Monday, January 31, 2011

Bella and the Merciless Sheikh - Sarah Morgan

Sarah Morgan has yet again provided this reader with a most magnificent read. In fact I personally enjoyed it so much, I read it twice!

Bella Balfour intrigued me as she hid so many hurts. As we've learned in previous The Balfour Legacy series, their father Oscar holds a charity ball every year and it seems each one has some sort of press coverage of a new family scandal. Behind the scenes, Bella who is known for her beauty and being a party girl and her Olivia were locked in a battle over a shocking discovery and it was revealed concerning their sister Zoe. So their father like he has done in the past sent Bella away to a quite retreat in the desert to think about her behavior and how she could turn her life around.

Feisty Bella had noticed the stables across from the retreat and slipped away. She found a lovely mare and as she in her youth was an experienced horsewoman, she decided to take the mare to go into the city because she was going crazy at the retreat with no cell phone, Internet, etc. Once there she would leave the mare. However, she got lost and thought she would die in desert alone.

Sheikh Zafiq was an amazing man and head of his country, Al-Rafid. He was a strong and proud ruler, loved his country and his journey once a year to find peace and meditation. He was devoted to his siblings and had raised them He at times, felt the burden of raising them plus the burden of his country so he was looking forward to his five days alone in the desert, with no one, not even his guards. You can well imagine when he found his prize mare and a beautiful young Bella lost, dehydrated and sunburned in the desert, he was furious.

Bella and Zafiq's time in the desert began on a extremely rocky note and then after he nursed her back to health, the sparing began and then the sexual tension. They have five days to get to know each other and their time and romancing you absolutely will not want to miss. Their attraction was as intense as the hot desert sun and Bella fell in love. Zafiq, well let's just say duty came first. He was determined not to be like his father and be weak and fall in love with a beautiful, spoilt and pampered woman. Bella shared with him so much of her life in England and her family and he knew he was duty bound to his country to find respectable wife and mother for his heir so he needed to say goodbye upon their return to Al-Rafid and send her home to England.

Bella didn't want to go home because she felt two things; 1) her sisters were still angry with her and 2) every time her father looked at her she reminded him of her mother's betrayal.

She also new the mare she had stolen, his prized mare was the prize in an upcoming race. Zafiq's marvelous horse favored to win. However, if he did not, then the sheikh stood to loose his mare. She begged him to stay and promised if he gave her a chance, she would work in his stables, anything not to have to go home and face her family. I so admired how Bella handled herself with the grooms and horses. How hard and long she worked and because of her love for this proud man she was willing to sacrifice her safety. It was brilliantly written and so many lessons for all reading Bella's Disgrace.

Oscar Balfour had many family rules and I think Bella learned a few under the desert sun which were dignity, courage, loyalty and commitment traits any man could love. However, she most importantly learned about sacrifice because that was what she was willing to do for the man she loved even if it meant sacrificing herself or injury.

Behind the Book:


"When I was first invited to contribute to the Balfour Bride series, I was thrilled. As I waited nervously for the brief to arrive, I hoped that my Balfour sister would be someone ‘real’ – someone whose journey would be absorbing and emotional. Right from the first moment I read Bella’s story I was excited, and that excitement stayed with me all the way through the writing of the manuscript. Bella was definitely flawed. She was also complex and sometimes spoiled, but I sensed immediately how vulnerable she was underneath all that attitude and how much of her ‘image’ had been developed as a defence mechanism.  Spoiled Bella became humble Bella and then bold, brave Bella.  I loved her (Go Bella!), and I hope you love her too'.....Sarah's post at I(Heart)Presents

Sarah's post at Tote Bags n' Blogs

Back Blurb:

Sheikh Zafiq Al-Rashid is furious when his week of solitude is interrupted by Bella Balfour, lost in the desert! While his fierce honor demands he rescue her, the willful heiress is a little less grateful than he'd expected. Zafiq is tempted to leave the spoiled socialite wandering the wilderness…but where would be the challenge in that?

He's powerful enough to tame the rebellious beauty. However, when they depart from the seclusion of the oasis, will Zafiq leave the memory of the fiery passion behind or announce to his kingdom that he is taking a queen?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Interested in Helping a Student from University of Florida?

I just had a student contact me about assisting her with a paper she would like to write regarding the "sheikh genre"  Are you interested in filling out her questionaire?  If so, leave your name and email address on this blog post.  Thanks.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Annie West Announces a New Sheikh Book - Sept 2011

From Annie West's Newsletter, coming September 2011

My news, much is much more pleasant, is that I’ve just had my 14th book accepted by Harlequin. Yippee! If you’ve a yen for a sheikh story, look out for GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT later this year. I find myself drawn to writing sheikh stories once in a while and have a marvellous time doing so. This book was no exception, from the dramatic opening, through the intense passion to the happy ending, this romantic fantasy kept me smiling as I wrote. Annie

Friday, January 28, 2011

Crazy for Books Blogathon - Jan 28-31, 2011



This week's question comes from Aliyah who blogs at Des Absurdités:\

"What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011? Why are you anticipating that book?"



To Win a $10 Amazon card, all you have to do is answer the above question and leave your email address at Marilyn's Romance Reviews.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Brenda Novak's Jr. Diabetes Auction 2011

Brenda and her son Tad

Brenda Novak's Jr. Diabetes Auction is in May.  Great auction items, books, trips, art and on and on.

I met Brenda in Seattle years ago and she told me about her son having Jr. Diabetes and I immediately volunteered to bet the buzz out, donated items and for the past couple of years, I've been be a team captain (Pacific Northwest Authors section and The Pink Heart Society section).

Authors if you have autographed books, want to give a critique?  Book bloggers.....offer an interview or review.  Readers of romance, donate an item?  If so, please contact Brenda's assistant Anna with your items.

About the Jr. Diabetes Auction

Donate an item

About diabetes

Go straight to the auction

2011 Auction Author spotlight

Bloggiesta Ole Winners - Romancing the Desert, Sheikh Books


I found this am while trying to contact some of the winners on my other blogs that some emails are bouncing.  Hopefully, I can reach all of you.  Just in case, my email is seattlesnoops@aol.com.  If you receive an email or see your name posted here please do the following.  Identify yourself and your email, the prize I've said you've won, your name, address, etc.  If you've won an Amazon card, I will need your home phone as well.  Thanks to all who commented and/or followed this blog.

Annie West & Her Sheikhs - Startucks card - Dee

Tessa Radley's book - Laney4

Trish Morey's book - Linda Henderson

Barnes and Noble Card - LisaB

Barbara McMahon Book - Linda Henderson

Susan Mallery Interview - Starbucks card - Linda Henderson

Again, thanks........this was quite an undertaking.  However, I'm a little disappointed more didn't join in as I tried to promote this blogging event.  Maybe I'll learn more "tricks to blogging" and become better at in in 2011. 

Chosen by the Sheikh - Laney4

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thanks for Attending Bloggiesta Ole


Thanks everyone for spending this weekend at Romancing the Desert, Sheikh books.  Don't forget to check back tomorrow in the PM to see if you're a winner!

All because the lady loves a foreign accent




By Samanthi Dissanayake

BBC News



It is the stuff of escapist fantasy. A tall, dark and handsome type sweeps a cream-and-roses Home Counties heroine off her feet. In its 100 years of publishing, the exotic alpha male has been a staple of the Mills and Boon romance.

The tale of the passionate desert sheikh who sweeps secretary Janna Smith off her feet in Violet Winspear's 1970 romance Tawny Sands is perhaps the quintessential Mills and Boon story.

"His tone of voice was softly mocking, but she knew he didn't really jest. He was Raul Cesar Bey and the further they travelled into the desert the more aware she was of his affinity with the savage sun and tawny sands."

Shocking and suggestive, the tale of their love was wildly popular with a generation of readers.

It is also typical of a taste for foreign pleasures when it comes to romantic fiction.

It's 100 years since Mills and Boon published their first book. Sold in 109 countries and translated into 26 different languages, it is arguably Britain's best-known publishing house worldwide.

From early in the company's history, its winsome heroines have looked beyond Britain's shores to find love.

Nobody can quite identify the very first Mills and Boon romance to feature an exotic hero or location. But Dr Joseph McAleer, author of Passion's Fortune: The Story of Mills and Boon, says it was probably in the 1910s, following the lead of Hollywood cinema and its preoccupation with desert sheikhs and jungle escapades.

The fascination still exists today with the best-selling title of the June 2008 Modern Romance series being Desert King, Pregnant Mistress by Susan Stephens.

"Exotic locations gave great scope to authors to be a bit racier. It is usually an English person going into the tropics to experience this different culture," Dr McAleer says.

"But they never lose their moral foundation. The heroines normally wind up reforming the sheikh."

Steamy scenes

In 1915 Louise Gerard wrote The Virgin's Treasure, the story of Dr Keith Harding, who leaves England for Africa to treat tropical diseases.

"This was not England but the tropics where blood was hotter and where incredible things happen with amazing swiftness" Gerard writes, preparing the reader for the steamy scenes to come. It was only in the 1930s that Mills and Boon became a dedicated romantic fiction publishers. Since then, enigmatic sheikhs, brooding Spaniards and sardonic Greek tycoons have become a staple of their storylines.

These international tales have tended to mirror broader social trends. The experience of World War II enhanced the possibilities of love abroad. WAAF Into Wife, by Barbara Stanton, follows the fortunes of Mandy Lyle, who falls under the spell of Count Alexei Czishkiwhizski, leader of a Polish squadron.

"With horizons being broadened and more international travel, the romances set in rose-covered cottages did not have the same cachet as Greece, Ibiza, and South Africa," Dr McAleer says.

The exotic and the international became a key measure of the ultimate romantic lead.

"The alpha male has to be larger than life, an incredibly heroic figure. He was usually fabulously wealthy with a mystery about him," says Dr McAleer.

Greek shipping magnates emerged in the 70s and 80s, and the Mediterranean hero rose in popularity as package holidays became the norm.

The growth in air travel also saw the rise of the air hostess/pilot romance, with many tender words lavished on the captains holding passengers' lives in their manly hands.

Nowadays, Italians and Spaniards remain popular heroes and at least one sheikh romance a month is published. Even Russian oligarchs have made an appearance.

"As the world has become more globalised our settings have had to become more exotic, more luxurious and exciting. Where our heroes were once millionaires, now they have to be billionaires," says Clare Somerville, marketing director for Mills and Boon.

Middle Eastern tycoons feature frequently but hail from fictional countries and kingdoms - there is little room for the realities of the region's geopolitics in escapist fiction.

The company's largest markets have been the UK, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Demographically, North America is the biggest market but with the launch of English-language editions in India earlier this year, Mills and Boon acknowledges this could change.

“ The real aim of romance is to provide escape and entertainment ” Violet Winspear

As India's middle classes exercise their consumer muscle, so the company wants to expand its roster of romantic heroes.

"We are also looking at the Indian prince idea. He is a clear extension of the alpha male and we are looking at launching this next year," says Ms Somerville.

It is also running a competition to find new local authors in India. Mills and Boon novels are translated in China, and for some years now its romances have graced Japanese bookshelves in the form of manga comics.

Exotic escape

Mills and Boon claim its readership all over the world look for the same thing: identification with the heroine and intense romantic relationships.

Violet Winspear, one of Mills and Boon's best-selling authors in the 1960s and the author of Tawny Sands, set many of her books in Greece, Spain and North Africa.

But she was a spinster who reputedly never left south-east England - instead she meticulously researched her far-flung settings at the local library.

Miss Winspear caused considerable controversy when explaining her archetypal hero - the sort of men "who frighten and fascinate" and "the sort of men who are capable of rape: men it's dangerous to be left alone in the room with".

Although this comment would haunt her, Dr McAleer says she thought hard about what exotic themes brought to her readers. In a letter to her publisher, Miss Winspear wrote: "Who on earth can truly identify with a sardonic Spanish Don, a handsome surgeon, a dashing Italian or a bittersweet Greek? The real aim of romance is to provide escape and entertainment, not to dish up 'real life' and 'real life people on a plate with egg on it'!"

Shirley Valentine would surely agree.


Below is a selection of your comments.
I've never read any Mills and Boon but my favourite book of all time is Gone With the Wind - Rhett Butler sounding like the template for all M&B heroes since. It's not real life, it's luxurious escapism. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I'm off to the library... Becky, Durham, UK

I must say I do agree that there is just something about a foreign man, in particular never knowing what to expect having spent so little time around them. We cannot read them like we can the English boys. But I want to know when M&B will do a book where the man isn't rich/in a first class job? I like the classic stable boy/generally working outside - a bit rustic and roguish but can still sweep you off your feet. Larz, Chelt

I think Mills and Boon is fantastic and although it is no longer truly a British business, I still feel a little proud that they created such a well-known brand name. Love them or hate them, I think pretty much everyone knows what Mills and Boon are. There is pretty much something for everyone from very steamy lines such as Blaze, Desire and Modern Heat to very respectable Romances and Super-romances. But at the core, all of them deliver the same thing - a feel-good, escapist fantasy. Mills and Boon are also one of the few publishers that are willing to help, and accept material from, new unagented authors. Which is something of a rarity these days. For all these reasons Mills and Boon have done an awful lot for the average woman, be she a stay at home mother or a business woman. Clarissa, Cheshire

Story from BBC NEWS:



Annie West Discusses Inspiration & Behind the Book Stories for her Sheikhs


Years ago Harlequin Presents author Kate Walker via a forum, let us know that Annie West was debuting her first Harlequin Presents romance. That’s when my friendship began with Annie as she allowed me the privilege of reading and reviewing it. The rest is history and I’m such a fan. As the years have gone by, Annie has written every sort of romance, including royal romances and sheikh romances giving her readers their happy endings.



Here ere are some of Annie’s sheikhs being featured and her “behind the book” stories.

FOR THE SHEIKH'S PLEASURE

He saw her.
He wanted her.
He had to have her.

Arik Ben Hassan is a modern prince, a progressive leader and head of a thriving commercial empire. Yet when he spies a gorgeous stranger trespassing on his territory, she evokes a primal response in him. His hunger for her awakens a primitive urge for possession. He will have her.

Yet when Arik devises his plan for seduction, he reckons without the consequences. Rosalie Winters is the woman who will change his life. Her past has made her strong, and secretive. Surely she’s the last woman who could be tempted into a sensuous liaison. Yet in Arik she finds a man who, against all expectation, she can trust. A man who might even have the power to heal her

August 2007 - UK paperback (Mills & Boon Modern Romance)
September 2007 - Australia/NZ (Harlequin Mills & Boon Sexy)
August 2007 - North America (Harlequin Presents)
October 2010 - UK (Mills & Boon Captivated by the Sheikh anthology

Behind the Book:

For the Sheikh’s Pleasure was a story I couldn’t resist – it just begged to be written.

I’d finally convinced myself I might be able to write a story about a dashing sheikh. I was doubtful at first. Then I started writing The Sheikh’s Ransomed Bride and found myself entering a wondrous world of fabulous riches, deeply held traditions, binding loyalties and, above all, passionate romance between a hero and heroine with different backgrounds, expectations and outlooks. And I loved it! I was hooked. Every time I sat at the computer to visit my Arabian islands in the fictitious Kingdom of Q’aroum I didn’t want to leave. For me it was fairy tale territory.

I completed the book and sat down to begin work on the next one I’d planned and found I couldn’t. While I’d written Rafiq and Belle’s story an idea for a linked book had come to me and now it was firmly lodged in my brain. I tried to resist it, not sure about writing it just yet. Surely I should concentrate on the other book I’d planned? But the idea was so strong, the urge to write it so great, it was a relief to put the planned book aside and dive instead into the tropical waters of Q’aroum once more. Looking at the pictures on this page, you'll understand how the location inspired me.

As I wrote I reveled in the chance to investigate what had happened to Belle and Rafiq since their story ended. But that was a secondary benefit.

The real thrill came from putting down Arik and Rosalie’s story. Two such different, yet strong characters. He’s a man with everything he could want. She’s a woman who’s learned to expect very little from life. Arik is brim-full of energy, a man who goes after what he wants. And when he sees Rosalie he decides she’s exactly what he wants...for now. Rosalie has a quiet strength and dignity that make her a perfect match for this powerful sheikh. She’s suffered trauma in her past and is too busy rebuilding her life to even consider romance...until she meets Arik.

This is a seduction story, and I have to say Arik’s technique is very good! However, things aren’t quite as he expects when he sets out to seduce the beautiful stranger who enters his domain. He soon learns that seduction can be a two edged sword and that the power he’s wielded half his life is no match for the woman he wants above all else.

I adored writing this book. So much so that I have a sneaking desire to go back to that wonderful world of strong, protective, handsome Arabian princes again. One day...


THE DESERT KING'S PREGNANT BRIDE
Trapped by desire.

Maggie is at her most defenseless when she meets Khalid, a mysterious yet sympathetic stranger. Their single night of passion has consequences neither expects. Khalid's solution to their situation is simple, a marriage of convenience. But can Maggie give up everything she knows to marry the enigmatic lord of a desert kingdom? Can she trust her life to the hands of the man who makes her vulnerable in ways she's never been before?

Khalid is determined to do the right thing by Maggie. She stirs his protective instincts even though she's one of the strongest and most resilient women he's ever met. More, she arouses desires and feelings he thought he'd buried long ago. He doesn't know where the passion between them will lead, but he refuses to back away, even if it means obliterating the walls they've each built around their emotions. He will have her as his bride and he won't settle for anything less than all of her: mind, body and heart.

August 2008 - UK (Mills & Boon Modern Romance h/back)
October 2008 - UK (Mills & Boon Modern Romance p/back)
November 2008 - Australia/NZ (Harlequin Mills and Boon Sexy)
April 2009 - North America (Harlequin Presents)
March 2011 - UK (in the Mills & Boon The Desert Sheikh's Defiant Queen anthology

Behind the Book:

Do you know the Hunter Valley of New South Wales? Some people know of its terrific wines but if you drive inland, to the end of the valley, you come to an area renowned for its horse studs. It’s picturesque country, with the hills narrowing around the valley and I always enjoy driving through there. Some of the horse studs are enormous and there is plenty of foreign investment in those estates, including from the Middle East.

Inspiration for THE DESERT KING’S PREGNANT BRIDE came from a trip past the neatly-fenced pastures and king-sized stables. I started playing that lovely writer’s game of ‘what if’.

What if a hard working local girl, who knew far more about horses than men, fell for the visiting owner of the estate? What if he was more than a wealthy horse breeder, but a man with much bigger things on his mind, like suddenly inheriting a kingdom that needs all his skills and energy to drag it into the 21st century? What if, despite the wariness they’ve learned over the years, they’re drawn together so powerfully that their meeting has irreversible consequences? What if he believes he can never again give his heart to any woman but feels duty bound to care for the woman whose life is now inextricably bound to his?

Maggie and Khalid are strong characters, so real to me as I began this story that I sometimes felt I was being carried along for the ride. I have a particular fondness for Cinderella stories and in many ways this is one, with Maggie transported to a far away, exotic kingdom unlike any she’s ever known. But her transformation isn’t just about a chance to wear lovely clothes (though I did enjoy those). This story is about two people finding joy and the promise of a wonderful future together, becoming the best they can be, because they’ve found the other.


THE SHEIKH'S RANSOMED BRIDE

He saved her life. Now it’s her turn - to help him save his country. By marrying him.

Rafiq paid a sheikh’s ransom to rescue Belle Winters. The ransom is a national treasure but also a traditional bridal gift to the sheikh’s betrothed. Now his people expect a royal wedding.

Belle owes Rafiq so much. How can she deny him this sham marriage that will keep the peace in his fledgling island democracy?

They’re from different worlds. She’s a dedicated archaeologist from an ordinary family. He’s descended from a line of autocratic adventurers and buccaneers. Is their marriage simply a political necessity or a passionate destiny?

February '07 - UK (Mills & Boon Modern Romance h/back)
April '07 - UK (Mills & Boon Modern Romance p/back)
May '07 - Australia/NZ (Harlequin Mills & Boon Sexy)
July '07 - North America (Harlequin Presents)
March '10 - UK in Mills & Boon's "The Sheikh's Cinderella" anthology

Behind the Book

"This book had such a long gestation period. It emerged from discussions with friend and fellow author, Anna Campbell, over months – no, years, about heroic archetypes and female fantasies of falling in love. Anna and I don’t see each other as often as we’d like so when we do get together it’s a talk fest. And one of the late night themes was why the sheikh? What is it about this sort of hero that appeals to so many women worldwide? Why do we look twice at books about Arabian princes emerging from a fantasy world to sweep some (lucky) woman off her feet?

I know sheikh heroes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and I admit that years ago I might have said the same. But their appeal has grown on me. Maybe it’s their larger than life aura. Maybe it’s the echo of some exotic Arabian Nights fantasy. Or perhaps the fact that they wield such power in their own domain but are conquered by love.

The Sheikh’s Ransomed Bride explores what happens when duty and passion collide. When two people from completely different worlds find themselves flung together in a situation that tests them to the limit. Belle and Rafiq rise to the challenge, and in the process discover just how far they’ll go for the one they love.

The idea for this specific story came to me while I was at a Romance Writers’ of Australia conference in Coogee, Sydney. I’m sure the excitement of being with so many other wonderful writers inspired me. I was getting ready for the official dinner when inspiration struck and I had to jot down a couple of ideas.

It was quite a while before I got a chance to start the book as I was writing something else at the time. Maybe that was a good thing. By the time I sat down to write The Sheikh’s Ransomed Bride so much of the story was vivid in my mind – particularly Rafiq, one of my favourite heroes. The setting too was marvelous – a place I looked forward to visiting each time I sat at the computer. In fact I became so fond of Q’aroum that it was hard to leave and I set my next book there too!
Article Source: Annie West Website and Romance Author Buzz






Check out an interview at Romance Author Buzz with Annie.

Here is a contest Annie is also offering on her website.  Check it out!


January 2011 - Royal Seduction Contest! – Ends Feb 9th

I'm starting this year with a royal-themed contest. Whether you're a fan of Cinderella stories or just a lover of romance, I think you'll find something in my ROYAL SEDUCTION CONTEST to tempt you.

The winner will receive: a signed copy of my new release PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE, plus 'Seduced by the Prince', an anthology of three royal stories:

THE PRINCE'S PLEASURE by Robyn Donald
CHARMING THE PRINCE by Laura Wright
ROYALLY PREGNANT by Barbara McCauley

It's easy to be in the draw. Simply send me an email with 'contest' in the header and tell me annie@annie-west.com

How does Tamsin get down from the library ladder at the beginning of PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE? (The answer is in the excerpt on my book page); and the member of royalty you'd most like to meet and why (they could be a current royal, an historical figure or a fictitious one).

This contest runs till 9th February 2011 Australian Eastern Time. Only one entry per person please. If you're happy to include your postal address with your entry that will save time in sending out prizes, but it's not obligatory. The winner will be contacted via email and their first name and location posted on this site. Note that by entering you give Annie permission to send you occasional newsletters about new releases.  Annie West
Annie’s website
Annie on Facebook




INTERNATIONAL CONTEST - For a $10.00 Starbucks card, tell me which of these books you would purchase based on the Behing the Book Stores.  For more chances to win Follow this blog or friend Annie West on Facebook.  Come back here, comment and leave your email address.  Winner will be announced on Jan 24th.

RECIPE from The Sheikh's Chosen Queen - Jane Porter




M'hanncha ('the Snake'): In The Sheikh's Chosen Queen, King Sharif's chef serves M'hanncha for dessert on Jesslyn's first night at the palace.

M'hanncha, a dessert made of filo dough and stuffed with sweetened ground almonds before being coiled like a snake and fried in butter, is Sharif's favorite dessert. I am sharing Saad Fayed's recipe below. Saad Fayed is a restauranteur with an avid interest in preparing Middle Eastern cuisine. He has lived and traveled in many Middle Eastern countries, experiencing the many flavors and specialties of each region. Saad is currently writing a cookbook that features his family's favorite dishes. For more on Saad and his recipes, please visit his site.

INGREDIENTS:

» 1/2 package of filo dough, or 8 sheets

» 1/3 cup granulated sugar

» 2 1/2 cups almonds

» 1 tablespoon melted butter

» 1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)

» powdered sugar for dusting

» powdered cinnamon for dusting, plus 1 teaspoon

PREPARATION:

1. Place the almonds, sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a food processor and process to a paste.

2. Take one sheet of filo dough and place 1/4 cup of the almond paste and spread it down the center, in the shape if a thick pencil.

3. Roll the dough around the paste, and form into a snake coil.

4. Fry in butter until golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Repeat with remaining dough and paste.

Yields 8 pastries.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saved by the Sheikh Giveaway - International Contest

Meet the author, Tessa Radley



Tessa considers herself a reader at heart and discovered books at an early age. Growing up in a world surrounded by Nancy Drew, Ken and Flicka, Cherry Ames, Anne of Green Gables, Bilbo Baggins and the ponies of the Pullein-Thompson sisters, she eventually moved on to reading everything she could lay her hands on and discovered many favourite thriller, literary, fantasy and romance authors.


Depending on what she was reading, her childhood career dreams veered wildly from the less interesting choices that teachers proposed. Who wanted to be an accountant or architect with the chance of working for the Flying Doctor or living on a ranch in Wyoming or competing as a three-day eventer?

For a short time she even considered the life of a PI until she finally set her sights on a career as a foreign correspondent in Africa. These hopes were dashed when a local newspaper shut down and the journalist cadet scheme she'd planned to attend came to an abrupt end. Instead of becoming a journalist, Tessa ended up with a Bachelor of Arts degree (needless to say one of her majors had to be English Literature!) and later she finally succumbed to completing a Bachelor of Laws degree. Tessa practiced for too many years as an attorney, rising rapidly through the ranks to make partner in a city law firm.

A six month break travelling through Australia with her family, refuelling her imagination and reading tons of books, again fired up the compulsion to write. After spending almost six years honing her craft, Tessa finally sold to Silhouette Desire.

Tessa loves writing books with a little edge and a lot of emotion—the kind she loves to read. Her favourite kind of characters are those caught in seemingly insurmountable circumstances and Tessa wrestles all day long with how to get them in and out of those impossible situations.   Source:  Tessa's website

About Saved by the Sheikh


Pregnant by the Royal Sheikh


Practically penniless, Tiffany Smith had nowhere to turn except to the gorgeous billionaire who offered his help. But at what price? Dashing banker Rafiq Al Dhahara did not believe she was an innocent fallen on hard times. Still, his distrust didn't stop her from falling for his charms...and into his bed for one passionate night.
 
Months later, Tiffany again found herself at Rafiq's mercy. She wanted him to know the truth about her pregnancy—but she didn't know the truth about this man. Until she did, getting him to believe he was the baby's father would be no small feat...for nothing short of a kingdom hung in the balance.


International Contest To win a copy of Saved by the Sheikh, follow this blog, comment and leave your email address.  Winner will be announced January 24th.

Tessa Radley's Website

Tessa's blog

The Mystery of Egypt, by Nina Bruhns

Meet Nina Bruhns

I guess that’s how I’d describe myself.

By profession, I’m really an archaeologist (an Egyptologist) but I’ve worked all kinds of jobs, from real estate to a fabric store clerk to a student counselor at the Fulbright Commission in Stockholm, Sweden. My favorite was a work-study job in grad school (go U of C!), reorganizing the ancient Egyptian pottery at the University of Chicago’s famous Oriental Institute. The pay was lousy, but holding ceramic jars actually touched by Ramses II and King Tut was awe-inspiring and unbelievably exciting.

I’ve lived all over the USA, and even spent six years in Europe. I love to travel. Maybe because my great-grandfather was an Hungarian gypsy–my only ancestor who was not Danish. A few years back, my family and I moved to Charleston, South Carolina, which has also been a wonderful adventure. It’s amazing here, and I’ve finally found “home.”

I love archaeology, but doing fieldwork in The Sudan, Africa (my area of specialty within Egyptology) isn’t too practical with children and a husband who has a normal job. So when I thought about what I’d like to do instead, I set out to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a writer. Now I have my adventures through my characters. I can give my heroines the thrills and excitement all women dream of having, but I never have to change out of my jammies to do it. My kind of job!

My novels to date have done me very proud by walking away with such prestigious honors as the National Readers’ Choice Award, the overall Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in Mystery/Supense (three times), the Dorothy Parker Award (five times), as well as being nominated for the RITA Award (twice), which is the equivalent of an Oscar nomination in the movie biz…to name just a few. My books have also made it onto the WaldenBooks Bestseller List, and been named favorite book of the year by Romantic Times along with several online review sites.

Sensually, I’ll admit I like to push the envelope in my stories. I think much of the appeal of romance is the seductive fantasy it allows women to indulge in safely. A woman whose days are filled with diapers or spreadsheets, PTA or sales meetings, wants to be swept away in a romantic fantasy for a few hours, into a world where she can quench her thirst for love and romantic adventure, and fulfill her dreams of a man who instinctively satisfies her deepest yearnings. I love writing about feisty heroines who do things I would never dare to do in real life. My heroes are dark and dangerous men who ooze sensuality–but who know how to treat a lady.

Last year I started another fabulous adventure, taking the plunge into the larger fiction arena with a romantic thriller trilogy, starting with SHOOT TO THRILL that came out in August ‘09, followed by IF LOOKS COULD CHILL in December ‘09, and A KISS TO KILL coming in April ‘10, all from New York powerhouse Berkley Publishing (part of Penguin/Putnam). These will be followed by a new romantic thriller trilogy starting in 2011.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be stepping onto a broader stage with longer, more complex suspense stories. But not to worry, I will still concentrate mainly on the emotional and sensual sides of the relationship between the hero and heroine along with the page-turning suspense I am known for. For me, there is just nothing better than creating a heart-tugging love story along with a thrill-ride adventure. I hope you agree!

Ancient gods, immortals sheikhs, African vampires — Nina Bruhns has created a truly unique miniseries from Harlequin Nocturne, the Immortal Sheikhs! Nina joins us today to blog about book 2 in the series, Shadow of the Sheikh, which is on sale now!

                        Shadow of the Sheikh      
Many of my readers don’t know that I am an Egyptologist—I’d say in real life, except that it’s kind of the other way around. Writing novels is my real life these days, and despite the three college degrees, traveling around Egypt doing archaeological digs and surveys has been relegated to the realm of my imagination. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing…

This week the second book in my IMMORTAL SHEIKHS trilogy, SHADOW OF THE SHEIKH, was released by Harlequin Nocturne (book 1, LORD OF THE DESERT, came out in August).

The series takes place in modern Egypt, in a setting filled with all sorts of fun mythological and paranormal elements. These are truly books of my heart. You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to write these stories! But when I first started writing romance, publishers would not even look at ideas with exotic settings, let alone ancient gods, immortals, and shape-shifters. Wow, how things have changed!

In this series, I have absolutely loved being able to use my knowledge of this amazing ancient culture to bring it back to life for my readers…with a cool twist. It is all still happening today. My strong, independent heroines, three American sisters, become immersed in the mysterious world of the last surviving Egyptian demigods. And boy, do they find things they never imagined existed. Including, of course, love.

Oh, and did I mention the vampire?

When I was on my first archaeological expedition to northern Sudan (which was part of Egypt in ancient times) we stayed in a tiny village on the Nile. The area around this village was supposed to have the most vampires in all of Africa. Okay, then. Freaked out? Me? Just a little.

Trust me, I’m no vampire expert. But when my editor suggested I make one of my lead characters a vampire (the hero of book 3–VAMPIRE SHEIKH coming in February–who appears in all three books), I remembered that village (who could forget!), and thought how interesting it would be to incorporate the incredibly sexy archetype of the vampire lord into the ancient Egyptian pantheon. So I took the few references I found to vampirism in Pharaonic times and shaped them into a plausible addition to the existing mythology, which I then used to build the paranormal world in the IMMORTAL SHEIKHS trilogy.
The result is a blend of vamp and Egyptian mystery which I think make the stories really unusual and interesting. When you combine that with three hunky shape-shifting sheikhs and three sizzling hot romances, I think my Nocturne readers will really enjoy this trilogy!
I hope you’ll let me know what you think!
Good reading,

Nina

For excerpts and more info on Nina and her books, see her website at NinaBruhns.com


Nina just sent me this note, Sunday 1/23

I see you posted the blog about book 2 in my Immortal Sheikhs trilogy. Thanks! It looks like it was posted yesterday, but I'm terrible at deciphering these blog things, so maybe that's wrong. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that SHADOW OF THE SHEIKH was book 2, which came out last November, so it's not available in stores anymore as it says in the blog. However, book 3, VAMPIRE SHEIKH, comes out next week (it's a Feb book), if you'd like to mention that instead.

Note:  Shadow of the Sheikh is available at EHarlequin. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and at Borders.  Lord of the Desert at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Lord of the Desert:



As the son of a British earl, Lord Rhys had dearly loved his life of action and indulgence as a rogue, a rake, a gambler and a womanizer. But now he loves his life as an immortal even more. Rhys's job is to supply his master—a five-thousand-year-old demigod— with all his heart's desires.

Especially women.

When historian Gillian Haliday ventures to Rhys's grave to settle a dispute for his descendants, she is enchanted by this man with stallion-like prowess. She doesn't argue when he vows to keep her for himself. But his master has other plans. Plans that will spell Gillian's doom and—when he unwittingly falls in love with her— the end of Lord Rhys's own earthly existence….

Shadow of the Sheikh:



I see you posted the blog about book 2 in my Immortal Sheikhs trilogy. Thanks! It looks like it was posted yesterday, but I'm terrible at deciphering these blog things, so maybe that's wrong. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that SHADOW OF THE SHEIKH was book 2, which came out last November, so it's not available in stores anymore as it says in the blog. However, book 3, VAMPIRE SHEIKH, comes out next week (it's a Feb book), if you'd like to mention that instead. Not sure how that mixup happened.



Vampire Sheikh:



Demigod Seth is enraged. The recent defections of his two favorite lieutenants have sparked a conflagration of fury within him and a bitter need for vengeance. Someone will pay, and pay dearly!

Who better than Josslyn Haliday? Her two scheming sisters seduced and destroyed his friends, luring them straight into the camp of his mortal enemy.

What Seth doesn't count on is Joss's own anger. After losing her parents as a child, she'll now do anything to find her two dear sisters and bring them back to safety. Anything.

  • Including making a deal with the devil—him. But how far is the soft, pliant temptress willing to go?

International Contest - Forbidden: The Sheikh's Virgin

About Trish Morey





Award winning, best-selling author for Harlequin Presents, Trish Morey likes to hammer out her stories while walking through the bushland of the beautiful Adelaide Hills, counting koalas high up in gum trees as she goes.



In 2002 Trish entered the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart contest for the first time and was amazed and delighted to final in the short contemporary section. The same manuscript was already under consideration in London, and in June 2003 (actually June 18th at 6:32 p.m.) the magical phone call came. Mills & Boon wanted to buy her book!

According to Trish, selling a book is a major life achievement that ranks up there with jumping out of an airplane and motherhood. All three take commitment, determination and sheer guts, but the effort is so very, very worthwhile.



Sheikh Rafiq Al'Ramiz left his homeland behind—betrayed by the woman he loved. He's hardened his heart and made his fortune—and now he must return: his country needs him. But he is more powerful than ever, and vengeance is high on his agenda!

Seeing Sera again, he finds the image he's held of a heartless temptress at odds with her drab robes and downcast eyes—but he will take what he's owed! What will this ruthless sheikh do when he discovers Sera's very real innocence?


Contest is International.  To win a copy of Forbidden:  The Sheikh's Virgin, follow this blog or Trish on Facebook.  Come back here, post a comment and leave your email.  Winner will be announced January 24th.  If you ready follow Trish, comment on her facebook page.







Harlequin Presents Authors Talk About Writing and Their Sheiks

 LYNN RAYE HARRIS


Last September, my editor surprised me with a phone call where she asked if I would be willing to write a sheikh novella. Willing? Willing? I think I very calmly said, “Of course. That sounds fun.”

But the truth is that I love sheikh stories. I don’t think I’ve made a secret of the fact that I fell in love with sheikh romances as a girl. One of the first I ever remember reading is Penny Jordan’s Daughter of Hassan. I’m sure I’d read others before that, but that’s the one that made my breath catch and my heart pound as I raced to the end. I simply had to know what happened! Penny had it all in that story—the dark and brooding hero, the innocent heroine, the harsh desert setting, the strong emotion—and I was hooked.

When I sat down to write my own, my first, you might think that I immediately knew what I was doing. After all, I’d loved these stories forever. But sometimes loving them so much means you want to throw in all the knowledge you’ve accumulated. In a story that is half the length of a typical Presents, that’s a bit of a problem.

I eventually figured it out though—and King Zafir bin Rashid Al Khalifa, the hero of “Kept for the Sheikh’s Pleasure,” was born. Naturally, he’s as gorgeous and ruthless as you would expect a sheikh to be. But he’s also deeply emotional, and he’s been hurt before. When I realized that, I also knew who had hurt him. As the story begins, Zafir’s ex-lover crashes into his life after ten years—and he finds that he can’t quite let her go.

Not without tasting her one more time, anyway.

Dr. Geneva Gray is an archaeologist who once loved a prince of the desert, but who walked away when she realized they could never be together in the way she wanted. Now, she’s been captured and given to Zafir as a gift—and the feelings she once pushed away are demanding to be dealt with before she can leave him a second time.

Naturally, nothing is as simple as either of them hope it will be.

I love a good sheikh romance, and I love a reunion or second chance at love story. We probably all wish we could go back and change something we did or said at one time or another. Zafir and Genie can’t change the past, but they can come to terms with it and learn to forge a future together. Relationships aren’t always easy, and fixing one that’s previously been broken is definitely a challenge.

I’m very thrilled to get to share this story with you all now. And I’m truly honored and excited to be sharing space in Chosen by the Sheikh with none other than Kim Lawrence.  Source:  I(Heart)Presents.

This was author Sharon Kendrick's response to the above post
I’ve always had a penchant for Sheikhs, Lynn – I like the idea that by ruling their very own kingdom, they are powerful and autocratic in a way which makes other men pale into insignificance beside them.


Maybe it’s also because there’s a sense that beneath all the riches and trappings, lies a man with very elemental appetites….one who can gallop bareback across the hot, baking sands of the desert….and who can seduce a woman, almost without trying.

Sheikh. Spells. Seduction!
SUSAN STEPHENS

Part One
Writing about two brothers, both sheikhs, and both rulers of neighbouring countries, gave me the opportunity to explore two very different personalities. Sheikh Razi al Maktabi, my hero in Ruling Sheikh, Unruly Mistress, is the younger brother. Protected as a child by his elder brother Ra’id, Razi is now highly successful, both in business and in bed. We have no idea what he might be capable of until we see him tested.

Razi is one of those urbane, confident men, who seems unattainable but deep down Razi is searching too. Fortunate to have true friends he has known all his life, Razi is well aware that a man in his position can attract false friends too, and that the women who cross his path sometimes see no further than his money and status.

Razi is a strong, determined man, who, knowing that his playboy life is at an end, is determined to devote himself to his country to the exclusion of everything else. Razi is deeply kind and compassionate beneath his apparently unbreachable shell, and for this reason I gave him a vulnerable heroine – curvy chef, Lucy Tennant — a quiet girl, with a vivid inner life.

Lucy learned that she had nothing interesting to say growing up in a large, noisy family, where she was the only girl, and where her brothers and parents were brilliant academics. But that didn’t stop Lucy dreaming. In fact, the less she spoke, the more she dreamed, until one day she stole away from the family home without anyone really noticing.

Starting at the very bottom in a professional kitchen, Lucy worked her way up until finally she is offered a job as a chef, catering for a top class chalet company. It is here that Lucy is destined to meet a man who will change her life forever. Having decided to keep his identity a secret, Razi is intrigued by the quiet, dutiful girl who is oblivious to celebrity and all its trappings.

Intrigued, yes, but Razi will return to rule his magical island, which means putting all his personal desires aside. Will the quiet girl accept being sidelined, or will circumstances force Lucy Tennant to embrace her inner strength?

Part Two
Sheikh Ra’id al Maktabi is a flint hard man. The circumstances of Ra’id’s birth and caring for a younger brother whom he had to protect from their own father, means that Ra’id has never had the opportunity to be a playboy – or anything close. Trained to rule a country from birth and deeply mired in tradition, Ra’id is a desert warrior who must fight to keep his country and his people safe.
Ra’id is even harder on himself than on others and has never known the luxury of idle time in which to ponder his decisions but makes them swiftly and surely. His people love and respect him deeply for protecting them and for keeping their way of life safe.
Into this fierce man’s life I brought the female equivalent of the fairy on top of the Christmas tree. 
Young, wild and beautiful, Antonia Ruggiero has been ruined by her brother, Rigo – my hero in Italian Boss, Proud Miss Prim – but being indulged like this has had some interesting side-effects. Yes, Antonia can have anything she wants, which has made her wilful and defiant, but she’s more interesting than that. While Rico would like to keep Antonia in a safe, cosy cocoon, Antonia has other ideas and has escaped her brother to find answers in the Arabian Gulf.

Antonia might be tiny, but she is strong, both mentally and physically, and when the boat she is on is attacked by pirates, Antonia not only escapes but then confronts the much greater danger of the most formidable man in the region, The Sword of Vengeance himself, Sheikh Razi al Maktabi of Sinnebar. 

SANDRA MARTON

Mistress of the Sheikh is about sexy, wealthy, powerful Nicholas al Rashid. Nick has a home in Manhattan, more women than any man could want, and a strong dislike of the media spotlight. Amanda Benning is a successful decorator. Well, not quite. Amanda’s hoping to become successful, and when Nick’s sister suggests Amanda redo Nick’s penthouse, Amanda goes for it. It’s to be Nick’s birthday surprise, but when Nick finds Amanda in his bedroom, taking pictures, taking notes, he assumes she’s a tabloid reporter. And when Amanda says no, she’s his birthday surprise… Trust me. Things get a little confused, and a lot hot, hot, hot! Source:  I(heart)presents



Harlequin Presents makes a promise to readers and it's a BIG promise!

Presents says it will deliver the very best romantic fiction in the world. Okay, I'm biased; but I believe it does. Our books can transport a woman from the pressures of her daily life to a fantasy-land of excitement. Passion and seduction, guaranteed, we say.

And we mean it.

In the sophistication of a Presents world, gorgeous, powerful, wealthy heroes find themselves baffled by independent, stand-up heroines. It's a place in which a man and woman can generate enough heat to start a fire and, in the process, find love that will bring them enduring happiness.

I try, always, to deliver on the Presents promise. An exciting setting. A stirring conflict. Heart-pounding passion. And, always, an Alpha hero to die for.

Maybe that's what I love about Presents sheikhs. They're always Alphas! Mine surely are. They're also a little arrogant, a little too sure of themselves. They know what they want and nothing will stop them from getting it. Not a one of them has ever met a woman he can't have!

Wrong.

There's always one special woman who will defy that conviction. And when she does, the chase is on.

Tariq, the Crown Prince of Dubaac in my October Presents, THE SHEIKH'S DEFIANT BRIDE, has everything a man could possibly want. Rugged good looks. Money. Power. Homes in Manhattan and in his native country. And, of course, Tariq has women. Though he works hard, he plays hard, too. Marriage, family… those things are a long way off.

Then, overnight, fate intervenes. Tariq's beloved older brother dies in an accident, leaving Tariq heir to the ancient throne of the kingdom of Dubaac. It's the worst kind of wake-up call, a reminder that life can change in a heartbeat. Tariq loves his country and knows his duty.

He must find a wife and produce an heir of his own.

Well, thinks the sheikh who has everything, how difficult can that be?

Do I hear you laughing? Yes, you're right. Finding a wife, the proper kind of wife, turns out to be almost impossible. There are lots of women who want to marry him. The problem is that he can’t seem to find one he wants to marry. He has high standards. He wants a wife who will be beautiful and bright but he also wants one who will understand that he is in charge at all times.

Madison Whitney is beautiful. Sheâ's bright. She's also about as likely to let a man run her life as it is to snow in the hot desert sands of Dubaac.

Still, these two are attracted to each other. Okay, that's too wimpy a word. They are hot for each other but nothing can come of that heat because, you see, Tariq's about to use modern technology to guarantee himself a future heir and Madison's going to use the same technology to have a baby without the inconvenience of a husband…

But life doesn't always go as we intend.

An extraordinary twist of circumstance leaves Madison pregnant with Tariq's child. Tariq, with imperial arrogance, assumes Madison will agree to give her baby to him when it is born. Madison says if that's what he thinks, he's out of his mind. Tariq, a logical man, reconsiders. He comes up with what heâ's sure is a perfect solution.

He'll marry Madison.

To his amazement, Madison laughs in his face.

So much for Mr. Nice Guy.

Tariq is a sheikh. A prince. He will do whatever it takes to claim his unborn child and if that means kidnapping Madison and forcing her into marriage by first taking her into his bed, so be it.

What neither of them counts on is that the passion they share will change everything.

THE SHEIKH'S DEFIANT BRIDE is the first book in my new three book mini series, THE SHEIKH TYCOONS. The trilogy tells the stories of Tariq, Khalil and Salim, three old friends who are the rulers of fantastic kingdoms in a place called The Nations. They're powerful, passionate men.

They're also as sexy as sin.
TRISH MOREY

love that word “forbidden”. To me it conjures up images of wayward yearnings and dangerous desires, and a compelling tightrope walk between enforced restraint and sheer recklessness.

On one side of the tightrope lies safety.

On the other, the possibility of satisfaction beyond belief. But at what price?

Sheikh Rafiq Al’Ramiz, in Forbidden: The Sheikh’s Virgin, the third story in the Dark-Hearted Desert Men miniseries, knows all about that tightrope walk between restraint and recklessness. He knows he could play safe – and he’s determined at first to take just that course. Why should he have anything to do with the woman who took his heart so many years ago and then smashed it so cold heartedly on the rocks of her marriage vows to another?

Except after his return to Qusay, restraint soon finds itself replaced by the desire for revenge. Sera is now a widow. And why shouldn’t Rafiq make her feel as uncomfortable with the situation as he does? What’s stopping him now taking what was so rightfully due to him so many years ago? And what price might he ultimately pay if he does?

It’s a rocky road – or maybe more appropriately, an emerald strewn road – if this couple are to ever find their happy ever after.

I loved writing Forbidden: The Sheikh’s Virgin, the third installment in the Dark-Hearted Desert Men mini-series. I hope you love it too!  I(heart)presents
JENNIE LUCAS

Last month, Carol Marinelli’s book, Wedlocked: Banished Sheikh, Untouched Queen, told the story of a king who discovered he was not the trueborn heir of Qusay. This month, The Dark Men of the Desert series continues as his three royal cousins are forced to decide who will take the throne!

My hero is the eldest, Kareef Al’Ramiz.

It was fascinating to write the story of a powerful man – a half-barbarian sheikh just returned from the desert – who knows he loves and wants only one woman, right from the very first page.

After thirteen years in New York, Jasmine has returned to Qusay to marry a wealthy older man for the sake of her family. That makes her absolutely forbidden to Kareef, as is his knowledge that he must marry a virgin princess who can give him an heir. But as honorable as Kareef is, how can he surrender Jasmine to another man’s possession? Especially since they share a secret that could destroy everything for them both….

I loved writing this book, especially since it meant working with Carol Marinelli, Trish Morey and Annie West. They are so great!

While writing Kareef and Jasmine’s story, I drew a map of Qusay just for fun. For various reasons related to Annie’s plot, we ended up turning this map upside down, so it’s not really accurate anymore (and I’m not sure how much the other girls really used it anyway), but I thought you might get a kick out of seeing it!

The fictional desert island kingdom of Qusay (just turn it upside down *g*)

Like Carol, I am eagerly awaiting the final two books in the series, Forbidden: The Sheikh’s Virgin by Trish Morey in June and Scandal: His Majesty’s Love-Child by Annie West in July. I am dying to see how it all turns out, and see if all four sheikhs have happy endings – and are ultimately tamed by the strong, loving women they deserve.  Happy reading, Iheartpresents

CAROL MARINELLI

The Desert King’s Housekeeper Bride is the last in the Karedes series and my very first sheikh.

I was delighted when my editor invited me to be part of the series, especially when I found out that I’d be writing a sheikh romance. I was also thrilled when I saw who the other authors in the series were.

I couldn’t wait to get started.

Until I started!

My brain went into gridlock. I thought of all the fabulous authors in the series and their amazing books. I thought of all the other wonderful sheikh romances the readers love and I admit that I had stage fright, writers block… I had the lot! I tried to type, to just push my way through it, but I kept stressing about tiny details – like, do they have fridges in the desert? Honestly, I am an Olympic level procrastinator!

Well, a friend gave me a good talking to, as good friends do, and finally, when I got past the white noise in my head, I got my first real glimmer of Zakari.

For those that have read it, the image that came to mind was the first time Effie laid eyes on Zakari!

Finally I could see Zakari and his surrounds — I felt as if I were standing behind Effie and witnessing what she could see and it was at *that* moment I fell in love, not just with Zakari, but with sheikh romances. Suddenly, the book I had had so much trouble starting, I didn’t want to finish, I wanted to stay with the characters for a little while more.

There is something truly wonderful about a sheikh romance , I’m completely hooked now. They’re sexier, richer, more alpha…. they’re just … more!

Pass me a fan!

The Karedes series has been a joy to work on. I spent a wonderful weekend refusing to move from the sofa, with my stash of books, some chocolate and wine, and I read all the books from start to finish (except my own) and again, I didn’t want the fantasy to end but luckily for me it didn’t have to! In April the first or a new series – Dark- Hearted Desert Men comes out. The first book, Wedlocked: Banished Sheikh, Untouched Queen will answer any lingering questions I may have left you with in the final book of Karedes.

So, even though it’s the end of a great series, it’s not all over yet. 
When I wrote the final book in The Royal House of Karedes series, I was tying up a lot of threads and also giving a little link into a new series.
Well, that was what I was supposed to do.

The thing is, when you write, there is no chance of a little link.

You write that little link and it’s like rain on soil and that little link starts to unfurl and that little link has become the Jack and the Beanstalk of little links and it’s right outside your window and PLEASE let me write it.

You see – I knew, more than Xavian did, all the challenges he faced – I knew this was so much harder for him than it first appeared and that he needed the most supportive, wonderful heroine.

Wedlocked: Banished Sheikh, Untouched Queen was to be the first in the Dark-Hearted Desert Men series and I did get to write it.

Except…..

The heroine that the series required was just a little bit different to the one I had envisaged for Xavian. I like writing about real women and I had been given a Queen!

Where was calm and reassuring when I needed it for my hero?

Layla had troubles of her own – she had a Kingdom to run and she certainly wasn’t going to leave it on hold while Xavian got his act together!

She had as much drama going on as him.

The more I worked on, the more I liked her and found out that she was, of course, a real woman too, with the same, albeit different, versions of the problems we face. Pretty soon I realized that Layla was exactly the woman needed.

This is what I love about continuity – it’s your own story, but there are other ideas in the ring that push you towards a different path than the one you might have taken.

There are also the discussions with your editor and the other authors — Jennie Lucas, Trish Morey and Annie West – together we worked out jewels and characters and the fun bit for me will be reading their books and seeing what happens when Xavian and Layla left the building!  Happy reading! I(heart)presents
KATE WALKER

But for me the best stories are where the setting is not just like scenery in a play, a painted ‘backdrop’ to the action. When the setting of a book really works it adds to the tension of the story, the development of the character. And it encloses my hero and heroine in a world of their own. So that’s when Bedouin tent in At the Sheikh’s Command, that snowed in cottage, or the Greek billionaire’s island home all come into their own.
LUCY MONROE - Sheikhs Bartered Bride

THE CHARACTERS: Hakim bin Omar al Kadar is a man driven by honor, duty and loyalty to his family - the Royal Family of Kadar. His duty includes convincing Catherine Benning to marry him. Catherine spent her childhood and teen years as a social outcast because of physical problems she could do nothing about. By the time she was able to alter her appearance, she no longer trusted people, particularly men, enough to pursue her dreams of love and having her own family. She begins the book vulnerable, but she's a strong woman and her growth forces Hakim to look at his own motivations and feelings.


THE SETTING: This book takes place almost equally in Seattle, WA and the imaginary Middle Eastern country of Kadar. I had a tremendous time making up my own Middle Eastern country with its very own Royal Family as well as traditions and customs. And setting parts of the story in nearby Seattle was a lot of fun too.

THE STORY: Hakim is the alpha hero we all dream about. Sexy. Intelligent. Bent on doing what is best for all the people he cares about, including a quickly recalcitrant Catherine. While Catherine learns to trust beyond betrayal and Hakim learns to love beyond duty, they both test the limits of the emotion that simmers between them.

INTERNATIONAL CONTEST - To win a $10.00 gift card, follow the Harlequin Presents Author Blog, come back her and post a comment and leave your email address.  Winner will be announced Januarhy 24th.


Abby Green and her Sheiks

SECRETS OF THE OASIS:

Shocking secrets of the sands!

When she gave herself to Sheikh Salman in Paris five years ago, Jamilah Moreau fantasized about wedding dresses and happy endings. But Salman was driven by desire, not diamond solitaires

Now, Sheikh of a desert kingdom, Salman can have anything he wants and, as Jamilah discovers when he spirits her off to a desert oasis, it’s still her! However, time has wrought changes, and their lovemaking is  longer enough

Something happened back in Paris that had everlasting consequences for both of them




Breaking the Sheikhs Rules is Abby's first sheikh book and I'm reading it at the moment.  Talk about an arrogant man and a sassy Irish redhead lass.

Blurb:

When Sheikh Nadim buys the O'Sullivan stables, Irish virgin Iseult is plunged into a life of glorious sensuality and luxury - for as long as she can obey Nadim's one cast-iron rule: don't fall in love with me...

On January 22nd , please stop over to ROMANCE AUTHOR BUZZ to read my interview with Abby and for a chance to win a $10.00 Amazon card.


Details here

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rescued by the Sheikh - Barbara McMahon - International Giveaway

Meet Author Barbara McMahon

So, what is this gently-bred Southern Belle from the Old Dominion State of Virginia doing setting up housekeeping in the wilds of the California Gold Rush Country? I'll bet you suspect there's a story to be told here. . . .


As so often happens, the quiet, subdued pace of my childhood left me yearning for new places and adventures as I finished my high school years. Hm, let's see, how far away from home can I get on the excuse it's to go to one of the best universities in the nation? How about Berkeley and the University of California? Yes, that ought to do it--very daring.

Talk about culture shock! The university was urbane, sophisticated, and in the midst of social and political upheaval like the world had never seen over the Free Speech Movement. It was an exciting time, but it was also like being on another planet. I know the folks back home watched the news diligently every night to see if their darling, shy Barbara was somewhere out there in the crowd and the teargas, wearing khakis and waving her fist in the air. That wasn't my style, but all of a sudden, I was quite the independent woman.

And, I was just across the Bay from that dream of a city, San Francisco. The quaint ethnic neighborhoods and towering skyscrapers of "the City" had a real effect on me. They made me want to see the whole world! I had dreams of joining the Foreign Service, of becoming a full-fledged diplomat in service to my country.

But in the meantime, what better way for a travel-hungry young college grad to put some miles under her belt than to become an international flight attendant? Now, I had a smorgasbord of wondrous places and experiences set before me--even though some were a bit of a blur because of the jetlag. I developed an affection and an appreciation for places very different from my own. At the same time, I came to understand how much in common we as human beings have, no matter what exotic locale we might call home.

My flying days came to an end when I fell head-over-heels in love and decided the best place to practice my diplomatic skills for the time being was with my new husband and our growing family. But it wasn't easy to settle myself into a nine-to-five day job. I've always been something of a daydreamer, and with all those marvelous places in the world tucked away in my heart, the stresses and restrictions of the work-a-day routine sent my thoughts wandering well beyond my office window at the most inopportune times.

While I could no longer jump on a plane for my Great Escapes, there was an alternative. I began to write. Soon, it became a joyful obsession, and, while the usual demands of family and finances kept me tied to the corporate grindstone, slowly but surely, the books began to take shape. Much to my delight, the books started to sell, dozens of titles to Harlequin Mills and Boon, a dozen more to Silhouette and even a couple to HardShell Word Factory! My latest venture carries me into the world of Harlequin SuperRomance books.

By the time my youngest graduated, an idea had started to take shape for my dear husband and me. I was ready to devote all my time to writing. We were both ready to leave the bustle and stresses of big city urban life, but we didn't want to stray too far from our children and the lives they had created for themselves. We came up with a perfect compromise.

Both of us had always been drawn to California's rugged and pristine Sierra Nevada Gold Rush Country, a few hours' drive from San Francisco. Of course, these days, the picturesque boom towns host visitors from all over the world, but the relaxed pace, the tall, fragrant pines and the glorious mountain air make for a little piece of heaven for my writer's soul. The move was one of the best decisions we ever made.

I still travel to various writer's conferences and signings. Getting to know readers in the process enriches my life in countless ways. My fans are the best!

I also visit family all over the country, particularly since I've developed a curiosity about my family's geneology.

Now and then, the wanderlust still comes over me and I picture myself living a life of cultured leisure in a cozy cottage in the English countryside. So, I sit down at the computer and take myself there for an hour or two, or to the pristine beaches of Hawaii, or even a quick trip Down Under.

But for now, the breathtaking and historic California mountains are very much home.
  Source:  McMahon's website

About Rescued by the Sheikh (Desert Brides)


Riding into the sunset with a sheikh!


When photographer Lisa Sullinger injures herself while exploring alone in the harsh desert of Moquansaid, she thinks it's pretty bad luck. Then a sandstorm strikes!

Handsome, enigmatic Sheikh Tuareg al Shaldor shelters Lisa in his desert tent before whisking her to his stunning, palatial home.

Lisa can't help but fall for Tuareg--but she knows he has built barriers around his shattered heart. Can Lisa dare to dream she might be the one to bring light--and love--back into the brooding sheikh's world?



To win a copy, take a look at this blog and comment on which book you would choose to read.  Post a comment and please leave your email address.  Winner will be announced January 24th.

Meet Loreth Anne White

Meet Loreth Anne White



Loreth Anne White was born and raised in southern Africa, but now lives in Whistler, a ski resort in the moody British Columbian Coast Mountain range. It’s a place of vast, wild and often dangerous mountains, larger-than-life characters, epic adventure, and romance — the perfect place to escape reality.


It’s no wonder it was here she was inspired to abandon a 16-year career as a reporter, features writer, and editor (under the name Loreth Beswetherick) to escape into a world of romantic fiction filled with dangerous men and adventurous women.

When she’s not writing you will find her long-distance running, biking or skiing on the trails, and generally trying to avoid the bears – albeit not very successfully. She calls this work, because it’s when the best ideas come.

Loreth has won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s choice award, is a double Romantic Times Reviewers’ choice award finalist, a Rita finalist, a double Daphne Du Maurier finalist, and multiple CataRomance Reviewers’ choice winner.



The Sheik’s Command


Angel of mercy— or desert temptress?

Aid worker Nikki Hunt only wanted to ask Sheik Zakir Al Arif for safe passage across his war-torn country. She never expected to be taken prisoner by the handsome, secretive sheik. Or to be attracted by
the lust his dark stare set off in her—a lust as hot as the Sahara.

Desperate to thwart a coup, Zakir was forced to hold the beautiful stranger captive—though what he really wanted was to take her to his bed. In close quarters, Nikki and Zakir succumbed to their explosive desire—until an enemy within forced an act of betrayal that could tear them apart forever.…

To save a kingdom, they must conquer love.

Chosen by the Sheikh Contest - International



About Kim Lawrence:

Though lacking much authentic Welsh blood, Kim Lawrence comes from English-Irish stock. She was born and brought up in North Wales. She returned there when she married, and her sons were both born on Anglesey, an island off the coast. Though not isolated, Anglesey is a little off the beaten track, but lively Dublin, which Kim loves, is only a short ferry ride away. Today they live on the farm her husband was brought up on. Welsh is the first language of many people in this area and Kim's husband and sons are all bilingual she is having a lot of fun, not to mention a few headaches, trying to learn the language! She is a keen gardener and cook and enjoys running often on the beach, as living on an island the sea is never very far away. She is usually accompanied by her Jack Russell, Sprout don't ask, it's long story!


With small children, the unsocial hours of nursing didn't look attractive so encouraged by a husband who thinks she can do anything she sets her mind to, Kim tried her hand at writing. Always a keen Mills & Boon reader, it seemed natural for her to write a romance novel. In 1995, she published her first novels and now she can't imagine doing anything else.

About Lynn Raye Harris
 
Lynn Raye Harris is a veteran world traveler and avowed shoeaholic. After a lifetime of military moves, she now plies her pen in Northern Alabama where she resides with her handsome husband and two crazy cats. When she's not shopping for new shoes or the perfect antique for her collection, she crafts stories about sexy alpha warriors and the heroines who bring them to their knees.

Prince Tariq Al Kamal furiously forbids his brother to marry an unsuitable woman. Then Tariq whisks Beatrice away to his desert home where he becomes intent on seducing her. What he doesn't realize is she isn't his brother's intended—she's an innocent who's about to become his bride!


Kept for the Sheikh's Pleasure by Lynn Raye Harris

King Zafir bin Rashid al-Khalifa does not care for surprises. Especially ones that involve the reappearance of his ex, Dr. Genie Gray! Now Zafir has the power to make all the rules—and what he wants is a willing Genie in his bed….

 
International Contest - Offering a copy of Chosen by the Sheik a Harlequin Presents 2 Stories in 1 to one lucky winner.  To win a copy, follow this blog or tell us who is your favorite "sheikh author" and why.  Don't forget to leave your email address.  Winner will be announced January 24th.

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