Monday, July 30, 2012

Romance Writers of America's 2012 RITA® and Golden Heart® Awards

Congratulates the following winners of the 2012 RITA and Golden Heart Awards announced at the Romance Writers of America National Conference in Anaheim, California on Saturday, July 28, 2012. 

2012 Golden Heart Winner for Paranormal Romance 
 "Never Deal with Dragons" by Lorenda Christensen 

 2012 Golden Heart Winner for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements 
 "Song without Words" by Lisa Laing 

2012 Golden Heart Winner for Historical Romance 
 "The Devil May Care" by Elisa Beatty 

 2012 Golden Heart Winner for Inspirational Romance 
 "Love's Advocate" by Karen Fleming (w/a KD Flemming) 

 2012 Golden Heart Winner for Contemporary Single Title Romance 
 "No Peeking" by Tamar Bihari (w/a Talia Quinn Daniels) 

 2012 Golden Heart Winner for Regency Historical Romance 
 "The Perfect Heiress" by Kimberly Ohara (w/a April Bennet) 

 2012 Golden Heart Winner for Young Adult Romance 
 "Wired" by Romily Bernard 

 2012 Golden Heart Winner for Contemporary Series Romance 
 "Cyrano at Your Service" by Tamra Baumann 

 2012 Golden Heart Winner for Romantic Suspense 
 "Edge of Deception" by Elizabeth Bemis 

2012 RITA Winner for Paranormal Romance 
"Dragon Bound" by Thea Harrison 
 Berkley Publishing Group Cindy Hwang, editor 

2012 RITA Winner for Romance Novella 
"I Love the Earl" by Caroline Linden 
 Avon Impulse Lyssa Keusch, editor 

2012 RITA Winner for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements 
"How to Bake a Perfect Life" by Barbara O'Neal 
 Ballantine Bantam Dell Shauna Summers, editor 

2012 RITA Winner for Best First Book 
"First Grave on the Right" by Darynda Jones 
St. Martin's Press Jennifer Enderlin, editor 

2012 RITA Winner for Historical Romance 
"The Black Hawk" by Joanna Bourne 
Berkley Publishing Group Wendy McCurdy, editor 

2012 RITA Winner for Inspirational Romance 
"The Measure of Katie Calloway" by Serena Miller 
Revell Vicki Crumpton, editor 

2012 RITA Winner for Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure 
"Soldier's Last Stand" by Cindy Dees 
Harlequin Romantic Suspense Patience Bloom, editor 

2012 RITA Winner for Contemporary Single Title Romance 
"Boomerang Bride" by Fiona Lowe Carina Press 
Charlotte Herscher, editor 

2012 RITA Winner for Regency Historical Romance 
"A Night to Surrender" by Tessa Dare 
 Avon Books Tessa Woodward, editor 

2012 RITA Winner for Young Adult Romance 
"Enclave" by Ann Aguirre 
Macmillan Feiwel & Friends Liz Szabla, editor 

2012 RITA Winner for Contemporary Series Romance 
"Doukakis's Apprentice" by Sarah Morgan 
Harlequin Presents Lucy Gilmour, editor 

2012 RITA Winner for Romantic Suspense 
"New York to Dallas" by J.D. Robb 
Penguin Putnam Leslie Gelbman, editor

Sunday, July 29, 2012

RWA Conference and Rhonda Pollero's Slightly Irregular

Just back from the first RWA National Conference and had a fabulous time. I can't even say yet how many new books I came back with, many signed personally by the author. Since the drive home took about eight and a half hours I had a chance to read one of the books I brought home, so I just dive right back in with a review of Rhonda (we have the same first name) Pollero.

Slightly Irregular
Author: Rhonda Pollero
Series Connection: Finley Anderson Tanner
ISBN: 978-1416590736
Genre: Mystery/ Contemporary
Publisher: Gallery Books

Purchase this book here

I must admit this is my first book in this series, but really I think I understood enough of the backstory that I don't need to read the rest of the series.

Finley is a paralegal who enjoys doing the job she's doing. She works for three lawyers all with their own quirky personalities. In this story she has a bit of a crush on one of her bosses, handsome lawyer Tony. Tony is a single dad raising his precocious daughter who finds in Finely a new friend. Finley hopes Tony will see her as a potential date.

Then there is Liam, a local PI who has been a love interest for Finley for a long time. Finley finds Liam sexy in all the right places, but he has a few "things" going on in this life, he spends a little too much time with his ex-wife and he isn't like the men Finley usually dates. 

In the latest mystery, Finley's boss gives her a bag of old clothes to take to the thrift store. When the bag rips Finley starts going through the contents inside to find some odd items inside. Next thing she knows her boss calls into the office and suddenly quits her job. That is just the beginning of some strange happenings. When her best friend Becky goes missing and the police doesn't take her serious, Finley decides to take matters in her own hands. 

While I see this book as much more of a mystery than a romance I will give the author credit for keeping the sexual tension high in the story. Those who love stories that include a lot of fashionista comments, and good secondary characters will want to take a look at the book. Tony's daughter Izzy is a well played character and Liam sounds way to sexy for his own good.

The next book in the series Bargain Hunter will be out in November 2012.


Kidnapping is so last season.

Couture-conscious paralegal Finley Anderson Tanner knew it was risky to break her cardinal shopping rule—never pay full price—for a last-minute date with her gorgeous new boss, but the hidden costs of her little black dress have put her whole life in the red. After the romantic evening turns into a disaster thanks to impossibly sexy and utterly infuriating private eye Liam McGarrity, Finley finds herself down two thousand dollars and out two potential boyfriends. Naturally, she turns to eBay.

To help pay off her debt, she tries to sell the vintage pageant jewelry she received for doing law partner Ellen Lieberman a favor. But when Finley’s best friend abruptly disappears while helping to wrap up the auction, Finley fears the worst. Does frumpy Ellen have a sinister double life as a beauty queen? Is the auction’s high bidder, Tiara64, more suspicious than her name suggests?

Can Finley possibly hunt for clues without irresistible Liam swooping in to bail her out of trouble . . . again? Rhonda Pollero’s hilarious new novel featuring fashionista crime-fighter Finley Anderson Tanner is the must-have mystery of the season.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Romance Byte: Allison Brennan's Silenced

Author: Allison Brennan
ISBN: 978-1250005953
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Minotaur Books


It has been seven years since Lucy was attacked—and almost killed—by an online predator. Today, she is well on her way toward a new life. While waiting to begin her training at the FBI Academy, Lucy’s is tireless in her fight against cyber sex crime. Her current mission: to find out who killed a high-priced call girl linked to a powerful Congressman.


A number of known prostitutes—with scores of high profile clients—are turning up dead all over D.C. Is this the work of a depraved killer? Or the result of an inside job? Lucy’s investigation will take her into an underground network of prostitutes, the chambers of the country’s most powerful players, and her own dark past to confront an unknown enemy who’s always one step ahead of her. With the help of her P.I. boyfriend Sean Rogan, Lucy must find and protect the only witness who can identify the killer and end the conspiracy, but can the witness be trusted? Lucy will risk everything to expose the truth and ensure justice is served, even if that means putting herself in the line of fire.

Days 3 and 4 of the Romance Writers of America National Conference

Missed posting yesterday after attending a couple of get together's yesterday. First off let me just say that for romance fans this is one great place to get to put a face and personality to all the authors we love to read. Between workshops, book signings, parties and just meeting people in the hallways there is always a chance to meet someone who you've read a book from or at the very list seen their name on the cover of a book somewhere.

There are also quite a few people that have been published, but I've never heard of. The workshops I've attended over the past couple of days have included authors like Sylvia Day, Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Allison Brennen, Alexandra Ivy, Susanne Brockman, Lauren Dane, and more. I attended a Chat with Nora Roberts and a book signing event with Saimhian Publishing. 

I've learned a lot secrets to the craft and listened to a lot of industry gossip from upcoming books to how publishers are picking the next upcoming story lines. 

I've also so far collected hundreds of book marks and souvenirs, about 50 books and at least that many signatures from my favorite authors. 

That's all for the fan in me. 

For the aspiring romance novelist in me I'm hoping that I walk away with some added skills and confidence that I can finally complete my novel and get it too a publisher. Unfortunately I think I'm more nervous then ever, especially in light of all the talent surrounding me. I'm going to seriously have to find my muse when I get home from this trip.

By far the most fun workshops to date was Allison Brennen, who made me think that maybe romantic suspense is the genre for me. I also really enjoyed Jayne Ann Krentz and Elizabeth Phillips, who together spoke on their publishing experiences.

Allison Brennan 
Nora Roberts

Jayne Ann Krentz

Jayne Ann Krentz and Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Robyn Carr

Lori Wilde

Christina Dodd

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Romance Byte: Virna DePaul's Shades of Desire

Author: Virna DePaul
Series Connection: Book 1 in the Special Investigations Groups Series
ISBN: 978-0373776351
Genre: Contemporary Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin

What She Can't See Could Kill Her...

Natalie Jones is the lucky survivor of an elusive killer who preys on young women and then disappears from view. And since her harrowing ordeal, the once gutsy photojournalist has remained isolated in her home, paralyzed by fear and her failing vision.

Special Agent Liam “Mac” McKenzie has scars of his own. But despite his efforts to ignore the attraction that simmers between him and Natalie, he needs her help to catch a predator. Soon, they will forge a tentative alliance—charged with desire. Through a soft-focus lens, Natalie dares to envision a future with Mac beyond the investigation...never guessing that the clues hidden within her photographs are drawing them into an explosive confrontation with a madman.

RWA 2012 "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing

This evening the Romance Writers of America presented the 2012 "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing. 456 Romance Writers of America authors attended the event to sign their name to books they donated to the cause, pause for pictures with attendees and answer hundreds of questions about their books.

The money raised at this open to the public event went to pay for Literacy programs.

I purchased seven books for the event including:
In Too Deep by Jayne Ann Krentz
Shades of Desire by Virna DePaul
Echoes at Dawn by Maya Banks
A Blood Seduction by Pamela Palmer
Sleepwalker by Karen Robards
Blazing Bedtime Stories by Tawny Webber (and Rhonda Nelson)
At Last by Jill Shalvis

A couple of the books I already had, but these at the books the authors brought so if I wanted the autographs, well then I get another copy.

It was really fun getting to see some of my favorite authors. I've posted photos of the event on my facebook site.

Here are a few for the fun of it.

Karen Robards and Me

Pamela Palmer and Me
Tawny Webber and Me

Books I purchased
Tomorrow the fun really begins. There will be hundreds or writer's workshops to choose from, a lot of social activities and more opportunities to meet my favorite authors.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Let the fun begin

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to sunny Southern California! Or at least that's where I am.

This week I'm attending the Romance Writers of America  (RWA) National Conference in Anaheim, California, so I thought I'd do my blog a little different and feature authors who I hope to be seeing at the conference.

This will be the first conference I've attended since I joined RWA a couple of years ago. I've dragged my husband and son along for the drive. They aren't going to be attending the conference, but have found their own fun ideas for the week.

We live in the San Francisco Bay Area so we decided to take the drive down to Southern California, bypassing the quick way of I-5 and taking the scenic route of Highway 101 and Highway 1. One of my favorite  cities to visit in California is Pismo Beach, so we stopped in and had lunch at Mo's BBQ, which is by far one of the best BBQ places in the state. 

Anyway, we grabbed some lunch and some photos and had a great time and got back on the road. 

LA traffic being what it is the ride all and all took us about 12 hours, with a couple of hour stop over in Pismo. 

Tomorrow at the RWA Conference starts off with a 2012 Readers for Life Literacy Autographing in the evening. All the money raised from the authors signing their books goes to ProLiteracy Worldwide and local literacy organizations. Since 1990, RWA has raised more than $716,000 for the cause.

There will be literally hundreds of authors there with several NY Times and USA Today best sellers. 

I'm hoping to get Maya Banks, Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz to sign their current books. If there is time I'll collect a few more from my list. I've enlisted my husband to wait on a few lines for me just in case there are a lot of people attending. This event is open not only to those who are attending the event, but also the general public.

For todays book, I've picked Maya Bank's new racy romance...

Echoes at Dawn
Series Connection: KGI 
ISBN: 978-0425250860
Purchase this book here
The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super elite, top secret, family-run business.
Qualifications: High intelligence, rock hard body, military background.
Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the US government can’t…
They live by night.
Grace Peterson is desperate, in hiding, and on the run after escaping a shadowy group determined to exploit her extraordinary ability to heal others. Her only lifeline—an unerring telepathic ability she shares with her sister—has been severed, leaving her alone and vulnerable. And time is fast running out...
Enlisted to bring Grace home is Rio, relentless member of the KGI. He’s unprepared for his reaction to this wounded, damaged woman, and he’s fiercely determined to protect her from those who nearly destroyed her. In Rio, she finds a safe haven, and for the first time...hope. But the mission is far from over. The danger Grace has eluded is fast closing in. And now it’s pitching two lovers toward an unfamiliar horizon, with no place left to hide.

* * * * *
This should be a really fun week and I'm looking forward to making new friends, attending workshops and learning more about the romance world. Hopefully I'll be able to blog about who I've seen and post some pictures of the different authors so keep checking in and see if I've seen some of your favorites too. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Romance Book Review: Ella Jade's Make Me Stay

Author: Ella Jade
Digital ISBN: 9781937325336
Genre(s): Erotic Contemporary Romance/ BDSM
Publisher: Beachwalk Press
Publication Date: July 16, 2012

If you've ever thought of reading a book to learn what BDSM is all about from a romance book prospective, this book just might be a good start as the author works with her lead characters to understand their own feelings on the subject.

Gracie left two years ago when her then boyfriend, Cade, told her they were over. For the next two years she worked to make herself the woman that Cade wanted her to be. When she came back she immediately went to him, showing him that she could take all his dominance and be his submissive. 

Cade had been looking for Gracie since she left him. He thought he was letting her go for her own good, but at the same time knew he would miss her terribly. Now she's back and so much different then she was before yet the same. Now he's worried that he has asked so much of her that she's move of a submissive then she wants or needs to be. 

Good dialog and by play between the two characters. The pace of the story fits the subject matter, however hardcore BDSM will be looking for something with a faster pace and a little more scene action.

Can the sub teach the Dom to play?

Natural submissive Gracie Miller thought she had found her other half in Cade Jameson. Not only did he help her through a difficult time in her life, in the bedroom he brought her more pleasure than she could have ever imagined. They seemed perfect for each other.

Cade knew what he wanted in the bedroom. Gracie brought out his domineering side and ignited his passion. But he feared he was too dominant for this beautiful, naïve girl, who was so young and impressionable, so he ended their relationship.

Two and a half years later, Gracie returns to town a new woman. She had moved to the city and found a "Master" who showed her what she was truly capable of. Now she's back and wants to show Cade exactly what kind of submissive she could be for him.

But after hearing all that she's experienced, Cade now wonders if he's dominant enough to satisfy her. Can he be the man Gracie needs him to be?

Content Warning: graphic sex, BDSM themes

Romance Book Review: Safe In Their Arms

Safe In Their Arms
Author: Miranda Stowe
ISBN: No assigned
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publisher: Whispering Publishing 

Purchase this book here 

Running to her best friend after catching her control freak of a husband cheating, Taylor runs to her best friend only to find out that she’s gone off to her honeymoon. In her friend’s place she meets Sam, who she instantly attracted to.

Unfortunately when he finds out she’s married he pushes Taylor away and then she off again with nowhere to go and no money to get there. That is until she accidentally runs into Burke and everything gets interesting.

Short novella, but enough to tell a good story, Safe in Their Arms offers a story of third chances and instant love.

After Taylor Delacroix catches her loser man cheating on her, she escapes to her friend's house to find solace only to discover her dependable friend missing. Who she stumbles across instead are a pair of two hot neighbors who are more than willing to help her in any capacity necessary.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Romance Book Review: Cat Grant's Doubtless

Author: Cat Grant
Series Connection: Sequel to Priceless
ISBN: 978-1-937551-46-9
Genre: Contemporary/ M-M 
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
e-Book release: July 16 2012

Short novella featuring a man who seems to have it all, but is finally coming to terms with his feelings for his business partner and wanting to move forward with his life. Now that his partner seems to have everything he needs with his new love, where does that leave Steve and what he wants for the future.

Meeting and spending time with a male hooker starts Steve on a road to self discovery.

Good story line with just a couple of male-male sex scenes. Sensitive without being sappy. 

Loving your best friend is hard . . . especially when he's marrying someone else.

On the surface, Steve Campbell seems to have it all: a beautiful home, a snazzy car, and a dream job as one of the country’s top 3-D optics researchers. But underneath, he’s restless and dissatisfied, tired of empty encounters with leggy lab assistants and endless evenings alone.
A chance meeting with a handsome escort lifts Steve’s spirits and opens his eyes to his long-repressed attraction to men—and his love for his best friend and business partner, Connor Morrison.

Connor might’ve loved Steve like that once, but now it’s too late for their happily ever after; Connor’s about to ask his boyfriend to marry him. Fortunately, it's never too late to learn about yourself, and maybe Steve can find a happy ending on his own. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reissued Jayne Castle books now available in ebooks

Shield's Lady 
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Reissue from 06/89 & 01/96 print editions
BN ID: 294-0014711494
Publisher: Purple Papaya LLC

Jayne Ann Krentz has re-issuing Shield's Lady in e-book. I have this book in my Jayne collection and I'm actually really excited it is in e-book now so that I can put it on my kindle. 

Okay so the story is pretty quirky by today's standards, but remember it was for 1989 originally and romance was a little different back then. 

A Jayne Ann Krentz Classic. Now available in e-book.

Legends can be dangerous, just ask Sariana Dayne. She sets out to hire one and wakes up married to him. It’s a marriage of infuriating inconvenience as far as Sariana is concerned.

Gryph Chassyn stirs all her senses but he’s one of the mysterious mercenaries known as Shields. Sensible women do not marry such men. But for Gryph, marrying Sariana is a matter of honor, passion and survival. He needs her in ways she cannot even imagine.

Before Sariana can find a way to escape the bond that has been forged between them, she and Gryph are caught up in a desperate quest to save their world. The future looks a little different but some things, like love and passion, and murder never change.

Originally published June 1989 by Popular Library w/a Amanda Glass and reissued January 1996 by Warner Books w/a Jayne Ann Krentz.

Jayne Castle releases her once popular Guinevere Jones novels in e-book

Author: Jayne Castle
Series Connection: A Guinevere Jones Novel #1
Reissue from 1986 print edition
ISBN-13: 978-1101569757
Publisher: InterMix/Penguin

Available digitally for the first time!
Meet Guinevere Jones—a woman with a talent for love and trouble—from New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Jayne Castle.

It’s hard to keep a small business afloat, just ask Guinevere Jones, owner of a struggling temp agency. And security consultant Zac Justis isn’t making her life any easier. After he blackmails Gwen into helping him solve a computer crime, she finds herself caught in a web of suspense, danger—and love.

Originally published in 1986.

Author: Jayne Castle
Series Connection: A Guinevere Jones Novel #2
Reissue from 1986 print edition
ISBN-13: 978-1101569764
Publisher: >InterMix/Penguin

Available digitally for the first time!
New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Jayne Castle delivers a novel of intrigue and passion featuring Guinevere Jones and Zac Justis.

A temp job as an executive secretary gives Guinevere Jones access to high places—and sets her instincts for danger tingling. Convincing Zac Justis to provide security for her client during a meeting on the wintry San Juan Islands gives her peace of mind, but brings them face to face with a dead man determined to avenge the past.

Originally published August 1986.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Romance Book Review: Cathy McDavid's Aidan: Loyal Cowboy

Author: Cathy McDavid
Series Connection: Harts of the Rodeo
ISBN: 9780373754137
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Category Romance
Publisher: Harlequin

5 Hearts

In this American Romance category series, Aidan or Ace as he's known to his friends has done everything he can to keep his family going since the death of his father and finding out that his father left them with nothing. He even gave up, girl next door, Flynn, so that he could take care of his family leaving Flynn to marry someone else and leave town.

After coming home divorced, Flynn and Ace have a one night stand, and while Flynn hoped it meant that something could happen between her and the man she's always loved, Ace worries that he can't give her the commitment she deserves and leaves her once again.

There are consequences to their night together and Ace wants a second chance, but Flynn can't accept being thought of in second place and Ace has already had two chances, can she afford to give him another?

Good story for this genre and a good start to the series. 

This book comes with a second story, The Family Plan, also by Cathy McDavid. This book is from February 2008 and part of the Fatherhood series. 

The story features Jolyn who comes home after a horse riding accident and starts a new career as a building contractor. Always attracted to her next door neighbor, Chase, Jolyn wastes no time getting reacquainted with her divorced, single dad, next door neighbor. But there are a lot of complications in the two of them getting together and a past to get over.

Aidan "Ace" Hart left Flynn McKinley heartbroken when he put family duty above her feelings. Then one night, the old passions were reignited and now Flynn is about to get something she's always wanted—a child to love.

Ace takes his responsibilities very seriously. Running Thunder Ranch and his busy veterinary practice leaves little time for a personal life. That'll only get worse now that he's spending every spare minute with Midnight, the champion rodeo stallion he hopes will save the ranch from financial disaster.

Flynn refuses to marry Ace and be yet one more "responsibility" to him. She wants Ace to want to marry her! And until he admits he loves her, she's determined to raise her baby alone….