Guest Author: Alix Rickloff & Giveaway!

Don’t you wish there were more historical paranormal romances out there?  I do.  I really do.  Especially Regency-set paranormal romances.  There have been some excellent ones, but they generally seem few and far between.  So imagine my excitement when I discovered Alix Rickloff, who started her career with Kensington Publishing penning Regency-set paranormal historical romances.

Alix’s first two books, Lost in You and Dangerous as Sin, are part of her Bligh Family Series. 

From the beginning, Alix was one of those talented newbies who got phenomenal reviews, including this one for Lost in You from Booklist, the prestigious review journal of the American Library Association:

Rickloff presents a fascinating debut filled with sensory details and a deep sense of lore.”

Her second book, Dangerous as Sin, garnered this great review from the Chicago Tribune:

“Rickloff deftly blends equal measures of danger and desire into the intriguing plot of her latest paranormal-spiced, splendidly satisfying historical Regency.”

Now, big newspapers like the Chicago Tribune only occasionally review romance novels, much less paranormal romance novels, so I’m here to tell you how impressive that is!

I love the concept behind Alix’s books, where readers are introduced to the Other—mortals bearing the blood of the Fey, and who move in a world that lies beyond the glittering balls and scandals of the Regency that its inhabitants think they know so well.  How utterly cool is that?  Talk about Regency with a twist!

The first book in Alix’s new trilogy, The Heirs of Kilronan, is Earl of Darkness.

This book was a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews and got this tantalizing review from Publishers Weekly:

“Secret societies, baffling documents, monstrous stalkers—Rickloff has studied the textbook thoroughly, then added more sex.”

Oh, I am SO there!

Her next book, Lord of Shadows, will be released this month.

Here’s the blurb to give you a taste:

Who is working the demon arts . . .

Was it her murdered father? Her fugitive brother? It has been seven years since Lady Sabrina Douglas cloistered herself with the Sisters of High Danu, but the questions remain.  She is Other—a mixture of Fey and mortal—quietly using her powers to heal.  That is, until she saves a half-drowned man, his soldier’s body a roadmap of scars, his fathomless eyes filled with heartbreaking loneliness. The inexplicable connection overwhelms her defenses, touching her heart, mind  . . . and body.

. . .  and to what end?

A man with no memory, Daigh MacLir seeks his past, even as unknown threats fill him with monstrous rage and inhuman abilities. But as a desperate game of hunter and hunted is played out from ballrooms to bedrooms, what Daigh discovers is more chilling than anyone could possibly imagine. Defying death was only the first step in the task he has been set, and Sabrina his last hope. But dare he risk involving her? Daigh has been summoned to find an ancient king, and even the powers of love may not be enough to win the battle against the powers of darkness.

Yep.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  You know you want this book!

You can read an excerpt of Lord of Shadows on Alix’s website, plus check out her other books and her latest news as well.

To celebrate her upcoming release, Alix is giving away a copy of Lord of Shadows.  Just tell me if you like your historical romance straight-up, or with a paranormal twist.  One commenter will receive a copy of this awesome book!

We Have Liftoff!

Some of you may not know that I have a writing alter-ego.  Under the name of V.K. Sykes I write contemporary romance with my husband, Randy.  We already have one digital book out that was released by Carina Press last year, called Caddygirls.  Well, Randy and I are now stepping into the brave new world of indie publishing with our second book, Hardball.  We had a great time writing this book, which is a very sexy romance between a baseball star and a surgeon.  Here’s the blurb:

After years of hard work and keeping her nose firmly to the grindstone, Dr. Holly Bell has finally achieved her dream:  a position as a pediatric surgeon at a prestigious teaching hospital.  Children’s lives rest in her skilled hands.  That means total dedication to her work and her patients without letting anything or anyone get in the way.  And a hot affair with a superstar athlete is most definitely getting in Holly’s way.

 Nate Carter, star pitcher for the Philadelphia Patriots, has the world in the palm of his baseball glove.  He’s at the height of his game, a west coast team is about to lure him with even greater riches, and the most gorgeous women in town are in full pursuit.  Nate has everything he wants, or at least he thinks he does, until he meets the beautiful and brainy Dr. Holly Bell.  He’s totally up for a hot affair, and Holly turns out to be the hottest.

 But will Holly be willing to play his game?  When the lovely doctor starts changing the rules, Nate realizes he just might be playing for keeps.

Fun, eh?  I love sports heroes, but they’re not that easy to find.  Susan Elizabeth Phillips has the great Chigaco Stars series, and Kate Angell writes wonderful baseball romances.  There are a few others, but not nearly as many as you might expect.  So we decided to write our own sports hero, and I was determined that he be a very sexy alpha dude.  Nate Carter, I’m happy to say, is the result.

You can read an excerpt of Hardball in the Notes section of our V.K. Sykes author page on facebook.

Hardball is now on digital shelves at Amazon and Smashwords for only $2.99.  While you’re shopping around you might also want to have a look at CaddyGirls, which is also available on Amazon and the Carina Press website.

Happy reading!

And Now For This Public Service Announcement

Do you love to write as well as read romance?  Do you long to spend the day with a group of similarly introverted yet brilliant people who spend way too much time talking to imaginary people?  Then have I got the event for you!

I belong to the First Coast Romance Writers chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and we’re sponsoring a really terrific one-day writers conference on March 12.  If you live anywhere in the vicinity of Jacksonville, Florida, you’ll want to know about the Annual Southern Lights Conference.

The conference theme this year is Light Up Your Career and, boy howdy, can we help you do that!  Check out our keynote speaker, the fabulous C.L. Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of the fantasy books, the Novels of the Fading Lands. We’ll also be featuring local writers Renee Ryan, an award-winning author for Harlequin Romance, and Vic DiGenti, the acclaimed author of the Windrusher Adventurers.  Vic is also the regional director of the Florida Writers Association, so he’ll have lots to tell us about the business of publishing.

Hey, wait!  It gets better.  We’re also featuring Emmanuelle Morgen, an agent with the prestigious Judith Erlich Literary Management.  We’re also very happy to have Tessa Woodward, an editor with romance powerhouse, Avon Publishing.  Both Emmanuelle and Tessa will be taking pitches at the conference and speaking on an industry panel.

And did I mention that we’ll be holding the event at the lovely Marriott Hotel in Jacksonville, and also including lunch?  Then there are all the editor, author, and agent critiques up for raffle, as well as some really swell gift baskets to give away. Really, you don’t want to miss this!

For more info and to register, just click here.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming, and thank you for listening!

Super Bowl Sunday Redux

Super Bowl Sunday.  Love or loathe it, but it’s hard to ignore.  I’m not a football fan, although everyone else in my family is, some to the point of lunacy.  So I grew up with it as a background note, even being dragged to the occasional Eagles game by my parents.  But now that I’m an adult I never watch football.  Except for that one Sunday, when like bazillions of other people I’m sucked into a vortex of canny programming, uber-patriotism, stunning talent, and even more stunning idiocy.

Even if you don’t like football, there’s something for everyone.  Such as some truly spectacular men like the Packer’s Aaron Rodgers. Sue Grimshaw, the romance buyer at Borders, rightly pointed out that Rodgers is hunky enough and cool enough to be a hero in his own romance novel.

For anyone who’s read Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s Chicago Stars series, you can easily imagine Rodgers cast as one of her football hunks.

But even if the game or the athletes leave you cold there are the commercials, which have become a sport unto themselves.  This year saw the usual group of winners, losers, and just plain bizarre entries – yes, I’m looking at you, Groupon.

The most popular choice so far seems to be Volkswagen’s Star Wars take-off.  You’d have to have a heart of stone not to get a chuckle out of that one.  I’m also a sucker for anything to do with dogs, so the Doritos Pug Attack and the Bud Light party commercial both gave me a laugh.

Then there’s the idiocy part, which was Christina Aguilera mangling the national anthem.  And the halftime show by the Black Eyed Peas was pretty wretched, too, another example of spectacle overwhelming the performers.

But my favorite part of the entire evening happened before the game with the reading of the Declaration of Independence by current and former NFL stars, joined by military personnel and by people from local communities.  Yep, I know how corny it’s supposed to be, and I’ve also read the criticism about it.  But I found it pretty darn moving, and I also liked that it showcased the men and women in the armed forces who risk their lives every day.

I gotta say, though, by the end of the looonggg evening with way too much food and alcohol, I was happy – very happy – to turn off the TV.  Super Bowl Sunday is a lot of fun, but I’m grateful it only happens once a year.