15 February 2009

Guest Author: Jade Lee

Today's another fabulous author promo day. This week we're featuring USA Today bestseller Jade Lee, a terrific author who's constantly pushing the boundaries regarding the when and where of historical romance. Her latest is THE CONCUBINE, set in 1900 China!

Requirements for being a royal consort:
1) Exemplify purity.
2) Pass all demanding tests.
3) Gracefully withstand petty backstabbing.
4) Be chaste. Very chaste.

Check to all! Chen Ji Yue is on her way to empress superstardom in nineteenth-century China. She only has to vanquish 300 rivals to bring her family great honor. Oh, and she may not find the deliciously sexy Sun Bo Tao--the emperor's best friend--at all delicious. Or sexy.

Damn. Ji Yue is in big trouble. Because Bo Tao is definitely very sexy! And Ji Yue is about to discover that chastity is overrated...

I hear you're helping Harlequin break new ground.

Yup! Harlequin is trying historical romances in their very sexy Blaze line. The first was Hope Tarr's Scottish historical BOUND TO PLEASE. It came out last year. Their second one is mine, THE CONCUBINE, released this month. It's set in the Forbidden City during a real life contest to become Empress in 1852. It was called the Feast of Fertility, and all the eligible (Manchurian) girls were invited to attend. (Hair lips and buck teeth were told to stay home). The girls were then poked, prodded, and inspected for signs of good fortune and fertility. Then the Emperor's mother got a shot at narrowing down the prospects. Finally, the Emperor selected his winners: one Empress, four favored concubines, and then a couple dozen more sorted into two lower sets of harems. Who'd have thought that American television did not invent Who Wants to Marry an Emperor?

Ji Yue, my heroine, is one of the contestants, but the hero couldn't be the Emperor. I didn't want to break with history that much! Plus, there's no tension there. If the Emperor falls in love, he just takes the woman he wants. So I invented the Emperor's best friend, Sun Bo Tao. Unfortunately, I had to really stretch reality there. The Emperor would not have a "whole man" best friend. Every man in the Forbidden City other than the Emperor was a eunuch. But I couldn't face having a cut hero, so I made him anatomically correct and then proceeded to torture the poor guy. He's surrounded by the best and most beautiful women in the land, but he can't have any of them. It's a death sentence to be caught with one of the Emperor's potential wives.

As for my heroine, Ji Yue is bright, politically savvy, and would make a perfect Empress. Too bad the Emperor only wants a walking womb. So she falls in love with Bo Tao, the only man who really sees her strengths, and then they've got a real problem. She's already selected as a concubine which makes her the Emperor's wife. Now what?

There's a ton of sexual tension (and actual sexual encounters), a little violence, and a lot of gripping story (IMO!) I've had a lot of great reviews including one from Dear Author. And readers really seem to respond well to the idea of a Chinese historical! It's exotic, erotic, and the interest in Asian just keeps growing. There's reviews and excerpts at my website.

That sounds really exciting. But you've done historicals set in China before, right? Weren't you up for a RITA?

My tigress series were historical romances set in Shanghai, China between 1898-1900. I wrote about a sect of women called Tigresses who were tantrics. That means they studied sex as a pathway to the divine. Don't laugh. It actually can work, though I've never had a full mystical experience like I describe in my books! Anyway, the series has garnered a ton of awards including Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice, PRISMs, and even a RITA nomination. If people want to start the series, I recommend TEMPTED TIGRESS. It's the most adventure oriented and the most available book in the series. The first book, WHITE TIGRESS, is a lot harder to find, but you can try! Fortunately, all the books stand alone, so readers can flow into it from any part. BURNING TIGRESS is the most fun, IMO. It opens with the heroine accidentally walking in on the hero while he's got acupuncture needles in some very sensitive places!

In fact, here's paragraph three:

What a large penis! That's all that Charlotte could think. Ken Jin had an immense penis. She made a valiant attempt to divert her thoughts. Why, for example, was Ken Jin kneeling half naked on the floor in the middle of the afternoon? Why were three very large needles embedded in the flesh right above his very large organ? And why couldn't she look up into the man's face?
Gawd, I love that opening! Anyway, more excerpts can all be found at my website.

You've got a lot going on. Anything else exciting in the wings? I hear you were at NY Comic Con last weekend.

I was! I've got a fantasy romance series that begins with DRAGONBORN and continues in April with DRAGONBOUND. I love this series. It's got adventure, dragons, and romance. The three things I absolutely adore!

So give. What's the news?

Unofficially--since the paperwork hasn't been signed yet--DRAGONBORN will be adapted to a four-issue comic, and maybe even a graphic novel if the sales are good. But nothing is set in stone yet! News will be coming on my website, so keep looking there for the details!

Anything else you'd like to add?

Just this...FREE BOOK! Someone comment. Ask me a question, talk about how you LOVE multi-cultural romances, something! One lucky person will get a free Jade Lee book! We're draw the winner next Sunday. Good luck!