Brace yourselves, ladies! With the release of SECOND-CHANCE SEDUCTION, I’ve launched a new series with Harlequin Desire featuring the McLaren brothers of the highlands of Northern California. To honor their heritage, we’re throwing a Scottish-themed launch party today. The Lair is decked out in tartan, the tables are overloaded with legs o’ lamb (plus haggis for the Bravehearts in the bunch), and the cabana boys are dressed in kilts!
Our young, kilted laddies are willing to play a few Scottish games with ye, if ye’ve a mind to… wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
The MacLaren brothers are taking California by storm with their brewing empire, and pity the women who get in their way. Aye, these men have talented tongues, an’ make no mistake. Raise a pint for a traditional toast. (Never mind if you don’t drink. This is fictional beer.)
If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. So let it be!
Connor MacLaren never forgave Maggie Jameson for leaving him. Ten years later, his former sweetheart’s back in their California town, desperate for the Scottish businessman’s help. And he knows just how to get her out of his system once and for all…
Agreeing to temporarily pose as Connor’s girlfriend is déjà vu. After only a few minutes alone with the rugged Highlander, Maggie’s breathless with desire. Of course, this was Connor’s intention…until his plan backfires, leaving them both wanting much more.
Now, lassies, let’s give ourselves not-so-authentic Scots nicknames. Here’s how it works… Take your first name and give it an “-ie” ending. Then add “Mac” to your most notable physical feature, the street where you grew up, or a word related to your job. Today, I shall be Katie MacDeadline!
Post your Scots nickname in the comments below, and I’ll select one of ye at random to receive an autographed copy of SECOND-CHANCE SEDUCTION.
Wooot!! It’s party time. The only thing I love more than a launch party in the Lair is the wonderful people in the Lair.
And no, I’m sorry, Sven, I don’t mean you. I mean my Amazing Banditas, and the Always Awesome Bandtita Buddies! To kick us off, shall we cue the music?
So… with a little help from my friends, lets get this celebration rocking :-)
Drinks, anyone? Some shortbread to dip in the chocolate fountain?
Here’s a little peek at this friendship…FEARLESS, my Cosmo Red Hot Read, launches officially on 9/17 (although its up for preorder now, if you’re so inclined). There is so much that I loved in this book. The heroine’s makeover was fabulous to write. The shoes are gorgeous. And the sex… well, thats nothing to sneeze at (hey, no feathers are involved, so no sneezing, right? Although there is a blindfold). But one of the things that excites me the most about this story is the friendships it features. Four girls who’ve been tight since college, who meet at least once a month for drinks, dishing up news and offering each other not only a shoulder, but a good solid push when one or the other needs it to make her dreams come true.
“Gia? What’re you craving?” Jessa prodded from where she lounged on the couch, her head back on the pillow to better enjoy the moisturizing benefits of her facial mask.
Slicking another coat of midnight crimson polish over her nails, Gia absently finished her thought aloud, “A wild sexual adventure that includes chocolate, feathers and three dozen orgasms?”
The room went silent. Even the iPod, playing Rihanna in the background, seemed to quiet.
Oh shit. Had she said that aloud?
Gia looked up to find three sets of eyes locked on her in varying states of shock and amusement. She winced, then carefully pushed her martini glass away.
“Oh, this is juicy. Tell us more,” Jessa prompted, clapping her hands in excitement.
Right. Except she wasn’t the juicy type like they were. She was the practical, keeping it real type. Which probably accounted for their surprise.
“That was just the vodka talking,” she dismissed with a wave of her hand. “So, are you guys hungry? I’ve got nacho fixings. Or better yet, how about cookies?”
“No way,” Caryn protested, waving her own glass in denial. She had her feet propped on the coffee table while Sara painted delicate roses on her toenails. “You can’t offer up something that juicy, then try to change the subject.”
“Nope. That’s the sort of thing that needs explained. In great, graphic detail. Drawings might help, too.” From her spot on the floor, Sara wiggled her brows. Her black hair was pulled up in a messy ponytail to keep it out of any polish mishaps.
Gia debated. She could gloss over it on her way to make those nachos. She could downplay it into a joke. Or she could fess up. The first two were easier. And definitely the type of thing she’d always done the few times she’d found herself in the spotlight before. Like anyone who craved center stage, then discovered they were sick with stage fright, she’d always ducked back into obscurity.
But she was so tired of average.
And the only way to get over average was to enlist the power of her friends.
That’s what good friends do, isn’t it. Help each other make things happen. I’m so lucky to have friends like this in my own life – many of them right here in the Lair. These are not only great gals to drink with (and drink we do!), to party with (and party we do), but they’re here to push and encourage my dreams, to encourage me to push beyond what I thought I could do, and to celebrate when I do it. And, hopefully, I’m here giving the exact same thing right back.
I hope you’ll join me as I FEARLESSLY Tour the web, sharing the news about my Cosmo Red Hot Read. You can check out my blog tour deets here. And if you’d like your very own copy of the Girlz Guide (chockful of Words of Wisdom, excerpts, recipes and fun) you can download your own PDF on my website.
And since I know we all have girlfriends we adore (yes, we probably have boyfriends, too, but today’s all about the Girlz) I’d love to hear your favorite Girlfriend Story. Who’s got your back? I’ll choose one lucky commenter to win a FEARLESS Basket of wonderfulness.
A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY is available today, and to celebrate, we’re having a big ol’ party in the Lair! A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY is my latest Bibliophile Mystery. Publishers Weekly calls it “well plotted” and says “Carlisle keeps the suspense high as Brooklyn sleuths her way through a host of chefs and other suspects to a satisfying resolution.”
Pardon me while I happy-sigh. I love a good review quote! Today, I’m giving away an advanced review copy of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY. Check back at the end of the day to see if you won!
In A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, Brooklyn Wainwright is asked to restore a one-of-a-kind leather-bound cookbook and journal from the Revolutionary War days, and she discovers secret spy codes written in the margins. So… in honor of spycraft during the Revolutionary War, the cabana boys are wearing invisible clothes as they whip up a batch of my Deadly Delicious Dark Chocolate Fudge. You know every party ends up in the kitchen, anyway. Save room for dessert!
Kate Carlisle’s Deadly Delicious Dark Chocolate Fudge
2 10-oz bags dark chocolate chips
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 T instant coffee powder
½ t cayenne powder
2 t chocolate liqueur or vanilla extract
Sea salt for sprinkling
This is so easy, Brooklyn Wainwright could make it!
Line an 8-inch square pan with waxed paper and set aside. Put the dark chocolate chips, condensed milk, instant coffee, and cayenne in a heavy saucepan over very low heat. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Watch it closely so it doesn’t burn. You might need to remove the pan from the heat from time to time. As soon as the chocolate is melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the liqueur or the extract.
Spread the fudge into the prepared pan and sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate for two hours or more. Cut into one-inch squares.
Calories: Trust me, you don’t want to know.
To enter for a chance to win an ARC of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, share a recipe for your favorite summer drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic)! Sven is having a Skip and Go Naked, of course – and yes, that’s a real drink!
It’s an impromptu launch party in the lair! I’m so excited and honored that Harlequin is reissuing my Oct 2009 release, HIS SECRET AGENDA as the bonus book with Carla Neggers’s BEWITCHING, which comes out next Tuesday. Carla is such a fabulous author and I know she’s a favorite around the lair
HIS SECRET AGENDA was my third book – it’s also the third book in my Serenity Springs series. Here’s the original back cover blurb:
Dean Garret is about to break the number one rule of undercover work. And it’s all because his new “boss” is as pretty as a professional cheerleader and has a do-gooder’s heart. Who can resist that combination? Still, Dean suspects Allison Martin is hiding something behind her dazzling smile. That something being the runaway mother and son he’s been hired to find.
To get the job done, he needs to gain Allie’s trust. Only, the lawyer-turned-bar-owner isn’t cooperating. But she can’t remain immune to his good ol’ boy charm and sexy drawl forever. Because Dean never fails. And he’ll do anything to solve a case. Even if it means he has to break all the rules.
That part about Allie being as pretty as a professional cheerleader still makes me smile!
I hadn’t really planned on throwing a party in the lair (there’s a lot going on at my house right now and believe me, things are crazy *g*) but then I realized that maybe a party is just what I need *g* The only problem with hosting or attending a last-minute-get-together? What to serve/bring!
Tell me, what’s your Go To recipe? The one thing you make/bring/buy/serve when you’re short on time but still want to serve a winner? And, just for fun, which cover do you prefer?
Congratulations to Kim (a different one), chosen at random as the winner of an autographed copy of SHE’S HAVING THE BOSS’S BABY! Kim, please email your address to me at kate (at) katecarlisle (dot) com. Woo hoo!!!!
I am so ready to celebrate. Sven is bringing around the glittery hats, many with rhinestones and most sporting sweet feathers (that peacock feathered fancy hat is Donna’s of course). The Cabana boys are bringing around margaritas, chocolate truffles and, of course, champagne. Oh, and don’t forget a tootie horn! I’m all about tootie horns today! Why? Because it’s party time!
My latest book, Midnight Special, is out!! YAY and whoohoo. And this one has a fun bonus, as it’s a 2-in-1 with Coming on Strong, a reissue of a reader favorite (which makes me giggle -I have readers who have favorites? OMG). So, really, this is a launch party. But I had some news this week that I’d love to celebrate with you. A little extra partying, if you will…
My last Blaze, A SEAL’s Surrender, hit the USA TODAY Bestseller list!!! AHHHHHHHHH. Did you hear any random screams, quickly followed by sobs of shocked joy last Thursday? That’d have been me! This has been such a wild ride with this book, and it’s companion, A SEAL’s Seduction.
I love these stories so much, especially as they are the ones that my husband has had the most input on (he tends to be my plotting partner and sounding board on anything military, since he’s a vet and still involved in a lot of that kind of thing). But also because they were just fun, great characters to spend time with, ones that I really felt for and connected tightly to as I wrote them. To see their success… it’s amazing. And yes, I know its weird, but I’ve come to think of them as their own entities, not figments of my imagination *g* Life is easier that way. Raise them up, give them the best you’ve got, give a kiss and send them out into the world while holding ones breath and hoping for the best. Thats how books are So to see them do so well, it’s like I just watched one of my kids become a rock star. Without the crazy lifestyle and tour bus, of course.
So woohoooo, it’s party time in the Lair!!! Please, champagne all around. Strawberries and chocolate, and jelly beans, too.
But really, the USA Today celebration is the sugar on top. The frosting, if you will *g* Today we’re really celebrating the fun yumminess that is the release of Midnight Special! And I’m really looking forward to it because I get to share Hunter’s story!!! Yep – it’s all about my hottie FBI hero from (the aptly named by our very own Christine, she’s so clever!) Sex and Lies Undercover Ops books. I’m so excited about this story.
I love Hunter, and have loved him since the first Undercover Ops/Sex and Lies book was out in 2011. I was so thrilled to give him his own story! He’s hot, he’s FBI and he’s a guy who is all about making things happen… his way. And that’s sexy. Bring in a very nosy, very ambitious reporter who has no scruples about hiding her identity to get a big story, put them together in a cozy train berth crossing the United States and… dum da dum… It’s Midnight Special!
ey can also read an Exclusive Cut Epilogue! You are a Red Hot Reader, aren’t you? It’s free, it’s fun, and it gets you in to read this excerpt. Hey, good stuff!
Usually, I’m all about celebrating with chocolate. I adore it, especially with caramel and nuts (hang on, have to wipe the drool off my chin). But for some reason, this last month has been all about the jelly beans. I celebrated breaking the Amazon top 100 with Very Cherry flavored Jelly Bellys, then celebrated the Barnes & Noble and iBooks lists with Sizzling Cinnamon. And when I hit the USA Today list last week, my adorable brother brought me a big bag of Green Apple as a congrats pressie. So as a part of the celebration fun, I’m going to offer two signed copies (since its a 2-in-1) of Midnight Special! To be eligible, all you have to do is let me know: What’s your favorite flavor of jelly beans?
Whoo Hoo! It’s another launch party in the lair! I’m so excited to be celebrating the release of my eleventh book for Harlequin Superromance! Talk of the Town is the first story in my new series, In Shady Grove. The fictional town of Shady Grove, Pennsylvania is based on my own hometown and I had so much fun coming up with ideas for the series.
Talk of the Town is a reunion story about a professional hockey player and the girl he left behind. Here’s the back cover blurb:
Shady Grove – where everyone knows your secrets
Once, Neil Pettit was the only thing Maddie Montesano wanted. She tried every trick in the book to keep him, but no luck. It took some time – and a lot of holding her head up while the town gossiped – but she’s made a good life for herself and her daughter.
Now, Neil’s back and is trying to be the father he never was. Maddie so doesn’t need this kind of disruption. Not when the crazy attraction she’s spent years ignoring still sizzles between them. The temptation to give in and have Neil again is strong. And when he offers that dream of forever she’d abandoned, well, she might give this town something new to talk about…
I won’t say it was easy writing Neil and Maddie’s story but I’m very happy with how it turned out! Here’s a peek at their first kiss in over twelve years:
She should do something, Maddie thought, frantic. Shove him on his ass or dump her beer in his lap. All viable options, options she should take. Instead she let him pull her, oh, so slowly, toward him. It was shock, she told herself, that had her thoughts fuzzy, her chest tight. Not anticipation. Not hope or excitement. Certainly not fear.
His eyes, hot with want, dropped to her mouth. Her lips parted. Her throat dried. Oh, God. She stiffened but his fingers delved into the hair at the nape of her neck and he held her head. Just like he used to. His hand large and warm, his thumb brushing against the sensitive skin on the underside of her jaw. And he was looking at her as if she was the only woman in the entire world, the only one who mattered.
The only one he wanted.
It was a lie, one she’d fooled herself into believing years ago. One she couldn’t afford to believe now.
His face filled her vision, his head blocking the light from the lantern. He became her focus, all she could see was the blue of his eyes, all she could feel was the warmth of his breath on her mouth. He hesitated, his lips a hair’s breadth from hers, and that feeling she’d insisted wasn’t anticipation built until she was afraid she couldn’t take it anymore. That if he didn’t close the distance between them, the unthinkable, the unfathomable, would happen.
He saved her ego and her pride, let her keep believing the lies she told herself by brushing his mouth against hers. Her breath stuttered out, her heart pounded, the sound echoing in her ears. She froze, her hands clenched in her lap, as his lips settled against hers, warm and firm. He kept the kiss gentle. Sweet. Like their first.
Like their last.
Time to party! Roll out the Gladiators and bring on the Hockey Hunks…er…I mean roll out the party favors and bring on the tasty snacks! What are your favorite party snacks? Do you have a favorite reunion romance story?
Wooot! It’s that time again – I’m so excited to be launching A SEAL’s Seduction. This is my 17th Blaze release, and my 2nd Uniformly Hot. I’m so ready to party and celebrate this book, not just because its out, but because this is one that I really love. And I’ll admit it, the opening scene made me cry. Of course, I well up at puppyfood commercials, too, so that might not mean anything *g *
As he always does for our launch parties, Sven is setting out goodies. Paolo is in the kitchen mixing up a special drink just for us, too. In honor of a scene from A SEAL’s Seduction, we’re having hot chocolate today! Yes, yes, there is plenty of booze to spike it with. Whipped cream, too. I’m always happier when my hot chocolate is covered in whipped cream. Actually I’m happier when almost anything is covered in whipped cream.
While Paolo serves up the cocoa (what is the difference between hot chocolate and cocoa? Anyone know?) I’d like to share a little scene that inspired our treat. This takes place well into the story, after Blake has rescued Alexia from a terrorists cell in the snow-filled wilds of Alaska.
“Ready for some hot chocolate?” Blake asked, doing what he always did when faced with a problem. Taking it down one step at a time.
“Sure.” She glanced at the now-blank screen again, then followed him over to take her seat at the table. “Can I help? It seems like you’re always cooking for me.”
That’s because with the exception of the field rations they’d just had, he’d ended up eating a bit of every meal off her naked body.
Don’t go there, he warned himself. His imagination didn’t listen, though. As he heated the water to mix with powdered milk, his brain threw out a dozen or so images of how Alexia had looked covered in plum jelly. Or in cream sauce. Or in soapy bubbles that slid, slowly and thick, down her bare breast.
“Shit,” he muttered, shaking the burning water off his hand. Focus, dammit. He removed the boiling water from the burner, dumped the white powder in and stirred.
“You’re making a mess,” Alexia said, tilted almost sideways in her chair so she could see what he was doing. “Are you sure I can’t help?”
Blake looked down at the table. The burner was still sizzling with specks of watery milk. Powder pooled around the pot like mounds of snow. He’d stirred so hard that the back of his hand looked like he had white freckles.
“Here,” he said, pushing the pot, spoon and still waiting chocolate powder toward her. “Have at it.”
Needing to move, wishing for action—any action that didn’t involve Alexia’s naked body—he strode over to the monitors to check the display, then to the tent flap, pulling down the pseudo-curtain and looking out.
It was still white.
“Did you want some?”
Some of her? Oh yeah.
“No. Thanks,” he added, trying to soften the bark. He glanced back to see she’d poured half of the mix into a tin cup. She held up the pot with the rest in question.
He really needed to get a grip. This was just an adrenaline-induced loss of control, combined with seeing someone he’d been obsessing over. No big deal.
Time for phase two of his plan. Get her to go to sleep.
He crossed the tent, reaching for the pot. Their fingers brushed. He wanted more. He was desperate to touch her again. Even if it was only her finger tips or her hair. He still had dreams about that hair. She’d brushed her hair back into some twisting rope, the red glowing in the soft lamplight. He remembered the feel of her hair in his hands, trailing down his body. The silky feel, the sweet scent.
In an instant, he went from solider to man.
Horny, turned on and ready to rock, man.
“How is it?” he asked, his voice a little horse.
“Surprisingly good.” She sipped again, then arched one brow. “Are you sure you won’t have some?”
“I’m still full from dinner,” he said. Desperate for more space than the small tent allowed, he suggested, “But you must be exhausted. Why don’t you finish your drink, then try to get some rest.”
“I was hoping we could chat.” Her smile sweetly mischievous, making Blake want to howl and beat on something. She was supposed to be overwrought. Not cute, dammit. He’d never had to fight off all these sexual and emotional needs while he was on duty before. And couldn’t say he was liking the new experience much.
Poor Blake. And actually, since she’s drinking powdered milk and packaged chocolate mix, poor Alexia, too. No worries, though! Paolo didn’t make your cocoa that way. Nope, his recipe is a little more fun. Yummy, with a hint of spice. Here –check it out…
Don’t forget, we have lots of other Lair approved recipes in the Members Den!
And hey - Do you have a favorite cocoa recipe? Are you a marshmallow or whipped cream aficionado? And seriously, what is the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate?
Can you believe it’s almost December? And now that Black Friday and the U.S. Thanksgiving have passed, it’s officially the holiday season here! I mean, sure, some stores were rocking the Rudolph decorations back in October, in the aisle next to the trick or treat candy, but for most of us, this is more a ‘holy cow, where’d the year go’ moment, right?
So you know what this means, right? The holiday season… Santa’s checking his list. He’s lining up names into Naughty or Nice. He’s mulling those hard to place boys and girls, the ones who are basically nice but have a leeeetle naughty streak that sneaks out now and then.
Since Santa is busy with his list, he won’t be paying a lot of attention to our party here, right? So if it’s just a leeeetle naughty to have the Cabana Boys dress up in red velvet shorty shorts with white fur trim to serve the hot toddies and spiked cocoa with extra dollops of spiced whipped cream, I’m sure he won’t notice. And if Sven is using extra butter and rich chocolate in all of the desserts, that’s not really naughty, is it? If we’re asking everyone to share naughty secrets, it’s not like we’re trying to make our own list of tips and ideas… um, not really.
It’s just a fun way to celebrate yet another wild Bandita Launch! Nice & Naughty, my latest Blaze, is out now – and it’s hot! Here’s the blurb…
Christmas scandal is comin’ to town…
He’d better watch out. Because she’s not at all shy. She’s looking for a bad boy And he’s just the guy!
She’s making a list Because her life needs some spice And he’s gonna show her How being naughty is nice…
It’s almost Christmas, and fashion-obsessive librarian Jade Carson is stuck. Stuck with her family, stuck in the town of Diablo Glen and stuck in her lousy life. Thensuper hot bad-boy detective Diego Salvador roars into town, looking for a criminal known as “the panty thief.”And Jade decides—right then and there—that the only panties he’ll be touching are hers….
He’s on her list…and she’s checking him out!
And here’s a peek inside…
Jade tilted her head to one side. The light caught on the row of tiny gold hoops piercing her ear. “Word on the street is that you’re here because you’ve got a problem with your boss.”
God, he hated small towns.
“And you shouldn’t give too much weight to rumors,” he added. “Small towns might thrive on them, but they’re rarely rooted in fact.”
“So you weren’t sent here as punishment?” she asked, her tone as friendly as her face was curious. Whether it was a ploy to garner gossip fuel, or whether she was actually interested, Diego couldn’t tell.
He’d been about to write her off as a sexy nice girl. Sweet, but not much of a challenge. Now he wasn’t so sure of anything but the sexy part. That bothered him. His gift for reading people was one of the keys behind his success.
“I was sent here for two reasons,” he said slowly, measuring just how much to share with the town pipeline. He might be having trouble getting a gauge on the pixie, but he knew how to finesse information. “I’m up for a major promotion. Solving this case is the last step to ensure I get it.”
Diego had no problem lying to solve a case, but it was always easier to go with the truth if possible.
“And the second reason?”
It only took two steps for Diego to cross the room. Standing close enough that the scent of her, light and airy, wrapped around him. For a second he forgot what he was doing. Forgot why he was there. Forgot everything except the sudden discovery of just how appealing sweetness could be.
Her lashes fluttered, thick and dark, hiding those expressive eyes. He watched the pulse quiver in her throat, wanting nothing more than to lean closer and press his lips to the soft flesh. To feel her heart race beneath his tongue.
As if reading his mind, she gulped. Then, like she was trying to make it look casual, she moved over to the armoire, putting breathing distance between then.
“You were telling me the second reason you were sent here,” she reminded him breathlessly.
To find out how many different sounds she could make while he brought her to orgasm? Diego gave himself a mental head-slap and tried to shake off the sexual fog.
“The second reason? Because I’m good,” he promised. Her eyes widened, fingers clenching the wicker handles of the laundry basket so hard it made a loud snap. Grinning, Diego nodded. “I’m damned good. I close cases, and I put criminals away. Whoever did this, their ass is mine.”
And there ya go. Toss in a little intimidation, and he’d be home by the end of the weekend. Before he did anything stupid, like give in to the need to find out if the pretty little blonde’s naughty side was reserved for her lingerie.
“You promise?” she asked, looking around the mess of her bedroom. “You’ll find out who did this. And why?”
Diego didn’t do promises. Growing up, he’d had too many broken to ever want to cause someone else that kind of disappointment.
He looked around the room. The deputies who’d been called in on the previous burglaries had dusted for prints and come up bust. Despite the shift in MO from snatch and run to destruction, there was no reason to think this time’d be any different. This was either a copycat with grudge against Ms. Carson, a totally unconnected case, or all the other thefts had been smoke. Which meant the green-eyed pixie was the real target.
He’d have to work the case as if all three were fact. But his gut said it was the latter. He just had to find enough evidence to pull all the pieces together. And he would. Because he that’s what he did.
But the pretty little blonde was looking at him like he had a superhero cape tucked under his leather bomber jacket. Diego was a good cop. A damned good one. But no one had ever considered him a hero.
It was weird. And damned appealing.
And probably his downfall, since he couldn’t resist leaning closer and reassuring her.
“Babe, I guarantee it.”
While Sven passes around the tasty treats and delicious drinks, I have to ask… Will you end up on Santa’s nice list, or his naughty list this year? Or are you one of those who has enough nice to balance out that naughty, so you’re keeping the jolly big elf confused? I’ll toss all the responses in a cheery red elf hat and choose three to win a digital download of my novella, Sugar and Spice!
Woooooohoooo! Its a Launch Day in the LAIR!! We get to celebrate one of our very own, NANCY NORTHCOTT!!!
Today is the publication day forRenegade, Nancy’s first book in her mage Protectors series from Grand Central Forever Yours. And guess what!! The esteemed Library Journal’s Xpress Reviews gave Renegade a starred review!!
Sven had a special drink – The Renegade – made up, which is absolutely fabulous! He has a “breakfast version” with OJ, and a “Post Lunch” version that has (I think…) rum in it! Hahaha!
NANCY!!! Girlfriend, we are SO excited for you! Tell us your call story!
Nancy: Thanks, Jeanne. I’m grateful for all the encouragement and support you and the other Banditas and our buddies have given me. It’s a big day for me and a long time coming, so we’re going to party hearty in the Lair!
Let’s see if I can focus after having Sven’s special drink. Ahem!
As you know, my agent sent the manuscript around last fall and followed up by email around the first of the year. In late January, she emailed me to tell me an editor who had Renegade was out of town but wanted to talk when she returned. We figured this probably meant an offer was coming, but you never know for sure. She closed the conversation with “Today, I heard ‘Renegade,’ by Styx, on the radio. Maybe it’s a sign.” I hoped so!
A couple of days later, I heard the same song on the radio while I was out running errands. I stopped at a local business to browse and overheard the manager ask a guy at the desk, “So what’s your name?”
“Griff,” he replied, and a chill went down my spine. The hero’s name is Griffin Dare.
My agent called a few days later with news of the offer. She and the editor worked out the details, and now here we are! Forever Yours is a digital-first line, so the book is now available only at e-book stores, but a print-on-demand version will be released December 18.
Jeanne: Woot! Love that! I’m a big believer in signs and omens and portents as you well know. So, you have an agent you really like, what does she think about the Light Mages? And why are they called that?
Nancy: Thanks! My agent liked the book immediately. Though there have been occasional magic-based paranormals, those were far outnumbered by vamps and shifters in recent years. She thought the time might be right for something different, and these are mages in the high fantasy sense, with a magical society distinct from our own.
I wanted them to have a fully developed culture, right down to their own code of laws, The Caudex Magi, and a magic system that would have clear rules and limits as well as room to expand. I also liked the superhero groups and secret identities that hooked me in grade school, so keeping the mages secret from the Mundane, or nonmagical, world came naturally to me. My agent liked all of that and gave me some good suggestions to help clarify the world for people who can’t see what’s in my head, only what’s on the page.
As for why they’re called Light Mages, that answer lies in their history. They’ve protected humanity for millennia. Somewhere in the dark ages, they adopted this coat of arms, which also appears on my website’s Introduction to the Protectors page. They battle the forces of darkness and so chose as their motto Servire Luci, which translates as “To Serve the Light.” Hence the name Light Mages, though they usually call themselves, as I do, simply “mages,” because it’s easier and flows faster.
Jeanne: The art is amazing! I love that coat of arms. And I’m grinning over the motto being in Latin – that’s so “you”! *ahem* I guess I’d best get back to the story instead of oogling Griff on the cover. *snicker* Let’s talk heroine first, so I can keep a clear head. Ha! I know that your heroine, Val, is a Shire Reeve – kind of like a magical sheriff – tell us how you came up with that designation.
Nancy: Here you’re homing in on my love of trivia. The modern term “sheriff” derives from “shire reeve.” I chose the older term to give it the air of being slightly different and of tying into an old tradition. Since I had the Canadian and US mages organize their territories by shires, also to tie into the old English tradition, “shire reeve” seemed a natural fit.
Jeanne: Very cool! And how did you come up with this fabulous plot with the ghouls?
Nancy: Seeing as you were there, you should…what? Oh, explain it for OTHER people! Right.
Jeanne: Snork! Exactly!!
Nancy: I wanted a type of villain that hadn’t been used a lot, and I’m naturally drawn to things that go bump in the night, a category that seemed to include ghouls. I wanted something that would set a dark tone and be menacing in different ways. We kicked the idea around in our brainstorming group, with Donna and Cassondra and later with Joan, and the ghouls are what we came up with. They’re sort of like vampires in that they can draw from their victims, but they draw life energy or magic instead of blood. Usually. Their talons can also inject potentially fatal venom or rip deep wounds in mage or Mundane flesh. Or in ghoul flesh, for that matter. They aren’t known for getting along with each other.
This might be a good place to pop in the trailer, which will go on the bandit site sometime this week. The Members Only excerpt is up now.
Jeanne: I just LOVE that trailer! Yum, yum, yum. I’m going to switch gears here for a minute to your hot, hot (and did I mention hot?) hero, Griffin Dare. He’s an outlaw when the story starts. Tell us about that! And I want to know, why a quarterstaff?
Nancy: Why, thank you, Jeanne! The guy standing in for Griff on the cover, Mr. Anonymously Gorgeous, certainly is hot! I don’t want to say too much about why Griff is an outlaw. I think I’d rather let people discover that as they go. But I will say that six years ago, he killed the head of the southeastern mages’ council and fought his way out of the Collegium, their headquarters. He had been the shire reeve until that one act made him the mages’ most wanted fugitive. But in this, as in so many things, the motive is critically important and the truth is not always as clear as it seems.
I chose a quarterstaff because I wanted him to have something unique. My research into medieval weapons convinced me the staff was both lethal and versatile, and I haven’t seen it used often in romance or even in fantasy.
Jeanne: Why don’t you give us an excerpt! I want every one to get a taste of the deliciousness that is Renegade!!
Nancy: Thanks. While they read, the dh and I will have another one of Sven’s Protector drinks. The boy, alas, could not join us tonight because he’s away at school, trying to finish up a project so he can enjoy his Thanksgiving break.
Excerpt: This takes place shortly after Griff rescues Val. Her eyes are bandaged, so she’s unable to see him.
The silence stretched between them until fear churned in Val’s gut. Had she made a mistake, pushed him too far?
“Assuming I’m this person,” he said in a flat, hard voice, “what does that make me to you? I already have an idea, but give me the whole picture.”
She raised her chin a notch, bracing herself for an outburst. “You’re a rogue mage, a murderer several times over, and possibly a ghoul ally.”
A creak alerted her as he shifted toward her, leaning so close she could feel his breath on her cheek. Her mouth went dry, but she held her position. She couldn’t let him intimidate her.
“If I’m such a bastard, why the hell aren’t you dead?”
“I asked you first.” Thank God, her voice held steady. She swallowed to ease her tight throat.
“If you believed everything in your precious annals, you wouldn’t risk challenging me. Yes, I’m Griffin Rhys Dare.”
Val’s heart thudded in her throat. He’d just confirmed her guess. Yet she was, for whatever reason, still alive.
“What do you want with me?”
“I want you to listen. To consider evidence you haven’t seen before.”
“So you’re going to tell me you’re innocent? I’d expected better of you.”
He let out a weary sigh. “I’m not in league with the ghouls, and I never killed anyone I didn’t have to.”
The first part, she’d believe. But the second…“You’ll never convince me the mages who tried to apprehend you were ghoul allies.”
“Of course not.” He sounded sad. If only she could believe he really was. “They were trying to capture me. I was defending myself—and those who rely on me for protection.”
“Such as?” Impatient, Val shook her head. “Regardless, you should’ve come in, made your case, not slaughtered—”
“We’re not going there. Not tonight.” His cold, hard voice warned her not to press. “I brought you here to talk to you. To show you things you can’t see well enough now to read.”
“So you do have a jailhouse alibi.” That seemed beneath him, and his thinking her fool enough to buy it stung.
“I have the truth. If you’re willing to see it.”
“Right. What do you really want?” A slight sound, not quite a sigh, came from him, as if he were hurt. Like he cared whatshe thought. Oh, he knew just how to play her.
“I want safety for our people,” he said, “and for the Mundanes, whether you believe me or not. Listening won’t cost you anything but a couple of days for your eyes to heal. What if I’m telling the truth, Valeria? What if there’s something rotten in the Collegium’s heart? Can you shrug off that possibility so easily?”
What was or wasn’t happening in the Collegium was her business, not his, but listening might help her better understand his angle. “I’ll hear you out, but you’ll have to explain right now.”
Jeanne: Sigh. I love Griff. Grins. Tell us what’s next for you and the mages?
Nancy: There’s a novella, Protector, scheduled for March 2013, and the second novel,Guardian, should be out in May. I’m also blogging on Fresh Fiction today. There’s a list of upcoming guest appearances on my website. I’m also going down to the Okefenokee Swamp again soon, to do research for the third book, which has the working title Warrior.
Because I’m so happy about launching Renegade, I’m running the Everyday Magic contest for my newsletter subscribers and a separate contest on Fresh Fiction. Each of these prize packages includes a handmade glass goblet with a dragon in the stem. There are no dragons in Renegade, but I happen to like them, so I figured, why not?
So, Banditas and Buddies…who’s your favorite outlaw hero?
Nancy’s giving away a Keeper Kase with a signed Renegade cover card as well as one from my upcoming release, Deadly Charms, and an assortment of others. She’s also giving away a handmade glass goblet with a green glass dragon in the stem. The winner will be chosen from the commenters on this blog post and on Nancy’s post November 26.
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