Guest Author: Christie Kelley & Giveaway!

I’m thrilled today to have a chance to showcase the work of my good friend and fellow Kensington author, Christie Kelley.  Christie writes gorgeous, Regency-set historical romance, and she has received a raft of critical acclaim for her books.  Here’s what RT Book Reviews had to say about one of Christie’s books,  Something Scandalous:

“Kelley reinforces her deserved reputation for page-turning, exciting, humorous plots filled with sexual tension and populated by unforgettable characters readers can’t help but fall in love with.”

Sexual tension and humorous plots – a killer combination that Christie excels at!

Christie currently has a new book on the shelves.  It’s called One Night Scandal, which is a fabulous title, isn’t it?

A Night with a Marquess…

Born on the wrong side of the blanket, matchmaker Sophie Reynard understands the consequences of unbridled desire all too well. Despite the many highborn friends she has matched, falling in love with an aristocrat without a pedigree of her own would be an act of futility. But that doesn’t stop her from succumbing to one evening of anonymous passion…

A Lifetime of Desire…

Nicholas Tenbury, Marquess of Ancroft, knows nothing of Sophie’s lineage. He knows only that the enchanting beauty captured his heart in one night and then fled, leaving no trace of her identity. But when he seeks answers from London’s finest matchmaker, he finds none other than the woman herself—stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the attraction they share! Now the enamored Marquess has no choice but to sway Sophie with seduction…

This book is definitely on my TBR list!

You can order One Night Scandal from Amazon and other on-line retailers, or pick it up at your local bookstore.

Readers can, of course, find Christie at her website, but she also has another home on the internet.  She’s part of the famous Romance Bandits, one of the smartest, most entertaining romance author blogs on the web.  If you haven’t ever visited with the Bandits, stop by and check them out.  You won’t be disappointed!

To celebrate the release of One Night Scandal, Christie is donating TWO copies of the book for a giveaway.  Just answer the following question:  do you like humor in your romance books, or do you prefer dark, angst-ridden stories?  Two who comment will win a copy of One Night Scandal.



We Have A Winner!

The winner of Mia Marlowe’s fantastic new release, Touch of a Thief, is Diane Diamond!  Congratulations, Diane.  I’ll be in touch soon.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by to visit with Mia.  Touch of a Thief  is now in stores and available from on-line retailers like Amazon.

And don’t forget I’ve got some wonderful guests lined up for the month of June.  Tomorrow I’ll be hosting fellow Kensington historical romance writer, Christie Kelley!

Guest Feature: Mia Marlowe & Giveaway!

I’m really excited to be featuring historical romance author Mia Marlowe on my blog today.  Mia is such an interesting and talented person it’s hard to know where to start when talking about her work.  In addition to being a fantastic writer, she’s a classically trained soprano who won the District Metropolitan Opera Auditions and even shared a stage with Placido Domingo.  Wow!  I wonder how many romance authors can boast that kind of claim to fame!  BTW, the picture at the top of the post is of Mia, appearing as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus.

Mia is now an award-winning author, who writes historical romance for several publishing houses.  Some of you may already be familiar with Mia’s work from her earlier historical romances penned under the name of Emily Bryan.  One of those books, Distracting the Duchess, was featured in the Best of 2010 issue of People Magazine.  By the way, Distracting the Duchess is now available in reprint, which is really terrific.

Emily’s other books are Pleasuring the Pirate (awesome title!), Vexing the Viscount, and Stroke of Genius.

After writing these books, Emily switched publishers.  In doing so, she added a few paranormal elements to her writing and, thus, Mia Marlowe was born.

Mia’s writing receives rave reviews.  Library Journal named it “worthy of Shakespeare.” Publishers Weekly called her stories “charming, colorful and fast-paced.” Booklist says she writes “wickedly witty historical romance.”  Her books have also received multiple awards, including the RomCon Reader’s Crown and RT BookReviews Reviewer’s Choice Award.

And here’s something that’s really cool!  Mia will be writing a couple of books with New York Times bestselling author, Connie Mason.  Their first book together will be Sins of the Highlander, set during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots.  Be on the lookout for this sure-to-be fab collaboration between two wonderful authors in January, 2012.

Mia’s latest book is Touch of a Thief.  It has received wonderful critical acclaim, including this starred review from Publishers Weekly:  “Marlowe weaves a gentle paranormal element into this delightful 19th-century romance. Both historical and paranormal readers will love this crossover tale.”

Here’s the blurb for Touch of a Thief:

London’s most talented criminal
is about to be fingered…

Lady Viola Preston can relieve a gentleman of the studs at his wrists without his being any the wiser and pick any lock devised by man in less than a minute. But she’s careful to wear gloves when she steals jewels. Because when Viola touches a gemstone, it “speaks” to her, sending disturbing visions–visions almost as unsettling as the sight of the cool-eyed stranger who catches her red handed.

Now Viola will only be stealing at Greydon Quinn’s behest. And even more daunting than the violent history of the red diamond he’s after is the prospect of a night in the devastatingly handsome lieutenant’s arms. Touch has always been Viola’s weakness and the full body-to-body contact Quinn has in mind is about to shatter her defenses and set her senses reeling.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

Touch of a Thief is available at Amazon, in bookstores, and at other on-line retailers.

And in July, Mia will also have a novella coming out in the anthology, Improper Gentleman, with authors Diane Whiteside and Maggie Robinson.

Mia has very graciously donated a copy of Touch of a Thief to give away to one commenter today on the blog.  Just tell me what you do with your old paperbacks—keep them forever, give them away to friends, or donate them to the library?

There’s more!  In a nice bit of synchronicity I’m appearing today on Mia’s blog.  Stop on by for a chance to win a copy of My Favorite Countess!


We Have A Winner!

The winner of Sally MacKenzie’s new book, The Naked King, is Karen H in NC!  Karen, I’ll be in touch soon.  And thanks to everyone who stopped by the blog to comment.

I’ll be featuring some other great romance and women’s fiction authors  in June, and hosting giveaways.  Just take a look at this schedule!

June 13 – Mia Marlowe

June 15 – Christie Kelley

June 17 – Monica Burns

June 20 – Katherine Ashe

June 22 – Julianne MacLean

June 24 – Diana Cosby

Be sure to stop by to meet some authors who might be new to you, and for a chance to win one of their great books!

Guest Post: Sally MacKenzie & The Naked King. Giveaway!

I’m thrilled to have a special guest on my blog today – USA Today bestselling author, Sally MacKenzie.  Sally writes the acclaimed Naked series, funny, sexy, Regency-set historical for my publisher, Kensington Zebra.  Her unique blend of humor and passion has been wowing fans over the course of eight books and novellas.  Her last book in the series, The Naked King, is now in stores.  Please join me in welcoming Sally to the blog!

 Hi, Vanessa.  Thanks so much for letting me stop by your blog.

Sally, let’s talk about the Naked seriesHow did you come up with such a great high concept?

Can you hear me laughing?  When I wrote my first Naked book, The Naked Duke, I wouldn’t have known a high concept if it bit me in the derriere.   Frankly, I don’t think I’d know one now, either.

The Naked series had a very low concept beginning.  I decided in grade school that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, and I’d done some writing when my four sons were young, though I hadn’t sold any fiction.  When I entered the carpool years and took over the cub scout pack and the neighborhood swim team at the same time, writing got pushed to the side.  Finally, when our oldest son was getting ready for college, it hit me that I wasn’t getting any younger.  My hands-on mom duties were being phased out, and I needed to figure out how the next chapter of my life was going to read.  Was I finally going to seriously follow my dream of publishing?  If I wasn’t, I needed to find something else to do.

So I sat down and started writing the Duke.  I worked in fits and starts, teaching myself as I went along, but I made myself finish and revise and polish.  I think it took a couple years.  Then a friend who’d once been a NYC editor took her red pen to it.  The pages bled.  My heart sank when I got them back, but I told myself I was going to read them through with an open mind.  If I was serious about this, I needed to get over myself.  I do think that editing job was what took me to the next level.   Somewhere in there she said that my original title was sort of awful.  (And, no, I will not tell you what it was.)

So this is where maybe a glimmer of high concept came in. I thought, well, they always say sex and power sells.  My hero was a duke–that’s the power part–and he happens to meet the heroine when they are both naked.  Voila–The Naked Duke!  My friend liked it, but I had no idea it would catch on the way it has.

I sold the Duke in a two book contract, so I then had to write another book.  Yikes!  The title I came up with for that book was something lame–I don’t remember exactly, but I think it was The Reluctant Earl.  My editor was rightly unimpressed.  So then I thought, oh, what the heck, she likes Naked so much, I’ll stick with that.  The problem was that when the second book opens, the hero (Captain Charles Draysmith, one of the Naked Duke’s friends) has just inherited his brother’s title–Earl of Knightsdale.  Except I already had an earl–foolish me had decided that the other friend, Robbie, the Earl of Westbrooke, would be the hero of my as-yet-uncontracted third book.  I couldn’t have two Naked earls, so I had to “promote” Charles’s brother to marquis before killing him off–and then I had to catch that change up on the Duke page proofs.  Thus The Naked Marquis was born, and my “high concept” idea was launched.

Who are your favorite writers?

Growing up, I read mostly science fiction and fantasy–Lloyd Alexander, Edward Eager, E. Nesbit, Andre Norton, P. L. Travers–and Georgette Heyer.   I was passionate about stories–until I became an English major in college.  That was a bit of a shock.  I didn’t really “get” many of the authors I read–Vonnegut and Barth and Pynchon and Brautigan.  I think my reaction to books has always been emotional–or even spiritual–rather than intellectual, and I just didn’t feel these stories.  After I “retired” to stay home with my sons, I read tons and tons of Regencies while the kids played or while I waited in carpool line.  Some of my favorite Regency authors were Mary Balogh, Marion Chesney, Marion Devon, Edith Layton, Barbara Metzger, Joan Wolf–I could probably go on and on.  My mother and I used to go out to lunch once a month and hit the Borders, buying that month’s Signet Regencies which we shared.  Now I find I don’t read much fiction at all.  I either can’t get into a book or I get so caught up in it, I let my own writing slide.  This just happened to me with Marjorie Liu’s In the Dark of Dreams.  (Shh, don’t tell my editor!)  Not good for a girl on deadline!

What’s up after The Naked King?

I’m working on the Duchess of Love series about a duchess who’s one of the ton’s premier matchmakers–but the matches she’d really like to make involve her three sons.  I’ve written the novella which tells the duke and duchess’s story–sort of a prequel to the trilogy–and now I’m writing book 1.  I actually don’t like to talk much about a book while I’m working on it, so that’s all I’ll say for now.

Great interview, Sally!  Thank you so much!

Sally will be giving away a copy of her latest book, The Naked King, to one lucky commenter.  Just answer the following question:  If you could only take one book on vacation with you this summer, what would it be?