Guest Author & Giveaway: Monica Burns featuring Pleasure Me

Friday, March 18

Virgins in historical romance are nothing new....unless it is a virgin hero, then we are talking about an endangered know they are around, but they are scarce and hard to find.  I can only remember reading two romances with virgin heroes, maybe three, but I only remember the titles of two:  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (yes, that book again) and Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas, so I think it's safe to say that our hero today is in some very good hero company!

Author Monica Burns is my guest today talking about her characters, insecurities, writing a book that we can fall in love with, and how it all relates to her newest historical romance, Pleasure Me.  Read and enjoy!

When I began writing Pleasure Me, I knew I wanted to write a book that was character driven. I’m known more for my action plots, but this time I wanted a book that certain readers could connect strongly with my characters. As a writer, I write what I know, and I’m well acquainted with what it’s like to age and what it’s like to feel ugly and insecure. So I chose to write an older woman, virgin male story.

My heroine in Pleasure Me, Ruth, is an older courtesan who’s essentially being forced by society to retire. Now days, older women aren’t forced into retirement until THEY choose it. Betty White is an EXCELLENT example of that! Essentially, age is a mindset. Some of us deal with it better than others. I don’t deal with it well. Maybe if I were in better physical shape, it might not be too bad, but aging isn’t a pleasant process for me.

For example, if you love rollercoasters as I do, at the age of 20-30 you might spend the day at amusement park getting thrown around for a wonderful day of fun. The next day you bound out of bed and note a bruise where you bumped into that metal bar getting off the Terminator. But when you reach your mid-40s on up, you’re more likely to crawl out of bed feeling like someone took a baseball bat to you after a day of fun in the park. In my mind, that pain is worth the fun, but it does give one a different perspective on aging. When I wrote Pleasure Me, I approached Ruth’s reactions from a viewpoint that most romance readers under 40 don’t have (yet!).

With the hero of Pleasure Me, I can see where readers with modern sensibilities might have trouble buying into Garrick’s thought processes when it comes to him only having one testicle (his dark secret). However, if someone is an avid historical reader, they’re going to know that procreation is a major component of the time period I write in. Heroes have to be manly and more than capable of performing their duties, if only to ensure title and property is passed on to heirs. So when a hero is disfigured in a way that might threaten his ability to sire children, it makes sense that he’s going to wonder if he’s even capable of procreation. When you combine that with a relative who brutally makes him believe that he’s worthless because of his disfigurement that only adds to the angst.

I totally got Garrick from the physical standpoint. Not in terms of his specific disfigurement, but from the feeling ugly and worthless viewpoint. I’ve worn glasses since the seventh grade. They’ve always made me feel ugly. I can show you pictures of me in my glasses that just make my stomach churn as I remember how ugly I felt in them. The only time I ever felt pretty was when I was wearing contacts. Something I can no longer do. I grew up being called four-eyes and had kids making fun of me because of my glasses. It wasn’t fun and it impacted me emotionally. It still does to some small degree. So I totally GET Garrick and his feelings of inferiority that he’s had for years.

When I wrote Pleasure Me, I wrote the book from my point of view, which is essentially how most authors write their books. We tell a story as we see it. That’s what I set out to do with Pleasure Me. I wanted to tell a story from my perspective and try to help readers identify with the characters. The thing is, unless you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes it’s hard to empathize with them.

If you haven’t even considered the possibility of what your skin’s going to look like at 45 or you’ve never really thought of yourself as ugly, it’s doubtful you’ll be able to identify with someone who’s older. Everyone agrees rape is a horrible, terrible experience, but as a survivor, I seriously doubt non-victims will ever be able to identify with me. It’s like that for lots of experiences. Characters are the same way. If you’ve not experienced what the characters are experiencing, then it’s quite likely you’re not going to be able to easily identify with that character. Now it’s the author’s job to help the reader identify with the character, but there’s another piece of this puzzle that we need to add. That’s the author’s voice.

I’m convinced that an author’s voice makes readers love, hate or shrug over a book. We hear all the usual catch phrases bandied about as to what makes a book good, but in reality I truly believe it comes down to an author’s voice. It’s how the author shares the story, the way the writer phrases their words and dialogue, how they create tension (sexual and suspense), and many other qualities. The author’s voice is a primary source of reader pleasure.

While it’s true that a book has to be well constructed, readers can easily forgive rocky or missing components if one loves the author’s voice. That’s how I am with Dan Brown. His characters are one-dimensional, but I forgive him that because I love his story telling ability. There are two extremely popular NYT bestselling romance authors whose books I just don’t get. I’ve read a couple and thought WHAT? Everyone thinks this is such a great book?? The truth is I find their books dry and uninteresting.

Does this mean I’m right and their fans are wrong? Absolutely not, it means that my reading tastes just don’t jive with all the other thousands of readers who love those two authors. It means the voices of those two authors, and others, don’t resonate with me. I adore Lisa Valdez and Anna Campbell’s work, but that doesn’t hold true for others. This is what convinces me that the primary driver behind a book’s or author’s popularity is how many readers enjoy the author’s voice. So as an author, I do the best job I can creating characters that readers can identify with and hoping that they’ll fall in love with the story. Actually, I hope they fall in love with my voice.

So what authors do you read that you think have a voice that you just love?

A courtesan afraid of true love…
And a gentleman ashamed of his true nature.

Youth and beauty are a courtesan’s greatest assets. At forty-one, Lady Ruth Attwood appears to have lost both, as her latest lover just abandoned her for a younger mistress. Struggling with the knowledge that she’s no longer considered desirable, she’s uncertain whether to be offended or flattered when a younger man makes her an unusual offer. In need of funds, she agrees. But then she does the unthinkable. She falls in love.

Despite his reputation as a man’s man, Baron Garrick Stratfield has never been with a woman. His physical impairment is such that he knows not even a whore will touch him, and he needs a mistress who’s willing to be kept without sharing his bed. But passion is just a delicious kiss away because his new mistress is wreaking havoc with his senses. Worse yet, someone is not only out to ruin his reputation, but frame him for murder.

Congrats Monica on the release of Pleasure Me, as well as the oh so fun Pleasure Me with Romance event you recently held on your blog!

Monica Burns is an award-winning author of erotic romance, and penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough.You can find out more about Monica and the romances she writes on her website, her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook, as well as her Newsletter.

To celebrate the release of her newest historical romance,  Pleasure Me, Monica would like to giveaway a copy of the book to a lucky Musings follower.  Here's how you can enter to win...

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory:   Answer the question Monica posed to readers in her post AND  please show her some comment love by leaving a meaningful comment or question for her.   (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)
  • 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)
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 US & International addresses that The Book Depository will ship to
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on March 22nd at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner(s) will be selected using
  • 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
  • The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
  • Winners will be subject to one copy per household, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, that you will only receive one copy of the title in the mail
  • 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" giveaways :)


June M. March 18, 2011 at 2:08 AM  

Some of the authors that I love to read that have a voice that I love are Monica McCarty, Lynsay Sands, Kerrelyn Sparks,Karen Hawkins, and Sabrina Jeffries.

Carol L. March 18, 2011 at 5:50 AM  

I can't wait to read Pleasure Me.It's on my TRL.
The Voices I love and that speak clearly to me are Diana Gabaldon, JD Robb, Nora Roberts,Anna Campbell,Lisa Kleypas,Sherrilyn Kenyon, Sherrelyn Sparks, Harper Lee and Pamela Palmer.
Great giveaway.
Carol L

ChrisS March 18, 2011 at 8:13 AM  

I love the voice of so many authors including Monica McCarty, Hannah Howell, Karen Rose, Karin Tabke, Linda Francis Lee, Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, C L Wilson, Madeline Hunter, Lynn Viehl to name only a few. There are so many wonderful authors out there.
I have heard so many good things about Pleasure Me. It's been added to my wishlist and I look forward to reading it.


aromagik March 18, 2011 at 8:56 AM  

I have several authors who have a voice that I love. The top one that always comes to mind is Kate Pearce, and recently I'd also add Lynsay Sands and Evangline Collins to that list. I've had 'Pleasure Me' on my wish list for a while, and would love to win -- but I'll be reading it one way or another! :>]

~Lindy (GFC follower)

Tore March 18, 2011 at 9:44 AM  

I haven't heard too many authors voices. I like Stephene Myers. Please enter me in contest. I really want to read this book.

gamistress66 March 18, 2011 at 10:12 AM  

There are a number of authors that I've completely enjoyed everything I've read by them -- Julie Garwood, Hannah Howell, Lisa Kleypas & Elizabeth Hoyt just to name a few (there are too many to name them all).

I've read a handful of books with the virgin hero and always find it a nice change and interesting as to how the author explains it. As an older woman, it's also nice to see a heroine who is a little past prime for most historicals find love romance and still be sexy and alluring to her hero (we all hope for the outcome) :)

gamistress66 (at) aol (dot) com

jeanette8042 March 18, 2011 at 11:57 AM  

I love reading Nalini Singh, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dakota Cassidy, Kresley Cole, Shelly Laurenston and the list goes on and on. Congrats on the release and I'm sure I will love Pleasure Me because I already love your Sicari series!

GFC follower!

scottsgal March 18, 2011 at 1:07 PM  

I enjoy Debbie Macomber, Linda Lael Miller and my all time fave not a romance writer is james patterson.

already a follower
msboatgal at

Monica Burns March 18, 2011 at 2:11 PM  

Sorry I'm late everyone. Had doc appts all morning, but thought I'd be done by 11am and in the office. Then on the way to the office, while doing 60mph on the expressway, the car just died.

Talk about not having control!! Managed to get to the right side of the road (from three lanes away) before the car ground to a stop. My hero came to get me and we just got back from dropping off the car at the shop! I am.


I love Sabrina Jeffries, and have enjoyed Karen Hawkins books. The other authors I've not had time to try.

Carol, I hope you enjoy Pleasure Me when you find the time.


Isn't Feehan's voice wonderful!! I love her Carpathian series.

Aromagik, I'm so glad you're excited about Pleasure Me, and I loke Kate Pearce. She's not only a great author, but a good friend of mine. LOVE HER!

Tore, It's easy to hear an author's voice if you read them a lot.

Gamistress, I love Julie Garwood, and the one thing I loved about Garrick was that he didn't see Ruth as old. He just saw Ruth a woman he loved. Gotta love a hero like that.

Jeanette, I'm so glad you love Sicari heroes. Garrick is definitely different from my Italian alphas, but he's still wonderful as far as i'm concern.

Scottsgal, I've not read any of those three. Obviously I'm way behind in my reading. *grin*

Estella March 18, 2011 at 3:37 PM  

Am looking forward to reading Pleasure me.

I love reading Nora Roberts, JD Robb, Bertrice Small, Larissa Ione, Kate Pearce, Fern Michaels, Robyn Carr, and Christine Feehan.

Sheree March 18, 2011 at 3:58 PM  

I loved "Pleasure Me"! Garrick reminded me of a quiz question that was on the Today show a while back: a good kiss is not indicative of good sex. I could understand Garrick's touchiness better than hers although they both had good reasons to be bristly.

Sometimes, the plot and the characters can override any apathy I may have for a writer's voice. And sometimes I don't understand why I didn't get into a book even though it had all the elements I enjoy reading - must be the writer's voice then. My hands down favorite is P. G. Wodehouse. I savor every word!

GFC follower

Robin K March 18, 2011 at 5:43 PM  

Ohhh I adore Zoe Winters voice both in print and on the phone. YES! I got to speak with her when doing her book cover design. *swoon*. I adore different author voices as each is unique to me :)

robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

Danielle Gorman March 18, 2011 at 5:49 PM  

There are quite a few that I just love. JR Ward, Lisa Kleypas, Victoria Alexander, Candace Camp, Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, Sabrina Jeffries, Jenna Petersen, Larissa Ione, and Laura Lee Gurhke.

I can't wait to read this book. I have had it on my wishlist for what seems like forever. It just looks so good. Plus, not many books have older heroine.

Monica Burns March 18, 2011 at 6:03 PM  

Estella, As I've already pointed out, I'm a BIG Feehan fan, and Kate Pearce too.

Sheree, I'm so glad you enjoyed Pleasure Me. I hope by the good kiss is not indicative of good sex you mean that Garrick's ability to kiss didn't necessarily mean he was an experienced lover. *grin*

Virginia C March 18, 2011 at 8:34 PM  

I just read "Pleasure Me" today! Here is my **5-STAR** review:

"Pleasure Me", by Monica Burns, spoke to me on numerous varying levels. Many times in people there is a difference between age and maturity. There is also a great difference between youth and youthfulness. There are certain women, like the heroine Ruth, who are "timeless". With "Pleasure Me", Ms. Burns succeeds in creating a sensual romance about two very attractive people who met not at the same place in years, but at exactly the right time for their hearts. This is the type of romance which I find the most compelling and the most rewarding for me as a reader. The characters are well-drawn and the story line is compelling and involving. The hero, Garrick, had made his way through life carrying a great personal secret which affected his self-esteem and his ability to think of himself as truly attractive to women. Meeting Ruth, a celebrated courtesan and beauty, he was immediately drawn to her sweetness and warmth. Her age, twelve years his senior, did not detract from her appeal. However, Ruth had many doubts about her continued attractiveness, and she never expected to become involved with a younger man. As they revealed their vulnerabilities to each other, their growing regard and undeniable passion strengthened them both and enriched their lives beyond their wildest dreams. "Pleasure Me" is much, much more than a sensual romance. It is a love story about two people who see each other with lovers eyes wide open, and together they are truly a sight to behold. Highly recommended!

Monica Burns March 18, 2011 at 10:41 PM  

Danielle, I don't think I've ever read Alexander, I should try her historicals.

Virginia C what a lovely comment. Thank you so much for posting your review here. I'm thrilled that you loved the book.

Mary March 18, 2011 at 11:36 PM  

No need to enter me in the contest, I already own the book. :)

I loved reading the blog entry. I like getting to know the authors I like to read from the blog posts they write.

Some of the authors I like are:
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Pamela Palmer
Laurel K. Hamilton
Diana Palmer

Monica Burns March 18, 2011 at 11:46 PM  

Hi Mary, I hope you enjoy reading Pleasure Me. And it's interesting how voice can come through in a blog post as well. *grin*

mrsshukra March 19, 2011 at 7:28 PM  

Really excited to read Pleasure Me, it will be my first Monica Burns novel! I have always enjoyed writings by Anna Campbell, Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe, Eloisa James, Courtney Milan, Elizabeth Hoyt, Tessa Dare, Sherry Thomas, and several others, including more recently, Ashley March.

JenM March 20, 2011 at 1:04 PM  

Can I just tell you how much I love the plot for this book? Outside of women's fiction, or chick lit, it's hard enough to find a heroine of a romance that is in her 30's, let alone in her 40's, especially in a historical, so thank you for writing such a character.

As for authors whose voice I really enjoy, I have to say I adore JR Ward. Some people find her style really annoying but I love it. Also in UF, my two other favorite authors are Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs. I have to say, if Ilona and Gordon, wrote the phone book, I'd probably read it pretty happily.

jen at delux dot com

winnie March 20, 2011 at 3:42 PM  

Some authors that I read and whose voice I really enjoy are Jeaniene Frost, Nalini Singh, Karen Marie Moning and Lynsay Sands.

The premise of Pleasure Me sounds very interesting. I would love to read it!


lindalou March 20, 2011 at 4:36 PM  

Hi Monica! Fancy meeting you here! Some of the authors I follow are YOU, Deborah Hale, Lila diPasqua, Deborah Harkness (since I just finished her Discovery of Witches... it was fabulous), Maggie Robinson, J. K. Beck,... I just know when I pick up a book by any of the above, that it's going to be good.

Amy March 21, 2011 at 12:33 AM  

Some of the authors I really, really love are: Pamela Clare, Nalini Singh, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lisa Kleypas. I really enjoy each of these author's writing styles.


Maureen March 21, 2011 at 5:55 PM  

There are a bunch of authors that I like their voice including Loretta Chase, Julie James, Lisa Kleypas, Nora Roberts, Meredith Duran and probably a lot that I can't remember right now.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Monica Burns March 21, 2011 at 8:51 PM  

Mrsshukra, I hope you enjoy reading Pleasure Me

JenM, I'd love to write another older woman heroine. I've actually got an older couple in my current work in progress that are dealing with the past as they come to realize they still love each other. The hero is 56, and one of my fav interaction is this one when Marcus has placed Atia on the kitchen counter for a little lovemaking.

“We aren’t young anymore, Marcus. And here on the counter…it’s…it’s hedonistic and unlike you.”

“I’m fifty-six, Atia. I’d hardly call that ready for the funeral pyre,” he growled. “As for unconventional, what are you afraid of?”

I love this couple!

Winnie, I need to pick up a Lynsay Sands. I've heard good things about her. Glad you like the sound of Pleasure Me

Lindalou, Thank you for your support. Having readers who tout my books is better than any ad I could buy!

Amy, I like Lisa Kleypas too. I've been wanting to read her Contemporaries, but just havent' been willing to test those waters yet.

Maureen, Isn't Loretta Chase's voice WONDERFUL!!! She's one of my fav historical authors!

Anonymous,  March 21, 2011 at 11:33 PM  

I am currently reading Jennifer Blake's Master Of Arms series. I am enjoying the way she gives the feel of time and place in this series. The details of life and the expectations placed on individuals as well as their place in society is well done. You get to know her characters, how they feel, who they are, and what they hope for an despair of never having.

I like the sound of this story. Few of us are perfect and we all have our personal fears and insecurities. It is nice to have a hero and heroine we can relate to. Yes, you can not totally understand how someone feels without having the same experiences. However, a well draw character can help you get a good idea of what they feel and why.
I want heroes and heroines to be human in their failing and their feelings. Everyone needs to realize you don't have to be perfect to be loved or to love someone.

I am a GFC Follower as librarypat.

librarypat AT comcast DOT net

CrystalGB March 22, 2011 at 4:18 PM  

I would say Lisa Kleypas,Elizabeth Hoyt, Kat Martin, Nalini Singh, Sherrilyn Kenyon to name a few.
Pleasure Me sounds great. Love the cover.

I am a follower and email subscriber.

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