Blog Tour: Romance in the Rain + Extras

Today, I've got a post that is packed with good stuff! And, fair warning, it's quite possibly the longest post I've ever posted -- but it's worth it. As part of Romantic Maidens' blog tour for a new anthology Romance in the Rain, I've got a review, a guest post, and some pretty neat tour-wide giveaways for you. See? Perfect way to start a Monday!

Since there's so much going on, I'd suggest sitting back and getting comfy, maybe even grab a hot drink, and reading your way through. I'm not going to feature summaries of the stories in my review, since the official media kit does such an amazing job ((and includes excerpts!)), so make sure you read everything. And don't forget to enter the giveaways!

Title: Romance in the Rain (A Seattle Anthology)
Authors: Kristine Cayne, Dawn Kravagna, Charlotte Russell, Sherri Shaw, Clare Tisdale, Marianne Stillings
Publisher: Kristine Cayne
Release Date: October 15, 2012
Pages: 360

From the pioneer days of Seattle through the smoke-filled clouds of WWII and into the present, Romance in The Rain takes readers on a journey with four generations of the strong-willed and passionate Caldwell family. The anthology of six novellas is a collaboration of the Seattle-based Rainy Day Writers group.
Splendor in the Moss by Charlotte Russell—By the spring of 1853 Englishman James Caldwell has traveled thousands of miles in a quest to find a place to call home. Newly settled Seattle isn’t that place and he’s ready to move on again when widowed Mattie Jensen marches into his life as somber as a cloudy day. But James can see through the solemn haze to Mattie’s strength and passion. Now he has a reason to stay, if he can just convince Mattie to take a second chance on love—and him. (22,000 words)

Final Approach by Marianne Stillings—With the world at war, Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Service pilot Lt. Charlene (Charlie) Thompson faces personal battles as well. Pearl Harbor left her a widowed bride, certain love would never come again – but battle-scarred Capt. Joe Caldwell has other ideas for the beautiful lady flyer, if he can just keep her safe from the secret saboteur who's already taken the life of Charlie's best friend. (17,000 words)

Love Phantom by Dawn Kravagna—University of Washington, 1983: A great place to get an education and meet single men. Drama major Kara Caldwell prefers to hide behind the characters in her plays, yet feels pressure to live up to the example set by her brave and witty grandmother, a veteran of WWII. Can she learn to overcome her reticence and prejudices to discover which guy truly cares for her--and who is just putting on an act? (17,000 words)

What’s Wrong with Mr. Perfect? by Sherri Shaw—No sooner did Chef Ivy Turin wish to meet the perfect man than Sam Rockney walked into her restaurant. But is the sexy Seattle quarterback for real or is there something wrong with Mr. Perfect? (17,000 words)

Shelter from the Storm by Clare Tisdale—Seven years and one broken heart later, JD Caldwell returns to Seattle to pick up the pieces of his old life, never imagining he will fall for Maya—the mysterious woman who lets him into her house and bed but keeps the door to her heart tightly closed. When their summer fling takes an unexpectedly serious turn and Maya gives him his walking papers, JD has to decide whether their love—and his legacy—is worth fighting for. (21,000 words)

Aftershocks by Kristine Cayne—When Seattle is struck by a devastating earthquake, technical rescue firefighter Jamie Caldwell must save his estranged wife and daughter from the wreckage of a collapsed building. He's defied the odds hundreds of times, but will his luck finally run out for good? (24, 000 words)


Writing fiction is difficult and lonely and more often than not, the "normal" people in your life don't understand the writing process and can't fathom why you are possessed and obsessed with finding the perfect word or phrase that says exactly what you want to say right where you want to say it. Only other writers comprehend and accept that kind of torment.
To fill this need to surround herself with like-minded obsessive-compulsive self-doubting lunatics, in 2005, Marianne Stillings, who writes Romantic Suspense, established what came to be known as The Rainy Day Writers.

There were only two requirements for joining the group: You must be serious about writing and getting published, and any criticisms of co-members' work be honest, gentle, and kind.
Over the years, the membership has changed; some people moved on, others joined. The group we have now has been stable and constant since 2009. The Rainy Day Writers are a family.

Charlotte Russell joined the group in 2006 at the suggestion of a former member. Charlotte writes Historical Romance.

Dawn Kravagna became a member in the spring of 2007 because of a writers' list where Marianne had posted looking for new members. Dawn writes Comedy and Mystery.

In the Autumn of 2007, Sherri Shaw found her way to the group because she and Marianne happened to sit at the same table at the Emerald City Writer's Conference that year. Sherri writes Historical Romance and Paranormal Historical Romance.

Clare Tisdale joined in 2008 as the result of an email Marianne posted on the Greater Seattle Chapter Romance Writer's list seeking new members. Clare writes Contemporary Romance.

Kristine Cayne found the group in 2009 because she won Marianne's raffle basket at the Emerald City Writer's Conference that year. The basket included an offer to critique the winner's manuscript—an evaluation that resulted in an invitation to join. Kristine writes Romantic Suspense.

For more information on Romance in the Rain and the Rainy Day Writers, visit them at www.seattlerainydaywriters.com

Romance in the Rain Excerpts

Splendor in the Moss by Charlotte Russell
After telling the dog to stay, he steered her away from the Jensens’ cabin, towards the woods to the south. “Thank you.”
“For what?”
“Giving me the time of day. You were gone for such a long while, I wasn’t certain you’d come back.”
“I had to fight my better judgment.”
James laughed. He couldn’t put on airs around Mattie if he tried.

Final Approach by Marianne Stillings
"You were there." Caldwell's voice was quiet as though he were speaking to a timid child. He took a step toward her. "You saw it, didn't you. Didn't you, Charlie?" Another step. And another. Suddenly, he was standing before her and she was standing, too, and his arms came around her as she pressed her head against his strong shoulder and for the first time in a year, she felt safe. Safe enough to relive the agony—and let it go. Safe enough to let someone be strong—so she could be weak. Safe enough—to cry.
And so she did. 

What’s Wrong with Mr. Perfect? by Sherri Shaw
"Somehow I can’t picture you as a nerd.” You’re too perfect, Ivy silently added, fingering the amulet at her throat.  It hummed under her fingertips as the vendor’s words skated across her mind: If you truly want to find the perfect man, and restore your faith in true love, then this necklace will be your good luck talisman.” She dropped her hand, shaking off the crazy notion. It was merely a coincidence that she wished to meet the man of her dreams and Sam showed up. The necklace had nothing to do with it. Right?"

Shelter from the Storm by Clare Tisdale
A shadow crossed the window, and JD looked up in time to see a seagull fly by. Beyond the downtown high rises,  the waters of the Puget Sound lay brooding, glazed by morning mist. Much as JD hated starting over again, he realized that if he had to, he'd rather do it here than anywhere else. Seattle was his home; he belonged here.  Maya and her beach house had helped confirm that for him.

Aftershocks by Kristine Cayne
Adrenaline surging through her system, Erica hung onto the doorjamb as the quake rocked the old courthouse. The building swayed and groaned, windows rattled and shattered as the earth continued to tremble. Cracks raced across the ceiling and plaster dust showered down, covering everything in a thin white film. She’d lived in Seattle all her life but had never experienced a quake as powerful as this one.

And her daughter was all alone.

My Review:
I have a growing affection for anthologies, especially when there's a central connecting thread. Romance in the Rain traces one family as it grows, expands, experiences history and has life-changing encounters with romance. (And the nifty family trees at the end of every story help keep things straight.) From the blurbs and excerpts above, you can tell there's a lot of very different ground covered in the individual stories, but they all link together and are concise stories that explore the deepest - and simplest - facets of human emotions. They'll make you laugh, make you cringe, make you sigh. They may technically be short stories, but there each has a lot of punch on its own -- and when taken together, as part of a "family history" of sorts? Yeah, good stuff. And all of the writing styles work well together, especially since the range of stories are taking place over a span of time, the changes in voice work - adding context and depth to the overall idea. Definitely an anthology that can be viewed as the sum of its parts.

eBook provided by authors for review.

In the spirit of rainy weather, I am now turning the blog over to Marianne Stillings, who is going to share her Top 10 Rainy Day Reads/Movies.
When it comes to rainy days—weather designed for snuggling up with a good book or settling down to a favorite movie—the Northwest offers more than your average share of opportunities. Though I'm an author and I love books, I have to be honest and say that, when it comes to stormy afternoons, I'll invariably choose a movie.
There are two reasons for this: 1) Since I like to crochet, quilt, and embroider, my hands can't hold a book and a needle and thread (or crochet hook and yarn) at the same time; and 2) I love love love old movies—especially British mysteries—and enjoy them even more when I'm cozy and warm inside, while outside, the wind howls and fat raindrops pound the roof and windows.
So without further ado, here are my top ten rainy day movies, in no particular order:
  • AND THEN THERE WERE NONE – 1945 – Based on Agatha Christie's novel of the same name. An old-fashioned keeps-you-guessing whodunit!
  • THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR – 1947 – Great story and very romantic.
  • Any HERCULE POIROT TV adaptation of Agatha Christie's novels, starring the absolutely perfect David Suchet as Poirot. And the period costumes and cars are to die for.
  • Any MIDSOMER MURDERS episode – Produced by BBC, these are complicated murder mysteries that'll keep you guessing.
  • LOVE ACTUALLY – 2003 – A beautiful examination of every type of love, I love it (actually) more and more every time I see it.
  • THE GREAT RACE – 1965 – Fun, funny, feisty, and romantic. I first saw it when I was in high school and have loved it ever since.
  • Any FOYLE'S WAR episode – BBC miniseries based on the novels of Caroline Graham. These Brit whodunits take place in WWII England. Love the period clothing, cars, and well-crafted and complex murder mysteries.
  • DOWNTON ABBEY – Do I really need to explain this one?
  • SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS – 1954 – Energetic musical, fantastic and athletic dance numbers, charming romance(s). Who could ask for more?
  • PRIDE & PREJUDICE – Either the 1995 miniseries with Colin Firth or the 2005 movie with Keira Knightly. Each are fabulous in their own way. The 1995 version, being longer, offers more detail, but the 2005 film is well written and beautifully filmed. Both are intelligently done and very romantic.
Thanks, Marianne! Some of those are on my favorites list as well, and others I may have to look into.

And now, here are the necessary links and details for the tour giveaways. Best of luck, and thanks for stopping by today!
All giveaway ends November 22, 2012 at midnight. Make sure to only enter the giveaway you are eligible for.

Giveaway for US residents only.
Grand Prize:

- 1 autographed copy of Deadly Obsession + SWAG
- 1 autographed copy of Deadly Addiction + SWAG
- The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, by Julia Quinn (autographed copy)
- Blood Trinity, by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
- 1 e-book copy of “Falling Angel” by Clare Tisdale
- 1 handmade shell necklace by Clare Tisdale
- A handmade afghan crocheted by Marianne Stillings
- 1 autographed copy of AROUSING SUSPICIONS
- 1 autographed copy of SATISFACTION
- 1 autographed copy of KILLER CHARMS
- 1 bag of truffles from Seattle Chocolates
- 3 chocolate bars from Seattle Chocolates
- $15 Starbucks gift card
- 1 autographed copy of Cattle Capers: Search For The MooMoo Pearl by Dawn Kravagna

Prize #5: 

- 1 ecopy Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne
- 1 print copy Accidental Cinderella, by Nancy Robards Thompson
- 1 print copy Everything I Know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels, by Sarah Wendell

Prize #6: 
- 1 ecopy Deadly Addiction by Kristine Cayne
- 1 print copy The Angel in My Arms, by Stephanie Sloane
- 1 print copy The Naughty List, by Donna Kauffman, Cynthia Eden and Susan Fox (autographed by Susan Fox)

Prize #7: 
- 1 ecopy Deadly Addiction by Kristine Cayne
- 1 print copy Tsunami Blue, by Gayle Ann Williams
- 1 print copy A Tale of Two Demon Slayers, by Angie Fox (autographed copy)

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Giveaway for both US and International residents.
Prize #1:

- 1 ecopy Deadly Obsession
- 1 ecopy of A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
- 1 ecopy of The Sergeant's Lady by Susanna Fraser

Prize #2:

- 1 ecopy Deadly Obsession
 - 1 ecopy of Unraveled by Courtney Milan
- 1 ecopy of Unlocked, a novella by Courtney Milan

Prize #3:
- 1 ecopy Deadly Obsession
- 1 ecopy of One Night in London by Caroline Linden
- 1 ecopy of Ruined by Rumor by Alyssa Everett

Prize #4:
- 1 ecopy Deadly Obsession
- 1 ecopy of Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase

Prize #8-10:
- 1 ecopy Deadly Addiction
- $10 Amazon or B&N giftcard

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Prize #11 US and International Giveaway

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  1. So glad you enjoyed our stories, Rebecca! Thank you for spotlighting our anthology and best of luck to those enter the giveaway.

  2. Thank you for hosting the Romance in the Rain book tour, Rebecca! The anthology was a lot of fun to work on and I hope that you and your readers will enjoy it. Good luck to everyone entering the giveaways!

  3. These stories all sound great, but if I have to pick one or two that jump out at me it would have to be What's Wrong with Mr. Perfect? I mean, the title says it all! ;) and Aftershocks, that whole rescue thing sounds exciting to me!

    I haven't crotchet in a while, but I used to like to crotchet while watching movies, too. Also, it's great to do on road trips!

    Thanks for the giveaway!