Get into Bed with Kelsey Browning (Author Interview)

Kelsey Browning - HeadshotKeira: What’s the best way to keep a secret… secret?

Kelsey Browning: Hmm…this is a hard one for me because I’m pretty much an unfiltered, open book. LOL. But I think the best way to keep a secret is to realize what’s at stake for the person who has the secret. And the other way would be never to tell another single person. A secret is hard to contain once even one other person knows. :)

Keira: What would make you break a promise to keep a secret?

Kelsey: If the secret could hurt either the person keeping the secret or hurt someone very close to me.

Keira: Eden Durant, your heroine in Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights), also has secrets, that have her starting over. What does she feel are the best and worst things about starting over?

Kelsey: The best and worst for Eden is probably the same thing—that no one really knows the real her. It keeps her “safe,” but it also keeps her from getting too close to anyone. Keeps her from having the relationship that—deep down—she craves.

Keira: Have you ever started over in your life? What did you find the best and worst about starting fresh?

Kelsey: Oh boy, have I. My family “started over” when we left Texas to move overseas to Doha, Qatar (a small country just off Saudi Arabia). The best was experiencing a new adventure and leaving behind so many of the expectations about the way we were supposed to live our life. The worst was being without family and friends from home. It was tough being half a world away from so many of the people we love.

Keira: Name three not-so-secret-secrets she might only tell the hero, Beck.

Kelsey: All the restaurants where she worked between California and Texas. Why she dresses like a color-blind toddler. :) How she really feels about sex.

Keira: Ladies love a man in uniform – how did Beck get his?

Kelsey: Deputies (including the Chief Deputy, Beck Childress) serve at the pleasure of the sheriff. Beck was hired by the current Crockett County sheriff when he moved home to Shelbyville after leaving a career on Wall Street.

Keira: Beck is also running for election. When and why did he decide to do that?

Kelsey: Let’s just say if you read the first scene in Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights), you’ll know the answer to that. ;)

Keira: How do you define love? What makes it real and work?

Kelsey: You like to ask the easy questions, huh? LOL I think love—at least romantic love—is a combination of attraction, respect, and trust. Other than that, it’s a mystery. As far as making it work for the long term, I think the trust and respect are critical. And learning how to be a good listener—something I’m still learning after 20 years of marriage—is a biggie.

Keira: Is it ever okay to keep a secret from a spouse or loved one?

Kelsey: Yow – you’re on a roll today! A big, ugly secret? No. A surprise party? Yes.

Keira: Now for the hardest question. ;) What are you working on next?

Kelsey: I’m working on a new Texas-set contemporary series and book two in The Granny Series!

Problems In Paradise Cover - FinalBook Summary:

Eden Durant hasn’t always been Eden Durant. She’s made a fresh start in Shelbyville, Texas, far from her mother’s notoriety. Running the Paradise Garden Café is as much excitement as Eden wants—or it was, until she meets Beck Childress. Although he’s the one man who could expose her past, she’s willing to open up enough to see if he might be her future.

Chief Deputy Childress is determined to get to know the real Eden, when he isn’t busy cleaning up after the sheriff and running in the election to replace him. When several men fall sick after eating in Eden’s café, he investigates even as her mysterious past raises both his suspicions and his protective instincts.

As their relationship heats up, so do the pressures of Beck’s campaign. When Eden’s secrets are revealed, jeopardizing his dream of becoming sheriff, he’ll need to choose: serve and protect the town he loves or the woman who makes it home.

Buy: Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights)

Author Bio: Kelsey Browning writes sass kickin’ love stories and cozy Southern mysteries. Originally from a Texas town smaller than the ones she writes about, Kelsey has also lived in the Middle East and Los Angeles, proving she’s either adventurous or downright nuts. These days, she hangs out in northeast Georgia with Tech Guy, Smarty Boy, and Bad Dog. She’s currently at work on the next book in her Texas Nights series and The Granny Series.

Connect with Kelsey: Email / Website / Newsletter / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest

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Get into Bed with Pam Jenoff (Author Interview)

PamJenoffKeira: If you could go back in time and give advice to your 12 year old self what would it be?

Pam Jenoff: I don’t think I would give her advice. My 12 year old self if a lot like me now (at 41!) – impatient and high-strung, trying to do everything at once. I’ve certainly made plenty of mistakes but I don’t regret them, as they’ve all contributed in getting me to this point. So I’d tell her she was doing just fine and send her on her way.

Keira: Share an interesting excerpt from The Ambassador’s Daughter:

Pam: I like this excerpt:

In England, it had been bad enough—though Papa’s academic status prevented him from being interned like so many German men, we were outsiders, eyed suspiciously at the university. I could not wear the war ribbon as the smug British girls did when their fiancés were off fighting because mine was for the wrong side. But outside of our immediate Oxford circle it had been relatively easy to fade into the crowd with my accentless English. Here, people know who we are, or will, once the conference formally begins. The recriminations will surely be everywhere.

ambassador's daughterBook Blurb:

Paris, 1919.

The world’s leaders have gathered to rebuild from the ashes of the Great War. But for one woman, the City of Light harbors dark secrets and dangerous liaisons, for which many could pay dearly.

Brought to the peace conference by her father, a German diplomat, Margot Rosenthal initially resents being trapped in the congested French capital, where she is still looked upon as the enemy. But as she contemplates returning to Berlin and a life with Stefan, the wounded fiancé she hardly knows anymore, she decides that being in Paris is not so bad after all.

Bored and torn between duty and the desire to be free, Margot strikes up unlikely alliances: with Krysia, an accomplished musician with radical acquaintances and a secret to protect; and with Georg, the handsome, damaged naval officer who gives Margot a job—and also a reason to question everything she thought she knew about where her true loyalties should lie.

Against the backdrop of one of the most significant events of the century, a delicate web of lies obscures the line between the casualties of war and of the heart, making trust a luxury that no one can afford.

Buy: The Ambassador’s Daughter

Giveaway: 1 copy of The Ambassador’s Daughter is up for grabs! Open to US and CAN. Enter by asking Pam a question or leaving a comment! Last chance to enter: February 15, 2013.

Review: The French Maid by Sabrina Jeffries

The French MaidHeroine: Lady Eleanor Langston doesn’t know how to get her husband to notice her. He’s always busy with politics and while their live is steady and on the surface both seem content, it lacks passion Eleanor truly craves.

Hero: Henry Langston needed a good hostess when he wedded Eleanor. They make love once a week and he’s never cheated. He is unaware of his wife and her discontent. It’s not until Babette, Eleanor’s maid, gets involved that Henry starts to view his wife in a new light.

Review: The love story fairly unique with a couple already married at the start of the story. On one hand, I didn’t like that the heroine needed to transform to gain her husband’s notice – sexually and companionably. On the other hand, I did like that both parties had to work a little harder and/or differently to turn their marriage from one that was basically roommates sharing their lives to lovers sharing their hearts. I did not like Babette, because it’s a little too convenient to have someone instantly get what was going on between the married couple and fix it. She sort of stood in as a fairy godmother/therapist.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: The French Maid

Review: Compromising Positions by Erin Delany and Jenny Gardiner

Compromising Positions by Erin Delany and Jenny GardinerReviewed by Karin

It’s a toss up whether this is a story to which hot sex can be added, or if it is only about hot sex and the story is just an add-on.

Mercedes gets her dream job, but she quickly realizes it comes with the Washington cliché, when her immediate boss (the press secretary) lets her know that she only got the job, because the senator, who really is beyond creepy, he is a sex addict, wants her hired, because he wants to have sex with her. Oh boy.

Mercedes feels she can handle herself, and she can. She is clever in the way she does it. Along the way, her boss realizes she is qualified for the job; she falls in love with her boss and he with her; and they uncover a bigger problem.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: COMPROMISING POSITIONS

Review: Compromised by Kate Noble

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One word: charming.
Two words: engaging hilarity.
Three words: sparkling/sparking chemistry.

Most decidedly, Compromised, is a great way to kick off your summer reading. Kate Noble engages readers with narrative that is tongue-in-cheek. Part of the narrative reads third person omniscient and part is third person lead-centric as we are use to in romance. It changes without warning sometimes, but after the first time or two you don’t really notice it. I started to look forward to it actually because it was so funny, not that the lead-centric parts were not, but the omniscient portions offered a look into Regency society and how gossip spreads.

Maximillian (Max) St. John, Viscount Fontaine, the future Earl of Longbowe, is in desperate need of a wife. Not because he needs money, not because he particularly wants one, but because his father is determined to wield the very last bit of his power over his son before he dies.

You’re probably wondering why on earth Max would give in to this ridiculously patented scheme.

He gives in because his father threatens to spread gossip that Max is a bastard child from a time when his wife cuckolded him (which is completely false mind you), sell off everything that is not entailed and will all of the money to distant relations leaving Max without a name, without funds, and with land in perpetual need of expensive upkeep. Wow! That is pretty darn harsh.

Max is determined to make the best of it, but he only has three months to accomplish such a feat. He’s attending balls, musicales, and parties meeting women who are tall, short, blond, brunette, intelligent, insipid, but none of them are for him. In fact, all of the ladies he’s been meeting lack something.

Gail Alton is unfashionably tall and unfashionably intelligent and unfashionably irksome. She prefers to spend her time at museums and in a book. She loves history and languages and horses. Her sister, Evangeline, is petite, blond and practically perfect in every way. They share a loving relationship and neither one begrudge the other anything. However, compared to Evangeline, Gail is basically invisible, which works for her because she doesn’t find conversations about ribbons to be particularly interesting.

What follows is a regular comedy of manners as Max stumbles into a compromising situation with both ladies. Once with Gail while riding through Hyde’s Park and once with Evangeline including a stolen kiss in a conservatory. He ends up engaged to one girl and falling in love with the other. How will this tangled mess unravel?

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Buy: Compromised

Review: The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer

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This novel is definitely one of my overall favorites of Heyer’s so far. It’s easy to read and follow despite the language and research. I loved all the side characters and Rule most of all. The leads were very well matched for each other.

Lizzie Winwood, the Beauty, is engaged to the Earl of Rule, an older man whom she does not love. Edward Heron holds her heart, but Lizzie is too well bred to ignore the duty she owes her family to accept this great match. Her youngest sister, Horatia—Horry—Winwood, decides this situation will just not do. In a scandalously forward manner Horry approaches Rule and offers herself up in trade to her sister despite her disadvantages in looks and speech. She knows she’s not his first choice, but as Marcus obviously does not know Lizzie well enough to love her, he must agree any Winwood would do. Amused by the young girl, (he’s twice her age), Rule accepts her proposal and marries her right away.

Horry experiences wealth and freedom for the first time and goes a little wild. She learns to gamble, though she does fairly poorly, purchases things without any real thought to cost, and makes friends with unacceptable members of society. Horry comes off immature for the first half of the book because she is, but Rule keeps an eye on her in his usual casual and easy going manner and does not involve himself overmuch. He came to the marriage thinking he was in love with a widow. He did not marry the widow because he knew she could not, or perhaps, would not be faithful in the years to come and has determined Horry is and will be even if she is young and prone to fancy.

Rule’s amusement and fondness easily translate themselves to the reader. From his actions you can tell he’s falling for his young new wife. It’s harder to tell with Horry, as she spends a good portion of the book running around after Lord Lethbridge in pursuit of his friendship and the chance to pit her card skills against his. Lord Lethbridge is after revenge against Rule and uses Horry in an attempt to instigate it. Other characters seek to help him or eagerly wait in the wings watching for a chance to run to Rule with news of her scandalous ways. Luckily Rule, her brother and his friends come time and again to Horry’s rescue. A Convenient Marriage is an amusing romp through Regency England and sure to win your heart.

Rating: 4 Stars

Buy: The Convenient Marriage

Find and buy more Georgette Heyer novels.

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Review: Knight’s Fork by Rowena Cherry

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Today I am reviewing Knight’s Fork by Rowena Cherry. This is my first ARC (advance review copy; official book release is September 30, 2008) and I eagerly read the whole novel in two days! Knight’s Fork is just one novel in the futuristic set series about the Great Djinn race. Knight’s Fork contains all the right stuff from a stowaway princess to a knight’s quest and the threat of death licking at their heels. This book and series would be great for any lover of alien paranormal romance or paranormal romance in general.

Watch out for the ‘Dj’ names! There’s quite a few to remember and follow! The romance novel is filled to overflowing with political intrigue and the key players are trying to play everybody else all at the same time to get their way. The main characters have to watch out for who their enemies are and who their allies are.

Cherry titles her novels after chess moves, and yes the characters do play chess and the move in question is used several times throughout the novel. Knight’s Fork in particular is about a choice between two evils – you’re going to lose something and the decision becomes which loss is acceptable?

This choice is ‘Rhett’s, a Saurian Knight, and it is between power and a female. Saurian is another alien race, but don’t let this fool you about this white knight. Back to the point – how can power or a female be a bad choice whichever you choose? A grab for power will set other leaders in a tizzy and the female is another male’s mate that’s how!

The rival male is King of another alien race, the Volnoth, and taking Electra could start a war on par with the ancient Greek war over Helen of Troy. It’s too bad for ‘Rhett that he’s tempted by Electra and not by the power offered. Far more tempting is that she wants him… for his sperm. What’s a knight to do?

This novel and series isn’t for the fainthearted that likes their romances to be mild and sweet. Urban colloquialisms for sex and emissions abound, the Great Djinn even regularly swear by Carnality! However for those who crave the contemporary slang and straightforward nature to the approach of sex Knight’s Fork is deliciously racy and erotic. The whole novel revolves around sex!

You could compare Cherry’s novel to Laurell K. Hamilton’s Meredith Gentry series about fairies because the Princess Electra seeks to get pregnant just like Meredith does. Or you could compare the novel to the Twilight Saga with ‘Rhett being a virgin, sworn to a vow of chastity, similar to Edward’s chase behavior. Whatever parallels you draw, Cherry spins a great story.

Rating: 3.5-4 Stars

Review: SEALed with a Promise by Mary Margret Daughtridge

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J.C Roat and Rick Bremseth, both former SEALs who helped with the research for SEALed with a Promise, might tease Daughtridge about writing mush, but it is mush I definitely like. SEALed is very hero-centric. I closed this book with an urge to call up my best friend to get her dad to find me my very own Do-Lord. In the immortal words of LolCat “I can haz SEAL?” or maybe it was cheezburger, I tend to forget. This book is definitely recommended for the Save the Contemporary project Dear Authors and Smart Bitches are hosting together.

Dry-witted Emmie was a blast. She was smart, intelligent, analytical, observant, goal oriented and true to character. A professor of ecology, Emmie is well read and knowledgeable in many areas. She’s the definition of an avid scholar. She dresses down to hide herself and makes it an art form to remain unnoticed, which is why it’s so disconcerting that Navy SEAL Caleb “Do-Lord” Delaude does. Emmie is here to support her best friend Pickett in her upcoming nuptials – she is not here looking for a brawny jock, especially the brawny jock who’s the best man.

Caleb Delaude is extremely smart. He’s down played his intelligence to fit in better amongst his peers. Able to retain facts after reading or glancing at print, he also has an uncanny ability to see things others can’t. He’s great at picturing layouts from a map, knowing where to place people in any situation and sometimes he gets strange moments of déjà vu where the present and near-future collide. Caleb finds himself fiercely attracted to Emmie and before he knows it he’s worming his way into her life… but only because he needs her connections for a revenge plot… right? Strange how the operative changes all because of a slip of a thing!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: SEALed with a Promise

Filed under cursed lead because of Do-Lord’s visions.