Washington Loves HERO!

I am proud to announce that HERO has been named the October 2013 selection for Washington Loves Romance!


Washington Loves Romance is an online book club for the many readers of romance fiction in all its forms with a special focus on the romance authors and readers in the metro Washington, D.C. area.

Each month readers will gather on Facebook to read and discuss two Washington Romance Writers’ books. Baltimore-based book blogger Mandi Schreiner with Smexy Books will moderate the discussion. At the end of each month, two lucky Washington Loves Romance readers will win a gift pack.

In addition, Washington Loves Romance will hold local get-togethers to give Washington Romance Writers’ authors and readers a chance to chat about their books and all things romance. One get-together attendee will win a Washington Romance Writers member swag bag given away during the get-together.

Not only will romance authors and readers get a chance to connect on a more personal level through Washington Loves Romance, they’ll be helping to fight illiteracy.

All profits from Washington Loves Romance branded items will be given to local literacy programs. Romance authors and readers, as well as others who want to help end illiteracy, should visit Washington Loves Romance’s CafePress shop to order T-shirts, bags, coffee mugs and other goodies today.


Follow Washington Loves Romance on Facebook:

To preorder HERO from Amazon: CLICK HERE


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MoA&A Interview #25: Alma Katsu

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website.

Today’s interview is with my new BFF and friendly neighborhood local writer (whom I have yet to invite for coffee…Alma, we just need to pick a date!) Alma Katsu. I had heard about Alma’s fabulous novel The Taker and its sequel The Reckoning from her publisher…and didn’t realize when I showed up at Nora Roberts’ Mega Signing this spring that she would be sitting RIGHT NEXT TO ME. Alma is awesome. (Seriously–if you don’t believe me, go read the last line of her bio.) We were peas in a pod.

Needless to say, after several hours in the Nora Roberts signing trenches, Alma and I emerged friends for life.

The kind of friends for life that never seem to have time to meet for coffee. (We call those “author friends.”)


Author or Artist?
Author! I worked hard for that title

Who are your professional role models?
I don’t rightly know that I have any. When I was younger I loved Byron and Shelley, and George Sand.

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
Gloomy rainy day. It gives me an excuse to stay inside and write.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
Right now, it’s something off Muse’s “Absolution” album

If you could win any award, which would it be?
NYT Bestselling Author. I will go for the filthy lucre. From what I’ve seen in my short time as a published author, awards seem to be mostly popularity contests and don’t have much to do with actual artistic merit.

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
Magical powers. Spaceships require a lot of upkeep, and it’s hard to find good spaceship mechanics.

What was your favorite book as a child?
The Golden Deluxe Book of Fairytales

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
Try harder at math and science. And don’t be so serious all the time.

What’s your favorite constellation?
I’m supposed to have a favorite?

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Beauty and the Beast.

What thing are you most proud of?
As much as I love my books, I’d have to say I’m most proud of the things I was able to accomplish in my other career, most of which is classified and I can’t discuss. But I got to help write a national standard for encryption, I got to chase bad guys, I got to do things that led to the actual saving of lives. But mostly I got to be excited about things that I never thought interested me—math and science—and that changed my life.

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
I would like to travel more—Mongolia, Morocco, eastern Turkey.
I don’t have a list. I am lucky enough to have had a pretty amazing life where I’ve done a bunch of things I never thought I’d do, all through serendipity, so I’m happy to let serendipity continue to call the shots.


Alma Katsu lives outside of Washington, DC with her husband, musician Bruce Katsu. Her debut, The Taker, a Gothic novel of suspense, has been compared to the early work of Anne Rice and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. The novel was named a Top Ten Debut Novel of 2011 by the American Library Association and has developed an international following. The Reckoning, the second book in the trilogy, was published in June 2012. The Taker Trilogy is published by Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster.

Ms. Katsu is a graduate of the Master’s writing program at the Johns Hopkins University and received her bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University, where she studied with John Irving. She also attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

Prior to publication of her first novel, Ms. Katsu had a long career as a senior intelligence analyst for several US agencies.

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MoA&A Interview #18: Joyce Lamb

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website!

Today’s interview features one of the most fun women I’ve met this year: Joyce Lamb. You may know Joyce from USA Today’s “Happy Ever After” romance blog, or from her books that have garnered multiple RITA Award nominations (two this year!).

I had the pleasure of introducing Joyce at her panel for this year’s WRW Retreat, and in honor of her blog being called “Happy Ever After” in this, the the Year of the Fairy Tale, I took a chance and wrote her a fairy tale. (Friends told me she had a great sense of humor…which you’re about to experience.)

Thankfully, not only did she NOT send crows to peck out my liver, but she also added me to her roster of “author brains to pick for her articles” and agreed to contribute the following interview for this month’s celebration as well, for which I thank her so much.

Take it away, Joyce!


Author or Artist?

Who are your professional role models?
So many! Nora Roberts, of course. I learned a lot about writing by studying her romantic suspense, especially character development and the way she puts a story together. Dean Koontz, too. I love the way he writes dialogue. From Susan Elizabeth Phillips, I learned that humor doesn’t have to be slapstick to be really funny.

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
Gloomy and rainy. If it’s sunny and beautiful outside, then I have a really hard time concentrating. Of course, I have a hard time concentrating even when it’s gloomy and rainy, because that’s also perfect couch potato weather. It’s a wonder I get any writing done!

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
When You’re Young (Acoustic Version) by 3 Doors Down.

If you could win any award, which would it be?
I certainly wouldn’t mind winning a RITA! However, I’d love to win the Nobel Peace Prize, because that would mean I’d done something really, really wonderful for the world. I’m not that selfless, so it’s going to happen, but you did say ANY award, right? : )

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
Magical powers, please. Space just looks dark and dangerous: I’ve seen the Alien movies. And, hey, if I had magical powers, couldn’t I zap myself into space any time I wanted? Not that I would … those Alien movies really made an impression.

What was your favorite book as a child?
Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever. I loved that book! Probably because of the variety of stories and the fact that it was nice and thick, so I never got bored. Yes, I still have a very short attention span. I love that book so much that after I wore it out as a kid, I bought it again as an adult.

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
Don’t take yourself so seriously. Seriously, Joyce, knock it off. And smile, damn it. And when it comes time to cut the green or blue wire, cut the green one.

What’s your favorite constellation?
Cassiopeia. It looks to me like a very excited stick figure running across the sky.

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Beauty and the Beast. My favorite interpretation is A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I also really enjoy the Disney version.

What thing are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my friendships. I have an incredible circle of friends from high school, another amazing circle of writer friends and yet another lovely group of friends I’ve made through my journalism career. I have a pretty cool family, too. : ) And lest you think I’m a horrible mother for not saying my kids are what I’m most proud of: I don’t have any!

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
I suppose I should make that list, huh? Three things that would be on it: Live in a house on the beach, visit the Grand Canyon and learn to play piano.


Joyce’s Fairy Tale Bio, by Alethea Kontis: Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Joyce who loved tragedy so much that she tried to live a tragic life. So, naturally, she decided to write romance novels.

These novels went on to win multiple awards (like the Daphne and the HOLT Medallion). They finaled in Multiple RITAs (two this year!). She launched a blog for a certain little media outlet…and now everyone in the industry knows her name.

At the task of living tragically, Joyce Lamb FAILED MISERABLY. And so she was doomed to live, instead, Happy Ever After.

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MoA&A Interview #16: Morgan Keyes

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website!

Today’s interview features fellow WRW member Morgan Keyes. Her beautiful coming-of-age fantasy novel, Darkbeast, releases this August from Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Welcome, Morgan!


Author or Artist?

Who are your professional role models?
Tamora Pierce, for writing smart, strong girls who get themselves into trouble and work their own way out; Rick Riordan, for making the familiar interesting again; Neil Gaiman, for being Neil Gaiman (and for creating what he wants to create when he wants to create it, having faith in his own stories, no matter how unexpected they might be)

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
Cool, crisp days, when the sun is shining in a cloudless sky. Ideally, it’s late spring or early fall and someone else has recently mowed the lawn, so that the green smell of fresh-cut grass is coming in my window.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
Liz Story’s “Wedding Rain”. Yeah, you’ve never heard of it. (It’s an instrumental piece — all piano — part of the writing music playlist that I use to get myself jump-started on those days when I … just … don’t … want … to … settle … down … and … write.)

If you could win any award, which would it be?
The Newbery. I adored so many of those books while I was growing up, and I love the way the American Library Association doesn’t shy away from difficult books. (And they put gold stickers on books that win — shiny gold stickers!)

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
Magical powers. Even though I know those always come with a cost…

What was your favorite book as a child?
As a young reader, HARRIET THE SPY, by Louise Fitzhugh. As an older kid, THE HOBBIT, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
It *really* doesn’t matter that you aren’t going to win the President’s Physical Fitness Award (or be chosen early for volleyball, or climb the rope in the gym). The people who are your true friends don’t care about how you do in P.E.

What’s your favorite constellation?
Orion. (It’s the one I always find first. Plus, I like the idea of a hunter, striding across the sky.)

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
“The Emperor’s New Clothes”. I want to always have the courage to speak out when I *know* things are true, even when everyone else is set on denying that truth. (I’m still working on this, but I’m making progress!)

What thing are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my ability to analyze situations, weighing pros and cons to arrive at reasonable courses of action, even when I feel least reasonable. (And I’d just like to note that this was, by far, the hardest question to answer!)

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
* Learn how to read tarot cards.
* Learn how to ballroom dance.
* Own and operate a “travel bookstore” — with books and supplies for travel (including genre books to read while traveling!), along with reading groups, discussion groups, etc.


Morgan Keyes grew up in California, Texas, Georgia, and Minnesota, accompanied by parents, a brother, a dog, and a cat.  Also, there were books.  Lots and lots of books.

Morgan started to keep a journal for a second-grade English class and never really stopped.  Journal entries turned into short stories, and short stories turned into novels.  In between, there were an awful lot of haikus and cinquains.

Morgan now lives near Washington, D.C.  In between trips to the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery of Art, she reads, travels, reads, writes, reads, cooks, reads, wrestles with cats, and reads.  Because there are still books.  Lots and lots of books. Find Morgan online at

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MoA&A Interview #7: Kimberly Kincaid

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website!

Today’s interview features sexy romance writing yoga diva Kimberly Kincaid. It’s fitting that Kimberly’s interview directly follows Robin’s, as she’s the opposing side of that aforementioned Facebook Man-War Photo Bombing.

Seriously–if you’re into man candy and you’re not following both of these ladies on Facebook, you’re missing out on some…shall we say…very nice posts.


Author or Artist?

Who are your professional role models?
There are so many! Wendy Corsi Staub, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Louisa Edwards, Cherry Adair, Robyn Carr, Jenny Crusie…I could go on and on with how many writers inspire me.

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
Gray, rainy, and cold. I like to bundle up with a cup of tea and sit at my desk to clack away.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
Modern Love, by Matt Nathanson

If you could win any award, which would it be?
RWA’s RITA, no question!

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
A toughie…I’ll go with magical powers. I’d like to stop time so I can read all the books in my to-be-read pile, make all the recipes overflowing from my kitchen drawers, and still get all my other stuff done. Oh, and to nap ☺

What was your favorite book as a child?
I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure books, but I always tried to write my own endings when my book-fate ended up going badly.

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
To always live boldly. I don’t think I really got that until a few years ago. I missed a lot of bold living, but that’s okay. I’m making up for it now!

What’s your favorite constellation?
The Pleiades (in Taurus). I wrote one of my first manuscripts (which is totally under my bed and never coming out) with a scene that revolves around the couple star-gazing, and the hero tells the heroine a really touching story about the Pleiades. The constellation is often hard to see, but then again, so are a lot of life’s most beautiful things.

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Hansel and Gretel, because they save themselves by using their smarts.

What thing are you most proud of?
My 3 daughters, who laugh often and read every day.

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
My bucket list is long, but here are three of my favorite items that are written in pen: 1. Learn to speak fluent Italian, then go on a Tuscan wine tour and use my newfound knowledge for the purposes of good 2. Earn a black belt in Tae Kwon Do 3. Be a guest judge on Iron Chef America. Hey, a foodie can dream!


Kimberly’s passion for the written word knows very little boundaries, and she reads and writes like starving people eat – ravenously and without pause. When she isn’t comfortably cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known affectionately as The Pleather Bomber, she can be found scouring local book stores for a great new read, people-watching like it’s an Olympic sport, cooking or practicing yoga. She lives in northern Virginia with her wildly understanding husband and three children, where she is currently embarking on her newest passion– writing foodie romance.

To follow Kimberly’s career, please view her Facebook page. You can also follow her on Twitter: @KimberlyKincaid

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WRW Mega Book Signing

That’s right, folks — bright and early tomorrow morning, romance enthusiasts will be queuing up in Boonsboro, MD for the WRW MEGA BOOK SIGNING at Turn the Page Bookstore.

Sixteen authors will be signing, including yours truly!

Scheduled to attend: Robyn Carr, Elizabeth Boyle, Cathy Maxwell , Amanda Brice, Leigh Duncan, Alma Katsu, Lavinia Kent, Mindy Klasky, Alethea Kontis, Kieran Kramer, Allison Leotta, Pamela PalmerHope Ramsay, Alix Rickloff, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Christine Trent

The event runs from 11:30am to 2pm.
The store opens at 10am.
There will be copies of Enchanted on hand.

All books signed at the event must be purchased at Turn the Page. There is no limit to the number purchased, but no “books from home” are allowed at the signing.

I know that Turn the Page won’t have ordered my entire backlist, so in the event that you DO happen to bring “books from home,” just please don’t bring them into the store and cause a ruckus. I’ll try to hang out a little bit afterwards and sign what I can for you.

I do need to make it back to the WRW retreat by 5pm…but I’ll do what I can!

Hope to see you there! xox

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2012 Marlene Finalists Announced

The Washington Romance Writers congratulates the finalists in the 2012 Marlene Contest!

Series Contemporary
Nancy S. Evertz (Nan Dixon), SOUTHERN COMFORT

Single Title
Kimberly Kincaid, IT‚S NOT YOU (WRW Member)

Romantic Elements
Susan Bickford, SYNCHRONY’S CALL
Lisa Chaplin, BUTTERFLY ON THE TIDE (WRW Member)
Kim Hernandez/Kimberley Troutte, EPICENTER

(There were two double ties: two 99s and two 98s.)

Denny S. Bryce, GIDEON (WRW member)
Traci Douglass, SEAL OF FATE

Young Adult

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Marlene Contest Now Open to Entries!

As you know, I’m a member of the infamous WRW (Washington Romance Writers) group. (Yes, that’s the one of which Nora Roberts is also a member.)

Every year, we hold a writing contest called the Marlenes. And it’s time for the 2012 Marlene contest!


Polish your manuscript and submit it for a chance to win!  The 3 finalists in each category get their manuscript read by an editor or agent, and the category winner will receive a critique by a published author!  All entrants receive great feedback from judges who love to read romance!

The Marlene Awards is a contest for unpublished manuscripts sponsored by the Washington Romance Writers chapter of Romance Writers of America.  Every entry is evaluated by at least three judges.  Finalists are ranked by publishing professionals.  The grand prize winner in each category receives a detailed critique from a published author.  This year’s list of judges and prize critiquers is as follows.

Series Contemporary
Judge: Johanna Raisanen, Harlequin
Critique Author: Liz Talley

Single Title
Judge: Megan Records, Kensington
Critique Author: Jeanne Adams

Judge: Heather Osbourn, Samhain
Critique Author: Kristen Painter

Judge: Esi Sogah, Avon
Critique Author: Diane Gaston

Romantic Elements:
Judge: Latoya Smith, Grand Central
Critique Author: Deanna Raybourn

Young Adult:
Judge: Holly Blanck, St. Martin’s Press
Critique Author: Diana Peterfreund

Entry fees vary based on entry date. From December 15 to midnight December 31 EST, the fee will be $20 for WRW members, $25 for non-WRW members. From January 1 to midnight January 15 EST, the fee will be $25 for WRW members; $30 for non-WRW members. (FYI…the big change this year is that the contest is now open to ALL
unpublished manuscripts, regardless of the publishing status of the author.)

For a complete list of contest rules, eligibility, and deadlines, please see the Official Marlene Contest Page.

And to all the entrants: BEST OF LUCK!

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Fun with Mermaids

Looking back on my last few posts there seems to be a theme: projects I was involved in that were just a whole lot of stinking fun. And guess what — this one is too!

The Waterworld Mermaids (of which I am a part) have a big Garden Party bash planned for the month of October over at our site. Free original fiction by a bunch of us (including me–I’m up first!), the inspiration behind those stories, and even a trailer to whet your appetite!

See now, I bet you can’t wait until October first.
Luckily, you won’t have to wait very long!

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Genre Chick Interview: Diana Peterfreund

May’s Month of Writers Blog Festival brings you an interview with another of my fellow WRW writers, fellow unicorn hunter Diana Peterfreund.


Mac or PC?
I’ve been using a Mac since my college newspaper days. But I have a Droid phone. Her name is HALey and she’s thanks to our family plan. My husband is a PC. We haven’t yet decided how to raise the kid.

Coffee or Tea?
TEA! I actually hate coffee, and coffee-flavored things. Even coffee ice cream. I have a coffee pot I imprison in the basement and only let out when my mother visits. And I adore tea. I collect antique teacups, I have a slew of lovely teapots, and I have a collection of tea that takes up an entire shelf of my pantry. My favorite teas are flavored black teas, which I hear is a bit declasse in true tea aficionado circles, but oh well.

Travel the World or Travel Outer Space?
Oh, the world, definitely. So many fascinating things to see and do, and so many great people to meet. Plus, you can travel in a lot more comfort, and a lot less time.

Fantasy or Science Fiction?
Do not make me choose. (Though I’d definitely pick both over realism!)

Music or Silence (while you write)?
It really depends. If I make myself a playlist for a given book and listen to it over and over until it’s just background noise, it can help trick my mind into that mood. But some writing requires silence. I had a great playlist for the killer unicorn books, but my most recent book was music free, and I could only write it in silence.

What weird food do you like?
I don’t know if anything I like is weird. People tend to think it’s weird, however, that I DON’T like cake. I made my best friend taste-test my wedding cake for me. My husband and I wanted wedding oysters. Are oysters weird enough?

What is one of your most irrational fears?
I’m afraid of sleeping in the dark. Seriously. I can’t sleep with the lights off unless there’s someone with me — whether that’s my husband, or my dog. However — I love spelunking. Go figure.

Did you watch the Royal Wedding? Why or why not?
No way. I have an infant — every minute I can get of sleep is vital.

How many novels/short stories/screenplays/poems/etc have you published?
Seven novels, two short stories, a handful of lit crit and a bunch of food reviews.

How much do you write every day?
Not enough. Unless I’m on deadline, and then it’s too much.

How much do you WISH you could write every day?
If I could do a steady 2k a day, I’d be a happy camper.

What are you working on now?
A new short story. It’s about a girl and a cult.

If you could write like one author, who would it be?
Currently, I covet the muse of Laini Taylor. She puts the most beautiful images in her work.

If you could be one superhero, or have one superpower, who/what would it be?
Oh, that’s such an impossible question. Telepathy would be fun, but I’d have to be able to control it. Can’t have my dog sitting at my feet all day going, “Can we go to the park now? How about now? Now? NOW?!?! Park park Park!”

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
Right now, I’m daily in awe of the fact that I made a whole entire baby, from scratch. But since several billion other people did that, too, I don’t know how “cool” it sounds to the outside observer. A few years after college, my now-husband and I saved up all our money, quit our jobs, strapped on back packs and went hitch/hiking around Australia and New Zealand for the better part of a year. We worked the occasional odd job on scuba boats or in hostels, slept in a tent, and lived primarily on lentils. We dove the Great Barrier Reef, learned how to surf, went black water rafting in New Zealand, walked the majority of the Great Walks (and even ran a few), climbed Mt Doom (Ngauruhoe), walked on glaciers, and other adventures.

What’s the coolest thing you’re about to do?
Soon I’ll be publishing a book (FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, Balzer & Bray, Summer 2012) that is representative of a few things I’ve always wanted to do: write something post-apocalyptic, write a retelling, and write something Jane Austenian. And it’s set in New Zealand.

Name three things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
Go back to New Zealand.
Go on a sailing trip with my husband and baby (and maybe dog?) We went for our honeymoon and it was awesome.
Write a bestseller.


Diana Peterfreund is the author of four books in the Secret Society Girl Series, as well as Rampant and Ascendant, two young adult fantasies about killer unicorns and the virgin descendents of Alexander the Great who hunt them. Her first published short story, “The Care & Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn,” was recently included in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 5; and, along with another killer unicorn story, “Errant,” appeared on the Locus 2011 Recommended Reads List. Her next book is a post-apocalyptic retelling of the Jane Austen classic, Persuasion. Diana lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, her daughter, and her dog Rio. Her website is

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