Friday, May 31, 2019
Wow! I blinked and May is on its way out the door with June waiting in the wings. Summer is just around the corner and, with it, lots of fabulous books and fun events here at The Romance Dish!
Wednesday, June 5 brings the Debbie Mason Barefoot Beach tour to the blog with a review of this eighth book in Mason's popular Harmony Harbor contemporary romance series. I can't be the only one who's been impatiently waiting for sexy firefighter Marco DiRossi's story!
Another tour visits us on Thursday, June 6 with a review of Defending Harlow, the fourth book in Susan Stoker's exciting Mountain Mercenaries romantic suspense series. I fall more in love with these characters and their stories with each book that's published.
Rich Amooi brings humor, heart, and seasoned characters to his newest novel, Dying to Meet You. Read my review of the book when the blog tour stops here on Monday, June 10.
Stop by to read my thoughts about a new multi-author anthology, Once Upon a Wedding, featuring the Fiction from the Heart (Facebook group) authors, during the book's release blitz on Tuesday, June 11.
Liz Talley, one of the Once Upon a Wedding authors, stops by Monday, June 17 to tell us more about this new collection of novellas and the authors who participated.
Tuesday, June 18 brings Maggie Robinson back to the Dish to tell us about her newest 1920's cozy mystery, Who's Sorry Now. I can't wait to find out what Lady Adelaide Compton, Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Devenand Hunter, and that rascally ghost, Rupert (Lady Adelaide's dead husband) are up to now!
Be sure to visit Thursday, June 20 when I share my thoughts about JACKSON: Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas by Emily March on our blog tour stop. This new trilogy may take place in Texas but Eternity Springs fans will still see plenty of familiar faces...along with some new ones...and another heartwarming romance.
Abigail Sharpe visits the Dish for the first time on Tuesday, June 25 with a Q&A and my review of her upcoming contemporary romance, Moonshine and Magnolias. Just reading that title makes me smile!
We wrap up the month on Wednesday, June 26 with a Q&A with debut author Maxym M. Martineau. I met this lovely woman at the recent Book Lovers Con and am excited to sink my teeth into Kingdom of Exiles, the epic fantasy romance that launches her new The Beast Charmer series.
That's some of what I'm looking forward to here during the month of June. There will, of course, be more reviews posted throughout the month as well as giveaways. I have books to share before I restock at my next conference in July!
Tell me what you're looking forward to in June. Are there certain books you're excited to dive into? Are you planning a vacation? Anxious to sink your teeth into delicious summer fruits or veggies?
(I had fresh from the farm corn on the cob last night. There may have been moans of ecstasy.) ;-)
Three randomly chosen people leaving a comment before 11:00 PM June 2 will receive a book from my conference stash. (U.S. only)
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Friday at BLC19 brought out voodoo, vampires, and other creatures of the night. I was so impressed with the costume creativity that flowed! Bringing the conference to a close on Saturday was a terrific book signing featuring 200+ authors and swag galore. I love these big book signings. This one was especially good as the aisles between tables were wide and I didn't feel like I was crammed into a sardine can. I'm a wee bit claustrophobic. There were very long lines for a few of the VIP authors but most lines were reasonable and toward the end of the signing, I was able to take time to chat with authors without making anyone else wait. I met a lot of authors I haven't read yet and came home with a long list of books I'm excited to dive into. Here are a few photo highlights!
Diana Munoz Stewart is a new to me author I'm excited to read. She writes romantic suspense and you all know how much I enjoy that. Also, she had the coolest swag: slide bars you can affix to your computer or tablet that close to block the camera (privacy) or open when you want to use it. Giveaway winners: be sure to check your packages for one of these little purple gems!
Mia Sosa's Love on Cue contemporary romance series is so much fun. Check out my 5-Star review of book three, Crashing into Her. But a word of advice: Don't read these books when you're hungry. Her Puerto Rican food descriptions are mouth-wateringly delicious!
Kate Meader writes contemporary romance starring some of my favorite firefighters, hockey players, lawyers, and more. If you like your heroes - and heroines - on the steamy side, you're going to love her books!
Barbara Longley writes both historical and contemporary romance. Many of her titles are currently free or available at discounted prices!
Shaila Patel is one of my local North Carolina authors. Shaila's award-winning Joining of the Souls series is perfect for YA and Teen readers who enjoy paranormal romance.
Looking for dark and intense romantic suspense? Give Abbie Roads a try! All three books in her Fatal Dreams series are currently available in e-book at discounted prices.
BLC19 was a more casual conference and my favorite shoe fashionista wasn't able to attend but I still managed to grab a shot of these fabulous red heels!
Fans of Madeline Hunter will be happy to know she released a new historical romance on April 30. Never Deny a Duke is the third book in Hunter's Decadent Dukes Society series.
Elizabeth Hoyt is busy at work on her new Greycourt series. Book one, Not the Duke's Darling, was released December 18, 2018.
Cathy Maxwell is a ray of sunshine who makes my heart smile. So do her books! The Duke That I Marry, third in her Spinster Heiresses series, was released in November 2018.
I so enjoyed chatting with Naleighna Kai at the signing. She's a new-to-me author with intriguing books I'm excited to read. First up is a story of second chances in Loving Me for Me. I'm also in love with that fabulous necklace she's wearing!
Falguni Kothari is the nicest person. I really enjoyed meeting her and am looking forward to reading The Object of Your Affections.
In the mood for some paranormal Viking love? Give Asa Maria Bradley's books a try. This native Swede knows her Viking warriors!
K.M. Jackson brings readers a feel-good story of second chances in As Good as the First Time, book one on her Sugar Lake contemporary romance series. Single-dad firefighters for the win!
Xio Axelrod is not only a talented author, she's also an accomplished singer and songwriter. Camden (I am so in love with that cover) is set within the world of music that she knows well.
In addition to being a Golden Globe winning and Oscar nominated actress as well as an accomplished screenwriter, did you know that Meg Tilly is a published romance author? She's also funny, sweet, down to earth, and genuinely nice. I so enjoyed meeting her. I liked her romantic suspense debut, Solace Island a lot and am looking forward to reading the recently released second book in her Solace Island series, Cliff's Edge.
It's always fun to watch someone you've known for a long time succeed at their chosen career. I met Terri Osburn on a message board in 2006 and have enjoyed reading her books since her 2013 debut. Her stories are all filled with emotion and humor and have my enthusiastic recommendation but I'm especially fond of her 2019 women's fiction/contemporary romance hybrid, Ask Me to Stay.
Julia London is an author I've enjoyed reading for years. I'm looking forward to her newest novel, The Charmer in Chaps which launches her The Princes of Texas, contemporary romance series.
Count Dracula (Kerrelyn Sparks) and her entourage (Emily March and Lori Handeland) are ready to dance the night away at the Voodoo and Vampire Ball.
Not to be left out, Lorraine Heath takes Dracula's cape for a spin!
Follow the spooky doll to the Voodoo and Vampire Ball! Authors, from left to right: Priscilla Oliveras, K.M. Jackson, Falguni Kothari, Farrah Rochon, and Sabrina Sol.
That wraps up Book Lovers Con 2019. It was fun exploring New Orleans, catching up with old friends, making new ones, and turning my to-be-read pile of books into a mini-mountain. But New Orleans wasn't quite finished with me yet. A two hour flight delay at the freezing cold airport added a new sweatshirt to my wardrobe...
...and when we finally took off, an incredibly beautiful sunset was the gift waiting for us. The perfect end to a fun and fabulous week!
What costume would you wear to a Voodoo and Vampire ball?
Have you ever met a celebrity? Did they measure up to or exceed your expectations?
Do you bring home souvenirs from your vacations? What's your favorite type of souvenir to collect?
Three people who leave a comment before 11:00 PM, May 30 will receive one of the giveaway packages below.
The two randomly chosen winners of BLC19
giveaway packages from my Part 1 post are:
Susan in AZ
Patricia Bennett Barber
Please send your full name and mailing address to:
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com
Monday, May 27, 2019
It doesn't seem possible but we're at the end of another four-month adventure with that fabulous globetrotter, Anna Campbell. Many thanks to Anna for taking us along on her journeys and offering up giveaways at each stop. I'm so excited for this fall when I'll have a chance to be in some of her travel photos with her!
Well, that went fast! There’s only a week or so of my trip left. I can hardly believe it. Off to Paris at the end of next week to attend the Festival du Roman Feminin (https://tinyurl.com/yy5x5ae6) and then it’s the long journey home to Australia. I’ve had the most wonderful time and thank you to all of you for coming on the voyage with me. And an especially huge thank you to PJ for letting me share some of my travels with you all.
The last month has been a bit chaotic, frankly! I had a new book out and handling the launch while I was moving around so much has been a challenge. But now my Highlander is safely out in the world and I’ve been with some old friends for nearly two weeks so things have settled down just a little.
We finished last month’s adventures with me on the beautiful island of Eigg in the inner Hebrides, just south of the Isle of Skye. Lots of lovely sunsets! Here’s the link if you missed it: http://www.theromancedish.com/2019/04/on-road-with-anna-campbell-2019-episode.html
There are four islands in this spectacular group. I’d been to Muck and Rum but I’d never been to Canna. So purely in the interests of completing the set, I booked 4 days on Canna after I finished up on Eigg.
Well, what a gorgeous surprise! Canna is a tiny island owned by the National Trust. Only 17 people live there, although it offers one of the few reliably sheltered anchorages on this part of the coast, so the yachties tend to come and go, augmenting the population quite considerably. It’s less rugged than either Eigg or Rum and much more fertile so I found myself floating in a sea of lush green grass with baby lambs gamboling around me. And there were bluebells everywhere. I love bluebells! As you can see from the photos – I could have filled the whole page with blue, frankly!
There’s a lovely café that offers wonderful gourmet meals (and a nice wee dram to finish the day with as you watch the light fade over the water!) and my guesthouse was a gorgeous arts and crafts house with views down over the anchorage toward the isle of Sanday just across the way with Rum in the distance. The picture with the bluebell path winding up to the white house in the wood gives you a glimpse of Tighard (pronounced tie-ard), this magical place to stay.
The small gravestone in the bluebell wood belongs to the last laird of the island, John Lorne Campbell (no relation!), who was a famous collector of folklore and who donated the island to the National Trust. What a perfect resting place!
Four days wasn’t nearly enough on Canna – the wonderful weather didn’t hurt, believe me! I’ve booked to go back there for three weeks next year to do some writing. Can’t wait.
Since then I’ve been moving around a bit. I had my long trip south which always makes me sad and then I had a riotous reunion with a couple of the Romance Bandits. For those who don’t know, I used to be part of a blog made up of some of the 2006 Golden Heart finalists. While the blog has folded, the friendships haven’t, so it was wonderful to catch up with writers Nancy Northcott (https://www.nancynorthcott.com/) and Anna Sugden (https://www.annasugden.com/), who lives in Cambridge. Don’t we all look happy together in the photo of the three of us? Nancy is the tall girl with the floral jacket in the middle. The photo of me chatting up a Chinese warrior was taken at Buscot Park in Oxfordshire. It was a bit of a shock running into the terracotta warriors in the middle of a rainy English spring!
My next port of call was a catch-up with brilliant historical writer Nicola Cornick (https://www.nicolacornick.co.uk/). We’ve been friends since my visit to the UK in 2004 and when we get together, we never shut up! This time we weren’t shutting up at beautiful Buscot Park, the home of Lord Faringdon (and the location of those terracotta warriors!). It’s a beautiful house with beautiful gardens, even if the weather wasn’t kind to us that day. But the best bit was the room with all Edward Burne-Jones’s Briar Rose paintings ranged around the walls. Breathtaking. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but if you’d like to see this gorgeous space, check out this video: https://www.tatler.com/article/helen-rosslyn-buscot-park-briar-rose-burne-jones
Since then I’ve been catching up with more old friends and drinking lots of tea! But I wanted to finish with a real treasure of a place, Deene Park in Northamptonshire in the Midlands. This spectacular Jacobean manor with Georgian additions was the home of the man who led the famous Charge of the Light Brigade and is full of memorabilia of the Earl of Cardigan and his scandalous second wife (who once lived openly with him as his mistress!). As you know, I love a bit of shame and scandal in the upper classes so I soaked up the stories of all the naughty nooky in society’s top echelons. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the house, but I went absolutely wild in the beautiful gardens. The sunny day helped too!
Because this is the last of the current series of On the Road with Anna Campbell, this month’s giveaway offers the people who comment on this post TWO chances to win my latest book The Highlander’s Lost Lady. No geographical restrictions.
With all this travel, my To Be Read pile has sunk perilously low. So I’m looking for recommendations. What’s the last great book you read? For me, it was Ruining Miss Wrotham by that wonderful historical romance writer Emily Larkin. If you haven’t read her Baleful Godmother series, you’re missing out on a huge amount of fun. Good luck!
Thursday, May 23, 2019
I flew into New Orleans a day early so I'd have time to explore the city a bit. I've been there once before but it was a very long time ago (I was 18) and I was with my family so last week's experience was a bit different. I set out with different groups of friends throughout the week for food, shopping, food, touring, exploring, and, of course, food. Here are a few of the sights and sounds we discovered.
One of the beautiful mansions in the Garden District.
Chargrilled oysters at Acme Oyster House. I don't care for raw oysters but these babies were delicious!
Found this cool light fixture in a shoe shop.
And shoes. We also found cool shoes.
I indulged my love of fresh seafood whenever I could. These beauties were my lunch as the Market Cafe in the French Quarter. Lunch in their open-air seating area was accompanied by live jazz, as meals in New Orleans often are.
Hey, look! I have my own coffee!
So much fascinating architecture in this city.
Beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter is a must. We made several visits. (with friends Rebekah, Monique, and Linda)
The beautiful chandelier over our table at the Cellar Door where we ate dinner Tuesday night. It looks like it could have graced the entry hall of a brothel (which the restaurant used to be), am I right?
The view from our hotel room. The Mercedes Benz Superdome was like our very own spaceship sized nightlight. With a different color every night!
Even the horses are sparkly!
More French Quarter architecture. I love the flower-lined balconies.
Statuary is something else you see a lot of in New Orleans.
After all the walking, one needs sustenance. This flourless chocolate cake with blueberries and ice cream was fabulous!
Jackson Square by night. So lovely and so much history. This is the site where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803.
One of the many above-ground cemeteries in the city.
Another Garden District mansion.
Commander's Palace, a colorful addition to the Garden District and one of the most renowned restaurants in the city.
A really cool cornstalk fence surrounding one of the Garden District mansions. The 9800 sq. ft. home was build in 1860. The owner commissioned the fence to help his Iowa born wife feel more at home.
In New Orleans, they celebrate wall art. And don't call it graffiti.
Another Garden District mansion. I sure would have loved seeing the inside of one!
Loretta's in the French Market. Best pralines in the city (in my opinion) and darn good beignets too, according to my friends.
Moonlight on the Mississipi. What a beautiful way to bring my stay in New Orleans to an end.
One of the best cocktails I've ever had. Tanqueray No. Ten gin, simple syrup, mint leaves, and fresh lemon juice. I only had one but I wanted more! Of course, then my friends would have had to carry me back to the room and we'd have videos of a different sort. ;-)
What's your favorite dessert? Favorite drink?
Would you be up for dancing through the streets following a wedding?
Have you ever eaten in a restaurant with a scandalous history?
Two randomly chosen people who leave a comment before 11:00 PM, May 24 will each receive a package of books and swag from my conference stash.