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California Dreamin’: My Cowboy Hero

Never mind that I was born and raised on the East Coast: cowboys are my weakness. When I was growing up, if you wanted to see a man who spent his days and nights in the saddle the way I longed to, then you watched western series and movies on TV. I fell in love repeatedly. My first cowboy love was Clint Eastwood in the show Rawhide, a love that was reinforced by the spaghetti westerns he made with director Sergio Leone (For a Fistful of Dollars, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly; For a Few Dollars More). Since I was a kid, my love took an interesting form: I didn’t just want to be the impossibly cool cowboy, [...]

Some Of My Favorite Quotes . . . OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon

Happy Memorial Day everyone! In honor of our heroes everywhere, past and present, I hope you enjoy your day and remember the importance of freedom and all that have and will sacrifice the ultimate to keep our country safe. Fortunately, the weather is gorgeous here and I’m enjoying a fun day with family — BBQ on the ready For some reason, I started thinking about past historical heroes and because of my anxious anticipation of Outlander, Diana Gabaldon’s time travel phenomena, Jamie Fraser popped into my mind and his funny quote — one of many — when Claire admitted having come from the future, and Jamie said, “It would ha’ been a good deal easier, if ye’d only been a [...]

FiveThings I Learned by Appearing On SAY YES TO THE DRESS

Last year was a year of several firsts for me but one that really stands out is my appearance on the reality TV show, Say Yes to the Dress, Atlanta. For the complete story of exactly how I came to be on the show, check out Barbara Vey’s Beyond Her Book Blog, here. Today, I’m sharing  the story of what I learned by agreeing to tape an episode of the show. 1.  When they cast you for the show, the producers send you a big list of dos and don’ts including what to expect. One was don’t wear white or houndstooth. Certain colors and prints aren’t great for the small screen and white and houndstooth are at the top of the [...]

Northeastern Summer Gardening Tips

Gardener cooks would do well to remember this twist on an old saying – keep your vegetables close and your herbs closer. At the end of the day, dinner preparations can be had in only a few steps when you keep the ingredients on the patio or near to the back door – along with ornamental flowers and shrubs. Summer may not be a vacation for everyone, but fresh and handy edibles and herbs can make cooking a delight instead of drudgery. The star of the show when it comes to combining edibles with flowers is Tuscan kale (‘Nero di Tuscana’). The leaves – up to 10 inches long and about 3 inches wide – are almost black and a [...]

Winner Announced – Interview: C.C. Hunter, New York Times Bestselling Young Adult author + $25 EGC Giveaway

Thanks for joining C.C. and I today! C.C. is giving away a $25 Amazon card to anyone who answers the question: What piece of advice would you give your teen self? Answer below and a winner will be randomly chosen – good luck! ****Our Winner is . . .pamwright2913 — she has been contacted to claim her prize – thanks all for blogging!! Me: I’ve heard you were asked to write a young adult series and you weren’t actually writing or reading in that genre at the time. How did you pull it off? CC: It was like cramming for finals. In about three weeks, I read twenty YA books. Then, I took a long trip down memory lane to [...]

I Cannot Believe It Is Finally On Sale ~ SHATTERED

Life throws you curve balls and only the strong survive. Ash is one of those guys and Tansy is one of those girls. . .

Wild, fun, and impulsive, Tansy is a cancer survivor who spent the past several years waiting to die — now, cancer-free, Tansy has a fresh perspective on life and that means making the most of her time while she still can.

When the story starts their chemistry is intense. Both characters deal with trauma no adult should have to deal with at such a young age —- Tansy has already picked up the pieces of her shattered life, can she help Ash do the same?

Romantic, emotional, life-changing — yes, this story makes you appreciate the simple things and cheer for the strongest couple ever!!

Don’t miss this fantastic story – the second book in the Extreme Risk series, on sale now -

Inside #RT14 – It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Falls in Love

Lucky readers at the It’s All Fun and Games until Someone Falls in Love panel got the chance to play a love trivia game side by side with Loveswept, Ballantine and Bantam authors. And who could possibly be better at love trivia than writers and readers who live, breathe, and eat romance–it was the ultimate battle of romance knowledge. If you didn’t get a chance to stop by the panel, we can still bring the game to you, so play along with these sample questions! Make your guesses and then highlight the brackets to see the answer. No cheating! 1. Which romantic television mystery show included this quote in it’s opening sequence “Try this for a deep, dark secret” (REMINGTON [...]

Inside #RT14 – Dancing with the Hunks

Dancing with the Stars meets RT! Hosts Jenni Dinh (Bitten By Love Reviews), Tina Wainscott (aka. Jamie Rush), and Julie Ann Walker invited cover models DeLonn Donovan, C.J. Hollenbach, Charles Paz (2009 Mr. Romance Winner), and Shane Rice to partner up with some very lucky RT attendees to show off their dance skills. Congrats to the first place winners Fleurette Benoit and DeLonn Donovan! Loveswept author/judge Tina Wainscott with cover models Shane Rice and C.J. Hollenbach. Group Practice The Judges The Winners Fleurette Benoit and DeLonn Donovan

Inside #RT14 – A Taste of New Orleans – Pralines Recipe

  We like our romances sweet, and our pralines sweeter! At Mardi Gras Carnivale Random House sponsored the pralines table, and we couldn’t have enough of the delicacy–they’re so delicious that we wanted to share the sweetness with our readers, courtesy of the New Orleans School of Cooking! If you’re in town for the convention and need a taste of New Orleans, you have to stop by–it’s one of the must-see foodie stops in the city, featuring cooking classes with hometown chefs and a general store chock-full of ingredients that are special to the area. For readers who can’t make it to NOLA, Gretchen Erickson of The New Orleans School of Cooking shared her knowledge of pralines and the perfect recipe [...]

Spring Clean Your Beauty Bag

Remember when you decided boysenberry lipstick was your true color? Then wore it once. There was also that time you declared turquoise to be the best eye shadow for summer—and never applied it past the 4th of July? It happens all the time. We try new shades, colors, and creams—some work, some don’t, and yet they all make a home in our beauty bag. Just like ridding your closet of old clothes, cleaning your makeup bag is necessary and therapeutic.   Quarterly Cleaning “Cleaning out your bag every season is the way to go,” says Emily Aznavourian, makeup artist and owner of Cheekadee Makeup Artists. “As far as purging specific products, it depends. The general rule is that if it [...]

Inside #RT14 – Romance Mardi Gras

RT brought the Mardi Gras spirit to convention goers last night with larger than life floats, a parade, and a dance party. Romance authors tossed coveted purple, gold and green beaded necklaces into the fan-filled crowds–and all the crowd had to do was cheer, scream, and show their… enthusiasm! (Yes, enthusiasm. Keeping it classy!) After the parade, the party-goers celebrated in the main events space, complete with amazing live music and local cuisine, with each dish sponsored by a different publisher. It was the perfect spot for convention goers to get the ultimate food tour in a single night–gumbo, jambalaya, beignets, rice and beans–everything your stomach needs to know about New Orleans! Here are some teaser pics–for the full gallery, [...]

Midwestern Summer Gardening Tips

A Bit Of Shade  Shade from a tree helps cool the house in summer, offering a cool respite on a hote day, but not every property has room for a stately elm or spreading oak. Where space is limited by the size of the property or other obstacles, seek out a tree that suits the space – perhaps one that grows up more than out or, in contrast, a tree that is wider than tall. Here are a few examples. Round tree canopies throw an even shade – watch the circle throughout the day as it moves across the grass or patio – and suit a garden with as much vertical space as horizontal. The hedge maple (Acer campestre) grows [...]

WINNERS ANNOUNCED – WILD WAYS: The Top 5 Things I Love About Navy SEALS + Giveaway!!

Have you met the J-Men yet? Get the intro in WILD HEARTS, a quick way to meet all the guys and find out what they’re all about; WILD ON YOU gives you the skinny on Risk *sigh*; and now WILD WAYS, Julian’s story! Read about his search for a missing woman amongst motorcycle chaos and criminals testing Julian’s mega-SEAL qualities *hot*!

Catch us at the RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans!

Sexy, sultry New Orleans is about to get even hotter! Romance lovers are converging on the city for one of the year’s biggest reader celebrations, the RT Booklovers Convention. Attendees get the inside scoop on hot books on the horizon, meet their favorite authors in person, and party New Orleans-style alongside other avid romance readers! Need some help navigating the show? Below is a full list of Random House author events so you can find your favorite writers, and check out the full convention agenda, too!  Can’t make it to the party this year? Follow our Inside RT updates here at Romance at Random, and on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll bring the party to you! Happy #RT14! Laissez les bons temps rouler!   Tuesday, [...]

Group Sex: The Art of the Erotic Romance Anthology

Writing is usually a solitary endeavor. Just you, your computer and those people in your head who won’t shut up. Some days, those people are good to you. Some days, you want to pull your hair out trying to get them to talk. And then when you send your finished baby out into the world, all that pressure for success rests squarely on your shoulders. But wait, there’s another option: Rope your friends into writing an anthology! Now, you have three other people to share the crazy with you. And that’s how ONE NIGHT ONLY… came to be. I have to say, the idea wasn’t really mine. In November 2012, Olivia Cunning invited me to an original anthology with her, [...]

Southern Summer Gardening Tips

Both the garden and the gardener can begin to look a bit limp in the heat of summer. Late winter has its burst of snapdragons and in early spring the Lady Banks roses perfume the air. But come the warmer days, what’s the garden to do? Include plants that keep up appearances no matter what the temperature and then take your iced tea out to the veranda and relax. Heat tolerant roses mean that their lush look and enticing fragrance can be had over many months. ‘Julia Child’, a repeat-flowering floribunda named after the famous chef, blooms with full golden flowers that carry scents of licorice. Floribundas produce many flowers per stem and can create a mountain of bloom – [...]

Scandal, Society & Historical Romance

I was inspired to write my debut historical romance after a visit to the splendid Morris-Jumel Mansion, located in New York City’s Washington Heights. Imagine an estate from Alabama or Georgia, complete with solid white columns and lush gardens, dropped onto the island of Manhattan, and you’ll get a good idea of the place. Startling, to say the least. But even stranger than the existence of the house was the story of the woman who lived there through the 1800s. Eliza Jumel was born into poverty in Providence, Rhode Island as the daughter of a prostitute, and used her beauty and wit to become the richest woman in New York City by the time of her death in 1865, at [...]

Love a Nurse Today – Celebrating National Nurses Day

Hey. I’m Cecy Robson. Monday through Friday from early morning to late at night, I write stories―telling tales of supernatural creatures and everyday people struggling through their pain in search of their Happily Ever Afters. What most fans of my series don’t realize is that I’m also a labor and delivery nurse. When the weekend comes, my role switches from creative writing to helping those who have created life. In celebration of National Nurses Day below is brief look at my nursing role and a few moments of many that have been ingrained into my heart. It’s a tough but rewarding job and this is in honor to nurses everywhere — enjoy your day! A Day in the Life of [...]

L. Marie Adeline Reveals her S.E.C.R.E.T.S

In anticipation of the release of the final book in the erotic SECRET series, author L. Marie Adeline has answered some of the questions we had about writing erotica, how to keep plots exciting and more. Find her SECRET series here.  Q. How does it feel to be publishing SECRET Revealed, the final book in the SECRET series? A. Exhilarating, satisfying, quite sad. I can hardly believe it’s over. I remember working on the first draft of book two, SECRET Shared, and thinking, I will never be able to do this. When I was almost done with that draft, there was talk of a final book three, and I was filled with self-doubt. And yet, I knew I’d need the time to tell the whole story [...]

The Colosseum – A Day of Entertainment in Ancient Rome

It is a beautiful day here in April 2014 – sun is out, the temperature is finally warm after a brutal winter. A time to spend in the glory of spring!

But over 2000 years ago, what Romans did do to enjoy themselves? They had the theater, dinner parties and the spectacle of the games. What games? Chariot racing was big but the most exciting of all – the gladiatorial games.

Hockey Players ARE Sexy!

Okay, I admit… it’s true. When I was first introduced to the sport of hockey, I never saw the players as hot. Or sexy. Or as imminently lickable.

In fact, my first NHL game was when my dad took me to see his beloved (and now my beloved) Pittsburgh Penguins about twenty-five years ago. I had never seen a game before in my life and I remember being enthralled when one of the players took a puck to the chin. He bled all over the ice as he calmly skated over to his bench. I was most impressed when the refs started kicking at the frozen blood to get it off the ice. They made a big pile of frozen, blood slush and kicked it into the back of one of the nets. From that day forward, I was hooked on the sport.

Of Monsters and Men

When I ended the Dark Warrior series after 14.5 books that included six books in the Dark Sword series, I still wasn’t ready to let go of the world I created. Luckily, my publisher asked me to spin off the DW series and the Dragon Kings were born! I wanted to call the series Dragon Kings, because, well, that’s what they are, but because it’s a spin off series, they wanted to stay with the “Dark” theme, which is where the Dark Kings series name came from. If you’ve read any of the Dark Sword or Dark Warrior books, you know I love Scotland. There’s just something about a guy in a kilt with that brogue that does it to [...]

Regency Romps and Valerie Bowman’s Odd Inspiration

I have a confession to make. My latest novel, The Unexpected Duchess, (which comes out today!) was inspired by my intense desire to break up with my friend’s boyfriend for her. Okay, okay. So it was actually more than one friend. The fact is that right around the time I was thinking up a brand new Regency romance series, I had two different friends whose boyfriends were acting like colossal jerks. On more than one occasion I’d say to either of my friends, “Just give me the phone and I’ll break up with him for you!” Of course, my friends never took me up on my offer. Hmm. Seems it was much easier for me, with no emotional involvement, to [...]

Paranormal Inspiration: Katana Collins on Chasing the Muse

Muses. They come in all forms, huh? Anything from that first warm day after a long winter to the hunky guy in plastic glasses reading across from you on the subway. We’ve all got them. And we all crave more. For myself, and probably a lot of authors out there, a huge source of inspiration is other authors and novels. After all, Stephen King said it best in On Writing: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” So, on the eve of completing my first ever trilogy, I wanted to offer a nod to the top five paranormal authors and/or books that inspired me as a writer. Laurell K. Hamilton [...]

The Perils of Camping – Pass the Corndogs Please

Here’s the deal. I hate corndogs. This is nothing against the creator of corndogs or any of his / her descendents, but I do hate them. I also hate the idea of camping, which leads me to my recent corndog consuming exploit.

My daughter’s fifth grade class had a camping trip to Camp Mosquito Up Your Nose (name changed to reflect actual incident). I had never been camping before. I survived growing up in the ghetto so the idea of purposely entering the treacherous wilderness, to sleep on the ground, fighting off bugs and potentially rabid wild animals, never appealed to me. “Why suffer unnecessarily?” was always my motto. But my daughter just loved the idea of me chaperoning, and I loved the idea of her being happy. So I signed up for Camp MUYN.

Did You Know Pirates Were Superstitious?

Pirates are an interesting lot in many ways. They’re criminals. They’re rogues. They’re mercenaries. They’re killers. They’re businessmen. They’re entrepreneurs. They’re smugglers. They are also very, very superstitious. Pirating was a democracy and it was this democratic way of running their ships that attracted a lot of sailors. Sailing for England’s Royal Navy was not all it was cracked up to be—especially for those on the lower rung of the ladder. If a pirate didn’t like the way things were run, a vote was taken and the captain could be voted off the island, so to speak. In other words, there were rules to follow on this democratic sailing vessel and a lot of those rules came about because of [...]

Starting Over: Julie Cross Talks New Beginnings

New beginnings. As in starting over. New job, new school, new relationship, new home or  new town…no matter what type of new beginning you’re about to experience, the change can feel both overwhelming and exciting. On one hand, you’re back at the ground level and have to rebuild. And on the other hand, you have the opportunity to reinvent yourself, choose a new path, or make a change based on what you’ve learned in past experiences. This is exactly what Isabel Jenkins, the main character in my New Adult debut novel Third Degree, does. Izzy is a former child prodigy, went to college at twelve years old, medical school at sixteen and is on her way to being a surgeon. [...]

It’s the Little Things That Make a Hero

While camping with another couple last summer, the subject of my first book, ACCIDENTAL COWGIRL, came up. My friend D is an avid reader, armed with a Kindle even at the campground, but her hubby G is more of a movie buff. When he started joking good-naturedly about my book and its genre, I was ready to handle it the same way so many of us romance writers do – with tolerance and good humor. He’s never actually read a romance novel, after all. Then, however, he started in on Decker, my hero. Now, I’m fairly attached to Decker, having created him and all. And he is rather perfect, despite his fixable flaws. Picking on me was one thing. Picking [...]

Lover’s Day is Today! Happy LD to You!

Seriously, how big of a score is landing the blog post for Lover’s Day?! YAY!! And it’s mine, all mine!!!! So a brief confession from me. When I first heard about Lover’s Day, I was all with the side-eye toward the greeting card and chocolate candy companies, wondering how one went about the creation of a new holiday. Not that I was knocking it—Anything that celebrates lovers gets my vote!! But it sounded a smidge made up. Obviously I don’t get out enough, because this is a holiday with deep roots. Just not necessarily in my neck of the woods. In Barcelona, Spain though? Oh yes, they’ve been celebrating Lover’s day on April 23, since 1714 to honor Miguel de [...]

Winners Announced!! _ When Story-Tropes Collide: Best-Friends-To-Lovers Meets Brother’s-Best-Friend + Giveaway

When I first set out to write Just One Night, I figured it would be the easiest of the Stiletto series to get on paper. For starters, it’s the third book in a series, so I had plenty of time to get to know my characters while writing the first two stories. I also was thinking it would be easier because it was a friends-to-lovers story. I thought that since Riley and Sam had known each other for a decade, I’d be able to skip their “getting to know you” phase and get straight to the good stuff. But I was only partially correct. While it’s true that the Stiletto girls were pretty much having full conversations in my head [...]