Friday, July 20, 2012

Guest: Janet Mullany's Malorie Phoenix

Today Janet is going to talk about her bucket list/dream vacation. Now I know some have trouble with the wording of bucket list, but it's better than the B4UDIE adds I've seen running. :) Though they're definitely catchy! How about List List? Does that work?

Janet Mullany, granddaughter of an Edwardian housemaid, was born in England but now lives near Washington, DC. Her debut book was Dedication, the only Signet Regency to have two bondage scenes (and which was reissued with even more sex in April 2012 from Loose-Id). Her next book, The Rules of Gentility (HarperCollins 2007) was acquired by Little Black Dress (UK) for whom she wrote three more Regency chicklits, A Most Lamentable Comedy, Improper Relations, and Mr. Bishop and the Actress. Her career as a writer who does terrible things to Jane Austen began in 2010 with the publication of Jane and the Damned (HarperCollins), and Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion (2011) about Jane as a vampire, and a modern retelling of Emma, Little to Hex Her, in the anthology Bespelling Jane Austen headlined by Mary Balogh. She also writes contemporary erotic fiction for Harlequin, Tell Me More (2011) and Hidden Paradise (September, 2012).

Twitter @Janet_Mullany

So I present Janet Mullany's Life List!

Hi there, big thanks for having me visit, Isabel!

When you invited me, you gave me the choice of writing about my bucket list or about my best holiday and strangely enough the two coincide enough that I dithered about which I should write, and came to the conclusion that I’d never had a really good vacation.

Some people have a gift for it; I don’t. I’m sure this relates to the sort of strange English holidays I experienced growing up, doing things that (some of them, anyway) I’m now grateful for, but at the time, ungrateful child that I was, I wanted to go to the seaside or Butlins like all my friends did. (Butlins? Imagine a concentration camp where you are enforced to do Fun! Fun! Fun things by sadists in red jackets in howling gales. It may be better these days but then the resorts—known as camps—were surrounded by barbed wire fences.)

Instead we went up mountains in Wales and the Lake District, cycled in France and Holland and went to Denmark to visit relatives one time where it was so cold we went to museums a lot, which I actually liked. And every time—every single time—my brother’s asthma flared up and cut the holiday short or curtailed activities. And it rained a lot (not so much in France) and we didn’t have enough ice cream stops.

So bucket list #1 is to learn how to go on an honest to god holiday, not one built around a writing conference. I have no idea where to go or what to do when I’m there; I guess I’d sit around on a beach covered in heavy duty sunscreen, wrapped in towels, and read. Maybe take in a few museums if I got bored. Sounds good to me. People tell me it would be good for me.

#2. Learn to sing. I was very inspired by Gareth Malone’s series The Choir on BBC America, in which he started community choirs in schools that had no music programs or in unlikely towns with no cultural life in the UK. He believes anyone can sing to one extent or another, which is true, and that singing brings people and communities together in an amazing way. I even tried to start a local choir in my town and ended up singing tenor, but we realized we needed someone who could actually sing to guide us and we’re on hiatus. None of us could sing soprano and also we really needed more guys other than my husband (and, I guess, me).

#3. What else? I think doing some good in the world, making a difference, and affecting change is obvious. We all want to do that. Not all of us have the skills or resources to make a real impact but I believe we should do what we can. I’m not necessarily sure that I adhere to the theory that romance heals and does all those good things; not mine, anyway. My sparse reader fan mail is more along the lines of what beverage emerged from the reader’s nose and/or what stops they missed on public transport. All good stuff and I think making people laugh is a laudable goal, but sorry, the book I’m promoting here, The Malorie Phoenix, is not that funny. For giggles, you need to check out The Rules of Gentility and my Little Black Dress titles.

And that’s about it. Small specific things and one big vague thing. Is everyone’s bucket list like this? How about yours?


Benedict de Malorie, Earl of Trevisan, can never forget the masked woman he met one night at a London pleasure garden. The clever pickpocket stole his heart and his family's prized jewel – the Malorie Phoenix. But the family treasure reappears in Benedict's darkest hour, returned by its thief, along with the unexpected gift of his infant daughter.

Believing that she is dying, Jenny Smith leaves her daughter in the custody of the baby’s blueblood father. Seven years later she finds herself in good health and alone, yearning for her only child. To raise enough money to support them both, she takes part in a daring escapade that requires her to impersonate a woman of quality. She fools the ton and Benedict himself.

When Jenny finds herself entangled in a murderous plot against Benedict, the father of her child, her carefully laid plans begin to fall apart. All she wants is her daughter back, but she never thought she'd fall in love with Benedict. Revealing her part in the plot means she will almost certainly lose Benedict and their daughter forever. But continuing to play her role puts them all in terrible danger.

She recognized him immediately although he had changed. The man who stood there was taller, a little broader in the shoulder, with a wary, damaged look in his eyes—a man who had reason to mistrust the world. His hair sprang back from his brow as she remembered, a streak of white where seven years ago she had seen the raw red of a burn.

"Ladies." He bowed. His voice was as she remembered, deep, resonant, beautiful.

"You are come at a happy time, Trevisan. Look who has arrived this hour from the Continent!"

He straightened, his golden eyes cold as he looked at her. "Indeed. The lost lamb is returned to the fold."

He looked down to one side as a small figure stepped from behind him. "Ladies, I should like to introduce my daughter, Miss Sarah de Malorie."

My friends call me Malorie.

His face softened as he placed one hand on the child's shoulder. She looked at them with solemn eyes beneath a cloud of dark curls.

Her eyes had changed color, now the same dark-rimmed golden eyes of her father, and her face echoed his, in a smaller and more feminine form—the promise of high cheekbones above childishly rounded cheeks. Jenny remembered the cloudy blue eyes of an infant who had just learned to smile, the wide stretch of her tiny pink mouth. Forgive me.

Beside Jenny, Mrs. Stanley sucked her breath in sharply. "Good afternoon." Sarah's voice was soft and sweet. She looked at her father for approval. None of the Stanley family moved. Jenny stepped forward. "Good afternoon, Sarah."Her daughter hesitated before an answering smile lit up her face. She tucked one foot behind the other and dropped a neat, elegant curtsy.

Forgive me.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday Review: Jude Deveraux's Heartwishes

Once upon a time, Jude Deveraux was my all time favorite author. I devoured each and very book she had, re-read them, and kept them neatly on my bookshelves. Then I moved on to darker stories, sexier ones, and Ms. Deveraux moved away from her Montgomery and Taggert stories onto other families with a touch of paranormal, and we parted ways.

Last month I picked up Heartwishes, which is apparently the 5th installment to a series I hadn't read. (Naturally!)

It's made me realize 2 things: 1) I like her earlier works too much to coninute with this series lest I begin to hate her writing and 2) Her books seem like they're becoming a tad too similar.

I didn't mind the story itself, it was fine considering I have no idea what went on in the previous 4 Edilean stories. And Ms. Deveraux's research is impeccable as always. Her writing was nothing different from what I recall.

All that can't erase the fact that Gemma was the type of person who not only doesn't exist but whom you want to strangle within hours of meeting. No one is that perfect! Or nice. Or flawless. My other problem is that I love series...except when I can't follow the current story for all the references to previous books I haven't read!

I give this 3 stars because I haven't read the other 4 Edilean books and am hoping that by reading them I can understand this book a tad better. (Though based on reviews I doubt it. Pity.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Guest: Jana Richards

Today I'd like to welcome Jana and her post-World War 2 romance. I love historicals, and let's face it, WWII is full of romance! Shame there aren't more WWII romances out there. Trust me, there's a market!

My Bucket List
I’ve never written a bucket list before, so this is a fun exercise. The challenge is going to limit my list to only three items, but here goes!

1.       To travel more. I’ve wanted to see Hawaii ever since Tom Selleck was “Magnum P.I.”. He always  talked about every day on the islands being a day in Paradise, and I’d love to experience that. This dream will hopefully come true next year as my husband and I are planning a trip to Maui next March. I’d love to go to Paris, too. Maybe it’s overpriced and maybe too many tourists go there already, but just once I’d like to see the City of Lights for myself. And hey, if I’m already in Europe, why not pop down to Tuscany for some red wine and sunshine?

2.       To see book of mine in print. HOME FIRES is my eighth published work, not counting some pieces of mine included in anthologies. But aside from a short story called “Wings of Fire” which is included in my writing group’s print anthology (Love, Loss and Other Oddities), all of my work is epublished only. I would love to hold a full length print novel of mine in my hands someday! Even if I have to upload one of my books to and print it myself, it’s going to happen, but my goal is to have a publisher be so thrilled with one of my books that they are dying to print it!

3.       I’d love to attend a big sporting event like the Super Bowl, or the Olympics, or even a golf tournament like The Masters. I’ve wanted to go to a Grey Cup game (Canadian Football League championship) since I was a teenager, but it just hasn’t happened yet. Several years ago my family and I attended the women’s gymnastics competition when the Pan-Am games were in my city, and that was a lot of fun. My daughter and I also saw the Canadian Figure Skating nationals when they were here, and that was great fun, too. It’s so different from watching on TV. Those events whet my appetite to see more!

What’s on your bucket list? I’d love to hear your stories. Remember that every comment gives you a chance to win the $25 Amazon gift certificate that will be awarded at random to one lucky commenter. So comment away! For information on a bonus gift I’m offering and additional ways you can be entered to win the $25 GC, please go to my website at


Anne Wakefield travels halfway around the world for love. But when she arrives in Canada from England at the end of World War Two, she discovers the handsome Canadian pilot she’d fallen in love with has married someone else. Heartbroken, she prepares to return to London, though she has nothing left there to return to. Her former fiancĂ©’s mother makes a suggestion: marriage to her other son.

Badly wounded and scarred during the war, Erik Gustafson thinks he’s a poor substitute for his brother. Although he loves Anne almost from the first time he sees her, he cannot believe she would ever be able to love him as he is – especially as he might be after another operation on his bad leg. Anne sees the beauty of his heart. The cold prairie winter may test her courage, but can she prove to Erik that her love for him is real?

She whirled around to glare at him, her eyes blazing. “No! I’m not a child! I don’t have to be molly-coddled and baby-sat. I spent six years in a war zone, hiding in bomb shelters, never having enough to eat. I worked in a hospital treating blitz victims with wounds so horrendous grown men would gag to look at them. I faced those horrors every day. Sometimes things were so bad I thought I couldn’t go on. But I did. Because I had to. And I’ll face things here too. So don’t tell me to give up because I won’t!”

Erik pushed himself out of his chair to face her, awed by her spirit and courage. She lifted her chin as if defying him to contradict her, her hands clenched at her sides. Her dark hair curled in wild abandon as it dried, framing her pale oval face like a halo. Her beauty and ferocity were magnificent.

“I think you’re the strongest woman I know.”

Her eyes widened in surprise, her hands unclenching. He caught the quiver of her chin as she fought to hold back tears.

He opened his arms and she stepped into them, wrapping her arms around his waist and clinging to him. He held her tightly, inhaling the sweet, clean scent of her, never wanting to let her go.

“Don’t cry. Everything’s all right now.”

She lifted her head to look into his face, her dark eyes shiny with tears, her lips slightly parted. Erik stared at her mouth, wanting desperately to kiss her, to capture her sweetness. He slowly lowered his mouth to hers. To his surprise, she didn’t run off, or turn away in revulsion. He was so close her breath mingled with his, her breathing swallow and erratic. His heart slammed against his chest, his body thrumming with need. For the first time in over three years, he felt alive.

Home Fires is now available at The Wild Rose Press.

About Jana:
Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side. She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.
When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou. You can reach her through her website at

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4, 1776

Fun facts about July 4

John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826--the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804.

 In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday

The names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were withheld from the public for more than six months to protect the signers. If independence had not been achieved, the treasonable act of the signers would have, by law, resulted in their deaths.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ~The Declaration of Independence 4 of July, 1776.

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