I’m not the kind of author who crafts really great villains. In fact, I sort of prefer for my hero or heroine to be their own worst enemy. It’s more interesting to me in some ways. I do love reading a great villain. I think Nora Roberts writes great villains. Julie Garwood has some good ones too. There are lots of romantic suspense authors who write great villains. They really get into the head of the serial killer, which pretty much just creeps me out.
So you might be surprised to learn that in Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend, which is out today (woohoo!), I have not one but two villains! I’m not really sure how that happened. I’m tempted to blame it on Princess Galen. She is oddly attracted and repelled by villains. On the one hand, she is terrified of the movie Sleeping Beauty because of the “evil Maleficent.” She has imposed a moratorium on movie trailers because we saw the Maleficent trailer before Frozen back in November. To this day, she won’t enter a movie theater until all the trailers have ended.
On the other hand, her favorite game is playing Laverna with a frog puppet (long story). If you don’t know, Laverna is a villain in the Barbie Fairytopia movies. I have to play Laverna, and Princess Galen’s job is to defeat Laverna. But Laverna is also her friend. She shows her Laverna puppet her artwork, her new outfits, and any special news.
Maybe we’re all both drawn to and repelled by villains. I know they are some of the more interesting characters I write. In Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend, one villain is Lucifer. He is the owner of a gambling hell in London. He’s after the man he believes stole a valuable list of spies’ secret identities. The man Lucifer suspects is our other villain, the Duke of Ravenscroft. The heroine, Lily, is investigating him because the Crown sispects he might be a vile double agent known as Artemis. Is he Artemis or simply falsely accused? That’s Lily’s job to discover, and she has her work cut out for her, considering the duke’s son is suspicious of her and won’t let her out of his sight. Added to that problem, Lily’s always been in love with Andrew, the Earl of Darlington.
It was a fun book to write, even if it meant balancing two villains. Who are some of your favorite villains? One person who responds will win a copy of When You Give a Duke a Diamond and If You Give a Rake a Ruby (U.S. and Canada only).
Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend
Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm, has the gentlemen of the ton eating out of her hand—all but one. As one of The Three Diamonds, Lily has borne her share of scandal, but none so great as the scandal that forced her into a the role of a courtesan. But there’s more to Lily than a pretty face. What better disguise for a secret agent than that of a courtesan?
Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington, is in love with Lily’s best friend. He wants to hate Lily for taking up with his father. When he discovers there’s more to her flirtation with his father than greed, he knows he must help her uncover a traitor, even if that traitor is his own father.
Monday was President’s Day, and though we still had school and work, I was reminded by all the flags lining the streets how proud we are to be Americans.
I’m not from Texas, but I moved here in the early 1980s from Michigan. I don’t remember Michigan being quite so patriotic as Texas is. I actually don’t think any state is as patriotic as Texas is. But maybe I’m wrong. Is it common where you live to put up both the American and the state flag? Because you rarely see an American flag without a Texas flag here.
Princess Galen could recognize both flags when she was only 3. I moved to Texas when I was about 9, and I still couldn’t tell you what the Michigan flag looks like. But I learned real quick to identify not only the Texas flag but also how to recite the Texas pledge.
That’s right. In Texas, after we pledge allegiance to the US of A, we pledge allegiance to Texas. Maybe we’re so proud in Texas because we’re such a big state. Maybe because we’re the only state ever to have been a country in its own right. And maybe it’s true that everything is just bigger in Texas, including the pride.
What is it like where you live? Is there this much state pride?
Hey, Jaunties! I have a special guest for you today. Unfortunately, our scheduled guest couldn’t make an appearance, but I managed to persuade my husband, Mr. Galen, to step in. Okay, I sort of cornered him and started asking him questions, but he was a good sport in the end. So, welcome Mr. Galen—the Ultimate Sportsfan himself.
Shana: Welcome. I think the first question readers will have is what’s it like to be married to a romance author?
USF: I’m not sure what it’s like to be married to all romance authors, but the one I’m married to in particular I would have to describe as determined. I don’t think that there’s anyone who works harder at her craft or who is more dedicated to writing better and better books. I’d also add sacrifice as a way to describe her because there are many hours of lost sleep and long nights toiling at the stories that swirl around in her head.
Shana: Aww! Thanks. Tell us a bit about you and what you do.
USF: I’m your average, every day romance hero. Or maybe not exactly. I work for a large safety-net health care organization in the health care administration field. I work with physicians, management, and leadership to try and improve the health care delivery system within our organization. It can be very challenging and rewarding when work that I do impacts patients in a positive way.
As for my secret, double life as a romance hero, I’m a rogue who likes the sporting life. And as much as I would like to take credit for the love scenes in my wife’s books, I’ll leave it up to everyone’s imagination if they are based on real life or not. I have, however, had to turn down opportunities to be on the covers because I didn’t think it would be a good opportunity.
Shana: Readers, if only you could see my eyes rolling since none of that last paragraph is true. USF, do you read your wife’s books? How do you know of these love scenes you speak of?
USF: I have read several of them, but not all, I’m ashamed to say. As in many of my wife’s books, I feel that opposites attract. My wife is a voracious reader, but I would have to say that my wife’s release is the last novel I read.
Shana: That would be my 2006 release.
USF: No comment.
Shana: Why do I call you USF?
USF: As all romance husbands have cool nicknames, the natural one that came to mind was Ultimate Sportsfan, or USF, because I enjoy sports. I like to watch in person and on television as a hobby.
Shana: Are there any sports you don’t enjoy?
USF: (Long pause) I’ve been asked this question before and had only seen plane racing once and thought I didn’t like it. But then I was flipping through the channels a few months later, caught it again, and decided I do like plane racing. So, no, I’ve never met a sport I didn’t like.
Shana: Last question. What’s the best thing about having a 4-year-old daughter, Princess Galen?
USF: The best thing is her excitement at learning new things, the unbridled joy that she shows when she’s having fun, and her capacity for loving in the way that only a child can. Plus, she’s the only 4-year-old I know that has a romance bookmark collection and a social media pseudonym. She’s brought great joy to my life, and I’m thankful every day that we have her.
Shana: Thanks for joining us today. I’ll be back tomorrow with a new blog!
The Jaunty Quills are excited to welcome author Brooklyn Ann back to the Jaunty Quills! Brooklyn Ann has a new book out. It’s titled Wrenching Fate.
Shana: Welcome back, Brooklyn Ann! Tell us about Wrenching Fate. Is this your first indie published book?
Brooklyn Ann: Wrenching Fate is the first book in my paranormal romance series, Brides of Prophecy.
Here’s the blurb:
“Silas McNaught, Lord Vampire of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is elated when he finds Akasha Hope, the woman his psychic visions revealed to him centuries ago. To his surprise, Akasha is infuriated when Silas interferes with her life. Furthermore, she is nothing like the sweet woman he’d envisioned. Instead she’s a foul mouthed mechanic and, due to being the accidental result of a military experiment, she possesses the strength of ten men ….and government agents are looking for her.
Matters are further complicated when Silas’s vindictive ex lover spurs the Elders to investigate Silas in hopes to destroy Akasha and gain control of her friends, which are the key to an otherworldly prophecy.
As government conspiracies and vampire politics collide, Silas teaches Akasha the meaning of trust…and love.
And yes, this is my first Indie published book. I’d been wanting to experiment with Indie Publishing for quite some time and WRENCHING FATE already had a small cult following from all the beta reads it’s had over the years, so it was the perfect choice.
So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the hype it’s already generated with my fan base, so hopefully it will do okay.
Shana: Is it difficult to write in two different genres or a nice break?
Brooklyn Ann: It’s mostly a nice break. I actually write in three different genres but they’re all romance and that ties it all together. Of course I do have to watch out for having modern rock stars talking like nineteenth century British nobles, but for the most part, the more worlds I get to explore, the better!
Shana: I noticed the book is set in your hometown, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Did you enjoy writing a book set in your own backyard?
Brooklyn Ann: I loved it! Aside from admiring how well Anne Rice and Stephen King bring their own hometowns to life, I really believe that Coeur d’Alene is a unique and versatile setting. One can be downtown at a club or golfing on the floating green and be on the lake fishing in twenty minutes or up in the mountains hunting or berry picking within an hour.
Shana: I enjoy those same qualities in Anne Rice and Stephen King’s novels. Tell us about your next Regency Bites series book. When is One Bite Per Night releasing?
Brooklyn Ann: One Bite Per Night releases in August and here’s the blurb for that one.
“The Dowager Countess of Morley asks Vincent Tremayne, Lord Vampire of Cornwall, to become guardian of her American granddaughter. Vincent honors the agreement and plans to get his new ward married and off his hands as soon as possible.
When Lydia Price arrives, she soon turns Vincent’s gloomy castle upside-down, and he decides he wants Lydia for himself. But if Vincent can’t protect Lydia from her entanglement with scandalous portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence, the vampire community will make sure that he—and Lydia—face dire consequences.”
Shana: Finally, tell us what you’ve been working on lately.
Brooklyn Ann: Currently I’m working on a heavy metal romance series and working on edits for both my 3rd Regency Paranormal series and IRONIC SACRIFICE, the sequel to WRENCHING FATE.
Readers, now it’s your turn. Last week I did an event at a library and had a copy of Brooklyn Ann’s historical to give away. Everyone wanted it. Do you love vampires in your novels or would you rather stick with humans? One commenter will win an e-book copy of WRENCHING FATE!
The Jaunty Quills are excited to welcome veteran author Carolyn Brown, whose newest book is The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride. I’ve known Carolyn for a few years now, and not only is she an extremely gifted author, she’s one of the nicest, most hilarious people around. Readers, keep reading to find out how to win your copy of The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride.
Thank you for inviting me to Jaunty Quills. It’s a pleasure to be here on my blog tour to promote The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride. And thank you Shana, for those nice words. That’s my ego trip for the rest of the week!
Shana: Welcome, Carolyn! Tell us about The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride. Is this one of the Cowboys and Brides series? I just read The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby and loved it.
Carolyn Brown: Awww, thank you so much for reading Lucas and Natalie’s story. That first line was what set the whole story for me. I could visualize Natalie holding that pistol in one hand and a baby in the other. And yes, ma’am, The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride is the third book in the series. More than sixty years before, a letter got stuck in an old mail bag and was never delivered. When the mailman found it and returned the letter to Emily’s grandfather, it set off a course of events that turned Emily’s life around. On his death bed, he made Emily promise to take the lost letter and a whole boot box full of mail back to the woman who wrote them. Emily figured she’d hand the letters off to Clarice and get on down the road on her vacation but Madam Fate had a very different idea.
RT Book Reviews said that there is an old-world feel to the book that brings out the romantic in every reader. That’s what I was striving for when I wrote it. To go back to the time when letters were the mode of communication, back before cell phones and then to bring it all forward to today’s technology. Then to let Emily and Greg experience giving up texting, cell phones and all the modern day conveniences and go back to the art of writing letters. It was so much fun to write and I have to admit, brought back a lot of memories of my own experiences.
Shana: I love the mail order bride aspect of the book and the grandfather’s letter. Is there perhaps a secondary love story?
Carolyn Brown: I guess the first story is that letter and the effect it had on so many lives and maybe the secondary story is actually the main story in the book because of a lost letter. Emily and Greg find themselves searching for a way to trust each other and to overcome the problems of their own past. It’s all woven together like lives are in real life.
Shana: I love your story about how you started writing when your third child had days and nights mixed up. I did a lot of plotting (and I am not a plotter) while rocking Princess Galen. What made you go back to writing years later?
Carolyn Brown: It simply would not leave me alone. I’d put it away for five or ten years and then it would call my name and I’d have to pick it up again. The first book I wrote never sold. It has every conceivable problem in it that is possible. It could be used as a show-and-tell about how not to write. I had to get past the idea that it had to sell before I could write something else. When I did, I sold two books in one week.
Shana: Tell us a bit about your women’s fiction. I really enjoyed The Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee.
Carolyn Brown: I’m so excited about The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off coming out in April. It’s the second in three books set in the fictional town of Cadillac, Texas. Carlene and her two cousins own the Bless My Bloomers plus size lingerie shop in Cadillac. Maybe just a little bit from the first will explain the book:
Some men are just born stupid. Some don’t get infected later in life but they’ll all get a case of it sometime. It’s in their DNA and can’t be helped.
Carlene could testify with her right hand raised to God and the left on the good book that her husband, Lenny, had been born with the disease and it had worsened with the years. Proof was held between her thumb and forefinger like a dead rat in the form of a pair of bikini underwear. They damn sure didn’t belong to her. Hells bells she couldn’t get one leg in those tiny little things. And they did not belong to Lenny, either. Even if he had become an overnight cross dresser, his ass wouldn’t fit into that skimpy pair of under britches, not even if he greased himself down with bacon drippings.
Shana: I love it! That’s a fabulous excerpt!! What do you do when you’re not writing? Where would we find you on a day off?
Carolyn Brown: Husband and I love to travel. Not world wide or international but road trips. I try to never write about a place I have not been so I do a lot of my traveling in Texas. Put on some country music and give me a notebook and I can do lots of note taking for the “next” book on a road trip.
Shana: Finally, tell us what you have coming next.
Carolyn Brown: The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off is scheduled for April. Then after that it’s lining up like this: How to Marry a Cowboy, July; Long Hot Texas Summer, August; Cowboy Boots for Christmas (Cowboy not included), October; Daisies in the Desert, January and The Cowboy Clash, January. I think that might be enough to keep me so busy I won’t get into trouble for the rest of this year.
Shana: That is busy!!
Readers, now it’s your turn. Do you still write letters? Do you enjoy receiving them, or is letter writing a lost art? One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win a copy of The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride. Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada! The winner will be announced Sunday and contacted via email. Please leave your email in your comment!
Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and a RITA finalist. Her books include historical, contemporary, cowboys and country music mass market paperbacks. She and her husband live in Davis, Oklahoma. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.
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