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: Kate Noble & Giveaway!

Those of you who stopped by the blog last week know that I did a feature on historical romance writer, Kate Noble.  I’m pleased to say that Kate is back on the blog today with an interview.  Pull up a chair, and let’s get to know her a little better!

What drew you to the Regency period as the particular setting for your novels?

I’ve always loved the Regency. I read Pride and Prejudice at the impressionable age of 15 and haven’t looked back. Since the Regency Era was mainly what I was reading, it makes sense that it would be what I started writing, right?

Also, the Regency is just jam packed with so much goodness. From Prinny to Beau Brummell to the Napoleonic Wars to Byron to Austen herself, the era is such a fascinating time for London – a sprawling city that was as old as Hadrian’s Wall but felt new, like it was bursting at the seams to grow.

Your new historical romance is out, and it combines passion, adventure, romance, and a little danger, too. Can you tell us a little bit about it? What gave you the idea for this book?

The idea from this book sprang from a slightly sad tale. Once upon a time, I got dumped. Don’t worry, I survived it, but recalling that time got me thinking – what would it take for someone in the Regency Era to survive getting dumped? What if it was a broken engagement? What if it had been to a duke? How could you ever go out in society again?

Well, Miss Sarah Forrester goes through all that (her heart cruelly broken at the end of my previous book Follow My Lead) and she not only survives, but she thrives! Reinventing herself as the Golden Lady, Sarah becomes the most sought after young lady of the ton, and the façade not only saves her socially, but keeps her vulnerable heart safe. The only person who can see through the façade is her childhood friend, Lieutenant Jackson Fletcher. And he will do anything – even dressing up as Sarah’s girlhood crush, the mysterious spy known only as the Blue Raven – to bring her out from behind the mask and back to the sweet and loving girl he once knew.

Too bad the real Blue Raven isn’t nearly as amused by Jack’s costume. Although he does need his help in solving a murder…

When you were writing the book, did anything surprise you? A bit of research, characters going off in an unexpected direction?

I’m always surprised by what my character end up doing and saying to each other – but sometimes the most interesting things are in the development of my secondary characters. Sometimes one random line makes the light bulb ding over my head and I think “Oh, that would make an excellent storyline for this other character’s book, next!”

Was there a model for your dashing hero, or did you pull him straight from your mighty brain?

Well, I sort of modeled him on Wesley from The Princess Bride with a dash of Captain Jack Aubrey from Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World. Although, in my head, he looks exactly like Taylor Kitsch.

Thus he sprang forth from the depths of my mind and, after a quick lesson, began to swashbuckle with aplomb!

Thanks so much for being with us today, Kate!  And since you gave away books last week, I’d like to return the favor today.  I’ll give away two copies of my first book, Mastering The Marquess, to two folks who comment on the blog today.  I was thinking the other day about dinner parties and fun guests.  If you could sit next to anyone in the world at a dinner party, who would it be?  Feel free to select from the past or present.  I mentioned on facebook the other day that I’d love to sit next to Ellen DeGeneres at a dinner party.  I think she’d be a hoot!

Guest Author: Marilyn Brant & Giveaway!

I’m very happy to have one of my writing pals on the blog today.  She’s acclaimed women’s fiction author, Marilyn Brant.  Marilyn has spent most of her life immersed in the written word.  She’s a former teacher, a library staff member, freelance magazine writer, and national book reviewer.  It’s no wonder, then, that she writes award-wining books that are witty, smart, and totally engaging.

Marilyn burst onto the scene with her debut book, According to Jane, which won the prestigious Golden Heart Award from the Romance Writers of America.

Take a gander at the blurb for this book:

It begins one day in sophomore English class, just as Ellie Barnett’s teacher is assigning Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. From nowhere comes a quiet “tsk” of displeasure. The target: Sam Blaine, the cute bad boy who’s teasing Ellie mercilessly, just as he has since kindergarten. Entirely unbidden, as Jane might say, the author’s ghost has taken up residence in Ellie’s mind, and seems determined to stay there.

Jane’s wise and witty advice guides Ellie through the trauma of adolescence and beyond, serving as the voice she trusts, usually more than her own. Years and boyfriends come and go, but Jane’s counsel is constant, and on the subject of Sam, quite insistent. Stay away, Jane demands. He is your Mr. Wickham.

Still, everyone has something to learn about love — perhaps even Jane herself. And lately, the voice in Ellie’s head is being drowned out by another, urging her to look beyond all she thought she knew and seek out her very own, very unexpected, happy ending…

Seriously, doesn’t that sound great?  Readers can certainly see why reviewers called Marilyn’s debut smart and wildly inventive.  Marilyn’s second book, Friday Mornings at Nine, was a Doubleday Book Club & Book-of-the-Month Club Featured Alternate Selection for October 2010.  Wow!  Impressive, eh?

And here’s what NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Simone Elkeles had to say about Marilyn’s books:

“Reading a Marilyn Brant book is like eating a piece of rich chocolate – it gets you excited, it’s deliciously satisfying, and it leaves a smile on your face after you’ve finished it!”

Marilyn’s fans are eagerly anticipating her next book, A Summer in Europe, which will be released by Kensington Publishing on November 29.

This book has already been picked as a Literary Guild & Rhapsody Book Club Featured Alternate Selection for December 2011.  How cool is that?

Here’s the blurb for A Summer In Europe:

On her 30th birthday, Gwendolyn Reese receives and unexpected present from her widowed Aunt Bea: a grand tour of Europe in the company of Bea’s Sudoku and Mahjongg Club. The prospect isn’t entirely appealing. But when the gift she is expecting — an engagement ring from her boyfriend — doesn’t materialize, Gwen decides to go.

At first, Gwen approaches the trip as if it’s the math homework she assigns her students, diligently checking monuments off her must-see list. But amid the bougainvillea and beauty of southern Italy, something changes. Gwen begins to live in the moment — skipping down stone staircases in Capri, running her fingers over a glacier in view of the Matterhorn, racing through the Louvre and taste-testing pastries, wine and gelato. Reveling in every new experience — especially her attraction to a charismatic British physics professor — Gwen discovers that the ancient wonders around her are nothing compared to the renaissance unfolding within…

A Summer in Europe has already been getting fantastic reviews, which you can check out on Marilyn’s website.  If you like beautiful, warm stories with lots of wit and heart, I think you’ll really love Marilyn’s books.  And by the way, while you’re visiting Marilyn’s website, check out her ebooks – two really fun romantic comedies.

For my readers today, Marilyn has graciously donated a copy of A Summer in Europe.  Since the book takes place in Europe, let’s talk about that.  If there was only one country you could visit on that wonderful continent, which one would it be, and why?  One person who comments will win a copy of Marilyn’s book!




Anna Campbell Is In The House!

I’m so excited to be hosting the wonderful Anna Campbell, who truly needs no introduction.  Oh, heck.  I’m going to introduce her anyway!  Anna writes the most lusciously sensual, fantastically lyrical Regency-set historical romances, with brooding heroes, intelligent heroines, and tons of passion and drama.  Her first book, Claiming The Courtesan, rocked the romance world.  It finaled in the presigious RITA Awards, and won the Best First Historical Romance Award in the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards.  Her books have finaled in or won numerous contests, and have received great critical acclaim.

Anna’s latest book is Midnight’s Wild Passion, and it’s bound to be another fantastic read!  Welcome to the blog, Anna!

A Classic Is a Classic Is a Classic

As Gertrude Steinway said,  tinkling away on her Mozart sonata in Paris.

Hiya Vanessa! Congratulations  on all the buzz about your latest release . Gorgeous cover! Thanks so much for having me as your guest today.

When people ask me about my latest historical romance, MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION (out 26th April, yahooooooo!), I tell them it’s a classic  Regency romance with Anna Campbell touches. And it is!

This book includes a whole stack of elements that have been the mainstay of Regency romances since their inception (going back to PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!). There’s an elopement. Actually there’s more than one elopement! There’s a duel. The characters join the glamorous social whirl that is the London Season. There’s an event-filled house party in Surrey. I could go on – you get the picture, I’m sure!

In fact, I went so far as to say to someone who asked me about MWP that in this particular book, my heroine gets to dress up rather than take her clothes off. Which is a bit of an exaggeration as I wrote quite a few luscious love scenes for the Marquess of Ranelaw and his heroine Antonia Smith.

You can read the blurb and an excerpt from MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION here.

In my other books, the characters operate outside society in many ways so their chances to go to parties are pretty minimal, poor dears. So I wondered where this sudden penchant for ballrooms and waltzes and brittle exchanges on the terraces of stately homes in MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION came from.

Then I remembered a significant fact, although its true significance had escaped me until now. Back about the stage I started MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION (about eighteen months ago), I had begun to re-read Georgette Heyer’s classic Regency romances published between 1921 and the mid-1970s. I devoured these books first as a girl in primary school – they’re terrifically popular down here in Australia, especially in libraries – then I re-read them as a teenager, then in my late 20s. Loved them every time, although interestingly my particular favorites changed from reading to reading.

About 18 months ago, I was asked to review DEVIL’S CUB for The Romance Dish site and I have to admit (shame on me!) that I picked up this book published in 1932 quite reluctantly. I worried that after having dined almost exclusively on modern dishes lately, this older read might have a slight whiff of being past its use-by date. And hey, I love sex scenes and I knew there weren’t going to be any of those!

But I gulped down the delicious story of wicked Lord Vidal and his stalwart heroine Mary in the space of a (very late) night. And I’ve been gradually picking up the ones I remember as favorites ever since. So far, I’ve been through THE UNKNOWN AJAX, VENETIA, THE GRAND SOPHY and FREDERICA. Every single one of them has been marvellous – sparkling and sexy and witty and beautifully written.

Georgette Heyer established the parameters of the classic Regency romance and I think one of the reasons this period continues to be so incredibly popular is that people just want to return to that world. I can see why – and it seems I’ve done an unconscious tribute to her genius in MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION.

So do you like the classic elements of a Regency romance? Do you have a particular favorite element? The parties? The rakes? The wit? The dresses? Are you a Georgette Heyer fan? Do you have a favorite?

One lucky commenter today will win a signed copy of MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION! Good luck!