Friday, July 9
***This giveaway has ended, but you should still read the post...it's worth your time:) Thanks for joining the fun!***
This summer has provided a treasure trove of highly anticipated new romance novels. So how do you go about choosing which books to read? I start with authors that I know and love first, like today's guest author Gaelen Foley.
I found Ms. Foley's work about six or seven years ago with The Duke and quickly became enamored with the entire Knight Miscellany. It was love at first read :) Don't you just love it when that happens? I know I do, and what made it even better was that she had a backlist....one that I totally binged on until I had read them all. So when she accepted my invitation to be a guest at Seductive Musings it totally made my day :) Gaelen's here today to talk about her newest historical romance, MY DANGEROUS DUKE, the second book in the Inferno Club series (as well as a special sneak peek at the third book in the series MY IRRESISTIBLE EARL out next spring). Read and enjoy!
Welcome to Seductive Musings Gaelen! I've been a huge fan of yours since reading THE DUKE and the entire Knight family, needless to say I am very excited to have you as my guest today. For you, what makes a romance novel a great love story, and who are some of your favorite authors to read? Who's your new favorite find?
For me, a great love story needs to convince me by the end of the story that the hero and heroine truly love each other and that they belong together. An author will get me to that point of belief only by portraying a multi-dimensional relationship that unfolds over the course of the story and has explored many more levels in the relationship besides the sexual.
Of course the two lead characters have to have good chemistry and a sexy spark together, but there are certain elements that demonstrate love to me and if they’re not there, then I’m not a satisfied romance reader. The main ones are mutual respect—there’s nothing worse than watching a relationship in books or in life where the two people in the couple have no respect for each other. I just hate that kind of constant sniping at each other that never goes anywhere. That’s not “conflict.”
I want to watch the process of building trust unfold. I want to see the couple challenged to forgive each other for something, because we all mess up and no one can have a relationship if they can’t forgive. I want to see each of them learn something from each other and freely choose to change somehow as a result of the other person’s valuable input. And I definitely want to see them in a situation where they’ve got each other’s backs in some way.
I want to know what they like about each other and what they find troubling in each other. I want to see them make each other laugh and be there for each other when one or the other of encounters life’s tragedy or faces up to their greatest fear or otherwise confronts the darkness of the human condition in some way—after all, that is the chief benefit of having a relationship in the first place in this world: Life is harsh but, thank God, you’re not in it alone. Love brings so much joy into our lives that it is the main, critical thing that turns a potentially bleak and painful existence into the possibility of living in an everyday heaven on earth.
Basically I need to be convinced that these people will have a great life by the end because they are together, and that the larger world around them will be a better place because they are together. Love heals people and makes them stable and strong; once they’re stable, settled, and happy, they have more effective and successful lives, which has a positive impact on the whole world and everyone around them.
Your newest novel, MY DANGEROUS DUKE is the second book in your Inferno Club series. Can you tell us how many books are planned for this series, how they are all connected, and for someone who has not read MY WICKED MARQUESS (the first book) can you give us a brief summary about each of these stories? And do they need to be read in order?
The Inferno Club series, set in the Regency, involves a “band of brothers” who are lords and warriors in a secret, hereditary chivalric order formed centuries ago during the Crusades, called the Order of St. Michael the Archangel. Like their ancestors before them, they are sworn to fighting an evil, Europe-wide conspiracy similar to the Illuminati. The bad guys, known as the Prometheans, have infiltrated every court in Europe and wormed their way into positions of power, which is why aristocratic lords are needed to move in that world and take them down. To conceal their covert activities, they use the façade of a notoriously wicked gentlemen’s club of London—the Inferno Club, named after Dante’s Inferno. (Sort of like the actual Hellfire Club of Sir Francis Dashwood.)
Just so you know what you’re getting into, these are long, meaty, complex books with a lot going on, and because of that, I would say, yes, it is definitely better to read them in order.
A lot of world-building went on in Book 1 that I did not have the space to rehash in Book 2. Read Book 1 first (My Wicked Marquess) to see the full story on how the Order and the Prometheans came to exist and to really get the rules of the road for how their secret world of this shadow-war works and where they are in their battle against the Prometheans.
The focus, of course, is always on the romance, but there are multiple subplots going on at once, scenes in different countries, and characters from several different levels of society (the Dickensian “low world” of 19th c. England, not just the drawing rooms and ballrooms of the ton). With such a broad canvas, there is a lot of intrigue, action, and adventure (and a considerable amount of sex) in these books along with the romance. So, hey, in this economy, you are going to get a lot more bang for your buck! *g*
In Book 1 of the series, My Wicked Marquess (2009) the guys’ team leader, Max, the Marquess of Rotherstone, had to choose a bride with the standing in Society to repair his family’s tainted image. Max is very shrewd and calculating, but he’s also the ultimate cynic. He’s seen it all and is extremely jaded. He’s so tired of the fight and has sort of lost his conviction about what the hell are they fighting for in the first place. For him, it has boiled down to remaining in it for the sake of his brother warriors. What I like about Max is that he’s funny, too, with kind of an edgy attitude and a devious mind. Of course, the girl he ends up with, Daphne Starling, has the pleasure of bringing him to his knees by slowly breaking through all his cynical defenses to heal the despair that’s accrued behind his don’t-give-a-sh*t attitude. He rediscovers his passion and remembers the point of it all when he falls hard for her, i.e. Love is the thing worth fighting for above all.
By the time Book 2 opens, Max is married off, and now it’s Rohan’s turn to fall in love in My Dangerous Duke. Rohan Kilburn, the Duke of Warrington, aka “the Beast,” is pure alpha, the toughest, hardest, coldest warrior on the team: hero most likely to open a can of Regency whup-ass, LOL As one reviewer described him, “Rohan is large and in charge.” (That cracks me up.) He is a no-nonsense warrior.
While Max is the team leader, (and the third guy, Jordan, Lord Falconridge, is the code expert and cool customer, the consummate gentleman spy) Rohan often functions as the top assassin to be sent in when a particularly nasty villain needs to be eliminated. Of course, “a man has to vent his tensions somehow” (as it says in Chapter 2) so Rohan likes to blow off steam in bed with pretty much any woman he can get his hands on. LOL. He looooooves sex as much as he loves a good brawl, but although half a dozen women are in love with him, which he just finds aggravating, he keeps an emotional distance and makes no promises to anyone. (All my guys have issues, lol.) He’s got too much going on to bother with a relationship, plus there’s the matter of a worrisome family curse that may be mere superstition or could be real—he’s not sure—but he’s not taking any chances, because it dooms the Warrington men to kill the women they love, and he’s already much too good at killing as it is.
With a castle in Cornwall, one of Rohan’s main responsibilities is keeping an eye on the smugglers’ ring that runs secret communiqués for the Order. They have gotten themselves into trouble with the Coast Guard, however, and so it’s his job to go and deal with the trouble they’re in. They know he’s going to be furious at them, and they also know his, shall we say, tendencies, so they figure, what better way to sooth his fury and hopefully escape the worst of his wrath by throwing the wolf a bone.
The cowering smugglers offer him a girl as a gift when he arrives, a “fine young bed-warmer on a cold winter’s night,” trying to appease him. He is highly pleased with this offering.
But the girl, Kate, is not on board. She’s a kidnap victim who’s been drugged to make her temporarily compliant, and dressed up in tartish fashion to catch his eye. By the time the laudanum wears off the next morning, however, Rohan has got a little hellion on his hands and her only thought is escape.
Unfortunately for Kate, she’s got worse enemies to worry about than either the smugglers who were hired by Certain People to abduct her, or the formidable stranger she’s been given to as a gift. It turns out she needs his protection, so she has no choice but to remain at his castle until they can figure out who’s really after her and what is going on.
Rohan still wants to get her into bed and cannot figure out for the life of him how come this one female continues to reject him. Soon his little “present” has thrown his whole household into chaos, not too mention she’s discovered a chink in the armor that he has so long worn around his heart.
Anyway, I am having a ball writing these books, and I hope you like them, too!
If you had an opportunity to provide only a two or three sentence "teaser" quote from your new book, MY DANGEROUS DUKE, to grab the attention of potential readers and give them a glimpse and feeling of what the book is about what would it be?
Here’s the little passage that Avon picked out for the front sales page. This takes place at about the first turning point:
Kate stood her ground in wild courage, but a dark, frightening chill had come over Warrington’s demeanor.
“You should have told me this last night,” he insisted.
“Tell the man I had been given to as a gift? How could I? Why waste my breath, when you were in on it?”
“I was not ‘in on it’!” he thundered, his deep voice booming through the guard room. “Allow me to assure you on my most sacrifd oath, Miss Madsen, that your accusations of me are in error. Caleb Doyle lied to me and he will be dealt with. He told me you wanted my help to begin a new career in London as a . . . “ He closed his eyes and shook his head again with a self-directed epithet.
“A whore?” she finished bluntly.
Tell us about your hero, Rohan Kilburn, the Duke of Warrington. You've described him as one of your most dangerous heroes. What do you think will make readers, much like his heroine Kate, fall in love with him?
As tough and alpha as Rohan is, at core he is a protector, and his personality is also full of little surprises. He's very blunt and is the kind of guy who will tell it to you straight. He hates to lie even though he's a secret agent! He is superstitous, too, which is kind of funny, because even the toughest warrior can't do much against invisible ghosts and spirits, whether real or imaginary. Our heroine Kate finds it hysterical that this fearless guy is kind of spooked by his own castle and actually believes that it may really be haunted.
Of course, Rohan is an amazing lover. He has a gentle side of his nature that is just waiting for the right woman to bring it out in him. He's got a vulnerable side that you'll get glimpses of along the way. He idolizes his dead father with an almost boyish reverence, and has mixed feelings about his legacy with his bloodlines of killers and heroic warriors, as well as ambivalence about his own high rank in the world. He can't stand the stuffy side of Society.
What I like about him best is that he is so dedicated to the role of being the hero everyone can count on to carry out the most dangerous jobs. He's the kind of guy who's the first into battle and the last off the field, making sure everyone else is safe. Most of all, he'd walk through fire for the woman he loves, which is the ultimate romantic hero quality.
Kate seems like quite the spirited heroine. What qualities make her the perfect match for her dangerous Duke?
Kate is a wild child of the Dartmouth moors. (Her father was a pirate/privateer who stashed her away out on the edge of the wild moorlands with her caretakers as a child for fear of his enemies kidnapping her in order to get to him.) All she’s got are her books and, for friends, the falcons and the wild ponies. When she meets Rohan, well, having a pirate for a father sort of immured her to ever being intimidated by any large, bellowing male. So she is probably the only female that Rohan has ever encountered who has no qualms about standing up to him. She kind of has his number very early on that as scary as he comes across, he’s got a good heart and would never, ever, ever hurt a woman—family curse or no.
She is tough and spunky, but she’s not the “kickass heroine” type. She’s also very innocent: she’s never been to London, let alone some Society ball. Growing up the way she did out on the edge of the closest thing that Regency England had to a frontier, she’s a rugged individual, unpretentious and content with a simple life; she is not all that impressed by Rohan’s title, castle, or fortune. Though his gorgeous bod does rather make an impression on her. *g*
You've also said that Rohan and Kate's story is one of the most passionate that you've written. What's your favorite scene or moment from MY DANGEROUS DUKE, and why? Can you describe it for us without giving too much away?
When I use the term “passionate,” I am talking about the full range of the passions/emotions, not just the sex. I know some people like to use the term “passion” as a euphemism for “frequent sex scenes” but that’s not what I mean. By “passion,” I’m referring to the rawness and depth of the emotion within and between the hero and heroine, the rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs, their occasional anger at each other, their commitment to each other, their sacrifices for each other, etc. Everything I talked about above as going into a real love story.
My favorite scene is where Rohan and Kate are encountering extreme peril inside the Alchemist’s Tomb (think Lara Croft, Indiana Jones, or National Treasure—set in the Regency!). Rohan realizes only one of them can get out alive and tells Kate to escape, that he will do what has to be done so she can get out alive, but Kate refuses to leave him behind to die and using her clever wits, finds an unexpected way out for both of them. They escape by the skin of their teeth and it’s kind of that that shows her for once and for all how much the tough guy actually cares for her—and she for him. I hope that doesn’t give too much away, but, hey, you know it’s going to have a happy ending, anyway. :)
Can you tell us about some of your upcoming releases, or the new projects you are working on?
Book 3 of the Inferno Club will be coming out in April 2011, titled MY IRRESISTIBLE EARL. The hero of this book is Jordan Lennox, the Earl of Falconridge, the consummate gentleman spy that I mentioned above.
This is a story about getting a second chance with your first love. His mission for the Order brings him back into contact with “the one that got away,” Miss Mara Bryce. He fell hard for her when he was 22 and she was 18, but for certain complicated emotional reasons, it didn’t work out, and it left them with a lot of anger at and bitterness over each other.
Now he's back in London, where she’s an elegant Society widow, Lady Pierson, with a little son who is the center of her world. Jordan would like to avoid her, but his mission for the Order forces him back into contact with her. His assignment is to unmask a Promethean traitor who has infiltrated the Carlton House set—the Prince Regent’s social circle of wild make friends. (Boy, these real historical figures were seriously eccentric bunch, as I learned in my research, LOL.)
Jordan gets access to the Regent’s inner circle through Mara, because her aristocratic little boy has the Prince Regent as his godfather. Mara is actually a close personal friend of “George,” as she calls him, the Regent. By making a show of wooing her, Jordan can slide into the world of Carlton House without the bad guy really paying much attention to him. Of course, when Mara finds out that’s the real reason her first-love dream-man started pursuing her again, she is absolutely furious, but over the course of spending time together, Jordan realizes he never stopped loving her all along.
While MY DANGEROUS DUKE leans in a Gothic direction because of Rohan's family curse, MY IRRESISTIBLE EARL is more of a straight Regency Historical with a high-society focus and sophisticated tone to go with Jordan's cool, elegant personality. Hope you'll look for it in April!
Finally, just for fun…if you could write the “fortune” in a fortune cookie what would it be?
You have the courage to follow your dreams.
She was to be given to him as a gift--a plaything for some powerful, dark stranger...
The Inferno Club: In public, this scandalous society of London aristocrats is notorious for pursuing all manner of debauchery. But in private, they are warriors who would do anything to protect king and country . . .
They say that the very name of Warrington is cursed . . .
From a time as old as the cold stone of the duke’s ancestral castle, the Warrington men have been plagued by tragedy. But Rohan Kilburn, the Duke of Warrington has vowed to escape the predestined torment by forsaking love and devoting his life to the Inferno Club and its secret mission.
And then she is brought to him unbidden by cutthroats hoping to calm the duke’s infamous temper—a sacrificial virgin of sorts. But even overpowered, Kate Madsen will be no man’s sacrifice. And the duke’s price for claiming her may be what he has sworn never to give—the heart he has so long and fiercely guarded . . . to the beautiful hostage he was never meant to love.
Big congratulations Gaelen!! Not only for the release of MY DANGEROUS DUKE, but also for making the NYT Bestsellers list this week! I'm so happy for you :) Thanks so much for being my guest here today and sharing your insight into Kate and Rohan's story with me and my readers.
If you'd like to learn more about Gaelen Foley and the books she writes you can find her on her website www.gaelenfoley.com, as well as on Facebook, Myspace, and occasionally on the Avon Romance Blog . The Avon blog is one of my fav haunts. If you missed Gaelen's posts during her "Guys as Gifts" week you can check it out here (there's even a Gerard Butler day *sigh*). Now that we are on the subject of Muse worthy men, one of the interesting things I found on her website was that she's a Sean Bean fan too! I didn't know that when I selected our Muse this week, it's funny how these things sometimes happen. One thing I know for sure though is that I am in complete agreement with her on this....I'd take Sean Bean over Brad Pitt any day.
To celebrate the release of her second book in the Inferno Club series, Gaelen has offered to giveaway one signed copy of MY WICKED MARQUESS (book 1 in the Inferno Club series) and two swag packs of goodies. Here's how you can enter to win...
Ways to earn entries:
- Mandatory: Please leave a meaningful comment about this book and/or for the author & complete the entry form (good for 1 entry)
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- If you have a blog, or even if you don't, you can earn extra entries by telling your friends. If they successfully enter to win and mention that you sent them you can each earn extra entries. You can blog about it with a link to this post, post it on Facebook, Twitter, email...or even word of mouth (good for 5 entries for the referrer and the commenter for each friend) . Please note that to earn the points they must mention your GFC name so that I can match you.
- 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)
- You can choose to enter as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment
- This contest is open to US & International addresses
- You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
- The contest will end on July 12 at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
- Winner(s) will be selected using Random.org
- The winner(s) 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
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