Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Here's to a great 2010! I'm off to the party store to get one of those giant champagne balloons. Hope everyone has a fun, festive and martini-ish holiday (I will be serving mango martinis and peach martinis! Yum!)


Monday, December 28, 2009

Penelope Has Left The Building!

I am officially on vaca until the little chickies go back to school, on Jan. 4. In the meantime, I will be hiding in the bathroom with my NEW KINDLE!!!!! Yes, my husband surprised me on Christmas morning with a kindle, and hot diggity damn, it rocks. Unfortunately, my romance addiction is steadily growing worse with this enabling device. My husband actually uttered these words...."Uh oh. I think I've created a monster." Hee hee...he's such a worrier!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Carpathian Christmas, Anyone?

Nothing says Christmas quite like gingerbread cookies, twinkling lights, and an alpha male Carpathian rocking his lifemate's world. Seriously. I have a lot of Christmas romance novels I like to re-read for the holidays, but for some reason my favorite is Dark Celebration by Christine Feehan. This book is really only for long-term Feehan fans who have been following the Dark series since the beginning. It is really cool to see old favorite characters come together in the Carpathian mountains for a celebration. I love that Feehan revisits Syndil and Barack, who were only secondary characters in the other stories. There is a lot of humor in this novel, and even a section with Dark Desserts at the end! My favorite part of this book is the beginning of the love story between Skyler and Dimitri. I love the scene where Dimitri puts his wolf pendant around Skyler's neck, and for the first time, we get a sense of the sensual and loving woman she will become, in spite of the horrible childhood abuse. Shea and Jacques are also old favorites, and the ending of this story (when Shea finally delivers her baby) is a joyous occasion for their people. If you are a Feehan fan and have not yet read Dark Celebration, put it on your Christmas list, pronto!

Isabel Roman, fellow romance writer (who must have made a deal with the devil to get such gorgeous covers for her books), is interviewing me today at her blog. Please stop by and say hello!

Perkily yours,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Trash Talking Gingerbread and a Rockin' Review

Happy Only 3 Days Till Christmas! :)

Today I am guest blogging at Book Chick City, discussing my family's somewhat unorthodox tradition of a trash-talking gingerbread house competition. BCC is giving away a free copy of Sweet Inspiration to one lucky commenter. Please stop by!

Also, I laughed out loud this morning reading a new review for my novel from The Romance Studio. Here's a snippet...

"What a sweet Christmas treat!...This scrumptious tale was realistic yet fantastical...All the delicious characters were wonderfully developed. Fabulous dialogue kept me laughing out loud...I never really was hot for Santa but those Klaus brothers really cranked my Christmas tree; I didn't need a mug of hot chocolate to warm me up although I'm sure Nicholas could do wonders with whipped cream and sprinkles. I'm hooked on this series and cannot wait to read the next installment. It has been a few days since I finished reading this magical tale and I'm still grinning from ear to ear."
--Theresa Joseph, The Romance Studio, 5 stars

Thanks, Theresa! Glad the Klaus boys cranked your Christmas tree (geez, I love that line!).

Feliz Navidad,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Beard of the Day

Hee hee hee....I just couldn't help myself.

Anyway, here are some announcements for the week:

Review for Sweet Inspiration at Seriously Reviewed (rating: 19/20): "....a holiday story you just can't afford to pass up..."

Review for Sweet Inspiration at Got Romance Holiday Reviews (5 candy canes!): "...a wonderful book to sit down with on a cold winter's night..."

Review for Sweet Inspiration at Book Chick City (rating: 6/10): "...a lovely Christmas read!"

Coming up this week....

Guest Blog and Giveaway at Book Chick City, on Tuesday Dec. 22!

Interview at author Isabel Roman's Blog, on Wednesday Dec. 23!

December 24: Santa makes deliveries.

December 25: The kids wake up at the crack of dawn pinging off the walls. Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Recent Reading Highlights

I think I've read about 100 books in the last couple of weeks. I have been re-reading old favorites (loads of Julie Garwood historicals and Stephanie Lauren's books, too). I have also read some first-timers. Here are a few highlights....

Naked Dragon by Annette Blair: First time read. Will be released January 5. The hero of this book is Bastian, the dragon, and his not-quite-there grasp of the English language is absolutely hilarious. He totally reminds me of Fabio, the Italian contestant from Season 5 Top Chef, who was always butchering the English language. Charming, magical story, and I will post a longer review soon.

Seduce Me At Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas: Re-read. I am totally digging the whole gypsy thing going on with this series. I love Kev's big, brooding, possessive sexiness. Highlight of this book....when Kev "kidnaps" his bride, ties her up, and hauls her off on his horse, then seduces the hell out of her on their "wedding" night. Yippee for gypsies!

Lady Thief by Wend Petzler: First time read. I haven't read a lot of 12th century romance novels. Eiry is a kick-ass heroine who dresses in men's garb, steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Sound like anyone you know? Robin Hood shows up in this story, too. Fun!

Lion's Lady by Julie Garwood: Re-read. This is the most under-rated of Julie Garwood's historicals, in my not so humble opinion. She combines Native American history with Regency England stuffiness. Christina is one of the most original heroines I have ever read, and I adore her relationship with her "lion"--Lyon, Marquis of Lyonwood. Sexy, great story. Julie Garwood for President! :)

The Sins of Lord Easterbrook by Madeline Hunter: First time read. Woa, Nelly. I LOVE this book. It is lush and exotic and Christian the hero is dark and mysterious, and the sex scenes are absolutely sizzling hot. I am seriously on board the Madeline Hunter boat.

Dark Legend by Christine Feehan: Re-read. Gabriel's story. This is a really great Carpathian novel. I get sort of sick of the human heroines who are all "Oh my God, you're a vampire! I won't give up sunlight, or chocolate, or suck your gross blood!!!!!" Francesca, the heroine of this book, is also an ancient Carpathian, so we get to skip that whole irritating thing. And Skyler, the horribly abused adopted daughter of Gabriel and Francesca is introduced in this book. I am DYING for Skyler and Dimitri's book already. Hurry, Christine, write it, please!!!!!!!!!

Morning Glory by LaVryle Spencer: First time read. What kind of name is LaVyrle? Do you think that's for real? Anyway, my friend Vicki made me read this book, and even though it's not my normal sort of read, I loved it. Religious zealots, war-time trauma, poverty, and even a murder thrown in for good measure. This book has a little bit of everything, but mostly it is just a sweet and loving romance. Thanks, Vicki. Now I get the hype about this book. :)

All About Love by Stephanie Laurens: Re-read. I forgot how good this book is. It's the last man standing, Lucifer's story (the last unmarried Cynster male of the original Bar Cynster). There is a great pirate-y scene in this book, where Lucifer catches Phyllida rummaging through his house in the dead of night, and slices her clothes off with a big old sword. And then has his wicked way with the starry-eyed virgin. Oh, Stephanie, you definitely had your mojo going on with this one!

I am stoked for Santa's visit....I ordered myself three of Alissa Johnson's stories (As Luck Would Have It, McAlister's Fortune, and Tempting Fate) which my children will be wrapping for me "from Santa"--ho, ho, ho!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Parade at The Romance Readers Connection

The Romance Readers Connection blog is hosting a Christmas Parade this week. Today I'm there discussing the animated film Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town, narrated by Fred Astaire. This adorable children's film was a major source of inspiration for my holiday novel. Stop by and say hi if you get the chance!

Sweet Inspiration was also reviewed by TRRC. Here's a snippet from Rista Tompkins' review...

"....This is a fabulous Christmas novel! I loved the sexy dynamic between Nicholas and Lucy. Their sexual attraction was palpable and intriguing. The fantastic world and politics of the North Pole is wonderfully described, and the characters are lovable. I hope that Penny Watson will write more stories about the other four brothers of Nicholas, and am anxiously awaiting those novels! This is well worth a second read, and is perfect for a cozy afternoon of reading in front of the fireplace. Rating: 4.5"

Please check out this link for the entire review!

Ten days till Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Morning Madness!

The promo roller coaster continues! I am being interviewed today at Outlandish Dreaming. Please stop by this awesome romance site and leave a comment... Julie's good friend Kate (who owns Aunt Cake's Cookies) will be whipping up a batch of holiday cookies for one lucky visitor.

Also, some wonderful authors from the New England Chapter of the RWA are hosting me at their site, The Moody Muses. This is a great writer's blog for anyone dealing with the up's and down's of the romance industry. Stop by and say hi! (You can also check out their Sexiest Men of 2009 Poll....hee hee!).

And, in keeping with the "Madness" theme, I am currently re-reading The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie....Holy Mother! I forgot how incredible this book is! Another huge winner of 2009.

All My Best,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Beard of the Day

Happy, Happy Friday! Woo hoo! I finished all 14 interview and blogs. I finished a huge chunk of Christmas shopping. The fake tree is up, and the gingerbread dough is chillin' in the fridge. And I am looking forward to a strawberry martini with the Quirks this weekend. :)

This is one of my favorite photos of all time. The beard is scrum-diddly-icious. And just look at that bod! Swooning.....oh, Eric Bana, you are the man. 

I have been reading the equivalent of "comfort food" this all of my favorite Stephanie Laurens books, as well as my favorite Julie Garwood historicals. I also have a couple of reviews coming up soon....for Wend Petzler's Lady Thief, and for Annette Blair's Naked Dragon (both great reads). 

Hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Crazy Ass Schedule

Okay, here's the crazy ass schedule for this week. Ten blogs/interviews done, four more to go! I think I'm going to curl up in the fetal position under the Christmas tree and sleep for a month when the promo for Sweet Inspiration is over!

Mama Writers Blog Post: I wrote a blog about my 7 year old daughter's romance novel, A Bride In The Marriage!!

The Thrillionith Page: Interview with Carolyn and Contest/Giveaway...stop by and leave a comment!

Phoebe Jordan's Interview (12-8) and Guest Blog (12-10): On her Talk About My Favorite Authors Blog

Also, I just read a great book by Wend Petzler, called Lady Thief, which I will be reviewing shortly. Robin Hood makes a guest appearance in this book! So awesome! Roooooooooo-bin!!!!!!!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Penelope's Top 20 List for 2009!

Time for an end of the year wrap-up! Note: Not all of these books were published in 2009, but I read them in 2009. In no particular order.....

1. Most Unexpected Romance Novel: Following the violence-ridden book Hidden Currents, I was totally wary of Christine Feehan's Dark release this year, Dark Slayer, the story of Ivory and Razvan. After nineteen books of alpha-male Carpathian vampires dragging their mates kicking and screaming to the dark side, Feehan gives us a beta-male hero. Unbelievable. I loved him, and I loved this book. Here's the review.

2. Most Excellent Dog Scene In A Romance Novel: I think I've probably re-read the pug scene at the end of A Duke Of Her Own by Eloisa James about 30 times. The image of Villiers cradling the injured pug Oyster in his hand is incredible. Here's the review.

3. Most Kick-Ass Action Sequence In A Romance Novel: The final climatic scene in Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost is so ridiculously fantastic, I laughed out loud reading it. Bones walking down the middle of the highway to rescue Cat, in the midst of smoke, explosions, shattering glass...he is one amazing Bad Ass. That scene rocks. Here's the review.

4. Book That Made Me Laugh My Ass Off The Most: Steve Kluger's Almost Like Being In Love: A Novel. There are so many funny things in this book, I couldn't begin to list them all. Kluger is brilliant. I look forward to reading more of his work. Here's the review

5. Best Martini: The mango martini at Gauchos Churrascaria Brazilian Steak House in Portland, Maine. Damn, it goes down smoooth. Very nice. I was so impressed with this martini, I mixed up a batch, wrapped my martini shaker in a towel, popped it into my bike basket, rode down the block to my friend's house, and made her and her husband try the damned thing. At 3:00 in the afternoon. Smoooooth. Check out the recipe here.

6. Most Nerve-Wracking Anticipation While Reading A Romance Novel: Hands down, A Witch's Beauty by Joey Hill. I thought I was gonna puke worrying about David's fate. That book was seriously intense and I adored Mina, the heroine. Here's the review.

7. Best Romance Novel With No Sex: Hee hee heeee heeeee. I'm not sure I actually realized there are romance novels without sex, but sure enough...there are! Pumpkinnappers by Linda Banche, a sweet Halloween-y tale, was fun and festive. Cute! :) Here's the review.

8. Best Little Known Author: Alissa Johnson, who wrote the novella Traditions in A Christmas Ball, reminds me a little bit of Amanda Quick. Her voice is funny, romantic and totally satisfying. Can't wait to read more of her stories. Here's the review

9. Biggest Crack-Dealing Blogger Turning The Masses Into Mindless Addicts: Mandi, from Smexy Books. And she is not ashamed.

10. Most Absurd Premise For A Romance Novel: I was struck speechless reading Eloisa James' An Affair Before Christmas. The whole "Big Misunderstanding" causing the collapse of the H/h's marriage is the wife's lack of libido in the bedroom. Turns out it's because her hairdo is really, really itchy and uncomfortable. :0 The great thing is, this book is so cute, I still really enjoyed it! Go figure. Here's the review.

11. Best Farcical Scene In A Romance Novel: Julia Quinn is proof-positive that you don't actually need a story, a real conflict, or any other of those irritating things in a romance novel. Sheesh. What Happens In London is a fluffy bit o' fun and romance. The scene in the library when Sebastian is reading the gothic novel, with the Russian prince, his body guard, the butler, a handful of ladies maids and the hero all mesmerized by the tale, is absolutely hilarious. I love a good farce, and Quinn knows how to dish it out. Here's the review.

12. Biggest Disappointment: Mary Balogh's Then Comes Seduction and Seducing An Angel were not all that angelic. Christine Feehan's Burning Wild was burning with boredom. But the biggest disappointment of the year was the less than stellar end to the Bastion Club series, Mastered By Love by Stephanie Laurens, which was clearly less than masterful. Sigh. I get sad when my favorite authors lose their mojo.

13. Most Embarrassing Moment of Blubbering While Reading A Romance Novel: While reading Annette Blair's Larceny and Lace, a light paranormal mystery with romantic elements, I cried not once but twice! Jesus H. Canola, the "L" tat on my forehead just keeps growing bigger and bigger. Blair does an extraordinary job adding sweetness into this fun, snappy mystery. Here's the review.

14. Favorite Lines Of 2009: No contest, Steve Kluger's Almost Like Being In Love is hysterical. Here's one of my favorite snippets from this book....

Gordo: ...Travis, if you'd taken Trig with me like I asked you to, you'd know by now that it doesn't matter if you like boys instead of girls because the formulas are all the same.

Travis: I never said I like boys!

Gordo: Ever beat off to Penthouse?

Travis: No.

Gordo: Ever collect baseball cards?

Travis: No.

Gordo: How old is Barbra Streisand?

Travis: 36. Three weeks ago.

Gordo: What do you need -- a fucking blueprint?

15. Best New (To Me) Paranormal Series: Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress Series. Oh. My. God. Soooooooo good. Absolute deliciousness. Just goes to show, the market can handle another vampire series, as long as it's rockin'.

16. Best "Beauty and the Beast"-Themed Romance Novel: This is one of my favorite themes in romance. And Elizabeth Hoyt's To Beguile A Beast is spectacular. Sir Alistair Munroe has been horribly disfigured after being tortured as a prisoner of war. He has only one eye. And Elizabeth Hoyt still makes him an amazingly sexy and appealing hero. God Bless that woman. Here's the review.

17. Scariest Sounding Romance Novel That I Didn't Read: Hideous torture, rape, human trafficking....uh....doesn't sound so romantic to me. After reading the outraged reviews on Amazon, I decided to skip Hidden Currents by Christine Feehan since I like to sleep at night without having nightmares about my favorite characters being abused beyond comprehension.

18. Best Heroine of 2009: Honorable Mention goes to Eleanor from Eloisa James' A Duke Of Her Own. She is soft, and hard, and sensual, and intelligent, and honorable, and every inch a duchess. Loved her. But the number one heroine of the year goes to a young woman who started out as a fluff-bunny, hanging out by the pool, painting her nails, and shopping for trendy clothes. Karen Marie Moning has transformed Mac from Dreamfever into a sleek, powerful, determined, compelling heroine struggling with life and death and the end of the world as we know it. No more pink nail polish for Mac. Holy Mother, Mac rocks.

19. Best Hero of 2009: This is a toughie!!! Honorable Mention goes to Sir Alistair Munroe from Elizabeth Hoyt's To Beguile A Beast, Bones from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series, and Preacher from Robyn Carr's Shelter Mountain. However, I have to give credit where credit is due. Jennifer Ashley took a mentally-challenged man, suffering from Asberger's Syndrome, who has been incarcerated in an insane asylum, and made him a fascinating, sexy, completely unique and heroic character. Bravo! Ian Mackenzie of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is my favorite hero of 2009.

20. Best Romance of 2009: I loved a lot of books this year. But one stood out for me. Dreamfever is my number one book of 2009. Karen Marie Moning has surpassed her Highlander books with this new Fever series. Her writing is absolute magic. Mac, Barrons and the entire cast of supernatural beings are riveting. The mastery of first person POV is truly impressive. The world-building is mesmerizing. And, unlike some other whiners, I actually like the cliffhangers. This book was worth the wait, and I have complete faith that KMM will make Shadowfever an incredible end to this exemplary series.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Contest Winner!

Congrats to Mary, from Bookfan, for winning the snowman ornament give-away! Thanks so much for all of the good wishes and support this week. I am feeling very blessed to have so many awesome friends and family. Mary, please email me at with your address/phone number so Crate and Barrel can ship you the cute ornaments.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Release Day Is Finally Here!

Hallelujah! Release day is here! On March 25, I got the most awesome email ever, from Donna Bas at The Wild Rose Press, telling me they were interested in publishing my first novel. I can't believe the day has finally arrived. Sweet Inspiration is now available for purchase! Yee haw!

Many, many thanks to all of my awesome friends, family, critique partners, fellow bloggers, neighbors, and even the little old lady who lives across the street! I feel the Christmas spirit in the air! :)

To celebrate release day, I'm giving away these cute snowmen ornaments from Crate and Barrel to one lucky commenter! (I absolutely love Christmas ornaments. I might have a wee little problem over-shopping for holiday decorations).

Here are some other fun spots to visit...
Outlandish Dreaming:4 star review (this is a great romance review site!)
The Quirky Ladies (my awesome critique group)

For those of you who have missed my shameless self-promotion over the last eight months, here's a blurb for the book....



What if the legend of Santa Claus is in fact, true?  What if Santa has five big strapping sons who help him run his empire?  Five single, sexy sons looking for romance...

Nicholas Klaus is a master pastry chef, a strict disciplinarian, and the eldest son of the legendary Santa Claus. One look at café owner Lucy Brewster sends him into an unexpected tailspin of lusty desires. When Lucy is injured, Nicholas makes a decision that catapults both of their lives into turmoil ....

Lucy Brewster, the free-spirited proprietor of Sweet Inspiration, has a flair for concocting sugary confections but no time for adventure.  She gets more than she bargained for when she awakens in the North Pole...rambunctious elves, a fitness-obsessed Santa, and the man of her dreams.  Does she have what it takes to become the next Mrs. Klaus?


And, for your reading pleasure, here is an excerpt....Merry Christmas to all and to all, a Happy Release Day! 


Nicholas carefully folded his coat over the back of a café chair and watched Lucy giggle with the children, as the puppy (lucky bastard) licked her face like an ice cream cone.  He could barely contain his irritation.

            First of all, a dog had no place in a dining establishment. What the hell was the woman thinking?  Secondly, if a customer attempted a last-minute order change, Nicholas would firmly instruct him that all orders were final five days prior to the gathering.  How could one efficiently run a kitchen without rules?  Thirdly, and most importantly, Nicholas could smell gingerbread.  Cookies.  And they were burning.  Lucy was oblivious.  And her young assistant with the nose ring was leaning over the front counter watching the puppy, utterly clueless about the impending culinary disaster.

            Nicholas tapped his foot impatiently, waiting for someone to remember the cookies.  He knew by the scent that the cookies were browning, probably a bit too dark around the edges. Still waiting.  Now the assistant was snuggling with the puppy, and an old man was regaling Lucy with some ridiculous story.  Oh, the hell with it. 

            Nicholas marched into the kitchen, which was surprisingly clean, found a pair of oven mitts shaped like Laurel and Hardy, and removed the cookies from the oven.  He found wire racks in a cupboard and lined them up on the counter.  Although the cookies were a tad dark, they were still salvageable.  Thanks to him.  Using a spatula, he carefully transferred each gingerbread man to cool on the racks.  He washed and dried his hands at the sink, and turned around to find Lucy and her nose-pierced assistant staring at him in disbelief.

            Lucy stepped up to him, hands on her hips.  “Just what do you think you’re doing in my kitchen?  I don’t remember inviting you in here!” Lucy asked him incredulously. 

            “Yeah!” added the assistant.  Clearly not the brightest bulb on the planet.

            “Since you and your assistant were too busy to tend to the kitchen, and an entire order of gingerbread was about to go up in smoke, I thought I would lend a helping hand.  No need to thank me.”  Nicholas smiled and raised his left eyebrow in a manner his brother Sven insisted was infuriating.

            “Thank you?  Kandy and I are more than capable of looking after the kitchen.  We do not need your help, Mr....?”

            “Klaus.  Nicholas Sebastian Klaus.  Is your assistant really named Candy?  How... charming.”

            “It’s Kandy Kane, with a K, not a C.  I’m a performance artist.”  The young woman gave him a rather lukewarm smile.

            “Fascinating.”  Nicholas turned to Lucy, who looked ready to murder him.  Good going, Nick, how are you supposed to seduce her now?

            “I run my own kitchen up north.  I assumed you wouldn’t mind a little help, since you were...momentarily distracted.  Have I told you that your sugar cookies are divine?  They are, truly.  I was wondering if we could discuss the subtle flavor profile...”

            Lucy crossed her arms, glaring at him.  “Mr. Klaus, while I appreciate your concern for my cookies, I can assure you I do not need any more help in my kitchen.  Why don’t you sit down with a cup of cocoa, and I’ll bring you some gingerbread cookies.  Nice and dark, just the way I like them.”  And then Miss Lucy Anne Brewster raised her right eyebrow in an utterly patronizing manner.  Nicholas simply could not help himself.  He raised his eyebrow right back.  Two can play at this game.

            A young man rushed into the kitchen, grabbed the performance artist and began to thrust his oddly pierced tongue into her mouth.

            “Oh Kandy, can you ever forgive me?  Let’s get married right now.  Vegas, baby, what do you say?  I want our bambino to have a daddy.”  Nicholas noted that in addition to his creatively pierced face, tongue-boy also sported a nice assortment of tattoos, all of candy. Peppermints, butterscotch balls, M-and-Ms, and of course, candy canes. 

            “Oh Ray, I missed you.”  Miss Kane began thrusting her tongue right back at him.

            Nicholas turned to Lucy.  “Ray?  That’s not too original.”

            Lucy shrugged.  “Ray, as in Ray-of-Sunshine.  They’re both performance artists.”  Then she turned to her assistant and tapped her on the shoulder.

            “Kandy, you are forbidden to leave me right now.  It’s the middle of our busiest season, and I need you.  You and Ray can get married after the new year...”

            “But I don’t want to wait, Miss Brewster.  I love him!”

            Ray licked the side of his girlfriend’s face, and both Nicholas and Lucy shuddered.  “Yeah, and I got tickets for us to see Celine Dion, your favorite, honey.”

            Lucy watched in disbelief as her assistant bundled up in a parka, plopped on a red Santa hat, and flew out the door with the gangly boy.  Nicholas bit his tongue to keep from laughing. Served the woman right for hiring such a flake in the first place. 

            Leaning down close to Lucy’s ear, he whispered, “Need a new assistant?  I just happen to know the perfect gentleman for the job.”


Don't forget to leave a comment so you'll be entered in the drawing for the snowmen. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Penelope, aka Penny Watson