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Guest Author: Manda Collins & Giveaway!!

Hooray!  One of my favorite people is visiting with us today.  She’s Manda Collins, who writes delightfully charming historical romance with a dash of mystery.  The third book in her Ugly Ducklings Trilogy is now in stores, and Manda is here to tell us all about it.

How To Entice an Earl is the third book in your fabulous Ugly Ducklings trilogy. What’s this trilogy about, and where did you get the idea for it?

The trilogy follows three not-so-popular cousins who are the daughters of the famous Featherstone sisters who took the ton by storm a generation ago. I got the idea one evening while watching Entertainment Tonight and thinking about how difficult life must be for those children of celebrated beauties who, for whatever reason, don’t replicate their famous mothers’ successes. I transposed the notion to the Regency period, added some mystery capers, and the Ugly Ducklings were born!

What can you tell us about Madeline and Christian, the heroine and hero of How To Entice an Earl?

Maddie is the most outspoken and irreverent of the Ducklings. While Cecily had her scholarly pursuits and Juliet had her music, however, Maddie has had a hard time carving out a niche for herself. She wants to do this by writing a novel. Like many young ladies of the period she is a great novel reader and hopes to use her novel as a means of casting a light on the dangers of many gentlemanly pursuits like gaming and drinking to excess. Pursuits that the men in her own family have…uh…pursued. 😉 You get the idea.

As a military hero, one would think that Christian (newly made an Earl) would be the most serious of his friends. But quite the opposite. Like many young men who have survived harsh circumstances, Christian finds an escape from his past through humor. And thanks to his connections with the War Office, he has been asked to do a bit of investigating from time to time. When his latest assignment brings him literally head to head with Maddie, a heretofore unrecognized attraction blooms between them. And Christian being Christian, he handles the situation with his usual humor and bull-headedness.

In your day job, you’re an academic librarian. Has that made life easier for you as a historical romance author?

Yes and no. Yes, because I know where to go if I need to find some little known historical detail. But, I work at a small liberal arts college and we don’t really have the budget for the kind of super-fancy databases and expensive books that I would truly need to track down every last detail. So I’m rather in the position of knowing it’s out there, but not being able to access it short of a Lear Jet and an unlimited budget. Also, no matter how grateful I am to have it, it’s a day job. Which puts a damper on the writing output. Still I think I’m in a better position than most, and for that I’m grateful.

What’s next for Manda Collins in the book world?

Well, I don’t have a release date for it yet, but I am currently working on a novella that will tie up the Ugly Ducklings Trilogy and offer an introduction into the world of my next trilogy.It is called The Perks of Being a Beauty and tells the story of the girl you love to hate. I won’t say more than that, but rest assured that we learn why she is the way she is and she’ll atone for her past misdeeds.

My next trilogy, the first of which will be called Why Dukes Say I Do will follow the exploits of three widows who are being blackmailed for a murder–a murder that they did not commit. Look for Book 1 in July of 2013.

Vanessa, here.  I just love the idea for Manda’s new series, don’t you?  And I’m really looking forward to reading her upcoming novella!  For my readers today, Manda is giving away one of her books in the Ugly Ducklings Trilogy – reader’s choice.  Since Manda always has a mystery element in her books, let’s talk about that.  Do you like a little mystery in your romances?  What are some of your favorite romantic suspense or mysteries?  One person who comments will win a book from the Ugly Ducklings Trilogy.

78 thoughts on “Guest Author: Manda Collins & Giveaway!!

  1. Since my first lov is romantic suspense, of course i love mystery in my reads. Some of my fave are in death series by jd robb, linda howards’ old works, sandra brown’s, and several mary jo putney’s

    • Love Linda Howard and MJP, Sienny! I’ve read the first of the IN DEATH books but got distracted from it. There are just so many of them! I need to catch up though. Thanks for coming by!

  2. Congrats on the new book, Manda! I loved the pairing of Maddie and Christian!

    I do enjoy a bit of mystery in my romance and you’ve achieved a terrific balance between the two. Love the premise of the new series (my calendar is marked for July!) and I cannot wait to see how you redeem the “girl we love to hate” in your novella.

    I enjoy the writing of many romantic suspense authors but two of my favorites are Roxanne St. Claire and Christina Dodd.

    • Thank you, PJ! I hope readers will like the way I redeem (or attempt to redeem) Amelia. And you know I share you love of La Dodd and Roxanne St. Claire! Let’s hope the latter gets to write the Angelino book we were denied by the publishing gods!

  3. I love a little suspense in my romance. My favorite romantic suspense writer is Mary Stewart, but I also love Elizabeth Peters. A favorite romantic suspense novel is Walking After Midnight by Karen Robards.

  4. Always love a little mystery in the books that I read. Thanks for such a great give away!

  5. I always enjoy the ones with a little bit of a mystery in them. I recently finished reading Charlotte Featherstone’s Brethren Guardian series (3 books)that had a good continuing mystery storyline.

  6. I also love the Charlotte Featherstone series; much more Gothic and dramatic than a regular regency. You should definitely try them. It’s so funny that How to Entice an Earl came out now-when I was getting ready for work two day ago I thought to myself, what ever happened to that last story in your book? Deja Vu is alive and well! Love your books!

  7. As many others have said, JD Robb is certainly one of my favorite romantic suspense authors, along with Christina Dodd.

    However, I first cut my teeth on the Harlequin Intrigue series reading Rebecca York’s 43 Light Street series (I think that’s the name). I don’t remember the books much, but I do remember loving them at the time.

    And then…for a mystery writer who works in comedy…Joelle Charbonneau with her Skating series. Heh.

    • Ahh, Harlequin Intrigues are a good gateway drug aren’t they? I have a couple of friends writing for them right now (Cynthia Eden and Lena Diaz) but I haven’t read the older ones in the series. Haven’t heard of Charbonneau. I’ll have to look her up.

  8. I can not wait for you new series and for the ‘The Perks of Being a Beauty’, it sounds like Miss Snowe’s side of the story~
    I love mystery in my books, it make the story more interesting and always give the story a little twist. Thanks so much and keep up the great work!

    • Yay! I’m so glad you’re looking forward to Amelia’s story. You do get to see things from her point of view. And she has to do a few good deeds to redeem herself. It’s good stuff(I hope)!

  9. I love a little mystery mixed in with my romance. It’s always fun to see how the characters will figure things out. Plus it keeps me on my toes.

    I <3 Manda and her books. I just started reading How To Entice an Earl this morning and love it so far. I can't wait to read Manda's novella and new trilogy.

  10. Congrats on your new release. I have your prior book in my TBR pile and hope to read it soon.

    I like a little mystery in a romance. In 2012, I enjoyed reading The Witness by Nora Roberts and Shadow Woman by Linda Howard.

    • Thank you, Kim! And OMG I loved THE WITNESS so much! It was Nora’s best romantic suspense in a long time. I’m so looking forward to WHISKEY BEACH!

  11. I have so many favorites it’s hard to list I’d feel like I was leaving someone out.

    I love a good mystery with my romance though.

  12. Oh, there are so many but I’ve just completed reading my first Nora Roberts (I KNOW) and started a second. Both are romantic suspense and I’m sorry I took so long trying one of her books lol.

  13. Yes, I am enticed by some mystery with my romance. For years I read Tami Hoag, Iris Johanssen, Elizabeth Lowell, and their like. But I also love straight up sizzling romance…so tying the two together in a story suits my fancy to a T. I enjoyed this introduction to you by Vanessa. Thanks for chatting!

  14. I love the plot theme of your upcoming trilogy. What an unusual idea! You are certainly very creative and I’m so excited to read them.

    I have always loved a romance novel with a mystery tucked inside. I literally cut my teeth on the likes of Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart. Give me a dark mansion bordering a desolate moor, add a lovely governess hired by the brooding master to care for a lonely child and a good mystery thrown in and I am totally hooked. Sigh. Wish more writers wrote novels like this. Some may think it’s corny but gothic novels are the best!

    Congratulations on your successes, Manda! I’m looking forward to reading more of your novels.

  15. I think one of my favorite romantic suspense series is the KGI books by Maya Banks.
    You are a new author to me but I will be checking out this series. I think I would buy the latest book on the cover alone.

  16. I really really love mystery in a romance! It adds a certain edge to it and draws in many different types of romance readers. With more mystery creates more suspence, and to me, more suspence creates a higher dynamic between the characters 😀

  17. I love mystery and suspense in romance, those are the books that will keep me up into the wee hours of the morning reading! There are so many authors out there who do such a great job at it too. My favorites are Nora Roberts, Christina Dodd, Joan Swan and Elisabeth Naughton

  18. Congrats on your new release!

    When I think of romantic suspense, I think of Karen Rose. Boy, can she keep you at the edge of your seat!

  19. Romantic suspense is a favorite of mine! They’re usually the ones that I absolutely must finish once I start reading! :)

  20. Sorry I’ve been so absent, ladies! We have family stuff going on – including a visit from my big sis from the California. But you’re in good hands with Manda!

  21. I LOVE mystery. I love trying to figure out who done it. Agatha Christie is my favorite when it comes to mystery. :-)

  22. a little mystery with the romance is fine. I don’t have specific favorite, just want it well-written

  23. Yes, some suspense and/or action can add to the story. The one series that comes to mind that I’ve really enjoyed is The Arcane series by Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz. I love that series because their are historicals and contemporary and paranormal books in it!

  24. Do you like a little mystery in your romances? What are some of your favorite romantic suspense or mysteries?

    • Sorry, I accidentally hit send. I do like mystery in my romance, but don’t usually read much romantic suspense. A couple of books I enjoyed with mysteries in them were Allison Chase’s Most Eagerly Yours and Outrageously Yours.

  25. Maddie and Christian sound like fun.

    I enjoy a little mystery in my romances, just not so much that it makes the book too dark.

  26. Yes, I like some mystery in a romance. I really like the way Lori Foster or Suzanne Brockmann write their mysteries.

  27. Hi Manda,
    I got hooked on mystery/drama/romance by Iris Johansen. A good historical romance will get my attention as well! To be honest, I haven’t read any of your books yet, but after reading Vanessa’s blog, I will have you on my reading list for sure! They all sound great. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  28. Hi Manda,

    Already read book 1 and 2 and can’t wait to read book 3,love your writing style :)

    Yes, I love mysteri in book romance, I like to guess who is behind of the murder or other etc. My fave romance mysteri probably your book 😀

  29. I love mystery with my romance. I never miss a Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle release. Thanks for the post. lisagk(at)yahoo

  30. I enjoy both mysteries and romances, combining them is the best of both worlds. I have enjoyed Amanda Quick’s Arcane Society.

  31. I really enjoy all different types of romances..historical are my favorites with time travel mystery plots…I have to say allie mackay does has some good reads in her highlander series..I’m thrilled your doing this set..and will so be putting them on my kindle..thank you for all you do :)

  32. I think a touch of mystery in a romance just heightens the whole reading experience.

  33. My favorite romantic suspense writer is Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz! I really love her books :)