Caroline Linden’s gift to all her fans of ‘The Truth About the Duke’

‘Blame It on Bath’  is a second book by Caroline Linden in her ‘The Truth About the Duke’ (available now at your nearest, dearest local bookstore or Amazon and B & N) series and for my review of it, please check Romantic Crush Junkies eZine. You all know how much I love this series, so I hounded Ms. Linden for some ‘inside’ info on Charlie’s (the Duke of Durham-or not!?) story, and she was so gracious to send us all an excerpt that didn’t make it in a book. Without further ado, feast your hungry eyes on it!

I hope you all enjoy this deleted scene from The Way to a Duke’s Heart’. It takes place right after Charlie, the eldest son, learned his father’s secret past and needed to vent to someone about it, as well as search for a clear idea of what to do. I really liked it, because I really wanted to put Rhys (from I LOVE THE EARL) in the book, but in the end I had to cut it. So I am gifting it to all of you bookworms in hopes that you’ll will enjoy it.

~~~~~~~~~~ * ~~~~~~~~~~

 “After a fortnight Charlie finally went to Dowling House, home of his aunt and uncle. He was a frequent visitor here, contrary to what his father might have thought of his familial affections. Aunt Margaret was everything his father was not, and a great deal like his mother had been. From the moment she discovered him living alone in London, Margaret had opened her door and her arms to him, and she never once scolded him over anything to do with his father. By now Charlie supposed he cared more for Aunt Margaret than he did for anyone.

This time, though, instead of coming to trading wit and gossip with his aunt, he asked for his uncle. Family lore held that Dowling and Durham had once butted heads, quite hard; they had never been more than cordial to each other, and when Aunt Margaret visited Lastings, she came alone, with just her son Philip. Charlie needed someone who would understand the rage he felt at his father, and someone who would never reveal his feelings to another soul. Although no one had ever told him why, he sensed his uncle was that person.

Dowling already knew the entire story. ‘I heard,’ he said simply, when Charlie stepped into his study. ‘A damnable secret to keep from his own sons.’

His shoulders slumped in relief. ‘A damnable pity he died before we could tell him that.’

Dowling smiled wryly. ‘I daresay it wouldn’t have given you as much satisfaction as you think.’

‘No? I would still have liked the chance.’

His uncle waved one hand as Charlie prowled about the room. ‘Sit, Charles. Stewing in anger won’t help. The very worst thing you could do is spend your energy hating him.’

‘How could he?’ Charlie dropped into a chair and plowed his hands through his hair. ‘How? First to make such a foolish match, then to think no one would ever discover it, then to marry my poor mother knowing damned well it might be a bigamous match—’

‘Durham never learned anything but the hard way,’ replied his uncle. He leaned back in his chair, his mane of iron-gray hair glinting in the sun. ‘But when he did admit a mistake, it was usually with some degree of humility.’

‘Humility? Durham?’ He gave a bitter laugh. ‘How odd to hear those two words spoken together.’

‘I never said he came to it quickly or easily.’

‘Or ever,’ muttered Charlie.

‘I expect he did, at the end. Whatever else he might have been, your father was not a fool. The real question is, what are you going to do now?’

He sighed. ‘Edward engaged a solicitor, to attempt to secure the title before the scandal grows too big. Gerard’s gone off to Somerset in pursuit of the blackmailer who stirred up this trouble.’

‘What are you going to do?’ repeated his uncle. ‘You’re Durham, not either one of your brothers.’

He hesitated a long moment. ‘What can I do?’ he finally asked, evasively. ‘Edward and Gerard have it well in hand.’

Dowling sat forward, his expression serious. ‘Don’t keep up that pose with me, young man. I’ve seen how you conduct yourself—the shocking escapades to kindle Durham’s temper, the decent things you do when no one’s looking. It may have amused you to outrage your father, but that’s done with. He’s gone, and you answer only to yourself now. A dukedom is a great honor, but also a great responsibility.’

‘So I’ve been told,’ he said under his breath.

‘Your father would fight for it.’ Dowling gave him a probing look. ‘Do you mean to give it up just to spite him?’

Charlie glared at his uncle. Put that way, of course he wouldn’t. ‘Thank you for your counsel.’

Dowling grinned. ‘My pleasure, Charlie.’

~~~~~~~~~~ * ~~~~~~~~~~

And now, how about a GIVEAWAY!

One of you will get a copy of ‘BLAME IT ON BATH’!

*(sorry US or Canada only)

Voices of Romance by M. L. Buchman

Hello Melanie & Kristal, a real pleasure to be here!

The first time I ever knowingly read a romance novel was at my first ever writers conference. I traveled to Dallas, Texas in 1996 to attend the Romance Writers of America (RWA) national conference. When I arrived, I stepped into a world I’d never imagined. A world of 1,800 women and 7 men. And no, it’s not what you’d think.

These women are serious business professionals. They talk about writing, they study writing, they teach writing to each other, they breathe the romantic fiction genre. At that time, as a male in their world, I was ignored. “Must be someone’s lost boyfriend.” I did meet a gentleman who was there with his wife and another with girlfriend. Leigh Greenwood was the only published male romance author in attendance. And then my publisher had brought four men to prove that we could write romance as well.

The strangest thing was being discounted for my gender. I lived it for four mind-warping days. One session they actually stopped the whole program when I asked a question. They were shocked that I was writer, with a completed manuscript, that had been sold, and would be out the next summer. It was simply out of their realm of experience. I had an agent refuse to talk to me, even though I had an appointment to meet with him. It was a new experience , something that women have pointed out happens all the time to them.

No one, other than the agent, were rude or impolite, they were simply mystified. I was outside their realm of experience. Scroll forward to today. The latest meeting of my local RWA chapter had 40 women and 3 men in attendance. In my personal book study group of 8, the two romance writers and readers are both male. I’ll be going to RWA national this year for the first time since 1998 and I can’t wait to see how it has changed.

I often wonder at the disparity. The first question I ask myself, “Is a romance voice so unique?” Definitely, “YES!” I’ve always had a love story in my novels. A background element, but an important one. For who are we without hope and love, what would be the point? Yet when I set out to write my first romance, I faced huge challenges. Challenges so daunting that I actually discarded several complete manuscripts because I didn’t know how to make them work. Even The Night is Mine was still a thriller rather than a romantic suspense when Sourcebooks purchased it. It was only in working with Deb Werksman, amazing editor by-the-by, that I finally found the missing pieces in my voice. That I finally found how to make the love story the center, the purpose, the reason for the book. And I love that! It’s so much fun!

The second question is, “Why not more men?” You would think what with my being a male romance author I’d have some special insight. I don’t, but I’ll take a stab at it anyway.

A male home sapiens is a terribly linear beast. If I sharpen this spear, learn how to throw, learn where to aim, I bring home dinner. If I go the job, if I hone my skills, I will get better and better at achieving results.

The female is far less linear. I married a single mom. Her entire life was framed by expediency about her child. If I do this step during the nap, this step while she’s in the shower, then I can be set up to complete this before I go to sleep… and my wife carried twenty of this non-linear tasks in her head all the time. And that’s assuming the kid doesn’t interrupt and of those twenty chains.

I don’t think the male, as often posited, is emotionless, but rather that the female is forced into a heightened state of contingency planning and “what ifs” all forcing an intense awareness of the world around her. We’ve selectively bred for women able to feel heightened connections and to be aware of nuanced change, a child’s mood, over a forthright change, a male’s “what’s the next to-do item on the list.”

I think this is changing, in American culture perhaps faster than most. I think that the coming generation will bring male romance readers and writers in droves. I hope so, because I think it will become a kinder, gentler nation for the women if it does. And I’ll freely admit, my heroes act the same way, even if they would never admit it out loud.

THE NIGHT IS MINE BY M.L. BUCHMAN

NAME: Emily Beale

RANK: Captain

MISSION: Fly undercover to prevent the assassination of the First Lady, posing as her executive pilot.

NAME: Mark Henderson, code name Viper

RANK: Major

MISSION: Undercover role of wealthy, ex-mercenary boyfriend to Emily

Their jobs are high risk, high reward:

Protect the lives of the powerful and the elite at all cost. Neither expected that one kiss could distract them from their mission. But as the passion mounts between them, their lives and their hearts will both be risked…and the reward this time may well be worth it. Here’s an excerpt to tease your senses…

“He shouldn’t have done it. He was her commanding officer, for crying out loud. He’d just risked his career for that kiss. And hers, which was truly unforgivable. He hadn’t even realized how badly he wanted her. Until he received the call that she’d been reassigned.

And when Emily Beale closed her eyes on so much pain, he’d given in. If he’d known how much her kiss would rock him back on his heels…

With a smile he’d do best to keep to himself, Mark Henderson decided it was worth all the risk for a kiss like that one.

He flexed his abused hand and wondered how much it was going to hurt to work the chopper’s collective on the flight back to base. A twinge shot all the way into his shoulder where she’d torqued it around before slamming him to the deck. It was going to sting like mad.

She really knew how to handle herself. Damn that was a turn-on. His brain tried to imagine what it would be like to tussle with a woman like that, and his body responded strongly. It made a very nice image.

He pulled the tab on the soda he’d dropped when he went down. It exploded in a cloudy spray of sugar water covering his face and uniform.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. L. Buchman has worked in fast food, theater, computers, publishing, and light manufacturing. It’s amazing what you can do with a degree in geophysics. At one point he sold everything and spent 18-months riding a bicycle around the world. In 11,000 miles, he touched 15 countries and hundreds of incredible people. Since then, he has acquired a loving lady, the coolest kid on the planet, and lives in Portland, Oregon. For more information, please visit http://www.mlbuchman.com/.

Sourcebooks will be giving away TWO copies of THE NIGHT IS MINE, so don’t be shy;tell us your thoughts on a male author writing a romance novel.

‘The Night Is Mine’ by M. L. Buchman

STORY: First in a thrilling military romantic suspense series based on the real-life elite helicopter pilots who transport Navy SEALs and Delta Force teams in and out of combat and covert missions. (SOAR are the heroes of Black Hawk Down.)

M. L. Buchman’s heroine flies the most dangerous military ops and tries to find the one man who can be a hero in her own life. Ace-pilot Captain Emily Beale goes undercover as bodyguard to the First Lady, with her rugged commander, Major Mark Henderson, who is determined to cover her back. Can she learn to keep her desire at bay before her covert mission implodes?

REVIEW: Let me come clean here and admit that the only reason I wanted to read this story was because a man wrote it. I was really curious if a man author can pull off a romance as well as a woman authoress. And before you all gang up on me, yes I am aware that there were men ‘pulling it off’ quite well long before M. L. Buchman, but that was very, VERY long time ago. In a time when women were ‘supposed’ to be ignorant and uneducated, so that doesn’t count.

As the book blurb tells us who our hero and heroine are, I’ll skip on summarizing the story and get right on and tell you what worked for me and what didn’t.

I thought both hero and heroine were great characters and the author made me believe that she’s as competent and brave as her male counterparts. As a matter a fact, she was one of those women that was good in almost everything she sets her mind on.

Major Mark Henderson, or the “Viper” as he’s known to his fellow soldiers was perfectly cast as the hero who is a total opposite of Emily and the chemistry between the two worked great. The Yin and Yang of the two was perfectly pitched, and you could feel the tension and the sparks fly off of the pages! He was one of those men that the phrase ‘never let them see you sweat’ totally applies.

As to the plot, in spite of its predictability, I found myself warming up to it and wanting to know who the villain is. I also liked the pace of the story and I enjoyed the suspense and action which were quite good.

Those are the things that worked for me, but there’s one thing that I found waaaaaaaaaaay over my head, and that is all the military ‘lingo’. Honestly, I was lost…in the desert…with no canteen!

The author has obviously done his homework on helicopters, flying and guns. While all of that gives the book its authenticity, in my case, it made me feel like an outsider…

Now, I’m going to come clean yet again and tell you all that I’m also lost in regards to cars. There are only a handful of car models that I can name, as for the rest, they are just ‘vehicles’ in assorted colors and sizes.

‘The Night is Mine’ is a fun, intriguing and suspenseful romance full of action. Once I got over all the military lingo, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and yes, is the answer to myself; an author of male persuasion, other than Shakespeare, can write a romance novel!

*To buy this book, click on the cover*

*To learn more about the author, click on his name*

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

This can only happen to me…

Hello my Bookworms! I thought to stop by and apologize to all of you and thank Krissie, Evelyn as well as Ms. Stone and Ms. Ashe, for being a poor host for this past month.  Here’s the reason…

A few weeks ago I was on cloud nine. One of my favorite authors was coming to a local book store, and I was not going to miss that opportunity to meet her. I had all my ‘ducks’ in a row: Recon Mission with my DH a week before her visit=CHECK; Book signing number=CHECK; A ride (DH was taking a day off just for me) to the Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville (the event was at 7 pm and I have a restriction on my DL-can’t drive at night)=CHECK; a bag filled with books that needed signing=CHECK; camera rechurdged=CHECK. I was oh so ready!

My first hint that something would happen that night would have been with my DH telling me that he had to work that night  (after his friend at work asked him to reconsider, because he needed to be with his little girl for her school play). I was cool with that, but now I needed a Plan B. In walks Katerina and just like that, we were on!

On the way to the store we blah=blahed books and totally missed our turn, but hey it’s only 5 pm, still plenty of time to hit a restaurant for dinner and get to the book shop.

Have you ever been to Downtown Naperville?! I dare you to find a parking spot close to the shop you’d like to go to! But we did! And the wait in a restaurant?! NONE! We were seated right away! All these were great signs that the evening could not be any better…After two glasses of an excellent Riesling and a dinner with a dessert to die for, we were ready to head out to the book shop…and while exiting…OUCH! I miss a small, itsy-bitsy tiny step, and down I go! My ankle got a bit twisted, but I was just fine. We laughed it off and blamed the two glasses of wine for my OOPS and the rest of the evening went off without a hitch!

Julie Anne Long and Laura Lee Guhrke were a class act and I had a ball. My books were signed and I read each and every one of them once I got home and had my ice pack on my ankle.

What followed was not so preaty…First a pain in my lower back, then the pain on my right side all the way down my leg (felt like a permanent Charlie Horse), doctor’s visits, MRI and prednisone, Norco and muscle relaxer, one trip to the Emergency room, and my grand finale will be tomorrow for the cortisone injection.

I belive that this can only happen to me and I’m blaming April Fool’s Day (my date of birth)!

At Home with the Lady Chemist and the War Hero Earl…

Hello, and thank you for joining me for this week’s episode of ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Aristocratic.’  I’m your host, Lady Heather Snow, and today we shall get a rare peek into the lives of that elusive couple whose marriage so shocked the Beau Monde last spring, The Earl and Countess of Stratford.  My lord, my lady, thank you for welcoming us into your home.

Liliana, Lady Stratford:  And thank you for the generous donation to our foundation.

Geoffrey, Lord Stratford:  Indeed.  Your contribution will do much to further employment opportunities, and ensure proper medical care and support for ex-soldiers and their families—a cause very dear to both of our hearts.

HS:  Yes, well, we’re happy to help…particularly as that was the only way you would let us into your home. (clears her throat) You know, my Lord, the Ton was all atwitter when only the best families with eligible daughters received the coveted invitation to a house party at your estate, Somerton Park—presumably so that you might pick a bride.  Almost before the first seal was cracked, the betting books were filled with wagers on who would come away with a betrothal ring when the fortnight was through.

Geoffrey:  (snorts) I’ll wager fortunes were lost on that bet.

Liliana:  And months’ worth of pin money, too!

Geoffrey:  (puts an arm around Liliana’s shoulders) Who do you suppose was the forerunner?

Liliana:  Most assuredly Lady Jane.

Geoffrey: (frowns thoughtfully) Was she Mozart or Beethoven?

(Lady Snow’s head turns between the two, twin furrows forming between her auburn eyebrows)

HS: Mozart?  Beethoven?

Liliana:  (waves a dismissive hand) No matter.  It was simply a theory a friend of our voiced about how to judge what type of wife one would be by what composer’s work they chose to play at a musicale…forgive us.  You were saying?

HS:  Well, everyone wants to know what your stratagem was to win Lord Stratford’s hand when you were clearly up against the crème de la crème of society?

Liliana: Oh, I had no stratagem at all.  At least, not about winning Geoffrey’s hand.

HS:  Do you mean to say you weren’t trying to snag the earl?

Liliana:  (laughs) Far from it.

HS:  Then…it was just luck?

Geoffrey:  (Hugs Liliana closer to him) Providence, I’d say.

Liliana:  Just so.  (One corner of her mouth tips up in a secret smile, one Geoffrey returns.)

Geoffrey:  Well, now that we’ve satisfied your curiosity on that matter—

(Lady Snow purses her lips as if their answers have done anything but)

Geoffrey: What can we tell you about the house?

HS:  (bites her lip as if she’d like to say more, but ultimately chooses not to press) Of course.  The manor house is rather impressive, and we’ve very much enjoyed the tour.  Tell me, do either of you have a favorite room here at Somerton Park?

Liliana and Geoffrey both answer simultaneously:  The library.

HS:  Oh?

Liliana:  Yes.

Geoffrey: Absolutely.

HS:  I suppose you have quite a collection then, if it is the favorite spot of both of you.

Liliana:  An extensive one.  But that’s not why we answered thus.  The library…

Geoffrey:  Is where we first spoke alone.

Liliana:  Where we first argued.

Geoffrey:  Where we first kissed.

Liliana:  Where you first asked me to marry you…

Geoffrey:  Where you broke my heart.

Liliana:  Where you broke mine.

Geoffrey:  And where I asked you to marry me again…

Liliana: (smiles and nods her head at Lady Snow) Most certainly the library.  Though I do have a second favorite place—my laboratory.

HS:  Laboratory?

Liliana:  Yes.  It’s located in the folly near the lake.  Geoffrey gave it over to me to use as my lab as a wedding present.

(Geoffrey’s eyes turn a deeper shade of blue as he gazes upon his wife):  We’ve certainly conducted some…interesting experiments in there, haven’t we, my love?

(Liliana flushes a delicate pink)

Geoffrey:  In fact, I should think I’d like to visit there now…without an audience.  (He snags Liliana’s hand as he strides towards the door)  Lady Snow, feel free to explore the rest of Somerton Park to your heart’s content.  My butler will be happy to show you around.  My wife’s laboratory, however, is off limits…at least for the next few hours.

(The newly-weds depart, leaving a chagrined Lady Snow in their wake.)

HS:  What can I say, gentle viewer?  Young love.  Until next time…

Sweet Enemy…
A Veiled Seduction Novel ~ Book One

“Historical intrigue and heart-pounding passion make Sweet Enemy a great read.  Romance fans will love it.” ~#1NYT Bestselling Author JULIE GARWOOD

Geoffrey Wentworth, a war hero and rising political star, never wanted to be the Earl, but when his brother dies, he knows his duty—take up the responsibility for his family’s estates.  His mother’s definition of duty differs from his, however, and can be summed up in one word—heirs.  When Geoffrey rushes home to answer her urgent summons, he finds himself host to a house full of women, all vying to become the next Countess of Stratford.  But his love is Parliament, where he wields his influence and reputation to better the lives of ex-soldiers, until a tempting houseguest and a secret from his past threaten his freedom…and his heart.

Liliana Claremont, a brilliant chemist, doesn’t want to be any man’s wife, much less a countess.  If she had tuppence for every time she’d been told her place was filling the nursery, not experimenting in the laboratory, she could buy the Tower Bridge.  However, when she receives a coveted invitation to the Earl’s house party, she trades in her beakers for ball gowns and gladly takes on the guise of husband hunter—for the chance to uncover what the Earl had to do with the murder of her father.

Liliana believes the best way to get the answers she needs is to keep her enemy close, though romance is not part of her formula.  But it only takes one kiss to start a reaction she can’t control…

If you’d like to read the Prologue and first Chapter of Sweet Enemy, you can find it here. For Melanie’s review of Sweet Enemy go here.

Heather Snow is a historical romance author with a degree in Chemistry who discovered she much preferred creating chemistry on the page, rather than in the lab.  She is forever trying to wrangle her left and right brain to work together (some days with more success than others!), but if her two sides had to duke it out, left would win every time—which can be a creative challenge.  Luckily, she loves challenges…she just goes about solving them analytically.

Heather lives in the Midwest with her husband, two rambunctious boys and one very put upon cat.  She sincerely hopes you find her stories have just the right chemistry…

Please visit her at www.HeatherSnowBooks.com, on Facebook www.facebook.com/authorheathersnow or on Twitter www.twitter.com/HeatherSnowRW

Sweet Enemy is available wherever books are sold and at these fine retailers,but you can also take a chance here and win a copy (open internationally) by answering Heather’s question: What’s your favorite place in the world (could be a room in your home or really, anywhere else) and why?


Rainy Day Books (Heather’s local Indie)

Amazon (Kindle Edition)

Amazon (Paperback Edition)

Books-A-Million
     Barnes and Noble
Indiebound
I-Book

“When A Scot Loves a Lady” by Katharine Ashe

When A Scot Loves A Lady is chock full of all of the elements that make me love historical romance.  Sweeping, intriguing, fast paced, sexy this is one of them books that cannot be put down once it has begun.

Kitty is a wonderful, fun character.  She’s overcome so much and done it with such class, I found myself drawn to her character, drawn to see what she might do next!  She is worldy and wise beyond her years- she really has no choice with some of the things that have happened to her.  Kitty stands up for herself and avenges her reputation, she is fierce, loyal and a wonderful, strong female lead.  And of course, more importantly, she knows a good looking man when she sees one!  The instant chemistry between Kitty and Leam is just about tangible and the passion is there from the moment the two characters set their eyes upon one another.

Leam is a Scotsman like no other.  He is all at once all of the things that I love in my romance hero.  He is alpha and brooding and sexy and passionate.  His character is complex and he has his own set of secrets and demons that make him that much more intriguing.  And though he is alpha male through and through he knows how to love a woman, and there is no limit to the steamy, sexy happenings in When a Scot Loves a Lady!

Lovers of historical romance will love this new offering by Katharine Ashe.  Very well written, When A Scot Loves a Lady keeps the reader suspended in time while we journey to a different time and place with these lovely and provocative characters.

Fan2Author Interview with…Katharine Ashe!

Kristal: Hi Katharine!  Thank you so much for joining us today for an interview!  We are very honored to have you on the site with us!  Feel free to stick around as much as you would like to chat with our readers as well!

Katharine Ashe: Thanks for hosting me today, Kristal. I’m honored to be here!

K: At what age did you know that writing was what you wanted to do?  Did you have an “AHA” moment or was it something that you always knew?

KA: Even when I was a small child writing fiction made my heart sing. The thing is, history made my mind dance. And as I grew up I got this Really Silly Notion that the mind’s interests were more impressive than the heart’s. You see? Really silly. But not only silly… Tragic. Because that is CLEARLY NOT THE CASE.

So as it happened, I went to graduate school for my PhD in History, and became sad because my mind danced day and night while my heart only occasionally smiled. Late in graduate school I started writing stories again — historical romances — and my heart declared, “Finally!!!” That was my “Aha!” moment. I could do both at once! I finished my PhD, got a job as a professor and started a family, but through it all I kept writing. It gives me joy and energy and profound happiness.

K: So I’m loving the first book in The Falcon Club Series.  When A Scot Loves a Lady” is so exciting, there is so much going on in the story, every single page is something new to discover. Is it difficult to write a story that has so many great elements and get them all just right?

KA: Thank you!! As a reader my favorite kinds of books have intricate plots, rich emotional landscapes, and mysteries that keep me turning pages. So that’s where my imagination goes when I begin to develop one of my own books. It’s true, sometimes this gets me into trouble as I’m writing; I occasionally end up in places I didn’t anticipate. But that’s the great fun of writing a love story: the hero and heroine always set me straight when I try to take them places they don’t want to go. At the center of everything are those lovers careening delectably toward their Happily Ever After.

K: Let’s talk Scotland, Scottish men to be precise.  I LOVED Leam.  I felt like he had all the right stuff- everything that I look for in a hero.   Did you do a lot of research on Scotland and Scottish men to make Leam’s character true to form?

KA: I’m so glad you loved Leam! It was so much fun writing him — a combination of alpha lord and thoroughly skirt-whipped male.  I’d been reading history books about Scotland for years. Then I finally took a journey to Scotland… and I fell in love. It is a land both gorgeous and dangerous, hospitable and harsh, rustic and sublimely sophisticated. The green hills, the castle ruins, the heather waving on the hills, the fields of sheep, the art and music and busy cities were all fabulous, but the people were even more wonderful. I felt entirely at home, completely welcomed, and utterly happy. After that, writing a Scottish hero seemed the most natural thing in the world. And I do love a hero with a secret identity, so that was great fun too.

K: The chemistry between Leam and Kitty was great, right from the very beginning!  Can you tell us a little bit about how these characters came to be?  Maybe share a secret or two about your writing process?

KA: I set out to write a story about a man and a woman who believe they are unquestionably wrong for each other but who, from the moment they meet, can’t keep their hands off each other. It happens sometimes, that chemical whatever that crashes two people together, and it can be earth shattering. I’d known Kitty for a while; she’s the sister of the pirate-earl hero in my “Captured by a Rogue Lord. She’d been hurt as a young woman by a very bad man, and I wanted her to find happiness with a very good man. But the walls she erected around her heart over years were going to take a powerful force to knock down. Unanticipated, unwanted, and uncontrollable lust was that force!

But not just lust. For just because Kitty thinks she and the Earl of Blackwood have nothing whatsoever in common doesn’t mean they actually don’t. But Leam knows the truth, and their passion scares him to death. I loved playing with their consternation over their desire, and their absolute unwillingness to admit to something a whole lot bigger than lust between them.

K: Can you tell us a little more about your other series, The Rogues of the Sea series?  How many of them are there?  How many more will you write?

KA: My rogues of the sea are powerful men — peers on land as well as lords upon the ocean. They are driven not by wealth or status or even duty, but by conviction that their mission is noble. Their heroines are daring women, strong and brave enough to win these men’s hearts. I’ve written three Rogues of the Sea novels and one novella (Swept Away by a Kiss, “Captured by a Rogue Lord, “In the Arms of a Marquess, and “A Lady’s Wish). The heroes of the novels have secret identities to protect the people they help, and my novella features a Navy war hero, whom I adored writing. The books are all stand-alone and very loosely tied.

K: Last but not least and along those same lines can you tell us what is next for the Falcon Club series?  You have two more books scheduled to come out this year, can you tell us a little bit about them?

KA: Book #2 of the Falcon Club series, How To Be a Proper Lady, has a seafaring hero too! Captain Jin Seton is a former pirate with a very dark past and a lost lady in his sights, and he’ll stop at nothing to find her. The moment I wrote the first lines about Jin in “Captured by a Rogue Lord”, I knew I had to tell his story, and I knew precisely who his heroine would be — Viola Carlyle, kidnapped by smugglers fifteen years ago and fighting mad to be dragged back to England now. Jin is sublimely confident and totally caught off guard by his quarry. Also, I really love writing about men who can command the sea — the most dangerous, unpredictable force of nature there is. Or… come to think of it… that’s love!

In book #3, How a Lady Weds a Rogue”, a hardened spy meets his match when a country miss demands that he play the role of hero in her quest. But the road may prove more dangerous than she imagined when her wanton desire for her Knight in Shining Armor and his intoxicating embrace turn out to be the real adventure…

How To Be a Proper Lady is coming June 26, and “How a Lady Weds a Rogue” on September 25!

K: Thank you so much for stopping by to visit with us!  I am so excited to see what our readers think of your new book, “When a Scot Loves a Lady” and get a peek at my review!

Thank you, Kristal. I’ve had a wonderful time!

Kristal here! Ms. Ashe is giving away an autographed copy of her award nominated novel

“Captured by a Rogue Lord” to one of you! Who’s it gonna be?

Epic Book Giveaway Contest!

Don’t Miss the

“Indulge in Our Favorite Authors”

Epic Book Giveaway Contest!

If you haven’t already heard, five romance authors are holding an epic book giveaway contest of *their* five favorite romance authors’ books. But they’re not just giving away a few books—they’re giving away complete, SIGNED backlists of the following authors:

Julia Quinn (sponsored by Shana Galen)

Lisa Kleypas (sponsored by Elise Rome)

Julie Garwood (sponsored by Heather Snow)

Elizabeth Hoyt (sponsored by Lila DiPasqua)

Cynthia Eden (sponsored by Vanessa Kelly)

Yes, it’s an epic contest, and it’s being held on Facebook right now. All you have to do is visit the Facebook pages of Shana Galen, Lila DiPasqua, Vanessa Kelly, Heather Snow, and Elise Rome, and enter the favorite book (the hint is given on the contest tab) for each of these authors.

At the end of February the contest will be over—so hurry!—and five lucky winners will win a backlist of one of the amazing authors mentioned above. Elise has said that Lisa is even signing her books after the winner is chosen for her backlist, so if you win Lisa Kleypas’ books, they’ll be personally made out to you. Also, the five authors are giving away books of their own, too.

Good luck to everyone who enters,

and don’t forget to tell your friends!

Fan2Author Interview…Genevieve Graham!

K: Hello Genevieve! We want to sincerely thank you for granting us an interview.  We are thrilled that you are here!  I am excited to share with our readers your first novel, which is causing quite a buzz, as well as hearing a little bit about your plans for us readers for the future.

UNDER THE SAME SKY is your debut novel.  Can you tell us a little bit about how this novel took place in your head?  How did this wonderful story come to life for you?

GG: Hi Kristal! Thank you so much for inviting me here today. And thanks for saying that – it’s causing a buzz? I didn’t know that! Yay! I think people are finding it’s a different kind of romance, something unexpected, and they like that.

I never planned on being an author, and it didn’t happen until I was over forty. I was an obsessive reader, picking up anything and everything ever written by Diana Gabaldon. I absolutely love her writing, and have read the series at least four times (and listened to it an additional three times!). When I’d finished it the last time, I felt kinda lonely, kinda deflated after all that adventure was done … so I told my husband I was going to go off and write my own. I still remember the way he shrugged and said, “Okay. See you later.” Like it’s an everyday thing, right?

When I started to type, I had no idea of what I wanted to write. None. I just sort of sat there, staring at the screen. Then … it was almost as if I heard a voice telling me what to write, except it wasn’t that exactly. It’s was more like I felt what I was supposed to write. I felt Maggie, and I let her take over. She didn’t ask. She told me, showing me the dark details of her life, letting me in on her little secrets. I felt badly for her, because she’d obviously had a rough time of it, and I just knew things weren’t about to improve anytime soon.

Then I started to get a picture in my head of a quiet, dark warrior in a kilt, a man with a deep need inside him that he told no one about. No one but me.

Three hours later I came upstairs and plopped about twenty pages on my husband’s lap. He looked surprised, read them, than looked surprised again. “Hey, that’s not bad,” he said. And he’s supported me every step of the way since then. I’m so lucky.

K: I am hearing so many good things about UNDER THE SAME SKY!  People are writing that they can’t believe it is a debut novel because it is so wonderfully written.  It has been called EPIC…  Epic is a pretty big claim!  How does that make you feel, to hear that people love this book so much?

GG: I know! Epic! The book came out a month ago, and I’m still wandering around in a fog. I have to say that it’s very surreal; first of all, just knowing people are reading what I wrote. Then to realize they like it? I feel awesome, Kristal. Like there’s a part of me I never knew existed until all this happened, and that part of me is having a wonderful time.

K: I love to ask this question, because I’m a nosy girl.  And I’m always curious about how the mind works.  How do you get in the “mood” to write?  Is there something special that inspires you?  Music, lighting?  Somewhere special in your house that inspires you or lends itself to some solitude?

GG: I like to write every day if I can, though my other business is editing, so I’m often working on other people’s novels instead of my own. I have a quiet little office in my house, and I usually burn candles and sip on herbal tea while I write. If I can, there’s no noise at all, and definitely no music. It’s kind of strange, because my university degree is in Music Performance and I love classical music. Maybe it’s because I think too much when I hear it. I need quiet so I can disappear into the story without distraction.

K: UNDER THE SAME SKY is very, very well written.  I was hooked after the first sentence.  I was in awe of your ability to have these characters know and love one another from afar and yet make it work so beautifully.  How did you research for a story that spanned continents?  The Highlands and colonial America are wonderful, vast, wild places that I’m sure conjured up some wonderful romantic ideals but did it require a lot of research on your part to put it all together?

GG: Thank you, and yes. I had no idea how to research for it, but I knew it had to be right. Initially I wrote this book just for my own enjoyment, and if I’d put in bogus facts I would have disappointed myself. I loved using tiny details – for example, the name of the ship, the “Boyd of Glasgow”, and its captain are the actual real names for that date and port of departure.

I began by researching in the library, but I have the attention span of a gnat, so that didn’t work out. I started googling different topics and came up with all different kinds of answers. Eventually I ended up working with some incredible people online. For the Highlander information (among other sources), I worked with a terrific man named Guy from http://www.HistoricHighlanders.com, and he nitpicked about the tiniest—and yet incredibly significant—details. And for the Cherokee knowledge, I went to a man named Ironhead Vann, who is the great-great-great grandson of ‘Chief’ Rich Joe Vann of the Old Cherokee Nation. Ironhead’s gorgeous site is http://www.CherokeeByBlood.com.

K: Can you tell us a little bit about your next novel, SOUND OF THE HEART, which is coming out May 1, 2012?  I will say, it looks wonderful, but let you describe it for our readers.

GG: I don’t want to give too much away, but SOUND OF THE HEART focuses on Dougal, the brother of the hero in UNDER THE SAME SKY. The brothers were separated at Culloden Moor in April 1746 and both assumed the other had been killed in the battle. But Andrew escaped, and Dougal had a far rougher time of it. Along the way, though, he discovers true love … then loses it when the love of his life is stolen by the English and shipped to the new world as a slave. When I was researching for this book I discovered that white slavery, especially among Scots of that time period, was rampant. We never hear about that. The truth is that some of the transported Scots were called “indentured servants”, but others were actual slaves. I found that to be both horrifying and fascinating, and I plan on learning more about that. Anyway, the book follows both Dougal and his beloved through their own separate adventures, and we all just have to hope for a reunion … heh heh

K: What are your plans for after SOUND OF THE HEART?  Are there other books in the same vein as these two?

GG: Yes again. The third book, OUT OF THE SHADOWS features Maggie’s sister, Adelaide, and is already on my agent’s desk. I’m just waiting to see what will happen with it. This is a tough economic time for publishers and they have to be really careful signing debut authors. I have my fingers crossed! And … book #4 (untitled so far) is under way. It’s about Janet. So many readers said she deserved a book, and about a month ago she told me she had a great story to tell, so what else could I do?

K: Can you tell us who some of your favorite authors are?  What kinds of books you enjoy and genres that you prefer?

GG: I prefer what I call “Historic Adventure” over “Historic Romance” in many cases. I lose myself in heart wrenching suspense, gritty adventures, and the dangers that these people had to face. I think my favorite aspect of writing Historic fiction is that, well, who is to say those stories never happened? When I write, I feel like I’m “channeling”. Doesn’t that mean those people have passed?

I love anything by Diana Gabaldon, Sara Donati, Penelope Williamson, and Jennifer Roberson, and recently I’ve really been enjoying the work of Kaki Warner and Joanna Bourne. To hold my attention, a story has to be compelling, intelligent, emotional, and unpredictable … is that asking too much?

K: Thank you so much for stopping by and chatting with us and our readers!  We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to spending time with us!

Kristal here. For one copy of UNDER THE SAME SKY please tell us when was the last time you read a debut novel that knocked your socks off?!

“Under the Same Sky” by Genevieve Graham

WOW!  I don’t know where to start to say how much I loved this book!  UNDER THE SAME SKY is absolutely amazing.  I have read that people believe it is EPIC and I thoroughly agree with that assessment.

The writing is superb and I never would have believed that it was a debut novel if I hadn’t been told.  The characters are vivid, alive in a way that I rarely see in a book.  From the first sentence of the first chapter I was hooked.

UNDER THE SAME SKY has the feel of a movie, the writing is that superb.  The way the story flows and is told, the way I felt like I was right there, inside the book for every moment from the very first sentence.

This book has depth, substance and character and I felt so many different emotions while I was reading, I cannot even name them all.  It is not a typical romance, and yet it is a stunning story of two lovers and all the pain, hurt, turmoil, joy and happiness imaginable.

It is a strong love, a fierce love, a love fraught with obstacles and many beautiful moments.

A love that spans space, time and country.  Andrew and Maggie are wonderful characters, with an amazing story to tell.  I fell in love with their story, with the idea that a love like theirs could span countries and planes and still make everything alright.

Outstanding work by Genevieve Graham.  Stunning, beautiful, EPIC.

UNDER THE SAME SKY will not soon be forgotten and will be going on my keeper shelf to be re-read as many times as I can manage.

Review by Kristal