Guest Author & Giveaway: Monica Burns featuring Kismet

Friday, January 22

***This giveaway has ended, but you should still read the's worth your time:)
Thanks for joining the fun!***

Monica Burns is my guest today...what a great way to end the week!  When I read the blurb for her new historical romance...I was like "ooooh a sheik romance, that one's definitely getting added to the list!".  I don't know what it is specifically about romances that are set in Morocco, Turkey, Istanbul...that have sheiks, sultans, and Ottoman princes as the heroes, but ever since reading devouring Bertrice Small a few years ago (specifically The Kadin, and Adora) I can't get enough of them. I love them!  Maybe it's the exotic world that they live in, or how the women overcome the restrictive world they are forced to live in....or the dark, dangerous, and powerful men that love them.

Kismet, has all of these things.  Including a great heroine, Allegra, who has had to struggle to rise above the hand fate has dealt her.  As a young girl she was sold into the service of a brothel by her mother, yet she overcame that betrayal to become a renowned courtesan in control of her life....that is until she was kidnapped and sold into slavery yet again.  Her story is one of choices, destiny, and ultimately finding and surrendering to love where you least expect it. 

The things we do for love. Sounds like a line from a romance novel doesn’t it. A line that one girlfriend might say to another when she’s depressed about the man who got away. On the other hand, it could also be something a romance writer might say too. I know it applies to me. I do a lot of things when it comes to my love of writing romance. For instance, I’ll deal with characters who are stubborn and unwilling to cooperate with each other. I’ll subject myself to the blatant punishment the muse hands out when I want to write, and she’s decided to take vacation. I’ll even begrudgingly accept the extra pounds I put on when I’m munching while trying to meet a deadline. I do all of these things and more for my love of writing romance.

I’ve been a writer since the age of nine when I wrote my first romance adventure. A relatively short (ten pages or so) story about a maiden and a handsome pirate captain. You can imagine how much character development actually got into that story (zilch I had no clue). But the interesting thing for me is that despite the fact that I no longer have my childish writings, I do remember the basic storylines. Some of those ideas still percolate in my head, and occasionally I’ll pull one out and think about whether it’s an idea I can actually reshape and form a new creation with it.

Coming up with a new story idea is sometimes painful (there’s that muse thing again) and sometimes it’s so easy it scares the hell out of me. For me, writing a new book is something that happens as I work. I seldom know my characters well when I sit down. I want to discover them, just like my readers do. I want to see the layers peeled back as I write. Sometimes this works great, and other times I’d rather be forced to eat peanut butter, which I can’t stand (weird, I know!)

The process of developing a story is different for every writer. There’s no one right way or wrong way to do to write a story. The only thing that’s important is to write characters that readers will care for in a setting that intrigues and sucks the writer in until they feel as though they’re actually there, experiencing the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the location, not to mention the hot kisses from the hero. LOL. To get the five senses of a story right, one needs to do research. I do quite a bit when it comes to my work. I’ll research minutia just to get a couple of lines right in my stories. It’s not that I’m a stickler for historical accuracy. If I were, sex with virginal heroines wouldn’t be in my books. But I want the mood of the book to reflect as closely as possible the actual era.

Research is one of those things a writer does for the love of the story. For some of us, it can be rather addictive and we sometimes forget to go back and write the story for a little while (not a good thing when you’ve a deadline!) When I researched Morocco for my current release Kismet, I needed to understand the culture in order to write about it. My research included general studies about the country, it’s dominant language, the history and current events at the time my story takes place, the foods, and the personalities of the Moroccan people. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible that my research could be flawed in places. I’m far from perfect, but I think my research is strong enough that the reader will feel like they’re actually walking the narrow alleyways of the souqs with my heroine Allegra or that they’re experiencing the horror my hero Shaheen sees when he looks out on the landscape.

But the most important thing I do for the love of my writing is to fall in love with my characters. If I don’t love my characters, then neither will my readers. I have to nurture my heroes and heroines along so that they have that HEA while not having their happiness resolved too quickly. I’m a huge fan of action adventure movies such as the Indiana Jones series, the Star Trek franchise, Star Wars franchise, Firefly, BBC’s productions of the classics such as Jane Eyre, North and South (OMG – Richard Armitage!!). You get the picture I think that I like action mixed in with my romance. But I never get stingy with the romance; it’s first and foremost in my works, because I love romance MORE than action. I just like to add action into my books to give it a little spice. Besides it works great as external conflict AND I get the make the heroine rescue the hero from time to time. *grin*

All of these things I do for the love of writing. They make me happy, and I am happiest when I’m writing. I put my heart into every book. I believe strong emotions are realistic, at least they are in my everyday life, but then I’m half-Italian and Italians are always over the top! LOL But I want my characters to have emotions that a reader might experience if they were in a similar situation. I think it makes the read more realistic. So I keep on doing what I do for the love of romance, and I hope that more and more readers will join me in my love for a wonderful genre and for words in general. A society that celebrates the arts is a society that survives. Happy reading, and I hope you Enjoy the Ahh…Sensation.

It was a gamble she was born to make…

Raised in a brothel at a young age, Allegra Synnford quickly learned that survival meant taking charge of her destiny. Now, a renowned courtesan skilled in the pleasures of the flesh, she chooses her lovers carefully—vowing never to be vulnerable to any one man. Until a mesmerizing Sheikh strips that control from her…

With a man who wasn’t used to losing.

 Sheikh Shaheen of the Amazigh has been hiding from his past for a long time, but not enough to forget how another courtesan made him abandon his life as the Viscount Newcastle. It’s why the yearnings this dangerous temptress ignites within him are so troubling. Worse, thoughts of Allegra pervade every fantasy, threatening to undermine his cover. With old enemies circling, experience tells him he must resist her charms at all cost. In fact, he’s betting on it. That’s a risky wager when it comes to a woman of pleasure. But Allegra has her own reasons for playing games…with a man who can’t afford to lose.

                                                                        What happens between them is Kismet…

(amazon widget)

Many sincere thanks to Monica for being my guest, sharing her thoughts and her newest novel Kismet with us.  You can learn more about Monica and the books she writes at, or on Facebook.

To celebrate the release of Kismet, Monica has offered to give away a signed copy of this book to one lucky commenter (however if the winner lives outside the US you will receive a PDF version of this book).  Here's how you can enter to win:

Ways to earn entries:
  • MandatoryAnswer the question: What do you love best about romance? (good for 1 entry)
  • Mandatory:  You MUST be a Google Friend Connect (GFC) follower in order to be eligible to win (unfortunately an email subscriber, or subscription in Google reader, and a follower are not the same thing so make sure you are signed up as a follower if you'd like to win this book)
  • Blog about this author's giveaway on your blog and leave a link with your comment (good for 15 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 5 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 25 entries, or 50 entries if a purchase is made from the featured author's available titles)
How to enter:
  • You can choose to enter as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment
Rules and disclaimers: 
  • This contest is open to anyone who loves historical romance, but please take note that if the winner lives outside of the US, the book will be sent as an electronic PDF version.
  • The contest will end on January 24th at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner will be selected using
  • The winner will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
  • The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice 

Good Luck!

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*I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small (and I mean very small) referral fee for purchases made using a link on this blog. I don't use Amazon to earn money, I use it because the widgets are cool, easy to use, and serve my purposes to showcase books & such with minimal effort, but most importantly they have great prices and offer both new and used items. As a book addict I love that I can find just about anything I want in one place. If you are going to purchase a featured book anyway, and you know you won't pay more by using the links on this blog than you would by visiting Amazon on your own, I will be eternally grateful for supporting this blog by using the links, and don't forget that the referral fees from your purchases will sponsor the "Reader Rewards" givaways :)


misskallie2000 January 22, 2010 at 1:17 AM  

+1 What do I love best about romance? The feeling you get while reading them. You can feel the love, the concern, the worry and the tingling that comes over you when the couple come together.

I follow via google Friend Connect

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

CallMeKayla January 22, 2010 at 1:20 AM  

+1 Happily ever after endings are always nice. I suppose they give a girl hope :)

-follower via google friend connect

kaylajohnson3969 AT sbcglobal DOT net

jeanette8042 January 22, 2010 at 1:35 AM  

I love the happy endings in romances that always make me happy too!

I'm a GFC follower

lilazncutie1215 @

Sue A. January 22, 2010 at 2:00 AM  

I like best the emotions reading a romance stirs up in me! I enjoy lots of angst before reaching my happy ending.

I follow - Google Friend Connect

alternate email from blogger
magenta 2 red [at] gmail [dot] com

Monica Burns January 22, 2010 at 9:36 AM  

@Miss Kallie - I love it when the H/H is working their way toward a happy ending. That push and pull of sexual tension is wonderful for me. I'm reading and thinking, ok, come on, you need to get with the program! *grin*

@CallMeKayla I think hope is a major component of the HEA. And hope is something that helps us get over the rough spots in life. I think the current times are stressful for a lot of people, and romance books give us that HEA and feel good feeling. They also serve as an escape. Something I happen to need a lot of at the moment!! LOL

@jeanette - I agree. When I turn the last page of a romance, there's a part of me that's a little sad because I finished the story, but that HEA makes me sigh, and I'm relaxed and feeling good about the world.

@Sue Well if you're looking for angst, I think you'll find plenty of that in Kismet. Both Allegra and Shaheen are damaged goods and their tug-a-war in who's going to come out on top is filled with sparks, sexual tension and great sex. I love BOTH of these characters so much. This book is not so much a book of my heart as it is of my soul for some deeply personal reasons.

dyockman January 22, 2010 at 11:21 AM  

Well gosh...the journey to the happy ending. And The HAWT alpha males that are part of it! your cover! It is just stunning. The colors are amazing.

Of course...I am a Google friend!

Monica Burns January 22, 2010 at 12:03 PM  

@dyockman I love hot alpha heroes! So seeing a strong woman bring one of them to his knees is a definite treat!

Thanks for the cover kudos. I love it too, and be sure to check out my paranormal cover for June

Assassin's Honor

alexandrea January 22, 2010 at 12:14 PM  

What I love best about romance is (well written ones at least) how the hero and heroine overcome their reluctance to commit and love wins.

BTW I too love the cover! The colors are gorgeous, and it is very eye catching!

Monica Burns January 22, 2010 at 12:36 PM  

@Alexandrea I love characters that resist falling in love. Great sexual tension that builds between them is delicious when I'm reading. Thanks for the cover compliments. I screamed out loud when I opened the cover. I loved it

throuthehaze January 22, 2010 at 1:21 PM  

+1 What I love best about romance is that it is a temporary escape from reality. I love happy endings :)

Follower via google friend connect

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Virginia C January 22, 2010 at 3:38 PM  

What do I love about romance? It reaffirms what I already know about love, and opens my eyes to the many hidden depths of the heart. At times, I choose to read stories which are similar to my own life experience. Other times, I want to be swept away, enchanted, and educated : ) "Kismet" is all of those things and more. Beautiful, exotic and surprising with it's intriguing heroine, Allegra.

U.S. Resident, Follower & Subscriber

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Monica Burns January 22, 2010 at 4:29 PM  

@throuthehaze Escape!! Yes! YEs! YES! (in my best Meg Ryan voice from When Harry Met Sally) Romance has all the wonderful components of what love is all about, but there are fantasy elements too. It's the best of both worlds, IMHO

@Virginia C It sounds like you've already read Kismet!! Thank you for such a lovely description And I love that it looks deep into the heart as well

Virginia C January 22, 2010 at 4:49 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Virginia C January 22, 2010 at 4:51 PM  

Hello, Monica! No, I have not yet read "Kismet". I have followed your posts and interviews and read the excerpts. I am more in love with the cover upon each viewing! I have visited your website to learn more about "Kismet" and your other books. You are making me want to read outside my normal fiction box with your exotic cultures and locales.

Please enter me in the drawing!
Google Friend Connect Follower & Google Reader Subscriber

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Monica Burns January 22, 2010 at 5:06 PM  

@Virginia C Hearing that I've intrigued you enough to consider reading outside your normal reads is a huge compliment. Thanks!

alba January 22, 2010 at 6:03 PM  

I love this excerpt I must get this book...
I love they way a couple over come adversity ( A little drama make the love much more stronger)
HEA is what make the struggle that much sweeter.
have a good one.

Bethie January 22, 2010 at 6:34 PM  

I love Romance novels because they make me feel like a teen again! They bring back all those feelings.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Estella January 22, 2010 at 6:36 PM  

I love the escapism romance gives me.

Rebecca Lynn January 22, 2010 at 6:43 PM  

This book was recommended awhile back on DA (or SBTB, one of the two), and I have been excited to read it ever since. So I can't wait to read it now.

What I love about romance... I love that there's always a happy ending. Because even when there isn't one in life, I always want to believe there can be, and there might be.

Monica Burns January 22, 2010 at 10:30 PM  

@alba I love a good struggle for couples too. Nothing worth having comes easy, and I'm delighted you enjoyed the excerpt.

@Bethie Isn't it great to recapture that initial sensation of falling in love. I get that all the time when I read a good Loretta Chase book!

@Estella as someone said above, romance definite equals escapism from out daily existence

@Rebecca Lynn I'm glad Kismet has intrigued you enough to read the book. And I love that HEAs give us what we don't always get in real life. Gives us a little hope for tomorrow, doesn't it?

Mitzi H. January 22, 2010 at 10:47 PM  

Hi Monica, I am sooo looking forward to reading this book!!!

After being married 36+ years, it's hard to remember what it was like when you 1st fall in love...all those crazy feelings & emotions running at full speed ahead & Reading romance novels helps me to remember.

Reading also puts me in a (different world) all-be-it for a short time....but a time I can escape the daily routine and pressures. It's also one of those things I've never had time to enjoy while working and raising kids...But I think I'm making up for all those lost years now...Hehehe...and enjoying every minute of it too!!!

Congrats on your new release. I Can't Wait To Read It!!!!

mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

I'm a follower via google friend connect, google reader and email updates. (Sorry no blog)

librarypat,  January 23, 2010 at 1:16 AM  

I am a Follower.
I love romance for the escape from the humdrum of everyday. People are beautiful, life is challenging, adventure abounds, love happens and is wonderful. Who wouldn't want to get away from the house cleaning, dishes, and worry about work for all that?

Have heard good things about KISMET and look forward to reading it.

librarypat AT comcast DOT net

Tamsyn January 23, 2010 at 3:41 AM  

The HEAs! I never read any romance books without a HEA. I like a good story where the path for the characters may not be smooth but at the end, works out. I have enough reality in real life to look for it in books! :o)
I'm a follower.
tamsyn5 at yahoo dot com

Monica Burns January 23, 2010 at 8:44 AM  

@Mitzi I hear ya on the longevity of marriage. My 25th is coming up 2011. I like reexperiencing all those first emotions again, and I can't deny that the erotic scenes do help to spice up a marriage. *smile* Thanks for the congrats.

@librarypat another escape artist in the bunch. *grin* I confess that I'm going to be envied here, but my DH does all the housework so I can write all the time. He doesn't know that it's really a pleasureable activity for me. Well, most of the time it is. There are moments...LOL

@Tamsyn I'm with you. I love my books to have strong characters who end up with their happy ending, but I also see them as fantasies to escape my current reality, which isn't always that great. The economy can be a MAJOR downer, but a good book clears away some, if not all, that stuff if only for a few hours. Besides, books are cheaper than cable.*grin*

justpeachy36 January 23, 2010 at 8:57 PM

Please enter me in the giveaway.

I think what I like most about romances, is the connection that the two people make. All the emotion and the lust LOL...

Linda Henderson January 23, 2010 at 10:14 PM  

I enjoy the first glance, touch, the first time they admit to their love, the whole package. And when they get their happily ever after, that's the best.

I am a follower.

seriousreader at live dot com

Monica Burns January 23, 2010 at 11:29 PM  

@justpeachy We're on the same page when it comes to "All the emotion and the lust..." LOL

@Linda Getting that HEA is what I call the Ahh...Sensation. Something I encourage all my readers to Enjoy!

CherylS22 January 24, 2010 at 12:12 AM  

What I love best about romance is how you can become so emotionally invested in the characters. You're happy with their successes & sad with their disappointments.

I follow in GFC

Thanks for the chance to win this book!

etirv January 24, 2010 at 1:12 AM  

I like the happy endings!



Anna ♥ January 24, 2010 at 4:25 AM  

I love how emotionally engaging the stories are. I cry and cheer all in one read. :D To see two wonderfully written characters fall in love, I feel like I'm experiencing something magical with them. It's such a lovely thing to read about that always leaves me floating on cloud 9. I guess it's the escapism too, LOL.


Anna ♥

Monica Burns January 24, 2010 at 9:14 AM  

@Cheryl that's a great answer! When one is invested in a character it can make for a much better read. Hopefully I get a lot of readers invested in my characters.

@etirv And it would be a romance without the HEA, would it.

@Anna It sounds like you read a lot of romance because everything you've described is a specific requirement of the genre.

Armenia January 24, 2010 at 10:12 PM  

Hi Monica,

Just love the book trailer to Kismet. That exotic music just lends itself to the feel of the story. And oh...the bonus excerpt was to die for. What one can do with a banana, hmmm? It was fabulous!!

+1 What do I love about romance?
I love the emotional journey the hero and heroine experience to finally arrive at their HEA. The connective bond between them always is what does it for me.

I'm a GFC follower

+75 Amazon book order emailed to you.

armiefox at yahoo dot com

Monica Burns January 24, 2010 at 10:23 PM  


Glad you enjoyed all the little amenities that went with the post including the bananas. *grin* That's actually one of my favorite scenes in the book, because she's in totally control.

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