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:





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 ( this September 22nd-25th at the historic Davenport Hotel In Spokane, WA, and then the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Atlanta, May 2nd-7th (

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 or Thank you, Karen!   

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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Today's Special - - Vanessa Kelly

It's always a pleasure to host Vanessa Kelly but today is special because we're celebrating the release of her new historical romance, My Fair Princess. I've been enjoying Vanessa's books since her debut but this new one is one of my all-time favorites from this talented author and her heroine, Gillian has leaped onto my all-time favorite heroines (by all authors) list. I absolutely adore her. In Charles, she finds her perfect match...eventually. I loved having the opportunity to travel their journey with them.  It's fun, emotional, and oh, so enjoyable! 

Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”  Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. The Renegade Royals, her last series, was a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes contemporary romance with her husband as VK Sykes.

Where you can find Vanessa online:

With a song in my heart!

Like most writers, I’m a bit obsessed with the high concept. After all, there are only so many basic story ideas—boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and so on—so it’s the particular twist or crazy viewpoint that often gives a book or movie some oomph. The classic example of the high concept movie, for instance, is AliensJaws in space.

With MY FAIR PRINCESS, I’m starting a new series. It’s actually a spin-off from my previous one, The Renegade Royals. The heroes were the unifying concept for that series—they’re the illegitimate sons of England’s royal dukes. The concept is actually based on the fact that the Prince Regent and his randy brothers all but littered the English countryside with illegitimate children. It’s a bonus in historical romance when you can take a concept and ground it in true-life events!

My new series, The Improper Princesses, also features the illegitimate children of those rakish royals—but this time it’s the ladies rather than the gents who are front and center. My heroines are all royal by-blows, half-sisters or cousins of the Renegade Royals, and they face adventures just as challenging, dangerous, romantic, and entertaining as their male counterparts.

But there’s another concept that unifies these stories—each Princess book is based on a famous movie musical. You might ask where that idea came from, and I’d have to confess that I don’t have a clue. Except for the fact that I love classic movie musicals!

When I was a kid, I never missed a chance to watch those fabulous movies whenever they came on TV. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, My Fair Lady, Camelot…I loved all of them. Some I even saw in the movie theatre, in all their glorious Technicolor.

MY FAIR PRINCESS obviously riffs off My Fair Lady. Gillian Dryden is an unconventional heroine, one who was raised in rural Sicily and taught from an early age to take care of herself. She’s a crack shot, a bruising rider, and she carries knives in her boots—just in case! Gillian is also something of a Robin Hood figure. She’s the sworn enemy of bandits and brigands, and will do whatever she must to protect the innocent and seek justice.

Which lands her in a great deal of trouble, as you can imagine. That trouble eventually brings her to the attention of Charles Penley, Duke of Leverton, the most polished and sophisticated man in the ton. It’s up to Charles to teach Gillian proper manners in the hopes that she a) leaves off hunting bandits, and b) finds a proper husband.  

Let’s just say that things don’t work out as planned. I’ll also note that Charles, whose nickname is Perfect Penley, ends up changing more than Gillian does. That’s the genius of the high concept—you can twist and shape it however you want. Taking an old or well-worn idea and making it new…for a writer, nothing could be more fun!

Are you a fan of movie and stage musicals? Do you have favorites, or do you loathe the entire genre? One person who comments will win two books from my backlist—reader’s choice!

Improper Princesses 1

First, Vanessa Kelly brought readers The Renegade Royals. Now, in a delightfully witty new series, she introduces The Improper Princesses—three young women descended from royalty, each bound for her own thrilling adventure . . .

Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.

Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The ton is aghast . . . but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairytale ending?

Buy Links:

The Book Despository:

Monday, August 29, 2016

Review - - Bay of Sighs

By Nora Roberts
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 14, 2016


The second in the THE GUARDIANS series features Annika, a mermaid, and Sawyer King, a descendant of sea-faring time-traveler. They, along with four others, have banded together to conquer evil and return three stars to where they belong and forever out of reach of the darkness.

Annika is a pure soul who is new to the world above the water; she delights in nearly all she encounters and loathes to harm anyone, but she will do her part to defend the stars from falling into the wrong hands. While she does, she wouldn’t mind being in Sawyer’s hands, at least for as long as she’s allowed above the sea. Sawyer is enchanted by Annika and her joyful ways, but knows getting close to the mermaid will only lead to heartache in the long run. After all, theirs would definitely be a relationship that would be doomed to end sooner rather than later.

Nerezza, the evil one, broods, already having lost one of the stars to the strange band of strangers, and works to make sure losing the other two does not happen, even if she needs to ensnare the help of another human, even if she needs to make him a little more than human to ensure he succeeds against the guardians.

This series features a number of new paranormal elements not usually encountered in a Nora Roberts’ novel (at least not all at the same time): a witch, a seer/prophet, a mermaid, a time-traveler, a werewolf, and an immortal. While this might appear to be a disparate group of elements, and while the story seems to draw from about three or more different fairy tales before spinning off into something new, it works; and it’s all held together with classic Nora Roberts’ banter, suspense and unique characters. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy this trilogy like I had many of her previous ones that dealt almost exclusively with only one main element of paranormal at a time, or at least an alternate lifestyle (i.e. Wicca); however, I couldn’t put it down and I enjoyed it immensely. I look forward to reading the third in this series and learning how the guardians finally defeat the darkness forever.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Taking a Break

Hi, Everyone!

I'm ill and unfortunately too fuzzy-headed

 to either read or write so I'm going to take a 

break for the rest of the week.  

I need to concentrate on getting well 

enough to make the 12 hours drive home 

from my brother's where I'm visiting.

I hope to be back online next Monday.

Thanks for your understanding!


Monday, August 22, 2016

Once Upon a Wine Winner

The randomly chosen winner of a copy of 

Once Upon a Wine by Beth Kendrick is:



Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, August 19, 2016

Review - - An Affair in Winter

An Affair in Winter
By Jess Michaels
Publisher: The Passionate Pen
Release Date: July 12, 2016


Widow Rosalinde Wilde is on her way to her beloved sister’s wedding when an unexpected storm waylays her at an overcrowded inn. There she meets a tempting stranger who sweeps her into a night of unforgettable passion. 

Grayson Danford never expected a night with the irresistible Mrs. Wilde, but she was a welcome distraction from the unpleasant duty of breaking up his brother’s impending nuptials. He’s shocked when he discovers his passionate lover is none other than the sister of his brother's intended. 

Now Rosalinde and Gray will butt heads, even as their simmering desire for each other threatens to boil over. Who will win? And who might lose it all? 

Jess Michaels kicks off her new historical romance series with a sensual, appealing tale of stranded strangers who indulge in a night of nameless passion only to find themselves on opposite sides of an upcoming wedding the next day. I have to say, I really enjoyed this story. Gray and Rosalinde have an immediate physical connection that refuses to stay in the shadows even though their minds tell them they shouldn't do anything about it once they discover the obstacle of Rosalinde's sister's betrothal to Gray's brother. They both have their sibling's best interests at heart and valid reasons for their feelings about the upcoming wedding. A widow, Rosalinde still believes in love and marriage, even though her own was not ideal and wants only happiness for her sister. She also has very good reasons for wanting to remove her sister from their grandfather's controlling thumb. Gray, on the other hand, has watched both of his siblings suffer through the heartbreak of bad relationships and wants to protect them from repeating their mistakes. He views Rosalinde's sister as a scheming, social climber and tries his best to remove his brother from her clutches.

Watching Gray and Rosalinde push their agendas while (unsuccessfully) battling their mutual attraction at the same time is a delight. Both characters are well developed and likable - their banter, a delight and their mutual attraction, emotional and steamy. I found myself cheering for them, both individually and as a couple and wondering how Michaels was going to bring everything (for them and their siblings) to a satisfactory conclusion. Never fear. She does just that and in a very satisfying manner, giving one couple a happy-ever-after and setting the stage for the next book in the series. I'm already fully invested in all of these characters and looking forward to each of their books. Next up is the September 6th release of book two, A Spring Deception. Count me in! 


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Today's Special - - Spotlight on A Taste of Seduction by Bronwen Evans

USA Today Bestselling author, Bronwen Evans (Bron), loves story-telling – gobbling up movies, reading books and attending the theater. Her head is always filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer.

Bronwen attended Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, earning a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Administration, majoring in Marketing and Accounting.  

After working for a few years in marketing roles within New Zealand financial institutions, she left for a 6 month overseas experience in London, England. She loved England and spent several years living in London, using it as a base while traveling to all four corners of the world. Her most interesting trips were a camel safari in the Sahara, a trip through Russia, a safari through Africa with her mother, and three months in the Mediterranean.

It was while living and working in London she discovered the offices of Mills & Boon and the germ of an idea to embark on a romance writing career was born.

Bronwen’s first manuscript, INVITATION TO RUIN, was completed late 2009, and was sold to Kensington Publishing early 2010, in a two book deal. Her debut novel, INVITATION TO RUIN, received a 4.5 star rating from RT Book Reviews and was nominated in the RT Reviewer’s Choice Awards – Best First Historical. Invitation to Ruin was also won the RomCon Readers Crown Best Historical 2012.

Bron’s since gone on to win the RomCon Readers Crown three times. Her first book in her Disgraced Lords series hit the USA Today bestsellers list and she has hit it several times since. 

She lives in New Zealand in sunny Hawkes Bay with her two Cavoodles named Brandy and Duke.

By Bronwen Evans
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: August 16, 2016

Lady Evangeline Stuart chose to wed a tyrant with a title, or so society believes. That was five years ago—five long years she could have spent with her first and only love: Lord Hadley Fullerton, the second son of the Duke of Claymore. Now Evangeline is a widow, and her soul cries out for Hadley. But when they see each other at last, everything has changed. The passion in his eyes has been corrupted by betrayal. Somehow Evangeline must regain Hadley’s trust—without revealing the secret that would spoil the seduction.

Hadley is determined not to be distracted by Evangeline. He and the other Libertine Scholars are in pursuit of an enemy who has been striking at them from the shadows, and Evangeline’s mere presence could be dangerous. But with one smile, one touch, one taste of Evangeline’s lips, Hadley’s resolve is overpowered by much more pleasant memories. As the two enter into a discreet affair, Hadley vows to give her his body, never his heart. That she will have to earn.


Surrey, England, 1811

The shade of the weeping willows protected her from the heat of the afternoon sun, but nothing could cool Evangeline’s blood. She fondled the note Stowe had given her half an hour ago. She’d never regretted saving the young stable boy from his brute of a father two years ago. Stowe worshiped her and was the key to keeping her relationship with Hadley a secret from her mother.

She reread the missive. Hadley wanted to see her—urgently—so she’d saddled Rosten, her dapple-gray gelding, and galloped straight to their usual meeting place.

“Urgently” could mean only one thing: he had news on their planned elopement.

Her nerves on edge, her body strung as taut as a bow, she had to use all her mental strength to sit patiently waiting for her love in their favorite spot under the willow tree in the paddock behind his stable.

Lord Hadley Fullerton, the second son of the Duke of Claymore, was prepared to defy Evangeline’s mother, and his own family if need be, to make her his wife. Her heart burst with joy.

How had she got so lucky?


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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Review - - Sweet Tomorrows

Sweet Tomorrows
By Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine
Release Date: August 2, 2016


Debbie Macomber takes her reader back to Cedar Cove and the Rose Harbor Inn for the fifth novel in her current series. Mark Taylor, who returned to Iraq to rescue an Iraqi informant who became a close friend during Mark’s tours of duty with U. S. military intelligence, has been gone for nine months. Jo Marie Rose, the owner of the inn, has heard from him only twice. However much she loves Mark, she refuses to allow herself to repeat the anguish of vainly hoping for the man she loves to come home to her that she experienced with her late husband. She tells herself that Mark is dead and, although grieving, gets on with her life, including dating a widower whose kindness and humor she finds quite appealing.

Meanwhile, Mark’s self-imposed task, which he described as a “suicide mission,” proves as difficult as he expected. He returns, barely alive, and Jo Marie and his love for her are key to his survival. But Mark cannot return to the life he left as a Cedar Cove handyman. He is heir to a family legacy of military service, and the Army still needs his skills. They have further plans for him, and Jo Marie refuses to live with the level of anxiety she would know as the wife of a man engaged in such work. The ordinary life the other man in her life offers seems more and more tempting.

A secondary plot involves Emily Gaffney, a young teacher who was introduced in Silver Linings, the fourth Rose Harbor book. Emily, who has two broken engagements behind her, has declared a moratorium on men and romance. She has accepted a teaching position in Cedar Cove and plans to build a new life that includes a home of her own and eventually foster children or adoption. Jo Marie has agreed to let Emily remain a guest at the inn until Emily finds the perfect house. The search for that house leads Emily into an uneasy friendship with the reclusive Nick Schwartz, a man haunted by the death of his younger brother in an automobile accident that Nick survived. Nick is drawn to Emily and to Rose Harbor Inn for the peace and healing they promise, but he is deeply troubled. His recovery is a torturous process. Emily has a problem as well that further complicates their relationship. Can the famous healing properties of the inn offer hope to these wounded spirits?

Macomber offers her usual blend of heartwarming sweetness and emotional punch in this conclusion to her Rose Harbor Inn series. The relationship between Jo Marie and Mark has slowly built through the series, and readers invested in these characters will find this novel particularly rewarding as the characters’ histories cast doubt on the HEA. At the same time, new readers will find that the author has provided sufficient details to allow this book to be read as a standalone, although they may find it a less nuanced read.

I confess that I am not a fan of love triangles, particularly those that leave a nice guy with a broken heart. Consequently, the Mark/Jo Marie/Greg story line accounts for the four-star rating. Other readers may not find this a detraction. I did like the multiple first-person points of view which I thought added immediacy and power. Emily and Nick are sympathetic, engaging characters with real problems that are not simplistically resolved. The book also provides updates on former guests who have benefited from the mystical healing powers of the inn.

Debbie Macomber can always be depended upon to give her readers stories filled with poignancy, hope, and sustaining love. She does so again in Sweet Tomorrows, an almost perfect end to a solid series. If you like your women’s fiction with a generous serving of “clean” romance or your romance sweetly real without descending to the saccharine, I think you will enjoy this book.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Today's Special - - Heather McGovern

It's my pleasure to welcome debut author Heather McGovern to the Dish today. I first met Heather at a regional romance conference a few years ago (you may not be familiar with her face but you've probably drooled over photos of her gorgeous shoes here more than once) and have been following her journey to publication with anticipation since then. Today, all her hard work comes to fruition with the publication of A Moment of Bliss, the first book in her debut Honeywilde series, about siblings struggling to keep a family inn afloat in the beautiful and soul-stirring mountains of western North Carolina.

Heather has a BS in Biology from the College of Charleston. She lives in the beautiful Upstate of South Carolina with her husband and son where she has a corporate job by day and writes sexy, heart-tugging romances by night. And she likes glitter. Lots of glitter! 

Welcome, Heather! Congratulations on today’s release of your debut novel, A Moment of Bliss. How will you be celebrating this milestone? 

Thank you! I have no idea! I think my husband is taking me to dinner tonight. Tomorrow, I'll have lunch with a couple of local writer friends. I celebrated a lot at RWA in San Diego, so today's events will be low key in comparison.

What’s been the most exciting part of your debut journey? The most challenging? The most surprising? 

Finally being able to share my stories with readers is easily the most exciting. I know how attached I am to certain books, what they mean to me. If I can reach just one reader and bring them the kind of joy romance has brought me, I’ll consider myself a success. The challenging part is balancing the promotional part of writing with the actual writing. I’m surprised, daily, by how many helpful people there are out there. I’ve had so many questions, and still do, but there are tons of other authors, bloggers, readers, librarians, editors, artists, etc. who are eager to share their experience and knowledge. I’m humbled by the romance community’s generosity.

I’m fascinated by the following statement from your bio: “Mild mannered corporate employee by day, glitter throwing author by night, Heather McGovern grew up thinking she'd either be a swamp wading herpetologist - frog scientist to be exact - or Wonder Woman.” What roles (if any) do frogs and superheroes play in your life today? 

I still love frogs and Wonder Woman! J I majored in Biology in college, and my love of nature persists. Nowadays, my relationship with amphibians and reptiles is relegated to catching them in our yard and doing impromptu show and tell for my son. I like to think he's amazed and impressed that his mother can not only catch a frog, but remember its scientific name. I also collect frogs - the cute kind you buy at gift shops. There are little frogs all over my house and yard. As for superheroes, I remain a huge fangirl. Captain America, X-Men, Deadpool, Wonder Woman – I go see these movies opening weekend and I’ve been known to wear the occasional superhero themed dress to writer conferences.

They say we always remember our first. What book (or
author) was your gateway into the world of romance fiction? Who do you enjoy reading today? 

The very first romance I picked up was Sabrina Jefferies' One Night With A Prince. That beautiful red cover jumped off the center circular at Barnes & Noble and landed in my hands. My life hasn't been the same since. I devoured romance after that, especially historical. Then I found contemporary romance, and knew I had stories to share. I still love to read Sabrina Jefferies and Lisa Kleypas. I love JR Ward and Tessa Bailey, and I love to read my friends' novels.

The chef at your Honeywilde Inn turns out some drool-worthy treats, such as the Pumpkin Pleasure cookies you alluded to in your post. Are you a baker? Do you have a signature dish? Will you be sharing any of the Honeywilde Inn recipes with readers? 

My mother is the exceptional chef in our family. My love of food mostly comes from eating her creations. I do love to bake though, particularly in the fall and winter. I make some Killer Chocolate Brownies (that’s what I call them), Makers Mark Bourbon Balls, Monkey Bread…okay, now I’m hungry. I'll definitely be sharing recipes with readers.

Where can readers find you online? 

I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The best place is my website:

What’s next? 

Next up is Devlin Bradley’s book. A DATE WITH DESIRE comes out December 20th! The story of Dev and Anna holds a special place in my heart. I can’t wait!

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

Thank you for having me!

You’ve read about how much I love fall. What’s your favorite season of the year? Or your favorite holiday, and why? From the commenters, I’ll randomly draw one name to receive an Enthrill code for a free copy of A MOMENT OF BLISS.

Nestled in the lush green mountains of North Carolina, the Honeywilde Inn will be a romantic’s dream getaway—if only the Bradley siblings can keep it running. It will take a combination of hard work, good luck, and the kind of love that dreams are made of…
Roark Bradley is no stranger to responsibility. Growing up, he practically raised his younger siblings while his parents threw themselves into working the inn—and arguing with each other. Determined to make the Honeywilde shine once more, Roark jumps at the chance to conduct business with a no-nonsense event planner who approaches him about celebrity nuptials that could put the inn back on the map. If only it wasn’t so tempting to discuss some no-strings attached pleasure with her instead…
Madison Kline is done with weddings—at least personally. Her own youthful mistake is a well-guarded secret, and one she refuses to repeat. But as she and bold, broad-shouldered Roark work together to make a rock star couple’s wedding a reality, she finds herself wishing romance didn’t feel like a four-letter word. Can either of them surrender their hard-won independence and workaholic ways for something sweeter—and even more rewarding?...

Monday, August 15, 2016

On Second Thought - - Reason to Believe

Reason to Believe
By Kathleen Eagle
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Release Date: July 16, 2013
(originally published by Avon in 1995)

Clara Whiting and Ben Pipestone meet when she comes to the reservation to interview his father, Dewey Pipestone, a holy man of the Lakota Sioux. Despite the vast differences between them—cultural, experiential, and temperamental—the two fall in love and are married. Their marriage endures for twelve years through the worst of Ben’s alcoholism. Ironically, it is when Ben is in a treatment program which encourages his honesty that he reveals the truth about a brief, drunken affair that the marriage receives a destructive blow. The couple separates when their only child, a daughter (Anna) is eleven. Two years later, Anna is in trouble, mouthing off at school, shoplifting, and drinking. Clara and Ben recognize that they must work together to help their daughter. With this common goal, they agree to Anna’s plea that the three of them join Ben’s family in the Big Foot Memorial Ride, a grueling two-week journey on horseback that traces the path taken by their ancestors, ending at the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre.

The demanding ride through the Dakotas in December challenges the bodies, minds, and spirits of those who participate. Clara and Ben are forced to examine themselves in ways that would have been unlikely in ordinary circumstances. Clara, who defied her family to marry Ben, must come to terms with her inability to fix everything and her determination to keep the imperfections from showing. She could not prevent Ben’s alcoholic binges, and she cannot protect Anna from Anna’s own bad choices or from the bigotry of racists. She knows that she still loves Ben, but can she rebuild the trust that his infidelity shattered? Ben is plagued by the conviction that he is unworthy of his father’s belief in him and of his wife and daughter’s love for him. He has fought for his sobriety tenaciously, but his spiritual struggles are ongoing. And his self-recrimination over his failures as a son, a husband, and a father haunt him. Can he reclaim what he has lost? Will Anna’s love for her parents and her dream of a reunited family and Dewey’s wisdom and hopes for a successor to continue the beliefs of his people help Clara and Ben to find their way back? The reader is pulled into this story that has dimensional reality and substance.

This novel is my favorite of Kathleen Eagle’s books. I reread it every couple of years, and I rejoiced when Bell Bridge Books made it available in digital format. It is both a deeply emotional reunion story and a powerful, detailed account of an actual event. Eagle never shies from tackling the tough stuff, and in this novel she uses alcoholism, adultery, teen rebellion, and spiritual struggles to create a world where flawed characters fight to find healing, hope, and love despite their failures. Her own experience as a former teacher in a reservation school and as a white woman married to a Lakota saturate the story with authenticity. This book is one of those romance novels that surpasses any limitations of genre fiction. It touches the reader’s heart and challenges the reader to ponder important questions. Kathleen Eagle has given us many gems. I think this one is her best. I highly recommend it.