Kris Kennedy And DEFIANT

Kris Kennedy is a good friend of mine, and she’s also one of a new crop of historical romance writers that is hugely talented.  And I’m not just saying that because we’re friends – she is that good.  Her last book, The Irish Warrior, was featured in Eloisa James’s column for Barnes and Noble, and was also a Fresh Pick at Fresh Fiction.

Kris and I both have a book coming out in May.  Hers is entitled Defiant, and I was lucky enough to read it in draft form.  It’s fabulous!  It’s got passion, adventure, smart writing, and sexual tension that leaps off the page.  Kris always creates strong, engaging characters, and I particularly love her heroes.  Jamie Lost is definitely swoon-worthy, and I have a feeling that Defiant will bring Kris a lot of new fans.  She deserves every one!

Here’s the blurb from Defiant:

England, 1215, the eve of Magna Carta

Jamie Lost is the king’s most renowned commander, an audacious knight ordered to kidnap an exiled priest before rebel forces close in. The mission is simple–until he comes up against a mysterious woman on a mission, a thief who will first steal his quarry and then his heart.

Eva is also seeking Father Peter, but she intends to protect him from a secret that endangers his life, even if it costs her own.  She is well aware danger lies everywhere, especially in the knight showing too much interest in her activities.  But deep inside, Eva knows the danger lies not in Jamie, but in her, in the desire he awakens in her body and her heart.

When a mysterious band of armed mercenaries upends both their plans and abducts the priest, Jamie and Eva must form an uneasy alliance, and as civil war unfolds around them, they embark on an epic journey that betrays the truth about their identities, their unexpected loyalties, and the dangerous attraction that could seal their fates forever.

Okay, doesn’t that sound great?  You can pre-order Defiant at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and all other booksellers.  I would really encourage you to do so – it’s a wonderful book!

To celebrate the upcoming release of Defiant, I’ll be giving away a copy of Kris’s last book, The Irish Warrior. Just tell me what’s your favorite period for historical romance.  I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.

 


Gift Baskets Galore!

I normally try to blog three days a week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Despite my best intentions I didn’t manage to do that yesterday, because I was too busy making up fabulous gift baskets for the First Coast Romance Writers mini-conference that’s happening this Saturday, March 12, in Jacksonville, Florida.

Okay, I have a confession to make.  I didn’t really make up those baskets; my uber-talented stepmother did.  I did buy all the candy and treats for the baskets, though, and made sure my stepmom was well supplied with high-test coffee while she worked.  As you can tell by the pictures, she does do great work.

Here’s the basket that contains a whole mess of books from Kensington Publishing.  My editor, John Scognamigio, very kindly contributed a box of books to the conference, and other generous Kensington authors like Kate Douglas, Susan Fox, Marilyn Brant, Diane Whiteside, and Elizabeth Amber all sent books.

It will be a lucky pup who wins that basket, I can tell you!

And here are the two baskets I’m contributing.

The basket on the left contains books donated by friends and some of my favorite authors, like Eloisa James and Courtney Milan.  The basket on the right contains my books, including Mastering The Marquess, Sex And The Single Earl, An Invitation To Sin, and also contains an Advanced Reader’s Copy of my upcoming May release, My Favorite Countess.

How do get your hands on one of these lovelies?  Easy!  Just go to the First Coast Romance Writers website and sign up for our mini-conference on Saturday.  Our featured speaker is the fabulous CL Wilson, and we’re also hosting pitches with Avon editor Tessa Woodward and literary agent Emmanuelle Morgen.  It’s going to be a great day!


An Invitation To Sin: Introducing My Fellow Authors

Tomorrow marks the release of my novella in the anthology, An Invitation To Sin. There are four stories in this collection; the lead author is Jo Beverley, showcased on the blog on Friday.  Today I’d like to introduce you to the other authors in the anthology (although you likely already know who they are!):  Sally MacKenzie and Kaitlin O’Riley.

Sally MacKenzie is the USA Today bestselling author of the Naked nobility series, funny, sexy, Regency-set historicals.  As the NYT bestselling author Eloisa James said, “Naked, noble, and irresistible–who could resist one of Sally MacKenzie’s heroes?”  Her last book, The Naked Viscount, got a starred review from Booklist, and Sally’s books are published in Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, and even Slovakian!  Clearly, readers around the world agree that the Naked books are great, sexy fun.

Sally’s novella in An Invitation To Sin is called “The Naked Prince,”  and you can read an excerpt here.

Acclaimed author Kaitlin O’Riley writes passionate love stories filled with romantic intrigue. Publisher’s Weekly had this to say about her book, When His Kiss Is Wicked:  “O’Riley’s believable, charismatic characters…set this novel well apart from the usual romance fare.”

Her latest book, Desire In His Eyes, is book two in the Hamilton sisters series.  You can read an excerpt here.

The title of Kaitlin’s novells “A Summer Love Affair.” You can read an excerpt here.

One book and all these great authors!  Stop by my blog tomorrow for the release of An Invitation To Sin. I’ll be giving away two copies of the anthology to celebrate.

 


Breaking Out Of The Box

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I read a lot of historical romance novels.  I love the genre, of course, and have ever since my big sister introduced me to the delights of Georgette Heyer when I was just a tween.  And there are so many historical romance writers to love, monster talents like Loretta Chase, Teresa Medeiros, and Eloisa James, not to mention all the newer talent like Anna Campbell and Meredith Duran. Their books are marvelous reads and, as a writer, I always learn from them.

But sometimes, as both a writer and reader, I need to break out of the box.  It’s important to cross-pollinate ideas and themes – to not get stuck in the rut of doing the same thing over and over again.  I do that by reading other romance sub-genres, other types of fiction, and lots of history.  In doing so, I become a better writer and, I think, a more thoughtful person.

Two new-to-me authors that I’ve just discovered are Kelly Hunter and Meljean Brook.  I recently read a book by Hunter called Red-Hot Renegade, put out by Mills and Boon.

Hunter is really, really good.  Her writing is smart, sexy, and well-crafted, with surprising turns of phrase that, as  an author, had me seething with appreciative envy.  Her characters are engaging and sympathetic, and the emotion is intensely and movingly portrayed.  This book is category length, but Hunter packs a big punch into a shorter book.

Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke made it onto many best book lists of 2010, and rightly so.  It’s a phenomenally creative story that took the Steampunk genre by storm.  One of the things that first attracted me to the book was the riff on the Duke of Wellington’s nickname, the Iron Duke.  When Wellington was Prime Minister, he went through a period of extreme unpopularity.  His house was the target of window-smashers, which compelled him to have iron shutters installed to protect the glass.  In the case of Brook’s hero, the Iron Duke actually has iron in his bones.  That’s just one of the many cool details in the hugely imaginative and thought-provoking alternate reality that Brook creates.  If someone were to lock me in a dungeon and force me to name the best book I read last year, it would probably have to be The Iron Duke. It’s that smart, that thoughtful, and that damn enjoyable.

So, anybody else read something outside her usual box, lately?  Discovered any new-to-you authors that you want to share?


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