We Have Winners!

We have several winners today.  Here are the lucky readers:

When You Give a Duke a Diamond, by Shana GalenRaquel Procell

How to Dance With a Duke, by Manda CollinsWinnie

Touch of a Rogue, by Mia MarloweJoy G

Touch of a Lady, by Mia Marlowe:  Kim

Congratulations, ladies!  I’ll be in touch.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  My guest blogger tomorrow will be historical romance author Terri Brisbin.  Be sure to stop by!

Guest Author: Manda Collins & Giveaway!

I’m thrilled to have my good friend and talented historical romance author Manda Collins on the blog today.  Mandy writes witty and charming Regency-set historical romance with a dash of mystery. Her first book, How to Dance With a Duke, debuted to great reviews and spent several weeks on the Bookscan bestseller list.  Let’s have a chat with Manda, and see what she’s up to with her latest book, How To Romance A Rake.

Your series is called The Ugly Ducklings. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what inspired the premise?

The concept of three cousins who are considered ugly compared to their glamorous mothers grew out of a story I read somewhere about the famous Gunning Sisters. They were real life Regency characters who came from no-one knows where and took the ton by storm with their beauty and married very, very well. I did a “what if” and wondered what it would be like to be the daughter of such a famed beauty–especially a daughter who suffers by comparison. I came up with the Fabulous Featherstone sisters and out of that grew their daughters, the Ugly Ducklings.

The heroine of How to Romance a Rake, a tremendously appealing character, is not your conventional Regency miss. Can you tell us a little bit about her?

Juliet Shelby is the daughter of Rose, Viscountess Shelby, who is, unfortunately, the vainest of the Featherstone sisters. And when Juliet suffers a disfiguring accident in her teens, Rose thinks not of how awful it must be for Juliet, instead she thinks of how having a daughter who is less than perfect will reflect upon her. So she does her best to make sure that Juliet gets very little notice from the ton. Along with her cousins, Cecily and Maddie, Juliet spends a lot of time sitting out dances with the other wallflowers. But despite her mother’s restrictions, Juliet has managed to become an accomplished pianist. And when her music teacher goes missing Juliet joins forces with swoony Lord Deveril to search for her.

Your stories often revolve around a mystery element. What do you like about combining mystery and romance?

I really like having a strong external conflict for my hero and heroine to work together to solve. My favorite romances are the ones where there is teamwork between the main couple, and what better way to put them to work than in solving a mystery in which the stakes are high for one or both of them?

You’ve recently ventured into the realm of indie publishing. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

In May, I self-published a contemporary novella called LEGALLY YOURS. It’s a reunited lovers story about two former law school classmates who meet again years later. One is a corporate lawyer and the other, who didn’t finish law school is working as a paralegal. Sparks fly, and one thing leads to another and…well, you get the idea. I hope to publish a follow up story in the coming months but it depends on my historical writing schedule. I’ll keep you posted!

What’s up next for Manda?

In January, the third and final Ugly Ducklings story, HOW TO ENTICE AN EARL will be released. It’s Maddie and Monteith’s story and I think readers are really going to love seeing these two together. I know I had a lot of fun writing them!

Thanks so much for being with us today, girlfriend! And here’s the blurb for How to Romance a Rake:

Dancing with Danger

What’s a nice girl like Miss Juliet Shelby doing in a place like Lord Deveril’s ballroom? With her shy demeanor, she’s a total stranger to the dance floor and a source of mockery for the ton. So imagine her surprise when Deveril gallantly comes to her defense—and offers to teach her to dance! Juliet can hardly believe the most handsome bachelor in London would notice her, until he takes her in his arms and sets her heart ablaze…

Playing with Fire

Lord Alec Deveril has never felt such a spark of attraction for an unmarried lady before. Unlike the “fashionable” women he’s accustomed to, Juliet possesses a generous spirit, a fiery intelligence—and an explosive secret. Deep in the London underworld, a dear friend has vanished, and Juliet fears the worst. Deveril insists on helping, escorting her through the darkest alleys in town. But he too is hiding a shocking secret—and the only way he can defeat the devil in his past is to seduce the angel in his arms …

Sounds great, doesn’t it?  I had the good fortune to read this book in advance, and I can tell you it’s a tremendously charming and heartfelt book.  If you enjoy Amanda Quick’s historical mysteries, you’ll love Manda’s books.  And for my readers today, Manda is giving away a copy of her first book, How to Dance With a Duke to one person who comments.  Just tell us about one of your favorite mystery or suspense books for a chance to win.

And don’t forget to check out Manda’s website for excerpts and more interesting stuff!


 

 

We Have A Winner!

The winner of Manda Collins’ upcoming debut, How To Dance With A Duke, is Chelsea B.  Congratulations!  I’ll be in touch.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the blog.  I have some great featured authors coming up this week, including Sharon Page, Cynthia Eden, and Elisabeth Naughton.  What a line-up!  And be sure to stop back later in the day on Monday.  I’ll be participating in a Reader Rally sponsored by Romance at Random.  There will be lots of cool giveaways and one Grand Prize.  I’ll have all the details posted by dinnertime.

See you then!

Guest Author: Manda Collins & Giveaway!

I’m SO excited to have a special guest on my blog today.  She’s a good friend and a fabulous writer:  Manda Collins, debut Regency-set historical author for St. Martin’s Press.  Manda’s book, How To Dance With A Duke, is a wonderful read.  You can take my word for it, because I had the privilege of reading it before St. Martin’s even snapped it up.  If you like smart, sexy historical romance with a dash of mystery, Manda’s the gal for you!  And she’s here with a great post to tell you all about How To Dance With A Duke.  Notice the tie-in to today’s date!

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Duke

Is there any phobia more celebrated than Triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13? Certainly not in my elementary school days when we reveled gleefully in the superstition surrounding unlucky 13. Kids are like that, I suppose.

But we are adults, and as such, we face our fears head on! (Hahahahahaha.) No, really, we do! And in my own inimical style, I will turn that 13 sided frown upside down by appropriating the thing that is scaring the bejeezus out of us and creating a list of not one, not two, not eleven, but THIRTEEN things. In this case, with apologies to the poet Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at” not a Blackbird, but “A Duke.”

I

From the side.

In my experience,

Dukes have some seriously excellent profiles.

II

Hanging with his Regency Era bros.

Conversing over a pint and a cheroot

Is a time-honored means for a Duke to blow off a little steam.

Also, he knows that he shows to advantage, being a Duke.

III

The Duke of Winterson whirled around the ballroom.

His dancing shoes made no sound

As he held the young lady more closely than was strictly correct.

IV

A lord and a lady are one.

A lord a lady and a Duke

Are best left to the erotic romance novelists.

V

I do not know which to prefer,

The beauty of a Duke being brought to his knees by his heroine,

Or the beauty of a Duke losing his celebrated sang-froid over a heroine,

The Duke of Winterson kissing her before,

Or just after.

VI

The shadow of the Duke of Winterson

Crossed to and fro before the window,

His jaw clenched in fury at the thought of

How his heroine had defied him.

VII

O Readers of Romance Fiction,

Why do you imagine commoner heroes?

Do you not see how the Duke of Winterson hovers

At the edge of your imagination?

VIII

I know noble accents,

And the voice of a hero intrigues his heroine,

But I know too that the Duke of Winterson is involved in

Every story of my trilogy. Really. He is.

IX

When the Duke of Winterson stepped off stage,

He was always still thinking,

Of Cecily, his heroine.

X

At the sight of the Duke of Winterson,

Striding across the ballroom floor,

Even the Meanest Gel of all, Amelia,

Felt her heart constrict with longing.

Then, of course, she flew into a jealous rage.

Tis what mean gels do.

XI

The Duke of Winterson rode through London

In the carriage emblazoned with his crest.

Once he pulled Cecily against him in the darkness of the carriage,

Kissing her ruthlessly, filled with longing.

XII

Mysteries envelop the situation.

The Duke and his lady must be investigating.

XIII

It was hardly a surprise

For the Duke to love his wife.

What was most remarkable, in his eyes,

Was that she finally loved him too.

Life and death excitement can do that to a woman.

For a look at the original poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” check out this version at the University of Pennylvania. Are you a fan of poetry? Why or why not? How about Dukes? Tell us all about it! Inquiring minds want to know!

Vanessa, here.  Told you my pal Manda was smart and witty!  Cool poem, eh?  Now, just answer one of her questions.  One person who comments will win a copy of How To Dance With A Duke.

Winners & Contests!!

The winner of Manda Collins’ debut book, How to Dance with a Duke, is Donna Cummings.  Congratulations!  I’ll be in touch soon.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  I have more great guests coming on next week, including Lisa Marie Rice and Elisabeth Naughton.  And if you’re new to my blog, please check out the contest I’m running with several other romance authors.  It’s a fabulous one, with lots of great prizes.  Details below!

There comes a time in a romance reader’s life when something amazing happens. Something awesome. Something really, really cool that makes you emit a high-pitched shrieking sound which then causes everyone around you to gape and stare. That shriek often sounds something like SQUEEEEEEEEE.

Dear friends and fellow romance readers, you might have a SQUEE moment ahead in your future.

Five huge romance fans who just happen to be romance authors as well have decided that we want to give you the opportunity to receive complete, SIGNED backlists of one of your very favorite authors (and yes, that means EVERYTHING they’ve ever written).

The romance fans/authors who are participating are: Ashley March, Shana Galen, Lila DiPasqua, Heather Snow, and moi, Vanessa Kelly.

The complete, SIGNED backlists they’re giving away are books from the following authors (henceforth known as “The Amazing Authors”):

Lisa Kleypas

Julia Quinn

Elizabeth Hoyt

Cynthia Eden

Julie Garwood

Before we can give these awesome prizes away, though, we need you to show how fanatical of fans you are. Since we know that you’re already following The Amazing Authors on Facebook (you are, aren’t you??), all you need to do is follow the authors who want to give away these complete, signed backlists to you. We all have to reach a certain number of followers; once that happens, then we will run a Facebook giveaway on our individual pages where you can enter to win the complete, signed backlists from the Amazing Authors.

(Please note, you must follow and enter on each of the five Facebook pages to be eligible to win each backlist. The giveaway won’t happen until AFTER the goals are met for ALL of us, and the giveaways will be open to US and international residents! All books will be in English as print books; if any books in the Amazing Authors’ backlists are currently our of print, used books will be purchased for those titles so that the backlist will be complete.)

Ashley March (must reach 2500 total “Likes” in order to give away Lisa Kleypas backlist)

Shana Galen (must reach 2000 total “Likes” in order to give away Julia Quinn backlist)

Lila DiPasqua (must reach 3500 total “Likes” in order to give away Elizabeth Hoyt backlist)

Vanessa Kelly (must reach 2000 total “Likes” in order to give away Cynthia Eden backlist)

Heather Snow (must reach 2500 total “Likes” in order to give away Julie Garwood backlist)

Those are the rules! Tell your friends, tell your family, tell any fellow romance fan you know. Soon, 5 lucky winners will win a complete, signed backlist from a favorite author that will make you SQUEEEEE!

Now get out there and start liking those pages!

Guest Author: Manda Collins & Giveaway!

I’m SO thrilled to have one of my favorite people on the blog today.  She’s Manda Collins, and she writes fabulous and witty historical romance with a dash of mystery to spice things up.  Manda’s debut book, How to Dance with a Duke, will be released by St. Martin’s Press in January, 2012.  It’s a wonderful book, and I predict it will be one of the best Regency-set historical romances of the year.

Without any further ado, I’ll turn the blog over to Manda!

Thank you so much, Vanessa for having me here today!

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Moonlight & Magnolias Writers Conference in Atlanta. I’ve attended the conference, which is one of the best regional romance writers conferences around, before, but this year’s was special. Not only did the fabulous Vanessa Kelly win a Maggie Award for Sex and the Single Earl, but this year’s keynote speech was given by one of my very favorite authors, Eloisa James.  Which, in turn, afforded an opportunity for those of us who were regulars at the now defunct Squawk Radio (a group blog featuring Lisa Kleypas, Christina Dodd, Teresa Medeiros, Eloisa James and Liz Bevarly), and Eloisa’s Bulletin Board with Julia Quinn, to have a mini-reunion.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I get together with old friends there’s a lot of talk about the past, catching up on the present, and prognosticating about the future. And with this particular group of women, we talked again and again about how lucky we all felt to have found each other. What brought us together was our love of romance, but what forged our friendships into lasting ones was, for want of a better term, our “kindred spirits.”

When I got the idea for my Ugly Ducklings trilogy, I wanted to create a world not based on a brotherhood, but instead upon a sisterhood. Not unlike what I have with my friends. Cecily, Juliet and Madeline are cousins who have grown up in the spotlight, but not because of their stunning beauty. Instead, they are compared to their mothers, the Fabulous Featherstone sisters who, a generation earlier, took the ton by storm with their beauty and ensnared three of society’s most eligible bachelors in the parson’s mousetrap, and found wanting. Not only are they not as beautiful as their mothers, they also have bluestocking tendencies. Is it any wonder they find themselves still unmarried? Especially when the season’s toast enjoys nothing better than putting them in their place every chance she gets.

What I love about the friendship between these three women is the way that they support each other. No matter how harebrained the scheme, or how scandalous the scheme, Cecily, Juliet and Madeline can always count on one another.  When an accomplice is needed, they’re there. And when a scold or a stern talking-to is called for, they’re there for that too. They might argue and fuss from time to time, but always, always, they’ve got one another’s backs. Especially when the naysayers of the world try to tell them that they can’t succeed in their chosen fields simply because they had the misfortune to be born women. That really makes us…I mean them angry.

The first book How to Dance with a Duke comes out January 31, 2012.

Here’s a sneak peek at the back cover:

What’s a wallflower to do when she’s suddenly in need of a husband? Use all the pluck and moxie she can muster to get what she wants…

SHE’S IN NEED OF A PARTNER

Miss Cecily Hurston would much rather explore the antiquities of Egypt than the uncharted territory of marriage. But the rules of her father’s exclusive academic society forbid her entrance unless she weds one of its members. To clear her ailing father’s name of a scandalous rumor, Cecily needs to gain admission into the Egyptian Club—and is willing to marry any old dullard to do it.

AND HE HAS ALL THE RIGHT MOVES

Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson, is anything but dull. He’s a dashing and decorated war hero determined to help Cecily—even if that means looking the other way when she claims the dance card of Amelia Snow, this season’s most sought-after beauty. But Lucas has a reason for wanting Cecily to join the Egyptian Club: His brother went missing during one of Lord Hurston’s expeditions to Egypt. An alliance with the explorer’s bluestocking daughter could bring Lucas closer to the truth about what happened…or it could lead him to a more dangerous love than either he or Cecily could have imagined….

So, let’s hear it for the sisterhood! And friendships! What are some of your favorite books about female friendship? Inquiring minds want to know!  Because I’m feeling generous I’m going to give away one of my precious, precious ARCs! So comment for a chance to win!

Wow!!  Vanessa, here.  An Advanced Reader’s Copy of How to Dance with a Duke!  Manda isn’t kidding when she says it’s precious!  I’m also going to throw in a copy of my first book, Mastering The Marquess.  It’s my birthday today, and I want to celebrate that along with Manda’s appearance on the blog.  So, one person who comments will win a copy of Manda’s book AND a copy of  Mastering The Marquess.

We Have A Winner!

The winner of The Naughty List, by Donna Kauffman, Cynthia Eden, and Susan Fox, is Tina Simon.  Congratulations!  I’ll be in touch soon.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  My special guest on Friday is Manda Collins, a fabulous historical romance author whose debut book, How To Dance With A Duke, will be out in January.  Manda is so smart and always fun to spend time with, so please stop by!