Friday, March 31, 2017

Regan Walker's Best of the Regency with Author Julia Justiss

Regan here… today on The Best of the Regency my guest is Regency author Julia Justiss. A voracious reader who began jotting down plot ideas for Nancy Drew novels in her third grade spiral, and an avid fan of Georgette Heyer, Julia decided to write her own Regency while her husband was posted at the U.S Embassy in Tunisia. She never looked back.

She has written more than twenty-five novels and novellas set in the Regency period in England. Her awards include the Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America and The Golden Quill. She has also been a finalist in Romantic Times’ Best First Historical, the National Readers Choice, the Daphne du Maurier and All About Romance’s Favorite Book of the Year.

In addition to her Regency romances, Julia has published poetry and worked as a business journalist. She and her husband live in East Texas, where she continues to craft the stories she loves. Today she is giving us a look behind the writing of her newest book, Convenient Proposal to the Lady.

Be sure to leave a comment with your email as Julia is giving away a copy of her book!

Of Birds and Ben



With today’s casual attitude toward children born out of wedlock, it’s hard for a modern reader to understand what the taint of illegitimacy meant in the nineteenth century. Even if acknowledged and provided for, a man could not inherit title or entailed estate, would never be considered “equal” to any half-siblings, and would always be susceptible to taunts about his breeding and his mother’s character.

Benedict Tawny, hero of Convenient Proposal to the Lady was such a man.  Being a hero, he was made tougher and more principled, rather than embittered, by the abuse.  He was also imbued with the fierce desire to protect his mother, whose only sin was believing in his father’s promise of marriage.  Knowing the life-long price paid by a ruined woman, when Ben learns of a dissolute lord’s plot to seduce an innocent maiden to exact revenge against her brother, he feels compelled to intervene.

I knew that young lady would end up Ben’s heroine.  I knew she would have to be quiet and unconventional enough for arrogant gentlemen to believe, as a female on the brink of spinsterhood, she’d be eager to grasp any means to land a husband.  But to capture the interest of a rebellious rogue like Ben, who spent his young adulthood among the clever, lovely ladies of the demi-monde, she would have to be both intelligent and unusual.

And so Alyssa came to be.  An unconventional girl mistreated by a domineering father, she wanted to avoid marriage, which would transfer legal and financial control over her from one man to another.  But she needed some special ability that would allow her to support herself, if she were able to win her freedom.

Barred from the professions, with marriage or domestic service the only respectable occupations, the only marketable skills a well-bred girl might be trained in were art or music.  I decided Alyssa’s gift would be art, and inspired by birding friends and two period books about birds, I decided her passion would be illustration.

In 1797 and 1804, Thomas Bewick published his two-volume History of British Birds, Land Birds and Water Birds. Illustrated with woodcuts after sketches drawn from life or posed models, the books grouped birds by family with common and scientific names, descriptions of their behavior, distribution and habits.  Each new species begins on a new page, so any left over space at the end was filled up with small, often humorous, scenes of country life.


Bewick’s books were the first “field guide” intended for the amateur enthusiast, and remain in print to this day, largely for the beauty and clarity of the woodcuts. Bewick popularized a technique for wood engraving (using hard boxwood cut across the grain in blocks that could be integrated with metal type) that allowed the creation of plates durable enough to be printed many times, producing a high-quality image at low cost.
Audubon's Parrots

Then, in 1827, John Jacob Audubon linked up with accomplished London engravers Robert Havell Jr and Sr and began producing his monumental Birds of America.  Sometimes called the “Double Elephant Folio” for its size (39.5” by 25.5”) the images were created mainly by copperplate engraving with watercolor added after, and sold as a pay-as-you-go subscription. Notable subscribers included King Charles X of France, Lord Spencer, Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. 

Prints were issued every month or so in a set of five, unbound in a tin case and with no accompanying text.  Each set included one large bird, one medium bird and three small birds. Eighty-seven sets of five (435 plates in all) were issued before the project concluded in 1838, along with a five-volume companion text by Audubon and Scottish ornithologist William MacGillivray, written between 1831 and 1839.

In 1832, when Alyssa’s story begins, about half the prints had been issued.  It’s quite possible that, as a lover of nature, she would have had copies of Bewick’s guide, and while in London for the Season, might have viewed an Audubon folio owned by a noble subscriber. With the success of Audubon’s series, it’s also possible some London publisher might have been interested in producing a colorized illustration of British birds. 

Alyssa had her mission.

For Alyssa, social ruin was a small price to pay for winning a chance to realize her dream. Although she almost immediately recognizes and respects Ben’s character and integrity, learning to trust a man enough to open herself to love requires a great leap of faith. Nor is it easy for Ben, who’d seen his beloved mother’s entire life blighted for taking such a leap, to open himself up to the danger of giving his heart.

But as always, the benefits of loving far outweigh the risk. As you read Ben and Alyssa’s story, I hope you’ll agree.

"Duty can also be pleasure, Lady Alyssa…" 

When politician Benedict Tawny set out to save Lady Alyssa from a nefarious plot, he never expected to find himself trapped in a compromising situation with the alluring lady! Now duty demands he propose…and claim her as his bride! 
Tainted by his illegitimacy, Ben knows he can't give Alyssa the life of luxury she deserves. But if he can convince her to succumb to the undeniable heat between them, their convenient marriage might just lead to the love of a lifetime!

Get the book on Amazon, B&N, iTunes and Kobo.

Julia’s question for readers:  Have you ever had a dream everyone told you was hopeless to pursue? What did you do about it? 

And keep up with Julia on her website, Facebook & Twitter.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lizbeth Selvig - Character Interview with Grace and Ty from Betting on Paradise



Hi again GLIAS Friends!
Thanks for joining me today to celebrate Release Day #2 for Betting on Paradise.  I was excited to write this story because I’ve been in love with the three Crockett triplets from the beginning of the series. Grace, Kelly, and Raquel were named for their father’s two favorite movie stars, Grace Kelly and Raquel Welch. Since true identical triplets are literally one-in-a-million rarities, I’ve been fascinated with these three and couldn’t wait to explore their differences in light of how close they are. Since they’ve lived and worked in Denver, far from Paradise Ranch, they weren’t featured predominantly in the first three “Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys” books. The chance to get to know them is the best fun for me!


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Grace is the first of the triplets to separate herself from the others. She’s underappreciated in her role as part owner of the sisters’ successful Denver restaurant, and she wants to try out some ideas that Kelly and Raquel have voted down. She’s also different from the other two because she has a reputation as “the good girl.” So, who does Grace fall for? A man who’s definitely had his stint as “the bad boy.”

Only, by the time the story starts, Ty has turned over a new leaf—because of his daughter, Teagan aka Lucky. She was unceremoniously dumped in Ty’s life by a women he’d dated and broken up with three years earlier. Although her mother disappeared, Lucky has literally changed her dad’s life. The only “bad” thing Ty is doing nowadays is taking advantage of his new position at Paradise Ranch. He feels guilty about lying to the family – he has plans to try and take away some of their land, for the most legitimate of reasons, he believes—but he has no intention of getting close to the people. And he plans to tell them as soon as he can.

Long story short:  he fell in love. And that messed up everything.

I could go on and on about Grace and Ty’s love affair—but, then, that’s what the book is for. Instead, I thought you’d get a kick out of an interview with Grace and Ty—conducted after the end of the book. So I picked out a handful of GLIAS questions and posed them to our heroes. For your enjoyment—welcome Grace Crockett and Ty Garraway!

LIZ: Welcome you two! You can take turns answering the questions you like. Let’s start with Grace. What was your favorite book as a child?
GRACE: My Friend Flicka and The Black Stallion. I think both of those books made me look at the wild mustangs we see once in a while on Paradise Ranch in a really romanticized way. I always wanted to have my own wild horse to tame, even though we had plenty of broke horses to choose from. Since then, my sisters and I have trained many mustangs—and it’s always a thrill.

LIZ: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
TY: I can’t seem to help that I still enjoy a small stakes poker game with friends. I’ve never gotten stressed out by gambling and I’ve managed to stay away from any kind of game where I could lose my shirt. But more than that I love spending time with my daughter, Lucky. She was such a surprise, coming into my life the way she did (her mother just dropped her off and disappeared) but she’s the reason for every decision I make. Of course, there’s spending time with Grace—that, I figured just went without saying..

LIZ: If your house was on fire and you only had time to save three objects, what would you save?
GRACE:  1. Assuming all the people were safe—my computer—it has all my business  plans on it; 2. my grandmother’s old recipe file box—it contains all the special recipes I want to include on my new restaurant menu; 3. a painting my sister Harper made of the old family cottage we turned into our restaurant—it’s a one-of-a-kind that gave me my inspiration for this whole endeavor.
TY: 1. Lucky’s dog Rupert—don’t tell her, but after all the complaints I made about having a dog, I’ve fallen for the crazy mutt; 2. my great-grandmother’s journal—Grace and her sisters found it and it proves to me that the way I treat my family is far more important than what I give them; 3. Lucky’s three-year-old portrait—the first one I had taken of her after she came into my life.

LIZ: You’ve been granted one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?
TY:  I would choose Superman’s ability to fly so fast he turned back time. There are a lot of things I’d like to go back and change in my family history. I’d maybe slap my great-grandfather upside the head for the kind of life he led back in 1910 and the way he treated my great-grandmother. I’d also change things so I could have known Lucky from the time she was born rather than the time she was three.

LIZ: Grace, can you write us a haiku about Ty!
GRACE (laughing): I’m kind of a dorky girl so, yeah I’ll try one:
Ty loves his daughter
He’ll risk all for those he loves.
I’m the lucky one.
LIZ: Ty? How about you?
TY: Oh, heck no. I don’t do poetry. Flowers is the best I can do. I will say, though, that if I ever did write a verse or rhyme it would be because Grace inspired it. She can give me the power to do and believe anything.

LIZ: Time for a mini blitz!
Ty:
a)Favorite color? Green
c) Movie? – The Magnificent Seven
d) Summer or winter? Summer
e) Morning or night? Morning –I have a daughter who’s a morning kid, so I have no choice.
f) Rain or shine? Rain
g) Sweet or salty? Sweet – I’m a sucker for anything with ice cream or frosting.

Grace:
a)Favorite color? Lavender
c) Movie? – Love Actually
d) Summer or winter? Summer
e) Morning or night? Night—Ty and I are rarely in agreement about this, lol.
f) Rain or shine? Rain – Ty and I are always in agreement about this!
g) Sweet or salty? Sweet – Chocolate chip cookies are my downfall.

LIZ: What’s on your bucket list for this year?
TY and GRACE: To get the new restaurant up and running. To take Lucky to DisneyWorld.

QUESTION FOR YOU:
i have a choice of e-book from my back list for one commenter today. Since this blog is all about books, let me ask you what I asked Grace above:   What was your favorite book as a child?

Thanks for spending time with me the past two days. I hope you’ll get a chance to enjoy Betting on Paradise. And contact me anytime by email or social media -- or join my online STREET TEAM or REVIEW SQUAD. We have nothing but FUN both places!
And I invite you to join my VIP Newsletter—be the  first to get all the news!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Betting on the Brand New Seven Brides Book from Lizbeth Selvig



Hi GLIAS friends,
It’s been a while since I’ve had the joy and fun of coming to you with a new release. I’m so excited to share the birth of this story—it’s a saga in and of itself.

Betting on Paradise is the fourth book in my series “Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys.” For a little while I wasn’t sure it would see its way to life much less pave the way for the three books I planned to follow it.  The three books that started this series (The Bride Wore Denim, The Bride Wore Red Boots, and The Bride Wore Starlight) have done well but, to be blunt, not well enough for the bean counters at HarperCollins. Since indie-publishing was NEVER on my bucket list, I nearly gave up on my seven book plan and went on to a different kind of novel completely.

But I LOVE this series. Plus, I actually had people who were not my mother begging for the next book – and if you want to know a big truth about authors it’s that one of the things that swells our heads the most is readers asking when the next installment in a series is coming.

So I took up the story and started attaching myself to very smart friends who know a lot about the self-publishing world. Thank Heaven for them. I would have no book without their help.

I did all the things that needed to be done:  hired an editor, secured a copy editor, and found a cover designer. All went well, and I had a lovely cover I adored, until just after I revealed said cover, we discovered a nearly identical, duplicate cover already on a book for sale on Amazon. NO WAY! The books are the same genre and would have shown up at the same place. I had to change it.


Serendipity! My glorious cover artist changed background colors, changed font colors, and changed my heroine’s dress color—and the vote was unanimous. The new cover was better than the first. Here’s the original photo we used. It’s stands out. It pops. But it’s not nearly as pretty as the final product. It makes me happy every time I see it. And it’s perfect for this spring release, for Easter, and for standing out in a crowd!


Tomorrow I’ll talk more about the story between the covers – come back for an interview with my hero, Ty, and my heroine, Grace. Until then, here’s a little more about Betting on Paradise. Welcome back to Paradise Ranch, everyone!!

STORY BLURB
From birth Grace Crockett has been part of an unbroken set: one-in a million identical triplets. Twenty-six years later, however, feeling unappreciated in her role as part owner of a successful Denver restaurant, Grace longs to break away and fulfill her own dreams. But to do so she must learn to trust in her own judgment.

Small-time poker player Ty Garraway is determined to break his family’s legacy of abuse and abandonment, and give his young daughter a hope for the future he’s never had. But that means taking on the Crocketts—one of the most powerful ranching families in Wyoming—and taking back a part of Paradise Ranch stolen from his family eighty years ago in a poker game he believes was rigged.

Grace’s relentless honesty and devotion to family—not to mention the way she turns him on—has Ty thinking too much with his heart. Ty’s passionate love for his daughter and his encouragement of Grace’s half-baked ideas—not to mention his knee-weakening kisses—has Grace wondering if she’s found her unlikely match in a rough-around-the-edges cowboy. But when Ty’s plans are exposed, can Grace forgive the liar who manipulated her and her family and forgive herself for being duped?

Love has raised the stakes, requiring Ty to bet everything he has to win Grace and his future, but will it be enough?

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EXCERPT
Ty gave the corner of the sheetrock a pull and a chunk three feet square broke off like limestone and powdered the floor. The space behind the hole was empty.
“Curiouser and curiouser,” said Grace.
“Yeah. What do you think, Alice, do you want to see what’s behind here? A portal to Wonderland? Maybe a doorway to Narnia?”
“You know about Narnia?”
He scowled. “I have a kid, remember? Who reads already and likes to listen to books above her age level. I’ve probably read more children’s stories than you have.”
She nodded in concession. “That’s pretty likely true. But I have read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and Alice in Wonderland, so at least I got the references.
He smiled, warmed by the easy camaraderie they suddenly shared. It shouldn’t be that surprising, he supposed. They were searching for treasure together after all. “Well, we’re more like the Goonies than like Peter and Susan,” he said, turning back to the wall and grasping another edge of sheet rock.
“Or Alice, for that matter,” she replied. “Because I’m telling you, if we find something with a tag on it that reads ‘Drink Me,’ it isn’t going to be me who tries it.”
“Why does that not surprise me in the least?” He swiveled his head slightly to glance back and wrinkle his nose. “Grace Crockett, try an unknown substance?”
“Unless it’s a good Scotch.”
A grunting laugh burst from him as he won the battle with another chunk of wallboard. “I think I like you, Miss Grace. You don’t take yourself too seriously.”
This time the snorting laughter came from her. “You’ll never ever convince my sisters of that. And, I admit, one of the reasons I’m okay with pulling this down is that I could never leave that hole in the wall. It would bother me in my sleep.”
“Seriously?”
Another piece of sheetrock hit the floor.
“Think Big Bang Theory.
“You’re telling me you’re that OCD?”
“I like no mess.”
“Aha. That totally explains why you want to clean this place before you get bids on remodeling.”
“I guess.”
She used her good hand to join him in the demolition. After fifteen minutes, they’d cleared a section of wall about ten feet square. Ty held up his hand to stop them and stepped back.
“Look at that,” he said.
“A second fireplace!” Grace bent and craned her neck to look into the brick firebox. “Somebody covered it up, and really quickly, too.”
“A quick guess is that it was old and drafty, and this was a stopgap to warm up the room.”
They both rocked forward at the same time and stuck their heads into the fireplace. As if they’d choreographed it, Ty turned his head right and Grace turned hers left so they could look up the flue. It was black as a well.
A gentle waft of flowery scent filled his nostrils. Without warning his heartbeat accelerated and he turned slowly back, shocked to meet her eyes just inches from his. Her nose nearly brushed his cheek. He could have kissed her. She didn’t move.
“I think it’s blocked.” Her breath feathered his lips. He couldn’t take his eyes off the action of her mouth as she swallowed.
“Yup.”
“What’s this, some kind of new voodoo ceremony?”
The bright, southern-accented voice from behind them made Ty flinch as if he’d been stun gunned. When his forehead crashed into Grace’s she collapsed onto her side, hit her elbow and let out a yelp that ended in a choked sob.
“Grace!” Ty was out of the fireplace and had Grace in his arms before he could even rub the sore spot on his own head. “I’m sorry. So sorry. Your bad elbow—”
“I only bumped it. I’m fine, Ty.” Her forced half smile couldn’t hide the pain in her eyes.
He didn’t look toward the door; he’d recognized the voice. Instead, he bent his head closer to Grace. “We should go have it checked again.”
“Oh for crying out loud. No we should not.”
Grace was first to look at their guests. Ty continued to hold her, unwilling to trust her balance, not wanting to let her go. She felt right and safe in his embrace.
But before he could ask once more if she really was okay, she gasped and wrenched free of his arms.
“Lil!” she said.
 In full-fledged annoyance, Ty turned, too, and met a pair of sparkling brown eyes.
“That looked like it hurt, baby,” Lil said.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Ty shot back.
Grace popped him on the shoulder with a deep scowl and gave the slightest incline of her head toward the door. He looked more carefully. Lucky stepped away from Lil’s side and gave a suspicious little wave.
“Hi, Daddy.”
“Lucky?”
“You gave Miss Grace a bad bump. I think you should kiss her owie.” She crossed her five-year-old arms and waited.


QUESTION
In this scene, Ty’s daughter, Lucky, an extremely precocious five-year-old, ends up being the smartest person in the room – or at least the most honest. I love including kids and animals in my stories. Just as they say in the movies—they’re usually the ones who steal the limelight. I want to know what baby, child, or animal steals the scenes in your life. Tell me all about your favorite kids and/or pets. I have an e-copy of your choice of any one book from my backlist for a commenter today.


Remember to come back tomorrow for more fun (Ty and Grace answer GLIAS questions) and another giveaway!

Here’s how to contact me—I love hearing from readers:
And I invite you to join my VIP Newsletter—be the  first to get all the news!

See you tomorrow!