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!


Diana Cosby & Giveaway!!

Diana Cosby with male model

I’m always happy to welcome fellow Kensington author Diana Cosby back to the blog.  Diana is a best-selling author of Scottish medieval historical romantic suspense, whose books have won awards and a great deal of acclaim.  She’s here today to tell us about her new book.

His Enchantment is book six in your bestselling MacGruders Series.  Is it a bit different from some of the other books in the series?

Hi Vanessa, and my sincere thanks for having me back on your blog, always fun being here.  🙂  Yes, His Enchantment is unique in several ways, including the fact that it’s a prequel, like they had in the Star Wars seriesHis Enchantment is the much awaited grandmother’s story. In addition to the love story, the reader learns how her chamber in Lochshire Castle came to be and where it’s special powers came about.  Plus, the reader discovers how the halved stones within the bowl came to be, the origin of the myriad of intriguing gifts in the castle we are introduced to during the series,  and how the family division began.  I loved writing His Enchantment, and I sincerely hope my readers enjoy Trálin and Catarine’s story as well!

His Enchantment

Did you find it a challenge to weave together historical and paranormal elements, particularly in an existing series?

That I added paranormal elements to His Enchantment as well as historical facts along with drawing together the how’s and whys of questions raised during the MacGruder Brothers series proved to be an interesting challenge, but one that I loved.  As with every book I’ve written, I’m not quite sure how I’ll figure everything out, but through the magic of story, somehow it all comes together by The End.

What is it about Highland romance that readers love so much?

I think readers enjoy Highland romances due to the depth and passion of the characters who fight for what they believe in as well as the rich history, and the amazing surroundings of the Highlands.   The kilts are an added bonus!

What can you tell us about your work with the International Food Bank Drive?

I firmly believe that each of us can make a positive difference in others lives.  I support many charities, and one that I’m trying to help raise awareness for is our food banks.  A warm meal and a kind word can go a long way in helping someone who is trying to overcome life’s challenges.  It’s more than a meal, but donations from the community that let the person that they’re supported by those around them.

Diana Cosby's 4th International Food Bank Food Drive Challenge winner's prize

How the Diana Cosby’s 4th International Food Bank Challenge works:

Starting on the 1st of November, when you donate to a local food bank, post on my Facebook page or Facebook Fan page, beneath the daily International Food Bank Challenge post, add your donation along with your name and contact information.  On December 5th I will use to draw from all of the names of people who donated that I received. The winner will receive an autographed set of the bestselling MacGruder Brother series to date; His Captive, His Woman, His Conquest, His Destiny, and His Seduction.  I will sign the set, then send them priority to whoever you want to make a personal holiday present.

For more details:

That’s an awesome thing to do, Diana!  And thank you for joining us today.  Readers, Diana is giving away a copy of His Captive, the first book in The MacGruders Series.  For a chance to win, just tell which is your favorite movie from the Star Wars movie series.  One person who comments will win a copy of Diana’s book!


And The Winners Are…


The winner of the ARC of Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, is Dalila G, and the winner of Laurie London’s book is Erinf1.  Congratulations, ladies!  I’ll be in touch.

But wait!  There’s still a chance to win an ARC of Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard.  I’m giving away 5 copies on my contest page, so hop on over and sign up.  And don’t forget about my Wallflowers Gone Wild contest, either.


Theresa Romain and I are giving away this cute tee shirt.  Just check out this link on my facebook page for details and easy entry.

And finally, don’t forget that Lost in a Royal Kiss, the prequel novella to my new series, is out this Tuesday.  Blurb, excerpt, and buy links are all handy on my Books Page.

Quote Cards 3

Have a great Sunday!

Guest Author: Laurie London & Giveaway!


Isn’t that an awesome cover?  It’s from bestselling author Laurie London’s latest paranormal romance, Rogue’s Passion, #2 in her Iron Portal Series.  Laurie’s books are wonderful–and don’t just take my word for it.  Publishers Weekly calls them “sexy” and “sizzling.”  Yum!

The Iron Portal world is very cool, too, featuring warriors with special abilities and portals hidden in the Pacific Northwest that separate the modern and ancient worlds.  Here’s the blurb for Rogue’s Passion:

For years, Olivia Crawford has kept a low profile in order to keep her para-ability secret. If the army finds out she’s a Healer-Talent, they’ll force her to work for them—just like her brother who was taken as a boy and never seen again.

But when a terrible explosion rocks New Seattle, she risks everything to save the injured, including a handsome stranger with secrets of his own.

Blaming himself for the death of a friend, Iron Guild warrior Asher Kane vows to bring those responsible to justice. After he’s hurt on a mission and nursed back to health by a beautiful yet mysterious woman, this dangerously sexy bad-boy finds himself falling for her…even as he struggles to stay away.

But stalking them on the streets of New Seattle is a cruel and vengeful evil—one that threatens to destroy them both…

You can read an excerpt of Rogue’s Passion on Laurie’s website, and also be sure to check out her Iron Portal Pinterest board!

One person who comments today will win a digital copy of Rogue’s Passion.  Just tell us what ancient civilization you’d like to visit for a chance to win!