Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spotlight + Giveaway: To Wed an Heiress by Rosanne E. Lortz

Publication Date: April 30, 2015
Madison Street Publishing
Paperback; 300 pages
Genre: Historical/Romantic Suspense



Haro Emison, thrust into his new role as Earl of Anglesford, discovers that his late father has left the family teetering on the edge of financial ruin. Intent on rescuing the estate, Haro abandons his long-held interest in his cousin Eda and searches instead for a wealthy heiress. But when pride and jealousy cause his plan to spiral out of control, he begins to wonder if he has made a dreadful mistake….

Eda Swanycke is enjoying her first season in London when her debut comes to a crashing halt. Jilted by her cousin, she suffers the indignity of watching Haro’s new intended lay claim to his person and position. But when a brutal murder upends the household with Haro as chief suspect, Eda must put her wounded pride aside, match wits with the investigator from London, and try, at all costs, to save Haro Emison’s neck from the gallows…

GIVEAWAY!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Blog Tour Excerpt + Giveaway: A Match for Marcus Cynster by Stephanie Laurens

Duty compels her to turn her back on marriage. Fate drives him to protect her come what may. Then love takes a hand in this battle of yearning hearts, stubborn wills, and a match too powerful to deny. #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to rugged Scotland with a dramatic tale of passionate desire and unwavering devotion.

Restless and impatient, Marcus Cynster waits for Fate to come calling. He knows his destiny lies in the lands surrounding his family home, but what will his future be and with whom will he share it?

Of one fact he feels certain: his fated bride will not be Niniver Carrick. His elusive neighbor attracts him mightily, yet he feels compelled to protect her—even from himself. Fickle Fate, he’s sure, would never be so kind as to decree that Niniver should be his. The best he can do for them both is to avoid her.

Niniver has vowed to return her clan to prosperity. The epitome of fragile femininity, her delicate and ethereal exterior cloaks a stubborn will and an unflinching devotion to the people in her care. She accepts that she cannot risk marrying and losing her grip on the clan’s reins to an inevitably controlling husband. Unfortunately, many local men see her as their opportunity.

Soon, she’s forced to seek help to get rid of her unwelcome suitors. Powerful and dangerous, Marcus Cynster is perfect for the task. Suppressing her wariness over tangling with a gentleman who so excites her passions, she appeals to him for assistance with her peculiar problem.

Although at first he resists, Marcus discovers that, contrary to his expectations, his fated role is to stand by Niniver’s side and, ultimately, to claim her hand. Yet in order to convince her to be his bride, they must plunge headlong into a journey full of challenges, unforeseen dangers, passion, and yearning, until Niniver grasps the essential truth—that she is indeed a match for Marcus Cynster.

Excerpt:

Catriona broke it. “That last fact—that Nolan loved Nigel—and yet, when it was clear there was a real risk of Lucilla seeing Manachan, realizing he was being poisoned, and raising the alarm, Nolan had to sacrifice Nigel to give the authorities and society a villain they would be content with…Having killed the one person he actually loved would account for Nolan’s descent into madness.”
Lucilla shivered. “Indeed.”
“If I may make so bold,” Phelps said, “if Nolan had intended to keep Nigel alive—to let Nigel be the laird, but for him, Nolan, to be the clever one managing the estate, and all else, from Nigel’s shadow—if that’s what Nolan had wanted, but then he was forced to kill Nigel to protect himself, that would also make sense of the blatherings Sean’s been hearing for months. Aye, and what all of us heard today up on that ledge.”
“It also explains,” Ferguson said, “why, having Nigel’s body close by, Nolan went to the ledge to talk to him—to still be close to him.”
Thomas stirred. His expression stony, he said, “I agree. If we accept that Nolan wanted revenge on Manachan, and that Nolan effectively controlled Nigel, then killing Manachan and having Nigel become laird…That might well have been the sum of Nolan’s intentions. He wouldn’t have had to shoulder any responsibility—no matter what happened, all blame would fall on Nigel’s shoulders. I can see that as being a nice revenge for Nolan. He would get to pull the strings Manachan had intended to be in Nigel’s hands, and any failures would be sheeted home to Nigel.”
They revisited various matters, recasting conclusions in the light of what they now understood, but it was clear that no doubt lingered in anyone’s mind as to the truth of what had occurred in the months leading to Manachan’s death.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Blog Tour Q&A with Julia London, Author of The Scoundrel and the Debutante

THE SCOUNDREL AND THE DEBUTANTE
by
New York Times bestselling author
Julia London

Harlequin; May 1, 2015
352 pages; $7.99 US/$8.99 CAN
ISBN-978-0-373-77951-2

The dust of the Cabot sisters' shocking plans to rescue their family from certain ruin may have settled, but Prudence Cabot is left standing in the rubble of scandal. Now regarded as an unsuitable bride, she's tainted among the ton. Yet this unwilling wallflower is ripe for her own adventure. And when an irresistibly sexy American stranger on a desperate mission enlists her help, she simply can't deny the temptation. 

The fate of Roan Matheson's family depends on how quickly he can find his runaway sister and persuade her to return to her betrothed. Scouring the rustic English countryside with the sensually wicked Prudence at his side—and in his bed—he's out of his element. But once Roan has a taste of the sizzling passion that can lead to forever, he must choose between his heart's and its forbidden desires.

Welcome, Julia!

Did you have any influence on the cover art for this novel?

Harlequin has such a great art department that they don’t really need my input. What I offer is limited, although I feel that the publisher welcomes any input I have. It’s just that I’ve discovered over the years that my talents are not in cover design, LOL. That being said, I generally provide ideas for looks I think would work, and the art department uses that as a jumping-off point. They try to incorporate my thoughts to the extent possible. For this series, we all agreed that the close-in crop of the couples was a great look, but they are the ones who came up with the poses and colors. I love them.

You worked in the White House for some time. Did you have any experiences there that made for great stories?

I had experiences that make for great dinner party stories, but that’s about it. I have never found anything from that time in my life that translated easily into a book. Except for perhaps some colorful secondary characters. Mostly the crazy ones.

Are you doing any book signings or attending any writers conferences in the near future?

I will be at Book Expo at the end of May. My writing schedule is so tight this year that I won’t have time to attend my usual haunts.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spotlight: The Promise by Ann Weisgarber

In THE PROMISE, critically acclaimed and award-winning novelist Ann Weisgarber returns with a deeply moving story about the Galveston, Texas, 1900 Storm, the worst natural disaster in the United States in the twentieth century. While there are accounts of what happened to the city of Galveston and its residents, little has been written about what happened to the families on the rural, isolated end of the island, something Weisgarber sought to remedy.

Young pianist Catherine Wainwright flees the fashionable town of Dayton, Ohio, in the wake of a terrible scandal. Heartbroken and facing destitution, she finds herself striking up correspondence with a childhood admirer, the recently widowed Oscar Williams. In desperation, she agrees to marry him, but when Catherine travels to Oscar’s farm on Galveston Island, Texas—a thousand miles from home—she finds she is little prepared for the life that awaits her. The island is remote, the weather sweltering, and Oscar’s little boy Andre is grieving hard for his lost mother. And though Oscar tries to please his new wife, the secrets of the past sit uncomfortably between them.

Meanwhile, for Nan Ogden, Oscar’s housekeeper, Catherine’s sudden arrival has come as a great shock. For not only did she promise Oscar’s first wife that she would be the one to take care of little Andre, but she has feelings for Oscar that she is struggling to suppress. And when the worst storm in a generation descends, the women will find themselves tested as never before.

The Promise, now available in paperback, received rave reviews from critics and captured the hearts of readers worldwide. Against the backdrop of the devastating Galveston hurricane of 1900, Ann Weisgarber tells a heartbreaking story with two unforgettable voices.

Paperback Edition on sale May 5th
Skyhorse Publishing
ISBN 9781629142364

THE PROMISE continues to earn kudos, most recently being selected in January by The Pulpwood Queen's Book Club as their Bonus Book of the Year. In addition to many great reviews, the novel already has earned the following honors:

  • A WNBA Great Group Read Selection, 2014
  • The Pulpwood Queens Pick for October 2014          
  • Finalist, The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction (Weisgarber was the first American to be shortlisted for this UK prize)
  • Finalist,  Spur Award for Best Western Historical Fiction
  • Finalist, The Ohioana Book Award for Fiction

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blog Tour Guest Post by Margaret Porter, Author of A Pledge of Better Times

Please join me in welcoming Margaret Porter to Let Them Read Books! Margaret is touring the blogosphere with her brand new novel, A Pledge of Better Times, the story of Lady Diana de Vere and her husband, Charles Beauclerk, illegitimate son of Charles II and Nell Gywn. Don't you love that cover? I admit to being partial since I had the pleasure of helping Margaret design it! Margaret is here today with a guest post on how the stars aligned to help her bring this book to fruition. Read on and enter to win a copy of A Pledge of Better Times!

A sweeping tale of ambition, treachery, and passion…

For generations, Lady Diana de Vere’s family loyally served England’s crown. But after King Charles II’s untimely death, her father firmly opposes James II’s tyranny. Charles Beauclerk, Duke of St. Albans—the late king’s bastard son by actress Nell Gwyn—also rebels against his newly crowned uncle’s manipulation. Secretly pledging to wed Diana, he departs for the Continent to become a soldier.

Political and religious turmoil bring about revolution and yet another coronation before Charles returns to claim his promised bride. As companion to Queen Mary II, Diana has followed her de Vere forbears into royal service. She expects Charles to abandon his military career after marriage, but he proves unwilling to join the ranks of the courtiers he despises and mistrusts.

In palace corridors and within their own household, the young duke and duchess confront betrayals, scandals, and tragedies that threaten to divide them. And neither the privileges of birth nor proximity to the throne can ensure their security, their advancement—or their happiness. 

Serendipity, the Author’s Friend
by Margaret Porter

From the outset of my career I aspired to write a historical biographical fiction, but back then I didn’t realize it would be this particular book, A Pledge of Better Times. Along the road to publication, serendipity became my greatest friend, enabling me to gaze into the faces of my characters, to read words they penned, and to follow their footsteps.

As a student and later a historian of the 17th century, I knew England’s King Charles II had a son by actress Nell Gwyn. On discovering that my family line connected with Charles Beauclerk and with Lady Diana de Vere, my interest was sparked. At the time I was completing a multi-book contract, so I tucked the couple into my “someday I need to discover more” file. When I happened to meet one of their direct descendants, whose family still holds the title bestowed by Charles II, I actually told him, “One day I’ll write a historical novel about the first duke and duchess.”

Researching their story in earnest, I benefited from various instances of good fortune, with surprising results. I was able to access the family archives in London. I often visited Diana’s portrait by Godfrey Kneller, which hangs at Hampton Court Palace. When featured in a special exhibition about 17th century women, “Beauty, Sex, and Power,” it was transferred from its usual location to a more intimate gallery, so I could examine it at very close range. A portion of it graces the cover of A Pledge of Better Times—because luckily the Queen permitted the use of the image!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Blog Tour Q&A with Tina Leonard, Author of Heart of a Bull Rider

HEART OF A BULL RIDER
by
Award-Winning, USA Today Bestselling Author Tina Leonard

When New York billionaire John Carruth is summoned to No Chance, Texas to save the local rodeo he has no idea he is going home. Now the long-lost twin to the town’s favorite son is determined to win over the people he left behind—and capture the heart of Chloe Winters, a Texan who has her own ideas of what it means to be part of a small town.

 Jake Fitzgerald, champion bull rider, didn’t know he had another half. John may be kin, but he’s still a stranger in these parts. With his billionaire brother hell-bent on changing Jake’s world, Jake knows he has to take a stand. Will he choose family—or will he take a chance on Erin O’Donovan, a woman who has always meant family to him?

The cover features real-life professional bull rider Reese Cates, whose father and grandfather both rode professionally before him. Reese says he was riding horses before he could walk (his mother, aunts, and grandmother were all barrel racers). He competes as part of the Professional Bull Riders, which includes more than 600 bull riders from the US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, and Australia. To learn more about Reese, follow him on Twitter: @reesecates. For more information about the Professional Bull Riders, visit www.pbr.com

With more than 70 books and special projects to your name, how do you create such original storylines and characters time after time?

I love to write! And I love to create.  It honestly makes me happy! I can’t imagine not writing—I love getting to know readers and other authors, and the adventure is endlessly meaningful to me. So the creative process gets charged by making new friends and constantly admiring my writing sisters’ works. If I ever get a little rundown, I head to the beach for two days. It works!

You’re known for "sexy hunks with attitude and heroines with plenty of sass." Do you consider this sass to be a part of your own personality as well?

When I read this question to my husband, he exclaimed, “Yes!” Women are supposed to be intelligent and fun and sassy. We’d be boring if we weren’t!