If you wanted to give me the best birthday/Christmas/anniversary present combined, it might be the news I’ve just heard. (Quick, someone go tell my boyfriend he’s off the hook for gifts this year.) What is it that has me so gosh-darned giddy with delight? Diana Gabaldon’s fantastic Outlander series starter, 1991's Outlander, may soon be coming to TV. And if that weren’t enough to send me over the moon, Ron Moore, aka the Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer, will be turning the book into a script. (I may be doing a dance of geek joy, that might be what's going on right now.)
In April, we presented you with a veritable buffet of the 2012 RITA Award nominees — a fantastic selection of 2012's authors and titles (many of which earned an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award nod as well). This Saturday the RWA judges picked over the fare to present readers with the most delicious morsels. We’re pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 RITA awards. So dive in, feast and enjoy! We hope you’ll find the favorites you crave and pick up some new tastes along the way:
Nominated for Best First Book:
It’s no secret that Kieran Kramer stole my heart with her cleverly titled 2010 debut When Harry Met Molly, and since then the author has penned not one, but four more stories of equal parts sweetness and hilarity. These are Regency romps in the finest sense of the phrase, but because of the fast-paced plot and witty dialogue, these books also appeal to contemporary romance fans. Clocking in with five RT Top Picks, Kramer is a must-read new author who keeps me at rapt attention.
In September the author will start on her second series, the House of Brady books, which are an homage to the '70s sitcom The Brady Bunch. (The concept has more than one of us here at RT wondering how the famous theme song would have sounded if it were played by historical instruments. Thankfully, I found this gem, which set our minds at ease. Am I the only one who can hear this wafting over the crowds at a Regency era ball?) In September, Loving Lady Marcia kicks off the collection about six Regency-era siblings from a blended family. However, for those fans who simply can’t wait to pick up the series starter, early this week the author dropped another piece of news that has me veritably frothing at the mouth — Kramer has just released the look of book two!
As series authors know, the best romances can come in small packages. The writers of these category-length tales are especially adept at making sure that every glance and every word spoken is infused with meaning. Each scene in these books must count and oftentimes the most important scene is the first meeting between the hero and the heroine. This year at the RWA Nationals we had the chance to ask series authors to reveal which one of their “meeting scenes” between the hero and heroine they consider their most memorable.
Jane Porter, Harlequin Presents
When asked to reveal her favorite meeting scene, Jane Porter immediately mentioned her May 2008 Harlequin Presents title, King of the Desert, Captive Bride. When wrongly imprisoned on trumped up charges in the Middle East, travel agent Olivia Morse has no one to turn to — except Sheikh Khalid Fehr. To get her out of jail, he must claim her as his betrothed. “The heroine is in a horrible prison,” explains Porter, “so he uses his Alpha-ness to save her.” And with this unconventional start, these characters have secured a place in the author's and readers' hearts.
Delilah Marvelle’s Forever a Lady takes readers on a realistic journey from the gritty slums of 1820s New York to tonnish London as she sets the scene for a “wrong side of the tracks” romance. Lady Bernadette Marie Burton is a wealthy widow and she’s looking to enjoy her well-earned freedom. Having no need of a husband, Bernadette’s on the lookout for a lover. When a darkly handsome Irish-American man saves her from an attacker, she believes she’s met her match. Matthew Joseph Milton wants to be everything that Lady Bernadette needs. But after falling into some hard times in New York, the journalist’s once pleasant life has taken a dark turn — forcing him into the slums that he would eventually come to protect as a gang leader. Can this couple ever bridge such wildly different backgrounds to find the love they both crave? Read on as RT’s Shawna does her first-ever Dish with Morgan for this week’s in-depth look at a read that has just hit shelves …
Morgan: When the story begins, hero Matthew Joseph Milton and his father are having a pretty bad day.
This month, three is the magic number when it comes to cowboy heroes. The July 2012 releases feature three stories from different settings so that you’ll wind up with the cowboy of your dreams. You can let your eyes do the picking with a look at these excellent covers but if you’re anything like us, the sight of not one but three cowboy hat-clad yummy heroes might leave you even more indecisive. So today we’re breaking these books down, telling you where (and when) you’ll find these dudes who are home, home on the range and have lassoed our hearts. And remember, no one said you have to choose just one ...
Cowboy Contender One: Brody Armstrong
When You’ll Find Him: Texas, 1836
Why You’ll Love Him: This Texas Ranger fearlessly hunts for a young man who was stolen by ranchers — a job that would be a lot easier if the boy’s sultry older sister Liv weren’t along to help. But as the pair of strangers turn into partners (in more way than one in this steamy story) you’ll love every second of their adventure that takes you through the lone star state and into 1800s Mexico!
Recently, we have been seeing a lot of Pipers, Pias and Pippas in series romances. Could it be that a year ago, when these books were most likely being written, that one “P” name was dominating the headlines? Maybe we have Pippa Middleton, sister to the Duchess of Cambridge, to thank for some of the feisty heroines gracing our recent reads. In order to get to know these fictional heroines a bit better, we are spotlighting three "Pipers" that may have you seeing the newly fashionable name in a different light.
Meet this Piper: Piper MacPherson
Her Best Feature: Piper is a defense attorney who knows how to get her man - both in and out of the courtroom. When she becomes the target of a killer, her bodyguard turns out to be the one man who has been at the top of her fantasy list for years.
Jill Shalvis’ Forever And A Day will sweep readers off of their feet and back to the author’s fictional small town of Lucky Harbor. When a sunny but directionless heroine, Grace, accepts a job walking the handsome Dr. Josh’s dog, it’s not long before she’s also babysitting Josh’s young son and living in his guesthouse. But as feelings grow between these two adults, will they be able to realize that they are perfect for each other before it’s too late?
Morgan: This story is A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E! Absolutely adorable (and I’m not just talking about the young boy and puppy who play important roles).
Whitney: I completely agree. This whole story is a delicious treat from start to finish!
Morgan: It all begins with Grace — a heroine who you really want to spend time with. And it continues with the totally hot doctor hero Josh. He’s to die for.
Whitney: But as attractive as Josh is — and I’d walk Dr. McHottie’s dog any day of the week — unfortunately, his life isn’t in such a good shape.
If you are jonesing to lose yourself in a book that will help you travel back in time to somewhere a bit further afield than Regency-era or medieval Europe. If America’s Southern Belles and carpet baggers hold no charm for you, then this month you’ll love the three new releases that take you to locales that are off the beaten path. Today these authors who are venturing into little explored territory this month are reporting back from the front with the three most unusual (and totally true) facts that they discovered about the time period!
The Where And When: Norway, 1000s
You are unlikely to find too many novels set in 11th century Norway. But we couldn’t imagine any other backdrop to the sweeping drama of Lord of Fire and Ice, the co-written novel from Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe. As we were intrigued by the world that forged the sexy hero Brandr Ulfson we asked Mia Marlowe to tell us about some elements of his world that she couldn’t believe were true.
- The Vikings had their own sense of fashion, but it wasn’t all horned helmets. There is archeological evidence for one silly season when lace hats were the “done thing.” For the guys! Whether it was filing their teeth to sharp points or staining them blue, they were very particular about their appearance. In fact, one chronicler complained that those Norse invaders were trying to “overcome the chastity of our English women through their foreign wiles.” What were those wily Vikings up to? Combing their hair and wearing clean underclothes. I’m a sucker for a guy in clean drawers, aren’t you?
I’ve been following Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series with a devotion that borders on obsession. So when I learned that the cover of book five, February 2013’s Lord of Darkness, had just been released, well, there’s no way I was going to pass up the chance to chat about the upcoming novel. As I tend to — I have some pretty serious thoughts about the book ahead of us.
Frankly, I love these Georgian-era historical romances. The almost-Gothic feeling of the books offer a stark contrast to the lighter Regency romances that are much more common in the genre. And if the unusual overtones weren’t enough to get me hooked on the series (which I have to admit — they were), Hoyt’s witty way with words, clever character banter and steamy sex scenes are more than enough to make me flip the pages with gusto.