Saturday, September 1, 2018

Seduced by the Prince's Kiss is out today!

Hooray! Seduced by the Prince's Kiss, book #4 in the Russian Royals of Kuban is out today in North America. The series is complete. Stepan's  story brings all the princes back together one last hurrah, and even Prince Dimitri Petrovich from last year's Wallflower series and Preston Worth. The conclusion of this book brings both series together, which was a fun task. I like it when worlds collide and when characters from other books interact with each other. Don't worry, though, if you missed the Wallflowers, you will still have no problem keeping up with Stepan's story, it's just an extra 'Easter egg' for avid Bronwyn Scott readers.

In this book, everything has come full circle. The immigrant/exiled princes have found new lives, most of them in England. This is highlighted especially by Stepan's choice of 'occupation.'  As a means of protesting economic injustice, Stepan has become a smuggler, what could be more English than that? And what does he smuggle? No surprise here if you've been following the series--Vodka. Remember the vodka tasting Stepan hosts at the club in Illarion's story, "Innocent in the Prince's Bed?" And how about all that samogan the princes drank in "Compromised by the Prince's Touch", Nikolay's story in book #1? 

The "I've become English" theme is also alluded to through Stepan's heroine, Anna-Maria, whom readers would have met for the first time through Dimitri in "Awakening the Shy Miss." She remarks to Stepan that she wants to be more English, otherwise what was the point in leaving? But she also struggles with the reality that England and Kuban share some similarities when it comes to the options available to women. So, I hope a little bit of parellelism for the discerning reader, and an illustration of the old adage the grass is always greener on the other side of the hill.  Anna-Maria has always viewed England as the Promised Land, but it's not quite as promising as she'd hoped.

Together, Anna-Maria and Stepan explore their limits and find the freedom they've been searching for in each other as they realize that home isn't always a place, but the people you're with.

I hope you enjoy the conclusion to the Royals of Kuban! This has definitely been one of my favorite series to write.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Back to School Harlequin Blog Hop Stop!

Welcome to the next stop on the Back to School Blog hop. Today, I am celebrating the release Book#4 the series finale of Russian Royals of Kuban, "Seduced by the Prince's Kiss," by giving away one complete set of the series to a lucky winner chosen at random from those who answer the question below correctly. The  book released on Aug. 23 in the UK and will release in the US Sept. 1.

Other than being a prince, what is Stepan's occupation in "Seduced by the Prince's Kiss?"

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Getting to Know Kuban

Ruslan's book, Awakened by the Prince's Passion, grapples with the storyline  of  the immigrant's return home.  Ruslan's mission focuses on returning a lost princess to the throne of Kuban and it requires him to return with her--something he never thought he'd do. When he left Kuban, he thought he'd left for good.

If you've followed the series, you know already that Kuban is a real region in Russia with some historical significance, and you know that the Kingdom of Kuban itself is fictional. But what kind of place is Kuban in truth?

Kuban is located in Southern Russia. It is the area depicted in red on the map below. The Kuban River  is noted on the map too, the river that Ruslan and Dasha sail up to reach the capital. On the river is also the city of Krasnodar on the map. This is the city of Ekaterinador (sometimes spelled with a Y) mentioned in the story as well. The city was renamed Krasnodar in 1920. 

Political Geography of Kuban

The region of Kuban has a colorful history that I thought gave rise to the plausibility of the fictional kingdom. Consider this political background. 

988 Kuban is the site of the Tmurtarakan Princedom, making it a centre of political, economic and Christianity northwest of the Caucasus mountains. 

12-13th centuries, the area falls under Mongol control. 

15th century sees a new connection with European trade routes until the area falls under Turkish control 

1750s and to the end of the 18th century the Caucasus and Crimea became the place where the interests of the Russian and Osman (Turkish) empires clashed. This sets up the real historical need for Russia to settle Kuban if it wishes to hold the area against the Ottomans. So, the story Illarion tells in "Innocent in the Prince's Bed" of his family choosing to migrate from St. Petersburg to Kuban in order to earn the Tsar's favor is not entirely fiction. History shows that many Russians migrated to hold the land against the Turks. For example, the Don Cossacks brought 3,000 Cossacks into the territory (as mentioned in Nikolay's story, Compromised by the Prince's Touch).  This settlement and installation of Russians in the Kuban area is solidified after the Russia-Turkish war of 1768-1774. Russian wins but Turkey still has influence in the region. This continued influence sets up the storyline in "Awakening the Shy Miss," when Kubanian Prince Dimitri has an arranged political marriage to a Pasha's daughter to hold the peace between Kuban and the Ottoman's on the border. 
Another significant development is the 1783 annexation of the Crimea and Taman peninsulas, and the right-bank of the Kuban River into the Russian Empire by Catherine II. Once annexed, these lands needed to be held. In a move, meant to look benevolent, Catherine bequeathes these areas to the Black Sea Cossacks and other Cossack groups. In return for these lands, the Cossacks are expected to hold the territory in safekeeping for Russia. This region becomes the buffer between Russia and Turkey. in 1793 the Cossacks found the city of Ekaterinador (Krasnodar) as the center of their current regional empire.  
In Ruslan's story, the capital of Kuban is a bit further up river than Ekaterinador. It features white buildings and gold domes just like the church pictured above. Dasha remarks on the brilliance of the city coming into view from the barge. 
Physical Geography
Eurasian Wolf
In all of the books, there is reference made to the wildness of Kuban.  Even in Dimitri's story, "Awakening the Shy Miss," in the Wallflowers to Wives series, Dimitri regales Evie with stories of cold rivers, rugged mountains and wolves. 

Kuban River
The Kuban River is sourced from the glaciers of Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains and eventually comes out at the Sea of Azov--seen in the map above. I should note that technically the Kuban River is not known for freezing over because of the climate it encounters. However, there are references in series to fabulous skating parties along the river during the winter, so that is a bit of fictional license I have taken.  To the left, is a modern day look at the Kuban River, complete with a hydroelectric building. 

I hope you've enjoyed our first look at the land of Kuban where Ruslan's adventure is placed and little background on what fed my imagination about the Kingdom of Kuban. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Home from RWA 2018 (AKA Rita Hunting Season is now officially closed)

It's Tuesday, I am home from Denver. RWA 2018 is in the bag.  What an incredible experience to be part of the RITA whirl. I am so proud of my little story, "Dancing with the Duke's Heir."  I enjoyed meeting so many people and making new connections. As always, I adore meeting readers at the Harlequin signing, which is one of my favorite events, and at the literacy signing.  This year I did a signing for Montlake, too, which was great.

I was also so proud to be part of Harlequin Books. The publishing house led the way with the most RITA nominations (13) and I believe the most wins (4). BUT, more than that, I was proud of how professionally Harlequin represented themselves. Their events were well thought out, put together with polish, and  were aimed at all aspects of conference attendee. There were events for the Harlequin author, the Harlequin reader, the prospective author, and events for agents.

Now, it's time to get back to work. Book #3 of the Royals of Kuban is due out next week, "Awakened by the Prince's Passion," so there's reviewing and launch work to do. Book #2 of next year's series will be back next week for revisions from my editor, so there's no rest!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Blog Hop Winner!

Suzannah Clark is our blog hop winner! I am excited to get these awesome stories in your hands so you can get reading.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Welcome to the summer blog hop!

Ready to hit the beach with some great reads? Answer this question about Innocent in the Prince's Bed to win books 1 and 2 in The Royals of Kuban series plus a read-it-before it's released copy of Awakened by the Prince's Passion (due out Aug. 1!).

What figure from Russian folklore does Illarion, the former Kubanian prince poet laureate, compare Dove to? Need a hint? She can't leave her father's forests and longs to be human. She is granted her wish for one day. She lingers with the other young maids in the spring/summertime of her mother only to leap over a bonfire and vanish into the clouds. There are many versions of her story and that is one of them.
 Winner drawn from all correct answers and winner will be posted June 27