Posted by Anna Campbell Oct 10 2014, 12:01 am in Anna Campbell, books, heroes, historical romance, Jane Austen, Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice, Regency romance
Hi Bandits and Bandita Buddies! Today I thought I’d talk about one of my fave historical heroes. He might be over 200 years old, but we all still sigh over Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s immortal Pride and Prejudice.
Last year, I was fascinated (and amused) when a 12-foot statue of Darcy, including nipples under his wet shirt, in his Colin Firth incarnation was placed in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, bang in the middle of London:
Not bad publicity for an old guy. They don’t even do that for the latest pop star! You wonder how many current romantic heroes will pack the same punch in 2215.
As someone who writes romance (and hopefully compelling heroes) for a living, I find the world’s crush on Darcy fascinating. I wonder what he’s got that places him so high in the feminine pantheon of wonderful blokes.
I think part of it is the eternal attraction of the cool boy. Darcy’s richer than anyone else in the story, except maybe the fearsome Lady Catherine de Bourgh. And it would be a brave person who had a crush on her!
Darcy’s handsome. He has a sophisticated sense of humour. He’s impressively clever. Among the many things I love about his exchanges with Elizabeth is that those two are clearly the smartest people in the room. Even while they’re fighting fate, it’s obvious that they’re made for each other.
Another part of his attraction is that he’s so articulate. There’s something about that historical language when it’s used to persuade and seduce that turns me to mush. How about his first, disastrous proposal to Lizzie that starts out with, “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”? Wow!
Another heroic aspect of Darcy is that he’s willing to put himself on the line for the sake of the woman he loves. And without any expectation of reward. When he rescues Lydia from the disaster she’s got herself into with the vile Wickham, you know how it chafes at his pride to deal with his enemy. Yet, for Elizabeth’s sake, he does. Not only that, he succeeds – there’s a lot to be said for a competent hero!
We also admire that he sees beyond rank and fortune to Lizzie’s true value. We all love a Cinderella story, and Prince Charming in this particular one comes with the magnificent Pemberley as his palace.
Darcy’s generous enough to see the error of his ways by the end. We adore a self-aware hero who admits to the heroine where he went wrong. And there’s the delicious enjoyment of watching the journey as he struggles with painful change before he reaches his happy ending.
So all round when people start talking literary heroes, I do a time slip and go back to the Regency when men wore coats, neck cloths, breeches and boots, and spoke in perfect sentences. Long Live Mr. Darcy! 201 and still going strong!
So what about you? Are you a Darcy girl? Who’s your favourite book hero, historical or contemporary? Do you think the old guys have something going for them that the current crop of whippersnappers don’t? Do you think any of today’s heroes have what it takes to last 200 years as worthy subjects of a literary crush?
Posted by Cassondra Murray Oct 9 2014, 12:05 am in Award winning author, Cassondra Murray, Cassondra's blogs, Cassondra's guests, Dark Regency Romance, historical mystery, historical romance, historical romantic mystery, romantic mystery, Tracey Devlyn
I love it when a package–or a person–looks like one thing on the outside, but turns out to be something entirely different on the inside.
Tracey Devlyn is a smart, beautiful blonde with a sweet face. I was intrigued when I saw her at an author event last month and she said, “You won’t find a lot of ballrooms in my Regency novels.”
A LADY’S REVENGE, book one in her Nexus series of historical romantic thrillers, starts out with British heroine Cora in a really bad situation. In a dungeon. In France.
I was holding my breath.
Never fear though. Because Cora is a tough chick. A risk taker. Tracey is too. Her new Bones and Gemstones series takes readers for a walk on the dark side of Regency. For me, that makes Tracey one of the cool girls.
A fun surprise is that Tracey has been a long-time lurker here in the Lair. But today she’s in the spotlight.
Sven is behind the bar and all the guys are serving drinks and snacks, so pull up a chair, put in your order, and help me give a famous Bandit welcome to Tracey Devlyn.
Cassondra: Tracey, before we get started, tell me what Sven can bring you from the bar. He can make anything.
Tracey: To calm my nerves, I’d love a Fuzzy Navel—light on the Fuzzy, Sven–I don’t want my face to go numb during my debut on the Bandits. First impressions and all that, you know.
Cassondra: Are you kidding me? *glances around the room until she gets a thumbs-up from one of the gladiators* Seriously, we’re the ones who have to worry. We have to keep the rooster from causing some kind of embarrassing mayhem for the duration of your visit.
Cassondra: I like hearing about the early reading that influenced an author. Will you tell us about your earliest memory of books.
Tracey: As a kid, I loved looking through the Scholastic catalog at all the cool books. I could never afford to place an order, but I loved to mark the ones I wanted.
Cassondra: *bounces in chair* Me too, me too!
Tracey: I never enjoyed the books we were forced to read in school, so I rarely visited the fiction section when at the library. Pictures—l loved flipping through big books with pictures of animals and castles and such.
Cassondra: When did you first discover romance?
Tracey: It wasn’t until my mid-20s, when I took a mental health day from work, that I found romance. Talk show host Jenny Jones brought several romance authors on her show. A few days later I was reading my first romance—and I’ve never stopped.
Cassondra: What was that book?
Tracey: THE RAVEN AND THE ROSE by Virginia Henley. Back then, I knew nothing of happy-ever-afters and I expended a whole lot of energy blubbering my way through TRTR.
Cassondra: Tell us about your two series and your unusual approach to the era.
Tracey: Although I LOVE reading about dukes and ballrooms and Almack’s, I don’t think I’m wired right to tell Regency-set stories with the glitz and glamour of the ton as a backdrop. My Nexus series includes a group of aristocratic spies, though readers will find only one ballroom scene in the entire 4-book series. My new Bones and Gemstones series is rooted firmly in London’s underworld where nary a duke can be found.
Cassondra: In NIGHT STORM, Bones and Gemstones book one, your hero, Cam, is a thief taker, and your heroine, Charlotte (Charley for short) is an apothecary surgeon. What draws you to these characters and professions that are more unusual–more “underworld?”
Tracey: Without scaring readers, the best way I can answer your question is to say…I’m most comfortable in the darkness. *Tracey raises eyebrow and smiles*
Cassondra: Ah, soul sister! My coffin-sleeping ways are vindicated! Ahem…
The research for historicals has always seemed daunting to me. Charley relies on Chelsea Physic Garden–a London spot dedicated to medicinal plants–yet she could lose access to that place because she’s a woman working in a man’s field.
Tracey: I had a wonderful time researching the Chelsea Physic Garden. Sir Hans Sloane had tremendous vision for his time. If not for him, the garden and the British Museum wouldn’t be what they are today.
Cassondra: It’s my favorite London garden. I love that you included it. But women weren’t allowed to be members back then, right?
Tracey: *nods* Charley’s vocation will either endear her to readers or they’ll throw her against a wall in disgust.
Cassondra: *frowns* Why?
Tracey: There is no record of female apothecaries or apothecary-surgeons in the early 1800s. But as I mentioned in my Author’s Note of NIGHT STORM, I believe much of our true history never reaches the written page. Women tend to be caretakers by nature. To say with absolute conviction that no female apothecaries existed in the Regency stretches my belief system because history is full of women and men who stepped out of society’s confining box to make a difference. Fist pump to those trailblazers!
Cassondra: *lifts glass of wine in tribute* Yes. And women’s roles in particular were so often left out of history. What exactly was an apothecary in the early 1800s?
Tracey: I’ll do quick “equal to” list …
PHYSICIANS = Considered “gentlemen”; diagnosed internal problems; they did not get their hands dirty; might have a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, but from what I’ve read there wasn’t a set curriculum. They would take whatever classes interested them.
BARBERS = Generally apprenticed; minor surgery—pulling teeth, bloodletting, treating wounds and skin diseases.
SURGEONS = Generally apprenticed; major surgery—amputations, removing bullets.
APOTHECARY-SURGEONS = Generally apprenticed; an apothecary who will also perform surgeries.
APOTHECARIES = Generally apprenticed; filled prescriptions for physicians and sold herbs, tonics, etc. to patrons; treated minor ailments.
QUACKS = Pretenders. Untrained, uncouth, greed-driven individuals.
Cassondra: Okay tell us about Cam. What’s a thief taker?
Tracey: Thief takers were similar to bounty hunters and were generally hired to capture criminals. They were usually hired by the crime victim though. Most of their crime-solving revolved around stolen goods, rather than murders. In contrast, Bow Street Runners would have been the police force for the Regency period and paid by the magistrate via governmental funds
Cassondra: Would you share a brief excerpt from NIGHT STORM?
In the distance, Charlotte Fielding spotted the simple, white-lettered sign that marked her destination. Apothecary. The tension she’d been carrying in her shoulders since entering the Whitley residence loosened its biting grip. The strain between husband and wife had not lifted in her two-day absence. If anything, it had grown worse, now that Mr. Whitley felt well enough to defend himself.
Charlotte’s brisk pace slowed. A man was slumped on the pavement between her shop and the boarded-up bakery next door. He sat with one leg stretched out across the walkway, the other bent at an angle. The rim of his hat protected his face from identification. So, too, did the long black woolen coat and matching muffler around his neck.
The tension in Charlotte’s shoulders returned full force. Even though she could not identify him, she knew what he wasn’t—a beggar. Everything about him was too fine for him to be living in the streets. She glanced around, checking the evening shadows as best she could with only lamplight to aid her. Anderson’s lending library, Patterson’s coffee shop, Gertrude’s lace boutique, Tilly’s former bakery—they all stood silent and free of loitering troublemakers and customers. If she cried out for help, would the shopkeepers hear her from their snug, upstairs apartments?
She considered entering through the back of her building, an area normally reserved for deliveries, but she couldn’t bring herself to venture down the dank, narrow alleyway at this time of night. Drawing in a calming breath, she reached into her reticule and pulled out her pouch of pepper. A poor defense, she knew, but she always kept it, thinking it would give her a small chance of escape if thrown in an assailant’s face.
Increasing her pace, she stopped in front of her shop’s weathered door, the color of a cloud-streaked blue sky. The man remained motionless, silent. Eerily so. She experienced a moment of indecision. Should she nudge him? Could he be hurt and in need of assistance? Or should she continue on inside her own shop and mind her own business?
“Hello, Charley.” The voice was unmistakable.
A chill started at the base of her neck and swept through her body. Bone deep and breath stealing. With slow, precise movements, her gaze lowered to the source of the too-familiar voice. A voice that belonged to the only man who had ever called her Charley.
The man’s uplifted face revealed itself. Thick, bold eyebrows stood out on a pale, pain-filled face. A once-beloved face. Cameron Adair. What little air she had left disappeared at the sight of Cam—Cameron. Other than a brief glimpse of him a few months ago, she hadn’t seen him for years. But she would have known him anywhere. The shock of seeing him held her immobile, terrified in a way she hadn’t been since the early days of their falling out.
“Charley, I need your help.”
His words, laced with a strain born of hard-fought control, snapped her out of the past and plunged her back into the present. Cameron Adair was sprawled at her door, hurt, needing her help.
She slid her key into the lock. Metal scratched against metal until she heard a familiar click. Setting her bag inside the door, she returned outside. “Are you able to get to your feet?” She managed to keep her voice calm, unaffected. But inside, a violent tremor began and a maelstrom of questions flooded her mind. Why come to her? Where was he hurt? Why show up on her doorstep after complete and utter silence for five miserable years?
Carefully, she folded her hands at her waist and locked her knees before she could humiliate herself with senseless emotion. She had decided long ago to waste no more of it on Cameron Adair.
Something like disappointment flared in his blue, ice-chipped eyes. “Yes, with assistance.”
“Where are you hurt?”
“Left leg, right shoulder.”
“Let’s get you inside out of the cold, and I’ll hail a hansom cab to take you to Dr. Hollingsworth.”
He shook his head and mumbled, “I’ve been shot. Lost too much blood.”
“Cameron, I can’t—”
“You must,” he interrupted. “I haven’t the strength to go elsewhere.”
She knew what it had cost him to admit to such weakness. And because she knew this about him, an unrivaled fear forced her to his side.
Positioning herself in a crouch, Charlotte took a steadying breath before sliding her arm around his broad back. Blood, sweat, and a masculine scent uniquely Cameron’s filled her nose. She gritted her teeth against an overwhelming desire to inhale deeply.
“Ready?” she asked.
He nodded once, his full lips pressed into a thin, determined line. Bending forward, he wrapped an arm around her shoulder to brace himself. The new position put them face-to-face, breath-to-breath.
Cassondra: What’s next for this series? I know Cam and Charley will be featured in future Bones & Gemstones books, but NIGHT STORM is full of fascinating secondary characters. Will they get their own love stories?
Tracey: Cam and Charley’s adventures continue in NIGHT RAIN (2015). In Book 2, I’ll include a secondary love story, featuring a character from NIGHT STORM.
Cassondra: I want to take just a moment to mention two projects you’re involved in at the moment. Both you and Dianna Love—my guest later this month– have donated stories to benefit a fellow author. Tell us about that?
Tracey: LAST HERO STANDING Boxed Set – 11 authors (5 NYT and 4 USA Today bestsellers and 2 Award-winning) are donating every cent earned to fellow author PAMELA CLARE for the medical expenses she’s incurred during her breast cancer treatments.
Cassondra: Right now it’s only 99 cents. As October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, the timing is perfect. The set comes out in November, but you can preorder now. It’s a great gift, and it’ll help an author win her own fight.
But Tracey, you’re in another bundle this fall, right?
Tracey: Yes. HEATING IT UP, One Hero at a Time Boxed Set – 7 bestselling and award-winning authors bring readers historical romantic adventures set in Medieval Scotland, Regency England, Civil War America, the Wild West, and Gilded Age America. Heating it up with seductive Highlanders, scoundrels, spies, smugglers, mountain men, and more!
Cassondra: Tracey has a question for you, and she’s giving away a book to one commenter!
Tracey: You can choose a print copy of one of my Nexus series novels, or an e-book of the new Bones and Gemstones release, NIGHT STORM. To be included in the drawing, answer this question…
Have you ever thrown a book against the wall after finding an historical inaccuracy? Or a location inaccuracy? Or a weapon inaccuracy?
Cassondra: In honor of October, since this month is dedicated to saving the Ta-Tas, I’ll add to that by gifting a Kindle or Nook e-book set of the LAST HERO STANDING box set to a second commenter. (Kindle or Nook account required)
Tracey will be here to chat today and answer your questions, so get commenting y’all!
Find Tracey at her website
Follow her on facebook at Author Tracey Devlyn
She’s on twitter, too. @TraceyDevlyn
Posted by Nancy Northcott Sep 16 2014, 12:23 am in Christie Kelley, historical romance, Vexing the Viscount
My guest today is a familiar face we haven’t seen lately. Thanks to a chance encounter, Christie Kelley returns to the Lair to give us a look at her newest book.
Welcome, Christie! What have you been doing since you were here last?
Unfortunately, most of my time has been spent with the day job and not writing. The company I work for bought their third biggest competitor, so my team has been stuck with the job of integrating their data to our system. Which, by the way, is how I ran into Nancy at BWI airport as we were both waiting for our plane to Charlotte. She was heading home while I was heading to the corporate headquarters of the company we’d bought out.
That was so cool. My phone buzzed for a text. When I pulled it out, the message said something like “Christie here. Are you sitting in BWI Airport? Because if you’re not, your twin is.” I looked around, and there she was. We made good use of the flight delay catching up.
But back to business…Please tell us about Vexing the Viscount.
Vexing the Viscount is the third book in my Bewitched series. Here’s the back cover blurb as a tease for you all:
As the reluctant new Viscount Middleton, Braden Tavers already has several reputations to save–including his own. So it’s imperative he rescue his estate’s healer Tia Featherstone from her impetuous plan to find his rakehell brother Jonathon. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her determined spirit and unworldly charms at arm’s length. But protecting this stubborn beauty from himself is only stoking an irresistible desire–and an insidious danger threatening them both . . .
Tia must get Jonathon back under her care before his unforgiving brother discovers how ill he truly is. But searching London’s most scandalous hellholes and staying two steps ahead of Braden is uncovering the viscount’s deepest secrets–and a longing to make his wounded heart her own. To save him, she must risk a deception that could put his past to rest–or separate them forever . . .
What were the challenges and rewards of writing brothers who keep secrets from each other?
The rewards were many because I do love to write about relatives. The fact that they were not terribly close but Middleton insisted on doing the best he could for his brother endeared me even more to him.
The challenges were how to divulge to the reader and Tia, Jonathon’s issues and why he was keeping away from Middleton. It was a balancing act to leave some suspense until the closer to the end.
What makes Tia special to you?
I really loved writing Tia because she is so full of passion. She is healer and until something happens with one of the Viscount’s tenants, she is content to continue in her position. She uses Jonathon’s departure from the estate as an excuse to leave her position at Middleton Hall. It’s only when she is forced to assist Braden multiple times (I was very cruel to him), she realizing how much she has missed the estate and helping people.
Would you like to share an excerpt?
“Miss Featherstone, you must wake up.”
Tia glanced over at the clock on her nightstand. It was barely three in the morning. They couldn’t be leaving for Middleton Hall at this hour. “What is wrong?”
“You must come quickly. His lordship wants you.”
Tia blinked in confusion. Middleton wanted her? “Where is he?”
“In his bedchamber,” the footman replied from behind the closed door. “You mustn’t keep him waiting.”
She had no idea why she couldn’t keep him waiting. Instead of arguing with the servant, Tia grabbed the dressing gown and wrapped it around her. She wished he’d given her a shift to wear under it or she’d had the sense to ask for one.
Tia followed the young man down the hall. There had to be a good reason Middleton would demand her presence at this hour. As she walked into the room, she noticed him lying on his bed with only his trousers on. The footman quietly closed the door as he left.
“Absolutely not,” she exclaimed and turned toward the door.
“Miss Featherstone, get yourself back here this instant.”
Tia stopped. Turning slowly, she faced him. She stepped into his bedroom with her hands on her hips. A tremor of fear slid down her back.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he drawled.
“I am returning to my bedroom. If you think for one moment…” her voice trailed off as he crooked a finger.
What was it about the sound of his voice that made her do things she had no desire to do? “I am leaving.” But even as she said that, she moved closer to the bed.
“I did not ask you here to warm my bed.” A slow smile drew his full lips upward. “At least, not right now.”
Tia seemed unable to look away from his mouth. “Th—then why am I here?”
He cocked his head toward his right arm. Seeing the handkerchief with bloodstains, she gasped.
“Why didn’t you just tell me you were injured?” Years of her mother’s training came back to her. “Where is your brandy?”
“You’re going to drink before you stitch me?”
She rolled her eyes. “No. Now, where is it?”
He nodded toward the salon. “Corner table. Your bag is in there too.”
Tia strode to the salon, picked up her bag, and then the brandy decanter. She walked back into the room and set to work on him. As she neared him, the smell of cheap perfume, cheap liquor, and cheap cigars overwhelmed her, making her gag. “You are disgusting. Let me guess… you were cheating at cards and someone called you out.”
“Whoring and cheated her out of her money, so she took a shot at you?”
He chuckled in his low, husky voice. “Hardly.”
One black brow lifted. “No idea. I was leaving a gaming hell with a friend and someone took a shot. My friend had won a substantial amount so we assume the shot was meant for him.”
“Disgusting,” she muttered again.
What’s next for you?
I am slowly working on the next series but don’t have a date for that yet since I have been so crazy with work.
For more information on Christie and her books, check out her website. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Christie is giving one commenter today an ebook of Vexing the Viscount. So tell us some of your favorite books, movies or TV shows about people keeping personal secrets. (Christie will be in and out today, but no matter what comes up along the way, she’ll check in at the end of the day and wind things up.)
Posted by Anna Campbell Sep 10 2014, 12:01 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, historical romance, journeys, Launch Parties, Regency romance, Road Trips, series, Sons of Sin, What a Duke Dares
It’s a launch party in the lair.
You know how I love a launch party in the lair.
You know how I particularly love a launch party when it’s for a book I’ve written!
So ring (wring?) out the cabana boys! Fill up the margaritas! Let’s play Herb Alpert on the music system! And let’s party!
While you get yourself comfortable preparing to samba the night away, here’s some info about my third Sons of Sin Book, WHAT A DUKE DARES:
A reputation at risk…
What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children – and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.
Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.
The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed – until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins…
You can read an excerpt here: http://annacampbell.info/dukedares.html
If you’re a Romance Bandits lair member (and why wouldn’t you be? For a start, we offer fabulous prizes every month and give members access to exclusive material! Just click on the Members Den button up the top), there’s another excerpt here: http://romancebandits.com/check-out-the-exclusive-excerpt-from-what-a-duke-dares/
To buy from Amazon, just click on the gorgeous red cover up above. Otherwise, WHAT A DUKE DARES is available this month from all good booksellers in print and e-book.
Here are a few more buy links:
Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/What-Duke-Dares-Anna-Campbell/9781455557905
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-a-duke-dares-anna-campbell/1117543455?ean=9781455557905
Reviews so far have been lovely. RT Book Reviews gave Duke a Top Pick and 4.5 stars, not to mention a K.I.S.S. (Knight in Shining Silver) Award and called it “an extraordinary read.” Publishers Weekly said, “Campbell makes the Regency period pop” and they comment on the “romantic fireworks and “witty banter.”
Booklist said, “With its superbly nuanced characters, impeccably crafted historical setting, and graceful writing shot through with scintillating wit, Campbell’s latest lusciously sensual, flawlessly written historical Regency, part of the Sons of Sin series (A Rake’s Midnight Kiss, 2013), will have romance readers sighing happily with satisfaction.” Isn’t that nice?
Given the illustrations I’ve chosen for this blog, you’re probably asking yourself why this party is taking place in Rome in what looks like a nuclear winter!
I was trying to come up with a theme for this launch and I thought I couldn’t do better than daring. After all, Cam needs to be daring to get his sweetheart just where he wants her!
Still don’t get all these Italian photos?
WHAT A DUKE DARES has an Italian connection. Once she knocks back Cam’s fairly unenthusiastic proposal, the heroine Penelope Thorne takes off for the Continent. The first chapter is set in an inn high in the Italian Alps where Pen is in big trouble and Cam turns up to save her. She’s grateful for that. She’s less grateful when he insists upon escorting her back to England. Most of the story takes place in England, but it starts out as two prickly, unwillingly attracted people on a road trip through Italy.
The other reason I put up these Italian photos is that I wanted to remember a time in my life when I was daring and it paid off. When I was in my mid-20s, on my first overseas trip I took off for two years in England. I can still remember how utterly terrified I was when I got on the plane in Brisbane, having never been outside Australia before.
That trip ended up being one of the best experiences of my life and let me visit so many wonderful places including…you guessed it, Rome! So like Cam, I’m in favor of being daring!
Oh, and that was many years ago – hence the rather strange coloring on the pics!
So I thought today, I’d ask you to tell me (no X-rated stories please!) when you were daring and how it paid off for you. And there are rewards for your bravery! I’ve got two signed print copies of WHAT A DUKE DARES up for grabs (international). Come on, tell me when you took a leap of faith! I dare you!
Posted by Anna Campbell Sep 1 2014, 12:00 am in Anna Campbell, historical romance, romance themes, Secondary romances, Sons of Sin, What a Duke Dares
This is such an exciting month for me. My third Sons of Sin book, WHAT A DUKE DARES, is out now from both Grand Central Forever in America and HarperCollins in Australia. It will be out in the U.K. from Mills and Boon in November this year.
I know we’re not supposed to pick favorites, but I’ve got to say Cam and Pen are among my all-time favorite characters. I loved writing their story and I was so happy that I could give them a blissful ever after. They go through lots before they get there!
Among the many things I love about Cam and Pen is that they both try really hard to do the right thing, by each other and by the world at large, even if it costs them big time. They’re not self-sacrificing martyrs, but they’re mature enough to know that their selfish desires don’t necessarily make the world go round.
I always like it when characters in a book act like adults, not spoiled children, and to me, while they have enough foibles to be realistic, that’s the case with these two. Another thing I don’t like in a book is perfect characters! Both Cam and Pen have a lot to learn about life, love and each other before they’re ready to face the future united and joyous. But then, of course, if they didn’t, I wouldn’t have a story!
This story picks up on a number of themes that as a reader, I’ve always loved. There’s a reunion, unrequited love, an elopement, and a marriage of convenience. And the first few chapters have the good old road trip motif (although most of the book is set in the mansions and ballrooms of Regency London). I love it when the hero and heroine of a romance are stuck together and can’t get away from each other, no matter how much they might want to! I also got to write a great shipwreck scene – haven’t done one of those before and it was fun just letting the drama hit the heights!
Even better, I got to write a secondary romance. I love books with secondary romances – I always feel like I’m getting extra bang for my buck. Harry Thorne, Pen’s rakish younger brother, and Lady Sophie Fairbrother are much younger and while they’re nice people too, they’re less careful about the consequences of their actions. Or perhaps more accurately they believe their great love justifies any action! It was huge fun playing compare and contrast with the two couples. Harry and Sophie fall in love at first sight – yet another theme I always like in a romance.
As you can probably tell, this one was a joy to write! I hope readers love this book too! You can read the blurb and an excerpt (the lead-up to the first kiss and the shipwreck) on my website here: http://annacampbell.info/dukedares.html
If you click on the cover, we take you straight to Amazon. Other buy links for WHAT A DUKE DARES include:
Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/What-Duke-Dares-Anna-Campbell/9781455557905
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-a-duke-dares-anna-campbell/1117543455?ean=9781455557905
I’m holding a launch party on the blog on Wednesday 10th September where I’ll give a few lucky people a chance to win a signed copy of WHAT A DUKE DARES. Don’t miss out on that!
See you there – or be square!
Posted by Donna MacMeans Aug 23 2014, 12:15 am in historical romance, RITAs
He-he-he. Nice title for a blog, no?
Romance Writers of America offers a contest every year for published authors called the RITA (not to be confused with that glass of frozen yuminess called “the Maragrita” ). While in the past, the contest rules limited the number of finalists to eight or ten – forget which, in 2014 the contest rules said any manuscript that reached a very, very high number of points would be a finalist. This year in San Antonio there were seventeen finalists – seventeen really excellent historical romances!
The news from the marketplace says historical romances are selling far below that of contemporaries (which, BTW, had eighteen finalists in the RITA). I’ve heard that this is just a pendulum swing – one year historicals are hot, the next they are not. I’ve heard this market slump is because younger readers aren’t interested in historicals. I’ve heard that readers were turned off by the historical romances of old and don’t realize that historicals have changed.
But then – I don’t care.
I should modify that to say – I don’t care about the reasons for the market slump, I’d just like to see it reversed. I suspect that many readers would really enjoy a historical romance if they thought of it and were open to historicals (some people are not).
So here’s what I propose to do. I’ll send an historical romance – either mine or someone else’s as I have an overflowing pile here – to anyone you tag as someone who might enjoy an historical. It can’t be the name of someone who regularly comments on the blog – I’d prefer it to be someone brand spanking new. Someone who will be pleasantly surprised to get a book in the mail – or over the internet. Now, I’m going to need a snail address and email address (to let them know it’s coming and who is responsible so they’ll know who to thank ) but I don’t want you to post that information in this public venue – so please go to www.DonnaMacMeans.com to send me that information. For the blog, give me a name and tell me the sort of book she normally reads. That way I’ll have a little insight as to which book to send. If you have a theory as to why historical romances aren’t selling as they once were – share that as well. Just send one name, though, as I’m paying for this out of my pocket and – did I mention historicals are in a slump?
If all goes well, we’ll do this again. Let’s share the awe-inspiring pleasure of a good historical romance.
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Aug 21 2014, 12:19 am in Goldie Hawn, historical romance, Kurt Russell, Lorraine Heath, Overboard, Suzanne Ferrell, Victorian England
Hello, Banditas and Bandit buddies! It’s so lovely to be visiting with you again. It’s always a treat and I can’t thank Suzanne Ferrell enough for the invitation. Since Suz is busy playing grandma and I’m in the midst of revisions, Grace, the Duchess of Lovingdon (from WHEN THE DUKE WAS WICKED) has consented to interview the characters in my upcoming release, ONCE MORE, MY DARLING ROGUE. So, Grace, take it away…
Thank you ever so much, Lorraine and Suz, for allowing me this opportunity. I am more than qualified to get to the heart of the matter with these characters as Drake Darling, the hero of the tale, was raised within the bosom of my family. And Lady Ophelia is, in today’s terms, my BFF. We’ve known each other forever. Before I place them both on the hot seat, I wish to tell you a little bit about them.
When Drake first came to live with my family, I was not yet born but I have heard his tale. He was an orphan who went by the name of Peter Sykes. My mother had a rather nasty encounter with his parents, but she has always been a generous soul and did not hold the actions of Peter’s parents against him. When his mother was murdered and his father hanged, she took him in. After my mother married the Duke of Greystone, Peter adopted her maiden name of Darling. My father has a fascination with dragons, which he passed on to Peter. When Peter learned of the constellation Draco, a formation of stars that etched a dragon in the night sky, he began calling himself Drake. And so it was that by the time his story was told, he was known as Drake Darling. Although he traveled the world with my family, he never quite forgot his origins. Eventually he was employed at Dodger’s Drawing Room and quickly moved up to become its overseer.
My dear friend, Lady Ophelia Littleton, had lost both her parents and was living with her brother, the Earl of Somerdale. Her father had established a trust for her that would serve as her dowry. If she had not wed by the time she reached her thirtieth year, the trust and all its funds would be turned over to her. Although she flirted with gentlemen, she had no wish to marry. I did not quite understand that. Nor did I understand why she snubbed Drake at every turn. I suspected it was because she was drawn to him, and the notion that she might want someone who had come from the streets appalled her. As much as I treasured her friendship, I must admit that she was a bit of a … how shall I put this politely? A snob.
I’m not proud of the fact that I found it fascinating to watch the two of them cast sly insults at each other. I always suspected that Drake was holding back. It is not in his nature to be cruel. Ophelia, on the other hand, sometimes seemed to be someone else entirely.
So there you have it. What I know of them. I suspect there is a good bit I do not. Let’s see what they are willing to share.
Grace: Ophelia, with your dowry, you could have any lord in the kingdom. Yet no one seems to have caught your fancy.
Ophelia: I am extremely particular. He must be of noble birth, not in need of my dowry, as handsome as Apollo, as powerful as Zeus, as strong as Hercules. He must be dashing, kind, gentle, above reproach, with no sins to his name.
G: Even my dear husband, the Duke of Lovingdon, would not meet your criteria.
O: I am quite aware that I want what does not exist.
G: Do you not fear loneliness as you advance in years?
O: I fear choosing poorly, as my dear aunt did, so I prefer not to choose at all. What is shown to the world is not always the true heart of a man.
G: I couldn’t agree more. But sometimes what we hide is what makes us vulnerable. You are my dearest friend. I know you are hiding something. Will you not share it?
O: I do not like the one you refer to as your brother.
G: (laughing) That is no secret. What is it specifically that you don’t like about him?
O: He makes me contemplate the pleasure that might be found in the forbidden, makes me wish for things I shouldn’t.
G: You are drawn to him then?
O: Quite the opposite. He repulses me.
G: Has he ever been unkind to you?
O: Of course not. It is part of his façade. The kinder a man is, the deeper his cruelty runs.
G: That is not true of Drake.
O: Trust me when I tell you that he is capable of doing things you would never expect.
I have to admit to being quite troubled by my dear friend’s cynicism and perception of Drake. I could not love him more if we carried the same blood.
Grace: Drake, brother of my heart, you recently purchased a residence. You live there alone, no servants whatsoever. Why the Spartan existence?
Drake: I have recently acquired a servant. I found her drifting in the Thames, and decided to give her a place as long as she earns her keep.
G: I was not aware.
D: I’m keeping her secret for now—until I unravel how she ended up in the Thames. She is part of the aristocracy and yet no one seems to have noticed that she has gone missing.
G: Would I know her?
D: I do not think so. Even I am hard pressed to admit that I have met her before. She is quite different in unfamiliar surroundings. Fetching, interesting, enticing.
G: It sounds as though you are smitten.
D: Absolutely not.
G: Not even a little?
D: Perhaps a little.
G: Can she not tell you how she came to be in the Thames?
D: Her first memory is awakening in my bed. She recalls nothing before that.
G: How unfortunate for her.
D: But very fortunate for me. And I think in the end, extremely fortunate for her.
G: Do tell.
He merely smiles, but with that smile he has spoken volumes. I look quite forward to meeting this woman who I believe has the ability to tame him. Or is it she who will be tamed?
Back to Lorraine.
Thank you, Grace, for giving us a little peek at these characters. As you all may have figured out, this story is OVERBOARD meets Victorian London. OVERBOARD is a go-to for me when I just want to feel good. The chemistry between Kirk Russell and Goldie Hawn is terrific. Of course, I don’t write romantic comedy so my tale is a little darker and edgier but I had a lot of fun writing it. What is your favorite feel good movie or a movie would you like to see transported to Victorian London?
I will give a signed copy of WHEN THE DUKE WAS WICKED, the first book in this series, and a surprise book of my choice to 2 lucky posters.
Posted by Anna Campbell Aug 11 2014, 3:11 pm in A Rake's Midnight Kiss, Anna Campbell, Anne Barton, Cara Elliott, ebooks, free books, historical romance, Jennifer Haymore, Nina Dalton, Nina Rowan, Regency, Samplers, Vicky Dreiling
Everybody loves free stuff! So make sure you download this free ebook sampler from Grand Central Forever, TRULY MADLY REGENCY. It includes excerpts from historical romances from a whole host of authors, including Anna Campbell whose A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS is featured. If you click on the cover, it will take you straight to Amazon.
Posted by Donna MacMeans Jul 15 2014, 12:50 am in historical romance, Rake Patrol, Scotland, Temperance, The Whisky Laird's Bed
Can you tell I’m excited? I feel like I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.
This book is a first on many levels. First time I’ve had a “digital first” release (and I have mixed emotions about that). First time I’ve set a book in Scotland – and I hope, not the last. First time I’ve had a video trailer. For the life of me, I can’t get the video to load on this blog, but I hope you’ll visit my website – or scroll through the videos at the bottom of this page – to see it.
“Digital First” means that the story can be downloaded onto your Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Computer, tablet and smartphone – but a paperback book won’t be available until the digital sales hit a magical number according to the publisher (Penguin). I hope you’ll help me spread the word as I’d really like to see this book in print. I love my kindle, but a book I can hold makes it real to me.
This is a story where the hero and heroine are the opposite sides of the hot political issue of the time – Temperance – or Prohibition as we know it here in America. FWIW – the little burg that I live in was once the Prohibition capital of America. We have a little museum in a dedicated section of the local library about the Prohibition movement. i didn’t really need to visit that library as Temperance was a little different, but it makes me wonder if some ghosts were exerting their influence.
My English heroine, Claire Stark, is a firebrand for the Temperance movement. She is so sincere in her beliefs that others who love her for other reasons, just shake their heads and try to ignore her constant references to the evils of alcohol.
The hero, Cameron MacPherson, is a Scotch distiller. He recognizes Claire’s vulnerabiites and falls in love with her because she’s stalwart in her beliefs, she’s loyal beyond measure, and in his eyes, she’s sexy as all get out.
Finding common ground between these two wasn’t easy, but I think my solution works. Love has a way of doing that. You can find an excerpt of the book in the exclusive excerpts in the Member’s Den, or on my website http://www.donnamacmeans.com/the-whisky-lairds-bed/?action=excerpt, but here’s a different one just for the lair. Claire and Cameron have entered into a drinking contest. The stakes are high and important enough that Claire has agreed to the terms.
“I understand what’s at stake if I finish this glass. You’ll speak to Lord Lothian about the need for temperance legislation,” she said, a bit dubious. “But if this is a contest and you finish first, what do I forfeit?”
He leveled a gaze on her that made her feel as if the fiery spice of the whisky raced through her veins. Once again, her body cried in unison for something she couldn’t name.
“A kiss.” He said simply. “I will claim a kiss from my sweet Highland sprite.”
“English,” she corrected.
“I’m willing to overlook that.” He held his glass up to the candlelight. “We swirl the whisky again, but this time look for the legs.” Again he demonstrated. “Can you see how the whisky clings to the side of the glass, flowing back to the bottom in long streams? Those are the legs. The more full-bodied whiskies have longer legs.”
She followed his example and noticed the striping he described, but felt no grand appreciation from the exercise. “I don’t see that this affects the taste.”
“It’s all in the anticipation.” He contemplated a moment and she thought he might be anticipating something other than the liquid in his glass. It sent a delicious shiver down her spine.
“Now we take a sip and let the whisky sit on the tongue before we swallow.” He lifted the glass. “To Scotland.” He tipped his glass.
“God save the Queen.” She followed his example.
To celebrate the launch of their story, Claire and Cameron are holding a party in Cameron’s modern castle. Tours are offered to take guests to town to see the distillery. Plenty of Scotch is on hand for those that like to imbide. James is offering to take hunting parties out to view the countryside, or just private tours, if you prefer. Boats are available for fishing or for rowing about the loch. We have pipers, and dancers, and even some Highland games on the grounds. Kilts are everywhere you look.
So tell me, what would you do at this Highland celebration? Do you like Scotch? Would you glide about on a boat admiring the beautiful scenery? Or would you go visit the games to admire the beautiful scenery of a different nature ;-).
I’ll give away two downloads to someone leaving a comment. Let’s party!
Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 11 2014, 11:25 pm in A Rake's Midnight Kiss, Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, British editions, Foreign Editions, historical romance, Mills and Boon, Regency romance, Sons of Sin
Thanks to everyone who swung by to wish my British edition of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS well on its travels. And wow, I want to have afternoon tea with all of you! I’m delighted now to announce the winner of the personalized edition of Rake:
Congratulations, Jessica. Please email me on anna @ annacampbell.info with your snail mail details and I’ll get your book off to you. Happy reading!