More Stops on the Meet Me at the Beach Tour!


Tired of winter yet? Then join me for several more stops today on the MEET ME AT THE BEACH Release Week Blitz to celebrate the release of my VK Sykes contemporary romance! The first is at The Romance Dish, one of my favorite stops on the web. I’m talking about the inspiration for the book and doing a giveaway. There’s also a lovely review of the book–the gals at TRD really liked it!

Here are the other stops, which include a new excerpt from the book and more chances to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a copy of MEET ME AT THE BEACH.

Mary Gramlich Blogspot

Romance Junkies


And don’t forget that the MEET ME AT THE BEACH facebook party is tonight, from 7 – 9 pm EST. Darcy Burke,  Sheila Athens, Jen Lyon, and Debbie Mason will be joining me for the fun, and we’ll all be giving away prizes.

VK Sykes Grand Prize

Escape the winter doldrums by joining me and hubs tonight at our party! Just click here to RSVP and get the deets.


Guest Author: Pamela Clare & Giveaway!

Today’s featured author is the fantastic Pamela Clare. Pamela, as most of you know, writes both romantic suspense and historical romance, and she’s adept at both.  Her I-Team series, about a group of crack investigative reporters, is enormously popular.  Breaking Point, the fifth book in the series, was named one of the Top 10 romance novels of 2011 by the editors of and readers voted it the Best Romantic Suspense book of 2011 in All About Romance’s annual reader poll, making this the second year in a row she’s won that category.

But today I want to highlight Pamela’s historical romances, which are every bit as exciting as her romantic suspense novels.  Her new release, Defiant, is book three in The MacKinnon Rangers Trilogy, and is set during the conflict known in the United States as the French and Indian War — the war made famous by the film Last of the Mohicans, which starred Daniel Day Lewis.

The trilogy tells the stories of three brothers — Iain, Morgan and Connor MacKinnon — transplanted Highlanders who came to North America as boys when their father was exiled from Scotland. Raised on the frontier, they know several Indian tongues and count themselves kin to the Mahican Indians of Stockbridge. Having learned how to track, fight, and hunt from their Mahican friends, they’re at home in the wilderness.

Defiant is already getting great reviews, including 4 stars from RT Book Reviews and a Blue Ribbon Review from Romance Junkies.  Here’s the blurb from Defiant:

Major Connor MacKinnon despises his commander, Lord William Wentworth, beyond all other men. Ordered to rescue Wentworth’s niece after the Shawnee take her captive, he expects Lady Sarah Woodville to be every bit as contemptible as her uncle. Instead, he finds a brave and beautiful lass in desperate peril. But the only way to free Sarah is for Connor to defeat the Shawnee warrior who kidnapped her—and claim her himself.

Torn by tragedy from her sheltered life in London, Lady Sarah is unprepared for the harshness of the frontier-or for the attraction she feels toward Connor. When they reach civilization, however, it is she who must protect him. For if her uncle knew all that Connor had done to save her, he would surely kill him.

But the flames of passion, once kindled, are difficult to deny. As desire transforms into love, Connor will have to defy an empire to keep Sarah at his side.

This is just the kind of meaty historical I love to read.  If you liked Last of the Mohicans, you will love this book!  As far as I’m concerned there aren’t enough historical romances set in this period of American history, and I’m really glad Pamela helps fill the gap with her wonderful books.

Speaking of movies, Pamela has made the most incredible book trailer for Defiant.  Trust me when I tell you that you’re going to want to watch it.  It’s live action, with the hunkiest guy I’ve seen in a LONG time playing Connor MacKinnon.  You can watch it here on YouTube

Be sure to visit Pamela’s website to learn about all her books, to read excerpts and to catch up on her latest news.  You’ll also want to pop by her blog, which has tons of smart, fun content.

For my readers today, I’m giving away a copy of Defiant and a copy of my first historical romance, Mastering The Marquess.  One person who leaves a comment will win both books.  Let’s talk about historical settings.  Some settings, such as Colonial America, are under-represented in historical romance.  What settings and periods do you wish got more coverage?  Tell us about it for a chance to win!


Guest Author: Miranda Neville & Giveaway!

I’m thrilled that my friend and acclaimed historical romance author Miranda Neville is on the blog with us today.  Miranda writes sexy and witty romances that are rich in history.  Her first book, Never Resist Temptation, was published in 2009 to great reviews, and with each book those fab accolades continue to roll in.  Take, for instance, The Wild Marquis, book one in her Burgundy Club Series.

This is the book that New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James called “sizzling, addictive, and deeply romantic…a joy to read.”

The Wild Marquis received a “Best of 2011” from Dear Author, and Top Picks from Romance Junkies and Night Owl Reviews.

“Filled with secrets, mystery, romance, sizzling love scenes, witty, realistic dialogue, an imaginative plot and charismatic characters, this lighthearted story is captivating.  A riveting novel, I hated to see it end.  Do not miss THE WILD MARQUIS.  It is a keeper!” — 5 ribbons, Romance Junkies

The fourth book in The Burgundy Club Series,Confessions from an Arranged Marriage is now in stores.

As you might guess, it’s already gotten great reviews, including this one from Romance Novel News:

“Fans of historical romance should not miss “Confessions from an Arranged Marriage.” Miranda Neville has crafted a magnificent story with a wonderfully emotional romance and a flawed, yet unforgettable hero. This is a story that will tug on the heartstrings, cause emotional heartbreak, but in the end satisfy on almost every level. “

And here’s the blurb:

They couldn’t be more different, but there’s one thing they agree on.

In London after a two-year exile, Lord Blakeney plans to cut a swathe through the bedchambers of the demimonde. Marriage is not on his agenda, especially to an annoying chit like Minerva Montrose, with her superior attitude and a tendency to get into trouble. And certainly the last man Minerva wants is Blake, a careless wastrel without a thought in his handsome head. 

The heat and noise of her debutante ball give Minerva a migraine. Surely a moment’s rest could do no harm … until Blake mistakes her for another lady, leaving Minerva’s guests to catch them in a very compromising position. To her horror, the scandal will force them to do the unthinkable: marry. Their mutual loathing blazes into unexpected passion but Blake remains distant, desperate to hide a shameful secret. Minerva’s never been a woman to take things lying down, and she’ll let nothing stop her from winning his trust … and his heart.

I don’t know about you, but I love the theme of arranged marriages and marriages of convenience, and this one is sure to please.  And I love Miranda’s books.  If you like intelligent, sexy historical romance, I think you’ll love them too!

For my readers today, Miranda is giving away a copy of Confessions from an Arranged Marriage.  Let’s continue talking about this theme.  What’s your favorite marriage of convenience story, either historical, contemporary, or paranormal?  There are lots of good ones out there, so let’s start listing them!  One person who comments will win a copy of Miranda’s book.



The Naughty List Ladies & Giveaway!

I have a real treat on the blog today:  three fantastic authors for the price of one, and just in time for Christmas!  How is this possible, you might ask?  Well, take a look at today’s featured book.  It’s The Naughty List, a contemporary seasonal anthology with stories by three of my favorite authors, Donna Kauffman, Cynthia Eden, and Susan Fox.  I love Christmas anthologies, and this is a really good one.  It received a 5 blue ribbons review from Romance Junkies, which called it “a perfect feel good book for any time of year.”

Here’s the blurb for The Naughty List:

Naughty But Nice, by Donna Kauffman

Businessman Griffin’s never believed in luck…until sassy-sweet small-town baker Melody turns his world around. Except there’s a catch: There’s no way he’ll be able to build his empire and hold on to her. His new “lucky charm” could destroy all his dreams…or make this Christmas better than he ever imagined possible…

All I Want For Christmas, by Cynthia Eden

Good girl toy inventor Christie takes a walk on the naughty side when she sparks a no-strings fling with Santa—actually, sexy cop Jonas in a Santa suit. She loves her new “bad girl” persona, except as the holidays approach, she starts falling, and hard, for this known’ “love ’em and leave ’em” ladies man…

Tattoos And Mistletoe, by Susan Fox

Charlie returns to her hometown to fix up her aunt’s B&B, but she doesn’t count on LJ handling the renovations. Nerdy LJ pined for her in school, but now he’s grown into the town’s hottest bachelor. Charlie’s been burned before and won’t let him get close. But LJ’s determined to break down her walls and make her dearest Christmas wish come true.

Luckily for my readers, I was able to score an exclusive interview with the authors of this fun Christmas anthology.  Let’s see if we can get to know these ladies a little better!

Donna Kauffman

We all know that writing is hard work. What do you do to fill the creative well?

Donna: In addition to writing full time, my “play job” is freelance teaching arts/craft classes at a local craft shop here in northern Virginia.  My mom owned a craft shop while I was growing up, so it’s something that has always been a part of my life. I love the balance of creating things with my mind…and with my hands.  And teaching others has its own special joys as well.  (Plus it has the added benefit of getting me out around “non-fictional” folks for at least part of my week! 🙂  My other love is hiking.  I live right near the Potomac river and there are many wonderful trails literally in my backyard.  You’ll find me on them for some part of pretty much every day, year round.  I am also close to the Blue Ridge mountains and the Shenandoah Valley and hike there often as well.

Cynthia:  Writing is hard, but, to me, incredibly fun work.  When I need to replenish that creative supply, I talk long walks, watch some great movies (I am big into escapism) or head to the beach. I’m very fortunate because I live just 45 minutes away from the beach—definitely close enough for a creative excursion!

Susan:  The biggest thing for me is reading. I’m addicted! Other than that, I love watching a little TV, getting outside for a walk, exploring nature with my camera, and sharing dinner and a bottle of wine with a good friend. I try to exercise regularly and do my stretches, though that’s more about keeping in decent shape than filling the creative well. Man, I’m a pretty boring person, aren’t I?

Cynthia Eden

When you’re not writing “naughty” stuff, what do you like to read in your down time? Do you read in the genre you’re working in at the time, or does that mess with your head? What’s your favorite type of relaxation read?

Donna:  I read all sorts of things when I’m writing, which is pretty much all the time.  I don’t take any real breaks between books, so if I only read my own genre when I wasn’t writing it, I’d never have the chance to read it again. 🙂  It doesn’t mess with my head at all.  After 20 years in the business, I am very comfortable with my “voice” and feel confident that when I write it’s coming from my own well, and not influenced by anyone else’s work.  However, all reading, in all genres, definitely keeps me well immersed in the variety of storytelling that’s out there.  There are so many author’s voices I truly love and admire, across all genres.  If anything, reading their work only helps me define my voice even better.  You see how distinctly different we all are, and it helps me realize just how distinct and unique my brand of storytelling is.

For relaxation, my favorite kind of book is the kind I write, meaning “feel good” stories.  My editor once described my books as “humor with heart…and a lot of heat!”  Which…I’m good with that!  And that’s what I like when I sit down to read, too.  On my “anxiously awaiting list” is The Next Forever, the first in a new trilogy from Nora Roberts.  She’s been a friend of mine for more than 20 years now, so I am personally attached to this particular series as it’s based on her own Inn BoonsBoro, which I saw come to life in reality over these past couple of years.  I can’t wait to see how she’s brought something so dear to her heart into her fiction.

Cynthia:  I love to read paranormals, romantic suspense tales, and horror novels.  When I’m working on a particular story, I try not to read within that same genre (it just helps me to better distance myself). So I save all of those in-genre reads as rewards for when I finish my story. Once I’m done writing, I dive in for some prime reading time.  And my favourite type of relaxation read? I enjoy funny tales that can take me away.  Funny stories are great for relieving stress!

Susan:  Mainly, I read contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and romantic suspense—and then a smattering of everything else. At least everything else that’s fiction. I’m not much of a non-fiction reader. Give me escapism every time! But I do like to escape with characters and worlds I can relate to, so I’m not big on paranormal. When choosing what I’m going to read next, I like mixing things up. For example, I just read The Help, and now I’m on a gritty Lisa Gardner suspense novel, and I’m sure next it will be a romance. No, it doesn’t mess with my head to read the same kind of thing I’m writing. Reading is entertainment for me. I’m not analytical about it and I don’t compare other authors’ writing to my own. For a pure relaxation read—like to enjoy in a bubble bath at the end of a long day (which is sounding like a very good idea at the time I’m writing this!)—it will usually be romance or a more “lightweight” women’s fiction without a lot of angsty issues. Not that I don’t love those more angsty books, but not when I want pure R&R.

Susan Fox

If you were stranded on a desert island with just the basics for survival and you were allowed only one luxury item, what would it be?

Donna: Mark Harmon. 🙂   If he’s not available (given he’s been married forever to Pam Dawber and all…) then please substitute George Clooney.  He’ll always be single. 🙂

Cynthia:  Chocolate!  Oh, yes, that would definitely be my luxury item. I just can’t live without it!

Susan:  The longest book in the world! But no, I don’t count books as luxury items. For me, they’re necessities. So, how about a very fit, very hot, very smart guy? Or, no, maybe he falls more in the necessity category too. LOL. For pure luxury, I’ll settle for a fountain with an unending supply of chilled pinot grigio wine. Care to join me?

Vanessa, here.  Chocolate, men, and a glass of chilled pinot grigio…I like the way you ladies think!  Thanks so much for joining me on the blog today.  And I can’t wait to read The Naughty List.  Now that I know how y’all think, I know your stories are going to be lots of (naughty) fun!

And for my readers today, we’ll be giving away a copy of The Naughty List.  Just tell me the one luxury item you would bring to a deserted island.  One person who comments will win a copy of this fab book.


Guest Author: Lila Di Pasqua & A Midnight Dance

Today’s guest author is Lila DiPasqua, who writes lush and sexy historical romance with a fairy tale twist.  In fact, she writes “Fiery Tales,” classic fairy tales cleverly reimagined into sensual and sophisticated romances.  The first in her Fiery Tales collection is Awakened by a Kiss, which retells Sleeping Beauty, Puss In Boots, and Little Red Riding Hood.  This debut collection got great reviews, including a 5 star review from The Romance Dish:

“Every now and then a debut author knocks my socks off with her first novel. . . AWAKENED BY A KISS is a magnificent debut!!!! …Purchase it right now!!!” — The Romance Dish

I have to tell you, I love the idea of taking classic fairy tales from our childhood and retelling them as sensual and romantic adult tales.  It’s one of those great high concepts that makes a writer think…damn, I wish I’d thought of that!

Here’s the book trailer for Awakened By A Kiss, which gives you a sense of what these stories are about.


Lila’s second collection of Fiery Tales is The Princess in His Bed, which got phenomenal reviews including this one from Publishers Weekly:   “Ripe with steamy affairs, these lusty stories are hot enough to warm the coldest winter night.”

Wow!  Or steam things up on a hot summer night too, eh?  Romance Junkies gave the collection a coveted 5 ribbon review:

Lila DiPasqua weaves another sumptuous collection. The heroines are ladies in every way, the heroes just rakish enough to be adored… I recommend this to all adult fairytale lovers. – 5 RIBBONS!

For historical romance lovers, what could be more enticing than all those handsome princes from days gone by, coming back to life as sexy romance heroes between the pages of Lila’s books – fun!

Lila has a new book coming out in August. A Midnight Dance is a full-length historical romance, inspired by the tale of Cinderella.

Of all the fairy tales we know, Cinderella is perhaps the most romantic and just perfect for Lila’s unique talents.  Here’s the blurb:

Born into wealth, Sabine Laurent and her twin sister lived a life of luxury, their father’s prestigious theater frequented by royalty and aristocracy alike. And Sabine dreamed of her own prince charming—the devastatingly handsome Jules de Moutier.

That was before the loss of her sister and her family’s fall from grace—a disaster Sabine blames on the Moutier family. Now, with her father’s death, she’s inherited his sizable debt and the responsibility of caring for his spoiled long-time mistress and her two wastrel daughters. But with the help of Sabine’s eccentric friends—the balance of her father’s acting troupe—she plans to get very close to her old infatuation, seduce the rake—and make away with a fortune.

Resisting Jules’s skillful mouth and tantalizing touch is not as easy as Sabine supposed. And soon she must decide whether her desire for vengeance is greater than her desire for her one and only prince…

Doesn’t that sound great?  Jennifer Ashley, the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie would agree:

“A MIDNIGHT DANCE is a fun, spicy, historical romp that’s sure to delight! A lovely twist on the Cinderella fairy tale, with a deliciously dark hero and a heroine who’s more than a match for him.”— Jennifer Ashley, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

A Midnight Dance is available for pre-order on Amazon, and at all your favorite booksellers.  You can find more info about the book, including an excerpt, on Lila’s website.  And while you’re on Lila’s website, be sure to check out her amazing contest for her upcoming blog tour and party.  And here’s another one of Lila’s interesting and totally fun twists – the blog party is being hosted by her husband, and will feature interviews with the husbands of romance writers, including mine!  Yes, DH will be appearing on Lila’s blog on July 21.  Mr. DiPasqua will also be hosting the husbands of Sophie Jordan, Kris Kennedy, Kate Noble, and Kieran Kramer, among many others.  The whole thing sounds like a riot, so you’d best get yourself over to Lila’s blog and check out the details.

Lila has very graciously donated a copy of A Midnight Dance, which I will give away to one person who stops by the blog today or tomorrow morning.  Just tell me what’s your favorite fairy tale, either as a child or as an adult.