The Romance Writers of America conference was in San Diego last week–and what a beautiful setting for a week of learning, networking, meeting friends, and squeeing over books. With temperatures in the 70s, it was lovely to walk around the city, but I admit I spent most of my time indoors at conference events. Check out my album of conference photos on Facebook here. Yes, there are some pics of my fellow Jaunties!
I said the conference was last week–but for Mr. R, Little Miss R, and I, it only finished about a day ago. Once the last conference event was over–the glamorous awards ceremony giving out RITAs and Golden Hearts–we had 23 hours of road-tripping ahead of us.
We broke up the drive into two days, getting all the way from San Diego to Albuquerque on day 1. It was…a long day. Since then, I haven’t been quite sure what time zone I’m in! It’s been a groggy few days. But hey. I’m home now, where the wireless signal is good and I have a trusty coffeepot. I’m looking forward to getting back to normal…or as normal as things are with an extra fifty or sixty books in my giveaway stash. Hey, since I was driving, I might as well collect books for you all!
Let me know: if you were in San Diego, what would you most like to do? Or which author would you most want to meet–romance or not, modern or historical? To one random commenter, I’ll send a deck of those Kensington playing cards pictured, plus two contemporary or historical romances (winner’s choice!) from among those I picked up at the conference. Open internationally, winner announced on Sunday.
In my latest historical romance, Fortune Favors the Wicked, one of the main characters is a dog. She’s a hound named Captain, a very old and beloved family pet. And she’s based not on a dog, but on an orange tabby cat.
Tiger (creative name, I know) was my beloved pet for seventeen years–from childhood well into adulthood. He was as friendly and affectionate as any dog: He’d come when called, jump up to be petted, and in all ways except the barking was more like a puppy than a cat. And as you can see from the picture, he could sleep anywhere.
Even when he grew old and slow, he never lost his love of people and being petted. My parents later got another orange tabby they named Captain, so I borrowed his name and Tiger’s personality for Maggie’s dog in Fortune Favors the Wicked.
We don’t have any pets now because my husband is allergic to all furred animals—and please don’t suggest we get an iguana, because that is not happening. Truth be told, I’m ok with not having a pet right now. Taking care of Little Miss R and running a small business (that’s what it is, being a writer!) are both things I love, but they don’t leave me with any extra energy.
So for now, my pets live on the pages of my books. In Season for Desire, there were seven dogs–or maybe it was eight? In my romance debut, Season for Temptation, there’s a grumpy parrot. And in Fortune Favors the Wicked–well, there wouldn’t be a story without Captain.
Right now I’m running a giveaway on my Facebook page: once Fortune Favors the Wicked reaches 50 Amazon reviews, I’m giving away three book duos. Check it out, and please enter if you’re so inclined. You don’t need to read or buy anything to enter the giveaway. (Though if you’ve read Fortune Favors the Wicked, I’d love for you to leave an honest review on Amazon to help reach the goal of 50!)
If you have NOT read Fortune Favors the Wicked, how about a giveaway? I’ll give a Kindle or print copy (winner’s choice) to one random commenter on this post. Tell us about your pets, or if you don’t have any, tell about your favorite kind of animal! International entries welcome. I’ll post the winner on Sunday. Because I’ll be traveling to a conference, I probably won’t be able to ship the book or send a Kindle copy until July 20-ish. Just FYI. 🙂
My new (well, new-ish; it’s a reissue) novella came out Wednesday, and since it’s Friday and a holiday weekend in this part of the world, I thought it would be perfect to celebrate with a giveaway and an excerpt.
Here’s a bit from Chapter Two.
“Mr. Lochley is quite the wine expert,” Bertie told his sister and Mrs. Clotworthy. “When we were in France, he had the uncanny ability to taste a wine once and thereafter never forget the region from whence it hailed, the year it was bottled, and the vintner.”
“How extraordinary!” Miss Gage exclaimed. “How ever did you develop such a talent?”
Lochley gave her a polite smile. “You know they say Mozart composed his first concerto when he was but four or five? He was born with a propensity to play instruments and to compose music. I was born with a similar ability, only I have a very sensitive palate.”
“Some men know horseflesh, others numbers, and Lochley knows his wine.”
Lochley scowled at Bertie. It had long annoyed him that his one talent was not only one he had done nothing to develop but one that led to the innumerable and inevitable jokes about drunkenness. In fact, Lochley was rarely, if ever, drunk. And when he did seek that particular oblivion, he chose a decent brandy or a godawful gin, never a wine. He’d not waste a good wine on debauchery, and he couldn’t stand to drink a bad one.
“How interesting!” Mrs. Clotworthy said. “You do know there are several vineyards in the region around Hemshawe? I am told Hemshawe is second only to Wrotham in wine production.”
“I have heard something of it,” he answered. Wine-making was not new to England. The Romans had introduced it when they’d conquered the island. It had declined in the intervening years, but the wealthy often maintained greenhouses and grew grapes under the heated glass. Lochley had tasted any number of gentleman’s amateur efforts at dinner parties and was of the opinion the English were quite right to smuggle French wines into the country, even during the Peninsular War.
Miss Gage jumped to her feet, quite startling her companion. Lochley took an involuntary step back. He didn’t like the fervent look in Miss Gage’s eyes.
“But this is wonderful, Mr. Lochley.”
He forced himself to stand his ground, although the fire in her hazel eyes concerned him. “Why is that?”
“Because of the Hemshawe Fair! Ever since Belinda Leonard married Adam Sturridge and went north to Scotland—”
“Adam doesn’t actually live in Scotland,” Bertie interrupted.
Miss Gage waved a hand. “—we’ve been at our wit’s end. The fair is rapidly approaching, and one of the most anticipated events of the fair is the wine-tasting.”
“Oh, dear me, yes,” Mrs. Clotworthy added. “Lady Sturridge remarked just last week that the tasting would not be possible this year without a suitable judge.”
“Why not use the judge from previous years?” Bertie asked.
“Because Mr. Greenleaf was the judge in previous years,” Miss Gage said, as though the name itself was explanation enough.
Lochley tossed Bertie a helpless look. “Who is Mr. Greenleaf?” he asked.
“He was quite the expert on pinot noirs—that is the wine made in Kent,” Miss Gage informed him. Fortunately, the fervent look in her eyes had waned. “But over the winter he contracted an ague that impaired his ability not only to smell but to taste.”
“I see. I assume now that June is all but at an end, he has recovered.”
“That is just it, Mr. Lochley.” Mrs. Clotworthy climbed to her feet, and Lochley felt as though he faced half the force of Napoleon. “The ague passed, but Mr. Greenleaf’s senses never recovered. To this day, if his eyes are closed, he cannot differentiate an apple from an onion or an orange from a carrot.”
“But surely the texture—”
She waved a hand, dismissing his objection. “Lady Sturridge saw the man bite into a lime and eat the fruit without even so much as a grimace. His palate is quite destroyed.”
“That is indeed a tragedy, but I fail to see—”
“Mr. Lochley, do not be obtuse,” Miss Gage said.
Lochley exerted a valiant effort not to point out that when it came to rumors of young ladies disappearing to mysterious distant cousins for extended periods of time, he was not the one who was obtuse.
“We will put your name forth as a judging candidate. Oh, I cannot wait to inform Lady Sturridge we have saved the Hemshawe Fair!” After this pronouncement, Miss Gage linked arms with Mrs. Clotworthy, and the two ladies glided from the room as though the question were quite decided.
Lochley fell back into a chair and glowered up at Gage. “They didn’t even ask me.”
“You were doomed from the first mention of wine.”
“Your mention of wine.”
Gage swallowed the last of his port. “The truth would have come out at any rate.”
“I don’t suppose I can refuse. English wine.” He shuddered visibly for Gage’s benefit.
“You’d hardly be a gentleman if you refused to save the Hemshawe Fair.”
“I’m hardly the most chivalrous of gentlemen on my best days.” Today was certainly not one of his best days. The recent weeks in Town had not been among his best either.
Interested in reading more? Tell me your favorite thing about summer, and two readers who comment will win a digital copy of the book (must be able to read on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, or Kobo). Winners chosen randomly and announced and contacted Sunday, July 3.
Last year my friends Theresa Romain, Vanessa Kelly, Kate Noble, and I got together to write an anthology. We’d never worked together before, but we enjoyed each other’s books and thought our writing styles complemented each other. The great thing was that our personalities clicked too. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to work with these ladies. Even when we aren’t working on a project together, we like to email back and forth and keep in touch.
It’s been extra exciting to keep in touch lately because Theresa, Kate, and I are each releasing our novellas separately this summer, while Vanessa’s will be released in the fall. Theresa’s novella, Those Autumn Nights, came out on Tuesday. I love the cover, and it’s kind of cool to see Theresa’s vision for her story.
My own novella, The Summer of Wine and Scandal, releases singly next week on June 29. Here’s my cover.
I hope it looks suitably summery. Funny story about this novella. I didn’t have an idea for the plot. The anthology follows the village of Hemshawe and the Gage family through all four seasons of the year. My season was summer. So I thought about what I liked about summer. On those sultry nights, I do like to settle back with a good book and a chilled glass of wine. And what goes with wine (besides books—but then everything goes with books!)?
Scandal, of course.
So the title became The Summer of Wine and Scandal, and the plot evolved from the title. In the story, Peregrine Lochley is a wine connoisseur who gets roped into judging the wine at the local fair. There are just two problems. First of all, he has a distinct dislike for British wines. Secondly, the woman he’s falling for is part of a family who makes wine.
There’s scandal in the story too. Caroline Martin has a dark secret. She can hardly forgive herself for her mistakes much less expect anyone else to.
The novella is up for pre-order now, and it’s only 99 cents through the July 4th holiday. Theresa’s novella is only 99 cents as well. If you’re looking for a quick read while you’re at the pool or on a plane to that sunny beach, grab your copy.
Weekend before last, my mom and my daughter and I road-tripped to Louisiana for a family wedding. We’ve made the trip back to Louisiana so often since moving to the Midwest that we’re pros at packing and route-planning. Still, every time we go, something is entirely different.
I refer, of course, to the books we bring along.
Choosing books for a trip is by far my favorite part of packing. This time around, Little Miss R asked me to get a few Ivy & Bean and Nancy Clancy books for her at the library, and she also brought the Phoebe and Her Unicorn graphic novel trilogy. By the time we got home last Monday evening, she had half of one book left unread. Now that’s good estimation, Little Miss R.
I overpacked books, as usual. Some nonfiction (The Year of Living Danishly, I Want My Epidural Back, and You May Also Like), romance novels by Sarah MacLean and Elizabeth Hoyt, and my Kindle—which has about 50 books on it that I haven’t read and really, really want to. I did read three books while on the trip, which wasn’t as many as I’d thought I would. I forgot to account for the fact that on a road trip, each adult spends a significant amount of time driving and therefore not reading.
Ah well. It was a great trip, and the wedding was beautiful, and the books were good, and the TBR stayed big. And with another road trip coming up to the RWA national conference next month, I’ll get a chance to pack up more books soon.
Are you traveling this summer? What books are you going to take with you? One random commenter will get an assortment of Jaunty books, including
I Kissed a Rogue by Shana Galen
His Seduction Game Plan by Katherine Garbera
Christmas in Good Hope by Cindy Kirk
Fortune’s Prince Charming by Nancy Robards Thompson
Fortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa Romain
International entries welcome! The winner will be chosen and announced on Sunday.