Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day Two: Welcome Jimmy Thomas


At the LIT manor today we welcome "Ren Man" (short for Renaissance) Jimmy Thomas. Yesterday we learned a bit about the man and his life. Today we're going to find out about a couple of new projects that Jimmy has going on.

The first is a "Private Photo Shoot" this is designed for the reader track at RT. Here is the description as stated best with detail on the convention site.

On Saturday, April 25; 2:15-3:15 Jimmy Thomas & a female cover model will bring something new, fun, creative and original to the Romantic Times BOOKlovers convention, by having a sensual, romance novel cover photo shoot together in a fully staged professional studio setting.

Those who attend this photo shoot will receive their own free autographed 8x10 image, giveaways, and the ability to see first hand how a romance novel photo shoot is actually done, experience the atmosphere, passion and inspiration put into each pose and expression during a romance novel photo shoot, and then see how the poses & images are transformed into novel cover art.

There will be various settings at the shoot; backdrops, chairs, an actual bed and more, as well as various props, indoor lighting, hair fans, posing music, and food & drinks. And to enhance the seductive mood, outfit changes will be done behind two paper-thin, tri-fold décor screens in the corner of the room with their silhouette shadows reflected on the paper screens.

Attendees will be allowed to take their own photographs (no flashes) of the 1-hour photo shoot (behind the scene style). After the photo shoot, Jimmy Thomas & a female cover model will be available to answer your questions and take photos.

Amanda: I don't think there has ever been an event like this at RT that I can remember(at least done publicly) in the last ten years that I've been attending. This I assume is to help launch your new business? Can you tell us more?

Jimmy: This is one of my new business ventures. Since I know what it takes to put together a romance novel cover shoot; finding the photographer, the models, location, setting, theme, props, make-up artist, hair stylist, wardrobe, wardrobe stylist, etc, the time that all takes and the expense, I figure since I shoot romantic and sensual images for my modeling portfolio anyway, I might as well sell them as stock for novel covers on a stock website.

Amanda: What is your this new stock photo website called?

Jimmy: www.RomanceNovelCovers.com

Amanda: Catchy title!! It sounds like a unique idea. Already you must own several hundred photos over the years. It sounds like you've thought a lot about this.

Jimmy: I've been on many online stock websites, especially the most popular ones, and I do searches for romantic, sensual, couples, hunks, men, sexy, etc. and I barely see anything that resembles a romance novel cover. So publishers have to go through modeling agencies to get all the talent needed to pull off the shot they need, and they pay WAY more than what I charge per image. So what better than to provide a huge library full of strictly romance novel cover type images for the publishers and/or authors to purchase directly and immediately :)

Amanda: I've surfed for similar photos for my website and I would have to agree with you. Will you only replace those that sell and keep the others available all the time, or how do you plan to keep it fresh and timely ?

Jimmy: I plan to take it a step further and arrange novel cover style photo shoots on a regular basis to keep feeding my stock website with newer and hotter images, of all genres and looks, of various female models,(hair color, etc.,) even take requests for what kind of shot is needed and what the female needs to look like. I have any look of female at the press of a 'send email' button, and same for photographers.

Amanda:Curious, you've posed for small press publishers , as well as established publishers, how is the process the same? different?

Jimmy:Actually, I don't see a difference on my end. I've been published with 'Doherty', 'Tom Associates', 'Redburn Press', 'Red Sage' and hmmmm, 'Kensington.' I don't see a process difference, other than some publishers just use the raw image, while others use graphic art along with the image.

Amanda: Certainly it is a unique premise and we wish you all the best with this new venture! Now I hear you have a pretty special CONTEST planned for those attending RT? Spill!

Jimmy: It's my Breakfast in Bed with Jimmy Thomas Raffle


Amanda: Well now , that's just too tempting! Tell us more!!!

Jimmy: On Saturday, April 25, at 8:30am. Breakfast (the winners choice) will be prepared by the resort and I will bring it to the winner's room (in my pajama's) I'll then sit on the bed and have personal one on one... conversation, eat, drink and ask as many questions as they would like. The whole thing will be videotaped for a keepsake. There will be 2nd & 3rd prizes and maybe more as well; gift baskets, autographed 8x10's, etc.

Amanda: You do come up with some interesting ideas, I have to say ;) That will most certanily be a keepsake for one lucky person!

Amanda: Now about this "Easter " thing....

Jimmy: Lol, this is a Hallmark Easter Card in stores now. You know how you see birthday cards of hunky guys, etc., well those guys are actually real people ;) They used one of my stock images I shot a few years back.



Amanda: What a hoot! is it available at Hallmark online?

Jimmy: Unfortunately, no, but I will be giving away a few signed cards at RT.

Amanda: Darn, well then we'll have to "hop" down to our local Hallmark stores to check it out!! LOL

I want to thank Jimmy for taking time from his many ventures to visit with us here at the Manor. My apologies that Lord C. M. played the recluse. The man sometimes is unpredicatable as they come. However, he does often serve we Lit ladies breakfast in bed. We have no complaints.;)

You'll have today to ask your questions and leave comments for Jimmy.

Coming up, our own Kristi Astor has some exciting news to share with us tomorrow here at the LIT Manor!! And Jimmy will be choosing the lucky winner of his photo giveaway!

Amanda

Monday, March 30, 2009

Welcome Jimmy Thomas to the Manor! Day One:



Do you ever wonder where in the world they find those guys who grace the covers of your fav romance book covers? Are they real, or the artistic concept of someones' vivid imagination? Today and tomorrow , here at the manor, we are fortunate to have visiting with us, cover model, Jimmy Thomas. From his humble beginnings in Plymouth, Massachusetts to receiving awards for his architectural design and international acclaim as a fitness model, there is a whole lot more going on with this guy than just a pretty face and a fine physique!!

Amanda: So lets start at the beginning...that's a very fine place to start(*humming the tune as I rifle through your bio pics! AHA!...sorry, Jimmy, I can't help myself-this pic is just too darn cute. Must share it;) You're the one on the far right;)

As I read through your bio, it looks like you've always been involved with something physical, pushing your level of endurance. Precision sculpting and strength of the body obviously quite important for doing modeling. I understand it was around 1998 when you got actively involved in the modeling industry. But give us the inside scoop ;) Its not like you were standing at a bus stop and someone came up to and asked if you were a cover model, right?

Jimmy: I had a few people say I should model, but I never saw myself as the model type at all (look-wise), then a DROP DEAD GORGEOUS girl approached me in a club (yes, she was sober, lol) with a huge smile and said... "Wow, tell me you model?" I looked behind me to see who she was talking to, lol. So I got into it then...... and started dating her! ;)

Amanda: She was an agent?? Probably not, eh? Okay, so what happened then?

Jimmy: I began test shooting for many photographers and very quickly picked up representation by 13 agencies throughout Florida alone. From commercial print, retail ads, catalogs & magazines, I've worked with company's like Tommy Hilfiger, Dillard's, Disney, Sports Authority, & many fitness magazines. I've worked with celebrity Model/Actress Amanda Swisten ("American Pie III"), and starred in music videos like the Persian Artist Ebi: Sedam Kardi. and Persian Artist Shohreh: Shabe Shekar.

Amanda: You've been a very busy man, besides your real-life job which is in architecture, correct? How did you go from that to pursuing a career in modeling?

Jimmy: I worked for an engineering firm in his first few years in Florida, then onto working for the largest architecture firm in the state of Florida, which was also the largest franchised architecture firm in America. I was there for 4 years where I custom designed up to 4-story, multi-million dollar homes, and left the firm as one of their Senior Designers, and with 2 "Designer of the Quarter" awards. In 2002, I moved to Los Angeles to further my interests. I still designed upper-scale homes, trained clients independently and also for 'CBS Television Studios' for the cast & crew. I continued his modeling and still taught self defense & kickboxing.

Amanda: The grass does not grow beneath your feet , does it? That was then, what about now? What do you have going on?

Jimmy: I have been studying martial arts off and on since 1992 where I used to teach it (including kickboxing), where I still do on a freelance basis, mostly for free if the timing is convenient, as I just really enjoy giving to others the knowledge I have learned. I've also been a Personal Trainer since the late 90's certified through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), which I also teach, train and guide people with their diets and workouts for free a lot. I'm a freelance Architectural Designer for a few companies throughout Los Angeles, which is the work I've been doing since the early/mid 90's. I've written an action-adventure screenplay, I've designed many websites including my own, and I used to manage about 50 Models where I've gotten many of them published in magazines like FHM and various fitness magazines, in catalogs, on commercials, to trade shows, etc. My latest projects I'm working on are a new cardio fitness concept similar to Tae-Bo only much better, 6 retail inventions in prototype stages, an organic product, a self help book, my romance novel stock photo website, and an animal abuse prevention organization.

Amanda: So you've been on a number of book covers in the past few years and really , we're not talking too long since 2001. That's quite an accomplishment! In talking to other cover models, I think its harder to break into this end of the business than it is to get a book published! Congratulations on your accomplishments! Here then is your latest? Now this just brings to mind a whole host of questions about this book!
In all of your portfolio pics, you look so natural, like you're really having a good time. And we haven't even touched on the portfolio for your newest endeavor! Whew! Those are "scorching!" Tell us, what do you like best about being a cover model?


Jimmy: Well, of course there's the holding beautiful female models close to me ;) but also that I can present a character for readers to envision as they're reading the stories, the chemistry between the female character and me to come through on the cover, or the boldness, strength, and heroic attitude of the character if I'm alone on the cover.

Amanda: Funny, thats usually the fantasy of the female readers as they look at those covers! LOL
But I think the writers (who are readers also, of course) would have to agree that those pics serve to inspire our imagination in creating our characters as well! So, um...thanks for that!!;)) Is there anything you don't like about being a cover model?

Jimmy: Not a single thing! I LOVE shooting for, and being on, novel covers.
!!

Amanda:With that, I would like to post a few more covers and give our bloggers a chance to ask you some questions. Tomorrow; the second half of our interview with the quintessential "Renaissance man" Jimmy Thomas. We'll be talking about a brilliant new idea that Jimmy launching at RT that is bound to do very well in this industry! Additionally, I've muscle-armed Jimmy (yeah, tough guy, me;) into giving up one of his promo publicity collage pics, featuring nine of his book covers-one at random from all who leave a comment on the blog! Good luck!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Inspiration




Hi everyone! I apologize for not being around the blog much this week. I finished the first draft of Sinful a few days ago and have started my Highlander Christmas novella which is due April 1. I'll admit to having a difficult time starting it. The novella is an introduction into the Annwyn world. Howevever, it wasn't the world that was holding me back, but the time of year. Christmas means winter. Winter in the Highlands of Scotland. Brrrrrrr. I'm dying over in my corner for the world for spring. I want to feel the sunshine on my face, the wind, softly scented, blowing through an open window. I want to clean my house (before it's condemned!)I want to walk barefoot in the grass. All in all, my mind is on spring, not winter. So, I wasn't into writing the novella.

However, the time has come. It can no longer be put off. Writing is my job, not a hobby. I can't just say 'oh, I'll write that when I feel like it'. That has been the most difficult transition for me as a published author~managing deadlines. I have issues with discipline, not imagination. I really have to find a way to change that. Thankfully, though, the muse has come and saved my fanny!

So, when I looked at the calendar and realized how many days I have left till the end of the month, and did my quick word count calculation, I knew it could no longer be put off. So, I began thinking of my novella. I knew where I wanted to go, knew what had to be in there.

The hero is a prince of the Sidhe. The heroine stumbles into a forest which happens to be the entrance into the Celtic Otherworld Annwyn. So, the introduction into Annwyn is there. However, in the Annwyn Chronicles, all the heroes are shapeshifters of Celtic origins. I knew that my prince Daegan should be, too. That's when I began researching my hefty book on Celtic Mythology and Folklore and came across a wonderful creature who would look mystical and regal in the snow, not to mention the wilds of Scotland.

That animal is the White Hart. Really, a hart is a deer, or stag. He's pure white. Very rare. He's been revered since pagan times as a the king of the forest. He presents to humans as a sign the Otherworld is near, or when there has been a great trespass against Otherworld inhabitants by humans. The great hart also figured into Aruthurian tales, and medieval beliefs. The Christians incorporated the White Hart as a means of drawing pagans into their religion. In early Christianity, the White Hart represented Christ. The whiteness meaning pure, and the rareity of the animal parralleling the uniqueness of Jesus.

This year, in the New Forest in England, a white hart has been spotted. The locals have named him snowy, and the people are fiercely protective of him. He's just a youngling, the locals estimate about two years old.

The White Hart must have been an awe inspiring site to the early pagans. Imagine, a pure white deer standing out amongst dozens of fawn colored fallows. No wonder they worshipped this guy.

So, naturally, I made Daegan a White Hart. A majestic beast who is king of the forest and ruler of the Sidhe. I found the picture above and fell in love with the sweet face of this animal.

I'm not quite certain, that if I had the ability to shift into any shape that I would pick a deer. I'd definitely pick something that could be pampered and adored and sleep for twenty hours of the day! lol! I'd also like to be hand fed, not kill my own food. Ewwww!
If you had that ability, what animal whould you shift into?

Best wishes for a spring-like weekend in your neck of the woods!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Title Amanda's next book contest

So here's the deal...
My current WIP has too long of a title and hence my editor would like to see it shortened. I admit, I'm having a devil of a time, so I'm turning to your creative minds in hope that you can come up with a sensual, sexy, steamy word--a single word --or no more than three--that best describes this picture and premise(see below)

* I also figure you all helped name Lord Craven-Moore, how much more difficult can it be to name a book?

You all saw a few days back, that gorgeous pic I'm using for inspiration of my charismatic hero/artist in this story. Henry Cavill is MOST inspiring indeed. I won't post the collage of pics I've gathered together, but here is the best of the bunch in my humble opinion;) So, here it is again, as a refresher of Mr Thomas Everett Rodin-bad boy artist and lover-extraordinaire..Le' sigh*

My current WIP features my Pre-Raphaelite artist, Mr. Thomas Everett Rodin, from Diary of Cozette. This is a book comprised of three novellas, three ordinary women selected personally by Mr. Rodin to be his muses for his famous artwork. Catapuletd to celebrtity status and yet looked upon as trollopes by some, each novella is told from their perspectives as they recap the first time they meet Mr Rodin, their affairs both personal and business with him and what becomes of each woman.


What I need from you is your offering of " TITLES" for this Victorian-set book about a master artist and his muses. ONE WORD DESCRIPTIVE TITLES PREFERRED, BUT ALL TITLES ACCEPTED.

IF YOUR TITLE IS CHOSEN,( and this decision is between my editor and me) YOU WILL RECEIVE CREDIT FOR IT IN THE BOOKS' ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.

You have until Thursday at noon and I will gather all the entries together.In the event that none of the entries are chosen, (aside from being entirely surprised,) I will still offer one concillatory prize selected from all that offer an entry.

Just post your "Title Amanda's Book" here at the LIT blog

Good luck and get those creative juices flowing!

Amanda

Winner of Dr Suess collection

And the winner is....((((ELLIE)))))
You have won five of Dr. Suess's classic storybooks-
Congratulations ;) Please email me with your snail mail addy at
amanda@amandamcintyre dot net

Woohoo ;))

Amanda

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"OH, THE THINGS YOU CAN THINK!"



If anyone had a handle on how delightful the world can be when you allow imagination to take charge, it was Theodore Suess Geisal, more commonly known to the world as Dr. Suess. Most of us at one time have been delighted by or delighted a child by reading one of the 44 books he wrote and illustrated, or perhaps watched one of the eleven children's television programs based from his work, or if you are very lucky, perhaps you've seen the Broadway musical, "Suessical," or enjoyed the recent full-length motion picture, "Horton Hears a Who." (Rumor has it more full length Dr. Suess book-to-films are on the way!)

Despite the fact that Dr. Suess is primarily a "children's author" it can be said with out a doubt, his legacy in books (which I boast of having at least half of and I bet you do, too) continues to inspire and fuel the imaginations of folks from the 5 to 95!

For the past three months, I have had my imagination fueled, my feet worn to a frazzle, and my heart swelled with the pride in assisting as costumier, set and prop design for our high school spring musical production of "Suessical!"

It was a collaboration of creativity from the art teacher who painted the backdrop, to the musicians coordinating the music , a young dance instruction teaching upteen sets of choreography for over a dozen songs, to a vocal music director learning to conduct his first "pit " orchestra and give stage direction simultaneously. It was the first time I had taken the role of putting together costumes and props for a cast of over thirty-two young high school thespians(and one junior high fill-in) Of overseeing three of those actors performing in duel roles (hence costumes changes on the head of a pin timing) and set design that included manuevering around a large rectangle opening center stage where the pit was parked!

Two to three hours a day(sometimes more) collectively, solo and small ensemble, these students spent learning music, spoken lines and choreography for this show. Last week they performed starting Monday for elementary students( the easy crowd) and Wednesday for the high school students( their peers- the toughest crowd.) And every one of these students maintained homework, work, other sports and life in general outside of all of this. If that isn't a lesson in tenacity, I don't know what is.

So what has this experience got to do with writing, you ask? Sure, the guy was a famous childrens author/illustrator, but what has this got to do with writing steamy historical ?

Absolutely nothing if you think of it in boxed-in terms. Everything, if you adhere to one of the musicals most famous musical numbers, "Oh, the things you can think!"

Ted/Dr.Suess and his many quirky, odd little characters were all about imagination. Prompting children to use their imaginations, to think of the potential and possibilities. To think outside the box. And it is no less true as you grow older.

In one scene, Horton the Elephant sits in a tree, guarding an egg for a self-centered wayward bird, while he laments over his lost friends in Whoville, who reside on the precarious side of a thistle that has been stolen and tossed into a patch of thistles. All looks pretty hopeless frankly and the elephant appears to be a bit like a naive putz who allows people to take advantage of his kindness and loyalty.
But there is something in Horton's character, mainly his heart. Gertie, his shy little neighbor bird notices, but no one else. Gerties sees Horton's kind heart, his resilence to stand firm to help those in need, those who can do nothing at all to better Horton's position with the naysayers. But Horton sees beyond that, he believes in his integrity when he says against all odds, "I meant what I said, and I said what I meant, an elephant's faithful 100%."

Life is like that sometimes. Writing is no different. Especially when you are stuck in the middle of that book and your characters are arguing with you, your editor wants the manuscript and your husband has placed a picture in your spot at the dining room table. Aside from the contractual obligation,teh externals go to war with the internal beleif of that story inside you. Is it still there? Do I still have what it takes? Will my readers understand this book? Will they love my characters, no matter what?

So here is what I learned (yes,I am always learning...)
It is that belief in that story, the very first seedling-no matter how it grows, how it is pruned, or packaged, or planted--that is the magic that unfolds when a reader opens that book.

"Oh the places you'll go," as Suess would say. When taking potential and possibility as your writing partners, combined with imagiantion and belief in yourself--well, there is no limit to what can be accomplished.

Books are but the gateways to the imagination! A fantastic place where "Anything's Possible!"(also from Suessical the Musical)

So, my thanks to all you readers, all you thinkers who yearn to satisfy your imagination. Who want to be taken to places and meet interesting people and color outside of the box. It is that hunger, in part, that is the inspiration fueling our desire to keep writing our stories.

And further I would encourage that you pass it forward, this imagination of yours;)
Whether to a child, grandchild, whether to a nursing home patient to an elderly person next door. Volunteer to read at your libraries, hospitals, schools and nursing homes. Support national days that celebrate reading, start bookclubs, support your local booksellers.

And should you have opportunity to see a production of "Suessical the Musical" by yourself or with many, I highly recommend it!


Currently, my favorite Suess book is "Horton Hears a Who." (stand to reason since much of the musical is based on this book)
What is YOUR favorite Dr Suess book-either now or then. One winner will be selected from comments to receive five new Dr Suess books to be enjoyed by the Dr Suess fan in your life!

Also, if you are in the neighborhood, stop by Emily Bryan's on Monday! I'm chatting a bit in depth about my characters in DIARY OF COZETTE and talking about my upcoming summer Dark Ages medieval release, TORTURED! Her internet blog address is:
http://www.emilybryan.blogspot.com
Hope you'll stop in , we'll be giving away copies of Cozette!


Have a wonderful, imaginative day!
Amanda














Friday, March 20, 2009

It's Lady Day, or the Vernal Equinox!


Well, it's the first day of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere and as I'm writing this, I'm sitting at my kitchen table which is set before a window that faces East. The sun is a lovely bright orange disc that is rising above the Crown forest that sits in a field which is pretty much my backyard. It's very beautiful. Very new age, as my husband likes to say. And that made me decide to do this post today on the Vernal Equinox. (That, and I'm deep in Druidic/Celtic mythology research, and I came across some cool facts in my research that I wanted to share!)

So, in ancient times the Celts (along with most primitive peoples) used the progress of the sun and moon and stars to dictate the seasons, when to plant crops, when to harvest, and most importantly, when the dark and cold of winter would give up its hold. I doubt our ancestors were any less eager than us for those first signs of spring!

The Vernal Equinox happened this morning at 0744EST. This means that day and night are in perfect balance, approximately 12hrs of each, daylight and darkness. The Celtic mythology was that the god of light wins over his twin brother, the god of darkness. As victor, he claims for his mate, the goddess who has turned into her virgin aspect somewhere between the Winter Solstice and now. (The Triple Goddess of Celtic lore has three 'faces', they are that of virgin, mother and crone.) So, the god of light wins, takes the virgin goddess as his mate, and conception begins, thus giving us a child nine months later, thus beginning the cycle of rebirth, which is another year of sowing and growing. (Interestingly, the Celts believed everything was renewing in Winter. So, how we look upon winter and how the Celts did are opposite.)

So, how did it become known as Lady's Day? (Alban Eiler~ in Druidic tongue) Well, the Celts were a race of people who worshipped nature. And procreation and childbearing was considered part of that nature. They revered women, held them in high esteem and found them mystical, 'otherworldly' creatures for their ability to menstruate monthly (you know that saying men have now, 'never trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn't die~well imagine what men thought of menstruation back then!) From menstruation we move on to even more fascinating skills, which is the ability to conceive and grow with child, then deliver them and feed them. I know it all seems like old hat for us now in the 21st century, but imagine the wonder of it back then, when little could be explained. When science was magic. Our ancestors must have been amazed at what us women could do with our bodies! Too bad the modern man has forgotten the powers of us women~but I digress! lol!

So, women held a very high place in Celtic mythology. Let's face it, without women, there would be no more warriors, no Druid priests, no other women to take as mates. The life cycle started and ended with women. Just as it does with the goddess in her virigin state. This is the first connotation of women with the Vernal Equinox.

The next female association with this date, is that, this is generally the accepted date of the Aunniciation of the Virgin Mary in Christianity. This is the time when Gabriel visited Mary and told her she was with child. At this date, the timing is right, for nine months after it is Christmas (Yule to the Celts and Druids) and the birth of Jesus in Christian religion, and the birth of a new growing year in Celtic.

Also, it the time when the Goddess of Celtic lore descends to the Underworld for three days. After that, she rises again, to be reborn (like Jesus' death on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter Sunday) Three is a sacred number in Celtic mythos, as well, the darkness represents the new moon which is unable to be seen in the sky for three nights. The Celts celebrated that darkness by telling stories of the goodess and her struggle to win out over the darkness of the Underworld.

If I were to be authentic in my Celtic/Druid celebration, I'd be posting this after the party so to speak. The Celts calculated their days from sundown to sundown. The moon, was held in higher regard than the sun in their culture, probably because of of it's changes phases, as well as the tides, and the calcuation of a woman's menstrual cycle. As such, every celebration was started at sundown, when the moon would rise. The celebrations all started the evenign before the date of the holiday. All the celebrations were outside, usually conducted by surrounding forests with oak trees. There would be huge bon fires, and the revelry would last all night long. So, really, I should have been outside last night dancing naked around the bon fire, but you know, my modern sensibilities had me in bed, sleeping, fully clothed! Now, if I were a great goddess, that might be a different story!

But that's it, that's how we get Lady's Day, or thereabouts, anyway. It's the celebration of women, fertility and rebirth. It is the time of Spring when light wins out over dark and the soul feels lighter and our outlook is hopefully sunnier.
It is the time when women truly shined with their powers. Which got me to thinking, that if it's truly Lady's Day and we women are to be revered, then our men should get to revering us, don't you think? LOL!

So, if you were a great Celtic goddess with unlimited powers what you would do for the day? What would you do for youself?

Happy Lady's Day to all our fabulous ladies who come to visit us!
BTW, this awesome picture is by digital artis Sharon George. I found this image while surfing the net for my goddess. I like her. Strong yet womanly and it feels very spring like!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Redemption....


Don't ask me why, but lately I've been thinking a lot about characters and redemption--and being able to forgive characters' transgressions. The heroine I'm currently writing (from A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, Oct. '09) did something really stupid in the past, which led to another occurrence that I hope modern readers can forgive her for. I *think* they will be able to, mostly because I've made it clear that she isn't the stupid 19-year-old girl that she was then, that she's 'paid' for it, and--here's the biggest part--in many ways, she was simply a victim to her time (the Edwardian era--so, early 1900's) and circumstances.

Many writers and readers are drawn to 'bad boy' heroes, but they must be redeemed, or we, as writers and readers, must at least be able to understand why they do what they do, and be able to forgive it. In romance, you see a lot of "He's a thief, yes, but he's secretly stealing to feed his starving siblings," or "He's a rake, yes, but he was abandoned/rejected by both his mother and father and therefore is emotionally detached and afraid to get close to someone, lest they abandon/reject him, too." (I confess, I used a variation on this in my June 2007 release, TO LOVE A SCOUNDREL). Even some of our favorite romantic movies have had similar 'excuses' when our hero has done something cruel to our heroine ("Becoming Jane," for instance. How could you NOT forgive poor Mr. Lefroy? Jane did.)


But where do you draw the line? Just last week, we brought up Anakin Skywalker as an example of a hot, tortured hero. I confess, I'm a major Star Wars nerd, and while I can easily point out the negatives (and there's tons of them!) in the three newer Star Wars movies, I still loved them, and mostly was intrigued by Anakin's character arc. What made him turn from the curious/smart little boy who grew into a young man passionately in love with Padme, a Jedi with rare talents who had the potential to 'bring balance to the Force'-- to the evil Sith Lord, Darth Vader?

Just as I assumed, it wasn't just some fanatical quest for power that led him to the Dark Side--it was his love for Padme (by then his wife, pregnant with his child). He was convinced she was going to die, and he would have done *anything* to save her, including casting his lot with the 'bad guys.' And that's exactly what he did. But what about there near the end of "Revenge of the Sith," when his pregnant wife showed up and tried to reason with him...only he'd become so twisted that he became jealous and crazed, and strangled her, almost killing her?


At that point, can we still sympathize with Anakin? Can we still forgive him, since he only started down that dark path *because* he loved her so much and was desperate to save her? Is it easier to forgive him because we can see that he takes no joy in doing 'bad stuff' (see the top picture--notice the tears)? Is it easier because we've already seen "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi," and we know that ultimately Anakin/Vader kills the Emperor and saves Luke, redeeming himself? Does it change the way you look at Vader, if you see the original three movies now?

Can you fully accept a 'redeemed' hero (or heroine!) who's done some really bad things in the past? Does he need to have had sympathetic reasons for having done his misdeeds in order for him to be fully redeemed in your eyes (i.e., stealing to feed starving siblings, or Vader's fanatical desire to save Padme's life)? If so, is there somewhere you draw the line? (for example, I could *never* accept a redeemed rapist--no matter what the circumstances were--but I am able to sympathize with Anakin/Vader). Some thoughts to ponder...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wicked Wednesday- the Look


You know sometimes for me , all it takes is "the look" to turn my knees to jelly.
In my current WIP (The Master and the Muses-working title) my artist from Diary of Cozette-Thomas Rodin, will be featured in the lives of the three women he chooses to serve as his models for his famous paintings. But perhaps the real creativity is what goes on beyond the canvas!

Back in jolly old Victorian England there were double standards for men and women, as well as by social class. For a woman to sit for an artist, or pose nude for him labeled her as a prostitute and tarnished her reputation for ever finding a "good" husband. And yet, these models became celebrities for the faces being depicted on artwork bought by England's elite and shown at the spring Art show at the Royal Academy.

Mr. Rodin has a charm, unsurpassed in the ways of seduction. His tormented childhood is masked with an obession for his art and his passion for women. The lines of desire to capture the essence of both become the driving force in his life. Men want to be like him, women want to be with him.

Henry Cavill, shown here is my inspiration for Mr. Rodin. What would you do if you got this look?

Amanda

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St Patrick's Day


So engrossed with far too many things on my plate these days, (anyone else ever have days like this?;) I realized that I have a wee bit of Faery magic to share with ye on this special day! The daily quote is one that precedes my story, set in Ireland, 1947. It is the story of man who upon meeting a faery at a tender age, dedicates his entire life to his belief and love for her, realizing it is his belief in her existence that keeps her alive.

I share this duet anthology with the very gifted Isabo Kelly. And the story of how we came to be in this duet together is as serendipitous as the magical stories!

Here is a bit of the opening chapter of
Tirnan'Oge By A. McIntyre

William glanced up with his usual cynical expression and shook his head as if he couldn’t believe that Roan still held hope of the stories being true. “You’d have to show me proof, Roan McNamara. Solid proof.”
Proof? “The legends of the old stories weren’t created from proof. My Granda says that they are born of the heart and soul of our country, of years of magic and things that cannot be explained. He said they are like a giant fabric woven together by the passing down from generation to generation. Has your own Granda not ever told you these things, William?” Roan was frustrated that his friend wouldn’t share his beliefs, as if he were blind to the very idea all together. There was no possibility in William’s life, it was all about the here and now.
“What sort of proof would you expect?” Roan scoffed. “You know as well as I do that faeries are dangerous. One false step and you could be swept into a gallitrap.” Roan haphazardly tossed a stick into the lake, wishing in the next second that he’d not challenged his friend. William was not the type to back down easily. In fact, the more dangerous the challenge, the greater he encouraged it. It was an attribute about his friend that both frightened him and caused envy.
“Let’s see. I s’pose there are a few ways you could go about this.” He crossed his leg over his knee and stared into the endless blue afternoon sky. A smile crept over his face. “You could take something from one of the faeries. You know a piece of clothing or a working tool.”
“Yeah, like I could walk up to a faery ring and take something as easy as you please.” Roan gave a short laugh, secretly hoping his friend would see the absurdity of the idea and perhaps drop the entire thing.
“Or there is another option.”
Roan’s lips were suddenly as parched as his throat. How long had it been since morning breakfast? Surely the sun and swimming had caused the problem. He licked his lips and cleared his throat searching for any leftover moisture.
“Aren’t you a wee bit interested in your other option?”
Roan’s palms began to sweat. A cool, clamminess crawled up his forearms. His inquisitive nature was forever getting the best of him. “What other option, then?”
“That’s m’boy. Forever the curious type—it’s what I like about you, Roan.” William grinned as he walked up beside him.
“Or what?” he repeated with a sternness in his voice. Roan’s agitation rose with anticipation of the challenge that was sure to emit from William’s mouth.
“You find a young faery spirit—what do they call those, again?” William’s face scrunched up in thought, but the slight telltale sign of a smile remained on his face.
“Sighoge.” Roan mumbled under his breath hoping his friend wouldn’t snag the word too quickly.
“Ah yes, that’s it!” William pointed a stubby finger toward Roan’s nose. “Find one of those and kiss her.”
“Are you daft? Do you think they just litter themselves about for all to see? Haven’t you listened to any of the stories?” Roan frowned at his friend and headed back up the bank without a response.
A hand clamped down on his shoulder.
“You’re afraid.”
“Am not.” Roan didn’t turn around for fear that William would see the fear in his eyes.
“Then do as I ask. If faeries, or more specifically Sighoge, do not exist, then there’s no harm done. I will once and for all, allow you to free yourself from these ridiculous thoughts of your childhood. I’m doing you a favor, really.”
“And what if they do exist, then you’ll believe me? Or at least you’ll believe that they do exist, anyway, and stop bloody teasing me all the time about it?” Roan spun toward William, seething with the anger of his bruised pride.
“Sure.” William shrugged. “If you can handle what legend says about kissing a Sighoge.”
Yet another challenge loomed over Roan’s head at the reminder of the myth. His gaze caught the steely glare of his friend. “They say that a man who kisses a young faery spirit is lost forever, that the madness of love will fall upon him.”
William patted Roan’s shoulder twice and grinned. “Ah, I wouldn’t worry too much. Chances are, you aren’t likely to spot a young faery spirit around here for a very long time. My Da’s geese have surely scared them off by now.”
Roan stuffed his hands in his pockets and stared at his feet as they walked the rest of the way back to town in silence. They’d sneaked out of the last class of school for the second time this week and had to get back before the final bell. Today, William decided to tell the teacher they’d fallen asleep at the last recess and the bell had awakened them.
Unsure what was dancing in William’s head, Roan knew that the vision of a beautiful, young faery dancing in his would haunt him the rest of his life—or at least until he could prove William wrong.
“My Da’s watch!” Roan made a sudden stop in the middle of the dirt road. “I left it at the lake. Go on, I’ll be there soon as I can..”
“You’ll be late, Roan,” William called after him.
“I can’t leave it,” he replied his feet propelling him back toward the spot on the bank where they’d been.
The priceless heirloom was given to him by his Ma on his eleventh birthday. She’d taken ill and was unable to work and so gave him the watch from the few left after they’d buried his Da. Four months later, they buried his Ma.
So engrossed in his thoughts, he missed the flat stone jutting up at the edge of the road. Down the grassy hillside, hurled over and over, he careened toward the large oak tree and the steep ravine below. His body bounced once and then once more, before coming to a sudden stop.
Roan lay flat on his back, his head spinning, eyes closed, and nauseous, trying to regain his scrambled senses. After a moment, he opened his eyes.
Peering at him, studying closely his face was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. Her eyes, dark blue and shimmering, held a depth unlike any he’d ever seen. Her skin, pale blue as a Celtic moon, fairly glowed with an ethereal radiance. And her mouth—
Roan’s gaze drew in the shape of her mouth, lips that held the dew of a misty morning and pink as a perfect rose. It was a stirring sight for his pre-adolescent dreams.
She tipped her head as if she knew what he was thinking, but she said nothing.
Roan swallowed hard, not wishing to make any sudden moves lest he frighten her. He was frightened enough for the both of them. Just the same, he wasn’t ready to go mad just yet.
“Please—” Roan found his voice. “Whatever you do, don’t kiss me. I beg of you.”
A wisp of sadness crossed over her pale silvery blue face before she leaned back and smiled. To Roan, the effect was every bit as beautiful as a precious and perfect spring morning.
Perhaps he’d spoken in haste.
Faery Song (June 2008, Crescent Moon Press) E-book, Trade paperback

Winner -- and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

zwani.com myspace graphic comments


We have a winner for the signed copy of Jeri Westerson's VEIL OF LIES! RachieG, you're the winner! Please e-mail me at KristiAstor@aol.com so we can work out the details!

Thank you all for joining in the discussion yesterday, and thanks again to Jeri for taking time to visit the Manor!

And everyone please note, we've added yet another editor to our upcoming guest blogger schedule! Harlequin Spice editor Lara Hyde, who is editing our Celtic Spice anthologies (WINTER'S DESIRE, BELTANE FIRES, DARK PLEASURES), will be joining us here at the Manor on April 7th-8th!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Guest Blogger Jeri Westerson in the Manor!


Everyone please give a warm LIT welcome to today's guest blogger, Jeri Westerson, author of VEIL OF LIES! Jeri's going to talk about making the Middle Ages sexy--YUM! She's also going to be giving away a signed copy of VEIL OF LIES to one randomly selected commenter, so be sure and check back later to see if you've won!

Jeri, take it away.....


The Sexy Middle Ages?

I am very grateful to be a guest blogger today on Lust in Time. Though I do write historicals, they aren’t romance. I write medieval mysteries, and though the primary focus is not on romance per say, there are romantic elements to the book. VEIL OF LIES is my debut, and when I sculpted this series I knew it had to have a really great detective to stand above the crowd of other medieval mysteries. There are nuns and monks aplenty who solve crimes in the Middle Ages, but my detective, Crispin Guest, is definitely no monk.

First and foremost, I wanted Crispin to be a knight, or more accurately, an ex-knight. He lost it all--wealth, status, knighthood--when he committed treason. So you can understand that he might be a wee bit cranky under the circumstances. Left with nothing but the clothes on his back and banished from court, he makes his way on the mean streets of 14th century London as a private eye, earning the hard-won sixpence a day...plus expenses.

He’s a sexy fellow, to be sure, using his fighting skills, his intellect, and the occasional foray into the sack with a lovely femme fatale.. A man’s gotta solve the crime somehow.

The medieval setting is for real and so is the history. John of Gaunt, the venerable duke of Lancaster is Crispin’s mentor and even Geoffrey Chaucer will make an appearance in a future volume. The sensibilities are medieval. And murder is universal. But one of the reasons I settled on writing about this time period is the intriguing, romantic nature of the Middle Ages.

I mean, right off the bat, a girl notices the clothes. Am I right? Flowing gowns, veils, wimples. And despite some anachronistic book covers, there was no low cut décolletage. Not yet. We had to wait around for the Renaissance to get that started. No, we had wonderful cote-hardies and gowns with long sleeves that touched the ground with embroidery and fur and jewels sewn into the bodice. That’s where it starts for most of us.

Then for some of us, it’s men in tights and, let’s face it, cod pieces. But before we get too crude here, we can move directly on to armor. Some women like a man in uniform but I’m the type to like them in armor. From toe to helm. Because a man in armor means business. He’s armed, he’s ready for a fight, and there’s no backing down. Just smell the testosterone! And it’s just plain mythology that he couldn’t move in armor. A knight in full harness, as it’s called, could leap, dance, roll, mount a horse (and in the case of John Boorman’s 1981 film Excalibur, mount a few other things). In short, he could do anything he needed to do. Except swim. Not really recommended.

A knight is a formidable example of what we might call “masculinity” and is therefore prey to all the symbols and Freudian whatnots we care to scramble together. Plainly, it’s sexy. Throw in a sword or a lance and the Freudians are having their very own hootenanny.

Notice we haven’t even touched on the historical events of the era. I was just getting to that. I was certainly always a history buff. I grew up in a household of rabid Anglophile parents who breathed the Middle Ages. Dinner table conversation consisted on the finer points of the British monarchy. So what else was I gonna write about? The intricacies of history and warfare of the period intrigued. And though war is never sexy, we do have jousts, fake war if you will, with man and beast against another man and beast. The ultimate contest of power. If that ain’t sexy...

But there are also other absorbing aspects of the era (and a long era it was. Usually when discussing the Middle Ages, we are talking about roughly one thousand years, from AD 500 to 1500). Borders changed like the tides. Technology (yes, technology. Eyeglasses, gunpowder, compasses, buttons and button holes, printing press, to name a few) changed and spread. Religion—Islam began around the 7th century—changed the face of Europe and Asia. Court intrigues, murders, machinations, usurping kings; what’s not to like?

Sexy? You bet. With marriages arranged and mistresses on the side, there was more going on in the bedrooms than on the battlefields. And some of those born on the wrong side of the blanket formed dynasties of their own. Yes, there is a lot about the Middle Ages to keep anyone steeped in stories for a long time to come. At least I sure hope so.

Pop on over to my blog www.Getting-Medieval.com for articles on history and mystery and to my website www.JeriWesterson.com for a peek into the first chapter of VEIL OF LIES. And even Crispin has his own blog at www.CrispinGuest.com.

Noir and hard-boiled fiction seem to be in Jeri Westerson’s blood. She was born and bred on the mean streets of Los Angeles, inhaling smog and enduring earthquakes. Newspaper reporter, would-be actress, graphic artist; these are the things she spent her time on before becoming a novelist. She took all that gritty edginess and plunked it into the Middle Ages, creating the newest hard-boiled detective, Crispin Guest; disgraced knight turned PI, solving crimes on the mean streets of 14th century London in her debut Medieval Noir, VEIL OF LIES. Booklist says, “...this authentically detailed medieval mystery has an intriguingly dark edge.” Library Journal gave it a starred review: “...Westerson's mystery debut is a brilliant tale of survival in a hostile environment, where anything can lead to death...Highly recommended.” Historical Novel Society Review made it an Editor’s Choice title: “...To say Veil of Lies is a remarkable novel doesn’t do the book justice. Just when the plot seems set on a fixed course, the author deftly arranges another neat surprise and keeps the pages turning...” Look for the next in the series SERPENT IN THE THORNS this fall.

Jeri, thanks so much for joining us today! I'm so looking forward to reading VEIL OF LIES! It sounds simply wonderful.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Addicted; What's Hot in Romance

Hi All
Hope everyone has enjoyed lovely weather this weekend! We are, but I slept during it all because I was working night shift! Blech!

I'd just like you to know (and I didn't want to interrupt Jeri's day tomorrow to do so) that I'll be on blogtalkradio/What's Hot In Romance talking about Addicted tomorrow March 16th from 9:30-1030pm EST. Addicted was All Romance e-Books booclub pick, so I'm sure there's going to be some interesting points of views and discussion.

If you can make it, or even if you want to check out the archived chat after it's done airing, please do. And I'd love to see everyone there!

Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive of Addicted. MUCH appreciated!

Now, let's see if I can I get that link to work: Blogtalkradio/What's-Hot-In-Romance

Friday, March 13, 2009

WINTER'S DESIRE Cover!




At last, we have a cover!! And it's gorgeous, too....Look for it on shelves November 2009!

And don't forget to stop by on Monday, when we'll have guest blogger Jeri Westerson in the house, talking about making the middle ages sexy! She'll also be giving away a signed copy of her sexy historical mystery, VEIL OF LIES, to one lucky commenter. See you then!

*** For those of you interested in an editor's perspective about hot historicals, Charlotte/Sophie's NAL editor, the gracious Tracy Bernstein, has agreed to guest blog here in late May--even sticking around to answer questions/comments from YOU, our loyal LIT readers! We'll let you know the exact date soon, so stay tuned! We're also planning on lining up a few more industry guests in the near future. ***

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Muse



When Sharon Page was at the manor this week, the discussion turned to how writers become inspired to write. Many things influence us, from music, to movies. I'm no exception. (Currently Broken by Seether with Amy Lee is playing on my 'Sinful' soundtrack) Check out the song on Youtube and listen to the lyrics~So Wallingford!

As I'm writing Sinful, I'm also writing the first book of the Annwyn Chronicles, entitled Velvet Haven. The series is based on Celtic/Druid folklore and mythology. I know quite a bit about the Celts but no so much about their religion, or religious leaders, the Druids. I knew I needed to research it. I'm also at a point in the book where I need to start introducing a shady character, known simply as the Destroyer.(I'm currently looking for a cooler name for this character, so if the muse strikes you, suggest away!) This character will grow over the books and he has the ability to either be good or bad. (I'm so into the Annakin Skywalker/Darth Vadar paradox) And this Destroyer is very much like that sort of character. His master is known as the Soul Stealer, and he is of course, the apprentice. Their power is not the force, but necromancy, or black magic.

So, last night I was googling druids and black magic and necromancy and came across some fascintating tales but most inspiring were a few pictures. Looking at these pictures sparked a new path that I know I must explore in this character's evolution.

And that's the muse. With one glance, one word, she can start working and showing you the path. I had never thought of taking this character down such a path, or this scene that I wrote. I never would have imagined how something so vivid could be gleaned from looking at pictures. What's particularly interesting is that my muse was inspired by someone else's muse. The inspiration of the person or persons who created these images. Their medium is art, mine is the writen word. Yet the imagination muse flowed both ways.

Kind of fascintating, isn't it, now the muse can carry over into other dimensions. In the immortal words of the very wise and ultra sexy Captain Jack Sparrow...'it's a funny 'ol world, aint it?'

So, what has recently inspired you to be creative?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lord Craven-Moore's cousin is paying a visit!


I promised home movies of the Manor and will deliver!
A few editorial and technical glitches have created some minor delays, but I assure you it's well worth the wait!

As Charlotte indicated, once in a while we like to mix things up here at the Manor, and on that note-- I'd like to announce (because it is, after all, Wicked Wednesday)
that Lord Craven-Moore's cousin, Jimmy Thomas (of Portuguese descent, I was corrected, though he admits to looking Italian), is coming to the Manor for a visit!

Jimmy will visit with us about how he got started in the modeling business and about the special event he has going on this year at the Romantic Times BOOKlovers convention. And he'll be available to answer any questions you might want to ask a refined, seriously HAWT, and genuinely nice-guy cover model.

Mark your calendar for March 30-31 to welcome Jimmy Thomas to the LIT Manor!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sharon Has Spoken....

And the winners are....

The Club to Sarabelle

Black Silk, to Barbara

Choice of Sharon's backlist to Amy C.

So please email me at charlotte@charlottefeatherstone.net with your snail mail addy and I'll forward it to Sharon.

Thanks to all who welcomed Sharon so warmly!

The Club and Black Silk Giveaway With Sharon Page!


This is our last day with Sharon here at LIT (pout), well until the next release anyway! lol! Enjoy a bit more about Sharon, and return later this evening when we reveal the lucky two winners of The Club and Black Silk. Thanks to Sharon for taking the time to Blog with us! To Sharon, a hearty LIT Huzzah!
***
Charlotte suggested I tell you a little bit about me and my writing, which I thought sounded like a fun idea.

Right now, I’m in the middle of revisions (which are due in about a month), and (as usual) my hair is on fire . Honestly, at my last Romance Writers of America meeting, my critique partner was trying to blow my hair out (in fun, of course). Right now, sneaking out of the house to the corner store for five minutes is an exciting escape from the computer. I’m the mother of two small children, and I’m a classic example of the sandwich generation as my parents are getting older.

Erotic romance was just becoming popular when I sold my very first novel. The timing was perfect for me. Originally, I was inspired to write by reading sexy women’s fiction such as Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying and Gael Greene’s Blue Skies, No Candy. As a teenager, I devoured Agatha Christie mysteries. And in romance, I was captivated by historical authors like Jo Beverley, Liz Carlyle, and Amanda Quick. Also, Stephanie Laurens—as with Liz Carlyle, I love the lush, authenticity to her stories. Madeline Hunter is another favorite of mine. So my plan when I began my first long historical (100,000 words) was to combine hot sex, mystery, and historical romance in one book. Yay! This became Sin. It was so much fun to turn an Agatha Christie style country house party into an orgy.

I am a lover of lushly written, very detailed historicals. I think that’s why sex scenes and historical romances work so well together (like chocolate and peanut butter). I love taking my time with a love scene and trying to capture the sensual details—scents, the feel of sheets, the excitement of the first caresses.

A book on Victorian erotic prints has inspired many of my books. This book is called “Romantique”. My friend, author Kathryn Smith had a copy, and she let me peruse through it (eventually I got my own online). The opening scene in my very first book (with Ellora’s Cave), A Gentleman Seduced, was based on a picture of a naked gentleman playing a naughty game of blind man’s bluff with a group of ladies. In Sin (my second book, mentioned above), my impoverished heroine Venetia draws erotic art to support her mother and sisters. And The Club, with its scandalous sex club for Regency couples, was inspired by the settings from some of the pictures. Another place for information for me is the Pornokrates website (www.pornokrates.com) or Historic Smut for the Discerning Voyeur.

For other writers out there, what are your inspirations for your stories? And for readers, are you interested in glimpses of writers’ lives? What aspects intrigue you?
Also, my Regency erotic romance Black Silk is nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice award. I’ll randomly pick a winner of a copy from the comments posted.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Guest Author Sharon Page in the Manor!


Today I'm so thrilled to have author Sharon Page here with us. Sharon is a fellow Canadian, as well as a really nice person. Oh, and did I tell you she writes some of the HAWTEST historicals out there! I've been a fan for a few years, and was thrilled when I saw she was now making it in mainstream romance!

I've purchased The Club, and I know you guys are not going to be disappointed! Stay with us today and Tuesday for a chance to win a copy of The Club as well as something from Sharon's backlist.

Let's give Sharon a lively LIT welcome!
***

Thanks so much to the Lust in Time Ladies for inviting me to be a guest blogger for a couple of days this week. I’m honored to be here, and since I’m in the middle of revisions for my next book, it’s nice to take a bit of a breather.

I have a new book out now, called The Club, with Bantam Dell. It’s my first mass market release, and my first book reviewed by Publishers Weekly (and received a starred review.) While Romantic Times defined The Club as scorching and Publishers Weekly has called it ‘erotic’, the story was my move toward more mainstream historical romance. It’s a very sensual book but not as erotic as my books with Kensington’s Aphrodisia line.

The Club is a twist on the classic “rake and innocent” story. My heroine Jane, Lady Sherringham is a widow and not a virgin, but she knows nothing of a healthy and loving sexual relationship. My rakish hero, Christian, Lord Wickham, is determined to give Jane the pleasure she deserves until he discovers he is out of his depth—he doesn’t know how to heal an abused woman. They must learn together, but first, they must find Christian’s missing sister, Del, whose disappearance is linked to a scandalous London gentleman’s club.

The Club itself is a Regency version of a swingers club, in an elegant townhouse. So it’s a racy gentlemen’s club where wives are actually allowed. There were many real scandalous Regency couples, including Lady Oxford, whose children were known as the Harleian Miscellany since they had so many different fathers.

Reading The Club now, it’s hard to remember how tough the book was to write. In my first drafts, I found it hard to bring sexual attraction into the beginning of the story. The problem—I wanted Jane to find Christian attractive and respond, but it just didn’t make sense that she would melt at a kiss on her hand when she was searching for her missing friend Del. She would be too worried about Del.

It was my struggle to blend Jane’s attraction to Christian, her rejection of those feelings, and her fear over Del’s fate that made me understand how she would feel. And it made me realize her attraction to him would be emotional more than blatantly sexual. That way, when story events allowed Jane and Christian to respond to their desires, they’d already built up a powerful emotional attraction. It took ten drafts of Chapter Three for me to figure that out!

I put together readers’ questions for The Club, and one is: “What is the most sensual scene in the book?” One of my favorite scenes in The Club involves a piano. Here’s a small excerpt:

But he kissed her more deeply. His fingers slid out from under hers, teasingly crept down her back, and shivers radiated from the gentle caress. Shivers that seemed to ignite sparks all over her skin like tiny fireflies landing upon her. He cupped her bottom. Lifted her—

Too late she realized he was lowering her. Her rump landed squarely on the pianoforte keys. Dozens of them struck and an ear-splitting cacophony exploded out around her.

The vibrations rushed up her spine. She gasped in shock and clutched the silky fabric of his waistcoat.

“There, my jewel, you’ve made sound and the world hasn’t ended, has it?” On a chuckle, he shifted her, her bottom moved and a bizarre melody rang out in the room.

“You must get me off here. What if someone comes to investigate these odd…odd sounds? They might think—?” What? A cat was in the house and running on the keys? Surely they would not think it could only be a woman’s derriere on the piano—?

Christian lifted his head and discarded his coat. Hunger burned in his eyes. “I locked the door,” he promised…
(Excerpt from The Club, © 2009 by Sharon Page)


What are some of your favorite sensual scenes in romances? What made the scene sensual? Was it location? The language the author or the characters use? Or the emotions the characters revealed?

To celebrate being here, I’m giving away a book from my backlist. I’ll pick a winner randomly from the comments. To make your choice on which book you would like, please check out my site at www.SharonPage.com

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Fiesta!!!


Hey there! Look what Ranearia, good friend of the LIT manor sent to me! It's Lindsay from Addicted! Isn't he perfect! I love the way you got his hair~awesome. Thanks Ranearia, you're soooo gifted and I've printed this baby off and have put it up in my study alongside the cover flat for Addicted. I'm treasuring it!

Next up, we've got the winner from yesterday's post by Tracy Wolff. She's giving away a copy of Naughty Bits. And who's our naughty winner....

AmyC!
Just send me your snail mail addy at charlotte@charlottefeatherstone.net and I'll foward it to Tracy. Congrats!

And in other news, I'm blogging over at our friend Karin Tabke's place, yacking about Addicted, and giving away a copy. So, if you're trying to win, this is one of three last chances. Visit Karin's Blog to comment and have a chance to win. Plus, Karin is just so cool!

I'm also at Novel Thoughts blog today, and I'm giving away a copy, too.

And lastly, I'm so thrilled to announce that Barbara from Happily Ever After Blog and Ashley from Lovin' Me Some Romance are having a discussion about Addicted on their blog. I think it's going to be tomorrow, Sat March 7, but not sure, because they emailed last night to say they were gathering up questions and discussion topics, and weren't done yet! Shudder...I'm gonna get grilled, so anyone who wants to jump abroad the discussion train, c'mon over to Novel Thoughts to get the lowdown on the book, the opium use, the reasons why the characters did what they did, and lots of other stuff. Oh, and a cool contest, too. Maybe even a bit of some information on Wallingford's book Sinful, too! So put out the word, to friends who might have wanted to buy Addicted and didn't for whatever reason, or friends who want to buy it but haven't yet. Tell me to come on over. The more the merrier!

So, there you have it, lots of blogging, three give aways, a forum where I'm gonna give the deets on Addicted, and some beautiful Lindsay artwork! Phew! It's enough to exhaust a woman!

Have a good one guys!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tracy Wolff is in the Manor!



Every once in a while, us LIT ladies like to explore the 'other side'. Normally Lord Craven-Moore is our tour guide in these matters, but today, we're talking about something that has not required our rakish lord's expertise. Today, we're talking about steppin' out and reading something different. For me, I'm a die-hard historical fan, and these last two years have seen me become a voracious reader of paranormals as well. But for the first time this year, I've really stepped out and have tried to read different things, In January, I picked up an erotic romantic suspense by NAL debut author Tracy Wolff. Well, what did I think? LOVED it!!!!

This blog, as you know, is usually dedicated to the hot historical. In the last few months, the LIT ladies have been going back and forth with 'do we, don't we' about having non-historical authors blog with us. It's not that we don't love other genres, it's just that we formed this blog to celebrate the hot historical and will people care if we have the occasional non-historical blogger. I know this is a bit unorthodox but let us know if you like it, having the occasional non-historical writer to blog. We like discussion here at LIT so let us know if you want to see the occasional non-historical post. If you don't feel comfortable posting in the comments, send us an email via our website to have your say (we're as silent as the tomb when it comes to privacy, so no worries there!). We're building LIT one step at a time and trying new things to make your visits pleasurable, while keeping the blog unique!

Ok, disclaimer aside, Tracy is going to talk about a city that I am positively DYING to visit; New Orleans. I love the idea of this sinful city back in the 1700's. I love the era of its heyday and the lavishness and mysteriousness that still, today, shrouds the city. I will get there! (as well as to Savannah and Charlston!)I think that creatively it must be a font of ideas.
Help me giving a resounding HUZZAH welcome to my good friend (as well as NAL writing bud), debut author, Tracy Wolff!
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First of all, thanks to Charlotte and the other lovely ladies here at Lust In Time for letting me blog. I’ve been an avid lurker on this blog for a long time and it’s truly a thrill to be here.


New Orleans has always been a city close to my heart. It’s the city where I went to grad school and turned twenty-one. It’s the city I first got drunk in,the city where I met my husband, the city where I became a mom. And it’s the city that pops up in my writing again and again.

I’m in the process of writing my third novel of erotic suspense, called Tease Me, and like the two that have come before it—Full Exposure (available now) and Tie Me Down (available in September) it takes place in the sultry heat of southern Louisiana.

Why do I keep going back to this city? I’m not exactly sure, except for the fact that it inspires me like few other places ever have. I came to adulthood in this city, wandering its dark, mystical and often smelly streets in the middle of the night as I soaked up the ambiance of the Garden District and French Quarter. I drank hurricanes at Pat O’Briens, drank everything else at Jean Lafitte’s old blacksmith shop—one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans—often near Anne Rice, who was known to write there during my five years in the Big Easy. I toured the centuries-old cemetaries, haunted the houses and hang-outs of some of the most talented writers in American history and generally had a blast. So when it came time to write my first novel, how could I not set in the Crescent City?

Now, as I write Tease Me, I’ve done a lot of research into the changing face of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And as I researched, I found out some really interesting things about the new New Orleans. Things that the N’Awlins of old would probably never have considered.

For example, there are plans to restore huge sections of Louisiana wetlands that have been destroyed by recent hurricanes and oil drilling. The areas around New Orleans—and New Orleans itself-- have substantially increased urban organic farming. Solar paneled homes make up part of the lower ninth ward now, homes that would never have been considered before Katrina flooded about 80% of New Orleans. Things have changed so much here—and New Orleans has gone so green—that last year, the Energy Department dubbed The Crescent City a Solar American City. Since then, New Orleans has received numerous grants to help it rebuild in the greenest, most energy efficient way—including a $500,000 one that will help it establish solar programs.

It amazes, and thrills me, that the city of my youth—this city that is so rich in history and tradition—is leaping into the twenty-first century with such a bang. And inspires me to go just a little more green in my own life.

So, what’s your favorite city? Is there anyplace that is special to you because of the memories it holds? In celebration of Full Exposure’s recent 4 ½ stars, Top Pick review from Romantic Times magazine, I’m giving away a copy of Naughty Bits, the Spice Briefs anthology that just hit the shelves. Both Charlotte Featherstone and I have stories in it. Leave a comment here and you’ll be entered to win.

Tracy Wolff is a romance author and avid eBook reader, blogging this month for All Romance eBooks' Go Green/Read e Campaign. Find out more about the Go Green/Read e Campaign at www.gogreenreade.com. To learn more about Tracy Wolff visit her website at www.tracywolff.com You can find Tracy Wolff's ebooks and thousands of other eBooks on-line at www.allromanceebooks.com.**

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wicked Wednesday -Jimmy Thomas announces the winner



Little is known of Lord Craven-Moore's family background, but here is a recent photo of his cousin, James Thomas. Of Italian descent, you can see a family resemblence in his slow, easy smile and those eyes...sigh, the color of fine cognac.

James, or "Jimmy" as he prefers to be called, will be appearing at the Romantic Times BOOKlover's convention this April in a special session showing how models are used in the making of a book cover. Hubba hubba.

Anyhow, Jimmy agreed to give a shout out to the winner of Emily Bryan's VEXING THE VISCOUNT." He would have much preferred to offer the win in person, but the "wicked look" will have to do.

BARB you are our winner chosen to receive this delightful read! If you could send your mailing details to amanda@amandamcintyre.net We'll get you set up with your prize! And so you know, Ms. Emily will also be at the Romantic Times convention in April so if you're attending, you can stop by and meet her at the bookfair!

Amanda

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Welcome Guest Emily Bryan


Today at the Manor, we have author and former opera singer, Emily Bryan (aka Diana Groe.) (You'll have to share with us a bit how opera factored into the path that lead to your writing! )

Her latest release, VEXING THE VISCOUNT(Leisure, February 2009)is a delightful historical romance that drew me in with its quiet humor, its spunky, heroine and a hero to die for! I was up late last night reading VtV, much to Lord CM's dismay;)
But I simply could not put the book down until I saw how the card game came out! I snagged Emily in the parlor before she could run off to her next guest blog appearence!

Amanda: A juicy little story of a cat & mouse, I am riveted to see how "Vexing the Viscount" is going to play out in the end! I can see why you receive the stellar praise that you do about your characterization. Obviously, you take great care (and joy I imagine) in creating your characters. Can you tell us a bit about this story, what inspired it, and maybe introduce us to Daisy and Lucian? They are simply a delicious combo!!

Emily: First, thanks so much for having me here at Lust In Time. (Love that name!)

I do love discovering my characters. I say discovering because it’s almost as if I find them and we become acquainted before the story begins. (Writing is the only job where it’s ok to hear voices!) They start whispering their secrets to me and once I know who they are and what they desperately want, I can begin devising diabolical ways for them NOT to get it right away.

I already knew Daisy, since she was a one of my pirate hero’s orphaned nieces (PLEASURING THE PIRATE, Leisure Books, July 2008). She was such fun as a child, I knew she’d need her own story once she grew up.

Lucian is her exceedingly worthy counterpart. He’s a rarity—a nobleman who is not a rake. Lucian’s a real man with healthy desires, but he didn’t think it fair to take advantage of willing servant girls, isn’t ready to wed and hasn’t the ready cash to establish a relationship with a woman of pleasure.

Just because Lucian doesn’t want Daisy’s help finding the lost Roman treasure he’s seeking, doesn’t mean Daisy will take no for an answer. She embarks on an impersonation of a French courtesan with the help of a real courtesan’s very explicit memoirs. They may both be virgins at the start of the story, but they’re quick studies!

Amanda: You also received a special honor recently for another book! Congrats! Can you tell us a bit about the book and it's ("RT Reviewers Choice Best K.I.S.S.") hero, Trevelyn Deveridge (I love that name) and what makes him so "distracting" to the duchess?

Emily: My widowed duchess, Artemisia is an artist who’s expecting a new figure model for her next nude painting. Trev is Her Majesty’s spy, following the trail of the elusive Mr. Beddington to the Duchess of Southwycke’s door. When she mistakes him for her model, Trev decides to play the hand dealt him and plays along.

And let’s just say he is . . . highly inspirational in the nude.

Amanda: Where do you find your inspiration for your historicals? And what part of the creation process do you enjoy the most? (IE; the research, the characterization, the plotting,the writing, )

Emily: Often an object triggers the initial premise for my stories. For DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS, it was a little statue of a horse one of my daughters sculpted. For VEXING THE VISCOUNT, it was a museum with a whole room full of Roman lamps shaped like erect phalli. (Check out the excerpt from VEXING THE VISCOUNT at http://www.emilybryan.com/Vexing%20the%20Viscount.htm . Daisy finds Roman “artifacts” fascinating too!)

I love every part of the writing process. It’s a craft with so many layers, there’s always something new to learn.

Amanda: Do you use pictures, trips, or music in helping to create the setting or maintain your focus in the story?

Emily: Travel is my decadent indulgence. My DH and I have been to Europe many times for his job and while he worked, I played! Give me a museum, a castle, a cathedral or cobbled lane and I’m in heaven.

To help me with mood, I choose a soundtrack for my stories. The nice thing about using a movie soundtrack is that there are seldom lyrics to distract me, but I can count on a wide swing of emotions from the music. One of the first things I do when I start a new story is pick the music I’ll be listening to as I write. I have to love it, because I’ll be living with it for several months!

Amanda: Tell me, what’s next for Emily Bryan?

I just turned in the manuscript for my Christmas novella. It’ll be in A CHRISTMAS BALL, an anthology with USA Today BestSeller Jennifer Ashley, Alissa Johnson and me! All our characters are attending the same Christmas Ball and YOU are invited too. Look for it September 29th!

My next project is a story I’ll write to Rachmaninoff’s 3rd concerto (if you saw SHINE, you’ll remember this music as the “Rach 3”!). The story is still too amorphous to share the details, but I’m very excited about my new hero.

Thanks for having me here, Lust in Time. I’d love to offer a free copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT to someone who leaves a comment or question here on your blog today!

Thank you Emily! Its been wonderful to meet you and we wish you all the best of success! I heartily endorse vying for your chance at receiving this wonderful romance! If you love fabulous characters, witty dialogue and sumptuous description wrapped up in a colorful historical era, you won't want to miss VEXING THE VISCOUNT!

Monday, March 2, 2009

March; Lion or Lamb?


Well, here we are, and it's March 2nd! Yeah!!!! Spring is right around the corner, or at least I'm trying to think positive, until hubby (who is a total winter hater) reminds me that we're usually doing the Easter egg hunt in snow. What a buzz kill! Although, it is true. A Canadian winter lingers on sometimes until the middle of May, if you can believe it, and where I live is considered the 'banana belt' of the country! lol!

So, did March roar in like a lion, or did it roll in like a lamb in your parts? As is normal for our neck of the woods, March did, indeed, roar in. We got dumped with lots of white fluffy snow, howling winds, biting temps (-14, -22 with wind chill) and it now looks like a winter wonder land. Today its sunny and the sunbeams are shining on the freshly fallen snow, making it sparkle. And while my husband was ready to shoot himself as we watched the blizzard from the comforts of our living room, I was inspired.

You see, I have that other writing name, and she has a Christmas novella to write, and it's due by April 1. Now, I'm kind of all Christmased out, and I was really sick of seeing grey snow and mud puddles at it melted. I was wondering how the heck I was going to find that Christmas spirit as I was looking through some fashion mags and drooling over flip flops and capris. When you're longing for spring, you don't want to go back to Decemeber. UGH!
So, the outside atmosphere is conducive. I've put on Loreena McKennitt who has a beautiful 'Winter' themed CD that sounds nice and Celtic and mystical, and my new cover came to further inspire the novella! That's one hot highlander on the cover, and he reminds me of my prince, who is the hero in my novella. He's a prince of Annwyn and this novella is a introduction to the Annwyn world, albeit in a historical context. The Annwyn Chronicles will be a contemporary paranormal. But I digress...once I saw the cover, and then the blizzard, I knew it was time to plant my posterior in my chair and get writing. So, I started in earnest last night and it was really fun to write a winter scene in an enchanted wood with magic and snow and the whole Christmas feel.

Of course, I'm hoping that the snow won't linger too long, and that the crocus will start popping up anytime. Bathing suits are already out in stores, and the garden stuff is being set up just to temp and tease us.

I think it's a pretty accurate old wives tale, about March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb, and vice versa. I tried to find the history behind this little saying and couldn't find any sort of reference, only that it's been used forever.

Anyone know the history of it? And how are you feeling weather wise, are you able to hang in there for a few more weeks of winter, or are you ready to be wearing flip flops and opening those screen doors to let the fresh air in?And if anyone is feeling the effects of not enough sun, just a take a peek at the Highlander, a guaranteed remedy for any mid-winter blues!

The LIT ladies and that naughty Lord Craven-Moore will get you through this month! We've got some great authors stopping by and they're bringing books to win!!! And we know you guys love new books (so do we! ) so, come in out of the cold and get warmed up our guests bloggers, and we'll survive these last few weeks of the bleak winter together!