Blog Makeover: A Fresh Look for Spring!

Apple_Blossoms_by_John_Everett_MillaisSome folks who happened to wander by may have noticed that Blue Stockings & Crossed Genres has been given a makeover for spring. So here’s the official bulletin: the blog now boasts a new background color, a new header, new menu tabs, and most significant of all, a new feature added to the sidebar–namely, a sign-up form for my newsletter, which I’ll send out when I have a new release or something else noteworthy to share.  Generally speaking, that may be turn out to be quarterly. As someone who’s been on the receiving end of all kinds of spam, I have no wish to inflict it on friends, relations, and readers (No, I’m not interested in the latest Get Rich Quick Online scheme. No, I don’t need a supply of Viagra or a penile transplant. And No to the nth Power of No, I do not want to see porn featuring farm animals! Pass the brain bleach!).

Other eventual additions to the blog may include a Q&A page. With just two books out at present, I don’t know how many questions there will be, but some tend to crop up repeatedly, no matter the size of the back- or frontlist. And perhaps a Miscellaneous page dealing with details that don’t really fall under the heading of the other menu tabs.

It occurs to me that I may be tinkering just for the fun of tinkering. To which I can only reply: Guilty, your Honor. Because there’s just something about spring that makes you want to shake things up, change things around, and just get out of whatever rut you happen to be stuck in. Winter can be a fine season for reflection and introspection (internal rhyme right there!), but there comes a time when analysis must give way to action. Otherwise you risk paralyzing yourself and not moving forward the way you want.

So, onward! Excelsior! Once more unto the breach, dear friends! Wishing all of you a happy, productive, and invigorating spring!

Sneak Preview of My New Work in Progress

Woman at Writing Desk, Lesser Ury, 1898
Woman at Writing Desk, Lesser Ury, 1898

Come this Sunday, I will most likely be the grouchiest grouch that ever grouched–for reasons that I explained in some detail last year. Rather than rehash my eternal grudge against Daylight Savings Time, I decided to accentuate the positive and share a bit from my current WIP, tentatively titled Devices and Desires.

Recently I took a stab at writing some BCC (Back Cover Copy), a task that seems to devolve more frequently on the author these days. (Not that I’m complaining–having read some truly baffling publisher-generated BCC in my time, I suspect authors do a better or at least more accurate job of it!)

A Little Less than Kin . . .

From childhood, Lady Margaret Carlisle’s life has been entwined with the rich, powerful, and contentious Lyons family, until her intended’s untimely death five years ago. Now a widow, she finds herself drawn into their intrigues once more . . . and unexpectedly tempted by a brilliant, lonely man, whose friendship she has long taken for granted.

And More than Kind . . .

They call him the Clockwork Solicitor, the perfect lawyerly device. But Lord Gervase Lyons’ icy demeanor conceals a lifetime of emotional scars–and an undying passion for the one woman he can never have. Summoned to his family’s Christmas gathering, where old wounds will be reopened, old quarrels revisited, and old secrets revealed, Gervase receives the chance to win her heart at last.


(In this scene, the hero and heroine–aged 16 and 14, respectively–come together to help his 8-year-old sister during a pet-related crisis)

“Mr. Scorton’s horrid mastiff chased Xerxes up a tree, and he won’t come down! Please, Gerry, you’ve got to help–he could be stuck up there forever!”

Gervase had closed his book with a martyred air, accompanied by a put-upon sigh. “Ju, didn’t Mother tell you to leave the little beast at home? He hasn’t the sense to fend for himself out here.”

“I–I forgot,” Juliana faltered, flushing.

“How convenient,” Gervase observed dryly. Then he looked at his sister, gazing up at him with tear-drenched blue eyes . . . and weakened, visibly. “Oh, very well, brat. I’ll see what I can do. But I’m not risking my new jacket for that wretched bit of fleabait. Which tree was it?”

Juliana, to her credit, did not so much as bristle at this slur on her beloved pet. “One of the trees we picnicked under,” she sniffed, swiping at her eyes.

Margaret surprised herself by coming forward. “Can I help?” she asked.

“How are you at climbing trees?” Gervase inquired.

“Not so good,” she admitted. “At least, not while I’m wearing a dress. But if you need an extra pair of hands . . .”

“All right” he conceded. “Come on, Ju–take us to the tree.”

Minutes later, they stood at the foot of an ash tree, looking up into the leaves. A scrap of ginger fur clung to one of the higher branches, mewing pitifully.

Gervase considered the kitten for a moment, then turned towards the blanket still spread out upon the grass. Shrugging off his jacket, he rummaged through the picnic hamper, emerging with one of the finger sandwiches. “Fish paste,” he explained, and returned to the tree.

“You’ll need both hands for climbing,” Margaret warned him.

“I’m aware of that.” He glanced at the sandwich, gave another forbearing sigh, and gingerly tucked it into the cuff of his left sleeve before starting his ascent.

“Will the branches bear your weight?” Margaret called anxiously as he shinned up the trunk. Agile and lightly built as he was, he should climb more easily than Hal or Reg, but still . . .

Gervase glanced down, his expression slightly pained. “I’ll find out soon enough, won’t I?” he remarked, and reached for the nearest bough.

Strangely breathless, Margaret and Juliana watched him climb, a slim figure moving from branch to branch, a fish paste sandwich peeking incongruously over his left shirt cuff. Up he went, balancing carefully. Once his foot slipped, and Margaret thought she heard him mutter a curse as he strove to regain his balance, then adjusted his position, set his foot on a different branch and resumed his climb.

Finally, boy and cat were face to face, with barely a foot of distance between them. Gervase clicked his tongue, and held out the sandwich just within reach. “Come along, then.”

The words were brisk rather than coaxing, but his tone was low and gentle enough. Margaret could just imagine the kitten’s whiskers twitching at the smell of the fish paste. He gave another plaintive mew, scarcely more than a squeak, stretching out an imperious little paw.

Gervase leaned in, extending the sandwich further, and Xerxes inched closer. And closer . . . until he was just within reach. Quick as a flash, Gervase tugged the kitten free of the branch, and pulled him close to his shirtfront as he began to climb down. He moved cautiously, not rushing his descent, but Margaret wasn’t sure she breathed until he was on the ground again.

“Here you are, brat.” Gervase held out the kitten and the by now half-eaten sandwich to his sister. “Now for pity’s sake, take him home, and don’t let him out until he’s bigger and has more sense than a dandelion puff!”

Juliana, eyes shining, kissed her brother on the cheek and ran off, the kitten still clutched in her embrace.

“Little pest,” Gervase observed.

Margaret couldn’t tell whether he meant Juliana or the kitten. But when he reached up to push back his hair, she caught sight of something more alarming, “Gervase, you’re bleeding!”

“Ah.” He pulled his hand back, glanced at the drops of red welling on his forefinger and thumb. “Little beast managed to get a claw into me, after all.”

“Here.” Margaret fished out her handkerchief–clean, thankfully–and wrapped it carefully around the affected digits. “Juliana will be everlastingly grateful.”

“Well, she’d better be,” he retorted. “It’s not every brother who’ll risk life, limb, and wardrobe retrieving some dim-witted cat. I must have looked a proper charley trying to coax him down.” He pulled a face. “And my shirt now smells of fish paste, though it had to be laundered in any case, so no harm done, I suppose.”

“I thought . . . I thought you were rather splendid, actually,” Margaret confessed.

He stilled, his grey eyes flaring wide. “Good Lord, was that a compliment? From you?”

Margaret felt herself flush. “I pay them–now and then,” she said, a touch primly. “When someone deserves it.”

His mouth quirked up and she caught the unexpected flicker of a dimple. “Lady, I shall study deserving,” he misquoted, and swept her a mock bow.

* * *

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into WIP-land! And may you weather the time change smoothly and successfully.

‘Tis the Season for Distraction

Has it really been two weeks since my last post? And is it really only one week until Christmas? Time flies when your attention is split between about half a dozen things–and that’s on a slow day!

But for those who are interested, here’s some of what’s been going on since I last posted

WaltzCover21. I mentioned this briefly on Twitter and Facebook, but to my surprise and delight, Waltz with a Stranger won the 2013 Laurel Wreath Award for Best Historical Romance. Which is a welcome boost to morale after a rather challenging autumn and a lovely way to wind up my first year as a published author. (Full list of results can be found here)

2. The new WIP is coming along well–or at least the first three chapters have. The fourth chapter is proving a bit more recalcitrant, probably because of the sheer number of characters making their entrance in that one. Christmas house parties–what are ya gonna do? On the up side, I’ve always enjoyed reading and always wanted to write a Christmas-set romance, so I’m determined to enjoy myself with this one. And I hope to be able to share a few more details when the story is more advanced.

BBXmasCover3. Talking of Christmas, I’ve been keeping my ears open while shopping and making a mental note of which songs get the most frequent airplay–just for the fun of it. And it’s a good coping mechanism when the versions being played make you want to grind your teeth and smash the stereo system. So far, the front runners for Most Overplayed Seasonal Song are “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” (no surprise there), “Let It Snow,” and “Last Christmas,” the Wham! original and Taylor Swift’s cover. (Although none of them have annoyed me quite as much as a shrill, speeded-up, overly perky rendition of “Up on the House-Top”–seemingly sung by adults who wanted to sound like little kids–to which I was subjected one afternoon in Macy’s.) I count myself fortunate not to have heard “The Little Drummer Boy” more than once this year, and I almost cheered when the music programmer at the local mall showed a spark of originality and played the Beach Boys’ “Little Saint Nick” over the speakers this morning. Now that’s a fun Christmas song!

P12-09-13_08.444. Christmas decorations are going up all around my neighborhood, which is something I always enjoy seeing. We may not get much snow here in SoCal, but our winter nights can still be dark and cold, and the sight of colored lights shining in the gloom is a visual tonic. Halloween decorations amuse me with their cleverness, but Christmas decorations touch me with their optimism, innocence, and warmth. A few years ago, animatronic reindeer were all the rage, grazing on suburban lawns and raising and swiveling their antlered heads. This year, glow-in-the-dark snowmen appear to be the fashion, with penguins, reindeer, and–to my surprise–pigs not far behind.

484px-Peter_O'Toole_-_Lion5. Saddened to learn of the passing of Peter O’Toole. Oddly enough, I’ve never seen all of Lawrence of Arabia, the film that made him a major star. But he bowled me over as Henry II in The Lion in Winter–a fully bearded, full-blooded alpha male, and every inch a king. He was only 36 at the time, and playing a man of 50. His co-star, Katharine Hepburn, was more than 20 years his senior, but they matched like hand in glove–or a set of dueling pistols. I love that movie with an unholy passion: there’s not a weak link in the cast–from the feuding king and queen to their three contentious sons–and it never fails to make me appreciate my own family more! (However fraught your own holidays may get, be grateful that you’re not stuck in a snowbound French castle with any of these people!) In honor of O’Toole, I’ve been listening to the marvelous Oscar-Winning soundtrack of The Lion in Winter, which sent chills up my spine from the opening credits.

Given the demands of the season and the wonderful tyranny of my shiny new WIP, I’ll be a somewhat erratic online presence for the rest of December. But I wish everyone the most delightful of holidays, whichever you celebrate, and a very happy New Year!

Double Book Giveaway: Waltz with a Stranger AND A Song at Twilight!

WaltzCover2Today, strange as it feels to write it, is the anniversary of my first book’s publication! The day I officially became an author.  And the year that followed has taught me any number of things about myself as a writer: Could I adhere to a deadline? (Yes.) Could I become a social media/promotion whiz? (The jury’s still out on that, but I think I’ve improved!) Did I have a thick enough skin to stand up to negative reviews? (Could probably be thicker, but I’m working on it.) Do I have the discipline and determination to keep doing this? (Apparently so. I’m still here, and I just passed the 50-page mark on my new WIP. Loving the story and characters too, which is even better.) And for all the angst and agita involved, I wouldn’t trade the experience of seeing my work published for anything.

SongAtTwilightFinalWhat the next year holds has yet to be discovered. But I’m looking forward to finding out! In the meantime, to commemorate the occasion, I’m giving away a copy of both of my books this week to one commenter. And thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read my work!

Do you have an official or unofficial anniversary that you enjoy observing?

“N” is for “Names”: Deciding What to Call Your Characters

According to T. S. Eliot, “the naming of cats is a difficult matter.” The naming of fictional characters can be every bit as challenging, especially when you’re restricted to a certain time, place, and culture.

In modern/contemporary romance, you have pretty much a free hand to name your characters whatever you want. After all, this is a world in which Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa are actual people. And I’ve read romances featuring heroines with names like Rainbow or Moonflower, completely without irony on the author’s part. (And usually, it is the heroine, rather than the hero, who ends up saddled with the outlandish moniker.)

1309021Historical writers have somewhat fewer options–especially if they want to sound reasonably authentic. An anachronistic name–like Heather, Brittany, Amber, or Skye–can pull a reader right out of your Regency- or Victorian-set romance. Personally, I did a double take when Georgette Heyer inflicted bratty ingenue Tiffany Wield on us in The Nonesuch, even though she explained that Tiffany was actually a diminutive for the more historically accurate Theophania. And the further back in time that you set your novel, the more careful you have to be about names.

So, what are some resources to ensure a period-appropriate name? Well, Biblical and saints’ names are fairly safe unless you’re setting your story in the pre-Christian age. You can find John, Mary, and all their variants throughout history. Names from Classical history and myth were also popular, especially from the Neo-Classical period onward. The Georgian and Regency periods boasted plenty of Julias, Dianas, and Sophias, along with their Janes, Marys, and Elizas. And if you’re a stickler for historical authenticity, you can check population censuses for your chosen time period and setting and see for yourself which names recur most frequently. This is also a good way to generate a list of surnames, which I find particularly useful!

Statue of Llewelyn the Great
Statue of Llewelyn the Great

For a more fanciful touch, you can turn to popular literature. Rosalind, Viola, and Miranda from Shakespeare. Lancelot, Tristan, Guinevere, and Isolde from Arthurian legend.  Deanna Raybourn’s eccentric March family in her Lady Julia mysteries all have Shakespearean first names. And several members of Mary Balogh’s Bedwyn clan have names derived from the old romances their mother apparently loved.

I myself often turn to poetry, music, and history itself for inspiration.  The heroine of my first book, Waltz with a Stranger, is named Aurelia–a popular 19th century name with classical connotations. But it was the Civil War era love song “Aura Lea” that first recalled that name to me. And one of my WsIP features a Welsh hero named Llewelyn, after Llewelyn the Great, Prince of North Wales. (By the way, Llewelyn was a highly popular Welsh boys’ name during the Victorian era, along with Arthur, Evan, Huw, and Rhys.)

Angharad Rees as Demelza in the Poldark miniseries
Angharad Rees as Demelza in the Poldark miniseries

Sometimes the most mundane objects can provide unexpected inspiration when it comes to names. Winston Graham, author of the Poldark Saga, once wrote about finding the perfect name for his heroine on a country signpost, deep in the heart of Cornwall: Demelza. And from that moment, Graham asserts, the image of his heroine became crystal-clear in his mind, and remained so throughout his many years of writing her. Following Graham’s example, I scrutinized several local street signs and found a handful that served quite well as historical surnames–Barrington, Tiverton, and Ashby–even if none has yielded as indelible a character as Graham’s Demelza Carne Poldark.

What are some of the unusual names you’ve encountered as a reader or dreamed up as a writer?

“M” is for “Music”: The Soundtrack for A Song at Twilight (+ Giveaway)

Well, that was an easy choice! ::grins::

511ZHL8b2rL._SY300_Not too surprisingly, the subject of music arose frequently during my October blog tour. On at least two stops, commenters were asked to share their favorite kinds of music or, alternatively, their favorite soundtrack. Stopping by to chat and give my own answers (traditional Celtic, classic rock, Patrick Doyle’s Henry V), I theorized that many books had their own “soundtrack,” whether that means music the author played to get her in the mood to write or music that the author associates with the characters and situations in her book.

As music figures heavily in A Song at Twilight, I thought I’d share the “soundtrack” for the book, along with a little background information about each song. These are probably the most important musical numbers in the book, and they’re quite an eclectic bunch, ranging from traditional carols/folk songs to classical opera to Victorian parlor ballads.

1. Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day: Traditional English carol, sometimes ascribed to the Cornish. The central theme is Christ narrating his own life cycle as movements in a dance. The carol goes on at length from Birth to Crucifixion to Resurrection, but usually only the first verses are sung.

170px-Purcell_portrait2. Music for a While: Written in 1692 by Henry Purcell, a gifted English Baroque composer who’s not as well-known as he could be, owing to his untimely death at 35 or 36. This song–about the soothing power of music–was composed as incidental music to a play, Oedipus, and sung by the character of Tiresias, the blind Greek soothsayer.

3. Voi che sapete: One of Cherubino’s arias from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. In the opera, the lovelorn page performs this song for his patroness, Countess Rosina, and entreats plaintively of the ladies he serves, “Tell me what love is.” Cherubino, a trousers role, has been famously portrayed by  Frederica von Stade and Cecilia Bartolli. I enjoyed adding my heroine, Sophie, to their number!

A playful moment between Susanna (Hagley) and Figaro (Gerald Finley)
A playful moment between Susanna (Hagley) and Figaro (Gerald Finley)

4. Deh vieni, non tardar (Oh, come, do not delay): Also from The Marriage of Figaro, but sung by Susanna, Figaro’s bride. It’s often staged as a love song sincerely meant for one man (Figaro) but also intended to entrap/deceive another (the lecherous Count Almaviva). Sophie’s interpretation of the song was influenced by Alison Hagley’s performance in the 1994 Glyndebourne production of The Marriage of Figaro.

5. The Mermaid’s Song: A lyric poem by Anne Hunter (1742-1821) was set to music by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) to make this very lovely canzonetta. Hunter and Haydn became good friends and enjoyed a fruitful musical collaboration.

608a1363ada06f3fe243d010.L6. I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls: An aria from The Bohemian Girl (1843), an opera composed by Michael William Balfe, in which the heroine, kidnapped and given to the gypsies as an infant, confides to her lover the dreams she has had of her noble upbringing. The song on its own enjoyed great popularity during the 19th century, but I first heard it as an airy, ethereal track on Enya’s Shepherd Moons.

LostChord_sm7. The Lost Chord: Composed in 1877 by Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan), who had tried for several years to set Adelaide Anne Procter’s poem “A Lost Chord” to music. He found tragic inspiration in the last illness of his brother Fred, who died five days after the song was completed. Although not written for sale, The Lost Chord became an huge commercial success in Britain and America during the 1870s and 1880s. In Topsy-Turvy, the 1999 film about Gilbert and Sullivan’s stormy partnership, Sullivan’s longtime mistress Fanny Ronalds (Eleanor David) performs “The Lost Chord” at a society function.

8. Love’s Old Sweet Song: An Irish folk song, written in 1884, with music by James Lynam Molloy and lyrics by G. Clifton Bingham. Very popular with Victorian audiences, the song has been recorded by many artists. The title of my book is actually taken from a line of the chorus: “Just a song at twilight, when the lights are low.”

As I observed, the selection is nothing if not eclectic! But I enjoyed picking out each song, and hope that its inclusion enhanced the mood and the readers’ experience!

So, dear reader, do you have a favorite opera/composer or a soundtrack that you associate with a favorite book? And writers, do you find yourself imagining or even arranging a soundtrack for your works in progress?

I will be giving away a signed copy of A Song at Twilight to one commenter on this week’s post, until midnight, PST, 11/10.

Spotlight: Mia Marlowe (Blog Swap and Giveaway of Plaid Tidings)

This week’s Spotlight is on Mia Marlowe, author of Scottish-themed historicals for Kensington, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at RWA 2012 in Anaheim, and again at RWA 2013 in Atlanta. Welcome to Blue Stockings & Crossed Genres, Mia!

MiaMarloweAuthorHeadshot120180Thanks for having me here today, Pamela. Since you’re blogging about Victorian fashions on my blog, I’ll be sharing about Scottish clothing here. Obviously, everyone’s thoughts run to kilts whenever Scotland is mentioned and it does have a storied past. But before we get to kilts, we need to have (pardon me, pun haters everywhere) . . . a good foundation!

For men and women, the universal undergarment was the leine (pronounced “LAY-nuh”) or shirt. Made of linen, it was a chemise-like, sleeved garment that came to the knees. Over this, woolen fabric was draped to form kilts or arisaids.

Kilt2A belted plaid, or Great Kilt, is actually just a large rectangle of fabric 50 to 60 inches wide and 4 or 5 yards long. The wearer had to pleat it and strap a belt around himself to hold it up while draping the excess over his shoulder. This versatile garment also doubled as a blanket to wrap up in at night if a man was living rough in the Highlands.

An arisaid is the feminine version of a Great Kilt. The fabric is folded over a rope belt and then can be worn with both halves of the material forming the skirt or the top part can be used as a sort of built-in shawl.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe practice of associating a certain tartan with a specific clan is a Regency era development. Wearing a kilt had been prohibited after the disastrous Jacobite uprising of 1745 and was forbidden under pain of seven years’ transportation for a second offense. The Highland Dress Act was repealed in 1782, but kilts didn’t really come into their own again until an English king came calling. (In Plaid Tidings, my hero Alexander is part of the advance guard charged with making sure Scotland will be safe for his sovereign!) When Sir Walter Raleigh arranged for King George IV to make his visit to Scotland in 1822, he assigned certain weaves to each of the clans. English nobles scrambled to come up with a Scottish connection so they could join the king in full Highland regalia. The result of the royal progression to Scotland was a renewed sense of nationalistic pride and a resurgence of Highland dress and traditions.


And now, I believe Pamela has some questions for me:

1. Since the heroine of my new historical, A Song at Twilight, is a professional singer, I was intrigued to discover that you are a classically trained soprano yourself. Would you share a little about your time as an opera singer?

Mia: My undergrad degree is in Music. After winning the District Metropolitan Opera competition, I made my debut with the Denver Symphony and sang with a number of regional opera companies. It was glorious and invigorating and I loved singing, but it required me to leave my small children and DH for increasingly longer periods of time. When I was offered the opportunity to spend 8 weeks in Germany with a repertory company, that was the tipping point. At that level, music is a demanding god.  No one can have it all. I will never regret not laying my family on the altar of my career.

2. Do you have a favorite opera and/or a favorite role (one you played or aspired to play or wish you’d played)?

Mia: I played a lot of different roles. I know what it’s like to cough my life away in a freezing Parisian garret (Mimi from La Boheme). I got a chance to create the role of Mariane in the regional premier of Kirk Meecham’s Tartuffe with the composer in the audience, which was both scary and gratifying. I’ve worn a corset and bumroll and sweated bullets over an aria that turns coloraturas’ bowels to water (“Come Scoglio” from Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte). I even did a pants role (a male part written to be played by a woman) when I was in college (Cherubino from The Marriage of Figaro). That was great fun. But I have to say the role I enjoyed most was Rosalinde from Die Fledermaus by Strauss. Not only is the music divine, she is the smartest person on the stage, outwitting her straying husband by seducing him at a masked ball and earning her own HEA!

Mia as Rosalinde
Mia as Rosalinde

3. How long have you been fascinated with Scotland, and have you ever visited it? If so, what is your favorite/keenest memory of the place?

Mia: When I signed a new contract with Kensington for more Scottish stories, my DH suggested it might help if we actually visited Scotland. We went last June. For 12 glorious days, we cruised around the UK. I really enjoyed the stop at Kirkwall on one of the Orkney islands. But my favorite spot was the ruins of Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness. No, we didn’t see Nessie, but it’s not hard to imagine something large and otherworldly beneath the surface of those dark waters.

4. What are your hero and heroine’s strongest/weakest traits, and what makes them the perfect match?

Mia:  Alexander is a reluctant hero at first. He wants nothing to do with the Scottish side of his nature since his Scottish mother left him when he was very young. However, when he wins the Bonniebroch barony in a hand of cards, a betrothal comes with it—to a very determined Scottish miss. Lucinda helps him learn to forgive and find the strength to complete the three tasks which will lift a terrible curse from the old Scottish castle and all its residents.

5. Was it something specific or general that spurred you into writing, and which authors were the biggest influence on you as a writer?

Mia: I met a romance writer and realized writers weren’t the ivory tower sorts I’d always imagined them to be. She was just like me. So I reasoned if she could do it, I could too. The Greeks have a word for this. It’s called “hubris.” I had an ocean of things to learn before my first manuscript was published.

6. You’ve tried your hand at many things in life. What is one thing you haven’t tried yet that you would like to try?

Mia: I’d like to run away with my DH and be a full time world traveler—at least for a while. It’s been a dream of mine to circumnavigate the globe and hit all seven continents. Different countries and cultures fascinate me. Of course, I’d miss my family and my dogs (and my own bed) after a while!  At that point, I could always settle in for some armchair travel with some great books!



MIA MARLOWE is a rising star whose Touch of a Rogue was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten Best Romances for Spring 2012. Mia learned about story-telling while singing professional opera. She knows what it’s like to sing a high “C” in a corset, so she empathizes with the trials of her historical heroines. Mia resides in Boston, Massachusetts. For more, visit & connect with Mia on Twitter and Facebook.


Plaid Tidings

PLAID_TIDINGSChristmas in the Highlands…

Not any dashing English lord’s idea of a good time. But now that Lord Alexander Mallory has won a Scottish estate in a hand of cards, he is the unlikely laird of wild, snowy Bonniebroch. Worse yet, the ancient pile of stones comes with a betrothal. To a fiery red-headed virgin. And a curse.

Alex will have his hands full honoring the first, seducing the second and breaking the third … all by Twelfth Night.

Want a Highlander for Christmas? Order yours now!

Print: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Indiebound | BookDepository
Ebooks: Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | ARe

Want to try a taste? Start reading now…

Mia will give away a print edition of Plaid Tidings to a lucky commenter. To enter, leave a comment or question for her. Or answer a question of your own: Famous or not, living or dead, who do you most want to see in a kilt?

ETA: Michelle Fidler wins the giveaway of Plaid Tidings! Please contact Mia with your mailing address, so she can get your prize off to you. And thanks for stopping by!

And catslady wins the giveaway of A Song at Twilight over on Mia’s blog. Please contact me with your mailing address, so I can send you the book. Thanks for participating!