Monday, July 27, 2009


[7/28/09 Ed. note: I've upped the ante. See the comments on the post for details. MWA-HA-HA...]

The winner of Yasmine Galenorn's Demon Mistress Random Freebie is joder! And, joder, you can keep your cat. I’m allergic. :-p

Congratulations! Please contact me (tjb @ tjbennett . com) with a snail mail address within the US or Canada where I can send your book. I’ll need to hear from you by July 30 or I’ll have to pick another winner from all eligible comments.

Let’s celebrate joder’s win by putting two RITA® nominees' books up for grabs, Elise Chidley’s RITA®-nominated book, Your Roots are Showing, and a signed copy of Tamara Leigh's 2007 release Perfecting Kate. Roots isn’t autographed, but I know you’ll enjoy it regardless. (It mysteriously showed up on my doorstep one day--I think the author had a moment of promo distraction--and I asked if I could give it away to you, my faithful IMHO readers. The answer was yes!)

So, for a chance at two RANDOM FREEBIES, start putting your name in the hopper on this post! These are those great trade-sized paperbacks that make you feel like you've really READ A BOOK, btw. You can comment until July 31, 2009, and I’ll chose one lucky winner on August 1, 2009.
You may begin the commenting…

wait for it…

wait for it



Saturday, July 25, 2009

Good advice from a good cop

Hi, folks. One of my long distance chapters, the Los Angeles Romance Authors, is graced with the presence of an LAPD cop, female type, who has her stuff together. She was actually an advisor on a yet-to-be-published contemporary novel I wrote about a, well, an LAPD cop, female type. Thought I'd pass along the link to her excellent blog post regarding an experience she had at the RWA convention. It made me think.

Cops think different; it's their job to do so. And maybe we should start thinking more like them. The life you save may be your own.

Here's the link. Take a look.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ooo! Ooo! Random Freebie!!!

Yes, you know I can't stay away from you. My purpose in life is to give you what you want.

As such, since a few extra books came my way from our RITA nominees during the tote bag contest, I thought I'd put one up for grabs today. Thanks to Yasmine Galenorn, I have a signed copy of her book Demon Mistress (wow, just the title scares me!) to give away to one lucky winner.

But if you want it, you'll have to ask for it. Leave your begging, er, comments on this post, this post right here, between now and Sunday, and I'll select one lucky winner Monday, July 27, 2009!

You may begin the commenting now!


Monday, July 20, 2009

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Another winner chosen for Tote #8

By some weird twist of fate, RITA Tote #8 actually wound up being awarded to a relative of the winner of a previous tote. The winner of Tote #8 has therefore graciously offered (I swear I didn't twist her arm) to give it back so someone else can win, since the previous tote was intended as a gift to her in the first place.

I have no idea if any of that makes sense, but the point is, I have selected another winner for Tote #8!

And the new winner of Tote #8 is LighthouseSandy!

LighthouseSandy, I'm going to give you a little more time to get your e-mail to me giving me your address to send the tote to you. Please contact me through my website or at my e-mail, tjb at tjbennett dot com, by July 29 to claim your prize.

Thanks to etirv for being generous and putting Tote 8 back into the rotation.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Winners of Week 3 RITA® Totes #7, 8, 9 and 10!

We have our winners for the third week of our RITA® tote bag giveaway! While I wish I had enough totes to give to everyone who played, these are the lucky few, proud, winning IMHO commentors:

Winner of Tote 7: CheekyGirl
Winner of Tote 8: etirv
Winner of Tote 9: Cheri2628
Winner of Tote 10: MarthaE

Congratulations! These winners will need to contact me by Saturday, July 25, 2009, or I will have to draw another name from all eligible comments. Winners, please send me an e-mail through my website ( or to my e-mail address at tjb @ tjbennett . com (no spaces) and give me an address (no P.O. Boxes, please) within the USA or Canada where I can send your tote. I hope you love the books! (By the way, the winner of Tote #5 did claim her prize.)

Well, it's been a fabulous ride, folks. Thanks goes to all the wonderful RITA®-nominated authors who made this event possible. I'll be taking a little time off from the big contests for the next couple of weeks, but I will have some Random Freebies from a few of our RITA® authors to give away between now and August 5, when we go back to our regular basket-themed book giveaways with four wonderful romance authors all riffing on the theme of "This Kiss, This Kiss." (That ought to be interesting...).

I might even be persuaded to give away a couple of my own books, THE PROMISE or THE LEGACY. So be sure to sign up for my newsletter at the top of the page to be notified of IMHO events, and you can also sign up to be a follower of this blog. Hope to see you all here over the next couple of weeks to try for a Random Freebie!

TJ Bennett

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

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The RITA awards are being announced...

Even as we speak (figuratively), the RITA awards are being announced. If you would like to keep track, go to RWA's website here.


Friday, July 17, 2009

RITA-nominated giveaway: Tote #10

[Ed. note: We continue our RITA® giveaway with our final tote bag. Be sure to leave your comments on the posts for a chance to win. One tote per winner will be awarded, but you can comment on any post throughout the contest period, which ends July 18, 2009. Remeber this week, there are four totes up for grabs: #7, 8, 9, and 10.]

Christine Wells, The Dangerous Duke
2009 RITA® Finalist for Regency Historical Romance

“I'm thrilled to be nominated for a RITA® for best Regency historical romance--and in such stellar company, too! Writing is always its own reward, and certainly, writing THE DANGEROUS DUKE helped pull me through a very dark period in my personal life. At the time, it seemed like my annus horribilis would never end, but here I am, alive to tell the tale, with the knowledge that life can throw some hefty curve balls and I can still write through it all. This nomination is definitely icing on the cake!”

About The Dangerous Duke:

She seeks justice. He, revenge. And they'll never guess what they'll find.

A Daring Diary
Trapped in a loveless marriage, Lady Kate Fairchild found refuge in her diary, scene of her fantasy affair. And now, even though her husband's death has set her free, no suitor can thrill Kate quite like her phantom lover – until a duke with a murky past sears her with his gaze...

A Dangerous Duke
Maxwell Brooke, Duke of Lyle, is hunting the arsonists who killed his family – and Kate's brother knows where they hide. But when jailing him proves futile, Max kidnaps Kate, demanding as ransom her brother's cooperation. Still, Max never counted on Kate's rapier wit and heated kisses – and soon, desire wars with duty, even as real danger stalks his captive lady...

A Delicious Deceit
When Kate threatens to publish a tell-all diary if her brother remains imprisoned, Max hopes to protect her from the powerful men she intends to expose. Stealing the diary, he spirits her off to a country estate. But the diary is nothing like he expected – and when Max discovers Kate's sensual secrets, he can't resist exploiting them in every way...

Joanna Bourne
2009 RITA® Finalist for Historical Romance - The Spymaster's Lady
[in tote #7]
2009 RITA® Finalist for Regency Historical Romance - My Lord and Spymaster [in tote #10]

“Getting nominated for the RITA®, I feel like I've joined an elite group -- the SEALs, maybe, or Barnum and Bailey's Clown School or Temperance Brennan's band of dysfunctional forensic examiners on 'Bones'. Have you looked at the names of those RITA® nominees? If we were career criminals, instead of romance writers, this would be the Ten Most Wanted list.

Getting nominated was a pleasure; it was a shock; it was an amazement; it was a fist-pumping War Dance of a moment. It was total weirdness and flopping down in the chair and staring at my dog in profound bemusement.

It's an honor to be in such company. I am so proud.”

About My Lord and Spymaster:

After her father is wrongly accused of selling secrets to Napoleon, lovely Jess Whitby infiltrates the London underworld for the real traitor—only to end up naked in the bed of a rude merchant captain. Not only is she falling in love with him, but he may be the scoundrel she’s looking for.


Diana Duncan, Lethal Attraction
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Series: Suspense/Adventure

“Among the things I learned growing up as an Air Force brat, with our many moves, is that life changes. Nothing stays static, no matter how hard we wish it would. Especially in publishing. We authors don’t like talking about it – because it’s scary and totally messes with our Muses – but new editors, different guidelines, and fluctuating markets are our constant reality. This causes authors to seemingly disappear off the grid. Although we twist and stretch, and strive to adapt, sometimes in spite of our very best efforts, the stories we’re writing just don’t fit the place we’re at anymore.

And that’s where I find myself today, tiptoeing down an unfamiliar road, attempting to figure out the map. I published six successful books with Silhouette, and then my line underwent a senior editor change. I’ve had 11 proposals rejected over the past 15 months. I have no books slotted this year or next, and it appears unlikely in the near future.

It’s rough, and it’s created a maelstrom of doubt inside me. My RITA® nomination for LETHAL ATTRACTION is the slender rope I cling to as I hang over the ledge, buffeted by indecision and fear. That nomination reassures me that I am a good writer, that readers like what I have to offer, and it gives me hope that I will again see one of my books sitting on store shelves someday. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the judges, and even more, gratefully thank my loyal readers. Without you, what I do would be meaningless.


About Lethal Attraction:

One minute she was safe--the next, Sabrina Matthews was staring down the barrel of a gun. Just before shots rang out, she thought of Grady O'Rourke, the rugged SWAT cop she'd always loved...and would never see again. Then, Grady was there. One more second, and Sabrina would've been dead. But falling for the woman Grady had sworn to protect wasn't an option--until Sabrina stormed his defenses. The reckless agent faced the truth--he had someone to live for. With their future on the line, he raced to stop a deadly conspiracy before it claimed more lives--including their own.


Susan Wiggs, Snowfall at Willow Lake
[NOTE: Book in tote is audio (MP3-CD) version]
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Single Title Romance

“Every writer I know started out as a reader. She was like me–voracious, insatiable, reading anything and everything she could get her hands on. Eventually she fell in love with genre fiction, and found a special affinity with romance novels. Like me, she probably cut her teeth on the big, juicy historicals of Kathleen Woodiwiss, Laurie McBain, Jennifer Wilde, Laura London. She stayed up late with A Woman of Substance, fantasized along with Princess Daisy and wept over The Thornbirds. She dreamed of Turtle Moon, Honey Moon and Carolina Moon. She developed a taste for Like Water for Chocolate and maybe even started her own knitting and reading club. All this reading made her a better writer, and an incredibly savvy reader. Along the way, she joined RWA® and volunteered to judge the RITA®.

That’s why being a finalist is such an incredible honor. The judges are the pickiest readers in the world, and this year, they picked Snowfall at Willow Lake. This was extra-special for me because of the content of the book. Sophie Bellamy, the main character, was one of the most reviled and misunderstood protagonists I’ve ever created–chilly, competitive, deeply self-absorbed, a woman who had the audacity to be unhappy in her marriage–and to finally do something about it. Her journey from the international courts of The Hague to the storybook shores of Willow Lake was more than a plot, it was a quest for redemption. Landing in the finals was an affirmation that her journey was a success.

The competition is incredibly tough; I know, I’m always reading and I read a ton of terrific novels last year. So I’m deeply grateful and honored to be a finalist this year. I’m also thrilled to be slogging it out with some of my favorite writers for the final prize, the Queen of All Knickknacks. Because as soon as the list of finalists came out, I read all the others and was wildly entertained for days! There’s a reason the RITA® is the gold standard of prizes in our genre. I’m proud to be in the game. To read more about Snowfall at Willow Lake, and to find out more than even my husband knows about me, please check out my web site at and blog at"

About Snowfall at Willow Lake:

Can a single moment change your entire life?

International lawyer Sophie Bellamy has dedicated her life to helping people in war-torn countries. But when she survives a hostage situation, she remembers what matters most—the children she loves back home. Haunted by regrets, she returns to the idyllic Catskills village of Avalon on the shores of Willow Lake, determined to repair the bonds with her family.

There Sophie discovers the surprising rewards of small-town life—including an unexpected passion for Noah Shepherd, the local veterinarian. Noah has a healing touch for anything with four legs, but he's never had any luck with women—until Sophie.

Snowfall at Willow Lake speaks from the heart about all the loves that fill a woman's life, and all the ways that love is tested and made to grow. It's the story of what comes after a woman survives an unspeakable horror and finds her way home, to healing and redemption and a new chance at happiness.


Rosemary Clement-Moore, Hell Week
2009 RITA® Finalist for Young Adult

“It's amazing to me that people I don't even know are reading my books AT ALL, whether they like them or not. It's freaky and wonderful to me to think about the fact that I'm telling a story to someone who may be half a world away. Even more wonderful to know that I actually achieved my goal--telling a story that resonates with a reader.

It's especially great to be recognized by my peers, who know the work that goes into getting one's ideas across. (In a way that hopefully looks easy!) It's a cliché to say that it's an honor just to be nominated, but it's true. Not every story I tell will be loved by everyone, so mixed in with the glow of accomplishment is a gleeful recognition of how lucky I am, too!”

About Hell Week:

MAGGIE QUINN IS determined to make her mark as a journalist. The only problem? The Ranger Report does not take freshmen on staff.

Rules are rules. But when has that ever stopped Maggie?

After facing hellfire, infiltrating sorority rush should be easy. It’s no Woodward and Bernstein, but going undercover as the Phantom Pledge will allow her to write her exposé. Then she can make a stealth exit before initiation. But when she finds a group of girls who are after way more than “sisterhood,” all her instincts say there’s something rotten on Greek Row. And when Hell Week rolls around, there may be no turning back.

If there is such a thing as a sorority from hell, you can bet that Maggie Quinn will be the one to stumble into it.


IMHO: That's the end of our contest, folks! Be sure to leave a comment for our authors if you want a chance to win this tote.

Tomorrow, July 18, is the big day when the RITA® winners will be announced at the huge celebration which ends the Romance Writers of America's® conference. We wish all the authors good luck, and although we know not everyone will take home an award, every one of them is a winner to us.

This has been an incredible celebration at IMHO, which would not have been possible without the generosity of each of the authors who participated. I cannot hope to thank them enough for sharing their books, time, and stories with me so I could share them with you. Thanks also to all my IMHO regulars and newcomers who passed along their good wishes to the nominees as well.

Remember, this week's tote bags will be awarded on Sunday, July 19, so be sure to come back for the announcement then. Winners will have a deadline by which to respond or I will have to choose another winner from all eligible comments. (US and Canada only, please, and sorry, no P.O. boxes.)

Whew! I'm exhausted! As such, IMHO will be taking a short vacay for the next couple of weeks (although I may pop in with an occasional announcement--I have some random freebies burning a hole in my hot little hands). I'll be back in August with a new slate of intriguing books and their authors, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter at the top of the page if you want to be down with what's up at IMHO in the future, or sign up to be a follower of this blog.

It's been a blast!

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

Thursday, July 16, 2009

RITA-nominated giveaway: Tote #9

[Ed. note: We continue our RITA® giveaway with our next tote. Be sure to leave your comments on the posts for a chance to win. One tote per winner will be awarded, but you can comment on any post throughout the contest period.]

Kathleen Long, Cold Case Connection
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Series: Suspense/Adventure

“When TJ asked me what my RITA® nomination meant to me, I must admit I drew a rather big blank. I know that sounds odd. When the phone rang early on the morning of March 25, I was sick in bed and my toddler was sleeping in. Hearing the news I’d been named a RITA® finalist was almost as surreal as my first sale call. The past year for me has been one that makes a person stand back and take stock. I’ve reevaluated direction, representation and dedication. So what does my RITA® final mean to me? It means I keep on keeping on—putting one foot in front of the other, putting one word after another after another after another on the blank page—and loving every moment.

Thank you, TJ, for the chance to stop by and say hello this month! And best of luck to all of the RITA® and GH® nominees! Here’s hoping your names sit printed inside the winner’s envelope, waiting to be revealed.”

About Cold Case Connection:

The case may have gone ice-cold, but the connection between a veteran detective and a rookie agent was burning hot! Cameron Hughes never thought he'd meet his match in a determined but inexperienced undercover agent with a heart of gold. Somehow, though, Lily Christides had got under the detective's incredibly thick skin and wouldn't let go. Now, as they worked 24/7 on two unsolved cases, Cam was finding it increasingly difficult to resist taking her to bed and driving her to the point of no return. Then an elusive killer made it known Lily was next on his list, and Cam's passion turned to protection. Cam knew being her personal bodyguard was the best chance they had at containing the threats to her life. But what force was strong enough to contain their barely controlled attraction?


Anne Mallory, Three Nights of Sin
2009 RITA® Finalist for Regency Historical Romance

“I sold my first novel as the result of being a finalist in the Golden Heart® contest, and found a lovely group of women to share that joy with in the 2003 finalists (the Wet Noodle Posse). The Golden Heart® will always be near and dear to my heart. The RITA® contest, as the GH's sister, is also encompassed in that. It is wonderful to be nominated and to participate.”

About Three Nights of Sin:

Three nights of danger . . .
When her brother was arrested for murder, the ton shut its doors to Marietta Winters. No one would help her save him from the gallows—no one but Gabriel Noble. In exchange for taking the case, Gabriel requests three favors from the desperate young beauty, and Marietta has no other choice but to make a deal with the sinfully handsome devil.

Three nights of pleasure . . .
Searching for clues in the rough underbelly of London, Marietta must masquerade as a shamelessly wanton wench—much to Gabriel's delight. But Marietta swears to herself that her passionate moans are just for show. She could never fall in love with such a maddening, arrogant, seductive stranger . . . could she?

Three nights of sin . . .
Night after night, she satisfies his wicked cravings. But soon Gabriel wants more from Marietta than just three nights of sin—and even a sordid secret in his past won't prevent him from trying to possess her forever.


Susanna Kearsley, The Winter Sea
2009 RITA® Finalist for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

“What does being nominated for the RITA® this year mean to me? So much more than anybody knows. The Winter Sea was such a gift for me to write. The story and characters carried me through the worst months of my life while my sister was dying, and I felt her with me each step of the way. When I’d finished the book I was sure (and still am) that it was the best thing I had written. In London my editor, Lara, agreed, as did the foreign publishers who picked it up. So I felt fairly confident my agent would be able to find someone in New York who’d like The Winter Sea enough to take it on. I was mistaken. I’m not bothered by rejection; no book ever pleases everyone. Some found it too ‘romance-y,’ some thought there was not enough romance, some liked the double story-line, some found it too distracting…but more commonly they all dismissed the book as being out of fashion in the States. ‘I am the only person,’ wrote one editor, ‘still reading and loving this sort of book these days.’ You hear that enough times, you start to believe it.

And that’s why being nominated for the RITA®s this year means so much to me. Because it came exactly when I needed it – a valued hug from strangers saying they still read this sort of book, and they believe it’s good enough to stand with work by authors beside whom I feel so honored and amazed. And win or lose, that's all that matters.”

About The Winter Sea:

History has all but forgotten the spring of 1708, when an invasion fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown. Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors, and starts to write. But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory...making her the only living person who can know the truth of what did happen all those years ago - a tale of love and loyalty...and ultimate betrayal.


Nalini Singh, Mine to Possess
2009 RITA® Finalist for Paranormal Romance

“I am incredibly excited and honored to have been nominated for a RITA®. And given that it's my very first nomination, my excitement levels are multiplied several times over!! I think the exclamation marks say it all. :-)”

About Mine to Possess:

Nalini Singh pulls away another dark layer of sheer desire, revealing passions unknown, in her latest novel about the world of the Psy.

A ghost returns from a leopard changeling’s past, making him question everything—even his base animal instincts…

Clay Bennett is a powerful DarkRiver sentinel, but he grew up in the slums with his human mother, never knowing his changeling father. As a young boy without the bonds of Pack, he tried to stifle his animal nature. He failed...and committed the most extreme act of violence, killing a man and losing his best friend, Talin, in the bloody aftermath. Everything good in him died the day he was told that she, too, was dead.

Talin McKade barely survived a childhood drenched in bloodshed and terror. Now a new nightmare is stalking her life--the street children she works to protect are disappearing and turning up dead. Determined to keep them safe, she unlocks the darkest secret in her heart and returns to ask the help of the strongest man she knows...

Clay lost Talin once. He will not let her go again, his hunger to possess her, a clawing need born of the leopard within. As they race to save the innocent, Clay and Talin must face the violent truths of their past...or lose everything that ever mattered.


Robin Lee Hatcher, The Perfect Life
2009 RITA® Finalist for Inspirational Romance

“It's always an honor to have a book nominated for a RITA® Award (this is my eighth book to be so honored). I'm pleased to know that my peers felt The Perfect Life deserved to be recognized for excellence in the Inspirational category. One thing I've learned over the course of writing 60+ books is that a writer must take encouragement where she finds it. I'm happy when a book is nominated or wins an award, but I don't allow myself to be too disappointed when it doesn't happen because there are so many other books that deserve to be recognized as well.

The Perfect Life was written during a time of transition, and there were moments when I struggled with the story and feared it would never come together to be the book I wanted it to be. So imagine my delight to know that readers and writers have taken to the story of Katherine and Brad Clarkson and came to care about them as much as I do. Thanks, RWA, for the honor of this nomination.”

About The Perfect Life:

Katherine Clarkson has the perfect life. Married to Brad, a loving and handsome husband, respected in their church and the community. Two grown daughters on the verge of starting families of their own. A thriving ministry. Good friends. A comfortable life.

She has it all--until the day a reporter appears with shocking allegations. Splashed across the local news are accusations of Brad's financial impropriety at his foundation and worse, an affair with a former employee. Without warning, Katherine's marriage is shattered and her family torn apart. The reassuring words she's spoken to many brokenhearted women over the years offer little comfort now.

Her world spinning, Katherine wonders if she can find the truth in the chaos that consumes her. How can she survive the loss of what she thought was the perfect life?


IMHO: That's it for today, folks. Be sure to leave a comment for our authors if you want a chance to win this tote, and tune in Friday for the final featured RITA® nominees!  


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

RITA-nominated giveaway: Tote #8

[Ed. note: We continue our RITA® giveaway with our next tote. Be sure to leave your comments on the posts for a chance to win. One tote per winner will be awarded, but you can comment on any post throughout the contest period.]

Jacquie D'Alessandro, "Only You"/It Happened One Night
2009 RITA® Finalist for Romance Novella

“I’m absolutely thrilled that my novella ("Only You" from the book IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT) is a RITA® finalist—not only because it is an honor to be recognized by my peers and to be in the company of such accomplished, talented women, but because this particular story was a complete joy to write. To have the opportunity to participate in an anthology with the incredibly talented Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, and Candice Hern was like being served a double chocolate fudge sundae. For my story to be a RITA finalist—that just put a sweet cherry on top of an already delicious dessert. “

About “Only You”:

It Happened One Night . . . and nothing was ever the same again!

Once upon a time, four superstar storytellers -- New York Times bestselling authors Stephanie Laurens and Mary Balogh, along with Jacquie D'Alessandro and Candice Hern -- came up with a delicious idea. What if they each wrote a story about a proper young lady stranded at a remote inn away from society's constraints? What would happen? And how long would it take for her to give in to desire?

In these four amazing tales, four heroines will come face-to-face with the men who got away . . . only to discover that, instead of anger, there is still a passionate connection that cannot be denied. And while each of their lives is quite different, and their pasts utterly unique, they will all make a common discovery -- that one night can change everything . . . forever.


Kerry Connor, Strangers in the Night
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Series: Suspense/Adventure

“As a new author, I can only imagine that having any of my books recognized in any way will always mean a great deal. But I have to admit that having STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT in particular be a RITA® finalist feels extra special. Even before it became my first published book, this was a story that meant a lot to me. It's one I cared deeply about and wrote without considering what I could get away with, just writing what I wanted. (And as soon as I was finished, I started worrying about whether I could get away with a lot of what I'd written :-> ). It's also one that had a long road to publication, and there was a time I gave up on ever seeing it published. So to have this book acknowledged at all, let alone final in two categories, has meant the world to me.

I'm really thankful that not only did the judges like the book, but that more readers may discover it as a result. As a series romance, it was only available in stores for a month, and I'm sure many people hadn't even heard of it. The chance to have a story I loved possibly be brought to the attention of readers who might have missed it when it was released is as exciting as the nominations themselves.”

About Strangers in the Night:

It was dark, it was late, and they were total strangers

Caught in a Chicago alley crossfire, Allie Freeman was running for her life when she slammed into Gideon Ross. A hardened bounty hunter, his job was to discover why this stranger no different than the girl next door was so highly desired. But unraveling what made Allie so special would take more time than he had....

Being drawn into this wanted woman's life had turned Ross into the hunted. Allie's hidden identity exposed them to a relentless killer one, inexplicably, she was willing to die for. But she didn't know the lengths Ross would go to keep her unharmed. He wasn't willing to share her with anybody, and in this game of survival, whoever keeps their secret the longest, wins.


Susan Grant, Moonstruck
2009 RITA® Finalist for Paranormal Romance

"Moonstruck was a special book from the first chapter. I was initially writing another story when my muse refused to let go of THIS story. I was thinking of it day and night while the one I was writing was going nowhere. I got permission to change with only seven weeks to go on my deadline. It was my 11th book, but wow, I lived this one, it gripped me. And when I wrote the last page, I felt chills. That's how real the characters and story were to me. I was so glad for the experience because I was in doubt I'd feel that way anymore after all the books behind me and not a huge amount of excitement at the marketing level for the bastard-stepchildren-type of books I write, SF Romance, a narrow niche with a small but hugely loyal fan base if not gung-ho publisher support. If nothing else came of the experience but happy readers, I'd have been pleased, but to be nominated for the RITA® amazingly gratifying and thrilling!"

About Moonstruck:

Peace was for little girls
And Coalition starship admiral Brit Bandar was one tough woman. A mere intergalactic treaty could never get her to trust the Drakken Horde. There was too much bad blood between the Coalition and the Horde and, for intensely personal reasons, Brit wasn't sure that she was through spilling it! But now a peaceful accord had made Finn Rorkken, a notorious Drakken rogue, second in command on her starship, and through some grand cosmic irony front and center in her thoughts...and her heart.

Warleader. Pirate.
Either title sat easily on Finn's battle-hardened shoulders. Though second in command to "Stone-Heart" Bandar? That one would take some getting used to. Peace required as much sacrifice as war so he'd comply even if his reaction to the gorgeous admiral fell decidedly outside protocol. But would he end up kissing or killing her if the galaxy's tentative truce turned into all-out war?


Tina Ferraro, How to Hook a Hottie
2009 RITA® finalist for Young Adult Romance

“I once heard an actor say he was an overnight success...if you considered overnight his entire adult lifetime. That sums me up beautifully. It took me 20+ years, about 200 short stories and seven completed manuscripts to become a ‘published author.’ Along my journey, I had many goals and dreams, but being a RITA® finalist was not one of them. Because I considered RITA® finalists to be the-best-of-the-best. And I was just trying to hone my craft to be ‘good enough’ to catch the eye of an agent, an editor, a reviewer, a reader. ‘Best’ was out of my reach.

So to see my name and book included on the list of this year’s RITA® finalists is an astonishing experience for me. I am dazed and dazzled, and enjoying every moment of this didn’t-dare-to-dream-come-true.”

About How to Hook a Hottie:

At 17, Kate Delvecchio has one goal in life: to become a millionaire before the age of 20. And as far as she’s concerned, college will only slow her down. Unfortunately for Kate, the one thing her parents do agree on is that they totally disagree with her strategy. And so the deal is born. If Kate can raise five thousand big ones by graduation day, her parents will hand over the balance of her college account to invest as she pleases. No college, no degree, and no way she’ll ever be able to pull it off. But when Kate accidentally agrees to go to the sports banquet with the hottest guy at school, she stumbles upon a possible cash cow. The rest of the junior class is amazed that no-nonsense Kate could hook such a hottie, and one by one they approach her for help hooking their own. She doesn’t know anything about getting guys, but for $100 a pop, she’s more than willing to invent a six-step plan for How to Hook a Hottie. And how could that possibly backfire?


Deeanne Gist, Deep in the Heart of Trouble
2009 RITA® Finalist for Inspirational Romance

“I attended my first RWA® national conference—and thus my first RITA® award ceremony—as an aspiring author in 1996 (New York City). I was on such a shoestring budget that I ate peanut butter and Graham crackers in my hotel room every evening—except for award night. Back then, the ceremony included a formal dinner, a fully staged set, a live orchestra, a live camera showing the winner leaving her seat and approaching the stage. I will never forget the wonder of that night. It was like attending the Oscars.

I can remember sitting there thinking, “Someday, I want to be a published author who’s called onto the stage.” Fast-forward thirteen years to 2009 when I received the call letting me know I’d been nominated. My mind immediately carried me back to that magical night in 1996. I may not be called onto the stage, but I am completely sincere when I say that I am thrilled ... humbled ... awestruck ... to even be nominated. It is truly an honor I will cherish forever."

About Deep in the Heart of Trouble:

A Texas-Sized Tale of Unexpected Love

Essie Spreckelmeyer is the last woman anyone in Corsicana, Texas, expected to see with a man on her arm. Independent and outspoken, she's known more for riding bicycles in outrageous bloomers than for catching a man's eye. And the last man who seems willing to give her a second glance is Tony Morgan, newly hired at Spreckelmeyer's oil company. The disinherited son of an oil baron, Tony wants most to restore his name and regain his lost fortune--not lose his heart to this headstrong blonde. She confounds, contradicts, and confuses him. Sometimes he doesn't know if she's driving him toward the aisle or the end of his rope. That's how life is...Deep in the Heart of Trouble


IMHO: That's it for today. Be sure to leave a comment for our authors if you want a chance to win this tote and tune in Thursday for more featured RITA®-nominated finalists.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An insightful look at the Michael Jackson phenomena

Dr. Debra Holland has posted a thoughtful analysis of the public reaction surrounding Michael Jackson's life and death. However one feels about him, the article is worth a read. Check it out here.

NOTE: Sorry, the link was wonky earlier. I think it's fixed now.

TJ Bennett

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

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reminder to check to see if you won Week 2's tote...

Remember, you may have already won one of Week 2's RITA totes. Be sure to claim your prize by sending me an e-mail by 18 July 2009, or it goes to someone else!


RITA-nominated giveaway: Tote #7

[Ed. note: We continue with Week 3 of our RITA® giveaway with our next tote. Be sure to leave your comments on the posts for a chance to win. One tote per winner will be awarded, but you can comment on any post throughout the contest period.]

Brenda Novak, Stop Me
2009 RITA® Finalist for Romantic Suspense

“Having one of my books final in any contest is an honor, but being nominated for the RITA® is especially exciting. This year my book is featured along with the books of so many authors I admire. Many of them are my good friends. I'm sure I can speak for all of us when I say it's wonderful recognition for the hard work that goes into a story. I'll be nervous on awards night but I really can't lose--because I'll be thrilled for anyone who gets to take home that statue.”

About Stop Me:

Who was the real killer?

Romain Fornier lost his reason for living when his daughter was kidnapped and murdered. He used a cop's gun to mete out his own justice and spent the next few years in prison. Once he was freed, he returned to his Cajun roots in small-town Louisiana. But now he learns that he might have killed the wrong man.

Jasmine Stratford, a psychological profiler, is convinced his daughter's killer is still alive—and that she and Romain have something in common. She believes the same man kidnapped her sister, Kimberly, sixteen years ago.

What happens next?

Jasmine is determined to track him down when she receives an anonymous package, postmarked New Orleans—the bracelet she gave Kimberly for her eighth birthday. She approaches Romain because she knows he can help her… if he chooses.

But searching for the man who irrevocably changed both their lives means they have to rise to a killer's challenge:

stop me.


Jennifer Morey, The Secret Soldier
2009 RITA® Finalist for Best First Book
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Series: Suspense/Adventure

“While many entrants of this prestigious writing contest kept phones nearby on March 25th, 2009, I was at work and the significance of the day had completely dropped off my radar. I had no idea that Romance Writers of America® was going to start notifying the finalists. The RITA® is the romance industry’s highest distinction, sort of like the Oscars for romance writers. I did have a good reason for my distraction, though. Just the day before I received a call from Maureen Walters at New York’s Curtis Brown, who offered me representation. Curtis Brown is one of the most established and respected literary agencies in the business. I was already above the clouds. Nobody could have slapped the smile off my face! Imagine what it felt like to find out about dear RITA®...

On that Wednesday in March, I checked my personal email as I do every day. I was not expecting to see one from Romance Writers of America® telling me my debut novel, THE SECRET SOLDIER, is a finalist. And not only am I a finalist, I am a DOUBLE finalist! I was nominated for Best First Book and best Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure. After reading that email, I was amazed and awed and incredulous. All these thoughts went through my head. How crappy of a writer I was when I started doing this 11 years ago and all the hours I spent working to hone my craft—this on top of a 40-hour/week day job. I thought of all the brutal contest comments I forced myself to learn from. All the agent/editor appointments and the subsequent cold-hearted rejection letters. Years and years of heartbreak and hard work had led me to this point. Sitting in front of my computer at work, I started crying. This level of recognition was overwhelming. For the first time since getting published, I felt closer than ever to making my dream a reality—quitting my day job and writing full time. I am hoping the RITA® will give me the boost I need.”

About The Secret Soldier:

The powerful stranger broke down the door and saved Sabine O'Clery from the terrorists holding her hostage. But her secretive hero was forbidden from revealing his identity. Until enemy fire forced them to crash-land.…

Of all the covert military missions, being stranded on a Greek island with a beautiful woman is one that Cullen McQueen never imagined. But their stay in paradise was all too fleeting. He had to take Sabine back to America, or risk blowing his cover and losing everything he'd fought for. Yet memories of one passion-filled night haunted him… and when danger followed Sabine home, the stealth soldier knew he would break all the rules to keep her safe forever.


Joanna Bourne
2009 RITA® Finalist for Historical Romance for The Spymaster's Lady [in tote #7]
2009 RITA® Finalist for Regency Historical Romance for My Lord and Spymaster [in tote #10]

“Getting nominated for the RITA®, I feel like I've joined an elite group -- the SEALs, maybe, or Barnum and Bailey's Clown School or Temperance Brennan's band of dysfunctional forensic examiners on 'Bones'. Have you looked at the names of those RITA® nominees? If we were career criminals, instead of romance writers, this would be the Ten Most Wanted list.

Getting nominated was a pleasure; it was a shock; it was an amazement; it was a fist-pumping War Dance of a moment. It was total weirdness and flopping down in the chair and staring at my dog in profound bemusement.

It's an honor to be in such company. I am so proud.”

About The Spymaster’s Lady:

She's never met a man she couldn't deceive...until now.

She's braved battlefields. She's stolen dispatches from under the noses of heads of state. She's played the worldly courtesan, the naive virgin, the refined British lady, even a Gypsy boy. But Annique Villiers, the elusive spy known as the Fox Cub, has finally met the one man she can't outwit.


Lilian Darcy, The Children's Doctor and the Single Mum
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Series Romance

“It was a real thrill to be nominated for a RITA® this year, firstly because I’ve now written over fifty Medical Romances for Harlequin, and of all of them this was my personal favorite. I loved creating a heroine who was a little different – she’s plump, and she’s a single mother of five children – and then finding a hero who loved her for exactly who she was. It means a lot to me that the RITA® judges responded to the book’s combination of warmth and humor and medical drama.

The other big reason I’m excited about this nomination is that for the first time, my husband will be attending the Romance Writers of America® conference with me, and will be able to come to the award ceremony and maybe understand just why I was so terrified and actually praying not to win, back in 2003 in New York when I received nominations in two different categories. On that occasion, my prayers were answered, and I was able to remain safely in my seat in the darkened auditorium, rather than having to go up there in front of over 2000 people, take that heavy gold statue without dropping it, and remember to thank everyone without bursting into tears or having to be led trembling from the stage. This time, I feel a little more prepared. I suspect I’ll still be praying not to win, but if I do, my feet may successfully carry me up there, comprehensible words may even flow from my lips, and I’ll be so proud to have my wonderful husband watching.”

About The Children's Doctor and the Single Mum:

The doctor takes a family!

Tammy is an excellent neonatal intensive care nurse – she’s also a single mum of five children! There’s simply no time in her life for relationships – besides, she’s sworn off men for good! Especially her gorgeous colleague – neonatal specialist Laird Burchell – a playboy, way out of her league, and not the kind of man who’d think about taking on five kids.

But Laird’s been bowled over by Tammy’s warmth, her sense of humor and her gorgeous red hair.

He might be daunted by the prospect of fatherhood, but there’s so much about Tammy and her lively young family that makes him think she’s a woman worth risking everything for…


Tamara Leigh, Faking Grace
2009 RITA® Finalist for Inspirational Romance

“What a joy to receive ‘the call’ from Romance Writers of America®. Yes, in the writer’s world, ‘the call’ refers to a publisher on the other end of the line saying they want to publish the breath-holding writer’s work. That ‘call’ can just about send a writer to the moon; however, the call I received from RWA® to tell me that my inspirational romance, Faking Grace, was a RITA® nominee, landed me on the moon. It meant that the story I hoped was worthy of publishing and that my publisher thought was worthy of publishing, had found an audience that believed in its message. But there’s more.

Having had seven mainstream books published before I answered another ‘call’ to write for the inspirational market, the RITA® nomination serves as further confirmation that I’m where God wants me to be (even though it took me a while to pick up the ringing phone). It is an honor to be a member of RWA® and a RITA® nominee. I’m thankful for the judges, the readers, my publisher, my family, and God who made it all possible. And thank you, TJ, for the opportunity to share my joy and excitement.”

[IMHO: You’re welcome, Tamara!]

About Faking Grace:

All she wants is a job. All she needs is religion. How hard can it be?

Maizy Grace Stewart dreams of a career as an investigative journalist, but her last job ended in disaster when her compassion cost her employer a juicy headline. A part-time gig at a Nashville newspaper might be her big break.

A second job at Steeple Side Christian Resources could help pay the bills, but Steeple Side only hires committed Christians. Maizy is sure she can fake it with her Five-Step Program to Authentic Christian Faith–a plan of action that includes changing her first name to Grace, buying Jesus-themed accessories, and learning “Christian Speak.” If only Jack Prentiss, Steeple Side’s managing editor and two-day-stubbled, blue-jean-wearing British hottie wasn’t determined to prove her a fraud.

When Maizy’s boss at the newspaper decides that she should investigate–and expose–any skeletons in Steeple Side’s closet, she must decide whether to deliver the dirt and secure her career or lean on her newfound faith, change the direction of her life, and pray that her Steeple Side colleagues–and Jack–will show her grace.


IMHO: That's it for today. Be sure to leave a comment for our authors if you want a chance to win this tote and tune in Wednesday for more featured RITA®-nominated finalists.


Final week of the RITA® Finalist giveaway!

Welcome back to our third and final week of fabulous RITA®-nominated book tote giveaways! (If you want to stay up on all the goings-on here at IMHO, be sure to sign up for my newsletter at the top of the page.)

Most of the participating authors for this week's posts are at the National convention by now, canoodling with other authors, agents, and editors in a dizzying spin of workshops and lunch meetings at the bar. Ah, the memories. Wish I could be there. But, because I can't, you reap the benefit, my lucky IMHO readers!

Just as a reminder, for the month of July, IMHO is changing things up a bit. As many of you who are lovers of romance novels know, the Romance Writers of America® hosts their annual conference in July, and the culmination is the Golden Heart/RITA® awards ceremony on the final night of the conference. The RITAs® are the romance industry’s version of the Oscars and represent the best of published romantic fiction (the Golden Heart represents the best of unpublished romantic fiction). This year’s conference takes place in Washington, D.C. from July 14 – 18.

Almost fifty RITA®-nominated authors have generously donated autographed copies of their books (in some cases, two!) for readers of IMHO, and responded to this question: "What does being nominated for the RITA® this year mean to you?"

I think the thing that has really come through to me these past few weeks are the strong emotions with which the authors associate their RITA® nominations. The stories they have told have painted a picture of the uniqueness of each author's situation and reaction to being told she (or they, as the case may be) are RITA® nominees. Some have made me laugh, some have brought a tear to my eyes, and many, many have made me smile because of the joy and enthusiasm expressed by the grateful authors. That has made all the hard work and effort to bring their stories to you well worth it. Once again, thank you to all the great authors out there who were nominated, for their generosity, time, and support of this crazy idea I had to bring the RITAs® to IMHO.

So, as you probably know, I have been giving away tote bags stuffed with autographed RITA®-nominated books to readers of this blog (there will be a total of ten), and in addition, I’m even throwing in a complimentary copy of one of my own critically acclaimed historical romances with each tote, either The Legacy (my debut novel) or The Promise!

Be sure to get yours by leaving your comments and by giving a shout out to all the amazing, incredible, munificent, and of course, astonishingly attractive authors who so generously donated their books!

Details on how to win are up on my contest page. This has been an exciting couple of weeks, and it ain't over yet, so be sure to check in daily to see what's up at IMHO in July.

Let's get back to the fun!

(Note: This contest is neither endorsed, affiliated with, nor sponsored by Romance Writers of America®)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Winners of Week 2 RITA® Totes #4, 5, and 6!

We have our winners for the second week of our RITA® tote bag giveaway!

Winner of Tote #4: MJFredrick

Winner of Tote #5: squiresj

Winner of Tote #6: dag888888

Congratulations! These winners will need to contact me by Saturday, July 18, 2009, or I will have to draw another name from all eligible comments. Winners, please send me an e-mail through my website ( or to my e-mail address at tjb @ tjbennett . com (no spaces) and give me an address (no P.O. Boxes, please) within the USA or Canada where I can send your tote. I hope you love the books!

Please join us as we start our third and final week of RITA® giveaways at IMHO on Monday, July 13, 2009, and read more fascinating stories about being nominated for the RITA® from this year's participating nominees. This week you'll actually have four chances to win, as I give away totes 7, 8, 9, and 10. Can't beat those odds with a stick. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter at the top of the page to find out what other events are happening at IMHO, and you can also sign up to be a follower of this blog. Most of the nominees are heading out to the conference early this week, so let's wish them all good luck!

See you Monday!

TJ Bennett

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

Friday, July 10, 2009

RITA-nominated giveaway: Tote #6

[Ed. note: We continue our RITA® giveaway with our next tote. Be sure to leave your comments on the posts for a chance to win. One tote per winner will be awarded, but you can comment on any post throughout the contest period.]

Roxanne St. Clair, Now You Die
2009 RITA® finalist for Romantic Suspense

“Thank you, TJ for putting together this fabulous celebration for the RITAs®! I am honored and overjoyed to have made the list this year, and in such incredible company! When I look at the finalists for romantic suspense, I see not only the names of remarkable writers, but so many dear, dear friends and mentors. I would be happy for any of these women to take home the prize...although I'd be lying if I said I didn't secretly hope to grab the gold myself. You ask us to write about what it means to be nominated for a RITA®, and I guess there just aren't enough superlatives to adequately share the thrill of the ringing phone on RITA® Day (as we call it in my house), beaming an out of state number on the ID screen. Hope doesn't just spring eternal, it basically wells up from your belly, grabs hold of your throat, and chokes you so that your ‘Hello?’ is nothing more than a strangled plea to end the misery of waiting. This year, my call came from the West Coast, so I didn't get notified until early afternoon. I'd given up hope, stopped checking for a dial tone (is it just me or do SO many phones seem to go on the fritz on RITA® & GH day???), even started writing again. Then I got the sweet news and all writing went out the window.

I have been so, so fortunate to have experienced four finals -- one year I had two, in the same category. That was the year I also had the ultimate delight of winning a RITA®, for Best Novella, a story called ‘Tis The Silly Season.’ I remember every minute of that evening from start to...dawn. That would be when I finally crawled into bed, statuette in hand, stupid smile plastered on my face. Of course, the RITA® is not the Be All and End All, and I don't think it would be healthy or wise to put too much value on any single award. But, the recognition from peers and the absolutely dreamy ceremony -- especially that moment when a book that you conceived, wrote, and handed over to the world fills the screen and your name is announced -- is just so extraordinary that I'd love if every member of RWA could have the experience just once. Not only is it Fun With a Capital F, but the memory can sustain you, months later, when words don't flow or contracts are slow, when covers are disappointing, or sales are slumping. For a business based on heart, there are dark days when this sure feels like a heartless business. Those days, that green finalist ribbon, that framed certificate, and, in a perfect world, a golden statuette poised on the mantle, can offer a lovely reminder of the triumphs during times of tribulation.

Thank you for inviting us to share our joy, TJ. I'm looking forward to reading all of the blog posts and seeing all of the other nominees in DC! Good luck to everyone!”

(IMHO: You’re welcome, Rocki!)

About Now You Die:

Former Bullet Catcher and lone wolf investigator Jack Culver is on a mission. Thirty years ago, an innocent woman was convicted of murder. Jack believes he's found the real killer -- but to take down one of the highest legal authorities in the land, he needs access. Serious access. Unfortunately, the one person he knows with that kind of power is his ex-boss and ex-lover, the woman who still haunts his dreams.

Bullet Catchers owner Lucy Sharpe realizes she's being used for her connections, and she intends to use Jack Culver right back. She's determined to see justice served, even if that means partnering with the man who once found his way past her iron shields. This time, she'll be strong enough to avoid Jack's persuasive touch.

But when passion flares, and they become the killer's target, Lucy and Jack don't just break some rules -- they shatter them. And that means risking everything: their jobs, their hearts...and their lives.


Jessica Hart, Last-Minute Proposal
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Series Romance

“I was first nominated for a RITA® in 2005, and at the time I no idea how lucky I was. … As it turned out, CHRISTMAS EVE MARRIAGE won the RITA® for the Best Traditional Romance that year. It was the day I was due to go on holiday to Turkey, and my editor rang me very early that morning so I was in a very happy mood when I set off. My golden statuette now sits proudly on top of my hard drive, a constant encouragement when I’m staring at a blank screen. I’m always struck by how generous the romance writing community is, and it was only after I’d won and the congratulations came pouring in that I realized quite what an honor it was.

So this time when I got the call to say that LAST-MINUTE PROPOSAL was a finalist in the Short Contemporary, I was properly thrilled! It’s especially exciting for me, as LAST-MINUTE PROPOSAL was my 50th book for Harlequin Romance, and 2009 marks my twentieth anniversary as a romance writer, so to be short-listed in such a prestigious contest is icing on the cake for me!”

About Last-Minute Proposal:

Single city girl…

Cake-baker Tilly is taking part in a charity job-swap, and when she's paired with ex-military maverick Campbell Sanderson, they get off to a rather sticky start….

Rugged billionaire tycoon…

Campbell is all hard angles to Tilly's cozy curves. It's the winning that counts for him, and it's clear Tilly will need her hand held every step of the way….

Whirlwind wedding wish!

Despite himself, Campbell finds that something about Tilly always coaxes a smile. But he refuses to be tempted, no matter how bright and bubbly she is! That's before they share a showstopping kiss….


Pam Rosenthal, The Edge of Impropriety
2009 RITA® Finalist for Historical Romance

“Remember the Stephen King horror movie, where the popular girls make poor Carrie White think she’s been elected prom queen and then dump pig’s blood all over her? The first time I finaled (for The Slightest Provocation in 2007), I was sure someone was running a similar hoax on me. But finaling (even without winning) turned out to be so delightful that when RWA called me this year I only thought 'bucket of blood' for about ten seconds. 'What fun,' I said to the lovely woman who’d told me the news. And I meant it. Because it is fun to get all those congratulations and good wishes, and (in case one should actually win) to prepare a list of the terrific people without whom… But don’t let me get carried away here — I mean have you looked at the list of finalists in my category? — I really haven’t thought or even cared very much about winning – much more fun merely to savor being in such company.

Or so I say now. Because I also know from last time that five minutes before my category comes up I suddenly am gonna care – big time and with 'every fiber of my being' (a phrase I usually purge from my writing but which turns out surprisingly apposite to finaling for a RITA®). But as those five minutes in intense cliché hell were the only non-fun part of the experience, this year I’m planning on lots of wine at dinner, to numb it down ahead of time. So let me simply thank everybody right now, without whom… (but you know who you are). And then, like the aging hippie I am, to keep on Wavy Gravy’s crazy wisdom path 'toward the fun.'"

About The Edge of Impropriety:

Break the sensual boundaries of Regency England with the bestselling author of The Slightest Provocation.

The ribald private life of novelist Countess Marina Wyatt is the stuff of public scandal—and it doesn’t hurt the sale of her romances either. But she’s totally unprepared for her consuming new affair with Jasper James Hedges, noted art appraiser and her former lover’s uncle. In Marina, Jasper sees a work of art of another kind. And for all of Marina’s passionate inventions, nothing can compare to what Jasper delivers—an erotic and dangerous voyage to the edge of impropriety and beyond.


Elise Chidley, Your Roots are Showing
2009 RITA® Finalist for Best First Book
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Single Title

“I was out for a few hours the day the RITA® finalists were announced. When I came home and found a message from somebody at the RWA on my voice mail, I immediately assumed there must be some problem with my registration for the national conference. Perhaps a check had bounced?

I was absolutely thrilled, when I returned the call, to learn that Your Roots Are Showing had been nominated for Best Single Title Contemporary Romance. When the second phone call came, announcing the novel's nomination for Best First Book, I was more or less speechless. Talk about a cherry on top! It was one of those rare days in a lifetime when you feel a really deep sense of validation and achievement. For somebody who declared their intention of becoming a writer at age ten, it was probably about time!”

About Your Roots are Showing:

Lizzie Buckley has a life many women dream of - a gorgeous husband, a beautiful home and darling (when they're not fighting) three-year-old twins. But ever since the birth of her children, she's had a fantasy about locking herself in her bedroom for twenty-four hours with a good book and a box of chocolates.

Unfortunately, her husband James doesn't understand her feelings. And when Lizzie unburdens herself in a flaming email to her sister Janie, then hits send at the wrong moment and accidentally shoots it off to James instead, her fairytale life gets a big dose of reality. With the word "divorce" ringing in her ears, Lizzie finds herself moving out and embarking on a totally different life - working hard to reinvent herself as a runner, a gardener, and a writer of children's books.

But despite transforming her body, her neglected career, and her libido (courtesy of the local landscape gardener), Lizzie can't get over her soon-to-be ex. As Lizzie discovers, sometimes the fairytale ending is just the beginning of the real story.


RaeAnne Thayne, The Cowboy's Christmas Miracle
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Series Romance

“I was beyond excited to get the call that my December Silhouette Special Edition THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE was a RITA® finalist. When I got the call, I was actually on an airport shuttle on my way to San Francisco for a long weekend so I spent three very surreal days celebrating the nomination. I've been a finalist before so I know how very exciting it is to attend Nationals with that cool green ribbon hanging from your name badge and to sit at the literacy signing with the RITA® Finalist flag next to you. It's an indescribable thrill and honor to know that a panel of your peers enjoyed your book enough to send it on to the final round!”

About The Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle:

Christmas was tough for widow Jenna Wheeler and her four children. But even though she'd sold part of her family's land to make ends meet, she was determined to spin the holiday into the stuff of magic—no matter what it took. Now if she could only find a job….

Maybe her new landlord could oblige—gorgeous, child-averse Carson McRaven. He needed a chef, and he knew the lovely Jenna could do a bang-up job—if only she could keep her brood out of his hair. But as he found himself catapulted into the cheerful chaos of her family…not to mention Jenna's arms… he learned more about the spirit of Christmas than he'd ever dreamed.


IMHO: That's it for today. Be sure to leave a comment for our authors if you want a chance to win this tote and tune in next week for more featured RITA®-nominated finalists. Winners of this week's totes will be announced on July 12, Sunday. Stay tuned!


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Booksigning at Murder by the Book, Houston, TX

Hi, y'all. Just wanted to pop in and invite you to a booksigning I'm having on Saturday with three wonderful "ladies of suspense" at the indy book mecca, Murder by the Book, in Houston. I'll be signing copies of THE PROMISE.

WHEN: Saturday, July 11, 2009, 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
WHERE: Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005 (713) 524-8597/(888) 4-AGATHA
Colleen Thompson
Christie Craig
TJ Bennett
Kerrelyn Sparks

With this line-up, it promises to be a fun afternoon. Please stop in if you're local!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

RITA-nominated giveaway: Tote #5

[Ed. note: We continue our RITA® giveaway with our next tote. Be sure to leave your comments on the posts for a chance to win. One tote per winner will be awarded, but you can comment on any post throughout the contest period.]

Karen Templeton, A Mother’s Wish
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Series Romance

“Although making the RITA® cut the first time (in 2002) was a thrill, this time is much sweeter. Getting high enough scores to final from five random judges is no mean feat; to have it happen a second time? Priceless. Especially since A MOTHER'S WISH deals with adoption, a subject near and dear to several close friends. It really is an honor just to make the cut, especially with so many fellow finalists!”

About A Mother’s Wish:

Winnie Porter just couldn't forget the child she'd given up for adoption all those years ago…or the wonderful family that had taken him in. Now it was finally time to see her son one last time.

Still reeling from his wife's untimely death, the last thing Aidan Black needed to deal with was the unwed mother who brought his beloved Robbie into the world. Especially when she was all grown up into a beautiful, vivacious young woman who'd immediately drawn his boy into her spell—not to mention Aidan himself. Would Winnie's secret shatter Aidan's family—or make it whole again?

Anthea Lawson, Passionate [second copy]
2009 RITA® Finalist for Best First Book

PASSIONATE is a Victorian-set romantic adventure, up for a RITA® in the Best First Book category. We started this story after Anthea read a romance that promised travel, love, and adventure in exotic places, but failed to deliver. ‘We could do better than that!’ she said, and leaped immediately into a sea of words, pulling Lawson headfirst in after her. What a great journey it has been. Not only did we learn how to tell a 320 page story, we learned how to appreciate each other’s strengths as we crafted a novel together.

PASSIONATE is like a beloved child that has grown up, moved out, and made a place for itself in the world. The RITA® nomination is the letter home: ‘Hey, I've found work and made a lot of wonderful new friends. I'm doing ok out here.’
We couldn't be more delighted.”

About Passionate:

Before she must wed, Lily Strathmore decides upon one final adventure--a botanical expedition through the wilds of North Africa with her uncle and his family. In search of a fabled bloom, James Huntington soon joins them. Handsome to a fault and rakish to boot, he has the maddening habit of catching Lily at her most improper. And his sensual kisses are only the beginning of their passionate intimacy...

Huntington finds the beautiful Miss Strathmore impossible to resist. With each passing day, their desire for each other grows. And in his wildest dreams, Lily is his--and his alone. Forever...


Terri Brisbin, "Blame it on the Mistletoe"/One Candlelit Christmas
2009 RITA® finalist for Romance Novella

“Although this is my third nomination for a RITA®, the excitement and thrill of getting that call and learning the names of the other finalists were no less than the first time for me. Contests are so subjective and an entrant hopes their book is read by judges who 'get it' and finaling says others have taken note of your work.

The other and best part of the nomination for me is to see my name in the same list with some of my own favorite authors as well as some of the top names in the romance genre today! And that is a wonderful feeling to have! So, absolutely I agree that to be nominated is an honor in itself and I am enjoying every moment of the excitement and anticipation of it.....”

About “Blame it on the Mistletoe”:

Julia Fairchild has loved Iain MacLerie forever—but the boy she once knew is now a hardened and aloof man. Amid the festivities and warm cheer of yuletide, can Julia melt Iain's guard and ignite the spark that continues to burn between them…?


Tera Lynn Childs, OH.MY.GODS.
2009 RITA® Finalist for Best First Book
2009 RITA® Finalist for Young Adult Romance

“I was never supposed to be a writer. Growing up I was the left-brained science and math girl, determined to be a biologist or a doctor or (at my most creative) an architect. When I decided to pursue a career as an author, I had this perpetual voice at the back of my head saying, 'You're good at science and math and logical things. What makes you think you can do something as right-brained and linguistic as write books?' The fear didn't stop me, but it didn't go away. It's still there--and I'm glad, because the fear makes me a better writer--but being nominated for two RITAs® with my first book sure put a jumbo-sized muzzle on that voice.”

About Oh.My.Gods.:

When Phoebe’s mom returns from Greece with a new husband and plans to move to an island in the Aegean Sea, Phoebe’s well-plotted senior year becomes ancient history. Now, instead of enjoying a triumphant track season and planning for college with her best friends, Phoebe is trying to keep her head above water at the überexclusive Academy. If it isn’t hard enough being the new kid in school, Phoebe’s classmates are all descendents of the Greek gods! When you’re running against teammates with superpowers, dealing with a stepsister from Hades, and nursing a crush on a boy who is quite literally a god, the drama takes on mythic proportions!


Karen White, The House on Tradd Street
2009 RITA® Finalist for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

“As of this RITA® nomination (my fourth), I am officially the Susan Lucci of the RITA® awards. My first two were for the same book (nominated for best first book and best paranormal in 2001). I bought a new dress, new shoes, and got my hair done. I didn't win in either category. My third nomination was for my 7th novel, Learning to Breathe (in the Mainstream with Romantic Elements category) in 2008. I bought another new dress, new shoes, had my hair done, and didn't win.

So, for this year, I'm doing things differently. I'm not buying a new dress, shoes or having my hair done. Heck, I might not even shower and am considering showing up at the RITA®/GH® ceremony in my pajamas. That should just about guarantee that I will have to walk up on stage, flopping my fuzzy slippers as I go to collect my golden statue.

Yeah, I want it that badly--and who wouldn't? It's the romance novelist's equivalent to winning an Oscar. It's voted on by your peers, and all of my favorite authors have won at least once. I want to be part of that sorority so badly that I will consider being seen by over a thousand people wearing just my pajamas. So please cross your fingers for me. And if you see a woman giving her acceptance speech wearing flannel pj's with bunnies on them, that'll be me.”

About The House on Tradd Street:

A brilliant, chilling series debut, featuring a Charleston real estate agent who loves old houses—and the secret histories inside them.

Practical Melanie Middleton hates to admit she can see ghosts. But she’s going to have to accept it. An old man she recently met has died, leaving her his historic Tradd Street home, complete with housekeeper, dog—and a family of ghosts anxious to tell her their secrets.

Enter Jack Trenholm, a gorgeous writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries. He has reason to believe that diamonds from the Confederate Treasury are hidden in the house. So he turns the charm on with Melanie, only to discover he’s the smitten one...

It turns out Jack’s search has caught the attention of a malevolent ghost. Now, Jack and Melanie must unravel a mystery of passion, heartbreak—and even murder.

IMHO: That's it for today. Be sure to leave a comment for our authors if you want a chance to win this tote and tune in Friday for more featured RITA®-nominated finalists.