Archive for 'reading'

“Birds have wings . . .”

Yes!

Photo: "Birds have wings, humans have books"

via Patricia Beal on Twitter

What do you think? Click here to comment.
Interview and giveaway!

I’m delighted to be featured on the blog of the wonderful Lenora Bell, with an interview and a giveaway celebrating the release of my latest book!

What was the favorite part of your research for the book?

My hero, Alasdair Penhallow, lives in an ancient castle — renovated to state-of-the-art elegance and comfort circa 1811, but still, it’s a castle. Très romantique! I spent quite a few happy hours on the web studying Scottish castles and estates.

Authors often have all kinds of influences and allusions in their stories. What about in The Laird Takes a Bride?The cover for The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

Yes, they’re definitely in there! Here are a few examples.

  • My heroine Fiona’s first (and lost) love was based on the charming, fascinatingly slippery Morris Townsend in Washington Square.
  • A strong-willed secondary character, one of the “contestants” for Alasdair’s favor, was modeled after Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a movie I saw ages ago and which — obviously — made a deep impression on me!
  • The work of Stephen King inspired a scene in which Fiona is frightened by memories of being told bloodcurdling tales about a ghastly creature called the Sack Man.
  • In Chapter 12 you’ll find a tiny tip of the hat to Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, and in Chapter 16, a bit informed by Little Women — specifically, the scene in which Amy and Laurie confess their love, a passage I found thrilling as a kid. (And still do.) Look for Fiona saying, “It fits,” and Alasdair’s reply.

What’s the funniest/strangest thing a reader or a relative has said to you about your books or your writing career?

Romance writers everywhere know the look — a little sheepish, a little roguish — and the question that inevitably follows: “So, uh, did you do your own research for the, uh, racy parts?” I love the response Beverly Jenkins shared during a speech she gave at last year’s Romance Writers of America conference. When people ask this question, she told us, she’ll reply, with exquisite and tantalizing brevity: “Yes.” And we all cracked up laughing.

What’s up next for you? What are you working on right now?

I’m finishing the third book in the Penhallow Dynasty series, The Bride Takes a Groom, which releases next spring. It features Captain Hugo Penhallow, who appears toward the end of my first book, You May Kiss the Bride. He marries a childhood friend, Katherine Brooke, a brilliant and complicated heiress — and their marriage is quite complicated also!

* * *

Would you like to enter the giveaway for a signed print copy of The Laird Takes a Bride? Stop by Lenora’s blog or her Facebook page and say hi!

For more info about The Laird Takes a Bride, click here.

 

 

What do you think? Click here to comment.
My current read . . .

I was lucky enough to score an advance reader’s copy of Joanna Shupe’s A Daring Arrangement, which releases next month. If you’re a Gilded Era fan, like me, you’ll love this beautifully written book!Image: cover of A Daring Arrangment by Joanna Shupe (Avon Books)

More about Joanna here.

What do you think? Click here to comment.
Read a Romance Month top recs!

One of my favorite RARM features is the author recommendations — discovering new authors from other authors. And my top recs?

  • Sophie Jordan. An author of dazzling imagination and talent. (And a huge inspiration to me.)
  • Anna J. Stewart. Can’t say enough nice things about Anna’s writing. As a fellow author I’m in awe, and as a reader I’m just swept away on a tide of enjoyment.
  • Lenora Bell. Her books are so smart and witty and fun! Am a superfan.

Graphic: Read a Romance Month logoWant to read my full post? Click here.

 

What do you think? Click here to comment.
More RARM!

That is, a little more from my Read a Romance Month contribution. Please enjoy. :)

 

  1. Tell us about a moment when you felt or were aware of The Power of Romance.

I read my first Georgette Heyer novel when I was fourteen, and even though I understood very little of the period terminology, and in fact barely knew where Bath, England, was, I did manage to decode the erotic disjuncture between what the protagonists are saying, and how they’re actually feeling about each other — how underneath their witty and civilized conversations, and despite the elaborately codified manners of their time, a powerful, primal attraction is drawing them inexorably together. Talk about the sizzling power of romance! It caught me as a teenager — hook, line, and sinker — and, to my joy, has never let me go.

Image: cover of Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer

 

  1. Tell us about an object that has powerful memories for you.

When I was dating the man who was later to become my husband, as February 14th approached — our first Valentine’s Day together — he asked me what I would like to have as a gift. Flowers, chocolates, jewelry . . . all floated through my mind as obvious possibilities.

But then I thought about what I really wanted. I said, “A bread machine.”

Did he say it was a silly idea, or boring, or an overly prosaic one? No, he went out and got me my very own Breadman. Which to me — then and now — is a powerfully romantic gesture. (By the way, we’re still happily married. And I still use my Breadman, too.)

Photo: bread machine

 

  1. Tell us about a word that has power for you. 

That word is “yes.” To me it signifies hope, forward movement, possibility. So my ongoing goal is to say yes to change. To trying new things. To continue to learn and grow. And finally — yes to writing books which I hope others will enjoy and find meaningful.

 

  1.  Tell us about a powerful book you read this year (or one that’s so powerful you’ve never forgotten it).

The Book of Joy, which features the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu in conversation, is a powerfully inspiring treatise on finding balance and peace in a turbulent world. And I must also mention Sarah MacLean’s just-published Day of the Duchess: a beautifully written, powerful testament to the capacity to both change and wholeheartedly love.

Cover: The Book of Joy

  1. Tell us about a person who’s had a powerful influence on your life.

Jane Austen has long been an influence and an inspiration to me as a reader, a student of history, and as a writer of historical romance. Set in an era during which women all too often had little real power, her books make a radical claim for a woman’s right to independent thought, for the importance of happiness, for the overriding value of love over cool pragmatism. These are compelling — and fun! — issues I like to explore in my own novels set during this time, and I’ve got Austen to thank for boldly leading the way over two hundred years ago.

Image: A speculative “spontaneous composite portrait” of Jane Austen by Lance Bertelsen, Iris Howard Regents Professor in English, University of Texas at Austin.

A speculative “spontaneous composite portrait” of Jane Austen by Lance Bertelsen, Iris Howard Regents Professor in English, University of Texas at Austin

* * *

Want to read my full post, and learn more about all the nifty giveaways? Click here.

 

 

 

What do you think? Click here to comment.
Read a Romance Month!

Very proud to be a featured author for this wonderful event.Graphic: Read a Romance Month logo

Here’s my post on the Power of Romance:

The prospect of writing about the power of romance is so wonderfully open-ended that — while delighted to be given the opportunity — I actually began to feel rather daunted. So I decided to ask for help. I went to my Facebook community.

Could you tell me why you read romance? I asked the folks on my page. What is it that pulls you to this genre? What is your experience reading it?

The answers, promptly and generously contributed, made me smile, nod, and get a little teary-eyed. Because everything they said is something I feel, too.

“When reading a romance you become entwined in the characters and the story; it can become an emotional roller coaster. However, the HEA at the end makes it worth it. Real life can be a struggle and having an escape to a place where you know it’s all going to be ok, no matter what, is a wonderful escape.”

“It’s good for my mind and spirit.”

“I like seeing how authors can take characters on many different journeys, and even though you know it will all end happily, the best romances leave you questioning how that could possibly happen. . . . I love reading about different times and places from different characters’ perspectives. What better way to feel like you’re there than to follow characters on very real emotional journeys like that? . . . Romance provides me with stories that I feel could be real. . . . Real people could have lived that story.”

“Reading romance is like watching a romantic movie, except you get to picture what the hero and heroine look like in your mind.”

“I want to go someplace I’ve never been, walk through the castle, stand on the side of the dance floor at a ball, feel the spray of the sea on the deck of a pirate ship, sit in a meadow of heather wrapped in a tartan. Take me far away to forget about the troubles of today whether it’s trouble in the world or anniversaries of loved ones no longer there.”

“I love romance because there’s a hopeful aspect to it. When there’s two characters you love, who fall in love, you know that, despite everything that gets thrown their way, they’ll make it through . . . together.”

This is the power of romance.

Nurturing the mind and spirit. Cherishing hope. Leaving our troubles behind for a little while. Magically conquering time and geography. Falling in love with characters we’ve come to know, and rooting for them every step of the way.

Moreover, that I could turn for help from this amazing, lively community, where we talk about books in general and romance novels in particular, share a laugh, sigh over a gorgeous photo, find inspiration, and, day by day, get to know each other — well, that’s the power of romance, too.

*  *  *

To read more of my contribution, and to enter the giveaways, please click here.

 

 

 

 

What do you think? Click here to comment.
“It’s my aromatherapy”

Something every book lover understands. :)Pickles comic strip: "It's my aromatherapy"

What do you think? Click here to comment.
Happy weekend!

Here’s a nice way to spend it. :)

Illustration by Stephanie Lambourne

Illustration by Stephanie Lambourne; via Helen Warlow on Twitter

What do you think? Click here to comment.
Do you have a favorite romance novel?

It’s Thursday, which means it’s official Getting To Know You Day on my Facebook page! Last week we talked about movies . . . and here’s today’s fun question. Graphic: Do you have an all-time favorite romance novel? Via Lisa Berne, www.LisaBerne.com

Would you like to join the conversation? Please do. :)

What do you think? Click here to comment.
Are you on Goodreads?

If you haven’t already, would you like to connect with me there? If so, please click here.Goodreads logo.

What do you think? Click here to comment.