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Monday, March 31, 2014

Never Courted, Suddenly Wed Feature

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.


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

Follow Christi Caldwell!
Twitter: @ChristiCaldwell
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1rVB2ji 

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?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What's Up, Wednesday?

This week's question…
What is your favorite kind of pet? Dogs? Cats? Bunnies? Birds? Anything goes! 

Mattie Grace
Dani Grace
We have a cat and a dog. My favorite often depends on which one is causing the least amount of trouble that day. JK! I love them both dearly, and they are great company during the day. If I'm upstairs in my office writing, you can bet they will both be with me. But overall, I prefer cats. They are more independent, and I like that about them.
~Samantha Grace

Tank Johnson
I'm a major dog lover, so it was ironic that I worked a cat, Sebastian, into the first novel of my Sentinels of New Orleans series, planning to ditch him with a relative after the first book. My editor loved him, and I've been stuck with him for four books now. My heroine refers to him as a "minion of Satan."

To take revenge, I named the hero of my latest romantic suspense, Lovely, Dark, and Deep, after my Irish terrier, Shane. As I was writing the book, my BFF's beloved black lab, Jagger, died, and so I nicknamed Shane's best friend in the book Jagger. It snowballed from there, and about 80 percent of the characters in the book are named after my pets and my friends' pets. The only actual dog in the book, Tank, is named (and acts like) my own dog, Tank, a black chow-retriever mix.

Tank, who's an ancient age (for a big dog) of 14, is mostly deaf, and fixes me (in his photo) with his "I will bend you to my will, and you will feed me treats" stare whenever I sit down in the living room to watch TV. :-)
~Suzanne Johnson

I love dogs. Ever since my Shetland Sheepdog would try to heal the scrapes on my knees when I was just a little girl, I fell in love with the loyal creatures. There was something so exciting about picking out the breed and dog of my choosing when I was an adult. : ) We fell in love with pugs and I found a little fawn-colored angel who thought he was far bigger than he was. He was with me through so many difficult times, curling up on my lap to comfort me at various points in my life. 
~Christi Caldwell
YouDee Lohmann

I have two cats, one dog, and three chickens, so it's hard for me to pick a favorite pet. If forced, I'll say cats. I love the devil-may-care jerkiness combined with the occasional affection. Clearly, an unhealthy relationship. 

~Jennifer Lohmann

This is our new "mixed" puppy, Sammi. So, right now, I'd say dogs are my favorite!
~Olivia Kelly, The Heart of a Duke

Sammi Kelly

If you would like to be entered into a drawing for 2 doggie cover books by Kristin Higgins, tell us your favorite pets and please include your email. (Email must be included to win. Otherwise it's too hard to track down the winner.)

Last week's winner of the 3 mystery books from Sam's shelf is: Di! Congratulations! Please check your email for confirmation.

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.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Let the war of the covers commence!

What makes you stop and buy a book? For many people it's the cover first and then the back blurb (cover copy) second. Personally, I always read the back cover copy even if I don't like the cover, but that may just be the writer in me coming out. Let's face it, I know just how hard that author worked to write that book, and she or he may not have ended up with the cover of their dreams. So I always give the back cover copy just as much consideration as the pretty, or not so pretty, picture on the front.

The process of finding the perfect picture for a cover is daunting! I know because I have spent weeks searching for an exact picture that is in my head. I'm pretty sure I have driven myself and my cover artist to the brink of insanity!

I just started writing a new story, but right away my brain is turning and plotting the cover, title, font and blurb that is going to make the reader buy it. Because there are so many great covers here at Lady Scribes I thought it would be fun to have a cover war among us ladies that our blog visitors can vote on.

All you need to do is leave a comment in the comment's section for whatever book cover and blurb combination you like the best. You can simply put the author's name in your comment. Make sure to leave your name and email because one person who comments will win either an ebook or a print book from the winning cover!

I would love to know what is one kind of cover you would never buy and what kind of cover can you never pass up!

And now for the covers!!!!

Lady Madelaine Aldridge might be the worst lady-in-waiting to ever grace King George III’s court. An oddball who prefers archery to embroidery and honesty to deception, she earns the dislike of the Queen, the cruelty of the other ladies-in-waiting and the advances of a lecherous fiend who wants to make her his whore. Her father demands she find a proper husband―a task that seems hopeless until Lord Grey Adlard rides into court.

Grey Adlard lives up to his reputation as a dangerously handsome rake when he proposes Madelaine meet him in the stables for a tumble. Yet when she needs a protector the most, Grey offers his services and vows he wants to court her. Wary yet intrigued by the mystery he presents, Madelaine slowly allows Grey to capture her confidence and then her heart.

Things seem perfect until her father is imprisoned for plotting against the King and Madelaine learns Grey is not who he pretends. As King George III sinks deeper into insanity, Madelaine must prove her father’s innocence in order to save his life. With the future of England hanging in the balance and a ruthless murderer hunting them Grey and Madelaine engage in a clash of wills and a battle fraught with suspicion, secrets, betrayal and two hearts that cannot deny the impossible, irresistible love between them.

Wishing the weekend would never end! 

Trey Harris wants nothing to do with his late father's farm. In fact, he can't get rid of it fast enough so he can enjoy his city life. Then he meets Maxine "Max" Backstrom—the gorgeous woman leasing the land. Between her passion for his family's farm and her determination to show him its beauty…well, Trey can't stop thinking about what it would be like to kiss her! 

Still, their lives are worlds apart. If he sells, her livelihood vanishes. But his interests aren't here. And no matter how magical their weekends together are, this can't lead to anything…can it?

Rosalind Valentine has been in love with Marquess Felding since she was in the schoolroom.  She also knows that he will never be hers given her humble background and family secrets. As much as it pains her to watch him court another, Rosalind knows it is for the best and is determined to be content in her position as a nursery maid and companion.
Noah realizes that the lady he set to court is not the lady he wishes to be tied to for life and also begins to see Miss Rosalind Valentine in an entirely different light. Had he been looking in the wrong place for love? Had she been as close as next door? Will circumstances beyond his control keep him from making a Christmas Match?

From the betting book at Brooks Gentleman’s Club:
Wager: £2,000 that Lord Ellis will throw the first punch when he discovers Lord Thorne is wooing a certain duke’s sister.

All bets are off when the game is love
Lady Gabrielle is thrilled when she learns Anthony Keaton, Earl of Ellis, wants to ask for her hand in marriage. She’s not so pleased when he then leaves the country and four months pass without a word. Clearly, the scoundrel has changed his mind and is too cowardly to tell her. There’s nothing to do but go back on the marriage mart…

When Anthony returns to Town and finds his ultimate rival has set sights on Gabby, his continual battle of one-upmanship with Sebastian Thorne ceases to be a game. Anthony is determined to win back the woman who holds his heart--but he’s not expecting Gabby herself to up the stakes…

British vampire psychiatrist and former mercenary Cage Reynolds returns to Penton, Alabama, looking for a permanent home. The town has been ravaged by the ongoing vampire war and the shortage of untainted human blood, and now the vampires and humans that make up the Omega Force are trying to rebuild. Cage hopes to help the cause, put down roots in Penton, and resolve his relationship with Melissa Calvert. The last thing he expects is an attraction to Robin Ashton, a trash-talking eagle shape-shifter and new Omega recruit.
Meanwhile, as a dangerous saboteur wreaks havoc in Penton, the ruthless Vampire Tribunal leader Matthias Ludlam has been freed on the eve of his scheduled execution. But by whom? And to what end? As war and chaos rage on, love is the last thing Cage is looking for, but will his attraction to Robin distract him from the danger living among them? 

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?

Have fun voting!!!