Hi friends! I met Ainsley Wynter in person at RWA this summer (it was her birthday!!!) and I’m thrilled to have her as a guest today! I hope you all give her a warm welcome – and congratulate her on her first book, Kissed at Midnight!
Princess Sidony of L’Ortagia serves as the queen’s hostess, leaving affairs of state to her sister Zara. During a masquerade ball, Sidony kisses a handsome stranger only to discover he’s Prince Adrian of Embury, a man with a fearsome reputation and the emissary sent to arrange her sister’s marriage. Worried her actions will damage the budding alliance, she convinces Adrian to forget the incident…even if she cannot.
Adrian roots out traitors in his uncle’s kingdom of Embury using his magical abilities. When he’s sent to arrange a wedding for his cousin, a kiss in the moonlight gives him a taste of what he’s been missing. Sidony is everything his life is not: laughter, warmth, and passion. But the king maintains an unbreakable hold over him, hiding his family in exchange for Adrian’s loyalty to the crown.
After Zara disappears on the eve of the royal wedding, Adrian’s orders are to stay and maintain the alliance with L’Ortagia. But Sidony’s effect on his powers and his heart becomes too strong to deny. When he has a chance to rescue his family and throw off his royal ties, will he take it, knowing he’ll have to leave Sidony? Or will the dark prince abandon his past to be with the one woman who brought his cold heart to life?
Kissed at Midnight: The First Scene I Wrote
Sidony knocked on Adrian’s door before she lost her nerve. She twirled one of her rings. She jumped at a rumbling in the hallway, but it was only one of the castle’s cats pausing on the rug to wash its face. Striving for a similar nonchalance, Sidony softly recited lines from the current play she was reading before knocking again. Still nothing. Surely at this late hour he was in his suite.
This is in chapter seventeen, but it was the first paragraph I wrote of Kissed at Midnight.Continue reading →
Hi friends! Today we have Eve Pendle guesting with us, and her debut book Six Weeks with a Lord was released on June 25th! Congratulations, Eve, and thank you for visiting us!
Five jokes in Six Weeks with a Lord that only British readers will get
I love historical details, but I also like to make little puns and jokes in my stories that refer to modern things, to delight the diligent reader. When you read Six Weeks with a Lord, you’ll easily catch the jokes about how many Dukes there are in London and the endless puns on Grace’s name. But there are more!
British readers will see in six weeks with a Lord some little jokes that they’ll wonder whether they’re deliberate. The reference will be just a little bit obscure. So I’m going to tell you about some here and hopefully American and other non-UK readers will be able to share the joke. Though bearing in mind that if you have to explain a joke, it’s not that funny. Please expect very mild spoilers. Continue reading →
My friends. This post. Please read it – and … I don’t usually say this, but please share it. Hudson Lin is a first time guest at ALBTALBS, and (definitely) hopefully will be willing to guest again. I have nothing to say other than … please read and share.
Rambling Treatise on Identity, Diversity, and Why I Write East Asian Characters
By Hudson Lin
I am Canadian. I am Taiwanese. I am Chinese. That’s typically the order in which I would identify myself, but that can change depending on the situation. Sometimes I’m all of them, sometimes I’m a particular combination of two to the exclusion of the third. It’s always complicated and never easy to explain.
My racial and cultural identity is something I’ve wrestled with my entire life, but it had never inserted itself into my writing. All the stories floating around in my head were about white people and I never thought there was anything wrong with that.
Imagine my surprise when I stumbled my way into the writing community and realized that diversity was a thing, and not only a thing but something that was being championed. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon stories with characters who looked like me, written by authors who looked like me. Huh. That’s new.
Until recently, 100% of the romances I read were about white people, written by white people. I didn’t know romances existed that featured people of color, or that there were authors of color writing them. I didn’t know that was allowed. Continue reading →
I’m so excited it’s Tuesday because that means we here at ALBTALBS have an exclusive excerpt just for you! Today’s excerpt is from debut author Liana De la Rosa, who is also today’s Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month guest author. You’re going to want to check that post out as well, trust us. 😏
Driven into exile years earlier, due to family scandal, Declan Sinclair is called home, devastated to discover his brother has been murdered and he’s the new Duke of Darington. When clues point to the man he blames for both his exile and his brother’s death, Declan resolves to ruin the culprit. If only the daughter of the man’s business partner, lovely Lady Alethea Swinton, didn’t tempt his resolve.
Lady Alethea Swinton has cultivated her pristine reputation in the hopes of winning her father’s praise. When her childhood friend returns, Alethea finds she’s willing to court scandal and defy her father to help the handsome Declan uncover the truth behind his brother’s death. Until she realizes Declan’s redemption will mean her family’s ruin.
Happy Tuesday! Today we have another wonderful author joining us for Smithsonian Hispanic History Month, delightful debut author Liana De la Rosa. Liana is also a first time ALBTALBS guest, so on behalf of Lime and the rest of us, welcome!
I don’t speak Spanish.
I used to be embarrassed to admit this. The questioning looks. The perplexed questions. “But if you’re a Latina…why not?”Continue reading →
We at ALBTALBS welcome Carmen Baca for her debut guest post. Carmen joins us for Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month, sharing how she incorporates pieces of her life into her debut romance novel El Hermano. We hope you enjoy!
Using Nuestra Cultura in Romance
The night of his brother’s wedding, she came to him in a dream. Although the details were lost in a misty fog, her dark brown eyes and jet black hair haunted him in the days which followed. He was twenty-six, a bit long in the tooth for a man to still be a bachelor in the 1920s. Hell, all his primos and compadres had been married for years, and he didn’t even have a single prospect in sight. So when the dark-eyed beauty came into his dreams night after night, he became obsessed with finding her.
OMG VICTORY!!! Sorry for hijacking this post Denise – but – ok guys, so she sent me this post back in November and I thought I had it scheduled and set but the WP update screwed things up and posts weren’t going live and this was one and I thought I fixed it but didn’t and today I went back and HERE IT IS!! So anyway, I’m totally excited to welcome Denise to ALBTALBS as an official guest and author!
Erm, and my apologies, because it was supposed to be a birthday post, but obviously I’m back dating it so – this is way way off, but a very very very happy [belated] birthday to you, Denise!
When Limecello put out the altar call for Tuesday birthdays, I raised my hand right away. I had several ideas, stories to share, then life through me a bit of a curveball—in a good way. Continue reading →
Hello my doves! … Ok I can’t keep up analogies or anything, but here I am dive bombing you with posts! >.> But in a good way! We have new friend Alexia Adams visiting with us, and I hope you enjoy the post – I think it’s quite clever and fun. 😀
3 Free Ways to Beat the Winter Blues
January is not my favorite month of the year. I’m cold, broke, and spring seems an eternity away. It’s dark when I wake up and dark by the time I start dinner. If you’re anything like me, and are not so fond of January, I have three suggestions to help beat the winter blues. And in keeping with Limecello’s tag line, they’re a little bit tart, a little bit sweet.
• Escape in a book. I’m a writer, what did you expect me to suggest? Read a book. Reread your favorite book if that’s what makes you happy. Borrow a book from the library. Grab a free read from your preferred e-retailer. Or win one (see below). A word of caution, select a book with a happy ending or you’re likely to wind up even more depressed. I don’t suggest you read Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky or anything by Thomas Hardy, even though they’re great books. Try a romance novel, because then you’re guaranteed a happy ending. Want to escape to the tropics but don’t have the funds? Read a romance set someplace warm. Grab a blanket and your preferred hot beverage and give yourself a mini vacation for a few hours. Enjoy.
• Be Sweet. Compliment someone, preferably a random person you don’t know. This may seem hard, especially if you’re rather shy, like me. Consider it your brave quest for the day. Please be genuine. Find something you can honestly say and go ahead and do it. “That scarf looks wonderful on you.” “I really love your boots.” “Have you just had your hair done? It looks fabulous.” Try to choose someone over the age of 30 who may not get regular compliments. Harassed mothers or the elderly would be prime “targets”. Don’t be creepy, pass on your compliment and leave. You can stay around long enough to hear the startled, “Thank you,” but don’t linger. I challenge everyone who reads this post to randomly compliment one person in the next three days. For maximum benefit, try complimenting three people. You’ll probably make their day and I bet you’ll feel better at the end of yours as well.
• Be Tart. Have you picked up your mail today? How many credit card applications did you get? Look inside. Does it have one of those postage prepaid envelopes? Have other junk mail you want rid of? Send it off to the credit card company. I bet the person who opens the mail would love some coupons for leg waxing or fast food or new vinyl windows. Imagine their joy as they munch on a half price triple cheeseburger, thanks to your generosity. And think of all the postal jobs you’re saving by using the mail. Plus you’ll have less to put in the recycling. Win, win, win.
So, there you have it – my three, free ways to beat the winter blues. I’d love to hear how you get on with these suggestions, especially the second one. I’ll be checking back for comments over the next few days. And further, to celebrate ALBTALBS 3rd Blogiversary, I’m offering three electronic copies of my debut novel, Singapore Fling. By the way, Lime, did I tell you how great your shoes are today?
And you know cuz I love the book info … 😀
Lalita Evans has always instinctively sensed that she is not the biological child of John and Julia Evans. So she has done everything she can to be the perfect daughter, the perfect future CEO of the family business. Her focus only slipped once in the past five years, when she met Jeremy Lakewood. Now her father has appointed Jeremy as Director of Marketing, and the one man who can melt her mind with a single kiss is to accompany her on a tour of the Asian offices. But before she can listen to her heart, Lalita needs to discover her true identity and learn to put personal desires ahead of corporate profits.
Jeremy Lakewood is not afraid of a challenge. Rising from an impoverished childhood to the upper echelons of the corporate world has allowed him to live up to his vow to support his widowed mother and disabled sister. The one crater in his road to success is Lalita Evans, the one that got away and the only woman who has ever turned his blood to molten lava. She’s not only the woman he can’t forget, but also his boss’s daughter. Sent to Asia with her on business, her father’s warning echoes in his ears – seduce Lalita and his career is over. Will he risk his livelihood and all the success he’s achieved to win the woman who haunts his dreams?
Eight countries in three weeks, a quest to find a birth mother, and a mutual attraction as intense as it is inconvenient leaves both Lalita and Jeremy questioning what they really want in life – love or their careers?
Hi friends! Today we have my buddy Laura K. Curtis visiting with us! She is all sorts of awesomecakes, and guess what? Her debut book is out today! Whee! So not only is she a debut author, it’s also release day! *sing songs* So I hope you’re extra welcoming with her. 😀
Why I Love Serial Killers (In Fiction)
In college (lo these many moons ago), I double majored in English and Psych. I didn’t learn nearly as much about either one as I hoped to, but I did learn that people, whether on paper or in reality, are endlessly fascinating. In fact, I probably learned as much about the workings of the human mind and heart in my lit classes as I did in my actual Psychology coursework.
Here’s one thing I know: we’re all a little neurotic. I mean, seriously, do you know anyone who’s not just a little off? I certainly don’t. And I’m not at all sure I want to. Quirks are what make people interesting.
But serial killers…well, their quirks are well beyond the average. They set everyone else’s neuroses into perspective and allow the more normal relationships in the stories that feature them to coalesce in that normative light.
Now, that’s not to say that you can just toss a serial killer into a book or movie or television show and I will automatically like it better (I’m looking at you, The Mentalist…you could have left the Red John episodes out), but when a serial killer is well-written, he provides a certain balance that sharpens the other characters. One show that does this consistently is Criminal Minds. I’ll never forget the episode about the comic book artist who has a psychotic break—yes, he killed a lot of people very violently, but in the end you felt sorry for him. That’s an achievement.
And I love a rampaging killer in a romantic suspense. Shannon McKenna brings the crazy really well, I think. Her villains have some normal motive—a desire for power or for wealth—but then they take it totally over the top. Of course, her heroes and heroines are totally over the top, too; they have to be in order to go toe-to-toe with the lunacy of the villains.
When it comes to nature vs. nurture, I’m a believer in both. It’s not enough for me that a character is just plain nuts, I have to know how he got that way. But just a “bad childhood” won’t do it for me, either. Especially since so very often in romance, either the hero or heroine also has a troubled past. What’s intriguing to me is why the hero turned into the hero when the villain turned into the villain.
So bring on the serial killers…and the heroes and heroines who fight them. I’ll be sitting here in the safety of my living room, gobbling them up.
And I know you all want to hear about Laura’s book… so here you go!
Lucy Sadler Caldwell is a successful true-crime writer. But the one story she’s never been able to come to terms with is the murder of her own mother–until now. She’s returned to Dobbs Hollow, Texas, the hometown she fled seventeen years ago, to finally expose the real killer.
After a bullet took out his knee in Houston, Detective Ethan Donovan found himself without a lot of options, which is how he ended up as Chief of Police in Dobbs Hollow. Lucy sure isn’t asking for his help–she’s not big on trust–but he can’t help feeling a strong desire to come to her aid.
And though Lucy is armed to the teeth, she will need all the help she can get. When she starts digging into the past, she unearths a psychotic killer who will stop at nothing to silence her forever…
Guess what else? Lots of giveaways!!! Laura is giving away something every day on her blog. Seriously – check it out here. But more? Someone who leaves a comment here at ALBTALBS will win something as well! ‘Tis the season and all, yes?
So I hope you all respond to her post (comments of substance win me over…) And offer Laura many congratulations and felicitations on her fancy new book! Yay!
YAY SPORTS! 😀 I totally didn’t plan this, but I love sports, and this makes me a happy girl. (Not planned meaning Sierra’s post on Saturday, and now this one. Cuz you know, there actually aren’t that many sports romances out there… And today we’re welcoming back the fabulous Kat Latham! Her debut book was released to the wild just this Monday!
She’s here to talk about romance novels that she loves. That deal with sports Double win.
Kat Latham’s Top Ten Eight Sports Romance Picks
Fit. Committed. Tough. Professional athletes make fantastic characters. No wonder sports romance novels are so popular with readers.
My love of sports romance started with Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Chicago Stars series and it was sealed when I discovered Rachel Gibson’s Chinooks hockey team. Oh, the hawtness!
And I’m clearly not the only one who loves those series. I recently went on Goodreads and found a list of sports romances. Readers can vote for their favorite sports romances by putting them in a list.
I started to rank my ten favorites, but when I got to number eight I decided to leave the last two spaces free so I can discover new novels. So here are my top eight.
1. Crazy Thing Called Love by Molly O’Keefe Dallas TV morning show host Madelyn Cornish is poised, perfect, and unflappable, from her glossy smile to her sleek professionalism. No one knows that her iron will guards a shattered heart and memories of a man she’s determined to lock out. Until that man shows up at a morning meeting like a bad dream: Billy Wilkins, sexy hockey superstar in a tailspin—still skating, still fighting, and still her ex-husband.
Now the producers want this poster child for bad behavior to undergo an on-air makeover, and Billy, who has nothing to lose, agrees to the project. It’s his only chance to get near Maddy again, and to fight for the right things this time around. He believes in the fire in Maddy’s whiskey eyes and the passion that ignites the air between them. This bad-boy heartbreaker wants a last shot to be redeemed by the only thing that matters: Maddy’s love.
2. See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson (Eee the kindle edition is only $3.79!) THIS IS JANE: A little subdued. A little stubborn. A little tired of going out on blind dates with men who drive vans with sofas in the back, Jane Alcott is living the Single Girl existence in the big city. She is also leading a double life. By day, she’s a reporter covering the raucous Seattle Chinooks hockey team—especially their notorious goalie Luc Martineau. By night, she’s a writer, secretly creating the scandalous adventures of “Honey Pie”…the magazine series that has all the men talking.
SEE JANE SPAR: Luc has made his feelings about parasite reporters—and Jane—perfectly clear. But if he thinks he’s going to make her life a misery, he’d better think again.
SEE JANE ATTRACT: For as long as he can remember, Luc has been single minded about his career. The last thing he needs is a smart mouthed, pain in the backside, reporter digging into his past and getting in his way. But once the little reporter shed her black and gray clothes in favor of a sexy red dress, Luc sees that there is more to Jane than originally meets the eye.
Maybe it’s time to take a risk. Maybe it’s time to live out fantasies. Maybe it’s time to…. SEE JANE SCORE!
3. This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP) (Another of my favorites, and the kindle book is $4.99!) Molly Somerville loves her career as the creator of the Daphne the Bunny children’s book series, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. She has a reputation for trouble that started even before she gave away her fifteen-million-dollar inheritance. Then there’s her long-term crush on the quarterback for the Chicago Stars football team her sister owns—that awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker, a man who can’t even remember Molly’s name!
One night Kevin barges into Molly’s not-quite-perfect life and turns it upside down. Unfortunately, the Ferrari-driving riving, poodle-hating jock isn’t as shallow as she wishes he were, and she soon finds herself at a place called Wind Lake. Surrounded by paintbox cottages, including a charming old bed-and-breakfast, Molly and Kevin battle their attraction and each other as they face one of life’s most important lessons. Sometimes love hurts, sometimes it makes you mad as hell, and sometimes—if you’re lucky—it can heal in a most unexpected way.
4. Natural Born Charmer by SEP Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard is the luckiest man in the world: a bona-fide sports superstar and the pride of the NFL with a profitable side career as a buff billboard model for End Zone underwear. But life in the glory lane has started to pale, and Dean has set off on a cross-country trip to figure out what’s gone wrong. When he hits a lonely stretch of Colorado highway, he spies something that will shake up his gilded life in ways he can’t imagine. A young woman . . . dressed in a beaver suit.
Blue Bailey is on a mission to murder her ex. Or at least inflict serious damage. As for the beaver suit she’s wearing . . . Is it her fault that life keeps throwing her curveballs? Witness the expensive black sports car pulling up next to her on the highway and the Greek god stepping out of it.
Blue’s career as a portrait painter is the perfect job for someone who refuses to stay in one place for very long. She needs a ride, and America’s most famous football player has an imposing set of wheels. Now, all she has to do is keep him entertained, off guard, and fully clothed before he figures out exactly how desperate she is.
But Dean isn’t the brainless jock she imagines, and Blue—despite her petite stature—is just about the toughest woman Dean has ever met. They’re soon heading for his summer home where their already complicated lives and inconvenient attraction to each other will become entangled with a charismatic but aging rock star; a beautiful fifty-two-year-old woman trying to make peace with her rock and roll past; an eleven-year-old who desperately needs a family; and a bitter old woman who hates them all.
As the summer progresses, the wandering portrait artist and the charming football star play a high-stakes game, fighting themselves and each other for a chance to have it all.
5. Heaven, Texas by SEP(One of my most favorite romances of all time!) Come heck or high water, Gracie Snow is determined to drag the legendary ex-jock Bobby Tom Denton back home to Heaven, Texas, to begin shooting his first motion picture. Despite his dazzling good looks and killer charm, Bobby Tom has reservations about being a movie star — and no plans to cooperate with a prim and bossy Ohio wallflower whom he can’t get off his mind or out of his life. Instead, the hell-raising playboy decides to make her over from plain Jane to Texas wildcat.
But nothing’s more dangerous than a wildcat with an angel’s heart in a town too small for a bad boy to hide. And all hell breaks loose when two unforgettable people discover love, laughter, passion — and a match that can only be made in Heaven.
6. Ride With Me by Ruthie Knox When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger—a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.
Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank.
Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?
7. Slow Heat by Jill Shalvis Baseball player Wade O’Riley’s bad-boy image is about to be cleaned up by publicist Samantha McNead. But the sexual tension between them is about to drive Wade to his knees.
(Seriously I tried looking everywhere for a back cover copy, and was absolutely unable to find it. 2010 when the book was released is about the time I hardlined only buying books in e-format, so I can’t even check. Like I did with See Jane Score.)
8. The Winning Season by Alison Packard Kelly Maxwell has finally landed her dream job as publicist for the San Francisco Blaze. But the team’s newest member, handsome bad boy catcher Matt Scanlon, is refusing every interview. She’s got to get him to open up before the season ends, or she may not be back next year. And after everything she overcame to achieve her dream, Kelly’s not about to let that happen.
Matt Scanlon just wants to be left alone to rebuild his life and his career. After a year of masking the pain of a recent loss with hard partying and fast women, he finally hit rock bottom and was traded to a team he’s loathed his entire life—a team with little to no chance at the post-season.
Butting heads is getting Kelly and Matt nowhere but annoyed, and with the team’s schedule on the road, they can’t avoid close quarters—or their surprising attraction to one another. As the season winds down, Matt finds his growing feelings for Kelly have brought his numbed emotions back to life. But when betrayal shatters their fragile trust, winning it all seems more impossible than ever.
On Monday my debut novel Knowing the Score was released into the digital world, and I’m really hoping that readers love the rugby team I created, the London Legends, as much as I’ve loved SEP’s Chicago Stars and Rachel Gibson’s Chinooks hockey team.
Book one of the London Legends
Rugby player Spencer Bailey is determined to win a spot on England’s World Cup team. But with a month break before the selectors start watching him, he’s eager to have fun with a woman who knows the score: the relationship will end when rugby season begins. The lovely American Caitlyn Sweeney seems perfect for the role of temporary lover, since her visa will run out soon anyway.
Caitlyn works for an international disaster relief organization and can handle the world’s worst crises, but she flinches from her own. Her past has left her with a fear of intimacy so deep that she has trouble getting close to anyone—until she meets sexy Spencer. His hot body and easygoing nature are too much for even her to resist.
Neither Caitlyn nor Spencer expects to fall hard for each other. But with their relationship deadline approaching, the old rules of the game seem less important than before…until past secrets surface, challenging everything they thought they knew about each other.