On The Road Again!!

His Mistletoe Bride

Shana Galen, Anna Campbell, and I are visiting The Ballroom Blog today, hosted by the ever-charming Kate Noble.  We’re celebrating the release of A Grosvenor Square Christmas, our new short story anthology.  I’m giving away a copy of His Mistletoe Bride, my Regency historical romance, and Kate is giving away some swell stuff, too.  Come visit with us!

Cover Reveal!!


I’m thrilled to announce the cover reveal of a really cool project I’m involved in with three fabulous historical authors–Anna Campbell, Shana Galen, and Kate Noble.  In mid-October, we’ll be releasing an anthology of original short stories, all revolving around a glittering Christmas ball set in a beautiful mansion in Grosvenor Square, London.  I had a great time working with three such talented authors, and I can’t wait for it to come out.

Here’s the blurb:

Four breathtakingly romantic tales of a Regency Christmas from four bestselling romance authors.

Down through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter?

1803 – The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen
Rowena Harcourt, the Duchess of Valere, never forgot the handsome footman who helped her escape the French Revolution. For fourteen years, Gabriel Lamarque has loved Rowena-now at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, has fate finally delivered a chance to win her hand?

1818 – One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly
Nigel Dash is London’s most reliable gentleman, a reputation he never minded until he fell in love with beautiful Amelia Easton. Unfortunately, Amelia sees Nigel as a dependable friend, not a dashing suitor. At Lady Winterson’s famous Christmas ball, Nigel vows to change Amelia’s mind-by sweeping her off her feet.

1825 – His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell
At the season’s most glittering ball, a girl who has never dared to dream of forever after discovers a Christmas miracle.

1830 – The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble
Susannah Westforth has always loved Sebastian Beckett – but he’s only ever seen her as a friend.  When Sebastian takes his Grand Tour, Susannah transforms herself into a woman he’ll notice. Now Sebastian is back, just in time for Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball – but the last thing he expects to see is his little Susie, all grown up…

You’re invited to join the whirling dance at Lady Winterson’s sparkling Christmas ball, where miracles happen and true love shines forever. How can you resist?

You can read an excerpt from my story, One Kiss for Christmas, by clicking here.  And be sure to visit Anna, Shana, and Kate on their websites to read an excerpt of their stories, too!

To celebrate the upcoming release of A Grosvenor Square Christmas, I’m giving away a copy of Debbie Mason’s brand new holiday contemporary romance, The Trouble With Christmas (North America only, please).  Just tell me what your favorite holiday is, and why, for a chance to win this wonderful book!

Trouble with Christmas

Guest Author: Shana Galen & Giveaway!!

Shana Galen H-R-2118

It goes without saying that readers can choose from a rich pool of historical romance writers these days, from Anna Campbell and Elizabeth Hoyt, to Katharine Ashe and Jennifer Ashley, and my eternal fan-girl crush, Loretta Chase.  But to my mind, one of the best historical authors currently writing is Shana Galen.

Shana writes fast-paced, adventurous Regencies that are also wonderful romances with a lot of emotional depth.  One of my favorite historical books in the last few years was Shana’s Lord and Lady Spy, which was a corking good adventure and also a truly sigh-inducing romance.

Lord and Lady Spy

Lord and Lady Spy also happened to be one Publisher Weekly’s top romantic picks for 2011.

Shana has a brand new book in her Spy Series, in stores today.  It’s called True Spies and I can’t wait to read it!  Here’s the blurb:

He’s weary of deception…

Baron Winslow Keating is honor-bound to finish one last mission as an elite spy for the Barbican group even though he just wants to go home and be with his family. But after years of secrecy and absence, his daughters hardly know him and his wife has given up on him. . .

She wants to try a little intrigue . . .

Elinor has had enough of domestic boredom. She contemplates an affair with a rakish spy, only to discover a world of intrigue and treachery that she never knew existed. Even more shocking, her neglectful husband is suddenly very attentive – quite the jealous type – and apparently there is much more to him than she ever knew . . .

True Spies

Sounds great, doesn’t it?  True Spies has already been getting great reviews, including this one from Gourmonde Girl:

True Spies is written for those who’ve been looking for a great romance that doesn’t involve a society come out or stereotypical ‘May-December’ romances but instead: a little action, a little sex and a lot of wooing and romance. This is a true love story for grown-ups and as such it exceeds my expectations.”

If you like your historical romances with depth, adventure, and characters with a lot of strength and heart, I suggest you treat yourself to Shana’s True Spies I guarantee you won’t regret it!

For my readers today, Shana is giving away a copy of True Spies.  To win a copy, simply tell us who your favorite spy is–in books, movies, or real life!

We Have Winners!

The winner of Zoe Archer’s book is April V, and the winner of Anna Campbell’s book is Alyn Yang.  Congratulations!  I’ll be in touch.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  Next week is a special week for me, since His Mistletoe Bride will finally be released into the wild.  Hooray!

Be sure to stop by on Tuesday, which is the official release date.  I’ll be giving away books from my back list to celebrate, including a rare print copy of Sex And The Single Earl.  Be sure to check out my books page for an excerpt of His Mistletoe Bride, and for all the buy links.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Guest Author: Anna Campbell & Giveaway!

Woot!!  Anna Campbell is in the house!  I’m so thrilled to have one of my favorite authors visiting the blog today.  Anna writes the most fabulous, passionate and smart Regency-set historical romance, and she’s got the reviews, awards and reader accolades to prove it.  And luckily for us, she has a new book out – hooray!!  Let’s turn the blog over to Anna to hear all about it.


Hi Vanessa! It’s great to be back here on your blog! Thank you for having me as your guest today to talk about SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED (out 25th September).

So let’s talk about including that telling detail that makes a setting come alive. Sometimes there’s no substitute for visiting the place where a book is set. Even if you’ve forgotten that you’ve been there!

Most of the events in my latest historical romance, SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED, the first installment in the “Sons of Sin” series, take place on the Devon Coast in November, 1826.

I picked Devon because I wanted somewhere rugged and untamed and dangerous, a little like Jonas Merrick, the hero of the book. I needed a location a long way from the civilized environs of London. And I had a vivid picture in my mind of half-ruined Castle Craven where my scarred and tortured hero barricades himself away from the world. It was rambling and craggy and perched on jagged cliffs over a crashing sea.

Castle Craven is actually based on a ruined castle I visited on the Northumberland coast in the north-east of England. If any of you are Anya Seton fans, Dunstanburgh Castle was a stronghold for John of Gaunt, the hero of that wonderful historical romance KATHERINE. Dunstanburgh is at the opposite end of England to Devon, but one of the joys of writing historical romance is that you can pick up any random old house and plop it wherever you like. The power can be quite intoxicating!

The weather forms an essential part of this wild and stormy tale. You know, it’s wild and, uh, stormy.

The funny thing is that until I sat down to write this piece on some of the research behind SEVEN NIGHTS, I’d forgotten that my only visit to Devon was in November 1986. It was just before I flew back to Australia after two years living in England and I was returning home with very mixed feelings indeed. And would you believe the weather mirrored my turbulent emotions? Much as the tempestuous weather in SEVEN NIGHTS mirrors the conflicting, powerful emotions of Sidonie and Jonas. How strange to discover that the memories from that rather bleak holiday have lurked in my subconscious all this time, ready to pop up when I wrote SEVEN NIGHTS.

Devon in England’s south-west is unusually sunny for the U.K. (which in Australian terms is still not very sunny, but that’s another discussion!), so much so that it’s earned the nickname of the English Riviera. When I visited the county this particular November, it was more like the English Siberia. Howling, icy winds. Seas that looked like they wanted to devour you whole. Horizontal rain. Not very Riviera-like. Brrrr!

It wasn’t a great holiday – aside from the meteorological horrors, I didn’t have a voice. And as anyone who knows me will testify, not talking is the ultimate torture! But I now realize that vivid images and atmosphere from that trip lodged in my brain to stew for twenty-six years, resulting in the dramatic, gothic setting for dramatic, gothic SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED.

You can read an excerpt of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BEDon my website.

Isn’t the mind a strange thing? Have you ever realized that something you thought you’d forgotten is influencing current thoughts or behavior? Do you have a favorite stormy weather scene in a romance? One of mine is in FLOWERS FROM THE STORM by Laura Kinsale where, you guessed it, the hero gives the heroine flowers. In a storm. Yup, pretty much gave that one away in the title. Anyway, if you like stormy weather in a book, I’m hoping you’ll enjoy SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. To put my money where my mouth is, I’m giving away a signed copy to a commenter today. Good luck!

Vanessa, here.  Anna, you know I love ALL your books, and I can’t wait to read this one!  So, let’s talk stormy weather – can you think of a great stormy weather scene in a book, movie or TV show that you particularly liked or remember?  Just comment for a chance to win Anna’s new book.

And don’t forget to stop by Anna’s website to read about her other books and to find some great excerpts