Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review of "Dangerous Favor"

Thank you to Getting Your Read On for this lovely review of Dangerous Favor!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Teaser

Tuesday Teaser is a weekly bookish meme (rhymes with “cream"), hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. (I’ve borrowed it from LDS Women’s Book Review.) Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share at least two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

I'm adapting the rules slightly. I'll be quoting some random lines from the last chapter I read before I post a teaser. I'm a slow reader, so you may get multiple teasers per book. Here's a teaser from Letters in the Jade Dragon Box, by Gale Sears:

She rolled the scroll, tied the ribbon, and placed it back in the drawer.

"Are we sure we want to know all about them?"

Slowly her uncle nodded.

Wen-shan went off to bed, forcing her mind to remember the noodle story.

From Letters in the Jade Dragon Box, p 126

If you'd like to share a teaser from a book you're currently reading, I'd love you to do so in the comment section. And you don't even have to share it on a Tuesday! Be sure to include the title, author, and page number in case others would like to check out the book you're reading.

Monday, February 27, 2012

What Am I Reading Now?

I finished Killing Lincoln last week (and enjoyed it very much--learned a LOT!), but haven't had time until now to post about what I'm reading next. I've decided to read all the finalists in the historical category for the 2011 Whitney Award. I'm starting with Letters in the Jade Dragon Box, by Gale Sears.

Here's the back cover  blurb:

Truth. In mainland China from 1949 to 1976, truth is all but eradicated, suppressed and supplanted by the iron will of Mao Tse-tung. Millions of people suffer untold anguish as their history, their culture, and their lives are brought under communist rule. Many flee to Taiwan and Hong Kong. 

As a child, Chen Wen-shan was taken from her family home in mainland China and sent to live with her great-uncle — a former general in the Nationalist Chinese army who had become one of the first converts to the LDS Church in Hong Kong. For ten years, Wen-shan has carried the sorrow of abandonment in her heart, with few memories of her life before. But at the death of Chairman Mao, fifteen-year-old Wen-shan receives a mysterious wooden box that holds a series of beautiful paintings and secret letters that reveal the fate of the family she has not heard from in more than a decade. 

Stop back in on Tuesday and I'll share a Tuesday Teaser with you from Letters in the Jade Dragon Box!

Winner: "Romancing Olive"

Congratulations to LAWonder, winner of an e-copy of Romancing Olive, by Holly Bush!

Thank you to everyone who read my interview with Holly and entered her giveaway!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway with Holly Bush

Today we have an interview with Holly Bush, who writes about the Western United States in the late 1800s. She's graciously agreed to give away a copy of her historical romance, Romancing Olive, at the end of the interview, so stay tuned for details!

JDP: Thank you for joining us today, Holly.

Holly: Hello Joyce and thanks for having me.

JDP: Tell us a little about your historical romance, Romancing Olive.

Holly: Spinster librarian, Olive Wilkins, is shocked to learn of her brother’s violent death at a saloon gaming table. Compelled to rescue and raise his children, Olive travels to Ohio, intending to return to her Philadelphia home with her niece and nephew. Little does she know that the children have come to love their caretaker, widower Jacob Butler. Will Olive return home without them or learn to love Jacob as well?

JDP: Romancing Olive is set in 1891. Is there a particular reason you chose that year?

Holly: Yes, actually there is. At one point in the book, Olive asks a friend to ship her new Singer sewing machine from her home in Philadelphia to Ohio so that she can quickly make clothing for her niece and nephew and Jacob’s children. Singer machines were first manufactured in 1851 but became much more popular towards the end of the century. Train travel was still the most typical means of transportation and the Civil War had been over for 15 years.

JDP: What did you find most fascinating about this time period? 

Holly: The U.S. was settled but not tamed. We were on the cusp of the industrial revolution which would bring huge changes to a mostly agrarian lifestyle. But at that time war wounds would have been healing, and a small town culture flourished prior to the automobile. This was a happy period for the U.S.

JDP: I’m always interested in how authors research their historical novels. Could you tell us a little about how you researched the historical background for Romancing Olive?

Holly: I read about the time I’m writing about, historical facts and events, and then I like to read about the mundane or not famous during that period. That’s always where characters get fleshed out. What did the average women or mother do during her day? How many children went to school? What was a holiday tradition? What did families do to relax or for entertainment?

JDP: Those are all excellent questions when trying to find ways to bring characters and a historical era to life. Can you share with us your top three favorite research books or other resources?

Holly: I’m on the board of my local library so I spend some time there reading general history books. And of course I use the internet for much of my research. I’ve found Wikipedia to be an amazingly accurate source. College libraries are often completely on-line now as well and are a great source for me.

JDP: Are there any historical figures from the era of Romancing Olive who particularly intrigue you?

Holly: It was an era of the Average Joe.

JDP: What inspired you to write Romancing Olive?

Holly: I had picture in my head of Olive riding on the train to Spencer, looking out the window and imagining her brother had been a model citizen, terrified to raise his children yet ready to face the challenge. Those fears paled in comparison to the reality she was forced to deal with on her arrival. There’s something about those huge turns in one’s life where comfort ends and a new world begins that is both terrifying and exhilarating. For Olive, it was a catharsis.

JDP: Are you working on any new projects?

Holly: I’m working on a women’s fiction book that is untitled and about 30,000 words in length at this point. About 50,000 or so more words to go!

JDP: Where can readers obtain copies of your books?

Holly: Romancing Olive is available at Good Reads, Amazon and Nook Book. I have 3 other historical romances that I will be making available over the next 6 months. 

JDP: How exciting! Then your readers have a lot to look forward to. :-) Thank you again for joining us today.

More about Holly! : Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out.  Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject.

Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer’s group.

Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, and vice-president of her local library board and loves to spend time near the ocean. She is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior. Visit Holly's website at to learn more about her and her books.

Now for the giveaway! Holly is offering an e-copy of Romancing Olive to one lucky reader who leaves a comment on this interview. Be sure to include your email address so I'll know how to contact you if you win. Deadlines for entries is February 26, midnight PST.


USA entries only
Entrants must be 18 years or older
Entries may be left in a comment or sent via email to
Prize: 1 e-copy of Romancing Olive, by Holly Bush, retail value $2.99.
The number or eligible entries received determines the odds of winning
Winners will be selected on February 27. Winners have 48 hours to respond to an email notifying them of their win.
Prizes not claimed within 48 hours will be reawarded
Sponsor name and contact info: Joyce DiPastena, or PO Box 673, Kearny, AZ 85137

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

And the winners of my book launch party are...

has won the Dangerous Favor gift package consisting of: A Dangerous Favor tote bag containing a Dangerous Favor mug, a Dangerous Favor mouse pad, a copy of Dangerous Favor (print version), a box of candy and some swag

Marjorie Cullen 
has won the Loyalty's Web gift package consisting of: A Loyalty's Web tote bag containing a Loyalty's Web mug, a Loyalty's Web notebook, a copy of Loyalty's Web (winner's choice of print or Kindle version), a box of candy and some swag

has won the Illuminations of the Heart gift package consisting of: An Illuminations of the Heart tote bag containing an Illuminations of the Heart mug, an Illuminations of the Heart notebook, a copy of Illuminations of the Heart (winner's choice of print or Kindle version), a box of candy and some swag.

Congratulations ladies!

The following "attendees" will also each receive a 2 oz box of chocolate and some swag. (I only included your name if you sent me your mailing address or included your email address with your comment. If you left a comment my book launch but don't see your name listed but want the chocolate, please contact me at

Jaimey Grant
Jennifer Griffith
Christine A
Kristee Richardson
Valerie Ipson
Lisa and Randy
Cindy A. Christensen
Colleen C
Peggy Urry
Debra Brown
Danielle Thorne
Lisa~Bookworm Lisa
Anna Arnett
Books Are Sanity!!!
Pat Cochran
C. Wolfe
Julie W.
Jennifer Mathis
Larry Hammersley
Tera Mecham
D. Ogden Huff
Cindy M. Hogan
Small Town Shelly Brown
Ginger Phillips
Kari Pike
Anna W.
Cindy Rogers

Wow, what an awesome book launch party, thanks to all of you! I hope you all have/had a spectacular Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Let the "Dangerous Favor" party begin!

Happy Valentine's Day! (Or almost-Valentine's Day, if you're here on Monday.) And welcome to my online book launch of Dangerous Favor! I couldn't think of a better time to share my newest sweet medieval romance with you. I'm giving away prizes, of course, and gifts to everyone who visits (think chocolate!). But first, a little bit about Dangerous Favor:

Here is the back cover blurb:

Mathilde needs a champion.

Her father has been accused of stealing from the king, an allegation that has reduced her family to poverty. She has one chance to find and marry a man who can help her prove her father's innocence. Lord Therri, heir to a rich barony, has the wealth and connections Mathilde needs to delve into the mysteries of her father's past. Furthermore, Therri embodies all her romantic dreams. 

Etienne, the younger son of a disgraced family, has neither wealth nor connections, but is smitten with Mathilde at a glance. She finds the knight intriguing, but believes he is only out to seduce her. While she seeks for a way to win Therri's attention, Etienne tricks her into granting him her favor, an embroidered white ribbon, for a tournament, setting in motion a dangerous chain reaction of events. Can Etienne save Mathilde from a nightmare from her past and prove himself the true hero of her dreams?

And of course, I can't let Valentine's Day go by without sharing a sweet, romantic excerpt with you. (Okay, so I snipped just a couple of words out so as not to give away a tiny bit of the plot, but this scene reads true without them.)

It occurred to Mathilde that Etienne might interpret her remark as evidence of her own lack of skill in the kitchen.

She added hastily, “I am not in the habit of burning something as simple as gruel. Since my father was forced to let our cook go, I have been responsible for all our meals. Father teases me that if he had known he had such a talented cook for a daughter, he would have turned Gilles off years earlier.”

“You cook?” A flicker of surprise animated his drowsy gaze. With an effort, he drew his right elbow under him to prop himself up. “Nay, your fragile fingers never wielded a flesh-hook or turned the weight of a boar on a spit.”

“Father drafted a scullery boy from the fields to help me lift the heavier pots and to dress game as large as boars. And my fingers are not fragile!”

“They are so slight I wonder their delicate bones have not shattered ’ere now. Such ethereal extremities were intended only for the gentle drawing of an embroidery needle or the sweet plucking of a harp’s strings.”

“I play the flute, not the harp. And I will prove to you that my fingers are quite strong!”

She crossed the tent, set the bundle of bread and cheese on the stool next to the cot, then grabbed Etienne’s hand and squeezed.

“Mercy, my lady!” he cried.

But his green eyes twinkled as they had that first night she had met him in Grantamur’s hall. Her squeeze had as much effect on his strong, broad palm as she imagined it would have had on a stone. She flushed with embarrassment at her boast—and with confusion at the disturbing tremor she felt as his long brown fingers wrapped themselves about her own.

“Let me go,” she whispered.

“Afraid Therri will see me holding [your] hand?” he said, echoing her earlier warning. “I suppose that would give him a bit of a jolt.”

He laughed softly, an utterly disarming sound that caused a catch in her breath.

“I’m not holding them tightly, you know,” he said after a moment of flustered silence on her part.


“Your fingers. I don’t want to break them. I am only holding them lightly—see?” He lifted her hand, bouncing it slightly as though weighing it in his.
He was right. He cradled her fingers as gently as a mother might cradle her cherished babe. ’Twas not by force of strength that he held her trapped, though quiet power emanated from his touch. If her fingers continued to nestle in his, ’twas because she willed them to.

Somewhere in some far corner of her mind the word seducer whispered. But ’twas more than his mysterious charm that held her now. She did not know why she thought suddenly of the grey-haired knight and his menacing gaze. But with her hand in Etienne’s, the threat of that memory seemed to ebb, replaced with a warm promise of safety.

To celebrate the release of Dangerous Favor (available now on Amazon), I'm giving away not one, not two, but THREE prize packages!

(1) A Dangerous Favor tote bag containing a Dangerous Favor mug, a Dangerous Favor mouse pad, and a copy of Dangerous Favor (print version), a box of candy, and some swag.

(2) Loyalty’s Web tote bag containing a Loyalty’s Web mug, a Loyalty’s Web notebook, a copy of Loyalty’s Web (winner’s choice of print or Kindle version), a box of candy, and some swag

(3) An Illuminations of the Heart tote bag containing an Illuminations of the Heart mug, an Illuminations of the Heart notebook, a copy of Illuminations of the Heart (winner’s choice of print or Kindle version), a box of candy, and some swag

And EVERYONE who enters will receive a 2 oz box of chocolate and some swag (bookmarks, magnets, pen, and a special Dangerous Favor white ribbon).

(**If you already own a copy of Loyalty's Web or Illuminations of the Heart, you may still enter for the other prizes in the package. Just leave a comment with your entry letting me know you already have the book.)

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post. To get your box of chocolate and swag, you must also email me your mailing address to, because obviously I can’t send you your candy if I don’t know where to send it. J (Addresses will not be kept and you will not be added to any mailing lists)

Deadlines for entries is February 14, 7:00 PM MST.

  • USA entries only
  • Entrants must be 18 years or older
  • Giveaway opens February 13, 2012 and runs through February 14, 2012
  • Winners will be selected on February 14. Winners have 48 hours to respond to an email notifying them of their win.
  • Prizes not claimed within 48 hours will be reawarded
  • Sponsor name and contact info: Joyce DiPastena, or PO Box 673, Kearny, AZ 85137
  • Legal venue: Arizona (no, this doesn't mean you have to be from Arizona to enter!)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Online Book Launch Party for "Dangerous Favor"!

7 AM February 13 – 7 PM February 14!

Dangerous Favor is having a launch party, and all of you are invited! I’ll be sharing a romantic excerpt in honor of Valentine’s Day, and giving away prizes, of course! And just so more people can attend, I’m starting a day early…Monday, February 13! Entries will remain open through Valentine’s Day right up till 7 PM MST.

My new medieval romance, Dangerous Favor, can’t celebrate without her sister romances, of course, so I’ll be giving away a gift bag each of the following to three lucky winners:

A Loyalty’s Web tote bag containing a Loyalty’s Web mug, a Loyalty’s Web notebook, a copy of Loyalty’s Web (winner’s choice of print or Kindle version), a box of candy, and some swag

An Illuminations of the Heart tote bag containing an Illuminations of the Heart mug, an Illuminations of the Heart notebook, a copy of Illuminations of the Heart (winner’s choice of print or Kindle version), a box of candy, and some swag

And of course the star of the party!

A Dangerous Favor tote bag containing a Dangerous Favor mug, a Dangerous Favor mouse pad, a copy of Dangerous Favor (only print version available), a box of candy, and some swag

And EVERYONE who visits will get a 2 oz box of candy and some swag (bookmarks, magnets, pen, and a special Dangerous Favor white ribbon)

The party begins at 7 AM Monday, so mark your calendars and be sure to drop by!

Sweet Saturday Samples

Here's another sweet sample from my newly released medieval romance, Dangerous Favor (rated PG). If you visited last week, you'll remember that my hero, Etienne de Brielle, tricked my heroine, Mathilde, into giving him the white ribbon in her hair as a favor for him to wear in a tournament. The ribbon belonged to Mathilde's brother, a token from her brother's lover. In this scene, Etienne is indeed wearing the ribbon tied around his arm as he fights in the tournament, despite Mathilde's attempt to make him give it back. :-) According to the tournament rules, the combatants are supposed to be fighting with blunted weapons, but Etienne unexpectedly finds himself confronted by three knights wearing unmarked armor and wielding dangerously sharpened weapons:

“We’ve no wish to harm you, de Brielle. The ribbon is all we want.”

Etienne whirled at the growling voice and found the glistening point of a third lance aimed at the base of his throat. Fury hardened his voice. “Does your sister know what a coward you are, de Riavelle? Exchanging sharpened weapons for blunted ones to gain an unfair advantage over your rivals?”

A pair of gold-flecked eyes weighed him through the slits of the knight’s unmarked helmet. “We merely wish to demonstrate the sincerity of our request.” The knight’s voice rasped as though spoken through a throat filled with gravel. “Is some wench’s trivial favor worth spilling your blood over?”

“You tell me? You are the one so driven with misguided lust that you would risk what shreds of reputation you have left with this foul attack on me.”

“Drop your lance and surrender the ribbon.”

Etienne’s hand tightened on his shaft, but defiance was futile with that lance-blade at his throat. Reluctantly he let his own lance fall into the dust.

“And your sword.”

Etienne hesitated, then drew his sword and tossed it down after his lance. “I don’t need them to thrash you, de Riavelle,” he said. “That I will gladly do with my bare hands. If you intend to turn a sportly match into a game of blood, then do it now. Otherwise I guarantee you will have to crawl back to your tent where I will hear you beg your sister’s forgiveness on your knees.”

The blade nudged up beneath Etienne’s chin. The gold flecks in de Riavelle’s hazel eyes glittered eerily. Saints! The man was serious! To turn a friendly competition lethal over a woman’s favor—! Either the ribbon on Etienne’s arm held greater significance than de Riavelle had thus far admitted, or the man must be slightly unhinged.

Now, de Brielle.”

Again Etienne hesitated. De Riavelle’s companion drew his sword and Etienne saw the sun’s bright rays bounce off its well-honed edge. He looked one last time into de Riavelle’s menacingly glistering eyes. Then slowly, he reached around to untie the ribbon.

Dangerous Favor is available on Amazon. There's also a copy up for grabs in a giveaway over on Clean Romance Reviews, if you'd like to check it out. :-)

Thanks for stopping by! Click here to read some Sweet Saturday Samples from some other wonderful authors!