Monday, September 1, 2014

Aloha to Victoria Roberts and MY HIGHLAND SPY

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Oh, I have Alba on my mind ... Victoria Roberts joins us today to celebrate the release of MY HIGHLAND SPY, Book 1 in her new series Highland Spies:


This Highland Laird won't bow to the Crown
Laird Ruairi Sutherland refuses to send his only son away to be educated by the English. And he most definitely will not appear in Edinburgh to pay homage to a liege who has no respect for Scotland. So he does what any laird would do-he lies to the king. The last thing Ruairi expects is a beautiful English governess to appear on his doorstep.

But this lady spy might make him...
Lady Ravenna Walsingham is a seasoned spy who is sent to the savage Highlands to uncover a nefarious plot against the Crown. Playing the part of an English governess—a job easier said than done—she infiltrates the home of Laird Sutherland, a suspected conspirator.

If she doesn't betray him first
Ravenna soon discovers that the only real threat Sutherland poses is to her heart. But will the proud Highland laird ever forgive her when he discovers the woman he loves in an English spy? 

“An exciting Highland tale of intrigue, betrayal, and love.”
—Hannah Howell, New York Times bestselling author of Highland Master

“Roberts’ newest features a surprise-laden, quick-paced plot, replete with unconventional and fiercely independent characters. Her lyrical prose grabs readers’ attention, and the high level of emotional tension simply adds to the depth of the story. This book begs to be read and reread.”
—RT Book Reviews





I asked Victoria ... what makes a successful spy-turned-governess?

Thank you so much for having me today at the SOS Aloha blog. Although I’ve never been to Hawaii, it is a place that is definitely on my bucket list.

I think what makes Lady Ravenna Walsingham successful at what she does is the fact that she longs to follow in her father’s footsteps. You see…her father, Lord Francis Walsingham, had been Queen Elizabeth’s principal secretary until his death. Little did anyone know that her sire had also been the queen’s spy. Given that Ravenna’s father had handled all of the royal correspondence and had determined the agenda of the council meetings, he had been a very influential man in his time.

But now it’s Ravenna’s time to shine.

Ravenna is a spy for King James and the Crown, the same as her father had been under Queen Elizabeth’s reign. When Ravenna was old enough to show an interest in political matters, her father had educated and conditioned her to one day take his place. She certainly lives in a man’s world, but that’s why she’s so proficient at doing what she does—a mere woman is the last thing anyone would expect.

Family is important to Ravenna but so is king and country. Under the guidance of her Uncle Walter, Ravenna is sent to the Scottish Highlands under the guise of a governess. She’s determined to fulfill her duty and obligations—well, only if a certain brawny Highland laird doesn’t continue to muddle her thoughts.
How far would you go for something you believe in?

Costumed guides at Linlithgow Palace

Victoria lives in western Pennsylvania with her husband of twenty one years and their two beautiful children—not to mention one spoiled dog. When she is not plotting her next Scottish adventure, she’s dragging her clan to every Scottish festival under the sun. Visit her at victoriarobertsauthor.com.

Facebook: link
Goodreads: link

Sourcebooks is giving away a print copy of MY HIGHLAND SPY to one randomly selected commenter in the US and Canada.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about spywork - could you be a spy?

2.  Comments are open through Satruday, September 6, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 7.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

13507532X Marks the Scot (Bad Boys of the Highlands, #2)17412365


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Aloha to Jenna Jaxon and TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE


Today is Medieval Monday with Jenna Jaxon!  She joins us with a special guest post - her favorite historical movies!  Please join me in welcoming Jenna Jaxon ...

I love history. I grew up in the historic town of Petersburg, VA. I began my college career as a History major, and I write historical romance. So of course I’m a fan of historical movies.

I was surprised that I ended up having to limit my list to ten and to limit the time period to pre-20th century (with one notable exception). What I also realized as I put the list together was that all of these movies has a romance either at its core, or at least tangentially. Likely that’s why I like them so much.

My top ten historical movies (in no particular order):

1. Gone With the Wind—one of the first historical films that made a big impression on me. Clark Gable is the epitome of the romantic hero, even to a girl of 13.

2. The Wind and the Lion—not sure how many will have seen this. Loved Sean Connery as a Berber; Candice Bergen is more than his match. Unrequited love, but the romance is there.

3. The Lion in Winter—Not a traditional romance. Christmas in 1189 with King Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine and their three sons. It’s a very funny movie, but you see the love between Henry and Eleanor.

4. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves—I’ve watched this one so many times I can recite the dialogue for you. LOL Just a wonderful costume action movie with a great cast and story.

5. Dances with Wolves—another Kevin Costner movie that I will immediately sit down and watch if it comes on television. The attention to detail and production values are gorgeous, the story moving, the casting excellent. I can only watch up to the point where he’s captured by the soldiers. After that, it’s too painful.

6. Titanic—the only movie on my list set in the 20th century. But this movie again has stunning attention to historical detail and the story is so moving. Technically not a romance, as there’s no true HEA, despite the final moments.

7. The Patriot—romance takes a back seat to fatherly love in this wonderful movie. Again, casting and a moving story set this apart for me.

8. Braveheart—More Mel Gibson and despite all the brouhaha about the historical inaccuracies, the feeling of the savagery of the period comes through vividly, as does Wallace’s passion for his wife and his country.

9. Les Miserables—I was such a fan of the musical I was overjoyed when the movie lived up to all my expectations. This movie captures all the emotions: love, hate, fear, jealousy, patriotism with music that lifts your heart to hear it.

10. Last of the Mohicans—The version with Daniel Day-Lewis. The story details the clash of cultures overcome by love. The scene on the rock between Hawkeye and Cora is one of the hottest love scenes, in my opinion.

Mahalo, Jenna, for sharing this great list with us!  I've become a history buff as a result of becoming a historical romance fan!  


White Castle in Wales

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her debut novel, Only Scandal Will Do, is the first in her House of Pleasure series, set in Georgian London. Her medieval novel, Time Enough to Love, is a Romeo & Juliet-esque tale, set at the time of the Black Death.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.


Jenna is giving away a digital copy of TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE:

When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.

From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.

As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about your favorite historical movie.  As I prepare this blog, INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE is playing on Spike TV.  How can I resist Harrison Ford and Sean Connery?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, September 6, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 7.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Caerphilly Castle in Wales 

September is a Romance to Remember


9/1: US Labor Day with Jenna Jaxon's TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE

plus Victoria Robert's MY HIGHLAND SPY
9/2: Jeanell Bolton’s WHAT THE HEART WANTS
9/3: State of Romance - Delaware
9/4: 
 GI BRIDES: THE WARIME GIRLS WHO CROSSED THE ATLANTIC FOR LOVE by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi
9/5: Caridad Pineiro's ONE SPECIAL NIGHT

plus ML Buchman's LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
9/6: Celebrate Little Victories - Lisa Sugarman's LIFE IT IS WHAT IT IS
9/7: Weekly Winners
9/8: Monday Night Romance
plus Samatha Grace's IN BED WITH A ROGUE

9/9: Leslie Well's COME DANCING
9/10: State of Romance - Ohio
9/11: Heather Ashby's NEVER FORGET 

9/12: 
Sandra Owens' CRAZY FOR HER
9/13: Celebrate Little Victories
9/14: Weekly Winners
9/15: Monday Night Romance

9/16: Christi Caldwell's ALWAYS A ROGUE, FOREVER HER LOVE
plus Kimberly Kincaid's STIRRING UP TROUBLE
9/17: Amanda Berry's ONE NIGHT WITH THE BEST MAN
9/18: US Air Force's Birthday
9/19: Shelley Wall's TEXT ME
9/20: Celebrate Little Victories
9/21: Weekly Winners
9/22: Monday Night Romance 

plus Amanda Forester's A WINTER WEDDING
9/23: Merryn Allingham's THE CRYSTAL CAGE
9/24: State of Romance - Wyoming

plus Rosanne Bittner's DESPERATE HEARTS
9/25: Open
9/26: 
Jill Shalvis' HE'S SO FINE

plus Jeaniene Frost's THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES
9/27: Celebrate Little Victories
9/28: Weekly Winners
9/29: Monday Night Romance
9/30: Cathy Maxwell's THE GROOM SAYS YES
 


10/1: State of Romance - California

plus Books that need MORE Attention Giveaway Hop (coordinated by Stuck in Books)
10/2: Emma Cane's WHEN A RANCHER CAME TO TOWN
plus READ PINK BLOG TOUR 
10/3: Lucinda Elliott's RAVENSDALE
10/4: Celebrate Little Victories
10/5: Weekly Winners
10/6: Monday Night Romance

10/7: Jodi Thomas' A PLACE CALLED HARMONY
10/8: Elizabeth Langston's WHISPERS FROM THE PAST 
10/9: Mia Marlowe's ONCE UPON A PLAID
10/10: Heather Ashby 
10/11: Celebrate Little Victories
10/12: Weekly Winners
10/13: Monday Night Romance - Navy's Birthday
10/14: Becky Lower's THE DUPLICITOUS DEBUTANTE
10/15: State of Romance 
10/16: Christi Caldwell's FOR LOVE OF THE DUKE
10/17: Heather Ashby 
10/18: Celebrate Little Victories
10/19: Weekly Winners
10/20: Monday Night Romance 
10/21: Heather Hey Ford's A TASTE OF CHARDONNAY 
10/22: State of Romance
10/23: Nana Malone's STROLLERS AND STILETTOS
10/24: Sheri Cobb South 
10/25: Celebrate Little Victories
10/26: Weekly Winners
10/27: Monday Night Romance 
plus Julie Brannagh's COVERING KENDALL 
10/28: Open
10/29: State of Romance
10/30: Lindesy Hall's IMMORTAL SOULS
10/31: Sally Orr's THE RAKE'S HANDBOOK GUIDE

11/1: Celebrate Little Victories - Books I'm Grateful I Read Giveaway Hop (coordinated by Stuck in Books)

11/2: Weekly Winners 
11/3: Monday Night Romance
11/4: Nancy Lee Badger's MY DARK HIGHLANDER 
11/5: State of Romance
11/6: Open 
11/7: Open
11/8: Celebrate Little Victories
11/9: Weekly winners 
plus Michele Callahan's WHITE FIRE
11/10: Monday Night Romance with the USMC's Birthday
11/11: Veterans Day

11/12: State of Romance
11/13: Open
11/14: Open
11/15: Celebrate Little Victories
11/16: Weekly Winners
11/17: Monday Night Romance 
11/18: Elizabeth Langston's I WISH 
11/19: State of Romance
11/20: Open
11/21: Open
11/22: Celebrate Littel Victories
11/23: Weekly Winners

11/24: Monday Night Romance
11/25: Eileen Dreyer's TWICE TEMPTED

11/26: State of Romance - New Hampshire 
11/27: Thanksgiving
11/28: Black Friday
11/29: Celebrate Little Victories
11/30: Weekly Winners


12/1: Monday Night Romance

12/2: Amanda Berry's CASANOVA
plus Susanna Fraser's A CHRISTMAS REUNION
12/3: State of Romance
12/4: Open
12/5: Open
12/6: Celebrate Little Victories
12/7: Weekly Winners
and Remembering Pearl Harbor Day
12/8: Monday Night Romance
12/9: Open
12/10: State of Romance
12/11: Open
12/12: Open
12/13: Celebrate Little Victories
12/14: Weekly Winners
12/15: Monday Night Romance
12/16: Nancy Badger
12/17: State of Romance
12/18: Open
12/19: Open
12/20: Celebrate Little Victories
12/21: Weekly Winners
12/22: Monday Night Romance
12/23: Open
12/24: State of Romance
12/25: Christmas
12/26: Boxing Day
12/27: Celebrate Little Victories
12/28: Weekly Winners
12/29: Monday Night Romance
12/30: Open
12/31: State of Romance



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Aloha to Ten Books with Staying Power (part 2)


Readers are challenging each other on Facebook to list 10 books that have "stayed with you".  Continuing my list from yesterday (link),


6.  Toni Anderson's DANGEROUS WATERS (link).   Once again I stepped outside my comfort zone to review a romantic suspense ... and I was rewarded with a pager turner set in Barklay Sound on the Pacific Coast.   The bonus - a capable Canadian heroine locks horns with a mysterious Canadian hero who previously served in the Canadian Special Forces - a pleasant departure from a genre flooded US military characters.   


I also recommend the next book in the series, DARK WATERS (link).


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7.  Anne Elizabeth's A SEAL AT HEART (link):  Anne Elizabeth delivers a heartfelt romance between a Navy SEAL struggling with the aftermath of a mission and a physical therapists who helps him heal.  I appreciate that Anne Elizabeth takes the reader into the heart of the warrior and the mind of a woman to honor the military families.


I also recommend the next book in the series, ONCE A SEAL (link).


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8.  Anne Cleeland's DAUGHTER OF THE SUN-GOD (link).


I wrote a short five star review to get right to point that Anne Cleeland scores a bull's eye with this action adventure set in Regeny Egypt, yes, Regency Egypt.   Hattie Blackhouse travels to Paris then Cairo in search of her parents last seen on a archaeology dig in the Valley of the Kings.   Along the way, she is coddled (and threatened) by the British, French, Egyptians, and one mysterious man as all believe Hattie holds the key to Napolean's triumph (or defeat).


I met Anne at RWA and passed along my praise for DAUGHTER OF THE GOD-KING.  She mailed me a print copy of the first book in the series, TAINTED ANGEL (link).  I look forward to reading it.


Daughter of the God-King (Regency, #2)

9.  Jill Marie Landis' MAI TAI ONE ON (link).   My list would not be complete without one Hawaiian romance.  MAI TAI ONE ON is an opus of the heart from beloved romance author Jill Marie Landis.  Set on Kauai's North Shore, MAI TAI ONE ON is a cozy mystery for a California divorcee who arrives on the island to help her uncle turn around his legendary Tiki Goddess Bar.   It becomes an action adventure when the Hula Maidens, the local halau (troupe), join the hunt for a killer.   It ends with an unexpected romantic moment that captures the magic of the Hawaiian Islands.


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10.  Cathy Maxwell's THE DEVIL'S HEART (link):  My list started with Cathy Maxwell and ends with the master storyteller of Regency Romance. THE DEVIL'S HEART is Book 3 in the Chattan Curse series. The Chattan family lives (and dies) by a 17th century curse:

When a Chattan male falls in love, strike his heart with fire from above...

Two Chattan brothers - Neal and Harry - have fallen in love despite the risk. Their younger sister, Margaret, travels to Scotland in search of the Book of Curses to save her brothers. She finds the last living male descendent, James, who reluctantly assists her .. for a price.   James doesn't believe in magic but he is desparate to help his clan. As Margaret and James fall in love themselves, the Witch has other plans for the fated couple.  Maxwell pulls out all the stops with an unexpected twist in the climatic ending that demonstrates love "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves", 1 Corinthians 13: 6-7.


I read the last third of THE DEVIL'S HEART on Turtle Beach along Oahu's North Shore.  During the dramatic scene, the beach's famous turtle Brutus emerged from the ocean to the delight of the tourists.   It was an extraordinary moment.


THE DEVIL'S HEART can be read as a stand alone novel, but I recommend the first two books, LYON'S BRIDE (link) and THE SCOTTISH WITCH (link).


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Can you share a romance novel that has stayed with you?  One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.  This giveaway is open through Saturday, September 6, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 7.


Mahalo,


Kim in Baltimore

Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Weekly Winners


We have winners at SOS Aloha ...

Victoria Roberts' MY HIGHLAND SPY
- Diane D. wins a print copy from Sourcebooks.


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Jill Shalvis' IT'S IN HIS KISS
- Kim H. wins a print copy from me.


Susan Elizabeth Phillips' HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS
- Danielle D. wins a print copy from me.

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Kristen Callihan's EVERNIGHT
- BN100 wins a book choice from my convention stash.

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Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Friday, August 29, 2014

Aloha to Ten Books with Staying Power (part 1)


I was recently tagged on Facebook by Cathy Maxwell (link) and LimeCello (link) to list 10 books that have stayed with me. I quickly scanned my reviews on Goodreads and selected the books below.  Not surprising, the books have romantic elements ...

1. Cathy Maxwell's THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT.  This is the first romance book I read ... and one that initiated my love affair of Alba - Scotland.   It is a story of a Anne Burnett, an English bride "contracted" to marry Aiden Black, the Earl of Tiebauld.  His sister initiated the contract because he is consider eccentric; Anne signed it because she was desperate for a future, even one in the wilds of Scotland.   Yet Anne falls in love with Kelwin Castle, its clan members, and ultimately Aiden.  Together, Adien and Anne help clan members emmigrate to Canada following the Highland "clearances".   Maxwell offers an afterward with the couple's descendents returning to Alba for the opening of the Scottish Parliament after the real life referrendum in which the Scots voted to govern themselves.  This is a timely book with the success of OUTLANDER on Starz and the Scots voting again this September for Independence. 


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2.  Jenny Colgan's THE LOVELIEST CHOCOLATE SHOP IN PARIS (link).   Anna Trent is injured on the job at an English mass production chocolate factory.   During her recovery in hospital, she realizes another patient is her high school French teacher, Claire.   Claire remembers Anna was a bright student who did not fully embrace her potential.  In fact, Claire helps Anna find a temporary job in Paris, working at a hand made chocolate shop for the summer.  As Anna learns the fine art of chocolate making, she takes a chance on herself.  Along the way, she embraces Paris, falls in love, and understands Claire's connection to the City of Light.   This book touched my heart.  

I also recommend Jenny Colgan's MEET ME AT THE CUPCAKE CAFE (link).


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3.  Laura Levine's DEATH OF A NEIGHBORHOOD WITCH (link).  Jaine Austen is a freelance writer living in LA with her cat Prozac.  Her best customer is Toiletmasters, "In a rush to flush?  Call Toiletmasters!".   The highlight of Jaine's day is the gossip her neighbor, Lance, brings home from his job in Nordstrom's shoe department.   Yet she finds herself entangled in a mystery every time she seeks a new writing gig.  The series includes 12 books that follow a predictable, but entertaining, plot.   

DEATH OF A NEIGHBORHOOD WITCH was particularly funny with Jaine coming to terms with her elastic waist paints and chocolate obsession in the weeks leading to Halloween.   I would expect no less from Laura Levine, a sitcom writer who also created Count Chocula and Frankenberry cereals for General Mills.  Laura reminds me with the Jaine Austen series that laughter is the best medicine.

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4.  Pamela Clare's BREAKING POINT (link).  I met Pamela Clare at RomCon 2010 in Denver - I was enchanted by all that she accomplished as a reporter.  The following year, Pamela asked me to review BREAKING POINT, Book 5 in her acclaimed I-Team series.   I could not refuse even though I shy away from romantic suspense.  Yet this story of a Navy SEAL-turned-DEA Agent kept my attention from page one.   I spent hours on my five star review, perhaps the first review I published online, so it would be perfect:

The deputized team encounters its own twists and turns in protecting Natalie, especially during the climactic loop. In fact, Ms. Clare takes the reader through a series of poignant scenes:
- the gravity defying appearance of a team member
- an unexpected opportunity for one alpha to comfort another
- Zach resolves a long standing issue on the canyon ridge.


Run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore (or library) to read this book.

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5. Susanna Kearsley's THE SHADOWY HORSES (link).  Canadian author Susanna Kearsley blends mystery, romance, and time travel for her own brand of "paranormal" novels.   I asked to review THE SHADOWY HORSES from her US publisher, Sourcebooks - I was intrigued by the heroine, an English archaeologist hired to work on dig near the Scottish border in search of the "lost legion" from the Roman occupation.   I've always been intrigued by digging up the past ... plus hubby and I have explored Hadrian's Wall.  THE SHADOWY HORSES took me back to that beloved trip as I followed the plot with characters who are not quite who they seem.   Susanna delivered a memorizing "paranormal" story that quenched my thirst for the history.

I also recommend Susanna Kearsley's THE SPLENDOUR FALLS (link).

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I'll continue my list tomorrow ... can you share a romance that has stayed with you?   One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.   Comments are open through Saturday, September 6, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 7.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Aloha to the Southern Sweethearts Blog Tour with Laura Drake, Sandra Hill, and Marilyn Pappano

 


It's a trifecta romance celebration for the three day weekend ... Laura Drake, Sandra Hill, and Marilyn Pappano join us for a cozy chat!

Kim:  A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.

Laura:  Western romances set in the dangerous world of Professional Bull Riding

Sandra:  Navy SEAL Justin “Cage” LeBlanc swore there would be SNOW ON THE BAYOU before he returned Louisian, but his grandmother is dying, and that wily Cajun matchmaker Tante Lulu has plans for him.

Marilyn:  Aha! 140 characters exactly! (I'm so not good at this Twitter thing!)  Jessy and Dalton had one incredible night together. Can they set aside the guilt, start from the beginning, and build a love that will last?

Kim:  What inspired your setting?

Laura:  I am the number one fan of Professional Bull Riding. Sweet on You takes place mostly on the road, between stops on the tour. I used my motorcycle-seat memories of the West to portray the settings.

Sandra:  I’ve always loved Louisiana since I accompanied my husband on a business trip to New Orleans many years ago. It’s almost as if I have a genetic memory of the place, even though I don’t have any direct ancestors who lived there.

Marilyn:  Except for the years the Navy sent my husband and me on a tour of the southern half of the U.S., I've lived the rest of my life here in Oklahoma. I wasn't overly impressed with it when I was a kid, but after living a lot of elsewheres, the state began looking better and better. I absolutely adore it here. The people are strong and generous, the countryside is gorgeous, the weather is . . . uh, changeable. J We've got everything here.

Kim:  Did you learn any interesting facts while researching for the book?

Laura:  Yes! I’d actually been to a PBR event at the Honda Center in Anaheim, and wanted to use it in the book, so I contacted them to see if I could get a peek ‘behind the scenes’. They were gracious enough to take me on a tour of the locker rooms and event floor. Way cool!

Sandra:  Lots of stuff about Mardi Gras, its history, the masks and costumes, New Orleans itself. The heroine in this book is a skilled mask maker.

Marilyn:  This was an easier book in that regard. It's the third in the Tallgrass series, so I've got my town laid out and I know the surrounding countryside. I know my characters now, too. Jessy works with dogs, my favorite critters in the world, so my own five fur-babies helped there. There really wasn't anything to research for the book, so all that effort went instead into getting the characters' emotions down pat.

Kim:  In your book, your characters have to find their way back to love. What’s your favorite part about the second-chance-at-love theme?

Laura:  That dreams are never hopeless. I want to believe that if you work hard enough, long enough, and want something badly enough, you can make the impossible, possible!

Sandra:  We rarely have a chance for do-overs in life; so, it’s nice when two people can find their way back to each other. Plus, I like to write (and read about) couples who have a history. They know which buttons to push on each other, both in a good and bad way.

Marilyn:  It's so hopeful! Who doesn't love the idea that they could get another shot at happily-ever-after, that they could fix—or at least atone for—what went wrong and make sure it goes right this time?

Kim:  What’s your favorite Southern food or meal?

Laura:  That one’s easy. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, and homemade sweet rolls. I came by these hips honestly!

Sandra:  Beignets, and my own Tante Lulu’s Peachy Praline Cobbler Cake (the recipe is in the back of WILD JINX).

Marilyn:  I have incredibly fond memories of she-crab soup, a specialty of the Low Country region of South Carolina. And mustard-based barbecue sauce in the Augusta, Georgia area. Oh, and the oyster stew we used to get at a little place outside one of the back gates of Camp Lejeune . . . heaven in a bowl!


A Love as Bold as a Texas Sunset . . .
Ex-army medic Katya Smith has always healed other people's pain. Now she has to deal with her own. Taking a job as an athletic trainer on the Pro Bull Riding circuit seems like the perfect escape from her grief-except Katya doesn't know anything about bulls, and even less about the tough men who ride them. She doesn't expect to fall for the sport, or for one tantalizing cowboy who tumbles her defenses.

For rodeo champion Cam Cahill, fifteen years of bucking bulls have taken their toll on his body. Before he retires, he wants a final chance at the world title-and he doesn't need some New Age gypsy telling him how to do his job. But when the stunning trainer with the magical hands repairs more than his worn muscles, everything changes. Soon Cam finds himself trying to persuade Katya to forgive her past so she can build a future . . . with him.

B&NBAM!iBooksKoboIndieBoundGoogle Play,
Amazon


Laura Drake grew up in the suburbs outside Detroit, though her stories are set in the west. A tomboy, she's always loved the outdoors and adventure. In 1980 she and her sister packed everything they owned into Pintos and moved to California. There she met and married a motorcycling, bleed-maroon Texas Aggie and her love affair with the West was born. Laura rides motorcycles: Elvis, a 1985 BMW Mystic, and Sting, a 1999 BMW R1100.

In Texas, Laura was introduced to her first rodeo, and fell in love. She's an avid fan of Pro Bull Riding (PBR,) attending any event within driving distance, including two PBR National finals. She is hard at work at her next novel.



THE BAYOU'S BADDEST BAD BOY IS BACK!
Joining the Navy was the second best thing that ever happened to Justin "Cage" LeBlanc, the rebel son of a no-account convict. The first was Emelie Gaudet, the love of his life . . . until he was forced to leave town and swore there would be snow on the bayou before he ever returned. Now, only his mortally ill grandma can bring the injured Navy SEAL back to Terrebone Parrish, where he must face his past-and Emelie, who's even more beautiful than she was all those years ago.

Bourbon Street blues singer Emelie is once bitten, twice shy. When she learns that Justin is back in town, she wants nothing to do with the once wild Cajun teenager who fled with the law on his tail-and broke her heart. But she can't deny the red-hot attraction between them . . . or his efforts to prove he's finally changed his hell-raising ways. Can she trust that this time the bad boy of the bayou will be the best man for her?



Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than 10 years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories. She is the wife of a stockbroker and the mother of four sons.

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It's been two years since Jessy Lawrence lost her husband in Afghanistan, and she's never fully recovered. Drowning her sorrows didn't help, and neither did the job she'd hoped would give her a sense of purpose. Now trying to rebuild her life, she finds solace in her best friends, fellow military wives who understand what it's like to love-and lose-a man in uniform . . . and the memory of one stolen night that makes her dream of a second chance at love.

Dalton Smith has known more than his fair share of grief. Since his wife's death, he revels in the solitude of his cattle ranch. But try as he might, he can't stop thinking about the stunning redhead and the reckless, passionate night they shared. He wasn't ready before, but Dalton sees now that Jessy is the only woman who can mend his broken heart. So how will he convince her to take a chance on him?

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Known for her intensely emotional stories, Marilyn Pappano is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly eighty books. She has made regular appearances on bestseller lists and has received recognition for her work in the form of numerous awards. Though her husband's Navy career took them across the United States, he and Ms. Pappano now live in Oklahoma high on a hill that overlooks her hometown. They have one son and daughter-in-law, an adorable grandson, and a pack of mischievous dogs.

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