A Boatload of Winners!!

Boy, have I let the winners pile up on the blog!  Here we go…

For Manda Collins’ new e-novella, the winners are:  Janie C, bn100, StacieD, Artemis, Tin.

And the winner of Manda’s ARC of her next book, How to Romance a Rake, is Alisha Woods.  Alisha also wins a copy of Legally Yours.

The winners of my Mother’s Day giveaway are Lisa B & MicheAnne Oboyle, who both win a copy of my new VK Sykes e-book, Fastball, and Sienny, who wins a copy of Mastering The Marquess.

Finally, the winner of Elise Rome’s upcoming release, The Sinning Hour, is Tina Rucci.

Congratulations to the winners!  I’ll be in touch soon.  And thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  My guest author on Thursday will be acclaimed historical romance writer, Miranda Neville.

Guest Author: Elise Rome & Giveaway!

I’m always happy when historical romance authors are guests on my blog.  And I’ve got a really good one on today–she’s Elise Rome, and she writes lush and lovely Victorian romances.  Elise has written a very, very interesting blog about some of the things she’s learned since she starting writing romance novels, and how she creates her heroines.

Take it away, Elise!

Thanks so much to Vanessa for welcoming me back on the blog! As I count down to the release of my first book as Elise Rome (THE SINNING HOUR, due out late June), I realized that I wanted to share a self-discovery I’ve made since becoming a romance writer.

In the past I never thought of myself as being a feminist. Raised in East Texas, there was a definite bias against the word. In my mind, feminists were loud, brash, rude—and yes, even braless; the opposite of my mother, who was hard-working, quiet, respectful toward others (and always wore a bra). Women’s rights never concerned me much growing up, probably because the issue had a “been there, done that” feel to it. I was born after the suffrage movement, after women wearing pants in public became normal, and grew up during a time when it was status quo for women to work rather than stay at home raising children. I didn’t understand what else there was to fight for, and it often seemed that women who were termed “feminists” were people who just liked to stir up trouble by making a big deal out of nothing.

Ignorant, I know. I don’t think there’s any better word for it.

Two things happened when I began writing romance, though. One, I became part of an international community where women (for the most part) write love stories for women (again, for the most part). If any group of people could rightly be called feminists, it’s romance readers and writers… and yet, despite the stereotype I grew up believing, they’re some of the nicest, most generous, caring people I know. Through them, I’ve learned that being a feminist is something to be proud of. Modern romance espouses the idea that men and women should have equal footing in intimate relationships and, in turn, in every other arena where men and women interact. I’ve learned that being a feminist doesn’t mean that I want to beat down men or show myself to be superior to them; it means that I insist on being treated with the same respect and right of personhood that every human being should expect.

Part of my understanding of what feminism means and who I am as a feminist came from my participation in the romance community, and there are hundreds of fellow romance lovers to whom I am grateful as a result.

The second part, however, came from the actual writing of romance novels. As I hinted above, I think my entire (erroneous) perception of feminism can be attributed to social stereotyping. In truth, I think I’ve been a feminist all along. This truth continues to emerge in the heroines I write. Since I write historical romance novels—currently set in Victorian England, and soon also in the 1920s—my heroines have even less rights and privileges than we do today. Yet despite these boundaries, I’ve always been drawn to write heroines who refuse to settle for what’s expected of them; they know they are worth more, they know they deserve more. They want more, and they go after it, even if there are disastrous consequences to bear.

When I began toying with the idea of a new series, my first thought wasn’t how I could promote feminism by giving five heroines a chance at complete independence in a time when other women were constrained by the wills of their fathers, brothers, husbands, and other male relatives. No, I began with who the heroines were individually—both internally and externally—the type of respective heroes they each should have, and a general premise for their love stories. Then, at the end, I finally put together the idea of the women knowing one another because they’re all co-owners of a gaming hell.

To be honest, I don’t think I would have come up with that idea if I’d started by asking myself for a great hook for a new romance series. As a writer, to me every story begins with individual characterization. But once the idea evolved and the premise came of five women owning a gaming hell together, it resonated with me as a reader. And that’s when I realized how well the label “feminist” truly fits me; I want to read and write about strong women (this also helps me understand why Scarlett O’Hara has always been a particular favorite of mine).

Some may be beautiful, some may be plain; some may be rocket-scientist smart, some may be of average intelligence; all of them are vulnerable in one way or another, but that doesn’t mean they’re inferior because of their gender, just that they’re human. Most importantly, each heroine either knows who she is or discovers who she is through the course of the book, and while they may all long for an intimate, meaningful relationship with the hero of their dreams, they would never see themselves as unworthy or incomplete because they’re not attached to a man.

Yes, I’ve finally discovered what a feminist is, and what being a feminist means. It’s opened my eyes to see how much prejudice against women still exists, and it enrages me when I hear that a woman is raped every 26 seconds in South Africa, when I wonder why there is any rape at all.

Upon this realization, I’m more proud than ever to be a part of the romance community where we give hope to women who, possibly unlike our heroines, aren’t able to be strong at this very moment…but who grow more cognizant of their inner strength with each happily-ever-after ending.

The world that scoffs at the romance genre does so because they believe it’s all about sex and women who are dependent on men; they have no idea that while a committed relationship between two equal and loving partners is essential to our HEAs, a woman who will fight for herself with self-possession and intelligence is just as important.

Obviously, they’ve never met one of my heroines.

Elise Rome has never forgiven Margaret Mitchell for making her fall in love with Scarlett and Rhett in Gone with the Wind and then not giving them a happy ending. She likes to think that she makes up for this injustice with each romance novel she writes. When she isn’t telling stories about sexy, headstrong heroes and intelligent, independent heroines, Elise stays busy chasing after her two young daughters, semi-attempting to do housework, and hiking in the beautiful foothills of Colorado.

THE SINNING HOUR is Elise’s first book in her new Victorian Unmaskedseries, in which five masked women claim their independence by creating the most exclusive gaming hell in London. The book is scheduled to be published in late June 2012.

For more information about Elise, please visit her website at www.eliserome.com or connect with her through Facebook and Twitter.

What does the romance genre mean to you as a female reader or writer? One random commenter will win a digital copy of THE SINNING HOUR upon its release.

Vanessa, here.  Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Elise, and for writing such a thoughtful blog!  Now, readers, have at it.  What does the romance genre mean to you?  One person who comments will win a copy of Elise’s upcoming release.

Guest Author: Bronwen Evans & Giveaway!

I’ve got a wonderful guest with me today.  She’s Bronwen Evans and she writes lovely and sensual Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Brava.  Bronwen is on her Invitation To Romance Blog Tour, and she’s graciously stopped by with us today.

Take it away, Bronwen!

The World of Romance Authors – Who Influenced Me to Write and Who keeps Me Sane

Hi Vanessa! Thanks for letting me visit with you today, all the way from New Zealand. Please bear with me for the time differences. I might be a little behind you!

The most common question I get asked is how I come up with my story ideas, followed closely by what motivates me. I really don’t have any problem finding ideas for stories. Sometimes, if you’re like me, Vanessa, you live most of your life with characters in your head. It’s crowded with loads of different characters all screaming to be heard. Sometimes it’s hard to order the characters’ traits, fears, and the conflicts they find themselves in.

Sometimes the answer to ‘where do I get my stories from’ leads to a discussion about what’s happening in the world around me. I often hear some lyrics, or watch a movie, world events, or something that happened to friends in real life triggers something in my head. I think about what would be different about this in the Regency era—and voila a story idea germinates.

However, these sources of inspiration help me with stories ideas. So what inspired me to write in the first place and what keeps me writing?

Well, it has to be other authors! It’s my love of reading romance that sparked the desire to write it. Especially historical romance, but really I read across all genres.

I remember crying, and laughing and smiling after reading a Penny Jordan book; I decided on the spot that was what I wanted to do. I didn’t really know how to start so I joined RWNZ and RWA and began to learn.

Now that I’m a published author, I still find inspiration through other authors. Reading a great book still sends me straight to my computer to write my own stories. Also being able to dive into other author’s characters gives my head a well needed rest.

I love that we all have different voices and different strengths in our writing. I’m constantly learning from other authors, how to be a better writer.

If you’re wondering which authors influenced me to write INVITATION TO SCANDAL, there are many. However fellow author Elise Rome always told me to give credit where it’s due.

So, these are just a few of the authors I return to again and again who I can count on to awe and inspire me, my auto-buys: (including Vanessa Kelly of course!)

Gaelen Foley

Nicole Jordan

Anne Mallory

Madeline Hunter

Mary Jo Putney

Jennifer Ashley

Even if you’re not a writer, you likely have a list of authors who continually awe you when you read their books. Who are your favorites that you would passionately recommend to any fellow romance reader?

One random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of my newest book, INVITATION TO SCANDAL (open internationally)!

PLUS: Find out how to win the INVITATION TO ROMANCE Book Tour Grand Prize of a $200 Gift Card from Amazon or B&N PLUS 30+ ‘signed by the author’ romance novels by visiting www.bronwenevans.com

 

There will be a one WORD hidden in each blog post [WHO] in brackets (the word ‘WHO’ is the first clue from Shana Galen’s post on 26th April). There are 30 words altogether. These words will spell a paragraph related to my May release INVITATION TO SCANDAL.

Zounds!  Vanessa, here.  Bronwen, what a great contest!  Readers, be sure to check out Bronwen’s website.  And don’t forget to answer her question in today’s blog for a chance to win a copy of AN INVITATION TO SCANDAL.

Update:  Hey, folks!  I’m on Bronwen’s blog today.  I’m talking about current and future releases, and giving away a copy of My Favorite Countess.  Stop on by!

Winners & Contests!!

For those of you who’ve been following my contests, you know I was running a really special one with four other romance writers.  It was called Indulge In Our Favorite Authors, and it gave readers a chance to win the entire signed backlist of some really great writers, including Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas.  I was sponsoring the backlist of acclaimed paranormal and romantic suspense author, Cynthia Eden.

Well, guess what!  The contest is over, and we’re now awarding the prizes to five lucky winners.

Without further ado, here are the winners and the incredible prize packages they will receive:

Lisa Kleypas – backlist won by Lisa Lin

Julie Garwood – backlist won by Tin Ong

Elizabeth Hoyt - backlist won by April R

Julia Quinn – backlist won by Amy Alvis

Cynthia Eden – backlist won by Annette Jenkins

Congratulations to the winners!  The authors who sponsored the Indulge Contest will be in touch.  And thanks to everyone who participated.  It was great fun, and I hope I introduced you to the fab authors who sponsored this contest, if you didn’t know them already.

And on another contest note, I’m participating in March Madness, a month-long blog hop organized by historical romance author, Elise Rome.  It’s an amazing event that celebrates the wonderful world of romance novels, featuring a ton of talented writers and sponsoring spectacular giveaways.  I’m visiting with Elise today, so please stop by and visit.  You might discover a new-to-you author, win some wonderful books, or even win a Kindle or a beautiful, handmade quilt.  Really, folks, this is one blog hop you don’t want to miss!

 

 

Winners & Contests!

The winner of Lex Valentine’s book, Kissing Joan Collins, is Yvette, and the winner of Jody Wallace’s book, Pack and Coven, is donna ann.  Congratulations, ladies!  I’ll be in touch.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  My guests next week will be historical romance author Heather Snow, contemporary romance author Jenna Bayley-Burke, and romance/thriller writer Leslie Langtry.  You won’t want to miss any of them!

And don’t forget I’m running a fabulous contest with a group of truly terrific authors.  Elise Rome, Shana Galen, Lila DiPasqua, and Heather Snow are joining me in giving away the ENTIRE, signed backlists of some of your favorite authors.  I’m giving away the fabulous Cynthia Eden’s backlist – Cynthia writes very sexy paranormal romance and romantic suspense.  She’s one of my personal favorites, and if you haven’t read her books you’re in for an incredible treat.

The other backlists will be from the following authors:  Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Hoyt, Julie Garwood.

Okay, so what do you have to do to enter this contest?  Elise, Shana, Lila, Heather, and I are running a special facebook application on our individual pages where you can enter to win the complete, signed backlists from the amazing authors I’ve listed above.  For those of you who are already following me on facebook, just check out the Indulge in Our Favorite Authors tab on my facebook page sidebar to complete your entry.

Again, all you need to do is hop onto Facebook and follow the authors who want to give away these books:  Elise Rome, Shana Galen, Lila DiPasqua, Heather Snow.  And moi, of course!  Again, if you’re already following me, you just have to complete the very quick and easy application – click on the Indulge Our Favorite Authors tab in my sidebar to do that.

Please note, you must follow and enter on each of the five Facebook pages to be eligible to win each backlist. The giveaway will run till the end of February, when we will then select the winners. Even better, this contest is open to US and international residents! All books will be in English as print books; if any books in the backlists are currently our of print, used books will be purchased for those titles so that the backlist will be complete

Those are the rules! Tell your friends, tell your family, tell any fellow romance fan you know. And get out there and start liking those pages!

Indulge In Your Favorite Authors Contest!

Some of my regular followers will know that I’ve been running a fantastic contest with a group of my fellow authors.  Elise Rome, Shana Galen, Lila DiPasqua, and Heather Snow are joining me in giving away the ENTIRE, signed backlists of some of your favorite authors.  I’m giving away the fabulous Cynthia Eden’s backlist – Cynthia writes very sexy paranormal romance and romantic suspense.  She’s one of my personal favorites, and if you haven’t read her books you’re in for an incredible treat.

The other backlists will be from the following authors:  Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Hoyt, Julie Garwood.

Zounds!  Can you believe this contest?

But before we can give these awesome prizes away, we need you to show how fanatical of fans you are. We’re running a special facebook application on our individual pages where you can enter to win the complete, signed backlists from the amazing authors I’ve listed above.  For those of you who are already following me on facebook, just check out the Indulge in Our Favorite Authors tab on my facebook page sidebar to complete your entry.

Again, all you need to do is hop onto Facebook and follow the authors who want to give away these books:  Elise Rome, Shana Galen, Lila DiPasqua, Heather Snow.  And moi, of course!  Again, if you’re already following me, you just have to complete the very quick and easy application – click on the Indulge Our Favorite Authors tab in my sidebar to do that.

Please note, you must follow and enter on each of the five Facebook pages to be eligible to win each backlist. The giveaway will run till the end of February, when we will then select the winners. Even better, this contest is open to US and international residents! All books will be in English as print books; if any books in the backlists are currently our of print, used books will be purchased for those titles so that the backlist will be complete

Those are the rules! Tell your friends, tell your family, tell any fellow romance fan you know. Soon, 5 lucky winners will win a complete, signed backlist from a favorite author that will make you SQUEEEEE!

Now get out there and start liking those pages!