I’m doing my regular thing at The Jaunty Quills today, chatting about my recent travels to the Romance Writers of America Conference in The Big Apple. Stop by to check out the fun pictures and also for a chance to win a copy of HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER, my latest book. Click here to join me.


AND I’m running a special giveaway on my facebook page – a signed, print copy of Sophie Jordan’s brand new historical romance. Now THAT is cool! Click here to enter.


Guest Author: Terese Ramin & Giveaway!


I’m very happy to be hosting romantic suspense author Terese Ramin on the blog today.  Terese writes multiple award-winning romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and thrillers.  She has a new book out—let’s find out about that, and ask Terese a few other questions, too!

You won the prestigious Golden Heart Award, sponsored by the Romance Writers of America.  What book was that for and did it launch your career?

I won the Golden Heart Award for the first book I ever completed – Water From The Moon. I had two editors request the book and after six complete revisions of the second half of it (!), it was published. It launched my career in romantic suspense / romantic adventure.

You write romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and thrillers.  Do you prefer one genre to another?

You know, it just depends upon the characters. I love all of the genres I’ve written in, but my writing also seems to go through cycles. I’ve just completed work on a thriller and gone straight into a paranormal romance that feels like it’ll be the best book yet (with writing partner Dawn Johanson). After that I’ve got a historical suspense whose characters are yelling at me to Give Them Their Time. *grin* I love all these personalities and the fact that I can switch gears in a way I never used to be able to. But honestly, suspense is probably the biggest part of any genre I write.

Your latest book is GUARDING GRACE.  What’s it about?

Guarding Grace is about a widowed mom in her early 30s with four kids. Her hero is a 6’4″ US Marshal hunting down a federal witness who left Witness Protection. Mal Kwarles is the sexiest, funniest hero I’ve had the pleasure to write. Just love him. My editor asked for him and I resisted at first. She was right – he arrived full blown on his “Bad to the Bone” classic motorcycle and let me throw everything at him. He just laughed and said “bring it on.” Great fun, loved the romance between him and Grace, who is decidedly feisty herself.

What’s up next in your writing world?

Next…I’m in the completion stages of the first book of a new paranormal series Lords of Light. It’s different than anything I’ve done previously and it’s allowing me to explore aspects of my work that never occurred to me – and working in collaboration with my writing partner is absolutely freeing. We bounce things off one another, come up with story and action points and it’s simply a wonderful experience. The book’s characters are different – a fallen angel / psi-vamp and a human woman with extraordinary gifts she doesn’t know about. It’s set in San Francisco, one of my favorite cities, and is probably the sexiest thing I’ve ever written. I’m really looking forward to exploring the entire series!

Thanks so much for coming on the blog, Terese!  Readers, Terese is graciously giving away three digital copies of Guarding Grace – which sounds totally awesome, by the way.  Just tell us what are some of your favorite romantic suspense or thriller books or TV shows for a chance to win!


Guest Author: Shirley Hailstock & Giveaway!

I’m SO thrilled to have a truly distinguished writer visiting the blog today.  She’s Shirley Hailstock, and she’s the talented author of twenty-nine novels and novellas, including her electronic editions.

Shirley has received numerous awards, including the Waldenbooks Bestselling Romance Award and Romantic Times Magazine’s Career Achievement Award.  Shirley’s books have appeared on Blackboard, Essence Magazine and Library Journal Best Seller Lists.  She’s also a past president of Romance Writers of America. the largest professional writing association in North America.  What a career!  I’m going to turn things over to Shirley, so she can tell us what’s going on in her world.

A Perfect Reading World

The revolution will not be televised, it will be digitized.  It’s a win-win situation and both authors and readers are the victors.  During the many workshops I’ve attended as a writer, I’ve heard that it’s the readers who determine the market.  Yet it’s been the publishers who tell us, romantic suspense is out; no one wants a book with sports heroes; creative people don’t sell; it’s a tight market and your book doesn’t fit.  Well all of those statements are moot now.  As a student, I learned theory, the way it’s supposed to work.  When I began working, I discovered practice was a totally different animal.  And this now true with books.

In the past few years a revolution has been taking place in the publishing industry.  Readers really do have the ability to dictate the market.  And the market has expanded exponentially.  With the introduction of the e-reader and the subsequent reduction in price the masses have embraced the device.  Authors have regained their backlists and begun updating and re-releasing books that were formerly unavailable through any source other than hit-or-miss at a used book store.

Authors, myself included, who three years ago scorned self-published books, have reversed our opinions.  Today we’re playing catch-up and using the Internet to put up both original titles and formerly published print books for which the rights have reverted.  Self-publishing is suddenly our friend.  In the past few months I’ve put up seven books, three original never-before-published titles and four updated re-releases of formerly published print books.

The Internet is both our friend and our enemy.  With the ease of uploading books and the many tutorials available to explain how it’s done, there’s a lot of junk out there.  There is also a serious amount of good stuff, excellent books, favorite authors and up and coming superstars.  As a writer, we know all our stuff is great.  As a reader, you have to decide what you want to read and what you will invest in.  However, I firmly believe the cream rises to the top and books that are well written and tell a great story will find readers.  Like browsing through a book store, the Internet is a different browse platform, but the way readers find good reads remains virtually the same; automatic buys of your favorite authors, word of mouth, author advertising, reviews, browsing for the type of books you like, etc.

All this talk about self-published books is not to say that our large print publishers are out.  We don’t want them out.  We don’t want them to become casualties of the revolution.  We want a fair playing ground that benefits both the author and the reader.  We want books, touchable books, books we can hold and smell and curl up with on a rainy afternoon.  We want books we can loan to friends, introduce to our children or give a place of honor on our keep shelf.

In this homogenous, albeit perfect world, readers can find whatever type of book they want.  If the print market is dictating that regencies have no readers, books about older couples, or beta heroes, westerns, time-travels are not selling, then those readers can check for e-books to satisfy their reading appetite.

So what happens when the revolution ends?  My crystal ball is dark on that subject, but my hope is that we create that perfect world where good storytelling is more important than uploading and where readers can find the books they want to read in whatever medium and whatever market may exist.

The revolution is not being televised.  But in the digital format, it’s coming of age.

I’d like to thank Vanessa for asking me to guest blog.  I mentioned I have eight books in e-format.  I also have twenty-seven books in print format and contracts for more.  The books I’m promoting here and offering as a contest win is Mirror Image.  It’s the story of a woman who looks so much like a famous talk show host (not Oprah) that the two could be sisters.  When an attempted kidnapping of the hostess occurs, the look-alike steps in to replace her.  The shows producer, with plans for his own career, is attracted to the replacement and while he never confuses the two women, he quick to see how a mirror image is not an exact match.

Here’s the e-book blurb:

Aurora Alexander found her doppelganger in the form of talk show hostess Marsha Chambers.  Yet the two of them couldn’t be further apart in personality.  Aurora, a trained psychologist, supports her mother’s nursing home expenses through celebrity impersonation.  Following a less than stellar interview with Marsha Chambers, Aurora is mistaken for Marsha by a kidnapper who attempts to abduct her.  Fighting him off long enough for producer, Duncan West, to scare the man away, Aurora’s life is plunged into danger for the famous face she wears.

Duncan West would like nothing better than to have his connections to the East Coast severed.  He wants to be in Hollywood making feature films, not adhering to the whims of a diva.  But when her look alike appears and he convinces her to stand in for the absent hostess, her life is put in danger and all Duncan instincts to stay away from her are put to the test.  Aurora is tied to the East by a suffering parent.  And Duncan wants to seek his fortune in the West.  Can East and West meet?

Giveaways: A copy of Mirror Image (choice of print or e-format), a Pashmina shawl and a couple of surprise goodies.

Vanessa, here.  Shirley, I agree with everything you say – I think it’s a great time for both readers and writers.  And what a wonderful giveaway!  Books, a beautiful shawl, and some surprises!  Readers, to be eligible for Shirley’s generous giveaway, just leave a comment telling us what you think about the digital revolution.  One person who comments will win the book, the shawl, and the surprise gifts.

And she sure to visit Shirley’s website for a list of all her books.


Guest Author: Kris Kennedy & Giveaway!

Historical romance fans, don’t you just love a good, juicy medieval romance?  I do, which is why I’m particularly delighted to be featuring one of today’s best medieval romance authors on my blog.  She’s Kris Kennedy, and she writes sweeping, adventurous and very sexy historical romance.

Kris burst onto the romance writing scene when she won the prestigious Golden Heart Award from the Romance Writers of America.  Her first published book was The Conqueror, put out by Kensington Publishing, which received great reviews and was a Recommended  Read from the influential romance blogger, Dear Author.

Her second book, The Irish Warrior, which was her Golden Heart manuscript, came out in 2010 to a whole boatload of acclaim.

And I do mean boatload!  The Irish Warrior ended up on numerous top ten lists for the year – including The Romance Dish, Wendy the Super Librarian, and The Book Binge.  It was a Desert Island Keeper from All About Romance and a Fresh Pick from Fresh Fiction.  Whew!  I’ve read every one of Kris’ books and I can tell you that the accolades are well deserved.

Luckily for her readers, Kris has a brand new book out.  It’s called Deception, and it’s awesome (yep, I got to read this one early, too!).  As expected, the reviews are great and the book has already earned a coveted 4-1/2 stars from RT Book Reviews and a Top Pick from Night Owl Reviews.

Now, Deception is not just the same old thing, and that’s one of it’s many strengths.  Here’s how Kris explains her new book:

Deception isn’t your typical medieval romance.  It’s less about knights and chases across the countryside, and more about cons.  And dirty money.  And the powerful men who want it, and what they’ll do to get it. 

And of course, the person who will risk everything to stop them.

Oh, and Sexytimes.  Lots of that.

I can vouch for the sexy times, folks!  And I loved the fact that it was a medieval caper – one with a super cool and very hot hero.  Here’s the blurb for Deception:

A dashing con man

Breaking and entering to reclaim her corrupt late father’s ledger comes surprisingly easily to Sophia Darnly. But is it mere coincidence that her misdeed unexpectedly reunites her with Kier, the outlaw lover who abandoned her years ago?

A lady skilled in trickery

Time has not erased Sophia from Kier’s heart, nor tamed her fiery spirit. She boldly insinuates herself into his plans. But Kier is on a mission of revenge, and can’t allow even the woman he once loved to stop him.

A game that could get them both killed

The danger mounts as they lure the leader of a powerful consortium who needs the fabled Darnly ledger—and all its damning details about the wealthiest merchants of England— to execute his nefarious plan. Their rekindled passion burns hot, but when they discover they too are the targets of a deadly deception, the fate of their love, and of England itself, lies in the balance.

Seriously, folks.  If you love intrigue, adventure, and a smart heroine and a sexy hero, this is the book for you!  No one writes medieval romance quite like Kris Kennedy.

For my readers today, Kris is giving away copies of her previous books, Defiant and The Irish Warrior.  Let’s talk about thrillers and capers.  What’s your favorite thriller or caper TV show, movie or book?  Robin HoodMission Impossible?  Let us know for a chance to win one of Kris’ fabulous books!

And don’t forget to visit Kris’ website to read excerpts from all her books and for samples of her many reviews!

Guest Author: Cheryl Bolen And The Return of the Sweet Regency

I’m so pleased to have historical romance author Cheryl Bolen guest-blogging with us today.  Cheryl’s first book was published 1998, and she’s been writing wonderful, award-winning Regency romances ever since.  Remember all those great traditional Regencies we used to love to read but publishers decided they didn’t like to publish?  Well, Cheryl is here to tell us what happened to them.

Take it away, Cheryl!

Sweet Regencies Return

The axiom that everything in publishing is cyclical has never been more evident than in the recent proliferation of “traditional” Regency romances sitting at the top of ebook bestseller lists.

When I joined Romance Writers of America in 1993, almost every romance publishing house was looking to acquire Regency romances. The two most successful of these houses were the Signet Regencies and the Zebra Regencies published by Kensington. These books were fairly short, comparable in size to the old category romance line of Harlequin Romance and just as sweet as that line.

During the 1990s especially, the book clubs at these publishing houses had a large list of subscribers for these Regencies.

Unfortunately for the authors of the books, the advances publishers paid were low—hence, the need to keep luring new authors.

It was also during the 1990s that the success of the longer, sexier Regency historical exploded, and many authors—like still-perennial bestseller Mary Balogh, who started her career writing wonderful Signet Regencies—jumped ship. Others like Mary Jo Putney and Candice Hern followed.

As the reader’s taste for the juicier, meatier book increased, sales of the sweet Regencies decreased. One by one, the publishers, such as Fawcett, started dropping their Regency line. Signet and Zebra Regencies limped into the new millennium, determined to keep their lines viable. Around 2004, both houses—by then suffering diminished print runs—revamped their covers in an effort to look less old-timey. In 2005 Zebra produced some dynamic covers for its Regency imprint (check Victoria Hinshaw’s Ask Jane), but it was not enough to overcome lagging sales. By the next year, no mass market paperback Regencies were being published.

What a difference seven more years made. By 2011, many, many readers who could no longer purchase their sweet Regency love stories in bookstores turned to reading devices like Kindle, Nook, and I-Pad and started downloading ebook reissues of out-of-print Regency romances. Former Signet authors Candice Hern and Elena Greene and former Zebra authors Shannon Donnelly and Mary Kingsley had multiple number one bestsellers in the Amazon Kindle Store in historical romance.

Many other “sweet” Regency originals made it to number one on Amazon, including my own The Earl’s Bargain, Christmas at Farley Manor, and His Lordship’s Vow. (I had published steamier Regencies in mass market paperback, but I like the sweeter stories just as well.)

Former Zebra author (and Rita winner) Alicia Rasley is now bringing back all her Regencies, and many more, like Hinshaw, are making plans to reissue theirs. (Sometimes getting back an author’s rights from the publisher can be an arduous process. And when we do get them, we don’t own the original covers.)

The beauty of ebooks is that there’s no competition for shelf space; therefore, there is room for books to suit all reading tastes. And those tastes seem to have come full circle over the last two decades.

Cheryl Bolen in the award-winning, bestselling author of both sweet and sexy Regencies. Her July release is Book 2 in her romantic, light-hearted Regent Mysteries series. Titled A Most Discreet Inquiry, it could be described as “sweet.”

Vanessa, here.  Cheryl, thanks so much for being with us today.  And I’d like to encourage readers to stop by your website for details on all your books, including buy links and excerpts.

News Flash!  Cheryl is giving away a copy of one of her books.  Just leave a comment for a chance it win a copy of One Golden Ring, which won the prestigious Holt Medallion.