Monday, August 31, 2009

Winner of "Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind"

Congratulations to Cassandra Cantrell of Utah, winner of my Heidi Ashworth Giveaway Contest! Cassandra has won an autographed copy of Heidi Ashworth's Regency romance, Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind.

Happy reading, Cassandra! And thank you to all who entered!

Medieval Word of the Day

Curtain Wall: the outer wall that "hangs between" or connects the towers of a castle



See those walls "connecting" the castle towers above? Those are the "curtain walls".

(Castle art courtesy of http://karenswhimsy.com)

Check out today's blog review of Illuminations of the Heart at Tristi's Takes. Leave a comment to win one of four prizes, including an autographed copy of Illuminations!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Medieval Word of the Day

Here's one I bet you don't hear every day...

Oblate: a child "donated" to a monastery by his parents to be brought up in the religious life

Check out today's blog review of Illuminations of the Heart at Dreams of Quill and Ink. Leave a comment to win one of four prizes, including an autographed copy of Illuminations!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Medieval Word of the Day

Lawn: a very fine fabric made of linen



No, not that kind of lawn!!!

Check out today's blog review of Illuminations of the Heart by Write Bravely. Leave a comment to win one of four prizes, including an autographed copy of Illuminations!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Medieval Word of the Day

Primogeniture: the custom or law by which the eldest son inherits all his parents' property

Check out today's blog review of Illuminations of the Heart by Queen of the Clan. Leave a comment to win one of four prizes, including an autographed copy of Illuminations!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Join our Sweetest Romance Authors Chat This Thursday!

This Friday, August 27th, The Sweetest Romance Authors Group will be holding a chat with guest "speaker" Crystal Wilkinson, author, editor, and an associate professor of creative writing. The fun will begin at 8 pm EST, 5 pm PST in the Sweetest Romance Chat Room. No registration is necessary. Just type your name in the User Name box, and click on Login. Feel free to test it out early, if you want to experiment with how it works. (I did!)

The chat will end with a scavenger hunt, so we hope you'll join us for education, fun and games!

Medieval Word of the Day

Here's a Tuesday Twofer:

Psalter/Psaltery: a book containing the book of Psalms from the Bible

Gradual Psalms: Psalms 119-133, recited by medieval pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem.

Siri illuminated a psaltery of the Gradual Psalms in Illuminations of the Heart. Now go find your Bibles and read the verses she illuminated!

Check out today's review of Illuminations of the Heart at Musings from an LDS Writing Mom. Leave a comment for a chance to win one of four prizes! Deadline: September 18.

And don't forget that my contest to win a copy of Heidi Ashworth's Regency Romance, Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind, is still ongoing! Click here to learn how to enter.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Medieval Word of the Day

Here's a threefer for Monday, since all of these kind of go together.

Crenels: the gap or notch between two merlons on the castle wall
Crenellation: a wall with gaps for firing arrows, etc.
Battlements: the crenellated top of a castle wall

See illustration under merlon to find the crenels, crenallation, and battlements.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award


Yikes! How I ended up with this award I’ll never know. I think I must be the least creative (or kreativ, for that matter) blogger on the planet! But I’m humbled by the faith that Heather Justesen has placed in me and will try to improve and rise to this occasion in my future posts. (That’s not a promise, mind you, so don’t get your hopes up, but you never know…I might surprise you all, myself included, and burst into kreativity someday! Whoever invented the spelling for this award was very kreativ, don’t you think?)

First, I'm supposed to list seven things you don't know about me. Here goes!

1. I broke all the legs off my sister’s favorite toy horses when we were children. Not on purpose, it just happened while I was playing with them. Isn’t that what “toy” horses are for…playing with? Apparently my sister didn’t think so. She accuses me of having an accomplice named Terry (or Terri?), but for the life of me, I can’t remember having a friend named Terry (or even Terri!) at that young age, so I think the crime must indeed have been committed by myself alone.

2. I’m quite sure I would be taller if my growth hadn’t been stunted by breathing tailings and smelter smoke between the formative ages of 2 to 7. Then again, someone once told my also short parents, “You can’t get a horse out of two ponies”, so maybe my height is more genetic than I’d like to admit?

3. I used to have terrible nightmares as a child. One day, my mother went through the house and gathered all my nightmares up in a paper bag, then our whole family drove to a town 8 miles away where we let the nightmares loose. And I never had another nightmare for years and years…until we wound up moving to that town 8 miles away where my nightmares were roaming free.

4. The first book I ever wrote was a cross-mystery/romance between some characters from Star Trek and Dark Shadows, complete with “illustrations” I’d traced and “redressed” from a Francie coloring book. (Does anyone remember who Francie was besides me and my sister?)

5. I’m a Fox News junkie, but I’m not a Glenn Beck fan. (Gasp!) I enjoy Bill O’Reilly, but Neil Cavuto is my hero! (And not getting the Fox Business Network just stinks.)

6. As a child, I loved sneaking a spoon full of sugar from the sugar bowl in the kitchen cupboard. I always felt guilty about it, though. One day, I felt so guilty that I broke down and confessed to my mother, only to have her confess in return that she sneaked spoonfuls of the sugar from the sugar bowl, too!

7. The first, and I think last, class I ever cut in college was to watch the landing of the first space shuttle. That was so exciting I’ve never forgotten it, or even felt guilty! (Unlike the spoonful of sugar mentioned above.)

Okay, now it’s my turn to nominate 7 people for this wonderfully kreative prize! Here are my choices (and I hope none of them have been nominated already):

Jaimey Grant at Into the Mind of Jaimey Grant

Donna Hatch at Donna Hatch

Suzanne Barker at Up To Speed

Tina Scott at Totally Tina

Cindy R Williams at Blogs & Blurbs

Danielle Thorne at The Balanced Writer

Theresa Sneed at Theresa Talks

Now, here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award. (Thanks, Heather!)

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

3. Link the logo to the person who nominated you for this award.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might not know.

5. Nominate 7 Bloggers.

6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.

7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Good luck, ladies!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Medieval Word of the Day

Merlon

No, it's not a wizard and it's not a bird. That would be a merlin.

This is a merlon: the part of a fortified castle that juts up between two crenels (gaps or open areas).


Can you find the merlons on this castle?

for this image)

Check out today's review of Illuminations of the Heart and an interview with moi by Rachel Rager, author of By Land or By Sea, at Rachel Rager. Leave a comment for a chance to win one of four prizes! Deadline: September 18.

NEW VOICES Writing Competition for Young Writers

Calling All Authors!

Do you remember your first dream?

Epic Authors presents the 2010 New Voices Writing Competition for young writers. This free annual contest provides the opportunity for budding authors to submit and be judged, and to win and be published.

Viewpoints are rapidly changing in the publishing industry and our school systems regarding e-publishing. EPIC’s members have been on the forefront of the literacy fight, speaking at schools and conferences, encouraging evocative and expressive writing from young writers.

--New Voices Brochure

The New Voices competition takes short stories, essays, and poetry submissions from youth ages 11 to 18 (Middle School and High School). Judges are educational or publishing professionals. Our winners are chosen from each age group and category, and are published in an anthology. Prizes vary and range from an e-reader to gift certificates (and more).

New Voices is a wonderful chance to encourage our youth to develop their talents and pursue their goals. Spread the word about New Voices and foster a child’s dream.

Visit the New Voices website for details: newvoicesyoungwriters.com

Or, for more information, contact newvoices.chair@gmail.com


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Introducing "Medieval Word of the Day"

My publisher thought you, my loyal readers, might be interested in me sharing a "medieval word of the day" with, of course, it's definition, for the remainder of my book blog tour. And since my publisher is incredibly brilliant, warm and lovable, what could I do but agree?

So beginning today, I'll be sharing a daily medieval word with you. Those who have already read Illuminations of the Heart may recognize some of them from the glossary included at the end of that volume. Those who have yet to read it, will now know much of the necessary terminology in advance of your reading, and will be so smart, you won't even need to glance at that handy glossary!

What word should I begin with? What else but the key word in my book's title: "illumination".

Illumination: The medieval art of decorating books with miniatures or ornamental designs painted in brilliant colors or silver or gold leaf to "illuminate" or bring light to the pages.

Of course, "illumination" also means to bring light to the darkness. My heroine does both in the course of my novel. It's always fun when one can work a double meaning into one's title. ;-)

Check in tomorrow for an all-new Medieval Word of the Day!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Blog Tour Continues!

The book blog tour continues for Illuminations of the Heart! Click on the links at the left to read reviews and an occasional interview with the author (that would be me). Today's review and interview by Valerie Ipson, at Of Writerly Things, gave me more than a few rueful chuckles. If Valerie's own books are this funny, I can't wait to snap one up!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Interview and Giveaway with Regency Romance Author, Heidi Ashworth

I am delighted today to complete my promise arc to you of an interview with three Regency romance authors this summer! Regency author Heidi Ashworth winds up our summer Regency fun! And yes, stick around because once more, there will be a giveaway at the end of the interview!



Let me begin by saying (or possibly repeating, if I've said it before) that I have long been a fan of Regency romances. But Regency romances have changed greatly through the years. While maintaining the unique ambience of their time period, where Regencies were once usually laced with humor, most have grown much more serious minded in recent years. This is not necessarily a bad trend. It is simply a trend.

Thus, I was delighted to discover Heidi Ashworth's Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind


reminiscent of the "classic" Regency romances that I grew up with. It is a delightful comedy of errors, filled with sparkle and wit. I read the bulk of this novel during a flight from Arizona to Utah, and literally fell into a giggling fit during one section of this book. Thankfully, the flight wasn't full and the seat next to me was empty, so I didn't have to explain my embarrassing outburst. A book that literally makes me laugh out loud is rare these days. Needless to say, when the opportunity arose to interview the author, I positively leapt at the chance! It is with great pleasure that I present to you my interview with Regency romance author, Heidi Ashworth.

JDP: How long have you been reading Regency romances?

Heidi Ashworth: I didn't start reading Regency Romance until I was about 25. However, my mother and older sisters had been reading it since I was a little girl and my first real story, written at age 10, was what I considered a regency. Looking back, it wasn't (a contemporary romance set in France is a far cry from the Regency) but I indulged myself on my "official website" by saying (as a joke) that I had been writing regency romance since I was 10 years old--I thought very few people but my family would ever see it. Little did I know Amazon would pick it up and that it would become "fact". (Groan)

JDP: What was the first Regency romance you ever read?

Heidi Ashworth: The first regency I ever read was Golden Songbird by Shelia Walsh. It is still among my favorites. If I had read Golden Songbird after reading a few Georgette Heyer's or some of my other favorite authors, I probably wouldn't have thought it so wonderful. It's so interesting to me how the order in which we read boks impacts our impression of them.

JDP: When did you first realize you wanted to write Regency romances?

Heidi Ashworth: I started reading them when I was spending a lot of time on the couch nursing a brand new baby. Nine months later and about 100 regencies later, I thought, hey, I can do this! After writing The Two Lords Danvers (don't look for it, it's not published) a friend asked me to take a romance writing class with her. I tried contemporary first because I thought that was what was expected but I made the switch to Regency and I'm so glad I did!

JDP: Which Regency romance authors have most influenced you in your love for the Regency period?

Heidi Ashworth: I think this is where I am supposed to say "Jane Austen" but she isn't really the mother of the regency genre--Georgette Heyer was. It is important to note that though the Regency genre and Austen's books have some critical points in common (for example, if the hero had but said X, or the heroine had said YZ, they would have fallen into each other's arms a whole lot sooner) Ms. Austen was writing stories that were contemporary to her time, more social commentary than romance. So, no, she's not on the list. However, Ms. Heyer most definitely is but I would have to say I favor her comedies more than those that aren't (while recognizing, at risk of muddying the waters, that most of her funniest books took place in the Georgian time period). Next would be Joan Smith's earlier books, Barbara Metzger's true Regencies (in fact, she read the galleys of Miss D which thrilled me to my toes!) Marian Devon, Marion Chesney--the grand dames of Regency romance from the 70's and 80's.

JDP: Since I’m always interested in how authors research their historical novels, could you tell us a little about how you researched the Regency era for Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind?

Heidi Ashworth: Here is where I point out that the Regency romance genre, though very close to being factual based on the extensive research Georgette Heyer did for each of her books, there were some key factors that she did get wrong. However, a "true Regency" will follow the rules she cemented in her books, anyway. For example, your heroine must have an abigail, basically, a lady in waiting who took care of your clothes and followed you as you went out and about. Yet, the Regency was a morally looser time period than the Victorian era that followed and having a chaperone go everywhere with you was simply not part of the Regency maiden's life. In other words, for Miss D, most of my research was done by reading the genre--alas, this is how inaccuracies are perpetuated. I recently completed a sequel to Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind (crossing my fingers it comes out before 2010 is over) and I did a large amount of research via the internet which was, in a word, glorious.

JDP: Can you share with us your top three favorite Regency romance research books or other resources?

Heidi Ashworth: Using the web is so much easier than books because you can find what you are looking for much faster. I do have books I have read, one being Prince of Pleasure by Saul David plus countless history books about Britain in general that all pretty much cover the Regency era along the way. I am a total Anglophile! However, when I am pounding away at the keyboard, it is so convenient to just look things up online. Candice Hern, a very kind woman and Regency author with whom I have had the pleasure of personally corresponding, has a marvelous website chock full of great information and photographs. Find her at http://www.candicehern.com/regency.htm. Another great web source is Common Regency Errors at http://www.eclectics.com/allisonlane/common_regency_errors.html
a place I go to double check my facts (some of which I do get wrong from time to time) and another I use a lot is a Regency Lexicon at: http://www.thenonesuch.com/lexicon.html

JDP: Are there any historical figures from the Regency era who particularly intrigue you?

Heidi Ashworth: Absolutely yes! I did a report in the fifth grade on Prinny, the Prince Regent who later became George the Fourth, at the suggestion of my Regency-loving older sister. He was a totally fascinating character who, together with Beau Brummel, the fashion arbiter of the day, and John Nash, an architect, defined the Regency period. Also, George, Lord Byron, the romantic poet whose home I was able to tour when I visited England ten years ago. I would have to include Jane Austen on that list, as well.

JDP: Do you have an all-time favorite Regency romance?

Heidi Ashworth: "Favorite" questions are always so hard for me to answer. I can never narrow it down to just one. A lot of the ones I love best were written quite a while ago . . . they don't make Regencies like they used to (alas!)

JDP: What inspired you to write Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind?

Heidi Ashworth: I had actually written a previous Regency that was based on a dream I had but Miss D I wrote for the romance writing class. Since it was a narrow and not terribly well-read genre, I started my first class assignments writing contemporary romance (which I don't really enjoy and don't read). My teacher thought it was terrible and asked "why in the world would the hero do something like that?" I explained that I read Regencies and that a Regency hero WOULD do something like that. She insisted that I write a Regency for my class assignment and Miss D was born. I didn't write it with serious intentions to publish it and so it allowed me the freedom to have a lot of fun with it. I put in a lot of my favorite Regency flavors. In other words, there had to be the typical hero, the typical heroine, a house party, a cast of eccentric background characters, the porcelain shepherdess on the fireplace mantle . . . it sort of became a bit of a caricature and more than one reader has mentioned that they love the way I am slyly winking my eye at the genre. I have also been accused of not being terribly original but I wanted to include everything that said "Regency" to me in my book.

JDP: Tell us a little bit about Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind?

Heidi Ashworth: Miss D is less a "funny romance" than a romantic comedy with a twist of mystery. It focuses much more on the emotional and intellectual attraction between two people rather than the physical. In the end, both of the characters have grown as a result of knowing one another. It makes it a bit more satisfying than a romance for the sake of romance alone.

JDP: What project are you working on next?

Heidi Ashworth: I just shipped off Miss D Two and am anxiously awaiting word on it. Meanwhile, I am taking a break and will start on something new when the kids go back to school. I am going back and forth between another Regency (a more serious one this time) or trying my hand at nonfiction. (NOTE: JDP is not-so-secretly rooting for another non-serious title from this author!)

JDP: Where can readers obtain a copy of Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind?

Heidi Ashworth: My publisher caters to the library market so it is not found in stock at most book stores. It can, however, be ordered from any book store and can be purchased online at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Target.com, Overstock.com and many other online book outlets.

Thank you for joining us today, Heidi!

Now for the giveaway. Enter to win an autographed copy of Miss Delacourt Speaks her Mind by doing one, two, or all three of the following. (Yes, that means you can enter up to THREE TIMES!!!)

(1) Email me at jdipastena@yahoo.com WITH YOUR NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS. Type "JDP NEWS Contest" in the subject line, and in the body of the email type: "I want to know what's on Miss D's mind!"

(2) Leave a comment on this blog about my interview with Heidi, THEN EMAIL ME at jdipastena@yahoo.com telling me you left a comment. Type "JDP NEWS Comment" in the subject line AND INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS.

(3) Visit Heidi's website and send me the answer to the question: What pen name did Heidi toy with when she was 14 years old? (Check her "About Me" link) Send me the answer, with "Heidi's Pen Name" in the subject line, to jdipastena@yahoo.com AND INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS.

Deadline for entries is Sunday, August 30, midnight PST. The winner will be announced here on JDP NEWS on Monday, August 31.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

What's the Best Thing About Being an Author

In the course of various interviews for my current book blog tour, I’ve had a number of blog reviewers ask me some variation of the question, “What’s the best part about being an author?”

Needless to say, there are many “good things” about being a published author. But this weekend, my answer to this question would have to be a resounding: “Reconnecting with my favorite roommate and best friend from college after losing track of each other for 30 years!”

I was stunned to find an email from my long-lost-roommate, Laurie, in my email box this weekend. Fate threw us together as dorm partners for two years. Neither of us knew the other before that. She was beautiful and vivacious, I was mousy and painfully shy. We should never have clicked. But we did. Outside of the dorm, we mostly went our separate ways with the separate friendships we developed. But inside that dorm room, we shared a unique bond that I have treasured all my life. If fate threw us together, it was surely because fate knew how much I needed a friend like Laurie in my life!

We never had a single fight. Something I cannot, alas, say about any of my subsequent roommate experiences after Laurie abandoned me to marry the man she loved. (How could she have been so selfish?) Laurie was simply too funny to ever fight with. Observing her life was like watching a comedy, and I was the laugh track. Her off-the-wall personality kept me too much in stitches even to feel annoyed. But it wasn’t “all about her”. She cared about me, wanted to know what was going on in my life. It was like coming home at the end of the day to “family”. The adjustment to new roommates in an apartment after her marriage was difficult. Instead of “family”, my new roommates and I were more like “ships that passed in the night”.

Laurie and I tried to keep in touch, but you know how such things go. It was before the age of email, and letters gradually faded until neither of knew what had become of the other.

Until this weekend. Laurie and her husband wandered into a Deseret Bookstore and saw a copy of one of my books. “How many Joyce DiPastena’s can there be?” they apparently wondered. My editor had included my email address in the bio at the end of my book, so Laurie shot off an email to me. Sure enough, I was me and she was her! And now I’ve got to post this blog, so I can shoot an email back to her.

Yes, as of today, one of the best things about being an author is finding my long-lost roomie.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Coffee Time Romance Chat Winners!

And the winners of yesterday's Latte Lounge Chat contests are...

Loyalty's Web Drawing: Hollie Glover from England!

Scavenger Hunt: Martha Eskuchen from Florida!

Congratulations, ladies! Thanks for dropping by our chat and entering my contests.

Those of you who didn't drop by missed a great time. But you can still read the full thread of our chat and meet a lot of great authors if you click here. (Click on "last page" and work your way backwards)

Yesterday's chat was sponsored by the Sweetest Romance Authors. Click here and here to read more about us. We'd love to have you join our group!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coffee Time Romance Chat Reminder!



Don't forget our Summer Fun Chat at the Coffee Time Romance Latte Lounge on Friday, August 14! Authors! Authors! Authors! Chat! Chat! Chat! Games! Games! Games! Prizes! Prizes! Prizes! Click here to read more details on how to join us!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And the Light Bulb Award Goes To...


Jennifer Griffith!

Thank you to each and every one of you who have left a comment on my previous blog. Each one has helped me to think things through a bit more clearly. But Jennifer (in a cunningly concealed exchange via Facebook) may have given me the "key" I needed.

Jennifer, if you had a blog, I'd tell you to wear this award proudly on your site. Since you don't, you can just visit it here whenever you like. :-)

Oooo, I may make this Light Bulb Award a recurring feature. I'm sure I'll be "thinking aloud" about my WIP many more times in the future. Maybe one of you will be my Light Bulb Award winner next time!

What Am I Writing?

Okay, so here's my dilemma.

Chapter 1: My new heroine's POV (Joslin). Begins at moment of significant change in her life.
Chapter 2: My hero's POV. Makes decision affecting the direction of his future life; very brief interaction with Joslin. Sparks don't exactly fly. (Mostly, they just annoy each other.)
Chapter 3: My hero's POV. Joslin mentioned positively by my hero's traveling companion.
Chapter 4: My hero's POV. No mention of Joslin, but furthers plot towards their eventual reunification, so to speak.
Chapter 5: My hero's POV. Ditto Chapter 4
Chapter 6: Joslin's POV. My hero is much referred to (though he's actually miles away), with hints of Joslin's reluctant attraction to him.

Chapter 7 (though I haven't started it yet) is looking like it will be in Joslin's POV as well.

Odds are looking strong that my hero and Joslin won't actually appear on the same page together again before Chapter 8 at the earliest (and that's if I'm lucky, the way I keep going!).

So, if the hero and heroine don't actually get physically on the same page together before Chapter 8 or 9 of a novel, is it still a romance, even if they fall in love before the end of the story?

If I'm not writing a romance, then what am I writing? And if it's something a little different, will readers of my first two romances be disappointed that the romance takes longer to happen in novel #3?

(Hey, if I can't think out loud on my own blog, where can I?)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Join our Coffee Time Romance Chat This Friday!

This Friday, some "sweet" romance authors and I will be holding an all day Summer Fun Chat over at Coffee Time Romance. The chat will begin at 9 AM EST, 6 AM PST. Night owl that I am, I may be chatting in my sleep at that hour (yes, I'm on PST), but I'll be there, and who knows, I might even say something coherent before 9 AM my time!

So please come over and join us! In order to participate, you must first register at Coffee Time Romance. Click here to do so! If asked for a referral during the registration process, type in Coffee Crew. Then go to http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/forumdisplay.php?f=435 to reach the Latte Lounge, where we'll all be waiting to chat away with you!

Here are a few of the authors who will be participating. Just click on their names to read more about them and their books before the chat:

Larry Hammersley (yes, men can write sweet romances too!)
Joyce DiPastena (that would be me!)

Other authors we're hoping will drop by later in the day are E.A. West and Karen Cogan.

We're hopeful that additional authors will drop in throughout the day.

We'll share excerpts from our sweet romances, many (if not all!) of us will be holding CONTESTS, and we'll be available to answer any questions you have about our books, writing in general, or whatever pops into your head that you'd like to chat about with us.

We hope you'll join us this Friday in the Coffee Time Romance Latte Lounge!




Learn more about The Sweetest Romance Group. Click here!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Book Review of “Spellbound", by Regency Author Jaimey Grant

I first became intrigued with the character of Raven Emerson when I read Jaimey Grant’s Regency romance, Betrayal. An accomplished actress and the hero’s mistress when that volume began, Raven showed herself to be intelligent, spirited, and compassionate, even as she found herself eventually cast off in favor of the hero’s new love. Rather than reacting with the jealousy one might expect from a scorned mistress, Raven responded instead with such dignity and proved herself a woman of such warmth, that when I discovered Ms. Grant had written a follow-up volume especially for Raven, I could not wait to read it!

Spellbound is that volume. Spellbound is filled with mysteries. Why does the Duke of Windhaven, who has hired Raven to pose, first as his fiancĂ© and then as his wife, react with such terror when he sees Raven draw too close to the lake on his family estates? What is the truth about the missing noblewoman Raven is pretending to be, and what mysteries lie in Raven’s own past that have been hidden from her since childhood? And will the answers to these mysteries unite Raven and Windhaven together in love or tear them apart forever? Will the Raven I grew to love in Betrayal finally find her own happy ending?

You don’t expect me to answer all these questions, do you? You’ll have to read the book yourself to find out! I will say that I found the book difficult to put down, staying up later than I should have to read “just a few more words” in a new chapter, every time I finished an old one.

The only thing that glitched a bit with me was the sudden appearance in the story of a series of characters I felt I was expected to know but didn’t, causing some confusion in a few scenes. I suspect this is because I read Ms. Grant’s titles out of chronological order in my impatience to read Raven’s story. I knew there was a volume between Betrayal and Spellbound in which Raven played a part, but I skipped over it to go straight to Raven’s romance. Although events in that middle volume are effectively summarized in Spellbound, the background of some characters who may have appeared in that or another of Ms Grant’s volumes was not always explained, leaving me, as I said, at a bit of a loss. To preempt such confusion for others, I would advise readers therefore to read Ms Grant’s books chronologically. (You can find the chronological order on Ms Grant’s website at
http://www.jaimeygrant.com/ under her Excerpts link.)

Aside from that, I greatly enjoyed Spellbound, and I must add that the last four paragraphs of the closing chapter left me with a smile, while the final line of the epilogue I felt was exceptionally eloquent.

Click here to read my author interview with Jaimey Grant. (Sorry, the giveaway is over. :-) )

Book Blog Tour for "Illuminations of the Heart" Begins Today!

My online book blog tour has begun! For the next month, there will be daily reviews, occasional interviews, and PRIZES at the end of the tour. See the list of tour dates and sites in my left hand sidebar. Leave a comment on the reviews, and be entered to win one of four prizes: three $10 gift certificates (one each for Amazon.com, Banes&Noble.com, and DeseretBook.com) towards the purchase of a copy of Illuminations of the Heart, or win an autographed copy of Illuminations of the Heart itself. Each comment will count as an entry towards one of these prizes, so the more comments you leave, the more chances you'll have to win!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Online Book Release Party for “Illuminations of the Heart”: Final Round-Up

Congratulations to Cassandra Cantrell of Utah, our Grand Prize winner of the day! Cassandra has won an autographed copy of my new sweet medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart!!!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what the answer to contest #8’s question was, it was: agony.

I hope you’ve found my little “release party” anything but an agony today, though. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to enter my contests, chat with me, and help me celebrate my new book! I’ve had an absolutely wonderful time, and hope you’ve all had fun, too!

Just a couple of final notes to mention:

Beginning next Monday, you’ll be able to read a month’s worth of reviews of Illuminations of the Heart between August 10th – September 18th. I’ve listed the dates and links in the sidebar on the left side of this page, so you can follow along each day or click along randomly to see what people are saying about my new book. And there will be prizes involved if you leave a comment at any or all of the reviews: 3 $10 online gift certificates will be awarded towards the purchase of a copy of Illuminations of the Heart (one each to Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and DeseretBook.com), plus an autographed copy of Illuminations of the Heart--4 prizes in all! You'll receive one entry for every comment you leave on any of the reviews during the blog tour.

Also coming up soon is an all day chat with The Sweetest Romance Group at Coffee Time Romance on Friday, August 14. Here’s a description of The Sweetest Romance Group:

“This group is for those who write, and enjoy reading, sweet G-rated romance stories like our mothers/grandmothers recall reading. We take the reader through tender, heartwarming romance leaving them uplifted and inspired. Plain and simple, it's Jane Austen style writing--just clean, pure, and undefiled love between a man and woman.”

If this is the kind of romance you enjoy, then stop by Coffee Time Romance on August 14 and join us in the Latte Lounge...well, okay, I haven't figured out how to direct you to the Latte Lounge yet, but I'll figure it out and post the directions here at JDP NEWS before next Friday! The chat starts at 9 AM EST, and at least 5 sweet romance authors will be available to chat with you and answer your questions. (I’ll be the one yawning, since it’ll be 6 AM my time!) Hopefully more sweet romance authors will stop by throughout the day. Along with general chatting, you can read excerpts from many of our books and I can pretty much guarantee there will be some more contests involved. (And not just from me this time!) Oh, I also promise I’ll be the one sipping hot chocolate during the chat. Or possibly chilled chocolate milk, since we’ve been hitting 110 degrees or above here for the last couple of weeks! (And sadly, yes, you might have to slip by a few less-than-sweet-romance book covers on your way to the lounge, but once you're at the chat, I promise you'll be safe. And if I can find a link to bypass the covers and send you directly to the chat room, I'll post that here, too!)

Thanks again to everyone who participated in my party today, and I hope to see many of you again soon!