Kathryn Jordan | FLICKERS – Discovering New Books

I love to read. If you’re following this blog, so do you. As woman readers these days, we can pick any book we want from the library or bookstore, whether it’s a long novel, a romance, a popular thriller, or serious history, psychology – anything! But things weren’t always that easy. Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, novels in particular were considered to be a waste of a woman’s time. She should be working, caring for children, cleaning her house, waiting on her husband, not sitting around enjoying herself!

The protagonist of FLICKERS, Violet Winters, is the daughter of a very rich man, a California “robber baron”, back in the 1910s. She can have anything she wants – except an education. Her parents refuse to let her go to one of those newfangled girl’s preparatory schools or a women’s college, and certainly not to one of those big schools like Stanford or the University of California that have just become co-educational. Shocking! Can’t be done!

Fortunately, when she marries Maury Rediston, Violet meets his friends back in New England, and several of the women take her under their long-distance wing. They send her letters about books and suggest where she can start learning. If, of course, she can find those books in the first place . . .

Violet returned from her honeymoon inspired. In the big cities of the east she had met a different kind of wealthy woman — cultured, polished by frequent trips to Europe, dedicated to educating girls as well as boys and to improving the lot of women everywhere. The wives of some of Maury’s friends had even written books or had stories published in magazines. Their conversation had made her feel very young and slightly stupid, even though they’d all gone out of their way to treat her well. When they promised to write to her, she got the feeling that they saw her as a child who needed help.

“But they all have families and babies,” Violet told Carrie Crane. “And they dress so well! So it’s not like they’re unnatural females or anything.”

“We have women like that in California, too,” Carrie said. “Look at Aunt Eustacia and her friends, the Hearsts and Athertons. And Mrs. Stanford. She made sure that women could go to her university.”

“That’s true, but girls like us never got the chance. Would your father have let you?”

Carrie fell silent to think this over. They were sitting in the big parlor on the overstuffed green brocade couch amonst the other overstuffed, tufted, and brocaded furniture. Polished dark wood gleamed in the sunlight streaming through the terraced windows. The silver and crystal vases and knick-knacks glittered as if in answer.

“Well, no,” Carrie said at last. “I did try to ask him, but he just told me we had a whole library of books that I could read any time I wanted.”

“That’s what I mean. These ladies were really different.”

Carrie sighed and held out her coffee cup. Violet scooted forward on the couch so she could reach the coffee table and poured her friend more coffee. Carrie helped herself to a small cake from the silver serving tree. She’d grown into a tall young woman, willowy and long-boned, with strawberry blonde hair and pale blue eyes with a perpetually startled expression. As children they’d had the same education in Miss Anderson’s School for Young Ladies down in Santa Luisa. Carrie, however, had gone on to a Ladies Academy in Pasedena for another year. It was just more of the same, she always said: French, Deportment, Decorating, and Suitable Poetic Literature.

After Carrie left, Violet walked down the long hallway toward the parlor. As she passed the library door, on impulse she went into the square, book-lined room.

Her father’s decorator had arrange the books by size and blocks of color, rather than systematically. As she looked over the floor to ceiling shelves, Violet felt that she was looking at a vast city. Each block of books made up a building, and the dark wood edges of the shelves were the streets. She had no map, and she was a stranger, lost in this unfamiliar place. Still, she did have a guide. It took her an hour to find two of the authors her new Eastern friends had recommended, George Eliot, who was actually a woman, and Jane Austen. She felt as if she’d found a key and gained entrance to a new house. Violet picked out a book by each,

And so Violet’s real education begins, one that will lead her farther and farther from the sheltered life she was raised to expect.

About Kathryn Jordan

Kathryn Jordan

Kathryn Jordan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two cats, and a vagrant skunk. Although she spent her childhood in a Great Lakes industrial city, she became a confirmed Californian at age nine, when her family relocated to Santa Barbara, the “Santa Luisa” of the novel. All it took was one winter without five feet of snow turning into black urban slush to convince her that the move had been worthwhile. FLICKERS, her first historical novel, is a new departure for her career. Under the name of Katharine Kerr, she’s also the author of the Nola O’Grady series of light-hearted urban fantasy novels.

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About FLICKERS

Flickers

Set in the dynamic years leading up to the Roaring Twenties, Flickers turns its lens on California’s glamorous silent film era, as Victorian civilities are swept away by a bold new century . . .

Violet Winters is the daughter of one of California’s wealthy robber barons. Jack Sutter is the gardener’s son. In their youth, the two were inseparable. But in 1913 everything is changing, and despite their feelings for each other, adulthood has come between them. Their vastly different social positions leads Violet to marry the aloof but socially perfect Maury Rediston. Jack vows to win Violet back while carving out a new life for himself in the burgeoning motion picture industry. Tip Rediston, Violet’s brother-in-law, also gets drawn into the bohemian world of the flickers. As handsome as he is troubled, Tip starts his climb to stardom despite his family’s disapproval.

But as social changes, political upheaval, and war change the world around them, Violet, Jack, and Tip learn that things are never as easy as they seem on the silver screen. . .

Buy FLICKERS: Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

Ella Quinn | Four Things you’ll see in THREE WEEKS TO WED.

Love at first sight

.

My hero the Earl of Worthington falls in love at first sight (or after a number of hours). I am convinced that people fall in love at first sight. In fact, a recent study showed that men fell in love at first sight with great frequency. I also know more than one couple who met, married (in short order), and are still together decades later.

Her tentativeness gave way, and she held on to him tightly, returning his kisses with more vigor. As he stroked her back, he itched to untie the laces his fingers traveled over, and he paused for a moment. Too much too soon. This lady was the most remarkable woman he had ever known, and he needed to ensure he did not scare her away.

She sighed, sinking boneless against him.

Two of his good friends had recently married, and it was time he did so as well. He hadn’t believed his friend Marcus all those years ago when he’d claimed to have fallen in love with Phoebe at first sight. Matt did now.

Children that actually get along

.

I quite frankly think that this happens more in books and movies than in real life. But it might be 50-50. This past year, I met two couples. One had married each other twice because their kids worked together to break them up. The children of the second couple got along immediately.

Once they were all in the large, airy classroom, Charlotte clapped her hands, the way Grace did when she wanted their attention. “Alice, Eleanor, and Walter, please show Augusta, Madeline, and Theo around the floor. I’ll call you when tea has been brought.”

Louisa glanced at Charlotte. “I take it we shall do the same at Worthington House?”

“I believe that would be best.” Charlotte drew her brows together. “If we inspect both houses, we will be able to make a recommendation as to where we should all live.” She linked her arm with Louisa’s. “I have a plan, but I do want you to be an equal part of it. It seems to me that settling Grace and Matt quickly will allow us to focus on husbands of our own.”

“What a splendid idea.” Louise grinned. “You make a great deal of sense. It will be much easier for them to chaperone us if they are wed.”

A lady who faints

.

Well, someone had to faint, and it had to occur fairly often considering all the remedies they had for it to include burnt feathers. They even had special containers for vinaigrettes to bring someone around. In the Victorian time, swooning could be attributed to corsets, but during the Regency corsets were not tight. In any event, I dare you to find a twenty-five year old single woman raising seven children that does not have the occasional panic attack.

“She’s fainted,” Phoebe said calmly. “Marcus, I have smelling salts in my reticule. Please give them to me.”

Matt looked down at the limp form of his betrothed in his arms. He’d caught her as she fell.

Dogs.

I have to admit this isn’t all that uncommon, but having a misbehaving Great Dane is a lot of fun.

They were halfway to the Park when a loose Great Dane puppy, all legs and lead trailing behind her, ran past them followed shortly thereafter by a footman. High-pitched shouts followed the escapee. He glanced down at Duke, alert for the first time in ages. “Duke, fetch.” Matt let loose the lead and called to one of his footmen, “One of you, give me your girl and follow him.”

Madeline took his hand. Her cheeks flushed, she had a wide smile on her face. “What’s going on?”

“Runaway dog.”

“He’s really pretty.”

Matt grinned. “Well, my dear, I think you have the adjective correct, but not the gender. That’s a female.”

“Really?” she breathed.

“Really.”

A block from the Park, they caught up with the miscreant.

THREE WEEKS TO WED is the first book in my new series the Worthingtons. What is your favorite thing to see in books?

About Ella Quinn

Ella Quinn

Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series will start in April 2016.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and granddaughter, one cat and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America.

She loves having readers connect with her.

Marriage Game | The Marriage Game | The Worthingtons

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About THREE WEEKS TO WED

Three Weeks To Wed

In the first book of her dazzling new series, bestselling author Ella Quinn introduces the soon-to-be Earl and Countess of Worthington–lovers who have more in common than they yet know. The future promises to be far from boring

Lady Grace Carpenter is ready to seize the day–or rather, the night–with the most compelling man she’s ever known. Marriage would mean losing guardianship of her beloved siblings, and surely no sane gentleman will take on seven children not his own. But if she can have one anonymous tryst with Mattheus, Earl of Worthington, Grace will be content to live out the rest of her life as a spinster.

Matt had almost given up hope of finding a wife who could engage his mind as well as his body. And now this sensual, intelligent woman is offering herself to him. What could be more perfect? Except that after one wanton night, the mysterious Grace refuses to have anything to do with him.

Amid the distractions of the Season he must convince her, one delicious encounter at a time, that no obstacle–or family–is too much for a man who’s discovered his heart’s desire

Buy THREE WEEKS TO WED: Amazon.com | Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Kensington Books

“Oh, the tangled webs we weave…especially when our hearts are involved. Three Weeks to Wed is a delightfully heartwarming escape into the sparkling world of the Regency. Ella Quinn weaves magic.” —Cathy Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author

Jessica Ruddick | Birthdays are, well, …

So yesterday, March 28th, was my book’s birthday. And today, March 29th? Well, today is my birthday! Woohoo! Happy birthday to me! As of today, I can officially run for president of the United States. So feel free to write me in. (Not really.)

And yet…I’m still waiting to feel like a grown-up. I have a husband, two kids, and a mortgage, but I still feel like a kid inside most days. It feels like I’m playing house.

Seriously, even my taste buds never grew up. I have toddler taste buds, and that’s exactly what it sounds like. If a toddler won’t eat it, then chances are neither will I. Coffee? Yuck. Wine? Nope. Sushi? No way. A good old PB&J is still my go-to lunch.

Perhaps all this contributes to my youthful appearance. I bought cough medicine at Walmart the other day, and the cashier asked if I was eighteen. And it was a serious question. I’m definitely not complaining there. I was a teacher for eleven years, and I got asked for a hall pass every single year.

On the other hand, sometimes I feel so freaking old. Some days I wonder if it’s acceptable to put my PJs on when it’s still light outside. I prefer eating dinner at five o’clock. And some of the music my eight-year-old listens to? Don’t even get me started.

I’m simultaneously a female Peter Pan and a crotchety old fart. Fun times.

However, the older I get, the more comfortable I am in my own skin. I was a painfully insecure teenager, and gone are the days of worrying about not fitting in with the cool kids. I’ve finally learned to embrace my inner-nerd and let it all hang out, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And now my job is basically playing pretend. Isn’t that what writing books is all about? The best…job…EVER!

Thanks for indulging me and reading my ramblings today, my birthday. The first thirty-five (gulp) years have been pretty good to me. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next thirty-five.

About Jessica Ruddick

Jessica Ruddick

Jessica Ruddick lives in Virginia and is married to her college sweetheart–their first date was a fraternity toga party (and nothing inspires love like a toga, right?). When she doesn’t have her nose in a book or her hands on a keyboard, she can be found wrangling her two rambunctious sons, taming two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs, and battling the herd of dust bunnies that has taken up residence in her home.

Love on Campus

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About WANTING MORE

Wanting More

Bri Welch likes to play it safe. I don’t. She’s wound tight, and I’m all about a good party. But there’s something about her that makes me want to pull those uptight layers away one-by-delicious-one. But the worst thing is she makes me want more…

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Jane Goodger | Love Unrequited

Unrequited love is one of my favorite themes in a romance novel, yet HOW TO PLEASE A LADY is the first time I’ve ever used it. Just think of some of the most heartbreaking love stories–Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Hearts, The Phantom of the Opera, and more—which use this wonderful plot device so adeptly. Is there anything more heart-wrenching than being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back? Most unrequited love stories end tragically (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Cyrano de Bergerac are particularly tragic).

Even Charlie Brown’s love of the Little Red-headed Girl can make my heart break just a little bit.

These stories that make your heart hurt for the poor sap who’s in love with the unaware and often unknowingly cruel recipient of their affections always appeal to me as a reader. It was a little more difficult as a writer because I wanted my characters to be happy and torturing either one wasn’t easy! None of the stories on my list ended happily, but I’m a romance writer and sad endings just aren’t my schtick. But I still love the idea of a man in love with a woman, who is blissfully unaware of that love.

Such is the case for my hero, Charlie, who is desperately and horrifyingly in love with the daughter of an earl. Worse, Charlie is the estate’s head groom and has no chance of ever winning his lady’s heart. For one, he would never let the lady know of his feelings. He’s a servant, she’s a lady and in Victorian England that should be the end of the story.

But fate does bring them together and life had a way of leveling the playing field, which is what happens in my story. Poor Lady Rose hasn’t a clue that Charlie’s heart picks up a beat every time he sees her. She likes Charlie, even considers him a friend, but the invisible wall between servant and master is almost impossible to climb. Until the walls are gone.

In writing HOW TO PLEASE A LADY, it was important that I not make Lady Rose seem knowingly cruel. Rather, she is a little clueless, perhaps self-centered, and very much a lady of her times. The wonderful thing about Charlie is that he forgives Rose for her unwillingness to even consider him as a possible match. He knows as well as she does that the two of them would never be able to live a life together in England.

But all that changes when the two reach American soil where class is far less important.

About Jane Goodger

Jane Goodger

Jane Goodger lives in Rhode Island with her husband, three children, Chihuahua, one-eyed cat, and a ferret. She works full-time, and operates an editing service in between writing Victorian-set historical romances. In her free time (hahahaha), Jane watches HGTV and dreams of fixing up her 1940s colonial. A former journalist, Jane has lived in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Pozzuoli, Italy.

Lost Heiresses

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About HOW TO PLEASE A LADY

How To Please A Lady

Run though they might, love will find them

Lady Rose Dunford is shocked–and titillated–by the number of female visitors coming and going from her mysterious new neighbor’s Manhattan brownstone. Recently widowed by the death of her very sweet, but not very exciting husband, Rose finds it difficult to imagine just what the attraction could be.

And then she meets the bachelor in question. Not only is Charlie Avery dashing and outrageously good looking–she knows him! He is none other than the man who once helped her escape the dreary matchmaking plans of her father, the man she once dreamed she could love. Can Charlie’s presence next door be an accident? Or has he come to show her everything he has learned about…

Buy HOW TO PLEASE A LADY: Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Kensington Books

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THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt from THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT

“All done.” Nancy held out the box containing the cake as Connor opened his front door. It was six o’clock on Friday evening and pregnant Pam’s leaving party at the Lazy B was due to start at eight.

“Bring it on inside. Here, let me give you a hand.” As he took the pink and white striped box from her, Connor’s hands brushed against her own and the by now familiar zapping sensation shot up Nancy’s arms. Was this something she’d ever get used to?

“Yay! Let’s see it.” Mia, clearing a space on the kitchen table, said bossily, “Come on, Dad, take the lid off.”

Connor paused, looked at Nancy. “What if I don’t like it?”

“Don’t worry. I’ll just go away and quietly commit suicide.”

“Fine, but where would we get another cake at such short notice?”

“Oh, get on with it,” Mia exclaimed, briskly removing the lid. “Bloody hell, Nancy, it’s all broken.”

What?” Nancy stopped gazing helplessly at Connor and spun around so fast she got a crick in her neck.

“Ha, got you.” Mia beamed at them both.

“Hey,” said Connor, studying the cake. “That’s amazing. You’ve done an incredible job.”

Praise from Connor was like warm honey trickling down her spine. Basking in the sensation, Nancy watched him examine the more intricate details of the cake. She wondered if putting on perfume to bring it over to his house had been a mistake.

Then she thought maybe not as Connor put an arm around her shoulders—yes, yes!—and said, “You’re a clever old stick, aren’t you?”

The warm honey abruptly vanished. Stick? Clever old STICK? What kind of an endearment was that when it was at home?

“Ignore him.” Sensing her alarm, Mia said consolingly, “It’s just one of those stupid things Dad says. He called me that once. So I called him a fat old fart,” she remembered with satisfaction. “That soon put a stop to it.”

“Please don’t try that.” Connor turned to Nancy. “I’m sorry. I just meant you were clever. You don’t look a bit like a stick. Anyway, we’d better be getting ready.” He nodded at Mia. “D’you have it?”

Mia patted her jeans jacket pockets, found what she was looking for.

Embarrassed, Nancy said hurriedly, “I told you, I don’t want any money.”

“It isn’t money,” said Connor.

“Oh.”

“Here.” Mia handed Nancy a laminated card. “Now you’re a member of the Lazy B.”

Overwhelmed, Nancy took the card. “You don’t have to do this.”

“Hey, wasn’t I saying just the other day that you should come along to the club?” Mia, whose idea it had been, was looking delighted with herself. “Well, now you’ll have to.”

Nancy turned the card over. Oh God. “You really didn’t have to do this.” Horrified, she gazed at the photograph of herself, purportedly there for identification purposes. This one, taken almost ten years ago, showed her with overplucked eyebrows, a truly hideous perm, and the startled look of someone perched in a photo booth, unsure when the flash might be about to go off. Excerpt that she hadn’t been in a photo booth—she’d been at one of Spike and Carmen’s parties.

“I asked Carmen yesterday for a picture of you,” Mia explained. “See? All planned.”

Nancy said wryly, “And to think she used to be my friend.” God, even her passport photo wasn’t as awful as this.

“You can have another one taken at the club. We’ll do you a replacement card.” Connor’s tone was consoling. “Hey, look on the bright side. At least you’ve improved with age.”

“Thanks.” Nancy forced herself to smile; he probably didn’t mean to imply that these days she looked passable, whereas back then she’d been a complete dog.

“Anyway, I like curly perms; my aunties all used to have them.”

“Dad.” Mia gave him a pitying shake of the head. “You aren’t doing yourself any favors, you know.”

“Aren’t I?” Connor turned to Nancy. “Aren’t I? Am I getting it horribly wrong?”

“Now you happen to mention it,” said Nancy, “yes.”

“Bugger, I’ve lost my blarney.” He clutched his forehead, looked tortured. “I’m sorry. I don’t know where it’s gotten to.”

“Try looking down the back of your sofa,” Nancy suggested. “When we lose anything, that’s where it usually turns up.” Reading herself to leave she said, “Anyway, thanks for the membership. Maybe I’ll give the club a try over the weekend.”

“Come with us tonight,” Mia exclaimed. “We’ll be leaving here in half an hour. I can give you the guided tour, introduce you to people. And you’ll see Pam getting her cake. Fancy that?”

Nancy hesitated, glanced at Connor to see his reaction.

“Of course, you must come with us.” Connor clutched her arm. “That’s a great idea. Why didn’t I think of it?”

“Probably because you’re losing your marbles along with you blarney.” Mia flashed him a sunny smile. “I’ll be having to put you in a home soon.”

“How about it then, Nancy? Are you free?” said Connor.

Nancy was having trouble concentrating; the electrical currents were still zip-zapping excitedly up and down her arm. Gathering herself, she said, “I’m free.”

“Great.” Connor looked pleased.

Mia winked at her and Nancy blushed, suspecting that she and Connor had both just been expertly set up. Mia was clearly a girl with a plan.

About THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT

The One You Really Want

could be closer than you think!

A funny, heartfelt novel about second chances at love from beloved bestseller Jill Mansell

When it comes to love, never say never

When Nancy discovers the expensive jewelry her husband’s been buying isn’t for her, she decamps from the Scottish countryside to her best friend Carmen’s posh Chelsea town house to sort things out.

Nancy finds herself in a surprising new world, where rock stars are nicer than you thought, social workers are not necessarily to be trusted, and the filthy rich are folks with problems just like you. Everybody falls in love with the wrong people, and the path to true love twists and turns before you discover who you really want.

Buy THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT: Amazon.com | Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell is an internationally bestselling author, with over 4 million copies sold. She has written 20 women’s fiction novels with multi-generational appeal, Mansell’s cheeky writing style is loved by fans both here and abroad and has been compared to Sex & the City and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Jill’s books have been consistently shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. She was recently ranked #60 on The Guardian’s 100 Top Bestselling Authors of the decade. Rumor Has It was ranked at #50 on The Bookseller.com’s Top 100 Bestselling UK Titles of 2009.

Jill currently lives in Bristol, England, with her partner and their children, and writes full time. Actually that’s not true; she watches TV, eats fruit gums, admires the rugby players training in the sports field behind her house, and spends hours on the internet marveling at how many other writers have blogs. Only when she’s completely run out of displacement activities does she write.

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Ingrid Hahn | Addicted to Jane Austen

In January of 2013, I joined a book group. The first book selected was EMMA, by Jane Austen, which I had never read. Beginning the book, I was surprised by how unlikable I found the title character.

That book group didn’t work out, but, despite my rough start with EMMA, I’d been unceremoniously drawn back into the world of Jane Austen. The richness of her language, her distinctive voice, her modern appeal—all had rekindled an old fire in my heart. Not having read her entire oeuvre, I thought I might do so in the rest of 2013. Which didn’t happen.

What I needed was accountability. So early in 2014, I went on MeetUp, punched in my credit card number, and started my group. To my surprise, people joined! Over the course of the year, we read all her completed novels in publication order and met in a little café to discuss them. Not surprisingly, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and PERSUASION were big hits. There wasn’t a huge amount of agreement or disagreement among the group members, but there were some unexpected revelations. For one member, Jane Austen didn’t hold up at all. Other people, like I had originally, found Emma’s character extremely difficult to take. For most, PERSUASION ended up being far and away their favorite.

Despite my original dislike, EMMA had become my favorite. I absolutely adore the rest of them—except that oddball, NORTHANGER ABBEY, which, to my mind, doesn’t deliver on the promise of a gothic premise. (And which doesn’t have a very satisfying pairing.) I can even find some things to enjoy and sustain my interest in MANSFIELD PARK.

There are two basic reasons why EMMA stands out for me. One because it’s so incredibly long and there is so much going on within the pages. I think I could read (or listen to) this book twice a year, every year for the rest of my life and find something new on every read. Two because while a certain amount of pride and immaturity rule Emma’s character throughout most of the book, I believe what she does, she does out of love. She’s not malicious. Now, I don’t believe intention is everything. Results and outcome matter, too.

Isn’t that funny how sometimes we’re put off by the very thing that in the end becomes our favorite? Many, many bestselling romances play with this theme with the Enemies to Lovers trope. Jane Austen herself used it in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE—one of the most iconic love stories of all time. There have been so many times in my life where I haven’t wanted to try something. I’ve been adamant—absolutely certain that I won’t like it. Then, somehow (and by somehow I mean usually my husband cajoles me), I end up trying it. And liking it. I’ve learned to be more open minded, to try instead of making assumptions. Many times I’ve been surprised! Delightfully so.

I encourage you to expand your horizon this week. Find something you wouldn’t normally do that you also haven’t done. Then give it an honest shot! Doesn’t have to be big. Doesn’t have to get you outside of your comfort zone, though bonus points if it does. Enjoy!

If you’re an Austen fan, hop onto Twitter or Facebook and let me know which book is your favorite and why. I’m on the hunt for good Austen FanFic, too, so please chime in which Austen sequels or spinoffs were your favorite. DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY wasn’t my cuppa, but I fell head over heals for LONGBOURN by Jo Baker. Chime in! Find me @Ingrid_Writer. Then join me on Monday, March 21st, when I celebrate my book release with twenty-one days of Austen. #21DaysofAusten. In May, join me again for Austen Confessions. #AustenConfessions

About Ingrid Hahn

Ingrid Hahn

Ingrid Hahn is a failed administrative assistant with a B.A. in Art History. Her love of reading has turned her mortgage payment into a book storage fee, which makes her the friend who you never want to ask you for help moving. Though originally from Seattle, she now lives in the metropolitan DC area with her ship-nerd husband, small son, and four opinionated cats. When she is not reading or writing, she loves knitting, theater, nature walks, travel, history, and is a hopelessly devoted fan of Jane Austen.

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About TO WIN A LADY’S HEART

To Win a Lady's Heart

England, 1811.

When John Merrick, the Earl of Corbeau, is caught in a locked storeroom with Lady Grace, he has but one choice—marry her. He cannot bear to tarnish any woman’s reputation, least of all Lady Grace’s.

Lady Grace Landon will do anything to help her mother and sisters, crushed and impoverished by her father’s disgrace. But throwing herself into the arms of her dearest friend’s older brother to trap him in marriage? Never.

Corbeau needs to prove that he loves her, despite her father’s misdeeds. After years of being an object of scorn, not even falling in love with Corbeau alters Lady Grace’s determination to not bring her disrepute upon another. However, if they don’t realize that the greatest honor is love given freely without regard to society’s censure, they stand to lose far more than they ever imagined.

Buy TO WIN A LADY’S HEART: Kindle | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

Gail Ingis | Print Version Soon

It will be a busy season now that the print version of my book, published by Soul Mate Publishing, is being released on July 14.

In the near future, a contest to give away a one-of-a-kind prize will be announced, offering a fine print of the image you see in on my blog in blues above, my painting of the brook in my book, sans the script, of course. Watch for details . . .read more.

Sandra Byrd | Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

I’ve always loved Gothic romances, a little creepy around the edges, the kind of book wherein you devoutly hope the hero is who you want him to be, not who you suspect he might be. I especially love those with a historical and British bent, with a heroine who is both vulnerable and strong. I’ve fond memories of sharing Victoria Holt books with my grandmother -and sneaking a flashlight into my room so I could read them long past when I said I’d be sleeping. When I was done reading Holt, I moved onto favorites such as Mary Stewart.

Those books seemed to be popular some time ago, but what about lately? Not so many were being published. I still wanted more: I wanted new, I wanted fresh but… with all of my favorite gothic elements. So I set out to write what I’d love to read. Would other modern woman want to read them?

Ann B. Tracy, the author of the romance chapter in the compilation, THE JOURNAL OF THE GOTHIC, tells us that, “The jocular description of modern Gothic Romances like Victoria Holt’s The Mistress of Mellyn is ‘Girl Gets House.’ ” In a day of HGTV, what could be apter?

She continues, “The heroines of Gothic Romance are not the vaporous, swooning creatures of caricature, undone by over-sensitivity; their troubles are real… they lift the black veil, go to the attic, confront the possible spectres— attempt, in short, to shed some factual light on their mysterious surroundings and find their ways out of the Gothic dilemmas.” These are women who are the kind of people we want to be, the friends we’d turn to on a dark and stormy night when we wanted someone trustworthy at our back.

And what about those dark and stormy knights? Mmm hmm. Gothic romance heroes are called Byronic heroes, after Lord Byron, he dubbed “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” Perhaps Byron was romance’s original bad boy? We women love to know whether or not we can tame a man who seems untamable, and gothic romances are rich with just that sort of challenge. Tracy says that our gothic heroines have the challenge of figuring out whether the “difficult or possibly villainous men around her will turn out to be the one she can trust and marry.” Or if he, as Victoria Holt so engagingly named one of her best novels, would turn out to be “The Devil on Horseback.”

One final requirement of a Gothic is it’s creepy, mist-filled, dangerous setting. In the Gothic Journal, Jesse de Knight explores one of Gothic romance’s best-loved authors, Daphne du Maurier. Knight explains, Du Maurier was in her late teens when she first visited Cornwall… she instantly fell in love with the place. Knight goes on to tell us that, “The Cornish coast did note than merely bring du Maurier pleasure; it served as a genuine catalyst for her imagination… The gothic tale—with its emphasis on atmosphere – was ready-made for her. Du Maurier’s fiction is imbued, saturated, permeated with the ambiance, aura, and moodiness of Cornwall.”

Of course it is. On a fragile night when the mist crawls in, and I cannot sleep, I might still dream of falling-down houses and wounded heroes, both in need of love and repair. Might you?

BRIDE OF A DISTANT ISLE, which has earned Romantic Times’ Top Pick, is Sandra Byrd’s latest novel and the second in her gothic romance series, Daughters of Hampshire. Please visit Sandra at her website and leave her a note about what YOU most enjoy about gothic romance books!

Giveaway

What do think appeals about the “Gothic?” You could win Sandra’s Daughters of Hampshire series: MIST OF MIDNIGHT and BRIDE OF A DISTANT ISLE.

About Sandra Byrd

Sandra Byrd

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Sandra’s new series, Daughters of Hampshire, historically sound Gothic romances, launched in 2015 with Book One: Mist of Midnight. That book earned a coveted Editor’s Choice from the Historical Novel Society. The second book in the series, Bride of a Distant Isle, releases in March 2016.

Check out her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, which was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012.

She is passionate about helping new writers develop their talent and their work toward traditional or self-publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year via novelcoaching.com

Daughters of Hampshire

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About BRIDE OF A DISTANT ISLE

Bride of a Distant Isle

An unforgettable romance set in Victorian England, Bride of A Distant Isle is the engrossing story of Annabel Ashton, who fights to save her family home and her mother’s honor while trying to figure out if the man she loves wants her—or just wants to use her to achieve his own ambitions.

Miss Annabel Ashton is a teacher at the Rogers School for Young Ladies in Winchester when she takes a brief visit to her family home, Highcliffe Hall at Milford-on-Sea. She believes her stay will be short but soon learns that she will not be returning to the safety of the school. Instead, she remains at Highcliffe, at the mercy of her cousin, Edward Everedge.

Annabel protests, but as the illegitimate daughter of a woman who died in an insane asylum, she has little say. Edward is running out of money and puts the house up for sale to avoid financial ruin. He insists that Annabel marry, promising her to a sinister, frightening man. But as the house gets packed for sale, it begins to reveal disquieting secrets. Jewelry, artifacts, and portraits mysteriously appear, suggesting that Annabel may be the true heir of Highcliffe.

She has only a few months to prove her legitimacy, perhaps with assistance from the handsome but troubled Maltese Captain Dell’Acqua. But does he have Annabel’s best interests at heart?

And then, a final, most ominous barrier to both her inheritance and her existence appears: a situation neither she nor anyone else could have expected. Will Annabel regain her life and property—and trust her heart—before it’s too late?

Buy BRIDE OF A DISTANT ISLE: Amazon.com | Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

Exclusive Excerpt: SUNSTONE’S FIRE by Lia Davis

A deadly family curse looms as Nate and Haylee fall in love. Can they find a way to break the curse and have a happily ever after or is Haylee’s fate to suffer the same curse as her ancestors?

SUNSTONE’S FIRE (Curse in Stone, book 1) by Lia Davis

*Please note this is an ARC copy of chapter one for the book is currently in edits. It may contain typos.*

Chapter One – part four

“Yeah.” From his questioning tone, she could tell he believed in spirits or had had an experience with them before. “You’re not scared, are you?”

He smiled at her teasing. “Nope. So, that was a ghost that made me crash my car?”

“Possibly.” It was strange that the spirits would show themselves. What was so special about that night? Oh, yeah. It was the first night of the full moon. Meeting Nate’s stare, she found herself captivated by his chocolate brown depths. For the first time in years, she felt at ease with another. “Would you like some tea?”

He nodded. “I’d love some.”

Just as they turned to the kitchen, a knock sounded on the front door. Wondering who it could be at the late hour, she answered it. Nate was at her back, like he expected an attack or something. The sense of security warmed her. Remember the curse. I won’t be responsible for his death.

When she opened the door, an older gentleman who looked to be in his late sixties, his hat and coat soaked from the rain, greeted her. “Hello, miss. Do you have any vacancies?”

“Yes, please come in.” She moved to the side. “What are you doing out in this storm?”

“Oh, just passing through.” He removed his wet, leather trench coat.

Haylee took it from him and opened the coat closet a few feet from the door. After grabbing a hanger, she hung the coat on the outside of the door to dry. Facing the stranger, she noted how his clothes weren’t wet. Odd. Then again, it was a full moon, and she lived across from a haunted cemetery. So she let it go. “We were about to have some tea. Would you like to join us?”

“Tea sounds nice.” The man moved toward the living room like he had a purpose.

She glanced at Nate, who shrugged. Nibbling on her bottom lip to keep a laugh from coming out, she followed the man. When he turned toward her room, she called out to him. “Um, sir, the kitchen is this way.”

He faced her, then glanced back at her room, then to the kitchen on the opposite side of the great room. “Yes. The kitchen. For tea.”

Beside her, Nate chuckled as the man strolled past. Haylee let out a sigh. It was going to be a long night.

About Lia Davis

In 2008, Lia Davis ventured into the world of writing and publishing and never looked back. She has published more than twenty books, including the bestselling A Tiger’s Claim, book one in her fan favorite Ashwood Falls series. Her novels feature compassionate yet strong alpha heroes who know how to please their women and her leading ladies are each strong in their own way. No matter what obstacle she throws at them, they come out better in the end.

While writing was initially a way escape from real world drama, Lia now makes her living creating worlds filled with magic, mystery, romance, and adventure so that others can leave real life behind for a few hours at a time.

Lia’s favorite things are spending time with family, traveling, reading, writing, chocolate, coffee, nature and hanging out with her kitties. She and her family live in Northeast Florida battling hurricanes and very humid summers, but it’s her home and she loves it! Sign up for her newsletter, become a member of her fan club, and follow her on Twitter @NovelsByLia.

Connect with Lia: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Authorgraph | Amazon Author Page

About SUNSTONE’S FIRE

Sunstone's Fire

Aspiring author, Nate Wilson wants some space from his overbearing family and a job he doesn’t like. A week on the Oregon coast sounds like paradise and just what he needs to get the creative juices flowing. Unfortunately, his plans are derailed when a storm moves in and a ghostly figure flashes in his headlights, sending him skidding off the road and into a tree. Lucky for him, he ends up in front of a Bed and Breakfast, and the beautiful owner may do more to spur his creativity than any beach could.

Hesitant witch and inn owner, Haylee Clark is cursed. Well, not her exactly—at least not yet—but all of the women in her family have suffered the same fate. They fell in love, only to have that passion turn sour and their husbands die tragically, leaving them brokenhearted. So far, Haylee has done well to avoid that destiny, but when the captivating Nate Wilson crashes into her life, he awakens something within her that she never thought to feel.

When the pair stumbles upon a hidden room where Haylee’s grandmother used to conduct her rituals, they unknowingly unleash a dark entity hell-bent on destruction, and discover that a family heirloom is the source of the Clark family curse. Despite the spell, they can’t deny their attraction, and give in to the magic between them. But the closer Haylee and Nate get, the more the curse tries to tear them apart. If they don’t find a way to defeat the evil, they may lose more than their hearts.

Buy SUNSTONE’S FIRE: Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

 

Add SUNSTONE’S FIRE to your Goodreads TBR list!

Make sure to stop at each participating blog to read all of Chapter 1:

Part 1, March 21—I Smell Sheep

Part 2, March 22—Grave Tells

Part 3, March 23—Vampire Book Club

Part 4, March 24—Fresh Fiction

Part 5, March 25—Literary Escapism
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Chris Cannon | What does YA Mean?

I’m about to step up on my soap box. If everyone would pay attention for a moment, I will explain exactly what YA means. YA refers to the age of the character in the book, not the age of the reader. The character of a YA novel will more than likely be sixteen. The age of the reader can vary greatly.

Some people say they don’t read YA because they are not teens. I’ve never been a male detective, but I enjoy mysteries. I’ve never been an alien, but I enjoy science fiction. I’ve never been a hobbit, but I enjoy Tolkien. Need I say more?

So, why do I write YA? I love that during the teen years anything seems possible. It’s a time to figure out who you are. If you want to become a black belt, you can sign up for a Karate class. Now, I know I could still sign up for a Karate class as an adult. If I did, odds are I’d end up funding a new condo for my chiropractor. After a certain age the body does not bend and stretch and bounce like it used to.

On a daily basis, there is a loop of smart ass comments playing in my head. When I write, I can allow my characters to make all those snarky remarks. And yes, technically I could say them, but that would lead to me being fired from my day job and ostracized by my family.

In GOING DOWN IN FLAMES, Bryn blurts out inappropriate comments because finding out she is a shape-shifting dragon turns her life upside down. In the second book, BRIDGES BURNED, she comes to terms with some unpleasant truths. In TRIAL BY FIRE she finds her footing in this strange new world and begins to carve out her own path.

If you’d like to find out more about my shape-shifting dragon series, come visit me at www.chriscannonauthor.com where you can read excerpts of the books.

About Chris Cannon

Chris Cannon

Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures. Going Down In Flames is the first book in Chris Cannon’s shape-shifting dragon series.

Going Down in Flames

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About TRIAL BY FIRE

Trial By Fire

Bryn’s hopes for a peaceful new semester at school go up in smoke when someone tries to kill her—again. She’s not sure which is scarier, facing the radicals who want to sacrifice her for their cause, or her impending nightmare of a Directorate-arranged marriage to her nemesis, Jaxon.

The one bright spot in her life is Valmont, her smoking-hot knight who is assigned to watch over her twenty-four hours a day. Is what she feels for him real or just a side effect of the dragon-knight bond? At this point, stopping the impending civil war might be easier than figuring out her love life.

She may have to live in their world, but she doesn’t have to play by their rules.

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