Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Brooklyn Ann's Winner!

And the winner is Justine! Check out my page on Goodreads and let me know which ebook you want and choice of format at annarkie 12 @ gmail .com!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Convention Time!

By the time this blog goes live, I will have attended, partied, and come home from Barbara Vey's Readers for Life Luncheon. There will be lots of pictures on my Facebook page but for the moment, let me tell you a little about the joys and sorrows of readers events from an author's point of view.

1. The greatest thing about going to readers events is...

a. having a perfect business expense to leave home, stay in a hotel, and hang out with friends.
b. road tripping with Elizabeth Hoyt which, let's face it, makes it awesome for anyone.
c. putting on make up and high heels and pretending like I look this good all the time
d. being an extrovert because I AM! I like to party, party, party! Sorry if you're an introvert.
e. giving away a ton of gifts. I get to play "lady bountiful" and give #Squidge to lots of people.
  1. A rich and generous woman.
  2. (derogatory) An over-patronising woman, showing off her wealth by acts of 'overwhelming' generosity.
f. All of the above, but most important--meeting new people.

Yeah, yeah, you all know it's F. But seriously, hanging with Elizabeth Hoyt--fun. Also talking books is fun. And seeing their faces when they pick up Squidge and say, um, so what is it? is alway a great joy.

2. The worst thing about going to readers events is...

a. high heels and spanks. Oy. Who invented these things?
b. trying to have great conversations in the middle of a room of 500 women all having great conversations. Can you say: what did you say?
c. arriving and finding out that your clothes/books/swag didn't.
d. arriving and finding out that the hotel reservation never happened. Fortunately, Milwaukee has more than one hotel.
e. road tripping with Elizabeth Hoyt after 9 hours in the car and 45 potty stops. She's fun, but she's not THAT fun.
f. Trying to figure out something witty, personal, and special to say when signing your book for the 500th time.
g. From Elizabeth Hoyt: Finding out you have 12 year old fans. Hmmm....
h. Realizing as you step off the elevator that it's supposed to be a costume event. My special conference costume is: author in a pantsuit. Damon Suede, on the other hand, just rubber cements on a set of horns and he's good to go.

i. All of the above, but that creepy, stalker fan who wants a pair of your underwear (preferably still dirty) is always a special torture.

Answer i. Fortunately, I've never personally experienced the request-for-underwear, but I have encountered a few fans who did not understand the need for personal space.

3. Where can you find Jade next and what will she give you?

a. absolutely nothing. She's cheap that way.
b. Who knows? That's why GPSs were invented. I only go where it tells me.
c. My schedule is found here and my next big event is the Romantic Times Convention
d. I'll be giving away all of the following: squidge, tree frogs, notebooks, my books in print, my books in e, and Elizabeth Hoyt's clean underwear.

Answer: C!  But I will give away #squidge, books, styluses, and a host of other fun things that do not include any underwear at all. (Though I will be wearing some, not for sale or gifting)

Monday, April 28, 2014

On Trying New Things (with ARC Giveaway!)

My five-year-old daughter, Little Miss R, is one of the most outgoing kids I've ever run across. So when she found out she was chosen to be in her kindergarten spelling bee, I expected her to be delighted. A chance to stand on a stage! To get lots of attention!

And she was delighted--sort of. Actually, she told me, "I want to do it, but I want it to be over so I don’t have to do it."

Ah, I thought. Finally my shy-in-public genetic material makes an appearance. "I've felt that way before," I said. "Do you want me to come watch? Will that help?"

"Yes," she said. "Stay and watch the whole time."

So I did. And she was nervous beforehand--but once she got up on that stage, all her fears went away. And she did great.

Afterward, there was a lot of *bounce bounce* "I'm so glad I did it! It was fun! I want to do it again tomorrow!" Facing fears, it seems, can be addictive--and so can success.

Segue alert: you guessed it, I'm going to relate this to my next historical, To Charm a Naughty Countess, because trying new things is a key part of the story. The hero--Michael, Duke of Wyverne--will try new mechanical devices, or new tasks that rely only on himself. But any new experience involving another person? No, thank you. With social anxiety enough for two, he’s stayed in Lancashire with his Regency gadgets. He only wants to try something new if he knows he’ll be good at it right away.

Until his dukedom faces financial ruin, and he has to marry for money. Soon. Now. That means a trip to London, and a plunge into the whirl of society. 

After a verrrry rough start, he gets a bit of help from Caroline, Lady Stratton. Caro who feels she has nothing to offer except social confidence—and so she tries to use it to make herself indispensable in soicety. This isn’t exactly the life of purpose she dreamed of, but it’s something she knows she can do well. And so from the opposite perspective, she’s really not so different from Michael.

Since this is a romance, you know they’ll help each other become better and stronger than they were at first. And in real life, that’s what I hope for my family too. Though I admit, I'm able to try new things in books a lot more easily than in real life. (When’s the last time I had the chance to attend an elegant ball?)

What about you? Do you like trying new things like Little Miss R, or do you tend to hang back like me? Tell me something new you tried—or didn’t, and whether you’re glad or not about how it turned out. I have one last advance copy of To Charm a Naughty Countess, and I'll give it to one random commenter!

International entrants welcome. I'll choose the winner at noon ET on April 30. I might not be able to email you, so please check back to see if you won!

Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she is working on her next book. 
Twitter: @TheresaRomain

Sunday, April 27, 2014

And the Winner is...


She left a comment on the blog "How Do You Like Your Heroes?" and won the $25 B&N gift card. Pat likes to read "wounded warriors" and "tender betas." Her prize ought to keep her stocked up on those latest men of romance.

Be aware...I LOVE to give away bookstore gift cards. 

If you want to keep up with the fun, why not join me?

I write Viking and Georgian romance with a softly sensual side. Why not join the worlds of historical romance found only in my books.   ~Cheers to you, Reader!  Gina Conkle

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lest We Forget

So... I spend a lot of time writing about heroes, but yesterday (April 25th) was a day in Australia where we celebrate the most courageous of our national heroes: our ANZAC's. The acronym stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and every April 25th, we salute all who have fought for our country and commemorate the anniversary of the first major military action fought by our ANZAC forces in the First World War.

So why is it so important to us Aussies? In 1915, the ANZAC forces set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey, and ultimately Constantinople (Istanbul). They landed at Gallipoli on 25th April and met heavy resistance from the Ottoman Turks, with a stalemate that dragged on for eight months. Yep, that's right. Eight months. By the end of that time, both sides had suffered heavy losses and over 8,000 Australians were lost in action before they were forced to withdraw. 

My boyfriend and I at Anzac Cove in 2008.

In 2008, my boyfriend and I travelled through Turkey and managed to visit what is now known as Anzac Cove. Although we were on an entire tour bus of under-35's (with all that entails), there was an amazing sense of silence once we reached the cove. You can see the cliffs that our soldiers tried to climb from their beach landing, and it's an unreal feeling to think of all that occurred there. To imagine Simpson and his Donkey, going out into 'no man's land' between the fighting forces, to bring back wounded troops; or those fighting in trenches for nearly eight months in horrible conditions. Some men froze to death or had to have limbs amputated due to the extreme weather conditions.

The Australian Memorial at Gallipoli. The Red Poppy is our ANZAC flower of remembrance. 

The one thing that surprised me from that trip, is the amount of respect all three nations fighting in that battle had for each other. Sometimes Turkish and ANZAC soldiers would share cigarettes and food rations with each other between the fighting. If anything good came out of this conflict, it was a goodwill and friendship between the three nations that lasts until this day, and a commitment to peace.

Nowadays, towns in Australia hold a memorial at dawn, to commemorate that dawn landing. There's nothing quite as haunting as hearing the trumpet Reveille and thinking about those that gave their lives. My Dad and his wife are actually in Gallipoli right now and attended the dawn service there to pay their respects, which is something I would love to do one day.

Here is one of my favourite poems from the service:

Lest We Forget

'They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We shall remember them.'

I hope I have done our ANZAC heroes some justice with this post. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Gina's Split Personalities

Hi there, CasaFans!

I've got a confession to make... I am two people. *GASP*

Not only am I Gina Lamm, geek girl and gamer and historical romance aficionado. I am also...

Regina Cole. Mistress of Sexy. Contemporary Romance Adore-er. Penning the steamiest of erotic romances to scorch your panties.

Why do I tell you this now? Because, dear people, now Regina Cole is joining Gina Lamm in the ranks of the Sourcebooks Authors. (You may SQUEE now. I sure did. ;)

As Regina Cole, I'll be writing a contemporary erotic romance series based on an alternative metal rock band called Son of Cain. The first title, ANY WAY SHE WANTS IT, will release sometime in 2015, with the next two titles to be released shortly thereafter. Each book will follow one of the guys in the band as he fights his inner demons and wins his true love, with a lot of hot smexin' along the way.

Would you like to see the blurb for book one? Keep in mind, this is the pitch, not the actual "back of the book" matter. But it'll give you an idea of what to watch for from Miz Cole. ;)


Sons of Cain Book 1
Coming in 2015 from  Sourcebooks Publishing
intimate young couple during foreplay
Son of Cain, an alternative metal band, is skyrocketing up the charts, and Violet Phillips can’t help but be grateful she got in on the ground floor. As assistant sound engineer, she’s responsible for making sure they rock as hard as they can on their world tour. But when she sees front man Logan Lash sexing it up with two women at their inaugural after-party, she can’t get the image out of her mind. She knows it’s a bad idea to get involved with bad boy Logan, but he’s a temptation that’s hard to resist.
 Logan started Son of Cain to get away from his hometown for good. Determined to drown the pain of his past in thundering drums and thrashing guitars, he threw himself body and soul into the project. With sales climbing and a world tour booked, he’s finally making it. The party lifestyle suits him fine until Violet catches his eye. At first it’s just another f*ck, but as they ride from city to city across America, and then Europe, Logan finds himself more and more in her company. Her body is his drug, and he’s got no plans for rehab.
 But when their sexual relationship bleeds into their professional one, threatening Son of Cain’s position as best new artist, Violet loses her dream job and Logan’s forced to choose. He can either face his past and embrace the future with Violet by his side, or continue to lose himself in the music and the faces of adoring strangers. 

Tantalized? I sure hope so! 
In the meantime,  you can check out my Regina Cole website here. I'm also on the Tweeterz, and the BookFace. I like new friends, so come on over and let's chat!
And don't worry, Gina Lamm's not going anywhere. (Good grief, it's so weird to talk about myselves in the third person.) I'll still be writing time travel and historical romance as well as the erotic stuff. There's enough love for two of me, right? ;) 
In the meantime, tell me who your favorite rockband is!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I Admit It...I'm an Addict by Shana Galen

I have a problem. Admitting it is the first step, right? Okay, so I'm addicted to news and photos of the Duchess of Cambridge (that's Kate Middleton to those of you who aren't royal watchers). This grand tour of New Zealand and Australia has been a boon for those of us who get jittery when we go too long without any photos or news of Kate.

Obviously, this letter in the Times indicates that not everyone is eating up all the media attention the duchess receives.

Have to love that dry British wit. The Brits are better known for humor than style, but Kate Middleton may very well be changing that image. Take a look at a few of the outfits she wore on the tour.

These two make me want to buy a few dozen hats.

This Diane von Furstenberg dress was so popular it sold out 8 seconds after Kate was pictured wearing it.

This photo proves that hats and puppies are the ultimate accessories.

Seriously, furry animals are always in style, even a bilby (who had ever heard of them before this trip?).

Kids are pretty cute accessories too.

Whose style do you most admire?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gearing up for RT!

This year I get to fulfill TWO big dreams that I've had for many years. First, I finally get to attend the RT Booklover's convention this coming May!! I finally get to meet authors I've admired forever. I finally get to participate in the always amusing RT twitter feed. I get to meet some of my readers and sign books, attend useful workshops and fun parties.
Second, I get to visit New Orleans, a place I've been dying to see since I read my first Anne Rice novel.

My excitement knows no bounds.

Since this will be my first convention and first time travelling alone, I'm going to try to take it as easy as possible. I'll attend plenty of worshops and author events and parties, but I really want to focus my attention on the 2 main purposes I have for attending this convention. Getting to know people, and exploring NOLA. I'm going to stuff my face with Cajun and Creole food. A few authors and I are planning a mini tourist expedition.
If there is karaoke at the bar, I'll probably sing some classic rock and metal.

But mostly, I hope to be flitting around the lobby and bar and quiet corners taking it all in and making new friends who also like talking about books.

I will have a few copies of BITE ME, YOUR GRACE, and maybe even a couple ARCs for ONE BITE PER NIGHT. Since I'm not doing any official author events this time around, some of you will get your hands on these at the most unexpected moment. Mwah-hah-hah!!! 

Who else is going to RT? What do you plan to do?

For those who aren't attending, What is your dream convention and why?

Comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of any of my current books.

Here's a link to my Amazon page

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A TASTE OF SPRING(Recipe) by Pamela Sherwood

Lemon Tree...and Feline Guardian!
Just as there are certain colors and smells that you automatically associate with specific seasons, so are there particular flavors. So if autumn tastes like pumpkin, ginger, and cranberries, winter like peppermint and chocolate, and summer like strawberries and peaches, spring--at least to me--tastes like lemons. And right now, with the warmer weather coming in, Southern California's lemon trees are putting out bumper crops of sunny yellow fruit!

And enthusiastic cooks like me eye the laden branches with mingled speculation--and acquisitiveness! Because lemons are among the most versatile of ingredients, finding their way into all kinds of dishes: hot, cold, savory, sweet, liquid or solid. Whether it's avgolemono soup or lemon cream pasta or lemon meringue pie, lemon enlivens any springtime menu.

Today I'm sharing a recipe for madeleines, those pretty scallop-shaped cakes that you can now find as overpriced three-packs at your local Starbucks or Trader Joe's. Previously, your best bet was a French bakery--or between the pages of Proust's In Search of Lost Time (aka Remembrance of Things Past), in which the narrator relives his childhood while snacking on a madeleine dipped in tea.

I bought my madeleine tray some years ago and inflicted madeleines of various flavors on my family: lemon, almond, chocolate (the last a little dry, I regret to say--the recipe needed refining). After a certain point, though, I fell out of the habit of madeleine-making--a book contract may have had something to do with that--and my tray languished half-forgotten in the kitchen cupboard.
Madeleine Tray, Buttered, Floured, and Ready for Action

Until last Christmas, when I uncovered it while searching for something else--and promptly succumbed to a Proustian-level fit of nostalgia for these treats! And as it happens, the hero of my current WIP turned out to be very fond of madeleines himself, especially the almond ones. But in keeping with the season, it's lemon madeleines this time around!


5 tablespoons of butter or margarine (melted)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Juice and finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

3/4 cup of flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (if using unsalted butter--otherwise you can omit)

Combine the last 3 ingredients in a bowl, mix well until blended.

Beat eggs and sugar together in mixing bowl, add melted butter (after cooling slightly), beat until blended. Add by turns the dry ingredients, the lemon juice and zest, and vanilla. Batter should be smooth and spreadable.

Cover bowl with clean towel and let batter stand for an hour. Grease and flour madeleine molds.

Madeleine Batter 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees about 10 minutes before baking. Stir batter until fluid again and fill madeleine molds about 2/3 to 3/4 full. You can use a butter knife to spread the batter closer to the edges of the mold.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Texture should be tender and slightly spongy, like little cakes. Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes before loosening madeleines from their molds. A butter knife is a good tool for this. Put madeleines on plate, dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm. Makes about 18-24 depending on the size of the molds.

The Finished Product...Yum!

They're actually very easy to make. It's the prep work that's the most time-consuming aspect, but the results are worth the hassle.  If you have any left over, wrap in foil and reheat in a conventional oven before eating. Or pop them in a microwave for a few seconds. They taste much better warm--the texture turns rubbery when they're cold. (I also don't recommend dunking them in your tea--unless you have a passion for all things Proust. But these are moist enough without immersion!)

Enjoy!  What are some of your favorite springtime dishes?