Friday, April 27, 2012

Interview with Georgian Romance Author, Victoria Vane

A while back I reviewed the book A FORTUNE'S SON by Emery Lee. I expressed my disappointment that this incredible historical fiction had been marketed as a historical romance and because of that marketing, I had been disappointed in it as a romance read. Imagine my surprise when I received an email from the author thanking me for my honest review and offering me the opportunity to read her newest work, a historical romance novella set in Georgian England. She promised me all of the romance that had been missing in A FORTUNE'S SON. Victoria Vane promised me romance in A BREACH OF PROMISE and she delivered two-fold. I became an instant fan so when her next foray into the world of romance came along in A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE, I couldn't wait to read it and I wasn't disappointed.

A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE by Victoria Vane which releases TODAY is the first in The Devil Devere series and is bursting with rollicking bawdy good fun and enough steamy romance to make the pages smoke with the heat! It's TOM JONES meets MOLL FLANDERS with a hint of THE HANGOVER thrown in. If you'd like to read my review of this must read novella, please click HERE.

Blurb for A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE:

What happens when a struggling actress and a grieving widower come together in a night of unbridled debauchery orchestrated by a bored and machinating rake? WITH THE DEVIL IN CHARGE ... THERE WILL BE HELL TO PAY...

She’s a lonely lady down on her luck... Phoebe Scott, alias Kitty Willis, is a struggling Covent Garden actress with a bruised heart and a closely guarded secret.

He’s steadfast and eminently respectable... Sir Edward Chambers, Ned to his intimates, is guilt-ridden over his beloved wife’s death and avowed to live out a rustic and mundane life … of celibacy.

With the devil in charge — there will surely be hell to pay. Devil in disguise, Viscount Ludovic DeVere, is determined to return his best friend, Ned, to the land of the living. His meddling machinations result in a night of mind blowing passion after which “dull dog Ned” awakes to find himself in the King of England’s bed!

               *                       *                       *                     *                      *

I am honored to have as my guest today, the author of this exciting new series from Breathless Press, Victoria Vane!

Amy:  Welcome Victoria, it's a real pleasure to have you here with us today.

Victoria:  Thanks Amy! I appreciate the opportunity to chat!

Amy:  Perhaps you can tell us a little about yourself for the benefit of those who don't know you yet.

Victoria:  Well, let's see. I guess I'll start with the basics. I have been married for twenty-nine years to a wonderful man (My own Ned) and have two sons aged 17 and 20. I have been a horse, history, and romance lover all my life (elements that combined in my very first novel, THE HIGHEST STAKES written as Emery Lee). I play the Celtic harp (but only for myself due to severe performance anxiety!) I love Baroque music, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and am a caffeine addict. I am also claustrophobic, acrophobic, and have an intense dislike of pigs and clowns.

Amy:  LOL!! I can see that I appreciate more about you than just your writing, Victoria, for I too love Ferrero Rochers and have no use for clowns!
It's obvious you have a great love of history as illustrated in your writing. Is it that love of history or something else that inspired you to write?

Victoria:  In truth, history has served as inspiration for everything I write - even in my erotic stories! While they say to write what you know, I say write whatever you are passionate about – you can learn the rest. I have always loved history but when I decided to write my first book set in the 18th century turf world, I realized I knew very little about my specific subject matter so I applied myself devoutly and wholeheartedly to learning everything I possibly could. I did this through research that included not only mounds of history books, but art, music, letters, memoirs, diaries and stage plays. This well-rounded approach has allowed me to both understand the mindset of the Georgian era and also to emulate the "voice" of the time period in which most of my stories are set. As each of my stories has evolved, I have endeavored to incorporate different elements that bring my characters' world vividly to life whether it be horseracing, gambling, arranged marriages and mistresses or the stage. I also have a book in the near future featuring 18th century science, exploration and high seas adventure!

Amy:  Indeed, your incredible research has been well worth the effort for when reading your works, the reader does get a definite sense of having been transported through time. A BREACH OF PROMISE was your first Historical Romance and for those of you who haven't read it, I highly recommend it.
Victoria, what inspired you to shift your writing to the Romance side?

Victoria:  In truth it wasn't completely by design! As you already know by having reviewed it, my second novel, FORTUNE'S SON (also written as Emery Lee) is a work of romantic historical fiction. Although this is a story in which history and romance play equal parts, my publisher chose to package the book as historical romance. This automatically branded me as a romance writer, even though that was not precisely how I saw myself. My agent at the time was also pushing me to tone down the history and write romance. It wasn't what I really wanted, but I decided to give it a go and wrote my first romance novella as an experiment in that direction.
The result was A BREACH OF PROMISE, a witty and fun story inspired by a play I had read by Georgian era playwright, Hannah Cowley. When I finished, I sent several query letters out to publishers, got several rejections and then wrote it off as a "failed" experiment. A couple months later, to my surprise, I got an email from an editor at Ellora's Cave expressing interest as long as I would be willing to make some changes in the "heat level" of the story. With no other manuscripts under contract I really had nothing to lose, so I accepted. This, however, created a problem with my first publisher who feared I would destroy my "author brand" by writing for an erotic publisher. They insisted that I should write under a new pseudonym- so my sex writing evil Victoria Vane was born!

Amy:  Well, I love the sex writing evil Victoria Vane and am very glad she's come to be! A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE is your newest release and it is surely the most fun a reader can have in about 100 pages without getting arrested. I envy you your ability to give us so much story in so short a word count.
Do you prefer writing your Romances in the form of novellas rather than full-length?

Victoria:  Emphatically YES! Not only are novellas growing exponentially in popularity, I have discovered I have a unique ability to pack a good punch in this abbreviated format. What I adore about THE DEVIL DEVERE series is that it is the best of both worlds for both me and for the reader, as it is comprised of four stand alone novellas that combined read almost as a serial novel. I really think this is going to be a huge hit.

Amy:  I know I plan to read them all and am hoping all my friends read them, too! Y'all won't be disappointed, trust me! I love that you've introduced us to characters that we will most likely meet again in the rest of The Devil DeVere series including the Devil Devere himself, Viscount Ludovic DeVere.
Without giving away too much, will he play prominently in each of the next three stories or just hover in the background?

Victoria:  DeVere is one of those bigger than life characters that comes along once in a lifetime! He plays prominent secondary roles in the first two novellas, A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE and THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS, but then becomes the primary protagonist in both THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (a prequel) and THE DEVIL'S MATCH which wraps up the series. Although he's the quintessential rake in the first two books, the third and fourth will slowly reveal the man behind the mask and the woman who finally brings him to his knees!

Amy:  Brava! I so enjoy the settings of your stories. What is it about the Georgian era that you love most and inspired you to set your stories there?

Victoria:  Many people ask why I chose the Georgian era when the Regency is so much more popular. My answer is that I adore both the naughtiness and the elegant decadence of the time. I am fascinated by the paradox this age presents – the mask of politesse hiding the licentiousness beneath. It's such wonderful fodder for a novelist!

Amy:  It always struck me as a much more naughty time than Regency with all of it's polite rules and control of the ton. I love your settings.
I'm always curious as to what inspires an author to create a set of characters and since The Devil DeVere series is a set of Romance stories that are intertwined, who, or what, was the inspiration for your characters, particularly Viscount DeVere?

Victoria:  Again, I go back to history on this one. About three years ago, I read about Frederick Calvert 6th Baron Baltimore, an extremely dissolute man who squandered a vast fortune and kept a private harem. He was also tried but acquitted for abducting and raping a young Quaker woman. While obviously, no model for a romance hero, I was still fascinated that he lived as he did and got away with so much. I used him in part as inspiration for DeVere. In fact, DeVere himself has an unusual obsession with the life of Lord Baltimore which is actually written into my story. Baltimore's entire scandalous life is recounted by DeVere in THE DEVIL YOU KNOW.
As for my other characters, Phoebe was inspired in part by the actress Mary Robinson who had a torrid affair with George IV when he was an 18 year old Prince of Wales.
Banastre Tarleton inspired my idea for Hew though their characters are quite different, and lastly, my all time favorite heroine Vesta just came out of nowhere!
After reading a few chapters, my Beta reader asked if she was anything like me. After giving it a bit of thought I realized Vesta is VERY much like I was at eighteen years old!

Amy:  We do meet Vesta at the very end of A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE. The minute you meet her you just know she's going to be trouble. LOL!!
You once told me that writing A BREACH OF PROMISE was a writing experiment. Well, you've more than proven to this reader that your experiment was a great success. So now that you've proven yourself as a talented author in this genre, what is your favorite part of writing Historical Romance?

Victoria:  I love the challenge of pairing different characters and finding ways for them to fulfill one another as that is truly what romantic love is all about. As far as the "intimate" scenes go, I find those a great challenge as well, to try to make each scene fresh and different but without adding any kinky elements. I prefer to think of my love scenes as "hot vanilla" as they are monogamous, heterosexual, and are most definitely part of a developing romantic relationship. Although my love scenes are very explicit, I don't think of them at all as gratuitous.

Amy:  Your love scenes are by far some of the best I've ever read and hot vanilla is a perfect term for them. They are tasteful and deliciously naughty but fit so well into the setting of your works.
Have you another era of history that you enjoy and have you ever considered setting a story in that era?

Victoria:  The Georgian era will probably always be my favorite but I do have plans to write something completely different (and very soon). I have a well developed idea for a paranormal romance (timeslip not vampire!) that will likely have a late Victorian setting. I may also write at some point in the Edwardian/ gilded age.

Amy:  Wonderful. You know I'm excited about whatever era you write in. When it comes to reading, do you have any favorite authors or genres that you prefer and have they had any influence on your writing?

Victoria:  I always hate to list favorite authors for fear of forgetting someone I love, but my preferred authors usually tend to be those who incorporate strong historical and/or adventure elements. Examples are authors such as Diana Gabaldon, Jennifer Blake, Judith James, Pamela Clare (Mackinnon Rangers!) For historical romance, I favor Lisa Kleypas, Loretta Chase, Madeline Hunter, Jane Feather, Mary Balogh. Also a new discovery is a fabulous fellow Georgian junkie, author Lucinda Brant.
As far as my writing influences go, I adore authors who write great characters and witty dialogue. My all time biggest is Georgette Heyer for dialogue and over the top characters. For erotic romance, I admire Robin Schone, Sylvia Day, and Charlotte Featherstone for beautifully crafted prose in stories with deep sensuality, and Lila DiPasqua for her creative vision in melding history with eroticism.

Amy:  With those authors as inspiration and influence, it's no wonder your writing is so exceptional.
Victoria, I've one last question for you. If you could be ANY character in ANY book, not necessarily your own, which character would it be and why?

Victoria:  If I could choose, it would be Claire in OUTLANDER just so I could have Jamie Fraser! He's the best hero ever, but I'd like to shake her until her teeth rattle!

I would also like to modify that question just a bit and say who I think I would be.
The answer is spoiled, self-absorbed, petulant, willful, impetuous, and passionate, Vesta Chambers from THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS. As I mentioned earlier, Vesta is undoubtedly a mirror of myself 30 years ago and who I would have been had my parents been rich and spoiled me rotten!

Amy:  LOL!! I can't wait to read THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS which will be coming to us in June.
Victoria, thank you so very much for sharing your busy schedule with us and it's been an absolute thrill to have you here today. Congratulations on the release of A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE! I hope you've enjoyed your visit as much as we enjoy reading your stories.

Victoria has graciously offered an ebook copy of A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE to one lucky commenter. Answer Victoria's question correctly and remember to include your email address (no entry without it) for a chance at winning this fabulous book!! This Giveaway is open to EVERYONE and will run until 11:30PM EST Sunday, April 29, 2012.

Victoria:  What is the heroine's stage name in A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE?

Hint: The answer is in the blurb above but if you'd like to read an excerpt from A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE and learn more about Victoria's amazing stories, feel free to visit her website - click HERE. Remember to include your EMAIL ADDRESS or you won't be entered because I can't contact you. Good Luck and

Happy Reading Everyone!  THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!

A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE by Victoria Vane, novella available now from Breathless Press in ebook format.   

                                                             

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wacky Wednesday: Georgian Men On The Loose!

Well, it's Wacky Wednesday and I think I really need it this week. Since we will be meeting the author of fabulously sexy Georgian era writing, Victoria Vane, on Friday, I decided to go in that direction for today's fun. Besides that, it's my sister Maureen's birthday and so I wanted to give her something to drool over.  So Happy Birthday Sis!!

When I think Georgian Era men, I think long hair pulled back in a queue or Colonial looking hotties, how about you? Perhaps some of these will inspire your imaginations just as A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE inspires a rollicking Georgian good time.  (Read my review of this wild Georgian novella by clicking HERE.)



More gorgeous long-haired men - Georgian style!!  ENJOY!









Be sure to come by on Friday and meet Ms. Victoria Vane, she'll be talking about her new Georgian series - The Devil Devere and I believe she's going to be giving something away, too! I promise, this new series is as much fun as a you can get from between the pages of any book without getting arrested.

Happy Reading Everyone and Happy Birthday Maureen!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of KISS OF PRIDE by Sandra Hill

I apologize for not bringing you this review yesterday as planned but illness kept my brain from giving me the concentration it took to write it. Since TODAY is the actual release date for KISS OF PRIDE - a Deadly Angels Book by Sandra Hill, it's only fitting that I give you the review today. Fate has a funny way of leading us in the right direction, doesn't it? Or perhaps it's a guardian angel or vangel as in KISS OF PRIDE from Avon!

Blurb for KISS OF PRIDE:

Some men are too bad to be true . . .
Is he really a Viking with a vampire's bite? An angel with the body of a thunder god? A lone wolf with love on his mind? Alexandra Kelly, his prey, thinks Vikar Sigurdsson is either flat-out crazy or he's trying to maneuver her into his bed—which is hardly where a professional reporter should conduct an interview, tempting as that prospect might be.
And some men are too good to be true . . .
Until Vikar does something a teensy bit unexpected, and Alex begins to wonder whether her mystery man could really be everything he says he is: a Viking Vampire Angel on a thousand-year-long mission with his pack of sinful brothers—and a man who's finally found the woman of his dreams. By then, Vikar is already wrapping his chiseled arms around Alex's body . . . and sinking his wicked fangs right into her neck. If this is sin, why does it feel so good?

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When I received this book in my goodie box from Avon, I was doubly excited. One, it's a book by Sandra Hill and no one does Vikings like Sandra Hill. Two, it's a new paranormal series about Vikings by the author who does Vikings with more flare, fun and sex appeal than any other.

Vikar Sigurdsson is a brawny, extraordinarily handsome Viking who died over a thousand years ago but is now taking up residence in Translyvania, Pennsylvania. Yes, you read that correctly. Vikar and his six brothers were found guilty of each committing one of the seven deadly sins - wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. Vikar's sin was pride. Sentenced to do penance as a vangel (vampire/angel) and acting as God's warriors against Lucifer's Lucipires (vampires) with Michael the Archangel as their general, they have been traveling through time to protect innocents from being bitten by Lucies and taken to Hell before they have a chance to repent.

Vikar has been brought to present day Pennsylvania and ordered by Michael to restore a castle in Translyvania (a small town who has redesigned itself as a the home of the vampire totally unaware that real vampire/angels now live and walk among them). The last thing Vikar expects is to have a reporter show up on his doorstep who has the distinct smell of sin about her. Instead of turning her away, he invites her in, bites her neck and proclaims she must stay until the cleansing is complete. Simple, right? Not for poor Vikar. He's drawn to this modern woman who is unlike any woman he has ever known and who has brought back to life thoughts and desires that he has fought for too long and that has already cost him too many years added to his sentence.

Alexandra Kelly is looking for a story to keep her occupied both physically and mentally. Her mind is on the trial of the two evil men who killed her husband and daughter. Her thoughts run to murder if she doesn't get justice through the courts. When her boss sends her to this silly town that lives and breaths vampires, she sees it as a good opportunity to distract herself from her own evil thoughts. Believing she has an appointment to interview Lord Vikar, the man said to be restoring the rundown castle on the outskirts of town into a grand hotel, she finagles her way to the front door. When someone finally answers her persistent attempts to gain entrance, she is greeted by the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen - ever.  Even more surprised after learning that this Adonis is Lord Vikar Sigurdsson, is being surprised at having this Viking god bite her neck and then claim he is a vampire/angel or vangel as he and his brother vangels refer to themselves.

As Alex struggles to understand what kind of weird cult like situation she's fallen into, Vikar struggles with his desire for this headstrong redhead. Sex is forbidden for the vangels and so he and Alex resort to near sex or acting like horny teenagers. While fighting their feelings for each other, each struggles with their own demons. For Alex, those are the demons that dwell within her broken heart and for Vikar, they are real life demons who threaten Alex, himself and his family. As each slowly begin to acknowledge their feelings for each other, Alex's demons begin to wane and Vikar begins to understand the consequences of his original sin - pride.

Sandra Hill writes with humor especially tongue in cheek humor which abounds in this unique departure from her usual. A blending of her virile Vikings with vampire and angels makes me very happy. KISS OF PRIDE is the first in the series, Deadly Angels, and I am looking forward to the rest after reading the first.

KISS OF PRIDE by Sandra Hill is a humorous, quirky, and yet adventurous story with action, sexual tension abounding, laugh out loud moments and times when you just say, awww.  If you're a fan of Lynsay Sand's Argeneaus (btw, UNDER A VAMPIRE MOON is now available, too) you'll fully appreciate this series. If you haven't read anything by Sandra Hill yet, start here and have some fun! If you already love Sandra Hill's sense of humor and her Vikings then, please do, try out this uniquely fun and intriguing new paranormal series. Even if you're not a big fan of paranormal, these Vikings will have you smiling in no time and not minding the demons too much. I highly recommend anyone looking for a fun read with sexy, quirky Vikings, read KISS OF PRIDE by Sandra Hill.

Happy Reading Everyone and Happy Release Day to all the authors with new books today!

KISS OF PRIDE, A Deadly Angels Book by Sandra Hill,  available now from Avon Books in print and ebook format.

                                                                

Monday, April 23, 2012

Unwrapping: PRIZE WINNERS!!

I had planned to have a review of Sandra Hill's A KISS OF PRIDE for you today but I spent the weekend battling a fever which is still nagging me so I'll give you the review tomorrow, April 24, which is its release day as well as Juliana Stone's awesome WICKED ROAD TO HELL and others.

In the meantime, I've got prizes to give away!

The winner of the copy of WRONG SIDE OF HELL and one signed coverflat of WICKED ROAD TO HELL is:


THE_BOOK_QUEEN 

Congratulations TBQ!  : )










The winners of signed coverflats of WICKED ROAD TO HELL are:

LILIAN

ANGEL

SHEREE

Enjoy!! All winners have been notified by email.

Part of entering any giveaway on this blog is being able to follow the instructions. Just leaving a comment is not enough to be entered for a chance to win a prize, you must leave a valid email address or I can't qualify you. Since there were only four commenters who satisfied the requirements to be entered, I have one signed coverflat leftover - I guess it's mine!  : )

Thank you to everyone who did visit, comment and I hope you will all read both of these fabulous books by Juliana Stone! They are both so awesome that I can only call them MUST READS!!

Juliana, thank you again for a wonderful interview, for your awesome gifts and congrats on the release of WICKED ROAD TO HELL tomorrow!!  I think your books are fabulous and so are you!!

Happy Reading Everyone!

                                                

Friday, April 20, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of CRAZY ON YOU by Rachel Gibson

I recently received an eARC of the contemporary romance novella, CRAZY ON YOU by Rachel Gibson. This is #2 in her Lovett, Texas series. CRAZY ON YOU is an Avon Impulse release coming to ereaders everywhere on May 1, 2012.

Blurb for CRAZY ON YOU:

Lily Darlington's been called crazy in her day—and, yeah, driving her car into her ex-husband's living room probably wasn't the smartest move ever made—but the louse deserved it. Now Lily is happily single, and she's turned it all around. She knows she's a good mom, a homeowner, and a businesswoman, all wrapped up in one good-looking package.

A package that police officer Tucker Matthews is dying to unwrap. This ex-military man sure doesn't need another woman in his life. His last girlfriend left him with nothing but memories and a cat named Pinky! But living next door to Lily has been driving him nuts. He dreams about her long blonde hair and even longer legs. And maybe it's time to go a little crazy . . . and fall in love.

                              *                  *                 *                 *                 *

I've often said that everyone's tastes are different and thank heaven for that or we would lead very boring lives. We would all enjoy the same foods, the same television shows, the same movies, the same men and most certainly, the same books. Since becoming an Avon Addict, I've been introduced to some new authors, new genres, and more contemporary romance than I ever expected to be reading. Some of these contemporary romances I have found quite enjoyable and have even put some of the authors on my to be read in the future list. Before I say anything more let me give you a little insight into CRAZY ON YOU.

Lily Darlington is a thirty-eight year old single mother who has made a success of a day spa and brought her life back from the brink of disaster after her husband left her for another woman. Always one to overreact, perhaps even go a little crazy, Lily didn't react well to her husband's abandonment of her and her young son so she ran her car through her ex-husband's living room. Personally, I don't call that crazy so much as not having a properly adjusted and well working social filter - after all, how many women haven't wanted to do the exact same thing?

Tucker Matthews is an ex-Army man who after returning from Afghanistan after being shot in the head, decided to make his career in law enforcement which brought him to Lovett, Texas and the house right next door to Lily and her young son, Pippen. Tucker's never known the love and loyalty of a real family but recognizes real affection when he sees it - it most definitely exists between Lily and Pippen.

CRAZY ON YOU by Rachel Gibson is a cute story about a man whose never known the love of a real family but when he meets Lily and Pippen finds himself wanting to be part of one. From the moment he first meets Lily, which happens to be when he gives her a ticket on the highway between Amarillo and Lovett, he's drawn to her. After meeting her son, Pippen, he's pulled to the ferocious way that she theatens to cause bodily harm to anyone who even attempts to harm her child. Tucker is relentless just as the tattoo on his forearm reads. He tells Lily that he wants her, all of her. But even after she tells him that being eight years old than him is more than she wants to deal with and even after she hides their secret love affair from everyone including her mother who lives just on the other side of Lily, he continues to pursue her. I'm not convinced, even after he declares his love for Lily, that his falling in love with her the first time he sees her with her son isn't more a need to be part of a family filled with love, loyalty, with a sense of protection than actually being in love. I just didn't feel it.

I've said before that I'm not a great fan of contemporary romance.  Reading cutesy, formulaic type stories is part of the reason. Having not read anything else by Rachel Gibson, I'm not sure if her other stories are as simplistic but I will soon be finding out since I've got an ARC print copy of RESCUE ME (book #3) waiting for me. I guess it will tell me what I need to know.

I recommend the novella, CRAZY ON YOU by Rachel Gibson, if you are a fan of hers, if you are a fan of contemporary romance, if you are looking for a fast read that is cute and provides you with that just want to read something mindless that doesn't make me have to think too much feeling. If you love stories set in Texas and characters that make you feel like you're meeting up with old friends, and meeting new quirky ones. If this is what you want from an afternoon of reading - CRAZY ON YOU by Rachel Gibson is the one you want to read. If you're wondering, yes, I liked this novella. Did I love it and crave more of her writing? No. I found it a delightful, charming and nice way to spend some time reading but nothing to rave about.

Happy Reading Everyone!


CRAZY ON YOU by Rachel Gibson, an Avon Impulse release will be available on May 1, 2012 in ebook format. You can't go wrong at $1.99.

                                                          

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Wickedly Fun Interview with Author Juliana Stone + Treats!

On Monday, I reviewed the fabulous upcoming new release WICKED ROAD TO HELL by Juliana Stone. If you've never read anything by this author, you should even if you start with her new series the League of Guardians. She is definitely one of the up and coming greatest voices in Romance today. If you'd like to check out my review of this fabulous new Paranormal Romance, just click HERE and then come on back. We'll wait for you!

Juliana Stone is the author of the Jaguar Warrior Series from Avon Romance which is how I was first introduced to her exceptional imagination and ever growing talent. Her new series, the League of Guardians, delves deeper into the world of Angels and Demons. I happen to know that many of you are fans of Angels and Demons because my most popular post to date is the one I did back in October on them. So hold on to your knickers, my friends, and get ready to meet one of the most talented writers to take you to Hell and back without leaving your chair.

First, let me give you the blurb for WICKED ROAD TO HELL so you can get an idea of what we'll be discussing, not that Juliana's going to give away too much because she's a terrible tease but that's what we love about her.

Blurb for WICKED ROAD TO HELL:

With the legions of the underworld gathering and chaos close at hand, Sorcerer Declan O’Hara’s deadly skills will be tested. But nothing will sway him from his duty…

Rescued from eternal darkness, vampire Ana DeLacrux owes her life to a mysterious stranger who asks for only one thing—her absolute allegiance. She serves this master without question until Declan, the one man who can make her forget her vow, returns. His magic is stronger, darker…more compelling than ever. His blood awakens a hunger she must resist, or risk deadly consequences.

As Ana and Declan join forces, the streets of New Orleans become a dangerous place for both humans and the otherworld. And the most dangerous place of all is a road Declan’s traveled before…the wicked road to hell.

                                   *                   *                 *                 *                *

Now that I've set the stage for this author of wickedly intriguing paranormal romance, please join me in welcoming Juliana Stone!

Amy:  Welcome Juliana, it's a real pleasure to have you here with us today. Perhaps you can tell us little bit about yourself for the benefit of those who don't know you yet.

JulianaHello Amy! Glad to be here!  Well, for anyone who doesn’t know me, I’m a Mother of 2, Wife to 1 [LOL] and I have the most precious golden retriever on the planet as well as the cutest cat ever. I live in Canada, love 80’s rock and my girlfriends are like family.

Amy:  Sounds like a happy life and our worlds would be a very different place without our girlfriends to keep us sane.
I once asked you what inspired you to write paranormal and you told me that it was after reading DARK PRINCE by Christine Feehan. What was it about that particular story that sparked your creative juices which then took you in the direction of the sexy, wonderful Jaguar Warriors?

JulianaGood question! First off, before I’d read any Feehan, back in my high school days I was a huge Anne Rice fan. Those books aren’t romances really, but they opened my eyes to an entirely new depiction of the vampire.  Christine expanded and brought romance and angst and longing and alpha males and I ate it up! I love the darkness in the characters, I loved the soulmates, and I loved a world where there was no limit except what was in your mind.

Amy:  Wow, well that definitely gives us a deep insight into where your characters come from and totally makes sense.
WICKED ROAD TO HELL is Declan O'Hara's story. We first met Declan in the Jaguar Warrior Series along with Ana Delacrux and of course, "just call me Bill" Askelon!
[That makes me laugh every time I read that.] Had you planned to extend the story into the League of Guardian series from the beginning or did it just evolve?

JulianaIt evolved. I knew that the Jaguar Warriors would only be 3 books. The story arc that started with the first one ended with the last, HIS DARKEST SALVATION.  But there was still so much to tell and as I started pondering Declan’s book, the idea for the League grew.  I wanted to stay in the same world and feature many supernatural beings and I wanted to be able to have overlap, bringing in characters from the Jag books.

Amy:  I'm sure all the fans of the Jaquar Warriors are very happy to hear that.
Will there only be three in the League of Guardian series as in the Jaguar Warrior Series or will you take it further?

JulianaAs long as the readers love them, I’ll keep writing them.  There is another novella scheduled for the fall, a continuation of Logan and Kira’s story (WRONG SIDE OF HELL) and then the next full length is KING OF THE DAMNED, which releases in December.

Amy:  So glad to hear that we are going to meet up with Logan and Kira again. So many times, once a couple's story has reached it's HEA, they fade to the back. What made you decide to revisit them?

Juliana:  There were a lot of questions hanging at the end of Logan and Kira’s book, so I’ve decided that the novellas I write will be a continuation of their story.

Amy:  Sounds awesome. I know I had a lot of questions at the end of WRONG SIDE OF HELL.  [Awesome novella, if you haven't read it yet - do so!!]
I love that we meet Nico again in WICKED ROAD TO HELL even though he now sports a blue mohawk and a nose ring. Will he ever get his HEA and will it be in the League of Guardian series or will you ever revisit the Jaguar Warriors series?

Juliana:  As of now I’ve no plans to revisit the Jaguar Warriors, Nico is up to his butt in the League of Guardians and I hope to write his story one day!  If so, it will certainly be within this series.

Teaser of Cover for
KING OF THE DAMNED
Amy:  Great! I know there's a lot of your fans waiting for Nico to get his purr on, so to speak!
You are certainly blessed with some of the hottest covers. I recently spotted the new cover for KING OF THE DAMNED (Book Two in the League of Guardians series) on your website. I know you don't choose them but do you have a favorite?

JulianaAh, yes, as of now this new cover is my favourite.  It’s beautiful and Azaiel looks so incredibly hot and sad.  I just want to hug him.  It’s gorgeous!

Amy:  Can't wait to see the finished cover!
You've been teasing us for some time now on Facebook and Twitter with wonderful lines from your new contemporary romance series, THE BAD BOYS OF CRYSTAL LAKE. I know this is quite a diversion for you as even your first novels were scifi/time travel. What inspired you to go in this direction when you've been so prolific in the paranormal?

JulianaIt’s weird but I just decided last year to try my hand at something new.  I used to read a lot of contemporary romances but hadn’t lately and the idea of writing a book about a musician appealed to me. Music is an important part of my life and I was determined to do it.  So, the idea was born and I just went for it!  Luckily I found my voice for contemporary as well and can’t wait for you all to read about my bad boys!

Amy:  I know I'm very excited about meeting these bad boys! Perhaps you can tell us a little bit about this new contemporary series without giving away any spoilers.

JulianaThe series revolves around a trio of boyhood friends.  In the first book, my main character, Cain Black is an up and coming singer/guitarist who is on the cusp of hitting it huge.  He returns to Crystal Lake for the funeral of one of his best friends, a soldier killed in Afghanistan.  He’s not been home in years and decides to stick around, an easy decision especially after he meets an interesting woman and her young son. This first book is a love story straight up and I had a blast writing it! Little tidbit, all of the books have working titles based on my favourite Bon Jovi songs, NEVER SAY GOODBYE, ALWAYS and LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME.

Amy:  Sounds wonderful and a lot of fun. Great songs for inspiration, too. Friends, judging from the teasers she's been putting out, these don't sound like your typical contemporaries - I have a feeling I'll definitely be enjoying these. Since writing is only one of your passions, it seems only natural for you to integrate your love of music into your stories. A series featuring rockers sounds like fun!

Juliana:  Tho the series isn’t all about rockers, my first book does delve into that world and trust me, Cain is hot!

Amy:  Yummy! Sounds like we are in for some good reads about bad boys!
Last question. If you could be ANY character in ANY book, which character would
it be and why?

JulianaWow that’s a hard one.  At the moment I’d have to say Rowan James, my heroine from KING OF THE DAMNED. She’s a witch, a strong witch and she embodies everything I love in a good heroine.  She’s strong but vulnerable and I love that. Plus, she’s got awesome hair!

Amy:  Awesome hair! [LOL!] That's great! Friends, I've read an excerpt from KING OF THE DAMNED and Rowan is ready to kick some ass - our kind of gal! If you'd like to learn more about Juliana and her fabulous books, please visit her website. She's got excerpts!!

Amy:  Friends, Juliana has been kind enough to provide me with five (5) signed coverflats of WICKED ROAD TO HELL, so I'm offering you five separate chances to win!
One of the lucky commenters will also win a copy of Juliana's novella, WRONG SIDE OF HELL, along with that signed coverflat so be sure to enter. That's a lot of prizes, my dears! 
FIVE CHANCES TO WIN, so be sure to comment and include your email address so I can contact you if you're chosen! This Giveaway is open to EVERYONE and runs until 11:59 PM Sunday, April 22, 2012!

Amy:  I am going to ask Juliana to pose the question to you that you must answer in a comment for a chance to win one of these fabulous prizes.
Juliana, your question please.

Juliana: What is your favourite book ever?  The top one in your keeper shelf?

Amy:  Great question, Juliana! Thank you so very much for sharing your busy schedule with us and it's been an absolute thrill to have you here today. I hope you've enjoyed your visit as much as I've enjoyed having you here. Remember everyone, WICKED ROAD TO HELL goes on sale Tuesday, April 24, 2012 in both print and ebook format from Avon. You're going to love it!

If you'd like to read my review of WRONG SIDE OF HELL, please click HERE or go to Juliana's website to read an excerpt but remember to come back and enter for a chance to win a prize.

Happy Reading and Good Luck Everyone!!    GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!

                                              

Monday, April 16, 2012

Unwrapping: A Review of WICKED ROAD TO HELL by Juliana Stone

When I opened this month's goodie box from Avon, I got so excited I literally danced around. Inside, along with other delights, was a print copy of Juliana Stone's upcoming release, WICKED ROAD TO HELL, Book One of the League of Guardian series. WICKED ROAD TO HELL hits the bookshelves and ereaders on April 24, 2012 but I am very glad to give you a little insight into this incredible world created by the wickedly incredible imagination of Juliana Stone.

Blurb for WICKED ROAD TO HELL:

With the legions of the underworld gathering and chaos close at hand, Sorcerer Declan O’Hara’s deadly skills will be tested. But nothing will sway him from his duty…

Rescued from eternal darkness, vampire Ana DeLacrux owes her life to a mysterious stranger who asks for only one thing—her absolute allegiance. She serves this master without question until Declan, the one man who can make her forget her vow, returns. His magic is stronger, darker…more compelling than ever. His blood awakens a hunger she must resist, or risk deadly consequences.

As Ana and Declan join forces, the streets of New Orleans become a dangerous place for both humans and the otherworld. And the most dangerous place of all is a road Declan’s traveled before…the wicked road to hell.

              *                       *                    *                    *                    *                                

For those of you who have read Juliana's Jaguar Warrior Series, you're already familiar with Declan O'Hara and Ana DeLacrux but those who haven't let me introduce you to them.

Declan O'Hara is a sorcerer who has seen his share of trouble. He runs in the company of Angels (Seraphim), Demons, Vampires, Werewolves, Shifters (Jaguar Warriors) and other assorted otherworld creatures. Having spent too long in the depths of Hell, he's back and partnered with Nico, a Jaguar shifter (we met him in the Jaguar Warrior Series also). Declan and Nico have been given a mission by Askelon (a Seraph who insists everyone just call him Bill) to hunt down a person of interest but they've been told nothing more. Their search leads Declan to New Orleans, a city saturated with more magic than any one place deserves. Declan knows retrieving his prey may not be easy since he has learned there's a protector involved - a vampire. After recruiting the help of Ransome, an Alpha Werewolf, Declan zeroes in on the location of this stranger. The last thing he expects is to discover the vampire guarding his prey is a past associate who he had seen killed by his own father two years earlier. The vampire is the one person who could twist his heart in a million directions and leave him panting for more, Ana DeLacrux.

Ana DeLacrux died when Cormac O'Hara plunged a stake into her heart two years ago but Bill had other plans for her and so rescued her from the icy fingers of death. Now pledged to serve Bill, she's been placed in charge of a young teen named Kaden who wears a mark signifying him as one of the Mark of Seven. Her charge is incorrigible and powerful but a sweet kid who has never known a real family. Ana has come to care about him like the son she believes she'll never have since she's in love with a man she can never claim, Declan O'Hara. She's a vampire, he isn't. She's of a royal line, he's not a vampire. She can only mate with a vampire and Declan is not a vampire - yet!

Once Declan discovers what Kaden is, he decides to add his protection to Ana's and enlists Nico, Ransome and his pack of werewolves to join the cause. It's after they discover that the Demon Lord, Samael, has already taken two of the other Mark of Seven into the underworld that another Seraph, Cale, joins the cause. When Samael fails to make an aggressive move at taking Kaden, Declan with Cale's assistance meets with Samael and the Demon Lord makes Declan an offer he CANNOT afford to refuse.

Declan has no choice but to return to the last place he ever wants to see again - Hell. His old nemesis, Lilith, has stolen the two teens from Samael and is determined to gather the remaining Marks, including Kaden. Samael has agreed to give the teens over to the care of the League of Guardians which Declan has just learned exists. He discovers that Cale, Samael, and Bill are members of this group of natural enemies whose sole purpose is to keep the balance between Heaven and Hell. He's told that if the members of the Mark of Seven turn out to be good, so be it, but if they turn out to be dangerous to the world as they know it, the League will see them destroyed. Their greatest fear until that time is that either the Seraphim or the Demon Lords will obtain control of them at which time the fate of the Human world will certainly be at risk.

So Declan returns to Hell only to discover that Ana has followed. Now he's responsible for trying to get the two teens, himself and Ana back out of Hell in one piece. Samael gives him a special magick to mask his signature as a Human in Hell but Ana is unprotected even with her vampire strengths. The only solution is for her to feed on him and absorb some of that magick only she gets carried away because of her insatiable desire for him. With Declan on the verge of death she has no other choice, so against her better judgement for she knows the consequences of turning a Human, Ana turns the only man she's ever truly loved.

Declan has what he wants - Ana - but fears when she learns of his despicable past in Hell that she will not want him, vampire bond or no vampire bond. Ana is terrified that when Declan's turning is discovered by the Vampire Council that the Queen of the Vampires will have him destroyed. What will these lovers face in Hell? Will they succeed in rescuing the teens and manage to escape their dangerous journey into Hell? Even if they succeed and survive the depths of Hell, what does the future hold for them since they have broken the very rules that destroyed Ana's relationship with her own twin brother? Sorry, I'm not telling. I've probably given you more than I should but you're going to have to discover those answers on your own by reading WICKED ROAD TO HELL.

Even if you're not a fan of paranormal, Juliana Stone's writing has developed into an incredible force of which I feel everyone should experience. She's truly come into her own with this series and I expect great things to come. She writes with such depth and imagination that it's like watching an artist paint a portrait with an extensive pallet of colors and then have the portrait come to life. WICKED ROAD TO HELL is a journey into a world where the action is dark, gritty, and never-ending. The taste of the underworld that we were given a glimpse of in WRONG SIDE OF HELL is incredibly expanded and enlarged in such a way that you nearly smell the sulfur emanating from the pages.

I was worried that as a reader it would be absolutely necessary to have read at least some of the Jaguar Warrior series to grasp the complexity of the storyline in WICKED ROAD TO HELL but was happily surprised to find that it works excellently as a stand-alone novel. If you're a lover of all things paranormal or are new to it and wish to give it a try. If you love a dark, gritty, action-packed story, you're going to love this adventure into Hell. WICKED ROAD TO HELL by Juliana Stone is an incredibly well-written, expansively character driven, steamy paranormal romance that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. I highly recommend the wicked, sexually charged, and intense WICKED ROAD TO HELL by Juliana Stone to anyone who loves an action-packed, can't put down once you pick it up, kind of read. I'm eagerly looking forward to the rest of the series which I'm happy to say you get a taste of at the end of the book.

Happy Reading Everyone and please, come back on Wednesday when you'll get to meet the lady herself, Juliana Stone, plus have 5 chances to win in an awesome giveaway!!

WICKED ROAD TO HELL by Juliana Stone, published by Avon, release date - April 24, 2012 in both ebook and print format. Definitely a MUST READ!

                                                              

Friday, April 13, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale

Back in February I pre-ordered the book THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale. I was so looking forward to reading it as soon as it arrived. Soon after it arrived, I found out that I had been chosen as an Avon Addict and my list of reading increased three-fold so THE TATTOOED DUKE got pushed lower in the pile. With a recent lull even though the list is still long, I finally got the opportunity to read this eagerly awaited installment of the Writing Girl Series.

As some of you may know if you've been reading my blog for some time, I am a great fan of Maya Rodale and actually hold her out as the inspiration for my creation of this blog. I love her Writing Girl Series because the ladies are all things respectable in Regency England but don't hesitate to do things their way or speak their mind even if it's hidden within a column in the London Weekly. I love to think of myself as a member of the mob of scribbling women and if you're not already familiar with these ladies, please do make their acquaintance. I love this cover by the way!

Blurb for THE TATTOOED DUKE:

Breaking news, scandal fans!
You thought you knew the dangerous Duke of Wycliff, London’s globe-trotting adventure addict. Here’s what you don’t know: he’s penniless. Sebastian Digby’s dukely lifestyle is over forever unless he finds a rich bride. But thanks to The London Weekly, everyone knows better than to tangle with this lothario. Besides (as one writer can testify), it seems that Sebastian has been unable to keep his hands off his own lowly housemaid…
And that’s a problem. A big one.
Because that housemaid just happens to be me. Eliza Fielding. The same undercover Writing Girl who’s been exposing the Duke’s most intimate secrets to the world. And now I’ve gone and complicated everything by falling love with him. Passion and deception have never been so delicious, but now the truth could destroy everything. This is more than a conflict of interest. It’s a seduction where love itself hangs in the balance.

               *                     *                   *                    *                     *                    *

Reading THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale is a unique experience.

Eliza Fielding is one of the notorious Writing Girls who work for the London Weekly under the supervision of Mr. Knightly who expects much from his girls. When he tells Eliza, in no uncertain terms, that she is to get the story on the returning Duke of Wycliff, Eliza knows her job is on the line. She decides the best way to get close to this mysterious man who has been gone from London these past ten years is to go undercover in his household as a common housemaid. Getting the job is easy as no one else seems to want it, keeping it is going to be a whole other thing.

Sebastian Digby is the newest Duke of Wycliff, a notorious family of men who are notorious for their inability to keep their wandering hands off their housemaids. Sebastian does his best to resist the temptation but the lovely, impertinent, and irresistible new housemaid, Eliza, is making it very difficult to keep from becoming like his ancestors. His goal in life is not to get tied permanently to London but to get his hands on enough money to fund a search for the mysterious and unreachable Timbuktu in Africa.  A Duke's title isn't worth much without money or respect behind it and right now, Sebastian has little of both especially since someone is leaking information about him to the irrepressible newspaper columnist W.G. Meadows.

Eliza is trying desperately to get the story that will save her job but soon finds herself falling under the spell of the handsome and intriguing Duke of Wycliff with his tales of far off lands and dazzling tattoos that inflame more than a desire to admire them. All the while, her past is coming back to haunt her and she fears her life and career are quickly coming unraveled.

Sebastian is fighting his growing desire for the delectable housemaid haunting his thoughts while scheming to gain the funds needed to get him to Timbuktu. As much as he desires Eliza, both in body and company, he knows there's no future to be had with a common housemaid. So he turns his thoughts to the wealthy widow Lady Althea who is more than willing to gain his attention by any means possible including by pretending her child is, in fact, his from a brief affair ten years earlier. When he learns the truth, he turns his interest to winning the reward offered for the identity of W.G. Meadows.

Will Eliza get the story and save her job? Will Sebastian gain his funds to make the venture to Timbuktu before others get there first? Will he ever knock on Eliza's attic bedroom door and will Eliza let him in to succumb to her greatest desire? Will these two save each other or will THE STORY tear them apart forever?

As I said earlier, reading THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale is a unique experience. Maya has written Eliza and Sebastian's story in such a way that you feel you are watching it unfold rather than reading it. It incited my imagination in such a way that I saw each chapter more like a scene in a movie rather than a free flowing novel. I enjoyed Eliza and Sebastian's nighttime encounters on the roof discussing all things familiar to them and culminating in some kissy face activity. I enjoyed the way Sebastian would finagle a way for Eliza to work alongside him in the greenhouse while enjoying each other's company, unwittingly giving her fuel for her column and usually ending with a little more kissy face. A scene would end with a kiss or a piece of information that neither wished to hear but the next chapter would begin a new scene continuing this intriguing tale of pursuit and deception. The story grew stronger with every scene change. It was fun, unique and worked splendidly to keep the tension at a tolerable level and the reader's interest in the secrets that needed uncovering. Reading THE TATTOOED DUKE was reminiscent of the way the first novels were written - more as segments as if from a journal or letters rather than continuous storytelling.

THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale kept me amused as well as on the edge of my seat wondering how Eliza and Sebastian would overcome the obstacles keeping them from consummating their mutual desire for each other. THE TATTOOED DUKE was everything I'd hope it would be as it followed the other two books in the Writing Girl Series - A TALE OF TWO LOVERS and A GROOM OF ONE'S OWN.  If you're not already familiar with these incorrigible members of the mob of scribbling women, please be sure to introduce yourself to them but especially to THE TATTOOED DUKE for along with enjoying the camaraderie that Eliza holds dear with her fellow Writing Girls, you will surely fall in love with Sebastian just as I have.

I recommend THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale to every reader who enjoys a story about an unintended bad boy and his naughty undercover impertinent reporter/housemaid. It's a delightfully fun and oh so, sexy way to spend some quiet time with a dashingly handsome and oh so, scandalous Tattooed Duke.

Happy Reading Everyone!

THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale, an Avon Romance and available now in both ebook and print format.

                                   

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