Tag Archives: postaweek2011

Announcing the Mistletoe Madness blog hop & giveaway

Mistletoe Madness 2011I’m going to be participating in the Mistletoe Madness blog hop starting on Friday, December 16!

This is my first blog hop, and I’m thrilled to be taking part with more than 50 book bloggers, each of whom will be hosting a giveaway.

On Friday, I’ll announce what my giveaway is. In the meantime, on PJ Schnyder’s site, you can see who else is participating so you can start checking out their blogs and maybe follow them. Between December 16-23 you’ll be able to fill out a form on PJ’s site to enter the giveaway for a Nook! (US only)

Look forward to seeing you all here on Friday!

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Video: British sailors’ Christmas wish comes true

The HMS Ocean was supposed to be at sea for seven weeks.

Seven months later, they’ve finally returned to their port in Plymouth. When they found out they’d be home in time for Christmas, they shot a music video set to Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas.

Mariah tweeted them to say they’d made her day.

I hope it makes yours, too!

Many came home today to meet their babies for the first time. One man I saw on the news coverage tonight managed to fly home for the birth of his twin girls, but had to get back to the ship afterward. What an incredible day this must be for them and their families. And an incredible night. 😉

You can see the BBC’s coverage of their homecoming on the BBC News website.

I love a great reunion story, and Christmas makes it all the better. Have you heard or read any great reunion stories lately?

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How a small community can smother your characters

As a contemporary romance writer, I know that series set in small towns and tight-knit communities are insanely popular.

But there’s also a danger that, as a series grows, those communities can begin to smother the vibrancy of later novels and their characters.

This isn’t just a danger with small-town contemporary romance. It can happen in any series that focuses on a particular community, whether that’s the ton in Regency romance or a fantastical world completely of the author’s creation.

Here are the ways communities can alienate me, the reader, and my thoughts on how to avoid it.

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Winners of the December Contemporaries to Covet giveaway!

I’m so happy to see there are lots of fantastic contemporary romance novels coming out in December. I told you my favorites last week, and asked you what you’re looking forward to reading this month. I also said I’d send a gift certificate to one commenter AND to the contemporary romance author whose novel she’s looking forward to.

The winner is…Marijane Diodati!

Marijane said she’s excited to read Catherine Mann‘s December release Hot Zone, so I’m also sending Catherine a gift certificate on Marijane’s behalf to thank her for writing such awesome books.

Everyone, this week the lovely Tracy Sumner is giving away two digital copies of her historical romance novels, Tides of Love and Tides of Passion. I’ve read Tides of Passion and absolutely LOVED it. Leave a comment on my interview with Tracy Sumner to enter the giveaway!

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Interview with Tracy Sumner – and giveaway!

Tracy SumnerA couple of weeks ago, Tracy Sumner contacted me to ask if I’d like to read one of her historical romance novels, Tides of Passion. Whenever someone asks me this, I always feel honored, but that honor is tempered with a bit of trepidation. What if I don’t like their novel? Or, worse, what if it leaves me feeling ‘meh’? What do you say in that situation?

Thank God, that didn’t happen with Tracy’s novel, Tides of Passion. I hate to sound clichéd, but it swept me away. I loved the intensity of the conflict between the hero (a small-town constable charged with keeping the peace) and the heroine (a suffragist stirring up local women to fight for their rights). Even more, I loved how realistically and maturely the two confronted their issues with each other, instead of letting their differences define them. (You can read my review here.)

Tracy’s intelligence shines through the story, and I’m thrilled to have her here so we can all get to know her better—and you get the chance to win one of her novels!

1. One thing that kept my heart pounding as I read Tides of Passion was the interplay between Savannah’s fight for women’s rights and her growing feelings for Zach. Did you choose to write about the period because of its potential for conflict between suffragists and the men they loved, or did you have other reasons for setting this series in late 19th century North Carolina?

Tides of PassionGreat question! Okay, the series starts with the novel TIDES OF LOVE. I actually dated someone who was a marine biologist, and he had worked briefly in Beaufort, NC (which is what the fictional Pilot Isle is totally based on). Anyway, the setting was one I chose based on that.

Savannah’s career came about because I lived in Manhattan during the writing of TIDES OF PASSION. So, I knew the hero of the story was the luscious older brother, Zachariah, but the heroine…? She was a New Yorker, I just knew it. And digging into the history of turn-of-the-century NYC uncovered the women’s rights movement. Voila!

I also felt that the lifesaving programs around at that time on the Outer Banks (due to the dangerous shoals and subsequent shipwrecks) was part of Zach’s passion, responsibility and despair.

2. Kensington published several of your books about ten years ago, and you’re now re-releasing them yourself digitally. What have you been up to in the years between?

Moving! 🙂 Due to my husband’s career (finance, not the military!) we move often. Anyway, I also have a fairly active graphic design career. And a four-year old! Add to that travel (I’ve been to about 50 countries and counting) I stay busy. I am writing, though, and trying to get the books out there. All due to my lack of discipline. I apologize! Loving the indie/self-pub aspect, though.

3. I hear you have an anthology coming out soon and a contemporary novella in April. What can you tell us about them?

Well, I’m part of a joint anthology in April with a group of writers. Excited. More info here.

The holiday anthology from this group is a bestseller on Amazon!

It will be a contemporary with a spring-based theme. My other release is a Victorian “light” paranormal sometime in 2012. Not sure of the date yet. And still a working title. By “light” paranormal, I mean psychic characters. No shape-shifting, etc.

4. Which of your heroines is most like you? And which of your heroes would you most like to…spend quality time with? 🙂

To Seduce a RogueNoah is my favorite hero, hands down. The sexy nerd. A marine biologist. Intelligent and surprised by passion. I just LOVE him. Though his brother Zach comes in a close second.

Heroine? Maybe Charlie (To Seduce a Rogue – releasing Jan 2012). She’s rough around the edges, driven and a little uncaring about fitting into society. 🙂 She’s a creative type.

5. Like me, you’ve been bitten with the travel bug. What’s the most spellbinding place you’ve been to? Would you ever set a book there?

Nepal? I white-water rafted for two days down the Kali Gandaki river there. Amazing! I also have a big love affair with Vietnam. My son was adopted from there – and I spent four months in 2007/2008 going through paperwork!

Tell us about Tides of Love and Tides of Passion.
I’ll put the back cover copy here. 🙂

Tides of Passion
National Reader’s Choice: Best Long Historical
Beacon Award: Best Historical

She is his greatest temptation.
He is her forbidden desire.
A battle of wills leads to love.

AN UNCONVENTIONAL WOMAN
Tides of PassionSpirited Savannah Connor is passionately committed to stamping out social injustice. Yet when she arrives in Pilot Isle, North Carolina, ready to take up a new cause, she quickly finds herself on the outs with the town constable. Zachariah Garrett is the most arrogant, infuriating, maddeningly attractive man it’s ever been her misfortune to meet. And suddenly, Savannah is fighting a whole new battle—this one against her own yearning for a man who is impossible to resist.

AN UNCOMPROMISING MAN
Ever since his wife’s death two years ago, Zachariah Garrett has dedicated his life to Buy from Amazon.comkeeping the peace. And avoiding love. But Savannah Connor isn’t an ordinary woman—and she proves hard to ignore. She’s a beguiling beauty with the power to awaken emotions Zach thought he’d never feel again, and the tenderness to help him forget his fears. And risk his heart once more.

Tides of Love

He left all he loved behind…
Will he be able to return and win her heart?

A SPURNED WOMAN

Tides of LoveElle Beaumont has learned life’s lessons the hard way–by foolishly exposing her youthful heart to love, only to have it broken when her true love fled Pilot Island, North Carolina. Now Noah Garrett is back, rekindling dreams she’d given up for lost, and turning her world upside down. Elle’s girlish yearning for him has become something more powerful than she’d ever imagined.

AN HONORABLE MAN

A man dedicated to science and rational judgment, Noah rejects all notions of Buy from Amazon.comromance…until the girl who used to cling to him like a shadow begins haunting his every thought. But even as he struggles to resist Elle’s sensuous beauty and the wildfire attraction erupting between them, Noah cannot deny that their passion is as irresistible and endless as the tides of love.

***

There are lengthy excerpts on my website, too.
@SumnerTracy
Facebook.com/TracySumnerRomanceAuthor

Giveaway!

Tracy’s giving away a digital copy of Tides of Love and Tides of Passion, so we’ll have two winners! Comment below before the end of Monday, December 12 to enter!

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Discovering the book you wish you’d written

A few weeks ago, I sat down to read a book by a new-to-me author that’s coming out soon. The premise had sounded intriguing, but to be honest, I’d requested it along with about a dozen others so by the time I started reading it I couldn’t even remember what it was supposed to be about.

So I read. And I read. And soon I started thinking, “Holy crap, why didn’t I write this book!”

Just to be clear, I don’t think I could’ve actually written this book, for many reasons. It doesn’t have a similar plot to any of my stories. The characters are very different from mine. It’s not even the same subgenre I write.

But it’s set in the same sort of world I’ve worked in for years, a world I’ve researched backwards and forwards and spent countless hours writing about for my day job: the world of major disasters.

The book I wish I’d written is Hot Zone by Catherine Mann. And this is how I tried to console myself for not having written it.

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Review: Tides of Passion by Tracy Sumner

Sizzling chemistry, a forward-thinking heroine, and a hero who would part the seas for the people he loves come together in this beautifully written story

Tides of PassionFeisty, forward-thinking activist Savannah Conner travels to an island off the North Carolina coastline in 1898 to help out at her friend’s school. Having grown up wealthy but without her father’s acceptance in New York, Savannah finds it impossible to overlook injustice—especially when women are so often the victims. Naturally, very soon after arriving in town, she starts organizing the local women to fight for their rights…and that stirs up the men who run the town.

Constable Zach Garrett is duty-bound to detain law-breakers. The last thing he needs is a suffragist who knows nothing about diplomacy or negotiation. He tries to keep the peace by mediating between her and the men she’s lambasting, but Savannah drives him crazy with her uncontrolled passions. And, since his beloved wife died in childbirth, exploring his own passions is something he’s avoided.

But the chemistry between Savannah and Zach is explosive, so much so that neither can deny themselves the opportunity to explore it.

Tides of Passion swept me away. I admit I’m a sucker for novels that are set outside of Regency and mid-Victorian England, but this novel particularly grabbed me because of its clever ways of examining gender roles and commitment in relationships.

I know. That’s not what people typically read romance for. Believe me, all the things you’d want in a romance (a clever heroine, a hot hero, witty dialogue, instant sparks and sizzling conflict between the hero and heroine) are here in spades. That’s why the novel’s exploration of themes normally taken for granted in romance came as such a delight.

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Contemporaries to covet in December – and a giveaway with a twist!

This week I’m doing something a little different. Instead of hosting an interview and giveaway with an author, I want to tell you the contemporary romance novels I’m looking forward to in December and do a giveaway with a twist.

I’ll choose one person who leaves a comment to win a $10 gift certificate to the online book retailer of their choice AND I’ll send a $10 gift certificate to the contemporary romance author they mention in their comment, on their behalf.

I want to reward not just my blog readers but the authors they love. Plus, I think a lot of published authors shy away from entering giveaway contests, but c’mon! this is one where the novelists you adore can also win.

I’ll put the nitty-gritty at the bottom of the post. Just make sure you gush about a contemporary romance that’s coming out in December that you really want to read.

So, here’s what I’ve read advanced copies of and can highly recommend.

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Review: Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis

In nearly two years of reviewing, I’ve never given a single perfect score. Head Over Heels deserves to be the first.

Head Over HeelsChloe Traeger has a reputation for being Lucky Harbor’s wild child—a reputation she’s earned by saying “Screw you” to her severe asthma and living dangerously. She does extreme sports, frees dogs from notorious animal abusers…and taunts the town’s sheriff by nudging the line between legal and stupid.

Bad-boy-turned-sheriff Sawyer Thompson gets annoyed when people cross the line into stupid. But for some reason, it particularly bothers him when cute, curvy, mouthy Chloe Traeger does it. That couldn’t have anything to do with the fact he feels he has to live an exemplary life, which doesn’t come naturally to him. Nor could it be because Chloe’s condition makes it nearly impossible for her to have sex without dying.

But Sawyer’s sure tempted to explore ways of helping Chloe work up a sweat without getting herself killed.

I know there’s still over a month left in 2011, but so far Head Over Heels is my hands-down pick for best contemporary romance of the year.

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Are men worse at writing sex than women?

The Literary Review has announced its nominees for the 2011 Bad Sex in Fiction Award.

If you’re not familiar with the Bad Sex in Fiction award, I can’t describe it any better than Jezebel magazine does:

[E]ach year the Literary Review has singled out an author who writes awkwardly enough about sex to convince readers that the winning author’s experience with actual sex acts has been limited to puppet performances put on by a middle school health teacher who had a very limited sense of irony.

Frustrated man at a laptop

rajsun22/sxc.hu

This year, male nominees far outnumber females, an occurrence that isn’t unusual. In fact, only two women have won the undesirable award since it began in 1993.

So are men worse at writing sex than women?

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