Fun Stuff & a Giveaway with Barbara Monajem

Barbara MonajemToday I’ve invited my friend Barbara Monajem to take over the blog. I know you’ll love getting to know her and her work.

Barbara is the award-winning author of the Bayou Gavotte paranormal mysteries, Sunrise in a Garden of Love & Evil, Tastes of Love & Evil, and Heart of Constantine. Her love of the paranormal has crept into her Regency romance novellas, most recently Under a Christmas Spell and this month’s release, Under a New Year’s Enchantment. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

So, take it away, Barbara!


Usually when I’m blogging about one of my stories, I talk about some central aspect of the book, but this time I’m going to indulge myself and talk about stuff I put in there just for fun.

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to the Falco mysteries by Lindsey Davis. They take place in Ancient Rome―a period about which I didn’t know much and didn’t expect to, either. Davis’s mysteries changed that. She brings Ancient Rome to life. I definitely wasn’t up to writing about that era, but I was dying to put something Roman in one of my stories. Fortunately, there were Romans in Britain long ago, and relics of their time there are being unearthed even today.

My new Regency novella, Under a New Year’s Enchantment, is the second in a series that features incubi and succubi―not the demonic kind, but talented people who can send erotic dreams. In the first novella, Under a Christmas Spell, an incubus and succubus, former spies and former lovers, are reunited. In Under a New Year’s Enchantment, they help another couple find love.

So where does Ancient Rome come in? In Under a New Year’s Enchantment, I gave the hero and heroine a mutual interest in ancient history. The hero, Lord Westerly, finds some Roman ruins under the remains of an abbey on the grounds of his estate. Theodora, the heroine, wants to sketch his finds for her scholarly father. Necessary to the story? No, not really. They could have had some other interest in common or some other way to get together. The Roman stuff was for me.

I had the hero find a hoard of Roman coins in a clay pot that had been buried about 1500 years or so before the Regency. Burying your money was one way to avoid having it stolen, especially if you were under attack or had to leave home to go to war. Among the coins was a brooch, known as a fibula, which had once belonged to a Roman soldier. This item was especially poignant to Lord Westerly, who had recently returned home after the Battle of Waterloo.

When I visited London last year, I couldn’t resist going to the British Museum. I saw Roman coins, brooches, and plenty of other relics of the distant past. I get the shivers when I see items this old and imagine the people who handled and wore them.

Here’s a blurb for Under a New Year’s Enchantment:

Under a New Year's EnchantmentHampshire, 1816

Garrick, Lord Westerly, has forbidden the hanging of mistletoe, yet the holiday house party at his country estate sizzles with sensual desire. And though Theodora Southern decided long ago never to marry, she enjoys the erotic fantasies that haunt her each night—fantasies featuring her handsome, brooding host….

Since returning from the war, Garrick has been in no mood to celebrate. But suddenly the nightmares that plague him are making way for much more pleasant dreams—dreams in which his childhood friend Theodora is very much a grown woman. The question is, has he fallen in love—or under a wicked spell?

Order now at:
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And here’s an excerpt:

Setup: Theodora has sneaked out at night to look at the Roman ruins, because her old friend Lord Westerly, who owns them, has become withdrawn and unfriendly, and wants people to stay away.

Theodora made her way through the overgrown sanctuary and across a strip of flagstones to the site of the old refectory. A pit the size of a small bedchamber, but only a few feet deep, yawned near the tumbledown stone walls. A makeshift canopy covered it to keep out the rain. She jumped into the pit and made her way carefully around the picks, shovels and trowels, past the brazier and a couple of chairs to where several pillars had been unearthed.

She squatted, aiming the beam of the lantern. She knew what the pillars were. She’d seen a drawing in one of Papa’s books. They were the remains of a hypocaust, which—

“What the devil are you doing here?” said a voice of pure rage.

Theodora started violently, dropping the lantern. It hit the ground with a clatter. The glass broke and the candle went out, plunging her into darkness. She uttered a mew of distress.

“It serves you right.” It was Lord Westerly speaking, she realized. “I don’t intend to wed you or any of the others, as I trust I’ve made plain by now.”

She stood, disbelieving, staring into the blackness. He thought she’d come out here to trap him!

“Even if I did, this sort of ploy wouldn’t work,” he said. “I won’t be forced into marriage.”

Mortification washed through her. As if she would! Much as she liked Garrick, she wasn’t one of those ninnies his aunts had invited in the hope that he would fall in love with them. She had come, as she did every year, to help out as a sort of secondary hostess. She’d known Garrick Westerly for years. She’d followed him about when she’d been ten years old to his fourteen. She’d been desperately in love with him at fifteen. She’d prayed for him when he was away at war, and she’d looked forward to seeing him again.

He wasn’t the same man. He had returned hard, bitter and frequently rude.

“Let this be a lesson to you, before you ruin all your chances,” Lord Westerly drawled. “Gentlemen use some rather unpleasant words to describe the sort of woman who chases a man. I assure you, nobody wants one of those as his wife.”

Shaking with anger now, Theodora made her way slowly away from his voice and toward the edge of the pit. It was all she could do not to shriek at him. I already did that, remember? I wouldn’t chase you now if you were the last man alive. Theodora’s half boot encountered a trowel. She muffled a curse and bent to pick it up. And I’ll certainly never use you as a daydream lover again.

She hurled the trowel in the direction from which his voice had come. It met something with a clang—fortunately not Garrick’s head, which wasn’t made of metal, although evidently he had returned from the war about as intelligent as a lump of lead.

“You disgust me,” she said. She picked up her skirts and stormed away without another word.


I’m happy to share that Barbara is offering a digital copy of Under a New Year’s Enchantment to one lucky commenter. To enter, just leave a question or comment for Barb or me.

Every single one of you can get a free read from me today too!

Plaid to the BoneI’m so excited to share that you can get a FREE digital copy of Plaid to the Bone, thanks to my publisher, Kensington. This story is the prequel to Plaid Tidings, which was nominated for RTBOOKReviews Reviewers’ Choice Best Scottish Historical of 2013. Here’s how to claim your Plaid to the Bone:


40 thoughts on “Fun Stuff & a Giveaway with Barbara Monajem

  1. Pamela Varnado says:

    Hi Barbara. Under a New Year’s Enchantment sounds like a wonderful read. It will definitely get loaded on my kindle. I’ve always wanted to travel to Rome. I know how much you love visiting historical sites when you go to other countries. This is a little spooky but I always sense something paranormal whenever I visit a site. Each place has it own vibe based on its history. Have you sensed anything on your travels?

    Mia, I love discovering new authors to read. After reading all the comments about how wonderful your stories are I can’t wait to experience them for myself..

    1. Hi, Pam. I never know whether I’m experiencing something paranormal or if it’s just my imagination based on what I know about a place I’m visiting. Either way, I do get the shivers sometimes!

  2. Hi Mia and Barbara,

    Thanks for the excerpt Barbara. I love it when a conceited man is brought down a notch or two.

    1. Hi, Barbara. LOL. Garrick’s not such a bad guy, really — he’s just been pursued too much at this house party. ;)

  3. Glenda says:

    Wonderful excerpt!

    I love it when an author uses real history in a historical romance — it looks like you’ve done a great job with it here. You’re a new to me author, Barbara and I look forward to reading your books!

    Thanks for PLAID TO THE BONE Mia!

    1. Thank you, Glenda. I try to make sure there’s some real history in my stories — even the ones that include a bit of magic, ;)

  4. bn100 says:

    Nice excerpt

  5. Marcy Shuler says:

    Hi Barbara and Mia.

    I read PLAID TO THE BONE when it came out and loved it. It still has one of my most favorite covers.

    I’ve also read some of your historical romances, Barbara, but never one that contained incubi and succubi. I wasn’t aware they weren’t always demonic. LOL The new book sounds good. I enjoy friends to lovers stories.

    1. Hi, Marcy. Yes, doesn’t Plaid to the Bone have an awesome cover!?!

      I’ve been wanting to write about the non-demonic incubi/succubi for ages. Val and Lucie allowed me to write their story in Under a Christmas Spell. It was then that I realized that they were the perfect people to help get another couple’s love life on track. Who knew?

  6. Cassie says:

    Hi, Thanks for the free ebook can’t wait to read it. Curently I am reading Barbara’s book Tastes of Love & Evil which was actually my first paid ebook purchase. I’m still getting used to reading on a Kindle and not turning paper pages as I read.

    1. Hi, Cassie — I’m still not used to reading on my Kindle. It’s great when I’m traveling, but I do a lot of flipping back and forth when I read, so I still prefer a paper book.

  7. Debbie Lou says:

    Hi Barbara and Mia, I enjoyed this today. I haven’t read any of your work Barbara, but they sound like a read I would enjoy. Guess I’m headed to Amazon for a download. I enjoy your books so much Mia, that when you recommend an author I look them up to see what they have written. Just finished Plaid To The Bone, so will be heading to Amazon to write my review (my new year goal- to review all books I read) I go under Lou M on Amazon. Look it up later and make sure I did good job for you! You too Barbara, I will be writting for you too.

    1. Thanks, Debbie, both for the kind words and your review plans. I hope you meet your goal! :)

  8. Beth Trissel says:

    I love this, Barbara. Ancient Rome is fascinating and how great you were able to include these artifacts and ruins in your story.

    1. Thanks, Beth! I’m planning to visit some Roman ruins next time I go to Britain, to see if I can write a story around them.

  9. Can’t wait to read this one! Great post!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lana. :)

  10. Quilt Lady says:

    Barbara, What genre of books do you read the most? I love historicals myself.
    Plaid to the Bone is on my Kindle also can’t wait to read it.

    1. Hi, Quilt Lady — I’m pretty evenly divided between historicals and mysteries. If there’s a touch of the paranormal in either of those, I love that, too!

  11. Hi, Lani! Thanks for stalking, LOL.

  12. Hi, Alexisa! Often I get my inspiration for one story in the middle of writing another one. A secondary character walks onto the page demanding his or her own book, or I’m tempted to wander along a side path and have to stop myself and save it for another story.

  13. Emily S says:

    I love coin hoards, real and fictional. If only I could find one myself!

    Under a New Year’s Enchantment went on my “to buy” list at Saturday’s meeting, Barbara! Hope to get it soon. Great excerpt!

    Thanks to Mia for Plaid to the Bone.

    1. Hi, Emily!! Yeah, wouldn’t it be fun to find a hoard? Maybe we should move to England and get metal detectors. We’d get lots of walking in that way, too.

      1. Emily S says:

        LOL. Very true, Barbara. I’m ready!

  14. Lani says:

    I love the Roman connection too! Sounds fabulous! but I’ve said that before since I’m stalking this book giveaway! Ha!

  15. Alexisa N says:

    Mia, I’ve sprat got Plaid to the Bone in my Nook. Thank you!

  16. Alexisa N says:

    Hi Barbara & Mia,
    I getting ready to read one of your books for the first time.A New Years Enchanment is on my read list, too. I’d like to know where you get your inspiration for story material?

  17. Really like the Roman connection in your Regency, Barbara. History–all eras–has been a love of mine for as long as I can remember. I have Under a New Year’s Enchantment but I haven’t had the chance to read it. I have read Plaid to the Bone, Mia–it’s terrific! Looking forward to more from both of you.

    1. Hi, Barb — I’m a big history fan, too. The more history I read, the more I want to explore.

      I hope you enjoy Under a New Year’s Enchantment! Let me know what you think of it.

  18. Linda says:

    Hi Mia
    Thanks much for the copy of Plaid to the Bone. Happily downloaded.

    Waves Hi to Barbara
    I do like stories where the hero & heroine are childhood friends. *finger crossed*

    1. Hi, Linda — Thanks! I like writing friends-to-lovers stories (as well as reading them). :)

  19. Thanks, Ella. I wish I had the guts to write a story that takes place in Ancient Rome. Maybe one of these days I’ll get up my nerve and try. :)

  20. Ella Quinn says:

    I have all you books, and downloaded Mia. I loved the Roman connection!! Tweeted and shared on FB.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Great, Ella. Let me know what you think of Plaid to the Bone!

  21. Tammy C. says:

    Just picked up plaid to the bone. Looks good. So does under a new years enchantment. Can’t wait to read it.

    1. Thanks, Tammy. Lots of good reading ahead!

  22. Cindy Wells says:

    Just finished ‘Plaid to the Bone’-Well done! It was enjoyable and I was hooked from the start. Thank you so for this lovely story of love. Best wishes to you…

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks so much, Cindy. Glad you enjoyed Cait and Adam’s story. ;-)

    2. Hi, Cindy — Plaid to the Bone is on my Kindle, too! It’s going to be a cuddle up with a cup of tea and read night tonight. :)

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