London, 1845 It’s December, Alan “Aigee” Garmond’s favorite time of […]
It’s December, Alan “Aigee” Garmond’s favorite time of the year, when the window display of the small bookshop where he works fills up with crimson Christmas books and sprays of holly. Everything could be perfect — if it weren’t for handsome Christopher Foreman, the brilliant writer for the fashionable magazine About Town, who has taken an inexplicable and public dislike to Aigee’s book reviews.
But why would a man such as Foreman choose to target reviews published in a small bookshop’s magazine? Aigee is determined to find out. And not, he tells himself, just because he finds Foreman so intriguing.
Aigee’s quest leads him from smoke-filled ale-houses into the dark, dingy alleys of one of London’s most notorious rookeries. And then, finally, to Foreman. Will Aigee be able to wrangle a Yuletide truce from his nemesis?
Thank you so much for hosting me today, EverAfter Romance, as I celebrate the release of my Victorian holiday romance Yuletide Truce!
Let’s talk about the Victorians, shall we? The Victorians are often said to be straitlaced and stuffy, with no sense of humor. But were they really? If you look a bit closer, you’ll soon find that the Victorians were as fun-loving as you and me, and they struggled with similar problems as we do today. This becomes abundantly clear through the social cuts of the satirical magazine Punch.
1) Graffiti? Yep, the Victorians had them!
Meet Mr. Briggs, who has just moved into the suburbs that were growing all around London. And he is not happy that some boys continue to scribble on his garden walls:
“The Intelligent Reader is requested to imagine that the Gates in the above Cartoon have just been thoroughly cleaned, and fresh painted. On his return from the City, Mr. Briggs finds that rude boys (totally regardless of his feelings), have been farther decorating them.”
(By the wonderful John Leech)
Back in the eighth grade, I wasn’t thinking about becoming an author, I was just looking for a temporary escape from the misery that is puberty and other struggles that I kept tightly to myself. Here, I was able to slip into a fantasy world with a heroine named “Beauty” who was not terribly different from me. She was socially awkward, had pimples, was unsure where she belonged in the world. And here she was, having a grand adventure, winning the everlasting love of a cursed prince who would die for her. I won’t say the pacing is all that tight. The descriptions are as lush as they are lengthy, the writing style is old fashioned, and utilizes a staggering number of semi-colons, but I checked this book out of the library dozens of times.
If only the press knew the real story behind her relationships with the Dudley boys. Then, they’d really sell some papers.
Oliver Dudley, youngest son and third in line for the throne, loves everything about his life. The fame. The parties. The women. The utter lack of expectations and responsibilities that come with being last in the line of succession. But while the world thinks he has everything he wants, there’s one thing he was never able to call his own—the beautiful and spunky American Aly Ryans. But how can he convince her when she hates everything about his life? And what is he willing to give up to get her?
Check out our exclusive excerpt below!
“Do what?” I breathe, finding it hard to concentrate on anything but the way his fingers feel against my body.
“Talk down about yourself like you’re not the single most amazing girl in all the world,” he replies. He places a finger under my chin, so I am forced to look at him. I reach up to run my hand down my hair, but Ollie catches it. He brings my hand up and places it over his heart. “You don’t have to be nervous around me, Ryans. I’ll never do anything you don’t want me to do.”
As the son of the god Thor, Blake Foster’s been given an important mission—to recover the Norse god Heimdall’s sacred and powerful horn before someone uses it to herald in the destruction of the entire universe. But while Blake is great in a fight, the battlefield that is a high school’s social scene is another matter.
Blake knows his only choice is to team up with the adorable Stevie, but she’s not willing to give him even the time of day. He’ll need to woo the girl and find the horn if he hopes to win this war. Who better to tackle Stevie’s defenses than the demi-god of thunder?
BRENDA DRAKE ON SECRET IDENTITIES:
How some of my favorite superheroes hide their secret identities fascinates me. Some merely have to don professional clothes and slip on a pair of eyeglasses to hide him or her selves. Case in point, Superman and Wonder Woman. Which makes no sense because we can totally tell who they are. Then there’s the ones who wear masks. Some masks conceal the superhero’s entire face like Batman. Others don’t do as good of a job at hiding identities as with the Green Lantern. How does this even work? It’s because the creator of the superhero relies on the reader’s suspension of disbelief—that his or her readers will believe the superhero is unrecognizable in disguise.
I have to stop here and tell a silly story. At the Romance Writers of America conference in Orlando in July, I had a superhero moment. While walking to an event and not feeling like I looked good after sweating all day, I said to one of my roomies, “I should put on my glasses so no one will recognize me.” My roomie cracked up and said. “Who do you think you are? Superman?” We laughed all the way down the elevator.
In THUNDERSTRUCK, Stevie conceals her identity while filming her famous comic vlog wearing superhero costumes and masks. What’s your secret identity?
- Dirty Dancing: The scene in the lake where they’re practicing the lift. It’s just SO much chemistry and sexual tension. Everything about the romance in that movie was so well done. The restrained emotions, the long, heavy glances. For me, there hasn’t been a movie that’s pulled off a love story that well since.
- The Princess Diaries: I really dig that adorable musician boy she initially blows off, but she sends him a pizza with “sorry” spelled out in M&Ms and he forgives her and comes to her crowning ceremony and oh—her foot pop when he kisses her. Sigh. I love that movie.
- While You Were Sleeping: Everything about Bill Pullman in this movie. He’s just so adorable and Sandra Bullock is so cute. I love the scene where she asks him if there’s any reason why she shouldn’t marry his brother and he, unwilling to ruin anyone’s happiness, says “no” and slams out of her building. Also, the scene at the end, when his whole family comes to the toll booth where she works and he gives her a diamond ring instead of a token! You cannot watch that scene without a big silly grin.
- Practical Magic: Again with Sandra Bullock. I know. But also Aiden Quinn! Oh yes. My favorite scene is the one where she’s confessing to him (he’s law enforcement) that she killed this bad guy who tried to kill her sister and then they just attack each other. The chemistry is off the charts. Also, the scene in the end, when he comes back and they’re all dreamy walking toward each other with a Stevie Nicks playing in the background.
- She’s All That: Say what you will about those 90s teen flicks that feature random choreographed dance sequences, they were pure fun. Plus, I write YA, so these movies are close to my heart. The scene that won this movie for me was the one where Rachel Leigh Cook’s character comes down the stairs transformed into a bombshell with that little red dress and makeup and her hair all done and Freddie Prinze Jr.’s character just stares at her in awe. I love that! It’s exactly how every teenage girl dreams her dream boy would look at her. Heck, it’s how every adult woman would like a guy to look at her.
I mean, I never thought of myself as one of those types who loves reading romance (shhhhh! Don’t hate me!)—I’ve always been drawn to fantasy and science fiction stories—but I LOVE romance in those stories. Then I discovered paranormal romance. I heart them.
The first one I ever read was thrust into my hands literally by some friends who deemed that I just had to read this book. And that I would love it. The book? Twilight. Did I like it? I mean, haters gonna hate, people. It might not be my favorite paranormal romance, but I can definitely thank my friends for introducing the genre to me. It wasn’t long after devouring the Twilight series that I stumbled upon the book that would make me fall for the genre as a whole.
The book? Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I literally bought the book because of the cover. The vines. The wolf. THE SPOT OF BLOOD ON THE LETTER “I”! Yeah. Sold. Take my money, already. And I LOVED it.
Padraig Collins loves his bartending job at Pat’s Pub, the Baltimore hangout owned by his equally beloved family. He’s young, carefree, filled with starry-eyed hopes and dreams for his future…which are irrevocably thrown off course when patron Mia Curtis comes into the bar, visibly upset. When she leaves in tears, Padraig follows. He hopes to give the young woman comfort and assurance. What he gets in return is a massive dose of reality.
Mia has a ticking time bomb in her head, an inoperable tumor, with a diagnosis of only six months to live. As Padraig lets her cry on his shoulder, listens to her heartbreakingly detail the things she’ll never get to
experience, he’s forced to face some hard facts about the way he’s lived his own life up to this point. Meandering through each day as if youth means immortality, and he has all the time in the world.
An evening of soul-searching leads to a life-changing decision—Padraig will help Mia accomplish everything on her bucket list. He won’t let her die with a single regret. But that goal transforms into something far deeper when Padraig falls in love with the courageous woman. His once endless future shrinks to months instead of years, accompanied by a crushing sense of desperation.
Until they realize life isn’t measured in time. It’s measured in moments…
This story will hopefully widen your definition of a traditional happy-ever-after. Not all of us get the luxury of a lifetime…but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a lifetime’s worth of love in the time we’re given.
Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?
Nobody, that’s who.
Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.
Even his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.
Especially his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.
Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .
That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .
Oh Aquarius, so wonderfully weird! You are all about openness, communication, and giving to those in need. Your willingness to help others makes you compassionate, and your high intellect makes for fascinating conversation. You need a romance that satisfies your need for mental stimulation as well as being creative and a bit offbeat.
My book pick for you: Flat-Out-Love, by Jessica Park.
With your dreaminess and desire to escape reality, Pisces, you crave a strong Happily Ever After. Caring, wise, and generous, you seek passion in your books. Lovers who forge a deep connection with their partners. Lovers who are resolutely loyal and who will go to the ends of the earth for the one they love.
My book pick for you: Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
The Imperfect Series by Mary Frame (Imperfect Chemistry (Book 1), Imperfectly Criminal (Book 2), Practically Imperfect (Book 3))
If you’re looking for amazing reads with couples you can fall in love with and truly cheer for, you’ll love the Imperfect Series! It’s one of those book series that will have you yelling at the characters to hurry up and get together! It’s obvious that they should be together, so why are they toying with us like this? Each book in series follows a different couple as they go through the trials and tribulations of falling in love, except that Mary seems to find the funniest way for each of them to do it. I love this series so much that I’ve already read it more than once, and will likely keep reading it over and over. Word is she has a new series releasing soon, and I can’t wait!
The Crazy, Sexy, Ghoulish Series by G.G. Andrew (Crazy, Sexy, Ghoulish (Book 1), (Scary, Lovesick, Foolish (Book 2), and Jaded, Bearded, Wolfish (Book 3).
I might write a lot of romantic suspense and intense, fast-paced action stories, but when I want to relax and chill, give me a little new adult every time. I haven’t read this series yet, but it revolves around Halloween themes and sounds funny, snarky and cute. I’m hoping to get into this series as soon as I can fit it within my writing schedule.
But when a frightened woman bursts into his life, Hugh and his K9 companion have no choice but to risk everything to keep her safe.
The sole witness to a horrific crime, Kaylee Ramay flees to the Colorado Rockies to start a new life. There she becomes Grace, a dog kennel employee desperately trying to avoid attention—especially from dangerously attractive K9 Officer Hugh Murdoch.
Because Hugh is tall, dark…and nothing but trouble.
Hugh is anxious to get back in the field after an act of heroism left him warming the bench.
Until then, he and his K9 partner Lexi spend their hours teasing the town’s mysterious newcomer. But when their simmering attraction is nearly cut short by a sniper’s bullet, Hugh’s mystery woman must come clean about the secrets she keeps…
Or both of them will pay the price.
Check out our exclusive excerpt below!
Although Grace didn’t want to try on flannel jeans—or really any of the practical secondhand clothes piled in her arms—a huff of laughter escaped her as she moved into the dressing room. After sorting through the clothes, she had to admit that they weren’t bad. She was just being stubborn because a part of her didn’t want to get new things. There were perfectly good clothes sitting in her condo that she couldn’t access because Martin Jovanovic had chased her out of her home, forcing her to share a bathroom with five other people and buy clothes at a thrift store that smelled ever so slightly of mothballs and mildew.
Stiffening her shoulders, she commanded herself to stop being a whiny baby. For now, she needed to suck it up. She was alive, and that was what mattered. Grabbing the flannel-lined jeans, she gave them a hard look.
“This isn’t going to be fun for either of us,” she told the pants, “but this is what needs to happen, so we’re going to have to make the best of it.”