Guest Author & Giveaway: Jenn LeBlanc featuring The Rake and the Recluse

Wednesday, June 29

When you read do you have a mental picture of the characters and the world you are reading about?  I do, though sometimes the pictures I am imagining are not very clear to me, so occasionally I will use a mental image of a place, picture or personality that I think closely resembles what I think it/he/she should look like.  What can I say, I'm a very visual person :)  Which is why when I found out about my guest's illustrated romance, I was completely intrigued by the idea of a romance with pictures!  And delicious ones at that ;)

Author and photographer, Jenn LeBlanc is my special guest today to share with us her illustrated historical romance, The Rake and the Recluse (including some lovely illustrations, of the yummy hero variety).  Read and enjoy!

Welcome to Seductive Musings Jenn! For you, what makes a romance novel a great love story and what makes writing sexy historical romances so compellingly seductive to your muse?

Hi! Thank you so much for having me! I so very much love to share my muse. I think a great love story comes down to some very simple things. Happenstance and connection. I mean really of all the billions of people in the world it can’t be sheer luck that people find each other. I like to think of it as happenstance, something wonderful that brings the right two people to the right place (both literally and figuratively) at just the right time. The second part is that connection. That something. It.

That’s what I love about the time travel. I believe that happenstance is akin to fate, and fate endeavors to bring the right people together, but what happens when they aren’t even born in the same century? Fate takes over, and what happens next is all in the story.

There’s an adage that says “write what you know”, and you’ve done exactly that, but in an unexpected way since your historical romance, THE RAKE AND THE RECLUSE, is not just a historical romance, but an illustrated romance. Combining your love of both writing and photography. I found this aspect so intriguing! 

Can you describe for us what makes an illustrated romance different from a more traditional romance, as well as what type of images readers can expect when reading your novel and how they are incorporated into the story? And how well do the images translate on the Kindle and other black and white readers compared to the color Nook? Are there differences in them? Sorry there are so many questions here, but I am so very curious about illustrated romances...after all I love a good Muse :)

An illustrated romance is different from every other romance simply because it incorporates illustrations throughout the novel as opposed to just the cover. Think of it like your favorite cover on steroids; I bring that cover to life throughout the book. The images included are everything from details of specific items in the book. One of the characters handles a river stone, and there is an image of a hand with that stone. There are images of the hero and heroine embracing, of the hero by himself rather wet and mostly unclothed after swimming. So as the story has a range of scenes and emotions so do the images.

The images are incorporated into the story just like you would find them in a traditional story book, right where they belong, to enhance the reading experience. The images are primarily black and white, but there are color images at the end of every chapter, because everyone loves a little color. As far as e-readers go, if you’ve looked at any of your covers in an e-reader, that is exactly how the images will look on your e-reader. While I think the best format for the book is the iPad, color Nook or computer screen (any book you purchase can be read on your computer with the right free software) I love the images on my Sony reader as well, and have heard that even on the Kindle they are quite beautiful.

Your debut self published novel, THE RAKE AND THE RECLUSE is the first book in your Rake series. Can you tell us a little bit about the books that will be in this series, how many there might be, and how they are all connected?

The books are to be written in pairs, the first being The Rake and the Recluse (of course) and the story of those two gentlemen. I have several novellas planned from characters within this particular story, as well as another full-length pair similar to this one. So far that is what has been planned. Originally the book was supposed to be a six-part serial novel, with both complete stories included, but it is currently divided into the story of each of the brothers. The novels are all connected by two families, the Trumbull family and the Larrabee family. The Larrabees are the time travelers.

If you had an opportunity to provide only a two or three sentence "teaser" quote from THE RAKE AND THE RECLUSE, to grab the attention of potential readers and give them a glimpse and feeling of what the story is about what would it be?

"Francine looked up at him, frustrated. “No, I am most decidedly not all right,” she said sadly. “You walk into a room and I’m overwhelmed by your scent. I walk past the study and I can feel you inside. I’m within reach of you and my skin is sensitive to the point that the very air around me makes me tremble. When you look at me, your eyes burnish my soul. I can feel you touching me, within and without, and you don’t even have to move. I know how you feel. Your calloused hands, the strong muscles that move under your skin against mine. The way you touched me. Here, and— here. The way your lips conform to mine, willing my mouth. I am overcome, overwhelmed, saturated. I feel you surrounding me, and I want nothing more than to feel you inside of me, as one with me. No, I am most decidedly not all right,” she said."

Tell us about your hero, Gideon Trumbull, the Duke of Roxleigh. What do you think will make readers, much like his heroine Francine, fall in love with him despite being from a different time? And can you tell us a little bit about their story in THE RAKE AND THE RECLUSE?

Ah Gideon, I am so very smitten with that man. He has a terribly difficult upbringing. Beyond the expectations of his position as the future Duke of Roxleigh he loses both of his parents long before he should. He tends to hide behind his responsibility to the crown, avoiding all things emotional, until this woman falls into his lap and under his roof. On the surface, which is where he keeps the majority of the people in his life, he is gruff, powerful, and stoic. He expects only the very best from himself, and those around him, and has very little patience for society and their hierarchy of popularity. Francine isn’t sure why she is so drawn to him at first. She sees what everyone else has always seen, this unstoppable force of nature that no one dares cross. But she saw something else there, when she was injured, something deep inside him, a very real terror that he had caused her irreparable harm.

With both of them fighting each other, and themselves, it takes a bit of time to come together but when they do there is nothing that can separate them. Gideon’s story really is very endearing; he has quite a road to travel to become the man worthy enough, the man he is supposed to be —not the duke— but the man for Francine.

What's your favorite scene or moment from The Rake and the Recluse, and why? Can you describe it (or provide a short excerpt) for us without giving too much away?

Oh that is such a difficult question! There are so many things I love about this novel, but so many of them I can’t share due to their spoileriffic qualities. One of my favorite things about Gideon is that he loves to ride--it is the only place he is able to find peace in his ordered life. It speaks to the passion he has, the passion he keeps carefully tethered. Here is a little snippet about that, as well as the image:

"Samson’s grace and surefootedness at breakneck paces was the closest Roxleigh had ever come to some semblance of peace in his life. His head was never clearer, his nerves were never calmer, and his mind was never more unbound than when he rode Samson. He listened to the horse’s steady breathing, the exertion of his exhalations, and the steady beat of his hooves, punctuated by the swift silence of the jumps and the exclamation of the landing, like a staccato symphony. His mind unfurled its stressed tethers with the smooth action of Samson at full speed."

What are five fun facts about you or this book, that readers would love to know?
  1. The book was photographed over eight day-long shoots, spread out over an entire year, because shortly after starting the project my muse, Mr. Derek Hutchins, moved to California to pursue his modeling career. He and I have become very good friends over the course of this project, and I’m actually going out to visit him next month.
  2. I grew up in a foster home, though I was not one of the foster kids--my parents opened their home to fostering. So the background in the book with Francine growing up in the system is actually from my experience as a child with foster sisters and brothers.
  3. I also did a great deal of research into British, American, and French sign-language for this book. I adore sign language and love that it is one language that has the possibility for universal understanding.
  4. When I wrote the book I did not intend to illustrate it. It was only once I decided to shoot the cover, then met Derek and made this connection, and realized what the possibilities could be with e-readers that I decided to fully illustrate the book.
  5. I cannot read paper books very well. I have an issue with my hands and actually holding open books for a long period of time is very painful. I had stopped reading much as it took months for me to finish a book. Then I got a Sony reader in January of 2009 and have read close to 400 books since. I think they are the best things ever invented.
Can you tell us about some of your upcoming releases, or new projects that we can look forward to?

I am currently working on the illustrations for Perry’s book (Gideon’s brother) and the expected release for that is February 2012. I am also writing a novella for an upcoming historical anthology expected in January of 2012. Beyond those two I have several novellas and a couple short stories that I will publish between now and then to keep my fans happy.

As for Derek’s fans, I’ll be shooting more for his portfolio when I go visit in July, and I have several very exciting projects slated where I’m working with other romance authors who are in need of sexy man photography.

If you could ask readers a question what would it be?

If you were to be whisked away to a different time and place, where would you hope to end up?

Finally, just for fun…if you could write the “fortune” in a fortune cookie what would it be?

When you grow up, you will learn that growing up is overrated.

Francine Larrabee woke up on the wrong side of the century. She was fairly certain she went to sleep in her own comfy bed, but she doesn’t quite seem to be there now. Only adding to her problems is that she has no voice, is constantly being glowered at by a large, stunning man who is obsessed with propriety, and she is apparently betrothed to another horrid little man, determined to ruin her, and any other girls that get in his way.

How does she find herself in the past, when she couldn’t even find herself in her present? How does a self sufficient businesswoman survive in a time when women were still considered property for the whole of their lives and what is she going to do with this man who draws her to him so fiercely.

Read an excerpt, and read an exclusive excerpt for Musings readers in the flipbook below (or in a google doc here)

Congratulations Jenn!  I absolutely love the idea of an illustrated romance, but I guess anyone familiar with this blog should know that...ya know because I love a good Muse :)  The Rake and the Recluse released as a digital book earlier this year, but it is also available as a print book too.  I can only imagine how well those illustrations look on paper :)

If you would like to learn more about author and photographer Jenn LeBlanc you can find her at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

To celebrate Jenn LeBlanc's first illustrated romance, The Rake and the Recluse, she would like to giveaway one digital copy of the book to a very lucky Musings follower.  Here's how you can enter to win:

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory:  Answer the question Jenn asked readers in the interview, AND leave her some comment love about this book and/or illustrated romances. (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.
  • You can also earn extra entries by sharing the flipbook excerpt on Facebook, Twitter, your website or blog or other social media sites. You can earn 5 entries for each place that you share it and leave a link in the comments.
  • 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 readers
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on July 2nd 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 :)


Bethie June 29, 2011 at 1:10 AM  

I would love to wake up in ancient Rome. Thanks for the giveaway.
I follow on GFC.

Lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Na June 29, 2011 at 1:24 AM  

I would want to be whisked away to Medieval Scotland. There is so much history and culture there, it would make for a wonderful experience.

I love the idea of an illustrated romance. I think it will really heighten my reading experience.

I am a GFC follower.

Sheree June 29, 2011 at 2:54 AM  

Hi, Jenn! I love your photos! What a great idea for a novel!

Can I opt for the future instead of the past? I want to see if the world still exists and whether the environment is better or worse than now. Also, I'm sure there will be more cures for diseases but, at the same time, there will be new diseases (or old ones that are drug-resistant) and I want to see how they're being handled.

GFC follower
ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

debbie June 29, 2011 at 7:55 AM  

I would love to go back to 1918 in America. I would love to be able to study the pandemic.
I think it is a great idea to have an illustrated romance. I have never read one before.

Elizabeth June 29, 2011 at 8:27 AM  

I would ike to go back to 1816 England as i have always wanted to see what it was like to go to all of those balls that had the sole purpose of finding a husband.

Tore June 29, 2011 at 9:25 AM  

I would love to go back to the time of King Arthur and Camelot. I love that time period. Knights Kings. I think it is very romantic. I would love to read your book also. It sounds really good. Please enter me in contest.

Jenn LeBlanc June 29, 2011 at 9:38 AM  

Bethie what a great idea! Ancient Rome does sound like an amazing place, just seeing all that's still here is incredible, good choice! Plus, who wouldn't want to try to rescue Spartacus.

Na, medieval Scotland! There are no words. Ok, there are three: men in kilts. Everywhere. (okay four.) Lovely.

Sheree- what an amazing idea, and how brave you are to wish to go to the future! I think that's incredible, and hope you would report back, let us know how we're doing back here.

Debbie, thank you, you've also chosen an incredible time. It's hard to think that my grandmother would have been a child then.

Ah Elizabeth, one of the most romaniticized time periods in fiction. Wouldn't that be amazing?

Tore! Knights of the round table. Good choice! Nothing more incredible than a man in chainmail, except perhaps the kilted man. Can you imagine them going up against each other? One burdened by weight, but protected, the other free to move but fighting in nearly nothing? Fascinating.

Thank you ladies! So far you've come up with some wonderful ideas. Keep them coming!

Chele Blades June 29, 2011 at 10:23 AM  

i would enjoy going to the period in time after the civil war when the wild west was being "tamed"...i consider myself strong & can make a home from hard more men then women...i could definately handle that task!!!

gfc follower

Jenn LeBlanc June 29, 2011 at 11:36 AM  

Chele what a great time period. I am named after a great great...aunt Jennie Lee, the only image we have of her is with two six-shooters strapped to her hips. (Of course my dad spelled my name wrong on the birth certificate, ah well.)

My great grandparents were homesteaders on the Purgatoire here in Colorado, and my great aunt and uncle still hold the land and they farm nearby. It's an amazing piece of our history!

Thank you for sharing!

Kati R June 29, 2011 at 12:25 PM  

Just stopping by to give Jenn and Roxleigh some love. =) Great choice of quotes.

I'd love to end up in Regency England, Lost in Austen style. I think this is due to the fact that I spend so much time reading about it. It seems a bit glamorous.

Please don't enter me in for the giveaway. I've already got *mumble 3 mumble* copies of this wonderful book.

Thanks for being our muse Jenn. =) And can't wait to see you at RomCon. What's that? Oh yeah. I can't wait to see D too. lol.

Jenn LeBlanc June 29, 2011 at 12:30 PM  

Kati sweet, you are THE awesome. Thanks for stopping by, I could just see you in Regency England with that big grin on your face, eyes wide, touching other ladies skirts and swooning over Darcy and other 'proper' gentlemen.


Kati R June 29, 2011 at 12:38 PM  

Dear Jenn, I would not be touching other ladies skirts. I would touching men in breeches. And who said anything about proper? Just saying. :)

CrystalGB June 29, 2011 at 1:57 PM  

I would want to be whisked away to Regency England to attend a ball.
Your book sounds great.
GFC follower CrystalGB

Danielle Gorman June 29, 2011 at 2:20 PM  

I wanted to show my love to Naughty Author #2. Great interview Jenn. If I could time travel to anywhere in time I would love to be a passenger on the Titanic(before it sank). I have always had such a fascination with all things Titanic related and I would have loved to see it in all it's glory.

Please don't enter me to win. I already have a copy I already have a copy of this lovely book. I just need to find some time to drool over the sexy Derek.

Estella June 29, 2011 at 3:29 PM  

The American West of the 1860's.

Jenn LeBlanc June 29, 2011 at 5:29 PM  

Kati you can't tell me you wouldn't be touching EVERYTHING that moved. LOL!

Crystal, Regency seems to be the most popular but it has been immortalized in so many wonderful novels and movies that doesn't surprise me at all.

Thank you for stopping by Danielle! I very much appreciate it! I also was obsessed with the titanic growing up, when they found it I about died from excitement. I remember going to see the pieces that toured at the museum, it was just incredible.

OO Estella! Wonderful time period, the railroad is booming the men are wild and the women are wilder, love it.

Good luck everyone! Keep the times coming!

Kati R June 29, 2011 at 7:19 PM  

Oh yes Jenn, I'd be touching everything that moved. I went there. And I would be touching the proper gentleman. I guess that makes me a hussy. Or a harlot. Whatever.

Is it August yet?

lindalou June 29, 2011 at 7:37 PM  

I'd go back to medieval Scotland... Great interview! Your book sounds fantastic...
Thanks for the giveaway!

lindalou June 29, 2011 at 7:37 PM  

Oh, I'm sorry... I forgot to include my email address in my previous comment.

LilMissMolly June 29, 2011 at 11:53 PM  

OK. You had me with the picture of a guy in breeches and nothing else. Count me in!!!
lvsgund at

Jenn LeBlanc June 30, 2011 at 1:06 AM  

Lindalou and LilMissMolly! You ladies are welcome and good luck! See, I'm not sure whether the Regency or the kilts would win in a cage match. It's pretty close.

And yes...breeches. Sans everything. mmmm.


JenM June 30, 2011 at 8:58 AM  

What an interesting concept for a book. I tend not to get pictures in my head when I read, but I love books with illustrations.

I wouldn't want to go back in time - I like my creature comforts too much for that - health care in the 19th century - no thanks. I'd much rather go forward to see if we ever figure out a realistic way to travel the galaxy.

jen at delux dot com

Jenn LeBlanc June 30, 2011 at 12:53 PM  

Jen that's great! I know Francine does miss her Sony reader and her iPod a bit when she is in the past, but I think her hero ends up making up for that *wink*

That makes a second vote for whatever the future holds which is awesome! (and I agree, I couldn't handle the past. I can't even handle regular TV having had a DVR and HBO/SHO for a year! LOL)

Thanks for entering, good luck! J

Pam S (pams00),  July 2, 2011 at 1:18 AM  

I'd love to be swept away to Scotland in the hopes of landing in a strapping Highlander's bed lol.

I'd also love visiting Regency or Victorian England... I love the clothing and all of the ton events.

This books sounds wonderful and love that is illustrated. Congrats on it :)!

gfc - pams00
pams00 @

Jenn LeBlanc July 5, 2011 at 2:49 AM  

Thank you Pam!

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