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January/February 2016 
Welcome 2016!

by Susannah Erwin
  There’s something magical about the start of a new year. It’s a fresh slate, the perfect opportunity to try something new or to cultivate new habits. And if you’ve resolved 2016 is your year to read more romance, why not join a reading challenge* or set up your own?  January may be over, but it's not too late to make your reading goal a reality! 
   A challenge can spur you to read more while encouraging you to explore new titles you might otherwise not pick up. Your challenge can be as broad or as specific as you want. Is romantic suspense your reading catnip? Join others who love the genre at Shooting Stars Review Romantic Suspense Challenge. Do you love Regency or Victorian romance? Passages to the Past is accepting signups for a historical fiction challenge that includes romance.  Are you a contemporary romance addict who would enjoy sharing your passion for sensitive cowboys and sexy billionaires with like-minded readers? Jess of Gone With the Words and Danielle of Love at First Page are hosting the perfect challenge for you. Or would you rather add more bad boys – you know the heroes I’m talking about – to your reading list?  At Delighted Reader you’ll find the Bad Boys of Romance challenge.

Then there are reading challenges not specific to the romance genre, but you can still use them as encouragement to add more romance to your reading life. Is your “to be read” (TBR) pile threatening to spill out of your house or to consume all the memory on your e-reader? Catch up on the books you’ve been meaning to read by joining the YA Book Traveler’s #RockMyTBR challenge. Wendy the Super Librarian is also hosting a TBR challenge, with monthly themes to help you winnow down your choices. Or maybe you’d rather spend your time revisiting old favorites. Belle of the Literati is your host for the Re-Read Challenge. This could also be the year you decide to listen to more romances. If so, HotListens is hosting their fourth annual audiobook challenge. As they say on their website, “There has never been a better time for reading with our ears!”  

If joining an organized, hosted reading challenge isn’t for you, you can still set a reading goal for the rest of the year.  Goodreads members can choose the number of books they’d like to read in 2016, and then use the site to keep track of their progress.  Or you can create your own challenge! Romance author Roni Loren set up “Push Your Boundaries” for herself, and she offers a template for anyone who would like to do the same.

Whether you decide to join a challenge or not, may 2016 bring you lots and lots of satisfying romance to read! Happy reading!
*The challenges discussed are not sponsored or endorsed by and/or affiliated with RWA and/or local RWA chapters.
--  Susannah Erwin lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a very curious cat. Her chapter “Grounded” won the fourth round of the AvonFanLit competition and can be found in the e-novella  A Duke to Remember


Jenna Ives has achieved the milestone of ten published books. Congratulations, Jenna!

Tara Lain’s book Knight of Ocean Avenue placed second in Best Contemporary Romance and fourth in Best Book in the International Rainbow Awards, an annual juried contest honoring all types of LGBT literature. Her book Winter’s Wolf placed third in Best Gay Paranormal Romance and tenth in Best Book. More than 500 entries and 175 judges participated in the event.

Kady Winter's second short story, "Smooth Sledding," appears in the January 25, 2016 issue of Woman's World magazine. 


Manhattan Beach
February 9: Book Launch Party for Beyond the Stars by Stacy Wise at Pages: A Bookstore in Manhattan Beach.  Meet Stacy and hear more about the book, plus enjoy refreshments with a Hollywood twist.  RSVPs are appreciated.  Call 310-318-0900 or email  For more information, please see:


February 20: Find love in the library this Valentine’s season! The Brea Library cordially invites you to attend Love in the Stacks. This free romance writer and reader event will feature eight bestselling and emerging romance authors.

Love in the Stacks will be held at the Brea Library on Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 11 AM – 2 PM and will include two moderated panels, one guest speaker, book signings, book sales and light refreshments. This event is presented by OC Public Libraries, Mystery Inc. Bookstore, and the Friends of the Brea Library. Featured romance authors include: Robin Bielman, Tessa Dare, Judy Duarte, Maggie Marr, Debra Mullins, Jane Porter, Charlene Sands, and Jill Sorenson. This event is free to attend and open to the public, no prior registration is necessary.

The Brea Library is located inside the Brea Civic Center. Free parking is available in the underground structure under the library. Please contact the library at (714) 671-1722 for additional event details.


A Mother for His Adopted Son
by Lynne Marshall

Notoriously cool, calm and always in control, single dad Dr. Sam Marcus is facing every parent's worst nightmare. His adorable adopted son, Dani, has cancer, and Andrea Rimmer is the only woman who can help.  As Andrea treats his son, Sam sees the warmth and compassion behind her independent exterior. Can he prove to Andrea that she's the only mummy for Dani, and that together their family is a perfect fit?


Wild Games
by Mila Rossi


Despite warnings of annoying mosquitos and beastly spiders, Becca Glover couldn’t be more excited about her expedition to Costa Rica. Rooming with Matt Ritter, however, is an inconvenience she doesn’t see coming. Hot temperatures, wild animals and a shared tree house are just the beginning of Becca and Matt’s obstacles. The real challenge lies in surviving each other.


Bride by Chocolate 
by Alexis Lusonne Montgomery 

When not-so-sweet sabotage strikes Bebe Waterston’s gourmet chocolate factory, things look hopeless. After sacrificing her personal life to prove she can run the family business, she’ll do anything to save it—including accepting help from San Francisco’s high society “Prince Charming" Sam Sugarman. As danger escalates, the mismatched duo tangles in and out of the bedroom. With a benefit gala and the fast-approaching, day-of-love deadline, they’ll need more than the gold-foil delicacies destined for a bride by chocolate.



Killer Magic:
8 Tales of Mystery and the Paranormal

by Pamela DuMond, Carol Nelson Douglas, Angie Fox, Carolyn Haines, Joanne Pence, Connie Shelton, Harper Lin & Denise Dietz


Escape with KILLER MAGIC to worlds where anything can happen. 

Eight bestselling, award-winning authors take you to lands of spell-bound mystery and romance, fantasy and the paranormal. Ghosts, magical cats, time-travelers, witches, legends brought to life, and paranormal investigators fill these enchanted pages (7 full novels and a 5-story anthology). 



Libbie Bride of Arizona
by Linda Carroll-Bradd


On her own for the first time, tomboyish Libbie Van Eycken accepts a mail-order proposal and travels across country to find a place to call her own. Arizona rancher Dell Stirling needs a wife but didn’t count on the eccentric creature that brings chaos in her wake.


Marriage: Impossible 
by Ava Blackstone

SEAL Sean Patterson didn't mean to marry his best friend's sister. But when he wakes up in a Reno honeymoon suite with a platinum band on his ring finger, and a mostly naked Keri in his bed, he knows the attraction finally burst out of control. Keri MacKinnon has had a crush on Sean since he rescued her from imaginary pirates when she was six. But as her crush blossoms into love, she must convince Sean to trust her with what really happened on the battlefield, or their make-believe marriage won’t ever grow into the real thing.


Tough Justice #3 Burned
by Carol Ericson


She burned Moretti…now it's his turn.

Destroying Moretti was Special Agent Lara Grant's biggest coup, but she paid a heavy price to make the bust. She'll do anything to keep him—and her secrets—behind bars. But Lara knows he's playing the FBI like a maestro even from jail. So when her boss's daughter is kidnapped, it's personal…and not just for Lara.


Tough Justice #6: Ambushed
by Carol Ericson


A sinister surprise is lying in wait…

With her trusted team all focused on getting justice, Special Agent Lara Grant is relieved to finally see some progress, even if their investigation has now turned to delving into some gruesome events from over twenty years ago.

An exhumation is necessary to unravel all the knots of this case, but Lara is surprised by how close their quarry is… In fact, he's just one step ahead, almost teasing them by how near he is…



Dead Wolf Walking 
by Veronica Blade


When a tragic death triggers Autumn and Zack’s worst fear—pursuit by dangerous werewolves—they escape to a safe house. But within the walls of the refuge, an even greater menace looms. Under the reluctant protection of a vampire king, Autumn and Zack are targeted by a palace full of vamps out for revenge against vampire-killing werewolves. 

With werewolves hunting them and vampire rebels out for their blood, Zack and Autumn need each other more than ever.  Each secretly dreams of finding a way to be together—if they can stay alive. 


Tackling the Tight End, Books 3: Long Pass Chronicles 
by Tara Lain


Everyone wants the best for SCU student and tight end Raven Nez—and they know exactly what that is. Enter the NFL draft, become a big football hero, promote his tribe’s casino, and make a lot of money to help people on the reservation. Just one problem. Raven’s gay and he really wants to work with gay kids. Then the casino board hires a talented student filmmaker to create ads for the tribal business and asks Raven to work with him. Is there a chance for “the great red hope” and the “whitest guy on earth?"

A future for the serpent and the raven?



Hidden Fortune - An Erotic Romance Novella
by Laura Sheehan


Ava has always played it safe, but after a midnight run-in with a handsome stranger, she discovers that perhaps fortune favors the bold. Can she find the courage to seek the ultimate treasure? 



The Ballad of Jack O'Dair
by Linda O. Johnston

Present day folk singer Jessie Jerome is haunted by the beginning of The Ballad of Jack O’Dair, about an Alaskan lawman in Gold Rush days. Determined to learn the ending—and whether Jack died in an avalanche—she travels to Alaska and is shocked not only to hear more of the ballad but to be transported back in time to the Gold Rush. She’s even more shocked to actually meet the real Jack O’Dair—and falls for the strong, sexy man who will stop at nothing to enforce the law and protect people, as well as ensure supplies can reach those searching for gold. But if she finally hears the end of his ballad, will she be transported back to her own time? More importantly, will Jack survive? And can she live without him? 


A Too Convenient Marriage
by Georgie Lee

Late one night, Susanna Lambert, the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Rockland, bursts uninvited into a stranger's carriage, turning both their worlds upside down. Suddenly, fun-loving Justin Connor finds himself forced to consider marriage.

For Susanna, marrying Justin is a chance to finally escape her cruel stepmother and forget about the rake who ruined her. But as wedding bells begin to chime, Susanna discovers she's carrying a huge secret…one that could turn to dust all promises of happiness as Justin's wife!


Tattooed As Trouble
by J.L. Hammer

Raegan Storm witnessed a double murder and enters the Witness Protection Program in exchange for her testimony. With her life on the line, the last thing she expects is to lose her heart to the mysterious, handsome Quinn Bronson, the U.S. Marshal protecting her. Driven by honor, Bronson rescues Rae from threats time and time again, but fighting off hit men is easier than ignoring his attraction for the one woman he should never desire: the witness. As danger presses in, neither knows who they can trust, and their forbidden love could be what destroys them. 


Beyond the Stars
by Stacy Wise

College-student Jessica Beckett should be spending her junior year in France, eating pastries and sharpening her foreign language skills, but instead she’s stuck babysitting Jack McAlister, Hollywood’s hottest heartthrob. He’s private, prickly, condescending—and makes it very clear he doesn’t want a personal assistant. Sparks fly as they push each other’s buttons, and soon Jessica is wondering if a sexy, successful guy like Jack could ever find love with a regular girl like her. 


The One Who Got Away
Edited by Kristina Wright

Long lost love . . .how hot can that be? We all have that One, the one who got away. This luscious Cleis Press collection of second chance stories celebrates longing and loves that, whether by fate or by design, are at last requited and fulfilled. 

Mia Hopkins's story "Proof" is about a French-Canadian baker who is reunited with his old flame, a pastry chef from Los Angeles. Tasked with making desserts for a ball following the Academy Awards, these two bake up something sweet, hot, and wickedly delicious.  

Copyright © 2016 Los Angeles Romance Authors, All rights reserved.

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This issue we have TWO fabulous prizes!

The first giveaway is sponsored by Jewel Quinlan and includes a $25 Amazon e-gift card 
and a paperback of She's Got It All.

The next prize is sponsored by Mia Hopkins and includes a $25 Amazon e-gift card and an e-book of the novella Cowboy Valentine, Book 1 in the Cowboy Cocktail series.

And the winners are:

Marcy B:
She's Got It All  

Betsy C:
Cowboy Valentine

This month's prizes:

She’s living her dream, not knowing she’s stolen someone else’s… 

For Kayla Cross, getting a job as a DJ at legendary club Grace in Ibiza is a dream come true. She left everything behind in order to give it her all, and she finds it’s going to take far more than the level of confidence she has in order to pull it off. 

Lex Granger thought the job was his. But it wasn’t. And not getting the DJ job means another season of bartending, and watching longingly as others play on stage. When his boss orders him to make Kayla feel at home, he almost rebels. But his need to pay bills wins over his emotions. He resents his competition but can’t help being affected by her sunny disposition, talent, and long, lean form. Walking the line between admiration and envy can be agony...


Small-town life is nothing but a waiting room for eighteen-year-old honor student Corazón Gomez. Work and school leave little time for love, but with a full-ride Ivy League scholarship and a one-way ticket out of the boondocks, who needs it?

The answer appears on Valentine’s Day when her old cowboy crush Caleb MacKinnon invites her to go on a late-night ride in his truck. For the first time she wavers between staying on the straight and narrow, and going off-road with the handsome heartbreaker.

They both know this blazing-hot love affair can’t last. But when autumn comes and Cora has to leave for the East Coast, Caleb must find a solution to keep himself—and his heart—from falling apart.

Book 2 in the Cowboy Cocktail series, Cowboy Resurrection, is available for pre-order now and will be released on March 15, 2016.


Meet this month's sponsors:

Restless by nature, Jewel Quinlan is an avid traveler and has visited 16 countries so far. Lover of ice cream, beer and red wine she tries to stay fit when she’s not typing madly on her computer concocting another tale. In her spare time she likes to do yoga, hike, learn German and play with her spoiled Chihuahua; Penny. It is Penny’s mission in life to keep Jewel from the keyboard. But, with the help of dog-chew-making-companies, Jewel has been able to distract her canine companion and continues to get thousands of words on the page for your enjoyment.


Mia Hopkins writes lush romances starring fun, sexy characters who love to get down and dirty. She's a sucker for working class heroes, brainy heroines and wisecracking best friends.

When she's not lost in a story, Mia spends her time cooking, gardening, traveling, volunteering and looking for her keys. In a past life, she was a classroom teacher and still has a pretty good "teacher voice" and "teacher stare."

She lives in the heart of Los Angeles with her roguish husband and two waggish dogs.


All current Romance Insider subscribers are eligible for our drawing. The winner is chosen randomly by selecting a number via The winner will receive an email with more details from the newsletter editor soon after newsletter delivery.
The Romance Insider is a joint venture between the Los Angeles and Orange County Romance Writers of America chapters, and features reader-oriented news and information.

Information for this publication is compiled from the LARA and OCC RWA newsletters. If you have a question, please email it to

The deadline for the next issue is February 23.

Chandra Years, Jan Moran

Louella Nelson

Robin BielmanPamela DuMond

Tyree Pace

Kristin Rockaway

Maggie Marr (LARARWA President), Nikki Prince (OCC RWA President),  Debbie DeckerTara LainMaria Powers

Learn more about LARARWA.

Learn more about OCC RWA.

Learn more about RWA SD.