Guest Author: Mia Marlowe & Giveaway!!


I’m so happy to have Mia Marlowe featured again on the blog. Not only is she a fellow Kensington author, she’s a fantastic historical romance writer. An award-winning author, Mia writes for several publishers in a variety of historical romance sub-genres, including Regencies, Highland historicals, and in Viking historicals.  Cool!

Mia has a brand new book out called Plaid Tidings. As you might be able to guess from the title, it’s both a Christmas romance and a Highland historical romance. It’s already been getting great reviews, including this stellar one from RT Book Reviews:

“Marlowe has penned a wonderful tale, rich in romance and wit. Replete with memorable characters and a touch of Scottish legend, this well-written romance is both poignant and highly entertaining. Not to be missed by fans of Scottish Regency.” ~4-1/2 Stars


Here’s the blurb for Plaid Tidings:

Christmas in the Highlands…

Not any dashing English lord’s idea of a good time. But now that Lord Alexander Mallory has won a Scottish estate in a hand of cards, he is the unlikely laird of the wild, snowy Bonniebroch. Worse yet, the ancient pile of stones comes with a betrothal. To a fiery red-headed virgin. And a curse.

Alex will have his hands full honoring the first, seducing the second and breaking the third … all by Twelfth Night.

I’ve got this one lined up on my Kindle, and I know it’s going to be great! And here’s something fun–for my readers today, Mia is giving away a digital copy of Plaid to the Bone, the prequel novella to Plaid Tidings. Just tell us what your favorite holiday recipe is–drink or food–for a chance to win a copy of Plaid to the Bone.

Plaid to the Bone



Guest Author: Mia Marlowe & Silk Dreams!!

Silk Dreams

“The lush smell of spices, the soft silk of the harem and the intrigue of court life combines as Marlowe sweeps readers into her novel through picturesque descriptions of medieval Constantinople. She crafts a lavish love story that’s as entertaining as it is epic.”

That’s RT Book Reviews’ description of Mia Marlowe’s new historical romance, Silk Dreams.  Mia is a very talented author of historical romance; Silk Dreams is beautifully written, evocative, and quite wonderfully different.  Here’s the blurb:

Two lost souls, one treacherous city–Is love enough to save them?

In a strange land of flashing swords and swirling silks, spicy aromas and hot breezes that feel like a lover’s breath, Valdis is utterly lost. It’s all so different from her homeland. And the harem she’s forced to enter is so very treacherous.

Her family cast her away for her glimpses of the future and now her visions are turning even more ominous. They foretell the death of the one man who could help her escape-Erik, an exiled Viking who braves the wrath of a kingdom to waken her to passion, one sinful pleasure at a time. Erik and Valdis must play a high-stakes game of power and seduction if they have any hope of living out her . . . Silk Dreams.

Doesn’t that sound awesome?  And I just love the setting of medieval Constantinople.  As much as I adore Regency and Victorian romance, as a reader I sometimes like to go farther afield.  With Mia–who is equally adept with romances in Norse, Regency, or Scottish historical settings–you can’t go wrong with Silk Dreams.  I suggest you visit her website to read an excerpt for yourself–I suspect you’ll agree with me!

For my readers today, Mia is giving away a copy of her three-book anthology, The How To Series.  Just tell me what settings you enjoy in historical romance for a chance to win!

Guest Author: Manda Collins & Giveaway!!


I’m featuring one of my favorite people in the world today.  She’s Manda Collins, and she writes wonderful and witty Regency-set historical romance with a dash of mystery.  Manda’s first series, The Ugly Ducklings, received a great deal of acclaim for its engaging heroines, thoroughly decent heroes, and smart, fun stories.

Happily, Manda has a brand new series, The Wicked Widows.  The first book is called Why Dukes Say I Do, and it’s already received 4-1/2 stars and a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews:

“Witty and smart, Collins’ prose flows smoothly as she merges a charming, compassionate love story with gothic suspense….Add strong pacing and depth of emotion, and there’s no doubt this is a winner.”

Why Dukes Say I Do (5)

Here’s the blurb for Why Dukes Say I Do:

Even in London society—where everyone knows what you did last season—you never know who’s next in line to walk down the aisle…


With her whirlwind social life in London, Lady Isabella Wharton has little interest in the customs of the country. But when her godmother asks her to pay a visit to her bachelor grandson in Yorkshire, Isabella can’t refuse. It behooves her to please the old dowager, since she harbors one of Isabella’s most scandalous secrets. So off she goes to see the newly-titled—and notoriously rustic—Duke of Ormond…


Trevor Carey doesn’t care about what goes on
behind ballroom doors. He is content with the simple life—and isn’t ashamed to admit it to a society flirt like Lady Isabella. But the country air brings out a different side of Isabella—one full of longing and passion. Can her sophistication be hiding a desire for love? When a blackmailer from the city arrives to threaten Isabella, Trevor will shield her from harm—even travel to London. Can the duke tackle the ton on Isabella’s behalf …and manage to keep her all to himself?

Sounds great, doesn’t it?  If you like smart, witty storytelling with a lot of heart–and you haven’t tried one of Manda’s books–then I suggest you get cracking!

And for those of you who loved Manda’s last series, The Ugly Ducklings, you can pick up her recently released novella, The Perks of Being a Beauty, which winds up the series.

Perks of Beign a Beauty

For my readers today, Manda is giving away one copy of Why Dukes Say I Do.  Just tell us who and what are some of your favorite historical authors and books.  One person who comments will win a copy of Manda’s new book!

Guest Author: Lindsay Randall & Giveaway!!

I’m very pleased to welcome historical and paranormal historical romance author Lindsay Randall to the blog today.  She’s published more than a dozen bestselling and award winning novels, and her most recent romance, Phantom, has been named the Reviewers Choice for Best Historical Paranormal Romance by RT Book Reviews magazine.

Lindsay, you sold your first book to a New York publisher when you were only twenty-four.  What was that like, and what genre where you writing in at the time?

Thanks for letting me visit with you at your blog, Vanessa. I’m glad to be here!

That first sale was, in a word, amazing! My parents were avid readers and our home was filled with books, so being able to see one of my own stories on the bookshelves was a real treat.

It was also a watch-what-you-wish-for, because-you-might-just-get-it moment!  Writing was no longer just a passion, but a profession. That was scary. It still is.

My preferred genre then and now is historical romance. I absolutely love history, and I enjoy the challenge of considering how a person’s world view might be shaped by the happenings around them.

Tell us about the books in your To Woo an Heiress series.

I’d love to! This e-book series highlights my favorite traditional Regency stories, all of which are “sweet” love stories filled with adventure.

Each book features an independent heroine who has been deeply influenced (for good or bad) by her father. My own dad was a constant light in my life. He taught me so much and shared so many things with me, so it was fun to create heiresses whose fathers were influential in their lives.

In the first book of the series, LADY LISSA’S LIAISON, Lissa is being pursued by too many suitors, all of whom hunger after her inheritance. In order to avoid them, Lissa plots a pretend liaison with the mercurial Gabriel Gordon, the sixth Earl of Wylde. She begins to panic, though, when Wylde turns the tables on her and makes the pretend liaison a reality!

The second book, MISS MARCIE’S MISCHIEF, is one of my favorites. It is a fun, lighthearted story about Marcie, a runaway heiress, and Cole, a marquis disguised as a coachman. Marcie’s mischievous ways soon melt Cole’s icy heart.

In the third book, A DANGEROUS COURTSHIP, Julian Masters, the seventh Earl of Eve, is determined to uncover the fiends who murdered his family and forced him to the brink of madness. Lady Veronica, founder of the secret Venus Society, is investigating a case that may hold the answers he seeks. Julian vows to shadow her every step until the truth is revealed. But this wounded lord uncovers more than just intrigue with his independent lady.

You also have a paranormal historical romance called Phantom.  What’s it about?

PHANTOM is another favorite of mine and received a Reviewers Choice Award from RT Book Reviews. It’s the story of a man cursed to turn into a soul-stealing phantom every night at midnight and the beautiful healer who helps him fight the evil inside.

The hero, Dax, has been in my head (and my heart!) for a long, long time. I actually got teary-eyed when I learned that he was among RT’s Knights in Shining Armor “who will steal your heart with their courage and sensuality” There are two things I love most about Dax: his sexiness and his absolute love for Robyn.  He’ll do anything for her (and he does!).

What’s up next in Lindsay’s writing world?

More historical romances! I just finished a graduate-level class on eighteenth-century literature, and I am now knee-deep in researching 1700s America. I’m excited to carve out characters that represent all those who helped create our country.

Sounds great, Lindsay!  Readers, Lindsay is happy to give away a print or Kindle copy of Phantom.  Just tell us about your favorite (or scariest!) ghost or horror story to be eligible to win!

Guest Author: Denise Agnew & Giveaway!!

Denise A. Agnew writes suspenseful, edgy, and erotic award-winning novels. RT Book Reviews called her romantic suspense novels “top-notch” and her erotic romance PRIMORDIAL received one of RT’s coveted Top Picks. She also writes cool time travel romance, paranormal romance, and–well, tons of stuff!  She’s obviously a very accomplished and prolific writer.

I’m happy to feature Denise on the blog today, and one of her latest books, Blackout.  Here’s the blurb for this paranormal romance:

The house at the end of the street has always been haunted. When a solar flare challenges the world to remain civilized, one man and one woman will face an evil lying in wait for all who dare enter…

Cassie Kovac has spent the last ten years rebuilding her life after witnessing her abusive husband commit suicide, and surviving a tsunami. She’s vacationing in the high mountain town of Bowmount, Colorado when a solar flare takes out the grid. Fear tears apart the little community, and the only thing standing between her and certain disaster is a man with a cloudy past.

Ex-marine Neal “Griff” Griffin’s life is shadowed in darkness. He won’t talk about his mysterious past. His childhood was marred by the unspeakable, his life spent erasing things too horrible to dare remember. Until he sees Cassie, and primal male instincts to protect come to life. When the world goes to hell, he realizes he’d do anything to protect her.

When Cassie and Griff face the haunted house, they don’t expect the building to come alive with a personality all its own. Fighting against the unknown threatens to rip apart the fabric of their minds, and make their survival and new love one step closer to impossible.

Man, don’t you love a good haunted house story?  Especially when you have a hot ex-Marine to help out! And I love the whole element of an isolated town and a solar flare taking out the electricity grid.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

They settled at a big round table with an umbrella near the back entrance to the resort. Since the umbrella shielded them from direct intense sunlight, she took her hat off and shook her hair out. She felt Griff staring at her, but his sunglasses were so dark she couldn’t see the expression in his eyes. Eager to talk, she unzipped the backpack at her feet and retrieved her sketch pad.

She opened it to the roses, and shoved the pad across the table toward him. “McPhee had a strong reaction to these roses. He asked me where I’d seen them, and I explained that I saw them at the house.”

He drew his sunglasses off and lay them on the table. “I’ll be damned.”


He looked up at her. “When I went down the hill I was curious about the house. I wanted to understand why the roses are blooming one day, dead the next, then alive again.”

She gave him a sardonic smile. “You didn’t just leave because you didn’t want to answer my questions about your past?”

“That too.” He tapped the sketch of the rose with his index finger. “But the roses, the house pulled me there. I went there because I was curious.”

“Not because you feel there’s anything, well, weird about the place?”


“You know.” How could she say this? She decided coming out with the bald truth would work best. “Haunted?”

“You believe in the paranormal?” His tone was laced with disbelief and maybe a tad scorn.

“I’m a skeptic for the most part, but there are things have happened to me that aren’t easy to brush off.”

He stared at her a long time before ducking his gaze to the sketch of the rose bushes. “What makes you think the house is haunted?”

“Why did you want to go back there?” She persisted. “Was it just because you were curious about what we both saw? Or was it because you didn’t want to argue with me?”

He rolled his eyes. “Cripes, Cassie, you are a bulldog on the questions.”

She snorted a laugh. “Yeah, well, so are you.”

He puffed air out between his lips. “Like I already said. I was curious. And before you can ask, no, I don’t believe in the paranormal.”

“Because you’ve never experienced anything you couldn’t explain?”

“I didn’t say that. I figure there’s a logical explanation for everything. Just because we can’t come up with one right now doesn’t mean it’s all woo-woo.”

She shifted in her chair, sinking down farther to get more comfortable. Unfortunately the hard wood didn’t give an inch. “Okay, do you have any theories?”

“Yeah. Someone moved in there since Sunday.”

She sensed he was hiding something again, leaving her in the dark. “What happened when you went down to the house by yourself?”

He kept his gaze on the sketch pad, flipping to the picture of the Point she’d drawn on Sunday and the one she’d drawn today. “Like I said before, I walked down the driveway and checked out the rosebushes. I didn’t see tire tracks, but it looked like they’d been run over.”

“Do you think Dougray did it?”

“I didn’t see him with a car, did you?”

“No.” She drew her hands through her hair, wishing she’d tied it into a ponytail this morning. “Did you see anyone else at the house?”

“Not a soul. I went up to the front door. I didn’t knock.”

When his gaze met hers, she saw confusion within him. “You could have cleared up the mystery of the possessed roses if you talked to the people who’ve moved in.”

“I don’t think anyone was home. The house felt empty. But not.”

That statement threw her. “Okay, now you’re freaking me out. What do you mean by it was empty but it wasn’t?”

He made a sound of contempt down in his throat, a sort of growl. “I don’t know.”

She smiled to take the sting out of her next words. “Sounds woo-woo to me.”

“When I was in the sandbox my instincts kept me from getting my ass shot off on more than one occasion.”


“Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe in instinct. Nothing paranormal about that.”

She almost refuted his statement, but decided if she wanted him to reveal more of his thoughts and past, she couldn’t antagonize him repeatedly. They went quiet for a short time while she sipped at her water.

He closed her sketch pad and tapped the cover with his finger again. “I suggest we just forget McPhee’s problems and weird-assed roses at that house. But I think he’s right. You shouldn’t go back to the Point. Especially not alone.”

A chill rippled just under her skin. “I have no plans to go up there alone, especially when Dougray keeps turning up everywhere I am.”

Satisfaction filled his face, and for the first time in a while, he looked relaxed. “Good.”

Once more the quiet enveloped them. Only the whispers of a light breeze and birds chirping interrupted their quiet.

He stood slowly. “I have an idea. Penny seems like an A-number-one gossip. Maybe she can tell us something about the house.”

She grabbed her pack and water bottle, enthusiastic about his idea. “Now that makes sense. Hey, I think I’m starting to like this little mystery.”

He came around the table and stood close to her. “Don’t get too excited. Little towns like Bowmount are good at keeping secrets when it’s dirty laundry.”

He left her long enough to toss his empty water bottle and hers into the recycle bin nearby, then crossed the short distance to return. As he walked, his powerful male body called to her libido in a way no man had in years. Maybe ever. He was a mystery she might not solve, but that didn’t mean he didn’t continue to intrigue her on several levels. She didn’t like that at all, but she could control sexual urges as well as the next woman.

He stood close again, looking down on her. His gaze was interested, a melting heat that warmed her from the inside out. With him so close and what had happened yet today, her emotions responded. She couldn’t deny the constant tug and retreat within her when this man got close, or when he spoke to her in that low, sexy voice.

“Thank you for coming back from the house. Back to the Point,” she said.

His eyebrows lifted slightly. “You thought I wouldn’t come back?”

“It crossed my mind.”

“I may be a rude bastard, but I’m not that much of a jerk.”

She laughed, genuinely amused by his assessment of himself. “I don’t think you’re that rude.”

His smile faded, his mouth compressed in a stern line. “I should have taken you with me. I wanted to give us both time.”

“I know. But you’re still not going to tell me anything about your past, are you?”

He bit his lower lip for a moment, and her attention caught on his well-cut, masculine mouth. “It’s a complicated past.”

“What do you think will happen if you tell me?”

She watched his face change from certain to uncertain, maybe confusion. “You’ll hate my guts.”

Well, I’m hooked!  And for my readers, Denice will be giving away a digital copy of one of her books – reader’s choice.  Just tell us if you like to read scary books or watch scary movies!  And don’t forget to check out Denise’s website for the scoop on her many books, and for buy links.