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BOOK OF THE WEEK: LOVE IN A MIST by Patricia Grasso #amreading #romance #Valentine

LOVE IN A MIST POSTCARDOur BOOK OF THE WEEK is the luscious and beautiful historical romance LOVE IN A MIST by Patricia Grasso.

All e-book formats available here! Click on this link to order.


“Trust the man who wears a flaming crown and possesses the golden touch. Beware the blacksmith.”

Cast out of Wales after her mother’s death, Keely Glendower travels to England to find her natural father, the Duke of Ludlow. She wears her magical dragon pendant and carries within her heart her mother’s prophetic words. Though there is no love lost between the Welsh and the English, Keely cannot resist the heated gaze of Richard Devereux, England’s wealthiest earl, the English queen’s “Midas”.

Despite, her eccentric ways, Richard is drawn to Keely. Just gazing at the raven-haired, violet-eyed beauty kindles a passion he’s never known. Richard is a very determined man, but when a long buried secret is revealed, can the earl use his power to protect them or will his enemies destroy them both?

Patricia Grasso is the author of eighteen historical romances including the Douglas Series which follows the love stories of the amazing Douglas sisters (Angelica, Samantha and Victoria) in Regency London and the Lords of Stratford Series, Regency historical romances with a fairy-tale twist about the aristocratic families in Stratford-on-Avon. 

Patricia Grasso‘s latest release is LOVE IN A MIST (a re-release in the Devereaux Series). You can purchase it at Lachesis Publishing. You can also get it on amazon, BN nook, or kobo

Connect with Patricia Grasso online on her web site and on facebook

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amreading, blog post, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, Valentine's Day

Besties and Boyfriends and Valentine’s Day by Jeanine Duval Spikes (YA paranormal and romance author)

Image: latinawellness.com
Image: latinawellness.com

One of the most important relationships in a romance is often overlooked – that of the best friend. Romance readers know instinctively that if the best friend, the confidante is not on-board with the relationship there will be problems.

This may seem a weird way to open a Valentine’s Day post, but I’d like to you to think about this: who were your first Valentines?

Image: journalistsresource.org
Image: journalistsresource.org

Dad. Or Mom. They got each other something special as lovers (which – yuck – you didn’t realize at the time). And they got you something because they love you, too, and wanted to include you in the day as well as indoctrinate you into that holiday and their tradition with it.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.44.19 AMNext came your friends at school, and maybe neighborhood kids. Innocent declarations of specialness {unless you had a crush on someone. Then you were sticking your neck out under the cover of it’s tradition). Some schools also had rules that you brought in a card for everyone, or no one. Still, you knew which cards you signed just a little bit differently.

Image: webneel.com
Image: webneel.com

Then you fell in love, and you scoured the aisles of several stores to find that perfect card. And hoped the one you received in return echoed that emotion. Sometimes it did, and you lived happily ever after. Sometimes the echo started strong but faded, and you basked in it until that relationship went south. Sometimes the echo never came, and you had a heartbreaking rest of February before one of you made the move of breaking it off.

The best Valentine’s Day of all, though, is when you’ve found your everlasting love. And you get to not only celebrate the day with him or her, but with your best friends, too.

The Valentine’s Day that ranks as one of the highest on my list comes after I met my own hero, my husband. He and my brother really hit it off, which was awesome because my brother and I are very close, and my sister-in-law and I were very close, too. Like sisters. Sisters of Spirit. So she and I decided we’d do a Valentine’s Day dinner. She called me to announce it would be a picnic.

In February? What? But it was a cool idea and I warmed to it. We planned the menu and the time and had everything set up. What to wear though? Marcia and I had figured we’d do it old school, us in summer dresses and the guys in casual wear. Well, I didn’t have summer dresses, but she did. She brought out a dress she felt was ‘me’.

OMG. I felt like a Valentine’s sweetheart in it. I felt like a lady. I felt like Marcia really knew me . . . and had a good handle on my hero.

My brother Emile & my SIL Marcia became our first son’s godparents. Check out that '80s hair!
My brother Emile & my SIL Marcia became our first son’s godparents. Check out that ’80s hair!

I got there early on February 14th and she and I set the ‘table’. Tablecloth on the floor, place settings, flowers. We got the food going, and then slipped into our dresses. When my guy showed up and he took my hand, I felt beautiful. The four of us had such a great night, full of fun and laughter.

I have never forgotten that Marcia agreed with me that we needed a super special night. I have never forgotten that what she recognized was that my husband and I had found a love like theirs. She’d bought glasses and a vase combo for our picnic that we used every Valentine’s Day for years, with their festive little hearts, for wine and flowers and memories.

Secret-Journals-Posession-1400x2100-500x724So on Valentine’s Day, don’t forget your besties. Don’t forget your sisters/brothers/parents. Don’t forget the people who have helped you celebrate the day over the years. Send a card if you can, send a prayer, and send kisses. And all good hope that the people you’ve loved have found love, too.

Jeanine Duval Spikes is the author of the novella  “Shaman’s Shell” in the poignant romance anthology the Sisters of Spirit  published by (Lachesis Publishing). The anthology features four romances about four very special friends. The anthology also features novellas by authors Christine Mazurk, Jeanine Duval Spikes and Annette Blair

You can purchase the Sisters of Spirit Anthology at Lachesis Publishing and on Amazon.com, on Kobo, on Barnes and Noble and on itunes (iBooks).

Jeanine Duval Spikes is also J.D. Spikes, the author of the YA paranormal The Possession. You can purchase a copy at Lachesis Publishing or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ARe

Connect with Jeanine Duval Spikes. on her web site and on facebook

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Romance . . . through the warped lens of a middle aged Science Fiction writer by Greg Ballan #ValentinesDay #romancenovels #amreading

Image: www.newlovetimes.com
Image: www.newlovetimes.com

Let me apologize in advance to any Romance Novelist who may be upset over my obvious lack of perception and understanding of your genre and the topic, overall.  When this topic was suggested to me, my initial reaction was to laugh out loud and roll my eyes.  Clearly my publisher had made THE WORST choice to tackle this subject.  I am far from a ‘Love Guru’, how could I pontificate and comment on this topic with any shred of credibility? Like any quest for knowledge when one finds oneself lacking, approach those around you and gather a data set from a diverse population; which is what I spent three days doing.

Image: surfingbird.ru
Image: surfingbird.ru

I asked several colleagues of varying ages and gender their definition and opinion of romance and if he/she was familiar with romance novels.  The results from the male gender were pretty much what I expected. They all vehemently denied any knowledge or familiarity with the genre beyond the occasional “My wife has one or two on her nightstand and no I’ve never picked one up.”  When I pushed for a definition of ‘Romance’ I was taken aback by how guarded the men became.  I got suspicious looks and raised eyebrows and arms almost always folded indicating I’d crossed into uncomfortable body language territory. I swore anonymity yet still wasn’t able to crack that guarded man wall of secrecy. One guy went so far as to question my manhood for even broaching such a topic. It seems that Romance, in the data set available to me, is something not discussed among my gender. Upon reflection I admit that the topic has NEVER come up in conversation when I’ve been socializing with other men at any type of gathering.  The topics have been work, sports, some fantasy football league, and often trashing some politician or even talking about house projects. Conversations at my rod and gun club are limited to fishing, deer hunting, crossbows, rifles etc., but never in my 52 years have I been exposed to guys discussing romance. Okay, message received. Bros don’t discuss ‘Romance’ with other bros lest they lose their male membership card. If there are men discussing romance and the like, I’ve been missing out on those discussions. Could it be me, the type of hobbies and the people I spend time with?  Quite possibly . . . but I deliberately spoke with as diverse a group as possible. My conclusion is that men don’t want to talk about it, at least with other men, especially a writer trying to gain some insight.

Image: http://cordeliahsuphotography.tumblr.com/
Image: http://cordeliahsuphotography.tumblr.com/

The women I spoke to varied in age and, once I explained I was writing a blog, they were more than willing to indulge me in their opinions of romance and why they read romance novels.  The one single comment I heard from each women was that the book they were reading was incredibly well written and compelling. The second most common answer was the novels were a wonderful escape from the mundane of the daily drag of work, kids and reality. I got that, it was pretty much the same reason I read science fiction and graphic novels; for a diversion and an escape from the stress and anxiety of the daily grind. As far as explaining and defining romance, I could sense a bit of hesitation.  I was given great anecdotes from several people but the detective in me wanted a real time answer. What about today, what defined romance for them today?  I got a great deal of rolled eyes and laughter. One funny answer was simply her boyfriend not farting under the sheets at night. One woman my age was much more concise and how shall I say. . . critical with her answers.  I’ll call her ‘Kim.’

Image: www.chicagogluttons.com
It’s Fabio! Image: www.chicagogluttons.com

Kim has been married for several years and has four kids, we talk a lot at the gym while waiting to get on various equipment.  We were using the elliptical trainers and chatting to pass the time when I decided, why not broach the topic and ask her a few questions?  At least she couldn’t run away. I worked up the nerve to segue our light banter from griping about being winded to romance. To my surprise and delight Kim was very direct and honest with her replies. After fifteen years of marriage, changing diapers through four children and having a husband more excited by his new Callaway driver than by her, she began looking for something to fill the void.  She added that her husband was a good man who worked hard and was a great father, but he’d rather spend time his free time at the driving range than having a romantic dinner or a date night.  A friend in a local church group loaned her a copy of a particular steamy romance novel with a real hunk on the cover. She laughed as she recalled the book cover hunk was Fabio.  I remember that name, some big, long-haired blonde guy with huge pecs and biceps. If I remember he also did margarine commercials.  She enjoyed the novel immensely and admitted to getting all hot and bothered by the intimate scenes and the passion found within the pages of that book. From then on Kim decided to spend her evenings and down time with a romance novel tucked in her purse and has become ‘best friends’ with the works of Victoria Dahl and Vivian Arend. 4-OneSexyRide300-e1394672416659“When the 51XCOSvwWLL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_kids are in school and he’s at work, I like to curl up under a blanket with a hot cup of cinnamon tea and escape into another world of intrigue and passion. I know it’s never going to happen to me, but it’s nice to pretend and be swept up.” I asked Kim to define ‘Romance’.  She laughed for a moment looked over at me as we were both dripping with sweat.  “Well it’s certainly not this.”  I laughed at her wit and repeated the question.  Kim slowed her pace and took a deep breath, “Greg, if you have to ask me that question and really don’t know the answer I feel sorry for you.  You have the same affliction infecting my husband and a lot of other men.” I winced a bit at the sting of her retort but she then rewarded me with an answer, “Romance is the non-physical acts of love two people show for each other, it’s the little things that make certain somebody feels special, desired and cherished by their partner.”

Kim cranked up her pace and told me to chew on that for awhile, she put on her earphones and got back to her quick pace.  After another twenty minutes pondering, Kim finished her workout, she looked over at me and could tell I was still smarting from her remark.  “I didn’t mean to insult you; if I did I’m sorry.  You’re a nice guy, Greg and I figured you could handle the reality check.”

Image: www.pinterest.com
Image: www.pinterest.com

I left the gym with Kim’s point blank response echoing in my head.  I stopped at my favorite coffee haunt and thought more about Romance.  Were we men, as a gender, all negligent husbands forcing our spouses to seek attention or gratification within the pages of some writer’s imagination?  I reflected back on the first time I fell in love, the way my heart skipped a beat, how my mind was solely focused on her, I knew her scent, every curve of her face and longed just to hear her voice and be with her.  I remember the dates, the long walks and picnics and the hand holding. I recall carrying her across a large puddle because she didn’t want to get her new boots wet and how she giggled as I waded through the ankle deep water carrying her.  I remember showering her with flowers not because I just wanted intimacy, but I loved to see her smile and the delightful squeal she made when she was happy.  I remember spending hours under the hood of her mom’s beat up station wagon and shelling out my own money on car parts not because I had to, but because I knew it was important to her and I knew it would make her happy.  That was romance, that was how I showed her I loved her. It wasn’t the words, it wasn’t the physical joining, it was the gestures and deeds I made when we were together that let her know I cared.  I made her feel special and important and I got love, affection and companionship in return.  Romance is the non-physical acts of love we show our partners.

Image: slism.com
Image: slism.com

I knew it all along but lost the meaning over the years. I remembered the feeling of falling freshly in love and the natural high that came along with it, the heart skipping a beat, the electric jolt caused by a single touch of a fingertip.  I remembered romance, what I did because of love, the small and large selfless deeds I never thought twice about when I was younger but confess, balk at doing now, or do with a grumble under my breath. Working on my mother in law’s car isn’t always done happily, and often I catch myself rolling my eyes at the thought of stepping out of my comfort zone and expressing myself or my feelings. I often hear the words but fail to listen. I looked back over a litany of self-failings over my iced coffee and wondered what that drop of moisture was rolling down my cheek. How does it all change? Does life and time really have such an impact? What changes in relationships that kill or cool the romance?  What goes wrong?

Memories of You 453x680I’ve never read a romance novel. But I know from those I’ve spoken with that it’s more than just sex; it’s the excitement of discovering a new love, a new connection. I’m sure the male character does all the right things, slays the dragon, conquers the evil or is just there for the support needed or just to listen. I assume that’s the appeal more than the steamy scenes that cause one’s heart to flutter and forms beads of perspiration on the brow. Again that’s my conclusion based on dipping my toe into a pool I’ve never swum before. I believe it’s the crafted tale, the developed characters and story telling complimented by romantic gestures, the non-physical acts of love, that make the eventual physical bonding so powerful and intense (Also a gifted writer behind it). It’s not just the buff, shirtless guy on the cover; it’s the deeds done in the relationship not just inside the bed sheets that have the appeal. I think.

Image: warosu.org
Image: warosu.org

So how does romance work after years of marriage, several kids, two careers, soccer practices, yard work and a “Dad Bod” versus “Six pack abs”?  I honestly just don’t know. Maybe after years together it’s no longer about the grand gestures, maybe the small things have just as much meaning. Maybe making sure the toilet seat is down, emptying the dishwasher and putting away the laundry are just as important as carrying someone across a large puddle or doing a brake job on a car. Perhaps the simple daily acts of consideration can communicate wordlessly what men, myself included, may have forgotten or neglected to do over time. I’m not saying bringing home flowers and candy more than once a year on Valentine’s Day isn’t appreciated but perhaps the simple, yet helpful, gestures go further to prove love is still alive and the fire hasn’t tuned to ashes.  A simple action is worth more than a thousand words . . . even if those words are ‘I love you.’ Showing you care is always better than saying you care. Maybe, just maybe, that’s what romance is all about.

hybrid-2-500x724hybrid-500x724I’m just a Science Fiction writer out of his swim lane, but I think I get the point.

Greg Ballan is the author of the science fiction thrillers Hybrid and Hybrid Forced Vegeance. You can purchase them both at Lachesis Publishingamazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

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