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1. Spotlight: Spy Fall by Diana Quincy

I have a spotlight for Diana Quincy’s Spy Fall, which looks like a fun read.  The heroine jumps out of airplanes.    She’s got to be nuts!

Blurb:

When a fiery French parachutist lands on a drunken Lord Cosmo Dunsmore, he surmises she’s an angel sent from above. But is she a spy after something far more sinister than his debauched soul?

A fearless parachutist is out of her depth …

 

Mari Lamarre is gaining fame for her daring aeronautic endeavors, but her riskiest adventure begins when she collides with the darkly charismatic son of the Marquess of Aldridge. If her mission succeeds, Cosmo’s father will be ruined.
A rakehell falls for a dangerous woman …

Surrendering to a fierce passion, the two embark on a torrid affair, even as Cosmo vows to protect his family at all costs. But in doing so, will he risk losing the captivating beauty who’s swept into his life and made off with his heart?

Author Bio:

Diana Quincy is an award-winning former television journalist who decided she’d rather make up stories where a happy ending is always guaranteed. Diana’s reporting background is probably the reason many of her books are inspired by true-life events.

Growing up as a foreign service brat, Diana visited many countries and is now settled in Virginia with her husband and two sons. When not bent over her laptop or trying to keep up with laundry, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family and dreams of traveling much more than her current schedule (and budget) allows.

Social Media Links:

Website|Twitter|Facebook|Goodreads|Pinterest

Website: http://www.dianaquincy.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Diana_Quincy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DianaQuincyRomance

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dianaquincy/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7045151.Diana_Quincy

Buy Link: Amazon Exclusive for the first six months

Click cover for product page

Excerpt:

They reached the hot air balloon, where a stable groom stood waiting to assist her. She stooped to untie one of the thick cables tethering the contraption to the ground.

“What I have in mind will give you great pleasure,” she said quietly.

His inky eyes went alert. “Is that so?”

“Release that cable, if you please,” she called to the groom.

He tipped his cap. “Yes, miss.” And proceeded to do just that.

Gesturing toward the other cable, she said to Cosmo. “Untie that, will you?”

“Whatever for?” He glanced at it before frowning back in her direction. “If you completely untether it, the balloon will fly away, as you well know.”

“Exactly.” She leapt into the wicker boat. “Allons. Let us go.”

“Go where? You want me to go up in that?” He took a step back. “I most certainly will not.”

She leaned over the edge of the gondola. “Pour le plaisir, remember?”

Shaking his head, he backed away. Switching to French so the groom wouldn’t understand, he said, “This is most assuredly not the sort of pleasure I meant.”

“You can show me what you do have in mind,” she said in the same language, as she bent over to retrieve and throw sand-filled ballasts out of the gondola.

“Come away from there and I gladly will.”

“I prefer that you come in here.” She offered him the most wickedly sensual smile in her feminine arsenal.

He blinked. Then swallowed. “Angel, you will be the death of me.”

“Perhaps just a little death.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. La petite mort was the French term for the peak of sensual pleasure. “Is that a naughty French reference? Or are you teasing me?”

She laughed aloud, exhilarated at the thought of soaring into the clouds with him. “You shall have to fly with me to find out.”

The post Spotlight: Spy Fall by Diana Quincy appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Giveaway: Win Kindle Fire from Kimberley Griffiths Little, Author of Forbidden

Here’s an awesome giveaway that I wanted to share. You can win a Kindle Fire, as well as a ton of other goodies!  Kimberley Griffiths Little is celebrating the release of her historical novel FORBIDDEN with a giveaway!  Check it out!

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.

 

 

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter. TO ENTER:

  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to forbiddengiveaway@gmail.com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.
PRIZES:

(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB — choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt)

2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson

3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White

4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt

5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf

6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)

7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings

8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)

9. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)

10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards

11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)

(1) SECOND PLACE WINNER:
1. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
(13) RUNNERS-UP WINNERS:
1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.
Follow Kimberley:
About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com.
Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

The post Giveaway: Win Kindle Fire from Kimberley Griffiths Little, Author of Forbidden appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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3. Guest Post and Giveaway: Elizabeth Hoyt, Author of Darling Beast

Please give a warm welcome to Elizabeth Hoyt!  She’s here to share a Top 5 list, as well as a giveaway you can enter!

Top 5 ways Apollo relaxes after a hard day toiling in the garden by Elizabeth Hoyt

  1. Reading a good book on tree-planting. In French.

  2. Bathing in the nude in the pond.

  3. Being stalked by a curious little boy and his silly Italian greyhound dog.

  4. Rescuing the above silly Italian greyhound dog from drowning.

  5. Meeting the little boy’s beautiful and vivacious mother.

A MAN CONDEMNED . . .
Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown’s soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he’s quickly driven to distraction . . .
A DESPERATE WOMAN . . .
London’s premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she’s forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren’t the only inhabitants-a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there’s more to this man than meets the eye.
OUT OF ASH, DESIRE FLARES
Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he’s forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.

DARLING BEAST is available in paperback, ebook, and audio book formats wherever books are sold. 

B&N: http://bit.ly/1xYMiNP

BAM: http://bit.ly/1oVpQQ3

Google: http://bit.ly/1BYdfS7

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1jgZuu6

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1zrUeZI

Apple: http://bit.ly/1oGSyV5

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1oVq4GW

You can also add DARLING BEAST to your shelf on Goodreads here: http://bit.ly/ZureTb

Excerpt:

He dropped his satchel and took up the shovel, sticking it into the base of one of the dead bushes, striking at the root mass. The blade only went halfway into the soil, so he jumped with both feet on the shoulders of the blade, driving it the rest of the way down. He could feel as the blade sliced through the roots and he grunted with satisfaction. He’d spent part of the previous night sharpening the shovel to do just that. Gingerly he began prying with the handle—too hard a movement and he’d snap it, or worse, the iron blade itself. He’d already lost two shovels this spring.

“You don’t mind if I continue?” he heard Miss Stump ask. “It’s just that I need to finish writing this soon—very soon.”

He glanced up curiously at that, wondering at the worried line between her brows as she stared down at her manuscript. Makepeace had said she couldn’t get acting work at the moment. Perhaps this was her only means of making money.

He shook his head in reply.

“I’m only in the third act,” she said absently. “My heroine has gambled away all her brother’s money because, well, she’s dressed as her brother.”

She glanced up in time to catch his raised eyebrows.

“It’s a comedy called A Wastrel Reform’d.” She shrugged. “A complicated comedy because right now no one knows who anyone is. There’s twins—a brother and sister—named Wastrel, and the brother has convinced his sister—her Christian name is Cecily—to pretend to be he so that he might seduce Lady Pamela’s maid, and he’s engaged to her—Lady Pamela, not her maid.”

She took a breath and Apollo slowly smiled, because against all odds, he’d understood everything she’d just said.

Miss Stump grinned back. “It’s silly, I know, but that’s what comedy is, really—a lot of silly things happening, one after another.” She glanced down at her play, running her finger down the page. “So Cecily, dressed as Adam—that’s the brother—has lost terribly at a hand of cards to Lord Pimberly. Oh! That’s Fanny—the maid’s—father, and Lady Pamela’s scorned suitor. Although of course no one knows that Pimberly is Fanny’s father, otherwise she wouldn’t be a lady’s maid, now would she?”

Apollo leaned on his shovel and cocked an eyebrow.

“Kidnapped at birth, naturally,” she replied. “But fortunately she has quite a distinctive birthmark. Right here.” She tapped the upper slope of her right breast.

Apollo defied any man not to follow the direction of her finger. She had quite a lovely breast, gently swelling above the severe square neckline of her dress and modestly covered by a filmy fichu.

“Yes, well.” Her husky voice made him raise his gaze. Her cheeks had pinkened, but that might’ve been the wind. “In any case, I’m writing a scene between Cecily and Lord Pimberly in which Pimberly demands his money and Cecily doesn’t have it. And naturally he’s begun to realize he’s attracted to her at the same time.”

She cleared her throat.

He nodded, messing a bit with his shovel to look as if he were still working. Actually, he was beginning to fear that the blade was stuck in the roots.

Miss Stump glanced at her manuscript and slipped back into what he now knew was Cecily—the sister dressed as her brother. “Do you judge a gentleman by his bits, my lord?”

She turned and placed her fists on her hips again, in the wide-legged stance. “Pardon me, but I said chits.”

Turn. Her hands dropped. “And yet, ’tis still your manly bits we discuss.” She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. “No?”

He screwed his mouth to the side and reluctantly shook his head.

“Blast!” she exclaimed under her breath, bending to the paper. She scratched out something and then froze, obviously thinking.

He wasn’t even pretending to work anymore.

She gasped and then hunched over her manuscript, scribbling furiously before straightening, a gleam of triumph in her eye.

She tossed her head as Cecily. “Indeed, and would you know a chit should you see one?”

Now she was a baffled Pimberly. “Naturally.”

“Oh, my lord?” She turned her head and looked over her shoulder through lowered lashes at the imaginary Pimberly, all daring flirtation. “And how is that, may I ask?”

“How?”

“How does a gentleman of your unsurpassed perception differentiate a chit from a bit?”

And she batted her eyelashes.

The juxtaposition between the ribaldry of her words and the innocence of her expression was so silly, so utterly enchanting, that Apollo couldn’t help it: he threw back his head and laughed.

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The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Elizabeth Hoyt, Author of Darling Beast appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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4. Spotlight and Giveaway: If He’s Daring by Hannah Howell

 

If He’s Daring

Wherlocke # 6

By: Hannah Howell

Releasing October 7th, 2014

Zebra / Kensington

Blurb

In a dazzling new novel in the Wherlocke family saga, New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell creates an unforgettable story of intrigue, jeopardy, and desire…

Stealing a stranger’s carriage is the second most reckless thing Lady Catryn Gryffin de Warrenne has ever done. The first is succumbing to her powerful attraction to the carriage’s owner. Catryn has heard the rumors about Sir Orion Wherlocke’s family and their otherworldly gifts. He’s the one person who can keep her son and his inheritance safe from her late husband’s ruthless brother. As for how to protect herself…it may be too late for that.

Orion is facing the worst danger a man of his ilk can find: a woman he can’t walk away from. Catryn is an intoxicating blend of innocence and sensuality, and for the first time, seduction is far more than a game. But her beauty and fortune have made her a target—one that will dare him to risk everything he’s known—in pursuit of everything he’s ever longed for…

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/if-hes-daring-wherlocke-6-by-hannah.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20257085-if-he-s-daring?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hes-Daring-Wherlockes-Hannah-Howell/dp/142013499X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406831831&sr=8-1&keywords=9781420134995

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/if-hes-daring-hannah-howell/1117797558?ean=9781420134995

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/if-hes-daring/id847629981?mt=11

Publisher: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/30163

Author Info

Hannah Howell is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 30 Zebra historical romances. Howell, twice awarded the Golden Leaf Award, has been a Romance Writers of America RITA Finalist and received RT Book Reviews’ Career Achievement Award for Historical Storyteller of the Year. She lives West Newbury, Massachusetts with her family. Visit her website at hannahhowell.com.

Author Links

Website: http://www.hannahhowell.com/

Blog: http://hhowellauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHannahHowell

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/97228.Hannah_Howell

 

 

Excerpt

England, Fall, 1790

The groan echoed through the small house, every note of it filled with pain and helpless fury. Catryn tossed her cloak on the hook near the front door and rushed toward the room she was certain the sound was coming from. Her heart pounded with fear for her family as she cursed herself for leaving them alone. She never should have given in to her friend Anne’s pleas to join her at the morning salon on the servants’ day off. She certainly should never have lingered there as long as she had.

She found her father on his knees in the library, one hand on the settee as he struggled to get to his feet. Catryn ran to his side to help him stand and then urged him to sit down on the settee. Blood stained his pale cheek as it seeped from on the side of his head, the red of it stark against the white of his hair. The knuckles on his right hand were scraped and his left eye was already swelling. A quick look around the room revealed a knocked-over table and a smashed vase. Who would attack her father? The man was just a quiet, somewhat reclusive scholar.

A demand to know what had happened burned her tongue with the need to be uttered, but she bit it back. Her father needed tending to first, the dazed look in his gray eyes telling her that he was not ready to answer all her questions, not even the one now screaming in her mind. Where is my son?

Catryn quickly dampened her handkerchief with a little of the spring water her father always brought to the city from their country home and kept in a decanter on his desk. Her heart still twisted with fear, she gently bathed the blood from his face. By the time she was finished, his wound did not look quite as bad as she had thought it was, and his eyes had cleared. The first words he spoke chilled her to the bone.

“He took Alwyn.”

“Who took him, Papa?” she asked, although she already had a very good idea of who would commit such a crime against her.

“Morris.” He took the damp handkerchief from her hand and held it against the small wound on the side of his head. “He and some hired brute came into this house, marched right into this room whilst I was reading a story to Alywn, and demanded that I give him the lad. Told the man he was a daft fool and to get out. Then we had us a tussle and I lost.”

“She could see how that shamed him and patted his knee. “It was two men against one, Papa. I know, with all my heart, that you did all you could do to stop him. Now I will do what I can.”

Lewys Gryffin looked at his daughter, his only child, and wished he had shot Sir Morris de Warrenne a long time ago. Since her husband, Henry, had died nearly two years ago, life had become one vicious, unending battle with the man’s younger brother over who should have control over the heir, her son and all the riches the little boy now had claim to. The months of strife had left them all weary and angry. It was clear to see that the fight over Alwyn had now turned dangerously and it hurt him to be of so little help to her when she needed him so badly.

“I should be the one to fight this,” he muttered. “’Tis my place as the man in this family, as the head of this house.”

“Ah, Papa,” she said as she sat down next to him and kissed him on the cheek. “You have been fighting and doing a fine job of it. Fighting since the moment Henry took his last breath. And as soon as I get Alwyn back home with us where he belongs, you will be fighting again. Now it is my turn to take up the fight. I will go after Morris and retrieve my child.”

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Three (3) Print Copies of IF HE’S DARING)

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: If He’s Daring by Hannah Howell appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. Spotlight and Giveaway: Moonlight Raider by Amanda Scott

 

I have a giveaway for Amanda Scott’s latest release Moonlight Raider!  Please check out the excerpt and enter the giveaway below for your chance to win.  I love the cover!  It’s so pretty.

About MOONLIGHT RAIDER

A MAN OF HIS WORD

Border lord Walter Scott of Rankilburn, grief-stricken after burying his father, goes to the forest seeking solace. Instead he finds a half-naked young lady fleeing pursuit. Wat offers his protection, but honor demands that he return the golden-eyed beauty to her rightful husband-even though the last thing he wants is to see her in another man’s arms.

A RUNAWAY BRIDE

Molly Cockburn has fled her home, family, and the brutal scoundrel she was forced to wed. Her pursuers are closing in when the powerful new Lord of Rankilburn bravely intervenes, then promises to help prove her marriage unlawful. Though fiercely loyal to her family, Molly fears they might harm the man she is coming to love, and now she must decide whether to remain faithful to her blood . . . or to her heart.

About Amanda Scott

Amanda Scott is the author of over 61 romance novels and the recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award.  She lives in Folsom, California, outside of Sacramento.  She is a fourth-generation Californian. 

Amanda’s social media

http://www.amandascottauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/amandascottauthor?ref=ts&fref=ts

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/79142.Amanda_Scott?from_search=true

Buy Links

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/YlTUNw

Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/1pwQDRH

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1yur5PD

GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/1vbp1s1

iTunes: http://bit.ly/1uNTTfA

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1DETSRs

EXCERPT

Without thinking, she put a hand to his arm, noting how hard his muscles were as she looked into his eyes said with deep sincerity, “I’m sorry I frightened you. I don’t think clearly when I’m angry. In troth, I fear that whenever my temper gets the better of me, I do try to get away, but only to try and calm myself. Losing my temper has often …”

She paused when his expression altered rather strangely.

“You should not look at a man like that unless you want him to kiss you,” he said softly.

“But I do,” she replied honestly and without hesitation. “No man has kissed me since my granddad died, and I think I would like you to, if you don’t mind.”

***

A voice deep within Wat shouted a warning of where such a kiss might lead, but he ignored it, cupping her chin again with one hand while he drew her closer with the other. Then, gently and ever so slowly, savoring the moment for himself, he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her.

Her rosy lips were feather soft and warm against his own. Her slender body snuggled against his and seemed to fit there unusually well. When she moved her lips beneath his, kissing him back, he shifted the hand that had cupped her chin to cradle her head beneath her veil, marveling at the soft silkiness of her hair.

She moved her lips as if to taste different parts of his, and another part of his body stirred strongly in response.

The urge to take her then and there was nearly overpowered him, and as much to distract himself from that dangerous urge as to answer the invitation her lips were offering, he pressed his tongue between them and began to explore the intriguing, moist interior of her mouth.

She gave a gasp, then seemed to stop breathing. But when he continued his exploration undaunted, she inhaled with a moan and touched her tongue to his.

Her breath was whisper soft and clean, and her breasts pressed against him, tantalizing him and making his fingers itch to stroke them. That thought provided stronger warning than the voice in his head that he was treading dangerous ground.

Remembering his vow to protect her but wise enough not to break their embrace too abruptly, he eased his tongue from her mouth. Then he kissed her more lightly on the lips and again on her forehead.

“We must go back, lass. I should not have done that, but I’m not sorry I did.”

“We did it, sir,” she said, looking solemnly into his eyes. “Faith, I invited it.”

He shook his head at her. “Believe me, if my father were still alive, and I were to tell him exactly how it happened, he would have much to say to me, none of which I would want to hear. But I’d deserve every word.”

“Sadly, he is not here to scold you,” she said.

“Aye, but Westruther will give me an earful if he hears about it. You are an inexperienced maiden who was naturally curious, whilst I am …”

“… much experienced at such things?” she said for him when he paused.

“More experienced than you, I’d wager,” he said with a sudden grin. “But we are not going to discuss my experience, now or ever, my lass.”

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6. Interview with Frances Housden, Author of Chieftain by Command

[Magna Maniac Café] Good morning, Frances!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Frances Housden] Persistent.

[Magna Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Chieftain by Command?

[Frances Housden] After the death of the Comlyn Clan Chieftain, Gavyn Farquhar is commanded by King Malcolm Canmore to take his place, but first he must wed Kathryn Comlyn. An unwilling bride, Kathryn feels perfectly capable of leading the clan in her father’s stead and she leaves her new husband in no doubt of her feelings. The truth is that her disinclination suits Gavyn. His survey of the Comlyn fortress, Dun Bhuird has revealed that the defenses require expensive structural work. To earn the wealth necessary to keep the fortress and the way south safe from the Norsemen of Caithness, as the King expects, Gavyn intends that he and his men will spend time in France as mercenaries, even if it means leaving his young unbedded wife in the care of trusted retainers. His only words to Kathryn as he departs are that on his return he had better find her as he left her—intact.

[Magna Maniac Café] Can you describe your favorite scene?

[Frances Housden] To describe the scene that brought me to tears would act as a spoiler, but another favorite is when Gavyn and his men return from France without warning his wife. Kathryn awaits him bow in hand, fortunately for Gavyn she misses and later claims it was done deliberately, the readers will have to make up their own minds about that.

[Magna Maniac Café] What did you most enjoy about writing this book?

[Frances Housden] Having just written my RITA nominated book—The Chieftain’s Curse— my first in the Chieftain trilogy, I loved revisiting a lot of my original characters, Rob, Nhaimeth and Jamie—who are all somewhat older in this book—as well as Gavyn and Kathryn who played smaller parts the first time around. To be able to make your characters grow as you sit at the keyboard is very satisfying, also the ability to explore a new setting is exciting as this time the story has moved to the Cairngorms and northwest to Caithness where the Norsemen rule.

[Magna Maniac Café] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Frances Housden] A book, or my Kindle, loaded up with books. I’ve always felt that sitting down anywhere without a book in my hands is a waste of good reading time.

[Magna Maniac Café] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Frances Housden] Bluetooth keyboard and touchpad, as well as a pile of history books that I frequently use for research.

[Magna Maniac Café] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Frances Housden] Coffee is always on the go, but a cup-a-soup and crackers help fill me up.

[Magna Maniac Café] If you could trade places with anyone just for one day, who would you be?

[Frances Housden] I think my friend, Nalini Singh, her writing appears to come with an ease I feel I lack, and when she’s not at home writing she’s traveling. I love to travel.

[Magna Maniac Café] You have been granted a superpower for one week. Which power would you choose and what would you do with it.

[Frances Housden] The power of healing would come in handy. My husband has Parkinson’s disease and I’d love to relieve him of that burden, also my mother had dementia before she passed away. I think that is a terrible way to end what has been a good and productive life. That is something I would love to help cure.

[Magna Maniac Café] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Frances Housden] Before I went to RWA 2014 I loaded some early Eloisa James onto my reader, her Pleasures trilogy. Now, Eloisa has a great way with fairytales I have never tried to emulate, not unless you are into the darker Brothers Grimm tales, but I do believe a writer has to stay true to the era they’re writing about and I always picture Cinderella in the beautiful Georgian dresses Eloisa describes.

[Magna Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?

[Frances Housden] Readers can get in touch with me on Facebook, or on Twitter @HousdenFwriter, as well as my website www.franceshousden.com

Title: Chieftain by Command

Author: Frances Housden

Genre: Historical Scottish Medieval

Release Date: September 2014

Format: eBook

Pagination: 142

Blurb:

From the bestselling, RITA-nominated author Frances Housden comes the gripping, sensual, suspenseful follow-up to The Chieftain’s Curse…

Gavyn Farquhar’s marriage is forged with a double-edged blade. Along with the Comlyn clan’s lands, a reward from the King, he is blessed with an unwilling bride, Kathryn Comlyn, and an ancient fort with few defences that desperately needs to be fortified before it can act as a sufficient buffer between Scotland and the Norsemen on its northern borders.

Gavyn needs wealth to meet his king’s demands, and he knows of only one way to get it — with his sword. Leaving his prickly bride behind in the hands of trusted advisors, he makes his way to the battlegrounds of France and the money that can be made there.

Two years married and Kathryn is still a virgin. A resentful virgin, certain that, like her father before her, she is perfectly capable of leading the Comlyn clan. In her usurper husband’s absence, she meets the clan’s needs, advising and ruling as well as any man.

But she is an intelligent woman, and she knows the only respect and power she will ever hold will be through her husband. And to wield it, she needs to make him love her. An easy task to set, but impossible to complete, when said husband has been gone for two years, and there is no word of his return. But Kathryn is undeterred. After all, a faint heart never won a Chieftain.

About the Author:

Frances Housden has only recently discovered the delights of writing Mediaeval Scottish stories—part fantasy and part memories of her early life in Scotland. Now living in New Zealand, she happily writes at home and lives vicarious adventures with her heroes and heroines. Frances is married to the man she travelled to the ends of the earth for, and together they have two sons and four grandchildren who make sure life is never dull. 

The post Interview with Frances Housden, Author of Chieftain by Command appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7. The Boleyn King

The Boleyn King. Laura Andersen. 2013. Ballantine. 358 pages. [Source: Library]

Alternate history. What if Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII the son he so desperately wanted and needed? What if she survived her husband instead of being beheaded? What if Henry VIII had only had TWO wives? What if Elizabeth and her younger brother grew up with both parents, relatively happy? King William is that son. His father has died, and, he though under the age of 18, has been England's king. He faces challenges, every king does, and those challenges are what The Boleyn King is all about. The book has four narrators: William and Elizabeth (royal siblings) and Minuette and Dominic (close and trusted friends of both William and Elizabeth). Minuette seems to be the type of heroine that no male character can resist. Elizabeth somewhat secretly is in love with a married man, no surprises as to who that is. William is being pressured to marry well. Will his choice be a) Mary, Queen of Scots b) Jane Grey c) a French princess d) someone of his own choice that will upset his advisers and the court just as much as his father's decision to marry Anne Boleyn. This is the start of a trilogy...

The good news: It's a quick read. I read it in one day. It is also a premise-driven book. For readers who find the premise intriguing, this one is worth the read. Especially if one can get it from the library. Just in case. I liked seeing which characters avoided death and disaster. I don't know if these characters will continue to have happily ever afters, of, if they'll find themselves in troubles of a different sort. But. It was an interesting enough read.

The bad news: It's light on history. This one focuses more on fictional characters than on real people. And the characters based on real people aren't always that accurate. This makes some sense for some characters whose lives were very different in this alternate universe. But this may leave some readers disappointed that there isn't more substance and depth. If you're looking for a character-driven book, this one might disappoint. Also. It definitely is trying to appeal more to romance readers than historical readers. If that makes sense.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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8. Miss Emily: Review Haiku

Yes, I totally
picked it up for the title,
AND WHAT OF IT, EH?

Miss Emily by Burleigh Muten. Candlewick, 2014, 144 pages.

0 Comments on Miss Emily: Review Haiku as of 9/24/2014 6:21:00 AM
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9. Interview with Kari Edgren, Author of Goddess Born

 photo d717e629-6016-48de-86cc-d2e76f83f691.png

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Good morning, Kari! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Kari Edgren] Determined, Extroverted Introvert, impatient, and a daydreamer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Goddess Born?

[Kari Edgren] Goddess Born draws from a time when many of the Irish clans claimed kinship with the Tuatha Dé, or “tribe of the gods”. Eighteen-year-old Selah Kilbrid is a headstrong young woman, who upon her father’s death becomes one of the largest landholders in Colonial Pennsylvania. She is also the direct descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, with the power to heal and the charge to help those in need. As she navigates the many perils in a world dominated by men and superstition, she her must keep her identity hidden or risk being charged for a witch.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Kari Edgren] When Selah takes her future by the horns at the docks and does something really brazen. Despite her unique ‘goddess’ ancestry, I see this scene as the first real leap of faith for the reader. In many ways it has more to do with Selah’s personal struggles as a woman in 1730 Pennsylvania than her unique powers. And I think it’s easy to relate to her impulsiveness as its something anyone could have done if pushed far enough.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Kari Edgren] I loved writing Goddess Born. Every single part of it, which is odd since I usually detest writing description. Insert trees and shrubberies. Now let’s get back to the story… But not this time. For almost a year, I lived and breathed 1730 Pennsylvania. My behind may have been planted on the couch in present day Pacific NW, but the rest of me was far, far away, as my husband and kids can attest. The Colonial people in general, and Selah Kilbrid in specific, had become my reality. They fully absorbed me, from the months of research to the moment I typed the last word.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Kari Edgren] I am obsessed with Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. I never leave the house without it, and even pack an extra tube if I’m staying somewhere overnight.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Kari Edgren] Diet Coke, a homemade clay pencil holder that resembles Cyrano de Bergerac, and my writing notebook.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Kari Edgren] Popcorn or Cheez-It. With Diet Coke of course.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Kari Edgren] Eleanor of Aquitaine, just not while she was imprisoned.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Kari Edgren] Does time travel count as a superpower? If so, I would go back to 18th century England before Victorianism took hold. Otherwise telekinesis, and I’m sure I would misuse it and cause all sorts of mayhem before the week was done.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Kari Edgren] I just finished One Plus One by Jojo Moyes last night. What a beautiful testament to the power of strangers!

Blackmoore and Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson – her writing reminds me of a richly woven tapestry.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, since I lived in the Seattle area for twenty years.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Kari Edgren] I can be found on the web at kariedgren.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KariEdgren

Thank you for hosting me today!

02_Goddess Born

Publication Date: May 29, 2014
Carina Press
eBook; ISBN: 9781426898365

Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Paranormal/New Adult

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2013 RWA Golden Heart© Finalist
2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist

The power to heal is her divine gift, the fear of discovery, her mortal curse.

Selah Kilbrid is caught between two worlds. A direct descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, she is bound by Tuatha Dé law to help those in need. Yet as a human, she must keep her unique abilities hidden or risk being charged for a witch. In 1730 Pennsylvania, the Quaker community of Hopewell has become a haven for religious freedom—and fanaticism—and there are those who would see her hanged if the truth were revealed.

For eighteen years, Selah safely navigates the narrow gap between duty and self-preservation, until the day a prominent minister uncovers her secret. Obsessed with her power, Nathan Crowley disregards her betrothal to a distant cousin from Ireland and demands marriage in exchange for his silence. Selah stalls for time, but when news reaches the Colonies of her cousin’s death, time has run out.

Rather than submit to Nathan, Selah coerces a stranger to pose as her husband. It’s a good plan—her only plan—even though Henry Alan harbors his own dark secrets. But when she returns to Hopewell a married woman, the real fight has just begun. As unseen forces move against her, Selah doesn’t know which poses the greater danger—a malignant shadow closing in from outside or the internal fire that threatens to consume her heart.

Book Two in the Goddess Born series will be published in November 2014 and Book Three in June 2015.

Buy the eBook


Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Carina Press

About the Author03_Kari Edgren


Kari Edgren did not dream of becoming a writer. Instead, she dreamed of everything else and was often made to stay inside during kindergarten recess to practice her letters. Despite doting parents and a decent school system, Ms. Edgren managed to make it through elementary school having completed only one book cover to cover – The Box Car Children, which she read approximately forty-seven times. Things improved during high school, but not until she read Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in college, did she truly understand the power of a book.

Ms. Edgren aspires to be a Vulcan, a world-acclaimed opera singer, and two inches taller. She resides in the Pacific NW where she spends a great deal of time torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts. Ms. Edgren hasn’t stopped dreaming, but has finally mastered her letters enough to put the stories on paper.

For more information please visit Kari Edgren’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sign Up for Kari Edgren’s Newsletter.

Goddess Born Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, September 22
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, September 23
Review at By the Book Reviews
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, September 24
Review at The Readers Hollow
Interview at Manga Maniac Cafe

Thursday, September 25
Review at Book Babe

Friday, September 26
Review at Curling Up With a Good Book

Sunday, September 28
Spotlight & Excerpt at Casual Readers

Monday, September 29
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review at The Mad Reviewer

Tuesday, September 30
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, October 1
Review & Excerpt at Book Lovers Paradise

Thursday, October 2
Review at Books, Etc.
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Friday, October 3
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, October 6
Review at Bookish
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, October 7
Spotlight & Giveaway at The Flashlight Reader

Wednesday, October 8
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, October 9
Review at The True Book Addict

Friday, October 10
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, October 13
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, October 14
Review at I’d So Rather Be Reading

Wednesday, October 15
Review at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, October 16
Review at A Book Geek
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, October 17
Review at Historical Tapestry

The post Interview with Kari Edgren, Author of Goddess Born appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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10. The Late Scholar (2014)

The Late Scholar. Jill Paton Walsh. 2014. St. Martin's Press. 368 pages. [Source: Library]

I enjoyed The Late Scholar enough while reading it, for the most part, but the more I think about it, the more disappointed I am. I have liked or enjoyed Jill Paton Walsh's sequels to Dorothy Sayer's Lord Peter mysteries. The Late Scholar is set in the 1950s. (I'm not sure if it's early, mid, or late 50s. But Queen Elizabeth is on the throne, I believe.) The novel opens with the Duke of Denver (aka Lord Peter Wimsey) learning that he is a Visitor at Oxford. He is being called upon to settle a dispute among the fellows. The person--ultimately one of many suspects, I suppose--who initially requested his interference comes to regret it. Lord Peter is thorough. He doesn't want to just cast a vote on a controversial topic without any thought. He wants to study the situation, learn both sides, draw his own conclusions about what is best. The dispute is about selling a medieval book to get the money to buy land next door that has come up for sell. Is land more valuable to the college than one book in the library? Or is the ancient book more valuable to the college than a piece of real estate? It wouldn't be a mystery book if it didn't turn to violence and murder. Lord Peter, Harriet Vane, and Bunter must follow all the clues to catch a murderer or two.

There were a few things that felt a bit off, that kept this one from feeling like a genuine, authentic Lord Peter/Harriet Vane mystery. I allow some change would be natural enough. Two decades would change a person, would change a couple. But the changes in a way have a very surface feel to them. I'm not sure the characters have the depth that they need, they are very much reliant on familiarity with the original.

I have not reread the whole (original) series, but, Lord Peter seems changed and not always for the better. I could not show you a passage where Lord Peter reveals a personal faith in God. But I have a feeling I would have remembered if Lord Peter revealed a cold mockery for Christianity and/or stated openly and unashamedly that he did NOT believe in God. There were a few uncomfortable scenes in Late Scholar where Peter's atheism comes to light, I suppose. It was done in an almost ha, ha, don't be silly, of course I don't believe in God kind of way. It just struck me as wrong. I'm not saying that I consider Lord Peter evangelical. But. I always got the impression that he believed there was a God, that at the very least he was agnostic. The reason this strikes me as wrong is that Dorothy Sayers was a Christian, she wrote Christian books. I've read some of her theological essays and they are quite good. I just don't see HER Lord Peter being one to make light of or mock Christianity or the Bible or the fundamental belief that there is a God. Of course times have changed. Decades have passed since his creation, so maybe modern readers assume that naturally Lord Peter is "smart enough" to have outgrown any idea of God.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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11. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Rake’s Handbook (Including Field Guide) by Sally Orr

The Rake’s Handbook sounds like a cute read!  Check out the excerpt and enter the giveaway below!

The Rake’s Handbook (Including Field Guide) by Sally Orr (Historical Romance; The Rake’s Handbook, Book 1; ISBN: 9781492602118)

Summary:

The definitive guide to seduction…

The Rake’s Handbook was written on a dare, and soon took the ton by storm. Now its author, Ross Thornbury, is publicly reviled by the ladies—who are, of course, forbidden to read the handbook—but privately revered by the gentlemen. Unfortunately, Ross’s notoriety is working against him and he flees London painfully aware of the shortcomings of his own jaded heart.

Spirited young widow Elinor Colton lives next to Ross’s country estate. She’s appalled not only by his rakish reputation, but also by his progressive industrial plans. Elinor is sure she is immune to Ross’s seductive ways. But he keeps coming around…impressing her with his vision for England’s future and stunning her with his smiles.

How does one resist the man who wrote the manual on love?

About the Author:

Sally Orr worked for thirty years in medical research, specializing in the discovery of gene function. After joining an English history message board, she posted many, many examples of absolute tomfoolery. As a result, a cyber-friend challenged her to write a novel. Since she is a hopeless Anglophile, it’s not surprising that her first book is a Regency romance. Sally lives with her husband in San Diego, surrounded by too many nerdy books and not enough old English cars. 

Social Media:

Website | @OrrSally | Facebook | Goodreads

Pre-order:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | iBooks

 

Excerpt:

“You really are a rake,” she whispered, the sight and feel of their joined hands warming her cheeks. “A proper gentleman would never hold a lady thus. I have been warned about your charms. Perhaps I too should write everything down. Pen a handbook to instruct my widowed sisters what to expect upon attempted seduction and how to fight it.”

“Factual or satirical?”

She bit her lower lip to stop an indelicate reply.

“I could write that handbook too.”

His boast made her smile. “I seem to have found another trait of a rake.”

“Humph. I’d be delighted to show you all of my traits. Perhaps start with chapter one?” The determination in his voice indicated he was quite willing to comply.

“Please do, sir,” she replied in a facetious tone, tugging her hand free. “But I can already tell that I’ll stop reading your book after the table of contents. You know, all of those funny pages in the front of the book numbered v and i.”

He chuckled softly, then stared at her until he captured her gaze. “My handbook starts with fine eyes.” He reached up and swept back a ringlet that had fallen over her eye and carefully tucked the curl under her bonnet.

Her heartbeat raced.

“The eyes are followed by a notable vee.” His gaze lowered to the upper edge of her bodice and lingered in the center.

“Oh my, if that’s the table of contents, I don’t dare read chapter one.”

“I’d be pleased to read you all of the chapters. There are a total of . . .” He glanced at her leisurely, from the top of her leghorn bonnet down to her sensible half boots. His focus returned up to her neck—almost. His chest broadened as he inhaled. “Ten.”

“Ten.”

He gave her a smoldering look from under heavy lashes. “Ten in volume one,” he continued in a silky baritone. “Let’s start with chapter one.” He leaned forward slowly, staring at her mouth, as if he might take liberties and kiss her. The distance between them shortened to inches. Close enough to feel his warm breath.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: The Rake’s Handbook (Including Field Guide) by Sally Orr appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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12. Novella Review: Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I really enjoyed Meeting Her Match.  This novella features an unconventional hero, and honestly, when we are first introduced to Marcus, all I could think was, “No!  He can’t be the hero!”  He is clumsy, he can’t look Hannah in the eye, and he’s completely tongue-tied in her presence.  Turns out our sweet hero has been in love with Hannah since he was a young lad, and he turns into a dithering clod whenever she is near. 

Hannah, who has spent many hours secretly finding matches for the eligible singles in town, has failed to find a match for herself.  She’s a busy gal, though, so it’s not surprising that she hasn’t found a man to get hitched to yet.  She’s the school teacher, she helps her sickly mother tend to her huge brood of siblings, and the timing never seems right for her.  Her fiancé was killed in a freak accident, and she’s been drifting through life ever since. 

When tragedy strikes her family, Hannah finds herself even more harried than before.  Then, when her father practically kicks her out of the house, she’s heartbroken.  She mopes about, feeling sorry for herself, not seeing the handsome, caring man that’s right in front of her.  Instead,  because of Marcus’ shy ways, she thinks that he doesn’t like her, even though nothing could be further from the truth.

With the meddling of the townsfolk, Hannah finally gets a clue.  This is a cute read, with likeable characters and a heroine who deserves a HEA.  The only glitch for me was that the ending took too long to wrap up.  Otherwise, this is a great time killer if you’ve got about an hour to fill.

Grade:  B

Review copy read on Scribd

From Amazon:

When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker’s son how much she cares for him?

The post Novella Review: Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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13. Interview with Lynna Banning, Author of The Lone Sheriff and Giveaway

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Good morning, Lynna!   Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Lynna Banning] Shy, smart, determined, and hard-working

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Lone Sheriff?

[Lynna Banning] I am partial to “wounded warriors,” and was drawn to an orphan of undetermined heritage (maybe part Indian, maybe part Mexican, but he doesn’t really know) who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and in adulthood worked his way up to being sheriff. I saddled him with a privileged back-East girl whom he sees as a “piece of rich fluff” but who earns his respect, then his admiration, and then his love based on her wit and strength of character.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Lynna Banning] My favorite scene is the opening one, where Jericho meets the train from Chicago, expecting a male Pinkerton agent, and instead finds himself looking at Madison O’Donnell, who turns out to be a very beautiful lady Pinkerton detective with a feathered hat and a mint-green parasol.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Lynna Banning] Working out the push-pull dialogue and interaction between Jericho and Maddie, with his stubborn streak and her very smart one-ups-manship capabilities.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Lynna Banning] A book, whatever I’m reading at the moment.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Lynna Banning] A photograph of my husband; a straw-basket bed for my cat; and a fluffy feather duster for my computer keyboard.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Lynna Banning] Anything chocolate. Sometimes if I’m out of peanut butter cups I pour out a handful of chocolate chips and nibble on those.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Lynna Banning] A reporter on 60 Minutes, interviewing women historical romance writers.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Lynna Banning] My superpower would be the ability to bring clarity of thinking and humanitarian regard to people who are abusing other people, whether in the home, the community, or the nation—any nation.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Lynna Banning] Tracy Chevalier’s “The Last Runaway”; Christina Dodd’s “Candle in the Window”; “Duty” by Robert Gates; and my annual re-reading of “Anne of Green Gables,” by Lucy Montgomery.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Lynna Banning] I love to hear from readers! Write me at P.O. Box 324, Felton, California 95018. Email me at carowoolston@att.net. My web page is www.lynnabanning.net.

THE LONE SHERIFF

LYNNA BANNING

Harlequin Western historical ~ 75k words

As if tracking down train robbers isn’t enough, now Sheriff Jericho Silver’s backup detective is a gun-toting, head-turning beauty who sure spells trouble.

Madison O’Donnell had the perfect life—a beautiful home and all the ladies

luncheons she could stomach—but it left her bored to tears. Now the determined widow fills her days with daring deeds and wild adventures, including working with Jericho. But he insists on her returning to the city where she belongs and finds she is one lady who refuses to take no for an answer.

Buy links: Amazon B&N Harlequin Romance

Excerpt:

None of them looked remotely like a Pinkerton man. A Pinkerton agent would no doubt be wearing a proper suit. But the only male who looked the least bit citified was Ike Bruhn, home from his honeymoon with his new bride.

Sandy jiggled at his side. “Ya see ’im?”

“Nope,” Jerico grunted.

“Maybe he missed the train,” his deputy suggested.

“Naw, must be here somewhere. Look for a gent in a gray suit.” Pinkerton men always wore grey to blend in with crowds. He scanned the thronged station platform again.

“Check inside, Sandy. Maybe he slipped past me.”

His deputy jogged off and Jericho perused the crowd a third time. Nothing. Maybe Mr. Detective had chickened out at the prospect of fingering an elusive outlaw gang that was robbing trains. He narrowed his eyes and turned to check the station once more when someone stumbled smack into him.

“Oh, I am terribly sorry.” An extremely pretty young woman carrying a green-striped parasol gazed up at him. Her voice sounded like rich whiskey sliding over smooth river stones and for a moment Jericho forgot what he’d come for. She only came up to his shoulder and on her dark, piled-up hair sat the most ridiculous concoction of feathers and stuffed birds he’d ever laid eyes on.

He sucked in a breath to apologize, then wished he hadn’t. Goddam she smelled good. Soap and something flowery.

Made his head swim.

He stepped back. “’Scuse me, ma’am.”

She waved a gloved hand and peered at his chest. “Oh, you are the sheriff.”

“Yeah, I am.”

She smiled and his mouth went dry. “You are just the man I want to see.”

Jericho swallowed. “You have a problem?”

“Oh, no.” She twirled her parasol. “You have the problem. I have come to help.” She waited, an expectant look on her face.

“Help?” Jerico echoed.

“Of course.” The whiskey in her voice was now sliding over some pointy rocks. “I am Madison O’Donnell. The Smoke River Bank hired me to help catch the gang robbing their gold shipments.”

Jericho stared at her.

“I believe you were expecting me?”

He snapped his jaw shut. He sure as hell wasn’t expecting her. The last thing he’d expected was this frilly-looking female with her ridiculous hat. In her green-striped dress and twirling her parasol like that she made him think of a dish of cool mint ice cream.

“Whatever is the matter, Sheriff? You have gone quite pale? Are you ill?”

He jerked at the question. Not ill, just gutshot. “Uh, yeah. I mean No, I’m not ill. Just . . . surprised.”

She lowered her voice. “Most Pinkerton clients are surprised when they meet me. It will pass.”

Hell no, it won’t.

Madison O’Donnell picked up her travel bag. “Shall we go?”

Not on your life. “Uh, my deputy’s inside the station house. ’Scuse me, ma’am.” He strode past her without looking back. Inside, he found Sandy talking to the ticket seller.

“Charlie says nobody’s come in except the two Weatherby women. You want me to hang around and – ?”

Biography for Lynna Banning:

Lynna Banning combines a lifelong love of history and literature into a satisfying career as a writer. Born in Oregon, she has lived in Northern California most of her life. After graduating from Scripps College she embarked on a career as an editor and technical writer, and later as a high school English teacher.

An amateur pianist and harpsichordist, Lynna performs on psaltery and harp in a medieval music ensemble, and she also plays cortholt, recorders, and tar (drum). She enjoys hearing from her readers. You may write to her directly at P.O. Box 324, Felton, CA 95018, USA, or at carowoolston@att.net. Visit Lynna’s website at www.lynnabanning.net.

*** *** ***

Giveaway: Seven(7) copies of The Lone Sheriff…Seven(7) lucky winners

a Rafflecopter giveaway /

The post Interview with Lynna Banning, Author of The Lone Sheriff and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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14. Novella Review: No Match for Love by Carol Cox

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I enjoyed Cowboy Unmatched, another A Match Made in Texas novella, so when I was browsing around on Scribd, I was delighted to see other stories from the same anthology on the site.  I quickly added No Match for Love to my library and read it Sunday night.  This is a cute story and now I want to read the all of A Match Made in Texas novellas.

Lucy’s father left her penniless after his death, and she’s relying on the charity of her friend’s family to keep a roof over her head.  Overindulged by her father, she has never learned useful skills; she can’t even make a pot of tea, let alone find employment to give her some independence.  Her only option is to marry Walter, a man who makes her uneasy and who she doubts she could ever develop feelings for.  Her friend is marrying soon, however, and she knows that she can’t live with her parents forever, so Lucy is desperate for any opportunity to present itself.

When she’s offered a job far away from Dry Gulch, she jumps at the chance to escape Walter and being a burden to her benefactors.  All she has to do is care for Andrew Simms’ elderly aunt.  Martha refuses to sell her ranch, the Diamond S, but Andrew has concerns about her mental health.  She firmly believes she saw a cow leaping over the moon, in addition to other impossibly odd occurrences at the ranch, and now Andrew is worried about her living by herself.

Lucy expects to find a doddering old woman, but instead she is introduced to an intelligent, capable woman.  One who doesn’t want a stranger living with her on her ranch.  Andrew convinces Martha that she’ll enjoy the company, and a thankful Lucy has a place to stay, at least for a while.

I enjoyed the friendship that develops between the women.  Lucy is hopeless in the kitchen, and she doesn’t know the first thing about running a household.  Gruff Martha teaches her all she knows, and the two become friends.  The only sticky point? Every full moon, something weird does happen at the ranch.  With Martha hollering into the night, brandishing her shotgun, Lucy fears for the woman’s sanity, too.  It quickly becomes clear that something, or someone, is responsible for the disturbances plaguing the ranch, and Lucy is determined to discover the reason behind them.

I thought that the romance was secondary to the mystery.  The mystery was solved a little too easily, too, but I still enjoyed the interactions between the characters, especially between Lucy and Martha.  This is a quick, satisfying read with a very sweet romance, so if you’re looking to fill a short period of time, No Match for Love is an entertaining choice.

Grade:  B

Review copy read on Scribd

From Amazon:

Andrew can’t fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more?

The post Novella Review: No Match for Love by Carol Cox appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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15. The Meaning of Maggie: Review Haiku

You'll catch on before
Maggie does, but you'll love her
for her ignorance.

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern. Chronicle, 2014, 220 pages.

0 Comments on The Meaning of Maggie: Review Haiku as of 9/17/2014 8:34:00 AM
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16. Death of a Schoolgirl (2012)

Death of a Schoolgirl (Jane Eyre Chronicles #1) Joanna Campbell Slan. 2012. Berkley Trade. 340 pages. [Source: Library]

My expectations were low, so I was quite pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable this Jane Eyre mystery was. It may not be perfectly perfect from start to finish. There might be a paragraph or two here and there that bothered me. (For example, I didn't understand why Mrs. Fairfax was pushing Jane Eyre to take the family diamonds with her on her visit to Adele's school. Here she was going to check on the child's welfare, and Mrs. Fairfax is urging her to take jewels so she can dress up for her hosts in London?! I don't know if part of me thought it was foreshadowing--for better or worse--but when she put them in her reticule, I wanted to shout WHY are you traveling with expensive jewelry?!?! Why?! And sure enough--predictably enough--Jane Eyre gets robbed on her way to London. See! I told you not to take the family jewels!) But for the most part, I found the book to be an entertaining read.

Mrs. Rochester (aka Jane Eyre) is a new mother. She loves, loves, loves her new baby boy. But. When she receives a short letter from Adele with a French message included asking--begging--for help, she decides to leave her husband and son behind to check on Adele at her boarding school. If all is well, if it is just Adele being Adele, being childish and wanting her own way, then she may leave her at the school. If the school is less than ideal, if she does not like what she sees--how she sees the children being treated, if she thinks Adele's misery is justifiable, then she may take her out of the school. Because Jane Eyre was beaten up by the thief, because she doesn't particularly look RICH and IMPORTANT, she is initially mistaken as the new German teacher who was supposed to arrive several weeks earlier. That first day Jane Eyre is a bit flabbergasted and too overwhelmed to correct anyone. She has just learned that one of Adele's classmates was murdered. Eventually, one of the teachers convinces Jane that she should continue the deception, that she should resume her teaching duties temporarily and watch over the students herself. She debates what is best. Should she take Adele immediately to safety and let others solve the crime? Or should she become an amateur detective herself and work as a team with others to help solve the case?

Is Jane Eyre the best detective ever? Not really. But to me that almost doesn't matter. I liked spending time in her company. The setting intrigued me. I had never placed Jane Eyre in the Regency time period. But here we have the sequel set during the reign of George IV, and Queen Caroline, the scandalous Queen Caroline has not died yet. This places the book within a specific time frame. The sprinkling of historical details may not speak to all readers. Little details can be easily dismissed or ignored. But to me it's the little things that help ground a book. The book does deal with prejudices and judgments: how the lower classes feel about the upper classes, how the poor feel about the rich, how the rich feel about the poor, do they see them as human, are they compassionate and kind, or, haughty or cruel. One of the characters is VERY prejudiced against French people. Again and again we see characters making judgments or being judged. Sometimes the people that are being judged in certain situations are making judgments about others just a chapter or two later.

There were places I loved this one. There were places I merely liked it. But at times it just felt RIGHT. Maybe it didn't feel RIGHT cover to cover. But I read it quickly and enjoyed it very much.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. Interview with Lecia Cornwall, Author of What a Lady Most Desires and Giveaway

Good morning, Lecia!  Describe yourself in five words of less

Mother, Writer, Shy, Perceptive, Sentimental.

Can you tell us a little about your book?

WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES is the third book in the Temberlay series, which began with HOW TO DECIEVE A DUKE and THE SECRET LIFE OF LADY JULIA. This book is Stephen Ives’s story. He’s a dashing, charming, elegant gentleman with a brilliant career as a soldier and a diplomat, and he’s happy with his life just the way it is, without love to complicate it. He’s tried love, and failed, and he has no interest in trying again. Ever. And if he was ever to be tempted, the last lady on earth he’d choose would be Delphine St. James, the most ambitious, flirtatious, and annoying lady in London. When Delphine sets her cap for Stephen, he sets his with just as much determination to deny her.

But Delphine is not a lady who takes no for an answer. When she and Stephen meet again at a ball before the Battle of Waterloo, she renews their acquaintance. When the call to arms sounds in the middle of their dance, they share a passionate farewell kiss that surprises them both. The battle leaves Stephen blind, wounded, and accused of cowardice, but Delphine stays by his side. Afraid and in pain, he’s surly and rude, but she’s determined to help him heal, and to at least be his friend, even if she can never be more.

As Stephen comes to know Delphine through every sense but sight, he realizes she isn’t the flighty society miss he thought she was. She’s everything he’s ever wanted. But a blind and accused coward cannot aim so high.

As a diplomat, Stephen is a man who depends on his eyes to read his opponents. Without sight, he must come to know the world through touch, sound, scent, and taste. As he falls in love with the woman he once thought unsuitable, he cannot help but wonder if she is all he sees in his mind. As they are drawn apart by obligations and accusations, Stephen desperately tries to hold on to Delphine, and in doing so, betrays her trust. He becomes the pursuer, and must prove to Delphine that he’s exactly WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES.

How did you come up with the concept and the characters in the story?

Opposites make the most interesting pairings, don’t they? I love watching each character bend, adapt and change to find true love with their prefect match. It’s not that the characteristics weren’t there all along—it’s just that love brings the best part of us into focus, and changes us forever.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I love creating situations that force each character to become more honest, authentic, and worth loving. That involves a lot of conflict before we finally get to happily ever after. Creating conflict for my characters is such wicked fun!

What gave you the most trouble with this story?

Understanding what it feels like to be blind. I am extremely nearsighted, and without contact lenses and glasses for reading or driving on top of those, I’m just a point or two from being legally blind. Without eyewear, I see colors and shapes, light and shadow, and I am very grateful that my vision is correctable. I love nature and art and photography, and I can’t imagine never seeing the faces of the ones I love again if I lost my sight. So creating a sense of fear in Stephen and showing him managing his dark world was a very challenging part of the book.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

I think I’d choose Loreena McKennitt’s Never Ending Road. It tells of the endless journey of someone continually seeking her heart’s desire. I think that describes a writer’s life very well. You can listen to Loreena’s wonderful song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv2kmFZTDeY

Name the one thing you won’t leave home without.

I never go anywhere without a notebook, just in case an idea wanders in, clouts me over the head, holds me at pencil-point and demands to be written down at once.

Name three things on your desk right now.

There’s Emma, one of my five cats, in a box lined with her favorite sweater. There’s a miniature bottle of Writer’s Tears whiskey I got in my stocking last Christmas (half full) which I use to toast reaching the end of each manuscript I write. And there’s a small container of soil from the battlefield of Waterloo, a gift my daughter brought back for me when she visited Belgium on a school trip a few years ago. I must admit my desk is a testament to creative disorganization. Actually, “creatively disorganized” should have been two of the five words used to describe me in the first question of this interview!

If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

Anyone, present or past, real or fictional, just ONE? Remember the old TV show Quantum Leap, where the hero was part of a time travel experiment gone wrong? He ended up in a new body in a different era every episode while trying to get back to his own life. I’d try that—a new character every day. I’d be Catherine The Great one day, or Anne Boleyn (not THAT day!), or Eleanor of Aquitaine, or Wellington, or Napoleon, or Cleopatra, or Boudicca, or Jacqueline Kennedy. So many wonderful lives and adventures!

What are some of the books you’ve enjoyed recently?

Books are my worst/best addiction! I’m always reading three or four at a time (no, it’s not ADD, just the bad habit of a writer who wants to read EVERYTHING!). I just finished re-reading an old favorite, Edith Pargeter’s Eighth Champion of Christendom. Her brilliant descriptions stay with you forever. I also recently read Mary Balogh’s latest book, The Escape, and I’ve just started Larkswood, by Valerie Mendes.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I love to cook with my family (Moroccan cuisine is our latest favorite), and to garden—though my plants must endure good intentions, benign neglect, and Calgary’s harsh growing conditions if they want to live here. I also hook rugs when I have the time, including buying old wool sweaters at thrift shops, shrinking them down, cutting them into strips, and designing the patterns.

How can readers connect with you?

I love hearing from readers and I answer every single e-mail and Facebook comment! You can drop me a line at leciacornwall@shaw.ca, visit my website at www.leciacornwall.com for excerpts, blogs, and news, or visit my Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lecia-Cornwall/147981455226519?ref=hl

For a visual look at each of my books, check out my Pinterest pages. You can find the one for WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES here: http://www.pinterest.com/leciacornwall/what-a-lady-most-desires/

Or, you can leave a comment or question right here! I’ll be dropping by throughout the day to chat.

What a Lady Most Desires

The Temberlay Series # 3

By: Lecia Cornwall

Releasing August 26th, 2014

Avon Romance

Blurb

On the night before the final battle against Napoleon, Lady Delphine St. James finds herself dancing with the one man she has always wanted, Major Lord Stephen Ives. He makes it clear he has no time for a lady he sees as flirtatious and silly, but as the call to arms sounds, she bids him farewell with a kiss that stirs them both. When he returns gravely injured, she is intent on caring for him, even if his surly behavior tests her patience.
After the battle, Stephen is not only wounded and blind, but falsely accused of cowardice and theft. The only light in his dark world is Delphine, the one woman he never imagined he could desire. But she deserves more than he can give her.
As their feelings deepen and hidden enemies conspire to force them to part forever, can their love survive the cruelest test of all? 

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/what-lady-most-desires-temberlay-3-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18518676-what-a-lady-most-desires?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Lady-Desires-Lecia-Cornwall-ebook/dp/B00H1UMOFQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406664108&sr=8-1&keywords=what+a+lady+most+desires

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-a-lady-most-desires-lecia-cornwall/1117542226?ean=9780062332400

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/what-a-lady-most-desires

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/what-a-lady-most-%20desires/id771731765?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Author Info

Lecia Cornwall is a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America’s Seattle and Calgary Chapters. Her background includes all facets of writing, including running a successful freelance writing business specializing in direct marketing and advertising. Both history and writing have been lifelong passions. Lecia currently lives and writes in Calgary, Alberta, the heart of the Canadian West.

Author Links

Website: http://www.leciacornwall.com/

Blog: http://leciacornwall.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lecia-Cornwall/147981455226519?sk=app_7146470109

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Leciacornwall

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4441913.Lecia_Cornwall

GIVEAWAY!

Leave a comment to enter for a chance to this awesome bracelet (worth $59), from Victorian Trading Company.

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print Copy of THE SECRET LIFE OF LADY JULIA)

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The post Interview with Lecia Cornwall, Author of What a Lady Most Desires and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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18. Interview with Margaret Mallory, Author of Captured by a Laird

 

Good morning, Margaret! Tell us what inspired your new series, THE DOUGLAS LEGACY, and book 1, CAPTURED BY A LAIRD.

I first came across Archibald Douglas when I was doing research for THE GUARDIAN (THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS). I was intrigued by this handsome, young chieftain’s brazen power play in starting an affair with Scotland’s dowager queen, Margaret Tudor, so soon after the death of her husband, James IV. The affair led to lucrative appointments for his Douglas kin, and his eventual marriage to the queen put the Douglas chieftain in a position to vie for control of the young heir to the throne—and the country. For years, Archibald’s power rose and fell dramatically. He and his closest male relatives were forced to flee the country more than once to save their necks.

This series was born when I began to wonder what happened to the women of the Douglas family who were left behind when the men escaped. While information on Archie’s sisters is sparse, I found enough to suggest they were in serious danger at times. In fact, one sister was eventually burned at the stake in Edinburgh Castle by Archibald’s angry step-son James V.

Being a romance writer, I naturally wanted to give the Douglas lasses happy endings with men who would stand by them in tough times.

CAPTURED BY A LAIRD is a fictional story inspired by the real marriage between Archibald’s sister Alison and David Hume of Wedderburn. As is often the case with Scottish history going back five hundred years, history and legend are intertwined. That said, the real David Hume did capture Blackadder Castle and force Blackadder’s widow, Alison Douglas, to marry him in order to gain the Blackadder lands. I found no mention of David having any illegitimate children, and he and Alison had six children together. From that, I decided to write a story in which they fall in love after their forced marriage. I believe they did. ?

What draws readers to Scottish heroes?

Other than the kilt, the big sword, and the oh-so-sexy accent? ? The Highland warrior has a larger-than-life quality that makes him great hero material. In today’s world, I may not need—or want—a man who is as forceful and physical as the heroes in my books. But take me to 16th century Scotland in my imagination, and I want that alpha warrior!

A Scottish hero is usually fighting against terrible odds. To survive in his harsh and violent times, he has to be strong, resourceful, and ridiculously courageous. We love this hero for his unfailing courage in facing the powerful forces aligned against him and for his loyalty to his woman, his family, and his clan.

Another bonus is that the Scottish hero is surrounded by strong women who challenge and tease him. Despite how fierce and intimidating he seems to others, his mother and sisters and the old women of his clan all seem ready to set him straight when they think he needs it. And you can be sure that the heroine will have a spirit to match his.

Where to you get your inspiration for your stories?

I get a lot of inspiration from my historical research. Lucky for me, Scottish history is bursting with fascinating characters, murder, and mayhem!

Unfortunately, I can’t travel back in time, but I have been able to travel to Scotland to research my books. Every day I discovered a ruin or a legend I wanted to bring into my stories. For readers who love Scotland, I’ve posted a lot of my photos from my trips on Facebook and on the Videos & Such page of my website www.MargaretMallory.com.

As a historical romance writer, you must do a lot of research.

I’m always researching! Even though I do a lot of research before I started the first book in the series, I’m constantly looking things up while I’m writing. One thing often leads to another, and I’ll come across a legend about a historical character or a ghost story associated with a castle in my book. That’s always fun.

How much does real history play in your books?

Scottish romance readers care about history, but I think what’s more important than accurately reflecting every detail is to make them feel immersed in the time and place of your story. My readers want to be swept away to the Highlands!

I like to ground my stories in real places and historical events, though I feel free to make adjustments to suit the tale. I’ve also used bits of legends and ghost stories associated with castles and other sites that appear in my books. All that is fun for me.

I try to create characters who are true to their times and uniquely Scottish, such as seers, healers, pipers, and clan warriors. There are so many wild true-life characters in Scottish history that I usually include at least a couple of them in each book.

What drew you to Scottish historical romance?

I love history, and I have a serious weakness for stories involving castles and heroes who swing swords. ? I suspect I’m drawn to the British Isles, in particular, because of my Scottish-Irish-English heritage.

Why romance?

I love the Happily Ever After. I love that I can do justice and give a Happy-Ever-After to those who deserve it—of course, I make them suffer and earn it first. ? I’ve been married many years and am glad of it, but I enjoy writing about that intense, all-consuming, falling-in-love stage of love. Oh, to be young and in love!

What do you want readers to take away from your books?

I have an image in my mind of a woman putting her feet up after a long day and reading my book. The little time she has for herself is precious. My goal is to give her a riveting and emotionally satisfying story that she can get lost in for a few hours. I want to make her laugh, cry, and bite her nails. And when she comes to the end, I want to make her sigh because everything turned out exactly right.

Nothing makes me happier than to hear from readers who tell me they stayed up half the night or had to order pizza for dinner because they couldn’t put my book down.

What are your favorite scenes to write? What are the most difficult?

My favorite scenes to write are the ones that make me weep over my laptop. Seriously. If I’m making myself cry, I know it’s a good scene.

The hardest scenes are the first few in the book. I need to captivate my reader, immerse her in my story, and do it all very quickly. Adding to my troubles, I don’t know my characters as well as I will later in the book.

Which part of writing a book is the most challenging for you?

The first few chapters are always the hardest for me. Always. I need to capture the reader’s attention and immerse her in my story very quickly. I can’t bog things down with backstory, yet I must provide enough information about the characters, setting, and conflict so that the opening scenes are both understandable and compelling. Every word counts so much. I end up doing a lot of revising to make those first chapters work well and flow smoothly. Even deciding where to start is hard—a good book doesn’t start at the logical beginning, but at a high dramatic point when one or both main characters is on the cusp of change. Adding to my troubles, I don’t know my characters as well when I start as I will later in the book.

Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came?

I was in a parking lot an hour and a half from home, and I had just come out of an exhausting, all-day workgroup meeting on high risk kids. Before starting my car, I saw that I had a call from my agent and called her back. She told me that Grand Central was offering me a two-book deal. I was dying to tell someone, but I couldn’t reach a soul. I left a screaming message for my husband, then I had to drive through terrible and seemingly endless road construction and rush hour traffic before I could talk to anyone. It was lucky I didn’t get into an accident!

What is the best writing advice you’ve been given?

In Stephen King’s book, On Writing, he recommends setting daily page or word-count goals. I’m a slow writer, but I am also extremely goal-oriented, so this was great advice for me. When I’m writing my first draft, I set daily, weekly, and monthly word-count goals.

Tell us a bit about your writing process.

I start with the characters and their conflict, and I usually have two or three pivotal scenes in my head. Before I write more than a scene or two, I make character sheets, and I try to have at least a sketchy outline of the plot. I figure out a lot of the plot as I go, but I write better when I know the basic direction I’m headed.

Deciding exactly where to start the story is hard—at least it is for me. A good book doesn’t start at the logical beginning, but at a high dramatic point, with one or both main characters on the cusp of change. The first few chapters are also challenging because I’m still getting to know my characters.

TITLE – Captured by a Laird

SERIES – The Douglas Legacy #1

AUTHOR – Margaret Mallory

GENRE – Historical Romance/ Highland Romance

PUBLICATION DATE – September 15, 2014

LENTH (Pages/# Words) – 319

THE DOUGLAS LEGACY
The Douglas sisters, beauties all, are valuable pawns in their family’s bitter struggle to control the Scottish Crown. But when powerful enemies threaten, each Douglas lass will find she must face them alone.
CAPTURED BY A LAIRD
Haunted by his father’s violent death, David Hume, the new laird of Wedderburn, sets out to make his name so feared that no one will dare harm his family again. The treacherous ally who played on his father’s weakness is dead and beyond David’s vengeance, but his castle and young widow are ripe for the taking. The moment David lays eyes on the dark-haired beauty defending her wee daughters, however, he knows this frail-looking lass is the one person who could bring him to his knees.
Wed at thirteen to a man who tried daily to break her spirit, Lady Alison Douglas is looking forward to a long widowhood. But when the fearsome warrior known as the Beast of Wedderburn storms her gates, she finds herself, once again, forced to wed a stranger. Alison is only a pawn to serve his vengeance, so why does this dark warrior arouse such fiery passion and an unwelcome longing in her heart?
With death and danger looming, these two wounded souls must learn to trust each other . . . for only love can save them.

BUY & TBR LINKS (Fill Out The Ones You Use)

BUY & TBR LINKS (Fill Out The Ones You Use)

AMAZON KINDLE US – http://www.amazon.com/CAPTURED-DOUGLAS-LEGACY-Margaret-Mallory-ebook/dp/B00N39NXHW/

AMAZON KINDLE CA – http://www.amazon.ca/CAPTURED-DOUGLAS-LEGACY-Margaret-Mallory-ebook/dp/B00N39NXHW

AMAZON KINDLE UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/CAPTURED-DOUGLAS-LEGACY-Margaret-Mallory-ebook/dp/B00N39NXHW/

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id917025270

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/captured-by-a-laird

GOODREADS –https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23121951-captured-by-a-laird

SHELFARI – http://www.shelfari.com/books/37933832/CAPTURED-BY-A-LAIRD-%28THE-DOUGLAS-LEGACY%29

EXCERPT (If You have a racy/erotica/steamy type book please provide 2 one for adults & one for under 18 blogs – thank you)

EXCERPT from CAPTURED BY A LAIRD © by Margaret Mallory 2014

David strode through the battle raging between his men and the castle defenders in the courtyard and headed straight for the keep, intent on his goal.

The castle would fall quickly. The defenders lacked leadership and were in disarray. His only concern was whether the castle had a secret tunnel for escape. During the siege, he had spread his men out through the fields surrounding the fortress to keep watch. But he had concentrated his forces for the attack and most were now inside the castle. If there was a tunnel, he must secure the widow and her daughters before they had a chance to escape. He did not relish the idea of having to chase them down through the fields with dogs.

The defenders had foolishly waited too long to withdraw to the keep, and most were caught in the courtyard when David’s men burst through the gate. He barely spared them a glance as he ran up the steps of the keep.

With several of his warriors at his back, he burst through the doors brandishing his sword. He paused inside the entrance to hall. Women and children were screaming, and the few Blackadder warriors who had made it inside were overturning tables in a useless attempt to set up a defense.

“If ye hope for mercy, drop your weapons,” David shouted, making his voice heard above the chaos.

He locked gazes with the men who hesitated to obey his order until every weapon clanked to the floor, then he swept his gaze over the women. Their clothing confirmed what he’d known the moment he entered the hall. Blackadder’s widow was not in the room.

“Where is she?” he demanded of the closest Blackadder man.

“Who, m’lord?” the man said, shifting his gaze to the side.

“Your mistress!” David picked him up by the front of his tunic and leaned in close. “Tell me now.”

“In her bedchamber,” the man squeaked, pointing to an arched doorway. “’Tis up the stairs.”

David caught a sudden whiff of urine and dropped the man to the floor in disgust. The wretch had wet himself.

“Take him to the dungeon,” he ordered. The coward had given up his mistress far too easily.

David started up the wheeled stairs to the upper floors with his sword at the ready. He expected to encounter Blackadder warriors, protecting the lady of the castle. But there were none on the stairs and none guarding the door on the first floor.

Damn it. She must have escaped. He gritted his teeth as he envisioned the lady’s guards leading her through the tunnel.

He was about to open the chamber door to make sure it was empty when Brian, one of his best men, came down the stairs.

“Laird, I checked all the chambers while ye were in the hall,” he said.

David’s jaw ached from clenching it.

“There’s one door on the floor just above us that wouldn’t open with the latch,” Brian said. “Shall I break it down?”

David waved him aside and pulled the ax from his belt as he raced up the stairs.

“Open it!” he shouted and pounded on the door.

He did not wait. She could be escaping through a secret door this very moment. Three hard whacks with his ax, and the door split. He kicked it until it swung open, then stepped through.

At his first sight of the woman, his feet became fixed to the floor. He felt strange, and his vision was distorted, as if as if he had swallowed a magical potion that narrowed his sight. He could see nothing in the room but her.

She was extraordinarily lovely, with violet eyes, pale skin, and shining black hair. But there was something about her, something beyond her beauty, that held him captive. She was young, much younger than he expected, and her features and form were delicate, in marked contrast to the violent emotion in her eyes.

David knew to the depths of his soul that a brute like him should not be the man to claim this fragile flower, even while the word mine beat in his head like a drum. He had no notion of how long he stood staring at her before he became aware that she held a sword. It was longer still before he noticed the two wee lasses peeking out from behind her like frightened kittens.

Anger boiled up in his chest. Every Blackadder man in the castle who could still draw breath should have been here, standing between him and their lady. Instead, she faced him alone with a sword she could barely lift with both hands.

It was a brave, but ridiculous gesture.

There was no defense against him.

AUTHOR BIO:

MARGARET MALLORY surprised her friends & family by abandoning her legal career to write tales of romance & adventure. At long last, she can satisfy her passion for justice by punishing the bad & rewarding the worthy–in the pages of her novels.
Margaret lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, goofy dog & crabby cat. With her two children off to college, Margaret spends most of her time working on her next Scottish historical romance. Visit her website for Book Group Discussion Questions, photos of Scotland, excerpts, & other info. Margaret loves to hear from readers!

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS:

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE – http://www.amazon.com/Margaret-Mallory/e/B002QZQJ5M/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

WEBSITE / BLOG – http://margaretmallory.com/

FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/margaretmallory.author

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/MargaretMallory

GOOGLE+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/114714618099788790109/posts

GOODREADS – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2858606.Margaret_Mallory

SHELFARI – http://www.shelfari.com/authors/a2577761/Margaret-Mallory/

The post Interview with Margaret Mallory, Author of Captured by a Laird appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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19. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Earl’s Mistress by Liz Carlyle

The Earl’s Mistress

MacLachlan Family and Friends # 10

By: Liz Carlyle

Releasing August 26th, 2014

Avon Romance

Women rarely refuse the wicked Earl of Hepplewood, whose sensual skills are the stuff of legend. But when his new governess answers his proposition with a slap to his face, then stalks out with references in hand, Hepplewood finds more than his face is left burning . . .

Isabella Aldridge has brains, bravado, and beauty-but the latter is no use to a servant. With orphaned sisters to feed, eviction nearing, and Hepplewood’s words ringing in her ears, Isabella realizes she must barter her most marketable asset . . .

But when fate unknowingly sends Isabella back into Hepplewood’s arms, the earl must make an impossible choice-draw Isabella down into his sensual darkness, or behave with honor for the first time in his life.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/the-earls-mistress-maclachlan-family.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20457104-the-earl-s-mistress?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Earls-Mistress-Liz-Carlyle/dp/0062100300

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-earls-mistress-liz-carlyle/1117993473?ean=9780062100306
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-earl-s-mistress

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-earls-mistress/id833861816?mt=11

Excerpt:

“Mrs. Aldridge,” he said, snatching his shirt from the branch.  “Welcome to Greenwood Farm.  You’re a trifle early.  I shall take it as a sign of eagerness.”

Isabella stepped backward. “Eagerness?” she parrotted, her eyes fixated upon a broad expanse of bare chest. 

Hepplewood moved with a languid grace, shaking out his shirt as he came.  “I was glad to learn you’d taken my good advice,” he said, shoving an arm in a sleeve, “but the coincidence of the thing did take me aback—as it has you, too, I see.”

But Isabella couldn’t begin to make sense of it; her brain felt stuffed with wool and her lungs had ceased to work.  Hepplewood dragged the shirt on, his chest wall rippling as he drew it down his lithe, smoothly muscled torso. 

Somehow, she forced her gaze to his face, resisting the urge to run back to the carriage.  “I beg your pardon,” she said again, blinking slowly, “but whatare you talking about?”

He propped one hand on the gatepost that still stood upright, his gaze sweeping her length.  “My advice,” he said with a faint smile, “to give up the dull business of governessing for an option that better suits your . . . well, let us call them your God-given attributes.”

Indignation welled up inside Isabella.  “How dare you,” she said quietly.  “I do not know, Lord Hepplewood, just what sort of deceit you employed to trick me here, but I will have—”

“Mrs. Aldridge,” he interjected, his eyes flashing dangerously as he came around the gatepost.  “I should very much like the two of us to get on, butdeceit and trickery are not insults I’ll tolerate.”  He set a large, very firm hand on her forearm.  “Do we understand one another?”

But the word coincidence was slowly seeping into her consciousness. 

“Surely you don’t mean to claim . . . ”  Isabella cut off her words, and tried to draw back.  “Surely you aren’t suggesting this is purely—”

“Accidental?”  He gave an odd half-smile.  “Little in life is.  I saw a woman I wished to bed, but alas, she declined.  Still, women, to my mind, are very nearly interchangeable.  It was no great inconvenience to ask the resourceful Mrs. Litner to find me another raven-haired, violet-eyed beauty willing to slake my lust.  Imagine my surprise when she wrote that I should expect you.”

“Dear God.”  Isabella tried to back away, but the hand on her arm did not relent.  “I don’t believe it.”

“Mrs. Aldridge,” he murmured, his eyes roaming over her face, “you approached Louisa Litner with every intention of marketing yourself in just the fashion I suggested.  And she has sent you to—well, let’s be blunt—to charm and to flirt with and to almost certainly warm the bed of one Mr. William Mowbrey, a gentleman of very specific tastes.  What can it possibly matter to you that I have turned out to be Mowbrey?”

“I . . . I don’t know.”  Isabella tried to think.  “It just does.”

“Does it?”  His voice dropped, his eyes suddenly heavy.  “My dear, you intrigue me.” 

“I don’t wish to intrigue you,” she managed, setting a hand against his chest.  “I want n-nothing to do with you.”

But she knew it wasn’t true; not entirely.  More than once during the long drive from London, she had remembered their almost-kiss, and wondered what this man next would be like.  Would his eyes flash with fire?  Would his touch singe her through her clothes?

Oh, yes.  It would.

And she, apparently, was an idiot.

Hepplewood had caught her chin, and was holding it none too gently.  “No, Mrs. Aldridge, I was not mistaken in you,” he murmured, his voice thickening. “You are a stunning creature—and very much in need, I think, of being tamed.”

Author Info

A lifelong anglophile, Liz Carlyle cut her teeth reading gothic novels under the bedcovers by flashlight. She is the author of sixteen historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina. You can contact her via her website at www.lizcarlyle.com.

Author Links

Website: http://www.lizcarlyle.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/liz.carlyle?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lizcarlyle

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21944.Liz_Carlyle

Rafflecopter Giveaway (A full set of Liz’s St. James society books (A BRIDE BY MOONLIGHT, THE BRIDE WORE SCARLET, and THE BRIDE WORE PEARLS))

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20. Brown Girl Dreaming: Review Haiku

To be young, gifted,
black, and Jackie Woodson.
Yes, it will make you cry.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Paulsen/Putnam, 2014, 336 pages.

0 Comments on Brown Girl Dreaming: Review Haiku as of 9/5/2014 8:22:00 AM
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21. Interview with Ellie MacDonald, Author of The Governess Club Sara and Louisa

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Ellie!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Ellie MacDonald] Humorous, intelligent, ambitious, creative, foodie.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Governess Club: Sara?

[Ellie MacDonald] Sara Collins is having difficulty adjusting to life as part of The Governess Club School and has her sights set on marrying the local vicar, a handsome, gentle man. When they get a new neighbor, Nathan Grant, a man who is tormented by something that happened to him that made him flee London, Sara finds herself attracted him and turns to this worldly man for adventure.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Ellie MacDonald]  When I create my characters, I start with who the story is going to focus on. In the prologue in the very first book, she is the one who leaves the room, who had to be convinced to join the endeavor. I thought: why was that? Suddenly, she had secrets. Her oppressive childhood gave her anxiety to the point of not being able to stand up for herself, speak her mind, or deviate from the status quo; she is a pleaser to the extent of being a doormat and finds herself swept up in the whole thing when she doesn’t even like teaching. So what does she want? Peace, of course, but even more she wants adventure, to experience life in a way her anxiety has never let her. She is tired of being this traditional, anxious person. Around that, I created Nathan Grant. He promises anything but peace. He is unlike anyone she has ever met; he rocks her boat, pushes her past her boundaries. So when Sara gets pushed to the point of finally pursuing her adventure, she turns to him. The concept grew from there.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Ellie MacDonald] I liked seeing both protagonists develop. They both were difficult for me, so finally getting a good enough grasp on them and seeing where they led me was rewarding. And Sara undergoes such a difficult transformation that it was nice to see her come out on top at the end.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Ellie MacDonald] This was actually a really hard story for me to write; it took me a long time to actually like my characters. I think in the case of Sara it was that she started off being such a weak person. I come from a family of very strong people – even the in-laws! – that it was hard for me to relate to her, to think like her. But on the flip side, she had more room to grow than any of her friends. I don’t think she will ever really be classified as strong, but she definitely ends the story stronger than when she started. In Nathan’s case, I had a hard time figuring out how to redeem him, but he did finally get to the point where he was putting Sara’s needs before his.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Ellie MacDonald] This changes daily! Today it is Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song.’ Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ is a good one for most days too.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Ellie MacDonald] My smartphone. That sounds sad, when I put it in writing…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Ellie MacDonald] Pile of papers that I don’t know whether to toss or file, a picture with a flatmate from England, a coaster for all the drinks I have when writing here.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Ellie MacDonald] Prince Harry’s girlfriend, no matter who she is at the moment. Ooowee, the things we would do! ;0)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Ellie MacDonald] I am a big Grace Burrowes fan, and have loved her new series so far, with THE CAPTIVE and THE TRAITOR. I had tons of trouble putting down Sarah Maclean’s NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED. I recently binge read Candis Terry’s SWEET, TEXAS series. Two that have lingered in my mind for a few months now are from Courtney Milan’s The Brother Sinister series, THE COUNTESS CONSPIRACY and THE SUFFRAGETTE SCANDAL. And I am always anxiously waiting for the next Mary Balogh book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Ellie MacDonald]  Sleep! ;0) I read a lot, spend time with my family and friends. I watch TV, but have very little patience for shows I feel are wasting my time, so am pretty discriminating on what I watch; I usually stick to watching hockey. Facebook is also a big time suck for me.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Ellie MacDonald] My website is www.elliemacdonald.com. I have a Facebook page EllieMacdonaldAuthor and am on Twitter @elliemacdauthor

About the book:

The Governess Club: Sara &The Governess Club: Louisa

The Governess Club book 3 and 4

By: Ellie MacDonald

Releasing September 2nd, 2014 and October 7th, 2014

Avon Impulse

Blurb (Sara)

Sweet Sara Collins is one of the founding members of the governess club. But she has a secret… She doesn’t love teaching. She’d much prefer to be a vicar’s wife and help the local community. But this quiet mouse doesn’t want to upset her friends, and she resolves to help in whatever ways she can.

Nathan Grant is the embodiment of everything that frightens Sara. Which is why she can’t understand why the handsome but reclusive and gruff man is so fascinating to her. When Sara decides it’s time to take a chance and experience all that life has to offer, Nathan is the first person she thinks of.

Will Sara’s walk on the wild side ruin her chances at a simple, happy life? Or has she just opened the door to a once-in-a-lifetime chance of passion?

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22056725-the-governess-club?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Governess-Club-Sara-Ellie-Macdonald-ebook/dp/B00K53802M/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1407070787&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Governess+Club%3A+Sara

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-governess-club-ellie-macdonald/1119443763?ean=9780062292261

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-governess-club-sara

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-governess-club-sara/id874398049?mt=11

Blurb (Louisa)

Louisa Brockhurst is on the run – from her friends, from her family, even from her dream of independence through The Governess Club. But sometimes it’s easier for her to hide from those she loves in order to escape the secrets of her past.

Handsome but menacing John Taylor is a former prize-fighter turned inn-keeper who is trying to make his way in society. When Louisa shows up at his doorstep he’s quick to accept her offer to help – at a price. He knows that she’s hiding something and he can’t help his protective instincts around the beautiful woman.

Their attraction grows, but will headstrong, fiery Louisa ever trust the surprisingly kind John enough to tell him the dangerous secrets from her past that keep her running? Or will the power of her feelings scare her into running yet again?
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22056682-the-governess-club

See the SERIES on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/series/107899-the-governess-club

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Governess-Club-Louisa-Ellie-Macdonald-ebook/dp/B00K537ZXW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1407071103&sr=1-1&keywords=the+governess+club+louisa

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-governess-club-ellie-macdonald/1119443764?ean=9780062292285

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-governess-club-louisa

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-governess-club-louisa/id874396700?mt=11

Author Info

Ellie Macdonald has held several jobs beginning with the letter t: taxi-driver, telemarketer and most recently, teacher. She is thankful her interests have shifted to writing instead of taxidermy or tornado chasing. Having travelled to five different continents, she has swum with elephants, scuba dived coral mazes, visited a leper colony and climbed waterfalls and windmills, but her favorite place remains Regency England. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada. The Governess Club series is her first published work.

Author Links

Website: http://www.elliemacdonald.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EllieMacdonaldAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/elliemacdauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7034029.Ellie_Macdonald

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/the-governess-club-sara-governess-club.html

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Two Digital Sets of The Governess Club Books One and Two: CLAIRE & BONNIE)

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The post Interview with Ellie MacDonald, Author of The Governess Club Sara and Louisa appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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22. Review and Giveaway: Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo Putney

Review:

The last Mary Jo Putney I read was a Signet Regency Romance that was published in the 90s. I loved this line, and still have a box of Signet Regency paperbacks in the the basement.  When I had an opportunity to read a brand new book by Putney, I jumped at the chance.  I enjoyed Not Quite a Wife, though I did not buy into the conflict between Laurel and James.  I guess I am so indifferent to violence that I couldn’t understand why Laurel would leave her husband, James, after he defended her and himself from an assassin.  She didn’t even ask him for an explanation for his actions – she just packed her bags and walked out on her young, loving husband.

Laurel Herbert and her brother have been operating an infirmary and home for abused women and their children in Bristol.  Laurel is shocked when her newest patient is carried into the ward.  It’s James, her estranged husband.  He’s been beaten and robbed, and he’s suffering from a fever.  In the 10 years that they have been apart, Laurel has settled into a comfortable life, helping disadvantaged women learn skills to assist them in earning their independence.  Nostalgia and her confused feelings for her husband lead to a moment of passion between her and James.  Because he’s out of his mind with fever, James thinks he’s just had a very erotic, very vivid dream, and Laurel isn’t willing to divulge the truth.  Sending him on his way the next day, she returns to her duties and tries to put James out of her mind.

Unfortunately, her momentary indiscretion leaves her pregnant.  Putting on a brave front, she approaches James, confesses, and they agree to a month long reconciliation.  They’ll need to put up with each other for the sake of their child, so Laurel reluctantly agrees to accompany him to London for one month, with every intention of returning home afterwards.  Despite her misgivings about James, she knows that it would be best of all involved to attempt to reconcile.

This is an enjoyable read, but I didn’t feel that there was much conflict between the protagonists.  Laurel just can’t forgive James for taking a life, regardless of how justified he was.  James is a spy, and it’s his job to protect the Regent and all of England, but he doesn’t take any satisfaction from the fact that he’s killed.  It eats at his soul, and this darkness within him is what originally drew him to Laurel.  Though they were both very young, from the moment he saw her, James knew that he would love Laurel forever.  I think I liked that best about this story; he really did love her from that moment on, and when she left him, it destroyed him.  Determined to let her find her happiness, he respected her wishes and stayed away from her.  Now that he’s been given a second chance, he’s going to do everything in his power to keep her.  James was kind, patient, and understanding of Laurel, sometimes more than I thought she deserved.  The lack of communication between them was the biggest obstacle they had to overcome, and it took more than ten years to finally learn to talk to each other.

I’m kind of a sucker for sea battles, so the evil Captain Hardwick and his attempt to make off with Laurel’s lady’s maid was a welcome diversion.  It added a life threatening complication, and gave James a chance to be a hero.  It also gave Laurel some insight on how it felt to defend your loved ones, regardless of the consequences.  The entire abduction episode kept me on the edge of my seat, and I found the resolution to the battle fitting.

 

Not Quite a Wife

The Lost Lords # 6

By: Mary Jo Putney

Releasing August 26th, 2014

Kensington

Blurb

Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

James, Lord Kirkland, owns a shipping fleet, half a London gaming house, and is a ruthlessly effective spymaster. He is seldom self-indulgent…except when it comes to the gentle, indomitable beauty who was once his wife.

Laurel Herbert gave James her heart as an innocent young girl—until she saw him perform an act of shocking violence before her very eyes. That night she left her husband, and he let her go without a word of protest.

Now, ten years later, a chance encounter turns passionate, with consequences that cannot be ignored. But as they try to rebuild what was broken, they must face common enemies and a very uncommon love….

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/06/not-quite-wife-by-mary-jo-putney-lost.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18048060-not-quite-a-wife?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Not-Quite-Wife-Lost-Lords/dp/1420127160/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406678719&sr=8-1&keywords=9781420127164

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/not-quite-a-wife-mary-jo-putney/1117555664?ean=9781420127164

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/not-quite-a-wife

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/not-quite-a-wife/id836627729?mt=11#

Author Info

Mary Jo Putney is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has written over 60 novels and novellas. A ten-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America RITA, she has won the honor twice and is on the RWA Honor Roll for bestselling authors. In 2013 she was awarded the RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Though most of her books have been historical romance, she has also published contemporary romances, historical fantasy, and young adult paranormal historicals. She lives in Maryland with her nearest and dearest, both two and four footed.
Author Links

Website: http://www.maryjoputney.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaryJoPutneyAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MJPutneyNews

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/33876.Mary_Jo_Putney

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23. Guest Post and Giveaway: Lorraine Heath, Author of Once More, My Darling Rogue

Please welcome special guest Lorraine Heath to the virtual offices!  She’s here to share a Top 5 list about Drake, the hero of her latest release Once More, My Darling Rogue.  Check it out, and be sure to enter the awesome giveaway!

Drake’s Top 5 most irritating habits, according to his house staff  by Lorraine Heath

  1. He has no standards whatsoever when it comes to hiring staff and can set aside his qualms in favor of retribution when he discovers a lady who has given him a cut direct on many occasions has no memory and he is in need of a housekeeper.

  2. He is far too particular regarding how things are to be taken care of, insisting that clothes be folded and put away, beds made, kitchen scrubbed, hearths cleaned, boots polished.

  3. He is not averse to distracting a servant with a kiss when she is in the midst of her chores.

  4. He is incapable of washing his own back, which requires his housekeeper run her hands amuck over those broad shoulders and firm muscles.

  5. He cooks more for her than she does for him, tidies up the house more than she does, begrudgingly covers her expenses when she takes the maid next door on a shopping spree, and grumbles every time she brings home a stray animal—and yet he doesn’t make her cast out a single one. Making her fall just a little bit in love with him. Even though she knows she shouldn’t. Because, after all, he is a rogue.

Once More my Darling Rogue

The Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James # 2

By: Lorraine Heath

Releasing August 26th, 2014

Avon

Blurb

From New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath, comes the second book in a brand new series, The Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, featuring three eligible bachelors…and the scoundrels that reside within each.

Born to the street but raised within the aristocracy, Drake Darling can’t escape his sordid beginnings. Not when Lady Ophelia Lyttleton snubs him at every turn, a constant reminder he’s not truly one of them. But after rescuing her from a mysterious drowning, he realizes she doesn’t remember who she is. With plans to bring her to heel, he insists she’s his housekeeper—never expecting to fall for the charming beauty.

While Ophelia might not recall her life before Drake, she has little doubt she belongs with him. The desire she feels for her dark, brooding employer can’t be denied, regardless of consequences. So when Ophelia’s memory returns, she is devastated by the depth of his betrayal. Now Drake must risk everything to prove she can trust this rogue with her heart once more.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/once-more-my-darling-rogue-scandalous.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19099623-once-more-my-darling-rogue?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Darling-Rogue-Scandalous-Gentlemen-James-ebook/dp/B00H1UHLTU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407263432&sr=8-1&keywords=once+more+my+darling+rogue

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/once-more-my-darling-rogue-lorraine-heath/1117542218?ean=9780062276247

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/once-more-my-darling-rogue

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/once-more-my-darling-rogue/id771705715?mt=11

 

Excerpt

She darted her gaze to the left, the right. Without her noticing, he had managed to maneuver her into the shadows of an alcove and was now barring her way. Those she had been visiting with earlier were nowhere about. She should have known that Avendale and Langdon would side with this blackguard and escort her friends onto the dance floor, into the gardens, or off for refreshments. Blast them! Still, she’d not be intimidated by the likes of Drake Darling. “You, sir, are despicable.”

“And you’re a haughty miss who needs to be taught a lesson.”

“I suppose you think you’re the man to do it.”

His eyes darkened, his gaze dropped to her lips, and she found herself taking three quick steps back. “Don’t you dare,” she whispered, hating that her voice sounded more like a plea than a demand.

“You’ve been poking the tiger for some years now. You can’t always expect him to remain docile.”

He had the right of it there. She didn’t know why she had continually singled him out. Perhaps because she sensed a darkness in him, one that called to her, one that was dangerous to welcome.

“You’re making a spectacle of us,” she pointed out. “We’re in the shadows. No one is paying us any heed at all.”

Like some great hulking predator, he advanced on her. While she knew it to be unwise, she retreated farther into the alcove until her back hit the wall. Her heart beat out an unsteady tattoo. Within her gloves, her palms grew damp. “If you do anything untoward, I’ll scream.”

He laughed darkly. “And risk being caught with a guttersnipe? I think not.”

“You’re a black-hearted scoundrel.”

“Which is exactly why I intrigue you. You’re bored with all the fancy gents hovering around you. They’d never think of touching you with ungloved hands.”

Author Info

LORRAINE HEATH always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals and computer code, but something was always missing. After reading a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA’s RITA® and a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times best-seller lists.

Author Links

Website: http://www.lorraineheath.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LorraineHeathBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lorraine_Heath

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/104926.Lorraine_Heath

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The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Lorraine Heath, Author of Once More, My Darling Rogue appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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24. Guest Post: Rosanne Bittner, Author of Desperate Hearts

 

Please give a warm welcome to special guest Rosanne Bittner!  She’s here to share her deadline secrets, and after learning more about her latest release, Desperate Hearts, enter for your chance to win  a copy.

Hello to Manga Maniac Café! I was asked to participate in your blog site and am happy to visit with all of you! I have been writing over 30 years, and book #59, DESPERATE HEARTS (Sourcebooks), hits stores this month. It’s a wild western romance involving a Montana vigilante who falls in love with a woman from New York City who arrives in the little gold town of Alder, Montana with no clear explanation of why she’s come there. Little does Mitch Brady know that this heroine is running from accusations of murder!

What are your top five essentials in your deadline survival kit?

#1 – Don’t procrastinate to the point that you are pushed into rushing like a maniac to get your book turned in on time. Don’t put yourself in that position in the first place.

#2 – Get your research in order early in your writing. Don’t do too much “I’ll fix this later” and wait till you’re nearly done and your deadline is approaching to suddenly start looking up the small points needed for your book.

#3 – Keep track of how long it normally takes you to write one chapter. About half way into your story you should have a pretty good idea how long your story will be and how many chapters it will be. You can then determine approximately how long it will take you to finish the book. If it will take you almost as many weeks as you have left before your deadline, GET CRACKING! Make your book your priority over personal plans, housework, whatever is in the way.

#4 – Pertaining to #3 – Even though you are pretty sure of your story and your research and think you can finish your book by xxx date, add two or three months to the due date you agree upon with your publisher so that if you have problems or something personal comes up to interfere with your writing, you have some leeway and won’t be stressed out over the due date. If you finish your book early, that’s fine and your publisher will be happy.

#5 – Have a real good idea in the first place what will happen in your story so you don’t walk into a wall and realize you didn’t plan your story with enough detail and forethought as to how certain situations will work themselves out.

I have one last word of advice on turning in your book – If a certain part of the book or a certain event in the story or any other matter involving your story really bothers you, do not send in the book with the thought that you will just wait and see if the editor notices the same fall. Fix it first!

It’s better to feel confident about your story when you send it in than to sit and worry. Your editor will appreciate it if you call her and tell her you are finished but there are a couple of areas you think need some work. Almost always an editor will gladly give you a couple of extra weeks to fix things. Most editors are so swamped they won’t get to your book right away anyway, so sometimes they are glad to know they won’t get it for another week or two.

I hope all of this helps those of you concerned about deadlines, and thanks for inviting me to visit your blog! Be sure to visit my web site, and watch for DESPERATE HEARTS in stores or online!

Elizabeth Wainwright is on the run. Accused of a murder she didn’t commit, she has no choice but to cut ties with her old life and flee West. The last thing she wants is attention, but when her stagecoach is attacked, she suddenly finds herself under the fierce protection of one of Montana’s famed vigilantes…whether she likes it or not.

Lawman Mitch Brady is sworn to uphold justice. He’s never met a man he’s feared, and he’s never met a woman more desperately in need of his help. Something’s shaken the secretive Elizabeth, but as he gets to know the beautiful city belle, he finds the only thing he wants more than her safety…is her trust. Elizabeth longs to give herself to Mitch, but when her past finally catches up with her, can she truly trust her life to the vigilante who’s stolen her heart?

Rosanne Bittner is an award-winning novelist who is highly acclaimed for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity. Her epic romances span the West—from Canada to Mexico, Missouri to California—and are often based on personal visits to each setting. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two sons. You can find her at www.rosannebittner.com.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1qk9EaK

BAM: http://bit.ly/1oUHG3Y

B&N: http://bit.ly/1ldx5q7

Chapters: http://bit.ly/1BudkQ1

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1sPDWIE

iTunes: http://bit.ly/1v8RxbW

Kobo: http://bit.ly/XvlKXR

The post Guest Post: Rosanne Bittner, Author of Desperate Hearts appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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25. Guest Post and Giveaway: Samantha Grace, Author In Bed With a Rogue

Please welcome Samantha Grace back to the virtual offices!  She’s here to share some private facts about Sebastian, and be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of In Bed with a Rogue!

Hi, everyone! I’m Samantha Grace, historical romance author of the series Rival Rogues. It’s great to be back at Manga Maniac Café talking about my newest release, IN BED WITH A ROGUE. My favorite characters to write are always the males, whether it’s the hero or a secondary character, so I was very happy to see the title for today’s blog:

Top 5 things you’d never find in Sebastian’s bedchamber

I love this topic, but I needed a little help from my street team, The Social Graces, to come up with a list. Here’s what we decided…

1) A mess—You would never find anything out of place in Sebastian’s bedchamber, and not just because he has a staff of servants. Lady Helena Prestwick notices when she first has a chance to study him at the theater that everything about his appearance is intentional, from the starch of his collar to his carefree hair made to appear as if he’d crawled from bed looking like perfection, to his high-polished footwear. “A lot of effort went into his appearance, suggesting he cared a great deal how others viewed him.” And how right she is. Sebastian believes one can never be too fastidious. “People were judged on appearances, and he took pains to set himself apart from the disheveled mess his father had become in his last years.” Sebastian’s father suffered from PTDS after his military service, which started rumors of madness in Sebastian’s family. Now that he and his sister have both been jilted before their weddings, the rumors have resurfaced, and Sebastian refuses to give any more evidence to back-up the gossips’ claims.

2) A muddy pair of Hessian boots—Even if Sebastian wasn’t a bit of a neat freak, you wouldn’t find the boots in his room because he…uh…he lost them one evening when attackers jumped him outside a tavern in Whitechapel.

His assailants ripped the coat from his back while he tried to catch his breath.

Found it!”

Another kick to his kidney paralyzed him in a cloud of pain. Two men grabbed his legs and tugged at his boots.

Not the Hessians,” he mumbled.

They laughed and ran off, the splash of footsteps growing faint.

Bloody… hell…” he said between wheezing breaths. He would have given them his purse if they had asked nicely, but no gentleman should have to part with his boots.

He rolled to his back and cried out as his muscles wrenched. If he ever learned his attackers’ identities, they were in for a shocking introduction of his foot to their backsides.

Lucky for Sebastian, Helena wasn’t far away and came to his rescue when he called out for help, even though she risked having her secret discovered.

3) A Do Not Disturb sign—Sebastian would never take his conquests home for a night of fun. He has a mother and younger sister under his care, and he would never dream of exposing them to anything inappropriate. He would, however, like to bar his sister from his room, but Evie will have none of that after he is delivered to the front stoop battered, bruised, and unconscious. (I think she burned the Do Not Disturb sign.)

He was in his bedchamber. God only knew how he had gotten there.

He smacked his lips. His mouth was dry, like someone had shoved a wad of muslin in it. With eyes still closed, he fumbled for a glass of water on his side table without success. He cracked open an eye.

Faith!” He jumped, then sucked in a sharp breath as pain sliced through his ribs.

His younger sister pursed her lips. “What happened this time? Did an irate husband chase you out a window?”

I refuse to respond to such a ridiculous accusation.” Gingerly, he probed the bandage around his middle. How had that gotten there?

Eve slid from the edge of the bed and went to retrieve a porcelain pitcher from a tray sitting on a side table. “The doctor said you bruised your ribs and knocked your head. And don’t pretend I have insulted you. I smelled the lady’s perfume on you before your valet cleaned you up.” Despite her scolding tone, her brown eyes were sympathetic when she glanced over her shoulder. “I worry about you, Bastian. God only knows what you are doing that causes you to come home with bruises. And no coat or boots at that.”

Well, it’s not bedding married women, not that you should know about such goings-on.”

4) A Letter of Complaint—Helena learns Sebastian knows her secret when he approaches her at a ball, and she thinks he intends to blackmail her. She invites him back to her town house so they can discuss the terms in private, but he suggests they wait to leave the ball separately so no one connects their names. In the meantime, Helena takes refuge in the ladies’ retiring room to avoid running into him again at the ball. She has the misfortune of crossing paths with Lady Lovelace and receives a favorable recommendation of Sebastian’s skills, although the Widow Lovelace insults him in the process. (Perhaps there’s a little jealousy at play?)

I saw you dancing with Lord Thorne.” Lady Lovelace plopped onto the tufted stool and smoothed a hand over her hair. “If you’ve a rendezvous with Sebastian, you will not regret it.”

Helena’s breath hitched.

The widow’s eyes gleamed in the looking glass. “Just as I suspected. He is worth the risk, so long as no one else finds out. Most every lady desires him in her bed, but she would be mortified if others knew she’d been bedded by a Bedlamite.”

She twittered at her joke, but Helena didn’t find her amusing in the least.

Forgive me, my lady, but you are mistaken about Lord Thorne and me.” Helena headed for the retiring room door, brushing past the attendant who wasn’t even bothering to pretend she wasn’t eavesdropping. Her owl-like eyes blinked several times at Helena.

Oh?” The widow swiveled on the seat. “You haven’t succumbed to his charms yet? You would be the only woman whose skirts he has chased but failed to lift.”

5) An Attack Cat—One of my favorite scenes involves a stray cat Helena rescued on one of her late night excursions to Whitechapel. Sebastian isn’t likely to forget his introduction to Luna.

He swept the hair from her forehead. “I want to see where you lived. And Fergus promised to take me fishing. Perhaps you and Gracie would like to come along too. Fergus said you are quite the angler. And he said his mother, the best cook in Aberdeenshire, will bake a pie in my honor. I am not one to turn down a sweet.”

She rolled her eyes, laughing, knowing sweets were not his weakness. “When did you and Fergus become confidants?”

I’ll have you know Fergus and I are the best of friends now.” Sebastian tugged his trousers over his hips. “He invited me fishing when he offered his congratulations belowstairs earlier.” His eyes flew open and he jumped away from the bed. “Damnation!”

Helena gasped in surprise. Luna was clawing her way up his leg, clinging to his trousers as he hopped and tried to shake her loose. When she sank her teeth into his thigh, a string of curses poured from him.

Luna, no!” Helena scrambled off the bed to intervene, but Sebastian pried her from his leg before she reached them.

The cat hit the floor at a run, sprang onto the desk chair and desk, then slipped on the pile of post before she gained traction and dashed into Helena’s dressing room. Letters plopped to the floor.

Sebastian turned incredulous eyes on Helena. “Did you see that hellcat? He tried to unman me.”

A laugh burst from her. “He is a she, and Luna didn’t mean to hurt you. She was playing.”

His dark scowl brought about another peal of laughter.

I’m sorry,” she said, her voice muffled by her hand over her mouth. “Are you hurt?”

He lifted a brow. When his lips twitched, she knew he saw the humor too. “You could have warned me you had a guard under the bed.”

I hope y’all enjoyed the sneak peek into IN BED WITH A ROGUE. I’d like to thank Manga Maniac Café for having me here today! I look forward to chatting with all of you.

Should we play a fun game of “In Your Pants”? The idea originally came from a Harlequin post on Facebook, but let’s put our own spin on it. I’m assuming most of us have at least one book on our bedside tables. List the title and add “In Your Pants” at the end to create a new title. I’ll go first.

The Templars and Assassins in Your Pants (That’s quite the crusade!) Now it’s your turn!

To connect with Samantha…

Samantha Grace Author | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Bio:

Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney’s Robin Hood. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn’t want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publisher’s Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.

Part-time hospice social worker, moonlighting author, and pilates nut, she enjoys a happy and hectic life with her real life hero and two kids in the Midwest.

In Bed with a Rogue

By Samantha Grace

Soucebooks Casablanca

Historical Romance

September 2, 2014

ISBN: 9781402286612

$6.99/£4.99

Mass-Market Paperback

He’s the Talk of the Town

The whole town is tittering about Baron Sebastian Thorne having been jilted at the altar. Every move he makes ends up in the gossip columns. Tired of being the butt of everyone’s jokes, Sebastian vows to restore his family’s reputation no matter what it takes.

She’s the Toast of the Ton

Feted by the crème of society, the beautiful widow Lady Prestwick is a vision of all that is proper. But Helena is no angel, and when Sebastian uncovers her dark secret, he’s quick to press his advantage. In order to keep her hard-won good name, Helen will have to make a deal with the devil. But she’s got some tricks up her sleeves to keep this notorious rogue on his toes…

Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney’s Robin Hood. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn’t want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publishers Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.

Website: http://www.samanthagraceauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samantha-Grace/264436686918343

Twitter: @SamGraceAuthor https://twitter.com/SamGraceAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4946067.Samantha_Grace

Buy: Amazon | B&N | BAM! | IndieBound | !ndigo | iTunes a Rafflecopter giveaway

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