Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Aug 30 2014, 11:45 pm in Becke, books, Giveaway, Jo Davis, Lorraine Heath, Maureen, prizes, Sally, Suzanne Ferrell
We’ve got lots of Bandit Booty to give away from the old Lair “Treasure Chest” today!
The winners of a signed copy of WHEN THE DUKE WAS WICKED, the first book in Lorraine Heath’s new series, and a surprise book of Lorraine’s choice are: BECKE and SALLY SCHMIDT!! CONGRATULATIONS, ladies!
The winner of a signed print copy of Jo Davis’ new Sugarland Blue series book IN HIS SIGHTS is MAUREEN!! CONGRATULATIONS!!
Please email me your snail mail addresses at suzanne AT suzanneferrell.com and I’ll see both authors get you your prizes ASAP!
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Aug 21 2014, 12:19 am in Goldie Hawn, historical romance, Kurt Russell, Lorraine Heath, Overboard, Suzanne Ferrell, Victorian England
Hello, Banditas and Bandit buddies! It’s so lovely to be visiting with you again. It’s always a treat and I can’t thank Suzanne Ferrell enough for the invitation. Since Suz is busy playing grandma and I’m in the midst of revisions, Grace, the Duchess of Lovingdon (from WHEN THE DUKE WAS WICKED) has consented to interview the characters in my upcoming release, ONCE MORE, MY DARLING ROGUE. So, Grace, take it away…
Thank you ever so much, Lorraine and Suz, for allowing me this opportunity. I am more than qualified to get to the heart of the matter with these characters as Drake Darling, the hero of the tale, was raised within the bosom of my family. And Lady Ophelia is, in today’s terms, my BFF. We’ve known each other forever. Before I place them both on the hot seat, I wish to tell you a little bit about them.
When Drake first came to live with my family, I was not yet born but I have heard his tale. He was an orphan who went by the name of Peter Sykes. My mother had a rather nasty encounter with his parents, but she has always been a generous soul and did not hold the actions of Peter’s parents against him. When his mother was murdered and his father hanged, she took him in. After my mother married the Duke of Greystone, Peter adopted her maiden name of Darling. My father has a fascination with dragons, which he passed on to Peter. When Peter learned of the constellation Draco, a formation of stars that etched a dragon in the night sky, he began calling himself Drake. And so it was that by the time his story was told, he was known as Drake Darling. Although he traveled the world with my family, he never quite forgot his origins. Eventually he was employed at Dodger’s Drawing Room and quickly moved up to become its overseer.
My dear friend, Lady Ophelia Littleton, had lost both her parents and was living with her brother, the Earl of Somerdale. Her father had established a trust for her that would serve as her dowry. If she had not wed by the time she reached her thirtieth year, the trust and all its funds would be turned over to her. Although she flirted with gentlemen, she had no wish to marry. I did not quite understand that. Nor did I understand why she snubbed Drake at every turn. I suspected it was because she was drawn to him, and the notion that she might want someone who had come from the streets appalled her. As much as I treasured her friendship, I must admit that she was a bit of a … how shall I put this politely? A snob.
I’m not proud of the fact that I found it fascinating to watch the two of them cast sly insults at each other. I always suspected that Drake was holding back. It is not in his nature to be cruel. Ophelia, on the other hand, sometimes seemed to be someone else entirely.
So there you have it. What I know of them. I suspect there is a good bit I do not. Let’s see what they are willing to share.
Grace: Ophelia, with your dowry, you could have any lord in the kingdom. Yet no one seems to have caught your fancy.
Ophelia: I am extremely particular. He must be of noble birth, not in need of my dowry, as handsome as Apollo, as powerful as Zeus, as strong as Hercules. He must be dashing, kind, gentle, above reproach, with no sins to his name.
G: Even my dear husband, the Duke of Lovingdon, would not meet your criteria.
O: I am quite aware that I want what does not exist.
G: Do you not fear loneliness as you advance in years?
O: I fear choosing poorly, as my dear aunt did, so I prefer not to choose at all. What is shown to the world is not always the true heart of a man.
G: I couldn’t agree more. But sometimes what we hide is what makes us vulnerable. You are my dearest friend. I know you are hiding something. Will you not share it?
O: I do not like the one you refer to as your brother.
G: (laughing) That is no secret. What is it specifically that you don’t like about him?
O: He makes me contemplate the pleasure that might be found in the forbidden, makes me wish for things I shouldn’t.
G: You are drawn to him then?
O: Quite the opposite. He repulses me.
G: Has he ever been unkind to you?
O: Of course not. It is part of his façade. The kinder a man is, the deeper his cruelty runs.
G: That is not true of Drake.
O: Trust me when I tell you that he is capable of doing things you would never expect.
I have to admit to being quite troubled by my dear friend’s cynicism and perception of Drake. I could not love him more if we carried the same blood.
Grace: Drake, brother of my heart, you recently purchased a residence. You live there alone, no servants whatsoever. Why the Spartan existence?
Drake: I have recently acquired a servant. I found her drifting in the Thames, and decided to give her a place as long as she earns her keep.
G: I was not aware.
D: I’m keeping her secret for now—until I unravel how she ended up in the Thames. She is part of the aristocracy and yet no one seems to have noticed that she has gone missing.
G: Would I know her?
D: I do not think so. Even I am hard pressed to admit that I have met her before. She is quite different in unfamiliar surroundings. Fetching, interesting, enticing.
G: It sounds as though you are smitten.
D: Absolutely not.
G: Not even a little?
D: Perhaps a little.
G: Can she not tell you how she came to be in the Thames?
D: Her first memory is awakening in my bed. She recalls nothing before that.
G: How unfortunate for her.
D: But very fortunate for me. And I think in the end, extremely fortunate for her.
G: Do tell.
He merely smiles, but with that smile he has spoken volumes. I look quite forward to meeting this woman who I believe has the ability to tame him. Or is it she who will be tamed?
Back to Lorraine.
Thank you, Grace, for giving us a little peek at these characters. As you all may have figured out, this story is OVERBOARD meets Victorian London. OVERBOARD is a go-to for me when I just want to feel good. The chemistry between Kirk Russell and Goldie Hawn is terrific. Of course, I don’t write romantic comedy so my tale is a little darker and edgier but I had a lot of fun writing it. What is your favorite feel good movie or a movie would you like to see transported to Victorian London?
I will give a signed copy of WHEN THE DUKE WAS WICKED, the first book in this series, and a surprise book of my choice to 2 lucky posters.
Posted by Anna Campbell Aug 1 2014, 12:01 am in Anna Campbell, coming attractions, Guests, Jesse Hayworth, Jo Davis, Kim Law, Lorraine Heath, Melanie Scott, Sandra Owens, Tawny Weber
Anyone a Neil Diamond fan? There was a stage in my teenage life when I thought he was the bee’s knees and I wished my name was Caroline!
Wow, August is jumping in the lair! I hardly know where to look there’s so much good stuff happening. Here’s a list of the guests who will be lighting up the lair and of special events for your entertainment! Rosie will be cracklin’ all right!
On August 5, Nancy welcomes Jesse Hayworth to talk about the latest Mustang Ridge romance, HARVEST AT MUSTANG RIDGE. Jesse will tell us about the challenges and the fun of writing a reunion of exes.
On Thursday, 14th August, we have one of Tawny Weber’s infamous launch parties in the lair! Yahoo! In anticipation of her September release, A SEAL’s Fantasy, Tawny’s Sexy SEALs are getting their own boxed set! On August 12th, the first four books in her Sexy SEAL series will be hitting digital shelves everywhere. You can check them out at http://tawnyweber.com/sexy-seals
Contemporary romance author Kim Law will be in the Lair Aug. 18 to celebrate the release of her latest title, SPRINKLES ON TOP.
On Wednesday, 20th August, I’m hosting Sandra Owens who will be talking about her first K2 Special Services book from Montlake, CRAZY FOR HER. You know how we love Navy SEALS in the lair!
Phew! I told you we had a lot going on in the lair this August!
On Thursday, 21st August, lair favorite Lorraine Heath returns to talk about her latest, ONCE MORE, MY DARLING ROGUE. A gambling house overseer seeks to bring an aristocratic lady to heel by convincing her that she is his servant when he rescues her from the Thames and discovers she has no memory of him or the numerous times she publicly snubbed him. Sounds delicious!
On Wednesday, 27th August, author Jo Davis stops by to chat with Suz about her newest Sugarland Blue book, IN HIS SIGHTS. When a dangerous criminal targets those whom Sugarland detective Chris Ford holds dear, nothing will stop him from hunting down his man.…
On Saturday, 30th August, Christina Brooke hosts the lovely Melanie Scott, whose New York Saints series is about to take the romance world by storm. Mel will be chatting about her first book in the series, THE DEVIL IN DENIM! Love that cover!
Because I have a new release at the end of August, I’m doing a big international giveaway on my website. There are FIVE chances to win a signed copy of WHAT A DUKE DARES (Sons of Sin 3). Just read the excerpt on my site and tell me the name of the Scottish captain of Cam’s yacht the Windhover (here’s the link to the excerpt). Then email me on anna @ annacampbell.info (no spaces) with your answer. Contest closes 31st August 2014.
Are you old enough to remember the 70s? Do you have a favorite artist from back then? Were you another Neil Diamond fan? If you don’t remember the 70s,what’s your earliest musical memory?
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Apr 28 2013, 12:33 am in historical romances, Lorraine Heath, Suzanne Ferrell, The Lord of Wicked Intentions, The Lost Lords of Pembrook
Dear readers, I have a treat for y’all today! One of the Lair’s favorite guests and my friend, NYT Bestselling author Lorraine Heath. As many of you know, Lorraine delivers not only some of the best historical romances worth spending an evening falling into, but she brings us some of the most delicious and often wickedly sinful heroes. This time, she’s giving us more insight to her newest hero in the last book in the Lords Of Pembrook series, Lord Rafe Easton, THE LORD OF WICKED INTENTIONS.
Close your eyes. You’re standing in a quiet alcove just behind the thick velvet drapes of an opulent room inside the estate of the new Earl of Wortham. You must be quiet so no one knows you’re here and this is the conversation you hear:
Lord Rafe Easton as Interviewed by Miss Evelyn Chambers
Miss Evelyn Chambers, illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Wortham, has been sheltered her entire life—until her father dies and his heir decides to set her up as some lord’s mistress. The night that he introduces her to several lords in his library, she is under the mistaken impression that he is seeking to find her a titled man to marry. Her first encounter with Lord Rafe Easton goes like this:
“I don’t believe we’ve spoken,” she finally said.
“May I inquire regarding your name? The other gentlemen were kind enough to introduce themselves.”
“But then I am not kind.”
Two tiny pleats appeared between her brows. “Why would you say something of that nature?”
“Because I am honest, at least.”
“But surely you have a name. Is it a secret? You steal children from their beds? Rumpelstiltskin perhaps? I would be hard-pressed to see you as Prince Charming.”
Fairytales. She’d been brought up on fairytales, and she seemed to have no awareness that she was wading through a nest of ogres.
“Come. It can’t be that horrible of a name. I’d like to call you something.”
He considered suggesting Beelzebub, something to unsettle her, send her scurrying away, but for reasons he couldn’t fathom, he simply said, “Rafe.”
“Rafe,” she repeated in her smoky voice and a fierce longing fissured through him with an almost painful prickling. “Is that your title?”
“Are you titled?”
Perhaps she wasn’t as innocent as he’d surmised. She wanted to ensure that she was well cared for, was going to be particular about whose bed she warmed. He supposed he couldn’t hold that against her. She was on the hunt for a man to please, one who would serve as her protector. She had a right to be particular.
“No,” he finally answered.
“I see you’re a man of few words.” She gnawed on her lower lip which served to plump it up and darken its red hue. He wondered how often she’d been kissed. Had she ever let a man press his mouth to hers? Had a man ever touched her skin, trailed his fingers along her high cheekbones, folded his rough hand around her neck, and brought her in close?
“What are your interests?” she asked.
“None that would amuse you.”
“You might be surprised.”
“I doubt it. I’m a rather good judge of character.”
“A quick judge it would seem. I’m left with the impression that you don’t think very highly of me.”
He slid his gaze over her, admiring the curves, the dips, and swells. He couldn’t deny that she was a fine piece, but she would require a certain … gentleness and care, neither of which was in his repertoire of behavior. “I’ve not yet decided.”
“Unfortunately, I have, I’m afraid. I don’t believe we’d be well suited. I hope you won’t take offense.”
“I would have to give a care what you thought to be offended. I don’t.”
She opened her mouth—
“Evelyn, you’re done here,” Wortham said as he grabbed her arm and began madly ushering her toward the door.
Now, we are giving Miss Chambers an opportunity to finish that conversation and pepper Rafe with questions to her heart’s content.
Evelyn: You are quite possibly the rudest gentleman I’ve ever met.
Rafe: And how many have you met?
E: I’m the one who’s been given leave to ask the questions here. Tell me, why are you sitting alone in this corner while all the other gentlemen are standing about and conversing with each other?
R: They are all tedious and boring. I have no interest in their conversations.
E: So you prefer solitude to friendship?
R: I prefer to be left alone.
R: Fewer disappointments.
E: You never disappoint yourself?
R: Let’s not go there.
E: Have you ever loved?
R: When I was little . . . I loved my older brothers.
E: How did they die?
R: What makes you think they’re dead?
E: Your use of the past tense. Are they not dead, then?
R: They are very much alive, but I have little to do with them.
R: You make the most boring inquiries.
E: What should I be asking then?
R: How many times will I kiss you before I take you to my bed?
E: <chuckles> Dear sir, I need not ask questions to which I already know the answer. None. You shall never kiss me and you shall never take me to your bed.
R: Oh, I think I shall do both—many times in fact.
E: Think what you will.
R: Oh, I intend to. You should also know, sweetheart, that I always acquire that which I desire.
E: <His smoldering gaze roaming over me causes my heart to pound.> Please don’t take offense, but I don’t desire you.
R: At this particular moment, probably not. But in time . . . trust me, you will.
Evelyn has decided to provoke him no further with questions. Perhaps he will forget about her if she goes on her way.
What questions would you like to ask them?
An autographed (or-ebook, winners choice) set of the 1st two novels in the Lost Lords of Pembrook series—SHE TEMPTS THE DUKE and LORD OF TEMPTATION—will be given to one lucky poster today.
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Jan 31 2012, 12:09 am in Crimean War, historical romances, Lorraine Heath, She Tempts the Devil, Suzanne Ferrell, The Lost Lords of Pembrooke
Once again Banditas and Bandit Buddies, we have our dear friend, Lorraine Heath, in the house. She’s talking with us about her new series, The Lost Lords of Pembrooke.
Welcome to the new Bandit Lair, Lorraine. Pull up a chair and we’ll have Paolo serve some wine.
Suz: One of the question authors get asked is where do you get your ideas. (My reply is usually, ” from the big book of story ideas,” but only to my coworkers.) But I am fascinated in how you came up with this series. Can you share that process with us?
Lorraine: I’ve always been intrigued by the story of the princes in the tower. For those not familiar with the story, Richard III had his brother’s sons, heirs to the throne, declared illegitimate by an act of Parliament so he could be crowned king. The boys were last seen in the Tower of London. Because they disappeared, it was always assumed they were murdered. Almost 200 years later when the tower was having some renovations, one of the workers discovered a wooden box beneath a set of stairs. Inside were the bones of children, believed to be the remains of the princes. Were they murdered? Did they fall ill? What happened to them?
That became the premise for the Lost Lords of Pembrook. When their father—the Duke of Keswick—dies, they disappear. What happened to them? Rumors abound that they ran off, were eaten by wolves, died of disease. Twelve years later three men—roughened by war, the sea, and the streets—return to London to reclaim their heritage.
Suz: You usually write such tortured heroes, that I easily fall for. Do you think your stories are more hero or heroine driven?
Lorraine: Definitely hero-driven. I always see my stories as belonging to the heroes. It’s always Luke’s story, or Rafe’s, or Tristan’s. Or Jake’s. From the beginning, it’s always been the heroes who most intrigue me.
Suz: When I told a friend I was getting to read She Tempts the Duke, she asked, “How was it?” I told her it was classic Lorraine Heath. If you could describe that, what would be classic Lorraine Heath books to your readers?
Lorraine: Oh, that’s a tough one. I’ve always tried to do two things with my stories: make the reader smile and at some point, bring a tear to her eye. I like for my stories to run the gamut of emotions, but ultimately I want the reader to turn the final page with a sense of satisfaction that these characters belong together and deserve their HEA.
Suz: She Tempts the Duke is the first book in this new series. Can you tell us about Sebastian and Mary’s relationship?
Lorraine: Sebastian and Mary grew up on neighboring estates and she was pretty much as much of a hellion as he was—challenging him to climb trees and walls. He was 14, she was 12 when his uncle locked him in the tower and she dared to help the brothers escape. While they were too young to know an adult love, they still cared deeply for each other. In the years he was away, whenever Sebastian thought of Mary, he always saw her as the childhood friend so when he sees her again, he’s quite shocked to realize she’s grown into a lovely woman. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that she still challenges him.
- famous painting of The Charge of The Light Brigade by R. Caton Woodville
Suz: Sebastian served in the army during the Crimean war. When he returns to England what kinds of scars does he carry with him?
Lorraine: He lost a good bit of his face to shrapnel wounds, but I think it’s his hidden scars that are worse and those scars began forming the night that he and his brothers escaped. As the eldest and the heir apparent, he was the one his brothers turned to and trusted to make the right decision. He thought they should be separated. He left Rafe, who was 10, at a workhouse—crying not to be left behind. He sold Tristan to a ship captain to gain money so he could purchase a commission in the army. Leaving Tristan was harder because Tristan is his twin and he said not a word. (That parting is revealed in my October release, Lord of Temptation, when I share Tristan’s story.) When he is reunited with his brothers and sees the men they’ve become and begins to understand what their lives were like because of his decision, the inner wounds are reopened and he has to find a way to heal.
Suz: Would you say She Tempts the Duke is your version of beauty and the beast?
Lorraine: Oh, I would definitely consider this a B&B story. But it’s more than his scars that make him a beast. He’s closed off his heart; he’s bent on revenge to the elimination of anything else in his life. He’s obsessed with reclaiming Pembrook. He’ll have to realize that Pembrook isn’t nearly as important as Mary.
Suz: Which brother is next to have his story told?
Lorraine: Tristan is next. He’s a fun character because unlike his brothers, he managed to hold onto his sense of humor—but he also hides behind it. He gives the impression that he’s not bothered by anything, but in truth he cares very deeply.
Now a question for the readers. Beauty and the Beast isn’t a new storyline, but I’ve always felt that it was timeless. What are some of your favorite romances that uses the B&B storyline? Two of mine are To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt and Shadow Fires by Catherine Spangler.
Lorraine is offering a $20 amazon or BN gift card to one lucky commenter
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Oct 4 2010, 4:20 am in historical romance, Lorraine Heath, NYT bestseller
Interview with Suz
One of the great parts of being a Romance Bandit is the fun of introducing our friends and readers to new authors, or in this case, a new series by a very much loved author. NYT Bestselling author, Lorraine Heath has been a good friend and great guest to the Bandits since our very first year on the blog. We’ve traveled into the world of Dickens’ grown up street children in her Scoundrels of St. James series with her. Now she’s turned her wonderful story telling to a trio of brothers known as London’s Greatest Lovers series. And lucky us, the first two books are coming out in November and December!
Suz: Welcome back to the Lair, Lorraine. It’s always a pleasure to have you with us. Can you explain the premise behind this new series?
Lorraine: I love writing stories about brothers, but one of the challenges in writing English-set stories is that we usually have only one brother who inherits the title, so I thought it would be fun to have a family where two of the brothers would inherit titles and that the youngest would actually hold the most prestigious title. To tie them all together is their scandalous mother.
Suz: In the PASSIONS Of A WICKED EARL, we meet Morgan, the Earl of Westcliff. Despite already being married, he’s cutting a wide path through London’s ladies. Why?
Lorraine: On his wedding night, he was betrayed by his new wife and younger brother-the untitled Stephen. Stephen has always resented that he won’t inherit a title. Westcliffe has always felt abandoned by their mother because it was obvious she loved Stephen more. So there is a little sibling rivalry going on there. Westcliffe’s experience with love, however, has made it difficult for him to accept or give love. He holds himself apart to spare himself pain. Therefore, Claire doesn’t really know him-other than his reputation in the bedchamber-and she’s rather terrified of him. She and Stephen have always been friends so she turns to Stephen for comfort and that creates a mess for them all.
Suz: Claire is Westcliff’s wife. She made a mistake years ago and now needs to find a way to deal with her errant husband. Why?
Lorraine: She’s matured. She’s no longer a naïve, foolish girl, and she wants to step up and be a true wife to her husband. But he has decided he no longer wants her. Rather than face the scandal of being set aside, she decides to put her efforts into making him desire her. In doing so, she comes to know the man he hides from everyone and falls deeply in love with him.
Suz: One of my favorite parts of reading a Lorraine Heath novel is the depth in which you take the reader into the pathos behind the heroes/heroines lives. How are you able to make Westcliffe a man worthy of finding love and Claire a woman able to teach him about love?
Lorraine: Magic…? You know, I love delving into characters’ personalities and motivations. Must come from all those hours of psych courses I took in college. I felt like a man who guarded his heart as closely as Westcliffe does would have a wellspring of love to give if he ever trusted someone not to hurt him. Claire knows what it is to love, longs for love. With her initial betrayal of Westcliffe, she comes to understand the power of her actions so she knows she must demonstrate her love, reveal her heart in order to lure him into revealing his heart.
Suz: In the second book coming out in December (November 30 is the exact release date), PLEASURES Of A NOTORIOUS GENTLEMAN we meet the rakish, badboy second brother, Stephen. (Boy do I love a good badboy!) He is heading off to war in the Crimea. Why is he headed to such a dangerous place with few women for him to pursue and how does the war affect him?
Lorraine: When the Crimean War began, people expected it to be over quickly and for Britain to be victorious. For Stephen, it was simply another ad2venture. One sure to involve Russian women. While readers might expect the war to have a significant impact on Stephen, he is wounded and loses two years of memories-so he doesn’t remember fighting, being in a war, being a hero. Therefore, he doubts himself. Was he really a coward? Why else would he not remember what happened?
Suz: Stephen’s tomcatting ways come back to haunt him after his return to England, doesn’t it?
Lorraine: It certainly does. Mercy shows up on his doorstep with a babe in arms-a babe she claims is his. Stephen, doubting there is any goodness in him at all, seeks to prove himself by marrying her. Mercy was one of Miss Nightingale’s nurses. Here is a bit of dichotomy: Stephen desperately wants to remember what happened when he was in the Crimea and Mercy desperately wants to forget what she witnessed there.
Suz: I was rather impressed with the details you gave of the nurses and their roles and duties during the Crimea War. As my friend Anna S. would say, you were “spot-on”. What research, other than channeling Florence Nightingale, did you do to get this right?
Lorraine: I read Mark Bostrich’s biography on Florence Nightingale. It included information on many of the nurses who traveled with F.N. I also read Thin Red Line which had personal accounts from soldiers and what it was like from their end, waiting for medical help. Then, of course, I have a friend who is a nurse and she’s always helpful when I have specific questions. (Wink.)
5,000 British soldiers are buried near the hospital where F.N. worked. It was a horrendous situation. I don’t know that I did it justice and it’s always a challenge when writing a romance novel not to totally depress the reader with the gruesome realities.
Suz: So the third brother is actually the higher on the nobility food-chain, a duke. When is his story coming out and what is it titled? How do you plan to bring him his HEA?
Lorraine: WAKING UP WITH A DUKE will be out in July 2011. Yes, Ainsley is higher up on the nobility ladder. He has always taken his responsibilities so seriously. He’s always acted as though he were the oldest brother, although he’s not. But one night, he is terribly irresponsible and it ruins the lives of his long-time friend and his friend’s wife. His story involves his efforts to make amends. His devotion to duty and responsibility will motivate his actions-and unfortunately plunge them all deeper into hell. ? Getting them all out is proving quite challenging.
Suz: So, there is a recurring love story going on through these books involving the men’s mother and her artist lover, Leo, who I personally think is yummy. Do you have plans for them?
Lorraine:Yes, actually. I had always planned to resolve her story in the third book. Quite honestly, not to ruin anything, I had expected Tessa, the duchess, to end up with the lover of her youth-but like you, Suz, I find Leo so yummy that I’m not quite sure she’s going to be able to toss him aside as easily as I’d originally envisioned.
Which brings me to a question for the bandits and your followers: do you prefer a love story where it’s clear from the beginning who is destined for a HEA or do you prefer to be left guessing which characters come together until the end?
Drawing prize: $20 giftcard to Borders, B&N, or amazon – winner’s choice.
**For those of you who are new to Lorraine, her earlier works, wonderful historicals set in Texas, will be released soon as ebooks. Check out the covers at http://lorraineheath.com/ **
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Oct 28 2009, 6:15 am in Dickens, historical romance, Lorraine Heath, Suzanne Welsh, T-shirts, The Scoundrels of St. James series
by Suzanne Welsh
We love to visit with repeat offenders…er… our favorite return guests, so please pull up a chair, pillow or cabana boy and get comfortable as we welcome NYT bestselling author and my dear friend, Lorraine Heath back in the Lair to discuss her newest release, MIDNIGHT PLEASURES WITH A SCOUNDREL, which just recieved 4 stars from Romantic Times magazine!
Suz: MIDNIGHT PLEASURES WITH A SCOUNDREL is the fourth in your Scoundrels of St. James series. While each is a stand alone book, each one has built upon the first and gives us a glimpse into the lives of Feagan’s kids. In this story we get to see the life of James Swindler, the famed detective of Scotland Yard. (And one of my favorites.) Can you tell us about James and what he brings to the book that’s different from his brothers and sister?
Lorraine: While Luke, Jack, and Frannie were favorites of Feagan’s and spent a good deal of their youth under his care, James was a little bit older when he was brought into the fold and he skirted the edges of Feagan’s world, never really feeling as though he belonged. He never embraced Feagan as the father figure that the others did because he had quite a strong father figure in his childhood, who we catch glimpses of during the telling of his tale. He considered leaving Feagan’s den of thieves, but he’d fallen instantly in love with Frannie and couldn’t bear the thought of never being in her company. Of course, as readers learned in Surrender to the Devil, Frannie was not his destined love.
Here is an introduction to Swindler and how he came to be part of Feagan’s brood:
From the Journal of James Swindler
A darkness hovers inside me. It was born the day I watched my father hanged. A public hanging, with a festive air in the streets, as though I alone understood the loss, as though the object stolen was worth destroying both his life and mine.
I had been born a mere eight years earlier, and with my arrival had come my mother’s parting from this world. So it was that with my father’s death, I became an orphan with nowhere to go and no one to take me in.
Within the jubilant crowd of curious onlookers were two lads who recognized my plight-the tears streaming down my dirty face while others jeered and laughed no doubt telling my story. My father had told me to be strong. He’d even winked at me before they placed the black hood over his head. As though his standing on the gallows were a prank, a bit of good fun, something we would laugh about later.
But it wasn’t a prank, and if my father is laughing now, it is only the devil who hears.
I was not strong that day. But I have shown strength ever since.
The lads comforted me as boys are wont to do: with a slug on the arm and “stiff upper lip, mate.” They invited me to tag along with them. Jack was the older, his swagger one of confidence. Luke was wide-eyed, and I suspected it was the first hanging he’d ever witnessed. As we made our way through the teeming throng, their nimble fingers pilfered many a coin purse and handkerchief.
When darkness descended, they led me through the warren of the rookeries to the door of a kidsman who went by the name of Feagan. He had little use for the likes of me until he’d gathered the precious booty from his workers. Children all. Only one girl among them. A girl with vibrant red hair and gentle green eyes. Her name was Frannie. Once I realized that Jack and Luke had brought me to a den of thievery, I lost all enthusiasm to stay. I had no desire to belong to a place that was certain to lead me straight to the gallows. But I had a stronger desire not to lose sight of the young girl. So I remained.
I became very skilled at ferreting out information, helping to set up swindles. I wasn’t as talented when it came to thievery. I was caught on more than one occasion and took my punishment as my father had taught me-with stoicism and a wink.
As a result, I became far too familiar with the fact that the legal system was not fair, and often innocence was the cost. I began to pay close attention when justice was meted out. Why was one boy given ten lashes for snitching a silk handkerchief while another was transported to a prison colony in New Zealand? How was evidence obtained? How did one determine guilt? More importantly, how did one prove innocence?
In time I began to work secretly for the Metropolitan Police. I did not fear the shadows or the darker side of London. Even when I worked openly for Scotland Yard, I traveled where others had no desire to tread.
I drew comfort in knowing I never arrested an innocent. Depending on the severity of the crime, I often sent the culprit on his way with a mere slap on the wrist and a warning that I was watching, always watching. Of what importance is a stolen bit of silk frippery when a man might have lost his life in the street? I was far more concerned with-and fascinated by-the grisly crimes.
They appealed to the darkness hovering inside me, and so it was that they garnered my ardent attention . . .
And eventually led me to her.
Suz: Mmmm…I love a hero who has his own sense of honor and justice! (See why he’s my favorite?) What kind of heroine did you choose for Swindler? Why?
Lorraine: Ah, you give me far too much credit. I don’t choose the characters; they choose me. For Swindler, I simply saw a particular scene (which readers will probably identify when they read it) and knew that the woman reflected in it belonged to Swindler. She worked for him because her strength was not always readily apparent, but more because neither was her goodness. She was complicated and it took someone with Swindler’s skills at deduction and mystery-solving to figure her out.
Suz: Swindler and Eleanor both know the other isn’t being honest with them, yet without confronting each other on this fact, they still manage to fall in love with the other. Why do you think this worked for them?
Lorraine: Because their hearts were honest with each other. And while each one was deceiving the other in order to gain something, or to further a goal, what they saw in the other person was a soul mate, a kindred spirit. What I loved about this story was the challenge it presented to me as a writer to show that the deceptions were only on the surface while the attraction was true and deep. It couldn’t be ignored, even as each character fought it, knowing that it would in all likelihood lead to his or her downfall.
Suz: In MIDNIGHT PLEASURES James takes the time to show Eleanor the sites of Victorian London. Which was your favorite part of his courtship?
Lorraine: I enjoyed all of his courtship, although my favorite moment wasn’t exactly courtship. It was when he was standing outside in the streets, watching as she brushed her hair in the window. Did she know he was there? Did her seduction begin at that moment? I think perhaps it did. Although I also enjoyed the balloon ascent. Not that I would ever travel through the air in a wicker basket.
Suz: I loved both those scenes, too! There is one member of Feagan’s kids who hasn’t had his story yet, William Graves. Will there be one for him, or is MIDNIGHT PLEASURES the last of the Scoundrel of St. James series?
Lorraine: Unfortunately, William Graves is still a bit of a mystery so when I pitched his story to my editor, it wasn’t very compelling and another group of characters snatched her attention so I’m writing their stories now. However, because the new trilogy is set in the same time period, William Graves will continue to make the occasional appearance (as will the other scoundrels) as I continue to work out his true story. I know that it gets frustrating for readers when a character is left behind, but it’s very difficult to write a story for a character when I don’t know what that character’s story is. James Swindler was much more complicated than I’d imagined but I always knew the most defining moment of his life was when his father was hanged. I’m not yet sure what defined William Graves, although I have begun seeing snatches of his story so I’m hopeful that it won’t be too far in the future.
Suz: What is next for your historicals?
Lorraine: I am writing the stories of three brothers, and I’ll leave it at that for now until I get book 1 finished, except to say that it is another Victorian set series. Because the brothers’ widowed mother was married twice and provided each husband with an heir, the oldest brother is an impoverished earl, the middle brother, as the second son to her first husband, has no title but is a soldier returning from the Crimean War, and the youngest brother is an immensely powerful and wealthy duke. So the hierarchy in the family is slightly skewed, which creates undercurrents for devotion and resentment. It’s a very complicated but intriguing-at least to me-family dynamic. They are extremely competitive and their playing field is the boudoir, where title, wealth, and position have little influence. They are judged solely on their ability to pleasure the ladies, and each has the goal of gaining a reputation as London’s greatest lover. Okay, guess I didn’t leave it at that, did I?
The first 2 books, presently untitled, will be released in October/November 2010.
Also an anthology that I contributed to in 2006, My Heroes Will Always Be Cowboys, was originally released in trade, but will be released in mass market paperback in February. My contribution, “The Reluctant Hero,” was nominated for a RITA so I’m thrilled the story will be available again.
Suz: A competition in the budoir? Now that’s my kind of competition! Can’t wait to read about these three brothers. As our readers know, you also write under the pseudonym Rachel Hawthorne. What’s going on in your YA world right now?
Lorraine: The 4th Dark Guardian novel-SHADOW OF THE MOON-will be released March 23, 2010. The heroine, Hayden, is new to readers. Because of her ability to experience other Shifters’ emotions, she’s run away to a winter resort populated only with humans, but the elders send Daniel, who was introduced in FULL MOON, to find her and bring her home because her full moon is approaching and she can’t face it alone. Daniel is new to her pack, and no one knows much about him. He confuses her because she can’t feel his emotions-and for the first time in her life, as she begins falling in love with him, she wants to know what someone else is feeling. But as their lives are threatened by an ancient enemy, she will begin to suspect that Daniel isn’t all that he seems. Unlike the others, this story takes place during the winter so it provides a little different setting and it also brings more of the Dark Guardian history to the forefront. While books 1-3 dealt with the Shifters battling the worst of mankind, the Dark Guardians have always been in existence to protect against ancient paranormal enemies. In this story, we get a glimpse of one.
It’s been interesting to see how much email I’m receiving from adult readers who are really enjoying the series. It’s definitely targeted for an older teen and is a bit sensual (although how can it not be when Shifters can’t transform while wearing clothes ) but it appeals to adult readers as well, which has been very satisfying to realize. For more on the Dark Guardians, readers can visit www.rachelhawthorne.net.
Suz, (with a wink and knowing smile): Any other news on the Lorraine Heath front?
Lorraine: I’m celebrating the fact the Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel is my 25th novel-not counting any anthologies or YA novels. To celebrate that achievement here with the Romance Bandits, I’m giving away a $25 gift certificate to amazon, Borders, or B&N-winners’ choice-to one of today’s lucky blog posters. And for a chance to win another gift certificate, enter the contest at my website http://www.lorraineheath.com/. It closes Oct. 31, with the drawing held Nov. 1.
Suz: CONGRATULATIONS on this mile stone! We’re always happy to have you here and enjoy celebrating your good news.
So, dear readers and friends, Lorraine and I want to know, of all the stories you’ve ever read by any author, which character are you still waiting–hoping–the author will one day write a story about?
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Jun 12 2009, 6:31 am in Dickens, Lorraine Heath, Suz Welsh, werewolves
A very good friend of the Bandits, NYT Bestselling author, Lorraine Heath, is joining us in the Lair once again. Excuse me while I pull the cork on this bottle of Chardonay. (pop) So y’all pull up a chair and join us for some conversation about Dukes, Scoundrels and Werewolves!
Suz, handing Lorraine a glass of wine, then stretching out on the chaise: Welcome, Lorraine! The Bandits and our buddies are so glad to have you with us again. It’s always a grand day in the Lair when you’re visiting. SURRENDER TO THE DEVIL is the third book in the Scoundrel’s of St. James series. Can you tell us about the book?
Lorraine: SURRENDER TO THE DEVIL is the story of Frannie Darling, a child of the streets. She is now a bookkeeper at Dodger’s Drawing Room, one of the more exclusive gentlemen’s clubs in London in 1851. When her best friend Luke marries Lady Catherine, Frannie meets the Duke of Greystone. Greystone immediately wants Frannie in his bed, but she has little tolerance for the idle and self-centered. She is far too busy gathering orphans from the streets. But when danger lurks, Greystone will be the man she turns to.
Suz: Was Frannie Darling based on a specific character in Oliver Twist, like Luke and Jack Dodger were?
Lorraine: Not really. At one point, I thought maybe she was based on Nancy, but I think she was simply herself.
Suz: How does her childhood as one of Feagan’s kids affect her life as a grown woman?
Lorraine: She’s always mothered Feagan’s lads. They’ve always watched out for her. But as a woman she wants to stand on her own, make her own way, do things her own way. When she begins to search for orphans, she runs amuck of Bob Sykes (yes, he’s based on Bill Sikes). She tries to handle him on her own, without involving Feagan’s lads—and that, of course, simply leads to more trouble.
Suz: Sterling Mabry, Lord Greystone is the hero of SURRENDER TO THE DEVIL. Have we met him before?
Lorraine: You caught a glimpse of him in IN BED WITH THE DEVIL. He’s Catherine’s brother who arrived from his world travels shortly after her father died.
Suz: Frannie wants nothing to do with the Lords and Ladies of London Society, while Sterling sees no need to help the poorer members of society? What do you see as the turning point in their relationship?
Lorraine: I think the turning point in their relationship came about when Jimmy came into their lives. Because he was such a slender-framed boy, he assisted Sykes in burglarizing homes and as fate would have it, one of those homes was Greystone’s—and the lad’s luck ran out. He was caught. But rather than send ’round for a constable, Greystone sent for Frannie in an effort to bring her back into his life. Jimmy allowed Greystone to understand more clearly what life was like for the children on the street who Frannie wanted to save and Jimmy allowed Frannie to see a very tender side of Greystone as he befriended the lad.
Suz: How do Feagan’s lads come to play in this story?
Lorraine: They do what they’ve always done: work to protect Frannie from hurt and in so doing, they smother her. Luke explains to Greystone how protective they are of Frannie: “So yes, the four of us circle around her the way one might an injured butterfly, never touching it for fear of damaging it more, forever hoping that a day will come when it will again fly.”
To which Greystone replies: “In my world travels, I saw a good many varieties of butterflies. They’re incredibly delicate creatures, but they shouldn’t be underestimated. Observing them as I did, I learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes if you surround a butterfly too closely, it couldn’t fly if it wanted to.”
He believes she’s stronger than they give her credit for being. As he’s drawn into her dangerous world, he begins to admire her courage and determination even more.
Suz: We’re going to switch gears now. I don’t know if many of our readers know this, but you are not only a NYT bestselling romance author, but you also write YA stories under the name Rachel Hawthorne. You’ve recently started a new YA series about teenage werewolves, which you are very excited about. Care to tell us about this project?
Lorraine, with a twinkle of mischief in her eyes: Would love to! The Dark Guardian series is about a group of werewolves (or Shifters as they refer to themselves) who live in a national forest. The teens of the group serve as guides—or sherpas—to ensure that no campers stumble across their village. I got the idea after watching a special on TV about the sherpa program in Glacier National Park. Each summer, college students work there hauling equipment for campers. And I thought, “What if they were werewolves?”
Suz: MOONLIGHT is already out, FULL MOON is coming out later this month, and DARK of the MOON debuts in August. Was it hard building a new parallel world for these books? Do you see the series continuing or is it only to span the 3-books?
Lorraine: The idea for the werewolf sherpas was just a shadowy concept when I sent my editor the storyline for a book. She wanted that story and 2 more with an overriding arc that connected all 3. Coming up with the mythos was a challenge. I’m not even sure I was totally comfortable with the world I’d created until the 3rd book. But then it was also the book that ended the threat they faced and so all the loose ends were tied up, whereas with 1 and 2 I was trying to determine which questions to leave unanswered.
I would love for the series to continue, but presently I don’t have a contract to write more.
Suz: So, tell us what’s next for your historical series?
Lorraine: Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel will be out Nov. 1. This is James Swindler’s story. Scotland Yard has charged him with determining why a certain young lady—Eleanor Watkins—is following the Marquess of Rockberry. It has quite a few fun twists and turns.
And now to segue into something that has nothing to do with MY books – I recently worked to arrange my bookshelves in some sort of order, putting all my keepers on one 1 shelf and all my to be read on another (and okay, the TBR take up way more than a shelf so I now have a “top shelf” TBR stack which are books that I dearly want to read before the year is out). Obviously I buy way more books than I’ll ever read. How do you keep chaos off your bookshelves? Or do you? Should you? How do you decide which book to read next when there are so many wonderful books out there?
And to add to the chaos of your bookshelves, we’ll draw three lucky winners from among the posters today and they can select one of the Scoundrels of St. James books or one of the Dark Guardian books as their prize. If the book hasn’t yet been released, it’ll be sent as soon as it’s available.
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Apr 27 2009, 5:15 am in JAK, JR Ward, Julie Garwood, Lorraine Heath, SEP, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Suz Welsh, Suzanne Brockmann
This Romance Bandit gig is a very cool thing. One of the benefits, at least for me, is that when I do an interview with a guest, I get to read a new release about a month ahead of anyone else. (And being the restrained person that I am, I NEVER rub it in to friends that I got to read a favorite author before them…Yeah, RIGHT!) This is very necessary for me in order to pull out interesting questions, so you, our readers get to learn about the books, without giving away any twists.
So, in preparation for Lorraine Heath’s return to the blog in June, I asked her to send me an ARC or a synopsis of the newest release, SURRENDER TO THE DEVIL, so she and I could get her blog post done ahead of time. Since I have a new grandson due around June 1st, I didn’t want to get behind on things. (It’s a grandma thing.)
Lorraine happily complied with my needs and sent me the book. Now here’s where I made my mistake. I opened it. Sigh. Lorraine is what I call a beginning to end author for me. What you say is a beginning to end author? Well, here’s my way of categorizing authors or books:
1. TRY AND SEE: Usually a debut author or someone who has been recommended to me by a friend as someone whose books I should try. I usually start these early in the afternoon or evening, or even during a slow period at work. If life or work interrupts, well that’s okay, I don’t mind. If it’s pretty good I’ll come back to the book. If it’s not one that holds my interest, then I figure I haven’t wasted too much time on it.
2. READ IN SPURTS: Anthologies and fairly good books that don’t grab me and hold me deep in the story. Anthologies are good for this, because I can usually read one of the stories in about an hour. And in an anthology, usually two stories are good. (By the way have you ever noticed that in a 3-story anthology, usually one story is really good, one is pretty good and well, the other is meh?) So I can invest time in short bursts, still have time to get the ironing or cooking done and not feel guilty about mid-afternoon reading.
3. CRITIQUES: These are those lovely stories my critique partners, (Sandy Blair and Jo Davis), send me–usually in big chunks and across the computer. I try to read them as quickly as possible so I can get any changes or ideas back to them ASAP. Also, luckily for me I love their writing and characters, so this is not a hardship for me!
4. BEGINNING TO ENDERS: These are the auto buys. The favorites. Those authors who I know will deliver a story that takes me away to a world beyond my four walls, to lives and loves I know I’ll be bereft over when they’re finished. (Julie Garwood, JAK, SEP, Suzanne Brockmann, Sherrilyn Kenyon, JR Ward, and of course, Lorraine Heath.) These are the books I plan on spending the day or evening/night reading. They are my dirty little passions…and I do not want to be interrupted reading them.
So, the moment I opened Lorraine’s newest book, I knew I was in trouble. I had to be up early for a chapter board meeting. I needed to sleep. Did I go to bed? Did I act responsibly? Nope, I indulged. AND I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT!! (I’d tell you more about SURRENDER TO THE DEVIL…but that’s for June’s blog…hehehe)
So, how do you categorize your books? Do you have BEGINNING TO ENDERS? Do you set aside a whole day or evening/night to read?