Friday, November 17, 2017

Top Five Reasons Why Romance Books Are the Very Best

Top Five Reasons Why Romance Books Are the Very Best:

5.    The Delicious Heroes. Whether grouchy or funny, tough or sweet, romance heroes are the swooniest. Since my heroes tend to lean toward the grumpy side, chatty Hugh—the hero of the second book in my Rocky Mountain K9 Unit series—was a change for me. It made writing On the Chase so much fun, though, and it was probably good for me to get away from the brooding guys for a little while (although I’m sure I’ll be back—I do love a grump with squishy-soft insides).

4.    The Awesome Heroines. They may have their foibles and quirks, but the women in romance books battle through their insecurities and weaknesses to get things done! I love discovering the unexpected bad-assery in my heroines. It reminds me that we all have superhero strength inside of us, just waiting to emerge when we need to save the day.

3.    The Humor. I’m such a sucker for a good joke. When characters make me laugh, I fall in love with them a little (okay, a lot). Romances have so many opportunities for humor—after all, the only thing better than a chuckle is a chuckle followed by a sweetness-inspired aww.

2.    The Banter. Add a little sexual tension, and the conversation between the hero and heroine starts to spark. Full of humor and teasing and heat, well-written banter can be more stimulating than a sex scene. Hugh and Grace are the king and queen of banter, and I love them for it. Is there anything more attractive than a hero and heroine who really know how to use their words?

1.    The HOPE. No matter how tough things get for the main characters, a romance promises the reader a happy ending. This, to me, is the very best part of romance books. Even when the real world seems upside down in the worst possible way, readers know for certain that Grace and Hugh—and all the other romance couples—are going to get their happy-ever-after. There’s nothing more important in the world than hope, and romances offer a heaping helping of it. That’s why, for these reasons and so many more, romance books are the very, very best.

 ON THE CHASE by Katie Ruggle

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Special Free Romance Read for You Offered by Gina Conkle

Pretty amazing! Buy one book and get another one free. Here's how it works:

1. Order The Lord Meets His Lady (Midnight Meetings series, #3)

Amazon   -   B&N   -   Kobo   -   iBooks   -   GooglePlay

2.  Take a screenshot of your order with the book title

3.  Fill out the form below and you'll get a copy Meet My Love at Midnight (Midnight Meetings series, #5 a novella)

Meet My Love at Midnight by Gina Conkle
One midnight rescue. A daring Christmas Eve dance. And love blossoms at the most wonderful time of the year between Bow Street's best, Jack Emerson, and Lady Isabella Foster.

And... for those interested in other Midnight Meetings series books, The Lady Meets her Match is on sale for 99 cents!
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

For the love of holiday romances...and giveaways!!

Let me start by saying that I LOVE writing holiday romances.  It's true.  If I could, I would do it year-round.  Unfortunately, not everyone loves reading about Christmas in June so I try to stick to writing and releasing them during the winter holiday season.  To date, I have written ten.

I once said very early on in my writing career, that readers could always count on me for a holiday novella and so far, I've stuck to that.  And I've loved every second of it!  Lol!

Today I released my tenth holiday novella - A VERY MARRIED CHRISTMAS.  It is book three in my Silver Bell Falls series and I have to admit, I almost didn't get to do it this year.  You see, I released HOLIDAY SPICE - which is a full-length novel - last month and while it is a holiday romance, it wasn't my usual kind of story and I felt like I really needed to do a novella for the readers that was more on track for what I always do.  And so A VERY MARRIED CHRISTMAS was born!
Silver Bell Falls was created as sort of a Christmas-Year-Round town.  They take their namesake seriously and during the holiday season, "Silver Bells" can be heard all over town.  In the first book CHRISTMAS IN SILVER BELL FALLS, my heroine Melanie shows up in town reluctantly after finding out a house there is her inheritance from her grandmother.  The only problem?  She hates Christmas.  Seriously, she's a female Scrooge.  So to have her stuck in a town where everyone lives and breathes Christmas was a LOT of fun!  She and the local sheriff have a surprise meeting while Melanie's in the tub and...well...let's just say it's one of my favorite meeting scenes ever!  Was it any wonder I had to give readers their wedding story?  And that's what A VERY MARRIED CHRISTMAS is - it's Melanie and Josiah's wedding story.

Here's a small excerpt:

He chuckled softly and placed another kiss on top of her head.  “Mel, we already know we want to get married.  We have the place and it’s decorated beautifully.  We’ve been living together almost since we met.  I don’t think we need to wait another year for a wedding. Personally, I don’t want to wait that long.”  Then he shifted so he could look at her face and smiled softly.  “I want you to be my wife.  The sooner the better.”
Her heart kicked hard in her chest and that’s when it hit her.
She wanted to be his wife sooner rather than later too.  Waiting another year just meant obsessing about things for a longer period of time. 
“I don’t want to wait another year either,” she began carefully.  “I love you and I want to be your wife, but…can’t we at least talk about another date?  Something that doesn’t have to do with the holidays?”  And before he could comment, she quickly added, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a date that is just ours?  Something we aren’t sharing with the rest of the world?”
He sighed and she knew he was disappointed.  Truth be known, she hated to be the one to make him feel that way, but she also knew she’d feel worse if she kept her feelings to herself.  This was going to be their wedding and it should be on both of their terms.
The silence was beginning to make Melanie nervous, so she looked up.  “Josiah?”
Another sigh.  “I get what you’re saying and I guess I thought we had crossed that hurdle and you were over your whole hating of all-things-Christmas.”  He shrugged.  “In my head, I thought it would be the perfect way for you to have a whole different view of it—something positive and happy to wash away all the negative memories.”
Rolling over, she placed her hand on his chest directly over his heart.  “You have done so much to make that happen and I really have learned that not everything about Christmas is bad, but…it doesn’t mean I want to share the happiest day of my life with it.  Think about it, Josiah.  As magical as it all sounds in your head, think of the reality of having it as our anniversary.  We’d never get to celebrate it on its own—it’s always going to be a holiday to celebrate something else.  And when we have kids, our anniversary will get lost in the shuffle.  Is that really what you want?”
By the look on his face, he hadn’t thought about these things.  Melanie knew how much Josiah loved Christmas and everything about it.  Living his entire life in Silver Bell Falls, how could he not?  It was like living in a giant Christmas card year-round! That’s why she felt it was important for him to be open to looking at other dates.  While she could completely concede that Christmas and everything that went with it could be wonderful, there were also a lot of other wonderful times of the year for them to consider.
“How about this,” she began, hoping to encourage him a bit.  “Let’s go and have some breakfast, break out the calendar and start looking at it.  How does that sound?”
He considered her for a long moment.  “Do you mind if I take a shower first?”
Not quite the response she was looking for but… “Sure!  I’ll go get out all the makings for pancakes and get them started.  Sound good?”  She knew pancakes were one of his favorite breakfast foods and she hoped it would work in her favor by putting him in a good mood while they talked about potential non-Christmas dates.
Just as she was about to move away from him, Josiah surprised her by wrapping her in his arms and twisting them until she was beneath him.  He kissed her thoroughly, deeply and left her completely breathless.
“Wow,” she said, trying to catch her breath.  “The thought of pancakes got you that worked up?”
He laughed softly.  “No.  The thought of marrying you did.”
Winding her arms around him, Melanie hugged him close.  “Breakfast can wait a little while longer, right?”
And by the sexy grin on his face, Josiah completely agreed.


And don't forget to mark your calendars!!  My very first Christmas book - THE CHRISTMAS COTTAGE - is coming to the Hallmark Movies & Mystery Channel on December 9th at 9:00!!  You can get all the details here:

You didn't think I forgot about the giveaway part, did you??  I have TWO holiday boxes to give away!!  Each contains a signed copy of either A VERY MARRIED CHRISTMAS or THE CHRISTMAS COTTAGE along with some swag and holiday goodies!  So don't miss out!!  To enter, comment below with what you love most about holiday romances!  And for a second chance to win, go over to my Facebook page - - like it and leave a comment there that says CASABLANCA AUTHORS SENT ME!  That's it!  Easy-Peasy!!

Happy Reading, Friends!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Why Fun is My Number One: My Take on Thor

I saw Thor: Ragnarok at the movies last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Marvel does such a terrific job with their pantheon of superheroes. DC is another comic franchise that has its heroes and villains, yet I don't like their movies as much. (Exception: Wonder Woman) And after the last debacle that was Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a movie I wanted to walk out of--this never happens to me with superhero movies--I realized why I didn't like it.

The movie wasn't fun.

When you have life and death situations, end of the world-type happenings, huge waves of love and hate and anger and redemption, the severity of the situation is built into the plot. But in order to satisfy me as a viewer/reader/the audience, I need to to see some humor, some lightheartedness, some fun.

I'm that way in what I write as well. And I know that isn't for everyone. Some readers and moviegoers love angst, to cry and cry some more. They want a somber environment because life is serious.

Yeah. No. I can't live like that. Now don't get me wrong. I like angst too. In brief moments or lead-ups to a grand happy ending. I just can't handle books or movies that are depressing the whole way through and then have my favorite character die at the end. Not for me.

My books are fun, sexy, and have characters who grow. Sometimes they go through some real trauma, but you can count on smart aleck-y siblings or friends to lighten the mood. Life is filled with grief; bad things happening to good people; mistakes are made that can do harm. So I like to balance the negative with a promise of love overcoming the odds.

And back to Thor: Ragnarok, that positive message is what I loved about the movie. Thor's homeworld is threatened, his people on the verge of extinction, and then we have a fight brewing--all between laughter and adventure that never stops. This was an excellent movie for those wanting that feel-good sensation at the end (though losses do occur.) Yet the humor in the story, filled with rich characters and simple joy in the movie making, put this movie into the win column for me. Note, if you're wanting something uber-meaningful and dramatic and with lots of tears, see something else.

Thor: Ragnarok--A.
Marie Harte romance--A for Amusing.  LOL

Monday, November 13, 2017

A New Leaf

Happy Monday! I'm starting my week with excuses. You haven't seen a new book from me for over a year now. What's my excuse?

A. The dog ate my manuscript.
B. My writing is terrible and no one wants a book from me.
C. I'm going through a major personal transformation.

If you chose A... wrong. Though I wouldn't be surprised. I have two corgis and one of them, Bandit, (the tricolor) is a major force of destruction. You can follow Bandit and Pepper on Instagram! (Yes, they have their own page).

If you chose B... fortunately wrong, but you've hit on the secret fear of writers everywhere. The fabulous Deb Werksman, my editor at Sourcebooks, still wants more from me, but we haven't agreed on a new proposal. And I've stopped sending them for now because...

C! C is correct. It all started with a haircut.

For years, I had long hair. Or at least just-past-my-shoulders hair. And I was fine with that. But I had a hair appointment. "Let's go really short!" And we did. And I realized I should have done it sooner. Love it!

With my short hair, I felt younger and sassier, and I started writing something I'd had in mind for years, a Young Adult coming-of-age story about a friendship breaking up while a new love begins. And I'm loving the YA world.

Which led to... the doctor's appointment that changed the rest of me. I had a regular check-up. Everything looked good. "But what about my weight?" I asked my doctor. "I keep trying to lose weight, but it's hard."

She said, well, my weight could be better. But despite the pounds I was carrying, my health was good. She left it up to me. What do you want to do?

And I realized... I wanted to lose the weight. I love food, all kinds of food, and wine. I wasn't a major over-eater, but I didn't deny myself much either. We discussed how I could cut back or make better choices, and how I could maybe walk more, if anything. "Just do a little something," she said, "Make small changes or different choices every day and see what happens."

And I did. I didn't go on a drastic diet. I didn't stop eating food I loved or change to all fruits and vegetables or go gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, or even low carb. I started drinking more water (64 oz a day, every day). I started realizing when I was really full and stopping, instead of waiting to feel full before ending a meal. Smaller portions. Maybe not so many treats. Definitely less wine. A few (though honestly still not enough) more walks.

I started in June. Today, I'm down 51 pounds. Small changes add up!

Now I'm getting ready for the holidays. I'm a little worried about all the food-based activities, but I think I can manage to stay on track. I want to lose 30 more pounds. I've got my goals in mind. And maybe, just maybe, you'll see a new book from me out in 2018. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to find out more.

Have you tried something new lately? What inspires you to step outside your comfort zone? Do you have any tips to avoid holiday weight gain? 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thanks to All Our Veteran's!

My son is still serving in the AF. I retired from the Army reserves, my sister did, my brother-in-law retired from the Army, my dad retired from the AF, my mother served in the Army, my dad’s uncle, was a prisoner of the Japanese and died in the Philippines. My dad had been a prisoner of war in Germany for 16 months. and others served in the Canadian Forces–my grandfather, a doctor. My French Great-Grandfather had been a member of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, and one of my Scottish ancestors had fought so well for the king of England, he was awarded land in Canada, one of the Playfairs. One of my German ancestors was brought over to fight the Patriots during the American Revolution, but believed in George Washington’s cause, fled to NY, and he and one of his sons served in the militia in Canada.

Thanks to everyone’s service but wishing we could all live in peace.

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
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Friday, November 10, 2017

Kim Redford’s Magical Autumn Getaway in Texas

Autumn is in the air hereabout, so I couldn’t resist a short trip to the rolling hills, deep woods, and blue lakes of East Texas. When I arrived at my destination, I stepped out of my car and immediately saw a small painted rock with “LOVE” written in bold letters on its flat surface. I glanced around the parking lot to see if the person who’d dropped the stone was still in the area, but the special rock and I were all alone on a sea of black asphalt.

Of course, I couldn’t leave this “LOVE” stone—already abandoned once—so I leaned down and picked it up, knowing it’d inspire me later at home while I wrote romance novels.

When I stood back up, I saw a young man in a black three-piece suit with a colorful tapestry vest coming toward me from the activities center. He pulled a black case on wheels behind him.

“Are you by any chance—” I started to ask.

“Yes, indeed,” he said, stopping for a moment. “I’m a magician.”

“I knew it!” After all, I was holding the surprise “LOVE” stone in my hand, and he’d appeared as if by magic. “I really regret I missed your show.”

“Next time,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his lips, then he went on his way.

And I happily went on with my Piney Woods adventure with photographs to reveal just how magical autumn can be in Texas.

Kim Redford is an acclaimed bestselling author of Western romance novels. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos for inspiration. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard. Visit her at Kim Redford.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Historical and Heavy Metal? Why Not? (Freebie and Excerpt)

I have been so busy between revisions on my newest Hearts of Metal book and wrapping up The Highwayman's Bite that I've been slacking at blogging. So I'm going to offer a free copy of my Heavy Metal Romance, Kissing Vicious, and also provide an exclusive excerpt of The Highwayman's Bite!

Get the Freebie HERE! 

And if Rock Stars aren't your thing, my regency paranormal romance, The Highwayman's Bite is up for Pre-Order!

Check out the excerpt!

Excerpt of The Highwayman's Bite

Rhys awoke to the sound of coughing. Not the gentle clearing of a throat, or the embellished affectation Madame Renarde had employed when trying to make a point, but a deep, racking explosion that echoed through the cave walls.
“Are you quite all right, Madame Renarde?” he inquired softly.
The ladies’ companion lit the lantern beside her bunk and blew her nose with a honk. “It’s the damp,” she explained. “I’ve never been able to abide it long.”
Rhys peered at her closely. With her first coughs and sneezes, he’d suspected she was attempting to feign illness so he may release her, but from the look of the woman’s pale visage and watery eyes, that was not the case. Fine stubble also sprouted over her face, betraying the body in which she was born.
“Lord Thornton ought to have received my letter today,” he said in reassurance. But that didn’t feel like sufficient comfort. “I have a jar of honey that should ease the cough. And I can prepare a hot bath and give you use of my razor if you care to shave.”
Madame Renarde gave him a look that made his throat tighten. “You’re a good man, Rhys…” she trailed off, hoping he would slip and give his surname, then shrugged when he did not. “Too good to be a criminal. Why did you not engage in honest employment rather than theft and kidnapping?”
“Aside from the fact that theft is more profitable, and thus more effective in helping my family, it is a complicated situation.” Rhys shrugged and took a large cauldron from its place. He could have taken the whole bathing tub, which he did when he was alone, but that would look suspicious. “I’ll fill this with seawater for your bath.”
“May I accompany you?” a voice asked.
He glanced at Vivian’s cot. She was awake and buttoning her boots. A surge of pleasure flickered through him at the prospect of her company. “Of course.”
Madame Renarde began to object, but another coughing fit took over. Selfishly, Rhys took Vivian’s hand and led her out of the cave.
 “I’m worried about that cough,” she said, bending to pick up a seashell.
Rhys nodded. “I’m going to put honey in her tea and encourage her to rest. I’ll see about finding some soup for supper as well.”
“And if she doesn’t get better?” she looked up at him imploringly.
He stopped and watched the waves crash against the shore. “Then I shall take her back to your uncle.”
“But not me?” Her hand touched his sleeve, a pleading whisper.
He shook his head, refusing to weaken. “Not you. I need that money, Vivian.”
“I know.” She sighed. “You may not believe me, but I do sympathize for your family, I truly do.”
“Thank you.” It seemed no one did these days, so her words meant more than he’d anticipated. “I will know on Saturday if your uncle agrees to pay the ransom.” He bent at a curve of shale that formed a shallow pool and dipped the cauldron in the water. “I hope he does.”
“As do I.” Vivian followed as he carried the cauldron back into the cave. “I wonder what Uncle has made of my absence?”
“He likely fabricated a tale to preserve your reputation.” Rhys wanted to reassure her further, but the words stuck in his throat as they were once more back in the presence of her chaperone. Instead, he shrugged and set the cauldron on the grate and added more wood to the fire. “I know enough about Viscount Thornton to be confident that he will ensure that you are beyond approach when this is over.”
Madame Renarde regarded him with narrowed eyes. “And how are you certain of that? Ladies have been disowned for less.”
Rhys crossed his arms over his chest. “You had best pray to the heavens that you never learn what I know of Lord Thornton.” But as he issued the threat, he realized that perhaps it was Lord Thornton who should be praying.
He could use that as leverage, but he wouldn’t, not unless he needed to. Revealing the existence of vampires to a mortal was punishable by death.
Then again, Rhys was already a rogue vampire, who invaded other territories and had abducted a Lord Vampire’s kin. He already had a death sentence hanging over his head and had for some time, what was another?  
While Madame Renarde bathed, Vivian and Rhys walked along the beach once more. He observed her pensive frown as she sifted through shells buried in the sand. “How did you come to learn secrets about my uncle? Do you know each other?”
He noticed that she did not bother asking what the secrets were. Clever woman. He answered carefully. “I have not made his acquaintance, but he is well known in certain circles I frequent.”
Vivian’s eyes widened. “Is he a criminal then?”
“Forcing a woman and her two children from their home should be a crime,” Rhys said. “But no, he hasn’t broken any… English laws that I know of.” This conversation was veering toward dangerous territory. He changed the subject. “Why are you afraid of marriage?”
A seashell dropped from her fingers as she froze. “I beg your pardon?”
“I heard you speaking with Madame Renarde about it the night before I took you.”
Her fists clenched at her sides and her chin jerked up as she looked at him with blazing fury. “You were spying on me?”
He took a step back and held up his hands in mock surrender. “I needed to gather information about your comings and goings so I could execute my plan.”
“Ah, so you spied and eavesdropped to best know when to kidnap me.” Vivian faced him with her hands on her hips and a derisive curl of her lips. “You know, that does not redeem you in the slightest.”
Rhys shrugged off the guilt that threatened to engulf him. “What can I say? I am the villain in this situation.” He circled around her in a way that he hoped looked menacing. He needed to remind her who was in charge. “Answer my question. I thought all blue-blooded maids dreamed of nothing but landing a man with a lofty title and running a noble household. Why not you? You’re certainly beautiful enough to take your pick.”
 Roses bloomed in her cheeks at his acknowledgement of her beauty. “I do not see how it is any business of yours what I want or don’t want for my future.”
“It is my business because if you are planning on being a spinster, the matter of your chastity holds less weight as a bargaining chip.”
She flinched as if he’d struck her and crossed her arms over her chest as if to shield herself from his advances.
Rhys cursed and backed away. “No, I am not plotting to ravage you. I only seek to find the most expedient manner of making your uncle pay my ransom.”
Her face reddened further. “I am not about to aid you in making myself a tool for your benefit.” She paused and added through clenched teeth, “Or my uncle’s.”
She was hurt, he realized. He’d done that to her and so had Blackpool. Her words that he’d overheard twisted in his heart like a blade. “…I am filled with such terror that I almost feel ill with it…. Consigned to a lifetime of thinghood.”
Thinghood. Rhys was beginning to grasp what Vivian meant by that. He and Blackpool were indeed using her as a pawn in a game, giving no consideration for her thoughts or feelings.
The realization made him feel terrible. Alas, it was not to be helped. Not if he wanted to keep Emily and her children out of the poorhouse.
Perhaps there was a way to atone for his callousness. “What if I allowed you a chance at gaining your freedom?”
Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. “What do you mean?”
“I suggest we duel. If you draw first blood, I’ll release you.”
She frowned, but there was a glint of hopeful joy in her eyes. “Is this some sort of trick?”
He shook his head. “No. I just think we spar better with swords than words.”
“And you’re confident that you’ll win.” Her lips curved in a reluctant smile.
“I am.” Skilled as she was, Vivian was still a mortal and could not match his speed.
“Then why bother giving me the chance?” Oh, but despite her argument, naked longing emanated from her, with those sparking eyes and her fingers curling in readiness to hold a sword.
Rhys gestured for her to follow him back to the cave. “Because then at least you’ll have some agency in the matter. Despite the circumstances and my intentions with you, I do regard you as more than a game piece.”
“You’re allowing me, your prisoner to fight you with a sword just to prove you regard me as a human being?” Vivian shook her head and chuckled. “I think you may be the worst villain ever.”
Though he was gratified to see her spirits raised, his pride stung. Without thinking, he seized her shoulders and pulled her against him.
Her mockery could not stand. He needed to remind her who was in control.
He lowered his face until their lips almost met. “Would you prefer me to be more villainous? I could always dispense with the blades and ravage you after all.”
She sucked in a breath, her large brown eyes searching his to see if he was serious. He’d meant to frighten her, but from the way she leaned into him and her tongue wet her lower lip, he may have failed in that goal.
Her hands moved up and splayed against his chest. A low growl rumbled in his throat as his lips almost claimed hers.

Then Vivian shoved him away with such sudden force that he nearly fell on his arse. “I’ll happily duel with you,” she bit out and strode into the cave.

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt! The Highwayman's Bite releases December 5th. You can PreOrder it now!
For more information on Brooklyn Ann's Books and more freebies, visit