Friday, November 27, 2009

A Peek at a Wild Heart

Today Kensington debut author Lori Brighton makes her first visit to the Lair. Lori’s first book, a Victorian paranormal called Wild Heart, is out now. Welcome, Lori! We love Call stories in the Lair. Would you like to share yours?

I’d been writing for over 6 years with lots and lots of rejections. As a last resort, I entered Wild Heart in a few writing contests. In one contest the final judge was Hilary Sares, formally at Kensington. She ended up not only giving me first place, but also requesting the full. Almost four months went by and I hadn’t heard a word. I figured the request would be yet another rejection and moved on, attempting to figure out where I wanted to go in my writing career. Then the phone rang. The caller I.D. said New York, but I knew no one and so didn’t answer. It was only later after listening to my messages that I realized it was Hilary and she wanted to buy my book!

That's a great story! Would it be fair to call Wild Heart a Beauty and the Beast story? Tell us about the hero and heroine of Wild Heart.

Ah, the fairytales! I love Beauty and the Beast, it’s probably my favorite. I’d always thought of Wild Heart more as a Tarzan/Jungle Book sort of story, but actually you’re right. In Beauty and the Beast, Belle ‘saves’ the Beast and that’s sort of how it is in my book.

Leo is very alpha male. I tried to keep him true to life; what a real person would be like if they’d experienced what he has. On a trip to India, his parents were murdered. He was forced to stay in hiding in a country he knew nothing about. Much like The Count of Monte Cristo (one of my favorite books), vengeance has kept him going. He’s very determined and blunt, but he’s also very honest and loyal. He definitely doesn’t let people push him around.

Ella is the opposite. She’s very sweet and caring. She’s always been told what to do because she’s a woman and she’s poor. She’s almost too caring at times. She also has an underlying sense of guilt because of her powers. A tiny part of her thinks that perhaps her abilities are evil.
When she meets Leo, he teaches her to believe in herself, and she teaches him to let go of the past and see the beauty around him.

What’s the biggest problem these two characters have?

Internally, Ella has to learn to accept her abilities and realize that her gift is not a sin, but a blessing. Leo, on the other hand, has to learn to accept love and the beauty around him, while letting go of his need for revenge.

Externally, there is a plot that involves secret societies and power hungry people intent on getting rid of Leo and using Ella’s abilities for their own greedy purposes. It’s definitely a life or death situation kind of book.

Did you have particular inspiration for this story?

This is going to sound odd, but the Disney Cartoon Tarzan. My son was watching the movie a few years back. Around the same time, I saw a documentary on Discovery or some equally educational channel about feral children. I’d seen them both rather close together and thought, hmm, what it would it be like if my hero had been lost in the wild during his childhood? I also tend to like more alpha males and you couldn’t get a male more alpha than one who had survived on his own in a foreign country.

Can we have a peek inside the book?

Definitely! Here’s an excerpt:

“I’m safer with you.”

“Are you?”

She held his gaze even though she couldn’t make out his emotions. They hadn’t been alone in days. The silly thing was, she missed him.

“Do you trust me?” he asked her again.

Warmth settled around her chest, squeezing her heart, and suddenly she knew and she could no longer deny her feelings. “I do.”

He didn’t smile, he didn’t smirk, and she was left wondering how her words made him feel.

“Come here, Ella.”

She stiffened in surprise. “Where? What do you mean?”

He patted the seat next to him. “Here.”

His gaze burned into her, a predatory amber in the dim light of the carriage, and she couldn’t quite seem to catch her breath. He reeked of danger, yet mesmerized by the glint in his eyes, she crossed the small area to sit beside him. Why, she couldn’t say. Perhaps, she merely wanted to see what he’d do next.

And then he surprised her. Leo reached out and trailed his finger down the side of her face. A delicate touch that sent shivers over her skin. “In India hands are very important,” he said softly. To stress his point, his fingers trailed down her arms. Slowly, he pulled the white gloves from her fingers, one by one. When her hands were naked and exposed, he stroked the sensitive skin of her palm. That familiar ache grew in the pit of her belly, swirling, tightening, lower…lower.

“They paint beautiful, intricate designs over their hands.” His thumb stroked her wrist, melting her muscles and she sank into the plush cushion of the seat.

Wow! When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

I’m always writing! Seriously, I’ll be buried with my laptop. lol. But when my husband and son can get me away from the computer, I like to hike and travel. We go to state parks a lot. I also like to draw and paint, but haven’t done that much lately.

What’s next for you?

I have a lot of ideas for some new books and can’t wait to get started, just have to decide which to do! I might even try some Young Adult.

But the next book that will be out is my second Kensington book, not slated until the beginning of 2011! It will be a spinoff of Wild Heart. It’s an action/adventure romance that takes place in India and still has that paranormal element. The hero is Colin, a secondary character in Wild Heart. I had a lot of fun writing this book and can’t wait for it to hit shelves. I’m hoping to put an excerpt on my website soon.

Thanks so much Romance Bandits, for letting me blog! It’s been great fun! Since I’m a debut author and I’m in favor of supporting debut authors, let’s share! Besides my own AMAZING book, tell us about a debut author/book you’ve discovered this year! Leave a comment or just say hello, three people will win a copy of my debut book Wild Heart!

For more about Lori and her work, visit her website. Thanks for joining us, Lori!


Lynz Pickles said...


Lynz Pickles said...

Hi, Lori! I've read quite a few new-to-me authors this year, but only a couple of debut authors. One really stands out, though: Tessa Dare. Goddess of the Hunt was sooooo good. From the minute I finished it, it was all I could talk about. I've shamelessly recommended it to any of my friends who read anything even remotely close to romance, and even though I got an ARC, I went to the store the day it came out to get myself my own copy. Which, of course, I used to help lure a friend into reading romances. She's now as addicted as I am. *evil laugh*

I can't wait to read your debut, Lori. I didn't want that excerpt to end, and I desperately want to know what Ella's power is! Is has such a lovely cover, too--I love the dress she's wearing, and I love that he's actually fully clothed. (Men in period clothing? Excuse me while I daydream endlessly. I wish more historicals had non-shirtless men on them!)

Helen said...

Congrats Lynz enjoy your day with him. I have got to get Tessa Dare's book.

Hi Lori

I finished Wild Heart the other day and I loved it (I have sent you an email and thank you for the reply). This book truly had me enthralled from start to finish and I loved Leo and Ella.
I can't wait till Colin's story is released I am so looking forward to it.

As for debut authors I love discovering new authors and over the years I have found some awesome new authors this year there has been Miranda Neville, and our own Bandit Kate Carlise just to name a couple, fantastic books and I have a few on the TBR pile that I haven't gotten to yet but am really looking forward to.

Congrats on a fantastic debut Lori

Have Fun

Jane said...

Hi Lori,
Congrats on your debut release. I just recently discovered Kylie Brant and Elisabeth Naughton. Their romantic suspense books are some of my favorites.

Congrats on the GR, Lynz.

Deb said...

Hi, Lori. I've got WH in my TBR pile!
I discovered Tessa Dare this year. Tessa's books are great. Some authors aren't new, but I discovered them since I had not read any of their works before. One is from last year--Olivia Parker and her first book THE BRIDE HUNT BALL. I'm sure there are others, but can't think right off the top of my head at the moment.
Thanks for being here!

Gannon Carr said...

Hi, Lori! Lovely to see you here in the Lair! The Banditas are the best hostesses!

I have your book on my TBB list, which is rapidly growing!!

Tessa Dare is my choice for debut author this year. Goddess of the Hunt was brilliant! And Tessa is also one of the sweetest people I've ever met!

Blodeuedd said...

Hi Lori :D
Well your book was sure one of my fav debut books of the year.

So yes no need to enter me ;)

Other debuts, well oh yes I loved Gail Carrigers Soulless. I enjoyed Tessa Dare's Goddess of the Hunt.
I have found so many great new authors this year really

Lori Brighton said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by! I love discovering new authors, and new authors so need the support.

Tessa's book has gotten huge publicity and support. She'll def. be around for a long time. I've interviewed Elisabeth Naughton and Miranda Neville on my own blog and they're both super sweet and their books are great. And I've heard a lot of praise about everyone else. I'm writing all these down so I can add to my list!

And to everyone who has read my book, thanks so much for your support!
I feel like a politician. lol

Nancy said...

Lynz, congrats on taking home the rooster!

Some of those historical shirt styles really drape men's shoulders nicely, don't they, Lynz?

Nancy said...

Hi, Helen--

Thanks for sharing your enjoyment of Wild Heart with us. I also have lots of debut authors on the teetering TBR pile.

Nancy said...

Hi, Jane--

I was looking at the Kylie Brant in the store the other day--RS with ghosts? I think I'm going to have to take that plunge.

Nancy said...

Hi, Deb--

You make a good point. Some authors who are new to me aren't to other readers. Discovering a debut author, like Lori, can be fun because we read along as the author progresses. On the other hand, finding an author with lots of books already out, so we can just go from one to the next without waiting can be fun, too.

Nancy said...

Hi, Gannon--I know what you mean about the TBR pile.

And we're glad you like it here.

Nancy said...

Blodeuedd, Tessa Dare's name is popping up a lot today. Interesting. I also read and liked that book, which I picked up partly because so many people here raved over it.

Nancy said...

Hi, Lori--I think the consecutive releases probably helped build buzz for Goddess of the Hunt. Madeline Hunter's first books came out that way, too.

Lots of authors launch nicely without that, though.

When I like an author's books, I always hope she's (or he's) also a nice person.

PJ said...

Hi Lori!

Congrats on your debut book! I'm looking forward to reading it and so happy that book #2 is already in the works.

I love discovering debut authors and supporting them by buying their books. The 2009 debut author who really stands out for me is Tessa Dare.

Lynz, enjoy your day with the GR!

Louisa Cornell said...

Great catch, Lynz! Now that Thanksgiving is over he'll be a little less nervous!

Hello, Lori! I keep hearing great things about your book. Can't wait to read it.

I really enjoyed my buddy, Tessa's book as well. I see a bright future ahead for her.

Another "debut" author whose first full book isn't out just yet is Courtney Milan. However, you can check out her great storytelling style in the anthology The Heart of Christmas. Her novella is This Wicked Gift and it really is a lovely story.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Lori!! Welcome to the Lair, and congrats on your debut with Kensy. You've got a couple of Kensy "sisters" here in the Lair in me and in Christie Kelly. We both started in the debut program too.

Lynz, congrats on nabbing the bird! He's pretty wary right now, here around Thanksgiving. He'll relax for a bit then he gets antsy right around Christmas again. :>

Lori, I'm going to see if I can nab your book while I'm off on vacation...

Suzanne Welsh said...

Welcome, Lori! The Lair is a great place to introduce your debut novel. Just don't get distracted by our cabana boys, gladiators or Sven the masseuse, (handsome devils that they are!).

This year I sort of took an interest in a new genre, cozy mysteries. And in that genre I've discovered our own Kate Carlisle's bibliophile mysteries are fabulous. And another author is Wendy Lynn Watson and her ice cream parlor mysteries. I enjoyed both authors' voices and stories, and can't wait to read the next in each series.

Nancy said...

Hi, PJ--I hope your trip home yesterday was smooth.

At the Romance Dish, you'll probably find lots of new authors.

Nancy said...

Hi, Louisa--I don't buy a lot of anthologies, but I always look for them at Christmas. It's a busy time of the year, so stories I can read faster fit into my life well. Plus I'm sucker for the holiday theme.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, the debut program worked out pretty well, for you and Christie, didn't it?

Did you notice the little bits of confetti lying around? As though someone tried to clean up from a giant GUYS ONLY party but missed a few bits? Maybe because he had a tad much to drink?

And I have yet to Sven or Demetrius. Marcus (in bad need of a shave) sort of staggered through a little while ago, scowled at the empty table, and stumbled back to the gladiator quarters. No sign of anyone else except very loud snoring in multiple rhythms.

I have closed all possible doors to mute the noise.

If this is what they do on Thanksgiving, I hate to contemplate holiday-laden December.

I'm putting on some very loud music now, Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. The snorer has not been born who can drown that.

Nancy said...

Uh, that's yet to SEE Sven or Demetrius. Ack!

Nancy said...

Hi, Suz--Mysteries, especially cozies, tend to involve couples more often than romantic suspense does. That's one thing I like about the genre. I don't always want HEA to be The End, but I suspect most romance readers do. They're ready to move on to someone else.

Did Rocky get any turkey?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Nancy, I suspect cozy mysteries are just really, really long romances...the stories slowly evolving throughout several books as opposed to one book.

Yes, Rocky-the-wonder-dog always gets some dark meat as my family mostly likes the white meat. Although one daughter took a turkey leg home to make soup with later this weekend. Rocky, sprawled on the floor while the adults slept on the couches, leaving me and the tiniest grandbaby to watch the last football game alone!

Edie Ramer said...

Lori, I've discovered you! Does that count? lol Actually I've read many debut books this year. Three who stand out are Leanna Renee Hieber, author of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, Therese Walsh, who wrote The Last Will of Moira Leahy, and Marilyn Brandt, with According to Jane. All of them amazing!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Oh that sounds wonderful Lori, I will have to start of your books now. I like that cover too, it is nice to see a man clothed. (Never thought I would be saying those words) *eg*

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy, I think the Wagner is a lovely touch. Its really cut the noise of the snoring. :>

jo robertson said...

Hi, Lori! Welcome to the Lair and congratulations on your debut book. WILD HEART sounds sexy and intriguing.

Can you tell us more about the heroine's "abilities"?

Nancy said...

Suz, I've read cozies where the relationship continued to evolve, and I prefer that type to the ones where it's static after the first book or two.

Nancy said...

Edie, thanks for the additions to the debut list!

Nancy said...

Jeanne, the fact that all the brass and tympani have not awakened the guys makes me think it must've been some party!

Nancy said...

Hi, Dianna--it's a beautiful cover, isn't it? I'm not a huge fan of headless torsos.

Cybercliper said...

I discovered Judi Fennell's debut In Over Her Head - I love her underwater world. I'll definitely be checking Wild Heart out - I love Beauty and the Beast stories!

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Lori! Welcome to the lair. I'm really looking forward to reading your book.

As far as 2009 debut authors, I'm trying to think. I'm very far behind on my reading. I'm honestly not sure I've read a 2009 debut author. I did just finish 2008 debut author Kimberly Killion and loved her book. Hmm, time to get busy and catch up on my reading!

Good luck with your debut!

Nancy said...

Hi, Cybercliper--An underwater world, huh? Sounds interesting. Is it Atlantis or another concept?

Nancy said...

Christie wrote: I'm very far behind on my reading.

At least you know you have lots of company around here! *g*

Margay said...

I love reading debut authors! This year, I discovered Marilyn Brant, who wrote According to Jane. I absolutely adored this book!

Nancy said...

Hi, Margay--Edie liked According to Jane, too.

Margay said...

Nancy, it's a good book. I would recommend it to anyone who likes anything based on Jane Austen.

catslady said...

I enjoyed the interview and excerpt! I just discovered Kathryn Dennis who wrote Shadow Rider. That's the best part about winning a book - you get to find new authors that you are afraid to take a chance on.

Nancy said...

Hi, Catslady--I think Kathryn Dennis may have been a guest here. She's on my TBR pile, too.

Free books are great, aren't they?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome to the Lair, Lori!

Since I write a bit of woo-woo in my books, I love to find other authors who do the same! Can't wait to read Wild Heart!

Margay and Edie, I was lucky enough to read part of According to Jane in manuscript and it's a delightful story! Oh, and Marilyn is a sweetie! ;-)

Cypercliper, Judi is one of my Casa Sisters and her series about a kingdom of Mer-people is getting lots of good buzz. Thanx for mentioning her!

Two more of my Casa Sisters whom I discovered this year and LOVE their books (even though they are not debut authors) are Amelia Grey and Sharon Lathan. Both write Regencies and are wonderful story-tellers. Sharon's are P&P sequels.

Nancy, since Wagner didn't stir any of the 'boys' I'm about to invade their quarters with a bullhorn and the crop. Are you with me?!?!


Nancy said...

Anyone venture out today? The boy and his dad went to buy a gift for the boy's girlfriend and braved the traffic at an electronics store in search of good deals. They did get Star Trek for me but said the best deals were gone way before they left the house.

Minna said...

I'm so terrible when it comes to remembering names, so I can't remember any names of the debut authors I have found this year.

Miljoonasade: Marraskuu (November):

Nancy said...

Hi, Minna--

I know what you mean. As soon as someone asks me for a list of ANYthing, I go blank!

Minna said...

But I do remember one name that was new -to me, anyway. I can definitely remember it because I still haven't been able to read her book I was waiting for, thanks to that (CENCORED) book thief. The writer is Linda O. Johnston and the book is Alpha Wolf.

Nancy said...

Minna, it's too bad your book was stolen. Theft is infuriating, but who steals books, f'r gosh sakes?!

We'd especially like to know because the dh had 4 books stolen from his office a couple of weeks ago, YA novels by an author he was about to teach. A couple of those books are out of print.

Very aggravating!

Minna said...

These days, every time I'm expecting a book from the U.S. I'm never quite sure if I'll ever actually get it. Any other mail has never kept dissappearing the way books seem to be vanishing. I think from now on I'l ask everyone to add a little note inside the book -or write it on the envelope. Something like this: "Dear book thief, you have stolen so many books sent to the recipient, that your actions haven't gone unnoticed. Every time you steal another book, the authorities will be notified both in the U.S.A. and in Finland. So don't be too surprised if the police will be knocking on your door one of these days." Maybe it would at least give them a little scare. And not that it'll help anyway, but I'll start composing an email for the Finnish and U.S. mails. Although the last time I tried to send an email to U.S. mail (one book had vanished from inside the envelope, but at least I got the other one) it just didn't go through no matter how many times I tried. Ebooks start to look really good when paperbacks vanish in the mail often enough.

Minna said...

I wonder if there would some nice little curse -that would make the thief allergic to paper!

Maureen said...

One of the new to me authors that I really enjoyed was Meredith Duran. Congratulations on your new book!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Lynz, good on you with the chook!

Lori, congratulations on your debut. I've heard so much buzz about it. And I must say I'm a sucker for wild children stories. I absolutely love Tarzan: The Legend of Greystoke too. Christopher Lambert was just gorgeous in that! What an intriguing premise!

Thanks for coming to visit us at the Bandits. And Nancy, thanks for another great interview!

Nancy said...

Minna, I'm so sorry you've had all this trouble.

Nancy said...

Maureen, thanks for stopping by today!

Nancy said...

Anna, I've always liked Tarzan, too. I have a soft spot for the old Johnny Weissmuller movies.

Glad you liked the interview.

Lori Brighton said...

Thanks again everyone for stopping by!

I've been traveling all day. Started out this morning at the beach, a small island off the coast of GA, Jekyll island. Very neat, if you get a chance to go! Just got home not too long ago.

It will def. be awhile before my second book is out. Some publishers like the consecutive. Others, like Kensington, wait a long while in between. I'm not sure which is better, to be honest. For me, personally, I think maybe a 6 month break between books would make me happy. Hopefully someday I can have 2 books out a year.

Louisa, I really enjoyed Courtney's xmas short too!

Edie, I have go to get Leanna's book. It looks so unique!

Jo, my intent with this first book was to write it so I could have a series. A character from each book would have a certain power/gift. In Wild Heart it is my heroine, Ella, who has an ability. She has a certain gift with animals, can control them, sense their emotions, that sort of thing. In the second book, Colin, Ella's cousin, will have an ability.

Margay, I've heard a lot about According to Jane too! Another I want to read.

I def. have to add to my list! so many good books and you guys have some great ideas!

Lori Brighton said...

That's horrible Minna! Are they getting lost in the mail or a neighbor taking them?

mariska said...

Am i too late for this ?:)
after came back for celebrating the Hari Raya Hajj yesterday. i'm back to be online here \^_^/

Welcome Lori !
Your book has been on my 'radar' for last couple days :) hope i can find my luck here!

I have met some New Authors for ME, on this blog. so is it count ? :)
Well, since i'm so 'hungry' to read as many as NEw Author for Me. i have a blank mind now to mention the names.
Well, I think Aunty Cindy is the one ? *hugs AC*

Lady_Graeye said...

Thank you for being here today. Congrats on your new book!

flchen1 said...

Hi, Lori! Congrats on your debut! As for debuts, I just read Ann Aguirre's alter ego's debut--Ava Gray's Skin Game. It was fabulous! And although Ann's stuff didn't debut this year, I read her for the first time this year and really wondered what had taken me so long!

Best wishes on your first of hopefully many many novels!

Lori Brighton said...

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by! I so appreciate it.

And thanks to the Romance Bandits. I've been reading your books for years and its amazing to be in your company!

Nancy said...

Hi, Lady Graeye--Glad y ou could stop in!

Nancy said...

That's glad YOU could stop in. Ack!

Nancy said...

Hi, Fedora--I think happenstance plays a big part in discovering an author. I have the Ava Gray but haven't yet read it.

I just found Ann this calendar year, too.

Pissenlit said...

Oooh, hello! Quick comment before bed!

Josh Bazell's debut, Beat the Reaper. I have the audio book and started with that but soon borrowed a copy of it in book-form from the library because well, I can read faster than I can listen to someone read it(though the narrator was really good). I just kept snickering throughout the book.

Nancy said...

Hi, Pissenlit--Thanks for the suggestion.

Cassondra said...

Lori, welcome to the lair!

So sorry I'm late to the party, but your excerpt was fabulous, and your book sounds wonderful. Yet another to add to the TBR pile. (grin)

This may have been asked already, but if you check back in, I'd love to know why you chose India. A particular interest in the country? It sounds like you know a lot about it, based on the dialogue and your putting your hero there as a child, which would affect everything he was and did. I think that's brave of you, actually, and I wonder if you found that character challenging to write, because of his unusual background?

Thanks so much for sharing your call story and a bit about your book!

Nancy said...

Hey, Cassondra! You made it to the party. I think India is fascinating, too.

Minna said...

They are getting lost in the mail. I don't think any of my neighbours even read romance books in English around here.

Lori Brighton said...


Well, I knew I wanted him to be lost in some sort of jungle, but didn't want it to be too Tarzan and pick Africa. My husband had been traveling to India for work, so thats why I picked that country, a country that hadn't really been discussed much, but was becoming rather popular in the entertainment world for their movies.

I dont know nearly enough about the country. It's so hard to find good information. In the second book I had to do much more research as it takes place in India. I'm sure I've made many mistakes, which sucks, but I tried the best I could to be accurate.

Thanks for stopping by!