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: Monica Burns & Giveaway!

I’m so thrilled to have my good friend Monica Burns featured on the blog today.  Monica is a fabulous, award-winning historical and erotic romance writer.  She’s also a hard-working woman and a real survivor of everything that life can throw in your way.  I have tons of admiration for her, both as a woman and as a writer.

One of Monica’s most popular books was Kismet, which won the 2010 CAPA Award for Best Erotic Historical Romance from The Romance Studio.  Monica is very thrilled that, come Feb. 7, Kismet will be available in mass market format.  If you never got a chance to read it, this is very good news!

Here are some of the many accolades that the book has received:

“… romance akin to a Johanna Lindsey classic. Relax and enjoy the sizzling show… 


“I was hooked and spent the whole day reading this sizzling, sensual, engrossing tale.”

— Barbara Vey, Publisher’s Weekly – Beyond Her Book

And here’s the blurb for Kismet:

It was a gamble she was born to make…

Raised in a brothel at a young age, Allegra Synnford quickly learned that survival meant taking charge of her destiny. Now, a renowned courtesan skilled in the pleasures of the flesh, she chooses her lovers carefully—vowing never to be vulnerable to any one man. Until a mesmerizing Sheikh strips that control from her… 

With a man who wasn’t used to losing.

 Sheikh Shaheen of the Amazigh has been hiding from his past for a long time, but not enough to forget how another courtesan made him abandon his life as the Viscount Newcastle. It’s why the yearnings this dangerous temptress ignites within him are so troubling. Worse, thoughts of Allegra pervade every fantasy, threatening to undermine his cover. With old enemies circling, experience tells him he must resist her charms at all cost. In fact, he’s betting on it. That’s a risky wager when it comes to a woman of pleasure. But Allegra has her own reasons for playing games…with a man who can’t afford to lose. 

What happens between them is Kismet…

I read this book when it first came out, and I can tell you that it’s passionate, emotional, and very sexy.  I’m so thrilled that Monica now has the opportunity to reach new readers with her mass market release.  Be sure to stop by Monica’s website for all the details, including an excerpt, a book trailer, and the buy links.

Like many authors these days, Monica is also moving into the world of indie publishing.  She currently has a wonderful novella out called Love’s Portrait.

Gorgeous, eh?  Here’s the blurb for Love’s Portrait:

When Julia Westgard commissions a nude portrait of herself, the painting is much more than a rebellious act. It’s an attempt to regain her self-worth after years of a loveless, repressive marriage to her late husband. But the private portrait puts her directly in the path of Morgan St. Claire, one of the Marlborough Set’s most notorious seducers. A man who doesn’t take no for an answer.

 From the first moment Morgan sees Julia’s portrait, he’s determined to have her. But the woman he meets is a far cry from the image on canvas. What starts out as a simple exercise in seduction quickly evolves into a quest to reveal the true Julia. With each sensual encounter, he employs every erotic weapon at his disposal in hopes of making Julia see she really is the woman in Love’s Portrait.

So romantic!  Again, please visit Monica’s website for all the details.

For my readers today, Monica is graciously giving away a copy of Kismet.  Since I’m featuring a historical writer today, let’s stick with something close to that.  What’s your favorite historical movie or TV show?  Did you fall in love with Col. Brandon in Emma Thompson’s Sense & Sensibility, or do you prefer a series like Downton Abbey?  Tell all to have a chance to win a copy of Monica’s book!