Tag Archives: Guest Post

Random Guest: Ashley March

Today we have author Ashley March sharing a fun post with us. She’s got it all covered, so there’s no real other introduction for me to make. 🙂

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Read My New Book

The truth is, we’ve all seen this type of blog post done by romance authors before. It’s the reverse psychology gimmick turned cute to try to convince you that you really DO want to buy and read my new book. I would hope you wouldn’t I would stoop to such a level. But if I were REALLY trying to trick you into buying my new Victorian historical, Romancing the Countess, I would at least attempt to butter you up first before playing the gimmick card.

I might show you cute pictures of my daughters to make you feel sympathetic toward me. Like these.

You might want to buy my book afterward, if not because they’re so darn cute, then because you feel bad for me when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night and the toddler starts getting up at the ungodly hour of four o’clock each morning. You might think that reading Romancing the Countess would make me happy. And you’d be right. 😉

Or, you might be like my fellow author Tiffany Reisz and be frightened of children. If that’s the case, then I would offer you a picture of Richard Armitage because, if you’ve seen BBC’s North and South, you’ve already got the hots for him and you’d be forever grateful to me for perking up your day with RA.

*

And if you haven’t seen North and South, then I would probably try to gain your favor instead by showing you a picture of Gerard Butler (yes, I’m a historical romance writer with novels set in England. I have a thing for British guys, and you should, too).

*

Once I buttered you up with the proposed pictures, THEN I would roll out the gimmick, such as the following five reasons why you shouldn’t read my new book, Romancing the Countess:

5) You only like to read romances where the hero and heroine fall instantly in love or lust. Romances where the hero and heroine instead fall in love gradually over the course of the novel and build a deep and lasting relationship just aren’t your thing.

4) If a romance novel features a hero and/or heroine who’s had a spouse in the past, then you only like it when the hero and/or heroine didn’t like their spouse. Or the previous spouse was abusive. Or it turns out that the hero and/or heroine thought they loved their spouses but then realize later on that they were just in lust. If that’s true, then you don’t want to read Romancing the Countess, because both the hero and the heroine truly did love their spouses.

3) You think death is too serious a topic for a romance novel. Well, Romancing the Countess is about an earl and his best friend’s wife who are drawn together after their spouses—who were having an affair—died in a carriage accident. Yup, they died. The book has death in it. Of course, it also has love and some really hot sexual tension, but if the topic of death—and yes, adultery, too—bothers you, then you might want to skip over this book.

2) You don’t like getting emotionally connected to the hero and heroine. You don’t like angsty books. You don’t like that feeling of your chest compressing so tightly that your heart physically HURTS for the hero and heroine because it makes you uncomfortable. And when you get uncomfortable, you reach for the antacids. And a lot of antacids taken over a short period of time can get expensive. Well, maybe not that expensive, but please be warned that if you do decide to read Romancing the Countess, there’s a possibility that you might hurt for the hero and heroine. And there’s even a possibility that you might cry.

1) And the number one reason? Well, to be honest I could give you probably twenty more reasons for why you shouldn’t buy this book if I were going to pull such a gimmick. But instead I’m going to give you the one that I know would keep me from buying Romancing the Countess. When you have a mountain of books in your TBR pile, it’s difficult to take a chance on a new author, and yes, this is only my second romance novel. Even more than that, who’s ever heard of a widow and widower getting together after the deaths of their cheating spouses? It’s just not done—it doesn’t fit into any single romance trope I can think of. So if you don’t like taking chances on fairly new authors and you also don’t like trying out romances that have never been done before, then this book definitely isn’t one you want to read.

Now, if I were to continue such a gimmick and try to actually get you to read Romancing the Countess, I would tell you that you can read the first chapter excerpt on my website here and see if it intrigues or disgusts you: www.ashleymarch.com/romancing-the-countess.

But instead, because I’ve still retained quite a bit of dignity after changing countless dirty diapers over the past two years, I’m not going to pull this gimmick. Instead, I’m going to tell you about something I started earlier this week on my website. It’s a fun new reader-interactive experiment where readers get to help me write a novella. Over the next 10 weeks, you can vote for how you want each chapter to develop, and then get to read the chapter based upon your vote the following week. At the end of the experiment (which hopefully you’ll will find as much fun as I believe it will be!), I plan to edit the novella and self-publish it. The idea behind this is for it to act as a preface to a new project of mine I plan to start in 2012 called Romance with Heart.

So even if you don’t read Romancing the Countess because you don’t want to be immersed in a terrific love story 😉 I hope you’ll still join me for my reader-interactive novella experiment.

And now I’d love to hear what you really do think! Is there anything mentioned above that would make you not want to buy a similar romance novel? What hot buttons do you have that would make you absolutely refuse to buy a certain book?

One random commenter will win a copy of Romancing the Countess (open internationally)! Which I hope you truly do enjoy. Also, find out how to win the Romancing the Countess Book Tour Grand Prize of 50+ romance novels by visiting www.ashleymarch.com! 

*Ashley had me [sadly] remove the images of Richard Armitage, and Gerard Butler, because she discovered she was hotlinking them, and had no other ones. Anyone else, feel free to step up here. 😉

Random Guest: Cassandra Carr

So Cassandra Carr emailed me asking me to guest, and I was like “when were you thinking?” And she was like “as soon as possible?” And I was like “I have the perfect date for you! … Well, us! Whatever!” Anyway, she was very sweet about it and all enthusiastic, which I appreciated, of course. Also, she’s here sharing the eye candy with you all today. I’ve also got to say this is a unique post. Well done!

Create-Your-Own Hockey Player Hero

In honor of my current release, I thought it would be fun to let you all create your own hero. Drew Milan, the hero in Talk to Me, is Italian-American, with black hair and olive skin, but much like the general population, hockey players come in all sizes and colors. So without further ado, design your own hockey player hero!

First, our hockey hero needs a head, of course. Here are three nice, and yet different, ones to choose from:

Next we need a torso:

Now, I’d give you legs to choose from, but all hockey players’ legs are the same – well-muscled. So what mish-mash of hockey player hotness would you come up with if given the chance?

Comment to enter my giveaway for a set of erotic dice. The first die gives you an action: touch, suck, etc and the second one has body parts: lips, breasts, etc.

Now I could be wrong… but I want to say this post was partially inspired by Jaci Burton’s new cover… see? Taking a Shot isn’t out until March 6, 2012. Maybe they’ll move up the release date… Anyway. Yeah. I’ll give you a minute.

 

Special Guest: Mary G! (With Beth Kery/Bethany Kane)

Hi everyone! To kick off my special reader guests for June aka birthday month 😉 … I’ve got one of my favorite people, Mary G! I only wish we got to hang out more – and that more of you knew her! I’ll have to be more witty and intelligent so Mary comes out to play more. 😛 Anyway, I met her at Lori Foster (And Dianne Castell now Duffy Brown’s Reader & Author Get Together) but we’d chatted online via blogs before… and it was one of my personal highlights of the conference. Anyway – you can see why she’s fantastic for yourself. (And she brought along Beth Kery as Bethany Kane – and who could ever find fault with that?!)

When Lime invited me to write a guest post, I was thrilled. Now I’m facing a blank page. Yikes!!

I only have two loves in my life (besides family & friends) & those are tennis & books.

My grandfather (who was also a voracious reader before his eyesight deteriorated) bought me my first book for Christmas when I was nine years old. After that I went to the library every Saturday & took home eight books. To this day, I insist that my house would be immaculate if I wasn’t a reader. There are always piles of books, magazines & newspapers around until recycle day eve LOL.

Today I wanted to focus on another life changing moment. That was reading my first Beth Kery book. It was Wicked Burn and it blew me away. I still have the first email I sent her:

Wicked Burn has to be one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. It had everything. I could not put it down but I did not want it to end.”

Oh how woefully inadequate that is LOL. It was so deeply emotional, heart rending, sexy hot and had a few spots that made me smile. It raised the bar for me on what I want out of a book whether it be a contemp, romantic suspense, historical, etc. A book can have it all. The other thing that sets Beth apart is her prose. I still chuckle when I remember telling her that no one writes like her. She says she uses the same vocab as everyone else. Whatever. I’ve also complained to her that her books take longer to read because the prose is so beautiful that I reread passages over & over again.

My fave passage ever in a book: Sweet Restraint page 219 –

They both lay on their sides belly to belly, their limbs wrapped fast around the other so that they formed a secure, fleshy knot.

This is what became a book mark moment, putting a book mark in a fave passage. I met Beth at Lori Foster’s last year, a casual, down to earth and at the same time, elegant lady who is just as beautiful on the inside. I can’t wait to see her again this week. Lime, you better be there next year.

Today Beth is here to talk about her latest book, Addicted To You, written under her pen name Bethany Kane. It doesn’t matter what the name is on the cover. You’re assured of a great read.

Beth/Bethany puts her special brand on a friends to lovers story that you will enjoy. She’s done quite a few interviews this week so I have just one question. What was the spark, the impetus that started you on the path to writing?

Beth Kery/Bethany Kane

Thanks to both Lime and Mary for asking me to post! It’s hard for me to convey how grateful and flattered I am by Mary’s words. There is no greater compliment to an author than knowing her story has touched the heart of another. Thank you, Mary. Your words touched me, as well.

What sparked my writing career? Probably a lifetime of reading. Books fill my earliest memories. It was the greatest treat in the world to go to the library with my mother. It was incredible…like Christmas every time we went. I also have a very sharp memory of one event. I was about five or six. My mom was in graduate school at the time, and she’d teamed up with another teacher. Their project was to do something that would get kids excited about reading. They encouraged me to write a story; mine was about mice. I do remember that much. But what I really remember was that they bound it into a little book. I remember being so stunned and so proud. I couldn’t believe I was an author.

I’m sure that’s just one of many events that set me on this path. I’ve come a very long way from the story about mice to my upcoming release from Berkley Heat, Addicted to You. Addicted to You is the first full length erotic romance in a new series called “One Night of Passion.” The theme of this series, written under the pen name Bethany Kane, is that each of the romances starts out with one night of impulsive pleasure. Of course, it will end up with a happily-ever-after, but only after the couples come to terms with whatever led up to them behaving so uncharacteristically on that first night. I make them work for that happily-ever-after, but that’s where the fun happens.

Rill and Katie, the hero and heroine from Addicted to You, have a long history of friendship. Rill came to the U.S. from Ireland to go to film school at UCLA, and as a result, Katie’s family opened their home and hearts to him. Katie carried a torch for him from a young age, halfway knowing nothing will ever come of her infatuation. Rill is brilliant, after all, and possesses an easy charm and raw sexuality that women adore. Years later, Rill begins to date Katie’s college roommate, Eden, and eventually marries her. Katie’s chances of ever having a romantic relationship with Rill fade to nothing. Years pass, and their cherished friendship deepens.

One day, Eden is killed in a car wreck and Rill learns an earth-shattering secret about his dead wife. He’s so devastated by the circumstances that he leaves a brilliant career as a film director and holes up in the tiny, quirky town of Vulture’s Canyon, drinking too much and spinning out of control. Never one to give up on those she loves, Katie blazes into Vulture’s Canyon one night, intent on saving Rill.

What happens on that starlit night when these two passionate, volatile souls crash together changes their relationship forever. Katie and Rill make the friends-to-lovers journey fun, heart- rending and extremely sexy all at once. After one night of passion, nothing will ever be the same for them again.

All it takes is a moment for your life to change—one night of desire to make you feel alive…

Irish film director Rill Pierce fled to the tiny, backwoods town of Vulture ‘s Canyon, seeking sanctuary and solitude after a devastating tragedy. Once, his raw sex appeal and sultry Irish accent made women across the globe swoon. Now, he’s barely recognizable…

But Katie Hughes, his best friend’s sister, is not the type of woman to give up on a man like Rill. She blazes into Vulture’s Canyon determined to save him from himself. Instead, she finds herself unleashing years of pent-up passion. In a storm of hunger and need, Katie and Rill forget themselves and the world. But will Rill’s insatiable attraction to Katie heal his pain—or will it just feed the darkness within him?

You can read an excerpt of Addicted to You here.

Contest: Leave a reply to one or both of the following questions, and I’ll give a copy of Addicted to You to one commenter.

What were your first memories of books and reading? Have you ever indulged in a night of impulsive passion and had it turn into something more?

Personally, I think you should go for answering both questions – honestly!- heh. So do you have any questions for Mary and or Beth/Bethany? I do want to note that they’re both at the Reader and Author Get Together this year, which is taking place this very weekend. So they won’t be able to check back until they’re home. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t comment, ask Beth and Mary questions, and answer Beth’s question as well!

Random Guest: Olivia Waite

So, everyone, you’re in for a treat today! Less of my babble, and more from a guest author! I also really like this topic, because as you can see, I like flowers and gardening as well. (Yes, all those pictures of flowers on my header/background? I took them in or around my parent’s house.) Anyway. Olivia Waite is here to talk about, well, gardening, in a way, with a really sweet post.)

My family is full of women who are gardeners — my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my aunt. There seems to be a mysterious genetic switch that gets flipped at some point and sends us into a tizzy of weeding, planting, fertilizing, pruning, and trimming.

I’m nearing thirty, and that switch is still unflipped. Every houseplant I’ve tried to tend has died. My own small backyard is a wilderness in miniature. There are the usual dandelions, strange green grasses, some small blue flowers I find appealing in a Sound of Music kind of way, and a few menacing raspberry vines that should probably be taken care of now while they’re still young and weak. If we let them get too firm in the root, they could take over the whole backyard and make it really difficult for our miniature dachshund puppy to do his business. He’s having a hard enough time with the dandelions, most of which are taller than he is.

But I must admit it’s fun to watch him sniff the white dandelion clocks and sneeze when they tickle his nose. At eight months of age, he’s never seen spring before, and it’s clearly puzzling him why the garden that was a damp and frigid huddle of muck in the winter should suddenly smell so different and grow so full of stuff.

Part of the challenge with our backyard is that it’s difficult by nature: one half is at the base of a small hill and stays perennially damp and shady, while the other half has been dried out by the leavings of the former tenant’s two dozen cats (seriously — she was kicked out by the housing board and the whole place remodeled) and not even the dandelions will touch it. The week before I got married, my mother and bridesmaids cleared out every weed in the place and put in some lovely desert grasses that were less lovely when they drowned a week later while we were on our honeymoon. I don’t want to put in anything else just to watch it die — and so, the weeds live on, smug and victorious.

And yet — I dream of moss.

Someday, when the gardening gene kicks in, I will take out all the tall plants and transplant as many kinds of moss as I can find locally or purchase in specialty stores. I did a lot of research once I realized how poor our backyard was. Moss is fairly forgiving and needs only shade and water, things we have in abundance. What’s more, there’s something soothing about moss gardens, the softness and the gentleness of them. A moss garden sounds like an excellent place for writing.

Last fall, in the flush of enthusiasm, I actually cleared a small space and gave moss transplanting a try. The transplant not only survived but flourished — and I’ve noticed other patches growing on their own around the yard, at least three different species. My transplant is a small, brilliant patch of emerald to the right of the backdoor steps. Every time I see it my heart lifts a little.

There may be hope for me as a gardener yet.

Olivia Waite stole her first romance novel at the age of five from her mother’s bedside table. She kept reading them secretly all through college and graduate school, until finally she sat down and put together a book of her own. 

Now she writes some very scandalous historical novellas for Ellora’s Cave. Caffeine gives her superpowers–or at least makes her feel that way. She lives in the Seattle area, blogs frequently, and loves emails, postcards, skywritten messages, and communication of all kinds.

Olivia has very kindly offered to do a giveaway here today, and two lucky commenters will win a book! So tell me. What do you think of gardening? Do you have a green thumb or a black thumb? Did you grow up with anyone who loved to garden?

And of course, questions for Olivia about her books are always welcome!

Special Guest: Joy!

I met Joy at RT10 in Columbus, Ohio, and we’ve been fast friends since. She, Ali, and I are quite the trio, and they’re some of my favorite people in the romance community. (Incidentally, look forward to a joint post in June!) Joy is much more well known that I am in the romance community – she’s the co-owner of Joyfully Reviewed, so without further ado, what she has to say!

I been fan of romance books since I picked up my Barbara Cartland book at the age of 13, I know I am dating myself but there is no shame in showing my romance roots. LOL. (Personally, I don’t think that really dates you, Joy, because I picked up my first Barbara Cartland in high school… and many of her books are being released digitally now by her estate, so many more people can still be introduced to romance via her books!)

I progressed onto Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and never looked back. Romance novels appeal to me on many levels but today I will be discussing Books That Have Stuck With Me long after reading The End. These are the books that I can re-read over & over and they still have the same impact as when I first read them.

Whether it be a hot love scene, an unforgettable hero or heroine, a storyline that blew my mind or challenged me to read a genre to which I never thought I would, the following books hold a special place in my romance heart.

In Alphabetical Order:

Stephanie Burke: Keeper of The Flame

Jaci Burton: Summer Heat

Rhyannon Byrd: Waiting For It & Triple Play

Joey W. Hill: Branded Sanctuary & Make Her Dreams Come True

Dara Joy: Knight Of A Trillion Stars

Susan Kyle (aka Diana Palmer): Night Fever

Shelly Laurenston: Pack Challenge, Go Fetch! & A Pride Christmas In Brooklyn (I couldn’t find a link for this book. Gah.)

Lora Leigh: Wicked Intent & Marly’s Choice

Lena Matthews: Steven’s Salvation

Cheyenne McCray: Wildcard

Shannon McKenna: Something Wild

Bridget Midway: Corporate Seduction

Lisa Marie Rice: Midnight Man

Violet Summers: Velvet Submission

Kathleen E Woodiwiss: The Flame and The Flower

For Keeper of the Flame by Stephanie Burke: An alien male, from a planet that is run by women, that lands on Earth, about to give birth, yes I said give birth, need I say more? This was my very first e-book purchase ever. I was bored of the same old same old stories that I was reading in print at the time, went looking on the net for new authors and ran across a cover that looked like it had a black heroine on it. I said to myself, she must have a tan because I had never seen a person of color on a romance book up to that point. I ran across this thing called E-Books, intrigued I investigated further, low & behold, yes the heroine was black. Stephanie Burke had me at hello with the blurb and I have never looked back on e-books since. Flame is an Alpha Male but he’s vulnerable given his condition and he has to depend Kendall for his & his children’s survival. Stephanie Burke suspended my disbelief and took me into a world that I not only enjoyed but wanted to read more about.

And with Jaci Burton’s Summer Heat, Hero Aidan Storm (get it? I love it!) is from a family that can control the weather. Come on, how could you not want to read a paranormal with a storyline like this? Oh, the endless possibilities of naughtiness, teehee. Aidan uses his powers to get closer to Melissa Cross, our heroine, who is not prepared to handle this oh so sensual man. There is a scene in a casino that still makes me shiver. Jaci Burton pens heroes that make me melt, they aren’t afraid to admit to their mistakes and make it up to their women in ways that make me tremble : )

What are some of your favorite Romance Books That Have Stuck With You and why? (Isn’t this the perfect follow up to Thursday’s post? Joy went with something you’ve already been thinking about! Also, we may or may not be adding things, because Joy sent me this post, then was called away- friend emergency. :X)

ETA: Joy has generously decided to do a few giveaways, so comment comment comment!

Very Special Guest: Ali!

Miss Ali, who is one of my most favorite people ever, was supposed to guest last week. I think we can all agree that it was fortunate she didn’t because we wouldn’t have heard the following story otherwise. And yes, this is the story/post I was hoping she’d share/text me. 😀 Isn’t Ali the best?

So many things went through my head as I wondered what my topic for this guest post would be. Shall I share about my frustration over planning an upcoming surprise birthday party on my own… or my latest obsession with Doctor Who… or maybe how my co-worker was convinced that this guy, who had spent about twenty minutes talking to her, was going kill us (um, yeah, she had a few drinks)… better yet, I could whine about all my unfinished home improvement projects.

Which one am I going to write about today? I’ll go with the crazy episode I had with my co-worker, lol.

The day started out normal enough, I had lunch planned with my co-worker (we’ll call her T) and her friend, since we both had the day off from work. After lunch we decided to go to a bar for drinks. That was my first mistake. My second was not stopping her after her first drink, heh.

After a few minutes, this man approached us and tried to talk to T. Things were going fine for about ten minutes or so, until… T quickly goes through her purse and hands me her keys. She the looks at me and whispers, ‘Run to the car.’ 0_o

I tried to tell her I wasn’t leaving without her, but then she gets this desperate look and proceeds to tell me that this guy is going to kill us. Wowzers. That was definitely not something I expected to hear. I had been there for the whole conversation, and unless she could read minds, there was no mention of killing anybody.

Her conversation with the guy was getting louder. Uh-oh. She got upset with me and asked why I hadn’t left yet. For five minutes she tried to convince me to go, telling me we would both die if I didn’t. I guess it was a nice gesture that she wanted me out of harms way, but I didn’t know whether to laugh or call the men in white jackets, lol.

This was definitely surreal for me. I asked the gentleman to leave and told her we were leaving the bar. She informed me that he would follow us and we needed to hurry.  I told her that I would make sure we weren’t followed and get us out of there quickly… I’ve learned that it’s best to go along with things when necessary.

We finally made it back to her place, and after making sure she was okay, I high-tailed it out of there. For a day that started out normal enough, it sure did take a strange turn for the crazy.

One thing’s for sure, I’ve never been one to say my life is boring. Have you ever had a day that went from good to omg-this-can’t-be-happening?

And Ali chose to be my special guest in April, because it’s her birthday month! (Her birthday was on the first. Fitting, right? 😉 Heh.) But! Ali is awesome and generous – and she’s giving away a $20 Amazon giftcard to someone today! Or… for international readers, a $20 giftcard to the Book Depository. It’s pretty clear why everyone loves her, yes?

You can find Ali at her blog or on twitter. Twitter is actually how I “met” Ali, and when we found out we were both going to RT in 2010 …  we of course had to meet in person. Ali was rooming with Joy and Maya (who couldn’t go). So that’s where the Ali/Joy/Lime everything-ness began.

So come on – make it good, and tell us about one of your crazy day life stories! And remember – you’ll have to come back to see if you’ve won. 🙂

Special Guest Stacie Recaps RT11 (With a SWAG Giveaway!)

You guys! So the totally awesome Stacie said she was going to RT and I pounced on her and was all “you must do a recap for my blog!” And she was all “*skeered*” and I was like “DO EET!” So here she is! She’s all kinds of fabulous and I totally wouldn’t mind being her when I grow up. (I’d say this if I was older than her as well. Which hell, I might be. 😉 Who knows with all this interwebz craziness.)

2011 RT Booklovers Convention Recap by Stacie (aka @GeishasMom73)

This year, RT 2011 was held in Los Angeles at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. This was my first ever RT and I didn’t know what to expect. As an RT Virgin (I even wore a button all week stating so) I was pretty disoriented for the first day and a half. There was so much going on that I didn’t know where to start. I was overwhelmed not only by the event but by the amount of SWAG I was given. I believe I shipped approximately 5 pounds of SWAG home. I received t-shirts, tote bags, buttons, pens, bookmarks, excerpt booklets and a few NSFW promo items. *Stick around until the end of the post for a little giveaway.

The reader and writer workshops were fantastic. There was something for everyone. Even though I am a reader, I ended up attending more writer workshops than reader events. Listening to authors like Lauren Dane and Kate Pearce talk about their writing process was fascinating. I even sat in on an author chat with Dean Koontz (he was very funny and self-deprecating btw). The LA ATF conducted a 2 hour workshop that included watching an ATF police dog attack a faux criminal. They also provided 17 different firearms that the audience could handle. To balance out the testosterone heavy ATF event, the next day I attended a reader event where marabou boas and Spank Me rulers were standard issue!


Let’s get to the parties! One of the big draws of the RT Convention has to be the parties. There were awesome reader parties during the day and huge events at night. Many people brought elaborate costumes for these events. I felt the Ellora’s Cave Bollywood party was the best of the bunch. Great entertainment, food, party favors and promo items (albeit usually NSFW). The Avon party was a close second. They had carnival food (corndogs, caramel apples plus a margarita bar) as well as authors signing free books. I believe I received 10 signed books at that event alone.
OMG books! In the four days that preceded the Book Fair I received dozens of free books. Between the registration bag, the goody room and the parties/events I checked off half of the titles on my wish list. By the time the Book Fair arrived I had already filled the two Priority mail boxes that I had brought in my luggage and I still had more books to buy. The Book Fair was awesome and the authors were friendly and gracious. One of the perks of being an RT attendee was being allowed entrance to the Book Fair 15 minutes before the general public. I knew Ann Aguirre was giving away free hardcover copies of Enclave so I made a bee-line to her table to snag my copy.

The Mr. Romance pageant or mangeant was a huge event. I can honestly say that I’ve never been to anything like it. The crowd was rowdy and ready to have a good time. I’m a pretty reserved and shy person (my twitter personality is totally different) so having a male model rip his t-shirt off onstage and throw it into the crowd was shocking. Having that t-shirt fall into my lap rendered me speechless. I was told I turned a lovely shade of rose. LOL *And no, I did not keep the t-shirt 😉

The most fun I had was meeting all of my online friends in person. I met a ton of people that I only knew through Twitter. Everyone was just as cool in person as they are online. I now understand why everyone keeps returning to the RT Convention. It is one of the few times that you can meet up with your online friends from around the country. They try to cram as much fun into that one week as possible. It’s like a big family reunion but fun.

I want to say a special thank you to Megan Hart and Lauren Dane for convincing me to attend this year’s RT. I had a blast. You both went out of your way to make sure I felt welcome and I really appreciate it. I’m already looking forward to RT 2012 in my hometown of Chicago! I encourage everyone to attend if you can. And thank you Limecello for talking me into writing this post for your blog. You can put the brass knuckles away now. 😉

***And now for the giveaway***

I know you skipped reading the post and jumped down to the important stuff. Don’t lie. 😉

I have 3 prize packs of SWAG to give away. Some of these items may be racy so everyone should probably be at least 18 years old.

1st is an Ellora’s Cave 2011 calendar plus various SWAG

2nd is a deck of Ellora’s Cave playing cards (the cards have EC cover art on them) plus SWAG

3rd is a selection of Romance Trading Cards plus SWAG

In the comments tell me the prize you want to win. If you want them all, list your order of preference and leave a way to contact you. I’ll draw 3 names this weekend.

You heard (well, read) it! Them’s the rules and since Stacie and I are both punchy tired, hope it makes sense 😀 (Also, the less said by me the better because RT10… well. Yeah.)

Random Guest: Sara Reinke Talks Book Crushes!

Hi Everyone! So I’ve been all blaaaah (and I know – I really want to reply to all the comments you’ve been awesome enough to leave and I can’t thank you enough!) – so I was like “uh, anyone wanna guest?” And Sara was all “sure I’ll do it!” And I was all “ZOMG YAY!” So, please welcome Sara and her awesome post about books and crushes on characters! Whee!

World Book Day is the United Kingdom’s “largest celebration of books and reading.” As part of this 2011 public initiative, organizers have launched a campaign to find out favorite book crushes. While I’m not from the UK, I like the book crush idea, having had some of my own over the years. I figured hey, why not come clean and own up to the characters over whom I’ve enjoyed fangirl squee-fits over the years?

1. Pippin from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Ahh, Pippin. You were one of my first book crushes. There was just something so adorable and endearing in your clumsy, ingenuous nature. Billy Boyd captured that pretty darn well in the film versions, enough so that I have to admit, until Orlando Bloom came on the scene and spoiled things for you, I felt a momentary resurgence of my Pippin-inspired bliss.

2. Matt Hooper from Jaws. You inspired a three-month obsession with becoming an ichthyologist in my pre-teen years. By the time I saw Richard Dreyfuss portray you in the movie version, though, my love for you, as well as the study of fish, had waned.

3. Sir Gawaine. Sometimes spelled Gawain. When I crushed on you, I wasn’t picky. King Arthur’s nephew, you were described as the “Greatest Knight.” What prepubescent girl enamored with tales of chivalry and courtly love could resist that? Alas, in my youth, I didn’t find Sean Connery as attractive as I do now, a grown adult, and realizing he was portraying you in a film version Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight pretty much killed my book crush.

4. Menolly from Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall triology. My first bi-book crush. I thought you were awesome, Menolly. I wanted to be like you. Hell, I wanted to be you! The way you stood your ground against those mean girls who wanted to make fun of you and belittle you, treat you weren’t good enough. You were like a female Harry Potter at Hogwarts before either were a gleam in J.K. Rowling’s eyes.

5. Dennis Guilder from Christine by Stephen King. Dear God, I wanted to do you, Dennis Guilder. You were freaking hot. You were so well crafted on the page, that I could see you, hear you, smell your cologne. Not only do you remain, for me, one of the most realistically portrayed teen-aged boys ever in contemporary fiction, but King’s expert characterization of you—captured perfectly in the first person viewpoint—arguably became the inspiration and model by which I base many of my own male characters.

6. Holden Caulfield from J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. As a teenager with a potty mouth, I identified with you, Holden. You cussed like a champion. I continue to model my own penchant for the crude vernacular off your artistic sensibilities.

7. Will McLean from Pat Conroy’s The Lords of Discipline. Like with Dennis Guilder from Christine, I had a serious jones for you. You were noble, honest, decent, strong-willed and brave. Everything a cadet at West Point should be—and everything a girl looks for in a book crush.

8. Richie Tozier from It by Stephen King. I have no idea why I had a book crush on you, Richie. But you charmed me, man. I thought you were annoying but cute.

9. Gambit from The X-Men. Okay, you’re technically not a literary character, but comic books count as reading, right? And why the hell do you think I wrote a character in The Brethren Series named Rene Morin, who sports a Cajun accent? It’s because of you, Remy LeBeau, aka Gambit. With your long hair, five o’clock shadow, French-interspersed dialogue and go-to-hell attitude, you were X-tremely hot. Not to mention you could blow shit up just by touching it.

10. Morgan Saint-Evanston in The Keeper of Eternity by Devyn Quinn. Yeah, she’s re-released the book under a new title, Echo of Angels, but you remain as brooding, dark, sinister, morose, surly, alcoholic, foul-tempered and sexy as ever. The quintessential “bad boy” book crush, you’re as hot as Johnny Depp in Sweeny Todd, only with a tamer hair do and less of a body count.

So that’s my top 10.

Although the polls are still open for World Book Day UK’s top book crushes, on their website, they share the results of which book characters teens today would want to go out on a date with—which is pretty much the same thing. Here’s what UK teens reported:

1. Hermione Granger, from the Harry Potter series

2. Jacob Black, from the Twilight series

3. Edward Cullen, from the Twilight series

4. Mary-Jane Parker, from the Spider-Man graphic novels

5. Mr Darcy, from Pride and Prejudice

6. Arwen, from The Lord of the Rings

7. Robbie the Sex God, from the Georgia Nicolson series

8. Tracy Beaker, from the Tracy Beaker series

9. Prince Caspian, from the Chronicles of Narnia series

10. Sophie Neveu, from The Da Vinci Code

I don’t know who “Robbie the Sex God” is, but I’m intrigued enough now to Amazon search it, LOL.

Also, I have to wonder—Arwen was a very minor character in the actual Lord of the Rings books. In fact, her biggest appearance in print doesn’t occur in the books at all, but rather in one of Tolkien’s many appendices to the trilogy. So are teens reporting they’d like to go out with Arwen, or with Liv Tyler portraying Arwen, like in the movies?

Ditto for Prince Caspian, because he was a kid in the book. Seriously. A kid. Not Ben Barnes from the movie. Who admittedly is hot as hell. (He’s my inspiration for the character of Brandon Noble in The Brethren Series.)

Mary-Jane Parker I’m still scratching my head over, but whatever. I had a book crush on Richie Tozier. It doesn’t get much weirder than that.

So how about you? Who are your top book crushes of all time? Post ’em here or join in the fun by tweeting them to @sarareinke, @limecello and @WorldBookDayUK #bookcrush.

“Definitely an author to watch.” That’s how Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine describes Sara Reinke. New York Times best-selling author Karen Robards calls Reinke “a new paranormal star” and Love Romances and More hails her as “a fresh new voice to a genre that has grown stale.” Find out more about her and her available titles at www.sarareinke.com.

So? Book crushes? Come on, I know there are favorite romance heroes out there – let’s get this conversation going! I wanna see factions and teams! 😉 Oh – and I know the images don’t necessarily line up with the characters/where they’re listed – that’s because I like a good text to image ratio 😛

Special Guest: Megan F

While I’m out of town attending what I’m fondly referring to as the “Wedding of DOOM!” I leave my blog in the incredibly capable hands of Megan. She’s super smart and needs no introduction, really, since tons more people know who she is than they know who I am. Am I making sense? It’s the wee AM hours again and I’m still sick. Also – one of my favorite cousins is getting married, so the wedding isn’t so much doom-like other than I’ll be stuck with relatives. Like, a lot of relatives.

Of course, I’ll introduce her anyway 😉 Or at least, lead you to places where you can find more information about her, which would be her website, twitter profile, and Heroes and Heartbreakers (you know, that site I mentioned previously?)

**So anyway, you guys should pull up a chair, because this is going to be the best, most thoughtful post you see here in a while. At least, you know, until the next guest post. 😉

Thanks to Lime (I hope she doesn’t mind I call her ‘Lime’) for inviting me to come over for a visit today. [*Of course I don’t mind – everyone calls me Lime. In fact I jokingly said to a friend a few days ago, “If you wanna play in romance-land, you have to call me Lime. Cuz I noticed someone basically refused to in all emails.]

Like all of you, I’m presuming, I am a voracious reader. My husband calls me the Woodchipper because of the way I go through books. I lived in a remote town in New Hampshire for many of my formative years without a TV, and then when we did have a TV, it only got one station: CBS. So I spent a lot of time reading my parents’ books in the library.

I’m lucky that my parents did have a library; both were also big readers, my dad majored in English, actually (mom in archaeology; WTH, Mom?), and they spent the little money they had on pop culture: Books and music.

So at some point, I wandered into the room euphemistically called The Library, which was another way of saying a spare room where books were scattered across the floor as well as on bookshelves (cleaning not my parents’ forte), and found Agatha Christie. And the Bronte sisters. And Jane Austen. And John D. MacDonald. Not to mention Georgette Heyer. And I read them all, numerous times.

But what really shaped me, what defined who I am now is the series of Andrew Lang’s Coloured Fairy Books. The first one, given to me by a friend of my mom’s, was The Green Fairy Book. Not only did it include fairy tales collected by Andrew Lang, it had the most incredible illustrations done by H.J. Ford.

The way Ford drew women—slender, elegant, with incredibly long hair and delicate features—has remained with me to this day, and I picture heroines often carrying this kind of elegance even if they’re not described precisely that way. But they are heroines, and all heroines are elegant, to my way of thinking.

And the way the tales depict right and wrong, honorable and despicable, has likewise remained with me. I know, intellectually, that my view of the world is far too literal, but I wasn’t given very much moral guidance growing up (my parents were equally adept at raising a child as they were at cleaning), so I gathered my own morality. Eventually, when I came to study Freud, I discovered that my superego had basically been allowed to run untrammeled. Not always a good thing. Causes some heartache.

Anyway. Back to the Fairy Books. These books introduced me to foreign lands, ideas, people, culture, and language. They were what helped me through grades 2-6, and those were tough years. At any time, I could grab one of the twelve books and fall into the pages, certain to discover a delightful, delicious but also substantive tale.

I think the Fairy Books is how I came to treasure romance, also—not too hard to figure out, after all, since the whole concept of Happy Ever After originated from here. I still need a Happy Ever After, or at least a Happy Ever Pending, and I can recall almost every single one of the stories in those books to this day, even though I haven’t read them in likely 30 years.

Thanks for letting me share, Lime.

I’m pretty much still processing, and stunned at the gorgeous picture. Thank you for guesting, Megan! I absolutely love Fairy Tales – and let me just drag down the level of this post – after all, I grew up on Disney! The actual Grimm tales are a bit much, but Hans Christian Anderson is grouped all in that for me too in childhood happiness and love. Hey – I warned you! Vacuous! Anyway, I’ll stop now, and let you talk with Megan 😀

Special Guest: Brandy

Hi Everyone! Please welcome Brandy to my blog today! I met her at RomCon and we instantly bonded. I think something annoyed me and she was all “yeah! yeah! Get violent!” 😉 No, but she’s super cool, and I’m definitely glad I met her and that we’re online buddies.

Hey look at me… I’m guest posting. Thanks Lime for letting me play around on your blog. Hope you don’t regret it. lol

This is kind of a funky post. Like a good book this will start one place and go somewhere completely unexpected. At least to me it will since I’m just winging it and watching TV. Actually watching one of my favorite shows: Gangland. (I LOVE Gangland!)

The show has been a ton these days and I can’t help but watch. Hell I even text back and forth with a friend while we watch. I mean who doesn’t want to see how gangs are formed and how they evolve as time goes by. They are organized and the violence insane. But that’s not what the post is about.

I’m fascinated by the whole concept of the gang. But there is one thing that always crosses my mind. I’m not cut out for the gang life. The biggest reason besides not wanting to join one – EVER, is that I have no doubt my fingers would cramp up trying to throw gang signs. My god I have no idea how they do all of those signs without hurting themselves or throwing their backs out. My luck I’d try making a sign, make the wrong one and something bad would happen.

Watching today I finally had a new thought and it’s an odd one at that. Where in all of the romance out there in booklandia is the former gang member love story? The storyline that has the hero as a past gang member trying to make his life better. The heroine who doesn’t know about his past and loves him as he is now. What would she do if confronted with his past? Would she stay by his side or run for the hills?
Could a couple ever overcome such a past life?

I have a feeling that there are some stories that will never get told. Maybe they shouldn’t be heroes in our love of slightly flawed men overcoming stuff in their past. This might be more than we readers can handle. You will always know that he did
some nasty stuff and I’m not sure pure trust could be achieved. Some fantasies just shouldn’t make the cut in the world of romance.

So my questions for you guys: What story line do you think should never be told? Is there a background that just can’t be forgotten?

Thanks again to Lime for letting me babble away and thanks for stopping by.

Brandy

Thanks so much for guesting, Brandy! She also has this gorgeous new site that’s all fancy and hosted and everything and I’m so jealous. 🙂 Please make Brandy feel welcome and not regret her agreeing to blog here! 😉

*NB: As I’m having a guest author each month, I like the balance of having a reader guest each month as well – so please let me know if you’re interested! Thus far I’ve had to hunt people down and put them on the spot, and they very kindly agreed to visit. <3