Posted by Anna Campbell May 16 2013, 12:03 am in Anna Campbell, Australian Authors, Banquet of Lies, Daughter of the Sky, food, Historical Fiction, historical romance, Michelle Diener, The Emperor's Conspiracy, Victorian Historicals
I love bringing the Bandits and Bandita Buddies great Aussie authors who may have passed under your radar.
Today, all the way from Western Australia, I’m delighted to introduce Michelle Diener who writes historicals set in a variety of periods for Simon & Schuster (among others). Publishers Weekly has lauded Michelle’s books as “a rousing read.”
You can find out more about Michelle and her books on her website: www.michellediener.com
Michelle, welcome to the lair! I love introducing our Banditas and Bandita Buddies to great Australian authors. Your latest release is called DAUGHTER OF THE SKY. Can you tell us about this story?
This is an slightly unusual historical with strong romantic elements, set in Zululand during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, during the Victorian era. Here’s the blurb:
The Victorian Empire has declared war on the Zulus if they don’t accede to their outrageous demands. The clock is ticking down to the appointed hour. With no idea why the British are marching three massive columns of men and guns towards them, one Zulu general is prepared to take an impossible risk. But the life he’s gambling with isn’t his own . . .
The sole survivor of a shipwreck off the Zululand coast, 15 year-old Elizabeth Jones is taken in by the Zulus, the people of the sky. Six years later, her white skin becomes useful to the Zulu army as they try to work out why the Victorian Empire has pointed their war-machine at the Zulu nation. Elizabeth is suddenly Zululand’s most important spy.
While infiltrating the British camp, Elizabeth’s disguise as a young soldier is uncovered almost immediately by Captain Jack Burdell. However, he believes the tale she spins of searching for a missing brother and shields her from discovery, allowing her to bunk in his tent and giving her a job as his batman. Burdell is war-weary and disillusioned – no longer willing to follow regulations at all costs.
But as Elizabeth and Jack explore their growing attraction to each other, the two armies move towards their inevitable clash. Elizabeth is torn between the guilt of betrayal and her fierce loyalty to her Zulu family, and when Zulu and British meet on the battlefield, both she and Jack find their hearts and their lives caught in the crossfire.
Sounds great! What were the inspirations behind this book?
I grew up in KwaZulu-Natal, and the battlefields were the stomping ground of my childhood and early adulthood. I have always been fascinated by this time in South Africa’s history and it was a natural thing for me to take my love of the landscape and people and write it into a novel.
What’s coming up next for you?
I’m really excited that BANQUET OF LIES, my Regency-set historical that is loosely connected to THE EMPEROR’S CONSPIRACY, is due out on October 22nd. I just completed the copy edits this week, and I’m in love with the story all over again. It is about a woman who is in possession of an important diplomatic document, but people are trying to take it from her, and she goes into hiding in London as a cook to a viscount while she works out who she can trust. Unfortunately, her new employer becomes far to interested in her for his and her safety.
You’ve written a couple of books based in the Tudor era. What do you think is the perennial appeal of Henry VIII and his numerous spouses?
There was just so much intrigue, backstabbing and double-dealing going on in the Tudor court. More than an author could hope for. Not to mention it was the Renaissance, so there was an explosion of ideas, art, and music throughout Europe. It was an exciting time to be alive. And last, but not least, everyone is always fascinated by power, and they didn’t get much more powerful than Henry VIII.
You’ve written books set in a range of historical periods – Tudor England, the Napoleonic era, the Victorian British Empire. Do you have a favorite setting? Is there a setting you haven’t yet used that we can hope to see from you?
I’d love to write a book set between WWI and WWII. And just before WWI as well. I actually have a couple of outlines, waiting to be written from that time period. I have a difficult time choosing a period. I find them all fascinating.
It’s like a banquet, isn’t it? Ha ha, pun intended. How did you get started as a writer?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, from the time I was a child. I wrote on and off my whole life, although just for myself. I didn’t think I had enough life experience to write a full-length novel, but I always planned to. Then, when I turned 30, I realized I hadn’t done anything toward my dream in too long. It took quite a few years (and I had two children shortly after that realization!) before I started submitting work seriously with the view to being published, and shortly after New Year’s day in 2010, my agent called me to say Simon & Schuster had made an offer on IN A TREACHEROUS COURT. It’s been a wild ride ever since.
Could you tell us a bit about your corner of the world?
I live in Western Australia, which is a very beautiful part of the world. The weather is almost uniformly fabulous (sometimes a little too hot!) we have lovely beaches, amazing coastlines, forests, bush. I’ve lived here for nearly five years now, and constantly think how lucky I am to live in such a wonderful place!
I love that part of the world! Your upcoming October release, BANQUET OF LIES, involves someone masquerading as a French cook. Do you include a lot of food in the book?
I do! Let me first say my character is a good cook, and she is half-French, so she isn’t exactly out of her depth in the kitchen. I absolutely loved writing her character. She is the daughter of a wealthy academic who has been knighted, and her family home is actually a few doors down from where she is hiding as a cook. She knows how a French chef behaves, and she plays her part to the hilt, hamming up the accent, and being a terror to everyone in her kitchen. Because the hero of the story (Lord Aldridge, who made an appearance in THE EMPEROR’S CONSPIRACY) is desperate for some decent cooking, he is seduced by my heroine’s food, which I enjoyed describing. I love cooking and baking, and so many people who know me have asked if I’ll ever write a book with food in it, because it’s such a passion of mine. This is the book! I have made everything my heroine makes in the book, and I can vouch for it being delicious!
I’d love to know, do you enjoy it when there is wonderful food in books? Any favorite food books? I’ll go first and say LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE is one of my favorites, with the movie BABETTE’S FEAST being a close second.
Thanks, Michelle. That was all fascinating. And we wish you all the best with DAUGHTER OF THE SKY!
Michelle has very generously offered up a download of DAUGHTER OF THE SKY to someone who comments today. Good luck, people!
Posted by Joan Kayse May 5 2013, 12:21 am in Derby, historical romance, horses, Joan Kayse, Romance
Be calm people…..not here in The Lair although Goddess knows we have some great ones.
You go first. No YOU go first…
NOTE: Would all BB’s please check the Lost and Found closet on your next visit…it’s overflowing and giving Paolo fits. We also found some “interesting” items….Helen? Are you missing a cricket bat painted with Sven’s face? PJ….girl….is the chocolate fondue pot with glitter dipping sticks yours? And who Bedazzled this riding crop?
No, I’m talking right now, in River City aka Louisville. As I write this, a long shot won the Lilies for the Fillies, the Kentucky Oaks. It was preceded by a parade of breast cancer survivors, one of which is my dear BFF. It’s known as “Derby for Louisvillians” because really? The main event is taken up by rich and famous and out of towners.
Don’t I look posh, darling?
Now, I love the races, go a couple of times a year. Yes, I bet on horses based on their names. Today alone, two drew my attention Kittens Dumplings and Admiral Kitten and dang….one called Fear the Kitten ALMOST got to be in the big race tomorrow!!!
The majority of our city folks don’t go through the root deep traditional or the over blown hoohaha of the actual event. But you always know that it’s Derby week:
1. Expressway signs start changing. Traffic cones delivered to exit ramps. Banners at the local strip clubs “Welcome” Derby visitors.
2. Wednesday is Steamboat race. Exaggerated hoopla with “shenanigans” built-in.
3. Pegasus Parade. Tried to watch it on TV only to come to the realization that parades aren’t parades anymore! The bands, the floats, the celebrities on cars all stop to perform for the camera! I’ve noticed this at the Macy’s day parade too. It’s a parade people! Move along, move along!
Also, on this day, you start noticing private jets flying into the airport. By tomorrow, a huge tarmac will be wing to wing with Lears. Among the well heeled are sheiks…very into racing. Sounds like a Harlequin “The Sheik’s Lost Horse Trainer’s Secret Baby”
4. The Goodyear Blimp arrives. This year, painted as a minion from Despicable Me? Next year, expect a Romance Bandits one
5. Right now a local society couple are having their annual bash to benefit Diabetes. It’s held at their modest mansion in the center of a historically posh neighborhood. Celebrities come, locals in formal wear. Several years ago I was among the onlookers. My friend and had a good view from the rear. It was amusing watching glamorous ladies try to use a Porto Potty in full gowns
So most years I’m a bit blasé about all of it. But this year, my friend and I decided we’d go down to Waterfront Park to the Chow Wagon. Nice area right along the Ohio River. It was a nice day, their were ducks and loads of people watching. Ok, I admit it. We went cause I saw a sign on a newscast for “Giant Corn Dogs”. :0 Didn’t realize they’d cost $10!
Here are some pics from our big party day…
So, I tried to get into the spirit. Had almost made it too. Until we went to leave and I got a Derby surprise. Here’s my imitation of Olympian McKayla Maroney
What about you all? Does your community have any annual festivities?
Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 24 2013, 12:03 am in Alison Stuart, Anna Campbell, Australian Authors, Cavaliers and Roundheads, English Civil War Romance, Gather the Bones, historical romance, Secrets in Time, Time Travel Romance
It’s always a pleasure to host a friend in the lair. Today’s guest Alison Stuart and I have been buddies forever and I’m delighted to bring her here to talk about her latest time travel romance SECRETS IN TIME.
Here’s the blurb for SECRETS IN TIME:
Can love endure across time?
When a seventeenth-century cavalier hurls himself over her garden wall, Doctor Jessica Shepherd is more angry than surprised. Although she’s no stranger to military re-enactors, there’s something different about Nathaniel Preston. If he’s to be believed, something…or someone…has sent him forward in time from the midst of a civil war to the quiet English countryside of the twentieth century.
With time working against them, Nathaniel has to convince Jessica why fate brought them together before he’s forced to return to his own era…and certain death in battle.
Can the strength of love overcome all obstacles, even time itself?
You can read an excerpt and find out more about Alison and her books on her website: http://www.alisonstuart.com/index.html
To order SECRETS IN TIME from Amazon, just click on the cover! We like to make life easy for our Bandita Buddies!
Alison is talking to us today about something non-British Commonwealth people find perpetually mystifying. The glories of the national game in Australia, CRICKET!
Time Travel and the Rules of Cricket
There are few things more quintessentially English, or more mystifying, than the game of cricket. Some of you may be familiar with this little summary…by which the rules of cricket are made perfectly clear.
You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side thats been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!
Writing a time travel was probably the most fun I have had in the writing process than anything else I have written. It was like putting together a puzzle, making sure each piece slotted into the next to make a seamless whole. Every move I made had to be accompanied by the question “What if…”
The hero of SECRETS IN TIME is a very dashing seventeenth century cavalier who comes forward in time to 1995. Because it was originally written in first person only from the heroine’s point of view, I had to “show” the hero’s reactions to life in the twentieth century.
Nathaniel’s first encounter with running water…
I went to the tap in the kitchen and turned it on. Behind me, the chair scraped, and Nathaniel joined me at the basin. He ran his hand under the flow of water and as I turned the tap off, he shook his head and said with what sounded like wonder in his voice, “Do that again.”
I complied. He put his hand on the tap, turning it on and off. Before I could stop him, he’d turned the hot water tap on hard. Scalding water shot from the tap and he drew his hand back.
“Incredible,” he marveled, shaking his hand with a grimace. “Hot water on command. Do you have a servant to heat it for you?”
“No,” I replied, instinctively grabbing his hand and holding it under the cold water. “I am all out of servants. The gas board does it quite adequately…”
Setting the story in 1995 presented its own little time travel problems. Do you remember 1995? Life was comparatively primitive…no ipods (the heroine has a Walkman), limited internet, no mobile phones, no email…. The hero of SECRETS IN TIME still has to cope with cars, bicycles, television, women’s lingerie shops…women’s lingerie… Fortunately he has an innate curiosity and a scientific bent, but some things like cricket and military re-enactments leave him completely mystified.
Some of the perils of writing time travel: Clothing … if he’s wearing a sword when he arrives in 1995…why is the same sword on display in his former home? How would you react if you knew the exact time and method of your own death and those of everyone you loved? What is the potential to affect the course of history? What if you know the cause you are about to die for is doomed and your King will die on an executioner’s block? What if Nathaniel tells King Charles I not to take the field at Naseby? Supposing the King listened to him and didn’t have him hanged as a witch, would that have changed the outcome of the English Civil War? What if….
Sending the heroine back in time to 1645 was comparatively easy. The poor thing might bemoan the lack of a toothbrush and wonder if she can remember her pony club days, but I don’t think she had nearly as much to cope with as poor Nathaniel.
Which brings me back to the rules of cricket…a game I adore (and, yes, I do understand the rules of cricket!). As I write historicals, it was liberating to write in a (comparatively) contemporary setting and I couldn’t resist weaving a few cricketing analogies into the story…
When I got home that evening, Alan and Nat were sitting on my sofa, drinking my beer while Alan tried to explain the rules of cricket to Nat.
Nat stood as I entered. “Jessie,” he said, sweeping his hand at the sofa. “Come sit down with us and perhaps you can explain to me what it is about this sport that your brother finds so entrancing?”
“Call yourself an Englishman?” I chided as I plopped down next to him…
Thanks for having me to visit, Romance Bandits. I am wondering if your readers would like to tell us about something in their world they find completely mystifying? For me it is the game of soccer…makes no sense to me whatsoever. Why spend two hours kicking a ball up and down a field and not score anything?
I have an ecopy of my award winning English Civil War historical BY THE SWORD for a commentator.
Thanks for the great piece, Alison. You’ve done a marvelous job of clearing up the whole mystery of cricket for everone! LOL!
Get commenting, people, and good luck in the draw.
Posted by Nancy Northcott Apr 18 2013, 11:38 am in Boom, Dee Davis, favorite books, favorite videos, Georgette Heyer, historical romance, Jessica Andersen, Nancy's blogs, Nora Roberts, paranormal romance, Patricia Rice, small town romance
Sorry about the late blog, everybody! My head was wrapped around a different day, but I’m here now and ready to roll.
There are certain books or videos I go to when I need to kick back, relax and read or watch something I know I’ll enjoy. Anything by Georgette Heyer makes that list, and I’ve built up a good collection of her books. If I want to see a smart, brave guy with a wicked sense of humor turn the tables on his snooty, condescending relatives, I go for The Unknown Ajax.
Or I might reach for Frederica (love the way the Merrivilles upend Alverstoke’s neatly ordered and self-centered life) or, if I want something a little darker, Regency Buck (is the hero really a hero? Or is he a villain in disguise), or, if I’m the mood for clashing swords, The Conqueror (can an invading Norman knight win the heart of a Saxon maid while his liege tries to win the country?).
Those are my top four favorites of hers.
In the clashing swords video department, with a touch of mystical fantasy thrown in, is The Thirteenth Warrior, starring Antonio Banderas. Our frequent guest Gerri Russell recommended this movie to me. I love the Viking elements and the evolution of Banderas’ character from scholar to warrior. And, of course, the thirteen warriors risking themselves to protect a kingdom from bear cult marauders has a lot of appeal.
My all-time favorite ever book is To Kill A Mockingbird. I was so disappointed that the museum in Monroeville, AL, was closed when we were in that area last summer. But it’s not a comfortable choice. It’s a thought-provoking book, a beautifully written book, with justice served at the end, but it’s sad, too.
Books or movies with a heavy eew factor also don’t make the list. Eew moments are not relaxing. Sagas also don’t qualify for me. So the LOTR trilogy, book or film, doesn’t qualify as a comfort choice. Now, there are some eew moments in The Thirteenth Warrior, I have to admit. Sword fight are not, er, tidy. But the rest of the movie outweighs the eew factor, so maybe it’s better to say the eew has to be outweighed by the fun stuff
Boom, on the other hand, why, that’s very cathartic. Hence the presence of SWAT on my comfort list and my video shelf. It has lots and lots of boom and stars Colin Farrell as the sympathetic hero (Farrell’s character, Jim Street, played by the late Robert Urich, was my favorite of the TV SWAT guys).
Samuel L. Jackson is the tough mentor, Jeremy Renner is the sleazy bad guy, and Michelle Rodriguez is great as the kick-butt female cop. Maybe we should qualify this, though, by saying that the boom cannot be accompanied by the spurting blood and graphic depictions of injuries that some action films love to linger over.
If I want romantic suspense, I reach for Dee Davis or Cindy Gerard. I love Dee’s A-Tac series and Cindy’s Black Ops, Inc. I’m so sorry to see A-Tac about to wind up. But one of the joys of owning a book is the ability to read it again. Pictured at right is Double Danger, the latest release in the A-Tac series.
Anything by Patricia Rice qualifies for the list. One of my favorites is Merely Magic, the book that introduced the Malcolm and Ives families. I loved the interplay of the siblings, the Georgian setting, and the mysterious man who threads his way through the series until he takes center stage in the final book.
Another favorite by Patricia Rice is an oldie, Denim and Lace. It’s a western and opens with the heroine shooting the hero. It has romance and boom! What’s not to love?
For superb writing, excellent performances, and a balance of comedy and drama, you can’t beat early Boston Legal. If I’m in the mood for something like that, I might watch an entire disc at a sitting. All three of us loved this show.
For paranormal romance with a fabulous arc, hot romance and plenty of boom, I’ll take Jessica Andersen’s Nightkeepers. Now that the series is complete, I can go from book 1 to book 7, secure in the knowledge that I’ll be happy when I get to the end.
It’s hard to pick a favorite book in that series. The first, Night Keepers, is a wonderful setup for the entire series. But I also love the fourth, Demon Keepers, for the geek-to-hero transformation of Lucius. Choices, choices.
As our regulars know, I grew up in a small town and have one in my Protectors mage series. So it probably isn’t surprising that I have a weakness for books set in small towns. One I’ve read many times is Nora Roberts’ Northern Lights. I love escaping to the little town of Lunacy, Alaska, and seeing the hero, Nate Burke, come back from personal tragedy in his new job as its top cop.
I don’t like the oversize paperback format (the picture at right is not distorted but proportioned for that format), but that’s not a problem on an e-reader, which is how I usually read it. Yet the book stays on my keeper shelf because, hey, never know when the power might go out.
I do like the Alaska setting. One of my guilty pleasures is Alaska State Troopers on NatGeo. I’m not sure why, except the setting. I don’t watch any other police reality shows. Except I did like Police, Camera, Action! out of the UK, which was shown on TLC for a while. And, hmm, also not set where I live.
Anyway, getting back to the topic, I also love Nora’s Chesapeake series and her Sign of Seven trilogy. And, of course, Chasing Fire, which is not set in a small town, as these others are, but features the small, close-knit community of the Missoula Smokejumpers.
These are some of my favorite go-to books and videos. What are yours? Do you go for pure romance or suspense? Do you want some magic or some book thrown in?
I’ll give one commenter today a choice of a Protector or Renegade ARC. The winner can also opt for a download instead of an ARC if downloads are available in the winner’s home area.
And tonight I’ll post my winner and Jennifer McQuiston’s from last month. I just realized I hadn’t done that. The announcement will be in the comments and will go up as a booty post.
If you haven’t already clicked “like” on my Facebook page and inclined to, you can find it here.
Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 10 2013, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, Ghost stories, historical romance, novellas, Regency romance, These Haunted Hearts, writer's life
by Anna Campbell
I was going to call this post When Good Technology Turns Bad. Or as someone said on my Twitter feed, #BewareRoyalWeddingGifts, but I thought I’d go simple.
I was also going to open this with a sort of quote from CROCODILE DUNDEE – “You call that a launch? THIS is a launch!”
Apologies to everyone who swung by last month for what was meant to be a hauntingly groovy launch for my Regency ghost romance, THESE HAUNTED HEARTS. As you’d recall I wasn’t here. The book wasn’t available. The moon turned green. Well, maybe that last one is a slight exaggeration, but the other two aren’t.
Thank you to those who swung by to wish my little story good luck and also to my Bandita sisters who did a marvellous job of keeping everything going in my unfortunate absence.
I’ve realized since that I tempted fate by writing a book about a cursed Chinese bed. Clearly the Chinese bed decided to turn its curse back on the author!
Here in south-east Queensland where I live, we’ve had really awful weather. We had a mini drought up until the end of January. Then we had a far-from-mini cyclone during which my fence blew down – although I wasn’t nearly as badly affected as people not very far up the coast whose whole town was completely inundated. Then lots of rain and wind for a whole month.
As a result, a whole stack of essential services were interrupted. Lots of people had no power. I had no phone for a large slab of March (slightly over two weeks). And by no phone, I mean NO phone, so no mobile/cellphone either (turned out a tower had been blown over that serves my area). And no phone means no internet.
Major problem. I do pretty much all my business on the internet. My frustrated Facebook addiction was clearly something I had to handle too!
Complaints to Telstra, my provider, gave me little satisfaction. And were annoying and time consuming – partly because I needed to find somebody with a working phone before I could make a complaint. Telstra promised me a satellite phone so I waited around for that to come – turns out they ran out. Poor babies. They’d already wasted several weeks of my time. What was another day?
Being without a phone was scary and annoying. And involved several very long trips to my closest library to use their internet. Far from entirely satisfactory, but it meant I could do the urgent stuff. These trips to a public computer didn’t, however, allow me to fulfill my obligations as a blog host. So again, huge apologies.
The curse of the Chinese bed didn’t just operate on my small world of telecommunications.
So far, I’ve indie published two novellas. The first, THE WINTER WIFE, went as smoothly as Bailey’s Irish cream down my thirsty Aussie throat (although I don’t think anyone drinks Bailey’s because they’re thirsty!). Of course, the universe decreed that when I was completely out of touch, there had to be major problems with getting THESE HAUNTED HEARTS: A REGENCY GHOST ROMANCE up on Amazon and Smashwords in a readable state. Apologies (lots of apologies in this blog!) to those who swung by and tried to pick up the novella only to find it unavailable!
Sheesh! It’s enough to drive a woman to drink. Did I mention Bailey’s?
The good news is that better late than never, THESE HAUNTED HEARTS is live and ready to entertain you. Also in the good news basket, I’m back on the internet and my phone is working. Phew!
So on a much quieter scale than the usual lair launches – for which Paolo is heartily grateful – I hereby declare THESE HAUNTED HEARTS: A REGENCY GHOST ROMANCE seaworthy and ready to sail onto e-readers all around the world.
It’s $1.99 and available from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/These-Haunted-Hearts-Regency-ebook/dp/B00BSJR0HI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1365287762&sr=1-1&keywords=these+haunted+hearts
And from Smashwords here:http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/294739
Just in case you missed it last month, here’s the blurb:
On one fateful wedding day at Marston Hall in 1818, four linked destinies hover in the balance.
Josiah Aston, Earl of Stansfield, wakes to discover he’s seventy years dead and he alone can free his beloved wife Isabella’s tormented soul. But first he must convince her to trust him against all the evidence…
Lady Isabella Verney, beautiful and tempestuous, married the man of her dreams, only to die violently on her wedding day. Every clue points to Josiah as the murderer…
Is true love strong enough to defeat ancient malevolence forever?
Miles Hartley, Viscount Kendall, is society’s ideal catch, but what does that matter if he can’t convince Calista Aston that he loves her? When an age-old curse strikes, only by proving himself worthy of her faith can he save their happiness…
Lady Calista Aston, noted bluestocking, fears she loves Miles Hartley not wisely, but too well. On her wedding day, her doubts place her at evil’s mercy. When death and disaster loom, is it courage or mad folly to believe that Miles loves her in spite of all her faults?
On one fateful wedding day at Marston Hall in 1818, will the lovers emerge triumphant or will darkness conquer all?
Given that THESE HAUNTED HEARTS focuses on a cursed royal wedding gift to the ill-fated ghostly couple, Josiah Ashton and Isabella Verney, I thought we’d talk wedding presents today.
What’s the best wedding present you received? What’s the worst wedding present you received? What’s the best wedding present you ever gave someone? If you got married tomorrow, what present would you like someone to give you?
Let’s toss the confetti and get this haunted show on the road!
To celebrate this second launch, I thought I’d give away THREE downloads of THESE HAUNTED HEARTS to people who comment today. Good luck!
Posted by Joan Kayse Mar 13 2013, 12:05 am in ancient rome. The Patrician, historical romance, Joan Kayse, romance bandits, rome, suspense, The Patrician's Fortune
Or rather, in the villa.
That’s right! Today is launch day for the second book in my Patrician series, Damon’s story: THE PATRICIAN’S FORTUNE!
Grab a sangria, a goblet of wine, the gladiator or cabana boy of your choice and recline upon the Roman couches and join me in celebrating.
Damon Primax, spy to a Roman senator has held my heart for a long while. I didn’t even know he existed until in the midst of writing THE PATRICIAN, he strolled in and dang near stole the show! He is clever, wry, self-deprecating, a man forged from life’s experiences with a secret yearning for more than he feels he deserves. He doesn’t believe in luck, most of his having been bad until Julia Manulus’ enters his life. And then…..
Here, try the snail canapes Paolo made. (HINT: It’s really chicken salad) and enjoy an excerpt:
Julia paced in front of her father’s favorite sedan chair, kicking the hem of her ochre stola out of the way with each agitated turn. What was taking Kaj so long? Had the criminal balked at the preparations? If he objected to the simple matter of a bath, what would his reaction be to her proposal?
She paused mid-turn, twisted her ring. He might refuse, call her mad. Julia rolled her eyes and resumed her pacing. Of course he would agree. Live or die, the choice was simple.
Oh, this was ridiculous. She was used to handling matters of importance and used to making important decisions. Her household functioned smoothly because her servants and family trusted her. She had never failed them and she would not begin now.
It would be a simple matter of establishing from the very start with the ruffian that she was the mistress and demanded obedience and compliance. He was a common criminal while Julia was the daughter of a noble Roman house. There was nothing more to it.
Then why was her stomach tied in knots?
Footsteps echoed along the corridor, slowing as they approached the door. Julia sat in her father’s chair, arranged the folds of her tunic and lifted her chin. This meeting would be brief, long enough for him to grovel at her feet, express his gratitude for his rescue and listen docilely to his role in her plan.
Kaj entered first, the fierce look on his face sending fresh waves of uncertainty crashing through her. He must have had a difficult time getting the man’s cooperation. Criminals were violent, crude and void of moral standards. She twisted her ring. She hadn’t considered that the man might not be ethical.
Julia pushed the doubts away. The decision had been made and she would not back away from it. Stubborn is what her father would call her and she supposed it was true though she preferred determined. Either way she took after Octavian in such matters and that was a point of pride.
Kaj bit out an unintelligible order over his shoulder. Julia took a deep breath and focused on the door determined to keep her revulsion concealed. Instead, her breath caught in her throat.
The man who strode into the room bore no resemblance to the beaten, debased creature of seven nights past. He was the most striking male she’d ever seen. He reminded her of a sculpture she’d once admired of the war god Mars. His nose was straight, adding to the aristocratic features of his face with its firm chin, squared jaw and full, sensual mouth.
His hair, the shade of nutmeg now that the grime had been washed away, had been trimmed, chopped off in a ragged line just below the nape of his neck. Combined with the long layers that brushed across his eyes, it gave him a tousled look as though he had just arisen from a long night’s sleep—or bed play.
She took a steadying breath and continued her visual inspection. He could stand to gain some weight, though in truth the leanness of his frame added to the sleek hard lines of his body. A warrior’s physique on a criminal? A tremor of unease flared within her.
At Kaj’s barked command he halted. Legs braced apart, broad shoulders pulled back he looked like a general on the verge of battle. It wasn’t difficult to imagine him dressed in armor, sword at the ready.
With effort, she banished the image from her mind and concentrated. Criminals were not supposed to be heart-stoppingly handsome. Julia searched his features for some flaw, some outward sign of his corrupt nature. Her heart tumbled in her chest when he turned and pinned her with a glittering, silver gaze.
Julia fought not to squirm under his intense scrutiny, watched as he scanned her in a leisurely fashion. She felt the rush of heat to her cheeks when his gaze lingered on her breasts. The corner of his mouth lifted into a crooked smile.
“Goddess. At last we meet.”
Sigh…..Oops, sorry (makes mad dash for slipping Sangria glass) I went to my “happy place”.
So celebrate with me! Bring your usual snacks, grab a drink and let’s party!
One commenter will gain “fortune” and win a download of THE PATRICIAN’S FORTUNE!
Posted by Anna Campbell Feb 21 2013, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Grace Dalrymple Elliott, historical romance, If You Give a Rake a Ruby, Jewels of the Ton, Regency romance, Romantic Adventure, RT Top Pick, Sapphires Are an Earl's Best Friend, Shana Galen, Source Books, When You Give a Duke a Diamond
I’ve got a great treat for you today. Shana Galen is such a popular visitor to the lair and she’s here to tell us about her latest book (out 5th March) IF YOU GIVE A RAKE A RUBY.
Here’s the blurb:
HER MYSTERIOUS PAST IS THE BEST REVENGE . . .
Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is a celebrated courtesan with her finger on the pulse of high society. She’s adored by men, hated by their wives. No one knows anything about her past, and she plans to keep it that way.
ONLY HE CAN OFFER HER A DAZZLING FUTURE . . .
Warrick Fitzhugh will do anything to protect his compatriots in the Foreign Office, including seduce Fallon, who he thinks can lead him to the deadliest crime lord in London. He knows he’s putting his life on the line . To Warrick’s shock, Fallon is not who he thinks she is, and the secrets she’s keeping are exactly what make her his heart’s desire . . .
RT Book Reviews awarded IF YOU GIVE A RAKE A RUBY top pick status, and said: The second in Galen’s Jewels of the Ton series is a gem of a read, and Galen is at the top of her game. The suspense builds alongside the passion as her three-dimensional characters are trapped in an adventure-filled labyrinth. Galen is a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre.
If you’d like to know more about Shana and read excerpts from her books, check out her website: http://www.shanagalen.com/
You can follow Shana on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shana.galen2?ref=ts&fref=ts
And on Twitter: @ShanaGalen
Shana, welcome back to the lair! We love it when you visit. I’m so looking forward to IF YOU GIVE A RAKE A RUBY, book 2 of the Jewels of the Ton series, which is out on the 5th March. Can you tell us about this story?
Thank you for having me back, Anna! I had a blast on my last visit.
IF YOU GIVE A RAKE A RUBY is about Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery. She’s one of The Three Diamonds, a trio of glamorous Regency courtesans. Of the three women, Fallon has the darkest past. There is a reason she has kept it a mystery. And then she meets Warrick Fitzhugh—she actually doesn’t so much meet him as he insinuates himself into her life. He’s the youngest son of an earl and a spy for the Crown. His life is in danger, and he knows Fallon has information that will help him apprehend the man trying to kill him. Fallon isn’t exactly cooperative, so he blackmails her and drags her along on what becomes something of a wild ride.
What were the inspirations behind this book?
The series was inspired by real life courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliott. She was a courtesan—some say a lover of even the Prince of Wales—who lived in Paris during the Revolution and spied for the English. Fallon’s story was also inspired by Dickens’s OLIVER TWIST. I had Dickens’s Nancy in mind as I wrote Fallon’s character.
Any hints about the third story in the series?
I’m writing SAPPHIRES ARE AN EARL’S BEST FRIEND right now. It’s about Lily, the Countess of Charm, and Andrew, Earl Darlington. She has always been in love with him, but he has never looked at her twice. Now they’re thrown together in this final instalment, where they must deal with a traitor to the Empire as well as the villainous Lucifer from WHEN YOU GIVE A DUKE A DIAMOND.
What other exciting things have been happening in the world of Shana Galen?
I just turned 40 and got a new car! Ultimate Sportsfan threw me a surprise party with lots of friends and family, and the biggest surprise was a 2013 VW Beetle in the driveway with a big red bow. On top of that, we went to Vegas for the weekend to celebrate. He spent too much at the gambling tables, and I spent too much at the spa.
Happy birthday! Sounds like a great celebration! I’m intrigued to know whether you see any particular trends in historical romance at the moment (apart from luscious, romantic covers!).
I’m seeing more historicals featuring heroes who have tattoos. That’s been an interesting trend to watch. I write a lot of action and adventure, and I’m noticing more authors penning books in that vein. Of course, Joanna Bourne comes to mind, newish author Tracey Devlyn, Jillian Stone, Elizabeth Essex. I’m seeing more pirate books too, which is a trend I certainly embrace.
Ooh, interesting. Do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandita buddies to get the conversation off to a great start?
I’m wondering what trends your readers are noting. Anything I haven’t mentioned? And, readers, do you like reading historicals that deviate from the status quo or do you prefer those that stick to the traditions of the genre?
Thanks, Shana! Get commenting, people. Shana has very generously offered one commenter today a copy of IF YOU GIVE A RAKE A RUBY (international). Good luck!