Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Yankee Romance Reviewers Tags, Jennifer Ashley, Emily Bryan & Alissa Johnson
Tag You’re It ~ I had the previlage of Tagging our Guest Authors for today and here is what they had to add:
***Terra: Who is Your Favorite Hero?
Emily: It’s sooo hard to choose! I’ve written uber-alpha Viking heroes as Diana Groe, my sophisticated Victorian spy Trevelyn Deveridge in Distracting the Duchess, my pirate hero Gabriel in Pleasuring the Pirate, and an eager-to-learn virgin hero in Vexing the Viscount. And of course, my muscle-bound man-of-all-work Ian Michael in A Christmas Ball. I usually say my favorite is the hero from my current WIP, which would be Crispin Hawke, the drool-worthy sculptor in Stroke of Genius (June 2010).
***Terra: Which interests you more: Highlander, Regency Man, Pirate or General Bad Boy and Why?
Jennifer: I love a good bad boy!!! I'll take him in the form of a Highlander, Pirate, or Regency Rake. Right now I'm writing the Mackenzie series--four very bad boys in Victorian England from a prominent Highland family. Mmm, mmm, good.
Alissa: Well, I do love my Regency men, but I’m also a softie for bad boys, regardless of when or where they lived.
***Terra: Which character has annoyed you the most of all your books?
Jennifer: Hard to say. If by "annoying" you mean "difficult to write," I'd say Zarabeth in Highlander Ever After. She was difficult to pin down. So was Valentin in "The Longest Night" (Christmas Ball novella coming in Oct!). If you mean annoying by "irritating" then I don't know. Characters are who they are--some of them are supposed to be irritating!
***Terra: Would you rather sight, smell or taste and Why?
Alissa: Oh, that’s a tough one. I’ll have to go with sight, because an infinite number of things can be said with a smile.
***Terra: Your favorite beverage?
Jennifer: TEA! I love a good tea—Oolong, Ceylon, Darjeeling, white, green, chamomile and other herbals. Right now I’m trying African Rooibos. I also have a green tea blend out in my kitchen mixed with, of all things, popcorn (it’s called Genmaicha Green, from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.) In fact, in the novel I'm working on now, Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage, the hero, Mac, has become a teetotaler. He makes a pun of it and drinks nothing but tea (as exotic as he can find).
Alissa: Hot—Excluding coffee (that’s purely medicinal) I’d say hot chocolate. If it’s mint, all the better. Cold—Sun-brewed iced tea. To the horror of my fellow southerners, I prefer it unsweetened. Alcoholic—Rush River’s Unforgiven Pale Ale. Absolutely delicious.
***Terra: What season do you think is your most productive with writing?
Jennifer: For some reason, Thanksgiving is my most productive writing day. I love to cook and write all day long. It's become a tradition!
***Terra: Do you believe in a love that is forever?
Emily: Yes, I do! There’s actually a bit of a tradition in my family that goes back three generations—getting married on Christmas Day! My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents all tied the knot on December 25th and they all celebrated at least 50 years together. My DH and I did not feel called to follow that romantic (but crazy!) tradition and yet, we’re still having fun together!
I’m the first to admit, I’ve been blessed in my choice of men. And I will love him till I die. After that, I don’t know what heaven holds, but I know it won’t be heaven for me without him. Yes, whatever it is about us that lasts forever, love has to be part of it.
***Terra: Your favorite day of the week?
Emily: I love Saturdays because that’s our “exploring” day. We’ve only lived in New England for a couple years, so we take off on weekends to do ‘touristy’ things. Last Saturday, we took a ferry to one of the Boston Harbor islands and explored a Civil war era fort that guards the mouth of the harbor.
***Terra: Garters and hose or pantyhose?
Alissa: Neither, if I can manage it. What I really like are bare legs and fancy panties. This combination leaves me feeling both sexy and comfortable. Also, just saying the phrase “fancy panties” makes me smile.
***Terra: Favorite Junk Food?
Alissa: I’m a junk food addict. If something has sugar in it, I will eat it and love it. . .unless there’s coconut involved, then all bets are off. One of the things I constantly struggle to cut back on is peppermint salt-water taffy. Great on the taste buds. Hell on the teeth.
***Terra: What is your Favorite Hero’s best attribute and why?
Emily: An essential attribute for any hero, IMO, is his single-minded devotion to the heroine. It may take him a while to arrive at that commitment, but once he does, nothing will turn him from making her the center of his world.
***Terra: Where can readers learn more about you and your work?
Thanks so much for having us here today! Please leave a comment or question. We’ll choose two winners from those who comment who will receive their choice from Emily Bryan or Alissa Johnson’s backlist.
Excerpt from The Longest Night by Jennifer Ashley
Valentin couldn’t help glancing through the throng, searching, seeking. He did not really expect to see the red-lipped, dark-haired Scottish lady he’d met last year, though he’d fallen into the habit of looking for her everywhere. She’d tended him when he’d been hurt, and her lilting voice had twined around his heart and pulled him back to life.
She wasn’t here. Of course she wasn’t. Mary would be in Scotland at her brother’s castle, preparing for Christmas and Hogmanay. She’d be helping the housekeeper stir the black bun, perspiring in the warm kitchen while firelight glistened on her hair. She’d smile her slow smile that had made his blood heat the first time he’d seen it.
He’d kissed her, touched her, asked her to come to him in Nvengaria. He’d gone home and waited for her through a brief, golden summer and a colder than usual autumn.
She never came. As the weather worsened, so did his hopes of opening the door of his run-down manor house to find Mary Cameron smiling on his threshold.
Why should she bother? The journey to Nvengaria, a tiny country wedged between the Austrian Empire and the Ottoman one, was long and dangerous, and Mary had every reason to stay in her brother’s castle. Her new sister-in-law was having a baby, and Mary had a son of her own to look after, even if he was seventeen.
As an added complication, Valentin was logosh. Mary knew. She’d seen him shift to his animal form—a black wolf—and she’d not been upset by it. But perhaps after Valentin had gone, she’d had second thoughts about promising herself to a man who was part-demon, part-animal. That fact made even Nvengarian women think twice.
A commotion behind him made him turn. At the head of the receiving line, a young woman crowed to Lady Hartwell at the top of her voice.
“What a privilege to be here, my lady. What an honor. Mrs. Cameron and I were so pleased by your kind invitation.”
And there stood Mary, his Highland lady, just behind the girl, her face set in tired patience. Valentin had no idea who the young woman was, nor who was the plump gentleman behind Mary, nor why Mary should be with them. He only saw her. Here.
Excerpt from My Lady Below Stairs by Emily Bryan
Ian was leaning against the thick mahogany panels, his manner completely at ease. But his dark eyes watched her with the intensity of a cat before a mouse hole.
He smiled slowly at Jane. As she walked toward him, his crooked grin fisted her heart. She tamped down the flutter in her belly.
“Ian Michael MacGregor,” she hissed. “What do you think you’re doing here?”
“For a bright girl, Janie, ye’re a bit daft this evening. It’s plain as the nose on your face what I’m doing. I’m looking at you, of course.” Ian’s hot gaze traveled down her form and back to meet her eyes again. “Ye’re well worth looking at, lassie, all flushed and rosy. Ye should wear red all the time.”
“Never mind that.” Her voiced rasped with irritation, even though his admiration sent a tingle spiraling through her. She stepped closer to him so no one would overhear them. Ian didn’t smell of fresh stable straw now. A solid whiff of sandalwood emanated from his fine clothes, along with his own masculine scent. “How did you get that suit of clothes?”
“Same way you got what you’re wearing.” He folded his arms across his broad chest and leaned toward her to whisper, “I borrowed it.”
“Oh, Ian!” Jane’s stomach turned a backflip. “Tell me you did not steal from the marquess.”
“Borrow,” he corrected. “Borrow from the marquess.”
“Borrow then, you stupid, big Scot.” Jane suppressed the desire to pound her fist on his chest beneath the messily tied cravat. “Why would you do such a thing?”
The musicians started a softly yearning tune in three-quarter time. Ian’s eyes darkened as he looked at her.
“Maybe I wanted to dance with ye, love.” His husky voice sent a shiver over her. Her heart pounded as if she’d run up three flights of stairs with an armload of washing. With infinite slowness, he slid a hand along the side of her waist, the silk of her gown rustling, almost purring, beneath his touch. Ian took her hand and the fight sizzled out of her.
“Waltz with me, Jane.”
Excerpt from Traditions by Alissa Johnson
One always felt a bit chastised when talking to her.
Which was why Miss Byerly did not feature in William’s matrimonial plans.
Pity, really, that she wasn’t a bit softer. He’d spoken to her once or twice before and she seemed an intelligent sort, with an efficiency of speech and manner he appreciated.
But he wasn’t in need of additional efficiency in his house. He was drowning inefficiency. He was in need of a feminine touch. He wanted a gentle woman, with a soft voice and open heart. Someone free with her laugh. Someone who could provide a bit of light in his life. Someone who wouldn’t make him feel on his wedding night as if he were bedding the governess.
Confident in his assessment of Miss Byerly, and in his choice of bride-to-be, he straightened his cravat, brushed at his waistcoat, and otherwise readied himself to begin the overdue campaign for Miss Meldrin’s affection.
But then, before he could enter the room, Miss Byerly did the most extraordinary thing he had ever had occasion to witness. She picked up the slice of cake with her ungloved hands—which was odd in and of itself—and then, to his supreme astonishment, began to slowly and methodically stuff it into her mouth.
He stood in the shadow of the hallway and watched as she opened wide—tremendously wide—and very carefully wedged the thicker end in first. It caught at the sides of her mouth, leaving behind smudges of chocolate as she pressed the cake in deeper. Next came the center,which required a substantial amount of wiggling of Miss Byerly’s jaw, and then finally, with the confidence obviously born of extensive practice, she folded the remainder of the slice in half and neatly mashed it in with the rest.With her cheeks rounded like a fearful pufferfish, she daintily wiped her fi ngers on her napkin, and then used the napkin to dab gingerly at the upturned corners of her lips.
It was astonishing. It was appalling. It was, he had to admit, enormously impressive.