Tag Archives: guest posts

Winners of the Shana Galen giveaway!

Rogue Pirates BrideThanks so much to Shana for the fascinating post on pirates, and for giving away two copies of her upcoming novel The Rogue Pirate’s Bride.

The very lucky winners are…Filia Oktarina and Linda McFarland!

Filia and Linda, I’ve emailed you asking for your address. Congratulations! I think you’ll love the book.

Everyone, if you’re a fan of contemporary romance, check out my contemporaries to covet in February post – you could win a gift certificate for yourself and a contemporary romance author!

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Winner of the Kaki Warner giveaway!

Colorado DawnThanks to everyone to commented on Kaki Warner’s guest post, One woman’s tips on writing in the male point of view. What a fun post!

The winner of a brand-spanking-new copy of Colorado Dawn is…Amel Armeliana!

Congratulations, Amel! I’ve sent you an email asking for your address.

U.S. readers, this week you have the chance to win Lisa Dale’s contemporary novel Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier.

Have a great week!

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Why do all the romance heroes have six packs? – Guest post by Roni Loren

First, I’d like to thank Kat for inviting me over here to her blog. You gotta love someone who says–I’d like you to guest post and can you make it about sex? LOL

Why, yes, yes I can actually. : )

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across this article via Twitter (where all interesting things come from) on Slate called P0rn Women Want: Why Does it Make Men So Uncomfortable?  The post was basically about this guy:

James Deen. (Pauses to snicker about the ridiculous stage names.) But anyway, apparently this guy is causing a stir because he is appealing to women-which is obviously not the market p0rn targets. Here’s what they say of Deen:

Deen has carved out a niche in the industry by looking like the one guy who doesn’t belong there. Scroll through L.A.’s top p0rn agency sites and you’ll find… just a few dozen men available…. These guys all have a familiar look—neck chains, frosted tips, unreasonable biceps, tribal tattoos. Deen looks like he was plucked from a particularly intellectual frat house.

Which of course made me think–yes, this is why most women roll their eyes at p0rn. Beyond the complete lack of story line and emotional connection, the dudes are ugly and the girls are fake-looking. If the male actors looked like Alexander Skarsgard or Bradley Cooper, I’m thinking we ladies might change our mind and take a peek.

Come on, you know you’d look.
But the reason, the article hypothesizes, that guys who are “prettier” don’t get hired in p0rn is because it makes the guys watching it uncomfortable. Because *gasp* they don’t want to have any sexytime feelings about the guys. The post says:

The straight male performer must be attractive enough to serve as a prop, but not so attractive that he becomes the object of desire.

Hmm. Okay, maybe I could see that if a guy is particularly homophobic or un-evolved. But it seemed a little far-fetched. So, of course, I asked my husband (who is mostly evolved and finds p0rn more comedic than sexy) his opinion. After a derisive snort, he said, “It’s not about guys worrying about gay feelings. The reason is the same reason your romance novels have Mr. Perfect as the hero and Ms. Average Every Day Girl as the heroine.”

And you know what? He had a good point.

In fantasy, whether it be via books or something visual, we naturally put ourselves in the heroine’s (or hero’s if you’re a guy) shoes. If the heroine is written as some gorgeous model type who never gains a pound, never has an insecurity, and who wakes up with perfect hair–none of us are going to be able to relate. So most often, romance writers create heroines we “get”. And though she may actually BE beautiful, she doesn’t know it. We only see her beauty through the hero’s eyes when we’re in his POV. (Because isn’t that really our fantasy? That the guy we love sees us as the most beautiful girl even if we aren’t to the rest of the world.)

But on the flipside, in our fantasy, in addition to having the guy be smart and kind-hearted and loving, we do want him to look like Bradley Cooper or Alexander Skarsgard. Men haven’t cornered the market on being visual, you know. It’s not to say we hold up our mates to those six-pack ab, slay the dragon, alpha standards, but everything is exaggerated in fantasy.

Which is the same reason why the guys look like they do in p0rn and the girls are the exaggerated female “ideal” (giant boobs, skinny, long hair, always ready and willing, etc.) The guys don’t want to think–damn, in order to land that kind of girl I’d have to look like Brad Pitt. They want to think, hey, I’m better looking than that frosted-tipped, tribal tattooed guy. I could totally bed this girl.


So even though men and women are built very differently, it seems we have some things in common when it comes to this. We’re all a little insecure and we all can go a little overboard in fantasy land. It does kind of make me want to write a less than perfect-looking hero though, just to make a point.

But in the meantime, you can admire the perfect abs of my hero Reid on the cover of CRASH INTO YOU. 😉  *pets*

Any thoughts on all of this? Anyone think it really is guys being afraid the pretty boys will make them think impure thoughts? And how do you like your heroes in your books? Does your mate ever give you flack for reading romance novels with half-naked men on the front?

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has.
Her debut romance CRASH INTO YOU releases January 3, 2012 from Berkley Heat/Penguin. If you want to read more posts like this one or follow her journey to debut authorhood, you can visit her writing blog FictionGroupie or her author blog. She also tweets way too much for her own good.


One lucky commenter will win a copy of Roni’s debut, Crash Into You. I’ll randomly select the winner on Tuesday December 27th. Good luck!


Filed under Author interviews, Contemporary romance spotlight

Interview with Brenda Novak – and giveaway!

Brenda NovakThis summer I picked up INSIDE, the first novel I’d read by romantic suspense author Brenda Novak, and couldn’t put it down until I’d finished. I read through the night and lost my heart to its hero, a man who spent his entire adulthood in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and is still paying for crimes he did commit while locked away.

I leapt on the opportunity to review her entire Bulletproof series, and I’m thrilled to say that Brenda’s here today answering my questions and giving away IN CLOSE, the last in the series (which you can easily read on its own if you haven’t read the other two).

Thanks for being here, Brenda!

1. You say on your website, “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….” Being a bestselling author, mother of five, and organizer of a major annual fundraiser for a cure to diabetes, do you still get time to read? If so, what recently published novels have you learned from?

Inside by Brenda NovakI do still read. I think I’d go crazy if I didn’t. I’m writing so much that I have to be putting something back in the well to draw from.

I just finished CHILL FACTOR by Sandra Brown. Fabulous example of plotting and character development. Really enjoyed it. I’ve also recently read ROOM by Emma Donaghue, whose clever use of POV (it’s told completely from the point-of-view of a little boy) really makes that story shine. I’m currently reading Ted Dekkar’s latest futuristic. I’m not very far into it, but I’m enjoying it.

2. My freshman year of college, I regularly volunteered in Cook County Jail in Chicago, and ever since then I’ve been interested in artistic portrayals of prison life. I devoured the first novel in your Bulletproof series, INSIDE, which features a hero who has been released from prison and a heroine who’s an assistant deputy warden. Can you tell us what inspired you to write it? Continue reading


Filed under Author interviews

Kristan Higgins interview – and giveaway!

Kristan HigginsWhile I was preparing for this interview, I cruised on over to Kristan’s website and stalked her did some research into her life. I clicked on the link to her blog and ended up spending TWO HOURS reading her posts.

I’ve never spent that long on anyone’s blog before – not even mine.

Kristan’s novels have the same effect on me. They suck me in and don’t let go until I’ve sobbed my way through the happily-ever-after. If you like romance featuring strong, quirky families, lots of dogs and even more smooching, Kristan Higgins is your gal.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Kristan, and for giving away a copy of your latest release, UNTIL THERE WAS YOU!

Absolutely my pleasure, Kat!

1. One of countless things I love about your books is the strong sense of community you build. It makes me think that living in a small town must kick city-life’s ass. Is there anything bad about life in a small town (I ask this as someone who’s moving from London to the vast emptiness of the northern Netherlands, so please say no)? How do your communities challenge your characters and help them grow?

All I Ever WantedAnything bad about a small town? Er, um, of course not! Small town life is perfect! Especially if you love people knowing you perhaps a bit better than  you’d like, eating at the same restaurant over and over and over, being viewed as exactly the same person you were when you were thirteen and threw up in math class, no, there’s not one drawback!

I think life in a small town challenges my characters to be more than they were back when they were puking in Mr. Eddy’s class. But there’s an intimacy and caring that’s very evident in a small town; a person gets hurt, and there’s a spaghetti supper to raise money for medical costs.

I do think that’s true in big cities, too; cities are nothing more than a bunch of different neighborhoods, but there’s something about a small town that invites personal interaction.

2. Most of your novels are written in the first person from the heroine’s point of view, but UNTIL THERE WAS YOU is told in third person and lets us see things from the hero’s perspective too. What made you decide to switch things up for this one?

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Filed under Author interviews, Contemporary romance spotlight

Winner of the Rose Lerner giveaway, take 2

Turns out Random.org magically selected Rose’s critique partner the first time around, so Susanna asked me to give it another whirl.

The real winner of A Lily Among Thorns isMarian Lanouette!

Marian, send me your address, and thanks for commenting!

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Winner of the Rose Lerner giveaway!

A Lily Among Thorns coverI loved Rose’s 10 tips on writing characters with accents, and I’m so thankful that she’s giving away a copy of A Lily Among Thorns. I read it a couple of months ago, and I think the winner will absolutely love it.

And that winner is…Susanna Fraser!

Congratulations! I’ve sent you an email asking for your address, so if you haven’t received it then please check your spam folder.

Everyone, this week there’s a copy of Joanna Bourne’s much-anticipated Black Hawk up for grabs, so leave a comment on my interview with Joanna Bourne to enter!

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Ten tips on writing characters with accents, by Rose Lerner

Rose LernerAnyone who’s read one of Rose Lerner’s novels (In for a Penny and A Lily Among Thorns) will know that her characters come from a wide range of backgrounds. Rose is a master at writing accents so a reader can hear her characters’ distinctive voices.

She’s very generously written this post on how she writes characters with different accents, and she’s giving away a copy of A Lily Among Thorns to one lucky commenter!

Hi everyone! Kat already wrote a great post about how I used accents in In for a Penny and a really awesome post on writing accents generally…I’ll try not to repeat myself, or her!

British people pay a lot of attention to accents. People from different regions and different social classes have marked differences in speech, and everyone is very conscious of that fact. Of course this is true in the States as well, but I really don’t think the degree is comparable.

I can think of several British memoirs off the top of my head that extensively discuss accents, either by referencing others’ accents by specific type or talking about the memoirist’s own accent (poor Roger Moore practically had a complex about not sounding posh enough!), and anyone remember that Monty Python sketch where no one can understand the rural accents and slang at the airfield?

So if, like me, you tend to write romances that have major characters from a variety of places and social classes, paying attention to accents is important. Here are a few guidelines and tips for how I do it:

1. I never write an accent phonetically.

Writing a particular word phonetically because its pronunciation is so different or it’s unique to a particular accent, okay. Writing all a character’s dialogue that way, no. Apart from being sometimes confusing for the reader, I’m going to come right out and say that I think this is rude.

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Filed under Love your language, Writer's toolbox

Interview with Katie Lane—and giveaway!

Anyone who’s been to a Romance Writers of America conference knows that you can end up going home with hundreds of free books. I actually saw women walking around with furniture dollies carting away boxes of books.

Katie Lane copyright Dry Heat PhotographyI wasn’t quite that bad, but I did end up discovering loads of fantastic new authors. One of them, Katie Lane, writes hysterically funny, sexy contemporary romance set in the small Texas town of Bramble. If you’re looking for a good time, Katie Lane’s your gal.

Welcome, Katie!

Thanks so much for having me, Kat.

1. Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication?   Why did you start writing novels and how long did it take you to find your agent and get published? 

Going Cowboy CrazyI’ve always loved telling stories.  I wrote my first short story in fifth grade.  It was a humorous tale, and when my classmates laughed, I was hooked.  Other stories followed, but I didn’t write my first novel until my kids were in high school.  Numerous novels and rejection letters later, I finally found my agent and landed a deal with Grand Central.

There’s a reason they call it a journey.  At least for me, it took a heck of a long time.  But I wouldn’t change a second of it.  I’ve learned a lot while traveling my writing path and made some wonderful friends.

2. One of the many things I love about your books is that your heroes are (as Lori Wilde said) handsome cowboys with hearts the size of Texas. Even bad-boy Colt Lomax is loving and compassionate. What draws you to kind-hearted alpha heroes? 

It probably has to do with my husband.  He’s a big, gruff jock with a heart of gold.  I mean, who wouldn’t love a guy who helps little old ladies load their groceries into their cars, airs up the neighborhood kids’ bike tires, and dresses up like Shrek for Halloween?  So when I write my heroes I want them tough on the outside but big ol’ marshmallows on the inside.

3. Your novels are set in Bramble, a tiny Texas town which you describe as being Mayberry on Texas peyote. Being a city-girl, I have to admit that Bramble is my idea of what small-town life must be like—full of well-meaning friends and family who get over-involved in each other’s lives. Is it based on a place you know? 

Make Mine a Bad BoyNope.  I loved Andy Griffith reruns as a kid—loved the close-knit community, the innocence, and the craziness of Mayberry.  And when I traveled to west Texas on my husband’s business trips, I fell in love with the friendly people of those small towns.  So Bramble is pretty much a fictional town that’s a mixture of life experiences and a wild imagination.

4. Faith and Hope—the heroines of your first two novels—are identical twins but are each other’s opposites in almost every other way. Which one do you identify with most? 

Oh, that’s a tough one.  I guess I identify with Faith’s naivety . . . Hope’s feistiness . . . and the way they both hate to disappoint the people they love.

5. Can you tell us a little about the next Bramble story? I gather there’s a short Christmas story, followed by another novel in April? 

I just sent in the short story, O Little Town of Bramble, which will be part of a holiday ebook anthology with Jill Shalvis and Hope Ramsay called Small Town Christmas.  My story is about a sweet, good-looking farmer who discovers the girl of his dreams amid the craziness of a Bramble Christmas.  It’s great fun!

Then in April, my third book in the Deep in the Heart of Texas series comes out—Catch Me a Cowboy.  It’s about a sassy widow who discovers happiness in the arms of the biggest redneck this side of the Pecos, and I’m just head over heels in love with these characters! (Of course, I feel that way about all my characters. LOL!)


Want to win one of Katie Lane’s fantastic, fun books? Winner gets to choose between Going Cowboy Crazy and Make Mine a Bad Boy. Leave a comment by Monday September 19th to enter!


Filed under Author interviews

Interview with Beverley Kendall – and giveaway!

Most devoted romance readers will know of a fantastic site called The Season for Romance, which is packed with information and reviews about upcoming romance and cozy mystery releases.

Beverley Kendall, the powerhouse behind The Season, is a bit of a Renaissance woman. Not only has she built that incredible site, but she’s also a very successful historical romance novelist.

I absolutely adore Bev – not only has she given me the opportunity to write reviews for The Season, but she also lets me write a weekly post about contemporary romance for her blog.

She’s here today as part of my Hearts and Minds giveaway – where you can win books that appeal to your heart and mind. Giveaway details are below, but first I’m happy to welcome Bev to my blog!

1. I love that you write about (in your words) “a period when ladies strived to be genteel and dresses could barely fit through doors.” But you also make history, erm, a hell of a lot sexier than I imagine it really was (I’m not complaining!). What made you decide to write steamy historical romance?

Sinful Surrender by Beverley KendallI love the historical period, especially the 19th century. It’s an easy time to romanticize despite the realities of the living conditions and the fact that women were completely oppressed. I love the formality of courting but that the hero and heroine have all this simmering passion between them. Plus, I love my romances, historical, contemporary or otherwise, pretty hot. It doesn’t have to be frequent because I really love the buildup and sexual tension, but the payoff needs to be good.

2. Which of your heroines are you most like? And which of your heroes would you most like to…court?

A Taste of Desire by Beverley KendallLOL. That’s a good one but a hard one. Hmm, let me think. I think I’m more like Amelia so far—although I’m really like my contemporary heroine, Rachel, in Rebound the most.

Rebound is a WIP but she’s a woman who has been betrayed but the whole experience makes her stronger, more determined. When she’s upset, she’s not one to fly off the handle but keeps her anger in until it finally explodes. She’s a fiercely loyal friend but doesn’t forgive trespasses easily. She can immediately sense insincerity in people and hates fake smiles. That’s pretty much me.

3. What’s surprised you most about being a published author?

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Filed under Author interviews