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Come strut your stuff. Post your blurb with a buy link, or, if you’re not published yet, post an excerpt with your blog or website.

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

Here is mine from my from The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh, book #2 in The Marriage Game.

Since she was a young girl, Anna Marsh has dreamed of Sebastian, Baron Rutherford asking for her hand in marriage. But that was in another life when her brother Harry was alive, before she vowed to secretly continue the work he valiantly died for. Now as Sebastian finally courts Anna, she must thwart his advances. Were he to discover her secret, he would never deem her a suitable wife…

Sebastian has always known Anna would become his wife someday. He expects few obstacles, but when she dissuades him at every turn he soon realizes there is much more to this intriguing woman. Somehow he must prove to her that they are meant to be together. But first he must unravel the seductive mystery that is Miss Anna Marsh…

Amazon US ~ Amazon Canada ~  Amazon France  ~  Amazon Germany ~ Amazon UK Barns & Nobel ~ Kensington * iTunes

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Regency Mystery Author Anne Cleeland

Regency Mystery Author Anne Cleeland

Please help me welcome fellow Regency author Anne Cleeland. She is here today to promote her debut novel, Tainted Angel. Anne is also giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter. As usual, to be eligible all you have to do it leave your email with a comment.

Ella: Anne you’re a lawyer, what made you decide to write historical romance?

Anne:  Technically, I’ve always made my living by writing— but instead of fiction I wrote dry-as-dust legal briefs (adverbs and adjectives strictly prohibited!)   I’ve read Regencies all my life, and so I decided to try my hand at writing the kind of stories I love to read.  My favorite stories are about ordinary women swept up in extraordinary events, so that’s what I like to write.

Ella: When did your muse first move in? Can you tell us a little about your writing journey?

Anne:   I was constantly writing ideas in a spiral notebook, but I was too intimidated to actually sit down and start a serious project. One day I went to listen to Stephanie Laurens speak to my local RWA chapter, and she explained that she doesn’t plot out her books, but writes scene-to-scene. This was exactly what I needed to hear, and I went home and just got started. My advice is to everyone else in the same boat is to do just that—buy a comfortable laptop and bang out a few paragraphs at a time. You’ll be surprised at how easy it really is.

Ella: Now you don’t write the usual Regency romance, yours are mysteries. Would you compare yourself to C.S. Harris?

Anne:  I always thought of myself as writing Regency adventure, until I was informed that there was really no such sub-genre. This series combines historical fiction with mystery or adventure—as though alter-egos Jean Plaidy and Victoria Holt collaborated together on a project. My favorite example of this type of story is Georgette Heyer’s The Toll Gate, where the plot arises from a scheme to disrupt England’s treasury. The villains are real and the stakes are high—not the usual romance that Heyer offers up (although I love the romances, too.) 

A continuing theme in these books is courage, and how ordinary women react when extraordinary circumstances require them to be brave, come what may.  After her terrible experiences in the war, the heroine is content to retreat into her shadowy, solitary work that requires no honesty and where trust is to be avoided at all costs.  But despite herself, she finds hidden depths of courage; the courage to face her past, her fears and to fight for a future that she once thought impossible.

Ella: What’s next?

Anne:  I have a contemporary British detective series coming out in August, and the first book is called Murder in Thrall, if any of your readers like mysteries.  In November, the second historical in this Regency series will come out; Daughter of the God-King. It is about a heroine who travels to Egypt after her famous archeologist parents disappear, only to discover that various factions from the last war are desperate to find her—for reasons that are unclear. She begins to suspect that her love interest is not what he seems, and she doesn’t know whether she can trust him, or trust no one as she uncovers one devastating secret after the other, all while the next war looms on the horizon.

In The Bengal Bridegift, the heroine has grown up in India because her father was a sea captain for the East India Company—unless he wasn’t, and was instead a traitor to the Crown.  Meanwhile, the enemy believes she knows where her father hid a cache of diamonds disguised as her bridegift, and they are in ruthless pursuit of her and of this imagined treasure.  Her love interest is a former Barbary pirate, who may or may not be after the diamonds himself.

Ella: What five things do you want your readers to know about Tainted Angel?

Anne: Tainted Angel is the first book in a new Regency series that combines romance with adventure—the heroine is swept up in a game of spies, with the fate of the world at stake.  Here are five fast facts:

  1. The story is a Regency version of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, with the hero and the heroine playing a deadly game of cat and mouse.

2.   Neither the hero nor the heroine is who they appear to be.

3.   The hero is a widower, but the circumstances surrounding his first wife’s death are                 unclear.

4.   Someone is stealing gold shipments meant for the British army on the continent.

5.   The climactic scene takes place during a masquerade party on a London river barge—and both the hero and heroine must make the fateful choice between love and allegiance.

Tainted Angel

Tainted Angel

Ella: Ok, here’s what you’ve all been waiting for, an excerpt of and buy links for Tainted Angel!

The role of the tender lover was quickly abandoned—much to her relief—and he gave an elliptical answer. “There is much at stake; caution is advised.”

Eying him sidelong, she tried to gauge his thoughts, knowing all the while it was hopeless—he would only reveal what he wished, and if his aim was to arrest her he would reveal precious little. “Will you promise to give me one minute’s warning before I am clapped in irons? I would do the same for you, you know.”

“You will not be clapped in irons,” he said immediately, but she noted he didn’t meet her eye, and hid a flare of alarm.

“No,” she replied with forced lightness. “I would simply disappear, leaving you free to give my wrap to your next mark.”

“Don’t.” He made an involuntary gesture of protest, and the blue eyes finally met hers with a fierce intensity that she could swear was genuine. “But if you know anything of these matters, Vidia, best to say and to say immediately.”

“I cannot decide,” she wondered aloud as they rounded the corner of her street, “whether our interlude that first night was strictly business. If it was, you did a very poor job of pressing for information as opposed to simply pressing.”

He was not fooled by her tone. “You are angry and I cannot blame you. But I assure you it was not strictly business.”

Coming to her town house, she wondered if she was making a monumental mistake—attempting to be honest with him. But she had decided—there on the street with his subtle insincerity grating on her nerves—that she couldn’t continue as she was; not with him. Perhaps he will be my downfall, she thought. But it hardly matters anymore—I am seventeen again, and just as foolish as I was then.

I hope your readers will enjoy Tainted Angel, available on Amazon and at a Barnes & Noble near you. Thank you so much for the opportunity.

Author Bio:

Anne Cleeland holds a degree in English from UCLA as well as a degree in law from Pepperdine University, and is a member of the California State Bar.  She writes a historical fiction series set in the Regency period as well as a contemporary mystery series set in New Scotland Yard.  A member of the Historical Novel Society and Mystery Writers of America, she lives in California and has four children.

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A Vector Comic Book Explosion Background with Stars

Today I’m turning my blog over to the lovely and fabulous Tracey Brogan who is here to promote her newest release Highland Surrender, and in another break from tradition, I’ve posted a review.

Author picFOCUS ON THE STEAK
By Tracy Brogan

One of my critique partners loves to say, “Focus on the steak, and not the peas.”

Now, keep in mind, she is very health conscious, and in her daily life I’m sure she’s all about choosing the vegetables and whole grains over the artery-clogging red meat. But what she’s referring to when she says this is story arc. It’s a great piece of advice, and one I often remind myself of when stuck in the middle of a cluttered, wayward scene, or even more so when I’m wallowing in the quagmire of revision swamp.

We all know that once you have the foundation of your story, it’s essential to add layers. Maybe you want to pile on more emotion, or twine secondary characters around each scene. You want to include twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. You want sensory details, and fresh metaphors. Those are all equally important elements. They give your work depth, complexity, and help engage the readers’ interest.

But remember, the secondary stuff is just that – secondary. Before you start agonizing over why the little brother set off a firecracker that the heroine thought was a gunshot so she ran into the street and got run over by two mimes riding a tandem bike, or before you spend two days polishing the dialogue of the dinner party scene where fifteen different characters are talking about what their various super powers are, figure out the MAIN story.

The foundation of your book is the journey of your hero and heroine. That’s the steak. The rest is just the peas.
I am notorious at over-plotting before I ever commit words to the page. I know every backstory detail about my pistachio-loving heroine and why she refuses to sing in the shower. I know my hero wears a size twelve shoe, and that the reason he quit being a boy scout is because he’s secretly afraid of snakes. I also know his father wears a bathrobe all day and virtually never sleeps past 5 o’clock in the morning because watching the sunrise reminds him of his first love. Sure, that’s interesting… But his father might not even be in this book! I haven’t gotten that far yet. I might include him, if the plot calls for it. Then again, I might not. So I have to remember that those kind of details are the peas. A nice side dish to the main entrée. They add flavor and variety. But they are not what fills the reader up!

So the next time you find your mind wandering down a path with a supporting character, feel free to walk with her for a few minutes. She may have some fascinating things to tell you. But don’t veer off the path for long! Your obligation is to the steak. Your attention must start and end with the hero and the heroine and their adventure. Once their story is firmly set, you can add the other characters, the other charming quirks and random idiosyncrasies that enrich your prose. You can season and tenderize and garnish.

Just remember to focus on the steak first, and worry about the peas later.

Book coverBlurb:

Defiant Highland beauty Fiona Sinclair is shocked by her brothers’ treachery. To seal a fragile truce, they have traded her hand in marriage to their sworn enemy, a man she has never met, a man she was raised to despise. With no choice but to wed, Fiona makes her own private vow: though she may surrender her freedom, she will never surrender her heart.

Commanded by his king, Myles Campbell is no more willing than his reluctant bride. Still, she is a rare beauty, passionate enough to warm even the coldest marriage bed. Buy Myles quickly realizes Fiona Sinclair is no common wench. She has a warrior’s spirit and a fierce pride that only a fool would try to tame. And Myles Campbell is no fool. Their marriage was meant to unite warring clans. They never imagined it would ignite a once-in-a-lifetime love…


Excerpt:

Scottish Highlands, 1537

Fiona Sinclair could not reconcile the irony of nature’s twisted humor. For today of all wretched days the sky should be burdened with clouds as dark and dismal as her mood. But the morning dawned soft and fair, mild as a Highland calf, and she knew that God himself mocked her. At any moment, Myles Campbell and his father, the Earl of Argyll, would pass through the gates of Sinclair Hall, unwelcome, yet unhindered by her clan. Soon after that, she must stand upon the chapel steps and marry a man she had never met, and yet had hated for all of her life.

Through her narrow bedchamber window, sounds from the bailey filtered up. The smithy’s hammer tapped a mellow cadence as if this day were just like any other. Perhaps he shaped a horseshoe or a pointed pike. She smiled at the latter and imaged the heaviness of that same pike in her hand. Oh, that she had the courage to plunge it deep into the earl’s heart, if indeed he had one.

She rose from the threadbare cushion on the bench and moved without purpose toward the stone fireplace. A low fire burned, warding off the spring morning’s chill. From habit, Fiona slipped her hand into the leather pouch around her waist. She squeezed tight the silver brooch inside, its design and inscription etched as clearly in her memory as on the pin itself. A boar’s head, symbol of Clan Campbell, with words chosen by the king himself.

To Cedric Campbell, a true friend is worth a king’s ransom. James V.

The brooch had been a gift to the Campbell chief, the man about to become her father-in-law. But he had left it behind nearly seven years earlier, pierced into the flesh of Fiona’s mother so that all the world might know he had dishonored her. The priest found Aislinn Sinclair’s lifeless body in a secluded glen outside the village, stripped bare and broken, marked by Cedric’s lust and spite. Thus a feud, long simmering at the edges, boiled over.
But today the king thought to put an end to it with this farce of a marriage between a Sinclair lass and a Campbell son. It would not work.

Fiona paced to the window, restless and melancholy. She leaned out to breathe fresh spring air, hoping it might lighten her spirits. The too-sweet scent of hyacinth clung to the breeze, along with the ever-present brine of Moray Firth. Along the west curtain wall, more hammering sounded as masons worked to bolster the steps leading to the main keep. As if precarious stairs alone might halt the Campbell men from gaining entrance. But nothing would. Her fate as a Campbell bride had been declared the very day she drew in her first breath, and sealed when her father blew out his last.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Highland-Surrender-Tracy-Brogan/dp/1612186963/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356011635&sr=1-1&keywords=highland+surrender+tracy+brogan

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/highland-surrender-tracy-brogan/1112448430?ean=9781612186962

Review:

It takes a very special Highland romance to hold my attention, and Tracy Brogan did just that with Highland Surrender. The plot and the characters were well developed. It was easy to fall in love with Miles, (it’s a good thing he’s fictional), and I cheered for him to coax the unwilling, Fiona into love with him.

This is definitely a book you’ll want to read. I look forward to more books by the talented Ms. Brogan.

 

To follow Tracy’s Book Tour, visit these sites:

February 17, 2013 – My Devotional Thoughts (Guest Post &Review)

February 18, 2013 – Just One More Chapter (Guest Post & Review)

February 19, 2013 – Laurie’s Thoughts & Reviews(Guest Post)

February 20, 2013 – Book Junkie (Guest Post &Review)

February 22, 2013 – I Totally Paused (Guest Post & Review)

February 25, 2013 – P.T. Macias (Guest Post & Review)

March 1, 2013 – My Escape (Guest Post & Review)

March 4, 2013 – TBQ’s Book Palace (Guest Post& Review)

March 5, 2013 – Deal Sharing Aunt (Guest Post& Review)

March 6, 2013 – Romance Book Junkies (Guest Post & Review)

March 7, 2013 – Between The Pages (Guest Post & Review)

March 10, 2013 – Harlie’s Books (Guest Post & Review)

March 11, 2013 – Sara In Bookland (Guest Post& Review)

 

 

Author Bio:
Tracy Brogan is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist who writes funny contemporary stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love, and also stirring historical romance full of political intrigue, damsels causing distress, and the occasional man in a kilt. Her first two books, CRAZY LITTLE THING, and HIGHLAND SURRENDER both earned a 4-Star review from RT magazine and have hit the Amazon Best Selling Books list.

Tracy lives in Michigan with her bemused husband, her perpetually exasperated children, and two dogs, who would probably behave better if they could understand sarcasm.

http://tracybrogan.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTracyBrogan?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/tracybrogan

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6452601.Tracy_Brogan

http://dashingduchesses.com/

 

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Isobel CarrPlease help me welcoming the wonderful Isobel Carr. Isobel, I’m so excited to have you here. I’ve read all your books and can’t wait for this one. Your historic detail is wonderful. (applause)
Isobel: Thanks for having me! And I’m so glad you appreciate the historical details. I’m a huge history buff and layering that stuff is part of the joy of writing historical novels.
Ella: You had an interesting upbringing. Tell us about it.
Isobel: I have wonderful, hippie parents who were involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) almost from the beginning (Dad started in 1972, mom about a year later after meeting him). So I grew up as a historical re-enactor. There were always history books laying around the house, historical topics under discussion, and historical clothing under construction. As the hobby grew and matured, so did I, and so did my love for history and my drive to study it and get things right.
I also participated in the original Renaissance Faire in Northern California for thirty plus years, spending my early years as an English peasant and then the last fifteen or so in the Guild of St. Michael, which portrays Queen Elizabeth’s Landsknecht (German) guard. They were the only military known to take their wives, daughters, and sisters with them one the march (and they have the best clothes, being immune from the sumptuary laws of the era by the decree of the Emperor Maximilian).
Add into this parents who had no problem with us bringing home a baby raccoon, spending too much money on art supplies, and who let me have a horse, and you a pretty ideal, if offbeat, childhood. I may not always have been able to find MY parents, but there was always a responsible adult around somewhere if I needed one.
Ella: What drew you to write historicals and the Georgian period in particular?
Isobel: The SCA was partially founded by a bunch of science fiction and fantasy authors, so I grew up around writers (my godmother is a novelist, as was her husband and her mother). There just didn’t seem to be anything strange about being a writer. It wasn’t a fantasy career in my world, it was a pretty normal one. I mostly read historical fiction and science fiction/fantasy growing up, and I’ve pretty much always been a writer. I wrote a lot of SFF stories growing up and then transitioned to poetry in high school and college (went on to get an MFA in poetry). But along the way my godmother–bless her–introduced me to Georgette Heyer. After grad school, I decided to try my hand at a novel, and the story that came out of me was essentially Heyer fan-fic, LOL! Once I’d begun reading what was being published though (Amanda Quick, Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens), it was obvious that what I was writing was not what the market was buying, so I tore it apart and transformed it into a modern-style romance.

Ella: I love the clothing in your books. Please tell us a little about it.
cranach meIsobel: The selection of my books’ setting was very deliberate. I’ve always loved the eighteenth century (the clothes, the hair, the history, the personalities), but I also knew I wanted to be in an era when younger men had mostly ceased wearing wigs and were more likely to be seen with just their own hair. That meant the END of the century. So 1780s it was! As a bonus, there are all kinds of amazing things happening historically, socially, scientifically. It’s an era of innovation and change.
Ella: You’re promoting you latest release Ripe For Seduction. How did you first get the idea for this book?
Isobel: In Ripe for Scandal, I do a very bad thing to one of the secondary characters. I knew if I didn’t go back and fix her life, readers would never forgive me. When I was mulling over just how to do that in the next book, it occurred to me that there were two things in my mental vault of ideas that dovetailed nicely with her story: The insane bet in the non-fiction book Round Ireland with a Fridge [the bet he makes drunk is for less than the cost of buying the mini-fridge he then has to hitchhike around Ireland with] and the story of a very indecent proposal made to a widow in the mid-eighteenth century and her wonderful method of extracting retribution [she used his letter to blackmail him into a false engagement and then tortured him until he’d groveled enough for her break it off]. It all just sort of clicked into place.
Ripe for SeductionWithout more to do, let’s get to Isobel’s newest book Ripe for Scandal.
Starred review from PW: “Carr is sure to balance her characters’ roguish antics with genuine heart, making the double love story a delightful and erotic page-turner.”
After the scandalous demise of her marriage, Lady Olivia Carlow knows the rakes of the ton will think her fair game. So when a letter arrives bearing an indecent offer from the incorrigible Roland Devere, she seizes the opportunity. Turning the tables on the notorious rogue, she blackmails him into playing her betrothed for the season. But no matter how broad his shoulders or chiseled his features, she will never fall prey to his suave charm.

When Roland boasted he’d be the first into Lady Olivia’s bed, he couldn’t have imagined that behind those brilliant blue eyes lurked a vixen with a scheme of her own. Still, Roland is not about to abandon his original wager. If anything, learning that the lovely Olivia is as bold as she is beautiful makes him more determined to seduce her into never saying “never” again.

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Ripe-Seduction-League-Second-Sons/dp/0446572748/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342584139&sr=8-1&keywords=Ripe+for+seduction
B&N
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/ripe-for-seduction?keyword=ripe+for+seduction&store=allproducts

Indie Book Seller
http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780446572743

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We’ve got a week before Christmas. For those of you who are published, come by and post your blurbs and buy links. For the rest of us, which includes me, post a blurb or a snippet of witty dialogue.
Here’s mind from my unedited WIP Lord Merton’s Unsuitable Bride. For which I do not yet have a blurb.

Dom stared at his cousin. He still needed to have some control over Thea. “What about her not obeying me.”
Worthington shrugged. “I can’t help you with that. She has a mind of her own, as does Grace I might add, and any other woman worth knowing.”
Dom frowned. “I’ll go talk with her.”
An evil smile appeared on Worthington’s face. “You want my advice? Grovel.”
“Grovel?” Why the hell was everyone tell him that. “Merton does not grovel.”
Matt stood, walked around his desk and stuck out his hand. “Good luck, you’ll need it.”
Good Lord, the man was serious. Oh, hell. “Where can I buy flowers?”

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