Archive for November, 2008


We have a winner! The winner of Pamela’s post is………….


Congrats Zara!

Please email me at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) so we can get the book out to you.

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Happy Thanksgiving!


Popping in here to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

May all the blessings in life be yours in abundance!

Thanks for always visiting me here at Novel Thoughts! 🙂

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In the tradition of The Last of the Mohicans… and honoring the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Ticonderoga…

The sequel to Surrender


MacKinnon’s Rangers

They were a band of brothers, their loyalty to one another forged by hardship and battle, the bond between these Highland warriors, rugged colonials, and fierce Native Americans stronger even than blood ties.


Though forced to fight for the hated British, Morgan MacKinnon would no more betray the men he leads than slit his own throat—not even when he was captured by the French and threatened with an agonizing death by fire at the hands of their Abenaki allies. Only the look of innocent longing in the eyes of a convent-bred French lass could make him question his vow to escape and return to the Rangers. And soon the sweet passion he awoke in Amalie had him cursing the war that forced him to choose between upholding his honor and pledging himself to the woman he loves.

What is it about Scottish Highlanders that so many readers love? I’m not sure I could answer that question.

Is the accent, a lilt so sexy that it ought to constitute foreplay in and of itself? Is it sight of a man in a kilt and sporran? Or is it the courage and raw strength that characterized Highland culture? Your guess is as good as mine. But one thing’s for certain: romance readers devour Highlanders.

What happens when you take the Highlander out of Scotland and send him halfway around the world to America?

That’s one thing I set out to discover when I started my MacKinnon’s Rangers series. What would happen if, after the defeat at Culloden, a family of Highland Scots found themselves exiled and sent across the sea? What would happen if the parents failed to adapt to their new land, leaving their teenage sons alone on the frontier? Would a neighboring Indian tribe — perhaps the Mahican people — adopt the boys?

Something about that appealed to me—Highland Scots raised by Indians, the warrior culture of Scotland fused with that of the Mahicans. I had visions of tall Scotsmen with long dark hair wearing leather leggings and wampum armbands. I saw the Scottish warrior braids at their temples — and the Mahican warrior marks tattooed into their skin.

And I said, “Yum.”

And so Iain, Morgan and Connor MacKinnon came into being.

Of course, I couldn’t send them off into the wilderness alone, so Joseph Aupauteunk, their Mahican adoptive brother is with them. So are fellow Highlanders McHugh, Dougie, Brandon, and Forbes and stubborn Irishman Killy — all of them exiled, all of them raised on the frontier.

As I studied the history of the period and the world surrounding my Rangers began to take shape, I was surprised to find how at home they seemed beside the Mahican walking through the thick forest of Colonial New York. It’s exactly that quality that drew Lord William Wentworth to the MacKinnon brothers — their ability to fight on the frontier and to survive. It’s why he coerced them into fighting for Britain, giving them the choice between death at the gallows or commanding a Ranger unit.

Iain MacKinnon’s story is told in Surrender, my March 2006 release. Today is the official release date of Untamed. I’ve loved writing this series in part because the history fascinates me and because Iain, Morgan, Connor, Joseph and their men never cease to entertain me. Not that the books are light and funny, mind you. There is some humor involved, particularly when the Rangers are on a mission or hunkered down around a fire together.

But the New York frontier in 1759 was one of the most dangers places on earth, testing the mettle of these brave Scotsmen and their Indian allies. I’ve tried to create heroes that match their environment, bringing them together with women whose feminine courage and strength makes them worthy of such warriors. I hope you enjoy the results.

In the meantime — and just for the sake of fun — tell me what you like about Highlanders. What draws you to them? And if you had to take them out of Scotland and set their story in another place, where would you put them?

*****Leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of UNTAMED! Good Luck! 🙂

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We have winners! The winners of Andrea’s post are………….







Congrats Ladies!

Please email me at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) so we can get the book out to you.

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We have a winner! The winner of Robin’s post is………….


Congrats Lisa!

Please email me at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) so we can get the book out to you.

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Desiree is determined to hold on to her husband. She’s loved Jesse Rainwater since the day the legendary horse trainer came to work at her father’s ranch. Now, on the eve of their daughter’s wedding, Jesse hits her with a bombshell that forces Desiree to reexamine their life together.

And she isn’t going down without a fight. She hasn’t struggled all these years to lose the thing that’s most precious to her. Desiree knows they share something true and strong, even if they lost sight of it somewhere along the way. Now her toughest battle lies ahead: to prove to Jesse that theirs is a love worth fighting for.

I’ve been obsessed with books lately. Okay, let me rephrase that. I’m always obsessed with books (as a literature professor and writer it’s pretty hard not to be) but lately I’ve been even more obsessed than usual. I’m not sure what has caused this frenzy to explore authors who are brand new to me—maybe it’s that my debut novel is on the shelves NOW and I’m hoping readers will give this brand new author a chance! But whatever it is, I have to tell you. I’ve really been enjoying stepping outside my regular boundaries.

Usually, I’m a contemporary, paranormal, romantic suspense and series girl, but lately I’ve been spreading my wings. I’ve read some great new romantic suspense, some even better thrillers, and I even read—and loved—a couple historicals. And for someone who hasn’t read a historical since Julie Garwood and Jude Deveraux jumped onto the romantic suspense and women’s fiction bandwagons, that’s really saying something.

The list of new authors I’m enjoying is a really long one, but I thought I’d mention a few here. Laura Griffin’s Thread of Fear was a fabulous look into the world of a forensic artist, while P.J. Tracy’s Monkeewrench series was a ton of fun to read. Sherry Thomas’s beautiful debut novel, the historical Private Arrangements, sent chills down my spine and Anna Windsor’s Bound trilogy was an incredibly, well-done example of the paranormal genre. I enjoyed them all and can’t wait for my next trip to the bookstore to glom onto their backlists.

So, tell me, what new authors are you reading—and really enjoyng—lately? They don’t have to be new to the market, just new to you. I’d love some recommendations as my TBR pile is finally down to the bare bones.

And don’t forget to stop by tracywolff.com and enter my brand new contest for A Christmas Wedding! With the holidays fast approaching, most of us forget to take a little down time that is just for us. So in hopes of reminding you, I’ve put together a basket of essentials to help you pamper yourself—chocolate, tea, pedicure stuff and of course, a couple fabulous books from some of my favorite authors.

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Hello Everyone,

Well, it’s pretty hard to follow a post on the “Sexiest Man Alive.” But hey, my heroes are pretty sexy. Granted they aren’t movie stars (seeing as I write Regency-set historicals, that might raise a few eyebrows) but they are great dancers, gorgeous dressers and are experts at wielding a sword . . .

However, I digress.

I’m actually here to talk about my heroines. Actually, they are pretty sexy too. And they aren’t afraid of crossing steel with the men . . . and coming out on top. For you see, they are spies.

So, why spies? After watching all the old James Bond movies for more times than I care to count, I began to think—how come the boys have all the fun? They always get to be the spies. Or the pirates. (As a kid, I always wanted to be the knight who slayed the dragon, not the damsel in distress.)

Which may explain why I decided to turn tradition on its ear and create a trio of leading ladies capable of beating the men at their own game. My “Spy” trilogy is a swashbuckling, sexy series featuring three best friends who have trained at Mrs. Merlin’s Academy for Select Young Ladies, a secret school for female spies. (Think James Bond meets Jane Austen!) Bold, beautiful, and oh-so dangerous, they are England’s ultimate secret weapons—ladies that no mission can daunt and no man can resist.

In The Scarlet Spy, which hit the bookshelves last month, you will meet Sofia, the most ladylike of “Merlin’s Maidens.” She possesses a natural grace and grandeur to go along with her deadly arsenal of martial skills—which makes her the perfect choice for undertaking a dangerous dance of deception through the highest circles of London Society. Assigned to investigate rumors of government corruption, she must spin through the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair and the sinister slums of the city in search of the truth. One misstep on her part could prove fatal, so Sofia knows she can’t afford any distractions as she works to unravel the tangled web of deceit and lies. But keeping the sinfully sexy Deverill Osborne at arm’s length is a real test of her mettle.

Handsome, witty and charming, Osborne—dubbed “Lord Sunshine” by his peers—is the darling of the ton. (Definitely the Sexiest Man Alive . . . in 1813!) So when he is asked by the Marquess of Lynsley to introduce a lovely young Italian contessa into Society, he is only too happy to oblige. A little harmless flirtation is all part of the game. However he soon suspects that the contessa is playing a far more serious game. She seems drawn to the dark, dissipated side of city life, and when he catches her stealing valuables from a gentleman’s study, he’s torn between what to think. Should he believe the worst? Or should he trust the tantalizing murmur of her words . . . and the sultry, sensuous whispers of her body.

So what happens? Well, sparks fly—quite literally, that is—when they . . . Oh, but that would be spoiling all the fun! I hope you’ll want to read all about her adventure. (For a sneak peek at the first chapter, please visit my website at: www.andreapickensonline.com. And while you are there, be sure to sign up for my mailing list, and the chance to win an autographed copy of both The Scarlet Spy and The Raven Prince, the award-winning historical romance by my fabulous fellow Grand Central Publishing author Elizabeth Hoyt.)

Now, at this point you may be wondering—why set a swashbuckling story in Regency England? I admit, I’ve had some readers complain that my books are “not traditional Regencies.” Actually, I take that as a great compliment. But I’ll also point out that those who think Regency England was simply a rather boring Polite World of formal tea parties and elegant balls, governed by rigid rules of decorum are missing the real depth and texture of the era.

I love the Regency because it was a fabulously interesting time and place—a world aswirl in silks, seduction and the intrigue of the Napoleonic Wars. Radical new ideas were clashing with the conventional thinking of the past. People were questioning the fundamentals of society, and as a result they were fomenting changes in every aspect of life. For example, you had Beethoven composing emotional symphonies, Byron composing wildly romantic poetry about individual angst, J.M.W. Turner dabbling in impressionistic watercolors and Mary Wollstonecraft writing the first feminist manifestos.

So trust me, London was a pretty swinging city in the early 1800s. You had drugs, you had sex, you had bad boy—and bad girl—celebrities partying hard and flaunting their wealth. And you had women rebelling against their traditional roles. Gossip and scandal were a big part of everyday life. If you look at the satirical prints by Rowlandson and Gilray, you’ll see that they were as cutting as any press coverage today—and society just ate them up! As for sex, the lords and ladies of the Regency were pretty wild. Why do you think their children rebelled and became the Victorians? So as an author, I can’t help feeling, oh, what a perfect setting for an unconventional heroine to test her mettle.

All of which is to say that I believe historical romances can be every bit as exciting, sexy, and relevant to modern readers as contemporary stories. I hope those of you who haven’t read historicals lately will give them a try!

Thanks for having me here today at Romance Readers at Heart. And remember, everyone—books make wonderful presents for the holidays!

*****Leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of THE SCARLET SPY. There will be six winners. Good Luck! 🙂

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Rosalie Ronaldi doesn’t have a domestic bone in her body …

All she cares about is her career, so she survives on take-out and dirty martinis, keeps her shoes under the dining room table, her bras on the shower curtain rod, and her clothes on the couch …

Nick Romeo is every woman’s fantasy—tall, dark, handsome, rich, really good in bed, AND he loves to cook and clean …

He says he wants an independent woman, but when he meets Rosalie, all he wants to do is take care of her. Before too long, he’s cleaned up her apartment, stocked her refrigerator, and adopted her dog …

So what’s the problem? Just a little matter of mistaken identity, corporate theft, a hidden past in juvenile detention and one big nosy Italian family too close for comfort …

I’m a Brooklyn Italian girl. I was born there, my family lived in or around NY most of my life. Is it any wonder I set my novel, Romeo, Romeo in Brooklyn? It’s truly a character in my book.

I grew up in a real-life version of Moonstruck. Every Sunday morning my Nana would take me to early Mass 45 minutes before it started so she’d have time to say her rosary, and every other day of the week, she’d walk with me to the market on 13th Avenue. My uncle Richie owned the neighborhood butcher shop, we’d visit the bakery down the block for bread, and explore every vegetable stand, dragging a metal pull-cart to carry our purchases home. In our neighborhood, the milkman delivered twice a week and the fish man delivered every Friday.

My Sicilian Italian grandparents played a huge part in raising me. I always lived with them or within a mile of their house. They spoke broken English, listened to opera, Lou Monte, Jerry Vale, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, or Dean Martin on the stereo, and made their own wine they called Vino Fino. Like every other Italian family I knew, their lives revolved around food.

When my grandparents moved to Florida, my family and everyone else our block in Brooklyn followed—even the mailman and UPS man. Most of the neighborhood was within a few miles, so other than moving our picnics to the beach, not much about my life changed. I may have lived outside Brooklyn much longer than I lived in it, but Brooklyn has always been home and if I had the opportunity, I’d move back in a heartbeat.

Writing for me is magical; it brings me back to my grandparents’ dining room table on a Sunday afternoon. I see the family gathered passing the wine, pasta, and the other six courses, being careful to avoid hitting anything while talking with their hands, and my grandfather cutting the skin off an orange in one piece, and transforming the orange peel into a pair of eyeglasses the youngest child would wear through dessert. I hear the voices of the people I loved raise in volume as the level of the wine decanter decreases, and feel the plastic covered lace tablecloth under my elbows and the eventual smack upside the head I received for putting my elbows on it. But most of all, I feel the love that flowed as freely as the prayers, opinions, and arguments.

Brooklyn was a wonderful place to grow up, and is an amazing setting for a book. The neighborhoods have an energy to them that breathes life into me. I go there to recharge and when I write, it feels as if I’m there again. I can feel it, breathe it, and smell it, and, for a few hours a day, I’m home.

*****Leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of ROMEO ROMEO. Good Luck! 🙂

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We have a winner! The winner of Marie’s post is………….

Little Lost Lamb!!

Congrats LLL!

Please email me at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) so we can get the book out to you.

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We have a winner! The winner of Lisa’s post is………….


Congrats Cathie!

Please email me your address at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) so we can get the book out to you.

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