Monday, October 7, 2013

Come celebrate at the RELEASE Party for Victoria Vane, historical romance author!


     Welcome! Oh my gosh! Come join in the fun. Watch the balloon streamers hanging from the ceiling. The crowd is in full swing, the music is great, and the bartender is busy! Victoria is signing autographs at the table over in the corner. Good luck, the line is long but she's getting to everyone so do be patient! Grab a drink so you don't get thirsty while waiting in line.
     We're having a blast this week as we celebrate the newest historical romance release by the elegant Victoria Vane. I had the honor of talking with her before we started because I knew once we got underway, her fans would keep her busy. Here's the interview to read as you wait to chat with Victoria. Be sure to leave a comment to get in on her contest!
Deanna:  Victoria, thank you for hanging out with my readers this week. Tell us a bit about yourself. 
Victoria:  Although pretty normal looking on the outside, I am a bit quirky on the inside. The normal things: I am forty nine years old and married for thirty years to a wonderful man. I have two perfectly normal and well-adjusted sons aged eighteen and twenty-one. The not-so-normal things:  I am an insomniac, am claustrophobic, acrophobic, and have a very strong aversion to pigs and clowns. 
Deanna:  *laughing* Okay, that’s quite a list! What do you do to relax? 
Victoria:  Reading (when I have time). I also ride my horse and play the Celtic harp. 
Deanna:  As authors, we’ve sometimes been accused of being several people. How many personalities live in your mind? 
Victoria:  Lordy, at least 100 by now, but it grows every time I create a new character. They are all a piece of me- the good, the bad and the ugly! 
Deanna: What type of hero do you like best? 
Victoria:  Strong and self-assured, but not domineering (Ahmed Ben Hassan being the exception to this rule). I like my heroes to be unconventional, unpredictable and multi-faceted. I also adore flaws. Unpredictable. 
Deanna:  How many plots do you include in one of your books? 
Victoria:  I generally have at least one sub plot but I don't keep track. I also don't "plot". My stories unfold as I write them. I usually have a handle on my main characters, a beginning and an end(sort of). The rest just happens. (Magic. LOL!) 
Deanna:  I can relate to that kind of writing…I write like that, too.  We’re lucky that our characters talk to us. Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer. 
Victoria:  How about a typical night? (Insomniac – remember?) I do errands during the day and maybe some promo stuff (a necessary evil). I try to focus on writing after my family has had dinner and then generally stay up until about 2AM. 
Deanna:  I’m a night owl also. (I’ve tried taking more magnesium and that seems to have helped) Do your books have a common theme or are they all different? 
Victoria:  The only commonality with my first ten books was a Georgian setting: 
     I began my writing career with The Highest Stakes, a work of historical fiction set in the world of 18th century horseracing. I followed that book with Fortune's Son, part prequel and part sequel but set in the gaming world. These were both written under the pseudonym Emery Lee. Shortly after that, I began writing steamy historical as Victoria Vane. My debut erotic romance was a fun and frothy novella called A Breach of Promise that was very well-received with a number of award nominations. The Devil DeVere series came next which runs the gamut from the riotous romantic comedy (A Wild Night's Bride) to intensely erotic with a murder mystery (The Devil You Know).While connected by key characters, all of the stories in the series are very different.   
      Treacherous Temptations, inspired by Dangerous Liaisons, even has a bit of a gothic twist. 
     The Sheik Retold is my eleventh published title but my first departure from the 18th century.  I absolutely ADORED the experience of venturing into French Algeria in 1920. I hope the reader will share my enthusiasm. 
Deanna: Why did you re-write The Sheik? 
Victoria:  E.M. Hull's  The Sheik  had been on my reading list for years, but it was only about six months ago, in discovering it free on Amazon, that I decided to finally read this highly controversial romance classic. I finished it with extremely conflicted emotions. I loved some aspects of the book and was appalled by others. The characters and setting captivated my imagination, and I loved the beautiful descriptive prose, but the pace was plodding and the writing repetitive. What bothered me most, however, was the "forced seduction" scenario, and the premise that the heroine would fall in love with a man who repetitively rapes her. I could not relate to this at all. Moreover, the author did not stay true to her own characters. Diana begins as a strong and independent woman but by chapter three she seemed another person altogether- whiny and whimpering. I could not respect her. She also falls for the hero far too abruptly to be believable. Although it fell short for me in so many ways, E.M. Hull's The Sheik nevertheless, haunted me. I kept envisioning the book that could have been and the way that I wished it had played out. When my mind began conjuring the scenes and dialogue I knew I had to re-write the story my way. 
Deanna: What changes did you make to the story? 
Victoria: While I loved the characters and basic plot, of The Sheik, I knew I needed to put my own stamp on The Sheik Retold. My version of the story is told from Diana Mayo's POV. Although I begin and end very differently, The Sheik Retold follows the same basic plot as the original story (condensed to improve pace). I also endeavoured to close s few plot holes from the original. I gave Diana's would be fiancé a slightly larger role in the story and made her brother more of a villain which also served to justify Ahmed's kidnapping plot to some degree.
     The biggest change I made was to Diana herself. My version of the character stays true to her strong-willed and independent nature right to the end. Although she is a captive and knows her submission is inevitable, there are a number of twists. Time after time, Diana meets Ahmed toe-to-toe. As their relationship develops it is almost as much on her terms as on his. 
Deanna: Victoria, it's been an honor to have you visit with us this week! Readers, thank you for stopping by and please leave a comment of your fantasy getaway for Victoria to be included in her contest. 
EXCERPT #1:
     Restless, I moved about the tent, listlessly examining objects that I already knew by heart, and flirting over the pages of some French magazines. I should have been elated at his unexpected absence, yet in my perversity, I was strangely unstrung with anticipation of his return. Now the utter silence only oppressed me. 
    Where was Gaston? Even the servant's company would be preferable to my own. I guessed he must have gone with his master or perhaps he was long retired. I went to the flap of the tent and gazed out into the night. The camp, large and spread out was covered mostly in a blanket of blackness, broken by the occasional glimmer of a sparking fire. 
      I had dreamt for years of this experience, of a month spent in the desert and now here I was. I had longed for adventure. It is what I had sought, so why could I not turn this tragedy to my advantage? I had food and shelter that was far superior to any I could have provided for myself. And I was surrounded by hundreds of armed men. Whether I viewed them as my captors or my protectors was only a matter of perception—a matter of choice. 
     I knew I was safe. I had seen the depths of deference, the authority of the Sheik's command. Any man outside of himself who dared to touch me would suffer death. Of that I had no doubt. The only thing stopping me from enjoying my adventure in this vast oasis and my freedom in the Sheik's camp, was my own desperate desire to cling to a state of chastity I truly cared nothing about. It was only my pride that stood in the way of my pleasure, and my refusal to allow him to take it from me. 
     I chewed my lip as I gazed up upon the stars glimmering in the heaven like countless brilliant diamonds shimmering against a backdrop of black velvet. I wondered if in the great scheme of things, my pride was a bit over-rated. 
     This entire evening I had bucked with resentment against the pretense that I was a willing guest here, but had I met this same Sheik in Biskrah, in more conventional circumstances, if I had only been properly introduced, would I not have willing, even gratefully accepted an invitation to his camp? Only a week ago I would have jumped at the chance. What now prevented me from embracing that role? From enjoying that status— for as long as I had planned? I smiled to myself. Yes, it was all just a matter of perception—except for the bartering of my body— the Sheik's expectation in return for his hospitality. 
        My smiled dimmed. 
        I could enjoy my month of holiday as planned, as long as I would willing serve his needs—and all that implied— in his bed.
* * *
     This excerpt segues nicely into the last chance I made to the story. The Sheik although largely implied was very much about a woman's sexual awakening. To do that justice, I have thrown the bedroom door wide open. The romantic relationship between Diana and Ahmed is intense and very, very HOT. 
EXCERPT #2: 
     He chuckled lowly, a smug and self-satisfied sound. "Say it now, ma chère," he softly demanded. "Tell me you want this above all things. Tell me you want me."
     I did. Desperately, but it was only the fleeting lust of the flesh that I craved—not him. Never him. "You have forced this upon me," I hissed in a rage of frustration. "This means nothing—proves nothing." 
     "As you will….I can be a patient man— when I choose to be." 
     His weight shifted away from me, and then it was gone from the bed. He removed the blindfold and then gave a single tug on the silk cord binding me to the bed. My arms instantly released from above my head, and then just as suddenly, he freed my legs. I instantly scrambled to my knees, dragging the silken coverings up around me as if their thin shelter were a protection. "Are you finished with me now?" I asked breathlessly. 
     "Finished?" His expression was mixed mockery and mirth. "Par bleu! I have hardly even begun, but for now, I shall leave you in peace." He strode to the curtained doorway only to turn back to me with a sardonic bow. "Bonne nuit et doux rêves, ma chérie." 
     He had left me alone. Alone in a state of dazed bewilderment and intense sexual frustration—for I knew damned well what I was feeling— and it made me want to screech and claw and rail. 
    The man was a mystery, an unfathomable enigma. My mind could not reconcile his barbaric ways with the evidence of his education and refinement. I had noticed a dozen incongruities in him—his cultured speech, the well-worn books in the tent, the elegant and fastidious order of his appointments. His cruel words and contradictory tender touch crowded my recollection until my head reeled, yet I was too tired to puzzle it out, too spent in mind and body. 
     I did not know what would come on the morrow but gave in to my exhaustion and sank into a cocoon of covers. In the course of a single day, my entire being had irrevocably changed. At long last, and with the greatest possible resistance, I was learning obedience and humility—at the hands of this incomprehensible savage.


CONTEST: For a chance to win a digital copy of A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE tell us your fantasy trip. Since Diana fantasized about a trek into the desert, what’s YOUR fantasy trip? The most romantic or exotic place you can imagine just may make you a winner.
ABOUT VICTORIA VANE:
       Rakes and Sheiks and Cowboys... Oh My! 
     Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist, cowboy addict and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. 
     Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog. Look for Victoria's sexy new contemporary cowboy series coming from Sourcebooks in summer 2014.