Giveaways at Ex Libris

Win Stealing Home by Jennifer Seasons - Open worldwide - Ends 12 April

Win Protecting What's His by Tessa Bailey - Open worldwide - Ends 12 April

Win the Date by Mistake anthology - Open worldwide - Ends 12 April

Win Operation Cinderella by Hope Tarr - Open worldwide - Ends 12 April

Win a $10 USD Amazon gift card+ choice of book from Erin Nicholas, Kelly Jamieson, Sydney Somers or Meg Benjamin - Open worldwide - Ends 12 April

Win all 5 Strangers on a Train novellas by Ruthie Knox, Serena Bell, Samantha Hunter, Meg Maguire and Donna Cummings - Open worldwide - Ends 19 April

Win Private Practice by Samanthe Beck - Open worldwide - Ends 19 April

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Win a Kindle Paperwhite by Tracy March - Open to US/CAN - Ends 20 April

Win an iPod + prizw pack by Ophelia London - Open worldwide - Ends 21 April

Win a $50 USD Amazon Gift Card from Jennifer Apodaca - Open worldwide - Ends 23 April

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Romance Under the Mistletoe by Vanessa Kelly + Giveaway

For the Holiday Romance celebrations of the last month of the Romance and Me Reading Challenge I am very happy to welcome to Ex Libris beloved historical romance author Vanessa Kelly, who is celebrating the release of her latest story, , which as you can tell is a holiday romance! So read on to discover more about the inspiration for the novel and for your chance to win it! ;-) 

Romance Under The Mistletoe
by Vanessa Kelly

This is the time of year for holiday-themed romances, which practically deserve their own sub-genre. Holiday stories—historical, contemporary, or paranormal—are often a bit lighter in nature, focusing on holiday traditions and family gatherings, and are usually very warm-hearted and a whole lot of fun. Doesn’t mean they can’t be sexy or dramatic, but there’s generally a difference in tone that matches our expectation of the season.

My latest book, , is a Regency-set historical romance. It was also the first holiday romance I’d ever written, which initially posted a bit of a challenge.

When I first began planning this book I envisioned something very different from the finished version. Like the other stories in my Stanton Family Series, I planned to incorporate an element of danger and mystery, one that would put my leading characters in a very tight spot. Rubbing my hands with glee, I came up with a plan of action, which included the creation of a band of nasty smugglers who would raise all kinds of hell and probably kidnap my heroine.

Then my editor called. He suggested I write a Christmas book instead, since holiday romances are so popular. Great, I replied. Sounds like fun! Then I got off the phone and went into panic mode. I had the whole darn plot worked out, with mayhem, kidnappings, and even attempted murder, and now I had to change everything? What should I do with my evil smugglers? Half the book was built around these dastardly characters, and they were absolutely essential to the conflict between my heroine and my hero.

After pondering the problem, I finally had to admit that nefarious smugglers were probably not conducive to holiday cheer. But instead of giving them up completely I decided turn the idea on its head. Instead of evil smugglers why not rascally, good-natured smugglers, men who had a very rational and well-intentioned reason for engaging in their illegal activities?

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea because it fit right into the conflict I wanted to create between my hero and heroine. My smugglers did what they did because it was the only way they could support the families in their very poor, tumbledown village—the same village my hero Lucas inherits, along with an earldom. I just knew that Lucas, an ex-soldier and law-and-order kind of guy, would be determined to stop the smugglers from using his estate as one of their routes. My heroine Phoebe, on the other hand, is a Quaker, and would insist that Lucas forgive the men and help them, instead of turning them over to the law.

Ergo, a perfect conflict for my hero and heroine since they would disagree both practically and morally on how to fix the problem. Once I clarified that essential element the rest of the plot fell into place, and I was able to write a book that may be a little short on danger but has warmth, fun, and fits in perfectly with the Christmas theme of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Not that I left out the steamy parts. After all, Phoebe is a mistletoe bride and I think we can all guess what that means!

Do you read holiday romances? What are some of your favorites? One person who comments will win a copy of .

Vanessa Kelly was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, , won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. 

You can find her on the web at her website - blog - -

Blame It On The Mistletoe...

When Major Lucas Stanton inherited his earldom, he never dreamed his property would include the previous earl’s granddaughter. Phoebe Linville is a sparkling American beauty, yes, but with a talent for getting into trouble. Witness the compromising position that forced them into wedlock. Whisked away to Mistletoe Manor, his country estate, it isn’t long before she is challenging his rules—and surprising him in and out of bed.

Phoebe has no intention of bowing to Lucas’ stubbornness, even though he offers all that she wants. His kisses and unexpected warmth are enticing, but Phoebe is determined to show the Earl of Merritt what real love is all about. And if that takes twelve nights of delicious seduction by a roaring fire, she’s more than willing to reveal her gifts very slowly…


Vanessa has generously offered a copy of  to a lucky commenter!

You have two chances to enter:

1) leave a comment to Vanessa answering her question: Do you read holiday romances? What are some of your favorites?

2) submit the link to your review of a holiday romance HERE.

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 5 January 2013!

Good luck!