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.
Thanks for having me back to JQ, Nancy! It’s such fun to be here. <<NRT: Happy to have you, Michelle!>> Living in Colorado during the winter that might never end, you hear lots of ski terms bandied about–first tracks, back bowls, fresh powder, bluebird days. Friends use these phrases to caption Facebook photos where they are smiling from the top of some mountain resort. These people are about to launch themselves down an icy, snow-covered slope with oversized popsicle sticks strapped to their feet and…they are grinning. It sort of makes me want to push them.
I don’t have time to smile when I ski because I’m too busy praying to make it down the mountain in one piece. Yep, I ski. Despite the constant trembling in my knees, the stomachache that starts as soon as I put on my (never flattering) ski pants and an internal monologue that involves lots of cursing, every few weekends we pile the kids into the car and hit the slopes. Why? For the same reason moms do most things we don’t want to – for the kids.
This season my daughter broke through her fear (unlike me) and now we’re taking lifts to the more advanced blue runs. My son is busy detouring into the trees and looking for jumps as we hurtle toward the bottom. I can barely keep up and I love it! Because it means soon I’ll achieve my ultimate ski dream—to be the mom camped out in the corner of the toasty warm lodge surrounded by coats and gear, sipping hot cocoa and wearing boots I can walk in without feeling like I’m going to fall over. I have happy visions of a full Saturday spent alternating between my laptop and Kindle while I smile at the cold, wet, red-faced suckers who take a break from risking life limb on the mountain. I’m going to be the best lodge mom ever.
Among friends my views on skiing put me in the minority, and I sometimes wonder if I’m a total wimp. I probably am a total wimp, and I’m okay with that. But I’m also curious how people outside of ski-crazy Colorado feel about it.
Would you be carving the slopes or hanging in the lodge? Either way, I’ll have the hot cocoa waiting.
I’ll be drawing two winners from the comments for a copy of my March release, A Second Chance At Crimson Ranch. The heroine, Olivia Wilder, has come to Crimson, Colorado to find place she can feel at home. Lucky for her, there’s a new (and a few years younger) contractor in town that might be the perfect guy to help her. I’m excited to invite readers back to Crimson because it’s a town filled with wonderful people and lots of opportunities for falling in love (yes, there is a ski mountain but I haven’t forced any my characters onto it…yet).
As a kid I didn’t always fit in. I was tall for my age. No, I mean tall. I was five-feet-four inches in third grade and wore a size 7 ½ shoe. My teacher also wore a size 7 ½. When her heels hurt her feet, we’d trade shoes.
The other problem was that I moved a lot. We moved every six months for a while, so just as kids got used to me, I’d leave and be the freak at a new school.
Kids were either afraid I’d beat them up or they teased me unmercifully. I had a wool beanie hat with a cat face on the little puff ball at the top, and I was so lonely that sometimes I’d walk around the playground, cradling my kitty hat and talking to my “friend.”
As I got older and kids grew taller, I made more friends. It helped that we moved to Texas and stayed put. And, just in case you’re wondering, I stopped growing. I’m five-seven. Here’s me with the Jaunty Quills in 2013. I’m in the middle back in red, between Kirstan and Robyn.
I know what it feels like not to fit in. I still know what it’s like not to fit in for lots of reasons—one of them is that I have a stop-the-conversation profession.
Readers often ask me where I get my ideas. The idea for a character who doesn’t fit in came very naturally to me. In Earls Just Want to Have Fun, which is out tomorrow, Marlowe is a thief from the slums of London. She’s not overly tall, but she might as well be a giant because she sticks out in the refined world of Mayfair and the ton, where she ends up.
To make matters worse, the man charged with keeping an eye on her is none other than the Earl of Dane, a man known for opposing any sort of aid or Parliamentary reform that would help the poor. To say they don’t get along is an understatement.
Marlowe just might be the long-lost daughter of a marquess, but even if she is, does that change anything for her? She can’t snap her fingers and suddenly fit in. You can’t erase years of your life, just like I often feel like I’m too-tall, even though I’m only a little taller than average.
Some things are just ingrained into us.
So what happens to Marlowe? Let’s just say Dane goes from her worst enemy to her best chance at finding a common ground and a place where she belongs.
Have you ever felt you didn’t fit in, or maybe you’re that rare breed who can mix and mingle with any crowd. One person who comments will win a digital copy of Viscount of Vice, a novella that’s related to Earls Just Want to Have Fun.
Restrictions: Must be able to read the novella on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, or iBooks. Winner announced Sunday!
His heart may be the last thing she ever steals…
Marlowe is a pickpocket, a housebreaker-and a better actress than any professional on the stage. She runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of London’s Seven Dials. It’s a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she’s alone, she allows herself to think of a time before-a dimly remembered life when she was called Elizabeth.
Maxwell, Lord Dane, is intrigued when his brother, a hired investigator, ropes him into his investigation of the fiercely beautiful hellion. He teaches her to navigate the social morass of the ton, but Marlowe will not escape so easily. Instead, Dane is drawn into her dangerous world, where the student becomes the teacher and love is the greatest risk of all.
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Second chances. We all want them, right? The chance to say we’re sorry to someone we hurt, the chance to take a risk that we’d said no to out of fear, the chance to go back and spend time with a dear friend or family member no longer with us.
And, sometimes, we’d like a do-over in love, the chance to take that leap into the unknown with that special someone—someone we walked away from years ago for reasons that no longer seem to make sense.
How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy, my new historical romance out this week, is about that second chance at love. Captain Will Endicott, soldier, spy, and illegitimate son of a royal duke, walked away from his childhood sweetheart in order to please his father and to pursue a career in the military. In doing so, he broke Evie Whitney’s heart, and she’s never quite gotten over it. Oh, she’s moved on, but the pain is still there—and so is the love, which actually frustrates Evie no end. She’s certain she should be over Will by now, so she has no intention of throwing herself in his path.
But now Will has a second chance at love with Evie, and he’s determined to take it. There’s just one problem—his former sweetheart is suspected of involvement in a criminal conspiracy and Will’s father has ordered him to spy on her. Needless to say, they’re going to have an interesting courtship!
Here’s a snippet from the book:
He moved one hand to her jaw, cupping it while tilting her head back. Her mouth opened, whether in protest or shock, he couldn’t tell. But it didn’t matter, because he finally gave in to the desire he’d been battling from that first moment he’d seen her on the lawn behind Maywood Manor. Bastard that he was, he took ruthless advantage of those parted lips to slip inside, taking her mouth captive. She made an odd, squeaky noise before freezing in his grip.
Her paralysis lasted but a few moments as he desperately searched for the girl who’d never shut him out before. Who’d once kissed him with a shy, innocent fervor he now realized he’d never forgotten. And when she finally responded relief flooded through him, as honest and true as what he’d felt on the battlefield when he realized he lived to fight another day.
As her arms stole up around his neck and she trembled within his embrace, the echo of their sweet, youthful kisses faded in the clamor of blood pounding through his veins and his heart hammering against his ribcage. Because it wasn’t a girl he pulled close—it was a woman. And it wasn’t just the feel of her generous breasts pressing against him that inflamed his senses, it was the way she opened up to him, responding to his invasion with an enthusiasm that both startled and thrilled him.
If he’d ever needed confirmation that Evie was not the young girl he’d once known and that she was all grown up, this was it. Anything that had ever happened between them in the past couldn’t begin to compare with this moment.
As you can see, Will is quite happy to leap for his second chance at love!
How about you? Are there any second chances you wish would come your way? One person who comments will win a copy of the first book in my Renegade Royals series, Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard.
You can buy How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy at bookstores and other stores where books are sold, and on-line.
We all have vices. Henry Flynn, the Viscount of Chesham, has a few more than the average person. Don’t believe me? Here’s an introduction.
He was going to hell. Shame, Flynn thought, dangling from the third-floor window of a town house in exclusive Grosvenor Square. It was his birthday tomorrow, too. Actually, given the time of night, he’d already attained his twenty-seventh year.
His hand slipped, and he felt the moisture gathering on his fingers. He could not hold on much longer. Perhaps his death was for the best. It wasn’t as though anyone would mourn him. It wasn’t as though he had anything to live for.
Still, it seemed harsh even for one such as Beelzebub to claim him when he was hanging naked from the window of one of the most prestigious addresses in Mayfair.
I must admit, Flynn was a lot of fun to write. There’s something about indulging all of your vices–vicariously–that’s quite liberating. Flynn’s vices tend toward spirits, women, and making dangerous choices. My vices lean toward chocolate, like this yummy cake from Lemon Sugar.
I also love fashion and clothes. I buy far too many for Princess Galen and love the chance to dress up myself!
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my inspiration for Flynn. Handsome men are something of a vice too…
What’s your vice?
One person who comments will receive an advance copy of Earls Just Want to Have Fun, the next in the series.
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1y6M0ou
And hopefully on iBooks by the end of the day!