Guest Author & Giveaway: Lauren Dane featuring Captivated

Thursday, May 3

Have you ever wondered what the future will hold?  I do sometimes, especially when I look back and realize all of the changes in the world since I was younger (not that I'm that old).  But then my lack of imagination kicks in, and I have no clue what to expect.  It seems that even relationships with people will be different than what they are now because of email and texting and all the other social media.  It brings people together, but also creates distance at the same time.

It's a good thing that creative writers like my guest today can envision all sorts of scenarios and can bring her stories to life for us to read and enjoy.  New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Dane is my guest today to share a bit about her futuristic world in her newest Phantom Corps novel, Captivated.  Enjoy!


Welcome back to Seductive Musings Lauren! It’s been awhile, and you’ve been VERY busy since you last visited with the release of Coming Undone.  You seem to thrive on writing stories in just about every sub-genre of romance...from Contemporary to Urban Fantasy and just about everything in between.  What is it about the variety in your writing that you find so compellingly seductive to your muse?

I’m lucky enough to have lots of stories to tell! I’m fortunate to be able to write across multiple genres and heat levels, which is a wonderful way to keep things interesting. I can go from urban fantasy to futuristic to small town romance all in six months.  I love the variety.  And really every story has its own way to be told, sometimes it needs to be a futuristic to be right.

Your newest story in the Phantom Corps series is CAPTIVATED. Can you tell us how many books are planned for this series?  How INSATIABLE, and MESMERIZED are related, and for someone who has not had the pleasure of reading them, can you give us a brief summary about each of these stories? And do they need to be read in order?

When I started the series out with UNDERCOVER I really didn’t know how many books there would be in the series. I still don’t actually! The world is pretty huge and varied so the possibilities are pretty endless.  Because the world is set on some basic rules of Ranked v unranked that I don’t reiterate in as much detail in every book, it would help to read in order. But you don’t need to have read Undercover or Relentless to understand Phantom Corps.

As for PHANTOM CORPS  - it’s a mini series within the Federation Chronicles. It’s got one major story arc that spans three books – the war and how each member of the team works to fight and win it.  I knew it would be three books from the first.  Each book within the mini series is about a different member of the Phantom Corps team, a special ops team, as they attempt to defeat Ciro Fardelle, the leader of the Imperialist Universes. It starts with Insatiable, where Daniel is sent to smuggle cargo, namely Carina Fardelle, out of the Imperium because she’s got important information for the Federated Universes.  Then Mesmerized where Andrei heads back to his home ‘Verse, Asphodel where he once left behind the only woman he’s ever really connected with, Piper. They reunite and she’s pretty badass, his match, totally.  The mini series ends with Captivated as they’re in the middle of the war and it’s up to Julian, Vincenz and Hannah to solve a mystery that includes doomsday devices and virulent bio agents.

Tell us about your heroes, Julian and Vincenz.  What do you think will make readers, much like their heroine Hannah, fall in love with them despite being emotionally shattered? And can you tell us a little bit about their story in CAPTIVATED?

Vincenz Cuomo is the oldest son of Ciro Fardelle, the leader of the Imperium. He narrowly escaped with his life years before and came to the Federated ‘Verses. He’s spent much of that time proving he’s not his father. Proving that he could be trusted. It’s made him hard in ways he never could have been before. He’s got something to prove and it’s a key to what drives him so hard. Yes, he cares about the world and making it better. But he has this hurt that Hannah sees better than most. They share that – the sense of having a foot in two worlds. She understands that it sets him apart, that he’s resented people assuming he’s not trustworthy. And she understands how lonely it must have been for him. He’s smart, hard when he has to be and he loves his people fiercely. It’s why Julian and Hannah both find it impossible not to love him

As for Julian, he was orphaned at a very early age and fell into the life many of the Phantom Corps members did. Petty crime and a string of stints in lock up. Until Wilhelm Ellis showed up and offered him a new life.  He makes allegiances very rarely, but when he does, he makes them to the bone. He believes in what he does. When he loves, he loves all the way. He’s protective. When his best friend and partner was killed by the Imperium, all he could find was rage. The rage kept him from drowning in his grief. But he’s hard. He’s hard and closed off emotionally to most people. Except Hannah, who gets to him in ways no one else but Marame and Vincenz could. He softens for her, even as he works to train her to be stronger and harder. Hannah sees him much in the same way she sees Vincenz. She understands him and his pain. She doesn’t judge him for it and that sets him off balance. He needs very much to avenge Marame’s death and the death and suffering of those he loves and has sworn to protect.

Hannah listens more than she speaks. That’s a rare thing. So she has watched them both, has been there as they both took care of her, as they both did whatever they could, not only to protect her, but to let her make the  big steps they know she needed to make herself. She sees a side to them that no one else really does.

CAPTIVATED features a m/m/f menage relationship between two men and a woman.  What makes this slightly different is that the heroes were already in a committed relationship before Hannah came into their lives.  How is this dynamic sensually and emotionally different than a m/f/m, or is it?

The key, to me anyway, for a ménage that works is when all three characters are connected in a unique way. In the beginning of the book, Hannah is far too messed up to even contemplate any sort of romantic entanglement and both men simply feel protective of her.

In a ménage each of the three characters should be three dimensional and developed. So at the end of Mesmerized, Julian and Vincenz were hurting and they were beginning their relationship. I wanted to be sure I gave the page space to that to develop their connection as a couple, much the same as I would for a male female couple. They’re strong and united. Hannah adds to that in her own way, which I needed to be sure I developed with each man and also the overall relationship of three.

What's your favorite scene or moment from CAPTIVATED, and why? Can you describe it for us without giving too much away?

There’s a scene when the three are on an op and Hannah is attacked and must fight back to save herself. She’s got to fight off not only her attacker, but the memories of her past. It’s a big, important moment for her character. I felt like when I’d finished it that I’d done her justice!

Most authors have a synopsis, outline or idea of what the story they are about to write will be.  However, sometimes during the writing process your “Muse” might speak to you and lead you in a different or unplanned direction.  What surprised or changed the most from your original intent of CAPTIVATED?

I rarely end up with exactly what I lay out in my synopsis. I have the basic idea, but I don’t really know everything about my characters – who they are, why they do what they do—until I start writing. So really, each book is organic in that way.  I only had some basics about Hannah, but she really fleshed out as I wrote her. The virus stuff, which has been part of earlier books, really blossomed here, as did her part in that mystery. I hadn’t anticipated that at all.

What are five captivating facts about this book, that readers would love to know?
  1. Julian and Hannah are actually from the same ‘Verse though they had vastly different upbringings
  2. Hannah’s mother is from the Imperium. She and Vincenz share that foot in two worlds thing
  3. You’ll meet an interesting and possible HEA for Wilhelm in this book
  4. There is a brief glimpse of Abbie, Roman and baby Mera
  5. Tri marriage is legal in the Imperium
Can you tell us about some of your upcoming releases, or new super secret projects that we can look forward to?

Next up after CAPTIVATED is CHAOS BURNING, my next paranormal romance in the Bound by Magick series out from Berkley Sensation. It’s out June 6 and tells the story of Simon Leviathan, a Lycian (sort of like a werewolf) and Lark Jaansen, a badass witch who’s come to Seattle to help Clan Owen out when things get very dark. In August, CHERISHED, my duology I’m in with Maya Banks comes out. "SWAY", my story in the duology is the first in my new DELICIOUS series

Vincenz Fardelle, exiled son of the Supreme Leader of the Imperialist Universe, has spent much of the last ten years working to stop the threat his father poses. But he’s not alone in his quest. Julian Marsters has lost his best friend and countless others in the war and has made vengeance his only goal. In each other, Julian and Vincenz find not only like minds, but kindred spirits.

However unexpected their relationship, everything changes for Vincenz and Julian when Hannah Black comes into their lives. Having been captured and held in near total isolation by imperialist troops, their immediate response is to protect her.

Emotionally shattered but resilient, Hannah rebuilds herself. Because of the warm safety she finds in the arms of Julian and Vincenz she becomes someone harder, stronger and bent on preventing the Imperialists from harming anyone else.

For the two men, wrestling with their passionate feelings for Hannah is only the beginning. War is about to send all three into harm’s way and an equally dangerous secret could tear them apart.

Thank you Lauren for being my guest today and sharing your love for Captivated!  Musings reviewer Andrea was lucky enough to get her hands on an early copy, and her review was posted earlier today.

If you'd like to learn more about Lauren Dane and the fabulous books she writes you can find her at her equally fabulous website, as well as on Facebook, and Twitter.   I think Lauren has one of the best author websites out there right now.  I love how it's organized, I love the way it looks, as well as how easy it is to find out the information I go there to look for.  I wish they could all be that way!

To celebrate the release of Captivated, the third book in her Phantom Corps series, her publisher Berkley Heat, would like to giveaway a print copy of the book to one out of this world lucky Musings follower :)  Here's how you can enter to win...

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory:  Answer this question:  "My idea of the perfect romance must have... "(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 addresses only
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on May 5th 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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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.


Elf2060 May 3, 2012 at 1:46 AM  

My perfect romance must have two (or more) people who 'get' each other...accept their weaknesses and support them anyway, provide backup as well as an enlightening smack on the head when necessary but always give that security of knowing the other person is there for them through thick and thin.

Carol L. May 3, 2012 at 5:00 AM  

Hi Lauren,
Your Phantom Corp series sounds amazing. I'll have to catch up. I love reading series books back to back. :)My idea of the perfect romance must have an emotional connection I can relate too. I also need to feel the compassion of Hero and Heroine.
Thanks for the interview and opportunity. Love that cover and those abs. :)
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

lorimeehan May 3, 2012 at 7:27 AM  

Wow my idea of a perfect romance.....that's a hard one. I like so many different kinds of romance stories. I have an open mind m/f, m/f/m or m/m I haven't come across a f/f yet. I think what they all need is the need to be loved but don't realize it. An emotionally jaded past. Likable characters, throw in a alpha male mix it up and you have a good story. I like some paranormal, suspense, or just plain old romance. As long as the couple is a couple at the end anything can happen in the middle.

Maria pronounced Mariah May 3, 2012 at 10:55 AM  

My idea of the perfect romance must have a hot connection between the the hero and heroine and a believable story line. This does not mean that I won't read a book with a story that is way off in left just means that the author has to make me get into it!

GFC: Maria pronounced Mariah

mmafsmith at gmail dot com

June M. May 3, 2012 at 11:02 AM  

My idea of the perfect romance must have a great love story between the main characters. They should respect each other, be willing to do whatever is necessary to be with the other person/s, and refuse to give up on getting their HEA. The characters must be intelligent, capable, and I do love a sexy, alpha male or males, LOL.
Thank you so much for the chance to win a copy of this book. I have not read any of the series but am definitely interested in it.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot comc
(it is a j after the _)

erin May 3, 2012 at 11:50 AM  

Thanks for a great interview and giveaway! I loved this interview! I've been contemplating reading Lauren's series and after reading this interview, it clinched it for me :)

I think that my idea of the perfect romance must have a couple that are equal, and treat each other equally and with respect. I don't care if there are bullets flying, aliens invading, or special powers, as long as I care about each member of the couple and feel that their HEA requires some counseling help :)

Tore May 3, 2012 at 12:51 PM  

My idea of perfect romance is chemistry, being romantic, caring and protective. I love action in my romance novels also. Please enter me in contest.

Di May 3, 2012 at 3:58 PM  

My idea of a perfect romance .... a stong connection between the couple, both physically & mentally, they enjoy being together, they get each others sense of humor, and they support each other, especially when times are difficult.
sallans d at yahoo dot com

CrystalGB May 3, 2012 at 4:20 PM  

Captivated sounds awesome. I love the cover.
My perfect romance must have a sexy alpha male, a kick butt heroine, amazing world building, an interesting plot and great chemistry between the hero and heroine.
GFC CrystalGB

Cathy M May 5, 2012 at 3:18 PM  

My favorite's shelf is filled with romances that have amazing storylines, a committed relationship (two or three characters are my fav), sexy characters with great sexual chemistry, not too angsty, and a love that gives each other acceptance and a safe harbor at the end of the day.

gfc follower
cathy m
caity_mack at yahoo dot com


purchased book from Amazon link

Cathy MacDonald

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