Tag Archives: Cathy Maxwell

What the Author Recommends…

Barbara Vey -- September 12th, 2013

Hank Phillippi Ryan and Greg

I always get excited when an author comes to town.  Now that I know a few, when it’s someone I know well, I love to be able to introduce them to their most avid fan.  That’s why I headed over to the Mystery One Bookstore on Milwaukee’s east side to see Hank Phillippi Ryan with Heidi (one of the WW Ladies).  Hank is on a whirlwind book tour for The Wrong Girl and Heidi couldn’t wait to get her hands on a copy after reading Hank’s last book.  Just something very special about connecting that one reader with the one author who has made a lasting impression.  While we were at the store, Greg strolled in for a fantasy book, but after Heather’s glowing review of Hank’s book, Greg ended up buying the book.  Every author needs these kind of fans.

-3 -2

As a special treat, the Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author and investigative TV reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan is giving away a terrific gift.  Hank’s to-die-for prize package: two BOSTON STRONG T-shirts, a signed copy of the Mary Higgins Clark award-winning novel, THE OTHER WOMAN—and a signed copy of THE WRONG GIRL, all tucked into a special tote. Just leave the comment, “The Wrong Girl” for a chance to win.  I’ll post the winner tomorrow.

Now, on to the author recommendations of the week.authorsrecommendingbooks




StolenSharon Sala recommends Stolen by Allison Brennan.  It is another great Second HandLucy Kinkaid novel and one to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Jade Lee recommends Second Hand by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton.  A delightful m/m book that came alive for me. Two guys who felt real. I never thought I could get into m/m but this book  showed me how absolutely real love between two men can feel.

The Devils Heart
th_0671003364C.H. Admirand recommends Ransom by Julie Garwood (Historical Romance). It is one of my favorite books to re-read with a braw Scottish Laird and a strong Englishwoman. I confess, I have all of Ms. Garwood’s books :)

Anne Elizabeth recommends Cathy Maxwell’s The Devil’s Heart: The Chattan Curse.  Maxwell’s heroine is a strong woman with the ability to rise above life’s challenges while still celebrating the beauty of falling in love.

THE RUIN OF A ROGUEElla Quinn whole heartedly recommends Miranda Neville’s Ruin of a Phantom WolfRouge. The chemistry between Marcus and Ann, the witty dialogue, and the love scenes blew me away.

Kathleen Pickering would like to recommend Bonnie Vanak’s latest Nocturne, Phantom Wolf.  Bonnie has a knack for writing sexy, exciting romances wrapped around intrigue.  Her unique touch to paranormal mystique creates heroes and heroines you can’t forget.  I love reading Bonnie’ books and eagerly await each one’s release.

Bottom Line:  Today is Video Games Day.  I say replace it with You Can’t Play a Game Until You Read a Book Day!

Australian Romance Readers Association

Barbara Vey -- March 7th, 2013
Cathy Maxwell

Cathy Maxwell

The blog today is brought to you by Cub Reporter, Cathy Maxwell.  Cathy is a New York Times Bestselling author of historical novels.  She’s here today to tell us about visiting the Down Under for the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) conference in Brisbane.


Dateline:   Brisbane, Australia

By Cathy Maxwell


I love writing that tagline.

I love Australia.  These are my people.  Buoyant, generous, intelligent—what is not to like?

arra booksigning

They are also great readers.  Like I said, these are my kind of folks.

Don’t underestimate the statement that they are great readers.  A mass market paperback sells for $30.  You must really enjoy reading to throw around that type of money.  Then again, a tube of Revlon lipstick can go for $30 as well.  (I would choose the book.)

Fortunately, there is the internet.  The owners of online Booktopia try to match US prices for books and said that when they opened their virtual doors a few years ago, romance readers were the customers who came flocking.  Today, 70% of Booktopia’s sales come from romance.

Writers from L-R  Keri Arthur, J Scott, Rachel Johns, and Anne Gracie

Writers from L-R Keri Arthur, J Scott, Rachel Johns, and Anne Gracie

I made my journey Down Under for the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) conference in Brisbane.  I enjoy traveling to meet other readers and writers.  Attending a conference like this one gives me a ready-made connection with the locals and ARRA is an impressive group.  They have been in existence only six years but they have already changed the landscape of the romance genre in Australia.  Before, booksellers often edited their stock, leaving romance out.  Remember those days in the States?  Infuriating.

However, now, thanks to their efforts, the book industry is waking to the buying power of romance readers and giving this genre we all love a grudging respect.  And why should they not?  ARRA is an industrious group.  Besides the conference, ARRA delegates (members) maintain a website and message boards plus organize and host their own annual award ceremony for books.  Book titles are nominated by and voted on by delegates.  You’ll find just as many US authors as Australian amongst the nominees.  But what is important is that their lists of nominees offers a quick, unfettered poll of reader opinion and, trust me, the delegates don’t hold back on opinions.  They are discerning readers with high expectations.

So, who won the ARRA awards?  I’m glad you asked—


Australian Romance Readers Award Winners for 2012


Favorite Paranormal Romance—


Favorite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance—


Favorite Short Category Romance—


Favorite Historical Romance—


Favorite Contemporary Romance—

JILTED—Rachel Johns

Favorite Erotic Romance


Favorite Romantic Suspense

DEAD HEAT—Bronwyn Parry

Favorite Continuing Romance Series


Favorite Australian Romance Author

Anna Campbell



Members’ Choice Awards 2012 (The fun categories)


Best First Meeting Between Couple


Best Love Scene


Favorite Cover


(Anna had a very good night!)


Bottom Line:  Yes, I know, I need to get my passport so I can go to this wonderful event!

WW Ladies/Men Book Club

Barbara Vey -- January 23rd, 2013

We all grow up with warnings from our mothers, “Don’t swim after eating, you’ll drown, ” Don’t go outside with your hair wet, you’ll catch a cold,” “Feed a cold, starve a fever.”  Well, they’re all myths, but I didn’t know this one, “Reading in dim lighting will make you go blind.”  While I didn’t think it would make you go blind, I did think it affected your eyesight.  Myth.  It can give you headaches and strain your eyes, but that’s about it.  Personally, I don’t need the headaches, so I stick with nice, bright lighting when I read.





Beyond the Night by Joss Ware

Read by joysann

After an earthquake, or something, Elliott and his companions emerge from their cave explorations to discover that the cataclysm impacted the whole world and, in fact, all of society. Even worse, fifty years have passed and everything they’ve ever known is gone. They are drawn to a city called Envy, and there Elliott finds a woman called Jade and a reason to continue living.

I’m delighted to have found this book because it’s starting me on a new adventure that I’m sure to enjoy in the next five books (#6 comes out in March). Suspenseful, exciting, mysterious and romantic, I couldn’t stop turning pages till I finished. I could easily get stuck in a reading marathon, getting little else done.




Discretion by Allison Leotta

Read by Heidi

Assistant US Attorney Anna Curtis is given the chance of a lifetime to handle the biggest high-profile case of her career: the death of Caroline McBride. Caroline, the highest paid escort in Washington DC plummets to her death off the balcony at the US Capitol. Anna is teamed up with the FBI to investigate the death and powerful elected officials. Anna is also teamed up with chief homicide prosecutor, Jack Bailey, who she is also secretly dating and doesn’t want that relationship exposed. Shocking twists and turns happen that lead Anna and her team on a chase that puts everyone in jeopardy.

I have been a fan legal thrillers most of my reading adult life. It takes a lot to surprise me and engross me, and this book did BOTH! I couldn’t put this book down, and when I was at the end, I couldn’t believe it. And just when you think you have all the answers, BOOM! Another twist to make me say out loud, “MAN, that was a great book!”




Lyon’s Bride by Cathy Maxwell

Read by Ashley

Lord Lyon is proud, decisive and cursed. If he falls in love he dies,  part of an old Chattan family male curse.  The problem is Lord Lyon needs an heir, so he hopes he can marry and have a son without loving the women. Then just maybe this will break the ancient curse.  But then the brilliant matchmaker Thea, who is given the task of finding an unlovable bride for the Lord, enters his life and both of them start to remember feelings best that complicate everything.

A magnificent read with touching emotions and sizzling sensuality Lyon’s Bride is an excellent start to a new trilogy, I can’t wait to read the next book “The Scottish Witch”.




Tiger’s Eye by Barbra Annino

Listened to by joysann

Since her father died and her mother left, Stacy Justice has refused to participate in her grandmother’s and her sisters’ (the locally infamous Geraghty girls) rituals of witchy magic. But when, after all these years, Stacy is tipped that her father’s death was not an accident but murder, she inexpertly starts using her magical inheritance to find who is responsible.

This is the third book in the Stacy Justice series, and the continuing mysteries are quite fun and charming. Written humorously with clever dialogue, it translates in an entertaining audiobook, courtesy of narrator Amy Rubinate. I enjoyed the books one after the other, and look forward to the next for a few light, easy hours listening.


Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, Narrated by Paul Michael (Audio)

Listened to by Joe

Anton, an Other on the side of the Light, is a night-watchman, patrolling the streets and Metro of the city as he protects ordinary people from the vampires of the Dark. On his rounds, Anton comes across a young woman, Svetlana, whom he realizes is under a curse that threatens the entire city, and a boy, Igor, a young Other, as yet unaware of his own enormous power. Partnered by Olga, an Other who is in the form of an owl, he struggles to remove the curse and thereby save the city, while at the same time prevent Igor from falling into the clutches of the Dark.

The book is a political thriller mixed into a supernatural world. A cold war existing between the sides of Light and Dark. A strong read all on its own. In audiobook one must also look at the narrator. In this instance it is more narrator than voice actor, but a solid piece of narration. While I tend to favor the voice acting side of audiobooks more, I will always listen to a book read by a solid narrator, and Paul Michael has a long list of work that speaks volumes before you even hit play. An excellent example of a good book recorded into a strong audiobook.



Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Read by Jean

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only wizardly detective, is back from the dead. Good news, except for the fact that he’s now in bondage to one bad-ass queen of faery. Mab wants him to kill for her, and kill, not just anyone, but an immortal. The problem is, someone is lying, and Harry must discover the truth, not only so he doesn’t kill an innocent, but before dark forces put a Chicago-sized hole in the earth. But when Harry does find out what’s going in, it only makes things worse…

I admit Jim Butcher is one of my few autobuys. I love magic, adventure, mystery and sparkling wit, and Butcher has them all. I’m in awe of how he ramps up tension and stakes–just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they went straight to hell. I also love the recurring staunch friends and allies and how I, like Dresden, can count on them in dark moments. I finished the story well-satisfied but I’m already wishing for the next book!

Bottom Line:  Today is National Pie Day…I’ll have coconut cream, please.

WisRWA: A Rousing Success

Barbara Vey -- May 18th, 2010
WisRWA Rita Nominees Mary Brady and Helen Brenna

WisRWA Rita Nominees Mary Brady and Helen Brenna

I noticed that Saturday morning everyone was down at breakfast by 7:30 a.m.  Sunday it was more like 8:30 a.m.  Which, obviously, means that the Saturday night party was a complete success.  It was a much more subdued group that met up before the first workshop.

Lori Handeland started things off by talking about the Secret Handshake.  There’s no magic pill to writing a successful book.  Hard work and motivation.

I was up next with my Social Media workshop.  We had a lively discussion with lots of great ideas and some horror stories about getting started and staying out of trouble online without wasting a lot of time doing it.  The group seemed pretty optimistic about trying some new things and that always makes me feel like the talk was successful.

Emma Robuck, Annette J. DeFoe, Maggie Rivers, James Seloover, Berinn Rae, Jordyn Meryl

Iowa was represented by it’s new chapter, less than 1 year old.  The six members wore t-shirts proclaiming their alligience.

Cathy Maxwell led the last workshop of the conference, Love Your Writing.  She has three maxims, Find Role Models, Set Goals and Focus on Strengths.  Cathy had the crowd ready to go home and put all of her practical applications to the test.

Volunteers and Betsy's Minions

Volunteers and Betsy's Minions

By noon it was all over, but the consensus was that WisRWA was a complete success and plans were already underway for next year’s conference to be held at the same place the first weekend in June.  Betsy Norman was the woman of the hour as conference coordinator as her minions heaped words of praise on her.

Bottom Line: Mark your calendars because I know for sure I’ll be going…cotton candy, brats, popcorn machine…it doesn’t take much to entice me.

WisRWA: Write Touch Conference

Barbara Vey -- May 16th, 2010
Mary Jo Putney and Cathy Maxwell

Mary Jo Putney and Cathy Maxwell

What a great hotel for the Wisconsin Romance Writers’ Conference.  First they had free cocktail hour Friday night (white wine spritzer for me) and Saturday morning a a cooked to order free breakfast and buffet.  I may never go home.

The workshop sessions started with Mary Jo Putney who talked about how stories mattered.  She said, “The best time to be a writer is when you’ve just sent in a book.  Then you have about a week to rest.  And went on to say, “Women read romance for the sizzle.  Life is chaotic, it’s nice to go into a book where everything works out.”

Ana Leigh

Ana Leigh

The Awards Luncheon featured tailgate party fare with brats, hamburgers, salad, pickles and all the fixings. The winners from the Fab 5 contest were recognized  and WisRWA paid special tribute to author Ana Leigh by giving her their first Lifetime Achievement Award.  Ana has written 31 books in 28 years.  Being hailed a long time mentor, Ana insisted that she was the student and the other members were the teachers, keeping her young.  She attributes her gray hair, drooping eyes and body falling about on the fact that she hasn’t been able to attend an RWA meeting in several years.

Cathy Maxwell told the group attending her Voice Your Writing Personality workshop that voice has to do with personality.  The voices move around in your head and you need to put it on paper so everyone can see and hear what you want them to.

Keeping with the midwestern flavor, the afternoon snack was all about State Fair with cotton candy, popcorn, soda and cream puffs.  The only thing missing were the farm animals, which was ok by me.

Literacy Booksigning

Literacy Booksigning

The literacy signing was held in the lobby of the hotel, right next to a wedding’s cocktail hour.  It was also right next to the bar for happy hour which brought hotel guests right to the authors.  Pretty clever.

Everyone broke off for dinner on their own in groups.  We went to Champps and it was packed as fans watched the Brewer game on the many TVs covering every inch of wall space in there.  Unfortunately, they lost.  But the management then announced that WisRWA was in the house and so was New York Times Bestselling Author Cathy Maxwell, who stood up and took a bow.  Then the male waiters came around with lon stemmed red roses for all of the writers (and they even gave me one).  It was a beautiful sight.

The night ended with a party in the Hospitality Suite that featured brandy slushes, appetizers, snacks and homemade desserts.  I was particularly fond of the butter cookies dipped in chocolate.

Bottom Line: I’m still paying for the mistake of dipping my shrimp in hot sauce that looked exactly like shrimp sauce.

WisRWA: Love is Brewing in Milwaukee

Barbara Vey -- May 15th, 2010

Abby meets Fabio and goes for the abs

I checked in early to the Wisconsin Romance Writers Conference because I love meeting people when they first come in.  Everyone is so happy to be there among their own kind.  Families do not always understand the connection that authors/editors/agents have with books.  There’s just some kind of magic that happens when they all get together and speak a language all their own.  Almost like a family reunion…just a different kind of family.

Lucky for me I ran into Amy because I totally forgot my make-up.  Not that I wear a lot, but enough that I don’t look like a ghost on pictures.  So Amy ran me to Walgreens which was just a block away (and really, isn’t there a Walgreens on almost every corner?).  Once we got in there, it didn’t stop with the make-up.  I forgot my curling iron (on sale for $7.99) and a travel hair spray and deodorant (and you can never have too much deodorant).  Then we found we need a 12 pack of Diet Coke because, I’m sorry, but 2 bucks for a 12 ounce can is way beyond my sensibilities and besides, there’s a refridgerator in my suite (along with a microwave).  I think I’ll just move in here, especially with the maid service.

Once we got back to the hotel, I caught up with conference speaker Cathy Maxwell and Avon Editor Tessa Woodward.  We ran over to Champs (a sports bar/restaurant) and bonded over books, baseball and blogs.

Scott Egan, Victoria Curran, Natalie Fischer, Tessa Woodward

Scott Egan, Victoria Curran, Natalie Fischer, Tessa Woodward

The agent/editor panel was packed as they were grilled about all things publishing.  Harlequin SuperRomance Editor Victoria Curran said the only thing she didn’t want to see was the death of a kitten or puppy and feels chick lit is dead.  Natalie Fischer of the Sandra Dykstra Literary Agency, on the other hand, feels that chick lit is grown up and in their 30′s.  Looking for paranormal and fun, new contemporary, especially with a home town feel is Tessa Woodward of Avon.  Scott Egan of the Greyhaus Literary Agency is not a fan of angels and demons when they are just remakes of vampires and werewolves.  He’s looking for something unique and different and says contemporaries are not dead.  The most questions revolved around e-books and how they are affecting the market.  The consensus was that e-books are great, but regular books will be around for a long time.

Ian Day, Vince Milewski, Mark Allen, Fabio, Dave Berger, Dave Sparks, Lyle Crawford Maryniak

Ian Day, Vince Milewski, Mark Allen, Fabio, Dave Berger, Dave Sparks, Lyle Crawford Maryniak

Afterward, it was time for the Dessert Reception.  Kilt clad ambassadors sold raffle tickets and posed for pictures.  Scotland native Ian Day entertained the crowd with several Scottish songs.  Once again, I didn’t win a basket, but they are giving away more tomorrow.  I can always hope.

Bottom Line: With all the money I’ve spent on raffle tickets, I could have bought all the things in the baskets by now…but then again, the money does go to charity.