Guest Author: Shana Galen & Giveaway!

I’m always really happy to host historical romance authors, and today’s guest is both a talented writer and one of my favorite return visitors.  She is Shana Galen, and she’s the author of numerous fast-paced adventurous Regency historical romances, including the Rita-nominated Blackthorne’s Bride. Her books have been sold worldwide, including Japan, Brazil, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and the Netherlands, and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs.

Trust me, Shana has some serious writing creds.  And she’s here today to talk about her new historical romance, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride.

Shana, since you write sexy and adventurous historical romance, pirates seem right in your wheelhouse. How did you come up with the idea for this book? Any secrets you’d like to share?

Hi, Vanessa! Thank you for having me back.

Yes! Pirates are perfect heroes for me, and I have always wanted to write a book with a pirate hero or heroine. And that’s how I came up with the idea for this book. I thought, I still want to write that pirate book and I have this third brother who disappeared when his family’s chateau was attacked during the French Revolution. One brother escaped. One brother was caught. I bet the last brother grew up and became a pirate!

Secrets? If you know me at all, you know I’m not a plotter. But I have to give my editor something to go on to sell a book, so I usually write a blurb/mini-synopsis of some sort. In my blurb for this book, I had the heroine taking over Bastien’s ship and throwing him in the hold. That seemed a fun story to write, but it didn’t turn out that way.

Did you model your hero on any particular pirates we know and love?

I’ve always been partial to Errol Flynn’s pirates. I know Jack Sparrow is a favorite of many readers, but I don’t think he and Bastien have much in common, except Bastien also likes rum. I had Harrison Ford in Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark in mind sometimes when I wrote Bastien’s scenes. Bastien has a sort of charming arrogance that makes me think of Ford’s characters.

When you were writing this book, did anything surprise you? Any strange bits of research? Did the characters take you in unexpected directions? Enquiring minds want to know!

Oh, I am always taken in unexpected directions. As I said, I thought Raeven was going to take over Bastien’s ship. I do remember one point where I had to stop writing for a day or so (something I rarely do) and think about how I was going to make the book work. Bastien and Raeven were separated and I really didn’t see how to get them back together. My daughter was about 3 or 4 months old at the time, so fortunately I had lots of time to think while I was rocking her in the middle of the night or walking with her in her stroller. I remember figuring out the solution and being so excited and so frustrated that I couldn’t write the scene that minute!

As far as research, I had to do a lot because I didn’t know anything about ships and sailing. My dad helped me with a lot of it. The most interesting thing I learned was that pirates wore gold earrings so if they fell overboard and drowned, the people who found the body when it washed up on shore could use the gold to pay for a burial.

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’d ask for my iPad because I could finally read all the books I’ve downloaded and catch up on my TBR pile (in between the ravishing, of course), and I’d want a couple of boxes of cookies, preferably chocolate chip. I don’t really want to be stranded without some cookies to snack on.

Shana, you are truly a woman after my own heart, and I definitely want to come to your island.  BTW, I’m totally with you on the Errol Flynn pirates.  One of my all-time favorite movies is Captain Blood.  Talk about your hunky guys!

Folks, Shana will be giving away two copies of The Rogue Pirate’s Bride to readers in the U.S. and Canada.  To be eligible, just tell us who your favorite rogue is, either in books, TV, or on the big screen.  Two people who comment will win the copies of Shana’s wonderful book

And don’t forget to stop by Shana’s website for her latest news, and to read excerpts and details about all her books.



Guest Author: Michelle Beattie & Giveaway!

I’m thrilled today to have contemporary and historical romance author Michelle Beattie on the blog.  Michelle began her career as a published author with some really great books in one of the most entertaining sub-genres of romance – pirate books!

Here’s what RT Book Reviews had to say about A Pirate’s Possession:

“Beattie has made her reputation creating fast-paced, exciting high-seas adventure romances with feisty heroines, daring heroes, rapid-fire dialogue and a heady mix of passion, pleasure and exploits.  Her third novel is a delight to read with plenty to savor for the pirate fan hidden within all of us.”

Like many well-established authors, Michelle is moving into the realm of indie publishing, and she’s doing it with two new books – with a western historical romance called Another Chance, and with a contemporary romance called Love By Accident.  Let’s ask Michelle about her new books:

You started your career writing fabulous pirate romances.  Why the switch to contemporaries and Westerns?

Actually, I started my career writing westerns, except the industry at the time wasn’t interested in historical westerns. I actually wrote two, Another Chance being my first. Since they weren’t selling, I decided to try a contemporary. Love By Accident had been in my head since 1989. It’s loosely based on a true story of an accident that rocked our family but I wasn’t ready to write it. It wasn’t until 2006 that I felt I could write it and get the emotions out that I wanted to convey. I finished that book but before I could write anything else my dad died. For a year and a half after that, I couldn’t write at all. Everything was garbage. It wasn’t until I saw Pirates of The Caribbean-The Curse of the Black Pearl that all that changed. I never intended to write a pirate book, but Jack Sparrow and Johnny Depp changed all that for me. Johnny Depp gave me back my writing and, thanks to that, I published the first of 3 books. Anyhow, all that to say I really didn’t “switch” genres. As to more pirate books, yes, I’m actually hoping to start Pirates #4 this week. It’s always been a 5 book series in my head so I will finish it, though at this point I’m still looking for a publisher for them. However, you can also expect more westerns from me and more contemporary romances. I want to write the stories that touch me and pull at me so I’ll never be just a western writer, or just a pirate writer. I’m a romance writer and I’ll continue to write romances of multiple genres.

What do you read when you’re working on a manuscript?

Whatever. I don’t read the genre I’m writing necessarily. It’s whatever book I like at the time. For example right now I’m reading a historical regency but I was reading a contemporary when I revised Another Chance, so it just depends on what’s on sale at the time and what grabs my attention.

Do some genres help or hinder you in finding your voice or story?

I’ve been told that I have a contemporary voice that doesn’t always work well in historical novels, but I’ve also had fans write to me telling me that my books are easy to read and flow nicely, so I guess that’s personal on the part of the reader. For my voice, it’s my own and I don’t feel an influence in my historicals, but certainly in my contemporary I have had instances where I was influenced by a few of my favourite authors. As for my story, those ideas just come at me without rhyme or reason and are most often based on my dreams, desires or personal experiences so the genres don’t influence that.

Do you listen to music when you write? Any playlists you’d like to share?

Never. I need silence. I can’t even write well if someone else is in the house. I thought for my pirate series I could listen to the soundtrack, but I love that movie so much that instead of focusing on my story I was seeing the movie in my head.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what two luxury items would you bring with you?

Oh, that’s a hard one! For practicality, I’d bring blankets and a mattress. For fun, I’d bring a really hot, sexy man and a case of white wine.

Michelle, I want to come to your deserted island!  Thanks so much for being with us today, and we’ll look forward to all your new releases.

Readers, Michelle is graciously giving away copies of her new books.  One reader who comments will win a copy of Love By Accident and another reader will win a copy of Another Chance.  Just tell me what luxury item you would bring to a deserted island!