Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kara Louise Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway

Arrr ye ready fer Kara Louise’s latest novel? Well get yer sea legs ready an' hop aboard the Devil's Seamaiden on a captivatin', romantic piratin' voyage! 

After I got back on terra firma from me piratin' adventure, I had several questions I was dyin' to ask the authoress. Aye! Now join me in welcomin' the master-mind behind this tale as she takes the time to answer me questions. 

What gave you the inspiration for Pirates and Prejudice?
A short answer would be my love of "Pride and Prejudice" and my love for pirate movies. My love for “Pride and Prejudice” came from the '95 film with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. My love for pirates probably began back at Disneyland with the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. In addition to being a great ride, it is one that draws you in and makes you feel as though you are part the action. When I heard they were finally making the film PotC, I was so excited I couldn't wait for it to be released! I also love the old pirate movies with Errol Flynn.

I came up with a vague premise for this pirate story years ago. I decided I wasn't going to do a mash-up, where Darcy really is a pirate (like he is a vampire, zombie, etc. in other stories), but is mistaken for one, thus leading him on a pirate's adventure. And the fact that he encounters Elizabeth and she doesn’t recognize him made it a lot of fun!

How was writing this different from writing Darcy’s Voyage?

The biggest difference was in writing the fight scenes. I had never done that before. I have two scenes where Darcy and his crew have to fight off the pirates in a sword fight.

In addition, in “Darcy’s Voyage,” Elizabeth and Darcy meet immediately. In “Pirates and Prejudice,” I had to set up how they are to finally come together. There is quite a bit going on in both of their lives which takes a while to develop. I hope people will be patient as you see their storylines begin to merge.

How do you know so much about ships and sailing? Research or experience?
Both! I grew up in Southern California and actually did a lot of sailing. Just small boats, of course, and always with someone who knew somewhat what they were doing. Groups of us would rent sailboats and go out on a lake or even out in the ocean. So there is a little experience, but research comes into play in a major way when dealing with a large sailing ship. I would have no idea how one even begins to sail a large vessel.

What was your favorite part about writing or researching for Pirates and Prejudice?
It had to be in my research when I discovered the Isles of Scilly. I had originally thought I would take Elizabeth and her father to sea because his sister, who lived up in Scotland, was moving with her family to the states, and Mr. Bennet wanted to sail up to see them before they left. As I researched that angle, looking up emigration from Scotland to the states, and particularly where Elizabeth and her father would sail, it was very confining and I wasn’t happy with it. One day I was looking at a map of England, looking out at the seas surrounding it and the different ports one might sail into or out of, and I saw some little islands off the southern coast. When I zoomed in, I saw they were called the Isles of Scilly. I was thrilled beyond measure to discover not only were these islands inhabited, but they also were a favorite hideout for pirates and smugglers because of the caves and rocky outcroppings. They have a milder climate, but occasional storms come through, including one in the 1700s that took a naval fleet of four ships and battered them against the rocks. The Isles of Scilly not only became their destination, but took the story in a completely different direction - one that I think works out much better than the one I originally had. I love it when that happens!

Can you tell readers your favorite part of the story?
I actually have a lot of favorite parts, but I really enjoyed writing Darcy when he encounters Elizabeth and rescues her from the real pirates. Because he has been impersonating a pirate (it’s rather complicated – you’ll have to read it!), she does not recognize him with his beard, longer hair, speech, and of course, dress. He, of course, recognizes her, but does not want to tell her who he is, because he enjoys having that repartee with her again that he once enjoyed. He knows that if he tells her who he is, she will likely exhibit that anger towards him that she had when he proposed.

Was it challenging to incorporate the pirate lingo into the story?
This is a great question, as the dialect changed as I wrote the novel. The lingo I initially wrote actually became too difficult to read. There was one sentence that had so many apostropes (to indicate missing letters), that when I reread it, it slowed me down considerably. So I began to pick and choose what I would leave in: contractions, leaving the 'g' off of 'ing' words, incorrect verb tense, leaving off an 'h' at the beginning of a word, and a few others. I hope that I found a good balance to make it easy for the reader, but give a good idea of the language. And I'll come right out now and say it: I don't have anyone say, "Arrrh!"

Thanks, Jakki, for the interview and great questions! I'll be giving away one copy of P&P selected from anyone who comments (US only please. Although, if you are international and have a kindle, I'll send you one if you win!).

Pirates and Prejudice excerpt:
This scene takes place after Elizabeth hit Darcy in the head with a rock. She believed him to be a pirate, but he tells her he is Captain Smith. They are stranded on a small island, taking refuge in a cave, and the two of them are having a conversation just outside the cave.

“If you will be so kind as to allow us some privacy,” Elizabeth said, looking at the captain. “We shall return directly.”
The captain, with an air of authority, ordered all the men to remain in the cave until the ladies returned. Elizabeth thanked him, saying she was certain they would all comply.
When they returned, Elizabeth expressed surprised to see the captain up and walking around. The ladies returned to the place in the cave they had come to call their own, but Elizabeth walked over to him.
“Are you feeling well enough to be up and about?” she asked.
He nodded. “I am much improved… thanks to your… yer care. Is there anythin’ I ken do to make you an’ the ladies more comfortable?”
“You have already done so much. But do you think you can you provide us with nice, plump pillows on which to rest our heads?” She tilted her head with a smile.
The captain met her teasing gaze. He was tempted to offer the use of his arm to serve as her pillow, but he refrained. “I’m sorry, but we brought no pillows. I wish we ’ad thought of it.”
Elizabeth laughed. “We shall manage. We can roll up some of our belongings. But thank you for providing us with blankets.” She put her arms about her and shivered. “It is getting cooler.”
“Aye, it is.” The captain chewed on his bottom lip and then looked out into the darkness. He wanted to pull her into his arms and take away any chill she might feel with the warmth he now felt.
When he turned back, the flames from the fire flickered in her eyes. “Miss Bennet…” He took a deep breath. “I…”
Elizabeth waited for him to continue, but Mrs. Keller came up and interrupted any further discourse. “Come, Elizabeth, we need something to cheer us up and want to hear more of your amusing stories.”
“I assure you I have no more amusing stories!”
“Yes! You remember! You were going to tell us about that foolish man whose offer of marriage you simply had to refuse.”
“Now?” Elizabeth asked.
“Yes! We are all waiting expectantly.”
Mrs. Keller grabbed Elizabeth’s arm and began pulling her towards the ladies. She turned back to excuse herself from the captain but saw that he was no longer standing there.

Still craving more? Kara Louise has more excerpts posted on her blog:


Kara Louise is generously giving away a copy of Pirates and Prejudice to one lucky commenter! (US only for paperback. If the winer is international, you will receive a Kindle edition). 
To enter, simply comment on this post. PLEASE leave your email address or Twitter handle so I know you to contact you if you win. 
As always, extra entries for tweeting. (Can be done once daily).
Giveaway closes Wednesday, June 5! Good luck!

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Kindle | Nook

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Highlander's Hope by Collette Cameron Guest Post

Today I have the great pleasure of having with me author Collette Cameron. Collette’s debut novel, Highlander’s Hope, is a fantastic and fast-paced Regency romance. You can head over to her blog for excerpts and amazing giveaways!

When I heard of Highlander’s Hope’s premise, the Scottish law intrigued me. I always knew that one could cross the border to Gretna Green and get married “over the anvil,” but Collette further opened my eyes to this crazy Scottish law. So, without further ado, join Collette as she talks about this fascinating law and its role in Highlander's Hope.

A Quirky Scot’s Law.

When Yvette Stapleton finds herself married to Laird Ewan McTavish, without benefit of a marriage ceremony, she’s more than a bit put out. In fact, it nearly destroys her trust in him.

My quandary was how to get Yvette married to Ewan without her knowing it. Was it possible to simply say you were married in 1817 Scotland and, poof, you were indeed legally married? Would the marriage be recognized by the Church of Scotland?

Those are the thoughts that sprang into my mind one day while contemplating the dilemma. I wasn’t considering handfasting either, which by the 18th century, was no longer recognized by the Kirk  (Church) of Scotland.

No, I needed something recognized by the Scot’s Church. I starting digging into Scot’s marriage laws of the 1800s and was pleased-as-punch to come across Scot’s Canon Code and irregular marriages. In essence, anyone could perform a marriage ceremony as long as the parties involved expressed consent to the union, either in person or in writing. Most romance readers are familiar with Gretna Green, and the romantic notion of couples trotting off to Scotland to get married—quite literally over a blacksmith’s anvil. Well, that was part of the Canon Code.

Irregular and clandestine marriages—those not performed by a cleric of the church—included simply agreeing to take one another as husband and wife before two witnesses (Gretna Green), cohabitating in Scotland under the ruse of being wed, and finally, by merely declaring you were married—even if no ceremony had taken place. You could also agree to marriage in writing with express consent. There was no particular form, either verbally or written, required for the marriage to be valid and binding. 

I arranged for Yvette and Ewan to claim they were married in the midst of a very dangerous situation in order to prevent Yvette from being ravished. I reinforced it by having Ewan declare to several kin and clans members that he and Yvette were married, and then I had them cohabitate at Craiglocky Keep under the guise of marriage. Yvette was unconscious for the first four days so she wasn’t in a position to protest the implied marriage.

I did take a bit of liberty with the code, but then, isn’t that what we authors do?  I’ve got another story fermenting in my mind, and I do believe I’m going to use the written agreement as an segue to an irregular marriage.

Just an aside, Gretna Green is still a wildly popular marriage venue in Scotland.  I have an unmarried daughter. She wants to get married in Scotland. . .   

So, what intrigues you about Scottish law?

From the publisher: 
Not a day has gone by that Ewan McTavish, the Viscount Sethwick, hasn't dreamed of the beauty he danced with two years ago. He's determined to win her heart and make her his own. Heiress Yvette Stapleton is certain of one thing; marriage is risky and, therefore, to be avoided. At first, she doesn't recognize the dangerously handsome man who rescues her from assailants on London's docks, but Lord Sethwick's passionate kisses soon have her reconsidering her cynical views on matrimony. On a mission to stop a War Office traitor, Ewan draws Yvette into deadly international intrigue. To protect her, he exploits Scottish law, declaring her his lawful wife—without benefit of a ceremony. Yvette is furious upon discovering the irregular marriage is legally binding, though she never said, "I do." Will Ewan's manipulation cost him her newfound love?

About the author:
In February 2011, Collette decided to sit down and write a Regency suspense romance. She wrote Highlander’s Hope, the first book in her Blue Rose Trilogy. She has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master's in Teaching. She's been married for 30 years, has 3 amazing adult children, and 5 dachshunds. Her puppy, Ayva, sits on her lap while she writes. Ayva also nibbles at and lies on the keyboard. Collette loves a good joke, the beach, trivia, birds, shabby chic, and Cadbury Chocolate. She just finished The Viscount’s Vow, the second book in the series.  It releases from Soul Mate Publishing next year. You'll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels

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