Monday, August 18, 2014

A-Z Book Meme

It's time again for me to prep for my fall courses so this is the perfect moment for procrastination with this book meme I got from Ros Clarke!  The procrastinatory instinct probably also accounts for how distracted some of my answers may sound.

If you'd like, feel free to post your own answers, either in the comments or in your own space (and let me know where to find them)! Enjoy!

A. Author You’ve Read The Most Books From: Hmm...Diana Gabaldon, I think. Definitely DG if you count pages. Nalini Singh's Psy/Changeling series may be a close second just in terms of number of books I've read in the series. Oh, wait, do the Nancy Drew books count?
B. Best Sequel Ever: Ever? That's saying a lot. I...I...oh, the pressure, I have no idea!
C. Currently Reading: WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel
D. Drink of Choice While Reading: Depends on the type of book and the season. Hot chocolate in winter, mostly. Wine or whiskey sometimes during purely fun reads.
E. E-Reader or Physical Books: Depends on my mood, but I most often read on my e-readers (Kindle and iBooks apps on my iPad and iPhone). It's so wonderful to have dozens of books at your fingertips at any given moment!
F. Fictional Character You Would Have Dated In High School: Huh. What an interesting question. My high school self would probably have said Ponyboy from THE OUTSIDERS.
G. Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: SURVIVOR by Chuck Palahnuik - not for everyone, but so intriguing and unique. The book works backwards, sort of like the movie MEMENTO, and it deals with interesting questions of religion and identity.
H. Hidden Gem Book: Haruki Murakami's HARD-BOILED WONDERLAND AND THE END OF THE WORLD. I don't know if it's accurate to call this a "hidden gem." I kind of hope not because I think more people should read Murakami.
I. Important Moments of Your Reading Life: There are many, too many for me to recall at the moment, because I've always been sort of a loner-introvert so books have been almost constant companions. I suppose one important epiphany I experienced in the past 10 years has to do with "guilty pleasure" reading. When I was a grad student, I stopped reading "trashy" novels (basically genre fiction in general) because I felt I was only supposed to read and appreciate "serious" literature. I'm happy to say I've made a full recovery! Any book that speaks to you, that draws you in, is worth your attention. Literary works have value too, even if they sometimes feel like a slog, but books can work in different ways and their value is highly subjective. 
J. Just Finished: FIT by Rebekah Weatherspoon, a short and sexy novella with an overweight Asian heroine (Amara looks around, suspicious that Rebekah has her under surveillance, if it weren't for...) and a professional trainer who mixes a little BDSM in with her training. It was a lovely, refreshing sorbet in the midst of my writing and course prep!
K. Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: I wouldn't say there's a kind of book I *won't* read. I would be willing to try virtually any book if it's well-written. I generally don't read procedurals or thrillers, not because I have anything against them but just because they haven't appealed to me recently.
L. Longest Book You’ve Read: Probably one of the OUTLANDER books, although Victorian novels like MIDDLEMARCH and BLEAK HOUSE are doorstoppers too.
M. Major Book Hangover Because Of: Susanna Kearsley's THE WINTER SEA. Stayed up late to finish it and then pondered whether I was satisfied with the conclusion.
N. Number of Bookcases You Own: Five, although probably have enough books for six or seven, just piled up around the house.
O. One Book That You Have Read Multiple Times: George Eliot's MIDDLEMARCH
P. Preferred Place to Read: The sofa. Sometimes in bed. Would really love to have a designated big comfy chair in a big wood-paneled library, but alas...
Q. Quote From A Book That Inspires You: Let's see how many times I can reference Eliot's MIDDLEMARCH...here are the last lines, which I find bittersweet but beautiful, tragic yet hopeful: "Her finely touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."
R. Reading Regret: That I haven't read James Joyce's ULYSSES. I keep trying but not getting more than a few pages in before I get distracted. Oh, and also that I *have* read GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. Let's just say it wasn't my cup of tea.
S. Series You Started and Need to Finish:  Well, it's not done yet, but Gabaldon's OUTLANDER series. I haven't read the most recent book yet, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, and need to catch up!
T. Three Of Your All-Time Favourite Books: George Eliot's MIDDLEMARCH, Gabaldon's DRAGONFLY IN AMBER (book 3 of the Outlander series), and Dr. Seuss's OH, THE PLACES YOU'LL GO.
U. Unapologetic Fangirl For: historical romance novelist Courtney Milan. Seriously. I'd probably squeal upon meeting her...just because she's so awesome.
W. Worst Bookish Habit: Buying books even when my TBR stacks are unrealistically large. I just can't help it. And e-readers are total enablers! At this point, it would take me years to get through all the books I've bought but haven't read yet. *hangs head*...*glances at Amazon recommendations* 
V. Very Excited For This Release More Than Any Other: a tie between Joanna Bourne's ROGUE SPY and Sonali Dev's A BOLLYWOOD AFFAIR 
X. Marks The Spot (Start On Your Bookshelf And Count to the 27th Book): Christopher Hibbert's THE GREAT MUTINY (about the Indian Mutiny of 1857).
Y. Your Latest Book Purchase: MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY by Sherry Thomas
Z. ZZZ-Snatcher (last book that kept you up WAY late): I can't remember. It's definitely a bad habit I have, but I'm so tired from lack of sleep that the books are blurring togeth.........

Thursday, June 26, 2014

GIVEAWAY: two signed paperback copies of ALWAYS A STRANGER!

I'm pleased to announce that I'm giving away two paperback copies of ALWAYS A STRANGER on Goodreads! The entry deadline is July 25!

About ALWAYS A STRANGER:

When two worlds collide, anything is possible...
An international affair, London's Great Exhibition has taken the city by storm. As its newest Royal Commissioner, Lord Skyler Ridgemont must ensure the performers are properly contracted. Among them is the delicate and graceful Hanako Sumaki. Draped in vivid silk robes, Hanako's exotic Japanese fan dance captivates Skyler--and he longs to learn more about her...

But Hanako's enigmatic employer keeps his exquisite charge very close. The consummate artist, she shows the handsome nobleman many faces, but never her true heart, which holds a desperate secret. When Skyler learns the real reason Hanako has been brought to London, he will risk his entire world to win her trust--and save her from losing both body and soul. It's a feat that will require the type of courage only love can give...






Goodreads Book Giveaway

Always a Stranger by Amara Royce

Always a Stranger

by Amara Royce

Giveaway ends July 25, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Friday, May 23, 2014

The ALWAYS A STRANGER Virtual Book Tour - May 26 to June 6


I'm pleased to announce the (slightly belated) release tour for ALWAYS A STRANGER!  I'm excited to share this new book with the world!

The tour is a mix of interviews, guest posts, excerpts and reviews! Come visit to find out interesting tidbits about the book (and about me) and explore a variety of topics, including musical inspirations and Big Secrets! And don't miss the tour-wide giveaways, including two e-book copies of ALWAYS A STRANGER and a $20 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

May 26thGirl Meets Books- Interview/Excerpt
(Stop 2) Romancing the Book- Interview
(Stop 3) Plain Talk Book Marketing- Guest Post/Promo

May 27th- What I'm Reading- Guest Post/Promo

May 28thBuried Under Romance- Interview/Excerpt

May 29th- Imagine a World- Excerpt/Promo
(Stop 2) I am, Indeed- Review/Excerpt

May 30thSara Walter Ellwood- Interview
(Stop 3) Queen of All She Reads- Review/Promo

June 2ndA Tasty Read Book Reviews- Excerpt/Promo

June 3rdLiteraria- Guest Post/Promo

June 4th- Christine's Words- Guest Post

June 5thBlue Rose Romance- Excerpt/Promo

June 6thEmerald Musings- Review
(Stop 2) Book Suburbia- Promo

Thanks very much to Tasty Book Tours for all the hard work of organizing the tour (and for the gorgeous tour banner!), and thanks to all my wonderful blog hosts! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

ALWAYS A STRANGER - Release day! (Two days late!)

ALWAYS A STRANGER's release day occurred during a particularly hectic week. Grades were due, I'm on a hiring committee that was conducting interviews of top candidates, etc., etc. Oh, and we celebrated a birthday in the family so, coincidentally, we happened to have cupcakes and balloons in the house on release day! Yay!

It's been so chaotic, though, that today was the first day I could get here to "officially" announce everything I should have announced on Thursday! 

NOTE: As difficult as it can be for me to find time to write updates on Facebook and here on my blog, I can usually be relied upon to visit Twitter on a daily basis. So if you want up-to-the minute news about me and my books, follow me on Twitter

I feel fortunate to have had some much appreciated attention online for the release of ALWAYS A STRANGER on its release day:

The Book Pushers - an exclusive excerpt of ALWAYS A STRANGER!

Heroes and Heartbreakers - First Look review!

Dear Author - release day review (Note: I generally don't comment on reviews, except to express my gratitude for the reviewer's time and attention---but I have to say that I deeply appreciated this review because the reviewer really saw things that were most important to me when I was writing ALWAYS A STRANGER. So it's a C+ review but it feels like an a personal A in terms of how I wanted to reach readers!) 

Historical Romance Reviews - This was a pre-release review from March 30. If I did scrapbooking, it would definitely go in my author scrapbook. (I tried scrapbooking and would love to keep it up, but I just end up collecting piles of stuff "To Scrapbook" and then never finding the time to put them together!)

Ella Quinn's blog - check out my guest post about how Japanese ukiyo-e art influenced ALWAYS A STRANGER (at the blog of fellow eKensington author Ella Quinn)

USA Today's Happily Ever After blog - ALWAYS A STRANGER even got a mention at USA TODAY online! Eeeeep!

I'll be doing a virtual book tour for ALWAYS A STRANGER (with giveaways) from May 26th to June 6th! Check out my Appearances page for more information on where you can find me! 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

It's MAY! May! What a month! May the fourth...oh, you know...

So...it's May.  Busy month, May is!

With the end of the semester looming, I'm preoccupied (in other words, crazed and sleep-deprived), but here are the three big author highlights for me this May:

Brenda Novak's Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research 

I've been a fan of Brenda Novak's most excellent auction long before I became an author. It includes all sorts of amazing auction items, including once-in-a-lifetime trips, lunch with bestselling authors, critiques from agents and authors, autographed books, and much more. The auction runs through the month of May! It's a wonderful auction for a good cause, and this year, I'm part of two auctions!


ALWAYS A STRANGER - release date: May 15, 2014

That second auction item up there, the Japanese Delights gift pack, coincides with the release of ALWAYS A STRANGER, which features a half-Japanese heroine. It turns out that you can already order it as a trade paperback (POD), but the official release date of the ebook is May 15th. You can preorder at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and other e-booksellers.

Virtual Book Tour - May 26 to June 6

Thanks to Tasty Book Tours, I'll be doing an online book tour for ALWAYS A STRANGER, featuring exclusive excerpts, interviews, guest posts, and a tour-wide giveaway. I look forward to "seeing" you at various tour sites! Check out my Appearances page for the schedule!

Happy May!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Free! For a limited time, NEVER TOO LATE is FREE!

Yes, it's true! Never Too Late is currently FREE for Barnes and Noble's Nook and Amazon's Kindle! Yes, free! I think it's also free on iBooks but can't link to it.

Oh, you don't have a Kindle or Nook? Don't fret! There are apps for those!

  • Nook for smartphone or tablet
  • Kindle for smartphone, tablet, or web browser
I know the Nook freebie deal is running until April 29, but I don't know when the Kindle deal ends. Oh, and *cough* watch for Barnes and Noble's Free Fridays feature on April 25! 

psst--Right now, right this minute, Never Too Late is #1 on Amazon's list of Best Sellers for Historical Romance (in the Top 100 free category for Kindle historical romances) and #38 on Amazon's list of Best Sellers in the Kindle Store (in the Top 100 free category). Squeeeeeee! Fleeting, I'm sure, and in rather specific subcategories, but it's pretty darn cool to see it listed as #1 somewhere! Squeeeeeeee again!  THANK YOU to everyone purchasing it!