Margo’s winners are Barbara Elness and Mary Anne Landers. Congrats, ladies! I’ll be in touch with details.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by the blog to comment!
Please welcome former Jaunty Quiller and fab historical romance author Margo Maguire!
It’s been a long time since I was one of the Jaunties, and I am so pleased to be back! Thank you, Vanessa (who – I think – became a Jaunty in my place!!) for inviting me to share the news about my two new Regency romances.
And here we are, in the middle of January! How much fun is that?
Well, for a lot of us, not so much. Where I live in Michigan isn’t as bad as some places, but we get a fair share of snow. And lots of cold, for sure – which makes it a great time to hunker down by the fireplace with a nice hot beverage to do some reading.
Luckily, I enjoy writing almost as much as I like to read, so I can get a lot accomplished during this weather. My latest books – the start of a new series I call The Berkshire Brides – just came out, and I’m already working on the next book in the series.
Eleanor and the Duke is the story of Eleanor Easton and her ex-fiancé, Andrew, Duke of Beckworth. Sometime before the start of this book, Eleanor fell head over heels in love with Beckworth, and she believed he felt the same. But then her world fell apart when she learned he intended to keep a mistress throughout their marriage. Heartbroken, Eleanor fled from England before the wedding could take place. Poor Andrew could not go after her right away, and he didn’t understand why she would leave him, anyway. He didn’t know about the lies Eleanor had been told. Not then.
But now is a different story. At the start of Eleanor and the Duke, Beckworth is in Berkshire at Eleanor’s small country house, waiting for her to arrive. Her father has recently passed away, leaving her a small annuity to live on. And Beck is the trustee. All her money must go through him first. It’s the perfect chance for Beck to win not only her love, but her trust. All Eleanor has to do get over her fear of betrayal before she can accept Beckworth again.
After I wrote Eleanor and the Duke, I decided to give Eleanor and Beckworth more of an introduction, so I wrote the novella Mad About Ivy – and it’s a free download. Ivy’s story takes place at a house party in Berkshire, and it’s perfectly obvious to everyone that Eleanor and her duke are madly in love with each other. Beck’s good friend, the Earl of Claymere is at the party only because his mother demanded he escort her, but he has no interest in any of the young women there. He is only thirty years old, and has no intention of marrying for at least another decade. That is . . . until he meets Ivy.
Eleanor and the Duke is about second chances. Tell me which of the following kinds of romance stories appeal to you, and I’ll choose two responders to receive any book from my backlist: friends to lovers; second chance at love; soul mate/fate; secret romance; first love; strong hero/heroine; reunited lovers; love triangle; sexy billionaire/millionaire; sassy heroine.
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year, and to start it off right, here is an excerpt from Mad About Ivy.
Shefford Manor. Southeast Berkshire, England. Late March, 1816
“I do not intend to marry anyone until I am at least forty, Mother, no matter how much you like her,” said Devereaux Kipling, Earl of Claymere. “Therefore, this house party and all of Lady Shefford’s attempts at matchmaking are a perfect waste of time. Hers, yours, and most especially mine.”
“Dev, don’t be a numbskull. How on earth could you possibly believe that a twenty year difference is the—”
“Because of you and Father.” He went to the window and pushed the curtain aside as several young ladies started out on a walk down the drive. They were the golden apples of their parents’ eyes, and therefore, forbidden fruit.
Give him a tavern wench any day – the sooner the better, in fact – and Dev would be content. But no, he was stuck here at Lord and Lady Shefford’s house party, with a dozen or so stuffy peers and their female offspring. It was enough to put him off his feed for a fortnight . . .
He did have to admit, however, that one young lady had caught his eye – Ivy Barnett, the beautiful American niece of the Earl of Kendal. Dev happened to see her in the card room two nights ago, besting her opponents with good-natured aplomb. And again, yesterday in the morning room laughing and walking arm-in-arm with Eleanor Easton, fiancée of Dev’s closest friend, the Duke of Beckworth. Later, he’d seen her taking part in an impromptu dancing lesson, demonstrating some subtle difference in the American quadrille versus the British version. She managed to have all the other young ladies laughing and giggling throughout.
A perfectly unacceptable attraction began to develop, and Dev realized he had to avoid Miss Barnett. Like the plague. Because a proper bride was sure to turn up when he was prepared to marry, years from now.
His mother clucked her tongue in that annoying fashion of hers, and dropped her book upon the table. “You cannot be serious, Devereaux.”
He cleared his thoughts. “Of course I am. Have you known me to be anything but serious?” He had his life well-planned, and marriage was not in his near future.
“Not in years, no,” she retorted, rising from her chair. “But I would have you understand something perfectly clearly. My marriage to your father was less than ideal. He was an old man by the time I had reached my prime, and my convictions prevented me from— Well, let us just say that I was not one to fall into the arms of any dandy-prat who cast a lecherous eye in my direction.”
“And I thank God for that.”
“You are missing the point, Dev.”
“I had hopes of missing this entire discussion, Mother.”
She came up to him and poked his chest. “Mark me well, my dear son. You will be thirty years old next month. If you persist in this notion of waiting until you’ve sowed every last one of your wild oats, you are going to end up with some young chit who will resent you and wish you in your grave before your first decade of marriage is out.”
“Please, Mother. Do not be so melodr—”
“Because that is how it was with me, and history has a way of repeating.”
I must be a New Englander at heart even though I’ve spent my whole life (just about) in the South! I love the spare. I revel in bleak. Give me a muted winter landscape.
I’m moved by beauty that’s not obvious.
One of my favorite books is the young adult novel A DAY NO PIGS WOULD DIE, which I just re-read and cried copious tears over. I know. If that title were a flower, it would be a dried up thistle, not a lush rose. Who wants to read a book with the word PIGS and DIE in the title?
It’s about a Quaker boy in Vermont. It’s short, and it’s plain. It’s also full of everything that life is about: the hurt, the glory, the joy, the sorrow.
So cue “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Or “All About That Bass.” Here comes Kieran–the lover of bare-boned anything–who actually talks a lot, dances a lot, and writes a lot, especially fun, light romances.
It’s an odd dichotomy—being a writer of the quirky and colorful yet a fan of the plain–except that I have figured something out about people who appreciate the stark. We usually have a strong sense of humor.
I think it’s because we’re attuned to the ironic. Whatever the surface says, we see more layers: life in all its multifaceted dimensions. You can either laugh or cry about that. I often go off in poignant directions in my stories, but always, always, I come back to laughter. To joy.
I know where my fascination with irony came from: my late sister was profoundly mentally and physically challenged. She couldn’t sing, she couldn’t dance, she couldn’t write. She couldn’t understand a word I said. Yet she was capable of changing everyone around her for the better. A defenseless girl—a plain girl–had real influence.
That pretty much epitomizes the Christmas season for me. Vulnerability coupled with power in a run-down stable. Bare beauty cradling hope.
And so my love of winter landscapes—and laughter.
What says Christmas to you? One person (US/Canada only) who comments will win a copy of Kieran’s YOU’RE SO FINE (print or digital–winner’s choice) and a Love Changes Everything koozie. Winner chosen randomly and announced Sunday.
I wish you abundant smiles this holiday season.
Christmas Wishes… A Royal Christmas Proposal… and a drawing for a Gift Card!
I’ve always loved the Christmas season. Sure, things get hectic and the crowds and traffic aren’t always fun, but to me there’s a wonderful sense of excitement and expectation in the air. Even if Santa doesn’t come down my chimney, maybe I can play Santa to someone else and make one of their wishes come true. There’s magic in that.
In A Royal Christmas Proposal, there’s excitement in the air, but it doesn’t start out as all that romantic. Fredericka Devereaux is no pushover princess. She’s determined to provide the best life possible for her infant son, Leo. So when her brother, the ruler of Chantaine, insists that she and her hearing-disabled son need a protector, Ericka objects. But her new bodyguard, handsome Treat Walker, warms her heart as he cares for her baby… and proves himself deserving of his name…
Treat keeps telling himself that he’s not into Ericka and her little family. She’s stuck-up and a royal – hardly his type! Despite his best efforts, the former football player finds himself charmed by the sexy single mom and her adorable infant. This Christmas, all Treat wants in his stocking is the royal twosome he’s sworn to protect…
If you get a chance to read A Royal Christmas Proposal, I would love to hear from you at leannebbb@ aol.com (no spaces)
*What I’d love to know right now though is what is your favorite part of the Christmas season? Tell me and I’ll draw a name from the responders to receive a $10 Amazon gift card!
Leanne Banks is a national #1 best-selling author with over 65 books to her credit. Leanne’s heart-warming books have been published in many languages. Leanne loves writing about the miracle of the transforming power of love. You can learn more about Leanne at www.leannebanks.com Friend Leanne on facebook to get the latest news and fun giveaways! https://www.facebook.com/leanne.banks
First I want to thank the Jaunty Quills for inviting me to guest blog. It’s wonderful to be here!
They say write what you know. I write Regency period historicals. Although I love to travel, I can easily say I’ve never been in England in the early 1800’s. My hero in my new release, A Spy Unmasked, is a spy and expert safecracker whose latest mission is to investigate a series of suspicious deaths of prominent members of the London Inventor’s Society. My lady heroine is an inventor. So how did I did use my background here?
I’m a licensed patent attorney and in my past I worked with some interesting inventions and eccentric inventors. It was a bit like Shark Tank, but instead of asking for money to invest in their inventions, clients wanted patents to protect their works. I’ll always recall some of my favorites, a retracting needle to keep medical workers safe, a nifty mixing bowl with a no-slip rubber bottom, a light up hood to help you find your car in a crowded parking lot, and yes, even sex toys (they’ll remain anonymous). So how on earth did I “write what I know?”
A Spy Unmasked is right up my alley. My heroine, Lady Sophia, is a feisty female inventor who’s a woman ahead of her time. Before I was a lawyer, I was an engineer and Sophia is a character of my heart. She’s also a bit like me in that I loved hanging out with my dad and tinkering in the garage. Sophia is on a mission for justice, and she is just what my hero needs.
What about my hero? What in the world do I have in common with a spy and master safecracker? I admit to being a lover of Ian Fleming novels and James Bond movies. He’s elegant, self-confident under pressure, and always sexy. He has style, class, and sophistication. So who’s my favorite Bond actor? Although I enjoy watching Sean Connery master the part, I have to say Daniel Craig stole my heart in Casino Royale. When I was thinking of my own hero, the result was the cunning spymaster Robert Ware, the new Earl of Kirkland. Just like Q from James Bond, my hero has cool gadgets. Robert is an expert in the fine art of finessing open safes. He has state of the art lock picks and he uses them on more than one occasion. The scenes where he’s opening safes were very fun to write.
So what do you love about spies in books? And if you’re a writer, how do you write what you know? Please share for a chance to win an ebook of A SPY UNMASKED (the first book In The Crown’s Secret Service Series).
About A SPY UNMASKED
The mission did not go quite as Robert Ware—known in society as the new Earl of Kirkland—planned. A spy in the service of His Majesty, Robert is a “guest” at a masquerade party as he retrieves vital information for a murder investigation. Until he’s quite unexpectedly interrupted by an exquisite, masked woman with glittering green eyes. And a pistol she has cocked and aimed right at him…
Lady Sophia Merrill has defiantly taken up justice’s shining sword, determined to expose the brigand who murdered her eccentric but brilliant father, and stole his latest invention. Now she must masquerade as Robert’s betrothed in order to infiltrate the Inventor’s Society and find the killer. But the undeniable potent attraction between them not only imperils the investigation, but Sophia’s reputation… and both of their lives.
About Tina Gabrielle
Best-selling author Tina Gabrielle is an attorney and former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. She often picked up a romance and let her fantasies of knights in shining armor and lords and ladies carry her away. A Spy Unmasked is the first book In The Crown’s Secret Service series. The second book in the series, At The Spy’s Pleasure, is coming in April 2015 from Entangled Publishing. She is also the author of adventurous Regency historical romances, In The Barrister’s Bed, In The Barrister’s Chambers, Lady Of Scandal, and A Perfect Scandal from Kensington Books. Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks, and her first book, Lady Of Scandal, was nominated as best first historical romance by Romantic Times Book Reviews. Tina loves to hear from readers. Please visit her website for free monthly contests and giveaways. www.tinagabrielle.com