Guest Author: Catherine Kean & Giveaway!

Hooray!  Catherine Kean is in the house!  Some of you already know that Catherine writes award-winning medieval historical romances that have garnered lots of accolades.  She also writes contemporary romances as Cate Lord, but that’s for another blog!  Let’s turn things over to Catherine now, to hear the latest on her lush and lovely historical romances.

When gathering ideas for my medieval romance A Knight’s Temptation, Book 3 of my Knight’s Series now available on Kindle, I was inspired in part by a gorgeous role model: Orlando Bloom, Legolas in the Lord of the Rings movies. My novel isn’t fantasy, and my hero Aldwin Treynarde isn’t an elf, but he does have long blond hair, is a fantastic fighter, and worships honor and justice. And yes, he’s a hottie!

I loved writing A Knight’s Temptation, and not just because I was able to further indulge my personal fascination with the Middle Ages (and spend time swooning over photos of Orlando Bloom). I adored my leading characters. There’s something really invigorating about writing scenes between a duty-driven alpha-male hero and a heroine who refuses to do as he expects. The push and tug between Aldwin and Lady Leona Ransley made for some pulse-pounding, sizzling, poignant, and downright funny scenes. There were times when sparks practically crackled across my keyboard. Whew!

Aldwin is far from the naïve young squire readers first met in A Knight’s Vengeance (Series Book 1) He’s a hardened warrior who’s had to live with the dishonor of shooting Geoffrey de Lanceau with a crossbow bolt (from A Knight’s Vengeance). By succeeding in his important quest for de Lanceau—retrieving a stolen ruby pendant that de Lanceau’s enemies would sell to finance an uprising against him—Aldwin hopes to earn knighthood. Achieving that honor is his greatest temptation.

That is, until he meets my heroine, Leona Ransley. She’s far from the delicate, perfectly-mannered lady Aldwin idealized in his younger days. Risking her own safety, she snatched the pendant from her drunken father’s safekeeping at Pryerston Keep and arranged a meeting in a tavern to exchange the jewel for the reward. She’s very devoted to her father—but smart enough to know his guests, who gave him the pendant, are up to no good. Readers of A Knight’s Vengeance will be familiar with Baron Sedgewick and his wicked lover, Veronique, who have returned to Moydenshire to overthrow de Lanceau.

When Aldwin meets up with Leona to get the pendant, he doesn’t recognize her—although she definitely recalls him. Years ago, when they were children, he ordered her tied to a tree in a game of “rescue the damsel,” not realizing she was standing over a bees’ nest. Stung many times, Leona almost died. But she survived, and now, realizing her father and the good folk of Pryerston need her help to oust the conspirators, she’ll do all she can to ensure that happens, while being careful not to implicate her sire as a traitor.

Aldwin, however, senses she knows more about the pendant than she’s willing to admit. He takes her hostage, planning to deliver her to de Lanceau for questioning. Determined to escape, Leona refuses to cooperate. As I said, the sparks were a-crackling. Meanwhile, with Veronique and the baron trying to get back the pendant, the scenario makes for (I hope) one thrilling, page-turning, deliciously romantic adventure in the Middle Ages.

If you could pick any actor to be the hero of a medieval romance (besides yummy Orlando Bloom), who would you pick, and why? I’ll give away two Kindle copies of A Knight’s Vengeance, Book One of my Knight’s Series, to two different commenters. Vanessa has generously offered to give away a copy of her book My Favorite Countess as well.

We Have Winners!

The winners of Cate Lord’s contemporary romance, Lucky Girl, are Gayle Cochrane and Shannon.  And the winner of my VK Sykes contemporary romance, Hardball, is jeanette8042.  Congratulations, ladies!  I’ll be in touch.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  My guest blogger tomorrow is acclaimed Urban Fantasy romance author, Jessa Slade.  You won’t want to miss that!

Guest Author: Cate Lord & Giveaway!

I’m so pleased to have contemporary romance author Cate Lord guest blogging today.  Some of you may already know Cate under another name – as Catherine Kean, she writes award-winning Medieval romance.  But Cate’s with us today in her other guise, talking about her latest book, Lucky Girl.  Take it away, Cate!

A few years ago, my family and I set ourselves a project: to watch all of the James Bond movies in chronological order. While I can’t remember all of the plots now, the films were entertaining, and it was fun to recognize the different actors who played the suave, handy-with-a-gun secret agent James Bond. Of course, every movie featured a model-beautiful, sexy, sophisticated woman—the “Bond girl.” Gosh, how many of us secretly dreamed of being one of those?

When I wrote my contemporary romantic comedy Lucky Girl, I couldn’t resist a literary nod to those films. I gave my British hero Nick Mondinello the nickname Spy Man. He looks like a younger version of Pierce Brosnan, who played Agent 007 in four movies. Nick’s also intelligent, charming, lusted after by women everywhere, and resourceful (gosh golly, does he know his way around a kitchen).

The story’s heroine, Jessica Devlin, is an American beauty editor for the Orlando-based magazine O Tart. The book is written entirely in her point of view, and from her musings, it’s clear she’s everything a Bond Girl is not. Her blah brown hair is rarely right (not like that of the perfectly coiffed Bond heroines) and she dreads wearing sexy high heels because she’s likely to trip and fall on her face. Her figure is far from slim—thanks to her fiancé who betrayed her months before their wedding and caused her to drown her sorrows in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Due to that heartbreak, her self-confidence is non-existent, and so is her love life.

Overdue for a vacation, Jess takes two weeks off and flies to England to be maid-of-honor in her cousin’s wedding. Jess is anxious about the trip, and not just because her cousin’s getting the happily-ever-after Jess wanted. There’s also the embarrassing incident that took place two years ago after Jess’s grandfather’s funeral; it involved an English pub, too many drinks, an overflowing of grief for her grandfather, and a handsome stranger who comforted her while she bawled. That man was Nick.

Jess assures herself there’s no chance of running into Nick again. She sets herself a vacation mission: to have as much fun as possible for a gal who’s twenty-nine and single. Then, she steps into the English church on the wedding day and finds that the best man is Nick.

Yikes!

Jess resolves to avoid him, but she can’t ignore that he’s one gorgeous, intriguing Brit. Moreover, fate keeps throwing them together in ways that challenge her perceptions not only of Nick, but of herself.

Writing Lucky Girl was a fun, exciting adventure for me as a writer. I lived every quirky, humorous, crazy moment with Jess. I giggled with her, held my breath when she flirted with Nick, and got a little teary-eyed when the plot knocked her on her butt. It was an adventure for Jess, too—and I don’t mean adventure in the car-chasing, boat-exploding, secret-agent espionage kind of way. I mean as a journey of personal growth, because Jess isn’t the same woman at the end of the book as she was in the beginning. As I wrote her story, I wanted her to become a Bond girl. She deserved to be confident, beautiful, happy, and desired.

Thanks to Nick, who is a far more complex and noble character than she ever imagined, she finds true love. In the end, she’s not just a Bond girl. She’s one lucky girl.

If you could be a heroine from a movie, who would you be? Leave a comment and you might win one of two eBook copies of Lucky Girl. Vanessa is also giving away a digital copy of her contemporary romance Hardball. Good luck!

Vanessa, here.  Great post, Cate!  And you heard the lady – just answer Cate’s question for a chance to win a copy of Lucky Girl and Hardball.  And be sure to stop by Cate’s website, for all the info on her books.