Thanks to my friend Sandy Raven there is a Sue London book translated to German!!
Sandy and I did a two-book crossover back in 2017 where we named our fun novellas after the old Tammy movies. Our books are named after movies they doesn’t have much in common with, so it is more of an homage. Our heroines are cousins, who happen to also be cousins with characters in each of our main series.
Do you know the Tammy movies? They’re adorable. In the movie ‘Tammy & the Doctor’, Peter Fonda plays Los Angeles doctor who falls for a Mississippi girl (Debbie Reynolds) working as a nurse’s aide in his hospital. ‘Tammy & the Bachelor’ has Debbie Reynolds as an unsophisticated young woman from the Mississippi swamps falls in love with an unconventional southern gentleman – played by Leslie Nielsen!
Meanwhile, if you read German you should be able to get these two books soon!
If you were hanging out in my authorsphere in mid-2019 you saw me completely melt down about how I needed to write a shifter book with a feral hog. Well, reader, I did. It is a short but also hot and sweet read. It never quite got the attention it maybe deserved, so I put a new cover on it. If you want to check it out it is still only on Amazon, but I will be loading it to other formats soon.
Sarah Pelham was, she liked to think, the responsible sister. She made all of the wise and prudent choices that her older sister Georgiana never had. She married young to an older, respected gentleman in their county. She wanted to be nearby in case her younger siblings needed her, you see. She wanted to settle into the life of a country doyenne, surrounded by children and enjoying the indulgences of a husband who realized how lucky he was to have her.
Life, however, hadn’t turned out as Sarah planned.
First, her father moved to London, taking her siblings with him. That left her nonplussed and rusticating in the country with a husband whose only interests seemed to be hunting and tobacco. Henry Pelham had not by any measure been an ogre, but he’d been a bore and felt no need to dote on her in any way. That led to the loneliest three years of her life, her interminable days only broken by the rare visits of other country matrons who did not, it turned out, have much in common with a young childless woman they still saw as a child herself. Her mother’s reputation didn’t help, of course. She thought half of the biddies merely came to gather fodder for gossip. Oh, whatever was to happen to her poor, widowed father now that his mad wife passed?
In many ways Sarah couldn’t blame her father’s retreat to Town.
Then, sadly, her husband Henry died in a hunting accident. It was only then that Sarah learned how truly vulnerable she was under the law. Having died without issue, his estate was inherited by a brother who had his own family, and thus absolutely no use for Sarah. She was given her widow’s share and roughly shoved aboard a coach bound for London, as though an unwanted piece of furniture bound for distant relatives. It was beyond lowering.
That was two months ago. She’d felt shattered from the abject failure of her life to go as intended, but less so about the loss of her husband, which made her sad in itself. Families should be about love, about connection. Now she was in her father’s London townhouse, which should have felt like a relief, but somehow she couldn’t shake her loneliness, as though it had become a habit.
Worse yet, one of her dearest friends had come to call today as soon as she learned Sarah was in Town. Samantha Walters had grown up in Derbyshire with her, and they’d been close after their older sisters left home. Samantha, however, recently became betrothed to Justin Miller, the boy who used to follow her in the fields back home and now served as a Parliamentary clerk for the Earl of Harington. Sarah wanted to be happy for Sam, but it broke her heart all over again to see someone so ebullient, so sure of their future happiness. It only served to remind her how foolish she’d been when she married Henry. She’d once had dreams, had been sure of her choices and future happiness, but now she just felt hollow.
“Oh, I’ve been prattling on about myself, haven’t I?” Sam asked in a rush. She bent forward and took Sarah’s hands in her own. “I’m just so pleased that you’re in Town, and obviously far too pleased with myself.”
Sarah squeezed her friend’s hands. “You have every reason to be pleased with yourself. As for me, I will get on, I suppose.”
Kit Wilkins was not at all pleased with himself. Or pleased with much of anything, really. His collar was too starched, his cravat too tight, and his dinner jacket almost made it impossible to raise his fork high enough to reach his mouth. He knew his attitude bordered on surly, but love of his dear mama kept it from showing on his face. Anyone looking upon Kit, better known as Lord Christopher Wilkins, younger son of an earl and now younger brother of an earl, would only see a pleasant mien. It had been six months since papa’s death and he was expected to be out in Society. Better yet, he was supposed to be quite serious about convincing some poor maiden to marry him.
The very idea set his teeth on edge.
Mama always accused him of being born old, as though there was something wrong with enjoying a slower pace. Left to his own devices he preferred a bucolic life, clothes one could actually breathe in and endless acres to ramble about on. One of his greatest fears was that his brother, who enjoyed a fast life, would do something tragic and leave Kit with the responsibility of all this.
This, at present, was an enormous supper party. His brother Isaac was perfectly at home in these environs, and Isaac’s wife Judith fairly bloomed under these conditions. Good. They could have it all. His greatest fear on the marriage mart was somehow being shackled to one of these young women who enjoyed such displays. The profusion of candles and lamps needed to light the room made Kit feel stifled, but Judith simply glowed. Isaac was nothing but smiles and conviviality.
The dining partner on Kit’s left bumped him with a rather sharp elbow. Were it anyone else, Kit would assume it was an accident.
“What is it, War?” he murmured to his friend.
“You were about to stare a hole through our hosts, so I thought it best to distract you,” the rather aptly named Lord Warner Sharpe answered while casually buttering some tidbit on his plate. War was angular to the point of sharpness, and blessed with the long dark hair and dark eyes of a soulful poet. Poetry, however, was not what lurked in his heart.
“Yes,” Kit said dryly, “you are always the best judge of who is being most unpleasant.”
“It’s always me,” War answered with some savage pleasure, “but after me it is always you. Talk to Henny, that will cheer you up.”
Sharpe was referring to Lord Henry Greer, seated to Kit’s right. The three of them became best mates almost the instant they started school, and Judith was kind enough to seat Kit between his two friends this evening. He wasn’t sure if it was because his sister in law had some empathy for his feelings, or simply wanted to ensure he wouldn’t say something untoward to another attendee.
He’d certainly been quite clear the day before during a family coze that he didn’t want to stay in Town and take to the social whirl. His mother had been shocked by his determination, since a mere handful of years before he’d been a darling of the ton. A young man, however, could flirt and tease a bit without expectation of marriage. Now that he was five and twenty, with the glaring possibility of inheritance should his sibling not procreate, every young woman in his orbit would be dangling for a marriage proposal.
He certainly didn’t need his mother to know he had quite the reputation as a rake, as well. More than one liaison with a willing widow had ended with the lady’s tearful condemnation of his heartlessness. It was just such a relationship three years ago that sent him even more hastily to his ill father’s side at their country house. The woman was incensed at the end of their relationship and promised to exact her revenge. He’d waited in some trepidation for news that shredded his reputation to tatters, but it never came.
Meanwhile, the quiet time spent reading aloud to his bedridden father and living a simpler life changed something in him. London was entertaining, but Leicestershire made something in his heart finally unfurl. It gave him a settled sense of place that he’d never had before.
Sitting here between his two best friends, however, reminded him of how fun London could be, if you didn’t have the expectations of family responsibility hanging over your head.
He jabbed Henny in the side much as War had done him. “Are you going to sit there mooning over Miss Barshaw or talk to her sometime this evening?”
His friend flashed a smile. “I’m not mooning, I simply find her enchanting.”
“Well, if you keep making it so obvious then her mama will have you fitted for your wedding clothes before you can blink.”
That startled a laugh from Henny. Greer was as fair as Sharpe was dark. His golden locks and cornflower blue eyes made the maidens sigh over him. Kit had the least noteworthy coloring of the three of them, with sandy brown hair and hazel eyes.
“There is no one here that these young ladies would rather marry than you,” his friend assured him with a grin.
You might recall that one year I got fed up with something (I don’t remember what) and decided to start my own awards. This is just my favorite stuff I read last year. There is no nomination process, no vetting, and no pretending this is in any way objective. However, it is also not bought, schmoozed, or otherwise manipulated. Is there a high correlation between people I know and the books I read? Yes, because if I know you and you write, I will eventually read at least one of your books. If I like it then I will talk about that. If I read one of your books and like it, I will probably reach out and try to connect with you. It’s how I roll. Talking to authors is (almost) always fun. And the ones who write the stuff I like? Categorically always fun (for me). YYMV.
This year I realized I could USE MY AFFILIATE LINKS to earn more money to buy more books and, well, that just feels like a virtuous cycle. So if you buy anything on these links I might get a little percentage back.
The first time around I didn’t get all of the awards out, or even come up with my final category. I am solving that problem this year by doing it all in one post (so I don’t have to worry about my tired little ADHD brain keeping up with it).
Although my picks are pretty romance-heavy these days, I am not exclusively a romance reader. In fact I’ve probably still read more SFF and 19th century classics by volume, but romance has spent the last thirty years catching up.
First, the announcement of the categories!
I LAUGHED – my favorite comedy
I CRIED – my favorite tear jerker
I CHEERED – my favorite hero/ine
I SIGHED – my favorite swoony romance (ok, this one is almost exclusively romance)
I ATE THE WHOLE THING – a series I devoured
Let’s face it, comedy is kind of my thing, and although this series isn’t comedy per se, Liz has killer rom-com instincts and gets a pretty good laugh/page rate out of me. I was lucky enough to see an early draft of the first few chapters well before the book came out, and was probably one of the first people to buy it!
Please note I used the original cover here because I prefer it. I’m sorry if you love the new one Liz, this is my favorite.
So here is a weird thing about me: I hate poetry unless I love it. And when I love it? I really, really, really love it. I discovered Nikki Giovanni years ago and was delighted to find out she was faculty in my very own home state of Virginia (at that OTHER school, Virginia Tech). She retired in September 2022, so I decided it was time to put my hands on a whole book of her poems. (You can read an article about her career and retirement here. I love that her 1990 office picture has an Opus in it, because most of my pictures in 1990 were in close proximity to a stuffed Opus.)
I love her words.
Even when she tells me hard truths, I love her words.
Sometimes when she tells me hard truths, I cry. But it’s a good cry. A cleansing cry.
And hey, Giovanni knows romance, too. One of the poems I sent to my husband (who loves most poetry).
Charish Reid dropped an innocent enough looking little book in March 2022 called “I’ll Come Back for You.” I mean, innocent enough looking if your taste runs to cool witchy stuff, which mine often does. So I grabbed a copy and oops, fell for Whitney and her sister Helen and that guy Whitney had a crush on in high school, Deon, while they were all trying to deal with a ghost in the house.
I especially love Whitney. I love Whitney so much. She is vulnerable but tough, smart, and determined. It is very rare for me to return to a book and read it over and over, but I can already feel that this one is going to make that list. You can grab a copy on Amazon. Tell me if you start it so we can ‘read it together.’
Okay, probably a lot of the swooning feelings came from all of the descriptions of coffee and pastries, I’m not gonna lie, but Travis Baldree really achieved something here. Legends & Lattes sort of feels like the Cheers of the 2020s. You feel comfortable. You want everyone to know your name. Ok, and now I want a chocolate pastry… In case you didn’t know, you call already order the sequel. Both books are available on Amazon.
I ATE THE WHOLE THING
Last but not least, I ATE THE WHOLE THING. As a semi-voracious series reader I always enjoy finding something new to sink my teeth into. In 2022 it was finding Red L. Jameson’s Wild Love series. Check out the series page on Amazon here.
What is the MAIN thing about the Haberdashers books? (Well, other than the romance.) Friendship! So I thought it would be fun to figure out what each book would be titled if it were a Friends episode. Crank up the Rembrandts and put on your ratty jeans, we’re going into the wayback machine to the 90s.
The Haberdashers started as three little girls who wanted to learn weapons and horses. Now they are all grown up with husbands and children. The danger, however, continues to grow. Can they and their friends win the fight against what remains of The Four?
Today the seventh book in the Haberdashers series, Justice for Sisyphus, hits the virtual shelves. We know the hero, because he’s the steward of Kellington from the first book. Trials of Artemis. You remember, the steward who was fired for hiding smuggling from the earl. Oops.
In case you’ve forgotten, the smugglers in the first book were one of the plots that weaves through the series. There’s also the Hellfire Club known as The Four. Or wait, is that the same plot? It’s all starting to come together in book seven, Justice for Sisyphus. Along with our hero and heroine Philip and Desdemona we have returning heroes and heroines Gideon, Jacqueline, Robert, Casimir, and George. Bobbins makes an appearance, who will soon be a hero in his own right with the upcoming Christmas novella Secrets of the Season. And we also meet the hero of the twelfth and final book… but I’ll just leave you wondering about that.
The arc of Act II will conclude in book eight, Loving Echo, which should be out in a couple of months. Then it will be time to drive towards the epic conclusion. Why would we need to gather together so many heroes and heroines of both brain and brawn. Well, you’ll see.
It’s finally time! Book seven in the Haberdashers series will be out this month! An army officer and young widow are falling in love, but each has a dark past they are afraid to share. Pre-Order on your favorite platform!
An army officer and young widow are falling in love, but each has a dark past they are afraid to share.
Philip Gladstone joined the Army after the shame of leaving Lord Harington’s service under suspicion of smuggling. Through hard work and dedication he has risen to the rank of Lieutenant. Upon mustering out he meets a beautiful young widow whom he thinks may have feelings for him, but fears telling her about his past.