The Jaunty Quills are excited to welcome back historical romance author Christi Caldwell. She’s consistently a bestseller, and if you’ve ever read one of her books it’s not hard to see why. She writes heartwarming, sexy, and delightful Regency romances.

Readers, keep reading to find out how to win your signed print copy of For Love of the Duke!

Shana: Welcome back, Christi! Tell us about To Trust a Rogue, the newest in the Heart of a Duke series.


Christi Caldwell: “To Trust a Rogue” is really a story about a second-chance at love. The hero, Marcus, Viscount Wessex and Eleanor Carlyle were desperately in love, until one day, she just left with nothing more than a note. That betrayal was a defining moment for both of them, and from it, Marcus fashioned himself into a carefree, charming rogue determined to never again, trust in love. Flash-forward 8 years later, and Eleanor is back, and with a daughter in tow. Now, a poor-relation living with her eccentric aunt, she is in London to face the demons of her past, and…Marcus. For me, this was an emotional book. Lots of tears were shed while I wrote this story.

Shana: From the reviews I’ve read, this book is receiving kudos for the way the emotional aspects of the story resonate so deeply with readers. How do you manage to write such powerful emotional scenes? Do you draw on past experiences or are you able to step into the characters’ shoes?

Christi Caldwell: For me, writing is a cathartic experience. I began seriously writing when my son Rory was born, and I learned his diagnosis of Down syndrome. There was so much emotion: fear, shock, pain, blended with this overwhelming love, and eventual joy. In the days after his birth, I put words onto a page, and found a sense of healing from the process.

When I write, my characters are multi-dimensional. If they know joy, I go into the greatest moments I have known. I pull from how I felt; the whole sensory experience, that is absolute happiness, and I try to paint that with words. I do the same with the fears and agonies that I knew, and still sometimes know, for my son’s struggles. There is no greater agony than seeing your child hurt or suffer.  And because of that, there is never a shortage in the emotional well I have to draw from for my characters.


Shana: I know you have two little girls who, along with your son, are the light of your life. If your girls were to read your books when they got older, what would you want them to take away?

Christi Caldwell: I would want them to realize my books are about broken and imperfect people, because ultimately we are all in some way flawed, and it is those flaws that make us beautiful and unique. We struggle. Life is hard. Life isn’t always fair, and sometimes cruel. And just because we might know struggle or tragedy, or pain, there is always love, which is more powerful than anything. Every person, for the hardships they know, can still find a happily-ever-after; they still deserve it.

Shana: That’s really lovely. Who are some of the authors who’ve influenced you the most and who made you want to become a writer yourself?

Christi Caldwell: I grew up on Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, and Jude Devereaux. I was a pretty lonely girl without a ton of friends, but found a love of books, early on. I cut my teeth on romance novels at age 13, and lost myself in those stories. They were authors whose books shaped me; authors whose emotion I felt bleed off the pages. I wanted to do that. And at fifteen, my mom found my first work in progress, a Regency romance and said: “Are you writing romance novels?” I smiled and said: “Yes. Someday I’m going to be romance author.” J 

Shana: Finally, tell us what you have coming next.

Christi Caldwell:  February 19th, I’ll be releasing Book 3 in my Lords of Honor series titled “Rescued By a Lady’s Heart.” The story is about the Duke of Blackthorne who returned from the Napoleonic Wars without the use of one of his legs and half of his face burned. Shunned by his family and society, he’s become a recluse whispered about and feared.

Enter his heroine, Lily Benedict. She is equally broken, and motivated by reasons of revenge and desperation, she takes employment inside his household. In the process, she finds love.

This is a darker story, about two equally broken people healing one another.


Readers, now it’s your turn.  One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win a signed print copy of For Love of the Duke (U.S. and Canada only; international reader will win the ebook). The winner will be announced Sunday and contacted via email.

…and the Jaunty Quills are celebrating! Today we’ve compiled our favorite drink recipes for your pleasure. If you’re looking for a cocktail to mix up tomorrow night, try one of these.


Kathleen O’Brien’s Apple Cider Mimosa
Dip rim of glass in water, then into decoration of your choice–cinnamon sugar is my favorite, but red-green rimming sugar, or even gold sprinkles look great, too.
Fill 2/3 full with apple cider–you can use apple juice if you like a clearer, brighter drink.
Top off with champagne.
For fun, end with a curly bit of apple peel or apple slice propped on the rim.
Katherine Garbera’s Beer Margarita



* 2 chilled, 12 oz bottles of beer

* 12 oz frozen limeade concentrate (slightly thawed)

* 12 oz tequila

* lime wedges

* Salt to rim glasses

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher.  Mix until the limeade concentrate is dissolved.  Pour into glasses rimmed with salt. Enjoy immediately.

Theresa Romain’s Hot Toddy for cold winter evenings
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 oz. bourbon (make it 2 if you’ve been shoveling snow and are extra-cold!)
6 oz. boiling water
4-8 dried cherries, depending on preference
Put dried cherries, sugar, and bourbon into a mug. Add the boiling water, then stir until sugar is dissolved. Sip and get warm and cozy, then enjoy the soft boozy cherries at the bottom of the mug.

 Cindy Kirk’s Crazy Coyote Margarita



½ tbsp. granulated sugar

3 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 ½ ounces Coyote Gold margarita mix


1. Use a cocktail shaker to mix together 1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar, 3 tbsp. of fresh lime juice, 1 1/2 ounces of Coyote Gold margarita mix, and a handful of ice. Shake vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds.

2. Rub a slice of lime along the rim of a margarita glass. Turn the glass upside down and coat the rim with salt from a plate.

3. Pour the margarita mixture through a strainer into the salt-rimmed margarita glass. Add a lime wedge to the rim.

 Vanessa Kelly’s Kir Royale

One of my favorite Christmas drinks is a Kir Royale, which is basically a champagne cocktail. The Kir Royale is a dash of creme de cassis topped off with champagne!

 Nancy Robards Thompson’s Classic Manhattan


2 ounces bourbon (or if you want a slightly sweeter drink, use one ounce of traditional bourbon and one ounce of honey bourbon)

1/2 ounce sweet vermouth

2-3 dashes Angostura bitters


Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass.

Garnish with a maraschino cherry. 

Kristan Higgins’s St. Germaine Martini



1 parts vodka

1 part St-Germaine

1 part lemon juice


Combine, shake gently, add a splash of vanilla seltzer water. Supremely delicious!

Mia Marlowe’s Hot Wassail (for the kids too!)

This is a seriously easy recipe that makes the house smell like Christmas. Here’s what you need:

1 QT Apple Juice

1 QT Cranberry Juice

1 Orange

Cinnamon Sticks

Whole Cloves


Pour the juice into a 5 quart pot and heat on low setting. Stick the orange with cloves. (This is a great project for kids. They love poking the cloves into the orange in fun patterns!) You can leave the orange whole or cut it into quarters. Float the cloved orange and the cinnamon sticks in the juice. Let it simmer till you’re ready to serve!

If you prefer the vino…

Jesse Hayworth with our wine selection.


I’m more of a wine girl, and love to celebrate with a Benefit Wine []. 

They taste good—though I’ve been known to enjoy Cardboardeaux (aka boxed wine), so take that for what it’s worth—have cool labels, and ~30% of the sale price goes to the charity you select.

 Shana Galen

I usually celebrate by toasting with my daughter and a glass of sparkling grape juice.

However you choose to celebrate, we hope it’s a wonderful beginning to 2016!


It’s not Christmas without all of our favorites and traditions. There are a few I wouldn’t give up for the world and some I could do without. Here’s a list of some of what I consider the best and the worst of the holidays.

Best Christmas Song: Hark How the Bells

I love the harmonies in this song. It’s so pretty how the voices sound like bells.

Worst Christmas Song: Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer

This song just makes me sad. It’s not funny to lose a loved one at Christmas.

Best Christmas Beverage: Eggnog


Creamy goodness!

Worst Christmas Beverage: Gingerbread Latte

Gingerbread should not go in beverages.

Best Christmas Dessert: Peppermint bark


Peppermint and chocolate together for the win!

Worst Christmas Dessert: Vanillekipferl

These are the European crescent-shaped cookies with the powdered sugar that sticks to your hands. I get that they’re traditional, but they just don’t taste like much.

Best Christmas Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life

I love the theme of this movie and all its quirks. One of Jimmy Stewart’s best.

Worst Christmas Movie: Bad Santa


A conman, a kid, stealing on Christmas Eve. Christmas movies couldn’t get any worse.

What’s on your best and worst list?




Shana Galen
Shana Galen


Historical Romance, Shana Galen, TV shows, Walking

Hi, I’m Shana Galen, and I write historical romance.  We don’t kill a lot of people in the historical romance genre. Sometimes people die, and it’s usually off the page. Not always. I’ve killed bad guys before, and sometimes I’ve had my editor tell me to cut a death scene because—hey Shana, this is supposed to be a romance.

I get it. I’m on board. I don’t like a lot of blood and guts either. I have to cover my eyes at PG-13 movies because I get scared and easily grossed out.


So what am I doing watching The Walking Dead? Not just watching like 1 or 2 episodes, but I’m almost to season 4. I blame 3 people, really. The first is Sarah Lyons Fleming. You may remember that I invited Sarah to guest blog here this summer because I love, love, love her Until the End of the World series. It’s about a zombie apocalypse. But to say that’s all it is is doing the series a disservice because it’s really about friendship and humor and perseverance.


I wanted more zombies after I read Sarah’s books, and guess who was talking about The Walking Dead? Sophie Jordan and Lily Dalton had long conversations about it on the way to and from the Buns and Roses event last year. Of course I was curious. What are those two historical romance authors doing watching a zombie show?

Now you can add one more romance writer to The Walking Dead ranks. I’ll admit the first season and a half didn’t grab me. I wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about, but little by little I found myself thinking about the series even when it wasn’t on. What would happen next? Who would live? Who would die? Now I try to put my daughter to bed a little early so I can squeeze an episode in.


Have you ever found yourself enjoying something that you never thought you would?

Shana Galen
Shana Galen

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Fun, Shana Galen, Winners

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