The Next Big Thing!

My good pal Marilyn Bryant, author of A Summer in Europe, tagged me to take part in this blogging hop-along, and I thought it sounded like fun.  I’ll answer some questions about my current work in progress (WIP), and then tag five other authors to do the same thing on their blogs next week.

So, here goes on my Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book?  A Royal Seduction.

Where did the idea come from for the book?  From reading histories and biographies about the British Royals during the Regency period.

What genre does your book fall under?  Regency-set historical romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  I’ve already got them picked out.  Hugh Jackman would play my hero, and the heroine would be played by Piper Perabo.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  The illegitimate son of the Prince Regent, who is also a spy for the British Crown, must protect a young noblewoman (a beautiful and brilliant cardsharp) from kidnapping and forced marriage to a Russian prince.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  This is the first book in my new series, The Renegade Royals, for Kensington Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  Four months, which included the beginning of revisions.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  It’s a sexy Regency historical, with some adventure and a spy for a hero, so I’d say it’s similar to what Shana Galen writes.  But I also have quite a bit of humor and Regency social settings in my book too, so I think readers who like books by Katharine Ashe will like it, too.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I read a wonderful biography of the Prince Regent, the eldest son and heir of George III.  Like most of his brothers – who were a pretty scandalous lot – he had at least one or two illegitimate children.  All told, the brothers probably had close to twenty illegitimate offspring, some of whom were never identified.  I thought it would be pretty cool to write a series about those children who never emerged from the shadows of history.  They were the sons of princes, and yet had such murky backgrounds.  This WIP is my story of Aden, the Prince Regent’s bastard son.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  I really love the heroine and think she’s a very interesting character.  She’s funny and sweet, and a total math genius.  Her family is a nightmare, always spending themselves into massive debt, and Vivien has to use her math skills at the gambling tables of the ton to keep her family afloat.  She was a lot of fun to write.

And now I get to tag a few awesome author friends too, who’ll be posting about their latest projects on their blogs next Wednesday, Dec. 5th. Can’t wait to hear what they’re working on!!

Cynthia Eden, author of Angel in Chains

Monica Burns, author of A Bluestocking Christmas

Kris Kennedy, author of Deception

Manda Collins, author of How To Romance A Rake

Theresa Romain, author of Season For Surrender

Readers, be sure to check out these talented ladies next week and find out what they’re working on!




Guest Author: Manda Collins & Giveaway!

I’m thrilled to have my good friend and talented historical romance author Manda Collins on the blog today.  Mandy writes witty and charming Regency-set historical romance with a dash of mystery. Her first book, How to Dance With a Duke, debuted to great reviews and spent several weeks on the Bookscan bestseller list.  Let’s have a chat with Manda, and see what she’s up to with her latest book, How To Romance A Rake.

Your series is called The Ugly Ducklings. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what inspired the premise?

The concept of three cousins who are considered ugly compared to their glamorous mothers grew out of a story I read somewhere about the famous Gunning Sisters. They were real life Regency characters who came from no-one knows where and took the ton by storm with their beauty and married very, very well. I did a “what if” and wondered what it would be like to be the daughter of such a famed beauty–especially a daughter who suffers by comparison. I came up with the Fabulous Featherstone sisters and out of that grew their daughters, the Ugly Ducklings.

The heroine of How to Romance a Rake, a tremendously appealing character, is not your conventional Regency miss. Can you tell us a little bit about her?

Juliet Shelby is the daughter of Rose, Viscountess Shelby, who is, unfortunately, the vainest of the Featherstone sisters. And when Juliet suffers a disfiguring accident in her teens, Rose thinks not of how awful it must be for Juliet, instead she thinks of how having a daughter who is less than perfect will reflect upon her. So she does her best to make sure that Juliet gets very little notice from the ton. Along with her cousins, Cecily and Maddie, Juliet spends a lot of time sitting out dances with the other wallflowers. But despite her mother’s restrictions, Juliet has managed to become an accomplished pianist. And when her music teacher goes missing Juliet joins forces with swoony Lord Deveril to search for her.

Your stories often revolve around a mystery element. What do you like about combining mystery and romance?

I really like having a strong external conflict for my hero and heroine to work together to solve. My favorite romances are the ones where there is teamwork between the main couple, and what better way to put them to work than in solving a mystery in which the stakes are high for one or both of them?

You’ve recently ventured into the realm of indie publishing. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

In May, I self-published a contemporary novella called LEGALLY YOURS. It’s a reunited lovers story about two former law school classmates who meet again years later. One is a corporate lawyer and the other, who didn’t finish law school is working as a paralegal. Sparks fly, and one thing leads to another and…well, you get the idea. I hope to publish a follow up story in the coming months but it depends on my historical writing schedule. I’ll keep you posted!

What’s up next for Manda?

In January, the third and final Ugly Ducklings story, HOW TO ENTICE AN EARL will be released. It’s Maddie and Monteith’s story and I think readers are really going to love seeing these two together. I know I had a lot of fun writing them!

Thanks so much for being with us today, girlfriend! And here’s the blurb for How to Romance a Rake:

Dancing with Danger

What’s a nice girl like Miss Juliet Shelby doing in a place like Lord Deveril’s ballroom? With her shy demeanor, she’s a total stranger to the dance floor and a source of mockery for the ton. So imagine her surprise when Deveril gallantly comes to her defense—and offers to teach her to dance! Juliet can hardly believe the most handsome bachelor in London would notice her, until he takes her in his arms and sets her heart ablaze…

Playing with Fire

Lord Alec Deveril has never felt such a spark of attraction for an unmarried lady before. Unlike the “fashionable” women he’s accustomed to, Juliet possesses a generous spirit, a fiery intelligence—and an explosive secret. Deep in the London underworld, a dear friend has vanished, and Juliet fears the worst. Deveril insists on helping, escorting her through the darkest alleys in town. But he too is hiding a shocking secret—and the only way he can defeat the devil in his past is to seduce the angel in his arms …

Sounds great, doesn’t it?  I had the good fortune to read this book in advance, and I can tell you it’s a tremendously charming and heartfelt book.  If you enjoy Amanda Quick’s historical mysteries, you’ll love Manda’s books.  And for my readers today, Manda is giving away a copy of her first book, How to Dance With a Duke to one person who comments.  Just tell us about one of your favorite mystery or suspense books for a chance to win.

And don’t forget to check out Manda’s website for excerpts and more interesting stuff!



A Boatload of Winners!!

Boy, have I let the winners pile up on the blog!  Here we go…

For Manda Collins’ new e-novella, the winners are:  Janie C, bn100, StacieD, Artemis, Tin.

And the winner of Manda’s ARC of her next book, How to Romance a Rake, is Alisha Woods.  Alisha also wins a copy of Legally Yours.

The winners of my Mother’s Day giveaway are Lisa B & MicheAnne Oboyle, who both win a copy of my new VK Sykes e-book, Fastball, and Sienny, who wins a copy of Mastering The Marquess.

Finally, the winner of Elise Rome’s upcoming release, The Sinning Hour, is Tina Rucci.

Congratulations to the winners!  I’ll be in touch soon.  And thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  My guest author on Thursday will be acclaimed historical romance writer, Miranda Neville.

Guest Author: Manda Collins & Giveaway!

My most excellent friend Manda Collins is back with us on the blog today.  Manda writes witty Regency-set historical romance with a dash of mystery for St. Martin’s Press.  Her books are simply lovely and fun, and if like historical romance and you haven’t read Manda…well, do!

But Manda is branching out these days, and she’s here to tell us all about it.  Take it away, my lady!

And Now for Something Completely Different

Have you ever felt yourself falling into a rut? Doing the same old same old starts to pall. The tried and true routines that might have given you comfort in the past begin to grate on your nerves. And soon you find yourself searching for something—anything—to change up the sameness of the days.

This is the just the situation that the heroine of my novella, Legally Yours, finds herself in. After years spent raising her younger sister after the death of her parents, Julie Streeter finds herself in the unusual position of suffering from empty nest syndrome—at the ripe old age of 30!

Now, I’ve never been in that kind of situation, but I can definitely relate to the feeling old bit. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you view it), I was one of those kids who was born old. My Great Aunt told me this hilarious story once of how she was riding in the car with my Mom and me (and it was the 70s so like any 4 year old of the era, I stood/sat on the armrest between the two front seats) and I very calmly and precisely told my mother where she should turn, and basically was being a big old back seat driver.

At age FOUR! So, you can imagine what I was like as I got older.

I read somewhere once, that Capricorns—among whose ranks I fall—tend to age backwards. That is, they start out as “old” children and then gradually as they age they become more and more carefree and childish. Not that I will EVER admit to being childish, but I can totally understand how this character assessment could be spot on for me.

When I was a child and a teenager, I was far too busy being a grownup to behave in a childlike manner. The same holds true for my writing career.

Though I’ve applauded and read lots of erotic romance over the years, always something has held me back from trying to write it myself. Perhaps it’s the whole Catholic upbringing thing. Perhaps it’s my family’s lack of respect for romance as a genre (though since I’ve gotten published they’ve gotten more respectful). Whatever the case, something kept me from taking the plunge, so to speak, into the erotic arena.

Now keep in mind, this has NOTHING to do with my respect for erotic romance. I respect the hell out of anyone who writes openly about sex. My reticence has more to do with my own fear of putting myself out there.

But, I realized something a few weeks ago when I turned in the revisions for my third Ugly Duckling book. I am not so very many years away from the big 4-0. And like Julie, I’ve realized that there are some things I’d like to do. Some risks I’d like to take.

So I wrote Legally Yours. And self-published it. And the sky did not fall! (Though we did have that enormous supermoon! Coincidence? Who knows!) So, item one on my own “Before Forty” list has been dutifully checked off! Woohoo!

So, dear reader, what about you? Have you ever found yourself feeling the need to change the status quo? Have you ever taken a risk just for the heck of it? Or, is there something you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t gotten up the courage to try yet? Inquiring minds want to know! I’ll be giving away FIVE copies of Legally Yours to randomly chosen commenters. And one sixth commenter will receive BOTH a copy of Legally Yours and an ARC of my next Ugly Ducklings book, How to Romance a Rake!

Vanessa, here.  Zounds!  What an offer!  Five copies of Legally Yours AND an ARC of How to Romance a Rake!  That is one heck of a deal.  So, readers, get to answering Manda’s question.  Let’s get this conversation going!