The Elegant Inteligencer Report by Miss Louise Allen, Literary Correspondent

Lady Perdita recovers from her ordeal on the Isles of Scilly

The Elegant Inteligencer 12 March 1809

An exclusive report has just been received from our Calcutta correspondent, dated December 8th 1808, describing the departure of some of the leading lights of Calcutta Society for England.

Dear Readers, I was fortunate enough to secure an invitation for a glittering reception last night at the Residence of the Governor of Calcutta and write this report in haste, before the sun has risen, in order to send this report to the next ship leaving for England. I know, Gentle Readers, that the arrival in London Society of several of the most interesting of our eligible residents after their sojourns in India cannot fail to interest you.

The great Marble Hall of the Residence was a blaze of colour last night as the Governor hosted his reception for those leaving on the East Indiaman, the Bengal Queen at the end of this week. So many dashing gentlemen in the scarlet uniforms of the East India Company’s army, so many gallant naval officers and, of course, the refined style of the cultivated members of the Company’s staff. The ladies, in the silks that are so abundant here (and which would fill the hearts of every discerning London shopper with the deepest envy!), filled the Hall with grace, colour and some quite marvellous arrays of gemstones. My dears – the Burmese sapphires!!

The most prominent of the ladies who will be sailing on the Bengal Queen is Lady Perdita Brooke, the lovely and vivacious daughter of the Earl of Wycombe of Devon. You, Dear Reader, will recall that Lady Perdita (or Dita to her intimates) left London society somewhat mysteriously to travel to India. At the time it was said she was visiting her aunt and, naturally, I pay no heed to the whispers that this was following an elopement, foiled by her papa. It is most natural that such a spirited young lady would wish to travel.

There was quite a stir at the reception at the unexpected appearance of Alistair, Lord Lyndon, heir to the Marquess of Iwerne who, we learn is also returning to England. (Editor’s Note: our correspondent was unaware, as is the viscount himself, that in his absence his esteemed father has passed away and he is now the marquess himself).

Lord Lyndon is a neighbour of Lady Perdita, their fathers’ estates marching together, but I was most intrigued to note that they greeted each other with surprise and no great cordiality. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Lady Perdita was positively frosty! When one considers that the handsome viscount is only just recovered from wounds inflicted by a Savage Tiger while performing a Daring Rescue, one can only wonder at what lies behind this froideur! How will these two leading lights of Society survive four months or more together in the close confines on board ship, one wonders?

Accompanying Lady Perdita is Miss Averil Heydon. While lacking the beauty and connections of her friend, one cannot but note that this attractive and shy young lady is a notable heiress, daughter of East India nabob Sir Jeremiah Heydon. Miss Heydon travels back to England to marry Lord Brandon: a most piquant journey, for she has never met the noble lord and one wonders about her emotions under these circumstances!

Much vivacity was provided at the reception by Mr Daniel Chatterton, one of the handsome twin brothers of the Earl of Flamborough. Mr Daniel C is renowned as, if I may be excused the use of slang, a Choice Spirit and the life and soul of the party. It is said that Mr Daniel is returning to wed his childhood sweetheart, Miss Sophia Langley, a true romance that will warm the hearts of every one of my Fair Readers, I am certain.

Mr Callum Chatterton, also returning with his twin, is rumoured to be taking up a post of great responsibility with the East India Company in London, a reward for his diligence in his duties while in India. One might have expected the Sensible Twin, if one may so designate him, to have been the first to become betrothed, and there are even suggestions that he does not approve his brother’s connection, made when both parties were so young. That aside, one hears great things of his future prospects and no doubt the prudent mothers of young ladies in the Marriage Mart will have their eyes upon this gentleman.

Our company here will be diminished by the departure of these notables from our midst, but you, Fair Readers, will have all the pleasure of their company by the summer of next year. Now I must prepare myself for a picnic to be given in honour of the arrival in the city of the Raja of Kalatwah, a notable ally of the East India Company. My report will follow, you may be assured.

The Elegant Intelligencer 25th March 1809

We are desolated to report, so soon after our bulletin from our Calcutta correspondent, that the East Indiaman the Bengal Queen  struck a treacherous reef off the Isles of Scilly during the night of the 15th inst.

Some, miraculously, have been plucked from this hideous wreck. Lady Perdita Brook is safe, thanks it is said, to the courage and endurance of the Marquess of Iwerne who has not only had to face the disaster of the wreck but the news that, in his absence abroad, his respected father passed away. Lady Perdita returns to her family, confident, we are certain, that the scandal that led to her leaving England has been forgotten and forgiven. It seems that, despite his gallant rescue of the lady, she and Lord Iwerne are still at odds, a most intriguing situation!

It is with deep sadness that we report the death of Mr Daniel Chatterton, leaving his twin brother Callum and his fiancée, Miss Langley, to mourn him. We are certain that they will find mutual comfort and support in their shared grief, despite persistent rumours that Mr Chatterton did not approve his brother’s engagement.

Of great concern to all that knew her is the disappearance of Miss Averil Heydon who must, it seems, be presumed lost. Her fiancé, it has to be said, is bearing up under this loss with great stoicism, but, of course he never knew the lady, only her dowry. Disturbingly there are vague tales on the Islands of the presence of a gang of mysterious, possibly piratical, men. One can only hope that Miss Heydon has not fallen into their clutches. They might even be Frenchmen!

The Elegant Intelligencer March 2012

Our Literary Correspondent reports that Miss Louise Allen, author of many works of a romantic nature, has undertaken to report the dramatic events surrounding and following the wreck of the Bengal Queen in a series of three novels under the general title of Danger & Desire. Such is the interest in these events that we report this here, despite the publication of these works by our rival company, Harlequin Mills & Boon.

Ravished by the Rake recounts what transpires in the tumultuous story of Lady Dita Brooke and Alistair Lyndon. Seduced by the Scoundrel reveals the mystery of what happened to Miss Averil Heydon and the destiny of Mr Callum Chatterton and Miss Sophia Langley is unveiled in Married to a Stranger.

Further information, excerpts and information on the purchase of these titles may be found at www.louiseallenregency.co.uk Miss Allen also converses by the medium of Twitter as @LouiseRegency

Giveaway:

Miss Allen will be giving away the book of choice

from the Danger & Desire trilogy

shipped anywhere in the world! 

‘Ravished by the Rake’ by Louise Allen

STORY: Vivacious lady Perdita Brooke prides herself on her social poise…except when faced with devastatingly dashing Alistair Lyndon. The dreamy young man Dita once knew is now a hardened rake, who clearly does not remember their passionate night together…however much it’s emblazoned on her memory!

Now Dita has the perfect opportunity to remind Alistair of their sizzling chemistry. But soon she is in over her head. Provoking him is supposed to be a deliciously wicked game, with her holding all the cards—until Alistair reveals the ace up his sleeve!

REVIEW: Lady Perdita Brooke is not your typical lady of the ton, and frankly, she never was.

At sixteen, she was an awkward, skinny but tall girl with a crush on a neighboring marquis’ son who was six years older than she, and who always thought her a nuisance until one unforgettable night, which left both with yearning dreams of each other.

Many years later, in a faraway India in exile for putting her family through a scandal, she’s shocked to see that boy who is now a man that she still finds fascinating, handsome and infuriating, all at the same time.

Lord Alistair Lyndon is not a boy any more but a man whose experiences for the past few years have left him scarred inside and out, and while the scars that could be seen are intriguing and attractive to most of the women, the ones that are hidden are haunting his dreams and keeping our hero awake at night.

As both, Alistair and Ditta, are finally ready to return to their families, they’re faced with a voyage that will set the course for their future.

The heroine is one tough cookie! She’s witty and smart but not a great beauty, which made her more real.

The hero, while Alpha all the way, Ms. Allen made sure he had the shades of Beta and that made him more real.

Together, they were a force to be reckoned with!

The setting, while it starts off in India, is made more unique by having our pair stuck on a ship for duration of three months, and there’s a lot that can happen during that time, trust me.

Ms. Allen has managed to tell an amazing character driven story that will touch your hearts. It’s also very well written, action filled and entertaining while still sensual and touching with secondary characters well-developed and waiting for their own HEA’s.

This is the first Louise Allen novel I’ve read and I loved it! As ‘Ravished by the Rake’ is the first book in the ‘Danger & Desire’ trilogy, I can’t wait to read the other books in the series. Ms. Allen, I’m going to have to stock up on your other books while waiting for the rest of this series. Welcome to my keeper shelf!

Fan2Author Interview with…Anne Gracie

Kristal:  Hello Anne!  I’d like to welcome you to b2b and thank you very much for taking time out of your busy day to visit with us!  Feel free to chatter as little or as much as you would like with our readers throughout the day!

Anne Gracie:  Thanks so much for inviting me, Kristal. I’m so pleased to be here. Hi Everyone!

K:  So, I’ve been digging around a little on your website being nosey and I am truly in awe of your childhood!  All the places you traveled, all the experiences you must have had, all the ANIMALS!  What was that like for you, having such a full childhood?  Did you have a favorite place?  How about a favorite animal?

AG:  Well, it was great for me — I don’t know how it was for my parents with all those animals. <g> But I kept adding to the menagerie. I used to bring them home just on dusk, knowing my parents wouldn’t make me go out in the dark to return them. And my mother would carry on, “You’re taking that creature back first thing in the morning, missie. I’m not having another animal in the house. It’s always me who has to feed them and clean up after them and — oh, look at that poor little creature, it’s starving, poor little mite.” And she’d be feeding the kitten or whatever it was, and all the time raving on about how it was going back and she wasn’t having another animal in the house… and by evening, she’d be sitting down after dinner, trying to knit with a kitten purring on her lap or fighting with her wool, and muttering about too many animals… And they always stayed. I even brought home a white cockatoo once that I found down the swamp —  a tamed bird who wouldn’t have survived in the wild. He was a beautiful, cunning bird with an evil sense of humor.

As for a favorite place — we lived in so many places, I have favorite places everywhere. In one town I used to love going down with my dog to what we called the swamp — a big lake, surrounded by grass and reeds taller than me. I’d spend all day there sometimes. And when we lived in Scotland I used to wander along the ‘burn’ — a little stream that ran through the woods.

Also in Scotland we had an attic, which I thought was very romantic. I’d read about them in books all the time, but we generally don’t have attics in Australia. I loved looking out of the sloping window set into the roof of the attic, gazing out over the rooftops of the village where we lived. From that window I could see the ancient Pictish tower, one of only three remaining in Scotland. I’ve been thinking about that attic a lot lately, as the heroine in my current story was looking out of an attic window when she got a bold idea that changed her life. She’s in London, though, not Scotland.

K:  I love the premise for ‘Bride by Mistake’.  I am all about a war-torn hero and I certainly worship at the altar of Isabella’s pluckiness.  Was it difficult to write such intense characters with the amount of depth they both brought to the story?  Did they kind of lead you along and write their own story or was it one that you had decided upon without their help?

AG:  Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it. My characters always lead me along, though normally it’s a bit of a wrestling match and involved a lot of rewriting.  It might sound a bit weird, but for me, as if my characters actually exist and discovering them is a kind of archaeology — I have to dig around to find out what makes them tick, and they’ll often surprise me. To mix my metaphors, it’s a bit like tuning a musical instrument — you know when you’ve hit a wrong note, and have to rewrite and rewrite until it rings true to the character.

K:  I truly felt the emotions, the love, the transformation of these characters over the length of the book.  Along similar lines to my last questions, what was that writing experience like for you?  I know how it felt as a reader but I can’t even imagine as an author what it is like writing these characters as they change and evolve into the characters that they are meant to be.

AG:  Thank you. For me, digging deep into a character’s past and psyche is what stories are all about. I take a while to get started on a book, fiddling and writing and rewriting, trying to get the right angle to start the book. Once I do, I’m off and running, but all the way through I’m asking myself, why did he do that, why did she think that? What does she really want? etc. And that involved going deep.

By about half way in, I’m obsessed by the story and it’s quite hard to pull my head out of that time and place and those characters. I’ll even wake up with a scene rolling in my head like a movie, and I have to write it down by hand before I get up, otherwise I’ll forget it.

My friends know now that when I’m in the zone  I’m no fun and won’t come out to play until the book is done.

K:  Your history, education and professional endeavors certainly lend themselves nicely to your career choice as an author.  Was it always that way?  Did you always want to be an author?

AG:  No, it always amazes me that with parents who were teachers, nobody ever suggested to me I should write stories – not even when I was a kid and made up stories to tell the pets. Not even when I drove people crazy whining about having nothing to read. I was a huge bookworm and read constantly, and my best presents were always books, but I don’t remember ever thinking of being a writer. I think I imagined that writers were special people, far beyond my reach.

I remember saying once to a friend in high school that I  could write a book, but it wasn’t a serious thing.  You know how you say stuff at that age? Writing fiction wasn’t even an option at high school or university, though we did do creative writing sometimes, but I never understood what that was. We did all these weird writing exercises. If someone had ever said, “write a story” I would have loved it.

Writing a book only became a real possibility in my mind when a couple of people I knew got published, and I thought, “I want to do that.” And then, when I was overseas, traveling on my own, I had the time to think and to write — I wrote a whole novel by hand in exercise books. And that’s when the possibility became a plan.

K:  Is there any one heroine or hero who is reminiscent of your own character?  Is there one that you found to have traits similar to your own as you write?  Or maybe one that you relate to more than the others?

AG:  No, not really. I suppose the admirable things in my heroes and heroines are things I value in people — kindness, honor, loyalty, sense of humor, etc. but if I even suspected I was writing someone like me, or even like a friend of mine, I think I’d freeze.  My characters have to be free to be themselves.

I’m fond of all my characters, maybe some more than others. For instance, Harry,  in HIS CAPTIVE LADY is a hero I’m very fond of — he’s not a man for speeches, Harry. He’s the quiet, deep kind of hero, and when he committed himself to the heroine, he gave himself wholly. Bella in BRIDE BY MISTAKE was a heroine I was fond of, too — she was gutsy and loving and led with her heart. Ayisha in TO CATCH A BRIDE was also a heroine I loved — a little spitfire, but she was justified. But I pretty much love them all — I couldn’t write them if I didn’t love them.

K:  So, you’ve written many books and received many wonderful awards for your talent!  What wonderful accomplishments you have made in your career this far!  What are your plans?  What happens next? What can ours readers expect from you in the coming year or two?

AG:  Thanks, Kristal, I feel pretty fortunate to be able to continue writing. It’s a magic job, to be allowed to spin stories and to have other people read them — it’s the kind of thing I used to get into trouble for in school — daydreaming. <g>

I’ve just signed a contract for a new series, about four “sisters” in London — a Bride series — though only one of the four girls expects to be a bride. I’m working on the first of them now and I have to say, I’m enjoying the sparks that fly between the hero and the heroine. And I’ve just written a scene where some of the characters from my first Berkley book, THE PERFECT RAKE, appear, which was fun.

K:  Anne, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing a little of yourself with b2b and our readers.  We are simply tickled to have you here with us!

AG:  And I’m delighted to be here, too, Kristal and the other b2bers. Thanks so much for inviting me.

Kristal here- Anne has graciously agreed to give away a copy of one of her books to one very lucky commenter!!!

Anne Gracie’s ‘Bride by Mistake’

I loved the premise for ‘Bride By Mistake‘ right off the bat. I had heard wonderful things about Anne Gracie and I was not disappointed in the least! Between the premise and my friend’s recommendations, I didn’t think that I could go wrong!

I was truly blown away by all of the things that I felt while reading this book! I felt proud of Isabella for realizing that life was hers for the taking. Even though Luke wasn’t the man of her dreams, she could still go out and fulfill a promise made to her dying father without his help. For years she sat waiting for salvation to come to her until one day she simply decided enough was enough. I really enjoyed her spunk and pluckiness and that she allowed herself to go after her freedom and wasn’t going to wait one more day for anyone to come save her. It definitely gave her a realness that I can relate to.

I felt so sorry for the things that turned Luke into the man he had become- one hardened to the idea of love and unable to live life to the fullest. Regardless of what he went through, Luke is still an honorable man and sets out to collect his unwanted bride from a convent in Spain. He plans to take her back to England with him to fulfill his duties as husband to the Spanish heiress. But, what he finds is not a little church mouse but a beautiful, vibrant lioness who is tired of all of the waiting and not going to meekly follow wherever Luke would go.

I loved the battle between the characters- both with themselves and with each other. Both have issues to overcome and duties to fulfill. Life has not been easy for either one of them. Together they grow and develop beautifully throughout the story, working towards a very fitting HEA. I have never read an Anne Gracie book before ‘Bride By Mistake’ but make no “mistake” about it, I will be loading up my Nook with all of her books after reading this fabulous story!

CONGRATULATIONS to all 2012 RITA and Golden Heart Finalists!

2012 RITA Finalists by Category:

Best First Book
Contemporary Series Romance
Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure
Contemporary Single Title
Historical Romance
Inspirational Romance
Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Paranormal Romance
Regency Historical Romance
Romance Novella
Romantic Suspense
Young Adult Romance

2012 Golden Heart Finalists by Category:

Contemporary Series Romance
Contemporary Single Title
Historical Romance
Inspirational Romance
Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Paranormal Romance
Regency Historical Romance
Romantic Suspense
Young Adult Romance

 *courtesy of Romance Writers of America

These are the categories I’m interested in and books I’ve read, and out of all these choosing one is like making me choose between chocolate and ice cream! I love both and I’m choosing not to choose! I’ll have both!

Thank God I’m not a judge!!! I’d be doing ‘Ini-Mini-Miny-Mo’ and let the luck be the picker!!! Yeah, I know…what a coward I am :(

Tell us which categories are you watching and which books have you read and are rooting for…

2012 RITA Finalists for Best First Book

The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane

How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreilling

2012 RITA Finalists for Regency Historical Romance

The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane

 

 

 

2012 RITA Finalists for Regency Historical Romance

Heiress in Love by Christina Brooke

How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling

How to Seduce a Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling

Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

 

 

2012 RITA Finalists for Historical Romance

Always a Temptress by Eileen Dreyer

The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne

The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley

Unveiled by Courtney Milan

2012 RITA Finalists for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros

2012 RITA Finalists for Romance Novella

I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden

‘Fallen Embers’ and ‘Blowing Embers’ by Lauri J Owen

‘Fallen Embers’

In ‘Fallen Embers’ we meet Kiera and her nephew Alex who live a pretty run of the mill, everyday existence in modern day Alaska.  All of a sudden their existence in not only completely changed but completely at stake when they are transported to an alternate Alaska by a magic they didn’t know existed.  All of a sudden they must fight for their very survival!  In this alternate version of Alaska there are shape-shifters being enslaved by the local nobility- who are mages.  As if that isn’t enough to process Kiera has discovered that she is a fire mage and can summon fire.   Kiera involves herself in the dispute, siding with the slaves only to realize that some things are not what they seem and life is sometimes drawn in inky shades of grey and not always black and white.

I love the characters in this story.  I love that they are all beautifully flawed and wonderfully real.  And as a plus sized woman, I truly enjoyed that Kiera was plus sized, beautiful, flawed and powerful.  I loved how she grew as a person and learned so much through her own discoveries as well as the different experiences that helped to shape her growth.  The journey Kiera takes is one that I gladly took with her.  I could not put the book down, not from start to finish.  I tore up the pages, soaking in every single word.  I felt like I was right there in the midst of the struggles, the romance, the alternate realism that has been created.  Fallen Embers is magical, keeping me enthralled until the very end.

‘Blowing Embers’

In ‘Blowing Embers’ we are back in Fairbanks with Kiera and a tenuous peace between mage and shape-shifter.  Kiera is in the midst of facilitating this peace when a threat comes from outside of the city.  A threat by a water mage named Vrishka who has threatened to destroy all of the shape-shifters in Fairbanks with his army if the city is not surrendered and the mage are not set back into place as rulers.

The battle between good and evil is a nasty one in this book.  At every turn, no matter how hard Kiera fights, she is dealt odds that no normal person could overcome.  But, she is not just a normal person.  She is a fire mage, she is strong and she will keep fighting, with Laszlo at her side.  She will find a way for good to prevail, even in the face of heartbreaking devastation.  Even in the face of overwhelming odds and possible defeat, she keeps going, she keeps fighting.

Again we see amazing growth and character development in Lauri J Owen’s writing.  Her characters take on a life all their own, making me want to read every single word at one time and yet not wanting the book to end.  Blowing Embers is powerful, beautiful, amazing writing at its very BEST.  I will not easily ever forget Fallen Embers or Blowing Embers and I am very eagerly awaiting the third installment of these books, Rising Embers!

I want to thank Lauri J Owen for these wonderful couple of days with us.  I am honored to share her books with our readers and hope that she will join us again at her leisure to talk about this new world that I have completely fallen in love with.

As for you, my bookworms, don’t forget to read my interview with Lauri and remember, making a comment on BOTH DAYS will enter you in the drawing to win both of her books!

TWO lucky winners will win BOTH of her books!!! 

Fan2Author Interview with… Lauri J Owen

Kristal: Hi Lauri!  Thank you for joining us for an interview!!  We are so excited to have you here with us!

Lauri J Owen: Hi, Kristal! I am so happy to be here, and I thank you for the invitation!

K: Fallen Embers is your debut novel and it is absolutely WONDERFUL!  Can you tell us a little bit about what went into your decision to be a writer?!  Was it something you always wanted to do?

LJO: Oh – thank you so much for saying that! I just love this story, and it’s been such a joy to tell.

I became a fiction writer in mid-life. Before this book, I’d written a lot of nonfiction (both in college and as a lawyer), but I never imagined myself writing fiction. A few summers ago, my son had surgery, and my sister who has written since she was ten or so came and stayed with me. She and I talked a lot about writing while she was here. I admitted to her that I’d been thinking about a story for years, and she encouraged me to just write it and see what happened. Well, the Friday after she left, I sat down at my laptop and let the story pour out. I wrote over 9,000 words that night!

K: I was so excited to read that Keira is a plus-sized woman!  With all the stereotypes and expectations thrown around in today’s mainstream media, were you concerned about how she would be received?

LJO: I love that Kiera is a normal woman – a woman who looks like the majority of us. I wanted her to be powerful, and potent, and I wanted to make it obvious that beauty ideals are cultural. What makes something “beautiful” depends – what defines “beauty” isn’t written in stone, and I hope that knowledge helps us start looking at women – at ourselves – differently. Softens the body hate epidemic.

Yes – I was afraid that Kiera would be marginalized and even ridiculed because of her size. So far however, the criticism has been slight, and the raves plentiful. I think more and more of us are tired of the caricatures and more than ready for real-looking heroines.

And if you found my books empowering, I highly recommend looking at the other authors Pearlsong publishes.

K: I read a review recently that compared Fallen Embers to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.  I know that Outlander was HUGE for Gabaldon fans.  How did that make you feel to have Fallen Embers be compared to something that practically has a cult following?!

LJO: I love Diana Gabaldon, of course, and I am completely honored that anyone found anything in common – a wondrous spark – in either of the Embers books. I wouldn’t begin to compare my books with such lofty examples, but I do love my story, and my characters, completely and utterly, and I am thrilled that others do, too.

K: Blowing Embers also received wonderful reviews!  It is being called epic, gripping and amazing, to name a few.  It has to be exhausting mentally taking hours and hours pouring yourself into a piece of work and then waiting on pins and needles to see how it is received.  How does that make you feel, as a writer?

LJO: It’s not as hard the second time. I wrote Blowing Embers in about a month, and in fact sometimes I could not type fast enough. Whereas Fallen Embers went through uncountable edits, Blowing Embers only required a few. It felt like a living story that I channeled. And when it was finished, I was in love with it, and so I wasn’t as tender and afraid of reviews as I had been with Fallen Embers. Of course, Rising Embers, book three, has only been outlined, and so I do not know how I will feel about that when it’s finished!

K: Can you tell us a little bit about your characters and how they came to be?  Maybe give us a little background into how these storylines took place in your head?

LJO: This story comes from two geneses. First is the story that had been swirling round my head for years – for decades. I have fairly severe insomnia, and telling myself stories is a tool I developed a long time back to help me relax into sleep. The storyline – huge chunks of it – had been told and retold a thousand times inside my head before they ever got to paper.

Genesis two is my time living in the Alaska Bush. The characters and some of the story come from there – the Native Yup’ik stories and legends and from many of the people I met there. Keira is a woman I created using pieces of me as well as pieces of a couple other women I greatly admire, and then mixing all that together with characteristics I wish I had.

K: Where do you see your characters going in upcoming books?  Im anxious to see what is next for Keira!  Can you tell us a little bit about Rising Embers and what is next for you?

In Rising Embers, we’ll stumble across a character or two from the “real” Alaska, and remember that Kiera still has a mighty big problem to solve – and maybe two. Or three. And what is going to happen with Kuruk anyway?

LJO: As I mentioned, Rising Embers is outlined, though it’s a living outline, and may change some as I go. As soon as I get some time, I will write it.

I have another book outlined, too, that is not set in the Alternate Alaska. It’s a science fiction-fantasy-mix piece, and I’m excited about it, too!

K: I was reading your bio and I am astonished with how full your plate is!  Mother, lawyer, author, how do you fit it all in?  Can you tell us what a normal day is like in the Owen household?

LJO: Well, I was recently promoted to an administrative position, and I also volunteer to help some refugees learn English, and so my full plate has grown even bigger. Life is busy right now. I go to work, and sometimes I bring work home. I work every Saturday. My son is still in elementary school and goes to the babysitter. We eat a lot of simple foods, but spend good time together every day. I make time to love my son, and each of my cats, every day. Life is far too short and the ones I love are the most precious part.

K: Thank you so much for answering my questions today!  I am so excited for our readers to get a chance to read your books and learn more about this intriguing world that you have created!

LJO: Thank you very much, Kristal! Again, I sincerely appreciate this opportunity to talk about my books. And I am pleased to say I’m giving away two sets of both books to two nice readers who came to hear about the Embers series.

Kristal here!  Everyone, come on over and say hi to Lauri J Owen and get a chance to win both of her books!!

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to read my reviews of Lauri’s books and make a comment BOTH DAYS to be put in the drawing to win both of her books!

TWO lucky winners will win BOTH of her books!!!

Don’t forget two comments (one each day) wins you two books!  See you tomorrow!!

Fan2Author Interview with… Delilah Marvelle

Bookworms, please help me welcome Delilah with my first question…

I never read any of your work before the latest two, (and for my review of both please visit RCJReZine) so please tell us a bit about yourself and your writing career. When did you know that writing was what you wanted to do?

DM: I knew I wanted to be a writer from a very young age.  When Hemingway was once asked what makes for a good writer, his response was, “An Unhappy childhood.” And sadly, I fall into that category. Writing is an extension of my emotions and a need to escape.  Reading books inspired me to want to write them and get published. I knew well before high school that I wanted to be a published writer.  And I set out on the path to do it at 17.  I was writing horror at the time, until I met my husband and my life changed.  I started writing romance :)  It took me 11 years, over 40 manuscripts and over 200 rejection letters to finally get published.  I learned a lot from the journey of writing and how to believe in myself even when the world is telling me otherwise. 

b2b: Delilah, that right there tells me why your heroines are so strong, loving and determined…

The book that you’re promoting now is ‘FOREVER and a DAY’ and I can’t tell you how much fun I had reading it. What was the idea behind it? The mystery was and still is unsolved and I’m on pins and needles waiting for it!!! When you write, what comes first, the plot, voice, characters or setting?

DM: I’m so thrilled you’re looking forward to the next book in the series!  My ideas come to me randomly.  It’s never one thing that inspires me, but life in general that inspires me.  I’ve always loved the historical setting of New York after seeing ‘Annie’ and Newsies’ and wanted to do my own version of it.  I would say plot comes first and then I build a world and my characters around it.  I’m a panster, though, which means, I don’t plot, I only write by the seat of my pants.  It’s the only way I can write.  Because I get bored if I know what’s going to happen and if I know what’s going to happen, then so will my readers, and so I opt for an earthier more creative approach.   

b2b: You totally stomped me with that answer! I could swear I thought the character came to you first only because both novels, in my humble opinion, were character driven and very well written.

What made this such an enjoyable read for me, and I’m referring to both prequel (FOREVER MINE and ‘FOREVER and a DAY’) was these two very different yet very strong women you created. What blew me away was the strength of their convictions and it’s what made them real to me. Please tell us who inspired them?

DM: Augustine, from FOREVER MINE, is an extension of every emotion I went through when my mother and brother disappeared from my life. I never got a chance to meet my brother and my mother died before I had a chance to see her one last time. The tragedy of not being able to say good-bye to the one person you love most has haunted me ever since and even though, yes, it sounds depressing as hell, I wanted to write a story that could take the good and the bad and make it all good while still keeping it real and true to the emotions of my characters.

b2b: I am so, so sorry to hear that you had that heartache to go through and my heart [and my HUGE Serbian hug] go out to you. You have managed to touch my heart with Augustine’s anguish and pain, and now I know why.

Now, to be fair to heroes of both of these books, would you mind telling us who inspired them? How are they different from your other heroes? And speaking of, who is your favorite hero (not including your favorite ‘firefighter’ or any from your works; I’m not making you choose) from the written word (oh, and just to make it a bit harder on you, no classics either)!

DM: Haha, to be fair to my heroes, they are all inspired by one man: my husband.  He has so much depth to him, I feel like, even after almost 17 years of marriage, I’m still getting to know him and it’s an amazing journey of peeling back those layers and applying them to my characters.  Who is my favorite hero thus far?  I would have to say Matthew Milton (from FOREVER A LADY) and not just because that’s my next upcoming book, lol.  He’s Georgia’s one-eyed theiving step-son and is a gruff romantic.  He sees women and the world through cracked, rose-tinted glasses.  He’s hilarious and I had so much fun writing him.  Without any doubt, he’s my favorite hero thus far.

b2b: It appears we’ve both hit ‘Lottery’ when comes to our spouses. I’ve been married twelve years, but we’ve been together seventeen, and truly there are no words to describe the love that still feels new and fresh. But OH-MY-GOD you’ve now got me twisting in the wind with wanting to get my paws on the next book!!! Mathew was so-so-so cool!

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s get back to the rest of my interview…

Is there a difference between, and specifically, what sets apart in your opinion the ‘traditional’ regency novels from ‘historical novels set in the regency time period’?

DM: I see “traditional” regency being very “Jane Austenish” and “Georgette Heyerish” — Complex characters with manners, lol.  And sweet.  Kissing is about as far as it goes.  Everything is offstage physically and romantic wise. 

Historical novels set in the regency dig deeper by showing more of what happens behind those parlor doors.  They don’t adhere to rules.  They adhere to the character and following that character everywhere, from the toilet to the bed, lol. 

b2b: LOL! I’m in accord with you on that!

Delilah, what do you consider the Historical Romance canon?

DM:  I really don’t like the idea of laying out any rules for the Historical Romance genre given that it should be limitless to allow for creativity, but I will say,  for me, regarding historical romance I do abide by one rule:  People in history were people.  They were no different from the people of today in how they experienced love or hate.  The only difference is that societal rules have changed.  But we, as people, have not changed and so I create stories that follow those lines when I write historical romance.  I think historical romance readers have a tendency to forget that. 

When someone says “That couldn’t have had happened in history” I like to prance them over to my blog, A BIT O’MUSLIN so they see all the whacked up history we were never taught in school.  Yes, my blog is about Sex Throughout History.  And my fascination toward the grittier side of history lends to not only my stories but the humor I pull away from it.

b2b: Well said! I loved roaming around your blog and I’m sure our bookworms will as well!

What’s up next for Delilah Marvelle?  I know that there are two more books in the series  scheduled to come out this year, can you tell us a bit about them?

DM: FOREVER A LADY comes out August 1, 2012 and is book 2 in the Rumor Series.  The heroine is Lady Bernadette Marie Burton.  She was Georgia’s ‘tutor’ in all things aristocratic and I loved her so much, I had to give her a story.  She’s the richest widow in England with a devil-may-care attitude.  She’s basically the rake in female form.  (And I had SO much fun with that!)  

Matthew Joseph Milton (Georgia’s stepson) was once a respectable gentleman who lost everything, including the vision in his left eye.  To keep his life afloat, he creates a gang in the bowels of New York City called the Forty Thieves.  When he and Bernadette meet, let me tell you, linens rip.  As do hearts.  In this book, I show more of what the readers didn’t get to see in book 1, ‘Forever and a Day’. 

The way I’m creating this series is that they are all a puzzle piece and when you put them together, they create an entire landscape for you to look at.  The second and third book will show more of Georgia and Robinson and their lives in London, as well. 

Book 3 in the series is ‘FOREVER a LORD’ and it’s Nathaniel’s story and boy am I having fun with this one!  Here’s the blurb for it:

“He’s a fighter, not a lover.  But that’s about to change…

Lady Imogene Norwood lived a sheltered life of quiet respectability and routine…until she debuts at her first Season. There she meets the wild and broken Lord Atwood among London’s elite. And the very shy English rose suddenly realizes that a little chaos might just be what her heart desires.  

Lord Nathaniel James Atwood doesn’t believe true love exists. Since scandal tore him away from his family at an early age, he has spent his life fighting for what he wants. That attitude made him a rising star in bare-knuckle boxing, and now leads him back to London to reclaim the life that was stolen from him. But upon meeting the innocent Imogene, his beliefs are trounced…as guarding his heart against her proves to be the fight of his life.”

b2b: Oh, woman! What are you trying to do to me?! LOL!

Delilah, it has been not just fun to meet and do this with you, but an utter pleasure and joy! I hope you come back often to chat with us! I’m looking forward on stocking up my shelves with some more of your books because I’m going to need it, until the next one in this series comes along! CHEERS!

And now,

time for a GIVEAWAY :)
Delilah is happy to give one of you lucky bookworms a signed copy
of
FOREVER AND A DAY!
(*for US residents only)

‘Blame It on Bath’ by Caroline Linden

“BLAME IT ON BATH” is the second book in Caroline Linden’s trilogy ‘Truth about the Duke’ series.

On his death-bed, Duke of Durham needs forgiveness from his sons and so he asks the two of them that are present, Edward de Lacey, the spare and Captain Gerard de Lacey the hero, and the youngest, to forgive him for not being able to resolve the dilemma he’s now leaving it to them to solve.  Soon, Ned and Gerard find out from their father’s solicitor, that some sixty years ago the Duke had been married than parted ways with the woman, but never annulled or dissolved the marriage before marrying their mother. And now apparently someone has come to possess that knowledge and is blackmailing the old Duke. Knowing that this information will bring huge scandal, brothers agree to try to solve this dilemma in their own way, but first they need to break this news to their oldest brother Charles, Lord Gresham.

While Edward, the middle son of the deceased Duke of Durham, is concentrating on the legal side of their claim (ONE NIGHT IN LONDON) Gerard de Lacey the youngest, is a man of action and as such needs to put his military expertise into pursuing the blackmailer. As his clues are pointing out toward Bath, he heads out that way but is confronted with a dilemma of his own that will change his life as well as his course of action.

Lady Katherine Howe is no beauty, and she knows it. She has only one wish now that she’s widowed and that is to get out from under the will of her late husband’s heir who is pursuing her to wed him as soon as possible. Knowing that she would be forced by her very strong-willed and much beautiful mother to accept his suit, she comes up with her own plan of escape-by offering marriage to Gerard, who she very well knows is in a need of a wife with a substantial dowry.

“BLAME IT ON BATH” was so much fun to read. I loved the fact that both “ONE NIGHT IN LONDON” and “BLAME IT ON BATH” were stories that ran parallel to each other. How clever of you, Ms. Linden! The marriage of convenience trope has been done so many times before but never the less Ms. Linden made it interesting and fresh.

Gerard made a great hero to Kate’s intriguing and sharp heroine. I also liked that Kate was very ordinary ‘duck’ that ever so slowly turned into a ‘swan’. Her slow and quiet change brought on by the way Gerard treated her, was a joy to watch! As always, Ms. Linden brings us a very strong lead in Kate. She is a woman who knows her mind, yet like so many females out there, she has some self-esteem issue that she needs to deal with before she comes clean and admits to our hero that it was not by chance that she chose him for her spouse.

As for Gerard, he is aware that Kate is keeping crucial information from him, but after enquiring about her from her own solicitor, he agrees to the marriage, making sure that Kate knows that this will be a marriage in truth.

“BLAME IT ON BATH” has all the components required for a very interesting, sensual and entertaining romance and I give it five quills without hesitation, urging you to pick it up as soon as it hits the shelves on Feb 28th.

*This review posted on Romantic Crush Junkies Reviews eZine*

‘Secret in Her Kiss’ by Anna Randol

I am very impressed with Ms. Anna Randol and her ‘village’ (I hear it takes one to get one’s novel ‘out’) for the unique setting of Constantinople and the intriguing cover that very closely resembles our hero and heroine.

Our story opens with our hero, Major Bennett Prestwood, who is eagerly waiting to board a ship to England after the Battle of Waterloo.  He’s worried about his sister who’s in an abusive marriage that no one in the family is aware of, but him. To his utter chagrin, he is waylaid by his superior and ordered to board a ship to Constantinople with orders to guard a spy by the name of Mari Sinclair until she completes her mission.

Our heroine, Mari Sinclair is half-British from her father and half-Greek from her mother. For many years now she’s been living with her father, an archaeologist in Constantinople. Mari’s talent as an artist and naturalist came in handy when she got ‘recruited’ by the British Government to draw secret information within her beautiful drawings of local fauna and flora.

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by this author’s debut novel. Everything within it was perfectly pitched, from the pace of the story to the characterization of main and secondary players as well as the unique setting. The chemistry between Mari and Bennett was very vivid and real, as they both tried very hard to come to terms with their mission, and their budding personal relationship. Both had personal issues to deal with and resolve before admitting to the feelings that kept growing between them. I came to care for Mari whose courage shines through while she juggles her own duties, one to her father who’s slowly wasting away under the influence of Opium, and another to the cause of her Greek mother by helping with Greek independence. Bennet on the other hand had to walk a fine line and always balance his duty to the Crown and his duty to Mari as well as his family. Not a small feat for a man of great honor and dedication who hides a tender heart of a poet.

There’s a lot to recommend this new author and her début, from a very strong and brave heroine, to a hero that while very strong in all he does, still is vulnerable when it comes to his art. The author impresses with her research of the history of the time and does an awesome job in creating three-dimensional characters and moving the plot at a steady pace. Her secondary characters were well-written, entertaining and three-dimensional as well.

The unique setting and cover may have drawn me to this novel, but the prose, plot and especially characters, main and secondary, kept me reading on until the wee hours of the morning. If you’re itching to venture to an exotic location filled with intrigue, action and danger as well as romance, look no further. Anna Randol delivers on all fronts managing to balance it all in this wonderful début and I’m very happy to give her my four quills.

*This review posted on Romantic Crush Junkies Reviews eZine*