20 July 2009

SOS & ARC: Delilah Marvelle - Lord Of Pleasure


Zebra Publishing, I would like to present to you my case for Saving The School Of Gallantry series by Delilah Marvelle in front of a judge of my peers.
Last year out of the blue I ended up at the website of Delilah Marvelle and read this blurb:

Granddaughter of a renowned courtesan, Maybelle de Maitenon has no interest in her grandmother's school in London where gentlemen receive instruction -- in the art of love and seduction. Her only desire in life is to remain independent, free from men and the shackles of marriage. But when Maybelle's grandmother falls ill, forcing Maybelle to take over the operation of the school, she discovers that men are in fact creatures of habit and simply need to be re-educated. Then Edmund Worthington, the Duke of Rutherford dares to enroll, looking to alter not only her lesson plans, but her very heart....

It is something that is intriguing, the mere idea of a School Of Gallantry for men. Because what woman wouldn’t ask herself: “What kind of man would enroll in such an endeavor and what kind of woman would come up with such an idea?” The fact that Mistress Of Pleasure is sold-out is evidence all on its own. It shows how many readers wanted that question answered. Now I must say that Delilah Marvelle is an author with a sense of history so if it pleases the court I present to you in evidence ~"Sex Tips For Husbands and Wives From 1894" by Ruth Smythers~ It shows a knack for research and the passion for the genre of publication.

Here I have another piece of evidence that indicates that even in times of a tough economy that the romance is recession proof and booming business. ~Romance Literature Statistics: Readership Statistics~ The escapism culture is thriving among the readers of the romance genre and here we have an author who wants to give a bit of that escapism. Delilah Marvelle has stated that Lord Brayton’s story is outlined and waiting to tell his ordeal.

My statement regarding Lord Of Pleasure:

~click on cover to buy a copy~

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zebra (August 4, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1420104497
ISBN-13: 978-1420104493

Summary:

DESPERATE TIMES...

It's been months since Lady Charlotte Chartwell's philandering husband met his untimely end at the hands of an angry mistress. But as miserable as he made Charlotte in life, his death proves to be an even harsher blow. For not a farthing of his fortune or estate have passed on to her, and as a ruined widow, she is destitute, penniless and utterly without hope.

LEAD TO DESPERATE PLEASURES...

Then, as Charlotte is considering the worst, a man steps into her carriage. His intentions are quite indecent at first, but the more he learns about her, the more an unfamiliar -- and undesirable -- emotion creeps over him. Could it be compassion? Never! For this is Alexander Baxendale, third Earl of Hawksford. He is known throughout the ton as the Lord of Pleasure, dedicated to passion, ruthless in his pursuit of sensual gratification. Yet never in all his exploits has he met a woman who could intrigue him as Charlotte does. Can this mysterious beauty make him hang up his title and see to her pleasure alone?


Charlotte doesn’t have luck on her side, her husband is shot by his mistress and now a battle over the heritage has commenced, leaving Charlotte penniless for the time being. Everywhere she tries to make an honest wager she is getting fondled, betrayed by other members of the staff and even asked to lift her skirts for better pay. Each time she politely yet adamantly refuses and each time it ended in her dismissal. It isn’t until she makes a bold offer to a gentleman that the wind of change alters her direction.

When sense must override his coltish attitude, when honor must lead the way, when responsibility is transferred onto his shoulders, yet when the heart finally finds someone of depth and worthwhile what choice should one make? Alexander and Charlotte meet under precarious circumstances and though they part under the impression never to meet again faith – also known as Madame Maitenon – has something entirely different in mind.

Lord Of Pleasure proves to be a fitting release for the month August. What better way to read a poignant yet humorous story while the sun shines bright and a glass of ice-cold lemonade is in arms reach. In my mind that would have been the perfect setting. Still I had to make do with old fashioned Dutch weather of rain and wind and found myself snuggled on the couch with a cup of tea enjoying the opening chapters. It didn’t take long for me to venture back in to England anno 1830.

It is with the easy going writing style of Delilah Marvelle that I effortlessly consume the pages. The various elements in Lord Of Pleasure have a classic feel to them, like the bon ton of Regency England, the scandals, the Season of balls and soirees, the men who are in search of boundaries and women who can swoon and gossip all in one moment. It is the inserting of the School Of Gallantry, the intriguing cast of characters - who are perhaps a part of the Ton but still apart from it as well - and a humorous touch intertwined from start to finish that makes this story stand out. It is a blend that works very well for this author and it sweeps me along in to a tale of pure romance.

There is a small cast of characters who give a very intimate feeling to this historical romance novel. Charlotte and Alexander and their struggles take up most of the pages and I felt I truly got to know them on every level that is significant.

Charlotte is high-spirited and intelligent but down on her luck and struggles to make ends meet. She isn’t a quitter and there’s nothing that boosts my spirit then to read about a heroine who shoulders her problems and who comes out stronger in the end. Now Alexander is a rake, a scoundrel and every synonym you can find for those words until his father died. Now it is up to him to give his sisters a good season and marital match. The very man he once was he now has to protect his sisters from and it is giving him grey hairs. My feelings regarding Alexander ranged from endearing, to wicked joy and sometimes I rolled my eyes at him going utter male on Charlotte.

Together they provoke one another, Charlotte wants to stand on her own two feet and Alexander wants to help the damsel in distress. It provides situations that can be emotional, utterly frustrating to downright erotically charged. I took it all in like hot chocolate and while in the end I just wanted to throttle Alexander in frustration to just “say it” the conclusion was heart tugging endearing.

What took me by surprise was the fact that Lord Of Pleasure chronically wise happens before Mistress Of Pleasure and in the end the two stories overlap each other. I can only trust in Delilah Marvelle that it will serve a purpose but it gave me a moment of confusion a time or two. The moment I figured it out I could place the sequences of events better, especially the different POV of the events in the end.

The supporting cast exists out of the household staff, fellow students at the School Of Gallantry – Lord Brayton still makes my heart beat a bit faster -, and of course Madame Maitenon, they fulfill their roles as they should. I didn’t get to know any much better on an intricate level but they provided a wonderful stage for Alexander and Charlotte to tell their tale upon. The dialogues are lively among every character but the ones that are so very entertaining were with the five sisters of Alexander; Caroline, Anne, Elizabeth, Victoria and Mary. Each young woman added something via her personality to create the dynamics of a unique household and painting a picture of a heartwarming family situation. With the accent on the nineteen year old Caroline it makes me think we haven’t heard the last of her yet.

Lord Of Pleasure is historical romance in its truest form, no elaborate plot, no spies or a high stake chase, no fiend enemy to defeat or to reveal. Just a man and a woman feeling instant attraction and have to overcome obstacles to get to a blissful happily ever after. Add a natural lascivious energy throughout the pages to give it a good dose of wicked delights and moreover, characters who can appreciate it. I was submerged in a tale of a burgeoning romance that made me crave to know how it all turned out between this endearing couple.

This story is a classic good historical romance read with the right dose of humor & sensuality!

Quote Charlotte:
She swallowed. This had to be the real Alexander. The one she had been waiting to meet all along. The brother to five sisters. A man who, above all, understood that duty to one’s family was a duty to one’s heart.

Quote Charlotte:
A man capable of stirring her deepest passions, her deepest dreams, and the grandest of dreams.

Quote:
Lesson thirteen: Lust is a path men will always walk on – The School Of Gallantry.


If anyone has their own review of either MISTRESS OF PLEASURE or an ARC -review of LORD OF PLEASURE please, leave a comment with the link. The more voices get together, the louder we get, the easier it is for Zebra to hear us!

Click on above banner for contest details!

Closing arguments will be held by Delilah Marvelle herself as she addresses the jury:

My Dearest Readers,

When I was in high school, I had a dream. I was going to be the next Stephen King. Heh. Yeah. Stay with me. Please. I knew my ideas were fabulous and I knew all it would take is for an editor to look at it and they would offer me up the moon and the stars and best of all, a contract. I had my girlfriends read everything I wrote. And they kept telling me, “This is fabulous! It's SO funny! Hilarious!” Seeing it really wasn't supposed to BE funny, I immediately changed course realizing I actually had a better handle on being funny than scary. I also figured adding a romance into it would even make it better since that is what I loved to read.

I then entered college as an English major. I was going to be teacher and write during the summers. Even then I was a smart girl who knew I wasn't going to make jack and that I needed a job to support the “creative” one. Throughout all of college I wrote historical romances. One right after another. And kept submitting. And submitting. And submitting. And kept getting rejected and rejected and rejected. In the meantime, I got married. I had two kids. I joined RWA. I got critique partners. I did honed and honed and honed the crap out of my writing. And kept writing and getting rejected. I eventually racked up over 200 rejections and had written over 40 books in those 11 years of trying to get published.

When I finally sold my first historical romance, MISTRESS OF PLEASURE, and my second book, LORD OF PLEASURE, I was beside myself. It didn't feel real. To FINALLY arrive at a destination I had been traveling toward for 11 long years seemed like a mirage. Which fortunately, I quickly snapped out of. Because after all, most of my friends are all published and unpublished writers and the stories they all have told me throughout the years made me realize I had to fight with fists up for myself every step of the way. I knew publishers did little to no promotion for their authors, so I spearheaded my own promo, ready to be more than just an author. And even though I was budgeting very well and spending countless hours networking and promoting on websites and blogs, doing tons for free, I still ended up spending $7,000 on my first book. Which was way more than my advance. But hey, every business starts in the red. Right?

Then the reviews started coming in about my series set in 1830 London England about a school that educates men on the topic of love and seduction. People loved it! Wow. It got nominated for awards. Wow. Readers are e-mailing me raving. Wow. Readers from France, Austria, Poland, South Africa and from all over the U.S and the world. Wow. It just kept getting better and better. I was beginning to feel as if every penny I spent was all worth it (even though my family and I weren't going on any vacations and were eating out of cans). Because all that mattered was that my publisher loved me and my readers loved my series.

Come contract time, I'm ready for whatever they wanna throw at me. Or so I thought. Mistress of Pleasure, though completely sold out and unavailable anywhere (unless it's a used copy, some going for a ridiculous amount of $40.00), hadn't done as well as my publisher had hoped. So without waiting for the second book to come out to see if the series was even worth saving, I get a rejection from my own editor citing lack of sales.

I have to say this rejection felt more personal than any of the other two hundred and some rejections I'd received. Because it was no longer “Your book isn't good enough” it became “Your sales aren't good enough.” Since when is an author supposed to be a market guru AND a fabulous writer? Eck.

I love this series. The men in it make me laugh and it broke my heart to think that my readers will never get a chance to read about Lord Brayton, my glorious male virgin. The only alpha virgin I ever plan to write about. Then I realized something, why I am letting a publisher decide what is worth holding on to? Shouldn't that be a reader's job?

Ah. Herein lies the purpose of my post. I am challenging everyone, be they readers or writers to help me do something that's never been done before. Save a series from a death sentence given by a publisher. Can it be done? Who knows. But I eat challenges for breakfast and I hope you do to. Please join me in saving my series. Come August 4th, tell everyone you know (yes, even you're 72 year old grandfather) to buy the book, Lord of Pleasure. In doing so, you'll have a chance to win one of three $50 Visa Gift Cards. How? Check out my website for details at ~website Delilah Marvelle~

That said, thank you for all the support and love everyone has already shown me. Feel free to post and repost this to everyone under the moon and the stars. To all you readers out there, thank you for supporting us writers. To all you writers out there, don't ever give up on your writing. The moment you do, you give up on yourself. Which is why I'm not giving up on my series.

Cheers and much love,

Delilah Marvelle

Now inquiring minds want to know if you ever experienced this as a reader. To have a series cut short by a publisher while you still long for certain stories to be told.


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8 comments:

  1. I loved those sex tips, and I am glad I didn't live back then. Well some guys are still, idiots.

    Never had a story cut short, tv, yes, but I have managed to survive the book cuts. Cos I would hate hate hate that

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  2. Very intreging post there Lenotine!
    Those were some very... um... interesting books up there. They have definitely peaked my interest of writing them down in my notebook to one day buy!
    I hope you had a grea weekend and a great Monday!

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  3. You know, I saw this book at RWA and thought it sounded right up my alley. They didn't have anymore, so I'm definitely going to have to pick it up.

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  4. Hi Blodeuedd - Yes, those sex tips post of Delilah cracked me up and I had to include them in my post somehow.

    Hey Cecile - You seems so busy so (((hugs)) that you came over and drop a line. And did you give me another nickname to carry around for the rest of my days?? I've been called: Leo, Tinsu, Tinus, Lieutenant (don't ask about that one) and now Lenotine - You have figured my out, I'm the secret twin sister of Leno LOL - I knew I couldn't keep a secret from you LOL There are just a few who actually call me Leontine ;-)

    Hi Barbara - I hope you do pick up a copy and will look forward to that post, but then again, I always look forward to your posts *grin*

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  5. LOL, my fingers sometimes type faster than my thought process, so therefore letters get mixed up!!! LOL!! I am so glad to see that you like the nickname, lol!!
    I would not miss coming here for nothing in the world!!
    I promise to make myself slow down when typing your name, lol!! Leontine!
    I hope you have/had a great night and have a wonderful tomorrow!

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  6. Hey Leontine,

    I still have to start reading into this series but Lord of Pleasure is ofcourse already on pre-order! I wouldn't want to miss out on this series so I'm hoping it'll be published in new novels in the future!

    Keeping the fingers crossed and joining in this worldwide endeavor to get future books printed!

    hugs
    Natascha / Ashleagh

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  7. Hi cecile, I had a busy day and I'm actually taking the afternoon off so I can do some reading, which would be nice since I am a book addict with a TRP of over 300 LOL How are you holding up? Some vacation time in the near future for you?

    Hey Natascha - Thanks for dropping by girl. I know you will enjoy Delilah Marvelle and can't wait to talk about some Lord's with you!

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  8. Hey Leontine! No vacation yet just yet with new job... But its okay. Girl... 300.... wow!!! Your TBR piles outweighs mine!! LOL!!! But I know you be a dedicated reader, therefore, you will read them all!!! =)
    And I would not miss coming here for the world, my dear friened!!!

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I love to hear all your voices and opinions so thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.