Monday, June 18, 2012

Wanted: Book Recs

Although I love to write contemporary romance, when I want to relax, I usually read historical. Maybe it's just different enough that I feel no obligation to analyze as I read. I can just sit back and be entertained, thank you very much. (Lazy? Moi? Perish the thought.) 

Lately I've been on a Mary Balogh kick. For some unfathomable reason I'd never read her until Eloisa James showed me an advance copy of her book "The Secret Mistress." I adore Eloisa James and really hope I can be reborn as her in a future lifetime. I figured, if Eloisa likes MB, I ought to give her a try.

Two series later, I'm in awe. First I tore through the "Slightly" series, which is all about the arrogant, wild Bedwyn family. "Slightly Sinful, Slightly Unforgettable," and so forth. There are five books in this series, and, since I do everything backwards, I just discovered the book that first introduced the family -- "A Summer to Remember." These books have intense characters, wonderful humor and delicious romance. They're sublime, from beginning to end. 

*Note: You will never find me saying a bad thing about a book. Not that all books are perfect (especially mine). But since I began writing, and know how difficult it is, I find I don't have it in me to be critical anymore. I leave the criticism to others, and I thank them for it. It needs to be done -- just not by me.

Related to the Slightly series is the Simply series, four books about the teachers at a girls school in Bath. I love that they're about women who aren't living the privileged life, but who are making their own way in a frequently treacherous world. The degree of emotion these stories inspire is amazing.

I know Mary Balogh is still writing stories linked to these series. I believe her next book is about the cousin of the heroine of "A Summer to Remember." Sometimes it's hard to keep all the relationships straight from one book to the next, but it doesn't matter unless you like keeping track of such things. So if you're looking for a wonderful author with a enormous backlist, who's still producing great books, give Mary Balogh a try.

So ... your turn. Do you have any recs for me? I'm looking for a historical series I can really lose myself in.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Fun with Firemen

I had tons of fireman fun this past week in California. Can't you tell?

That's a fireman at a station in Los Angeles posing with both my books. And his coworker is apparently reading THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME ... or at least hiding behind it.

And look at this photo ... see that sign? Where it says "San Gabriel"? Yep, this is the actual, real-life, non-Bachelor San Gabriel station.

My fictional San Gabriel is somewhere in the desert "Inland Empire" of California, but the real one is in the greater Los Angeles area, and I got to pay it a visit. I dropped off a box of books, which are presumably making their way into the hands of various wives and girlfriends. I met the Fire Chief, who is an extremely gracious man. He gave me a tour of the station, including the drool-worthy, state-of-the-art kitchen the crew built with their own hands.

Wow. Falling in love yet? He also showed me San Gabriel's lovely 9/11 memorial, which is especially meaningful considering the history of my hero in Book 3 (more to come on that.)

Last, but not least, I stopped by the Los Angeles station where my "fire consultant" works. Here he is, my favorite real-life Fire Captain! It was so great to meet him in person. And his crew had a lot of fun with the books. (See the photos above.)

Once again, I was blown away by how nice, humble, and down-to-earth these courageous real-life heroes are. Thanks to all for the lovely time in California.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Visit to Sunshine Books

It's me and the palm trees this week. I've been reunited with the Los Angeles smog, the crazy traffic, and the lovely jasmine-draped patio of my friend. I'm here for a variety of reasons, but while I'm in town I'm planning to visit a few bookstores. If you happen to live in the Southern California area, I hope you'll consider joining me at Sunshine Books in Cypress California on Tuesday, June 5 at 1:30. Here's the address:

Sunshine Books
4931 Lincoln Avenue
Cypress CA 90630

It's a wonderful, very romance-friendly bookstore and I can't wait to spend some time there. As an extra incentive, I'm bringing cupcakes!

I even rented a GPS so I don't get lost cruising around SoCal searching for bookstores. So far, so good. If I weren't already married, I'd be proposing to that thing.

Hoping to see you there!