Saturday, February 28, 2009



Tetewa, you have won an autographed copy of THE LEGACY for your very own personal personalness! Send me an e-mail at tjb @ tjbennett . com and let me know where you would like me to send your book. You have one week to comply, and resistance is futile. (I'll draw an alternate winner if I haven't heard from you by March 7.)


For the rest of youse, be sure to come back on Wednesday, March 4, as we kick off the "I LOVE ME SOME HISTORICALS" gift basket contest. Check out our guest host lineup and see if you don't agree that this is a basket worthy of drooling. Kim Lenox, author of the Shadow Guard series, will be our first hostess with the mostest.

See you then!


Contest deadline extended

Just a quick note. Between getting my galleys for THE PROMISE today and being team mom for my kids' flag football game tomorrow, I realize I won't be able to get back to my computer to award THE LEGACY until late Saturday evening. Soooo...I'm extending the comment period by a few hours to 8pm CST.

All comments posted on Wednesday's blog by that time will be eligible to win. Good luck!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another great review for THE PROMISE!

Whoo hoo! Eye on Romance has given THE PROMISE a great review, rating it a "9" and saying I'm a "master at writing historical romance." *blush*

To celebrate, I'm giving away another copy of THE LEGACY to one lucky person who comments on this post by February 28. To be eligible, just leave a comment here by 1pm CST on February 28, when I'll draw at random from the list of names. If you win, you'll need to contact me through my website to tell me where to send your book. Oh, and if you've won a contest on my blog within the past four weeks, you aren't eligible for this one. Sorry! But you can still comment just for fun.

Yay, me! (LOL!)


Friday, February 20, 2009

Announcing a new contest for MARCH!

Okay, I promised you all details as soon as I had them. Well, I have them! My new contest in March is for those of you who love historical romance. Even if you've never read it before, here is your chance to do so for free and become acquainted with a whole new world (well, several, actually)! The authors will be discussing "The Story Behind the Story" of the novels they wrote. That should prove interesting, eh?

I'll be giving away another basket of autographed books, and this time the basket will include a $20 gift certificate for (so you can collect the other books by our authors once you get hooked on their writing). I'll also give away a signed copy of my critically acclaimed historical romance, THE LEGACY.

So if you didn't win the BIG BASKET OF LOOOVE, come back for my "I LOVE ME SOME HISTORICALS" BASKET. Details of how to win will be up on my contest page soon.

So, who are the authors, you might ask?

Here's the schedule:

March 4, Kim Lenox, author of paranormal historical romance and Romantic Times Magazine nominee for Best First Historical Romance.
March 11, Lisa Marie Wilkinson, award-winning Medallion Press debut author of historical adventure romance.
March 18, Victoria Dahl, former Golden Heart nominee (and my current favorite read) and prolific author of both historical and contemporary romance.
March 25, Stacey Kayne, equally prolific author of historical and contemporary westerns, Best Western book nominee, and former Golden Heart nominee.

This is another great lineup, and we'll stuff that basket with five fabulous autographed books for one lucky winner. Tell your friends, tell your friends' friends, and be there! You won't want to miss this.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

THE PROMISE's Amazon Listing

I want to let you know of a tiny problem with the Amazon listing for THE PROMISE. There seems to be some confusion on how to type in my initials--one listing has it as TJ, the other as T.J., and the search results are different depending on what one types in. If you want to pull up both books in a search, type my name as TJ Bennett, no initials. You'll see the listing for both books. Or you can just click on the link provided. THE PROMISE is available for preorder now.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

And the winner of the BIG BASKET OF LOOOVE is...

Sorry it took so long to post, but I had pages and pages of comments to go through to pull the eligible names for the drawing. Now, the names have been noted, clipped, and put in a hat, and I'm sticking my hand in, and the winner is...

...(DRUM ROLL)...


Congratulations, MARGAY. WOOT! WOOT! You have until Feb 21 to contact me at my e-mail, tjb @ tjbennett . com (no spaces). If I don't hear from you by then, I'll select another winner from all eligible participants.

This has been a great contest, folks. Thank you so much for stopping by my website. Don't forget, if you loved this contest but didn't win, I'll have another one starting up in March for fans of historical romance. You'll get a chance to win another basket (not quite as huge, but still a respectable size) of autographed books, including a copy of THE LEGACY, so keep checking in as I get the line-up firmed up.

One of my goals is to introduce you to not only established authors, but rising stars and debut authors as well. I'll keep brainstorming and see what other combinations I can come up with in the future. In the meantime, if you are interested in hearing about other events here, sign up for my newsletter at the top of the page. I'll notify you of contests, new releases, reviews, or booksignings that might be of interest to you. And, who knows, I might just start feeling generous again and decide to give away another couple copies of my book between now and then!

Take care, folks! I'm going to go rest my weary head for an hour before I get back to work. :-)

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....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Sophie Jordan/Sharie Kohler!

Well, today is the big day! And we’re not just talking Valentine’s Day, although we are. Hope you are all having a wonderful, loving, adventurous day, and if you aren’t, grab a good romance novel and get started!

But first, today we welcome IMHO’s final guest blogger speaking on the theme of “What Romance Means to Me.” Sharie Kohler is a USA Today bestselling author of historical romance (as Sophie Jordan) and paranormal romance (as Sharie Kohler). Sharie says she penned her first historical romance in the back of her high school Spanish class. This passion led her to pursue a degree in English and History. A brief stint in law school taught her that case law was not nearly as interesting as literature - teaching English seemed the natural recourse. After several years teaching high school students to love ANTIGONE, Sharie resigned with the birth of her first child and decided it was time to pursue the long-held dream of writing.

In less than three years, her first book, ONCE UPON A WEDDING NIGHT, a 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Nominee for Best First Historical, hit book shelves. Her second novel, TOO WICKED TO TAME, released in March 2007 with a bang, landing on the USA Today Bestseller's List. Bestselling author Kresley Cole says, “Sharie Kohler knows how to deliver a riveting plot, steeped with sultry sexual tension and unforgettable love scenes between an irresistible hero and heroine.” NY Times Bestselling author Barbara Dawson Smith says, "Sophie Jordan is not to be missed!"

Sharie resides in Houston with her family. She will put two books in the BIG BASKET OF LOOOVE: SURRENDER TO ME by Sophie Jordan and KISS OF A DARK MOON by Sharie Kohler.

IMHO: We’re glad to have both Sharie and Sophie visiting with us today. Welcome, and tell us what romance means to you.

SK: Happy Valentine’s Day to all! TJ, thanks for having me here on this special day … and thanks to all of you who take a break from your love-high weekend to share in the love with me.

When I first mulled over this question, I thought: Oh, no! I’m going to come across as jaded. And how ridiculous is that? A jaded romance author? And then I thought harder and realized, I’m not jaded. I’m a romantic. Just not the romantic I once was at nineteen.

Let me explain:

I don’t think romance has anything to do with flowers or chocolates or jewelry. In fact, hubby and I stopped with all the flowers and candy a couple years ago. Now I’m not criticizing anyone’s significant other arriving home today with an armful of roses and Godiva. :) Score! Give the thoughtful man a kiss! I just prefer a good date night. Give me lobster bisque and a movie night with just the two of us, and I’m in heaven (can you tell I have young children? A night of fun usually consists of a Happy Meal and Sponge Bob). Oh, and let’s not forget a card that he put thought into buying … and then wrote his own note inside.

As I get older, as I watch my children grow from babies, to toddlers, to kids big enough to ask questions that require concentration before answering, I’ve taken a hard look at what I want from the relationships in my life. What I expect. What I can live with and without.

I write romance novels. For me, they’re all about escape, rediscovering the beauty of first love … living it all over again. A vicarious thrill. It’s pretty miraculous that two people can meet, come together, find they like each other – find they love each other – and beat all obstacles to forge a life together. Yes, that’s romance. The euphoria of first love. But it can only be lived once.

So what is romance the rest of time? Through the years?

Sometimes I think about my heroines and heroes when I finish a book. I try to imagine what they would be like fifteen years after the book closes. I don’t see flowers or chocolates or candy in their futures. No more than I really care/need to have it in mine. I see struggles. I see fights. I see reality. But I see love. I see compromise. I see sacrifices, the very test of love.

I create strong characters. They’re going to love each other even when it might not be easy. Love isn’t easy. As my father says, “If it’s easy, it’s not worth much.”
Romance is love in action. It’s not a heart shaped box of chocolate. Romance is my husband cleaning the house because I have a headache and want a nap. It’s year after year of him encouraging me to attend that writing conference. The one I want but don’t need to attend. Want because it energizes my spirit and he wants me to have that. Love is him doing the dishes so I can watch Project Runway. Love is receiving a card on Father’s Day from my husband thanking me – ME?! – for making it easy for him to be a good father. It’s him surprising me with a Starbucks on a morning I’m really dragging. Those are some of the most romantic moments in my life. And I pray every day that they keep coming … that I return those small yet huge gestures of love to him.

As you celebrate Valentine’s Day, think about what you’re doing right, and maybe what you could be doing better. Don’t worry – I intend to remind myself, too. Every chance I get. Remember: romance is love in action. So act.

IMHO: Awww. Don’t tell me you’re husband isn’t a romantic. Remember that e-mail going around a couple of years back that had the title “Porn for Women” and when you opened it, it was pictures of a man cleaning the house? Now that’s love in action. Yep, still does it for me!

Thank you for wrapping up our contest in a big way, Sharie, and folks, remember to leave a comment for Sharie, and at least one other guest host, if you want to win that BIG BASKET OF LOVE full of ten autographed books, including THE LEGACY, rated by All About Romance’s as a Desert Isle Keeper and Buried Treasure 2008. Tell Sharie what one act you plan to do (keep it clean, folks, this is a PG blog) for the one you love, or the one you hope to love.

Today is the final day for comments, and tomorrow, while you all are snoozing in your beds (hopefully after a night filled with romance), I’ll be compiling all the data to determine who our winner of the BIG BASKET OF LOOVE is. Remember to check the rules on my contest page—the winner will have until Feb. 21 to send me an e-mail at tjb @ tjbennett dot com (no spaces) in order to claim the prize, or I’ll choose a new winner. Keep checking back on Feb. 15 until the announcement is made.

And after that, don’t go too far, because I have plans—plans, I say—for another wonderful contest in the works for March. I’ve even got a theme: “The Story Behind the Story.” And a guest host has just confirmedVictoria Dahl, a rising star of romance! So, if you are a fan of historical romance, or would like to try it out for free, check out my new contest in March. I guarantee you will like what you see.

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who checked out my contest and I hope you had as much fun reading all the authors’ posts as I did. Be sure to sign up for my mailing list at the top of the page to be notified of more events here at IMHO, and also about the release of my next historical novel, THE PROMISE, rated as a TOP PICK by Night Owl Romance and available for preorder now. AND AND AND ... stop by PASIC's To Be Read blog today and leave a comment for me there. I'm guest hosting and talking about men. Yep, I said that, men. And I'll say it again. Men! Anyone leaving a comment by Feb. 14 gets a chance to win the week's prize, an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of THE PROMISE. Be the first to read about Wolf's mercenary brother, Günter, and the woman he loves.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Now go kiss someone you love (but leave your comments for Sharie first).

TJ Bennett
The Legacy (AAR "Buried Treasure 2008")
--When secrets destroy, can love live on?--
The Promise (May 2009) (Eye on Romance TOP PICK)
--In a dangerous world, sometimes the greatest risk is love....--

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Psst! I have a secret...

If you would like a chance to win an ARC (Advance Reader Copy*) of THE PROMISE (my follow on to THE LEGACY which Night Owl Romance has given a TOP PICK 4.5 star review) before you can buy it, pop over to PASIC's To Be Read ... So Many Authors, So Little Time blog on Friday the 13th.

I'm posting, and I'm talking about MEN! Anyone commenting at To Be Read during the week of Feb 8 - 14 will get a chance at the prize. You'll be the first to read what happens to Gunter, the hunky middle brother of Wolf Behaim from THE LEGACY.

But that will be our secret. Shhhhh....


(*For those who don't know, an ARC is the working draft of the manuscript that goes out to reviewers far in advance of the publication date in order to garner reviews in time for publication. It often contains material that may not make it into the final version, and minor corrections or editorial changes may be made prior to the final galley proofs. FYI. Mine, luckily, isn't too different from the final version, just a bit more polished. Thank god for editors who know the difference between "ordinance" and "ordnance." No, look it up--I had to.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winners of the Random Freebies!

Okay, folks, with all the scientific technology available to me ("okay, kids, pick a number between 1 and 20!") I've determined that the winners of the free autographed copies of THE LEGACY are KAMMIE and BILLIE JO!!!!

Whoot! Whoot! Dancing on the ceiling...

Kammie and Billie Jo, please contact me at tjb @ tjbennett . com (remove spaces) and tell me where I can mail your free copies. Congratulations.

For the rest of you, stay tuned for the announcement on Feb 15 as to who the winner of the BIG BASKET OF LOOOVE is. And remember to leave those comments for our guests. Good luck!

IMHO Welcomes Paranormal Fiction Author Lynda Hilburn!

IMHO is pleased to welcome Lynda Hilburn to the Romance Roundup Gift Basket party. Lynda is a talented writer of paranormal vampire fiction, as well as a fellow Medallion Press author. Her first full-length fiction novel for Medallion, The Vampire Shrink, features a psychologist named Kismet Knight who is forced to adjust her notions of reality when she meets seductive 800-year-old vampire Devereux and winds up in the dark underbelly of Denver’s paranormal subculture. Kismet becomes a counselor to vampires, continuing in that role in the sequel, Dark Harvest, where she attracts the attention of day-walking vampire Lyren Hallow, who turns her world upside-down—again. Lydna’s books cross genres and have been described as “urban fantasy romance with mystery elements, sex, dark humor, and a contemporary vibe.” NYT and USA Today bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks says the world of the Vampire Shrink is “fascinating … wicked and sexy!"

Lynda’s eclectic background has more than prepared her to create such complex, fascinating characters. She has been at various times a rock-and-roll singer/musician, a typesetter/copy editor for various newspapers and magazines, a professional psychic/tarot reader, a licensed psychotherapist, a certified clinical hypnotherapist, a newspaper columnist, a university instructor, a workshop presenter, and a fiction writer. During many of those years, she was also a single mom. She lives with her son in Boulder, Colorado, in the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Lynda will put an autographed copy of The Vampire Shrink in the Big Basket of LOOOVE.

IMHO: Welcome, Lynda, and please tell us what romance means to you.

LH: Thanks, TJ!

When TJ invited me to write about what romance means to me, I was momentarily stumped. Since I’m currently between husbands/significant others, I don’t have any romantic stories to share. I couldn’t imagine what I’d write about. But then I realized that romance – the dream of it – still plays a huge role in my everyday existence.

The truth is: I’m a hopeless romantic.

Yes, I know. People who spend time with me might say I’m cynical about romance and love – that I’m shell-shocked from listening to tales of interpersonal woe daily in my psychotherapy practice. But that’s mostly pretense. I simply don’t want everyone to know about my soft, gooey middle (and I’m not talking about the obvious one that hangs over my waistband).

As others have written so beautifully, love is essential. The Beatles were right: “And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.” And, “All you need is love.” Love won’t pay the bills, but a life without it is unthinkable.

Ah, but romance. That initial blush of excitement. The heart-thumping lust at first sight. The full-body rush of chemicals flooding the brain with insanity, causing us to acquire goofy smiles and – in the presence of the beloved – to stare blankly and be unable to string coherent sentences together.

What a marvelous feeling. And an addictive feeling. Lucky for romance writers!
That’s why I read and write romance. Since I’m not involved in any hands-on experiences right now, I need to immerse myself in the realm of possibility – to keep my pilot light lit. Even now, I can close my eyes and imagine one of my favorite scenes, and my heart rate increases. Hey, exercise is exercise.

I used to worry that reading romance in the absence of any traces of it in the “real” world would make me feel worse. That I’d suffer the lack even more by continuously living vicariously through my favorite characters. But that hasn’t happened. In fact, since the brain/mind doesn’t know the difference between something observed and something imagined, it seems to be fine with filling the gaps with fantasy relationships. I’ve even started assigning romance novels as homework for my clients. I’ve noticed they’re smiling a lot more these days.

A couple of days ago I watched an episode of one of my favorite shows, “Burn Notice.” The main character has tried to ignore his feelings about the main female character (great tension building) since the show began. In a scene near the end of the hour, the woman got trapped in a burning building and the man thought she’d died. When he discovered his error, he wasted no time showing her physically how he feels about her. Geez. Good acting, raw emotions. All I took away from that entire hour was that 10-second interaction. I’m hopeless!

Thanks a lot for getting all these emotions stirred up, TJ! Now, where did I put that chocolate? LOL.

IMHO: Hey, that’s MY chocolate! Oh, all right, I’ll share (grumble, grumble). :-)

Seriously, Lynda, thanks for pointing out that single women love romance as much as the “coupled” ones do (pardon the pun), and that reading romance is a great way to “keep one’s pilot light lit” (I love that!).

Now let’s hear it from you, gentle readers. Pull up a couch and tell Dr. Lynda your feelings on this subject. Be sure to leave her and at least one other author a comment if you want a chance to win the BIG BASKET OF LOOOVE. As a reminder, our previous guest hosts were, beginning on January 21, Colleen Thompson; January 24 - Brenda Scott Royce; January 28 - Kerrelyn Sparks; January 31 - Trish Albright; February 4 - Christie Craig; and February 7 - Lynne Marshall. Please come back on February 14, Valentine’s Day, to visit with our final guest, historical and paranormal romance author Sophie Jordan, AKA Sharie Kohler, who will put two books, one from each of her author personas, into the BIG BASKET OF LOOOVE. And don't forget to sign up for my mailing list at the top of the page if you'd like to be notified about future events and releases. See you soon!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


So, I finally managed to take a picture of the BIG BASKET OF LOVE. Now since I was the photographer, it isn't a great picture, but it gives you a general idea of the massive goodness of said basket. The ten autographed books, including THE LEGACY, are being donated by their authors, while the basket and a $20 gift certificate for yummy chocolate from Kegg's Candies, in business in Houston since 1946, are being donated by Grace the Bookseller, owner of Read It Again & Again in Houston. Grace is also giving the winner a coupon for $5 off any order of $25 or more if they place an order before Feb 28, 2009 with her store. Grace has THE LEGACY in stock (she might even have a few signed copies still in house) and can be contacted by phone while her netspace is being upgraded. She's happy to ship to your location.

The address and phone number are:

Read It Again & Again
38 Braeswood Square
Houston, TX 77096
Phone & Fax: 713-283-9188
Toll free: 866-653-7541

Thanks, Grace, for the wonderful donation!

Isn't it lurvly? Hey, don't forget Lynda Hilburn is tomorrow and Sophie Jordan/Sharie Kohler (one and the same) are on the big day, Valentine's!

TJ Bennett
The Legacy (AAR "Buried Treasure 2008")
--When secrets destroy, can love live on?--
The Promise (May 2009) (Eye on Romance TOP PICK)
--In a dangerous world, sometimes the greatest risk is love....--

I'm in The Examiner!

Just a quick note that I've been interviewed about my books by fellow romance author Teri Thackston for the Houston edition of The Examiner. The article is up today.

If you have some time, I'd love for you to run by and leave a comment. I talk a bit about how the two books came to be and where I got my ideas from. Although it is a complete work of fiction, THE LEGACY had its origins in a daring but true story about how the religious reformer Martin Luther met his wife.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

I'm feeling generous, so you win my book!

Hey, folks, I'm feeling in a generous mood today, so to celebrate my great review over at AAR, I think I'll whet your appetite for our big finale gift basket by giving away two autographed copies of The Legacy. For a chance to win my book, simply leave a comment here on this post between now and Wednesday 8pm central time to be eligible. I'll randomly select two names from the comment list and announce them on Wednesday evening. The winners will have until Valentine's day to contact me at tjb @ tjbennett dot com and let me know where to send the books.

Have at ya!


Saturday, February 07, 2009

IMHO welcome Medical Romance Author Lynne Marshall!

Lynne Marshall took up writing romance in 2001, honing her skills through conferences and writing workshops while she pursued her dream of publication. As a registered nurse for over twenty years in California, it only made sense to her when a friend (whose initials are TJ, wink, wink) suggested she try writing medical romances along with her other passion, writing “Lady Lit” featuring older heroines. Sure enough, her medical romances starring professionals who are passionately devoted to their calling and to each other charmed the Harlequin Mills & Boon’s UK editors, and she got “the call” in 2005. Her first medical romance debuted in 2006, with five more coming out in rapid succession. Her most recent novel, Assignment: Baby, will be available on Mills & Boon’s website this month and in the UK in March. Lynne will put her fifth book Pregnant Nurse, New-Found Family in the Romance Roundup Gift Basket.

Readers often comment that Lynne’s books show an authentic knowledge of the human condition, both physical and emotional, teaching and entertaining them at the same time. I’m always amazed how she can cram such big stories into her shorter category-length books, but she continues to surprise and delight. Lynne has now made the leap to writing full time and loves to explore the potential for finding love amidst hospital drama.

IMHO: Welcome, Lynne, and please tell us what romance means to you.

LM: Hi, TJ! First off, thanks so much for inviting me to participate in your bonanza Valentine’s Day giveaway, and for the opportunity to give my take on what romance means to me.

Did anyone see the Super Bowl ad with the two horses and the great classic song – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” playing in the background as the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale chased down the horse of his dreams? That’s romance.

I’ve been dieting since the first week of January, so forgive the food metaphor, but romance is the appetizer for a well-planned meal. It perks up the taste buds and promises great things to come. Love is the main course. It nourishes and sustains us throughout life. And my favorite part of any meal, which helped get me where I am today – dieting! – is dessert. The sweet happy-ever-after, if you will. Also known as the final commitment. As with anything that tastes good, there are consequences, and here’s where things get complicated.

Sure, a guy can get an A+ at romance, and he can drop great hints about love, but unless he is able to commit to the real deal, he isn’t worth his weight in cream puffs. Can I get an "amen"?

I’m going to say something very unpopular now. Everyone raves about what a hunk George Clooney is, and yes, he is a very attractive man, but he doesn’t do a thing for me because the man cannot commit to a woman. When a forty-eight year old is still dating twenty-somethings (I know the mantra - because he can!) he becomes less hero material with each new girlfriend. So get over him already, ladies! He’s a commitment-phobe.

Dependable and trustworthy may not sound very sexy, but over a lifetime (in romance books that is the promise of happy-ever-after) it trumps a charming smile on a handsome face that can’t deliver the commitment goods any day.

There is a scene in Marley and Me where the John Grogan character, played by Owen Wilson, gets home from a day at the newspaper and sits in his car in the driveway. He stares into his house working up the courage to go inside. Yes, his wife has gone a bit loopy since quitting her journalism job to be a stay-at-home mom for two kids and a whacked-out dog, and Marley is up to his usual mischief, and two children are very demanding, as any of us mothers know. And his best journalist friend is writing a Pulitzer Prize worthy dream story and has invited John to come along for the ride. I could almost hear the thoughts running through his mind. Young man dreams versus adult male responsibility. It was hard to come home - to replace his professional hat with the more demanding daddy and husband hat. I felt that he wanted to run, to get out while he could. His wife, played by Jennifer Anniston, noticed him sitting in the car and with a perplexed look, waved him inside. He stopped his little fantasy about running away, got out of the car and went inside to his home. That was the point where I fell in love with him.

The country group Lonestar has a great song that captures the sentiments of a real everyday hero, unafraid to commit to his family: “There’s a carrot top who can barely walk with a sippy cup of milk; a blue-eyed blonde with her shoes on wrong ‘cause she likes to dress herself; and the most beautiful girl holding both of them; and the view I love the most – is from my front porch looking in.”

Changing the subject a bit, I wanted to take this opportunity to again thank TJ for inviting me, the only category author of this group, to participate. Medical Romance is a unique genre and I feel honored to be one of six Americans writing for the Mills & Boon line. I only wish we had more US exposure!

Now that you’ve listened to my rant of what romance is and isn’t, I’m dying to hear your take on the subject. As I munch on this piece of celery, I’ll look forward to your comments.

IMHO: Thanks, Lynne, and I will overlook your slanderous comments about my man George because I think you might actually have a point. Hmmm. So, love is getting out of your car when your instinct is to put it in drive and hit the gas pedal. Very insightful! So what do you think, folks? Be sure to leave a comment for Lynne and at least one other author so you can have a chance at the BIG BASKET OF LOOOVE! And come back on Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009, as I welcome fellow Medallion Press author Lynda Hilburn to the Romance Roundup Gift Basket party!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Oh, I am having a GOOD day!

All About Romance, the book review site, continues to make my day. They've posted an incredible review of THE LEGACY and given it an "A" and Desert Isle Keeper status! Check out this amazing review from the lovely, talented, brilliant reviewer, Rike Horstmann, whose baby I want to have. And I don't even know if Rike is male or female!


Yep, a really good day. :-)


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

IMHO welcomes Christie Craig!

Photojournalist, author and popular speaker Christie Craig is an award-winning, multi-published writer whose non-fiction and photography have appeared in almost three thousand national magazines. A Golden Heart finalist, and a finalist in more than fifty Romance Writers of America-sponsored contests, she has gained a well-deserved reputation for writing romance fiction that has both witty humor and a suspenseful, sexy tone.

Published by Silhouette in the 90s, she recently broke back into fiction in a big way, making four book sales in one day. Christie will put her first single title romance novel, Divorced, Desperate & Delicious, in the Romance Roundup Gift Basket (AKA the "BIG BASKET of LOOOOVE"). Her latest book in the Divorced series, Divorced, Desperate & Dating, is in bookstores now. Her newest non-fiction title, The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel, co-authored with her nonfiction writing partner Faye Hughes, is also available now. Her marriage partner, Steve, figures prominently in her own hilarious blog posts over at Killer Fiction, where she often chronicles the sometimes unbelievable (but always true) adventures of the Craig clan.

IMHO: Welcome to the party, Christie! I know you have some deeply serious thoughts on what romance means to you. Well, okay, some deeply funny thoughts, then. Share!

CC: Thanks, TJ! You bet I do. I even have a title: “What a Woman Really Wants in Romance.”

I remember being in first grade and coming home and asking my mom if she’d put my hair up in pigtails the next day for school. She rolled her eyes at me in disbelief because that very morning I’d thrown a hissy fit because I hadn’t wanted to wear my hair up in pigtails. But I had good reasons for my change of heart. And you can bet it involved matters of the heart, too. You see, I’d watched a neighborhood boy named Calvin, whom I liked, pull on the pigtails of another little girl named Mary. Surely, if I wore my hair like hers, he would pull my pigtails instead of Mary’s.

At age six, I didn’t care if that boy had a six pack or a sexy gait. His toothless smile and freckles made my stomach flutter. I didn’t care that his mode of transportation, an old paint-chipped bike that had belonged to his brother, wasn’t the hottest on the block. Frankly, I didn’t really care, or even want, to get my hair pulled, either. What I wanted was . . . his attention.

As I grew older, like most girls, what I looked for in a man changed a bit. Don’t judge me, but I’ll confess, I got to that place where I preferred my men with teeth. And when I got to high school, freckles weren’t a plus either. And yes, in time I started noticing six packs and sexy bad-boy smiles, and I’ll admit it, I wouldn’t have been happy with a man whose mode of transportation was a paint-chipped bike.

My point isn’t that love, or our search for it, is superficial. I think the whole attraction thing is somewhat physiological. We are instinctively looking for a mate with good genes, and how he fits into his jeans is sure to catch our eyes. We are looking for a mate who can help us feed and clothe ourselves and our children and that paint-chipped bike may lead us to believe he won’t be a good provider.

But you know, when I look deep into romance, at what a woman really wants and what my romance heroines want, I can tell you that some things are the same as they were on that playground years ago. Women want to know that of all the girls pumping their legs on the swing set, going up and down on the seesaw, that you are the one he wants. It’s your pigtails he wants to pull. Women want a man’s full attention; they want to be the thing he’ll do anything to attain--even if it means spending his whole recess chasing you around the school’s backyard.

As I write my novels, I try to remember this about romance. Sure, I add plenty of hard abs and bedroom smiles. Hey, sex is part of a good romance. And you can bet your bottom dollar that my heroes have all their teeth. Nevertheless, these two people get together because there just isn’t anyone else whom they would choose to share their lives with. Like most romances, my characters may not know this in the beginning, but while playing on life’s playground, (which for my heroine in my book, Divorced, Desperate & Dating, means avoiding a killer, resisting a bad-boy’s charm, and using a tampon to defend herself) they suddenly realize that this other person is the one.

Today, after twenty-four years of marriage, when I look over at my husband, I’m kind of glad I didn’t hook up with Calvin. I won’t lie, my hubby no longer has a six pack—not that it’s all gone to pot, mind you. His bedroom smile still makes my stomach flutter, and of course he still has all his teeth. But more importantly, he still somehow makes me feel like the prettiest girl on the playground.

And isn’t that what a woman really wants? To be made to feel beautiful and desirable—to know you are his one and only. Here’s wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day, and may you spend it with someone who makes you feel special.

IMHO: Thank you for sharing, Christie. I’ll bet your hubby is kind of glad you didn’t hook up with Calvin, too. LOL! And folks, I’ll also bet Christie would love to know what you think a woman really wants in romance.

Remember to leave a comment for Christie and at least one other author during our contest to be eligible to win all ten autographed books in the BIG BASKET OF LOOOOVE as we close in on Valentine’s Day. And be sure to come back on Saturday, February 7, 2009, when we welcome my dear friend Lynne Marshall, Romantic Medical Fiction author. Lynne is the only person I know who can make a stay in the hospital seem romantic. See you then!


Monday, February 02, 2009

THE LEGACY on AAR's "Buried Treasure" List for 2008

Thought I'd let everyone know I woke up to a very nice announcement today:

My historical romance THE LEGACY and fellow Medallion Press' author Judith James' BROKEN WING have both been chosen by the review site All About Romance as Buried Treasures for 2008.

Yay, us! *claps hands and does cartwheels*



Sunday, February 01, 2009

Contest update news and a little on THE PROMISE

I had a nice time at my book signing on Jan 24, btw. Forgot to post about it over here, but I did mention it on my MYSPACE page. Grace Galloway of Read It Again and Again in Houston is so gracious and generous to authors. It's like a party at her place, with food and champagne and book store cats. She held the grand re-opening of Read it Again at her new location at 38 Braeswood Square (cross streets are the corner of Chimney Rock and N. Braeswood, in a nice strip mall). The celebration included signings all weekend long. Thanks, Grace, for a marvelous time!

And now Grace has offered to provide the actual gift basket that will hold the books for the Romance Roundup Gift Basket contest! I know she'll do something really special with it, and we'll try to get a picture of it up on the blog before the contest end date. Grace has great taste, so I'm looking forward to whatever she comes up with.

As many of you know, I'm awaiting the release of my second Medallion Press title, THE PROMISE (May 2009). This one is a connected work with THE LEGACY rather than a sequel, as it follows the brother of the hero in the first book. Here's my original blurb for it from the back of the book:

In a dangerous world, sometimes the greatest risk is love . . .
In 1525, Günter Behaim is a Landsknecht—a professional soldier in the service of Emperor Charles V. Günter has been betrayed by love and promises not kept. As a result, he has sworn to make few promises of his own and keep those unto death. However, when his friend is mortally wounded while saving Günter’s life, Günter gives a pledge to marry his betrothed. To keep his promise, Günter must use every weapon in his romantic arsenal to convince the reluctant woman to marry him. As his passion for her grows, he realizes he is falling in love. Is he prepared to risk his worst fear: having his heart rejected once more?

The Spanish beauty Alonsa García de Aranjuéz is determined to withstand Günter’s relentless pursuit. Haunted by a Gypsy’s curse on any man who loves her, Alonsa yearns for Günter but fear for his safety forces her to rebuff him. As she struggles to deny the growing attraction between them, she begins to realize that fate may have other plans. With danger surrounding them, will Alonsa bite from the forbidden fruit? Or will Günter be bitten instead by the mysterious misfortune that seems to plague any with the courage to become Alonsa’s love?

Now, the book takes place in 1525, in the Italian city-state of Pavia. But the marketing folks have decided to call it a medieval love story on all the blurb copy in the catalogs and on the Internet. I'm okay with that. They probably sell better than early reformation love stories, or even Renaissance love stories, which might be a more appropriate designation. I just want everyone to know that wink, wink, I do know better. But if you enjoy hunky mercenaries modeled after Viggo Mortensen in LOTR, you'll enjoy this hero, whether you picture him in medieval soldier gear or the traditional slash-and-puff patterns of the day. I do hope you'll check out an excerpt on my website.

Looking forward to my next guest on IMHO, the wonderfully funny Christie Craig, who has a thing or two to say about what women really want. Tune in Wednesday for her post.