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Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week of November 3, 2013

3 Nov

Upcoming Books and New Releases

I think Tessa Bailey is one of contemporary romance’s hottest new writers, so I’m tapping my pretty foot waiting for the next book in her awesome Line of Duty series to come out. Thankfully Asking for Trouble will be published on November 25th (during my Thanksgiving Break, yay!!!) and features the couple I have been waiting to see. Since Brent and Hayden’s two best friends are head over heels in love they can’t help seeing a lot of each other, even though each rubs the other the wrong way. Hayden’s got a host of trouble coming from her Park Avenue family who are looking to have her get married to a rich and influential man and the rough and tumble cop who pushes her buttons is also um…pushing her buttons. After a taste of each other, Brent is determined to not let go, but Hayden wonders how on earth this hot affair could have a happy ending?

Grace Burrowes announced the final installment of the MacGregor Trilogy, The MacGregor’s Lady, will come out February 4, 2014. I love it that she dabbles with American heiresses thrown together with the aristocracy, in this case, a brooding Scottish earl mourning his secret wife who has died. When he’s forced to show a beautiful Bostonian the sights it’s the last thing he wants but he’s shocked to find she’s even less interested. Hannah Cooper simply wants her visit to end (minus a new ring on her left hand) so she can get home to prevent her stepfather from putting forth his own agenda with her family. When both are stranded on the moors, family difficulties and past loves dissolve in the heat of the passion between them.

May I point out that not only is the next book in Kristen Callihan’s awesome Darkest London series, Shadowdance, due out on December 17th, but that the paperback version of it is currently marked down to $4.80 on Amazon? Mary Chase has had a difficult life but her work for the Society of the Suppression of Supernaturals gives her a great deal of purpose, particularly chasing down a murderer loose on London’s streets. But when she’s forced to work with her most antagonistic rival, Jack Talent, she can tell that the last thing he wants is her as a partner. Yet as they spend time together both their pasts are revealed, drawing them together, that is if Jack can face the demons of his past and embrace a future with the woman who might just be perfect for him.

The latest book in Toni Aleo, Assassins series (an ice hockey team, not a romantic suspense series!) will be out on December 9th, so sports romance fans should pre-order Blue LinesThis addition features Aleo’s signature playboy hero who has the hottest one-night stand of his life only to have that same woman end up on his doorstep with a positive pregnancy test two months later. At only $2.99 for the Kindle edition, it’s a bargain!

Contests and Giveaways

I love it when Harlequin bundles its books into one package and this wintery duo has me wanting to curl up in front of my fireplace to read it. A Little Bit of Holiday Magic by Melissa McClone (which has it’s own giveaway which I featured last week) has been teamed with Sophie Pembroke’s Stranded with the Tycoon. The first features a widow with a young son and the firefighter who can’t seem to keep away from them despite his current moratorium on dating while the second gives us the always terrific trope of a powerful business tycoon who manages to get snowbound with the tempting woman who won’t give him the time of day. Enter by November 4th (TODAY!) for your chance to win.

Also under the “do it today!” column is the giveaway for Sara Lindsey’s A Rogue for All Seasons, the third book in her Weston series about seven siblings all named after Shakespearean characters. This book features Henry, loved by the ladies and admired by men, who picks a prim wallflower to have a sham courtship in order to get him out of a tight spot. He’s inflamed by the woman hidden beneath the surface but having been burned before, Diana Merriwether is going to take a lot of convincing. Deadline November 4th to enter on Goodreads.

Fans of contemporary romance involving aristocrats may want to take a look at Megan Mulry’s Unruly Royals series, particularly since she’s giving away the second book in the series, If the Shoe Fits, on a Goodreads giveaway ending November 7th. The rakish brother of a Duke, no stranger to scandal, finds himself at the wrong end of his reputation for womanizing and fast cars. Devon has done such a good job hiding his intelligence that when he becomes fascinated by an American businesswoman at a wedding, he’s shocked to be shot down. Following her back to the US, Devon discovers that he is going to have to show all those qualities he’s attempted to hide since Sarah Jones cares nothing for glitz and glamor.

Cristin Harber’s romantic suspense Titan series is undergoing giveaways for the first three books of the series, with an identical deadline of November 8th for all of them. Featuring alpha males tied to the private black ops Titan group, this series gets rave reviews on Goodreads! Take a look at the first book, Winter’s Heat, the second in the series, Garrison’s Creed, or the third book, Westin’s Chase, for descriptions and to enter before November 8th.

People who love BDSM and vampires can’t ever get enough of Joey W. Hill’s Vampire Queen series, so she must be doing something great with that world and those characters! For readers who want to see if Hill’s steamy writing also makes their pulse beat a little faster, Goodreads is having a giveaway of Vampire Instinct, the seventh book in the series, ending on November 8th. This book focuses on a devoted vampire servant asked to do the one thing she can’t for her mistress and the Native American vampire to whom she turns for help.

Laura Griffin’s romantic suspense series, Tracers, features a crack FBI team and the bad guys they put behind bars. In her seventh book, Exposed, forensic photographer Maddie Callahan is in danger as she may have unknowingly captured a witnesses kidnapping on film. Agent Brian Beckman has spent time investigating the serial killer who would do anything to stay free, and with Maddie as his potential next victim, Brian realizes he would do anything to save this beautiful woman from such a fate. Enter before November 10th to win a copy!

Fans cannot get enough of Lisa Renee Jones’ Inside Out Trilogy, and if you’ve been wondering what all the fuss is about, considering entering the giveaway to win the first book of the trilogy, If I Were You. When Sara McMillan discovers journals containing one woman’s erotic life rendered in detail, she’s avidly turning every page, until the last one when she begins to suspect foul play regarding the woman’s disappearance. Deciding to do some investigating herself, Sara insinuates herself into this woman’s former life – in her job, with her friends…and with two sexy men who were both involved with the diarist. Enter by November 10th for your chance to win.

Fun Stuff

I’ve been thinking a lot about historical fiction recently (I’m taking an online MOOC through the University of Virigina about it via Coursera) and when I saw this video, I had to share it! One of the most challenging things about writing historical fiction is making a far distant location come alive, as if the reader were actually walking from a tavern to a church in a given period. While I’m glad there is no smell-a-vision for some books (!) the fact remains that it’s still hard to picture, but not so much now. In answer to a competition to combine historical artifacts with modern technologyPudding Lane Productions has used a old map of 17th century London to reconstruct the city and its appearance around the time of the Great Fire of 1666, and the results are spectacular. Studying the topography, buildings which still exist from the time period and the writing of archeological historians, this group of programmers has really made the city (albeit one without people or animals) come alive. Take a look at the fly-through video to get a glimpse of true 17th century London.

keep-calm-and-talk-dirty-58Entangled Publishing, whose Brazen line I universally love, is making November even more fun by making it Dirty Talker Appreciation Month! From November 4th to the 30th, all you have to do is tweet your favorite quotes using hashtag #DirtyTalker, post those knee-weakening lines on Entangled Brazen’s Facebook page, or make some kickass quote graphics (using a site like QuotesCover or Chisel) on Pinterest using “Brazen’s Dirty Talker” in the description line. Entangled will be choosing their favorites every Monday and giving away prizes throughout the month. FYI, I used Keep-Calm-O-Matic to create the this Keep Calm custom image!

It’s November and that means writers all over the world are attempting NaNoWriMo, the National November Writing Month where people dedicate themselves to writing 50,000 words in 30 days. For those of you not sure if you’ve got a book living inside you, consider purchasing No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty. The ebook is a mere $1.99 and a fun, motiving guide to cranking out a first draft.

For giggles you might want to take a look at Book Riot’s collection of the most adorable literary pet costumes this Halloween season. While I certainly wouldn’t think of dressing my cat like Edward Cullen or Hester Prynne, the dog dressed as Christian Grey wins my best-dressed (or would it be undressed?) award!

Great Deals

Susan King’s first book of her Maiden trilogy, The Stone Maiden, is currently on sale for $.99 on Amazon. Set in the Scottish Highlands in the 12th century, a young woman asks the king to send a warrior who can help defend her home and people from the encroachment of an evil neighbor. Since the local legend dictates that her clan’s name must be carried on in order for the land to maintain its divine protection, she stipulates that her liege should send a knight who will be willing to take her name and marry her. What she gets is a strong knight from Brittany with no intention of marrying her or taking her name although he is content to handfast her and protect her people. But the heart has its own ideas, and both of them begin to succumb to stronger feelings which only complicate their situation.

Jessica Scott is putting out a heart-warming novella this holiday season, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, a tie in with the first book in her Coming Home series. Set immediately after her first book, Because of You, I’ll Be Home for Christmas stars Army Sergeant Vic Carponti who loves his wife and his country, and probably in that order. As he gets ready to deploy to Iraq, he wants nothing more than to shelter her from his daily reality in the sandbox and his darkest fears, but Nicole is made of tougher stuff than Vic imagines, and they might both be about to see her tested. This novella is only $.99 and will be published on November 5th.

Happy reading this week!

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Deals You Might Have Missed, Week Ending September 15th

15 Sep

Upcoming Books

Historical romance writer Anna Randol is coming out with the final book in her Sinners Trio, Sins of a Wicked Princess, on October 29th, and the print copy is currently discounted to only $4.79, so fans might want to leap on this while it stands. I love her writing (her Turkish set A Secret in Her Kiss blew my mind with its unique voice and setting) and this book, featuring a jaded spy ready to get out of the game and the feisty princess who may or may not be behind his final assignment looks like a terrific end to a great series.

Steampunk maven Bec McMaster has a new book coming out October 1st, My Lady Quicksilver, and Amazon has also been clever enough to lower the cost of this paperback to $4.79 for the pre-order period. This book, the third in her London Steampunk series, combines the elements that have made these books so popular – hot romance, a unique view of paranormal creatures, and an alternate history of the city that’s completely intriguing. I really need to review this series – you find yourself falling for these characters hard.

Contests and Giveaways

Erotic romance author Cari Quinn can always be counted on to provide a sensual and emotional story. Her Entangled novel, No Flowers Required, came out at the end of August to great reviews and if you haven’t had a chance to buy it yet, you may want to consider entering the Goodreads giveaway for a copy. This novel about a down on her luck florist and the sexy man whose family is about to foreclose on her shop is a page-turner, so enter for your chance to win prior to the September 21st deadline. Her even hotter book, Unveil Me, published by Ellora’s Cave and containing two novellas both set in a sex club, is also up for grabs, and you just might win it if you enter by September 16th.

Erotic romance writers Vivian Arend, Lauren Dane, Alyssa Day, HelenKay Dimon, Kit Rocha and Moira Rogers have banded together to for The Hot Spot Facebook page, a communal page definitely worth watching. To celebrate it’s grand opening, they are having a variety of giveaways, so check out that part of the page for more details.

Don’t you remember my telling you what a phenomenal author Laura Kaye is? Her latest, Hard As It Gets (OMG, the cover!), begins her Hard Ink series as of November 26th, but while you’re glancing at the clock, enter to win a copy before September 17th on the Goodreads giveaway. This story, featuring a former military man turned tattoo parlor owner and the daughter of his military commander who has always been off limits, is bound to have her usual blend of heat, great characters, and an emotional story that wins your heart.

For romance authors and bloggers, please note that the excellent blog Romance in Color is having a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card and free advertising space and teaser promotion if you add their badge to your website. You’ll notice I’ve already done that on my sidebar, not only because this is a great giveaway, but because this blog is dedicated to heightening awareness of diversity in romance, and that’s a damn important issue. Anyone whose agreed with my lamenting about the dearth of good Native American romance or who stood up and cheered when Meljean Brook gave her acceptance speech for Riveted, you want to be reading what this talented group of readers is putting out. Even if you are uninterested in the contest, do yourself a favor and add this blog to your RSS feed or sign up for their newsletter.

Falling under the “fabulous contest” category, the announcement from Laura Kaye that several romance authors were banding together to offer an incredible prize to the writer who produces a 1500 word fan fiction piece based on one of their novels. What do you get? A free trip to the 2014 RT Convention in New Orleans! This includes registration, hotel stay and a plane ticket (between a $2000 and $3000 value) and you can use as your inspiration the work of Laura Kaye, Sophie Jordan, Cora Cormack or Jennifer Armentrout, whose website has all the details of the contest. Even the runner up prizes of signed books are wonderful, so try your hand at writing using these authors wonderful books as a base.

Fun Stuff

A lot of romance readers enjoy a fairy tale wedding, but what about if you combined your love of romance novels and weddings into…a dress? Yep, Jennifer Pritchard Bridal Design’s blog is featuring a stunning wedding dress made entirely of pages from romance novels. I wonder which ones they chose to cannibalize? Does it crackle when you walk down the aisle in it? Needless to say, there won’t be candles at this wedding.

Do you ever wonder about the pressures on romance writers to produce multiple books a year? The ever-wonderful Popular Romance project has a video clip starring editor (and professor) Sarah Frantz discussing how authors used to put out a book every couple of years, but now they are considered slackers if they do less than two annually (and that’s not counting short stories and novellas). It’s worth watching, especially the next time you’re busy thinking “where is the next one?” for your favorite series.

Yes, aspiring romance authors, it’s that time of year again – Harlequin’s “So You Think You Can Write” mini-online conference and all-around inspiration is about to begin with the friendly editors at this publishing powerhouse coming online to coach you with each aspect of what it takes to be a Harlequin writer. Considering the amazing number of top-selling writers who got their start at Harlequin (many of whom continue to publish the occasional book with them), it’s bound to be educational and (knowing Harlequin) fun.

For your dose of science this week, the Kinsey Confidential blog is going over the literature surrounding “Why Women Orgasm: Do We Really Know?” Lots of ideas, but no definitive answers. Sadly, most men are in the same place as the scientists.

September is an amazing month for readers, particularly those within commuting distance of Maryland! This coming weekend, September 19th to the 21st, Lora Leigh and 18 other fantastic authors are having a Reader’s Appreciation Weekend (RAW) in Hagerstown, Maryland. For only $100, you can hang out with your favorite authors and pick their brains for the scoop on your favorite characters and series, particularly about their new books coming out this fall. With such fabulous authors as Dana Marie Bell, Stephanie Julian, Darynda Jones (!), Mari Carr, Sylvia Day, and Bianca D’Arc, you are guaranteed a great time.

In a related note, perhaps this time more for authors than even readers, Laura Kaye mentioned the fantastic sessions to be offered at the Baltimore Book Festival, at the Maryland Romance Writers’ stage. Taking place from September 27th to the 29th, this incredible festival (which is so much more than just romance, so bring the family) is located in the Mt. Vernon area of Baltimore where they actually shut down streets and let books take over for the weekend. Take a look at the official website for directions and more information.

Great Deals

Lisa Renee Jones’ first book in her Tall, Dark and Deadly series, Hot Secrets, is marked down to only $.99 on Amazon. Capitalizing on the always dependable romance trope of three brothers who start their own security business, this first book in the series stars Royce Walker going after the prim, beautiful ADA who always fascinated him. That she’s as hot underneath as he’s guessed is a bonus – look out villains who want to hurt her, you’ve met your match!

I know you are still sneaking looking at the People or Us magazine with all the royal baby pictures, but please know you can feed your addiction by taking advantage of Harlequin’s awesome “Royal Baby” three pack of Harlequin Desires books based around a happy royal addition. Packing 463 pages from such writing powerhouses as Caitlin Crews, Maisey Yates, and Sharon Kendrick, this $.99 bargain is a must have.

Winning the “Holy Cow Who Is Their Cover Designer!” award is Harlequin Blaze‘s three pack Uniformly Hot! Volume 1 which has three books in the Uniformly Hot! series (and this series is AWESOME) by Rhonda Nelson, Tawny Weber and Karen Foley, all writers who can be depended on for great characters and serious bedroom heat, particularly when former military heroes are involved. Only $.99 for 502 pages of rippling abs, ladies. The packaging does not lie!

You know what’s better than $.99? Free! Ellora’s Cave erotic historical Western, Five Card Stud (book 1 in the Eclipse Heat series) by Gem Sivad is now available for free for people who like a combination of corsets and guns with their sexy times. A bounty hunter and a lady gambler out for revenge provide serious heat in the wild West in this full-length novel, so take a look – it costs you nothing.

Fans of BDSM literature should pick up Love Letters 1: Obeying Desire at Amazon since that’s also available for free right now. I enjoyed the third volume of this short stories series, each of which is based on different trope or subgenre, and many of the same authors write in this volume as well.

For historical romance readers who want a little free present this week, Delilah Marvelle has a tale of a titled and independent forty year old widow who definitely doesn’t want a man in her life. Lady Cecilia Stone finds her opinion changing when she receives the help of a shadowy Russian gentlemen who offers to help her travel to Russia and stop her eldest son from marrying an actress. Pick up Romancing Lady Stone for free to find out how this intriguing tale plays out!

Whew! There’s a lot going on this week. Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

Sunday Romantic Reflections: Upcoming Books, Deals and Fun Stuff You Might Have Missed (Week of July 21st)

21 Jul

Upcoming Books and New Releases

Sigh. I don’t know if you were as disappointed and angry in the “final” Sookie Stackhouse book, Dead Ever After, as I was (I’m still formulating that post in my head and it’s scathing) but just to milk even more money out of dedicated fans, the “final” book in the series that’s meant to wrap up all the characters is available for pre-order. After Dead, to be published on October 29th of this year, is not even a narrative story, but rather a listing of characters with a description of what happened to them. Yes, I’m disgusted with myself that I already pre-ordered it, but am calming myself with the promise that I’ll write a fan fiction version of the ending that series deserved. Enjoy bathing in $100 bills, Harris!

The excitement has begun building for the fabulous Laura Kaye’s next novel, Hard As It Gets, including a cover blurb endorsement by none other than J. K. Ward! Kaye’s writing is as addictive as crack for me, in particular, Her Forbidden Hero, and one of my favorite re-reads, Hearts in Darkness, so any book by her immediately goes in my Kindle and bumps my other to-reads down a notch. This new novel builds on her ability to take damaged, military heroes and pair them with the woman who will rock their world to its core and shake loose their emotions. Hard As It Gets also kicks off a new series for Kaye, Hard Ink, described on Goodreads as “A romance series about four ex-soldiers who run a renegade operation against an organized crime ring out of the back of a tattoo shop.” This first installment will be out in late November (do you smell the Thanksgiving turkey burning from neglect yet?) with the second book publishing the following year.

Fun Stuff

heartcondom_127721723While my condom in romance novels post was aimed at younger romance readers when I wrote it, a recent article by Vice.com detailing the epidemic in sexually transmitted infections among the senior crowd proves that the retired demographic needs plenty of education, too. I still remember touring the Villages in Florida (a retirement complex the size of Manhattan) with my resident grandmother and being given the hairy eyeball by a restaurant host because he thought I might be one of the many hookers that plague the community. (Be warned, if you’re 32 and in a sundress, you’ve got a “twenty dollars for a trip around the world” label attached to you.) My horrified grandmother informed me of the astronomic sexually transmitted disease rates, fueled in large part by the wicked combination of Viagra, a women to men ratio in the gent’s favor, and way too much free time. Yikes.

Wonder what kind of childhood produces a romance writer? The wonderful people at the Popular Romance project have produced a four minute video of interviews with writers like Nalini Singh, Jill Shalvis, and Caridad Pinerio, discussing their hometowns, parents, and families. 

For Writers and Interested Readers

mystery-69453_640In the wake of J. K. Rowling‘s recent outing as the well-regarded detective novelist Robert Galbraith, BookRiot posted an interesting article about the reasons extremely famous people have chosen to use pseudonyms when publishing books. The information is an interesting contrast to most romance authors, who usually chose a pen name because they are worried about censure or discomfort from their employers or are trying out a new genre and want separate branding in order to not confuse dedicated readers.

Dear Author has written a treasure of a post, taking the finalists for the RITAs “Best First Book” category and listing read-a-likes from more established authors who are similar. You might just find a new favorite in this crew and the information she includes is incredibly fun to read.

Great Deals

Lisa Renee Jones is offering an amazing deal on three full-sized books in her Tall, Dark and Deadly series – the first two books of the series and a full-size bonus book related to the characters – for only $.99! That’s almost six hundred pages for under a dollar and it’s Lisa Renee Jones. Considering that there are eight books in this series about a security firm run by a trio of brothers, it’s a clever idea to get you hooked and a great way for readers to figure out if they’d like to purchase the others with little risk.

If it’s wicked hot erotica you’re after, no deal is going to beat the Alpha Bad Boys Box Set released this week, containing over 1300 pages covering seven novels by authors like Shayla Black & Lexi Blake, Olivia Cunning, Lisa Renee Jones, Selena Blake, Eliza Gayle and Cat Johnson. For $.99 (!), you get such erotica favorites as 1) Black & Blake’s first book in their Masters of Menage series (which I love despite the names), Their Virgin Captive; 2) the first two books in Cunning’s One Night with Sole Regret series, Try Me and Tempt Me; 3) Jones’ first book in The Cinderella Chronicles, One Night Forever; 4) Ask for It by Selena Black about the NFL player who has retired and is finally going after the journalist he’s lusted after for years; 5) the first book in the Purgatory Masters series by Eliza Gayle, Tucker’s Fall;  and 6) a sexy menage story by Cat Johnson about a society girl banished to Colorado only to find herself surrounded by gorgeous brothers in Educating Ansley. Any one of these stories is a bargain at $.99 to say nothing of getting all of them for that price.

Entangled Publishing is offering an amazing deal on their Indulgence line of ebooks (a group of novels on par with category romance like Harlequin’s Presents or Desire lines – lots of alpha males!) where they are discounted from their usually reasonable price of $2.99 down to $.99 each! Take a look at the Amazon Kindle deals page dedicated to them and enjoy.

Sarah MacLean is a historical romance writer who has yet to produce a book that isn’t at the top of her genre. For a limited time, the first book in her By the Numbers series, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (the novel that began the numbers trend and list fixation in Regency romance) is available at the discounted price of $1.99 for its ebook form. If you haven’t read this series, you might be in danger of having your romance reader card revoked. Take a taste and see if you can manage not to devour all three books (and then move on to Maclean’s other series). I bet you can’t read just one!

Also in the realm of amazing historical romance ebook deals is author Tessa Dare, whose classic A Week to Be Wicked is currently being offered at $.89 – I didn’t even know Amazon sold books for less than $.99! This is the second full-length novel in her acclaimed Spindle Cove series, so you may very well like it so much that you avail yourself of the one of the other five books that make up this beloved Regency location that locals have nicknamed “Spinster’s Cove.” Be warned, you won’t find ladies who are going to stay unmarried for long here!

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