Posted by Anna Campbell Jan 10 2013, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Dick Francis, historical romance, Liz Carlyle, Loretta Chase, Miranda Neville, reading, Sharon Archer;, writing life
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2013 is a bottler as we say down here in Australia (well, sometimes!).
How were your Holidays? Hope that you had a lovely time full of love and laughter and that Santa was kind.
I had promised myself a few days off. I like to take the time between Christmas and New Year just to veg and enjoy myself. It’s perfect swimming and lolling weather and it’s a time when I attack my To Be Read pile like Attila the Hun attacks his bowl of goulash.
Last year, sadly, I had urgent revisions so my little holiday went west. This year, luckily, I managed to seize the day. Well, a week really! How lovely to worry about nothing but which Christmas box of chocolates I was going to open and which wonderful book I was going to read next. Bliss.
For various reasons, mainly I think because I’ve written so much this year and reading in my writing genre felt too much like a busman’s holiday, I didn’t pick up many historical romances in 2012. Lots of mysteries. Lots of categories. Lots of nonfiction. Odd bits of other stuff. But hardly a historical to be seen.
Enter my Romance Bandits sister Christina Brooke who lent me WHEN BEAUTY TAMED THE BEAST by the legendary Eloisa James when I went down for a visit just before Christmas.
Me? Resist a Beauty and the Beast romance? Not bloomin’ likely as Eliza Dolittle often said. I devoured this luscious historical (with a cover like that, you know it’s going to be luscious, don’t you?) in the space of a day and suddenly found myself wanting to read some more historical romance.
Luckily, I had stockpiled some great books by great authors – and the books seemed to come in pairs.
First up was Miranda Neville‘s turn. I love Miranda’s sparkling, elegant, witty historicals – and as you know, she’s a popular and regular visitor here in the lair. She’s just launched a new series called the Wild Quartet. First, I read the prequel, the novella THE SECOND SEDUCTION OF A LADY and then I read THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED. I loved both of them – both have sigh-worthy endings that will stay with you.
Then I moved on to the two most recent Loretta Chases. As you know, I’m a long-time fan and her MR. IMPOSSIBLE and LORD OF SCOUNDRELS are amongst the best historical romances I’ve ever read. I’m currently writing a review of one of her traditional Regencies, KNAVES’ WAGER, which is a bobbydazzler and newly available as an e-book if you haven’t read it. That will appear on the Romance Dish site on the 24th of this month so swing by if you’re interested.
I hadn’t caught up with Loretta’s latest series about three sisters who set up a stylish dressmaking establishment in late Regency London. But I have now. Really loved both books, SILK IS FOR SEDUCTION which was up for a RITA this year and SCANDAL WEARS SATIN which I think I liked even more than Silk. Both feature Loretta’s trademark wit and beautiful writing and I found myself laughing out loud a couple of times at the machine-gun fire banter between the hero and heroine. She writes wonderful dialogue.
Last but definitely not least, I read two Liz Carlyles. An exception to the no historicals in 2012 run was THE BRIDE WORE SCARLET, the second in Liz’s St. James Society series. These books feature a touch of the paranormal along with Liz’s trademark emotion, drama and passion. In my Christmas binge, I read the first book in the series ONE TOUCH OF SCANDAL and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’d also had on the TBR pile for far too long Liz’s debut historical romance, MY FALSE HEART. All of Liz’s books feature characters from a complicated and extended family based around the devilish and dangerous Marquis of Rannoch. It was an absolute treat to read about him falling in love, very much against his best instincts, with beautiful artist Evangeline Stone.
I won’t say too much more. I’m featuring MY FALSE HEART in my Second Helping review at the Romance Dish in March. But if you see MY FALSE HEART and you haven’t read it, grab it with both hands and don’t let go.
In between all these historicals, I read a stack of Dick Francis books.Do you know him? My friend Medical author Sharon Archer who modeled the SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED tote bag so beautifully for my most recent website contest recommended him.
He writes thrillers based around the racing industry – Dick Francis was a famous jockey and rode a number of winners for the Queen before he retired to become a bestselling author. I’m writing a piece on how much I enjoy these books for February’s My Favorite Things on my website.
Hmm, whatever else I did, I got material for blogging from my Christmas binge!
So did you attack the TBR pile over Christmas or merely nibble around the edges of it? Any luscious historicals you’d like to recommend? Have you read any of the ones that definitely brightened my Christmas break? What did you think?
Posted by Christina Brooke Jun 11 2012, 12:33 am in A Duchess to Remember, Christina Brooke, contest, Jenny Crusie, Liz Carlyle, Meredith Duran, Stephanie Plum, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, titles
I know, I know, this is a totally self-serving post, but what the heck. Inquiring minds want to know! Specifically, my inquiring mind wants to know…
I have a new three book series contracted for St. Martin’s Press (yay, the Westruther men!) and I’m trying to think of a series title as well as titles for each of the three books. Now, I won’t go into those here, but it got me wondering about all you Bandita Buddies out there.
What do you like in a book title?
For me, the ideal title fits the story in both mood and subject matter. It should be intriguing or funny but hopefully not twee. It should be snappy, easy to remember, easy to say. I write fairly sexy books (and this next series will be the hottest yet), so ideally there should be a sexy element to these titles, too.
It should also distinguish this book from the others in the series. I often have trouble connecting a generic title with a particular book and then I get mixed up about whether I’ve read it before. I have often bought the same book twice because of that and kicked myself afterwards.
Some publishers and authors have been clever enough to market series with the number of the book in the title–notably the Stephanie Plum series–ONE FOR THE MONEY and so on. You always know which book you’re up to with Stephanie.
Liz Carlyle is the first historical author I can recall using that idea with ONE LITTLE SIN, TWO LITTLE LIES, and THREE LITTLE SECRETS and Mary Balogh cleverly titled one of her series FIRST COMES MARRIAGE, THEN COMES SEDUCTION and AT LAST COMES LOVE.
Then there are all the ‘like a song/movie/book/play’ titles, for instance, Julia Quinn used James Bond titles in her wonderful Bridgerton series, Susan Elizabeth Phillips uses a lot of songs. My HEIRESS IN LOVE (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE) and the forthcoming A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER (AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER) are from movies (my editor chose them, by the way, while I came up with MAD ABOUT THE EARL. Eloisa James used Shakespearean plays–PLEASURE FOR PLEASURE from MEASURE FOR MEASURE and so on.
For historical novels particularly, there are a few ‘buzz’ words that always seem to be popular, like ‘sin’, ‘wicked’, ‘duke’, ‘night’, ‘rake’ and so on. In fact, perhaps my next book should be titled TO SIN WITH A WICKED DUKE, or ONE NIGHT WITH A WICKED RAKE. You think I’m joking, don’t you? I’m not, actually. A title is a sales tool and no doubt those titles would sell well, as many others like them have done.
I like witty titles and plays on words, and I also like sensual sounding titles, like Meredith Duran’s BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH and WRITTEN ON YOUR SKIN. I also love Jenny Crusie’s titles because it’s almost like one of her characters is talking. ANYONE BUT YOU, MAYBE THIS TIME, DON’T LOOK DOWN. Her unique voice is right there in the title.
So today, for a chance to win my (thankfully) already titled A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER (out June 26), please come up with a title for a Regency historical romance. It can be as over the top as you like! Or if you’re not feeling creative, please tell me the titles you love or titles that made you pick up a book from the shelf!
Posted by Anna Campbell Jan 10 2009, 5:10 am in Amy Andrews, Anna Campbell, Kelly Hunter, Liz Carlyle, Madeline Hunter, Rachel Gibson, reading, tbr
by Anna Campbell
As many of you know, my third book TEMPT THE DEVIL was released about ten days ago and I’m on a major blog tour to talk about it (if you ever want to know where I’ll be, please check out latest news on my website). So I thought today it might be nice to talk about some books that are NOT by Anna Campbell!
For months I’ve been promising myself a few days of sloth between Christmas and New Year. It’s an Australian tradition. The Boxing Day Cricket Test Match is on (as I write this, things aren’t going too well for the Aussies with the South Africans really tanning our hides. If we lose this match, it means we’ve lost the series and it’s the first series the Aussies have lost on home ground in 15 years. Ouch!). People are busy playing with Christmas presents and eating Christmas leftovers and it’s hot and perfect pool or beach weather. Well, as long as you have your sunscreen with you!
It’s also a perfect time of year for reading!
I’ve been attacking the huge To Be Read Pile. And while I’m far from conquering it, I have made some inroads. Books I’ve enjoyed in the last few weeks include PLAYING FOR THE ASHES by Elizabeth George (an Inspector Lynley book), THE LACE READER by Brunonia Barry, THE KISS by Sophia Nash, THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW by Denise Rossetti and QUEEN OF DRAGONS by Shana Abe.
I’ve picked out five books to talk about in a bit more detail. All were an absolute pleasure to read. So if you’re looking for some recommendations to fill a few hours’ reading time, look no further!
The book whose cover features at the head of this blog, NEVER ROMANCE A RAKE by Liz Carlyle, is a fantastic, intense historical romance with a ton of emotional punch. It’s also got Liz’s trademark wit and passion – seriously the love scenes in this are HAWT! One of the most compelling heroes I’ve read for a long time too. I picked this up yesterday and didn’t put it down until I finished it. Highly recommended!
Amy Andrews who’s a Bandita regular (when she’s not breaking her arm to avoid us!) writes really emotional, heartfelt Medical romance for Harlequin. I’ve had her THE ITALIAN COUNT’S BABY on my TBR pile for a long time. Sorry, Amy! It’s been one of those years and I knew once I started this book, I wouldn’t want to stop. What an absolutely lovely story about an unlikely love between two damaged people. And as a bonus, there’s a stack of wonderful, drool-making descriptions of scenery on the Amalfi Coast, courtesy of Amy’s recent visit. The great news for American readers is that this book was chosen as a special Presents Extra release in the United States and you can order it from Amazon (just click on the cover). Generally, Harlequin Medicals aren’t available in the U.S. but this one is! Huzzah!
A book that’s been in the TBR pile since I went to the RWA conference in San Francisco in July is Rachel Gibson‘s TRUE CONFESSIONS. This won the RITA for best contemporary romance back in 2001 and it’s now been reissued in the Avon A line. What a charming, funny, gorgeous romance! It’s a fish out of water story (love that theme!) where a big city girl who writes tabloid stories about aliens kidnapping tourists and Elvis living in the Bermuda Triangle heads off to the wilds of Idaho for six months when her life in L.A. heads for the rocks. The hero, sexy local sheriff Dylan, is absolutely to die for and the story will have you laughing out loud as our heroine Hope runs into stranger creatures in the small town than she ever created out of her fevered imagination.
The next book is a delicious treat by Kelly Hunter who I recently hosted as my guest here on the Bandits. You all loved her and absolutely reveled in her dry as dust sense of humor. Her PLAYBOY BOSS, LIVE-IN MISTRESS is on the surface as light and luscious as chocolate mousse. There’s her trademark snappy dialogue and quirky characters. But underneath that sparkling veneer, this story packs a lot of emotional punch. It’s about taking a chance on love and letting go of old tragedy. I’m sure this book will come out in America before too long but as yet, there’s no confirmed date. However, the Book Depository in the UK will post books anywhere in the world without charging postage. It’s a great deal and even with the exchange rate, it makes it worthwhile checking for things that aren’t readily available in the North American market. You can order Kelly’s book here: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/showbook.php?id=0263863913
As a lot of you know, I’m a huge fan of Madeline Hunter. I’ve loved her work ever since Isolde Martyn from my Sydney crit group brought home an ARC of Madeline’s debut BY ARRANGEMENT from the Washington conference back in 2000. I think Madeline’s such a smart, elegant writer and I love the way she creates unusual, compelling characters. Her first books are medievals but over recent years she’s moved to the Regency. SECRETS OF SURRENDER is the third in her series based around the aristocratic Rothwell Brothers and their associates. The second book LESSONS OF DESIRE was a very deserving RITA winner this year in the Long Historical category. SECRETS OF SURRENDER has all the hallmarks of Madeline’s style – smart, offbeat characters (I particularly enjoyed the self-made hero), a plot grounded in real life elements of the Regency, an intelligent, rebellious, headstrong heroine, sizzling sexual tension. Can’t wait now for the last in the series, THE SINS OF LORD EASTERBROOK which is out in February!
So let’s talk books! What have you read over the Holidays? Have you discovered any great authors in 2008? What were your favorite books of the year?
Posted by Caren Crane Jul 22 2008, 4:01 am in Caren Crane, Literacy Autographing, Liz Carlyle, Never Romance a Rake
by Caren Crane
Some of you may have heard me boast about–er, mention–that one of my dear friends is none other than the elusive and seldom-seen-in-cyberspace Liz Carlyle. Liz is the NY Times best-selling author of dark, hot Regency romances. I am thrilled to have Liz guesting with us today. All I had to do to secure this visit was tackle her in the Whole Foods parking lot and hold her organic kumquats hostage until she agreed! *ahem*
Welcome to the Bandits’ Lair, Liz!
Thank you, Banditas! It’s a pleasure to be in the saddle with you today. (Should I have worn a mask? A kerchief over my face? Just wasn’t sure of bandit etiquette here . . . )
Never worry about your attire. Should you require a mask, Donna has extras. For now, we’ll spend time gazing at you adoringly. (gazes adoringly) Such fun to have you here today! Coincidentally, today is the release date of the latest in your Never series, Never Romance a Rake, isn’t it? (blinks innocently)
Yes, Bandita Caren! Coincidentally, it is. Wonder how that happened?
I cannot discuss my powers of Amazon…er, divination. *ahem* Anyway, I gobbled up Never Lie To a Lady and Never Deceive a Duke. The hero of Never Romance a Rake , much to my delight, is Baron Rothewell . I and all your other slavering fans have waited a year for Rothewell’s story. A long year. What can you tell us about his book?
Well, I can tell you that if you think the book was a long time coming out, you should have seen me writing it. (Oops, actually, you pretty much did, didn’t you?) As my dearest friends know–having observed the gnashing of my teeth these many months–this book was hard sledding. Rothewell was such an intriguing character to so many readers and, well, let’s face it–a bit of an asshole. So redeeming him was a challenge, as was writing the sort of book he deserved. Because, you see, an author’s characters are her children, and she knows the good in them, even when others cannot see it. I knew there was a tender heart this dark, hulking, hard-drinking, mean-tempered man–I just had to find it, sober him up, slap him around, then convey him on the page to my readers. Without totally wussifying him, of course.
Inquiring minds simply must know. What sort of woman could possibly tame such a beast as the luscious…er, dark and dangerous Rothewell?
A woman with a whip and a chair? Seriously, this girl is intense and–in her own way–a little ruthless. That, to me, was what it was going to bring the old boy around. I know conventional wisdom tells us opposites attract, but in Camille Marchand, I found myself with a heroine who really could go toe-to-toe with Lord Rothewell. She was not afraid of him. And from the very first, he is taken aback by her, and almost as quickly smitten. She makes him work for it, though. I really thought he needed to be punished for his wicked ways. I wanted him on his knees, and Camille got the job done. Of course that blade cuts both ways . . .
Oh, my! It sounds like the beginning of another stormy, lightning-hot romance. I don’t suppose you are selling tickets to the Rothewell taming? What’s that? I have to read the book? Well, if I must. Camille comes across as an exotic and definitely not British woman. She isn’t alone in that. You have had a number of non-British characters in your novels. What made you decide to include these more exotic characters in your novels?
I like the contrast of two people from slightly different cultures, with different languages. As an author, right off the bat, you’ve got your “fish out of water” element to play with. And there’s nothing sexier than a whispered endearment in a foreign language–especially French or Italian. I think, too, that society was very fluid, even then. There was a good deal of travel between countries (depending upon what war was going on where) and it was a hallmark of an educated mind to have traveled, or at least to have a passing knowledge of another culture, especially French.
Right now I’m working on my next hero who is a little bit Spanish, a little bit Gypsy–maybe a little Sicilian thrown in for good measure. Even he isn’t sure of his heritage–a mongrel, he calls himself–and I must say, I’m having a great time with him so far.
I am certainly looking forward to that hero. (Sorry, my “Gypsy/Sicilian man” picture didn’t look very historical. Oopsie!) I love endearments whispered in foreign languages. (clears throat) So, we have a bad boy hero coming out TODAY and this fascinating hero of unknown origin coming out next year. In the meantime, you will be at the Literacy Autographing in San Francisco at the RWA Conference. Yippee! We are looking forward to that. What are you looking forward to in San Francisco, Liz?
Going home. Yes, as all my friends know, I am the ultimate homebody. You have to blow me out of the house with dynamite.
Ok, seriously. I’m looking forward to hanging out with my pals–especially you, Bandita Caren–and just chilling. I have tried to keep planning to an absolute minimum this year so I can be–gasp!– spontaneous. Also, I really enjoy the literacy signing–I love to meet readers and fellow writers, and it’s for a very good cause.
Spontaneity, you say? I’ll believe it when I see it. (Note to self: pack dynamite to blast Liz out of hotel room.) But, dear readers, any of you in the San Francisco area (or those of you at Conference) should plan to stop by the Literacy Autographing to meet Liz in actual, real live person!
Oh, Liz, before you crawl back into your cave, is there anything you would like to ask our Bandita Buddies today?
Yes, Bandita Caren, I would like to pick the learned brains of your esteemed Banditaship. How do the Banditas like their historicals nowadays? How hot is too hot to be appropriate in today’s historical (non-erotica) market? Does sex play and light bondage seem out of place? I’ve got a difficult hero and heroine on my hands here, and they seem to require some discipline, but I’m not sure I’m ready to play the kinky card yet. I’ll do it only if the characters warrant it, not just to throw in gratuitous kinky-ness. So…think it will be a wallbanger? Will they strip me of my Historical Author Tiara for this?
Let Liz know what you think and you will be entered in a drawing to win an autographed copy of Never Romance a Rake!
Posted by Susan Sey Jul 1 2008, 4:05 am in coming attractions, Deb Werksman, Jo Davis, Liz Carlyle, Patricia Rice, Sherrilyn Kenyon
Welcome to another month of the Romance Bandits’ usual works of staggering genius! In addition to our usual lineup of vastly amusing & edifying blogs, we’ve also scheduled scads of fabulous interviews & guest bloggers this month. Please join us in welcoming the following folks to the Lair!
July 2: Cassondra Murray reports on her chat with the amazing Sherrilyn Kenyon! And it’s rumored that Dianna Love Snell may swing by the Lair as well…
July 7: Terri Garey is in the Lairy (sorry, couldn’t help it. It rhymed.) Courtesy of Beth Andrews! Terri, a double RITA finalist, takes a lighthearted look at the dark side with her fabulous series about Nicki Styx, a former Goth girlwho becomes an unwilling ghoulfriend to the dead. Her most recent release, A Match Made In Hell is currently available.
July 16: Nancy Northcott brings us Patricia Rice. They’ll chat about her 45th (!) book, a paranormal historical called Mystic Rider. Patricia’s a bestseller, a multiple RT award winner (as well as other awards) and a 3-time RITA nominee.
July 17th: Aunt Cindy (aka Loucinda McGary) will chat with Deb Werksman, her fabulous editor at Sourcebooks!
July 21: Suzanne Welsh hosts the fiery Jo Davis!
July 22nd: Caren Crane chats with the elusive Liz Carlyle! Those of you who are fans of Ms. Carlyle’s NYT-bestselling dark, steamy historical romances may realize she is rather a hermit and creeps out only under duress. Caren, it is reported, jumped her as she left Whole Foods and sat on her organic kumquats until she agreed to appear in the Lair. In addition to being, you know, HERE, she may also talk about her much-anticipated July release Never Romance a Rake. Oh, my!
Now as many of you know, RWA is hosting its annual conference in San Francisco this year, July 30 – August 2. Many of the Romance Bandits will be there, which means you in the Lair will have a front row seat as we stalk editors, agents & our favorite authors in their natural habitats. During this time, we may find ourselves temporarily unable to create your traditional, well-thought-out & properly punctuated blogs, complete with lovely photos. In its place, however, we’ll do our absolute best to supply you all with breaking news, delicious gossip & incriminating photos. Bookmark this page & stay tuned…