Thursday, October 30, 2014

**GIVEAWAY** Interview with Kat Latham about her London Legends series

Please welcome US Expat Kat Latham former SoCal girl who gave up Jimmy Choos for Wellies and now resides in rural Netherlands with her sexy British hubby and daughter. And whose new London Legends series are spicing up the romance shelves. Kats a newcomer to the blog but I was part of her cover reveal for Tempting The Player.

Kat has generously offered for a giveaway
an e-book of the winner's choice of either Knowing
The Score of Playing It Close.
Open Internationally!
Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter
Thanks Kat!
Good Luck!

Kat hi! Welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
Thank you so much for having me—and for being part of my cover reveal! Aren’t Matt’s abs incredible? ;)

First tell my romance addicts about this new series.
Where did the idea come from?
Are there a set number in the series?
Can they be read as stand alones or in order?
Okay, well, the London Legends series follows a team of rugby players—the world’s hottest rugby team, with sexy British accents to boot!
The idea came when I was having lunch with friends from work waaaay back in 2009. I was working for a humanitarian aid organization in London and was really stressed. I needed to do something creative to take my mind off everything, so I told them, “I’m going to write a romance novel. The heroine’s going to be an aid worker because I know and understand that world. But I have no idea who the hero is.” And my friend Izzi said, “He should be a rugby player.”
Seriously, it was as simple as that. I owe my first hero—Spencer Bailey—to my friend Izzi.
There are three books in the series so far (Knowing the Score, Playing It Close and Tempting the Player), and I’m writing book 4 right now. I’m planning for there to be at least a couple more stories. Apparently I can’t get enough of rugby players!
You can definitely read them as standalone novels (and you don’t need to know anything about rugby to enjoy them—I promise!). You don’t have to read them in order, but the characters do show up with their wives and girlfriends in later novels, so you’ll get little updates about them if you do read them in order.

Now tell us about your upcoming November release London Legends novel Tempting the Player.
Tempting the Player is about rugby fullback Matt Ogden, whose career has hit the skids. He showed a lot of promise when he was younger, but an early divorce and some other horrible things happened that totally derailed his confidence. But tragedy strikes one of his teammates—his rival for the fullback position—and Matt gets one last chance to prove he’s an awesome player.
The problem is that he’s terrified of flying. I mean, he suffers full-blown panic attacks midair. And his team has to fly to matches in other European cities, so he’s pretty much useless when he arrives. Knowing this is his last chance, he asks his best friend Libby to teach him how to fly so he can learn how to manage his fear.
Libby’s a pilot with a low-cost airline. She wants a stay-at-home husband so she can keep her career and have a family. But she is insanely attracted to her friend Matt, and she decides that if she’s ever going to find the right man for her she has to get Matt out of her system. She decides the only way to do this is by having sex with him. Because no man can live up to the expectations she has for Matt, right?

Kat before we go any farther you must tell us about winning the sex-scene contest on Between the Sheets and why is this the contest your mother is the proudest of your winning?
Ha! The Greater Detroit chapter of Romance Writers of America used to have a sex-scene writing contest called Between the Sheets. I don’t know if they still do.
I entered a scene from a book that still isn’t published, and it won first place out of over 100 entries. It was the first contest I ever entered, and it was the first time I got feedback on my writing from strangers. Talk about a massive boost to my self-confidence!
My mom told me later that she told her friends I’d won it. She’s always been so supportive of me…even though I’ve still never let her read the winning scene!

Now Id love to chat about your fabulous background, from teaching English in Prague to working for philanthropic organizations.
How did an English teacher cum charity employee start writing romance?
I was working as a writer and editor for a big humanitarian aid organization, and my job had always been equal parts creative and nerdy, which I really liked. But then we began a project to relaunch our website, and I had to delegate all the creative, fun stuff to my colleagues while I spent my day surrounded by spreadsheets. The project got quite stressful at times, and one day I walked into the library behind our office and found an old Julie Garwood novel that I’d loved as a teenager. I spent my lunch break reading it and came back the next day for more. Soon I was reading a ton of romance, and my husband said, “Why don’t you write one?” So I did.

Kat, I love your blog, your posts are inspiring, funny, touching and informative.
Kats blog
Is blogging cathartic, part of your social media evil plan for more fans, or something totally different?
Thank you for loving my blog! And oh man, that’s a good question. I started blogging as a way of connecting with other romance lovers. I lived in London when I started blogging, and none of my friends read romance. When I told people I read romance, I always got looks of shock and one of two reactions—either: “But…you’re smart” or “But…I thought you were a feminist.” So blogging helped me connect with other romance readers and writers around the world, people who wouldn’t make me explain why I love romance novels but just took it for granted that reading romance is a wonderful thing.
Now that I’m published, I don’t have as much time to blog. It’s certainly helpful in connecting with my readers, but I also try to introduce readers to other authors I love. I don’t want my blog to just be a promo vehicle for myself because that gets boring for everyone (especially me). I try to make it a place where people can come and chat about the books they love, whether those books were written by me or not. :)

Kat lets get a wee bit personal here.
What do you miss most about the US?
Mexican food! And my family. In that order. (Don’t tell my family.)
What do you miss the least?
The politics.
How often do you get back?
Once or twice a year.

So Kat on those long transatlantic flights whats on your lap on or your e-reader?
My 16-month-old daughter is on my lap, and when she sleeps I read a ton of contemporary romance. Right now my favorite authors are Molly O’Keefe, Anne Calhoun, Katie Lane, Julie James, Alison Packard…basically, I love smart, funny, well-crafted books.

Kat thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions. Its amazing when you think about how small the world is and Im so happy that because of that weve connected. Good luck with the series and all your future endeavors. And dont hesitate to come back and visit!
Thank you so much, Debbie! I really appreciate your kind words, and I’m glad we connected too!

Be sure and get Kat's holiday novella out 11-11
Unwrapping Her Perfect Match

Connect with Kat - Website - Facebook - Twitter

Kat Latham is a California girl who moved to Europe the day after graduating from UCLA, ditching her tank tops for raincoats. She taught English in Prague and worked as an editor in London before she and her British husband moved to the Netherlands. Kat’s other career involves writing and editing for charities, and she’s traveled to Kenya, Ethiopia and India to meet heroic people helping their communities survive disasters.Find out more on her website:

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

November line-up at The Reading Frenzy

The Frost is on the pumpkins and the days grow short and November is that ease into winter that brings falling leaves and Thanksgiving.
I hope that all of your Thanksgiving prayers and wishes come true and welcome to the November line up for The Reading Frenzy.

November 3rd- Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan book blast (be sure and check back next month when Sarah returns for my HO HO Harlequin December Extravaganza.

November 4- The Story Of Fester The Cat interview with author Paul Magrs

November 5 - What The Lady Wants interview with author Renee Rosen

November 6 - Christmas at Tiffany's blog tour- Guest post by author Karen Swan

November 10 - Guest post by Barbara Venkataraman-  Death by Didgeridoo - Giveway

November 11 - I'm on the Hot Seat at my friend and fellow Blogger Anna Cade's Herding Cats and Burning Soup blog. Stop by and maybe you'll learn some of my secrets.
herding cats & burning soup

November 12- Interview with Mavis Thompson - Angels Come in Strange Disguises + Review

November 13 - Interview with DS Kane - BloodRidge - Partners In Crime blog tour

November 17 - Interview with Ali Maier - Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer

November 18 - Interview with Michael Rucnicki - Darsky's Resistance

November 19 - Gone Reading Monthly blog post

November  24- Interview with Donna Augustine - Karma- + Review - Blog Tour

November 25 - Interview with Kylie Scott - Lead - + RT review

November 26 - Showcase Moonlight Weeps by Vincent Zandri - Partners In Crime Blog Tours

Stay tuned for my December blog Extravaganza featuring all my
Harlequin authors that I review for RT Magazine
There will be interesting interviews
Sumptuous Recipes
Holiday traditions
and Giveaways Galore!!
So be sure and check in every day in December!
Don't Miss Out on any day of
HO HO HO Harlequin!!


I'll be starting the Month off with the
Harlequin Winter Reads Giveaway
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Interview with Valerie Bowman The Accidental Countess

Today I'm welcoming back to the blog Valerie Bowman who is here today to chat a bit about her latest in her Playful Brides Series, The Accidental Countess.

  • ISBN-13: 9781250042088
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2014
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 320


For seven long years, Lady Cassandra Monroe has waited for the man of her dreams to return from the war. Unfortunately, he happens to be engaged to her flighty cousin. What Cass wouldn’t give to take her cousin’s place! When he mistakes Cass for Patience Bunbury, a fictitious friend her cousin has invented to escape social obligations…even with her future husband, Cass thinks this is her chance.
After defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, Captain Julian Swift is not quite ready to settle down and enter into his unwanted arranged marriage—especially when the real object of his affection turns out to be a beguiling beauty he meets at a party. Patience Bunbury is witty, independent, passionate…and, unbeknownst to him, the cousin of his current fiancée. When the truth about Cass comes out—and Julian  discovers that their courtship is anything but accidental—will he surrender his heart to a woman who really is too good to be true?

Read an Excerpt:

London, early October 1815
“How can one attend the country house party of a person who does not exist?” Cassandra Monroe sat in her cousin Penelope’s drawing room, sipping tea and staring at the slightly older woman who had clearly lost her mind. Cass set her teacup aside and rubbed her temples as she spoke. The headache that had begun minutes ago was slowly turning into a full-blown megrim.
Lucy Hunt, the newly married Duchess of Claringdon and Cass’s best friend, sat next to her, also eagerly awaiting Penelope’s answer. The entire story made absolutely no sense. Neither of them was having much luck getting Pen to answer their questions about her elusive friend Patience.
“Yes. Tell us again exactly who Patience is,” Lucy prompted.
Penelope popped another bit of teacake into her mouth and slowly wiped each finger clean with her napkin. She rolled her eyes. “That’s precisely what I’ve been trying to tell you.” Penelope’s voice took on a beleaguered tone, as if she were speaking to a pair of imbeciles. “She doesn’t exist.”
Lucy tapped her finger on her cheek. “Yes. That’s what I thought you said, dear. Which is why we think it makes no sense.”
Cass nodded and looked back to Pen for yet another answer. Thank heavens Lucy was here. Pen often confused Cass to no end, but it made her wonder if she were the mad one, this particular instance notwithstanding. Lucy, with her penchant for bluntness, would get to the bottom of it all posthaste.
Pen shrugged and yanked up her puce-colored bodice with both hands. “I made up Patience, as an excuse.”
Cass tilted her head to the side and eyed her cousin carefully. “But didn’t you tell me just last week that you and Patience went shopping together on Bond Street?”
“Exactly!” Pen replied.
“Exactly what, dear?” Lucy’s brow remained furrowed, and she gave Cass a look that indicated that she finally understood what Cass had been talking about all these years when she’d mentioned that Pen was an egg short of a dozen.
Pen stood and wandered over to the large bay window that overlooked the street. She traced a finger along the pane. “It’s quite simple. Patience Bunbury is someone I invented to get out of doing things I do not want to do.”
Cass narrowed her gaze on her cousin. “Get out of things you don’t want to…? So, you’re saying you did not want to go to the theater with me?”
Pen nodded. “Exactly.”
“You invented Patience and told me you had already made plans with her?” Cass continued.
“Precisely,” Pen agreed, another smile spreading across her round face. “To be quite precise, I didn’t invent Patience to get out of going to the theater. I invented her last summer. But I invoked her when you asked me to go to the theater. That’s what I love about Patience. She’s the perfect excuse for everything!”
Cass frowned at her cousin. The headache was worsening by the moment. “Why exactly are you telling me now?”
“I’m telling you now because I need your help,” Pen answered simply.
Cass tilted her head. “Help with Patience?”
“No. Well, yes. Sort of,” Pen replied.
“I’m afraid I don’t follow at all, dear,” Lucy said.
Cass bit her lip to keep from smiling. Lucy had begun calling everyone dear now that she was an old married woman. Cass thought it was quite charming.
Pen turned away from the window and stamped her foot. “I asked you to come over today because I need your help with Captain Swift. I expect him to arrive at any time.”
Cass sucked in her breath. Captain Swift? Julian? Arriving at any time? She smoothed her hair, sat up a bit straighter, and tugged on the ends of both her gloves.
Captain Julian Swift was the man to whom Penelope was nearly betrothed. He was also the most perfect, handsome, wonderful gentleman in the entire world and Penelope didn’t even want him. Julian had been severely wounded at Waterloo and had spent the last three and a half months recuperating. He’d nearly died, and Cass had been alternately praying for him and writing to him. While Pen didn’t seem to care much one way or the other. Cass had known that Julian was expected to return from the Continent any day now. She just hadn’t quite expected it to be today. She gulped.
Without looking at her, Lucy quietly moved her hand over and squeezed Cass’s. “I don’t think she meant that Captain Swift is expected right now, dear,” she whispered. Cass let her shoulders relax a bit. Lucy knew how much Julian meant to Cass. She’d always known.
It wasn’t that Cass had any intention of taking her cousin’s intended, never that. Why, that would be detestable. She merely wanted to see him. Just once, to ensure that he truly was alive and well. And then … she would let him go. Wish him and Pen well on their nuptials and try her best not to think of him again. Not like that, at least. Perhaps she’d join a convent. A sigh escaped her lips.
Pen shook her head at Lucy. “No. You’re wrong. That’s exactly what I mean. I expect him to arrive quite literally at any moment.”
Cass pressed her hand against her throat. “I cannot breathe.”
Lucy half turned to pat Cass’s knee through her skirts. “You’ll be fine, darling.” She pointed a finger toward Pen. “Just a moment. You’re saying you called your cousin over here on the same day Captain Swift is expected to arrive to tell her something about a young lady who doesn’t even exist?”
Pen nodded, her fat brown curls bobbing against her equally plump cheeks. “Yes.”
Cass still struggled for breath. Julian was coming? Expected at any moment? Her mind couldn’t process the information. She’d been waiting for this for so long, imagined it, dreamed about it. But now that it was here, she was in a panic. If she were the type of young lady who swooned, surely she would have swooned by now. Thank heaven for small favors; at least she wasn’t a swooner.
Her gaze dropped to her clothing. Why had she worn this unremarkable light blue gown? It had seemed lovely enough when she’d picked it out this morning, but now it just seemed drab.
Her hand flew to her coiffure. Why had she allowed her maid to fix her hair in such a plain fashion, a mere band around her head? It wasn’t sufficient to greet Julian. Oh, it was all wrong. All wrong, indeed.
“Take a deep breath, dear,” Lucy whispered from beside her.
Cass did just that. She was dizzy. That was a sign of imminent swooning, was it not? Oh, good heavens. Perhaps she was a swooner after all. Anyone might become a swooner given the correct set of circumstances, mightn’t they? Her mind raced. Her palms were sweaty, as were her underarms. Oh, wonderful. She would see Julian for the first time in seven years smelling like a barnyard animal. She sniffed at her sleeve.
“Isn’t that right, dear?” Lucy asked, turning to her.
Cass froze. “P-pardon?” She hadn’t heard a word the other two ladies had said. She worried her bottom lip.
“I was just telling your cousin here that I believe she owes you some sort of explanation for all of this.”
Pen plunked her hands on her hips. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
“Then out with it, dear, and do try to be a bit more clear this time,” Lucy retorted.
Pen took a deep breath. “Captain Swift will be here at any moment, and I need you to greet him, Cass, and tell him all about Patience.”
Cass blinked at her cousin. Now she was entirely certain she was on the verge of a hysterical fit. Why was Pen babbling on about some nonexistent young lady when Julian was about to walk through the front door at any moment?
“What about Patience?” Cass nearly shouted at her cousin. She clapped her hand over her mouth at her impertinence. She took a deep breath and shook her head. “That is to say … what in heaven’s name has Patience got to do with Juli … Er, Captain Swift?”
Both ladies raised their brows. Lucy quickly filled the silence. “My question exactly.” She turned her attention back to Pen.
Pen gave them both another I’m-speaking-to-imbeciles look. “I wrote to Captain Swift. I told him I’m leaving town, going to visit my friend Patience for the next fortnight at her country house party.”
“You’re leaving town? With Captain Swift coming?” Cass’s voice was high and thin. She shook her head. It was official, this entire story had been invented by a loon.
Pen sighed long and deep. She crossed her arms over her middle and paced in front of the window. “No, I’m not actually leaving. Well, I will be, eventually, but the point is that Captain Swift is arriving sooner than I expected. His letter was in this morning’s post. He’ll be on the next mail coach. Apparently there wasn’t enough space on the last one so he sent the letter instead.”
Lucy rolled her eyes. “Pen, dear, I’m still not exactly certain what you’re talking about.”
Cass twisted her hands together. “Yes, Pen, what do you mean?”
Pen stomped back over to where they were sitting and plopped back down in her chair, a huff escaping her lips. “I’m talking about needing an excuse—a good one—to miss seeing Captain Swift when he arrives.”
“And a house party is a good excuse?” Lucy asked, treating Pen to her own I’m-speaking-to-an-imbecile look.
Pen waved a hand in the air. “I told him I’d already committed. Not to mention, dear Patience needs me. She was recently jilted over the summer by Mr. Albus Albatross, and this house party is just the thing she needs to lift her spirits.”
“What? Who is Mr. Albus Albatross?” Cass rubbed her temples again. The headache had not abated with all this nonsense.
Lucy cleared her throat. “I believe Mr. Albatross doesn’t exist, dear, because Patience does not exist.”
Cass curled her hands into fists on her knees. She never got angry. Never. Frustrated perhaps, unhappy at times, even irritated. But angry? No. Anger wasn’t exhibited by proper young ladies and Cass was proper if she was anything. But as she stared at Pen—who was still making absolutely no sense whatsoever—anger, white and hot, rushed through Cass’s veins. Pen was toying with Julian and he didn’t deserve it.
“I swear, Pen, if you don’t explain exactly what you mean this minute, I’m going to walk out that door and never speak to you again!” She jabbed her finger in the direction of the exit.
Lucy and Pen exchanged amazed glances.
“Why, Cass, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard you raise your voice before today,” Lucy remarked.
Cass was shaking, her fists still clenched. She glared at Pen. “What I still do not understand is why. Why don’t you want to see the man you’re supposed to marry?”
Pen had the grace to bow her head a bit, then she shrugged. She yanked at the top of her gown with one hand. “I just. I can’t. It was so difficult when I thought he was dying … and now. Oh, I don’t know. I need some time to think about things.”
“What things?” Cass prodded. She crossed her arms over her chest and stared down her nose at her cousin.
“You know. He will want to plan the wedding and choose a date and I’m—I’m simply not prepared.”
Cass pressed her lips together. Oh, yes. Why should she be prepared? She’d only had seven years to prepare. And this entire farce was so like Pen. She was always asking Cass to do outlandish favors for her, nothing quite this outlandish to date, but it still shouldn’t have surprised her. And Cass, good proper young lady and steadfast cousin and friend, had always agreed, always done whatever her cousin asked. But not today. Not with Julian. She couldn’t. She wouldn’t.
Lucy shifted in her seat and took a sip of tea. “So, you’re saying that in order to evade your intended who is just back from the war and whom you haven’t seen in years, you’ve invented a friend whose fictitious house party you’ll supposedly be attending until such a time as you deem fit to return and see him?”
Pen smiled and nodded happily. “Yes. Exactly.”
“And what does your mama think of this?” Lucy wanted to know.
“Oh, Mama doesn’t know. I hid Captain Swift’s letters, and thankfully she and Papa are both out this afternoon.” She turned to face her cousin. “That’s why I need you, Cass. Julian knows you. He likes you. You’ve been writing to him all these years, haven’t you? You are friends, are you not?”
Cass nodded. She couldn’t meet her cousin’s eyes. Yes. We’re friends, but I’d like to be much, much more. Oh, she was the worst cousin on earth, the very worst. Pen would order her from the house if she knew how much Cass coveted her would-be bridegroom. At the very least Pen certainly wouldn’t ask her to do this mad favor for her.
Lucy set her teacup aside and dabbed at her lips with her handkerchief. “I have one more question.”
Pen nodded a bit impatiently. “Yes?”
“Have you completely lost your mind?” Lucy asked, a serene look on her face. “Or just a part of it, dear?”
Cass had to sharply turn her face away to keep her cousin from seeing her smile.
Pen blinked at Lucy. “I don’t know what you mean.” Pen stood again and made her way back over to the window with her teacup in her hand. She glanced outside. “I just need—”
The teacup dropped to the rug with a solid thunk, spilling its contents on the expensive Aubusson carpet. “Oh, my goodness. He’s here!” Pen called.
All the anger drained from Cass’s body, replaced with sheer, freezing-cold anxiety. She pressed her hand to her belly. “I think I may cast up my accounts.”
Lucy squeezed Cass’s hand and raised her voice to address Pen. “Who’s here?”
Pen whirled to face them, a look of panic in her blue eyes. “Captain Swift! He’s here! Now!” She rushed to the drawing room door and opened it before turning back to the other two ladies. “Cass. Cass, please,” she begged. “You must do this for me. You must tell Captain Swift I’ve gone to see Patience in the country. You must.”
Cass’s teeth chattered. She shook her head. She couldn’t do this. She could not. “But I haven’t even seen him in seven years, Pen. I was a child when last we met. And besides—”
“Please!” Pen nearly shrieked. “I must go. I’ll sneak up the back staircase so he won’t see me. Cass, please do this for me. Please!” And with that, Pen was gone from the room in a sweep of puce skirts.
Cass sat dumbly staring at the empty teacup lying haphazardly on its side on the carpet. She blinked, replaying the last few moments again and again in her mind. A log snapped in the fireplace. The smell of burnt wood filled the room. “This cannot be happening. It simply cannot,” she murmured.
Lucy took a deep breath and pushed her hands down her legs, smoothing her skirts. “It appears it is happening,” she said just before Pen’s butler arrived at the door to the drawing room.
“Captain Julian Swift,” the butler pronounced.
“Show him in, please,” Lucy replied in a commanding voice, as if she were the lady of the house. She turned quickly to face Cass and grasped her shoulders. “Cass, look at me.”
Cass managed to meet her friend’s eyes. Her headache had been replaced with a strange buzzing sensation and a dazed feeling. She grasped at the smooth satin of Lucy’s sleeves.
“You look frightened half to death.” Lucy squeezed her shoulders and gave her an encouraging shake.
“I am frightened half to death. Oh, Lucy. What am I going to say? What am I going to do?” She searched Lucy’s face. Lucy was always sensible, always rational, always so good with words. Lucy would know what to do. Wouldn’t she?
Lucy nodded, a determined look in her eye. “Don’t worry, Cass. I’ll handle it. Leave all of the talking to me. I have an idea.”
Copyright © 2014 by Valerie Bowman
Excerpt from The Unlikely Lady copyright © 2014 by Valerie Bowman

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