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Monday, March 31, 2014

Never Courted, Suddenly Wed Feature

By
Christi Caldwell
With only one month until the release of Never Courted, Suddenly Wed, Book 2 in my Scandalous Seasons series, I thought I'd share the cover, an excerpt, and a free copy to one guest who stops by and comments!


Never Courted, Suddenly Wed
The Blurb
Christopher Ansley, Earl of Waxham, has constructed a perfect image for the ton--the ladies love him and his company is desired by all. Only two people know the truth about Waxham’s secret. Unfortunately, one of them is Miss Sophie Winters.


Sophie Winters has known Christopher since she was in leading strings. As children, they delighted in tormenting each other. Now at two and twenty, she still has a tendency to find herself in scrapes, and her marital prospects are slim.

When his father threatens to expose his shame to the ton, unless he weds Sophie for her dowry, Christopher concocts a plan to remain a bachelor. What he didn't plan on was falling in love with the lively, impetuous Sophie. As secrets are exposed, will Christopher’s love be enough when she discovers his role in his father’s scheme?

The Excerpt!


The front door opened and the butler greeted her with a bored yawn. “Miss Winters,” Ralston said, as though it were entirely commonplace for the viscount’s sister to be carried through the front door, by a gentleman, sans chaperon.

She sighed. “Hullo, Ralston.”

Her heart fell somewhere in the vicinity of her toes. Geoffrey stood with his arms folded across his chest, alongside Mother. His black stare conveyed brotherly disapproval. Had she really expected anything else? She wanted to bury her head in the front of Christopher’s jacket. Just then, it didn’t matter that he’d been her childhood nemesis. “It’s not my fault, Geoffrey.”

Geoffrey ignored her protestations of innocence. “Thank you so much for seeing to my sister, Waxham.”

Her mother sighed. “Whatever have you done now, Sophie?”

Geoffrey scooped her out of Christopher’s arms. “We are indebted to you. I’m sorry she caused you trouble.”

Christopher inclined his head. “It is not the lady’s fault. I’m afraid I was galloping where I shouldn’t have been and spooked her dog.” 

Her eyes widened at his lie. The boy she remembered would have delighted in telling Geoffrey the trouble she’d caused at Hyde Park. She didn’t know what to do with this unexpected kindness. It shamed her. Made her wish she’d been more gracious when Christopher had merely wanted to help.  

“Thank you,” she mouthed.

He gave the faintest nod.

Mother rang her hands together. “Regardless, you have returned Sophie to us in a most gentlemanly manner. May we extend an invitation to you and your father to dine with us?”

The earl’s hesitation was a palpable force. All Sophie’s oldest insecurities, the feeling of being nothing more than a polite obligation resurfaced. She cleared her throat. “Lord Waxham is busy.”

“Mother failed to mention a specific evening,” Geoffrey said, drolly.

She bit the inside of her cheek. Drat. He had her there.

As if on cue, Mother spoke. “Tomorrow evening?”

“Lord Waxham has plans tomorrow evening.” Sophie directed her attention toward Christopher. “Don’t you, my lord?”

He dusted his hands together. “Actually, I do not.”

“See, Mother. He…” What? Sophie’s words trailed off. “You don’t?”

“Splendid!” Mother exclaimed, clapping her hands.

Christopher caught and held Sophie’s gaze. “In fact, I can’t think of any way I’d rather spend my evening than with your family.”

Did she imagine the way he paused overlong on those last two words?  She narrowed her eyes. What was this about? She’d learned when they’d been small children to be very cautious where Christopher was concerned. There was certainly more to his gentlemanly response.

And Sophie didn’t trust it.

Didn’t trust it one bit.

She tried once more. “You are merely being polite.” Sophie looked to her mother. “On the ride over he mentioned he had a prior commitment.”

Mother’s face fell. “Oh, do say you’ll come another evening then?”

Christopher folded his arms across his chest. “Your daughter is mistaken.” He looked to Sophie. “You are mistaken,” he said, more emphatically.

“I am?”

“You are.”

Three pairs of faintly accusing eyes landed on Sophie. A telltale heat flooded her cheeks. “Really? I’d thought…that is to say, I believe we’d spoken of your plans for tomorrow evening.” She discreetly crossed her fingers and stole an upward glance at her brother.

Geoffrey’s black glower indicated that he knew Sophie wasn’t being altogether truthful.

Or in this case, at all truthful.

But really…why would Christopher want to join her family for supper? He’d made his feelings for her quite clear over the years. This gentlemanly side of him, his chivalrous attempt to shield her hoydenish behavior at Hyde Park from Geoffrey, was so very uncharacteristic.

Geoffrey’s words brought her back to the moment. “We really would be honored to have you and your father for company tomorrow evening, Waxham.”

Christopher bowed. “The pleasure will be all ours. Miss Winters, I wish you a swift recovery.”  With a long, undecipherable look for Sophie, he took his leave.

Sophie stared after him, frowning. Yes, there was more to Christopher’s actions this day…and Sophie had every intention of getting to the heart of it.

“Sophie…”

Just as soon as she dealt with her Mother and Geoffrey.  

Follow Christi Caldwell!
www.christicaldwellauthor.com
Twitter: @ChristiCaldwell
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's All in the Accent

I love accents: Scottish, British, Irish, French, Italian . . . Who doesn't?

Okay, maybe I am alone, but I don't think so.  Just hearing an accent and you already have an idea of where this person came from. As an avid audiobook listener, I love it when the narrator also portrays the characters accent. I must say my favorite to date though is Lou Diamond Phillips and his narration of the Tom Clancy novels. Wow! Then again, it is Lou Diamond Phillips and should I really be surprised that he is able to distinguish between so many different characters from an array of countries?

However, hearing an accent and reading or writing one is completely different. I know some people are fine with mentioning a character had a sweet Irish lilt or a Scottish brogue, and that is enough. Then it is up to the reader to hear either the lilt or the brogue in the dialogue.

That doesn't work for me. I like the flavor in the dialogue. Not heavy, or heaven forbid, phonetically typed so we can read how it is meant to sound. That would simply give me a headache as I try and figure out what the character is trying to say.

I prefer a balance, or a sprinkling.

It is funny that I should complain or even comment on this. I recently got back a novella from my editor which is due out in April. In it, my hero is Irish. I simply mentioned he was and she wanted to know where his accent was. It was a head slap moment. My hero now drops his "g"s and uses "ya" instead of you.

This isn't the first time I've forgotten an accent either. The book I completed right after the Irish hero, has a Russian character. Once again, I completely forgot to give him an accent. I've pulled the pages from my critique partners so I can revise the dialogue. The pages are also littered with those red and blue squiggly lines that warn of spelling and grammar errors. Well, it isn't my fault my character omits "the", "a", "an" and "to" from his speech, or that there is no "w" sound and it needs to be replaced with a "v".

Really, it isn't as bad as all that because I am only sprinkling for flavor.

How do you feel about accents. Are you fine with the author simply saying a character had a lilt or brogue and leave it at that, or do you like to see the accent in the dialogue?

What is your favorite accent to hear?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday Teaser

It is Tuesday again and Lady Scribes has dedicated this day to share with you what we are working on or what has recently been released.  Some will be in the form of a blurb and link, others may post a trailer, and some might post a video of author reading from their current book or WIP.  You never know what we will have so be sure to tune in each Tuesday. 

On sale - A Misguided Lord.  I am not sure how long they will have it for this low price, but you can't beat getting a full length audiobook for $1.99 at Audible

            It is time for Clayton Trent, Earl of Bentley, to take a bride.  He knows exactly what he needs and the type of lady who should become his Countess.  His life is orderly, scandal free and exactly the way it should be until Miss Eleanor Westin careens into him, upsetting the perfect balance of his world.  She is everything his father said he should not marry.  Yet, he cannot put her from his mind, not even when a decade old scandal threatens the very foundation of his family.

            Miss Eleanor Westin has spent her life in the country on the brink of poverty and raising her siblings after the death of her parents until her grandfather finally decides to do his duty and brings her to London.  Eleanor simply wants to find a gentleman who is willing to take on her family in the bargain.  Love is not even a consideration if she can land security.  Unfortunately, the only gentleman who has made any offer is Lord Bentley, and he will never do.  If only he would stay out of her dreams so she could forget him and his intoxicating kisses.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Who's Your Favorite Book Boyfriend? Here's Our Top 5!

Welcome to a new edition of “High Five Friday.” Every Friday, a mix of authors and readers will offer up our favorites in a different category. This week’s burning question?

Who’s your all-time favorite book boyfriend? You know the one you kind of sigh and daydream about even though you know he’s not real. Darn it. There were quite a few heartthrobs who didn’t make the top five: Styxx (Sherrilyn Kenyon), Vishous (JR Ward), Reyes (Darynda Jones) and Bones (Jeaniene Frost) all got multiple votes. And thanks to reader Roger who stepped up and bravely gave us Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan—a book girlfriend!

And then there were the front-runners, who finished neck-in-sexy-neck.

Weigh in at the end, and you could win your choice of one of the favorites or a gift card!

[The method behind the madness: Answers are combined from informal polls on blogs, email loops, and Facebook.]

#5 Faramir, from JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
He was the honorable man his warrior brother Boromir wanted to be. And I have to admit that in the Peter Jackson films, it was Faramir, as played by David Wenham, and Boromir, played by Sean Bean, who diverted my attention from Aragorn.

#4 #3 and #2
Yep, a three-way tie between an unlikely trio, in no particular order.
            * Jean Lafitte, from my Sentinels of New Orleans series. Okay, so I probably should disqualify Le Capitaine since he had an advantage, but he’d never let me hear the end of it, so to keep the peace, we allow into the winner’s circle the early 19th-century French privateer from New Orleans. Mais oui!
            * Adam Hauptman, from Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. I can’t argue with the strong, stubborn, honorable alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack.
            * Curran, the beast lord himself, from Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series. I really, really have to read this series. Really.

And chosen as the front-running, the #1 All-Time Book Boyfriend is:

Roarke, from JD Robb’s In Death series.
A former thief and rogue (we love rogues here at Lady Scribes!), Roarke is the sexy significant other of Eve Dallas in this long-running series.

How about you? Who’s your book boyfriend (or girlfriend)? And do you think you’d like that person in real life? Weigh in, and you can win your choice of a single book of choice from this week’s top five or a $5 Amazon gift card (or equivalent from Book Depo for those of you outside the U.S. Contest will end at noon CST on Thursday, March 27, and announced here next Friday. International entries welcome.

Congrats to SHARLENE; you won the $5 gift card from last Friday’s post on scenes that make us cry. Email me HERE and let me know your email and preference of Amazon or other retailer.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Teaser

It is Tuesday again and Lady Scribes has dedicated this day to share with you what we are working on or what has recently been released.  Some will be in the form of a blurb and link, others may post a trailer, and some might post a video of author reading from their current book or WIP.  You never know what we will have so be sure to tune in each Tuesday. 

The First Move by Jennifer Lohmann



"Rey," he said with all the laughter gone from his face, "I won't say or do anything to you I don't mean. When I say I'm taking you dancing, I'm taking you dancing. You can try to scare me off by answering the door in your running clothes, but I don't scare easily."

His eyes burrowed into her, and she believed him, totally and absolutely. She shivered. Fear or excitement?

Someone bumped her from behind and she lurched forward until she was pressed against Miles. His chest was hard against hers and he smelled of pine and Ivory soap. The contact made her dizzy.

He slid his hand around her waist and leaned in close to her ear. "Come on," he whispered and goose bumps trailed down her neck, "we're blocking traffic and I've got other plans for you."

Monday, March 17, 2014

DABWAHA time has started!



The nominees for the DABWAHA tournament were posted and I am so honored to see The First Move up there!


I'm up against some pretty heavy competition. Check out the list of nominees; there are awesome books on that list and every time I look at that list, I add to my TBR pile.

Don't know what DABWAHA is? During the month of March, much of American shuts down to watch the college basketball tournament (March Madness). Inspired by that madness, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Dear Author have set up a tournament pitting romance novels against one another. You still have a chance to set up a bracket and the voting will begin on the 18th! The smack talk on twitter has already started.

I'm looking for support from Lady Scribes readers, so go set up your bracket and be prepared to vote! If you set up a bracket, there are some awesome prizes and the list gets bigger every day.


I've got some ideas for bribes, but I'm always looking for more. If I win my rounds, what kinds of things do you think I should post online as bribes for readers?

Friday, March 14, 2014

High-Five Friday--Scenes That Made Us Cry

Welcome to “High Five Friday.” Every Friday, a mix of authors and readers will offer up our favorites in a different category. This week’s burning question?

Tell us a book or scene that made you cry. I thought of this because, as silly as it sounds, two of my own characters made me sniffle last week as they said things I wasn’t expecting. I mean, I’m talking about an undead 19th-century pirate and an alpha shapeshifter—not guys that normally inspire tears, at least not in my world.

So I started to think about books that have made me cry, and decided to see what others said. I was relieved to hear author Jennifer Lohmann admit she’d teared up when she wrote her book The First Move, so maybe I’m not nuts. Jennifer also admits that she “bawled like a baby” when reading Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief. My top two also made the list this week...and here it is!

What were the top five sob-inducing scenes, culled from blog posts and Facebook?

No. 5: The Black Dagger Brotherhood, by JR Ward.
No, it isn’t a single book, but oh, the scenes. One cried when Z was all scarecrow-starved and sleeping on the floor, or when Butch and Vishous had their sad relationship scene in Lover Unleashed, or when Z finally gets Bella from where the Lessers are holding her…well, heck, anything with Z, right?

No. 4: The Death of Dobby the Elf, in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Oh, Dobby. You were the first to break our hearts in this book. And Remus and Tonks.

No. 3: The Rape of Mercy Thompson, in Patricia Briggs’ Iron Kissed.
Or, more specifically, the aftermath as Adam finds out in the worst-possible way and his heart-wrenching reaction, and the way Mercy hides her coyote, ashamed. It was powerful. I can almost cry just remembering it.

No. 2: The Death of Kisten Phelps, in Kim Harrison’s For a Few Demons More.
This was huge. I honestly don’t think I cried because my jaw was on the floor and I just KNEW, I mean I KNEW, Kist would come back in a subsequent book. Only he didn’t, and I still miss him. It took me several books to forgive Ms. Harrison.

No. 1: When Edward Says Goodbye to Bella in Stephanie Meyer’s New Moon.
Say what you will about the Twilight series and its literary merits, you can’t deny the lure of these characters, and this book in particular is extremely dark and emotional as Edward realizes he can’t keep Bella safe and tells her he no longer loves her. Heart-wrenching, or overwrought? It got the most votes, so what say you, readers?

What’s a scene that made you cry? Weigh in, and you can win a $5 gift card to Amazon or your e-tailer of choice. The winner will be announced in this space next week. Last week’s winner is SANDYG. Email me at this link!



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Regency Ladies Gone Wild

Well-behaved women seldom make history.  

I’ve always loved this quote, not only for it’s humor, but also for the truth contained within it. History is written about those who do something, usually something that goes against the social rules of the times. Occasionally, notoriety even means gathering the courage to challenge the laws. Consider the women who marched for Women’s Suffrage. What about Rosa Parks? Change happens because non-conformists refuse to follow the status quo. Granted sometimes they aren’t motivated by the desire to make the world a better place, but it’s hard to deny they make it more interesting.

An ongoing discussion occurs in historical romance circles about heroines that behave differently from other women of the times. This is especially true in Regency romance. Some authors and readers feel strongly that a Regency lady never would have done things that go against social norms or take risks that could result in becoming ruined, so it shouldn't happen in fiction either. (It’s important to note that one’s reputation was as valuable to the 19th century upper classes as one’s accomplishments are to people today.) While I agree the average lady would follow most rules to the letter, well-behaved ladies seldom make interesting heroines, in my opinion.

Two authors who actually lived during the Regency era that wrote interesting female characters were Jane Austen and Emily Bronte. In Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Miss Marianne Dashwood had no clue she should hide her emotions in polite society, and she did the unthinkable and wrote letters to a bachelor. Then there was Bronte’s Catherine from Wuthering Heights who behaved like a hoyden, running around with Heathcliff and spying on her neighbors. (Of course Catherine wasn’t a likeable young lady, but she wasn't boring.)

Even the mother of Regency romance, Georgette Heyer, wrote heroines who weren't deterred by societal expectations. Mary Challoner (Devil’s Cub) pretends to be her younger sister and meets the very rakish Marquis of Vidal to run away with him to save her sister from making a mistake. Mary believes the marquis will let her go once he learns she is the plain and very proper sister. It isn’t until Vidal discovers Mary's trickery, flies into a rage, and forces her to come to France that she realizes just how na├»ve she has been. The heroine in An Infamous Army, Lady Barbara Childe, Bab,  (An Infamous Army), is young widow who scandalizes Brussels by arriving at a ball with painted toenails and engages in flirtations to make gentlemen fall in love with her. And then - GASP - she dances twice with the hero, causing quite the stir. 

As a reader, I don't mind a lady who misbehaves as long as she has a good reason for acting the way she does. What do you think? 

Are historical heroines who push the envelop or bend the rules interesting, or do they make you want to scream?  


  

Friday, March 7, 2014

High-Five Friday--Guilty Pleasure Couple

Welcome to High-5 Friday, where each week we collect ideas on favorite categories in our books, films, TV shows, or lives.

Mardi Gras has passed and we've moved into the Lenten season, where those of the Catholic faith give up something until Easter. So in the spirit of sacrifice...well, okay, that's a real stretch. Let's talk about GUILTY PLEASURES! No, not the Laurell K. Hamilton novel, although it's one of my favorites in the Anita Blake series.

I'm talking about couples who never quite get that HEA despite what we'd love to see.  Who would you most like to see together? Readers chimed in this week on their votes, and here are the winners so far. One commenter will win a $5 Amazon GC (or Book Depo equivalent). Also, read on for last week's winner!

We had some interesting choices that didn't make the top five, but, really, wouldn't you like to see Vishous and Butch have their chance?

Here were our Top 5 "most wanna see" couple. In reverse order of the number of mentions...

No. 5: Stephanie Plum and Ranger (Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series). I mean, Steph has bounced back and forth so much (ranger, joe, ranger, joe) it's hard to keep track, but really, Steph...Ranger's the man. Joe's okay but he's no Ranger.

No. 4: DJ and Jean Lafitte (my Sentinels of New Orleans series). Okay, so she's in her 20s and he's, like, 234, give or take a year or two. But if Alex Warin has a rival in the romance department, it's our favorite French pirate. One thing we've never really known--what, exactly, Jean feels for DJ--we will learn in Pirate's Alley. (Tease!)

No. 3: Harry and Hermione (JK Rowling's Harry Potter series). I was lobbying for Harry to stay with Ginny Weasley, but totally agree Hermione would be totally bored with Ron after, oh, a year or two max. I was pushing for Hermione to hook up with Neville Longbottom, but, alas, the readers want to see the Double-Hs together.

No. 2: Rachel and Ivy (Kim Harrison's Hollows series). Again, I was voted down. I've been a proponent of Rachel and Trent for years, but, hey, this is paranormal. There is no reason Kisten can't come back to life and get his HEA with Rachel. But noooooo. Folks want to see Ivy and Rach get a chance.

No. 1: Harry Dresden and Karin Murphy (Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series). Harry and Karin have danced around each other for YEARS. I mean, seriously. Do it already! Sure, you'll think it to death and eventually beat all the joy out of the relationship, but we would so love reading about it.

And congrats to MAUREENF for winning the gift card for commenting on last week's High 5, favorite food scenes. Please email me at this link with your email address.

Now, for this week's prize, what's your favorite "wanna see" couple? It might be one of these, or it might be different!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Giveaways Galore!

A few years ago, a publisher was doing a big giveaway at Dear Author, and I won an advance copy of Kaki Warner's debut novel, Pieces of Sky. It instantly became one of my all-time favorite romance novels, and I emailed Kaki to tell her. Lovely woman that she is, she not only emailed to thank me but she also became the very first person to subscribe to my blog.

At the time, none of my books had been published, and it didn't occur to me that an author I admired would be excited to hear from me. In fact, I remember feeling nervous about emailing her. I hadn't written a fan letter to an author since I was ten years old. Now that I'm an author, I can tell you that it's an amazing feeling.

I've discovered some of my favorite authors through giveaways, and I hope that someone will feel the same about my books.

Playing It Close, the second book in my London Legends rugby series, comes out on April 14, less than six weeks from now. Want to read it before it's released? I'm giving away one advance digital copy to someone who leaves a comment on this post before Tuesday, March 11th. I'm also giving away three more to people who comment on my personal blog

Whether you win it or buy it, I hope you'll let me know what you think of it. I've just launched a separate giveaway for anyone who helps me spread the word about Playing It Close. You could win prizes for talking about the book online.

Some of these are things you can do without reading the book - such as publishing the book cover and buy links on your blog, or tweeting about the giveaway, or adding the book to your Goodreads shelves. But if you read the book, then you can also write an honest review and earn more points. Please note that I want honest reviews. Writing a glowing review will not make you more likely to win, and writing a negative review will not disqualify you from winning.

Leave a comment on this post to enter to win an advance copy of Playing It Close. To enter the separate giveaway for a $50 gift certificate, bracelet and London Legends field bag, use the Rafflecopter below. I hope you read and enjoy Playing It Close! a Rafflecopter giveaway
Playing It Close by Kat LathamPlaying It Close

Book two of the London Legends

Where do you go to escape everything when you're one of the most famous rugby players in the world? For Liam Callaghan, that place is a remote lodge on Venezuela's Caribbean coast. Perfect, except he doesn't exactly want to be alone with his thoughts. Enter Tess Chambers, the ultimate distraction.

Still reeling from a professional disaster that's made her all but unemployable, Tess understands the desire to move through life as somebody else. So when instantly recognizable Liam uses a fake name, she runs with it and creates a temporary new identity of her own.

Their time spent together in paradise is idyllic but brief—after one passionate night, Liam wakes up to find Tess gone. Returning to London, he's shocked to learn she's taken a job with his team's new sponsor. As the Legends' captain, he'll have to not only figure out how to work with the one woman who ever left him wanting more, but also convince her that their feelings in the present mean more than any lies they've told in the past.

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Read Chapter One