Guest Author: Elizabeth Essex & Giveaway!

As you might have guessed by now, I love Regency-set historical romance. But there’s another period that’s dear to my heartand that’s the Georgian period, which immediately preceded the Regency.  It’s a wonderful setting for historical romance, lending itself to swashbuckling adventure and intrigue, and some truly spectacular clothing.

Elizabeth Essex, my guest author today, writes adventurous and sexy historical romance set during the Georgian period.  Her debut book was The Pursuit of Pleasure, which got great reviews:

“Elizabeth Essex’s The Pursuit of Pleasure is elegant, evocative, and absolutely dangerous to a good night’s sleep. Once you pick this book up, you won’t be able to set it aside until you’ve learned the last of its very satisfying secrets.” NYT bestselling author, Courtney Milan

Her last book, The Danger of Desire, was nominated for the prestigious RITA Award.

You’ll be happy to know that Elizabeth has a brand new series called The Reckless Brides, released by St. Martin’s Press:

Bold, brazen and beautiful, the reckless brides refuse to play by society’s rules of courtship. But—come hell or high water—they always get their man.

She’s always ready for adventure. He’s almost ready for love

The first book in the series, Almost a Scandal, is available now.  Here’s what USA Today bestselling author Julianne MacLean had to say about it:

“Elizabeth Essex will dazzle you with her sophisticated blend of vivid historical detail, exquisite characterization and delicious sexual tension. Almost a Scandal is a breath-taking tale of rapturous romance and awe-inspiring adventure!”

Zounds!  Is that not a gorgeous cover?  Here’s the blurb:


For generations, the Kents have served proudly with the British Royal Navy. So when her younger brother refuses to report for duty, Sally Kent slips into uniform and takes his place—at least until he comes to his senses. Boldly climbing aboard H.M.S. Audacious, Sally is as able-bodied as any sailor there. But one man is making her feel tantalizingly aware of the full-bodied woman beneath her navy blues…


Dedicated to his ship, sworn to his duty—and distractingly gorgeous—Lieutenant David Colyear sees through Sally’s charade, and he’s furious. But he must admit she’s the best midshipman on board—and a woman who tempts him like no other. With his own secrets to hide and his career at stake, Col agrees to keep her on. But can the passion they hide survive the perils of battle at sea? Soon, their love and devotion will be put to the test…

I told you, right?  Swashbuckling, adventurous, and sexy!  What’s not to like?  If you’ve never read any of Elizabeth’s books, this series is a great place to start.

For my readers today, Elizabeth is generously giving away two copies of Almost a Scandal.  Wow!  Since Elizabeth has such great covers, let’s talk about that.  What do you like to see on a romance cover?  Do you like the traditional clinch, the elegant lady, or the more discrete hearts and flowers? Two people who comment will win Almost a Scandal.

And don’t forget to check out Elizabeth’s website to read excerpts and find out about all her books!



39 thoughts on “Guest Author: Elizabeth Essex & Giveaway!”

  1. I love to see swathes of rich satin (on her), a bare chest (on him) and both in a romantic swoon pose. However, a prim lady and a delicious Rake works for me too.

    Who am I kidding? I love them ALL.

    • I’m glad I’ve got you covered (or uncovered as the case may be) with my bare hero’s chest. 🙂

      And I love the romantic swoon as well. So delicious!

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Cheers, EE

  2. I love the cover. I like them to be in a sexy embrace, it gets my mind going. I do love the dress’s from then so its always nice to see them in all there elegance. Thx for giveaway.

    • The sexy embrace is usually a winner for me as well, Lona. I recently had a chance to see some footage of a cover shoot for a romance novel and the thing the art director talked about most was where she wanted the hands. “The hands are EVERYTHING,” she kept saying.

      I’m thinking she was right! 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by Vanessa’s great ‘blog house,’ and chatting with us today! CHeers, EE

    • Cate,

      I’m partial to having both the hero and heroine as well. Unfortunately, the heroine only wears a beautiful dress at the very end of the novel, and the artist chose to use the plainer clothes she wears earlier in the book to give it a seafaring feel.

      But luckily, we totally have your bare chest!

      Thanks for visiting today. Cheers, EE

    • May, I know you will love the covers of my pal Manda Collins’ lovely books, HOW TO DANCE WITH A DUKE and HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE.

      And let’s not forget Vanessa’s two upcoming releases, MY FAVORITE COUNTESS and HIS MISTLETOE BRIDE! There are some gorgeous dresses going on there!

      THanks for stopping by today and good luck! Cheers, EE

    • I’m a huge fan of an embracing couple, and I especially love it when the man is behind the woman, or kissing her neck. Mmm. That one gets me every time. (And I was luck enough to have it on my first cover for THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE!)

      THanks so much for visiting with us today! Cheers, EE

  3. I agree. A woman in a beautiful ball grown is what I like to see. It doesn’t hurt if there is a handsome man in the picture too.

    • The ball gowns are certainly a winner with this crowd! And making me very sorry to know that I don’t have one on this over. But trust me, my heroine does get to wear a gorgeous ball gown—rustling apricot silk—in the penultimate scene where she finally wins her man and gets her heart’s desire. Sigh.

      I guess you’ll have to ignore the cover and read the book to get the beautiful gown moment. 🙂

      THanks so much for stopping by to chat, and good luck. Cheers, EE

    • Yes! The muscular chest is always such a lovely thing to see. I’m glad ALMOST A SCANDAL has one for you, Betty.

      Hope you enjoy, and thanks so much for stopping by today! Cheers, and good luck, EE

  4. A house surrounded by flowers and trees or a field with flowers or lakes. Anything that is environmental. They look refreshing to the eye and child-friendly too (wink ^_*).

    • Lory, I think you’ve hit upon one reason that romance tends to do so very well on e-book—no cover to cause looks from friends or over-educate out children. 🙂
      But I know exactly what you mean, something that tells me I’m going to have a nice, pleasurable experience waiting for me inside the book.

      I think my stories tend to be a little to dark for such a lovely light treatment, but I sure do enjoy books like that myself. 🙂

      Cheers, and thanks for stopping by!

  5. I love it when the fabrics of the dresses (and men’s shirts) on the covers of novels are so real looking that they remind me of a Franz Winterhalter painting. You can just reach out and touch it. So beautiful. A sexy pose is also great but so is a bit of mischief in one or another of the characters’ eyes. That makes me smile. The covers with the most striking color combinations tend to grab my eye before anything else.

    • Oh, Connie, now you’ve got me thinking of my favorite Winterhalter portraits, especially the Princess Troubetskoi (where the blue taffeta of her dress just shimmers) and especially the portrait of Maharajah Dalip Singh. The rich, gleaming colors of the silks and jewels in that painting astonish me.

      And I do love that bit of mischief in the eye—Manda Collins’s covers have her heroines all looking just that kind of delightfully naughty! Such fun.

      Thanks so much for visiting today. Cheers, EE

  6. I like the clinch and fantastic bodies and gorgeous gowns and usually I like the partial faces, that way I can imagine them as the author describes them. Most models fit the characters but when they don’t or I’m not attracted to them, then it bothers me lol. Love all the bright colors too!

    • Dear Catslady, you know most publishers try really hard to have the covers match the description of the hero and heroine inside the book, but most covers are completed before the actual writing is done, so the art directors—the ones who actually come up with the image, don’t get to read the books.

      Seems counter-intuitive doesn’t it? But they are trying to create a look that will sell books, more than they are trying to make a portrait of the hero and heroine.

      It drives me crazy, too, but there’s not much an author can do about it. I’ve even been asked to change the hair colors of my hero and heroine to match a cover!

      Thanks for stopping by to comment! Cheers, EE

  7. I like to have the hero & heroine on the cover. I also tend to like covers with a beautiful gown in a striking color. Your cover is a bit different because it’s not the dress that’s colorful, but the background. That really works, too.

    • Thanks, Kim. My editor really wanted that deep blue background because this is a sea story, and she thought that would best convey the essence of the story.

      I’m so glad it worked for you. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. I like couples, like Elizabeth’s beautiful cover. Though it’s nice when they actually look like the characters themselves, you know? Also, it’s cool when you see a little detail then find it in the book. It’s like a treasure hunt! Haha 😉

    • Chelsea, There IS a little bit of a treasure hunt going on with my covers for St. Martin’s. It has to do with the lights in the background, and the ambiance of the, shall we say, most romantic scene in each book. This cover has starlight, the next will have candle light, and the last will have (hopefully) fireflies lighting up the dusk.

      I’m so glad you picked up on that! (My editor had to point it out to me!)

      Thanks so much for visiting with me today! Cheers, EE

  9. I absolutely love the cover and the heated embrace, now that’s hot. He’s like a rogue/rake and she the elegant lady. I love a cover of a romance novel when the guy is shirt less and this one just takes the cake.

    • Aniya,

      I’m so glad you like it! As I said before, it’s a little hard to comment sometimes when I have so little control over the cover image. It just shows up in my inbox one day—tada!

      But my hero, Lieutenant Colyear, is a super hunky man, so this shirtless look really worked for him!

      Thanks so much for chatting with me here today! Cheers, EE

    • Sheila,

      I know those luscious, gleaming ball gowns just draw me in too. I guess I’ll just have to start writing books with the kinds of heroines who spend more time in ballrooms that they do aboard ships or tromping about the countryside. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by to comment today! Cheers, EE

    • BN, you’ve made me laugh! I always say that I like whatever they give me, and the truth is that I really never have much of an preference about the covers of the books I read these days, as I read most of my books on my ipad and the thumbnail images of the covers are so tiny I don’t spend much time on them.

      But I appreciate your stopping by to chat with me this afternoon. Cheers and good luck in the drawing. EE

  10. I like all sorts of romance covers, it’s hard to choose between one! It’s always interesting when I see a re-issue and compare the covers. I guess part of it depends on the storyline. I do like the couple/background combination. So a little bit of everything.

    With a cover couple or model it can be tricky because not always do the model appeal to me or is as I imagined.

    • Na,

      I had forgotten about re-issues! 🙂 And it is a lot of fun to see the differences in the covers when a back-issue is re-released with a new cover. And with many authors releasing their own backlists in electronic only, we often see very different covers that are much closer tot he vision that an author has personally for a novel.

      Thanks so much for bringing that up, and for stopping by to chat today! Cheers, EE

  11. To me, the best book covers are the ones that match the book description. I dislike book covers who portray models who don’t match character descriptions or have landscapes that aren’t portrayed in the book. I can’t say how many books I have read that will show a blonde “heroine” with a dark haired “hero” and the characters are described as a vivacious red-headed lass, or a blond Viking-like man and you look back at the cover and just go “huh?” /:-| I realize that not all models are used because they resemble the characters but the cover leaves an impression that you have a hard time shaking when you are trying to visualize the characters when reading. Landscapes are much the same way, if they don’t match any of the scenery in the book, then they detract from the story, not add to it.

    • Lora,

      I know it can be a huge disconnect for a reader when the covers don’t match the characters at all, and I’m afraid that has happened to me a time or two already, and I’m sure its going to happen again. It’s just something that authors have very little control over. As I explained earlier, oftentimes a cover will be decided upon before the book itself is even finished, and the art directors ask only for a cursory description of the characters without ever reading the book. I try very hard to send the art directors not only a description of basics like hair color, but I send snippets from the manuscript so they will have the same words the reader has.

      But even when I do that, I have no control over how much they adhere to that. In fact, I’ve had an editor ask if I could change a heroine’s hair color in the manuscript to match the cover. 🙂
      And I did, because I know how much it matters to readers like you! 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by today to chat. Cheers, EE

  12. Depends a bit of the genre. For historicals probably the embrace; bare chests on the hero & a lovely gown on the heroine. For a PNR I love those with the bare chested hero with rippling muscles! Having said that while a gorgeous cover appeals and attracts it’s irrelevant to my purchase decision.

    • Linda,

      What an astute observation about the expectations for covers changing according to which category of romance you are reading. And yes, wow those paranormal covers are flat out sexy with their male torsos. Our historical couples seem fairly tame in comparison. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by to visit with me this evening. Cheers, EE

  13. One last comment to say thank you to Vanessa for sharing her blog with me today. It’s been a pleasure visiting with you all and talking romance. Cheers, EE

  14. Covers seem to run in certain styles based on whatever is currently popular. But, no matter what the current fad is, I love them all…well, almost all. That said, push me against the wall and I wouldn’t be able to tell you the ones I don’t like! Elizabeth is a new-to-me author and I’m wondering how I missed her stuff!

    • Karen:

      I so appreciate, and can relate to your omnivorous approach to covers. If I think of the books on my keeper shelf, I don’t think I could come up with more than one cover from memory—I can only tell you that my favorite Liz Carlyle book was red, or that my favorite Sherry Thomas book was also read.

      A cover I don’t love won’t put me off if I love the writing and style of the author’s voice inside.

      I’m so glad you stopped by tonight to chat. Cheers, EE


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