High Seas Stowaway!

After several days of holiday sloth, I have finally gotten up off the couch where I sat eating peppermint brownies and watching my new Mamma Mia! DVD for days. I turned in my latest book, and put away the Christmas decorations. And now I’m celebrating the release of High Seas Stowaway, the third in my “Renaissance Heroes Trilogy,” by sitting down with my heroine Bianca Simonetti in her island tavern for a mojito and a chat…

“Smell the salt spray, feel the deck beneath your feet, and hoist the Jolly Roger as McCabe takes you on an entertaining, romantic ride!” — RomanticTimes Book Reviews

Amanda: Hola, Bianca! It’s so nice to see you again. It’s been a while! How have you been?

Bianca: Quite well, no thanks to you! I’m fortunate to be here at all after everything you put me through. Tavern brawls, duels on desert islands, shipwrecks, pirates, sex in tiny ship’s cabins…

A: Now, that can’t have been all that bad! The lack of space surely meant more–innovation.

B: Well, aye, maybe that part wasn’t so bad. There are certainly some interesting positions to try in a berth. And it’s amusing to watch my shirtless amor Balthazar climb the rigging!

A: Exactly. The reviewer at RT says you jumped into bed with Balthazar too fast to be plausible.

B: What calumny!

A: Hey, I didn’t say it! What do you think about that?

B: Ha! Have you seen Balthazar?

A: Of course! I invented him, remember? And I do see your point.

B: I was in love with him for years before we met again here in Hispaniola. Every girl in Venice was!

A: You didn’t part well, though, did you? Way back then?

B: That was yet another trial you put me through! Making me fall in love with him, then parting us so cruelly and making me think I hated him. It was his father who was the villain, after all, not him. Want another mojito?

A: Thanks! It’s very yummy, considering they won’t be invented for a few more centuries.

B: I only have the best Santo Domingo rum here in my tavern. It’s why I made such a success of it.

A: So, you came here to open a tavern after you ran away from Venice.

B: After a few detours. I traveled, married, worked, was widowed…

A: But you never forgot Balthazar. Hey, that is not an easy name to say after a mojito!

B: Here, have some more. Nay, I never forgot Balthazar. But you know that, having invented him and everything. He must be your dream man, too.

A: Sure. A lot of Orlando, a little Johnny Depp, a dash of Hugh Jackman. A difficult youth he had to overcome, intelligence, strength, a fiercely protective instinct toward his true love…

B: Plus a great fleet of ships, and his own tropical island! And he certainly knows how to handle that, er, astrolabe.

A: (giggling) Okay, what’s in this drink anyway?

B: Our good Santo Domingo rum, sugar from our mills, lime juice, mint–and this odd bubbling concoction you brought with you.

A: Club soda!

B: It’s wondrous stuff. Want another?

A: Why not? It’s not every day I get to sit down with my own character! I like your velvet gown, by the way.

B: Thank you–we’re doing quite well now that Balthazar has finally settled down!

A: Lucky you!

B: Thanks to you and these HEAs. Where did you find the idea for my tale, anyway?

A: Well, when I first met Balthazar in Marc and Julietta’s story, A Notorious Woman, I knew I wanted to know more about him! He was very young and very angry for a man so handsome and so priviliged. That’s when I found out how much he hated his father’s evil-ness, and how much he wanted to explore the world and make his own fortune. I just didn’t know what kind of woman he needed…

B: Until you met me!

A: Exactly! He needed a woman who would stand up to him, and not melt at his feet like every other lady in the world. A woman he could build a life with. I knew that would be you, despite your, er, rocky beginning with him. Plus I’ve always been fascinated by the early European New World. I wanted to find out more about it, and it seemed the perfect place for Balthazar.

B: And did you visit any island taverns like this one when you were discovering our tale?

A: Sadly, no. No beaches or tiki bars or anything fun like that. But I did visit Jamestown with my friend Diane Gaston, where we toured ships of almost the same design of Balthazar’s Calypso, and so I was able to create the love scenes accurately…

B: Well, I am most grateful for that! Another mojito?

A: I don’t mind if I do! Will you join me?

B: Happily! Salut, signorina. And good fortune for our book!

(That’s not the end of our launch weekend! Join us tomorrow when I share more research tidbits and favorite sources for High Seas Stowaway. I’ll give away a signed copy to one commenter this weekend! HSS is on shelves now, or available at eharlequin.com. Next week I will be at eharlequin with a Talk Like A Pirate-style chat week, be sure and join me there! Or join me January 15–my birthday!–at History Hoydens and Unusual Historicals. Excerpts and research info can be found at my own website, too…)

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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Keira Soleore
13 years ago

First of all, wanted to stop by here to say….

CONGRATULATIONS (dear friend) AMMANDA !!!!!!!!!

I was finally (yeah!) able to buy the Undones and just finished reading your SHIPWRECKED AND SEDUCED. So I’m well-primed and ready for STOWAWAY.

Off to read your blog and get primed more…

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

Ammanda, you and I have a date with that tropical getaway.

You have a sex scene high up on a ship’s rigging?!?!?! And here I thought sex on a camel was a bad deal.

That inspiration for Balthazar is of truly heroic proportions. I’m dying to read what it takes to make a pampered privileged boy prone to sulkiness into an all-round hero. I’m thinking tremendous character growth here.

Are all your vacations targeted with research in mind? Or is it that you choose fun spots to visit and then build stories around them?

Ciao, Bianca. We’ll meet again soon within the pages of a book.

Elena Greene
13 years ago

Thanks for the interview, Bianca! I must search out your story.

Now I am wondering if we have the right ingredients for mojitos at home. Surely 8:42AM isn’t too early for one, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

Maureen
13 years ago

Congratulations on the new book and I enjoyed your interview. Your new book looks exciting and fun.

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

Congratulations on the new book, my dear!! I am so thrilled for you and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I have been dying to read Balthazar’s story since I first “met” him! And after hearing your inspiration(s) for him I have to say the RT reviewer is nuts. Are you kidding me? Who WOULDN’T want to hop in bed with him at the earliest and every opportunity. And I am all for creative sex!

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“You have a sex scene high up on a ship’s rigging?!?!?! And here I thought sex on a camel was a bad deal”

LOL! When I was first reading historical romance, I came across a scene with sex on horseback. I thought that would be much too difficult a proposition. ๐Ÿ™‚ Luckily, there is no actual sex in the rigging–Bianca just watches him, and gets, er, interested. I did have to figure out how to have plausible sex scenes in a tiny cabin without a tall hero constantly smacking his head on the low ceiling. ๐Ÿ™‚

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“Are all your vacations targeted with research in mind? Or is it that you choose fun spots to visit and then build stories around them?”

Hmmm, both I think! I usually write about places I think are interesting and would want to visit anyway, so it all works out. ๐Ÿ™‚ For the Jamestown trip, I had seen a show on the History channel about the reconstruction of those ships, and wanted to visit for the anniversary year, when they just happened to be having an “England in the 1600s” exhibit at their new museum. It’s always more fun to see things like that with other history-minded people, and it’s always fun to see Diane and Deb Marlowe, so it all worked out! We missed the Queen, though, who had just visited a few weeks before…

But sometimes a place does trigger a story idea! When I visited Maui I thought of a “Jane Eyre in Hawaii” type story. And I found Versailles chock-full of inspiration. Does anyone else find places inspiring, too?

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
13 years ago

Congratulations Amanda. I’ve seen the book in the bookstores and its on my TBR list just after I finish reading about Presidential Scandals! I loved Mama Mia and peppermint brownies.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“just after I finish reading about Presidential Scandals!”

Elizabeth, I think that will take at least 50 years! ๐Ÿ™‚

I do love MM and brownies. Unfortunately, the waistband of my jeans does not, so it’s back to yoga with me on Monday. Sigh.

Janet Mullany
13 years ago

Arrrr, my proud beauty, congratulations! I hope it sells like hot pirate buns…

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Hey, I’m so lucky that I saw that berth in the ship so I can really visualize the love scene.

Um…I hope you brought Bianca some peppermint brownies.

Ann Lethbridge
13 years ago

I love stories that are set at sea. Can’t wait to read it.

The interview is fun and intriquing. This lady sounds like someone I really want to meet.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“Um…I hope you brought Bianca some peppermint brownies.”

They go so well with mojitos. ๐Ÿ™‚

Janet, where can we get some of thos hot pirate buns???

Ann, welcome to RR! We’re so glad to “see” you here, we love having fellow Harlequin authors visit ๐Ÿ™‚

Eliza Knight
13 years ago

Congrats on the release, and boy was that a fun interview!!!! I enjoyed every line of it. Your book is on my TBR pile ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy new year!

Virginia
13 years ago

Congrats on your new book. I love pirate books. I really enjoyed your interview and can’t wait to read your new release.

andrea pickens
andrea pickens
13 years ago

Tut, tut, Bianca, you should be MUCH more grateful to Amanda for giving you such a virile leading man. (I mean, I’ll take Orlandoโ€”that is, Balthazarโ€” off you hands if it’s a problem.)

Congrats, Amanda! Having had the pleasure of reading the ms. I can assure everyone that’s it’s a wonderful read. Congrats on launching the new year with such a fabulous book!

sarabelle
13 years ago

Congrats Amanda!!! Wow it sounds amazing I so want to read it.

M.
M.
13 years ago

I love the name Balthazar, and anything that begins or ends (or middles) in Venice. Huzza!

(no need to enter me – my TBR toppleth over…)

janegeorge
13 years ago

Ohmigosh your book sounds so fun. A hot beach and a hotter pirate-y love story, just what I need in January!

michellewillingham
13 years ago

Can I just say a big YUMMO on that cover? What a hottie! ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait to get my very own copy.

Congrats on turning in the new book, btw!

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“A hot beach and a hotter pirate-y love story, just what I need in January”

Sigh–me, too! I’ve had enough of cold and ice. ๐Ÿ™‚ (the book I just turned in was no help–Christmas in 1564 with frozen rivers and snow drifts, LOL)

Andrea, thanks for the advance praise, LOL! And Michelle, you are so right about the cover–it’s just right for the story. ๐Ÿ™‚

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

Salut to you, Amanda! Congrats on the release (mine arrives February 9, packaged with some other Amazon treats).

Nicole
13 years ago

This post has made me wnat to read these books. Must read. eHarlequin, here I come.

Amy S.
13 years ago

Hi Amanda! Your book sounds great and I have been looking for a good pirate read. I’ll be looking for this one. Sounds great!

Stefanie
13 years ago

Oh, I LOOOVE sexy pirates, sigh!
Pirates are sexy, the cover is sexy, the story sounds sexy… Man , that just HAS to be an awsome book!

Congrats Amanda!

Cara King
13 years ago

Love the interview, Amanda! And I got my own copy of your book yesterday — can’t wait to read it!

And a combination of Orlando, Johnny, and Hugh? I wouldn’t wait either! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cara