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DOMINGO’S ANGEL with Jenny Twist

Hi everyone.

I’m Jenny Twist. I visited Manic Readers last month to talk about my anthology of short stories, Take One At Bedtime.

This time I’d like to talk about my historical novel, Domingo’s Angel.

I retired and moved to Spain ten years ago and I am ashamed to say that before I came to live here I knew nothing of Spanish history other than than the stuff we were taught at school. I knew that it was the Spanish Ferdinand and Isabella who financed Christopher Colombus and so conquered the Americas. I knew about the Spanish Inquisition and I knew about the Spanish Armada.

But I had no idea, for example, that Spain was under Moorish rule for hundreds of years and had a rich heritage of Moorish architecture and culture. I had not realised that the same Ferdinand and Isabella finally drove the last of the Moors from Spain and instituted a harsh and repressive regime which kept the Spanish people in fuedal  poverty right up to the twentieth century.

And nobody told me about the war.

I was horrified to find out about the dreadful atrocities committed by both sides during the Spanish Civil War and the appalling cruelty perpetrated against the Spanish people under Franco’s fascist dictatorship – which lasted from 1939 till his death in 1975. I had actually been to Spain on holiday while he was still in power!

I didn’t actually set out initially to write a novel about it.

What happened was I wrote a short story and it grew. But as it grew I realized I had a lot to say.

The first chapter is essentially the original short story and tells of an English woman who came to Southern Spain in the early 1950s. Tourism had barely touched the country at that time and the people were only just beginning to recover from the deprivations of the war. She arrived in a remote mountain village and caused some consternation amongst the inhabitants, who had never met a foreigner before. But Domingo, the goatherd, fell in love with her. When she introduced herself, he believed she was saying she was an angel (‘Soy Ángela’ in Spanish can either mean ‘I am Angela’ or ‘I am an angel’). Hence the title of the story.

I entered the story for a competition and it was short-listed, which was encouraging, but didn’t win.

In the meantime, I had become more and more intrigued by one of the characters, Rosalba, the shopkeeper, and I found myself writing a sequel and then another, and before long it came home to me that I what I had here was an embryo novel.

Because it was initially a series of short stories, the first few chapters, to a large extent, stand as individual stories; and I did, indeed, publish them as such in a local magazine.

But it wasn’t too difficult to go over them later and make them into a more homogeneous whole. And as I learnt more and more about the history of my adopted country, I incorporated it into the novel, introducing past events through the memories of the major characters.

I had huge difficulty researching the history because there is so little written about it. You can find out a great deal in the way of historical background from books like ‘The Spanish Civil War’ by Anthony Beever, which has a lot of (some might say rather too much)  information about what went on in the major cities. But there is virtually nothing written about what went on in the little villages, and the people are very reluctant to talk about it. It was a nightmare for them. Brother fought against brother, and in Spain the family is everything.

I relied on what I knew about my own friends – the story of Salva the Baker, for example, who was imprisoned for years for giving bread to the starving children, is true. I also transposed some of the real events from the history books to my own imaginary village.

But then, after I had finished the novel, I discovered a wonderful book by David Baird – ‘Between Two Fires,’ which is the history of his own white village of Frigiliana. It contains the actual testimony of those who survived. Most of these witnesses were already old men and women when they told their stories and many of them had died before the book was published. If I had known about it when I was writing Domingo’s Angel, it would have saved me months of work. As it was, it proved invaluable to me as a way of checking that I had got it right.

I wrote to David when my own book was about to be published and asked whether he would mind me referring to him in my acknowledgements. He was, as I expected, very approachable and courteous. I hope a lot of people read his book. It is unique.

Some of the events in this story are bloodthirsty and shocking, but there is a lot of love in it too. I hope that I succeeded in portraying for my readers the cheerfulness, humour and exuberance of the Andalusian people. And it would be nice to think that it might do something to dispel some of the ignorance about this fascinating period of Spanish history.

If you would like to know a little bit more about Domingo’s Angel, here is the blurb:

DOMINGO’S ANGEL

When Angela turns up in a remote Spanish mountain village, she is so tall and so thin and so pale that everyone thinks she is a ghost or a fairy or the dreadful mantequero that comes in the night and sucks the fat from your bones.

But Domingo knows better. “Soy Angela,” she said to him when they met – “I am an angel.” Only later did he realise that she was telling him her name and by then it was too late and everyone knew her as Domingo’s Angel.

This is the story of their love affair. But it is also the story of the people of the tiny mountain village – the indomitable Rosalba – shopkeeper, doctor, midwife and wise woman, who makes it her business to know everything that goes on in the village; Guillermo, the mayor, whose delusions of grandeur are rooted in his impoverished childhood; and Salva the Baker, who risked his life and liberty to give bread to the starving children.

The events in this story are based on the real experiences of the people of the White Villages in Southern Spain and their struggle to keep their communities alive through the years of war and the oppression of Franco’s rule.

Published  by Melange Books 10th July 2011

http://www.melange-books.com/authors/jennytwist/twistdomingosangel.html

Available on Amazon and Kindle

http://www.amazon.com/Domingos-Angel-ebook/dp/B005EH5U8G/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1312020721&sr=8-5

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Domingos-Angel-ebook/dp/B005EH5U8G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1312020847&sr=8-2

ISBN: 978-1-61235-202-2

EXCERPT

The next day he took his goats to the top of the ridge near the pass and looked down on the smallest casita of Guillermo the mayor. There was a mule tethered outside and a string of washing had been hung between two almond trees. Otherwise there was no sign of life. Halfway down the slope was a large algarrobo tree. He decided it would be an ideal place for lunch.

But although he sat and watched the little house all the time as he ate his bread and cheese and olives and drank his wine, nobody came out and nothing happened. Only the mule moved along the side of the house to keep in the shade as the sun moved round. So he went to sleep.

When he woke up, someone was calling him. “Hola, goatherd!”

He squinted up into the sun and there, standing before him was an angel. It was very tall and thin and there was a fiery halo round its head. “Hello,” it said, “Soy Ángela – I am angel. I am delighted to meet you! Who are you?”

In absolute panic, Domingo shot up into a sitting position and shuffled backwards into the algarrobo tree. His head hit the hard trunk with a resounding crack and he subsided and slumped back down, feeling a little stunned.

The angel came forward into the shadow of the algarrobo tree and he realised that the halo was, in fact, hair – very long hair – falling in waves down beyond her shoulders and almost to her waist. It was exactly the colour of oranges that have dried on the tree. Her skin was so white it was almost blue and her eyes were so pale they had no colour at all. “How could they think she was a dead person?” he thought in a confused fashion. “She is obviously an angel.”

For more excerpts and other stuff, go to my website.

https://sites.google.com/site/jennytwistauthor/

Thank you so much for sharing my visit and thankyou, Manic Readers, for giving me the opportunity. I really appreciate it.

Jenny Twist

UNFINISHED BUSINESS with W. Soliman

Brought up on the Isle of Wight, the sailing capital of England, I did my best to have as little as possible to do with boats. Years later, my husband persuaded me to get involved. The things I do for lurve! Even so, I drew the line at anything to do with sails. A good strong, reliable motor – preferably more than one – floats my boat. Sorry, couldn’t resist the dreadful pun.

Never waste an experience, that’s my motto, and the best thing to come out of my boating experiences is The Hunter Files, my series of marine crime novels. Write about what you know, and I’m not talking crime here! Unfinished Business, the first in the series, is released by Carina Press today. Charlie Hunter lives aboard his trawler yacht in Brighton marina and, guess what, his boat, the No Comment, (well, what else would a disillusioned cop call his boat?),is based on a trawler we once owned and kept in Brighton.

Here’s the gorgeous cover that Carina came up with. Don’t you just love it?

A little bit more about Charlie. He retires from the police force at 40 to work on his boat and go fishing with his son on weekends, not to become an amateur sleuth. But he can’t say no to Kara Webb when she seeks his help in tracking down her sister, missing for 15 years.

The disappearance of teenager Jasmine Webb was one of the first cases Charlie worked on after being made a detective. He’s never forgotten it or his suspicions, even after the girl’s parents told police they’d heard from her and the file on Jasmine was closed.

When Charlie’s son is threatened, finding Jasmine becomes even more important. It’s no longer just about closure, it’s about protecting his family. Which makes the constant dead ends all the more frustrating. Until Charlie realises that the question they should be asking isn’t where Jasmine is, but who has Jasmine become…

Want to know more? Pop across to my website at  W.Soliman where you can read the entire first chapter. Answer a simple question and you stand a chance of winning a copy of the book.

Whilst you’re surfing, there’s an even easier way to get in line for a copy of the book. Just go to my Facebook Author Page click the Like button and leave a message that includes a reference to Unfinished Business.

Unfinished Business Available from Carina Press or Amazon $5.99

Hope you enjoy it. Do let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

W. Soliman

FALKE’S PEAK series

Hello everyone!

Anna here, writing on behalf of the writing team of Anna Leigh Keaton and Madison Layle. Madi’s off doing her day job, so I get to do the jabbering.

A little about the two of us.

Madi and I have been friends for about eight years, and co-authors for seven of those eight. I met her the same way I met my husband—online. The funny thing is, Madi and I have talked dirtier online than I ever did with my hubby! (Little erotic author joke there.)

We’ve got over 20 co-authored books out in the world, all erotic romance. Although I do write some more sensual books on my own, the stories we write together are always steamy hot and pretty naughty. (Madi’s a very bad influence on me!)

This week was the release of our second book in the Puma Nights series from Carina Press, Falke’s Captive.

Book one, Falke’s Peak, came out a little less than a year ago to hot reviews.

Madi and I are thrilled to pieces with this series, and Carina Press, and well, just everything to do with the Falke stories. We can’t get enough of these sexy and sinful shifter brothers. If you love shape-shifting heroes and the women who can’t get enough of them, triad relationships, a little BDSM thrown in to keep things extra spicy, then we firmly believe that the Puma Night series is for you!

So, on to the books.

Falke’s Peak – Book 1 in the Puma Nights series—introduces you to Axel and Gunnar, the two oldest Falke brothers. Two of a set of quads.

She couldn’t believe her eyes.

Stressed out ad-exec Dakota wandered into Catamount Outfitters in search of a guide for a wilderness excursion. She didn’t expect to be greeted by not one, but five of the most ruggedly delicious-looking men she’d ever seen. Not to mention a live cougar guarding the shop.

The Falke brothers have more than just good looks in their genes.

Eldest brother Axel agrees to guide Dakota on her mountain trek. In cougar form, Axel’s twin, Gunnar, was there as a protection from predators—but he had his eye on the sexy client instead.

Into the wild…

While the rule with clients was “paws-off,” both Axel and Gunnar couldn’t resist Dakota’s seductive Native American beauty and determination. As cold days led to hot nights in the cabin, Axel and Gunnar wondered if they’d finally found a woman strong enough to tame them…

To read an excerpt of Falke’s Peak.

To purchase:

Carina Press

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

All Romance eBooks

Audio Book available from Audible.com

Falke’s Captive – Book 2 in the Puma Nights series—introduces you to Kelan and Reidar, the next two brothers from the first set of quads. (There are two more brothers and a sister who will get their own stories before the series is finished…so don’t worry!)

A graduate student working in animal genetics, Beth Coldwell is in town to track and tag big cats in the wild. Her prospects for the summer only improve when she meets Kelan and Reidar Falke and decides the sexy brothers are the right pair to fulfill her other, less than scientific, desires…

But her research is a threat to the Falke family secret. When Kelan, in cougar form, is captured, that secret comes closer than ever to being revealed. He escapes, but not before Beth draws a blood sample, and analysis shows this is no ordinary mountain lion.

Kelan and Reidar cannot deny the powerful attraction they feel toward Beth. She might just be their destined mate. But if they reveal themselves to her, will she embrace who they are or see them as just another science experiment?

To read an excerpt of Falke’s Captive.

To purchase:

Carina Press

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

All Romance eBooks

Audio Book available from Audible.com

For those of you who might prefer a tamer romance, I have a new release out from Cobblestone Press. The sex is still pretty spicy, but this is more of a sensual romance, with a touching story about two broken souls coming together with a little nudge from a trio of grumpy old men and a sweet set of infant twins.

Dexter Morgan needs a nanny. The month-old twins won’t stop crying, and the nannies keep running away. He’s exhausted, grieving the death of his sister—the twins’ mother—and terrified he won’t be a good father. He’s at the end of his rope.

Crystal Jorgensen needs a job. After being out of the workforce for three years while she battled breast cancer, she’s finding it impossible to get back in. When her meddling uncles pressure her to see if their next door neighbor could use her help with his new babies, she reluctantly knocks at his door.

To read an excerpt of Just Breathe.

To purchase at Cobblestone.

Thank you so much for your time. We invite you to come see us anytime at www.LayleKeaton.com where you can find our backlist, along with excerpts from each one of our books (hers, mine and ours). There’s also some free giveaways there if you join the blog. We run contests now and then, along with us keeping you up with our goings on.

Also, if you email me at AnnaLeighKeaton@gmail.com with SIGN ME UP in the subject line, I will add your address to my email newsletter. I never share addresses with anyone, and I only send out newsletters when I have real news (releases). In every issue I run a contest that always includes a book by one awesome author or another, and usually something really wonderful, like gourmet chocolates or gift baskets.

Happy Fall everyone! Here’s to a wonderful year head. Cheers!

Picturing Myself in Tuscany

One of the nicest compliments I ever got on my books was from a reader who said that my stories are erotic, but the people and scenarios are real. She was specifically talking about the lack of bizarre props/contortions/combinations, mind you, but I do strive for realism because that’s what I like to read. When I read erotic romance, I enjoy the kinds of books where I could plausibly fantasize about being the heroine. So no flying trapeze sex, no tiny-waist-AND-enormous-chest on the heroine, and absolutely no man parts the size of my arm. Those things make a book into a Did Not Finish for me, and Did Not Start when it comes to writing.

That’s great, only, when it comes to settings I really struggle to describe a place where I’ve never been. And mostly, I’ve been on the east coast of the United States. It’s wonderful here, but neither is it particular exotic. It is also freaking cold in the wintertime.

Last winter I was in front of my computer and freezing. Mugs of tea, wool socks, space heaters, loyal hound lying under my desk as a footwarmer, none of it helped. What helped was looking at pictures of my vacation to Florence, Italy. Between that, my husband’s suggestion that I use Florence as a book setting, and a song on iTunes, I was at least mentally warm until spring.

The result of my extended daydream is Tuscan Heat,  my third super steamy romance with Carina Press (and fourth novella).

I don’t take the realism thing too far. Most of what happened to my heroine did not happen to me. I mean, I didn’t get swept off my feet by a mysterious and handsome Italian. I went on the trip with my husband. Hrm… wait… he’s mysterious, handsome, and half Italian!

That coincidence aside, most of the book is from my imagination. I didn’t have passionate fling-sex with my personal Italian in any public locations. My hero and heroine both have a little exhibitionist streak, one they’ve never gotten to indulge. Me, I like a locked door. But I can personally vouch for all of the locations having, er, potential for people with nerves of steel.

And that’s one of the things I love about this book. The stone, the light, the air – I tried to put you in Florence with the way things really looked and felt. I could picture myself in Tuscany the whole time I was writing, and I hope that the result is that you can picture yourself there as well.

If you’d like actual pictures, here’s the photo album. 😉

Thanks for reading! Hope to see you all online.

Tuscan Heat is Kathleen’s third book with Carina Press. Check out two brief excerpts from the first chapter over here on her website. Let her know what you thought of it on Facebook , Goodreads, or @KathleenDienne on Twitter.

Why We Write Prequels by Jeanne Matthews

The story below was written by fellow Southerner and Georgian, Jeanne Matthews.  Jeanne is the author of the excellent Dinah Pelerin mystery series.  I wanted to share this with my fellow readers.  It’s too good to keep to myself.

Enjoy!

Ivy

RAISING THE DEAD

Old Man Duke lived about a mile from my grandmother’s farm in rural North Georgia.  When I was a kid, I thought he must have tramped out of the womb toting a rifle and wearing a slouch hat and overalls.  I thought he had existed as I knew him – old, one-eyed, and crusty – since the dawn of time.  He didn’t have family in the county and his accent was hard and clipped, nothing like our drawl.  Most folks assumed he hailed from some place far off – Tennessee, maybe, or one of the Carolinas.  But come to find out, he wasn’t a Southerner at all.  He’d been born into a large North Dakota clan as crooked as a barrel of fish hooks.  His daddy robbed dry goods stores for a living and his older brother and cousins stole government shipments of food and blankets intended for the Lakota Sioux and sold them back to the dry goods stores his daddy robbed.

When Duke was about fourteen, he got caught rustling cattle and in that day and age, the concept of “juvenile justice” hadn’t yet caught on.  After a hasty trial, he was sentenced to be hanged and locked up in the Dickey County Jail with less than a week left to reflect on the consequences of his life of crime.  But before the appointed day arrived, his mama slipped the sheriff a few dollars she’d appropriated from the family’s other business operations and one night he accidentally left the key too close to Duke’s cell.  Duke escaped and worked his way south and east across the country doing odd jobs and, maybe a few illegal jobs, until he got to Georgia.  He panned for gold in Dahlonega for a few months and eventually drifted east and settled outside the town of Toccoa, where he built a state-of-the-art still and started making moonshine which he sold in Mason jars.  He must have been about twenty-five at the time and, apart from tending his still, he never worked another day in his life.

My grandmother lost her husband when her children were still young and the boys in particular looked up to their neighbor, Mr. Duke, as a sort of stand-in father.  Whenever a rattlesnake crawled under the house or a fox got into the chicken house or the mule tore down the barbwire fence, Duke would show up to take care of the situation.  My Uncle Emry loved to go fox hunting with Duke.  Not the kind of hunting where the dogs rip the poor fox apart.  Duke never killed a fox.  The fox provided the entertainment, an excuse to stay out in the woods all night telling stories and listening to the dogs bay.  If the dogs picked up the scent of a gray fox, it would be a short night.  A gray fox won’t stray too far from its den.  It leads the dogs in a wide circle and then goes home.  But a red fox would run ‘til the dogs were exhausted and the young ‘uns couldn’t keep their eyes open.

No women or girls were allowed on those hunts.  If they had been, I’d be a better writer today.  At least, I’d have a lot more stories to write.  I often think about a story my Uncle Emry told me about one hunt that went sadly wrong.  He was just learning to shoot and, in between the tracking and the storytelling, he took an occasional practice shot into the upper branches of the trees to annoy the squirrels.  He was getting sleepy toward the end of the hunt when he heard twigs snapping in the distance.  He loosed off a round into the darkness, aiming high to avoid hitting one of the dogs.  To his complete surprise, the shot spooked the fox and it darted out of the brush right in front of him.  Impulsively, he fired.  The fox dropped dead and Old Man Duke dropped down on a log, crestfallen.  “Lord God, son, you done killed that good runnin’ fox.”

In a sense, I think I know just how he felt.  When I’m writing a story and one of my characters breaks bad and murders another character, a good-running character whose turns and twists I’ve been tracking for hundreds of hours and hundreds of pages, I feel that same pang of loss and regret.  Small wonder that authors get nostalgic for their dead and write prequels.

THE MONSTER IN ME with Patricia Rosemoor (with giveaway)

My mother was born on November 1, All Souls Day, but I think she was meant to be born a day earlier, on Halloween. She never missed a horror movie. I know because she took me with her, and the creatures I saw in those movies populated my nights, so I would crawl in bed with my parents for protection. Horror has always been a love-hate thing with me. I was a latch key kid and I was convinced The Creature From the Black Lagoon lived in the basement. Heart thundering, I would make sure the basement door was latched (yeah, like that would stop a monster, but hey, I was only seven) before unlocking the door to my apartment.

I remember Mom made me take her to see The Exorcist–possibly the story that was simply too real, too close to the bone, for me. Mom, of course, loved it. And then she wanted me to take her to a haunted house for Halloween. Her reaction to the actors in costumes was to inform me she wanted to go to a real haunted house. She and her sister swore their late brother came to both at night while visiting a third sister in New York.

Although I still share Mom’s fascination with the paranormal, I can’t watch a horror movie alone. They make me squirm. My pulse races and I want to squeeze my eyes shut. That’s the point of horror, of course, but I need a hand I can squeeze to the breaking point if necessary, as I used to do with my late husband. I’m a bigger fan of dark paranormal that is closer to the books I write. Buffy the Vampire Slayer has always been top on my list. I probably have seen every episode at least three times because the horror was mixed with humor and incredible internal conflict. I at least try nearly every paranormal offering on television. Last spring it was Being Human. This summer I got sucked into Teen Wolf – some episodes really were great horror, like the one where all the teens got locked in the school at night without lights and WITH the alpha werewolf. That was a really tense hour for me with no hand to squeeze.

So if the paranormal scares me so much, why do I go there? Why do I watch it, read it, write it?

Maybe it’s the monster in me.

I may write fiction but I always know I’m writing something about myself, even when the characters are dark and lost.

HOT TRICK, my October Urban Fantasy Thriller for Carina Press – it’s my second Detective Shelley Caldwell novel. The first was HOT CASE for Silhouette Bombshell. And I wrote two short stories – HOT CORPSE, originally for Avendia Publishing, now available in digital formats, and HOT NOTE for Thriller 3 to be published next summer by Mira Books.

About HOT TRICK:

Detective Shelley Caldwell’s career as a Chicago homicide detective is complicated by her city’s supernatural underground, her abilities as a sensitive and her half-vampire lover, Jake DeAtley. Meeting a crazy banshee with visions of someone drowning in a trunk, Shelley ignores the warning—until famous illusionist Sebastian Cole escapes from a locked trunk submerged in the Chicago River, while across town a woman drowns in the trunk of a car. Then another victim is found killed in circumstances eerily similar to another of Sebastian‘s performances.

Shelley is certain there’s a link between the magician and the murders, and it’s unsettling that Sebastian invades her mind and stirs her senses. Not to mention Jake‘s negative reaction to the man. Can Shelley fight off Sebastian‘s supernatural influence to determine if he’s the killer…or another victim?

I love my Detective Shelley Caldwell character. She’s the cop who keeps getting the woo-woo cases, and um, doesn’t want to believe in the supernatural. She also doesn’t want to be thought crazy, so she keeps the paranormal underground secret, whether it’s vampires or mages or demons or sirens. Shelley’s internal conflict about everything paranormal – including her lover – is what makes me want to keep writing about her. I love writing what makes a character most uncomfortable, what gives the biggest bang for the conflict buck. And with Shelley, it’s that love-hate thing when it comes to the paranormal. She has that fear that there’s a monster in her.

Do I really believe in the paranormal?

Part of me obviously wants to just as Mom did.

For more than a decade, my critique group has gone to Lake Geneva several time a year for writers’ retreats. One of the members has a house on the lake. We’d been staying there for several years when I walked into the kitchen and heard the owner talking about the ghost. Um, GHOST? Yep, the house was haunted. Several people had independently seen a man walking between the living room and the staircase – right outside my bedroom door. And I was the only one on the first floor. The other bedrooms were upstairs. Was I freaked or what? A late night person, I started going to my room two hours earlier than I normally would and locking my door because that’s when everyone else was going to bed. And I didn’t come out until daylight. Back to being the latch key kid who believed the creature lived in the basement.

I never saw that ghost or any other, but I know they’re out there…

…just waiting for me.

Because I thought writing in a new medium would be fun, I’m one of the developers and writers for Whispers From the Void™, a new comic book with female “monsters” – ghost, vampire, flesh-construct and the scientist who built her. The first issue will be available in December from Silver Phoenix Entertainment http://silverphoenix.net/index.html. Visit my website http://patriciarosemoor.com/ for information as the new project gets off the ground.

Now it’s time for you to share why you have an interest in the paranormal and whether or not you’ve had something spooky happen to you. Everyone answering will be eligible for a prize determined by a drawing – a signed copy of HOT CASE http://tinyurl.com/5rejo2g from Silhouette Bombshell, the very first Detective Shelley Caldwell story.

With more than 6 million books in print – 89 novels for Harlequin, Silhouette, HarperCollins, Dell and Del Rey – Patricia Rosemoor has received two Career Achievement and two Reviewers’ Choice Best Novel Awards from RT Book Reviews and the Golden Heart Award from Romance Writers of America.

Lila DiPasqua's twist on Cinderella - A MIDNIGHT DANCE

My Cinderella story is not like Disney’s version—well, maybe just a little. 😉

Ever wonder why Disney set their Cinderella movie in France? Or why the popular movie EVER AFTER, a Cinderella retelling with Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott (one yummy Prince Charming!) is set in France?

It’s because this most beloved fairy tale originated in France! (As well as many others!)

Seventeenth century French writer, Charles Perrault took folklore—stories that had been retold verbally for centuries, and put it down on paper, adding morals to his tales.

He was the father of fairy tales and the creator of THE TALES OF MOTHER GOOSE.

My version of Cinderella, A MIDNIGHT DANCE (Berkley Sensation), is set in the very time and place when fairy tales were born—when Charles Perrault actually wrote Cinderella. I adore this time in history! Probably because it’s soooo much like the Regency set romances we all love to read, you won’t be able to distinguish the two. It had lovely ladies. Distinguished lords. Elegant gowns and balls. Theater. Scandal sheets….and plenty of scandalous behavior to fill those pages! *winks*

In A MIDNIGHT DANCE I took the elements that we all love about Cinderella, a handsome Prince Charming, an impoverished beauty, a ball, a glass slipper, a fairy godmother, a step-mother and step-sisters and gave it a fresh, unique twist.

This Cinderella is out for revenge against Prince Charming.

Our cinder-girl, Sabine blames her family’s fall from grace and her losses on Jules de Moutier and his powerful family.

Sabine was once the daughter of a prominent playwright. She’s lost her father, her lovely home, her father’s prestigious theater and worse still, her beloved twin sister, Isabelle. Though it’s been five years, Sabine is the only one who thinks Isabelle is still alive. Sabine is in dire straits and desperate. She, and what’s left of her eclectic family—that includes the balance of her late father’s acting troupe—an eccentric bunch!—face debtor’s prison.

To save them from this fate, she intends to steal a fortune from Jules. All she has to do is pretend to be a harlot named Elise, seduce the rake and feed him the tainted wine. Easy, right?

Ah, no.

What she didn’t count on was her attraction to her old girlhood flame was still very much alive, despite her contempt for Jules. You see, she had a mad crush on him as a fifteen year old girl and would worship him from afar as he, then nineteen, attended her father’s theater. Today, Jules de Moutier is even more devilishly handsome . . . and a lot more carnally talented. *winks*

A MIDNIGHT DANCE is steamy, fun, romantic; did I mention steamy? *smiles* (There’s serious chemistry between Sabine and Jules). And there’s plenty of intrigue, unexpected twists and a surprising villain—to keep you turning the pages. . . until the romantic climax. (Some have reported to gasp in shock on the very last page.)

If you’re tired of the same old historical romances and want something different and fresh, I hope you’ll step into my Fiery Tales world—in A MIDNIGHT DANCE.

To read a scandalous excerpt of A MIDNIGHT DANCE click HERE: http://www.liladipasqua.com/amidnightdanceExcerpt.htm

A MIDNIGHT DANCE

Lila DiPasqua

Berkley Sensation

HISTORICAL ROMANCE

August 2011

ISBN: 978-0425241981

Inspired by the tale of Cinderella, Lila DiPasqua weaves a steamy historical romance that offers a glass slipper, a dangerous deception, and an impoverished beauty determined to find her handsome prince…and make him pay.

Born into wealth, Sabine Laurent and her twin sister lived a life of luxury, their father’s prestigious theater frequented by royalty and aristocracy alike. And Sabine dreamed of her own prince charming—the devastatingly handsome Jules de Moutier.

That was before the loss of her sister and her family’s fall from grace—a disaster Sabine blames on the Moutier family. Now, with her father’s death, she’s inherited his sizable debt and the responsibility of caring for his spoiled long-time mistress and her two wastrel daughters. But with the help of Sabine’s eccentric friends—the balance of her father’s acting troupe—she plans to get very close to her old infatuation, seduce the rake—and make away with a fortune.

Resisting Jules’s skillful mouth and tantalizing touch is not as easy as Sabine supposed. And soon she must decide whether her desire for vengeance is greater than her desire for her one and only prince…

AMAZON

NOOK

OTHER

GIVEAWAY: One random commenter will win their choice of AWAKENED BY A KISS *or* THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED *or* A MIDNIGHT DANCE! Giveaway open WORLDWIDE.  Contest runs through Saturday, October 15th.

QUESTION: Have you ever read something you weren’t sure you’d like and loved it? If so, what was it? For me, I never thought I’d love romances with vampires until I read Angela Knight’s books.

Lila DiPasqua writes wicked & witty historical romance for Penguin/Berkley. She lives with her real-life hero husband and three children and is a firm believer in the happily-ever-after. She loves history and enjoys traveling. She has been to four continents so far. To learn more about Lila and her books, visit www.LilaDiPasqua.com

WELCOME TO THE MISTS....Erin Quinn

The Mists of Ireland series takes readers to Ireland to meet the families MacGrath and Ballagh.  For eons these two families have been entwined in love, jealousy and the mysticism surrounding an ancient tome called the Book of Fennore.  Entrenched in lore and superstition, this ancient Book wreaks havoc on humanity—but when it falls into the hands of the MacGraths and Ballaghs, it ignites powers within them that make them its most formidable enemy.

Haunting Embrace, the final book in the Mists of Ireland series, is a time-travel love story that spans centuries and reveals the secrets behind the Book of Fennore’s creation.  Áedán Brady—once known as Brandubh, (pronounced Brawn-doov) the most powerful druid of all time—has been trapped in the Book for millennia until Meaghan Ballagh enters his life and sets him free.  Meaghan is an empath who sees beyond the front Áedán presents to the honorable man he once was.  She believes that man still exists, though Áedán himself refuses to even admit to being human anymore.  While Áedán fights to hide the vulnerability Meaghan’s perceptions reveal, he discovers hidden depths inside Meaghan as well.  Her blood runs hot and inflames him.  The more he knows about her, the more he wants to know.  But then he senses the soul of another woman lurking beneath Meaghan’s skin…a woman who betrayed Áedán centuries ago and cursed him to spend eternity in the Book of Fennore.

Now Áedán must decide if love and trust are stronger than fear and revenge or he will everything, including the one woman who was meant to be his.

Watch the Haunting Embrace book trailer:  http://youtu.be/P0SilhfbJmk

Here’s a brief excerpt of a crucial moment when Áedán begins to put it all together.

Meaghan’s eyes widened as Áedán lowered his mouth to hers, but she didn’t turn away, nor did she push him away. He felt the pending rush of fate slam into him as his lips touched hers. Thoughts of the stolen moments on the cliffs that afternoon had all but consumed him. He’d craved the sensation of her arms clinging tight, the softness of her breasts crushed against the wall of his chest, her hips pressed to his. . . .

Now he felt like an anchored ship whipped by a storm that refused to let it idle securely at bay. He ripped free in a powerful surge, back­ing her to the wall, needing that solid surface to keep from hurling himself out to sea.

The eye of the storm was within him, the fury of it all around. It uprooted his convictions, his resentments, his foundation. For a thousand years, he’d loved Elan, despite her betrayal, despite her condemnation. For a thousand years, he’d hated her, bitterly tar­nished every memory, purposefully corroded every recollection until what he felt was a mordant collage of distorted untruths.

Meaghan made a soft sound that was so heartbreakingly familiar, so longed for, so desired that it made his knees buckle. She kissed him back with desperation, begging him with her lips to make Mickey and all the terror he represented go away. Áedán tried, even though he feared it might be futile.

He realized then that she might have once been the woman of his past, the woman who had destroyed him, but she was something else now. She was more . . . and less. Better . . . and worse. Different. Ex­citingly fresh, startlingly distinctive. She might flash glimpses of Elan’s eyes, but her scent, her lips . . . her kiss. Everything about Meaghan was unique.

Erin Quinn is an award winning author. Her books have been called “riveting,” “brilliantly plotted” and “beautifully written” and have won, placed or showed in the Booksellers Best, WILLA Award for Historical fiction, the Orange Rose, Readers Crown, Golden Quill, Best Books,  and Award of Excellence. Book four in her Mists of Ireland series, HAUNTING EMBRACE released October 4, 2011.  Also look for A Touch of Twilight—a Halloween anthology (excerpt) featuring Erin Quinn, Calista Fox, and Mary Leo

Thanks for stopping by to see me today!  Have you heard about my Spread the Word contest?  (Click for details).   For more information about me and my books, go to www.erinquinnbooks.com .  I’d also love to give away an autographed copy of Haunting Warrior, the second book in the Mists of Ireland series to one lucky commenter…so talk to me!

Contest open until 10-14-11

Buy links:  Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million Indie Bound
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Quinn’s Essentials


Coffee and the Long siblings with Christine d’Abo

Thank you so much for having me here on the blog today!

As an author, I have the privilege of being able to live out lives and careers that I can’t in real life. It gives me the chance to experience the thrills and challenges, all from the comfort of my computer chair. I mean, fore sure I’d love to go sky diving. I’ve had friends who’ve done it. But really, me jump out of a plane…yeah no.

So I make my characters to it instead!

When I sit around with my husband we will occasionally get into the whole, “when the kids are older, I’m totally going to quit my day job and do…” conversations. The one that often comes up is the idea of us opening our own coffee shop. We’re not unfamiliar with entrepreneurship, having owned our own computer store for years, and both of us would love to be our own bosses again. But it won’t happen for awhile. The idea didn’t go away though and I wanted to do something with it.

You see, I love coffee. Adore coffee. The smell and taste, the way it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Being able to spend every day working with it, learning about it, is a wonderful dream.  Sure, I could go work for Starbucks, but it wouldn’t be the same.

I ended up creating a family who opened their own coffee shop as a way of escaping the pressures of their nine-to-five jobs. Yes, it’s more work to run your own business, but you get a sense of satisfaction you can’t get from working for big business.

Ian, Sadie and Paige are living the dream on my behalf. They own a coffee shop in Toronto and have built the business from the ground up. Each story not only deals with their romantic relationships, but how they must work together as business partners as well as siblings.

Sadie must learn how to have confidence in not only herself as a business woman, but as a potential lover for her best friend Paul. Paige is faced with the challenges of being “the boss”, and balancing those pressures with her sexual leanings as a submissive. Ian buries himself in work so he isn’t forced to face what he considers his greatest sin, all while flirting with a mysterious customer.

The Long siblings have their work cut out for them. I hope you’ll come along for the ride…and a cup!

Where you can find me:

Website: www.christinedabo.com

Twitter: @Christine_dAbo

Blog: www.christinedabo.com/blog

JOANNE ROCK ASKS “WHAT’S IN A ROMANCE” and giveaway

I was over at How We Write Romance recently, blogging about “Voice” in a novel.  It’s something unique to each writer, something we alone can bring to our books to differentiate one “Boy Meets Girl” story from another.  Romance is a formidable industry based on that premise alone, and yet readers return to it year in and year out – sometimes daily – because writers put a different spin on it with the use of voice.

Afterward, I realized there was a little more to it than that.  Writers act as the gatekeepers for romance, deciding what to leave in and what to leave out, shaping the genre with those decisions.  Some writers include lots of steamy love scenes and some writers close the door.  Some authors include complex plots with secondary storylines and some choose a more streamlined approach.  That got me thinking… what elements are “must haves” in romance for me?

We could each make a list.  Some readers insist on deep, dark conflicts that really take them on an emotional journey.  Some readers much prefer a light read that’s truly escapist – something that will take them away from their problems and make them laugh.  I can go either way on that issue.  I like both kinds of stories, but I don’t like anything overly weepy.  If I’m going to cry, I prefer the “laughter through tears” moments.

I like compelling supporting characters in a romance and a strong hero.  By strong, I mean well-defined with a distinct personality.  Also, that hero has to treat the heroine well.  I’ve never been a fan of the uber Alphas who think they can get away running roughshod over the heroine.  I’d never tolerate that kind of guy in the real world, and I don’t care for him in fiction either.  I can find a hard-headed guy endearing, but only if he has a huge soft spot for the heroine.

Another must-have for me in romance is a conflict that shifts and changes as the relationship grows.  I don’t like it when one or the other of the main characters keep getting mad about the same old obstacles.  Deal with it!  Grow!  I like to see them overcoming one obstacle, only to be met with another bigger, badder variety of problem.

Personally, I also prefer a steamier story.  A physical relationship is one of the most gratifying benefits of battling your way to a happily ever after, so I’m always glad to see the hero and heroine reap the reward of their efforts.  But I don’t need to see steam on every page.  It’s also fun to see the characters try to deny the inevitable and feel the tension build.

So what are your romance must-haves?  Any “make or break” issues for you in a story?  Do you love marriage of convenience stories or get frustrated with secret babies?  Share with me some of your story preferences on the boards today and I’ll send one random poster a copy of my latest Blaze, RIDING THE STORM.