Weekly Winners at Romance At Random – Your place for Romance
Hi everyone! Thanks again for blogging with us this week — winners are below & if you are one, please send your snail mail to email@example.com so we can get you your book! Authors that may have offered a giveaway during the week will post their winners on those posts in the comment section — so take a look to see if you’re included!
Now . . . R@R’s Weekly Winners . . .
Congrats to all:
1- Laurie – I probably read about 4-5 hours a day its usually in the evening when i sit down to watch tv. On the weekends it is probably more especially if we do not have anything going on. I always have my nook with me!
2-Gloria – Thanks for the giveaway! geschumann at live dot com
3- PattiP – I have at least 90 books in my pile to read and I have to agree with my husband. I should not buy more books until these are read….but it is sooooo hard. I think I am going to officially start a bookaholics anonymous. I think the last 20 books I bought I’ve purchased and snuck in the house when he wasn’t home. I really think I have a problem.
4-JanieraE – Great giveaway, would love to win those books
5-KristyW – Thanks for the great giveaway!
6-Valette M – Haven’t read this yet, but I hope I win!
7- JillK – Haven’t read these yet…but would love to! Thanks for the giveaway!
Thanks so much for joining us at Romance At Random — 5 more winners will be chosen next week so stop on by!! Happy Romance, SueG
Share the love! + Giveaway!!!
I recently stepped out of the romance genre to read Dark World, a non-fiction book from Zak Bagans, a man who set about documenting the afterlife – ghosts, spirits and other paranormal entities. I was completely gripped by the book. For those of you who are familiar with me through blogging or through the publishing industry know that when I say – this is the BEST book I have read in a long time – is a very bold statement for me to make (Yes, I have literally read thousands of books and this easily makes my top books of all time). I loved this book so much that I purposely wrote this blog in such a way that I could mention it in more than just a passing way. How could I not share the love?
When I enjoy a book (especially THAT much) I want to share it with everyone! The question then becomes who would be interested in it? Everyone because it’s that good – just wasn’t going to cut it. It’s a great book but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. In fact, I’ll admit there were a few parts that scared me enough to say…okay, I’m NOT going to be able to read THAT part tonight!
So how to go about recommending a book from a genre someone doesn’t read? I thought back to my early days as a bookseller when I was recommending romances on a daily basis and the amount of genres within it – Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Series/Category Romances, etc. – came easily to me.
Instead of me telling you to run and get this amazing book… (And yes, you really should!) Hello Book Matchmaker! This is what I do! So if this post has gotten you in the mood for a really good ghost story, and a real ghost story just isn’t your style, with Halloween just around the corner, here are some highly recommended ghostly romantic reads:
Jayne Castle’s Ghost Hunter series; After Dark, After Glow, Ghost Hunter, Silver Master, Dark Light, Obsidian Prey, Midnight Crystal, Canyons of Night
The Ghost by Danielle Steel
Ghost Moon by Karen Robards
Heather Graham Pozzessere’s Bone Island Trilogy; Ghost Night, Ghost Moon, Ghost Shadow
Ghost Moon by Rebecca York
Linnea Sinclair’s Gabriel’s Ghost
If you’re also willing take a walk on the wild side…Zak Bagans’ book Dark World is waiting for you! Oh, but you may want to keep the light on when you get to the scary parts…Or better yet, take the day off and read it during the light of day… I promise you won’t be disappointed!!
So how do you recommend books from a genre someone doesn’t read? What are your go-to books (or authors) to recommend? What books have you slipped into a conversation for the sheer love of it?
– Book Matchmaker
Remember, 5 commenters will win a free book — good luck! Winners announced on Sunday
A Writer in a Different SubGenre…+ Giveaway!!
Part one: Subgenres of Romance
By Stacey Agdern
I was talking with a friend of mine, author Isabo Kelly, and it came up in conversation that her new release, Brightarrow Burning is a fantasy despite the fact that she’s known as a Science Fiction author. She was worried about this, but I reminded her that her style…her voice, came through in what she writes.
After talking with her, I started to think about this idea a bit further, and it’s true. Despite the differences required when a writer switches subgenres, or even genres as a whole, a writer’s voice always comes through. Anybody who reads the JD Robb series can spot Nora Roberts in the way Eve, Roarke and the rest of the ensemble cast grow and change during the course of the series. Who else?
Ann Aguirre’s voice absolutely comes through in the strength of both Sirantha Jax and Corine Solomon, and in the way they deal with the insanity life throws at them, despite the complete difference in their setting and plotlines. You can see the heart of Ilona Andrews in the characters in Silver Shark, the Edge as well as the Kate Daniels series…their devotion to duty and those around them ring true and warm a reader’s heart despite the difference in their setting and genre.
Doranna Durgin’s ‘Reckoners’ series contains the things I adored about the books she wrote for the dearly departed bombshell line, despite the fact that the bombshell books were fast paced and written with a central narrator, and the Reckoners books are not only a bit more humorous, but also contain multiple points of view.
But what about authors who need to change their writing style to fit the subgenre they’re in? Lisa Kleypas fundamentally changes her writing style when she goes from historical to contemporary, but she does so rather well, switching from her trademark historical third person, to a strong first for her contemporary. Once again, it’s the strength of her characters and their family bonds that make readers remember it’s Lisa Kleypas. And you can see echoes of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books in Kinley MacGregor’s MacAllister brothers/brotherhood of the sword series despite the fundamental change in both writing style and subgenre.
In short, as a reader, I enjoy watching my favorite authors jump between subgenres, mostly because I still am able to find the things I like about their writing in each book. Whether it’s the themes they choose to write about, the type of story they’re good at telling, or their particular skill as a writer that shines through every time, I’ll be able to find something to grin about. What do you think?
remember, 5 commenters every week win a free book — good luck – winners are announced on Sunday!
Tell us about your job? + Giveaway!
Tell us about your job? xesands
I have the best job in the world – I truly do. I get to read amazing stories and then embody the author’s intent with my voice, bringing a deeper level of intimacy and connection to the reader’s experience. It’s heaven.
What background does one need to become a narrator?
First and foremost, you must both love to tell stories and be a natural storyteller (they don’t always go hand in hand). You need to have that drive to entertain, to truly bring your audience along on a experiential journey via the retelling. I feel very fortunate that my father is a natural storyteller who turns every interpersonal interaction into entertainment upon the retelling; his enthusiasm and really obsession with storytelling infected me at a young age.
On the technical side, you need to have a sense of timing and where to place emphasis so that your performance carries the intent of the author as authentically as possible. A background in acting or other performing arts is extremely useful and applicable. You also need to be able to truly inhabit each character (including the narrator) and carry their individual intent through only the use of your voice. And specific to the romance genre with its heroes and their “impossibly deep baritone voices flowing like honey” over the heroine, you need to be able to credibly voice both genders (even if you only do it via a shift in tone or inflection).
Do you like to read?
YES! I adore reading and always have. It is one of my favorite things to do. I have been getting lost in stories for as long as I can remember. Now my job is to help others lose themselves too.
Who are some of your favorite Romance Authors?
Of course I adore the romance authors I’ve been privileged to work with on audio versions of their books – so no picking favorites among them!
But I will throw out a name that I doubt most would consider a romance author, although I consider her to be: Audrey Niffenegger. Romantic relationships – how they develop, their ramifications in the lives of characters – figure prominently in both Her Fearful Symmetry and The Time Traveler’s Wife. I have to confess that I love when authors surprise me – when there isn’t necessarily a happy ending or a tidy wrap-up to the story – this is what I often enjoy most (after I stop cursing and crying, that is). What can I say? I’m a bit twisted that way. And both of Niffenegger’s books are poignant, messy, brutal yet gorgeously told stories, centered around deep, romantic relationships.
What have you read recently that you’ve really enjoyed?
The only thing I don’t like about my job is that it leaves me almost no time for recreational reading, so it’s actually been quite a while since I’ve read a book that wasn’t also for recording. The last personal romance read I had time for was The Time Traveler’s Wife. It completely blew my mind – what a love story! I was an emotional wreck for about 3 weeks. But it might have a run on my favorite recent read, as I’ve just started reading The Silence of Trees by Valya Dudcyz Lupescu, in prep for recording and am already swooning. Oh, and don’t even get me started on poetry!
What do you like about genres other than romance & wish the romance genre had more of?
What I really love are stories that are complex and unpredictable, when I can’t see where the story will end up (specifically with respect to the romantic relationships), which usually typifies much of what I enjoy about literary fiction, so I suppose I would like to see less of a guaranteed happy ending (I know, let the flogging begin, right?). I confess that I do adore the bad boys, the dangerous heroes (Anne Stuart excels at these) – so no complaints there. But I would love to see more heroines who can hold their own from the beginning, who are more experienced and savvy (not cold-hearted and in need of breaking, mind you), and who don’t necessarily give in immediately or believe everything the hero is trying to sell them from the get-go.
Of course, I’m laughing at myself because I’m realizing that perhaps I’m craving more “mature” heroines because I’ve recently hit my forties!
One last comment I would make is actually something I’d like to see less of: the virgin trope.
As for what I enjoy most about other genres, I think it is the realism and poignancy present – what a friend recently deemed, “messy fiction” that I thrive on. I think that I would love a bit more realism in my romance reads, but I know that I’m likely alone there.
Do you like reading on an e-reader? What do you miss about paper books?
Honestly, no, I don’t. I know some love them, but I really love the feel of a book in my hands, the feel of the pages. Bit old-fashioned that way…but I do understand the appeal of e-readers. Being able to carry so many books with you is certainly an enticement, as is being able to easily search for names, phrases, etc.
What are some of your favorite movies?
The Matrix, The Two Towers…and yes, I’ll confess it, Dirty Dancing (there may or may not have been some scene reenactment with a high school boyfriend back in the day. Ahem). At their core, all three have a love story that drives their characters. I don’t necessarily need a romance to enjoy a flick, but when one is offered and done well, I certainly appreciate it.
To turn the tables a bit, I would love to hear from readers what you would like to see less of in romance – you know, what tropes make you roll your eyes?
For me, what I need/want from a romance has changed over the years – has that been true for you? If so, how have your needs/tastes/desires changed as a reader?
What do you think of the “bad boy” alphas? If you’re a fan (I confess I am!), do you have a secret “line they better not cross” in order for them to appeal to you? What is that line?
I often see an age disparity in romance – what do you think of that? Does an age disparity matter in terms of your enjoyment of the relationship?
For the audiobook listeners/readers: how do you prefer your love scenes narrated? This is a tricky area for narrators, and I am always interested in what listeners are looking for.
Book Review by Anne – SWEET REVENGE & Giveaway!!
SWEET REVENGE by Christy Reece
(Book #8 in the Last Chance Rescue Series)
“Revenge is sweet and not fattening.” Alfred Hitchcock
In a case of mistaken identity, Jamie Kendrick is abducted and abused by a maniac – then sold to another madman for his evil son’s entertainment. Dylan Savage, an operative working for Last Chance Rescue serves as her knight-in-shining-armor when he rescues her from Stanford Reddington’s grip. With a his-word-against-her-word complaint, no actual physical proof, and the use of his wealth and powerful influence in Spain, Reddington remains free of prosecution. Now Jamie wants revenge for what was done to her, but even more importantly she wants this monster locked away where he can never hurt anyone again. Justice will be the sweetest revenge of all.
Armed with a few secrets of her own, Jamie seeks assistance from Noah McCall, the head of Last Chance Rescue, to prepare her physically for a face off with her abuser. When Noah balks at Jamie’s plans for revenge, she issues a “with or without your help” ultimatum. Confronted with his choices, Noah McCall agrees and assigns Dylan the job of training Jamie. What is unknown to Jamie is that neither Noah or Dylan have any intention of letting her play the avenging angel. The training is only a pretext for getting the information she keeps to herself and keeping her safe while LCR takes down Reddington alone.
No plan is ever failsafe and this one blows up in Dylan’s face when his trainee proves to be more than she first appeared. He underestimates her strength and willpower as his own falters when he and Jamie become intimate. Their chemistry is sizzling and the author’s extremely well written dialogue between the lovers sweetly intensifies each encounter.
From the first page to the last, you are caught up in a story masterfully thredded with danger and desire. Emotionally intense, positively captivating, heart wrenching and drool worthy, the love story between Jamie and Dylan is one that won’t disappoint those of us who enjoy a full impact romance. This couple is irresistible, their romance a memorable one, and their HEA just perfect!
SWEET REVENGE is an unforgettable story, with an equally unforgettable cast of characters. You want to savor each and every detail. As with all the other books in this series, reappearances by former characters add an extra dose of sweetness to this one as well. Still going strong and packing a wallop of a punch, the 8th book in the popular Last Chance Rescue series exemplifies all the reasons why I’m a huge fan of both the series and its author, who, in my opinion, writes some of the very best romantic suspense on the market today.
QUESTION: Do you think there is ever an instance when revenge is the only answer? If so, would you be prepared to invoke that revenge?
remember every week 5 commenters will win a free book – winners announced on Sunday’s good luck!!
Alix Review! + Giveaway!
NO PLACE TO RUN by Maya Banks — reviewed by Alix:
The last person Sam Kelly expected to save was Sophie Lundgren. Once they shared a brief, intense affair while Sam was undercover and then she vanished. She’s spent the last few months on the run, knowing that any mistake would cost her both her life and that of their unborn child. Now she’s resurfaced with a warning for Sam: this time, he’s the one in danger. I loved the first KGI novel, it was dark and intense and painful and lovely to read and it was so freaking hot it was a wonderful thing to read. So it was with great pleasure that I looked forward to this book. I have loved Maya Banks books for years, the characters are always hot, complex and the plots superbly well executed, while still leaving enough room for the imagination to run wild. When she started branching into romantic suspense, I worried, it could have been too much my 2 favorite genres mixed together and when you add the element of the hidden baby and the surprise pregnancy with the one night stand and danger and hit blend…. either awesomeness or epic fail would occur. Luckily this was the former.
The story starts out with a bang. Well several actually. A shooting, a hot sex scene and a woman on the run. It keeps getting better from there. Sophie is a super complex, extremely haunted woman trying to do the best she can in really crappy circumstances, Sam is the epitome of the alpha male, moving everything in his path to try to protect what he thinks he should and do the right thing, both options that don’t always result in the same actions. The motivations of these characters is clear, a tribute to the character development Ms. Banks must have done, despite supremely detailed and complex characters, characters that are more than two dimensional, she manages to convey their needs, wants and desires, as well as their motivations, reasons for being and histories simply and clearly especially given the action packed nature of this book, the character development could have easily been pushed to the wayside, but in this case it was not, the characters were suitably detailed and the plot simple yet executed well without significant time jumps or information gaps that could have made the story less appealing. This is romantic suspense done right.
The few things I didn’t like about the book were things that had to do more with when Ms. Banks chose to illuminate certain things about her characters, but it made sense in that characters nature and time line to explain them then, so the outcome was the same, the character stayed true to his or herself as opposed to fitting what I wanted him or her to be. The only thing that could have pushed it over the top was if the book was more in depth emotionally and character driven. If the book had truly been a tear jerker or yanked a deep emotional response out of me, other than pure enjoyment and entertainment it would have been perfect.
This was a fantastic romantic suspense novel that hit on every cylinder and reminded me why I like Ms. Banks writing. In stores now & don’t miss her new Scottish stories — equally as engaging with characters that are full & enjoyable.
So what books have you read over the last few months that have worked for you?
Every week 5 commenters are chosen for a FREE book — good luck!
Once and Again + Giveaway!
Once and Again is a delightful sexy romantic contemporary that speaks to us of family and second chances. Lily Travis never thought she would come back to Petal, Georgia but here she is trying to get her fifteen year old brother back on track and help her mother after her dad deserts them both for a 20 something woman. Sexy and all grown up, she has it all together until she sees Nathan Murphy.
Nathan was the love of her life in collage until she saw him kissing her cousin. Seven years has passed since they broke up but Lily has never forgotten her first love. Nathan Murphy made a horrible mistake seven years ago when he let Lily walk away without a fight. Seeing her again has made Nathan realize that he never stopped loving her and he makes it his personal mission to get her back. When Nathan enlists the combined help of the Murphys and Chases to help win back Lily’s love and trust, Lily realizes that coming back home may have been the best decision she ever made.
I adore Lauren Dane. Her stories always fell me with joy and laughter as we watch the characters we have come to love find happiness and acceptance while dealing with everyday situations and problems. Erotically romantic without crossing the line into crass, Ms. Dane has a way of drawing you in and making you a part of her stories.Her sense of family is readily apparent as we watch these characters laugh, fight, love and protect each other.
Lily Travis is a delightful heroine who holds her own as she steps in to fill her mother’s shoes as a parent to her younger brother Chris. With plenty of love, laughter, and spirit, she grabs hold of Chris and refuses to let him continue down the path of destruction. With her mother spiraling into depression and an overbearing sister, Lily has a lot on her plate. She leads Nathan on a merry chase as Nathan is used to getting what he wants and now he wants Lily back. I enjoyed watching Nathan have
to work for what he wanted. Plenty of steamy love scenes keep you glued to the pages as Nathan takes wooing to a whole new level in his attempts to win Lily back. Though some heavy subject matters are touched upon; it’s the sense of family and forgiveness that draws you in.
With a first rate cast of supporting characters and an engaging storyline, Once And Again is the perfect romantic getaway for when you need a little me time in your life. What are some of your perfect getaway books to read? Thanks Tori –
Remember, every week 5 commenters are chosen to win a free book -good luck!
This is Scandalous! + Giveaway
Do you like Chest Hair on your men?
Well, really, I mean on your romance heroes on the book covers . . . when we see all of these wonderful torso’s on book covers, should chest hair be included or not? When I was blogging as a bookseller, we did a post on this fun topic – amazing the responses so curious to see what you all think . . . .about chest hair.
The next question is do most book covers show chest hair on our heroes. What do you think? Jaci Burton has a marvelous cover . . .but alas, no chest hair, do you see any?
Checked out Pamela Clare’s yummy cover . . . and No.
Do people find chest hair visually offensive? As readers, do you even notice? When we pick up books to read usually we know the author we’re going to buy . . . but sometimes, the cover makes us pick up a book too — & the hero on the cover usually grabs my attention Chest hair or not . .You?
Do we want chest hair? Yes or no?
Join us in our chat today to be randomly chosen for our weekly contest to win one of 5 books — winners announced on Sunday! Good Luck!
Age . . . does it matter? + Giveaway
I was reviewing a submission from an agent & noticed that the author identified their work for a particular, ‘Target Age Group’ . . . does that matter to a reader?
As a romance reader – when you’re reading a book, do you think, is this for my age group? Or is this book targeted to my generation? I have to say, I’ve never even thought of this. I basically think, that when I’m shopping in a store, I’m in the Romance section, therefore, those books would be for readers who like romantic stories, no matter what age, right?
Taking this one step further, do you even notice the ages of your characters? When I’m reading, as a reader, I guess I’m figuring the H/H are in their 20′s or 30′s unless otherwise specified & that is fine with me. For the most part, unless the author tells me, I assume they are not older than 40 . . . many romance characters are getting settled in their careers, never been married, childless & so forth, which indicates a younger individual, for me anyway.
As a reader, romance reader, do you pay attention to your H/H ages? Does it matter? In historical romances probably yes . . . primarily because of the restrictions & tradition of those times; contemporary – not so much, unless, it is pertinent to the story.
Therefore, do we care who our target audience is? We’re all ages and the spectrum is so broad, does it need to be identified? If you were writing another genre, then, it may matter – Young Adult for example. But in Romance, do we need to know what age range a book is being written for? It should be for all of us who read Romance, right?
The other question for you, as a reader, do the ages of the H/H matter? Personally, I like a range, so I don’t need or care if the author tells me their age or not, you?
What are your thoughts — love to hear from you — 5 commenters will win a FREE book – winners announced on Sundays – GOOD LUCK!
People always ask me why romantic suspense? by Dee Davis + Giveaway!
First off, I’ve been an incurable romantic for most of my life. As a little girl, I cried at the end of Cinderella because we didn’t get to see her get married. And I cheered endlessly for Calvin and Meg in A Wrinkle in Time. I wanted Aurora to find her prince charming. And I always thought Ned needed a bigger role in Nancy’s adventures. (I even had hopes for Lucy and Mr. Tumnus.) I always wanted the girl to get the guy in movies. And happily ever after was so important to me I (only occasionally) double checked the last line of a book to make sure it was so.
And secondly, I adore suspense. When I was a little kid on certain summer nights, my mom would tell my brother and I to get our pajamas on right after dinner. But we didn’t protest because we knew what was coming next. We were going to the drive-in movie theatre. Now the rule was that we were allowed to watch the first feature but during the second we were supposed to go to sleep. I never did. I stayed awake and marveled at the smooth precision of Sean Connery’s Bond as well as the subterfuge and stealth of Gregory Peck and David Niven in the Guns of Naverone.
Then when I was in high school, my mom introduced me to one of her favorite authors. Mary Stewart. Absolute heaven—both romance and suspense. The Moon-Spinners. My Brother Michael, Airs Above the Ground. I quickly devoured all her books, along with Phyllis Whitney’s and Victoria Holt’s. Of course I was still reading Robert Ludlum, Alistair McLean, Robin Cook, Michael Crichton and other suspense writers, but I always wanted them to include more romance.
When I graduated from college, I took the entrance exam for the foreign service and interviewed with the CIA. Ultimately, we agreed that it wasn’t going to work. I talk too much. But it didn’t curb my interest in all things spy-oriented. And so it wasn’t really a surprise that when I started writing books I turned to romantic suspense. It was what I was raised with in a literary sense.
From my first romantic suspense novel, After Twilight, to my nineteenth, Deep Disclosure (the latest in my A-Tac series), my characters have battled not only seemingly insurmountable antagonists, but often their internal fears as well—ultimately conquering both to win the day.
Bottom line, romantic suspense is where my passion lies. There is something magical to me about twists and turns and run-for-your-life danger combined with a couple realizing that together they are stronger than when they are apart.
Oh, and I get my happily ever after, too!
Reminder — 5 people are chosen every week to win a FREE book – winners are announced on Sunday — good luck!
DragonCon – recap by Shawntelle! + Giveaway!
DragonCon is described as "the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!" And now that I’ve attended it for the first time, I must admit that it’s quite true.
I arrived a day late on Saturday morning, but I still had plenty of time to enjoy the conference. My day began early Saturday morning with only 3 hours of sleep, thanks to my 3 AM arrival and an insane morning person habit, with a trip out to register for the conference. My roomate, romance author Cate Rowan, was so understanding of my very late arrival to our room. Thanks Cate!
Registration begins at 8 AM every morning. I left my room at 7:30 thinking I could get a half way decent spot in the line. When I left the Marriott Marquis and arrived at the Sheraton, I got a lovely surprise–the line started at registration and wrapped all the way around the building. It just kept going and going. I’d waited in long lines at amusement parks, but this one was way different. Most parks don’t have folks in costume waiting in line. DragonCon had official begun for me. (Even though I’d already seen people in costumes when I’d arrived early Saturday morning.)
I waited for about fifteen minutes before a man with DragonCon came down the line talking about the registration process. If anyone had preregistered and had the blue card, they could go to a different line. I bet you can see where this is going. I had preregistered (and left my card at home), but either way, I was in the wrong line. Naturally, my first thought was that I was going from a long line into another epically long line, but to my amazement, the preregistration line was so, so short. Matter of fact, by the time registration opened, I rolled through preregistration in just a few minutes. So important factoid here, if you are attending DragonCon, it is so worth it to preregister!
After registering, I was famished, so I decided to figure out how to find a place to eat. Luckily for me, just as I was leaving registration I met three other nice ladies who also had plans to eat. (See picture to the left.) Amber, Rhonda, and Lisa took me to Sear where we ate the buffet breakfast. We had a pleasant conversation about the celebrities at DragonCon and what I should expect. They were so nice and made the start to my day wonderful. After that, my Saturday went great (even with the lack of sleep)! I hung out with young adult author Cole Gibsen and saw the Walk of Fame with the celebrities giving autographs. I saw Michael Rosenbaum from Smallville, actor Wil Wheaton, and so many more! I visited the dealer rooms where I encountered several awesome author booths: Sherrilyn Kenyon’s booth, Laurell K. Hamilton’s, and two group booths containing great urban fantasy/fantasy authors.
Here were the authors I found at the Tairen’s Lair: C.L. Wilson, Jade Lee, Anna Destefano, David B. Coe, Rob Thurman, Misty Massey, Seressia Glass, Deidre Knight, Faith Hunter, Kalayna Price, and Jennifer St. Giles. (Wow! This first list is a sure sign you can come to DragonCon to meet and greet your favorite romance authors.)
As you can see in the pictures, those ladies (and David Coe) did a fabulous job showcasing their books. It’s a great opportunity for readers to learn about their favorite authors and get their hands on some cool swag, including some Death Mints I got from Rachel Caine.
I did go to a few panels. I listened to young adult author Beth Revis and several others talk about the hero archtype in the Harry Potter series. Even though the line was long, I also got an unforgettable opportunity to watch the True Blood panel featuring Jim Parrak, Denis O’Hare, Kristin Bauer (Pam), the Sookie Stackhouse series author Charlaine Harris, and Joe Maganiello (Alcide). Joe definitely made it worth the panel! Charlaine arrived in Victorian garb and did a fabulous job of answering questions about the series as well as the ties to the HBO series.
Thanks to DragonCon television, which is available in the main conference hotels, I was also able to watch the Star Trek New Generation panel. It was hilarious! Wil Wheaton and Brent Spinner had banter thoroughout and made the whole panel so entertaining. The panel also included Gates McFadden and Garrett Wang.
After watching that panel, I had dinner and took some time to hang out and take pictures. As you can see by the photos there is no end to the fun with DragonCon. You can see Japanese anime characters one minute to Ming the Merciless the next.
Sunday started out early–again–with breakfast before I did more browsing. I sat in on a few great panels, including one with several NYT bestselling authors: Kevin J. Anderson, Terry Brooks, Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and finally Jonathan Maberry. Their panel included some great advice on their process and how they writing career began. It was a blast since I met Sherrilyn Kenyon up close to thank her for the panel and I even got a picture with Charlaine Harris! (Fan girl squee!)
A few hours later, it was time for the What’s Coming from Del Rey panel. My first DragonCon panel experience. The other panelists included: Betsy Mitchell, editor-in-chief of Del Rey, Del Rey editor at large Shelly Shapiro, author Elizabeth Moon, and myself. It was so much fun to talk to the audience about COVETED and show them the cover art. My cover isn’t official yet, but audience members got a sneak peak. Naturally I was nervous the whole time, but it was so much fun to learn about some of the fantastic sci-fi fantasy titles coming out from Elizabeth Moon, Naomi Novik, Kevin Hearne, Terry Brooks, Stacia Kane, and Star Wars awesomeness like the upcoming Vader book. And what can’t be more cooler than a Star Wars Craft book? (I have no shame in saying I’d love to make a Jabba the Hutt body pillow.)
Now that DragonCon is over, I’m still in recovery. But I’ll have so many memories of the great costumes I saw as well as the great people I met. I’ll most certainly do DragonCon again in 2012!
Want to see more pictures? Head over to my website at shawntellemadison.com. You can also learn more about my book COVETED, coming out April 24th, 2012, from Ballantine. Or add it to your GoodReads book list.
Question for you – does this sound like an event you’d like to attend? Comment below! Thanks for reading, Shawntelle
Reminder 5 commenters win a free book every week – winners announced on Sunday – Good luck!
Secrets in a Romance + Giveaway!
Secrets can be the life blood of the story — as the reader, you are typically in the loop of what the characters in the book do not know & that makes it all the more fun. Sometimes, you don’t know the secrets the heroine or hero are keeping from one another & then they enfold as the story does. Either way, secrets keep the story moving, create the conflict & then ultimately when that trust is given by the H/H, it is all the more romantic.
Think of Dark Lover – Beth has no idea she is a half-breed so to be brought into the world of The Brotherhood & learn the ultimate truth about herself is overwhelming to say the least. The relationship that is developed between Beth & Wrath is probably one of the most steamy & romantic ever written.
We all knew the secrets that Acheron had must have been pretty grim, & they were, but the moment that Tory knew everything and gave him her unconditional love was another extremely romantic scene.
How often have we read these story lines & loved them each time they are told:
Damien Knight, the earl of Winterley, is proud, aloof, and tormented by memories of war.
Lord of Ice by Gaelen Foley
Elizabeth Hoyt’s, Notorious Pleasures, the hero is the owner of a gin business which keeps his family from going to the poor house —- secrets like this allow the heroine to fall in love with our hero all the more.
Sir Ross was aloof & mysterious in the book, Lady Sophia’s Lover, by Lisa Kleypas, which made the H/H relationship explosive!
& who can forget this story:
But marriage for love is not to be, for her irresponsible and unscrupulous father, crippled by gambling debts, is intent on auctioning off his beautiful daughter to the highest bidder. And in the end, Erienne is devastated to find it is the strange and secretive Lord Saxton who has purchased her—a mysterious, tragic figure who wears a mask and a cloak at all times to hide disfiguring scars gained in a terrible fire some years back.
Kathleen Woodiwiss – A Rose In Winter.
So, tell us –are secrets what make you swoon? Yell at the book? Make your stomach ache until the end of the story? 5 randomly chosen commenters will win a free book — winners announced on Sundays – good luck!
Who’s In Your Five? + Giveaway!!
Most people are familiar with the idea of the Celebrity Free Pass. Basically, it’s a laminated list you can never change that lists the five celebrities you are allowed to cheat with and have no repercussions. Since that’s not exactly romantic you might be asking yourself what am I leading up to…
I took that idea of a laminated, never to be changed list, and paired it with the idea of Keeper Shelf Books and Desert Island Books and have been playing with the question “If you could choose only five authors to read for the rest of your life, who would they be?”
I mean think about it. We aren’t talking authors who wrote one single book you loved and put on your keeper shelf. This is about an author’s entire catalog of books. Who has written books that you consistently love? Who do you feel would continue putting out books you would devour year after year?
For someone who reads as much as I do, this is an insanely hard question. It’s like asking a girl to pick one pair of shoes to wear for the rest of your life, or one type of cupcake to eat for eternity (although it is a cupcake so who could ever tire of eating any flavor). A girl needs variety I want to shout, but I’m not letting myself off that easy!
Here’s the list I started with and had to pair down:
Victoria Dahl, Kristin Higgins, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kim Harrison, Karen Marie Moning, Jennifer Cruise, Maya Banks, Loretta Chase, Johanna Lindsey, Vicki Lewis Thompson…the list could go on and on!
So I started looking at my list and thinking, “Should I mix up the genres and light vs. dark or just stick to whose work I love the most and think will feed my need to read the best over the rest of my life?”
It’s a hard decision to make, but I did it. Here are my final five laminated, never to be changed (ahem, at least for the purposes of playing along) authors I would choose to read for the rest of my life:
1. Victoria Dahl
2. Kristin Higgins
3. Karen Marie Moning
4. Maya Banks
5. Vicki Lewis Thompson
Now, let’s hear yours. Yes, I know it’s hard but you can do it! Oh, and tell us how you made your choice. Did you mix genres, or stay with your most beloved authors?
– Sabrina from Cheeky Reads
Remember 5 commenters will win a FREE book – Winners announced on Sunday – Good Luck!
Real Romance — What Men Really Did For Love + Giveaway!
I found this great article on the internet & thought I’d share some of the fun things these guys did, all for LOVE! Some of these would make great stories — definitely need HEA’s though
A Symbol of Love
My first boyfriend and I were young, idealistic and romantic so when we went on a nature hike and saw two trees that had grown together, we said they were just like us. Separate people connected in one special place — our hearts. Soon after my boyfriend planted two baby trees side by side in his yard, and he placed a wooden heart in the center. He told me that the trees would be a permanent symbol of our love. Even though we are no longer together, I will always remember this romantic symbol of the love we once shared.
Now He Doesn’t Seem So Far Away
Shortly after college graduation, I got a great job offer that required me to move within a week. It was so hectic. My boyfriend and I tried to make time for a romantic hike to say our good-byes, but there was no time. About a month after I moved away, when I really started to miss him, I got a present in the mail. He’d put together a scrapbook labeled “Wanna Go for a Walk?” Inside, there were photos of the trail we were going to walk together. He’d gone by himself to take them and record his thoughts too. There were notes at the bottom of each photo about how much he missed me, and memories of our special times. Even though distance still keeps us apart, I can take that photo album out and “go for a walk” with him anytime.
An Anniversary Surprise
My husband is thoughtful, but not what you call romantic. So after 12 years of marriage, you can imagine how surprised I was to get a handmade music box for our anniversary. It was made out of oak, my favorite wood. He had carved his initials and the date we were married on the bottom. It played “The Rose,” the song we sang together at our wedding. As if that weren’t enough, he added a dozen roses to the gift.
The Single Mom’s Dream Date
When I met my husband, I was a single parent with two daughters, running my own business, working long hours to cover all our bills, plus I helped out in my community. So I’d have to say the most romantic thing he ever did was not glamorous. It was when he took out the trash the first time he visited my home — without me even asking! Who needs candy or flowers? This one little gesture showed me he cared about the important things in life — my children and my home.
You can read more of this article on: http://www.ivillage.com/real-romance-what-10-men-did-love-0/4-a-283512?p=3
I was trying to think of some of the special things romance heroes have done for their heroines . . .Zack in Heidi Betts, Knock Me For a Loop, even knits to win her back!
Kristan Higgins, My One & Only, a now divorced Harper & Nick realize they want to be together in their trek across the country . . . the scene where he’s willing to give up his horse for her so she can escape the bear is hilarious & sweet all at the same time.
What other stories can you recall that have this sort of fun endearment? Scenes where the hero or heroine are obviously trying hard to win the other back with tokens of their love?
Remember, 5 commenters are chosen every week to win a FREE book — winners announced on Sunday — Good luck!
#1 - Maria
#2 – Christine A
#3 – Mason Canyon
#4 – RebekahM
#5 – Sherrie
Thank you all — join us this week for more fun & let us know if you’d like to post on our site — it is a site for everyone so let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One writers journey — Keep the Faith
Theresa Rizzo is a member of the Crested Butte, CO writers group & has been working on her writing for quite some time — I thought her video was so inspiring I wanted to share it with you all. Writing is such an emotional career — it has to be, if you’re going to be good at it. It is emotional for readers as well — bottom line, if you don’t feel it when you write it, we won’t feel it when we read it. Great video from Theresa – Enjoy!!!
Keep the Faith!
In Theresa’s own words:
I get huge joy from writing. I’m proud of my rejections. They signify effort and time put into my career. While this video shares the tough aspect of the business, it’s meant to be an inspiration and celebration. An entertaining way to remind me of all the blessings writing has brought me.
My fondest gratitude to my family and friends – old and new – those I have pictures of and those I don’t. Thank you, all.
Writers, what do you find to be some of the most rewarding moments as a writer?
Readers, what do you enjoy most about reading?
Thanks for your comments! Remember, 5 randomly chosen commenter’s each, winners announced Sunday!
Paranormal romance . . . the visual *wow* + Giveaway!
Today we are viewing paranormal trailers — what do you think, do they intrigue you? are you ready to run out & buy these books?
Readers love Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters (I do too) — here is one of her many DH trailers, what do you think?
What about the Brotherhood, JR Ward’s ever popular series — does this trailer relate to you?
Well, we might as well hit the big 3, right? Christine has many trailers to be found on youtube, instead of another vampire video I chose WATERBOUND from her Sea Haven series:
Do you think this gives you the insight you need to decide if this is a book or series for you?
Ok, just one more to round out the biggest & brightest in paranormal romance — I have to say, I kind of like the more direct to the point types of videos like SHADOWFEVER by Karen Marie Moning . . . . my cranky laptop seems to like it too:
Bottom line — I’m going to buy paranormal no matter what, so I’m probably one of those readers that doesn’t need a book trailer at all — SORRY! That’s just me
What about you — thoughts on the above? Romance at Random wants to know — & remember, 5 randomly chosen commenter’s thru out the week will be eligible to win a FREE book so comment away & good luck!
Now, that’s romance *sigh* + Giveaway!
COMING HOME by Mariah Stewart
I’ve always loved Mariah’s suspense stories, but when she decided to write small town contemporaries she made my heart sing! This trailer is pure romance — I’m so moved by this video that I’m totally all over buying this book? You? Does it affect you the same way?
& some really knock your socks off like Lori’s — you just want to know, what these heroes are all about, yes?
By viewing this trailer, you know the series includes three hotties, that are involved in something mysterious, with adventure . . . maybe they are undercover agents & so forth. The visual definitely makes you think about the series & what the author is conveying to you — for me, it makes me all the more excited to read Lori’s books.
Some books lend themselves to trailers better than others. Linda Lael Miller’s Western series also entices the reader to give her books a try, don’t you think?
Wow — this trailer make me want to move West! Go West young man . . . woman & child !!
What other book trailers have you found to be affective in helping you to decide whether to buy a book or its series?
Remember, 5 randomly chosen commenter’s thru out the week will be eligible to win a FREE book — Winners posted Sunday’s — good luck! SueG
Meeting authors, by Nikki + GIVEAWAY!
Meeting Authors and Reader Events- A Virgin Tale
Let me begin by telling you how excited I am to be here today! I feel extremely privileged to be asked to speak on any topic at all. I’m Nikki and I blog all about everything over at Ramblings From A Chaotic Mind. Well, mostly about sexy romance and a few awesome young adult books I get my hands on. Oh…and hotties. Lots of hotties.
I may have been reading for years…and blogging for the past year, but only recently did I meet my first author. I live in Massillon, Ohio. Not exactly the mecca of the writing community. I had heard that Leah Clifford lives near Cleveland, Ohio (also not a writing mecca) and asked her about the possibility of her doing a signing in the area. Ok, I begged her. To my astonishment she said there was in fact a signing scheduled and that she wouldn’t be alone. Courtney Allison Moulton and Lisa Desrochers was going to be with her. I was ESTATIC. Then the unthinkable happened. She invited me and my uber awesome cousin Julie A Lindsey out to dinner with them after the signing? WHAT?! Seriously?
I had the best time. The biggest thing I walked away from that event with? Writers are simply people. Super cool people…but just people. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. Talk, laugh and listen. All three of them (oh, that’s me in the black) were so nice. It was casual and lighthearted and for my very first signing…they made it easy on me. They certainly didn’t have to invite us out. So thank you to them for making us feel so at ease.
The very next weekend though….I got to go to my first conference!! I went to the Lori Foster Reader Author Get Together! It was affordably priced and within driving distance for me. I knew I couldn’t miss this chance. So I packed my bag and made the drive. It was one of the funnest weekends of my life. I got to meet all kinds of authors, agents, bloggers and industry individuals (Sue Grimshaw- *cough cough*). I even got to cuddle a giant cardboard cutout of my man Dare from Lori’s book “When You Dare”
Ok, I may have felt up all three cut outs. Notice the placement of my hands if you will. Totally didn’t mean that. Ok, I did. Can you blame me really? I mean LOOK AT THEM. If I could have smuggled one out on the top of my car, I totally would have.
The entire conference is laid back. You chat with authors, they pose with you if you ask, they sign books and you eat meals with them. Again, they are people. Rockstars to me…sure…but also wives, mothers, friends and sisters. I even got to meet Nalini Singh! I *may* have squealed a bit when I met her. I made some incredible friends that weekend. Authors who I am a fan of, I can now call friend.
Here I am with JA Saare. She is about the nicest person ever. We chatted for quite awhile while I was there. And since being home a bit as well.
Don’t be afraid to go to author events, conferences or signings. You will not regret standing in line to meet some of your favorite authors. They love you as much as you love them. Well, unless you’re creepy. Then probably not so much. You get what I’m saying. You, the reader, are why they are able to do signings and conferences! They WANT to talk to you! Don’t be shy! Some of them can be quite pricey. I can’t afford the big events. You do get lots of freebies though and Lori Foster’s event was only $50 + hotel! That’s unheard of, trust me. Local book store signings are of course only the price of the book you are buying for them to sign. It’s worth it..trust me. I wouldn’t steer you wrong!
I walked away with a ton of signed books, swag galore and FRIENDS! I’m already planning my trip for next year.
Thanks so much for having me here today! Anytime I have an excuse to show me fondling that cardboard cutout is a good day for me. You can find me online at my blog or on Twitter!
Nikki Brandyberry- Ramblings From A Chaotic Mind
Book Reviews, Caffeine and Craziness
Remember – 5 weekly commenters are chosen weekly to win a FREE book – winners announced on Sundays – good luck!!
Why Joyfully Reviewed Loves Romance + Giveaway!
When Sue asked me to write a blog post on why I love romance books, I jumped at the chance to do so. Why you may ask? Well, plain and simple, the opportunity to share with others the reason why I love this genre makes me squee, lol.
In a nut shell, romance books rock. From the moment I picked up my first romance at 13, a Barbara Cartland title by the way, I’ve been transported to a world that someones imagination had created for me. My mother instilled in me a great appreciation of the written word. There were always books around the house, but once I found that romance book in the library, my love of these gems began and has yet to dim.
Romance books made me fall in love with a pregnant alien male, yes you have read that correctly. Not only was Keeper of The Flame the first e-book I’d ever read, but I wrote the author to let her know that she blew my mind with the world she had created. I’d gotten so involved in the heroes struggle and his situation, that I felt compelled to write a fan letter. This is why I love romance books.
A hero that will kill for his soul mate, shiver. A heroine that finds the man who makes all others pale in comparison. Secondary characters that have engaged me so much, getting their own book. This is why I love romance books.
Side note: Rhyannon Byrd, your fans would fall to their knees and worship you forever if you could eek out some time and write Jonah’s story from Triple Play. Ms. Byrd pens Alpha males that make me swoon, giggle. Pardon that distraction.
My love of romance books bought me into contact with an unpublished author, at the time, who asked me to read her book and give a reader critique. That book was Pack Challenge and the author? Shelly Laurenston http://www.shellylaurenston.com/index.php. Shelly’s books are hilarious, I have literally never laughed out loud as much as I have than when reading one of her books. This is why I love romance books.
Romance books made this shy woman to get on a train, travel by herself for 36 hours and attend a week long Romance Reader Event. I met my favorite authors, met new ones, and above all, interacted with other romance readers who were just as rabid about their love of romance as I was. Don’t give me that look, I know it is hard to believe it but at one time, I used to be extremely shy. HA!
Romance books have bought me hours of escapism. I can always count on a Happily Ever After. This genre never ceases to amaze me and makes me one happy reader. I love romance books so much that I opened a Romance Review site. Being able to bring readers to authors and vice versa for the past six years has been an absolute joy. This is why I love romance : )
So, what’s your excuse (LOL) why do you like to read romance?
Comment below & be eligible to be one of this weeks 5 randomly chosen winners!
Danielle Tells All + GIVEAWAY!
Romance is one of the biggest genres out. I couldn’t think of a better way to start or end my day then getting lost in the wonderful world of romance. You get everything from contemporary to paranormal and suspense to historical. Needless to say the list goes on and on, but one thing is always guaranteed and that’s a happily ever after ending.
There is nothing like the journey of the hero and heroine and what they embark on. Watching them grow and learn is more than exciting, its heart pounding. Watching them not want to fall in love to them waiting their lives to play out perfectly. I love that their roads are never easy because let’s face it, in life it never is, but to get to where you want it to be you have to step on a few stones, fall down, and pick yourself right back up to get on the right track.
- Romance has passion! The Passion is what I can’t get enough of.
- 1. any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.
- 2. strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor.
- 3. strong sexual desire; lust.
There is nothing like the passion and tension that leads to the first kiss. When that happens I am swooning all over the place. I am a romantic at heart so when the tension and passion reach sky rocket levels it amazes me when it all comes together. They have the books that make you cry, swoon, and laugh all the way to the end. It’s the best place to be.
There is nothing like love. Love is what I look forward to. I mean who wouldn’t want to read about the perfect love?!?! Needless to say I can swoon and cry over what is to come and what it is about. The tension while waiting is more than ever after, its epic. It’s something I can’t get enough of. It’s the hope that continues to pour out while you are reading. I just want more and more!
The road to love might be more then disheartening but in the end it is all worth it. Happily ever after don’t come easy but in due time the hero and heroine are descend to make it work. Compromise and love makes it all worth it regardless if you’re normal, vampire, etc. it all fall together in the end.
Romance gives me hope, love, and what to look forward to.
It’s a genre that will truly never die. It gives you freedom to be what you want to be. A Love you never thought that was possible. My husband isn’t a vampire or the perfect guy at all, but romance makes the heart grow.
While you’re reading you picture these men but in the end romance gets me through my day. How has romance impacted your life?
You can find Danielle at http://lushbookreviewss.blogspot.com/
Comment below & be eligible to be one of this weeks 5 randomly chosen winners!
Special thanks to our Military across the world – Godspeed! God Bless America – Happy 4th to all! SueG
Mary Balogh’s latest Regency Romance: The Secret Mistress
In this enticing new romance ripe with sensuality and wit, New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh proves that comfort is no match for passion when a stuffy gentleman becomes the object of desire of an adoring and spirited young woman.
THE SECRET MISTRESS
While Lady Angeline Dudley’s pedigree dictates that she must land a titled gentleman, the irrepressible beauty secretly longs for a simple, ordinary suitor. No wild rakes like the men of her family, just a kind heart and good nature. So when Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heyward, rescues her with unmatched civility from the advances of a scoundrel, Angeline thinks that she has found her true love. Persuading the earl is another matter entirely.
Edward has his future neatly mapped out. He hopes to wed his steadfast companion, a woman who shares his values of loyalty, respect, and decorum. But arriving in London to take his seat in the House of Lords, he is derailed by Angeline, an exquisite bird of paradise seemingly devoted to sending his predictable life into chaos.
From the brilliant hues of her fashion to her hoydenish antics, Angeline is the last woman on earth for Edward. And yet a stolen kiss in the moonlight awakens something deep and primal within him. Naturally, being a gentleman, he does the right thing after compromising a lady: He offers marriage.
Angeline knows that Edward’s proposal is born of duty, not love. But denying something so provocative and passionate is easier said than done. Deep down, Angeline believes that Edward’s dedication to convention will melt behind closed doors, where sensuality and seduction play wicked games. For a proper wife by day can become a husband’s secret mistress by night, when delicious desire rules.
The Secret Mistress, on sale July 12th!