<i>Back to Before</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Back to Before: Exclusive Excerpt Tracy Solheim "He was grinning now, sexy laugh lines fanning out from his eyes..." <i>Foster Justice</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Foster Justice: Exclusive Excerpt Colleen Shannon "His mind might find her repulsive but his body sure as heck didn’t." Now Win This!: <i>Fifty Shades</i> Poster Now Win This!: Fifty Shades Poster Team H & H You've seen the poster, now here's a chance to have your own! <i>Marked</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Marked: Exclusive Excerpt Rebecca Zanetti "Heat pooled at the apex of her legs, stunning her with need..."
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Showing posts by: Megan Mulry click to see Megan Mulry's profile
Tue
Dec 9 2014 10:45am

Getting Off on the Wrong Foot: Meet-Not-Cutes in Romance Novels from Yates, Neville, and More!

Roulette by Megan Mulry Today we're joined by author Megan Mulry, whose Roulette was released last week. Roulette has a heroine who is struggling to live a normal life, given that she is descended from two very famous parents. And then she meets the hero, a famous man in his own right, and they don't exactly click right away. Megan is here to talk about meet-not-cutes where the hero and heroine have an awkward—or worse—first meeting. Thanks, Megan! 

Some of my favorite love stories have the most horrible beginnings. In fact, the more the characters dislike each other at the start, the more I love it at the finish. My perverse desire to see protagonists who rattle each other’s cages probably goes back to Pride and Prejudice: who could forget the enchanting remarks of Mr. Darcy upon being asked to consider a dance with Eliza Bennet, “I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.” What a charmer!

There are a few things to look for in I-Hate-You Classics, like Sweet Savage Love and Whitney, My Love. First off, despite their titles, there’s not a lot of love until pretty far into the story. In fact, sometimes the declaration doesn’t happen until the very last chapter. In several of my books, I aspire to these levels of protracted frustration, but I usually stumble because, let’s face it, I really really really want my characters to get it together, baby! On the other hand, I always keep in mind one of the tried-and-true elements of the hate classics: hostility does not prevent characters from being wildly and recklessly attracted to each other. In fact, in the I-Hate-You pantheon, the hero and heroine (or hero and hero, or heroine and heroine) usually go right on insulting each other even after they’ve burned the bed a couple of times. As I began my search for some current examples, it turns out I didn’t have to look far!

[Let the hate-fest begin!]

Wed
Feb 19 2014 2:45pm

Writers’ Reality Show: Did She or Didn’t She?

Bound to be a Groom by Megan MulryToday we're joined by Megan Mulry, whose next release, Bound to be a Groom, details a complicated relationship among four people, two men and two women. It's set in 1808, and is “a series of erotic escapades.” Megan is here to discuss the eternal question all romance writers, in particular, get asked: Are you your heroines? Thanks, Megan!

I've become preoccupied with this idea of how authors and their books take on a symbiosis—chicken/egg and all that—and I immediately thought of certain writers who seem to “live” the life they write. Obviously, they’re not shapeshifters or riding around Mayfair in curricles, but they have a way of telling a story that transmits who they are IRL (in real life).

Eloisa James is a Shakespeare professor married to an Italian cavaliere and conveys a wit and elegance in her books that she also projects IRL; Victoria Dahl is whip-smart and bold, exuding a hard-won independence also seen in her heroines. Maya Rodale is married to a tech savvy hottie and lives in New York City, and so does the heroine in her new series of contemporary novels. Shannon Stacey enjoys four-wheeling just as much as the Kowalskis. Miranda Neville simply opens her mouth and I am transported to 1815 Hertfordshire.

[Fact or fiction?...]

Fri
Sep 28 2012 12:00pm
Excerpt

A Royal Pain: New Excerpt

Megan Mulry

A Royal Pain by Megan MulryA life of royalty seems so attractive...until you're invited to live it...

Smart, ambitious, and career driven, Bronte Talbot started following British royalty in the gossip mags only to annoy her intellectual father. But her fascination has turned into a not-so-secret guilty pleasure. When she starts dating a charming British doctoral student, she teases him unmercifully about the latest scandals of his royal countrymen, only to find out—to her horror!!—that she's been having a fling with the nineteenth Duke of Northrop, and now he wants to make her...a duchess?

In spite of her frivolous passion for all things royal, Bronte isn't at all sure she wants the reality. Is becoming royalty every American woman's secret dream, or is it a nightmare of disapproving dowagers, paparazzi, stiff-upper-lip tea parties, and over-the-top hats?

Get a sneak peek of Megan Mulry's A Royal Pain (available November 1, 2012) with an excerpt of the Chapter 1

Chapter 1

A year ago, if you had told Bronte Talbott she was going to quit her job and leave her life in New York for any reason, much less a romantic one, her answer would have been a quick and confident, “Bullshit.” Bronte wasn’t looking for anyone to sweep her off her feet. She didn’t have any absurd ideas about her very own happily ever after. She had worked too hard and loved her job in advertising too much to throw it away for some guy. But that night at David and Willa Osborne’s going-away party had been the beginning of a transformation that left Bronte almost unrecognizable to her former self.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of A Royal Pain...]

Sat
Jul 7 2012 12:30pm

Adding to the Mother Lode List: Gaffney’s To Have and To Hold

To Have and To Hold by Patricia Gaffney“That Reminds Me…”

Just seconds ago, I closed To Have and To Hold by Patricia Gaffney and my fingertips are tingling with the need to dump my brain onto the page. This was one of those books I will put into the shortlist known as The Mother Lode. Certain books seem to unleash me. For me: To Have and To Hold is a Mother Lode book because it is so perfectly itself, but it simultaneously mirrors and refracts and suggests other books, philosophies, ideas. Humanity, I guess. But. Sigh. Okay. I guess I am just going to dive in. Backwards.

On the inside back cover, Patricia Gaffney describes her imaginary village of Wyckerley as “humble imitation of Hardy’s invented Wessex country” and I think Gaffney is being humble in her use of humble. Wyckerley is an homage in the best sense of the word. Gaffney’s love of Hardy comes through beautifully, not as a weak approximation but as a source of inspiration. Lately, I pretty much reserve the use of homage for when I am despairing of something’s authenticity and hope to point out its derivative lack of originality. It’s best said with a mediocre French accent, as in “Some people think that movie is an homage to Kurasawa,” the clear implication being that anyone who thought that is a pretentious idiot.

[Patricia Gaffney gets it right...]

Sat
Dec 3 2011 10:00am

Orgasms: Meeting Supply & Demand in Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation

Working Girl castI have a degree (technically a certificate) from London Business School in corporate finance. I had always been a liberal-artsy English-and-art-history type, and I wanted to dispel my own myths about myself. I didn’t want to rely on a man to translate a financial statement. I didn’t want to get rooked. Or maybe it was a Working Girl motivation: I hoped one day to turn to Harrison Ford and say, “I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?”

But financial fluency is just like any other foreign language: if you don’t use it, you lose it. After 13 years out of the financial world, I can still read a P&L (sort of), but the main thing that has stuck with me? The Bottom Line. It has to balance out. All the crafty accounting in the world isn’t going to get around the basic facts of what goes in, what goes out, and what is left.

And, as usual, money and sex have lots in common.

[Everybody wants more of both!...]

Tue
Nov 29 2011 9:30am

M.J. Scott’s Shadow Kin, aka Little Friend of All the World

Shadow Kin by M.J. ScottWhew! I just turned the last page of Shadow Kin by M.J. Scott and cannot wait to write about it. What a treat! What a surprise! I loved Rudyard Kipling’s Kim in the same way: I thought it was going to be one thing, but it turned out to be so much more.

In the disclaimer department: I have never read Twilight. I have never read anything that would qualify as a contemporary paranormal. I’ve read some Ursula K. Le Guin. J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve read some futuristic dystopian stuff like Hyperion and Neuromancer. But M.J. Scott’s wonderful book was a revelation.

Like most great books, it sort of pales in the summary: “Hired assassin falls for her target. Worlds collide.” Sounds about as original as “Mopey guy goes on a whaling boat for a few months.” Or “British girl thinks guy is really arrogant, then realizes he is wonderful.” Or maybe I thought this book was great because it felt like it was written for me personally, to read at this very moment in my life. Maybe I would have found it less excellent at some other time of my life...but no, I can’t think of any point in my life when this book would have disappointed me. So here goes. The why of it.

[Don’t forget the “how awesome” of it...]

Tue
Nov 8 2011 3:00pm

I Love Henry Higgins; or, the Power of Positive Thinking

Promo shot for My Fair LadyAs romance fans discuss books amongst themselves in Romancelandia, there is a recurring discussion that crops up every few months about whether readers appreciate negative reviews, positive reviews, DNF reviews, don’t-ever-read-this-book-even-if-doing-so-will-postpone-the-apocalypse reviews, etc. I am not here to dissuade you from your opinions on that score. Read what books you choose. Visit the blogs you choose. Hate them. Love them. Have at it. More power to you.

As for me, I tend to talk almost entirely about books I love. It is probably some residual etiquette from my rather conservative upbringing. I can hear the adults of my childhood informing me gently that people don’t really want to hear a litany of complaints, dear. One friend of mine’s dad went so far as to tell us that when people ask, “How are you?” they only want to hear one thing: “I’m great!” (He was in sales.) But the point my girl-power teachers and mentors were trying to make was, if you are dissatisfied with something, you should do something about it, not whine about it. Social change and all that.

[Where does Henry Higgins come in?...]

Fri
Aug 19 2011 4:30pm

Katy Perry, Christine Monson, and Me

Stormfire by Christine MonsonRaising an 11-year-old girl in a rape culture has its challenges. The first time the two of us were driving along and heard Katy Perry sing, “Infect me with your laser, I want to be your victim—” you can imagine my reaction: as Tommy Boy would say, “I wanted to jerk the wheel into a bridge abutment!”

All I could think was, “Great. Another consensual rape lyric.” My daughter nonchalantly informed me that the song wasn’t about rape, it was about alien abduction, duh.

Oh, well. In that case. Sure.

And now—probably because the song’s got a great hook and it makes me want to slap my hands to the beat against the steering wheel while I am stopped at a red light and making googly eyes at the charming air conditioning repair guy smiling at me from the other lane—I love that song.

[It IS pretty addictive...]

Tue
Jul 19 2011 2:00pm

A Single Woman in Possession of a Good Fortune: Why Bother with Marriage?

Four in Hand by Margeret Westhaven“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of...”

Well. Maybe nothing? Of course, there are the countermanding poor-little-rich-girl arguments. But let’s talk about the woman of a certain age. A woman who has arrived. A woman such as Jane Averham, the heroine in Margaret Westhaven’s Four in Hand.

When we meet her at the ripe old age of 34, Jane has suffered through a tedious marriage to a philandering, careless husband, produced two lovely daughters, and attained her widowhood. She worked hard for it, honey. And along comes a young, dashing, smoldering Archibald MacGowan. In a wonderful reversal of the familiar wayward-single-girl-in-need-of-rescuing, Jane wants an affaire du coeur and it is the gentleman who wants the formal, public commitment of marriage.

[Of course, turnabout is always fairplay...right?]

Wed
Jun 22 2011 6:00pm

Vulgar Money Talk

Stacks of Coins by Images_of_Money via Flickr“Ten thousand a year!”

One of my favorite things about Jane Austen (in addition to the language, the plotting, the characters, the conflict resolution—you get the idea) is the money. Austen speaks plainly about money.

To my mind, love and money have a lot in common. The same language applies: you make it, you lose it, you crave it, you manage it, you save it. Both are hard-won. It’s not socially acceptable to talk about either one when you walk into a cocktail party. “So, my husband and I were making love the other day…” or “I just cashed my $5000 paycheck.” Ew. How gauche.

As it turns out, I tend toward gauche. I dislike the roundabout subtlety that most people adopt when discussing love or money. So when an author gets straight to the heart of either topic, I am grateful. Joan Wolf has already been justly praised on this blog for her sharp, witty handling of how perceptions of love and money can establish the bedrock of a relationship (or nearly destroy it). Janet Webb’s analysis of the spine-tingling necklace/whore scene in His Lordship’s Mistress was a delicious reminder of one such fulcrum point.

[Dirty Sexy Money?...]