03 October 2010

Guest Author: Zoe Archer

This week on Excerpt Thursday we're featuring Unusual Historicals contributor and Kensington author ZOE ARCHER as she celebrates the release of the first two books in her Victorian "BLADES OF THE ROSE" series. Last month saw its launch with the Mongolia-set WARRIOR, and the series continues in October with SCOUNDREL, which takes place in Greece. Join us on Sunday when Zoe will be here to answer questions and give away goodies! Here's the blurb for SCOUNDREL:

The Blades of the Rose are sworn to protect the sources of magic in the world. But the work is dangerous--and they can't always protect their own...


London Harcourt's father is bent on subjugating the world's magic to British rule. But since London is a mere female, he hasn't bothered to tell her so. He's said only that he's leading a voyage to the Greek isles. No matter, after a smothering marriage and three years of straitlaced widowhood, London jumps at the opportunity--unfortunately, right into the arms of Bennett Day.


Bennett is a ladies' man, when he's not dodging lethal attacks to protect the powers of the ancients from men like London's father. Sometimes, he's a ladies' man even when he is dodging them. But the minute he sees London he knows she will require his full attention. The woman is lovely, brilliant, and the only known speaker of a dialect of ancient Greek that holds the key to calling down the wrath of the gods. Bennett will be risking his life again--but around London, what really worries him is the danger to his heart...


October is month two of the four-month back-to-back releases of the "Blades of the Rose" series, which means that on October 5, SCOUNDREL will be hitting shelves. But my September release, WARRIOR ("Blades of the Rose" Book One), is still available!

SCOUNDREL received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was also Pick of the Week. PW called SCOUNDREL a "delightful tale of an intelligent, competent woman sharing adventure and romance with a formidable partner...[heroine] London's personal growth paces the adventure story beautifully, and readers will cheer for both the romance and the Blades."

Who are the Blades of the Rose?

The Blades of the Rose make up a secret organization of men and women who follow the four points of the compass to find and protect the world's magic. Blades are explorers, cryptographers, trackers, inventors and adventurers, protectors of the underdog, defenders of freedom--all ever-so-slightly mad. Considering that Blades aren't allowed to use magic that isn't theirs by right or by gift, and that their foes are ruthless men bent on world subjugation, to be a Blade means you're a little bonkers. But that's one reason why I love them.

You say that the Blades travel all over the world to protect magic?

Yes! WARRIOR is set in Outer Mongolia, SCOUNDREL is set in Greece and islands in the Aegean Sea. Then REBEL takes us to the Canadian Rockies, and finally STRANGER is set in England, but not the England most historical readers ever get to see--plus a secret location that I can't reveal yet.

I'm sorry...did you say the BLADES books are historical romances?


And there's magic?

That's right.

Plus adventure? And unusual locations?


Um...I don't think I've ever read a romance like that before.

You probably won't! With the BLADES series, I've tried to create a brand new subgenre that combines rich historical detail, exotic locations, unique magic and a lot of action and adventure. The heroes are sexy and the heroines kick butt in a non-anachronistic way. If readers come away from these books having had a great time, then I'm happy.

Is the hero of SCOUNDREL really that much of a SCOUNDREL?

Oh, Bennett is completely, utterly, totally unrepentant about his scoundrel-ism. But he's not malicious about it. He just really, really loves women. A lot. And they love him. A lot.

So Bennett isn't capable of settling down?

He doesn't think so. Yet I have it on good authority that he's about to meet the one woman he can't live without. Too bad she happens to be the daughter of his most hated enemy...


Readers, who is your favorite scoundrel? Leave a comment or question for the chance to win signed copies of both WARRIOR and SCOUNDREL. The winner will be chosen at random announced on Sunday. Giveaway is limited to readers in the US and Canada. Void where prohibited. We'll draw a winner at random next Sunday. Best of luck!


Lexie said...

hmm my favorite scoundrel...

Actually I've quite fallen in love recently with Cate Tiernan's "Christopher" in her Moorehawke trilogy. He's settled down some in the second book, but he's still got quite a bit of devilry in him that he finds hard put to keep down at times.


azteclady said...

A real historical figure would be Errol Flynn--definitely a scoundrel, but lovable nonetheless.

From TV, Remington Steele as played by a young Pierce Brosnan.

There are more, but I can't say that I have *one* favorite scoundrel, really.

ruth said...

My favorite lover of the ladies is Benjamin Franklin scoundrel or flirt I cannot judge.

Chelsea B. said...

My favorite scoundrel, at the moment at least, would have to be Gregori from Kerrelyn Sparks' Love at Stake searies :-)

Verona St. James said...

My favorite scoundrel? Han Solo, hands down.

I'm very excited to see a book set in Mongolia. More books set there, please! :)

I also have a question: What inspired you to write this series? What sparked the first idea for these books?

M. said...

you had me at 'Mongolia'.

Favorite scoundrel? since Han Solo is already spoken for I'll go with the Jack Colton character in 'Romancing the Stone' on screen, and Rupert in 'Mr. Impossible' on paper.

The series sounds fab and I'm liking the unusual covers

Barbara E. said...

I have a favorite scoundrel right now - he's Neal Caffrey from the TV show White Collar. He's a con man extraordinaire, but has to work with the FBI. The ladies love him and I love him. My long time favorite is of course, Han Solo, can't forget him.

Pamala Knight said...

My favorite scoundrel is a toss up between Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Lisa Kleypas's It Happened One Autumn and The Devil in Winter AND Sebastian Ballister, the Marquess of Dain from Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels.

WAIT, I think I need to add Sir Percy Blakeney from The Scarlet Pimpernel. *Sigh* Needless to say, I'm a sucker for a bad boy.

Scorpio M. said...

Does Harry Braxton from Connie Brockway's, As You Desire count as a scoundrel? Cause I love him to pieces! =)

jenma76 at hotmail dot com

Rosie Hong said...

Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Lisa Kleypas's Devil in Winter is one of my favorite scoundrels too, but I think I have several I can't think of right now. I would love to add Bennett to the list. :P

FredTownWard said...

My favorite scoundrel has to be Mendoza, the navigator, who "will do anything for gold" in the excellent old anime adventure serial "The Mysterious Cities of Gold".

More details are to be found in my review of the DVD boxed set: http://www.amazon.com/review/RFO0N2VSMN0WW, but briefly:

Amongst an army (or several) of brutal treasure hunters, Mendoza stands out for his refusal to harm the children in the apparent belief that if he follows them around long enough and helps them out long enough, eventually they will come to trust him... or at least let something important slip.

The children gradually realize that there is merit in a person who insists on keeping you alive and unharmed even if it is for all the wrong reasons, in hopes that you will eventually become useful to him. It is all fine and dandy to dismiss Mendoza's help amongst Incans who treat you like a national hero, but amongst other "peoples" who would sacrifice you to their gods or dismember you in order to harvest your young and healthy cells, a competently treacherous Spaniard and his two loyal imbeciles (loyal precisely because they realize they ARE imbeciles who'd stand no chance on their own) make a nice ace in the hole. (Mendoza's treachery tour de force, which involves switching sides twice in a single episode, has to be seen to be believed, including the climax when Esteban schools the teacher.)

A remarkably conflicted (and fun) major character for a children's television series, especially one this old.

Maureen said...

This series does sound like something I have never read. My favorite scoundrel is Dain from Lord of Scoundrels.

Zoe Archer said...

I'm loving all these scoundrels, and they bring back tons of great memories. Remington Steele, Jack Colton, of course Han Solo. And I haven't thought of The Mysterious Cities of Gold in years!

Verona: the genesis for the Blades series basically started when I decided to write the kind of romance I had always craved but could never find, which included romances not set in England. Then I went through a "casting" process, looking for places with history, myth and unique scenery--not unlike trying to plan a dream vacation.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Zoe. My favorite scoundrel is Lisa Kleypas' Lord St. Vincent.

Carrie Lofty said...

The winner this week is Pamala! Details here:


Congrats, and thanks to everyone who stopped by!