May 2010

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Never Less Than a Lady

It’s no accident that the acknowledgments in my book so often include medical professionals. I regularly consult with my friend Laurie Kingery, who is an ER nurse as well as a romance author.  I needed Laurie for Major Alexander Randall, the hero of Never Less Than
a Lady
, because he was wounded while serving in Spain and is suffering from buried shrapnel. 

For this particular book, I also needed to call on the expertise of Fiona McArthur, an Australian author and midwife.  My heroine, the widowed Julia Bancroft, has been quietly living as a village midwife in the far northwest of England, and naturally I have to give her a chance to show off her skills. 

NLTAL is the second of my Lost Lords books, whose heroes attended the Westerfield Academy, a school for boys of “good birth and bad behavior.”  A number of people who read the first book, Loving a Lost Lord, asked if there was something going on between Randall and Julia.  I didn’t admit it then, but yes, the prickly discomfort between the two of them was indeed a sign of an attraction that neither of them wanted.  

As heir to his bullying uncle, the Earl of Daventry, Randall needs to sell his commission, return to England, and find a wife to produce an heir.  But he has no interest in the sort of boring well born virgin that his uncle wants him to marry.

The only woman who interests him is Julia Bancroft, even though she made it clear the year before that she has no interest in marriage in general, or Randall in particular.  But when Randall seeks Julia out to confirm that she’s the wrong woman, he finds her in deadly danger. 

Randall is fiercely protective of his friends, and Julia is in desperate need of protection.  First he rescues her.  Then, because the danger isn’t past, he suggests a marriage of convenience with the private hope that he can persuade her to make it a real marriage.

It won’t be easy.  Both Randall and Julia are wounded people, and they know they have a lot of baggage.  But Julia is perhaps not entirely indifferent to Randall, and maybe, just maybe, they can make this work….

Never Less Than a Lady is a story of healing love.  Despite what they’ve suffered, together Randall and Julia can become whole. Here’s an excerpt to sample.

Kathe Robin of  Romantic Times BookClub made the book a Top Pick and gave Randall a KISS mention, while Library Journal gave it a starred review.  And just this evening (Wednesday), I learned NLTAL will be on the New York Times list for May 16th.  (Yesssss!!!) 

I’m working on the third Lost Lords book now, and the hero is a fellow who first appears in Never Less Than A Lady.  It’s about time I did a lovable rogue again.  Now, what kind of woman does he need….

I’ll be giving away on copy each of Never Less Than a Lady, and also a copy of my April reissue, One Perfect Rose.  If you haven’t tried one of my books, here’s your chance!

Happy reading always—

Mary Jo Putney 

Can This Man Be Saved?


You’ve seen the politician apology press conference, right?  It’s where the disgraced politician apologizes for [INSERT BAD BEHAVIOR HERE], hangs his head, and swears he’ll do better.  Sometimes his wife is there at the podium, offering her support. 


Have you ever wondered why the wife stood up there with him?  What happened after the press conference?  Whether the marriage would survive and, if so—why?


I have.


Which brings me to Beau Taylor, the unfaithful and self-destructive former governor and hero of my latest Harlequin/Kimani Romance, Redemption’s Kiss. 


As you’ve probably realized by now, Beau’s not very heroic when the story opens.  In fact, having torpedoed his marriage to Jillian, the love of his life, in my last book, Campaign for Seduction, he’s the lowest of the low.  He has nothing to live for and no one to care if he dies. 


Once, long ago, he had everything in the palm of his hand: career, prestige, and, best of all, the love of Jillian, the woman he’s always worshipped.  But then things went horribly wrong, he made poor choices, and he lost it all, including his zest for life.


These days, he drinks, parties, and fills the excruciating hours with meaningless women.  Every day he hates himself just a little bit more than yesterday.  Every day he searches for a reason to exist and comes up empty.


And then, in a nightmarish flash, everything changes, and this is where the real story begins.


Can Beau change?  Is he redeemable?


I think so.


Suddenly, he has a second chance at life, one he’s determined not to waste.  Now, nothing will stop him from healing his damaged soul and becoming a worthwhile human being.  Nothing will stop him from becoming the world’s best father to his precious little girl.  Nothing will stop him from becoming a deserving partner to Jillian, and reclaiming her love.




I hope you’ll pick up a copy of his story, which is on shelves now!


But first, tell me: can you forgive a romance hero who’s cheated?  Who are some of your favorite really-screwed-up heroes?

Book Release Panic!

Ever wonder what it’s like for an author before their book is released?  

I call it Panic Week.

The latest entry in my urban fantasy series, The Phoenix Chronicles, CHAOS BITES, was released on April 27th and it's been personal panic for a while now.

The week before a release is spent pretending that I'm not thinking about what’s happening next week.  I keep working on whatever book I'm writing at the time, which is usually 2 or 3 books removed from the one that's about to be released.  But I don't get much done.  I can pretend all I want that I'm not thinking about the upcoming release.  But I am.

Then the day of the release arrives and I can tell myself that I'm not going to go to the bookstore and look for the book.  But I do.

Then I start counting how many books are left, trying to figure out how many were there in the first place, wondering if the books would be better placed over there than over here . . . 

You’d think that after 45+ books, I’d learn.  But I don’t.

But after 45+ books I’ve also discovered that I’m not alone in this paranoid panic.  Every author I’ve ever talked to does the same thing.  They even had an episode about it on CASTLE.  (Love that show!!)  I laughed my head off at Rick’s panic, because, at the time, it wasn’t mine.  But it was very, very familiar. 

Here's a taste of the book that's keeping me up nights, CHAOS BITES--


Megan lived on the east side of Milwaukee, about twenty minutes from Friedenburg on a block of older, closely spaced houses and the occasional corner pub.  Back in the day, every neighborhood boasted a tavern—at least in Wisconsin.  Murphy’s had been one of them.

Now it was mostly a cop bar, though a lot of locals often hung out. Besides booze, Megan served sandwiches and heart attack producing appetizers such as deep fried cheese curds.  For the health conscious she provided a wide selection of deep fried vegetables.  If you still weren’t dead, the dessert menu offered deep-fried Oreos, Twinkies and cheesecake.  They were really quite good.

However, for her daughter Anna’s party Megan had promised pizza, lemonade and birthday cake—not deep-fried.  The celebration started at eleven a.m. since Megan would have to be at work by three.  Saturday night was a big night at Murphy’s, and any tavern owner knows that the only way to make sure everything ran smoothly was to be there.

Megan opened the door at our knock, took one look at the kitten in my arms and slammed it in my face.  I blinked, shrugged and rang the bell.

“Go away!” she shouted through the door.

“You ordered me to be here.”

The door flew open with such force the displaced air blew Megan’s curly red hair back from her cute little face.  And if she ever learned I thought of her as cute, she’d slug me.  One thing Megan Murphy didn’t appreciate was the depth of her adorableness.  She wanted to be tall and voluptuous, dark and exotic—like me.

“Did you get a brain amputation?”  Megan’s bright blue eyes narrowed in her Irish pale face.  “We have rules here.”  She held up one finger.  “No rodents.”  Then a second.  “No reptiles.”  A third.  “No animals that say ‘rarhh.’”

I glanced down at the kitten in my arms.  “Oh.”

“Yeah.  Take that right back where you got it.”

“I—um.  Well, you see--uh.  I can’t.”  

“You will.  You cannot give my daughter a—“

The sudden bright light was followed by an audible whoosh as the kitten in my arms became human.  Megan’s eyes went as wide as pie plates as she finished her sentence with, “baby.”

Said baby waved her arms joyfully and giggled.

“You did that on purpose,” I accused.

So what do you panic about?  And what do you do to stave off that panic?

I've learned to give in to the urge to visit every book store in my town and the next.  Once I see my baby on the shelves a few times, I calm down.

 A little . . . 

Stay tuned for a new venture for me SHAKESPEARE UNDEAD.  The Bard has Bite!  Available June 8. (Panic begins on or about June 1)

I will give away an ARC of Shakespeare Undead to someone who comments.