What Makes a Special Setting Special?

My favorite of all the Special Title Lists is the Special Settings List. I can’t begin to say how many times I’ve scoured through that list looking for books to read in different exotic locales, paying particular attention to the Europe and the Middle East and Africa sections of the list.

I’ve written here before about my fondness for romances set in Greece. But in reality, I’m a sucker for romances set in any exotic or unusual location. Sure, like many of you, I love romances set in the U.K. But as a travel lover — both armchair and in real life — I long for variety in settings. Continue reading

How Do We Define Romance?

stormwalker How do we define romance? On a romance blog, one might as well ask what is life. It’s one of those broad, overarching topics susceptible to endless debate. We see authors offering endless variations from the most conventional to the most edgy and subversive. And yet, at the end of the day, we expect our lead couple to end up happily ever after – or at least happy for now. Though I still get irked with market restrictions from time to time, I have appreciated in recent years that we’ve been seeing a market full of change, choices, and great authors. And then I went to RWA 2012 in Anaheim.

The Elimination of Novels with Strong Romantic Elements as a RITA category

At the general meeting in Anaheim, Romance Writers of America(RWA) announced that it had decided upon a plan to reconfigure the RITA awards. Continue reading

Books with Buzz: Deanna Raybourn Interview (Contest Closed)

coverJune 21st is the date many readers have been awaiting when The Dark Enquiry, the fifth installment in the adventures of Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane, will be released.

With just over a week to go, we’re celebrating with an interview with author Deanna Raybourn and, courtesy of Harlequin and just to sweeten the deal, we also have two Advance Reader Copies of the book to give away.  To enter for your chance to win, simply comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Thursday, June 16th.

The usual caveats apply:  If you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  Due to high postage costs, this giveaway is open only to readers in the U.S. and Canada.  You are welcome to comment more than once, but you will be entered only once.  Winners will be chosen at random and will be notified by email on Friday morning.  If a winner has not responded within 24 hours, another winner will be selected.

Now, ready for Deanna?

Could you start by telling our readers a bit about the plot of The Dark Enquiry?

Absolutely! In this outing, our sleuthing couple, Lady Julia and her husband Nicholas, investigates the murder of a mysterious medium at a club for Spiritualists. Matters are complicated when they discover that Lady Julia’s eldest brother, Viscount Bellmont, visited the club himself. Readers of the series will also be interested to know that we get another few pieces of Nicholas’ past to add to the puzzle in this book…

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The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn Winners

And we have our winners!  Congratulations to:

Ali, Deanndra, Tinabelle, Veronica, Raegan, Janet W, Katherine M, xina, gumbybird, Sabena

Emails have already gone out to the winners and the books will go out as soon as the snowpocalypse releases me from captivity – with any luck, that will be on Monday.

Thanks to everyone who commented – I only wish we had more books to give away.  Thanks, as well, to Deanna for the great interview and Mira for the generous donation of the books.

- Sandy AAR

Books with Buzz: Deanna Raybourn Interview and 10-Book Giveaway (Contest Closed)

47683349In 2009 I made one of those discoveries that we readers live for:  A new author whose books I loved.  The author was Deanna Raybourn and the books were the first three in her series featuring Lady Julia Grey, a Victorian aristocrat who finds herself in circumstances she could never have imagined and discovers talents she never knew she had.  And, of course, there is Nicholas, the most enigmatic —and intriguing — man she’s ever meant.  I recommend the books — Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Sanctuary, and Silent on the Moor — to everyone who enjoys romantic historical mysteries.

Deanna Raybourn has a new historical mystery coming out on March 1.  The Dead Travel Fast is not a Lady Julia Grey story, but instead is a stand-alone that represents a return to the classic Gothics so many of us remember with much fondness — it even takes place in a crumbling and mysterious castle in Transylvania.  I loved it.

To celebrate the release, Deanna Raybourn took the time to answer a few of my questions.  And, even better for 10 lucky readers, we’ve got 10 copies of The Dead Travel Fast to give away, thanks to the generosity of Mira. To enter for your chance to win a copy, all you need to do is comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, February 4th. The usual caveats apply: Due to high shipping costs, this contest is open only to U.S. and Canadian readers.  And, since the giveaway is designed to get advance copies of books into the hands of readers who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them, if you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  Winners will be announced here on Friday morning.

Ready to hear from Deanna?

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