Posts tagged with: rita nominee

Ruby Release: Scandal in the Night by Elizabeth Essex

Since her 2009 Golden Heart final, Ruby Sister Elizabeth Essex has pretty much been a (Historical) Girl on Fire, publishing six books in two different series, garnering nominations for a Rita and an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, winning the Readers’ Crown for Best Historical of 2013, and piling up heaps of gushing reviews full of words like “dazzling,” “fast-paced,” “sophisticated,” and “smoldering.” As one Romantic Times reviewer put it, “Essex brings a breath of fresh and funny air to the Regency while her stylish writing and intelligent characters appeal to heart and minds. Pure, delicious, sexy pleasure awaits readers.”

All that is certainly true of her latest release, SCANDAL IN THE NIGHT, which I gobbled up in less than a day (not even stopping for chocolate!!) It’s got a fabulous setting, a terrific hero and heroine, and very passionate romance. Here’s the blurb:

scandalAssuming a false identity as a prim and proper governess, the bold and beautiful Cat Rowan thinks she has finally escaped the wild misadventures of her past—and the wickedly handsome spy who seduced her in India. Imagine her surprise when her employer introduces his brother: the very same cad who destroyed her heart!

The Honorable Thomas Jellicoe cannot believe his eyes when he sees his beloved Cat—the Scottish beauty who nearly jeopardized his mission in India. Disguised as a horse trader from the bazaars of the Punjab, the British spy risked his life for one night of passion in her arms. But here and now—breaking all rules of decorum—one heated kiss ignites a flurry of gunfire. For their enemies have followed them home. And love is the greatest danger of all…

It is indeed a delicious read!! Here’s where you can find a copy at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

I had a chance to talk with Elizabeth recently—the first part of our interview follows. The second part will appear on the Dashing Duchesses blog on July 8.


Ruby Release Party: Elizabeth Essex’s ALMOST A SCANDAL

Woot!! Today we’re celebrating the release of Ruby Sister Elizabeth Essex’s FOURTH historical romance, the follow-up to her Rita-nominated THE DANGER OF DESIRE.

The new book, ALMOST A SCANDAL, is the first in the Reckless Brides series, (which will include A BREATH OF SCANDAL, due out on December 24, and SCANDAL IN THE NIGHT.)

Here’s a blurb:

Bold, brazen, and beautiful, the Reckless Brides refuse to play by society’s rules of courtship. But—come hell or high water—they always get their man…

For generations, the Kents have served proudly with the British Royal Navy. So when her younger brother refuses to report for duty, Sally Kent slips into a uniform and takes his place—at least until he comes to his senses. Boldly climbing aboard the Audacious, Sally is as able-bodied as any sailor there. But one man is making her feel tantalizingly aware of the full-bodied woman beneath her navy blues…

Dedicated to his ship, sworn to his duty—and distractingly gorgeous—Lieutenant David Colyear sees through Sally’s charade, and he’s furious. But he must admit she’s the best midshipman on board—and a woman who tempts him like no other. With his own secrets to hide and his career at stake, Col agrees to keep her on. But can the passion they hide survive the perils of a battle at sea? Soon, their love and devotion will be put to the test…

I was lucky enough to get to read an ARC of ALMOST A SCANDAL, and I can tell you it’s FABULOUS!!! Some of you may know I’m a huge fan of Patrick O’Brian’s seafaring novels (the Aubrey / Maturin books that start with Master and Commander). This book is like a Patrick O’Brian novel but with the romance front and center (and very hot sex)!

And it’s a very, very swoony romance. I truly loved both the main characters—they’re smart, daring, brave, loyal—and the passion between them is intense. There’s a moment when all they do is touch hands, and I was practically weeping.

You can grab your own copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or any savvy bookseller near you.

You can learn more about Elizabeth and her other books at And here’s a picture of her signing books at the RWA Nationals Literacy Signing. 

At Nationals, I was also lucky enough to nab Elizabeth for an hour (I lured her with the promise of a barrel of grog), and we got to talk about her new book, her writing process, and her smart advice for aspiring writers.


Both the hero and heroine in the book truly love the British Royal Navy and are most at home at sea. Where did you learn so much about the seafaring life, and where did this story come from?

I’m totally absolutely in love with the navy. I grew up sailing in New England on windjammers (schooners). I love the sound of the wind in a sail. I love the connection to that world.

I think that was part of what led me to my first career, as a nautical archeologist (that’s someone who studies shipwrecks and the environment around shipwrecks). It was a scientific job; I wrote reports about load-bearing walls and technical things like that. But

to me, the experience was always something deeper about the ship and the people that sailed her. I’d constantly invent stories about the people, the real people who lived and died—and especially died (it’s a shipwreck, there’s no happy ending here)—on board ships.

It’s a world I love. I swear like a sailor, beause I was one. The men I worked with called me the Gangster Bitch of Nautical Archeology, and I called them the Gung-Ho Macho Stupids. I’d tell them they had to butch up. It was mostly boys because that was the nature of the beast.

When I made the transition out of being an active archeologist, I chose the Georgian era because it had the most action with the Royal Navy. And the men were dashing…please, Captain Wentworth.

 I had a lot of fun with this book because it was so in my wheelhouse. I’ve been wanting to write it for a long time, and was told it was a hard sell because it’s set in an entirely male world. My publisher was also concerned whether or not it would be authentic. They told me, “You really have to convince us you can make this work.” I also had to promise it would be so, so sexy.

Sexy it definitely is!! And the world it describes is dynamic and fascinating. I loved that the heroine wasn’t just hiding out as a boy midshipman—she was excelling as a boy midshipman because she’d grown up on her father’s ship and had helped her older brothers study for their lieutenantcy exams.

 Oh, good! I really liked the equality, and the fact that my hero and heroine come to each other from a place of competence. She couldn’t have pulled off impersonating her brother if she didn’t come in knowing what she was doing. I think that’s really important in a romance. I’m not always comfortable if the romance is about a power transition between the couples. I prefer to write people striving to be equals.

About the time you finaled in the Golden Heart in 2009 (making you a Ruby!!), you sold your Golden Heart book in a three-book deal to Kensington. Now you’re a Rita Finalist, and your second trilogy is coming out. That’s astonishing progress in just a bit more than three years! And amazing productivity. What’s your writing process like?

 It changes from work to work. There have been books—the Rita book—that came out of nowhere like a freight train. It was like butter. It just wrote itself. The character showed up talking, I could hear her. I never had to think about her backstory—I knew it.

It hasn’t been that way since, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t written a better book since then. The book coming out now was more of a struggle. Last RWA Nationals, I holed up in my room and wrote the book. It wasn’t flowing. But I stuck at it and kept attacking, asking, “How do I make this better?” I did an immersion class with Margie Lawson, and she kept saying, “This isn’t the start of the book.” I spent a week on three pages, and had to throw those out. And then I found the start, and it went like gangbusters…

The book I’ve written in the meantime had me clawing my way through the first draft. I put it aside, and then all of a sudden I knew what I needed to do to change the book: it was a total re-write, but it worked.

It’s like building a wall sometimes: you see only the bricks you’re shoving. They’re so heavy. I feel it’s called a craft for a reason because you have to do it bit by bit, word by word—those are the bricks. Dialogue, introspection, reaction, action, that’s the mortar.

I’ve learned to trust my voice, because I haven’t written any of my books the same way. I do what the book needs. I don’t do much else. I’m a slow writer, and real life publishing schedules now are damn fast. You get up to speed or you don’t get to market.

I got it done.

What’s your best advice for aspiring writers?

There are days when it’s poetry. There are days when it’s bricklaying.

There are things about my debut book now that I look back at and cringe, but all you can do ever is write your best book at the time. Holding on to it in the hopes that it’s going to be perfect belays the point. You’re not selling anything if you’re holding on to that story and not putting it out.

Trust your voice. Fear is a good thing—let it be a motivator. I’m right to be afraid; it’s going to keep the fire in the belly. I work on craft all the time, every single sentence.

No excuses.

But it’s also fun. Definitely. It’s so fun!!

Leave a comment or question for Liz today and be entered in a random drawing to win one of THREE copies of ALMOST A SCANDAL!!! (Oh, you want this book…believe me!!!)

Reading the Ritas

I’m on a quest. A Rita reading quest.

I love having someone to root for (the Super Bowl just isn’t any fun unless you’re woohooing at the TV and teaching your nephews how to do the wave on your couch) and so, in the interest of being a proper romance fan, this year I vowed to read as many of the Rita nominated books as I (reasonably) could before the ceremony in June.  (I’ll be the one bouncing in my chair saying “Oooh, I loved that book!” as the winners are announced.)

I won’t be able to read them all (sadly).  My favorite categories (Regency, Paranormal, Contemporary, YA & Historical) are keeping me busy enough it’s unlikely I’ll have time to branch out, but it’s so fascinating to see what is up for romance’s highest honor and what  trends may be developing.

Guest Author Elisabeth Naughton

Welcome to guest author Elisabeth Naughton

A previous junior-high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full time from her home in western Oregon where she lives with her husband and three children. Her debut release, Stolen Fury, heralded by Publisher’s Weekly as “A rock-solid debut,” was recently nominated for two prestigious RITA® awards by Romance Writers of America in the Best First Book category and the Best Romantic Suspense category. When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ball park or dreaming up new and exciting adventures.

Guest Author – Elisabeth Naughton

Elisabeth_NaughtonThanks so much to the Ruby Slippered Sisters for having me here today! For those of you who don’t know me, I write romantic adventure and paranormal novels and was a 2007 GH finalist in RS. My GH finaling manuscript – STOLEN FURY – went on to sell in 2008 and was released just a year ago in January 2009. Since then I’ve had three books release and have two more scheduled later this year.

The Latest Comments

  • Darynda Jones: I love this! I learned this fairly early as well. I also learned that sometimes I just have too many...
  • Heather McCollum: Thanks, Jenn! I forgot that you are also a free lance editor! Do you do both developmental and line...
  • Jennifer Bray-Weber: Very sound advice, Heather. I have done the same technique and often recommended it to some of...
  • Darynda Jones: Bwahahaha! I was so wondering where that was going! Did NOT see that coming. Great job, Evelyn!
  • April Mitchell: Congratulations Bonnie!