Thursday, April 7, 2011

Debut Author, Cheryl Ann Smith, in the Lair!

hosted by Donna MacMeans

Join me in welcoming debut author Cheryl Ann Smith to the lair! It's so exciting watching a dream become a reality. Cheryl's first book is garnering rave reviews including this one from RT Bookreviews: "Debut author Smith makes a dazzling entrance to the romance community with a charming, sexy,
innovative tale that sparks the imagination. There's a bright future ahead of Smith, who has readers eagerly awaiting the next installment of her spinster ladies series."
Welcome Cheryl!

I didn’t set out to write about courtesans. I wrote about cowboys and earls and even an animal rescuer; all sorts of things. Though I loved historical romance, I often jumped betwee
n historical and contemporary writing.

As wri
ters know, story ideas come from everywhere. For example, I’d read a blog about someone interesting, look them up, and end up spending hours on Wikipedia checking out other people mentioned in their biographies. I had to know who those people were, too! It’s such a time waster. Or so I thought!

It was through my endless curiosity that I learned about famous courtesans; married courtesans. I didn’t realize that some of these women actually gave up that life and settled down. I was dying to know more about these romances, but there was very little information to go by. Where were the interesting stories behind these relationships? How did they get together? Why would a man marry a courtesan? Did a former courtesan make a
good wife? Nothing. So I decided to make up my own story to fill in the blanks. THE SCHOOL FOR BRIDES was conceived from those questions.

The partial for this book got me my wonderful agent. She’d passed on another project but encouraged me to submit to her again. I sent her a partial for thi
s book that same day and she called and offered representation seven hours later. Kevan sent the book out on submission right before the 2009 RWA conference in D.C., and the waiting began. I’d hoped to get my first sale ribbon at conference that year, but there wasn’t time. However, three days after returning home, I got “the call” for a two-book deal with Berkley!
There was crying and jumping up and down, and then…well not much. After the sale, there would be almost two years between that call and my publication date. Sometimes the moment when I became a published author didn’t seem real. Though I was writing my second book, the Accidental Courtesan, things were otherwise pretty quiet. Of course the quiet didn’t last! These last few months have been crazy. Promo, covers, blogs, reviews; it’s all been pretty
overwhelming at times. But fun too! And now a third book is in the works for the “Brides” series. I know the wait will be worth it when and I can walk into a bookstore and see what seventeen years of hard work, lots of unsold manuscripts under my bed, and sheer stubborn determination can finally make happen!

THE SCHOOL FOR BRIDES is about the daughter of a former courtesan who dons a dour disguise, rescues courtesans from sexual servitude, and matches them with husbands. She angers the duke when she rescues his mistress and marries her off. The excerpt is from their second encounter when the duke has decided how Eva will compensate him for his loss by buying up her debts and striking a scandalous bargain. Until now, he’s been toying with her to get a reaction. As you’ll see from the excerpt, Nicholas starts the book out as, well, a jerk. In this moment, their relationship changes when he begins to
see Eva as a woman and not just a stuffy spinster.
I do love my dark duke!

“If you are unwilling to hand over a courtesan, I see no other option than for you to take Arabella’s place.” Her stubbornness reminded him of just how much he disdained everything about her, her delightful neck-hell, her mouth too- aside. He twisted his lips downward. “Though I fear you will be lacking in all areas of lovemaking, I will be happy to teach you how to please a man.”
Her slap jerked his head sideways.
“You are a horrible and disgusting man,” she ground out between gritted teeth. “I would rather lay down with swine.”
He worked his jaw and shot out a hand to grab her arm as she stomped past him. Spinning her about, he pulled her against his chest and locked her into his embrace.
The softness of her lush body took him aback. She was not as thin as he’d suspected. She possessed a few fine curves after all. However, it didn’t matter. She was Miss Black all the same.
Eva struggled. Fire flicked through her eyes.
“You have a choice,” he growled. "Accept my offer or hand over one of your courtesans. I’ll have your answer at the end of the week, or I will have you turned out.”
Eva pushed against him, and his hold on her waist slackened. She tried to step back but he slid a hand behind her neck and pulled her face up to his. She looked terrified, yet was there something, else? With each breath her modest breasts pressed against his chest and her heart beat erratically, hard enough that he could almost hear the beats. But it was her lips, pink and tipped up slightly at the corners and parted with her quivering breaths, that drew his full attention.
Without warning, he slammed his mouth over hers and kissed her, hard.

As you can see, I enjoy books with an arrogant hero that has to grow a lot to earn the love of the heroine. Who are your favorite hero and heroine (in books or movies) and what made their relationship so appealing to you? Cheryl is awarding a copy of THE SCHOOL FOR BRIDES to two lucky commentors on today's blog. So let's get this party started!


mariska said...

:) me !

Helen said...

Is he coming to my place

Have Fun

Helen said...

No Mariska got him LOL

Have Fun

Helen said...

Whoo Hoo Mariska have fun with him


Love the sound of this book and the excerpt I too enjoy a hero who is a bit arrorgant and has to learn a bit along the way to a HEA.

I have so many favourite heros and heroines from some wonderful stories I have read. One couple that comes to mind are Kylemoore and Verity from Anna Campbell's Claiming The Courtesan, I think Kylemoore was a bit arrorgant (and tortured) and he really pushed Verity but the journey to their HEA was full of passion and such an adventure. I could name a lot more but time does not allow it at the moment.

Congrats on the release Cheryl this is a book I look forward to reading and Donna thank you for inviting Cheryl along today.

Have Fun

Cath said...

Oh WOW, that sounds delicious!!!! thanks for the tease =]

One of my fave couples is Nalini Singh's Raphael and Elena in her GH series. Raphael is SO arrogant and pushy and Elena is such an independent and fierce woman, its great when they spark each others temper =]

Danielle Gorman said...

I have so many favorites. I like Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.

I can't wait to read this book. I'v had it on my wishlist for sometime and I can't wait to pick up my copy. I love the premise.

Jane said...

Congrats on the new release, Cheryl. There is something attractive about arrogant heroes, but I love it when they get knocked down a notch. I love the hero and heroine in most of Loretta Chase's books, especially Benedict and Bathsheba from Lord Perfect.

Daz said...

Cheryl, I do so love a good courtesan book and I love the sound of yours. I'll definitely be looking out for it. Congrats on the book coming out and may there be many more to come.

Mariska, congrats on getting the chook. :-)

Christine Wells said...

Hi Cheryl, congratulations on your debut! What a lovely review. Thanks for having Cheryl today, Donna.

Oh, yes, I love it when the arrogant hero gets taken down a peg or two. Your series sounds like a lot of fun, Cheryl.

I don't think I can come up with only one favourite couple but one of my favourites is Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant in The Philadelphia Story. I love the banter between them and the feeling that they know each other better than anyone else.

Beth Andrews said...

Welcome, Cheryl! Congratulations on your debut - sounds like a fabulous story :-)

I love when a character is forced to grow and change to earn their 'happily ever after' so this book would be right up my alley *g*

The first historical I read was Johanna Lindsey's The Magic Of You which had a wonderfully arrogant hero in Warren Anderson. I loved how this always-in-control man felt so out of his element with the heroine, Amy ;-)

Donna MacMeans said...

Mariska - you got the GR again? LOL. What are you doing to that poor bird that he's too tired to fly?

Donna MacMeans said...

Yay - My laptop is working again! Couldn't access the blog last night. This year has been the worse for me for computers!!!!

Love a good arrogant hero as well as a heroine who can take them down a peg. Love the sound of this book and the cover is stunning!

PJ said...

Welcome, Cheryl! Congrats on your debut hitting the streets! I've been hearing great things about this book across the internet but, even if I hadn't, that excerpt would have sent me in search of it. It sounds delicious!

I do love when an arrogant, alpha hero is brought to his knees by his heroine - though I don't want him to lose all of that delicious arrogance. It's what made me fall in love with him in the first place, after all. ;-)

I adore all of Johanna Lindsey's Mallory books but, like Beth, I have a special place in my heart for Warren and Amy from The Magic of You. It's one of my all-time favorite books and I never tire of re-reading it.

Christina Dodd writes some terrific alpha heroes. I just finished her new book, Taken by the Prince and loved the pairing of Saber/Raul (he's known by one name in England, another in his homeland) and Victoria. She's just the woman to bring this arrogant rogue and secret prince to his knees, literally and figuratively!

Andrea said...

I just wanted to pop in to say that I'm reading THE SCHOOL FOR BRIDES right now and really enjoying it, Cheryl. I see big things in your future! :)

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Cheryl & Donna! I'm so glad to hear somebody else likes to google interesting people to satisfy their curiosity. It makes me feel less like a stalker. :-)

School for Brides sounds wonderful, Cheryl! Congratulations!

AS for couples I really like, I have to be boring & say Eve Dallas & Rourke. They float my boat. I like that the tension between them makes their relationship. Mostly in romance, we have to resolve the tension for the HEA to be believeable. Or most of it, anyway. But if Nora ever resolved it, I think the relationship would go flat for me.

Rebekah E. said...

Congrats on your release. I have to admit there is something about those arrogant heros that you gotta love.

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

Good morning (or evening where you are!) everyone! This has been a crazy week! It might take me a few posts to catch up!

Thanks for all the well-wishes! Getting this book out has been wonderful. And I'm enjoying reading about all your favorite couples. You've given me some ideas for books I'll have to out on my must read list.

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

My hero is so arrogant in the begining of the book that you might want to run him over with a coach! Hopefully the readers will stick around to watch his transformation. He really is an awesome guy.

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

Thanks Andrea! Since you're reading the book, you can see what a stinker Nicholas is. But by the end, I hope he'll be a hero you'll adore!

Diana said...

Cheryl Ann,

What a fun concept. I look forward to reading your story. The cover is lovely too!

Thanks for giving us an inside look at what your road to publication was like. Yours is a very inspiring story.

Best of luck!

Dtchycat said...

Congrats on your release! I finished reading this yesterday! I've never been a fan of courtesan stories - but after hearing the rave reviews and deciding to try a new author, I am pleased to say this was one of the best written story lines that I have read in a while. I was hooked from the first chapter, falling in love with ever-so-arrogant Nicholas, loving seeing him literally taken down peg by peg and stripped bare...A well written storyline that constantly kept one on one's toes, and characters that just popped off the pages. Thanks for such a good read! Anxiously awaiting the next!

June M. said...

Your book sounds great and I can't wait to read it. Out of my usual historical genre, but one of my fave couples is Lynsay Sands' Lucian and Leigh, whose story was told in BITE ME IF YOU CAN (a paranormal romance w/vamps).

Lucian had been in previous books and was a cold-hearted S.O.B. But when he meets and falls for Leigh, he gets all soft and loving, at least in regards to her. I love that in her series, the characters come back as secondary characters so that you learn updates on them! Oh, now I can't wait for the next one to come out!

Starr Ambrose said...

Hi Cheryl, I loved that excerpt! He's arrogant, but I think he's just met his match.

There are so many great hero/heroine combinations. I keep coming back to Romancing the Stone - he's a selfish jerk, she's a brilliant mess, and the situations are hysterical!

Louisa Cornell said...

Pipped at the post, Helen! Good job, Mariska! Make him behave. (Is that even possible?)

Hello Cheryl !

I have been hearing good things about your book through the grapevine and I LOVE the sound of your duke. Any many who makes you want to run him over with a coach has to inspire that kind of passion in the bedroom!

And I do love your twist on the courtesan story.

Some of my favorite heroes and heroines are :

Sebastian St. Vincent and his Evie from Devil in Winter

Kylemore and Verity from Claiming the Courtesan

Dain and Jess from Lord of Scoundrels

Christian and Maddy from Flowers from the Storm

Kate and Max from The Dangerous Duke

Ivan and Lucy from Dangerous to Love

Wulfric and Christine from Slightly Dangerous

Ian and Beth from The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie

Yes, I have given this some thought!

kaelee said...

I'm not a writer but I love to look up things on the internet as well and yes it goes form site to site to site and then it's an hour or so later then when I first sat down. But it's such fun.
I read so much that it's impossible to pick just one hero and heroine.

I rally enjoyed your excerpt and love the concept of the story. Wishing you a very successful career. There can never be too many romance writers.

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

I'm enjoying all the comments! I just love great hero/heroine matches. If I can feel the characters falling in love, its just the best. No wonder romance novel's (and romantic movies) are so popular!

Berkly gave me a great cover!

I'm so exctited that you enjoyed the story, Dtchycat!

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

Thanks for the well wishes! Seeing my book out was a dream a long time coming. Now what to do with my file of rejection letters? Maybe we can start a question about the best use for those! *g*

Jenn3128 said...

Lucious Hunt & Ivy Walker from The Village. Theirs is such a sweet and innocent love that I just melt into a puddle of goo.

The scene on the porch? Oh man, I'd recite it for you all here, but know that I couldn't do it justice.

Congratulations on your debut Cheryl!

Janie Mason said...

The book sounds wonderful. I, too, like a hero whose journey to humanize him is rather lengthy.
Congrats on your release, Cheryl!

chey said...

Congrats on the release! It sounds great.
My favourite hero/heroine couple is Jamie and Claire from the Outlander series. They are supportive of each other through the hard times.

Donna MacMeans said...

Cheryl -

Loving all the praise from those who have read your debut. When is the next one scheduled for release?

Janie Mason said...

Oops, I forgot to respond to the question. There are SO many couples from novels that I've loved that this is a tough choice. One that always stands out to me is Rachel and Gabe from Susan Elizabeth Phillips Dream a Little Dream. Gabe starts off mean, like a wolf who's gone off to lick his wounds. Rachel is by nature rather meek, but has to be strong for her son's sake. Too willful people fighting against the world and each other. Sigh.

Minna said...

Congratulations on your debut!
My all time favorite hero and heroine are Eve Dallas and Roarke. I like it how they find solutions to the problems they have with themselves and each other.

Kirsten said...

One of my favorite couples would be John Thorton and Margaret Hale. (Notrth and South)

She first considers him a brute or jerk but that all changes of course!

ClaudiGC said...

Hi Cheryl!
Loved the excerpt from your book!
My favourite couple would be St. Vincent and Evie from Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. He is quite arrogant at first as well and I would so hate that in real life but in a romance novel, I love it! :)
Congratulations on your first release!

ChrisS said...

Hi Cheryl Ann! The School For Brides sounds like an exciting read. I am very intriqued by the plot and look forward to reading how Eva and Nicholas's story ends. My favorite kind of hero is dark and/or tortured. That sounds so awful but makes for a great read.


Anna Campbell said...

Mariska, again?

Helen, you two were neck and neck!

Cheryl Ann, welcome to the lair! New book sounds fab. Congratulations on your sale - how exciting!!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Helen and Louisa! x

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome to the Lair, Cheryl!

SUPER CONGRATS on your debut release. LURVED your excerpt!

Thanx to Donna for bringing you in for a visit. :-)

I think you can see that most of us love reading about arrogant heroes, but we prefer our cabana boys meek and mild. ;-)

Bring out the mimosas!

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

It was very nice of Donna to ask me to come! We met in Orlando last year.

My next book comes out Oct 4th. It's Eva's sister's story. She gets into a lot of trouble in that book!

I loved Romancing the Stone, too, Starr!

Sitting in a cabana, with my favorite book, while a hunky guy brings fruity drinks...sounds good to me!

Andrea said...

Cheryl Ann Smith said: Since you're reading the book, you can see what a stinker Nicholas is.

Yes, but I don't mind that at all. He's positively yummy! *g*

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

There are so many great romance writers, I can't get to all their books! It's fun to go to RWA conferences, meeting authors, and finding new favorite reads. I skim blogs and discover new authors there too.

I met a fan of Susan Elizabeth at a conference. She was weighed down with a SEP book cover shrinky-dinks necklace, buttons, earings, all sorts of stuff. It was something! Can you imagine ever earning such devotion?

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

I think Nicholas is yummy too! He's the kind of chest thumping-loin-cloth-wearing hunk who would bring you home a buffalo for dinner over the fire, then make love to you all night long!

Maureen said...

Congratulations Cheryl on your new book! There are a lot of heroes and heroines I like but one of my favorites is St. Vincent and Evie from Devil in Winter. He was not too nice at the beginning of the story and it was fun watching him change.

Paige said...

I just might have to get Devil in Winter. I think I'd like St. Vincent!

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

Me too!

Barbara E. said...

Congrats on the release of The School for Brides, it sounds delightful.
I really enjoyed Courtney Milan's Gareth Carhart and Jenny Keeble (aka Madame Esmerelda) in Proof by Seduction.

Donna MacMeans said...

I'm going to have to read Devil in Winter. I read the book before - It Happened One Autumn - and so met the hero and heroine in the Devil in Winter before they met each other (grin). When I read that it was these two paired up in Devil in Winter, I was surprised as they seemed so unsuited for each other, but that was before you REALLY know the characters. It all makes the Devil in Winter all the more intriguing. Yes, will have to read that one!

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorites. One of many! I don't think I've even gotten into the books I picked up last year in Orlando. but I'm taking notes and will get some of the books from this discussion.

I have to get to bed. An very early morning tomorrow for me. Thanks so much for having me. It's been great!

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

Sorry, I'm back! We have to do a drawing for the books. I'm such a blog newbie. Give me a minute here....*g*

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

Drum roll please...

The winners of the two books are:



mariska said...

Congrats on the release ! I've been seeing this cover on some other blogs. can't wait to read it :)

my favorite James and Missy on Beverley kendall's Sinful surrender. Love will always find it's way.

amybee said...
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