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Interview with The Amazing, Astounding, and Always Humble Author Carolyn Jewel

Join us in a big Riskies Welcome to author Carolyn Jewel. Her historical romance, Not Wicked Enough, is out now. You should rush out and buy a copy. Also copies for all your friends and neighbors. The dog might like a copy. In fact, you’ll probably need several for the dog. (HOURS when your pet is not chewing on your furniture!)
You’ll be thought of as a hero or heroine for doing this, no costume required! But you could wear one if you want. (Please send pics.)

Q: Tell us about yourself, Carolyn

A: Carolyn Jewel was born on a moonless night. That darkness was seared into her soul and she became an award winning author of historical and paranormal romance. She has a very dusty car and a Master’s degree in English that proves useful at the oddest times. An avid fan of fine chocolate, finer heroines, Bollywood films, and heroism in all forms, she has three cats and a dog. Also a son. One of the cats is his.

Q: Tell us About Your Book

A: When Lily Wellstone heads to the Bitterward Estate to comfort her widowed friend Eugenia, she certainly does not have romance in mind. In fact the playful but level-headed Lily is amused to no end when, en route, a gypsy gifts her with a beautiful medallion, claiming it will ensnare the romantic desires of a stranger.

But Fate has other plans in the form of Eugenia’s ruggedly handsome brother, the Duke of Mountjoy. One day at Bitterward and Lily can’t deny the sizzling attraction between her and the roguish duke. Nothing can come of it, of course. She’s not looking for entanglements and he’s practically engaged. But whether it’s her outgoing nature and the duke’s outlandish ways sparking off one another; or the mysterious gypsy medallion working “magic”—hearts are stirring in the most unexpected and wicked ways…

Q: Are you really Carolyn Jewel? Because I heard she’s shy and never does interviews.

A: Yes, I am Carolyn. You can be assured it’s true because I spell my last name correctly. It’s true I’m shy. Like most writers, I’m hard to spot in the wild unless you know what you’re looking for. I was tricked into coming here.

Q: I beg your pardon?

Oh, come on. Like you don’t know what happens.

Certain people will stand on a corner and say, in a deliberately loud voice, “I HATE this book!” And then they throw a book on the ground. Every writer within a three mile radius will converge on that location to see what book was so despised as to elicit that sort of reaction. At that point, it’s pretty easy to capture an author because they’re an emotional lot and they’re crying and in shock.

A more dangerous tactic is to stand outside a stationer’s or bookstore and yell “Free Moleskines!” As you can imagine, the danger of getting trampled is quite high. Sure, you can capture several authors with this method, but I don’t feel it’s a risk anyone should take.

Q: How were you captured?

A: It was the Moleskine trick. I really need a new one. Mine is almost full. That lady didn’t look like a liar.

Q: Let’s talk about the darkness seared into your soul.

A: It’s contagious.

Q: So. What’s your favorite scene in Not Wicked Enough?

A: It was the moonless night, really. A LOT of authors are born on moonless nights. You’d be surprised. We’re a bit sensitive because of that. I know, I know, everyone’s heard there’s one who was born in the afternoon on a sunny day, but honestly, how likely is that? It’s one of those urban myths. Check your spam. I bet you have a chain email with some sappy story about the writer born on a sunny day (It was NOT Stephen King!). Please, don’t forward it, okay? Anyway, if we’re not born on a moonless night, then it’s a rainy one, which is almost the same thing, or else we grew up in a labyrinth. Sometimes a literal one.

Q: So. What’s your favorite scene in Not Wicked Enough?

A: Why are you asking me to chose? It’s like asking me which of my children I love the best.

Q: Don’t you writer-types kill your darlings?


Q: Well?

A: Is that a Molskine?

hand slapping sound

Q: Back off or I’m tearing a page out of the middle.


What’s your favorite scene in Not Wicked Enough?

A: Fine. I like the scene when Lily takes off all her clothes on a dare. But I’m not saying that’s my favorite.

Q: Did that really happen?

A: I’m a writer. If I say it happened. It happened. In Chapter 17.

Q: Tell us about the series, Reforming the Scoundrels.

A: Not Wicked Enough is the first book in a series that will be loosely linked by a locket reputed to have magical properties, in that it unites the wearer with his or her perfect love. The second book is Not Proper Enough. It’s kind of dirty.

Q: Really? How Dirty?

A: Super dirty. So far. I just turned it in so who knows what stays. Of course, Not Wicked Enough is also dirty. I was telling the truth about Chapter 17.

Q: What’s Next for You?

A: Well, Not Proper Enough will be out in September 2012, that’s the book following Not Wicked Enough.

I’m doing a self-published historical romance anthology with NYT bestselling authors Courtney Milan and Sherry Thomas. The title of the anthology is Midnight Scandals, and it should be out in June or July of this year.

By the end of this month, I should have a My Immortals series novella available (self-published) which is a much expanded version of the short story Future Tense, with the sex scenes restored. I call it Future Tense, the Uncensored Version. It’s totally hot and also kind of dirty. I’m just waiting for some final editing on that.

My next project is a My Immortals novel. It will be about Harsh Marit and in that book I will be channeling my love of Arjun Rampal.

Q: What’s the giveaway?

A: You want me to give away your secret identity?

Q: No. If you do that, you won’t get any more cookies.

A: I’m giving away five copies of Not Wicked Enough with the expectation that the winners will do a review of the book in return. An HONEST review, please. No contract required. Rules are below. I’m happy to gift the digital version, by the way.

Giveaway Rules

Void where prohibited. Must be 18 or older to participate. You must also leave me a way to contact you in your comment or commit to checking back on Thursday to see if you won.

Leave a comment by Midnight Pacific on Wednesday February 8, 2012. It’s more fun if your comment is amusing, but it doesn’t have to be.

International is OK, but I will probably have to send international winners a paper copy.

Please Welcome Brenda Novak to the Riskies!

Carolyn: I want to start out this post by telling all of you what an amazing, nice and wonderful person Brenda is. I’ve been reading her for years and have always enjoyed her books, as I’m sure is true for many of you. But it wasn’t until Brenda and I were roomies at Bouchercon a couple of years ago that I learned she’d started out writing historicals. Even two years ago, when we were at the San Francisco Bouchercon, self-publishing had only just begun to take off. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to track down her historical.
But now? Things are different, and readers and authors are the winners. Not only has she self-published that first historical, she’s released one that had never been published. Until now.
I’ll be giving away a boxed set of Brenda’s historicals to one commenter, so be sure to check the rules and comment!

Read on to find out more about Brenda’s writing, her current and upcoming projects and learn about how you can support her Diabetes Auction.

When I first started out, I wanted to write historicals. They were what I most enjoyed reading. I loved all of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s books (especially Come Love a Stranger), Gone With the Wind, Jane Eyre, Pride And Prejudice, Zemindar, Dear Amber, Rebecca and many others. But I soon learned that I’d set myself a difficult task. No only did I need to learn the craft of writing, I had to become familiar with the time period I’d chosen as a backdrop for my story (Victorian England). Today, the Internet would make such a goal far easier to obtain, but this was nearly twenty years ago. The Internet didn’t have the research materials it offers today. I remember waiting impatiently for my husband to come home from work so he could watch our four children (I now have five) while I hurried to the Sac State Library. There, I’d race the clock to find the information I needed before closing time—and spend a fortune trying to get those pages photocopied before the librarian turned out the lights.

I wrote my very first book, OF NOBLE BIRTH, under such circumstances. When I finished, it was 800 pages long, but I was so proud of reaching The End. Then I found Romance Writers of America, which I needed to be able to figure out how to market my manuscript, and learned that my beloved story wasn’t a romance so much as it was a historical with romantic elements (and as such would be much more difficult to sell). I also learned that it was far too long. So I spent several months crafting it into a true romance while trimming it to a svelte 430 pages and managed to sell it to HarperCollins. I was so over the moon when I receive The Call on August 26, 1998. I thought I had launched my career and was off and running. I had another historical finished and ready to go, and a third halfway complete.

But then Harper merged with Avon and let its romance editors and most of its romance authors go. My first book wasn’t even out yet (it debuted 11/99), and here I was, orphaned. Fortunately, I had also started writing some contemporary novels, which I was able to sell to Harlequin, who has purchased everything I’ve produced since (go Harlequin!). But in the back of my mind, I always wondered if the time I’d spent on the historicals (the second historical, in particular) would be wasted. My career had taken a different path—but would I ever get back to my first love?

The opportunity, when it came, was quite unexpected. With the advent of e-readers, I started hearing about authors who were acquiring the rights to their backlist and self-publishing those titles on Amazon. The rights to OF NOBLE BIRTH had just reverted to me, so I figured I’d do the same. Then I thought of that other manuscript that I had loved so much—HONOR BOUND—and realized that if I revised it and had it professionally edited, I could publish that, too.

New Contemporary Romance series!

OF NOBLE BIRTH hit Amazon in August. HONOR BOUND was published in November. It’s been so great to see these stories reach my fans at last. OF NOBLE BIRTH had been out of print for over a decade. And HONOR BOUND had never before been published. Together with the new series I’m writing for MIRA (a small town contemporary series sent in the fictional town of Whiskey Creek which will be out in the fall), these projects have kept me very busy. To make my life even more complicated, I’m writing a new suspense series, too. And I’m also working on another project. This one doesn’t include dreaming up stories but I’m definitely hoping it will have a happy ending.

Ten years ago, when my youngest son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I wanted to do some fundraising for research, to help him and everyone else in the same situation. I just didn’t how to go about it—or where I’d find the time. I had five kids at home and some very tight book deadlines (Ha! Sounds like now—except that some of the kids have moved out to go to college). Then I attended a silent auction at a local elementary school and realized that I could do a similar event on my Web site, where I could invite the people who visit me there to join with me.

So far, I’ve managed to raise $1.3 million, and the 2012 auction looks as if it might set a new annual record. This fundraiser is a shopper’s paradise with plenty of items to fit every budget, including trips & stays, one-of-a-kind jewelry, paintings, Native American jewelry donated by Mae Nunn, lunch with world famous author Diana Gabaldon (or Suzanne Brockmann!), and much, much more. And that’s not all. For those who are aspiring to become a novelist or to advance their writing career, there are AMAZING opportunities. Many of the most powerful agents and editors in the business have donated evaluations—some with the promise of a 24-hour response (which is unheard of in the publishing industry).

How does it all work? Just like eBay, except this auction is running at Visit that URL to register. The fun begins May 1st and runs throughout the month. When the bidding is over, you can pay with Paypal or credit card. In most instances the donor even picks up the shipping. And the person who places the highest number of bids over all, even if that person doesn’t win a single item, will receive a fabulous prize package including a brand new iMac, Your Name in My Next Book, and an autographed copy of WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES, Book 1 in my new Whiskey Creek series.

Check out the auction, and while you’re at my website, enter to win a romantic beach getaway to the Hilton in Destin, Florida!

What cool items have you won in past charity auctions? Do you prefer on-line shopping to brick & mortar shopping? Do you think this “wave of the future” will eventually overtake traditional fundraising?

Here’s to making a difference!

Brenda Novak


Carolyn again: I’ll start us off with my answers. I have won insanely cool stuff in previous diabetes auctions, and one of them actually, and I am NOT KIDDING, led to a making a friend and to a day or so of fame after a twitter typo that involved Barry Eisler.
I won lunch with author Barry Eisler. It happens he lives in Northern California, though I had to wait a bit since he was in Japan for a while, but when he came back to the States, he came the San Francisco Bay Area RWA chapter meeting and afterward, we had a wonderful and informative lunch. (I had chili. It was good.) We keep in touch to this day. In fact, we recently chatted on the phone about self-publishing and gender, and that was a really, really interesting conversation. If I hadn’t bid on that lunch, I would never have made his acquaintance and I’d be the poorer for it. I know Barry feels the same way, right Barry? (Yes, because he paid for lunch.)
Other items I’ve won include a hand carved wooden chess set, which I bid on as a gift for my son. It’s gorgeous! I’ve also bid on and won some beautiful crystal glasses and a whole series of hand-made Russian items, including an apron that is too lovely to wear.
Do NOT miss out on this auction. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s for a great cause.

Buy Brenda’s Books for Your Kindle

Honor Bound

Of Noble Birth

See a list of all of Brenda’s books on Amazon


I’ll be giving away a boxed set of Brenda’s historicals to a random commenter who answers one or all of Brenda’s questions.

Contest Rules

Must be 18 or older. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Leave your comment by midnight Pacific, April 27, 2012. You must either leave contact information in your comment or commit to checking back to see if you won. The winner will be notified by email (the format: blah AT blah DOT com is fine!). A new winner will be selected if there’s no reply from the winner after two weeks.

Author Elizabeth Hoyt

Today author Elizabeth Hoyt visits the Riskies to share her wisdom and insights with this sedate and proper set of ladies and readers.

We sat down to a virtual tea at which I served delicious petit-fours and my best gunpowder black. Then I asked her a few polite questions and she was gracious enough to answer them.

One lucky commenter will win a copy of her latest release, Wicked Intentions. To get your name in the running, leave a comment in which you answer the question at the end of this post. Yours truly (that would be Risky Carolyn) will choose a winner next Wednesday. You have have until Midnight Pacific Tuesday August 24 to leave a comment!) Void where prohibited.

Before we get to the interview, here’s a bit about Elizabeth Hoyt, let it never be said you weren’t properly introduced! This is a respectable blog.

Miss Hoyt is a New York Times bestselling author of historical romance. She also writes deliciously fun contemporary romance under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in central Illinois with three untrained dogs, two angelic but bickering children, and one long-suffering husband.

And now, A polite Risky Welcome to Elizabeth!

The Interview

Q. Tell me about your book.

A: Back copy:


Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles, London’s most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows the area like the back of her hand—she cares for its children at the foundling home her family established. Now that home is at risk. . .


Caire makes a simple offer–in return for Temperance’s help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will introduce her to high society so that she can find a benefactor for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems, and what begins as a cold bargain soon falls prey to a passion neither can control—and may well destroy them both.

Find out more about Wicked Intentions

(Temperance. I may steal that name for a heroine of mine. Thanks, Elizabeth!)

Q. Your name is Elizabeth. Do you ever wake up thinking you’re QE1 or QE2? Why or why not? Would you want to be? Why or why not?

Dear God, at first I thought you were calling me a CRUISE SHIP. Yes, I think I ought to be QE2 because she’s always color-coordinated and wears such interesting hats. Also, she has a pack of Corgis and I would totally be into a pack of Corgis had I footmen to walk them.

(Oh yes. Without the footmen, what would be the point of anything? But now I’m wondering, do you ever wake up thinking you’re a cruise ship? Because that would be weird.)
Q. What’s a few of your favorite things about writing historicals? Is it the clothes? Exciting history? Gender roles? The cool shoes? Or something else?

Clothes. Definitely the clothes. Big wonking skirts, some of them worn by women. Also, wigs. Why aren’t wigs worn by men anymore? We’ve entered into a very boring time for men’s fashion in general.

And I happen to write during the Age of Enlightenment (which merits Capital Letters) when people were making all sorts of discoveries, both mechanical and mental. Very interesting times!

(Good point there about the wigs. And men’s fashion. I miss the periwig.)

Q. Do you have a favorite scene or line from your current book and would you be willing to share that that is?


Caire took her arm and escorted her roughly out the door. Temperance blinked as he began hauling her back down the passage. As they neared the ballroom, the sound of the crowd inside grew.

She attempted to withdraw her arm from his grasp. “Caire.”

“What the hell were you doing going to a dark room with that ass? Have you no sense?”

She glanced at him. There was a reddened spot on his jaw, and he looked livid. “Your hair has come undone.”

He stopped suddenly, pushing her up against the wall of the passage. “Never go anywhere with a man not of your family.”

She arched her brows up at him. “What about you?”

“Me? I am far, far worse than Sir Henry.” He leaned close, his breath brushing against her cheek. “You ought never to be near me again. You should run right now.”

His bright blue eyes blazed and a muscle in his hard jaw ticked. He was truly a frightening sight.

She stood on tiptoe and brushed her lips against that tic. He jerked and then stood still. She felt the muscle jump once more beneath her mouth and then subside. She slid her lips toward his mouth.

“Temperance,” he growled.

It was strange. Another man had just kissed her on the mouth, but this pressing of lips with Caire was entirely different. His mouth was firm and warm, his lips stubbornly closed against hers. She placed her hands on his wide shoulders for leverage and leaned a little closer. She could smell some kind of exotic spice on his skin—perhaps he’d rubbed it on after shaving—and his mouth tasted of heady wine. She licked the seam of his lips, once, gently.

He groaned.

“Open,” she breathed across his lips, and he did.

She probed delicately, licking the inside of his lips, across his teeth, until she found his tongue. She stroked across it and retreated. He followed her tongue into her mouth, and she suckled him softly, raising her palms to frame his lean cheeks.

Something in her shifted, crumbling apart and re-forming into a new and wonderful shape. She didn’t know what that shape was, but she wanted to keep it. To stay here in this dim hallway and kiss Caire forever.

The murmur of voices came from the far end of the passage, drawing nearer.

Caire lifted his head, looking toward the ballroom.

A door opened and closed and the voices stopped.

He took her hand. “Come.”

“A moment.”

He turned to look at her, one eyebrow raised, but she darted around him. His black velvet tie was nearly out of his hair. Carefully, she unknotted it and combed through the silver strands with her fingers before retying the ribbon.

When she came back around him, he still had that eyebrow cocked. “Satisfied?”

“For now.” She took his arm and he led her back to the ballroom.

(Well, now I have to get my hands on this book. Oh, wait. I bought it last Saturday! Score!)

Carolyn has Wicked Intentions

Q. You have pets at your house. Do they like to help you with the writing? Are there any cute pet pictures or stories you’d like to share?

I have three dogs, in descending size: Max (a black lab mix), Fritz (an orange terrier) and Rue (a rat terrier.) All came from the shelter, so their parentage is in doubt. No, they do not like to help. They like to sit by my side and whine at me to go out, even when they’ve just been out five minutes ago–perhaps the yard has changed in that time.

(Rue is VERY cute!)

For more pics of Elizabeth’s cute doggies, go here.

Q: Best writing moment of your life?

The first time someone recognized me (or rather my name tag) in an elevator and was so excited that she missed her floor.

Q: What’s your favorite type of historical hero? Can be personality, physical attributes or anything.

A guy who thinks he knows everything, but is brought low by the heroine who DOES know everything. Also, guys who aren’t too pretty.

Q: I’ve noticed you tend to be very mean to the heroes of your novels. They often have tortured backgrounds. Why are you so mean?

I’m just a mean person. No! Um. . . well, I think it’s more interesting when the hero has an complicated (read: tortured) background. So many fun things to discover! And also a reason to brood in a dark, manly way.

(Brooding. ::sigh:: Dark and manly. . . . Where were we?)

Q: Anything else you want to share or tell us?

Yes! My next book, NOTORIOUS PLEASURES (out in February 2011–PREORDER!) has a hero who is NOT tortured. My first ever! I initially told my agent he was a bit of a wanker, but she said that perhaps that was not the most heroic description for him. Oh, well.

(Not tortured? A wanker? This I have to read!)

The Comment Question

For a chance to win a copy of Wicked Intentions, answer the following question in the comments:

What men’s fashion do you think should come back into fashion?

Oh. Good question! Go!

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