Archive for May, 2010

Gadget – MP3 Player

May 28, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 4 Comments →

I enjoy music and love my MP3 player. It is filled with some of my favorite music. I have play lists for various moods I might be in. When I am happy I listen to love songs, country and some R&B. If I need a little pick me up it is some rock and alternative music. All on my MP3.

I have play list also according to what I am writing. Music creates such a variety of emotions. It helps my writing along. An my MP3 is an essential tool in my writing. I flip to my play list then put on my headphone and off I go with the writing.

My MP3 has seen me through many parts of my various books. The pivotal love scene. The black moment or those difficult to write scenes to write. I’ve been inspired to write when I feel like I can’t do anymore. All due to my MP3 player and the music it provides me.

McKenna Jeffries
http://www.mckennajeffries.com
…. sensual, edgy, unexpected

Blog: http://www.mckennajeffries.com/blog
Chat Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/McKennaJeffriesList
Free Reads Site: http://www.satinnotes.com

Conquering Jazz – What’s a woman to do when she unwittingly makes a tantalizing proposition to her best friend?

Be brazen, bold and set some ground rules. Her offer. One night of carnal bliss. No emotion allowed.

His counter offer. A continued affair to fulfill all their sexual cravings.

His hidden agenda. Conquer to make sure their affair never ends.

Buy here at Liquid Silver Book.

I’m Ashlynn Monroe, the new kid on the block!

May 27, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 42 Comments →

Hi, my name is Ashlynn Monroe.  For the last few months I have been able to introduce myself with a new moniker…Author.  I have always written.  My imagination has always been my greatest source of entertainment, now I hope it will entertain you too.  I write because I see stories in my head like a Hollywood blockbuster and I just transcribe what is playing out…in my warped mind…Ok, some of my stuff would be a “B” movie and other things probably be a porno…but some of it is really good (gulp…I hope)! 

I’m a thirty-one year old working mom and I’ve been married since I was twenty.  My day job is full time in telecommunications.  This year my New Year’s resolution was to get serious about my writing and share it with readers, because a writer isn’t an author until they have a reader!  Wild Horse Press was the first publisher to give me a shot…They are fabulous!  June 8th my first work with them (or anyone) Hidden Magic will be available for your reading pleasure.

I have made some great friends and have had the privilege of reading the work of some wonderfully talented women!  We have even put together a Christmas anthology of paranormal works revolving around a cursed town called Redemption.  This was one of the most enjoyable projects of my life!  I hope that you all will check it out this holiday season because this book has some brilliant stuff- humor, passion, action, and memorable identifiable characters.  I hope you will love my Phoebe as much as I do! 

You can drop by my website at ashynnmonroe.webs.com/ and please feel free to become a member or leave a guest book note or comment on my blog there.  I also have a word press blog, ashlynnnmonroeauthor.wordpress.com.  Friend me on Facebook if you would like…caution randomness warning…my mind bounces topics wildly (like you haven’t already noticed lol!).

Each time I sit at the computer furiously typing out a story I try to put as much life and humor into my characters as possible.  I let the character decided who they are and as the story unfolds I am occasionally helpless to steer it back in the direction that I had originally wanted.  Writing makes my life complete.  I hope that when someone reads my work it gives them a moment of joy and pleasure…because life is hard and we have to take what little bit of good we can get out of each day.  I want to give my readers all the happy karma that I can with my stories.  Thank you in advance if you are planning to download a copy of Hidden Magic or my June release from Cobblestone Press Chemical Lust.  Ok, enough about me let’s talk about the exciting stuff…my characters and their lives (they have so much more fun than I do)!

Hidden Magic is an urban fantasy about a woman named Alexia who has a nice average life.  She has a great relationship with her older brother, and she is very close with his wife and children…everything is peachy keen until a mysterious man threatens her family.  His appearance opens a Pandora’s Box of unique family revelations that Alexia can never close again.  What she discovers about her destiny leads her to the man who will hold her bound to him for eternity…but will he be able to hold her heart?  Can she lead him past his bitter memories and his hate of humanity to peace?  Hidden Magic, a tale of Fairies, Magic, and love…  Buy it June 8th from Wild Horse Press.

Chemical Lust is a contemporary erotic piece.  This 10k Tryst Cobblestone Press release will be available summer 2010-I believe June-and it is a fun and erotic tale of the studious plain girl getting the hunkalicious hottie!  Leah is a woman who is proud of her career in the military.  She a scientist working on a very sexy secret project, the sexiness begins to get under her skin when she meets a very delicious civilian consultant.  Jericho is the kind of man who is the personification of lust…His presences causes her discomfort as she hides her secret desires.  When an accident causes them to become the lab rats…well thing get hot-hot-hot!  What kind of a relationship could possibly be left when the hellos start with fantastic sex?

Here is an excerpt from the story:

Leah took control, throwing her jacket over the mess in hopes that it would not penetrate the thick fabric. Unfortunately, her efforts didn’t seem to be helping. She frantically jabbed at the emergency button and began to call for help. The chemical lust was making her choke and cough as her lungs filled with the oddly floral-smelling gas. She grabbed her BlackBerry and tried to dial. She cussed loudly, which was very out of character for her. There was no signal—the building was constructed of very durable materials, and in the elevator no one had ever gotten a signal. Leah wanted to scream when she realized just how screwed she was. Because of the previous emergency, no one was responding to their call; security probably assumed they were just getting impatient for their elevator to move again. Leah tried to cover her mouth and nose, but it was too late. She was already feeling lightheaded, the first sign that the drug was taking hold of her. Jericho seemed to be fairing no better than she was, even with his makeshift mask. His pupils dilated; she assumed hers were as well. No matter what, she was still the scientist, so she began to mentally compile her data on their reaction. If they lived, she would have much to say about the effectiveness of the drug, as she was now experiencing it firsthand with her knowledge of its structure and of how the human body would metabolize it. Jericho stumbled and dropped to the floor. His large frame made the elevator shake, but it still had not moved. Leah also lost her strength and sank down next to him. The gas was starting to dissipate, and they were still alive. For one moment of relief, she was sure that the gas was having no effect on her—and then it happened. Raging fire shot through her body, and she gasped for air. Her head fell back as her back arched. She felt as if she was on the brink of an orgasm right there, fully dressed and untouched on the elevator floor. Her keen awareness of Jericho’s eyes on her and the fact he was watching with interest, not saying or doing anything, made it all the more embarrassing and yet kind of kinky. Leah actually shook her head to try and clear that thought away. I am a scientist, and this is a perfectly uncontrollable reaction to a laboratory mishap, she reassured herself. I am in no way responsible for my actions, she thought as if pleading with her own subconscious. Before she completely gave in to her loss of control, she managed to grab her jacket off the floor and flip it up to where the security camera was pointing directly at her. She did not want even more of an audience for her panting and writhing; it was bad enough that Jericho seemed to be completely aware of her predicament and enjoying it thoroughly. It made her hot just knowing he was the one seeing her need. She wanted him between her legs. She wanted him to fuck her right there on the elevator floor—an elevator that could start working any second, she reminded herself. Jericho’s perfect lips made her want to kiss him more than she’d thought it possible to want to kiss anyone. She was never the sexual aggressor in a relationship, but she suddenly wanted to pin him to the floor and remove his clothing until nothing but skin was rubbing together in delicious friction. Whoa! Where had that come from? She wondered, trying to get herself under control. She was career military and damn proud of it; Leah was one tough lady who had always prided herself on her control and her commitment to the job. She tried to breathe and quell her raging lust, but the panting and gulping for air only made her think of how nice it would be to make Jericho pant with need for her. Even if she was plain, there were things she could do with her tongue that would make him scream hallelujah. She wondered how his sexy voice would sound calling her name, begging her to wring the pleasure out of him.  

Please take a look at cobblestonepress.com and this is where you can get a copy of Chemical Lust for yourself.  wildhorsepress.webs.com/ is the place to go for Hidden Magic.

As for my reading wish list let me tell you about some very talented and wonderful people.  Jessica Coulter Smith’s Ashton Grove Werewolves are awesome. My favorite piece of the Wild Horse Press eye candy has been J. L. Oiler’s Blood Dance.  I can’t wait to read book 2 in July.  Lila Munro (no relation lol) is so on my wish list in August.  Her book The Executive Officer’s Wife sounds hot-love the boys in uniform check her out! BethAnn Buehler’s Rebel Canyon series is also a must read. Both of these women write sexy and page turning books.  I love the power of their words and the passion of their stories.  I love T. L. Mitchell’s dark of the kNight series.  Her website is beautiful.  Alexia Duvall’s All Tied Up is a beautifully written piece of very sensual erotica.  Also, check out Bonnie Lea Elliot and Tamela Quijas these ladies have some fantastically brilliant works and websites! Olivia Starke has a great vampire series from Cobblestone Press.  I could go on all day, but just go to these publisher’s websites and you will be so glad you did!

Check out Keith Publications, they will officially be open in September but already titles are becoming available.  If you are a writer they would love to see your work.  I am very excited to be working with them.  They have contracted my Templar Vampire series.  If you like vampires and history please check this one out.  They will also have my novel Blood Kin, a story of vampire hunters finding love.

To celebrate the release of Hidden Magic, for sale from Wild Horse Press, I am having a contest. If you purchase a copy of Hidden Magic forward your email receipt to contest4ashlynn@gmail.com and you will be entered into a drawing for one of six gift envelopes. The winners will receive an email confirmation and then be announced on my blog (ashlynnmonroe.webs.com/) the evening of July 8, 2010. You will receive a fabulous nail kit, an autographed book mark (for all those old fashioned paperbacks!) and a personalized magnet. Don’t forget to include your mailing address on your email.  Feel free to tell me how you like the story. I would love to hear from you!Thanks so much for taking your time to get to know me and my work.  I will respond to any and all comments this evening.  Thank you Romance Junkies for letting people get to know me…I hope that you will check out my work and I look forward to reading your comments!

Characters: What works and what doesn’t

May 26, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 12 Comments →

Guest author: Morgan Wyatt 

Ever read a book and you really liked it because the characters came alive for you? And yet, you hand this book to your best friend and she doesn’t like it. Might even complain about the characters, what gives?There is a good chance your friend never even read the book because she didn’t have time and brushed you off with the character line. Or it could be you like different things in characters for different reasons. I like strong women in my stories because they can do things on their own and don’t wait around for an alpha male to rescue them. I have enough experience (read age) to know those alpha males are not waiting to do things for me; however, they are attracted to independent women. This means people like to read about characters that resonate with them.

Any woman who has ever had a bad date enjoys reading about a woman who goes through a series of bad dates before she finds a keeper.Most people like flawed characters because we realize we are flawed. In Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kisella, the main character is living on a beer budget with champagne taste. As she alternately chastises herself for buying things not in her budget, she also congratulates herself on the great buys. Been there, done that, so have many others who enjoy Kisella’s shopaholic series. Flaws we can identify with are good. Monk, the television show detective, has demonstrated that a hero can have OCD tendencies and still get the job done. So a character can obsess on if she left the iron on and even rush home to check catching her ex-husband breaking into her house. A character without flaws would have just gone to work and never known it was her ex-husband who took the secret family recipe for potato salad that her future business was centered around.When it comes to flaws, there can be too much or too little.

 Some of you can remember the romances with the pure, witless heroine who never did a bad thing in her life. She’s gorgeous and helps orphans and widows and knits sweaters for hairless dogs. Yawn, she’s perfect, she has nothing to overcome, no interesting traits, no baggage. I am amazed the hero has any interest in her at all, but then he isn’t all that interesting with his washboard abs and piles of money. Luckily, these types of books have fallen mainly by the wayside as the 21st century woman demands someone more like herself. Sure the hero can have washboard abs, but he may have a crazed ex or a fear of commitment, more likely both.When it comes to main characters we need the likability factor. It is perfectly okay to hate the villains, but we must like the main characters because without a likable character why read the book? We must be invested in the heroine’s struggle and want her to triumph. If she is such a nasty piece of work, that we could care less what happens to her—then that’s bad news. I’ve picked up books where there isn’t a likable character in the book and immediately put them down again. Can your main character be tart and likable at the same time?

It happens. Think Scarlett in Gone With The Wind. Margaret Mitchell was inspired when she created Scarlett. Early on you are told that Scarlett is not the prettiest or the richest debutante around, but she knows how to make men hang onto her every word. What young girl doesn’t want to find out Scarlett’s secret method? The fact she is petty and greedy is overlooked because in the end, she gets her man… well, most of the time. Scarlett often represents the side of us we don’t like to recognize—so we can identify, even when we pretend not to.  Ms. Mitchell may have decided Scarlett didn’t deserve Rhett in the end because of previous man-stealing activities. While this seemed appropriate at the time it was written, isn’t there a few of us who wanted Scarlett to end up with Rhett? 

Where do all these ideas for characters come from? Usually the writer’s own life or someone they have observed. They very seldom jump entirely from the writer’s imagination. Please be careful when modeling your character on a real life person. Terry McMillan in one of her earlier works wrote about a character based on her ex-husband. Her ex heard about the book and successfully sued for half of the profits. As hard as I tried, I can’t even find that book in rare, out of print online book stores; I hesitate to mention it since many of you will look.  With this is mind, many people put a disclaimer that any character found in their book WAS NOT based on any real person living or dead. Good thing to keep in mind, when you are tempted to use your boss or ex for a villain. Sometimes it is best not to let those closest to you read what you write since they will be looking for themselves. My children always do—look for themselves in my writing and wonder which child was killed off if the main character only has two children. 

As writers, we do write about what we know—that’s our strength. We can research and write about what we research. Still, every character has a tiny bit of us in it.  Some people think this is a bad thing and try to surgically remove any part of them that might be in a character. Maybe some craft book or workshop told them to do this. In the end, they have a character they aren’t close to and seems a bit stilted and not likable. You don’t have to be rude, smelly and bad to be unlikable just dull works too. The big question to ask yourself is: Is my character likable? He can have rough edges, bad shoes, acts means, but isn’t. She can make mistakes, date losers (she does need to wise up before the climax) and have blue hair. Ask your friends if your character is likable? Your judgment will be biased because you spend so much time with your characters (they are your imaginary friends.) I even like my villains. So give your characters a likability test—something similar to those tests in Glamour magazine. If they fail, then you need to write some likability into them. Show Mr. Hard and Crusty changing an old lady’s tire. Not a Hooters’ Girl tire, most men would cross seven lanes of traffic to do that. You could even have bad weather—keep him complaining to himself so you don’t lose his entire personality. Have fun with this. :)     

Read Excerpts from Morgan Wyatt@ www.xoxopublishing.com or http://morganwyatt.webs.com/

A Sweet Escape

May 19, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Latest News 12 Comments →

If I could escape and recreate a place that’s my own world

Tell me boy now wouldn’t that be sweet?  -Gwen Stefani

We all need to escape from time to time. We have different ways of doing so. Some do it through music, some through sport and some of us daydream. Sometimes this fleeting escape is not enough, and something more substantial is required. In PORTAL, Olivia takes escape to a whole new dimension.

Come find me two years ago”….. These six words turn Olivia’s world up side down as this brilliant physicist sets about constructing a portal, which will allow her to escape her stagnant marriage and go back in time to be with her true love, Rupert.In PORTAL, Olivia’s daughter, Arizona unexpectedly wakes up in her mother’s alternate dimension. She suddenly finds herself in the past. In one moment she goes from being an ice hockey playing teenager in New Jersey to a glamorous cheerleader in California. She finds herself transported from a happy life with her dad, Dillard, to a new, strange one living with her mother and her husband Rupert.  Inexplicably, it’s a life she’s apparently always existed in. Everyone knows her as Arizona Darley, but she isn’t. She is Arizona Stevens.As Arizona struggles to find answers she is certain of one thing–that her mother is somehow responsible. PORTAL is the story of the repercussions of Olivia Darley’s attempt at creating a perfect world for herself and her children. Arizona’s quest for answers threatens to undermine the seemingly perfect world that her mother has so carefully constructed. PORTAL is the first book of the Portal Chronicles. Fans of time travel, romance, and the supernatural will enjoy Arizona’s quest for answers.Portal Chronicles Book Two: EQUILIBRIUM is due to be published this summer.

http://imogenrose.com/

Inspiration derived from fifty years of love

May 17, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 5 Comments →

journeyfront.jpeg 

When I decided to try my hand at fiction after having published several nonfiction books, I decided that the only kind of novels I wanted to write were love stories. From the time I was a teenager, I’ve been fascinated with relationships and I always found myself resonating to romantic stories far more than anything else. Other genres could capture my imagination, but nothing affected me as strongly as a great romance.

I didn’t give much thought to why this was the case (though I was aware that there weren’t many other men who wanted to write about this as much as I did) until I started casting about for an idea for my third novel, the just-published The Journey Home. One of the key sources of inspiration in that novel is my mother and father’s marriage, and when I started thinking about their story, I realized that great romance had been modeled for me since I was a child.

I was the last child in the birth order by quite some distance. Some would say I was an accident. I prefer to think that my parents wanted me to benefit from the wisdom of much older siblings. Regardless, by the time I was born, my parents had already been married for more than twenty years. In most households, that would mean that their relationship had pretty much played itself out. Not in mine, though. What I saw growing up was two people who literally wanted to spend every minute together. They inspired each other, entertained each other, and supported each other. They were a well-oiled machine in terms of running the household, but they were also something more than that – they were romantic. They were always doing little things for each other, my dad making special breakfasts for my mother, my mom ironing his underwear (I know; I don’t get that one, either). I never once felt ignored or undervalued by my parents, but I also knew without a doubt that they were each the most important person in the other’s life. That gave me a far greater sense of security than if they’d gushed over me but ignored each other.

My parents were married more than fifty years when my father died. My mother was never the same without him. She literally seemed like half a person. My siblings and I did our best to keep her engaged, but the hole in her life was un-fillable.

I wrote The Journey Home in tribute to them. It’s the story of three characters on various quests for home, and one of them is Antoinette, an elderly widow who chooses to live in her head because there she can still be with her beloved husband. There’s a great deal of my mother in Antoinette.

My parents instilled in me an unfailing belief in true romance. I wanted to create a true romance in their honor.

http://www.michaelbaronbooks.com/Michael_Baron_site/Home.html

impromptu contest- My Reckless Surrender

May 15, 2010 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News 41 Comments →

Want to win a Advanced Reading Copy ofMy Reckless Surrender by Anna Campbell?

We are giving away 3 Arcs!

About the book:

Available from Avon Books on May 25

Headlong into sin…

A well-practiced rake, weary of easy conquests and empty pleasures, Tarquin Vale, Earl of Ashcroft, knows women – and his every instinct warns him to beware of this one. Diana Carrick’s brazen overtures have thrown the haunted, sinfully handsome lord completely off his guard. Why, the exquisite temptress stated outright that she wishes to be his lover! But it is neither Diana’s boldness nor her beauty that intrigues him so – it is the innocence he senses behind her worldly mask.

 Intent upon the seduction that will finally free her, Diana has set her sights on the notorious Ashcroft – never dreaming that there is much more to the enigmatic rogue than sin and deviltry. His kiss is bewitching,  his caress intoxicating – and even the dangerous secret Diana must protect cannot shield her from Ashcroft’s dark allure.

 Unwittingly yet most willingly, they are playing with fire. Now the fuse has been lit and there is no escape…except surrender.

How do you enter to win an ARC?

 Go to Anna’s webpage

http://www.annacampbell.info/

Come back here and in the comments post something of interest you found on her page.

I will be picking winners on Monday May 17th from the comments.

Good luck!

Extraordinary People – Writing Community

May 13, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 1 Comment →

Once again something happened that got me to thinking of all the extraordinary people in my life. What is extraordinary about all of them is that they are giving without looking for anything in return, they support when needed and you can trust them with any of your secrets. I’m going to give you some insight into who they are.

The 1st of my extraordinary person came into my life through our joint love of reading. We bonded over reading and became family over time. We are there for each other through rough and good times. Have great conversations about books we read. And she listens as I tell her my ideas and vice versa. The things we have shared are so much I can’t put it all down.

Next up is someone who started as a writer I knew and became a friend to count on. No matter how weird my ideas instead of saying no way she usually says yes what comes next. We talk and listen to each other. Listening is a key component to her extraordinariness. People listen but sometimes doesn’t hear. She listens and hears. She is there no matter what.

Another person started as a writer I knew and became a friend I admire and respect. I loved her books and the first time I wrote her I was shaking. But she was so cool and blunt that I laughed and knew she was real. When I met her at RT Convention in 2008 her first words about my covers made me smile then laugh. In 2009 we chatted even more. Her wisdom and wit are great. She is gracious and I love all her series. Each time she gets a contract I dance for her in joy. And her Writerly posts give such insights.

And last of the extraordinariness for this time around is another writer I’ve spoken with online a few time but it wasn’t until I met her RT Convention in 2008 but it wasn’t until RT 2009 that I was able to get my voice and speak. That happens when you admire not just the writer but the person. She was warm, blunt and oh so real. We talked, connected and she made me believe. Believe that grace comes not from success but from the soul. At RT she teased me about my delightful accent and nails and toes looking so fierce. It was fun and a joy to get to know her. I’m looking forward to her Wyoming Wilde series.

Those are a few of the extraordinary people who have touched me. Who are some of the extraordinary people in your life?

Taige Crenshaw
http://www.taigecrenshaw.com
…increasing the sizzle factor

Blog: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/blog
Chat Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crenshawcafe
Newsletter: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/newsletterandgroups.shtml
Free Reads Site: http://www.satinnotes.com/

Wilde Seduction – What happens when a woman who doesn’t know how to relax meets a man whose lust for life will change her and make all her deepest desires come to life?

Buy here at Total-E-Bound.

Different, But More Of The Same by Vanessa Kelly

May 10, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 31 Comments →

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There’s a well know mantra in the publishing world that says that everyone is looking for something “different.”  Whether it’s the next Twilight or Harry Potter, writers hear all the time that they have to produce something unique that will knock the socks off those jaded, seen-it-all editors.  But whenever you try to nail down exactly what that “something” is, the only answer you’ll hear is, “I’ll know it when I see it.”

Cue the psycho music, as said writer drives herself crazy coming up with something new and different.  And what does that really mean for those of us who write genre fiction, particularly a very specific sub-genre, like historical romance?  Is “different” all we’re looking for?  Or is it more important to fulfill the expectations our readers bring to the genre?

I’d say both.  If a writer can deliver on familiar genre conventions but do it in a fresh and exciting way, then she’s really grabbed the brass ring.

So, how do we do that?  One way is by using the conventions but bringing a new twist to them.  Monica Burns, for instance, blended the conventions of the historical romance with those of sheikh-themed books to produce Kismet.  Loretta Chase wrote Your Scandalous Ways, a Regency romance set in Venice, involving courtesans and spies—a Regency James Bond as it were.

Writers can also bring fresh takes to established genres by playing with the conventions surrounding character types.  Anna Campbell is a master of this, especially in depictions of that classic archetype—the tortured hero.  In her books, Anna often tortures her hero—quite literally.  In Captive of Sin, for example, the hero is a soldier who was ruthlessly tortured and now suffers from PTSD.  It’s a very different take on what we’re used to seeing in a hero, and it really raises the stakes—both in the world of the story, and for the reader.

Different or unusual settings can also be a great way to mix things up.  My latest book, Sex And The Single Earl, is set in Bath, England.  Like any good Regency romance, it contains all those elements that readers love—the glittering parties, the pretty clothes, and the handsome rakes. But only part of the story takes place within this conventional setting.  Bath, surprisingly enough, had a thriving criminal underworld that one rarely reads about.  That captured my imagination.  I was determined to throw my heroine, a well-bred and fairly sheltered young woman, into this different and dangerous setting and see what transpired.  Putting her into such an unusual setting gave me all kinds of room to ramp up the plot, and raise the stakes for my characters.

So, readers, that brings me to my question.  How different do you like your romances?  Do you like unusual settings, characters, or stories?  Or do you read for that sense of comfort and familiarity, looking for those books that totally deliver on your expectations?  One commenter will win a copy of Sex And The Single Earl.

http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/

Guest Blog by Blythe Gifford, author of HIS BORDER BRIDE

May 04, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 12 Comments →

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Hello and thanks for having me at Romance Junkies!  For those who don’t know me, I write medieval romance for Harlequin Historical featuring characters born on the wrong side of the royal blanket.  My new book, HIS BORDER BRIDE, is out now and I’ll be talking about it a little more below. 

But first, I must start with some good news.  Last year’s book, IN THE MASTER’S BED, was chosen by Romance Junkies as one of the best reads of 2009.  Well, Romance Junkies have good taste, because I’m so excited to share that IN THE MASTER’S BED is a finalist in the short historical category of the Readers Crown awards!  This is a new, reader-judged contest, and I’m more than thrilled.   So on to this year’s release!  HIS BORDER BRIDE is my first book set in Scotland and my first to feature a “bad boy” hero.  Gavin Fitzjohn is the son of a much-hated prince of England and a Scots woman.  A man without a country, he’s seen the worst that men can do, and done some of it.  Clare Carr believes in the laws of chivalry and is sure this man has broken every one.  While she’s drawn to him, she’s afraid of what’s inside of him—and of her own dark urges when she is with him.   

He’s an irresistible force.  She’s an immovable object.  And the love scenes almost wrote themselves.  (Sigh.) Beyond the characters, though, as a Scottish “virgin,” I had a lot to learn about the country.  For example, in romance, the word “Scotland,” generally means the highlands.  Clans and warriors.  Highland hunks.  My book is set in the Lowlands, so 90% of the research I came across did not apply to my story.  All that interesting stuff about the Gaelic language and Celtic history?  Not applicable.   

Another surprise?  Scotch whisky (no ‘e’) is a late invention.  Cheerfully writing an early scene, I wanted my character to cradle an after dinner dram.  Alas, the first documented reference to whisky in Scotland is nearly 150 years later than my story.  And the plaid that graces my beautiful cover?  That’s a late comer, tooCertainly in the Highlands, weavers of a certain area used consistent patterns that became associated with regions.  There are references to “plaide” even in the 14th century.  However, to quote Wikipedia:  “Tartan as we know it today, is not thought to have existed in Scotland before the 16th century.”  And not until the 1700’s, hundreds of years after my story, were plaids and families tightly linked.  Beyond that (remember the Lowlands, Highlands?) it’s been said that a borderer “wouldn’t be caught dead in a plaide.”Still, I came to love the stubborn, independent, hard-headed, ornery, freedom loving Border Scots.  In fact, my next book will be set on the Scottish border, too.Leave a comment on what you love about Scottish settings.  (Or don’t!)  I’ll give a copy of HIS BORDER BRIDE to one commenter.  And thanks again to Romance Junkies for having me! 

BLYTHE GIFFORD is the author of five medieval romances from Harlequin Historical. She specializes in characters born on the wrong side of the royal blanket.  With HIS BORDER BRIDE, she crosses the border and sets a story in Scotland for the first time, where the rules of chivalry don’t always apply.  Her 2009 release, IN THE MASTER’S BED, has just finaled in the Readers Crown contest.  Blythe loves to have visitors at www.blythegifford.com or www.facebook.com/BlytheGifford. Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.  All rights reserved. ®and T are trademarks of Harlequin Enterprises Limited and/or its affiliated companies, used under license. Copyright 2010 ■ Author photo by Jennifer Girard 

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