Carrie Lofty | Starlight Haikus
Author Guest / June 25, 2012

I love haikus because they can be amusing. Well, yeah, mostly just for that reason. Oh! And they’re made even more amusing for being short. They’re the Hershey’s Miniatures of poetry. Today I thought I’d communicate aspects of STARLIGHT, the second of my Christies series of Victorian romances from Pocket, through the medium of haiku. Maybe I had more fun writing them than you’ll have when reading them, but I can’t help it—I like counting on my fingers. Glaswegian redhead Who lives to bicker and tease. Union? What union? Sitting in a place Where the faithful come to pray. A refuge from rain. Easily flustered When flirting with an angel. He loves to watch stars. Venerable school In Massachusetts where the Hero played polo. The heroine leads Weavers toward days of justice Because he is ill. Use the excerpt on my website to tell me who or what these haikus describe. See below for giveaways if you do! What’s next for me: After RT BookReviews 4½ Star Top Pick  STARLIGHT hits the shelves, I’ll be looking forward to the release of HIS VERY OWN GIRL, a historical romance set in World War II. It’s not women’s fiction. It’s not literary…

Fresh Pick | BUSTED FLUSH by George R.R. Martin
Fresh Pick / June 25, 2012

Wild Cards  December 2008 On Sale: December 9, 2008 400 pages ISBN: 0765317826 EAN: 9780765317827 Hardcover $24.95 Science Fiction Buy at Amazon.com Beyond the Song of Fire and Ice Busted Flush by George R.R. Martin In 1946, an alien virus that rewrites human DNA was accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It killed ninety percent of those it infected. Nine percent survived to mutate into tragically deformed creatures. And one percent gained superpowers. The Wild Cards shared-universe series, created and edited since 1987 by New York Times #1 bestseller George R. R. Martin (“The American Tolkien” –Time magazine) along with Melinda Snodgrass, is the tale of the history of the world since then—and of the heroes among the one percent.Now a new generation of heroes has taken its place on the world stage, its members crucial players in international events. At the United Nations, veteran ace John Fortune has assembled a team of young aces known as the Committee, to assist at trouble spots around the world–including a genocidal was in the Niger Delta, an invasion of zombies in hurricane ravaged New Orleans, and a freak nuclear explosion in a small Texas town. Previous Picks

Jayne Fresina | Something Different
Author Guest / June 22, 2012

In THE MOST IMPROPER MISS SOPHIE VALENTINE I developed my story around a part of Regency-era life that is not very often used as a backdrop for romance these days. I wanted to try something different. Rather than create my heroine Sophie’s world in the drawing rooms and ballrooms frequented by the London ton, I set her down in the English countryside, in a small village called Sydney Dovedale. It is the sort of place where everyone knows your business, whether you want them to or not. They don’t sit about discussing “Prinny” (the Prince Regent), politics, war, or any of the world’s larger concerns. The residents of Sydney Dovedale are interested primarily in what their neighbors are up to. Since that will most directly impact them and their lives, that’s what they want to talk about. They know everybody’s foibles and faults. And what they don’t know for sure they’ll gladly speculate upon. When it comes to Sophie Valentine, a scarred woman with a scandal in her past, the rumors abound. In an age long before reality TV and soap operas, I suppose gossip helped entertain and that is certainly the case in this fictional village. Sophie —source of…

Jennifer Probst | A Knock Out Ending
Author Guest / June 15, 2012

I’ve been thinking about some shared elements of a really great book and movie. Some are easy to spot: great characters, chemistry, sexual tension, decent plot. But one of the unnamed ingredients in a book that makes a reader sigh, cry, and hug the book to her chest in pure love is the knock–out ending. In the romance novel, happily ever after is a given. Most readers insist on a wonderful satisfying journey to get to the happy ending. But what about the ending itself? Whether it be the quiet revelation of love or the bigger than life explosion of a character realizing he or she must take a risk, I’m a sucker for the final payoff. Let’s list a few. The Proposal – The journey between this prickly couple made for the sleeper of the year, and when the hero finally realizes what he’s lost, he goes after her in the big chase and confession we love to see. My Best Friend’s Wedding – Had it all. The hysterical truck chase, the confession, and the realization this hero was not her happily ever after. Alone at the wedding, trying to be cool with her loneliness, her gorgeous best friend…

Ann Purser | Who is Ivy Beasley…Really?
Author Guest / June 14, 2012

Ivy Beasley has appeared in all three series of my novels. In the Round Ringford six books she was a miserable old tab, dominating her two friends, Ethel and Doris, and much of the traditions of village life in general. Then, in the first of the murder stories, she pops up in an old folks home in Suffolk in the East of England. This residential home, Springfields, is not to Ivy`s liking! She did, however, agree to move to be near her much younger cousin, Deirdre Bloxham and at first bitterly regrets it. But Ivy is not easily daunted, and sets about reorganising her new home to suit her requirements. Bored, and determined to fill her time usefully, she sets up an enquiry agency, Enquire Within, in company with an attractive fellow resident, Roy Goodman, her cousin Deirdre, and Augustus Halfhide, almost certainly an ex-spy. This unlikely foursome, including a blossoming romance for Ivy and Roy, has now solved several crimes of murder, in spite of considerable scepticism from the local police detective department. I have been asked frequently if there was any one person I used as a model for Ivy, and I`ve always managed to avoid answering! However,…

Sally Goldenbaum | Characters Welcome
Author Guest / June 12, 2012

Nell, Birdie, Izzy, and Cass. My cast of characters. My friends. My alter egos. I know how the women of Sea Harbor walk, what they eat, how much they weigh, where they went to school, and the first time they had sex. I even know what number they are on the Enneagram chart. They are my mainstays in the Seaside Knitters mystery series. My stars and my glue. But often, way too often, I haven’t a clue what they are going to do next. And that’s good….and difficult. It’s one of the challenges of writing a mystery series, in which certain characters come back with each new adventure and need to feed the readers’ imaginations, to make them feel they know the seaside women  just a little bit better with each book they read. When I began writing the recently released Seaside Knitting Mystery, A FATAL FLEECE, I was struck by the fact that I’ve known these fine women for nearly seven years now. But they still surprise me. And that’s good. If they didn’t, they might not appear fresh and enticing to the reader. So therein lies the challenge. Fresh, but comfortable. New, but old friends. Predictable, but surprising….

Ruthie Webb | Exclusive Excerpt of ABOUT LAST NIGHT
Author Guest / June 12, 2012

City reached into his briefcase and brought out two bags of chips and three candy bars. “I came bearing gifts. Thought you might be hungry. Do you prefer”—he glanced at the bags—”prawn or salt-and-vinegar crisps? Or if you don’t fancy crisps, I also have these.” He fanned the candy bars out on one broad palm. “I don’t know what you like yet,” he explained, his tone apologetic. Cath cast her eyes heavenward in an attempt to keep up a good front, but really, how was she supposed to resist a man who came courting with junk food? Resist the man. You can have the junk food. She grabbed the prawn crisps and a Wispa bar. “This is a very classy spread. Are you always so charming?” “Only when I want something very badly.” He smiled. She tried to let that slide, but it slid down between her breasts, wriggled over her belly, and warmed up the junction of her thighs. She didn’t have a lot of experience being wanted—or courted, for that matter. It was making her woozy. City took off his tie in that way real men did, arching his head back as he pulled at the knot and…

Desiree Holt | A World Without Books
Author Guest / June 10, 2012

Or why reading and writing are vitamins for the brain I remember reading book from the earliest age. Books were a staple in our household. My mother and my sister read constantly. Mostly mysteries, I think. My first books were things like THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER and THE JUNGLE BOOK. Books that took me to faraway and mysterious places. Books that stirred my imagination and made me create my own stories. As I grew into my teen years my reading expanded. In high school I read a YA romance called SEVENTEENTH SUMMER that to this day still stays with me. It was such a beautiful story of teenage love and what happens when summer is over. How we grow from such a relationship. Older still I began to read the mysteries my family loved and as I read them I found myself getting lost in the wonderful stories. These were classic mysteries, like Ellery Queen and Nero Wolf and all the books by the master of suspense, Agatha Christie. From there it was a short step to the queens of romantic suspense, Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. Their books are such classic that they are now being reissued both…

Tiffany Truitt | Why Dystopian? Why Now?
Author Guest / June 8, 2012

Yep. I’m an author. Yep. I have a novel coming out on June 12th. Yep. It’s a dystopian. Yep. Yet, another dystopian novel. Groan? Much like the plethora of vampire novels that appeared on the shelves after the wildly successful Twilight series, the publishing world is pushing out dystopian novel after dystopian novel Why are dystopian novels so popular right now? It would be easy to point to The Hunger Games as the reason behind such a flooded market, but I believe there is more to it than this. If one looks at the cycles of popular literature throughout history, certain patterns emerge. For example, the study of the history of the novel itself is rich in its statements on class strife and gender roles. It is no secret that our country is struggling. And during times of unrest, it is natural for citizens to question their government: how much power should government have? How has my government failed me? How can my government help me? How can I help my government? These aren’t new questions, but they are the ones haunting us now. And like all good art, literature reflects life…whether it’s a conscious choice of the author or…

Shawn Dalton-Smith | To Forgive or Not? ~ Comment to win LIFE AFTER
Author Guest / June 8, 2012

Imagine you have everything you ever wanted. In twenty-four hours, the man of your dreams will make you his wife. Life is good. Then, in an instant, it’s all gone. You’re mowed down and your life is cut short thanks to a drunk driver. And your best friend was the one behind the wheel. Could you forgive her? What if after you died, your friend married the man you thought you would spend the rest of your life with? Could you forgive either of them? LIFE AFTER is the story of Kalyste Spradlin and Jude Whitten. Kalyste had it all. By the time she was thirty, her women’s magazine was about to go international. She had money, beauty, youth, happiness, and about to marry the love of her life, Ryan Sloan. The night before her wedding, she is killed by a drunk driver, her best friend Chantal. When she wakes up in Haven, (not heaven) and told what happened, she is hell-bent on revenge. Especially when she goes back to the human realm to check on Ryan and watches him marry the woman responsible for her death Jude has been a counselor in Haven for the past thirty-two years when…