Two Authors & Two Giveaways for the price of one!

My Kensington Books co-author and pal Theresa Romain and I both had books released last week.  By sheer coincidence, they’re both Christmas-themed, Regency-set historical romances.  Cool!  We thought it would be fun to do a joint interview, so that’s what we did.  Even better, we’re giving away copies of our books, Season For Surrender and His Mistletoe Bride!

Part One of the interview is on Theresa’s blog.  Hop over there first, and then come back here for Part Two.

Part Two:

Vanessa: The characters came first. When I started to think of the heroine for this book—the hero had already appeared in a previous book so I knew he was a soldier—I wanted to create a woman who could really stir things up. Phoebe, a gentle but very principled person, was the perfect match for a tough guy like Lucas. The plot then naturally evolved out of the various points of conflict and agreement in their personalities, and it rolled from there.  It also helped to have a great example in the previously mentioned classic movie, High Noon.

And since we’re talking about the classic tropes—which I always enjoy—I love the setup for your novel: the rake and the bluestocking. But you brought such a fresh twist to it. Louisa is a woman who loves books and is not shy about that at all, even though it does make her an outsider in aristocratic society. But she doesn’t care, and that’s fabulous. Did you start out wanting to do your own take on the rake and the bluestocking?

Theresa: When I was writing my debut, I knew I wanted to write a follow-up story for Louisa and Xavier. You’re absolutely right that their pairing is a take on the rake and bluestocking romance—though that tale has been done so often, and so well, that I knew I needed a twist on it.

In SEASON FOR SURRENDER, it was a fun challenge not just to bring together these two seeming opposites, but to show how they’re not really opposites at all. As my husband (always one of my first readers, bless him) said about an early draft of SFS, “I don’t see them lasting long-term if Xavier doesn’t like books.” “Keep reading,” I told him. Because I agreed: a true rake and a true bluestocking don’t have much in common, but a rake with an intellectual heart and a bluestocking who’s ready to push her own boundaries can find points to build a relationship on, and they can respect each other’s strengths.

Vanessa: Yes, exactly. He’s really an intellectual masquerading as a rake—so great!

Theresa: Thanks! He actually became more so as I was writing, and I went back and planted clues and hints once I was done. Louisa loves puzzles, and she just can’t figure him out like she expects to.

How about Phoebe and Lucas? They make a good partnership since she balances his sense of duty with a wonderfully warm heart. And she herself is an unusual heroine because of her background. When she was introduced to society, I really enjoyed the way she saw everything from the outside and didn’t take customs for granted. How do you see her fitting into English society? Would it be more of a challenge for her being American, or being a Quaker?

Vanessa: The interesting thing about Phoebe is that she never felt entirely at home in her American Quaker community, either. Although she was raised by a Quaker father, her mother was an English aristocrat who married against her family’s wishes and left her life behind for a new one in America. Subsequently, Phoebe always felt pulled in two directions and she has a driving need to find her true place in the world.  After her father dies, she sets out for England to meet her estranged relatives and discover her place in the world once and for all.

Unfortunately, life in London and in the ton feels alien and false to her, so that’s a disappointment. But when she marries Lucas and moves to their estate in the country, that’s when Phoebe comes into her own. She grew up in the country and she understands the quiet beauty of a simpler way of life, while Lucas finds himself struggling to adapt. He’s a very sophisticated man, very used to being in control, and initially he flounders. Phoebe is the one who shows him the way, and helps him reconcile his conflicting emotions about their new life together.

Theresa: Well put. I absolutely loved Phoebe as a heroine, and her romance with Lucas makes for a beautiful holiday story.

Speaking of the holidays, I think we ought to give away some books now. What say?

Vanessa: Excellent idea! Why don’t I give away a copy of HIS MISTLETOE BRIDE on your blog, and you give away a copy of SEASON FOR SURRENDER on my blog?  That way, folks have two chances to win the books!

And while we’re in the giving mood, I think it’s time to talk about the spectacular holiday Gala we’re planning for November 30. Along with the fabulous Victoria Alexander and Grace Burrowes, Theresa and I will be hosting an all-day festive gala, Romancing the Holidays, on the romance blog, The Romance Dish. We’ll be giving away prizes every hour, from 9 am to 9 pm ET. All four of us will be blogging throughout the day, talking about our books, the holiday season, and chatting with our readers. We’ll also be giving away some spectacular prizes throughout the day, including a grand prize basket featuring an ereader. Zounds! You do not want to miss that.  Dash on over to the Romancing the Holidays website for all the details and to sign up.

Theresa: Zounds is right. There’s a special “giving back” element to this event too: books will be donated to randomly selected libraries or women’s shelters nominated by readers. So readers, please visit the Romancing the Holidays site (holiday-gala.com) by November 30 to enter yourself and your favorite library/shelter for a chance at prizes!

Season for Surrender

HONOR AMONG ROGUES

Alexander Edgware, Lord Xavier, has quite a reputation—for daring, wagering, and wickedness in all its delightful forms. But the wager before him is hardly his preferred sport: Xavier must persuade a proper young lady to attend his famously naughty Christmas house party—and stay the full, ruinous two weeks. Worse, the lady is Louisa Oliver, a doe-eyed bookworm Xavier finds quite charming. Yet to refuse the challenge is impossible—he will simply have to appoint himself Miss Oliver’s protector…

MISCHIEF AMONG MISSES

Louisa knows her chance for a husband has passed. But she has no desire to retire into spinsterhood without enjoying a few grand adventures first. When Lord Xavier’s invitation arrives, Louisa is more intrigued than insulted. And once inside the rogues’ gallery, she just may have a thing or two to teach her gentlemen friends about daring…

Book order links:

Order print book: amazon barnes & noble • book depositorybooks-a-millionchapters indigo • indiebound • powell’s

Order e-book: kindlenook

Vanessa, here.  I really enjoyed chatting with Theresa today, and I hope you did too.  For a chance to win a copy of Season For Surrender, just tell us what you’re doing for the holidays this year – anything from Thanksgiving on through the New Year works.  Got any interesting plans, or are you staying close to home?  One person who comments will win a copy of Theresa’s fabulous book.

And don’t forget to visit Theresa’s blog for a chance to win a copy of His Mistletoe Bride, if you haven’t already done so.  The giveaway on both our sites will end on October 11, and this contest is open to international readers, too!

NEWS ALERT:  I’m also participating in another fun event today – Lucy’s Online Reader’s Retreat.  There are over 40 authors participating in the retreat, and I’ll be there today at 7 pm, EST.  Drop by and say hello!

 

 


goodreads giveaway & contest winners!

I’m celebrating the upcoming October release of my next historical romance, His Mistletoe Bride, with a giveaway on goodreads.  Five copies of this baby are up for grabs, so dash right over and enter for a chance to win.  Click here for details and to enter.

I’ve also got lots of winners today from guest blog posts this past week.  Here we go!

ARC of Theresa Romain’s Season for Surrender – June

Carey Baldwin’s First Do No Evil – Phyllis Lamken

Kris Kennedy’s Defiant – Mary Doherty

Kris Kennedy’s The Irish Warrior – Sheila M

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to everyone who stopped by the blog last week.  It was fun!  My guests next week will be historical romance writers Mia Marlowe and Manda Collins.  Be sure to stop by!


ARC Giveaway of Season For Surrender!

I’m doing something really fun today – an excerpt and ARC exchange with my fellow Kensington Zebra author, Theresa Romain.  You see, we both write Regency-set historical romance and we both have Christmas-themed books coming out on Oct. 2.  So we thought it would be fun to post some exclusive excerpts and also give our readers a chance to win Advanced Reader Copies of our books.  Just think, you have the chance to read either His Mistletoe Bride or Season for Surrender two months before anyone else!

And now for the good stuff – an excerpt from Theresa’s truly lovely book, Season for Surrender.

When Alexander, Lord Xavier, hosts a country house party, he never expects his own reputation will come into question. For years, the ton has known him as a scandalous rogue, always up for a naughty wager. So what could possibly go wrong?

Well. His cousin forces a wager that Xavier can’t get a proper bluestocking, Louisa, to stay for the length of the house party. Louisa has every reason to hate Xavier, but she’s intrigued by his home’s fine library—and by the chance to mix with the impolite sector of the polite world.

In this early scene, Louisa has begun to suspect that her host’s reputation is a façade. What does it hide, though? When he finds her in the library, she’s willing to forge a truce so she can find out more.

*          *          *

 “Are you suggesting I’ve been difficult?” Again, the expression of elaborate shock.

Louisa mirrored his posture, folding her arms. “Come now, my lord. I’ve promised not to be shrewish with you, so you can’t expect me to pick up that thread of conversation. I’m only asking you to treat me with the same respect you would one of your male associates.”

Gray eyes met hers. “They rarely wear such fetching frocks, Miss Oliver. I would find the pretense difficult to sustain.”

She shook her head. “Honesty, please, my lord. You don’t have to say things like fetching to me. I’m not going to leave if I’m not complimented every two minutes. In fact, I’d much rather receive no compliment at all than an insincere one.”

She gestured at her patterned muslin day dress. “This is clothing, my lord. It covers my body. It doesn’t have anything to do with my real self.”

When he studied her without replying, she made an impatient gesture and laid the play on the nearest shelf. “Excuse me, please.”

She crouched again, intending to continue her survey of this long-neglected collection of books. Determined to ignore the tall man lurking behind her, she scrutinized the bindings for some clue as to where to begin. The old, cord-banded spines on this shelf were not marked. Anything could be here, waiting to surprise her.

Xavier loomed over her, and the hair at the nape of her neck stirred in the eddy of his slight movements. Then he sank to the floor, leaning against the very shelf she was looking at, and stretched out his long legs.

“You’re wrong, Miss Oliver. When you choose your clothing, you do reveal something about yourself.”

He looked at her aslant. “Your gown is simple, yet it follows fashion. This shows that you care about practicality but do not wish to do yourself a disservice by appearing a frump. In the same way, your hair is coiled back from your face, yet its twists have been carefully arranged. In your every choice, you balance the demands of the world with the demands of your own self.”

Louisa sank from her crouch to a seat on the floor, an arm’s length away. “Oh.” She stopped; shook her head. “Thank you?”

She smoothed her skirt, wondering at all he’d read into the floral-patterned fabric. One hand reached up to touch her hair, as though it had altered when spoken of. “I’d never thought of it all that way. You surprise me, my lord.”

He lifted his chin and looked at her directly. “Likewise. Please, Miss Oliver, don’t assume that every compliment I give is insincere. I might candy my words, but they do have real substance.” His expression turned wry. “Well, sometimes they do.”

A knot of something tense between her shoulders began to relax. “That’s more than many in the ton could say. Certainly more than most would admit.”

She leaned against the shelf next to him, feeling an odd tug of companionship. It came from the informality, maybe; sitting not on furniture with her back straight as a yardstick, but on the floor, her legs folded up like a child’s.

There was nothing improper, exactly, about sitting like this, yet she felt as though she’d left propriety behind her at long last. She sat close enough to the infamous Lord Xavier to breathe in his clean scents of starch and spice; close enough to judge the span of his biceps beneath his coat. Would her two hands meet around it? She felt an almost irresistible urge to try, to wrap her fingers around some part of him and clutch this moment close.

HONOR AMONG ROGUES
Alexander Edgware, Lord Xavier, has quite a reputation—for daring, wagering, and wickedness in all its delightful forms. But the wager before him is hardly his preferred sport: Xavier must persuade a proper young lady to attend his famously naughty Christmas house party—and stay the full, ruinous two weeks. Worse, the lady is Louisa Oliver, a doe-eyed bookworm Xavier finds quite charming. Yet to refuse the challenge is impossible—he will simply have to appoint himself Miss Oliver’s protector…

MISCHIEF AMONG MISSES
Louisa knows her chance for a husband has passed. But she has no desire to retire into spinsterhood without enjoying a few grand adventures first. When Lord Xavier’s invitation arrives, Louisa is more intrigued than insulted. And once inside the rogues’ gallery, she just may have a thing or two to teach her gentlemen friends about daring…

Pre-order: amazonbarnes & noble • book depositorybooks-a-millionchapters indigo indiebound • powell’s

Pre-order e-book: kindlenook

Vanessa, here.  Didn’t that excerpt whet your appetite?  I had the pleasure of reading Season for Surrender a few weeks ago and I just loved it.  It’s witty and warm, with a wonderful hero and a smart and appealing heroine.  Theresa is a very talented writer and the person who wins this ARC will be very lucky!  So, for a chance to win the ARC Season for Surrender, just leave me a comment about something you really look forward to during the holiday season.  Yeah, it’s the middle of summer, but let’s spread a little holiday cheer a few months early!

The ARC contest on my blog will be open until August 8.  And don’t forget to check out Theresa’s blog and her website for the excerpt from my book, His Mistletoe Bride, and for a chance to win the ARC!

 


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