Guest Author: Zoe Archer & Giveaway!

I’m really pleased to have fellow Kensington author Zoe Archer return to the blog.  From historical paranormal adventure, to steampunk, to sci-fi, to historical romance, Zoe’s award-winning books feature confident heroines and sexy heroes in waistcoats and tall boots.  Like many authors, Zoe also is moving into the indie publishing realm, with a rewrite and re-release of her historical romance, Lady X’s Cowboy.

Let’s turn things over to Zoe to find out about her latest book.

When Worlds Collide

Some of the best stories happen when worlds collide.  What happens when people from vastly different circumstances find themselves thrown together?  Think of the educated, wealthy Professor Henry Higgins and the Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle.  Or member of Alderaan royalty and member of the Imperial Senate, Princess Leia and scoundrel smuggler Han Solo (yum!).

There might be tension between these disparate characters, but one thing’s for certain: sparks are going to fly!

In my historical romance, LADY X’S COWBOY, the heroine is a London Society widow.  Lady Olivia Xavier’s late husband may have purchased his title, but she’s still part of the social elite.  She goes to dinner parties, social teas, and has been trained since birth to be a proper lady.  However, Olivia isn’t exactly the model of high society perfection.  When her husband died, he left her a brewery, with the intent that the managers would run the business and she’d simply collect the profits.  But Olivia isn’t content with this arrangement.  She actually involves herself in the running of the brewery, making suggestions for improvements, and increasing profits.  Society’s stunned by her unconventional behavior, but she’s still accepted among their ranks because of her wealth and title.

Who could be more opposite from a titled London lady?  Why, a Colorado cowboy, of course!  Will Coffin was orphaned as a small child, and grew up in the rough and tumble towns of the Rocky Mountains.  The only family he’s ever known was the Jewish miner who raised him.  Will’s more familiar with life on the back of a saddle than he is with hearth and home.  He’s not even a farmer who’s put down roots, but a cattle puncher who’s lived his life on the trail.

Will comes to London in search of his long lost family, and that’s where he and Olivia meet.  He agrees to defend her brewery from someone who wants to take it over, and in exchange, she’ll help him find his family.  A Society widow and a Colorado cowboy couldn’t be more dissimilar—yet they’re both unique people, and that uniqueness draws them together.  I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises, but suffice it to say that there’s a lot more to Will than meets the eye.  And he sees a vivid, powerful strength and energy in Olivia—something no one else from her world recognizes.

Two extremely disparate people.  Two different worlds.  But sometimes the heart doesn’t pay attention to difference—it knows what it wants, rules and expectations be damned.

So, what are some of your favorite “worlds collide” stories?  It could be from books, television, or films.  Leave a comment, and I’ll pick one winner to receive a digital copy of LADY X’S COWBOY.  Open internationally.


Constrained by her life as a Society widow, Lady Olivia Xavier finds escape in two unusual ways: as the owner of a successful brewery, and as a secret reader of penny dreadful Western novels. But Olivia’s beloved brewery is being threatened, and she has no ally in her fight. Until a mysterious cowboy steps out from the London fog, saving her from a terrifying brawl. Suddenly, Olivia isn’t just reading about the Wild West, she’s living it.

Colorado cowboy Will Coffin has made the long journey from his Rocky Mountain home to discover his birthright. While searching for his family, he encounters the beguiling Olivia. Will’s never met a real English lady before—certainly not one as lovely and courageous as Olivia—and he can’t resist coming to her rescue.

Olivia is powerfully drawn to the rough but honorable cowboy. She proposes a most scandalous arrangement: in exchange for helping protect her brewery, she’ll help Will find his family. Even more scandalous is that he’ll be sleeping under her roof. The entire arrangement sets Society’s tongues wagging. Meanwhile, the danger to the brewery, and Olivia herself, keeps escalating. But nothing’s as dangerous, or seductive, as the growing desire between the lady and the cowboy…

Lady X’s Cowboy was originally published by Dorchester in 2006 and is newly revised by the author.

Zoë Archer is an award-winning romance author who thinks there’s nothing sexier than a man in tall boots and a waistcoat. As a child, she never dreamed about being the rescued princess, but wanted to kick butt right beside the hero. She now applies her master’s degrees in Literature and Fiction to creating butt-kicking heroines and heroes in tall boots. She is the author of the acclaimed BLADES OF THE ROSE series and the paranormal historical romance series, THE HELLRAISERS. She and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, created the steampunk world of THE ETHER CHRONICLES together.  Her steampunk romance, SKIES OF FIRE, is now available from Avon Impulse, and Nico’s steampunk Western, NIGHT OF FIRE, is also available now. Zoë and Nico live in Los Angeles.


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Guest Author: Katharine Ashe & Giveaway!

I’m so very thrilled to be hosting Katharine Ashe on my blog today.  Katharine is an award-winning author of historical romance who was described by Booklist in 2010 as “one of the new stars of historical romance.”  She’s both a talented writer and a truly wonderful person, and she’s here today to tell us about her new book.  How To Be A Proper Lady has already been getting phenomenal reviews, and is an Editors’ Choice for Best Book of the Month.

Without further ado, let’s talk to Katharine!

It seems we never lose our love for pirates and privateers – and no wonder, with the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow as a role model!  But How To Be A Proper Lady has several unusual twists.  Your hero is not your average English aristocrat or even your standard pirate, and your heroine is herself a privateer.  How did you come up with such an unusual idea?

It’s one of those Crazy Author things, Vanessa. The hero of How To Be a Proper Lady, Jin Seton, presented himself to me pretty much fully formed so I hadn’t much of a choice about who he was.

I’d just started writing Captured by a Rogue Lord. The hero of that book, Alex Savege, begins his story as a Robin Hood-style pirate who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Jin was Alex’s first lieutenant, and from the moment he spoke to Alex in the opening chapter of that book he told me who he was: not fully English, but a man with a brutal history who now sought atonement for the violent deeds of his past. I loved him. And I knew within minutes who his heroine would be: a strong, adventuresome woman, Viola Carlyle, the girl that had been abducted by her smuggler father fifteen years earlier and that everyone presumed dead.

Fortunately, Jin liked that idea. A lot. He told me he would find Viola and bring her home to her noble family. Of course, he didn’t count on Viola’s stubborn determination not to do his bidding, or his desire for her. Or hers for him! And that’s where the fun began…

In addition to being a fabulous romance writer, you’re also a history professor.  Did you draw on any models from the history books in creating the characters of Jinan and Viola?

Thank you! Yes, indeedy, the histories I read definitely inform my characters. Sometimes I get ideas from history books for specific things (like the captive English brides in my In the Arms of a Marquess), and sometimes the historical places and subjects I’m reading about more generally inspire characters or plots. I’m very fortunate that my husband and his friends happen to be the world’s foremost scholars of Caribbean history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, so I’m always reading their books and talking with them about it. It was a thrilling and dangerous time! I don’t need to invent anything; I just borrow it from history.  (Vanessa, here.  What a cool profession for your hubby–and very handy for a historical romance writer!)

Jin and Viola presented themselves to me after I’d been reading a lot about the shipping routes of the British Empire, and the movements of merchants, navies and slaves across the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Jin’s unsparing past and Viola’s profession came straight from my studies. And their sizzling romance? Well, that came from who they were in their hearts and what they each dreamed of becoming.

When you were writing this book, did anything surprise you? Any strange bits of research? Did the characters take you in unexpected directions?

Oh, yes! They took me to the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, which admittedly I’d anticipated. But what I hadn’t understood before was they couldn’t just sail down the U.S. coast from Boston; air and ocean currents required ships to sail east first, to Bermuda, then south. Also, because Jin does manage to haul Viola back to England and return her to her aristocratic roots, I learned alongside my poor sailor heroine a whole lot about the accomplishments expected of a proper lady in that society. Poor Viola! I suffered with her through every lesson in French, watercolor painting and etiquette that she was forced to endure.

Let’s say you were kidnapped by a ravishing pirate and taken to a deserted island. What two luxury items would you beg him to let you take, to make your stay that much more enjoyable?

I will respond to this question when my heart reenters my body. I mean, really, where does a girl I begin??? Satin sheets and a refrigerator filled with champagne!

And here’s the blurb for How To Be A Proper Lady:

The rules of being a proper lady

1) Never take steps greater than six inches apart
2) Never look boldly at a gentleman
3) And never, ever kiss a man who is not your fiancé…

But beautiful, bold Viola Carlyle doesn’t care about the rules. And she desperately wants to kiss the notoriously tempting Captain Jin Seton, the man who brought her kicking and fighting back to English society. Kidnapped as a child, now she longs to return to that life of freedom where she was able to live—and love—as she wished.

Having hunted Viola for two years, Jin Seton has finally found his good luck—for by finding Viola his oldest, deepest debt will at last be paid. And although he has vowed not to let her win his heart, this very improper lady might finally be the one who tames him.

Thanks for the great interview, Katharine.  I have to say, How To Be A Proper Lady has moved to the top of my TBR pile!  Readers, be sure to check out Katharine’s website for all the details and buy links, and to read an excerpt.

Katharine is also generously giving away copies of her previous books today.  For a chance to win a copy of When A Scot Loves A Lady or Captured By A Rogue Lord, tell us what your favorite pirate movie is.  My all-time favorite is Captain Blood, but I’m partial to space pirates too, like Han Solo in Star Wars!