Guest Author: Shana Galen & Giveaway!!

Shana Galen H-R-2118

It goes without saying that readers can choose from a rich pool of historical romance writers these days, from Anna Campbell and Elizabeth Hoyt, to Katharine Ashe and Jennifer Ashley, and my eternal fan-girl crush, Loretta Chase.  But to my mind, one of the best historical authors currently writing is Shana Galen.

Shana writes fast-paced, adventurous Regencies that are also wonderful romances with a lot of emotional depth.  One of my favorite historical books in the last few years was Shana’s Lord and Lady Spy, which was a corking good adventure and also a truly sigh-inducing romance.

Lord and Lady Spy

Lord and Lady Spy also happened to be one Publisher Weekly’s top romantic picks for 2011.

Shana has a brand new book in her Spy Series, in stores today.  It’s called True Spies and I can’t wait to read it!  Here’s the blurb:

He’s weary of deception…

Baron Winslow Keating is honor-bound to finish one last mission as an elite spy for the Barbican group even though he just wants to go home and be with his family. But after years of secrecy and absence, his daughters hardly know him and his wife has given up on him. . .

She wants to try a little intrigue . . .

Elinor has had enough of domestic boredom. She contemplates an affair with a rakish spy, only to discover a world of intrigue and treachery that she never knew existed. Even more shocking, her neglectful husband is suddenly very attentive – quite the jealous type – and apparently there is much more to him than she ever knew . . .

True Spies

Sounds great, doesn’t it?  True Spies has already been getting great reviews, including this one from Gourmonde Girl:

True Spies is written for those who’ve been looking for a great romance that doesn’t involve a society come out or stereotypical ‘May-December’ romances but instead: a little action, a little sex and a lot of wooing and romance. This is a true love story for grown-ups and as such it exceeds my expectations.”

If you like your historical romances with depth, adventure, and characters with a lot of strength and heart, I suggest you treat yourself to Shana’s True Spies I guarantee you won’t regret it!

For my readers today, Shana is giving away a copy of True Spies.  To win a copy, simply tell us who your favorite spy is–in books, movies, or real life!

Romancing The Hop Blog Hop!!

Welcome to Romancing The Hop!  Over 100 authors and bloggers have banded together to share our favorite things about Romance.  We’re chatting about all the things we love about it, including our favorite romance novels, and even tips about dating and romantic getaways!  But what’s in it for you, the reader?  Well, we’re each doing a giveaway. Yep. There will be over 100 giveaways on each blog hosted by that Author or Blogger.

But that’s not all….we have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 100 times!

Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet

2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

3rd Grand Prize: The following Swag Pack!

Wow!  Great prizes, eh?  All that, and a really fun discussion about the things we love about romance and romance novels.  So let’s get started.

What’s my favorite thing about romance novels?  It’s simple.  I love how much fun they are.  When I read a good romance I’m reminded of that intense, glorious rush of falling in love—of knowing deep within you that this particular person is the one for you.  No matter how angst-ridden the story, no matter how many obstacles the author places in the path of the hero and heroine, you can enjoy the journey and remember yourself how truly wonderful it is to find your soul mate.

As for my favorite romance…I think I’d have to go with Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase.  There’s a reason why this book tops so many best romances lists.  It’s got a brainy, funny heroine, a tortured, uber-alpha hero, the wittiest dialogue this side of the Mississippi, and so much genuine heart and emotion it bring tears to your eyes.  Lord Dain is the best hero I’ve ever come across, and I never grow tired of re-reading this book!

So, dear reader, if you could bring only ONE book with you to a deserted island, what would it be?  One person who comments on my blog will win a $10 Amazon gift card and a copy of my Regency-set historical romance, Sex And The Single EarlThis book, which won the prestigious Maggie Award for Best Historical Romance, is currently only available in digital format, so I’m giving away one of the few print copies I have left.  Trust me when I tell you that Sex And The Single Earl is very difficult to find in print!

Commenting on my blog enters you in the grand prize draw, so remember to include your email address in the comment.  And be sure to visit all the other blogs in the hop too.  Not only will you discover some great authors and bloggers, you’ll be eligible for all sorts of prizes, including the grand prizes.  So start by leaving your comment on my blog, and then click here and start hopping away!




A Worthy Cause

That worthy cause would be the Brenda Novak Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research Brenda, a  New York Times best-selling author of romantic suspense, runs this auction every year in honor of her youngest son, who has Type 1 Diabetes.  To date, the auction has raised over a million dollars, cumulative, which is phenomenal!  The auction is a registered charity so donations are tax deductible.

Bidding in the auction is a wonderful thing to do in and of itself, but there are also some fabulous items up for bid that are very exciting for readers.  How about coveted Advanced Reader Copies (ARCS) of books by authors like Loretta Chase and Kelley Armstrong?  Or how about a set of autographed books from the wonderful Kieran Kramer?  You really need to check out all the fabulous items, including gorgeous jewelry, and awesome gift baskets by authors like Yasmine Galenorn.

And there’s also lots for you aspiring romance writers out there, including critiques from agents and editors like Laura Bradford, and authors like the fantastic Anna Campbell.

I’ve also donated a critique to Brenda’s auction, and you can bid on it here.  Not to toot my own horn, but I’m really good at this critique stuff!  In fact, last year’s winner of my bid went on to final in this year’s Golden Heart Contest, the prestigious Romance Writers of America award for unpublished authors.

So, what are you waiting for?  Get online and start bidding!

Regency Friday Fun & Awesome Links

I’m guest-blogging today at Book Lovers Inc, talking about why I love the Regency period and giving away a copy of my new anthology, An Invitation To Sin. Stop by and join the fun!  I’ll also be at the Romantic Times blog later today, appearing with the other authors of Sin: Jo Beverley, Sally MacKenzie, and Kaitlin O’Riley.  It’s sure to be a great interview with a swell group of romance writers.  You don’t want to miss it!

As you can imagine, historical romance writers tend to be research geeks.  I have several blogs and websites I visit when looking for just the right bit of research, but two of my favorites are Two Nerdy History Girls and Patrick Baty. Patrick  runs a family paint business called Papers and Paints in Chelsea, London.  He’s an expert in the use of paint and color in historical buildings and has worked in some of the finest structures in England.  Although he specializes in the Georgian era, he’s consulted on projects as diverse as a Tudor garden and a 1950’s concert hall.  His work is simply fantastic and really fun to read about.  Patrick always includes lovely, lush photographs in his blogs, so have a look.

The Two Nerdy History Girls are Loretta Chase and Susan Holloway Scott.  Loretta writes Regency-set historical romance, and is one of my favorite writers of, well, anything.  And Susan writes wonderful historical fiction set in the time of Charles II.  These women know their history inside and out and talk about it in a very down-to-earth, entertaining way, bringing their respective periods to life.  Take my word for it–you’ll love this blog!

I’m heading over to my guest blogs, now.  Hope to see you there!

Breaking Out Of The Box

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I read a lot of historical romance novels.  I love the genre, of course, and have ever since my big sister introduced me to the delights of Georgette Heyer when I was just a tween.  And there are so many historical romance writers to love, monster talents like Loretta Chase, Teresa Medeiros, and Eloisa James, not to mention all the newer talent like Anna Campbell and Meredith Duran. Their books are marvelous reads and, as a writer, I always learn from them.

But sometimes, as both a writer and reader, I need to break out of the box.  It’s important to cross-pollinate ideas and themes – to not get stuck in the rut of doing the same thing over and over again.  I do that by reading other romance sub-genres, other types of fiction, and lots of history.  In doing so, I become a better writer and, I think, a more thoughtful person.

Two new-to-me authors that I’ve just discovered are Kelly Hunter and Meljean Brook.  I recently read a book by Hunter called Red-Hot Renegade, put out by Mills and Boon.

Hunter is really, really good.  Her writing is smart, sexy, and well-crafted, with surprising turns of phrase that, as  an author, had me seething with appreciative envy.  Her characters are engaging and sympathetic, and the emotion is intensely and movingly portrayed.  This book is category length, but Hunter packs a big punch into a shorter book.

Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke made it onto many best book lists of 2010, and rightly so.  It’s a phenomenally creative story that took the Steampunk genre by storm.  One of the things that first attracted me to the book was the riff on the Duke of Wellington’s nickname, the Iron Duke.  When Wellington was Prime Minister, he went through a period of extreme unpopularity.  His house was the target of window-smashers, which compelled him to have iron shutters installed to protect the glass.  In the case of Brook’s hero, the Iron Duke actually has iron in his bones.  That’s just one of the many cool details in the hugely imaginative and thought-provoking alternate reality that Brook creates.  If someone were to lock me in a dungeon and force me to name the best book I read last year, it would probably have to be The Iron Duke. It’s that smart, that thoughtful, and that damn enjoyable.

So, anybody else read something outside her usual box, lately?  Discovered any new-to-you authors that you want to share?