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!
Posted by Susan Sey Jun 29 2012, 12:29 am in interviews, paranormal romance, sci fi, Susan Sey, tamara hogan, urban fantasy
Hello, Bandita Buddies! Today, for your reading pleasure, I’ve brought you Tamara Hogan. I first met Tammy in our local RWA chapter where we were both aspiring writers, nervously clutching our manuscripts and our dreams. Tammy sold the first three books of her Underbelly Chronicles to Sourcebooks following a Golden Heart final in 2009, & I’ve been gobbling them up ever since. She’s here today to talk to us about the second book in the series, CHASE ME.
Susan Sey: Hi, Tammy, and welcome! Give us the set up for your latest release in the Underbelly Chronicles, CHASE ME. This is Gabe and Lorin’s story, isn’t it? Both of whom we met in book one, TASTE ME?
Tamara Hogan: Millennia ago, when their ship crashed to Earth, hopelessly marooning them, extra-planetary species of all types settled secretly into our world, quietly going about their business with humans none the wiser. Self–ruling and careful to stay below the radar, their secret is almost exposed when Valkyrie Lorin Schlessinger makes a stunning archaeological discovery while on a dig in northern Minnesota. Her professional nemesis, werewolf geologist Gabe Lupinsky, is quickly dispatched to perform some damage control. Though they were both dating other people at the time, Lorin and Gabe shared a scene – and some sparks – in TASTE ME. Half a year later, away from the constraints of the office, neither is attached, and…well, you know what they say: What happens in Isabella stays in Isabella. Except when it doesn’t.
SS: I love it that your books are set in our beloved Minnesota! And northern Minnesota to boot! Isabella! Love that town. And speaking of setting, tell us about this world you’ve created with the Underbelly Chronicles. What particularly appeals to you about this particular take on sci-fi/urban fantasy?
TH: I’m a complete hoor for science—cosmology, theoretical physics, archaeology, computer hacking, astrophysics, science fiction and science fact. I can’t remember a time when space did not fascinate me: the ungodly distance. The long time horizons. How cute Mr. Spock was. I’ve long thought that sheer math supported the possibility that humanity isn’t the only intelligent life in the universe. As the character Ellie Arroway says in the movie Contact, “If it’s just us, it seems like an awful waste of space.”
So I got to wondering, what if the answer to one of our era’s defining existential questions—are we alone?—has already been answered, and humanity simply doesn’t know it yet?
SS: Oooooh, chills! That question alone could lead to hundreds of books! Tell us about how you answered it.
TH: In this series I crafted a backstory where a ship of extra-planetary beings—just going about their business, and en route to somewhere else—crashed here thousands of years ago. Their descendants have been sharing the planet with us ever since, with humanity being none the wiser. On the ship were a number of species who evolved on adjacent branches of humanity’s family tree, with some strengths and abilities that are not magical by any means, but which provided distinct survival advantages on their planets of origin.
In the world that I’ve created, incubi and succubi secrete luscious pheromones maximizing their sexual attractiveness, and must absorb emotional energy—particularly sexual energy— for sustenance. Sirens amplify emotional energy with their voices. The Valkyrie have hyperactive adrenal systems which makes them vicious fighters and aggressive lovers. Werewolves, the only shape shifters in my world, typically have amazing scenting abilities and a high level of visual acuity, but are starting to exhibit some genetic frailties as a species due to inbreeding. Faeries have stunning empathic abilities, and my vampires, allergic to Earth’s UV rays, drink blood for its hemoglobin, which has healing properties.
I also wanted to suggest that all is not necessarily well environment-wise on other planets. CHASE ME’s villain, the vampire Beddoe, is horrified to find that the locals use water—rare, precious water—to wash their bodies. Such wasteful use is a crime punishable by death on his homeworld.
SS: See, this is what makes me love your world-building! You do it in such an organic way. Same goes for the paranormal aspect of your work. The way you use the supernatural elements of the story to underscore the really human elements of the romance is fascinating. For example, Gabe’s failing vision feeds his insecurity about whether he’s an adequate match for Lorin, while Lorin herself struggles with whether her raging attraction to Gabe is love or just her Valkyrie appetites in action. Can you talk a little bit about how that works? Did you deliberately write it that way, or did it happen more organically?
TH: Crafting Lorin and Gabe with these specific character attributes was deliberate, but I never dared imagine how well these choices might drive the conflict, and pull together thematically. One of the things I wanted to try with CHASE ME was to flip the traditional paranormal/UF gender tropes upside down. It’s Lorin, the heroine, who’s the rough and tumble, sexually aggressive alpha badass, and Gabe, the hero, who’s more cautious and deliberate, who’s protective of his feelings, and who, ultimately, is not at all satisfied with the strictly sexual relationship Lorin proposes. I also wanted to explore the concept of masculinity and strength through the lens of a man who had chronic health problems. Let me reassure readers that Gabe is plenty alpha when the situation calls for it! ;-)
SS: Mmmmmmm. Yes. Yes, he is. Having read CHASE ME, I can attest to this personally. :-) And while I adore your heroes, I truly love your way with a villain. What can you tell us about the villain of CHASE ME?
TH: Ah, the sophisticated vampire Beddoe, wheeler and dealer, captain of the intergalactic pleasure cruiser TonTon. When the ship is underway, his word is law—but his boss, Lorcan, has an extremely long reach, having placed at least one spy on his bridge. He’s almost saved enough money to buy this remote mudball of a planet and its precious water outright when a homing beacon from the long-lost Arkapaedis unexpectedly pops on the planet’s surface, threatening to bring scientists, bounty hunters and all manner of profiteers swarming to the quadrant. Before it blips again, he has to shut it down, once and for all. The scene when Beddoe walks into a northern Minnesota dive bar looking for information while the locals watch the Stanley Cup was my favorite to write. What a blast to see this familiar setting through completely alien (ha!) eyes…
SS: I loved that scene. So what’s next for you? Another Underbelly book, or are you branching out?
TH: I’m just finishing the manuscript for the third book in the Underbelly Chronicles series. TEMPT ME, Bailey and Rafe’s story, is slated for publication in July 2013. Book 1, TASTE ME, is getting some love on the contest circuit, having recently been named a WisRWA Write Touch and PRISM paranormal finalist.
For anyone going to the Romance Writers of America conference in Anaheim in late July, Susan and I are doing a workshop called “Superbad: How Unleashing Your Villain Can Unlock Your Story” which— fair warning— will NOT be recorded due to its interactive nature. (And yeah, because there’s outside chance the language might get a little, erm, spicy.)
SS: Because we’re naughty like that. :-) I’ve had to clean up my language since I had kids, & I tend to cut loose when I’m on vacation. I’ll apologize in advance.
TH: If you’re there, please say “hi!”
Question for readers: Do you think humanity is the sole intelligent life in the universe? Why or why not?
Today, Sourcebooks is giving away paperback copies of CHASE ME to two lucky commenters! (Sorry, U.S. and Canadian street addresses only.)
Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives near Minneapolis with her partner Mark and two naughty cats. When she’s not telecommuting as a quality and process engineer for a global networking company, she enjoys writing edgy urban fantasy romance with a sci-fi twist. A voracious reader with an unapologetic television addiction, Tammy is forever on the lookout for the perfect black boots. Shopping, anyone?
Tammy’s first book, TASTE ME, won a Daphne du Maurier Award for Mystery and Suspense, and was also nominated for the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart® Award.
For more on Tamara and the Underbelly Chronicles, check her out on:
Her website, Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads
CHASE ME Buy Links:
(Amz | BN | Sourcebooks | Powell’s | BAM | Sony | Kobo | iBooks)
Read an excerpt!
Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 4 2012, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Captain Durant's Countess, Courtesan Court Series, erotic romance, Guests, historical romance, interviews, maggie robinson, Master of Sin
by Anna Campbell
I’m delighted to bring back to the lair for your reading pleasure Maggie
Robinson. Maggie is here to tell us about her latest historical romance MASTER OF SIN.
This book has been garnering rave reviews everywhere. For example, Romantic Times Book Reviews said:
Robinson crafts an intelligent, powerful, emotional, highly sensual love story with a damaged hero and an exceptional heroine, moving the story beyond the typical and into the unconventional. Readers will become so invested in the characters that the fast pace and heated sexual tension only add to the delight. Fine storytelling.
You can find out more about Maggie and her books at her website: www.maggierobinson.net
Maggie, welcome back to the lair! Congratulations on the release of your latest book MASTER OF SIN, the last in the Courtesan Court series. Can you tell us about this story?
I’m thrilled to be back and rubbing shoulders, etc. with the lair’s cabana boys again! The blurb-writers at Kensington are much better at this than I am, so I’ll just cheat and quote the back of the book:
Andrew Rossiter has used his gorgeous body and angelic face for all they’re worth—shocking the proper, seducing the willing, and pleasuring the wealthy. But with a tiny son depending on him for rescue, suddenly discretion is far more important than desire. He’ll have to bury his past quench his desires—fast. And he’ll have to find somewhere his deliciously filthy reputation hasn’t yet reached…
Miss Gemma Peartree seems like a plain, virginal governess—or so she hopes. True, she has a sharp wit and sharper tongue, but handsome Mr. Ross wouldn’t notice Gemma herself. Or so she hopes. No matter how many sparks fly between them, she has too much to hide to catch his eye. But with the storms of a Scottish winter driving them together, it will be hard to keep her secrets. Keeping her hands to herself might prove entirely impossible…
What were the inspirations behind this book?
Andrew appeared as a quasi-villain in MISTRESS BY MARRIAGE, and I just couldn’t get rid of him. I sent him to Italy on the page, but he kept shouting from afar. I’d given him sooo much baggage I couldn’t imagine turning him into a hero, but he was insistent. That makes me sound kind of crazy, but there you go—I wanted to give him his own HEA after torturing him so viciously.
Can you tell us about the Courtesan Court series as a whole? Will you be revisiting this scandalous address in the future?
The series is loosely connected by the un-mistressy women who accidentally wind up living on Jane Street, fictional home to the most exclusive, expensive courtesans in London. I revisit it very briefly (but pivotally—is that a word?) in December’s LORD GREY’S LIST.
I see on your website that you’ve recently sold CAPTAIN DURANT’S COUNTESS to Kensington Brava. Can you tell us about this book?
I’m excited to have a digital-first book fall between LORD GREY’S LIST and LADY ANNE’S LOVER. This is my new series, the London List trilogy, where a newspaper, kind of a combination Craigslist/National Inquirer, links the characters. In CDC, a broke ex-Army officer responds to a most unusual advertisement. He’s desperate for a job, but the requirements for this one may prove to be his undoing.
Ooh, sounds intriguing! What’s next for you?
I’m working on a super-secret project, hopefully another trilogy. It involves research, which I love. Amazon is delivering to me daily.
I’m in awe of your productivity. Do you have any hints on time management for us (um, me?)?
Ha. Well, it helps that my four kids are grown and gone, and I quit my library clerk job when the high school girls wanted to read my books, LOL. My husband is extremely supportive and does almost all the cooking except for holidays, when I still put my arm into the turkey’s nether regions. I get up very early and write until late morning, unwashed and unbrushed, aiming for at least 1000 words a day. In the afternoons I try to be normal, but it’s not working.
And can you give us a taster of your delicious new romance MASTER OF SIN?
Here’s the first paragraph:
Andrew Rossiter was on the cusp of reformation. He could taste it, sweet as the wine Giulietta had passed him at dessert from their picnic basket, bold as the wind that whipped the sails of their little yacht, tempting as the green coast of England would be at this moment. Alas, he was cruising the Mediterranean, the city of Savona in the distance, still steeped in sin, and rather bored with it. The only saving grace was the sight of his little son drowsing on a velvet tufted cushion, his small fist curled under a distinctive Rossiter chin–square, dimpled and determined.
Thanks, Maggie. You have many fingers in many pies right now! Great to get your update and good luck with MASTER OF SIN! Do you have a question for the Banditas and Bandita Buddies to get the conversation going?
Anna is famous for her tortured heroes, and I hope Andrew Rossiter can hang out with them. Who is your favorite reformed master of sin in fact or fiction? One commenter will win a signed copy of MASTER OF SIN!
Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 2 2012, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Avon Authors, Bandita Booty, Confessions from an Arranged Marriage, historical romance, interviews, Miranda Neville, new releases, Paris, The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton, The Burgundy Club, The Dangerous Viscount, The Importance of Being Wicked, The Wild Marquis
by Anna Campbell
We love all our guests in the lair, doncha know? But a few people who visit us on a regular basis hold a very special place in our heart. One of those teacher’s pets is MIRANDA NEVILLE!
Miranda’s here today to tell her about her wonderful new historical romance CONFESSIONS FROM AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE which hit the shelves on 27th March. I’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for Minerva’s story! My pre-ordered copy is already winging its way to me (yay!), but if you haven’t yet bought this book, all you need to do is click on the cover and it takes you right to Amazon. We make it easy for you here in the lair.
Here’s the Book Depository link: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Confessions-from-Arranged-Marriage-Miranda-Neville/9780062023056
This book is already grabbing huge critical praise. Publishers Weekly, no less, says: “The developing romance is a pleasure to witness, with witty banter and racy love scenes. The gradual discovery of Blakeney’s secret shame is genuine and endearing, making him far more than the standard scurrilous scoundrel.”
Here’s the blurb for CONFESSIONS OF AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE:
They couldn’t be more different, but there’s one thing they agree on.
In London after a two-year exile, Lord Blakeney plans to cut a swathe through the bedchambers of the demimonde. Marriage is not on his agenda, especially to an annoying chit like Minerva Montrose, with her superior attitude and a tendency to get into trouble. And certainly the last man Minerva wants is Blake, a careless wastrel without a thought in his handsome head.
The heat and noise of her debutante ball give Minerva a migraine. Surely a moment’s rest could do no harm … until Blake mistakes her for another lady, leaving Minerva’s guests to catch them in a very compromising position. To her horror, the scandal will force them to do the unthinkable: marry. Their mutual loathing blazes into unexpected passion but Blake remains distant, desperate to hide a shameful secret. Minerva’s never been a woman to take things lying down, and she’ll let nothing stop her from winning his trust … and his heart.
You can find out more about Miranda and her fabulous books on her website: www.mirandaneville.com
Miranda, I’m delighted to have you back in the lair as my guest. It’s always a party when you visit. Congratulations on the release of your latest historical romance CONFESSIONS FROM AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE. Can you tell us about this story?
This is the fourth book in my Regency Burgundy Club series, but let me summarize in non-period, totally non-historical language. The Marquis of Blakeney, the heir to a dukedom, is a good-looking jock. Minerva despises sports and thinks Blake’s a complete idiot. Since she thinks she’s the right person to rule the world, she has her eye on an up-and-coming politician whom she’ll marry and push up the greasy pole to be Prime Minister. (In nineteenth century England the British Prime Minster is like the President of the United States.) So we have the captain of the football team and the smartest girl in the class who hate each other. They end up forced to marry.
What inspired this story?
Blake and Minerva first appeared in THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT. As soon as I started to write Minerva, who was the heroine’s younger sister, I knew I had a winner. She was such a smart, entertaining character. Blake was the villain – or at least the antagonist – in that book, the guy who lost the girl. When Beverley Kendall read the book she immediately asked me “are you getting Blake and Minerva together?” “How did you guess?” I asked. It’s because we are romance writers and therefore sick. We take a man and a woman who appear totally incompatible and think “perfect couple.”
Mind you, it wasn’t easy. Blake was such a jerk in THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT and had a childhood feud with Sebastian, the hero of that book. I had to discover his dark secret that made him behave so badly. Once I found that, the story came together. I’m partial, I know, but I have to say I ended up adoring Blake and so does Minerva. Eventually.
What about Sebastian? Not thrilled to have Blake as a brother-in-law, I imagine.
That’s putting it mildly. For readers of the previous books in the series, I do resolve the Blake-Sebastian feud. But it’s a very minor part of the story. I wanted the book to stand alone
By the way, if anyone hasn’t yet read THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT, grab it, grab it, grab it. It was one of my top reads from 2010 What’s next for you? More wonderful Burgundy Club books?
I have a few leftover characters, but for now I’m moving on, or rather back. I’m working on a series set in 1800, featuring some extremely wild and badly behaved art collectors. I can now reveal the title of the first, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED. It’s out in December 2012.
Ooh, can’t wait! Sounds fascinating! I always ask you about interesting tidbits of research you’ve discovered when you write each book. Did anything unusual take your fancy when you were researching CONFESSIONS OF AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE?
Blake and Minerva go to Paris on their honeymoon. By 1822 the English had resumed their trips to the Continent after the long Napoleonic Wars and I found plenty of contemporary guidebooks. I discovered it was perfectly proper in Paris for ladies to dine out in restaurants and cafés. So I sent my warring couple out on a date, to the slightly disreputable Café de la Paix, located in a converted theater in the Palais Royal. I had to augment the descriptions I found from my imagination but the setting gave me an idea for a very fun and sexy scene.
You’re always jetting around the globe – and I have the postcards to prove it, thank you! I’d love to hear about your recent travels. Are you going to use any of your journeys as inspirations for future books?
Not sure I could fit it into a Regency, but I just spent a wonderful long weekend in Miami soaking up gorgeous March sun. It was a lot less humid than that day we spent together in Saint Augustine, Florida, after RWA in Orlando! Among the places I visited was Vizcaya, an incredible mock-Venetian Palazzo built by an industrialist in 1916.
Miranda, that looks spectacular. I often think back on our day at St. Augustine and what fun we had bowling along in our convertible. Do you have a question for the Banditas and Bandita Buddies to get conversation rolling like said convertible?
Paris is one of the most gloriously romantic cities in the world, but for some reason it’s not popular as a setting for romance novels. But there are some great books and movies set there. What’s your favorite Paris story, in any medium?
Miranda has very generously offered two signed copies of CONFESSIONS FROM AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE today to people who leave comments. So good luck and get commenting!
Posted by Susan Sey Apr 1 2012, 12:44 am in Anna Campbell, coming attractions, contest winner, Donna MacMeans, Eloisa James, Grace Burrowes, guest blogger, interviews, JD Tyler, Jessica Andersen, Kate Walker, maggie robinson, Mari Mancusi, Miranda Neville, Susan Sey
Welcome to April, & we’re not fooling! There are tons of treats & hijinx to be had in the lair this month. Here’s a quick preview of what’s in store….
WE HAVE GUESTS!
On April 2nd, our own Anna Campbell hosts Lair favorite Miranda Neville! Miranda is coming back to us to cause general mayhem & talk about her wonderful new Burgundy Club book CONFESSIONS FROM AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE. A lot of romance fans have been hanging out for Minerva’s story and it’s about to arrive. Huzzah!
On April 3rd, Suzanne Ferrell brings JD Tyler to the lair to talk about SAVAGE AWAKENING, the second full book in her Alpha Pack series. She and Suzanne will discuss JD’s sexy wolf shifter, Arik Savage, and all the newest developments in the world of the Alpha Pack. Will Arik meet his mate or find himself a victim of secret experimentation claiming more than one shifter?
On April 4th, Anna Campbell’s back with Maggie Robinson who will tell us about her latest release MASTER OF SIN. Maggie writes a really hot historical so we’re expecting the windows of the lair to steam up when she starts talking about her latest hero Andrew Rossiter.
On April 5th, if she escapes from the chaos of having her house totally revamped–walls knocked down, kitchen replaced, etc.—Kate Walker will be talking about the publication of her latest Presents Extra title–THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES– and celebrating being 60. In book terms, that is.
On April 6th, Jessica Andersen returns with the penultimate Nightkeepers book, MAGIC UNCHAINED. Join us for a chat about the hunky hero, Sven (no relation to our equally hunky Sven, alas) and his magical familiar.
On April 9th, Eloisa James will be back in the Lair to chat about her fabulous memoir, PARIS IN LOVE, and the year she spent in Paris.
On April 18th, Trish will host Mari Mancusi, who will be celebrating the re-release of her zombie post-apocalyptic YA, Tomorrow Land. Can true love survive the apocalypse? How about the walking dead?
And finally, on the 27th, Grace Burrowes comes to the Lair to discuss the latest release in her delicious Windham series, LADY MAGGIE’S SECRET SCANDAL.
It’s sure to be an exciting month,so don’t miss a day!
WE HAVE CONTESTS!
First of all, a great big round of applause for our very own Anna Campbell & Donna MacMeans, both of whom are finalists in the Birmingham Southern Magic Chapter Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Anna’s finaled with MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION and Donna with REDEEMING THE ROGUE. Congrats, ladies!
Now, for your chance to win something wonderful, check out Anna Campbell’s CATCH UP ON A CAMPBELL contest! During the months of March and April, Anna is giving FIVE lucky people the chance to win a book of their choice from her backlist. That’s CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, UNTOUCHED, TEMPT THE DEVIL, CAPTIVE OF SIN, MY RECKLESS SURRENDER or MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION. Just email Anna at email@example.com and tell her which book you’d like and you go into the draw. The contest closes April 30th, 2012, and entry is open internationally. For more information, please check out Ann’s contest page: http://annacampbell.info/contest.html
And don’t forget our monthly prize bundle for one of our lucky Romance Bandits members! This month’s Members Only prize bundle will include:
*An Advance Reader Copy of Eloisa James’ PARIS IN LOVE!
*A copy of MAGIC UNCHAINED from Jessica Andersen
*Your choice of one book from Kate Walker’s backlist!
*A copy of COWBOY TO THE RESCUE from Trish Milburn!
*A copy of FRAIL BLOOD from Jo Robertson!
*Your choice of MONEY HONEY or MONEY SHOT from Susan Sey!
WE HAVE EVENTS AND APPEARANCES!
Ever want to see a bandita in person? Here’s your chance! Our own TRISH MILBURN is all over the map this month! Catch her at the following events:
April 10, at the Barbara Vey Readers Luncheon in Oak Creek, WI
April 11-15, at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Rosemont, IL
April 21, at the Southern Kentucky Bookfest in Bowling Green, KY
It’s going to be a wild ride this month, so buckle up and we’ll see you along the road!
What are YOU looking forward to this month?