Guest Author: Janet Mullany & Giveaway!


I’m very pleased to welcome Janet Mullany to the blog today for an interview.  Janet writes everything Regency–from Regency vampires to hilarious and accomplished “Raucous Regencies.”  She’s also well-versed on a number of period topics, such as the life and role of servants in the Georgian era, and the history of black and Jewish populations in Regency London.

Welcome to the blog, Janet!

You’ve written Jane Austen Vampire novels, raucous Regencies, hot historicals, and contemporary erotic romances.  How do you keep all these genres from colliding in your head?

I really don’t! I have this nasty suspicion I write the same thing all the time. There’s a certain amount of overlap–my two Austen paranormals, Jane & the Damned and Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion derived from the research I’d done on the Regency, and in the raucous Regencies I let my funny self rip. My agent persuaded me I had a contemporary voice, although I’ve never been that convinced of it. It’s certainly not an American voice, but neither is it a contemporary English voice, which is why writing hot historicals is a natural for me. As for the heat level/eroticism, I’ve never held the industry view that explicit language = erotic writing. In some ways and in some scenes I think my raucous Regencies have the greatest heat factor–with massive apologies to the readers who applauded me for my courage in not including any of that nasty sex stuff. It’s most certainly there!

Jane Austen Blood

Before you became a writer you were an archaeologist, a classical music radio announcer, worked in the arts, and you were also a bookseller and editor.  How have these other careers shaped your work as a writer?

I’ve always been one of those people who’ve never known what they want to do when they grow up. So I developed this odd skill set–being able to shovel clay ten feet (archaeology, although I don’t think I could do it now), lift 50# in high heels (the arts–it’s amazing how much time you spend hauling around boxes of stuff), and talk quite happily into a microphone (not a skill that translates into anything else, other than being able to think on your feet). But almost all of these jobs involved having to write, sometimes because no one else could or would. The other main factor in all my odd careers was that I always found time to read and that’s what made me into a writer. I discovered that I could put stories together and invent characters on a stupendously boring excavation, the last one I worked on, which was quite some time ago. We spent weeks troweling huge areas smooth in a field in the middle of nowhere, occasionally turning up a chip of pottery, and you had to do something to entertain yourself. But I didn’t do anything about it until years later. At the time I thought it was probably some sort of minor mental disorder.

You have a new book out called A Certain Latitude (I love all the implications of that title!).  What’s it about?

It’s a substantial rewrite of a book published in 2007 called Forbidden Shores which was way ahead of its time in its filth level. The book never really worked and so when I got the rights back I decided to give it another try. A Certain Latitude was my first choice of title (I love the title too!), but quite honestly it was a book the industry didn’t know how to market. It’s about sex and abolition (my shorthand): In 1800 Clarissa Onslowe seeks to redeem herself with her estranged abolitionist family by publishing an account of slavery on the island dominated by powerful estate owner “March” Lemarchand. She doesn’t anticipate falling in love with him, or becoming involved in a triangle with the restless, lusty Allen Pendale, who is on a quest for his own identity. On the island where sugar rules love isn’t always sweet and nothing’s more bitter than falling in love with the one who can’t love you back.

Compared to most Regencies, this book has an unusual setting—on the high seas and in the West Indies.  How did the setting affect the story?


To a certain extent, it IS the story. My original plan was to set the book entirely in England, and concentrate on the conflict created by those who wanted to end the slave trade which was certainly the mainstay of the economy and created the great wealth of the Georgian era. It was a very divisive issue. My editor wanted me to set it in the Caribbean which I didn’t want to do because then I’d have to write about slavery. It wasn’t a romantic or exotic setting in this context. I didn’t want readers to anticipate a lovely romance on a pristine beach etc. The voyage out went on–and maybe still does–too long. I chopped out an entire chapter which is on my website. Naturally, heavy sigh, it was my favorite chapter. But I loved the idea of two people forced together in less than ideal circumstances and in a very confined space, learning about sex and love together.

What’s up next in your writing world?

When I was rewriting the book I began to wonder what would happen to the two main characters after having had such an adventurous sex life. It’s set seven years later and is called A Certain Proposition. (I guess I’d better finish it now!). It should come out in February if all goes to schedule.

Thanks so much for having me visit. It’s a great pleasure!

Readers, Janet has a question for us: “returning to the topic of settings, I’d like to ask what you consider a romantic setting for a book.”  One person who answers will win a Nook or a Kindle copy of the book!  And read below for a sexy and exclusive excerpt from A Certain Latitude.

Eyes almost shut, Clarissa slowed her breathing and decided to enjoy the sight of Mr. Pendale preparing for bed.

He sat on his box of belongings, which Clarissa had asked Peter the ship’s boy to move into the cabin, along with the bootjack. He eased off his boots and tossed them onto the upper berth, stood, stretched and hit one hand against a beam. Swearing softly under his breath, he stripped off his coat and waistcoat. In his shirtsleeves, he paused, face thoughtful, and untied his neck-cloth, drawing the creamy length of cotton from his shirt, and lifted one hand to unfasten the placket. A curl of black hair, similar to the dusting of hair on his hands and forearms, became visible as he undid the buttons.

She wondered if he intended to sleep in his shirt, and her question was answered when he stripped the garment off over his head, hunching his back, arms outstretched. With a shiver of delight she saw his chest, as dark-pelted as that first curl of hair had promised, the slick of hair under one arm as he stood over her to throw his shirt onto his berth. His stockings were good, serviceable gray wool, gartered with plain black ribbon, and she shut her eyes again expecting him to bend to remove them.

Instead he moved away—she felt his warmth retreat—and through half-closed eyes, she watched him rest one foot on his box of belongings, lean over, and pull at the black ribbon, drawing the knot untied with great care. He shook the ribbon out, stuffed it into his breeches pocket, then bent again to roll the stocking down and off. He stumbled a little as the ship dipped and stood, knees slightly bent, the bone of his bared shin sharp in the lamplight, swaying with the movement. She’d never seen a gentleman’s bare foot before, and it was somewhat disappointing that his was like anyone else’s, but broad and strong like the rest of him. His skin glowed gold; he sighed and scratched his chest while his other hand lowered to the fall of his breeches. His hand lingered, resting as though pointing the way to the noticeable masculine bulge, before he unbuttoned the top button on each side, and his breeches slid a little onto his hips. More golden skin, the dark eye of his navel, were revealed as the flap fell forward.

Did he know she watched? Was he performing for her? She squeezed her thighs together, tingling and aroused.

He lifted the other leg, bent, repeated the untying, rolling down, and tossed both stockings onto his bed.  His breeches now; another button loosened, a further slide down his hips, and he paused.

He reached for the lantern as the fingers of his other hand worked the next button.  The cabin plunged into pitch darkness and his breeches slithered down—she heard the rasp of wool on skin. There was a warm gust of air from his body, scented with his musk and sweat as he hoisted himself onto the upper berth—and she took a much-needed breath.

Intrigued?  Here’s a link to a deleted scene that Janet has on her website!

Free Kindle Book!!

My pal Mia Marlowe writes truly luscious historical romance.  And for you Kindle readers this week, her latest book, Stroke of Genius, is now on free from May 1st to May 5th.  This book has been getting great reviews, including this one from Booksmonthly:

Georgette Heyer with ripped Bodices!

“Crispin Hawke is awkward, dashing, self-assured, rude, everything you’d expect from Georgette Heyer, or even Jane Austen. Grace Makepeace is American. She’s tall, beautiful, and knows what she wants. But she falls for Hawke in a big way and decides that she wants him above everything else. Mia Marlowe is the mistress of saucy historical romances, and Stroke of Genius is pure delight!”

Here’s the blurb for this delightful book:

Can artistic genius…

Crispin Hawke, a brilliant sculptor, is revered by the ton. His works are celebrated in every fashionable parlor, and tales of his fiery bed skills whispered behind every fashionable fan.

transform an awkward heiress…

Grace Makepeace is determined to wed a titled lord, but her Bostonian bluntness leaves much to be desired among the well-heeled London crowd. So to gain their acceptance, she commissions the incomparable Crispin Hawke to sculpt her hands—and asks for love lessons on the side.

into the most sought-after original…

Crispin agrees to school Grace in flirting and the delights of the flesh. But when she catches the eye of a marquess, he realizes he’s done his job a little too well. And suddenly he knows Grace is the one masterpiece he cannot bear to be parted from.

without falling for her himself?

Check out Mia’s website for an excerpt and for the download links on Amazon!

Guest Author: Ashlyn Macnamara & Giveaway!!

I love having debut authors on my blog, and today I have someone special–she’s Ashlyn Macnamara and she writes gorgeous Regency-set historical romance.  Her brand new book is out, and it’s already getting fantastic reviews.  Let’s ask Ashlyn to to tell us all about it.

You’re a debut author – what did you do before you picked up your quill and started penning fabulous historical romance?

Oh dear, lots of things. I started out wanting to be a high school French teacher, until I realized I had to start out by being a substitute. I’ve worked retail. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom and a volunteer in the school library. Note how all these things kind of revolve around reading. Yes, even the retail. They sold paperbacks in the drugstore where I worked. I think I’ve always been surrounded by books in one form or another.

Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to publication?

While I’ve always read and made up stories in my head, I never tried writing any of them down until 2001–and then it was in the form of fanfiction. I didn’t finish anything original until 2008, but I had to write five manuscripts (and start a few others) before I produced anything publishable. But I had help along that road, too. One of the best investments I ever made in my writing career was bidding on a certain author’s critique in the Brenda Novak auction a couple of years ago. She was tough on me, but she said it was because I had potential. And she was completely right to give me a good kick in the pants.

I can’t thank you enough for that, Vanessa. *rubs backside* With your help, I finaled in the Regency category of the 2011 Golden Heart® contest, got the attention of an agent, and sold my finaling manuscript in fairly short order.

And I was thrilled to be part of that process, Ashlyn.  When I read your manuscript, I just knew you would go on to really wonderful things!

So, what can you tell us about A Most Scandalous Proposal? Where did you get the idea?

I didn’t start out with the intention of retelling Sense and Sensibility (only with love scenes). It just kind of happened that way. I wasn’t conscious of it until about chapter seven or so, and then I just went with it. I got the original idea because I’d read another romance where the heroine suffered from an unrequited crush on the hero at the beginning of the story, and she confided a lot of her angst to her sister. That got me thinking about how the sister’s views on love might be colored from listening to that.

And then around the same time I read another historical that featured a secondary romance which was nearly as prominent as the primary romance in the book. So that gave me the idea to tell both sisters’ stories in the same novel. And clearly the sisters had to have different personalities, so on turned out being ruled by her head while the other went more with her heart and emotions.

I’ll also say it’s not a completely faithful retelling of S&S. There are differences in the story line, and not just because I included some racier scenes–although I like to think that if Jane Austen were writing today, she’d totally go there.

What’s up next for Ashlyn Macnamara?

My second book, A MOST DEVILISH ROGUE, is coming August 27th. It’s more of a traditional historical in that I haven’t attempted another double romance story line. My titular rogue is George Upperton, the best friend of one of my hero’s from the first book. George is a bit of a smart-ass with a penchant for landing himself in trouble. And he’s landed himself in a lot of trouble at the outset of his story. Plus he’s about to fall really hard at the worst possible time. Oh, and according to my cover art, he has some really, REALLY nice assets. I may have written in a little extra description based on that cover.

Thanks so much for being with us today, Ashlyn!  Readers, trust me–you are going to want to read this book!  And one lucky person will win a copy today of Ashlyn’s book.  Since A Most Scandalous Proposal is partly a retelling of Sense and Sensibility, let’s talk about Jane Austen.  Who’s your favorite Jane Austen hero, in either the books, TV adaptations, or movies?

A Most Scandalous Proposal

After watching her beloved sister Sophia pine over the ton’s Golden Boy for years, Miss Julia St. Claire has foresworn love and put herself firmly on the shelf. Unfortunately, her social-climbing mother and debt-ridden father have other ideas, and jump at the chance to marry Julia off to the newly-named Earl of Clivesden…the man of Sophia’s dreams.

Since resigning his Cavalry commission, Benedict Revelstoke has spent his time in London avoiding the marriage mart. But when he discovers that the Earl of Clivesden has set Julia in his sights, Benedict tries to protect his childhood best friend from the man’s advances—only to discover more than friendship driving his desire to defend her. He surprises them both with the force of his feelings, but when she refuses him and her father announces her betrothal, he fears he’s lost her forever—until Julia approaches him with a shocking scheme that will ruin her for all respectable society…

…and lead them into an exquisite world of forbidden pleasures.



Guest Author: Alyssa Goodnight & Giveaway!

I’ve got a very special guest on the blog today, one who fits in perfectly with the recent 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride & Prejudice.  She’s Alyssa Goodnight, and she writes delicious and quirky contemporary romance inspired by Jane Austen.  Her first book got great reviews, including this one from Publishers Weekly:

“Jane Austen meets Austin, Tex., in this fast-paced, quirky novel about the unpredictability of love. … Goodnight’s breezy style with a believable heroine, lively conflicts and lots of best-friend confidences elevates this above the usual chick lit fare.”

Alyssa has a new book just out.  Let’s ask her about it, shall we?

Jane Austen meets Austin, Texas, is how Publisher’s Weekly described your previous book, Austentatious. Austensibly Ordinary also plays off Jane’s beloved canon of books. How did you come up with such a great idea?

Honestly, it was quite by accident. I had just started writing the manuscript that would become Austentatious and was trying to incorporate a magical journal into the story. Meanwhile, I was loving all the Jane Austen fan fiction options, and suddenly it hit me: What if the magic in the journal was coming from Jane Austen, match-maker extraordinaire?? I thought it was a super fun idea, and just what the story needed. And honestly, I had such fun writing it and imagining the possibilities if it were actually true… Austensibly Ordinary was just as fun, and and now I’m feeling like I might need to write a few more stories that feature the Jane Austen Journal.

What’s Austensibly Ordinary about?

Austensibly Ordinary is about two best friends, Cate and Ethan, both high school teachers. Cate feels like she’s in a rut and needs a little adventure–maybe even an alter ego… She also suspects that Ethan is keeping something from her–something big–and she’s determined to ferret it out. When Cate stumbles across the journal, intending to use it to chronicle her newly exciting life, she doesn’t realize that its magical messages are about to wreak some serious havoc in her life and relationships. Loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, it’s light and fun women’s fiction.

Your first book was a Regency historical romance. Why the switch to contemporary fiction?

For the simple reason that there was a shift in my reading preferences. For years, I read a TON of Regency romances, so when I decided I wanted to try writing a book, my natural inclination was to write a Regency. My Regency novel is Unladylike Pursuits. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I adore the Regency period, but my tastes started to run to chick-lit, and then Jane Austen fan fiction. From there, it just seemed a natural slide into my own Jane Austen-inspired homage.

What’s up next for you?

I’m currently working on the first book in a series of contemporary romance novels set in the Texas Hill Country, tied together with a hint of magic.

There you have it, readers.  For those lovers of contemporary romance, chick lit, and/or Jane Austen, Alyssa’s books are just perfect for you!  For my readers today, Alyssa is giving away a copy of her first book, Austentatious.  For a chance to win, simply tell us which is your favorite Jane Austen novel, or an Austen-inspired movie or TV show.  One person who comments will win Alyssa’s fabulous book!

And don’t forget to visit Alyssa’s website for all her book info.


Guest Author: Mary Campisi & Giveaway!

I’m so pleased to have contemporary and historical romance author Mary Campisi visiting with us today.  Mary has been published with Kensington Publishing, Carina Press, The Wild Rose Press, and Jocelyn Hollow Romance. Two years ago, she began digitally self-publishing her front and backlist books. In October, four short months after she offered her contemporary romance, A Family Affair, as a free download on Amazon, Mary had over half a million downloads!

Wow, that’s amazing!  Let’s have a little chat with Mary and find out what else is going on in her world.

You have both contemporary romances and historical romances under your writing belt – do you prefer one genre over the other?  What attracts you to these two different genres?

I began with historicals for the pure joy of falling into romance through a fairytale setting. The beautiful young women, the wealthy men, the titles, the gowns, even the villains are pure fairytale material reminiscent of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Sleeping Beauty. The historical lifts me up and carries me away into happily ever after. And here’s a confession; I watch Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice at least once a month. (The Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley version.) I know many Austen critics say it’s not true to the story, but I can’t help it, the chemistry is there for me. I love the scene in the rain when Mr. Darcy professes his love for Elizabeth and proposes — she rejects him and then there is the ‘almost’ kiss. And when Mr. Darcy hands Ms. Elizabeth into the carriage and squeezes her hand, I can feel that emotion.

Writing contemporary romance comes naturally to me. Most of my contemporary works are hybrids; combination contemporary romance and women’s fiction. I love to explore relationships and how they are affected by things like betrayal, deception, death, or dealing with the aftermath of a difficult decision. I’ll toss these things at the main characters and see how they do or do not deal with these issues. Once they’ve struggled enough, I’ll follow them along on their character growth trail and cheer as they find that second chance at life and love.

Your books have a lot of heart and you don’t dodge the tough stuff.  Why is that?

I guess I write about tough situations because I’ve lived through quite a few of my own. I know what betrayal feels like, and loss—of dreams, hope, a marriage— and I understand the pain, the self-doubt, the not knowing if you’ll ever feel whole again. I use these emotions to create my characters and to explore relationships that are less than perfect – but are real life as I see it. It’s interesting that you should mention this because I’ve recently begun analyzing the recurrent themes in my books and I’m compiling a collection of short stories with a commentary tied to each which addresses the reason behind the story and the novel/s with like themes that grew out of those stories. My biggest and most used theme is second chances. And of course, I often write about that one true love that surpasses time, situation, and circumstance.

What can you tell us about your upcoming release, Simple Riches?

Simple Riches is a contemporary romance set in a small town much like the one in northwestern Pennsylvania where I grew up. Here’s the blurb…

Alexandra Chamberlain is a cosmopolitan woman whose uncle taught her to discard everything but the bottom line on a balance sheet. She’ll do anything to earn his approval and prides herself on excelling at her job, which is selecting small towns to buy up, flatten, and replace with luxury resorts. When Alex decides to investigate Restalline, Pennsylvania as a potential site for the next resort, she enters the town under the guise of a researcher gathering information for a documentary. It should be easy, just like all the others. But this town is different, from Alex’s zany landlord to Nick Androvich, the town doctor with a battered heart who questions Alex’s motives yet can’t deny his attraction to her. As Alex and Nick explore their growing relationship, they must face the truth about each other and themselves as they search for their own Simple Riches.

And now for the fun question:  If you were stranded on a deserted island with the man of your dreams, what two luxury items would you bring along with you?

A razor? Hmmm. A toothbrush and Colgate Total Advanced Clean toothpaste? Oh, no…my very favorite Caribou coffee – decaf and regular, depending on morning or evening. And I’ll need cream. Or are there animals that produce milk on this island? Black coffee bothers my stomach. I guess I can forgo the coffee machine because there won’t be electricity but the man of my dreams is highly intelligent and capable of constructing an apparatus to brew coffee. I suppose I can craft a mug of some sort – I’m quite crafty…Ooops..forgot about soap. I’ll need quite a bit of that. Maybe a tube or two of Bath & Body mentha chapstick and moisturizer…and shampoo. Did I say dental floss? Hmmm. Where will we sleep? And what about pillows? We can share T-shirts but not shorts – I am a bit curvier than the man of my dreams! Do you know what kind of food will be available on this island? Exotic fruits? Veggies? Fish? I bet I’ll have a lot of time to write, so will need several notebooks and pens. I think that’s it. Let me think. Oh, no. What about toilet paper? I bet THAT’s not provided. Well. I’ll have to think about that. I’m not going to ask the man of my dreams if he’ll need anything, because he’ll have me – what else could he possibly need?!

So, I can really only pick two things? Okay. Two suitcases stuffed with all of the above!

Clever, Mary!  I just might let you get away with that.  For my readers today, Mary is giving away a copy of Simple Riches.  For a chance to win, just tell Mary and me what are a few of the simple riches in your life.

Simple Riches – Amazon  B & Ni-Tunes

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