Jaunty P. Quills: Hello, Readers! Today I’m pleased to introduce author Shana Galen to the blog. Shana writes historical romances. Kirkus calls her books—
Shana: Jaunty, everyone knows who I am. I blog here every month. I’ve been blogging here since 2004.
Jaunty: Yes, Shana, but it’s polite to introduce a guest.
Shana: I’m not a guest. I’m a regular.
Jaunty: Fine. If you don’t want an introduction, you won’t get one. I’ll just introduce your new book.
Shana: No! No, no, no. I know what you’re going to do. You always introduce my books and put yourself in them, like Lord and Lady Porcupine or The Making of a Porcupine. This book is While You Were Spying. It has nothing to do with porcupines.
Jaunty: Shana, Shana, Shana…I never said it did. Of course, there’s no porcupine in the title (and you wonder why you’re not my favorite!). But I know what happens while your hero is spying. What’s his name? Jaunty?
Shana: Ethan. He’s a marquess and a spy. He’s protecting the heroine, Francesca, and trying to uncover the leader of a spy ring.
Jaunty: But while he’s doing his special agent thing, a porcupine sneaks up on him, shoots quills in his backside, and steals the girl!
Shana: No. That doesn’t happen. The porcupine doesn’t get the girl at the end.
Jaunty: But you said this heroine likes animals!
Shana: She does. She also likes gingerbread and long walks and the hero of the book.
Jaunty: At least tell me there are pine nuts in the chocolate tarts!
Shana: Jaunty, go away! Readers, quick before he comes back, if you want to win a copy of While You Were Spying (print or digital), just let me know some of your favorite things.
**Winner randomly chosen and announced Sunday on the blog.
While You Were Spying is available tomorrow for only $3.99 in eBook. Hurry! The price goes up soon!
Francesca Dashing would like to forget that Ethan Caxton, the Marquess of Winterbourne, exists. He humiliated her in front of all of London Society—and he doesn’t even remember it! But when Ethan shows up in her sleepy Hampshire town, he’s hard to overlook, and his presence stirs up long-buried feelings. Francesca tries to keep her distance…until her life is threatened and the mysterious and handsome marquess comes to her rescue, in more ways than she ever thought possible.
Winterbourne has traveled to Hampshire on orders from the Foreign Office—he’s investigating an arms smuggling ring and is determined to find its leader. Miss Dashing stumbles into his way—literally—and derails both Ethan’s assignment and his ordered country life. Ethan knows he needs to ignore the distraction, but when Francesca is the victim of a vicious attack, he’s compelled to put aside his mission to protect her. Guarding the viscount’s daughter is work, nothing more, and Ethan has no plans to let down his guard…until Francesca’s chocolate-brown eyes and endless compassion melt the ice in his heart and lay siege to his defenses.
The Secrets of Jaunty P. Quills (Porcupine Extraordinaire)
Jaunty P. Quills: Hello, readers! It’s me, Jaunty P. Quills. I’m back with another of my award-winning interviews. This one is with…ah…I know it’s one of these Quills. There are so many of them…<digs through notes, but finds pine nuts instead>
Robyn: I hate to interrupt your snack over there, Jaunty, but um, I’m pretty sure you were going to interview me today about my new book.
Jaunty P. Quills: Oh, right <says with mouth full> Maybe you can entertain these folks while I clean myself up and have a drink.
Robyn: Uh, sure, I can try to do that. How about I share with y’all the back cover blurb of my book, The Temptations of Anna Jacobs…
Love and justice…
When Drew Foster is released from prison, he doesn’t much care about salvaging his soiled reputation. Though he’s working undercover, everyone in Victorian London believes him guilty of the Jack the Ripper murders and that his brother paid for his “innocence.”
Despite her genteel upbringing, Anna Jacobs is intent on finishing medical school and becoming a physician. Society’s ridicule has never bothered her, but when her brother, the Yard’s best detective, is scorned for letting Drew go, she confronts the one man who can set the record straight at a ball. She certainly doesn’t count on the rogue being dashing and handsome, nor on him stealing a passionate kiss.
Anna’s brazen contempt for his dangerous reputation captivates Drew, but he is harboring secrets that make him unfit to court any proper woman. As he finds himself an outsider among his colleagues at Scotland Yard, the feisty beauty offers up her medical knowledge to assist him on the case. But when the real killer returns to London to continue his reign of terror, can Anna find safety in Drew’s arms?
Jaunty P. Quills: This is another of those killer porcupine books, isn’t it? The last one you wrote had me up for nights. *shudder* I snuck into Kristan’s house for a week and curled up under her bed. Don’t tell her I told you that though.
Robyn: Your secret is safe with me. And I’m sorry if I frightened you. Jack the Ripper can, indeed be creepy. I spooked myself out by writing some of the scenes. But at the heart of this book and the first book in the series (The Secrets of Mia Danvers) is a lovely romance. No matter what the subplot, romance is always what I focus on.
Jaunty P. Quills: Romance. I do love a good romance. I just finished Shana’s Porcupines Love Sapphires. At least I think that was the title. Tell me about your couple. Is he a tall, handsome porcupine who saves the fair hedgehog?
Robyn: Not exactly. For those of you who read the first book, you’ll remember Drew (Alex’s younger brother). Well, he was a bit of a wastrel in the first book, he’s selfish and angry and an alcoholic.
Jaunty P. Quills: Wait, a minute, I thought you said this was a romance. Or is he the killer?
Robyn: Heh…no, he’s not the killer, though he is arrested on suspicion of being him. But Drew is simply in a dark place and he needs a little light in his life, a little joy that can pull him out of the darkness and back into a place where he wants to be a better man. That’s where our heroine, Anna, comes in. She’s a sweet sort, though she certainly has plenty of spunk. She’s going to school to become a doctor, something that was not looked upon as being a viable option for women, nonetheless, she’s bucking the system and studying to be a physician and she’s very good at it too.
Jaunty P. Quills: She’s sounds nice. I’m not so sure about that Drew fellow though, perhaps I need to meet this Anna, show her how strong the love of a good porcupine–
Robyn: Yeah, let’s not go there, Jaunty. In any case, Drew and Anna begin an unlikely friendship when he seeks her assistance hunting the killer.
Jaunty P. Quills: So he puts her in danger? Where is he? I’m going to show him a thing or two.
Robyn: (grabs Jaunty – carefully, of course – and holds him back) Calm it down, big boy. Drew keeps Anna perfectly safe. Well, mostly safe….but for that you’ll just have to read the book. Here’s have some more pine nuts.
Jaunty P. Quills: mmmmmmmm
Robyn: Well, I guess he’s done asking me questions. I’ll just leave y’all with a short excerpt and then if y’all have questions, I’ll gladly answer. Thanks, Jaunty. Jaunty? Wow, he’s is really chowing down on those pine nuts. Okay then, here’s your excerpt…
She was quiet for several moments. He watched her face as she considered all the possibilities. Even now, the taste of her lips stayed with him, and he wanted more. More of her kisses, more of her smiles. Simply more of Anna.
Perhaps she had other thoughts that could explain the differences in the injuries, or the use of an alternate weapon.
“Why did you kiss me? The other day?” she asked.
Drew felt his brows rise in surprise. “Is that what you were thinking about? I suspected your thoughts were more academic in nature.”
She shrugged. “Academic or not, I am still a woman.”
“It seemed the thing to do,” Drew said with a shrug of his own.
“‘It seemed the thing to do,’” she said, mocking his tone. She frowned. “That’s not a very good answer.”
He resisted the urge to smile. Hell, he didn’t know why he’d kissed her. Because the desire to do so had been so overwhelming he hadn’t been able to resist her lips. In fact, he longed to embrace her again, right now. “What would be a good answer?”
“How the devil should I know?” Her hand fluttered to her chest. “I don’t go around kissing unsuspecting people.”
“Fair enough. Well then, I kissed you because I wanted to.” Perhaps honesty would appease her curiosity. “Because your mouth is tempting, even though you talk far too much.”
“That doesn’t even make any sense. Well, the bit about my talking too much, I admit I can be verbose—”
“You’re doing it again,” he interrupted her. He leaned forward, toward her chair. “Only makes me want to kiss you again.”
She waved her hand. “That’s ridiculous.”
“The mere notion of kissing you? Hasn’t any man ever expressed a similar interest?”
A blush stained her exposed throat, marring her lovely creamy skin. Her hand followed the telltale sign of her embarrassment and she fiddled with the necklace around her throat. She swallowed visibly. “I don’t see how that is any of your business. I’m not even certain how we got on this discussion,” she said.
“You asked me why I kissed you.”
“Yes, and your answer is unsatisfactory. I shall merely have to conclude that you men are a peculiar lot.” She pointed at him.
“I’m going to kiss you again, Annabelle,” he said softly.
Her mouth opened, then slowly closed. “Right now?”
“Would you like me to kiss you right now?”
“I cannot answer that.” She shook her head fervently. “It would be utterly improper.”
“You, a lady going to medical school and assisting me with an undercover investigation of a murder? Last night we broke into a government building. Your behavior hasn’t exactly been the pinnacle of propriety.”
Her brow furrowed. “That is quite different.” Her tongue darted out and wet her lips.
He felt a stab of desire, hot and poignant in his gut. Oh yes. He wanted her. Whatever the reason, logical or not, he wanted her quite badly. Too badly, in fact, for him to kiss her now when his passions were so close to the surface. It was entirely too likely they would not be interrupted, that no one would come along and stop him from ruining her here in his parlor.
“You already answered my question,” he said.
She frowned. “I don’t believe I did.”
“Oh yes, Anna, you want me to kiss you very badly. Now that I know that, I’m going to make you wait. For a little longer.”
“You are an insufferable man!” she said as she came to her feet.
Love it? Want more? Get your copy now!
Anita is the winner of the copy of TRUE SPIES.
Shana: Hey Jaunty, don’t you want to interview me about my new book, True Spies? It’s a Lord and Lady Spy novel, and it comes out today. I’ve been waiting for you to harass—I mean, ask me.
Jaunty: So now you want me to interview you! Last time you had a book out, you tried to keep it a secret from me.
Shana: (Shoot, that was supposed to be a secret. We should never have given Jaunty a Twitter account.) That was my novella, The Spy Wore Blue,and with your busy schedule, I thought I should just let sleeping porcupines lie.
Jaunty: I do have a busy schedule.
Shana: Do you think you have time to interview me? I’m really sorry about last time.
Jaunty: How sorry?
Shana: Very sorry. (Not sorry at all, but I didn’t think I could get away with it twice.)
Jaunty: Sorry enough to talk to Kate Middleton about renaming the royal baby, Jaunty?
Shana: Not quite that sorry, but pretty sorry.
Jaunty: Sorry enough to make me the hero of True Spies?
Shana: Umm…I don’t know about that, but I do mention you by name in True Spies.
Jaunty: Really? Go on…
Shana: Here’s an excerpt from page 39.
If Elinor only knew how little time he spent worrying about his title and his lands. Until recently. Recently, he’d been thinking a hell of a lot. Too much. He’d never considered what would happen if—when—he retired from the Barbican group. He hadn’t really believed he ever would retire until…
What would he do? His children were growing up before his eyes. Soon they’d be having children of their own. And his wife—well, Winn was relatively certain, at this point in their lives, she hardly cared whether he lived or died. If he was not careful, he would end up alone, like Crow. He’d die a solitary old man, with no one to mourn him.
His mother would have said he was too much like his father—absent and inattentive. He shuddered at the possibility that Elinor might follow in his mother’s footsteps and marry her groom were Winn to suffer an untimely death.
A slight movement caught his attention, and he blinked, uncertain for a moment as to whether he was imagining things. Ghosts? But no, there was a man sitting on his garden bench, reading the forgotten novel. As Winn stared, the man looked up and gave him a jaunty wave.
Jaunty: A jaunty wave? Well, I do have a rather unique and distinguished wave. It’s all in the flip of the wrist. You know what, Shana, I will do that interview for you. I’ve always said you’re one of my top ten favorite Quills.
Shana: Wow. Thanks, Jaunty. What would you like to ask me about True Spies?
Jaunty: Did you know that I’m a spy? You could have consulted me for True Spies.
Shana: No, I didn’t know that, I’ll keep that in mind, for my next book. So, Jaunty about this book…
Jaunty: The name is Quills. Jaunty P. Quills. You can call me Agent Quills.
Shana: How very original. Now, back to questions about True Spies. It’s releasing today
Jaunty: I’m sorry, Shana, Q is calling me. Duty you know. A spy’s work is never done. Pip, pip and all that. Maybe there’s a question you’d like to ask my friends.
Shana: I suppose that’s all I am going to get out of Jaunty—I mean, Agent Quills. My question for you is, do you have a favorite spy in movies or in books? I’m giving one person who comments a copy of True Spies.
Book 2 in the Lord and Lady Spy Series
He’s weary of deception…
Baron Winslow Keating is honor-bound to finish one last mission as an elite spy for the Barbican group even though he just wants to go home and be with his family. But after years of secrecy and absence, his daughters hardly know him and his wife has given up on him…
She wants to try a little intrigue…
Elinor has had enough of domestic boredom. She contemplates an affair with a rakish spy, only to discover a world of intrigue and treachery that she never knew existed. Even more shocking, her neglectful husband is suddenly very attentive—quite the jealous type—and apparently there is much more to him than she ever knew…
Buy the book
Watch the trailer
Hello! It’s me, Jaunty P. Quills, Porcupine Extraordinaire, to speak about my upcoming trip to Scotland, and the book I—
Jaunty: I bet you’ve never seen me in a kilt.
Margo: No. (Thank God).
Jaunty: What was that?
Margo: Nothing. I was just telling you about my Scottish historical, The Highlander’s Desire.
Jaunty: Are there kilts?
Margo: Well, back when this story takes place, they didn’t wear kilts as we know them today, but yes, my hero, Lachann MacMillan, definitely wears plaid. Extremely sexy.
Jaunty: Is it true that Scots don’t wear anything und—
Margo: I’m not going there, Jaunty. But I will tell you a little about Lachann.
Jaunty: You’re a killjoy. I always knew it when you were one of us.
Margo: Well, I do miss some of you guys.
Margo: I thought you wanted to know about my new book.
Margo: As a matter of fact, yes. The heroes of these two books are brothers, but you don’t need to read one in order to enjoy the other.
Jaunty: I think I’d like to visit Scotland. You probably have some extra room in your suitcase—
Margo: NO! I mean . . . no – I pack light.
Jaunty: Hmph. Shana told me that the inhabitants of those Scottish islands eat a diet of pine nuts and clover.
Margo: She did not.
Jaunty: Just kidding. What do the people on your island eat?
Margo: The food is irrelevant, Jaunty. The Highlander’s Desire is a Cinderella story, so it’s all about my heroine overcoming all obstacles and getting her man.
Jaunty: I love Cinderella!
Margo: What’s not to love? I’ve got Anna, a heroine who is oppressed by her step-family – a wicked step-sister and father, and a gorgeous hero who comes to her western isle to marry the stepsister.
Jaunty: Oh no. No, no, no.
Margo: That’s what I said. Absolutely not. But Lachann really needs to marry the stepsister because she’s the daughter of the laird. Their marriage will put Lachann in line to become laird after the old man in an agreement made by both clans. It will benefit everybody.
Jaunty: But not Anna.
Margo: No, because she falls in love with Lachann.
Jaunty: And what about him?
Margo: The feeling is mutual, of course. But it’s sort of an impossible situation. Lachann has to marry the stepsister, and Anna wants to get away from the island.
Jaunty: How do they work it out? Does he push the step-sister over a cliff or something?
Jaunty: Is there a glass slipper?
Margo: No. But there’s a black and white cat.
Jaunty: A cat won’t fit on her foot!
Margo: Of course not, but the cat plays a huge role in defining the heroine and villain.
Jaunty: I don’t really like cats.
Margo: I don’t think they like you, either, Jaunty.
Jaunty: So The Highlander’s Desire ends happily? With Anna taking her cat and riding off into the sunset with Lachann?
Margo: Well, sort of. Definitely a happy ending, but no riding into the sunset – it’s an island, after all. And it’s sort of a steamy ending.
Jaunty: You are making me blush.
Margo: That was my intention! Maybe you should take a break, Jaunty, while I ask my readers to try The Highlander’s Desire when it comes out next Tuesday. You can even visit my website for an excerpt.
And just for the fun of it, I want to start a discussion of favorite fairy tale heroes, heroines and villains. I’ll give away a copy of The Warrior Laird to one participant who weighs in. I’ll start . . . I love the wounded Beast in Beauty and the Beast. Now it’s your turn!