Wednesday, April 29, 2009

IMHO welcomes historical author Emily Bryan!

IMHO is delighted to welcome Emily Bryan, author of light-hearted and sexy historical romance. After earning a degree in music, Emily sang professional opera, debuting with the Denver Symphony. Those wonderful stories of passion started her down the road to creative writing. For each of her operatic roles, she imagined her own backstories to motivate her character's actions.

In 2001, Emily started writing her own stories. In May 2006, her debut novel, MAIDENSONG was published by Leisure Books under the name Diana Groe. ERINSONG followed in November 2006 and SILK DREAMS in July 2007. These are epic, dramatic tales—full of passion in exotic settings.

When she wrote DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS, its light-hearted and frankly sexier style was such a departure from the first three books, her editor suggested a different pen name. Emily Bryan was born. While “Diana’s” books are grand opera--all angst and high drama—the author describes her “Emily” tales as “Gilbert & Sullivan--with sex!”

Emily will place her witty, light-hearted historical romance VEXING THE VISCOUNT in the “Coffee, Chocolate & Romance” gift basket for our April contest. She loves to hear from readers, so she encourages everyone to visit her on her website and enter her current contest for a chance to win PLEASURING THE PIRATE (her VEXING heroine Daisy is a mischievous ten-year-old in this story). So that’s a chance to win BOTH titles!

IMHO: Emily, tell us which scene in your book, VEXING THE VISCOUNT, our readers almost didn’t get to read.

EB: Thanks, TJ. Believe it or not, there are actually four scenes in VEXING THE VISCOUNT that almost didn’t get written. They are set in an entirely different time period from my central story. My hero and heroine, Daisy and Lucian, are searching for a lost Roman treasure, the yearly pay for the entire Roman Legion on Britannia. These four chapters tell readers the whole tale of how and why the treasure went missing in the first place. It’s a love story within a love story.

A freedman falls in love with a Celtic slave girl. Their story is told in a much different style than Daisy and Lucian’s. VEXING THE VISCOUNT is all about misdirection and mistaken identity. In short, light-hearted, sexy fun. The Roman Britain world is darker. Readers who enjoyed my Viking books, MAIDENSONG, ERINSONG and SILK DREAMS, written as Diana Groe, will recognize the more dramatic style.

Here’s a taste:

Londinium, 405 A.D.
The sound charmed Caius toward the garden. The girl’s voice was like a flute, all rounded and wispy with air wrapped around the tone.

And sad.

In all his life, Caius had never heard such a lament. The song weaved its melodic fingers around his heart and squeezed.

He peered from the corner of the villa into the mistress’s herb garden. The air was alive with tiny honey bees and the steady hum of green, growing things. The new girl, Deirdre, was bent over, clawing at weeds, singing her Celtic dirge as she worked.

Then the song stopped and she straightened, arms extended over her head in a huge stretch. Her palla rose almost to her knees, baring shapely calves and delicate ankles. Her feet were naked, her toes and heels grass-stained. The fading sun flashed behind her, showing the separation of her thighs and a shadow of the dark triangle of hair under her thin palla. When she leaned down to grasp a cankerwort by the stubborn root, Caius saw the outline of her breasts swinging free.

The girl yelped.

Bee sting, Caius decided.

She stuck her finger in her mouth, sucking fiercely. The innocent gesture made his body respond. He’d desired women before, but none had ever made him stiffen quite so unexpectedly.

He’d never had a woman.

When he’d been a slave, his master hadn’t permitted it. But now, Caius was a freedman. If he wished, he might take a woman to his pallet. A female slave was more prized if she proved fertile. He would bring the girl no harm if…

He walked toward her. In the Celtic he’d gleaned from the market, he told her to show him her finger. With care, he plucked out the stinger, still pulsing its venom into her reddened and swelling skin. He pursed his lips and blew softly on the spot.

Her smile washed over him like a breaker.

And he knew in an instant. He was a drowned man who hadn’t quit struggling. It was said to be not at all an unpleasant end once a man gave up.
Best to let the deep claim him.

IMHO: Wow, glad we didn’t miss that scene, lol! Thanks for sharing, Emily. And folks, since Emily is an expert on both the light-hearted romances and the darker ones, tell her when you prefer to read a light romance and when you prefer a dark one, and why. Be sure to leave a comment for Emily and at least one other guest author this month to have a chance to win the April gift basket. The more authors’ posts you comment on, the better chance you have to win! Be sure to come back on May 6 to see who our winner is for April's basket, and to welcome our first guest for May, the incredible Deanna Raybourn, author of the Julia Gray mystery series.

Emily always loves to chat with readers, so be sure to visit her at her blog.

And to whet your appetite, Emily has provided a book trailer for VEXING THE VISCOUNT. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A picture of the "COFFEE, CHOCOLATE & ROMANCE" Basket!

Okay, folks, I dragged out my camera and a blue shower curtain to get the picture of this month's basket. In it you will find the autographed books from all of our April guest hosts, as well as my debut novel, THE LEGACY. In addition, if you are the lucky winner, you'll take home a $25 gift certificate from See's Candy and a pound of coffee beans from Hubbell & Hudson, a specialty gourmet market here in Houston that roasts their own beans.

Another great gift basket (never mind my poor photographic capabilities). Please note that the candy box is a representative sample for purposes of picture-taking only. You'll be able to choose whatever you want from See's with your handy gift card. Be sure to check the rules from my contest page for minor contest restrictions.

Remember, our final guest for April will make her appearance on April 29, this Wednesday. So come on back Wednesday to visit with Emily Bryan, author of light-hearted and sexy historical romance.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

IMHO welcomes romantic suspense author Anna Louise Lucia!

IMHO is pleased to welcome fellow Medallion Press author Anna Louise Lucia to the “Coffee, Chocolate & Romance” gift basket party. Anna writes romantic suspense set in exotic locales, and is herself a resident of the very romantic English Lake District (and yes, she does have a creamy English complexion and a charming accent). With castles, mountains, stone circles, ancient woodlands, Roman roads, high moors, mirrored lakes and sweet, clear rivers on her doorstep, it’s hardly surprising that landscapes play an important part in Anna’s books. Her debut romantic suspense, RUN AMONG THORNS, featured an intriguingly dangerous interrogator into mind games who meets his match in “ordinary” Jenny Waring—a woman who turns out not to be so ordinary after all. Anna’s second release, DANGEROUS LIES, tells the story of first-time tourist Marianne Forster, who's seemingly simple Moroccan holiday romance with mysterious Alan Waring becomes a deadly game of kidnapping, death and secrets ruthless men will kill to keep. DANGEROUS LIES will be out in June 2009.

Anna will put a signed copy of RUN AMONG THORNS in our April gift basket. As she is in England and in a different time zone from most of my readers, her comments to your posts may be somewhat delayed. Never fear, she will respond to comments as soon as she can.

IMHO: Welcome to IMHO, Anna. Please tell us about the book we almost didn’t read.

ALL: Thank you, TJ. Let me tell you a secret about RUN AMONG THORNS.
I didn't get it right first time.

RUN AMONG THORNS is my debut release, a heart-pumping romantic suspense awarded 4 ½ stars by Romantic Times Magazine, with a dark, ruthless hero and the subtly strong heroine who helps him reclaim his conscience. Romantic Times called it, "excellent... and all round compelling escape" which was very kind of them, but they might not have been so complimentary had they read the first version of the tale...

You see (I'm blushing here) that first version had a really awful ending. I know my strengths: people have told me I write great emotion, good action and strong, evocative settings. But the original ending was a talking heads scene in a generic setting – an underground car park in the US. Bland, obvious... not playing to my strengths.

So I rewrote it. (I also rewrote the middle and added a sub-plot, but that's another story!) I moved my characters across the Atlantic to the remote, atmospheric, uncompromising Northumberland Coast in England. A place of bitter winds, island castles, long, empty beaches and the shrill scream of sea birds skimming the angry waves. A place I knew well.

And I used it as more than a place, too. By this time I knew Kier McAllister, the hero, very well indeed. I knew he was the type of man to use anything at his disposal – even the landscape – as a tool and a weapon. And I knew that compassionate, caring Jenny Waring was also tough and strong, and had a uncompromising sense of good and evil you could break rocks on.

So I brought the evil – and the unexpected good – to them, in a setting they could use. I suppose you'd call the ending you read now, between the gorgeously designed covers of my Medallion Press book, something of a Director's Cut.

I certainly love it. And I hope those who read it love it, too.

IMHO: I’m sure they will, Anna. And my bet is RUN AMONG THORNS' Kier McAllister is destined to become a classic “anti-hero” over whom readers will take sides for a long time to come. Thanks for sharing your story!

Folks, leave a comment for Anna and let her know if you love your heroes dangerous or safe? Be sure to leave comments for our other guests this month as well to increase your chance of winning the gift basket filled with signed books by Carrie Lofty, Madeline Hunter, Anna Louise Lucia, Emily Bryan, and yours truly, TJ Bennett, as well as a $25 gift card to See’s Candy and a one-pound bag of coffee beans to get your buzz on.

And be sure to come back next Wednesday, April 29, for our final guest this month, Emily Bryan, author of light-hearted historical romance.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

THE PROMISE is available now!

I just wanted to let everyone know my historical romance THE PROMISE, the sequel to my debut novel THE LEGACY, is available now. It was released ahead of its May 1 date and is already shipping orders. It should be in book stores soon, but if it isn't, you can ask your retailer to order it (ask them to order a few extra so your friends can get theirs, too, LOL!).

Romantic Times Magazine BOOK Reviews gave it four stars and said "Passion, intrigue and romance distinguish this wonderful tale. The well-defined characters and fast pace will keep your attention from the first page to the last. Passion and humor are seamlessly inserted into this tale of love and adventure, and the emotional conclusion is very satisfying."

Eye on Romance gave it a 4.5 star Top Pick review and said THE PROMISE is "passionate, enchanting, and moving." Historical Romance Writers said "I enjoyed Ms. Bennett's first book The Legacy and this book is just as good....The journey these two people take is one of true love."

Monica McCarty, NY Times bestselling author of HIGHLANDER UNCHAINED, says THE PROMISE is "a delightful breath of fresh air in historical romance! With a unique setting and memorable characters, TJ Bennett delivers a gripping romantic adventure that will leave you breathless for more."

Victoria Dahl, Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Nominee and author of To Tempt a Scotsman and A Rake's Guide to Pleasure says, "Lush, sexy and exciting, The Promise offers a fascinating glimpse into a rarely-visited age!"

Anyway, just wanted to let you know it is available.

And stay tuned for our next guest host at IMHO, Medallion Press debut author Anna Louise Lucia, who will put her tantalizing novel Run Among Thorns in the gift basket on Wednesday, April 22 after she tells us about the book you almost didn't read.


TJ Bennett
THE LEGACY (AAR Desert Isle Keeper and "Buried Treasure 2008")
When secrets destroy, can love live on?
THE PROMISE (available now!) (RT 4 stars! Eye on Romance TOP PICK!)
In a dangerous world, sometimes the greatest risk is love....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

IMHO welcomes Madeline Hunter!

I hope you had a wonderful Easter and are having a not-too-terrible tax day (and if you haven’t filed yet, today’s the day to do it, folks). To take your mind off it all, let’s welcome our next guest host here at IMHO.

Anyone who loves historical romance recognizes the name Madeline Hunter. Madeline’s first romance was published in June, 2000, and she received the award for Waldenbooks Bestselling Debut Author that year. Since then she has seen seventeen historical romances and one novella published. Over four million copies of her books are in print in the US and her books have been translated into nine languages. She is a two-time RITA winner and six-time finalist. Sixteen of her books have been on the USA Today bestseller list, and she has had titles on the NY Times print list, Publishers Weekly list, and the Waldenbooks paperback fiction list. She has received two starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, and Romantic Times has awarded fourteen of her books 4 ½ stars.

On a personal note, Madeline’s By Arrangement series inspired me to write outside-the-box historical romance, so you can imagine how excited I am to welcome her here today. Madeline will place an autographed copy of her newest release, The Sins of Lord Easterbrook, in the “COFFEE, CHOCOLATE & ROMANCE” gift basket. She will be joining us as she is able to respond to comments later in the day.

IMHO: Madeline, please tell us about the book your readers almost didn’t read.

MH: Thanks, TJ. In my case, most of the books that almost did not get written actually did not get written. For example, I once had this cool idea for a book set in medieval Lithuania. While my agent did not actually discourage that setting, her long pauses during our conversation told me what she was really thinking. Lithuania? Not even Russia? She wants to set a book in Lithuania! (Just change the setting, a friend said. I tried. It didn’t work. It usually doesn’t.)

I have been blessed with editors who were open-minded. When I pitched By Design, my editor did not blink at the fact the hero was a stone mason and not a knight. No one at my publisher sent back word that I should not leave England for most of Lessons of Desire. In fact, I have been the one to tell them to go easy on the back cover copy in a few cases----the one to say that at point of sale, it might not be wise to highlight the way a book bends the expectations.

One book almost did not get written, however. At least not the way I finally wrote it. In this case, the failure of nerve would have been mine alone, though.
As I prepared to start The Romantic, and was working out the plot, I had some choices to make.

This was the last of the Seducer series. Julian Hampton was one of those secondary characters that readers wrote to me about from the start, asking for his story. I knew that I was going to pair him with Penelope, the older sister in the Duclairc story.

Pen had a story thread winding through all of the books that had to be resolved. In the first book she had separated from her husband, an earl. The tensions over that, the reasons and the repercussions of the separation, had been showing up for the fifteen years of the series. I could not end the series without settling the matter and, in my opinion, letting poor Pen find happiness.

By the time I got to Book Five, I knew Julian Hampton was the man for Pen. As family solicitor, he had helped negotiate that separation. The problem was this---Pen was still married, and she could not get a divorce in her historical time and place.

What to do? The easy answer was kill off the evil earl between book 4 and book 5. I even worked up a story based on that assumption.

It felt like a cheat. That is the only way to explain it. I had dangled this woman’s entrapment in a horrible marriage all through the series, and to resolve it off stage just seemed wrong. However, the alternative that I wanted would break a taboo in romance novels. In order for the story to be about how Pen gets free of the earl, and how Julian protects her, Pen was probably going to commit adultery.

I went with the story that, in my opinion, had to be written.

I tried to avoid the adultery, but the time came when in all plausibility I could not keep these two apart. The story reached a moment when I knew that in reality, both our reality and theirs, two people in their relationship would become lovers.

I did not write that scene lightly. I don’t have a lot of patience with most so-called rules, but I respect power of the few rules that really exist. I called my editor and told her where it was going. She was less concerned than I was, but I knew that the sales of this book were going to take a hit.

When it was published, the reaction was not as bad as I expected. I did receive some scathing letters about this aspect of the story and a few Amazon reviews that curled my hair. And the book, of which I am very proud, had one of my lowest print runs. However, most readers cut me some slack in breaking this rule, and the actual sales did not get hurt as much as I anticipated.

I learned a few lessons from this. The first is that if a writer’s gut says a story angle is a cheat, it probably is. The second is that if we write stories that are unusual, we just need to be realistic about their receptions. But the third is that the readership is probably more flexible than anyone gives it credit for being.

IMHO: Thanks for telling us the story behind The Romantic. I think you have a point that going against reader expectations can be a risky choice, but when the story is well-written, readers can forgive a lot! I found the choices you made in The Romantic daring but realistic in context, and I really enjoyed the book. And frankly, I probably would have loved reading a book set in Lithuania, too!

Now, IMHO readers, what do you think? Do you sometimes like to read romances that take risks? Or are there some lines you think shouldn’t be crossed, no matter what? Leave a comment for Madeline, and remember that you need to leave comments for at least two authors throughout the month (more comments equals a greater chance of winning) to be eligible to win the gift basket with signed books by Carrie Lofty, Madeline Hunter, Anna Louise Lucia, Emily Bryan, and me, TJ Bennett, as well as the $25 gift certificate to See’s Candy and one pound of coffee beans to get your buzz on. So, start commenting!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The video that proves you are NEVER too old to dream...

Okay, so if after watching this You Tube video, you don't cry, laugh, and gasp with awe and astonishment and just a plain ol' joy of life, you have no heart and don't deserve to dream. From a 46 year old woman to the woman who still has the courage to pursue her dreams at 47--SUSAN BOYLE, YOU ROCK!

Man, I am still crying. In a good way. And reassured that it is never too late to hold what you are reaching for in both hands--in a big way.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Reminder and an excerpt: Madeline Hunter on Wednesday!

Just popping in to remind everyone that my guest host on Wednesday, April 15, will the renowned, the esteemed, the inestimable MADELINE HUNTER! *wild applause here*

I know you're anxious to hear about the scene/story/book of Madeline's we almost didn't read. Madeline will put a signed copy of her current release, THE SINS OF LORD EASTERBROOK (which is fabulous, sexy, and fabulously sexy) into the "Coffee, Chocolate & Romance" gift basket. Somehow I will pry loose my fingers from the book and let it go when the time comes...sniff, sniff.

In the meantime, thought I'd give you a little excerpt from my upcoming release, THE PROMISE (May 2009--available for preorder at now). Enjoy!



Alonsa sank down onto her knees, slapping the ground with an open hand repeatedly. “Again! Siempre! Always!” She broke off into a stream of rapid Spanish, but even Günter understood that she railed against the Fates.

Señora!” he called, rising and grasping her from behind. He lifted her, afraid she would injure herself. “Alonsa, stop!”

She thrashed in his arms, and he turned her swiftly around. He shook her again, but she ignored him, and he feared she would lose hold of her senses in her grief. He realized he had two choices. He could either slap her in order to shock her back to sanity, or kiss her. As he had never raised a hand to a woman in his life, he chose the easier of the two.

Günter gripped her head and pressed his hard mouth to hers.

Dios mío.

Alonsa could see, through a blur of tears, Günter’s open eyes. He was not even trying and still he made her heart pound in reaction, her knees go weak with desire. His mouth barely moved, yet she felt the lightning heat of his kiss streak through her. She went limp against him from the effect, and his arms encircled her. The moment she stopped moving, he drew back.

She gazed up at him stupidly.

“Forgive me,” he murmured, and the warm spice of his breath fanned across her lips. “You were upset. I was losing you. I didn’t know what else to do.”

He stared down at her, and she felt a subtle tightening in the tension of his arms. His eyes drifted to her mouth, and he frowned. He slowly reached up and traced a callused finger across her bottom lip.

“Was I too rough?” he whispered.

Her breath caught in her throat. The feel of his finger sent little shivers across her skin. It sent mysterious messages throughout her body to hidden places long restrained. It unlocked doors chained shut for far too many years. And it was just a finger, just a stroke upon her lips. What could he do with that hand elsewhere?

“Was I?” he repeated, and absently trailed the finger across her chin, down her jaw, and up the sensitive skin of her cheek.

He tilted his head as he stroked the shell of her ear. She could see his eyes following its progress. He barely touched her, and yet she trembled. He must have felt the tremors, for his gaze returned to hers.

He moved to release her. “Are you cold? I’ll get you a blanket—”

Instinct made her clutch at him, though reason screamed a warning in her head.

“No.” Please kiss me again.

She gazed up at him in unbearable anticipation.

His eyes narrowed. He looked at her mouth, stared at it for so long she could count the time with the beat of the blood flowing through her body. Then slowly he lowered his head to hers once more. A scant hairsbreadth from her lips, he stopped.

She made a sound like a whimper. She could not help it. She should be ashamed, but she was not. She tilted her face, closed the last little distance between them, and pressed her lips to his.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

And the winner of the advance copy of THE PROMISE is..

Keep commenting on Carrie's post BELOW THIS ONE, everyone, for a chance to win the April basket of books.

In the meantime, the winner of the advance copy of THE PROMISE is:

Congratulations, Virginia! You've won a copy of my May 2009 release of THE PROMISE before it hits book stores. Please contact me at my e-mail: tjb @ tjbennett . com and let me know where you want me to send your book. Be sure to contact me before April 15 or I will have to chose an alternate winner.

Hope you like the book!

TJ Bennett (friend me!)
The Legacy (available now) When secrets destroy, can love live on?
The Promise (May 2009) In a dangerous world, sometimes the greatest risk is love....

IMHO welcomes "unusual historical" author Carrie Lofty!

I am pleased to kick off this month’s contest with a fellow writer of “unusual historicals,” a term referring to those historicals set in unusual locales or time periods. Carrie Lofty was born in California, raised in the Midwest, and found the love of her life in England. After earning her master’s degree with a thesis on Old West legends, she was excited to learn other parts of the world have history too—and then set about researching it all. Two daughters and a half-dozen moves later, Carrie and her family settled just north of Chicago, where she is busy creating her next adventure.

Carrie is the author of What a Scoundrel Wants, an intriguing tale about Will Scarlett and his lady love, which she’ll put into the April “COFFEE, CHOCOLATE & ROMANCE” gift basket. Romantic Times BOOKReview gives Scoundrel 4 stars, saying “The leading man will win readers' hearts as only a bad boy can. Lofty writes adventure romance like a born bard of old." Dear Author says, “The story is also a good mix of emotion and adventure. Those looking for derring-do will find it, as will people who want some raw, searing encounters between two people fighting to find love.”

Carrie founded the blog site Unusual Historicals to focus attention on those books readers might otherwise have a hard time learning about. I’ve been delighted to be a guest on the site in the past, and will be again in May. In the meantime, let’s welcome Carrie to IMHO!

IMHO: Welcome to IMHO, Carrie, and tell us about the book we almost didn’t read.

CL: Thanks, TJ! The book you almost didn't read is my Zebra Debut, What a Scoundrel Wants. I'd been eager to begin writing an historical romance set during the silent film era of the 1910s--a tough sell, but I had the research, characters and a rough plot all ready to go.

However, I changed my mind after I rented Disney's version of Robin Hood for my toddler daughters. I realized I hadn't seen Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in ages. I know it's cheesy and overwrought, but the action, the impressive sets, and the larger-than-life performances made a lasting impression on me as a teenager. It was romantic on a grand scale, and in re-watching it as an adult, I was again transported by that same sense of fun and grandeur.

I also discovered a renewed fascination for young, surly, hotheaded Christian Slater, who played Will Scarlet. Sure Robin and Marian got their happy ending, complete with Sean Connery giving away the bride, but what ever happened to Will? He had angst, anger, and a sort of fiery, youthful impetuousness that told me he wasn't done making trouble.

I paired Will with Meg of Keyworth, a blind alchemist with a prickly disposition that hides a great deal of pain. Because of the popularity of paranormals, I went out of my way to attribute her skills to actual science--not witchcraft or magic, which meant a return to basic chemistry. This time around, it was much more interesting than I remember from high school!

When my finished manuscript finaled in two contests, I felt I'd chanced upon that elusive "high concept." The Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) Hearts Through History chapter planned to announce their contest winners during an annual breakfast at Nationals. After Ann Aguirre and I basically dared each other into going, I had a roommate, an editor pitch appointment, and no more excuses. When editor Hilary Sares, then of Kensington, sat down for my pitch, she read the twenty-five word blurb on my business card and said, "I want the full."

A mere seventeen months later, What a Scoundrel Wants hit the shelves, all thanks to Disney, Christian Slater, my peculiar brain, and a lot of luck.

And speaking of another almost-never-was, I've been serializing a full-length romance titled SERENADE. I'd been offered contracts from several e-publishers but decided it would be more fun for fans to read it for free. Set in 1804 Salzburg, Seranade tells the story of a widowed violin prodigy who falls in love with the composer she idolizes, only to discover that he stole the symphony he's most famous for. The latest chapters just went live yesterday, and I'll be publishing more each month. Sign up for my Yahoo! newsgroup to receive updates on when new chapters are available.

IMHO: Oooh, I'll look forward to reading that. Thanks for sharing with us today, Carrie! Folks, look for Carrie’s sequel to What a Scoundrel Wants, Scoundrel’s Kiss, featuring a Spanish slave raised to kill a king and the troubled opium addict he's sworn to protect coming from Zebra Debut in Jan 2010. If you don’t want to wait that long, you can read Through the Garden Gate, a print anthology featuring Carrie's 1958 Italy time travel short story, "Sundial," available from The Wild Rose Press in Dec 2009.

And be sure to leave Carrie a comment to start competing for that basket prize. Let her know if you like historicals with unusual settings or characters, or if you prefer the tried-and-true.

Take care,

Monday, April 06, 2009

Trivia contest for THE LEGACY at AAR

Hey, just found out the reader review site All About Romance is running a trivia contest, and giving away two copies of THE LEGACY as prizes. You have to answer a question about me for a chance to win. :-) If you're interested, check it out.

AAR gave THE LEGACY a rare Desert Isle Keeper status and put it on their "Buried Treasure" list for 2008.


Friday, April 03, 2009

Another way to win THE PROMISE!

If you want to double your chances of winning a copy of THE PROMISE in advance of its release date of May 2009, go to PASIC's To Be Read blog where I am discussing my version of April's IMHO theme, the scene from THE PROMISE you almost didn't read, today, April 3. Leave a comment for a chance to win this week's prize, an autographed copy of the book.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Win a free autographed copy of THE PROMISE!

Hey, all!

I just received my author copies in the mail of The Promise, the second book in my two-part Legacy series. They're so pretty--the covers practically glow. I'm tickled pink, and thought I'd share. So, I'm giving away one free, autographed copy of the book chosen from all comments on this post (this one, this one right here) by Wednesday, April 8th! That's right--you'll be able to read the book a month before its May 2009 official release date.

Romantic Times Magazine BOOK Reviews gave The Promise four stars and said "Passion, intrigue and romance distinguish this wonderful tale. The well-defined characters and fast pace will keep your attention from the first page to the last. Passion and humor are seamlessly inserted into this tale of love and adventure, and the emotional conclusion is very satisfying."

Eye on Romance gave it a 4.5 star Top Pick review and said it was "passionate, enchanting, and moving." Historical Romance Writers said "I enjoyed Ms. Bennett’s first book The Legacy and this book is just as good....The journey these two people take is one of true love."

Monica McCarty, NY Times bestselling author of Highlander Unchained, says The Promise is "a delightful breath of fresh air in historical romance! With a unique setting and memorable characters, TJ Bennett delivers a gripping romantic adventure that will leave you breathless for more."

Victoria Dahl, Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Nominee and author of To Tempt a Scotsman and A Rake's Guide to Pleasure says, "Lush, sexy and exciting, The Promise offers a fascinating glimpse into a rarely-visited age!"

Intrigued? I hope so. Start commenting, and good luck (if you'd like to read an excerpt, go here).


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

NEW CONTEST: Coffee, Chocolate & Romance!

Well, we’re starting off April’s contest with a bang! Or at least, a munch and a sip.

I’ve decided to call this month’s gift basket the “COFFEE, CHOCOLATE & ROMANCE” gift basket (read on and you’ll see why). This month's authors will be discussing "The story/scene/book you (the reader) almost didn’t read,” because every writer has a story that sometimes proves difficult to write or has a bumpy road to publication. Guests will be visiting my blog every Wednesday beginning April 8 and continuing throughout the month of April. They will place their autographed books in the basket for one lucky person to win.

This time the basket will include a $25 gift certificate for your choice of a box of See’s Candy chocolates and a one-pound bag of coffee beans for a wonderful “coffee and chocolate” buzz while reading your favorite romance novels. I'll also put a signed copy of my critically acclaimed historical romance, THE LEGACY (see reviews here) in the basket as well.

So if you didn't win the "I LOVE ME SOME HISTORICALS" gift basket from my March contest, be sure to visit often and comment for a chance to be the one lucky winner of my "COFFEE, CHOCOLATE & ROMANCE " gift basket.

This is another great lineup! Feel free to pass this announcement on to reader groups, booksellers, librarians, and anyone else who loves free autographed books.

Here's the lineup of April's guests:

April 8 Unusual Historicals blog founder Carrie Lofty, the Kensington Zebra Debut author of What a Scoundrel Wants , an intriguing tale of Will Scarlett and his lady love.

April 15 Madeline Hunter, best-selling (New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today), multi-published, and RITA-award winning author of historical romance (The Sins of Lord Easterbrook).

April 22 Anna Louise Lucia, Romantic Times BOOKReview top pick (4.5 stars) and Medallion Press author of romantic suspense set in exotic locales (Run Among Thorns).

April 29 Emily Bryan, multi-published author of light-hearted historical romance (Pleasuring the Pirate).

And the great news continues. I've aready confirmed these guests at IMHO in the months to come: Deanna Raybourn, Tera Lynn Childs, Monica McCarty, and Gemma Halliday! So keep coming back, and be sure to sign up for my newsletter at the top of the page to be notified of IMHO events.

How to win: Visit my blog during the contest period and leave a comment for at least two different authors during the length of the contest, which ends April 30th. The more authors you leave comments for, the more you increase your chances of winning.

On May 2, 2009, I will announce the winning entry drawn at random from all eligible participants. The winner will have until May 6th to claim his or her prize. If the prize is not claimed by the deadline date, another winner will be drawn at random from all eligible participants. (Sorry, because of the prohibitive cost of shipping overseas, I must limit this offer to the USA and Canada only. If you are located outside these areas and have a mailing address within the USA or Canada where you can receive winning materials, I’ll be happy to mail it to that address.) That's it!

Good luck!
The Legacy (available now) When secrets destroy, can love live on?
The Promise (May 2009) In a dangerous world, sometimes the greatest risk is love....