Deb Marlowe Takes Us Back To Half Moon House!

Half-Moon-House-ribbonFrequent visitors know that one of my dearest writing pals is the fabulous Deb Marlowe. I am so excited to have her back with us in the Lair today, even though I must away to the Dreaded Day Job! 😛 Deb packed a bag full of of her trademark warmth and wisdom to bring to the Lair, though, and even Sven was impressed with the cookie tray she brought. Deb never does things by halves, which is why I find it so intriguing that her wonderful new Regency-set adventurous romances are the Half Moon House series. Why not the full moon, hm? (Although I have to say, the half-moon fanlight featured both above Hestia Wright’s door and in the series logo is pretty awesome.)

Without further ado, please help me welcome back Lair favorite, Deb Marlowe!

Hi, everyone! Caren, thanks for inviting me back to talk about why I adore series so much and what I’m trying to accomplish with Half Moon House in particular. But first, some background. When I was a kid there was a group of commercials for Calgon bath products which always showed a harried woman, frazzled from all the many busy facets of her life, begging, “Calgon, take me away!”  Do you guys remember that one?

I certainly do, Deb!

The Love ListIt was amusing and memorable as a kid, but now I’m that frenzied woman in the commercial and suddenly I’m all empathy instead of amusement.  🙂  And while I do adore a dip in the hot tub as a stress reliever, sometimes it takes a little more.

For me, that often looks like a bottle of merlot and a platter of cookies. Hm.

That’s when I turn to a good series.  Nothing takes me away like a good, long, richly developed story.  One I can come back to again and again with the same, comforting feeling like coming home.

It can be any format.  TV—Downton Abbey anyone?  Sherlock?  Or movies—Star Trek franchise or Lord of the Rings?  Books too—Caren and I share a deep and abiding love for The Dragonriders of Pern, Game of Thrones and the Amelia Peabody series.  And in Romance?  I’ve enjoyed so many I can barely count them.

Deb is a woman of impeccable taste. There is a reason we are such good friends!

A friend asked me not long ago: “Are you writing a series, like everyone else?”  It was asked in a slightly derogatory tone, which made me happy to explain.  Yes, I’m writing a series!  And there a great many reasons why a writer loves to lose herself in a juicy continuation, just like a reader or a viewer.

An Unexpected EncounterWorld building.  I love the chance to really paint and develop settings, rules and locales.  Regency lovers are familiar with the rules of that society, it’s one of the big attractions—reading a new story in a familiar construct.  And setting—the house is such a fixture for Downton Abbey it’s practically one of the characters.  The world of Westeros in Game of Thrones is huge and fascinating. Getting the chance to build up my own world?  Layering and expanding it with each book?  It’s like setting a kid loose in a candy store.  🙂

Characters.  In a series I can develop main characters in rich depth, allowing the reader to grow to know them through several books.  Amelia Peabody fans: look at how the character of Sethos changed over time, yes?  I can revisit them after their main story is told, sharing a glimpse of their HEA, deepening the story of their romance.  Even secondary characters can be developed further.  Liz Carlyle’s Kemble, anyone?  They can step in and out of the series, popping up like old friends.

Theme.  Every author has a theme or perhaps several that speak to him/her and emerge from their soul through their fingers.  George R. R.  Martin is exploring many themes in A Song of Ice and Fire.  I’m paying particular attention to honor, identity, moral ambiguity and feminism.  In a series I can explore one theme from different angles or even weave several together to represent something important to me.

A Slight MiscalculationI’m playing with all of this and more in my Half Moon House series and I’m having a blast.  There’s an over-arching story of Hestia Wright, a baron’s daughter ruined by an evil man and her own young and foolish bad judgment.  Cast off by Society, she becomes a world famous courtesan, until coming back to England to open Half Moon House, a place where any woman can come for help.  Set against the backdrop of her battle with her oldest enemy is group of adventurous romances that take us from England’s highest society, to London’s lowest stews and even beyond to the Continent.

Book one: The Love List is available, as well as An Unexpected Encounter, a connected novella.  Book Two and two more novellas are coming in the next few months.  And right now I have a FREE short story available.  A Slight Miscalculation is a short, sweet taste of the goings-on at Half Moon House.

Y’all need to snap up A Slight Miscalculation while it’s available as a freebie download. Warning: you will be sucked in and want more right away!

So tell me:  Do you love to escape into a big series when real life wears you down?  Which one gives you that happy, glow-y feeling of coming home?  Share a favorite with us and I’ll offer a copy of The Love List to a randomly selected commenter!

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  • Amy Conley says:

    Is he coming here?

  • Amy Conley says:

    I LOVE series. One of my favs is Stephanie Laurens’ Cynsters. Love those Cynsters, men and women.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Amy, I’ll confess here in the Lair: I don’t think I’ve ever read Stephanie laurens. I know, right?? I would never be allowed to set foot in Australia! I have heard so many great things about the Cynsters. I hope to get to them one of these days!

      So, which book was your very favorite?

      • Amy Conley says:

        OMG My FAV CYNSTER book? I’d have to with the first book, THE DEVIL AND I (ME,maybe?). Because it made me want to read every other book.
        Another great series I don’t think anyone else has mentioned, but we’ve probably all read is the MALLORYS by Johanna Lindsey.

        • Amy Conley says:

          And let’s not forget the MONTGOMERYS (and Taggerts), past, present, and future of Jude Devereu’s.

    • Deb Marlowe says:

      Ah, the Cynsters! I think they are everyone’s favorite! Caren– I can’t believe I didn’t know you hadn’t read them!

      Another thing to add to the list for all of your spare time. Ahem. 🙂

  • Mary Preston says:

    Reading a series can be so fulfilling. Characters & worlds that you get to hang onto for longer.

    You mentioned my current favourite. A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE just gets better with each read. I’ll be pouncing on the new WINDS OF WINTER faster then you can say Jon Snow.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Mary, my soul sister! I have read the series (so far) three times already. I think I may have another go at it before the new book comes out, just to brush up. *ahem*

      I’ll admit I registered for my first sff convention EVER this year in order to go see Martin in person. It should be loads of fun! Now, the long wait for The Winds of Winter. We all know winter is coming…but when??

    • Deb Marlowe says:

      Oh, Mary, I’m so hooked on it! And for the first time ever, I think I’m glad I watched the series before I started the books. The characters are so vivid in my mind as I read! Love it.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Deb and Caren

    I love books in a series and one of my all time favourites is The Bridgertons by Julia Quinn and I also loved Stephanie laurens Cynsters.

    I am looking forward to your series 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Amy Conley says:

      Of course Helen the Bridgertons are also a given. Strange I didn:t mention them since I just read the 2nd Epilogues…duh.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Helen, I loved the Bridgertons, too! Even the silliest of the books was a pure delight. And, like Amy, I read all the stinking Epilogue collections, too. Such a sucker for the Bridgertons!

    • Deb Marlowe says:

      Hi Helen!

      Ah, so many wonderful characters in the Bridgerton series! I think that’s why it’s such a favorite–it’s hard to choose which one to love the best!

  • Diana Huffer says:

    I do love reading series. I recently had the distinct pleasure of reading Deidre Knight’s Parallel series back-to-back and it was awesome! There’s nothing like being transported into another world and experiencing the nuances of the characters’ lives. I also am a big fan of the Harry Potter books ! Yeah, I know — it’s a guilty pleasure! 🙂 Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and am anxious to see it come to TV.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Oh, Diana. How I waited – and waited – for those Outlander books to come out! I know exactly what you mean about reading the books back-to-back, though. I have waited before to even start a series until at least 3 books are out so that I can indulge myself and wallow in that world for many books!

      It doesn’t help the author for me to wait, I know, but I am such a sloth and so incredibly self-indulgent when it comes to my entertainment. 🙁

    • Deb Marlowe says:

      I love Harry Potter too, Diana–oh, and I swoon over Outlander! I have an autographed Hardcover of Voyager-I fan-girled all over DG!

      I was so nervous when they announced the TV series, but I’m so glad that she’s been so hands on, I feel safer knowing it has her stamp on it and I can’t wait!

      • Amy Conley says:

        Fan girl jealous of any autographed OUTLANDER book. So jealous. I did’t mention that series only from previous posts I think it is a given on everyone’s fav series. Not that I liked all the books, there was one which took me MONTHS to read, all the rest…two weeks tops.

  • Quantum says:

    I couldn’t resist looking at ‘Slight Miscalculation’ and was indeed sucked in!

    I love to see scientists featuring strongly in romance novels and this was a nice taster.

    The Higgs boson and associated Higgs field have featured strongly in the news lately.
    I think that it is time that a romance novelist discovered the field pervading the universe that imparts love (as apposed to mass in the Higgs example).

    ‘The Love Boson’ could be an inspiring title! LOL

    I particularly like series involving small town romance. Robyn Carr’s ‘Virgin River’ series remains unsurpassed IMHO.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Quantum, so glad you took a peek at A SLIGHT MISCALCULATION! I have a real soft spot for scientist heroines, so I loved Deb’s talented “amateur” mathmetician. Such a delight!

      And I had to snort at “The Love Boson.” It sounds like something really redneck, like a love story featuring Jethro Bodine! I don’t know why it hit me that way, but now I can’t get it out of my head! I do love this premise, though, of cosmically imparted love. Perhaps we should all be paying more attention to the stars. 😀

    • Caren Crane says:

      I also meant to say I’m a sucker for small town romances! Of course, I write those, so maybe that’s why. 🙂 No, I think it’s because I never lived in a small town and they fascinate me. Of course, my friends who are from small towns never find them at all romantic. I guess we all want what we don’t have!

    • Deb Marlowe says:

      Quantum, I’m so glad you enjoyed A Slight Miscalculation! I like scientist heroes too. There were so many fabulous things going on in the Regency, I like to play with them all!

      The Love Bosun doesn’t sound Redneck to me, Caren–it makes me think of Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory. Love that show. I know many sexy Geek boys, I think we need to start a new sub genre!

  • Cathy P says:

    Hi, Deb and Caren! I love series books and really enjoyed the interview. I really enjoyed The Jewels of the Ton series by Beverley Kendall, The Hellions of Halstead Hall series by Sabrina Jeffries, and am currently reading Tawny Weber’s Seal series.

    • Cathy P says:

      Oops, I meant Shana Galen’s Jewels of the Ton series, and Beverley Kendall’s Lords series.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Cathy, those are all great series and very different from each other. I adore Sabrina Jeffries (who is a friend of mine and Deb’s) and I think Beverly Kendall is a delightful writer and person. I need to check out Shana’s. I think I read one of them and haven’t gone back for the rest.

      And OF COURSE, Tawny’s SEALs are all hot like fiyah! And really warm and heart-tugging, too. *sigh* Love them!

    • Deb Marlowe says:

      Love your choices, Cathy! Are you by chance going to the Romantic Times convention in May? I’m helping put on a Lady Jane’s Salon there and both Sabrina and Shana are going to read!

  • Shannon says:

    For me the comfort series reads are the Bedwyn saga by Mary Balogh and the Malloran series by Jo Bevereley. There’s scene that I savor over and over–Bey breaking down in tears over this brother’s death in the study and the concluding food fight in Winter Fire. For some reason, I like the Bastion series more than the Cynsters. While I’m thinking about spies–the Royal Four and the Liars Club by Celeste Bradley are other sagas that I return to when I want comfort reading. Other favorites are the Nine Kingdoms by Lynn Kurland (fantasy romance) and the Commonwealth Universe (sci-fi) books by Peter Hamilton. Now my dilemma–buy these on Kindle or find my well worn favorites now buried by all those other series I’ve kept because they might become favorites, too.

  • Deb Marlowe says:

    Yes–that’s the feeling I meant, Shannon! Just thinking about those favorites made you want to go back!

    I love the Bedwyns too, but especially Wulfric!

  • bn100 says:

    not really; my family

  • catslady says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with series. Some are glorious and I can’t wait for more, some go on too long, and some should never have been in the first place. My last favorite was the Windham series by Grace Burrowes.

  • Kathy N says:

    I love series–and many of the same one listed above by you and other readers. (Jo Beverley and Elizabeth Peters) I would add Carla Kelly, Edith Layton, Tessa Dare.
    I am hooked already to your Half Moon House series because I love Hestia. She’s strong and kind. Love her.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Kathy, isn’t Hestia just the best? I really want her story. I’m sure Deb will tease us and never give her an HEA until we’re all old and gray! LOL

      Jo Beverly and Elizabeth Peters are two of my all-time faves. I also loved dear Rosamunde Pilcher and the oh-so-satisfying Lavyrle Spencer. Most of my ultimate favorites were from my younger days. Sentimental favorites! My tastes have changed as writing styles have changed and now I prefer reads that are a bit faster, in general. Not speed of light, mind you, but a hair faster-paced. 😀

  • Minna says:

    I love reading series! One of my favorites is in Death series By J.D. Robb. And David Eddings wrote many series I like.

    • Deb Marlowe says:

      I find the sheer number of In Death books a little daunting…but I have read a few and I know I’ll go back. Nora/JD is amazing!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Minna, I have read all the In Death books. I may have missed a couple of the novellas, but I’ve read several of those, too!

      As for Eddings, I loved the ones he wrote with Leigh the best: the Belgariad and the Mallorean. Great stuff and high fantasy!

  • Deb Marlowe says:

    I’m so glad to hear that, Kathy N! I love Hestia too. She’s made mistakes, been through some of the darkest that life has to offer, but she never let it defeat her–and she’s a light that keeps the darkness from others. I love telling her story.

  • Kathy Nye says:

    “…and she’s a light that keeps the darkness from others.”
    That’s perfect. Thanks again for creating her.

  • Deb and Caren, great interview! Deb, welcome back to the lair. As you know, I loved, loved, loved AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER. I love romances that put that lump of emotion in my throat and that one did – and in novella length too so bravo, you! Looking forward to exploring the world of Half Moon House in greater depth!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Anna, the series and all its parts will be a perfect after-deadline tonic to enjoy in the pool with an adult beverage. 🙂

      Meanwhile, why don’t you send me all your Amy Andrews books and I’ll whittle away at them?? I’m just saying…

  • Deb Marlowe says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Anna! I had a great time writing those two. And Aurelia, too! I really appreciate you spreading the word!

  • Deb, welcome back! I’m so sorry I accidentally stepped on your post.

    I thought The Love List was grear and am looking forward to the other books. I alwys reach for series when I want yo escape. Mine choices often involve explosions, like Cindy Gerard’s Black Ops, Inc. or the In Death books. I love getting glimpses of familiar characters.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Nancy, you realize you’ve flung a gauntlet, right? Deb will be compelled to keep writing until she has somehow caused an explosion in Regency England! I can’t wait to read that book…

  • Deb Marlowe says:

    Hey Nancy!
    No problem! I’ve never written an explosion in the Regency, but I’ll never say never!

  • Welcome to the Lair, Yankee Lady !! SO good to see the fabulous Deb Marlowe here! I’m deep into finishing and polishing a novel to send out to an agent and editor who requested it, but I am so looking forward to diving into your Half Moon House series once I finish!

    I love a good series. Returning to old characters and settings is like coming home for me. Some of my favorites include :

    The Bridgertons

    The Cynsters

    The Bastion Club

    The Slightly Series – Featuring the Bedwyns

    Jennifer Ashley’s MacKenzie Family series

    Yes, I do love a good series!

  • Pissenlit says:

    Great, now I want cookies! Thanks a lot.

    Oh! Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series! I haven’t thought of those in ages. I used to read and reread the books as I was reading through the series for the first time. It used to be one of my favourite series…until I got to the book where my favourite character died…and then I haven’t read or reread another since. 😛

    I’m a huge fan of big series…though sometimes, I’m a little hesitant to start ones that are already into double digits. The big series that give me that feeling of coming home are Jim Butcher’s The Dresden series, Janet Chapman’s Highlander series and oddly enough, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga and the Star Wars X-Wing series because of the genres out there, I don’t read as much sci-fi as I do most of the others. I’ve got tons of other coming-home books but they’re more like a few books of some series as opposed to the entire series. Oh and it’s not so much a series but I used to read through Dick Francis’ entire body of work in publication order at least once a year(if not more)…but I haven’t had much time to do that lately.

    • Pissenlit, I love the Vorkosigans, the Pern books, and Dick Francis, too!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Pissenlit, I won’t apologize for making you want cookies. Believe me, if you ever had Deb’s actual cookies, you would be drooling on your keyboard. And yes, I am a bit evil! 😀

      I understand your hesitation about diving into a series that is too far down the line. I never started Sue Grafton’s alphabet series, because I heard they got kind of lame about midway through. It made me not want to start them!

      Then my son and husband were reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series…and he died before he finished it!

      That’s what I’m afraid will happen to George R R Martin. I’m so invested in A Song Of Ice and Fire and he is a short, fat man in his 60s! He looks like a heart attack waiting to happen. I keep hoping he’ll put down the calzones and start exercising so he can finish the series! I am officially a terrible person. 🙁

      • Pissenlit says:

        I think I’m drooling already 😛 I didn’t have any proper cookies so I ate a couple of chocolate-covered digestive biscuits.

        I’m not so worried about big series going lame partway as I am unsure about blocking off so much time for a new series since once I start one, I read all of the available books in a row. That’s why I put off reading David Weber’s Honor Harrington series for so long. But now, I figure that I probably should get on it before it gets any longer. 🙂

        I used to read The Wheel of Time series and A Song of Ice and Fire but because I read fast, I ended up losing interest during the long wait times between books.

        Argh! Now I want a calzone!

    • Deb Marlowe says:

      Oh, those dragons, Pissenlit! Have you read any of the books that Anne McCaffrey’s son has written to continue the series?

      Sorry about the cookies! I lay the calzone blame on Caren! 🙂

  • flchen1 says:

    I love a series… there’s such a feeling of pleasure to sink into a great one, and such a high knowing there’s another book to anticipate 😉 Some great ones have been mentioned… I also have loved Joanna Bourne’s Spymasters, Julie James’s FBI/US Attorneys, Shelly Laurenston’s, and am currently catching myself up on Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series… I’ve also quite enjoyed some by Elizabeth Hoyt, Loretta Chase, SEP… Enjoying the sounds of Deb’s–thanks for the heads up!