Monthly Archives: November 2013

Black Friday Giveaway

Barbara Vey -- November 29th, 2013

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Now I wonder how many of you are out there shopping for Black Friday.  I really don’t have anything I want that badly, but I do check out all of the sales.  I’m saving myself for small business Saturday and I’ve finally seen my first ad for a sale on books.  I did get some audio books on sale yesterday.  They are sold oldies, but goodies and I love listening to books I’ve already read.  It’s like revisiting old friends.

Well, here’s one place you don’t have to spend money today to get some great stuff.  It’s the Black Friday Giveaway.  Authors are giving away free books to anyone commenting about their favorite genre of books.  Do you love romance, fantasy, thrillers, mysteries, sci-fi, contemporary, historical, western, paranormal or something else?  Please include whether you are a US reader or International reader.

Prizes:

Lori Austin – Autographed set of- Beauty and the Bounty Hunter An Outlaw in Wonderland

Tonya Kappes - A GHOSTLY UNDERTAKING signed print copy, Keeper Kase set, and bag full of author swag.

Cynthia D’Alba – 1. Digital copy of Texas Two Step AND Texas Two Step: The Prequel on one person. 2. Bag of swag (postcards, keychain, magnet, jar opener and bookmarks) to one person

Luann McLane –  a copy of Whisper’s Edge and Christmas on Main Street. (2 of each)

Dianna Love –  Signed copy of Kiss The Enemy, book 4 in the Slye Temp romantic suspense series plus a Keeper Kase® loaded with signed cover cards.

Donna MacMeans –  The Casanova Code (2 winners)

J.M. Madden –  2 print book of Embattled Hearts and 2 free download of Embattled Minds. (2 winners)

Siobhan MacKenzie - The entire ‘His Man…’ series to date — includes ‘His Man Friday’, ‘His Man Saturday’, and ‘His Man Sunday’ (3 winners)

Chloe Neill –  BITING COLD, HOUSE RULES, and BITING BAD UK editions plus swag. (3 winners)

Blythe Gifford –  The Witch Finder

Travis Richardson –  Paperback copy of Lost In Clover. (International, 2 winners)

Anna Sugden –  A Perfect Distraction – and Cadbury’s chocolate (2 prize packs, International)

Sheila Roberts –  A set of Sheila books: Better Than Chocolate, What She Wants & Merry Ex-mas (3 winners)

Caren Crane –  Kick Start (Cross Springs, Book 1) e-book (4 winners)

Susan Sey –  TASTE FOR TROUBLE (print or Kindle) KISS THE GIRL (print or Kindle) MONEY, HONEY (print only) MONEY SHOT (print only)

Tawny Weber-  Naughty Christmas Nights (3 winners)

Robyn Peterman –  e-copy Fashionably Dead e-copy How Hard Can It Be? (4 copies of each)

Jeanne Adams –  A Dark and Dangerous Gift package – Deadly Little Secrets, Dark and Deadly, coffee, chocolate and a Starbucks Mug (2 winners)

Sarah Morgan - signed copies of Sleigh Bells in the Snow (2 winners)

 Mark David Gerson – The MoonQuest: The Q’ntana Trilogy, Book I

Cora Cade –  E-book (any format) of Morning Light by Cora Cade (2 winners)

Abigail Keam – Death By A HoneyBee and By Drowning

Joanne Rock –  Advance copy of MY SECRET FANTASIES (Harlequin Blaze, January 2014), the sequel to MY DOUBLE LIFE (5 winners)

 J. K. Rock –  A fun YA contemporary romance, CAMP BOYFRIEND plus book swag including a Camp Boyfriend mini flashlight and friendship bracelet

Evonne Wareham –  Never Coming Home (International)

Tiffinie Helmer –  EDGE 1st book in Romance of the Edge Novel (5 print books US and 5 ebooks International)

Marguerite Kaye - Bundle of two print copies of: Rumors that Ruined a Lady Scandalous Regency Christmas (anthology, currently only available in the UK) box of hand made chocolates and a tea towel to go with each set. (International)

Kay Stockham –  5 audio books of THE CRASH BEFORE CHRISTMAS (5 audio books via audible codes – international must be able to use codes)

Shawntelle Madison –  3 copies of Bitten by Treachery and 3 copies of Bitten by Deceit (6 winners) International

 

Eileen Dreyer –  ONCE A RAKE (3 winners) International

 

Lynn Cahoon –  The Bull Rider’s Brother

 

Jennifer Jakes –  2 eBooks each of RAFE’S REDEMPTION and EDEN’S SIN (International)

 

Tracy Solheim –  Signed copies of my books Game On and Foolish Games.

 

Ava March –  ebook of All In with the Duke (Regency M/M erotic romance), epub format.

 

Vivi Anna –  One ebook copy of Unraveled box set.

International where ebooks can be gifted

 

Tawny Stokes –  Supernatural Six box set, ebook only

International where ebooks can be gifted

 

Jenn LeBlanc - The Rake And The Recluse : REDUX full illustrated ebook (4 Winners) gifted through Amazon, Kindle, or Smashwords wherever gifts can be received.

 

Brenda Novak – Autographed paperback copy of Take Me Home for Christmas (2 winners)

 

Jeannie Lin –  Autographed copy of The Lotus Palace

 

Diane Capri-  Get Back Jack (ebook only)

International where ebooks can be gifted

 

Dana Marton –  DEATHTRAP via Amazon (International)

 

Angie Fox –  Signed copy of My Big Fat Demon Slayer Wedding (print)

 

Monica Murphy-  Print copy of One Week Girlfriend (International)

Vicky Dreiling –  1 complete set of author’s books RTC cards $25 Amazon card

 

Patricia Thayer-  one copy of THE COWBOY SHE COULDN’T FORGET one copy of PROPOSAL AT THE LAZY S RANCH (International)

 

Barbara Bettis –  A copy of my debut medieval romance, SILVERHAWK. (ebook for international winner.)

 

Donna Grant –  signed copy of: Midnight’s Temptation Midnight’s Promise (2 winners International)

 

Kieran Kramer –  SAY YES TO THE DUKE (3 winners)

 

Tracy Garrett –  Trade-size paperback of the Christmas Anthology “Wishing For a Cowboy.” (2 winners)

 

Toni Blake-  Autographed copies of Toni’s holiday book, HOLLY LANE and her classic, THE RED DIARY.

 

Lily Everett -  A Sanctuary Island beach tote, with a signed copy of SANCTUARY ISLAND!

 

Nicky Penttila –  A trade paperback edition of my historical romance, A Note of Scandal, with suitable accompaniments.

 

Lexi Post –  1 Venetian mask made in Italy ebook copy of MASQUE

 

Suzanne Enoch –  Two copies of RULES OF AN ENGAGEMENT signed by the author.

 

Julia London-  A signed copy of THE SEDUCTION OF LADY X.

 

Karen Hawkins-  Signed copy of HOW TO ENTICE AN ENCHANTRESS.

 

Barbara O’Neal-  Signed copy of THE GARDEN OF HAPPY ENDINGS.

 

Collette Cameron-  Highlander’s Hope (ebook) 1 copy The Viscount’s Vow (ebook, International)

 

Lark O’Neal –  An e-book copy of RANDOM, the debut new adult novel from Lark O’Neal. (2 winners)

 

Cheryl Bolen –  Marriage of Inconvenience 2 print copies, Falling for Frederick 1 print copy (3 winners, International) With His Lady’s Assistance 1 ebook (International)

 

Ella Quinn - The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh, 1 (International)

 

Ava Miles –  Nora Roberts Land, 1 ebook (International)

 

Lucy Monroe -  Delicious by Lori Foster, Lucy Monroe & Sarah Title (5 winners, International)

 

Jane Porter –  Signed copies of the Brennan Sisters Trilogy: The Good Woman, The Good Daughter and The Good Wife (3 winners, International)

 

Rektok Ross –  Prodigal, one ebook copy (International)

 

Nancy Naigle - IN FOR A PENNY by Kelsey Browning & Nancy Naigle (eBook) 2 copies OUT OF FOCUS by Nancy Naigle (eBook) 2 copies (4 winners, International)

Winners will be announced on Monday’s blog.

Bottom Line:  I’m spending Black Friday with a warm beverage and a hot book.

Happy Thanksgiving

Barbara Vey -- November 28th, 2013

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been a big deal for my family.  We celebrated at my grandma’s house when I was growing up.  She had a roaster that was built into a stand that had a cabinet below and held the biggest turkeys I’d ever seen.  The smell permeated the house for hours while we peeled potatoes, cleaned vegetables and made whipped cream for the pies.

And the pies.  There would usually be about 14 pies lined up.  Banana, chocolate, pumpkin and cherry.  These were made the day before and grandma would bake the left over crust and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar.  We all wanted to help bake the pies.  No pre-made crust for her.

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The stuffing burst from the turkey, but mom and grandma always made extra to feed our brood of 15.    We would watch the parade on tv, eat for lunch, watch football, play games and eat again.  Of course, we had leftovers for the next week, but that was fine by me.

Now I go to my sister’s house and there will be about 25 of us (not everyone is in town this year).  We will still have turkey, stuffing, vegetables and lots of pie, but one thing is added this year.  My sister asked each of us to bring food for the local food bank.  We’re all happy to do it and it helps us realize how thankful we are for having each other.

What are you thankful for?

Bottom Line:  I’m thankful for the opportunity to know you all through this blog and the love of books we share.

WW Ladies Book Club

Barbara Vey -- November 27th, 2013

This edition of the WW Ladies Book Club is brought to you by joysann.  Here’s what she’s been reading this week.  How about you?  What are you reading now?

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joyce

joysann

The City of Lost Dreams by Magnus FlyteCity of Lost Dreams

Read by joysann

When all mundane treatments fail to cure the terminal illness of her young friend, Pollina, Sarah Weston finds herself chasing mysteries around Vienna following a hint of an alchemical cure, only to find danger and death at every turn. While she searches, her friend Nicholas goes to London seeking the cure as well, even though for him it could mean death.

These characters were introduced in The City of Dark Magic, which was a thrilling, mysterious tale that took place in Prague, and had castles, princes, music, and magic, and this story is an exciting sequel, equally enjoyable. With action and mystery and a touch of romance, I couldn’t put it down, except to tap into my encyclopedia. I liked best all the wonderful historical references to famous people and fascinating places, and the stories behind them, and discovering so much of it is authentic.

 

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joysann

joysann

Christmas Ghosts: A Fiction River Anthology

Read by joysann

Ghost stories can chill and thrill, and can sometimes touch one’s heart, and the stories in this collection can do all of these. Best of all, each is a Romance. A lonely young woman tries to hang on to her family’s isolated farm in The Farewell Gift by Louise Marley, there’s a touch of urban fantasy when a man strives to rescue kidnapped children in Toasted by Mary Jo Putney, a dissolute rock star finds himself confronted with a difficult choice when he’s transported in time to Victorian England in Christmas Follies by Carol Nelson Douglas. Also included are stories by Dean Wesley Smith, Lisa Silverthorne, M.L. Buchman, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Anthea Lawson.

All of these stories were interesting, exciting and romantic, and one even brought me to tears and sniffles in its heart-touching way. It’s a special story that makes me have to put down a book so it can be contemplated for awhile, and that one did (but I won’t say which one).This anthology has me looking into others by Fiction River, for if they are at all like this one, they are worth checking.

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joysann

joysann

Making Over Maris by Sabrina York

Read by joysann

Dumpy, nerdy and brilliant computer geek Jack Maris wants his long-time friend Sara to help him become attractive to women. Strict and bossy Sara agrees if he will follow her commands to the letter, guiding Jack into becoming a man she’s suddenly finding sexy. Jack’s okay with that since he’s only ever wished to be attractive to that one particular woman.

Who knew a makeover could be so erotic? Jack starts out so sweet and goofy, but as he gains more confidence in his physical self, his personality grows as well, until you just love him. Sometimes sweet, sometimes sexy, Making Over Maris is a fun erotic romance that I found very appealing and will read again.

Bottom Line:  Be sure to come by Friday for a special Black Friday Giveaway.

New Releases!

Barbara Vey -- November 26th, 2013

It’s so hard for me to believe that this is Thanksgiving week already, but all I’m hearing about is Black Friday.  Well, don’t forget about small business Saturday.  You’ll have a chance to visit all those independent book stores and other small business so they can be around for a while.  It just wouldn’t be Christmas for me if I wasn’t giving books away.  There’s books for everyone, even if they aren’t big readers.  Andrew asked for an illustration book about fonts and posters and advertisement.  I looked through it and even though I never would have picked it up otherwise, I found it fascinating.  No excuses…go forth and find a special book for everyone on your list.  Here’s some new release suggestions to get you started.

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No Place Like Rome by Julie Moffett (Carina Press)

Take Me Home by Inez Kelley (Carina Press)

Through the Black Veil  by Steve Vera (Carina Press)

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Down Range by Lindsay McKenna (Harlequin)

Wake to Darkness by Maggie Shayne (Harlequin)

Roman Holiday 3: Blindsided by Ruthie Knox (RHPG – Loveswept)

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Shadow Woman by Linda Howard  (RHPG – Ballantine)

Devil In My Arms by Samantha Kane (RHPG – Loveswept)

Edge Of Dawn by Lara Adrian (RHPG- Dell Books)

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The Ninety Days of Genevieve By Lucinda Carrington (Harlequin MIRA)

Definitely Naughty by Jo Leigh (Cosmo Red Hot Reads by Harlequin)

Silverhawk by Barbara Bettis (The Wild Rose Press)

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Twilight With The Infamous Earl by Alexandra Hawkins (St. Martin’s Press)

Just Like Heaven by Lacey Baker (St. Martin’s Press)

Dangerous Seduction by Zoë Archer (St. Martin’s Press)

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Sinister by Lisa JacksonNancy Bush and Rosalind Noonan (Kensington / Zebra)

The Chocolate Heart: An Amour et Chocolat Novel by Laura Florand (Kensington Publishing)

Finally Home: A Hope Springs Novel by Lois Greiman (Kensington Publishing)

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Secrets On Cedar Key: A Cedar Key Novel by Terri DuLong (Kensington Publishing)

Highland Master by Hannah Howell (Kensington / Zebra)

Pushed by Corrine Jackson (Kensington / Kteen)

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The Devil Wears Kilts by Suzanne Enoch (St. Martin’s Press)

Beneath This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas (Forever, Trade Paperback)  (No cover)

Bottom Line:  I’ve finished my Christmas shopping, but luckily books are in season all year long!

Missouri Romance Writers

Barbara Vey -- November 25th, 2013

MORWAbanner4

I was thrilled to spend this weekend with the MORWA writers group.  It really was a twofer since my son and his family live in the area.  I got to spend Friday with the grandkids (they were off of school) and Sunday celebrating my grandson’s 13th birthday with paintball and 14 of his friends.

Maggie Mae Gallagher

Maggie Mae Gallagher

morwa winner

Gina Danna gets her cover immortalized for her first book

Friday evening I got to mix and mingle with the MORWA group at dinner.  We talked books which are my favorite topic.  One of the big questions I always get is if a certain genre is selling.  There certainly is no easy answer to this.  There will always be readers for a variety of genres, but what the big one is or will be is anyone’s guess.  The readers I talk to love a variety of books and most will read almost anything.  They love western, romantic suspense, paranormal, erotica, inspirational, YA, mysteries and historicals.  I might have missed mentioning some, but if you name them, I’m sure there are readers for them.  The tricky part is always getting the readers to find the authors.

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Julie Opdyke receives an award for winning a writing contest

The surprise of the evening was Jade Lee stopping by as she was in town for a book signing.  There’s no lack of conversation or fun when Jade is around.  One of the great parts of these mixers is the variety of writers who attend.  There was a brand new member along with New York Times bestselling authors, published and unpublished authors.  I love how you can talk about anything and everything and still the conversation seem to get back around books.

 

MORWA starts off it’s morning meeting with an optional event, Coffee Talk.  Maggie Mae Gallagher presented a program on what an author’s assistant is and what they can offer authors.  There was much interest in this subject as many writers find themselves strapped for time while trying to write books, raise families, work a full time job and still try to get the word out there on their books.  Many were grateful to know there are options out there to help them succeed.

MORWA Board

MORWA Board: Back row: Ellen Parker, Claudia Shelton, Maggie Sherwood
Front: Pam Trader, Linda Gilman

My portion of the program was on Building Reader Loyalty.  I have an amazing slide show presentation that I was anxious to show them that was developed by my niece, Jenny.  Unfortunately, the projector couldn’t be connected, so I just winged it.  It still went well with the crowded room and we had a terrific discussion about readers, how to reach them and how to keep them.  I was very impressed with the questions and comments from the group.  We talked about Street Teams, connecting with readers, book covers and self publishing.  I loved connecting with this savvy group of enthusiastic writers.

Bottom Line:  Another group to cross off my list as I make my way across the country in my quest to visit every writer group.  January it will be Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale.

GiveawaysfreeStuff

From Marguarite Kaye:  18 of the Harlequin Historical authors get together each year to produce a holiday calendar. We have prizes every day, and a grand prize draw for a kindle fire or tablet.  It all kicks off November 27th.

 

JFK Remembrance

Barbara Vey -- November 22nd, 2013

Profiles in Courage

With all the hype on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, I feel the need to weigh in since I was around at that time.  It was 1963 and I was 12 years old in the 6th grade.

On that eventful day, I was acting as a crossing guard at school and dressed in my Girl Scout uniform.  We were having an assembly in the afternoon and I was to be part of the color guard.  After lunch, I was on my corner when one of the kids I was crossing said President Kennedy was shot.  I yelled at him and said I was going to report him to the principle for spreading such lies (yes, I was a goody two-shoes).

Once we were all back in school, we were taken to the auditorium where teachers were crying and a television set was set up.  The principal told us the president was shot and we all watched it unfold on tv.  Everyone was crying at this point and I remember being so scared.  How could this happen?

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I think it especially hit me hard because I really had a crush on President Kennedy.  He was so handsome, had a beautiful wife and two adorable children.  I had read Profiles in Courage (I still have the book) and PT-109.  JFK had been in Milwaukee and I got to see him in a motorcade down Layton Boulevard.  We had confetti ready to throw, but when he went by I was in awe.  I had never seen a president in person before.

It’s true what they say.  You really do remember exactly what you were doing and what you were wearing on days like that.  It is burned in my memory.

Bottom Line:  I grew up that day and the world changed for me as it did for many others.

New Releases This Week!

Barbara Vey -- November 20th, 2013

I had the luxury of visiting my grandkids this past week.  I don’t see them often, so it’s always a treat for me.  We had an early Christmas and exchanged gifts.  I always give them gift cards for book stores and we make an adventure out of it.  Normally, they see how many books they can get for their money, but it changed a little this year.  Alex, 13, a huge reader, bought a Rubix Cube.  He already mastered the 3×3 and wanted a 4×4.  Lydia, 10, picked out a book, but it’s not what you think.  It was the Dr. Who Encyclopedia.  She also added a Dr. Who bookmark (Keep Calm…I’m the Dr.) and a Dr. Who post it set.  I would have picked out totally different things, but the joy was watching them in the bookstore and enjoying a beverage while they enjoyed their purchases.  Here’s some choices you might make with a gift card.

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Getting Rich by Monique Domovitch (Carina Press)

Finessing the Contessa by Wendy Soliman (Carina Press)

Starting From Scratch by Stacy Gail (Carina Press)

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Menage on 34th Street by Elise Logan and Emily Ryan Davis (Carina Press)

How Sweet It Is by Melissa Brayden (Bold Strokes Books)

Homestead by Radclyffe (Bold Strokes Books)

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Battle of Forces: Sera Toujours by Ali Vali (Bold Strokes Books)

Amor and More: Love Everafter Radclyffe and Stacia Seaman, eds. (Bold Strokes Books)

A Cold Creek Christmas Surprise by Rae Anne Thayne (Harlequin)

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Defiant in the Desert by Sharon Kendrick (Harlequin)

Sugarplum Homecoming by Linda Goodnight  (Harlequin)

Solid Gold Seduction by Zuri Day   (Harlequin)

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Undercover Twin by Lena Diaz  (Harlequin)

The Mighty Quinns: Dex by Kate Hoffman  (Harlequin)

Falling for the Highland Rogue by Ann Lethbridge (Harlequin)

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The Rogue’s Proposal by Jennifer Haymore (Forever, Mass Market)

Along Came Trouble by Erin Kern (Forever, Mass Market)

Last Chance Knit & Stitch by Hope Ramsay  (Forever, Mass Market)

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Tempting the Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon (Forever, Mass Market)

Accidentally Married To…A Vampire? by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff (Forever, Mass Market)

Hitched: Roman Holiday Book 2 by Ruthie Knox  (Random House)

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Hard Target by Kay Thomas (Avon)

The Reunion Lie by Lucy King  (Harlequin) (No cover sent)

Bottom Line:  ”Discovering the ‘impossible’ ending to a new book makes me sick with joy and relief.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk

 

New Releases!

Barbara Vey -- November 12th, 2013

new releases

This past weekend I attended Murder and Mayhem in Muskego.  I’ll be blogging about it tomorrow.  Then Thursday I leave for St. Louis where I’ll be doing a writer’s workshop for the Missouri Romance Writers of America (MORWA).  It will be my last trip for the year and I’m kind of bummed, but not to worry.  In January, I’ll be keynoting for the Seymore Agency Author’s Retreat in Orlando.  But, I have a lot of books to read in the mean time.  Check out the books being released today.

The winner of the Harlequin Christmas books is Anita H.  Please email Anna_Robinson@ harlequin.ca with BHB Winner in the subject line.  Please include your street address.

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Rebel In Silk by Sandra Chastain  RHPG – Loveswept

Sorcerer by Ruth Owen  RHPG – Loveswept

The Widow And The Wildcatter by Fran Baker RHPG – Loveswept

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The Silver Bullet Affair by Sandra Chastain RHPG – Loveswept

Too Hot To Handle by Sandra Chastain RHPG – Loveswept

Star Spangled Bride by Iris Johansen RHPG – Loveswept

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Birthday Girls by Jean Stone RHPG – Loveswept

Roman Holiday 1: Chained by Ruthie Knox RHPG – Loveswept

Yours To Keep by Serena Bell RHPG – Loveswept

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Loving The Earl by Sharon Cullen  RHPG – Loveswept

Slow Ride Home by Leah Braemel (Carina Press)

Improper Arrangements by Julianna Ross (Carina Press)

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All in With the Duke by Ava March (Carina Press)

The Flesh Cartel, #11: Permanent Record by Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau (Riptide Publishing)

Didn’t receive covers  for the following, but they are also being released today.

Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux (Riptide Publishing)

How I Met Your Father by L.B. Gregg (Riptide Publishing)

Long the Mile by Ally Blue (Riptide Publishing)

Bottom Line:  If a reader doesn’t put themselves into the book they are reading, the book isn’t doing it’s job.

More Holiday Books

Barbara Vey -- November 8th, 2013
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Harlequin Christmas gift set.

Here’s our second round of Christmas books and I’m ready to start reading them all.  Hang a wreath, give me a hot beverage, warm afghan, recliner and a good book.  My ingredients for getting in the holiday spirit.

Today Harlequin has sent over a set of Christmas reads to get you in the mood.  There’s even special gift tags.  Just leave a comment and you’re entered.  One winner will be picked.  US and Canada only.

BTW, check out Wednesday’s blog to see if you were a winner from this week’s giveaway.  

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joysann

joysann

A Bride For Christmas by Aileen Fish

Read by joysann

After his many years in the wars against Napoleon, Nash Sinclair is home for good, joining his large, happy extended family for the holidays, thinking maybe it’s time he found a bride and began adding to the many children gathered. His sister-in-law’s lovely sister looks remarkably favorable for many reasons, and he begins a quest to win her heart. But Lady Julianna has long decided she’ll not marry, that she doesn’t need a man to enjoy her quiet life, and Nash will have to slay dragons in order to win her.

A Bride for Christmas is a novella length romance that would be just right between the many tasks of holiday celebrations, like between the cookie baking and the gift wrapping. It’s also charming. The thing I enjoyed most was that there were no bad guys, no dangerous world-shaking conflicts. There is only the sweet, warm desire between two likeable characters and the growing love between them.

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Heidi

Heidi

Plaid Tidings by Mia Marlowetidings_350

 

Read by Heidi

 

Lord Alexander Mallory is not feeling very lucky. While playing cards, he has won a Scottish estate and a hand in marriage. Lucinda MacOwen is secretly thrilled to be able to marry one of the eligible gentlemen in the area. Once they reach the estate, they both realize there is more involved with Bonniebroch than meets the eye. Lord Alexander learns he is the man to destroy the curse, but he will need the strength of Lucinda, to make it to Twelfth Night.

 

I was expecting a different book, with it being a historical romance, but was pleasantly surprised with the paranormal elements. The holidays mixed in with the new marriage of Alexander and Lucinda, made the pages fly by. Definitely a book to enjoy and put you in a holiday “spirit”.

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Joan

Joan

The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby by Carolyn Brown

Read by Joan

When Natalie’s best friend Drew is killed at war, his buddy Lucas continues to communicate with her by e-mail, sharing their grief and telling each other almost everything. Lucas is discharged and he decides to get home early to surprise his family at Christmas. However, Lucas receives the surprise when he arrives home to find Natalie at his ranch with a dead coyote at her feet and a baby on her hip.

‘Tis the season, and Carolyn Brown has once again written a wonderful and romantic Christmas story. The book has everything I like in a romance; animals, good comic-relief characters, and of course, a handsome cowboy, plus a strong woman to match him. Christmas is magical!

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Heidi

Heidi

A Seaside Christmas by Sherryl Woodsaseasidechristmas-3d

 

Read by Heidi

 

Jenny Collins had no desire to return to Chesapeake Shores, until Bree O’Brien made an offer to collaborate with her on a Christmas musical production. Jenny decided maybe now was the right time to face the family her mother married into, and deal with her past. Caleb Green broke Jenny’s heart in a very public way, and wants to make things right with the woman he truly loves. He’s hoping the O’Brien family will help him make all their Christmas wishes come true.

 

The O’Brien family is back, and better than ever!! I admire the way that Sherryl can weave all of the many O’Brien’s into the story, and still have each character have their own identity shine through on the page. This entire story will warmed my heart and was a great kick off to bring me some Christmas spirit.

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DeAnn

DeAnn

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah MorganSleigh Bells

Read by DeAnn

Kayla Green is a British workaholic now in the US.  She hates Christmas and all it involves.  Enter Jackson O’Neil.  His family’s floundering resort has brought him home and he hires Kayla’s PR firm to help bring the tourists in.  He wants her to spend a week at the resort to get the feel of the place and see how best to promote it.  Kayla is thrilled to do it over Christmas where she won’t be surrounded by the holiday spirt.  Unfortunately for her, the O’Neil family is all about the holidays and what family means most to them.

This fish out of water story really connected with me.  To be in an unfamiliar situation and keep trying to pretend you know what you’re doing has happened to me, but seeing it happen to Kayla brought a smile to my face.  Right at the beginning she’s faced with the reality of a winter resort and her high fashion coat and boots are no match for it.  The story zooms on from there.  I want to go to Snow Crystal and meet the fascinating O’Neil family.  Charming, witty and heartwarming, the perfect Christmas book.

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joysann

joysann

A Bluestocking Christmas by Monica Burns

Read by joysann

Commoner librarian Miss Ivy Beecham and Simon, Lord Wycombe, have each been betrayed by the other class, so both are distrustful and wary when they, reluctantly, become acquainted. But neither can deny the attraction between them, and between growing desire and witty literary repartee, they become passionate. When Ivy finds Simon betraying her on Christmas Eve day, she is broken-hearted and rues the day she allowed herself to love a nobleman.

Along with being romantic and sexy, the clever use of quotations from numerous sources makes this story fun. So was the touch of Dickens in relating the tale, appropriate for the season. I was amused by the relationship, touched as each recognized his or her folly, and pleased with the inevitable happily-ever-after.

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Heidi

Heidi

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg  redbird

 

Read by Heidi

 

Oswald Campbell has been given a dismal diagnosis from his doctor, with not much time to live. So Oswald decides to pack up what little he has, and head to Lost River, Alabama for what time he has left, to enjoy the peace and warm climate. There he falls in love with the people who live there, spends time in the one grocery store, and meets a little red bird who charms all those around.

 

My book club chose this story for this year’s December selection, and it was exactly what is needed during the holiday season. It has love, quirky characters, rich descriptive text to capture the surroundings of Lost River, and most of all, a perfect happy ending. My favorite character was Mildred, who loves her romance novels and the book even mentions the RWA. So for this blog, you can’t go wrong with this book to enjoy for the holidays.

 Bottom Line:  The only thing missing in my condo is a fireplace for a cozy reading place and let me tell you, fireplace scented candles are NOT the same thing.

 

GayRomLit Retreat

Barbara Vey -- November 6th, 2013

DS-Spring12 200

Today’s Cub Reporter is Damon Suede.  Damon is the author of the brand new contemporary Bad Idea and his previous novel, Hot Head was #1 in the gay romance genre on Amazon for six straight months. He grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. 

I’ve just come back from the most fabulous con you’ve never heard of. 

Joyfully-Jay-Alexander-Gabriel-Leigh-Ann-Logan

Joyfully-Jay-Alexander-Gabriel-Leigh-Ann-Logan

The GayRomLit Retreat just unleashed its third phenomenal year to a sold-out crowd in Atlanta. And I don’t say sold-out lightly: author spaces for the weekend were snapped up in under six minutes and the entire con was sold out in less than a week…with a waitlist that grew into the hundreds as the retreat approached. GRL has quickly become a must-attend event for a burgeoning community of readers and writers…and gained a rep as one of the most fabulous cons of the year.

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T.A. Chase, Devon Rhodes

T.A. Chase, Devon Rhodes

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GayRomLit describes itself as a gathering for the folks who create and celebrate LGBT romance, and boy is it. In the past few years, gay romance has enjoyed an explosive groundswell in the romance genre and GRL 2013 reflected every bit of that affection, acceptance, and warmth. Events ran the gamut: soirees from black tie soirees to black light disco, porn star jams to tearstained marriage proposals. A blowout across the board!

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For the first time at GRL, things kicked off Wednesday with a pre-retreat convention for writers to kick off the week with some networking and craft-building for the author-types. Co-sponsored by the Rainbow Romance Writers, RWA’s chapter for authors of LGBT romance, the GRL Writers Workshop featured over twenty instructors from within the RRW chapter offering panels and workshops on craft, strategy, and professional development. The editor/agent pitch appointments proved a complete slamdunk and more than few deals got done that day. We broke midday for a groovy keynote luncheon by K.A. Mitchell and wrapped up with a poolside cocktail party in the evening. Established and budding authors alike lauded the workshop as fantastic addition to both GRL and the LGBT romance community; plans are already in the works to bring the workshop back, bigger and better, next year.

 

photo by Madison Parker IMG_2265

Thursday morning, GRL kicked off in earnest. Fans and authors had flown in from all over the world (Australia, Germany, Belgium, Brazil) to join the LGBT romance tribe. By day the GRL Retreat featured author readings, question and answer sessions, and panels focused on subgenres to answer questions from PG to NC-17. The publishers opened up a book room that broke sales records; Dreamspinner alone sold 1200+ books in a couple days. The GRL fun fair offered everything from author scrapbooking to a salacious sidewalk artshow. And of course, the nights featured a variety of parties to satisfy almost any taste.

Gyn Hobbs

Gyn Hobbs (all pictures by Madison Parker)

GRL has a reputation for unforgettable parties and this year we raised the bar. The Thursday night Juke Joint (hosted by Wilde City, Stiff Rain, and Extasy) had a blacklight theme, and about two-thirds of the attendees came in an array of fluorescent costumes and wigs. Friday night was elegant evening wear for Dreamspinner’s Enchanted Evening, and Saturday was Samhain’s sunset cocktails followed by Totally Bound’s masquerade extravaganza, where GRLers got their ghoul on. All three nights featured an after-party in a private bar where, true to GRL spirit, DJs sprang spontaneously out of the crowd and kept people jumping and bumping. The whole GRL tribe generated so much wacky fun energy that each night the go-go dancers or jazz singers or MCs would put on their street clothes and join us for the rest of the night just to hang out till the wee hours.

That’s the thing: a singular openness and warmth drives GayRomLit. No surprises there… LGBT romance breaks down walls, closets, and expectations on the page, and that freedom and acceptance carries over to the general shenanigans whenever we come together as a community. So much of the GRL event is about family and the friendly tribe that seems to spring up around these books, and that carried over into real world contributions.

 Heather Roesberry, Seymour Janes

Heather Roesberry, Seymour Janes

Elisa Rolle, longtime LGBT reviewer and blogger, partnered with the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter to raise over $6000 for two separate charities through her awards contest, and the checks were signed on the ground in Atlanta. One GRL attendee collected knitwear for homeless LGBT youth. Author J.P. Barnaby hosted a phenomenal bodypainting event that raised more money for a local shelter.

As dazzling as the entertainment is each year at GRL, my favorite moments come in the little unexpected meetings and intersections that happen at random. Putting names to faces for the first time, discovering shared favorites or crazy coincidences. Some of my highlights:

  • watching Joyfully Jay greet a PACKED room of excited first-timers for her annual newbie meet-n-greet.
  • sharing a sweaty dance with Devon Rhodes which always gets my convention started right.
  • shamelessly fanboy-ing genre favorite Jordan Castillo Price who proved to be more gracious, gorgeous and brilliant than I could have hoped.
  • getting to eat and dance and joke with the RRW members I only get to see a few times a year. 
  • one of my fans surprising me with a spectacular tattoo from one of my book covers.
  • seeing YA author Michael Chulsky arrive GRL2013 as a GRL virgin and leave with a bushel of new fans and inspirations for about a dozen new projects.

Amaze-balls.

Bottom Line:  If you read LGBT romance then you need to come to Chicago next year for GayRomLit 2014. And if you don’t read LGBT romance, what are you waiting for?

Winner of Southern Magic Giveaway is Jillian Mick.

Winners of New Releases Tuesday are:

Harlequin - Collen C., Kathy Setter, Barbara, Kathy K., Kim

Please email Anna_Robinson @harlequin.ca with BHB winner in the subject line.  Include your mailing address.

Emily March’s Miracle RoadDina S., Blurbette Heidi, Nancy Northcott, Loretta Rogers, Rebecca C., Amy R., Nicole H., Cindy Ulrich, Susan Kay L., M. Bourke, cyclops8, Kari, Marcy Shuler, Elena L., pjpuppymom

Please email barbaravey @gmail.com with BHB winner in the subject line.  Include your mailing address.