Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fallen Women Week: Guest Post with Jess Michaels + Giveaway(US)

Today for Fallen Women Week we would like to welcome Jess Michaels to the blog. You may also know her as Jenna Petersen, author of the Billingham Bastards trilogy (WHAT THE DUKE DESIRES, THE UNCLAIMED DUCHESS and A SCOUNDREL'S SURRENDER), the Jordan's, the Lady Spies trilogy and many others. Today she is sharing her naughtier side as Jess.


Meet Jess:
Writing as Jenna Petersen for historical romances and Jess Michaels for erotic romances (mostly historical), I wear a lot of hats. And I've been lucky to see my books become award-winners and bestsellers over the years. I've also been lucky to meet readers, other writers and editors/agents and be able to count many of them as friends.

I have a degree in Psychology from the University of Washington that I do not use except to make my characters lives hell. I am married to my best friend and we live in Tucson, AZ with our two cats. Some of my favorite things are travel, winning our family football pool, reading, being an aunt to two wonderful nephews and, of course, writing.

You might also check out my alter-ego for funny urban fantasy, Jesse Petersen.

Connect with Jess: Author Site | Facebook | Twitter

Fallen But Not Broken: Why I Love Courtesan Heroines

I was excited when I was asked to be a part of the Fallen Women Event because I’ve written so many books with courtesans (or fallen women) as heroines. I have featured courtesan heroines in “Fallen Angel” in PARLOR GAMES, TABOO, and all three of the books in my Mistress Matchmaker series, AN INTRODUCTION TO PLEASURE, FOR DESIRE ALONE and HER PERFECT MATCH. So why do I write “fallen women” as heroines so often?

I write Regency-set erotic romance (and historical romance as Jenna Petersen, also Regency set), and so I am forced to deal with a lot of societal rules. It’s part of the fun of historical romance, combining a reader (and writer’s) modern sensibilities with what is possible in that setting. How we swirl our heroes and heroines toward each other, allow them to fall in love, sometimes flouts those rules entirely.

But with a courtesan heroine, many of the barriers to a romantic and sexual relationship with the hero are shattered. A woman of that station would not only be very open to a physical relationship, she would expect it as part of her role. In fact, the emotion that comes along with the physical relationship would be the thing that made her nervous. This leads to a very interesting set of emotional barriers for the hero and heroine since she will be resisting an emotional bond with the same intensity that he may be. I love writing that dance.

But I think my favorite part of writing a courtesan or “fallen” woman as a heroine is that she has been through so much. Almost all the women in my stories have suffered some kind of abandonment or abuse (or both) that placed them in the position they are in now. But instead of curling up to die or lamenting what they are or how they got there, instead they thrive. I have written powerful, influential courtesans like Arabella in PARLOR GAMES or Vivien in the Mistress Matchmaker series. I’ve written women who have become financially independent like Cassandra in TABOO. I don’t think I’ve ever written a heroine who has beaten herself up or done anything but lift her chin and face whatever is in front of her.

So yes, I write fallen women. But I don’t write broken women. I write strong women. I write likeable women. I write women I would want to be friends with, whatever their circumstances or time. And I hope those are the women my readers find themselves sympathizing with, as well.


Genre: Erotic Historical
Length: 272 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (April 21, 2009)

Cassandra Willows has taken adversity and turned it into wild success. Not only is she one of the Empire’s most sought after seamstresses, servicing the very wealthy ladies of the ton, but in secret she creates erotic toys for high class courtesans and randy gentleman. Cassandra has but one regret: The Earl of Blackhearth, Nathan Manning, who once wished to marry her and will never forgive her for not showing up when they were to elope.

Nathan has been living in India and has returned to London at the behest of his ill father. His one duty is to find a suitable bride, but a chance encounter with Cassandra wipes that thought from his mind and replaces it with both desire and a need for revenge. So he blackmails his former love into a passionate affair. But the closer the two become physically, the harder it becomes for them to block out the feelings they once shared. And the closer Nathan comes to the devastating truth that tore them apart.
Get Your Own Copy: Amazon(pb)Kindle | B&N(pb) | Nook
Book Extras: Read an Excerpt

Jess is giving away a copy of TABOO to one(1) lucky US reader. Here's how to enter:
  • Leave a comment for Jess about your favorite fallen woman.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter form below. You must leave a comment. All other entries are optional.
***Lorraine Heath is hanging out at Aislynn's blog. Stop by for a fun interview and giveaway***

A huge thanks to Jess for stopping by the blog and for donating a giveaway copy of TABOO.

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