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 Sep 3 2013, 12:02 am in A Rogue by Any Other Name, Anna Campbell, Avon Authors, Bandita Booty, historical romance, interviews, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, NYT Bestsellers, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, Regency romance, RITA winners, Rule of Scoundrels, Sarah Maclean
It’s always delightful to host witty and clever historical author and NYT bestseller Sarah MacLean – although it’s been a while between drinks here! Paolo, margaritas pronto!
Sarah’s here to tell us about her next release (Nov 13) NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED (don’t you love that title, and no, I don’t mean the duke. Well, I like dukes too. Well… Oh, sheesh!).
For print readers–the first 500 readers to preorder signed copies of NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED from Sarah’s local bookstore (WORD Bookstore in Brooklyn, NY) will receive custom NO GOOD DUKE playing cards with their shipment! Watch out for the card sharks in the gambling hells!
Here’s the blurb:
A Rogue Ruined…
He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of…absolution.
A Lady Returned…
Mara planned never to return to the world from which she’d run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple’s exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade that ends in her returning to society and proving to the world what only she knows…that he is no killer.
A Scandal Revealed…
It’s a fine trade, until Temple realizes that the lady–and her past–are more than they appear. It will take every bit of his strength to resist the pull of this mysterious, maddening woman who seems willing to risk everything for honor…and to keep from putting himself on the line for love.
You can find out more about Sarah and her wonderful books on her website: http://macleanspace.com/
Sarah, I can’t wait to read your forthcoming release from Avon, NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED, which is out November 26th. Can you tell us about this story?
NO GOOD DUKE is the third book in my Rules of Scoundrels series, which tells the story of four fallen aristocrats who have each fallen from society – either by chance or by choice – and have become kings of the London Underworld as owners of a gaming hell, The Fallen Angel.
DUKE is Temple’s story. An undefeated bareknuckle boxer widely known as The Killer Duke, Temple lost everything when he woke up one morning during his eighteenth year to find himself in the bloody bed of his father’s young fiancée—with no memory of the prior evening. The girl was missing, presumed dead, and Temple was the only suspect.
He’s spent twelve years coming to terms with his violent side, until one evening, the missing dead girl turns up. Very alive. And very beautiful.
Sounds delicious! What were the inspirations behind this book?
Aside from hours spent looking at pictures of handsome forearms on the Internet, you mean?
As with all my books, there’s a good mix of pop culture and ancient history in DUKE. All the Scoundrels stories are at least loosely based on the Ocean’s 11 series (who doesn’t like to think about George and Brad in their tuxedos? Though, Temple’s a bit more Joe Manganiello than those two.), and Temple’s story is no different – in this book, we finally get to see “The Ring,” Temple’s domain at the center of the casino. The boxing culture that goes hand in hand with high-end modern casinos is certainly part of it.
But the heroine of NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED is where the ancient bits come in. Miss Mara Lowe faked her own death and left the heir to the dukedom holding the responsibility for it when she was only sixteen. In the twelve years that have passed since then, Mara has made a new, good life for herself. But now, thanks to an unpleasant turn of events, she needs Temple’s help – and she must pay her debts to get it. Mara’s story is inspired by Prometheus, the mortal who stole fire from the gods, and paid a terrible price for it.
What’s coming up next in the Rule of Scoundrels series? Love the titles, by the way. Did you come up with those?
After NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED comes Chase’s story, sometime in the second half of 2014. Chase is the mysterious founder of the Fallen Angel, who brought all the other heroes together. I’m so excited about so much of this story but sadly can’t say anything about it, as everything there is to say (including telling you the title!) is embargoed until Temple’s book is released!
That all said, if you’ve been following my Scoundrels, Temple’s book will reveal some important pieces of Chase’s past . . . and I think you’ll be pleased with how things are unravelling.
Huge congratulations on winning the Romance Writers of America RITA Award for best historical at the recent conference in Atlanta for your wonderful A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME. How did that feel?
Thank you so much!
I’ll be honest, I was totally shocked to receive the RITA – ROGUE was by far the most difficult book I’ve ever written, the hero was so unmovable (read: kind of a jerk) and I fully rewrote that book four times before I was happy with it.
That all said, it was an incredible moment—one I am so very proud and honoured to have had.
Congratulations again! What else has been happening in the wonderful world of Sarah MacLean?
In the spring, I wrote a short story with my Zombie-loving YA-writing critique partner, Carrie Ryan—a gothic novella called She, Doomed Girl, for a horror and fantasy anthology called DARK DUETS. The project was so fun, in part because we’re so connected to each others’ work, and it was a great opportunity to see if we could actually work together. I’m really happy with the end result (which will be published in January 2014 from Harper Voyager).
Other than that, I’m a bit of a bore–I’ve been writing writing writing, trying to get Chase’s book finished before December, when a much more pressing deadline comes due! My happily ever after is getting its own epilogue – a girl, who I fully expect will join me in San Antonio for the Romance Writers of America conference in Summer 2014. I hope you will all get to meet her then!
So excited about the new arrival! On your website, you call yourself an obsessive romance recommender (I’m one too so I recognize all the signs!). Any recent reads you’d like to share with the Banditas and Bandita buddies. We’re always looking to increase our TBR piles.
I’m behind, I’m afraid, so my two recommendations are probably on all the Banditas’ lists! But I just finished Lorraine Heath’s LORD OF WICKED INTENTIONS (another gaming hell book!) and Kristan Higgins’s THE BEST MAN in one glorious weekend . . . both are so gorgeous . . . I can’t recommend them enough!
Great interview, Sarah. Thanks for being our guest today and we wish you all the best with the Rule of Scoundrels! Do you have a question for our Banditas and Bandita Buddies?
I’ve shared the celebrities who have inspired heroes for me . . . Clooney, Pitt, Manganiello . . . when you’re reading, is it easy for you to conjure the hero as he’s written? Or do you placehold a hunky celebrity or handsome real-life guy for the hero you’re reading about? If you do, who is your go-to hero?
Ooh, we love talking handsome fellows here in the lair.
Get commenting, people. One winner today will receive signed copies of A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME and ONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER (U.S. only – sorry, internationals! Next time!). Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Aug 5 2013, 12:02 am in Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, Breathless, contemporary romance, cross-cultural romance, Dakota Harrison, Debut authors, Exhale, interviews, Samhain, Writing Contests
It’s always exciting for me to host a friend in the lair. Doubly exciting when it’s an Aussie friend. And triply exciting when that Aussie friend is launching their debut romance.
Today, I’m delighted to introduce you to Dakota Harrison who lives in the beautiful Granite Belt region in Queensland. Beautiful and cold – it’s renowned as the coldest place in our subtropical state and they even get snow! Wow!
Dakota is here to tell us about her debut romance for Samhain, EXHALE. Here’s the blurb:
Takeshi is finishing up a brutal double shift in the ER when a familiar—and bloody—face erases all thought of heading home. The broken body of the woman fighting for her life belongs to Gabby, his best friend’s mother. A woman he’s loved since he turned nineteen, when he foolishly declared his love for her.
She’s not dying today. Not on his watch. And not with a promise left unfulfilled.
Gabby has never forgotten the taste of the kiss Taka gave her under the mistletoe all those years ago. Or the silly promise that surely by now he’s forgotten. She’s wrong. Taka remembers. And she melts as he uses every trick in his highly trained surgeon’s hands to heal her—and rekindle the heat between them.
But there’s a secret lurking in Gabby’s past. And when it follows her all the way to Seattle, it threatens to drag the one man she loves into the nightmare she thought she’d left behind.
You can find out more about Dakota and her books on her website: http://www.dakotaharrison.com/index.html
Welcome to the lair, Dakota!
Hi Anna! Thank you so much for inviting me into the lair! It’s a real thrill.
Dakota, huge congratulations on the release of your debut from Samhain. Can you tell us about EXHALE?
EXHALE is about one woman’s wish for happiness after enduring a life marred by terrible grief and loss. Gabby longs for safety and steadfast love, but she’s almost too afraid to want it. Where her heart lies is with a man who she believes she has no right to. No right to want him, no right to now ask for what he would have freely given her, many years before. And now he’s taken.
Taka’s achieved most of what he set out to do by the time he hits thirty years old. Career-wise, he’s on the fast-track to becoming one of the best surgeons in his field, but he can’t let go of the thought of Gabby. Her love. Her promise to him years earlier. The thought that maybe if he laid his heart on the line and asked one more time…
Wow, sounds intense and sexy and really emotional. What were the inspirations behind this book?
Well, I could say it came out of nowhere, but to be honest, we had my adult nephew living with us for a couple of years when we first moved into our new house. He was twenty, and he had a couple of good friends who used to visit. One in particular was quite flirty, even though we both knew he was just playing. That got the ‘what if’ bug flying around my head – what if the nephew wasn’t her nephew? What if he was her son? Why would she have a son so old and her so young? What if the friend wasn’t playing around? What if it was real?
So it led from there. He’s actually quite impressed he inspired me to write a book!
I bet he is! What’s coming up next for Dakota Harrison?
I have a second release coming out in October, BREATHLESS, a story of a woman who makes some bad decisions which lead to the destruction of her entire life. To get away from the all-encompassing guilt and pain, she flees to a tiny town in the U,S. to start a new life where no one knows her, or what she’s done. Plus, I’m almost finished the sequel to EXHALE, which stars Taka’s yakuza cousin, Shin, who we meet in the final chapter of the book. It’s set in the glittering city of Tokyo.
They sound great. We love call stories in the lair. Can you give us yours?
Of course! It’s a funny one, actually. In January and February last year I sent of a *heap* of submissions for my fantasy romance manuscript. Some were requested, some slush. It had won and placed in many contests, so I was confident it might find a home – somewhere. Well, roll on four months later, and I kept getting “We love it, love your writing, but I/marketing don’t know where to place it. I’m going to have to pass.” This happened so many times I could almost print a novel with the rejections. I’d sent it to so many different places, I’d actually lost track of where I’d sent it (this particular character trait is something that drives my best friend, Kylie Griffin, nuts! She’s always trying to get me to make a spreadsheet. I’m like, a spread-what?!?).
Anyway, late one Sunday evening in May, I received a particularly wonderful email from an editor at Samhain, stating how very much she loved the story, etc, but unfortunately fantasy wasn’t what they were after at present – but – did I have anything else I could send her? In particular, contemporary romance? She’d noticed in my cover note that I’d recently won a contest with one – the RWA Valerie Parv Award. I wrote back and said, “Yes, of course, I’d love you to have a look at it, and also, would you like to see the one that just finaled in the RWA Emerald, too?” So, off I sent both of them once she’d asked, and promptly relegated the excitement to the back of my mind. I thought, “This will take months, like the first submission.”
I was up early the next morning, for a change, when I received her email. She loved it. She wanted it. Can she please buy it! She’d skimmed the first few pages to gauge if it was up her alley, then loved it so much she sat down to read the whole thing in five hours! I was in shock. I thought I was reading the email wrong. I sent it to someone, just to make sure it said what I thought it said! Then I rang my husband and squeed! Then I felt sick. This made it real. That elusive contract offer was right there. And for a genre I wrote for pleasure for myself, not for publication. My contemporary stories were always that – written because I loved the characters who popped into my head. I’d always thought my fantasy and scifi would be the ones that would sell.
That’s a great story. And congratulations again. You were a contest queen here in Australia. I remember seeing your name over and over in Romance Writers of Australia finals listings. How do you think contests benefited your career and writing?
Anna, the contests were pure gold. My very first one, I came second last. The judge was so kind, told me all the things I was doing wrong that newbies seem to do (and was I green!), and gently explained how to fix it. So I did. I took the feedback and sifted through it, and most of it was 100% right, then I applied it and read up on why the suggestions were made, trying to understand where/why I’d made those mistakes. I re-entered the rewritten partial into a RWNZ contest – and came second. From there I wrote and wrote and entered everything I could that offered feedback. Some judges in one or two contests were so acidic that the judging sheet almost shriveled in front of my eyes on the screen; then I’d get the two other judges in the same contest who loved it and scored me the highest mark there. I seem to split them fair down the middle. It was good practice getting such varied feedback, as not everyone will like what you’ve written, and some will hate it. It helped toughen me up.
Contests are invaluable if you use them as a tool to strengthen and improve your writing. If you’re looking for ego-stroking, you won’t get it there, you have to be prepared to take the hard comments with the good. But I believe those four years in national and international contests have helped me tighten my work to a standard that may have taken me many years to accomplish on my own. And it helped lead me to the very best friends I have ever met. I can’t recommend contests enough, although they did keep me poor! I never only entered one manuscript. If there was a limit, I’d enter to the limit. If there was no limit, I’d enter everything I had!
That’s so true about contests toughening you up! It’s a great lesson. I know you live in one of the prettiest spots in my home state Queensland. Can you tell us about your corner of the world?
Yes! We have what they call ‘Brass Monkey Season’, it’s our tourism slogan – where it gets so cold it could freeze the balls of a brass monkey! The council even had a statue made. The term’s origin is a little hazy; some say it came from a war name for the structure they sat cannon balls on, which was made of brass and called a ‘monkey’ (which is where many locals believe the term came from); others state it’s from during the 19th and 20th centuries, when small monkeys cast from the alloy brass were common tourist souvenirs from Asia. The Three Wise Monkeys. These monkeys were often cast with all three in a single piece of brass. In other sets they were made singly. Although three was the usual number, some sets of monkeys added a fourth, with its hand covering its genitals. Old brass monkeys of this type are collectors’ items.
I prefer to believe the former option – it’s a little more colorful!
In summer we have lovely mid 20s to mid 30s temperatures, and autumn is glorious with all the fruit and ornamental trees turning to fabulous colors. And no humidity! That’s the best part
What about you? What’s your favorite season, and where? It can be anywhere in the world! Even somewhere you haven’t been yet, but desperately wish to go. What makes a particular area special for you?
Get commenting, people! Dakota has very kindly offered up a download of EXHALE (international) for one of our visitors today. Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Aug 2 2013, 12:03 am in Anna Campbell, Anne Mather, Annie West, anthologies, Australian Authors, Baby out of the Blue, Bandita Booty, Forgotten Mistress Secret Love-Child, Harlequin Presents, Imprisoned by a Vow, interviews, Mills and Boon Modern, Mills and Boon Sexy, Undone by His Touch
It’s always fun to have the wonderful Annie West in the lair. Today, Annie’s visiting us to talk about her great new release IMPRISONED BY A VOW (check out those covers! Aren’t they gorgeous?).
This book is already garnering rave reviews. RT Book Reviews called it “an emotionally charged drama.” This one really tugs at the heartstrings and you’ll be cheering for Joss and Leila’s happy ending!
Here’s the blurb:
Being sold into marriage by her stepfather is Leila’s one chance to escape. But instead of freedom, Leila finds herself bound by deep passions ignited by her inscrutable new husband.
Australian billionaire Joss Carmody knows the rules of this game-he’ll shower his new wife with diamonds and in return he’ll use her land to expand his business. That’s all he ever wanted from this exchange, but he hadn’t banked on the attraction Leila awakens.
Then the one night that was supposed to slake their desire binds them beyond the signatures on their marriage contract.…
You can find out more about Annie’s books and read an excerpt of IMPRISONED BY A VOW
on her website: www.annie-west.com
Annie, welcome back to the lair. Congratulations on your new release for Harlequin Presents, IMPRISONED BY A VOW. Can you tell us about this book?
Anna, thank you for inviting me over. The lair feels like a second home and I’m so glad you’re all still willing to have me visit! I’m waving hi and looking out for a celebratory glass of something.
I’ll let you in on a secret. IMPRISONED is a book I thought I wouldn’t get to write. I imagined this story a couple of years ago and started writing in a rush of enthusiasm that had me well through the manuscript before my then editor told me she had problems with it. Eventually I set the book aside (how painful that was) and wrote something else instead. But Leila’s story kept niggling at me and I had to write it. I revisited the story, decided Leila needed a different hero (the original one, too good to be ignored, is currently getting his own story) and went from there. Once I started again I couldn’t stop.
IMPRISONED is a marriage of convenience story. Marriage will get both Joss and Leila what they want – which definitely doesn’t include any emotional entanglement with their spouse. Joss wants the land Leila will inherit so he can exploit its riches. Leila wants marriage to escape the domineering control of her extremely unpleasant guardian. Previous escape attempts have resulted in her living under a form of house arrest for years.
The catch comes after the wedding and they discover life as married strangers isn’t so easy. For a start there is the sizzle of attraction that bubbles up despite their best intentions. Worse, Leila discovers that after so long locked away, just stepping out the door of her new home is a challenge she can barely face. Joss is intrigued by his new wife who hides her problems behind a haughty façade. When he inadvertently discovers the truth he finds that, despite his determination not to get involved, he can’t walk away. In the process of helping Leila, he finds his own salvation.
If that sounds too heavy, I’ll just add that the story is very intense, sexy and glamorous!
It sure is! Tssssss! What were the inspirations behind this book?
Inspiration came from Leila, one of the most feisty, determined yet vulnerable heroines I’ve ever written. This is a story about strength that doesn’t shout itself from the rooftops but is the sort of strength so many people (especially women) exhibit daily, just by getting on with their lives in difficult circumstances. I think it was inspired by stories I’ve heard over the years of people who’ve endured and triumphed in their own quiet way. I loved the chance to give Leila her own happy ending.
Other inspirations include the down to earth men for all seasons we Aussie women seem to appreciate so much – you know the ones who can tackle the outback but still brush up well in company? That’s Joss – Capable with a capital C.
There’s the touch of Beauty and the Beast in there too, for though Joss is gorgeous to look at, he’s rather like a wounded beast who wants to stay undisturbed in his lair, cut off from everyone else. Leila unwittingly, and unwillingly, wakes him…
What’s coming up next for you?
Squee! I’ve got another book coming out in October. So soon! AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY is a real change of pace. Well, it’s sexy and intense, but the characters and story are very different. It’s about revenge but it’s a boss/housekeeper story too.
Jonas hates the woman who seduced his father. When his father dies and he discovers she’s stolen a huge amount from the estate, he vows she’ll pay with a prison sentence. Ravenna steps in to save her mother by taking the blame but finds herself paying off the debt, and dealing with Joss’s fury, as his servant. Strangely though, things don’t go the way Jonas planned. I love it when that happens! Here’s a link if you want to read the back cover copy. http://www.amazon.com/Enticing-Debt-Pay-Service-ebook/dp/B00CFX3C46/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375303836&sr=1-1&keywords=annie+west+an+enticing+debt+to+pay
Sounds delicious! There’s a hint of Rapunzel in IMPRISONED, the princess locked in a tower rescued by a man daring enough to brave the thorns surrounding her. You often include fairytale elements in your romances – what do you think is the enduring attraction of fairytale themes?
Anna, you make it sound as if I deliberately set out to use these themes. It’s true I did once decide to write a Beauty and the Beast book (UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH) but really, the fairytale elements find me. I think it’s that there are ideas within those old tales that resonate strongly with all of us and keep cropping up for that reason. IMPRISONED definitely has a touch of Rapunzel, because Leila’s imprisoned. On the other hand, she works to free herself rather than waits for someone else to do it. Just as well for her, Jonas is there to lend a hand. I think most writers can look back at particular stories and find hints of the fairytale within them.
IMPRISONED BY A VOW is a classic marriage of convenience story. Why do marriage of convenience stories appeal to you? You’ve written a few in your time! What particular twist did you put on this popular trope?
Anna, I wish I knew. MoC stories for some reason speak to me. In fact they yell at me from the bookshelves to be picked up. Something in my hard wiring responds to the idea of them. If I have to analyse it I suppose at heart it’s because I LOVE stories where hero and heroine are confronted by love, even when they don’t want it, especially when they don’t want it, but they can’t get away.
You know those stories where hero and heroine are stuck together with the tension building as they’re forced to confront the things they’ve tried to hide from, and worse, the person who makes them feel far more than they want? Well, that’s what I love about MoC stories. You put the pair together, lock them up, don’t let them out and then apply heat and watch them squirm. (Romance authors can be mean to their characters – it’s allowed, it’s in our job description).
As for a twist on this theme – this time it’s not just the marriage locking them together, it’s what’s inside them, holding them back, forcing them to face the future together.
I noticed that your wonderful FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE-CHILD was recently included in an anthology with a story by romance goddess Anne Mather. When I was a teenager, Anne Mather’s books were better than chocolate to me so I’m thrilled on your behalf. Can you share some of the books that inspired you to become a lifelong romance fan?
Anna, I love you calling it ‘wonderful’. Can you see my grin from here? I read Anne Mather too, and never, ever imagined having a story of mine published with hers. Wow! In my teens I read so many Mills and Boon books that most of them blurred into a delicious romantic haze.
There were plenty of titles by Anne Hampson and Violet Winspear (who to me sounded like a romance writer). At the same time I was snaffling old copies of Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt from the library, which opened up all sorts of new worlds. I love the sense that you can open a romance and dive into a new world that might be in contemporary Venice, Montana or Botswana, or Regency England or even Tsarist Russia. Or maybe it will be in a very familiar world but with a whole new perspective because of the characters coming to life before your eyes.
Do you have question for the Bandits and Bandita buddies?
Sure do. Which authors set you on the road to reading romance and what was it about their writing that hooked you?
Oh, look forward to your answers to this, although I suspect my TBR pile will be groaning by the end of it.
Annie has very generously offered two prizes today – 1 signed copy of IMPRISONED BY A VOW and 1 signed copy of a book from her backlist (bascially any of her titles except IMPRISONED!). Giveaway is international! Good luck, people. Get commenting!
Posted by Anna Campbell Aug 1 2013, 12:22 am in A Rake's Midnight Kiss, Anna Campbell, Bandita of the Month, Days of Rakes and Roses, e-books, Grand Central Forever, Grand Central Forever Yours, Grand Central Publishing, historical romance, interviews, new releases, novellas, Regency romance, Sons of Sin Series
Well, it seems it’s my turn to be Bandita of the Month again! Last time I did this back in September 2012, my first book in the Sons of Sin series, SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED, had just been released (you can read that interview here: http://romancebandits.com/meet-foanna/). And now here I am well into 2013 to tell you all about two new releases, my new e-novella DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES (Sons of Sin 1.5) and book 2 in the series, A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS.
I originally thought I might ask the rooster to interview me, but then thought better of it (when we discussed the possibility, he only wanted to talk about sexy chicks!). So in the absence of a REAL interviewer, I thought I’d ask myself some questions. Hope you enjoy!
FOANNA: Welcome to the lair, Miss Campbell! And congratulations on your two new releases. Firstly, can you tell us about the inspirations behind your July e-novella for Grand Central Publishing Forever Yours, DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES?
AC: Thank you so much for asking, Fo! I’m really proud of this particular story – it’s one that came very close to matching the idea of it I had in my head when I started to write (that almost never happens!).
As you can probably tell from that gorgeous pink cover, this is an unashamedly romantic tale of two childhood sweethearts separated by cruel fate in the form of the heroine’s ambitious father. You can read the prologue which details the fatal moment in last month’s exclusive excerpt.
I love reunion stories. It always surprises me that prior to DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES, I’d only ever written one before, last year’s Christmas novella THE WINTER WIFE. DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES also gives readers a few glimpses of other characters who appear in the series like Camden Sedgemoor, the Duke of Rothermere, and Sir Richard Harmsworth who is the hero of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS. Even better for readers, this e-novella is available (at this stage, only in North America) at the bargain price of 99 cents! Even I want to buy it at that price!
FOANNA: At 99 cents, that’s a steal! Now can you tell us about your next full-length release, A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, which is out on 27th August from Grand Central Publishing Forever? This has been a bit of a change of pace for you, I gather.
AC: I had enormous fun writing A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS.
When I started it, I had two inspirations when it came to the rakish, witty, elegant hero, Sir Richard Harmsworth. One was the Scarlet Pimpernel – you know, that ability to hide emotional wounds beneath a light, careless air, and also the element of someone playing a part that’s not his real self. The other inspiration was the idea of writing a hero in spite of himself. Richard definitely doesn’t want to jeopardise his emotional detachment, but when he falls in love with scholarly vicar’s daughter Genevieve Barrett then discovers that he’s the only man who can save her from the genuine villains on the patch, he has to step up to the plate.
To me, there’s an element of Sleeping Beauty about Genevieve. She’s spent her life surrounded by books and scholarly types, much as SB is surrounded by briars and thorns. But a kiss from the scoundrel Richard Harmsworth wakes her up to a whole world of sensual possibilities. Of course, this new world holds dangers both to her body and to her heart, and she’ll need all her courage to seize her chance at happiness.
These two have a rather prickly relationship at first and I had a wonderful time writing their snarky dialogue which of course only conceals uncontrollable attraction. So this story is a little bit like a sorbet after the gothic roast beef of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. I hope readers enjoy the extra humor and the touch of adventure!
Next month’s exclusive excerpt for members only is from A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS so make sure you check that out!
FOANNA: What’s coming up next for you?
AC: I’m releasing another Christmas novella this year after last year’s effort, THE WINTER WIFE, received such a lovely reception. This one’s a more substantial story (probably about a third of a full-length novel – what can I say? I got interested!) and it visits those favorite Regency themes of the marriage of convenience and the reformed rake. That should be out in November so watch out for me talking it up in the lair. I’m also working on what I hope will be the third book in the Sons of Sin series, Cam’s story. I’ve developed quite a girly crush on the Duke of Sedgemoor while been writing the first couple of books so it’s nice to give him a happy ending with some hussy who isn’t me, dang nab it!
FOANNA: In the lair, we love to know what the Banditas are reading. Any recent recommendations?
How good of you to ask! I’m sure my answers will astonish you as you have no idea what I’ve been reading. By the way, I write a review on the 24th of every month of a romance I’ve particularly enjoyed, often a classic or an older release, on The Romance Dish. Check it out! They’re called Second Helpings (geddit?).
Last month, I was lucky to get my hands on Bandita Christina Brooke’s LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL. Hubba, hubba, is that Jonathan Westruther one hot dude or what? I also read and loved Aussie author Helene Young’s latest HALF MOON BAY. This is a humdinger of a romantic suspense and I’m pretty sure it’s available at least in digital format internationally. Highly recommended. Otherwise I’m enjoying a couple of ongoing romance/mystery series like the Vicky Bliss books by Elizabeth Peters and I’m still catching up on Dick Francis’s backlist. Thank goodness he was so prolific!
FOANNA: Thank you for being such a cooperative interviewee!
AC: Thank you for asking such great questions!
FOANNA AND AC: Snerk!
You can read the blurb and an excerpt from DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES here: http://romancebandits.com/days-of-rakes-and-roses/
You can read the blurb and an excerpt from A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS here: http://romancebandits.com/a-rakes-midnight-kiss-2/
Posted by Anna Campbell Jun 19 2013, 12:02 am in Amanda Ashby, Ancient Britain, Ann Campbell, Archangel of Mercy, Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, Betrayed, Christina Ashcroft, Christina Phillips, e-books, Ellora's Cave, erotic romance, Her Savage Scot, interviews, Regency romance, Sara Hantz, Tainted, vampire romance
I’m delighted today to welcome back a good friend and a fabulous writer, Aussie via the U.K. resident Christina Phillips.
Christina is here to tell us about her hot new romance for Ellora’s Cave, BLOODLUST DENIED, featuring a duke who is really a vampire. Or is that perhaps a vampire who is really a duke? Whatever, he sounds like one hot vampire dukish dude!
You can find out more about Christina and her wonderful books at her website: http://christinaphillips.com/
You can also find out about Christina on social media:
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ChristinaPh_Ash
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/christinaphillips.author/app_151503908244383
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3216349.Christina_Phillips
You can buy BLOODLUST DENIED from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Bloodlust-Denied-ebook/dp/B00D93NMVY/ref=la_B003G299V0_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1371518369&sr=1-3
Christina, welcome back to the lair. You’re one of our favorite guests. Congratulations on your new release from Ellora’s Cave, BLOODLUST DENIED. Can you tell us about this story?
Thanks so much for having me back in the lair, Anna! I always enjoy hanging out here and having fun (I’m not just talking about Sven, honestly!!)
BLOODLUST DENIED is a dark Regency romance about a vampire duke and a heroine who is a Maiden of Death. Alexius lost his beloved wife millennia ago, and his existence now is dedicated to hedonistic pleasure. He takes what he wants, and he wants Morana.
But for a reason he cannot fathom he wants more from her than merely her blood. She entrances him with her seductive dance and fearless manner and he decides to keep her until he tires of her.
Morana, an immortal vampire hunter, is irresistibly drawn to Alexius despite his aura of danger. But after one sizzling encounter she flees, knowing they can never have a future together.
Three years later Fate draws them together once again. Abduction, bondage and decadent seduction feature in Alexius’ plans for retribution, but before the sun rises dynamics have shifted and he’s the one fighting the silken bonds of captivity.
But as they fall under each other’s erotic spell the past and present collide and unless they discover the truth behind the lies, Death will triumph once more.
Sounds great! What were the inspirations behind this book?
I’ve always loved reading Regency romances but had never written a book set during that time. Then about four years ago, after I’d finished FORBIDDEN but before it sold, I saw a call for musical inspired stories from Ellora’s Cave.
The concept really fascinated me, and it obviously excited my muse too as I immediately had an image of a dark haired seductress dancing in a sordid London back alley. Then the hero appeared from the shadows and I was hooked! Especially when he turned out to be a very bad assed vampire living as a peer of the realm! As it turned out I never did submit this book to Ellora’s Cave at the time due to other deadlines, but last year I dusted it off, gave it a good edit and submitted it. Funny how things work out!
What’s coming up next for you?
At the moment I’m working on the second book in my Highland Warrior Chronicles. These books have been acquired by Ellora’s Cave and feature gorgeous Scot warriors and their brave Pictish princesses. The books are set in the ninth century during the turbulent time when both Scot and Viking coveted Pictland so there’s plenty of juicy conflict! I have the unedited blurb of the first book, HER SAVAGE SCOT, up on my website if you want a sneak peek.
Since we last saw you, you’ve released another Roman Britain story, BETRAYED. Can you tell us about this story? Are there more Roman stories to come? I hope so! I love them!
Thank you Anna! I absolutely love my Roman/Druid world and can’t tell you how thrilled I am that BETRAYED is finally out there.
I would just like to say that BETRAYED can easily be read alone without having read the previous books set in this world.
BETRAYED features Nimue, an acolyte of the moon goddess Arianrhod. Nimue made a brief appearance at the end of CAPTIVE when she was charged by the Briton king to protect his wife and daughter. Until that point I had no idea about a third book, but Nimue so fascinated me that I had to discover what happened to her after she disappeared. BETRAYED picks up her story at that point.
Brave, loyal and passionate, Nimue is determined to complete her mission no matter what. But her confident exterior hides a vulnerable core. She’s tortured by secrets from her past and when she realises that she is falling in love with Tacitus—a Roman officer and her people’s bitterest enemy—her world is turned upside down.
Tacitus is a loyal warrior of Rome, from a privileged patrician background. But he’s tormented by his past and determined not to follow in his father’s footsteps. Honorable almost to a fault all he sees when he looks at Nimue is a beautiful, fragile woman that he must protect at all costs. It’s beyond his comprehension that she might be a warrior in her own right.
Here’s an excerpt from a review: “Tacitus is a wonderful hero, masterful and passionate… I recommend this novel to all lovers of erotic romance, especially those who like a historical theme and a strong heroine and a leading man who is the embodiment of male sexuality and virtue. ” 5 Stars A Readers Review http://areadersreviewblog.com/2013/04/29/betrayed-3-in-the-romandruid-series-by-christina-phillips/
I have a fourth book, TAINTED, going through the editorial process at the moment. This features Gawain, a Celtic warrior haunted by his past and pledged to rid his land of the Roman invaders. This is also the story of Antonia, a Roman patrician abused and discarded by her powerful husband, who wants only a quiet life with her beloved father. But she hides a deadly secret that could be her undoing. These two wounded souls connect, initially only for a purely physical relationship, but it soon evolves into something much deeper. A dangerous love that Rome will never allow.
We haven’t seen you since late last year when you visited us to tell us about your wonderful ARCHANGEL OF MERCY under your Christina Ashcroft moniker. What’s been happening in your life since then?
Life has been manic since then! Actually it’s been manic for the last couple of years! I was delighted in January to discover that ARCHANGEL OF MERCY was a finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Favorite Paranormal Romance Awards. Apart from that I’ve barely managed to poke my head out of the editing cave this year, as I’ve been working on revisions for BETRAYED and BLOODLUST DENIED for Ellora’s Cave, edited the follow up book to ARCHANGEL OF MERCY and have been working on a Secret Project. I’m a bit knackered…
I know you work very closely with your talented (and lovely!) critique partners Amanda Ashby and Sara Hantz. Can you tell us a little bit about this relationship and how you go about working together, especially when Amanda and Sara are writing young adult stories and your books are hot, hot, hot!
By the way, in the photo from left to right, it’s Sara, Amanda and Christina! A rogues’ gallery if ever I saw one,
It sounds crazy, doesn’t it! But it works wonderfully for the three of us. We met more than ten years ago on the e-Harlequin boards, when we were all targeting different lines. Over the years we moved onto different things but the funniest thing is, it was Amanda and Sara who first suggested I try writing an erotic romance.I totally blame them for me finally getting published!
But for the more nitty gritty, we work well together because we each have different strengths that apply across all genres. Amanda has an amazing editorial eye for the “big picture” plot structure and pacing. Sara is our logical one and is fantastic when it comes to grounding us and asking “but why/how” (“just because” does not cut it with her!). I’m the Emotional Punch one and have a beady eye for continuity.
I’m giving away one e-copy of BETRAYED to one commenter and one e-copy of BLOODLUST DENIED to a second commenter. Just let me know whether hot warriors or hot vampires are your favorite kind of hero and why?
Ooh, two chances to win? You’re too good to us! OK, people, get commenting and good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Oct 3 2012, 12:01 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, historical romance, interviews, Regency romance, Season for Surrender, Season for Temptation, Theresa Romain, writing life
I’m delighted to bring to the lair as my guest today historical romance author Theresa Romain. Theresa visited us last year to tell us about her debut romance SEASON FOR TEMPTATION, which caused a lot of buzz in romancelandia. Now she’s released her second Regency romance SEASON FOR SURRENDER.
Here’s the blurb:
HONOR AMONG ROGUES
Alexander Edgware, Lord Xavier, has quite a reputation—for daring, wagering, and wickedness in all its delightful forms. But the wager before him is hardly his preferred sport: Xavier must persuade a proper young lady to attend his famously naughty Christmas house party—and stay the full, ruinous two weeks. Worse, the lady is Louisa Oliver, a doe-eyed bookworm Xavier finds quite charming. Yet to refuse the challenge is impossible—he will simply have to appoint himself Miss Oliver’s protector…
MISCHIEF AMONG MISSES
Louisa knows her chance for a husband has passed. But she has no desire to retire into spinsterhood without enjoying a few grand adventures first. When Lord Xavier’s invitation arrives, Louisa is more intrigued than insulted. And once inside the rogues’ gallery, she just may have a thing or two to teach her gentlemen friends about daring…
You can find out more about Theresa and her books at her website: http://theresaromain.com
Theresa loves talking to readers on social media.
You can find her on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTheresaRomain
And her Twitter handle is @TheresaRomain
Theresa, welcome to the lair! Congratulations on the release of your second historical romance, SEASON FOR SURRENDER. Can you tell us about this story?
Anna, thank you so much for hosting me! The Lair is looking lovely.
SEASON FOR SURRENDER is a Regency-set story that takes place during the Christmas season. A rake and a bluestocking meet at a scandalous house party—except they’re not really a rake and a bluestocking, and the house party isn’t what either of them expect. I am tricky like that.
Sounds intriguing! What were the inspirations behind this book?
It was very much inspired by the personalities of the characters. Both Louisa and Alex appeared in my romance debut, SEASON FOR TEMPTATION. In that story, Louisa breaks an engagement as a result of her extreme shyness, and Alex takes the blame for spreading the resulting scandal all over London. So he seems like a villain, the last person in the world she would ever wind up with.
I took it as a challenge to turn both Alex and Louisa into characters who were more than they seemed, and who had enough in common that their romance would be believable. Out of that grew a plot in which Alex gets himself in trouble with a wager involving Louisa. When she finds out about it, rather than being offended, she turns it on its head. Their sparring soon turns into a friendship neither expected, and that—of course!—turns into romance.
I notice that SEASON FOR SURRENDER features a bookworm heroine. I’m currently writing one of those too and having great fun with her. What do you think is the perennial appeal of this type of heroine?
Yay, I can’t wait to read your bookworm heroine! Aren’t they fun? I think their appeal comes in part from sharing a love of books with the reader himself/herself. As a reader, I feel I can relate to a character who likes to settle down with a good story more than I can relate to, say, a werewolf. (On most days.)
That being said, just reading about reading isn’t enough to carry a story. A bookworm character’s other qualities are what make the story come alive. They’re often curious, intelligent, and passionate about their interests. Those—as much as the love of books—are qualities I admire in characters and enjoy reading about. And as it turns out, they’re fun to write, too.
Does SEASON FOR SURRENDER link back to your popular debut SEASON FOR TEMPTATION?
Yes, the two stories have some connected characters—not just Louisa and Alex, but secondary characters like outspoken Lady Irving or babbling Freddie Pellington. But each story stands on its own; you can follow one without having read the other.
What’s next for you?
Thanks for asking! I’m working on a story for a character you’ll meet in SEASON FOR SURRENDER: Alex’s cousin, Jane. And I have a few other secret projects hiding under my hat; I hope to share them soon.
Ooh, can’t wait to hear! I know we share a mutual love for the movies made during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Why do you think these films continue to cast such a strong spell on viewers? Would you like to share some of your favorites with us?
My guess is that it’s all in the writing. Movies made from the mid-1930s into the 1960s were pretty restricted in terms of content—no long kisses, no direct references to sex, things like that. So writers and directors got very creative with the way stories were presented. There’s lots of wordplay and subtext and sneaky ways to bend the rules.
Historical romance writers and readers can appreciate this kind of storytelling, because we’re used to stories that work within rules too. There are things a Regency heroine can and cannot do, for example. And those rules of behavior can shape the stories that we tell and that we enjoy.
Some of my favorite classic films are Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense films (especially REAR WINDOW which always creeps me out) and screwball comedies with great roles for women. BRINGING UP BABY, THE AWFUL TRUTH and BALL OF FIRE are all hilarious.
Theresa, do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandita buddies to get conversation going?
Anna, thanks again for hosting me, and for asking such fantastic questions. And now I’ve got a question for you, readers. Anna got me thinking about my favorite stories with her questions about the appeal of bookworm characters and classic movies. I’d like to know: what makes a book or movie especially appealing to you? Are you fond of certain plot devices or historical time periods, or do you have favorite types of heroes and heroines? Do tell!
Thanks, Theresa. Great answers. Get commenting, people. Theresa has very generously offered a signed copy of her latest release SEASON FOR SURRENDER to one commenter today – international! Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Aug 2 2012, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, historical romance, How to Dance with a Duke, How to Entice an Earl, How to Romance a Rake, interviews, Legally Yours, Manda Collins, series, Ugly Ducklings
by Anna Campbell
I’m delighted today to bring back to the lair the thoroughly delightful Manda Collins who is here to tell us about the second book in her acclaimed “Ugly Ducklings” trilogy, HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE.
Manda visited us back in January to talk about her debut HOW TO DANCE WITH A DUKE here: http://romancebandits.com/whistle-while-you-work-manda-collins-on-her-how-to-dance-with-a-duke-playlist/ Like HTDWAD, HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE is getting lots of love from reviewers and readers. RT Book Reviews said:
Collins’ second installment of the Ugly Duckling trilogy is both a lovely, sensitive romance and a taut thriller. Collins brings a dashing hero and a wounded wallflower together in the type of love story readers take to heart. With compassion and perception, she delves into the issues faced by those who survive physical and emotional trauma. Brava to Collins!
Here’s the blurb:
You can lead a wallflower to the ball, but you can’t make her bloom–unless one daring young bachelor turns up the heat…
What’s a nice girl like Miss Juliet Shelby doing at a place like Lord Deveril’s ballroom? With her shy demeanor, she’s a total stranger to the dance floor and a source of mockery for the ton. So imagine her surprise when Deveril gallantly comes to her defense–and offers to teach her to dance! Juliet can hardly believe the most handsome bachelor in London would notice her, until he takes her in his arms and sets her heart ablaze…
Lord Alec Deveril has never felt such a spark of attraction for an unmarried lady before. Unlike the “fashionable” ladies he’s accustomed to, Juliet possesses a generous spirit, a fiery intelligence–and an explosive secret. Deep in the London underworld, a dear friend has vanished, and Juliet fears the worst. Deveril insists on helping, escorting her through the darkest alleys in town. But he too is hiding a shocking secret–and the only way he can defeat the devil in his past is to seduce the angel in his arms…
You can find out more about Manda and read excerpts from her books on her website: http://www.mandacollins.com/
Manda, welcome back to the lair! Congratulations on the success of HOW TO DANCE WITH A DUKE, the first book of your “Ugly Ducklings” trilogy. Now the second book HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE has been released. Can you tell us about this story?
Thank you so much for having me, Anna! I’m thrilled to be here with the Bandits again! You guys rock! Now, on to the story! HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE is your basic dandy/wallflower romance with a mystery plot thrown in for good measure. Juliet is the quietest of the Ugly Ducklings and has been schooled harshly by her mother to stay out of the spotlight because of her infirmity. The only place where she feels free to let herself go is when she’s at the piano. When her music teacher—her mentor—goes missing, Alec, Lord Deveril, offers to help her find out where she’s gone. He’s basically the most sought after bachelor in the Beau Monde, but he’s carrying around a secret from his past that he’s desperate to keep to himself. Together these two unravel the mystery of the missing music teacher, and fall in love in the process.
What were the inspirations behind this book?
I’ve always been a fan of the dandy, who I think of as the Regency equivalent of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man.” So when it came time to write my trilogy I knew one of my heroes would be a man with a penchant for a perfectly starched cravat.
For Juliet, I wanted to take a risk. I know there’s a tradition in romance novels to have heroes with physical disabilities, but I wanted to write a heroine who is truly disabled. And who won’t be magically cured by the end of the novel. I wanted to capture some of the reality of what it’s like to be disabled, like I am. Juliet is NOT me by a long shot. But I did use some of my own experiences as an amputee to create her character.
As for the mystery plot, it was actually inspired by an episode of LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT. (I’m a huge Bobby Goren fangirl.) Though it involved photography rather than painting.
I notice that book three in the series, HOW TO ENTICE AN EARL, is available next February. Can you give us a sneak peek at this story?
HOW TO ENTICE AN EARL is the story of Lady Madeline Essex and Christian Monteith, who has just been elevated to the Earl of Gresham. To gather research for her novel, Maddie blackmails her brother into taking her to a gaming hell. But once there she stumbles upon (literally) a dead body. And who else should be there, but Christian, who is not best pleased to find the woman he’s only recently begun to notice as…you know…a woman, stumbling upon dead bodies in gaming hells. Mystery and romance ensues.
You’ve got a sexy contemporary LEGALLY YOURS out right now. Can you tell us about this story? What differences do you find between writing Regency and contemporary romance? Are there more contemporaries coming?
LEGALLY YOURS is something of a departure for me, and is my first attempt at a contemporary. It’s a secret crush/reunion story about former law school classmates Julie Streeter and Matt Ellis. Unbeknownst to either of them, Juliet and Matt were crushing on one another back in law school. But nothing ever happened because Julie had to drop out suddenly. Now, years later, they meet again at the firm where Julie is working as a paralegal and Matt is visiting corporate counsel. When Matt finds Julie’s list of things she’d like to do before her upcoming 30th birthday, he’s more than happy to offer his help in her quest to check them off—especially the sexy ones!
I’d say the most different thing between writing Regency and writing Contemporary is the language. They require completely different sets of vocabularies and sentence structures. And of course there are the social mores of each time period to be considered, which affect character motivation more than anything else.
I’m hoping to release another contemporary novella in the coming months. It all depends on my Regency writing schedule, since those are the ones I’m under contract for and come first!
Manda Collins, Élodie Michels, Anna Campbell and Dianne Gaston at the RITA after party in San Francisco in 2008.
Your first book HOW TO DANCE WITH A DUKE came out in January, 2012. What have your first months as a published author been like? Any surprises?
I’d love to be able to say that as soon as my book went on sale I was transformed into a glamorous, feather-boa wearing, caviar eating diva, but the naked truth of it is that life is basically the same. I think like any other big event in life, becoming a published author has been remarkable in its unremarkability. It’s sort of like waiting for a big birthday. And then you wake up and you don’t really feel any different than you did before. You still have to do laundry, put gas in the car, and eat breakfast. Even so, it’s been lovely to finally have my book out there in the wild, being read by complete strangers. And the best part is that many of them seem to have actually liked it!
We’d love to have a glimpse into your writing life. What’s a day like for the fabulous Manda Collins?
Since I’m still working the day-job, most days start off with me getting dressed and going to work! I try to get some writing in during lunch breaks and sometimes after work, but for the most part my writing is done on the weekends. Mostly with my cat Stephen (named for Stephen Colbert) overseeing my work. I like to listen to WMVY, an independent radio station broadcasting out of Martha’s Vineyard—where I’ve never been, incidentally—or I’ll put on a playlist for that particular book I’m working on and listen to it in a constant loop. It’s been different for each book so far. In fact, I could say that about everything from book to book. Now that I’m working on my fifth manuscript, I’ve realized that the only dependable thing about writing a novel is that no two novels are written via the same process. Which can be frustrating, but now that I know not to expect that whatever trick I used to get the previous book finished will work on the present book, I’m philosophical about it. And I can’t help but admit that the unpredictability of it keeps me on my toes!
I have to wonder whether you call your cat a “cah” if he’s named after Stephen Colbert (colbair!). Thanks for your great answers to my questions. I love a dandy in romance – I’m currently writing one myself and having great fun with him (so does my heroine – EVENTUALLY!). Do you have a question for the Banditas and Bandita buddies?
What are some of your favorite romances featuring dandies? Just to get things started I’ll toss out one of mine: THE FAMOUS HEROINE by Mary Balogh. Francis is wonderful in his utter devotion to his own fashion point of view. And in his devotion to Cora!
Manda has very generously offered a copy of HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE for one commenter today. Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 6 2012, 12:02 am in Alliance Forged, Anna Campbell, Australian Author, Bandita Booty, interviews, Kylie Griffin, Light Blade Series, Paranormal elements, romantic fantasy, series, Vengeance Born, writing life
by Anna Campbell
I’m delighted to welcome back my very talented Aussie pal, Kylie Griffin. Kylie’s first book VENGEANCE BORN received great buzz in Romancelandia and her second book ALLIANCE FORGED looks like it’s going to continue the magic (pun intended). To give you an example, RT Book Reviews said of ALLIANCE FORGED that, “Griffin does a stellar job envisioning her world and its compelling protagonists. Well worth your time!”
You can read an excerpt of ALLIANCE FORGED here: http://kyliegriffin.com/AF_Excerpt.html
Kylie, welcome back to the lair! Congratulations on the success of VENGEANCE BORN, the first book of your Light Blade series. Now the second book ALLIANCE FORGED has been released. Can you tell us about this story?
Anna, it’s wonderful to be back in the lair. I received such a warm welcome last time from everyone that I’m really looking forward to this visit!
Thanks for the congrats on VENGEANCE BORN, it’s been such an amazing ride so far (hard to believe that was back in February) and it’s all due to the readers who have been so supportive! And here we are, on my second bog tour, celebrating the release of ALLIANCE FORGED, and I’m so excited to be sharing more about the story with your readers.
Let’s start with the blurb.
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a blind priestess lays claim to a half-breed warrior, body and soul…
Hunted and marked for death by Na’Reish demons for their half-blood heritage, the Na’Chi are searching for a new home—something an alliance offered by the human leader could provide. With both races divided by prejudice, when Light Blade rebels brutally attack the Na’Chi, the alliance seems doomed to fail.
Varian, leader of the Na’Chi, a hybrid race of gifted warriors, is cursed with the darker impulses of his demon heritage. Controlling the part of himself that craves the high of the battle is a struggle he’s afraid he’ll lose—until he meets Kymora Tayn, a priestess driven to serve her deity. While he’s unwilling to trust anyone outside his people, he finds himself drawn to Kymora’s strength and passionate nature, and discovers she has the power to calm the darkness inside him.
When the Na’Reish raid human territory for blood-slaves and kickstart a war, the key to the survival of both races—Na’Chi and human— is an alliance. However, when Kymora is kidnapped, pitting human against human, Varian realizes he must embrace his darker half, not only to save the alliance…but also the woman he loves.
ALLIANCE FORGED picks up just a few short months after VENGEANCE BORN finishes. The humans and Na’Chi (half-bloods) have formed a tentative alliance but there’s still a lot of uncertainty from both sides as to whether this partnership will work.
Prejudice and acceptance of those with differences were themes explored in VENGEANCE BORN, and they weave their way through ALLIANCE FORGED, but the theme of journeys and the significant lessons they teach us is also explored.
Kymora’s spent most of her life committed to the Temple in the service of her deity. From acolyte to high priestess and spiritual leader of her people, it’s a role she expects to spend her life fulfilling.
Varian, the warrior-leader of the Na’Chi, a half-human half-demon race, fights to protect his people from those who consider them abominations because of their mixed blood heritage. He seeks a safe haven for them.
As you can see both Varian and Kymora start on very distinct paths, ones well defined, but it isn’t long before they discover how quickly events can change and their journeys twist in a direction they least expect.
Whether Varian and Kymora end up at the same destination…well, that’s something readers will have to discover for themselves!
Sounds great! What were the inspirations behind this book?
Much of my fantasy writing up until the Light Blade series were stories based around human characters, human relationships, human conflicts and I wanted to try something that involved a non-human element.
At the time I was writing VENGEANCE BORN vampires, werewolves, and shifters dominated the market, and the stories were set in a contemporary world or very urban fantasy based. Creating a fantasy world with different races (al la LORD OF THE RINGS style) really appealed to me. It’s as simple as that.
But why demons? No idea. All I can tell you is they’re not styled or based on any familiar mythology. In the Light Blade world my demons are known as the Na’Reish and they’re all-powerful, dominating the humans physically as well as in numbers. They’re taller, built larger, have enhanced senses and strength and the balance of power lies in their favor.
In VENGEANCE BORN, it’s revealed that humans and demons once coexisted peacefully and that with the pairings of human and demon couples hybrid children could be produced. The revelation that anyone who possessed a Gift (as these special abilities are known) – Na’Chi or human – came from a mixed bloodline, something that shocked and appalled many.
Annika, the heroine from VENGEANCE BORN, has remarkable healing abilities that can also be used to kill. In ALLIANCE FORGED readers will get to see some of the different abilities of the Na’Chi (the hero Varian), as well as those humans who possess Gifts (the heroine Kymora).
I notice that book 3 in the series, ALLEGIANCE SWORN, is available next April. Can you give us any hints about this story and where it takes the series?
I’d love to share the blurb for ALLEGIANCE SWORN but it contains information that will spoil a secondary plot twist from ALLIANCE FORGED, so I won’t post it here. All I can say is that one of the characters in this story has already appeared in VENGEANCE BORN and ALLIANCE FORGED. The hero and heroine are an unlikely pairing, and one of them must overcome a tormented past in order to move forward. Readers will see the plot move from human territory to deep within Na’Riesh territory. They’ll learn more about the demon’s caste-based lifestyle and brutal culture of slavery. And the war between the humans and Na’Reish concludes in ALLEGIANCE SWORN and finishes off an over-arcing storyline that I began in VENGEANCE BORN.
As I said, I won’t include the blurb here, but if readers are interested, it’s up on my website.
Your first book VENGEANCE BORN came out in February, 2012. What have your first few months as a published author been like? Any surprises?
Phew, where to start! A little background would probably be helpful before summing up the last few months in one word.
After taking a two-year sabbatical, I returned to teaching. The school term began just as VENGEANCE BORN was released, and I began my February blog tour. On top of that I was juggling line edits for ALLIANCE FORGED and writing the first draft of ALLEGIANCE SWORN.
So the term I’d use is manic. It’s been a lot of work, but honestly, I wouldn’t swap it for anything!
The biggest surprise has been the emails from readers. I’ve loved receiving them, and most have been so positive, with messages of how much they enjoyed reading VENGEANCE BORN.
The real kicker were the men who’ve read VENGEANCE BORN, enjoyed it, and let me know! One fellow said, and I quote, “You could have cut back on the mushy stuff but the rest was pretty good.” High praise considering I hadn’t expected a lot of men to read a fantasy romance!
I’ve always been so impressed that you’re not just a brilliant writer, but a superhero! Can you tell us about your work with the Rural Fire Service and the NSW State Emergency Service? I bet you’ve got some great stories!
I don’t know about the superhero bit, Anna! LOL
I enjoy volunteering and helping others, so joining the Rural Fire Service and NSW State Emergency Service was something I just did when I moved here. And I apologise in advance for the lengthy response but this is a huge part of my life and something I feel passionate about.
Our little rural village has a local pub, a one person police station, a one teacher school with 10 children, two churches, a general store that doubles as a post office and an agricultural supply business. Being so isolated where we are, it can take emergency services up to an hour to respond to emergency calls from the nearest towns. Our volunteer fire brigade consists of five members – I’m the deputy captain and only female in the unit and we respond to both bushfires and structural fires.
The SES unit helps out in floods and storms and because of our isolation, we’re also tasked with the responsibilities of search and rescue, road crash, and community first response (aka ambulance calls). With only six members (and two of us are in both organizations) I’ve been Controller, deputy controller and grunt in this organization.
Our RFS unit trains once a month and the SES unit trains once a week, while our CFR team (aka ambulance response team) has an extra night of training per month. The skills are part of what I love about the organizations – they’re so different from my day to day job (teaching). I’ve learned how to back-burn, black out (the perimeter of a fire). I’ve operated a chainsaw, communications equipment, cut up vehicles to free trapped casualties, monitored floods, helped people stranded by flood waters, been on line searches for the missing, and learned how to use a defibrillator, an oxy-viva machine, and administered drugs.
And yes, some of our call outs are quite memorable.
One of the most heartbreaking emergencies involved attending an incident with two infants. A team member and I had to perform CPR on both of them until the ambulance arrived. One child survived, the other was declared DOA at the hospital. In such a small community as ours, this had a devastating effect, not only on the family but many of the locals who knew them. Myself included because I taught their children.
A more light-hearted and amusing call out involved us heading out to assist a woman who’d gone into labor. She lived on a property in the middle of the bush and to get to their place we had to traverse a goat track, in torrential rain (which had been coming down for hours) which made driving the dirt track hazardous. There were three of us on the call out. When we got there we made the decision to evacuate the family of five as we knew we’d never make it back in there a second time. With two of us in the front of our 4WD vehicle, the pregnant woman and her family piled in the back seat and me in the canopied back sitting on top of all our medical supplies, we only just made it out of there.
Then we discovered the driver of the ambulance who had responded from the nearest town had managed to bog their vehicle twelve feet inside the front gate. So we transferred the family into the ambulance then used our road crash gear to pull the ambulance out of the bog and tow them back onto the tar road. We didn’t get to see the woman’s child born but then, I think the “rescue” of her and the ambulance was adventure enough for one night!
I’ve been to catastrophic bushfires, house-fires, motor vehicle fatalities, searches for missing people (whom we’ve found alive and deceased), ambulance call outs involving amputated limbs, heart attack casualties and emergencies where I’ve used CPR to sustain life.
Every call out gives me an adrenaline rush, but it’s the camaraderie of working within a tight knit team (members I trust with my life, and have done on some occasions) and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped someone that keeps me going back week after week to train and responding to my pager when it goes off. I wouldn’t swap that for anything.
Wow, Kylie, I’m not joking with the superhero moniker! Is there anything you’d like to ask the Banditas and Bandita Buddies?
Anna, thank you so much for hosting me here in the lair again. I’ve had a great time sharing a little bit about ALLIANCE FORGED (and a lot about my volunteer work! ).
I’d love to ask you readers if they have any interesting tales about emergencies they’ve experienced. Are there any fellow fire fighters or rescue workers out there? Or volunteers of any sort, who help out their communities? I’d enjoy hearing your stories.
Kylie has very generously offered a commenter today a copy of her latest book ALLIANCE FORGED (international giveaway). So get commenting people! Good luck!
Posted by Susan Sey Jul 1 2012, 12:51 am in interviews, romance bandits, Susan Sey, writer's life, writing life
This month’s Bandita spotlight belongs to Susan Sey, often referred to as The Tardy Bandita, since she wandered into the lair about three months after everybody else. (She dislikes asking for directions & insists she’ll find her own damn way. Eventually.) She’s happily married to her own personal hero, & is the mother of two girls who are simultaneously the pride of her life & the reason she will never be able to write more than one book a year. At least not until the 2020s.
She writes unabashedly in the genre least likely to sell or make her any money (single title contemporary). She was as astonished as anybody when she got picked up by a major publisher after winning the 2008 Golden Heart in this same ill-fated category. She was not, however, astonished to find herself unceremoniously dropped by that same publisher two books later. The economy sucks, & better writers than she have gotten the axe. She remains, however, the proud author of MONEY HONEY (Berkley Sensation, 2010) and MONEY SHOT (Berkley Sensation, 2011), and is delighted to announce her foray into self-publishing with her…what else?….single title contemporary romance KISS THE GIRL, which debuted on June 26, 2012.
So. Let’s grill her, shall we?
Q: How long have you been writing, and how has your writing changed over time?
Susan Sey: I’ve been writing since I was old enough to read. I loved the characters I met in books like I’d love a real live friend, and it was difficult for me to say goodbye to them when the story ended. So in my head I made up more of their story so I could spend more time with them. It seemed like a perfectly logical solution to me but evidently not everybody does that. Who knew?
As far as how my writing’s changed over time, well that’s an interesting question. I’ve just recently self-pubbed the last book I wrote before selling to a big-time NYC publisher, the one I’ve always loved but that never found a home in NYC. (KISS THE GIRL, previously titled THE PRINCESS PROJECT.) And in cleaning it up for publication, I made a fascinating discovery: This book is palpably joyful. It’s funny and charming and ridiculous, and it’s because when I was writing it, I believed in myself and in my talent.
See, when I wrote KISS THE GIRL, I was at the peak of my game as an unpubbed writer–winning contests, finalling in the Golden Heart, signing with an agent–and my confidence was at high tide as a result. And then my dreams came true and I sold to a big ol’ publisher. And suddenly I was a teeny, unproductive fish in a vast, cruel pond, my books sold respectably but I didn’t blow the doors off, and my confidence took a massive hit. And my writing got dark and confined and tentative. And it shows. MONEY SHOT is the book I wrote under that contract, and it’s about as dark a book as I’ve ever written.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that book. It’s tightly written and well-plotted and I’m still sort of half in love with my hero, Rush. But there’s an anxiety running through that book, a darkness, that speaks very strongly to my experience of writing it.
So I’m looking to get back to that KISS THE GIRL place, where I feel happy and strong and confident, and my writing shows it.
Q: What drink does Sven bring you when you’re hiding in the cave?
SS: Ooooh, well it’s summer here in the upper Midwest so I’m all about the beer gardens. I often ask Sven to trot over to our local micro breweries–Surly and Summit–to see what’s on tap. Lately, I’ve been enjoying Surly’s Cynic Ale, and Summit’s Summer Ale. (Thank you, Sven, darling.)
Q: What’s the hardest thing about writing? What’s the most rewarding?
SS: The hardest thing is honestly finding extended periods of time to get immersed in my world. I have little kids, you know, and I can pawn them off on the cabana boys and gladiators for a little while but once the girls start tossing about spears and reeling off drink ingredients, I know I need to dial back the writing time. The most rewarding thing is far and away when somebody tells me my story touched them. I always find it humbling and astonishing when something I write garners an honest emotional response from somebody.
Q: Who do you enjoy writing more — hero or heroine?
Oh, I’m unashamedly in love with each and every one of my heroes. Female friendship has always been sort of a difficult thing for me–I have three sisters so never really had to learn the knack of making female friends until it was too late & everybody already had a BFF for life. So this is sort of a handicap for me when I write, & my heroes come far more easily. I fall in love with them right out of the gate, & they love me right back. They’re easy. But the heroines I have to warm up to. Or maybe they have to warm up to me before they’ll let me know them? I don’t know. But my heroes just spring to life, while my heroines make me sweat.
The one exception has to be Nixie from KISS THE GIRL. She was a joy from page one, a pure delight to know and a ball to write. I missed her when I wrote The End. But she was so darn happy with her happily ever after, I didn’t have the heart to disturb her to see if she wanted to hang out or grab a beer sometime.
Q: Favorite thing you’ve researched?
Right now, I’m thinking about writing a story about a disgraced corporate high-flyer whose business empire falls to shreds & leaves him with nothing but a dilapidated small-scale goat and cattle farm in Northern Minnesota. Which isn’t exactly known for its pasture land. But confidence is not this guy’s problem, & he thinks he can just take up organic farming. I’m learning a ton about cheese, of all things. Working title? The Milk Man Takes a Wife. Of course.
So there you have it. My life story in a nutshell. If I’ve failed to satisfy your curiosity about any little thing, feel free to get in touch by visiting my website, my Facebook page or just old-fashioned emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to hearing from you!