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Virtual tour for The Laird Takes a Bride!

Avon Books and Goddess Fish are hosting this tour celebrating the release of the second book in my Penhallow Dynasty series, and three e-book copies are up for grabs! If you’re interested in entering, be sure to do so this week. The tour wraps up this Friday, on September 29th. And good luck! Image: Goddess Fish tour banner for The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

Here are the blogs:

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Word of the day: pandemonium

An excellent word! I used it with pleasure in The Bride Takes a Groom, the third book in my Penhallow Dynasty series, coming your way next spring.Graphic: "pandemonium" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster

It appears toward the end of Chapter 1, in a scene in which my hero, Captain Hugo Penhallow, has just returned home, unannounced, after an eight-year absence during which he’s served in the Army. In the entry-hall he says to the servant Eliza:

“Tell Robinson to set another place for me, would you? I’ll go in directly.”

“Oh, sir, but Mr. Robinson’s not here.”

“Egad, not dead, is he?” Hugo hoped not, as he had been very fond of their old butler; he’d loyally stayed on after Father had died, despite having his wages drastically reduced.

“Oh no, sir, he’s alive, but his palsy got so bad that the mistress pensioned him off, you see, and he’s living with his daughter Nancy and her family, up on Roper Street. Very happy he is, sir. Takes a pint every day at the pub, and sings in the choir on Sundays.”

Hugo was pulling off his greatcoat and hanging it on a peg. “Well, that’s excellent news. I’ll go see him later this week. See here, Eliza, I’m hungry as a bear. Can you set a place for me?”

“To be sure I can, sir! But — but — if you’ll forgive me asking — who are you, sir?”

“Good God, didn’t my mother tell any of you I was coming? No wonder poor old Hoyt looked as if he’d seen a ghost.” He laughed. “Never mind. I’m the prodigal son, Eliza! The eldest, you know — Hugo.”

Eliza looked astonished. “Oh! Sir! You’re Mr. Hugo? We was all afeared you was dead!”

“Dead! Why?”

“Because the mistress said you’d been shot by a Frenchy, Mr. Hugo, and that you was laid up in your cousin’s house — and then there wasn’t any more letters from you! Cook says them French bullets have a special poison in them, sir, that drains the life right out of a person!”

Blast it all, he’d deliberately trivialized the nature of his illness when writing home, not wishing to worry them — and why hadn’t Mama gotten the letter he’d written from Gabriel’s house a fortnight ago, informing her that he was fine, and would soon be on his way? Well, he could allay their anxieties right now.

“I was shot,” he said to Eliza, “but it would take more than some beastly Frenchman to kill me, that’s for certain! Go on, now, and bring me some supper, that’s a good girl.”

She bobbed a curtsy and Hugo, favoring his left leg ever so slightly, went down the long, familiar hallway, the dogs trotting behind with the same pliant obedience the children of Hamelin might well have displayed while following the Pied Piper. He came to a pair of oak-framed double doors, brought them open, and strolled into the dining-parlor. “I say, I’m home.”

Five golden-blond heads swiveled in his direction, five pairs of wide blue eyes displayed shocked surprise, and then pandemonium erupted.        

Would you like to preorder The Bride Takes a Groom? Click here. If you’d like to save it on Goodreads, click here.

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Monday inspiration

Hope you have a very good week. :)

Image: a cat contemplating a large drawing of a tiger

via Sabrina Jeffries on Twitter

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On happy endings, sexy heroes, and revolutionary writing

Really enjoyed this recent post on Shondaland.com featuring the inimitable Julia Quinn. Here are some of my favorite bits.

SL: What do you think takes a romance novel from good to great?

JQ: There’s a joke romance writers like to make when we’re talking about our books. We’ll be talking about the plot, and then we’ll say in a confidential tone, “Okay, spoiler alert. They get together in the end.” This pretty much always gets a laugh, because if there is one thing we all know about romance novels, and indeed, if there is one thing that defines a romance novel, it’s the happy ending. 

This isn’t to say, however, that romance novels are formulaic. Far from it. You open with two protagonists who meet (or re-meet) and you finish with a happy ending. How you get from point A to point B is wide open. But no matter how varied the plots may be, they all end in fundamentally the same place. Which is why I think that if you want to take a romance novel from good to great, it’s all about the characters.

If the reader doesn’t care about the characters, if she doesn’t have a hollow spot in the pit of her stomach when things look bleak, or she doesn’t feel a thrill as they tumble into love, the book will fall flat. A romance novel is all about the emotional journey, and a reader’s emotions must be engaged. I’m known for writing humorous books, and I’m often asked for advice on how to be funny. (Short answer: I have no idea. It’s just the way I’m wired.) I always caution writers not to forsake the emotion in the pursuit of humor. A funny book will make you laugh, but a funny book that grabs your heart at the same time will stay with you forever. 

Photo: Julia Quinn

SL: What do you most hope people take away from your work?

JQ: I’ve said many times that I’m not going to change the world with my writing, but I can change someone’s afternoon. There is a time and a place for the Great American Novel, and there is a time and a place for clever, well-written entertainment. I love writing the latter, and I love reading it, too.

But lately I’ve been thinking that there is more to it than that. I often hear from readers who tell me that my books have shown them that they deserve better in their lives, that they deserve a partner who treats them well. And maybe that’s why my heroes aren’t typical bad boys. (Seriously, every time I try to write a bad boy hero he turns around and does something decent and nice.) I don’t want a guy who treats women like dirt, and I don’t want to write about guys who do that, either. Then it occurred to me — in some ways, portraying a healthy relationship in literature is the most revolutionary thing you can do.

SL: Going off of that, what makes a male character sexy in a romance novel?

JQ: There are really two parts to what makes a male character sexy. The first is focused just on him. There is the physical — he doesn’t need to be classically handsome, but he needs to be attractive to the heroine. He also needs, in my opinion, a stellar sense of humor and the ability to — at least some of the time — not take himself too seriously. But I also think that a vital component of his sexiness comes in how he sees the heroine. A guy simply cannot be sexy if he doesn’t respect women. If you want to be a hero in one of my books, you have to believe in the heroine and respect and cherish her strengths and abilities. It doesn’t mean he can’t get all protective and macho from time to time — I mean, who doesn’t love that? But ultimately, he’s got to think she’s the bomb, and not just because he likes the way she looks on his arm. And of course, it doesn’t hurt if he gets down on one knee and declares that she’s the missing piece to his soul.

To read the full interview, click here.

More about Julia Quinn here.

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You May Kiss the Bride giveaway!

A signed, print copy is currently up for grabs. It’s the first book in my Penhallow Dynasty series, and was recently named by Booklist as one of the year’s top 10 romance debuts. To enter, click here. And good luck!

Graphic: "A masterful Regency debut . . . A sheer delight." -Kirkus Reviews (starred) for You May Kiss the Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

To learn more about You May Kiss the Bride, click here.

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A giveaway from Sophie Jordan!

I first met Sophie at the Romance Writers of America’s annual conference in 2016 — at the Avon Books party, to be precise. I’ll always remember her big smile, warm greeting, and how she pulled up on her phone the cover of her next historical romance, While the Duke Was Sleeping . . . and we ooh’ed and aah’ed over its gorgeousness. I invite you to feast your eyes!

Cover of While the Duke Was Sleeping by Sophie Jordan (Avon Books)

 

Now the wonderful Sophie’s offering a giveaway of The Laird Takes a Bride on her Facebook page! Would you like to enter? Click here. And good luck!

Image: cover for The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

 

 

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Bow wow!

It’s Thursday, which means it’s Getting To Know You Day on my Facebook page! Today we’re talking about (yes) doggy astrological signs. Apparently I’m a German shepherd. :)Infographic: "The Signs As Dogs" Would you like to join us? Stop on by!

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“A bright, intelligent, heart-tugging romance”

Thrilled to receive a lovely review from Kirkus for The Laird Takes a Bride! Here it is, in part:

Highland spinster Fiona Douglass is forced to attend a house party designed to find a bride for Alasdair Penhallow and has every expectation of being looked over, but after a series of unexpected events, she finds herself married to the intriguing, infuriating man. . . . Berne shows a special mastery for characters who hide their feelings, even from themselves, and yearn, even when they don’t realize it. A difficult love scene is also brilliantly rendered.

A bright, intelligent, heart-tugging romance.

Graphic: "A bright, intelligent, heart-tugging romance": Kirkus review for The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

Would you like to read the full review? Click here.

For more about The Laird Takes a Bride, and how to order, click here.

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Meow!

I thought you’d like to see this cute bag. I mean — this cute CAT.

Photo: via Jon Jones on Twitter: a cat in an Abercrombie & Fitch bag

Via Jon Jones on Twitter

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Ending soon!

A Goodreads giveaway for The Laird Takes a Bride wraps up on Tuesday. If you haven’t already, would you like to enter for a chance to win a signed copy? If so, click here.

Graphic: Goodreads giveaway! The Laird Takes a Bride (Avon Books) by Lisa Berne

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