Guest Author: Patricia Burroughs & Gift Card Giveaway!!

Patricia Burroughs headshot 400.px

I’m so pleased to welcome bestselling romance and epic fantasy author Patricia Borroughs to the blog today.  Pooks, as she’s called, is here to talk about her latest book, This Crumbling Pageant–which has an interesting movie-related twist.

Remembering Gigi

I never consciously thought about Gigi when I was plotting and writing This Crumbling Pageant.

I was a very small girl the first time I saw that lush, gorgeous movie musical describing a different world and a different culture from my own. I had no idea what a courtesan was, or what Gigi was being raised to be. I just knew that I fell in love with the tale and several times since have watched it again, a bewitching romance in the old school way—a young girl raised to be a courtesan, who brings the hero to his knees both figuratively and literally.

They first met when she was a young girl, and part of the fun for me was watching scenes like this one, and anticipating the moment when he would see her—really see her—for the first time as a woman.

Louis Jordan and Leslie Caron

I certainly wasn’t remembering Gigi when I was plotting the early part of my trilogy, when Persephone is smitten with Sir Robin Fitzwilliam and he sees her as a precocious young lady deserving of his protection and affection but certainly not a love interest. The plot required that moment, and that age difference. And yet, I also didn’t shrink back in dismay. Historically, matches were frequently made between young women and more mature men.

I understand being turned off by the idea of a relationship that began, innocently, when Persephone was too young, even though it didn’t progress as a love relationship until she’s old enough to be presented to the queen. But in the 21st Century few of our readers would be thrilled to have their 17-year-old daughters fall in love with thirty year-old men. I get that.

But even though This Crumbling Pageant does tell a complex and complicated—and ultimately, passionate—love story, it is first and always a fantasy. I can tell my story as it needs to be told, with the ages and situations demanded by the plot, without worrying about contemporary rules that might stand in the way if I were writing only about Persephone’s romantic story arc—an arc, I must add, that won’t end until the entire trilogy is written.

Alas, a youtube search did not turn up the moment when Louis Jordan takes a look at Gigi and realizes she is a woman, when he experiences that gut-clench of possession and realizes that she means far more to him than he ever dreamed. I guess I’ll have to watch the entire movie again. (As if that’s a sacrifice!)


In the meantime, I will give you that moment for Persephone and Robin.

Robin stepped onto the first floor landing to realise that from below him, people were gathered, looking up. Guests who had been milling near the ballroom entrance were now turned, also looking up expectantly. He followed their gazes up the stairs.

Persephone’s brothers—Dardanus and Cosmo—descended, Dardanus’s expression one of ill-masked concern that caused Robin’s heart to leap.

Cosmo, however, exuded confidence, his eyes glittering.

And why did that leave Robin uneasy?

The Duke Regent descended next, as regal as if he already bore the crown. The slight rigidity around his eyes was all that betrayed that he, too, might have concerns. It was a detail few would detect.

When the three reached the foot of the stairs, they turned as one and awaited the announcement of her name.

And finally, the slow, graceful descent of Apollo Fury and his daughter.

A soft gasp echoed through the assemblage.

And he… he could do nothing but stare up as Persephone came into view…

Wearing a dress of purple so dark, it was almost black.

Her hair was unfashionable, a sleek fall of ebony. Usually so flat in colour, it shimmered, with a silver laurel wreath its only adornment.

Her skin wasn’t the milky white of her sister, but in this light, against such a dress, it had a honeyed cast that glowed with life. The wide neck of the gown was low on her shoulders, exposing the delicacy of the joining of sinew and bone, the hollow at the base of her throat. Her mouth was wide and tinged with rose.

But it was her eyes, large and liquid, that dominated her face with their dark intensity.

Her presence was magnetic. There was no way any eye could have been on any other woman in the room.

She appeared to have stepped from a medieval portrait at Erinyes Manor, despite the fact that her dress was of the most recent fashion, with snow-white gloves that covered her from fingertip to above where sleeve met wrist—an effect obviously created by a modiste of the first stare. Down to the finest detail, it could not be faulted in any way.

Except for its hue that no young lady of fashion would ever choose.

A hue that made her glow.

The blood-draining grip at his elbow, the carefully composed expression on Electra’s face as she looked—simply looked—at Cosmo, and his return smirk told Robin everything.

This presentation was Cosmo Fury’s doing.

And Persephone’s sister Electra, the Duchess of Aubyn, was rigid with rage.

Persephone drew closer. Robin looked into her eyes, and his breath caught at the intensity of her apprehension.

Oh yes, her chin was high, her shoulders straight, her posture impeccable. Few would know that she reeked of tension, only those who knew her well.

And yes, he knew her so well.

And it hit him.

Persephone didn’t know. Electra had yet to recognise. The first shock had not worn off.

None of them with the exception of Cosmo had quite yet realised.

Persephone Fury was stunning.

Whether trope of cliché, this is one of those moments I love to read and to write, that moment when an awkward duckling appears as a swan to the man she’s been yearning for.

How does Gigi hold up today? I didn’t even address the fact that she was raised to be a courtesan here.

Can you still enjoy it as a love story, or does it squick? Is it still a fabulously romantic tale of a girl who rises above her ‘station’ and wins the world be bring the hero to submission? Or is it one of those stories best left behind to another time and place, a guilty pleasure at best and a glamorization of a dark time for women at worst?

Vanessa, here.  Readers, what do you think of Pooks’ question? I love the idea for this book and I also love Gigi, so let’s talk about it!  Pooks will give away a $10 gift card and I’ll give away a copy of my latest book, Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom, to one person who comments.

This Crumbling Pageant

Persephone Fury is the Dark daughter, the one they hide.

England, 1811. Few are aware of a hidden magical England, a people not ruled by poor mad George, but by the dying King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon.

The Furys are known for their music, their magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. When Fury ambitions demand a political marriage, Persephone is drugged and presented to Society—

Only to be abducted from the man she loves by the man she loathes.

But devious and ruthless, Persephone must defy ancient prophecy and seize her own fate.

Get swept away into the first book of a dark fantasy series combining swashbuckling adventure, heart-pounding romance, and plot-twisting suspense.


Guest Author: Mary Behre & Giveaway!!


It’s always exciting to introduce debut authors to readers, and I have that treat in store for you today.  I’m so pleased to host paranormal romance author Mary Behre, whose debut book, Spirited, is out tomorrow!  Listen to some of the advance praise for this book:

“Spirited is an intriguing blend of romance, mystery and ghosts to keep you up late at night.”  New York Times bestseller Dianna Love

Great! A real-page turner.Be prepared, once you sit down to read, you won’t want to get up until you’ve finished the book.”NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lynsay Sands

Lynsay Sands, people!  And I completely agree with that assessment.  I know Mary and she’s a superbly talented author.  She’s here today to share an exclusive excerpt of Spirited.  Pull up a chair and enjoy!

Jules sat dumbfounded in the bedroom of a Greek god. He had espresso brown eyes, curly black hair, a long nose that had probably been broken a time or two, and a sexy, dimpled chin. His tan, muscular body was covered by a chest full of springy hair that begged to be touched. Dang! He even smelled good, like soap and the salty Tidewater air.

Ohmigawd, he’s a walking condom commercial.

He scowled at her, waiting for an answer. Although to save her life she couldn’t think of anything. Where was she? More important, what was she doing here? Then a mental switch flipped and it all became clear.

That freaking ghost! Jules couldn’t very well tell a cop she stumbled into his apartment because a ghost made her do it. He’d haul her off to the loony bin.

“Well.” Jules fidgeted against the cuffs and tried to adjust to a more dignified position on the bed. So not happening. “No, not really. I was trying to go home but, uh . . . locked myself out.”

He arched an eyebrow at her but didn’t say anything.

“I know this looks bad but just ask Big Jim. He’ll vouch for me.”

“And Big Jim? Who’s that, your pimp?”

“What? No!” She laughed and shook her head at the absurd thought. “He’s my dad.”

“Is that what they’re calling them these days?” He scoffed but didn’t give her time to respond. “There’s no one named Big Jim in this building. Try again, the truth this time.”

“Ernie Ward! Ernie is my dad.”

“I thought his name was Jim.” He shook his head. He made a sound like a buzzer. “Wrong again. I’ve known Ernie for years but I’ve never seen you before. Want to try another name, honey?”


His biceps flexed, arms still folded across his chest, as if he wanted to move but barely restrained himself. The sight was distracting. He wasn’t exactly muscle-bound, just finely honed. He stood fierce and masculine like an ancient warrior. Intimidating but ruthlessly sexy. It made her want to . . . She shook herself inwardly.

Why couldn’t she think straight? This so wasn’t like her. She didn’t go gooey over any guy, regardless of how ruggedly handsome. But her heart pounded at an erratic pace and she’d once again lost the thread of the conversation. What had he just asked?

Think, Jules! Ignore the instant pull of pointless physical attraction. It had never done her any favors in the past anyway. Something about him must be repellent. Find it!

She looked at him again, this time skating her gaze past his naked chest and sexy arms and moving down.

Oh, it couldn’t be.

She blinked, astonished.

He wore bright yellow pajama pants, covered in lambs.

Resisting the urge to laugh, she latched on to righteous indignation and straightened her shoulders. This condescending jerk treated her like a criminal, handcuffed her and called her a liar. Oh, he was going down.

“My name’s Jules. Not honey,” she snapped. “And Big Jim—Ernie—is my father. He lives in this building and I live with him.”

“I highly doubt it. Hookers don’t live here,” he said, tugging a red T-shirt over his head.

“Excuse me?” she yelled. “I’m not a hooker, and you owe me an apology!”

“Really?” he said, giving her an obvious once-over, his gaze settling on her bustier.

Her cheeks burned.

“Wait. I can explain.”

“Enlighten me.” He narrowed his eyes, doubt etched on his face.

“See, there was this costume party and . . .” Her words trailed off. How to explain the theme of her college reunion without sounding like an imbecile for dressing in the ridiculous outfit just to win a blue ribbon? Now that she thought about it, stupid might aptly describe her decision-making skills tonight. “Well, there was a Pimp and Ho party earlier tonight. I was on my way home from it—”

“And you just happened to climb into my window?”

Jules opened her mouth to respond, but doubted he’d believe her anyway. So she settled on a half-truth. “It was a mistake. I meant to climb into Big Jim’s window, but it was jammed and yours was . . . open.”

“Ah ha!” His mouth twisted into a satisfied grin. “You admit to breaking and entering.”

“Not breaking. Just entering. And who in his right mind sleeps in this city without a screen in his window anyway?” Oops! She hadn’t meant to say that last part, but she pushed on. “If you’ll just let me go find Big Jim—”

“Don’t think so.” With a grim expression on his face, he tugged her to her feet. “Time to go.”

“Where are we going?” Jules dragged her heels, her stilettos scraping the wooden floorboards.

Still in his pajama bottoms, he jammed his feet into a pair of loafers.

Jules gaped. The gladiator image of him fizzled with each passing second. “Are you really planning to go out in public dressed like an overgrown four-year-old?”

“Shut. Up,” he growled, jerking on a knee-length, brown leather coat. “Say another word and I’ll charge you with resisting arrest.”

“Wait, uh, I think there’s been some mistake.”

“You bet your sweet ass, there has.”

“Where . . . where . . .” Jules swallowed in an effort to keep her voice from shaking. “Where are we going?”

“You’re gonna spend the night in lockup.”

“Please, not jail!” Her words ended on a squeak, but she couldn’t help it.

Earth-bound ghosts, bent on driving the living crazy, seemed to love hanging out in graveyards and jails. When they realized she could actually hear them, she’d be defenseless.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?  Here’s the blurb:

She’s running from who she is…

All Jules Scott wants is to live a normal, quiet life–preferably one that doesn’t include ghosts. Jules’s ability for communicating with the dead has brought her nothing but trouble. Despite her best efforts, needy spirits always find her and draw her into their otherworldly drama. When one implicates her in a series of deadly crimes, she may need to entrust her secrets to the person least likely to believe her…

He’ll do whatever it takes to catch her.

Detective Seth English can’t get distracted from the big case he’s working on, not even by his alluring new neighbor. He doesn’t believe that Jules had anything to do with the string of robberies-turned-murders that he’s investigating, but when she keeps showing up in all the wrong places, his gut tells him she knows more than she’s letting on. To solve his case, he’ll need to expose what the sexy redhead is hiding–no matter how impossible the truth may be…

You can order Spirited from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and BAM.

For my readers today, Mary is giving away a copy of Spirited, book one in her Tidewater Series.  Just tell us about some of the books you’re looking forward to in the next few months for a chance to win!

PS.  I’m visiting with the lovely ladies at The Romance Dish today, with an exclusive excerpt from my upcoming book, Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom.  And the ladies are also giving away an ARC of Confessions.  After you comment on Mary’s excerpt, stop by and visit with me at The Romance Dish!


Guest Author – Jennifer Stevenson & Giveaway!!


I’m really pleased to invite fantasy romance writer Jennifer Stevenson to the blog today, for a fun and fascinating interview.  Let’s get right to it, shall we?

You write fantasy romance with crazy fun stories.  What drew you to work in this particular romance sub-genre?  What do you like about it?

I’ve always loved comedy. My favorite authors all write comedy—PG Wodehouse, Georgette Heyer, Carl Hiaasen, Daniel Pinkwater, Jennifer Crusie, Terry Pratchett. (Quite a few of them are Brits. Dunno what to make of that. I suppose it helps take me out of ths world!) Comedy makes me relax. The world isn’t so bad while you can laugh at it. Plus, stories about mean people wake me up screaming, which is hard on my husband. I read my favorites aloud to him, and he reads them to me.

As for the Hinky Chicago series, for twenty years I had this idea for a possessed brass bed. I wanted to write it for Harlequin Spice, if I could bang it into shape…a paranormal romance with a sex demon and the woman who gets hold of  his bed.

But then I got one of those amazing opportunities nobody ever gets. The editor in chief of Del Rey books wrote me and said she had heard from a mutual friend, Nalo Hopkinson, that I had this wack idea about a brass bed, and had I sold it yet? I had not. I didn’t have much story, either. I had thirty pages of dark, angsty, broody fantasy focused on the hero, and thirty pages of fluffy funny romcom about the heroine. I sent ’em both. The editor picked fluffy.

What’s the premise for your Hinky Chicago series?  Does it have two heroes?

To clarify, the series didn’t have a name at first. It’s usually called “The Brass Bed series,” after the first book. The other titles featured a velvet chair and a bearskin rug, but you really can’t hustle “The Furniture Series.”


So the books are now The Hinky Brass Bed, The Hinky Velvet Chair, The Hinky Bearskin Rug, The Hinky Genie Lamp, and A Hinky Taste of You. The Hinky Brass Bed came out September 3. The rest are launching weekly until October 1 at Book View Cafe.

So Jewel is a fraud cop with the Department of Consumer Services in a version of Chicago—and the world—where magic is invading cities and making messes. Pigeons smoke cigarettes (and set fires by dropping their lighted butts everywhere). Magical pink smog covers the highways at rush hour; people vanish, or grow tails, or have other weird things happen to them. Jewel’s job is to investigate “hinky stuff,” try to make the citizens of Chicago happier about it, and keep them from reporting it to the media. Other cities have collapsed because they overreacted to magic. But Chicago is da city dat woiks. Da mayor’s Hinky Policy, unspoken but fiercely enforced, is “Don’t ask, don’t tell, cope.”

Then Jewel is sent undercover to bust Clay, a fake sex therapist. Turns out, he’s not all that fake—his “treatment bed” is possessed by a sex demon, and she accidentally releases him from the bed.

The sex demon Randy was once an ordinary English lord. He was also bad in bed. His mistress complained. He pissed her off by claiming, “You women don’t enjoy sex anyway, you just use it to get money or marriage or children.” Turns out his mistress was a magician with a short temper. She turned him into a sex demon and bound him with a curse: “You don’t get out of this bed until you have satisfied a hundred women.”

Fast forward two hundred years. Jewel is the hundredth woman.

There’s a sting in the tail of the curse. The hundredth woman must love Randy, and he must love her, before the curse is resolved. Until then, if he freaks out or has a fight with her, he ends up zapping into the nearest bed. Or car seat. Or massage table. You should read the scene where he vanishes into the Home Furnishings department on the eighth and ninth floors of Marshall Field’s. Clay has to sneak them into the store after hours so Jewel can find the bed where Randy is imprisoned, lie on it, and give him an opportunity to…satisfy her. That was fun to write.

As for the two men in Jewel’s life—the editor wanted an open-ended fantasy series, not a one-off romance. I knew she was thinking about Laurell K. Hamilton and Janet Evanovich. Plus, the only way to keep the romantic side of the story moving was to throw in a second hero, right? Otherwise it sort of collapses into a happily-ever-after and boom, the story’s kinda over.

So Clay was added in. I’ve had lots of lovely conflict out of Clay’s introduction to this romantic triangle.

You’re someone who grew up close to nature, but your heroine is a savvy, urban fraud investigator?  How did you come up with the idea for Jewel?

Cities are fascinating. I adore Chicago and I’m a bit of an infrastructure geek, so I love writing about how things work in cities.

But I kind of miss writing nature, actually. My first book was very nature-oriented (Trash Sex Magic, from Small Beer Press). I’ve been thinking lately about how to add nature to Jewel’s stories. Of course, she and Randy are always having sex in “demonspace” and he often provides her with nature-based settings for their carryings-on.


Jewel was hard for me. I needed a heroine who would drive this particular hero crazy. The usual virginal girlygirl wouldn’t do. (Do I ever do girlygirls? Or virgins? Actually, yes, sometimes.) If she were the kind of woman who had her first orgasm and fell in love with the guy, she’d be no use here, because the story would be over too soon. I needed somebody with a “lifestyle problem,” a girl whose little black book is a foot thick. She wants to tell Randy, “That was nice, now go home, I have a strict no-sleepover rule.” She’s allergic to relationships. She needs her space. For an alpha male with a compulsive woman-pleasing curse, this is ideal torment.

Of course, because Randy is liable to zap into a bed anytime they fight, they’re pretty much joined at the hip. Because she’s not mean enough to condemn him to eternal sex slavery in someone else’s bed. So Jewel suffers too.

This is how authors think.

What’s up next in your writing life?

Next I embark on rewrites for the last book in my Slacker Demons paranormal romance series. I thought of calling it Gods Just Wanna Have Fun, but my editor says no. Now I’m overhauling one of the two heroes and maybe one of the two heroines.

The slackers are five guys living in a man-lair in Chicago. They’re all hot, all sex demons, all working for different hells in different religions, all this close to losing their jobs. Because, while they’re good at meeting girls, they suck at the paperwork. The first one’s called It’s Raining Men.

In the last book I settle the hash of Baz AKA Ashurbanipal, a warrior-god who lost his job and is still mooching around the planet. He’s assigned to get the virtue of a hard-working young rock star who is willy-nilly turning into a love goddess. At the same time I’ve still got Veek AKA Vicomte Montmorency on my hands. Veek ran away from his stuffy French aristocratic family because they hated that his mother was black. Then he ran away from his mother’s voudou family because he pissed off a voudou god. He’s got to stop running now, and I’ve got just the heroine to make him stand and deliver something besides amazing sex demon sex. Sophie is another out-of-control heroine. I love those!

Find me on Facebook and let’s talk.

For my readers today, Jennifer is giving away a copy of The Hinky Brass Bed.  Just tell us what’s your favorite comic novel, TV show, or movie for a chance to win!

Guest Author: Michele Hauf & Giveaway!


I’m really happy to have Michele Hauf visiting the blog today.  Michele has been writing romance, action-adventure, and fantasy stories for over nineteen years.  She has a huge backlist of fab books, and she’s a very accomplished writer.  Let’s find out what’s going on in her world.

You write both historical and paranormal romance.  Do you prefer one to the other?

I actually ADORE historical romance.  I would love to incorporate more of it in my paranormal stories, and have with Seducing The Vampire, and by giving my characters some rich histories that go back centuries.   I love the 17th and 18th centuries, and could lose long hours just going over pictures of the clothing they used to wear.  So when I do write historical, it’s all my fantasy.  Stuff I’d wear and things I’d do if I had a time travel machine.  😉
Why do you think vampire romance is so enduring in its popularity?

Well, you’ve got the sexy hero who promises eternity.  I mean, who doesn’t want to live forever?  And vampires are just a little something different from the standard contemporary romance heroes that readers love.  So if you’re looking for something more…

Beautiful Danger

What’s your new book about?

BEAUTIFUL DANGER pairs a vampire hero with a vampire hunter heroine.  It’s dark and twisted (just the way I like it).  The hero is probably one of my most tortured heroes yet.  He is literally insane.  He’s been through some rough torture thanks to a pack of werewolves. But he escaped, and now he’s vowed revenge against the pack.  Enter the heroine, who has an extreme hatred for vampires (they killed her husband), and does it sound like those two could ever get together?  The story is set in my favorite place, Paris, and weaves in music as a possible means to healing.

What’s up next in your writing world?

At the end of August, I’ve a novella, KAMBRIEL.  She is the sister to Malakai (who had his story out in Jan).  She’s also Blu & Creed’s daughter.  She’s ventured off to Paris to ‘find herself’ and gets in serious trouble with none other than the devil Himself.  Johnny Santiago (Vaillant and Lyric’s son) falls in love with her, but can he really love a woman who belongs to the dark prince?   I’m excited for readers to get their hand on this story.  It is another addition to my BEAUTIFUL CREATURES world, and it’s written for my usual readers, but this story can also be labeled New Adult.


Wow!  That’s a gorgeous cover, isn’t it?  Here’s where you can find Michele online:

For my readers today, Michele is giving away a copy of Beautiful Danger (U.S. residents only).  Just tell us who your favorite vampire is for a chance to win!

Guest Author: Brenda Jernigan!!


Brenda Jernigan is a bestselling, award-winning romance author with a distinguished career.  She writes in multiple genres, including contemporary fiction, western and medieval romance, and time travel romance.  In fact, Brenda’s latest book is a time travel, and it sounds really cool.  Here’s the blurb:

Alexandria Dumont is a doctor of rehabilitation medicine working long hours at Regional Hospital as she finishes her residency. Lately, she hasn’t had much time for a life. Her one treat is going to the flea market.

When she buys a portrait of an old Southern Plantation, she can’t get over how intriguing the picture is. It is a beautiful plantation surrounded by live oaks draped in Spanish moss, but the reflection in the lake doesn’t show its grandeur. It reflects a home burned to the ground. When she moves the portrait, a child’s diary falls upon the bed and Alexandria begins to read.

The next morning when she finds herself in 1835 she figures she has finally gone off the deep end. Nothing makes sense. Alexandria is unsure why she has fallen back to 1835 until she meets a crippled child she knows she can help walk again. However convincing the child’s brother, the arrogant Brad Wentworth, who hates doctors, that she can help his sister to walk again might be the biggest task that she has ever encountered.

As Alexandria sets about her task, she finds River Bends Plantation holds many secrets. Finding the answers to those secrets just may cost her . . . her life.

What a beautiful cover too, isn’t it?  You can find Black Magic on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Be sure to check out Brenda’s website for info on all her other books!

For my readers today, Brenda is giving away a copy of Black Magic.  Have you ever read any time travel books?  If so, what are your favorites?  One person who comments will win a copy of the book!