Category Archives: Reading

Virtual Book Tour – Lion Dancing for Love

Fabulous roses Jean Grant and Peggy Jaeger helped me celebrate a publication day for Lion Dancing with Love, in Australian and America. If you’d like to read the posts, you can click on their names for the link. I’m now on tour for the month with Goddess Fish who have put together a fabulous lineup for me. I’d love to see you pop by and say hi if you have the time.

Please note the schedule is US Eastern Standard Time, starting very early in the morning! Thank you to all my hosts – I do hope you are all making use of your schedule buttons!

Here is my schedule:

April 1: Romance Novel Giveaways

April 2: Christine Young

April 3: Straight From the Library

April 4: Edgar’s Books

April 5: The Reading Addict

April 8: T’s Stuff

April 9: Romantic Reviews

April 10: Candrel’s Crafts, Cooks, and Characters

April 11: Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!

April 12: Fabulous and Brunette

April 15: BooksChatter

April 16: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

April 17: Renee Wildes Weblog

April 18: All the Ups and Downs

April 19: Readeropolis

April 22: Joanne Guidoccio

April 22: Read Your Writes Book Reviews

April 23: Long and Short Reviews

April 24: Kimber Li

April 25: Locks, Hooks and Books

April 26: Viviana MacKade

I’ll update daily with the topic of discussion.

Deerbourne Inn Dates

Never ask a question you’re not prepared to answer. Right? In honor of the release of Lion Dancing for Love, my second contemporary romance, and a novella in the Deerbourne Inn series, here are my answers to the Deerbourne Inn author Q&A.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favorite childhood read?Dick&Jane

The first book I remember reading was a school reader about Dick and Jane and their dog Spot. Books have improved for first graders since then! The books whose titles I can actually remember were by Enid Blyton. The Magic Faraway Treewas a favorite, as was Five On A Treasure Island. I still have my copy of the latter on the top shelf of the bookcase.

What’s your favorite place to write?

I have a little red desk which is only big enough for my laptop. I like to sit downstairs in the TV room with my doggies and the family while I write.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

You can always do better. If you have time for one more revision, do it!

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I listen to my characters. They know what they want to do. Sometimes, they just want to sit and gossip over a really boring cup of coffee, and I have to cut the scene later, but it gets me going.

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I just finished reading Down & Dirty, the final book in Rhenna Morgan’s Men of Haven series. I’ve been waiting for what seems like forever for Axel’s story and he didn’t disappoint.

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

I liked the collaborative nature of the project. The idea of putting my characters into someone else’s world was intriguing and challenging.

What was the inspiration behind Lion Dancing for Love?

It’s partly a fish out of water story. I wanted to find out what would happen if I put a city girl into a small town. I also wanted to put together two people from different backgrounds and see what triumphed, the differences or the similarities.

Tell us about Lion Dancing for Lovein 100 words or less.

LionDancingforLoveLicking her wounds after a bad relationship, San Diego accountant Caitlyn Summers travels to Willow Springs to help her friend gear up for the annual Maple Sugar Ball. She isn’t planning on staying long, but one encounter with the delicious Corey Duncan has her re-evaluating her plans.

Corey swore off love when his wife Annie died from breast cancer. Caitlyn is too young, too citified, and vibrates with a passion and energy that will upend the safe, comfortable rhythm of his life.

Corey has to choose between playing it safe and taking a risk on love. Caitlyn needs to find the patience to let Corey lead. If not, the Maple Sugar Ball might end in a sticky mess, instead of a slow dance with the man who has captured her heart.

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

“You don’t have to be good at it. You have to be able to follow and count to three.”

She put her hands on her hips. It was his turn to raise a brow. “I can follow—if I choose to.”

He chuckled. “Such sass. Prove it.”

He held out his left hand, and she moved forward and placed her right inside it. He twined their fingers and pulled her into position. A heady combination of scents rose from her, vanilla and pheromones and something uniquely Caitlin. Her skin was slick against his. “Rest your head against my chest,” he murmured.

“I don’t recall that as an official position.”

“It’s the one I favor. Stand on my feet. That’s it.” He adjusted her arm, so she had a good hold around his neck and drew her even closer. “Step with your right foot first…back across, together. Forward, across, together. Back, across, together. Forward, across, together.”

Halfway through the song, he let her feet slip to the ground. At the end he kept a firm grip on her waist while he hit replay, then led her through a series of fast twirls, their bodies so close they were almost one. When the song ended, they collapsed in a heap against the wall. She was giggling.

“What?”

“I get why it was considered scandalous when it was first introduced.”

He smiled and tipped her chin toward him with a finger. “It’s only scandalous if you do it properly.” He brushed his lips softly across hers, then claimed her mouth as she breathed into him.

Buy links

DeerbourneInnSeries

You can find me online here on my blog or Facebook page and on TwitterInstagram,  GoodReadsBookbub and Amazon.

 

Deerbourne Inn Dates

Today I’m talking to Linda Carroll-Braddauthor of 51 short stories, novellas and novels in contemporary and historical romance. She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series and her book Freedom’s Path was recently released.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

The Little Red Hen. My mom said I knew if she skipped any words or turned the page too soon. She says I was reading. Looking back, I’m wondering if I had just memorized it.

What’s your favourite place to write?

My computer desk is set in a corner of an office I share with my husband. Very functional with my research books in 2 bookshelves to my left. When I need a break, I go upstairs and write in a notebook on a couch with a view of nearby mountains.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

The story is often better in my head, and my job is to make it as close to that perfect story on the page.

What do you do when you feel stuck? 

I either pick up a romance to read or I switch to another aspect of the project. If I’m creating pages, then I go back and edit, or I think of an upcoming scene and write the description for the setting.

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason and Herons Landing by JoAnn Ross

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

For the past several years, I’ve participated in several multi-author series, and I like the framework provided. In this series, the framework is the inn and the town. Because I chose to set my story before the Civil War, I had to envision what was already established in the series bible and scale it back more than one hundred fifty years.

What was the inspiration behind Freedom’s Path?

Years ago (before I started writing), quilting was my hobby, and recently, I read a book perf5.000x8.000.inddthat revealed how quilts were hung on fences or clotheslines to serve as signals to escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad. Of course, people were the ones to choose the quilt to hang, a fact which helped me form the heroine.

Tell us about Freedom’s Path in 100 words or less.

Working at the Deerbourne Inn provides Sidonie Demers the perfect cover for helping on the Underground Railroad. The quilt patterns she selects direct escaping slaves to the safest route. The cause is personal for octoroon Sidonie whose mother and grandmother escaped bondage years earlier. Army Corporal Colin Crawford arrives in Willow Springs, disguised as a salesman, to locate abolitionist activity. Raised anti-slavery, he’s conflicted about upholding the Fugitive Slave Act but believes in fulfilling his duty. The attraction is irresistible, but what happens when their true identities are revealed?

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

As he waited for Kevyn’s footsteps to fade, Colin finished his tart. His mind whirled with a topic that he worried might be too forward. After a swallow of coffee, he angled his head and met her gaze. “I saw how you broke that man’s hold. Smart move.”

Eyes wide, she gasped, rested a hand on the table edge, and crouched next to the end. “Oh, please don’t tell Missus Deerbourne that I stomped on a guest’s foot.” Her dark brows drew together. “I’m not sure she’d view my action in the same way you do.”

Her response rankled. Wasn’t the innkeeper concerned for the safety of her workers? He wished he could offer comfort by covering her hand with his. “Can you not carry a small knife in a pocket to protect yourself?”

A laugh escaped as she shook her head then gripped the band of her hat and pulled it lower on her forehead. “Not an appropriate accessory for someone in my position.”

Colin disliked the idea of her being vulnerable to a man’s mauling. “The foot stomp can take a man by surprise, but often not for long enough to effect an escape. Might I demonstrate another move that guarantees a longer distraction?” He sorted through the various moves involved in his ranger tactical training for the one most effective to someone her size. Leverage was what was needed to counter a larger foe.

“I am eager to learn.” She set the tray on the table. “What do I have to do?”

Bracing both hands on the table, he pushed himself to a stand and took a couple steps away from the bench. “Walk toward me like you’re about to grab my arms.”

A blush rose in her cheeks, and she averted her gaze. “Oh, I couldn’t, Mister Crawford.”

Her modesty produced a chuckle. “Miss Demers, don’t worry. You won’t hurt me. Remember, you’re learning a new skill.”

After a nod, she stepped forward with her arms outstretched and fingers spread wide. “Like this?”

“Keep walking.” He balanced his weight on the balls of his feet. When she came within reach, he grabbed the thumb of her left hand and bent it backward.

“Ow.” She contorted her body, back arching in the opposite direction.

He knew her movements were instinctual, with her body acting on reflex to reduce the pressure. “See how you moved to get away from the pain.” He released his hold with reluctance, because he’d enjoyed the slide of her soft palm in his.

Buy links

 Where can readers find you online?

Thank you for stopping by Linda. I love historical tidbits, and your one about the quilt is a gem.

Australian Romance Readers Awards

I was honoured and thrilled over the weekend when I was awarded Favourite Debut ARRA 2018 AwardRomance Author 2018 by the members of the Australian Romance Readers Association members. It was unexpected, and I’m still floating on a happy cloud.

The dinner was a fun occasion, as it always is. Bestselling guest of honour Abbi Glines spoke about the importance of persistence and community support, helping other authors as we would like to be helped. She really embodied the spirit of this message as after the air flight from hell, she landed in Sydney from America a day late, worked her way through an all day signing and still made it to the dinner.

Full list of winners

Members’ Choice awards

  • Favourite 2018 romance that made me cry: Maggie’s Run by Kelly Hunter.
  • Favourite 2018 romance with laugh-out-loud moment:  Chaser by Kylie Scott.
  • Favourite Australian romance of 2018: Maggie’s Run by Kelly Hunter.
Abbi Glines

Guest speaker, bestselling author Abbi Glines.

Main Category award winners

  • The Favourite Paranormal Romance for 2018 is Ocean Light by Nalini Singh. This award was sponsored by Hachette Australia and was presented by Lousie McClean.
  • The Favourite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance 2018 is Cursed by Keri Arthur. This award was presented by Cathleen Ross.
  • The Favourite Historical Romance 2018 is Marry in Scandal by Anne Gracie. This
    Penny and Joo

    With writers group members and fellow nominees Penelope Janu (left, On the Same Page) and Joanna Nel (right, The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village).

    award was sponsored by Hachette Australia and was presented by Louise McClean.

  • The Favourite Contemporary Romance 2018 is Chaser by Kylie Scott. This award was sponsored by Allen & Unwin and it was presented by Abbi Glines.
  • The Favourite Short or Category Romance 2018 is Maggie’s Run by Kelly Hunter. This award was presented by Helen Sibbritt.
  • The Favourite Romantic Suspense 2018 is Dark in Death by JD Robb. This award was presented by Alli Sinclair.
  • The Favourite Continuing Romance Series 2018 is Outback Brides by Kelly Hunter, Victoria Purman, Cathryn Hein and Fiona McArthur. This award was sponsored by Harlequin Australia and was presented by Kita Kemp.
  • The Favourite Debut Romance Author of 2018 is Laura Boon. This award was sponsored by Booktopia and was presented by Ben Hunt.
  • The Favourite Australian Romance Author 2018 is Kylie Scott. This award was sponsored by Booktopia and was presented by Ben Hunt.
Amy

With Amy Andrews, bestselling author of the Sydney Smoke series, nominee in multiple categories, and key support in bringing The Millionaire Mountain Climber up to scratch.

 

 

Cover reveal: Lion Dancing for Love

I am delighted to announce that my novella Lion Dancing for Love in the Deerbourne Inn series will be available soon. All the books are stand alone reads.

Blurb

Licking her wounds after a bad relationship, San Diego accountant Caitlyn Summers liondancingforlove_w13102_750travels to Willow Springs to help her friend gear up for the annual Maple Sugar Ball. She isn’t planning on staying long, but one encounter with the delicious Corey Duncan has her re-evaluating her plans.

Corey swore off love when his wife Annie died from breast cancer. Caitlyn is too young, too citified, and vibrates with a passion and energy that will upend the safe, comfortable rhythm of his life. Corey has to choose between playing it safe and taking a risk on love. Caitlyn needs to find the patience to let Corey lead. If not, the Maple Sugar Ball might end in a sticky mess, instead of a slow dance with the man who has captured her heart.
Will their fire burn hot enough to erase doubts and past hurts?

To find other titles in the Deerbourne Inn series, click here.

 

Cross-cultural Victorian romance alive with heart, hope and strength

After the Wedding: A Worth saga romance by Courtney Milan

The only thing more inconvenient than Camilla’s marriage at gunpoint is falling in love with her unwilling groom…

So begins the story of Camilla Worth and Adrian Hunter. I’ve always enjoyed Courtney After the WeddingMilan’s Victorian romance but I really loved this one. Humorous. Passionate. Angry. Heartfelt. As I read the final words, I was filled to the brim with the happy, bubbly, lighter-than-air feeling I get from a truly beautiful book. 

There is something heartwarmingly-everywoman about the heroine Camilla (Cam) Worth, her unquenchable spirit and hope for the future despite the fact that deep down, she doesn’t believe she deserves love. Camilla is the daughter of a treasonous earl, trying to stay hidden so as not to bring any further shame on her family. The hero, Adrian Hunter, is the son of a duke’s daughter and a black abolitionist, an artist and a businessman, strong but gentle and always willing to believe the best of everyone. Brought together by circumstances beyond their control, they work together to wrest their futures back from the men who want to deny them control of their own destinies.

Adrian gives Camilla the right to be herself, and she finds the strength and anger to fight back against with the people who would put her – and Adrian – down. He helps her to look back, and she helps him to look forward. The result is a love match started for all the wrong reasons but finding all the right reasons to continue.

Aside from her memorable characters, Courtney Milan also always digs below the surface of Victorian England to uncover bits and pieces of history that still influence us today. In this case, it is china, as in crockery.  Britain was the workplace of the world for several decades of the nineteenth century, fuelled by a rise in domestic demand thanks to a growing middle and upper working class. There’s a delightful sub-plot in After the Wedding about the creation of a fine china design for display and sale at a trade exhibition.

After the Wedding got me thinking about diversity in Victorian England. A little bit of digging on the web got me the information that there were roughly 10,000 black men and women in London at the time, more around the country, as the result of English tentacles stretching into every continent. They were a distinct minority, under threat of slavery before 1833 even although slavery hadn’t been legal in England since the time of William the Conqueror. However, they were probably not as feared or hated as the Irish. As always in England, class played the largest role in social standing. If you would like to do more research about Black Britain, I found this article from History Today, a helpful overview, although, of course, it does not delve into all the ethnic minorities that make up British society.

After the Wedding is book 2 in the Worth Saga but can be read as a stand alone novel. I did, although I have remedy this fault in my bookshelf by downloading book 1, Once Upon a Marquess, to read immediately.

5 hearts all

Blurb

Adrian Hunter, the son of a duke’s daughter and a black abolitionist, is determined to do whatever his family needs-even posing as a valet to gather information. But his mission spirals out of control when he’s accused of dastardly intentions and is forced to marry a woman he’s barely had time to flirt with.

Camilla Worth has always dreamed of getting married, but a marriage where a pistol substitutes for “I do” is not the relationship she hoped for. Her unwilling groom insists they need to seek an annulment, and she’s not cruel enough to ruin a man’s life just because she yearns for one person to care about her.

As Camilla and Adrian work to prove their marriage wasn’t consensual, they become first allies, then friends. But the closer they grow, the more Camilla’s heart aches. If they consummate the marriage, he’ll be stuck with her forever. The only way to show that she cares is to make sure he can walk away for good…

Courtney MilanAuthor

Courtney Milan writes books about carriages, corsets and smartwatches. As one does. You can find out more about her and her  books here.

 

Link

Five fabulous Australian romance novels with five winning cover designs as awarded by Romance Writers of Australia.

  • Contemporary romance: Operation White Christmas by Nicki Edwards
  • Erotic/ Sexy romance: The Veiled Heart by Elsa Holland
  • Historical romance: The King’s Man by Alison Stuart
  • Young Adult/ New Adult romance: The Finn Factor by Rachel Bailey
  • Paranormal romance (including sic-fi and fantasy): The Shattered Court by MJ Scott
  • Romantic Elements: Pretty Famous by Carla Caruso
  • Romantic Suspense: Storm Clouds by Bronwyn Parry
  • Rural Romance: Summer and the Groomsman by Cathryn Hein

Romance Writers of Australia

As writers, we pour our hearts into choosing just the right words to tell our stories – but to put a finished book into the reader’s hands, we need to rely on others’ skills.  Chief among these others is the cover designer.  A good cover can entice a reader and add to the pleasure of the story – and the best ones thrill authors!  Each year, to celebrate the blessings of the cover fairies, our published members submit their favourite recent covers for fellow members to choose the ones they like most.

The contest is over for another year, so without further ado, here are our favourite covers for this year, as judged by our members in the following categories:

Contemporary Romance:

  • Title: Operation White Christmas
  • Author: Nicki Edwards
  • Cover Design: Unknown Artist

Operation White Christmas-Nicki Edwards

Erotic/Sexy Romance

  • Title: The Veiled Heart
  • Author: Elsa Holland
  • Cover Design: Hang Le

The Veiled Heart-Elsa Holland

Historical Romance

  • Title: The…

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