Tuesday, September 1
***This giveaway is now over. Thanks for entering!***
I'm trying to contain my excitement while I type this, because none other than Megan Hart is my guest today at Seductive Musings!!!
The first Megan Hart book that I read was Tempted. This appealed to me for a variety of reasons. As we have recently been discussing it was in fact the cover that got my attention, then the back blurb. It was like no other erotic romance that I had read. It completely blew me away, and I quickly read Broken. Another absolutely fantastic read. I then new I had found an author that I would begin to follow religiously. And while I have many favorite authors, I have very few that I will buy just because their name is on the book. Megan's books are like that for me. If you have not read my review of Broken or Deeper, or any of my subsequent Deeper posts I think you will find that it is my favorite romance so far this year...followed closely by Laid Bare by Lauren Dane. Megan and Lauren sometimes write together...yep you guessed it, booklover heaven! I'm slowly working my way through her backlist. Dirty and Stranger are next up for me...of course that's after I read Pleasure and Purpose :)
If you have not tried a Megan Hart book yet, then Pleasure and Purpose might be a great introduction. Watch the trailer and I think you will see what I mean:
Welcome Megan! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to have you as my guest at Seductive Musings. I am a HUGE fangirl of yours. Each of your books that I have read has made its way to my keeper shelves. Broken and Deeper hold special places in my heart; in fact Deeper is my favorite romance novel so far this year. Who is your new favorite find and what's on your keeper shelf?
I recently read The Forest of Hands and Teeth and fell in love with it. Looking forward to sequels. On my keeper shelf I have Stephen King, Clive Barker, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Gary Jennings, Diana Gabaldon…I have a lot of books!
What is your favorite guilty pleasure that you would be hard pressed to give up for just about any reason?
The Sims 3. Though I have to give it up because I haven’t had time to play it…but when I DO play it, it’s for hours at a time.
Mary G wants to know: I loved Taking Care of Business & given you wrote a follow-up how easy/hard is it to write with someone else - even the fabulous Lauren Dane?
I was fortunate enough when working with Lauren to not only have a great friend, but a great writer who’s ALSO my BFF. We had a vision for a story and knew when to step back from each other’s work because we respect each other. So in that respect, it was super easy. On the other hand, writing with someone else means you’re working with someone else’s time frame. That can be difficult, but it all worked out just fine for us.
What book(s)are you most proud of, or feel is/are your biggest personal achievement(s) when you don’t take into account sales, reviews, reader comments, or awards & why?
I will always have a soft spot for DIRTY because it was the book I wrote when I decided I didn’t want to write a traditional erotic novel. I was unhappy with what I’d found in my reading, and I wanted to write a book that made me happy. It’s the only book I remember thinking “I could live in this world forever.” It’s the only book I’ve ever written I didn’t want to leave, ever.
Your novels don’t always tend to have a traditional HEA (happily ever after), but in the end they always stay true to the characters/story and offer the hope of love rather than what readers normally expect or may wish for. It’s one of the things I love most about your writing, and makes your voice so unique. Can you explain to readers what they should expect when reading a Megan Hart novel, what you think makes a romance novel a great love story? and why your endings never really give the impression that they are the “end” of the story?
Thank you! I try to make sure the ends of all my books and stories stay true to the characters and plot. As for what readers should expect – hmmm. How about my best effort? When you pick up one of my books, you should know I’ve done my best to tell the story the way I feel it needs to be told. It might not be “happy” or neat and tidy and it most definitely might not be a fairy tale (unless it IS a fairy tale!) – but it might be happy, neat and tidy, if the story requires it. As for my endings, well…hey…the story never really ends, does it? Life goes on. It does for my characters, too. Many of my books reach “an” end, not necessarily “the” end.
Pleasure and Purpose seems to be a little bit of a departure than what you usually write. Can you tell us about your inspiration, or what your muse was when creating the Order of Solace, and what it is?
I’ve always loved writing fantasy, so it’s not actually a departure, just something I moved away from for a while. My inspiration for the world of the Order of Solace came actually before writing Pleasure and Purpose. I originally wrote No Greater Pleasure (Berkley Sensation, October 2009) with the idea of an inconsolable hero and what lengths the heroine would have to take to help him reach peace. Such a situation seemed better suited to a fantasy world rather than contemporary, and slowly the world began building from that idea.
We meet Stillness, Honesty, and Determinata, each handmaidens of the Order of Solace in Pleasure and Purpose. Can you tell us a little about each of their stories, the meaning behind their names, and the world they live in?
Handmaidens in the Order of Solace are granted their names when they are deemed fit to leave their training and take a patron. Given by the Mothers-in-Service, the names are fit to each Handmaiden based on her personality or special skill.
Stillness discovered through tragedy that a small pain can take away a greater one. She’s learned the value of stillness, how not acting can be as great a choice as action. Her patron is Edward, a man determined to deny his nature because of the guilt he holds over a boyhood escapade that ended badly. He doesn’t believe he’s worthy of solace but sends for a Handmaiden anyway, only to discover something greater than being soothed. Love!
Honesty is just what her name proclaims: Honest. Blunt, even. She’s not the Handmaiden Cillian, Edward’s boyhood friend, is looking for. He’s seen Stillness and what she provided his dear friend, estranged since the accident that affected them both. He wants what Edward has. Honesty isn’t what Cillian wants, but they both discover she is what he needs.
And finally, Determinata is an atypical Handmaiden. Most Handmaidens are more inclined to service, but Mina is actually on the other end of the spectrum. She knows there are men like Cillian and Edward’s friend Alaric who need a firm hand, who need to serve in order to feel valuable. Alaric’s had a rough time of things, but under Mina’s determined hand, he discovers his worth…as she discovers hers.
All three stories are connected and are much more typical romance than some of my other work. So those of you who crave the HEA, Pleasure and Purpose might just be to your taste!
The principles of the Order of Solace seem to lend themselves to five different stories. Will each novella/novel encompass one of the principles: (Three novellas in Pleasure and Purpose in September, No Greater Pleasure in October 2009, and Selfish is the Heart)?
Yes and no. I’m not sure Selfish is the Heart will end up being called that, though the title is in direct reference to one of the five principles! ;) No Greater Pleasure does take its name directly from the first principle, There is no greater pleasure than providing absolute solace. Pleasure and purpose, on the other hand, comes from Stillness’s statement to Edward when she reassures him she’s there to serve him and it’s both her pleasure AND her purpose to do so. All five principles are important in each story, though certain ones of the five might nudge different heroines in different ways. I have another Order of Solace book to write that doesn’t have a title based on the principles, so we’ll see what happens with that one!
Music seems to play a large part in your writing process. How do you choose the songs for each book, and did you have a play list that influenced Pleasure and Purpose? If so what were some of the songs?
I do have a playlist!
Angel Sarah McLachlan
The Bleeding - Unplugged Five Finger Death Punch
Bleeding Love Leona Lewis
Blue Dress Depeche Mode
Breathe Me Sia
Dragonfly M. Craft
Écrire l'amour Étienne Drapeau
Gravity Sara Bareilles
Hanky Panky Madonna
Hide and Seek Imogen Heap
I Will Be Here Steven Curtis Chapman
Keep Breathing Ingrid Michaelson
Little Fox Berry, Heidi
Never Alone BarlowGirl
Parce Mihi Domine Jan Garbarek & The Hilliard Ensemble
Piano Trio in E Flat Schubert
Red Shoe Requiem (Original Score) George S. Clinton
Set the Fire to the Third Bar Snow Patrol & Martha Wainwright
Speeding Cars Imogen Heap
Touch Sarah McLachlan
The Way I Am Ingrid Michaelson
Your Call Secondhand Serenade
As for HOW I choose, them, well...it depends. Some songs end up in every playlist but aren't unique to the book. (Jason Manns' Without You and Joshua Radin's Closer are two songs I seem to come back to again and again.) Sometimes songs on the playlist happen to be what I'm into listening to at the moment and aren't really important to the story, I just like them. (Something like oh...Lady Gaga, for example. Probably doesn't have much to do with the book but might be on my current playlist.) Other songs are very important and totally encapsulate what the book's about to me, or how it feels to write it, or how I think the characters feel. Everything Changes by Staind was that song for TEMPTED and Precious by Depeche Mode was that song for BROKEN. Blue Dress by Depeche Mode summed up the feeling of Pleasure and Purpose for me.
What are some of your other upcoming releases we can look forward to? Will any character that readers have been clamoring for get his/her own story, and what seeds of brilliance are you working on now? Give us the insider’s scoop, we’re dying to know!
Fans of Brandon, Leah, Kate and Dix from Taking Care of Business will meet up with those two couples again in November 2009 in No Reservations. In January 2010 I have another Spice novel coming out called Switch. Then next summer those who loved Alex Kennedy will get both a Spice Brief, Everything Changes, in his POV, as well as a novel featuring Alex as the hero. That’s called NAKED and will be out summer 2010. After that I’ll have two more Order of Solace novels as well as some Spice Briefs and two books coming out from MIRA in 2011 and 2012. The first is tentatively titled Three Months and is about a woman who gets carjacked and kidnapped but finds herself relating to her kidnapper in ways she didn’t expect. (it’s NOT a romance!) Oh, and sometime after that I have another full length Spice coming out…
Finally, just for fun…if you could write the “fortune” in a fortune cookie what would it be? What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is: “One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star.” Friedrich Nietzsche
And my fortune cookie would read: READ IN BED!
Thanks for having me!
The handmaidens of the Order of Solace are each named for the exquisite service that best reflects their true calling. Their greatest delight is giving pleasure--devoted as they are to fulfilling the desires of the mind, the needs of the soul, and the cravings of the body.
Meet Stillness, called upon to soothe the conscience of a man in need of redemption after a shocking act from his sexual past. Then there's Honesty, whose vow of Solace is to a prince looking for a submissive handmaiden. Instead, he gets the unexpected. And finally, Determinata, a handmaiden confronted with a client lost in a haze of random sex and drugs. She has just the plan to literally whip her man into shape.
She’d put on the dress and fixed her hair to let it fall about her shoulders in soft, loose curls instead of the tight braid she most often wore. She’d applied cosmetic to her lips and eyes. She had no jewelry and made due with a flower plucked from a bouquet in a vase from the hall.
And, she Waited.
On her knees, one hand cradled in the palm of the other. She could and had held that position for hours in the past, as comfortable to her as sleep, but that wasn’t why she did it. She knew it would please him to see her on her knees for him. She hadn’t forgotten the playroom. Cillian had never asked her to visit it and as far as she knew he’d been absent from it for a while, as well. But that didn’t mean he didn’t want what went on inside it, so even though she couldn’t bring herself to offer herself in that manner, she could do this.
The look he gave her when he returned was worth every effort, and Honesty found her heart beating faster at the way Cillian’s mouth parted with words unspoken. He gestured at her to rise.
She did, twirling slowly to allow the hem of her gown to float around her ankles. “You approve?”
“Of course I approve. I bought that fabric and had that gown made, just for you.”
“And to think, knowing exactly what another needs is supposed to be my duty,” she teased.
Cillian’s gaze brightened and his tongue slid along his lower lip. “I didn’t know it would suit you so well, but I’m pleased it does.”
“And if it hadn’t?” She asked, curious.
He looked away for a moment before bringing the intensity of his gaze back to hers. “You’d have worn it anyway, should I have deemed it appropriate. Yes?”
“Yes, of course. If I’d deemed it necessary to appease you.” Honesty tilted her head to look him up and down. “But that’s not what you mean. Is it?”
“No.” He shook his head.
She stood on her toes to bring her eyes level with his, and her mouth. “Fortunately for us both, it suits me perfectly.”
He put his hands on her hips tight enough to keep her still but not hard enough to wrinkle the dress. “Is this what you think I need?”
She brushed her lips over his and stepped back. “Everyone needs affection. It would seem to me you lack it, Cillian, despite your hareem.”
He laughed derisively. “Which I’ve not visited in near two weeks, because of you.”
Honesty dimpled. “Am I to blame if you’re kept so busy in your own bed you don’t need to seek the company of those other women? After all, it’s not my sole function but one I am willing to provide. And enjoy.”
She watched him carefully, aware her tone had been light and teasing but the emotion behind it deeper. But Cillian couldn’t know that and wouldn’t know that, if she could help it. He didn’t need to know she had any motivation beyond duty.
His hand cupped her neck and brought her closer, his mouth slanting over hers but not kissing. Her breath quickened at the suddenness of his action, more forceful than he’d been with her. Cillian drew her closer, body to body.
“You wouldn’t enjoy the games I crave, Honesty.”
Her breath hitched and her eyes fluttered closed. “I told you before, if I have to offer my back to you –”
“If you believe I need it for solace. As part of your duty, yes. But not because you want it. Not because the sting of my palm on your skin gets you wet.”
“And yet you come to your bed each night and make love to me, nevertheless. You’ve not been to your playroom for days and days.” Some time ago she might have kept the triumph from her voice but couldn’t, now. “Perhaps the games you crave are not as necessary as you thought.”
His fingertips twitched against her skin, and he withdrew with a small smile. “Some are born to a taste they might acquire only later, Honesty. Some can be led to it.”
Her heart trip-trapped in her breast at the thought of the ironwood cross. “Some never learn to crave those sorts of games.”
“I know it.” He reached to tug the curl hanging over her shoulder. “Which is why I haven’t made you go to the workroom. The women of my hareem were chosen, as you said in the beginning, to serve me that way. But you are not. I take no pleasure in forcing a lover to a different sort of kiss, no matter what might be said of me. I’ve never forced anyone.”
“I didn’t believe it of you,” she said quietly, and noted the speculative look he gave her.
Tension spiraled between them as tightly as a ribbon wound upon a finger. Clothed, they might well have been naked, so fiercely did her body feel every brush of his against hers. Lust she’d felt aplenty, but this went beyond that. This was different, no matter how she might resist it.
“When I was young,” she told him as she took his hand between hers, “I was betrothed to a man much older than I. It was for the benefit of my father, not myself, but that was no more than I had been raised to expect.”
Cillian’s fingers squeezed hers. “I knew it. I knew you were of noble birth.”
Not merely noble, but Honesty didn’t correct him. “I didn’t want to wed him, though it displeased my father for me to say so. My father loved me, but he needed me to obey him without question. My betrothed was a man much the same but without a loving hand to temper the desire.”
His breath hitched and a flash of excitement lit his eyes, a gleam she didn’t miss. “Did he beat you?”
“No, my prince, no matter how the thought might excite you. He didn’t raise a hand to me in anger. Nor in pleasure,” she added. “Though he would have had me on my knees, his was a cleric’s cock. How he hoped to get a child on me, I don’t know. The marriage seemed without worth to me. To be wedded and never bedded, or at least bedded unsatisfactorily?”
Cillian’s thumb passed along her palm and she shivered at the soft touch. “Indeed.”
“Anyway, my story, unlike my betrothal, does have a point.” Honesty swallowed and licked her mouth, suddenly dry. She looked into his eyes and marveled at how clear such a gaze could be between two who barely knew the other’s heart. “My point is that though that man tried his best to subdue me, I would not bend to him. However, had he tried to know even the least small piece of me, I’d have done my best to learn what brought him pleasure.”
“Had you wed him.”
“Even though you didn’t love him.”
She shook her head. “I did not love him, no. But I knew what was best for my father might well be best for me. And I couldn’t have waited for love, in any case. I had to be married.”
He blinked and stepped away from her, leaving her hands chill in the absence of his heat. “Surely it didn’t mean so much.”
It had meant everything, but telling him she’d once worn a crown richer than his own would serve her no purpose. “You’re not listening to my tale, Cillian. You hear my words but you misunderstand me.”
He turned from the window, an eyebrow raised. “Do I? Perhaps you should be more clear.”
“I would have done what pleased him, and I wasn’t a Handmaiden then, bound to serve. If he’d only tried to know me, I’d have tried to know him, too.”
“You would bend my back to my pleasure, you’ve said so,” Cillian murmured, coming closer. “But what say you now?”
“I might be unable to learn to love the touch of a lash, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t learn to play your games. There are more versions than just that one.” She paused. “I’ve seen much in my time of service. And no, I wouldn’t seek an ironwood cross and the back of your hand. But there are other pleasures. You would know them better than I.”
“And again it is I who must serve you. Is that the way this is to go?” He paused, voice not risen in anger though his words might sound cross. “Is that what I need, Honesty?”
She lifted her chin and slicked her lips again, conscious of the way his gaze followed the movement. “I think so, yes. I can give you what you want before you want it, but if you don’t feel worthy when you have it, my effort is wasted. You should woo me a little, Cillian. Convince me.”
I haven't yet had the pleasure of reading Pleasure and Purpose, but if it is anything like some of the others that Megan has written, than the wait will definitely have been worth it! Want to win a copy? Because I have some very excited news! Megan has offered to give away one signed copy to a lucky commenter at Seductive Musings, but you can also enter to win the contest on her blog. She is running a contest to win Pleasure and Purpose and if that is not enticing enough you can also blog about this book to win a copy of the next book in the Order of Solace series, No Greater Pleasure. Please see her blog here, for complete details on how to enter. You can find also Megan on her website, her blog, on Facebook, Myspace, and you can follow her on Twitter, and my personal favorite Dane Hart Discuss.
How do you enter to win the giveaway here? Simple, just answer all of these questions: Have you read any of Megan's books? If so do you have a favorite, if not, then why not? What appeals to you about Pleasure and Purpose that you would want to win it?
Ways to earn entries:
- In order to be eligible you must answer all of the questions, and leave a meaningful comment
- Become a follower of Seductive Musings, and/or mention that you are already a follower in your comment (good for 3 extra entries)
- Blog about this contest on your blog and leave a link with your comment (good for 5 extra entries)
- If you don't have a blog, don't worry you can earn extra entries by telling your friends. If they leave a comment on this post and mention that you sent them you can each earn extra entries (good for 2 entries for the referrer and the commenter for each friend)
- Purchase any item from the Seductive Musings Amazon store by using this link, or the Amazon widget contained within this post and email a copy of your purchase receipt to me no later than the deadline to enter (email available in sidebar). Sorry purchases made prior to this date do not apply, and link contained in this post must be used. No faxes or snail mail copies are allowed. No purchases are necessary to win. (good for 20 entries, or 30 entries if a purchase is made from the featured author's available titles)
How to enter:
- You must answer the questions and leave a meaningful comment in order to be eligible.
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Rules and disclaimers:
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