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Here’s a follow-up on last week’s post on Sexy Voices. Thanks everyone for your suggestions which sent me on a fun and inspiring search through Youtube! My apologies for not including every suggestion here.

Beth Elliott recommended baritone Ildebrando d’Arcangelo. What a gorgeous voice and he doesn’t hurt the eyes, either! Here he is performing the seductive “La ci darem la mano” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

I don’t know what possessed me not to have featured Alan Rickman last week. He could read poetry to me any day. Turn up the volume for maximum enjoyment!

Any Regency hot voice collection has to include Sean Bean. Here he is narrating the beginning of a clip of the poignant “Over the Hills and Far Away”.

Finally, I must include Gerard Butler, for his own artistic merit and also so Diane doesn’t cut my acquaintance!



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?

Last Friday Nov 13 was (gasp!) Gerard Butler’s 40th birthday. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you’ll know I’m a card-carrying Gerry Butler fan. My first reaction to news that he turned 40 was, “Gee, he’s getting old.”

I came late to being a Gerard Butler fan, only catching The Phantom Of the Opera on cable about two years after it was released. Read here (scroll down) to see my reaction. I quickly went on to see Dear Frankie, Timeline, even Dracula 2000.

Gerry’s film debut was in Mrs. Brown, playing Billy Connolly’s younger brother. The role was small but memorable, perhaps because Gerry and Billy ran naked into the sea.

I think lots of women became fans after the movie Timeline. In that movie Gerry played a major role as archeologist, Andre Marek. Or from the TV miniseries, Attila the Hun. It was Phantom of the Opera, though, that really brought in fans in droves. Fan websites sprang up and Gerard Butler conventions were planned. These have become a fairly regular occurance, including a birthday bash this year in Glasgow. Through the conventions and other events Gerry’s fans have raised over a quarter of a million dollars for charity. (See the convention I attended here)

But, still, Gerry did not really achieve star status until the movie 300, where playing the Spartan, Leonidis, he showed himself to be a fine figure of a man. That was in 2006 when he was only 37. Somehow 37 doesn’t sound nearly as old as 40.

This year Gerry appeared in three movies: The Ugly Truth, Gamer, and, just out, Law Abiding Citizen. Already in the works is the much anticipated movie Burns (tying this in to our time period–or fairly close to it), in which Gerry will play Robert Burns. It is a real labor of love to make this movie of the national poet of Scotland. One wonders, though, will he be too old for the role? Burns only lived to age 37.

All this got me wondering. Is 40 to old to be a romantic hero–in our books, I mean. I know Janet’s Dedication featured an older hero, and my favorite Georgette Heyer hero, Demerel from Venetia, was older. But the heroes I write about are usually in their 30s, and most I read about are about the same age.

So, my questions are: What age is too young to be a hero? What age is too old? What age is your favorite for a hero? And the big question, is Gerard Butler now too old?

(p.s. I’m still a card-carrying Gerard Butler fan and always will be. He’s my favorite actor, an awesome actor, even if he is 40!)

******* All photos courtesy of GerardButlerDotNet, the officially non-official fan website

Check my website for new stuff and my ongoing contest.

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My beeyoutiful Pink laptop is on the fritz. No documents lost, thank heaven, but it is doing very weird things with my browsers and anything to do with the internet. So I’m working on my old stand-by, the $400 Acer the pink laptop replaced. This Acer just keeps on ticking! My husband (a computer guy) has been working on the pink laptop all weekend.

So I got to wondering what the Regency equivalent to a broken laptop would be. A heroine who could not write a note, perhaps?

Here’s my scenerio. My heroine is out in the country. There is no time to go to the village for supplies. She must must write a note to the hero, lest he put himself in grave danger, but she’s run out of ink. What would she do?

Or she’s run out of writing paper. Where would she get paper on which to write her note?

Or all her quill pens are useless. What would she do?

I’m not solving this problem (although I have a few ideas how to do it). What do you think my heroine should do? Waste time on a Monday. Your ideas can be reasonable or fanciful.

Here for your viewing pleasure is Gerard Butler (since Megan left him to me!). He stars in Law Abiding Citizen, opening in theatres Oct 18.

My Riskies Anniversary prize, a DVD of the documentary 1815 The Battle of Waterloo (still in its shrink wrap) will be announced late tonight. Chosen from all my commenters of the month.

Thanks for supporting Risky Regencies!!

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You all know I’m a Gerard Butler fan. On Saturday, my friend Patty and I attended the Gerard Butler Charity Convention held in Alexandria, Virginia. For two days Gerry’s fans gathered together, first to view his new movie, Nim’s Island, which opened on Friday; on Saturday to view the award-winning documentary, Wrath of Gods (the director attended the convention), about the making of the movie Beowulf & Grendel, learn Scottish dancing and Scottish customs, learn about making videos, signatures and avatars. Patty and I missed all that, but we did attend the main event, the banquet dinner and raffle. (To see why Patty and I would do such a silly thing like attend a Gerard Butler convention go here and scroll down to Better Late Than Never or the Joys of a Dark Hero)

The raffle was HUGE. The photo shows part of the listings, but there were 8 pages of items and baskets. Lots of movie related items were signed by Gerry especially for the convention, including a huge Phantom of the Opera poster signed by all the cast. The baskets each represented one of his movies. There were books upon which his movies were based, signed by the authors. All the items were donated and all the proceeds will go to Kids Kicking Cancer. Next week I’ll tell you how much money they raised. It’s going to be in the thousands, wait and see.

I put all my raffle tickets in the “300 Lunch Box” bag and won two of them! (I gave one to Patty) Shown here is the lunch box and some of the other things from the conference.

Here is a cel from 300 that was in the lunch box. It shows the Oracle girl. There was also a 300 tote bag and some magnets.

At the banquet we were shown fan videos, incredible works on the theme of the Timeline of Gerry’s career. There was a video compilation of Gerry with his fans from all over the world. (All these videos were done by fans) There was an award-winning celtic fiddler to entertain and a DJ and dancing rivaling anything you’d see at Romantic Times or Harlequin’s RWA parties.

What has any of this frivolity to do with us here at Risky Regencies?

The GB fans are a community, like we are here. They are tied together by admiration and affection for an actor, but, then, we are tied by our love of the Regency, of books, of writing. They share their troubles and triumphs like we do.

The ladies who shared our table have been friends for years. One of them battled cancer and, against the odds, beat it. The friends decided then to seize life and enjoy it together. Attending this convention–and the one in Colorado–and the one in Scotland–gave them a reason to get together. Their connection is strong and how they express it–by attending Gerard Butler conventions–is almost irrelevant.

The connections among all 272 convention attendees was a beautiful thing to see.
And our connections here at Risky Regencies are just as beautiful.

Okay….fess up. Who here is a Gerry fan? Lois, of course!! Who else?
Who has seen Nim’s Island and what did you think of it?

(PS I love all of you!)

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