Archive for January, 2008

New Book!

Had to go to Walmart earlier and although lately their book selection has sucked big time, I came away with a new addition to my TBR. Karen HawkinsTO CATCH A HIGHLANDER, book 3 in her MacLean Curse Series. I have the first two in the TBR, has anyone read them yet?


When her father gambles away the family estate to darkly dangerous Lord Dougal MacLean, Sophia MacFarlane is determined to use her wiles to regain it. Forced to stake the one thing she has left — her virtue — she desperately hopes her skill can limit her losses to a few kisses…no matter how hotly tempting Dougal turns out to be.


Dougal MacLean knows that Sophia has some trick up her sleeve, but he can’t resist the challenge — or her ravishing beauty. So when she proposes a card game with most unusual stakes, Dougal is delighted to accept. But as the game ends, Dougal and Sophia discover they’ve wagered something even more precious — their hearts.

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So what is everyone reading? I’m in the middle of RIDING WILD by Jaci Burton.


He’s a Harley-riding ex-thief… she’s a gun-toting ex-socialite. Together they’ll take the ride of a lifetime in this erotic romance from an undoubted master.

Mac Canfield was the last man Lily West expected to see again, never mind aim her gun at. But there he was, the bad boy who’d broken her heart years ago — still a thief, hijacking a priceless artifact — and it was all she could do to push aside the memories of how it felt to have his perfectly chiseled body next to hers. Mac was no less shocked to see the beautiful girl next-door again, threatening to shoot him. Little did she know she was blowing his cover. He had to get her out of harm’s way without succumbing to his desire to take her on a hot trip down memory lane. But Lily has no intention of going anywhere with Mac, which means he’ll have to resort to kidnapping. Unless she agrees to let him take her for the kind of ride destined to drive them both unbelievably wild.

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Make sure you join us this week at Novel Thoughts. I’ve got Paula Quinn popping in and giving out prizes.

January 24: Paula Quinn

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We have winners! My little Diva helped pick out names from the jar and the winners of Sara’s book are……
Congrats ladies! Please email me your snail mail addresses at
mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) so the books can be sent out. Enjoy! )

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Hottest Romance Books of 2007

Have you seen this? How many of the books listed have you read? I’ve read five and have six in the TBR still.

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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about writing. Not that I don’t always think about it, but recently I have had some family issues that took up a lot of my time and left me less for what I consider to be my real job. Being a writer.


Writing is hard. It takes time and lots of it. And if you are distracted or worried then it becomes harder to concentrate on writing a book. It does for me, anyway. I mean, I can cook dinner and correct spelling and listen to the radio, all at once. Or I can check my emails and talk to my daughter about her mean boss and yell out to my son to get up and go to school, all at the same time. More or less. But if someone is ill and I need to write a book, I find it very hard to do both.


Life is a matter of juggling, I’ve decided. You toss up the balls and you try and keep them all in the air, but sometimes one or two fall down.


Writing a book is a juggling act in itself, without all the other stuff that is going on in your life. Just think, you have a storyline to keep an eye on, to see that it doesn’t slump or lose its way, but neither should it be so breathtakingly non-stop that the reader never gets a moment to consider what has happened and what might happen next. Then, you have a plot that needs to be fed into the story a bit at a time, and there should be a climax of course, but before that you need lots of little climaxes and a black moment or two. The characters shouldn’t change their personalities from one scene to the next, they need to come across as real people not vague shapes, and they need to grow emotionally throughout the book. Then there’s conflict between the characters and the promise of romance but not quite until the time is right. Resolve all the issues too soon and the book goes flop. And of course, there’s the romance itself, and making sure you incorporate enough of it into the story, and sex, depending on whether this is a sweet romance or something hotter.


Okay. Next we have sentence structure, spelling, grammar, continuity, anachronisms, research etc etc.. Every bit plays its part, but all those balls need to be in the air as you’re writing. So much to consider and remember. Sometimes I don’t know why I write.


But of course I do know.


I love it. There’s nothing else I’d rather do. There’s something so satisfying in creating a story and characters from your own mind, then seeing them come to life. And then the experience of other people believing in that story and those characters, and finding such enjoyment in them that they are compelled to write to you and tell you so.


So what have I concluded from all my thinking? Life will always have its ups and downs; it will never run perfectly smoothly. Do your best, that’s all anyone can do. So back straight, head up, smile, and…juggle!


Editor’s Note: Sara has two autographed copies of her latest book, A Seduction in Scarlet, to give away if you comment on her blog. Good luck!

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We have winners! My little Diva helped pick out three names from the jar and the winners of Jennifer’s book are……
Congrats ladies! Please email me your snail mail addresses at
mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) so the books can be sent out. Enjoy! 🙂

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 You won’t find this in any weather textbooks, but there’s a name for this part of the year – you know, the gray, still bleak days of midwinter – it’s called the reading season.

Ok, I made that up, but nevertheless, I think it should become official. We should get a long, three day weekend where everything closes and the entire country curls up by a roaring fire with a pot of tea and a book. In fact, this scenario is one of my most enduring fantasies. It’s right up there with my other enduring fantasy…that my local news station will devote the final five minutes of its nightly broadcast to books instead of basketball, football, hockey, and baseball.

Yeah, I know, I know…but that’s why they call it fantasy, right?

One day, I might just get my national holiday of reading, but in the meantime, in case you find yourself by a roaring fire on a snowy day with nothing to do — I’ve got just the book for you…it’s my latest novel, and it’s called The Winter Rose.

The Winter Rose, second book in The Tea Rose trilogy, reunites readers with the Finnegan family. Beginning where The Tea Rose ended, on the river Thames, the novel follows the story of Charlie Finnegan – now Sid Malone – and a new female character – India Selwyn Jones.

Here’s a bit of scene setting…

The year is 1900 and the dangerous streets of East London are no place for a well-bred woman. But India Selwyn Jones is headstrong: she has trained as one of a new breed, a woman doctor, and is determined to practice where the need is greatest.

It is on these grim streets where India meets – and saves the life of – London’s most notorious gangster, Sid Malone. Hard, violent, devastatingly attractive, Malone is the opposite of India’s cool, aristocratic fiancé, a rising star in the House of Commons. Though Malone represents all she despises, India finds herself unwillingly drawn ever closer to him – enticed by his charm, intrigued by his hidden, mysterious past.

The Winter Rose brings the beginning of the turbulent twentieth century vividly to life, drawing the reader into its wretched underworld, its privileged society, and the shadowland between the two, where the strict rules of the time blur into secret passions.

One of my favorite writers, Barbara Taylor Bradford, is a big fan of the book. This is what she had to say about it: “I loved this book. It is truly seductive, hard to put down, filled with mystery, secret passions, unique locations, and a most engaging heroine. India Selwyn Jones is a new breed of woman in London in 1900, a doctor practicing in the grim East End, and she captivates from the first page to the last.”

I loved writing The Winter Rose. Loved catching up with old characters, and loved getting to know new ones. I hope that you enjoy it, too. Many UK readers – the book is already out over there – have emailed to say that they like it as much as The Tea Rose. If you have a minute or two, email me at jen@jenniferdonnelly.com to let me know what you think.

Happy reading, and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

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Make sure you join us this week at Novel Thoughts. I’ve got some great authors popping in and giving out prizes.

January 14: Jennifer Donnelly Guest Blogging

January 16: Sara Bennett Guest Blogging

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Chat Tonight!

I’m having a chat tonight at RRAH. If you’d like to pop in and talk about books or whatever else comes up, chat starts at 9:00pm EST and you can find us here. See you there! 🙂

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