Recently I was lucky enough to attend the Romantic Times Booklovers’ Convention in Las Vegas. If you’ve never been and you love books, you are missing out. It’s packed with readers, authors, panels, booksignings, and lots of parties and free books.
It’s also fun for us authors to catch up with friends. My roomie this time was my old friend Sophie Jordan. Here we are with our morning coffee.
I also did a little shopping. I found this super cute storm trooper wallet in the hotel sundry shop. Who knew the Rio had such cute stuff in its shops?
The highlight of the convention was, of course, the giant bookfair. It’s so much fun to chat with other authors and readers who walk by. Here I am ready to sign!
I also saw two good friends and readers, Susan Knight and Kristy Birch.
Finally, I recognized Vikkas Bhardwaj walking around. He’s on the cover of lots of books, including my Christmas anthology, Christmas in Duke Street. Of course, I had to snag a picture.
By the end of the conference, I was ready to head home and catch up on sleep. But I had room in my bag for a few goodies! One of them is this cute gift bag my publisher gave to librarians and booksellers filled with books and other goodies. Want it? Just comment below, and one person will win it. (Winner chosen randomly and announced and contacted Sunday.)
People (usually not readers) often ask me if my books mirror my real life. Since my books are set in the Regency period when iphones, flushing toilets, and motorized vehicles didn’t exist, my life isn’t like my books at all.
But every so often real life does inspire fiction. On Tuesday, my new book, I Kissed a Rogue, released. In one scene a mama cat and her kittens made an appearance. As I was staring into space, thinking of a way to describe the mama cat, my gaze settled on my sweet cat Maisy.
No Maisy is spayed and has never had kittens, but she is one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever been privileged to know. I’m certain she would make a wonderful mama, just like the cat in the book.
Maisy must know she’s famous now, because when I received my author copies, she was happy to pose with “her” book.
The dog in another of my books, The Rogue You Know, wasn’t modeled on my dog Sparky. I didn’t have a dog when I wrote TRYK. I adopted Sparky shortly after finishing edits on the book, which has always led me to wonder if writing about a dog made me want to have a dog. Beauty, the big white dog in the book, is such a loyal and smart creature, and my Sparky, though she be small and black, is loyal and smart too.
Currently, I’m writing a new book, and it too has a dog—a white and brown puppy named Wellington. Wellington, or Welly for short, is constantly in trouble, as most puppies are. There’s quite a bit of Sparky in Welly too. Sparky loves to make mischief.
What are your favorite books with animals? One person who comments will be randomly chosen to win a print copy of I KISSED A ROGUE. Winner announced and contacted Sunday.
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.
* 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.
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
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 [http://www.benefitwines.com/beechbrook_s/480.htm].
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.
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
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?