Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
Aloha to Anna Campbell and MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION
Her Majesty has given me the distinct honor of making this special announcement:
William and Catherine's courtship and marriage has renewed my faith in the Happily Ever After. I am, in fact, a closet romance reader. My favorite author is Anna Campbell, the mistress of "dark, sexy Regency". Her books add a spark to my life as I serve my kingdom. It is only fitting that Anna be honored for promoting pageantry and heraldry in her romance novels.
Anna's path to romance royalty started at Queensland University in English literature - brilliant decision in location and degree. She spent two years in England, serving crown and country, before returning to her beloved Australia. Anna persevered in penning her voice, including "No Ordinary Duchess". Renamed CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, this trailblazing romance finaled with two RWA organizations - the Romance Writers of America and the Romance Writers of Australia. It also marked her debut as an Avon author, letting the world know that Anna Campbell had arrived in Romance Land. Five more books followed - UNTOUCHED, TEMPT THE DEVIL, CAPTIVE OF SIN, MY RECKLESS SUMMER, and published this week, MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION.
MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION is Anna's sixth full length book. Six is a magical number in the English Monarchy. Henry VIII's sixth wife survived him. James VI of Scotland became James I of England (thus combining the thrones). And I will be entering my sixth decade as England's monarch in 2012. Clearly, six is a magical number for Anna as MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION has received rave reviews, including a sentimental tribute from Mary Gramlich, The Reading Reviewer,
Anna Campbell put her unique mark of excellence on each historical romance book she writes. This one in particular stands out with its fresh storyline, remarkable characters and never ending surprises the reader does not see coming. The mark of a good book is you are so saddened to have it end and this one brought tears to my eyes!
With kind regards,
1. Leave a comment about Anna, MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION, and dark sexy Regencies.
2. This giveaway is open to US residents only but comments from all readers are welcome.
3. Comments are open through Saturday, April 30, 10 pm, in Hawaii. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 1.
Kim in Hawaii
Oh, Baroness, give us the Royal wave ...
Royal Weddings: An Original Anthology written by Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley, and Loretta Chase
04/11 - HarperCollins Publishers - eBook Format
What if love finds you and never leaves?
Not every book needs to be 300 pages to convene a love story as some love stories are so intense they can be told in a short format. This especially is true with the master of romance write about different stages of love.
Loretta Chase tells the tale of Lady Margaret Dawlish, wedding planner to royalty. She herself had love and lost him on the battlefield but another that did not perish desires her and Duc de Perigord, Gaston Devillriers has returned to her life and is haunting her dreams. As Meg organizes another’s happy day Gaston takes steps to draw her into a life with him. He needs a wife, lover, helpmate and partner, which Meg can be to him as well as the woman he has dreamt of by his side. Their story is very tender and one that everyone will enjoy.
Galen Foley shows how difficult it is to keep love fresh and alive after you are married even after five years. Eleanor Montford is the perfect wife, mother and political ally for her husband Roland James Augustus Montford, Colonel Lord Archer. He wants to rise up the ranks in the political arena and Ellie is there to support him but is he there for her as the lover she so desires? They both think the other is the problem and when one night the words become kisses and the kisses become heated exchanges of passion they prove there is love in a married life.
Loretta Chase shows what happens when two different social classes collide. Hugh Fitzwalter, the third Marquess of Rothwick needs to marry to save his estate and you would think he holds all the relationship cards. However Miss Barbara Findley has the money he needs but does he have the emotions she so craves. After courting her and a decision was made to marry, but Barbara cries off and Hugh crawls back in to show her that love does top any other arrangement.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
FACE OF DANGER written by Roxanne St. Claire
Guardian Angelinos Series #3
05/11 - Grand Central Publishing - Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
What does it take you to forget past pain and let love take control?
Viviana Angelino took her family’s love and turned it into a family owned private security business that is just starting to see growth and expand into other areas with every new family member that comes onboard. Vivi loves what she and her family of misfits do but one small factor of following all the exact rules required to be legit is tripping her up. Especially when complete stickler for rules and regulations, Special Agent in Charge Colton Lang the FBI liaison that she is working with and throwing business her way. Now Colton believes in doing things the right and formal way, which Vivi is anything but, yet he cannot stay away from her and his desire for her, makes no sense since she does not even own a pair of Khaki’s. She is nothing like his prior relationships and her looks are over the top nonsense right down to her nose ring and skateboard. Colton knows trouble when he sees it and Vivi is nothing but a bad idea.
However, Vivi does have a striking resemblance to a movie star that is in the path of a serial killer who hates Oscar winners. Vivi steps into the latest winner Cara Ferrari’s fabulous strappy sandals and pretends to draw everyone one way while Cara goes another. However, Vivi finds that there is more than one secret hiding beside her in Nantucket and while no one wants to talk, Colton would like to do some investigating of his own one-on-one with Vivi sans any clothing. Colton got lucky being assigned this case and can keep a very special attentive eye on Vivi while trying to prove his muster with the FBI. Occasionally a rule needs to be broken and if Vivi can convince Colton of that, they really might have a great time and possibly a future together. That is after they figure out which was the tunnels go; who this woman is living in Cara’s house; and find out who the Red Carpet Killer is. But other than that, this relationship is moving along nicely.
The third book in this series tells the story of the founder of Guardian Angelinos Vivi’s story. She needed a great one and this storyline provides it with killers, mysteries, and mayhem along with a great alpha male by her side. Colton may talk as if it is 1954 but he lives in the 21 century and knows how to get the crook and take home the girl all before sundown.
Hej * to Pamela Clare and BREAKING POINT
I am thrilled to host the multi-talented, multi-faceted Pamela Clare today. I met Pamela at RomCon last July -I encourage you to read the recap. Pamela joins us today to celebrate the release of Breaking Point - the fifth book of the I-Team Series. Although I had not read the preceding four books, I read BREAKING POINT as a stand alone book. I posted my review here.
Then, when I was 15, something extraordinary happened. I discovered romance novels. The first romance I ever read was The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, followed soon after by Shanna and Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet, Savage Love. I gave up depressing intellectual classics for stories that made my heart beat faster — tales of bravery, passion, and love. I found that I preferred happy endings to sad ones, no matter how artsy or intellectual they were.
Kim: Yet you have received stellar reviews for delivering both historical and contemporary tales of bravey, passion, and love. Some consider you the new classic in romantic suspense. How do you respond to cynicism about romance is not "real books"?
Pamela: There are a lot of levels to this, so bear with me...
People who say that generally haven’t read a single romance novel, but are parroting what they’ve heard others say. Like any kind of literature, romantic fiction runs the gamut from excellent to awful. But just because a book is considered a romance novel doesn’t mean that it’s automatically devoid of substance. If you look at people’s lives, the things that ultimately matter most to them — what they think about on their death beds — are the relationships with their spouses, children, and friends. And that’s what romance novels focus on — the most important relationships in a person’s life.
I also think the bias against romantic fiction stems in large part from the fact that it’s written by women for women. Women’s literary interests have often been dismissed as inferior to the Great Works that men write and read. That’s nothing more than sexism playing itself out in the literary sphere. I have yet to see the same disrespect leveled at a man who writes science fiction or thrillers that I see routinely directed at romance writers.
Also, we live in an age of cynicism where nothing is hated quite so much as a happy ending. I don’t understand this, because few people would choose misery for themselves if given the chance, and yet a story that ends with the protagonists being safe and happy is considered simplistic.
But I decided long ago — even before I was published — that I would be “out” and proud of what I do. And I am. People who try to slam romantic fiction find themselves getting nowhere with me.
I had the good fortune of becoming an exchange student during my senior year of high school and went to Denmark. I lived in 200-year-old thatch-roofed farm house with a host family that became a true family for me. I fell in love with the small Scandinavian country and stayed for almost three years, traveling throughout Europe and learning to speak Danish fluently. My time visiting European castles and cathedrals awakened in me a love of history. Those memories are among my most precious.
Kim: Tell us about your favorite Danish place, food, and saying.
Pamela: My favorite Danish place... That’s tough! I suppose I’d say Rådhuspladsen in the heart of downtown København (Copenhagen). I’ve always felt that I could feel the beating heart of the country beneath my feet while standing there. I lived about five minutes away from there at one point and I never got tired of hearing the bells chime at noon. A close second would be the gardens and lake at Sorø Akademi, where I went to school my senior year. The gardens are breathtaking during the spring and very expansive, and the lake has swans. I used to sit there and just watch them glide by. I also used to run around the lake every day — it’s 10km — so it was very much home for me.
Favorite food... Just one?!? Our word “smorgasbord” is a mispronunciation of the Danish term “smørbrød” — a kind of buffet of toppings for open-faced sandwiches. And, of course, Denmark is known for pastries. I have to say that the pastries are probably my favorite. I love a good smørbrød lunch, but the pastries (which are nothing like what we call Danishes) are to die for. My faves: te birkes (a kind of croissant with marcipan in the bottom); tre stemmer (tree trunks — marcipan rolls with chocolate and kind of a truffle filling); Napolean’s huer (Napolean’s hat — looks like a tricorn with the bottom dipped in chocolate and the “hat” part filled with marcipan). I love marcipan! Also, the rice pudding they eat on Christmas Eve is very tasty.
Favorite saying... “Det er ikke størelsen, det er gørelsen.” Which translates to: “It’s not the size, it’s what you do with it.” Or on the serious side, just the words “Dejlige Danmark,” which means simply “wonderful Denmark.” It really is a beautiful country full of good-hearted, caring people. I miss it every day of my life. Fortunately, I still have good friends there.
Although I did work on a master’s degree in archeology and later art history, I realized that I was using the university to avoid the challenge of building the career I truly wanted — that of a fiction author. I dropped out of graduate school and went to work for a newspaper and held almost every position in the newsroom before becoming the paper’s first woman editor. Over the years, I’ve won numerous awards for my work as a columnist and investigative journalist, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service and the Society for Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award.
Kim: Congratulations on your accomplishment! How did this experience prepare you for publishing in the romance genre?
Pamela: Being a reporter did a lot of wonderful things for me. It taught me to take risks and be brave. Because I worked as an investigative reporter — believe me, I never in a million years envisioned myself in that role — I had to learn to face my own fear. During my years as a reporter I’ve had experiences that most people outside of law enforcement just don’t have. I’ve seen a teenage boy with his head literally shot off. I’ve committed felony trespass multiple times to try to prove that a crime was being committed. I’ve gone head to head with feds. I even stayed in jail as a bogus felony arrest to try to learn more about what it’s like to be behind bars. And doing those things opened my eyes to all kinds of worlds that inspire my fiction.
It taught me to see the world from a bunch of different points of view. I’ve interviewed a former drug lord, rape victims, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, psychopaths, convicts, priests, CEOs, Nobel laureates, rock stars, more politicians than I can stand and lots of everyday people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Give me a few minutes, and I can get almost anyone to open up and tell me all about themselves. The trick is learning to understand where they’re coming from. I think this helps me create emotionally real characters.
Plus I’ve gotten a lot of practice writing on deadline.
Though my ultimate goal was always to write fiction, journalism taught me discipline and helped me improve my writing skills. Little did I know that it was also giving me close-up experience with issues that would later find their way into my I-Team series. The I-Team itself is loosely based on what I call my Dream Team — the best bunch of investigative reporters I’ve ever known.
Kim: For those new to you, tell us about tell us about the I-Team and BREAKING POINT.
Pamela: I hadn’t planned on writing romantic suspense at all. My favorite subgenre is historical romance. But one night I was chatting with my agent about an investigation I was doing at the paper and telling her how a state official had contacted me to warn me that he thought I was in danger and she said, “You ought to write romantic suspense, because you live it.” And I said, “Yeah, except for the ‘romantic’ part.” So that was the beginning.
I began to toy in my mind with the major investigations I’d done over the years and how they might be turned into stories. I decided to create a fictional newspaper (one of my journalist friends and I actually own the incorporation papers on the Denver Independent, just in case we ever become millionaires) and pieced together a team similar to the Dream Team that won the National Journalism Award with me, except that the Dream Team was all male apart from me, and the I-Team is mostly female.
Then I sat down and wrote Extreme Exposure, giggling the entire time both because it was so much fun and because I couldn’t believe anyone would want to read about investigative reporters. I hadn’t read romantic suspense, so I felt like I was driving 90 MPH on a mountain road in the dark. But it worked out pretty well.
BREAKING POINT started with a seed planted several years ago when I wrote about Las Muertas de Juarez — the murdered women of Juarez. In Cd. Juarez, more than 400 women and girls have been found murdered, many of them victims of extreme sexual violence. More than 1,000 are missing. I’m certain they’re either dead, or they’ve been trafficked into the United States and work as sex slaves. The scope of the tragedy is so overwhelming it’s hard even to imagine. If Denver had 400 unsolved murders of women — femicides — and 1,000 or more women missing, the governor would probably call in the national guard. But there the situation continues to get worse.
It’s a gruesome topic, and, as my agent says, these books offer a kind of therapy for me. So I built Natalie’s story around that, bringing her face to face with that evil and adding bits and pieces of other investigations, some of which I opt not to name, for the most action-packed I-Team story to date.
I was able to meet with a former U.S. marshal and her deputy to get insight into how they do their jobs. It was so much fun that I found myself wishing I’d been a marshal instead of a journalist.
Also, Zach, the hero, is a former Navy SEAL as well as a chief deputy U.S. marshal, which enabled me to incorporate a story thread that I personally found very touching and which is based in part on the wartime experiences of someone close to me.
What’s amazing about writing fiction is the fact that you learn and discover things about the real world in the process of writing and relating to your characters. Every book I’ve written has pushed me to grow emotionally and even spiritually, broadening my horizons as I learn to see the world through my characters’ points of view.
Mahalo, Pamela, for joining us at SOS Aloha! I have a special giveaway to celebrate BREAKING POINT. Any ordinary blogger would give away a copy of BREAKING POINT. But most of you know that I am not an ordinary blogger. So today's giveaway is the Zack & Natalie Gift Pack:
- Decorative cross from the French Quarter (Natalie hails from New Orleans).
- Navy Seal logo items from Pearl Harbor (souvenir coin, ID pouch, and window sticker).
To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about Pamela, the I-Team, Navy Seals, US Marshals, and/or Denmark.
2. This giveaway is open to US residents only but comments are welcome from all readers.
3. Comments are open through Saturday, April 30, 10 pm in Hawaii. I'll announce the winner on Sunday, May 1.
Check out Pamela's blog for a link to Goodread's giveaway of BREAKING POINT.
Kim in Hawaii
Pamela sent me an email this week which I share with you:
I wanted to let you know about a project one of my fellow journalists is working on. Michael de Yoanna is one of the guys who was on my "Dream Team" after which the I-Team is loosely modeled. He's trying to put together funding for a film about the long road to recovery that returning soldiers face:
Mahalo, Michael, for caring about our soldiers!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Interview with Kat Martin
Jen: We are excited to have Kat Martin as our guest today. Kat, will you please share a short bio with us?Kat: I started writing in 1985 and since then have written over fifty Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. In my earlier days, I was a real estate broker and during that time met my husband, Larry. He was also in real estate at the time, but since then he’s written more than twenty western, historical, and suspense novels. I graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara. I’ve proud to say I’m a New York Times bestselling author and I’m published in twenty foreign countries.
Jen: Tell us about A Song for My Mother and where is can be purchased.Kat: The book is a lovely little gift-sized hardcover, something I wrote especially for Mother’s Day. It’s available at Barnes and Noble, Borders, or on-line at Amazon, Good Readers, pretty much wherever books are sold.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing? When where you first published? Tell us your call story.Kat: Funny you would phrase it that way, because it did, indeed, feel like a calling. My husband had written a western that I liked very much, but he was having trouble getting it published. I thought maybe I could help him edit it a little. I got hooked. I wanted to try a book of my own, which became Magnificent Passage, a historical western romance. Today, that book would be considered an old-fashioned bodice ripper, the sort all of us were writing back then. It’s being re-issued in July with a gorgeous new cover for anyone brave enough to read it.
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.Kat: Concise, romantic, uplifting.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?Kat: My routine is to work, work, work. I rarely take a real day off unless I’m traveling or at a conference. I’m easily bored and would rather be writing.
Jen: What are your biggest motivations to write? What keeps you going?Kat: First and foremost, it’s how I make my living. I write to support our family. But I love what I do (on most days). As long as the story is flowing and I’m not terrified it isn’t going to work, there’s not much else I would rather be doing.
Jen: Have you noticed your writer's voice has changed over the years due to experience? If so, how?Kat: I think writing in a contemporary time period has influenced my writing in a major way. It opened up a whole new world. You’re not stifled by mores of the time, word usage, that kind of thing, as I was in Historical, though I didn’t realize it at the time. In a contemporary, I can really rock and roll.
Jen: What's the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?Kat: There is nothing easy about it. It’s major hard word. The challenge is to put all the pieces and parts of the puzzle that is in your mind together, make it work as a story, and get it down on paper. It’s rewarding when other people get what you’re trying to do. When readers love the book.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?Kat: I love the guys in the Raines Brothers trilogy. Against the Wind, Against the Fire, Against the Law. Jackson Raines, Gabe and Devlin. Lark Delaney in the third book is a wonderful heroine that I came to admire as I wrote the story.
Jen: If you could travel back in time for one year, what time and place would you choose? If you could only take 3 things with you, what would they be?Kat: Depends how much money I had with me. If I could take a million dollars, I’d love to go back to London, check out the lords and ladies in high society. The West would be interesting in the 1800s if I had less dollars to spend. Besides money, I’d have to take a man along. They were a real asset back then.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?Kat: I’m reading Infidel now for my readers group. I try read outside my own genre just to stay up on things. I prefer Romance to all the other sorts of books, both historical and contemporary. I’ve discovered Joanna Bourne of late. She’s terrific. My favorite romance of all time is an old book by Wilbur Smith called The Eagle in the Sky. I cried for an hour while I was reading it.
Jen: What's next for you?Kat: Currently, I’m busy promoting A Song for My Mother. It’s a very personal book, different from what I usually write. It’s the second book I’ve written set in the little fictional Midwest down of Dreyerville, Michigan. A mother-daughter story of family ties, past secrets, and second chances. There’s a love story, of course, and I always deliver a happy ending.
After that, Against the Storm will be out end of October. I love Trace Rawlins and his nemisis, Maggie O’Connell. I hope readers will love the story.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?Kat: http://www.katmartin.com/ is the easiest to remember. You can reach me through my website or on my Facebook page. And I always answer my emails.
Jen: Is there anything you'd like to say to our readers?Kat: I’d like to thank them for their many years of support and I hope they continue to enjoy my books.
Jen: I understand you have a contest for our readers. Can you tell me more?Kat: We’re giving away a copy of A Song for My Mother. You have to be a resident of the U.S. to enter. Thanks so much for having me. Very best, Kat
Readers, to enter the drawing for Kat's copy of A Song for My Mother, you first need to leave a comment or question for Kat. Then to complete your entry, you must either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to email@example.com. Our contest will end on Sunday, May 8.
But, wait, we have another opportunity to win a copy of A Song for My Mother. Our reviewer, Mary, is giving away a copy on her blog. Her copy is available to everyone world wide. To enter Mary's contest, you need to go to her site and comment on her review (be sure to leave your email address). You'll get an additional entry if you follow her blog and then email her to let her know you want to be entered in her contest. Mary's contest will end on Monday, May 9.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
A SONG FOR MY MOTHER written by Kat Martin
04/11 - Vanguard Press - Hardcover, 224 pages
It is not always easy to forget the pain of the past but can true love help you forgive?
Marly Hanson has struggled to get where she has in life and never wanted to look back at the town she left. But when her daughter Katie wants to meet the grandmother she never met Marly agrees knowing this trip down memory land may have the ability to break her strong will. Katie is recovering from cancer and Marly will give her anything to make her happy even if it means dragging up bones she buried a long time ago.
It has been 12 years since Marly broke away from her abusive father, then moved past her loser husband and helped her daughter recover from cancer. Nothing scares her anymore but the town she came from does frighten her a bit. She left there a bitter young woman and she returns a headstrong woman who refuses to forgive her mother for not leaving the man Marly blames for ruining their life. But her mother has reasons and answers for all they questions Marly poses and tries to explain that the way things turned out was not the way it always was.
Old wounds do start to surface again when Marly finds herself back in her mother’s kitchen, but they are soothed more than a bit when she meets the neighbor, widower Reed Bennett. It seems Sheriff Bennett is as lonely as Marly and while not looking for love, companionship would be awful accommodating to him. He is raising a son on his own and the days keep him occupied but the nights tend to drag on. Rumors may have him committed to another and proving to Marly that there is nothing to any relationship but theirs is something only a determined man in love can accomplish.
This story is written as a story of love between a mother and daughter, as well as a love story between a man and a woman. Relationships are never easy regardless of who they are with but they always live and thrive when the heart of a person is truly sincere. Ms. Martin has written a book that shows regardless of who you are love does find its way to you and like with answered prayers the unanswered ones are just as fulfilling.