Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guest Blogger Rebecca Cohen

Please welcome author Rebecca Cohen, whose newest release, Duty to the Crown, is at Dreamspinner
Press. Rebecca has bravely answered my infamous Rick Reed questions. Let's see what she has to say. Rebecca, why don't you get comfortable, and I'll fix us some drinks. Go ahead and start.

Oh, did I mention there will be a giveaway? Keep reading!

The Questions:

1)      You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?

Oh, this is a tough one! But I would go for Stephen Fry.  That way he can entertain me with his wonderful humor while we wait for rescue. I would wish for a mobile phone so Stephen could tweet his millions of followers and we’d be rescued pretty quickly.

  2)    Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?
Not much of a fan of musicals if I’m honest so I’m reaching a bit here. So… The Return to the Forbidden
Planet and I’d be the Science Officer (aka Gloria)

3)      Take these three words and give me a 100 word or less scenario using them:  emergency, available, rock
In the event of an emergency, disregard all available logic and rescue pet rock

4)      You’ve just been let loose in the world of fiction, with permission to do anyone you want. Who do you fuck first and why?
Benedick from Much Ado About nothing. He’s a feisty one who needs taking down a peg or two, and I’m just the girl to do it!

   5)   What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?

Given we’ve just had our first child, our romantic time is pretty much zilch at the mo. I’d be happy with a home-cooked meal, a nice glass of vino, and a long cuddle on the sofa

6)      When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?
Depends on the story, but I would say in most cases I have an idea of a character and the plot builds around them. There’s a great technique called clustering where you put an idea/character in the center of the page and you build a sort of mind map around it, I’ve done this more than a few times with some of my characters who are more difficult to get a handle on.

7)      If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?
I’m torn between someone like Helen Mirren or Judy Dench for their acting gravitas or picking someone
with large breasts, because, hey, I do have quite a large bosom…

8)      Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?
Here’s where I go totally old school and say Nosferatu. He was a proper shit scary vampire (this might give you an indication of my level of contempt for Edward Cullen!)

   9)     Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it?
I have several – although in most cases it’s for their mind not their body! Elizabeth I, Emily Pankhurst,
Douglas Bader, William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Charles Dickens, Edward Jenner, Charles Darwin… I could go on and on…

10)   Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?

I’m not sure if it is the world which is not ready or if I’m not ready to write it. But I have an idea for a speculative fiction novel set several hundred years in the future where there is only Europe and the current countries in the world are its territories e.g. USA would be North West Europe, Australia South West Europe and so on. The idea is that there are pockets of resistance left in the world and the European army do what is necessary to stamp them out. It alternates between an army doctor in the European Army and a Captain in the US militia.

The Actor and the Earl:
Duty to the Crown:

Blurb for Duty to the Crown

Despite the uncomfortable clothing and the gossip at court, Sebastian Hewel is still enjoying the role of Lady Bronwyn, wife of Earl Anthony Crofton. But when Queen Elizabeth asks a favor of Anthony, Sebastian’s world fractures and his heart threatens to break. The Queen wants Anthony to seduce Marie Valois, the beautiful daughter of a French noble, to discover the whereabouts of her father, who is wanted by the King of France.

Sebastian knows Anthony can’t refuse the Queen, especially since he has something of a reputation at court. But the situation is further complicated when Marie meets Sebastian without his disguise—and starts flirting with him. Her brother, Nicholas, arrives at Crofton Hall, not happy that his sister has been linked to a man like Anthony, only to find his own head turned by Lady Bronwyn and her acerbic wit. Contending with the attentions of both siblings—and a very jealous Anthony—would be bad enough. But then Sebastian’s uncle demands Sebastian and Anthony stage Bronwyn’s death to avoid discovery….

They left the tavern early the next morning, returning to the townhouse in time to have breakfast. Sebastian felt a little guilty at the state they’d left the room in, but Anthony assured him that the extra coins he had left would more than compensate for the cleanup required. They had just sat down to eat when a messenger bearing the royal crest arrived. The messenger handed Anthony a sealed letter, which he tore open, his brow furrowing as he read.
“Is there a problem?” asked Sebastian, not liking Anthony’s expression.
“I’m to report to the palace immediately. The Queen requests my presence.”
Anthony dismissed the messenger with a curt reply that he would return to Richmond directly. Sebastian didn’t know what to make of it, but didn’t think it could be a good thing. “What do you think she wants to talk to you about?”
Anthony shrugged. “I don’t know. Get changed and return to Crofton Hall. I’ll follow as soon as I can.”
“I could wait for you to return,” offered Sebastian.
“No, I think it would be better if you went. Just in case.”
“Just in case of what?” asked Sebastian, concerned.
“Last time I was summoned in such a fashion, my loyalty to the crown was challenged, Sebastian, and I narrowly avoided a stint in the Tower of London. I don’t want Bronwyn to be in the city in case someone has made another unfounded accusation and has decided my wife should accompany me there.”
Sebastian almost dropped the cup of beer he was holding. “Do you really think that’s likely?”
“Probably not, but I’m not willing to take the chance.” Anthony knocked back the contents of his cup. “I should go. It is never a good idea to keep Her Majesty waiting. I will send word if there is an issue that will prevent me returning home by tonight.”
Sebastian watched Anthony depart, his appetite for breakfast leaving with him. He made his way upstairs to his room to dress to travel back to Crofton Hall, and he was ready and waiting in his shift and hose when Miriam arrived with his clothes for the day.
“I must say, you look a good sight better than when I last saw you,” she said, laying down his clothes on the bed.
“It’s amazing what a day in normal clothing can do for a man,” he said with a smile.
Miriam laughed. “I’m afraid it’s back to Bronwyn today. I’ve tried to find you something that won’t be as heavy to wear; not sure if I’ve had much success, mind, but at least it’s not velvet.”
On went the farthingale, corset, and roll, and Sebastian was resigned to another day weighed down by the female paraphernalia that were necessary to masquerade successfully as his sister. Miriam had brought with her a green silk gown and yellow skirt that she usually kept for grander occasions.
“It will crease horribly during the journey,” she said, sounding as if the material were doing her a personal disservice, “but the dress is light enough that you should get to Crofton Hall without passing out. And since you’re not heading back to court, we’ll leave your corset looser than normal.”
He put on his wig. “I suppose I should be grateful for small mercies.”
“And with heat like we’ve got at the moment, you should be thankful Lord Anthony banned his wife from wearing the white paint unless at court,” she said as she tied his ruff in place.
“That was one of His Lordship’s decrees I was happy to accept.”
Ready to depart for Crofton Hall, Sebastian returned downstairs to find the coach ready. And with no desire to stay in London longer than necessary, due to the heat, and Anthony’s dire warning about a possible stay in the Tower of London, Sebastian was relieved when the carriage trundled on its way. They negotiated the busy streets until they reached the outskirts of the city and the open road.
Sebastian was half-asleep when he was jolted wide awake as something struck the side of the carriage. He sat upright, and was about to stick his head out of the window when a crossbow bolt whizzed past him and lodged in the inside of the opposite door. For a moment Sebastian stared at the bolt as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing, but was brought dramatically to his senses as the coach lurched forward. The driver cracked the whip and the horses whinnied in protest but picked up speed. Sebastian dived to the floor of the carriage and searched under the seat for a stiletto blade hidden for just this eventuality. Sebastian knew bandits were a real threat on the roads out of London, and he’d counted himself blessed that up to now he’d been lucky enough not to come to their attention.
The sounds of hooves tearing up the ground alongside the coach made Sebastian scramble backward. A hand grabbed the frame of the window, and Sebastian knew that if he didn’t do something they would be boarded. With as much force as he could muster, he drove home the blade into the bandit’s hand; a scream of pain accompanied the sound of a man falling to the ground.
Sebastian stuck his head out of the window to see the bandit roll into a tree, his horse galloping away into the woods. There were others on foot, but it appeared they were lucky and the gang of robbers only had one horse. Another crossbow bolt embedded in the frame of the carriage, missing him by inches, and Sebastian ducked back inside.

One lucky commenter will win an e-book copy of either The Actor and the Earl or Duty to the Crown. Don't forget to leave an email address!

Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca! Come back again soon!

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

No comments:

Post a Comment