The Jaunty Quills are excited to host veteran author Kieran Kramer. Kieran’s e-novella, The Earl with the Secret Tattoo, is coming December 18th. Keep reading to find out how to win one of three copies of the book, plus swag! Details below.

Shana: It’s great to have you here, Kieran! Tell us about The Earl with the Secret Tattoo. I love the title—a secret tattoo is so sexy!

Kieran Kramer: Thanks! My editor and I came up with the idea over lunch. We liked the idea of the secret tattoo. We wanted a fun novella that would involve a gentleman hero who has a secret occupation and a heroine who stumbles upon him being a total rake while in the line of duty. She doesn’t think much of him, but he has the same tattoo as a masked man who interrupted a robbery she was involved in with the Sherwood kids from the Brady household, a man she’s been daydreaming about ever since. She can’t believe the two tattooed men can be one and the same. 

The story is meant to span the gap of time between the publication of the first and second book in my House of Brady series—in other words, to reward the readers who’ve joined me on this ride with my favorite blended family from Regency England!

Shana: Is The Earl with the Secret Tattoo part of your House of Brady series? Tell us more about the series and the other books.

Kieran Kramer: I wanted a series that pays very light homage to my favorite childhood TV show, The Brady Bunch. But the resemblance is so distant that if you haven’t seen the show, you wouldn’t miss a single tip of the hat to it. Each book is an organic Regency tale that stands on its own. My Marcia, for example, is a far cry from the Marcia on the show, who was the “It” girl of her high school. Lady Marcia Sherwood, on the other hand, could have been a reigning debutante during the London Season, but she gave it all up for a very good reason. The storyline of LOVING LADY MARCIA delves into that motivation, and Marcia has to come to terms with a lot of things she’s been avoiding before she can find true love.

 

The next book is THE EARL IS MINE. That’s Gregory’s story, and I was inspired by an iconic episode of the TV show in which Greg is lured into becoming a big rock star named Johnny Bravo. But the cool rock star coat Johnny Bravo wears doesn’t fit him, so the Hollywood moguls no longer want Gregory to play the role.  My Gregory, who is named Lord Westdale (after the high school in the TV show), doesn’t fit a certain role in his life, either. I mention his coat in the very first line of the book, and the coat becomes a symbol of his conflict. But that’s about it. Unless you’re an avid watcher of the show, you’d never pick up on that coat reference.

I’m now writing SAY YES TO THE DUKE, which is Janice’s book. She’s the middle sister, and like the Jan of the TV show, is often overshadowed by her big sister Marcia. I don’t want to give anything away because as I write, things always change (which wreaks havoc on my back cover copy, LOL!), but I can at least tell you that this story takes the reader away from London drawing rooms into a country setting. And the hero is a bit unexpected.

So far, this has been a really fun series to write. I have no idea what’s happening yet in the next book. I also learn cool secrets about the family as I write! For example, I was shocked to learn something about Lady Brady in LOVING LADY MARCIA that I’ll let you discover on your own…I had no idea she had that kind of back story, and I only learned it as I was literally writing that chapter. But it made a lot of sense.

Bottom line: I’m excited to get to my computer each day, and I really hope the readers are having as much fun as I am with the series.

Shana: I read in your bio that you used to work for the CIA and are a game show veteran. Kieran, how did I not know this about you? Tell us more—if, you know, it’s not classified! Have you ever used any of these experiences in your novels?

Kieran Kramer: Haha! I don’t talk much about being in the CIA and prefer not to give workshops about it or write about it. If I ever did write about it, I’m required by law to submit my manuscript to the CIA to be redacted because I signed a non-disclosure form. I don’t give workshops about it because I’m always afraid of maybe stepping over a line and saying something I shouldn’t. Besides, I was there a long time ago!!!

But I can tell you a few things. First off, I was in a special program. Far fewer than than 1% of CIA employees were chosen for it, so it was a big deal, a great honor, and one thing in my life that I’m really proud of. I was there during the iconic CIA director William Casey’s heyday and during the Iran-Contra affair. At one point, I worked next door to the Iran guys, all of whom were called to testify on Capitol Hill, so every one of them grew beards. Ollie North visited several times. I did a lot of crazy things I can’t talk about and spent several months at the Farm with a bunch of people, including Valerie Plame, the poor CIA operative who was outed during the Bush administration. In general, I had the time of my life.

As for my TV career <ggg>, my mom was a Jeopardy champion in the 60’s, so game shows run in the family. I was on Family Feud and The Wheel of Fortune, each time selected in a local audition to be flown out to Hollywood for the taping. We won on Family Feud, and I also won on The Wheel of Fortune–$34,000. I’m a natural sort of quiet ham and wasn’t bothered by the red lights on the camera, which signaled that 30 million people were watching. At least that’s what the producers told us at Wheel. They also said hundreds of thousands of people try to get on the show. So the pressure was on! But I liked it. That wheel was heavy. Pat and Vanna are adorable. I wish I’d been published at the time—free publicity, right? I did call myself a romance writer, though, when Pat Sajak asked what I did.

Hmmm…maybe it’s time to get on another show. I can just see myself passing out bookmarks and handing the host a free copy of my latest book, LOL!!!

Shana: I know you’re a busy wife and mom, like I am, because Robyn, Emily, and I blog with you on Peanut Butter on the Keyboard. How do you find time to write and play all the other roles? Any tips for busy aspiring authors?

Kieran Kramer: I could talk all day about this. But it all comes down to being clear about what’s happening in your life right now—and what you want to make happen.

So know:

1)      why you’re writing: for money, fame, personal enjoyment, to prove a point, or for the love of story? Is it a combination of all those, or several? Or one? You must know the answer to this question because every time you hit an obstacle, you’re going to have to call upon your inner reserves—and your motivations—to forge ahead.

2)      Also know what you want to say: not in that particular book, but in general. What universal message is burning within you that compels you to go to the empty screen or notepad each day? You don’t have to get on your soapbox, but WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND? What gets you out of bed each morning?  Imagine that I’m shaking you by the collar and you have two seconds to spit out what you want to say to the world. That (whatever you blurted out) is probably a theme running through all your books. Write it down. Look at it all the time. Again, you’re going to use this as armor against all the flak thrown at you. You’re going to be safe inside that little world of self-knowledge you’ve accrued, and you’ll stay on track.

Yet always re-evaluate. I ask myself those two questions every day: why am I writing, and what do I want to say. I’m the type of person who’s very aware of the passage of time. I also want to enjoy my life and do something meaningful while I’m on the planet. So I check in with myself often. And if I’m not happy, I tweak things until I am. I’m not afraid to instantly do a 180 and go onto a different track, whether it’s in a story or in life. Change doesn’t equal failure. Neither does stopping for a while and re-starting the same thing. People grow into themselves at different rates.

Some well-meaning folks might say, “Come on, give up. You’ve been doing this too long and getting nowhere!” But if your gut tells you that you enjoy the journey you’re on, stick with it until you don’t!

And then you have other people saying, “Come on, don’t give up so easily. Stick it out! That shows perseverance, which is a great virtue!” And I agree that it is. But I don’t believe in sticking with something that makes me unhappy. So I make sure that I stay happy with what’s going on in my writing life. I speak up and I change course if I’m not happy.

I suggest to all new writers out there that if right now you’re not happy with how you’re handling your writing life, stop everything. Assess what’s going wrong and how you can get happy again. Ignore everyone else and listen to your own gut.

I also suggest that if you love what you’re doing, ignore those naysayers and keep doing it. My only caveat there is make sure you stay in balance, no matter what. Don’t ignore your kids or your partner in the name of getting a contract. Live life in a balanced way, and you’re much more likely to sell. Your writing will be rich; your muse, abundant. Desperation–or blind ambition–on the other hand, makes the best writers flounder and their stories contrived. So don’t get desperate. Pay attention to staying balanced.

In the end, it all boils down to following your own heart. Don’t give away your power to anyone else, even the people who love you most. Explain gently to them what’s going on, and block out time for yourself.

Shana: Finally, tell us what you have coming next.

Kieran Kramer:  My novella THE EARL WITH THE SECRET TATTOO is coming out on December 18th, e-format only, available on Kindle, Amazon, iBooks, etc. I also have a funny, romantic Christmas Eve scene with Alice, the housekeeper for the Marquess and Marchioness of Brady, and Marcia and her new husband Duncan from LOVING LADY MARCIA, appearing on the Heroes and Heartbreakers blog on Dec. 24th . Then THE EARL IS MINE will appear on shelves February 26. SAY YES TO THE DUKE comes out in the fall of 2013, and after I put that book to bed, I’ll get to work on Peter’s book, the fourth of the six books in the series, and maybe another Brady-related novella.

I also have underlying plans that I haven’t gotten to yet to review my chick lit novels and women’s fiction novel that I wrote before I was published. If I can revamp them, I might consider adding on a contemporary aspect to my career with those. But I have a feeling I won’t be able to—they might be too hard to revise, and I have to consider how viable they’d be on the market right now–which actually is fine because I have a really great desire to start fresh with a new contemporary series idea I have!

Um, when will this contemporary career happen? I don’t know! But I love being so busy, and I love being a writer.

Thanks, Shana, so much for hosting me today. You’re a great long-distance friend. I’ve so enjoyed our camaraderie on the Peanut Butter blog. You’re also a fantastic writer, and I wish you and the other Jaunty Quills authors continued fabulous success.

I really enjoyed answering your questions and would love to hear from your readers!! Meanwhile, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!! Everyone, have a great December filled with lots of great books!!

Readers, now it’s your turn. Tattoos: love them or hate them? Sexy or major turn-off? Three readers who comment will be randomly chosen to win digital copies of The Earl with the Secret Tattoo and swag, which includes a real temporary tattoo that matches the one on the book cover, romance trading cards, a signed bookplate, and bookmarks. This giveaway is open to readers in the U.S.

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30 thoughts on “Bring a Friend Friday with Kieran Kramer

  1. Shana Shana says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Kieran! I don’t mind tattoos as long as they don’t cover every inch. But a well-placed tattoo can be sexy…

  2. Hi, Kieran! I knew you wicked cool with the CIA stuff, but you’ve just gone up a notch to an even higher rank…Wheel of Fortune Champion! Love you, love your books. ; )

  3. Sheryl Nyary says:

    I am dying to read this story. I love a man with a FEW tattoos, I think they are sexy. Great interview!!! Thanks

  4. Cheryl says:

    One or two tattoos are fine -but totally covered with them is too much. Tattoos are also used to save lives – before radiation treatment for breast cancer – you get tattooed. Lots of little dots to make sure the radiation goes to the correct area. I wear the proudly.

  5. Kieran, hi! I am not a huge fan of tattoos on myself but I am intrigued by them.

  6. Lori H says:

    Hi, I don’t really care for tats. Don’t like anything that permanent on myself. However one or two better than entire body covered in them.
    Happy Holidays

  7. Beebs says:

    I think one or two tats can be sexy but like others have said, not all over. Woohoo for more Bradys Kieran :grin:

  8. Sandi in OH says:

    My grandfather and uncle had tattoos so I don’t really mind one or two on a person. I just don’t understand people who are covered with them.

  9. Kieran says:

    Hey, everyone! I’m so glad to be here!! Thanks for all the tattoo love…

    Only one person in my family has a tattoo–my brother Rob, who’s a Navy sailor. He got a tattoo of an anchor on his arm when he was a little ensign and now he’s an admiral! Maybe I should get a tattoo that says NYT???

    Haha!!!

    I’m a little punchy today. I’m hanging out with college girls in my daughter’s dorm, and they are all so fresh and crazy, even though not a one of them has had any sleep. Brings back great memories. My daughter has exams this week, and she got the flu, even though she had the flu shot. And so I decided to drive up here to feed her chicken soup and push her out the door to class. It makes no sense to me that you can have a 102 degree fever, a 100 average in a class, and STILL be required to take the exam! Whatever happened to exemptions? And compassion? She has to practically be carted off in an ambulance to get a pass to take the exam later. She doesn’t want to do that anyway, so I’m here to help out. The weird thing is, this same thing happened to my son earlier in the week at his college–he got the flu even though he had the flu shot. And it was during exams.

    This is not a good week for the Kramer family, but of course it is in so many other ways. (I always have to add a note of optimism to everything–not because I’m an optimist but because I feel guilt about whining, thanks to the nuns and my Irish mother).

    I hope all of you are having a great week! I’d normally reply to every single comment, but today is so super busy–because I’m totally behind on my deadline–instead I’ll have to jump in every once in a while and wax prosaic on the occasional subject I see mentioned here. I’ve already covered tattoos, but I’m SURE something else will come up! Like Kate and Will’s baby news! And now I saw on the cover of US (which I was dying to buy) that Jen Aniston is definitely pregnant?!? Is this for real??? What do you think of her new guy? I saw him on Parks and Rec, and he looked and acted like such a nerd. So I kind of liked him.

    And then there’s always reality TV. I can tawk about the Beverly Hills Housewives, the X-Factor, or The Voice all day long!!!

    Anyway…(that’s the extent of my transitions today), thanks again for having me here during such a season of hope and love and TATTOOS!! I totally love all you JQ ladies! And I wish everyone a fabulous Friday.

    XOXO

  10. Rochelle says:

    As long as its not head to toe tattoos, one or two strategically placed can be very sexy indeed.

  11. Jen says:

    The older I get the more I love guys with tattoos. This is totally new for me….. :razz:

  12. CateS says:

    A few are ok… but the all over stuff doesn’t do it for me…

  13. governess4hire says:

    I don’t have a problem with tattoos at all. My hubby has 3 but they are always covered by his shirt. ;)

    It’s not often you see a tattoo on a model’s arm gracing the cover of a Historical Romance. I love it! I always judge a book by its cover before I read the back.

    Thank you for the chance to win. I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

  14. CrystalGB says:

    I like them if they done well and not of an offensive nature. Your book sounds awesome. I love the cover.

  15. Rebe says:

    Wow, that CIA job sounds amazing!

    I like a few tattoos!

  16. Trisha says:

    ACK! We almost could have been co workers in the CIA. :-) But they decided that since the USSR Collapsed, well, arabic translators were the ‘in thing’ so they passed. Only to call about 12 years later saying “So, you still interested?”. (rolls eyes)

    Tattoos-it’s all about location, location, location. But please NOT everywhere!

  17. Margo Maguire says:

    Hi Kieran – thanks for joining us!
    I am not a fan of tattoos, although they’re more mainstream now than they ever were. One of my kids has a few…. But I agree with Shana – a well-placed tattoo can be sexy.

  18. catslady says:

    As long as they aren’t large or there aren’t too many. My daughter got one on her hip that said Love and her now exhusband had got one too. Thank goodness they didn’t do names!!! Just last week she added to it so that it was different. What’s funny is that she’s my preppy daughter and my other daughter is an artist. I thought for sure it would be the reverse. Her boyfriend has one nice one on his upper arm which is nice.

  19. Ann s. says:

    I have two tattoos and I do like a tattooed man. I do hate tattoos anywhere from the collar up. I like to be able to cover them if at all possible. I do love your books.

  20. RobynDeHart RobynDeHart says:

    Like Shana said a well-placed tattoo can be very sexy, but I’m not a fan of them covering all over. I don’t find them offensive, I have friends who have them, but they’re not my thing. Though admittedly I’ve thought of getting one a few times.

    Thanks for visiting us today, Kieran! What a great interview!

  21. bn100 says:

    I like them, but not over the whole body.

  22. Welcome, Kieran! So glad you could join us. No tattoos on this bod, but your book sounds fabulous!

  23. Barbara Elness says:

    In real life, I’m fascinated by tattoos, but not really enamored of a person with a lot of tattoos. I guess if a man had a few it wouldn’t be a turn-off, but not covered all over his body. That just brings into question a person’s judgement, in my opinion. On the cover of books though, it’s another story. I think they look pretty darned sexy. :D

  24. chey says:

    Tattoos. It depends where they are and what they are.

  25. Anna says:

    Great chat ladies! I’m not entering the giveaway, just wanted to stop by and say hi :) I’m good with tattoos. The right one can be incredibly sexy but oh my word they can go so badly too. Really looking forward to reading about the Earl!

    ~Anna

  26. Jeanne Miro says:

    Hi Shana and Kieran!

    Shana,

    You obviously have another career you can pursue as a TV interviewer! The Today show will be calling soon!

    Kieran,

    Believe me when my older son was a toddler I never thought my little blond haired son would grow up and have a fascination for Tattoes! I must admit that when he came home from college with his first one I was surprised! I finally realized that tattoo and hi following ones all had an important meaning to him. I didn’t expect it because he’s an intelectual and always thinks about what he’s about to do. Once I found out his reasoning it all made perfect sense.

    I must admit that I was surprised again when his graduation gift for his younger brother’s college graduation from him was also a tattoo! More surprised that his brother actually got it because he wa my slightly shy son or at least was shy before going to The Citadel! He’s my straight-laced son but he’s proud of his tattoo of The Citadel mascot on his shoulder!

    They always say don’t judge a book by it’s cover (except your of course) but there are some times when you have to look inside the person to really know them and sometimes when it’s evident from understanding his tattoo!

  27. Linda says:

    I reckon it depends on both the man as well as the tattoo. I’ve seen some awesome specimens of both mainly on PNR book covers & admit they were pretty hot!

    I remember watching The Brady Bunch as a kid. Fun!

  28. ki pha says:

    It really depends on where the tattoo is located and what it is. I guess the guy have to have a great body too, to pull off what I would think is a “good” tattoo.

  29. Janie McGaugh says:

    I’m not into tattoos as a general rule, but I sure like some of the Celtic ones I’ve seen on book covers!

  30. LilMissMolly says:

    Hi Kieran! I own ALL of your books and I love them! I can’t wait to read your next one. Merry Christmas!

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