Friday, October 31, 2014

Coming Attractions

Happy Halloween! I’m not sure about you, but I am having a hard time believing that November is already upon us. The days seem to fly by. November means that our anniversary is here! It’s been five years since we opened our doors. Thanks for sticking along for the ride. We have a great guest schedule set for November, along with our regular monthly blogs, reviews, and more. Be sure to stop by often because here’s what we have in store for you next month at The Romance Dish!

The month starts off with an invitation to Fall Back in Time with Historical Romance on Saturday, November 1st. Join the movement as authors and readers post selfies while reading a historical romance novel!  Check it out here ( and be sure to use the hashtag #FallBackinTime when you post!

On Sunday, November 2nd, we will be posting an excerpt and offering a giveaway of the upcoming New Adult debut Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh.

After you have voted at the polls, stop by to see our spotlight of the latest from contemporary author Victoria Vane on Tuesday, November 4th. Slow Hand, the first in Vane’s Hot Cowboy Nights series, goes on sale the same day!

Join us on Wednesday, November 5th, to read our review of I Saw Her Standing There by New York Times best-selling author Marie Force! Oh, and there will be a giveaway, too!

Grab a pen and paper to jot down your favorite November books from my New Releases list on Thursday, November 6th!

Friday, November 7th, will be like Christmas in November when historical romance rock stars Theresa Romain, Elizabeth Essex, Valerie Bowman, and Carolyn Jewel stop by with their Heating up the Holidays with History party! It’ll be tons of fun!

On Monday, November 10th, we roll out the red carpet for best-selling author Cara Elliott! Cara is self-publishing some of her old traditional Regencies written as Andrea Pickens and writing some new ones! Be sure to check out these two recent releases: A Diamond in the Rough and Sweeter than Sin.

We are thrilled to spotlight Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal on Tuesday, November 11th. Dollbaby is a step away from romance as it’s a coming of age story set in 1960s New Orleans.

Women’s Fiction author Karen Swan drops by on Wednesday, November 12th, to talk about the paperback release of her book, Christmas at Tiffany’s. This one should get everyone in the holiday spirit!

PJ interviews debut author Nancy Haviland on Thursday, November 13th! Nancy’s upcoming debut, A Love of Vengeance, releases December 16th and is the first book in her Wanted Men series. This one has PJ raving about it!

Mark your calendars for Friday, November 14th, as that is when we will be celebrating our FIFTH ANNIVERSARY here at The Romance Dish! There will be lots of giveaways and surprises that you don’t want to miss!

Sexy contemporary romance author Kat Latham joins us on Monday, November 17th during her blog tour! She is sure to dish about her upcoming release, the third book in her London Legends series, Tempting the Player.

You are in for a treat on Tuesday, November 18th, as PJ interviews characters from Victoria Vane’s Slow Hand, part of her Hot Cowboy Nights series!

It is our pleasure to host not one, not two, but THREE amazing authors who have joined forces in writing an anthology! Stop by on Thursday, November 20th as Liz Talley, Kim Law, and Terri Osburn dish about their hot cowboys in Cowboys for Christmas!

On Friday, November 21st, we welcome Jeanne Adams, Barbara Devlin, and debut author Caitlenn T. Ainnsley to The Romance Dish! The three have teamed up in a holiday anthology called A Jewel in Time. It sounds good!

The lovely and witty Anna Campbell brings us her Second Helping of a book or books that we may have missed the first time around on Monday, November 24th!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Halloween

Since today is Throwback Thursday and tomorrow is Halloween I thought it would be fun to throw open the Dish archives and journey back to 2010 and my Halloween post...with a few revisions and additions.  

No tricks - just treats!


Ghosties, Goblins & Dinner? Oh, my!

(originally posted 29 October 2010)

I love Halloween!

It's my second favorite holiday and a big deal at my house.  It has been for years.  I grew up in a small town where we knew everybody and kids could safely go door-to-door on Halloween night.  My mom made our costumes each year and neighbors went all out making homemade treats such as caramel apples and popcorn balls.  My late husband's childhood experiences were the opposite.  Growing up in a big city with a single mom who worked long hours and not having much money, he had never known the fun that could be had on Halloween. Imagine his shock when I charged into his life with the Halloween enthusiasm of your average 10 year old (though I was 24 at the time) and the complete confidence that he would be thrilled to dress up with me.  Poor guy didn't know what hit him!  lol!

To his credit, he indulged me that first year and had such a good time that from then on, he took over the planning of the Halloween "event" and had more fun than a litter of puppies! He'd plan our costumes, help me decorate the house and be dressed and eagerly awaiting the first ring of the doorbell about the same time the kids were getting out of school.  To say he got excited would be an understatement of mammoth proportions!

Whenever I said anything about how much he enjoyed Halloween, he'd say to me, "I may grow old but I'll never grow up."  My memories of our years together are a vivid testament to that!  It's been almost ten years since he died but every year his playful, enthusiastic spirit is with me as I dress in costume, apply my make-up and prepare to greet bright-eyed, laughing little goblins at my front door.  As you learned on my birthday, I have no problem sharing photographic evidence of silly life moments with the world so, with that in mind, here's a little stroll down our Halloween memory lane.

As you can see, the dh was a man secure in his masculinity.  Either that, or he had a hidden fondness for short skirts and curly blonde hair!  The kids who came to our door loved the costume, especially when he did a cheer for them.  For months afterward, kids would ride by on their bikes while he was mowing or working in the yard and chant, "Rah! Rah! Rah! Sis! Boom! Bah!" 

This was the year he was the Hunchback of Notre Dame and discovered that oatmeal tinted with green food coloring doesn't come off as easily as one might think.  He sported traces of the "look" until close to Thanksgiving! 

Frankenstein sure looked menacing...until he tried to walk through the front door. Good ole Frankie forgot about the extra height his Halloween head and platform shoes added to his normal 6'2". ::snicker::

One of my favorite Halloweens was the year the spiders invaded. It was a hit with the kids too. A few years later, a family came to our house to trick-or-treat. The daughter - about 6 years old - kept asking where the spiders were. Turns out they had come to our house the year we were spiders (when she was just a wee little thing) but had then moved away. They had just moved back to town and that little girl came to our door fully expecting to see the spider family. We finally had to tell her that the spiders had moved. She never did make the connection between "them" and us! LOL!

This year's costume was inspired by the late Dik Browne, who wrote the Hagar the Horrible comic strip, one of the dh's favorites. 

My brother designed our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes and my husband made them.  I nicely thanked them both and took pictures.  I know my limits. *g*

The last year that he was well enough to dress up with me was widely recognized by the 100+ people who visited our house as our best Halloween costume ever.  As you can see from the photo, I was a chef and the dh was "dinner."  I kept the lid over his head until the trick-or-treaters walked up to the table to take their candy from the tray.  Then I'd offer them a taste of the "specialty of the house" and lift the cover.  Reactions were priceless!  Only one person was scared.  Mostly, the kids were amused, curious or downright fascinated.

A neighbor girl refused to leave until I lifted the tablecloth to prove to her that yes, the rest of his body was still attached.

Another little girl wanted to know how long it took me to bake him.

But the cutest reaction was from one little boy who stood there staring at him for close to five minutes while his parents tried to entice him back to the street.  Finally, he turned to me and in a quiet, awestruck voice asked "Does he take batteries?"   I've always wondered how many Christmas lists the "dinner head" ended up on that year! lol!

I've continued the tradition of dressing up to greet the goblins who ring my doorbell on Halloween night. This was the year I dressed as a puppy dog. Got a lot of "woofs" that year!

And here I am as a gypsy fortune teller.  I wish I'd thought to put out a recorder to capture some of the questions I was asked.  Had me laughing for weeks!

Do you celebrate Halloween?

Do you dress up?  If you do, what costume are you wearing this year?  If you're not dressing up this year, tell me about your favorite Halloween costume or favorite Halloween memory. 

What's your "must have" Halloween candy?

Since I'm all about having fun and giving out treats on Halloween, I'm going to randomly select one person who comments today to receive a treat from my book stash.  Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review - - The Lodge on Holly Road

The Lodge on Holly Road
By Sheila Roberts
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Release Date: October 28, 2014

In the seventh book of her Life in the Icicle Falls series, Sheila Roberts gives readers a holiday story that reads like the script for a Hallmark movie. Olivia Wallace, owner of Icicle Creek Lodge, is preparing for a full house to join in the lodge’s annual holiday festivities. Even as she rejoices in the success of her business, however, she still misses her husband. Fourteen years of widowhood have not erased her memories or her wish that he could see the lodge they planned together flourishing. But if she’s suffering from a touch of holiday blues, none of her guests will ever suspect. Neither will her sons—Eric, her right hand in managing the lodge and the wandering Brandon, who is coming home for Christmas.

James Clausen has been playing Santa Claus for years, but this year he feels more like Ebenezer Scrooge than jolly old St. Nick. His wife died last Christmas Eve, and his grief has him dreading the seasonal celebration. He’s not thrilled when his daughter, Brooke, books rooms at Icicle Creek Lodge for the two of them and her brother, Dylan, because she thinks doing Christmas differently will be easier emotionally. But James doesn’t want his kids to know how depressed he is, and when he meets Olivia, who not only understands his feelings but also shares his fondness for peppermint schnapps in her hot chocolate, the season begins to look brighter.

Single mom Missy Monroe has been saving for a year to bring her two children, Carlos and Lalla, to Icicle Creek Lodge. A hairdresser’s salary doesn’t allow her to give her kids everything she wants for them. She can’t fill their requests to Santa (a puppy for Carlos and a grandma for Lalla), but she can give them a Christmas with all the trimmings, one they will always remember. Missy has no premonition that this Christmas in Icicle Falls will change all of their lives forever.

John Truman is a true romantic, and he thinks Christmas Eve at Icicle Creek Lodge will be the perfect setting to propose to his girlfriend Holland. If Holland is less enthusiastic than he is about the holiday he has planned, he’s convinced that it’s just because she is less romantic.  Surely the combination of Christmas and an engagement ring will make her as happy as he is. Or will it?

All these visitors journey to Icicle Falls in search of a special Christmas. In this idyllic winter setting, the Wallaces and their guests will find more than they sought. The gifts Christmas brings will make not only the holidays a magic time but will also add a luster to their ever afters.

If you like your Christmas romances sweet and sentimental, add this one to your TBR list. Cynics beware: this book is not for you. It is filled with all the traditional Christmas touches plus Roberts’s trademark humor and multiple HEAs for a group of likeable, ordinary people whose lives entwine in various ways when they share a holiday in Icicle Falls.  Although it is part of an established series and familiar places and characters get a nod or two, The Lodge on Holly Road can easily be read as a standalone.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review - - Only Enchanting

Only Enchanting
By Mary Balogh
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: October 28, 2014

In this fourth book in Mary Balogh’s current series, the six men and one woman who make up the Survivors’ Club are gathering for their annual reunion. Since Viscount Darleigh refused to leave his wife so soon after the birth of their first child, they have moved the site of their gathering from Penderris Hall in Cornwall, the Duke of Stanbrook’s estate where they spent recovering as fully as possible from the wounds, physical and psychic, inflicted upon them by the Napoleonic Wars, to the home of Darleigh and his lady.

Flavian Arnott, Viscount Ponsonby, has an additional reason to be happy to reunite with his fellow Survivors’ Club members. The reunion allows him to avoid his mother and sister who are enthusiastically plotting another reunion, that of Flavian and his former fiancée, a widow whose year of mourning for her husband, Flavian’s former best friend, has ended. Flavian and she have a complicated history, one his family is eager to forget. But Flavian has reservations as well as some troubling gaps in his memory.

Flavian was shot in the head, tossed from his horse on his head, and ridden over by another horse. He recovered physically from his wounds, but he was left unable to think clearly and unable to communicate coherently. The gibberish he spoke and the violent outbursts that followed his fruitless attempts to make himself understood convinced his fiancée and his family that he was mad. Three years at Penderris Hall under the compassionate care of the Duke of Stanbrook restored his speech, except for a slight stammer, and his sanity, except for the memories, some unrecovered and some too clearly remembered, that keep him restless. On the surface, Flavian is a golden god of a man—tall, handsome, and fashionable with a ready charm and a quick wit. His fellow survivors know that peace for Flavian has proved elusive, but not even they know how unrelenting his demons are.

After the death of her husband three years ago, Agnes Keeping moved to Inglebrook to live with her sister, Dora, a music teacher whose students include both Vincent and Sophia, Viscount and Viscountess Darleigh. Agnes prefers her emotions contained and fears the loss of control and the resulting destruction that can accompany passion. She was genuinely fond of her staid, older husband. The quiet affection they shared was enough for her at eighteen and eight years later, she still “had never been in love or ever expected to be—or even wished to be.”

Her expectation and wishes become irrelevant when she meets Viscount Ponsonby. Against all reason, she falls in love. Flavian is more cynical about love. He is confused by his attraction to a woman he recognizes is ordinary in status and appearance, with none of the polished beauty of a fashionable lady. Yet the enchantment she stirs in him after their first waltz increases with every meeting. With her, he finds safety and peace and passion. He is persistent when she rejects his first marriage proposal. But the happiness that seems within their grasp in the early days of their marriage is threatened by their past that intrudes on the present. Claiming their HEA will require courage and commitment.

Nobody is better than Balogh at creating a character-driven story that showcases richly developed, achingly vulnerable characters. Only Enchanting may be a degree less compelling than the first two books in this series, but it is a poignant story with a hero and heroine who leave readers sighing with satisfaction over their HEA. Readers who have followed the series will enjoy the glimpses provided of couples from the earlier books. One of my favorite moments was a tender scene between Vincent and Sophia and the revealing reactions it evoked in Agnes and Flavian. This book left me hungry to reread the first four books in one marathon read and eager for Only a Promise, Ralph Stockwood’s story (May 5, 2015).

If you like historical romance that focuses on the central relationship with enough context to give complexity but with nothing to distract from the hero and heroine, I recommend this book. Balogh has been producing keepers for almost thirty years, and with three more Survivors’ Club books to go, the future looks promising for more treasures from this prolific author.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Last Hero Standing Book Blitz Tour

I have found over the years that no group with which I am affiliated comes to the aid of their own more quickly or completely than the members of the Romance community. Whether it be illness, death, natural disaster or any of a number of other issues, this group of caring, involved individuals stands ready to step forward, offering aid and comfort to those affected. Today, we once again extend our assistance to one of our own, a courageous and determined woman who is fighting what likely will be one of the most important battles of her life. We here at The Romance Dish offer our thanks to the authors and others behind this book blitz tour and the LAST HERO STANDING box set and our best wishes to Pamela Clare on the journey to what we pray will be her own personal happy - healthy - ever after. In addition to the tour giveaway of a $100 gift card to the winner's online book retailer of choice (Rafflecopter entry at the end of this post), the Dishes are giving away an e-book copy of the LAST HERO STANDING box set to five randomly chosen people who leave a comment on this post before 11:00 pm EST, October 30, 2014.


Authors donate to anthology to raise money for colleague 
stricken with breast cancer

Eleven authors have donated their work to a box set of novellas to raise money for the medical expenses of a colleague stricken with breast cancer. The LAST HERO STANDING box set, which is set to release on Oct. 28, features 11 novels and novellas for only 99 cents, including a bonus short story from New York Times bestseller Dianna Love. All the proceeds from sales of the box set will go toward the medical expenses of USA Today bestselling author Pamela Clare, who was diagnosed with breast cancer this past April and has been unable to work since then. Please read Pamela's story, in her own words, as shared October 9, 2014 at USA Today's Happy Ever After Blog.

At each stop on the LAST HERO STANDING Book Blitz Tour, one of the contributing authors will be spotlighted. Today, we shine our spotlight on Joan Swan.

Joan was never a star English student or a literature buff, but she’s always had a creative soul and an active imagination. Writing was a natural culmination of those two talents.

Recently, she left her day job as a sonographer at UCSF Medical Center after 22 years in the field to write full time. The muse must have been paying attention, because shortly after, she hit the New York Times Bestsellers list under my name and again a month later under her psuedonym, Skye JordanIf you like red-hot contemporary romance, check out her alter ego.

This year will mark her twenty-forth wedding anniversary to her own personal hero, a veteran firefighter. They have two beautiful daughters and live in the heart of wine country on the gorgeous Central Coast of California.

Connect with Joan online:  Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads

In need of fast cash to help her brother sneak into the US, Tova Sorenson takes a job as a sexcam operator, sparking an unlikely friendship with her very first customer. When Marcus Lucero's border patrol teammate suggests a sexcam site for female companionship without heartache, Marcus figures he's got nothing to lose. 

While danger from Tova's dark side brings them together in the flesh where their chemistry burns hotter than hell, it also exposes their divergent loyalties which could end not only their desires, but their lives.

       Joan, how has cancer touched you personally?
Cancer touches everyone somehow—we’ve had it ourselves, we’ve lost a loved one to it or we know someone who’s had it,

My experience is a little different. As a sonographer for over 20 years, I’ve met and scanned thousands of people struggling with cancer. I’ve been the discoverer of cancer and the bearer of bad news. Repeat scans of those fighting cancer have put me the unique position of following patients through their fight from discovery to cure and discovery to death.

In this way I’ve had unique view of how cancer affects bodies, minds, hearts, careers, families, and finances.

Why did you participate in the LAST HERO STANDING fundraiser for fellow author Pamela Clare?
As a member of the medical community for decades, I’ve seen how medical costs can devastate not only a family, but a city, a state, and a country. I know the red tape involved in dealing with insurance companies and medical facilities.

When someone is battling cancer, they need all their strength to fight the disease...and sometimes even fight the cure. Financial worries only drain a person of the strength to heal. 


Enjoy 11 emotional stories - 2000 pages filled with all types of heroes from small town to international action-adventure who earn and protect those they love. Over 360 reviews with a 4.5 star rating!!!

PLEASE NOTE: This box set will be available for ONE MONTH ONLY, and all proceeds go directly to the medical fund for box set author Pamela Clare, who is in the midst of her own battle with breast cancer. Everyone who touched this project donated their time and stories. Please help us help her by treating yourself and your friends to a box set full of great stories!

Purchase Links:
Amazon Kindle:
Barnes & Noble Nook:

Apple iBooks:

New York Times Bestseller Dianna Love
KISS THE ENEMY, a Slye Temp novel 
"It seems with each book, this series gets better..." 

New York Times Bestseller Cynthia Eden
“Plenty of passion to fan yourself but also enough make you swoon.” –So Many Reads 

New York Times Bestseller Elisabeth Naughton
FIRST EXPOSURE, an Aegis Security prequel novella 
“This series is off to an explosive start.” 

New York Times Bestseller Joan Swan
SINFUL DECEPTION, a Renegades novel 
"Another fast-paced, action-packed, sexy Covert Affairs story!" 

New York Times Bestseller Bonnie Vanak
"Highly recommend to anyone who likes steamy, sexy novels." 

USA Today Bestseller Pamela Clare
FIRST STRIKE, an I-Team novella 
“If you’re a fan of romantic suspense, you must read Pamela Clare!” 

USA Today Bestseller Mary Buckham
INVISIBLE FEARS, an Invisible Recruits novel 
“The powerful descriptive ability this author displays raises the bar for Urban Fantasy!” 

USA Today Bestseller Adrienne Giordano
THE EVASION, a Justifiable Cause Novella 
"Adrienne Giordano delivers everything romantic suspense readers want…" 

USA Today Bestseller Norah Wilson 
NIGHTFALL, A Vampire Romance Novel 
" edge of your seat series." 

Award-Winning Author Stephanie Rowe
ICE, an Alaska Heat novel 
“ICE delivers pulse-pounding chills and hot romance!” 

Award-winning Author Tracey Devlyn
LATYMER, a Nexus novella 
"Powerful…and gripping."

This Rafflecopter giveaway is open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you read Pamela Clare's books? Tell us about your favorite.

What lifts your spirits when you're going through a challenging time?

How do you lift the spirits of others who are facing difficulties?

Would you like to leave a message of encouragement for Pamela? Please do so in the comments.

Five randomly chosen people leaving comments will each receive a Kindle copy of the LAST HERO STANDING box set. (Open internationally)


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