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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What's Up, Wednesday?

This week's question…
Apparently May starts National Barbecue Month here in the United States. Do you like to barbecue or grill outside in the summer? What's your favorite thing to grill or barbecue?

My favorite thing about grilling or barbecuing is letting someone else do it for me! I love to cook, but cooking outside doesn't interest me at all. I have a nice grill, though, if someone wants to make me dinner!
~Jennifer Lohmann 

I live in a major barbecue zone, so my favorite thing is to drive over to the Barbecue House in downtown Auburn (Alabama) and pick up pulled pork and side dishes like potato salad and Brunswick stew. And pie. Did I mention pie?
--Suzanne Johnson

I'm a vegetarian, so when people start talking about barbecues they often give me a look like, "Oh, crud, we'll have to get something special for you." I've had waaay more than my fair share of veggie burgers. My husband is a keen barbecuer, and he makes fantastic things for me. My favorite are grilled kebabs made of red peppers, zucchini and halloumi (it's a really salty, really hard cheese). Mmm...is it summer yet??
--Kat Latham

I think anything grilled tastes better, but for over a year my diet has consisted of only fish, veggies, and grains. I'd love to discover some great new fish or vegetable recipes. I guess I better start searching since it IS National Barbecue Month.
~Samantha Grace 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Author Spotlight on Gina Danna

I'm thrilled to welcome the talented Gina Danna to Lady Scribes! Gina is a dear friend and critique partner promoting the release of her latest work, "Love and Vengeance", a brilliant love story set in ancient Rome! Gina will give a copy away to one lucky commentor. *Winner will be posted in the comments section tomorrow!

The Blurb! 

Rome 108 A.D., under the Emperor Trajan, is the center of the civilized world. It is a time of sophistication and decadence, a brutal world to their conquered.

Marcus, a Roman citizen sentenced to die as a gladiator, accused by his wife and brother for a crime he did not commit. Yet death eludes him and he rises to become champion of the sands. The title he does not want. He seeks revenge but his victories in the Colosseum bestow monetary rewards he can use to save a beautiful slave, Gustina, from certain death by the beasts. She gives him a taste of love in a world full of lies, betrayal and murder.

But his overwhelming desire for vengeance, for blood and the kill, brings a higher price tag – can he satisfy the demon inside him and face the truth? A truth that will kill the woman he loves?

Now the Excerpt!!! 

The air filled with the gladiators’ whooping and hollering on the arrival of Marcus, Iduma and the others from the Colosseum. Today’s wins marked the games as halfway through and with the arrival of Trajan tomorrow, the spectacles became grander, as if the first fifty days had been practice.
            Marcus turned at the yell and barely grabbed the wine jug thrust into his hands. Tevia, in one of his rare moments of breaking stoic face, grinned animatedly. Marcus tilted his head in the slave’s direction, a solitary thanks. He knew Tevia was uncomfortable in the lower ludus, as the gladiators either belittled him as Aulus’ toad or, if he was lucky, ignored him. Marcus was one of the few that treated him as another slave, not better or worse, though his position near Aulus placed him as the man to seek for favors or advice. The champion’s knowledge from his prior slave days gave him the insight to Tevia’s position and befriended the man early. But for him to be here now was a puzzle.
            An even bigger puzzle was the flash of anger jetting through Iduma’s eyes at the Domina’s personal slave. Marcus frowned.
Tevia’s shoulders straightened. “Marcus, all the wine you can drink. There’s enough for everyone to get as much as they want.”
Roars heralded throughout the chamber as the others heard this, doubling when the doors on the other side, leading from the Villa’s storage, opened. In came two slaves pulling the wooden cart carrying the wine jugs. Marcus watched as he took another slug from the one he had.
Tevia bent closer. “Dominus made comment about special reward for you, later, in your cell.”
Marcus’ heart skipped a beat. Trying to maintain a plain, indifferent face, he downed more wine. Gustina. His eyes narrowed on the man, trying to pinpoint what he meant. Tevia just smiled and nodded. The confirmation made fire pore through his blood. He hadn’t seen her in weeks and felt her absence strongly.
But even in his rush of excitement, he did notice the angry look on the Brit’s face as he snorted and walked away. He turned to follow.
“Marcus,” Tevia called. “Be wary of those you trust. Even the gods bend wills to make us do as they want.”
“What is your purpose?” The house slave’s statement sent a chill snaking down his spine. Odd, once more, the demon was absent. Inconsistent beast.
“Perhaps nothing,” the man said with a shrug. “Be wary of Iduma. He now carries his own demon.”
Marcus smirked. He knew they thought he was possessed. And maybe he was, though he now believed it was by the brown-haired beauty he stole from the Afterlife’s grip. Something wasn’t right. He could feel it, but after the day he’d had, sweltering on the sands, he just didn’t care. He put the wine jug to his lips and gulped. When he looked down again, Tevia was gone.
He turned and hit an onslaught of his brothers, his fellow gladiators. Most had cups in their hands, slapping backs and joking. Even Iduma.
Time to solve the issue. Marcus walked up to the Brit. “Time to celebrate, brother.” He poured into the man’s cup.
Iduma smiled, raising the cup in thanks and downing it. Pushing the empty container back at him, Iduma’s wayward grin was restored. “Yes, brother. And we championed with the luck of the gods.”
Marcus guffawed. “Perhaps you needed their aid, but not I.”
Iduma laughed and stepped back a space. “Surely, you jest. Or I will give safety a wider berth, in case they send a lightning bolt ripping through the ceiling.”
Marcus laughed. “I am not their plaything. I need not worry.”
Around them, the others downed wine and roared in satisfaction when the whores arrived. Marcus retrieved another jug, pulling the cork from its neck and flicking it across the room. One of the harlots caught it and ambled up to him, grinning.
“Champion, I have your attention,” she said seductively, sauntering closer.
He smiled. Her hand came to his chest, lightly tracing a design as she continued talking to him, trying to entice him to take her. She wasn’t bad looking, considering her profession, but his heart tugged for another. He opened his mouth to tell her no when beyond her, he saw his brother gladiators enjoying the night, drinking and fucking the other whores. Against the far wall, he caught a glimpse of Gustina, and he felt alive. Even the quiet demon purred.
It only lasted a moment. Just as he reached to take the whore’s hand off him and go to Gustina, he saw Iduma step closer to his woman. Marcus’ gaze narrowed. The Brit spoke to her and she nodded, her hand went to him, resting on his chest. Iduma’s head bent closer.
Marcus’ blood boiled. They looked too familiar with each other. As if they were lovers…. The demon prowled, snarling.
The whore slid away.
He wouldn’t have heard the call if he hadn’t been hit in his bicep by the other gladiator. He whipped around, fury unfurling, to find Ludo, jug in hand. An unusual appearance. With a frown, he tilted his head, damping down the anger. “Doctore.”
“Come, let us drink to the return of your prowess,” the man’s arm encircled Marcus’ shoulders as he poured the wine into the empty cup.
Marcus snorted. He drank, wanting to look for her, but Ludo had turned them around. Though the man may be drinking with him, Marcus saw the whip was still attached to the doctore’s waist. He took another sip, resigning himself for the moment. She would be with him soon and then, he’d find the truth.

About Gina Danna
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gina Danna has spent the better part of her life reading. History has been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, dreaming of writing one of her own. Years later, after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, writing academic research papers and writing for museum programs and events, she finally found the time to write her own stories of historical romantic fiction.

Now, under the supervision of her three dogs and three cats, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.
Buy Links!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Celebrating the Release of "Never Courted, Suddenly Wed"!

I am so incredibly excited about the release of "Never Courted, Suddenly Wed", Book 2 in my Scandalous Seasons series. Christopher, Earl of Waxham was never intended as Miss Sophie Winters' hero. I'd originally imagined Sophie with the Duke of Mallen. However, after two starts of 15,000 words each, I could not get Waxham out of my head. He insisted that Sophie was his heroine. Alas, who am I to argue with such a determined hero?

Scheduled to release tomorrow, April 29th, I've decided to do an early release event with Lady Scribes! I'll be giving away a copy to one person who stops by and comments. *Winner will be posted in the comments section tomorrow!


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 one 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?
Sophie stole a peek from the corner of her eye.
Christopher sat back; his expertly folded white cravat a stark contrast to the midnight black fabric of his coat. His broad shoulders filled the sabre leg dining chair and he studied her with an inscrutable expression. From the relaxed line of his square jaw, to the almost bored expression in his eyes, he maintained a remarkable composure. Drat the man! How she wished she could remain as cool and unaffected by the insufferable bounder.
“Don’t you know it’s rude to stare, my lord?” she said for his ears alone.
He drummed his fingertips along the arms of his chair. “Christopher will suffice.”
“Very well, don’t you know it’s rude to stare, Christopher?”
His brows dipped. “You’ve not changed at all.”
She touched her palm to her breast. “Why, thank you.”
Christopher’s jaw hardened. “That was not a compliment.”
She smiled up at him. “Oh, I knew that.”
“It’s no wonder…” His gaze fell to her décolletage and the words died on his lips.
…you are still unwed.           
She glared at him, having little doubt as to what he’d been about to utter. “What was that, Christopher?”
He blinked several times. “Nothing. Nothing at all.”
But it had been there and Sophie hated that it stung as it did. It never ceased to stun her with the fact that no matter who uttered those words—her mother, brother, strangers, or even this man she’d grown alongside as a child—they always managed to hurt.
“Waxham, do tell us. The scandal sheets have mentioned you’re in the market for a wife.”
Sophie winced at her mother’s blunt statement. “There’s no question there, Mother.”
Her mother blinked in apparent confusion. “I beg your pardon?”
You said, Waxham, do tell us. You followed it with a statement. There was no question there.”
Mother’s mouth formed a small moue of displeasure. “Very well. Are you in the market for a wife, Waxham?”
Sophie picked up her fork and knife and speared a piece of the heavily seasoned meat. She popped it into her mouth and chewed, all the while wishing she could slip under the tablecloth and hide from the disgusted twitch of Christopher’s lips. Sophie very well knew her mother to be a salacious gossip and was cause for much shame.
A loud guffaw burst from the Marquess of Milford’s chest. “I keep telling the boy it’s about time he settles down. Hopefully he intends to heed my advice.” The pointed look he shot toward his son did not go unmarked by Sophie.
Christi Caldwell, the bestselling author of “Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride,” and “A Season of Hope”, blames Judith McNaught's "Whitney, My Love!" for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and pick up her laptop to try her hand at romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections, and she rather enjoys torturing them before crafting them a well-deserved happily ever after! 
Christi makes her home in southern Connecticut where she spends her time writing her own enchanting historical romances and being a full-time wife and mother!

Visit www.christicaldwellauthor.com to learn more about what Christi is working on, or join her on Facebook at Christi Caldwell Author and Twitter @ChristiCaldwell !

                                     Buy Links



Barnes and Noble--Nook
Coming April 29th!!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fave Friday: Our Favorite Non-Human Species is....

I'm a fan of paranormal, so it's always fun to give some brain cells over to the task of pondering the pros and cons of my most-loved species.

Before I give my rundown, here's what some of my fellow Lady Scribes had to say:

Jennifer Lohmann: "I don't read a lot of paranormal novels, but when I do, I always root for the werewolves. Twilight, True Blood books, Anita Blake, I don't care. I always wanted the women to end up with the wolves."

Let's have a howl for Richard, Jacob, and Alcide! And insist that Jennifer check out Adam Hauptman in the Mercy Thompson novels, yes?

Kat Latham (whom I must confess is in a little critique group with me so I have forced my books on her): "I'm not a paranormal reader either, but I will read absolutely everything my fellow Lady Scribe Suzanne Johnson writes. I apparently have a thing for strong cops who shift into shaggy dogs. And that's a sentence I never thought I'd write."

And Alex Warin thanks you from the bottom of his monosyllabic, shaggy heart! I think that's a shapeshifter vote.

Samantha Grace: "I like witches best, because they can hold their own with the vamps and wolves. Plus, I like that they are most similar to humans, and I don't like that humans are usually the weaker ones in paranormal. I'd like to see regular humans kick some vampire tushie when they are attacked."

I'll consider that a vote for Rachel Morgan, my favorite twitchy witch, as her demon pal Al calls her.

My personal favorites? In ascending order....

No. 5: Witches. I'm not a big witch fan, or I wasn't until Rachel Morgan won me over, so witches get the nod purely on Rachel's strengths. Although I must say I don't think much of her fellow witches for the most part. I do love that the witches in Kim Harrison's Hollows series are both male and female, as are the wizards in the Dresden series and in my own. I very much dislike the wizards are men/witches are women dichotomy. But I do like magic-makers because the mythology is broad enough that my favorite authors can take it and twist it into new ways to make it their own.

No. 4: Werecritters and Shapeshifters. I'll lump these together because, like urban fantasy and paranormal romance, they share a lot of mythology and DNA. In my mind, the two (much like witches and wizards) are not interchangeable. A werewolf or other were-animal, for me, has shifts that are tied to the moon, exact a physical toll, and create a dual nature. Think of Adam or Alcide or Anita's Richard, who have personality traits and quirks associated with their wolves or with the moon cycles. They can make other werewolves or animals. In my books, the only were-animal, so far, is Jake Warin.
     A shapeshifter, on the other hand, can shift at will without a physical toll. He or she can take on different shapes, or might be limited to one. There's usually magic involved, not a virus or lycanthropic strain. Shifters, in my own books, are born and not made. So Rene Delachaise is a merman or aquatic shifter, while Alex is a canine shifter.

No. 3: Elves. Elves fascinate me because, like witches and wizards, the mythology is so broad that it gives authors huge leeway in developing their worlds. So you have the ethereal elves of Tolkien, the stubborn and wild elves of the Hollows, or my own elves, who are political snakes.

No. 2: Wizards. John Taylor (from Simon R Green's Nightside series) and the Harrys (Dresden and Potter) sealed that deal. If they were more sexy than clever they might have pushed the fanged ones aside, but not quite (sorry DJ) so....

No. 1: Vampires. Jean-Claude made me fall in love, and the Black Dagger Brotherhood sealed the deal. And, yeah, I'm fond of my Penton boys and girls.

 I'm only beginning to write about the fae as they enter the picture in my Sentinels world, and am having great fun with them. So maybe next time I make this list....

What's YOUR favorite species?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Women at Work: Sneak Peeks of the Ladies' Works in Progress

From the desk of Jennifer Lohmann:

I'm finishing up the final proofs of my September, 2014 release right now: Winning Ruby Heart. No cover yet, though I'm really looking forward to this one!

"Ruby almost didn’t hear the knock on the hotel room door over the runner describing an injury and the painting that had resulted from it. The shuffle of her bare feet was silent on the carpet. Through the peephole she only saw the door of the hotel room across the hall and the thick fingers of a man’s hand, distorted by the glass. She was debating ignoring the prank when she heard, “Ruby Heart, I know it’s you.” It was Micah.
Her shoulders fell, causing a ripple of soreness through her body. I almost got away with it. The story of her life.

Winning Ruby Heart is available for pre-order

From the desk of Julie Johnstone:

This is from my wip tentatively titled My Fair Duchess. 

Amelia moved back a step, and as she did, banging started at the front door. “That has to be Philip!” she cried, her heart pumping with relief for his sake and theirs that he was home. She flew to the door and threw it open, her brother’s name dying on her lips.
“You’re not Philip.” She could think of nothing more to say, at least nothing sensible. Her mind seemed suddenly dazed by the towering man before her with the sun kissed skin that showed above his cravat and peeked out from under the golden whiskers covering his face. Maybe it was his great height, or the fine-drawn bones making her thoughts scatter. She sucked in her lower lip under her top teeth, her thoughts tumbling one over the other. Perhaps it was his startling hazel eyes and sinful black lashes. Yes, that was most certainly it. All of those attributes plus the wavy hair that gleamed like dark gold. Yes, yes. Each of those things muddled her head but mostly it was his eyes―assessing, by the slant, and in turn amused, by the fine lines suddenly crinkling around the edges―that confused her the most.
Blast! She was not a silly, senseless girl, but he was too handsome to be real, yet his wide chest rose and fell with each breath proving her most assuredly silly. “You’re not Philip,” she murmured again, suddenly hot and her tongue thick.
“I am not,” he agreed, surveying her with interest. He scrubbed a large hand over his face, a massive gold crest ring on his finger catching the candlelight and glinting as he moved.
“Who are you,” Amelia demanded, feeling foolish for the way he had affected her. While she did not know everyone in town, she had lived here all her life and knew most people or had heard about them. No man who filled out a kerseymere coat as exquisitely as this man did and stood four powerfully built inches taller than all other men she knew could avoid being the talk of the town. There were far too many single ladies here. Amelia set her hands on her hips as she felt her mother and Lord Worthington come up to stand behind her.
The stranger raised his brows at her question. “Who am I? Don’t you recognize me?” His mouth twitched with an almost smile.
Amelia furrowed her brow and shook her head. “No. Should I?”
He eyes raked over her from head to toe, traveling with a sort of insolence over the drab gray dirt-smudged gown she wore and lingering with an odd look of amusement on her hair. Amelia raised a hand to her head and grimaced. Her knot had come partially loose, and soft edges of hair poked out in every direction from the lump atop her head.
He smiled, and the way it lit his eyes to a brilliant green made her catch her breath. Offering a partial bow, he said, “I suppose Harthorne didn’t regale you with stories about me as he did me about you. I’m undecided whether I should be offended or grateful.”

From the desk of Samantha Grace:

I'm happily writing the third book in my Rival Rogues series, A Good Rogue is Hard to Find. It's predecessor, In Bed with a Rogue, will be released September 2, 2014 and it's available for pre-order! The third book in the series is about Eve Thorne, Baron Thorne's poor jilted sister, and the man who left her at the altar two years earlier, Benjamin Hillary. I hope you enjoy the sneak peek.

PS - I debated inserting a filler for my "XXX code", but I decided to leave it so you get a true peek at the process. One of my critique partners giggles every time she sees my triple X designation.  

Ben continued a slow circle of the brightly lit ballroom, stopping occasionally to study the couples as they sashayed past, their cheeks pink from exertion. After several moments, he was satisfied Lord Wellham wasn’t among the dancers, not that Ben was surprised. If his memory served, the earl favored gambling over gamboling.
Reaching a secluded corner near a dark alcove, he paused to check once more for his quarry before he sought out the card room. He didn’t want to overlook Wellham and miss his opportunity to speak with him after the trouble he’d gone through to gain access to the ball.
“What are you doing here?” a voice hissed. “You are not on the guest list.”
“Pardon?” Ben spun toward the speaker and came up short. His eyebrows veered toward each other. “How do you know?” he whispered back to the mass of green palm fronds. 
“Because I helped make the list.” The plant’s fronds parted, and Eve Thorne’s stern glare greeted him. What the devil was she doing?
Her frown deepened when he simply stared, at a loss for words. “Do you have a death wish, Mr. Hillary?”
The corners of his mouth twitched up. “Let me guess, you’ve been attacked by a man-eating plant. Are you in need of rescue, kitten?”
She growled softly and the fronds snapped back into place. Ben checked the surrounding area to be certain they hadn’t earned any unwanted attention, then peered around the massive greenery. Eve was wedged against the wall, her XXX (color) skirts crushed against the large pot. Her chest rose and fell in rapid movements, drawing his attention to the modest swell of her breasts peeking above her lacey neckline. A rosy glow infused her ivory skin, making the sprinkling of freckles across her cheeks almost unnoticeable.
God, he had missed her—her freckles, her pouty lips, her soulful brown eyes. He had been smitten from the moment he had spied her at Almack’s her first Season, and two years on a faraway continent had done nothing to lessen his ardor.  
“What are you doing back there, dearling, and shouldn’t you have a chaperone?”
She crossed her arms as if erecting a wall between them. “God only knows why, but I am trying to save your skin, Benjamin James Arran Hillary.”
Damnation. He had forgotten he’d been burdened with so many names, or that she had a habit of invoking every one when she was perturbed. His smile spread. Despite her pretense of indifference, she was worried for him. “Am I to conclude your skulking about means you still care?”

Giveaway!!! Julie is donating an ebook copy of What a Rogue Wants to one Lady Scribes commenter today. Just let us know in the comments that you are interested in be part of the drawing, and please don't forget your email so we can contact you if your name is chosen. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's Up, Wednesday?

This week's question…
Earth Day was yesterday. Have you made any energy efficient changes in your household? What were they? Maybe we can all get some good ideas!

I've done lots of small things like changing my light bulbs, unplugging electronics, etc. I also have one really big one. When my HVAC unit broke (dead, leaking carbon monoxide and thousands of dollars to fix), I shopped around for a month or so for ideas. Eventually I got a groundsource heat pump. It was expensive in the outset, but after tax credits turned out to be only a couple thousand more than replacing the HVAC with a newer version of what I'd had. And, since the super-efficient groundsource system saves me almost a thousand dollars a year in heating and cooling bills, I've made that money back quickly. The initial quote from Green Horizon (the company who installed the system) was a bit hard to swallow! The decision's not for everyone, but I'm glad I made it.
~Jennifer Lohmann 

My changes are also small. I switched to all energy-saving bulbs, and as I've replaced appliances (the washer, dryer, stove, and fridge all bit the dust last year) I've made sure they were Energy Star designated. I installed a couple of ceiling fans to help in the summer so the AC doesn't have to be turned as low. And it isn't household related, but I recycle cardboard and plastic--fortunately, my town has great curbside recycling pickup.
~Suzanne Johnson

I haven't made any changes, but I've been arguing against my husband getting a car--does that count? I haven't owned a car since I left the U.S. almost twelve years ago. We travel around town by bike (gotta love the Netherlands) or bus. But I fear it's a battle I'm losing--especially as our family grows and so does the amount of stuff we seem to cart around.
~Kat Latham

Ugh. I don't feel like we do enough. Right now I'm trying to get the kids to remember to turn off the lights. That will be a major accomplishment if it ever happens. We recycle religiously, but our town has a great recycling program that makes it easy. We did choose a low-flow toilet when we remodeled the bathroom, and we'll have energy efficient windows placed in the basement during our current remodel. And we've also had the thermostat down lower than normal to pay for our basement remodel. At some point I'd like to replace several outside doors to make them less drafty. I guess our washer and dryer are energy-efficient too. I forgot we replaced those a few years ago.
~Samantha Grace 

Congratulations to Carolyn Mccanna, winner of last week's drawing for a copy of The Heart of a Duke! Please watch your email for a message from Samantha arranging for you to receive your copy. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spotlight on Jerrica Knight-Catania

I am so excited to welcome a fellow Regency romance writer, the very talented Jerrica Knight-Catania to Lady Scribes where she's giving us a look at her recent release, "The Temptation of the Duke", Book 5 in her Wetherby Brides Series! Jerrica will be giving away a copy to one person who stops by and comments! (Winners are notified in the Comments section the following day!)

So allow me to present...the cover!

I give you the Blurb... 

Grace Clarke is no longer willing to accept the position of "poor relations." Her sister has married well and taken her under her wing, so with her new connections, it ought to be a breeze to find a wealthy, titled gentleman to help elevate her station in life. Of course, she never expects for him to find her. Especially not in such a compromising position. But once she gets over her humiliation, she discovers that the duke next door is far more than just a duke. He's a man that sets her heart--and other parts of her--aflame. 

Evan Gilford, Duke of Somerset, has spent the last fifteen years trying to avoid his destiny: marriage. But he can't ignore his duty anymore, not with his guilty conscience nagging at him all the bloody time and a betrothed waiting to become his duchess. So he returns to London, only to discover that he has a new and rather enchanting neighbor who soon makes him question where his loyalties lie: with his family or his heart.

And Now...an Excerpt! 
It was times like these Grace was grateful she wasn’t musically inclined. If she were, she imagined she’d be having a worse time than she was at this very moment. Goodness, but these poor girls were horrific musiciansif one could even call them that. According to the program, they were playing a piece by Haydn and Grace was certain the composer was turning circles in his grave. It sounded as if a bunch of barnyard animals had gotten into a row.
Chloe put a hand on top of Grace’s in an effort to still her fidgeting. Grace cast her sister a sidelong glance that said, If you had let me stay home, you wouldn’t have had to put up with me. Of course, Chloe couldn’t be bothered to look at her, so she probably didn’t pick up on the silent message, but still. They’d argued about this earlier in the day when Grace had begged to be allowed to stay home. Granted, it wasn’t like her, despite not being terribly fond of musicales. She normally didn’t like to miss an opportunity to meet an eligible gentleman, but ever since her walk in the garden with Evan, she couldn’t seem to think of anyone or anything else. He was forbidden, of course, but it didn’t stop her from daydreaming about him. Or pining for him. And it certainly didn’t stop that swirling in her belly that made her want to toss up her accounts.
The music came to a stop, and the audience applauded politely despite how dreadful it had been. Grace glanced down at her program again, praying it would say the concert was over, even though she knew very well they were nowhere near the end. When she looked back up, her gaze landed on the small group of people who had arrived late to the event. Her stomach plummeted, and her heart sped to a frighteningly dangerous speed. Heat infused her cheeks, and everywhere else for that matter. Why did her entire body feel aflame?
She snapped open her fan and began to wave it frantically in front of her face as the party, which included Evan and his betrothed, took their seats a few rows back.
Blast this heaviness in my chest! Was this what love felt like? Or was it merely infatuation? Goodness, if this was only infatuation, she was doomed if she ever fell truly in love. Perhaps this was why their society looked down upon love matches. What if everyone walked about with racing hearts and churning stomachs all the time? The city would be in a state of total chaos, wouldn’t it?
Should she dare a glance behind? Just to see where they were sitting. Surely no one would notice. She placed her fan in her lap and then rubbed her hands down her dress as the musicians started the next piece.
“Would you stop fidgeting, Grace,” Chloe whispered through clenched teeth.
Grace stilled her hands, though her whole body felt as if it were running a race. “Sorry,” she whispered back. And then she did it. She dared a backward glance, only to be met with Evan’s piercing blue gaze.
Good heavens! He was looking at her, blast him. And he had the audacity, sitting there next to his fiancée, to wink at her. But not just any wink. This one was accompanied by a wry smile that sent Grace into even more of a dither than she’d been in previously. What did it mean anyway? Was it a wink of friendship? Or was it more? Was he being flirtatious?
No, he wouldn’t dare. Not with his fiancée sitting beside him. Heavens, what kind of man would that make him?

About the Author...

Jerrica Knight-Catania knew from an early age that she was destined for romance. She would spend hours as a young girl sitting in a chair by an open window, listening to the rain, and dreaming of the day Prince Charming would burst in and declare his undying love for her. But it wasn't until she was 28-years-old, tired of her life in the theater, that she turned her focus toward writing Regency Romance novels. All her dreaming paid off, and she now gets to relive those romantic scenes she'd dreamt up as a child as she commits them to paper. She lives in sunny Palm Beach with her real life Prince Charming, their Princess-in-training and their aristocat, Dr. Snuggle.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Countdown to RT - Samantha's SWAG

In just a little over four weeks, my husband and I will be on our way to New Orleans for the 2014 Romantic Times Convention. This year Julie Johnstone and I are co-hosting the Cajun Queen Riverboat Casino Morning Mixer on May 15th with twenty other authors. 

Come one, come all, down the Mississippi to New Orleans… Join some of your favorite authors aboard The Cajun Queen where we’ll deal out the cards & you’ll rake in the booty! Enjoy N’awlins eats, southern concoctions and get your dance on to the live zydeko beat.
Hunk Sticks lip balm
This is my second time to take part in the morning mixer, and I’m really looking forward to meeting readers. One of my favorite parts of the event is planning for the gift bags. All the authors contribute swag and books, so every guest leaves with quite the stash of goodies. Last year some of you might recall the Hunk Sticks I had made special for the event, and I wasn’t sure how I could possibly come up with a fun idea to rival that one. Well, with the help of a wonderful friend who makes all natural soaps, I think we’ve come very close.

Nettie's Natural Soaps

Each hero from my Beau Monde Bachelor series and Lord Ellis from One Rogue Too Many have their own designer soap in the shape of something representing their character’s hobby or likes. The fun part for me was choosing the shapes, finding the molds, and writing the descriptions for the tags.
Lord Andrew Forest (Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel) has a horse

Mr. Jake Hillary (Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half) is represented by a boxing glove. My favorite!

Captain Daniel Hillary (Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie) has a ship.

Lucas Forest, Duke of Foxhaven (Lady Vivian Defies a Duke) loves his chess pieces. 

Anthony Keaton, Earl of Ellis (One Rogue Too Many) wanted a dog, so we were happy to make his dreams come true.

But holy cow! 500 soaps are a lot to package, but I have some wonderful friends who were very happy to help.

I wish I could see each of you in New Orleans, but I know it’s not feasible for everyone to make it. That doesn’t mean you have to miss out completely, though. My friend made enough soaps for me to share with a Lady Scribes reader. Just tell me which hero sounds like your type of man and include your email address to be entered into the drawing.   

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Operation Office Makeover

 Ever since I decided to quit the day job and stay home to be a writer I have been working out of my basement, which is windowless, by the way. By no stretch of the imagination can you call our basement inspiring! I love the rest of our house, but our basement has always sort of been an out of sight out of mind room. You know the room you would like to look nice, but no one ever sees it so why would you spend your money on making it look better.

Except I see my basement everyday and I have been complaining for the last year that I really need to do something to make it nicer.

Let it never be said nothing good can come out of being disorganized, because being disorganized was the instigator for Operation Office Makeover. A project I have now wholeheartedly embraced. The husband on the other hand, not so much! My sudden desire to really actually do something about the dreaded basement came about because I was writing on an old desk that had one drawer and was too short for me! So not only did I have nowhere to file any of my papers, but I would often have lower back and neck pain from being hunched over my computer all the time.

I cajoled my husband into letting me buy a desk by selling it as the glorious key to organization which would surely make me file all those paper laying in the out box! So, I got on line, found a beautiful desk and one month later I had a desk that was just my size. Now Goldilocks and I have something in common!

Do you know the problem with buying something new? No? I'll tell you. It makes all the other old stuff in the room look worse! My shiny new desk really made the rest of my furniture in the basement look terrible. Oh, and I forgot to mention that my new desk was so big there wasn't really room for my husband's old desk that he did our bills on. So one day I went to a local furniture store that I love and bought my husband a small corner desk to do our bills. This is My office after all, so naturally I get to have the biggest desk!

Once I had two pretty new desk I certainly could not keep that old metal filing cabinet that my husband had brought into our marriage fourteen years ago. Last week my beautiful new filing cabinet came and my cool metal stand that I got because I am certain I need to put Regency decor on it!

Do you see where this is going? Now I have some great furniture but the office still does not look ultra fab! I mentioned to my husband, in my sweetest voice, that I do believe this office needs to be repainted and get new floors. After all, they did not have carpet in the Regency period and since I am mainly a Regency writer I should try to create an office that reflects the period! The logic sounds good doesn't it?

The pictures I have shown you are some of the pieces I have bought.

Here is my challenge to you! I despise shopping for accessories, but I need some Regency era art for my walls and I think maybe some retro bright colored mail bins for my desk. Other than that I am stumped! I'd love to hear your ideas! Anyone who leaves me an idea today will be put in a drawing to win an e copy of my new book Dancing With The Devil!

Have a wonderful day!

The Marchioness of Mayhem