Oh, wow! Check out this gorgeous lavender-honey-lemon cake that Elizabeth at Cooking Up Romance invented in honor of THE CHOCOLATE KISS. You have to see the photos on her site, it looks so beautiful and yummy.
Just for fun, a tiny glimpse of the window of the old Charlotte de l’Isle, which has since changed owners, but, with its witchy, fascinating style, once helped inspire the descriptions of La Maison des Sorcières in THE CHOCOLATE KISS. (I didn’t realize I had any photos at all of the store, but just happened upon some, from what must have been the last time I was there before they changed owners.)
So the evil Nalini Singh challenged me to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge earlier this morning. Here you go. Now I challenge YOU to do it (yes, you, I’m talking to you), plus Kristen Callihan, Jennifer Lohmann, Jessica Scott. They know why I’m picking on them. (Search your conscience, ladies. Search deep.*)
For those of you not aware, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was started to earn money for the ALS Association. (ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, if you’re wondering what I’m talking about.) People have 24 hours to accept the challenge!
Meanwhile, I’m explaining to my daughter, “Well, yes, I know I told you not to accept ridiculous dares, sweetie, but…it’s different for mommies.”
Winner of this is Kristy M. Congratulations, Kristy! I hope you enjoy it.
Giveaway today! So a couple of weeks ago, when I went to the signing that Jennifer Lohmann, Virginia Kantra, Katharine Ashe, Jessica Scott did, I was really fascinated by what Jennifer had to say about her upcoming book, WINNING RUBY HEART.
It’s coming out Sept 1, and what really intrigued me about this book is that the heroine *has actually done something wrong*. I feel as if, often, heroines get a lot of backlash if they have ever done anything other than bounce around in a ponytail and provide a foil for the hero (a hero who can probably get away, quite literally, with murder and still be considered sexy). The consequence of this, or maybe it’s a cycle, is that you don’t see nearly as many complex heroines as I would like.
So I am absolutely fascinated by the concept of this one. The heroine is a world-class athlete who was brought down in a blood-doping scandal five years before. (And she was genuinely guilty of it.) Now she’s trying to make her comeback, and the hero…he’s the man who made his journalistic career by breaking the story on her blood-doping.
I am really fascinated to read this! I thought some of you might be, too, and in discussing it, so I begged Jennifer to offer an advanced copy. And she agreed!
So if you would be interested in reading it, just comment below. It’s a regular print copy such as you would find in the store, but one of her author’s advanced copies, so if you’re willing to also leave a review for her later, that is not required by any means, but it would be lovely if you did. I love books that take risks and push our concept of what women “are allowed” to be in books (like, you know…we screw up, too, and have to make our lives over). And I would love to see a lot of discussion around this one.
So if you would be interested in reading this, too, just let me know! And a huge thanks to Jennifer for being willing to share a copy.
I’ll put an AMZ link so you can check out more info about the book if you want.
Happy reading! And thank you again to Jennifer.
In honor of Read A Romance Month, I’ve written a post about the real life power of love. It kind of means a lot to me, this post, so I hope you will check it out!
And while you’re there, you can see some wonderful thoughts from other authors who are participating in this month. PLUS, awesome giveaways! (Including today, copies of THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH, and THE CHOCOLATE THIEF.)
Seriously, check it out! There’s a lot going on there this month, all in honor of Romance!
Do you have recipes that make you think of certain people while you’re making them? Yesterday I made popovers for what may be the first time since I left my parents’ home (not sure why it’s been that long!), with that old-fashioned chicken à la king, and was thinking of my mother. (Hers are better than mine!) And tonight I made my daughter butterscotch pudding after she had her teeth pulled, and was thinking of my friend Sandy, who brought me homemade chocolate pudding after I had molars pulled five or six years ago and started the pudding-when-teeth-are-pulled tradition. Also of my sister-in-law, because once years ago I gave her some square mason jars so she could do a banana pudding presentation we saw in a magazine (I love banana pudding), and ever since she has been playing with all kinds of recipes with those, including butterscotch (maybe with bourbon?) pudding with bananas and I believe a drizzle of chocolate.
I love how the making of food can hold so many things at its heart. What recipes do you have that bring with them good memories of the person who started you making them, or the person with whom or for whom you have loved making them?
Friday Book Club, plus Giveaway! What have you been reading? Anything you recommend? Anything you’re looking forward to for the weekend?
Right now, I’m reading Purkiss’s ENGLISH CIVIL WAR, a weighty tome (literally–heavy on the wrists), but one that I’m really enjoying. It looks at the English Civil War in a very personal way, through the way individuals reacted to it/were affected by it. Quite fascinating, if you enjoy history.
Also, this past week, I was reading Jessica Scott’s BACK TO YOU. This is a beautifully written book about a marriage in trouble that really takes a very authentic, solid, real look at the effects of deployment on a marriage and a man, as that man tries to get his wife back. Jessica is an Army officer herself, and has served in Iraq, and she brings, then, this very real and insightful but also tender perspective to this couple.
And I have a signed copy of it! (This is one of the books I picked up at the signing last week, but because of the aforementioned weighty tome I ended up downloading it also so I could give my wrists a break and read on my mini iPad. Also, love that mini iPad for reading at night without turning on a light.)
So if you are interested, just mention it in the comments below. And, of course, the main purpose of the FRIDAY BOOK CLUB is for me to get good book recs. (See my selfishness? Ha! ) And also, just for us all to be able to spread the word about good books. So let us know if you’ve been reading anything good! Or what you’re looking forward to reading this weekend!
An AMZ link if you want to see more about this book.
Where are my Virginia Kantra fans? I have finished the ARC she gave me of CAROLINA BLUES (Lauren & police chief Jack’s story), and it is AWESOME as always with her books. Also, now I am greedily awaiting the next book in the series based on the glimpses in BLUES, which just goes to show how insatiable I am. A writer’s work is never done.
I asked Virginia if I could pass it on to one of you, and she said okay!! I’m so excited to be able to share it with one of you!
Note, I’ve read it, and it got a little doggy-eared from being in my gym bag one day, so just be aware that this is for people who want the story 2 months early and don’t care so much about the condition of the book itself.
The only thing I ask is, these ARCs are really meant to be review copies to generate reviews for new books, which is really important. (Reviews are always important, actually. They affect all kinds of things, including sneaky algorithms on Amazon.) So if you are interested in it, would you please also be willing to (honestly) review it on Amazon/Barnes&Noble/Goodreads/your blog (at least one of those, but more is great if you can)? This is me asking that, not Virginia. I just know personally how important those ARCs are.
If you would be interested, comment below or on my Facebook site. And I’ll random draw someone tomorrow morning.
And here’s an Amazon link if you want to see more about the book.
Friday Book Club! I have been having a great reading week. MAGIC BREAKS (Ilona Andrews) came out, and it was fantastic! Read it straight through. And just before that I was reading Julie James SOMETHING ABOUT YOU–wonderful witty dialogue, and I love the strength and career-mindedness of her heroines and how well her heroes deal with that strength. Also…a point two. Was dying laughing. You’ll have to read it, I can’t explain or it would spoil it!
Also, at the signing I attended Wednesday (photo on Facebook), I picked up Katharine Ashe‘s I ADORED A LORD, Jennifer Lohmann‘s WEEKENDS IN CAROLINA, and Jessica Scott‘s BACK TO YOU (a marriage in trouble story! you know how I like those, if they’re well done and authentic). AND a VERY SPECIAL arc from Virginia Kantra, which she has authorized me to pass on to one of you when I am done with it. CAROLINA BLUES! It is already awesome, I started it last night.
I can’t even decide which of the other books I want to start next. All of them, really, but I suppose I’ll have to choose. It’s a nice spot to be in–several great books waiting.
What about you? What are you reading? Anything you recommend? Anything you’re looking forward to?
Some blogs do a weekly feature called “Thirsty Thursday” and Pakwanstripes chose this scene from SUN-KISSED for hers. (Link to her post in the comments.) What’s one of your favorite kiss scenes? (Doesn’t have to be in my books, btw! Whatever book.)
“Mack.” Anne sighed, turning. “Look. Tomorrow, I’m going to do you a favor and pretend none of this ever happened.”
“Oh, good,” he said, with a sudden angry, fierce delight, as he dropped her shoe and crowded her right back against her door. “Well, I can do one hell of a lot of things right now, then, if this is all just a fantasy.”
And he kissed her.
Just flat out kissed her. No careful approach, no slow dip in to make sure she was okay with it, no testing the waters. He just took her mouth and took it over, like she was a damn company and he was pissed off.
Like he was just going to seize all her assets and restructure her.
She felt that way. Seized. Restructured.
His mouth molded hers, dipping straight into hers, his arms tightening on either side of her body until she was locked between his forearms on the door. They pressed against her sides, and then they were curving around her back. And then they were hauling her up into him, as he kept on kissing.
Kissed her until she couldn’t think or breathe, until she couldn’t get her hands to either pound on him for freedom or grip him to capture this invader and punish him for his invasion.
He kissed her until she was kissing him back, until when he finally raised his head, she had no strength left. What the hell was she supposed to do without her strength? She always needed it.
Mack was breathing hard, his face all angles and danger in the lights and shadows of the porch. “Anything else you want to pretend never happened tomorrow?” he asked, with that hushed, wicked anger.
She stared up at him, trying to breathe, trying to wet her lips.
“Because I’ve got a few more ideas.”
I am trying to regroup from RWA and get organized to post a big thank you to so many people who participated in the Amour et Florand week while I was away, with links to their different posts. It was really incredible and I’m deeply touched by it. Thank you so much to so many!