‘Sweet Talk Me’ by Kieran Kramer

kk stmSTORY: He’s sure got a way with words…

The last person True Maybank expected to run into while picking up her wedding gown was country music superstar Harrison Gamble. Years ago, when they were small-town teens in Biscuit Creek, South Carolina, they shared a forbidden night of passion. Now that she’s about to settle down, True’s love affair with the handsome crooner is a thing of the past. Or is it? From the moment he says hello, she has to fight swooning like an adoring fan.

Can she resist his charms?

Today he’s rich, famous, and on every woman’s hot list. But back in the day, Harrison wasn’t good enough for debutante True. Since then she’s had her fair share of marital prospects, including the perfect Southern gentleman she’s about to settle down with. Is Harrison the only one to realize the mistake True’s about to make? Can the society girl and the sexy singer make music together—this time around?

REVIEW: I’m a huge Kieran Kramer fan. Her regency stories are well written, populated with a bunch of fun, interesting and well-rounded characters with plots that are believable and plausible. I enjoyed every book she wrote and that’s why I dreaded reading this book.

You see, this is Ms. Kramer’s first foray in telling a contemporary story and I thought what if it sucks? I hate it with a vengeance when I have to review a book that sucks from an author that I love. Don’t laugh! It happens more than you know!

Well, color me happy, let the balloons fly and give me a drink! She did it! I loved, LOVED this story so much!

She created a very vivid world of this small Southern town, with people just like you and me, than she gave them interesting background, some baggage and a dialogue that made me laugh, cry [no joke!] and sigh, all at the same time!

The story is about a second chance at love and the read is light, but still poignant, sweet and fun. If I had one word to describe this story, it would be ‘hope’. I dare you to read it and walk away without hope of finding that ‘someone’ of your own!

Can you tell I’m breathing a bit better now that I know ‘my favorite’ author can write contemporary as well as regency?! Oh, and that I can now tell her that the book doesn’t suck and it’s actually awesome!

Needless to say, I recommended it to all Kieran Kramer fans, as well as to all of you that are looking for love.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

‘The Earl with the Secret Tattoo’ by Kieran Kramer

TEWAST KKSTORY: Lady Eleanor Gibbs is shocked when she stumbles upon a tattooed London gentleman involved in an illicit embrace. Five years ago, a masked man bearing that same tattoo saved her and the six children of the Marquess and Marchioness of Brady from a band of thieves. Now, Ellie’s “hero”—better known as the notorious Earl of Tumbridge—appears to be no more than a common cad.

When this master of seduction and corrupter of virtue dares to sabotage her marital opportunities, it’s more than Ellie can bear. What Ellie does not yet understand is that the inked scoundrel has a reason for ruining her chances for love: He wants her all to himself…

REVIEW: All of you know how much I love this author and this story was good, but alas too damn short. These two in my opinion deserved their story told in full length novel.

For the first quarter of the book I felt as if dropped in the middle of the story, and despite authors best intentions to keep me informed, I did find myself a bit lost.

By the half mark, I had it all in hand and found the story easier to follow thus I enjoyed it more.
Hero and heroine were compelling, plot interesting and dialogue entertaining. I loved the back and forth as well as the chemistry of Eleanor and James the most, yet in the end, because of the shortness of it, everything suffered as it felt a bit rushed.

I truly hope the author decides to rewrite this story and give is much more of it. I’d buy it and read it.

‘Loving Lady Marcia’ by Kieran Kramer

BOOK BLURB: MARCIA GETS SCHOOLED…

Of the three Brady sisters, Lady Marcia has always seemed the girl most likely to lead a perfectly charmed life. But after a handsome cad breaks her heart, she swears off love and devotes her life to teaching girls at a private school. In spite of her family’s wish for a London debut, Marcia is happy where she is—until terrible news sends her back to the Brady clan…and into the arms of an unexpected suitor.

ON THE SUBJECT OF LOVE

A dark and dashing earl who knows Marcia’s past, Duncan Lattimore is surprised by what a fascinating and independent woman she’s become. Marcia, too, is surprised—by the fiery attraction she feels for Duncan. But why—why—must he be the brother of the scoundrel who broke her heart? Why must Marcia’s rival at school forbid her from seeing him? How can this lady possibly resist this fellow—when they know that it’s much more than a hunch…?

EXCERPT: 

Some minutes later, after another carriage ride, Janice and Cynthia grabbed Marcia’s hands and pulled her into the interior of Gunter’s, where she immediately came face-to-face with one of Mama’s friends.

“Why, it’s Marcia Sherwood!” the lady crowed in delight. She was with two other stylishly dressed matrons, all of whom let loose with a barrage of questions:

“Where have you been, Lady Marcia?”

“Are you here for good at last?”

“You’ll not sit out any dance, I’m sure, my dear. Are you going to the Livingstons’ ball?”

She did her best to answer, but then she caught a glimpse of Lysandra, of all people, and her stomach seemed to fall through the floor. All those terrible feelings she’d had last night threatened to come back, full-force.

She wasn’t ready to see the widow so soon.

Lysandra sat at a corner table with two elegant women and gazed at Marcia with ill-concealed disdain. Her face instantly heated as she remembered the horrible things the viscountess had said about her yesterday.

But she couldn’t afford to indulge in despising Lysandra, could she?

No.

She needed to win her over. How to do so was the unanswerable question at the moment, one that she would delay pondering until later.

“Will you be there?” one of Mama’s friends asked her in pointed fashion.

Oh, dear. She’d been caught off guard. “Yes. I think so…what was the question?”

The tallest matron pursed her lips. “We all want to know how long you’ll be in town and whether you’ll be at the Livingstons’ ball.”

“Oh.” Marcia threw the trio an embarrassed grin. “Sorry. I’m not exactly sure. Yet….” She trailed off, feeling foolish.

“My goodness,” said one of the women, her chin drawn in.

“I see,” said another one faintly.

Janice linked her arm through Marcia’s and squeezed. “We’re so happy to have her back. She hasn’t had an ice this age. And she’s absolutely exhausted from her journey. We really must sit.”

The ladies took the hint well, moved to the door, and wished the two older girls–especially the recent weary arrival–a glorious remainder of the Season.

“I’ll send my Norbert over to call on you before you leave—or don’t leave,” one of them promised Marcia. “He’s got ginger hair and no eyelashes to speak of, but he tells a good joke.”

“And don’t forget my cousin Frank,” said another. “He’s this close to inheriting an earldom.”  She pinched a thumb and index finger together.

The ladies laughed—it meant Frank’s distant cousin was soon to die, of course.

Marcia sent them off with a demure wave. “I’d forgotten how absurd high society can be,” she whispered to Janice when they’d gone.

“Indeed,” her sister said back with a grin. “Welcome to my world.”

“Mine, too,” Cynthia remarked over her shoulder before making a beeline for the counter displaying the ices. Several of her good friends were there, so she immediately got involved in conversation.

Marcia and Janice exchanged amused glances.

“She hears everything,” Janice said. “And hates being left out. You’ll have to remember that, now that you’re back.”

Marcia squeezed her arm. “You’ve been a huge help already. Thank you.”

“Really?” Janice beamed.

“I mean it,” said Marcia.

And she did. She was ashamed to admit that she’d nearly forgotten over the past four years that she wasn’t alone, that the other members of the House of Brady were ready and able to support her.

“I’ve missed you, Janice,” she said amid the low buzz of conversation all around them. “Seeing you in the summer at Ballybrook when there’s nothing stressful going on isn’t the same as being together here in London amidst all this.”

She glanced about the shop, skimming quickly over Lysandra’s table. Gunter’s was filled with the crème de la crème of the ton, and many of them were eyeing her with ill-disguised interest.

“Then no more pretending,” Janice urged her. “Tell me right here in Gunter’s exactly what was said between you and Lady Ennis and what you plan to do about your situation. Cynthia is happily occupied for the next few minutes. We can sit at a table and wait for her.”

“Very well.” For the next few minutes, Marcia quietly told her sister every detail of her conversation with Lady Ennis, including the fact that she longed for her position back at Oak Hall.

“Of course, I knew that.” Janice smiled a bit sadly and pressed her hand on top of Marcia’s. “I understand why you want to go back, and I want to support you. I need to give up my own selfish desire to have you with me all the time.”

“Do you really?” Her admission touched Marcia deeply.
“Of course.” Janice chuckled. “Yes, I occasionally wonder how any man will notice me with you in the room, but I love you. You’re my sister. And there are enough men in the world for the both of us.”

Marcia raised an amused brow. “I’ve already told Mama I’m not interested in any man—not as long as I can have a career at Oak Hall.” A vivid memory of Lord Chadwick came to her, and a sensation of warmth, quickly followed by indignation, flooded her whole body. She forced herself to brush it off. “I’m going to predict, with tremendous optimism, that I’ll be a busy headmistress while you continue to take London by storm. And no more suggesting I attract more men than you.” Marcia’s admonishment was gentle and affectionate. “It’s simply not true.”

“But you’re beautiful,” Janice said, her face flushing.

“Every woman has her own type of beauty,” Marcia said with conviction. “Yours is much more interesting than mine.”

Janice’s expression showed some hope. “Do you think—do you really think I might be…attractive?”

“Yes,” Marcia said firmly. “You most certainly are. And you need to believe it.” A heavy dose of guilt assuaged her. “I’ve been the worst support to you, Janice. I didn’t even come up to town to attend your come-out.”

“Don’t be silly.” Her sister’s tone was brisk. “You couldn’t leave the school in the middle of the term, especially as Mama said one entire room of girls came down with a stomach illness that same week.”

“True,” Marcia conceded. “It was awful.” She gave her sister a wistful smile. “I do wish I’d been at your debut. But at least I’m here now.”

“Yes, and I’m thrilled you’re here to stay,” Janice said. “At least until you wrangle your post back, which I know you’ll do.”

Now it was Marcia’s turn to hope. “Do you think I will?”

“Of course.”

Two friends of Janice’s tapped her on the shoulder. When she turned around to acknowledge them, Marcia slipped away and walked up to the ice counter.

She felt terribly conflicted. She’d only been in London one day, and already she could see that her family needed her—and she needed them. She’d allowed her summers at Ballybrook to become briefer and briefer each year. There were always responsibilities beckoning her back to Oak Hall.

But there was such a splendid, unnamable feeling she got when she was at the school. Her favorite moments were outside, when she’d look out over the grounds and see a crowd of girls playing games, a few girls gathering flowers, others walking horses in the practice ring, and still others sitting in a circle with their teacher, discussing ancient philosophy….

If only I could be two places at one time, she thought as she listened to Cynthia say goodbye to her friends and finally order her lemon ice. Janice walked up then and ordered hers, as well. Over in her corner, Lysandra didn’t show a sign of budging. In fact, the widowed viscountess narrowed her eyes at Marcia when they locked gazes.

But thanks to Janice, Marcia had recovered something of her aplomb, and so she acknowledged Lysandra with a slight tilt to her head and a polite smile. She refused to let her former classmate and employer ruin her morning. Even more, she wanted to prove to her that she was stalwart. Headmistresses should always be such.

She selected her ice flavor—peppermint–and made sure that she and her sisters didn’t hide in a corner. She chose a new table right by the door, where anyone else of her acquaintance in the Upper Ten Thousand could see her and say hello.

Mama had predicted yesterday that she’d attract a great deal of notice, and she’d been right. Visitors came to their table in a steady stream, much to the delight of Janice and Cynthia, who adored company, especially of the young male variety. Marcia, however, having had her romantic illusions destroyed early, was sure her extreme elusiveness accounted for her popularity with the gentlemen.

Not that she cared one jot—

Except for the fact that Lysandra was taking discreet glances at her, and her expression was quite sour.

“The soon-to-be spinster and ex-headmistress can show some sparkle, after all,” Janice whispered in her ear during a brief respite from the deluge of company. “Lady Ennis looks rather jealous of you.”

“She does, doesn’t she?” Marcia murmured into the din. She felt a silly satisfaction.

“What are you two talking about?” Cynthia asked them. “What’s sparkling?”

“The ice, in the sunlight from the window,” Janice explained.

“Yes, and with all the hubbub, I’ve neglected mine,” Marcia told her, and was about to scoop up the last bit of her peppermint confection when a shadow fell across the table.

She looked up, and a tiny voice in her head said, Let it melt.

Because Finn stood before her. Her Finn. The one who was supposed to be living in America.

Seeing the face of her first love—her first lover–after all this time caused her heart to pound painfully against her rib cage. Neither could she breathe at all well.

Perhaps, she thought, the social game isn’t so banal, after all.

“Marcia.” His golden voice, the timbre deeper now, sounded incredulous. “Lady Marcia. Is it really you? I was walking by and saw you through the window.”

Through the window? What was it with the Lattimore brothers and their eagle-eyed vision?

Another picture of Lord Chadwick assailed her: the persistent, ever demanding earl, finding her in the dressmaker’s shop, then pursuing her down the street, asking her if she’d found her perfect life–only a half hour before her new life at Oak Hall had fallen apart.

She held her spoon in mid-air. “H-hello, Mr. Lattimore.”

Finn.

He was more beautiful than ever. His sun-bronzed skin and hair were testament to his long absence from English soil. And he’d added heft to his youthful form. He looked stronger, harder, older–a real man now.

No longer a boy. And she—she was no longer that young, impressionable girl.

He grinned, and her mouth went dry. “It is you.”

“You remember my sisters, Lady Janice and Lady Cynthia, don’t you?” she managed to say.

“Of course.” He bestowed a charming smile upon each of them but then turned back to her with obvious eagerness. “I’m meeting my brother in five minutes to look at a horse at Tattersall’s. I’m back in Town permanently, you know.”

“No, I didn’t.” She was shocked to find that for a split second, she was vastly annoyed. How could she concentrate on getting her job back when Finn was in town?

But that split second disappeared quickly. She couldn’t help noticing his lips, the lips that had kissed her so well.  She wouldn’t dare look at the rest of him…she simply remembered, with a pang near her heart, how perfect life had felt when she’d been cradled in his arms.

It was better than any feeling you’ve ever had as a headmistress, a horribly wicked voice in her head whispered to her.

“But I must know before I go,” he said hoarsely, with a hint of hope, “will you be at the Livingstons’ ball tonight?”

She could see her sisters watching her and prayed neither would kick her under the table.

“No. I’m afraid not.” It was the hardest no she’d ever delivered, but if there was one thing she’d learned at Oak Hall, it was that no was a powerful word. And she’d said it whenever the security of her students, her teachers, and her school was at stake.

And now her thoughts were completely rebellious. Her body was mutinying, too. All because of the man standing before her now.

Finn.

In less than a minute, he’d breached every bit of her defenses.

So for her own sake, she must say no to balls. No to reliving the past. And no to staring deeply into his eyes, gorgeous amber ones though they were.

She was a headmistress, by God. A dismissed one, but a headmistress all the same. Life at the school was going on without her at this very minute, an almost unbearable state of affairs. The girls, teachers, and staff at Oak Hall needed her to say no.

Finn’s face fell. An audible sigh came from Janice. Cynthia put a huge spoonful of ice in her mouth and stared raptly at Marcia.

And then Marcia couldn’t help herself. “But I will be at Lord and Lady Davis’s card party.”

Oh, God. She was an idiot. But one little card party wouldn’t hurt anyone, would it? She’d say no all night long there if she had to.

Finn grinned again at that, but then he frowned. “The dull Davises or the delightful ones? As I recall, there are two sets of them.”

“I-I believe the dull ones,” she said. “Not that they can help it, of course. I believe both Lord and Lady Davis are hard of hearing.”

Headmistresses and teachers tended to see the best in almost everybody.

Interfering earls were the exception, of course, no matter how friendly they were upon approaching one on the street.

Finn looked pensive, and then he rallied, his captivating grin back again. “I’ll look into getting myself an invitation. I hope to see you there.”

“That would be…nice.” Marcia reminded herself to breathe. She hoped her eyes no longer appeared red-rimmed, and she was grateful for the gown she’d borrowed from Janice. It was in the first stare of fashion, unlike Marcia’s more serviceable clothes, which should arrive at the Brady mansion any minute now from Surrey.

At this point, with Finn hovering so close, she didn’t give a fig about Lysandra and whether she and her cohorts were looking at her. She’d lost track of her strategy there. All she could focus on was the one dimple in his cheek. It was perilously close to his firm, masculine mouth.

Perhaps she should burn those clothes from Surrey when they arrived.

“Goodbye for now,” he said, and made an adorable bow to all three of them before he departed.

Marcia exchanged silent glances with her sisters.

“He’s beautiful,” Janice finally whispered.

“Like a god,” said Cynthia.

“And he’s here,” said Janice. “For good.”

Marcia bit her lip. It was the best and the worst news possible. Yes, he’d left her at her most vulnerable, but it had been his brother’s fault, not his. He’d been so young…too young to fight back against a person as focused and overwhelming as Lord Chadwick.

“He never would have left if it hadn’t been for his brother,” Marcia said as she watched Finn’s gorgeous profile go by the shop window. “Lord Chadwick forced him to go to America at the exact time—“

She couldn’t finish. Suddenly, she needed water, but there was none to be had at the table. She made a desperate attempt to scoop up some melted peppermint ice.

“As the exact time…as what?” Cynthia asked.

Janice grabbed Marcia’s arm and squeezed it. “I remember now. I was caught up with my old friends at that wedding. But you and Finn spent most of your time together. I-I was too young to notice, really. He was a beau of yours, wasn’t he? He was sent away when you were—“

“Falling in love,” Cynthia said in awe.

Marcia didn’t deny it.

Her two sisters shared knowing looks.

Cynthia giggled. “I can tell you’re still in love with him.”

“No, I’m not,” Marcia protested. “He was a beau for a very short time. A matter of weeks. So he really didn’t count.”

But he had counted. Very much.

“Well, he should.” Cynthia’s eyes danced. “I’m in love with him already myself. It’s a pity I’m too young for him.”

“Yes, you are.” Marcia sent her a stern look, meant to be teasing, but part of her wasn’t teasing at all. Cynthia was perilously close to the age she’d been when—

She couldn’t think of that night and the whirlwind weeks that had led up to it.

There was a happy gleam in Janice’s eyes. “I’m glad you’re going out tonight, even if it is a dull card party. I was tempted to kick you under the table when you said you weren’t going to the ball, but thankfully, you didn’t completely put him off.”

“I did try to kick you but missed,” said Cynthia.

She was so shameless, all three of them laughed.

“Surely,” Janice said, “if he can’t get an invitation, you’ll see him about town the rest of the Season.”

That was Marcia’s dilemma. If she ran into Finn, she’d likely run into Lord Chadwick, too. She especially didn’t want to do that. Perhaps she could simply ignore him again. It was petty of her, she knew, but part of her was sorely tempted.

“I suppose I will see him.” She already regretted saying she’d go to the card party. She’d enough drama in her life, although she was doing her best to be level-headed about her untenable employment situation.

But now she was over-the-top, neglecting to act like a headmistress. Around Finn, she couldn’t think clearly. She thought in single words like love, passion, and forever.

Cynthia sighed and rested her chin on her hand. “You’re lucky. I want to hear all the details when you come home from the card party. I’ll wait up for you.”

“He might not be able to get an invitation, so don’t bother,” said Marcia, feeling embarrassed and shy.

Exposed.

“But I will,” Cynthia insisted. “And I have a feeling everyone in London will be talking about you and Finn after this evening, too. I can see already that you’d make a perfect couple.”

Perfect?

Out of the mouths of babes…

Marcia looked around and saw all the occupants of Gunter’s still staring avidly at her. Would they never get back to their ices?

They, too, must have noticed that Finn had eyes only for her. She couldn’t help wondering if her youngest sister was right, and if so–

Good God, what had she gotten herself into?”

FEATURED AUTHOR: Kieran Kramer

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Fan2Author Interview: Kieran Kramer

Today I’d like to welcome an Author that just blew me away with her first novel “When Harry Met Molly” and quite frankly I’m tickled pink she agreed to come on over to b2b and do this interview with me! 

b2b: Hello Kieran and welcome to b2b! Before I begin this interview, I want to thank you personally for pointing me to Ashley March and Romance Biggest Winner. I’m so lucky to be taking this journey with her and many of my fellow bloggers, book reviewers and some of the authors she assembled. To find out about what I’m talking about, click here.

b2b: So, Lady K. how’s your summer going? How does your typical writing day begin? What gets your creative juices flowing? If you have any tips to help other aspiring new authors out there, please SPILL!

KK: My summer’s going great! Thanks for asking! I hope you’re enjoying your RBW challenge. I admire all of you making that commitment to good health. It’s a daunting thing to take on, but exciting, too! When you’re on a team, it’s awesome to be able to lean on the others to get you through the rough spots. I can’t wait to hear about your progress!

Meanwhile, I’m changing things up myself. So first let me briefly tell you My Old Way of writing before I go on to my New Way.

Old Way: I’ve always written books sitting down. And I’d write when I could squeeze in the time. Both of those are the kiss of death for the selling, healthy writer! And those are big priorities for me—to sell and to maintain my health.

Now, I squeeze in the rest of my life around writing, with the exception of family…they always come first—but not 24/7, the way it used to be, LOL! Now I designate a block of time *just for me to write* unless someone’s having an emergency.

 

But I’d have to say the biggest change in my writing life is that I’m writing on a treadmill desk. I tried this about five years ago on another treadmill I had—I got the idea from the gorgeous, prolific, and immensely talented Stephanie Bond. I rigged a table between the rails of my treadmill and bungee corded it in place, but it wasn’t that great a set-up. It was unsteady, so I quit after no time.

Fast forward to now, when I’m fifteen pounds heavier. Part of that gain was the usual thing…as I age and lose muscle mass, it’s easier to gain.  I was doing nothing to correct that—no weight-bearing exercises at all. And hardly any cardio (walking with my friend and my dog was it). But exacerbating my downward spiral health-wise was my sedentary lifestyle as a writer. 

After I finished my first contract, I did a lot of reflection about how I could have improved the experience, the old “Lessons Learned” assessment we all should go through after completing a major project. I made the decision that I have to commit to this treadmill, no matter what. I told myself, “My health is too important to me. I simply will not give myself another choice. I either write on the treadmill–or not at all.”

How did I get my treadmill to become a desk? My dad took his old treadmill out of his barn (my previous one had bitten the dust) and he attached a very sturdy plywood desk on top. It’s not pretty—it’s practical. I now do all my surfing of the net, answering emails, checking Facebook and Twitter–and most importantly, writing my novels–on the treadmill.

I walk slowly so I can write at the same time (I go between 1.8 and 2.2 mph), but to make it really work for me, I set myself on a incline. I’m walking on a slight uphill slant for hours and hours and hours!!

It’s been truly freeing to be able to indulge my love of telling stories, my dedication to my professional writing life, and my commitment to health all in one place—my treadmill, which is set up adjacent to a large glass window with a ledge (which my cats like to occupy). They can’t keep away when I’m working, so I always have company. My dog isn’t fond of it, though. He stays away!

:>)

b2b: That sounds so cool! Maybe I should pitch that treadmill idea to my Boss! But he should buy me one of those; none of us are as handy as your dad. So, how’s the world of Romance treating you these days? I love all your novels, but Harry and Molly have a special place in my heart and I was thrilled for you when you got TWO nominations for RITA 2011, one for Regency Historical Romance and one for Best First Book. I was happy for the winners, Lauren Willig and Kaki Warner respectively, but boy; I brooded for couple-a-days…

KK:  Haha!!! You’re too kind (blushing) . I was very happy for those two talented ladies. I already felt like a winner, so I didn’t mind a bit not getting the final prize, although I do have one small regret…I was so fascinated by how much Meg Cabot looked like and acted like Tina Fey, I wanted to win so I could go up to the podium and say, “Who’s our MC? Meg Cabot or Tina Fey?”

It’s probably a good thing I lost—me and improv aren’t so good together, LOL!!!

b2b: Don’t say that, or you’re proving my DH right when he says chicks don’t have a sense of humor! You have now three published books and one more is coming up by the end of the year. Can you tell me briefly about all of them and what’s coming up for you in 2012? Which of those were the hardest and the easiest to write and which couple did you like the best?

KK: All four of the books make up a lighthearted Regency romance series called The Impossible Bachelors, from St. Martin’s Press. In WHEN HARRY MET MOLLY, the fun (and, of course, entirely fictional) premise is that the Prince Regent, an extraordinary hedonist, sets up a decadent wager among five elusive bachelors, one of whom will have to marry at the end of it. And that wager involves a sort of “beauty pageant” scenario among the men’s mistresses, one of whom is my virtuous heroine trapped in the contest situation. The remaining three books are the stories of the bachelors who got away…and the women who caught them!

The hardest to write was the second one…I had never taken editorial direction before, and having pretty much written in a vacuum previous to the contract (except for a few contests and brief foray into a critique group), I had a learning curve. But I don’t regret how I came up at all…my editor, Jennifer Enderlin, was the perfect person to be my mentor!!! She’s a generous, gifted editor and a wonderful human being. I feel incredibly blessed to be with her and St. Martin’s Press.

b2b: I’m sure you are, but I’m thinking they feel as much blessed as you do! I love History. Always have. Most of the time when I’m done with the book, I’d sit in front of the computer or before the ‘internets’ you’d find me in the Library, reading about the real times and places that book was referring to. Sometimes it’s more fascinating then the fiction I just finished reading. How do you do your research and do you like doing it? If not, who does it for you?

KK: I do all my own research. I use the internet constantly. The best part about the internet is being able to talk to amazing sources. I’ve exchanged emails with whisky experts in Edinburgh, sheep breeders in Yorkshire, and many other people who’ve given me insight into all sorts of plot scenarios. I’m an avid reader, so I’m always reading when I’m not writing. I’ve got an extensive collection of books on all things Regency.

b2b: That sounds like so much fun! But if you EVER find yourself in a need of a ’research assistant’, I’m here! Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?

KK: I’ve always done most of my writing alone. I tried a critique group and met some lovely writers, but the critiquing group model doesn’t suit me. I used to lose track of my own voice. These days, with my editor, I tend to show her the first 50 pages to get her take on things, even though she’s already seen the synopsis. That way, I can charge ahead knowing we’re both on the same page. And about critique groups, I remember how relieved I was when I heard Nora Roberts say she shows her work only to her editor—when it comes to critique groups, she said she doesn’t play well with others! That made me feel a lot better about myself and my needs as a writer. We’re all different, and it’s okay.

b2b: The intimate, explicit scenes in your books, how hard are they to write? Or are they hard, no pun intended, at all?

KK: Haha!! I never used to write explicit scenes…I wrote very sweet manuscripts (they still are—I can’t help it! It’s the way I am, the way I see the world). But I decided to give writing sex scenes a shot, and it turns out I really enjoy it! Sometimes I have family and friends joke around and say, “Let’s get some wine, and I’ll write those scenes for you.” Everyone, it seems, wants to give it a try. But I tell them that sex scenes are absolutely no different from any other scene in the book. You, as the writer, have to know what’s going on in the characters’ heads and how this scene will affect the relationship.  Sex scenes also reveal your voice as a writer as much—if not more—than the other scenes in the book. I love writing them and look forward to each and every one! :>)

b2b: And we love reading them, so more power to you in writing them! Cover Art in my humble opinion is really very important, and your covers are just gorgeous! I just wondered how much input are you allowed during this process.

KK: Thanks for the compliment, which I will pass on to Danielle in the Art Department at St. Martin’s Press! I love my covers, too. I asked that all my heroines in the Impossible Bachelors series look intelligent and fun, all at the same time. I think Danielle did a marvelous job fulfilling that wish. I also think the colors and tone of the covers, from the position of the characters’ bodies to the font of the title, stress that my books are romantic, lighthearted reads.

b2b: Well, you both have certainly done just that! I’m sure a lot of people have already asked you this one, but humor me. Your titles are unique to this genre, and I for one would like to know how in the world do you come up with them?

KK: I knew I wanted attention-grabbing titles, and I’ve always been a sort of maverick. I decided to throw my version of crazy fun into the Regency historical market—maybe I’d pick up interest from younger readers who’d never tried the genre–so in my proposal for a 4-book series, I came up with four titles based on movies, the first of which was WHEN HARRY MET MOLLY. We actually didn’t use the other three, but together Jennifer Enderlin and I came up with the rest, based on other pop culture references. I have to give Jen total credit for DUKES TO THE LEFT OF ME, PRINCES TO THE RIGHT and IF YOU GIVE A GIRL A VISCOUNT. We have a lot of fun brainstorming together!

b2b: I bet you do. It is very difficult for me to choose my favorite author or a book, but if I was put on a rack I’d be screaming from the top of my lungs ‘LAURA KINSALE and FLOWERS FROM THE STORM’! How about you? Are you willing to fess-up?

KK: You’re so funny–and so passionate about romance, both qualities I love about you!! If I were on that rack, I’d have to scream, “Mistress of Mellyn, by Victoria Holt!” It’s a Gothic, but the romantic tension was incredible!!! It was probably my first “grown-up” novel with a love story attached. As a young teen, I also fell in love with the love story between Laura and Almanzo in the Little House series. I cut my teeth on historical romance with LaVyrle Spencer. I still think she ranks at the very top when it comes to writing amazing love stories.

b2b: Can you believe I never read LaVyrle? I’m going to have to correct that. What do you like to read and what’s on your TBR now?

KK: Oh, my goodness. I read constantly, and often I read two or three books at a time, both fiction and non-fiction and in many genres. I just finished the HUNGER GAMES trilogy, which was simply astonishing and compelling. I couldn’t put the books down…read all three in a week. Right at this moment, I’m reading a truly wonderful book called A WOMAN’S BOOK OF STRENGTH, by Karen Andes. It’s old, but it’s a real inspiration for any woman who wants to become strong in all senses of the word, including physical, spiritual, emotional, and more! It’s helping me progress with my newfound dedication to getting some muscles on this weakling body! At the same time, literally switching off several times a day, I’m reading Mary Balogh’s A SECRET AFFAIR. I tend not to read nearly as much Regency as I did before I was published—Debbie Macomber told me she reads mainly out of her genre, too, which is why she likes Regencies, LOL!—but I’ve been with Mary Balogh since I was young, and she’s an exquisite storyteller, the master I aspire to be someday if I’m so fortunate to be blessed with her gifts (hey, God! That’s a request I’m putting in!)

b2b: OMG! Don’t even start me on Ms. Balogh! I just read her ‘The Secret Mistress’ and just loved it! I have yet to read a book by her that I didn’t love! Now, that ends up our ‘professional’ portion of this interview. Are you ready to get personal? Or are you going to chicken out on me?

KK: Bring it on!

 

 

b2b: Okay, Lady K. let’s get Personal: Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself, something personal that you’d like us to know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love? What’s your favorite meal of the day (food)? Flannels or Silk? Do you like to cook? What’s your favorite spot in the house? Cats or Dogs? Champagne or Beer?  Your favorite time of the year?

KK: I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was a freshman in college. My next one was in college, too, a Scotsman who wore a kilt on special occasions! That was during my junior year at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

My husband is two years younger than I am…he was one of my younger sister’s best friends in high school. I gave up my CIA career to be with him.

I love breakfast. If I could eat eggs, bacon, buttered toast, grits, and coffee with lots of cream and sugar every day, I would!

I am definitely a flannel girl. I know nothing of Victoria’s Secret. It’s truly pathetic. I feel like I’m an alien from another planet when I venture into that store. I think I need a sexy, silky, romantic lingerie makeover! My husband doesn’t care either way, he told me to tell you. He just takes off whatever I’m wearing…

Oh, he’s so good at saying the right things, isn’t he?!? <G>

I can’t choose between cats and dogs. I’m like the crazy girl on that viral cat video who cried when describing how much she loves cats to potential eHarmony dates. When I think about homeless cats—or dogs, for that matter—I get depressed and teary. I love cats and dogs so much, I can’t live without them in my house.

I love champagne AND beer. I do like red wine, but if I had a choice, champagne first, beer second (only if it’s served in a frosty glass), then red wine.

I do like to cook and think I’m really good at it, but my cooking time has been reduced drastically since I’ve gone under contract. Which isn’t a bad thing! Other family members are picking up the slack.

Plus, we’re changing what constitutes a meal. I know this sounds a little weird, , but for lunch today, I broke up a few leftover taco shells into chips, scooped up some leftover Busch’s baked beans onto them, and spooned some guacamole on top. In our family these days, we’re thinking, “Lighter, faster, simpler.” Simple, rustic, unprocessed peasant food, and not a lot of one thing—we’re mixing it up, dabbling, experimenting, making do!!

And now for one more personal thing…my late sister Megan was severely mentally and physically challenged, and I have a special place in my heart for those among us who are vulnerable in the way Megan was. I think of those people as angels among us, sent to remind the rest of us to be kind and loving…and to remember joy.

b2b: Wow, that last one just broke my heart. You said it. I think God gives us those Angels for just that purpose.

KK: I’d like to give away one signed copy of WHEN HARRY MET MOLLY and one signed copy of CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MARRIAGE to two different commenters who tell us something that really matters personally to them. I love to get to know other writers and my awesome reader friends better!! Thanks so much for having me here today, Melanie, and I wish you and all your team amazing success on RBW!! XOXO

b2b: I’ll pass along your wishes to my RBW team ‘Pink Ladies’. We’re doing great and my first month ended by me dropping a total of EIGHT pounds and I’m so pumped up now!