The Jaunty Quills are excited to welcome New Zealand author Bronwen Evans back. She’s the USA Today bestselling author of some of my favorite historical romances. Her latest release is A Touch of Passion, book #3 Disgraced Lords series.
Keep reading to find out how to win your copy of her audio book of her best-selling Wicked Wagers the Complete Trilogy series.
Shana: Welcome, Bronwen! Tell us more about A Touch of Passion. The advance reviews have been fabulous!
Bronwen: Thanks, Shana. Yes, the readers seem to really connect with my heroine, Portia. The book is a Top Pick at Night Owl Reviews and RT Book Reviews loved it too.
Evans’ newest installment in the alluring Disgraced Lords series could easily be read as a stand-alone, which is perfect for new fans looking to jump right in without missing anything. The author’s storytelling abilities are top-notch and this book is proof. A fascinating storyline and characters who seem to linger in one’s mind long after the very last page combine in this fiercely romantic and completely enchanting novel. – RT Book Reviews.
A Touch of Passion is book #3 in my Disgraced Lords series, and features a trailblazer heroine, Lady Portia Flagstaff, and a conservative hero, Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood. It’s a best friend’s sister trope.
A vivacious thrill seeker clashes with her dutiful defender—causing irresistible sparks to fly.
Lady Portia Flagstaff almost died of influenza when a child and is determined to live her life to the full. She loves apple cider, so she decides to try and make some—just a hobby—yeah, right! If she calls it a hobby she’s allowed to make it. However, it turns into a very successful business, and now society scorns her. Portia’s cider business allows her to fund an orphanage and be financially independent. She values financial independence as it gives her choices other women do not have. She feels a responsibility to ensure she uses this freedom to prove women can, and should, be able to do anything.
Portia has been in love with my hero, Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, most of her life. Grayson moved into her family home many years ago when his family died in a carriage accident. He is her brother Robert’s best friend. Grayson’s memory of his dead mother clouds his judgment regarding behavior of a suitable wife. Portia is far too modern, outspoken, and scandalous, for his tastes, even though he’s drawn to her wit and beauty.
However, when they find themselves in a compromising position, he does the honorable thing and offers marriage.
Unfortunately, that is not enough for Portia. She wants his heart or nothing. The sparks fly as Grayson realizes that to save his honor he’ll have to convince Portia to become his wife.
Shana: I love that Lady Portia Flagstaff is a thrill seeker. She’s captured and put in a harem? This seems like a real throwback to those fabulous early romances. Tell us about Portia and what motivates her to risk so much?
Bronwen: She’s a bit of a tomboy. She has five brothers and no sisters, so has been brought up as one of the boys. Her parents also influence her as they have a love match. It’s a very happy, embracing, and encouraging household. Even her brothers are proud of her desire to be more than a mere brood mare for some lord. She quite rightly assumes that she can do anything men can do.
At sixteen she has a brush with death from influenza, and it changes her perspective on life. You only get one chance at living and she won’t waste a minute of it. She takes risks yes, but considered risks. She doesn’t want to have any regrets when she finally meets her maker.
Here’s the blurb for A Touch of Passion:
Independent and high-spirited, Lady Portia Flagstaff has never been afraid to take a risk, especially if it involves excitement and danger. But this time, being kidnapped and sold into an Arab harem is the outcome of one risk too many. Now, in order to regain her freedom, she has to rely on the deliciously packaged Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, a man who despises her reckless ways—and stirs in her a thirst for passion.
After losing his mother and sister in a carriage accident years ago, Grayson Devlin promised Portia’s dying brother that he’d always watch over his wayward sister. But having to travel to Egypt to rescue the foolhardy girl has made his blood boil. Grayson already has his hands full trying to clear his best friend and fellow Libertine Scholar of a crime he didn’t commit. Worse still, his dashing rescue has unleashed an unforeseen and undesired consequence: marriage. Now it’s more than Portia he has to protect . . . it’s his battered heart.
Shana: I see you’ve also written a contemporary, The Reluctant Wife. Is there a difference in how you approach writing a contemporary novel as opposed to an historical?
Bronwen: Yes and no.
Character development might be different. A hero still has the same underlying traits – honor, kindness, strength, compassion, loyalty etc. but the way they live and how they behave is set by the social norms of the period you write in. For instance, having a mistress, going to ‘gentlemen’ clubs (brothels), is not considered out of place for a Regency hero. However, I don’t think it’s particularly hero type behavior in modern day.
Language is also a huge difference. Speech was more formal in Regency times. Certain words weren’t even in use. For example, I couldn’t say, “His touch was like accidently touching an electric fence.” There was no electricity in the early 1800’s.
As to the writing process, it’s exactly the same for either historical or contemporary books. I’m a plotter and I use Michael Hauge’s Six Act Story Structure. It’s very adaptable as it uses turning points at certain percentages of the story. For example, the Set Up of the book is usually 10%. If a book is 90,000 then I know a turning point has to come at around 9,000 words, if the book is 50,000 the turning point is around 5,000 words. A very useful road map for writers like me who love to plot.
Shana: You’ve done a lot of traveling. Do your travels influence your novels?
Bronwen: Many years ago, I lived in England for almost eight years, and I traveled extensively round the world. It’s a ‘kiwi’s’ right of passage. Most kiwi’s under the age of 28 can live and work in England for 2 years. We use London as a base to work and travel from because NZ is so far from the rest of the world. I’ve been to Russia, America, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, South America…. What I particularly loved about traveling to so many countries, experiencing different languages, varying levels of wealth, and interesting cultures, is, I learned we are all the same when it comes to wanting love and having healthy and happy families. The human condition is the same the world over. That is probably why romance stories are translated into many different languages.
Travel has certainly allowed me to be able to visualize places and settings for my books. How do you describe the Rockies and the ski resorts for instance, if you haven’t been to one? You probably can from a picture but it makes it easier when you have actually been there and experienced the culture and people—the sights, smells, and nuances are more vivid.
Shana: Finally, tell us what you have coming next.
Bronwen: I’m finishing writing A Whisper of Desire book #4 and A Taste of Seduction book #5, and A Night of Forever book #6, in the Disgraced Lords series. I’m also writing a Christmas novella, Invitation To Pleasure, part of my Invitation To series. I’m pretty busy!
Readers, now it’s your turn. Portia is such a spunky heroine. Whose your favorite feisty female–fictional or real life! One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win the audio book of the Wicked Wagers trilogy [eBook can be substituted if the winner prefers eBook over audio book]. Winner announced and contacted Sunday.
USA Today bestselling author, Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Evans is a two-time winner of the RomCon Readers’ Crown and has been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand with her dog Brandy.
Or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bronwenevansauthor
Or Twitter: https://twitter.com/bronwenevans_NZ
Buy Links for A Touch of Passion $2.99
Amazon Canada http://amzn.to/1yUMOfv
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1ucWygI
Amazon Australia http://bit.ly/1zEw2lG
Amazon Germany http://amzn.to/1AkEo57
The winner of the print or digital copy of WHILE YOU WERE SPYING is Druma! I’ll email you, Druma. Congrats.
It’s time once again for My Favorite Line! This is the game where I pick favorite lines from various chapters of my latest release and you tell me your favorite. One person who comments will be randomly chosen to win a copy of the book (print or eBook).
Let’s get started!
Not him, she thought. Anyone but him.
“It was a mistake. I know that now.”
Taking a deep breath in anticipation of her freedom, Francesca threw open the door and stared straight at her father’s scowling face.
The Marquess of Winterbourne was not a nice man. Or one to be trifled with. She should pray she’d never have to see him again, free the sliver of hope lodged stubbornly in the back of her mind that one day he’d come to her, declare his love, and sweep her into his arms.
Grinning, he leaned down and brushed his cheek against the wisps of her hair, as soft as silk on his skin. “Are you tempted, sweetheart?”
Which line is your favorite? I’ll announce the randomly chosen winner tomorrow!
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.
Jaunties, welcome back Sharon Cullen! I read an advance copy of her new release SEBASTIAN’S LADY SPY, and I had to invite her to come and chat about it. I’ve loved all of Sharon’s books. She writes adventurous romance with lots of passion and wit. In the past she wrote swashbuckling pirate books, but now she’s tackled spies! Keep reading to find out how to win a digital copy of SEBASTIAN’S LADY SPY.
Shana Galen: Hi Sharon. Tell us about SEBASTIAN’S LADY SPY. Is this is the first book in a series or a stand-alone?
Sharon Cullen: First of all, thank you so much for having me, and thank you for the kind words about my books. I’m thrilled to be here!
SEBASTIAN’S LADY SPY is the third book in the series but it can also be a stand alone. I promise you won’t get confused reading it if you haven’t read the other books.
SEBASTIAN’S LADY SPY is about two obstinate spies who think they know best, who believe they don’t need each other, and who fight each other and their feelings every step of the way. It was such a fun book to write because both characters are so stubborn. I enjoyed watching their barriers crack, then fall. And of course there’s the evil villain who must be stopped at all cost :-), not to mention the very strong attraction that Sebastian and Gabrielle have for each other.
Shana Galen: That cover is really smokin’! Did you have any say in it? Is the model how you pictured Sebastian (because I could totally picture him that way!).
Sharon Cullen: I love this cover! I did have somewhat of a say in the cover. I wanted it to just be the hero because those are my favorite kind of covers. His smoldering look just adds to it, don’t you think? In my opinion the cover art department got this one perfectly.
Shana Galen: I agree 100% Favorite cover of yours so far! One thing I loved about the book was that both Sebastian and Gabrielle were spies. Gabrielle could take care of herself, but they worked best as a pair. It reminded me a bit of one of my favorite movies, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Did the movie inspire you at all?
Sharon Cullen: Although I’ve seen Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the story line didn’t inspire me. Sebastian makes an appearance in the previous books in this series and while I knew him pretty well during those books, I didn’t have a clear idea of who his soul mate should be. When I started plotting Sebastian’s story I knew his heroine needed to be very strong in her own right and that she didn’t need to “need” him to survive but clearly “needed” him to complete her life. She also had to be able to push him out of his comfort zone. Gabrielle’s own story formed slowly after that.
Shana Galen: Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter? Do you write to music? Any favorite writing rituals?
Sharon Cullen: I never used to be a plotter. I loved sitting down and discovering the story as it happened. But as you know, once you start selling on proposal you have to have a complete plot before your editor will give you the green light. So I learned how to plot and I have to say, I really, really like plotting. It makes the actual writing much easier. That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes wander off the plotted path because I do but I usually come back to the original plot.
I have a very different writing schedule than most people. I’m a night person and NOT a morning person. So I do most of my writing between 9pm and 1am. In the mornings (and when I say morning I mean anytime after 11am) I do all of that business stuff that comes with writing.
I don’t listen to music because it distracts me, however, I can write in front of the TV. I’m not sure why music distracts me but the TV doesn’t. I think it’s a self-defense mechanism in trying to write with three noisy kids in the house.
Shana Galen: Finally, tell us what you have coming next.
Sharon Cullen: Well, in November The Reluctant Duchess releases. If you’ve read His Saving Grace, you’ll recognize Lady Sara in The Reluctant Duchess. And I’m so excited to announce that I just signed a three book deal with Random House for a Scottish trilogy that takes place in the 1740s. All three books of the Highland Pride trilogy will release in 2016.
Shana Galen: Congrats on the new series! I can’t wait to read it. It sounds awesome.
Seduction abounds in Sharon Cullen’s steamy historical romance! For the Crown’s top agents, love is a hazard best avoided—until an unforgettable affair exposes their undercover hearts.
Sebastian Addison has a powerful secret. To society he is the Earl of Claybrook, the patriarch who raised his siblings after the death of their parents. But to the king, Sebastian is Britain’s top spy—a position that has taken an emotional toll on him. Contessa Gabrielle Marciano has also been living a lie, her title a cover devised by the Office of Intelligence. The femme fatale was plucked from a life of crime and prostitution and trained to restrain her passionate nature. Until she meets the earl.
For three deeply sensual days and nights, Sebastian and Gabrielle drop their masks, indulging in pleasures that seem too good to be true. Then the lovers go their separate ways. Seven months later they reunite when inside sources report that an English aristocrat has been aiding France in a plot to topple the Crown. Their objective: to find the turncoat. Their greatest challenge: to keep their wild, wounded hearts from derailing a mission of life and death.
Want to win an eBook of of Sebastian’s Lady Spy? Tell us your favorite kind of cover–smokin’ hero, heroine in a gorgeous dress, or a couple? The winner will be chosen randomly from all comments. I’ll announce the winner and contact her on Sunday!
Sharon’s Social Media Links