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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Guest Author -- Carrie Lofty

Multi-published author Carrie Lofty is our special guest today! Carrie's debut novel, What a Scoundrel Wants, was released in December 2008 and its follow-up, Scoundrel's Kiss, hit the shelves this past January. Both garnered wonderful praise! She recently paired up with fellow author and friend Ann Aguirre to co-write their "Dark Age Dawning" romantic apocalyptic trilogy under the name Ellen Connor. Her newest historical romance (out now!), Song of Seduction, set in Napoleonic Austria, is helping launch Carina Press. Its sequel, Portrait of Seduction, is set for an early 2011 release. Carrie is also part of a multi-author blog for those writers and readers who love historical romances set in unusual times and places called Unusual Historicals. Also married with two children, Carrie is one busy lady! Please help us welcome her to The Romance Dish!


My First Time by Carrie Lofty

I had completed other manuscripts and written other stories, but writing SONG OF SEDUCTION presented me with the first opportunity to write...a sex scene. It's true that you never forget your first time, and that holds true for writing sex as well.

My husband had moved to Richmond, Virginia, to complete a summer internship for his MBA. That left me in Madison, Wisconsin, with our two young daughters for three long months. During that summer, I got serious about becoming a published author. SONG OF SEDUCTION was going to be my ticket to fame and fortune, naturally. But first I had to take care of a few pesky tasks, such as finishing--and finishing meant walking Arie and Mathilda through their sexual encounters.

I was a grown woman. I had a husband and two children. But something about putting such intimate detail down on paper stole my confidence. Just think about the people who might read it one day! Parents. Friends. Teachers. To say I was inhibited is an understatement.

But I did mention that my husband was something like 56 states away from me that summer, right? A few weeks...fine. But three months? I had sex on the brain, much more forcefully than if he had been home. I channeled that energy and imagination into what I wrote, thanks in part to sexy tunes such as "Buttons" by the Pussycat Dolls and "Chocolate" by Kylie Minogue.

The conclusion I came to was several-fold. First, people only really read what they want to read. If my parents or friends or kids' teachers eventually wanted to read SONG OF SEDUCTION or any of my books, they would do so out of choice. My job was to make that experience entertaining, not just with regard to sex but the entire romance.

Second, it was my story! That summer I rather enjoyed relieving my frustrated, lonely single-parent burdens with a little sweet-and-fiery imaginary romance. The journey I was taking was, first and foremost, for myself.

And finally, I liked writing the sexy scenes. Pages and chapters of build-up deserved a hot payoff. I anticipate it when I read a good romance, so I consoled myself that true fans of the genre would be looking for me to turn them on. It's all part of the job!

So inhibitions aside, I embarked on a few months of sexual exploration that hard nothing to do with reality. I learned a great deal about my chosen career, its rewards, its challenges—not the least of which is tuning out the negative voices. I don't bat an eye at writing sex scenes now, but turning out negativity is a skill that still comes in handy!

Here's the introduction to that first fateful scene. I'm keeping it clean here, so you'll have to pick up a copy of SONG OF SEDUCTION to read it in its entirety!


With the barest distance between their faces, she found the familiar web of tiny lines at the corners of his eyes--eyes filled with a wary, intense longing. Even now, he remained afraid of her, terrified she would disappear despite the clench of his arms. But he didn't retreat. He held her close, still waiting. That he could seem so defenseless and yet so determined made clear the depth of his regard.

Arie De Voss. Her idol. Her maestro.

Out of the thousands who experienced the power of his music, he wanted
her. That heady knowledge tossed Mathilda in exhilarating flight.

She pulled tingling hands from his scalp and touched delicate fingertips to his cheeks, his lips. His hair stood in wild thatches, pulling a wobbly giggle from her chest.

His breath rasped. "You tell me to comport myself, Tilda, but then you tangle my hair. I cannot win."

His elusive sense of humor signaled her undoing.

His smile. She wanted to taste his smile.

Mathilda kissed her maestro with the unrestrained passion of a woman who held nothing in reserve. Her mouth became a partner to his and toiled at the happy task of learning him. Thoughts of retreat vanished. Impatience demanded more. The connection she had sensed on stage proved a mere prelude to this, a more staggering intimacy. Words, melodies--those powerful means of communication became ungainly barriers.

But rhythm…she understood rhythm. In the midst of their kiss, she wanted to melt into the man who held her enthralled. The steady push and withdraw of their tongues became her native language. It beat in her blood, a rising tide of delight surging beneath her skin.

Arie acknowledged her body's request for more. He trailed a parade of kisses along the ridge of her jaw. He captured one earlobe between his lips, his teeth, and Mathilda recalled the moment, weeks earlier, when she had waited in expectation of just that touch. Now he advanced. Each deliberate taste aroused new, reckless sensations. She gasped at the tickle of his tongue. Her lungs stretched against her stays, frantic for breath enough to sustain her yearning.

Drowning, feeling her waking mind dip below the surface of the visible world, Mathilda experienced desire's sharp onslaught. A rush of warmth unfurled in the pit of her stomach, sliding through her muscles in an exotic dance of need. She knew what that warmth meant.

After all, she was no innocent.

She was selfish. Decadent. Hungry.
Alive.

*******

Dear Readers, Carrie's books have unusual settings such as Italy, Spain, and Austria, along with some upcoming books set in South Africa and Australia. Do you like to read historicals with different settings? If so, where are some of your favotite places and why?

*******

Tormented by guilt. Haunted by scandal. Freed by love.

Austria, 1804

Eight years ago, composer Arie De Voss claimed his late mentor's final symphony as his own and became an icon. But fame has a price: fear of discovery now poisons his attempts to compose a redemptive masterpiece. Until a new muse appears, intoxicating and inspiring him...

Mathilda Heidel renounced her own musical gift to marry, seeking a quiet life to escape the shame surrounding her birth. Sudden widowhood finds her tempted by song once more. An unexpected introduction to her idol, Arie De Voss, renews Mathilda's passion for the violin--and ignites a passion for the man himself.

But when lust and lies reach a crescendo, Arie will be forced to choose: love or truth?

*******

For more information on Carrie and her books, please visit her website at: http://www.carrielofty.com/

For more information about Ellen Connor and her upcoming series, please visit: http://ellenconnor.com/

To visit Carrie's blog, Unusual Historicals, please visit: http://unusualhistoricals.blogspot.com/

28 comments:

  1. Hi Carrie

    This books sounds so good I have added it to my must have list

    I love historicals set in different places probably because I have never travelled much and most of the books I read give me a feeling for the place they are set it is like having an adventure to another country without leaving the recliner LOL. As for which places I like them set anywhere for me and I am really looking forward to the one set in Australia seeing as how that is where I live and it will be very interesting reading about historical Australia.

    Congrats on the release
    Have Fun
    Helen

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  2. Good morning and welcome back to TRD, Carrie! We're happy to have you with us today. Congrats on the release of SONG OF SEDUCTION! It sounds wonderful. :)

    I don't mind an unusual setting, but will admit that I'm more picky about it in a historical. It all depends on where it is. For instance, I enjoyed your Spanish-set SCOUNDREL'S KISS, but a little while back, I read a book set in Ireland that I didn't care for. I believe it's about how the author portrays the time and place. I prefer it to be more of a romance than a history lesson, but I know there are those who would disagree.

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  3. Hi, Carrie! Congrats on the release of SONG OF SEDUCTION--I love the cover! And that excerpt....what a way to start my day! *g*

    I'm fine with unusual settings, as long as it works with the story, it can be like another character. I agree with Andrea about the "wanting it to be more of a romance than a history lesson."

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  4. Welcome back, Carrie!

    Thank you for the intro to your book, and sharing your experience writing your first sex scene. =)

    Great intro to said scene, I look forward to reading your book! I loved Scoundrel's Kiss, and read it because of the review/intro here.

    I really enjoy Historicals set in different places because of the research put into it. You learn how people lived, and what was accepted by society, and how we have all progressed!

    I have always enjoyed Russia, and it was interesting to read something in Greece recently. Different wars are interesting as well.

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  5. Hi Carrie!
    Congrats on your new release. ^^ I don't mind unusual settings. I find them a nice change sometimes from the usual English countryside. I remember reading one book a few months ago that was set partly in Greece and i really liked it. ^^

    Melissa

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  6. Hi, Carrie. Congrats on the new release.

    I agree with Andrea that the author's voice and description of a setting can make a difference to the reader. I usually prefer England or Scotland as settings for a historical romance, but don't mind other settings. It is, after all, the romance between the hero and heroine in the story that is important.

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  7. Hi Carrie! Welcome back! I'm looking forward to reading your new book.

    I like a little variety in the settings of my books. I just finished one set in Russia (no history lessons) where the location added so much depth, beauty and intensity to the story. Like Gannon said, in the right hands, the location can become a vital character in the book.

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  8. most of the books I read give me a feeling for the place they are set it is like having an adventure to another country without leaving the recliner

    Helen, I love that!

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  9. Jessica said: I loved Scoundrel's Kiss, and read it because of the review/intro here.

    Jessica, I'm glad we were able to introduce you to Carrie's writing. I enjoy books set in Russia too. Such a fascinating country!

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  10. Melissa said: I remember reading one book a few months ago that was set partly in Greece and i really liked it.

    I've read some contemporaries (mostly Harlequins) set in Greece but no historicals. It's another fascinating country, rich in history and culture.

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  11. Deb said: It is, after all, the romance between the hero and heroine in the story that is important.

    Very true. I've found that if the story is well-written, with a strong romance and likeable hero and heroine, the location can be just about anywhere.

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  12. Hey there Carrie! And welcome to The Romance Dish! I have to say that excerpt left me . . . wanting!!! I really need to get that book so I can be satisfied :-) I love that the absence of your hubby inspired your creativity!

    Personally I enjoy historicals set in locales other than the norm of England, Scotland, Ireland. But, as others have pointed out here, I want the setting to be secondary. I want the love story to be the primary focus, not a history lesson on how some king came to the throne.

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  13. I am really looking forward to the one set in Australia seeing as how that is where I live and it will be very interesting reading about historical Australia.

    Helen, I would love to read a historical set in Australia. I have read a few contemps that were and let's just say I really enjoyed those Aussie hunks ;-)

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  14. I prefer it to be more of a romance than a history lesson

    Exactly!

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  15. Hi ladies! Thanks for having me back. I really appreciate the chance to stop by and chat about SONG OF SEDUCTION.

    @Helen: SHAMELESS, the one to be set in Australia, will probably roll around in early 2012, so we have a little time to wait. I have to get cracking writing it first! But I'm glad to see interest already. Some of my favorite books were Candice Proctor's romances set in Australia, and I'm hoping to continue in that vein.

    @Andrea and Jessice: I'm so glad you liked SCOUNDREL'S KISS! And that the Romance Dish ladies helped introduce my work--even better

    I would love to write/read books set in Russia. One day!

    @Buffie: I think that's the key distinction. For me it's an absolute must that the setting be chosen because it makes sense for the story--not just because it sounds interesting. But then the author really has to work on bringing the romance front and center. It's a fine balance, and I'll admit that I'm still learning!

    To everyone else, thanks so much for stopping by today! I appreciate all of the well wishes and congrats. Let me know if you have any other questions for me.

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  16. Sorry I'm so late getting back, gals! I was away from home all day and my phone wasn't (and still isn't) working.

    Carrie, can you tell us a little about your upcoming series set in South Africa and Australia?

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  17. Helen said: I love historicals set in different places probably because I have never travelled much and most of the books I read give me a feeling for the place they are set it is like having an adventure to another country without leaving the recliner LOL

    I will ditto that, Helen! I've never been anywhere outside the U.S. and would looooooove to visit elsewhere!

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  18. Jessica said: I loved Scoundrel's Kiss, and read it because of the review/intro here.

    Yay! That's good to hear, Jessica! Thanks!

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  19. Melissa, I don't think I've read one set in Greece! It sounds lovely. :)

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  20. Deb said: It is, after all, the romance between the hero and heroine in the story that is important.

    Very well said, Deb!

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  22. @Andrea: My new Victorian series takes places during the 1880s and follows the four Christie siblings. They've just learned from their late father's executor that they won't inherit unless the accomplish specific tasks.

    For example, the heroine of FLAWLESS, the first book, must make a diamond brokerage in South Africa turn a profit. She's paired with her estranged husband--a viscount fond of poker, cognac, and Romantic poets--to make it happen. Here you can read more about it, along with an excerpt.

    The second book follows her younger sister, an opera singer, who's been entrusted with making an Australia vineyard profitable. The master vintner, however, is rather possessive of the property he's worked so hard to cultivate....

    Pocket Books will published these two in early 2012, hopefully with the third and fourth books to follow thereafter. Thanks for your interest!

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  23. Oh, Carrie, I really like the sound of those books!!! Very different. I will surely be buying those when they're released. Thanks for the info!

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  24. So is Song of Seduction not available in book form? I'd like to read it.
    It looks great and as a musician I'm always interested in stories involving musicians!

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  25. @MariElle It's an ebook that will be available in all digital formats as of June 7th. Carina Press is Harlequin's brand new digital-first imprint. Right now they're focused on the June launch and on proving that digital has a place in the romance market, but I think they have plans for print eventually. Of course I'd love to see it in print one day!

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  26. Carrie, I can't wait to read this book! I love how you always take your readers into a different realm. I don't have a kindle so I'm trying to find a version for my laptop. I found this site with your book, would you recommend them? http://www.booksonboard.com/index.php?BODY=viewbook&BOOK=706344

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  27. @Yulia L: If you want a PDF (Adobe Acrobat) version for your computer, then you might try buying direct from CarinaPress.com. They're having 20% off the launch titles this month!

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  28. Hi Carrie, I don't various settings, but what's really drawing me to this book along with that is the musical aspect, love the excerpts I've read so far. Also, a fan of Victorian, so will be keeping an eye out for that series down the road.

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