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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Guest Author: Tamara Gill

Today we welcome regency romance author Tamara Gill to the Ladyscribes blog as she celebrates the release of her newest story, A Marriage Made in Mayfair, on her whirlwind blog tour. Tamara is the author of To Sin with Scandal and A Captain’s Order - A Duke’s Command. Her latest release is published by Decadent Publishing.

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Welcome Tamara. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
First of all thank you, Heather and Ladyscribes for having me, I’m really excited to be back here again. I’m an Australian for those who don’t know, a mum of three children, ranging in ages from 8 to 8 months a wife and of course a writer.

I’ve been hooked on Regency since the day I picked up a Stephanie Laurens novel in Kmart and started to write about four years ago as a hobby. Of course, it’s passed that stage and now I’m addicted to the written word. I write Regency and time travel romances set in the Medieval and Regency periods.

What should new readers know before stepping into your world?
My writing has changed since my first two novellas were published and they shouldn’t open A Marriage Made in Mayfair expecting a hot and heavy read. The story focuses more on the growing love between the characters and how they resolve their problems. That’s not to say there isn’t naughty bits in it, but it’s a lot more sensual than erotic.

Describe your typical writing day
Hmmm, typical. Strange word for me as my days are filled with snatches of writing more than a planned day. But I try and get in front of the computer whenever my daughter is having a nap or happy playing in a little play pen I made for her. I also have two older boys in school so between school drop off and pick up’s and sports activities, I try and touch my laptop whenever I can. Sometimes though, it’s impossible.

What is your writing space like? What tools, apps, programs or goodies can't you live without?
I have a laptop and pc. I use my pc for internet surfing etc, and my laptop for writing only. I’m really neat and tidy so my writing space is usually very well organized. J

What is the strangest thing you've ever done in the name of research?
I haven’t done anything. Isn’t that boring? But no, I haven’t done anything other than research online, go to my local library or use what I learned on the couple of trips to England we’ve done.

Can you tell us a little about A Marriage Made in Mayfair and what inspired it?
I started this novella in February 2011 just before I found out I was pregnant. I had this fantastic idea about a lord who falls on hard times and an heiress he’d previously been dismissive of finding love together. So the book started off really well, I wrote often but I became really sick with this pregnancy and so this short 25k novella ended up taking me until Christmas 2011 to finish. It didn’t help my muse disappeared all of the nine months I was pregnant so this novella is very lucky even end up finished not to mention published. But it’s a sweet story between two people from different society spheres who are made for one another.

Miss Suzanna March wished for one thing, the elusive, rakish charmer, Lord Danning. But after a frightful first season sees her flee to Paris, such dreams seem impossible. That is until she returns to London, a new woman, and one who will not let the ton's dislike of her stand in her way of gaining what she wants. Revenge on the Lord who gave her the cut direct and perhaps a little flirtation to show the mighty Viscount what he'll never have.
 Lord Danning unbeknown to his peers is in financial strife and desperate to marry an heiress. Such luck would have it Miss Suzanna March fits all his credentials and seduction is his plan of action. Yes, the woman who returned from Paris is stronger, defiant, and a little argumentative, but it does not stop Lord Danning finding himself in awe and protective of her.
But will Suzanna fall for such pretty words from a charmer only after one thing. Or will Lord Danning prove to Suzanna and himself that she is more than his ticket out of debtor's prison...

Click here to read an excerpt

A Marriage Made in Mayfair is available now.

And now for the giveaway:
Simply leave a comment, including your email address, and you’re entered to win a copy of A Marriage Made in Mayfair. The winner will be selected at random by a mob of kangaroos. Everyone who visits also goes into Tamara's Major Prize draw on the 16th July. Further details can be found here. 

About Tamara
Tamara Gill's love of history started from an early age, but her reading of historical romances only began when home on maternity leave with her second son. Her writing career started as a hobby but soon turned into an obsession—just ask her members of her family, who have suffered many a whipped up, burnt meal. Member of Romance Writers of Australia, Romance Writers of America, South Australian Romance Authors and The Beau Monde keep her occupied and focused on her craft and the changing trends of readers. Tamara lives in the beautiful Barossa Valley in South Australia and enjoys hearing from readers and writers alike.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Leap of Faith

So I thought I'd continue this week's semi-theme of famous sayings. Sayings like: taking a leap of faith, no guts, no glory, or you'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take (who said that one, Catherine Gayle?).

The majority of us know one or two people who are the embodiment of those statements. Men and women so daring, so confident in their abilities that they don't let naysayers or even gravity get in their way. 

Confession: I'm not one of them. Oh no, I'm as content as a cat lazing in the sun to stay in the safe little world I've carved out for myself. Schedules, car routes and playdates never change. Menus are planned weeks at a time. I even park in the exact same spot each time I go to the doctor. Seriously. (It's a condition I've never actually discussed with him. Shhh!)

Sure I've blogged about confessing my love to Rachel Gibson's face, and stalking hugging Colin Firth, but those were Extraordinary Circumstances.

After years of study, I have come to the conclusion that all  risk-takers have something in common. Support. Colleagues, friends and family encouraging and cheering them on (for the purposes of this blog, I am ignoring the Debbie Downers of the world that everyone knows. okaythanksloveya!). This conclusion made me realize that I, too, had that in common with the risk-takers I knew. That perhaps I could finally take a leap of faith and make my dreams come true. 

So I did it!

I Made It Myself

And I'm glad I did. I can't tell you how excited I am. How flippin' nervous I am. But I'm all those things and more. Next month, my debut novel, TWICE TEMPTED, will be available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble!

Born into wealth and power, Christian Romanov is Hollywood’s favorite bad boy with a golden touch…until the day his agent receives pictures of the movie star celebrating his birthday in a not-so-legal way. Now he’s been ordered to find a small-town girl to be seen with in order to improve his partying image. He agrees, but for an entirely different reasons--to protect the reputation of an organization that helps get teen off the street and back into the school. Not only is he the anonymous donor that's been solely supporting the organization since its inception, he's slated to be their newest spokesman.
What happens in Vegas,
Zoe Ambrose is a hopeless romantic masquerading as a realist. But she’s also a successful novelist, trying to fit herself into a staid life when what she craves is the adventure she found one night in the arms of a playboy who never knew her name. When her successful crime series is optioned by a major studio, she travels to Las Vegas to find that the prince of her fantasies and single night of pleasure is the main contender for the male lead. But for four years Zoe has been publicly eviscerating the man who left her stranded that night—he’s the villain in her series! Now the movie star doesn’t even recognize her, and Zoe is determined to protect her heart this time.
Doesn't stay in Vegas.
 When Christian braves the small town of Holland Springs and Zoe’s overprotective family to win the girl of his dreams, he finds that his Hollywood skills might not cut it—and learns a shocking truth he never imagined. Can he can tempt her again and finally give her the epic love story she has refused to write for herself?

Words can't express how thankful I am for the support of Hot Builder,
Katharine Ashe, MK and my fellow Lady Scribes: Andris Bear, Ava Stone and Erin Knightley . 

So, Dear Reader, have you ever taken a leap of faith or know someone who did?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Words, Words, Words...

As a writer, I obviously have a small love affair with the English language. I love words, I love grammar, I love idioms and colloquialisms and regionalisms. I love the vast tapestry that is the US because it gives me so much to consider in terms of our language. I try not to be a snob about it, really I do! Because I know that I am in no way perfect when it comes to English -- that honor belongs to Catherine Gayle, I think :)

One of my favorite things to consider in our language are popular phrases and sayings that are commonly misused or mis-said.

For instance, did you know that there is no such thing as a Cardshark?!?! I didn't, until about three minutes ago. The actual word is Cardsharp! With a P! Mind has officially been blown and it's not even lunchtime!

A couple that I've heard out in the "wild" are "We're not out of the words yet," instead of "out of the woods." (Hubby and I actually say "words" now just because we think it's so funny) And the lady at Starbucks said to me the other day, as I grabbed a sample of lemon pound cake, "Bet you can eat just one!" Now, I know from watching Garfield & Friends as a child that the phrase is "Bet you can't eat just one!" But I'm grateful to that Starbucks lady for giving me the idea for this blog :)

My husband admitted that until recently, he thought the phrase was "Six of one, dozen of the other." He never understood how that was a good analogy for things that were basically the same. Ha!

And I'll admit that I always thought it was "For all intensive purposes," rather than "For all intents and purposes." It was only very recently that I figured that one out. LOL!

I also just learned it's "Bald-faced lie" NOT "Bold-faced"! What?!?

And wait a minute...I think I'm about to blow everyone's mind here... Did you ever say that someone was the "Spitting image" of someone else? Probably. I'm pretty sure no one knows what it really is, but apparently, it's "Spit AND image!" I can hardly stay in my seat, I've been so blown away! 

What about you? Any phrases that you learned you were saying wrong after years of saying them one way? Or are you the one always correcting people when they get the phrase wrong? :)

-Jerrica, Her Grace of Grammar

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How to Avoid SCDPA

Have you been living recklessly?
Playing fast and lose with your future and not done anything about it?

I know how you feel. I’ve lived dangerously for a few years now, trusting luck and fate that I would be spared exposure to SCDPA again. The last time it happened to me I went into complete shock. It was horrible.

SCDPA is Sudden Computer Death Panic Attack -- a very real concern for authors, or computer users of any type when their beloved PC fails them.

If you’ve experienced a SCDPA you know it’s not pretty:

*  Irrational anger
*  Hyperventilization
*  Overdose of chocolate and ice cream to ease the pain
*  Sudden onset of weeping at the loss of thousands of clever words.

Yes, we all know to set a regular computer backup (or at least I hope we all do) but what about the work you’ve done that day that hadn’t backed up yet? My backup runs late in the day. But if the computer stops working suddenly before backup has run, it’s gone forever. But I believe I’ve finally found a pain free solution that will save me future distress.

Enter Dropbox

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you place in your Dropbox folder will automatically save to all linked computers, phones and even the Dropbox website.To start, you sign up via the website and download Dropbox to your computer. You can store up to 2GB of stuff in your Dropbox immediately upon signing up.

Now, I’ve had Dropbox for a little while (it's on my iPhone and iPad) and never realized the full potential until the last two weeks. Over time, my computer files have exploded and I wanted to reorganize with some form of structure. I also wanted them to be accessible on multiple computers (iPad and iPhone too) so if my main computer fried, as my last one's motherboard did, I could be up and running by simply changing computers.

To begin the switch, I set up folders and subdirectories in the Dropbox folder created when I downloaded the program:

>> Books
- Story name (one for each complete title)
- Story ideas (for those notes you’ve jotted down but not written fully)

>> Marketing
- Blog Posts
- Newsletter
- Website

>> Editing/formatting info

>> Research

All the information I refer to regularly, or am currently working on, I shifted and stored in the Dropbox folder. If I use my laptop instead of my desktop, I have everything there waiting. If I’m out and want to check something in my folders, it’s all with me on my iPhone. No more switching flash drives between computers. No more emailing documents to myself.

Also, if you work closely with someone else, you can share documents through the public folder. Dropbox shared folders let you collaborate easily. When someone joins a shared folder, the folder appears inside their Dropbox, and syncs to their computers automatically when they are online.

The beauty of using Dropbox is that the moment I click save while working on a document it is backed up to Dropbox seconds later. Alerts pop up on any linked computers.  Click SAVE >> Dropbox updates. There I just backed up this draft blog post from word with one click.

So if you’re tired of living life dangerously, take a peek at Dropbox.com and see if the program suits you.

This community announcement was brought to you by a recovered SCDPA sufferer in the hopes of preventing further anguish.

Take care and back up your computer now.

Heather Boyd ~ Lady Wicked

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Release: The Gypsy Bride

I'm so excited to announce the release of my latest historical romance novel, The Gypsy Bride! The second book in the Daring Debutantes series, this extra-long novella is an exciting romp through Regency England--

Engaged to a reprehensible baron, Bianca Manning knows she must do something to escape her fate. She decides that a Romany camp is the last place her mad fiance would think to look for her.

The last thing Emilian Carrol needs is a spirited Englishwoman in his life, but he can't seem to say no when she begs to hide out in his tribe's camp. And maybe she's just the thing he needs to help heal his wounded heart.

Thomas Barclay, future Viscount Grantham, is bored to tears and looking for a distraction. When his old friend Baron Tisbury asks for help in tracking down his missing fiancee, Tom decides to make himself useful and goes in search of the wayward girl.

Caught between two worlds, Bianca must figure out which man holds the keys to her heart.

When I set out to write this romance series, I wanted to do something different. I didn't want to write another traditional, formulaic historical romance. I wanted to branch outside the norm, do things with my stories and my characters that probably would not have actually happened in Regency England, but that weren't completely outside the realm of possibilities. So you won't find magic or werewolves here, but you will find gutsy heroines, and heroes that you will fall in love with.

The Gypsy Bride is available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords!

And if you missed the first installment of the Daring Debutantes series, click here to find links for The Robber Bride!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Welcome, Kieran Kramer!

Gentle Readers, I have a treat for you today...

Kieran Kramer is in the house!

I am super excited about this because:

A) She is, hands down, one of the nicest authors I've had the pleasure to interact with since becoming involved in the Romance community. 

B) I love her novels. Hopefully, I won't sound too stalkerish when I say that I've read them all, and since I have discovered her as a writer, I've followed her career with interest. In fact, some time ago, Kieran wrote a blog post about her family and how she grew up, on the South Carolina coast, that literally moved me to tears. I asked her to share the link with us, because you need to read it too!

Hi, Olivia! You’re so sweet to remember that. I’ll go find it right now...

And by the way, thank you so much for having me here at Lady Scribes. It’s a thrill to be here!!!

You are so welcome, Kieran! We are happy to host you. (We'll just chat until you get back, readers. Seriously. Go read that blog!) Okay, looks like everyone is back... Can you tell us a little bit about what your childhood was like?

All right, about my life growing up. It was WEIRD! We had a crazy mule and a goat who jumped up on people’s car roofs and pooped. We had Phred, the mean rooster, and two mean geese. We also had Ozzie, a mean horse who showed up one day at my trailer door  after escaping his pasture (I lived in a camper next to the big trailer while my dad was building our house). And Ozzie stuck his head right in my room and tried to bite me.

We had so many cats and dogs that our land is like a pet cemetery now (but I say that not in a morbid way but with great happiness that we had so many wonderful pets over the years). 

No one in my family knows this, so keep it to yourselves <g>, but I got up to some risky business on our dock with my first boyfriend in the moonlight. I’ve never told a single soul that before. But I tell you now just to stress that this place, the Lowcountry, is a primeval, mysterious, sensuous place that once you get a taste of it, you don’t ever want to leave.

So with all my stories, I think I’m born to write a Lowcountry book. I did most of my growing up here. I have pluff mud between my toes, but I’m also not a native. Have you noticed that most people who write about the Lowcountry aren’t from here? Dorothea Benton Frank is, but she moved away and became a New York socialite/humanitarian. I can’t wait to start my Lowcountry women’s fiction career, although I love my Regency one, too. And I haven’t even mentioned to my editor that I want to write Lowcountry stuff. However, I announced it to the world in a workshop at RT in Chicago, and I firmly believe that once you announce something to the world, the universe will conspire to help you make it happen.

I find that so interesting, because when I read the blog about how you grew up, I thought "Wow. She needs to write this!" I loved the sense of the world you grew up that I was getting. I think this would be a wonderful avenue for you to pursue! 

I know because I stalk...erm...I follow your posts, um, sometimes, BUT not everyone here knows what lead you to your current profession. What brought you to the realization that you are a writer?

Well, I was the newspaper editor in high school, spent a summer studying Creative Writing in the SC Governor’s School, and was an English major in college, so I knew I was attracted to the world of words.  I remember how thrilled I was that an Appalachian poet who came to see us at the Governor’s School picked my poem out of a heap of them and said she really liked it (I’ve always loved poetry, and every book in my Impossible Bachelors series contains at least a portion of one). I then worked at the CIA, and for a year there I was in an editor’s position. I also did a stint as an analyst and got an article published in an internal intelligence magazine.

After I married and followed my Navy husband around, I stayed home with our kids. When the two oldest were toddlers, I wrote a little Regency that contained a dog’s point-of-view—it was rejected by Hilary Ross at Signet. So I gave up on writing books as a career because they were the people I wanted to publish my stories (I had no idea RWA existed at that point or that other publishers might be interested in my books).

And then I was a freelancer for a regional section of the Charlotte Observer for a couple years after my third and youngest child was born, although I did have two stories at the big Observer—one about a cow running across a shopping mall parking lot, and one about a fight I induced between John Rosemond and T. Berry Brazelton on the subject of potty training that grew so large, the New York Times wrote about it (see my mommy writer blog, Peanut Butter on the Keyboard, for more information on that story: http://peanutbutteronthekeyboard.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/potty-training-do-or-die/#respond).

And then I went to a Charlotte RWA meeting and learned more about RWA and contests. So I wrote three chapters of a single title contemporary and finaled in the unpublished Maggies. That made me realize I might have some potential. So off and on, I would write. It was a passion, a hobby, and I dreamed of someday being published. But I was much more involved with my family in my 30’s and let that dream slide. When I got to my 40’s, I re-ignited that passion and decided the year my husband got called up to Afghanistan to really, REALLY make a stab at this as a career. That’s when I wrote When Harry Met Molly. That’s when I learned that the business of being a published writer is WAY different than my cozy hobby. I still love to write, but writing under a deadline is different from simply gazing out my window and taking time off when I’m stumped. That can’t happen anymore.

I bet! Even though I don't have an editorial deadline yet, I feel the pressure now that I consider myself a professional writer. I'm equal parts eager and terrified to have an actual deadline, lol!

Oh! Speaking of novels...can we pretty please have a peek at your upcoming book? Oh, please? We won't tell anyone! Just between us, the Lady Scribes, our readers, Facebook and Twitter, 'kay?
I think this is BRILLIANT!

Yes! Here’s a little snippet from a random page—I’m leaving out the guy’s name, though, so you won’t know who he is:

His eyes gleamed with something that sent shivers of awareness through her. “I’ll leave you here.” He lingered over the kiss on her knuckles, and her fingers clutched in response to the heat of his mouth. “I’m glad you paid me a visit.”
She was appalled that she felt so reluctant to leave him. “I’m stopping by again,” she blurted out, “to meet Joe.”
There was a great silence between them.
“You can’t do that.” His voice was quiet. “For many reasons, not the least of which is protecting your good reputation.”
“I know.” She swallowed. “But I’m going to do it anyway. So don’t try to stop me.”
He lifted her chin, the gleam in his eyes becoming more pronounced. “You’re both headmistress and troublemaker. Do you know what that combination does to a man?”
“No,” she said, feeling rather breathless.
“It makes him unable to think of anyone but you. In the morning. At the noon hour. And at night.”
At night? Her face grew hot. “_____________, you shouldn’t—“
“Go home,” he said abruptly. “Before I pull you into another alleyway.”
And so she fled. Once she was at a safe distance, she glanced over her shoulder to catch a glimpse of him walking away. But he hadn’t. He was still there in his black cape, his gaze dark and steady upon her beneath the rim of his hat.
She couldn’t help herself. She turned and faced him, walking slowly backwards a few steps, her eyes locked on his, drinking in the sight of him. The wind blew a lock of hair in her eyes, and she pulled it aside.
She saw the corner of his mouth tip up once more, and her heart surged.
She spun forward again, and somehow at that moment—when she could feel him still watching her—she was able to forget the reality of her hopeless situation.
And for a brief, shining moment, it was like walking beneath an invisible rainbow into a bigger and brighter life.

Yay! Thank you...I'm excited for this new series. And I want to read more, which is what I suspect you were aiming for with that awesome passage. You are one sneaky dame, Ms. Kramer!

Okay, time to play Olivia's favorite interviewing game! (I asked Kieran a bunch of random questions and she gave some very interesting answers...)

1)   What was the first (or your most favorite) book that you read as a child? Have you read it to your children?

 The entire Little House series. I’ve read several of them to them. One of my favorites is FARMER BOY.
Shh. Don't tell Kieran, but my personal favorite is The Little House in the Big Woods!

2)   If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go? And why?

I’d stay here in the Lowcountry. But if I had to visit anywhere in the world for an extended stay, it would be Ireland or Scotland. The land is so magnificent in both places. Plus, I spent a year in Scotland in college, so I have fond memories. I’m also half-Irish and my mother has a farm in Ireland, so I’d go there to feel my ancestors looking over my shoulder.

3)   What is your favorite type of movie? Would you rather see John Carter of Mars or A Room with a View? 

I like that question! I’m more into quirky, zany movies with a Western ending. DO NOT GIVE ME AMBIGUITY IN AN ENDING!!! I don’t know anything about John Carter. I want to go see that. And A Room With a View was good—I do remember it—but I can only take nuance for so long. I like to be hit over the head with something big and funny or openly poignant. I’m not sophisticated enough to like nuance. I’m a reverse snob—I think it’s pretentious. <g>
We all know my taste in movies. (I <3 HellBoy!) ;)

4)   Are you an early bird or night owl? Has this changed over the years? If so, why do you think that is?

Damn, I HATE this question, but in a way I’m glad you asked it because now I can talk about the bane of my existence—insomnia, which has now plagued me off and on for five years—and maybe get some pity. If you’ve never had it, it’s awful. Especially if you have to wake up early and help get the kids ready for school. And I’m not the type to take ANY medication. Not even Benadryl (I know some women who take that every night! I don’t think that’s a great idea). I’d rather combat it naturally, by being in balance spiritually, mentally, and physically.

Of course, easier said than done! All my good intentions get tossed by the wayside when I feel I’m behind on my deadlines. BUT…the good part is, I’m making strides getting healthier, and I think that is helping.

5)   If you had a time machine, would you go back or forward? Why?

Definitely backward, as long as I get to bring antibiotics and a cell phone that can pick up modern cell phone tower signals!!! I’d go back to tell every woman I meet in the Olden Days to rise up and stop taking so much s*** from men. And then I’d walk into pubs and tell the men to go home and pay attention to their kids and wives and to get over themselves!!!

On another note (massive random transition here, which I tend to do a lot in conversation), I’d also want to thank all the people that died to make our country free. I’m a big patriot. I treasure our freedom.

6)   If you had the chance, would you go into outer space or take a submarine to the deepest parts of the ocean? Are you an adventurer or homebody?

Hell no on the submarine! You’d have to load me up with tranquilizers. I have claustrophobia. I’d hate outer space, too. I’m a big baby and want to stay home and watch it all on TV. At the same time, I AM an adventurer. Just not an in-your-face kind, you know—the people who say things like, “I ran with the bulls at Pamplona!!!” I hate those people!!!!
This would require serious libation.

Of course, I did do that in 2010, so I’m a big hypocrite. Those bulls were scary and could have killed us. That’s why most people who ran were drunk off their butts. I wasn’t. I might do it again someday, and next time I WILL take a drink to take the edge off. My friend jumped over a fence and the guy next to him got gored through the thigh. My friend stood over him and said the Rosary, and the guy lived, but shoot…that was scary. It was a big challenge for me not only because of the bulls but because I hate crowds, too, and we were shoved up against hundreds of drunk young guys at the beginning. It was NOT my favorite moment, cute as many of those Spanish guys were.

8)   What is your perfect bliss? The depths of despair?

My perfect bliss is sitting on the beach on a pretty day with all my family around me and NO SCHEDULE!!!!

The depths of despair for me is when one of my children is in crisis. We’ve had a few serious crises in our family, and only praying and the love of my family and friends saved me from losing it completely.

10) If you were an animal, which one do you think you would be? Is it the same one you would like to be?

I thought about this question and couldn’t figure it out. Someone asked me what kind of flower I’d be, and I couldn’t figure that one out, either. I wonder what this says about me?  I confess that I immediately thought I’d better be a parrot because they live a long time.  
Nature's Punk Rocker

Or a chimpanzee. They do, too. 
The cuteness! It hurts!!! ;D

In the back of my mind, I’m always slightly worried about death, like Woody Allen. But I would hate to be either one of those animals because I just don’t want to be an animal. As for flowers, I’d like to be a camellia, but you didn’t ask that question. 
I can almost smell it through the screen. Delightful...

They smell so good and are so pretty!!!   :>)

11)   What makes the heroine and hero in this upcoming novel special, in your eyes? Their most marked traits or the thing that drew you to them?

I really liked Duncan because he was the underdog hero. He was always in his brother’s shadow. And he’s a devoted father. I love any man who loves his kids. He’s really hot on my new romance trading card. I didn’t like the old picture of him there, so I got a new one made.

I liked Marcia because like all my heroines, she’s not your run-of-the-mill simpering debutante--although she could have been the super popular one if she’d wanted to be. I also like Marcia because she represents for me the overcoming of shame that every single woman I know has for one reason or another. We are way too hard on ourselves.

12)   Who is your favorite, out all the heroines you’ve written? Who is your favorite hero? Why?

Molly’s my favorite girl, from WHEN HARRY MET MOLLY, because she represents the writer I was before I got into the game of publishing. She’s a total goof, yet she has a deep side. I think she’s the closest to my personality. Maybe that means I’m self-absorbed. I wasn’t setting out to make her that way, but I’ve always felt like a fish-out-of-water, and so she resonated with me.

And Stephen’s my favorite guy from CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MARRIAGE because he’s a naval officer and I modeled him after my husband—not how he looks but how he acts. He’s intrigued by the fact that Jillian doesn’t put up with him trying to order her about at the beginning of the book (not that my husband ever ordered me around, but he’s a military guy, and they like to do things THEIR way). And Jillian reminds Stephen that he can translate his skills as a naval officer into skills he can use on land. He’s a fish-out-of-water almost in the literal sense—he and land don’t mix at first, but he and Jillian create a thriving community in their neighborhood.

13)   Who chooses the titles for your novels? (They are funny and adorable!) Were they the titles you originally came up with? What’s the silliest/funniest/worst title you remember coming up with?

Thank you! No, they weren’t original except for WHEN HARRY MET MOLLY. I’d submitted four titles based on movie titles, but three of them weren’t used. However, my concept of using titles that riffed off of pop culture really inspired Jennifer, my editor. She and I collaborated to come up with the others, although she came up with the final titles for DUKES TO THE LEFT OF ME, PRINCES TO THE RIGHT and IF YOU GIVE A GIRL A VISCOUNT.

My titles are more “normal” in this new series, the House of Brady. But the whole idea of the House of Brady is kind of off-the-wall, so that was crazy enough for us.

14) What’s your favorite season, and why?

Summer. I love having the kids at home. I love fresh vegetables and the beach and the downtime.
"Why are we jumping?" "Who cares?! It's summer!"

15)   If you won the lotto, what’s the first thing you would do?


I would pay off our mortgage, write big checks to a couple of charities we support (like the USO and some local soup kitchens and pet shelters), hand out a bunch to the nieces and nephews for college tuition, and then put the rest into real estate--probably a beach house and a mountain house for the kids to inherit. And then I’d travel!

Olivia, this was so much fun!!!!! 

Thank you for having me, and I would love to give away a copy of my last book, IF YOU GIVE A GIRL A VISCOUNT, to one of your readers, along with some other swag, including a pink LOVING LADY MARCIA pen, some Post-It’s, bookmarks, and romance trading cards.

I’d also love to mention that I have a free “Kieran Kramer” app on the iPhone and Droid! It’s so cool! (It's really, really cool- check it out! ~ O)

And then there’s the amazing street team I have with Vicky Dreiling called the Regency Rockstars! 
We’re nearing capacity (we think we’re capping it at 100 members for now), but we aren’t there yet, and we would LOVE to have some of your blog’s readers come join us. Please check us out at www.regencyrockstars.com. You’ll see a link to our Facebook page, and you can join the group there. We’re sending out some fun goodie bags next month.

Thanks again, Lady Scribes, and I hope to visit with you again soon!!!

Many hugs all around,

Kieran :>)

Just leave a comment for Kieran, and don't forget to give us your email address, and you will be entered to win swag! (And I've read IF YOU GIVE A GIRL A VISCOUNT, and you want to read it, believe me!)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer is OFFICIALLY Here--Sorry, Ava

If you weren't already aware, yesterday was the summer solstice here in the northern hemisphere. (So yes, Ava, that means it is officially summer and no longer spring.) That means that yesterday was the longest day of the year--the day when the sun is out the longest. From today on until the winter solstice, the days will progressively get a little shorter and a little darker...unless, of course, you're in the southern hemisphere like our own Heather, who just experienced the winter solstice.

Just how long yesterday was (and therefore just how much sun you got) depends largely on how far north you live.

In Texas, it has been summer for months. Searing heat. Scorching sun. All that stuff that most people love but I hate with every fiber of my being. Where I live, the sun rose at about 6:20 in the morning and didn't set until somewhere in the range of 8:40 in the evening. That's over fourteen hours of sun...sun that burns and leaves ugly blisters and causes skin cancer.

Augh! Too much.

(Sorry. I digress. Can you tell I'm not a fan of summer in Texas?)

I lived in Juneau, Alaska once, for about a year. In case your geography skills aren't all that great, Alaska is significantly farther north than Texas. That means that on the summer solstice, they get a LOT more sun than we do in Texas.

I don't recall the precise times for sunrise and sunset for the summer solstice during the year that I lived there, but I do recall that the sun was out until somewhere in the range of 11:00 or 11:30 pm, and then it rose again at around 2:00 am. Yep--over twenty-one hours of sunshine. TWENTY-ONE! Heck, even when it was "dark," it wasn't really dark. It was more like twilight, where you could see the brightness of the sun off over the mountains in the distance.

Despite the fact that there was considerably more sunshine in the summer in Alaska than there is in Texas, I didn't mind it in the least. I loved it, actually. It was bright and cheery and energizing. It made me feel like I could keep going for hours on end, and in fact I often lost track of how late it was. The sun was still out. Why were all the stores closing?

The Alaskan sun wasn't accompanied by the oppressive heat and humidity we have in Texas--the sort that saps all of your energy and leaves you feeling like you got run over by a dump truck a few times, and all the while you're covered in an ever-present vat of sweat so disgusting that you feel like your hair will NEVER dry again.

Instead, there was only one day that summer in Alaska that I remember it getting up into the 80s. That was a day that the locals told me it was "balmy." I tried to discreetly hide my laughter at such a statement, because for Alaskans, 80 probably is balmy. If it's only 80 in Texas on a summer day, we designate it a holiday, take the day off of everything but the lake or pool, and rejoice that our air conditioners won't have to keep working at an insane pace until 3 am in order to get it down to a reasonable temperature for sleeping. If we're lucky and it lasts for a few days, our electric bill might not make us want to gouge out our eyes that month. We might just want to cry for a few hours while we sell plasma to pay the bill.

The sun, in Alaska, was not my enemy. Instead, for so many people who live in areas so far north where they get such a delightful amount of sun in the summer, it is the winter solstice that is to be loathed. The opposite takes place in the winter, where the sun doesn't rise until lunchtime and is already setting again a couple of hours later, and it is cold and dark and depressing. Seasonal depression is the expectation. It's the norm. If you don't suffer from it, you should count yourself as one of the lucky ones. (I did have seasonal depression from the darkness, but I loved the cold. Too bad they go hand-in-hand.)

So, begrudgingly, I can understand the feelings of those people who live up in farther northern climes, who delight in the impending return of summer each year. It may take me a few moments to remind myself that I, too, once upon a time took great pleasure in the extended hours of daylight and the energy it provided. Okay, I'll admit it. Sometimes it takes a whack over the head, because I'm so caught up in how gross and tired and miserable the Texas heat makes me to remember that it isn't so horrid in the summer everywhere.

Because of that, if I should rain on your celebration that summer is upon us by grumbling about how long it will be until winter will return, feel free to give me a good, solid whack. (Just not too hard. That'll only make me grumble more.)

Do you live in an area where you can't wait for summer to finally arrive? Do you delight in the sunshine? Or are you more like me, where you curse it with every breath you take?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Who Knew Pants Could Be So Fun?

Hi, it's Samantha, and those of you who know me already know I'm pretty silly sometimes. But  some days we just need to be silly, share good laughs with friends, and have some fun. I saw something on Facebook last week that said to name the book you are currently reading then add the words "In your pants". (Thanks, Misty!) 

I’m totally copying off Harlequin, but with my own little spin put on it. I thought it would be funny to see the latest Lady Scribes' titles modified a bit.

Heather Boyd’s

“Engaging the Enemy In Your Pants” 

Finally! Peace negotiations that might actually get results.

Cynthia Cooke’s

“Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies In Your Pants”

LOL. I won’t even ask.

Jerrica Knight-Catania’s

“Gypsy Bride In Your Pants”

Wow! They really are nomads.

Ava Stone’s

“My Favorite Major In Your Pants”

Stand down, soldier!

Suzie Grant’s

“Valkyrie’s Vengeance In Your Pants” 

Is that like Montezuma’s Revenge???

Erin Knightley’s

“More Than a Stranger In Your Pants”

Those must be one roomy pair of pants.

Marquita Valentine’s

“Third Time’s a Charm In Your Pants”

You know, Bob Dole takes a medicine for that little issue.

Olivia Kelley’s

“It Could Only Be You In Your Pants”

What are you trying to say?

Catherine Gayle’s

“Pariah In Your Pants”

Beats piranha in your pants!

Jane Charles’s

“A Misguided Lord In Your Pants”

Dude! Just stop and ask directions for once.

Andris Bear’s

“Angel Unleashed In Your Pants”

It comes with wings?

Deb Marlowe’s

“Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick In Your Pants”

Now, how did she get in there?

Lily George’s

“The Temporary Betrothal In Your Pants”

That sounds a little suspicious to me.

Julie Johnstone’s

“Evading the Englishman In Your Pants”

Lud! Lord Fancy Pants is a crashing bore. Oh, dear. He’s looking this way. Pretend you don’t see him.
And finally...

Samantha Grace’s

“Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half In Your Pants”

That’s just wrong! LOL

Now it's your turn! Name one book on your keeper shelf and add "In Your Pants" at the end.