Here’s a joke I love about writing.

Author 1: You know the hardest part about writing?

Author 2: The part you’re working on now.

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It’s so incredibly true! When I’m writing a book, I think crafting new pages is the hardest thing in the world. Some days all the words flow and the pages rush out of my fingers as if I’d already written them and just needed to set them down on paper. More often, each page seems to take an eternity as I stare into space and struggle over every single word. For me, this usually happens toward the latter half of the book, which makes it even more frustrating. The beginning goes so well, and then suddenly everything slows. Down. To. A. Crawl.

Recently I was in the midst of one of those manuscript crawls when I had the brilliant idea to pull out an old manuscript, rework it, and publish it. My readers had emailed me for years asking for Ethan and Francesca’s story. I’d actually even written the whole book, but I’d never sold it because it was chronologically before the events of my first published book, WHEN DASHING MET DANGER, and my editor wanted to go forward not back.

I pulled the book out, not even certain if it was salvageable, but after I read it and asked a few readers to take a look, I decided it was publishable with a few changes. I figured fixing WHILE YOU WERE SPYING would be far easier than writing a new book. I only had to polish it to rid it of some of my amateur mistakes.

You’re laughing now, aren’t you? You probably realize what I didn’t at the time. Sometimes it’s far harder to fix something flawed than to start all over again. And so for seven months—twice as long as I would have spent writing a new book—I labored over my “finished” book. I’m proud to announce it will be out next month. If you enjoyed WHEN DASHING MET DANGER and PRIDE AND PETTICOATS and ever wondered about Ethan and Francesca’s story, you’ll want to read this one.

Or if you just want to see what a book that doubles as an instrument of torture reads like, you’ll want to grab it as well.

Cover reveals and pre-order links and all that to come soon, but in the meantime, how about I give away the first two books in the series? They’re only available digitally because they came out in 2005 and 2006 (Throwback Tuesday!).

If you have a Kindle, and you’d like copies of both books, just comment below. Tell me your favorite thing to fix up—cars, houses, recipes—or maybe you prefer to watch other people fix things up on HGTV or Overhaulin.

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The randomly chosen winner will be announced and contacted Sunday.


Shana Galen
Shana Galen

Discussion:
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Categories:
favorite things, Fun, Heroes, Historical Romance, Movies, Shana Galen

One of the hardest things for me as an author is balancing the promotional requirements when a new book releases. Usually about a month before the book comes out, I’m given a list of 25 or so blogs, a dozen or more which will require me to produce original content.

I don’t mind writing blog posts at all. I actually enjoy them for the most part. The problem is that I’m writing posts about a book I’ve usually finished about a year before. By the time I’m writing those posts, I’ve not only begun another book, but I’m probably doing revisions or copyedits on a third book. Sometimes I open my laptop to work, and I can’t remember what book I’m writing about!

That said, I’m always impressed by the creative topics my publicist and/or the bloggers come up with. Two of my favorite stops for the Earls Just Want to Have Fun blog tour are Saph’s Book Blog and Bitten by Romance.

At Saph’s Book Blog, I blogged on my favorite historical gowns. I must tell you this involved hours of research. Oh, the torment of having to look at gorgeous gown after gorgeous gown. Actually, the real torment was having to pick only 5 of my favorites.

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Which gown is your favorite? And do you know which movie or TV show it comes from? I love all of these gowns, but I’d most likely wear Daisy’s dress from The Great Gatsby. In fact, I have a 1920s dress, and I love wearing it with the sparkly head piece.

At Bitten By Romance, I blogged about my favorite noblemen from film. In recent years I haven’t seen a lot of films, so once again, I had to search the web for fabulous noblemen. Of course, Mr. Darcy was at the top of my list, but which one? Colin Firth or Matthew McFadden? And I love so many of the Disney princes. Should I go with Prince Phillip, Prince Eric, or someone else?

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 How does my list of movie noblemen measure up to yours?

So now worries about this test. You can’t have a wrong answer!


Shana Galen
Shana Galen

Discussion:
65 comments

Categories:
Fun, giveaway, Historical Romance, Our Books, Shana Galen

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.

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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.

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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.

 The Viscount of Vice

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.

Buy (Pre-order) Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1yOkKbE
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/13C2BGf
BAM: http://bit.ly/YzKJts
iTunes: http://bit.ly/1AYn9Ur
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1Br52c7


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e. cummings

Hello all!  Many, many thanks for having me back on the blog today; a special thanks to the inimitable Shana Galen for hosting me a second time around!

I’m turning the big 3-0 this month, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I’ve learned over the past decade.  The things I’ve learned about career, about passion, about relationships; the things I’ve learned about other people, my friends, my family; but mostly, the things I’ve learned about myself.

My twenties were, as Taylor Swift (love ya girl) so aptly put, “miserable and magical”; like T. Swift I was “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.”  After I graduated from college, I went to work at an investment bank, thinking the “big” career with the “big” salary were the things I wanted – the things that would make me happy.  I was going to be the ambitious, career-oriented gal I’d always dreamed of becoming.

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Turns out, working at the bank was hardly a dream come true.  I met lovely people there; I made great money and better friends; I worked hard, learned a lot, and traveled widely.

I was also miserable.  Like, burned-a-hole-through-my-stomach unhappy.  It wasn’t the job itself that was so bad; it was the fact that the job wasn’t me.  I was a super sensitive, super creative introvert working on a loud, intense, raucous trading floor.

Needless to say, I cried in the women’s bathroom, quietly, a lot during those years.  But I learned a very important lesson working at the bank: that no matter how much I wanted to be that girl with the big corporate job (and big paycheck), that wasn’t who I was; that job and that money weren’t going to make me happy.

I fought that lesson.  I was terrified of falling behind my peers, most of whom were becoming doctors and lawyers, savvy investment bankers and advertising executives.  I wanted to keep up.

But I also wanted to write.  Badly.  It had always been my secret dream (after dominating the corporate world) to write romance.  I fought this dream, too.  It didn’t jive with who I thought I should be; what I thought I should be doing with my life, my time.  I would fantasize about my writing career, but I was too scared to take the leap, and make it happen.

Until one day I couldn’t fight it anymore; I could no longer fake it.  I couldn’t fight who I was, and what I really wanted, apart from what everyone else was doing.  I was unhappy, my stomach hurt, and I had had enough. 

I was going to be me, for the first time ever.  “You do you,” as my friend Janice wisely counseled.

And I did.  I did me.  I wrote.  I still cried (turns out being who you really are is really hard!) but my stomach stopped hurting and I was, for the first time in what felt like forever, a pretty happy gal.

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I explored this theme – of accepting who you really are, versus who or what you think you should be – in my latest release, THE MILLIONAIRE ROGUE.  Lady Sophia Blaise, our heroine, thinks she wants “to make a brilliant match with the season’s most eligible bachelor, and a suitably large castle to go with him.”  She believes trumping her fellow debutantes in the hunt for husbands will make her happy.  She has, after all, been raised on Debrett’s; what greater joy than to land a Marquess with ten thousand a year?

But the hunt proves rather less exciting than Sophia had hoped.  And those Marquesses – they are not exactly scintillating company.

Enter Thomas Hope – banker, orphan, foreigner – everything, in short, that Sophia doesn’t want.

Only she ends up wanting him, quite ardently.  He is witty and smart and good Lord those wicked blue eyes of his.  He makes her laugh; he makes her feel alive; he makes her feel all sorts of confusing, delicious, maddening things.

But unlike Sophia’s beau, the Marquess of Withington, Thomas does not have a title.  Or a castle.  Or, after an infamous diamond is thieved from his ballroom, much of a fortune.  Which means Sophia must choose between what she thinks she wants – the man she should marry – and what she really wants – the man who makes her happy.

I think I had so much fun writing Sophia’s story, exploring this theme of accepting who you are and what makes you happy, because I know that struggle so well myself.  And I think choosing your own happiness above all else makes for the happiest of happy endings, don’t you?

So tell me, friends – have you struggled to accept who you are?  What have you learned about yourself in the past year, the past five years, the past decade?  Comment for a chance to win a copy of THE MILLIONAIRE ROGUE!

Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Rhett Butler and Mr. Darcy, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark, and handsome heroes of her own.

A graduate of Duke University, Jessica worked at an investment bank before leaving to pursue her writerly dreams. She lives with her husband, the tall, dark, and handsome Mr. Peterson, in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Check her out at www.jessicapeterson.com.


Readers, please give a hale and hearty welcome to historical romance author Theresa Romain. Theresa’s latest, Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress, released on Tuesday, and it’s a fabulous conclusion to her Matchmaker trilogy. Keep reading to find out how to win your own copies of the first two books in the trilogy!

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Shana: Welcome back, Theresa. First things first! How was your holiday? What was Little Miss R’s favorite gift?

Theresa Romain: Hi, Shana! Thanks for the chance to visit the JQs again. I brought extra pine nuts for Jaunty this time so I could stay on his good side.

We had a quiet Christmas, with no traveling. But it was a nice holiday. Little Miss R got a LOT of craft supplies, which she adores. Those have been helpful in passing the days of her long break from school. How was your holiday and Princess Galen’s break? These future romance heroines don’t take kindly to calm and quiet.

Shana: Princess Galen also got lots of craft kits and supplies! She also got quite a few books. It was a lovely holiday.

Tell us about Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress. I just loved Augusta and Joss. I always love a scandalous heroine and a dark hero.

Theresa Romain: Thanks! I like it when the heroine has a wild streak too. Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress features characters who appeared in my previous Matchmaker romance, To Charm a Naughty Countess, but their story can stand on its own. Augusta is heiress to a cosmetics fortune, and though she has friends in the ton, she doesn’t fit into polite society. Joss is Anglo-Indian, cousin of a baron but impoverished. He works as his cousin’s man of business. Joss and Augusta meet in Bath when he’s chasing the baron’s blackmailer and she is dealing with a series of losses by hiding under a false identity. They wind up keeping each other’s secrets—and, of course, falling in love.

Shana: The reviews for the book so far are amazing! Publisher’s Marketplace said, “Romain concludes her Matchmaker Regency trilogy (after To Charm a Naughty Countess) with irresistible brio and wit.” Was the book fun to write? Sometimes I find writing humor enjoyable, and sometimes it’s way tougher than writing “straight.”

Theresa Romain: It was sometimes fun and sometimes very difficult. :) So, it was just like writing most books! My favorite scenes to write are usually the ones in which characters argue (I’m not sure what that says about me…). Since Joss and Augusta are both stubborn and determined, they butted heads a lot, and I liked writing their interactions. The Sutcliffes—Joss’s cousin and his wife—are a little more comic. Sutcliffe, who is all impulse and id, was inspired by my interactions with toddlers. (Don’t tell my daughter.)

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Shana: My lips are sealed! This novel is set in Bath, which is a refreshing location. Why did you choose to set it in Bath, and did you learn anything interesting or unusual in your research?

Theresa Romain: I don’t know why I chose to set it in Bath—a bolt from the Muse, maybe?–but the setting was one of the first things I planned. I just decided on Bath, and the setting informed a lot of the story’s events. There are several characters in need of healing, though not always of the kind that could be helped by Bath’s famous mineral waters.

Bath had a culture all its own during the Regency, and I liked learning about the things that made it unique. For example, the chair-carriers had to be licensed, and they had a set schedule of fees they could charge. And the two major assembly rooms coordinated their schedules so they could take turns drawing large crowds. I pored through some 1800-era tourism info and learned so much!

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

Theresa Romain: Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress wraps up my Matchmaker trilogy, so my next book will be in a new series. Actually, I am working on two new series! I can’t share all the details yet, but I’m looking forward to telling more Regency-set stories with characters and settings that are new to me.

Readers, now it’s your turn. Though its main focus is romance, Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress also has its comic moments. What are some books that make you laugh? I’d love your recommendations!

One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win print, Kindle, or Nook copies (winner’s choice) of the first two romances in the Matchmaker trilogy: It Takes Two to Tangle and To Charm a Naughty Countess. This giveaway is open internationally. The winner will be announced and contacted Sunday.

Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she is working on her next book.

 Website: http://theresaromain.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTheresaRomain

Twitter: @TheresaRomain

Tsū: https://www.tsu.co/TheresaRomain

Newsletter: http://theresaromain.com/contact/

Print: amazon • barnes & noble • book depository • books-a-million

Ebook: kindle • nookkobo • ibooks • google 

ONE GOOD PROPOSITION DESERVES ANOTHER…

Heiress Augusta Meredith can’t help herself—she stirs up gossip wherever she goes. A stranger to Bath society, she pretends to be a charming young widow, until sardonic, darkly handsome Joss Everett arrives from London and uncovers her charade.

Now they’ll weave their way through the pitfalls of the polite world only if they’re willing to be true to themselves…and to each other…


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