Alexandra Hawkins

Get Lost in This Story…

Young, tender, and highly impressionable, Lady Regan can’t help but be intrigued by her brother’s wayward friends—the wickedly charming Lords of Vice.  One man in particular, the dashing Lord Hugh Mordare (known simply as “Dare” among the ton), utterly captivates her—in spite of his reputation as a notorious womanizer.  But when she steals an innocent kiss from Dare, Regan is swiftly packed off to boarding school, safely away from danger…and desire.

Five years later, Regan returns—a proper lady and ravishing beauty. Miss Swann’s Academy for Young Ladies has taught her how to behave in polite society.  But all the training in the world cannot extinguish her love for Dare.  Now, she hopes to beat the master of seduction at his own game—by daring Dare to love her in return.  This time, both of their hearts are on the line…and winner takes all.

Today, we welcome historical romance author Alexandra Hawkins to the blog.  Alexandra is an unrepentant Anglophile who discovered romance novels as a teenager and knew that one day she would be writing her own.  In “The Lords of Vice” series, she has combined her love of English history, mythology, and romance to create sensual character-driven stories that, she hopes, will touch readers’ hearts.

So let’s learn more about Alexandra!

Heather: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
Alexandra: I love revenge stories.  Toss in unrequited love, and I’m hooked.

Heather: What turns you off like nothing else?
Alexandra: A physically abusive hero.  It’s rare to find this type of alpha hero in romances today, but he seemed to be the norm when I started reading romance in my late teens.

Heather: Where do you read and how often?
Alexandra: As long as I’m comfortable and have good lighting, I can read anywhere.  Since I’m always in research mode, I read every day.

Heather: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Alexandra: When I’m working on my first draft, I listen to classical music.  It helps to set the mood.  I may switch to Top 20s when I’m working on edits, but I always have something playing in the background.

Heather: Who’s your favorite villain?
Alexandra: Tough one.  The Marquise de Merteuil from “LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES” is one of my favorites.

Heather: Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?
Alexandra: I’ve received quite a bit of email inquiring about Fanny (Lady Frances Lloyd) from “TILL DAWN WITH THE DEVIL”.  Everyone would love to see her HEA with Griffin.  I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a short story about the couple, but I haven’t had time to work on it.

Heather: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Alexandra: After I send the manuscript to my editor, I usually sleep for twenty-four hours.

Heather: Dog person or cat person?
Alexandra: I adore both, but I’m more of a cat person.


Heather: Your current series is titled “The Lords of Vice”.  Tell us, what is your worst (or at least most fun!) vice…
Alexandra: The closest thing I have to a vice is Cherry Coke Zero—and possibly chocolate.


Can a scoundrel truly be reformed by love?

Yes.  Two random posters will win a signed copy of a Lords of Vice book of their choosing.  Available titles:  ALL NIGHT WITH A ROGUE, TILL DAWN WITH THE DEVIL, and AFTER DARK WITH A SCOUNDREL.


If you’d like to learn more about Alexandra, you can find her on the web at:

**Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America  addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


Cara Elliott!

Get Lost in This Story…

Kate Woodbridge has spent most of her life sailing to exotic ports around the globe, acquiring an expertise in botany, along with a few less ladylike skills. So when a deathbed promise to her parents brings her to London to seek a reconciliation with her grandfather, the imperious Duke of Cluyne, she feels like a fish out of water in Polite Society. Her outspoken views and fiery temper tend to set off sparks—especially with the arrogant Conte of Como.

The man has a knack of getting under her skin, And if he gets too close, he might uncover her scandalous past . . .

A devil-may-care rogue, Marco finds Kate a tempting target for his flirtations. But when murder strikes at the duke’s country house, he suspects she’s hiding a dark secret. He has his own clandestine reasons for helping to prove her innocence . . . which leads them on a perilous journey from London to the glittering ballrooms of Vienna.

Sumptuous pleasures and gilded lies. The city is aswirl in decadence and deception, and they find themselves waltzing on a powderkeg of hidden passions and dangerous desires. For Kate and Marco must duel with a deadly villain—and confront their own explosive attraction.

Today it is my pleasure to host historical author Cara Elliott! Welcome!  Cara, would you like to take a moment to introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your writing?  

I began my writing career at age five with a number of lavishly illustrated Westerns, which were lovingly preserved for posterity by my first fan (Thanks, Mom!) As you can see, I believe in immersing myself in the mood and character of my stories!

I have since moved on to Regency England, an era that has fascinated me ever since I picked up a copy of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice. (Sorry, no picture of me in my ballgown and tiara!)

Books have always been an important part of my life. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and I’ve always had a very vivid imagination . . . so much so that I think at times it worried my parents that I was so happy in my own little world, drawing pictures and creating stories. My teachers will also tell you that I was the class history geek, even in grade school. I don’t really know why, but I have always been fascinated with the past.

As an undergrad at Yale, I majored in art and went on to get a MFA in Graphic Design. So storytelling got put on the back burner for a while. But The Muse kept whispering in my ear, and one day I sat down at the keyboard . . . and realized that writing is what I love.

I hope you enjoy my books!

Thanks so much, Cara!  And our thanks to your mom for the fabulous visuals!  Now, let’s dig in and get to know you even better...

Heather:  How often to you get lost in a story?
Cara:  Almost every day. I’m an avid reader and always have a book going.

Heather:  What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
Cara:  Oh, I read all sorts of genres—lately I’ve been trying steampunk and some Noir crime. But I have too say my favorite books are historical romance and historical mysteries.

Heather:  What was the first story you remember writing?
Cara:  It was a Western, featuring cowboys and horses. I was five years old and my mother lovingly preserved it in her scrapbook.

Heather:  Who’s your favorite villain?
Cara:  Sethos in the Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters. He’s such a rakish rogue, but of course turns out to be a hero by the end of the series because he’s redeemed by the love of a worthy lady!

Heather:  What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Cara:  Unwrap a BIG bar of chocolate. My current favorite is Lindt dark chocolate with a hint of sea salt.

Heather:  What do you do to unwind and relax?
Cara:  When I’m not glued to my keyboard, I really enjoy being outdoors—walking, biking running, golfing (my game is not exactly up to par, but I find walking a lovely course is a great, relaxing way to think about plotting and my characters!)

Heather:  What soundtrack or playlist do you recommend for your current release?
Cara:  Handel’s Music for Royal Fireworks was one of my favorites tracks when I was writing the scenes set in Vienna!

Heather:  Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Cara:  Coffee in the morning to jumpstart the day, and then tea in the afternoon, both with a generous splash of light cream (my decadent indulgence, but a girl’s got to have a few, right?)

Heather:  What is your favorite cheese?
Cara:  Oh, I’m a total cheese freak. I love all sorts of varieties, and am always willing to try a new taste. I was in Wales this past summer and had a ball sampling all the local artisanal ones.

Heather:  What sound or noise do you love?
Cara:  Ocean surf splashing over sun-kissed rocks

Heather’s GOTTA ASK – Cara’s GOTTA ANSWER  J
So, in “To Tempt a Rake”, your characters travel to Vienna of 1814, where you’ve said the parties were wild and the pastries decadent…  Tell us the most interesting thing you learned about Vienna at that time during your research and did you use it in your book?

Cara:  I discovered LOTS of fascinating things while researching the history of the Congress of Vienna. But one of the most fun little facts was that an Austrian by the name of Herr Stuwer was the world’s foremost expert in fireworks, and his displays were renowned throughout Europe as being really spectacular. He apparently designed an amazing “over the top” program for Prince Metternich’s outdoor Peace Ball—imagine dancing in lantern-lit gardens under a night sky ablaze in shimmering colors! So of course I couldn’t resist setting one of the final scenes in TO TEMPT A RAKE at the party


Are you a wild party person? Or do you prefer a quiet dinner with friends?


Yes, Grand Central will offer a copy of To Tempt A Rake as a prize.

Thanks so much for being with us today, Cara!  Where can your fans learn more about you on the web?

Cara:  You can find me at http://www.caraelliott.com/. One the home page I have links to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

**Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North American addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


Diana Cosby


Diana Cosby has been a generous, longtime participant of Romance Writers of America. She is not only a talented author but constantly shares her expertise with fellow writers. (Now, if you can take your eyes off the male model she's pictured with), please help me welcome Diana Cosby to Get Lost in a Story. ~ Donnell

HIS CONQUEST ~ Seathan MacGruder, Earl of Grey, is not unused to cheating death. But even this legendary Scottish warrior is surprised when a beautiful Englishwoman creeps to his cell and offers him his freedom. What Linet wants in exchange, though--safe passage to the Highlands--is a steep price to pay. For the only thing more dangerous than the journey through embattled Scotland is the desire that smolders between these two fugitives the first time they touch . . .

Donnell: What’s in your refrigerator right now?

Diana: ~Starbucks breakfast blend, Ghirardelli peppermint bark and whole milk with which I make my daily cafe con lèche. Orowheat sandwich thins, apple butter, Virginia ham, swiss cheese all for sandwiches. And, a box of blush wine. :) With those staples, everything else in food life is negotiable. LOL

Donnell: Is Elvis really dead?

Diana: ~I believe his 'death' is a magnificently orchestrated sales plan that has exceeded expectations. Upon his supposed demise, a wax figure of Elvis was 'removed' from Graceland while the real Elvis was whisked away to a secret tropical location for facial reconstruction surgery so no one would ever recognize him. Elvis now lives a comfortable life in a tropical haven and travels to the U.S. on occasion to visit family. But after a life crowded with people, tours as a constant demand for his time, he enjoys the luxury of sitting back and diving into his secret passion, reading medieval romance novels. :)

Donnell: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

Diana: ~My goal is to become a NYTimes Best-Selling author as well as to inspire others as to make a positive difference in others lives. To date the dreams I'm proud to share that are realized are:

-I 've started a writing scholarship at a local high school.

-I support as volunteer for Habitat For Humanity as well as organize writing groups to pick up build days.

-I support as volunteer for Ducks Unlimited.

-I give workshops on various topics of writing.

-I am a Lifetime Member of the National Trust For Scotland.

-I'm an award-winning international best-selling author.

-My latest release, "His Conquest," has remained on the Amazon Best-Seller list for over 12 weeks.

Donnell: Congratulations! What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing/researching a book?

Diana: ~The fact that early in the 1290s, William Wallace was thrown into jail by the English, fed gruel and rotting herring. He fell into a coma. Believing him dead, they tossed Wallace into a dung heap. The nurse of his youth retrieved his 'body' to bury him, but once home she discovered he still lived. Years later, Wallace alongside Andrew de Moray led their combined troops to win a decisive battle against overwhelming odds at Stirling Bridge.

Donnell: Dog person or cat person?

Diana: ~Both, I have a German Short-haired Pointer named Duncan, a part-time Great Pyrenees - Annabelle, and two rescue cats, Bad & Brat. :)

Donnell: Which is your favorite language other than your native language?

Diana: ~The language of the night, the quiet sounds that barely reach you, the soft brush of wind against grass, the scrape of leaves against stone, or how the cool wind shuffles it's way through the trees and at times casts harmonic sighs.

Donnell: What question are you never asked in interviews, but wish you were?

Diana: ~Do you enjoy cooking or baking? If so, are you a follow-the-recipe kind of person or is a recipe your base to explore and create?

And, to answer this, I'm the latter. Unlike my plotter ways when I write, when I cook, I tend to be a seat-of-your pants cook! I love to cook but rarely measure anything. I have fun creating new recipes, and at the end of the interview, I'll add on a chocolate cake I invented. :)

Donnell: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?

Diana: ~Painting recreations of the masters. I love painting, but my passion for writing leaves me little time to pursue this pleasure. One day in the future I know I will begin again. :)

Donnell: If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?

Diana: ~The Bishop Wishart, because he was one of the original Guardian's of Scotland after the death of King Alexander III and was such a tremendous force behind the Scottish War of Independence. Braveheart portrays William Wallace as a fierce man who inspired many. While true, it negates to mention that it was the Bishop Wishart who sent nobles to support Wallace thereby raising his importance. I believe Wishart was also elemental in uniting the leadership of Andrew de Moray and William Wallace for the monumental battle at Stirling Bridge. There are so many unknown venues that the Bishop Wishart was active in, to me it would be fascinating to truly learn the entire truth.

Donnell: Sounds like a potential nonfiction historical book in the making.

And, as promised the cake I created:

Awesome Texas Chocolate Cake

by Diana Cosby

Devil’s Food Cake mix


Cool Whip

Chocolate shavings

Chocolate frosting (*I make homemade.)


.1/2 cup heavy cream

.1 lb. semisweet dark chocolate

*In a heavy saucepan, bring heavy cream to a boil. Remove from heat, mix in chocolate, stir until melted. Chill ganache until consistency you need.


Bake two 9” layer cakes according to directions. Once cooled, set first layer on a cake plate. Add coat of ganache. Layer with Cool Whip. Next, add second layer of cake. Coat with ganache. Frost side of cake. Layer top with Cool Whip. Sprinkle on top with chocolate shavings. Chill until served.

*Do you cook/bake? If so, what is your favorite thing to make and why? My sincere thanks for stopping by!

Diana Cosby, Best-Selling International Author


Diana’s third novel in the MacGruder series, “His Conquest – Seathan’s story,” is available now:
Barnes & Noble
Kindle Edition

"Readers will fall in love with this third MacGruder Brother." - Romantic Times

"Diana Cosby weaves fabulous tales of Medieval Scottish romance." NYT Best-selling Author - Pam Palmer


Most people think of retirement as a time to relax. For me, retiring at 36 from my job as a Navy Chief Meteorologist/Oceanographer allowed me to pursue my passion – writing romance novels. With 32 moves behind me and having traveled through many countries, I was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people I’ve met over the years.

After nine and a half years of writing and while I was working on my eleventh novel, I received “The Call” from Kensington and sold the first two in the MacGruder brothers series. A couple of years later Kate Duffy bought the third and fourth books in the series.

I have many passions, but one that resonates most in my life is that of giving. I firmly believe that each of us can make a positive difference in another person’s life. There are so many charities, and, with each book I sell, I will tithe a percentage of each novel to a charity of my choice. In addition, I enjoy volunteering for Habitat For Humanity, Ducks Unlimited, and at a local high school I have an annual Diana Cosby Writing Scholarship.

I am currently working on the next Scottish medieval romantic suspense book in the MacGruder brothers series. I look forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share my journey.

Diana Cosby, International Best-Selling Author
His Captive-Alexander MacGruder/ His Woman-Duncan MacGruder/ His Conquest-Seathan MacGruder
His Destiny - Oct 2011

For those who comment or ask questions on today's GLIAS blog, Diana is giving away book one in the MacGruder Series, HIS CAPTIVE.

Join Get Lost in a Story tomorrow, January 28th, as Heather Snow hosts Grand Central Historical Author, Cara Elliott.


Sandy Blair

The ghost and the legend have influenced MacKinnon heirs’ lives for centuries…and not for the better. Now the ghost and a new heir love finally have an opportunity to put the fear to rest.

“How bad could it be?” That’s all Sarah Colbert had thought when she agreed to chaperone her sixth grade students’ field trip through Edinburgh. She’s about to find out when she and her students find themselves trapped in a Highland glen that time forgot with a battle-scarred warrior they’ll never forget.

Sandy Blair is--to me--first a friend and then an amazing author. We were lucky to have her in Texas for a number of years and it’s a darn shame (for her chaptermates) that she moved closer to her family (definitely lucky for them). This is her daughter's home...Sandy's moving nearby.
I remember performing a skit with Sandy many many moons ago at our chapter to demonstrate what NOT to do at an editor appointment. Sandy & I both were chosen (or volunteered) to do it incorrectly. I smacked gum, came in sweats, kind of was totally unprepared. Sandy--well, every time I read Silhouette, I remember her mispronouncing it Sil-ho-EEtEE. I nearly swallowed my gum. She obviously learned enough appointment etiquette to succeed in the publishing industry.

Sandy has slept in castles, dined with peerage, knelt in cathedrals where kings and queens have been crowned, floated down Venetian canals, lost her husband in an Egyptian ruin (she denies being the one lost) and fallen (gracefully) off a cruise ship.

Winner of the National Readers Choice Award for Best Paranormal Romance, the Golden Quill for Best Novella, and nominated for a RITA, Sandy Blair loves writing about Scotland’s past, its brawny men and the stalwart women that captured their hearts and minds.
Pictured here in 2005 with Author Jo Beverly. (Notice Sandy's RWA RITA flag? Ask her what she wore to pick up her Golden Heart award.)
~ ~ SHORT & SASSY Q&A ~ ~
ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
SANDY: 95% of the time. The rest were too painful to finish.

ANGI: What’s the first book you remember reading?
SANDY: Wild Fire by Zane Gray

ANGI: What’s your favorite “love” word?
SANDY: Cherish

ANGI: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
SANDY: Beauty and the Beast

ANGI: What turns you off like nothing else?
SANDY: Bad breath

ANGI: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
SANDY: Wish there was.

ANGI: Where do you read and how often?
SANDY: I read myself to sleep every night.

ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?
SANDY: The surf, and one of the reasons we just moved to the beach.

ANGI: Die Hard or Die Harder?
SANDY: Die Hard

ANGI: What was the first story you remember writing?
SANDY: The Dragon’s Legacy, an Irish tale

ANGI: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
SANDY: While You Were Sleeping

ANGI: Is writing or story-telling easier for you?
SANDY: If you mean which is easier; the literary factor or the telling of the tale, then the telling of the tale is the answer.

ANGI: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
SANDY: I love hearing from them.

ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: So, Sandy. You write Scottish stories and heroes. Tell us about a trip to Scotland, some hunk you met there who just had to go into a story. There is one, right?
SANDY’S GOTTA ANSWER: Actually I took the Highlander hunk with me. He’s 6’ 5”, broad shouldered, handsome, funny, and of the Stewarts of Appin…my dh.

What is it about Highlanders and/or historicals that attracts you? I’ll draw from those leaving a comment for a copy of my new release, Her MacKinnon in the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance.
UPDATE: Amy G you're the winner. Get in touch with us at GetLostInAStory@gmail.com with your info.

STAY IN TOUCH WITH SANDY: Find castle photos, writing tips, and more on at www.SandyBlair.net

DON’T FORGET to check back tomorrow for another Scottish author, Diana Cosby AND on Friday when we visit with Cara Elliott. AND for the winner of Sandy’s latest book.

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

~~Til next week, Angi


Katy Madison!

Get Lost in This Story…


Which were more dangerous–his secret desires…or her own?

Cruel false gossip and scandal follow Velvet Campbell everywhere she goes in London—and for the sake of her sanity she must get away. Accepting a position as a governess at an estate in remote Cornwall, Velvet hopes to start over, untainted by rumor. But she finds to her dismay that her new employer—the darkly handsome Lucian Pendar—is, himself, the subject of whispered insinuations…that he hurled his wife to her death from nearby treacherous cliffs.

But angel or demon, Lucian affects Velvet in ways she never dreamed possible, causing her heart to race, stealing the breath from her body with a look. As their mutual attraction grows, there is no resisting the passion that flares between them. Yet, as secrets from both their pasts rise to the surface, Velvet is haunted by one inescapable question: has she found a kindred spirit, her destined love…or placed herself in dire peril?


Chapter One

“That’s where Mr. Pendar threw his wife off the cliff,” the housemaid pointed out to her traveling companion in the mail coach. “See, there’s his house.”
Threw his wife off a cliff? Shock jolted through Velvet Campbell.
Her fellow occupants crowded against Velvet to see the jutting spike of land. An imposing square-built hall of dark gray stone perched on the outcropping like a demonic gryphon. Below the sinister house, a rocky cliff dropped down and down to jagged teethlike boulders. Waves gnawed hungrily against the rocks waiting for any scraps the gryphon might drop—or to devour the beast itself, should he fall.
That house contained her new living quarters. Mr. Pendar had employed her. What kind of man threw his wife over a cliff? A wave of dizziness assaulted Velvet.
“They found her broken, bloody body on those rocks,” added the maid. “Not three years gone.”
Velvet’s stomach roiled. She wished she could plug her ears or cover the mouth of the young woman spewing the local lore. He’d written his wife had passed, but he hadn’t spoken of the violence of her death.
Velvet shook her head. Gossip was often exaggerated, or just plain wrong, but a shiver slithered down her spine and moisture beaded her upper lip.
“That must be a hundred foot drop,” murmured a rotund cleric. “May God have mercy.”
The idea of falling so revolted her, she retched. She swallowed repeatedly, fighting against the bile rising in her throat. She fumbled in her reticule for her handkerchief. Her fingers brushed the letter from her employer, and her heart thumped erratically. With the limp lawn, she dabbed at the perspiration and wished for an end to this journey.
Velvet wanted to look away, but the sight of her future home mesmerized her, though the darkness of it repelled her. It was as if the house had been built to defy God and nature.
The thin young man who had tried for the last twenty miles to engage Velvet in conversation pressed closer. “Beautiful view, is it not?”
Beautiful was not the word she would have chosen. Daunting. Menacing. Those were the words that jumped to mind. “Quite,” she answered dryly.
“Can’t say I like that house there disrupting the vista.” He pushed his thigh against hers. She turned away, lest her refusal to look out the window give him encouragement.
Velvet forced her gaze beyond the crashing waves pummeling the jagged rocks. Under the threatening skies, the ocean eased into white-capped swells that did not look as hungry, but dark and murky and every bit as dangerous. But if she had her druthers, death by drowning was a thousand times more preferable than death by falling.
She leaned back in her seat wishing she could think of anything other than the plummet and Mrs. Pendar’s violent death. She closed her eyes reminiscing about the easy green roll of the hills and dales of Dorset where she’d grown up. But instead her mind’s eye recalled the last sight she’d had of her brother: his face twisted in terror. Her eyes jerked open.
“’Tis said her ghost wanders the cliffs at night,” whispered the girl. Not that a whisper was effective in the cramped coach.
“What happened to him?” asked the friend.
“Nothing?” repeated the girl with the appropriate amount of horror and fascination.
The girls’ conversation interested Velvet more than she wanted to let on. He wasn’t in prison. Surely that meant he hadn’t murdered his wife.
“He had scratches on his face, but he said she fell.”
“And they believed him?”
“No one saw him do it.” The storyteller shrugged, her expression smug. “At the inquest his servants gave testimony that he hadn’t left the house.”
“Then he couldn’t have done it.”
The former housemaid gave her companion a look that suggested the girl was far too naive. “A lot of them heard her screaming at him. I was to start work there a fortnight later, but no decent woman will work for him now.”
“Oh my,” said the country girl.
Velvet pressed her lips together. She had been called much worse than “less than decent.”
“Fitting house for Lucifer.”
The name Lucian formed on Velvet’s lips. His name was Lucian Pendar, not Lucifer, but she resisted the urge to blurt it out. The young man pressed his leg harder against hers.
She rearranged her skirts, piling as much of the excess material between the encroaching young man and her limbs as she could.
The road finally began to curl away from the cliffs, moving farther inland. Velvet unclenched her fist.
“His fortune comes from smuggling, you know,” said the informed maid. “My grandda told me the Pendars smuggled French brandy when good Englishmen were dying fighting the French.”
Another quarter hour of swaying and mumbled conversation about brutal deaths and how there were those who misused their authority dragged by. Velvet resisted the urge to voice her opinion. In her experience men in power could get away with anything—or at least they believed they could. But as her father had always said, God would be the final judge.
The coach drew to a halt. Velvet clutched her reticule to her bosom and made her way to the door.
The storyteller stared. Her smugness was gone. “You aren’t getting out here.”
“Yes, I believe this is my stop.” Velvet lifted her chin.
An hour away from the inn where they stopped for lunch, the coachman had said. She no longer had her father’s watch to check the time, but it felt like a year since she’d paced the yard while the others ate.
You’ll see the house afore we reach it, the coachman had told her. Then he’d given her a look. Iffen you’d don’t want let out there, it’ll be the inn at Lands End.
Of course, I shall get out there, she’d answered. She had no choice. She was expected, and her new employer had paid her fare. If she didn’t arrive, she could add theft to the accusations leveled against her.
The coachman opened the door. “Here you go, miss.”
Relieved to be free of the close confines and the five other passengers, Velvet descended the stairs. “It was good to meet you,” she said generally. Even better to take her leave of them and the gossip making her dread her new position.
The young housemaid paled. She reached her hand out as if to call Velvet back...

Today, I am thrilled to host my fabulous critique partner at Get Lost in a Story. So please help me welcome Katy Madison and wish her a Happy Release Day!!! There’s a lot of excitement about her Avon debut, which puts a modern twist on the classic gothic romance, and that Anna Campbell calls “A firecracker of a book!”. I can attest that the praise she’s receiving is well worth it! J.

So, let’s get right to it. Allow me to introduce Katy…

Heather: How often to you get lost in a story?
Katy: Every day.

Heather: Where do you read and how often?
Katy: Mostly in bed at night, but also during commercials when I’m watching TV. I read daily, it helps me calm my mind so I can fall asleep. I used to read 9 books a week b.c. (No, I’m not that old. b.c. meaning before children.) Now I read 1-3 books a week. Occasionally more if I’m being a glutton. Santa brought me an e-reader, so that number might go up.

Heather: Be honest, when reading 1st person...do you miss the hero’s POV?
Katy: In word, Yes. But that won’t stop me from reading a first person book or enjoying the story. I don’t think I’ll ever write one in first person, because I identify so much with my heroes. Yes, my gothic romance is in 3rd person, which is a bit of a departure from the traditional, but hey, I’d rather know what is going on in the hero’s head rather than have to have a long reveal by a housekeeper.

Heather: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Katy: Okay, I can’t narrow it down to one, but a few that I love are: Dirty Dancing, The Breakfast Club, The Princess Bride, In the Heat of the Night—I watch that one just to hear Sidney Poitier say, “They call me Mr. Tibbs.” And Shrek. I know one thing that appeals to me is the how people deal with class issues, be it the “in” crowd and “out” crowd in The Breakfast Club, or an ogre and a princess in Shrek. I love to see class differences leveled.

Heather: What was the first story you remember writing?
Katy: Actually when I was cleaning out my parents’ house, I found a little book I had made and given to my father. I’d illustrated it too. I’m guessing it was first or second grade. I have vague memories of handing it to my father. I do remember writing a short story in third grade and volunteering to read it to the whole class. (Given how shy I was, that was pretty impressive. I think I was expecting applause, but got complete silence instead.) The first novel I ever wrote was an awful gothic I penned long hand during my senior year of high school. I didn’t have the chops to write that complex of a story. But even though I knew it was horrible halfway through, I made myself finish it anyway.

Heather: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?
Katy: I’d either be a dancer or a lawyer. But both of those professions would require that I get out of my jammies on a regular basis, so I’d rather be a writer.

Heather: What is your favorite tradition from your childhood that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?
Katy: Okay this may sound weird, but eating vegetables. My mother always fed us balanced meals for supper and required us to eat our vegetables and drink our milk—not to offend any vegans—but I hope I’m passing on good eating habits to my children. And they know that vegetables are part of a balanced meal—and no, potatoes don’t count as vegetables, unless they’re sweet potatoes.

Heather: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Katy: Absolutely. If I can learn anything from them I try to apply the knowledge going forward. But I much prefer the glowing ones!

Heather: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Katy: Tea. Always and only just plain tea, no fancy flavors for me. Hot or cold with sugar. Occasionally a bit of milk. I love the smell of coffee, I’ll drive by the Folger’s building just to smell the coffee, but I cannot stand the taste.

Heather: What color would you make the sky if it wasn’t going to be blue anymore and why?
Katy: Pink! Mostly because I love pink, and sometimes the sky is pink with a sunset and it is beautiful.

Heather: Which era would you least like to have lived in, fashion-wise and why? Most?
Katy: Least? The Victorian era. I already don’t like to get dressed too often. I can’t imagine being laced into a corset and putting on thirty pounds of clothing. The most, maybe ancient Greece, because their flowing clothes look so comfortable, but I’d really miss modern conveniences and shoes. I really like modern shoes with high heels. So when I do get dressed, I like today’s clothes best of all. Can you imagine living without zippers or snaps or elastic? I can’t.

What is the thing that scared you the most while about writing this particular book?

Katy: The love scene on the edge of the cliff. I was very afraid of writing this scene for fear if I didn’t do it well it could seem like a rape, but it was integral to the book. Love scenes are always tough, but this one was especially challenging. Just in case anyone was worried, it’s definitely not rape, and that’s all I’m going to say about it. J

Do you like dark tortured heroes? Why?

Katy: Yes, one lucky commentator will win a free copy of TAINTED BY TEMPTATION.

Thanks so much for being with us today, Katy! Where can your fans learn more about you on the web?

Website: http://www.katymadison.com/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/katymadison

And don't forget to join us tomorrow when Angi hosts Sandy Blair!

**Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North American addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.