My first RT Convention [my first convention ever]

RT Booklovers Convention is on Baby! It’s happening right now (from April 11 – April 15), and it’s in my town, Chicago and there was no way I could have stayed away from it, not when most of my awesome and talented romance authors and bloggers, would be attending.

It’s Wednesday night and I’m counting days and hours to this weekend. I have only a weekend pass for RT Convention and I’m excited to a point where anxiety is taking over! I think I need some Yoga to calm me down…

Anyways, with my health issues slowly, and I mean about a turtle speed, getting better, I’m just about ready for this event to lift my ‘steroid induced roller-coaster’ of emotions, up.

Yesterday I’ve downloaded the RT’s Agenda and highlighted some things that will be a must attend and some authors that are a must meet.

A NOBLE AFFAIR is on a Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. and it’s a champagne breakfast hosted by NOBLE PUBLISHING, which means I need to rise early…very early [note to self: need to arrange to meet Grace Burrowes there, and oh God I hope I do not swoon when meeting Madam Authoress].

At 11:15 a.m. I’m planning to go to a discussion on THE TROUBLE WITH LAYERS and listen to Loretta Chase, Kieran Kramer, Sarah MacLean, Jade Lee and Sabrina Jeffries [note to self: with so much talent in one room, do not, I repeat-do not embarrass yourself by aping a salivating dog].

In the evening there are a couple of things I’d love to check out and the chance to meet Katharine Ashe, Lorraine Heath, Tessa Dare and Sophie Jordan at AVON’S INDIGO LOUNGE, as well as visit with Heather Graham with NIGHT OF THE STARS GANGSTER CAFE TALENT QUEST, would be an awesome way to end my first day at the convention [note to self: time to get of the med's for this weekend].

As I’m packing some of my favorite books from Mary Balogh, Victoria Alexander, Monica Burns, Shana Galen, Sylvia Day, Emma Wildes, Delilah Marvelle, Heather Snow, Jade Lee, Mia Marlowe and many more, I’m so happy I can’t stand it. Is it Friday yet?!

To all of you bookworms, I promise we’ll have plenty of stuff to giveaway, so get ready for it!

“When A Scot Loves a Lady” by Katharine Ashe

When A Scot Loves A Lady is chock full of all of the elements that make me love historical romance.  Sweeping, intriguing, fast paced, sexy this is one of them books that cannot be put down once it has begun.

Kitty is a wonderful, fun character.  She’s overcome so much and done it with such class, I found myself drawn to her character, drawn to see what she might do next!  She is worldy and wise beyond her years- she really has no choice with some of the things that have happened to her.  Kitty stands up for herself and avenges her reputation, she is fierce, loyal and a wonderful, strong female lead.  And of course, more importantly, she knows a good looking man when she sees one!  The instant chemistry between Kitty and Leam is just about tangible and the passion is there from the moment the two characters set their eyes upon one another.

Leam is a Scotsman like no other.  He is all at once all of the things that I love in my romance hero.  He is alpha and brooding and sexy and passionate.  His character is complex and he has his own set of secrets and demons that make him that much more intriguing.  And though he is alpha male through and through he knows how to love a woman, and there is no limit to the steamy, sexy happenings in When a Scot Loves a Lady!

Lovers of historical romance will love this new offering by Katharine Ashe.  Very well written, When A Scot Loves a Lady keeps the reader suspended in time while we journey to a different time and place with these lovely and provocative characters.

Fan2Author Interview with…Katharine Ashe!

Kristal: Hi Katharine!  Thank you so much for joining us today for an interview!  We are very honored to have you on the site with us!  Feel free to stick around as much as you would like to chat with our readers as well!

Katharine Ashe: Thanks for hosting me today, Kristal. I’m honored to be here!

K: At what age did you know that writing was what you wanted to do?  Did you have an “AHA” moment or was it something that you always knew?

KA: Even when I was a small child writing fiction made my heart sing. The thing is, history made my mind dance. And as I grew up I got this Really Silly Notion that the mind’s interests were more impressive than the heart’s. You see? Really silly. But not only silly… Tragic. Because that is CLEARLY NOT THE CASE.

So as it happened, I went to graduate school for my PhD in History, and became sad because my mind danced day and night while my heart only occasionally smiled. Late in graduate school I started writing stories again — historical romances — and my heart declared, “Finally!!!” That was my “Aha!” moment. I could do both at once! I finished my PhD, got a job as a professor and started a family, but through it all I kept writing. It gives me joy and energy and profound happiness.

K: So I’m loving the first book in The Falcon Club Series.  When A Scot Loves a Lady” is so exciting, there is so much going on in the story, every single page is something new to discover. Is it difficult to write a story that has so many great elements and get them all just right?

KA: Thank you!! As a reader my favorite kinds of books have intricate plots, rich emotional landscapes, and mysteries that keep me turning pages. So that’s where my imagination goes when I begin to develop one of my own books. It’s true, sometimes this gets me into trouble as I’m writing; I occasionally end up in places I didn’t anticipate. But that’s the great fun of writing a love story: the hero and heroine always set me straight when I try to take them places they don’t want to go. At the center of everything are those lovers careening delectably toward their Happily Ever After.

K: Let’s talk Scotland, Scottish men to be precise.  I LOVED Leam.  I felt like he had all the right stuff- everything that I look for in a hero.   Did you do a lot of research on Scotland and Scottish men to make Leam’s character true to form?

KA: I’m so glad you loved Leam! It was so much fun writing him — a combination of alpha lord and thoroughly skirt-whipped male.  I’d been reading history books about Scotland for years. Then I finally took a journey to Scotland… and I fell in love. It is a land both gorgeous and dangerous, hospitable and harsh, rustic and sublimely sophisticated. The green hills, the castle ruins, the heather waving on the hills, the fields of sheep, the art and music and busy cities were all fabulous, but the people were even more wonderful. I felt entirely at home, completely welcomed, and utterly happy. After that, writing a Scottish hero seemed the most natural thing in the world. And I do love a hero with a secret identity, so that was great fun too.

K: The chemistry between Leam and Kitty was great, right from the very beginning!  Can you tell us a little bit about how these characters came to be?  Maybe share a secret or two about your writing process?

KA: I set out to write a story about a man and a woman who believe they are unquestionably wrong for each other but who, from the moment they meet, can’t keep their hands off each other. It happens sometimes, that chemical whatever that crashes two people together, and it can be earth shattering. I’d known Kitty for a while; she’s the sister of the pirate-earl hero in my “Captured by a Rogue Lord. She’d been hurt as a young woman by a very bad man, and I wanted her to find happiness with a very good man. But the walls she erected around her heart over years were going to take a powerful force to knock down. Unanticipated, unwanted, and uncontrollable lust was that force!

But not just lust. For just because Kitty thinks she and the Earl of Blackwood have nothing whatsoever in common doesn’t mean they actually don’t. But Leam knows the truth, and their passion scares him to death. I loved playing with their consternation over their desire, and their absolute unwillingness to admit to something a whole lot bigger than lust between them.

K: Can you tell us a little more about your other series, The Rogues of the Sea series?  How many of them are there?  How many more will you write?

KA: My rogues of the sea are powerful men — peers on land as well as lords upon the ocean. They are driven not by wealth or status or even duty, but by conviction that their mission is noble. Their heroines are daring women, strong and brave enough to win these men’s hearts. I’ve written three Rogues of the Sea novels and one novella (Swept Away by a Kiss, “Captured by a Rogue Lord, “In the Arms of a Marquess, and “A Lady’s Wish). The heroes of the novels have secret identities to protect the people they help, and my novella features a Navy war hero, whom I adored writing. The books are all stand-alone and very loosely tied.

K: Last but not least and along those same lines can you tell us what is next for the Falcon Club series?  You have two more books scheduled to come out this year, can you tell us a little bit about them?

KA: Book #2 of the Falcon Club series, How To Be a Proper Lady, has a seafaring hero too! Captain Jin Seton is a former pirate with a very dark past and a lost lady in his sights, and he’ll stop at nothing to find her. The moment I wrote the first lines about Jin in “Captured by a Rogue Lord”, I knew I had to tell his story, and I knew precisely who his heroine would be — Viola Carlyle, kidnapped by smugglers fifteen years ago and fighting mad to be dragged back to England now. Jin is sublimely confident and totally caught off guard by his quarry. Also, I really love writing about men who can command the sea — the most dangerous, unpredictable force of nature there is. Or… come to think of it… that’s love!

In book #3, How a Lady Weds a Rogue”, a hardened spy meets his match when a country miss demands that he play the role of hero in her quest. But the road may prove more dangerous than she imagined when her wanton desire for her Knight in Shining Armor and his intoxicating embrace turn out to be the real adventure…

How To Be a Proper Lady is coming June 26, and “How a Lady Weds a Rogue” on September 25!

K: Thank you so much for stopping by to visit with us!  I am so excited to see what our readers think of your new book, “When a Scot Loves a Lady” and get a peek at my review!

Thank you, Kristal. I’ve had a wonderful time!

Kristal here! Ms. Ashe is giving away an autographed copy of her award nominated novel

“Captured by a Rogue Lord” to one of you! Who’s it gonna be?

Katharine Ashe’s ‘Hook-a-Book’ is…’Truly Madly Yours’!

Greetings! Katharine here. Many thanks to Melanie and Kristal for inviting me to their ‘Hook-A-Book’ celebration. I am thrilled to share with you one of my favorite romances. Rachel Gibson’s TRULY MADLY YOURS changed the way I felt about contemporary romance.

You see, I’m a history junkie from early days. My eldest sister sat by my cradle spinning stories of daring damsels, ferocious villains, and noble warriors, igniting in me a fierce love of the far-distant past. In school I devoured history lessons, especially stories about the deliciously different Middle Ages as well as the rich and vast British Empire. By the time I made it to graduate school in history, I wasn’t much interested in stories about the present. Heavens, no! Especially not love stories. I’d read contemporary romances here and there, but I didn’t believe anything really exotic or breathtaking could happen in today’s world. The fantasy and adventure of the past drew me in, the sense that I was sneaking into another world, taking a mini-vacation from the cares of this one. And let’s face it, a man can’t be a real hero without a big horse between his muscular thighs and a sword in his capable hand. Right?

Oh, how wrong I was!

My little sister had been trying to get me to read Rachel Gibson’s books for two years. I’d declined politely. Then she sent me TRULY MADLY YOURS and I learned a Very Important Lesson: a motorcycle works just as well as a horse when it’s under the right man.

Nick Allegrezza is one hundred percent masculine delectableness—a bad boy who’s made very good for himself in the small town of Truly, Idaho, and who’s never forgotten the only girl he wasn’t allowed to have, Delaney Shaw. Years ago, after briefly succumbing to that bad-boy temptation, Delaney escaped Truly and her over-protective stepfather to feed her hunger for life. Now she’s back, trapped by her stepfather’s will that leaves his vast fortune to her, but only if she doesn’t have anything to do with Nick. The catch: she’s not allowed to leave Truly for an entire year.

Sexual tension, tangled pasts, and strong wills mingle delectably as Nick and Delaney fight each other and themselves to deny what has always been between them: hot, perfect love. TRULY MADLY YOURS convinced me that today’s world can indeed produce romance as spectacularly scrumptious as days of yore. It’s my first recommendation for contemporary romance to new romance readers and veterans alike, and—like my little sisteryears ago, bless her!—I’m so happy to give away a copy today.

Hello, my Bookworms! If you haven’t read any of Katharine’s books (SWEPT AWAY BY A KISS, CAPTURED BY A ROGUE LORD, IN the ARMS of a MARQUESS, A LADY’S WISH) then we think it’s time you tried some of her high sea adventures!

 The American Library Association’s Booklist named Katharine Ashe among its “New Stars of Historical Romance.” She is a two-time nominee in the Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Awards, and her novella, A Lady’s Wish, launched Harper Collins Publishers’ new Avon Impulse imprint to rave reviews.

Asked how she comes to be a romance author, Katharine says it’s all in the stories.

“In the third grade, I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. That year I wrote a sequel to Margret Rey’s Pretzel, ‘the longest dachshund in the world,’ featuring a much friendlier love interest than poor Pretzel’s sadly particular girlfriend.

As a high schooler I still intended to be a vet, but of large animals, and I longed to live by the ocean—‘down the shore’ as they say in my hometown, Philly. Over vacation, on a yellow legal pad I penned the story of a horse-crazy girl summering at the beach who discovers the magical allure of that unique animal, the teenaged lifeguard. (My little sister sat next to me reading each page as I produced it. God bless every writer’s first fan.)

By the time I graduated from Duke University with my bachelor’s degree, I had a yen to teach. But before heading off to full-time work, I delved into another writing project: a novel about a young English teacher learning a breathtaking new language in the arms of her soccer-coach colleague.

A decade or so later I found myself finishing up a PhD in History. While allegedly taking notes on ancient texts in the Vatican Library, I furtively filled my laptop with steamy chapters about a heretic priestess and the inquisitor-knight to whom she burns to surrender.

Eventually, I got the picture. I love romance—the high adventure, pure emotion, and rich sensuality of the hero and heroine’s journey together. Whatever else I’m doing, I simply must write romance.”

Katharine lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her husband, son, two dogs, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European history, she has made her home in California, Italy, France, and the northern US. She loves hearing from readers.

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us which ‘Hook-a-Book’ did/would you likely give your friends…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three are required for a TRIPLE chance to win in the Giveaway!