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Today Carolyn interviews me about Valiant Soldier, Beautiful Enemy, the third and last book of my Three Soldiers series, out this month from Harlequin Historical.

Of course, it would have helped if I had remembered it before this very second, halfway through Sunday!

Read the Reviews!

4.5 Stars “Valiant Soldier, Beautiful Enemy is a beautiful ending to this trilogy….Diane Gaston is truly gifted with her ability to create memorable, realistic characters that remain with us long after the story has been told.” — Debby, Cataromance 

4 1/2 Stars “An insightful and refreshingly realistic romance set in the Napoleonic wars. This is a must read for those who enjoy Regency romances.” — Pauline, Bookaholics Romance Club

I’m giving away one signed copy of Valiant Soldier, Beautiful Enemy (or one download and a signed bookmark) to one lucky commenter, chosen at random! Because I’m late you’ll have until 12 midnight EDT tomorrow to comment.

Thanks so much, Carolyn, for having me here at the Riskies (Wait. I’m one of the Riskies…) Never mind. What shall I talk about?

1. First, tell us about your book.
Valiant Soldier, Beautiful Enemy, like the first two books in the series, begins with the same event during the pillaging of Badajoz that was experienced in different ways by each of the three soldiers. What the heroes of the first two books do not know is that meeting the French woman in Badajoz, was a pivotal moment for fellow soldier, Gabriel Deane. From his first glimpse of Emmaline Mableau during the carnage, Gabe knows he will do anything to keep her safe. When he finds her again in Brussels on the eve of the battle of Waterloo, their torrid affair makes Gabe dream for the first time of a home and a family. But Emmaline rejects his marriage proposal. Emmaline has made a difficult choice – marry Gabriel, the man she loves, or refuse him to help her war-traumatized, English-hating son. She chooses her son and Gabe turns back to the life of a soldier, where he believes he belongs. After the war, though, his regiment is disbanded. He is desperately trying to find another when Emmaline appears again, begging for his help. Will Gabe say yes and risk his heart one more time?

2. What’s the series about and can you tell us about your process for coming up with the idea?
The pivotal idea for the series was that the three British officers all witness one terrible event during Badajoz. That same event changes the course of each officer’s life and gives each story its villain.

I came up with the idea after watching the old Gary Cooper movie, The Lives of a Benghal Lancer. The idea of three soldiers bonding over their war experiences intrigued me.

3. Tell us something surprising or unexpected that you learned while you were researching this book.
I learned all about Cock Fighting! There’s a brief scene with a gamecock fight, so I had to learn all about it. I wrote about it in my Behind the Book article on my website.

I also learned the term “hill farm” to denote a Lancaster sheep farm.

4. What did Gabriel do when he got dumped? Did he 1) cry 2) drink 3) something else? If it’s something else, what was it?
Well, he didn’t cry! He’s a big, strong soldier. He did drink a lot, but not for long. Mostly he just wanted to be a soldier and hack at the enemy. Of course, there weren’t too many opportunities for him to do that after Waterloo.

5. Everyone knows that Risky Megan has this thing for Clive Owen while I am enamored of Arjun Rampal. So, if you were at a romantic spa (pretend you’re not married or otherwise in a committed relationship) and Clive and Arjun are both there and each one wants you to have a healthy smoothie with them (not a group smoothie thing) . . . then there’s this big fight over you with tables flying and fruit all over the place, it’s mayhem with a brief pause for song and dance, who wins the dance competition and what do you do afterward? I think you should probably keep the answer PG.
While these two inferior gentlemen are engaged in fruitless battle, the real man – Gerard Butler – steps in and rescues me. The rest is too PG-13 and R to explain.

6. Where can we go to read an excerpt, buy the book or just find out more?
Valiant Soldier, Beautiful Enemy is in bookstores all month and available online. You can read an excerpt at my website and find links to online vendors.

7. What’s next for you?
One thread I didn’t tie up at the end of the series was what happens to Emmaline’s son, the one who hates all Englishmen, including Gabriel Deane. He gets his own love story, an Undone ebook short story, The Liberation of Miss Finch. After living abroad for a decade, estranged from his mother, Leo Mableau returns to make amends and encounters the young woman for whom he’d had a doomed youthful infatuation. On the eve of her marriage to a man she does not love, she asks Leo to give her one last adventure — an erotic one.  The Liberation of Miss Finch will be available from ebook vendors October 1, 2011.

Don’t forget to comment to win a signed copy of Valiant Soldier, Beautiful Enemy. 
What’s your answer to question number FIVE?
Do you like book series? How many books in a series is ideal? Does anything frustrate you about series?

Most any author you know will complain about not having time enough to write. I am no different, but today, I want to discuss productive ways to procrastinate!

See, if you are being creative–even if you’re not creating right at this very minute–I believe your brain is working on your WIP, or getting you geared up to balance the budget, or help your kids with their homework, or finish that report, or whatever it is your mind needs to concentrate on next. So I present some tried-and-true sure-fire time-wasters, as well as some new ones you might not have known about.

1. Check email. Because someone legitimate might have decided to offer you a million dollars in the last ten seconds.

2. Visit your news site of choice: Mine is the Huffington Post (’cause I’m a Proud Liberal; your causes may vary).

3. Free Rice: This site is a vocabulary test that donates ten grains of rice for every word you get right.

4. Mind Habits: This site provides mind games to “reduce stress and build self-confidence.”

5. Your library, to check how your request list is shaping up (I’m 42nd in line to get 300, Diane!)

6. Go Fug Yourself: Plenty to mock.

7. The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks: If you’re a word and grammar person, this is punctuation porn.

8. Hello Kitty Hell: Just in case you ever think you have a small obsession with your books, check these people out. Even Amanda isn’t this nutty about HK! (Are you, Amanda?)

9. Amazon. You never know when you might see that ohmylord my favorite author has a new book coming out! Must get!

10. Clive, Orlando, Gerard, Jeremy Northam, some nude statue Janet saw, Elena, ‘fess up who’s your secret crush, Sean Bean, Takeshi Kaneshiro, etc., etc. ad abdomen.

So–what’s your favorite way to procrastinate?


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Yesterday, I tried to clean my massively overcrowded apartment. My husband and I just bought a house (which needs loads of renovation, grumble, finances, grumble, rice and beans, grumble), and will be moving in a few months. Meanwhile, my housecleaning skills, never stellar, fell to record lows.

Until even I couldn’t stand it. There was clutter everywhere: papers, books, notebooks, CDs, magazines, more books, FIVE PAIRS OF MY HUSBAND’S SHOES IN THE LIVING ROOM, a few more books, some bookmarks, toys, and more magazines. And a few books.

Never one to shy away from an onerous task, I started going through my books. My father-in-law built me my own bookshelf, ‘specially designed for double-stacked paperbacks (and it comes apart for easy moving!), but I have SO many books they had spilled out onto the floor.

So I got rid of some. Some I had never read, and realized I never would read. Some I had read, and liked, and wanted, but the space issue overcame the acquisitive issue, so they were gone. I found one I had bought twice, so that went. That was an easy one.

I was not able to get rid of books by some good writing friends, even though I will never read those books again–something superstitious (appropriate for today, actually) reared its head in me and made me put them back on the shelves.

My keeper collection is, as keeper collections go, fairly small; my keeper authors include Amanda Quick, Loretta Chase, Mary Balogh, Eloisa James, J.R. Ward and Georgette Heyer; non-romance keeper authors include Barbara Hambly, Lee Child, Ross McDonald, Bernard Cornwell, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Charles Willeford, and Neal Stephenson (the husband counts John Hawkes and Thomas Pynchon among his).

How do you decide what to keep and what to toss? When you toss, where do you put them? Do you have any keeper authors that are outside of your usual reading taste?

PS: Clive is just here to get you to read the boring bits.

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Today (I am writing this on Thursday) has been a rotten, rotten day. Not for any pointable reason, which might make it okay; no, I’ve just meandered around, not getting anything done, and done is how I like things.

I tried to write, but came up with a paltry page of kinda meh words. Not sure if they will survive in the next 24 hours. So rather than gripe (ahem! it’s a change of pace, okay?), I thought I’d make a list of what is, or might be able to, make me happy:

Clive (Thanks to Colleen Gleason for letting me know this was out there).
Friends (see above).
Getting the new Loretta Chase from Amazon.
Having my eyebrows threaded so I don’t look lopsided, or constantly surprised.
Starting a new book while waiting for Loretta Chase to arrive (um . . . not her, precisely, but her book), hopefully one with lots of gratuitous sex scenes.
Spring time might finally be here?
New black socks.
Mortgage rates went down today; we’re in contract for a house, haven’t yet locked in a rate.
I inherited my husband’s old iPod, and spent my subway time listening to Chemical Brothers–gotta get me some of those ‘Block Rockin’ Beats!’
Did I mention we are buying a house? In Brooklyn? NO MORE WHITE RENTAL PAINT!
My friend returned my copy of Persuasion, so I can watch Ciaran Hinds be all remote and hurt until he’s not. Le sigh.

What are your Reasons To Be Cheerful?


*You remember Ian Dury and the Blockheads, right? They also did “Sex And Drugs And Rock’n’Roll” and “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”

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