Thursday, September 29, 2011

Winner! : "The Companion of Lady Holmeshire", by Debra Brown

Congratulations to Jewel's Gems, who won a PDF copy of the sweet Victorian romance, The Companion of Lady Holmeshire, by Debra Brown.

Thank you to everyone who read my interview with Debra and took time to enter the giveaway!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Teaser

Tuesday Teaser is a weekly bookish meme (rhymes with “cream"), hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. (I’ve borrowed it from LDS Women’s Book Review.) Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share at least two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

I'm adapting the rules slightly. I'll be quoting some random lines from the last chapter I read before I post a teaser. I'm a slow reader, so you may get multiple teasers per book. Here's a teaser from The Reluctant Widow, by Georgette Heyer:

The valet bowed, but shook his head. "My master, thank you, miss, can never stomach mutton. I took the precaution of packing a pot of Dr. Ratcliffe's Restorative Pork Jelly in the larger valise, and shall endeavor to persuade my master to swallow a spoonful every now and then."

From The Reluctant Widow, p 267

If you'd like to share a teaser from a book you're currently reading, I'd love you to do so in the comment section. And you don't even have to share it on a Tuesday! Be sure to include the title, author, and page number in case others would like to check out the book you're reading.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Winner! : September Blog Hop

Congratulations to Judy, who won a copy of 
Delicious Conversation by Jennifer Stewart Griffith in the September Blog Hop.

I appreciate everyone who stopped by to enter!

What Am I Reading Now?

It's been a bad writing week, and I'm behind in my What Am I Reading Now? posts anyway, so I thought I would share my latest read with you today instead of my non-existent new excerpts from my WIP.

I've actually been reading this book for over a week, but I've had so many blog hops and giveaways going on, that I haven't had time to post about it. In reviewing my reading list so far for this year, I discovered that I've only re-read one "old favorite" so far in 2011. So I decided it was time to add another to the list. The "old favorite" I have chosen for my current read is The Reluctant Widow, a Regency romance by Georgette Heyer.

Here's the back cover blurb for The Reluctant Widow:

In The Reluctant Widow, Elinor Rochdale, a young woman of good birth but straitened circumstances, sets out to accept a position as a governess and ends up plunged into a tangle of foreign intrigue instead.
Elinor's adventure begins when she inadvertently mistakes the carriage waiting at the coach stop for one sent by her prospective employer, Mrs. Macclesfield. She finds herself carried to the estate of one Ned Carlyon, who Elinor mistakes for Mr. Macclesfield. Carlyon, meanwhile, believes Elinor to be the young woman he hired to marry his dying cousin, Eustace Cheviot, in order to avoid inheriting Cheviot's estate himself. Somehow, Elinor is talked into marrying Eustace on his deathbed and thus becomes a widow almost as soon as the ring is on her finger. What starts out as a simple business arrangement soon becomes much more complicated as housebreakers, uninvited guests, a shocking murder, missing government papers, and a dog named Bouncer all contribute to this lively, frequently hilarious tale of mistaken identities, foreign espionage, and unexpected love set during the Napoleonic Wars.

Stop by on Tuesday to read a Tuesday Teaser from The Reluctant Widow.

Winner of $25 chocolate gift certificate!

I should have announced this days ago, but I was working on a few logistical challenges to getting the prize to the winner. All solved now. :-)

The winner of the $25 gift certificate to Mrs Cavanaugh's Chocolates (a change from See's) is Laura Fabiani!

Congratulations, Laura! And thank you to everyone who chimed in to congratulate me on Dangerous Favor finding a home with Walnut Springs Press. More celebratory prizes are coming soon, so stay tuned!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sweet Saturday Samples

Click here for the September Blog Hop

Click here for the author interview & giveaway with Victorian author Debra Brown


Now on to my latest Sweet Saturday Sample! Last week, I re-introduced you to my heroine Siri's rival suitor, Raynor. Here is one more encounter between Siri and my hero, Triston. This excerpt is from my sweet medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart (rating PG).

She blissfully obliged him with a delicate tremor.  A soft, seductive heat spread through her body. She did not want him to stop, but…


“I know.” He lifted his mouth. “You are more delicious than honey, sweet Siriol, and if I am not careful, I will devour every inch of you here and now. Just one more, and then we will return to the castle and seek Father Michel’s counsel about Raynor’s cursed oath.”

He possessed her lips in a quick, fervent kiss. She wound her arms around his neck again. She wanted only to succumb, to lie forever in his embrace and—


Her eyes, closed against their passion, flew open at the brittle crack of a twig. She saw a blur of movement over their heads, an arm swinging in the air and a glint of steel…

She wrenched her lips away and screamed. Triston tensed instantly, but his reaction came too late. The arm swooped down and she heard a horrible thud as something cracked into Triston’s skull.

Her second scream was one of pure panic. His body slumped atop her and pinned her in a limp, suffocating weight. That glint of steel, she knew, had betokened a sword, and now Triston— 

A shudder of terror slammed through her. Frantically she tried to free herself, wild with dread of what she might see when she did, but desperate to know how grievously he had been wounded. He was so heavy—so limp—

She had wriggled herself halfway out from under him when hands grabbed her by the shoulders and dragged her the rest of the way to set her on her feet.

Hope you enjoyed my little snippet! Now click here to read some Sweet Saturday Samples from some other amazing authors!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September Blog Hop!

Welcome to the September Blog Hop! Celebrate the beginning of fall with me and my blogger friends by hopping around, visiting our sites, and entering our contests! There are no limits - you can enter the contest on every blog. With over 40 blogs participating, that's over 40 prizes you could win. Just click on the links below to move on to the next blog.

On my blog, you can win …

A gently used copy of Delicious Conversation, by Jennifer Stewart Griffith. Here's the back cover blurb:

Susannah Hapsburg is totally ready for Plan C. Plan A was to get married at 22 and have a passel of kids. Still unmarried and 31, that option is out. Plan B was to work her way up the corporate ladder. However, the company she devoted eight years to just went bankrupt, giving her a bad taste for the corporate world. 

Plan C involves chocolate.

With the support of friends, Susannah puts her future on the line to open up downtown Salt Lake City s first all-chocolate café, The Chocolate Bar, a place where scrumptious conversations and delectable desserts abound.

In the midst of all this, social turmoil hits Susannah when she catches the interest of the city s most eligible bachelor just as her long-lost love returns to town--with intentions of marrying anyone but Susannah.

Can Plan C offer Susannah her just desserts?

Would you like to win this prize? You just need to do two things.

1. Become a follower of this blog.

2. Leave me a comment and tell me why you'd like to win this prize. Be sure to include your email address. I can't let you know you won if I don't know how to contact you! (If you're unable to leave a comment on my blog, you may email it to me at

That's it! You are now entered. The contest ends on Saturday night, September 24th, at midnight MST, and the winner will be contacted shortly thereafter. Please either leave your e-mail address in the comment trail or make sure it's visible through your profile so I can contact you to tell you that you're the lucky winner.

Now go visit my other friends ...

September Blog Hop Participants

1. Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author

2. Joyce DiPastena

3. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

4. Mandi Slack

5. Michael D. Young

6. Six Mixed Reviews

7. Pam Williams

8. Laurie Lewis

9. Kristy Tate

10. Marilyn Yarbrough

11. Stacy Coles

12. Kristie Ballard

13. Lynn Parsons

14. Pushing Past the Pounds

15. Sheila Staley

16. cindy Hogan
17. Jamie Thompson

18. Jaclyn Weist

19. Cathy Witbeck

20. Secret Sisters Mysteries

21. Tamera Westhoff

22. Tina Scott

23. Lynnea Mortensen

24. Danyelle Ferguson aka Queen of the Clan

25. Jeanette A. Fratto

26. Bonnie Harris

27. Melissa Lemon

28. Mary Ann Dennis

29. Stephanie Black

30. Jane Still

31. Janice

32. Laura Bastian
33. Tamara Bordon

34. Betsy Love

35. Maria Hoagland

36. Amber Robertson

37. Debbie Davis


39. Christy Monson

40. Carolyn Frank

41. Rebecca Birkin

42. Melissa Cunningham

43. Emily L. Moir

44. Ronda Hinrichsen

45. Lisa Asanuma

46. Joan Sowards

47. Jordan McCollum

48. Diane Stringam Tolley

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Author Interview & Giveaway with Victorian Author Debra Brown

I'm excited to share with you today an interview with Victorian romance author, Debra Brown. Along with the interview, Debra has graciously offered to give away a PDF copy of her romance, The Companion of Lady Holmeshire. Stick around and I'll tell you how you can enter at the end of the interview!

JDP: Welcome, Debra. What made you decide to write a Victorian romance?

Debra: The thought of writing was a feel-good thing, like chocolate, roses and tea. And if I was going to write, it would be in the genre that had stayed in my mind from my earliest memories of reading. Even my memories of Nancy Drew books are pictures in my mind of Nancy hiding in secret rooms of old Victorian houses. Great Expectations was “expected” in school, and I had always had Miss Havisham and her mansion in the back of my mind, too.

JDP: What do you find most fascinating about the Victorian Era?

Debra: Though I should say that it is because it was a time of great change and progress, with the industrial revolution and women beginning to ask for their rights, I have to be honest. I love the mental pictures of beautifully dressed women with big hats and tiny waistlines having tea together with perfect manners, gentlemen bowing to ladies as they enter and never turning their backs on them without excusing themselves, and so on. Then Charles Dickens throws a wrench in the works with his realistic portrayal of life, including the grief that was often brought on by the strict rules and standards of the time as well as the horrible conditions that a large number of the people lived under.

JDP: I guess we need to know both sides of the coin. It doesn’t hurt to enjoy a little romance, though! I’m always interested in how authors research their historical novels. Could you tell us a little about how you researched the historical background for The Companion of Lady Holmeshire?

Debra: The beginning of my “research” was actually quite a pleasure. I watched period movies and TV series from Netflix for years while I was making jewelry. Over time, I began to see how the class structure was set up, how the servants lived downstairs while the aristocrats were upstairs, and so on. I thought it was very interesting, at least as entertainment, though I wouldn’t have wanted the role of such a servant in real life. Questions would arise in my mind, and I would look for the answers on the internet. When I began to think about writing a book, I checked out library books on the subject and used the internet even more. I wish I could have climbed through ruins and toured castles, but the only castle I have toured is Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley, and though it is a real castle and great to tour, it is only six years old and was never lived in.

JDP: Whoa, you’ve got a castle in California? Why didn’t I know this! Okay, that’s definitely going down on my “to do” list! Can you share with us your top three favorite research books or other resources for the Victorian Era?

Debra: Besides some large picture books which enlightened me a great deal on the areas, villages and architecture of England, I love Sally Mitchell’s Daily Life in Victorian England and Liza Picard’s Victorian London. I also enjoyed Victoria and Albert: A Family Life at Osbourne House by The Duchess of York. There are many other resource books that I have learned from, too.

JDP: Are there any historical figures from the Victorian Era who particularly intrigue you?

Debra: I like Albert. I knew some about him from the movies and books I’d read, but when I read the book on Osbourne House, I developed quite a bit of respect for him. Here he was, a man appointed for the Queen of England if she would have him, who had to wait for her to decide and to say when. It took longer than he or others expected. When she finally decided on him, he had to leave everything behind from this wonderful country life and become an unpopular German in smelly London. He was not allowed to be head of the  house, at first, but he was a considerate husband and loving father. He and Victoria became very close and spent a lot of time with their children in comparison to the aristocratic norm of the day. He actually sought out a home for them away from the city, and they came to live on the Isle of Wight. He redesigned and remodeled Osbourne House for the family, and the children were able to live a nice country life there. It is Albert’s devotion to his family that impresses me. It is sad to see how, though he tried so hard as a parent, his descendents came to be enemies fighting each other in World War I. He died young, and both he and Victoria were spared watching their grandson, Wilhelm, grow up to fight his kin.

JDP: That’s interesting. We often think about what royal wives had to give up when they left their homelands to become a foreign queen, but we don’t often reflect on the reverse, when the royal consort is a man. Thank you for sharing that. What inspired you to write The Companion of Lady Holmeshire?

Debra: I decided to write a book- it seemed like a nice hobby. I assumed that I would write a chapter and then realize I did not have the time for it. However, when I picked up the large picture books from the library and thumbed through them, I saw things that I had to build a story around. One of them was the ruins of a monastery seen through naked winter branches from a castle window. It became my first paragraph and I went from there. It actually didn’t work- that first paragraph, and I eventually had to throw it out.

But the story had begun and it took off on its own without the monastery. I also saw a picture of a thirteenth century slumping chapel, which became an interesting part of my story. Class divisions also had to play a main part, and thus Emma was badly treated in aristocratic circles.

JDP: Please tell us a little about your Victorian romance, The Companion of Lady Holmeshire.

Debra: Emma Carrington was a foundling infant who grew up to become the companion of a warm-hearted countess. She had served as a servant, and so when the countess wanted to take her along to tea and banquets in aristocratic circles, she was not warmly received. Emma had feelings for the young Earl of Holmeshire, but he was engaged by arrangement to a London lady, and of course, Emma was not in his class. There are humorous romantic tribulations with a downstairs servant couple and anguish of the hearts upstairs as well. Mystery is woven throughout the plot, and to this day, no reader has reported guessing the sudden twist at the end.

 JDP: Are you working on any new projects?

Debra: Yes, I am enjoying writing a second book, currently titled For the Skylark. It is very different from Companion, more emotion, more focus on a person. Companion is mostly a story about several people with a great plot. Skylark is so focused on a person that you don’t realize there is a plot until suddenly everything comes together at the end.

JDP: Where can readers obtain copies of The Companion of Lady Holmeshire?

Debra: Publisher’s Website:
Amazon, Kindle and Print:
Barnes & Noble, Nook and Print:

Feel free to visit my website: and my blog:

JDP: Thank you for joining us today, Debra!

Now to the giveaway. For a chance to win a PDF copy of The Companion of Lady Holmeshire, just leave a comment on this interview WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.

(If you are unable to leave a comment, you may email it to me at

Deadline for entries is Wednesday, September 28, midnight PST. The winner will be announced on September 29.

Debra asked me to include the following in relation to her giveaway:

1. No purchase necessary.
2. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose.
3. The PDF is available internationally.
4. The contest runs from Sept 21-28.
5. The contest is being offered by author Debra Brown, 604 NW Linden Avenue, Corvallis, OR 97330 USA.
6. The prize will have one winner and will be valued at the price of the book.
7. The winner will be chosen by random drawing.