Friday, April 05, 2013

Guest Blog by Zoë Archer and Giveaway - April 5, 2013

Please welcome Zoë Archer to The Qwillery. Sinner's Heart, the 3rd novel in Zoë's Hellraisers series, was published on April 2, 2013.

It’s hard to find a film with a more enduring love story (or stirring soundtrack) than the 1992 adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans. Who can forget Daniel Day-Lewis as Hawkeye running (and running, and running) through the forests of the New World, or his fervent avowal to Cora Munro (Madeline Stowe), “You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you.” It’s all very swoon-worthy.

But the love story is set against the brutal backdrop of the French and Indian War, also called the Seven Years’ War outside of the United States. For every passionate word or kiss exchanged by Cora and Hawkeye, there are scenes of vicious warfare. One scene in the film stands out as particularly violent and bloody: as the long column of British soldiers, wounded, and women abandon the fallen Fort William Henry, they are attacked by the Native tribes allied with the French. This scene wasn’t made up for the film. It’s taken from true events, from the siege of the fort to the massacre that followed during the retreat.

The French and Indian War lasted from 1756 to 1763, and saw France and England battling for control of their North American colonies. France succeeded in gaining more Native American allies, including the Delawares, the Shawnees, and the Ottowas. The early years of the conflict, particularly those leading up to the actual war itself, were disastrous for the British and marked by several catastrophic defeats. The British forces were hampered by poor planning and organization, ineffectual guidance, and an absence of unification in their colonies. The Native allies of the French had very different combat techniques, as well—they didn’t march or line up in ranks to fire across a battlefield. Using their knowledge of the land, the Native fighters could conduct efficient guerrilla attacks. While war is never pretty, these first years of the French and Indian war were particularly hard on the British.

Bram, the hero of SINNER’S HEART, served as an officer during this conflict. As an aristocrat’s second son, the army was the best way for him to earn a living. Bram was young and idealistic when he bought his commission, thinking that he’d help his country while also looking dashing in his scarlet uniform. But his experiences with the brutality of war changed him—physically and emotionally. He now bears a huge scar that runs along his neck from where an enemy combatant tried to cut his throat. His emotional scars run even deeper. Upon his return home to England, he became part of a group of wealthy rakes known as the Hellraisers. Bram seeks to forget the viciousness of the war by losing himself in the pleasures of the flesh. He, out of all the Hellraisers, has the most darkness in his soul, a darkness that was forged in battle.

When he and the other Hellraisers inadvertently free the Devil from his prison, they are each offered a supernatural gift—a gift that speaks directly to the shadows in their hearts. For Bram, his gift is the ability to persuade anyone to do anything, though he can only use this gift once on someone. There is a cost to this gift: his soul. But Bram is too far gone into his darkness to care.

Valeria Livia Corva is the Roman priestess who first summoned the Dark One, and sacrificed herself in order to put him back in his prison. Now that the Hellraisers have freed the Devil, Livia dedicates herself to defeating this evil once and for all. Bram could be her most powerful ally in this fight, but she’ll have the devil’s own time trying to convince him to give up his wicked ways and take up his sword again in this battle. Both Livia and Bram are strong and willful, and while they may not necessarily like each other at first, there’s an undeniable attraction. Each have seen bloodshed and destruction. Each has been marked by it.

So, much like Last of the Mohicans, the backdrop may be war, but at the heart of it is a love story between two unlikely allies.

Now, my question to you is: is there a war or wars that have captured your imagination? Can war serve as a background for romance? Leave a comment, and you could win a copy of SINNER’S HEART (US and Canada only).

About The Hellraisers

Sinner's Heart
The Hellraisers 3
Zebra, April 2, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 370 pages

Read an excerpt

Demons Of The Past

Abraham Stirling, Lord Rothwell, was a fighter once, a soldier in the Colonies. But Bram returned to London with more nightmares than tales of glory. Now he drowns his senses in the arms of countless women, while his friends, the Hellraisers, ensure he needn't sin alone.

Until, that is, the Devil himself grants them each a wish, undoing their camaraderie as they explore their wicked powers. Bram finds himself magically bound to Valeria Livia Corva, the sensuous priestess who raised the Devil the first time--and died to send the demon back.

She may be a ghost, but Livia is no angel. The raw passion she witnesses in Bram's memories isn't much different from her behavior when she had a body to enjoy. But it doesn't make it any easier to convince Bram to become a warrior again, lest all London burn. And the fierce desires reawakening within her might just start the blaze. . .

Demon's Bride
The Hellraisers, Book 2
Zebra, May 1, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 370 pages

Read an excerpt.

Hell to Pay

Leo Bailey may have been born to poverty, but ruthless business sense and sparkling intelligence have made money worries a thing of his past. It doesn't hurt that the Devil himself has granted Leo the ability to read the future.

But even infallible predictions are a déclassé commoner's trick to some members of the ton. They'll never see Leo as their equal - one good reason to prove himself their better. And a noble marriage is an obvious start.

Bookish Anne Hartfield, daughter of a baron, is hardly the flashiest miss on the marriage market. But her thoughtful reserve complements Leo's brash boldness in an attraction neither can deny. A whirlwind courtship sweeps Anne and Leo into a smoldering marriage before either can believe their luck. But happiness built on Leo's dark powers can't last. Soon, Anne will have to save her husband...or lose her heart.

Devil's Kiss
Hellraisers, Book 1
Zebra, December 6, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 370 pages

Read and Excerpt

A Handsome Devil

1762. James Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney, is a gambling man. Not for the money. But for the thrill, the danger—and the company: Whit has become one of the infamous Hellraisers, losing himself in the chase for adventure and pleasure with his four closest friends.

Which was how Whit found himself in a gypsy encampment, betting against a lovely Romani girl. Zora Grey’s smoky voice and sharp tongue entrance Whit nearly as much as her clever hands—watching them handle cards inspires thoughts of another kind...

Zora can’t explain her attraction to the careless blue-eyed Whit. She also can’t stop him and his Hellraisers from a fiendish curse: the power to grant their own hearts’ desires, to chase their pleasures from the merely debauched to the truly diabolical. And if Zora can’t save Whit, she still has to escape him…

About Zoë

Zoë Archer is an award-winning romance author who thinks there's nothing sexier than a man in tall boots and a waistcoat. As a child, she never dreamed about being the rescued princess, but wanted to kick butt right beside the hero. She now applies her master's degrees in Literature and Fiction to creating butt-kicking heroines and heroes in tall boots. She is the author of the acclaimed BLADES OF THE ROSE series and the paranormal historical romance series, THE HELLRAISERS. She and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, created the steampunk world of THE ETHER CHRONICLES together. Her new gritty Victorian romance series, NEMESIS, UNLIMITED, launches this year. Zoë and Nico live in Los Angeles.

Website, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr

The Giveaway

What:  One commenter will win a copy of Sinner's Heart from Zoë.

How:   Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 12:00AM US Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 13, 2013. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Oh definitely war can serve as a background for romance! Two people who can't be together, lots of danger, maybe some sneaking off to be together... never knowing when time is running out. I've read a couple of very good books where the love was based around a war going on.

  2. Zoe's Questions: Is there a war or wars that have captured your imagination? Can war serve as a background for romance?

    Answer: - I like the war scenes in the Lord Of The Rings specially after I watch "the making" of it. Modern taunts mixed in the supposedly old. And some silliness inserted here and there. However what made it ultimately to the top of the entertainment ratings is not only the cinematographic choreography but the emotional involvement and the relationship dynamics between characters. Done right and you'll hook me as a reader/audience for life :)

  3. Yes, as a babyboomer I know just what romance a war can still up in people. The was that I seem to read so much about... well that time frame and all the injured coming home from that war is the Nepoleanic wars.

  4. I find I can only read romances set in fictional war settings, or at least very old real ones--to me, there is very little that is romantic in modern warfare. But throw in some dragons and direwolves and I'm totally in.

  5. The Civil War has always captured many imaginations. Fictional War settings which are in a fantasy realm can provide for more avenues of choice. Agreed dragons and the such help. But ultimately it comes down to death v love, or willingness to die for love, or betraying all you once were to become someone who you might be.

  6. I think all wars can be the back ground for romance. No war has really captured my attention in that way except our Revolutionary War.

  7. I watched The Sound of Music and that one did capture my interest in WW II. You could have war as a background for a romance.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  8. I am not sure, but conflict in general shows that romance can bloom on different sides. I am not specifically attracted to any one war, but I know the magic authors can do with history. sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. No, there hasn't. I think it can.

  10. I have always been interested in the Civil War. I am not a fan of war, but that one has always interested me.
    christinebails at yahoo dot com

  11. French revolution has always interested me. And I think it can.

  12. I think it can. There's fighting, rebellion, never knowing if and when the lovers will find each other again.I've always had a fansination with the Civil War.