Posts tagged with: debut

Meet Caroline Warfield

It’s my pleasure to introduce Caroline Warfield, a dear friend who’s debut historical, Dangerous Works, has just released with Soul Mate Publishing.  She writes historical but has a passion for different and unique settings.  Please help me welcome Caroline to the lair.

We love all stories in the lair. Can you share yours with us? 

Carol Roddy CW:  The love story in my book or in real life?  🙂

Let’s talk about my characters. Georgiana is a woman who knows everything and nothing. She is a brilliant self-taught scholar with a lot to learn. I mean, a little Greek is one thing and the art of love is another, no?

When she finally convinces the hero to help her polish her work and they get down to it, she learns more than she bargains for:

The Greek word “Erotos” she knew meant love, certainly, and romantic love at that. How should I translate this line? she wondered. 

“‘Nothing is sweeter than love.’”

“‘Nothing is sweeter than Eros.’” In English the meaning tilted slightly with the change of wording. The next phrase appeared to be about delight or pleasure.

“Definitely Eros,” she said to the empty room. Whatever it is, Nossis prefers it to honey. Yesterday, Georgiana wouldn’t have understood. Love has a taste; she knew that now. She recalled the feel of Andrew’s mouth on hers, and the taste when he opened and let her explore. The taste was sweeter than honey, indeed. She felt warmth rise again deep within her. Heat colored her neck and pooled deep in her belly.

The words of Nossis hadn’t changed since yesterday, but Georgiana had.

LOL – OOPS!  That should have been “We love CALL stories in the lair.”  Can you share yours?

Soul Mate Publishing is primarily an electronic publisher.  The Call came in the form of an unassuming email message.  Never take email for granted.  Sometimes they contain a lightning bolt.  That particular message, from Soul Mate founder and senior editor Debby Gilbert said, “I enjoyed Dangerous Works so much we’d like to publish your book.”  She attached a contract.  For a moment I could only stare at the screen, stunned.  I quickly let out a whoop!

Your title is Dangerous Works.  What is so dangerous?

CW: The danger in my books occasionally includes physical danger but really the most vulnerable thing of all is the human heart. In this case, when the heroine gets deep into the poems with the help of her very attractive tutor, she begins to understand why some people might think scholarly work is dangerous for women. Before she knows it her heart is in danger alongside her virtue.

I’ve always been a big fan of historicals. Why did you chose that particular genre?DangerousWorks_850HIGH[1]

CW: Other historical periods (from ancient Rome to Elizabethan England to the Regency) have always been my favorite fantasy places as a reader. It’s only natural to me to set stories in the imagined past.

We’ve both been at this a long time 🙂  .  Let’s put this in context for aspiring writers, how long have you been writing?

CW: I wrote my first Fan Fic when I was 10. I believe it was a story about the Cartwright boys of Bonanza.   As an adult I suppressed a lot. I became a technical writer and wrote for library publications but avoided fiction.   The death of a good friend, who had always hounded me to write, pushed me to begin about fifteen years ago.

Sorry.  Have to ask – where do you get your ideas?

CW: Often I begin with a setting. I’ll be somewhere and a scene or series of scenes will come into my mind. I have to have a character, a setting and some dialog in my head before I can begin to think about plot.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

CW: Never give up. Find friends who courage you to continue. Keep writing, keep learning, build inventory, polish your skills.   These days the temptation to self-publish prematurely is great.

800px-Favourite_PoetWhat is your greatest challenge as a writer?

CW: I can’t proof read to save myself but that is more of a nuisance. The biggest challenge is keeping my rear in the seat and my hands on the keyboard. The next book always matters.

Now that’s a perfect seque 😛 .  What’s next for Caroline Warfield?

CW: DANGEROUS SECRETS will be released by Soul Mate Publishing in winter 2015. It is about a down-on-his-luck major who likes to forget he also is a baron and who hides a horrific secret from his past. It is set in the English Regency period, but it takes place in Rome.

But let me ask your readers…Setting is a vital part of writing to me.  How important is it to you as a reader?  Can you tell us about a particularly memorable setting?  I”ll give away a $10 Amazon gift card to someone leaving a comment.

For more information on Caroline Warfield and her Dangerous Works, you can find her at:

http://www.carolinewarfield.com
http://www.pinterest.com/warfieldcaro/
https://www.facebook.com/carolinewarfield7

 

Caren’s Birthday Book Launch Bash!

Hi, everyone. Joan usually blogs on the 13th of the month, but she let me take over the blog for today. Today is my birthday AND I am officially launching my debut published novel, Kick Start! Sven was up late preparing his traditional Swedish meatballs, vats of potato and pasta salad, delicate cucumber sandwiches on pumpernickel with fresh dill and a host of other savory options. On the sweet side we have cream puffs, triple-chocolate butter cookies and, of course, birthday cake!

sven_cropped-1Damon is behind the bar and Paolo is serving. I know Paolo’s a bit clumsy, but he’s so cute when he apologizes for spilling a mojito down one’s cleavage! Maybe this time he’ll keep all the drinks inside the glasses. We’ll have to see about that. (Damon did make sure the absinthe was locked up tight so Paolo won’t be slipping any of that into any glasses this time, either. Ahem!) Make yourselves at home, load up a plate and wrap your fingers around a frosty glass. It is time to party!

cake

Now that everyone’s mouth is full and there’s a very tiny lull in the conversation, I’ll segue into the second part of today’s celebration. My debut book launch! I am very happy to announce that Kick Start is available in all e-book forms (links below) for your reading pleasure. Kick Start was the book that finaled in RWA’s 2006 Golden Heart contest—the one that brought us Romance Bandits together! Kick Start was not the first book I wrote. I think it was the fifth. (Believe it or not, I have forgotten some of my early books. I counted the other day and thought my total was 7, but I think it’s actually 9). I had done a lot of writing and learning about writing by the time I began Kick Start. I wrote it in 7 weeks in the summer of 2005, when I was laid off from work but still collecting severance pay. The book was fast, funny, easy and a pleasure from beginning to end.

Kick Start for Barnes and NobleFast forward to 2006, when it finaled in the Golden Heart. It had been edited quite a bit by then, but the story pretty much remained intact. It piqued interest at Harlequin, but they ultimately passed on it. By 2007, I had changed the location of my town from Georgia (where you can get a quickie divorce) to North Carolina (where you can’t, but which I knew much better). Changing the location changed the timeline of the story and lots of story elements and locations. By the time I finished revising it, I was kind of sick to death of it. I had moved on and written another book in the Cross Springs series and was working on the third.

RWA pictures 062And then Life Happened. My husband was once again laid off, I was working full-time and our darling back-to-back daughters were at that incredibly needful stage of high school. Keeping our family afloat and checking things off my To Do list were about all I could handle. For THREE YEARS. Last fall, the baby went to college. Long about September, my dear friend Deb Marlowe started poking me. She wanted to know when I was going to publish a book. You know, one of the 9 I had already written. I thought about it and learned about self-publishing…and then dawdled and dragged my feet. I kept pretending not to hear Deb’s increasingly sharp and pointed probes until she flung down the gauntlet as we celebrated her birthday at the beginning of March. It was time. Now, as we celebrate my birthday, I give Deb the credit for kick starting my publishing career. (That’s a picture of us at an RWA conference many years ago.) Here’s a blurb:

When life stalls right in the middle of the journey, sometimes all it needs is a Kick Start

Linda Dowling’s husband traded her in for a younger model, and she clung to the only life and home her kids knew. Easiest thing by far when her heart was broken and her small town was filled with folks who commonly mistook their neighbor’s concerns for their own. But even in Cross Springs, NC, time moves on and heals the most grievous of wounds. Linda shakes things up, goes back to school and—gasp!—starts to date a younger man.

Suddenly everyone in Cross Springs has something to say about her life—and Linda is faced with hard choices. She has tried for years to live up to the expectations of Cross Springs’ society, but now she is remembering the girl she used to be, back before motherhood and self-doubt robbed her of her self-esteem. Should she bow to comfortable roles and old expectations? Or should she give herself a Kick Start and pursue the kind of love she never thought she would find?

Here’s a link to the excerpt on my website. Actually, it’s the entire first chapter! Hopefully, you’ll be intrigued and entertained and want to read more. 😀 In case you do, here are some links where you can find the book in the e-format of your choice. It is also available on Amazon sites around the world. Or it should be. I haven’t quite figured out how to check all those things yet.

Treat Yo SelfAvailable for Kindle –  http://www.amazon.com/Kick-Start-Cross-Springs-ebook/dp/B00CLZ7VAE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1368479077&sr=1-1&keywords=caren+crane+kick+start

Available for Nook from Barnes & Noble –  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1115247361?ean=2940016757223

Available at SmashWords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/311927

As a special present from me to you, I would love to gift one commenter with a copy of Kick Start in the e-book format of your choice. To get in the drawing, please tell me what your ultimate birthday gift to yourself would be (if time, money and reality were not issues and you could Treat. Yo. Self! :D). I gave myself a published book, so anything goes!

Macy Beckett is in the lair!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your book.

Sure thing! I live in Loveland, Ohio—which is pretty cool, considering I’m a romance writer—with my husband and three children.  Sultry with a Twistis my debut novel, and in a nutshell, it’s the story of an Austin bar owner who’s forced to return to her tiny Texas hometown for a month of community service under the supervision of her first love.

Here’s a teaser from the back cover:

Welcome to Sultry Springs, Texas: where first loves find second chances…

 Nine years after June Augustine hightailed it out of Sultry Springs with her heart in pieces, one thing stands between her and her dream of opening an upscale martini bar: a bogus warrant from her tiny Texas hometown. Now she’s stuck in the sticks for a month of community service under the supervision of the devilishly sexy Luke Gallagher, her first love and ex-best friend.

 If Texas in July wasn’t already hot enough, working side-by-side with June would make any man melt. Luke wants nothing more than to strip her down and throw her in the lake—the same lake where they were found buck naked and guilty as sin all those years ago. In their heads, they’re older and wiser. But their hearts tell a different story…

In addition to romance, I write YA sci-fi for Disney Hyperion. My Alienated series launches in early 2014.

Did you always aspire to be a published author?

No, and I’ll tell you why…in a roundabout way. Bear with me. J Remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry dates a masseuse? He thinks it’s the ultimate score and imagines all the free massages he’s going to get…until he realizes the last thing his girlfriend wants to do after working with her hands all day is give YET ANOTHER back rub. That was kind of like me. I have an English degree, and I taught middle school Language Arts for almost a decade. Writing was a way of life. It was work! Bleh! Not only that, but teaching left me mentally spent each evening. Why would I want to come home and write some more? I preferred to read or catch up on my favorite soap, Guiding Light. (Remember that show? Reva & Josh 4ever!)

But then I resigned from teaching to stay home with my babies, and three years later, I found myself in desperate need of a creative outlet and intellectual stimulation. That’s when—at the age of 36—it first occurred to me to write for my own amusement.

Tell us about your call story.

I’ve received “the call” twice, and both times were equally awesome. When my agent called to tell me Sultry with a Twist had sold in a three-book deal, I was folding socks. (What can I say? My life is a thrill ride.) There was a lot of jumping and squealing, and then I called a bunch of people to share the news, even though I was supposed to keep it a secret. (Shhh! Don’t tell my agent.) About five months later, I received thesecond call, letting me know Disney had offered a two-book deal for my YA series. I was sitting in the New Orleans airport getting ready to board my flight home from a research trip. There was still a lot of jumping and squealing, but this time with an audience. I remember thinking to myself, “How sucky would it be if my plane crashed now?” followed by, “At least I’d die happy.”

Can you post an excerpt of Sultry with a Twist for us?

You bet. I’ll share a snippet between the hero, Luke, and his best friend, Trey, who’s in the hospital after falling off a roof. Readers tell me they love the dialogue between these two.

Scooting his chair closer to the air conditioner, Luke let the frigid breeze stir the damp hair at the back of his neck. He nodded at the traction line keeping his buddy’s lower half immobile. “How do you go to the bathroom in that thing?”

“Trust me,” Trey’s mouth drooped into a frown, tugging one dimple to the surface of his cheek, “you don’t wanna know.”

“Forget I asked.” Poor bugger. Broken bones were painful, but nothing made a man feel lower than losing the ability to take care of his own personal needs. “But at least you’re getting sponge baths, right? Bet your nurse loves to get you reeeal clean.” That’s how it had worked in a Naughty Nightshift Nurse movie he’d watched once or twice…or a dozen times…as a teenager.

“Yeah,” Trey mumbled, glancing away. “He’s very thorough.”

“He?”

“You heard me.”

Luke didn’t want to laugh—really, he didn’t—but the mental image of his buddy gritting his teeth, clenching his eyes, and suffering through a dude-on-dude sponge bath was just too much. “Jesus, man,” he chortled, “and I thought I had it bad.”

What’s next for you?

If you love Sultry with a Twist, the next book in the series, A Shot of Sultry, is now available for pre-order.  http://www.amazon.com/A-Shot-Sultry-Springs/dp/1402270399/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_12  A third Sultry Springs novel will follow in the fall of 2013.You can find out more about all my books, for adults and teens, on my website. http://macybeckett.com/

A huge, heartfelt thanks for having me on the blog today. It’s such a pleasure to hang with you ladies! Before I go, I’d like to pose a question to your lovely readers: Have you ever discovered a new interest and changed careers because of it? If not, would you like to?

**

Macy Beckett writes hot and humorous romances set in Sultry Springs, Texas: where first loves find second chances. Her debut novel, SULTRY WITH A TWIST, http://www.amazon.com/Sultry-Twist-Springs-Macy-Beckett/dp/1402270364 is now available in stores, and two more Sultry Springs romances will follow in 2013. Macy loves to hear from readers, so feel free to say hello on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMacyBeckett  or via her website. http://macybeckett.com/

**

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Sourcebooks Casablanca will send a copy of SULTRY WITH A TWIST to one lucky commenter! (US/CAN only, no PO boxes, please). Just leave a valid email address along with your comment so I can contact you if you win. The giveaway closes tonight, October 5th, at 11:59 pm EST. At that point, I’ll assign each comment a number and use random.org to select the winner. If the winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, I’ll choose another winner, and so on. Good luck!

Sold!

Isn’t that a great word, “sold?”  I haven’t been all that fond of it for a while.  It always applied to someone else’s book, never mine, so hearing it generated a little envy and a lot of longing.  There was also a degree of fear that it would never apply to a book of mine.

Well, now it does, and I think it’s a fabulous word, a splendid word, an amazing word!

Yeah, okay, stopping now. *g*

My agent has sold the first two books in my contemporary mage series, The Protectors, to Grand Central’s new electronic and PoD line, Forever Yours.  Book one, Renegade, is currently scheduled for release on November 6.  Guardian, the second book, is slotted for sometime in the spring, maybe March.

In honor of the occasion, I got a new head shot, which I’ve been needing anyway.  I figured I had until late summer, maybe even September, to experiment with different hairstyles and maybe lose some weight before actually having to get a photo.

Uh, no.  The publisher needed my head shot by late April.  Urk!  I really, truly loathe having my picture taken.  I’m seldom happy with the result, often secretly hoping it doesn’t look like me.  So I stuck with the one for the 2006 GH, which I thought was okay, for six years.  I like this new one, though.

I didn’t have the money to pay a photographer to come take a lot of shots, and I wanted an outdoor setting because my magic system is nature-based.  After I bemoaned situation this to Cassondra, she volunteered to take the photo for me.  “I’m visiting Jeanne after this conference,” she said.   “Come meet us, and I’ll take your new photo.”

Yay!  Saved!

“Bring a white top and a black one,” she said.

Uh-oh.  “I don’t wear a lot of black or white.  I like jewel colors.”

A brief silence, probably while she sighed.  “We need it to look right in both color and black and white.”

“Oh, iPhoto can change it over,” I assured her, proud of this tiny bit of technical knowledge.

“Uh-huh.  How many people in this conversation have a degree in photojournalism?”

“Um . . . I took an art class once.”

I could hear her smiling in triumph.  “Good for you.  Wear what I tell you.”

So I did.  She chose the blue top and necklace shown at right from the assortment I’d packed.  I could not get iPhoto to save it in the right size for our website, even though it told me it would, so Tawny fixed it.  Clearly, my tiny bit of knowledge of iPhoto is a bit too tiny.

Jeanne did my makeup.  She came in the bathroom while I was drying my hair and said, “Use this big, round brush to give it some lift.”

“I don’t really like a lot of height in my hair,” I said.

“It won’t stay pouffy,” she assured me.  “This is just to give it some fullness.”

Probably looking as doubtful as I felt, I changed out the hair brushes.

But Jeanne hadn’t finished.  “Did you bring your makeup, like I asked you to?”

“Yeah, but I figured I’d just put on some blush and lipstick, as usual.”

She didn’t roll her eyes, but I think she came close.  “You don’t want usual for this.  You want enhanced.”

When she and Cassondra were working on highlights and colors, I said, “You know, if we’re going to get me all tarted up, I won’t look like me.”

“Trust us,” Cassondra said.  “You won’t look ‘tarted up.  You’ll look professional.'”

This is what happens when someone who is a control freak and uncomfortable with makeup puts herself in other people’s hands.  It’s a good thing they’re my friends, or they might’ve killed me.  Instead, they made me look really good.

(Cassondra said I had to tell that part, or she would.  :-))

Then Jeanne hung around and made me smile while Cassondra took a great many shots.  Cassondra and Tawny retouched our favorite, and voila!  I love it.

So now I have a brand new, official author head shot and, before Thanksgiving, will have on my iPad a brand new, official ebook of a story I actually wrote with my actual name on the actual cover.  Squee!

I think of this series as contemporary fantasy romance with a lot of boom.  Mayhem, if you will.  🙂  Here’s the official description for Renegade:

SHE FOLLOWS THE RULES

As the Collegium council’s top sheriff of the southeastern United States, Valeria Banning doesn’t just take her job seriously, she takes it personally. So when a notorious traitor wanted by the authorities suddenly risks his life to save hers, she has to wonder why.

HE BREAKS EVERY ONE OF THEM

As a mage, Griffin is sworn to protect innocents from dark magic, which is how he finds himself fighting side by side with the beautiful Valeria Banning. But when the council finds out the two have been working together, they’re both left running for their lives—from the law, the threat of a ghoul takeover, and a possible Collegium mole.

I love this blurb, too!

I don’t write with actors in mind for my characters.  I’ve tried, but that makes them feel less mine somehow.  I do like, later, figuring out which actors the characters most resemble so I can describe them to other people.  I think Val is a similar type to Mary McCormack, attractive, even beautiful but in a girl-next-door way.  Griff (whose last name is Dare) is more like a young Christopher Reeve without the Superman hair, handsome with strong, clean-cut features.

I’m headed home today from touring Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp, which figures heavily in the overall story arc, though not so much in this particular book.  I’m including three of my favorite pictures from yesterday’s boat trip.  See how reflective the water is.  It looks black but is actually the color of weak iced tea and is as clear as what comes out of the faucet.

That gray stuff hanging off the trees is called Spanish moss but is neither Spanish nor moss.  More about that next month.  I traded my regular day, the 26th, to another bandita and am taking the 21st instead.  We’ll talk more about about Renegade and the Okefenokee.

Meanwhile, thanks to Cassondra, Jeanne, and Tawny for their help with the author photo, to Tawny for getting the website to accept my photo and to Jeanne for hanging out to chat with everyone while I’m on the road.  And to all the banditas for their support along the way!

I’ll answer comments before I get on the road and again if I stop along the way at  any place with Wifi.   I’ll catch up when I get home late this afternoon.

Assuming today’s blog prize survives its night in the trunk of the car, I’m giving one commenter a small glass figurine of Cinderella’s slipper on a pillow.

That slipper, to me, is a symbol of a difficult quest that turned out extremely well. I sort of feel like Cinderella lately.

 

(If the slipper doesn’t survive, I’ll think of something else, of course, but the figurine should be okay.  I’m just hedging my bets in case something weird goes wrong.)

So tell me, have you ever visited a swamp?   Do you read paranormal or fantasy romance?  If so, what kind do you particularly like, and why?  Have you ever read a book with mages?  If so, what did you like about it?

 

Out of the Shadows!

by Anna Campbell

I’ve been really looking forward to introducing you all to my lovely friend M.J. Scott. M.J. is a long-time and very active member of Romance Writers of Australia and it’s always a pleasure to see her at our conferences.

It’s even more of a pleasure to talk about her debut book SHADOW KIN which hits the shelves (and the e-waves) on 6th September. The great reviews for SHADOW KIN are rolling in. RT Book Reviews said, “Exciting and rife with political intrigue and magic, SHADOW KIN is hard to put down right from the start. Magic, faeries, vampires, werewolves and Templar knights all come together to create an intriguing story with a unique take on all these fantasy tropes…the lore and history of Scott’s world is well fleshed out and the action scenes are exhilarating and fast.”

Here’s the blurb:

On one side, the Night World, rules by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages…

Born a wraith, Lily is a shadow who slips between worlds. Brought up by a Blood Lord and raised to be his assassin, she is little more than a slave. But when Lily meets her match in target Simon DuCaine, the unlikely bond that develops between them threatens to disrupt an already stretched peace in a city on the verge of being torn apart…

You can find out more about Mel and her books and read an excerpt from SHADOW KIN on M.J.’s website: www.mjscott.net

M.J., welcome to the Romance Bandits and congratulations on the release of your debut book SHADOW KIN. Can you tell us about this story?

SHADOW KIN is the story of a half-Fae assassin who has been controlled all her life by some fairly unpleasant people.When she botches her latest assignment and meets someone with a different perspective on the world, things begin to change.

You describe SHADOW KIN as ‘dark fantasy’. Can you tell us about the world your characters inhabit and what inspired it?

I will confess that when I first started SHADOW KIN, I thought it was urban fantasy. But then I realised that they weren’t wearing modern clothes and when the first gun appeared, in my head it was an ornately engraved old-fashioned pistol. Then as my heroine told me more about the world and said that the four races who live in the Half-Light City maintain peace through a treaty, I started to think about what sorts of things a treaty between humans, vampires, werewolves and Fae might govern. The obvious things seemed to be rationing the amounts of iron and silver that are available for use. Which has some flow-on effects on the level of technology the humans have reached. Plus there’s magic to deal with. SHADOW KIN isn’t steampunk but the world is somewhere around an early Victorian level of technology, with some differences. As for the inspiration, I can’t point to any one thing. A lifetime of reading fantasy, science fiction and lots of historical romance, I guess!

Sounds great! What’s next for M.J. Scott?

Book 2, BLOOD KIN comes out in June next year. I’m just finishing book three and am working on other things that I can’t yet talk about.

Here in the lair, we LOVE call stories. Can you please share yours?

My call story is a bit of a saga. SHADOW KIN was the third book of mine that my agent went out with. I wrote it in a year where I was having a lot of near misses, so it was a bit of a roller coaster plus it was a bit of an odd book and I wasn’t sure where exactly it would fit and was feeling gloomy about the whole thing (even though I loved the book). Luckily my agent loved it too and then, when she sent it out, we got the first offer in about three weeks. But it then took another two weeks to get other offers and have a bit of an auction, during which I had to keep quiet about what was happening and didn’t sleep much. Lots of very early morning phone calls and emails given the time difference between Australia and New York. When we got to the actual final result, my agent finally got to make “the call” after nearly three years of repping me and there was much squeeing and snoopy dancing. Then I got to share the good news with the world and have a long nap. lol



I bet that was a very happy nap! Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Stick to it, keep learning and don’t give up. It took me nine years to sell and almost ten years before I finally got to hold my book in my hands but it’s worth all the hard work along the way!

Your heroine is an assassin – did you set out to write a bad girl heroine?

The couple of urban fantasy books I wrote before SHADOW KIN both had heroines who started out more normal and got dragged into darker worlds. When my heroine showed up in my head, standing outside a door, getting ready to go in and kill someone, I realised I was dealing with a whole different kettle of fish. So I didn’t start off to write her that way, she arrived that way and then the hero popped up almost her complete opposite and I had a good guy hero to deal with too. Which was a lot of fun to play with as a writer as things are rarely quite as black and white as they seems.

Okay, Banditas, I had a blast writing a bad girl/good boy story even though it was different to what I’ve tended to write before (as I’m usually a bit of a sucker for a bad boy hero). What’s your favourite romance pairing? Do you like to see the good girl get her bad boy or two charming tricksters go head to head in a bad boy/bad girl heroine or see a good guy get his world turned on its head by a sexy bad girl? Or even see two good people struggle to get it right?

Thanks, M.J. Get commenting, people. There’s a copy of SHADOW KIN up for grabs today! Good luck!

Timeless Winner!

by Anna Campbell

Hey, guys, thanks for giving Karyn Gerrard and her debut book TIMELESS HEART such a wonderful welcome yesterday. I’m delighted to announce the winner of the book is:

MARIE!

Marie, congratulations! Please email Karyn on karyngerrard @ gmail.com (no spaces) with your contact information and she’ll get your prize to you.

Bandita Buddy Karyn’s Timeless Romance!

by Anna Campbell

Oh, I do so love it when a Bandita Buddy makes good!

So when I heard that regular visitor to the lair, Karyn Gerrard, had published a novella, I thought it would be wonderful to turn the spotlight on her here at the Romance Bandits.

Karyn’s fun and sexy debut, TIMELESS HEART, is available as an e-book now. Here’s the blurb:

Sandra Cranston, an elementary teacher on leave, discovers an abandoned carriage deep in the woods. Inside is a man, Jerrod Ross, who fuels all of her wicked Regency dreams and fantasies.


Ross has been torn from the only world he has ever known—1821 Cornwall, England. How will he adjust to the future and his growing desire for the lovely lady who found him? More importantly, how will he ever return to his time?

SNIPPET FROM TIMELESS HEART:

“You’re awake, are you alright? I probably should have taken you straight to the hospital, but you didn’t have any ID,” the young woman began to explain.

“Where is your pot?” he snapped gruffly, effectively cutting her off in mid-sentence.

“Pot? What do you mean…”

“To piss in! A chamber pot! Surely you have such a contrivance!” he thundered.

“What is your name, sir?” the woman asked in a cool tone.

How officious she sounded. He supposed it was all he deserved, as he was treating her like some servant. Jerrod lay back down. He was in discomfort. “My name is Jerrod Ross, Squire from Pendern Hall. And who might you be, madam?”

“I? I am Sandra Cranston, Mistress of the walk-up second story flat,” she replied coldly.

© Timeless Heart by Karyn Gerrard

You can find out more about Karyn and her writing on her website: http://karyngerrard.com/

By the way, every time I see that cover, I can’t help thinking they used Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky as the model. Here’s a pic!

Karyn, welcome to the Bandits and huge congratulations on the release of your debut romance TIMELESS HEART. Can you tell us about this story?

Anna, thanks for having me. I am thrilled to be here in the lair! Romance Bandits is the very first romance blog I ever visited when I first started reading the genre. For someone who is a voracious reader, can you believe that I only began to read romance over three years ago? I certainly embraced it, and have devoured hundreds of romance books in that time.

As for TIMELESS HEART, believe it or not, its origins came from a dream.

Anna, I know we have talked of this before, in fact, on a recent blog you had a picture up of Poldark. I saw BBC’s POLDARK (based on the books of Winston Graham) for the first time years ago on Canadian television (we are talking decades here, people!).

British actor Robin Ellis who played Ross Poldark was my first serious teenage crush.

I mean SERIOUS. I dreamed of this guy every night.

But it was one particular hot, naughty and wicked dream that stuck with me all these years. As wicked and naughty as a naive and innocent teenager can have!

I dreamed Ross travelled back in time, I found him, and whisked him to my home, or more specifically, my bedroom! *snort* When I decided to try my hand at erotica, this dream popped into my head. I just went with it. My hero from 1821, Jerrod Ross, is a nod to Winston Graham’s hero. He is from Cornwall, but that is pretty much where the similarity ends. But Ross Poldark was always in the back of my mind as I wrote this! (and my wicked dream!)

One of the things I loved about this story is the Nova Scotia setting which you don’t see in a lot of romances. What made you choose this setting?

I am originally from there! Nova Scotia is the oldest, settled province of Canada, steeped in Celtic/Gaelic history. (Nova Scotia means ‘New Scotland’ ) It is called ‘Canada’s Ocean Playground’ as it is almost completely surrounded by water. From the jagged western shore, to the big city arts and cultural life of Halifax, to the Highlands of Cape Breton, it reeks of romance. A perfect setting. I have resolved to use Nova Scotia and the other Maritime provinces as the setting for any more novellas I may attempt.

It is no accident that some well known romance writers come from there (not that I include myself with this stellar list) Like Deborah Hale, Julianne Maclean, and Donna Alward just to name a few. I plan to move back there as soon as my school teacher hubby can retire! I guess you can tell I love it. Not many books have been set in Nova Scotia, though NS author Pamela Callow set her MIRA bio-medical thriller DAMAGED (2010) in Halifax. Must check that out.

And it is also a case of ‘write about what you know’ I am very familiar with the areas I wrote about, felt like coming home.

The story is a really hot read while still giving plenty of attention to the characters’ emotional arcs. Was this a hard balance to achieve?

This was my first attempt at an erotica, I surprised myself how easily I could write these scenes! I remember a teacher telling me ‘write about what you know’ (it stuck with me)*snort* But I didn’t want it to be the sole focus of my novella, the emotional journey for characters is so important to me, in my romance reading and writing.

What good is one hot sex scene after another, if there is no underlying desire, love and emotion behind it? Of course, that is just my opinion, the way I like to write. I like to think my story is a romance first, with some really hot love scenes in it!

So to answer your question, surprisingly, no, it wasn’t a hard balance for me. Thank God!

I love time travel romance! Why does this particular genre appeal to you?

I always loved the concept, crossing chasms of time, to find that one person you can connect with on an emotional and physical level. It has a real fairy tale aspect to it, you can get lost in the fantasy.

It also has a built-in conflict, does the time traveller stay, or go back to his own time? Does the other person stay, or go with him? What a decision! Love, sacrifice, surrender, passion, time travel has it all! Also, depending on the era you set your story in, adventure can be a big part, that appeals to me as well.

I just finished Karen Marie Moning‘s series about Highlander time travelling laddies, and I was sorely tempted to turn Jerrod into a Highlander warrior from 1267 who maybe landed in the highlands of Cape Breton, I do love my hunky kilt wearing boyos. But, ultimately, I went with a hunk of Regency Squire.

I loved writing his reactions to something like a flush toilet! Seeing how someone reacts to the strange world around them also appeals to me! You can run the gambit of emotions in a time travel, you can throw in comedy, drama, adventure, suspense, anything at all.

Here in the lair, we love call stories. Will you please share yours?

It happened all so fast, my head is still spinning! This was my first submission to e-publishers, I sent TIMELESS HEART out to four of them early one Saturday morning . My hands were literally shaking. Response times for these e-publishers were 2-16 weeks. So I sat back and figured the rejections would start rolling in within 2-3 weeks. That night, I was reading (as always!) and took a quick break to check my email on my Ipod touch. There was an email from Evernight Publishing. My heart sank to the floor. Rejection already? Man, it must suck! I took a deep breath and opened it, it was a contract offer. I dropped the Ipod. Total shock.

I know luck is a big factor in getting published anywhere, so I was very lucky that Evernight decided to take a chance on me.

Did any writers influence you on your writing journey?

I got my butter dish out, Anna, so be prepared to be buttered up! LOL! You, for one. I absolutely adore the intimate and sensuous way in which you write.

Also your heroes are to die for. Memorable on so many levels. I strived for that in TIMELESS HEART. I can’t tell you how many times I said to myself when writing a scene, ‘What would Anna do?’ You really were an inspiration!

Hmm, SOOO glad I asked that question, LOL! Wow, definitely feeling buttered up! THANK YOU!

One of the very first romance writers I read was Mary Balogh. I love how she immerses the reader into her world so deeply. Also the historicals of Lisa Kleypas. She also has a talent for creating a world and fascinating characters and sexy heroes. Another romance writer I have taken to and have been influenced by is Elizabeth Hoyt, for the same reasons mentioned above. I do tend to focus on the heroes in stories when reading, and in my own writing.

Love those dark, tortured, sexy heroes!

Also, I know we have discussed this before, but I was greatly influenced by Taylor Caldwell, not really a romance writer, but romance was interwoven in her lush, rich dramas. I think people have forgotten about her the last couple of decades. They made TV mini-series out of her books back in the 1970’s, CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS comes to mind. Her book CEREMONY OF THE INNOCENT made a big impact on me as a teenager. After reading that, I wanted to write. I will never be Taylor Caldwell, but thanks to her and everyone I mentioned, I am writing. And I got published. Wow.

Oh, yes, I remember loving those Taylor Caldwell books too. Loved DEAR AND GLORIOUS PHYSICIAN. What’s next for Karyn Gerrard?

Anna, like I said, this happened all so fast, I am not sure where to turn next! I do have three full manuscripts finished, a Victorian, a historical-paranormal, and a contemporary. (I like to spread it around,*snort*) So I have lots of editing ahead. Also just finished an erotica/paranormal novella and now working on its sequel.

Maybe some Saturday morning very soon, I will try and control my trembling hands, and submit something again.

Karyn, I hope so. I really enjoyed TIMELESS HEART. I look forward to reading what comes next!

I have a question for everyone, if a 6’2″ hunk of magnificent Regency gorgeousness held out his masculine hand and said, ‘Come with me’, with that deep come-to-bed voice, would you go back to the past with him? Why or why not? And what do you think you would miss the most if you did go back to 1821? Or instead, tell me of a movie, book or TV show about time travel that you loved! I have a PDF copy of TIMELESS HEART from Evernight Publishing up for grabs to one lucky commenter!

Let the party begin! I brought my Irish Houseboys Liam and Lorcan and a case of Bailey’s, so let’s have fun!

Demon Hunting in the Lair!

by Anna Campbell

We love debut authors here in the lair and I’m delighted to introduce a very talented new author who I met for an uproarious lunch a couple of RWAs ago (she’s a friend of Louisa’s – should be recommendation enough, huh?). Lexi’s huge fun in person so I wasn’t remotely surprised when I heard she’d translated that funny, snarky humor into a three-book deal with Kensington Brava.

You can find out more about Lexi at her website: www.lexigeorge.com

Here’s the blurb for DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE which is out this month:

A warrior, a demon, and the girl next door…

Looking For Trouble…

Addy Corwin is a florist with an attitude. A bad attitude, or so her mama says, ‘cause she’s not looking for a man. Mama’s wrong. Addy has looked. There’s just not much to choose from in Hannah, her small Alabama hometown. Until Brand Dalvahni shows up, a supernaturally sexy, breathtakingly well-built hunk of a warrior from—well, not from around here, that’s for sure. Mama thinks he might be European or maybe even a Yankee. Brand says he’s from another dimension.

Addy couldn’t care less where he’s from. He’s gorgeous. Serious muscles. Disturbing green eyes. Brand really gets her going. Too bad he’s a whack job. Says he’s come to rescue her from a demon. Puh-lease. But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen. Dogs talk and reanimated corpses stalk the quite streets of Hannah. Her mortal enemy Meredith, otherwise known as the Death Starr, breaks out in a severe and inexplicable case of butt boils. Addy might not know what’s going on, but she definitely wants a certain sexy demon hunter by her side when it all goes down…

So without more ado, here’s Lexi!

Lexi, welcome to the Bandits and huge congratulations on the release of your debut paranormal romance DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE. Can you tell us about this story?

Small town florist Addy Corwin is out running with her dog one night when she is attacked and left for dead. She is saved by Brand Dalvahni, six-foot-four inches of hard-muscled yummy. Opposites attract and, from the start, Addy is irresistibly drawn to Brand. Says he’s an immortal demon hunter and that he’s come to rescue Addy from the rogue demon that marked her.

Demons and demon hunters in boring little Hannah, Alabama? Pul-leeze!

But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen. Dogs talk and reanimated corpses stalk the quiet streets of Hannah. Woo woo is one thing, but what really has Addy rattled is her reaction to Brand. She goes into hormonal meltdown every time the handsome warrior comes near. And that’s not her only problem. Addy’s encounter with the demon has changed her, giving her powers of her own, not to mention a startling new hair-do.

Her cosmetological troubles are nothing compared to the extreme make-over Brand gets when he meets Addy, the one female in ten thousand years who can make him forget that he’s a warrior and remember he’s a man. While Brand struggles to protect Addy from the evil creature on her trail, a demon of a different sort stalks the unsuspecting warrior: Addy’s matchmaking mama.

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE. The scene opens in Addy’s living room where she awakes, dizzy and confused, on her couch after being attacked by a demon. Surely she imagined the whole thing? To her surprise and astonishment, the supernaturally gorgeous guy from the woods is real. And he’s in her house! She tells him to leave and he refuses. Says he’s there to protect her from the djegrali—his word for ‘demon’. Addy thinks he’s a total babe. Too bad he’s a whack job.

Addy stepped away from the couch and her knees buckled.

One moment Brand was across the room, his shoulder against the wall, the picture of aloof boredom, and the next she was in his arms. She closed her eyes and swallowed a sigh as she was lifted against his hard chest. The man sure had muscles, she’d give him that.

“You will recline, at once.” His tone was stern.

Okay, muscles and a few control issues.

She opened her eyes as he lowered her to the couch, and saw a grimace of pain flash across his features. It was the first expression of any kind she’d seen on his face, unless you counted the lip twitch thing. The man could give a marble statue lessons in being stoic.

She caught his arm as he started to rise. “That thing hurt you!”

He stilled, his gaze on her fingers wrapped around his wrist. “You are mistaken. The djegrali did not injure me. It is your touch that disturbs me.”

Addy stiffened and drew back.“Well, excuse the hell out of me.”

He caught her by the hand. “You misunderstand. You do not repulse me.”

He knelt down beside her. He put his fingers under her chin and tilted her face with gentle fingers. Addy stifled a gasp. Who was this guy? The merest touch from him and her breasts tingled and she felt all hot and wobbly inside. What was the matter with her?

“Look at me,” he commanded.

Sweet Sister Ruth, he had a voice was like whiskey and smoke. She shivered and raised her eyes to his. He stroked her cheek with his thumb, a rapt expression on his face. His thumb drifted lower to brush her bottom lip. “You must be patient with me, Adara Jean Corwin. The Dalvahni do not experience emotion. It would be superfluous. We exist for one purpose and one purpose alone: to hunt the djegrali. For ten thousand years, that has been my objective, until now.”

“Ten thousand years, huh?” With an effort, she squelched the sudden urge to scrape the pad of his thumb with her teeth. No doubt about it, she was in hormonal meltdown. “Sounds boring. You need to get a new hobby, expand your horizons.”

“Earth is but one of the realms where the Dalvahni hunt the djegrali.”

Oh, brother, too bad. He was paying a visit to schizoid-land again.

Then the impact of his words percolated through the fog of lust that set her brain and her body on fire.

“Hey, wait a minute, I didn’t tell you my name!”

“The animal you call Dooley informed me of many things, including how to find this dwelling.”

“You don’t say? Funny, she’s never said a thing to me in four years.”

He put his hand on her shoulder as she tried to sit up.“You will not rise,” he said with annoying calm.

“Oh, yeah? That’s what you think, bub.”

She pushed at his arm, an exercise in futility. The man was built like the proverbial brick outhouse.

His hand slid over her abdomen and down her running shorts to her legs.His hand felt hot against her bare skin.

“Dooley, come here,” he said.

The dog rose and trotted over to the couch.

Brand traced an intricate pattern with his fingers along the skin of her inner thigh. Addy began to shake. What was happening to her? This was so unlike her. All her life she’d struggled to rein in her reckless nature, the wild streak that made her mama wring her hands in despair. Self-control was her hard-earned mantra. Think first and feel later. But this guy . . . this guy really got her going, made her want to throw caution to the wind. She wanted to arch her hips against his hand, a stranger’s hand.

“Speak, Dooley,” Brand said with his gaze on Addy’s face.

“DOOLEY LOVE ADDY. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE,” the Lab said in the growly voice of a three-pack-a-day smoker. Flinging up a back paw, she scratched her ear. “CAN DOOLEY HAVE CHICKEN LEG IN COLD BOX? CAN DOOLEY?” Her head snapped around. “OH, LOOK, A BUG!”

There was a long moment of silence as Addy gaped at her dog in shock. Slowly, she raised her eyes to Brand’s.

“Who are you?”

A slight crease appeared between Brand’s brows. The expression in his eyes grew puzzled.
“Until tonight, I thought I knew.”

Lowering his dark head, he kissed her.

Whiskey and smoke, huh? Works for me! You’ve got a novella, “The Bride Wore Demon Dust”, in what looks like a really fun anthology called SO I MARRIED A DEMON SLAYER that comes out in August. Please give us the lowdown on this story.

“The Bride Wore Demon Dust” is the story of a runaway bride. Bunny Raines is the librarian in the small town of Hannah—the town that is the setting of the first book. The story opens at a quaint church on a river. It is Bunny’s wedding day and she is blissfully happy to be marrying the man of her dreams—Rafe Dalvahni, six foot four inches of hard muscled, masculine yummy. To Bunny’s horror and dismay, she discovers—after she’s married!—that her boring little hometown is infested with demons, and her husband is an immortal demon slayer. The ‘mugger’ he saved her from the night they met was a demon, and Rafe saved her from certain death by giving her part of his essence.

Not only is she married to a total stranger, she’s changed species! Worse, she’s pregnant . . . although she hasn’t told Rafe about the baby yet.

Distraught and confused, Bunny flees the wedding and Rafe goes after her. Unfortunately, so does the demon that tried to kill her. Having marked her, the demon is irresistibly drawn to her, especially now that she’s a powerful Dalvahni and a worthy receptacle for the demon.

Sounds great! Here in the lair, we love call stories. Will you please share yours?

I’ve been writing for more than 16 years. My first two books were part of a romantic fantasy series. I knew nothing about fiction writing. Never took a class or read a book on writing, just started writing and loved it. So, I’m self-taught. I joined a writer’s group about five years ago and that was a tremendous help. Getting feed-back and constructive criticism is essential, in my opinion. You can’t write in a vacuum, not if you want to get published. There are rules and you have to learn about them before you can break them.

Around the same time that I joined the writer’s group, I started the querying rounds on the first book of the romantic fantasy that I’d been working on for more than ten years. I got rejected. Big time. Something like a hundred ‘no thanks.’ Discouraged, I decided to try my hand at a paranormal romance. The book took a year to write and the result was DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE, my debut book with Kensington. The book was a total surprise. When I started writing it, I thought it was going to be dark. But it quickly morphed into something else. This snarky voice came out of me that I never knew existed. It was amazing and liberating.

I had done well on the contest circuit while writing the book and I was jazzed. This is it, I thought. This is the one that will make it! In January 2010, I started querying and received a flurry of requests for partials and fulls from agents. I was excited and hopeful . . . and then the rejections started pouring in. Light paranormal doesn’t sell, was the consensus. I was devastated. Another series dead in the water.

I went on my romance writer’s loop and whined and a woman I barely knew at the time sent me an email. There was an interview of Megan Records on line that I needed to check out, she said, and then I needed to query her. I had never thought about querying an editor—too focused on getting an agent. I read the interview and Megan said she saw a lot of dark paranormal. No surprise there, that’s what the agents had said was selling. But then Megan said something that made me sit up and take notice. I don’t see much funny anymore, but I’d like to.

I sent Megan a query letter, referencing her interview and said, I write funny! She sent me back an email and asked for the full. This was in February of 2010.

On March 11, 2010, I was on my way to the doctor for a recheck because I had broken by foot in two places in February. I fell off my shoe. It’s a talent, I know. Anyway, a friend was driving me and my sad, casted foot to the doctor when my cell phone rang. I almost didn’t answer it, because it was an out-of-state call. I figured it was a wrong number or one of those Nigerian bank schemes. I answered the phone and, boy, am I ever glad I did! It was Megan Records calling to offer me a three-book deal! Good thing I wasn’t driving. I would have wrecked the car!

Great story! What’s next for Lexi George?

I am hard at work on book two of the demon hunter series, tentatively entitled DEMON HUNTING IN THE DEEP SOUTH. The deadline on book two is in June and it will be out next year. After that, it’s on to book three, DEMON HUNTING IN A DIVE BAR.

If the series does well, I have three more demon hunter books in mind.

Because my spies have been following you for years, I know you’re an enthusiastic amateur thespian. How do you think your acting experience feeds into your writing?

I think anything creative, whether it be dancing, painting, acting, quilting, etc., gets your juices flowing. I started out writing poetry in elementary, but the words dried up when I went to law school. The thing that freed my inner muse was scrap booking! I started scrap booking when my kids were little. Tapping into my creative side opened me up to other possibilities within myself and, from there, I turned to writing. Acting does the same thing. Being creative fills you with joy, connects you to the divine, and spills over to other things in a positive way.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?


Read, read, read, and WRITE! Writing is a craft and it’s a muscle that gets stronger with exercise. Try to write something every day, whether it’s a letter, blog, a short story, an essay, poetry—whatever. Check out some of the wonderful craft books on writing out there. Stephen King’s ON WRITING is an excellent one. Take advantage of the internet. There is a wealth of knowledge available at your fingertips on everything from structure and plot to POV and dialogue tags. Join a writer’s group or start one of your own. Even if you don’t all write the same thing, it is exciting to be around other writers, and you will learn from one another. Brain storming with other writers is great. A writers’ group will also teach you to give and accept constructive criticism.

Also, be ready to face rejection. It is part of the process. It sucks. It stings. It hurts. It knocks your feet out from under you and throws you into a spiral of self doubt. Give yourself a day to pout and sing the “I Suck” song, then shake it off and get back on the horse. Remember that writing is subjective. You cannot write a book that will please everyone. Write the book you want to read. Name an author, classic or otherwise, that everybody loves universally. You can’t, because people have different tastes. You are going to be rejected on the road to being published. After you get published, guess what? You face rejection again! There will be reviewers that love you and those that hate you, as I am already finding out. You will work with editors who want you to revise your manuscript. You may submit a proposal on your next fabulous series idea and get rejected on that too. But, don’t give up. If you give up, you will lose. Believe in yourself and persevere.Writing is not for wimps.

Lexi, do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandit Buddies?

I’d really love to hear about YOUR creative outlet. Writing, scrap booking, painting, sculpting, photography, cooking? What gets you inner muse going?

Lexi is very generously giving away TWO copies of DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE today to commenters so good luck, people!

Making Out Like A Bandit (In More Ways Than One!)

An guest blog by Virna DePaul with Tawny Weber

Thank you so much to my friend Tawny Weber and all the Romance Bandits for having me here today. With my first debut novel, Chosen By Blood (A Para-Ops Novel) having just released, you can bet I’ve been doing a lot of promotion, and that includes a lot of blog writing. That’s why I hope you’ll indulge me as I do a post that’s a little different, just for fun.


10 Things I Love About The Hero Of My Debut Novel:

  1. His name. Knox Devereaux. As sexy, sophisticated, and complex as he is…
  1. His body. Actually, both of his bodies. His “normal” one, and the one it transforms into when he’s impassioned (by blood lust or just plain lust).

“Beneath his loose clothing, his muscles hardened and swelled. Knox grew taller, broader, not enough to rip his clothes but enough to make them strain their seams. He felt his fangs lengthen and knew from the sound of Lucy’s gasp that his eyes had shifted from silver to a demonic, glowing scarlet. Control slithered away and a primal growl vibrated in his throat.”

  1. His loyalty to his clan.
  1. His love for his family.
  1. He’s a vampire.
  1. His passion for the heroine.

“’There is no us,’ Felicia said sadly.

‘I refuse to accept that.

‘You desire me now, but you’re right—I have limited years on Earth. I need to live those years honoring what I believe. I don’t believe in—in what you’re asking me for. Besides,’ she reasoned desperately, ‘I’m just a passing fancy. When I’m gone, you’ll be glad—’

‘No.’ He growled and pulled her into his arms. She saw the terror that flashed in his eyes. ‘No.’ Before she could stop him, his mouth took hers. And it was exactly as she’d feared it would be.

Devastating.

His mouth took but it also gave. It plundered even as it cherished. His tongue rubbed hers, then retreated, mimicking a different dance and causing the music to swell even louder, until it obliterated everything but the moment.

It was heaven. The kind of heaven one only dreams about, especially when her life has been filled with fear and uncertainty and pain. The kind of heaven that a mortal can’t have.

She wrenched away and backed up, wiping her hand against her lips.

He was breathing roughly, his expression almost desperate. ‘You can’t run from this forever, Felicia.’”

  1. His sense of humor.
  1. He’s a bad ass.

“Knox returned his attention to Hunt, who not only met his stare head-on, but jerked his chin in challenge. ‘Might as well get it over with now,’ Hunt drawled.

Laughter, a sinister, chilling sound, tickled Knox’s throat.

Oh yeah, he thought.

Things were going to get a whole lot more fun before the day was through.

Knox took three lightning-quick steps toward Hunt, then froze. His nostrils flared as he caught her scent. A second later, he saw the woman standing just behind Hunt.

Felicia. What was she doing—

Before he could complete the thought, a heavy weight slammed into his chest, knocking the air out of him and propelling him off his feet. He didn’t stop until his body slammed into a wall on the other side of the room. Knox hit the ground. Stunned, but immediately moving into a crouch, he blinked as dust and plaster rained down on him, momentarily obstructing his vision. When it cleared, he saw Felicia wrestling with the

werebeast. And then he saw the werebeast shove her down.

With an enraged shout, Knox teleported so fast he caught her before impact. He lowered her, gently but swiftly, then almost instantly wrapped his fingers around Dex Hunt’s throat. Imagining that Hunt’s throat was an aluminum can, Knox squeezed.

Only one thought remained.

Kill the bastard who’d touched Felicia.”

  1. His love for his father, the same father that was branded a traitor for telling humans how to kill vampires:
  1. Uh, he’s a (Hot) VAMPIRE:

“Felicia grabbed his hand. It was dark out, almost too dark for him to see her, but she wasted no time in cupping her hand around his neck and pulling his head toward her. Not to her lips but to her neck.

‘Drink from me… I feel fine, Knox. I promise.’

He swallowed hard. Felt his mouth watering. “I’ll drink just a little. Just enough to . . .” Without another word, he gave in…Her taste filled his mouth, then his throat, then spread to every part of him…He felt the urge to suck her dry, to drink and drink and drink until every last drop of her was inside him…

Still, he forced himself to slow down, to suck softer, to pull back slightly. He felt his renewed strength, even with the small amount of blood she’d given him. He didn’t want to take too much—

She pushed his head down deeper, whispering for him to take as much as he wanted, and her full acquiescence was too much to fight. He might not need more of her blood, but he wanted it.

He gave himself over to his hunger. Planting his hands on her hips, he rubbed his body against her as he drew on her vein in long, languorous pulls. He lifted his hands to her breasts, cupping them. He felt the strong urge to leave her vein so that he could suck at her nipples.

That’s when he knew he would always be drawn to Felicia for who she was and not what she could give him.

He would always want her more than he wanted her blood.”

Virna DePaul is a former criminal prosecutor whose debut mass market paranormal romantic suspense novel, Chosen By Blood (Book 1 in the Para-Ops series), comes out May 3, 2011 by Berkley Books. In addition, Virna writes contemporary romantic suspense for Harlequin Romantic Suspense (Dangerous To Her, September 2011) and HQN (new series launching April 2012). Virna has also self-published several novels, including “A Vampire’s Salvation,” “This Magic Moment,” and the “Red-Hot Cops” series under the name Ava Meyers. Visit her at www.virnadepaul.com.

Virna is giving away a Para-Ops tote filled chocolate, a Para-Ops mug, sunglasses, and my e-books, A Vampire’s Salvation, a paranormal vampire novella, This Magic Moment, a contemporary romance, and my craft book with Tawny Weber, Love Writing: A Guide To Writing and Getting Your Romance Novel Published (Without Losing Your Perspective, Passion Or Sanity).

Blurb of Chosen By Blood:

United by fate. Bound by desire.

Five years after the Second Civil War ends, humans and Otherborn— humanlike creatures with superhuman DNA—still struggle for peace. To ensure the continued rights of both, the FBI forms a Para-Ops team with a unique set of skills.

Leader of an Otherborn clan, half-breed vampire Knox Devereaux would do anything to find a cure for the anti-vamp vaccine slowly starving his people into extinction. When the FBI contacts him about leading a team of hand-selected Others on a mission to reclaim the stolen antidote, Knox accepts. His new assignment places him in direct contact with Special Agent Felicia Locke, the beautiful human he’s craved since their very first meeting.

In bookstores now and available on www.amazon.com!

The Secret Lives of Elizabeth (and) Essex

by Anna Campbell

It is my enormous pleasure to introduce debut historical author and all round good egg Elizabeth Essex.

EE (as I am privileged to call her!) is a lot of fun and her books are wonderful. I was lucky enough to read the first and the third as ARCs and they’re absolute treats. Witty, clever, sensual, romantic, full of intrigue.

Here’s the blurb for THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE:

Lizzie Paxton’s dream in life is to be a widow – if only she could skip the wedding and the husband. When her childhood friend Captain James Marlowe proposes a marriage in name only, she accepts, knowing she’ll have the independence she craves once he sets sail.

Though James is the only man Lizzie trusts, she doesn’t trust the scintillating desire he evokes in her. James knows he shouldn’t get involved with anyone, especially with his uncertain future. But he just can’t help himself when he overhears Lizzie’s declaration. Though he’s promised her a marriage of convenience, he wastes no time in seducing her and taking her over the precipice of desire.

Yet not even his beautiful wife can deter him from his cause. But when Lizzie discovers her husband has deceived her, James must choose between devotion to duty and loyalty to the woman he cannot live without…

You can read an excerpt from THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE on Elizabeth’s website.

So let’s give Elizabeth a rousing Bandita welcome!

Elizabeth, welcome to the lair! The cabana boys and gladiators are frothing at the mouth. Don’t worry, they just do that. What’s that? Apparently this is special froth because you’re a debut author arriving fresh for them to torture! Oh, man, these boys get their thrills in obscure ways! Ignore them and please tell us about your brilliant first book THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE.

Anna, first I want to thank you, and all the Romance Bandits, so very much for having me in the lair.

And I must confess straight away – I can’t possibly willfully ignore a Cabana boys.

Too many good things in my life have been brought by wayward cabana boys!

But I must say, I’m rather thrilled to be offered as gladiator fodder. I’ve been quite looking forward to it – it’s the most excitement I’ve had in quite some time!

But as to the story: THE PURSUIT of PLEASURE is a Georgian-era historical romance set in Dartmouth, England in 1794. It’s the story of Lizzie Paxton and Jameson Marlowe, who meet again after many years separation and the sparks immediately begin to fly.


Captain Jameson Marlowe has come home to Dartmouth on a special assignment from the Admiralty, to solve the murder of his lieutenant and to stop the illicit trade of arms and information between the Devon coast and Revolutionary France.

When he overhears his childhood friend and nemesis, Lizzie Paxton, declare, “I do say I’ll never marry, but I have always wanted to be a widow,” he jumps at the opportunity to revenge old wrongs.

Lizzie Paxton is bored, too bright for her own good, and very, very used to getting her own way. She can’t resist Jamie’s offer of “a marriage without the man.” But instead of happily lazing away her days at her lovely, empty estate, she finds herself thrown into prison, and embarking upon a crazy foray into a world filled with gun runners, idealist politicians, murderers and husbands who only pretend to be dead.

What’s coming up next?

My next book, A SENSE OF SIN, is due out in April. It is the story of a secondary character in THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE, the Ravishing Miss Celia Burke.

He could be her ruin…

After a shocking letter and then a mysterious warning about the dangers of unworthy men, Celia Burke is on edge. With her precarious position in society, the merest look could tear her reputations to tatters. And the roguish viscount pursuing her seems interested in far more than just a look …

She could be his salvation…

Rupert Delacorte, Viscount Darling, believes the ravishing Miss Celia Burke played some part in his beloved sister’s death. Looking for revenge, he swears he’ll seduce and ruin her – without actually touching her. Yet to win Celia’s trust and ignite her passions, Delacorte must open his hardened heart to her – and in the process, risk falling for the very woman he hoped to destroy.

Ooh, Viscount Darling sounds positively…DARLING! You have a wonderful facility with language and I love the way your characters speak in a way that reflects their background and history. Can you tell us something about the research you did for these stories?

I am thrilled you think so! I must say I work hard to get deep into the point of view of my characters, and I try to make their reactions and their language unique to them. My heroes tend to be military men, mostly naval captains, so I try to filter their reactions to everything, including the heroine, through the particular prism of their naval careers. For instance, in THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE, Marlowe refers to Lizzie as, “as sharp and lethal as a handspike.” Instead of just saying that she’s dangerous, I try to use words that convey, in his experience, what he would think was particularly dangerous.

I did do some specific research on the time period, especially on the political writings of the day, but my academic background is in Nautical Archaeology, which is the archaeology of shipwrecks. For most of my archaeology career I worked with shipwrecks of the historical period in North America, from the Revolutionary War, through the War of 1812 and up to the Civil War. During those years I conducted extensive research into the periods, people and customs of the particular projects I worked on, so it just seemed a natural progression for me to write fiction about the period. It think all that research is also what drove me to write romance – when I was an archaeologist I already knew how the story had ended – they had already ended badly on the bottom of the sea! So I really wanted to write stories with a happy ending.

Wow, that’s fascinating! Can you tell us about your writing journey?

My writing journey was more of a big old leap of faith. My jump to fiction came after I did some historical and archaeological research on a particular navy ship for the author Clive Cussler. I wrote a scholarly article about that research for an academic journal, and Mr. Cussler was kind enough to call and compliment me on it. He said I had a flair for historic narrative, and asked if I had ever thought of writing fiction. I was a stay-at-home-mom at the time, and it was just the push I needed to sit down at the computer and get started.


But I honestly believe the best way for anyone to become a writer is to be a reader. I have a deep love of words, and the worlds they can create, that I think was fostered by having wonderful books, like Kenneth Grahame’s THE WIND ON THE WILLOWS, read to me as a child. A love of stories that could transport me to different continents and time periods has continued all through my life, and I think is what ultimately inspired me to give fiction a try.

Here in the lair, we LOVE call stories. Can you share yours with us?

I think my ‘call’ was really more like a series of calls, each one leading directly to the next, and ultimately to one asking to buy the book.

The manuscript that became THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE was my second manuscript. I entered it in a series of contests – the Beau Monde’s Royal Ascot, the Gotcha! Contest and the Golden Heart – and I was fortunate to get those exciting phone calls telling me I was a finalist, especially the call from Madeline Hunter telling me I was a finalist for Regency romance in the 2009 Golden Heart Contest. Each phone call and ‘final’ in those contests spurred me to go back to the manuscript, and work to try and make it better, so when my terrific editor Megan Records from Kensington called to ask for the full manuscript, I was more than ready to send it along. A short time later, she called back to ask if I wanted to be a Brava girl, and I said yes. I don’t recall much else about that moment, other than a strange, but pleasant numbness and an abiding sense of accomplishment. I sold to Kensington in a three-book contract right before the 2009 RWA convention.

Congratulations! Do you have any advice for unpublished writers?

Write every day. I find my brain is like a muscle – it needs regular exercise to stay in shape and perform usefully. Take a laptop, or an ipad, or just a pad of paper and a pen with you everywhere you go, so even if you are in the middle of the grocery store, the words that just popped into your head won’t get lost. Read your work out loud. I don’t care if the people in my house think I’m crazy for talking to imaginary characters! It helps me to get more deeply into my characters’ points of view to understand the way they talk. Since I write with ‘accented’ characters in mind, the cadence of their speech is very important. I also find I catch most of my typos and clichéd word choices while I am reading aloud. And my final, super sassy secret weapon – use it very carefully – is the Wine Spectator. Finding new ways to describe the emotions and, quite frankly, the romantic choreography of love scenes can get hard. (No pun intended). One evening, after a particularly trying day of writing, I was seeking solace amongst the bottles on display at my local grocers, and I heard a wine vendor describe a wine as having ‘an opulent silkiness in the mouth. I thought that was a perfect description of a kiss (or several other things which I’m too shy and retiring to mention on such an august forum as the lair) and I immediately wrote it down. (See above!) So there you have it. When you are stuck for sensory laden descriptions, check out the wine reviews!

Now I’m going to give away copies of THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE to three random commenters, but one lucky commenter will also win an audiobook of Georgette Heyer’s THE CONVENIENT MARRIAGE read by Richard Armitage (SWOON!), because THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE is essentially a ‘marriage of convenience’ story.

What’s your favourite example of this kind of story? Or if it’s not your favourite type of story, what is? The duck out of water? The injured hero? The toga-less gladiator? I’m dying to know!

Hmm, plenty of toga-less gladiators in the lair! A girl doesn’t know where to look sometimes! That’s incredibly generous of you, Elizabeth! Thank you! I’m sure the Bandita buddies will be on you like sails on a cutter in a fresh breeze! Good luck, everyone! Get commenting!

And there’s more! Goodness me, they’ll stop calling us Banditas and start calling us Santa soon!

It’s FINALLY here!
The Romance Bandits 12 Days of Christmas Booty. Every day between now and Christmas, one lucky commenter per day will win a daily prize and on some days, additional goodies from that day’s blogging Bandita or guest. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we’ll give away more booty including autographed books, GR mugs and much more! Come join us! Tell your friends! Let’s make the Season BRIGHT!
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