Saturday, October 31, 2009

And the winners of the "Love is Scary!" tote bags are...

throuthehaze and Karen W! You are the winners of the two "Love is Scary!" tote bags. You have until November 5, 2009, to claim your totes.

Sorry I don't have a picture up this month of the totes, but I'm still awaiting delivery of two of the books from the authors. Never fear, they will be here soon. In the meantime, let's remind the winners what they've won:

Tote #1 features my autographed historical romance, THE LEGACY and signed copies of Jessa Slade's SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, Kimberly Killion's HIGHLAND DRAGON, Roxanne St. Claire's HUNT HER DOWN, and a $20 gift certificate to

Tote #2 features my autographed historical romance, THE PROMISE and signed copies of Jessa Slade's SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, Deb Stover's THE GIFT, Roxanne St. Claire's MAKE HER PAY, and a $20 gift certificate to

Here's the deal, winners: You have to fight it out. The first person to contact me by e-mail to claim her prize gets to choose her tote. The second person (according to the timestamp on my computer) will win the other tote (but there are no dog prizes here--both totes are fabulous).

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Be sure to come back on Wednesday, November 4, when we start the whole cycle anew, beginning with one of my favorite new authors, Sherry Thomas. I was absolutely floored by her debut novel, Private Arrangements, which was nominated in two RITA® categories for Best First Book and Best Historical Romance, and I was equally entranced by her followup novels. Come read what Sherry Thomas is "Giving Thanks" for, the theme for November.

In addition, I'll be giving away two tote bags again, but with a twist. More details will be posted on my contest page soon, and of course if you have signed up for my newsletter (check the newsletter link on the sidebar of my blog), you are always the first to know what's going on.

Here is the lineup for November:

November 4: Sherry Thomas, 2009 RITA® nominated author of “powerfully original” historical romance.

November 11: Tracy Madison, author of the Gypsy Magic light paranormal romance series.

November 18: Jessica Trapp, award-winning author of medieval historical romance.

November 25: Anthea Lawson, RITA® nominated husband-and-wife team and authors of spicy Victorian romance.

So if you didn't win one of the "Love is Scary!" totes, be sure to comment all month long for a chance to win a Thanksgiving tote.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Kimberly Killion

Award-winning author Kimberly Killion writes sexy Medieval romances for Zebra Books. Her debut book, HER ONE DESIRE, was a RITA® nominee, and her second book, HIGHLAND DRAGON, went into a second printing before release. Kimberly's gorgeous, dramatic novels have the sweep and intensity of Hannah Howell's megaselling Scottish romances.

Although an artist by profession, Kimberly traded her paintbrush for a pen about ten years ago. After writing and illustrating a mystical world of fairies, she began to explore the realm of romance novels. Currently, she works part-time as a college instructor in St. Louis, Missouri, where she brings her passion for words and the arts into the grueling boredom of lectures to spark the lives of hundreds of young minds.

Kimberly will put her newest release, HIGHLAND DRAGON, into the "Love is Scary!" tote bag for one lucky winner to take home.

Here's a taste of the story:

A desire that defies all limits…

and a love that was meant to be…

Scotland 1502. Akira Neish has been raised as a peasant, her belly often empty and her family subject to the cruel whims of her clan's laird. To the clan’s children, the horned shaped birthmark she bears means she is a witch. But she is neither peasant nor witch—and now the man who knows the truth has returned to claim her for his own.

Calin MacLeod has kept Akira's secrets and to avenge his father, the sensual young laird must marry her. He is more than a match for the fiery nature of the woman he adores. Yet the passion they share—and truths that can no longer remain hidden—could rip all of Scotland apart...

Romantic Times Magazine calls Kimberly's work "fascinating…well-crafted romance. The appeal of Killion's characters comes from their honor, intelligence and humanity."

You can visit Kimberly Killion’s website for contests, excerpts and more:

IMHO: In the meantime, Kimberly, tell us: do you agree with our theme? In other words, is love really scary for your Scottish hunks and lovely lasses?

KK: You’re damn right “Love is Scary!”

That’s what makes it so exciting! That’s why romance sells! Because everyone has been in love and everyone has been hurt by it. But it’s exciting…

Ever hear people talk about the crazy things they did in high school? They don’t reminisce about an assignment they had in history. They say things like, “Remember when we got busted by the cops and our parents had to get us out of jail?” and “Do you remember when James got drunk and ran straight into that lake?” and “I can’t believe that bottle cap popped out of the toaster the next day when mom put her bread in.” (ok…so we had a few parties growing up. :c))

Why do we recall those incidents over any other? Because they were scary-exciting. Just like starting a new romance. You have the new boyfriend smell. He’s funny, handsome, a gentleman…too good to be true. And that’s the part that is scary. We’ve all been hurt. We all remember the boy who broke our heart when we were young. It’s those types of memories that authors used to ramp up the internal conflict of their characters. Not only do we have to tell the story, we also have to know what it was in the hero or heroine’s past that prevent them from jumping into a relationship. More often than naught, it is because they have loved and lost and they have no desire to repeat the pain.

Such is the case with Akira Kinnon. (That’s right…I’m stepping into promo mode…) Just when the heroine in my October release, HIGHLAND DRAGON, opens her heart up to her new husband, this happens:
A Snippet

A woman emerging from the woodland caught Akira’s eye.
The courtyard was vacant, so she donned a cordial smile and awaited her acquaintance. Akira thought she'd been introduced to everyone, but evidently not. This woman was not one who would be easily forgotten. Floating over the lush foliage of the knoll, the woman glowed beneath the fading sun. Beauty and grace surrounded her every step. Flowing pale blond hair bounced at her waist. A slim figure curved neatly into slender hips under a plain ivory gown. No jewels graced her bodice or her neck, nor did she wear a plaid, but the woman carried herself with the dignity of a noble. As she stepped even closer, Akira was mesmerized by the perfection of her face. High cheekbones pointed to a mouth most men would betray their country for. Then Akira looked into a pair of silver eyes. Not a blemish of color hid in the flecks. Foreboding crawled up her spine. Immediately, Akira felt uncomfortable in her presence.
The woman embraced her in a cold hug. When she spoke, her teeth sparkled. “You must be Calin’s new wife. ’Tis such an honor to finally meet you.”
“I am Akira. And ye are?”
The woman’s smile broadened when she brushed her long blond locks over her shoulder. “I am the laird’s mistress, Catriona.”
IMHO: Whoa--sounds to me like the laird better be scared! Folks, check out the video for Kimberly's award-winning novel, HIGHLAND DRAGON, released Oct. 6 from Zebra books. And be sure to leave Kimberly a comment. For a chance to win her novel, one of my historical romances, and at least one of our other guests' books, as well as a $20 gift certificate from, tell her what you either love or hate about Halloween. On October 31, 2009, I will announce the winning entries drawn at random from all eligible participants (US addresses only, please). The winners will have until November 5, 2009, to claim their prize. Remember, check out my contest rules page if you want the scoop on how to win!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Roxanne St. Claire!

Roxanne St. Claire grew up in Pittsburgh, moved away at 17 to attend UCLA, led a colorful existence in California where she legally changed her last name from Zink to St. Claire because a TV producer asked her to, had bit parts in two well-known sitcoms (also because a TV producer asked her to), took off to Boston for a fabulous career in PR, met her husband in an elevator while she was climbing the corporate ladder, and moved from Massachusetts to Florida in a moment of insanity that she claims hasn’t ended.

After spending most of her adult life promoting and publicizing everything from solid state rectifiers (they are not what you think) to Free Fry-days at Burger King (they are what you think), she realized she didn’t want to write about target audiences, strategic objectives, or public relations tactics anymore. She wanted to write about love and danger and a cast of characters who existed only in her mind. So she quit her day job, shredded her Bloomingdale’s credit card, and spent the pre-dawn hours of the next six months writing her first book before her children opened their eyes and demanded her attention.

She eventually won enough writing contests to attract the attention of a literary agent and in 2002 got the call from Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books, who wanted to publish her romantic suspense. Since then, she's written more than twenty books for two publishers, in three sub-genres, under two slightly different names.
Publisher's Weekly says, “St. Claire will likely be one of the most talked about authors in the genre. This is an author who’s on the fast [track] to making her name a household one.” Her novels have been selected for the Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Club, have been translated into dozens of languages and routinely spend time on the Walden Books Bestseller List, including two consecutive weeks at number one.

Her Bullet Catchers series features an elite group of security and protection specialists who are considered the cream of the crop of contract bodyguards, and they are, according to their tag line, "Trained to protect. Able to kill. Willing to die. And drop-dead gorgeous."  To our delight, Roxanne is putting not one, but two of the Bullet Catchers books in the series--Hunt Her Down (Sep 09) and Make Her Pay (Oct 09)--in our "Love is Scary!" tote bags, so each of our winners will have their very own signed copy of one of Roxanne's books.

IMHO: So, Rocki, tell us what makes love scary for a Bullet Catcher, hmmmm?

RSC: Thank you so much for having me here, TJ and for putting together such a clever theme and giveaway for October! I personally don’t think Love Is Scary…not, like, say thunderstorms and giant bugs. (Amazing that I live in Florida where we have killer versions of both.) I do think that the physical and emotional rollercoaster that attraction, desire, and love put our poor li’l hearts through is definitely some scary stuff. And that’s why I love to write about it!

In my back-to-back September and October Bullet Catchers series releases, the hero and heroines are certainly sent on that ride for about 400 pages, and it never lets up. First of all, these heroes are no strangers to physical danger – a “Bullet Catcher” is a slang term for bodyguard, so my elite cadre of security specialists are never more than a page away from a gunshot, car chase, boat wreck, helicopter save, or an explosion. But these alpha dudes have soft hearts, especially when that one woman who can bring them to their knees is the one they have to protect.

In the September release, Hunt Her Down, fan favorite Bullet Catcher Dan Gallagher heads off to find a woman from his past just to make sure she’s all right, as a drug dealer she’d unwittingly helped to imprison is free and looking for revenge. Dan finds her…and a big, fat surprise in the form of a thirteen-year-old boy who is his carbon copy. For a commitmentphobe like Dan, nothing – and I mean nothing – is scarier than the ties that bind a parent to a child. Well, one thing is scarier…the way that child’s mother makes him feel. Taking Dan on that particular journey of discovery, all the while escaping bullets and baddies to protect his woman and child, was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in front of a computer.

That is, until I got to write about the Con Man – former thief Constantine Xenakis who only wants one thing: to redeem himself and become a Bullet Catcher once again. In Make Her Pay, the only way he can do this is to pass a simple test: go onboard a salvage recovery dive and discover who is stealing treasure. Simple enough…especially when he gets his hands on the thief ten minutes after he arrives. The only problem? Once his hands are on her, he doesn’t want to take them off. And she’s not really a “thief”…she’s taking what rightfully belongs to her family. Help her, and he loses his job. Do his job, and he loses her. This is one scary emotional dilemma of sink or swim.

I hope readers love both these stories and all of the men and women of my Bullet Catchers!

IMHO: Thanks, Rocki! Nothing scarier than love when the bullets are flying, is there?  Okay, IMHO followers, since we're talking dangerous men, tell Roxanne what was the most dangerous or kooky stunt you or someone you know ever pulled. Do this for a chance to win one of Roxanne St. Claire's books, one of my historical romances, and at least one other guest host's books and a $20 gift certificate to Leave your comments for Roxanne as well as at least one other guest this month to increase your chances of winning. You can always check out my contest rules for more details.

Let the danger begin!


Friday, October 16, 2009

A beautiful tote bag you CANNOT win.

You can't win it because it is mine, all mine.

Just had to share this picture of a gift a wonderful fan sent me. She hand quilted this generously-sized tote bag and used the cover of my second historical romance, THE PROMISE, for the picture. You can't tell, but the tote sparkles with iridescent gold flecks, too.

Oh, my gosh, was I thrilled when I saw this. Even more thrilled to think someone I don't even know (except through her wonderful fan mail) went to the trouble to do something so nice.

Thank you, Debi! The rest of you...envy me. Just, envy me.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Debut Author Jessa Slade!

Jessa Slade estimates that her journey to “The Call” took almost a hundred rejections over more than a decade on nearly a million final draft words, rounded to the nearest heartache.

Her debut urban fantasy romance Seduced by Shadows, Book 1 of The Marked Souls, was called “[a] rich crossover urban fantasy” by Publishers Weekly and “wonderfully addictive” by NYT bestselling author Gena Showalter. Tragically, her grandmother’s good friend called it “the trashiest thing I’ve ever read.” Which is so not true, Jessa insists.

Personally, she is afraid of failure, rattlesnakes (but not other snakes), and squishy textured foods like tapioca. IMHO intends to introduce her to bread pudding, just to see how she reacts. She has no plans, by the way, to get over any of those fears. If you are interested in stalking her, Jessa makes it simple. She can be found online at Facebook, Twitter, and other places like MySpace, Goodreads and her weekly group blog with links available at her website.

Friday, October 09, 2009

FTC regulations, blah blah blah

The FTC has come out with new regulations for bloggers and the blog world is all atwitter about it (so is the Twitter world, which I guess means they are ablogger about it). Anyway, we (bloggers) who discuss books must now discuss them in the context of how those books were acquired.

Many bloggers are upset about the new regulations, and see them as a violation of free speech, an attack on the First Amendment, and the end of the world as we know it.

I dunno.

I have more of a "wait and see" attitude about the whole thing. I don't really have a problem with disclosing how I acquired the books I give away on the blog. Primarily, I think violations of the new rules will be virtually impossible to enforce anyway, but what do I know? According to Janet Reid, whom I think very highly of, absolutely nothing, and she's probably right (scroll down in her blog about 8 or 10 comments to see my comment and her response. Scroll down to the consumer lawyer Briane P's comment to see that take on the whole dealy). Anyway, listen to her, not to me, because she's smarter about the industry than I'll likely ever be.

Regardless of the whole kerfuffle, I am a law-abiding blogger, so I've posted the text of my disclosure at the bottom of my blog. This disclosure will remain on the main page of my blog on a permanent basis or until the FTC rules fall victim to the imminent challenge it is likely to face in the Supreme Court. All you have to do is scroll to the bottom of my main blog page and you'll see it there. I think it speaks for itself. Go there now. I'll wait.

Back again? Okay, good. So, whether it is the end of the world or JAFR (Just Another Freaking Regulation), I'm covered. Now you know.

Update 10/11/09. Here'a another take on the whole thing from the Wall Street Journal online.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Deb Stover!

Ah, fall is in the air. October abounds with its images of pumpkins and turning leaves and little ones dressed as lions and witches and bears, oh my!

Yes, October can be a fun month with all the Halloween parties, but everyone knows it can have a dark side, too—just like love (you knew I was going to connect the two somehow, didn’t you?). So I’ve come up with a frightening, thinky theme for October’s IMHO: "Love is Scary!" Each guest author will take a look at her hero/heroine's emotional barriers to love.

For October, I’m doubling your chances to win a tote.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

And the winner of the "Back to School" tote bag is...


Librarypat, you are the winner of September's "Back to School" tote bag of love. Be sure you contact me at my e-mail address and send me your snail mail address by Oct 10, 2009, or I will have to award your prize to someone else. Congratulations and enjoy!

For the rest of youse guys, be sure to come back October 7, this Wednesday, for another round of fabulous authors you should know. I'm shaking up the contest a bit and doubling your chances of winning.