nineteen, Anne falls passionately in love with a junior naval officer of no fortune but infinite promise (Wentworth, of course!). Because of inexperience and lack of confidence, she allows her godmother to persuade her against accepting his offer of marriage (hence the title of the book). Wentworth leaves in high dudgeon to pursue what becomes a brilliant career. Anne is left to fade into gentle spinsterhood as the family dogsbody.
The story opens when eight years later, Captain Wentworth returns to the district, rich, famous, and in search of a wife befitting his new status in the world. Needless to say, he's still angry at Anne for being so spineless. Through a series of encounters, including the famous visit to the seaside resort of Lyme Regis, Anne and Wentworth gradually find their way back to one another.
Anne is never in doubt of the quality of the man she rejected all those years ago so we feel every ounce of her pain when it's apparent that he hasn't forgiven her. Wentworth is determined not to be hurt again, but slowly he discovers that he can't find a new love when his old love still haunts him. And PERSUASION has one of the most satisfying endings anywhere. I always cry when I read it and I cried again this time. Sigh.
Anne Elliot lies at the center of this subtle story of love found, lost, then found again. There's a depth to her character that is absolutely unforgettable. Her longing and regret will break your heart. One of the joys of PERSUASION is watching Anne blossom into the warm, fulfilled woman she was meant to be.
This was Jane Austen's last completed novel and it packs an enormous emotional punch. You can't help thinking of where her genius would have taken her after this. Charlotte Bronte was always very dismissive of Austen, calling her books 'commonplace' and bloodless. CB never read PERSUASION. I wonder if the heartfelt emotions in this book would have converted her into an Austenite!
Have you read PERSUASION? How do you think it stacks up against its flashier and more popular sister PRIDE AND PREJUDICE? Wentworth or Darcy? What's your favorite Jane Austen story?
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I love visiting Destiny, Ohio, the fictional location of Toni Blake's sexy and heartwarming small-town contemporary romance series. The sixth book in the series, Half Moon Hill will be released April 30th and features two fascinating main characters: Anna Romo, a woman kidnapped at the age of five who has recently discovered her real family and Duke Dawson, ex-biker and best friend of Anna's biological older brother, who is dealing with the emotional aftermath of a tragic accident. Here are a few interesting facts from the author about Half Moon Hill.
TONI BLAKE'S FUN FACTS ABOUT
HALF MOON HILL:
Tessa's brother, Jeremy, was originally supposed to be the hero. I started planning that as early as Destiny Book 3, Whisper Falls. But as the time to write it grew closer, something about it didn't feel right. I didn't know Jeremy very well, after all. But I did know Duke. Readers had started writing to me and asking me to give Duke his own book. You ask. I listen. Duke just seemed like a much better match for Anna in my mind - even if only because I knew instantly how much Anna's brother Mike would dislike this. I loved fleshing out both Anna and Duke as characters as I wrote this story, and I couldn't be happier with the decision to make Duke her hero.
I adore the cover of this book! But the fun act is - on the original version, the title was hot pink. Rather gorgeous, I must say! But sadly, I noticed in thumbnail version on my computer screen, it was really difficult to read.
The swing on the cover came before the swing in the story. I had the cover long before I'd actually written the book, but that gave me the opportunity to add a swing to the story, and I couldn't be more pleased with how that part worked out.
I'm a big fan of butterflies. In the summer, I spend quite a bit of time stalking and photographing them. So when I first saw the butterflies on this cover, I was ecstatic. Then they decided to add more butterflies. On the original cover, there were only two or three and now I count upwards of a dozen. I love having a cover with one of my favorite things on it!
I really, truly am very proud of this book. I love the way both characters developed, I loved revisiting everyone in Destiny and moving their life stories forward as well, and I loved the depth of emotions I got to explore in this story.
Are you a fan of Toni Blake's Destiny series? Which Destiny couple is your favorite? Are you looking forward to a story for Duke as much as I am? Toni is delighted with the butterflies on the cover of Half Moon Hill. If you were designing a cover, what favorite thing would you want featured on it?
HarperCollins has graciously offered a copy of Half Moon Hill to two randomly chosen people leaving a comment. (U.S. addresses only, please)
Monday, April 22, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Today, I welcome best-selling historical author Julianne MacLean back to the Romance Dish! I first discovered Julianne's books when I won an ARC of Surrender to a Scoundrel--one of her American Heiresses series books--back in 2006. It remains one of my all-time favorite books to this day. :) Since then, Julianne has gone on to write about the Sinclair family, some sexy Highlanders, and a trilogy centered around royalty. If you haven't read any of Julianne's books, I encourage you to do so! Right now, I'm reading her latest, Seduced at Sunset, and enjoying it immensely. Please welcome Julianne!
On April 30, The Prince’s Bride will hit bookstores, and that is the last book in a trilogy I began with St. Martin’s Press. I am a passionate fan of The Tudors series on television, so I took great pleasure in creating a fictional European nation called Petersbourg, modeled after the Tudor Court but set in the Regency period. It became home to a family of charismatic young royals who were surrounded by romance and court intrigue, and each had to marry and produce heirs to continue their legacy.
I must also let go of another series revolving around an aristocratic family in England—the Sinclairs of Pembroke Palace. This was a series I began at Avon in 2007, but when I changed publishers, I was unable to finish it at that time. It was three years before I could finally return to Pembroke and give happy endings to the last two siblings, who had been left hanging since 2009. Seduced at Sunset is finally released, but I find myself wondering if there is a way to continue both of these series.