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
Please join me in welcoming my friend, fellow geek, and all-around wonderful writer, Corrina Lawson. She’s got a rocking new release that you totally need to check out (click banner for Amazon):
Today, she’s going to be talking to us about Holiday Happily Evers, and giving away a cool prize! So, without further ado … Here’s Corrina (click picture for website)!
Last year was my worst Christmas ever: my son had been hospitalized due to a chronic condition and the phone rang at midnight on Christmas Eve with word that he’d been rushed to the emergency room with a seizure.
That twenty-minute ride to the hospital counts as one of the worst experiences of my life. The next few hours were nearly as nerve-wracking. Baffled by the cause of the seizure, my son was transferred from one emergency room to another that one at a hospital that specialized in pediatrics. It wasn’t until about 3 p.m. on Christmas Day that he seemed stable enough to leave and head home to my other kids while my husband took the post at the hospital.
Those who’ve been in the situation know that all the presents and parties in the world matter little if someone you love is sick.
So after that horrible experience, why did I write my own holiday story, Ghosts of Christmas Past, published just this week?
I could be glib and say it was whistling through the graveyard, daring to write a happy story when so much went wrong last year. But the real answer is the same reason why I write and read romance: because sometimes finding the beauty and love in lousy circumstances is the best way to survive.
My hero and heroine of Ghosts of Christmas Past, Detective Aloysius James and Lucy aka Noir, have everything stacked against them. They live in a destitute city, they’re trying to hold back chaos in a community that’s fractured and dangerous, and this is their first holiday together, when neither have celebrated Christmas for years. It’s a lot of stress on a relationship that’s only a few months old. Add in a murder that puts them on opposite sides and the holidays look bleak.
It’s a romance, so we know Al and Lucy eventually work past the issue. But I wanted their city to also be one of hope, too, if only amid the ruins.
The residents who have stayed in the Double C (Charlton City but nicknamed Cancer City) approach their environment with humor and innovation. A hidden (and illegal) restaurant has the best pies for miles around. An abandoned factory has been turned into an artist’s collective. And a murder in the city’s once-proud art museum oddly helps preserve priceless art.
It’s not just fiction. Charlton City was in part inspired by the reality of Detroit, which I visited two years ago. I drove through a blighted neighborhood on that trip, on the way to a Habitat For Humanity project. That neighborhood was full of houses that had been gutted or destroyed altogether. But, still, some stubborn residents kept their homes well and even had flower gardens in their front yard.
The holidays can be like that neighborhood. Sometimes they expose the ruin and damage done to our lives. But at other times, they show off resilient, beautiful things thriving in our lives.
And sometimes, there’s pie.
My son is recovered now. I’d say I’m hoping for the best Christmas ever but I already have that because he’s doing well.
If you’re interested in winning an ecopy of Ghosts of Christmas Past and finding out how Al and Noir find their HEA, just comment below and tell me about your favorite Christmas memory.
The Lady Authors have published their second anthology, At the Billionaire’s Wedding.
A stately home in the English countryside seems the ideal place for a bad boy billionaire and his bride to tie the knot. Until the Internet fails. And the oven breaks. And paparazzi invade. And police crash the bachelorette party. And four unlikely couples discover that passion never waits for perfection, and happily ever after is just an “I do” away.
Last year, after we finished At the Duke’s Wedding, Caroline Linden, Maya Rodale, Katharine Ashe, and Miranda Neville discussed our next collaboration. “Let’s do a contemporary,” someone said. “Yes, let’s!” we all cried as one. So what, that we were four historical authors with almost no experience in writing about modern life. How hard could it be?
“I have a billionaire who needs a wedding,” Maya said. For Maya had briefly ventured into the twenty-first century with her Bad Boy Billionaire series of novellas. So we borrowed Maya’s couple, Duke and Jane, and proceeded to make their weeklong wedding celebration rife with laughs and sexy times and near disasters as four new couples found love and HEA.
As we wrote the connected stories in At the Billionaire’s Wedding, we had to meet the challenge of a whole new time period: The Present. How could we possibly write about things we knew about at first hand? It was difficult, but we are Professional Writers. We buckled down and gritted it out. It turned out there are many similarities between Regency and modern England, where we wisely decided to hold the wedding.
Historicals: Hot dukes.
Contemporaries: Hot showers.
Contemporaries: Shirts that button all the way down.
Historicals: Colin Firth in a wet shirt.
Contemporaries: Strippers dressed as servants.
Historicals: An elopement to Gretna Green in a coach and four.
Contemporaries: Two hours from the airport in an Aston Martin.
Historicals: Gorgeous gowns that require an expert maid to get into.
Contemporaries: Gorgeous gowns that require a “zip!” to get out of.
Historicals: Fantastic foreplay.
Contemporaries: Ultra pleasure condoms.
Historicals: Sex in a closed carriage.
Contemporaries: Sex in a stretch limo.
Historicals: Sex by candlelight in the Gold Saloon.
Contemporaries: Sex by floodlight in the Gold Saloon.
Historicals: No internet.
Contemporaries: Internet—wait, WTF, WHY is there no internet !?!!?
What’s your favorite similarity/difference between contemporary and historical romances? The Lady Authors will give a digital copy of At the Duke’s Wedding to one commenter. (Winner randomly chosen and announced Sunday).