Guest Author: Adrienne Basso & Giveaway!!


I’m very pleased to welcome fellow Kensington historical romance author Adrienne Basso to the blog.  Adrienne writes wonderful Highland, Victorian, and Regency-set historical romance, and she’s gotten tons of acclaim over the years.  She’s here to talk with us about her new book.

Take it away, Adrienne!

I’d first like to thank Vanessa for graciously inviting me to be a guest blogger today.   Like many other authors, in addition to my writing career, I have a rather demanding full-time job.  Consequently, I don’t get out much!  I therefore really appreciate this opportunity to connect with romance readers.

How to Be a Scottish Mistress was released in early July and I’ve been so pleased with the  response.  This book is big change in setting and time period for me – medieval Scotland.  My previous historicals have taken place in Regency England and my holiday romances are set in Victorian England. 

How to be a Scottish Mistress

Yet as I contemplated my next project, I wanted to tackle a new challenge.  Here’s what I came up with:

As Robert the Bruce struggles to unite the clans of Scotland and free his country from English rule, a newly widowed English noblewoman turns to a proud, powerful Scottish earl for sanctuary and justice.  Since the earl must marry to secure a political alliance, she offers to become his mistress.  The bargain they strike thrusts them into passionate danger – both outside and inside their bedchamber.  As treachery and vengeance loom, they must decide how far they are willing to go to fight for the survival of their forbidden love.

Interestingly, the basic premise of this plot, along with the two main characters, Fiona and Gavin, had been rolling around in my head for years.  My original idea was to set the story in England circa 1120, but when I proposed it to my editor, he asked me to consider changing the location to Scotland.  I did some research, thought it over and decided Scotland, in the time of Robert the Bruce, would be an excellent choice and further enhance the story.

There was one other aspect of this novel that I debated in my mind for weeks before making a decision – should I use any Scottish “words”?  As a reader I usually like the Scottish dialog – yet it isn’t always necessary.

How to Seduce a Sinner

What about ye, lasses?  Yay or nay to those phrases?  Please, let me know.  One commenter will win a signed copy of How to Be a Scottish Mistress. 

Guest Author: Geri Krotow & Giveaway!!


I’m very pleased to be hosting Harlequin author Geri Krotow on the blog today.  Geri is an award-winning author whose 2007 debut, A Rendezvous to Remember, earned several awards, including the Yellow Rose of Texas Award for Excellence. Geri’s first novel as well as her second book, What Family Means, received critical acclaim from publications like The Chicago Tribune.  She’s also had a very interesting personal life, as you’re about to find out.

You had a very distinguished career as a Naval Officer (thank you for your service to our country!).  How did your training and service influence your writing? 

You’re very welcome, and thanks for having me on your blog! My military background has made my writing more to-the-point, and I think my voice is cleaner as a result. But I had to work hard to go past “just the facts, ma’am” to be able to put real emotion on the page. The military doesn’t encourage random emotions! The military discipline has paid off in spades as getting into the chair and getting the words down regularly requires a tenacity I learned first-hand. The navy taught me to practice perseverance daily, which has helped me during times of rejection and career upheaval. I know that I can do it!

What can you tell us about your Whidbey Island series and your upcoming release?

My family lived on Whidbey Island for a total of five years during my husband’s career. I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and was eager to use it as a setting for this series. The Navy series came about when my editor, Paula Eykelhof, suggested I draw from my experience and come up with a Navy story. I wanted more than anything to show an authentic slice of navy and military life. How the families live and struggle, and find hope no matter what. I’ve been on active duty and a navy spouse, so I’ve seen both sides of a tough coin. Our military families need and deserve all the support we can give them. 

As a special treat, in NAVY ORDERS, the new release, there is a free chemo cap/TBI cap knitting pattern in the back. It was donated by Robin Celli and Schnapps, her Schnauzer, from Delaware Head Huggers, a non-profit that collects donations of knitted or crocheted caps. They’re at

One of your older books has a WW II angle, and your publisher has asked you to write another WW II book.  What can you tell us about that?

Yes, my first novel, A RENDEZVOUS TO REMEMBER, featured two parallel plots, contemporary and World War II in Belgium. World War II is a passion of mine and I happen to be married to a WWII expert of sorts, so it’s a natural fit for me. I love being able to honor the men and women world wide who sacrificed during this time period. I had a reader contact me earlier this year who had read NAVY RULES and wanted to tell me about how he’d served on Whidbey Island during WWII. I told my editor about it, and she suggested I think about doing a WWII book on Whidbey. NAVY CHRISTMAS will be a 2014 release and as with RENDEZVOUS it will have parallel plots. This time it will involve the War in the Pacific. It’s part of the Whidbey Island Series, so it will be interesting to see how it all ties together!

What else is going on in your writing life?  Any more Whidbey Series books planned? 

I just turned in NAVY RESCUE, a 2014 release (there will be 2 Whidbey Island books in 2014). As in NAVY ORDERS, it includes a mystery within the romance. When I started this journey so many years ago, I wrote romantic suspense. I’m back to my roots, but with more of a cozy  mystery in each romance. I like to say that I’m throwing in a dead body! I’m going to be giving a workshop at RWA National, I’m on two panels at the Baltimore Book Festival in September, and I’ve already booked my hotel for RT2014 in New Orleans next year! Like all writers there are many, many characters clamoring for me to put them on the page in their own story.

Thanks so much for coming on the blog, Geri!  For my readers today, Geri is giving away a copy of NAVY ORDERS.  Just tell us what some of your favorite contemporary romance settings and series are.  One person who comments will win the book!

And be sure to check out Geri’s website for excerpts and buy links!


Guest Author: Deborah Hale & Giveaway!!



I’m very pleased to have Deborah Hale visiting the blog today.  Since winning the prestigious Golden Heart Award in 1997, she’s written more than thirty books in the genres of historical romance, historical fiction, otherworld fantasy and inspirational romance. Her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages with over two million copies sold worldwide.  Quite a pedigree, don’t you think?  Let’s find out what’s going on in Deb’s writing world.

You’ve written something like twenty historical romances.  Do you have a favorite period to write in?

I love both the Regency and Georgian periods for their elegance.  They are far enough back in history to have an enchanted quality yet they have enough in common with the modern world that readers can identify with them. 

Tell us about your Glass Slipper Brides series, and your latest book.

Glass Slipper Brides is a series of inspirational Regencies about a group of governesses who met and bonded at a horrible charity school like the one the Bronte sisters attended.  After leaving school they go to work in households throughout England and keep in touch by letter.  Because of this, each story can easily be read on its own, though I do mention the other friends and sometimes bring them briefly into each others’  stories.

The Earl’s Honorable Intentions is the fourth story of six (the first one is a novella). It’s about career cavalry officer who inherited his title after the death of his elder brother. He returns home, wounded, after Waterloo determined to make sure Napoleon doesn’t return to power for a third time. His children’s governess wants him to leave that mission to others and instead become a devoted father to his three motherless children. That is a role the earl doesn’t believe he’s cut out for.

You also have a “new” Civil War romance out.  What can you tell us about that.

That’s right! I was thrilled to get back the rights to one of my backlist books. I gave it a new title, In A Stranger’s Arms and commissioned a new cover from Kim Killion that took my breath away.

This story was inspired by the film Sommersby, which I loved, except for the ending. It’s about a proud Confederate widow who has to marry a former Union soldier in order to hang onto her family’s plantation. Her new husband is very secretive about his past and bears an unsettling resemblance to her first husband. It’s a story about the healing, redemptive power of love. One of my favorite characters is my heroine’s feisty little daughter who was inspired by a picture of my husband’s great-grandmother!  Her picture is posted below.

What’s up next in Deborah’s writing life?

In November the next Glass Slipper Brides book comes out, The Duke’s Marriage Mission and I’m currently working on the last one, which will have a hero who’s a mill-owner/philanthropist rather than a nobleman. After that, I’m trying to decide which of a number of new projects I’d like to pursue!

Vanessa, here.  Sounds like you’ll be busy, Deb!  For my readers, Deb is graciously giving away a copy of His Compromised Countess.  Let’s talk covers, because Deb’s are really beautiful.  Just tell us which one of her covers you like the best and why for a chance to win her book!


Guest Author: Heather Snow & Giveaway!!

I’m so pleased to welcome award-winning romance author Heather Snow to the blog.  Heather writes sexy and smart Regency-set historical romances, and she’s been getting great reviews and reader love since her first book was published.  She has a new book out on the shelves–let’s find out all about it!

You’re a chemist by training – how does that training help or hinder you when it comes to writing romance?

One of my favorite quotes is from Carl Jung, who said, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Given how similar the two phenomena are, I think that makes a chemist perfectly suited to write romance, don’t you?

Actually, my background did prepare me for my writing career better than one might think: There are rules to follow, and some you can break when you want to experiment. Historical romance, like science, requires careful research. Most chemical reactions require a catalyst to drive them, just like characters require motivation to drive the story forward. And finally, both chemistry and writing, if done well, involve a precise mixture of elements and careful manipulation to achieve that perfect reaction that makes you want to sigh with satisfaction…

As for how it hinders me, I must admit, sometimes my analytical mind gets in my way! While I enjoy the creative process, it’s a bit of a different animal than I am used to. Where the left side of my brain might demand I outline, plot, dissect and plan out my work, my right side has different ideas. Coaxing out the prose and the characterization that brings life to my stories is a lot more challenging than I’d expected. My left brain can also hold me up. If I notice something not working in a story, I CANNOT move forward until I figure it out—whereas some writers can write through such things and figure it out on the other end. I get stuck, and until I can get my mind around it, I stay stuck!

Your Veiled Seduction series definitely has a scientific bent to it, with three smart heroines with special talents.  Was it difficult to write about women like that in a Regency Era historical setting?

Yes and no. I work really hard at making my characters complex and three-dimensional. Giving them careers in history that would have been challenging for them adds a layer to their personality, which made them more real to me, and therefore easier to write. Plus, I find them very relatable, being a woman who struggled making her way in the world (of men and otherwise). I hope other women will relate to them, too.

Where they were a bit more challenging, though, is to be women who would go against Society to do what they loved, their particular science had to be in their blood and really filter through every part of their character. Therefore I had to do a lot of research into what exactly they would have known at the time and what their attitude might have been towards it, and then boil that down and slip it in a little at a time so that they felt genuine without the reader knowing I was putting research into the book!

I did this mainly in how each character looked at the world. For example, Emma, from Sweet Deception, is a brilliant criminologist who uses maps and mathematics in an early form of geographic profiling to find a killer. Her head is constantly filled with equations and patterns, and that affects how she looks at life and love. A reviewer said this of Emma: “Emma attacks everything in life with a mathematical equation, including winning Aveline over as a partner in crime, er, criminal investigation. She even has an equation to keep Aveline interested in his land, Derbyshire, and her as a partner in marriage … for practical reasons. You’ll have to read the book to see how she calculates love and passion into the equation!”

What’s your new book about?

Well, this third book is a little different than the first two. You see, where my chemist and my criminologist heroines were both brilliant women who reveled in pushing the boundaries of society, Penelope, from Sweet Madness, starts out just your average debutante: a Society darling who is content to live the privileged life she was born until her husband’s tragic death drives her to study the maladies of the mind and leads her to a traumatized soldier who needs her help…and her love.

But she also finds that healing is a two way street, and to be able to follow our hero to the dark places she must go to reach him, she has to open up wounds of her own. It’s really a story about the healing power of love, with a little mystery and some racy bits thrown in! I’ve been told it’s the most emotional story of the three, and so far, it’s garnering fabulous reviews.

It was a fun challenge helping Penelope discover her inner brilliance. She had to realize that she was never average at all, and that everything she needed was within her all along, if she only trusted herself.

What can you tell us about Hope For The Warriors®?

I’m glad you asked. Hope For The Warriors® is a fantastic charity that helps our military and their families. The hero from Sweet Madness suffers from a severe case of battle fatigue, or as we know it today, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Gabriel is a fictional war hero but there are many real life heroes and battling PTSD today. Experts suggest that more than 30 percent of U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan experience PTSD and sadly, the families of these soldiers often share in their suffering. Researching the terrible effects of this disorder moved me deeply, and made me wish to help if I could.

Sweet Madness is a story of the healing power of love, and just as important, of hope. Therefore, my husband and I have decided to donate a portion of all royalties earned from the sale of Sweet Madness to Hope For The Warriors®, an organization dedicated to “restoring a sense of self, restoring the family unit, and restoring hope for our service members and our military families.”

You can find out more about this wonderful charity here:

What’s next in your writing life?

I don’t know about my writing life, but what’s next in my life life is vacation! Sweet Enemy sold when our eldest was still in diapers, and the second was written right after the birth of our youngest—while my husband was finishing up his masters on top of his full time career! He graduated right after I finished Sweet Deception and we’d barely had time to enjoy a breather before I jumped into Sweet Madness. My family and I are looking forward to a couple of weeks on the beach together during the month of May—our first real vacation in three years. Then I’ll get started on my new series…it may or may not be Regency, but it will certainly feature the smart strong heroines readers have come to expect from me.

Thanks so much for the great interview, Heather!  And, readers, Heather is graciously giving away a copy today of either her first or second book today.  Since she has science-minded heroines, let’s talk about that.  Were you a science lover in school, or were other subjects more to your liking?  One person who comments will win either a copy of Sweet Enemy or Sweet Deception.

And you can find blurbs and excerpts on Heather’s website, as well as her latest news.


Happy Easter!!

To all my friends and readers who celebrate, I’d like to wish you a happy and joyful Easter.  I’m spending the day with hubby and my dad and stepmother – we’ll be feasting on a spiral ham, sweet potatoes, baked cauliflower, with brownies and ice cream for dessert.  Yum!  Wherever you and are however you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful day.

Gotta go – the brownies are ready to come out of the oven!