Guest Author: Kate Noble & Giveaway!!

I’m thrilled to have the awesomely talented Kate Noble visiting the blog today.  Kate is the national bestselling author of the acclaimed Blue Raven Series, earning starred reviews from Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly (Follow My Lead), as well as a spot on the Best Romance list from Kirkus Reviews (The Summer of You) and a RITA nomination for best Regency Historical Romance (Revealed).  She’s also a member of the writing staff for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modern-day adaption of Pride and Prejudice.

Let’s find out what’s going on in Kate’s world, shall we?

You studied TV and film in college, and eventually worked in that profession.  Why the switch to romance writing?

It’s not a switch!  I’ve always loved romance novels, and I’ve always loved TV, so I decided to have a career in both. I write novels, but I also work for the small and smaller screen, my latest project being The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the hit web series retelling of Pride and Prejudice(You can visit Lizzie’s world on YouTube, folks)

How does your background in that visual medium help (or hinder) your writing?

I think it helps, honestly.  It makes me think differently about how I write my novels.  It make me think about what would be the best setting for a scene, the iconography of one place versus another.  It also makes me think about chemistry, and how much can be said without saying anything.

What can you tell us about your new book?  Is it part of a series?

My new book is set in the same Blue Raven world as my previous novels, but very much stand alone.  Bridget Forrester longs to meet a gentleman who doesn’t mention her beautiful sister (Sarah, heroine of If I Fall) upon shaking her hand. But since being branded a shrew after a disastrous social season, Bridget knows she’s lucky to even have a man come near her. It’s enough to make a lady flee the country…

So Bridget heads to Venice for music lessons with the renowned Italian composer Vincenzo Carpenini, with whom she’s been corresponding. But not only is Carpenini not expecting her, he doesn’t even remember her! His friend, theater owner Oliver Merrick, does, though. And one look into her tantalizing green eyes has him cursing his impulsive letter-writing, which brought her across the continent. Yet before Merrick can apologize, Carpenini has ordered her away.

Little does either man know that they will soon be embroiled in a wager that will require the beautiful Miss Forrester’s help—or that there’ll be far more at stake in this gamble than money…

What’s next in Kate’s writing world?

I am very excited about my next trilogy, the first of which will be out in 2014.  I’m also working on a comic book with Javier Grill-Marxuach (The Middleman) and artist Kel McDonald, as well as the Welcome to Sanditon web series.  Other than that, I have a couple of pet projects in the pipeline, that I hope to make see the light of day.

Wow!  Your plate is full with some very cool stuff, Kate!  Thanks for taking the time to be with us.  Readers, Kate is graciously giving away a copy today of If I Fall.  Since her latest book involves music and composers, let’s talk about that.  What’s your favorite music to listen to?  One person who comments will win a copy of If I Fall.

And don’t forget to check Kate’s website for more info on Let It Be Me, her new book.



Guest Author: Shirley Hailstock & Giveaway!

I’m SO thrilled to have a truly distinguished writer visiting the blog today.  She’s Shirley Hailstock, and she’s the talented author of twenty-nine novels and novellas, including her electronic editions.

Shirley has received numerous awards, including the Waldenbooks Bestselling Romance Award and Romantic Times Magazine’s Career Achievement Award.  Shirley’s books have appeared on Blackboard, Essence Magazine and Library Journal Best Seller Lists.  She’s also a past president of Romance Writers of America. the largest professional writing association in North America.  What a career!  I’m going to turn things over to Shirley, so she can tell us what’s going on in her world.

A Perfect Reading World

The revolution will not be televised, it will be digitized.  It’s a win-win situation and both authors and readers are the victors.  During the many workshops I’ve attended as a writer, I’ve heard that it’s the readers who determine the market.  Yet it’s been the publishers who tell us, romantic suspense is out; no one wants a book with sports heroes; creative people don’t sell; it’s a tight market and your book doesn’t fit.  Well all of those statements are moot now.  As a student, I learned theory, the way it’s supposed to work.  When I began working, I discovered practice was a totally different animal.  And this now true with books.

In the past few years a revolution has been taking place in the publishing industry.  Readers really do have the ability to dictate the market.  And the market has expanded exponentially.  With the introduction of the e-reader and the subsequent reduction in price the masses have embraced the device.  Authors have regained their backlists and begun updating and re-releasing books that were formerly unavailable through any source other than hit-or-miss at a used book store.

Authors, myself included, who three years ago scorned self-published books, have reversed our opinions.  Today we’re playing catch-up and using the Internet to put up both original titles and formerly published print books for which the rights have reverted.  Self-publishing is suddenly our friend.  In the past few months I’ve put up seven books, three original never-before-published titles and four updated re-releases of formerly published print books.

The Internet is both our friend and our enemy.  With the ease of uploading books and the many tutorials available to explain how it’s done, there’s a lot of junk out there.  There is also a serious amount of good stuff, excellent books, favorite authors and up and coming superstars.  As a writer, we know all our stuff is great.  As a reader, you have to decide what you want to read and what you will invest in.  However, I firmly believe the cream rises to the top and books that are well written and tell a great story will find readers.  Like browsing through a book store, the Internet is a different browse platform, but the way readers find good reads remains virtually the same; automatic buys of your favorite authors, word of mouth, author advertising, reviews, browsing for the type of books you like, etc.

All this talk about self-published books is not to say that our large print publishers are out.  We don’t want them out.  We don’t want them to become casualties of the revolution.  We want a fair playing ground that benefits both the author and the reader.  We want books, touchable books, books we can hold and smell and curl up with on a rainy afternoon.  We want books we can loan to friends, introduce to our children or give a place of honor on our keep shelf.

In this homogenous, albeit perfect world, readers can find whatever type of book they want.  If the print market is dictating that regencies have no readers, books about older couples, or beta heroes, westerns, time-travels are not selling, then those readers can check for e-books to satisfy their reading appetite.

So what happens when the revolution ends?  My crystal ball is dark on that subject, but my hope is that we create that perfect world where good storytelling is more important than uploading and where readers can find the books they want to read in whatever medium and whatever market may exist.

The revolution is not being televised.  But in the digital format, it’s coming of age.

I’d like to thank Vanessa for asking me to guest blog.  I mentioned I have eight books in e-format.  I also have twenty-seven books in print format and contracts for more.  The books I’m promoting here and offering as a contest win is Mirror Image.  It’s the story of a woman who looks so much like a famous talk show host (not Oprah) that the two could be sisters.  When an attempted kidnapping of the hostess occurs, the look-alike steps in to replace her.  The shows producer, with plans for his own career, is attracted to the replacement and while he never confuses the two women, he quick to see how a mirror image is not an exact match.

Here’s the e-book blurb:

Aurora Alexander found her doppelganger in the form of talk show hostess Marsha Chambers.  Yet the two of them couldn’t be further apart in personality.  Aurora, a trained psychologist, supports her mother’s nursing home expenses through celebrity impersonation.  Following a less than stellar interview with Marsha Chambers, Aurora is mistaken for Marsha by a kidnapper who attempts to abduct her.  Fighting him off long enough for producer, Duncan West, to scare the man away, Aurora’s life is plunged into danger for the famous face she wears.

Duncan West would like nothing better than to have his connections to the East Coast severed.  He wants to be in Hollywood making feature films, not adhering to the whims of a diva.  But when her look alike appears and he convinces her to stand in for the absent hostess, her life is put in danger and all Duncan instincts to stay away from her are put to the test.  Aurora is tied to the East by a suffering parent.  And Duncan wants to seek his fortune in the West.  Can East and West meet?

Giveaways: A copy of Mirror Image (choice of print or e-format), a Pashmina shawl and a couple of surprise goodies.

Vanessa, here.  Shirley, I agree with everything you say – I think it’s a great time for both readers and writers.  And what a wonderful giveaway!  Books, a beautiful shawl, and some surprises!  Readers, to be eligible for Shirley’s generous giveaway, just leave a comment telling us what you think about the digital revolution.  One person who comments will win the book, the shawl, and the surprise gifts.

And she sure to visit Shirley’s website for a list of all her books.


Guest Author, Linda Poitevin & Giveaway!

I’ve got a real treat for fantasy and urban fantasy readers today.  My guest author is Linda Poitevin, and she’s a rising star in this very competitive genre.  The first book in her new series, The Grigori Legacy, was released in September of 2011.  Since that time, Sins of the Angels has received great reviews.

Spectacular cover, isn’t it?  And take a look at this review from Library Journal:

“Strong storytelling and a pair of intriguing characters make this title a strong draw for urban fantasy readers and heralds a new voice in the genre.”

Linda’s my guest on the blog today, and she’s here to tell us about Sins of the Angels.

A Forbidden Love Story

Thank you so much for having me to visit today, Vanessa, and for the chance to tell your readers a little about SINS OF THE ANGELS: The Grigori Legacy.

The first in a series of four books, SINS OF THE ANGELS is a dark urban fantasy that crosses several genres, containing elements of a police procedural, a thriller, a paranormal, and yes, a romance. In fact, when I started writing the story ten years ago, it was intended to be a paranormal romance. A homicide cop and an angel tracking a fallen-angel-turned-serial-killer, discovering in the process that they are soul mates…how much more romantic potential could a storyteller ask for?

My little writer’s brain, however, kept getting in the way of true love. While the soul mate connection was real and almost tangible, my characters just would not cooperate with my efforts to get them past their differences and into the sack together. Yup, you read that right. There is no sex in SINS OF THE ANGELS. In fact, the scene that first sparked the entire story never even made it into the book…how sad is that?

I honestly don’t know who was more frustrated, me or poor Alexandra and Aramael, because even though there’s no love-making, there’s plenty of attraction…and tension. Instant, sizzling, and—from Aramael’s perspective—utterly forbidden even as the series continues into book 2, SINS OF THE SON (releasing March 27th). With the fate of the very universe at stake, it seems, the odds are against any kind of romance between our star-crossed characters.

But not, I think, against a love story that will remain with readers long after Alex and Aramael’s story ends.

A detective with a secret lineage. An undercover Hunter with a bullet-proof soul. And a world made to pay for the sins of an angel…

Homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis answers to no one. Especially not to the new partner assigned to her in the middle of a gruesome serial killer case-a partner who is obstructive, irritatingly magnetic, and arrogant as hell. Aramael is a Power–a hunter of the Fallen Angels.  A millennium ago, he sentenced his own brother to eternal exile for crimes against humanity. Now his brother is back and wreaking murderous havoc in the mortal realm. To find him, Aramael must play second to a human police officer who wants nothing to do with him and whose very bloodline threatens both his mission and his soul.

Now, faced with a fallen angel hell-bent on triggering the apocalypse, Alex and Aramael have no choice but to join forces, because only together can they stop the end of days.

Vanessa, here.  Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?  Be sure to visit Linda’s very cool website for excerpts, reviews, and buy links for Sins of the Angels and for information about her next book in the series.

For my readers today, Linda will give away a copy of Sins of the Angels.  Since Linda has already brought it up, let’s talk about sex!  Do you feel that sex is absolutely necessary in genre fiction that involves a love story, or do you think the story itself should drive the characters’ actions?  One person who comments will win a copy of Linda’s book.

Regency Friday Fun and Kate Noble Giveaway!

It’s a special Regency Friday Fun on the blog today because I’m featuring the uber-talented Kate Noble.  Kate’s books are wonderfully romantic and beautifully written, with great stories and unique, engaging characters.  Her first book, Compromised, became a national bestseller and received a starred review from Booklist, the prestigious review journal of the American Library Association.  Kate went on to write Revealed, which was nominated for a RITA Award from The Romance Writers of America, and The Summer of You, which was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Romance of 2010.  As you can tell from this short writing bio, Kate is truly one of the new stars of historical romance!

Follow My Lead is Kate’s latest book, which came out on May 3rd.

Aside from having one of the prettiest covers I’ve ever seen, the book has been getting phenomenal reviews.  It got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, and a starred review from Library Journal:

“The classic titled-hero-falls-for-independent-bluestocking-heroine plot gets a refreshing spin as Noble propels her characters on a passionate, whirlwind adventure. It will keep readers thrilled and on edge until the very end.”  — Library Journal, April 2011

Here’s the blurb for Follow My Lead:

Jason Cummings, Duke of Rayne is feeling the weight of his responsibilities – one of which is to get married. Being the most sought after bachelor in London can be trying, so who can blame him if he seeks refuge from the voracious hordes of young debutantes at the decidedly female-free Historical Society? Female-free, that is, until Winnifred Crane marches up to the door, demanding entrance.

Despite her prowess as a historian, Winn is denied membership to the Society. So she daringly offers an unusual bargain: if she can prove the authenticity of a certain painting, she’ll be granted recognition, fame, and respect. But to do that, she must go abroad. And to go abroad, she must have an escort, even a stubbornly unwilling one…

Jason has no desire to accompany Winn on her adventure across Europe, but even he is not immune to Winn’s passion for her profession. As the journey proves more difficult than planned, they must work together to stay one step ahead of their rivals… and the closer they get to the proof Winn seeks, the closer she and Jason become. But as their adventure turns dangerous, can Jason keep this headstrong bluestocking safe? And what will become of their growing bond when the adventure ends?

Now, does that not sound like a heck of a fun read?  I’m a sucker for a good road story/romance, so I’m telling you that I’m running out to buy this book today!

Kate also has one of the cutest book trailers I’ve seen in a long time, which you can view on her website.  And while you’re looking around Kate’s website make sure you check out her contest page.  She’s giving away great prize bundles of books to celebrate the release of Follow My Lead.  One of those bundles contains a copy of My Favorite Countess, by yours truly.

As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of Kate’s books and if you haven’t read her I’d like you to be, too!  So I’ll be giving away a copy of Follow My Lead to one person who leaves a comment by Saturday evening.  Just let me know what your favorite historical romance of all time is for a chance to win this fabulous book!