Monday, December 31, 2012

Blog Tour Stop: Eliza by Joyce Proell (Guest Blog + Giveaway)

Today, Love Saves the World welcomes Joyce Proell who is currently on tour for her historical romance novel, Eliza.

Joyce will be awarding a $10 Amazon or gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click here to visit her other stops.

Since I am hosting Joyce on the last day of 2012, I thought I'd ask her what her plans were for 2013.

Here they are!

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Ready for 2013


I’m delighted to be here today, this very last day of 2012. As one year comes to an end and another year begins, it seems fortuitous that I should be asked to write about five things I plan to do in 2013.

I believe in goals. They keep me organized, headed in a direction I want to go and accountable. So thanks for asking this important question. It requires me to think, to plan and to commit.

First thing on the agenda is:

Finish WIP: For those unfamiliar with this term, WIP stands for work in progress. My current project, loosely titled, Amaryllis, has me perplexed, befuddled and stuck in the dreadful middle of the story. I just shake my head, wondering how to yank it out of the murky doldrums. It’s already over one hundred thousand words, and I still have to write the big love scene! But I am determined, more than anything else, to finish this story and to weep with happiness when the last scene is written. Wish me luck.

Launch Book: My second book, A Burning Truth, is scheduled for release in July, 2013 from Champagne Books. This if the first of a trilogy of romantic suspense stories set in 1882. In the months leading up to publication, I will be busy with edits and promotions.

Travel: Just so you don’t get the impression all is work for me…well, I do like to have a little fun. I love to travel and visit family and friends who live hither and yon. Already I have trips scheduled to Florida, California, Chicago, New Orleans and Savannah. I hope to get in one more long vacation, maybe to Europe. But believe me, when I travel, I play.

Exercise: Since I write, usually every day, I sit a lot. When I’m not writing, I often read. More sitting. So, to be fair to my body, it seems only smart and kind that I should get some exercise, too. So rather than walk five days a week, which is my current routine, I will commit to some form of exercise, seven days a week. That’s right everybody. You heard it here first!

Appreciate: This is the most important goal to me. In 2013, I will make a conscious choice to appreciate all the wonderful people and opportunities offered to me. Each person in my life is a precious gift and will be cherished. I intend to appreciate each day as if it is a new and wonderful adventure.

It’s a wonderful exercise to plan out one’s year. It only takes a few minutes. I hope you take the time to think about your plans. What would you like to see happen in 2013?

Thanks so much for having me here today.


* * *

About the book:

A husband who wants you dead is the greatest motivation for change.

Posing as a widow, strong-willed Eliza Danton flees her marriage determined to bury the past and live a solitary life. Traveling by riverboat to the Minnesota frontier, her flight turns perilous when forces threaten to expose her deception. With problems mounting and her trust shattered, she is forced draw upon her only resource, a man whose captivating presence rocks the very foundation of her well laid plans. But love flourishes even in the toughest of times and when you least expect it.

Attorney and contented loner, Will Heaton hides his tender heart behind an elusive facade. Grief is nothing new to him having lost a wife and child. But when a pretty widow thrusts a baby into his arms, he’s hooked. When he sees Eliza harassed by the same man he believes killed his wife, Will grabs at the chance to redress past mistakes and vows to keep her safe.

Why is this happening? She’d never encouraged him. But perhaps she hadn’t discouraged him either. As guilt nibbled away at her she knew she had to put an end to this fruitless pursuit.

“Listen to me. I won’t marry again.” She slapped each word into the air with a distinct pop, pop, pop.

He reared back as if her words proved a glancing blow. He stiffened and she flicked an apprehensive look at Karl’s powerful hands. Would he slap her or use his fists on her like Abe used to do?

“I give you time,” he said, his voice brusque with anger. “You forget ache. Then you marry me.”

Eliza shrank back.

“You think, Eliza. Marriage is best way.”

His departing footsteps pounded on the wooden deck and thudded loudly on the stairs as he went below.

Eliza stood there, too astounded and alarmed to move. After a time, she glanced at the moon, hoping it might have some curative power to quell her rioting nerves. To her disappointment, the golden disc streaked by wisps of gnarled clouds offered no answers or comfort. Suddenly, all the anger and frustration inside exploded. She kicked out. Her foot smashed into a deck chair with an earsplitting thwack. The chair arced then slammed and scuttled noisily against the planks.

“Who-o-oa, lady.”

Eliza gasped, spun about and peered into shadows near the pilothouse. “Who’s there?”

A chair creaked.

“Make yourself known, please,” she snapped.

Will Heaton stepped out from behind the big potted palms near the pilothouse and jolted her clear through.

He’d seen everything! The kissing, the intimacy. Heard her lies. Oh, God. She wanted to sink right into the river.

“How could you?”

A muscle quirked in his cheek.

“Good Lord! You find this amusing.”

He crossed his arms and casually leaned against a tarp-covered mound of gunnysacks, his lips pressing back a grin. “Couldn’t avoid it. I had the best seat in the house.”

Her mouth gripped so tight she couldn’t talk. She glared at him expecting the intensity of her anger to light up the sky. Her body trembled as she waited for him to break the silence. When he did, it left her stunned.

To buy the book on Amazon, Click here

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About the author:

I laughed when my husband suggested I write a book. Me? What did I know about writing? Yet the notion held possibility, so I hatched a plan. A year later, I sent off my first completed manuscript and promptly received a score of polite rejections. Bruised but undaunted, I forged ahead, new plan in hand. Later, armed with the knowledge acquired from writing classes, seminars and the help of fellow writers, I finished my second story. Eliza is that story.

A little more info --
I grew up in Minnesota. In college, I studied psychology and earned a master’s degree in Social Work. After living in Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland and Reno, my husband and I make our home only miles from where I grew up.

I worked in the field of mental health as a psychiatric social worker, administrator and later settled into private practice. Retired at a reasonably young age, I write full time.

I’m an avid reader, a foodie and cook, a crossword puzzle fanatic and a daily walker.


To buy the book on Amazon, Click here

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Joyce will be awarding a $10 Amazon or gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Click here to visit her other stops.

Review: Season for Surrender by Theresa Romain

Alexander, Lord Xavier, enjoys quite a reputation among his peers: he's known for his infallibility, for winning wagers all the time, for his coolness and for his many conquests.

It is what makes Xavier the man he is.

When a wager is made by his cousin, the Marquess of Lockwood -- one of many wagers they have made -- requiring Xavier to invite a lady with a spotless reputation to his infamous Christmas house party and have said lady stay for two weeks, Xavier did what he always does to make sure that he wins the wager but, when he gets the chance to know Louisa better, the stakes change for him -- and Xavier isn't certain he wants to win the wager with his cousin at the cost of losing Louisa.

Louisa has lived a quiet, relatively scandal-free life and now she wishes for something more. When the invitation from Lord Xavier arrives, Louisa sees it as her chance to discover everything that she's been missing in her life.

When Louisa accidentally finds out about the wager, she doesn't quite know what to do: should she leave? -- but Louisa is curious and she wants to stay and see where the wager will lead her. So she does.

The old Louisa would have shrunk from both noblemen, keeping her distance. But she no longer wanted to be the timid woman who lived such a circumscribe life.

As Sir Francis Bacon had once said, "Knowledge is power." Louisa knew about the wager, and the men didn't know she knew.

Which gave her the power, didn't it? This would be enjoyable.
- pp. 33-34

The man or the mask?

Having been orphaned at a very young age, Xavier has always been his title and nothing more. The reputation he has gained is quite accidental but Xavier likes it and prefers to let things stay the way they are --

By maintaining the status quo, Xavier has no choice but the agree to every wager and try to win it -- by some sort of miracle, he always does -- and he never corrects the rumors about him and his paramours and conquests (zero, by the way) --

And now his cousin has conveniently trapped him into another wager -- one that didn't sit well with Xavier even from the beginning but, what can he do but say "yes"?

Louisa isn't at all what Xavier expected her to be. And he likes it. And he likes her. He's used to figuring out people and has numbered expressions to react to every possible occasion -- but his encounters with Louisa leave him ... speechless and he can't even think which of his numbered expressions to use with her.

For the first time in Xavier's life, he is challenged to be a better person -- and he wants to become a better person.

But how does one make such a change? Xavier doesn't know the answer but he's willing to find out what it is -- if it means keeping Louisa in his life.

This was a very sweet, very insightful story -- I loved Louisa as a heroine. She is perceptive and so incredibly observant. And I loved how she wasn't afraid to try out something new -- she was able to process her situation and see a way that she could learn something from it -- and she did! She gained quite a bit of knowledge from her stay at Xavier's house.

Louisa is definitely a bluestocking and she feels that society thinks she's invisible and, after being jilted by her fiance, she knows she's well on the shelf -- but what is wonderful about her is that she doesn't let these labels define her or rule her life. She knows who she is and she knows what she wants.

She's quite the opposite of Xavier -- and she's the perfect person to teach him how to live beyond the words and reputation that define his life.

I enjoyed the conversations between Xavier and Louisa. They are flirtatious and playful -- but there's also a depth to it, an almost philosophical bent to it -- leading to the question: what makes a man a man -- and how does one unmake him?

Louisa understood in an instant: in the low light, with the haziness of his close vision, he wasn't able to cut accurately. "If you'll help raise me up, I could cut the mistletoe."

Alex passed the knife from one hand to the other. "Impossible."

"Impossible because you think yourself insufficiently strong, or because you think me excessively heavy?"

His nostrils flared, but he didn't smile. "Unwise, then."

"Because you think yourself insufficiently careful, or because you think my excessively clumsy?"

"My dear muffin, you will please cease your retorts."
- p. 116

It was gratifying to see Xavier's journey of self-discovery -- and I loved that it was Louisa was the one who guided him through it.

This is a very different kind of Christmas story -- it doesn't have any of the usual Christmas mainstays, but there is a heartwarming element to the story and there is a transformation that happens -- and it is a wonderful one.

Season for Surrender is the second book in Theresa Romain's The Seasons Quartet. The third book, Season for Indiscretion will be released in 2013.

To find out more about Theresa Romain and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.
Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Favorite Historical Romance Novel Series for 2012

2012 was an amazing year for romance novel series.

First, after a year of waiting, Sherry Thomas released three books successively and two e-novellas (a happy thing for a Sherry Thomas fan like me).

Then, Julie Anne Long released the next installment in her Pennyroyal Green series and her Adam and Eve are just so, so, so lovable. Also Maya Banks' first foray into historical romance was incredibly successful and introduced us to swoon-worthy Highlanders and strong heroines. (I'm really glad that she started a new historical romance series, The Montgomerys and Armstrongs, and I look forward to reading it in 2013. ^_^)

Finally, there's Tessa Dare's brilliantly, wonderfully, cleverly funny characters, which include Colin Sandhurst (one of my favorite heroes for 2012) and a sheep named Dinner.

I had a hard time narrowing it down to 5 so I'm listing 6 and listing another 6 as special mentions because they are all just so memorable. (Elizabeth Hoyt should be in the Top 6 but she made my list last year so she's top of my Special Mention list. Same goes for Sabrina Jeffries, who completed her Hellions series in a most spectacular way.)

1. Sherry Thomas's Fitzhugh Family Series (complete)

2. Julie Anne Long's Pennyroyal Green Series (ongoing)

3. Maya Banks' McCabe (Highlander) Trilogy (complete)

4. Maggie Robinson's Courtesan Court Series (complete)

5. Renee Bernard's Jaded Gentlemen Series (ongoing)

6. Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove Series (ongoing)

Special Mention:
Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane Series (ongoing)
Sabrina Jeffries's Hellions of Halstead Hall Series (complete)
Kate Moore's Sons of Sin Trilogy (complete)
Beverley Kendall's Elusive Lords Series (ongoing)
Victoria Vane's The Devil DeVere Series (ongoing*)
Sarah MacLean's Rules of Scoundrels Series (ongoing)

To see 2011's list, click here.


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