Saturday, February 23, 2013

Studio Smexy™ Saturdays: Sara Ramsey + Giveaway

One of our favorite Studio Smexy covers happens to be Sara Ramsey's newest release, The Marquess Who Loved Me. The blue color is just gorgeous and the couple is pretty easy on the eyes.


Meet Sara:
Sara Ramsey is a Regency romance novelist with great taste in Champagne and bad taste in movies. She grew up in a small town in Iowa, and her obsession with fashion, shoes, and all things British is clearly a rebellion against her hopelessly uncool youth. Sara won the RWA Golden Heart award for her second book, Scotsmen Prefer Blondes, and her third book, The Marquess Who Loved Me, is out now. She is currently living the hip Regency writer life in San Francisco, California.

Connect with Sara: Author Site | Twitter

Jamie and Kati: Hi Sara. Welcome to Studio Smexy Saturdays at Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance!

J&K: Tell us 5 fun facts about yourself.
Sara Ramsey:
  1. I kissed the flank of a water buffalo as part of a photo scavenger hunt competition while working in India. This is why I usually avoid competitions.
  2. I'm 4'11.5", but I tell everyone I'm 5'0".
  3. At age six, I won a champion ribbon at the county fair for a crayon drawing of what the judge thought was a clown - but was really a self-portrait.
  4. I write most of my first drafts longhand, using fountain pens and ink colors that match the mood of the scene. Yes, I'm such an artist.
  5. My first romance novel was Johanna Lindsey's Brave the Wild Winds, which I read at age 12. In retrospect, reading about people having sex on a horse before anything else probably warped my expectations for standard human relationships.
J&K: What book(s) feature a Studio Smexy shot cover?
SR: My third book, The Marquess Who Loved Me, features a truly glorious shot by the fabulous Ms. Jenn LeBlanc. But I'll let you in on a little secret - we are redoing all of my covers, and so the first two books in the series (Heiress Without a Cause and Scotsmen Prefer Blondes) will also have photos by Jenn LeBlanc, and will be done by the equally fabulous Trish at PickyMe. Those covers should be unveiled in the next week or so.
J&K: How well does the cover illustrate your vision of the hero/heroine? Of the story?
SR: This cover is such a great fit for how I see the hero and heroine in this book. There's such a sense of abandon to the photo - and a nice edge of power play that isn't really present in my other books, but definitely is present in this one. The hero and heroine, Nick and Ellie, were lovers a decade before this book starts, and there has been so much history between them that their reunion is an instant combustion. I like that this cover feels a little more savage than my other covers, while still hopefully staying a bit more centered on the female - the whole series is tied together by the friendships between a group of artistically-inclined women (the Muses of Mayfair), and I didn't want a traditional hot-guy-chest shot for a more female-centered romance.

J&K: What elements do you like to see on a book cover? (hero, heroine, landscape...)
SR: It really depends on the story. With my original covers, the photos were just the heroine, and they were lovely - but in retrospect, they may have felt too much like historical fiction. For this series, I'm insisting on a woman in every shot because the focus is on the women and how they grow and change as they develop both romantically with their partners and as better friends to each other. But for a future series, I wouldn't be opposed to some hot-guy-chest :)

J&K: What drew you to choosing a photo shot by Jenn?
SR: Jenn's photography is amazing, and I think that she's found some really beautiful and compelling models whose shots can be used in a lot of different ways. I also like that she's very smart about how she clothes and styles her models - it gives designers a lot of leeway in terms of redoing color/shape, and it's not so obvious that we're all using the same dress over and over again. There's a dearth of high-quality stock photography in the romance world right now, particularly of women, and Jenn has a great collection.

J&K: Describe your cover in one word (smexy or sexy doesn’t count)
SR: Blue probably isn't a good one, huh? Let's go with 'abandoned'.

J&K: What can readers expect from you next?
SR: The fourth Muses of Mayfair novel, The Earl Who Played With Fire, will feature another Jenn LeBlanc cover, and will be out at the end of 2013. I may also sneak a novella in there somewhere, but no promises.

J&K: Thanks Sara!
Thanks so much for hosting me, and I hope you all enjoy this cover (and book!) as much as I do!

Just as he decided to kiss her senseless, perhaps take her hard and fast against the wall as he’d dreamed of any number of times — perhaps ignore his revenge until morning — she pulled back.

“Nick…I can’t.”

All those years ago, kissing her amongst the blackberries, he was the one who had stopped first, too cautious for her sake to risk more than a kiss. She wanted him just as badly now as she had wanted him then — perhaps more, now that she knew exactly the pleasure that their kisses would lead to. But even though her body screamed for him, her voice broke. He could kiss her again, try to coax her…

Her eyes, though, stopped him cold. He had never seen her cry before — not when they had started their secret engagement, and certainly not when she had thrown him over for his cousin. But the tears were there now, threatening to spill over her lashes, turning her blue eyes into fathomless pools.

This wasn’t his plan. The Ellie he knew wouldn’t come undone over a mere kiss. He wanted her tears — or thought he did. But he wanted to wring them from her in a way that left no doubt he’d won.

She blinked furiously. All her armor slammed down over her like a prison gate. When she looked at him again, the tears had turned to glaciers.

She walked toward the door, saying nothing as she reached for it. He caught her in two strides and slapped his palm against the wood.

“I’m not done,” he said.

She stiffened her shoulders. In a different mood he might have admired how she turned to face him. Another woman would have fainted, or at least cried, at the menace in his tone. But Ellie didn’t flinch.

“Your actions over the past decade say you’re done,” she said. “Why else would you have stayed in India all this time? Unless you knew you couldn’t see me without changing your mind?”

He couldn’t answer that. She reached up to stroke his face. Not a greedy, full-palmed caress — more a whisper, one fingertip trailing down the line of his jaw. Her nail scraped against his skin, and he shuddered.

“Why are you not done, Nick?” she asked. Her hand dropped to his chest, unerringly flattening against the rapid crescendo of his heart. “Have you come back for me?”

Yes. His heart screamed yes. Did her skin soak in that scream? Did her blood carry it to her heart, her mouth, her soul?

His heart screamed yes.

But his mouth and soul were liars.

“I’ve come back to take what you owe me.”

She dropped her eyes to his chest, to where her hand curled into a fist before falling away. Her mouth tightened — confused that his words contradicted what she felt?

“What do you think I owe you? If you want an apology, I’ll give it,” she said.

Her voice was soft but resolute. Ellie would apologize, just as she had apologized the first time she’d broken their engagement. But when he had found out who she would marry and came back to dissuade her — she hadn’t apologized then.

Even if she did now, even if he could believe an apology from her, it wouldn’t be enough.

Only revenge would be enough.

“You owe me more than an apology. You can pay me on your back, or on your knees — but you’ll start tonight.”

Excerpt from The Marquess Who Loved Me ©2013 by Sara Ramsey. All rights reserved.

A not-so-merry widow…

The widowed Marchioness of Folkestone is notorious for her parties, her art collection, and her utter disregard for the rules. But Ellie Claiborne knows her destruction is near. The new marquess is her first lover – the man whose sculpted body and sardonic grin haunt her every time she picks up her paintbrush. If he ever returns to claim his inheritance, her heart won’t survive seeing him again.

A man determined to destroy her...

Nicholas Claiborne hasn’t stepped foot in England since watching Ellie marry his cousin. He has no use for the gorgeous, heartless girl who betrayed him, or the title she abandoned him for. But when his business in India turns deadly, Nick must return to London to uncover a murderer – and take revenge on the woman he couldn’t force himself to forget.

A love they can’t escape…

Nick hates Ellie’s transformation from sweet debutante to jaded seductress. Ellie despises him for leaving her behind. Still, the sparks between them reignite the passion that should have been their destiny. As their demands of each other turn darker and a potential killer closes in, they must decide whether to guard the fragile remnants of their hearts — or find a way to fall in love all over again.
Get Your Own Copy: Kindle | Nook | iBooks
Book Extras: Read Chapter 1 & 2

Sara is giving away two(2) copies of The Marquess Who Loved Me to two(2) random commenters - winner's choice of Kindle, Nook, iBooks, or paperback.
  • Leave a comment for Sara or ask her a question.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter form below. You must leave a comment. All other entries are optional.
Thanks to Sara for stopping by and donating the giveaway copies!

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