We Have A Winner!

The winner of Amy Atwell’s fabulous romantic suspense, Lying Eyes, is Veronica Scott.  Congratulations!  I’ll be in touch.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.   My featured authors this week will be historical and paranormal romance author Zoe Archer, and women’s fiction author Marilyn Brant.  Be sure to stop by!

And while you’re here today, please check out the two fabulous contests I’m running on my facebook page, which include prize packs of books by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Cynthia Eden.

Guest Author: Amy Atwell & Giveaway!

Every once in a while, you meet someone who just seems special.  Someone who has tons of positive energy and drive, and talent.  Well, that perfectly describes my guest blogger today – she’s Amy Atwell, and she writes romantic suspense and historical romance, both fabulously.    Readers agree since her latest book, Ambersley, has been on several digital bestseller lists.  I’m turning the blog over to Amy, for a very intriguing discussion…

Thank you so much to Vanessa for inviting me here today.

 The Truth About Lies (and why we love the people who tell them)

I’ve been reading novels for years and one of the common threads from story to story—especially in romances of all periods and types—is The Lie.  I know we’ve all been taught not to lie, that lying is bad, that it makes people not trust us (think about that boy who cried “Wolf!” eh?).  And yet, in a romance, I’ve rarely had a problem with learning to love a hero or a heroine despite any lies they’ve told.

Think about your favorite books, the ones that have grabbed you by the ear and whispered their demand that you add them to your keeper shelf.  Do you recognize any of these versions of The Lie?

1.  The Little White Lie:  often used at the beginning of a story as a catalyst. Sometimes it binds the hero and heroine together, sometimes it sets them at odds. Generally, whoever told this little lie wishes to take it back, but events unfold so rapidly, it’s impossible.

2.  The Identity Lie:  most common in stories involving suspense or comedy. Someone is pretending to be someone else, usually for noble reasons. This always creates complications because at what point will this lie be revealed?

3.  The Circumstances Lie:  I think of this one in historicals—the hero or heroine who lies about his/her financial or social circumstances.  Someone pretends to be wealthy and titled, or someone pretends to be a poor servant.

4.  The Cover Up Lie:  this may be used to keep a secret from other characters and sometimes from the reader. It’s often a spur of the moment lie and might be very small. But when used often, these lies add up to big trouble for a character.

5.  The Trust in Me Lie:  often goes hand-in-hand with the Identity Lie. This lie may be used by hero, heroine or villain. It’s the “trust me, I’ve got your best interests at heart” lie that we know will lead to complications and potentially endanger the (usually) heroine.

6.  The Emotional Lie:  oh yeah, the lie where someone says, “I don’t care.” We all know that’s a cover up, except maybe the character speaking the words.  This lie is used to hide emotions from others in the book, but as readers we recognize—and often feel—the pain of grief or jealousy or righteous anger.

7.  The False Promises Lie:  this could also be called the Sacrificial Lie. It’s most common near the end of the book when the hero or heroine makes some giant sacrifice.  A Titanic moment, when Jack would say to Rose, “Go ahead, get on that lifeboat. I’ll catch the next one.”

8.  The Lie to Oneself:  I love this lie best of all. Either the hero or heroine is misguided in what s/he believes s/he most wants.  These characters don’t recognize the lie within, so when the truth becomes clear (usually through love) the change is dramatic and often very uplifting. (aka, the reader is doing the fist-bump and cheering!)

As you can see, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about ways to lie! And while I try not to lie in my daily life, I love to spin lies within my stories. In fact, I’m celebrating the first anniversary of my debut romantic suspense release LYING EYES this month, so I’m happy to give away a digital copy to a lucky commenter.  As the title suggests, there are lies galore in this book, which combines humor, family drama and suspense all in a Las Vegas-set caper.

So, tell me true: do you have a beloved book where you forgave all the hero and/or heroine’s lies? 

Vanessa, here.  Amy, what a great post!  So how about it, folks?  Which hero or heroine do you forgive all?  One person who comments will win a digital copy of Amy’s book, Lying Eyes.

Amy Atwell worked in professional theater for 15 years before turning from the stage to the page to write fiction. She now gives her imagination free rein in both contemporary and historical stories that combine adventure and romance. Her romantic suspense Lying Eyes is available from Carina Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble  and her best selling historical romance Ambersley is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. An Ohio native, Amy has lived all across the country and now resides on a barrier island in Florida with her husband and two Russian Blues. Visit her online at her website,  Magical Musings or Facebook.

Another Damn “Best of” List

Yeah, I know.  Another damn list of favorite books from 2010.  But it is fun to look back at what I read this year, and think about what books really caught my attention and why.  So here’s my list of the books that knocked my socks.  One caveat – they weren’t all written in 2010, but that’s when I read them so they’re going on the list.  I still have a huge pile of books that were published this year teetering at the top of my TBR pile.  I have no doubt that some of them will make the list of my favorite books for 2011.

And since it’s still officially the holiday season and I’m still flush with the Christmas spirit, I’ll be giving away a copy of the e-book, Lying Eyes, by my good friend and fellow Carina Press author, Amy Atwell.

Drum roll please…

Love In The Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas.  A wonderful end to the Hathaway series, and one of LK’s best books, IMHO.  The story of an emotionally wounded soldier and the very unusual young woman who helps him to heal is sexy, heartfelt, and funny.  I adored this book.

The Mad Earl’s Bride by Loretta Chase.  An early novella rather than a novel, this story is a showcase for LC’s trademark wit, deep emotion, and stellar writing.  Worth the time and effort to track it down.

Last Night’s Scandal by Loretta Chase.  A sequel to the much-loved Lord Perfect, LNS finally gives us the story of those wayward children, Olivia and Peregrine, all grown up.  I laughed out loud several times reading this book, and it’s one of the most emotionally satisfying love stories I’ve read in a long time.

Rebels and Lovers By Linnea Sinclair.  I love Sci Fi Romance, and I’m glad to see it making a comeback, with some e-book publishers, at least.  Sinclair writes the best – strong, character-driven stories with believable worlds and sympathetic heroes and heroines with very big problems to solve.

Defiant by Kris Kennedy.  You won’t have seen a copy of Defiant on bookshelves, because it won’t be released until April 2011.  But I was lucky enough to read it in manuscript, and I’m here to tell you that it’s an awesome read.  Kennedy is a hugely talented author who writes very sexy, very adventurous Medieval romances.   I think everyone is going to love this book.

Scream For Me/Kill For Me by Karen Rose.  I was a little late coming to Karen Rose but, man!  The wait was worth it.  These two books from the Vartanian series are incredibly suspenseful, emotional, and downright scary.  Nobody writes villains like Karen Rose!

Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Lover by Jennifer Ashley.  I wondered how JA would top The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie, but she did it in spades with this book.  Very emotional and beautifully written.

And last but not least…

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook.  Probably my favorite book this year, TID is a masterpiece of world-building, story, and craft.  The writing is stellar, but it never overshadows an exciting and ultimately very thought-provoking story told in the world of Steampunk.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

So there they are.  A pretty impressive line-up, eh?  Tell me what were your favorite reads of the year.  One commenter will win a copy of Amy Atwell’s Lying Eyes.


Yukon’s Holiday Wish List


If you’ve ever stopped by my website, you know that Yukon is a Norwegian Elkhound who loves to read.  He’s very fond of thrillers, books about mountain climbing, and, of course, romance.  He’s been diligently compiling his reading wish list for Christmas in the hopes that Santa will drop at least a few of his requests down the chimney.  Along with a few dog bones and chew toys, just to round things out.

Yukon’s reading wish list:


SOMEONE LIKE YOU by Susan Mallery

STONED KISSED by Keri Stevens

LYING EYES by Amy Atwell


Okay.  Yukon does have a confession to make.  He’s already read CADDYGIRLS.  After all, my husband and I wrote that book under the pen name of VK Sykes, but Yukon figures it never hurts to have another copy of a book he really enjoyed (honestly, I didn’t pay him to say that!).  And because Yukon is such a loyal reader of mine, he’s also asked his mommy not to forget to pre-order my next historical release, which is a novella in the anthology, AN INVITATION TO SIN. You can read an excerpt from my novella on my website.

So that’s what Yukon is looking forward to reading in the next little while.  How about you?  Leave a comment and tell me what you’ve got on your wish list for the holidays.  One commenter will win an e-ARC of my novella from AN INVITATION TO SIN.