Book Review: Mistress of Merrivale by Shelley Munro


A marriage of convenience…full of inconvenient secrets.

Jocelyn Townsend’s life as a courtesan bears no resemblance to the life she envisioned in girlish dreams. But it allows her and her eccentric mother to live in relative security—until her protector marries and no longer requires her services.

Desperate to find a new benefactor, one kind enough to accept her mother’s increasingly mad flights of fancy, Jocelyn is nearly overwhelmed with uncertainty when a lifeline comes from an unexpected source.

Leo Sherbourne’s requirements for a wife are few. She must mother his young daughter, run his household, and warm his bed. All in a calm, dignified manner with a full measure of common sense. After his late wife’s histrionics and infidelity, he craves a simpler, quieter life.

As they embark on their arrangement, Leo and Jocelyn discover an attraction that heats their bedroom and a mutual admiration that warms their days. But it isn’t long before gossip regarding the fate of Leo’s first wife, and his frequent, unexplained absences, make Jocelyn wonder if the secrets of Merrivale Manor are rooted in murder…

Warning: Contains mysterious incidents, a mad mother who screeches without provocation, scheming relatives, and a captivating husband who blows scorching hot and suspiciously cold. All is not as it seems…and isn’t that delicious?

About the Author:ShelleyMunro_Credit Princess Cruises

Shelley Munro is tall and curvaceous with blue eyes and a smile that turns masculine heads everywhere she goes. She’s a university tutor and an explorer/treasure hunter during her vacations. Skilled with weapons and combat, she is currently in talks with a producer about a television series based on her world adventures.

Shelley is also a writer blessed with a VERY vivid imagination and lives with her own hero in New Zealand. She writes mainly erotic romance in the contemporary, paranormal and historical genres for publishers Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing. You can learn more about Shelley and her books at








My Review:

I am really starting to enjoy a good bit of historical romance. Mistress of Merrivale is written very much like a ‘Jane Eyre’ style, only brought up to date – I know that sounds crazy as it’s historical fiction! I found it easy to read and hard to put down.
From a writer’s perspective (and this is my only criticism) is that Jocelyn is described by both the author, and other characters, as being plain in looks, and to me it doesn’t ring true when you look at descriptions of real-life courtesans. A courtesan was always considered a great beauty and accomplished in some art form. As nice as it is to write about a ‘plain’ lady (and some publishers even demand this in their guidelines now) I much prefer my fictional characters to be at least pretty (I know I’m soooo shallow) I read to escape the mundane, not to be faced with it.

The front cover is lovely and captures the essence, time period of the book – which is really all you can ask.

Overall, I’d give Mistress of Merrivale 4out of 5 stars, a historical romp with heart.

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Book Spotlight: The Rogue Returns by Leigh LaValle


Lady Helen Gladstone has siblings to protect and creditors at her door. There’s only one way to stave off disaster—to find the fabled fortune that her deceased brother buried years ago. Her experience with her lying father and gambling brother has left her able to spot a scoundrel at ten paces. Unfortunately, the scoundrel she encounters is a lot closer than that…and he’s planning to make off with her treasure.
After years of exile, Roane Grantham is eager to begin a new life without the law on his heels. First, he needs gold—his gold, buried one drunken night long ago. But he doesn’t count on a petite, bold-as-brass blonde laying claim to his hoard.
Forming an uneasy alliance, Helen and Roane adventure through the high peaks of England, battling treasure hunters, violent storms, and dangerous terrain. But can they escape the growing passion that lays claim to their hearts?

About the Author: Leigh LaValle Pic

Leigh LaValle lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. When she is not writing, mommying, or reading, she is rarely seen cleaning, and more often found hiking or, when she is really lucky, in the white powder of the ski slopes. She is also a devoted yoga practitioner and instructor.







Interview with Jeannie Ruesch

jeannieTell us about your publishing journey…
I am one of those who knew I wanted to write from the time I was into Fraggle Rock.  I still remember the exact moment I finished my very first story, set my pencil down and ran to share with my parents.  It’s as clear as a picture in my head, and the joy that coursed through me — I’d never felt anything like it.
I wrote constantly until my twenties.  Sadly, I let life intrude in a big way and stopped doing what I so loved.  I went years without writing at all.  The book I’d been writing gathered dust on a shelf somewhere.  I got a degree in computer graphic arts, started on a career in marketing and design, and it wasn’t until my thirties that I realized how much a piece of my soul was missing.  So I sat down and started to write.  I joined RWA and realized there was a lot more to the writing thing than I knew. Rules? Huh.  I took classes, went to workshops, read books, read blog posts, learned as much as I could about the writing craft while working on that story–and it took me about five years.  The story went through massive revisions as I learned, improved and became a better writer.  But I couldn’t give up on it and move on. I had to finish it.  Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00033]
So SOMETHING ABOUT HER was my first completed book, and it was published in 2009 by Wild Rose Press.  When I submitted to them, I was looking for feedback. I’d heard they answered every query they received and I figured it was a great place to get some honest criticism on my book.  I didn’t expect an offer letter. LOL  That book stayed with WRP for two years.  But  I loved the characters and wanted to keep telling their stories, so I needed to take the rights back so I could submit the next book to other publishers.  Wild Rose Press is a wonderful publisher, but I wanted to continue moving forward and growing.
I submitted Cloaked in Danger to Carina Press in August of 2012.  It was a dream come true to receive the phone call from Angela James — a call which I didn’t answer because I was in the grocery store and thought it was a telemarketer– offering for the book.  And here I am, working hard at book number three.
What do you love about being an author?
I love the fact that any minute of any day, I have people running around in my head, trying to figure out their stories.  To me, any moment can be a great plotting moment or brainstorming.  Just a few weeks ago, I missed my exit on my way to work (the day job) because my brain had gone on autopilot driving while the rest of it brainstorming a plucky plot problem.  Not great for my timeliness, but it worked out an issue I’d been struggling with.  A few years back, I sat on a BART train, looking around at the people around me and started imagining who they were, what would happen if the train wrecked and we all had to work together to find a way out. I spent the better part of a boring 45 minute train ride entertaining myself.
What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?
That life is what YOU make of it.  I spent too long when I was young giving other people control over my happiness, over my course in life.  I spent too long thinking that I didn’t have choices, that I was “stuck” in situations that didn’t make me happy because of what others chose to do or not do.  It was a life altering moment to realize that I held all the power in my life, and more importantly, that I had been giving it away.
Sure, sometimes the choices aren’t simple.  Sometimes it’s a matter of choosing between two difficult, painful options — but a choice is a choice. It was always my decision to choose.  Once I realized that, it changed how I lived my life.
 If ‘Cloaked in Danger’ was to be made into a movie – who would you cast as the leads?
I’ve been building a Pinterest board that shows how I envision moments and characters in Cloaked in Danger — from Adam and Aria to Adam’s family:
cloakedindanger_frontpageBut if we’re talking sheer prettiness, Chris Helmsworth very much fits my vision of Adam, and for Aria, the spunky, sun-kissed heroine, the gorgeous Megan Fox comes to mind.
If you could have dinner with a literary character – who would it be and what would you eat?
If I take some creative license with this question, I can say that some of the people in books that fascinate me most are the ones based on real people— ones that might creep others out, actually.  Jack the Ripper for instance.  He’s been a character in many books as many people try to come up with theories and explanations for how he did what he did.   Having one meal in which we could discuss his life —say over a nice chicken dish— would be fascinating.  Unlike so many serial killers, he lived and died not telling the story.  He lives on in infamy, but with a mystery about who he truly was.  My husband finds my fascinations wacky, he wonders how such a nice girl like me can be so intrigued by the dark side of this world, but I am constantly intrigued about the psychology of why people do what they do, good and bad.
Now, if I’m going to go with the strictly fictional character, then I’ll invite Cat-in-the-Hat.  I think he’d be great fun at a dinner party.
You have a time machine…which era would you like to visit and why?
I have always been fascinated by the Elizabethan time frame.  I plan  to write a story in that era, when I can come up with one that feels worthy of it.  But in the meantime, I read whatever nonfiction history books I can find. And some of my favorite historical romance stories are set in that timeframe, the Skye O’Malley series by Bertice Small for instance.  The times were so filled with intrigue, politics, and so much more.  What’s not to love?
What was the last book you read and what were your thoughts on it?
I’m just finishing The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan, the latest in her Brothers Sinister series, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  One of the things I love about Ms. Milan’s writing is how intelligent her characters are, and how she weaves science, law and mathematics into her stories.  If you read her background, she was a scientist as well as a lawyer, and so you can see how much of herself she puts in her books. It’s inspiring.
What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2014?
I stopped making resolutions a few years back.  I found it was a way of saying what I felt I didn’t do well enough the year before and like many people, those resolutions rarely made it past February.  So instead, I started taking stock in all the things I have to be grateful for at the end of each year — the good and the bad.  If it was bad, what had I learned from it?  If it was good, giving those successes their due and truly appreciating them, no matter how small the moment might have been.  I found that starting the new year that way, for me at least, helps me focus on what truly matters in my life and starts each year with a positive, appreciative attitude.
Vampires, what is your preference – romantic heroes or dastardly villains?
I tend to like the brooding, handsome vampires ala Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer still is one of the best written shows on TV IMO) but who doesn’t also love a Vampire LeStat, who was mostly clearly a fantastic villain?
What inspired you to write ‘Cloaked in Danger’?
Cloaked in Danger is my first book that straddles two genres – historical romance and romantic suspense.  These are two that I love to read most, and when I began to plot out this story, I wanted to find a way to bring my two favorite genres to read together and write in them both.  I love the research in historicals, but I also love the edge-of-your-seat suspense found in contemporaries.  And I love the idea of smashing the two together.
For the story itself, it was a matter of taking my hero, Adam, who existed in a previous book and looking for the right kind of heroine for him, one who would challenge who he was — he’s very family-bound, traditional, and very English.  So I found a heroine who had grown up traveling the world in a non-traditional way, one who didn’t blend into the world Adam belongs to, and a woman who is as impulsive as Adam as meticulous about his choices.  It made for fun moments to write.
Where can fans find you online?
My website is at — but most often you’ll find me on Facebook or Twitter:
And on January 27th, I’m having a Release Day Party on Facebook — I hope you’ll all join me there! Guest authors, giveaways, prizes and lots of fun!

Book Review: In Love with a Wicked Man by Liz Carlyle


New York Times bestselling author Liz Carlyle has created a breathtaking new romance about a man without scruples and the lady who brings him to his knees.

What does it matter if Kate, Lady d’Allenay, has absolutely no marriage prospects?

She has a castle to tend, an estate to run, and a sister to watch over, which means she is never, ever reckless. Until an accident brings a handsome, virile stranger to Bellecombe Castle, and Kate finds herself tempted to surrender to her houseguest’s wicked kisses.

Disowned by his aristocratic family, Lord Edward Quartermaine has turned his gifted mind to ruthless survival. Feared and vilified as proprietor of London’s most notorious gaming salon, he now struggles to regain his memory, certain of only one thing: he wants all Kate is offering—and more.

But when Edward’s memory returns, he and Kate realize how much they have wagered on a scandalous passion that could be her ruin, but perhaps his salvation.

About the Author: Liz_Carlyle

A lifelong Anglophile, Liz Carlyle started reading Gothic novels under the bed covers by flashlight. She is the author of sixteen historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina.



Twitter: @lizcarlyle

My Review:

I’m quite new to the historical romance genre and tend to read more paranormal led novels, so found the plot a little slow to get going. With the hero losing his memory, it kind of reminded me of the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse book that sees Eric (lovely, lovely Eric) losing his memory and Sookie’s feelings for him begin to grow.

The theme was kind of ‘love conquers all’ as there were a mountain of metaphorical fences that the main characters had to jump over before they could effectively let go enough to be in love. Edward does have a secret, that you need to read the book to find out what it is, but I must admit I was a bit disappointed with it in the end. There was a lot of build-up, and in the end it was nothing as bad as I had imagined. Although, in saying that, part of me had him as Jack The Ripper killing off rich, but ultimately stupid, debutantes with a hatchet hand-crafted by the Devil himself. That’s what happens when you have a mind as dark as mine! LOL

From a writer’s perspective, the romance was sweet and the build-up was good. Although the amount of romantic clichés made my mind boogle, it was a lovely read. In a world that has lost most of its romance, it’s nice to curl up in a duvet with a box of choccies and a mug of warm milk and let that nasty grey reality slip away for a few hours, at least.

The cover is beautiful and, looking at the author’s other books, all run along a similar theme, which cleverly brands them together and makes them easy to spot.

Overall I’d give ‘To Love a Wicked Man’ 3 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed it as a bit of escapism and really isn’t that what reading is all about?

In Love with a Wicked Man Banner 450 X 169

Interview with Adrienne deWolfe

liesTell us about your publishing journey

I’ve written six published Western Historical Romance novels.  Two of them became #1 bestsellers (Texas Outlaw and Scoundrel for Hire), and 1 of them won the Best Historical Romance of the Year Award (Texas Wildcat.)

As an aspiring Romance author, I was fortunate to be mentored by published authors.  I vowed that I would someday give back to the writing community the way that my published mentors had given to me. That’s why I created my website,

What part of being a writer do you love most?

I love when a character opens his or her mouth and something funny comes out.  You can’t plan humor; it happens organically.  For example, here’s a snippet from Scoundrel for Hire, where the rascally hero (Rafe) is posing as a “Scarlet Pimpernel” type of aristocrat in a deliberate attempt to get under the heroine’s skin: angel

He started to hum, waving his handkerchief in time to the off-key ditty, and Silver gritted her teeth, dragging

him under the circular staircase.

“Must you be such a trial?” she whispered, snatching that

ridiculous linen from his hand. “You’re late. Don’t tell me you spent all this time at the tailor’s, because clearly you did not. Where on earth did you get a chartreuse waistcoat?”

Rafe’s lips twitched as he lovingly smoothed the brocade.

“Rather festive, don’t you think?”

“You don’t want to know what I think.”

 Which part do you hate most?

Waiting up to 6 months to get paid.

If you could be a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

I’d want to be a shapeshifting Cat (of the jaguar/panther variety.) Why? ‘Cause Cats rule! They have 9 lives; they’re thoroughly independent; they’re purr-fectly magical … and men don’t have a clue how to handle them. (Wait a minute. Maybe I’m ALREADY a shapeshifting cat … ) J

Vampires – scary monsters or romantic leads? Which do you prefer and why?

Hmm.  I’m a wee bit torn. Damon and Stephen Salvatore from THE VAMPIRE DIARIES TV series have made me believe that vampires MIGHT make sexy heroes.  But I don’t have any plans to write a Vampire romance.  (Sorry ladies!) When I write, I live through every emotion of my heroines, and I just don’t think it’s sexy or romantic to have my throat slashed open by a panting, red-eyed lover, who wants to suck me dry.

 If you had a time machine, what era would you like to visit and why?

Well, if I could take a battery powered microwave and an immunity to disease with me (I’m way too practical, right?) I’d like to visit a couple of eras:  Medieval England (for the pageantry;) Colonial America (to watch the unfolding of a nation), Antebellum South (to gawk at the plantation homes) and the American Northwest any time before the Westward Expansion (to enjoy uninterrupted nature communion.)

What life advice have you been given, that you wished someone had given you sooner?

“You can choose to be happy on the inside, no matter what is happening on the outside.” How true! But achieving this feat does require you to discipline your mind.  And to stop “indulging” in worry and doubt.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

Scarlett O’Hara, of course! (Uh, I meant I would want to dine with Scarlett, not eat her!) As for munchies during our tete-a-tete:  Scarlett never ate much. She was always so worried about keeping her 18-inch waist. Maybe I could convince her to sip a mint julep with me.

9781614174271_p0_v1_s260x420Who are your favourite authors and why?

Wow! I have way too many to mention. But I’d love to share the books that were my greatest inspirations as a writer.  After reading these 2 books, I knew I wanted to write historical Romance:

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness d’Orczy is probably my all-time favorite historical novel and features romance, secret identities, and plenty of political intrigue.  In fact, you’ll see lots of “Percy Blakeney” in my own rascally Rafe Jones, the hero of Scoundrel for Hire.
  • The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope inspired my love of action-adventure.  You’ll see lots of adventure in my Western Historical Romance series, Wild Texas Nights.

What are you working on at the moment?

  • DarkWind (Book 1, Guardians of Aeld,) a YA Epic Fantasy series.  For a sneak peek featuring Drakkar, the (hilarious) evil mage visit: 
  • Wizards of the Wild West (series.)  To chuckle at the Wizard’s otherworldly sidekick, visit:

Where can fans find you online?

VELVET LIES_Trio_Adrienne deWolfe



Book Review: Velvet Lies series by Adrienne deWolfe


Kentucky belle Seraphina Jones craves a dashing stranger worth kissing. When she spies her handsome, half-naked hired hand at the riverbank, she thinks her dreams of romance have come true. But this Texican is wanted for murder.

Jesse Quaid can’t let Sera’s sweet kisses distract him from rendezvousing with Cass, a childhood friend, to clear his name of a crime he didn’t commit.  But then a case of mistaken identity turns Cass into Jesse’s deadliest rival for Sera’s heart.

Now, Sera must find a way to end the feud before the man she loves is lost forever.

Velvet Lies:




Book 4: DEVIL IN TEXAS (Available 2014)

 About the Author:lies

Adrienne deWolfe is a #1 Bestselling Author and a recipient of 48 writing awards, including the Best Historical Romance of the Year.  She consistently delights readers with sexy, action-packed, western-style romances, including her Wild Texas Nights series and her Velvet Lies series.  In addition, she is the author of the bestselling non-fiction ebook series, The Secrets to Getting Your Romance Novel Published.

Fascinated by all things mystical, Adrienne writes a weekly blog about dragons, magic, and the paranormal at to help her research her upcoming YA Epic Fantasy series.

She also writes a weekly blog with fiction writing tips and advice about the business of writing at  She enjoys mentoring aspiring authors and offers professional story critiques and book coaching services.

Amazon Author Central

Facebook (Writing Novels That Sell)

Good Reads

Twitter (Fantasy Fiction of Adrienne deWolfe)

Twitter (Adrienne deWolfe’s Writing Page)

YouTube Channel (Writing Novels That Sell)

Velvet Lies Series

Wild Texas Nights Series

The Secrets to Getting Your Romance Novel Published (Series)

VELVET LIES_Trio_Adrienne deWolfe


I’ve only just started reading historical romance novels, so really don’t have much to compare to. As I tend to prefer urban fantasy and paranormal romance where the plots are fast paced and the romance is secondary – I really read Scoundrel for Hire with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised by this western romance that still had a few paranormal touches in.

The pace was steady and there were enough twists and turns to keep you wanting to read more. It was humorous and the main characters, although falling into the traditional romance troupes, were witty and compelling. The whole plot kind of felt like a Shakespearean comedy, which was something that drew me in even further.

From a writer’s perspective the prose was flawless and the book neatly drew you from A to B without pressure or boredom. The whole story takes place in quite a short time frame and I think that that aided in its reading ease.

The front cover is a little cheesy for my taste – however looking at the likes of Mills & Boon covers, this is the norm. If I were looking for a book onlin

e or in a bookshop, I’d have passed this one over on the weakness of the front cover – and I would have missed a literary treat!

Overall I’d give Scoundrel for Hire 4 out of 5 stars and recommend to any historical romance reader with a bit of spare time on their hands.


Book Review: Her Wicked Sin by Sarah Ballance


Salem, MA 1692

On a moonless night, he rides into the winter forest on his beast as black as midnight…

Dashing stranger, Henry Dunham, comes to Salem on a mysterious errand, but is thrown from his horse in the dead of night and rescued by the local Puritan midwife, Lydia Colson.

Haunted by her past, Lydia is running from her own dark secrets, avoiding intrusive questions by pretending her dead husband is simply… away. But when she and Henry are caught in a compromising situation, one punishable by Puritan law, he saves her from scandal by claiming to be her errant spouse… and claiming her bed.

Forced to fake a marriage, Lydia and Henry find their passion overwhelming and their vows a little too real. As their lies become truths, a witch hunt closes in on Lydia, threatening not only their burgeoning love, but her life.

About the Author:pib

Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep.

She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids).

When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.

She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly paranormal romance.

Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found on Amazon , Barnes & Noble, Kobo, For the Muse Publishing, and coming soon to ENTANGLED PUBLISHING.



Facebook :


My Review:

I haven’t read many historical romances and, after reading Her Wicked Sin, I’ve  discovered that I’ve really been missing out. It was written in an old fashion style that gave it real credence and felt like I was reading a new classic, rather than a straight modern historical romance novel (I know, how many oxymorons can I get into this post!)

I decided to read it because it was set amidst the Salem Witch trials and it really did capture the tension and fear that must have been felt at that time. Poor Lydia, the protagonist, seems dogged with bad fortune and terrible timing. Worst of all, she’s beautiful in a time when plainness is considered Godly. The Puritan odds are certainly stacked against her, which makes for a romance with a hearty string of tension.

I’ve always had a strange fascination with this time period, which all started when I read The Crucible at school. Her Wicked Sin feels almost like an extension of Arthur Miller’s work and proves how easy it was back then to get into trouble and be accused of something that could literally take your life. All it took was a jealous wife or a wicked child with a grudge with the ear of the town.

The romance is sweet, albeit a little predictable – but hey, that’s okay; in a modern world where romance is like a half-finished roller-coaster, sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of predictability.

The front cover really doesn’t do the book justice and personally I’d have liked to have seen some more markers to show the time period – although a half-naked chiselled man is always a crowd pleaser!

Overall I’d give Her Wicked Sin 4 out of 5 stars – whether you’re a seasoned historical romance junkie or a newbie like myself – read this book.

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Interview with Wendy Lyn Watson



A Perennial Wallflower…

When Mira Fitzhenry’s guardian arranges her engagement to one of the most scandalous lords to ever grace the peerage, all of society is abuzz. After all, the man has left a trio of dead young women in his wake, including his first fiancée. But Mira doesn’t see a killer in Nicholas’s moonlight eyes, and she resolves to find the real murderer before the wedding.

A Gothic Villain…

Expecting to scare the chit away within five minutes of meeting him, scarred and brooding Nicholas, the Viscount Ashfield, is intrigued by Mira’s tenacious resolve to prove his innocence. She’s not put off by his imposing appearance, but his family’s dark secrets mean he cannot let her get close.

As the wedding approaches, Nicholas and Mira grow ever closer, yet so does the danger.Will the truth bring Nicholas and Mira together or tear their love apart?

 About the Author:

Wendy Lyn Watson writes mysteries of all types: contemporary, historical, and cozy. Whatever the time or the tone, her mysteries always feature a dose of humor and a dollop of romance. Her first cozy series, the Mysteries a la Mode, feature the owner of an ice cream parlor in a small Texas town.Watson-PubPhono-Color-200x300

Once Upon a Wallflower, due to be released in August of 2013, is a Regency-set romantic mystery. While Wendy does not commit (or solve) mysteries in real life, she can kill a pint of ice cream in nothing flat. She also enjoys 80s music, Asian horror films, quilting, and vegetarian cooking.

While she was born in Ohio and has called half a dozen states home, she currently lives in a college town in North Texas along with her husband and their three cats (Iphy, Squeak-a-Doodle, and Todd Baryshnikov).

She loves to hear from readers, so find her on Facebook at @wendylynwatsonauthor.


Tell us about your publishing journey…
I found an my agent, Kim Lionetti, through an RWA contest.  She is the one who suggested my voice was right for cozy mysteries, and I sold my first cozy proposal for the Mysteries a la Mode. I never gave up my love for historical romance, though, so it made sense for me to try my hand at historical romantic mystery.  It combines everything I love in one package.  Working with Entangled on this project has been great.  They have given me the freedom to cross genre boundaries in a way a traditional publisher could not.
Who is your favorite mystery writer and why?
No fair! I have so many.  If I had to pick a favorite, though, I would choose Denise Mina. “Deception” is one of my favorite novels of all time.
If you were casting Once Upon a Wallflower,  who would you put in the leads?
Hugh Jackman would make a wonderful Nicholas … his face has character, and he’s got that dazzling crooked smile.  For Mira, I’d cast Isla Fisher.  I love her ability to play ernest, innocent characters.
If you could have dinner with any gothic villain from either literature, movie or real life, who would it be and why?
I know I’m playing fast and loose with the term “gothic,” and I know I should probably pick a guy, but I would love to have dinner with Eli from “Let the Right One In.”  I think she’s a fascinating character, trapped forever in a child’s body, relying on her ability to woo others in order to survive.  Perhaps it’s because the movie focuses so much on the practicalities of being a vampire, but she seems more emotionally complex than most.  I would love to have dinner with her, but I’d be worried that I might become the dinner.
If you had the chance to solve a famous mystery, which would you choose?
I  would love to solve the Zodiac murders. Such a fantastic puzzle, and the letters make it seem like the answer is tantalizingly close.
How do you plot a mystery? Is it different from other novels?
As with other novels, plotting a mystery requires thinking about the narrative arc, the key turning points in the plot and in the journey of the main character.  I personally find it easiest to plot backward. Where do I want to end up?  How do I get there?  Perhaps the biggest difference between plotting a mystery and plotting other novels is the need to plant clues.  True mysteries abide by a rule of “fair play”: the author has to give the reader all the information to solve the mystery on her own . . . without coming right out and spilling the beans.  That means weaving clues into the narrative, a process that requires a great deal of rewriting and editing.
What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
I love a first chapter.  It’s a little terrifying, but coming up with that perfect first line, setting the scene for the rest of the story, and simply having that whole universe of possibility in front of you is also exhilarating.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m really late to the party, but I’m reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
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List of Romance Genres


I just can’t stay away from those lists!

My two top genres are horror and paranormal romance and as I’ve already covered horror genres, I thought I’d do the same for romance. Looking at the list, the explanations tend to be a little obvious, so rather than patronize you with over-blown explanations, I’ve kept it brief and included links to examples where necessary.

Adventure Romance:

Strong hero, even stronger heroine. These face paced and full of danger and can be set anytime and anywhere. Happily Ever After OR HEA is preferred here by most publishers, but as always, do read each publisher’s guidelines carefully when submitting.


Relatively new genre, these are romances with a dash of humor and HEA (happily ever-after ending) is more flexible here. It’s a bit cliched but think Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding.

Contemporary/ Main Stream:

Not to point out the obvious, but this is set in the present and will date quickly. HEA is optional. So many authors and examples here, as they are set in the normal world, with natural human characters.

Dark Fantasy:

This combines elements of supernatural abilities and paranormal creatures. It goes a little beyond the normal sword and magic fantasy romps, but can also have quite serious themes. A good example of this is the WindLegends series by Charlotte Boyett-Compo. HEA here is optional.

Erotic Romance:

Not to be confused with Erotica, Erotic Romance focuses on the development of romantic relationships through sex making it a consistent theme through the story. The sex is not there for titillation sake but should be so bound into the story line that taking it out would ruin the plot. HEA is a necessity here.


Shall I just say it… Fifty Shades of Grey. Although there’s a case that E L James’ novels should be sitting in Erotic Romance, as the main character’s relationship is both cemented and complicated through sex. I personally think that the amount of it required to show this is less that what was shoe-horned in. You’ve also got a lot more license in Erotica to delve into the darker/ more fetish related practices here. A great example of well written Erotica is Liliana Hart’s Erotic Fairy Tale books. HEA is optional, although I think still preferred by most publishers.


Like Fantasy in general there are both saga and political elements involved with this genre. Game of Thrones is a classic example of a good fantasy. When adding this element into your romantic mix though, you have to be careful. It’s a strong genre and can easily over power your romance. It’s kind of like banana in a smoothie, it doesn’t matter what other fruit you put in there, if you throw in a banana – it only taste of banana! HEA is optional.

Futuristic/ Sci-Fi:

Strangely Stephanie Meyer’s The Host comes to mind. Set in the not too distant future, and with a strong theme of ‘love will conquer all’ and an emphasis on the deep love of both family and partners. This is a great genre to really let your imagination run wild. You can create your own world and therefor tailor the situation to the needs of your romance. HEA is not always found in these worlds, but personally I’d always try for it.


I think we’re on the verge of a comeback for Gothic Romance. Often described as brooding and dark, a classic example would be Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Check back at my horror genre list for more info on Gothic Blue Books.


Not hard to work out what these ones are all about, but tread carefully, some time periods are just simply not interesting so won’t appeal to either readers or publishers. Lots of information and authors can be found on Historical Romance Writers.


Novels in this genre centre on characters in the medical profession and even have their own Mills & Boon line. These books reached their peak in the 1960s but still have a place in modern romance, especially if mixed with other genres. Vampire doctors and werewolf surgeons?


Don’t just stick to the obvious on this one. Think sexy assassins and sassy bounty hunters – also don’t be afraid to throw in the supernatural on this one too. Kaylea Cross does this genre justice and she also has some great suspense romances too. Usually a HEA here, or Happily Ever After For Now – again check guidelines.

Mystery/Thriller/ Suspense:

Danger abound in this genre. There’s usually something to solve either a murder or another crime. These can get pretty dark and HEA is optional.


My personal favourite. I love reading them and writing them. They’ve never been so popular and have even morphed into Dark Romance too. The best example, and one of my fav authors, is Keri Arthur, although some of her books also drop into other genres listed here too.

Regency Romance:

The Regency period was between 1811 to 1820 and although strictly a Historical Romance, is so popular that it has a genre all to itself.  For a massive list of books see Regency Reads.


I shy away from time travel in my stories, as its hard to keep a good grip on what’s going on. If you tackle this one you have to be ubber vigilant with your plotting. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is a strong example of this genre.

Urban Fantasy:

So, as per the horror list, this is supernatural elements within an industrial/ town/ city setting. I personally love these as the setting itself makes the paranormal aspect slightly more believable. Lots of examples here, however there’s a really comprehensive anthology aptly called The Urban Fantasy Anthology which would give you a great selection of authors such as: Kelley Armstrong, Holly Black & Patricia Briggs.

Young Adult:

The Young Adult category was introduced in 1983 and includes all the above, but for a younger audience. We’ve spoken a number of times about this genre and of course the most obvious and popular example for this genre is The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer.


There are probably hundreds of more genres for romance, after all, its one of today’s most popular reads. If I’ve missed any off this list, please feel free to leave a comment with the addition, a description and links to good examples.