Posted by Anna Campbell Dec 4 2013, 11:00 pm in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Erotic historical romance, historical romance, Jess Michaels, Pleasuring the Lady, Samhain, Taken by the Duke, The Pleasure Wars
Thanks to everyone for a great day in the lair when Jess Michaels visited! I’m delighted now to announce winner of the download of TAKEN BY THE DUKE is:
Marcy, please email Jess on jess @ authorjessmichaels.com (no spaces) to let her know your preferred format for your e-book and she’ll get your prize off to you! Congratulations!
Posted by Anna Campbell Dec 3 2013, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Beauty and the Earl, erotic romance, historical romance, Jenna Petersen, Jess Michaels, Pleasuring the Lady, Samhain, Taken by the Duke, The Pleasure Wars
I’m delighted to introduce a newcomer to the lair, Jess Michaels!
In 2006, I went to my very first Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta, and one of the very first people I met was the lovely Jess Michaels who took me under her wing and showed a very bewildered newcomer the ropes. At that stage, we were both published by Avon. We’ve both since moved on to other publishing ventures, but the friendship has remained and I’m delighted today to bring her here to talk about her latest release, the very steamy PLEASURING THE LADY.
Here’s the blurb:
Once the game begins, there is no tearing your gaze away.
The Pleasure Wars, Book 2
Her mother’s madness and her father’s and brother’s irresponsibility have relegated Lady Portia to the life of a wallflower. The only shining light in her life is her best friend, Ava, who is suffering a rift with her own brother.
Portia’s quest to help takes her to the notorious Donville Masquerade in the hells, where—behind the safety of a mask—she witnesses shocking public acts of sin. And succumbs to the touch of Marquis Miles Weatherfield.
Unfortunately, they’re discovered. And now, tainted by scandal, she and Miles are destined for a marriage neither of them want. But Portia makes a bargain that raises even Miles’s eyebrows.
In return for saving her mother from the asylum, Portia will do anything Miles wants in bed. Shocked by his driving desire for Portia, Miles agrees. As they explore every wicked desire, every forbidden act that pleases them, they discover something that goes far deeper than flesh. But the lies that brought them together could be the very wedge that drives them apart.
Warning: This book contains wicked encounters, erotic voyeurism, lies, a brief threesome, and unexpected kindnesses.
You can find out more about Jess and her books on her website: http://www.authorjessmichaels.com/
Jess, welcome to the Bandita lair! And congratulations on your latest release PLEASURING THE LADY. Can you tell us about this story?
Sure! PLEASURING THE LADY is about Portia, a woman who has been a wallflower for years, thanks to a very sad family history. She wants to help her closest friend, so she ends up going to an underground masquerade where she has a very unexpected encounter with someone she knows, Miles, Marquis Weatherfield. Of course, he doesn’t realize she is a lady until it’s far too late and they are forced to wed, despite wide differences between them. Whether or not they will allow passion to turn into love will really depend on them.
Sounds hot! What were the inspirations behind this book?
I love the forced marriage trope in romance and I hadn’t written one for a long time, so I was excited to get to write Miles and Portia’s love story. Portia was such a nice character in TAKEN BY THE DUKE that I knew I had to give her a worthy hero! Miles has to become worthy.
PLEASURING THE LADY is book two in the Pleasure Wars series. What an enticing title! Can you tell us about the series as a whole and what’s coming up next?
Thanks! So The Pleasure Wars is about two families in a very Romeo and Juliet-esque type feud that culminated in a horrible night when the Earl of Windbury ran off to elope with the Duke of Rothcastle’s sister. He made chase and the three of them were in a terrible accident. She was killed and both men were badly injured. In TAKEN BY THE DUKE, Rothcastle decides to exact his revenge by kidnapping Windbury’s sister, Ava, and ruining her. PLEASURING THE LADY features Ava’s best friend Portia, who goes into the underground to try to find Windbury. And the third book is about the woman Ava hires to seduce and spy on Windbury in an attempt to force a reconciliation. So it has drama and lots of very sexy sex! The next book in the series is BEAUTY AND THE EARL (Windbury’s story), which will be out April 15, 2014. TAKEN BY THE DUKE and PLEASURING THE LADY are available now!
What else is coming up for Jess Michaels?
I’m very busy! I recently contracted two more series with Samhain and I’ll have four books out in 2014 and again in 2015! All erotic historical romance, which is what I’m solely concentrating on at this point. I’m really excited, I love Samhain and I’m loving building my brand there. The cool thing is that I have promised myself what my husband and I jokingly call a “Big Year” in 2014, which means I’m putting pedal to the metal and focusing as much energy as I have solely on my writing and career. Within reason. I will still have nephews to play with and cats to pet.
As this is your first visit to the lair, we’d love to hear about your writing journey.
Well, I started writing full-time in 1999 thanks to my very supportive husband. I contracted my first erotic romance in 2003, a novella that was in SECRETS, Volume 11 from Red Sage. The next year I sold three books to Avon and spent the next eight years writing for them (as Jenna Petersen and Jess Michaels). I also wrote zombie comedy as Jesse Petersen.
In 2012, I was actually considering giving up writing entirely (it is an exceedingly difficult profession and there had been several contributing factors that made me want to give up) when Samhain said they wanted to revive the Jess Michaels name (which had been inactive for several years). I took a chance and found my publishing home. By the end of that year, I had decided to focus entirely on Jess Michaels and here we are!
Erotic romance is hot in all senses of the word right now. What are your thoughts on the meteoric rise of this genre?
You know, it’s funny. I’ve been writing erotic romance for almost 10 years now, so it’s definitely not new. I do think readers respond to the very intense situations of erotic romance and the dark heroes that seem to be especially prevalent in erotic romance. Erotic historical romance is a smaller genre, but there are some great writers here. I think we also offer a very different set of consequences in our stories. People have always had really HOT sex, but if you get caught in the Regency period… well, you’re going to see a very different result than if you get caught in today’s world. I hope fans of erotic romance with contemporary or other settings will give us a try!
But I think that’s a great question for readers. Why do you think erotic romance is awesome? What’s your favourite book in the genre? Have you tried erotic historical romance?
Get commenting, people! Jess has very kindly offered a download (Kindle or Nook, international) of the first book in the Pleasure Wars series, TAKEN BY THE DUKE. Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 7 2013, 10:36 pm in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, ebooks, Ella Quinn, historical romance, Kensington, Regency romance, The Marriage Game, The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh
Thanks to everyone for giving Ella such a great welcome yesterday. I’m delighted to announce the winner of the download of THE SECRET LIFE OF MISS ANNA MARSH. Congratulations to:
Minna, could you please email Ella on Ella @ ellaquinnauthor.com (no spaces) to arrange the delivery of your ebook. Happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 6 2013, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, e-books, Ella Quinn, historical romance, interviews, Regency romance, The Marriage Game, The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh, The Seduction of Lady Phoebe, The Temptation of Lady Serena
Today I’m delighted to welcome a new visitor to the lair, historical romance author Ella Quinn.
Ella’s here to tell us about her second book THE SECRET LIFE OF MISS ANNA MARSH, the latest book in the Marriage Game series which began with such a bang with THE SEDUCTION OF LADY PHOEBE. Love those titles!
You can find out more about Ella and her books on her website: http://www.ellaquinnauthor.com/
Ella, welcome to the Bandita lair! Congratulations on the release of your new historical romance THE SECRET LIFE OF MISS ANNA MARSH. Can you tell us about this book?
I’m going to give you the blurb. It explains the situation quite well.
Since she was a young girl, Anna Marsh has dreamed of Sebastian, Baron Rutherford asking for her hand in marriage. But that was in another life when her brother Harry was alive, before she vowed to secretly continue the work he valiantly died for. Now as Sebastian finally courts Anna, she must thwart his advances. Were he to discover her secret, he would never deem her a suitable wife…
Sebastian has always known Anna would become his wife someday. He expects few obstacles, but when she dissuades him at every turn he soon realizes there is much more to this intriguing woman. Somehow he must prove to her that they are meant to be together. But first he must unravel the seductive mystery that is Miss Anna Marsh…
What were the inspirations behind this book?
Anna and Rutherford were supporting characters in my debut novel, THE SEDUCTION OF LADY PHOEBE, so naturally, they wanted their story told.
Can you give us a sneak peek of what’s coming up in the Marriage Game series?
I’m happy to. The third book, THE TEMPTATION OF LADY SERENA, releases on January 14th. The hero of that book is Robert Beaumont, who readers will have already met, and the 4th book, DESIRING LADY CARO, which begins in Venice and ends in Paris, releases in April. My editor has book #5, which takes place in the West Indies, and I’m currently writing book #6 where we’re back in England. I think there will be a 7th novel as well.
What else is coming up for Ella Quinn?
Writing and more writing. I have the first two books of the next series written but not fully edited.
As this is your first visit to the lair, we’d love to hear about your writing journey.
It’s been quick, considering. I began writing just about two years ago. I landed my agent in eight months, and my publishing contract with Kensington eight months after that. Hmm, maybe my new favourite number should be eight. Anyway, my goal was to be published in two years, and I was. THE SEDUCTION OF LADY PHOEBE even landed on the Amazon bestseller list for a few days!
Congratulations! What do you like to do when you’re not writing sparkling Regency-set romance?
I love to read (don’t all authors?), walk on the beach near my house, paddle board, and be on the race committee boat for the sailing races down here.
Thanks, Ella. We wish you all the best with THE SECRET LIFE OF MISS ANNA MARSH. It sounds great. Do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandita Buddies?
I love a good series, how do you feel?
Get commenting, people. Ella has very generously offered one commenter today an e-book (international) of THE SECRET LIFE OF MISS ANNA MARSH. Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Oct 10 2013, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Baking, E-book specials, Ghosts, Halloween, historical romance, novellas, Regency romance, These Haunted Hearts, writing life
Are you a baker?
I’m not quite sure what it says about where my head is at the moment, but I seem to be on a baking jag. I’d say I’m nesting, but I can’t see why that would be the case!
Before I moved up to the Sunshine Coast, I lived in Sydney and I used to take in lots of stuff I cooked to share with the people I worked with. I was a very popular girl on those particular days! Over these last years, I seem to have got out of the habit.
Then somewhere in the last six months, I started baking again!
So far, it’s only a couple of old favorites so I think I need to extend my repertoire a little. But it’s so satisfying to stick some ingredients in a bowl, do a bit of mixing, do a bit of baking, and then voila, I have delicious morsels to share with friends.
Mainly I make cookies – what we call biscuits down here. I tried cakes years ago but never had much luck. Maybe I should have another go. My mum was a fabulous cook and her sponge cakes could have floated away, they were so light. Her rich chocolate cake was a masterpiece of decadent eating pleasure!
Anyway, back to my current baking. Last weekend was no exception. There I was slaving over a hot stove on Saturday morning. I had a visitor coming for lunch and I was going to a get-together on Sunday night.
When I have to cater for lots of people, I do chocolate chip cookies as the recipe makes about 60 biscuits. Here’s a picture of the finished products. They were VERY well received. Pardon my boasting, but the host of the bigger party said they were the greatest cookies he’d ever had. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but I’ve got to say they really turned out well this time. Weird how sometimes everything just comes together right when you cook!
That’s another nice thing about being on a baking jag – people are DEFINITELY happy to see me arrive these days!
See what I mean about instant gratification?
And the house smells like heaven when I bake. I particularly love the smell of vanilla. I bet the Garden of Eden smelled of vanilla essence!
Anyway, going back to the chocolate chip cookie saga. It was a perfect day on Saturday and the black swans were on the lake at the bottom of my garden. I had a lovely morning tea outside with a couple of warm cookies, a big cup of tea and a couple of curious swans to say hello.
They’re such elegant creatures, aren’t they? Always feel lucky when I see them – they’re not always around, although just at the moment we’ve got up to a dozen at one time.
I think my most popular creation is my variation on the Women’s Weekly recipe for chocolate slice (don’t ask for it – it’s a sworn secret!). It’s VERY chocolatey and occasionally I’ll do it as Christmas presents. The hardest part (pun originally not intended!) is cutting it – one Christmas I ended up with calluses on my fingers from pushing the knife through the base!
I only realized when I put this picture up on Facebook that slice seems to be an Australian term.
Slice looks like brownies, but it’s a different texture – I think of brownies as more like a rich cake whereas this is a crunchy biscuit base with a rich chocolate fudge icing on top. Slices are very popular here so I was surprised when I had international people querying the term.
Anyway, you’ve now seen pictures of my regular productions – chocolate slice, cherry nut biscuits and the chocolate chip cookies. I’ve promised myself that next time I cook, it will be something I haven’t done before. A girl needs to keep fresh, yanno!
And hey, if you’re passing, call in for a cuppa and a cookie!
Speaking of little morsels of (hopefully) deliciousness, don’t miss my Halloween special on my Regency Ghost Romance, THESE HAUNTED HEARTS. Two love stories, an ancient Chinese curse, a bit of nooky, a stately home, and lots of emotion.
For October only, THESE HAUNTED HEARTS is available at 99 cents.
Definitely a treat and no tricks involved! If you click on the cover, it will take you straight to the Amazon link. We like to make things easy for you here in the lair.
You can read an excerpt and the blurb here: http://annacampbell.info/hauntedhearts.html
So are you a baker? What’s your favorite recipe? Do you have any special memories tied up with baking?
Because I can’t spirit you all across to my place in Australia for afternoon tea, I thought I’d give someone a nice bit of Halloween reading instead. One lucky commenter today wins a download of THESE HAUNTED HEARTS! Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Sep 10 2013, 12:02 am in A Rake's Midnight Kiss, Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, historical romance, Kisses, Launch Parties, Regency romance, Sons of Sin
Wow, I feel like I only just got over the headache from my last launch for DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES and here we are with another launch, this time for A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS! I’m glad I stocked up on aspirin!
Yay! Yazoo! Waheeeeeeee!
Book 2 of the Sons of Sin series is live. A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS is out from Grand Central Publishing Forever as we speak. Wave that blue cover high!
Here’s the blurb:
It Takes a Lady…
Brilliant scholar Genevieve Barrett knows how to keep a secret. Her identity as the author of her father’s academic articles has always been her greatest deception-until a charming housebreaker tries to steal the mysterious Harmsworth Jewel from her. She doesn’t reveal that she recognizes her father’s devastatingly handsome new student as the thief himself. For Genevieve, this will be the most seductive secret of all…
To Catch a Thief!
Sir Richard Harmsworth has been living a lie, maintaining a rakish facade to show society that he doesn’t care about his status as a bastard. Yet long haunted by his unknown father’s identity, Richard believes the Harmsworth Jewel will confirm his claim as the rightful heir. But when Richard sets out to seduce the bookworm who possesses the stone, he instead falls for its beautiful owner. But even as she steals Richard’s heart, Genevieve will be in greater danger than her coveted treasure…
If you want the actual smooch, you’ll have to get the book! I do love to tease!
So today in honor of my new title, I thought we’d talk kisses!
First off, I thought we’d play kiss chasey with the boys in the lair. I’ve promised them all danger money and you know, they all said they don’t want it. Clearly, they’ve never seen Ermingarde in an amorous mood!
And if a loincloth happens to slip under the influence of the kissing, well, what happens in the lair stays in the lair (until I’ve downloaded the photos anyway!).
Then I thought we’d talk about wonderful kisses in the movies. Perhaps we need a whole new genre of movies with kisses at midnight! Hmm, I’m willing to audition all the rakes. I’m prepared to suffer for my art!
I’m pretty sure we’ve talked about all these kisses before in the lair. But the definition of a classic is something we can revisit over and over. And frankly, with A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS
hitting the shelves, kisses are on my mind.
Watch out, Paolo!
I think my all-time favorite kiss in a movie is the one from THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. The music! The setting! The passion! Oh, my beating heart!
I was lucky enough to see this for the first time on the big screen and there was something about Daniel Day-Lewis pashing Madeleine Stowe in 70mm with Dolby Surround Sound that made an indelible impression on me. He’s so handsome, she’s so beautiful, at the time we’re convinced they’re so doomed, their love crosses barriers of class and continents.
Sigh! How could any unabashed romantic fail to be thrilled?
My second kiss is from the all-time romantic classic, AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER. It’s actually a bit of a ring-in as we don’t actually see Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr kiss on screen. It’s all very subtly done. They’re coming down the stairs at night (could be midnight!), their hands brush, they pause and look at each other, the camera continues going down as if they’re still descending, but instead it’s clear from the way their feet move that they stop to share a kiss. That’s a fairly awkward description of a very sexy moment. Another big sigh!
Now, what kiss could possibly be missing from this list?
Could it be time to mention the Armitage word?
I think it might be!
You’ll notice I said THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS kiss was my favorite – from a movie. Strictly speaking, NORTH AND SOUTH is a miniseries. Which gives me a chance to eat my favorite kiss and have it too.
The ending of this BBC series is one of the most beautifully romantic scenes I’ve ever seen on film. If you haven’t seen it, go to YouTube and google NORTH AND SOUTH ending. Or even better, watch the whole story. The kiss means so much more when you know how close John and Margaret came to losing each other. I just melt when I see the tender way he cradles her head as he kisses her, as if this one woman contains the whole world for him. Triple sigh with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.
So NORTH AND SOUTH gets the RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS Oscar! Take a bow, Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe, even if I’m green with jealousy that you got to kiss old Dicky babe.
So it’s over to you! What other on-screen kisses should we nominate for the RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS Oscar?
And the Award goes to…
It’s tradition in a Bandita launch party to give away prizes so I’ve got two copies of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS (international) going out to commenters today. Good luck! And lots of lovely smooches to you!
Posted by Cassondra Murray Sep 9 2013, 1:38 am in Author interviews, Cassondra Murray, Cassondra's Blog, contemporary romance, Harlequin Blaze, historical romance, historicals, Hockey Heroes, Joanne Rock, medieval romance, strong women
The force of the arrow roared through him as it struck the shield still clutched in his hand. Bemused, he stared as the flaming arrowhead ignited the shield with lightning speed. The heat of the burning wood finally penetrated his dulled wits, and Malcolm withdrew his grip from the rapidly disintegrating armor. Although not an heirloom, the shield had been crafted by Laird McNair for his son. Malcolm was disappointed to see it ruined, but it had served its purpose today, protecting him from what would no doubt have been a mortal blow.
From the stout defense of the walnut tree, he peered up to the northern watchtower, from whence the missile had come. He blinked to clear his vision, knowing his eyes must deceive him.
Yet there she was.
Standing defiantly on the crenellated parapet, she did not even bother to duck behind the safety of the wall now that she had discharged her deadly shot. She lowered her crossbow, her gaze never leaving her intended victim…
The fey creature was no kitchen maid. She reeked of nobility. Her green-yellow gown shimmered with the precise hue of newly unfurled spring leaves, and even from Malcolm’s considerable distance, he could see the voluminous folds and rich color conveyed wealth. A golden girdle sparkled around her hips in the sinking sunlight.
And her hair…
The woman’s hair outshone her adornments. It floated in a halo about her head and shoulders, rippling clear down to her waist. Loose flaxen strands caught by the breeze gave the impression of gentle disarray. She looked like a pagan sacrifice to the ancient gods of spring.
Have you ever finished a book and then flipped right back to the front to start reading it again?
That’s what happened to me way back in 2005 when I read The Laird’s Lady.
Rosalind and Malcolm’s story hooked me hard. Every now and then, after all these years, I still drift off, thinking about it. That story had just the right amount of history, plus wounded, driven main characters, and in particular it had something I hadn’t seen in a lot of historical romance–a strong, kick-butt heroine. Now it’s available only in eBook and in paperback at used bookstores, but I’ll tell you that this book won me to medieval historicals, and the author became my go-to girl for medieval romance.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting that author several times at conferences and events around the country, and I can tell you she’s as sweet and generous as she is lovely and talented. She now has more than 60 books under her belt, and I’m so pleased to introduce you to her today.
Sven is pouring drinks, so y’all give your orders to one of the guys–they’re all here–the whole crew has gathered ’round to meet today’s guest, and you’ll soon figure out why.
Everyone please give a famous lair welcome to one of my long-time favorite authors, Joanne Rock.
*loud applause and whistles*
Cassondra: Joanne, thank you so much for joining us in the lair today! First things first though…what would you like from the bar?
Joanne: Thank you so much for having me here! I’m feeling right at home and it’s always nice to visit with you. Since you were kind enough to ask, I’d love a margarita.
Cassondra: *speaks up over sounds of ice being scooped and drinks being shaken behind the bar* I read your bio when I was getting ready for the interview, and saw that you went to the University of Louisville. That was new to me since I thought of you as being from Florida, then the Northeast. I tend to think our childhoods are a big part of what makes us the writers we are. Will you tell us a little about where you grew up and your moves about the world?
Joanne: Surely! *smiles and nods at Sven as he sets her margarita and my glass of Cabernet on the small, rustic table between us* I grew up south of Albany, New York, on a farm along the Hudson River. I used to like to sit by the river and watch the trains go by on their way to New York City.
Eventually, I would be on the train every summer while I worked in Manhattan as a teenager. It was fun and exciting, but it taught me that I was as much a farm girl as a city girl. Like Goldilocks, I’ve always been in search of the perfect place for myself and neither of those places were quite right. Louisville, Kentucky, on the other hand, was a great fit!
Cassondra: I love Louisville. It’s my favorite Kentucky city.
Joanne: The city is charming with lots of arts and culture. Outside the city, it’s wonderfully rural and you feel right at home hanging out with the neighbors in the backyard for weekend picnics.
Cassondra: But you’ve moved around a bunch since then, right?
Joanne: *nods and takes a sip of her drink* Since my Louisville days, I’ve relocated a fair amount for my husband’s then-job as a sports editor. We lived in Utah, Ohio, Louisiana and Florida before an extended stay in upstate New York again. These days, I’m trying to be a snowbird even though we have kids in school. I think the change of scenery inspires my work and keeps me energized.
Cassondra: As prolific as you are, I’m sure it’s extra- important to keep the well filled so the stories can flow. Do you remember what made you fall in love with books?
Joanne: I probably fell in love with books because my parents read to me a lot and they so obviously loved reading as well. I saw my parents read all the time. My dad used to read a Sesame Street story to me called “The Diamond D and the Dreadful Dragon” and we were so silly with it.
Cassondra: Hmmm…on a lark I went looking for that story, and I think I’m vindicated in believing the childhood of the writer influences what she writes. The first line reads
Dozens of years ago.
In a drafty castle.
Duke David of Dundeedle did dwell.**
And…..*dramatic pause*… you grew up to write romance set dozens of years ago in drafty castles.
Joanne: *lifts her margarita glass and grins* My dad also liked to arrange my wealth of stuffed animals into storybook vignettes as a surprise for me when I got home from school. One day, he’d made a newspaper hat for my stuffed dog so he looked like Robin Hood. Another day, one stuffed bear was trying to shoot an apple off another stuffed bear’s head. From my early childhood, stories came to life for me in a fun way.
Cassondra: What a gift that was!…Your parents gave you the gift of story, and you now give that gift to all of us who are readers. *cheers and more catcalls from the audience*
You went on to school for a higher degree in English. What were your plans for that, and how did you end up in romance?
Joanne: I got my Bachelor’s degree in Communication and then wondered why I hadn’t gone to school for what I loved most- English.
I had tried to be very practical about my education, but I ended up realizing there’s such a thing as being too practical and that you will be best served by following your passions.
So on the day that I started my Master’s coursework, I was simultaneously beginning my first romance novel. I literally wrote the opening on campus before my first class. The dream of writing a book and the dream of studying English literature went sort of hand-in-hand for me.
I ended up in romance because I love everything romantic- from the Romantic poets, to Arthurian romance, to chivalry and modern day genre fiction. Romance speaks to me because I adore the big, sweeping emotions associated with the tradition.
Cassondra: You’ve written more than 60 books, so your call story—and your first sale—were a lot of words ago, but not so long ago in terms of time. Do you mind telling the story?
Joanne: I don’t think a writer ever gets tired of reliving the happy memory of the first sale! I had written several full manuscripts before selling one. I wrote medieval historicals first but realized there simply weren’t as many outlets for historicals, whereas – at the time- 75% of the romance purchased by editors was contemporary. So I tried my hand at contemp in a line that I read anyway- Harlequin Temptation. I was scared to try it at first, but the story really flowed well! I knew I was on to something.
Cassondra: Ah, I miss the Temptation line.
Joanne: *nods* Another benefit to writing contemporary romance- and for Temptation in particular- was that editor Brenda Chin was so incredibly accessible to writers at conferences and regional workshops. She was an active contest judge too. So I got my stories in front of her and she gave me feedback and encouragement that were like pure gold to a new author. I sold to her within a year and settled into a very happy publishing schedule.
Cassondra: *glances around room as she swirls wine in her glass* All of Bandita Anna Sugden’s hockey hunks are standing around the edges of the room today.
Joanne: I’ve been fanning myself the whole time.
Cassondra: They wouldn’t miss your interview for anything, because one of your series is about a family of brothers, including two amazing hockey players, Kyle and Axel. Why hockey?
Joanne: *smiles at good-natured catcalls from hockey hunks* What’s not to love about a hockey player? *more catcalls* They are incredibly hard-working athletes in a sport as tough as any out there. I follow a lot of sports, including the NHL, and hockey players also strike me as super down-to-earth for professional athletes. So it was a pleasure to write about a couple of hockey guys in my recent Murphy Brothers series.
Cassondra: Tell us about that series?
Joanne: There are five brothers (four plus a sort-of foster brother they took in- a Finn who started living with the family when he played on a junior team with one of the brothers) and their family dynamic really spoke to me. My husband has six brothers, so I get to see those relationships in action all the time!
The prequel to Murphy Men is actually a free online read. You can get it here Living the Fantasy.
Cassondra: *waves wine glass at Buddies* Y’all definitely need to read that. You’ll love it, I promise. And you can read the blurbs for the different books, plus some excerpts by clicking on the links below. Joanne, tell us the reading order?
Joanne: After Living the Fantasy, the books are in this order..
Book 1 -Jack and Alicia’s story, Making a Splash
Book 2- Keith and Josie’s story, is Riding the Storm
Book 3 – One Man Rush is the first of the hockey books, about Kyle and Marissa.
Book 4–Her Man Advantage, is Axel and Jennifer’s story. Hockey defenseman Axel is the foster brother from Finland.
Book 5-Full Surrender, wraps up the Murphy brothers’ stories with Stephanie and Uniformly Hot! Lieutenant Daniel Murphy.
Cassondra: I love all these guys, and of course I have a thing for guys in military uniform, but I gotta tell ya, I totally fell for Axel. *fans self and takes a long sip of wine*
Ahem….Now let’s time travel a bit, from the very modern, very steamy world of Harlequin Blaze.
As I said earlier, I first discovered Joanne Rock books because of historicals. I’m always interested in why writers choose a certain period of history. In particular the earlier periods when there were fewer creature comforts. Why medieval for you?
Joanne: I like the independence of the feudal estate. It gave rise to a way of life that was unique to each household since the lord of the land functioned like a king in his realm.
Medieval nobles had to be Alphas, and it’s a setting where I can accept an Alpha guy for being that way because people would die if he wasn’t strong enough to hold his lands. There’s something very primal about this responsibility, and the medieval hero is unique because of it.
I also like the epic scale of a historical since the stakes were so high. A wrong choice could mean death. For a woman, an indiscretion could mean losing her position and her way of life forever.
Cassondra: You’ve been doing a lot of the shorter Undone stories for Harlequin. Will you tell us about those?
Joanne: I’m writing a lot of shorter historicals right now because there is a demand for them. Readers appreciate short content to read stories on their lunch hour or after work and feel like they’re getting a complete, satisfying read. Harlequin puts the “Undone” stories out in anthologies overseas and I hope they’ll find more interesting ways to package them here too. I have a Viking story up next for Undone- VANQUISHED BY THE VIKING- and then I’ve got some Victorian set stories planned with a ghost who’s a Highlander. So it’s set in the Victorian era but the hero is still a laird from a time period I love!
Cassondra: Do you have plans for more full-length medievals?
Joanne: I’m not sure when I’ll write a new full length historical, but one of these days! Adding the Young Adult books to my schedule really shifted things around for me, but I will always return to some kind of medieval stories. They are a core part of what I love to write.
Cassondra: Speaking of the Young Adult, let’s talk about the latest writer hat you’ve donned. You’re presently writing the Camp Boyfriend YA series as JK Rock with your sister-in-law, Karen. Can you talk a little about that series ?
Joanne: Camp Boyfriend is the first of a three-book series with Camp Payback out in April 2014 and Camp Forget Me Not in August 2014. Readers can learn more about the series- and the FREE novella downloads between books- at http://campboyfriend.net
Cassondra: You hooked me instantly with these stories. I never went to camp when I was a kid, but I could SO relate to the heroine, Lauren.
Camp Juniper Point
“Truth or dare, Piper?”
I twisted my friendship bracelet and eyed my fidgeting bunkmate, relieved it wasn’t my turn in the hot seat. Yet. Would Piper shake up our seven-year first-day-of-camp tradition and surprise the cabin by taking the dare? Either way, I wanted this mega-humiliating game over before it began. I edged closer to our window fan, my mind whirling as fast as its blades, knees jittering.
“It’s hot. Let’s swim.” I twirled prescription goggles in the expectant silence. Anything to avoid a turn that could lead to me revealing my secret camp crush. I loved my Munchies’ Manor cabin mates, but they were bloodhounds in sniffing out drama. And liking a guy we’d been friends with forever, one who treated me like a little sister, was a camp soap opera I did not want to star in. What if I crashed and burned? I’d never liked a guy before. At least, not one I knew in real life.
Not when it mattered.
Cassondra: Camp or no camp, I’ve felt that. What inspired you to write Young Adult novels?
Joanne: I love Young Adult books. I’m thrilled that there are so many offerings for teen readers and I think it’s a great sign for publishing in general that YA is thriving. Part of the reason I wanted to try my hand at a YA was because writing a wide variety of material helps to keep my storytelling fresh. Tackling new challenges makes all my work stronger. But the other reason I wanted to work in YA was for the chance to work with my sister-in-law, who was interested in writing. She’s very talented, and as an eighth grade teacher, had a special affinity for YA books. When we brainstormed a potential project to develop together, Camp Boyfriend emerged in full-fledged Technicolor.
Cassondra: You’ve moved to warmer climes for the winter season, just in time for your own kids to start school. As you dig your toes in the sand, what’s up next for Joanne?
Joanne: I’ve got two Blazes coming out this fall/winter and I look forward to sharing them with readers. One is a Uniformly Hot! Christmas novella in A SOLDIER’S CHRISTMAS with fellow authors Leslie Kelly and Karen Foley. If you want a hot man in uniform for the holidays, please check this one out!!
Then, in January, the follow up to MY DOUBLE LIFE goes on sale. MY SECRET FANTASIES is another first-person Blaze, an idea that readers really responded to in MY DOUBLE LIFE. And the down-on-her-luck heroine of MY SECRET FANTASIES is so fun that it’s a blast to be directly in point-of-view as she meets sizzling hot Damien Fraser. Here’s the blurb:
All I wanted was to escape the media frenzy I left behind in L.A. and open a cute little shop on the Sonoma Coast. Simple, right? But Damien Fraser—the hunky property owner—isn’t exactly thrilled about my reality-TV-star status. Still, I’m pretty sure that all he needs is a little creative convincing…and I’ve learned I can be very creative.
I started writing a naughty novel, and with every sexy scene I write, things between me and Damien get really hot. Now the hero in my book is starting to look more and more like Damien, and I’m well on my way to becoming my brazen sexpot heroine. But when my real life and my fictional life collide, my fantasies just might cost me all of my dreams….
Okay Bandits and Buddies, have any of you ever done what I did with The Laird’s Lady–finished a book and just flipped right back to the beginning to read it again?
Did you fall in love with books by having other people around you read? Or read to you?
Have you ever read a medieval romance? Are there any medievals on your keeper shelf?
Have you ever read a Joanne Rock book?
Do you ever read Young Adult books just for the great stories? If so, what’s your favorite Young Adult series?
Joanne has brought some great giveaways. Two random commenters will win a copy of MY DOUBLE LIFE or CAMP BOYFRIEND (your choice)!
Y’all can find Joanne all over the place: Website /Goodreads /Twitter /Facebook /Amazon/ J.K. Rock
**(Snippet of "The Diamond D and the Dreadful Dragon" taken from The Sesame Street Story Book,
Random House, 1971.)