Posts tagged with: Deb Marlowe

“Who’s Ben Skrewd?”

A provocative question, wouldn’t you agree? Well, last summer a number of us Red Door Reads authors decided that we all knew “who’s Ben Skrewd,” though the encounter is different for each person. Which gave us the idea of creating a character named Ben Skrewd who could appear in a group of novellas linked by Ben and our iconic Red Door. Launching the novellas on Tax Day (April 15th in the U.S.) was an irony we couldn’t resist!

Cross Springs In Bloom BNMost of us were able to squeeze Ben into a novella in an ongoing series. My novella, Cross Springs In Bloom, takes place in the familiar environs of Cross Springs, NC. Cross Springs is the setting for my debut novel, Kick Start, as well as my next two novels. Baby Steps should be out in May 2014 and the long-awaited Tiara Wars will be out in July. In Cross Springs In Bloom, we spend time with Connie Burns and Katie Warren from Kick Start, but the heroine is Mindy MacPherson, the gossipy receptionist at Cross Springs Dermatology. When she helps Connie and Mindy track down the source of some prize-winning roses, Mindy comes face-to-face with a lover she let go and hoped never to see again.

touch of troubleSusan Sey’s novella, Touch of Trouble, we once again encounter her rowdy, sexy Blake Brothers. This time we are given some insight about the hard road the youngest Blake brother, Drew, and the brainy Meg will have to travel to find true love. It starts right where the second Blake Brothers novel, Talent for Trouble, left off. The two of them tackle a particularly sticky situation involving Meg’s family. Exceptional fun!

liberty and the pursuit of happinessDeb Marlowe’s novella, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, is the next entry in her Half Moon House series. If you love feisty Regency heroines, hedge mazes, epistolary pleas and intrigue, Lierty and the Pursuit of Happiness – heck, the whole Half Moon House series! – is for you. The heroine is an American spitfire who longs to make a real difference in the world and volunteers to help at Hestia Wright’s Half Moon House. In helping a young friend extricate herself from a potentially awkward situation, she becomes entangled with Viscount Brodham, who is trying to save his young nephew…from Liberty’s friend!

_RDR_webEleven of us have brand new novellas available (for a short time) at only 99 cents! Authors in the special collection are Caren Crane, Susan Sey, Deb Marlowe, Claudia Dain, Linda Winstead Jones, Ava Stone, Lori Handeland, Jane Charles, Andris Bear, Tammy Falkner and Susan Gee Heino. The special price won’t last forever, though, so be sure to visit www.RedDoorReads.com to get the scoop on all the novellas and snap them up while the deal is hawt!

#6Since Ben Skrewd is an integral character in each of the novellas, we have an ongoing “Find Ben Skrewd” contest set up at our website. Each of the 11 Red Door Reads authors with a Ben Skrewd novella has “hidden” Ben on her website. When you find Ben, just go to the Red Door Reads site, click the link, and tell us whose site and which page you found him on. A winner will be drawn when the contest closes on April 22nd and the winner will receive an iPad mini!

Meanwhile, enjoy all the novellas and the “Easter egg” of finding Ben Skrewd in each of them.

Speaking of Ben and Easter eggs, have you “Ben Skrewd” by the Easter Bunny? He used to faithfully visit me every year and now I get bupkes in my basket! What is your favorite Easter treat? Tell me all about it, little friends, and I’ll enter you in a drawing for a free copy of my new novella! I’ll admit my favorite is a dark chocolate-covered Russell Stover marshmallow egg. I’ve already had a few this year. Yummm…

Deb Marlowe’s Half Moon Winner!

BanditBootySorry, you don’t actually win half of a moon (Deb’s or anyone else’s), but the proud recipient of a copy of THE LOVE LIST, Book One of Deb’s fabulous Half Moon House series is….

PISSENLIT!!!

To claim your prize, please contact Deb at Deb@DebMarlowe.com. Congratulations!!

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!

The Love List WINNER!

As you’ll recall, Deb Marlowe promised to give away a copy of her latest release, The Love List, to a luck commenter on her visit Sunday. I am happy to announce that the winner is…

BanditBootyALISHA WOODS!!!

Congratulations, Alisha! Please drop Deb a line at deb AT debmarlowe DOT com and let her know whether you prefer a print or e-book. If e-book, just let her know the format you want.

Congratulations and thanks for visiting!

Deb Marlowe Dishes About Her Love List

I am incredibly excited to have my dear friend Deb Marlowe visiting with us in the Lair today. As most of you know, Deb has published seven books with Harlequin Historicals. Lately, though, she joined the fast-growing world of indie publishing. First came her novella in the marvelous anthology An Encounter At the Museum called An Unexpected Encounter. In the novella we were introduced to a supporting character named Hestia Wright. We were given to understand that Hestia was a former courtesan who now made it her business to help women in need. I was intrigued to learn that Hestia would play a pivotal role in Deb’s new Half Moon House series. She is here today to talk to us about the first book in the Half Moon House series, The Love List. Deb, welcome back to the Lair!

DebMarlowephotoIt’s always lovely to be here with you and the Banditas, Caren. I do hope Paolo doesn’t spill a drink down my blouse like he did last time…

Well, Damon assured me they have been working with him on his serving skills. Still, he does look awfully cute when he’s embarrassed! But I digress. Deb, I long anticipated getting my hands on The Love List. Reading the novella in An Encounter At the Museum just whetted my appetite! I’ll admit, I gobbled it up when I got it and it left me wanting more! But…it also left me with some questions. First, why don’t you tell our readers the premise behind The Love List.

Well, The Harris List of Covent Garden Ladies, a wickedly witty annual register of the city’s light skirts, was once a London tradition.  At the beginning of The Love List, as all of Europe celebrates the end of the long wars, Miss Brynne Wilmott discovers that Lord Marstoke, her malicious former betrothed, has revived the List–and turned it into a weapon.  With the reluctant help of the Duke of Aldmere, she sets out to thwart Marstoke–and discovers that his plans are more twisted and treasonous than anyone has suspected.  Yet the danger and intrigue are as nothing compared to the effect that Nathan and Brynne have on each other. . .

 

Okay, Deb, first I have love to know where did you the idea for resurrecting Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies?

The Love ListI’d heard about the Harris List for years and I had a vague notion that I’d love to write a book about someone who ended up on the famous List of London’s prostitutes, but who didn’t belong there.  It wasn’t until I read some of the actual entries that I realized how witty and how tragic it really was . . . and then the idea really bloomed until the newly resurrected List became not just a sensation, but a weapon.  And I loved the idea of it being more than it seemed, so then the idea of it      being used in a more treasonous fashion came…and it fit with the real history of the time . . . so..Boom!  There you have it!

I found it a bit different from your other books, since there is quite a bit of suspense and political intrigue in The Love List, as well as a big romance. Did you set out to create a big suspense plot for the Half Moon House series or did it just evolve with the storyline of the book?

It was exactly what I wanted to write.  As soon as I read the real List, the idea came to use it in a plot.  I love a big romance with a lot of intrigue!  It keeps me turning pages when I read and keeps me writing them too!  I love to weave all the elements together into an emotionally satisfying, fun ride.

You definitely accomplished that! I know The Love List is Book 1 of your Half Moon House series. How many books do you plan to write and have you introduced any of the heroines for other books in The Love List?

The Love List is the first novel in the series.  There will be at least two more—The Leading Lady is coming next and we met Callie Grant, the heroine, in The Love List. I think readers will also be able to figure out who here hero is.  🙂  Then there is the connected novella—An Unexpected Encounter in the anthology An Encounter At the Museum.  It is set in the same world and includes Hestia Wright as a supportive character. There will be at least one more connected novella—and after that—we’ll see! 

An Encounter At the MuseumI loved the novella. Actually, I loved all the novellas in An Encounter At the Museum and highly recommend it! The heroine of The Love List, Brynne Wilmott, is very intelligent and competent, yet she manages to conform to the expectations of a Regency miss…until she doesn’t. Was it a challenge to write such a strong heroine without tossing all the Regency mores out the window?

Actually it wasn’t difficult.  All those rules Society imposed on young girls in the Regency were meant to guarantee their safe-keeping and their happiness, at least on the surface.  (We could do another whole blog on maintaining the status quo, etc.)  Brynne followed all the rules, did as her family and Society expected—and is trapped in an unsupportable situation.  She follows the rules again, in seeking a way out—and the traditional system fails her.  At that point, all bets are off.  In my opinion, and thus hers, ( 🙂 ) she is free to fight her way out by whatever means necessary.  So she does.  And if you read the book, you’ll see what a very good thing that turns out to be!

You can check out Deb’s entire bibliography and read excerpts on her website www.debmarlowe.com. Let’s check out an excerpt for The Love List:

She paused just before they reached the last door and looked up at him, her expression a stiff mix of defiance and pride.  ”It’s wonderful work that Hestia does here.  I’m proud to be a part of it, even for a short while.”  She glanced back the way they had come and then lifted her hand in a gesture that included all of the house and the people in it.  She met his gaze–and smiled.

He froze.  

Backwards.  Inverted.  Inside Out.  He didn’t know this girl.  Their acquaintance was incredibly brief and even more outlandish.  The natural order of their knowledge of each other was completely offset.  He knew how she looked when she was terrified and furious, annoyed and protective.  What he did not know was the expression she wore when she was introduced to someone, how she looked when she was relaxed and happy.  This was it, the first time he’d experienced her in a more commonplace manner–and it came with a wash of feeling that utterly shocked him.

Transformative, that smile.  It lit her from within like a burgeoning flame, starting small but climbing higher, warming her features, blending them into a perfect, gut-wrenching harmony.

Even more amazing was the effect it had on him.

Bowie as JarethI love the Duke of Aldsmere! Actually, I love all Regency Men In Boots. Speaking of which, I recall that in your About the Author bios, you mention your ongoing efforts to get one of the men in your life to don a pair of boots. Any progress on that front?

Well, Valiant Husband and Youngest are still resistant.  Eldest, however, has finally seen the light and become enamored with good boots.  The closest I’ve got him to a Regency outfit however, was when he briefly debated cos-playing as Jareth, the Goblin King from the movie The Labyrinth.  I’m still working on it!
 
Keep working on them, Deb. I’m sure it will pay off at the end! Deb has generously offered a copy of The Love List (in reader’s choice of hard copy or e-book format) to a lucky commenter today. So here’s your question, Bandita Buddies: Do you like a little intrigue in your romance?  How about a bit of real history worked into a historical? And how about those men in boots? 🙂

Welbourne Booty!

by Caren Crane

Thanks to everyone for participating in our “Friends To Lovers” discussion with the magnificent Deb Marlowe. The winner a copy of Deb’s May release How to Marry a Rake is…JEANNE M!!

Congratulations, Jeanne! Please e-mail your full name and snail mail addy to Deb@DebMarlowe.com. Enjoy the wonderful Regency read!

Deb Marlowe on Friends To Lovers

by Caren Crane

My darling Banditas and Buddies, I am thrilled to welcome one of my very favorite people (and authors), Deb Marlowe, back to the Lair. Welcome, Deb!

Thank you for having me. You know I love you and the Banditas!

Believe me, the love is entirely mutual. I am very excited about your May 1 release, How To Marry a Rake. Tell us a bit about the hero and heroine of this new Regency delight.

Stephen Manning is one of the Fitzmanning Miscellany, the scandalous Regency family introduced in The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor. He’s not the same rakish boy we saw growing up in the anthology. He’s had some hard knocks and has had to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around him, as many young men do. He’s spent the last few years building a racetrack on his mother’s destitute estate, and he’s come to Newmarket determined to set his tenants’ lives back on course by bringing it to the attention of the racing world.

Mae Halford has spent the intervening years abroad, mending her heart and broadening her horizons after Stephen’s rejection broke her heart. She’s in Newmarket, too, where her father is determined to find a stud for both his brood mare and his daughter. Mae’s ready to launch her Marriage Campaign, an effort to have a say in what sort of husband she ends up with. The last man on earth she wishes to see is Stephen—which makes it a certainty that he is the first one she bumps into!

Deb, Mae and Stephen have a long history together before the book begins. Was it just a deeply hidden sadistic streak that had you fling Mae and Stephen together again?

Would you be surprised if the answer was yes? 🙂 I think all writers have to have a sadistic streak. We create characters we love and admire and in whom we see such great potential for growth—but unless we put them in difficult and uncomfortable situations, then there is no spur for growth and change—or for the chance at true love!

It seems that Mae and Stephen had a serious falling out before she left England. Will Stephen find Mae much changed after her European tour?

Yes! In many interesting and frustrating ways. Mae has grown up. She’s the same in that she knows her own mind, but she’s learned how to be subtle in going after it. Also, she truly feels that she’s over her feelings for Stephen. And he, being typically male, doesn’t want her to want him, but is taken aback when she doesn’t.

So tell me, is the theme of friends becoming lovers one you have wanted to explore? It was one I found most intriguing when I was a teenager and I find myself, here in my dotage, interested in it still. It seems being friends could both aid and hinder the development of a romance.

Friends to lovers is one of my very favorite themes. It’s a classic fantasy, isn’t it? I think many of us have an old friend we might wonder about, or think about in terms of what if? But it’s also a theme that lends itself to greater and more immediate intimacy and one which can make for a rich, emotional story. The stakes are higher when someone knows all the scoop and scandal, strengths and weaknesses of your past, but I think the payoff can be that much bigger.

Do you have a bit of How To Marry a Rake you would care to share?

Well, if you insist…

Stephen was happy. She felt his contentment flow into her, warming her blood, crawling into her very sinews and bones. It was beautiful. It made her feel beautiful, and whole.

Her eyes slid closed. For long minutes she lost herself to the glory of the music and the moment. Stephen gave in to it as well; she could feel his surrender in the grip of his hands, in the intimate press of her legs to hers, and in the graceful, floating ease with which he guided them about the dance floor.

And that was when she knew she’d come full circle. Her campaign was forgotten, her plans and strategies left behind. Here she was, right back where she’d started, two years ago, wanting Stephen Manning with all of her heart.

Yet, thankfully, not everything remained the same. There were new levels to their friendship, their partnership. So easily had he come to share his victory with her tonight. So naturally had he assumed she would take part in the next step. He was the one who gifted her with appreciation and acceptance and passion and all the things she’d vowed to have in a husband.

Perhaps she needed a new campaign, with new strategies designed to win his heart. Because she longed for it, and for his unfathomable blue eyes and his maddening imperious ways and his warm acceptance and his heated kisses.

But there was one other thing that was different now, too. She wasn’t that young girl anymore, happy to accept whatever part of himself Stephen was willing or able to give. She wanted all of him. And no campaign of hers was going to be successful in flushing it out. She sighed. He had to choose to give it.

Oh, my! It sounds like Stephen won’t stand a chance against the woman Mae has become. I do believe Mae will get her man! I hope everyone will run out and snap up a copy of How To Marry a Rake. Many of us have been waiting for the ‘sibling’ books to the The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor for ages! Deb, thank you so much for giving us the inside scoop on Stephen and Mae’s book. (And here, for your delectation, is a dude Deb thinks should totally play Stephen in a movie version of How To Marry a Rake!)

Now, do you have a question you would like to pose to our Banditas and Buddies today?

But of course I do!

Do you guys have someone in your past who makes you go What If? Do you like friends-to-lovers-themed romances? Can you name a favorite “Friends to Lovers” couple? A randomly selected commenter will win a copy of How To Marry a Rake!

Ooh, we do love a giveaway! Deb, thank you so much for being with us today. I’m off to search my memory banks for my very favorite pair of Friends Who Discovered Benefits!

Bandit Booty! (or is that Booties?!)

Denise Rossetti has picked her winner and….

PINKPEONY…Congratulations!!!!!!!!!

You can email Denise at deniserossettiATgmailDOTcom and give her your snail mail address and choose your prize!

Deb Marlowe has picked her winner and…DREW gets the autographed copy of Her Cinderella Season for getting called out by her husband over hyperbole! Congratulations, Drew!! E-mail Deb at debATdebmarloweDOTcom and give her your snail mail addy to claim your prize!

Deb Marlowe On Typos and Slips Of the Lip

by Caren Crane

Hola, Banditas! As many of you are aware, I (the contemporary romance writer) count many fabulous historical romance writers as my dear friends. One of my best and most beloved friends, the delightful Deb Marlowe (please note self-indulgent inclusion of extra-cute Caren and Deb picture from RWA conference when Deb won her Golden Heart!)is here with us today to discuss a dirty little writing secret. One we hope no one notices or holds against us: typos. Here with the dish on typos and other little “oopsie” moments, is Darling Deb.

I was in the grocery line the other day, behind a woman who was disputing a sale price on one of her items. The exasperated clerk sent someone to check and it turned out the customer had been right. She didn’t gloat, but she did leave with a parting shot. “You didn’t have to be so surely about it,” she muttered as she left.

It took me a minute to figure out that she meant surly. I didn’t correct her, of course. She was right—the clerk was surly—and I wasn’t going to rain on her moment of triumph. We’ve all had days when we needed that small triumph—and days when what we meant to say came out as something else.

Those sorts of things happen in publishing too. Books do sometimes get printed with . . . gasp! . . .typos. Sometimes they are introduced in the original manuscript and get past the author, a critique partner, an editor or two and even the copy editor. Sometimes they are introduced in one of the many steps it takes to convert a file into an actual book. All authors cringe when they find them, though.

I’m cringing. There’s a mistake in my new release, Her Cinderella Season. I’m not sure when it happened, but I didn’t find it until I held my first author copy in my hand. But after I got over the horror, I had to laugh. Let me set the scene:

The hero of Her Cinderella Season is Jack Alden. He was the scholarly younger brother of my first hero in Scandalous Lord, Rebellious Miss. In An Improper Aristocrat, he’s the expert that Trey and Chione come to for help in their quest to foil a ring of antiquity thieves. So I was thrilled to give him his own story at last.

As Her Cinderella Season opens, Jack is recovering from the wounds he received at the end of An Improper Aristocrat. A gunshot wound is a shocking thing for a quiet, scholarly type, and this one has shaken loose a few demons. Jack has his wounded arm in a sling and is driving a feisty team of horses through the busy London streets—even though he knows he should not be.

In the scene, the horses are meant to be spooked by a calling cart vendor. You know the sort—oranges, meat pies, chestnuts, etc. Instead, it is a calling card vendor who frightens them with his shouting.

So after the gasp of shock, I was hit with the funniest image! Picture a shady Regency gentleman in a greatcoat, whipping it open to showcase a large selection of parchment calling cards. “Psst! Ye want an entrée into Society? I got yer calling cards here—get you into any house in Mayfair! Ye want ter be the Duchess of Devonshire? Right here! Lord Byron? I’m yer man!”

Okay, so it’s ridiculous, but I’m trying to look on the bright side! Cut me a little slack?

The heroine in Her Cinderella Season, Lily Beecham, wants an entrée into Society. She was born a gentleman’s daughter, but she’s spent the last years in an Evangelical household. She enjoys the charitable and political works she’s been involved in, but she’s not willing to accept her mother’s choice for her husband, and she’s not quite ready to give up on the idea of a life filled with music, joy and love. She faces the difficulty of blending her two worlds, finds herself mixed up in the excitement of helping Jack track down a villain, and takes on the greatest challenge of all—winning the elusive Mr. Alden’s heart.

Sohave you ever said the wrong word in public? Found an irritating typo in a book? Found a typo in your book? Will you give Her Cinderella Season a try even though I planted that image in your head? 🙂 Make me feel better, please! Share your story and I’ll send an autographed copy of Her Cinderella Season to one commenter!

A Diamond of a Prize!

Thanks for a great day in the lair yesterday with Diane Gaston, Amanda McCabe and Deb Marlowe. It’s with great pleasure that I announce the winner of the anthology THE DIAMONDS OF WELBOURNE MANOR.

And the winner is…

LLEHN!

Llehn, can you please email Amanda McCabe on amccabe7551@yahoo.com with your snail mail details and she’ll get your book off to you! Congratulations!

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