Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blog Tour: Guest Post & Giveaway with Ashley March, Author of Romancing the Countess

Welcome to the Blog Tour...
Ashley March is funny, witty and fabulous! I first heard of Ashley right before her First Annual March Madness Blog Party. To my surprise (after stalking her website) I had actually read her first book SEDUCING THE DUCHESS and didn't know it was her (sorry Ashley!). On September 6th, she'll be releasing her second book: ROMANCING THE COUNTESS. So without further ado, please give a great big Texas "HOWDY" to my fellow Texan (she lives in Colorado now):


Meet Ashley:
I was born and raised in East Texas, moved to Colorado after getting married eight years ago, and have been craving snow-free winters ever since. I have a husband who just keeps getting better and better over time and two beautiful daughters. I write contemporary and historical romances, I have two amazing critique partners, an awesome publisher (NAL), an absolutely fantastic agent (Sara Megibow of the Nelson Literary Agency) and, as can be seen above, a slight problem with using too many adjectives.
Life is simply…fantastic.

Not Your Typical Romance by Ashley March
The Oxford online dictionary's definitions of the word romance are: "a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love”; “love, especially when sentimental or idealized”; “an exciting, enjoyable love affair, especially one that is serious or not long-lasting." Each of these definitions above seems to imply that romance is something temporary, a passion that may fade over time.

In contrast, the definition of love is: "an intense feeling of deep affection." I see this as meaning that love is something far more permanent and abiding than romance. While we as readers understand that romance novels involve happily-ever-afters and that our heroes and heroines do not experience a romance that is temporary or superficial, I point out these differences in the definitions of romance and love to help explain the relationship of my hero and heroine in my upcoming Victorian historical romance, Romancing the Countess.

The book itself isn't your typical romance. Sebastian and Leah, my hero and heroine, come together only because their spouses--who were having an affair--die in a carriage accident. Obviously this isn't going to be a laugh-out-loud kind of book. Both characters have to deal with their anger and grief as they try to move forward with their lives. They only interact when Leah's method of moving forward with her life conflicts with Sebastian's attempt to keep their spouses' affair a secret.

It's also not typical because both Leah and Sebastian loved their spouses. Often in romance novels we read about characters who may have had previous partners, but it always turns out that those partners were villainous or not worthy of their love. This isn't the case for either Leah or Sebastian. Leah loved her husband. Sebastian loved his wife. Though they learned of the affair at different times and in different ways, both were shocked to know that the person they loved betrayed them. To Sebastian it is a double blow, because Leah's husband was his best friend.

Knowing that both characters loved their spouses and yes, that their spouses at one time loved them in return, the question becomes: How do we know the love between Leah and Sebastian will last? What makes their love story different?

The answer? If we look again at the definitions of romance and love at the beginning of this post, it becomes obvious that the relationship with their previous spouses was more of a romance. Though they loved them and were loved in return, it wasn't something deep and abiding between them, rooted in their souls. Each of their love stories began with a physical attraction, as opposed to the relationship between Leah and Sebastian, where neither found the other sexually attractive at the beginning. How could they? They were angry or grieving over the deaths of their spouses.

In Romancing the Countess, the love between Leah and Sebastian grows gradually as they get to know one another, as they see each other in the context of the secret of their spouses' affair. The mutual enjoyment of each other's company followed by physical attraction, then the deeper understanding of each other's fears and vulnerabilities, and finally the healing of their hearts--this is the way Leah and Sebastian fall in love. This is how I know that their love is something that will not fade, not to be dismissed or wished away if they find someone else attractive

The fact that they choose to love each other despite that they've both been betrayed in the past, despite the memories that knowing one another might bring each time they're together--this is how I know that their love is not something that "happened" to them and that they may easily stop feeling in the future.

I wrote Romancing the Countess to show that beauty and hope can come from betrayal and despair. Leah and Sebastian's love story moves me. It inspires me and makes me believe in love all over again, and I hope that if you get a chance to read it after Romancing the Countess releases on September 6th, you'll let me know if it does the same for you.

I'd love to hear what you think! How you would explain the difference between romance and love?

One random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of my newest book,ROMANCING THE COUNTESS , and will get a chance to send a copy of my debut, SEDUCING THE DUCHESS, to a friend (open internationally)! Also, find out how to win the ROMANCING THE COUNTESS Book Tour Grand Prize of 50+ romance novels by visiting!

Romancing the Countess:
Genre:Historical Romance
Mass Market Paperback:320 pages
Publisher:Signet (September 6, 2011)
Sebastian Madinger, the Earl of Wriothesly, thought he'd married the perfect woman-until a fatal accident revealed her betrayal with his best friend. After their deaths, Sebastian is determined to avoid a scandal for the sake of his son. But his best friend's widow is just as determined to cast her mourning veil aside by hosting a party that will surely destroy both their reputations and expose all of his carefully kept secrets...
Leah George has carried the painful knowledge of her husband's affair for almost a year. All she wants now is to enjoy her independence and make a new life for herself-even if that means being ostracized by the Society whose rules she was raised to obey. Now that the rumors are flying, there's only one thing left for Sebastian to do: silence the scandal by enticing the improper widow into becoming a proper wife. But when it comes to matters of the heart, neither Sebastian nor Leah is prepared for the passion they discover in each other's arms....
WHERE TO BUY: Amazon | Kindle | B&N/Nook | IndieBound | Books-a-Million | Book Depository
EXTRASRead an Excerpt | Romancing Lady Cecily (novella) | Seducing the Duchess | Book Tour Schedule

Thanks Ashley for stopping by and sharing a bit about your latest release!

Don't forget to leave an answer to Ashley's question. Leave her some love too while you're at it. When leaving a comment with your email address, do it ninja style: yourname (at) gmail (dot) com. Also, fill out that rafflecopter thingy at the bottom for extra entries. Commenting/answering Ashley's question is a must

A HUGE thanks to Ashley for letting me participate in her blog tour and providing the giveaway copy of ROMANCING THE COUNTESS and SEDUCING THE DUCHESS. Giveaway is international. Yipee! Again, don't forget to leave a comment for Ashley and your email address, ninja style.

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