Hey everyone!! Happy (early) Thanksgiving! You need something to take the pressure off and help you get through Thanksgiving with your family.
Really. You do.
How about 15 FABULOUS, fun, happy tales of love under the Mistletoe? Mischief, reunions, magick, and happily ever afters abound in these fifteen gems from authors in all genres.
Need a historical taste of love under the kissing bough?
That would be regency from Barbara Devlin’s Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me; medieval from Kathryn le Veque’s Upon a Midnight Dream, Catherine Kean’s One Knight’s Kiss, Anna Markland’s Unkissable Knight, and Elizabeth Rose’s Destiny’s Kissand Meara Platt‘s If You Loved Me; mail-order brides from Hildie McQueen’s Christina, A Bride for Christmas; Victorian in frequent Lair Guest Sandy Blair’s Tartan Bows and Mistletoe; Regency from our own Bandita, Anna Campbell’s Mistletoe and the Major!
For spirited tales of love, adventure and magick, you’ll want my contemporary paranormal A Yule to Remember and Jordan K Rose’s Her Vampire Protector, and for a little Historical paranormal fun, there’s Lana William’s Dancing Under the Mistletoe and our own Joan Kayse’s An Irish Gift.
For a contemporary romp with wonderful fun try Tina DeSalvo with Hunt for Christmas and our own Suz Ferrell returns to her town of Westen with Close to Santa’s Heart.
There’s nothing more fun at this time of year than the magic of love! I’m so excited about this set. I’ve read several of the stories and I can tell you they are captivating, LOL funny in some places, joyful, poignant, and perfect.
I know you’ll enjoy them as much as I have.
So….I’m giving away 5 copies of Under the Kissing Bough to commenters today!! Just tell me…
What’s your FAVORITE mistletoe story? Did you steal a kiss? See Mama kissing Santa Claus?
If you don’t have a favorite mistletoe story from your own life, let’s talk carols!! What’s your abso-favo Christmas/Holiday tunes? Mine are the Hannukah Song, O Holy Night, O Come, O Come Emanuel, Adeste Fideles in Latin, It caem Upon a Midnight Clear….so many favorites! Tell me yours!!
My dearest friend and critique partner, Sandy Blair, is back in the Lair with us today to share with us her latest vacation adventure, a cruise around the Mediterranean! (CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO SEE THEM BIGGER!) She also has a new release coming up of THE THIEF, previously titled A Thief In A Kilt.
It’s also her birthday!! We don’t discuss age in the Lair, as you all know, but let’s just say she’s old enough to vote! 🙂
Happy Birthday, Sandy!! Welcome back and take it away!
Thanks, Suzy! Hello Banditas and Bandit Buddies. I love visiting here in the Lair and always a pleasure to be invited back to spend some time with you.
The Scot and I looked forward to our Eastern Mediterranean cruise for months. We’d shopped, dieted, and walked miles in preparation for the many ruins we expected to explore. We were meeting up with dear Texas friends Matt and Patty, who’d initiated this trip to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Wanting to explore Rome, we agreed to arrive in Rome two days before our cruise ship’s scheduled departure.
After a 10 hour flight, we arrived at our small boutique hotel located a short walk from the Spanish Steps. There we learned the Scot would be a thorn caught between two roses. That’s right. Patty was in the hotel’s grand wedding suite as expected but…alone. Yup, no Matt. (Long private tale I’ll skip.)
So, we made the best of it by commiserating that night on a beautiful, bougainvillea-bedecked roof top balcony overlooking the Eternal city with wine and local cheeses.
Day 2: Up early. Since our pre-booked Skip-the-Lines private tour of the Roman Coliseum wasn’t scheduled until the 3:00PM, we decided to explore on our own. We climbed the Spanish steps, threw coins in the Trevi Fountain, and explored churches— each more elaborate than the last, and then bought an all-day bus pass to travel to sites farther out…and got lost.
Not until we tried to get directions back to our hotel did we discover most Roman residents don’t understand English. (We just assumed they did because up until this point everyone—hotel, restaurant and shop employees–we’d come in contact with had spoken it. Silly us.) Anyway, a few hours and a subway ride later, we spotted a subway stop we recognized, hopped off and walked the final mile.
The Coliseum: We picked up a few interesting tidbits.
Did you know the Roman Coliseum isn’t owned by Rome…or the state of Italy? Nope. It’s owned by a business consortium. A famous designer is currently footing the $3.2M bill for cleaning the exterior. And the stairways leading up to the seats were known in Latin as the “vomit steps” because when the events were over people poured out of the Coliseum like…well, you get the idea.
Next stop, Vatican City. Amazing and crowded beyond belief. Most shocking: Seeing alter bases made of glass sarcophaguses containing long dead popes. (I found this macabre and I’m Catholic.) According to our historian guide Michelangelo did not paint the Sistine Chapel while lying on his back. He stood on scaffolding and craned his neck, a lit candle for light attached to his forehead. He documented that it took months for his neck to straighten again.
Day 3: Time to head for the cruise ship. We’d booked a shuttle for the 1 ½ hour drive. Just five miles from the port, our shuttle blew its front driver-side tire. Since we were trapped at the side of a major highway with no speed limit and feared a rear-end collision, we all piled out. I stepped back and fell 3ft down a–until then unseen—cement culvert. And broke my right foot. (4th break for this foot. Sigh.) Turned out to be my R big toe. The Scot, shocked to find me in the ditch, hauled me out. We were thankful it hadn’t been worse–I could still walk…sort of, hadn’t knocked myself unconscious—so the tire was fixed and I soldiered on.
Day 4: At sea in a comfortable suite with balcony. Limping with toes taped.
Day 4, ready to get on the tender that took us to Santorini
What I woke up to on Day 4.
Day 5: Santorini, Greece. Gorgeous, windy and arid town at the top of cliffs. Tourism, capers, olives and wine keep the economy afloat. It’s so windy they have to train their grapevines to grow in bird nest-like circles. Spectacular views and great food. Lots of walking.
Everywhere everything was white and blue.
The town is perched on cliffs.
Day 6: At sea. No formal gown and sexy heels for me tonight. In strictly sneaker mode.
Day 7: Istanbul, Turkey, where the continent of Europe meets Asia, once the seats of the Byzantine, Greek, Roman and Ottoman empires. Now a Muslim republic that tolerates other religions, we were encouraged to dress “appropriately.” (No exposed arms or knees and head scarfs had to be worn when entering mosques, many of which were once churches.) Rugs, leather goods and gold jewelry were the dominant items for sale in this—the world’s largest–bizarre. Barter was the name of the game, which we found intimidating. Left without buying a thing. Walked 4 miles+ on the tour. 🙂
Day 8: Istanbul. Did you know the first–and world’s 3d largest–domed cathedral is here? Built in 503AD, is decorated with beautiful mosaics and was the model for St. Peter’s, the world’s largest domed cathedral. (London’s St. Paul’s is the 2d largest.)
The main–royal– mosque. The number of turrets indicates the wealth of the donor-builder.
You would NOT believe the jewels in this place. Emerald coated water pitchers and swords. Diamonds the size of large eggs.
Day 9: Ephesus, Turkey. Large hill top city ruins with a nice amphitheater. I didn’t know prior to this trip that coliseums are/were triple concentric circles with roofs while amphitheaters are/were only single layer, ¾ open-air arcs with seating specifically designed to amplify sound. Yup. Walked 3.5 miles. Foot not happy.
The largest library of its time.
Day 10: Mykonos, Greece. Popular picture book vacation village. Finally had an opportunity to swim in the Mediterranean Sea. So excited. But cold! Cold, cold! Discovered too late that no matter how careful you tried to be that rocky beaches still aggravate fractures.
Day 11: Athens, Greece. The Scot has apparently seen his fill of ruins. (He’d spent the better part of day 9 muttering about everything around him “needing a good bit paint and love.”) So when I said, “Honey, I’m sorry but can’t do another 5 mile hike today. You’ll have to see Athens without me,” I wasn’t exactly shocked when he jumped up and said, “Nonsense! I wouldn’t dream of leaving you alone.” He cancelled our tour and we spent the day reading and admiring Athens—today a huge urban sprawl–from our balcony.
Athens from my balcony and this is as close as I got.
Day 12: At sea and resting up for a seriously busy tomorrow.
Day 13: Naples, Sorrentino, the Amalfie coast and Pompeii. Serious walking day and mini bus trip up the coast. Naples, lovely with loads of pedestrian ways. Great shops and gardens everywhere. This is the heart of Lemon Cello country. Lemons are everywhere and incorporated into everything from soap to pasta.
Great pedestrian streets.
The Amalfie Coast is simply spectacular…if you’re not afraid of heights. We ate at a restaurant situated below the yellow balcony used in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. (I.e. Our heroine, hurt by love, finally decides to trust her new love interest after much wooing by him, only to arrive at the guy’s seaside home and find the guy on the balcony kissing another woman.)
Sorrentino beach, along the Amalphi coast. Town where we saw the Under the Tuscan Sun balcony.
Amalfie coast…Roads were frightening!
On to Pompeii, another set of interesting ruins atop yet another hill. When tons upon tons of hot ash and pumas flowed into building through broken windows and fill them to their ceilings (i.e. the bathhouse), the building and its priceless art were preserved. Building that didn’t fill completely collapsed from the weight of 12+ feet of ash on their roofs. What I found most surprising: their public baths had central heating and hot water thanks to volcanic hot springs, pizza ovens haven’t changed much over the millennium, nor have water fountains.
Pompeii…Bath house. Had central heating!
Pompeii pizza oven. Nothing much changes. 🙂
Day 14: Arrived back in Rome then caught our flight home, only a wee bit worse for wear, J and where I immediately got back to work readying book #3 in the Castle Blackstone series, THE THIEF, for re-release. I love its cover designed by Suzy’s daughter Lyndsey!
The weather is turning cooler for our Southern Hemisphere friends, but up here in the Northern Hemisphere things are starting to warm up. The trees have gone green again, the flowers have started to blossom in brilliant colors and the vegetable gardens are starting to fill in.
June is also the traditional time for weddings. This time last year I had three of them in the family. So weddings should always be about romance, don’t you think? And of course romance is what the Bandits are all about! This month in the Lair is no different. (Nice segueway, huh! :D)
We start out the month 6/3 with a book launch party for another bibliophile mystery by Bandita Kate Carlisle, THE BOOK STOPS HERE!! So get your dancing shoes on! You know how much we love parties here in the Lair.
Contemporary Romance Author, Jane Graves returns to visit us on June 4th, with her second book in the Rainbow Valley Novels, BABY, IT’S YOU. (www.janegraves.com)
USA Today Bestselling author, Paige Tyler joins Tawny on June 5th to talk X-Ops and inspiration! With a cover like that for HER PERFECT MATCH, inspiration is a given! (www.paigetylertheauthor.com)
On Friday, 6th June, Anna Campbell hosts bubbly contemporary romance author Susanne Bellamy (http://www.susannebellamy.com/) in the lair. Susanne will tell us all about her books WHITE GINGER and ONE NIGHT IN SORRENTO.
Whew! That’s jut the first week, y’all!!
June 12th we have fantasy romance author, Anna Steffl visiting with Bandita, Trish Milburn. (I’m thinking our resident dragon Ermengarde will be a bit curious about that sword handle!)
On June 16, Nancy welcomes Gerri Russell back to the Lair! Gerri will celebrate her latest release, THIS LAIR OF MINE, and dish on her upcoming foray into contemporary romance. (www.gerrirussell.net)
Dee Davis returns to the Lair on June 20th with her book HELL FIRE! Dee and Nancy will chat about the series Dee and Julie Kenner are doing, Devil May Care, and whatever else comes to mind. (www.deedavis.com)
And for a bit of a treat, Lair favorite, Sandy Blair is going to stop in on June 27th to celebrate her birthday with us! She’ll also be talking about her newest release, THE THIEF, book #3 in her Castle Blacstone Novels. (www.sandyblair.net)
Keep your eyes open for contests and give-aways, as Anna Sugden will be turning up the heat in June prior to the July launch of the second book in her New Jersey Ice Cats series, A Perfect Trade.
My name is Caren and I’m a time-travel addict. I heard the murmurs of, “Hi, Caren!” coming from you guys, so don’t be shy if you’re an addict, too. I’ve been reflecting on my love affair with time travel romances lately for a couple of reasons. Really good reasons. Even hunky reasons!
In case you’ve been living under a large and marketing-impervious rock, you’ve probably heard that Diana Gabaldon’s fabulous Outlanderis finally coming to the screen! Of course, it’s the small screen and it’s only on the Starz network, but still. It’s coming to our homes! I fell in love with Outlander when it first came out in hardcover. As a recently-graduated-from-college single mom in 1991, I didn’t buy hardcover books. BUT, I joined the Book Of the Month Club. Some of you may have done that, too. I forgot to send back my postcard or something one month and, before I knew it, Outlandershowed up in my mailbox.
It sat around for a few weeks…and then I got bored enough to pick it up. I kind of hated the cover, which featured an ormolu clock whose glass face is in the act of shattering. It made me roll my eyes. But once I cracked the cover and started the tale of Jamie Fraser and Claire Beauchamp, I was HOOKED. I read the novels assiduously until about the sixth one, which came out about the time my life got really complicated and I no longer had time to devote to Clan Fraser. I took a hiatus from time travel romance, but it wasn’t a conscious decision.
Last week, a good friend from church asked me if I had read the books. Duh! She then asked if I wanted to come to her series premiere party. Double duh! She had very expensive invitations made to her premiere party that look like wedding invitations. They are printed with the Fraser plaid on back. Swoon! So yes, August 9th is a highly anticipated dateby many time travel romance fans!
Then, another interesting thing happened. My friend Dee Davis, who is one of my Red Door Reads buddies, posted a link yesterday to a collection of six time travel romances for 99 cents! WHAT?!? Yes, I snapped it right up. You should, too! As I clicked the evil “Buy now with 1-Click” button, I reflected that all signs seem to be pointing me toward time travel romance once again. My deep, dark secret is, when I first started writing romance, my very first manuscript was a time travel romance. No one was writing those in 2001! I managed to final in Georgia Romance Writers’ prestigious Maggie contest with that one, but was bested by…Sandy Blair! How could I be upset at being bested by the novel that became her first published time travel romance? 😀
Have you had a love affair with time travel romance? If so, what books were your gateway drug? If not, what keeps you from indulging? And if you had the chance to travel back in time to be with the super-hot love of your life (Jamie Fraser), would you go? Why or why not? I can’t wait to hear everyone’s time travel experiences! 😀
There are some people in this world that just make it a better place, not only because they’re funny and compassionate, but because their books take us to other times or places, and make us laugh, cry and sigh at the Happy Ever After. Today’s guest, my very good friend and critique partner, Sandy Blair, is one of those people. (Although I have yet to forgive her very brawny Scot of a husband for moving her from Texas to New England.) I and her readers, both old and new, have been thrilled that she’s revamped and reissued her back list of Scottish Historical Paranormals, now a series known as the Castle Blackstone Novels. So, please help me welcome Sandy back to the Lair!
Thanks for having me back. The Romance Bandits rock! Suzy asked me to share what I’ve experienced as both a traditionally-published and self-published author.
In 2003, The Blackstone Diaries sold in a two book deal. I was thrilled beyond words. Never could I have imagined I’d someday have books available in six languages through 4 traditional publishers and be self-publish. At the time those seven-year copyright clauses felt like forever.
But seven years passes quickly and suddenly I had to make some decisions. Do I continue pursuing a traditional path or not? I did learn a great deal having gone the traditional publishing house route first.
1) Traditional publishing fine-tuned my work ethic.
2) I learned to listen with my head, not just my heart.
3) Co-op is great! During release month I could walk into Borders and B&N and find my newest novel on the “New Releases” table at the front of store, thus increasing potential “impulse buyer” sales.
4) My publisher produced my ARCs and sent them to high-profile reviewers, thus reducing my out-of-pocket expense and worry.
5) I was invited to be part of an anthology.
All this added to my sense of accomplishment, but there was also a dark side.
1) In the traditional world an author’s opinion/title is not sacrosanct.
2) The house’s Marketing Department builds your image (in hopes of recouping those advances). And so I reluctantly became the “In A Kilt” girl.
3) My deadlines weren’t written in stone when another author didn’t meet their commitment and caused a sudden hole in the production line-up.
4) My page/word counts could change at the last minute if the Art Department screwed up a cover’s spine size. Not a problem while still a WIP, but I’d turned in the manuscript as “done” and they wanted another 10,000 words. Hello!
5) Your career growth is at the mercy of the Traditional house’s whim.
6) Most importantly, I learned I’d work hard for the money. I’d be making only pennies per book and receiving them only twice a year.
That last point finally made me take the leap of faith into self-publishing where Suzy has been an invaluable mentor, as has her daughter Lyndsey.
The best within the Self-published world so far:
1) I get to keep my titles.
2) I have input into my cover art.
3) I’m work at my own pace.
4) And most importantly, I get paid monthly—and well. 🙂
But the world of self-publishing isn’t all Champagne and roses. It also has a dark side.
1) You alone bear the cost of editing and cover production. (Where you do get what you pay for, so don’t cut corners. Get the very best you can afford.)
2) You alone bear the cost of producing and sending out ARCs.
3) It takes hours and serious dollars doing what you hope will prove productive both online and in print promotion.
4) You have to do a lot of face-to-face with bookstore owners if you want them to stock your books/capture impulse buyers.
So will I self-pub again? Yes. The money justifies the headaches. Will I again seek publication with a traditional publisher? Yes. Being externally motivated, I work better with a gun to my head. 🙂
What else have I learned along the way?
1) Time spent with book clubs and at conferences is well worth the time and money.
2) Speaking at libraries is often counterproductive. (Those folks that do show up prefer borrowing, not buying.)
3) An interesting, multi-page website is worth the cost.
4) Print ads in industry glossy haven’t proved useful.
5) Don’t read those Amazon reviews. 🙂
What’s next for me? THE WARRIOR, book #4 in the Castle Blackstone series will be coming out in late September.
The Warrior excerpt:
Recluse ex-Special Forces Sergeant Major Travis MacKay, fearing the violence unleashed inside him when he brutally kills four men viciously attacking a female aid worker, vows never again to raise his hand in anger. Arriving at Castle Blackstone, he remains reclusive, becoming enamored with the portrait of a young woman who, in his opinion, understood only too well what remaining true to oneself costs. Legend says she fell on her sword. History says she was murdered. When he’s thrown back in time to 1540, arriving in the midst of a battle, he comes face to face with the legendary Lady “Skye” MacDougall. As acting liege of Blackstone, Skye is in a fight for her life after defying her king by refusing to marry a coward. In order to reach true happiness, Travis and Skye will both be forced to face life, death and their preconceived notions of what constitutes true bravery.
(Suz: I am soooooo looking forward to this book, y’all!!!)
Below are the covers for Sandy’s books back when she sold them to a traditional publisher. (She’s still waiting to get the rights back to Thief.) While Sandy always has humor in her books, they are not comedies. What do you think? Which covers would make you want to read her if you’ve never read her books? Would you take the chance to step out and do something different with your career, be it self publishing or some other endeavor if you had the chance? If you’re a writer, what have you learned on your way to publishing?
Today I have one of my favorite people and authors in the whole world visiting, Sandy Blair, author of five historical Scottish novels and three novellas. Sandy took a leap of faith last year and e published The King’s Mistress. I love Geneen and her brawny Scot, Brit so much. He tends to make her crazy and she him. Want to know how Sandy writes these heroes so well? She lives with one! So here’s Sandy to give you a glimpse on life with a brawny Scot!
Tales from the Caves #1: The Scot’s and mine
There’s a 6 foot, 4 ½ inch Scot living in the basement. When we moved into this home last year I expected him to take over the bright, airy second floor office. After all, he’s the primary breadwinner around here. But he declined, saying “I like the idea of working in a dank, dark hole by the sea.”
This sudden desire for a man-caveshouldn’t have come as a surprise given the coal dust (the Ayrshire Blairs) and salt water (the Appin Stewarts) running in his veins, but it did.
A week after moving into his cave, the Scot announced he was going out of town on a three week business trip. Before he’d pack a bag I was on the phone to our contractor. Before you can say “Sunshine!” I had lovely double windows and banks of can lights installed in the cave. (Hey, I couldn’t stand the thought of living with a pale blue Scottish bat.) I then did my best to turn his brawny-man chaos into tasteful, color-coordinated order.
And his reaction upon his return? He took one look, and gave me a big squishy hug, saying, “Thank you, love.” And I’m still allowed down there—with adequate advanced notice—in order to vacuum and dust–but only for ten minutes. I cannot– under penalty of imprisonment—touch any pile of paper, or God forbid, rearrange a photo on his helter-skelter pegboard, or touch a badger or raccoon hair on his fly-making workbench or in any way alter his altars to boutique hotel management, family memorabilia and fly fishing.
When we married I was well aware the Scot was gregarious, possessed a quick dry wit, and was hell on wheels when it came to money. His mother assured me he’d prove loyal, honest and hardworking, which he has. What she neglected to mention—and I suspect deliberately—was that he also lacked moderation, that he was to his marrow a “waste not, want not” kind of Scot.
Think I exaggerate? I point to Exhibit A: The Raccoon.
Last summer I had errands to run and shouted down the staircase, “I’m off to the food store then to the drycleaners to pick up your shirts! Do you need anything?”
From the man-cave I hear, “Nope. I’m good. Thanks.”
A few seconds later, I jump into my SUV and immediately start gagging. I scramble out, and hands over my mouth, peer under the car looking for a dead body.
“Uhmmm,” he says, suddenly appearing at my side, “I meant to warn you.”
“Oh my God, what–?”
“Uhmm, ya. Well, when I went fishing this morning I passed a dead raccoon in the road. I figured if it was still there on my way back, it was meant to be.”
“Meant to be what?”
“Turned into flies, of course. You know…lures. So,” he says, warming to his subject, “it was still there just waiting for me as I headed home, so I pulled over, took out my knife and tried to cut off its tail, but the damn thing wouldn’t break off.” He shrugs. “I couldn’t just leave it there–”
“Oh yes, you could have!”
“Woman, an ordinary Raccoon tail cost $20.00 and this was a thumper.” He huffs as if I were the greatest spendthrift on earth. “So thinking my coping saw would take it off, I threw the beast in my minnow bucket and head home. Only the stench nearly killed me on the way, even with all the windows down, so when I got here I just threw it in the trash can…which I wouldn’t be using for a bit if I were you.”
By this point I’m gaping at him. And true to his nature, he finally notices.
And that’s when he put that wicked gonna-getcha gleam in his eye–the one he knows usually turns my knees to butter–and starts slowly closing in. Grinning, he says, “I did try to air out the car, love…and I sprayed it with Glade.”
“Oh no you don’t.” I raise a straight arm and scurry back. In the kitchen I’m hunting down his keys and muttering, “All to save a few bucks on raccoon tail!” when his arms slip around my waist.
“And to make flies,” he reminds me, “which would’ve saved even more. Seriously, love. The tackle shop charges two bucks for just one Wooley Bugger. I could have made hundreds...”
Yup, yup…Welcome to my world.
To celebrate the June 5th print edition of The King’s Mistress, my 1285 Scotland-set historical based
It’s an exciting month in the lair! Not only do we have some fabulous guests chatting alongside some fabulous banditas – we also have a launch party! Trish will be introducing another in her Teagues of Texas series on May 4th. Doesn’t this cover just make you smile 🙂 ?
Don’t forget to check out the contests offered for May at the bottom of the post. Prizes, prizes everywhere!
On Wednesday, 2nd May, we have great Aussie authors Ros Baxter and Ali Ahearn visiting the lair as Anna Campbell’s guests. Ros is a debut author and Ali is better known to the Banditas and Bandita Buddies under her Medical Romance persona Amy Andrews. (www.amyandrews.com.au <http://www.amyandrews.com.au> ) Ros and Ali are sisters and they’ve written a wonderful book together called SISTER PACT.
On May 3, Anna Destefano chats with Nancy about Anna’s new release from Entangled Publishing, HER FORGETTEN BETRAYAL.
Don’t forget Trish will be launching THE COWBOY SHERIFF on the 4th.
May 5th – We have the lovely Cara Elliott launching the second book in her “Lords of Midnight” trilogy, TOO TEMPTING TO RESIST!
May 6th – Prepare to have laugh. Kristin Higgins is joining us with SOMEBODY TO LOVE.
May 7th – Have you ever had the urge to travel back in time? How about forward in time? Karyn Gerrard joins us to talk about her unique time travel, TIMELESS LOVE.
MAY 16th – What’s a girl to do when she gets kicked out of hell and only has a week to steal a soul? Easy, she heads straight for the delicious corruptible looking cowboy sitting at the bar and all hell breaks loose. USA Today Bestseller, Karen Kelly is in the lair with WHERE THERE’S SMOKE. (and that cover is sure smoking 🙂 )
May 18th – Casey Daniels is back! Can’t wait to see what she’s working on this time. It’s bound to be fun.
On May 21st Superromance author Ellen Hartman joins us to discuss her latest release THE LONG SHOT!
May 28th – JA London joins us with a debut YA paranormal DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN, The first novel in the Darkness Before Dawn Trilogy
May 31st – What a way to wrap up a month. Sandy Blair joins us with her print release of her book THE KING’S MISTRESS. (Another gorgeous cover!)
We do give a monthly prize of books selected from our newslettersubscribers. Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss out!
To celebrate the release of her novelette, “The Chinese Bed”, in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE which is available on 7th June, Anna Campbell is giving away THREE copies of this wonderful anthology to lucky readers. All you need to do is email Anna on anna @ annacampbell.info(remove the spaces)with the name of the hero and heroine of “The Chinese Bed.” Just a hint – you might find the answer here: http://annacampbell.info/chinesebed.html The contest closes 30th June, 2012, and entry is open internationally. For more information, please check out Anna’s website at: http://annacampbell.info/contest.html
To celebrate the June release of THE CASANOVA CODE, Donna MacMeans is choosing a name from her newsletter list to receive a cherry blossom pendant necklace from the Smithsonian Institute(cherry blossoms play a role in the book). To see the necklace and to enter, go to www.DonnaMacMeans.com and sign up. A winner will be chosen for both May and June.
Dear Banditas and Bandit Buddies, usually the 28th of the month is my day to blog, however today, I am sharing my day and am so excited to be welcoming back my very good friend to the Lair, Sandy Blair, author of witty Highland historicals, to talk about her newest release, THE KING’S MISTRESS.
Suz: Sandy, pull up a seat here at the bar and we’ll have a drink, Merlot for you, a Bellini Martini for me! Can you give us a brief description of THE KING’S MISTRESS?
Sandy: Sure, and it’s so very nice to be here again. Thank you for the invitation!
THE KING’S MISTRESS, featuring captain of the king’s guard Britt MacKinnon and identical twin Geneen Armstrong, begins one week before the real events on which this story are based–when Britt is ordered to fetch back to Edinburgh the king’s favorite paramour. Intent on protecting her pregnant twin, on making the court think she and her sister are one in the same, Geneen doesn’t tell Britt he’s escorting the wrong woman to the king. Lies build upon lies at break neck speed as readers enter the perilous world of Scotland’s early medieval court, where intrigue, murder and deception rule. To a time and place where live and loves were won and lost while Scotland’s destiny hung in the balance.
Suz: How did you come up with the idea for this story?
Sandy: Truthfully, I read non-fiction histories before bed in hopes of triggering my muse into a “What if…?” moment, and happened upon several confusing accounts about Alexander III’s widow following his death, his heir’s sudden (and yet to be explained) death and the resultant political chaos that followed. Thus The King’s Mistress was born.
Suz: How are the sisters Geneen and Greer different?
Sandy: Greer, a graceful beauty and song bird, is all about Greer. Quick to laugh and entertain, she took full advantage of her role as a lady-in-waiting, loving the attention and life found at court, but is now paying a hefty price.
Frank in speech, Geneen’s gifts for husbandry and archery serve her well. She’s been able to keep a roof over their heads and her sister in gowns. Although equal in beauty, she’s never seen herself as such. Being the younger of the two and awkward, she has always idolizes her twin and was content to remain at their holding, tending to their cattle and crops until that dreadful day when her twin came home pregnant with the king’s bastard.
Suz: How does Britt react when he realizes he doesn’t have the right sister?
Sandy:You sneaky devil. I can’t tell folks that! If I do they’ll have no reason to read the story.
Suz: This is your first foray into e-book publishing, how have you enjoyed the process?
Sandy: Overall, I found the process surprisingly enjoyable. I loved having input into my title and cover art. I’ll admit doing copyedits in e-format was initially intimidating but I eventually figured out the system. Best yet , my editor responds immediately to questions and maintains a Yahoo group just for her authors. Great fun!
Suz: That’s a great cover you chose for your book. Is there anything new in your life that you’d like to share your readers?
Sandy:As a matter of fact, there is. We recently moved from hot-as-hell Texas to coastal New Hampshire, where lovely beaches, in-laws and out-laws are now only minutes away. We’re hoping their close proximity will eventually blunt the loneliness we’re experiencing missing our Dallas friends. (I can’t tell you how wonderful it was seeing so many DARA friends—and in particular Suzy–at RWA National.)
Suz: She didn’t mention the foot of snowfall every day she had this past winter, did she? Me thinks the hot-as-hell-Texas wasn’t looking so bad back in January and February!
Sandy: Suzie, come a little closer so I can smack you!
We’ve been in the house 4 months now, still have pictures to hang and window treatments to buy, but did manage to put in our first-ever veggie garden. When squash and beans started flowering, I, jubilant, began waxing poetic about 3-bean casseroles, zucchini loaves and stuffed tomatoes. Scott wasn’t so impressed. A dye-in-the-wool carnivore, he immediately took up surf fishing since clamming season is over. Unfortunately for him, the fish have yet to cooperate. Healthy life-style here we come.
Below is the film trailer one of Sandy’s good friends and a major fan, made for her:
So, since Sandy has moved, where do you think we should meet for some BFF time? I’d love someplace new, exciting, (Scottish) to go visit. Sandy will be giving away a signed copy of THE KING’S MISTRESS to one commenter.
Disclaimer: Our guests run the gamut from personal friends, to interesting authors who've asked to appear, to authors whose books we love. We have not always read our guests' books before hosting them here. Some of them provide us with free books though most do not. We do receive a commission from Amazon for every book purchased through links on our site. For purposes of making purchasing decisions, visitors should assume the bandit sponsoring the guest has a personal connection of some kind to her guest and may have received a free copy of the guest's book.