Monday, August 31
My Hidden Gem is..... Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues by Linda Berdoll. This book was first published in 2004, and given the popularity of Jane Austen inspired novels right now, I thought it only fitting to present to you one that I enjoyed. What I loved about it is that it doesn't try to mimic Jane's style, and it doesn't try to be a book that she might have written. It takes characters that we know, and puts a sexier spin on a continuation of the story. However, if Jane was writing novels today I think it is very possible that she would be writing something just a little bit steamier and sexier, but still the character based stories that we have come to love so much. After all she was a woman who wrote about the time she lived in, then or now I think she would have been relative to her time.
I wasn't able to get in touch with Linda to ask her questions about her book, but she had some Q & A on her website that I thought might give you some insight into her inspiration and her reasons for writing this book:
I began a strictly imaginary trip immediately after viewing the A&E production of Pride & Prejudice (I understand I am not alone in that little flight of fancy.) Rhapsodizing about Lizzy and Darcy impelled me to revisit the book. Thoroughly enthralled, I devoured all JA’s other novels, two biographies and a book of her letters to her sister, Cassandra. Her letters revealed far more of the real JA to me than her novels. My interest then thoroughly piqued, I began to read about the era. It was an age rich with scandal, intrigue and war. JA’s characters begged a further telling. Unfortunately, Jane Austen was long past elaborating and even if she had, undoubtedly, she would not have been explicit. I began to write to satisfy my own curiosity.
What did you hope to accomplish with this sequel?
To find out what really happened after the wedding vows.
How did you hope to portray them as a couple?
Desperately in love.
Is this a book for Jane Austen purists?
Only if they can keep a firm grip on their smelling salts.
Ways to earn entries:
How to enter:
Rules and disclaimers:
Hidden Gems meme info:
Hidden Gems meme is hosted by Seductive Musings on the last Friday of every month (barring any special events). Anyone passionate about romance novels can participate. Just do the following:
In the 3rd installment of the Servant series, Gabrielle Cody finds herself living with super-detective Luther Cross, while also hunting a deranged killer who wants to be a vampire. Blood drained bodies are left in the wake of a murdering spree. Because the homeless, transient and addicted are targeted, it makes it very difficult for Luther and the rest of the police force to track down the villain.
But for Gaby, finding the psychopath is only a small part of the difficulty. This lunatic knows Gaby, in some ways better than she knows herself.
Is it possible a long lost relative has located her? With family ties involved, and Luther’s nearness interfering with her perception of evil, Gaby is up for her biggest challenge – both as a paladin, and a woman experiencing the first hint of love.
(and there is also a bonus excerpt in this post!)
Welcome Lori! I am absolutely thrilled to have you as my guest at Seductive Musings. I am a HUGE fangirl of yours, and every book that I have read of yours, no matter the genre, has made its way to my keeper shelves (and that’s a lot!). For you, what makes a romance novel a great love story? Who is your new favorite find and what's on your keeper shelf?
Thank you so much, Carrie! It still thrills me to meet people who enjoy my work. I’m such a down home person, so “every day,” that I can’t believe the success I’ve found in writing. It’s thrilling – honestly.
I LUV this question about my current favorite because I talk about her everywhere. I think she’s the most talented author I’ve read and I’m totally fascinated by her books. Kresley Cole and her Immortals After Dark. Seriously, folks, if you haven’t read her, you need to! They’re sexy and hilarious and the characterizations are amazing. I didn’t know that I enjoyed paranormal books so much, or that I would enjoy vampires, werewolves, valkyrie, etc... Until I read A HUNGER LIKE NO OTHER. Now I’m hooked, I’ve read them all, and I can’t wait for the next one!
Other “forever” favorites of mine are Jayne Ann Krentz, Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsey... too many to name them all I guess.
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?
The books that still touch my heart are WHEN BRUCE MET CYN, because I love the idea of second chances and overcoming the harshest of obstacles, and also that there are caring people out there who don’t judge too harshly against circumstances out of your control.
CAUGHT IN THE ACT just because I fell in love with Mick, the lead character, when he was in other books – maybe for the same reasons as above for Cyn’s story. Both are characters who didn’t let harsh personal circumstances skew their ideas of right and wrong.
JAMIE because I loved doing the research for him and he was such a unique character!
And I love SERVANT: THE AWAKENING because it’s so different from what I usually write in straight contemporary romance, and that made it so much fun.
Your Urban Fantasy novels, and the Servant series, are a departure from the contemporary romances that you are most renowned for. Writing a darker, edgier book in a genre you weren’t previously known for seems like it would have been a bit of a risk. Tell us some of the compelling reasons you had for writing Gaby’s story and branching out as LL Foster.
Oh geeze, summary is not my strong suit! I’m rather long winded. But in short, Gabrielle Cody (Gaby) is a paladin, a servant of God, and she sees true evil when others can’t. You know how some heinous people look as ordinary as a grandma, or your friendly neighbor? Well, when Gaby looks at them she sees the aura of perversion that surrounds them. Through God, she has quicker reflexes, and keener insight.
She’s always lived alone and stayed estranged from society, but Detective Luther Cross, who first suspects her of murdering innocents, is drawn to her and can’t allow her to stay isolated. What he feels for her is as other-worldly as Gaby’s ability. Little by little she learns to trust him, and to share her responsibility to society with him. They make a pretty amazing couple.
And now, in the 3rd book, when the build-up of sexual chemistry explodes... yeah, it was mega, mega hot and fun!
“Come here, Gaby. Let me help you.”
When he tugged on her arms, she moved as directed, but with a zombie-like void of comprehension. On the tile entry, they both dripped puddles. Luther locked the door and turned to her. Her colorless lips shivered.
A tidal wave of emotion rose to choke him.
Luther hugged her close, rubbed her chilled arms and kissed her throat. She didn’t thaw at all. He needed to get her warm and fast, but he couldn’t, not while she wore cold, rain-soaked clothes.
Kissing her made him feel better, and even now, with her so emotionally wounded, the taste of her satisfied something deep inside him, something he’d never experienced with any other woman.
Though Luther’s ardor grew, Gaby didn’t make a single sound, and he hated that. “To hell with it.” He knew what he wanted to do, the best way to reach her.
Leaving her for only a moment, he went to the adjacent living room and closed the drapes, and then turned on the television. Maybe if she couldn’t see and hear the storm, it wouldn’t bother her so deeply.
Gaby stood frozen where he’d left her as he went down the hall to the guest bathroom to gather up a few towels. When he returned to her he smoothed her dark hair away from her face. With his heart pounding, he kissed her mouth and little by little, her icy lips thawed.
“Gaby.” His mouth still touching hers, he looked at her, and then covered her left breast with his palm.
Her eyelashes fluttered, so he kissed her again, deeper this time as he cuddled her
It appalled Luther that he was turned on while she stood as a supplicant to terror. Maybe it was seeing her quiescent for a change instead of defiant, maybe it was that for once, she didn’t scald him with her acerbic disdain.
Whatever logic he applied, he shook with wanting her. Lust roughened his voice as he spoke. “Let’s get you out of these wet clothes and warmed up.”
For most women, what he was about to do would be unethical in the extreme, even illegal. But for Gaby, it was the only way he knew to help her.
Her shirt stuck to her skin as he wrestled it up and over her head. It hit the tiled foyer with a sodden plop. Luther looked at her, at her small breasts and her nipples drawn tight by cold, and knew he was a goner.
Using one of the towels, he squeezed excess water from her hair and then dried her torso. And because he couldn’t help himself, he kissed her again, on her soft
pale lips, her nose, her chin.
“I’ll have you warm soon, I promise.”
The waistband of her loose, worn jeans curled outward from her thin frame, exposing her narrow hipbones and a tantalizing navel within a concave belly. Around her waist, Luther saw the thin leather belt that held her lethal blade in a sheath concealed at the small of her back. The stark reminder of who Gaby was, and what she did, didn’t faze him. He knew her, and he accepted her.
Cautious because Gaby could be unpredictable at the most unexpected times, Luther unfastened and removed the sheathed knife from her person. Her lips firmed and her brows pinched, proof that even while in a stupor, she wouldn’t like losing her knife.
Keeping his gaze on her, he placed it on the hall table for safe keeping. “It’s okay. No one is here but us. The knife’s not going anywhere, I promise.”
The suffocating fear had such a strangle-hold on Gaby that she offered no further challenge or protest. Now, at this particular moment, she looked small and female and vulnerable when normally those terms could never be applied to her.
The chill room gave her a shiver, and Luther’s gaze again went to her exposed breasts. For only a few seconds, he covered each breast, cuddled her, gave her his warmth. Then he forced himself to keep his brain on task.
Yes, he planned to pay plenty of attention to those pert breasts, but not yet. First he wanted her more comfortable, and that meant removing the rest of her clothes – and his.
Visit Lori's website www.lorifoster.com to get all the latest news on her books, the myriad ways to contact her, excerpts, extras, sign up for her newsletter, there's also a link for a FREE audio download of Stranded, wallpapers, banners, screensavers, and contests....you name it, it's probably there. You can also find her at the Running With Quills blog.
Don’t you just love her! My sincere thanks to Lori for being my guest today. If you’ve never read any of Lori’s books…then what planet have you been living on? Seriously though, pick up anyone of her novels and I can almost guarantee that you won’t be disappointed, especially with the Servant series. I love them and hope you will too.
To celebrate the release of Servant: The Kindred Lori is giving away a bonanza of prizes to one very lucky winner. Here’s what you can win:
I told you, it’s a bonanza…I wish I could win! How do you enter to win? Simple, just answer the question that Lori posed to readers in the interview.
Ways to earn entries:
How to enter:
Rules and disclaimers:
"It signified nothing that the raw, male magnetism that emanated from him probably made compasses malfunction in his presence. God knew he made her needle swing wildly, as though he had swallowed true north-- as if all signs pointed straight to him as her final destination..."
p. 112 My Wicked Marquess by Gaelen Foley
Whose wife was she?
Macy Lockhart's life shattered in a moment with the news that her husband, Finn--serving in the military overseas--has been killed in the line of duty. Their ardent and devoted marriage is over, leaving Macy alone and directionless. But while she tries to sustain herself with memories of Finn, the quiet, strong man who made her and their small Texas ranch the center of his life, it is wealthy Wyatt Clark who slowly brings joy back into her life. Her love for Wyatt may be less romantic than the breathless passion she'd once shared with Finn, but she vows to cherish him, and their marriage is happy and solid as a rock. Until the day that Finn, miraculously spared from death, returns home to claim his bride...
How can a woman choose between the two men she loves? And how will she make the right choice--for herself and everyone involved?
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
Welcome to Seductive Musings Julia! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you so much for having me! I really appreciate the opportunity. As for myself, alas, there is nothing too terribly exciting. I have published twenty-five novels, which honestly surprises the hell out of me, and have lots more in the works. I live in Austin with my husband. I am dog lover, brownies are my favorite food group, and I took up running a year and a half ago. I worked as a public administrator in the White House and in Austin before I finally realized I simply could not do that the rest of my life. So I started writing. I wrote a romance novel, because that’s what I was reading at the time, and I seemed to have a knack for it. Voila, here I am, ten years later. I love to laugh, I love to travel, and I love for someone else to clean my house.
For you, what makes a romance novel a great love story, and who are some of your favorite authors to read? What's on your keeper shelf?
Oh, good question. Let me say first that personally, I like to read about strong characters in interesting situations, peppered with humor and lots of emotional heft. The characters don’t have to be perfect for me—I like to read about their redemption. I think that a great love story involves all of that: Humor, emotion, two people who have compelling reasons to love one another and fight to be together. But for it to be a really great love story, there has to be a great conflict, something that seems insurmountable that the lovers must overcome to achieve their Happy Every After. I have so many books on my keeper shelf. Some of my favorite romance books are Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught, Summer by the Sea but Susan Wiggs, All Through the Night by Connie Brockway, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman.
Tell us a little bit about Summer of Two Wishes, your newest contemporary romance.
There is definitely a couple of insurmountable obstacles! This is the story of a woman who loses the love of her life to the war in Afghanistan. She grieves for a long time but finally comes to the realization that life is worth living again. She meets another man who helps lift her out of her despair and falls in love with him. About three years after she last saw her first husband, she is settling into life as a newlywed again and gets word that there has been a mistake—her first husband isn’t dead at all; he’s been held captive by the Taliban, escaped, and now he is coming home. Of course that is happy news, but then the inevitable question rises up: Whose wife is she? She loves two men, and two men love her, but she must choose, and someone is going to be hurt.
The book trailer for Summer of Two Wishes is incredibly moving. It really sets up Macy’s emotional dilemma in choosing between her two men, and made me so eager to read this book. The premise of your story, a love triangle involving a war hero, could unfortunately be ripped from today’s headlines. What was your inspiration, or muse for Summer of Two Wishes?
It started with my nephew, who joined the Marines a few years ago because he thought it was the right thing to do after the events of 9/11. I’ve really admired him for that. He served two tours in Iraq, but is out now and on to his new life in construction. When you have a loved one over there, the thought of losing them is never very far from your mind. In addition, annually our local paper runs an issue of all the men and women from Central Texas who have lost their lives in the war. You cannot look at those pictures and not imagine the grieving families who would give anything to see them come home. It’s heartbreaking. I began to think, what if one of them did come home? What would he or she come back to? How would life have changed? My imagination went from there.
You are most know for your historical romances, for someone who has not read your contemporary romances yet, what would you say to convince them to give it a try?
I think that the voice that draws some readers to my work is voice they will find in my contemporary fiction, as well as the elements they have come to expect from me. There is humor, there is emotion. There are fully-realized characters. I also hope the subject matter will entice readers. It’s hard to know what attracts readers to certain books, but I know that I’ve always written the kind of books I like to read. The historicals I write have emotional angst in them, but they are flights of fancy. This book is a little different because like you say, it could be ripped from today’s headlines. I hope the reader believes they may rely on me to tell the story in a way they can relate to. Other than that, it’s anyone’s personal preference, but I sincerely hope they will give it a try.
What other books can readers look forward to in the near future?
I have a lot of things in the works! In October 2009, the last book of my historical Scandalous Series, A Courtesan’s Scandal (following Book of Scandal, Highland Scandal) will be released. In 2010, One Season of Sunshine, another book set in Cedar Springs, Texas will be out, as well as the start of a new historical quartet, The Secrets of Hadley Green. That series is set in 1807, in the village of Hadley Green south of London. An old crime wreaks havoc in the lives of several people as they try to determine what truly happened all those years ago. In the course of discovering the truth, several secrets are revealed and unlikely pairings occur because of it. I have just started writing the series and I love it.
If you could ask readers a question, what would it be?
What draws them to any given book? It’s sort of a pop quiz—quick, tell me the first thing that comes to mind. It’s very interesting to me to know what other readers see when they look at all those books in a bookstore or online.
Where can readers connect with you?
Everywhere! I’m online everywhere, because how else can I procrastinate properly when I am chained to a computer all day? Here are the places they can find me and say hi at Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Goodreads, The Whine Sisters, and The Goddess Blogs
Finally, just for fun, what is your favorite quote?
This quote is taped to my filing cabinet:
“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” W. Somerset Maugham.
Julia London Revealed:
As I previously said this book would be a great read for the end of the summer, with a group of your friends, or with a book group. Get together after reading the book and enjoy the Book Club treats on Julia's website where she has recipes (which look mouthwatering), music that inspired the book and would be great companions to your get together (really gets you into the Texas state of mind), and links to charitable organizations you may wish to contribute either time or money to after reading Summer of Two Wishes.
I mentioned being charitable didn't I...courtesy of Pocket books I have two copies of Summer of Two Wishes to giveaway! Trust me, you really want this one so take advantage of the many different ways to earn extra entries, but to be eligible make sure you answer Julia's question to readers in addition to leaving a meaningful comment.
"What draws them to any given book? It’s sort of a pop quiz—quick, tell me the first thing that comes to mind."
Ways to earn entries:
How to enter:
Rules and disclaimers: