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Last call!

My December contest ends tomorrow, December 31st! The prize? A signed, print copy of Engaged to the Earl PLUS a $20 Amazon gift card!

Image: Engaged to the Earl by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

In a starred review, John Charles of Booklist cheered:

“Readers who crave romances written with style and substance will cherish Berne’s latest entrancing addition to the Penhallow Dynasty series. The author’s effortlessly elegant writing and impeccably rendered Regency setting are perfectly paired with a full cadre of exquisitely realized characters and a delightfully done friends-to-lovers love story that is fueled by equal measures of sweet charm, sharp wit, and heart-melting sexual chemistry.”

The Historical Novel Society said:

“Jane Austen would approve. Strongly recommended.”

And here’s quite the compliment from the Oregon Coast Bookmonger!

“Over the years, this book reviewer has developed a reputation as a curmudgeonly sort when it comes to romance novels. So imagine my astonishment when I picked up Engaged to the Earl . . . and found myself devouring it like a plateful of bonbons. Nary a cynical thought crossed my mind. Not one dismissive ‘harrumph’ passed my lips. . . . If you want a story that will make you chuckle, swoon and generally feel warm-hearted, Engaged to the Earl fills the bill.”

Image: Amazon gift card

For a chance to win, stop by my site and fill out the super-simple entry form. Good luck to you! 

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It’s a book birthday!

Mine, that is. :)

The Redemption of Philip Thane is out TODAY!

I’m SO excited for you to meet . . .

Images of Philip and Margaret © Avon Books, The Redemption of Philip Thane

A little tidbit about Philip and Margaret: they’re both big readers — it’s a shared passionate interest between them. In fact, if I could add a subtitle for the book, it would be . . .

Images of Philip and Margaret © Avon Books, The Redemption of Philip Thane

For more info, and all your purchasing options in print, ebook, and audio, click here! The Redemption of Philip Thane





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“The Christmas book flood”

Books and chocolate? Iceland seems like my kind of place.

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Love this!

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“The most precious Christmas gift”

From Carla, peace1 on Twitter:

“John was hospitalized & forced to give his dog to the Rome Humane Society. When RN Jennifer heard about it, she went there & adopted John’s dog, so that she could bring him to visit while he completed his rehabilitation. This kindness is the most precious Christmas gift.”

The true meaning of Christmas indeed.


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“33 of the best historical fiction books”

Honored (and chuffed!) to see The Redemption of Philip Thane on this incredible list!

The Redemption of Philip Thane (UK & Commonwealth)

The gorgeous Pan Macmillan edition!

“The best historical fiction allows us to immerse ourselves in eras long past. Our edit of the best historical fiction books . . . is perfect reading inspiration for when you want to lose yourself with a cast of characters in another time and place.”


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Last call!

This fabulous Goodreads giveaway — compliments of my lovely publisher Avon Books — ends tomorrow, December 20th! 50 readers will each win an early, print copy of The Redemption of Philip Thane. Click here to enter!

The Redemption of Philip Thane



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“Check Twitter, you’ll see”

Feeling especially glad to be writing novels which take place long, long before the invention of the Internet.

Greeting card: artwork by Gemma Correll

artwork by Gemma Correll

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“How Jane Austen Continues to Inspire Romance Authors”

In honor of one my all-time favorite authors, whose birthday is today, I’m reupping a little think-piece I wrote with great pleasure for Bookish. Hope you enjoy it!

How Jane Austen Continues to Inspire Romance Authors

More than 200 years after their publication, Jane Austen’s books still speak to us — still make us think, laugh, and swoon a little, too. The novels themes of love and marriage also continue to inspire historical romance novelists everywhere. What is it, exactly, that keeps her work so relevant to us writers, as well as to the romance community at large? I suggest it’s because Austen embeds her stories with enduringly powerful ideas and motifs. Here are a few of them.

Intelligence is a game-changer
Set in an era during which women were all too often viewed as decorative objects, Austen’s heroines — despite intense familial and social pressure to conform — think their way through things. For Mansfield Park‘s Fanny Price to reject Henry Crawford? Astonishing! Today’s historical romance readers expect heroines to make self-affirming choices too, whether it’s through book smarts, emotional intelligence, business acumen, or any of the other various qualities that denote solid brainpower.

Appearances can be deceiving
Oh, that dashing John Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility, literally sweeping Marianne Dashwood off her feet. But, alas, he’s got a rotten core. And what about cold, condescending Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice? Turns out he’s hiding a good heart and a passionate nature. In the high-stakes game of love, people can go to great lengths to conceal their flaws, fears, and desires. Our historical heroines often struggle with the same dilemma — how to sort out the real from the false — as they fight for what they want and deserve.

Laughter is sexy
Among Austen’s wide range of characters, those who deploy humor are often cited as favorites. Consider witty, playful Elizabeth Bennet in P&P who famously declares, “I dearly love a laugh,” and Northanger Abbey‘s adorable Henry Tilney. As “Advice Goddess” Amy Alkon says, we’re instinctively drawn to people who make us laugh: “Humor is a reliable, hard-to-fake sign of genetic quality.” Today we still love a laugh, as the many fans of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Tessa Dare — three of the best-known purveyors of fun historical romps — will attest.

People can change
Austen herself said that Emma Woodhouse was “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” Emma is a tough sell. She’s annoyingly smug and bossy. But not only does Emma learn some hard lessons about herself, she’s able to take this information and become a kinder, wiser person — leaving us confident that she really has earned her happy ending. And that’s what we want from our historical characters too. We love seeing them change, grow, and flourish, both as individuals and as a firmly bonded couple.

Still waters run deep
My two favorite Austen heroines — Persuasion‘s Anne Elliot and Mansfield Park‘s Fanny Price — are quiet, sensitive, and deeply emotional. Others may think they’re pushovers or take them for granted, but it’s their unwavering moral compass, their steadfast inner strength, which ultimately gains them their hearts’ desires. This trope is an eternally popular one, and for good reason: Who doesn’t root for the wallflower, the introvert, the underdog? There’s something very special about the against-the-odds happily-ever-after.

Happiness matters
In Austen’s day, marriage was often a woman’s only bulwark against deprivation, degradation, or worse. That her books are wedding-obsessed reflects a very real and practical response to her world. Yet she also, radically, makes the case for personal happiness over pragmatism. Elizabeth Bennet really should accept icky Mr. Collins’ proposal for the sake of her family’s security. But she doesn’t, and that is a stunning act of subversion. This bold championing of happiness over every other consideration is why romance novels continue to not only outsell other genres, but also to joyfully illuminate the human heart and mind.

These images via Wikimedia commons.

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Goodreads giveaway!

My lovely publisher, Avon Books, has just launched a Goodreads giveaway for The Redemption of Philip Thane. 50 readers will each win an early, print copy!

The Redemption of Philip Thane


Click here to enter. Good luck to you!

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