Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Regency Love Story

Today, award-winning author Diane Gaston, whose shelf includes both a Golden Heart and a RITA, joins us in the Lair. Diane has lots of irons in the fire this holiday season, and she's going to tell us about them. Welcome, Diane! We love Call stories around here. Would you like to share yours?

I love Call stories, too! Especially mine. For all of you who’ve entered the Golden Heart, pay attention. I entered the 2003 Golden Heart with a manuscript that had been a 2001 finalist. I figured, why not, even though I was really banking on my newest manuscript. To my surprise, that 2001 finalist made the finals again. It had already made the rounds of every publisher and agent I could think of, so there was really nothing I could do with it. But one day there was a message on my answering machine from a Mills and Boon editor. Mills and Boon? All I knew about them was that they were the UK branch of Harlequin and that they rarely acquired American authors. It never occurred to me to submit a manuscript to them.

I had to wait until 5 am the next morning to phone back the editor, Kate Paice, but that was my Call! She’d judged my Golden Heart entry and made me an offer.

That manuscript became The Mysterious Miss M...and it won the Golden Heart!

Seems like fate, doesn't it? You went on to win the RITA. What was that like?

What a thrill that was! A Reputable Rake was only the second book I entered in the RITAs. My favorite part of the memory was the Golden Heart/RITA reception before the award ceremony at the RWA conference. At that moment we were all winners and the positive energy in the room was amazing. At the awards ceremony, when my name was announced, I almost lost my pants. The button popped and the zipper was halfway down, but I caught it in time, while I was crawling over Lavinia Kent’s husband! Once at the podium I could see so many of my friends in the audience, it was wonderful. After the ceremony the Mills & Boon editors took me for champagne!

A Reputable Rake turned out to be the last RITA winner in the Regency Romance category. The RITA categories were revised after that.

Who are the hero and heroine of Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady, and what's the biggest obstacle they face?

The hero of Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady is Jack Vernon. Jack and two other officers witness an event during the pillaging of Badajoz that affects the rest of their lives. Jack was born to be an artist not a soldier, so when Napoleon is exiled to Elba, Jack takes a chance at pursuing a career as a portrait artist. He wins a commission to paint London’s newest theatre sensation, Ariana Blane.

Ariana is the daughter of an actress more famous for her paramours than her stage roles, but Ariana is determined to be a success on stage because of talent, not for whatever aristocrat wants to bed her. A baron is pursuing her, but she is confident she can fend him off. When the baron arranges for her portrait to be painted for her next role as Cleopatra, the artist is Jack, the handsome brooding man she once met briefly and never forgot.

The barrier they face is the connection they each have with the baron. Because of him, pursuing the passion that erupts between them means certain ruin for the people they most care about.

Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady was chosen by Michelle Buonfiglio as one of her Fave 2009 Romance Books from Barnes & Noble’s Heart to Heart Blog.

How cool! Congratulations. Can we have a peek inside the book?

Here is an excerpt toward the beginning of Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady. Jack thinks he is to paint Ariana’s mother and Ariana does not know that the artist is the handsome man she met:

An hour later Ariana stood at Mr. Vernon’s door, her heart thumping with anticipation. She looked down at herself, brushing off her cloak, pulling up her gloves, straightening her hat. She took a quick breath and knocked.

Almost immediately the door opened.

Framed in the doorway was the handsome gentleman she’d met in Somerset House, the one she’d thought she would never see again.

“You!” She gasped. “I—I have an appointment with Mr. Vernon.”

He looked equally surprised. It took him several seconds before he stepped aside.

As she brushed by him she felt a flurry of excitement. She’d found him, the man who’d so intrigued her at the Summer Exhibition. He was taller than she remembered, and his sheer physical presence seemed more powerful than it had been in the crowded exhibition hall. In the light pouring through the windows, his light brown eyes were even more enthralling and every bit as beset with private demons.

“Is Mr. Vernon here?” she asked.

He slowly closed the door behind her. “I am Vernon.”

“You are Vernon?” The breath left her lungs.

His frown deepened. “I—I did not know you would be coming.”

He did not seem happy to see her. In fact, his displeasure wounded her. “Forgive me. Tranville said I was expected at this hour.”

He stiffened. “Tranville.”

She began to unfasten her cloak, but stopped. Perhaps she would not be staying. “Did you desire him to accompany me?”

His eyes were singed with anger. “Not at all.”

He confused her with his vague answers. She straightened her spine and put her hands on her hips. “Mr. Vernon, if you do not wish me to be here, I will leave, but I beg you will simply tell me what you want.”

He ran a hand through his thick brown hair and his lovely lips formed a rueful smile. “Tranville told me to expect an actress. I did not know it would be you.”

His smile encouraged her. “Then we are both of us surprised.”

His shoulders seemed to relax a little.

He stepped forward to take her cloak, and coming so close she inhaled the scent of him, bergamot soap and linseed oil, turpentine and pure male.

He seemed unaware of her reaction and completely immune to her, which somehow made her want to weep. Only once before had she wanted to weep over a man. He took her cloak and hung it upon a peg by the door, moving with the same masculine elegance that had drawn her to him when she first caught sight of him. He had been the first man to ignite her senses in years, a fact that surprised and intoxicated her even now.

He faced her again, and she hid her interest in a quick glance around the studio, all bright and neat, except for where an easel stood by the windows, a paint-smeared shirt hanging from it. She removed her hat and gloves and placed them on a nearby chair.

He did not move.

So she must. She walked to him. “Let us start over.” She extended her hand. “I am Ariana Blane.”

He shook it, his grasp firm but still holding something back.

Her brows knit. “Why did you not tell me, that day, that you were the artist? That you were Jack Vernon?”

He averted his gaze. “I intended to, but the moment passed.”

“Come now.” She tried smiling and shaking her finger at him. “You allowed me to rattle on for quite a long time without telling me.”

He turned his intense brown eyes upon her. “I wanted your true opinion of my paintings. You would not have given it, had you known I painted them.”

She laughed. “Oh, yes, I would. I am never hesitant to say what I think.”

Indeed, she had half a mind to ask him why he scowled when looking at her. He made her senses sing with pleasure. She longed to feel the touch of his hand against her skin, but he seemed completely ill at ease with her.

There had been no unease between them in that first, fleeting, hopeful encounter.

You also have a release on eHarlequin. Tell us about it.

My Harlequin Historical Undone, The Unlacing of Miss Leigh. The Undones are sensual short stories, 10,000 to 15,000 words in length and the editors will acquire new authors, so it is a way to break in.

The Unlacing of Miss Leigh
is my homage to the Phantom of the Opera and all Beauty and the Beast stories. Disfigured in battle, Captain Graham Veall has become a recluse, spending months alone, appearing masked in public. Yet he yearns for a woman’s companionshop and the pleasures of hertouch. In an impulsive moment he places an advertisement in the newspaper. A virginal vicar’s daughter answers his ad.

The Unlacing of Miss Leigh
is the third most popular of all the Undones so far!

What's next for you?

The Unlacing of Miss Leigh
will be released in print form, in an anthology with five other Undones in an anthology called Pleasurably Undone.

After that comes the second book in my Soldiers Trilogy, as yet unnamed and scheduled for late 2010. When Captain Allan Landon finds English lady Marian Pallant caught in the middle of the Battle of Waterloo, it soon becomes a toss-up of who rescues who. The dangers they encounter in Belgium forge a bond between them that is all but shredded by distance and deliberate deceit. When Allan and Marian meet again in London after the war, the passionate attraction between them is as strong as ever, but now they are on opposite sides of a new war, a social war, and neither intends to admit defeat.


Thank you so much for having me here. I love the Romance Bandits. I’m happy to give a signed copy of Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady to one lucky commenter.

We're glad you could join us, Diane.

Do you have a favorite Napoleonic soldier? A favorite story of forbidden or socially shocking love?


limecello said...

Hi Diane! :D

limecello said...

Ooo I loved this post and the excerpt, thanks for sharing with us, Diane and welcome to the lair!
I miss the complicated complex love stories, and am happy to see that's what appears to be an important part of Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady.
As for a Napoleonic soldier... er, no. >.< For some reason I can only think of Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo) and I know that's off.
As for favorite forbidden/socially shocking love? Any number of classical myths. Those Greeks and Romans had quite the imagination. (Of course some are just way too squicky, like Oedipus... but you know :)

Linda Henderson said...

The only story of forbidden love that I can think of right now is Romeo and Juliet. And look how that turned out. No HEA for them.

Christine Wells said...

Diane, a warm welcome back to the lair. Nancy, thanks for hosting Diane today. Lovely interview.

What a smashing cover for Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady, Diane. Don't the scarlet regimentals leap from the page? It sounds like a great read. Congrats on the Undone, too. I love the sound of that one.

Favourite Napleonic soldiers--I'd have to say Charles Audley from Heyer's An Infamous Army. Ah, forbidden love is the most delicious kind, isn't it? Judith Ivory's ratcatcher story was a wonderful example that comes to mind.

Lime, you and that rooster are joined at the hip at the moment! Congrats:)

Jane said...

Hi Diane,
My favorite Napoleonic soldier would be Robert Carroway from Suzanne Enoch's "England's Perfect Hero." I'm fascinated by the real life forbidden love affair between Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson.

Anna Sugden said...

Sorry Diane, Nancy and everyone - minor squib had tomorrow's blog posting early. It's been fixed now. Many apologies for the confusion!

Welcome back to the Lair, Diane!

Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady sounds fascinating - look forward to adding that to my TBR pile. What a fascinating time period for us Brits! (any defeat of the French is a great time period!)

Emmanuelle said...

I loved the excerpt !! Really open my appetite ;-)

As for forbidden love stories, here are a few of my favorite : Truly, Madly, Yours by Rachel Gibson, Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas (and my favorite from this author), The Seductive One by Susan Mallery and Dream a Little Dream by SEP (ok not a forbidden love story per se but the disapproving family is really a major problem for the couple in this book).

I'm really looking forward reading your book. Congrats !!!

Keira Soleore said...

Diane, welcome to The Lair. I've heard bits and pieces of your call story, but never the full detail. It's so much more exciting!

I'm glad to see that the urbane Landon is getting his own story. Looking forward to its titling and cover.

For the Banditas and Buddies: Diane's GOFL is fabulous!!! A true military story with suprising twists and turns in characterization and how the story unfolds. It's her best work to date.

Gillian Layne said...

Diane, I love your work, and have heard nothing but great things about GOFL. I'm tucking it away to read over Christmas. And thanks for sharing your call story, they are so uplifting to read.

I'm glad you mentioned the Undone series. How different was it for you to write something that length, or was it just the same process for you?

The only forbidden love story that's occurring to me this morning is Anita Blake, vampire hunter, falling in love with a vampire. And several other men. Not one to limit her choices, that Anita. :)

Oops, no, wait. The Runaway Duke (Julie Anne Long) is a pretty awesome forbidden love historical.

Reading the comments section is bad news for my TBR pile. More books to buy...

Barbara Monajem said...

My mind is a blank right now about forbidden loves (I never did like Romeo and Juliet much, because I want a HEA), but I'm in awe of you, Diane, for tackling soldier stories, especially some that take place on the continent during the wars. Did you have to do a huge amount of research? How did you know where to start?

Diane Gaston said...

Hi, Everyone. I have to run to an appointment but I'll respond more later.

Favorite Napoleonic soldier???? Oh, come on! Richard Sharpe of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series. You know, Sean Bean in the mini-series.

More later!

Deb said...

Hi, Diane. Thanks for the great interview, Diane and Nancy.
I like Romeo and Juliet, but not the ending. I read somewhere once that Queen Elizabeth I didn't like it either, so Shakespeare rewrote a HEA for her. Does anyone know if that's true?
Ooh, Diane. Sharpe is a good choice for soldier. I remember watching the mini-series and then reading the books. Sean Bean did do a great job in portraying Sharpe. Wasn't one of the stories SHARPE'S EAGLE?

Nancy said...

Limecello, congrats on taking home the rooster! I like complicated love stories, too. As books get shorter, there seems to be less room for those complications, though.

Edmund Dantes may not be a Napoleonic soldier, but he certainly qualifies as tormented.

Nancy said...

Linda, poor Romeo and Juliet. Certainly no HEA there. Your mentioning that made me think of Bottom the Actor and Titania from A Midsummer Night's Dream. That was all Puck's manipulations, of course, but there certainly was a huge gulf there.

Nancy said...

Christine, thanks. That really is a great cover, isn't it? There's just something about regimentals . . . *g*

A friend of mine in college said, during some ROTC function, that the only thing a man looks better in than a dinner jacket is a military uniform. There's something about the cut, or maybe the guys' posture when they wear them, that emphasizes the positive.

And I love Charles Audley, too! In fact, he's the one who came to mind when I wrote the prompt.

Sebastian St. Cyr from C. S. Harris's books (Hi, Anna C.) was a soldier, and I think Mary Jo Putney had some soldiers in one of her Regency series.

Nancy said...

Hi, Jane--I haven't read England's Perfect Hero, but what a fabulous title!

Nelson and Lady Hamilton are a great example of a socially forbidden love affair.

On a trip to the British library many years ago, before it moved, the dh and I saw many fascinating things in the display cases--a Shakespeare first folio, Florence Nightingale's diary, a draft of Lennon/McCarney lyrics, a Donne sonnet . . . and a letter Nelson started to Emma aboard the HMS Victory before Trafalgar--and never finished.

Nancy said...

Anna Sugden wrote: (any defeat of the French is a great time period!)

LOL! We Americans, of course, owe a great debt to the French dating back to the 1770s, which is probably not something revered on your side of the Atlantic. You've probably heard the story (I don't know whether it's true) that when the American Expeditionary Force landed in France in 1917, its leader said,"Lafayette, we are here."

Anglophile that I am, though, I tend to side with the Mother Country on most issues. (My father's father was born on a Devonshire farm.) And I've taken to reading the Times Online when I think about it.

As for the squib, I slept through it, so it was no problem for me. :-) Thanks for taking care of it.

Nancy said...

Emmanuelle, I haven't read any of those. The Kleypas has a particularly intriguing title (yes, I'm one of those people who will pick up a book and check it out if it has an intriguing title, like Meagan McKinney's A Man to Slay Dragons, which is actually contemporary RS). What's it about?

Nancy said...

Hi, Keira--Isn't that a great call story? It's like a Cinderella tale--rejected ms. finds a home, author goes on to win RWA's two biggest awards. And is so gracious about it.

Nancy said...

Gillian, I have a couple of friends who love, love, love Anita Blake.

Laurell K. Hamilton is coming to DragonCon this year, for those interested. Main hotels are sold out, but overflow hotels are booking. And yeah, that's like, ten months from now.

Didn't Buffy fall in love with a vampire? Is Angel a vampire? I'm out of the loop, alas.

The Runaway Duke sounds interesting.

Nancy said...

Hi, Barbara--Being asked for a list always makes my mind go blank. It's easier when you're the person who writes the prompt. *g*

Nancy said...

Hi, Diane--I haven't read Sharpe, though people keep saying I should. I never really noticed Sean Bean until I saw him in Goldeneye with Pierce Brosnan and then caught his wonderful performance as Boromir in Fellowship of the Ring.

Boromir is a tough character--walks a fine line between hero and villain, and Bean made that very sympathetic.

Nancy said...

Hi, Deb--I hadn't heard that about Romeo and Juliet and Elizabeth I. If it's true, that's another advantage to being queen, one Elizabeth's successor probably doesn't enjoy.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Diane and welcome to the lair. You probably don't remember, but we met at the Atlanta RWA when you and your suitcase were lost in that maze of corriders that connected the hotel to eateries and the train station. I had a total fan girl moment.

Loved the excerpt and the cover - oh my - that is lovely. I have a particular weakness for artist heroes (smile). THis one is sure to be a winner.

Rebekah E. said...

Thanks for the excerpt and great post. Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady sound like a great story.

Nancy said...

Hi, Donna--That really is a maze around the Atlanta Marriott, isn't it? Even though I've been there for DragonCon many, many times, I get turned around if I venture outside my usual haunts. A friend and I got totally lost coming out of the Marta station. I have to say I've never had that happen on the NYC subways.

Nancy said...

Hi, Rebekah--Glad you enjoyed it. I haven't read GOFL yet, but Keira says it's great!

Nancy said...

Gillian wrote: Reading the comments section is bad news for my TBR pile. More books to buy...

Welcome to the club, Gillian! its membership here is vast. *sigh*

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

*Waving wildly* Hi Diane! So good to have you back with us again. I love the sound of this story. And you know, I had't heard your call story! Shocking! :>

(Diane and I are chaptermates, for those of you who don't know...)

As to my fav soldier and fav shocking love story...well, it's early and I haven't had enough coffee to make my brain work on that list. Grins.

Lime, congrats again!

Have fun over here today, ladies!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said... are so right.

Nancy, we SHOULD start a club! The Towering TBR Pile Club.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Diane, welcome to the Lair. I love your Call story, can just imagine your shock of seeing the readout on your phone. How thrilling for you.

The excerpt sounds very intriguing. I'll be sure to pick up a copy to find out what Jack's secret is.

Diane Gaston said...

Okay Here goes my attempt to answer. My this blog is comment-ful!

Limecello, I try to craft complex love stories, but usually I don't know if I've succeeded until I start getting reader response.

Linda and Nancy, I'm with Queen Elizabeth. I want that happy ending to Romeo and Juliet. I do wonder if we would still be so fascinated with the story if it had not ended tragically, though.

Hi, Christine!!! Charles Audley is a good choice for Napoleonic hero. My money is still on Richard Sharpe, though. And aren't I lucky in my hero on the cover. Sigh!

Jane, Suzanne's books are so popular! I'm happy for her. I think it is a shame that Parliament did not honor Nelson's dying request to care for Lady Hamilton.

Emmanuelle, glad you liked the excerpt! There's more on my website.

Waving madly to Keira. No she isn't my publicist; merely a very dear friend.

I'm getting long-winded. Will start another comment.

Barbara Monajem said...

Ooh! Totally agreed re Charles Audley. He was probably way too good for Barbara Childe...

Diane Gaston said...

Hi, to Gillian, too!
Gillian, it was hard to write an Undone after being so used to novel or novella length. I had to think of a premise that fit a short format. And because Undones are more sensual than the historicals, I had to think of a sexy premise, too, and leave out any subplot.

Waving to Barbara, who well knows the challenge of writing an Undone. Look for her NOTORIOUS ELIZA, a January Undone!

Deb, you are right. SHARPE'S EAGLE is one of the Sharpe episodes and books.

Anna, I think I'm ambivalent about the French. I love the language and the idea of Paris (never been there) but...

Hi, Donna!!!!! I do not remember our brief encounter, I confess, but I'm honored that you do! I have to say that I worried about writing an Artist hero. Would I make him hunky enough?

Rebekah, glad you liked the excerpt

Jeanne!!!!! (waving back) I cannot believe that there is anyone in WRW who hasn't heard my Call story. I've always thought members were rolling their eyes, saying, "Here she goes again about how she sold because of the Golden Heart."

Diane Gaston said...

Jo, actually I was in a doctor's office when my husband phoned me saying some editor had left a message...Can you imagine? I no longer cared about the minor health thing I was there for.

Barbara, I have to agree with you about Audley and Barbara Childe. She was not one of my favorite Heyer heroines.

More later, Banditos! I'm off to my Critique group soon, with Superromance author Darlene Gardner and former WRW president Lisa Dyson. I'm working on revisions to Book 2 in the Soldiers Trilogy.

Nancy said...

You know, it hit me a while ago that one of my absolute favorite Heyer heroes, Hugh from The Unknown Ajax, had been a soldier. A major, I think. And I believe he sold out when he inherited the title. Haven't read that book in years.

Nancy said...

The Duchesse wrote: Nancy, we SHOULD start a club! The Towering TBR Pile Club.

LOL! To twist one of Christine's phrases, "been there, done that, just need the t-shirt."

I wonder how much t-shirts featuring a TBR pile would cost. *g*

Nancy said...

Hi, Jo--I had never heard that story in detail, either. Isn't it great?

Nancy said...

Diane, that's so like a husbandese--"some editor called you." *g*

And I think you make a good point about Romeo and Juliet not having the impact if it ended HEA. Some stories just wouldn't. Like my beloved To Kill A Mockingbird. If Tom Robinson doesn't die, much of the rest of the book would lose its punch. Including the way justice is served in the end.

Nancy said...

Diane wrote: I worried about writing an Artist hero. Would I make him hunky enough?

Oh, judging by just by that little bit, which I read even before the one on your site, I think he does just fine in the hunky department. Mighty fine, one might say. *g*

Nancy said...

Diane noted Barbara's upcoming Undone. Barbara will be blogging with us in January.

Pissenlit said...

Hmmm, favourite Napoleonic solider? I don't know, I'm not sure I've ever read a Napoleonic story from the POV of someone in the army. If we're including other branches of the military, there's C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower and more recently, Naomi Novik's Will Laurence.

As for a favourite story of forbidden or socially shocking love...I'm drawing a huge blank on forbidden or socially shocking love stories due to a lack of caffeine. I'm not a fan of Romeo & Juliet. A story that does come to mind though is Patricia C. Wrede's YA duology, Magic & Malice(Mairelon the Magician, The Magician's Ward)...though since it's a YA story, it didn't seem all that socially shocking. :D

On a totally off-topic note, I don't think I'll be around as much for awhile. My computer appears to be kaput, a new one doesn't seem forthcoming and I can only get away with hijacking my brother's laptop every now and then when he's not home. :)

Beth said...

Welcome back, Diane! Thanks for sharing that terrific excerpt! Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady sounds wonderful *g*

As for favorite Napoleonic soldier, I'll ditto Jane's vote for Robert Carroway ;-)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hey, Diane! Great to see my fellow Noodler here. (For the uninitiated, the Wet Noodle Posse was the name of the 2003 Golden Heart finalists.) I bought Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady while doing my Christmas shopping online over the weekend. Looking forward to reading it. When is the Undone anthology coming out?

Forbidden love? Buffy and Angel. :)

Lori said...

Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady sounds really great. I absolutely love the HH line because it gives us so many different types of stories, and so many unconventional heroes and heroines as well. This one sounds like it really fits into that slot, and I'm excited to read it.

As for a favorite soldier? I'd have to go with Jane on this one. Bit Carroway is absolutely my favorite. He's so realistically portrayed, and is such a wonderful hero. To this day, England's Perfect Hero remains one of my alltime favorite reads.

Emmanuelle said...

Nancy, Again the magic is about two young people in love. She is an aristocrat and he's a stable boy. The girl's father send him away and of course he refuses for true love's sake. The girl pretend to despise hime so he'll go (and stay alive). They spend years seperated. Meanwhile our hero becomes very rich and decides to come back and get his revenge. But all those years haven't changed their feelings for eachother... it's beautifuly written and there is a really nice secondary romance. Really one of my favorite historicals ever !

Mona Risk said...

I love Regency stories. I know a Napoleonic soldier, actually several of them, in a very old movie called Desirée. I don't think any of you would remember that movie but it made such an impression on me as a kid. Diane, I will look for your books.

Maureen said...

Congratulations on the new book Diane! The story sounds like an emotional one where they will have to work hard to get their HEA. One of my favorites is Anna Campbell's Claiming the Courtesan.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Right off the top of my head I can't name either, not the soldier or a favorite forbidden love, just count me brain dead today. (Okay, so usually it is a lot of days in a row but be kind). I do love the sound of this story and of course I will have to have it because I am totally weak and cannot resist a good story. Who am I kidding, I don't even make an effort to resist......LOL

Nancy said...

Pissenlit, I'm so sorry about your computer! What a pain.

The boy loves the Naomi Novik books, though he's currently behind on the series (a chronic condition in our house anyway) because of homework.

I believe Novik won the John W. Campbell Award for most promising newcomer from SFWA a year or two ago.

Anna Campbell said...

Congratulations, Lime!

Hey, Diane, welcome to the lair! This can't be your first visit, can it? We love to have you here!

Congratulations on the book - and wow to being one of the Barnes and Noble picks. By the way, I was absolutely stoked as my critique partner and good friend Annie West's DESERT KING'S PREGNANT BRIDE was the other category book they selected. Whoo-hooo! What a wonderful double.

I love stories about forbidden love. Yeah, you know that, right? ;-) Actually there was a very dashing admiral called Thomas Cochrane (apparently the man Hornblower was based on) who I always thought sounded like an exciting fellow! Would have loved to toddle through a minuet or two with him and listen to a few stories! The French sailors used to call him the Sea Wolf - how cool is that? And he eloped with his wife against (his) family opposition and took her on his ship with him. In fact, he's always sounded like a romance novel hero to me!

Here's the Wikipedia page:,_10th_Earl_of_Dundonald

Nancy said...

Hi, Beth--In the interest of growing my own already vast TBR pile, I'm noting that you also voted for Suzanne Enoch's guy, with Jane.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Maureen! So glad you love Kylemore and Verity!

Mona, I do indeed remember Desiree. Marlon Brando made a great Napoleon. My grandmother had the book so I even read that! I love how she ended up marrying that really lovely guy and ending up as Queen of Sweden from such humble beginnings.

Nancy said...

Trish, I should've just asked you about Buffy and Angel in the first place!

Love your new photo, btw.

Nancy said...

Hi, Lori--Wow, another recommendation for Carroway. I can see the pile growing. *sigh*

Nancy said...

Emmanuelle, thanks for the description. The book sounds wonderful!

Nancy said...

Hi, Mona--I haven't seen Desiree, but we love to discover old movies. I'll check it out.

Nancy said...

Maureen, CTC is one of my favorites, too, as is its companion book, Tempt the Devil.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Sebastian St. Cyr is wonderful, Nancy. And he's not only a Napoleonic Wars soldier, he's involved in a forbidden love affair.

By the way, it must be our week for B&N besters. Annie West is blogging with us on the 7th December (next Monday).

Nancy said...

Hi, Dianna--I always go blank when someone asks me for a list. Welcome to the club!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Nancy, thanks for the lurve for CTC and TTD! Mwah! As I said, I think it's perfectly obvious that I have a fondness for stories about forbidden love ;-)

Anna Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

Anna C.--You like stories about forbidden love? Really? *g*

You do them extremely well, too. And yes, Sebastian was involved in a forbidden love affair and doing his best to make a scandalous marriage. I'd forgotten that aspect of the story. Well, not forgotten, exactly, but I didn't think of it.

Helen said...

Congrats limecello

I loved the excerpt love the sound of this book WOW I will be adding this to my must have list.

I don't think that I have a favourite Napoleonic solder but I do love reading about them I think they make wonderful heros.

Have Fun

christine said...

love the sound of the book and the look

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome back, Diane! GREAT to have you here in the Lair and BIG THANX to Nancy for inviting you!

Hey, Mona and Fo, I never saw the movie but I read Desiree when I was in high school. We were supposed to read something about Napoleon and that was the book I picked. As I recall, it had a very racy cover. heh! heh!

Deb, I hadn't heard about Shakespeare writing an HEA of R&J, but I do know he wrote Twelfth Night specifically at Queen Elizabeth's request for "something light and happy around Christmas."

As for "forbidden love" my publisher stuck that tag line on The Wild Sight because the heroine thinks in the beginning that the hero is her half-brother. Of course he isn't, which becomes clear fairly early on so I never thought the tag line was accurate... OH WELL!


Minna said...

I can't think of any favourite Napoleonic soldiers...

Celine Dion - Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

Pave Maijanen: Kuokkavieras

Blodeuedd said...

Fav soldier, hm, can't say I have. Or can I pick someone who lives in a alternate timeline, Captain Laurence and his dragon. The sure put a spin to the wars.

Nancy said...

Hi, Helen--Napoleonic soldiers do make wonderful heroes, don't they?

Nancy said...

Christine, glad you dropped by. The cover and excerpt are very enticing, aren't they?

Nancy said...

AC, The Wild Sight h/h are fabulous! I agree with you about the tag, but what're ya gonna do? The book is still wonderful.

Nancy said...

Hi, Minna--No problem if you can't think of a favorite. Thanks for stopping in.

Nancy said...

Blodeuedd, the boy loves the Naomi Novik series. Laurence is one of his favorites.

catslady said...

Loved your call story and especially your excerpt - makes me want more. And what a lovely cover!

Nancy said...

Hi, Catslady--Thanks for stopping by!

Diane Gaston said...

yikes. I go away for a couple of hours (well, 5 hours) and look what happens!

Pissenlit, so sorry for your computer woes. What a tragedy!
Horatio Hornblower is a great example of a naval hero.
And Anna is right, Cochrane is a great true life example. He is even a Chilean hero, having gone down to Chile after a disgrace in England and becoming a naval hero there.

Hello again, Beth!

Waving madly to fellow Noodler Trish!!!

Lori, I'm glad you like the HH line. I think they do a wonderful job. Great editors and authors in HH!

Mona, I know the movie Desiree!

Thanks to Beth, Maureen, hrdwkmom aka Dianna, Helen, christine, and everyone who expressed interest in Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady!

Anna, I'm delighted to share the series Barnes and Noble kudos with Annie West!

Hi to Loucinda, Minna and Blodeuedd!

I hope I didn't overlook anyone!

Diane Gaston said...

Hi to catslady!!! I'm a "catslady" too, with four in the house right now - they all technically belong to other family members but one guess who cleans the kitty litter

Susan Sey said...

Welcome to the Lair, Diane! It's lovely to have you! I so enjoyed your call story. I sold to the editor who judged my GH entry, too. I know lots of people say contests a waste of money, but I feel I got very good value for my entry fee. :-)

I'm not sure I have a favorite mis-matched lovers story, but I did recently read Elizabeth Hoyt's To Beguile a Beast, & it was an unabashed beauty & the beast story. Generally I don't care for those but I found this one particularly engaging. I think it was something about the way they balanced the external beauty/ugliness with the opposite internal qualities that sort of reversed the roles in a way that made the story seem fresh.

Can't wait to find your work on the shelves, Diane!

Virginia said...

Great post Diane! I can't think of a forbidden love right now except Romeo and Juliet, but right now I have a lot on my mind trying to get things done for Christmas. I kinda have a one track mind, if you know what I mean.

Keira Soleore said...

"Isn't that a great call story? It's like a Cinderella tale--rejected ms. finds a home, author goes on to win RWA's two biggest awards. And is so gracious about it."

Nancy, you said it best! So true!

Keira Soleore said...

Disclaimer: I'm not Diane's publicist.

~Drew said...

Diane, your book sounds wonderful,

And I am going to go with Richard Sharpe as well, though it is Sean Bean's portrayal in the series that sold me on that.
And any of Susanne Enoch's soldier/heros!

I have a question about HH Undone, a few of us (in my small blog group) read the guidelines and are eager to give it a go, any advice on crafting a 15,000 word story that Harlequin would consider, and does an unpubbed really have a shot here, as a way to break in, get that toe in the door? Or will they be using authors who already have historicals published with them?

Any sage words of advice would be most welcome!

Love the cover of the book, BTW, wow.
And I love 'call' stories, gives me hope!!

Nancy said...

Hi, Susan--I think we'd all agree your contest entry paid off for you. And we can't wait to read Money, Honey.

The Hoyt sounds intriguing.

Nancy said...

Virginia, I think everybody's distracted to some degree by holiday preparations. Romeo and Juliet are a classic choice!

Nancy said...

Drew, Sharpe has lots of admirers here.

Diane Gaston said...

I'll answer Drew here because he had a specific question.
YES. Harlequin Historical will consider an unpubbed writer's Undone. Every time they talk about it, the editors say they will purchase from unpubbed writers.

I think Barbara Monajem is one. Correct me, Barbara, if I'm wrong. I might be mixing you up with someone else.

I think writing an Undone is a good way of breaking in. Once you are writing for them, they are more likely to seriously consider your novel-length work.

Read several of the Undones to get an idea of what they want and then give it a try! If you have a manuscript you'd like to sell them, write an Undone connected to it. Can't hurt.

Deb said...

FYI: On March 28th and April 4, Masterpiece Theater has 2 episodes of Sharpe showing. I agree with Andrew the Sean Bean's portrayal of Sharpe was excellent. I don't know who is in the role of Sharpe in these 2 new episodes.

Diane Gaston said...

Susan, we should do an RWR article on selling as a result of the GH. Jeanne Lin sold to HH this summer because of the contest!

Hi, Virginia.

Hi, again, Keira-who-is-my-friend-not-publicist.

Drew, I first encountered Sharpe through the Chivers Audio Books read by William Gaminara, and "met" Sean Bean as Sharpe later. He doesn't quite fit the picture of the hero that the books gave me.

~Drew said...

Thank you so much Diane! I do appreciate it, regardless of my avatar, I am a girl, LOL!!

And Deb, I think it is Sean Bean ( a little older) still playing Sharpe, he made a couple more movies the last few years, reprising his role, he did 'Sharpe's Challenege' in 2006 and 'Sharpe's Peril' in 2008, maybe PBS is showing one of those!

Louisa Cornell said...

Lime, you two need to just make it official and buy some china and silver!

SQUEEE! Huge FanGirl Moment! Then again, you all know what a HUGE Diane Gaston fan I am!

Hello, O Divine One!

I already have GOFL in my hot little hands! It is my reward for finishing my GH entry and getting it to Texas just in the nick of time! I am REALLY looking forward to this one as my dear friend, Keira, has been RAVING about it.

Anyone who has not read a Diane Gaston romance is in for a real treat!

Nancy said...

Deb, thanks for the Sharpe alert!

Nancy said...

Diane wrote: Drew, I first encountered Sharpe through the Chivers Audio Books read by William Gaminara, and "met" Sean Bean as Sharpe later. He doesn't quite fit the picture of the hero that the books gave me.

That always jars me when a book I love comes to the screen. My brain always needs a few minutes to adjust. Viggo Mortenson wasn't my mental Aragorn, but I ended up thinking he was fabulous.

Nancy said...

Hi, Louisa--Congrats on getting that entry out, and good luck!

Diane Gaston said...

hahahahaha. It's Louisa who is my publicist!!!

Seriously, Keira and Louisa, your enthusiasm for my books means the world to me!

Drew, you had me fooled! I was perfectly willing to believe you were a "he"

Nancy, I do think Sean Bean makes a wonderful Sharpe. I read somewhere that Bernard Cornwell has altered his descriptions of Sharpe in later books to fit Sean.

sherrinda said...

Oooo, was a lucious cover! I don't have a favorite soldier of that era, but goodness, I do love a man in uniform!

Diane Gaston said...

Sherrinda, I have to agree. I think the hero on my cover is to die for!!!!

Nancy said...

Diane, that's kinda cool, the author liking the actor's portrayal so much that he adapts the character!

Nancy said...

Hi, Sherrinda--It really is a gorgeous cover, isn't it?

Diane Gaston said...

This has been fun, Banditos. Thanks for having me.

Pat Cochran said...

Welcome to the Lair, Diane! Great

Texas in the '50s-'60s was one of
the states where it was frowned
upon by "society" for persons of
different races to marry. I am
Hispanic, Ken is Caucasian. We
faced opposition beginning with
members of his family and several
of my friends. We were turned
away when looking for housing.
Our children were fair and the
youngest was blonde and blue-
eyed. The stares we got when the
children addressed me as "Mommy."
It got better over the years for
which I gave thanks every day of
these 48 years together!

Pat Cochran

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