A Guest and a Double Giveaway!

Update: Time to announce some more winners! Congratulations to Kerry, who is Barbara Monajem’s winner and to Jen Hilt who’ll be receiving my Touch of a Lady in her choice of Kindle or Nook format.

Barbara Monajem and I first met back when we both wrote for Dorchester. Her Bayou Gavotte series was wonderfully inventive! Now we’ve moved on, Barbara to Harlequin’s Undone line and me to Kensington and Sourcebooks. But Barbara and I have kept in touch because we share a love of both historical and paranormal elements in our stories. Her latest release, To Rescue or Ravish, just came out, so we poured up a couple cups of coffee and had a little cyber-chat about it. Here’s your chance to listen in:

Mia: To Rescue or Ravish? Now that’s a heck of a question. How did you come up with this title?

Barbara: I didn’t! I’m hopeless at titles. Fortunately, the editors at Harlequin are good at coming up with snappy ones.

Mia: You know, before I was published I had no idea that authors didn’t have control over their titles. I’ve been lucky with mine, but once we sign the contract, we have no guarantees we’ll get to keep our own. I really love the title I have mind for my current WIP, but I don’t know yet whether my publisher will use it. Guess that’s why they refer to them as “working titles.”

What will we love about your hero?

Barbara: Well, I know what I love – that he’s a combo of high and low class. Although born a gentleman, he has been through a school of hard knocks and has learned to fit in everywhere. His friends are lively and vulgar and a lot of fun. He’s good looking in a rough sort of way. And a to-die-for romantic. And totally hot for the heroine! The cover art conveys his passion very, very well.

Mia: Lively and vulgar does sound like fun! What’s next for you?

Barbara: Next is a Christmas novella coming out in October (which seems a little early to me, but scheduling is not in my hands). It’s tentatively titled A Lady’s Lesson in Seduction. I had a lot of fun writing this one (well, I almost always have fun writing stories). But this one was particularly interesting because I got to do a little research on folklore (and hobgoblins) and even tried making a beverage called lamb’s wool. It’s made with beer or ale, sugar, spices, and apples, and tastes wonderful. I will try it again with the right kind of apples (they should be relatively sour, while the ones I used were sweet) and blog about it in the fall.

Mia: A change in seasons does call for different drinks. That lamb’s wool sounds like it goes with falling leaves and brisk temperatures. October is the usual time for Christmas stories to be released. My Lady Below Stairs, my Christmas enovella, first came out in October and my current WIP is a Scottish-set Christmas story due out in October 2013. So your A Lady’s Lesson in Seduction is scheduled for the right release date for a Christmas tale.

When you’re not writing, what do you love to do? What charges your creative batteries?

Barbara: Just not writing usually does it. They say that movement is good for the brain, so whenever my muse balks, I give her some exercise – whether it’s doing the laundry or dishes or walking the dog. Works wonders! And reading helps a lot, too, especially if it’s authors whose writing is so fabulous that I get inspired to try harder.

Here’s the blurb of To Rescue or Ravish?

To Rescue or Ravish by Barbara Monajem

Click to order!

When heiress Arabella Wilbanks flees a forced betrothal in the middle of the night, the last person she expects to find at the reins of her getaway hackney is Matthew Worcester. It’s been seven long years since they gave in to their mutual desires and shared the most incredible night of their lives, but Matthew still burns with regret for leaving her without a word. He should escort her to safety, but the chance to reclaim and ravish her once more proves impossible to resist!

And an excerpt:

London, January 1802

Arabella rapped hard on the roof of the coach. It lurched around a corner into darkness broken only by the glimmer of the hack’s carriage lamps and stopped.

She put down the window. “How far are we from Bunbury Place?”

The jarvey got down from the box and slouched against the coach, a nonchalant shape with an impertinent voice. “Not far, love. Changed your mind, have you?”

“I have not changed my mind. I am merely asking for information.” She put her hand through the window, proffering the guinea. “I trust this suffices. Kindly open the door and point me in the right direction. I shall walk the rest of the way.”

He didn’t take the coin. After a brief, horrid silence during which she concentrated on thinking of him as the jarvey and not her once-and-never-again lover, he said, “Can’t do that.”

“I beg your pardon?” She pushed on the door, but he had moved forward to block it.

“It’s not safe for a lady alone at night. This, er, Number Seventeen, Bunbury Place—it’s where you live, is it?”

How dare he? “Where I live is none of your business.” She shrank away from the door and kept her hood well over her face.

“So it’s not where you live. Who does live there, then?”

Why couldn’t she have just told him that yes, she lived there? Must every man in the entire country try to order her about? “Let me out at once.”

“Sorry, love. When I rescue a lady from deathly peril, I see her home safe and sound.”

Some shred of common sense deep inside her told her this was extraordinarily kind of him, but it made her want to slap his craggy, insolent face. Home wasn’t safe for her anymore. Nowhere was safe, and meanwhile Matthew Worcester was playing stupid games.

“Cat got your tongue?”

She exploded. “Damn you, Matthew! Stop playing at being a jarvey. It makes me positively ill.”

There was another ghastly silence. It stretched and stretched. Good God, what if he actually was a jarvey? Surely he hadn’t come down that far in the world. A different shame—a valid one—swelled inside her.

“You recognized me,” he said at last. “What a surprise.”

Like it? Buy it!

Barnes & Noble



Mia: Wow! That sounds terrific, Barbara.

Barbara: I will be giving a free download of one of my Harlequin novellas — from Amazon, B&N, or Harlequin, winner’s choice.

Mia: Thanks, Barb! And I’ll sweeten the pot with a download of Touch of a Lady to another commenter as well.

50 thoughts on “A Guest and a Double Giveaway!

  1. alisha woods says:

    can’t wait to read the new one

  2. Mona Risk says:

    Hi Barbara, you have gorgeous bookcovers and fun stories, can’t wait to reeda this one.

  3. Judy — Thanks! Glad you liked it.

    Melody — Often a publisher is willing to listen to title suggestions from an author, but the final decision is in the publisher’s hands. But to tell the truth, I’m so bad at titles that I’m glad if the publisher comes up with a good one.

  4. Melody May says:

    Wow, that sounds amazing. I didn’t know that you guys had little control of the title.

  5. Judy Keim says:

    Barabara, loved the excerpt and the whole idea of this book. What a fun read! Can’t wait to get it!

  6. Linda says:

    Gosh! I didn’t know authors don’t have any control over the title of their stories. Covers too? I was just telling my sis the day (we were discussing books & hv similar tastes) that all historical romance book titles sound the same. Now I know why. It’s all the editors fault. They probably recycle them every once in a while when they can’t come up with anything better! I love that the bk has interesting secondary characters- his vulgar & lively friends. They make a bk co much more interesting.
    Mia – I just finished reading “How to please a pirate” & really enjoyed it. Loved the secondary character there too.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Authors also have little say over the cover blurb and did not write it in most cases. The best we can hope for is that we get a chance to make suggestions. That’s why I encourage readers not to make buying decisions based on the blurb. Open the book and read a couple paragraphs. It’s a truer picture of the writer’s voice.

    2. So far I’ve been pretty pleased with the blurbs and covers Harlequin has chosen for me — mostly because I know next to nothing about marketing. But it’s true that a lot of romance titles sound WAY too much the same. Mia’s right — read a few pages rather than judging just by the blurb.

      Linda, I love secondary characters because often they just show up on the page, fully-formed, clamoring to take over the story. I’ve learned to handle them by promising them a story of their own. ;)

  7. Robin D says:

    I love reading romance any time! Great post!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Me too, Robin. And I’m always looking for a new favorite!

      1. Yes, me too. I’m always thrilled to find a new favorite author. :)

  8. Joy G says:

    Thank You for a delicious sounding excerpt, Barbara! I’ve definitely added to my ever growing TBR list.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      So many books, so little time…

    2. Thanks very much, Joy! :~)

  9. Thank you, Beth and Mary. I don’t mean to disguise that part of me, Mary. I’m just sort of shy, I suppose. Fortunately, my characters aren’t. ;)

  10. What Beth said! Barbara’s books show us a side of her she manages to disguise. I love her characters and the way she handles love and humor.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      And make that quirky humor. Who else would make use of a toe bone?

  11. beth trissel says:

    wow, two great authors in one spot. Barbara, your new release sounds great. I am already a fan of yours so know this will be another winner.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks for visiting my blog! Hope you’ll drop by often.

  12. Hi, Janet — I’ve read many good scenes of encounters in carriages, LOL.

    Agreed re cars. It took days and days of traveling over awful roads to get anywhere back then! I think we often make it seem easier in books than it really was.

  13. Karen Johnson says:

    Mia, I’ve a few of yours also. :)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I can’t seem to resist writing them. Guess I always think the journey is more important than the destination. ;-)

  14. Hi Barbara and Mia
    Interview was super.
    October for Christmas stories is great, gives you a chance to read the book. Then decide if you want to give one as a gift.
    I always enjoy carriage encounters in stories like yours. That way of travel sounds so romantic. Thank goodness we have cars now.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      The carriage does seem like the ideal place for a little naughtiness since someone else is driving!

  15. Karen Johnson says:

    Just purchased Kindle version of “To Rescue or Ravish?”

    Temperature’s rising!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Good for you, Karen!

  16. Thanks, Kerry! Glad you enjoyed it.

    Thanks, Cate! I love Christmas stories at any time of year too — both reading and writing.

  17. Cate S says:

    This was certainly enjoyable… thanks for sharing with us!! I really like reading and lazing in the summer… I stock up on some Christmas stories..because it takes me away from how dang hot it is in summer.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Actually the Christmas stories come out at the end of October so it’s really only 2 months ahead of the holiday.

  18. Kerry says:

    Great interview and GREAT blurb – Im thrilled to read it!!


    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      That’s cuz Barbara’s a GREAT guest!

  19. Thank you, Jen! LOL. I had SO much fun writing the toe bone story. I couldn’t resist putting a bit of magic in the Christmas story, and my next two Undones will have a little bit more. ;)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      You and your toe bone. LOL.

  20. Thanks, Ebony. Summer’s a great time for reading – too hot for anything else. :)

  21. Karen, I love how you put it — “a wisp of the paranormal!” I like that kind of story. Even my vampires were only a little different from real people, and two of my Undones have just a wisp – see Jen’s comment about the Toe Bone. :)

  22. jen hilt says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I’ve been enjoying your Undone stories. I particularly like the one with the governess, the rake and the lucky saint’s bone! I look forward to reading your Christmas story even if it is in October!

    Many thanks to Mia for hosting you!


    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      My pleasure, Jen. Barbara is always welcome here!

  23. Ebony Morton says:

    I love reading romances in the summer. they look like great books !!! :)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks, Ebony. I think we decide in the summer time to be a little kinder to ourselves and allow for more leisure. Might be something to think about year round.

  24. Karen Johnson says:

    It’s romantic suspense with just a wisp of the paranormal, but not vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc.

    It involves a myth that may be real, the legend of the destruction of Atlantis.

  25. Congrats on finishing your novel, Karen! What genre is it?

    LOL. Believe me, there are days when I would much rather read a novel than write one.

  26. Karen Johnson says:

    Barbara I have to confess that I’ve just finished my first novel and I am working on the sequel however, I find that I’m easily distracted by a toe-curling romance. (Bad me!)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Never apologize for being distracted by a good book.

  27. Hi, Debi Anne. Rakes and non-virginal heroines are fun to write — that’s for sure. :) Most of my heroines aren’t virgins, but I just finished writing a book with a very innocent heroine, and it was quite a challenge. ;)

  28. Hi, Karen — I guess there’s one kind of summer heat we can enjoy, LOL.

  29. Debi Anne says:

    Great excerpt, added to my TBR. I love it when the heroines aren’t virginal and the men are rakes;)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Wonder how it would be to flip that equation–virginal guys and rakish girls– hmmmm….

  30. Karen Johnson says:

    There’s something deliciously wicked about reading sultry romances in the summertime.

    Thanks to both Barbara and Mia for keeping the already hot temperatures rising.


    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Always ready to bring the heat, Karen.

      Fortunately up here in New England, we’ve had a relatively mild summer compared to the rest of the country, haven’t we? I’m counting my blessings.

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