We have winners! The four winners of an ARC of Beguiling the Beauty as chosen by Random.org are:
Random.org has also given me a winner for the grand prize, an ARC and a bounty of beauty products made by Sherry Thomas: comment #161, JennyB!
Winners, please email me at sarahATsmartbitchestrashybooksDOTcom with your mailing address.
You can also try again to win an ARC at Sherry's Facebook page for the next 72 hours – and, whoo hoo! All of Sherry's backlist is on sale digitally for $3.99 right now!
- Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S | ARe
- His at Night by Sherry Thomas * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S | ARe
- Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S | ARe
- Delicious by Sherry Thomas * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S | ARe
Also: you guys are full of the good beauty advice – and I can't believe I needed a reminder to start using sunscreen on more than my face and neck, but I totally did. So thanks.
Sherry Thomas has a new book coming out on May 1, 2012, which you can preorder online now ( A | BN | K S ). Those of you who are Sherry Thomas fans are anticipating this one greatly – I know Carrie S has had this book on preorder since February at least.
So when Sherry asked if I'd like to do an ARC giveaway, I said HELL to the YES and then proceeded to ask her all sorts of nosy questions about the book. Behold! The Interview and Giveaway (-inator™)! There's ARCs and homemade Sherry Thomas beauty products to win up in here. Have a read while Sherry tells us about the book.
Sarah: So, tell us about this here book. And pass the lip balm?
Sherry: Beguiling the Beauty is the first book in the Fitzhugh Trilogy, which revolves around–surprise!–the three Fitzhugh siblings. The eldest sister is the titular beauty in Beguiling the Beauty, the middle brother will be the one Ravishing the Heiress in the second book, and the youngest sister is scheduled to wear the veil in Tempting the Bride.
(The trilogy is actually a 3.5-ology, as I am contributing a novella about a significant secondary character from book 2 to Midnight Scandals, a self-published anthology that also features Carolyn Jewel and Courtney Milan, available late summer 2012.)
Now back to Beguiling the Beauty, which is my contribution to the overpopulation of dukes in Romancedom. This particular duke, in present-day terms, would be described as an evolutionary biologist–but since my book is set in 1896, he is just a plain, old naturalist.
Our naturalist duke has a not-so-minor obsession with a certain beauty he's only seen from afar. This obsession bugs the ever-loving daylight out of him because he believes the twice-widowed Mrs. Easterbrook to be a money-grubbing, husband-dishonoring slut. (And you can't really blame him, as her first husband railed against her in front of the duke shortly before the man died broke and under suspicious circumstances–read, suicide.) The duke avoids Society because he isn't sure whether, even knowing her to be this money-grubbing, husband-dishonoring slut, he can trust himself around her light-bending beauty. But he's getting old–almost 29, that is–and has promised his stepmother that after a lecture at Harvard University, he will look for a wife in London, where he is certain to run into Mrs. Easterbrook.
This stresses him out. So, during the lecture at Harvard, when he is asked about the evolutionary aspects of beauty, he uses what he believes to be Mrs. Easterbrook's sins as a cautionary tale, little knowing that the beauteous Mrs. Easterbrook happens to be sitting in the audience, having a massive, “Oh, no, you didn't” moment.
One thing leads to another. Before the duke knows it, he's on a transatlantic ocean liner having a hot-and-heavy affair with a mysteriously veiled woman, falling for her–as SB Sarah would say–like whoa and damn. But she disappears at the end of the crossing.
Later, as it is wont to do, all hell breaks loose.
And, oh, I almost forgot, there are dinosaurs in this story. (And you thought it couldn't get any better!) (Okay, only dinosaur fossils, but still.)
Sarah: Are the dinosaurs dukes as well? Do the dinosaurs have a titled class system?
Sherry: The dinosaurs involved, being mere plant-eaters, were prolly outside the titled system. Mere landholding gentry.
Sarah: What is Ms. Easterbrook's reaction to her beauty? Does she struggle with it? What animal is she based on?
Sherry: Err, she is like the cetiosaurus she dug up when she was sixteen–really a very sturdy character. She aims to deal with her beauty on practical terms, i.e., she recognizes both that it is quite advantageous to be drop-dead gorgeous and that her beauty is not necessarily a representation of her soul. But she does suffer a slight bit of insecurity at times, wondering who she is, or would be, if she didn't look as she did.
Sarah: For readers who have enjoyed your books in the past, what do you think will appeal to them about this one?
Sherry: I frankly have no idea. It doesn't have reunited lovers, long separations, gourmet cooking, spies, or super-duper angst. So I will flatter myself shamelessly by relating what my critique partner told me, that reading Beguiling the Beauty is kind of like reading, in her words, “a really good Loretta Chase book.”
I'd tried to write a Loretta Chase book with His at Night, which was my take on Mr. Impossible. His at Night didn't come out anything like a Loretta Chase book. Beguiling the Beauty is actually me remaking Judith Ivory's Beast–the ocean-crossing, the unseen lover, and whatnot. So if by trying my hand at Judith Ivory, I arrive at Loretta Chase, hey, I'll take it.
Sarah: What was the first scene or character you started with when you began this book?
Sherry: When I started out, I actually meant to rewrite Judith Ivory's Beast with only the sexes switched around, i.e, instead of a much older man who is somewhat odd to look at & a little lame (literally) seducing the much younger, rather wild, and extraordinarily girl he is set to marry, sight unseen, on an ocean crossing, I would have a much older woman who is somewhat odd to look at and a little lame (literally), seducing the much younger, rather wild, and extraordinarily beautiful man she is set to marry, sight unseen, on an ocean crossing.
I wrote ten pages and couldn't go on anymore. So I said, shove it, I'm writing something else. I'm just going to have a man who offends my heroine horribly, accusing her of all kinds of crimes of the heart she's never committed, and doing it in such a way that is impossible for her to defend herself publicly. So that's when she conceives the idea of making him fall in love with her as revenge. But of course, it goes all wrong and she falls in love with him instead.
But then I had to figure out why the hero would say such things about her to begin with. And whenever I have a conundrum like that, my answer always ends up being: Of course, he's been in love with her since 4EVA!
(Let me assure potentially concerned readers that when I am inspired by other books, the end results usually bear as little resemblance to the original as a peacock does a T. rex. Yes, there is some common DNA, but mine is a totally different animal.)
Curious? I hope so, because we've got 5 advanced reader copies of Beguiling the Beauty to give away.
And because Sherry Thomas is 68% pure evil, she's also offered “a collection of my homemade beauty items. Lip balm, solid body butter, bath bombs, and maybe even a scrub or two” to one lucky winner as well as an ARC. (I've received tins of Sherry's lip balm. It's super soft and very awesome.)
We will pick 5 winners from the comments at random to win. Standard disclaimers apply: I am not being compensated for this giveaway. Not even with body butter, which sounds really kind of awesome. You must be over 18 and dressed like a sphinx to win. Void where prohibited. Open to international entries, even though the shipping can be a bit slow. Head On: apply directly to the forehead. Some theories exist that suggest if the reader is not directly observing this giveaway, it may cease to exist.
So, tell us, since this book is about beauty and beguilement, what's your best beauty or fashion tip? What's one thing you do that never fails to make you feel awesome and spiffy? Share, and you're entered to win! Comments close in 48 hours, so bring on the beguilement!