My first guest this month is Emily Bryan, award-winning author of light-hearted historical romances. Emily learned much of what she knows about writing from singing. A classically trained soprano, she gleaned the elements of storytelling while performing operatic roles. She describes her light-hearted stories as "Gilbert & Sullivan . . . with sex!" Emily’s books have been translated into German, Dutch, Italian, Russian and Spanish. She and her husband have lived in nine different states, but she now makes her home in the heart of New England.
Emily will put a signed copy of her anthology with Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson, A CHRISTMAS BALL, in the Christmas-themed tote bag full of books and goodies for one lucky person to win. Library Journal says "My Lady Below Stairs" (Emily's novella) is "worthy of Shakespeare!" A CHRISTMAS BALL has spent 8 weeks on the top 100 romance sellers list on Bookscan. Emily invites anyone wanting to buy a signed copy at 10% off to follow this link.
EB: Thanks so much for having me here today, TJ. As the Christmas season approaches, I always try to keep in mind that the simple things are what really matter. A child’s smile, the look on my DH’s face when I take fresh cookies from the oven, or time spent with the family doing nothing in particular except enjoying each other. It’s a season of giving without thought of receiving, of love without deserving it, and of grace.
In A CHRISTMAS BALL, my scullery-maid heroine Jane needs to realize that love can’t be earned. It’s given freely or it’s not love.
In the short excerpt below, Jane is masquerading as her well-born half sister at Lord Hartwell’s Christmas Ball, where she is supposed to accept a proposal from a viscount. Ian, the well-muscled head groom who wants her, decides to crash the party to try to stop her.
**Excerpt from "My Lady Below Stairs" from A CHRISTMAS BALL**
“Ian, what do you think you’re doing here?”IMHO: What a fun post, Emily! Thanks. I know as a fellow historical romance author, getting the details of your story's time period right is very important. What happens to what you can't use?
“For a bright girl, Janie, ye’re a bit daft this evening. I’m looking at you, of course.” Ian’s hot gaze traveled down her form and back to meet her eyes again. “Ye’re well worth looking at, lassie, all flushed and rosy. Ye should wear red all the time.”
“Never mind that.” She stepped closer to him so no one would overhear them. A solid whiff of sandalwood emanated from his fine clothes, along with his own masculine scent. “How did you get that suit?”
“Same way ye got what ye’re wearing.” He folded his arms across his broad chest and leaned toward her to whisper. “I borrowed it.”
“That much I figured.” She whispered back, so she had to move even closer. Or was he drawing her in? “From whom?”
“Weel, it was more trouble than I expected. I counted on being able to waylay one of these dandies hereabouts. These fancy gents are on the puny side and I didn’t see any whose clothes I thought I could fit into for the longest time,” he said, clearly enjoying stringing out the tale. “Then I remembered that Lord Hartwell is a goodly-sized fellow—“
“Oh, Ian!” Jane’s stomach turned a back-flip. “Tell me you did not steal from the marquess.”
“Borrow,” he corrected. “Borrow from the marquess.”
“Borrow, then you stupid, big Scot.” Jane suppressed the desire to pound his chest beneath the messily tied cravat. “Why would you do such a thing?”
The musicians started a yearning tune in three-quarter time. Ian’s eyes darkened as he looked at her.
“Maybe I wanted to dance with ye, love.”
His husky voice sent a shiver over her. Very slowly, he slid a hand along the side of her waist, the silk of her gown rustling, almost purring, beneath his touch. Ian took her hand and the fight sizzled out of her.
“Waltz with me, Jane.”
EB: Well, I had to do a good bit of research of Regency Christmases for this story and just for fun, I’ve posted 6 bonus CHRISTMAS BALL pages on my website . You can find them by clicking on the fancy Christmas balls on my main pages.
IMHO: Okay, IMHO readers. Tell Emily, if you could have anything for Christmas, (no limits whatsoever, on money, time, or distance) what would it be? Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win this month's Christmas-themed tote containing signed books by Emily, Jennifer Ashley, Christie Craig, Carrie Lofty, TJ Bennett, and a $20 gift certificate from Amazon.com.