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Remembering Your First Time: Gateway Romances

Do you remember your first time? That first taste of love conflict, and lust in textual form, often right under your parents’ very noses? What I’m asking is: do you remember your first romance novel? If you’re anything like me, maybe you don’t. I went through books like a moth in a trunk, consuming everything in my path. But in my word-hungry ravaging of any library I could gain entry to, there are a few books that stand out in my memory. The ones I read again and again in pre-adolescent wonder, hoping that one day I’d find a love as sweet or tender or fiery hot as the ones between the flaking pages in my hands. Fifteen, by Beverly [...]

Tess Gerritsen Talks About Her Latest Release: GIRL MISSING

Readers familiar with the grit and gore of my crime novels may be surprised to discover my secret past … as a romance author. I was first introduced to romances while I was working as a doctor, a high-stress job where, too often, I dealt with loss and grief-stricken families. At the end of the day, I needed to open a book where I’d find both entertainment and a happy ending — and I found both in romance novels. I became hooked on them, sometimes reading half a dozen a week despite my grueling schedule in the hospital. It’s no surprise that the first novel I wrote was a romance. In 1987, CALL AFTER MIDNIGHT was bought by Harlequin Intrigue. [...]

Romance and Mystery: The Perfect Couple

As reader, I feel there are two components to a great plot—mystery and romance. And as a writer, I find it darn near impossible not to include both of those elements in my stories. It’s a little like that old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial, I get either mystery mixed up into my romances or romances mixed up into my mysteries. I blame this on some of my favorite pre-teen series Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and Cherry Ames. There was always thread of romance running through the Trixie Belden, Cherry Ames, and Nancy Drew books as those girl sleuths solved the mysteries. Would Trixie and Jim Frayne end up together? How about Nancy and Ned Nickerson? Would Cherry Ames marry [...]

WEEKLY GIVEAWAY: Enter to win a copy of A WICKED PURSUIT!

This week we’re giving away 10 copies of A Wicked Pursuit by Isabella Bradford. In Isabella Bradford’s enthralling new trilogy, three noble brothers—London’s most scandalous rakes—are about to do the unthinkable: settle down. Harry Fitzroy, Earl of Hargreave, is the first to meet his match and lose his heart . . . to a lady who’s not all what he expected. As always, you can head over to Romance at Random’s Giveaway Tab, for any giveaway details you might need, and we’ll remind you every day during this week to enter via Facebook and on Twitter. Follow us now so you won’t miss out!

Winner Announced: The Apocalypse, Demons, and Portals, Oh My! + Giveaway!

Stories abound these days that include the apocalypse; either the hero and heroine avert it, survive it, or in some cases, cause it. That theme has been one which has fascinated us since the dawning of civilization, we have wondered how our story would end. I admit that I have always been quite captivated with end of the world scenarios. There are a ton of books and movies which examine how society and people would function; The Hunger Games, The Walking Dead, and Revolution are prime examples. At its heart, each of these stories removes all human artifice and brings what is truly important to the forefront. I like the issues that are examined. If the world ended, does society [...]

Character Creation in a Nutshell

Making up people is probably my favorite part of writing fiction. And when I say making up people, I don’t mean names and physical traits. I actually loathe those parts and will literally get stuck while writing a proposal for a new project because I don’t have a name for my MC. Then I’ll run out to Chipotle for some comfort food, look at the name tag of the first burrito engineer I see: Jim. That works for me. But Jim what? Jim Chicken? Jim Guacamole? Jim Steak? Jim Stakeman. Done. And physical traits. If there’s nothing in the plot that might require a certain look or feature, then the creation process will go something like this: okay, I did [...]

Winter? Schminter! That’s What Maggie McGinnis Has to Say About That

I used to love winter. Loved skating on the neighbor’s pond, loved trekking for miles on cross-country skis, and loved flying like a maniac down barely-groomed mountain trails. It was exhilarating! Fun! Death-defying at times (mostly because we lived in an area where the concept of hunting season was just a suggestion, and we wore a lot of dark coats and hand-knit white mittens). Wait. Mom? Could I speak to you about those mittens, please? My love of winter went into a long fade as ticket prices skyrocketed and snowfall amounts declined. And somewhere along the line, I gained this fear thing that was totally unfamiliar. I could break something, I realized. Like … me. And then where would we [...]

Not Your Mother’s Romantic Suspense

Where did the romantic suspense market go? That’s a question I get a lot from readers. There was a time when it seemed like every contemporary romance novel was a romantic suspense story. But recently? Not so much. I have a theory about it (ask anyone who knows me: I have theories about everything). This theory revolves around a number of the originating authors of the romantic suspense form retiring or reducing their writing schedules in the early 2000’s.  It was just about time for a new crop of suspense writers to come along and refresh the pool when three things happened simultaneously: First, a wave of mega-hit paranormal books had swept the marketplace and movie theaters. New writers’ imaginations [...]

WINNERS Announced! ~ What Makes a Strong Hero? by Isabella Bradford + 5 print book #Giveaway!!

I’ve always had a weakness for strong characters. I don’t necessarily mean the heroes who can bench-press twice their weight – although that kind can be agreeable, too. I like the ones with inner strength, who can rise to whatever challenges that life (or a meddlesome author) may throw into their path. In my new historical romance, A WICKED PURSUIT, both the hero and the heroine must overcome some pretty serious obstacles. Harry Fitzroy, Earl of Hargreave, is tall, handsome, and charming, and on the verge of marrying Julia Barclay, the most desirable lady of the season. His life is exactly how he wants it – until an accident leaves him badly injured. There were no orthopedists or physical therapists [...]

A Change Towards Sexier Storytelling

When my first book, An Image of You, was accepted by Harlequin Mills and Boon in 1991, it had plenty of sizzle but the sex was pretty much left to the reader’s imagination. Back then in the U.K., all the books, sexy or sweet, were published under the same cover (readers bought by author, cover and blurb). In the U.S., however, my books were slotted into the “Romance” series, and although I did frequently flirt with very edge of the guidelines (and my books were often published in the sexier lines in other countries) the sex had to stay in the imagination. In its original conception, the new Kiss series — with it’s fresh, flirty, international editorial — was to [...]

Hot and Heavy: Five Things to Love About Fireman Heroes

As the author of five books and two novellas featuring firemen, I’m here to let you in on some little-known facts about these smokin’ hot heroes. Sure, you probably already know the basics. They put out fires, they drag hoses, they look really really great in their turnouts. But did you know … 1. Most firefighters are also trained as paramedics. So if you’re on a date with a fireman and you choke on your triple layer raspberry fudge cake, he can save your life. Major points! 2. Firefighters love to play pranks during their down time at the firehouse. This means they can go from mischievous jokester to deadly serious professional in half a second flat. Gotta love a guy [...]

Saturday Snippet – The Raider, Highland Guards are Hot!

New on Tuesday – After consolidating his gains against the enemy English, King Robert the Bruce of Scotland sends his best soldiers to fortify the lawless borders. These legendary warriors of the Highland Guard let nothing come before king and country—except the calling of their heart. Of all Bruce’s elite warriors, Robert “Raider” Boyd is the most formidable. A true patriot whose bare hands are a deadly weapon, Robbie is the fierce enforcer of the Guard, and his hatred of the English has been honed to a razor-sharp edge. But vengeance proves bittersweet when his enemy’s beautiful sister falls into his hands and he finds himself fighting temptation—a battle he badly wants to lose. Lady Rosalin Clifford barely recognizes the [...]

Love Game, are you playing?

Perfect for fans of Janet Evanovich, Jennifer Crusie, and Katie MacAlister, Elise Sax’s wickedly funny Matchmaker series proves that the road to love comes with a few dead ends. Early Praise: “Elise Sax will win your heart.”—Jill Shalvis “Elise Sax will make you laugh. Her larger-than-life characters jump off the page and make crazy seem like a fun place to hang out.”—Christie Craig, New York Times bestselling author of Texas Hold ‘Em “In the tradition of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series . . . a funny, sexy ride.”—Valerie Frankel, author of Four of a Kind Too fun? Preorder now — Love Game is on sale 2/25/14.

Winner Announced! #FollowFriday with Virna’s Vixens + Giveaway!

Romance at Random is this weeks tour stop with a new sneak peek and fabulous print signed copy giveaway to one lucky winner! Good luck – Just comment below answering this question, “What is the number one reason you read paranormal romance?” About the book: Perfect for fans of J. R. Ward, Nalini Singh, and Lara Adrian, bestselling author Virna DePaul’s new series of paranormal romances introduces readers to a thrilling world where vampires secretly co-exist with humans, seduction rules the night, and the stakes are nothing less than life and undeath. Welcome to a mesmerizing world where vampires hide among humans. This centuries-old species has its own rules, code of conduct, and taboos. Only the FBI knows that vampires [...]

Short, Sexy, and Southern

I entered the publishing world a super writer. No, I’m not bragging on myself (though I do think every writer needs to think she’s a good writer. Confidence, baby.) I write for Harlequin Superromance, which is essentially a single title line within category books. The stories in my line are robust and diverse with secondary plots, varied settings and characters who can be as traditional as virgin librarians or nontraditional as virgin rock stars. What they all have in common is the word count – about 85,000 words. When Harlequin announced a partnership with Cosmo targeting younger, hipper readers (with less of an attention span I guess?) I decided to write something to submit. Sounded fun and once I started [...]

Cowboys, Baggage, and Motorcycles

As you might guess from the above, I’m a bit eclectic (a term I prefer over ‘eccentric,’ or worse yet, ‘odd.’) My Sweet on a Cowboy series is set in a world I know a lot about – professional bull riding. Which makes little sense for a city girl from Detroit.  But when my Texan husband took me to my first rodeo years ago, I fell in love. I was entranced by the bull riding, which seems to me, a combination of danger and ballet. I’m in awe of the courage of men who try to stay on a ton of attitude that wants to throw them in the dirt and dance on their bones. And then there’s wrangler-clad cowboy [...]

Adventures in Glitterland: Talking With Alexis Hall

“When you strip everything away, it doesn’t matter if she’s a film star, or if you’re both boys or both girls, all there is is love, and the fundamental human need to seek it out and give it.” – Alexis Hall The novel Glitterland by U.K. novelist Alexis Hall is sexy, funny, and deeply romantic. Think Four Weddings and a Funeral with more sex and a gay romance. I loved this book so much I tracked down the brilliant author, all the way across the pond, and asked him to stop by R@R for a few questions. LB: You are a complete mystery to me but I freakin’ loved your book. So here we go from your new fan girl: [...]

Doing it in Public (Writing,That Is)

My newest release from Samhain Publishing, Surrender to Fire, is a National Novel Writing Month baby. If you have never heard of NaNoWriMo, it’s an event that occurs every November where writers challenge themselves to put down 50,000 in the month. For some authors, that’s their monthly quota—but for me, this was a true stretch goal. And to meet it, I had to write whenever, wherever…which led to some interesting situations, especially when writing hot and heavy BDSM scenes. Near the beginning of the month, I hauled my laptop and notes down to Panera, got my bagel, and started cranking out the words. I was wrist-deep into a steamy meet cute when nearby conversation distracted me. Two young college girls [...]

Listen: An Exclusive Short from Mary Ann Rivers

This week for our “Making Out in the Stacks” feature, we’ve got an exclusive short for y’all. This comes from Mary Ann Rivers and is a lovely little treat for this holiday Monday LISTEN “Hey,” he said. He was tall, all lank. From my low spot at the desk I had to look at him one part at a time. The wallet chain at his hip, his complicated layers of sweater and canvas jacket and scarf, the stocking cap pulled to dark eyebrows. “Hey,” I said. “I found you.” He looked around at the shelves closing in around my desk. “Pretty sure I found you.” “Who were you looking for?” He unhitched the messenger bag from his body, pulled out [...]

Happy President’s Day

Just a reminder from Wikipedia what President’s Day is all about – Washington’s Birthday is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States. It is also a state holiday in most states where it is known by a variety of names including Presidents Day and Washington’s and Lincoln’s Birthday and officially celebrates, depending upon the state, Washington alone, Washington and Lincoln, or some other combination of U.S. presidents. Some states celebrate Washington and the third president Thomas Jefferson but not Lincoln. Colloquially, the holiday is widely known as “Presidents Day” and is often an occasion to celebrate, or at least remember, all presidents and [...]

Anna DeStefano’s Hearts for Hearts + A Giveaway!

  A Valentine’s Gift Idea from Anna DeStefano It’s Free & Guaranteed to Win Hearts!   I have an idea for special Valentine’s gift that I hope every one of you will give this year. It’s not something you can buy, or something that requires a lot of time to create. But this gift is very personal, very powerful, and something ANYONE who loves to read can share. How do I know? Because through an initiative I’ve launched called Hearts for Hearts, I’ve personally given away hundreds of them in the last two months, and it hasn’t cost me a dime! What’s the special gift? Books. Books you already have. Books in your personal collection. Books you’ve read—or bought and [...]

Valentine’s Day 1920′s Style

If you’re not feeling all lovey-dovey this Valentine’s Day, then read on. Instead of discussing romance and passion, I thought we’d take a look at something that happened on this day 85 years ago, something so unromantic that it will take your mind off flowers and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. What happened all those years ago would forever solidify the link between Chicago and gangsters of the Roaring Twenties. Yes, the event I’m talking about is the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. While conducting research for my novel DOLLFACE I discovered that Chicagoans have a perverse sense of pride where this lineage is concerned. Its legend is woven into the city’s history and people are endlessly fascinated by the bloodshed and [...]

Barbara White Daille on Lovers Reunited

I’d like to talk about tropes—those easily-recognizable story lines that can turn a certain type of story into a favorite and a book into a keeper.  I love so many tropes.  Best friends to lovers, bad-boy hero, marriage of convenience, city girl/country boy…  We could go on and on.  And I’m sure you have favorites of your own. Tropes are kept even more interesting when more than one is blended into a story.  Another way to keep them exciting is to take a familiar storyline and give it a bit of a twist. One of my favorite story types is lovers reunited.  I’m a big fan of allowing folks to realize their mistakes and giving them the chance to go [...]

Welcome to Bollywood: It’s not in Calcutta

“Bollywood” is one of those buzzwords that the West has come to use as shorthand for all things Indian. A Bollywood-themed wedding! A Bollywood party! A Bollywood-inspired look! The thing is, Bollywood is as far from “real” India as you can get. Imagine if all of the United States was judged by Hollywood? Do you fancy yourself a Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan? Yeah…I didn’t think so. “Bollywood” is a specific place, a specific mindset, a specific genre, all based out of Mumbai (formerly Bombay), the mass-market film capital of India. There are movies made in plenty of other cities, in plenty of other languages than Hindi. There is a thriving art-house film community in India as well. “Bollywood” is [...]

Guest Post: K.M. Jackson on Fashion and Passion

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a fan the hidden swan. Being a tall for my age, slightly awkward girl, I always gravitated to stories where the unlikely beauty came out on top. I guess it all begin when I saw Cinderella for the first time and watched her get her full sparkle transformation on at Radio City Music Hall. This was back in the day when they used to show movies at RadioCity so you can imagine how far I’m going back.  Seeing this hearth sweeping, picked on, odd girl out emerge on top in the end warmed my heart and gave me a hope that never waned. My love of unlikely heroines continued throughout my [...]

Authors on Tour this Week

Here’s where you can find our touring authors this week! Check in each day at the blogs for exclusive content and giveaways!   BARED:CLUB SIN (A Loveswept Erotic Romance) by Stacey Kennedy February 10 – Romance at Random (POV switch) February 11 – Cocktails & Books February 12 – Michelle MsRomanticReads February 13 – Reading Between the Wines February 14 – Harlequin Junkie WILD ON YOU: THE JUSTISS ALLIANCE SERIES (A Loveswept Contemporary Romance) by Tina Wainscott February 10 – Literal Hotties Naughty Book Reviews | Two Sassy Chicks Book Blog February 11 – Rage, Sex and Teddy Bears February 12 – Feeling Fictional February 13 – Book Monster Review February 14 – Coffee Talk | Books-n-Kisses   THE FIXER (An Alibi Mystery) by T.E. Woods February 10 – Books in the Burbs February 11 – Tiffany’s Bookshelf February 12 – A Fantastical Librarian  |  Queen of All She [...]

EXCLUSIVE: Sexy CLAIMED POV switch featuring Aidan & Cora

The following entry is intended for mature audiences only.    In my newest release, BARED, we are introduced to the wonderfully erotic world of CLUB SIN. Today we have a treat for you. In CLAIMED, the first book in the CLUB SIN series, there is a brief dungeon scene that Presley witnesses of her friend Cora and Cora’s Dom, Aidan – the hero and heroine in BARED. We thought it’d be fun if we got a look at that scene through the eyes of the Dom who lived it, Master Aidan!      The soft rock music drifted over Aidan as he regarded his submissive, Cora. Restrained with a red ball in her mouth and a leather strap around her [...]

WEEKLY GIVEAWAY: Enter to win a copy of BLOSSOM STREET BRIDES!

This week we’re giving away 10 copies of Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber. Wedding bells are ringing in the tight-knit community that gathers around A Good Yarn, a store in a pretty Seattle neighborhood. Knitters come to the store to buy yarn and patterns but somehow they leave richer in friendship and love. As always, you can head over to Romance at Random’s Giveaway Tab, for any giveaway details you might need, and we’ll remind you every day during this week to enter via Facebook and on Twitter. Follow us now so you won’t miss out!

B&N Bookseller Picks: February

Barnes & Noble buyer Jules Herbert is a driving force behind the excellent selection in Barnes & Noble’s romance section. Here’s his list of recommendations for the month of February:

Guest Post + Giveaway: Sophie Moss on Her Romance With Island Settings

One of my favorite things about starting to write a new series is getting to know the place where my characters live. I’ve always been drawn to island settings, both in reading and writing. There’s something so soothing about being surrounded by all that water. The pace of life is slower. Neighbors look out for each other. Everyone knows everything about everyone. The first book in my new contemporary romance series, Wind Chime Café, is set on an island in the Chesapeake Bay. Heron Island is loosely modeled after Tilghman Island, a real-life island only thirty minutes down the road from where I grew up. It’s a place known for sailing, fishing, and crabbing. It’s home to some of the [...]