Greetings from Bonny Scotland, PJ and Romance Dish Fans!
Like last month’s post from France, this is another two-location effort. I’ve been writing up a storm – actually
given what the weather is like, that’s probably true! I haven’t had a lot of
blue-sky days since I arrived although at least there have been some patches of
I’m working on a new series called The Lairds Most Likely. The
original plan was four novellas – three regular stories and a Christmas
special. But story one, The Laird’s
Willful Lass, just grew like Topsy and ended up becoming a full-length
book. So the new plan is three full-length stories and a Christmas novella
which I’m currently writing. Seems odd to be thinking about mistletoe and mince
pies in April, but that’s the writer’s life.
This month I’m talking about two places I visited in order to write,
both spectacularly beautiful, so while there hasn’t been a lot of outdoor
action to report, I managed to get some lovely photographs that I hope will
make up for my dedication to my art!
People who follow me on Facebook will know last year I spent three
and a half weeks on Eigg, a glorious speck just south of the Isle of Skye in
the Inner Hebrides. It’s a small island with a big personality and views so
beautiful, they make you want to weep. Last year’s visit was in the way of an
experiment to see if I’d settle down to work on a self-guided writing retreat
or whether I’d be too keen to get out and see things. The experiment worked (Catching Captain Nash and half of The Christmas Stranger were the result) so
I decided to do it all again. This year I didn’t go far afield at all which is
why nearly all the photos are variations on the same view. Mind you, it’s some
As you can see the prospect from the guesthouse where I stayed was
utterly amazing, especially at sunset when the sun sank gracefully behind the
mountainous island of Rum across the channel. Below the guesthouse, there was a
beautiful beach where I walked most days, weather permitting. The view from
Laig Beach was even more spectacular than the one from up the hill. At low
tide, you caught the reflections of Rum on the wet sand, and if you looked to
the right, you saw the Black Cuillins on the Isle of Sky, still covered with
snow. My hero in Willful Lass owns a castle with a view across to Skye (a
little bit further north along the coast than Eigg) so this felt like a good
omen for the new series!
I then headed north to catch up with some friends. On the way, it
was such a thrill to pass romantic and spectacular Eilean Donan Castle near
Kyle of Lochalsh. I saw a statistic somewhere that this is the world’s most
photographed castle. The day we were there, you certainly couldn’t move without
tripping over tripods!
I’m currently tucked up in another very nice B&B at Poolewe
which is a new place to me. It’s right up north, just south of Ullapool, and
the nearest town of any size is Gairloch from which you can see the north end
of Skye (another omen?). It’s been lovely playing tourist in my friends’ car
over the last few days before I settle back to finish the Christmas novella.
Although Poolewe is a tiny village in an isolated location, it has a
couple of claims to fame. It was a top secret naval base and site for agent
training in World War II, and the Allies sent supplies to Russia from here to
keep the second front going (the casualty rates were appalling – there are a
number of sad monuments around the village to the brave men who died in the
Poolewe is also the site of world-famous Inverewe Gardens (https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/inverewe)
which I visited two days ago and hope to go back to often. Because the Gulf
Stream flows along the coast, this part of Scotland is surprisingly warm, so
some unexpected plants grow here, including palm trees and eucalypts from my
homeland. The gardens have been here since the mid-19th century, so there are
magnificent old magnolias and rhododendrons, not to mention towering redwoods.
It was wonderful to see the gardens in spring with the daffodils and other
spring flowers scattered through the beautiful woodlands.
The last pictures were taken from Gairloch where I had dinner last
night. One of the lovely things about the west coast of Scotland is that you’re
never short of a memorable sunset! In the distance in the sunset pictures,
you’ll see some low hills. That’s Skye. In between is a photo of a beautiful
little secret bay at the head of Loch Maree off the road south from Poolewe.
Such an atmospheric place!
See you next month when things get very exotic. After Scotland, I’m
heading for Slovenia and Croatia, so there should be lots of Eastern European
charm in the next post.
Are you a gardener? I must say I like LOOKING at gardens but I’m
hopeless when it comes to growing one. Do you have a favorite style of garden?
A favorite plant or flower? In honor of the magnificent Inverewe Gardens, let’s
I’ve got 2 Kindle downloads of the boxed set of the Dashing Widows
to give away today (if you’ve already got that, you can choose a Kindle
download of Lord Garson’s Bride
instead) to someone who comments. No geographical restrictions. Good luck! I can certainly see why Scotland inspires you, Anna. What glorious photos! Thank you so much for taking us along with you. Readers, for more photos from Anna's travels, visit her Facebook page.
Forty-year-old Willow Armstrong, creator and head of
Pound Busters, a weight-loss empire, once thought she was in control of her
life, but the past two years have proved her wrong. First, her husband,
lieutenant governor of New York, announced during a press conference that he
was leaving her for his campaign manager. That blow to her self-esteem and the
resulting emotional turmoil led her to revert to eating patterns she left
behind twenty years ago, and her thirty-pound weight gain has made her board of
directors unhappy. Her move from size six to size twelve is just part of their
dissatisfaction. A few days ago, life hit a new low when Willow’s trusted
business advisor embezzled both company funds and Willow’s personal fortune and
fled the country, a particularly bitter betrayal since Willow had defended him
six months earlier when the board wanted to fire him. However, the bite that
brought the wrath of the board on Willow and jeopardized her job was a greedily
consumed slice of Tony’s extra-cheese pizza captured on video for the world to
see. It shattered the all-important image of svelte discipline that Pound
Busters was selling. Broke and uncertain of her next move, Willow remembers
$8,000 and property in Bitton, South Gloucestershire, near Bath, that she
inherited from her mother. They may be her salvation. She decides to journey to
England to prepare to sell the property.
Owen Hughes knows what it is like to have your life
turned upside down. It happened to him when his ex-wife’s suicide made him the
sole parent of a grieving six-year-old daughter. He left his work as a tour
director in Europe, returned to his native country, and opened Wanderlust
Excursion Cotswold Tours. He lives with his daughter Jilly and her dog, Henry,
the last of the Petite Basset Griffon Vendéen hounds that her mother bred, in
the same cottage where Jilly had lived with her mother. Owen has taken over as
caretaker of the property after his ex-wife’s death in order to give Jilly
much-needed stability. That stability is threatened when he learns that the
American who inherited the property plans to sell it.
Willow expects her visit to England to be brief, but
she is unprepared for the ways the trip will change her life. The relationships
she develops with Jilly, Owen, and Henry change her, as do the discoveries she
makes about her family past, the grandparents she never knew, and the girl her
mother was before she left England. Can Willow find a way to reconcile the more
mellow, reflective woman she becomes in England with the driven, ambitious
woman who devoted two decades to building Pound Busters?
The second book in Struth’s The Sweet Life series is
filled with finely drawn characters who will win readers’ hearts, internal
conflicts that foster growth in Willow and, to a lesser degree, in Owen, and a
setting so expertly rendered that the reader dreams of signing up for a Jane
Austen tour. I especially liked that Willow’s new direction mirrors the changes
that have taken place in her but does not eradicate all that she was.
There is a genuine sweetness to the story, but it is
never cloying. The connections to The
Sweet Life, the first book in the series, are loose but clear enough to
place them in the same world. And Struth evokes the Bath area as vividly in
this one as she did Tuscany in the earlier book. Wherever she goes next, I’m
signing up for the trip.
If you like women’s fiction with likable, sympathetic
characters, a strong romantic element, and a strong sense of place, I highly
recommend this book.
Jones faces her fortieth birthday newly divorced from a cheating jerk of an ex to
whom she is required to pay spousal support since her work as a massage
therapist was the chief support of the family. She is dealing with tight
finances, a fourteen-year-old daughter in need of a major attitude adjustment,
and a sense of failure. Jenna is in drastic need of a new start. When she receives
an invitation from her great-aunt to move to Moonlight Harbor, Washington, and
help her run the Driftwood Inn, which she plans to leave to Jenna in her will, it
sounds like just what Jenna needs. Over her daughter Sabrina’s protests, Jenna
packs up and sets out for the beach town. She has good memories of childhood
visits to Moonlight Harbor and high hopes for her new life. What she finds is
an outdated inn in need major work and with limited funds available for
renovations. Jenna wants to revamp the inn, but she wonders if she is aiming
for the impossible.
real estate agent advises Jenna that the wisest choice is to forget renovations
and sell instead, but others are more optimistic. With a little help from fellow
business owners and new friends, including an attractive, somewhat mysterious
newcomer to Moonlight Harbor, the impossible looks doable. But just as things
seem to be working out, the parasitic ex appears to cause problems with
finances and with Sabrina. Will the Driftwood Inn become just another memory of
Moonlight Harbor’s past?
Roberts inaugurates a new series with Welcome
to Moonlight Harbor. The new series has all Roberts’s trademark qualities
that made her long-running Icicle Falls series so popular with fans of the small-town
romance: character-based humor, a large cast of quirky, appealing characters,
and a strong community vibe. Jenna is a likable, sympathetic character who
handles the blows life deals her with humor, grace, and small degrees of
grumpiness and self-pity. Stellar supporting characters include Jenna’s mother
and sister as well as the octogenarian Aunt Edie, her parrot, Jolly Roger, and
the rest of the Moonlight Harbor contingent. Sabrina sometimes comes across as
a spoiled brat, and some readers may feel that her mother needs to take a
firmer stand with her. Others may see her behavior as fairly typical of a teen
dealing with the break-up of her parents’ marriage and the resulting changes to
readers should be aware that this novel does not offer a clear-cut HEA. The
story includes a triangle, and it is not fully resolved. It continues in Holidays at the Harbor (October 23,
2018), the second book in the series. Roberts has also said that Jenna’s sister
Celeste will get her own story. If you have enjoyed other books by Sheila
Roberts or if you like small-town romance laced with humor, colorful
characters, and a setting that is anything but generic, I predict this first
book will leave you eager for more of Moonlight Harbor.
Vivien Orlando, formerly employed as a
barista by Starbeams and as an organizer by Kloset Kompany, has decided to take
her skills at organizing on the road as the Organization Oracle, professional
organizer for those who need their attics, their wine cellars, or their offices
organized. The first step in her business plan is the purchase of a tiny house,
the smallest one designed by Bale’s Tiny Dreams of Cobb, Kentucky. Vivien
drives from her parents’ home in Jacksonville, Florida, to Cobb to pick up
Shrimpfork (so named because at sixty-four square feet, it is the opposite of
Southfork, the ranch of Dallas fame).
Once she hitches Shrimpfork to her hand-me-down-from-Dad orange truck, she sets
off for Sandstone, New Mexico, and her first client.
Seventy-year-old Priscilla Workman, a
germ-phobic agoraphobic, needs someone to organize her “attic,” actually a very
large, long room packed with “trunks, bags, boxes, and clothes racks” and
stacked furniture. Priscilla, a former hippie who still jams with Janis Joplin
records and her boxer-mix Clay, proves to be anything but the standard variety
sweet, little, old lady that she appears to be at first meeting, and her attic
proves to be a treasure trove. But it takes Vivien time to locate the treasure
Priscilla is seeking, a one-eyed doll named Hilda that was once Priscilla’s
Priscilla is determined to take the doll
to be evaluated on This Old Thing, an
antiques appraisal show that Priscilla and her neighbor, twenty-five-year-old Marco
Marquez, the grocer’s son, watch religiously. When the episode of This Old Thing scheduled in Taos is canceled,
both Vivien and Marco accompany Priscilla to San Diego for the episode filming
there. Vivien and Marco, who have been mutually suspicious of each other’s
interest in Priscilla, develop an intense interest in each other, but the real
romance proves to be Priscilla’s as a piece of her past becomes satisfyingly
I had mixed reactions to Tiny House on the Road. Celia Bonaduce is a
field producer on HGTV’s House Hunters and has worked on other shows,
including HGTV’s Tiny House Hunters and ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home
Edition. Her mother is a tiny house owner. Bonaduce’s experience shows in
the details she includes of Vivien’s adjustments to living in Shrimpfork and in
her descriptions of Priscilla’s home. These details are a strength of the book.
characterization is more uneven. I loved Priscilla with her long family
history, her idiosyncrasies and vulnerabilities, and her unexpected love story,
and the young people’s reaction to her colorful past made me laugh. But Vivien
became less interesting to me once she arrived in Sandstone, and the
relationship between her and Marco seemed shallow and too predictable.
Despite imperfections, the novel was an entertaining
read. The second in Bonaduce’s Tiny House series, it can easily be read as a
standalone. If you are looking for something that is a bit different with a
touch of romance from two generations—a pair of baby boomers and a pair of
millennials—you may enjoy this book.
Clara Mayfield knows that helping her
sister Lucy elope with the man she loves, an ambitious, young tradesman, will
put her own social standing at risk, but the cost proves more than she
expected, more than she is prepared to pay. When even the Mayfield banking
fortune proves insufficient to balance out the scandal, her parents, determined
to see at least one daughter marry within their social class, accept the offer
of a lecherous, corrupt baron for Clara’s hand. Clara, repulsed and frightened
by the man, becomes a runaway bride. Disguised in her maid’s clothes, she
leaves home with directions to the estate where her maid’s sister works, Lawton
Park in Kent.
For eighteen months, William, Lord
Ashworth, has remained at his home in Kent recovering from the wounds, physical
and emotional, that he received in a carriage accident in which his father, his
elder brother, and his sister’s husband perished. He has come to London to reenter
society by attending a ball, but at the last minute, he cannot bring himself to
reenter a social scene where the new Earl of Ashworth will be the cynosure of
the ton eager to see how he is reacting to his grief and his new title. William
is tormented by nightmares of the horrific event and by flashbacks that leave
him shaken. He refuses to risk the gossips seeing him in that condition, and so
he retreats to his country estate.
Clara has chosen Lord Ashworth’s home as
the place where she will seek employment for two reasons. Her maid’s sister
will vouch for her as a deserving candidate to fill the position of housemaid,
and Ashworth has the reputation of being reclusive, so she is unlikely to
encounter anyone who knows her as Clara Mayfield. But it is not easy to lose
her identity and become Helen the maid. The work is hard, she misses her
family, and some of the servants are unfriendly. Then there is her awareness of
Lord Ashworth and her thoughts about what her life might have been like had she
met him as Clara Mayfield.
William consents reluctantly to hiring the
new maid. He is uncomfortable with his inappropriate but irresistible
attraction to her, but it only seems to intensify as he sees more of her. When
William’s young niece Rosa joins his household and quickly develops a fondness
for “Helen,” Clara becomes even more intimately involved with the family. It is
clear that both Clara and William have fallen heart over head, but only the
revelation of Clara’s identity can make a relationship between them possible.
Will William be able to forgive her deception?
Lady in Waiting, the first book
in the Reluctant Brides series, is Marie Tremayne’s debut novel. The book
suffers a bit from the dreaded sagging middle, but overall, it is a strong
first book. Clara and William are both sympathetic characters. I especially
appreciated that Clara is not a passive, poor-me heroine but rather one who acts
to save herself from the baron’s literal and figurative clutches. William is
not a cliché-ridden brooding hero, but a man dealing with physical and
emotional trauma and surviving as he can. The secondary characters, upstairs
and downstairs, have an attractive vitality. Rosa is a darling, and her widowed
mother, William’s sister Eliza, and William’s friend, Viscount Evanston, are an
appealing pair who will leave readers hungry for their story.
Marie Tremayne is an author to watch. If
you like historical romance that moves beyond London’s social scene and narrow
society, I think you will enjoy this book. If you, like me, are hooked on Eliza
and Evanston’s relationship, you will be pleased to know that their story, The Viscount Can Wait, will be released
Dead Girl Running By Christina Dodd Cape Charade - Book 1 Publisher: HQN Release Date: April 24, 2018 Reviewed by PJ
Girl running...from a year she can't remember, from a husband she prays is dead, from homelessness and fear. Tough, capable Kellen Adams takes a job as assistant manager of a remote vacation resort on the North Pacific Coast. There amid the towering storms and the lashing waves, she hopes to find sanctuary. But when she discovers a woman's dead and mutilated body, she's soon trying to keep her own secrets while investigating first one murder...then another. U.S. Army veteran, Kellen Adams is on the run but the problem is that she doesn't know entirely from what...or from whom...she's running. She has a scar on her forehead that's almost certainly from a bullet but has no memory of being shot. In fact, she doesn't remember anything from an entire year in her past. As the newly hired assistant manager of the Yearning Sands Resort on the Pacific coast of Washington State, Kellen is looking forward to a quiet off-season while she gets comfortable in her new position and hoping this will be a place she can stay. But then the owners go on vacation, leaving her in charge, the mutilated body of the former assistant manager is discovered, along with evidence of smuggling on the resort property, and that's just the beginning. Who can she trust? Who should she not? And, as if the resort crimes aren't enough, is her past also coming back to haunt her or are someone's intentions much more deadly?
I should know better by now than to start reading a Christina Dodd book late in the day. I was once again fully immersed from the first page to the last...which I read at about 3:00 in the morning. This story simply refused to let me go. Kellen is a relatable character whose situation is believable and heart-rending. I understood the terror that influenced her past decisions and applauded her tenacity and bravery in the way she moved forward to claim a new life in the midst of heartache. I was in her corner the entire way. The mystery is well-paced, intricately woven, and, once again, Dodd kept me guessing the entire way. Just when I was sure I had figured everything out, there she went again, off in a different direction. She's become increasingly proficient at that with each new book she's written since moving to suspense thrillers. There's a rather large cast of secondary characters (as is the case in the first book of many new series) but I never felt confused or overwhelmed by them. Many of them are quite intriguing and I hope we'll be seeing more of them. If you enjoy suspense thrillers with intriguing characters, plenty of atmosphere, twists and turns that keep you guessing, and a surprise twist at the end that I did not see coming (I love when authors do that!), then Dead Girl Running should be on your must-read list. Though there is a romantic thread, this book is a suspense thriller, not romantic suspense. Be prepared for a lot of mystery and action but know that your heart will be touched as well and while there is not a happily ever after the book will leave you with the possibility of one. Given how the book ends, I'm hopeful that Kellen and her relationships will continue to evolve throughout the series. Also, though this book launches a new series, there are loose connections to two previous series by Dodd. While fans of those series (like me) will no doubt appreciate the connections, first-time readers should be able to enjoy Dead Girl Running without having read the earlier books.
The Duke of Her Desire by Sophie Barnes Publisher: Avon Release Date: December 26, 2017 Reviewed by Santa
This is the second in her Diamonds in the Rough series but can easily be read as a stand alone. Amanda Matthews is the sister of the newly minted duke, Raphe Matthews. They, along with their sister, grew up in the slums of St. Giles following an unfortunate series of events when they were very young. Amanda is finding it a challenge to fit into the society she finds herself in now. While in St. Giles, she ran the household and moved around independently in those streets. Such freedoms are frowned upon for young ladies of the Ton. She misses a sense of purpose and feels that she is now in a position to do more with her time and for the children of those slums. Thomas Heathmore, Duke of Coventry, has promised to work with his mother and Amanda's cousin Lady Everly to help Amanda in her entrance into society. He also promised his friends to look after her and her sister while her brother went on his honeymoon. Amanda's first sally did not go particularly well. She heard some young ladies whispering about her beginnings and how she would never fit in. Add to that Amanda's own feelings for Heathmore and Amanda is sure all these efforts will lead to disaster as Thomas always seems to walk in on her just as she makes a cake of herself. Heathmore finds her compelling and refreshing and while she gets herself into a few unseemly situations, he vows to keep his promise to his friend and fights any inappropriate feelings he is developing where she is concerned. I really enjoyed reading Amanda and Thomas' story as they both come to know the other more. They are both independent and strong minded which causes tension and presents some challenges which enrich their journey. A solid four stars for me.
Grace Saunders, thirty-one, met her husband Jamie in high
school. They married young, left their native Midwest, and settled happily in
Portland, Oregon. Shortly after their move, Jamie was injured in a hiking
accident. For almost two years, Grace’s life has consisted of her work as an
administrative assistant for a commercial realty company and visits to her
husband whose brain injury has left him in a vegetative state.
Grace finds her job unsatisfying, but the health insurance keeps her husband in
a facility where he receives excellent care. Neither widow nor wife in anything
but name, Grace is grieving for the husband she loved and the life she lost—and
feeling guilty for wanting more than her life has become.
Monica Romano, forty-two, was widowed eight months ago when
her husband was killed in a boating accident caused by his mistress, who
survived. Monica was left to run his restaurant and care for her two teen-age
stepchildren. Fifteen-year-old Alex is angry and belligerent, and his sister
Zoe, thirteen, is desperately trying to add years to her age. The restaurant demands
long hours, and the troubled kids are making Monica’s life more difficult. She
has a history of bad relationships with Italian men. Her late husband was the
worst, and she is “pissed off but not grieved.”
Nan Wilja, sixty-two, was widowed twenty years ago when her
husband was killed in a plane crash. Nan regretted that her time with her
beloved Jim was cut short, but she took comfort in her four biological
children, who were twelve, ten, eight, and five at the time of their father’s
death, and in the three children she adopted.With her children all adults, she enjoys their annual summer reunions complete
with eight grandchildren. Her life is filled with gardening, needlecraft, and
the nurturing that she feels called to give to bereaved humans and animals.
Rainbow Gate, a rescue organization for dogs whose owners have died, is a
particular interest. But her lost daughter, a drug addict living on the
streets, is a constant source of grief.
Grace and Monica meet Nan and her therapy dog Blixen when
the two younger women drop out of a grief support group composed of elderly
widows. The three women are different ages with different life experiences, but
they bond and form their own support group. The friendship they share sustains
them through tumultuous times of grief, growth, and second chances at love.
in Time is a heartwarming women’s fiction novel about grief,
friendship, and the unexpected turns life takes. Bostwick has a masterly touch at
creating female characters who are likable, flawed, and real. She does it again
with Grace, Monica, and Nan. Readers will find these women and their stories
engaging. Romance readers will be pleased that while the friendship of the
three women and their journeys, individual and intertwined, is the heart of the
book, each woman’s story has a romantic element with a conclusion that should
leave the most HEA-addicted reader smiling. Bostwick is a dependably consistent
writer, and Just in Time offers the
kind of believable, life-affirming story that has made her a favorite with
Scandal in Spades By Wendy LaCapra Lords of Chance - Book One Publisher: Entangled:Scandalous Release Date: April 9, 2018 Reviewed by PJ
The Marquess of Bromton has just learned that he’s a bastard. Feeling his honor is at stake, he attempts to bestow his estate upon a rightful heir by manipulating a high-stakes card game. But the winner demands more than Bromton bargained for—a marriage…to his spinster sister. Lady Katherine may be the least marriageable lady in all of England, but a child of their union would be a rightful heir…
Scandal has hardened Lady Katherine and narrowed her world to duty and family. There’s nothing to be trusted in the Society she left behind…especially not the imperious marquess with his single-minded pursuit. Or his knee-weakening kisses. Except, the more their connection deepens, the more Bromton surprises Katherine. But the truth about their courtship could destroy everything… I love a story where the hero does all the wrong things for all the right reasons. Giles, Marquess of Bromton did not have a happy childhood. Nor did he have the comfort and security of loving parents. All he has is his title and his honor but both are scattered to the wind with his mother's revelations. In pursuing the hand of Lady Katherine, he's doing his best to restore what he truly believes is the lost honor of his title. He thinks marrying her, thereby restoring her standing in society, and ensuring her child will inherit, will be good enough. He's delighted by his attraction to her but he knows nothing of love and doesn't expect this pairing to produce it; isn't even sure if he's capable of the emotion, having never experienced it. He's in for a big surprise. Giles isn't the only one keeping secrets. Scorned by society after two failed betrothals, Katherine retreated to her family's estate where she has devoted herself to raising her younger sister, managing her brother's estates, and teaching the children of her village. If there are parts of her that yearn to be set free, she keeps them in firm control. After all, the one time she allowed desire free rein it led to tragic consequences that drowned her in shame. She's captivated by Giles yet she can't shake the feeling that he's hiding something though the more she's with him, the fainter the echoes of suspicion become. By the time the truth is revealed, both Katherine and Giles' hearts are fully engaged but will their love be deep enough to fight for their happiness? I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in LaCapra's new Lords of Chance series. It's filled with the sparkling banter, witty humor, sensuality, and deep emotion I've come to expect from her stories. I loved Katherine's intelligence, her take-charge attitude, her loyalty to her family, and her innate kindness. I enjoyed watching her blossom as she begins to accept her worth and take charge of her happiness. And Giles, how my heart ached for him. He had lessons to learn before he could open his heart fully to the love and happiness just outside his reach. And when he finally does? Oh, my, how my heart fluttered! LaCapra has created an intriguing cast of characters surrounding our hero and heroine who already have me eagerly anticipating their own stories. I'm especially excited for Katherine's sister, Julia and the hero I so hope will become her own. If you enjoy emotion-filled historical romance with wit, humor, complex characters, sizzle, a good grovel, and sigh-inducing endings, I highly recommend you give Scandal in Spades a try.
Q&A with Wendy LaCapra
Welcome to The Romance Dish, Wendy!
Thank you, PJ! I absolutely love
Scandal in Spades
launches a new historical romance series for you. Please tell our readers what
they should expect from this series. What can you share about future books in
the series and do you have a publishing timeline?
I’ve planned four books for the
series. I’m not sure of the release dates, but the next two, one for ‘Diamonds’
and one for ‘Hearts’ are due in quick succession.
The sparkling banter, battle of wills, and scorching
chemistry between Lady Katherine and Lord Bromton were an absolute delight yet
you kept me guessing until the very end as to whether they would be able to
overcome the obstacles between them. What was it about this couple that
convinced you they were destined to be together?
OH! That’s lovely to hear. Thank
you so much! Well, Lady Katherine and Lord Bromton both experienced an event
that completely altered their self-worth. Katherine’s personality, her love for
her siblings, and her inner strength helped her survive. In surviving, she
became the perfect match for Bromton, not because of her bloodline, but because
of her values. Bromton wants to be a better man, but doesn’t have the same
resources to help him find his way.
One of my favorite scenes in this book is when Bromton
finally lets down his guard at The Pillar of Salt. What was your favorite scene
to write in this book? The most difficult?
I love that scene, too. The song he
sings is a real drinking song, by the way. “Blowzabella my Bouncing Doxie” (Very Bawdy for its time). I think I had
the most fun with the Billiards scene, though. And I cried when I wrote two other
scenes- the carriage ride to London and the final scene between Bromton and
Mrs. Warren. It was almost as if I was transcribing something I was watching.
That almost never happens.
Having four younger brothers, I especially enjoyed the
dynamic between Katherine and her younger brother, Lord Markham. Please tell me
you’ll be giving Katherine a chance to meddle in Markham’s love life when his
turn comes around?
Yes! Oh, yes! He’ll have his happy
ending, though he's been giving me some trouble (it’s awfully hard to get a man
named Hearts to settle down). 😊
Two secondary characters I thoroughly enjoyed were
Katherine’s sister, Julia and Lord Rayne’s sister, Clarissa. Do you have happy
endings planned for these two? I’m keeping my fingers crossed for certain
heroes for each of them!
I’m working on Julia’s story now!
Julia was inspired by a young lady I met when we were both staying at her
uncle’s home a few years ago. I’d never met someone with such sparkling energy &
I just knew the world would be wowed by her when she was ready. We haven’t
stayed in touch, but I thank her for that inspiration. Clarissa will have her
moment to shine as a heroine, too.
Her Duke at Daybreak
(which I loved!) was recently named as a finalist for the 2018 Romance Writers
of America RITA award for Romance Novella. Congratulations! How did you
celebrate? Will you be attending the conference in Denver this summer? And,
most important, have you chosen a RITA dress yet? 😉
I’m not sure I *have* celebrated—it
doesn’t yet feel real. I’m very proud of Her Duke at Daybreak. At the time, I
felt like it was the best thing I’d written. If all goes well, the second book
in that series, His Duchess at Eventide, should be out in August. It will be
released as part of “Legends of Love,” a group of Regencies by different
authors, each retelling a classic legend within the Regency. His Duchess at
Eventide is a retelling of Odysseus’s return with more Penelope and (*winces*) without
And, yes! I will be in Denver. I
haven’t purchased a dress, but I have purchased an underdesk cycle that I hope will
help me meet my deadlines AND fit into a red dress that I love. 😊
Scandal in Spades
was recently named one of my Most Anticipated Romances for 2nd
Quarter 2018. What upcoming books are you looking forward to reading?
I am SO excited about Mary Balogh’s
Someone to Care. I’ve adored the
Westcott series and I can’t wait for Viola’s story. I just finished Stacy
Reid’s The Earl in My Bed, and *fans
self*--what a fabulous story of revenge and reconciliation.
I enjoy tagging along on your travel adventures through
Instagram and Facebook. Any exciting journeys on the horizon?
Actually, I’m about to take a
long-planned trans-Atlantic repositioning cruise from Southampton, UK back home
to NYC. I had hoped to spend some time in England, but, unfortunately, that’s
not going to be possible. It’ll be a working vacation. Things have been kind of
crazy this year, and I’m looking forward to being able to write without
distraction and, of course, I’m looking forward to heading down to the bar in
the evenings for music & fun!
Where are the best places for readers to catch up with you
I write under my own name, so if readers don’t mind family posts in the mix, they are welcome to friend me on
Facebook. For those that prefer strictly book talk, I have a Facebook page.
Twitter is probably the second most likely place to find me. And, I’m warming
Thank you for taking the time to visit with us today, Wendy.
Is there anything you’d like to add? Would you like to ask our readers a
Thank you so much for having me!
It’s a pleasure and an honor. I can’t think of a good question at the moment (unless
your readers have tips on getting a good night’s sleep), but I would like to say
thank you to everyone for joining me on this ‘visit’!
Readers, let's help Wendy get some sleep so she can write more great books for us to read. What are your best tips for a good night's snooze? Two randomly chosen people who post a comment before 11:00 PM (eastern), April 21 will receive a digital copy of Scandal in Spades.